View Full Version : [Pokémon] Plague [T]

Obsidian Blade
October 21st, 2009, 10:09 AM

The Omastar and the Kabutops tribes have always been at odds, so when a fatal disease decimates the Kabu population they know who to blame. A small group is sent out to verify this accusation but the prehistoric Pokémon world is a harsh place to be, especially when their sight is invariably clouded by the hate, despair and prejudice of three generations worth of mindless war.


They huddled together behind the Wall of Bones: three young Omanyte, recently hatched, their stumpy tentacles grasping at one another's small, soft shells as they peeked through the empty eye socket of a Grovyle skull. In the pouring rain and dead of night, the furious combatants that duked it out in and around the basin were little more than shifting shadows until the lightning crackled through the sky again. Its blue light flashed across the barbed domes of Omastar shells and sweeping shields of Kabutops' faces alike, revealing seeping cracks and hate-filled expressions. Each roll of thunder was a welcome interlude to both sides' roars, never mind their death screams.

Amongst the chaos, one of the attackers stood out from the rest. Her black armour gave her a nightmarish quality all on its own but it was nothing compared to the way she fought. Although surrounded by Omastar she showed no sign of faltering: her talons sliced through mud and found traction in the solid clay beneath as her long, wickedly sharp scythes slashed through flesh and carved chunks from tough shell. No sooner was one Omastar dead then another came under her relentless onslaught, water pouring over the broad, sweeping shield of her face as she hacked at her enemies with reckless abandon.

“Kabuuuu!” she roared in battle-driven ecstasy, an unusual pair of silver wings letting out a piercing scream as they beat the air at her back.

With one downward arch of her left blade she deflected a hail of pearly white spikes as they burst through the air towards her, her violet eyes narrowing beneath their translucent second lids as she focused on an outcropping of rock that jutted out of the scarred earth. No guilt showed on her features as she carved through the bodies of her enemies, bounding over corpses and kicking aside the dying as she hurtled towards her aim: only pure, unmitigated joy sprouting from the sense of invincibility that enshrouded her as she slaughtered another foe.

Suddenly, as she raised a foot to dig her claws into the belly of an upturned Omanyte, a powerful blast of water slammed into her silver torso, toppling the midnight warrior into the mess of blood, mud and rain that flooded the battlefield. Her head smacked against the solid spiral of a dead Omastar's shell, her mind reeling from the blow. On instinct alone she pressed the flats of her blades against the ground to force herself back up when her feet found no purchase in the sludge. She was almost back into a crouching position when a flare of pain in the gap between her back and neck plates slapped her brain back into action.

Screeching, the Kabutops twisted around enough to fire a high-pressure stream of water from her open mouth, stalling the massive Omastar who was advancing towards her. Quick to take advantage of the time she had bought herself, the Pokémon sprang to her feet, unable to differentiate between blood and water as liquid dribbled down her back. No sooner was she standing then another spike hurtled through the air towards her, striking her between the eyes, glancing off the well-protected area and falling, useless, to her feet as the Omastar blindly released a rolling barrage of spines. His vision blurred by the mud caught up in the Kabutops' attack, he had no way of knowing that he now fired over the killer's head as she ducked slightly before leaping forwards, her blades scissoring from both sides to slice into his shell.

A resounding crash as both blows did little more than scratch his armour was drowned out by yet more thunder and the Kabutops struck again, her aim true this time. Her scythe sliced straight through one side of his face, black ooze dripping from his ruined eye to mix with crimson blood. Omastar only had time to lash out with one of his long tentacles in a death spasm before collapsing to the earth, but the blow caught his opponent in the chest and forced the air from her lungs. Doubled up and gasping, it took a great deal of willpower to duck another burst of water and lash out at an opportunistic foe, sending the invertebrate dropping to the ground with a splash.

Despite those two successes, however, the guise of invincibility had been ripped from her mind and now the Kabutops swept the battlefield with her gaze, thankful for the ring of devastation she had carved around herself as it gave her precious seconds to catch her breath. The sight that greeted her, however, stole the air straight back as soon as she'd drawn it in. She could only make out four of her allies still standing.

“Haakmin!” she cried, just as a Kabutops towards the rear took a particularly long barb straight through his shoulder.

