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Ends, Begginings (Closed, Herdir and Sprw201)

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Ends, Begginings (Closed, Herdir and Sprw201)

Post by Herdir on 15/4/2018, 21:26

Auth was waiting within the new Survery Corps headquarters, in front of the Commander's own door. Erwin Smith, eh? A brilliant soldier, with a brilliant career alongside Nile Doc. Now, both of them Commanders of their respective branches. Someone to behold. Someone whose binds to his duty stand stronger than anyone else's. Someone for whom bravery was his every living breath, for whom strength to survive coursed in his veins.

And what was Auth doing? Waiting to go in, to talk about his retirement from duty.

...yeah...

In his defence, however, it wasn't cowardice making him do that. If it ever was cowardice, he would've tried leaving much earlier, or wouldn't have joined this branch in the first place. After all, his family had a history of being successful MPs, one that he broke due to the assaults on the walls. Now, he was going back on that choice not because of fear of the outside, but because of fear of the inside. And because now, with his father dead, he finally got to see how the Interior's politics worked.


Auth leaned on the wall behind him, waiting for the Commander to invite him in. He had done everything proper and to the book, with a timed appointment and everything. It was probably not required. Auth, however, didn't care. He had started following protocol subconsciously, as a result of months among humanity's biggest snobs and bureaucrats. Simple survival-oriented adaptation, really.


Now, of course, when in touch with the uppermost layer of humanity's leadership, one realizes what a nest of vipers it truly is. Few are as stupid as they let seem, instead being shrewd bastards not above any method that yields results. The weak get purged quickly, and the strong... well, they persist and play their own game, only instead of dealing in cards, they deal in the lives of others, in the goods of others, and so on. For what? Well, personal interest was the shortest way to sum it.

In that sense, however, Auth himself also pursued personal interest: He personally wanted to see humanity reign supreme, he personally wanted to witness the great Man run over the beastly titan, he personally wanted to free from its chains the whole of humanity. Similar in nature were the goals of other nobles, but rarely coinciding. Some, snobs wanting to see a specific power structure in place. Some, veritable psychopaths wanting to see humanity dead to the last. Some, idealists, misguided or not, trying to enforce their own philosophy.
Each viper had its own reason to play the game. And, unfortunately, there wasn't anyone in there playing for the military, or at least not as far as Auth could see.


That's why now, in this perfectly sunny day, inviting to dozing off and celebrating life, Auth was about to sever his past self.

Because the Corps, but so too the Police and the Garrison, needed someone on their side in that viper nest.

For the Freedom of Man.
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Re: Ends, Begginings (Closed, Herdir and Sprw201)

Post by Sprw201 on 16/4/2018, 17:50

The paper before Erwin contained some very intriguing information. However, it was getting much too close to the time to read over it. Time didn’t even feel like it was a construct within the small office of the Survey Corps Commander. Within the office, the oak floors and desk seemed sturdy and proud. Some would say they were like the commander himself. It was a rather strange day to be kept inside by a meeting.

Erwin looked outside, the singular window in his office only allowed one view to the outside world. If the world was only looked at from one angle, it could be vastly misinterpreted. He stood, shifting the paper to the edge of his desk for later viewing and crossed the floor to the window, reaching out to open it. The fresh air that had been barred from the stuffy office seemed to rush in and lift the deepest of sorrows.

Auth vi Rauco… what could he possibly want? It was very peculiar to him why vi Rauco would even schedule a meeting with him. It was out of his normal character too, Auth was known for not following the rules to a T. And yet he’d being following the rules closer than a lot of other scouts lately.

Erwin straightened his bolo tie, it’s familiar turquoise gem glistening brightly in the morning sun that streamed through the window. He waltzed to the heavy wooden doors that sealed his office off from the rest of the Survey Corps HQ. He pushed them open, eyes combing the halls to look for his visitor. Leaning against the far wall, adjacent to the doors was Auth vi Rauco, arms crossed and pale complection made even more apparent by the dark clothes that he was wearing. “Auth vi Rauco?” He saw the man perk at the mention of his name. “Come have a seat with me.” Erwin gestured at the chair that was empty before his desk. The two entered the office and Erwin offered Auth something to drink.

