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Luphinid Silnaek
April 10th, 2008, 07:30 AM
Well!

This is one of my more curious pieces of fanfiction, Aftershock. The conception goes all the way back to early 2006, and has suffered many revisions and expansions since then to begin officially late 2007. At this moment I have seventeen chapters done, and will post them at (generally) regular intervals until all is complete. I also plan to write a detailed history of its gestation, but only once the plot is gotten underway.

This is an expansion from the first posting of Aftershock in the Serebii forums; it's always good to expand such things and bask in the doubled effects. I'll admit the standard of writing here is somewhat overwhelming, and I do wonder how my stabs at advanced writing will seem here. Even so, it never hurts to share, it only enriches the whole, and so I will.

Some warnings: first of all, the formal. The fiction is rated at least PG 15, T by game ratings. I really don't know. Beware, in any case, several adult themes and heavy depressing gore. There are also less official warnings I feel obliged to tell you about: this fiction is a mess, and incredibly dificult to get through--it is not light reading. There are thickets of references, implied stretches of unfocused plot, almost invisible irony and literary devices, and word usage that violates the fundamental rights of the English vocabulary. There also may be quite a lot of purple prose and complex, run-on sentences. There very possibly will be frayed threads of plot left untended to by my frazzled mind, and one might be justified in refusing to try and get any sort of meaning out of the story. I realize this is not very encouraging to the new reader, but I want people fully informed of what they're taking when they begin. This may be more important than reviews.

Anyway, enough with the delay. Let me begin.

DISCLAIMER: I own nothing which can be recognized as Pokémon canon. Parallels between this fictional universe and the real are unintentional unless stated otherwise. Any given view expressed in this fiction has no obligation to coincide with my own opinion. I may diverge as far from the canon as I feel correct.

Punctuation notes:

"This signifies normal speech."
[This indicates the telepathic speech of the main character.]
[This signifies the telepathy of all pokémon and other humans.]
[this may in later course of time time time in later course of time signify vague unfocused thoughts of the character]



INDEX

Prologue: Run

Chapter 1: Compression
Chapter 2: The Uncertain Traveler
Chapter 3: Challenge
Chapter 4: New Developments
Chapter 5: Introduction into the Brine
Chapter 6: The Peak - Part 1
Chapter 7: The Peak - Part 2

BRIDGE: an Introduction

Chapter 8: Aftermath [Aftershock]
Chapter 9: 3S1
Chapter 10: Old Acquaintances
Chapter 11: Point of No Return
Chapter 12: Warm Hospitality
Chapter 13: Ruin to the Truth!
Chapter 14: The Third Act of Seymul Colt

(THE UNEDITED)

Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20
Chapter 21






Aftershock

Prologue: Run




Amaren stumbled through the smouldering wreckage, fear erasing all other thought, flame licking at his heels. Memories flashed before his eyes in a daze of intuition.





The clamor of amazement, admiration, and a flash of ruby and white as the centerpiece of the display swiveled into full view.

Age three, if he recalled correctly. His uncle, an illustrious trainer with four badges to his name, had returned to his home village near the perimeters of Saffron City to relate the tales of the outside world with the members of his vast family. Amaren had been too young to understand him then, but the strange tokens of his adventures had not failed to dazzle him.

“Everyone must know what a trainer is, eh?” Amaren’s uncle announced, his voice rising above the noise. A note of mock concern darkened his face as a large majority shouted back their ignorance of the trade, and he quickly remedied the fact with another speech. It was largely meaningless to Amaren, though he appreciated the wonder of the situation. Various greater participants to the discussion shot their comments at the old friend.

“And the pokémon were fine with that?”

“Madmen, they are, my man, don’t get your head too turned by their flashiness.”

“Go on, Artir, you can’t possibly say you did that for a living…”

“Oh, yes, I did,” Uncle Artir called back, producing a small, metallic ball from his breast pocket “And just because you won’t believe me, I brought this: a pokéball, a device capable of capturing—yes, capturing, I know how it sounds—pokémon and fitting them into its tiny form! Watch!”

He pointed the sphere at a nearby spoon, and the odd device split down its middle into a red and white half. A beam of crimson light jumped at the spoon and swallowed it whole, before dissipating to leave a faint circle of soot where the utensil had been. With a laugh, he shouted out a command—“I call you: Teaspoon!”—and depressed a button at the center of the pokéball, releasing the beam again. This time, it materialized back into the spoon, at a different place. It seemed evident that the pokéball had somehow stored the spoon inside it, even though the spoon was far too long for its diameter, and this caused widespread amazement (and panic) among the group.

A great deal of time and bother was expended upon this new development, but relative order was finally restored to the gathering. Amaren’s uncle took on a new gravity to his voice, though it was uncertain whether he has still joking.

“This was my very first pokéball The one item, bestowed to me by a professor himself, which made me an official trainer. I spent the entirety of my journey with my dear starter living within this very ‘ball, but now I have moved on from it, and I must carry its legacy to the next holder. I bestow this to…” Choosing randomly, he picked through the crowd and pointed at one member…

“Little Amaren, of course.”

The toddler looked about in confusion, and then realized the privilege he had been given. He gaped in wonder and pride.

“Someday you’ll become a great trainer like me, but until then, keep this with you to remember your uncle Artir. I made a chain to go along with the pokéball, so you can keep it around your neck!

“Here, Amar, this is how it works,” he explained, crouching down to the boy’s level to ensure he had his full attention—an unnecessary task, by the raptness of his sheer joy... and the present Amaren felt his consciousness of the memory slipping. A single sentence reverberated off in his mind, before it finally faded…

Someday you’ll become a great trainer like me…





Age twelve, the beginning of Amaren’s coming of age in the village. Winter fast approached, and the last stores of supplies for its preparation were being collected. He and his elder brother, Garten, had been assigned the task for firewood, and it was to this end that they hastened from their small abode, their parents shooting a flurry of cautionary words as they jogged down the path to the ring of forest around their village.

Heedless of danger they dared a heavy sprint, blundering through the silver forest, and came to rest at a promising clearing. A great deal of branches had shed from a great deal of trees around them, and the boys quickly worked to collect them in neat piles.

Despite the bleak onset of cold, a decided air of good spirits yet wafted in the air, and the brothers worked with the efficient swiftness of cheer, calling out jokes to each other sporadically. They soon settled completely into their respective tasks, working single-mindedly, before—

“Did you hear that?’ Amaren suddenly whispered, and the snap of dried twigs punctuated his statement. Winter was a lethal season for the forest-dwellers, and many pokémon (otherwise tame and peaceful) were driven into desperation in preparation for the frost. Legends told of the lone, deathless houndoom who prowled the frigid confines, preying on the weak…

Another rustle, and Garten’s hand tensed on his hunting knife. A single, maniacal eye peered out of the darkness before them, devoid of reason, and Amaren slowly drew out his own blade—

A full-grown mightyena burst out from the gloom in a roar of desperation and lunged for Amaren's brother, who dodged out of the way nimbly, pushing his paralyzed brother away from the fray. On flashed his knife, zooming into the monster’s side, but the moment of offense cost him his guard; the mightyena pounced on Garten, attempting to crush the human under the wolf’s steaming weight, and Garten's left arm was pinned down despite his attempts to dodge to break with a sickening crack.

With a cry of pure agony, the human tore away from the mightyena's rough embrace, staggering off; and this cry alone had the power to jar Amaren into motion. He raised the knife held loosely in his hand and threw himself in the path of the creature. Soon, however, Garten pushed him back away, turning feebly to face the mightyena, and prevented all of Amaren’s attempts to join the brawl. The wolf reared back again, charging for the elder fighter’s forlorn figure, but iron stabbed his great chest this time, clean through the heart, as Garten threw the knife with the last of his strength – and the monster fell at last with a great report.

The two minutemen staggered together, out of the battleground.

“Why didn’t you let me help you?” Amaren groaned as he heaved his brother’s near-limp weight onto his shoulder. “I could have held my own with him!”

“No… you couldn’t! You should have stayed out of this, you’re too—” He trailed off into unintelligible tangents of agitation.

“Too what?” his supporter snapped bitterly. “Too weak, too incompetent, too useless?”

But Amaren felt his thought slipping from this memory and pull into another, fresher...





Present day, age fourteen. Lone sojourns into the forest were finally, grudgingly allowed him by his parents, and he took this privilege very well.

What had transpired to cause the forest fire, and how the Water Sport proofing yet allowed its devastating tongues to envelop the land whole, no living observer could say; and these secrets are lost forever with the forest itself. Amaren himself, however, had moved halfway up the untrodden dirt path that clove the woods in two when he first heard of it.

The fire had made its abrupt introduction by wrecking the way of the path with the charred remains of a fallen trunk, forcing him into the woods into panic and in search of escape. Every bottleneck, every natural gateway, every ford, was utterly ruined by the desolate ravages of flame, and Amaren felt an insuppressible rage of panic flood his own mind, pushing him forward through bramble and peril. Soon, within moments, reality seemed to give way entirely to nightmare, and at each turn lay another wooden corridor blocked with searing flame, another puzzle to unlock, another game with no lesser stakes than his very life. The length of his flight reached an event horizon, pushing his mind closer and closer to insanity, nearing the point of infinity…

A clearing, and a single Abra huddled at its center. A brief moment of indecision, and then grudging determination; the clink of chain as he took out the pokéball from within his shirt, compelled to save at least this last remnant of his home, his life, despite all inhibitions. With a flash of light, the tiny form was hidden safe within its sphere, and a feeble twitch and a ping, though startling, served only to convince the human of the complete intersection between the pokémon's path and his. Another exhausted, desperate sprint, and then air.

The stunning vastness of Saffron City hammered his hazy eyes.






Aftershock

Chapter 1: Compression




Saffron city, at first inspection, seemed no lesser than the grand kingdoms of legend itself, pushed into reality and dipped in pure, shimmering light. Where Uncle Artir’s technological souvenirs had numbered no more than three or four, Amaren saw a great legion of such devices as he could only label magic, so fully integrated into the lifestyles of the strange folk that he wondered if they were mere humans, or higher, transcendental beings.

His arrival (and, possibly, his appearance) seemed to cause a fair quantity of unrest among the city-folk, eliciting everything from rapidly-quelled glances in his direction to naked staring and interested comments, most of which he ignored. It was only when a passerby reached the extent of stopping him from his wayward wanderings and asking if he was perfectly fine, that Amaren replied, suddenly remembering the emergency lying within his one pokéball.

“Where are you from?” exclaimed the nonplussed jogger, thoroughly bewildered by Amaren’s old-fashioned apparel. “You couldn’t be from the village in the forest, could you?”

“Er… it’s a long story,” the villager replied. “I heard there were departments committed to healing pokémon, do you know where I might find one?”

“What, you mean a pokémon center?” The stranger’s expression was intensifying every moment. “Um, yeah, sure, it’s just in the next street. Take a right from that intersection. You’ll see a building with a distinct red roof.”

Amaren began walking to the indicated “intersection”, still fighting with shock. His village, the center of his world… all of his life, he had been ignorant of its infinitesimal niche in an unknown forest, seeing cities as the mere stuff of legends. He had never realized: the village was but an offshoot of the grand Saffron city; his home lay secluded within the woods, but the city itself was the center of civilization, fixed on a sweeping plain at the crossroads of the raging universe around it. Now that the burning ruin of his old illusions lay behind Amaren, he felt an overwhelming urge to accustom himself to the true scale of events, but, try as he might, it was beyond him.

He spotted a vividly noticeable, red-roofed building carrying itself amidst the crowds with a distinct amount of pomp and remarkableness. With no further thought, the newcomer plunged into its chrome interior.

A short line awaited a reception desk at the head of the entrance room, and Amaren joined it with an equal lack of contemplation, after the manner of those awaiting breakfast back at home. Without incident, he met the pink-haired receptionist and wordlessly handed her his pokéball.

“A pokéball!” she exclaimed, as though it was something quite as treasured as Amaren felt it to be. “Do you know how rare these things are?” She peered intently at some invisible marking at its bottom, and gasped.

“Late 1990’s, this is! I don’t even know if we have a recovery machine to fit it! Hold on—”

She fumbled with a lower drawer in her vast desk, searching within hoards of heavy metal objects. With a satisfied sound, she pulled out a flat steel slab, with six shallow, spherical indentations carved into its top surface. A thick layer of dust dulled its mirror-like polish.

“Here you go, the Pedestal should work—” and the nurse shakily grabbed at Amaren’s pokéball, placing it neatly in the topmost niche. “Let me see, a minor abra, caught less than an hour ago, moderate burning and heat exhaustion. What have you been doing with the poor thing?” She fixed him with a stern look, and then relented. “Never mind, not my business to know. Here, just have a seat at one of the chairs over there, I’ll have your abra back in a moment.”

And so he fell into one of the row of chairs lined up near the walls, reaching the first he could find.

A large, burly man sat to his left, seeming as if he would find it at home at the butcher’s at Amaren’s home village, but the girl to his right possessed a light cerulean to her eyes and hair that legend had assured him was reserved exclusively for the highest class of nobles. What was this strange, fantastical land?

The moment of brief interest which Amaren had lent the girl seemed to be repaid tenfold back to him, and a question followed it.

“Hi, have we met before?” she said brightly.

“No,” he replied, not bothering to look up at her. An irresistible wave of distrust of this people had overwhelmed him since his bewilderment.

“Call me Ruki,” she persisted. “Where are you from… er…?”

Amaren stared intently at his hands for a moment, and then realized what this new character implied. “My name is Amaren,” he ventured.

“Oh, hello, Amaren. You don’t look like you’re from around here.”

The stranger to the city finally raised his head and gave the girl a closer gaze. Pleasantly slim, with shoulder-length hair tied in a simple ponytail, she carried a natural, disarming vestige of good looks—common, it seemed, with these civilized city-folk. Her hair colour still baffled Amaren.

“I only just came into this city,” he began, and was compelled to explain the long story which he had denied to so many others. Disconcertingly, his faint xenophobia was quickly falling into submission.


“I’m a rookie trainer, as you can see,” Ruki explained. “Got my first cyndaquil the normal way, from Prof. Oak right here in Saffron. “

From what he had heard, the eminent professor lived in a tiny town in some secluded corner of the region, and Amaren said so.

“Oh, Pallet Town? That was ages ago, generations up the line. Where have you been? After Prof. Gary Oak became the Champion of Kanto itself, I believe he got so much publicity that he couldn’t stay in a village like that at all. Of course, I think it was Gary Oak. History class was never my favourite, you know.”

There were a fair amount of things which Amaren failed to understand in this bout of explanation, but he allowed it to pass.

“The… nurse…” he began. “She said my pokéball was rare, an antique. What did she mean? What’s the usual way to do it?”

“Oh, wow, you have a pokéball?” she said, showing some reflection of the receptionist’s ardent admiration. She eyed it appreciatively for a second, and then answered Amaren’s curiosity. “No one ever uses those things anymore. They developed a ‘revolutionary new storage device’ now that is really exactly like a pokéball, except one of them can keep up to twenty-five pokémon inside it. Here, have a look at mine.”

A small, rectangular version of a pokéball was produced from the pocket of her jeans—no denim in his own village would ever be that delicate, Amaren wondered—and he had to admit he saw no point in redesigning the pokéball into this form.

“They haven’t changed the rules,” she continued, “about maximum pokémon in a party, though. Once you get seven or more, you have to pick six pokémon of your choice at a pokémon center like this one, using that machine, over there”—she indicated to a nondescript grey iron box at a corner of the room—“just before you leave any town at all, and you can’t change them until you reach the next town. Which means, of course, that these concentrated storage devices mean exactly the same for us trainers as an ordinary pokéball. I really like Silph Co.’s sense of logic, don’t you?”

It was Amaren’s inability to participate in the conversation which disconcerted him this time—but, at lighter thought, he was gradually accustoming himself to the new life inevitable to him.

From his recollection, it had been approaching that time when a call from the receptionist raised Ruki from her engagement.

“I have to go, Amaren, nice talking to you,” she spoke in a rush. “I’m going to be here for a while, so you can meet me any time if you want. Tomorrow, same time, main hall?”

Without waiting for an answer, she hurried to the severely multitasked receptionist-nurse, conversed with her briefly about the length of her stay (where?), and disappeared into one of the doors that led from this entrance hall with what appeared to be a set of keys. The only conclusion Amaren could draw from this was that this center lent free lodging for those who sought it. The foyer of the building was, after all, merely a foyer, and there were undoubtedly several rooms, a main hall, and any other luxury an adventurer would care to wish for.

It seemed not long afterwards that he was also called to the main desk to receive the abra in his pokéball. He decided, then, to explain his predicament to the nurse and ask for help.

“We can give you five days’ free stay here,” she replied apologetically, “but no more than that, I’m afraid. You’ll have to start paying then.”

“All right, I’ll take the five days.” He required only some time to plot his further course of action.

“Though, you know,” she leaned over confidentially, “you could always become a trainer. Your method of obtaining Abra is unusual, but not illegal. No, that would be murderously unfair. If you get registered as one, you can have free lodging forever.”

Amaren hesitated, contemplating what he could say, and was immediately cut off by the nurse’s persistence.

“You could turn your pokémon over to rehabilitation centers, but the methods there aren’t always luxurious. It would be best for him if you decided to train with him.”

But this served only to increase his apprehension. With a somewhat disappointing “I’ll think about it,” he ducked into his temporary quarters in the confines of the massive Pokémon Center.



[{//\/\/\/\/\//\\//\\//\/\/\|/|\|/\/\/\\//\\//\\/\/\/\/\/\/\}]



Amaren lay in the midst of the labyrinth of soft, cotton covers which consisted of his bed. A warm, wooden side table accompanied that corner of his room, and another glass-topped table covered its center, placed on rich carpet. Though he had only recently bathed with greater luxury than he could ever remember, the tasteful decorations adorning every surface seemed fit for kings, and he felt small and unworthy as he huddled in the bed. A lamp stood beside him, a beaker of some species, filled with a scarlet liquid and accented with suspended, violet globules. A hidden light at its bottom cast a near surreally beautiful glow around the dark room, reflecting off the other technological marvels to create a starscape of rainbow light. Or, at least, such it seemed to him.

The pokéball lay still on his chest, beating serenely alongside his heart. Usual ritual requested him to take off the heavy device before bed, but the ball had suddenly gained much more value than he had once accorded it, being his only remaining possession. There were other reasons for its sudden amplification of worth, as well. It was undoubtedly a rare antique even in this kingdom of gold, priceless by monetary measures, but there was another, implacable instinct deep within him which urged him to keep it safe. One, he realized, as he struggled to uncover it, which saw it as a link to home, and also to a concept closely bound to his aged Uncle Artir. Amaren pushed a tad more, and then let the matter rest.

The small boy within the king’s mansion had not yet forgotten the abra, still lying dormant inside his ball. He knew he would have to eventually decide what to do with it, but he was compelled each time he pondered it to procrastinate, hold the matter off. He had thought of allowing the psychic out of its shell temporarily, but he had a growing adversity against seeing it again, despite how fully he knew the abra would inevitably become a part of him. Amaren wished to stall the inevitable still, if only for a while.

As the last strains of sleep finally overcame him, a half-forgotten memory of a memory resounded through his head.

Someday you’ll become a great trainer like me…

Very dearly did he wish to stall the inevitable still. But for how long a while?

Post Office Buddy
April 10th, 2008, 10:17 AM
I like it. I think it is very well written and has a great idea behind it. I don't think I've ever read another fic where the trainer was Amish, so it is original by all means.

I don't think there is a single thing here that I can criticize, so good work. I am usually pretty aggressive with reviews when it comes to writing, so feel proud that you have me stumped here. Keep up the good work and just post chapters at your own pace. I look forward to your next update.

Jak
April 10th, 2008, 02:30 PM
Wow.

This is definately one of the better fics that have been posted this week.

~As I walk through the valley where I harvest my grain
I take a look at my wife, and realize she's very plain
But that's just perfect for an Amish like me
You know I shun fancy things like electricity~

Yes, this is quite original in the Amish thing you've got. ;D

-Silver

Luphinid Silnaek
April 11th, 2008, 04:33 AM
Weell...

jeffback: That's encouraging, thank you. In fact this prologue and first chapter comes down from a long line of revisions, and it has been smoothed down more times than I can think of. Large portions of the plot are similar in this regard, since it did begin a ew years back. But I am honoured it was well-done enough to have this reaction from you.

SilverSmeargleSplatter: The origin was one of my first thoughts in beginning Aftershock, and I knew I would have to make some beginning for Amaren which was away from the mainstream; good to know I avoided the usual second-hand themes. In fact, however, the Amish feel you're enjoying is not a major element, and I confess it means to be pushed aside somewhat recklessly. (Amaren, though at first technologically illiterate, will prove to be anything but simple in most ways.) There will be other attractions, though (I hope).

Thanks for the reviews, jeffback and SilverSmeargleSplatter. I think I'll update next somewhere around the middle of next week.

EDIT, 12 April: With some consideration, I've contracted the timing. I figure there are likely not many more reviews to wait on, so--tomorrow? (An experiment can hardly hut too much.)

Luphinid Silnaek
April 13th, 2008, 07:50 AM
CHAPTER 2. Please let me know if the fiction is going too fast. I do want to get the old chapters down soon, but I'd never want to rush it.







Aftershock
Chapter 2: The Uncertain Traveler



“But, Mother,” Amaren said, with a hint of dismay, “is there no other alternative?”

Mother Jivate sighed. She was a maternal old lady with much apparent inner resolve, the head of the Pokèmon Center, and took both her position and her title with a kind of dignified pride, not hesitating to give guidance and hospitality to any who wished for it.

“There are quite a lot of other occupations, dear, but you’re much too underage for them. Only trainers can legally be as young as you are, remember. You could live in an orphanage, but you wouldn’t want to, would you?”

Amaren hung his head, oppressed by his dilemma. He had once felt to be content with anything but a trainer’s life, but now his alternatives seemed positively deplorable. Suddenly fired with an urge, he raised another topic.

“When the forest burned down…” he began, and then trailed off. It was evident however what he wished to know, and Mother Jivate nodded gently, compassion in her eyes.

The shock and grief of two day’s loss finally came crashing down upon him, and he raised his head again, fighting back waves of dread. It could not be right…

“The fire surrounded the village completely, before anyone could escape. I’m sorry, Amaren, but the village was ruined.”

“Then, my family…” He stopped himself before he could go too far. Stating it was bringing it fully into his presence, and he could live without doing that, couldn’t he? Of course, of course…

He was suddenly struck with an all-pervasive urge to do something, anything at all. It filled every extremity of his thought, blocking out all other feeling, and the adolescent was compelled abruptly to rise from his chair in the small back-garden, excuse himself curtly from Mother Jivate’s office, and return to his quarters, registering very faintly the rudeness of his departure.



[{//\/\/\/\/\//\\//\\//\/\/\|/|\|/\/\/\\//\\//\\/\/\/\/\/\//}]



It had been two hours since Amaren had locked himself in his room, and his restlessness was showing no signs of submission. He toyed with each of the decorative articles in turn, but no fraction of his previous fascination for them could contest for his attention; he picked up the complementary Slate hanging over the wall, turning it on to find no interest in the generated images which flashed across its reflective surface. He tried mulling over his future plans, but foresaw no progress in that direction. A second’s pacing and no more was afforded him – in a single jerk, he turned to the only possibility remaining: his Pokèball.

A flash of light, badly startling the holder, and the Abra was released.

A humanoid creature lay in a lazy curl at the corner of his carpet, a yellow, flat-headed pokémon with a distinct resemblance to a human fetus. Dark russet plating covered his torso like a loose shirt, but the harmlessness of its closed, contently serene eyes seemed to ridicule Amaren’s fear of the creature. He recalled tales of others’ encounter with the species, and realized that it was unlikely the abra would know even how to attack. Why, then, was the trainer – temporary caretaker of a pokémon, more accurately – so irrationally incapable of approaching it?

He kneeled down and nudged the abra in the side, feeling ridiculously similar to a king contemplating a pile of something contemptible on the streets. He wondered what the Abra would think of his behaviour, and subsequently began to wonder what his father would have thought of his previous notion. The Pokèmon was likely in some absurd world of its own, or too underdeveloped to understand the meaning of his gesture – and, in any case, only those of an eccentric calibre felt the opinion of a Pokèmon to carry any significance to them.

It was then, with a sudden jolt of pain, that a thought entirely foreign to his own wandered in his mind and echoed across its walls: [I’m not that unworthy.]

Amaren nearly fell backwards, realized the meaning of this oddity, and allowed himself the fall he had tried to prevent into a nearby chair.

He stared at the abra for so long that the pokémon shifted with discomfort, and then averted his eyes. “Telepathy,” he whispered.

Louder, though still carrying an apprehensive tone: “You can talk with your mind?”

The abra merely curled into a deeper sleep, giving no indication that it had sent a telepathic message into Amaren’s head. A vague hint of disdainful contempt did, however, enter his mind in the exact manner as the words. The trainer – caretaker – wondered if he was mad.

Amaren was yet unwilling to forfeit his communicative rapport with the pokémon, however, and picked it up apprehensively with both hands. The abra was surprisingly light for its size; its head alone weighed a considerable bulk, and it was apparently difficult for the abra to lift it. Wondering when he had transformed from wandering stranger to a mother figure, Amaren cradled it awkwardly with his arms, attempting to coat his strange aversion to the meaning of the creature within his mind with a disguise of the care which, seemingly, the pokémon demanded.

Suddenly, nerve-wrenchingly, the abra opened a condescending eye and lifted himself into the air, supported by nothing at all. That was disturbing, the telepathy calmly continued, placing Amaren in a position he was profoundly relieved would never be seen again by living eyes.

[There you go again with the “pokémon don’t matter” mentality. Was this the heroic adventurer that helped me in my direst peril?]

Boy and abra faced each other, both pondering what to do with the one before them. The abra chuckled, unpleasantly, as though he was amused with the thoughts currently passing through Amaren’s head. In honest moments, Amaren would admit the sight of the airborne abra disturbed him deeply.

“If you’re that advanced,” the villager suddenly said, attempting to gain a vaguely oppressive air, “how did you end up trapped and comatose in the middle of a burning forest? Tell me that.”

The pokémon spoke physically this time, opening his mouth to emit a cry entirely drowned by the telepathic message which accompanied it. Though Amaren could not define how he knew it to be true, this method of speech seemed more natural to the psychic.

[What, have you never been a psychic-type? (Oh, wait, you haven’t. Anyway,) magical elemental powers aren’t so easy to gain with us abra. I only have rudimentary telekinesis and hereditary telepathy—they’re such crude—shallow (and also rather vulgar)*—words that have no relation to their subject—at this point. *I mean, distance-thinking? Distance-moving? Ow, my head.

Indeed…]

Amaren suspected the abra was attempting to tastelessly (and perhaps incorrectly) wrong-foot him with absurdly complex thought-sentences, at which his perpetrator inserted a “right, you are,” within its labyrinth of punctuation. Perhaps it would be more convenient for all concerned if he simply admit—

[Thank you, your highness,] the Abra suddenly blurted, cutting clean through the chaos of both Amaren’s and his—its—own thoughts. [It takes great suffering for an exalted creature such as yourself to accept that I am the sole source of intelligence in this room, and am therefore higher than you.]


And, at that comment, the creature fell silent, returning to its stubborn slumber in a washbasin at the left wall.

Amaren sighed, exhausted. Every step he made was no less than a blunder into yet another unforeseen, undesirable complication.



[{//\/\/\/\/\//\\//\\//\/\/\|/|\|/\/\/\\//\\//\\/\/\/\/\/\//}]



Despite the deepest implorations of his shrewdest inner devices, Amaren continued to attempt to engage the Abra in conversation daily, obeying some whim of his own which he did not wish to analyze. He was still averse to the idea of training, but some coil somewhere in his mind (or, perhaps, in some entirely different being, solely committed to Amaren’s changes in thought) had unexpectedly shifted, opening some unseen latch to a new universe of thought, whose inevitability grossly outmatched his own powers of resistance.

His apprehensive mission, unfortunately, encountered little progress in its weary trek. The abra seemed to have lost all regard for Amaren after his first encounter, and deigned to speak with the human for lesser and lesser periods of time, preferring to spend the majority of the days in his peculiar feigned sleep. The days grew shorter, more and more quickly approaching his fifth, last night of stay at the Center, and the monumental task of rebuilding a life seemed only to grow greater and more forbidding, enfeebling his attempts to tackle it.

On the fifth evening, however, Amaren strode into Mother Jivate’s office, the Pokèmon in his care hovering bizarrely over his shoulder. Taking a deep breath, he began.

“Mother, I’ve decided.”

“Have you? And what do you plan to do?” She was undoubtedly surprised by his sudden confidence.

“I was really unsure if I had the strength to take a job that involved so much… spirit,” he began.

[And I was all for finding a new forest and starting a new lease on life, you know,] the pokémon unexpectedly added.

Heartened, Amaren continued. “I heard that becoming a trainer could even mean being reborn, to take on an entirely new life.”

[And, as you can see, he could hardly stand a change that big, of course.]

Mother raised her eyebrows, seeming unsure as to the purpose of all this.

“My abra here wasn’t too willing to cooperate with me, either.”

[I had my reasons,] he retorted defensively.

“So you can see how much hope I had in that direction. And, in any case, I really didn’t want to train.”

“All right,” Amaren’s audience said uncertainly, “what have you decided?”

“I have decided…”

[We have decided…]

With the sigh, and the unloading of eternity’s burden: “I will be a pokémon trainer.”

[And I shall be Amaren’s ‘starter’, as they call it.]



[{//\/\/\/\/\//\\//\\//\/\/\|/|\|/\/\/\\//\\//\\/\/\/\/\/\//}]



“What should I name you, though?” the trainer murmured, speaking to the lazily rocking abra on his shoulder.

[Why, your impertinence… I’ll have you know I come from a glorious, enlightened community, and have long ago developed the primitive tradition of names by myself!]

“All right, then,” he said with mock, irritating dubiousness, “what are you called?”

[Oh, nothing very extravagant. Just this—]

In a flash of thought, a series of visions hammered Amaren’s mind: idyllic jade, giving way to passionate scarlet, and a reconstruction from gray, the rebuilding of a house, a mansion, a hill, a mountain: a cliff, a plunge—and then utter demise.

Reality recovered itself shakily, restoring normality. Amaren had long learnt to withstand such experiences with a minimum of bother, but he was still given to wonder of the inner workings of his Pokèmon’s mind.

[—well?]

The human looked around, realizing that his pokémon had not yet ceased talking. “What’d you say?” he asked, severely relieved his voice was not shaking.

[I said, I am commonly referred to as Ytarrik.]

At this, Amaren gratefully drowned his weakness in a snicker, as visible as he humanly could make it. “Ytarrik is a very… normal name,” he admitted.

“Tell you what,” the trainer continued, “I shall appoint you the glorious nickname of Yt. Like that? Yt?”

[No!] he cried, sending a wave of affectionate irritation into Amaren’s mind. [Don’t debase the beauty of a verbal work of art!]

Amaren merely laughed, running down the entrance stairs of the Department for the Registration and Provision of Neophyte Trainers. There, after a long show of identification and paperwork, he had become an official Trainer, complete with beginning supplies. Surprisingly he had met with no resistance against his requests, despite his peculiar position.

“Shut up, Yt,” he said good-naturedly. “Look, their official trainer provisions are… shiny.”

He was holding up a moderately large backpack, containing a great variety of glimmering objects inside it.

[Shiny?]

“You get my point. Here they have a store of five Potions—‘Relieves most minor scratches and burns, and assists greatly in the healing of average to moderately serious injuries,’ it says. Not bad, not bad... Oh, great, they even have a Super Potion! Those things are expensive, I’ve heard. And what the heck’s this?”

He showed Ytarrik a flat, black tablet, with a table of official-looking details displayed electronically on its front surface, pertaining presumably to himself. A metal very like gold plated its top face, seeming as if it could fit like the top of a cartridge to some other device.

[Oh, that?] he said, rolling his closed eyes. [Can’t you read? That’s your Trainer Card. It tells people who you are, so they can begin officially serving your tyrant whims.]

“How’d you know that?” Amaren asked, impressed.

[It’s on the note attached so delicately to the back of the card, which you tore off two seconds ago. You didn’t notice it, but if I couldn’t go into your subconscious memories and decipher what it said, I’m not an abra, am I?]

He seemed very proud of himself, expecting some more praise.

“Oh, okay,” Amaren muttered, attention rapidly waning. He had not yet emptied his new bag of its contents to the full.

A collection of assorted sundry preceded the discovery of another hidden treasure: one glittering Concentrated Storage Device, lying at the very bottom of the pile of overturned objects inside the backpack. While his admiration had been somewhat dampened by his first experience of its kind (seeing it in a light inferior to his one pokéball), Amaren could not deny a distinct admiration for the fact that no less than twenty-five different living beings could reside inside it. He pored over its many controls, noting that the maximum Pokèmon limit in this specimen had been demoted to a mere five, seemingly accounting for the extra Ytarrik residing in his pokéball.

A sudden jolt of memory reminded him of a character he had met centuries before, when his integration into this new world was yet incomplete. Beginning to move with greater purpose than his idle roam, therefore, Amaren headed back to the Center in search of Ruki. He dove into the main hall, an area he had been previously shunning due to the excess of resident society, attempted to cut through the amalgam of bewildering colours and appearances, and spotted her sitting alone at a small table at the back.

Ruki was clothed in a delicate white shirt, made in some elegant style of which Amaren knew not the purpose, let alone the name; and her jeans were those indeed which she had worn on Amaren’s first encounter with her. There was no friend or acquaintance to keep her company, but she seemed perfectly complete by her lonesome, content in her sole orientation towards her own inner devices.

She looked up with alert interest as he came near, and greeted him warmly, as though to an old friend: “Ah, yes, Amaren, I knew you’d come eventually.”

“Hello, Ruki,” the boy returned, somewhat wrong-footed by her reply. Yet, even as his first encounter with her, a useful semblance of comfort soon took over him, and the newfound friends engaged into deep conversation.

“I’ve done as you insisted, so long ago, if you remember,” the new trainer announced cheerily, “and started training pokèmon” – this, eliciting a noise of surprise and delight from his companion.

“I knew you’d take the sensible path in the end, didn’t I say? Although I was suspecting it from the start, you know, seeing from your abra.” And, with a single motion, she took Ytarrik out from his airborne position to Amaren’s side, commenting on how adorable he was. She met with only minimal protest from the pokèmon’s part, severely surprising Amaren.

“You know, of course,” she suddenly brought up, “how they force all trainers to travel in groups, for our own safety? Well, I was thinking I really didn’t want to adventure with anyone else all my career. I thought…”

“You thought…?”

“I’ve never really liked many people, but I have my few friends. Er… you’re—you’re—” she trailed off, seemingly with no intention to continue

He sat in slight bewilderment at the awkward silence—but soon he saw. “You want to train with me?”

Despite her beginning intention, it was clear his understanding was not something Ruki felt a positive development. “That is, only if you want to…”

But Amaren grinned openly, to grant great relief to his companion. “Why, of course. I’ll travel with you!”

[Hey,] Ytarrik suddenly interrupted, drawing scarce as much attention as he had once known. [Don’t I get a say in this?]

“No, you don’t,” laughed Amaren, but Ruki asked for Ytarrik’s opinion, with great seriousness. She seemed to see some hidden gravity in the Abra’s words.

The speed with which he replied suggested he had no real need to state the fact, while the solemn slowness of his words explained that stating the fact was none of his intention.

[I deem,] he replied with great pomp, [by the excellent and undeterred powers of rationality and foresight gifted to my house from my oldest fathers, that…] The pause stretched a moment, a second, and then multiple seconds...

“That?” the humans chorused.

[I approve of this union. Mainly. I see, however,] and here he could not keep the mirth from his thought, [that great destruction and misery lies in this path, but I am unable to care. Let the adventure begin!]

Taking his words as jokes (for no party involved – no even the Abra – could see any other point to them), they began their new life: their rebirth. A world of thought had died behind Amaren, but a greater still lay before him. Affairs had seemed most hastily out of control before, but now he felt ready to match his pace with theirs.

Post Office Buddy
April 13th, 2008, 07:44 PM
Very nice chapter. Only one mistake really jumped out at me, and although it is a minor one, I feel that I should still show it to you.
Mother Jivate, sighed.
This was obviously a small type, but I thought that you would do well to see it.

I like your use of description very much in this fic. I have read few fan fictions that can equate to the clarity and strength of your writing. The great work you have shown provides almost nothing for me to suggest fixing, but I found one spot that you could have elaborated better on.
[I deem,] he replied with great pomp, [by the excellent and undeterred powers of rationality and foresight gifted to my house from my oldest fathers, that…]

“That?” the humans chorused.

[I approve of this union. Mainly. I see, however,] and here he could not keep the mirth from his thought, [that great destruction and misery lies in this path, but I am unable to care. Let the adventure begin!]
I think that you should have described how Ytarrik paused before Amaren and Ruki interjected, saying something along the lines of "Ytarrik paused graciously as it marveled at its eloquence" or something. Doing this may give the reader a better idea why Amaren and Ruki cut in. Just a small suggestion, though. No real need to follow through.

I already can't wait for your next chapter. I don't believe that you are posting too fast since the more active members will have read it within a four or five day period. If you post at that kind of interval, then I think you will successfully create a feeling of impatient anticipation in your readers and will allow yourself more time to write later chapters.

Luphinid Silnaek
April 17th, 2008, 08:33 AM
Jeff: Good eye on those details. I was smoothing down the chapter very carefully, and I don't know how I missed those.

Next chapter. I'll prepare you with the note that I SWEAR it won't turn into a chosen-one or avatar fiction. (At least, not yet.)









Aftershock
Chapter 3: Challenge



“Try, Ytarrik, keep trying!”

Ruki’s cyndaquil, Angin, let out a startled, entertained squeal, to the extreme annoyance of Ytarrik. A bipedal, tan creature with an elongated snout and a navy back, she was currently being pulled shakily from the ground to levitate no more than half an inch in the air before falling back down, and then repeat. If the waves of effort emanating from Ytarrik’s mind were any indication, it was a great task for him to lift her weight to even such a height, and he was only grudgingly doing so to please Amaren and Ruki’s insistences.

“Look at it the bright way, Zyt,” Amaren said sardonically, pleasure at his labour most evidently showing in his face, “you’ll soon become a master at telekinesis, eh?”

[Shut up,] Ytarrik retorted, his greatest attempt at levitation failing like all others. The feeble wobbling in the interval between attempts gave out, as the abra turned to give Amaren an icy stare-thought. [If you call me Zyt once again,] he hissed, [I’ll show you the true extents of my telekinesis.]

An unimaginably enormous section of the city, encompassing perhaps one-fourth all its mass, had been dedicated solely to training, and a wide variety of facilities were huddled in this space—everything from minor emulations of wild conditions (fields of grass; tiny, controlled stands of trees; the occasional snow chamber, among many such plots) to the centerpiece of Saffron’s display, the Psychic-type Pokèmon Gym, whose displays of telekinesis and elemental control psychics traveled to see from the region over. The latter was the ultimate objective of Amaren and Ruki in the city, and it was to this that they worked their way through the complex of trainer’s aids.