Fighting on one of the narrow paths leading down the cliff face to the bay, he jerked on impact, took a weak swipe at his enemy and collapsed, his head, left shoulder and arm hanging precariously over the edge. Suddenly she cared nothing for the attack; abandoning her position, she raced towards the felled heavyweight, the unnatural silver wings that fluttered restlessly against her back aiding her with brief, unsteady lift as she leapt over enemies and the dead alike.

The Omastar who towered over the injured Kabu, preparing a final, finishing shot, never knew what hit him. All he heard was a metallic scream of the likes he had never heard, followed swiftly by a series of dull thuds accompanied by his own gasp as every last one of the permanent spikes along his back were sliced through by a force beyond imagination. He tried to turn, but agonising pain leapt up in his side as that same brute power managed to tear right through his thick shell and into flesh. And then he was down, tentacles twitching almost imperceptibly in the muck.

Pulling her claws free of her kill, the black Kabutops fell to her knees beside her wounded ally, hauling him into her lap while the blunt side of her scythes reached out to trail across the contours of the defeated Pokémon's helmed face.

“Haakmin,” she croaked helplessly, her vision starting to blur as the other creature's tan lids drew back to reveal pure agony in his dark green eyes.

“Shaaca,” he said, voice warming in recognition even as the last syllables gargled through the blood pooling in the back of his throat.

Her eyes darted down to the wound, where the Omastar's barbed horn had torn straight through the gap between shoulder and chest plates and quivered with every shuddering breath its victim drew. Four shorter bolts protruded from his lower abdomen, acid burns marring the side of his face. Already the blood running from his wounds was beginning to slow. Her throat swelled at the sight until she could barely speak.

Catching the look in his mate's eyes, Haakmin spluttered out a wet, painful laugh.

“Worse... than I thought, then,” he forced out, his whole body shaking with the exertion of speech, “And here... I'd thought I might get to... play the hero today.”

The attempt at humour was too much effort. The act dropped and he tensed in agony, mining deep into his last reserves of strength to lean up and nuzzle her face. The flats of their cheeks pressed together, they winced together as the death cry of another of their dwindling number pierced the storm, but Shaaca was too overwhelmed at the sight of Haakmin wounded so badly to even wonder who was left.

“We've lost,” he said simply, “And I... I'm beyond help. You need to run.”

He felt her tense against him, her characteristic fierceness no doubt flaring in her eyes. Perhaps she could accept a lost battle but not the shame of retreat, he knew. Especially not now.

“You have to,” he insisted, cutting her off before she could even argue, “Kognook needs you.”

She leant back, glaring passionately down at him.

“There are others who could-” she started rashly, but trailed away at the look of horror on her mate's face.

“Don't. Don't even suggest that,” he gasped with authority so unlike him that Shaaca flinched back at the alien tone. “You can't. Abandon. Your own child. To lose both parents. It would... You can't...”

Her eyes widened as his rolled back in their sockets, the staggered rise and fall of his chest ending in one weak whoosh of air. She stumbled back, suddenly aware of a ring of Omastar and Omanyte advancing on her. When the familiar, instinctual call for action remained silent, buried beneath a mountain of grief, her warrior's resolve crumbled and her head twitched towards the final gap in the growing wall of enemies. Slowly, she rose to her feet, leaving Haakmin's corpse hanging over the edge of the cliff, rainwater already pooling in his open mouth and eye sockets.

“Your last wish,” she said raggedly, looking down at him for one last time. “I'm so sorry, Haakmin. So sorry.”

She leapt.

Obsidian Blade
October 27th, 2009, 7:01 AM
Violet eyes snapping open, Shaaca lurched into a crouch, her whole body shaking as she took huge, gasping breaths. In the dry light of late morning she glanced around warily, trying to get her bearings in the enervating wake of her nightmare. She was in a cave. Her cave, she realised, doing her best to swallow against the painful knot in her throat. Everything was as it should be: the sloping sandstone walls arched around her and her ka'aan, the shallow dip she had cut in the ground and filled with smooth sand, and white light streamed in from the mouth of niche. All as usual. All as it always had been.

All utterly wrong.

With a ragged hiss of fury she surged to her feet, her legs protesting after days of standing still in one position as though she had never slept at all. Ignoring the nagging ache from her limbs and the constricting sensation around her heart, the warrior strode over the dark stones surrounding her ka'aan and stalked out into the sunlight.

