White Fire, Black Thunder, Silver Song
AN: This is set in the same universe as Pokemon: Magic of a Melody and The Traveler's Tales: A Minstrel's Journey, but takes place ten or fifteen years before those stories with different characters.
White Fire, Black Thunder, Silver Song
Prologue: The Legend of Reshiram
A brown haired boy relaxed under a tree, engrossed in a book. Granted, he had read the book before, but for some reason he kept returning to the page depicting a white fox-like dragon creature. He raised an eyebrow at the picture of the majestic Pokemon, then turned the page. Reshiram and her white fire saved Yoso long ago--but it can't possibly be true...
"Master?" a soft female voice asked, startling the boy and making his book tumble into the grass.
The boy thought about retrieving the elegant juniper bow that rested by his side, but when he saw that the voice belonged to a small fan-tailed lizard, he heaved a sigh of relief. "What is it, Tane?"
"That copy of 'Legendary Pokemon and the Tales Behind Them'...why do you keep coming back to the page with Reshiram on it?"
The boy froze, unsure how to answer the Snivy in front of him. He could say that he found Reshiram beautiful, but then the tiny Pokemon would press him further. He could also tell his companion that he found Reshiram's story intriguing, but he really didn't feel like debating how true the story was this early in the morning.
"Well, Tane..." he began. "I heard a minstrel sing of Reshiram a few days ago, and the song essentially retold our lodge's legend of Reshiram."
"Do you remember how it went?" Tane asked, piqued.
"I'm not going to try and sing it, but I will tell you what lyrics I remember." the boy assured his Snivy as he retrieved the book. "A thousand years have passed since then, and Reshiram doth sleep again. But should she ever need to rise to save Yoso from its demise, a new mage she shall call. The chosen one, with powers blessed, shall travel on an epic quest. Across the entire world they'll scour for eight magic crystals of power."
"Like a minstrel unleashing Rainbow Symphony or an archmage searching for the god's rings?" Tane asked.
"Similar, yes, but what happens next is different." the boy replied as he gathered his bow and his travel bag. "When all are at the hilltop den, Reshiram will awake again and use her shining scared fire to light the demon lord's pyre."
"But who said Reshiram fought the demon lord?" Tane wondered as she followed her master down the hill.
"To be honest, no one really knows for sure who or what Reshiram battled all those years ago." the boy confessed. "A monster is the most common explanation, but some claim Reshiram fought the underworld's own fox dragon--Zekurom of the Black Thunder. And others, like this minstrel, think Reshiram fought the demon lord."
"But who do you think Reshiram fought?" Tane asked as the spires of Avenitia Lodge came into view.
"Tell you what--let's get some breakfast first, and then we'll talk more about who Reshiram battled." the boy offered.
"Okay!" Tane smiled, and bounded down the path to the lodge....
To Be Continued...
Episode 1: The Silver Singer
Meanwhile, on a forest path not far from Avenitia Lodge...
"Come on, Kawa!" a brown haired girl smiled as she dashed down the path. She would look back every so often to be sure that round blue mouse creature stayed behind her.
When she saw her Marill companion was more interested in a red flower than following her, she sighed. "We can pick flowers later, Kawa, we have to get to Fayenza tonight. We don't want Lord Clay to be mad because we missed his birthday celebration..."
"But we've been walking since dawn, Lyra." the Marill complained as he admired the many flowers lining the path. "Can't we stop and rest?"
The girl stopped in her tracks. "Oh, all right, I suppose we can stop and rest for a while." With that, she closed her eyes and sang <i>Anima, fynuchs mer sphimma el ien yararnes nola.</i>, making a circle of blue light and holy runes surround the place where the minstrel and her Marill rested.
"No matter how many times you do that, Lyra, it amazes me." the Marill mused as it ran to look at some of the runes inside the magic circle.
"Well, back in Kanzu, Anima came to me in a dream." Lyra explained as she opened her bag and took out a leather case. "She told me that She enjoyed my songs and my stories so much, She was going to grant me the ability to sing in the language of the gods. In return, I promised I would not use it to harm an innocent without a very good reason, and I would not use it for any selfish gains."
"What else did She tell you?" Kawa was interested now.
"She also told me that She had a very special plan for me, something I've been thinking about ever since." Lyra paused to open the leather case and carefully take out the bow shaped silver harp with flower carvings and jewels set in its ivy inlays.
"What do you think Anima's plan for you is?" Kawa wondered as he listened to the plings and plungs of the harp being tuned.
"I'm not sure--I'm sure I'll find out soon enough." Lyra assured Kawa. With that, she began playing a relaxed melody that echoed off the tree trunks.