Nothing, however, according to conventional wisdom passed down to Ruki, could compare to the wild – and this thought presently passed over both their minds, once the initial amusement at Ytarrik’s training had faded. They instantaneously discussed this within their minds, taking the abra as their medium, and pulled away from the training grounds where they were currently idling. Indeed were they no more than fallen leaves to the wind of their hearts’ whim.

As Amaren had noted a universe ago, Saffron City lay at the very crossroads of the four major cities of Kanto. It lay in a valley of a plain, surrounded on all sides by forest, though its routes leading in all four cardinal points cut cleanly through the woods wherever they required way; so that the ring of forest all around Saffron’s stretch of grassland was divided into quarters. It seemed, from the air, as though the city had formed a crater for itself within the reaches of a vast stand of ancient trees—exactly the truth, as Ruki assured Amaren. “Not that it formed an actual crater, of course!” she did not forget to add with a slight laugh. “The city was once a woodland village just like your own, but being at the very middle of all that travel through the main landmass of Kanto, it grew and grew and cut a clean hole for itself in the forest.”

When Amaren would ask where she had learned all of this, the girl would reply with something faintly scathing towards the extravagant depths of compulsory education. “You’re supposed to know these things too, you know, Amaren,” she would direct with a joking grin, “they wouldn’t let you pass without a thorough understanding of the exact eating habits of every human being who lived to see history.”

They set a course towards the northeastern quadrant of forest, and Amaren could not help but notice a gradual drop in the tilt between his own cluelessness and Ruki’s consequent domination in their conversations. It had begun from the moment of their first encounter; and while Amaren knew from common sense that such a transition would be inevitable, he was surprised to see it moving along at such a visible pace. Perhaps he would soon become the elder brother, guiding his sibling through the treacheries of the world.


His meanders and his fantasies gradually petered to a fresh alertness, as the dreamy gold of the sunlit field gave way to a cool viridian, and they entered the forest main. Here, though the gentle light of the dappled canopy still seemed to sooth any potential viciousness under its halls, there was an air of pleasant tension, one which signaled to them the abundance of more warlike challengers to any capable fighter.

They took a few tentative steps deeper into the stretches. Within a moment more minute than human instinct, a blur of dark tan shot out of the restless leaves directly for Amaren – but not every member of their party was human.

Instinctually, Ytarrik teleported inches before the unseen offender, giving a massive surge of effort; and the attacking pidgey’s path was deflected within moments of reaching the startled trainer. Unexpectedly the Abra was not exhausted in the least from his sudden trial.

[The more Psychics stimulate their abilities, the easier it is for them to access them,] he said, satisfaction showing clearly in his thought. [Which means…] The subsequent rush of thought was sufficient to finish his sentence. Rising back into the air, he zoomed forward to meet the challenge of the returning wild Pokèmon, loose pieces of dirt flying from the ground beneath him.

The pidgey darted once again towards him, beak raised, but it was stopped entirely this time, frozen to hover in midair. Ytarrik backed away from its petrified form, but great loads of sticks and rocks began rising from all around him, poised to shoot themselves at his enemy. The pidgey struggled to break loose of its bind, pushing forward with all its might, and was released – only to meet an inescapable barrage of painful forest matter. With a crow of defeat, it staggered away.

Silence reigned again, for a moment.

“It’s not legal to attack a wild pokémon if it’s trying to escape, you know,” Ruki said conversationally.

“Really?” Amaren and Ytarrik said together, though the abra was evidently more surprised.

“Yeah, of course. And if it’s mortally wounded, it’s the trainer’s responsibility to take it to a Center.”

With a mental shrug, Ytarrik raged off into the forest, the humans attempting to trail behind him, Ruki releasing Angin once again. The companions lumbered heavily through the trees, Ytarrik at their front, the cyndaquil running playfully beside them, and they feared no wild attacker, challenging each with equal confidence. A sudden stroke of inspiration on the part of the Abra led to the growth of a new move, according to the information stored in the back display of their trainer cards:

[Well, I just send a quick, sudden burst of thought telepathically into their minds,] he explained with hidden pride. [They can’t even stand that much, the suckers. WHOOOO!]

His exclamation would invariably be punctuated with a public rendition of his new Confusion, sending everything around him into dazed, painful spirals of dizziness. And then, as always, he would rush a few miles forward, most irritating to all things, animate or inanimate, in his path.

This was not to say, however, that Angin encountered progress any lesser. Being inarticulate to both trainers, she was merely less taken to announcing thus with quite Ytarrik’s vigour. And yet, as the tiny flames bursting to life on her back grew with each flare of their power, it was unmistakable that Ruki had been fundamentally correct in her estimation of the worth of wild training. A certain satisfaction lay within the grind of wills, lingering around the individual defeat of yet another pokémon and capitalizing on the visible progress as yet another flaw in the abra and cyndaquil’s technique was smoothened; and while Amaren and Ruki could but follow their charges on their rampage, attempting unnecessarily to call out orders, the sheer adrenaline seeped into their spirit as well.

When both pokémon had run to their heart’s content, they rested, winded, under the shade of a lone oak in the center of a clearing in the woods, reaching for the provisions they had only just remembered to pack. Amaren and Ruki reached for their grand pack of grilled berry sandwiches, marveling at the versatility of a single species of fruit, and Angin dove into her soft cakes of cheri; but Ytarrik retired to a quiet corner of the clearing, hovering still in midair and refusing to talk to anyone else.

“I think he’s sleeping,” wondered Ruki between mouthfuls of the best processed oran in all of Saffron, according to the extravagant advertisement hanging outside the food corner they had acquired it from.

“And that’s news…” replied Amaren. “How do you know, though? His eyes are always closed”; to a collective laugh by all the breakfasters.

It seemed that this was precisely what the Abra did not wish to hear. It was difficult to estimate closely, however; he was not even so alert to everything around him as to explain his dissatisfaction at the great lengths with which he tended to do.

“But really”: Ruki, on a serious note, “Ytarrik has feelings too, you know. I think we should be nice to him for a change.” And Angin, anxious to follow the example of her trainer, indicated her agreement fervently.

To the infinite surprise of all involved, including the human, Amaren suddenly seemed to recall some earlier conviction, and ceased his casual insults against Ytarrik.

They started back early, as soon as they saw the center of diffused light above them move into the western half of the sky. Little did they fear from this mesh of challenges which this forest provided, as though for their entertainment, but it was not prudent to remain overnight in a forest, no matter what their disposition towards it.

They readied to move out of their temporary camp when Ytarrik suddenly cried, [Wait!] Angin tensed, her fur rising to its full volume, and Amaren and Ruki retired to the center of the clearing. Out of the darker assemblies of grass and twig shone two alert yellow eyes. The wait, the infinite pause in action…

An unusually large, fierce mightyena sprang out from the first shades of darkness around the clearing, diving for the waiting abra, who dodged out of the way and returned a Confusion in its direction. To little effect, however; Dark had eternally been the oppressor of psychics.

A pair of fearsome jaws, black with a substance incapable of reflection, slammed down on the abra, and he had scarce little time to teleport out before the jagged surface could touch him. Human and pokémon watched, alike immobile, as the psychic fought a losing duel with the dark—stumbling backward at each of its attacks, attempting feebly to force a single thorn between the mightyena’s natural aura, negating all psychic influence.

Each of the watchers shook themselves from her reverie, but it was too late: with a final slam of jaws, the perpetrator closed its bite around the defender’s form, and Ytarrik fell in a crumpled heap, who Amaren hastily recalled.

As the mightyena’s sinister influence fell over the tiny, defiant figure of Angin, and Ruki behind her, a vision suddenly overtook Amaren, as from a memory of a memory –

The raving mightyena, charging for the elder fighter’s forlorn figure –

And conviction hardened his resolve. History would not repeat, not this once.

At the girl’s order, the cyndaquil shot forward, desperately searching for an opening in the great wolf’s armor, armed with lesser than an iron blade. Another, advancing bite – but that was all he would allow, as far as he would let the monster approach Ruki’s unprotected form. A single, vagabond thought joined forces with his own, and dark russet eyes flared to crimson – amber – gold…

Amaren stood forward to the extents of his length, a figure tall, dark, terrible in its wrath; and, as if responding to a force other than his own, his hands raised in the air, holding invisible staffs – and the very earth rose in his anger and desperation, serving his purposes long enough to buffet the perpetrator severely. Whimpering, it turned to flee.

As the failing presence of Ytarrik drained from Amaren’s mind, Ruki hurried forward to support his near-limp body, returning Angin to her storage device; and the two soldiers staggered out of the battlefield together.

bobandbill
April 19th, 2008, 06:40 PM
Well, I've been meaning to take a look at this for a while, so have decided to act now and read it as you release the chapters now, so I won't have to climb that mountain straight off. :) Also partly a return of service of reviewing my fanfic so nicely on Serebii.

Anyway, I must say, this is fantastic. Haven't seen such a story applied to the Pokemon world, how having a person who lived in a seculded village become a Pokemon trainer and learn of the advanced Pokemon world. Very nice concept that is carried well throughout the story - nice small views of Saffron by Ameran. Quite enjoyable, and like the odd random capitlising of various objects (such as 'Concentrated Storage Device'), as well as noting the 'shiny-ness' of the 'shiny' items. :)

Reminds me of a book I read, although not 100% sure of the title - 'Odo Hirsh' was either the title, or maybe the author... oh well, either way - that was a good book, and your story is certainly giving it a run for its money. High level of writing, description and the characters are enjoyable - and I can certainly see your own style in this.

Quite enjoying the events of this story thus far - seems well planed and structured - overall, can't see anything that I can criqtue story-wise - it flows on very nices, with a good pace.

A fe nitpicks, amongst other stuff:
“Late 1990’s, this is! I don’t even know if we have a Recovery Machine to fit it! Hold on—“
My favoruite line thus far. :) Nice one there, with the late 1990's date... ah, memories.

“I have decided…”

[We have decided..]
Ameran used an ellipse of three dots, yet Ytarrik used two dots here - is it an ellipse, or a full stop?
[And I was all for finding a new forest and starting a new lease on life, you know,] Ytarrik unexpectedly added.
I assumed that it was the Abra's name, yet he only gave it to Amaren in the following scene - that's the first time it was used, yet IMO it should be only firsdt given in the following scene rather than here, as we do not know the Abre as Ytarrik as of yet.
“How do you know, though? His eyes are always closed”;
“But really”:
I think these two should be before the quotation mark, as far as I know, rather than after.


Another thing - normally, I insist that Pokemon names and items should be capitalised, unlike what you do here, but you do it well enough here without needing to, and I can see why, so it isn't really required in such a fic as yours (although it does nag at my mind a bit). However, a few times you had actually capitalised the Pokemon names, in the eariler parts of this story, such as Houndoom, Mightyena and Abra, which contridicts with the majority of Pokemon names remaining uncapitalised. I'd suggest keeping it all the same.
Other instances is the whole pokeball as a minor item, yet 'Potions' and 'Super Potions 'made a 'major' item, despite the emphasis placed on the pokeball... something I've noticed.

Minor however - overall, very good piece of writing thus far - nice scene transistions, and changes of pace (such as at the end of the 3rd chapter) when callled upon - very enjoyable to read. I look forward to the next so and so chapters. :)

Luphinid Silnaek
April 19th, 2008, 07:52 PM
bobandbill: I must get on your latest chapter on SPPF.

In fact, the story is very fickle about themes. This Amish one, incidentally, was not one of the themes I was proud of: I felt I barely alluded to it, perhaps unrealistically portrayed it, and scrapped it before the advent of five chapters. Ironic that it turns out to be so popular.

Firing up Google, I see that there is an author of childrens' books called Odo Hirsch, but I can't say what book you might have had in mind.

But MY GOD THE ERRORS. I can't look at my nitpick revising abilities again in my life. The colon and semicolon have been used outside the speech a ew times by undefined classic authors, and if the dialogue can be seen as a noun of some sort it makes sense. I've heard American English takes care to put all following punctuation marks inside the quotation, but I never use American English anyway. Evetyhing else, though, is quite valid. I see that items in our world are only capitalised if they are brand names or given a specific name (iPod, Mac, Windows). Thus, while Concentrated Storage Devices and Potions are simply the first apparent names of their objects, a Slate could be seen as something like a Tablet PC.

Well, thank you for the review. (I need to find more original ways to say this.) Also thank you for the very detailed nitpicking.

Luphinid Silnaek
April 25th, 2008, 05:43 AM
Oh, dear. This has gone an awfully long time without an update. Explanations! But first, some worrying suggestions to the contrary of my note on Chapter 3. It looks like a prophetic dream but it really is more than that. Please don't kill me for the unholy run-on complicated sentences. I did the best I could.





Aftershock
Chapter 4: New Developments



Night lowered its peace into the turrets of the forest of shimmering steel.

It was an unusually silent night for an unusually burgeoning metropolis, and all the blazing carriers of light and life hung low, resting, if only for this night. Few stars of yellow beam traversed the shaded roads; few of the revelries of life played out their glory, but it did not seem oppressively silent, as if everything was as it should be.

Not a single soul would reveal itself to winged passersby, except one.

The heavily cloaked figure could be labeled shabbily dressed, but some aspect of its form seemed to cohere well with its old, ragged apparel. As to the manner of ancient times, it seemed as though the vestiges of its clothing trailed behind it in a long, winding tail, but closer perception would entirely confound the watcher, and he would be forced to admit that it seemed as if the very webs of shadow through which the figure waded drank in his presence. And if the silver moonlight banished the dark cotton which spread its length into the corners of the city, this being seemed only to grow in its dark splendour and introverted glory when exposed to the subtle rays.

He stopped abruptly as if seeing a sign only he could percieve, turning to appraise a patch of darkness in the surrounding wall absolutely indistinguishable from the cloaked brick around it. He stepped into the pitch confines of the back alley and, as if melding into the darkness entirely, emerged out of its other end an instant later, half a mile away. The creature paused for a moment, then, as the sprawling vastnesses of a mansion and an old-fashioned laboratory complex revealed themselves to him.

Fifteen times had he listened to the story echoing within its spacious halls; fifteen times had it ended, unfinished, leaving him hanging. This was his sixteenth iteration, but it was different, special. This time, he would know the truth in its full.

Luphinid Remana Silnaek glided into the penultimate chord of his journeys.


Amaren opened his eyes to see cerulean meeting his own.

Ruki was bending over his bed, examining him with faint concern. “Nightmare?” she estimated sympathetically. “You were moving around a bit violently.”

“No, not really,” he replied, truthfully. He had seen some difficulty in sleeping this night, but it was likely a temporary result of his exertions than a visible problem. He certainly did not remember doing anything to elicit such a response from his roommate.

Amaren returned her appraising gaze with one of his own. A trick of the light, perhaps; but how lost she looked, how sad: a frail child stood before him, in a universe of grand matters. Was it his duty to comfort her?

“It’s okay, it really is,” he managed alone, the opportunity passing before his eyes. A parting, almost imperceptible tighten of helplessness – and wan moonlight returned to her eyes, lighting them with her characteristic spirit. Yet, as though caught in the act, the silvery blue seemed almost furtive, enshrouding a deeper thought with its drowning light.

“All right,” she murmured, smiling an induced smile in response to Amaren’s. “Goodnight”; and returned to her own bed.

“’Night.”



[{//\/\/\/\/\//\\//\\//\/\/\|/|\|/\/\/\\//\\//\\/\/\/\/\/\//}]



Recuperation had run swiftly after their duel with peril, and health and life had returned with all the vigour of youth within a night, for most.

Confounded by the bizarre events of the last evening, Amaren and Ruki saw their only answer in the seeming hoards of information stored within their trainer card. Amazingly, under the influence of a Pokèmon attack or other sign of battle, it was programmed automatically to infer the tides of the battle from its surroundings—and its wireless link to the Concentrated Storage Devices—and record it for future contemplation. It seemed that data stored in the card was graded according to the maturity of the reader, and thus many topics were encrypted, to be unlocked at the insertion of a Gym Badge of sufficient rank; but there was a reasonable exception in this case. Great stretches of the universe could only be understood with sufficient maturity in intelligence, but if such an event intersected so completely with one's life, urgency overruled censorship.

The two companions leaned over the iron tablet, therefore, sitting in Ruki’s favourite table at the back of the main hall of the Center, as the card unfurled a textbox to spell out an article explaining Amaren’s sudden actions.

“It is an established fact that while most Psychic-type attacks originate from the pokémon’s mind, their bodies are fragile and most unsuited for the carrying of energy of all types. The mental capacities of a Psychic-type are literally infinite, but their limitations occur in the brief space of time when materialized thought is channeled into the body and then released. While such an intense concentration of energy inhabits the form momentarily, the physical body is worn slightly, unable to efficiently contain this inside it. However, the moment is a near-infinitesimal one, and the body soon recovers before much damage is done. It is in rare cases when the physical vehicle for the mind is strained so greatly that it shuts down, inducing unconsciousness.

“In extreme occasions, it is possible for the psychic mind in such a situation to leave its body for a short space of time and inhabit another, willing living carrier for its work. Depending on the nature of the new vehicle, it may sustain unpredictably great damage, even more unsuited towards containing energy within it than the original body, or possibly experience only a minimum of fatigue and soon recover. The reasons for the latter are not fully known, and may vary greatly with the case.”

If the orange triangle at the bottom of the text was any indication, more could be said upon the subject, but the youth are ever unfocused and prone to sudden swings in interest and mood: the card saw a quick rejection of its proffered information.

Amaren had been fortunate to find that his body was an enduring carrier for Ytarrik’s consciousness, as long as it had been there; and thus the boy had returned to a suitable semblance of health within the day. After a night of rest, indeed, he was returned to the full of his spirits. As for the abra, while his body had suffered great injury, the healing abilities of modern technology were unparalleled, and he was well on the path to recovery. Ytarrik was still slumbering in the bedrest wing of the Center in his own comatose form of rejuvenation. In a few days, he would be returned to battle readiness; and the collective group meanwhile purposed to concentrate their attentions on Angin.

Unexpectedly, the entirety of his plunge into the art of training had caused Amaren to look into the endless lines of theoretical strategy which, as he had soon learnt, ran at the very foundations of the heat of battle. As he had looked in retrospect, it had become clear that much more than brute force was required in such battles whose difficulty transcended one’s own strength, and Amaren now took as his obsession the objective of knowing this in full.

With great success, he soon developed a tolerance, even inclination, towards the less physical aspects of his trade, and began the very day after the battle to use his trainer card for such tasks as learning the type chart by heart, or deepening his understanding of the physical and special attributes of pokémon. If he was asked to explain his new fascination, he would direct the questioner’s attention to the fact that legally, he was required to know such basic concepts long before he became a trainer, and that this would have still happened had he been schooled officially. When pressed, he would elaborate only so far as to say that Ruki knew fully everything he had begun reading then, and he did not wish to be inferior in any regard to his companion trainer.

It was towards this end, therefore, as they ran lightly down the steps of the Pokèmon Center one time again towards the northern route of Saffron, that Amaren began strategizing their future course of movement, triggering a conversation which he had never imagined to hold. He did not know how to see the fact that it was sure to be the first of many such.

“Psychic is countered by Dark and… and…” Amaren began. “Ruki, what else counters Psychic?”

“Um… who cares?” she replied, in precise resemblance to Amaren’s past replies towards intellectual discussions.

“Uh, uh… Bug! That’s correct. And also Ghost, I think. Now, I don’t think I should catch a Dark-type, I’ve had bad experiences with them.”

“Some very bad experiences,” Ruki added, emphasizing her sentiment only half-mockingly with a shudder.

“I looked in the encounter locations, there isn’t a Ghost-type here for miles. So the only chance we have is to look for a bug somewhere. Undignified, I know, but still…”

“Wow, you’re really putting thought into all of this, aren’t you?”

“…and—yeah, I am. I think I have to take a little responsibility for my, er, my actions. Yeah, that’s right. Anyway—I haven’t looked into what Bug-types they have around Saffron. Let’s see… There’s the usual caterpie, there’s… nothing here? What! Ruki, are you listening?”

Amaren dislodged himself from his articles of study, looking up to find the girl had already left his side to dive into the rapidly approaching forest, releasing Angin. With a resigned, amused shake of his head, treating this facet of her character as a long-familiar one (although it was hardly so), he redirected his rather rigid route to match his new observations.

It was unbearably ironic to recall similar conversations between himself and his brother, with the roles entirely reversed.

Fingering his pokéball to find it cold with the vacancy of a resident, he resigned himself to a day of idleness. He fell into the shade of a nearby tree and spread the full extents of his plans over the mottled floor, as Ruki began immediately to train before him. They had arrived at a point near the boundaries of the encircling woods, where the trees were scattered enough to allow for antics of a most unreserved nature.

He settled down to work, falling into the thoughtful trance of study which he had been eluding for so long, impressing upon himself the necessities of careful planning before action, recalling incidents where a lack of such had led to disaster, stirring his enthusiasm by attempting to marvel upon the glorious complexity of training, realizing with surprise that he wished inside him to take on the role of his elder brother in the case of his new companion, but using this new point only to illustrate the value of responsibility further, and was thoroughly incapable of concentrated thought.

Perhaps it was because of the grand clamor of a sufficiently hyperactive trainer and her Pokèmon, and perhaps he had been unaccustomed to study for a long while before then, but what awakened him so fully from his disconnected recline on the bed was undoubtedly the waves of palpable joy which radiated through the forest and through Ruki before him, filling her dance in such a way which left doubt as to whether the ecstasy held its source in the spirit of the woods, or within this one incarnate form of its own. And where Amaren was touched by the vestiges of her spirits as she called him to join in the celebrations, Angin, a child most unfettered by inhibitions, given to the center of her trainer’s attention, reveled in a climax of her elemental high, shooting out arcing flames which grazed the forest dangerously before dissipating. They could not be said to move towards any form of progress in their carousing, and there the last warmth of summer embraced them as in farewell, but nothing mattered, for the future of their fresh emotion and the path of opportunity and life which opened up before them was most certainly assured; and the firestorm of Angin’s passion was curbed amply by the gentle enlightenment of her trainer. And thus, Amaren was convinced, would it remain; for him, and for all those whom he lent a care.

But even as the thought of new glory before them passed through Amaren’s mind, he felt a longing to pursue that road and take its glittering expanses into his form, the trademark ambition of trainers, renowned as far as the profession yet lasted. And this faint desire pulled their purposeless displays of joy into coherence and concentration, transforming it into an enthusiasm towards this path of progress. Thinking as though one, the trainers and the cyndaquil sprinted off to challenge more wilderness, as the morning gave way entirely to noon.

“Think you can hold up a battle, Angin?” Ruki asked her pokémon tenderly, picking her up as she ran, and the cyndaquil replied with an animated cry, taken as an affirmative by the listener. She flared the red-hot dots on her back, releasing tiny flames, and the girl flinched only slightly in surprise, fluorescing in the pokémon’s energy. She cradled her protectively, but Angin was already jumping down lightly to the ground, reacting to the bellsprout they had suddenly stumbled upon.

“Perfect,” Amaren murmured, “a grass-type. Good practice.”

“All right, start off with a Scratch!” From Amaren’s understanding, Ruki was likely treading carefully, testing the wild pokémon’s reaction to situations.

Angin immediately began approaching the Bellsprout cautiously, brandishing her tiny claws at every turn. It seemed to be that both trainer and Pokèmon were awaiting some explosive attack by the insectivore, but none were forthcoming, and Angin quickly landed three small cuts on the Grass-type’s ponderous head, causing it to tip dangerously to the side, wobbling on its stick-thin stem.

“And the head’s only growing bigger,” Amaren commented, before stopping short.

Why, he pondered, would the bellsprout’s head grow? There was certainly an answer, but it was hidden in the shades of his most unreliable memory.

Equally as perplexed, Ruki ordered an Ember, and the cyndaquil reared back her head. With a small blast of hot breath, she stirred the grass beneath her to flame, stomped it out hastily, and kicked the still-glowing pieces of burnt grass at the bellsprout. The red-hot embers singed its fragile skin, but the bellsprout yet did not so much as flinch, and Angin continued her barrage.

Baffled, struck with uncertainty, Ruki faltered, and her pokémon did the same. A period of tense awaiting followed, and then –

The twin vines which held up its two great leaves zoomed forward in a spurt of growth; and, as Amaren realized, Growth was precisely what the creature had been endeavoring towards all this time. The two arms wrapped around the protesting cyndaquil, performing a Vine Whip, lifting her up with great labour and dropping her back down heavily. The candle flames on Angin’s back flared to char the vines slightly, but the Bellsprout only worked with greater conviction, and the cyndaquil’s knees buckled this time as they hit the forest floor. She let out a yelp of desperation, weakening…

But Ruki cheered for her, indefatigably spirited, and her pokémon’s crimson eyes shone with such a fire that even the angered Bellsprout wavered for a moment. A positive inferno erupted from the rapidly widening scarlet on her back, and she let loose a barrage of fire from her open mouth, the first she had ever released. The opponent quickly let go of her, scorched, and withdrew into the edge of consciousness.

Amaren had been quiet this meanwhile, but now he called out: “Catch it, Ruki! This is a great chance!”

She looked towards him, delighted with the thought. “…Do you think I should?” And Amaren nodded, absorbed in the match.

“All right.” She set her storage device, pointed it to the failing Bellsprout, and watched expectantly as the violet light swallowed it whole. A digital meter took the front of the display on the small contrivance, flaring suddenly as the captive bellsprout shook its confines in protest, but it finally subsided in a flourish which seemed to Amaren to be pointedly resigned. A quiet congratulation, and Angin was likewise returned.

An indication of great victory, and another of urgency as the storage device flashed to bring attention to the new pokémon’s critical health. They began hurrying back to Saffron, the Bellsprout falling automatically into stasis in respect to its state, and were immediately hindered by the appearance of another character.

He was an elderly gentleman, wearing what seemed to be a more hardy mutation of a lab coat and matching pants. He radiated well the feeling which Amaren had only just begun to understand, that of indoor study, and also of thought before action.

His identity was most quickly revealed.

“Good morning. I am—“ he began, but Ruki felt a great urgency to finish his sentence.

“Prof. Kalens Oak!” she shouted, in the closest rendition of a shriek her voice could muster. “I am such a fan of your work, you wouldn’t – “

“Er…” It was difficult, Amaren realized, to get a word in sideways if Ruki was stirred to excitement of any great nature, rare as the case might be…

Eventually, however, the girl rediscovered a semblance of sanity, and the professor began in earnest.

“I presume one of you is the owner of an abra by the name of Ytarrik? Amaren Kelanis?”

“I am,” Amaren replied, somewhat nonplussed.

“And your team was driven to such desperation as to share minds for a short space of thought? Such cases are extremely rare…”

“Hmm,” Ruki signified her rapt attention, unnecessarily.

“… and I myself have only seen such in…”

“Hmm,” Ruki repeated.

“… in, er, in four incidents in my life, precisely—”

‘Hmm,” the girl insisted, then apologized as all concerned turned to glare at her. She dropped the pretence of sanity and attempted, successfully, to gain the actual form.

“I have seen some new developments in the field of —”the professor began, and then stopped abruptly. “Perhaps we should seek a more reserved situation than this in which to talk,” he suggested.

“Yeah, and we need to go to the Center, too,” Ruki exclaimed.

Reaching an agreement, therefore, the two trainers and their temporary chaperon set out quickly for the city in the plains, shining in the noontide sun.

Post Office Buddy
April 25th, 2008, 06:57 PM
Nice, well-rounded chapter. I was satisfied with the detail you used in this chapter and the unparalleled dialog within. Some things caught my eye, and I will list those that I was most sure about and/or thought were the more pressing matters.



A heavily cloaked figure, it could, perhaps, be said to be shabbily dressed;

I didn't think this sentence flowed well, since you threw a ton of commas here. I figured out what you meant by it, but I had to reread it to understand it.


As if seeing a sign which only he could perceive, he stopped abruptly,

Perhaps you should invert this sentence. That may allow it to flow better than it does now.


as if melding into the darkness entirely,

I think melting would have been a better word choice.


This time, he would know the truth in its full.

I thought entirety would have sounded better.


While some hidden facets of the world could only be learnt once the seeker gained sufficient intelligence to understand them, it was only natural, when one such intersected to completely with an underage trainer’s life, that it would be his right to know of it in the full.

I didn't really understand most of this sentence, and that may be the form of "to" you used, but further elaboration would help here.


In terms of content, I thought it was great. We learned something new about Ytarik and Ameron's bond, and also witnessed Ruki's capture of Bellsprout. You did well on these things.

My only real complaint, which goes with the quotes above, is that some of your sentences seemed underdeveloped or overdeveloped. It felt awkward reading some of the sentences within the chapter, but for the most part it flowed well. Some of these things may be easy to fix for you, and some might not. Either way, just write it the way you want to and fix only what you feel needs fixing. I'll await your next chapter earnestly for the time being.

Luphinid Silnaek
April 25th, 2008, 08:38 PM
Jeff: Yes, I truly do not know what I was on in retrospect. It seems to me an underlying instinct to word sentences in the most awkward and bizarre way possible. I need to remember that a correctly worded sentence isn't necessarily a sentence fit to print. I plan to rewrite once it's all over.

A few premature name-meanings. They shall become clearer and more relevant as the story passes.

Amaren Kelanis: Amaren means ever-young, or immortal. One who never dies or changes. Kelanis is a profession name: at one point in the history of his village there was a hereditary line of village elders with the basic (accepted) traits of age, wisdom, and experience. These eventually ceased to be village elders, as the system became obsolete, but the name Kelanis stuck. Thus the name Amaren Kelanis could be interpreted as one who is both young and old, with the best of both wolds.

Ruki Ferena: It only rang well with the name Amaren. Ferena, though, suggests in an abstract manner the role she is to play a while later.

Ytarrik: It's actually the name of my kadabra in Yellow. My thoughts then were nothing more profound than "What sounds really psychic and arcane?"

Professor Kalens Oak: Kalens is a later corruption of the older word Kelanis. It is no longer associated with a specific profession, but invokes all the basic traits of an elder.

Mother Jivate: If you happen to be on SPPF and also happen to have read my inexperienced first fiction, the Upholder of Duty, you may remember this name. (It's also possible that you may not, due to the fact that I never included it in there. I don't remember. I only remember considering it.) I think Jivate was the name of the chansey head nurse of Cartavah's hospital wing. Ah, memories. *goes to check* Indeed, she was named Jivati in the first fiction. I simply felt Jivati was a name which didn't fit the cultural tones of all the other names in Aftershock, and changed one letter.

Luphinid Remana Silnaek plans to be explained in the fiction itself, though there's one small detail about the name that you could note and has not been noted anywhere. See if you can spot it. Also, it's my username! The fiction originated the name.

bobandbill
April 25th, 2008, 11:09 PM
Another good chapter there - interesting events, and I'm interested in the Bellsprout as well, gievn some other fics which I have seen it in showing the possibilities it has... the chapter more or less satisfied me, seemed a well rounded one.

There are some times in which the sentence structure is quite... elaborate and almost confusing, such is your style. However, I do find this quite interesting, different and refreshing to read, sheerly for the uniqueness of it. Maybe just a slight toning down of it will be required - I don't think you should redo it all together as it is part of the charm of this story, so to speak.

Not a single soul would reveal itself to winged passersby, except one.
'Passersby' jsut felt a bit of a 'far-out' word to cme up with here... guess it's ok, but just threw me off for a bit.
He stopped abruptly as if seeinf a sign only he could perceive
Luphinid Remana Silnaek glided into the penultimate chord of his journeys.
So that's why you changed your nickname then. I see... guessing this will be an important character - but I don't really see anything about the name that I think has muchsignificance... oh well, I'm not quite the best at those things at times.
If the orange triangle at the bottom of the text was any indication, more could be said upon the subject, but the youth are ever unfocused and prone to sudden swings in interest and mood, and the card saw a quick rejection of its proffered information—though the extent of what they had read was most appreciated.
That sentence felt awfully run-on there... could be chopped up slightly.
“Some very bad experiences,” Ruki added, with a half-mock-shudder.
Half-mock-shudder might be replaced by 'half-mock, half-shudder', as that is the more usual way of stating such 'half' things, but minor and not nesserary.

That's all of the other stuff that I could find - the rest Jeffback took care of... overall and storywise, it was good as usual. Looking forward to the next chapter. :)

Luphinid Silnaek
April 30th, 2008, 03:06 AM
Another good chapter there - interesting events, and I'm interested in the Bellsprout as well, gievn some other fics which I have seen it in showing the possibilities it has... the chapter more or less satisfied me, seemed a well rounded one.

At this point I was progressing the journey in measured amounts, almost for filler, and simultaneously laying down basic foundations for themes which would be explored later. Each chapter was a self-contained story, somewhat like a monster-of-the-week, except there was some underlying plot.

There are some times in which the sentence structure is quite... elaborate and almost confusing, such is your style. However, I do find this quite interesting, different and refreshing to read, sheerly for the uniqueness of it. Maybe just a slight toning down of it will be required - I don't think you should redo it all together as it is part of the charm of this story, so to speak.

These seem to be the general opinions of all those who read my fiction: some find it overbearing and non-reader-friendly, while some say it contributes to the style; some have a love-hate opinion of it. I think I'll follow your advice, since complex themes seem to have bcome a part of this story, and they can't really be removed entirely. I will, however, be very strict on them. I thankfully had not finished it before I learnt to moderate these sort of sentences, so the situation improves as the character "matures".

Well, thank you for the contribution. Here comes the next one. We hear from this strange self-titled man again.







Aftershock
Chapter 5: Introduction into the Brine



“So you say Ytarrik and I are ‘exceptionally telepathically connected’?”

When they arrived at the Pokémon Center, it had become evident that Ytarrik had made a complete recovery, and he was returned promptly. It was then that, for some reason, Prof. Oak had invited the two of them to his own estate (joined with his laboratory complex), not far from the highlights of the Pokémon Gym.

“Essentially, your summary is correct,” the professor replied. “Nothing abnormal, of course, only slightly unusual. It explains your remarkable talent in battling.”

Amaren and Ytarrik looked around to glance at each other; and the latter suddenly radiated a somewhat unpleasantly entertained nerve about him [Oh, I see what you’re saying, professor.]

“What?” Amaren blurted, bewildered. Ytarrik was most content in hiding his thoughts from his trainer, but Prof. Oak explained.

“This leads to many interesting effects, such as I have not yet had the opportunity to study,” said he, in an air of one building up for sensitive matters.

“Study?” Amaren requested for elaboration.

“Oh, no, nothing like the traditional heartless scientific experiments. We are talking merely of observation here. If I could gain access to your telepathic relations with Ytarrik at certain moments in your daily life, I would have a very useful insight into such connections.”

Amaren still seemed very unsure, but Ruki chimed in at this point.

“Come on, Amaren, it’ll be fun!” she said. “We have the professor of Kanto itself ready to look after us.”

And so, with great reluctance, he agreed. Ytarrik seemed to hold no inhibitions on his part—this was likely because his Confusion was ready for any incident in which the professor did something not directly related to his entertainment. He was most open in expressing this fact to Prof. Oak, but his half-threat was returned merely with a laugh.

Business completed, the three humans slipped into lighter conversation. Ruki, somewhat awed that her young friend was exceptional enough to be worthy of Oak’s attention, asked the professor of the ‘interesting effects’ of Ytarrik’s connection to his trainer. Amaren, somewhat unsettled by the center of Ruki’s amazement, added an inquiry into how the scientist had learnt of the two trainers in the first place.

“Well, to answer your question, Ruki, the full extents of those effects are scarce documented. There is a close cooperation between the Psychic-type and the trainer due to their telepathy, and a friendship such as to make the two equals much sooner than in usual cases, but we have observed other phenomena as well. Your battle yesterday was a perfect example, and then there are cases where the human begins developing psychic abilities under a sufficiently powerful pokémon influence.” It was difficult for the man to be heard over Ruki’s consequent noises of awe.

“Amaren, I must say that your rather exceptional battle with the mightyena was not quite as inconspicuous as you would think it to be. There were eyewitnesses, and word travels like wildfire in a metropolis such as this…”

Ruki picked out her concentrated storage device, releasing a most surprised-looking Bellsprout. “I caught my first Pokèmon!” she exclaimed, and then: “But what should I name it?”

At the word ‘it’, the grass-type gave an indignant puff and buffeted its trainer’s knee with a surprisingly painful arm-leaf. “Ow, sorry,” said she, and looked over the creature. “I meant, what should I name him?”

The Bellsprout made a satisfied pose and fell silent, only to be awakened once again by the insistent prodding of Angin. He attempted to thwack the Cyndaquil in return, but was scorched by a small burst of fire and retreated in defeat, surrounded by a ring of imagined enemies.

“Oh, don’t start,” she groaned, and picked him up, thinking. “No, really, what should I name him? Anyone else have an idea?”

[I’d think Akale would be a good one,] Ytarrik suggested, and replied with his abdication of thought when Amaren asked him the reason. “Oh well, I like that name,” was the general opinion of all concerned, most specially the Bellsprout himself. How Ruki could divine the pokémon’s acceptance of the idea, however, would eternally be beyond Amaren.

“All right,” she declared, holding up the panicked creature for all to see, “Akale is now a member of our team!” And the new pokémon, giving up his pretence of rejection, settled down to a curl around his trainer’s arm, reminiscent of a creeper vine. If any creature could understand a pokémon, Amaren decided, it was no mortal who walked the earth.

Unfortunately, his musings were not lost upon Ytarrik, who promptly jolted him with an irritated Confusion.

They set off again for the woods, seeing a fair amount of time yet before darkness fell—a bellsprout was around Ruki’s midriff and a cyndaquil in her arms, as the Abra hovered telekinetically beside Amaren. Ruki’s pokémon were attempting to wrestle playfully with each other, finding their positions scarce convenient enough, and Ytarrik looked upon the resultant bother to their trainer with mild distaste.

[Any new developments, while I was dying in the Center?] he turned to Amaren.

“Oh, nothing much, and stop sending me your memories of your ‘final throes of agony’, they’re barely recognizable enough after seeing your head for so long. Angin learnt some rudimentary version of, er, Flamethrower. Except you can see how rudimentary it may be.”

[Oh, yes, coming from that kid…]

“Still, that’s the first time she breathed fire. Means a lot to me and Ruki, strange as it may sound to you.”

[I’m not heartless,] he retorted, giving every mental indication to the contrary.

“Right you are. Come on, we have to battle.”

They entered into another barrage of numerous weak wild battles, most hardly worth incident or memory. Ytarrik seemed to have learnt from his earlier accident, and related his observations to Amaren in between bursts of Confusion as yet another weakling stormed out of the unending forest.

[I think, if you force your psychic mind really far, you enter a sort of rampage.]

“You mean the part where you went crazy and outran all of us in your wild desire to destroy the forest?”

