Worst Fears Realized, Part 1
Posted on Sun Jan 13th, 2019 @ 3:54am by Senior Headmaster Absynthe "Syn" Drake & Freshman Bethany Davies & Freshman Edward (Xander) Carlisle IV & Civilian Cecily Carlisle & Civilian Jonathon Harrison
Every Day - February 2012
Location: Youth Ranch/Townsend Tower
Timeline: The Year of the Apocalypse - 12 February 2012
It had been nearly three weeks since Bethany had left the Tower and gone to the ranch that Dyami ran for troubled youth. The ache in her heart just seemed to get worse every day, even though the ranch was a peaceful place. She had been worried that it was going to be too cultish, and while it was a spiritual place, it still didn’t quite hit the level of the commune.
Bethany had fallen easily into a routine. She trained every day with Dyami, him teaching her how to fight against people far more powerful, and less squishy, than herself. She’d nearly died way too many times in fights, and she really wanted to learn how to avoid that. There were also chores, which were easy enough for her. It was a ranch, and she was rather use to the type of work that needed to be done.
That day a horse was brought out to the pens needing to be broken. Dyami had given in when she asked if she could try to break it. Bethany had a way with animals and had been feeding it, along with the others. Dyami had tried to convince her to use a saddle, but he had been called away, and she opted to give it a try without one. It wasn’t like she hadn’t broken horses bareback before.
The young woman had pulled on the supple brown leathers that she’d been given, including the gloves, and went out to the fence, watching the other hands lead the horse around. Again they tried to convince Bethany to use a saddle, but she waved them off, taking the bit and bridle off of the beautiful palomino. She fed the nervous animal a couple of carrots, speaking softly to him while she patted his nose. “It’s just me and you. Just stay calm,” she nearly whispered to the powerful creature.
She tossed the gear off to one of the hands and they cleared the pen. Others had heard that she was planning on making the attempt and were gathered along the wooden fence line, some of them sitting on top, while others peered through the slats. “You’re gonna break your neck!” one of the teen boys said, and a couple of others joined him in laughter.
Bethany rolled her eyes and worked her way gently back behind the horse’s shoulders, one hand trailing his muscled neck and into the thick black mane. It only took her a moment to kick herself up and onto the animal’s back. She pulled her legs in and held on for dear life as the horse began bucking wildly.
There was something freeing about the act of breaking a horse. Yes, there was always the low grade fear of being thrown, but Bethany hadn’t really cared about getting hurt since she left the Tower. Not that she was careless, she simply didn’t fear it as much as she probably should have. The girl managed to ride the horse for quite some time, but just as it looked like it was going to calm down, he bucked, his head low to the ground, and threw the tactical teen straight over his head as he came to a sudden stop.
Bethany managed to keep from landing head first on the ground, instead rolling away from the angry horse, but still came up to a painful stop against the fence. She stifled a groan and quickly pulled herself off of the ground, climbing over the fence before the stallion decided to charge her. “He’s obstinate, isn’t he?” she muttered, stretching a bit once she hit the ground on the other side of the fence.
One of the hands laughed and nodded, then headed over the fence with some others to corral the animal again. Bethany turned to head back to the longhouse and balked as she saw a familiar face. “Cecily?” she asked of no one in particular. She grimaced a bit as Dyami gave her an admonishing look, then left the girl standing there with Nina as he went to help with the horse.
Bethany sighed and walked over. “What in the world are you doing here?” she asked the blonde as she approached, a curious look on her face
Cecily gave Bethany a smile, her hands clasped in front of her as Bethany approached, looking as easily beautiful as she always did. Cecily signed a hello and gave Bethany a hug. Then she looked beyond the brunette toward the beautiful horse.
Bethany returned the hug, a bit stiffly, then glanced back at the horse. “Ranch work. He needs to be broken and, well, I decided to give it a try. It’s been a while.” She looked back at the blonde that she’d taken a knife for and an eyebrow arched over one eye. “But I doubt that’s why you’re here.”