A rustle in the bushes startled Kawa, but he smiled when he saw a pair of Pikachus watching and listening. "Come on, it's safe here." The Pikachus nodded and guided their Pichus to a rock on the path by Lyra's feet.
More Pokemon began arriving to see who was playing the song--a Ninetales and her Vulpixes, a pair of Deerlings, Parchirisus, Bunearies, Taillows, Starlies, Pidoves, Pidgeys, Squirtles, Beautiflies--Kawa lost count of just how many Pokemon were present by the time the last chord of Lyra's song faded away.
Lyra gasped when she saw the crowd of Pokemon at her feet. "Oh! I didn't expect to attract an audience..." she giggled as she petted a Pichu. "Let's see here...once a minstrel was on his way to town, and kept hearing rumors of a giant that had kidnapped the princess of the land..."
An hour or so later...
"...and so, the minstrel and the princess were married, and the townsfolk never forgot the minstrel that had used his wits to defeat the giant." Lyra concluded over a final triumphant chord.
Some applause got Lyra's attention as the Pokemon romped away into the forest. "Well told, Lady Minstrel."
Kawa looked up and saw a brown haired girl in elegant silver and gold armor applauding.
"Why, thank you, guardswoman. We were merely on our way to Fayenza, and then from there to Sefiro." he stammered. At the same time, he was interested in the blue and green trim complimenting the silver and gold plate.
"All right, I won't keep you." the warrior smiled as she dug a gold piece from a bag at her side. "But at the very least, accept this as token of appreciation."
Lyra gasped at the coin the warrior offered her--she had never earned a piece of gold before. "Th-thank you, guardswoman. I will leave you to your patrol, and I will be on my way." she stammered as she put her harp away.
"Oh no, I am not on patrol, Lady Minstrel." the warrior assured Lyra. "I'm going to see a friend of mine in Sefiro. Maybe we'll see you there, and he can hear of your skill!"
Lyra smiled. "I'm glad you liked the tale." she replied as she motioned for Kawa to follow her. "Anima be with you on your travels!"
"And to you likewise!" The warrior waved goodbye as Lyra and Kawa disappeared down the road.
To Be Continued...
Episode 2: Blair's Quest
In the Dark Realm...
A pale haired man looked out at the throngs of demons, werecreatures, zombies, and other creatures of the dark gathered before the outcropping of rock. At last...the day is finally here! he smiled as a gust of wind ruffled the tails of his elegant red suit. With a fox beast of our own, we can destroy the Mortal Realm, lay siege to the heavens, and Lord Kione will reclaim the love taken from him! A sneer formed on his face. The gods won't know what hit them when our beast defeats theirs!
He turned to address the crowd of monsters. "Subjects of the Dark Realm, a glorious day has come!" he began. "The gods have long boasted of their guardian beasts, particularly the white firefox Reshiram!" Boos and howls went up from the crowd. "But now we can claim something of Reshiram's equal!" Cheers went up as the man traced a magic circle in the earth near where he was standing. "Behold! The black fox-beast of thunder, Zekurom!" His magic circle complete, the man touched an cross-like staff with a skull in its center to the circle's center, making a bright blue light and thunderbolts race around the room. Many in the crowd shielded their eyes, and some monsters rushed to cover others that were sensitive to light, but those that were brave enough to watch gasped in awe as a black fox-like dragon rose from the circle.
"Amazing, Lord Ansar!" a goblin commented at the large beast the man had summoned.
"The mortals won't stand a chance against this brute!" an orge agreed.
"But what if the gods hear of Zekurom?" a Zubat asked. "They would try to call Reshiram!"
"Worry not." Ansar assured the tiny blue bat. "As I said before, Zekurom is Reshiram's equal, and would easily take her down in a fight."
A second Zubat landed at Ansar's feet and reformed into a pale pink haired girl clad in a red, gold, and purple gown-like armor. "Vould you like me to scout out a suitable place for us to show the mortals Zekurom's power?"
Ansar smiled, pleased at the vampire's offer. "Certainly, Thana--choose a place the mortals would not expect to be attacked."
"Very vell--I vill return in three days." With that, Thana returned to her Zubat form and fluttered off into the caverns of the underworld....
At Avenitia Lodge....
"WHAT???" Blair gasped. "The demon lord has created a Pokemon that is Reshiram's equal?"
"Calm yourself, Blair." an older man with black hair assured the blue robed boy and his Snivy. "We don't know if this demonic prescence is, in fact, a Pokemon. If it is, it would be a Pokemon not seen in the mortal realm before."
"So what can we do?" Tane swallowed hard at the somber news.
"The one thing that has saved Yoso against demonic creatures before." the archmage replied. "Awaken Reshiram from the shrine at Kuroshiro Temple."
"Kuroshiro?" Blair asked. "But that's many miles away from here!"