They had moved her, moved her when she needed him- no, when he needed her. She must have fallen asleep, a deep sleep, if they had managed to drag her all the way up the cliff to her cave without her fighter's instincts jerking her awake, but as she took her first step down onto the beach the hazy recollection of being escorted home, exhausted and at long last submissive to the healers who hoisted her up under the arms, waltzed mockingly through her mind. Her talons dug deep into the stones beneath her as she realised: she had allowed them to do it.

Her angular eyes narrowing even more as her claws threw up chips of shale behind her, Shaaca stormed along the rocky beach. Within minutes she had reached the narrow stretch of rock that separated the rest of the settlement from the shiraan and its harried medics and advanced with feline poise over the strip, wings buzzing on her back so that a faint whine filled the air, a far cry from her shrieking metal sound but enough to turn the heads of the few remaining healers as she approached.

As the furious visage of their most prominent warrior appeared from the one gap in the pentagon of standing stones that made up the shiraan the new head healer, a young male barely over fifty years old, stepped up to intercept her with some trepidation.

"Uh, ah, Aashnin Shaaca," he stuttered, attempting to pull into play the air of firm authority his predecessor had commanded but failing miserably when he found himself under the full scrutiny of the female's purple gaze.

"Yes?" she enquired aggressively, normally stoic expression utterly translucent with so much fury seething beneath.

A mere two seconds under that stare and the younger Kabutops withdrew wordlessly, extending a blunt, shivering scythe in the direction of one of the smaller ka'aan. Too fast for him to notice, Shaaca's gaze flitted over the rest of the area, revealing three of the seventeen ka'aan to have lost their occupants overnight. She shelved the sight with cold indifference - death had become a daily occurrence to everyone in the tribe - yet as her sights fixed once again on the indicated ka'aan it was all she could do to retain her composure.

A healer bent over her patient quickly excused herself as Shaaca loomed behind her, leaving the black Kabutops to stare down at the small creature huddled in the sand.

"Kognook," she murmured quietly, watching as her only child shivered and twitched beneath his armoured shell.

Little more than a smooth, brown dome huddled down in the sand, the Kabuto shuddered in feverish slumber, scythes far too small to be menacing digging tiny furrows in the sand with every tremor of his body. At the sound of Shaaca's raspy voice he convulsed more violently, both rows of yellow needle legs twitching fitfully as he groped blindly in front of him for the mother who had abandoned him last night after two weeks of diligent attendance. Her eyes losing some of the harshness that had warned off the head healer's insistence, Shaaca extended one blunt scythe to her son, keeping the sharper tucked close against her side. Although far beyond speech, the little Kabuto instantly recognised his mother's touch and wrapped his claws around hers in a futile quest for comfort.

Waiting until he fell back into a fitful state of sleep, Shaaca stepped back from the ka'aan and resumed her desperate vigil.

'So sorry.'

* * *

A long tunnel carved deep into sandstone echoed with the sound of claw on rock as a male Kabutops raced along it, scythes held at odd angles to avoid self-impalement. Turning a corner, he barely skidded to a halt in time to avoid plummeting into a narrow chasm stretching straight across his path, a thin waterfall cutting him off from the remaining passageway. Wincing as a few rocks clattered down into the void, he peered nervously through the veil of water, making out the shapes of a whole group of Kabutops deep in debate. With a yelp, he took a few steps back before bounding over the gap, bursting through the waterfall and stumbling to a halt right beside a considerably larger Kabutops in the middle of a huge, rounded chamber.

"I'm sorry I'm late!" he cried, tripping into a clumsy bow that nearly brought his head smacking into the chest of the much older Pokémon.

Beyond taking a swift step back out of the way, the powerful Kabutops Kabtaar made no move to acknowledge the latecomer.

"Because of this lack of action on their part I'm certain that the Omastar are behind the damned disease," he continued to his crowd, eyeing the assembled creatures as the snubbed male shuffled back amongst his peers. "They are waiting for us to weaken even further before they strike, hoping to wipe us out without a fight. With that in mind, I doubt anyone could argue against the simple fact that we must act with haste. Wasting any more time will only increase their advantage."