She motioned to Nina and said, “She knows sign language. I have the feeling that’s why Dyami left her here with you. So what’s up?” There was a shard of fear that had already worked its way into her heart, but she dared not speak to that. She really couldn’t think of a good reason for the young noble to be there.
Cecily seemed to ignore Bethany and walked over to the fence. She stared at the beautiful animal. He strode over and Cecily put her hand on his nose, stroking the star there, staring into the dark, liquid eyes.
Glancing at Nina, Bethany shrugged. “I know Dyami wouldn’t go out of his way to bring her here for no reason. Do you know what’s up?”
Nina shook her head. “Syn called and said that there was an issue, but Uncle hasn’t shared that with me,” the native woman said. “They just showed up here a few minutes ago.”
Bethany sighed and nodded as they walked over to join Cecily at the fence line. The girl seemed strange in a couple of ways, but then she’d not been around long enough to really get to know much about her. “You know Jon’s going to be worried sick if he can’t find you, right?” she asked, starting to feel a touch of irritation.
Cecily nodded. She looked to Bethany and gestured between her and the horse.
Bethany laughed softly, shaking her head. She eyed the blonde for a moment and sighed, then looked back to Dyami, wondering why in the world he had agreed to bring the girl there. She sighed heavily, then muttered, “What? Do you enjoy watching me suffer?” Just Cecily’s presence in this place of refuge was painful enough.
“Hey, let me take another turn before I call it a day,” she called to Dyami, and he nodded toward the horse. Bethany climbed back over the fence and went through the same routine. Letting the horse know she was there before moving back to climb on.
The stallion bucked a few times, but it almost seemed like his heart wasn’t really into it anymore. Bethany’s lithe, powerful body moved easily with the animal, and she kept her seat as he calmed. The green-eyed brawler smiled a bit, then patted the horse’s neck as she directed him back to the fence. “Well, that was easier that time.”
When she climbed off onto the fence, another hand took the horse and replaced the bit and bridle, then led him off to the troughs. Bethany hopped off of the fence and looked at Cecily. “You’re a little strange, but you know that, don’t you? Now will you tell me why you’re here?”
Cecily gave Bethany a wry smile. She gave the horse’s flank a loving pat as it passed, now very cooperative.
Turning back to Bethany, she signed again.
Nina arched an eyebrow and translated as Cecily signed, “She says that Jon needs you.” Nina gave Bethany a curious look, not really knowing who Jon was. The odd young woman had kept to herself for the most part, almost as if she were afraid to make any connections with people.
A look of pain ghosted across Bethany’s face and her gaze dropped. She needed Jon too, but she was trying to stay out of his way so that he could get on with his life with Cecily. After a moment she looked back up at the blonde and simply asked, “Why? What’s wrong?”
Cecily took a breath and signed again.
“He is drinking again.” Again, Nina translated, then gave both girls a concerned look. She dealt with the aftermath of alcoholics on a daily basis.
“I know that,” Bethany said with a sigh. “What am I supposed to do about it?”
Cecily absently rubbed her arm, and the sleeve of her top moved up a bit, revealing a bruise on her arm, like someone had grabbed her roughly.
Bethany gasped and paled dramatically, unnaturally, then just as quickly most of her color returned. “He...” She couldn’t find her voice for a moment, swallowing thickly as she eyed the bruise on Cecily’s arm.
The green-eyed brawler suddenly turned and stalked towards Dyami. “I need to go back to the Tower,” she said, the fear, pain, and anger playing out in her tone. “It’s an emergency.”
Nina followed after the young woman, saying, “Beth, are you sure that is wise? I mean, you do not know what he is capable of.”
Bethany whirled on Nina, her sharp eyes suddenly sparking with rage. “Trust me, I know exactly what he’s capable of.”
The dark-haired native woman blanched a bit at the girl’s sudden anger, and she held up her hands. “Just...be careful.”