"It will be a perilous journey to be sure." the archmage acknowledged as he adjusted the tiny circlet on Tane's head. "But with your warrior friend and Tane, I have confidence you will make it there."
"How would Whitlea be able to help?" Tane wondered--if they were going up against a Pokemon none of them had seen before, who was she to find out that neither sword nor spell could harm it? Or worse, the Pokemon was stronger then even her simple spells and gift of speech that the Archmage's Circlet she wore gave her?
"She knows this land well, and likely knows the way to Kuroshiro." the archmage continued as a breeze ruffled his majestic blue and purple robes. He handed a letter to Blair. "I have here a letter from her--she will meet you in Sefiro tomorrow night, where you can plan your journey."
Blair turned to leave. "I won't let you down, and I will see to it this demon Pokemon meets Reshiram's fury!"
"Blair? What are you doing up?" Tane asked as she watched her master rush about packing food and camping supplies.
"Sefiro is a day's journey from here, and if we're going on a long journey, I want to be prepared." Blair explained. "What I don't understand is how we're going to wake Reshiram..."
"Remember the minstrel's song?" Tane suggested. "Across the entire world they'll scour for eight magic crystals of power."
"There's an idea..." Blair mused as he set his bow and a quiver of arrows by the door. "Although where these crystals are is anyone's guess."
"Wouldn't it be fun to have a minstrel on our journey?" Tane sighed dreamily. "Inspiring songs and stories of legend; and hopefully magic power in their melodies!"
"Say...I heard a rumor that some minstrels that sing magic can do so in the holy tongue, a talent usually seen in clerics." Blair interrupted. "Although where we would find one, I don't know..."
"We'll find out in the morning. Tane replied before yawning. "Let's get to sleep--we have a long journey tomorrow."
With that, Blair climbed into bed himself, blissfully unaware of the Zubat that fluttered by his window...
To Be Continued...
Episode 3: A Friend's Counsel
Blair and Tane departed the lodge early the next morning. While Blair had a smile of confidence on his face, Tane was grumbling as she followed along behind her master. "It's too cold...the rocks hurt my feet---why couldn't we have warped to Sefiro?"
"First of all, I don't know a spell of teleportation, and if you're cold, you can ride in my cloak." Blair offered.
"Don't mind if I do." With that, Tane skittered inside the dull brown cloak that concealed Blair's blue robes. She was careful to avoid her master's bow and the quiver of arrows on his back, but before long, she was settled on his shoulder with a little of the cloak wrapped around her for warmth. "I know we will meet Whitlea in Sefiro, but wouldn't it be funny if she actually met us on the road, and shared in the day's journey?"
Just then, the familiar two note signal of a guardsman's horn pierced the fog. "Speak of Anima..." Blair gasped as he saw the familiar form of a girl in armor approaching them.
"Blair!" a voice called in the distance. "Is that you?"
A joyful smile formed on Blair's face as he ran and embraced his friend. "I received your letter and left right away, Whitlea..."
"...and now we meet here on the road to our destination." Whitlea added as she set an ornately decorated silver horn by her side. "So now that we are both here, what is on your mind?"
"The archmage has been troubled lately...he has seen the Dark Realm awaken a fox-beast that is equal to Reshiram." Blair began.
"What?" Whitlea gasped. "Does he know when the demon lord did this?"
"It wasn't the demon lord...one of his subordinates." Blair continued. "He showed me the vision again last night--we know this subordinate sent out a vampire to scout out a location for their fox beast to attack."
"Have you learned the beast's name?" Whitlea asked, a note of concern in her voice. "Or where they plan to attack?"
"We do not know where the demons plan to attack, but we do know that Reshiram must be awakened--and soon." Blair replied. "I did learn that the beast is named Zekurom--'black thunder' in the demon tongue."
"An electric fox beast..." Whitlea mused.
"It makes sense, in a way--Reshiram means 'white fire' in the common dialect of the holy tongue." Tane added.
"Your Snivy has a point, but my question is how the demons managed to create their own beast like Reshiram." Whitlea mused.
"Probably through their own dark magic, a corrupted form of the gods' great magic." Blair replied.
"That reminds me...you do know that there are minstrels that can sing magic as easily as a song?" Whitlea paused to refill her water flask at a stream.
"Yes--we both know the story of Rainbow Symphony." Tane replied.
"No, this isn't about Rainbow Symphony...would you believe me if I told you that there are some minstrels that can sing in the holy tongue like a cleric?"
"REALLY???" Tane was shocked.
"I thought it was only clerics that could sing in the gods' tongue!" Blair agreed.
"That may be true, but how do you think the clerics learned to sing magic?" Whitlea asked as she corked her flask. "For anyone else to sing magic, they must be taught by a minstrel that sings magic. That means that there are some minstrels that can sing in the holy tongue."
