Post by Ludwig Beilschmidt on Sept 28, 2013 22:14:07 GMT
On that day, mankind received a grim reminder...
Age: 24 Gender: Male Ethnicity: German Rank: Commander of the Garrison Birthday: October 3rd
Physical Appearance: Ludwig has a strong masculine face, roughly oval in shape but with a squarish forehead and a sharp jawline. His bone structure is angular, with high but not prominent cheekbones and a solid, square chin. His eyes are medium set and almost always narrowed in scrutiny or observation; in contrast to Ludwig's fair skin, his eyes are a piercing bright blue and are probably his most noticeable feature. His eyebrows are straight and angle slightly downwards towards his nose, giving him a semi-permanent expression of disdain or disapproval. His nose is somewhat prominent, a classic Roman nose shape with a few bumps at the bridge (one he was born with, one came from getting his nose broken). His mouth is slightly wider than normal, with thin lips, and he's usually never smiling. His pale blond hair is cut short, and nine times out of ten, Ludwig wears it combed back away from his forehead (when he's working out or just plain working hard, his bangs fall back down, but they are short enough so as to stay out of his eyes). He also has naturally occurring sideburns that extend to just below his ears; otherwise, he keeps himself clean-shaven.
Physically, Ludwig stands roughly 5'10" (180 cm) and has a sturdy, muscular build. His shoulders and chest are wide, and while he isn't slender, he's undeniably athletic. His skin continues to be very fair: he sunburns and bruises very easily, the latter more often due to his constant training with the 3D Maneuver Gear. He also sports a few scars on his arms, legs, and chest, from a variety of different sources. Ludwig carries himself with confidence, almost overly so to the point where he becomes intimidating. None of his movements are wasted; he's not one for wild gestures while talking. If he's not wearing his uniform, more often than not he wears something extremely plain: a button-down shirt and a pair of dark slacks along with some old leather boots and a heavy, dark jacket would be plenty fine.
Distinguishing Features: Ludwig sports an Iron Cross tattoo on the right side of his chest; he got this to celebrate his graduation from the training program while not entirely sober and on the advice of his not entirely sober friends. His brightly colored eyes also stand out somewhat. Besides those two features, Ludwig is a good-but-severe-looking man, and there isn't much else that separates him from the crowd.
Personality: Ludwig is an extremely serious person. He takes very little lightly, and has a reputation for severity and unfriendliness. Outwardly, all of this is entirely true. Ludwig is exceptionally dedicated to his job and the men and women in his command, and these days there is little else on his mind during the daylight hours aside from work. He's not a man to make small talk or attempt to curry favor, either: Ludwig is unabashedly frank and upfront, and dislikes anything that he might consider a waste of time. He's the kind of person that puts all of his effort into anything, no matter how small and insignificant it might seem. Still, this workaholic personality might make Ludwig seem like a boring person, and it's true that he isn't exceptionally expressive or open with people: he always maintains a degree of emotional distance, and his face seems to only waver between 'calmly stoic' and 'extremely irritated'. Neither of these impressions are true, but that is because Ludwig is also fiercely protective of his privacy and his life outside of his job (what's left of it, anyways).
Around his close friends and family, Ludwig's regular personality is much more visible. Although he's still rather solemn, he laughs and smiles more easily, as he can let his worries off his shoulders for a little while. The strict façade he keeps up out in public falls away a little, and he can more freely speak his mind. Still, he's very cautious about who gets to see the more human side of him. Ludwig believes that he has to set an extremely solid example as a commander: he has to be almost super-human in fortitude and any slip in this could give people a reason to dislike him or doubt him. While he is undeniably a little bit power-hungry, he's more concerned that someone less capable would take over his job, and he'd be forced to watch them make a mess of everything he's worked so hard to achieve and fix.