With a sheepish thought, [Yeah, that would be it. It’s like, your psychic abilities go into overdrive, and you start doing some of the wildest things. You know what I mean? Of course you do. But if someone tries to attack you, you’re out right then and there.]

“Tough.”

[And if you keep going on the rampage for too long, you also get knocked out.]

“Are you psychics really all you make yourself up to be?”

[Well—]

—A cloaked figure, riding on the shades of the wind itself, zooming out of a darkened city with triumph in his silver eyes—

Amaren’s eyes flashed shock for an instant, and then returned to oblivious normality.

An older trainer stood before the two companions, one intimidating by his very nature, though he stood politely enough. Ruki was conversing with him, as the professor slunk back into invisible obscurity, taking out an electronic notepad.

“Fine, sure, we’ll battle you, Dekar,” she said, and Amaren suspected a desire for impressiveness. “Correct, Amaren?”—here, her eyes were sufficient indicators of what she would bring about if any part of her statement was deemed incorrect.

“Er, yeah,” he replied uncertainly. “Yes, I mean, I take your challenge.”

“All right, then,” Dekar confirmed; “each trainer uses one pokémon, against my two. Get your trainer cards ready.”

Amaren looked down at his own flashing card, answering a prompt for transformation into what seemed to be ‘referee mode’. A display lit up in the back screen, where information of a very useful nature was being calculated in milliseconds. One after the other, the opponent and the ally’s chosen pokémon, the ratio between the strengths of the battlers (as approximated by the energy currently radiated by their essential forms), and a vitality bar filled the screen. This last would move progressively down as its respective pokémon was attacked, the degree of depletion depending on the apparent damage done. Once it reached zero, regardless of the pokémon’s will to fight, the battler would be called out of battle and considered fainted by standard training rules.

How would so much functionality fit into a single metal slate, Amaren wondered inside. [It wouldn’t,] Ytarrik replied in answer, and fell silent.

Out of this new trainer’s storage device leapt twin sprays of light, and a young ivysaur and a pidgeotto materialized on either side of Dekar, bearing the unmistakable confidence of badge-winners. Slightly intimidated, then, Ytarrik and Angin jumped into position.

“Angin, uh, remember that move you once used, long ago? Smoke Screen?” Angin instantly followed Ruki’s order, and Ytarrik jumped into the fray without waiting for command.

With an only half-conscious suggestion from Amaren, the abra rose into the air, placing invisible constructions at random points throughout the battlefield with his telekinesis. [If we’re going for accuracy reduction, I think we should go full out, don’t you think?] Amaren only replied with a perplexed half-thought, wondering what the abra was planning.

Rearing back her head, the cyndaquil shot out multiple balls of some black material, which fell onto the battlefield and promptly exploded in a puff of jet smoke. It was difficult to see anything within the commotion of accuracy-reduction, but the opponent was evidently reacting very calmly to this new development.

A few moments of silence, and a loud beat of pidgeotto wings signaled the utter and total dissipation of the smokescreen Angin had painfully constructed. The two defenders against this sudden Gust bared their teeth into it, only to be barraged by a face-full of squirming, green pellets which clung painfully to their skin. Amaren looked up: the ivysaur had unfolded its single flower to reveal gigantic spore-heads, out of which the leech seeds were still streaming.

Stricken with the full blast of the seeds, Ytarrik shoved a dozen of his invisible placements into the space directly before him, and the ivysaur’s attacks began flying haphazardly, in every direction but that of their objective. “That wouldn’t be Kinesis, would it?” Amaren asked, amused.

Ruki yelled, “Ember!” and Angin blasted the seeds around her into char with her fire, blowing the heated embers back at the Ivysaur. The grass-type endeavored hurriedly to close its budding flower, but countless glowing pieces embedded themselves into its vast, tender confines, eliciting a roar of pain.

The pokémon had done well to evade the leech seeds, but not perfectly, and a sizable amount of bulbous loads were still growing off Ytarrik’s golden skin.

“We don’t have much time, Ytarrik,” Amaren murmured, “before you lose all energy. I think you should just directly start to attack now. Ivysaur is a poison-type, isn’t it?”

Ruki could not help but agree; and she egged Angin on: “Give it your all!”

Amaren marveled as he felt a telepathic connection growing between Ytarrik and the ivysaur, so strong as to be palpable—and a continuous stream of concentrated, disorienting thought surged down his new achievement, keeping the great grass-type at bay for this moment. Rearing back, concentrating her heat, Angin shot out intermittent blasts of fire, which fell over the perpetrated pokémon with great force.

The pidgeotto was galvanized into motion, buffeting Angin’s flames with continuous Gusts; but the conviction of the pokémon’s desperation was indefatigable, and, as always, pushing them into their very limits served only to lengthen their capacities. With a great report, the ivysaur fell on its behind in defeat as Dekar’s trainer card beeped to signify its official fainting.

There was only the flying-type left now to oppose them, and a temporary stalemate stemmed the flow of their fighting, as the abra and the cyndaquil stared into the eyes of their single opponent. If the intensity of the match had been absorbing before, this sudden silence served only to pull the humans into an inescapable spiral with the tides of war.

And then, in a sudden, the opponent trainer laughed. “Quick Attack,” he said calmly, and with only a faint rustling, both Pokèmon were thrown back, eliciting twin beeps from Amaren and Ruki’s cards.

“That pidgeotto of yours moved faster than human sight!” Ruki estimated, awed.

“I told you I’d already gotten the Cascadebadge, didn’t I?” And, with a haughty look of emotionless victory, he strode out of the clearing.

Acrutheo
April 30th, 2008, 01:52 PM
Comments on the prologue:

I loved the prologue's format, and the expression you used was incredible. I'll definitely be continuing to read this. I do have one nitpick to make, however.

“And the pokèmon were fine with that?”
The diacritic mark is wrong. It should be an acute accent, not a grave one. You make this mistake quite often.

---

Comments on Chapter One:

Another brilliant piece of writing. I loved how you captured his awe at the city. One grammatical error, though:

Here, just has a seat at one of the chairs over there
Should be: "Here, just have a seat in one of the chairs over there"

bobandbill
May 1st, 2008, 12:43 AM
Again, nice work. A quieter chapter there, and the battle could have been a tad more dramatic (felt rather like everything else), but was still well done and constructed. Would have liked a bit more with the defeat via Quick Attack - that was the one bit that felt... bare in the battle.

It was then that, for some reason, Prof. Oak had invited the two of them to his own estate (joined with his laboratory complex) not far from the highlights of the Pokémon Gym.
Some commas after 'estate' (optional...) and the closed bracket wouldn't be missed, as it feels that sentence went without pausing a bit too long.
“Oh, nothing much, and stop sending me your memories of your ‘final throes of agony’, they’re barely recognizable enough after seeing you head for so long.
'Seeing you head' is wrong... maybe 'your'? Also the professor seemed forgotten after he mentioned that others may have seen the battle with Mightyena, until you mention him taking notes once more... might involve him more as I thought he magically disappeared into a plothole or something... ;)
With an only half-conscious suggestion from Amaren, the abra raised into the air, placing invisible constructions at random points through the battlefield with his telekinesis
I'd say rose. A bit... iffy over 'through' the battlefield as well...
Amaren looked up: the ivysaur had unfolded its single flower to reveal gigantic spore-heads, out of which the leech seeds were still streaming.
'leech seeds' is not capitalised, unlike the other attacks around it.

Stiil, a good chapter - nice battle as well (poor Ivysaur...), and the chapter's pacing was decent as well - nothing major which I could pick, and the 'confussing-ness' that your writing sometimes has was lower as well in this chapter. Keep it up!

Acrutheo
May 1st, 2008, 01:11 AM
Comments on Chapter two: Another great chapter. ^^ I'm interested as to Amaren's reaction to a telepathic pokemon. The mind is a reservoir of private thoughts and ideas, and, if I know that if I ever encountered telepathy myself, I would be quite self-conscious. I imagine I'd try to hide the thoughts that I wouldn't want them to find out (obviously this would have the opposite effect) and the telepath would pick up on those immediately. Abra seems to be the type of being that would be at least mildly amused. I just feel that Amaren was not wow-ed enough by this new phenomenon of telepathy, that he wouldn't have experienced living in a village where pokemon and humans seem to stay out of each others' way.

..Beyond
May 1st, 2008, 06:31 AM
Nice work overall. I especially like Ytarrik as a character. Good concept to build off of as well, with the whole amish-esque situation.

Luphinid Silnaek
May 1st, 2008, 09:09 AM
Acrutheo (1): Thank you for the compliments and corrections. I had fixed those errors twice, but Microsoft Word kept reverting them back. *shoots Word and gets OpenOffice*

bobandbill: I really do need you guys' proofreading to pick out the stranger parts, I do. I commit typographical errors which even spellcheckers can't pick out.

Also the professor seemed forgotten after he mentioned that others may have seen the battle with Mightyena, until you mention him taking notes once more... might involve him more as I thought he magically disappeared into a plothole or something...

Actually, this was intentional. Though the professor is an important influence in their lives, his primary reason for sticking with them is scientific analysis, and this is done best in obscurity, keeping the observation subject almost unaware of your presence. Which Oak has mastered quite well.

'leech seeds' is not capitalised, unlike the other attacks around it.

That, too, is intentional. "leech seeds" is no attack name; it's an actual noun referring to the product of an attack.

Acrutheo (2): Actually, this is also a little intentional. The younger characters will have remarkably few problems of privacy in their childhood, this being a theme of theirs. (Given, they aren't physically small children, but they will show some childlike themes in the early days of this fiction.) Here Amaren hasn't developed the personality complexes which would make him hide from another's scrutiny, so while his competitive spirit occasionally resents the fact that his mind is so accessible to Ytarrik, he mainly gives his privacy little thought. Also, before his friendship is close enough to be this intimate he doesn't really see the abra as another sentient being--it's something like being comfortably nude in front of an animal, where the person feels that, since the idea of shame isn't rooted at all within the animal's simple mind, he or she shouldn't make anything of it. By the time Amaren's begun to apply to Ytarrik the sort of filters he gives to another human being, being a naturally friendly and open soul, he welcomes the abra into his mind. This doesn't mean, though, that his ideas of privacy are nonexistent and will never develop. They will show themselves in cases less exceptional than this.

I see what you mean about his reaction being underwhelming, even so.

..Beyond: Thanks for the review; I'm glad you like it.

Acrutheo
May 4th, 2008, 12:19 AM
Comments on Chapter Three:

Once again, a great chapter. I liked how you tied in the legality of attacking a fleeing pokemon, which explains why they just go in the games. It's a personal liking of mine to see things like that, and will be easy for you as a writer to show this through dialogue, since this world of pokemon is totally unfamiliar to Amaren. Out of curiosity, was this in your mind when starting the story?

the Psychic-type Pokèmon Gym, whose displays of telekinesis
The "whose" would suggest the gym is a person.

To the infinite surprise of all involved, including the human, Amaren suddenly seemed to recall some earlier conviction, and ceased his casual insult against Ytarrik.
Should be To the infinite surprise of all involved, including the human, Amaren suddenly seemed to recall some earlier conviction, and ceased his casual insults against Ytarrik.

Luphinid Silnaek
May 4th, 2008, 04:44 AM
Legal complexities of training were things I had expected to tackle in the fiction, but I was planning a much more intensive explanation. The bloated plot (which shall appear soon) swallowed everything up, though.

The "whose" would suggest the gym is a person.

What alternative word would you suggest? "That's" and "which's" are hardly acceptable.

I thank for showing me those errors and commenting.

Your speed appears to be overtaking my updating, which is why I'll post the next chapter. If I'm moving objectionably quickly, please do object. The heavy alliteration was entirely unintentional. I don't know how or why my prose became a Dashboard Confessional song. Also, my banner is (superficially) explained. A certain portion makes me think of bobandbill's fiction, in fact; I'll see if anyone can find it.





Aftershock
Chapter 6: The Peak
Part 1



Amaren hunched over the injured pokémon as they lay back against the cool of a dark cypress, rifling through his already-swollen backpack. An expression of great sympathetic pain tightened his face, stirred by the weariness passing through the telepathic link; and an identical emotion animated Ruki, passing over their many hurts (though to a less vivid degree). Akale lingered behind her leg, looking at the scene with alert interest.

“Hang on a second,” she reached for her bag, styled into unnecessary attractiveness—“I’m sure I had something for leech seeds, must be somewhere here.”

An aerosol can of some unknown liquid was produced from its simple confines, one with a most vibrant and disconcertingly detailed logo of a single, gelatinous leech seed. It illustrated the efficiency at which the spray could wither the painful growths, with such patient detail as to elicit a wave of nausea from all but the grass-types themselves.

With extreme caution, she opened the cap vacuum-sealing the nozzle, inadvertently releasing a trapped drop of wayward leech-seed-spray. It dropped like a shooting star, triggering a tremendous spark and reducing several blades of grass to ashes. Immediately, Ytarrik attempted feebly to push the spray out of living influence, seeing great good for the future of humanity in the destruction of this supposed “hellfire”.

“Oh,” Ruki said placidly, “oh. I don’t think I should have shaken it so badly. Oh, well,” and the can flew out into the surrounding woods, off to terrorize another hapless patch of grass.

It was the farewell clunk of the noxious spray which raised Amaren from his excursion into his voluminous bag, clutching five potions victoriously. He swiftly opened the extravagant sealing mechanism and proceeded to force-feed both pokémon the clear blue liquid, as Ytarrik attempted to feign allergy and Angin writhed under its searing taste.

“Pokémon don’t have allergies, idiot,” Amaren growled.

“I know it’s bad, Angin, but you really need the energy right now,” Ruki soothed.

[Why did I try to trick you with an allergy when I’ve never even had one?] Ytarrik mused. [Oh, Light, I think I’m turning more and more human every moment! I am… merging with your uncouth mind. Geh!]

“Shut up, Zyt.”

[Shut up, uncouth mind.]

“If you’ll stop insulting me every few seconds, I will shut up, Blackhead.”

[Blackhead!]

“Stop arguing, guys,”—Ruki, though with a dispelling grin.


[Our vitality,] Ytarrik explained, once sanity had once again reluctantly set in, [was getting lower and lower by the second, because of our leech seeds. You completely overlooked that when you set us on Pidgeotto, there. One unavoidable Quick Attack, and we were gone.]

“Hey, you were battling your heart out without my orders. It’s not my fault you forgot everything for a second.”

[But—]

“Though, Ruki,” Amaren continued, drowning out Ytarrik’s protest, “What about you? Where did you come from?” He was surprised, near astonished, that he had never thought to ask her this simple question

“Oh, I grew up in Saffron, didn’t I tell you?” Ruki stopped, unwilling to say any more.

“And…?”

“And?” She seemed uncertain as to whether Amaren would require anything else.

“And, what’s your full name, how’s your family, do you remember any story worth telling me? I thought this sort of things were supposed to be said between friends.”

“Er, well… My name is Ruki Ferena. I was an only child, I suppose, and, well, nothing really happened in my block of Saffron.”

“Have you really got nothing worth memory?” Amaren exclaimed.

“…No.”

“Ytarrik?” Amaren turned to him for assistance.

[…No. Don’t even think about it.]

“I don’t see any point in living in the past. Not, at least, after I found…” trailed off Ruki.

“Found what?” Amaren turned to Ytarrik, but he was likewise clueless.

Instantly, she found some point of extreme interest immediately beyond Amaren’s shoulder, and focused all her ocular attention there. “Found… training, of course. I have had the best moments of my life here.

“Where’s the professor, though?” she suddenly changed the subject, looking around as her delicate personal extravagances attempted to keep up with her sudden reminder. She jogged off aimlessly, her ponytail swinging disregarded behind her, and was immediately met with the old scientist, emerging out of a nearby patch of obscurity.

“Oh, merely examining what I took to be a rare specimen,” he waved off airily. It did not seem, despite his civilized appearance, as if he spent all his time examining bacteria under microscopes or poring over dusty textbooks with no possible information of any consequence—he took all the air of one crawling out an authentic, fieldwork hotspot for rare pokémon. “Were you aware that not all wurmple are red-backed?”

“Really?” a considerable portion of the gathering chorused, Amaren at the forefront.

“No, indeed. Every so often one will find a most peculiar purple variety, shaded a pale lilac. Rumour has it that such discoloured, or ‘shiny’, specimens, are more receptive to growth than their usual counterparts. However, because of their flashiness, they lose the natural purpose of the colours of common pokémon—and such methods as camouflage or intimidation are impossible, having entirely the, erm, wrong colour of skin. Or hide, or scale, or fur, according to taste.”

[That’s why they’re so rare, then?] Ytarrik hazarded, though he carried the hint of telepathic fishing for information. It was indubitable that he was well-taken with the professor, though he was loath to admit it.

A wave of feeling, remarkably akin to his meanderings around the digital halls of the Trainer card’s informational database, took over Amaren as the six mismatched components of his party began moving as one, retiring to the safety of the city. Professor Oak radiated an air of learnedness, of refined science, but it did not seem like to the manner of the monotonous study books Amaren had dabbled in, long before in his village. Instead, he carried a hint of Uncle Artir in his veins, an illustrious gentleman, grown in mind, but in an infinitely more colourful manner.

“You see, Amaren,” Oak was soon explaining, “a trainer’s journey requires an amount of sacrifice, or rather some pain and subsequent strength. It is essential that one possess few inner demons and such complications at such an early part of the career, for it must be given space to grow. In your position, I would suggest that you do not shirk from such species, but indeed attempt to coexist with your fears…”

“What? How could I do that, Professor?”

“Ah, just wait a time,” he sighed, “you shall find that necessity soon overrides any incompetence you may claim to have.”

“Does that mean,” Ruki worried, “that I’ll have to get a Dark-type too?”

Their new-found mentor regarded them for a moment. “Ah… no. Not, specifically, if you very strongly desire not to.” Before Ruki could finish her impromptu celebration, however, he added, cautioning, “You will have to mimic Amaren eventually, remember. A pokémon master is one at the very end of his journeys, one who has experienced, understood, and stowed away near every facet of his or her life.

“But why are we looking so forward yet? Enjoy, I bid you, while you’re all still young!”

Amaren and Ruki looked at each other questioningly, as the Professor’s mood lifted very abruptly. [There are certain groups of people,] Ytarrik mused between them, [whom I will never understand, as long as I live.] He seemed to find a strange irony in his statement, but Amaren could not gain any more from his closed mind.

“I think that I will make my exit around now,” the professor sang, as Saffron came within hailing distance. “This is indeed where our paths fork, for I must enter the city through an entirely different route. Farewell, then… not at all, of course. I shall be very glad to see you two once again in your next venture from this hub of yours; simply find me in the encircling forest, Northwest quarter.” And, at that, he parted ways, still cheerful beyond belief.

As they entered the now-familiar outskirts of Saffron City, it seemed most visibly to Amaren as though the proud pillars of the metropolis before them had lost some of their brilliance. The gleam of technology, to Amaren’s eyes, was dimmer now than it had first been, and its every minuscule quirk was subconsciously acknowledged by his mind, seeming no more to be new and unexplored. He felt a strong urge for the open country, as to the manner of old times, where he would walk through a blizzard of new experiences leaving no time for accustomed monotony.

[I suppose,] Ytarrik added, [they call that feeling the spirit of a trainer or something. Maybe you should start, uh, doing something.]

“Doing what?” though Amaren knew already what the abra would lead to. “Maybe we should start fighting against trainers, now. See how we fare.”

“That’s a great idea!” Ruki agreed. And then, with an accidental chorus of thoughts, Amaren, Ruki, and Ytarrik simultaneously offered: “We shouldn’t delay the Gym for too long, though.”

They looked among each other, and promptly stowed this strange coincidence in the farthest cupboards of their minds. Some quirks of the universe, they could no longer doubt, were best left unexplored. They could not, additionally, doubt their inner thoughts, which ran entirely contrary to their previous mental statement.

[Oh, well.]



[{//\/\/\/\/\//\\//\\//\/\/\|/|\|/\/\/\\//\\//\\/\/\/\/\/\//}]



Already the first gleam of gold was touching the viridian of the lush forest, already the first caterpie were beginning to prepare for the coming hardship; but there was a determination about the sun and its warm breezes, seeing no harm in a parting flare of summer intensity before fall took their place. In many ways the weather could be said to be unseasonal, such that the living beings it governed seemed uncertain, expecting winter but seeing none in sight; but Amaren felt that if warmth and brightness could be prolonged, if it could (and wished to) deliver a surprise burst of life yet, what greater good truly blockaded its path?

The trainers, adaptive as they ever were, did not hesitate to make the best of this unexpected reward. Ytarrik, Angin and Akale flourished in the light like never before, surpassing expectations day after day as they jumped to greater heights of splendour. Confusion fell into Psybeam, Ember into stunning displays of pyrotechnics, and Vine Whip into showers of razor-sharp leaves, each rising in crescendos of improvement with no decline in sight. Stunningly, though Amaren had noticed it before, the peak of one day of training for a pokémon became indeed the standard for the next day; and each new move the pokémon managed with great labour seemed to become conditioned into their bodies, turning into second nature on a second try. And every test of their strength served to detail them more and more exactly the limits of their strength, so that they learnt to regulate their energies into strategy.

It was an instance within the peak of this final light, into Amaren and Ruki’s occasional sojourns into the forest, that the sun shone so broadly into the fastnesses of the dark reaches that fear was but banished entirely. For the second time yet, a Dark-type came across their path – an exceptionally skilled—poochyena—and reason, Professor Oak’s counsel, won over: Amaren and Ytarrik turned to the creature, purposing to capture him, as the golden sunlight of support flooded from every side.

Surpassing all expectations, Ytarrik wrestled telekinetically with the pokémon, his spirit a fire as steady and strong as the sun itself, and beat the wild within inches of his consciousness. A long struggle ensued within the concentrated storage device, but experience won over the fierce fortitude of the pokémon—and Lepena was caught.

Ytarrik was unique in himself, and Angin lit with the fire of her species; Akale protectively close to his beloved trainer, but Lepena was none too accustomed to revealing his inner thoughts, papering over them with a near-vicious offence. Amaren soon won his alliance, but nothing more than an alliance: he would fight entirely for his trainer, often sinking even to obeying his every command, but he seemed to see this as no more than a momentary parallel of their paths. Ytarrik was entirely unwilling to telepathically divine Lepena’s thoughts, leaving Amaren with no opportunity to know him. For the moment, however, training deigned to move according to schedule.

At last, after a half-season of training, the party streamed out of their final meeting with the north-eastern forest, seeing themselves ready to challenge the Gym.

It was late afternoon, in that amber-lit time of day when the shadowless noon met the glory of the setting sun, when the outskirts of the forest met once again their eyes and ears. A grand peace had followed the thrill of battle, a sublimity befitting the colour blushing the meanest particle of the forest with golden fire, and this feeling enveloped all the forest creatures as they set about lazily on their tasks. How golden it would have been to simply watch the pidgey glide slowly down their final flight before the twilight, how peaceful the sight of the occasional shroomish lying in the patches of sunlight, its eyes peacefully closed, drinking in the warmth—if this very feeling had not occupied the trainers and their pokémon themselves. And yet, as the last enclosing canopy of emerald leaves petered out, the light of the westering sun (so scattered, so shattered into a million greenish shards, purposeless and yet all so effective in their cluttered aim) coalesced into one single, blinding point of light, forceful enough to break walls of steel. The rasping grey of the monotone winter was already brushing the eastern horizon with near-insubstantial fingers—but Amaren and Ruki, and Ytarrik and Angin and Akale, all their heads were turned towards the west.

“It feels like an eternity since I came out of that burning forest, so long ago,” Amaren mused, with a nudge of unexpectedly sober agreement from Ytarrik.

“But we’re finally going to challenge the Saffron Gym, I can’t believe it!” Ruki uttered breathlessly. “Are we strong enough, shouldn’t we have done some more training?”

“Angin and Akale are plenty strong enough, Ruki,” Amaren consoled, attempting to force a likewise burst of excitement within his own chest into submission. “As long as everyone keeps cool, we should be perfectly fine.”

“But how can we be sure?” she cried irrationally. Ignoring Ytarrik’s mean-spirited suggestions, Amaren put an arm around Ruki and spoke peacefully. “Calm down, Ruki, I’m here, aren’t I? As long as we go in there as a team, there’s no chance anyone could defeat us.”

It was undetectable, but did Amaren sense a hint of pride deep in Ytarrik’s labyrinthine mind? In any case, Ruki settled considerably at his ministrations—how, he would never know, for his speech had been utter rubbish.


The Saffron City Psychic-Type Gym was no great establishment in external appearance. A blue-shingled, slate-grey, rectangular building, it lay mismatched in the midst of the city’s arrays of grandeur, seeming to an outsider rather unbecoming of its promise. However, as Ytarrik assured, physical appearance was meaningless to a dwelling of psychic-types. The only mark separating it from any other nondescript building in the city was the title, imprinted in formal text above the massive double doors.

Forbidding as it seemed, the doors, at the least, were thrown wide open; but whether in a gesture of welcome or malicious beckoning, Amaren could not decide, and his attempts at this were met with a small Confusion from the disgruntled Ytarrik. As they entered the wide hall within, lined with rows upon rows of cots resembling hospital beds, the abra seemed to take some inexplicable satisfaction in all the gloom.

The windowless, whitewashed walls of the cavernous room were lit with the flames of gigantic candles, burning steadily at intermittent intervals along the rows of beds. An inner room leaned against the back wall, presumably the stadium, closed to all mortal ways of entry. Most of the strange cots were occupied with inexperienced trainers, sleeping fitfully as a nearby psychic-type extended some uneasy mesmeric influence upon their dreams, and their pokémon sat ranged all around them, staring with vacant eyes. And yet, beneath all the murky silence brooded a sense of arcane age, to which Ytarrik (and all his influences upon those around him) reacted positively. The half-articulated sounds of distant, disciplined action reverberated from some indistinct source.

A tall man disengaged himself noiselessly from a nearby corner and strode toward these new arrivals ([Infidels,] Ytarrik corrected) with a brisk telepathic greeting. His physical appearance was plain, almost shabby, his eyes expressionlessly dreamy, but he conveyed the sense of impressiveness well on his own level.

He then began to relay a series of thoughts into the party’s minds, but they were even more abstract than Ytarrik’s standard telepathic messages, such that their full meaning could not be translated into any human language. It seemed as though he had not spoken in articulate tongue for so long that his thoughts never strayed into the realm of words; but, instead of the subconscious urges of instinct which one would naturally revert to in such a situation, he spoke in a strange thought-speech: more concentrated than simple thought, but freer of half-truths and contradictions than any language Amaren had ever heard. When asked to recall his words at a later time, Amaren would revert to a less abstract form of speech and take it as truth.

[Ah, you are also a trainer of the song,] he relayed to Amaren, adding unnecessarily that the song was a truer word for the psychic type. [Workable promise lies in you, Ytarrik, if you were one to remain in Saffron and train with us.]

[Is it so?] Ytarrik replied enthusiastically.

The two psychics lapsed suddenly into conversation, thinking with such instantaneous speed that the humans had scarce time to interpret the meaning of one thought before another was uttered.

[Yes, indeed, I do not – ]
[If only I could meet – ]
[Yet, you have your own – ]
[…I didn’t know that.]
[Such is the course – ]
[Really? The things I could – ]
[Ah, do not be so – ]
[I guess not…]

Amaren and Ruki waited patiently, and the man eventually interrupted the conversation with a start. [Dear me, I seem to have forgotten. New trainers, and this is all I give you for hospitality!

[Let me proceed to the challenge. You shall be put into a sort of… dreamscape, as it were, and left to fend for yourself along with your pokémon. You have already read of it. If you survive this psychic plane of thought, you will be led into the stadium, and the Gym leader will use pokémon according to the skill at which you fared to battle you. If you are victorious, of course, you will receive the usual prizes. Here, follow me.]

He led the trainers to a couple of beds suitably close to the centre of the room, and summoned a large, heavy hypno with a dusty steel pendulum. At the nameless man’s instructions, Amaren and Ruki lay uncomfortably on their respective beds, and the psychic-type stretched its hands out to radiate waves of some heavy, impalpable substance into their minds. Instantly, Amaren fell into a deep, trance-like sleep.

Infinite particles ranged around Amaren, bobbing and curling in airy spirals, arrayed into blocky slates, but they were suddenly one, cohering into a single concept, and then they branched again, flowering out into usual complexity –

And yet this was no usual avatar of their form, like but entirely unlike the cavernous Gym to which Amaren was so blissfully closed. It seemed closer towards the universal form, but not completely; and yet was the twilight forest surrounding his indistinct spirit anything more than a solid block of concept, broken only occasionally with the odd blurring detail? And surely the shapeless shadows rising out of the dark places were no distinct mightyena, with every strand of unkempt fur painfully clear: surely they were mere apparitions of thought, darkening the forest shades with their terror alone. No, but the formless mesh of golden light was his own, the power which animated Ytarrik [Amaren] as he turned to face the challenge around him.

On a plane entirely outside his own, Ytarrik watched him with nonexistent eyes; but was he here, fending off the outlawed spirits of the twisted woods, or hovering next to a hospital bed in the midst of a concrete cavern? Did this truly matter, here, now, in this rage of instinct?

Two identical ellipses of startling silver rose before his eyes, supported on thin stalks; and out of them resounded an intoxicating energy, blasting back the surrounding threads of thought with their shockwaves. A pokéball flashed before him, and an elderly gentleman with a gardevoir by his side, and then a pure, bright spot of blue (or was it gold?); ancient thought surged into his form, filling him with brilliance, and the phantoms around him shook in terror—

—they were nearly defeated—

—and then a single, panicked jerk of dread: a dirty silver wolf, towering over the single indigo candle, threatening to burn it out – but his golden fire was already burning out, its fuel was being stolen before its outstretched hands as the cold embrace of the darkness smothered it,

We are eternal, all this pain is an illusion



Kalens Oak, under the warm wood of his private study. “—one at the very end of his journey, his internal demons all tamed and put away. You see, when fear is understood, it ceases to exist entirely. Equilibrium resumes when the chaotic element is analysed, assimilated, unable to cause any more disorder.”

[Life is all too dreadfully mortal, but many are protected by things eternal, omnipotent. They are fit receptacles for the thought, and thus exist for long to serve this purpose. Death is not as frequent a guest as you claim it to be.]

“Your deed is done, Amaren. Open your eyes.”


And the light of the candle Gym flooded into his mind again.


[Finely done, finely done,] the strange man was commending in his usual telepathy, with am air of average impression. [And I believe your young friend is still battling on?]

Ytarrik and Lepena shook their heads, attempting to clear their minds, as Amaren rose woozily from his post. He realized he had been shouting. “YES!” a victory cry.

Behind him, the girl and her pokémon began to show signs of stirring, and soon they, too, were awake, their reactions visibly more subdued than Amaren’s.

“That,” Ruki emphasized, “was an experience I don’t want to have again.”

“But did you get through?” Amaren asked.

“…I think I did.” And they had already begun their celebrations, when the man interrupted their cheering.

[Ah, but that is only half the journey. Follow me.]



[{//\/\/\/\/\//\\//\\//\/\/\|/|\|/\/\/\\//\\//\\/\/\/\/\/\//}]



The stadium of the Saffron Gym was a most moody, dramatic affair: a concrete rectangle, painted in the usual manner of battling courts (a grand Pokèball in the center – still a Pokèball – and rectangular stages for the trainers on either end, each connected by a single line running through the central Pokèball), with spotlights allowing only the platforms within visibility. A circular, rising staircase of seats surrounding the stadium afforded the audience a fair view of the battle. There were no visible signs of entry for anything as solid as air; they had entered through Teleportation.

Ruki went to sit by the sidelines, as Amaren was called first to battle. He stepped uncertainly on the platform closer to him, and gave a start as he was lifted high up, supported by the air itself—or, more accurately, telekinetic force.

The trainer looked around with distinct unease. However he may have seemed to those watching him, flying effortlessly up into the ‘top’ of affairs, it felt extremely unnerving to be raised to such a height at such a speed.

Suddenly, a near-palpable telepathic message rebounded across the acoustic stadium.

[Welcome, Amaren Kelanis, to the Saffron City Pokémon Gym. I am, as you expect, the Leader of our institution.]

“Where are you?” Amaren shouted. “Why can’t I see you?”

[My physical form is immaterial, and my name doubly so. But you shall most easily wrench whatever information strikes your fancy from your trainer card, of course.]

“Er… all right…”

[Let us begin, then! I choose Espeon…]

As if from thin air, a figure materialized on the opposing side of the stadium, an extravagantly lavender feline. Its long, slender tail was split at the end in a tiny, jointed fork, and a bright red gem, no greater than a ring diamond, glittered on its expansive forehead. Amaren could only assume it was an exceptionally young specimen.

With a cry, he launched his own pokéball out into the field, and the spotlights turned upon it in such a manner that (for a moment) it seemed as if the dimly glinting sphere was the source of the light around it, warding off the encircling shadows.

The illusion quickly passed.

[You’re my opponent, then?] Ytarrik mused.

[It seems so…] the pokémon replied.

[Ah, this should be a lovely night.] And, at a command from Amaren, he rose from his seat and fell into coma, concentrating visibly.

Instantly, the espeon charged the hovering creature, brandishing his tail [like some sordid barbed whip,] in Ytarrik’s private words. As the tail caught his side painfully, scratching a long, curved gash, the abra did not flinch in the slightest, diluting his concentration by a millimetre alone. It seemed the espeon was determined to leave a mark, however, and he repeated this many times, until blood began to flow…

[What are you doing, Ytarrik?] Amaren urged.

In a painful jerk, the tail came within an inch of Ytarrik’s face and stopped.

With a physical grin, Ytarrik gave a mental flick, and the sheen of a transparent bubble of matter glinted in the spotlight, protecting him vigilantly. The espeon’s tail was caught firmly within its voluminous expanses, and the creature could only labour in vain to release itself.

Ytarrik’s grin broadened as he concentrated upon the lump of tail caught inside his Barrier: to little effect, at first, but then…

[What are you doing?] the espeon yelled. [No, that doesn’t go there—stop, stop—ah! Why, thank you, Mother, I almost forgot my lunchbox. Here, let you hit me over the haaaaeeed with it…]

And he began beating his own cranium against the closest surface he could see, thoroughly Confused—but the Gym Leader merely laughed.

[What on earth?] Ytarrik offered on Amaren’s behalf, but then began offering something his trainer would certainly not wish to convey. [Oh, earth. Synch – sink, is it? I like sinks. Especially the bathroom sinks, they own the kitchen ten times over. Here, let me sing a song about it…]

The espeon was most determined to provide his poetic ideals for the cause of the general public, but he was entirely drowned by the heart-rending vocals his opponent delivered, and immediately proceeded to sing along. Amaren thought his accompaniment, especially the impromptu twist of being unable to keep up with Ytarrik’s ever-twisting lyrics, was rather masterfully harmonious.

[Synchronize,] resounded the Leader’s voice, [as your abra attempted to say before he was drowned by the fruits of his own labour.]

[Why, of course,] Ytarrik attempted to add. [Any… status… condition-thingy I do to that pesky espeon comes around to afflict me, don’t it? Wheee!

Amaren looked over his shoulder, and the quiet laughing that was tinkling from the sideline rapidly quelled, as Ruki glanced up to display her most sincerely concerned and supporting expression.

In any other situation it would have been entirely comical, Amaren could not but concede. The pokémon’s struggle towards sanity, towards ‘snapping out of confusion’, was one of the longest waits he had ever suffered in the heat of a pokémon battle. Eventually, however, it was the espeon who uttered the first coherent sentence, to a cheer from the sadly befuddled Ytarrik.

The feline pressed forward, backing away, as a faint telepathic link set up with the receiver Ytarrik. It sagged mentally, then tightened without warning as the first raging thought ripped across it; more emotions followed, torrents of distracting concepts, piling over each other until the very air distorted around it, revealing a braided stream of immaterial water. Thankfully, the first blow was sufficient to bring Ytarrik out of the “garden shower” he was probing with such zeal in his mind.

He exploded mentally, shoving out a bubble of yellow glitter which filtered marginally the Psybeam assailing his mind. More matter began streaming out from him, rallying to hold the assault of the beam, concentrating on one single patch of bubble…

[Would I not see through that?] the espeon smirked.

And the beam forked at a point directly before the bubble, streaming out to breach the transparent back of his Light Screen; and Ytarrik yelled:

[No, you—are—FLESH! This is the Gym we’re standing in! There is no point in – run. Everywhere! Are you hearing me? I’m here, lying beneath the tree, burning!]

[Weak,] the Leader boomed, and then the monotone softened. [Your journey has only begun, I should not have forgotten.]

The espeon relented, stricken, and Ytarrik snapped back into reality. At last, this had become a challenge for all his heart.

He flicked his opponent’s offence off with a massive effort, and locked horns with the espeon, sending a stream of solid thought into the lavender arm of startled defence.

A split braid of pure concept spanned between the battlers, gold and purple, clashing at its median point of conflict. It was an outward explosion of offence, a mutual separation, but the single threaded mind connected them in the manner only warriors could conceive, brothers in the aggression of thought. Rather than estranging the human watchers in their wonder, it brought them into the heart of the war, each other, the single glowing point where Ytarrik’s Psybeam met the espeon’s.

In a sudden flash, the balance was broken. The scales tipped in Ytarrik’s favour, the point of meeting spiralling down, no longer a glittering keystone to their unity, but a rapidly-approaching death-trap: and it was over.

Ytarrik looked down at the fainted espeon, heaving with exhaustion and victory.

[Marvellous,] said the Gym leader, with a vague hint of impression. [Round One has been won by Amaren; but you still possess one more pokémon, and so do I.]

“Then let Round Two begin!” Amaren challenged, recalling Ytarrik gratefully.


[Round two: Kadabra versus Poochyena.]

“Howl, Lepena,” Amaren ordered, as the grander form of Ytarrik before him closed his eyes in the familiarly silent psychic coma. The dark-type threw back his head and let out a startling lamentation of viciousness, the perceived shadows surrounding his form growing deeper; but his silver fangs glinted all the more intensely. Ytarrik, nestled inside the stasis of his pokéball, managed to convey his absolute hatred of the creature.

[Strangely,] he tried to say, [my battle was the gist of this match. We just need to wait for Lepena to finish off this kadabra, and we’re done!]

The dark-type leapt instantly into the fray, running towards the prone kadabra to deliver a poison-tipped Bite, tackling him to the ground. An instant retaliation, but no psychic was a practitioner of brute force, and dark would ever wipe out its influence.

The kadabra raised a silver spoon, but Lepena beat down the assault; he attempted to overthrow the steady weight on his chest, to no avail. A long, silent struggle ensued, the poochyena digging his shadows ever deeper into the psychic, resistance insufficient –

And finally the battle was won.

[The battle is won!] roared Ytarrik, all weariness forgotten.

[Ah, yes, it does seem to be so,] the leader droned. [Shall I battle your friend before the awards are given?]