The younger Kabutops raised his head at this. The disease his Kabtaar was talking about had been plaguing the tribe for months and had already killed off the eldest, most of the very young and a large portion of the adult community too, leaving behind a large group of younger Kabutops who were ill-prepared to take on the responsibilities left behind by the sick and the dead. He had heard Aashnin Shaaca viciously condemn the Omastar for the illness before and had latched onto the idea as though it were his own, quite ready to followed the famed warrior into battle when they finally marched for retribution. When her only son came down with the disease, however, the main voice of the cause had withdrawn to the shiraan. The words of a lowly Raakin such as himself made no difference on their own, but here was the Kabtaar uttering them nevertheless. Had they finally opened their minds to his logic?

"I have deemed it best to send a small group out to scout first so that we don't leave ourselves any more open to attack than we already are," the huge leader continued, "One warrior and a scout should do, for the sake of..." He stopped, frowning. "What is it, Raakin Zetaahn?"

The latecomer bobbed up and down in the back row, his eyes wide and pleading.

"Can I go please, oh honoured one?" he begged. "I can fight and creep and scout and..."

"I think not," came the sharp reply, "The Omastar are vicious and often unpredictable, not the sort of enemy any of the Raakinoi are prepared to face. Hence I have decided to send Teliin Raahn and Aashnin Shaaca and yes, that is my final decision."

Zetaahn stepped further forward, hurt but not yet dissuaded.

"Shaaca won't want to go, she's too busy with Kognook," he argued.

"Aashnin Shaaca's potential loss does not void her obligations to this tribe," the other Kabutops stated sternly, "She will go, regardless of personal feelings."



The meeting ended soon after, Zetaahn's plan of waiting behind to plead some more cut short when the Kabtaar shot him a warning look. Instead he hung around until everyone had departed, dragging his blades over a rock until they were as sharp as razors. If the Kabtaar wasn't going to allow him to go the easy way, he would just have to prove himself the best person to send.

Putting the menacing mental image of the Kabtaar's chosen warrior out of his mind, Zetaahn strutted confidently out of the cave, head full of ideas.

* * *

The healers flinched and scattered as Shaaca raised her gaze from her suffering son for the first time in hours to glare at their Kabtaar.

"I am not going," she refused point-black, purple eyes venomous, "I'm surprised you had the gall to ask me, Tziir."

Ignoring the disrespectful way his strongest warrior spoke to him, Kabtaar Tziir refused to break eye contact with the obsidian Kabutops.

"You are still my Aashnin, Shaaca," he said firmly, light gleaming over the symmetrical slices in his armour her scythes had once carefully carved. "We need your help and your presence here isn't helping Kognook in the slightest. The only way you can save him is to cut off this disease at the root."

"And if that only stops it from infecting more of us?" she demanded, sharp blade lifted threateningly.

Tziir's own scythes rose sharply, the muscles tightening reflexively across his shoulders.

"Only stops it from infecting more of us? Only? This mission could save all of us, but it's below your notice because there's a chance just fourteen of over forty could still die?"

Shaaca straightened up, her arms falling to her sides. For all the harsh glint in her eyes she looked miserable, defeated and alone; nothing like herself. Just an instant of seeing her like that cooled his fury like nothing else.


"This mission would be below my notice even if it saved every Kabu bar Kognook," she said, voice stretched thin with bitterness. "None of you mean anything to me. You can all die before I leave his side."

Shock forced Tziir back against a standing stone with a crack of armoured fin against rock. He stared at her in disbelief. She looked back, characteristic fierceness frozen and desperate, so potent the Kabtaar could feel it himself. Or maybe that was just the despair that came with the realisation that someone bright and altruistic had crumbled like this: brought low and hopeless. Slowly he realised the sight of her, bright-eyed with grief, with those words hanging between them, made him physically sick.

"I won't go on your fool's errand, Kabtaar," she spat out, as though the fact needed to be any clearer.

Her head didn't turn as one of the newly evolved Kabutops scouts skidded to a halt behind her, his dark eyes wide as he started to babble about some sort of terrible news.

Shaaca's eyes sparked but her tone remained emotionless as she said, "I suggest you leave me alone and get on with your duty."

Incapable of holding her gaze, Tziir willed what little composure he could manage into his features, stepping past her with what little grace he could muster and gesturing to the scout that they should talk elsewhere. The younger Kabutops bounded out of the shiraan, evidentially more than happy to put distance between himself and the Aashnin.

For the first time, Tziir found himself in overpowering agreement.

* * *

‘It‘s working!’ was all Zetaahn could think as Siira dangled from the vines of Guldi, the resident Cradily, with red berry juice spread artfully over her light brown body.