"And how do you know these minstrels that sing in the holy tongue exist?"
"I met one on the road on the way to meet you here." Whitlea explained. "She looked so serene, serenading the forest Pokemon with her harp and her voice. But she had an aura surrounding her that felt very much like holy magic."
"Really?" Blair was still skeptical.
"Did she cast the aura of her own free will, or did you ask her to?" Tane asked.
"She appeared to have casted it of her own will--how, I don't know." Whitlea replied for changing the subject. "If we find her or a minstrel like her, she may prove key to your finding the crystals that awaken Reshiram."
"I'm sorry, Whitlea...I don't follow." Blair sighed--all this information was making his head spin.
"All right, let me put it like this..." Whitlea began. "When guards go on patrol in a place infested with undead and other beings of the dark, we take a cleric along for our protection. If we are lucky enough to find a minstrel that can sing in the tongue of the gods, he--or she--would serve as a cleric, guarding us from the demon lord's forces."
Tane shivered. "Who am I to suggest that they could be watching us right now, waiting for an opportunity to end our quest before it begins?"
"Don't be silly, Tane." Blair chuckled. "That only happens in stories." Tane just blushed in embarrassment as her master and Whitlea continued down the road to Sefiro...
To Be Continued...
Episode 4: The Voice of Anima
"Wow--that was some party!" Kawa giggled as he and Lyra walked down the road to Sefiro a few days later. "Lord Clay loved that story about the Miltank!"
"I'm glad you liked it too." Lyra smiled, a thoughtful look on her face. Anima, I know you said you had a plan for me, but what is it? she mused.
She set her bag on the ground and got on her knees. Anima, rien gre me.... she started to sing, creating the familiar circle of blue light.
"Lyra, what is it?" Kawa was curious. "It's not like you to invoke Anima in a place like this!"
"I know, but I have a burning question to ask Her." Lyra began.
"You realize that you're bound by the same rules as the clerics and other minstrels that sing magic?" the Marill went on. "Do not sing your song unless it is needed?"
"Meloetta would understand that this is important." Lyra assured Kawa. "That, and Anima will always listen to a sincere request." With that, she resumed her song. Ye mor ya rila i sphil lon gra, kyh ye sea croh mor tih eh er. Rien gre der yochs mor gra tih ya rila sphinac lon gra...
A bright yellow light appeared in the circle, which formed into a brown haired girl in a shining gold, silver, and blue gown. "I hear your song, Lyra. and I heed your call. Speak your joys and speak your tears, and I will listen all the same."
Here goes nothing... Lyra sighed. "Anima, You have long said that You and the other gods have a plan for me. I have long thought about what this plan is, and I wonder if you can tell me. All I want is to serve You."
Anima just smiled. "You have done well in your chosen calling as a singer of songs and teller of tales, but there is a reason I gave you the gift of singing in the holy tongue."
"What is it?" Lyra asked. The circle's magic and Anima's holy aura gave the tears of anticipation in her eyes an otherworldly silver glow.
"You know well the legend of Reshiram..." Anima began.
"Yes...many times I have sung about it." Lyra replied.
"The demons have grown jealous of our keeping of Reshiram." Anima went on. "They have shaped their jealousy and rage into a fox-beast of their own."
"WHAT???" Lyra gasped. "Does this beast have a name?"
"Zekurom--"black thunder" in the demon tongue." Anima replied as she conjured an image of the giant black fox for Lyra and Kawa to see.
Kawa shuddered, both awed and fearful at the Pokemon's rock-like muscular body. "H-how do we defeat that, Lady Anima?" he finally squeaked.
"You're not the ones to defeat it..." Anima paused to change the image to show a brown haired mage in an elegant blue robe and a female warrior clad in silver and gold mail-like plate. "These two will. Your role is to provide My protection for them, through your holy song."
Lyra wanted to ask the goddess even more questions, but swallowed the lump in her throat instead. "I-I may not understand Your plan for me, but I will do my best to awaken Reshiram and protect our peaceful land."
"That is all I ask of you, my child," Anima assured Lyra. "The mage and the warrior await you in Sefiro--they will know you by your skill in song." With that, she disappeared in a flash of gold light, dispelling the magic circle at the same time.
Lyra was silent for a moment as she processed what Anima had told her. Okay...so the demons have created a fox beast of their own named Zekurom. To defeat Zekurom, I need to guide a mage and a warrior to wherever Reshiram sleeps, and awaken her. Sounds easy enough. that, and I'm sure the mage could answer what questions I have.
"Lyra? Are you well?" Kawa's voice snapped Lyra back to reality.