Amaren hurried back to the wooden sidelines, as Ruki walked uncertainly the other way. A quick exchange of smiles was all the common anticipation could allow…

Acrutheo
May 4th, 2008, 11:31 AM
What alternative word would you suggest? "That's" and "which's" are hardly acceptable.
The sentence would probably require a rewrite. Or, just change "Gym" into "Gym trainers"?

---

Comments on Chapter Four:

Once again, another great chapter. It was an interesting streak of Amaren to try to use Yttarik to pry into his friend's mind, I thought. And there was some brilliant imagery in there, as well. ^^ And, an excellent idea to make sure the Leader uses at-trainer's-skill-level pokemon, which would explain the convenience in the games.

He was surprised, near astonished, that he had never thought to ask her this simple question
This sentence needs a period at the end.

[Any… status… condition-thingy I do to that pesky espeon comes around to afflict me, don’t it? Wheee!This sentence needs a ]

bobandbill
May 4th, 2008, 08:11 PM
Great chapter. Really nice description and imagery there, in particular - very nicely done, and well written. Quite refreshing to read as well after a Chemistry exam, and using CityRail to get back home. ;) :)

Some nice events as well, including the Gym battle (and 'test' prior to it - quite interesting). Good concept with the Gym Leader's Pokemon as well being weaker for beginning trainers - I've seen it before and quite agree with it. Plot is moving along nicely - and a nice cliffhanger as well. Intrigued by Ruki's past as well - hopefull we shall see more on it later.

Am a bit surprised about the mentioning of the shiny Wurmple, in that Ameran didn't go to catch it. He had mentioned that he wanted some Pokemon to counter Psychic types - and he mentioned bug types. As the professor mentioned Rumour has it that such discoloured, or ‘shiny’, specimens, are more receptive to growth than their usual counterparts.
...thought Ameran might have thought of catching it. Oh well - new addition of the Poochyena doesn't disappoint, but he seems to have had less focus/mention of him than the other pokes thus far. Just an observation.

A few other nitpicks other than what Acrutheo offered:
Also, my banner is (superficially) explained. A certain portion makes me think of bobandbill's fiction, in fact; I'll see if anyone can find it.\
Oh really? Interesting...
passing over their many hurts (though to a less vivid degree).
Many hurts is a tad clumsy for me - maybe injuries or something else.
[Our vitality,] Ytarrik explained, once sanity had once again reluctantly set in,
Two 'once's' in quick succession there, repetitive.
Instantly, she found some point of extreme interest immediately beyond Amaren’s shoulder, and focused all her ocular attention there.
Heh, nice sudden change in interest. :)
“Where’s the professor, though?”
Indeed... I do see your point in you explanation, but his sudden disapperances in the story slight erk me somewhat...
He realized he had been shouting. “YES!” a victory cry.
Sounds odd - maybe join the two and reword it slighty.
Let us begin, then! I choose Espeon…]
Is Espeon the name in place of a nickname? For it is capitalised, unlike other Pokemon names when they usually are not...
[Round two: Kadabra versus Poochyena.]
Same as above, and seemed odd, as you didn't have the disclaimer for the 'first' round, and probably unnesserary (and doesn't fit in with the rest of the writing style you have - jumps out a bit).


Very nice work here though, especially the description and all. Keep it up!

Luphinid Silnaek
May 12th, 2008, 08:46 AM
Acrutheo:

The sentence would probably require a rewrite. Or, just change "Gym" into "Gym trainers"?Fair enough :D

Once again, another great chapter. It was an interesting streak of Amaren to try to use Yttarik to pry into his friend's mind, I thought. And there was some brilliant imagery in there, as well. ^^ And, an excellent idea to make sure the Leader uses at-trainer's-skill-level pokemon, which would explain the convenience in the games.In fact, I only made provisions as far as they would convenience my plot. I plan to make a nicely complete realistic and detailed pokémon universe in another fic sometime.

Your corrections are duly and gratefully noted.

bobandbill:

Some nice events as well, including the Gym battle (and 'test' prior to it - quite interesting). Good concept with the Gym Leader's Pokemon as well being weaker for beginning trainers - I've seen it before and quite agree with it. Plot is moving along nicely - and a nice cliffhanger as well. Intrigued by Ruki's past as well - hopefull we shall see more on it later.I'm glad there is someone else out there who noticed the Gym Leader strength thing. Concerning Ruki's past, well, you'll see. Long later.

Am a bit surprised about the mentioning of the shiny Wurmple, in that Ameran didn't go to catch it. He had mentioned that he wanted some Pokemon to counter Psychic types - and he mentioned bug types. As the professor mentionedI'm surprised how easy it appears to misread or misspell Amaren's name, since I had been making a very simple and average-sounding name from my view. I suppose the vowels are just so unobtrusive. Of course, if you take a closer look, it only appeared to the professor that he had stumbled on a shiny wurmple. It was actually a trick of the light. Given the despicable rarity of shinies, I doubt I'll have one in any fiction unless I depict an obsessed man wasting half his lifetime poking through herds or flocks or something beforehand.

...thought Ameran might have thought of catching it. Oh well - new addition of the Poochyena doesn't disappoint, but he seems to have had less focus/mention of him than the other pokes thus far. Just an observation.Indeed. Lepena's the sort of pokémon who'll sulk in some lonely shadowed corner for the entire duration of a social event. Especially later, I will portray him specifically as something the main character barely notices.

Oh really? Interesting..Quite so. I think I was influenced by your brilliant portrayal of muddled confused minds, such as might be induced by heavy drinking...

Indeed... I do see your point in you explanation, but his sudden disapperances in the story slight erk me somewhat... An issue throughout the fiction is a less than satisfying portrayal of some of the characters Amaren meets through his life. I try to write it down as subjective reality.

Is Espeon the name in place of a nickname? For it is capitalised, unlike other Pokemon names when they usually are not... Yes, it is indeed a nickname. I indicate by the capitalisation and the lack of any article.

Right, all your other corrections are appreciated. Hereon follows the beginning of the real action, and the end of the first sane portion of the fiction. Shortly afterwards I will release a Bridge, a sort of conclusion of the first part and introduction into the next, but really something that will not help matters of confusion very well. Whatever. Commence chapter 7.





Aftershock

Chapter 7: The Peak
Part 2







[Ruki Ferena,] the Leader of the Gym said quietly, [rookie trainer, equal to the level of your closest ally, Master Kelanis. Ah, interesting.]

[Perhaps his omniscience is getting a bit on the nerves,] Amaren suggested privately to Ytarrik.

[And shall you be using Akale the bellsprout to begin this match?] said the nameless leader. [Correct. Enter venonat. An unfortunate chance, the type-matching, but such is life.]

A shapeless ball of purple fuzz peered out with massive, bulbous scarlet eyes, its underdeveloped forepaws resembling cracked eggshell-halves. Tipped white antennae bent back from its top, shaped in an entirely unassuming manner.

“Still,” Ruki whispered to her bellsprout, “be on your guard, Akale.”

The grass-type begun with his signature Growth, as his opponent stepped two toddling steps forward to stop abruptly. It merely stood there, waiting for some invisible cue.

Akale broke the siege first, extending large, slithering vines forward into the naïve curiosity of the venonat. They approached it with increasing caution, the snake after the hapless mouse…

And suddenly a mad glint entered those gigantic eyes, and the forepaw reached out to touch the vines, which instantly withered before Akale’s eyes.

“Disable!” Ruki cursed. She changed tack upon a dime: “You know what bug-types hate, Akale!”

With a sound of obedience, the bellsprout aimed his pitcher head and released a spurt of noxious green liquid. It sizzled painfully into the venonat’s shaggy fur, who retaliated instantly in insect fury.

The fine hairs bristled as though with static, as a great wind was whipped up all around the stadium, slamming concentrated into Akale. His root-like appendages insufficient to hold to the ground, he ripped off the concrete floor with a great protest and slammed painfully into the ground several feet away, to a sympathetic groan from his trainer.

“Is this war?” Ruki asked her pokémon. “Exactly. Sleep Powder!”

The remnants of the Gust still whirligiging around the stadium, Akale released a storm of white mist, which streamed out to follow the contours of the wind and engulfed the venonat whole. Within seconds, its peacefully heaving body was lying prone on the floor.

Akale strode over to his exposed opponent, and began attacking indignantly in whichever manner he could contrive. A flurry of Acid followed a thorough beating with Slam, and preceded a few good cracks of the Vine Whip, and through all the exercise the bug-type did not but stir in slight discomfort. Ruki cheered on and Amaren gave his turn at laughing madly, until—at last—with a groggy start, it awoke.

The venonat squared itself, and directed a paltry Psybeam into Akale’s mind: rings of purple thought streaming out of each eye to hit the bellsprout painfully. They were diluted into the Poison element, but to an untrained mind even this mockery was overwhelming—Akale sat back heavily, beady eyes rolling, as he shot out attacks at random.

[Have I forgotten something?] the leader suddenly asked, as though picking up a thought from Ruki’s mind.

She blinked in surprise. “Uh, yeah, you have. This bellsprout also knows Stun Spore.”

And, as the trainer’s smile widened, a fine neon-yellow dust began streaming out into the atmosphere, snaking its way into the venonat’s lungs. At the first influence, its body seized up, muscles petrifying into coma; and the Psybeam was no longer deathly effective: with a well-placed Slam, Akale incapacitated the insect.

A moment of disbelief.

‘I did it?” Ruki muttered. “I did it!” she suddenly yelled. “Bring on the next round!”



Angin stared challengingly into her opponent’s eyes, her flames flaring out in controlled bursts of intimidation. A rotund, humanoid figure, its ridiculous smile belied the tenacity of irritation it was capable of causing. A strange shirt-like covering protected its spherical torso and capped the pale, spindly legs, and dark blue horns flopped out from either end of its head.

“Mr. Mime, is it…?” Amaren murmured.

The pokémon held out his gloved hands, clutching imaginary walls, and began moving in a tight circle, his body pressed against the supposed glass with astonishing realism. Angin faltered for a moment, disconcerted, but plowed on.

“Start with Smoke Screen, Angin,” Ruki ordered. “Whatever this pokémon can do, he can’t blow smoke away!”

A gigantic ball of concentrated powder shot out at Mr. Mime, making straight towards his chest; but it suddenly cracked inches before impact, crumbling into a fine mist which spread out in every direction. The psychic-type was encased in a persistent cloud of black smoke, and muffled sounds of protest were resounding from within the mess.

“All right, blast him with all you’ve got!”

Angin charged into the center of the fray and released a great stream of impassioned fire which singed a gaping hole in the smokescreen, passing entirely through the diligent Barrier to swallow the blinded Mr. Mime within. He raged out of the great deathtrap constructed all around him, coming in his frenzy within feet of Angin; but she did not flinch, confident in her opponent’s reasonlessness. Merely, the cyndaquil lay back and surveyed the scene.

Mr. Mime suddenly held up one hand, and stared directly into Angin’s eyes, a bloodshot, manic twinkle in his own. A long, invisible struggle of wills, but then, out of the thin air over the psychic’s glove materialized a metal disk attached to a stalk. He held it vertically upwards, and then began dipping it from side to side, as Angin came back to her senses with a start.

“Nice trick,” Amaren murmured, and then called to Ruki telepathically, with Ytarrik’s medium. [Mr. Mime have the ability to convince people to believe in the existence of imagined objects, if I recall correctly. If the target begins believing it, I guess the object becomes real.]

Ytarrik exclaimed.

A double wall of Light Screen and Barrier rose shakily into place all around the creature, as the pendulum began dipping in measured intervals, seeming almost to sound noiselessly at every turn. Tick, tock, tick, tock, tick, tock…

And a spurt of water burst out from inches before the Metronome, slamming into Angin with all the force of its element.

The cyndaquil spluttered in naked shock, attempting to flare her flames and shake herself dry simultaneously. An explosion of steam and water blew out from her drenched fur, but water stuck inextricably to the spikes, dampening their fire. A convulsive shudder of cold instantaneously followed – but days of training had never wasted upon her skill.

Instinctively, the opponents retreated into their respective positions, preparing for their next clash: Mr. Mime purposed merely towards the familiar Psychic meditations, but Angin sat back and began staring directly into the spotlight which precisely followed her erratic movements.

An abrupt jerk preceded a small burst of flame, directly skywards; but instead of dissipating into the atmosphere, it fell apart into a thousand glowing droplets of golden-red mist which spread quickly across the roof of the building. They clung to every lit surface, congregating around the spotlights like heat-seeking fireflies, and all existing light in the room seemed to intensify hundredfold, heating the atmosphere visibly.

“Exactly, Angin,” Ruki called out, “Sunny Day! Show them how a telepathic link isn’t the only way to communicate in a battle.”

The psychic-type opened his eyes irritably, distracted by the pulsating lights. He looked straight up, blinded (to his dismay) by the glare, and ran forward in a sightless rage of psychic attack.

Mr. Mime was racing directly toward Angin, impossible to sidestep (for all his psychic substitute for vision), and a sabre of forceful thought pointed out from before him, hungry for a subject to assault. As Angin and Ruki looked calculatingly towards the offender, Amaren’s cautions and preachings wormed their way into their thought.

Angin shot out a globule of steaming purple liquid, and the psychic attack latched on hungrily to this Toxic, working its inherent effects into the poison. Suddenly the tables had turned: Mr. Mime was the one in imminent danger: the noxious venom threatening to breach his skin if left unopposed with sufficient psychic cleansing. He dug into the ball heading directly for him with all the energy he still possessed, burning it away with searing gold; but one infinitesimal drop splashed into his leg.

With a triumphant cry, Angin gathered her Sunny Day all around her and blasted him with the full force of all her power, the separate droplets falling together one by one to feed her makeshift Flamethrower. The light from the heavenly roof of the building was steadily deteriorating, replaced by the insane glow of the vertical bonfire pumping into the defences of Mr. Mime—until all was spent, and the opponents stood face to face, inches away, haggard beyond description.

The last remnant of a twinkle returned to Mr. Mime’s eyes; he slammed Angin into defeat with a flick of a thought.

The watchers roared in separate voice of victory and disappointment; the quiet acknowledgment of the Gym Leader, the twin lamentation of Ruki and Amaren, the clamour of the anticipating crowd of a hundred different thoughts—but suddenly Ruki fell silent, bringing the celebrations to an abrupt pause.

“Did you forget?” she said. “I still have Akale, don’t I?”

For the psychic-type merely stood there in the chaos, his bloodshot, contracted eyes showing not the slightest fraction of life; and a swift blow to the head by the still-surviving Akale incapacitated him entirely.





[{//\/\/\/\/\//\\//\\//\/\/\|/|\|/\/\/\\//\\//\\/\/\/\/\/\//}]





A moment of dignified silence alone did Amaren and Ruki allow as they walked out of the smoking remains of the Pokémon Gym, clutching their trophies (twin compact discs of some unknown TM, prize money, and, of course, copies of the Marshbadge in all its glinting glory). The moment they were clear of eavesdroppers, they sunk into a frenzy of celebration, dancing, hugging each other and their groggily-released pokémon; reacting generally in a manner only those in their position could. This was, indeed, the reason for the chain of their thoughts when Prof. Oak appeared suddenly from a nearby street to congratulate them.

“I foresaw it from the beginning,” the biologist called, “you emerge victorious. Spectacular match, I must say.”

“Thanks, Professor,” Amaren said, stymied. “What do you think we should do next? On to the next gym?”

“Already?” Prof. Oak replied.

“Well, why not?” chimed Ruki, still influenced by the effects of battle. “As soon as our pokémon recharge, we should be ready to leave.”

“Ah, all right,” was a sigh and a reply. “Given your position, I would suggest Cerulean City next. Angin will be at a severe disadvantage, Ruki, but I think you will sufficiently handle it.”

“Cerulean?” Ruki murmured, doubt suddenly colouring her voice. “M-Maybe we should wait awhile. A day or two.”

Amaren saw no opposition in this: “Or three.”

“Even half a week,” Ruki persisted. “Enough to consolidate our position.”

And it was decided.





[{//\/\/\/\/\//\\//\\//\/\/\|/|\|/\/\/\\//\\//\\/\/\/\/\/\//}]





Fall had hastily taken up its shirked responsibilities after the last flare of summer warmth, blowing silver breezes of chilly wind which painted the trees inevitable autumn. Within the space of a week and a half, the winged vanguard of winter had signalled its commands into every branch of every proud, oaken pillar: bidding them forsake their extravagancies in preparation of the coming frost; matting the unruly pelts of the proud earth into a single, uniform black; empowering ironclad clouds to boldly lead the former fringes of winter grey into monopoly of the sky. Every creature had reacted prudently to the cautioning signs of coming hardship, but Ruki and Amaren stuck stubbornly to their old, summertime pursuits, ignoring the coming wind and rain.

At last, the time of Saffron was coming to a close, its bright steel dimmed of light-deprivation. The trainers and their mentor stood at the gates of their city, looking out towards Route 5 framed with naked forest.

“You must realize,” Prof. Oak said, “this is goodbye for me. I should very well like to accompany you, but this is my place.”

Amaren felt a sudden blow of dread; he had never foreseen that far. “But… why can’t you just come along?” he asked feebly.

“Ah, it’s not my place to follow all your wanderings. I’m sorry, but you will have to learn to go on your own.”

And his resolve would not be shaken, despite all protest. He was not, however, coldly unyielding in his determination: he attempted desperately for compensation; but, at last, matters were decided grudgingly.

“Farewell, then… not at all. I shall meet you someday, when our paths cross once again.”

With solemn farewells, they moved off into the forest-path deserted at this dark hour by every sign of life, still clinging to hope and life beyond all reason: their laughter sang all across the gaunt shades of verdant, transforming it (for this moment) into a receptacle for their still-pervasive spring. Amaren still could not help glancing up into the darkening stripe of visible sky every now and then. How long before it was too dark to see?

At last, with the sudden throwing of a switch, the forest ended to let back the remnants of winter light. Pewter City and Mt. Moon reclined on the shoulders of a wide, inland mountain of a hill; and its arms spread out even to support the majority of Cerulean, to which the way from Saffron was a steady rise of ledges. Only two roads cut the entirety of the way with relative straightness.

At winter, overtaken with a half-frosted wilderness of waterlogged grass, this gentle slope seemed a mountain with the displeased heavens at its crown.

They stepped uncertainly into the frigid sea of trees at the foot of the rising land, moving with measured steps deeper into the gloom. Suddenly, Ruki gave a faint yell and flinched.

“Something brushed against my leg!”

Amaren picked up a nearby stick and began to poke cautiously through the grass, flinching as he, too, felt the fast-moving creature rip cleanly through the murk. He jerked the grass soundlessly away off an invisible patch, to reveal a green quadruped growling faintly up at them.

A small, streamlined creature, it most resembled a canine in appearance, with its four gleaming fangs bared in warning on a short snout. Spikes of fur stuck out from the joints of its low legs and from the yellow-tipped tail, raised in vigilance; and a large, ovoid formation grew vertically from the back of its head.

“Is that an… electrike?” Amaren said reverently.

They backed rapidly away, as tiny blue sparks began jumping with increasing frequency between separate points on the electric-type’s fur; and Ruki hastily sent out Akale to battle.

The bellsprout began the match, extending his vines out beckoningly towards the electrike, as his opponent began to positively sparkle with static electricity to abruptly stop in a silent Charge. The moment the traditional Vine Whip made contact with the charged fur, no longer wasting its potential difference on wayward sparks of light, a silent battle of pain ensued; and attention was so intent upon the match as to ignore an imperceptible stiffening of Amaren’s limbs.




Looking down from the crow’s nest of the crystal ship—


“Akale, Slash!”


—the infinite moment before the fall, the infinitesimal peak before the waning—


The electrike jumped away with supernal speed—


—the cloaked figure, in his final moment of triumph and despair and malice—no, never malice, something—


It circled its offender in dizzying spirals, shooting out irritated bolts of electricity.


—Tinged ever so slightly with the ghostly light of its past, the walker along his vast dark path comes finally to a lightless explosion of light—


The pokémon was inside a storage device, fighting still for release as the pressure pulsed at regular intervals of struggle


s i ll-decided x fold e d elu ge


The display of its Storage froze

[B]UNGODLY

and a single message scrolled across its metal—




ERROR: INTERFERENCE




Ruki’s eyes are blank, vacant, her rapid breathing slowing infinitely


The cloaked hero sees unseeingly the scene around him, his eyes revealing nothing


She rises upon a tower of a pedestal, a shockwave emanating from her position on the ground, blowing away her possessions, her pokémon, Amaren, into the distance of watchers


He falls up out of the sea of stormy fire, rising up through the smoke and the destruction


She is stripped, uninhibited; the gleaming sapphire of her form; her simple, pure, beauty, unveiled by physical influences, naked


and how naked the malice, how unearthly the cackling laughter of the phantoms all around him, all too real


but the wraiths of dark intent are surrounding her, emerging from nothing, their evil so material, their danger so real to her tender, uncovered form


formless, shapeless, the unmanifest manifestations of violence and illness, impossible to attempt to attack


She is attacked! her delicate beauty, a sculpture of silver glass, crumbling within their brute destruction


Amaren looked up with helpless eyes into the dying light, extinguished by the wraiths which Luphinid Remana Silnaek looked down into with emotionless eyes.


He had delved into his memories for too long.


The inevitable end had finally arrived.










Ah... The turning chapter. This, indeed, is the first scene ever created of this fiction, a mutation of a dream I had long in the past. In fact, the original dream was rather more gruesome, involving as it did a slow, systematic stripping of Ruki's physical form; first the clothes, then skin, then, muscle, and so on and so forth. I will clarify (unnecessarily, since it will be confirmed) that Ruki is most certainly dead at this moment, and the point-of-view has switched from Amaren to Luphinid.

bobandbill
May 13th, 2008, 01:46 AM
First, some small responses -
I'm surprised how easy it appears to misread or misspell Amaren's name, since I had been making a very simple and average-sounding name from my view.
Oh, never mind my misspellings - I can't remember any sort of name for the life of me. Bleh.
Quite so. I think I was influenced by your brilliant portrayal of muddled confused minds, such as might be induced by heavy drinking...
Fair enough then - as in, the Pokeball is the only clear object, while the rest is dark and 'muddled', so to speak... interesting that my story inspired a banner. :)

Very good - and rather clean as well there (unless I'm too tired to find much wrong). The description again was fantastic - especially of Pokemon and attacks in the battle, as well as of fall (autumn). Well thought out and written - quite enjoyable to read. The battle was quite good overall, and liked the idea of Mr Mime being able to make things appear by convincing the opponent it is real. Hurrah for gym victories as well - good to see that they won. :)

But, for the dream... well, I think this sums up my inital response to it:
Guienjzzzzzofiwdfjfdffdd...gah?

Didn't quite see it coming... and certaining a changing moment. And very.... well, different. Kinda at a loss for words to say what I think about it (as you can see) - but certainly intriguing. Ruki dead? Also didn't see that coming. Talking about sudden plot twists - but I strangely liked it the whole last bit... very nicely done.

With a triumphant cry, Angin gathered her Sunny Day all around her and blasted him with the full force of all her power, the separate droplets falling together one by one to feed her makeshift flamethrower.
I suppose that it can easily be taken either way... but Sunny Day is capitalised, but not flamethrowwer... another 'leech seeds' thing as well, I presume?

The last remnant of a twinkle returned to Mr. Mime’s eyes; he slammed Angin into defeat with a flick of a thought.


The watchers roared in separate voice of victory and disappointment; the quiet acknowledgment of the Gym Leader, the twin lamentation of Ruki and Amaren, the clamour of the anticipating crowd of a hundred different thoughts—but suddenly Ruki fell silent, bringing the celebrations to an abrupt pause.


“Did you forget?” she said. “I still have Akale, don’t I?”


For the psychic-type merely stood there in the chaos, his bloodshot, contracted eyes showing not the slightest fraction of life; and a swift blow to the head by the still-surviving Akale incapacitated him entirely.

Nice moment there, and with the sudden Mr Mime victory as well - but if you wanted it clear that the trainers could reuse their Pokes from the first round, then some more emphasis on that may be needed, as I don't recall the such (unless I simply forgot, that is).
walked out of the smoking remains of the Pokémon Gym, clutching their trophies (twin compact discs of some unknown TM, prize money, and, of course, the Marshbadge in all its glinting glory).
'twin copact discs' - i.e. two of them, but then the break with the prizemoney seems to suggest that they got only one Marshbadge between them, even though they should have gotten two, or one each.
“You must realize,” Prof. Oak said, “this is goodbye for me. I should very well like to accompany you, but this is my place.”

Amaren felt a sudden blow of dread; he had never foreseen that far. “But… why can’t you just come along?” he asked feebly.
Hmm... didn't think that Amaren's relationship was that strong with the professor, as he had been put to the side of most scenes... meh, doesn't quite work for me. A slight contridication from how I precieve it, but minor.

Two other things - before the chapter, you said 'commence chapter 7', the the index also gives it as seven - yet, the title in this post says 6. And, for sum reason, there were big gaps after each paragraph in terms of spacing...

Great chapter though - really good description, and then that twist of sorts at the end. Shall be looking forward to seeing how this shall affect the 'insane' part of the story now. :) Keep it up, as usual.

Luphinid Silnaek
December 4th, 2008, 08:30 AM
At the risk of having this pruned for, what, eight months of inactivity, I'll continue.

bobandbill: The Mr. Mime's ability to make objects real by convincing opponents is a certified pokédex trait, in fact. I just felt like taking ideas from pokédex entries for a while.

But, for the dream... well, I think this sums up my inital response to it:
Guienjzzzzzofiwdfjfdffdd...gah?

That's a good example of a reaction I was going for.

The little errors you noticed I changed, and the larger ones, while I won't do anything about right now, are being noted. Something will be done with them at a specific time.

Well, this last chapter concluded the first part of our story; we will have major changes from now on. What is strictly meant to come now is a Bridge, a tiny transition chapter between 7 and 8, and because of its size it's meant to be posted not less than four days before chapter 8. However, I think it would be unreasonable to have you wait further for any real developments to happen, and so I'll post them together.



Bridge: an Introduction



I feel the need to introduce myself.

My name is LUPHINID REMANA SILNAEK, formerly AMAREN KELANIS. I am recording my thoughts remotely from within the elusive TIME LOOP of the 6th rendition of anomaly 0A1, moments before I attempt to RIGHT it. There, that concludes the formalities.

The preceding chapters were my most complete narrative yet of the life of Amaren from the beginning of his Trainer career to his virtual death. After Chapter 7, I take the reign of the story.

To elucidate, dear reader, Amaren is literally merely my past form. However, his experiences and my own are so separate (in my mind) that I refer to him eternally in third person. Ah, well, that life has died out now, and it’s my twisted existence we will explore from now on, referring to him only in fleeting memories.

I’ve delved as often into the art of writing as any other practice I might have taken it in my head to learn in my vast life, but this autobiography is entirely impromptu, being written in an indefinitely long, frozen time period, during which I can spend as much time to finish my work as I require. Even so, it is all being done is one sitting (or should we say standing) and events in my life will not be depicted as vividly, as continuously, as correctly, as they might have been. This is something a sufficiently dedicated reader will merely have to cope with.


A great waste of time lies between the literal death of Ruki Ferena, and the dark, desperate tower I now stand upon, in which the condition of events is no happy one. And if the smallest tinge of a smile has crossed my face since then, it’s the twisted grin of obsession and dark fanaticism. I give no disclaimer or warning to the gloom of the events to follow in my depiction of my life, because I know a reader who has stuck this far will merely harden his conviction at such a caution. Additionally, given the state of my mind at this moment, I cannot bring myself to care about the moment’s depression I may drown a reader in, as he skims through this tale.

There is much ground to cover, and a lot to explain still before the end. Therefore, driven by will or curiosity or some stronger, stranger force, let us begin the narration of this biography!







Aftershock

Chapter 8: Aftermath
(AKA Aftershock)




I still marvel at how young I once was, running all the way back to Saffron with fear alone driving at my heels: no demons, no threat to my life chasing nor glittering obsession dangling before me. But I suppose grief played its own part in my maddened rush, deep down beneath the denial and the dread. Old, withered sadness had already become the father of my emotions, since that very moment – though the thought of Ferena’s death had not yet impressed itself entirely upon me.

And I had burst like a train through the crowds of startled city-creatures, diving instinctually for my last pillar left unshattered, feeling, perhaps for the last time in my life, alone. For a great waste of chaos lay behind me, a thousand thoughts and memories I never knew I possessed (and indeed had never done), and I wished a voice of reason to pull me back into bearing far more than the reversal of this event, drunk as I still was upon confusion and bewilderment. Why, oblivious ignorance itself had seemed unbearable to me at that moment, though I know now that the alternative is far bitterer.

Kalens Oak the old gentleman biologist had steadied my ramblings as I had hoped, directing me into a narrative (if not analysis) of the events preceding. Ah, reason, lucidity, the draught of cold water to sap the remnants of heat from me.

I watched, then, as he heard the full expanses of what I insensibly uttered, taking the sudden grief with his characteristic, subtle pain, and working soundlessly into an organization of the tragedy. Certain laws of the universe, he began, and then trailed off in his struggle to articulate the concept to follow.

Then had the first stroke of my separation rang out, second only to the very incident from which I ran breathlessly. For the professor had replied with what I can still clearly see to be a half-truth, a veiling of the full course of events. From his suddenly brusque explanations, what had afflicted Ruki was a very anomaly in the laws of the universe. As to why it had come, the extent of the damage, further explanation, he moved completely from attention, responding fully to no remark; and there I suddenly felt the sharp blow of all I had been holding off, sinking me into a dark depression.

The wooden boat can only sail so long in the merciless waters, its prow still tasting air and sunlight, before it goes entirely under.

Indeed, the length and intensity of the fits of self-pity which soon came over me conquered the records of all other endeavors made by man, swinging violently as I did between intense, rebellious anger and overwhelming apathy, before springing up out of my room into the snow outside. I still trained, my pokèmon (their indubitable telepathic links) reflecting the grim, hollow dedication I took to my dearest obsessions, after all desire or joy from their execution had been leached out. But this was no distraction from my main matter of thought, as it had well been so long ago when I registered the death of my village. The utter absence of my old light, Ruki’s enthusiasm, served only to plunge me deeper into my depression: where, in the first case, training had been entirely apart from my mourning (or lack thereof) of the village, now it was connected intimately with death in all its matters.

Which is not to say I did badly in my pursuits. Those were the days of my peak of glory, dark as it may seem to you, reader, and I soon took to traveling far and wide, the moody young man with the godly Kadabra and Mightyena who ripped wordlessly through each Gym he encountered. Ah, don’t misunderstand me; where I say a moody young man, I mean merely a man – brooding, joyless, but still human in all respects. It was folly for me to think I couldn’t have still turned back then, though I understand now the unchangeable course of thoughts that ravaged my mind.

After all, without the young girl at my side, eternally cheering all within her vicinity, I was but Amaren of the village, the primeval sea-creature awkwardly stumbling onto land. And then, later, Luphinid (whose full extents no analogy can encompass!).

There was, believe it or not, a twisted meaning to all my wanderings. I no longer worked towards the Indigo Plateau, but I was near certain that somewhere, deep in the world’s corners, I could learn more of these “anomalies”, for the reason which has become my trademark over time: absolutely none. No reason, I mean to say. I can only suppose the twofold grief of Ruki’s death and the razing of the village (held off for so long) overcame the occupying distraction training had once given me, and I wished for some more novel task. And so I found, after five badges came under my name, this entry hidden within classified folders of my trainer card alone:

“A little-known (though extremely important) fact of the universe is that the physical world in which all existent beings interact is not the only plane of existence. Every particle of matter is a branch from a single, common point of origin, and different universes with different properties and laws can theoretically arise if the level of complexity (i.e. the degree to which the point of origin separates to form separate objects) differs from our own.

“While attempting to interact with this possibility by physical means is virtually impossible, certain advanced Psychic-type pokèmon possess the ability to deepen their perception into levels below our own in complexity. Thus, from our primitive understanding of this field, we have found that very few planes of existence exist below our own, though our level of complexity is far above zero. (One can analogize this to a radio tuning device: our plane of existence can be (somewhat roughly) said to be in the middle frequencies, and though there are many frequencies between ours and the lowest setting, there are very few stations which our radio can attune to.)

“Planes of existence higher than ours are impossible to detect using earthly measurements, and should not contain any value other than that of scientific interest. However, at a certain point above the point of origin, one encounters what has been termed the theoretic plane.”

I delved deeper into records of this plane, deprived of the familiar sense of full understanding, and discovered a vein of gold (or lead, depending on perception – read on).

“The theoretic plane is a level of complexity of the universe which seems to serve as a base for the laws of our own. On this plane, energy is shaped in various ways and purposes to create a consciousness (more accurately, an existence). Blocks of energy are shaped into different concepts and assembled into roundabout, symmetrical units, which, when amplified into our level of complexity, form objects. It is essential that each block of energy – each attribute of the object – interact with at least one other, to form a stable object. If this is not fulfilled, the independent energy is discarded as soon as the object is formed, or otherwise the object forms an abnormality in the physical plane.”

I read only as far as this sentence, though there was much more still; I had seen the word abnormality. Anomaly.

Why, I realized, these were hardly the sole types of anomaly. Anomalies appeared at contradictions in the laws of the universe, at certain mental illnesses, at points of indefiniteness. There were as many anomalies as stars to the sky, and enough taxonomists, enthusiasts, hunters of these “wrongs” to rival astronomers. All eternally damned, of course, often for the mere heresy of thinking upon the topic for too long. Such was the sheer corruption of this game, and the fledgling corruption of my heart rang alongside it, attracting me like a moth to the lethal candle. Within a matter of weeks, I had become enraptured with the art of righting.

Righters, for various personal reasons, took to hunting down such wrongs by varied means and attempting to ‘debug’, for lack of a better term, the contradiction in laws which arose to its existence. If any nobility can be construed by this simple definition, it is misleading. The level of power and strength required for such a task is impossible to gain through any means but those entirely ignoble, and these personal causes were also exceptionlessly entirely ignoble, usually the aftermath of a severe nervous breakdown and a maddened spiral into their own grudging demise. (Such as mine.)

But for a while my progress into the art ran most sluggishly. While I was entirely certain I was destined for this beautiful vocation, I understood not the rudiments of information or strength required for my graduation into the art; and the majority of the world felt (most rightly) that such information, being unfit for living ears, was best kept hidden deep in the confines of the earth. Not more than a single mention of righting did the trainer card allow, even when, in my delirious obsession, I gained the clearance of seven Badges; and ancient texts upon the subject were likewise banned from such public libraries as I perused in my early days. Of course, I had merely to look in the correct places and I would have discovered all I required – but, had I known this then, I would be deprived of an anecdote to add to this merry narration of my lie.

For I once sought conversation with a certain man while in my wanderings, a seedy king among beggars living in the Saffron Underground. (Yes, indeed, even a city as Saffron contained its fair share of back-alleys.) Countless ancient buildings had never been renovated during the transformation of the concrete city into steel, and vermin, generating spontaneously from sources unknown, seemed to flood these decrepit relics, driving out whatever light still remained.

His paltry abode was an abandoned warehouse, the joy of all objectionable practitioners; a stone hangar of a building resembling a hypothetical soiled remnant of the Saffron Gym. Unrecognizable letters marched over its rain-stained walls, obscured by a series of badly-impressed graffiti records announcing the current ‘owner’ of the warehouse at their time. Their quality was such that not only did a later inscription cover an earlier at its place, the earlier sign bled slowly into the later, to the effect of an indistinct, continuous scrawl of shaky lines.

[Colourful,] I remarked to Ytarrik.

We stepped inside, Lepena in his pokèball, to meet a most surprisingly vacant sight: a single, ancient rug at the very center, orbited by a circle of seating arrangements and covered by a metal table (and a flickering light bulb above it). The man himself stood behind the front chair, a medium-built, scrawny affair in an oversized trench coat. His dogged faced glinted hungrily out of the mess of black razors that served as his hair.

“You’re that trainer, eh?” he shot out in an unrecognizable accent.

I replied that indeed, I was a trainer.

“Yeah, but you’re not just a trainer, are you? You’ve got, ehh, nine badges or whatever?”

I soundlessly corrected this to seven badges.

“Why not. Look, what’d you come here for?”

“I heard you knew something about anomaly hunting,” I droned. I rather recall losing all hope in this endeavor from that early a moment; this man was nothing close to a typical righter.

“Uh, sure. I know a lot about righting. ‘Righting is the systematic discovery and repairing of natural anomalies’ and all that jazz.”

“I think I also know that already,” I said impatiently.

“Fine, I’ll tell you something you can’t possibly know. Stop getting into this business. You probably think you’ve got nothing left to you in this world and everything, but you don’t ever get that bad till you start righting. You’re doing pretty good, I think” – and he shot a furtive glance of lust at my physique – “compared to a righter. Or a freeler. Trust me, I’ve done both.”

Later investigation afforded me this: “’Freeling’ (slang), or assimilation heightening, is the deliberate consumption of raw pokèmon flesh for various purposes: most often a momentary burst of pleasure, but also sometimes for the heightening of that skill in the human which the pokèmon possessed during its life. For example, an assimilation heightener of Fighting-types gains superhuman strength. This practice is so unhealthy and immoral as to be illegal in all regions of the world except Orre.”

I had only to glance at him and see the truth of his words.

The need for a ‘getting down to business’, as it were, was becoming increasingly obvious, and so: “Will you teach me to right?”

He cackled here, his cracked throat convulsing from strain. “Do I look like a righter?” and he spread his arms wide, indicating his prized possessions.

I didn’t bother to slam the door shut on my way out.


My brief encounter with him was not entirely profitless, however. I returned to his warehouse the very night, ransacking each hidden compartment I had noticed on my time there, and found a storehouse of books upon the subject, many smuggled from libraries full of righting texts alone. It had seemed to me, at first, as though my new storehouse was sufficient to understand the basics of the art: but, indeed, if any analogy can be attached to it, this information was only the tip of the topmost peak of the iceberg. Here, the countless libraries mentioned within the books sufficiently filled my lack (or so I then thought).

Twenty-one years of age melted eventlessly into my thirtieth, and through all the time I neglected training entirely, drowning myself almost day and night into a complete memorization of theory. Whatever health I had inadvertently kept up during pokèmon training balked in the face of my dogged obsession, such that the hospitals of the cities I frequented received several emergency visits by myself – until, at last, I discovered the secret to a righter’s path: assimilation heightening.

Indeed, for a time, the cluelessly desperate Amaren (I had not yet changed my name, though this conflicted young man was most certainly me) deigned to eat the repulsive meat, procuring blocks of Jolteon flesh by objectionable means and consuming large quantities at intervals as prescribed. And, for a time, the explosive speed and energy of the electric type spurred me on as a piece of sharp metal to a dying horse. Ah, but that would soon stop.

No, of course, I would never quit assimilation heightening. I would merely find more effective spurs to jar this downtrodden horse into forced motion. If you suspected the former for a moment, reader, you have spent too little a time with my life, and this should remain so.