Standing in the entrance of the meeting room tunnel, Zetaahn was at the perfect spot to survey the panic spreading below amongst easily horrified young scouts, healers and Raakinoi alike. The resulting cacophony of sound made the perfect orchestral backdrop to his imminent feats of heroism, he couldn't help but observe, peering down in search of the distinguishing bulk of the Kabtaar amongst the throng of the younger, smaller generation. There was no sign of Tziir; instead, a slightly older Raakin sped by Zetaahn's hiding place, a Kabutops known to have no inhibitions about jumping into battle head first, irrespective of his opponent.

"Not good!" Zetaahn brayed, leaping from the lip of the tunnel to the beach.

Stumbling, he found his footing and raced full-tilt up the slope. The other Raakin had a head start, yes, but he was Zetaahn, he was speed personified, he was... frankly struggling when it came to hills. Panting before he had even made the halfway point, he found himself slowing despite his greatest efforts. Glancing up, he saw Siira jerk her head meaningfully in the direction of the other trainee warrior. For all his reputation as the fastest sprinter around, Zetaahn realised with building dread that he was never going to catch him up.

"Wait, don't!" he cried as the other Kabutops reached Cradily and slashed out with razor sharp blades.

Predominantly a gentle creature, Guldi tended to stay quite agreeable on the rare occasion she and the Kabutops actually came into contact with one another. Apparently this tenuous pact made no difference to her when the contact involved a Raakin's blade grazing the arch of her long neck and piercing her round belly just enough to produce a few drops of sticky green blood, however.

"Reeeep!" she squealed, jolting Siira as she yanked her vine up and sent it crashing back down into the attacking Kabutops' back.

Squirming free and staggering to her feet, Siira quickly regained her breath and sped out of the way, knowing full well the fury of a Cradily disturbed.

"What about him?" Zetaahn called to her as she raced past him down the beach.

"Your plan, your problem!" she yelled back, not even casting him a second glance.

Zetaahn gulped, looking back to the fight just in time to see the other Raakin smacked across the face by Guldi's vines. Landing on his back, he righted himself with impressive speed and made to hack at her stomach again, only for a rain of purple liquid to burst from the orange petal's around her neck. It splattered across his shell, eliciting a piercing scream that echoed back from the cliffs and very nearly stopped Zetaahn in his tracks. Staggering back, the injured Kabutops tore gaping gouges in the armoured sweep of his helm as he tried to sooth the hurt with blades kept too sharp for safe contact.

As he flailed, wailing, Guldi snapped her vines around him and wrenched him from the ground, constricting his chest until he could let out little more than tiny, breathless bleats. Kicking and thrashing, by sheer luck the Raakin's left blade sliced straight through the vine that held him, sending him to the ground with a crash. A few sweet gasps of oxygen were his only reward, however, as his captor's yellow eyes lit up until they were like miniature suns, dazzling the Kabutops so that his next wild slash caught the base of his own thigh and opened up a gaping gash.

The sound of Zetaahn's own battle cry as he launched himself, petrified, into the fray paled into insignificance against the volume of the other Raakin's screech. Wincing, he dodged another spray of acid and darted close to his foe. Although fear and incompetence still dogged him, for the moment all he could think of was the strike, his blade sailing forwards with every ounce of strength he could muster behind it. Before he could even truly process what he was doing, Zetaahn had slashed clear through Guldi's thin, rubbery neck as though it provided no resistance at all. He landed with a thud, tripping over his own feet, but it was only when his fellow Kabutops crawled close to him, a fine spray of blood coating his torso, that Zetaahn realised: he had killed her.

Sitting there, stunned, his mind remained a beautiful blank until the Kabtaar's voice brought him hurtling back to the facts.

"Well," Tziir said with unusual reluctance as a healer helped the wounded male to his feet and guided him away, "It seems I have misjudged you."

Zetaahn blinked. His eyes rolled up to the Kabtaar, who stared down at him with a hard expression on his face, and then back to the ground as his stomach churned inside him. Desperately he tried to think of sand, stone, anything that wouldn't aggravate the nausea taking a firm hold of his head but-

In a last ditch attempt to avoid throwing up on his ruler, the Raakin rolled quickly over and buried his head in a bush as he lost the battle over his lunch. Blood. How utterly disgusting.