Lyra eased herself to her feet and slung her bag onto her back again. "I think so...we'd best get going to Sefiro before it grows dark." Kawa nodded, and ran to keep up with his master as she started down the road.
The rest of the walk to Sefiro was uneventful, save for Kawa chasing Beautiflies down the path until the stone buildings of Sefiro came into view. From the commoners in the stone reinforced wooden houses of the residential districts to the jewel studded curlicues that wreathed the balconies of the scholar's guild, people came out in throngs to the town square when they saw the minstrel and her Marill on the road.
I love it when I get an enthusiastic crowd like this. Lyra thought as she was escorted to the Reshiram fountain in the town square. Once she was comfortable and her harp was tuned, she played a sweeping chord. Rien cror i hisa iks nasdachs... she sang--her customary call to listen.
Once all was quiet, she began the first tale that came to her mind. "In a far away land, their was once a tailor whose garments were world renowned as works of art. He was in the market one day, gathering materials to make a bridal gown. As he browsed the other wares for sale, he turned around and saw that the bag containing the silk for his gown was gone!
Shocked murmurs raced through the crowd over the harp's frantic melody. "The tailor ran this way and that, pleading with the other merchants to help. Before long, the stolen silks were all anyone in town could talk about, and many had their own theories as to who stole them."
"The poor tailor..." a woman commented.
"So what did he do?" a man asked.
"The merchants of the town decided to travel to the shrine of Dorcha just outside town." Lyra continued over a peaceful melody. "The merchants poured out every detail before Dorcha in hopes He would give them the wisdom to find the thief. After many days and nights in prayer, Dorcha finally appeared to the townsfolk. He listened as the tailor told his whole story from beginning to end, sparing no details and mincing no words. Dorcha saw that all the merchants were present, and no one among them looked guilty. So He told the guards to arrest the statue of the shugo--the night spirits that watch over us as we sleep--that was present in the shrine. The guards were puzzled at the Lord of the Night's decree, but they bound the statue in ropes, and brought it before Dorcha."
Everyone laughed. "It was just a statue!" a woman giggled.
"How could Our Lord punish a statue?" a boy wheezed as he wiped a tear from his eyes.
"The townspeople laughed as you do right now." Lyra continued over the laughter. "But the laughter hushed when a great crash of thunder filled the air--they know Dorcha was serious, and shuddered in fear of what the Lord of the Night would do to them as punishment for doubting His wisdom."
"W-what did Dorcha do?" a girl stammered.
"Dorcha commanded that everyone present was to give up a piece of cloth in retribution for the lost silk. But as one man offered up his piece, the tailor recognized it as part of his stolen silk!" Cheers went up over the harp's triumphant chord. "The thief was ordered to return the silk and pay the merchant its full price, and the shugo statue was returned to its place in the shrine. From then on, the tailor always sewed a crescent moon in every garment he made in thanks to Dorcha...and that ends the tale of 'Dorcha and the Statue'"
Roars went up from the crowd, and many tossed tips into Lyra's case, but to a familiar mage and warrior in the audience, they didn't need to go any farther--this was the minstrel who would help them, they hoped...
To Be Continued...
Episode 5: An Evening in Sefiro
The door to the Royal Flask swung open with a creak. While it was unusually empty for the early evening, Blair knew that when--or if--a minstrel arrived, the modestly sized tavern would be crammed to capacity with revelers eager to hear of legend and fantasy in story and in song.
"That's odd--this place is filled when I normally arrive..." Whitlea noted as she set her sword by her chair and settled at a table overlooking the bar.
"Maybe they are still out listening to that minstrel in the square?" Tane suggested.
Blair was about to answer when he saw a familiar brown haired girl clad in an elaborate purple outfit with red and gold trim enter the tavern. "Speak of Anima..."
"It's her!" Whitlea cried. "The same minstrel I met on the road!"
The minstrel noticed the female warrior's excitement, and strolled over to the table. "We meet again, guardswoman." she smiled. "My name is Lyra, a minstrel of Kanzu."
A Marill climbed onto her shoulder some seconds later, interested in the throngs of people coming inside and making themselves comfortable at the bar. "And this is Kawa, my companion." she added before feeding the rotund blue mouse a Cheri Berry.
"A pleasure to meet you, Lady Lyra...I am Dame Whitlea the Braveheart of Sefiro." Whitlea replied. "This is my companion, Blair of Avenitia Lodge." she added, gesturing to Blair.
"Hello..." Blair smiled before a waitress handed him a menu. "I have heard rumors that not only do you possess the gift of singing a spell just like a song, but you can also do it in the language of the gods. Is this true?"
"Yes--I have had both gifts since I was very young." Lyra replied. "Are you two on a quest?"