At last, however (preventing all further sidetracking and slips of chronological order), I deemed myself worthy to take on the rather paltry force of a minor wrong, anomaly 3S1: an abomination of decay.

How wrong I was, with my inexperienced assumptions and hideously rough estimations.

But isn’t that the story of a righter’s life?

bobandbill
December 13th, 2008, 06:03 AM
Well, I like reviewing as I go, so I might as well keep up my reviewing streak here. :)

I shall firstly say that even upon re-reading your story, it has a tendency to make me feel, well... dumb. >_< ARRGH THE RICH PROSE AND WRITING WHY SO SMART LU WHHHHHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY! (This is a compliment btw :P).

But the description and your way of writing is still very enjoyable to read. And I like this part, as it follows the part where things start getting twisted and what-not. XD Hurrah for the beginning of the righting as well now, and I do like how suddenly yet smoothly the story changes, even with a change to the style of narration. Certainly does feel more comfortable for you.
Kalens Oak the old gentleman biologist had steadied my ramblings as I had hoped, directing me into a narrative (if not an analysis) of the events preceding.Suggest that 'an' there - makes it sound slightly better IMO...
I still trained, my pokèmon (their indubitable telepathic links) reflecting the grim, hollow dedication I took to my dearest obsessions, after all desire or joy from their execution had been leached outThis sentence struck me as somewhat hard to read, and had to go over it a few times... maybe a slight re-wording?
I delved deeper into records of this plane, deprived of the familiar sense of full understanding, and discovered a vein of gold (or lead, depending on perception – read on).My only real qualms with the narration change - occassionally the fact that you are now telling us the story rather than what you had before does occassionally jump at one, especially here at the end with ''read on'. It did bring me a tad out of the story, so maybe remove that? :/ Matter of opinion though, I feel.
For example, an assimilation heightener of Fighting-types gains superhuman strength. This practice is so unhealthy and immoral as to be illegal in all regions of the world except Orre.”
Is this inspired by the super-overly-buff wWeightlifter trainers from Colosseum? -_- Good old poor 3D animation... it sure doesn't look very healthy.
And that concludes a short review. Eh. Re-reading here chapter by chapter is fun. :)

Luphinid Silnaek
December 25th, 2008, 10:43 PM
bobandbill: Notes noted. I will soon have to decide how far I want mys suspension of disbelief to go... Probably not so far as to write "read on" anywhere again.

The subject of the Weightlifters hadn't occurred to me, in fact. I'd gone simply along the lines that Orre was after all such a shady, black-market place; but it makes sense.

And here commences the twisted, what-not part. If anyone's still reading this for the first time, exploding gore is imminent. The first few paragraphs should give you a fair idea of what you're faced with, without having to read the detail.




Aftershock

Chapter 9: 3S1







I discovered this particular gem of an anomaly glittering horribly off the pages of a contemporary wrong encyclopedia. It was a most obvious and simple jerk of the rules, such that I was most surprised no other righter had already tackled it; but – as I thought – all the better to myself. (In fact, the anomaly was much too difficult for a first-timer, and much too easy for an experienced hunter, and so it was largely overlooked.)

All living organisms alternate between opposite and equal states of passion and lifelessness. If a living being reaches a certain height of passion, a counter-wave of cold emotionlessness follows to balance the states. However, there is a certain stage at which the lifelessness of a being is deemed low enough to consider it for all intents and purposes dead; some random flaw in the reasoning of the universe allows living beings to reach a peak of emotions higher than this trench of frigidity is low. The result is imaginable: if a creature does indeed rise to this maximum level of emotion, it will soon thereafter be pushed into a state of near-zero emotion. While the being will not truly die, it will be labeled dead for all external intents and purposes; decomposition processes will begin while the consciousness is still intact and be speeded dramatically by the amount of life still remaining in the creature; the being will die an agonized death due to rapid decay.

The lucky subject of the anomaly’s affections was a young runt of a Rattata I procured from the wild, one seeming most suitable to my experiment. I sat there, then, in an old cavern of an abandoned building, secluded in my corner of the world with Ytarrik at my side and the protesting rodent in a cage before me. All telepathic connection had been severed with the unfortunate individual, but I could still sense a vague hint of pity radiating from my Kadabra. Of course; no one, not even my Pokèmon, could ever hope to outdo my grimness and apathy.

Lepena had grown old and fat along with Ytarrik, waiting for me to finish my studies, and had finally determined to leave my side for increasing periods of time, going into unmentionable tangents of training to keep up his old skill. As for Ytarrik, he had never left my side through all the boredom and trial, though his patience would soon run dry.

I recall that by this period I had also captured a Noctowl. However, exposed to the horror that (even then) was my mind, she lost all sanity and became somewhat of a robot to my whims. She was currently in her storage device, far away. Ruki’s Pokèmon had long parted ways, shortly after her death.

Back to the present (or the past, from my point of view). I began with a one-way telepathic connection, drawing the Rattata’s mind closer to mine and Ytarrik’s without allowing its influence to affect us; and the Kadabra joined his mind with mine, bolstering the link infinitely to the required magnitude.

I picked gingerly up a hypodermic needle, roiling with the black isolation of Mightyena blood, phantomlike in its wispy fluid, and injected it into my bared arm. For a moment, pain coursed through my veins as they stiffened, black disease spreading through them – but then they reached the heart, and a dizzying sense of power spread to my every extremity. This was true assimilation heightening, and I had never felt anything to its like before.

With a telepathic nod of the head, we simultaneously collected our emotions, and the quick-to-kindle fire of anger raged down the link into the helpless Rattata. For a second it paused, fighting off the overpowering waves, but soon it was thrashing wildly with unnatural hatred, banging with all its strength hard into the unyielding bars of its cage until lines of bruised, broken skin collected on its fur. Our mental capacities were filled to bursting with the height of feeling, but it was only a while longer, no more than a minute more, before it would be physically impossible for the Pokèmon to feel any greater hatred…

At last, with a faint perceived click, its body was entirely saturated. A moment of tense wait – and a wave of cold unfeeling spread abruptly across the Rattata, seeming as though the cage was drowned in liquid nitrogen, as though a frozen block of steel looked numbly up at its anticipative perpetrators –

Several decomposition processes jarred into motion, oblivious to the laboured heart still pounding within the rodent’s living body.

There was protest, of course, in the beginning. The young muscles exploded for release, the creature shoving itself at the walls of its prison as though freedom would take it from the shadow of its doom. The throat burst out in symphonies of discordant sound, but the lungs were already beginning autolysis: unnecessary cells self-destructing, filling the creature with a jerk of nauseating helplessness. Ah, it was time for me to dive into the rip this anomaly inevitably created, into the very laws which (mis)governed it.

The warehouse was a container, it was but a reservoir for liquid, substance, concept,

[Emotion doesn’t really rule you, does it.]

but no container is infinite, the bottom of this particular ends all too Soon,

the adrenaline-flooded muscles were shutting down, the legs giving out under the lump of agony

couldn’t it end a second sooner



DEATH

so much greater than life, its web tighter than the wings of the struggling fly, awaiting slowly the spider’s scythe in the corner of the warehouse

So quickly, the work of a thousand moments, the entrails of the creature dissolving into digested mulch, its form slipping into formlessness as its eyes still gazed on helplessly in all its glutinous agony

[I]struggle, right the imbalance, shorten the capacities of the living as with the dead, and I was nearly done

gases building beneath its paper skin, bloating it beyond all questions of capacity, stirring the internal mush with pressure, and how long would the decomposing skin hold its expanding contents

[Done? Have you been listening to me?]

but the effort was so much, my energy much too little, and wasn’t it so much easier, so much soothing, to simply close my –

eyes [light up with a single shard of silver terror. Of course, now you see the fullness of your position]

I didn’t want to die! I didn’t care why, I didn’t care how thoughtless, how rebellious I was being, but I DID NOT WANT TO DIE

death still lingered outside the cage of the Rattata, laughing at its agony, as a single rip appeared on its bruised skin, and the insides gushed out, creamy-red with blood and flesh

The door of the warehouse, at the end of the dark tunnel, opened, and out streamed a glimpse of the sweet light of the outside sun [death], I felt my soul dissolving, unforming, assimilating into this azure light

dissolved in my blood, the dark blood recoiled in disgust

SHATTERED, HALF-DECOMPOSED, MY SOUL STILL PULLING BACK INTO THE REALM OF THE LIVING

LIFE

[Don’t live in your pathetic illusions. This is no life, and no death.]

Decayth







I stood there, in the darkness of the abandoned warehouse, heart pounding with not terror, not revulsion, not hatred, but adrenaline.

The Rattata was finally dead, nothing more than a pile of ash, though streaks of its insides still stained portions of the floor and walls (and me). I wiped my still-bare arm with my black velvet jacket, to see that the flesh had wasted away marginally, and replaced with a faint black, vaporous substance which clung to the skin with remarkable ferocity. It seemed to bolster its strength, simultaneously warding off the last remnants of light which still attempted to fall on the flesh beneath. I was most weakly revolted to find this was me, this dark illness but another part of my form, but I would do nothing about it.

The door had been opened to my warehouse by a curious passerby, it seemed. However, he had instantly pulled it shut, and forced himself to forget this incident forever.

I looked to my left to see the still-amber eyes of Ytarrik, gazing at me with repugnance in their streaks. With but another flash, he was gone, leaving the shattered pieces of my soul to myself in this dark tale of my life. They were held together by only the weakest of force, but it would not let me forsake them for a long time yet.



In its dark corner, the fly had ripped out of its chains of spider-silk after all. However, its wings and limbs were fractured irreparably, and it lay there in its death-throes, writhing on the floor.


Two hundred years, it seemed, passed by before its final breath.

bobandbill
December 26th, 2008, 12:33 AM
And here commences the twisted, what-not part.
:D (Although, if that's the case, you might want to update your sig then :P).

Yes, the fun, yet twisted, what-not part. Probably a just description of this...

It is a msot interesting part to read, really, as I'm a sort of person that can get a bit turned off, so to speak, by such content... yet here it is both replusive yet deeply engaging. And I really do like the part when the writing disfragments into... well, many fragments. Appeals to my unconventional mind, it does (and it certainly occurs again as well). :)

But you captured the scene rather well there, I thought. Nice description throughout the craziness, and I'll also mention that I quite liked the part with the fly escaping the spider web... liked that. And you also protrayed Luphinid's feelings and breakdown nicely as well.

So all in all, one of those twisted chapters that I like, yet kinda dislike at the same time. Bleh, it's not easy to explain, really... both good and bad, in a good way; let's leave it at that. -_-

(But then, you fic does differ from most ever since this part started, tbh).
It was a most obvious and simple jerk of the rules, such that I was most surprised no other righter had already tackled it; but – as I thought – all the better to myself.
Maybe replace that 'to' with 'for'? Although upon relooking, 'to' works just fine... probably you should disregard this.
If a living being reaches a certain height of passion, as counter-wave of cold emotionlessness follows to balance the states.'as' should be 'a', imo...
[Impatient as always. Ah, but you have a long life of twisted wandering before you, this is no time for]

DEATHMy favourite part in that fragmented section - the word 'DEATH' just jumped out at me... nice effect it made, that.
Keep up the posting of this!

AmusedRaccoon
December 27th, 2008, 04:00 PM
*groans* I had a review of this almost totally written... well, evidently sometime between December 13th and yesterday. (About a week ago, I suppose; a week and a half, perhaps, at most.) Anyway, though, I guess I'll still post it since it did take me a while and it's still perfectly applicable to chapter eight, and then I'll follow that with some things I caught from chapter nine. Here is the original review:
I saw this in your signature, and I'm glad I get the chance to offer feedback on it. (This is my first review of anything on this forum, coincidentally, so please forgive me if I do anything wrong. :X)

As far as small errors and discrepancies and whatnot go, I came across a few in previous chapters but didn't bother to save them because I didn't know whether I'd review this or not. But I think I caught one from chapter 8--
We stepped inside, Lepena in his pokèball, to meet a most surprisingly vacant sight:It's incredibly minor, but I believe that either this should be Concentrated Storage Device, or a little further elaboration is required. The incredulous way Ruki and the Pokécenter attendant referred to Amaren's pokéball as specifically that in the first chapter implies that the terms for the storage devices are not interchangeable... eh, it just stood out to me.

As to the plot that this last chapter seems to be developing -- whoa. I love every piece of this idea and what you've done with it so far, especially this bit of thematic brilliance:
If any nobility can be construed by this simple definition, it is misleading. The level of power and strength required for such a task is impossible to gain through any means but those entirely ignoble, and these personal causes were also exceptionlessly entirely ignoble, usually the aftermath of a severe nervous breakdown and a maddened spiral into their own grudging demise.(I tried paraphrasing it, yes, but your prose is so much better--) I'm a sucker for this sort of contrast and duality and whatnot, so I can't wait to see where this leads. And having just read Frankenstein in school, I'm also proud to be able to appreciate the forbidden knowledge parallels here. (Although [so far, at least] Luphinid doesn't seem nearly as utterly emo as Victor, which is a marked improvement. :D)

I like your style overall, especially in Luphinid's narration. I agree with bobandbill in that his occasional parenthetical asides can break immersion (although as it's a tale within a tale at this point I suppose the immersion isn't really broken), but I think the effect of emphasizing the shift is a positive one. Opinion indeed, I suppose. I may have found an awkwardly-phrased sentence or two, but such incongruities are minimal and subjetive anyway, and for the most part everything's clear and easy to read.

My one criticism is how distinct--distant, really--the two segments of the story are: they feel like completely separate works. I understand that this was somewhat intentional, but the fact that you suddenly changed everything from protagonist (effectively) to tone to genre so quickly in what feels like somewhere near but not quite at the middle of the story doesn't sit well. My advice would be to thin out some parts of the Amaren section to make it feel more like a prologue to the Luphinid section (subjective advice, to be sure, since I find the beginning of the latter far more interesting than the whole of the former), or add bits to each of the sections to better connect them--for example, more Luphinid flash..forwards.. in the Amaren section and a bit more retrospection dealing with that time period in the Luphinid section, since by the end of chapter eight it seems you've glossed over that somewhat quickly. (Re-experiencing some of the first half of the story from Luphinid's perspective would be interesting.) Then again, I don't know what your plans for this are, so take this criticism with a grain of salt, of course.

With regards to chapter nine, I noticed the following (all very tiny grammatical errors and whatnot, so for the most part I don't think they really require commentary):
If a living being reaches a certain height of passion, as counter-wave of cold emotionlessness follows to balance the states.Of course; no one, not my Pokèmon, could ever hope to outdo my grimness and apathy.(Not entirely sure about this one--did you mean "not even"? If not, I guess it's just awkward.)

Our mental capacities were illed to bursting with the height of feeling,the bottom of this particular ends all too Soon,All in all I really, really loved this chapter. I'm a fan of disturbing scenes like this, and I agree that the little fly motif was great, especially the wonderfully un-trite twist you gave it at the end. Further praise would just be repeating the same thing over, though, so instead, a suggestion or a query or something in-between: when Ytarrik leaves at the end of this, you imply that he's leaving for good-- I feel like you could elaborate a bit more on what Amaren/Luphinid's relationship with Ytarrik has become, or will become if Yt returns in the next chapter. I know you've sort of alluded to it a couple of times, but the way Ytarrik was such an integral part of the first section makes me curious for more. Again I don't know what will happen next, though, so disregard this if it's not applicable. (What I've imagined [and hoped for] is that something will occur to echo Amaren and Ytarrik's mind-melding experience from chapter three-- a twisted, distorted, possibly assimilation heightening-related echo, better yet. I guess we'll see, though, eventually.)

Oh, and just for clarification--is the speech within brackets Ytarrik's, directed at Luphinid? It seems so, but in previous chapters his thought-speech was also in italics while the thought-speech of humans seemed to be non-italicized, so I wasn't sure.

Again, I'm sorry if this is too long or anything...

I really hope you keep this up.

Luphinid Silnaek
June 1st, 2009, 12:44 AM
Firefox betrays me, by being almost as volatile as some of the other *raises nose* browsers out there.

bobandbill: I hear your reaction a lot. People tend to be rather horrified and simultaneously interested just around this chapter. I suppose combining such different strokes as these was one of my stranger deeds. I thought that using 'to' instead of 'for' in that bit makes the sentence more personal, in Luphinid's twisted way, but the other mistake you and AmusedRaccoon spotted I concede.

I don't know how well I've been able to keep this up, but I should resume now. On that note, reviewers--both of you =P--I was intending to start posting these weekly, but it would be nice to speed up the updates a litte: how fast do you read and review? It's your choice; everything will be determined thence.

AmusedRaccoon: Thank you, dear friend, for dropping by for feedback. I quite enjoyed it; your first review here is better than many regular reviews I have seen.

It's incredibly minor, but I believe that either this should be Concentrated Storage Device, or a little further elaboration is required. The incredulous way Ruki and the Pokécenter attendant referred to Amaren's pokéball as specifically that in the first chapter implies that the terms for the storage devices are not interchangeable... eh, it just stood out to me.Indeed, good eye. There's only one pokéball in Luphinid's possession, and it belongs to Ytarrik. It must have been force of habit that made me confuse the two.

(I tried paraphrasing it, yes, but your prose is so much better--) I'm a sucker for this sort of contrast and duality and whatnot, so I can't wait to see where this leads. And having just read Frankenstein in school, I'm also proud to be able to appreciate the forbidden knowledge parallels here. (Although [so far, at least] Luphinid doesn't seem nearly as utterly emo as Victor, which is a marked improvement. :D)Hm, I thought that bit was one of the more minor remarks on the nature of righting. Good that you liked it, however. I insist that every story with a little Gothic horror must have forbidden knowledge somewhere; horror just can't do without it. :) I haven't read Frankenstein yet, but I admit that this is only the beginning of Luphinid's emo strain. *hangs head* This is perhaps one of the major failings of Aftershock, not that it can do without it.

My one criticism is how distinct--distant, really--the two segments of the story are: they feel like completely separate works. I understand that this was somewhat intentional, but the fact that you suddenly changed everything from protagonist (effectively) to tone to genre so quickly in what feels like somewhere near but not quite at the middle of the story doesn't sit well. My advice would be to thin out some parts of the Amaren section to make it feel more like a prologue to the Luphinid section (subjective advice, to be sure, since I find the beginning of the latter far more interesting than the whole of the former), or add bits to each of the sections to better connect them--for example, more Luphinid flash..forwards.. in the Amaren section and a bit more retrospection dealing with that time period in the Luphinid section, since by the end of chapter eight it seems you've glossed over that somewhat quickly. (Re-experiencing some of the first half of the story from Luphinid's perspective would be interesting.) Then again, I don't know what your plans for this are, so take this criticism with a grain of salt, of course.I have often thought the same. I think this was a consequence of the way I wrote this story, never quite knowing how one phase would turn out until I was right upon it, and anything more than minor foreshadowing was impossible. I should balance the natural distinctness of both sides of the story with some literary cohesion--both elements are very important to the story--when I have the chance.

You won't find Luphinid often mulling over the exact events of his past life; the way his memory has taken this, most of the tedious technicalities have been forgotten and primarily it's the emotions (heavily sentimentalized over time, naturally) that he remembers. But you will find him obsessing over past events. If the first part of this story was associated with the future, this second part is involved directly with the past. More about retrospection later, though.

All your grammatical points are valid, but I'll note the last one:

the bottom of this particular ends all too Soon, Are you sure it was unintentional? Many of the sentences in this chapter can flow directly into each other. This is once that I indicated this fact: the end of this sentence could be the beginning of another...

when Ytarrik leaves at the end of this, you imply that he's leaving for good-- I feel like you could elaborate a bit more on what Amaren/Luphinid's relationship with Ytarrik has become, or will become if Yt returns in the next chapter. I know you've sort of alluded to it a couple of times, but the way Ytarrik was such an integral part of the first section makes me curious for more. Again I don't know what will happen next, though, so disregard this if it's not applicable. (What I've imagined [and hoped for] is that something will occur to echo Amaren and Ytarrik's mind-melding experience from chapter three-- a twisted, distorted, possibly assimilation heightening-related echo, better yet. I guess we'll see, though, eventually.)
A few scenes have been devoted to this in future chapters, though none of them as interestingly involved as the one you've imagined (unfortunately). Other people that Luphinid tend to be rather in the background of this story. We'll see how you take them.

Oh, and just for clarification--is the speech within brackets Ytarrik's, directed at Luphinid? It seems so, but in previous chapters his thought-speech was also in italics while the thought-speech of humans seemed to be non-italicized, so I wasn't sure.
The speech of psychics who are not Luphinid is always italicised; this bracket-speech comes from his own mind. You'll see more of his dissociated side later on.

I hold that no review is too long if it's directed to one's own fanfiction. I really hope you're still interested/active/free.

Well, then. After another long hiatus, let me resume with the next chapter.


Aftershock

Chapter 10: Old Acquaintances




It was soon after that tainting, that true shattering of my self, baptizing me entirely into the damnation I had chosen, that I realized it was time to be renamed.

In a shadowed, forested corner of the world, roaming as we did so often in the dark and the silence, Lepena and I neared a depression of a black cave to see it lit with ruddy light. Meditating upon their lot in the deepest niche was a most familiar grown Quilava and Kadabra.

We considered each other for the slightest of a moment, before turning to the cave-mouth to watch our surroundings.

As we strategized our roamings, my last sane Pokèmon and I had developed a policy of chasing the winter cold to wherever it would lead, and synchronizing ourselves to a near nocturnal biological clock. Thus, at any given point, sufficient cold would exceptionlessly surround us as we marched, and dim twilight received by night-accustomed eyes would shade us in our waking hours. The present winter shied away from prospects of snow, but a fine stream of mist emerged from our breaths (and from Angin’s flames), and invisible patches of frosted ground would unexpectedly crunch underfoot as we trusted our footing to them. Above us, the stars were cold, distinct points of razor light, but even this was light, and I felt then the oxymoronic craving I had begun to regard all radiance with: I hated it, cringing away from its outright, uninhibited glory; but inside I lusted after its wholesome influences as a desert-marooned beggar after water. Ah, but I was already unsuited to its overwhelming presence.

The Razor Leaf of canopy above which shielded us from the wrath of the starry night was frozen, yielding not an inch to the wishes of nearby breezes. Even so, the weather was entertainingly cold and bleak. I and my Mightyena moved into the dim-lit cave, sparkling faintly with the effect of orange fire; Ytarrik and Angin stood face-to-face, a bonfire between them.

I realized a crisscross of telepathic links set up between this motley reunion, courtesy of Ytarrik.

I began.

[I][Indeed,] replied Angin, [it must be at least sixteen years now. Far too long]

[Hardly too long for me,] Ytarrik growled faintly. [I wasn’t hoping to see you again for at least a few decades.]

[Now, that’s a little unfair,] Angin attempted to interfere.

[No, no, I don’t think so,] replied the Kadabra. [I declared my allegiance to Amaren Kelanis, beginning trainer, not you.]

[But why?] said I. [Why all this enmity; you were doing so well with the morally blinded rampage of thoughtless destruction for a long time.]

[No, I wasn’t,] he spoke, his mental voice rising imperceptibly. [I thought I could accompany you, but this life isn’t mine. It’s a human’s life, not a Kadabra’s.]

I half-ignored this. My speech was growing dangerously loud as well, but I hid this under the guise of a fit of cold mirth.

He blinked his [I](almost) lidless eyes. [I didn’t chain myself.]

The tall, black-jacketed man laughed. A hollow laugh, devoid of both the warmth of laughter and the malice of a cackle. [Don’t be quite so heartless. If I’d known, all that time ago, what was to happen to Ruki and me, I wouldn’t have brought any pokèmon along for my descent into hell.]

[I certainly didn’t throw myself at your pokèball, all that long ago in the burning forest.]



[I][Considering the alternative, I’m not sure I accept your intentions.]

[But that’s the whole point; it wasn’t my fault.]

Ah, this was precious! Exactly like the traditional disorganized arguments between groups in those coming-of-age tales. Except there was no grand cause to unite at the last moment for the sake of. Merely a spiral to our deaths!

Ytarrik seemed filled with retort, but he calmed himself. [It wasn’t either of our faults. Blame it to chance, as so many fools do.]

We stared at each other for a long while, and then turned to our side. Lepena and Angin were watching us blankly, entirely excluded from the conversation.

[Ytarrik narrated the story of your life suitably,] Angin began, and continued when no objection was forthcoming. [So I suppose it’s my story that no one’s heard of yet.]

[Of course, Angin,] I urged her for narration, as Lepena slinked into his customary corner.

[What else can a trainer’s Pokèmon do, after she leaves? I trained, of course. They say wild Pokèmon are no match for trained, but I met up with some fierce competition even here. You just have to look. Of course, I make my way to the Cinnabar Gym every now and then; there are good arrangements for wild Pokèmon, as long as they’re coherent enough to understand. It's... difficult to hold up in Kanto if your trainer has left you, of course, but I'm managing well enough. ]

I had not seen her thoughts ever before, though this was a most unceremonious moment to do so. They possessed, unexpectedly, not the particular species of fire which had accompanied Ruki so long ago, but a more reserved form. Judiciously applied, but powerful in its own right. I noticed, for the first time, an alternate possibility to my own – Angin had mustered her strength towards repairing her loss, and while she yet carried unmistakable old wounds, she was conspiring adequately towards healing them. I considered this possibility for myself, but immediately dismissed it: if Ruki’s death had only partially destroyed the old Cyndaquil, it had certainly killed off Amaren Kelanis entirely. This being inhabiting his body was an outsider: I couldn’t have brought the old occupant back to life without the faintest trace of his existence. Not the greatest artist could spontaneously generate life from nothing, let alone Luphinid Silnaek.

[I know,] the Quilava replied to my determinations; [how different are our paths.]

[And I’m in the middle,] remarked Ytarrik, [teetering on the divide. Of course, I would join Angin if I could, certainly.]

And leave me? I thought inwardly. [You wouldn’t be whole, then. Even Angin still isn’t whole; she never will be what we once were.]

[I guess so,] she sighed.

[Don’t deny it, Ytarrik,] I hissed. [You’re as much the monster’s pet as a Kadabra, and much more. Chance still binds us together, you’ll understand eventually.]


At last, after long struggle and refusal, I relented in my efforts to seduce Ytarrik to my side. Matters turned to the affair of my new name (for no one out of the gathering could admit Amaren Kelanis was valid any longer), and all three Pokèmon fell silent, thinking. At last:

[Remana,] remarked Angin.

[Luphinid,] Lepena growled with trademark hatred.

Ytarrik suggested last, waiting (as he had once done) for the court to silence sufficiently for an announcement of this grandeur. [Silnaek,] he said.

[Luphinid Remana Silnaek,] I determined.

And it was decided.



[{//\/\/\/\/\//\\//\\//\/\/\|/|\|/\/\/\\//\\//\\/\/\/\/\/\//}]



While most wild Pokèmon strove to few peaks of outward intelligence or development in the magnitude of the arrogance of humans, a fine network of nomadic groups or tiny villages stretched across the faces of the continents, each consisting solely of one particular species and somehow sharing its inherent characteristics with the countless others spread worldwide. Thus, each type of Pokèmon possessed its own intrinsic culture and language, and often also common traditions and customs, which were shared by the worldwide settlements of its more progressive members.

In the mythology of the Mightyena, Lepena’s kin, a Luphinid is a preternatural creature like to a Mightyena in basic features, but unnatural and ungodly in its dark abilities. It makes a habit of terrorizing smaller, weaker groups of the species and its lower evolution, and thus is seen in a largely menacing light. Remana, in the tongue of Typhlosion and their family, is a somewhat contemptuous label for one who is unusually reserved and introverted, a trait not often praised in their fire-based society. Silnaek, on the other hand, is one of the few physical words spoken by the elite Kadabra and Alakazam to heighten their meditation; it is specifically used in attempts to transcend into the state of omniscience, a highly appreciated achievement in their circles. Ytarrik had told me of his vague endeavors towards all-knowing during his time, but I could (and would) not foresee what it had to do with me.

Deprived of the victory of persuading my starter to rejoin me, I was once more fired with the need for a productive task (in relative terms). It was a simple endeavour to turn back towards the nearest sign of civilization and dive into a record of righting documents, in search of another project; and this opportunity I took not to summon another wrong, so close after my first brush with death, but to study the secrets of anomalies – a crucial if little-known practice of righters, so often perceived as they were as mere hunters of the abominations.

The most common and obvious manifestation of a wrong is, unexpectedly, the phenomenon of ghosts. A ghost is born out of an incomplete death; not to such a level as mine, where the soul is primed slightly for death but instantly thrown back inside the still-living body, but to the point of the death of the physical manifestation, and an incomplete assimilation of the spirit. The body decays entirely, but a certain portion of the naked soul is forced to remain on the earth, be it a single memory of the original consciousness (that replays itself at regular intervals after the death), or an entire vagabond mind, possessing all the faculties of the whole living being except physical form. This is not to say, in fact, that the later form is unable to affect earthly matters; using inherent telepathy, it may create illusions within the minds of others of a physical form which it prefers, and thus communicate using that body. A whole ghost, rarely as it is found, may even possess the bodies of others, ejecting the original occupant into the vagabond state.

The reason for my sudden interest in this subject was that, moving out of the shade of the forest I and Lepena had been tramping through, we encountered a low cliff immediately outside the forest boundaries, belonging to a shallow canyon with a road at its very bottom. If one jumped down into the main road, as we did without incident or injury, and moved east through the dirt path, one would soon encounter a small, steep valley with a minor settlement on its flat surface. Lavender Town. I withdrew the unobjecting Lepena, and walked through the scattered houses to the showpiece of the village.

The Pokèmon Tower, a memorial to dead spirits, was an antique weathered affair of ancient spires and stone sentinels which had been left untouched by renovation projects for over five centuries. It was indeed a mark of the preserving forces of the numerous ghosts it harboured that the building was still stable and safe for human entry, if any were bold enough to attempt so. As I walked across its walled courtyard over the single, cobblestone path, the cracked and scattered stones underfoot shifted ever so slightly, as though acknowledging their soundless lacks of welcome to my presence. Rows of gravestones I passed, monoliths commemorating the withering of the husks of life underfoot; and the pupil-less eyes of the stone Pokèmon guardians hunched over each tomb stared accusingly at my intrusion, their proud expanses belying the intended strength of their limbs. As I put each tombstone behind me, a sunless, musty wind would hiss through the stone carvings, whispering into my sensitive ears tales of blood, betrayal, sordid trickery, and cold-blooded murder.

At last, I arrived at the granite double-doors, which opened at my nearing by themselves, creaking eerily, though their hinges were oiled stone. I gazed into the darkness inside – to meet a gruesome set of blood-red eyes, leering shockingly into me.

I fixed my eyes onto the phantom face and glared back with such malice that the unfortunate Haunter appointed to this illusion turned tail and fled, back into the confines of the twilight tower.

I entered the guardless foyer to meet a collection of still more graves, more ornately carved and plated with the dusty marble of the floors. A single spiral staircase stabbed through the center of the room into every storey of the tower, and as I watched and waited the colourless figure of a small child could be seen descending down this structure, trailing (besides her long dressing-gown) the purple fireballs of cowering Ghost-types as they surrounded her as moths to a sustaining fire.

The Ghost-type was no result of incomplete death; it was a perfectly natural phenomenon, an evolution of certain Pokèmon to mimic the tendencies of hostile spirits. Thus, large collections of such types would usually be found headed by a true, complete ghost, from which the Pokèmon learnt the secrets of their type and fulfilled their mortal needs. At this point, it seemed this tiny child-ghost was the head of this settlement.

As she approached, her figure seemed occasionally to flicker and skip forward seconds in time, like to an old film reel. Within seconds, therefore, despite her leisurely pace, we were face to face, scrutinizing each others’ eyes. The fine-carved skin was as the ivory of early childhood, but the large, sad eyes betrayed her age to my experienced gaze; the cascading stream of once-golden hair was pale silver under the desaturation of lifelessness. This ghost was no less than a century old, its experience and knowledge uncounted.

She cocked her head slightly to the side. “Kindred spirit.”

The two kindred wraiths walked back through the courtyard, into the Lavender main. The moon was up in full tonight, its light casting faint shadows on the grassy ground, but I suffered the moonlight to warm me in its subtle manner. All around us, doors were locked and windows boarded (their houses’ occupants all inside), saucer eyes of the humans gaping through the cracks – all but for one old man with a young Cubone hiding behind his legs, standing outside his door and watching us with distinct understanding.

“Does it not bother you,” I began, “that your true age is hidden by your simple form?”

“Does it not bother you,” she questioned in reply, “that not even your physical appearance, let alone anything else, has not escaped the ravages of time?”

“But you’re not harbouring any hidden youth within yourself, are you? Your form is only an illusion; it doesn’t make you younger.”

“I may be endeavouring towards a cause I will never reach, but you are not acknowledging it at all. Lies aside, your position is the same as mine. Perhaps you should cease denying, as I, that you wish for youth at all.”

But I do wish for it! I wanted to shout. I wish it with all my heart!

“All those years,” I managed. “Your wisdom, your memory of every minute crack in the stonework of the Tower, it must be monumental.”

“Yes, but what of it? It would be a cruel jest to consider passing on my knowledge. My age would come with the packet, of course.”

“But surely you must have the power to move mountains! How could you ignore that?”

“As easily as you ignore your own abilities. At least, I presume so?”

“I… I’m not entirely certain…”

I raged inside. The things I was saying! This was not the aged, withered ghost at my core; I was veiling my true thoughts, and I could not learn how to unveil them for this fellow of mine to see. Did I wish for the withering which slowly overcame me, the dark vapours clouding my body? I was far too smitten with them. Up to that point, I had been barring myself against their influence, but a quick brush with the maleficent emotions would effectively harden my heart against them, teaching me their true darkness.

I allowed the Mightyena blood to enter my mind in an imperceptible trickle – and slipped. Before I could react, a torrent of vicious thought and emotion was sweeping away my judgment, filling me with the intoxication of bloodlust, and I knew no more: merely the eyebrows of the ghost beside me, rising in surprised condescension.

Luphinid Silnaek
June 9th, 2009, 11:06 AM
Hm, missed my update by two days. I suppose the show must go on, no matter how many people are watching it (and perhaps there are a few watching, though not reviewing).

I'll give another disclaimer, though by this time anyone left reading will probably have the necessary stomach: a bit of usual dessicated-corpse-horror coming up, and almost without warning, so be prepared. Don't read if it disturbs you. (Hm... the morphing eyes, now that I think of it, are rather like the eye of EVA 01 from Neon Genesis Evangelion when Shinji has a chance to see it uncovered by mechanical restraints. I wonder if I had written this chapter before or after I watched the animé series.)



Aftershock

Chapter 11: Point of No Return




The earliest remaining memory, immediately after my blackout, was of a blurred, pale-yellow figure hunched over my form.

As my senses focused back into vividness, I realized I was lying on my back in a deserted section of some unknown city, my clothes splayed in tatters over my body. I remembered again that I had eyes and that they could see, and a dusty alley stretched out before and behind me, showing not a sign of life. I could barely make out the distant knives of silver, camouflaged with the reflections of the setting sun which shone directly into this rift – Saffron City’s steel skyscrapers.

Ytarrik, presumably, had sensed my sudden peril and followed me here, for he was beside me once again, looking out (as I did) into the dying sunlight. In any case, he claimed to have been shut from my mind for the entire duration of the lapse, and I wondered what truly I had done.

Regaining control of my limbs, I jumped smoothly from my prone position and strode quickly out of the side-path, Ytarrik seeming not to follow. I had little distance to erase before I suddenly emerged into a large expanse of space, a center in the city: looming impressively over me, as they had always, were the old mansion and laboratory of Professor Kalens Oak. In the twilight which was soon enveloping the city, the great rows of arched windows were melancholy eyes peering into withered night, and the turrets and chimneys, both indistinguishable from the other, seemed to carry the weight of the skies on their weary heads. The domed conservatory adjoining was darkened by the deprivation of light, though faint signs of pokèmon movement were still emanating for close perception to see. These invisible flashes of light only served to make the gloom all the more prevalent.

The continuous sunlight on my eyes and the previous exertion had subdued the strength of my Mightyena blood, but it was soon regaining its parasitic footing on my wasted limbs, following the dominating night. The vapours returned to whip about over my body with characteristic lust, and a severe dehydration of a pain, induced from the continuous influence of sunlight in my senseless daze, made its existence apparent only by leaving rapidly. As I raised a hand to shield my eyes, an unusual flare of vapour leaped out to obscure my view for a moment.

I stopped in mid-stride.

The glimpse was infinitesimal, but the change so sheer and vast that it imprinted itself vividly into my memory. Through the lens of the translucent mist, it was clear that the greenhouse glass had shattered, and its metal frame melted into the main mansion, as though blown apart by an explosive force from its right. The fallen glass of the conservatory sprayed deformed, melted shards over the main wreckage, a wilderness of ash-mounds and unrecognizably charred figures: which bird, or beast, or fish or plant they had once been, no observer can say. Vast, near-unrealistic piles of skulls, larger and stranger formed than human components, lay over mangled jumbles of indiscriminate bones in varying sizes. However, it was to the mansion that my attention was chiefly given.

The vast majority of the building was crumbled to its foundations, but the general structure of the double staircases of the entrance hall still remained, and their outstretched arms cradled the lone remains of a human, standing out from the fallen glory. The soot-blackened bones were strung together weakly by the fuse of persistent bits of charred ligament, and the black, withered muscles hung loosely from the limbs, but it was upright with an unnatural energy, its permanent grin lit with an abominable glint. Balanced within the eye-sockets were half-molten spheres of gold, slowly falling apart, oozing down in splatters across the hollowed cheekbones; within the ribcage reclined a pulsating heart, its severed openings occasionally sputtering with the remains of dried blood, which caked the surrounding bones. It was difficult to determine, but I believe I saw flanking the organ a set of withered lungs, wheezing and secreting a trickle of some unknown fluid. As I stared at the figure, my interest piqued, a pair of sapphire pupils squelched out of the midst of the melting eyes to gaze at me accusingly – and the vapours passed, and the vision was gone.

Profoundly intrigued, I entered the atrium.

Kalens Oak, certain as the blood poisoning my own, was standing before me in the hall, a melancholy smile on his aged features. He wore a tweed coat and tie, and the bowl hat on his graying hair served to accentuate his resemblance to the old trainer Gentlemen on their world-voyages. I was given entirely to his frail harmlessness, taken by the quiet twinkle of hidden knowledge within the fragile frame, and it was with a sinking feeling that I walked towards him.

“Hello, Amaren,” he said levelly. “I see you’ve regained consciousness.”

I replied with a blank look of puzzlement.

“But not your wits yet, I see. Well, perhaps my recounting of the tale should demonstrate.

“What you see with your naked eye,” he continued, “is a detailed illusion set up by myself; what you can see through the filter of your vapours is my true situation. I made this illusion to prevent the consequent shock of raising my hands to eye level.” All this was said with polite amiability, as though discussing the weather.