In his leadership role, Ludwig is somewhat of a paradox: he can lecture and order and inspire people well enough to get them cooperating, but he's reluctant to hand over control of anything, mostly because he feels like he's the only person that could do the work properly. It's something he's working on learning, although he still takes on far more than he's realistically capable of. However, while Ludwig likes being in charge, he's not especially fond of the attention that brings: he'd much rather quietly sacrifice himself wholly to a cause and have no one be the wiser for it. He is the type of person that can (and frequently does) work himself to exhaustion just to keep things running normally and perfectly: he is a perfectionist to a degree, and can't abide even small mistakes. While he can be hard on other people for this, he's doubly hard on himself: Ludwig is his own worst critic, and although he has made a bad habit of policing others, he holds himself to an impossibly high standard and gets anxious and upset when he can't maintain that. It's very difficult for him to let go of the image of perfection.
In truth, Ludwig is actually somewhat shy. He has no problem speaking in front a group of people, but when the actual subject of conversation shifts to himself, he gets somewhat awkward and reserved, covering for his uncomfortable feelings with gruffness. For most of his life, Ludwig has been a solitary person, and even in a group, there always seems to be some kind of invisible wall separating him from the rest of the crowd. Despite his upbringing being normal to a certain point, all of the hard work Ludwig was busy doing as a child left him little time to develop something of a normal social life, and it shows. He dislikes purely social situations unless copious amounts of alcohol are involved, and has trouble connecting with people on some levels. Nevertheless, he's protective of those close to him, especially the people under his command, and because of this, he makes a good effort to keep in touch with them and understand their problems and feelings.
Ludwig is an entirely realistic person, and puts his faith not in the supernatural or religion but in scientific fact and things that can be conclusively proven. That's not to say he isn't imaginative: he has quite a creative mind, and occasionally slips into daydreams if he can spare the inattention. But while his imagination can help with strategy decisions or problem solving, he tends to rely on what has worked in the past first and foremost. He has a great love for books and the information contained within them, and studies maps until he has them memorized. He is a naturally curious person and is constantly seeking out the new and unknown, although he will only ever take a calculated risk; he's not rash enough to put anyone in danger for the sake of his own curiosity unless it is absolutely necessary.
To some degree, Ludwig is a proud person, and at times he can come off as arrogant, but he's never boastful. He knows he has accomplished a lot in his short time on this earth, but he doesn't see that as any kind of landmark, just an excuse to keep pushing forward. He is still relatively young, and can be undeniably naive about some things despite all he's gone through. However, while he can be exceptionally stubborn about his own plans and ideas, Ludwig always tries to keep an open mind. He's been proven wrong in the past, and he can admit that.
History: (subject to change depending on Gilbert) The second and youngest son in his family, Ludwig hails from a small rural town in the western arc just inside Wall Maria. Although his parents worked mainly as farmers, growing vegetables on the plot of land they owned just outside the town proper, his father had also been trained as a blacksmith, and his mother was a capable baker, so even if the year's harvest turned out poorly the Beilschmidts rarely wanted for money. That didn't mean the family was wealthy; on the contrary, Ludwig grew up in a sturdy but exceptionally small, cramped house, and spent a lot of his childhood playing out-of-doors as a result. When he didn't have to help his parents with their work, he spent his hours climbing trees, chasing dogs or cats, or following his older brother around. Aside from his family, Ludwig had a few friends in the community, but he had always been more of a solitary and serious child, and spent a lot of time by himself.
Everyday life in the town was not always easy, and from an early age, Ludwig had a fair amount of responsibility put on his shoulders. But helping his parents out in the field or running errands in the village also made Ludwig tough and strong. He developed a strong sense of compassion during the times when the townspeople pulled together to help any neighbors that were struggling. Having always been mentally sharp, it didn't take the young boy long to recognize that his family rarely had extra money, and determined not to be any kind of a burden, he turned down queries about presents or gifts and shouldered as much responsibility as he could handle. Although he earned a reputation for being far too serious and mature for someone so young, Ludwig also was well known as one of the more reliable children in the village, someone you could always turn to for help, and someone with a solid sense of right and wrong. With the village being as small as it was, Ludwig knew everyone in town, and everyone knew him.