"I wouldn't call it a quest..." Whitlea started, but Blair cut her off. "We have to get to Kuroshiro Temple as quickly as we can! Yoso is in danger, and Reshiram must be awoken!"
Lyra tried oh-so-hard not to laugh at Blair's desperate plea. "I don't know about Reshiram needing to be awoken, but I'll be happy to go with you--for a fee..."
"You're not going to demand millions of gold pieces, are you?" Whitlea asked, skeptical--most minstrels with holy song would charge the armor off of her back for such a long journey.
"Oh, no--I would never charge an arm and a leg if your journey is as urgent as you say it is." Lyra assured Whitlea. "My prices are fair, and suit the circumstances."
"How about this--in return for coming with us on our...journey..." Blair began. He bristled a little at calling their upcoming travels as simply a journey. That, and Lyra didn't appear to believe just how urgent their travels were. "Will you show us your gift of holy song? I want to see a minstrel sing in the holy tongue with my own eyes."
"Their request is sincere, Lyra." Kawa assured his master as a maid set a cheese plate before him. "It's not the first time you've used your gift in a tavern."
Lyra thought for a moment. "It's a deal!" she smiled before turning to return to her table. "I'll tell one of my favorite tales that uses the holy song."
"Thank you so much!" Blair smiled, almost relieved as he watched Lyra return to her waiting harp and flute.
"Attention, patrons of the Royal Flask!" the barkeep announced. "Pay head to the Lady Lyra of Kanzu, who has come to provide us a few tales and tunes this evening." Applause went up as Lyra strolled to the center of the room, allowing every table and those at the bar to see her.
Once sure that the room was quiet, Lyra played a soft chord on the harp. "Once a fisherman and his son--let's call him Jiro--were at sea, when a terrifying giant appeared from the water and snatched Jiro from the boat. All Jiro's father could do was watch as his son was spirited away to the giant's lair." She played a tense riff for effect, making murmurs waft through the crowd. "The giant took Jiro to a pitch black room and locked him inside, telling him to not light a fire under any circumstances."
Now why would the boy be told not to light a fire? Blair wondered. Perhaps the giant wishes to freeze him to death?
"Jiro huddled under a blanket, but the biting wind made him shiver, and on top of that, kept hearing ghostly noises. But with no fire, he couldn't tell if they were other prisoners or ghosts." Lyra continued. "On the third night, Jiro decided he was going to defy the giant's instructions and build a fire." She then stopped her song to interject "But with what?" Nervous giggles wafted through the crowd.
'Surely there was some dead grass, or flint, or something!" Whitlea gasped.
Lyra started an exciting melody, quieting the laughter. "So that night, Jiro snuck out of the cave, took one of the boats moored to the shore, and sailed back to his father's house. Once there, he requested some matches, flint, and tinder. As he hid the items in his son's clothing, Jiro's father told Jiro that if he was planning to escape the giant's lair, his wits would be the most valuable thing he could have." She stops the song to interject "Thankfully, the giant had no idea Jiro had gone and returned."
"Anima knows what would have happened if the giant caught him." Tane heaved a sigh of relief Jiro had returned safely.
"Jiro lit his fire, and found out the source of the crying he had heard--a princess!" Some girls in the crowd whispered excitedly as Lyra continued. "She had not seen any light in some time, so she yelped in surprise when she saw the firelight. However, that surprised yelp was enough to wake the giant, and it chased after Jiro!" Gasps went up from the crowd at this as the harp played a frantic melody.
"And then?" Blair asked over the panicked glissandos and sharp chords that filled the air.
"Jiro finally lost the giant and took shelter in an alcove somewhere on the island." Lyra assured Blair as her song gave way to a calmer tune. "As he caught his breath, Dorcha appeared to him and said..." In a slightly deeper voice, she interjected "Long has the giant caused suffering in the land, but if you were to slay him now, he would still live, as his soul is not in his body. On the other side of the ocean in a palace courtyard stands a post. Hit this post with your finger, and a sword will fall down from the sky. With this sword, kill an Ekans in the forest, and a Buneary will appear and race away. Catch that Buneary and cut off its head, and a Pidove will appear. If you can catch the Pidove when it flies to heaven, an egg will fall, and in that egg is the giant's soul."
I see...but wouldn't an egg be a bit fragile? Blair thought.
He was snapped from his thoughts by Lyra announcing "Just as Dorcha left Jiro, the giant discovered him!"
"Oh no!" a girl gasped, making some people laugh.
"Jiro was taken to a high mountain peak, where he was left to die." Lyra continued over a sad interlude.
"Then what happened?" Whitlea asked. The holy song has to be there somewhere!