“Why, what have I done?” I exclaimed.

“To be precise, you entered my house at half-past midnight, superhumanly powerful and unreasonable under the influence of mightyena blood. After speaking to me at great lengths about the darkness of your soul (if I recall correctly), you stripped the container off the base of my blender, exposing the naked cross-blades, turned on the motor, and made quick work of the majority of my vital organs. After that, I can only suppose you set the conservatory and the house to fire and left me here to burn.”

I slumped against the wall, my head spinning. “Kalens, I’m sorry. How are you…”

“Alive?” he finished.

I nodded gratefully.

“It seems your influence was so strong as to lend some of your invincibility to me. From what I surmise, at this point, any number of injuries can befall me, but my general form will remain the same. Of course, I can additionally never die, though I am not exempt from pain. Currently, certain of my nerve endings are still keeping connections to the mind; but once they die out, I shall be capable of no physical feeling. What led you to such a delirious state, however?”

I grasped control of my vocal chords. “I was letting down my guard against the Mightyena isolation, but I slipped. Went too far. After that, I don’t remember anything…

“How did my assimilation come to affect you, though?”

He gazed at me for an intent moment. “Amaren, do you really not know? This is no chemical component of the flesh of a Dark-type; it is the naked substance of the very soul of the element. What you are injecting into yourself is only metaphorically blood!”

“You mean—“

“Yes, that’s exactly what I mean. The poison running through your blood is what makes a nip on the shoulder by a Poochyena so lethal; not a venom on their teeth, but a portion of their very element! Under appropriate influences, any object your mind is even directed towards will be infected.”

“But – I should have known! I never even considered that possibility! Kalens, why didn’t you tell me?”

“You never gave me a chance to,” he sighed.

“This is all so monstrously wrong; I’d never thought I would be this deep! Surely, I made my farces, I told you, so many times, that I would never be the same, but…”

“It is impossible to estimate exactly the business you are considering until it’s too late, unfortunately."

I raised my hands, coated in a writhing mass of shadow. I had used these very hands to sentence living creatures to death by torture; I had so often shed the blood of uncooperative strangers into these vessels, but to think, mere moments ago, that I had sprayed them with the innards of my last remnant of old Saffron…

I stepped back, into the shadow of a cabinet; and, as the shadowy vapours sprung into greater life, some of my old strength returned. My barriers began to reform.

“Why am I shocked?” I suddenly said aloud. The professor instantly saw the state of affairs, and replied with a look of resignation. He had suffered enough.

“The merry tale of lies I had been stirring of my lot has finally come true, I think.” I laughed insanely, harshly. “I’d always wanted to be the sufferer of a thousand wrongs, out on his bloodthirsty rampage of vengeance into the arms of hell, and now I am!”

The grief was welling up inside me as the welling of intestinal fluid within the Rattata’s papery skin, but it went no farther; my insides, raging in self-pity and horror, were entirely separate from the overtaking entity within my face, turning it into a maniacal, craven mask.

“Listen, Amaren,” Oak pleaded, struggle coming back into his weary eyes. “You can work out of this. Everything can be healed! Come with me, I’ll – “

But he saw me raise a tendril of vapour once again to my eyes, signaling the darkness of my deeds, and faltered.

“Give up, old man. You can restore a corrupted Amaren back to his original form, you say? Can you bring him back to life? This isn’t Amaren, this is a Luphinid, the Luphinid!”

“No,” he defied. “No, I’ll never believe that.” And, bothering to hear only a fragment of his parting words, I whipped out of the mansion.


As though suffering the very swings of mood of the rattata I had subjected to torture, all anger or hatred or bitter-spirited cynicism emptied out of me as water through a sieve. I was wasted, a dead leaf to the mercy of my assimilation’s whim, and as soon as I exited the house I melded into the darkness as I could so skillfully do, moving instantaneously through patches of shadow out into the darkened grassland.

The rosy glow that had lit the sunsetting field in my memories was removed entirely, and the artificial shine of the night-city and the chalky moon bathed the stalks in the light of long-past glory; a sea of writhing, phantom tentacles persevered fruitlessly to drown me in their suffering. I sank into the darkness of the ever-shifting wind itself, the cold remorseless whisper of winter, and seas of viridian, dotted with blurs of cerulean, vermillion, abysmal navy, fuchsia, all crumbled away in my wake, leaving only the dark gray-blue of the night sky as legacies.

I fell into the shores of Route 19, the merciless eye of the vigilant moon pursuing me through all my suffering, and I saw fully the bitterness of my thought, that such a dazzling silver should burn me so repugnantly. From within the cover of this coverless wasteland of sand protruded a single, disease-ridden hand, embracing this never-warming light though it scalded him with a passion. I broke out of all restraint, running out onto the shimmering sands and the furnace of silver fire, burning: my skin was on a fire more agonizing than hell, more divine than heaven, and I didn’t care that I was slowly shriveling into ash, that my flesh was nothing without the influence of the shadows which rapidly deserted my pain…

Do you feel alive now? asked the slowly-roiling waves, and I ignored their sarcasm. Yes, I felt alive; alive with the agony and the ecstasy of fevered perspiration, alive with the last remnants of the fire which had burned so brightly once, that now simmered remorsefully in its dying embers, never forgetting past glory. As I ran across the sands, it seemed as though the entire ensemble of the original party emerged from the trees to run with me, dancing around me as harmonies to my thought: Ytarrik, and Angin, and Lepena and Akale, their emotions fluorescing in my own to rise above their differences and transcend into a dark climax of brilliance.

My melody rose above all the rest, buttressed and complemented by theirs; and it was a symphony of feeling, of life in all its glory and defeat, such that the land shook in surprise at the beauty of this display which sprung so unexpectedly from my darkness. Rainbow threads of light branched out from our surrounding halo, spiraling around us in a canopy of shimmering colour, meeting together at our apex, our receptacle, our focus for the last memory of beauty which still thrilled our aching bones; all our power and life gathered for this blow, falling into the single, skyward Hyper Beam, seconds before wiping us out in an explosion of joy –

The sea rose up to engulf me as I stumbled into its frigid arms, and all our creations crumbled as ash before the wind, losing their complexity and falling back into our straining bodies. I had never truly known joy, and this pain was poor subsitute; I had never truly been alive. As the dark, inhospitable womb of the nighttime sea covered me whole, and the last filtering beams of moonlight dissolved into oblivion, I knew that no trace of light had ever permeated my essence; the show of light I had endeavoured towards was merely a farce.

I didn’t want my strength! I didn’t want the instantaneous speed, or the infinite wisdom, or the invincibility; even the maturity I had developed prematurely I would happily forgo for the last flare of the summer sun, lazing under the golden fields of Saffron with the fragrance of clean, living flesh surrounding me and the beauty of a peaceful forest wafting from the nearby outskirts. If only I had ever had a choice, if only I had lived a true, formed life, if only I had never been stunted from the beginning, perfect as Ruki was in her short time – but speculation was vain. Surely, I would endure infinite losses to regain the life of Amaren, but I would never have the opportunity, would I? As my body hit the dark, sunless seafloor, and I deemed it time to swim out of my weakness and back to shore, I knew that not a single connection lay between my life and his, and no opportunity to bridge the distance. I was Luphinid Remana Silnaek, indestructible, monstrous, unforgivable, malformed, infected, and so I would eternally remain.

For there was no merciful one to forgive me. What angel would sink from the land of light to deliver me?



[{//\/\/\/\/\//\\//\\//\/\/\|/|\|/\/\/\\//\\//\\/\/\/\/\/\//}]



Over the ensuing decades, I devoted the vast entireties of my life to the sole act of righting, my techniques growing more ruthless and effective with every wrong, my certainty in my sentence setting deeper into concrete. Several times I considered returning to Oak, but in all my beleaguered visits to his ruined mansion never did I waver in my conviction, force-feeding myself the lies which had formed all my essence: that he was tainted with my blood, and incapable of true deliverance, so deep into my quicksand; that only one element of the world would heal me, and it was so removed from my life that the possibility could never come into my path; that it was unlikely in any case that the professor yet truly believed in me through all my wrongs and refusals. What matter was it that I could have been healed; that a simple admittance to a dear friend could have brought me back to some semblance of sanity? These were possibilities, but I was positive they would never transpire, and content in the assurance of my dark depression.

Certain metamorphoses had been crawling sluggishly through my body, result of my sins, my abhorrence of warmth, and my frequent brushes with lethal wrongs and addictive assimilations. I have been describing them disconnectedly at moments when they came to prominence, but perhaps it shall be more decisive and detailed to depict their long-term results at this point, though we are far from the end of my tale. Soon after an almost opaque peak of domination on the part of the Dark vapours over my hands, they withdrew entirely into my arms, leaving the flesh of the palms entirely untouched, though infused with a distinctive pallor. After the decimation of my velvet jacket, I took to the old-fashioned cloaks of ancient times, almost magelike, trailing in kingly drapes behind me; and over the unnatural silver hands I drew black gloves to hide the lustre. Though a hood deigned to obscure my face in half-shadow, streak by streak, shard after shard, my once-mellow dark brown eyes transformed into a piercing silver, more unnatural and more dazzling than the whites of my eyes; and they shone out in contrast from the dimmed vagueness of my features under the darkness of my attire.

I gained several vague, nameless abilities to do with the Dark type: superhuman strength, instantaneous speed through shadows, even the weak manipulation of light to shine away from a given object. Through a cold night wind I could twist my speed into flight, and move ambiguously high up into the heavens, skirting past the innumerable stars as a bodiless concept of no concrete shape or position. This was not to say, however, that I was free of limitations: continuous exposure to any natural, celestial light burned me (slightly, first, then at increasing degrees of harm), and I fell prey to many such senseless lapses of reason and memory of the kind that destroyed Kalens Oak. But for the most part my changes were almost inconsequential to everyone but me, harming me in subtle ways. Over time, my biological clock, the very permanent machinations of my body, shifted to an entirely nocturnal schedule, and I woke up well into the midst of midnight and moved into sleep at the arrival of the sunrise, taking care to insulate myself fully from the light. Indeed, in the later portions of my transformations my very respiration dipped into shallower and shallower gulps, until with vague surprise, near my one hundred and fiftieth year, I realized I had stopped breathing.

Ah, I seem to have forgotten to mention: assimilation had also granted me longevity, as though a human’s life of my infernal existence was too little. An assimilation heightener of the Mightyena is granted, on average, two hundred years, during which he rises to greater and greater levels of power before suddenly self-destructing. At the final moments before death, the skill and ability of the human is almost godly, and many choose this opportunity to perform their final act: a spectacular finale of their twisted, glorious life.

And revel in the glory I did, the reaches of my long arms growing greater and more precise with every heightening, every obliteration of a wrong. It seems I had been entertaining a species of involuntary hope before the moment of Kalens’ defilement, forsaking the possibility of salvation while still unhealthily attached to memories of those days. Now, however, in my despair (as though I had taken the thoughts of a man moments before near-inevitable death and held on to them for my eternity), I accepted the impossibility of clean, beautiful joy and made do with the alternative: power-lust, and vanity, and the adrenaline of near-death. They served a type of emotional fuel very similar to assimilation heightening in its efficiency at driving my deprived struggle on as long as I wished. I had no future; no harm could be done in practices which ruined it beyond recognition.

It was, therefore, this introduction into the full philosophy of my life which made the time ripe for a certain influence to take me by storm.

Luphinid Silnaek
June 15th, 2009, 05:57 AM
9Gengar: Hm. I shall hear what you wanted to say over VM, then, I presume.

Observe:




Aftershock

Chapter 12: Warm Hospitality



I was looking into information concerning my next anticipated wrongs, and updating records on previous of my accomplishments, when I noticed a recurring name among the rolls of sordid honour: a strange, renowned fellow by the name of Seymul Colt. In fact the list of his rightings was well-known, at least in mention, by most world-wise anomaly hunters, and I had taken no interest in him simply for his fame before I realized a certain strange fact around him.

The list of wrongs which I had finished, and was intending to finish, was exactly identical to his own roster: a coincidence I found to be meaningful, in a thoughtless, idle way. This was a sufficient hook of interest for me, and remained so long enough for me to learn of him more stably absorbing details: his singularity, like to my own in many ways, and his inhuman strength and skill, even for a righter. Thus, I was kept in some species of awe for a sizable amount of time, before realizing that most accounts of his life were, if not entirely apocryphal, certainly disputable. Even so, his one indubitable history – the list of attempted and succeeded rightings – caused me to regard him with a fair amount of kinship, and I decided, idly but truly, to lead my life in his footsteps. (It would save me several long hours of contemplation upon my next course of events, as much as I realized all prospects of novelty would fly out the window.)

Why, the both of us had allegedly run from a mentally scarring rendition of the anomaly 0A1, early in our life, only to discover our noble occupation and begin work on 3S1, closely followed by research on ghost phenomenon, and the Righting of wrongs 2G3, 2H5, and 3A1. Ah, I seem to have misled you. When I mentioned beginning work on these various wrongs, I don’t mean to say both I and my new role model righted these projects, one after the other. I was merely set to work upon his failed goals, of which there were countless. As these leftovers were most often too difficult for the young Seymul (and, therefore, for most righters of his age at the time), my training was harsher and steeper that his, and far more effective, seeing as I did manage to survive each successful Righting.

Colt’s traditional image was that of a large, powerfully-built man with a sharp face and bold, perceptive eyes. However, in the light of some of his papers upon the subject of righting, I was obliged to see him in a more sophisticated, subtle light – his actual appearance was lost to all visible records, and I allowed imagination to take reign over this trivial matter. In my mind, therefore, he was shaped in the influence of Kalens Oak, touched with far greater youth than the decrepit and infinitely wronged professor, and surrounded in logical tendrils of black and pale white vapour, due to the combination of Psychic- and Dark-type assimilation he claimed to participate in. A gardevoir invariably stood by his side, his apparent starter, and served purpose only in implication. Even so, the aura was one of deep impressiveness, and remained to be so for the entirety of my life.

The refined scholar kept his gardevoir by his side, and what did I, the sequel to his esteemed existence, have with me? The ralts line is unmatched in empathy by all others, but Ytarrik served in fair sympathy to my cause, soon after the desecration of the poor Professor Oak. While he left my side in ‘peacetime’, as I call it, to train long hours at the Saffron Gym, he remained with me for all eventful occasions, aiding me with the majority of my anomalies, and pretending convincingly to join me in my lightless beliefs and chains of thought. As for his inner views on my matter, I was no longer concerned with the whole truth in affairs other than necessity, and felt not the least bothered of what lay beneath his supportive face.

It was this very face of his which had suggested the idea, spotting with his loyally keen analysis a most interesting failure of Colt’s. A merging anomaly, was it? How on earth had the man survived failing its righting? Ah, but this was the perfect thing to marry with my other ideas.

And so I sent it through the grapevine of the more sociable that the Legendary, Famous, Inhumanly Skilled, and Intensely Profitable to Befriend Luphinid Silnaek was organizing and hosting an event, a mass get-together with a thousand undefined attractions purposed to grab the interest of any and all who wished to come – provided they were righters. Only an unsociable fool, or rather a useless hunter, failing in his one pathetic obsession, would dare miss the extravagant pomp of this new development. Everyone worth knowing would depart immediately for the abandoned Riquanne Halls in the heart of Celadon, or face the royal wrath of social disagreement.

And, anyway, who’d want to refuse the irresistible master of all things wrong called Luphinid?

For that while, I had abandoned the dreary old fashion of my decrepit cloak for a swanky tailcoat, dipped in indigo, and an almost ridiculous top hat for good measure. A bowtie perched on the collar of my white inner suit, and a mock cane, silver encrusted with espeon rubies, I held loosely in my hand. How loving the caress of my vapours upon those relics of their psychic ability, as they (almost!) hid their parasitic hold upon the rubies, leeching slowly the energy collected in the ‘charms’. The old styles, though next to impossible to find, were the only alternatives I would entertain from my usual heavy, outdated cloak.

This attire was perhaps entirely based on the venue of its employment, though I had been using clothes to its like from far back. The Riquanne Halls were a set of buildings in a previously bustling portion of high-class society within Celadon City, and they possessed a main structure by their name in which all social meetings were once held. Now, for reasons I wished not to know, the great cavern of a room lay in vague disrepair, and yet was all the more fitting for later meetings by such social parasites as righters. A vast curtained, gold-enameled space held a hundred fine tables, which converged around the showpiece: a dais at the very center, displaying musical accompaniments or announcements. For the purpose of this party, I had installed several sources of light which pretended to originate from the vast, intricate chandeliers, and their golden radiance, tinged with the unearthly pallor of all my objectionable techniques, supplied the exact degree and species of mood to befit this gathering.

How outwardly melodious, the tinkling of the crowd; and how rotten the core within!

I leaned against one of the alcove walls, despite my accumulated fame, looking out with extravagantly shaded eyes in a manner almost furtive, obscure. From all external perceptions (including my own) I was entirely at ease in my corner of the hall, untouched by the physical notice but vaguely amused out of the concern for my absence of the guests. My entertainment came from the sole act of watching, from fixing upon each tale of sordid woe which played out under affable guises, one by one, and seeing their cold hearts wither a degree further with every word. The comedy was hidden in the realization that these creatures actually believed wholeheartedly in their pathetic causes, in the notice of a sudden, secret flick of thought from Ytarrik’s part to manipulate them into greater lows, in the abdication of all reserve as I joined him in his tricks.

The gates admitted another group of visitors, and the majority of the shadow of an exceptionally muffled niche in the right wall vacated its temporary abode. A man in a navy coat appeared from no distinct point of origin to greet the newcomers, silver honey on his tongue.

“Ah, the Lady Veleama,” I crooned, bowing to breathe on the leader’s hand. I offered vague mentions on her two acquaintances, attempting to remember their names. “I was waiting especially for your visit.”

The self-styled Lady was an especially unpleasant specimen of high-class righter, who had seen the ill fortune of doing me a bad turn on several past occasions. It was indeed on her arrival that I had been waiting, sunk patiently into my deep corner of obscurity.

I glided to the central dais, and played a single, dull stroke on an awaiting wineglass with the tip of one thumb. Once all attention had been presented to my half-unnoticing gaze, I began the formalities.

“So glad you all could come,” I said; “it’s an honour to have the presence of so many illustrious ladies and gentlemen.” I widened my dangerous smile for a fraction of a second as the flies in the spider’s web simpered.

“After all, we have some of our finest arrayed here. I’m sure much of what I say is unworthy for your audience, but let me speak a few minutes more.” Idle fun to watch them raise themselves on pedestals, each the solitary pillar of radiance in their minds. Ah, but this would not do for my plans at all. Even so, I flapped their vanity some degrees further, as far as their distancing would not visibly affect the itinerary. The extent of my parading was the period of time before I noticed the vast crates of alcoholic beverage left to collect dust in a deserted corner, at which I ended my speech and leapt into the fray.



Those who have never done it before can see none of the frivolous but severe entertainment of pretending to be drunk, while your guests diligently accumulate on actual booze. There is a very fine distinction between this art and its truer version, but one which made all the difference to me: where the latter is an unnerving experience, capable of extreme recoil damage if timed badly, the former is only a fraction of a measure below its twin in terms of fun and allows the doer to alternate between two mental states at will. As I piled higher with prodigious quantities of grape juice, singing the occasional snatch of song which wandered in my head, I found it immensely difficult to believe those I entertained could have let their guard down so fully in my presence.

A possible explanation presented itself to me, and soon I was mentally staring in mock admonition at Ytarrik, who exuded the aura of a mischievous child, caught in his wrongdoing.


[So I confounded their minds a little,] said he, [so what? It only serves your purposes better, and anyway I can take them off my telepathy once they’re drunk enough.]

I caught hint of an old memory, of a certain abra and a fourteen-year-old trainer on their trickster escapades, and of the sardonic humor which chose to be their form of affection for that instance.

I mentioned to the observant Ytarrik, [the two of them were razed to the ground, weren’t they?]

[Razed to the ground,] he agreed.

[Razed to the ground, as I said, and not a trace of them! We all go to hell in the end.]

[We all burn.]


“Whose agents,” I sang physically, “could not ever see / His hilly eyes and two green rings…”

The boisterous din of the branding irons of hell swayed to my magnetic influence, all naturally entirely ignorant of my control. I sang a few more lines, and gave up the chorus to a band of musicians whom nobody could really find, anywhere within or without the hall.


I am the one you warned me of…


I passed like a ghost through the masses, slipping into conversations unobtrusively and slipping out, without leaving a single recollection of my presence. The atmosphere and substance played on the faculties of the mind in fresh, unpredictable ways and added a new tone of interest into my usual gambolling; it additionally destroyed my mental guards, allowing me to think thoughts I had kept dark and skinless in the deepest corners of my mind. At the moment, this circumstance seemed not so much inconvenient as thrilling.

Conversing inadvertently with Ytarrik was a peculiar practice. If not for the unreserved, near-dissociated nature of the replying thoughts, I could have easily maintained the illusion of a simple mental discussion with the self; and this trick of the mind was a perfect habitat for my experiments.

I anchored myself mentally to those around me, ensuring that any particularly obscene thought entering my mind would impress itself upon my guests, spreading the discord of which I was so famed. While it was doubtful whether obscenity would be the main driving force behind my musings this night, any thought at all could cause havoc when injected forcefully into a sufficiently disagreeable specimen of human stupidity.


Five fingers have I, to play them like ten.


I was no longer certain where the old Luphinid had fled to. I was still an unstable sociopath, and I desired the life of the late Amaren no less than before, but I was not particularly abhorrent of this life anymore. No, indeed I was; I hated the life of Luphinid Silnaek with a passion, but perhaps this hatred was borne mainly out of Ytarrik’s repugnance of what I had become. (In any case, the precise thought in those musings which declared my hatred was almost certainly Ytarrik’s, and as he shared my mind only partially he was prone to overestimations.) I wished that Ytarrik would stop allowing his emotions to cloud our judgment while we were hard at work upon this logical project. It was my place to wreck reason with anger and hatred, not his.


Ten fingers have I, to play them again.



As the Kadabra impressed upon me his revulsion of what I had become, a cool and efficient young man to our right suddenly realized the futility of some unnamed efforts which he had been mentally planning during the party and broke down, sobbing about the pointlessness of his life and how dearly he would wish to start over from the beginning, when he was still working through puberty and engaging in questionable practices. A secluded righter had begun some calculations as to the quantity of assimilation heightening required for a righting project, and as I lingered mentally on the thought of allowing emotion to cloud my judgment, he felt an irrational surge of fear and miscomputed the quantity by several hundred millilitres, ensuring lethal failure in his next righting. And I laughed and shook my head.

Oh, where was I? I was certain I had been thinking of my opinion about my life before I interrupted myself… Ah, yes, thank you, Ytarrik. I did not like the state of affairs in my life, but (in sheer contrary to the doctrines of the Lavender ghost) I was beginning to wonder whether it was exactly sin to milk the opportunity of my abilities to their full. If I was damned from my very beginning, there was no reason not to take the advantages of damnation while they still existed.

No, what thoughts was I indulging in? This life was despicable—all right, perhaps that was Ytarrik’s bias, but the doctrines of the ghost at Lavender were entirely opposed to this philosophy. I had to choose either her mode of life, which I was so certain I was destined for and the ghost had seen within me as common ground between us, or this new world of mad, swinging lights and thrilling dangers. No, but I was accepting this on my fundamental level with the greatest height of difficulty, wasn’t I?

I directed my mind to Amaren. I had never given the matter a second thought, but an entirely beginning trainer of average skill would require half a year of practice to defeat a lower-end gym leader, let alone such a formidable trainer as the leader of Saffron. Regulations had been passed to lighten the load on novices in recent times, but they had not reached any level of effectiveness by the time of Amaren and Ruki’s challenge. I knew not why no acknowledgement had been made for their achievement, but they had very certainly gained the Marshbadge within their second month.

If life had continued at this pace, the two trainers would have become champions. I wonder, in retrospect, which one would have proved superior in the final match—whether Amaren Kelanis and his Alakazam, Ytarrik, or Ruki Ferena with Angin the Typhlosion would become the champion of Kanto.

It was vaguely amusing to see exactly the manner in which my thoughts affected the characters around me, but as two guests went so far as to challenge each other to a pokèmon battle at random, I decided the idle fun had run its course. It was time to execute the grand finale.

I leapt up to the stage.

“Order, people, order,” I said, forcing back a hiccup, “I’ve got something to say. Finally, I mean.

“This party really is the best in our century or something. Don’t you agree?” I called for a mass cheering, and I received. “And I think, personally, something this big of a blast”—I directed my vapours to run up my arm, and Ytarrik shot telekinetic force into the outcrop to explode it into a few hundred shards—“deserves something… else that’s really just as big of a blast. Therefore, ergo, hitherto, I call for A MASS RIGHTING!”

More cheering, this time uncalled for. Welcome, however.

Social gatherings were great patrons of the mass righting, in which large groups of righters synchronized their minds almost entirely to tackle a major wrong by their collective effort. Individual thought, though discouraged, was still very possible, but the majority of the brainpower and psychic skill would be directed towards a common goal, set (with the consent of the whole) by one conductor, myself in this case. I had some extremely unorthodox plans for this righting, and I would not seek the consent of the crowd before executing them.

I detailed to the guests a fictional Water/Fire type pokèmon which originated from a certain wronged ‘generator’ of organisms in the theoretical plane; it would be highly unstable and self destruct soon after creation, and therefore a large amount of momentary, concentrated power would be required to ban its generation before it ceased to exist. (It should be elucidated that few righters practiced their art to benefit the world by preventing wanton destruction. There was no conceivable way to invoke the wrath of most existent wrongs unless one was doing so deliberately, but hunters righted these anomalies nevertheless for the thrill of the chase.) I then rose up to the conductor’s podium of their souls, and linked each of their minds to my own with a telepathic link, waiting as they abdicated most thought and allowed my mind to override their will.

Why, already I was leaving tradition, and already laughing at the blunt daze my guests must have suffered under, to be insensitive to my departure. Righting has a very rigid and precise set of instructions for carrying out any of its incarnations, and any deviation from this is almost certainly the death of at least one of the participants. By sitting still in the human plane and shepherding the righters remotely, I was refusing the usual convention of personally leading my army directly into the fray, and suggesting ulterior motives to the nonexistent none who sensed my lack of presence. To speak the truth, my entry was from another angle.

The theoretic plane encompassed several levels of complexity, each holding and dealing in one particular attribute of the existences in the universe. It was never my style, of course, to take the most beaten path; it was always quite too sunny, far too populated, entirely too healthy for me. Thus, I shunned the main ‘interface’, as it were, and plunged into a level of complexity with the exact purpose as my requirements needed—the entire withered expanse of the proximate minds’ interconnected thoughts stretched out before me:


[B]that haughty self-aggrandizing fire/water instability assurance of purple Curtains gold distractions aim mucH unnEcEssary boredom prevalent blank buffoonS thoughtlEss gormless beliefless speech-contradictions psychic assimilation superior over dark immature uncivilized drunkard unlike messself—I AM ONE AND BEYOND LEVELLINGS—egos far below me littering the expanse like lowly unfitting for my (my) my [my] my {my} [[NOBILITY]]

(Is this how their thoughts translated? I apologize profusely. I know that they seemed far more orderly when I saw them assembled there.)

[this life is]d[lost among greater matters]e[destructive]s[musty degradation, deformation, beyond all possible laws]pi (A cushion of mental blocks protected the core of my consciousness from the ravaging effects of a hypnagogic trance, and as my worst fears and petty desires raged around me as voices to a schizophrenic, my sanity was allowed to sail unmolested.) ca[this is no life]b[pathetic illusions]l[and no death]e[despicable]

skreeeaothelodhuuuuuuuu

uuuuuuuuhdolethoaeeerks


What does Silnaek mean in this pointless exercise?
I wish I knew where that Luphinid was taking me…
It seems imperative to me that I find his full intentions!
I have to know what he means to do!
I have to know his intentions for leading us here!
I have to know his intentions!
What is this theatrical wait?
This is ridiculous!
Are we performing a righting or a play?

A h, (im)perfect. Exactly to plan. Swoop down, just a [I]little nudge…

I have to know what he means to do!
I have to know his intentions!
I have to know his intentions!
What is this theatrical wait?




If any two minds, adjacent in their mental ruminations, could make the infinitely improbable coincidence of thinking in exactly the same concepts and emotions at the same time, it would constitute the seed for a specimen of anomaly set B80-99, in which notwithstanding the vast differences in memory and other mental faculties nature would come to refer to both minds as the same, resulting in deep problems of an uncertain nature. This set of wrongs is unsafe and untrodden by the reckless standards of righters themselves, and any hypothetical creature who would attempt to invoke one of these wrongs by telepathically affecting the thoughts of two similar minds can immediately be taken to be profoundly and dangerously unstable in sanity.




I herded the guests wordlessly back to our plane, and took refuge once again in the plane safest for my sanity—a section of the theoretic plane, this time, one unrelated to but with a prime bird’s-eye view of the pandemonium in more complex scales of existence. And I watched, feeling like an overexcited trickster impatient with the results of his own trickery.

As the ladies and gentlemen slumped in their chairs awoke with confused exclamations, the Brothers Traula and Vesperta Kobbit stood up rigid but unnoticed, eyes wide and blank. The alcohol-dulled senses of the partygoers endeavoured with characteristic difficulty to focus on the peculiar psychic manifestation forming over their heads, but no further struggle was required of them.

The Kobbits opened their mouths simultaneously, and a concept emanated in the form of sound from every surface of the hall, screeching metallically off the glassy marble floor, thrumming from the great curtains with a violence to suggest a resemblance to speaker membranes. It was a grainy condensate of two separate lives, mixing sloppily two sets of insoluble memories and experiences, but the graceless monotone of its harsh frequencies ruled the minds of all who heard it with a force like no other.

The infestation spread like wildfire through the crowd as the contents of minds were overwritten, twenty at a time, and replaced with that abominable screech. Conscious matter began streaming exponentially to fuel the massive super-consciousness above, and the air twisted violently with every amplifying wave of sound, beating at the hall with layers upon layers of solid wind. Vibrations churned the matter inside the bodies of the humans; bones buckled under the massive thrum of liquefied organs; the marble of the hall splintered, cracked, crumbled over the pulpy human remains, sloshing noisily with all the consistency of soup.

The super-consciousness disintegrated at last, its fire deprived of further fuel, and released its composite energy in a massive burst of thought, reducing the Riquanne complex to ashes.


At last, after my utter exhilaration had run its course, I enlisted the strained help of Ytarrik and created a block over that particular frequency. If ever any trickster (but me) should attempt to try what I had done in invoking this wrong, his consciousness would be annihilated by the same construct which annihilated minds after their bodies had run their course. And anomaly B85 was righted.

I returned to our plane, jerking awake from the centre of the dais to find the trustworthy Ytarrik loyally guarding over my body with the finest example of Barrier I had yet seen. In this existence the massacre had only just begun, as different planes of complexity carried different time frames, and my audience was just beginning to recognize my beautiful craftsmanship. I flashed once again my dangerous smile, bowed to the shocked glares all around me, readied (as did Ytarrik) the exact type of thought required to teleport us out of the carnage—

And a faint strain of sound floated past the barrier, into our ears.

The teleport swept us away.

Luphinid Silnaek
June 23rd, 2009, 02:01 AM
Aftershock

Chapter 13: Ruin to the Truth!




Hiding something never erases it.

It always hangs somewhere in the back of your mind, rotting away, and where a human being hardens and twists to cynicism in the absence of light, a single matter only grows more and more tender with time. You may grow as calloused a shell for yourself as you like, you may tell yourself it’s a weak, sordid issue, that it has no place in your world-wise mind, that it was just a childhood disappointment only painful to the most spoiled and bratty children, and the death the well-deserved destruction of two hopeful, sheltered fools, but the thorn refuses to come out of my wound, and it’s only pushing deeper with every evil word I shove into it.

And I know that whatever ploy I may use next to hide the truth from myself, whether lust, hatred, or madness drowns out the subtler ring of the pain, everything shall fall but not this one keystone of my identity. Not because I would cease to be Luphinid Silnaek, if the one deepest portion of my existence is cut out from me, but because nothing in my life exists with the warmth to heat this core, which shallow passions can never dream of touching. I am only pain, pain with the clothing of malice, and the incandescence that can propagate itself so effectively through minds with even the smallest seed and the undefeatable will that constitutes its nature is entirely absent from me.

Is there light somewhere in the universe? I remember it streaming from the open skies and scattering into a million dazzling shards at the mention of the old Saffron buildings, and I am certain something made its wandering way through all the dark holes of the encircling forest, transforming carbon-based organic matter to what I could see as nothing less than pure heavenly gold, but certainly that was only the complex manifestation of energy particles in the theoretic plane. I saw happiness in its true form in consciousnesses in that plane, and it was nothing more than emotion. A thought bent into a certain shape and purpose, invoked in response of the mind’s personal experience to favourable stimuli. Or should I say the destructive and selfish passions of the average pond scum? I don’t know what I should think. Being entirely truthful robs me of identity, more mildly than but as inevitably as healing certainly would.

And so now I stand, fallen from the rights of the meanest beggar. Is it possible that I may have a connection thicker than memories to Amaren Kelanis? Anything I say to myself towards the contrary sounds like an empty lie, but why is it that I can’t see one fraction of his joys and sorrows? I can connect the dots; the overprotectiveness of his family leading to his thirst for accomplishment and action, his mind drowning the stagnant grief of their death by this very thirst and leading him to pokèmon training, and the collapse of this system when grief finally overpowered his nature and devastated him; I know every inch of his mind, but I can feel nothing that he felt. All I have is a longing for his life, which I have glorified beyond reason. This is me.

And I am so foolish, so very foolish, to hide this. Ah, but so typical. It is sin to milk the opportunity of my abilities to their full! It’s a betrayal of my very self, a betrayal of the ghost at Lavender—and we know where betrayers go to after death: the ninth circle of hell, and its deepest and darkest. I only wish I could hold it off at least so long as I live.




[{//\/\/\/\/\//\\//\\//\/\/\|/|\|/\/\/\\//\\//\\/\/\/\/\/\//}]




This is as far as I remember of the events immediately after the teleportation. My uncertain theory is that I slipped into a strange state of unconsciousness, in which a large amount of experiences and thoughts passed through me in the form of dreams, but some quantity of delirious musing remained for me to sully the paper with its nonsense. (Poetic nonsense notwithstanding.)

The next known fact was that of standing bemusedly in the middle of some species of melancholy garden, looking out over the surface of an artificial pond paved with marble towards the silhouette of a sycamore tree. This was quickly amended to one of looking away bemusedly from the silhouette on account of the direct glare from an early evening sun, and further the bemused expression and emotion was also omitted. I was never known for losing my bearings, and I required something to keep my record.

Fruitfully, I spotted a sign placed upon an austere-looking adjoining building: “House of Kobbit”. The gaps in the muddled past events began to fill.

Nearing the moment when the exact destination of the teleport would be summoned in my mind and read, a strain of that despicable merging sound had entered me and wreaked havoc with my memories. The single compressed thought which comprised the Kobbits’ life, faint as it was, imposed itself onto mine, and merged with the thought then prevalent from my own consciousness, the thought always prevalent in my mind: my memories. I presumed that the emotion most matched to my own was best represented in their minds by this place: their old house. And so, my usual instinct to envision a destination place when teleportation demanded it was responded with this.

One shred of information still remained out of my reach: my physical conditions during my dream-state, which were known to be notoriously jumbled in such situations. I could obviously see my imperfect envisioning of a teleport destination did not give me any embarrassing side-effects, i.e. any split limbs or scattered body parts around all the vague places I might have supplied, but one never knew what other oddities one could pick up. Certainly an extra finger would be taken for granted until I closely scrutinized myself, and if I was in fact in a dreamscape or the fantastical universe of a deranged man, I would be faced with an entirely unique set of problems. What would I do when the dream decided to terminate?

It was, therefore, at this moment of complete recognition of my physical state, that reality entirely impressed itself on me. (Alternately, it was possible that I had exited some earlier dream-state and entered fully into reality.) The sunlight! I felt my skin beginning to recoil, and fled, only half-noting at the time that the burn was little more than that of keeping a normal hand in sunlight for any large amount of time. In retrospect, perhaps this was the reason for my endurance outside for the considerable time I spent in looking for shelter.

At last, I swooped into a sealed furniture shop and ran to a convenient mirror. I saw only subtle differences: a possibly imagined growth in stature, mainly height; a concentration of my overgrown hair into an outcrop of black invading the small of my back; and a suddenly realized amplification of both psychic and physical stamina, which had apparently remained outside my notice until this moment. Also, I remembered looking into the mirror moments before the Riquanne Halls party to see only one remaining streak of certain brown in the pupil of my right eye; this had disappeared with the other changes to form a homogeneous dazzling silver with only the vaguest hints of grey.

All these details could be explained with a dusty calendar hanging on the wall above the mirror: while it seemed badly outdated, the year written conspicuously at the top was at least fifty years from my last known time. Whatever strange mental realm I had come into, I had remained in unconsciousness there for (as confirmation later proved) exactly sixty-five years.

Some of my more shrewd readers may see the relentlessly fast and reckless pace of my life. Not only do I write only the chief events, which either represent or affect my personality as it evolves over time, but the very style of this story is more rushed than a man in my position may naturally make it. I wish to make this clear, so that no reader assumes this is the result of only impatience on my part: my life is themed exactly as it seems to the reader of this biography, my memories recalling clearly only the most major events of my lie, while merely sketching less important themes. I seem only an old book, once read with no great attention and largely forgotten with time, its composite parts hardly meaningful to any perception (though only my own perception can attempt to confirm this).

And so little shall be said of my immediately following thoughts: apathy, for the most part, eager as I was to reach the finale and the end of my two-hundred year life. I continued life as usual, quickly acclimatizing to the shifts in technology and cultural systems, and responding with characteristic amusement to the shock of the few acquaintances I still had. I did not particularly create a wave with my return through any circle, righting or otherwise, and so it was no triviality when the Gym Leader of Saffron summoned me to the gym.




[{//\/\/\/\/\//\\//\\//\/\/\|/|\|/\/\/\\//\\//\\/\/\/\/\/\//}]




Decades had passed, but no insistence on city maintenance would change the sight of that ancient establishment. I saw with an expression of blatant disinterest what Amaren had looked out with awe, perhaps ninety years ago: the dark, cavernous room, with its inadequate rows of giant lighted candles and bleary hospital beds, and the shabbily dressed old man who hurried anxiously to my side. Material extravagance might not be distinctly necessary for psychic enlightenment, but experience had taught me it proved no hindrance, and sensibility demanded it.

The eternally exploring distinction of a mind practised in the psychic arts touched my own, and the old man to whom it belonged gave a start.

he relayed to me, in a distinct style of communicative thought (mainly) unburdened of the contradictions of any language. Physically, he peered at me as though unsure his failing eyes were serving him correctly. [I remember clear as day when you first came, and I herded you to your own preliminary test. What happened?]