At last, Erwin look his place behind the oak surface of his desk. He leaned forwards, lacing his fingers together and looking expectantly at the scout before him. “So… Auth vi Rauco.” He paused, shifting the paper he was looking at earlier in front of him closer to him. “Son of Adar vi Rauco, graduated first of his class and chose the Survey Corps. In three years you’ve been on 7 excursions beyond the walls and have a record of 7 kills and 8 assists. ” He glanced at Auth before looking back at the papers. “I’ve heard your Aunt runs a restaurant in Mitras. Hope she’s doing well. Anyway. That certainly isn’t why you met with me today. So please, tell me why you’re here. What do you have to tell me?” Erwin pushed aside the paper again and looked at Auth, eyes seeming to bore into his intentions.
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Re: Ends, Begginings (Closed, Herdir and Sprw201)

Post by Herdir on 16/4/2018, 21:15

Auth was still tossing ideas back and forth in his mind when the Commander opened the door. His back immediately straightened and hand went into a military salute. "Auth vi Rauco?" Nod. "Yes, sir." Only once the commander started heading back for his desk, inviting him to take a seat as well, did Auth drop his salute. Protocol, that it was. This time, though, that wasn't why Auth kept to it this closely. No, it was because if anyone within these damned walls deserved that sort of respect, it was the man in front of him.

Once now seated, in this heavy office of a man of such strength, Auth felt simultaneously pressured and protected. It wasn't the fear of Nile Doc's messy, yet orderly tiny room, nor was it the tranquility of Dot Pixis' open and calm room. No, in Erwin's case, it was the very drive that kept the Scouts ever onwards, one demanding excellence, lest one be given death, but yet giving certainty, for one's comrades are near. Scouts, unlike any other branch, absolutely never underwent missions alone. And for good reason.

As Erwin began speaking again, Auth listened closely to every word, his ears already trained to pick soft cues in the tonality, or small changes in expression. The choices of words, the structure of sentences, looking for a hidden meaning behind them. And yet, there was none. A report of Auth's history with the scouts, said with the cold outlook of logistics. A comment on Auth's living side of family, said with proof that Erwin didn't see his soldiers as machines, but as people.

And, of course, the question.

That one damn question Auth had been preparing an answer for, and yet now was barely managing to answer. In truth, were he the old Auth, the one that hadn't been more or less forced to join in the viper's games, he would have had no answer. He would not have been able to tell the man in front of him what his desire here was. He was ashamed. And yet, this Auth could answer, if merely thanks to well practiced mechanical answers.

"Well..." Even mechanical, Auth found himself erring. Very slight, very fleeting, but there nonetheless. His mind didn't have the time or power to worry whether or not Erwin noticed it. "Put simply, I am here to ask for the grant of honorable discharge from the Survey Corps, and moreover the military as a whole." Word by word, it hurt Auth's heart. He was doing this in the service of mankind, but it made no difference to the pain, to the sheer shame of having asked of the man in front of him such a thing.

"I am making this request upon having hit the realization of just how bad the military as a whole is seen within the... upper... echelons of our society, let alone a branch so far off as the Survey Corps. I wish to dedicate myself to solving this inherent root cause of most, if not all, of our logistical issues."

Auth fell silent after this explanation, one that even he himself felt wasn't satisfactory. This was cowardice, what he was doing. He hated every bit of it, yet was still firmly convinced this was the only way. A path he didn't like, but a path he had to take. His weakness would be far greater if he would give up, and live the rest of his life as yet another soldier of many, that may not have the blades, the gas, the food and water, the support he needs. A soldier who kills a titan every half year, not even denting the number in any visible way.

No, he had to do this. As much as he hated it, this was his chance.
This was the military's chance.

Humanity's chance.
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Re: Ends, Begginings (Closed, Herdir and Sprw201)

Post by Sprw201 on 16/4/2018, 22:34

Erwin noticed Auth seemed to squirm in his chair before he spoke. "Put simply, I am here to ask for the grant of honorable discharge from the Survey Corps, and moreover the military as a whole. I am making this request upon having hit the realization of just how bad the military as a whole is seen within the... upper... echelons of our society, let alone a branch so far off as the Survey Corps. I wish to dedicate myself to solving this inherent root cause of most, if not all, of our logistical issues." Erwin sat for a moment almost in disbelief. It wasn’t unheard of for scouts to quit their branch, but under normal circumstances it happened much earlier.

After what must have seemed like an eternity for the scout in front of him. Erwin stood, pinching the bridge of his nose lightly. “There is absolutely no way that I can accept your request. Discharge isn’t as honorable as you would think. Are you prepared to be ridiculed, look down at, and laughed at all because you chose to quit? I don’t think you.” Erwin managed to cut off Auth before he could answer the question, his mouth was hanging down in shock and disbelief.