But that size proved to be the village's eventual undoing. When Ludwig was eleven, his hometown was suddenly overcome by an epidemic, a sickness that struck so quickly and violently that nobody could even fathom where it had first come from. Every single person in town fell ill, including Ludwig, but he was one of the lucky ones: he survived and gradually recovered. The vast majority of the town, including Ludwig's parents, did not. The town's population was so decimated that the place effectively ceased to exist: more than half of the houses and shops had no one to occupy them anymore. Survivors of the outbreak quickly began leaving, moving away to where their relatives lived or simply packing up for greener pastures. With little choice in the matter, Ludwig was forced to do the same, leaving the countryside and passing through Wall Rose to start a new life in one of the cities within.
Taking up residence with a distant great-aunt on his mother's side, Ludwig was given food and a bed to sleep in and little else. Although his great-aunt was by no means an unkind person, Ludwig quickly realized that his presence was not entirely welcome: he was an extra mouth to feed in currently difficult times. All too aware of that, the boy tried to find work, but as a relatively unskilled child with no money or patronage or adult willing to vouch for him, the only venue of work open to him was that of a delivery runner. He took this job regardless, and earned a pittance carrying packages and messages back and forth across the city when he wasn't attending school. The extra income, however small, placated his great-aunt, but at a considerable sacrifice: Ludwig had given up his free time, time he could have used to make much-needed friends. From that point on, he never had much of a social life; whatever slivers of time he had to himself he used to read or explore alone.
However, by the time Ludwig was sixteen, the great-aunt had had enough: he'd gotten tall enough to need new clothes, was eating more food than he could pay for, and was no longer a welcome presence in the house. He was old enough to make his own way, she said, and she had done more than enough for him. Not willing to argue and alienate one of the few family members he had left, the young man was forced outside, but ever resourceful, he headed for the one place he knew would always have room for him: the military. When he balked at enlisting right away due to self-doubt and a certain measure of fear, those in charge cut Ludwig a strict deal: he would get a bunk and a measure of food in return for his work in place of pay, and he had to sign a sworn promise to enlist in two years. A bit overconfident, Ludwig signed, determined to find paying jobs on the side so he could save up money and avoid that fate. That proved absolutely impossible: the military hadn't lied about making him earn his meals and bunk. But being a part of the massive machine that trained cadets to defend humanity helped Ludwig see the whole ordeal in a different light. At the end of two years, he enlisted without complaint, his fear having drained away.
Having spent most of his young life doing hard work, Ludwig took to the grueling training regimen like a fish takes to water. Proving to be both physically and intellectually above average, Ludwig absorbed knowledge like a sponge and quickly became adept at using the 3-D Maneuver Gear; he also did his best to encourage other people, feeling somewhat guilty that despite this being a fairly last resort for him, he was doing so well at it. During this period of time, he and his bunkmate, one Lars van Dyke, became friends. Ludwig had at first been extremely put off by Lars's terrible attitude, but so much time spent together meant he couldn't very well avoid the other man. Ludwig did eventually learn some of the reasoning behind the bitterness, and although he didn't agree with the other man's rationalization, he could understand how he reached it.
Three years later, and Ludwig graduated at the top of his class of cadets, with Lars in second place right behind him. Although he was given the opportunity to join the ranks of the Military Police, he had long since learned that those soldiers spent their days wastefully and that their division was steeped in bribery and abuse of power. While he did consider joining the Scouting Legion, Ludwig felt he owed a debt of gratitude for the city which had taken him in after his own village collapsed and disappeared, and joined the Stationary Guard instead. He attempted to convince Lars to join him, that he was worth more than the Military Police had to offer, but the other man had made up his mind. The two parted ways bitterly after that argument, and while Ludwig still considers Lars a friend, he's wary and disapproving of the other man.
Once properly in the Garrison, Ludwig excelled at his job: his daily regimen gained some notoriety, and his dedication to doing a job well and trying to motivate others to do the same earned him fast promotions up through the ranks; given that the Titans had by now broken through Wall Maria and were advancing on Wall Rose, the openings appeared far more often than before, which helped some. Still, he never expected to be promoted to a position as commander in such short time; it was an interim position and if the previous commander decided to take up his mantle again, Ludwig would happily relinquish the spot. The work is harsh and he wasn't honestly prepared for the emotional strain. However, he has worked the job for some months now and is adapting well despite the difficulties. It is his personal mission to keep the Garrison functioning and strong, now more than ever, and he's committed to that effort, in body and mind both.