[Oh, come on,] I replied, [you know you psychic pushovers will coax it telepathically out of my mind anyway.]

He recoiled slightly, and made an expression as though bracing himself. [Follow me, then,] he murmured telepathically.

He led me to an invisibly unobtrusive portion of wall, directed an invisibly unobtrusive concentration of thought towards it, and the two of us ducked into the wall with an invisible unobtrusiveness, entering a hall which satisfied my standards of physical extravagance.

The carpet was lush red, embroidered with gold thread which ran past the edge of the cloth and up the sides of the walls, giving the impression of a solid gold building. Curtains lined the wide arched french windows, two on each wide wall, their position making it apparent that the windows were never meant to be doors. True lighting filled every corner of the room, giving it an otherworldly sparkle, originating not from any single object but from everything at once—to the style of my own decoration during the Riquanne Halls. At the very head of the hall (with a vanity greater than even my generous expectations), lying limp on an expensive throne, slept—

[Sabrina,] I said with mild amusement. Of course, there was no [I]unconsciousness about the young figure but a superconsciousness, a state of heightened psychic awareness.

[Tell me,] I continued, [how did you manage to prolong your existence this far? Certainly your highness didn’t subscribe to the coarse practice of assimilation heightening.]

She ignored this. Investigation yielded that the ancient creature had been sustaining herself entirely on thought converted into energy, and that her true physical form had been covered discreetly with a less nauseating illusion, as that of the old professor.

Even so, her illusory image was intimidating in its own right. The same subdued eyes peered out of the same refined face as in the old illustrations of her form, and the lack of her sinister animated doll did nothing to dilute the dark introverted glory of her thoughts.

Ah, typical Luphinid. Comparing all things with himself. This figure did not awe me personally in the least.

[You have heard,] said she, [of my earlier crisis with multiple personalities, very early in my life.]

[What about it?]



[Ah, how clever. I read about your persistent attachment to art. I suspect this would be the greatest form of the ‘creation’ you have such a fascination for.]

[Correct. And so I began perfecting this new art, creating not a piece of writing or painting but complete, functional organisms. I made DID into an art!]

[And what on earth did you bring me here and tell me this for?]

[I haven’t finished yet. It seemed my practise held intense side-effects—I did not divide as a cell might, with no losses to either myself or my creation, but as a piece of inorganic matter. What experiences I used to shape my creations were lost from myself, and what I omitted from the creations were entirely absent from their own minds. I (and the resultant being) would look back to see gaping holes in my memories and thoughts; several portions of my life were wasted away through this.]

[Well, you reap what you sow.]

I still had no conceivable idea what she could have meant with this story, and made such apparent.

Keeping me ignorant still, she turned to another subject abruptly.

[I hear you are planning to take on the anomaly 0A1 at some point in your life.]

[If ‘hear’ is synonymous with ‘fish telepathically in my mind’, then yes.]

[Then do you know that death may not be the only possible reward for failing to right this.]

[What do you mean?] The Mightyena’s ears rose, tense.

[You may be subjected to any number of fates, some of which both death and your species of half-life pales in comparison.]

A long-held hope suddenly collapsed. [I]No death? All my bankings had concentrated to this beacon of faint release from my existence, and where cynicism could crush all other lights in my perceived future, nothing had held me from basing every shred of what little still remained in me to this one assurance.


No, but this was simple.


Death was still possible for a victim of the wrong. It would be inevitable. I didn’t care what little proof I used to hold this up, but I knew it would come. I had all faith.

Luphinid Silnaek
June 29th, 2009, 06:49 AM
Aftershock

Chapter 14: The Third Act of Seymul Colt




The curtains of dusk fell over the glittering expanses, lowering their peace into the city.

It was an unusual night for the city of Saffron, and as the last rigid finger of the sun faded out of existence, those human carriers of light and life did not intensify in response to the retreating warmth but settled into slumber. The darkness was peace, release from the curse of perpetual motion. It was the inaction delivered to those weary beyond thought and emotion of the vain pursuits of life.

Not a single soul would reveal itself to winged passers-by, except me.

My ancient cloak seemed despicably shabby in contrast to my past extravagances, but something about it seemed to cohere well with my ragged thoughts. I had never felt before how removed my assimilation was now from my self, and as it trailed behind me long chains of liquid shadow, thriving on the gloom, I felt no fraction of the crimson power that pulsed through my body—but only a hopeless impotency, knowing (as I had always known) that the Dark blood had never truly dissolved in my blood, that it was always a parasite on the vessel of my body. And I indulged in the occasional push into the moonlight, feeling my old strength stir marginally from its dead faint.

Wait a moment.

Do you see, reader? Do you see what I see? My thoughts thus far are echoes of old words, eternities ago—here, I have it! Chapter Four, within that excerpt of memory I had found hovering around thoughts of that night, which I had speculated may have been a forgotten—and remembered—dream. “Night lowered its peace into the turrets of the forest of shimmering steel.”

And now I know everything, every mystery of my life has been revealed to me. The effects of an exceptional telepathic bond with a psychic-type dreams are taunting me with their omniscience. knew it from the beginning, and never thought a moment of it, as though it was something else entirely. it was indeed, but why hadn’t I known? why hadn’t I known? why hadn’t I known?



Over the course of nearly two hundred years, Saffron City had shed nearly all its old apparel for newer trends, and the early shift from style to functionality had been only temporary. In Amaren’s time the famous steel skyscrapers dominated the casual observer’s attention, towering over the rows of identical, symmetric grey apartment flats and the efficiently active district centres, which clustered respectfully around the more ancient relics. I do not remember the monotony glaring on the senses then, each perfectly carved rectangle of plot rather implying a disciplined dedication towards a higher purpose—and the possibility of attaining such a goal deeply enthralled me then, key as it was to the first phase of maturity. (I know now the futility of such a journey and the foolish demise of those who chase it, for they are finite and their imaginary omnipotence infinite.) And all inclinations towards progress did nothing to inhibit the glory of past memories and their relics: the ancient peaks were still revered, their strengths appreciated with neither fanaticism nor lukewarm regard.

But the city had aged as I did, and foreseen the inevitable failure in their paths, though it lacked the complete knowledge I knew. Its sculptors rediscovered the ancient arts and built from there, understanding eventually all their older shortcomings but one: they had ridiculed their young naiveté but never escaped from it, they had elected to put aside the impossible dream of infinity but never truly done so, and, once labelled a canker, it spread through their cores as any canker would do. It breathed in their every breath and lived in each new work of art they accomplished, waiting for the moment they would fall and lose all their long years of work, and despite all their efforts to the contrary this would mean everything to them.

Enough rambling from this aged husk. For the little time of my continued existence I had the luxury of seeing the city reach its peak, and knowing its inevitable downfall only in foresight. What a glorious peak it was! The great modern fortress constituted now not of steel but glass, a transparent mimic of glass created from some complex man-made compounds, and its glory was given full justice only at night—my time. The pale shimmer of starlight fell on the central spire of antiquated Silph Co. and was amplified to spread out in every direction, moving through complex pathways which somehow harnessed that faint beauty to illuminate the entire city.

Yet, I was never deprived of my dingy warehouses and dark alleys, for I suspect complete illumination came only at day. There were voids, inky passages and dark pools, in which only so much light entered as to be received by my sensitive eyes; and the necessary low life of the city had never been demolished, only demoted to an unseen underground floor in mimicry of Goldenrod across high Mt. Silver.

It was along the higher and lighter passageways that I flitted this particular midnight, and the sheer darkness was broken every now and then by wavering points of blurred white, partially focused starlight, a diamond’s flash or a shard of the pearly moon reflecting off high surfaces to blind the traveller’s startled eyes. How I would have loved to cup the otherworldly fluid in my hands, ignoring the spikes of pain! But I was beginning to abhor this not only physically, but in my very essence.

I entered the third offshoot of Apricorn Alley, and turned right on the first intersection thrice, before moving instantly through the pool of utter black and stopping short.

As the high walls fell away, I saw once again the open field of the reconstructed Pokèmon Laboratory, cradled in the mountains of innovation. Despite the two centuries of age, the only change this timeless scene suffered today was in me.

For my time was drawing to a close, I knew it without proof, and as my parasite sought about in frenzy for continued existence its host’s frenzy was of glee. I had high plans for my finale, and they would have to rest only a while longer.

Luphinid Remana Silnaek glided into the penultimate chord of his journeys.


It was in the older stretches of the pokèmon hold that I found him, as he paced along the masses of shelves and their thousand ancient pokèballs, wasting away the eternity. Recalling my instincts, I tailed his tottering figure for minutes with only faint signs to announce my presence, and the parasite laughed quietly as the greybeard tried to banish that invisible shadow of terror. At last, overtaking him, I materialized inches before his face.

“Hello, Professor Oak,” said the cat to the mouse.

“Amaren!” he stuttered. “You shouldn’t have frightened me like that…what were you thinking…”

“Oh, just my games,” I dismissed. “I must say, professor, you’re looking in fine form today.”

The ancient man was staring a fair few inches to my left, witless entirely. I looked into his erratic eyes to see tiny points of milky white at the centre of each iris.

“Fine form,” he repeated, “fine form… yes…”

“Do you know,” I supplied, “your speculations were right? All the way back. The telepathic bond between Amaren Kelanis and Ytarrik stimulated psychic activity in the human, albeit aimlessly. I foresaw this very scene before it happened! You must remember, I was relating it to you shortly after we met Lepena, I should think.”

The researcher stood dumbfounded for a moment, his expression not comprehending. I stared at him, and blinked.

At the reopening of my eyelids stood a different man, old but wise, commanding—the true Kalens Oak. He had decided to end his own games.

“Of course!” he said in scholarly fervour. ”The most common manifestation of inadvertently stimulated psychic abilities is premonitory dreaming. It’s very likely that Ytarrik’s fascination with his own future sparked a similar interest in your subconscious, inevitably resulting in a series of partially forgotten dreams very similar to events in your future. And the gap in yours and your past self’s memories would make the dream appear as though of another person entirely. You knew it all along, Lu—Amaren!”

He paused to regard me with a direct, firm look of scrutiny.

“And what business led you to my home today?” he asked. “You never come unless it’s business.”

“Why, of course, professor. I want you to tell me about Missingno.”

“Missingno.? Why on earth would you want to hear about wrong 0A1?”

“Well, why not?”

“You’ve already heard it fifteen times already! Surely it’s getting old.”

“Oh, no, this time will be different. This time, I want you to tell me the whole thing. Complete, unabridged, in the original manuscript.”

His amiable expression fell. He sighed. “All right, then. I suppose we should begin. I should hang myself if I called it in all seriousness a proper story, anyway.

“It was at his one hundred and ninety-sixth year that Seymul Colt received the final warning and was alerted to the rapid disintegration of his body within two months’ time. Understanding the effects of such a time upon a righter’s body, he decided to perform his final righting: Anomaly 0A1. He had suffered at the hands of this wrong early in his life, before he was introduced to his profession, and he felt it fitting that he would end this elusive mother of all wrongs, given the highest rank in the anomaly nomenclature for the four earlier masters of righting who had failed to eliminate it.

“As I have told you more than twenty times, the difference between an existence and a consciousness in the theoretic plane is that the consciousness has self-evolving mechanisms which make both its capacities and its contents infinite. There is a time restriction, of course, as with all constructs, but otherwise the amount of energy and thought curled into systems within its core is infinite. However, to compensate, surrounding the great network of purposes is a void of purpose.”

As could be expected, thoughts within a construct were assembled and kept together by shapes taken by the very fabric of the plane called purposes, like to the warping of space-time which governed the paths of movement. These organized the raw energy into distinct purposes, hence the name. Scientists of this field had been confused by a species of greater super-purposes which seemed to encompass entire semiplanes within the theoretic plane, organizing nothing at all.

“This void of purpose is still utilized by the consciousness to store the rare thought or idea which it can find no place for within the mind. Under any three boundary conditions, however, while the consciousness is halfway between any three pairs of states, for unknown reasons a generator construct is created which spreads its purpose through the mind’s void of purpose and uses the stray thoughts and emotions to create a new unstable consciousness. This consciousness usually disintegrates within milliseconds, and the generator, deprived of energy, also falls apart.”

This would be digested keeping in mind that a generator was a construct which swallowed raw energy within its proximity circle of purpose and spat out a fully-formed consciousness.

“However, in certain cases there is enough thought hanging in the void to supply the generator with just enough energy to create a more stable organism, termed Missingno. This remains existent so long that it is indeed projected onto our complex plane, at which point it wreaks havoc.”

Perhaps hypocritically, I held up a hand. “Stop,” I said, “this is where you always skip ahead. You try to make it look seamless, but I know you’re hiding something.”

“If you can’t find it yourself, I see no reason to waste a perfect opportunity.”

“Are you coming to abuse now, professor?”

“You know it’s not that. You’ve done many things in the past, but this is a step too far. I won’t let you destroy yourself righting anomaly 0A1! Men greater than you have tried and failed.”

Something rose within me, an Ursaring stirring from a hibernation of one hundred and seventy years. “What do you mean…?”

“Only a reminder, dear Amaren. I can’t allow—“

“It’s about allowance, is it?” I shouted. “Have TWO HUNDRED YEARS given me no right over myself? Am I still little Amar, too young to touch the forest outskirts? I learned to handle an anomaly when I was barely out of puberty! And now you tell me YOU WON’T ALLOW—“

“’Can’t’, Amaren, not ‘won’t’,” he interrupted as calmly as possible, looking at me with bewilderment showing around the corners of his mask.

“What difference does it make? WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE? WHAT DIFFERENCE IN ANY PLANE, HIGH OR LOW, DOES IT make?”

As my anger fell into the lowliness of deep sorrow, I felt the bitter tang of tears roll down my face, and suddenly I was weeping like a fool with not an idea why.

Wordlessly, my mentor moved forward, offering the necessary—but, in an instant, I was myself again, with a glint in my eye visible to myself.

“You will tell me what conditions are required to supply the anomaly with enough thought to create Missingno.” I said this all coolly, without a hint of emotion on my face but a dangerous look in those luminous eyes.

“I will not,” he said firmly.

“You will tell me what conditions are required to supply the anomaly with enough thought to create Missingno.” I repeated, advancing on the shorter figure by inches.

“Now, listen here, Amaren…”

“I will listen only to what is necessary, no less, no more.”

As the vapours around me thickened, drawing myself to my full height, I required only the momentary tighten of the professor’s expression to prove to me that I had taken on a positively menacing appearance, such as to faze the very pokèmon professor of Kanto.

“What are the conditions?”

He had backed into a wall, shelves on either side and I before him. I focused Mightyena blood into one palm, unfeeling of the difference between my assimilation and I.

“What,” said I, “are the conditions?”

I dug my fist into the wall, a hair’s length away from the professor’s chest, and the shelves around me rocked. Pokèballs shook, rocked, dislodged from their places to come tumbling down and release their pokèmon, which tensed at the feel of my foul presence.

“Have you really come to this?” said my prisoner. “Then I no longer care. The most effective condition to bring about Missingno. is Dissociative Identity Disorder.”

It was only seconds later that he regained his cool, realized his mistake. But I was already out, a solitary figure on my great black noctowl.



[{//\/\/\/\/\//\\//\\//\/\/\|/|\|/\/\/\\//\\//\\/\/\/\/\/\//}]



Ytarrik, faithful beyond peer, was waiting for me outside the city, privy to the entire tale. Ytarrik, Ytarrik, the base of my sanity, what would I do without him! What would I do without everyone who had touched me over my life? Their friendships with me had been severed by my cynicism, and now I had nothing, nothing but my Ytarrik.

I allowed him tenure in a portion of my mind, as I had so often done, and his familiar presence filled its accustomed niche within my own. In unison, I dove back into the recesses of my own mind, and he asserted himself more and more greatly, beyond all possible laws. He filled me with his very existence, layers upon layers of thought and memories piling into my own, until he was me, and I was him, but it was a terrible, dissociated unity. The dead husk of the Kadabra fell silently along its side.

Upon unspoken decision, I pushed his consciousness to the outer reaches, my void of purpose, and he relented in his instinctual resistance as long a possible.

(How ingenious was that old Colt! If more than one mind ever attempted to occupy the same consciousness, the first desperate attempt of the system would be to thrust one mind out into the purpose void; and one mind had easily the fuel to sustain Missingno. for the brief moments that it survived.)

I stood, swaying unsteadily, and thrust control over all my faculties.

And suddenly I was invincible! I had the Dark element in my veins, and shadow never disappears, only flits back into non-existence to await the next fall of the light.

I flitted through the air, taking full advantage of my godly abilities, and arrived at the topmost peak of Silph Co., settling onto the crow’s nest of the great crystal ship. My flesh was open to the elements and the lights, but nothing mattered—I was invincible. I rose to my full height, dredging up all the gargantuan extent of my power—

—and saw a second figure beside me.


I stand here, removed from all creation, looking down on the frozen scene and those two immortal sculptures, the one uncertain and the other assured, as though nothing had happened, as though the beginning had never progressed into the end and it played out eternally now, then, forever in the future—the fire could not burn me [and my deadened heart quickens again as I see the lost half of my self returned to li f e—]


a figure several heads below me, little more than thirteen, with the palest blue and the finest porcelain


And they seem almost real as the pale hands I hold to my eyes this moment, the poison in their blood entirely obscured from view under a mask of blank white, and it is so easy to believe, for seconds at a time, that the hulking shadow and the nimble sunlight are reunited, [but one is a ghost and the other dead,]


nearly | identical to the subtle stars above were those twinkling eyes, and such a smile! enough to mask the truth at the core, the dead grin of a desiccated corpse


What does she say? It is little more than a whisper. [Bend closer, for the sake of heaven!]


As my physical and my mental, my present and my past, my self and my intruder’s selves spiralled together to meet their inevitable fool’s demise at Ruki’s core, I bent down, lowering my ear, to hear:

”Jump.”


We’re falling, now, and though all the world rushes past us the cold, unyielding ground is only rising to us with open arms. As I come into the exactly calculated cue, I am dead between human and pokèmon, between life and death, between reality and illusion, for what do the onlookers in the street see but a pair of illusory ghosts? From the shattered pieces of my soul (glimmering madly off the thousand separate surfaces in the buildings around me) shoot fire and brimstone of the depths of the earth and the heights of heaven, but their creator is fading into unobtrusive non-existence, as his parasite releases him so that it may play with every physical and moral law conceivable and wreak havoc. The slumbering white embers of the stars ignite to black flame, a tornado emerging to rage around my eerie peace.

Adrenaline rushes to stir a new peak of power within me, and I am more alive than I have ever been before, and so close to sweet release. The delicate glass towers are ripped apart by the assimilation’s force, my force, the force of Missingno. itself. And these two spectres laugh madly, gleefully, for they know that my endeavour is impossible, but who can care? Only ten seconds more, and I shall be complete.

An instant before my body hits the pavement, the complete termination of all my functions ensues:

Sleep, oblivion…


…and then thought.


Existence.

Luphinid Silnaek
July 4th, 2009, 07:31 PM
Interlude. The only introduction offered to you before we open the next (and last) can of worms.






[the unedited]




Breathe.

Inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale. Breath is existence. Breath is lif—

I do not live. No blood warmth pain pumping through my veins. What is this? I have felt lived endured all, but never this. I feel only the airiest of emotion, I think without vehicle for my thoughts. i have felt all

What have I felt? Blackness and the stars emerge, fire, death, brimstone, THE FINAL UPSURGE BEFORE THE END, THE LAST AND GREATEST STRUGGLE OF THE DYING INSECT but the flared flames are fading back into cold, simmering obscurity, and what do I see, what is it there beyond the passions, what rings quietly but assuredly at my core—


Am I conscious now? I feel it, and I know it to be true. Deathlike creatures, swimming for me now Speech! Thought beyond me and my thoughts. I can hear their speech, and the external influence comprehensible adapting to comprehension of external speech, adapting to comprehension of external speech, adapting to comprehension of external speech… I understand this at the vestiges of my brain, hardly enough to grasp my thought onto.

I know you, I feel something within you, something related to your essence, and Is this the continuation of life, the mortal laws the bounds imperfections necessities falling away for all my dreams to come forth?

Ah, no. But how? Is it so?

Elevation into death over predestined encounters, strange being amazing. Why are there upheavals all around me? Chance makes me the rain god, and is it all luck? I don’t understand at all. Why must I be the odd one out, and how? Explain, explain, explain, explain.

It was all a play? A complete human life only a tiny, unessential portion of a greater system? Where is the reason, then? It has not ended, has it? I have been prolonged, and there must be reason underlying! Just my luck that the backlash of the anomaly should whip me at that exact angle, just my luck that the unhealthy fascination should take root, should precede my parasite and the parasite should succeed it? And you—it was a world of its own to me, a thing so meaningful and complete that there is no other word for it but life. Did it mean nothing? IS THERE NO GOD, NO GOD, EVERYTHING BUT A GOD? IS IT ALL RANDOMNESS?

I require some time to myself.

Luphinid Silnaek
July 13th, 2009, 06:08 AM
Aftershock

Chapter 15




Despite myself, I cannot but quote the ancient line: “The plot thickens,” indeed.

Here, of course, I would begin anew a tirade over the exact species of depression I should indulge in, and also the consistency with which I should uphold my twisted code. How dare I express anything but dull silent pain! But really, I should have begun practising cutting myself long ago, and making this account in my own split blood. My, I do know how to whine.

More soberly, any emotional theme which has ruled a man for an amount of time eventually begins seeming foolish, thoughtless, and no longer as desirable as it once had been. I feel that my phase of greatest depression is passing—my cynicism shall persevere, as will my moodiness, but the exact longing and subsequent thoughts at failing to realize this will die out. And the reason for this, since I am writing an account, I believe the reader has a right to know.

I am in fact at something of a loss. The only accounts I have yet written in this notebook are embellished versions of what I know from memory, complete with exaggerations and severe revisions (to impart in them the drama which, perhaps, they lacked in reality). Having had the offending conversation mere minutes ago, I wonder how to proceed. I suppose I shall treat it with all the usual ornamentation.

As I lay within a seeming limbo, which was in fact no limbo but merely affected me with all the usual apathy, nothing moved in me but a sloshing sense of nothingness, a feeling which wiped away all emotion and thought by the paradoxical method of filling me with its emptiness. But yet, the laws of nature could never be breached—

My God, I should learn to narrate as I experience! The usual limits of time and effort seem not to apply in this plane. (I have entirely forgotten to explain: this notebook being of the useful sort which will connect telepathically to the mind and record the most conscious thoughts within at the current time, it can remain connected to me regardless of my physical position, as it is like all other technology of this age: it operates on the theoretic plane, in which space and time are relative to not merely the attributes of matter but thought itself. It seems that the telepathic link remained as I crossed over—ah, but I’m getting ahead of myself!)

I should explain the state of events with no attempts at literary flora, and then think of creating a third account of my life with any organization, let alone beauty.

But, sweet hell, this is extraordinary! I feel some bastard son of my earlier excitement at the events to come, though I know all shall fail in the end. It turns out the reward for failing to right the anomaly was not death, after all. It turns out Missingno. is no anomaly in the first place! It is a portal to be opened at will, for the transport of ascended beings between different planes.

Perhaps I have exaggerated in my excitement. Death is not always the complete demolition of the soul and body. Seemingly at random, though in truth according to the needs of the world’s deterministic fate, a soul is allowed a different state of existence: it is copied onto the fabric of a sub-plane in the theoretic plane in the form of purpose. This equates in my mind to a stunning fact: the seemingly useless super-purposes which span over a sub-plane whole are souls, immortal and ancient, having been transcended into their existence after death. It was inconceivable that purpose could interact with itself as energy does, that furthermore it could handle the mathematical functions required to elevate its form into infinity, but somehow it can; and the result is before me right now, the result is me.

Missingno., then, is the bridge between the complex and the theoretic plane. It is a law of fate that those who encounter it are destined for transcendence. (I have been told that transcendence is as wrong a term for it as can possibly be, but I can not see how.) This evades the rather dangerous problem of asymmetry—the ethical and physical laws against the existence of ‘chosen ones’—by having the rate of the ‘choosing’ of the subjects be just enough that all energy within the universe is chosen sometime within its existence. And souls have meaning only during their existence as souls; ultimately and originally, they are but meaningless energy!

They are but meaningless energy.

How sordid: my elation was from the supposed knowledge that I was special, as though I truly believed my transcendence was due to some greater quality within myself. Such a thought, impossibly, evades all possibilities of divinity and wallows in utter lowliness; it is not the arrogant ego of a godly king, and neither is it a hope for greatness in the squalid world, for all possibilities of sweetness on its part are washed away by its vanity. It is a miracle in itself!

To demonstrate my pointlessness and the world’s pointlessness, if you have not yet made the connection (and your wit is godly if you have not), Ruki, who is arguably the base of my life, was not the divine angel I placed her to be. She had not even the position of a common human. It was one of these ancient beings, a creature by this very name, who for blasted reasons unknown to me projected herself onto the complex plane in the form of a human life and somehow laid waste to my existence. I would[n’t] have been better off without her!



Even so, it is undeniable (when I cool) that some unhealthy fascination is inevitable. Having been parted from a dear friend for such a time, her sudden reappearance, though less perfect than the knowledge of her direct resurrection, causes some amount of interest.

Along this vein, I extend my strange new non-physical existence to touch the mind of ‘Ruki’, calling for conversation. Immediately, alien thoughts press against me [is he conceding] [far too early] and the sudden embrace (for no word is close to its extremeness in intimacy) sends shudders of discomfort through me, even though I’ve lived with Ytarrik for centuries..

We stand before each other [it seems like standing], awkward as two old correspondents entirely out of touch. No amount of social discourse has prepared me for such an incident.

[Look—]

[I][Erm—]



I was going to begin, I had finally thought of a beginning! But she accidentally interrupted me, and I had no choice but to stop to allow her to speak, and so had she.

And these very thoughts rebound into her mind as soon as they began in mine. If I can see her mild reaction to them, she can immediately sense my embarrassment at this.

[I][Perhaps we should get into a more comfortable situation to talk,] says she.

Dry humour! Sweet hell, humour is the mood for such a situation!

She puts her imaginative faculties in full charge of her senses, noting my mild interest at such a novel technique, and watches as a life-sized night scene defines itself around us.

The air is balmy, tangy with the faint smell of salt, and a cool dark sea laps gently against the shimmering beach below us. From this low-hanging cliff, framed and perfumed by unseen flowers, the wall behind us is a gentle reassurance of our safety, and the breathtaking vista of the open sea, lit by a full moon, thrills our senses. How inconvenient—the notebook is reading my thoughts before I wish them to enter paper.

I turn to my left, and a thirteen-year-old girl with glittering blue hair and eyes is smiling faintly back at me. I remark, with the greatest solemnity:

[My God! Do you have no sensibilities, lady?]

The smile droops away most satisfactorily.

[I][What do you mean, is it not beautiful?]

[That doesn’t matter, does it? This very scene has been used in a million films, books and other sundry media before, and in ways so sickeningly constructive and sweet that I shudder at their thought! But carry on; it’s only a physical handicap. What was I about to ask?]

[You were about to ask me something?]

[Oh, right—tell me, what really did compel you to come to the complex plane and ruin my life?]

She doesn’t like the words I use to express myself, I can see that, though the telepathic link has now subsided to near-subconsciousness.

She gives an undefined equivalent of a sigh. “It’s a long story, and I won’t bore you with all the details. If you have the patience, however, I can tell you about it.”

“Sure, it’s not like there is anything left to do anymore.”

It’s a long story, I can also see that; it seems like millennia (and might as well be) before she can marshal her thoughts suitably. [when] [when] [what] [when will she] [Will she finish?]

“As all of us here in this plane, I have a… duty to fulfil.” She pauses, and a variety of adult emotions move through her heart and eyes, highlighting the unsuitability of a child’s form for this exercise. I have never done such a thing as create a ready illusion with which to clothe my naked mind, but I can already see she is doing the job most poorly.

“I took this duty with lukewarmness. Felt it was being overwhelming, and so I attempted to escape from it for a while. I was yearning for the carelessness of childhood so deeply, it seemed, that when I had irresponsibly cast myself into a human life in the complex plane, my earlier cares hardly clashed with my feigned personality. If anyone had done the research, it would be obvious that in the twelfth century an aristocrat had been born with the name of Ruki and scientifically determinably identical genetic characteristics to mine, but no one did.”

“And was it the cruel will of fate,” said I, “that you happened to meet me?”

“We are all sensitive to the various undertones of the world, especially those of us who practice this affinity. I must have subconsciously gravitated to you because of the knowledge that, for lack of a better term, you had a high destiny.”

She pauses, makes it clear that her pause is a stop entirely. And when I can think of nothing to say, instinct kicks in.

“Don’t insult my intelligence: that was hardly a long story. What did you cut out?”

Idiot! This is to be said to close friends, confidants to the extreme. The uncertainty spreads over her face as she suffers an internal battle: what, I cannot say.

I’m fumbling mentally with words, can’t find the correct thing to say! At last, a few useless words spew out of my mouth. “And you say my destiny is high?”

“Well, of course. Missingno. itself is the most unorthodox way to transfer anyone to this plane; it’s meant for those who have already transferred, who had come to the complex plane for some business and wish to return. Somehow, you are very important. This is undeniable.”

“And what happens with what [I]I want? Life was almost too much for me when I went after 0A1. I thought I would finally die! And I’m sent packing back into existence, with just a little more tolerance, and asked to live happily with this for eternity?”

I couldn’t control myself; these thoughts had been suppressed in some unholy corner of my mind for aeons, and they took release at any opportunity, however irrelevant. I had never confided them to a living being in all of creation. I raved for a while more, slipping into greater nonsense, until I finally found the good sense to close my illusory mouth. Thankfully, she seemed resigned to my irritability and braced for verbal assault.

We’re both silent now, looking into space. Where did this conversation fall into a tangent and a spiral down to hell? I have an overwhelming desire to steer it back to stability.

“So how do you cope with your immortality?” I asked, far more gently and receptively.

Somehow, we’re closer to the old times, and these must mean absolutely nothing to Ruki, though it means mind-numbingly everything to me! But none of this seems to matter, and the blasted curse of gentle thought blinds me to the pitfalls of bonding.

Is it worrying or thrilling that she feels the very same? “Of course, our matter is changed when we transfer. Eventually, though it is a little shaky, we become entirely tolerant of eternity.”

You’re still hiding something, but I’ll wait. I’ll hold my tongue, I’ll let it come, I won’t force it.

She smiled, and I suppressed triumph. “I can testify that the process of gaining tolerance is shaky, at best. I do remember those days: I was to be hanged, being a rich noblewoman in the revolution, and I had done such a job of resigning myself to death that I couldn’t handle eternal life. Those were the days, those were the days… If you want, I’ll tell you all about it.”

Could I not learn of her life, and settle the score of knowledge? We could become equals again.

Luphinid Silnaek
July 20th, 2009, 05:48 AM
Aftershock

Chapter 16


And now the introductions have largely ended, all possibilities of bitter comments exhausted, even the burst of thoughtless adrenaline done and over with. And I curse heaven and hell for the timing, for no sign of the ancient Amaren within me came earlier when I needed it. It is here now, exactly at the moment I would benefit the least from its presence. I feel something I have not felt for well nearing one-hundred and eighty years: I am baffled with the question of what to do!

For there is absolutely nothing here to entertain oneself with; what alone can be said to exist at all is the presence of other transcended minds. What do these creatures do all eternity: talk to each other continuously and obnoxiously until there is no entertainment left in even that? Ruki spoke of destinies, but I am certain (beyond all reason or sensibility) that destiny is reserved for anything but me, and its effects will not serve my purpose.

And so I settle to talking continuously and obnoxiously with another mind, until this last resort can entertain me even less than it already does. If justification is required for my decision, I’ll say that I have never strictly followed reason or sensibility.

I open myself to the other consciousnesses and the tumultuous workings of the theoretic plane, and immediately sense a great mass of entity all around me, ignoring my existence for some reason. In fact, my vision is clearing a little, and I realize this is just a large clump of minds in telepathic link, and slowly I can distinguish one from the other. This reminds me of a newborn creature opening its eyes for the first time, but then I don’t think such an individual would be in nearly the same circumstances as I am.

I’m not sure what strange version of etiquette they have for these positions. I’ve found Ruki, I know well enough from my capering how to converse with another mind, but currently she is deep in conversation with the rest of her… peers.

To hell with etiquette.

I request a telepathic connection, and—damn!—every single mind out of the cluster turns its alien head to direct all attention to me.

[Ah, the newcomer,] says one of them.

[We’ve all had our difficulties with this plane, dear,] adds another, and the tone is more obviously commiserating than it could ever be in the complex plane.

[Just a moment, Amaren,] Ruki finally offers. And I’m sulking back to the corner. Where did my dark elegance go? I’m just another troubled young man here. Oh, how I hate that stereotype…

I notice that none of [us] them seem to have genders, out of their physical bodies. The only label I can apply to them comes from their lives when they were still on the complex plane, and so I may slip into referring to stranger minds as “it”, though I give a generous enough gender to Ruki and myself.

And though anything from days to years may have passed while the cluster was conversing, relative perception does indeed make it a moment. I’m not sure how I changed the flow of time within my semiplane, but somehow everything around me is whizzing past at improbable speeds. I would cry out in disorientation, but my mind has already adapted. This efficiency is slightly irritating.

[All right,] says Ruki, [what is it.]

What do I say? I was meaning to break into all-out blabbering, but that would be very inappropriate, I see now. [the method of consumption] [small—]

At last, I latch on to something meaningful.

[This is getting tiring,] I say firmly. [Would you please tell me how you creatures get by on this plane?]

[Well,] Ruki laughs a strained laugh, [this was inevitable, I should say. But you’re right, it’s high time. Where should we begin?]

Earlier, I had been concerned with the question not at all. This time, however, I did probe for information: [You could start with an overview. What is it that you do, what is this duty you keep talking about?]

[You are also part of us, Amaren, you’ve got a duty just like the rest of us.] She doesn’t reply when I openly scoff at this. [To be frank,] she continues,[we never know.]

Silence.

[Fate uses us to mediate, or to cause upheavals in the world. We have a bit of power, and we use it as necessity dictates. It is as simple as that.]

[So you’re guardians.]

[Not necessarily. We may inadvertently cause great revolution and disorder in the world, or otherwise injure it. It may be a mistake on our part, but it is in the plan of fate.]

There is very obviously something wrong with this philosophy… [And you go along with it, do you? “Oh, did I destroy the world? So sorry.”]

[We’re all puppets of fate, Luphinid. Free will is nonexistent, because out will is governed by the tides of the world.]

[And here I thought you were greater beings,] I say mockingly, my verbally abusive faculties switching on. Is there any more insult I can milk from this? If individuality is lost, intelligence is largely thrown away (but that is far too crude to make into a joke). Where is personal beauty? Where—

I don’t want to be part of this! If it was any other system I could care less about joining it, but here is a swarm of slavish drones which is [I]adamant on making me a part of it. I am already a part of the system, and there’s nothing I can do to escape it! Thank god these thoughts stayed on my side of the telepathic link.

Better. I’ll stop thinking these thoughts entirely until I’m at a more tenable position to deal with them. It’s amazing how simple it is to make a temporary mental block in this state.

Interestingly, I draw blood with my deadpan. There is the slightest edge of irritation in her thoughts. [It would be a little too much to say this never occurred to our minds, wouldn’t it? We’ve all had our inner battles with individuality, and none of us failed to see the truth. Certainly free will gives the only enlightened form of existence, but what can you do? Not your destructive little tricks, nor the few traces of dark blood in you, can rebel against something that doesn’t truly exist in the first place. It plays us [I]all, whatever our intentions.] Ah, sweet bitterness; this is perhaps an old wound in all of their sides. I still know my old techniques.

[Fine, fine,] I concede. [All of you—all of us—are then vehicles for different changes in the world. This much I understand. You say you had a specific duty. Do you have some sort of administration for co-ordinating all of this? This system practically invites chaos to your door, I can see that.]

[We don’t have a single government, no. Fate manages to organize us quite well enough. We do, however, convene whenever necessary to help each other interpret their current role in the universe—so that we can serve fate better. Don’t take that tone again. If you want to know, I had been backed into several positions of great responsibility before I incarnated, and the constant effort was taking its toll on me. Even disembodied minds, you see, have a form of rest; it’s less frequent but just as important.]

[And so you had a moment of drunkenness,] I finished, [and Ruki the trainer was born. But how on earth was she—you, I mean—called back? Who invoked that Missingno.?]

[Pure dumb luck.]

[Simple as that?]

Fate is a cruel bastard.

[It just happened to be so that the electrike was exactly halfway captured, that I was exactly halfway between the two points which marked the boundaries of Saffron and Cerulean, and I was always split between my new life and my true responsibilities for those thirteen years the beginning trainer lived. It seems I was very sorely needed back on our plane.]

She hardly articulated it, but I could clearly see that she suspected more reasons (or effects). I could care less, but not by a particularly great margin.

[All right, a third point: how do you carry out these changes? Do we all have some great power to shift the tides of the world? I would be particularly interested if godliness came with this immortality.]

[Well, most changes (I believe) we can’t affect from our post on this plane; even though we have exceptional sensitivity to happenings in the other plane, we’re not meant to do anything but watch here. So, on the few instances when we incarnate onto the complex plane, we bring about whatever small-scale change we need. Otherwise, I will concede that large-scale shifts in the thinking or condition of communities in their plane can be made from ours. These usually don’t serve our purposes, surprisingly. Oh, by the way, do you remember the—]

I shall cease to describe the rest of the conversation, as there is very little point or harmony to it. [STOP]

[RESUME] This was just as inevitable: conversation is no longer an effective (or even functional) way to pass the time. Therefore, I shall here begin a mental search for things to do with the mind alone.

The common option is that of finding a particularly difficult puzzle of some sort and solving it entirely mentally. However, these are far too tedious and unrewarding for my tastes. I can additionally make no attempt at art, as it was never a favourite of mine. What I need are macabre, obscure, bizarre pastimes with at least the magnitude of righting. Yet where would I find such a thing within this entirely mental plane? [memories]

Is there a mode out there with which to summon anomalies entirely in this state? Certainly, and the theoretic plane is all the more accessible here; but though I have no care for the future of anything I feel that creating a wrong in such a delicate system as this is a step too apocalyptic. My maniacal destructive days are long gone, and I seek milder ways (though not much milder). What, then, is more self-contained, more in tune with the wishes of old Ytarrik and the Saffron Gym Leader Sabrina? It is the latter, perhaps, whose views are somewhat more interesting. I see now that her point in illustrating to me the hazards of her art was to caution me of consequences even I could agree were too much. It was all in vain, of course, and could never have been otherwise. Even so, it gave me insight into a most intriguing line of enquiry. There must be a way to achieve this without irreversible damage to the sanity.

Ah, but I am meandering despicably from the point. Art to use the pastime…


What I just thought was a subconscious mix of the two conflicting ideas in my mind, and somehow it managed to be sensible. Art for use in pastime… Perfect!