He leaned against the wall, facing out the window. “And of course the military is looked down upon. No matter where you go, what occupation you hold, it’s incredibly hard to hold any position without anybody looking down at you. I do hope you realise this.” Erwin almost laughed at this being the reason Auth was leaving. “I can hardly believe that that would be the root of our issues. Sure we are short on people who even want to join the branch, but they haven’t disappeared fully. We receive most of the funding for the branches from the King himself too, so it’s not economical issues you’re trying to fix.” Erwin dragged out his last word, trying to twist his words so that maybe Auth would understand why his reason was ridiculous. “Do you think we don’t already have people looking into rumors about the military?” This was a lie, but was a good point to bring up if Erwin was going to shut down Auth’s argument.

He turned on his heel, crossing his arms and casting a look over his shoulder. “That’s most certainly not your true reason for trying to leave. Most likely a convenient excuse you came up within an hour or so. What are your true motives? What do you plan to do after leaving? Lucky for you, you still have a family to go back to after quitting. Unlike most in our ranks.” the personal stab wasn’t the best move Erwin had used, but it was worth trying. He wondered how Auth would respond, if he did at all.
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Re: Ends, Begginings (Closed, Herdir and Sprw201)

Post by Herdir on 17/4/2018, 13:48

Seconds passed. Slowly, so very slowly, but they passed. There was no sound of a clock in the room as far as Auth could tell, but his mind had been trained to keep a very realistic idea of how time passed. He never truly understood that during his early years, and he never go it while part of the Suvery Corps either. Only now, with his father dead and him being hit in full by what political life meant, he realized it was an essential skill to anyone of his birth status. But just knowing that every eternity you feel was a mere second wasn't that comforting, since it seemed an eternity nonetheless. On the contrary, even, some could argue it was worse.

Auth's brain was turning every possibility on its head. He was trying his absolute best to read the man in front of him, to predict his reply, to devise the answer before the question was even asked. Erwin would decline his request - that much he knew even since before he entered the room. Now, on what grounds? Cowardice? Unlikely. Erwin knew full well someone with Auth's mission record would never get suddenly hit by cowardice. Disbelief at his reasoning? Possible, but uncomfortable. Auth was talking truth, and trying to convince someone you're not lying was much harder than it seemed, especially for someone grown in a family where everyone knew dealing in various amounts of truth was the entire way of life. Maybe he should have led with a lie, to make 'giving in' the easier option, but it was too late at this point.

What was Erwin going to say? Moreso, what was going through the mind of the Survey Corps Commander?

"...no way I can accept your request..." Was a part Auth had well predicted. However, what came afterwards, telling him how honorable discharge was, in fact, not all that honorable... Erwin had twisted a knife in the wound, knowingly or not. Even more of a surprise, however, was the mere fact this was the commander's first thought. It wasn't how Auth's ability would be missed. It wasn't how it was cowardice, nor that it may have stood as premise for others to do the same.

No, it was how Auth would be affected by it, in the military or not.

This mere fact was overtaking Auth more than anything, of his own feelings and future being put in the first place. In a way, not even his father did that.

Erwin continued his reasoning, Auth listening intently. Some points he had seen coming, some he hadn't. Still, his mind dwindled on the one reason why he himself didn't want to quit. No, he wasn't ready. He knew he wasn't. But he also knew he'd never be. He had to do this, and he'd adapt. He always adapted. Would it be pleasant? No. Would it be without pain? No. Would he be proud of it? Not in hell. But he had to. This was his chance, the moment to take his life into his own hands, to actually be there and try to push humanity ever onwards.

He started taking Erwin's points in reverse order, a rational outlook on trying to dismantle each.

First off, a weak laugh. "Half a family, if we're being optimistic. Likely less." This was true. In a way, he had less than zero family, with his father dead and mother so broken she'd be better if she truly were dead. Now, onto the points about the military. "With all due respect, sir, I do not doubt there are people looking into the upper workings of society, but I am almost certain there are none moving them in our way: freedom." Auth instinctively straightened up on the chair. A small ember within his soul threatened to light up back into that bonfire which spawned it, the one lit up by his father's death, and funeral. "It's not an issue how much we get among the branches, but how much the military as a whole gets compared to how much it requires. Casualties are high and ever-growing, horses and metal more and more expensive, and the political climate more and more is moving away from supporting us. The regulations in place are overly tight, or image is made worse and worse." All truth. Bit by bit, every branch was slowly starting to struggle more and more to keep its men healthy and properly equipped. The King himself was almost powerless, his own power being much too dependent on the opinions on those immediately below. Opinions which saw the military as superfluous, especially Survey, which were in their eyes just throwing money away, and Garrison, which wasted manpower protecting the wrong people. Something had to be done about it. Auth sat up.