Likes: - Books: Ludwig learned to read a little as a child, but he upped his skills during training, and took to reading easily. He loves stories (and is a decent re-teller of them) and collects books, although due to their relative rarity, his collection is small, albeit well-loved. - Dogs: While Ludwig is fond of all animals, he loves dogs the best. He thinks they are the smartest and loyal out of the whole menagerie. - Beer: Water is refreshing and milk or juice is a nice treat, but beer remains the tastiest beverage to Ludwig. - Baking: One of two ways Ludwig deals with excess nervous energy or stress, making bread, muffins, or the rare cake keeps him busy with something productive and makes his house smell nice. He's not a bad baker, either, and if he makes too much of anything, he shares it with the people under his command. - Cleaning: Energy burner number two. Ludwig's house is spotless, his clothes are always tidy and mended, and he himself is usually in good repair. Cleaning is somewhat of an obsession of his, but as with baking, it keeps him busy, and it certainly requires less supplies. - Exercise: Ludwig goes for a run every morning along a section of the wall; it keeps him in good shape and gives him the opportunity to check up on people. When he can, he trains with the 3DMG. - Cloudy days: His like for this kind of weather is for two reasons. One, bright sunlight is hard on the eyes and can make keeping watch or spotting Titans hard, and two, he's less likely to end up with a sunburn on days with overcast skies. - Hearty food: Decent food can be hard to come by, with the lack of available supplies and the massive demand, so he loves filling meals. Dishes with lots of meat and vegetables are good, but he loves anything with potatoes in it.
Dislikes: - Chaos: Ludwig can't stand when things are a mess or out of order. He thrives on organization, schedules, and everything going according to a pre-made plan. Interruptions and divergences and entropy are bad things. - Thunderstorms: As a child, Ludwig feared thunderstorms. Now, he merely dislikes them, but with plenty of good reason: they're loud and disruptive and one can't be outside safely during one. - Dirt: Just like with chaos, Ludwig hates a mess: those show carelessness. He'll stop what he's doing and clean something up if he has to. - Titans: Honestly, aside from Zoë Hanji, who doesn't dislike or outright hate Titans? Ludwig doesn't fear them as much as some do, but he sees them as a menace. - Illness: To Ludwig, illness is akin to helplessness: it keeps you from living a normal life and forces you to be idle. He hates seeing other people ill, because there's little he can do to help, and he hates being ill himself. - Stress: In his position, he's under a considerable amount of pressure at almost all times. While he handles this relatively well, Ludwig is almost constantly worried about something. A natural state of anxiety is normal for him, but when the worry escalates, as with an attack or another crisis, it's easy for Ludwig to burn himself out, and he absolutely hates that. - Being mistaken for Commander Erwin: The two of them do look a little bit alike, but honestly, if the crests on their respective jackets don't clue you in to which is which, you're just being unobservant. - Cowards: Ludwig understands fear, and when confronting Titans, he considers fear reasonable. But he strongly dislikes people who take one look at a terrible situation and immediately throw their hands in the air and admit defeat.
Strengths: - Organization: As a tidy person, Ludwig is excellent at making plans, strategies, or schedules and keeping track of them. He never loses a thing and knows exactly where to find whatever or whoever is needed. - Physical strength: Ludwig is exceptionally strong and tough. He exercises and trains every day to keep himself in top physical condition. He's also very resilient: he's no stranger to pain and can recover quickly (mentally, at least) if he's hurt. - Leadership: Responsibility can be a double-edged sword, but he has never had any trouble with a role as a leader. He's comfortable making decisions for a crowd and giving out orders, and should something go wrong, he is usually the first to step forward to shoulder the blame. - Rationality: While he's no stranger to imagination, his thought process has always been grounded in logic. Ludwig's focus is always on the present and on reality, not what could have been. - Stoicism: In a dangerous or frightening situation, he never loses control of his emotions or his abilities. In a crisis, he's as solid as a rock and can even help to calm others down. - Kindness: Despite his somewhat unfriendly exterior, Ludwig is anything but mean. Although he's not the most compassionate human being, he can be quite understanding and forgiving in the right circumstances. He's protective of the men and women that serve under him, as well as anyone he considers not strong enough to take care of themselves. - Strategy: Usually, Ludwig is a "by-the-book" kind of guy: he's studied tactics extensively. But at the same time, he has a large imagination, cultivated by fairy tales and legends he learned as a child. He's not without cleverness or creativity, although he'll always try the usual route first if it seems logical.