It is pointless and meaningless, but from now on I shall spend my time looking for loopholes in the limitations on the creation of consciousness which Sabrina explored so deeply. Let me analyze… The exact reason for the problem is that within a consciousness there is only enough material, logically, to form one mind. We cannot multiply like cells and split into exact replicas with the capacity for independent existence. But… what if one used other sources to supply the missing portions? Debris from other deconstructed souls, pieces of flotsam… if matched perfectly, one could create a coherent organism. I should begin now: hunting for exactly the right shards, dredging up all my knowledge, fitting them together…



[{//\/\/\/\/\//\\//\\//\/\/\|/|\|/\/\/\\//\\//\\/\/\/\/\/\//}]



I say, I can finally act like a crazed alchemical necromancer! It has taken great time, effort, and blood, and numerous bonds with the darkest and most heinous of abominations on this earth, but at last I have success! This work of mine, this twisted fantasy, has taken shape; I need only the tail of newt and the electric spark before it matures into being. Let it commence.

Over the past days [months][seasons][years][aeons] I have patched together a great compendium of my memories, and inhaled matching fragments of thought, personality, and various structural portions of the mind to create a fictional character. I have repeatedly created fantasies of this creature, until it seems a real vivid thing, and as separate from me as any other mind. Only the final separation is waiting now, and it requires no effort at all. My efforts are drawing fruit. It shall be a great labour not to be caught up in the flood of emotion which is to come.


We look out to the distant rim of trees; their leaves rocked gently to the rhyme of the drowsy wind. The sea of gold on which we rested was heaving, too, gently suffusing the warmth into us. The crystal sky sent down a million shards of warm light; they plunged into us, filling us with the drug.

“Do you see the sky?” I said.

The girl with the azure eyes turned her magnificent head to the heavens. “It’s blue, blue with the brilliant flash of our lives to come.”

“And the silver shards of moonlight?”

“They are only the last resort, of course; our true calling is with the sun.”

“If ever neither the sun nor the moon should twinkle in your eyes…”

She smiled, and those dazzling blue eyes with their gold enamelling—the duality of two perfect stones!—are worlds apart from hypothesis. “Then I will have a loyal and noble friend to save me.”

”It’s time to surface,” I suddenly say.

The waving tendrils slowly stopped. The smile faded. “Is it time to separate?”

And my beautiful creation, this fine china doll, is kicking into being; it is struggling for life amidst the cruelties of law—


the shard of blue[silver][gold]—fragments of encircling dark—fountains, and steadily dancing battlers—those fiery spirits, the cold smoulder of spent wood, but psychic wonders beyond the sight of mortals, transcendence, deep—high—nobility—and where fall the days of light?—they are always there, just out of our time’s reach, but it is FALLING! The trick is failing, the composite parts FALLING APART, AND THE SHRIEKS OF AGONY AS THE ABOMINATION SELF-DESTRUCTS IS BEYOND MY C A P A C I T I E S







I have failed, and the spiritual scars—so much more potent, so much deeper than live decomposition—they shall remain for eternity.

Luphinid Silnaek
July 28th, 2009, 06:01 AM
Aftershock

Chapter 17




Had I made a mental note earlier to elude all possibilities of emotional involvement with my work? Certainly I would not approve of becoming so captivated by my previous failure that I begin dramatically gesturing to the scars of my soul. I don’t know what deranged state I was in then, but this vague feeling of disappointment is certainly not a wound that never heals, or any literary alternative. I’ve ‘returned to my senses’ far too many times, now, and life would be so much more providential if I was simply told what “my senses” are in the first place. I feel I’m in an entirely reasonable and emotionally neutral state of mind now, but I can never know.

Moving on, I don’t have any plans to stop searching for a loophole to Sabrina’s restriction; this failure was logical and well-deserved, and as I refine the process, I will have greater and greater chances of success. The technical reasons for its backfire were obvious enough—the fragments were there, organized into the correct mental structure, but there was no underlying tendency, not even some force, to hold it all together (for lack of a more accurate term). Those thoughts had been part of other minds; they had been made for those minds solely, and recognized only the particular configuration of thoughts and feelings which made up those minds. It is also clear what [not] to do from here. But now I see something new—some… thing, I can hardly say whether it is a perception of the universe or a truth or merely an object in it. It has to do with our position on the cosmic scale—how we are banned from true art, free will, immortality, infinity in any form, and several other utopian gifts. Trying to find a way around my current project, I feel, is just the tip of the iceberg—what about my newfound hatred of determinism, my individuality? It’s not right that we mortals, sole inheritors of the world and its finest creations, should wallow in death and lowliness as I so extravagantly did. There must be a force somewhere limiting us to this, and if it is a force, if it is anything at all, it can be defied. I have all eternity to practice, after all.

Well, I’ll let the matter rest for now. But I finally have a destination, and a means to reach it. My first defiance will be the creation of a separate and perfectly functional organism, with no damage to the creator or the creation.



[{//\/\/\/\/\//\\//\\//\/\/\|/|\|/\/\/\\//\\//\\/\/\/\/\/\//}]



I only just awoke from this plane’s equivalent of sleep. I am impressed.

The memory seems to fade far more slowly than in the upper plane, and I can still write what I remember before it goes away. With extremely slow detail, I could see the past experiences being digested—associations made, actual logical deductions forming from seemingly disparate facts with breathtaking clarity. I remember none of the processes, merely the fact of their happening, but I believe they will rise to the surface when I attempt them consciously, far more quickly than otherwise. In this way, sleep is perhaps a way to optimize mental performance. This is not, however, the smallest fraction of the true reason for my exhilaration. Shortly after it was felt that this process had completed, my mind… shut down—fell into inactivity—no mechanical or electronic term is appropriate for the act. All my contradictory thoughts neutralized at a single point, and I was nothing, I was nonentity—and I escaped the cruel irony of false freedom. None of these mortal limitations applied to me, for I did not exist; I was no force, so I could not be countered by power earthly or otherwise. But I ought to correct my implied meaning; I could not be countered if I exerted a force. This was a position of… nonentity, and I was impotent entirely. What thrilled me were two advantages to such a state—when activity on my part ceased, I was open to things I never knew could have existed, with such subtle magnificence that I feel ashamed now that I have none of the maturity to listen, once again. And my non-existence, most importantly, meant that I was outside the power of determinism—I did not think, I did not act, and because of this my thoughts and actions could not be controlled.

Is this perhaps the answer, the strategy to employ against fate? Inactivity was always so very enticing to me… but, of course, I know my will to act is now far stronger. I always knew this. Freedom includes the ability to act without restrictions or outside influences, and eschewing action itself is a great restriction. This may be my preferred strategy had I desired solely to spite fate, but I also have other interests, other lusts.

[STOP]
[RESUME]


Redundancy, I fear, is an unfortunate circumstance of this existence. In any case, what can I do? Until I begin a sufficient wealth of projects between which I can interchange at will, I will have to make do with constant work on simply one or two. [and i think my mind is astronomical in breadth] I will return to my work on the restrictions in creating complete entities.

It was always a given fact that I would not entirely abandon the slow, painful process of supplementing created minds with their missing components. Obviously there are ways that preserve at least the structural integrity of the mind, if not its aesthetic wholeness or complete sanity. How do consciousness generators carry out their tasks, and why is it so that the basic powers of thought and reason, and most necessary structures, remain in both the creating and the created entities in the more natural process Sabrina so easily discovered? There are many ways by which I could find this out. I could use the conventional method first to gain a direct view of its working and shortcomings, I could delve into my own mind to look for the structures that facilitate this process to such a degree, or I could look for a conveniently placed generator and examine how, exactly, energy is shaped into mutually compatible constructs. Of these options the first would take far/I] too much time, and the second too much work—it would take more acuity and meticulousness than I am willing to devote to it. The third choice seems to me the most attractive, unreasonably so, and I think the reason for this lies outside simple necessity. …With so much time to waste, should I begin actually uncovering the answers to mysteries like these? I don’t think so; I feel like procrastinating.

Now I spread my awareness once again, and though this is only the third time it already feels like second nature: it is one of the fundamental instincts which a rebirth of this order would grant me. It feels… suspiciously… like, the reality in shift from complex to theoretic plane, shift from this to that plane, shift from to plane… Excuse me. Spreading my awareness feels suspiciously like moving from the complex to the theoretic plane, as I so often do [did] during a righting. It’s no easy matter to narrate while carrying out a complex mental manoeuvre like this. Anyway, does this mean that the two are similar? I shall have to ask someone.

Ah, but I shouldn’t be thinking so mildly and neutrally! My old age is coming on, only a few days [weeks] [months] [years] after my rebirth. Here full in my view, in the main interface of the plane, are the masses of the great unwashed once again, with all their petty, deformed passions and unclean thoughts. It would be so advantageous to use my new transcendence to rise haughtily above the filth and deem myself a greater creature, but something— is it…reason? —forces me not to. I would also like to say I would deeply appreciate a bypass to send me on my way without coming in such close contact with this, with the disgraces to several laws of sensibility, righting, art and even science, but that would be an unforgivable tangent from the truth. Of course it gives me so much pleasure to insult and snark like a crude poochyena.

…I’m standing here purposelessly, like a fool. Let me cease all further reflections.

I suppose the reasonable thing to do now is to move in an essentially random direction, looking for that odd air of purpose which surrounds a generator. I’m on the subplane now that deals with the waste energy, the reject and the scrap; I can see a construct for the disintegration of consciousnesses, and a wide disorienting sea of meaningless shards of thought. I can see the vaguest hint of a purpose field, and I’m approaching it. It’s a strange experience; my consciousness is passing straight through the purpose like a ghost, but I can feel its presence, if nothing more.

…How very strange! The generator is there all right, but it’s pulling at me very feebly, with ghostly fingers—if I’m allowed to make the metaphor. I am merely projecting my consciousness into this plane, but somehow it can sense this insubstantial outcrop of my existence. It seems clear that either my projection is just massive enough to satisfy the generator, or something of my consciousness is being pulled [I]through the projection. Both possibilities are equally unlikely. I will most certainly investigate… Sweet hell!

What is this generator absorbing?

I will go on a tangent here to describe a phenomenon I previously felt somehow unworthy of research. As a result I am not acquainted with its particulars, but… Pokemon types, to be completely precise, are attributes of energy which are fundamental to the energy itself. These essentially take the position of elements in the theoretic plane, though this does not carry on to the complex level; a body made of the fire-type may become hydrogen, oxygen or even a compound like kerosene on the complex plane. The source and its projection, however, must be related by way of concrete concepts in the theoretic plane (insofar as ‘concrete’ can even describe the word ‘concept’).

Humans (with exceptions like my assimilation-riddled body) are generally made of simple incarnations of the normal-type, as are certain objects. Most pokemon, however, consist of more exotic types which equate to actual evolutionary advantages on the complex plane: a fire-type with a tolerance for high temperatures, or a water-type with natural psychic command over clear liquids. (To make this perfectly clear, all humans are granted psychic ability, though this is very suppressed and only exhibits itself under the influence of skilled psychics or when the human in question possesses the patience to develop it independently. Psychic-types, of course, have great skill in their practices, and certain other pokemon can psychically affect objects made of the same type as they are; their other physical talents make up for this limitation. )

Coming back to our subject, it is speculated that all energy made of a specific type interacts with itself over distances to form a large organized system, regulating creation and destruction and consciousnesses to keep the system under check. In this way, it is possible, with sufficient mental fortitude, for a consciousness of any type to communicate with and even affect other components of its type. Of course, this not only theoretical but unproven… but I am digressing, once again. Soon I shall be a rambling, wizened old scholar.

Well, some very strange things are happening in this generator. It seems to be taking far more than its share; it’s supplying itself with matter from other planes, planes which have no waste energy at all; and this matter is most specifically dark-type. It’s forming something—a consciousness—but the consciousness seems to have already projected itself onto the complex plane! This being is, as far as I know, fully formed, but the generator keeps giving it more power, more complexity.

Could it be (as I was rambling) that the generator has somehow assimilated a piece of dark-type energy and is now interacting directly with the network? Here mental power of will is not a factor—if the generator requests matter, it gets it. And according to calculations the required power to affect the system is not even very much; pure psychic-type pokemon have it, as do humans. (The normal and psychic are the only types which would not form a system. The normal type is strictly not one at all, being plain energy with no attributes, and the psychic type, made of a pure offshoot of thought that resembles most closely fundamental energy, already has something like an estranged system: the theoretic plane itself. If these types were to gain membership into another system, however, all hell would break loose.)

I wonder how to move down into the complex projection of this theoretic stage, and there, quick as a flash, the information is clear in my mind. It would be dramatic to say that I move as if another will is upon me, and the movement of a hand seems to me like another’s movement, but for one I have no hands in this state of existence, and for a more serious another the instinctive actions that I am now performing seem clearly to be my own, however involuntary they may be. They are as familiar to me as my thoughts.

Look up remotely that specific construct, bend my will towards it, feed it the information it prompts, and I can nearly swear I have done this million times before. The sudden surge of identity comes next, I believe. [microscopic stumbles cosmic apocalyptic falls and]

And, shortly afterwards…


[
[UNRECOGNIZABLE DATA. UNABLE TO RECORD. PLEASE CHE]


Ah, that familiar exhilaration which tells me I have been copied and reassembled completely into a new consciousness, which reminds me of the disorderly rage—and extremely intriguing unrestrained thoughts—that passed through me during the instant of my dismantling and assembly. Of course, my mind remembers the exact structure of my body, and knows to modify it out of the most fundamental flaws.

I’m opening my eyes, and as the ambiguity of mental connections resolves into definite matter, it seems not so much reality as an illusion I am stepping into, or rather a decayed adaptation of the truth, fallen from its universal throne. The first impression upon me is that of cold white expanse, but I am protected—my mind has materialized the necessary accessories. I see triangles, tangents of constellations, which slowly separate into galaxies and finally become the distant light of cities. My business, however, is behind me: the rock wall bounding this craggy mountain is cut by a fold, leading deep inside.

The walls curve with wild abandon, taking whichever random angle they will, and their alcoves remind me of a living mind with no master but itself.

But there is a smell in the air now. It has an aura of defiance to me, and it vibrates in rebellion against mechanical controls, it seems to say I am infinite, I am omniscient, why must I be impotent? It is no substance but a complete entity, but only the outermost vestige of it. Its wispiness in itself beckons me; I must see more.

I follow, my head raised in hypnotic enthralment, like the children after the avenging Chimecho with its deceptive melodies. The very idea of deliverance drives me on, and I shake my head and smile in amusement at my realization that I am according to a mortal creature the immortality of a godly idea, but I accord it nonetheless. The air of airy castles ebbs and flows, seeming to come closer before receding frustratingly equally back, and—oh! The insubstantial trickle is now a raging river! I had never noticed its growth. But how I wish to know now the object of my labour, complete and astounding solely in its existence! The realization of another dream is all I need to spur on my efforts towards the materializing of my own. The beauty, seen in greater and greater and more brilliant glimmers, the beauty of infinite preservation and the resurrection of the dead—!




—is a hopeless, meaningless cause. It is randomness, the bland thoughtless anarchy of randomness. This is the reward of those who toil against the only system they know: this being, this… abomination, which knows no order and no semblance of instinct towards it, which knows nothing and thinks nothing, which can feel everything but seem to itself and its observers as a subject of the most meaningless passions, imbalances of the emotional fluid. But the deepest torture is that I recognize myself in it—I see the themes and emotions, among the turmoil, that I hold so dear, and I see the terrible sight of their denouncement by my own eyes, my grey indifference to that which I know is the essence of my being. [that bright untarnished sapphire and gold and its revival]

And my scholarly enthusiasm fades, and so does my fevered pursuit, and my yearning for that beyond and above me, and my weakly contemptuous lack of feeling, and my horror. And as the mist of my conflicting thoughts falls to make way for physical clarity, I see the figure of a cool blue pokèmon paddling her fins and slithering her mermaid’s tail, before disappearing in a cloud of black. And I sigh and follow the being.

Luphinid Silnaek
September 21st, 2009, 12:46 AM
Aftershock

Chapter 18




[Are you a great fan of the vaporeon, then?]

[Well, somewhat; I mean, not particularly,] replies Ruki haltingly to my question. [I needed a form, a nice, unrelated form that couldn’t be affected by… oh, long story.]

[And how unusual is it for a creature like that to spontaneously cease to exist?] I knew the answer, of course.

[Very unusual, Luphinid, very unusual. So very unusual that I can’t see the cause at all. Every known event of any… significance…] She seems to struggle with defining the thought, but eventually she realizes she is too distracted and trails off.

[Explain it to me once and fully. A piece of energy which had once been dark-type flared again, moments before it was to be consumed by a generator, and forced the generator to create that anomaly by the understood method. Then?]

[Then I was notified of it and sent to stop the process of growth, and provide any necessary force to cause it to collapse. It is a simple process but a long and tiring one, and I had no expectations for it to give anything but every possible resistance. However, moments before I began my work, it began dying and imploded upon itself. I don’t expect much credibility, but I’m almost certain it was somehow losing energy, as if the generator began working in reverse.]

[And that was when I came.]

[Moments before the final implosion.] Now agitation once again has the upper hand over formality in the battlefield of her mind, but there seems to have been a compromise: this is now a productive agitation, and I can sense the air of predictions, theories, deductions rising like sawdust from a fevered woodcutter out of her mind. I can show or feel nothing but bewilderment over the whole affair.

It sounds improbable to my own mind.

[I][How could you have? You knew nothing about me or it when you came; and the implosion began before you had arrived.]

[Are there really so few loopholes to that in this universe?]

[Yes, there are.]

Suddenly I see the truth in the statement: both the superficial indication and the core meaning. My behaviour has been that of an overexcited child who finds his charmander learning the move Ember and sees the world as his for the taking. This, then, is my final attempt at moderation: perceive the world exactly as it is. Perceive the world exactly as it is. Perceive the world exactly as it is, perceive the world exactly as it is, perceive the world exactly as it is. Perceive the world as it shou—exactly as it is.

But I have been perceiving the world as it is, and it tells me nothing but the truth. The bond I felt with the creature is truth. Truth is that there was some link between myself and the destruction or the raising of the wrong, and the first verdict of reason has nothing to do with the authority of the truth which I know as my right in this state of being. My reasoning may be flawed, but my perception is perfect.

[I understand your sentiments,] Ruki answers. [I’ll say no more. I know the paths the mind follows in this situation.] She seems at least as abashed as I was when she admonished me. Have we both been out of line?

But I’m forgetting common courtesy! (It must still hold true for this existence.) [Don’t feel you have to leave on my part. Stay, if you will.]

Does the reader see as clearly through my disguise as Ruki does? You must have noticed the hidden intent behind my words.

[All right,] she says, amused, [I’ll remain.]

That shining being, made purely of light and sky, could not have existed only in my mind. I could not have been so deceived as to have entirely invented all of her virtues; Ruki Ferena, beginning trainer, was certainly the same as Ruki Ferena before me. Can I not draw out the personality of the former from the smouldering latter? She is capable of all that I have seen her be and do.

Or was the light not within her, but in some irretrievably lost gem of my own universe?

I continue valiantly,

[I][I][It was indeed rather easier than one would think. The mind and behaviour of the Ruki you saw almost exactly reflects that of the aristocrat Ruki at a young age. The memory is very slightly clarified in this state of existence, and my childhood days were very clear to me even then—even now. But—]

[—You undeniably felt conflicted still. You’re familiar with the personality of the trainer Ruki, but you don’t approve of it at heart, or truly feel at home in it.]

[Very shrewd. No, existence in that state had a thrilling attraction to it, but it was that of an overdosed, almost guilty pleasure. I allowed my id to get the better of me more easily than I had known possible, but something in me eternally disapproved of the whole affair. And I suddenly lost maturity along with all its sanctions, and the assurance to tackle the simplest emotional conflicts.]

[But, looking at your standards, I can’t help but think that you were never really this irresponsible. It seems inconceivable, despite your several centuries of existence]—do you remember the ghost at Lavender? I do—[that this was ever your natural state.]

Amusement: [In fact, you’re right. I was always very slightly boring, firmly based, refusing to rise up and come to any form of excess unless I approved of all it meant.]

And there was a time when I called her immature.

We close ourselves off for a few minutes, the both of us reflecting on what was lost. I remember the days when, sprawled out on the warm grass, I would pore over the formulae I thought to be so impossibly complex, and my mind so brilliant to find meaning in them. Ruki would be sitting tall and straight a few feet off, and what I realize now—that her amusement came not from my neck-deep dives in complex battle mechanics, but the mere sight of a young boy so earnestly focusing into the little he could then accomplish—was hidden to me then. I would call out impromptu lectures on what I found most deeply interesting; my efforts at bringing the unified and boundless into strict mathematics seem so juvenile before her wistful remembrance of the lack of cares she never permitted herself. But, then—I cannot deny it—if preferring the state of strict discipline is childish, I proclaim my immaturity with pride.

[If it remains apart from the rest of the universe, Luphinid,] Ruki suddenly asks, [does it still have the right to its smallest, most modest contribution?]

I know exactly what she means, but must I face it?

In a quiet, almost defeated tone, she adds: [Does the irresponsible mother have the right to her child?]

The intent behind the words is what jerks me back. It feels futile, a wrinkled hand at the end of its struggle, letting go of what it held dear, because it knows better than to keep after it. In the space of two lifetimes I’ve never learnt this final lesson, and I must not let go.

[Does the struggling line of ancient trees have the right to existence? We were great once, Ruki, and the girth of our greatness may be gone but we still have the seed. We can grow it back.]

The shot of adrenaline was delivered true and well, and the voice that now replies is calm and assured [certainly, certainly, CERTAINLY]

[Of course. In any case we are deep, inseparable friends, and those days still live on in our memories.] Her mental gesture is like a sigh. [Who are we to decide? The progression of fate made our time together a complete, separate universe of its own, to be taken as granted and accepted with no relation to our world. We’ll have merely to see what it chooses.]

But there is something in this sentence that distresses me terribly; it is reflected in the contraction of the word will, and suggests to me the ancient memory of looking up at what I could see as nothing more than whimsical chaos, watching the naked shape of my shining companion be swallowed in its insignificance. I feel the helplessness she has borne for so long now; I cannot understand it. What is it?

[Do you not see the empty terror of this?] She gives no answer. [To control a human being, to know every hope, dream, aspiration, every menial thought or trait, is your own will—it’s heinous. It’s worse than murder, it’s—it’s—]

[The complete destruction of the human soul,] she finishes. [I know, clearly and completely.]

zero—and it corrupts them over the course of its threads, having its meaning pulled away, dispersed, like a dissipating halo, until you can look back at its life and death and feel, my god, that terrible indifference. My last memories are the most precious to me, and I cannot see them corrupted.]

I cannot see the final negation, I want to finish for myself, my question answered. It’s the negation that I hate and fear.

[But, Amaren, this is nothing new. This is the way the universe has been turning. You must accept it, because this is what you are; you must realize that the soul had never been destroyed, because it never was. You must learn not to pine for something entirely out of the question.]



[I][Certainly, certainly.] And, on the compulsion both of us know, we distance from each other once again.

STOP



[{//\/\/\/\/\//\\//\\//\/\/\|/|\|/\/\/\\//\\//\\/\/\/\/\/\//}]



RESUME

The latest setback on my project did away with my productive urge, and the general tendencies of inaction have miraculously given me reason to procrastinate. I have been spending a few useless hours reflecting on the memories I had summoned solely for the purpose of my project, and I’ll waste no more than this paragraph in alluding to them.

I hit again a point of no production—I know what I fear, I see the basic principle of any further actions, but what on earth do I do? The project is a valid choice, I accept, but even there I lack a definite line of inquiry.

It is nonetheless the only thread I have.



But… how?



It is clear what I must do to protect my sanity. Where is that construct… it must be exactly here…! Ah. [the mountain is clear but Route 5 unrecognizable]


[
[UNRECOGNIZABLE DATA. UNABLE TO RECORD. PL]


Ah, the virtues of a physical environment! It uplifts my soul and feeds fresh air to my mind. My head may have been turned by the conversion, but I feel elated enough to describe until my mental voice grows hoarse.

As I emerge out from the tropical undergrowth, a great tower of earth looms up before me, an ancient monolith with his shoulders draped with imperial coats of green. A crown, a halo, of black rumbling smoke rises from his open mouth, and his magnificent radiance shines out like a beacon to colour the clouds red—red like blood, like wrath, like kings’ velvet. His two arms are placed regally before him to enclose his kingdom, and though they are black and hardened with centuries’ rule and war, their caress is gentle enough to support a budding town, and a multitude of young, green leaves. His royalty is in warring and healing. I look over my shoulder, and see the extent of his might: those cold, creeping waves rolling up to the beach turn before they are half-extended, and return meekly to their province; their lightless, heatless, clammy insides do not make the slightest attempts to make war upon the volcano’s kingdom. The sea’s heaving bosom rocks the little boats on the port as an anxious young nurse might rock the cradle of a baby, she moves forward timidly to ruffle the hair of those children before running back, her neck bared in submission. And I find that my thinking mechanisms have indeed gone sore.

Cinnabar Island, on the whole, is a peaceful and warm little place, with an endearing scientist community and only one objectionable site. This night feels benign enough even to warm my extremities. And here, if I am not mistaken, resides a dear old friend of mine which I somehow feel I must visit.

It takes only a few minutes to find the figure, for it glows like the great volcano—the biped with its long neck and lowered head, and the streamlined strip of dark blue fur brushed over the length of its back, with the single ring of low-burning fire around the neck. I watch the reserved typhlosion for a few moments, recalling her adamantly narrowed eyes and the inconspicuousness she manages so easily. Eventually I call out:

[Hello, Angin.]

She turns her head, startled, looking in my direction. Her eyes widen and she hurries my way.

She has a round pokéball shape painted into the side of her head; it’s a mark of approval by the Pokémon League recognizing that she has the knowledge of human civilization (but not the articulation) to move freely through human facilities without a trainer whenever she wishes. As she approaches, I (partially) fill in her remaining infirmity with a telepathic link.

[How?] is her first and only word.

I bring the entire tale out for scrutiny, and she gestures at the breadth of it.

[Well,] finally, [I don’t know what to say. I didn’t know what to make of your death, either. There’s not much sense I can or want to make out of the madness you enjoy. What do you plan to do now, though? I thought you already based yourself on the… whatever you call it.]

[Well, then, perhaps you weren’t completely shrewd when you were examining it. I intend on a visit to my hometown—you’ll soon see why.] In fact, my act is only an act. There is no indication from my memories that this would be the path to take, and no reason for me to take this into mind (let alone act on it).

[But what I wish to say is,] and this indeed had been planned,

The typhlosion makes a slight expression of surprise, and hurri—[I][All right, I’ll be your temporary pokémon. But why?]

I raise my hand to my eyes, and black clouds flare up from within my sleeves; but as I place it in the path of the moonlight they shrink back in fear.

I’m turning to head for the white, spotless ferry. [My old team must have been dispersed, or I would have my noctowl fly me there—of course, that wouldn’t accommodate you. What has happened to them, really? I suppose the morgue facilities must have taken them into custody, and since I have no will of any sort they must have been rehabilitated and released for the wild. It must be a relief for them, this is certain. None of them were born in captivity, and they must see their introduction to me as a largely negative event. No, wait—I believe I have destroyed their minds far enough to perhaps never allow them freedom. And Lepena, surely, was wrong from the beginning. Only Ytarrik was a sane exception (at least as sane as me, I mean), and he… oh, sweet hell!] “Uh… Yes, yes. This pokémon’s with me, receptionist.” [The memory’s so hazy… but I’m sure he was fused into my mind when I transcended, and that must have messed up the process deeply. Transcendence, after all, removes most serious psycho-physiological issues, and I can’t try and estimate how the device must have interpreted Ytarrik. Is he then dead? Is that why I felt I had to meet you rather than my first choice?] Angin’s neck-flames flare a little.



STOPRESUME

My predictions are always correct: nothing of consequence has happened over the sleep period. Neither of us is skilled in conversation, and we have taken no scruples in a comfortable journey.

To those who are curious, my idyllic little ferry took the longer route into the Kanto Bay and straight for the port at Vermillion, arriving by the next evening. (I had carefully planned for the ferry which would do this.) My steadily increasing tolerance for the light held out until I could duck into shelter, and I waited restlessly until the full night. Angin appears to share the insomnia I have patiently developed over the ages. We made good time, and at this point, in a Saffron warehouse, the night is still thick. Angin already caught her prey from the outskirts, and I suppose I can still use my trainer account, using the confirmations of identification sensors as indication. I believe I can still do something, after all these years of corruption. The purpose is almost completely clear to me.

I feel I should share the suspicions I have developed over the day. I am still wary of the earlier incident at Mt. Coronet, when I had walked in on Ferena’s struggle with the wrong-creature. It is definitely no coincidence that the problem should have been solved moments before I arrived. I can hardly imagine what power I could have been bestowed with to allow such magnificent feats, but it seems clear that in my declared war against power-lusty destiny, I have been dealt the first blow. It was in the plan of fate to have me arrive and destroy the wrong; I had been brought without my consent of knowledge to serve my master. There can be no other explanation for how two such disparate things as my intention and the result of my actions could have ever been bound. Indeed, why do I call it a suspicion? I am certain.

And now I must confess to you a dark, understated, intense joy—my purpose is completely clear to me. No longer will any thought of mine ring without my deepest and most conscious consent, no event spiral out of my control, no possibility unseen and unaccounted for. It is time for me to gather every shard of my soul, every smallest resource, and bend it towards my own free will. To break the mortal bounds, to think a thought outside the plans of my master, is the purpose of my existence—and it is my own purpose, born of what [I]I hold sacred and [I]I will.

Luphinid Silnaek
September 29th, 2009, 09:58 PM
Aftershock

Chapter 19: Setting the Table (Part I}




The mindless, disharmonious indifference of the universe has faded, just a little. I can see the purpose, and its rivals are but poorly perceived branches of its structure. I can see also the portions of my life to come, arranged in geometry, the deliberate balance of triangles.

What I do not see with this new essential clarity is the subject of this chapter today. Why does the encircling forest seem so unfamiliar? Amaren and Ruki and Ytarrik are vague confusions of colour. They tell me this is the curse of memory, that they must suffer the ravages of time within me as all do, but where is the necessity? I have not yet known a law to state permanent mental blindness, and if it exists, I have already defied the greater portion of it.

Besides, I will soon persevere in my purpose, and this fact presupposes perfect hindsight.

So I realize that hallucinations are only involuntary so long as consciousness is left weakly hanging, and I can directly override my physical senses if only I have the skill. The righter Luphinid Silnaek, fused with the prowess of the kadabra Ytarrik, has known much but never incompetence. He was never Luphinid Silnaek in the past ages when he did. I moor myself with the slightest chain to memory and plunge into the seas of unvision.


Suddenly an exhilarating fire flares in the east and burns away the black curtain above me, burns away my cool dark eyelids, burns away the walls of my eyes to play torture on the flat surface of my nerves. It has lit my body on hellish orange fire, and all is crumbling, pillars of smoke rising from the wreckage of my stagnant constructions to loom over my tiny retreating figure. The pain is exquisite; it quickens the plodding of my heart and dares me to move into a trot and then a gallop, it is the secret that fiery, alluring danger tempts us with as we jump into the abyss to soar with her. And its torture burns away everything but the will into forward motion, the necessity of forward motion, the fact of forward motion. The pain had taunted me with a knowing smile and I had seen not what it meant (so preoccupied as I was with keeping up with it), but now I see it. Yes, only pain could be this lucid and all-consuming.

Now I have outrun it [barely], but the disheveled figure trotting out of the forest finds that his legs have not tired in the least, and that they refuse to slow and his momentum pulls him on. He looks back to see pain fading into distance, for her work is done and the wheels, once set in motion, will not falter.

But what does he see before him? The fire is too slow to catch him, and he has kept pace with or outrun all that he could see, but now a new vision challenges his eyes with near-invisible slashes of lightning motion. The perfect steel whirlwind, Saffron City: how could he ever outrun or to the slightest degree gain it? He pauses to regain his breath in the slightest hope that he may regain also his lead, but time brooks no delay. Five days move past in the uneasily harsh contrast of his standstill and the speed of events surrounding; the limbo seems to have arrested again the blaze of the fire; its smoulders are not close to adequate to delineate the haze-ridden path before him.

This time the stagnancy is no backdrop to the banalities of his life, an ambiance half-registered to be taken as unchangeable fact, but an actual torment he can feel wholly and completely now that he has known his rightful state. There is no more opportunity to forget it again; what could have been and what can be hovers tantalizingly over his periphery, forever shunning his direct perception but never allowing him to let go of the this base, instinctive knowledge: My state is not my natural one, my tempo unrightful, but the only one suppressing me is myself. Only he can surpass his own tribulations—this responsibility is a burden no purposeful bird of prey has ever borne.

It astonishes him to see a single helping hand above the confused murmurings—not a hand, nothing more than the tip of a finger—a human presence that is familiar as an old friend, but hints (with thrills far more intense than hints) of the wonder beyond: the greatest reminder of his inheritance he has yet seen. But this is only a hint. It cannot show him the way to his purpose; it cannot instill in him the necessary strength. It has no power or substance until he deals with it on its own plane.

Then he sees a flash of the pain again—but it is changed from before, it has matured [aged], he can hardly recognize it now. He can only feel that he must escape it: not in the manner of his last run, during which he knew in his essence that this was the way into salvation, but as an overbearing terror driving him to run feverishly towards light, any light, whatever he sees as light. It is tearing him apart and all he knows is to shine the obscuring shadow. He must look away and forget, bury the wounds in miles of dust and cobwebs, for though his body is nigh to collapse in the absence of his insides, he needs only to forget they were ever there to regain stability. If the hole inside him is filled with irrelevance and painted over, it will look good as new.

But look at the wonders before you! This is no time to mope over past injuries. Keep moving. Bury the pain. It can be dealt with later. A new challenge is rising up for you, Amaren, and besides it may be the answer to your only remaining problem. This hint of a human presence is equivalent to your own potential. If you rise, you can become her perfect counterpart, and all the joy and beauty will become yours as your own unswerving instinct for motion will become hers. You have already seen your fledgling beauty, but stay—consider another form in its prime now. Isolate essence of joy and place it within a form barely a form. Give it substance but no restriction, no compromise for the pleasure of the laws of physics. Do you feel it is too young, far before the phase of full maturity? Why do you care? This is its prime. Your slipstream will pull her along and give her full strength, just as her juvenile delight seeps into you and makes you whole. Together, complete, there is no end to the heights you will achieve!

And it is all so simple after all. Each achievement is a foothold for the next leap. Have you reached the top of the hill? Marvellous. Now reach out and touch the mountain. Climb, staggering and out of breath, to the moon. Use the advantage of your sudden strength to leap for the sun. Gain to the stars. Have you reached infinity? Good. Now go beyond. Pay no mind to the injuries. They are the past, and this is the future; the stab wound is behind you. Only this spirit made of pure motion is you. You need nothing else, no past, no sustenance, if only you can outrun death. [nothing could be easier] And souls are eternal, their pain an illusion.

The equipment is assembled, the preparations all laid out, and in a final leap they clear the peak of the mountain. The wonders spring forth from their own blood and dance before them in visions of their grandeur. They have reached the utmost peak of the parabola, but is there anything more? Astonished fingers grope for anything that can sustain them, but the fuel of their lives is exhausted. Are they slowing? Terror pulls down like overactive gravity, pulls down faster and faster the remnants of the tattered illusion, pulling buttress upon failed buttress to collapse upon the castle in the air; the soul is gone, and the body can only fall hopelessly until—


smash



Tragic.



[{//\/\/\/\/\//\\//\\//\/\/\|/|\|/\/\/\\//\\//\\/\/\/\/\/\//}]



What was Amaren's shortcoming? There is no flaw in the concept of concentrated motion; it is beautiful, simple, and fundamental to the essence of the first phase of this life. It will be necessary to my purpose.

No; the fault lies in outside circumstances. It was naked motion, given no physical defences to survive the devices of fate. Why had I never thrust my head out of its joys to see its cold, lonely vulnerability? I return to it years later, noticing it truly for the first time in all its service with me, and treasure its last shreds now, when all is lost...

Or has it truly? Certainly, now that I have recognized a concept, it is clearer and bolder than ever in my mind. Can I still save it, after all this time? It has almost slipped from my hands, and I must act! While the planes are still conjoined, shelter it from the lashes of the storm! Concrete reality can be bent! Isolate it, bring it out, take it away from the pain and the fear and injury. Is it properly removed?

All is well. Let me proceed.

Luphinid Silnaek
October 11th, 2009, 05:22 AM
Oh dear, I need to force Aftershock into a better schedule one of these days. And this chaperlet is all I have to show for the delay.

But then again, *shrugs* it's not as though anyone is still reading this.


Aftershock

Chapter 20: Setting the Table (Part II)




The boy and the abra sat face-to-face—moving not a muscle—neither acting nor waiting.

The abra reclined, his face towards the sky, sketching on an empty canvas with silhouettes of black branches. He could see nothing of his obscure partner, but his wistful air suggested everything in the young man was clear to him.

The boy rested his chin on open hands and stared, bowed, down into the twilight snow. In the evening and the shadows his face was a pale, bloodless triangle topped with brown hair darkened to almost jet black. His physique bore the contradiction of one who had grown prematurely: one could no more say that he was unfit than that he seemed healthy.

Nothing moved. Once upon a time had the bleached clouds above rumbled in black fury, and the many phantoms of malice clamoured for flesh; but the storm was spent, the sky settled into grey apathy, and each dying creature concluded with its final wail. Come night, could he lift himself and manage the journey back to Saffron? Had he the energy, had he the volition? Nothing moved.

His memories moved. Those pale grey nothings bloomed into life and colour, as though they had been the ones to steal motion from him; behind the lids of his glazed eyes images flashed and danced. The fresh leaves danced beneath the clear blue sky; the golden sunlight danced over the purposeful miniscules of life; the one beautiful human figure danced in living patterns through the living pillars. He saw the simplest of shapes: triangles, prisms, curves in the living and lines in the non-living, but only here could the light of sunset colour impart in such simplicities such undefiled solemnity. Was this motion? Could he care, ever again, what was truth and what falsehood? He thought not but let the images pass through at will.


I watch as he did all these things, and with each passing flash of despondency the nature of my second phase of life reveals itself to me. The abominations rise and fall, planets turn from their orbits under the force of my will, the titans fall into disharmony, roar, spend themselves, but one image remains.

The frosty youth sits in the clearing, year after cataclysmic year, the shapely orchestra playing its solemn notes in an untouchable existence. The millions of complexes and mental blocks pile upon each other like the carrion of an eternal war, but they evade with every ounce of unconscious effort the delicate flower of sentiment at their heart. This is their purpose, this is their central theme; the slightest of change in the altar would shift the balance and send the temple toppling over.

And this, the essence of my existence, the final axiomatic proof against the futility of fate, will be my salvation.