"Quitting the military would make me seem like every other... nobleman" Auth almost spat the word. He could have controlled it, but he chose not to. "Coupled with my prior status, I'd have no trouble having my voice heard. With the training my father had instilled into me, I am confident I can also gain some degree of control, which I can use in humanity's best interests: getting out of this damned stone prison we call The Walls." There it was, the flickering flame that drove his speech at the funeral. Not yet the mad glint, but it wasn't far off. "Up there, I can make the difference I would never be able to on the field. Sir, I am more useful to humanity's freedom - and thus, to you - from up there than down here."

His voice was that of his father. Recently, he had become more and more like the shrewd old bastard, both in mind and demeanour. However, he fell back down into the chair once his mind reached Erwin's initial point.

"...And, I am not prepared for how everyone else will see me. How the population will, how my comrades will, how my family - what little I have left - will see me. I won't ever be prepared for that. But that is no excuse to not do it. I am not prepared to lose my wings, but to help humanity to soar even higher, I must sink down first. Please, Commander, allow me to."

Auth realized he wasn't even really talking to the commander anymore. Sure, he was speaking looking at him, but the words were aimed at himself more than at the man in front of him. He wasn't trying to justify himself to the commander. He was trying to justify the rational reasoning to his inner pride.

He wasn't sure he was winning.
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Re: Ends, Begginings (Closed, Herdir and Sprw201)

Post by Sprw201 on 18/4/2018, 17:46

Erwin sat down heavily in his chair and considered asking Auth to leave so he could think it over. But then again if he asked him to do so, Auth might think he was avoiding answering him. He moved his hand to his temple, massaging it lightly and hoping to get rid of the headache that the still somewhat stuffy room had invoked. “What you say is all true…” The commander muttered these words, they were barely a breath and were almost silenced by a bird chirping outside.

The afternoon sun had dawned upon the little office and made the shadows within the walls stretch across the floor like a cat. Auth obviously had been warring over this choice for a longer time than Erwin realized, the way he had said nobleman perturbed him. Ranks were never intended to cause resentment, of course, everyone being equal was somewhat impossible to accomplish as well. “I’m glad you’re aware of how people will react. However….” He paused, and sauntered over to the window to close it.

“I’d feel a little more convinced if you could give me a concrete plan of where you’re going to start. And that’s quite a sacrifice if you’re not prepared to quit and yet you’re still ready to help humanity.” Erwin shifted into a comfortable standing position. “That reminds me… I wasn’t able to offer you my condolences at your father’s funeral. I’m terribly sorry for your loss.” Auth nodded solemnly.

“This isn’t an easy choice you’ve given me.” He chuckled. If he let Auth go and he really did help humanity more outside the military, would it benefit the military? Or if Auth left and didn’t do anything. “You’ve certainly proved your worth over the years, that’s no question. To be honest you’ve put me on the spot. It’s not often that committed people come to me asking if they can leave.” He beconked Auth to follow him as he made his way to the door. “It’s such a nice day out it’ll be a shame if my office choked it out. Shall we go for a walk?” Auth almost looked surprised by the request but he followed without complaint.

The brighter colors of outside seemed to outpower the tension between the choice that Erwin had to make. Letting go of one soldier wouldn’t be that much of disaster would it? It sure seemed like it would. Erwin tried not to frown on the walk, he didn’t want Auth trying to see his every move. Even if trying to see the future was only natural for most people, making choices in the moment was sometimes your only and best option.
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Re: Ends, Begginings (Closed, Herdir and Sprw201)

Post by Herdir on 19/4/2018, 12:07

Moments came. Moments passed. Auth was still at war with his own mind, throwing points and counterpoints across wildly. However, he was slowly gaining ground. Slowly, the part of him that didn't want to leave the military was left without words. Because leaving the military was the most efficient way to help humanity. That left the side that was against leaving to merely be selfish. And, as selfish as Auth liked to seem, in truth, it was more common for him to put others on the first place.

Which is why his ever-growing surprise at Erwin continuing to care about him. He was glad for Auth being aware of his situation. He was offering condolences for his father's death. Maybe, sometimes, one was supposed to care about oneself. But even so, the path to greatness was outside the military, not within it.

In end end, it was a choice between momentary comfort and a brighter future.
Didn't seem like that hard a choice anymore, when put like that.