Weaknesses: - Severity: More often than not, Ludwig is needlessly strict. When he was in training, he understood the soldiers of the Garrison to be lazy layabouts who wasted away their time on guard. Even though that has changed, that hasn't stopped Ludwig from meting out harsh regimens and harsher punishments for those found not following them. - Bossiness: Ludwig is used to barking out orders and having people snap to attention. And when his commands are questioned, it irritates him. He's gotten comfortable with people obeying him, and when that doesn't occur, he gets stricter. - Temper: The fuse on Ludwig's anger isn't exactly long, but he's relatively in control of his actions. When he does get mad, however, he's absolutely ruthless. And getting him to calm down never works; he has to run out of steam first before he'll even consider apologizing for what he's said or done. - Distrust: Given that he has very high standards, Ludwig dislikes letting other people do work he could clearly do better himself. He's the commander of the Garrison, and he can't do everything, but he certainly tries to, and even with his direct underlings there remains a measure of distance and detachment. - Stoicism: This is both a strength and a weakness for Ludwig. He's extremely reliable and calm in a crisis, of course. But when a situation calls for a measure of emotion or visible feeling, Ludwig remains blank. He keeps most of his emotions to himself, and while this does have some benefits in his position, it also makes him a very hard person to get close to. - Pessimism: Outwardly, Ludwig does his best to be a confident leader. But his realism sometimes slides to the extreme end of the scale and becomes pessimism. Ludwig can easily think of exactly how and when something might go wrong. The good news is that he can predict and plan for problems; the bad news is that he never expects anything more than failure. - Stress: Ludwig overworks himself every single day. He's in a constant fugue wavering between simple tiredness and mental and physical exhaustion. It's possible he'd be a more capable leader if he actually looked after himself, but "Ludwig" comes last in Ludwig's priorities, and as such, stress quickly wears him down.
Fears: - Helplessness: Physically, Ludwig is in great shape and keeps up his training every day. Mentally, he's intelligent, responsible, and somewhat clever. He's an extremely capable person, and he knows this. But he's terrified of being in a situation where all of his physical and mental prowess can't do a thing to help anyone. Being unable to do something while your comrades are hurt or killed is worse in Ludwig's mind than his own injury or death. - Failure: Given that Ludwig expects failure, it might seem ridiculous that he fears it. But he both expects it and dreads it. He hates to see people injured or killed or eaten, and given that he's in charge, the heavy responsibility and guilt he feels when one of his plans does collapse is almost crippling. - Nightmares: Although Ludwig presents a fairly emotionless exterior (anger doesn't count), he's still human, and some things affect him quite badly. Once in a while, he'll have frightening dreams, reliving trauma from his childhood or training or his time in command, and those torment him until he manages to wake up. He's never in good shape after one of these nights, and he dreads having those kind of visions.
Quirks: - Narrowed eyes: Ludwig's so used to scrutinizing things that he tends to keep his eyes narrowed more often than not. This makes him look somewhat meaner than normal. - Blushing: Any uncomfortable situation -- embarrassment, flattery, shame, and so on -- causes Ludwig to blush, and as he's got fairly pale skin, it's pretty obvious when something's bothering him. - Compulsive cleaning: Ludwig cleans to relieve stress, but if something small is untidy, he can actually be compulsive in his need to fix things up. If he's cooking and spills something on the counter, for example, he has to stop, clean up the mess, then return to cooking. He carries a small handkerchief with him wherever he goes, just in case. - Special books: Ludwig does have a small collection of books of a somewhat risqué nature. These are hidden where only Ludwig can find them for a reason.