"Jiro spent two days shivering in the cold before working up the courage to climb down." Lyra explained as her song turned hopeful. "The mountain path led to a forest, where he found four mages arguing over how best to divide the meat of a Stantler they had killed. Jiro skillfully cut the Stantler into four even portions. The mages each gave Jiro a mystical gem as a reward for helping them. The fire mage gave Jiro a ruby that would grant him Entei's strength and power. The wind mage gave Jiro an amethyst that would allow him to soar like the twin Eons. The water mage gave Jiro a sapphire that would allow him to swim like Kyorge. The earth mage gave Jiro an emerald that would allow him to dig as masterfully as Celebi."
She then played a tense chord. "Just then, the giant found Jiro again, but this time, Jiro was prepared--he held the ruby high and called..." With that, she held her hand in the air, closed her eyes, and sang Jao wiisha nes chiel com yutuul... Awed murmurs went up from the crowd as Lyra appeared to glow red for a few seconds, as if she was Jiro in the story.
"Amazing!" Whitlea gasped.
"A blessing against flames, if I remember right..." Blair added.
"Sure enough, Jiro glowed red with the power of Entei's fire, and managed to throw the giant to the ground. While this didn't kill the giant by any means, it did buy Jiro enough time to get to the shore minutes before the spell wore off." Lyra continued. "Knowing the giant could find him at any moment, Jiro held the sapphire high and called..." She held up her hand again and sang Rou iitsa von selga vichi.... making her glow blue for a few seconds.
"A blessing that gives the singer swift swimming." Blair explained.
"Jiro glowed blue with the power of water, and easily swam to the palace courtyard with Kyorge's speed and grace. He easily found the post and touched his finger to it, and just as Arceus had said, a beautiful sword fell from the sky and landed at his feet." Lyra went on. "Jiro wasted no time in killing an Ekans, and just as Dorcha had said, a Buneary darted from the brush. Jiro knew that a human had no chance of catching up to a Buneary naturally, so he found his amethyst and sang..." She held her hand high a third time, and sang Karuto, iichiida shou... making her glow purple for a few seconds.
"A blassing that either grants swift movement or flight, depending on where the singer is." Blair explained.
"Jiro glowed with the purple energy of the wind, which gave him enough speed to catch up to the Buneary and cut off its head." Lyra explained over a triumphant chord. "No sooner had he done this, did a Pidove appear and fly to the heavens...just as the spell wore off. So he evoked the amethyst again-- Karuto, ichiida shou.... Some in the crowd gasped in awe as a gust of wind formed around Lyra's glowing purple body for a few seconds.
"Did she...just grant herself super speed?" Whitlea was stunned at the spell Lyra had seemingly cast.
"This time, Jiro was able to soar through the sky, much like Latios and Latias." Lyra explained. "He caught up to the Pidove and caught it, causing an egg to fall from the sky. After he landed and the wind magic had worn off, he took the emerald and invoked the earth magic within." She paused to hold her hand high, and sang again. Imultao, ame no ga bakeno... Whispers went up as Lyra glowed green for a few seconds.
"Isn't that a blessing for thick skin?" Tane asked.
"No, it is a healing song that draws on nature to work." Blair replied.
"Once Jiro had dug through the earth and located the egg, he returned to the island and smashed it on the rocks, killing the giant!" Lyra announced over a triumphant glissando. "The princess was elated that someone had finally set her free. They returned to Jiro's homeland, where they fell in love and married not long after their adventure. But Jiro kept the four magic gems with him, just in case he needed their power again. So ends the tale of 'The Giant's Captive'"
"WOW!!!!" Whitlea lead the enthsiastic applause.
"It's true...Lady Lyra CAN sing in the holy tongue!" Tane was just as amazed. Lyra just smiled and took a bow for her enthusiastic audience...
To Be Continued...
Episode 6: The Way to the Temple
"So, where is this Kuroshiro Temple?" Lyra asked as she met Blair and Whitlea in the inn's common room later that night. "I have not been that far to the north."
"Is it anywhere near Voima Hill, where Rainbow Symphony is unleashed?" Kawa asked.
"Yes--the temple is not far from the base of that hill." Blair explained.
"Say...have you ever thought about climbing that hill and unleashing Rainbow Symphony yourself?" Kawa asked. "It would make an incredible story..."
"It would, yes, but the world hasn't been in dire enough need to have it unleashed." Lyra replied. "Besides--it's not required that every minstrel do it." Kawa slowly nodded to show he understood.
"You said you guided adventuring parties for a fee." Whitlea mused as she relaxed in her chair. "What sorts of adventures have you been on?"
"Let's see..." Lyra thought for a moment before singing Emyina pekien liku., making a gold aura surround her. "Well, there was the time I led a group of clerics to deal with a fallen mage that had gone mad and died from the dark arts, only to return as a wraith...songs of light and protection were a huge help to the party."