Auth kept listening to Erwin. The choice was hard; certainly truth, it was harder for the Commander than for himself. Pointing the paradoxical situation of having to let go of a soldier to gain more; truth, this situation was quite a rare thing. Offering to go outside... unexpected. However, Auth took the offer, partly not to seem impolite, but partly because he himself preferred it.

Now, onto explaining his plan of action.

"Sir, in truth, one could easily consider I've already started." Indeed, the past few months, Auth had been reassuring connections, mingling within upper society, and slowly taking his father's place everywhere his absence had been noticed. "As heir to the vi Rauco family, I've had to establish connections as soon as my father perished. My quitting of the military is simply the step I need to take to gain the trust of upper society. This step once taken, I will have to pretend to have lost all my interest in military affairs for a while. After that, I can bring into discussion things like increasing budgets, resources, funding for anti-titan warfare technology, approval of special missions that would normally go against rules, and perhaps even propose laws, all under the veil of simple objective practicality: promises of profit, of glory, of power, and all those kinds 'higher' currencies frequently used up there." A short pause to let the commander toss his words around in his head a bit. "My goal is seeing humanity free from this prison. To that extent, I will keep close contact with you, sir, so I have more hands-on information as to what needs changing and how drastically. I am certain that, if handled correctly by humanity as a whole, the titans are an obstacle that can be overcome and crushed underfoot." Perfect truth. However...

"The only problem is whether or not I am competent enough. That being said, I was raised to become an MP officer, and to play within the web of politics. My skills in that regard should eclipse whatever value I have as a soldier. Even if I can't see this through, I am confident that I can at least make a much greater difference than I can on the field."

Auth's voice had been much more certain. The war within himself was mostly over, instead the fiery passion of seeing humanity freed taking over. After all, in the face of that, every sacrifice was worth it. Death is sweeter resounded within Auth's brain. Yes. He would get up in that viper nest. He would prevail over each and every one of them. He would make those who go against the freedom of humanity kneel in defeat. He would see the titans dead to the last. The walls torn down to the last brick.

This is what he had been born for.
What he had been raised for.

He would see it through.
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Re: Ends, Begginings (Closed, Herdir and Sprw201)

Post by Sprw201 on 22/4/2018, 02:19

The setting sun dwindled in the day, the garden casted in lengthening shadows. Auth kept trying to convince him as to why he should let him go. He was certainly putting up a good fight though.
“I’m glad to hear you’ll still be in contact with me, but there will be information that I cannot share with you. And remember, the true viper’s den is in politics. Anything you say won’t be used to help you.” Erwin was trying to warn Auth that politics was trying to tame a snake into doing it’s biding for you, soon enough it turned around and bit you. Erwin shoved his hands into the pockets of his slacks and turned towards Auth.

“I think I have made my decision, albeit a hard one…” he inhaled and placed his hand on Auth’s shoulder, squeezing it lightly. “I’ll let you go.” By the look on Auth’s face, the world must have felt a whole lot lighter. “And I sure hope, that you won’t expose any tender information that the military has knowledge of to the general public now?” Erwin made an effort to make his voice slightly deeper as he tightened his grip on Auth’s shoulder. Such as when new recruits left, he was more lenient because they didn’t know as much. However with Auth, the situation was difficult. If he were to use that knowledge against the military, on purpose or by accident then it would be disastrous. Or should the Red Titan find out… there was no sense as to what would happen in the future. He would just have to wait and see for himself.

The world was a scary place, inside or outside the walls. People trying to guide humanity to glorious victory could be misguided. People who had better interests in their hearts and minds could be misinterpreted. He removed his hand from Auth’s shoulder and sighed. “I assume you still have your belongings here? In a room or something? I’ll also assume you have friends to say goodbye to. If so.. You’ll have until tomorrow to clear out.” Erwin tried to keep his tone level. It wasn’t that he was disappointed. It was the fear of not knowing what was next. And the pressure of what was to come. “You can leave now if you want to… I’m going to go back to my office…” He turned and headed back along the garden and to the familiar oak desk that resided in the slightly dusty walls. A prison within a prison.

Over his years within the Survey Corps, Erwin had learned that it was almost impossible and futile to predict the future. And yet it was so tempting to do so, and much easier to do so. Trying to look ahead is important in moderation, but if you look too far ahead, you’ll lose track of where your own two feet are headed. It’s easy to get mixed up no matter when you live. If Auth pulled through though, humanity might be able to have a future.

[Thread End]
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Re: Ends, Begginings (Closed, Herdir and Sprw201)

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