Skillset: (On a Scale of 1 to 10: 10 being the highest) Physical Strength: 10/10 Intelligence: 8/10 Teamwork: 6/10 Confidence: 8/10 (outward), 3/10 (inward) Agility: 7/10
Roleplay Sample: The rain made the stones of Wall Rose rather slick, but Ludwig kept his footing sure as he walked along the edge. Somewhere behind him, in the city tucked up against the Wall, bells rang out the hour: nine o'clock sharp. Behind the muted metal chords, he heard the regular low booms of cannon fire. That was reassuring. The corporal in that sector had obviously followed his advice about continuing the training today. Ludwig had gotten a visit from the man much earlier this morning, about postponing training the new recruits on the cannons until a clear day appeared. If the rain had come with a thunderstorm attached, that would have been another matter: being fifty meters up in lightning with metal gear strapped to your body would kill you quicker than joining the Survey Corps. But the wet weather was perfectly ordinary, and Ludwig had repeated his command.
"What if we had another wall breach on a day like this?" Ludwig had asked, and the corporal had made some kind of religious gesture, looking grim.
"Titans seem more active when it's sunny, sir--"
"That may be," Ludwig had cut him off, "but it isn't completely dark, and they take a while to lose energy regardless. And that's not considering the Aberrants. The recruits ought need to learn to work with wet equipment and wet fuses anyways. They'll be up here often enough in the rain as is." The corporal had hesitated, obviously unsure whether or not to continue pressing the issue. Ludwig had gotten very familiar with this kind of attitude; he was far too young to be in command like this, and most of the officers serving under him still had their doubts. But he had also seen his opening to close the matter, and stepped in there.
"If you see lightning or hear thunder, or if people start slipping off the Wall, you have my permission to end the practice," he had ordered, "but if not, the training goes on as planned. Snow and ice melt on sunny days in winter, and storms can stop as suddenly as they start. Are you implying it's a better idea to wait until an attack on one of those days to see how well they can carry a wet cannonball?"
The matter had been left at that, and Ludwig couldn't help feeling a little bit proud as he heard the distant cannonfire. He'd stop by that section of Wall Rose later to check on everyone: it was a poor leader that didn't put himself on the same level and endure the same hardships as his soldiers. Which was part of the reason why Ludwig refused to live within Wall Sina and entirely the reason why he was out here in the rain in a soaking wet cloak, watching for the return of a section of the Survey Corps. He could easily be inside by a fire, waiting for a message to that effect, but Ludwig hated idleness. The fire would feel nicer after a hard day's work, anyways, although he hoped the extra shirt he'd worn would prevent him from catching a cold.
Ludwig realized the church bells had gone silent; all that remained was the quiet patter of rain against stone and the occasional distant echoing boom. For a moment, he listened, hoping to hear the raucous clanging that signified the return of the Survey Corps start up. But after a few silent seconds, nothing of the sort happened. Ludwig shook his head at his own assumptions: nothing in life ever lined up so perfectly. Picking up his pace, he made for the next outpost along the wall, his cloak flapping wetly behind him. Duty waited for no one.
Additional Information (OOC):
Name/Nickname: Elruko/Lena Time Zone: GMT +2 Contact Info: You can contact me in the Chatbox (Germanly) or by PMs, or you can ask for my Skype. Introduce yourself: Hello hello, I'm Elruko/Lena/whatever you want to call me (honestly). I live in Europe (Germany) but I'm originally from the USA, and my hobby is pretending at being an adult without ever really succeeding. I like art, comic books, video games, books, cats, and delicious food (especially cheese).
Have you read the rules? JAEGER
...we lived in fear of the Titans and were disgraced to exist in these cages we called walls.
Hey guys! The Activity Check from November 2nd to November 14th is now officially CLOSED!
Also, the Military Police Ball Event is now up in the Events Section. Come to the Military Police Headquarters to dance with a date or unwind with some good ol' fashioned alcohol. The event lasts all through the month of November!