"What else can you see?" Blair asked.
"Usually, I'm asked to defend trade caravans from rogue Pokemon, bandits, goblins, and other dark creatures of the forests and plains." Lyra explained. "If not that, I guide parties into ruins of towers, dungeons, and crypts to purge spirits and monsters." With that, the aura faded away.
"In between traveling to different towns and helping others, life is never dull for either of us." Kawa smiled.
"I'm sure it's quite adventurous." Tane smiled before asking Lyra "That spell you sang to recall your adventures...what was it? I've never seen minstrels do it before."
"It's one of the cleric's spells I can sing with the holy tongue--Memories of Light." Lyra explained. "If someone asks me to remember a certain kind of event, I can sing to remember every memory I have of that kind of event for a short time. I can also look into the minds of my allies, but I only do that with the other person's permission."
"Please, tell me more about your adventures!" Whitlea begged.
"No, look into my master's mind--a vision has been troubling him, and it may help you understand why we travel." Tane asked.
"Yes, you are welcome to look into my memories." Blair agreed. "I have nothing to hide. May Dorcha judge me if you see something I have not told you about before."
"Okay..." Lyra got up from her chair, knelt before Blair, then sang Emyina pekien liku. again, making both her and Blair gain a gold aura.
She gasped as she saw a scene of a cavern filled with many thousands, if not millions, of monsters. Then, a pale haired man in an elegant red suit began tracing a magic circle into the rock. This has to be an envoy of the Dark Realm, I know it!
Her concentration was nearly broken by what happened next--a bright blue light and thunderbolts filled the cavern as a large black fox beast with a body that appeared to be made from rock rose from the circle of dark magic. The crowd of monsters cheered, but all Lyra wanted to do was scream in terror at how hideous the beast looked.
The last thing she saw before the spell wore off was the man instructing a female vampire, followed by a brief scene of the vampire, in Zubat form, looking inside a bedroom of a mage's lodge, where Blair lay, asleep.
"Well?" Whitlea asked as the gold aura faded from Lyra and Blair. "What did you see inside my friend's mind that frightened you so?" she asked the shaking Lyra.
"What you t-t-told me before at t-t-the tavern....it was true!" Lyra stammered before collapsing at Blair's feet. "Anima forgive me for not believing you earlier!" She spent several minutes in a prone position, pleading "Forgive me...forgive me..." as she fought back tears.
"Peace, Lady Minstrel--I know you did not mean to doubt us before." Blair assured Lyra. "but, we need your holy song to help us get to Kuroshiro and awaken Reshiram."
Lyra heaved a nervous sigh in an attempt to calm herself. "I normally ask for payment in return for traveling with a party, but with the world at stake, I can't think of any price that would be suitable for a quest of this magnitude."
"How about this--in return for your holy song and skill in battle, we will provide for you and protect you in return?" Whitlea offered. "That, and you may keep a share of any treasure we find on this adventure."
Lyra extended a hand to Whitlea. "Deal." She turned to address Blair again. "I know well the tale of Reshiram, and what we must do to awaken her, but my question is...do you know where the eight crystals of power mentioned in the legend are located?
"Yes." Blair replied, spreading a map of Yoso on the table. "The crystals are all interconnected, and finding one will guide us to the next one. Knowing that, the crystals names are what gives a cleric's--and Lyra's--spellsongs power."
"But where do we need to find the first crystal?" Whitlea asked, her voice wavering a little with fear from the Zubat looking in at them from outside.
"Our first objective is the Sacred Ruins just outside Sanyou." Blair continued. "The light crystal, Emyina, lies within."
Just then, the Zubat from before fluttered inside an open window and formed into Thana. "There you are! Vere you eavesdropping on Lord Ansar's plan to unleash Zekurom on your vorld?" she demanded as she approached Blair. "Did you think you vould be able to avaken Reshiram before then?"
"Likewise, did you think you could create a fox beast your own and the gods not notice?" Blair snapped back.
'Back! Away from this place!" Whitlea threatened as she drew her sword, which glowed with a white light. "Leave us!"
Thana charged at Whitlea, but she jumped away. Thana ended up crashing into Blair's chair, sending him tumbling to the ground.
No sooner did Blair land on the ground, did he see a purple aura surround him as he heard Lyra sing Karuto, iichiida shou...
To Be Continued...
Episode 7: Pursuit
"RUN!!!" Whitlea called as she and Lyra sped away, the fear of Thana catching them enhanced by the purple aura surrounding them.
Blair eased himself to his feet and hurried after the girls, the spell giving him newfound strength. Behind him, Thana was in hot pursuit, only she was floating only slightly above the ground. That made her equal in speed to him, even though he and the girls were under a spell that granted them speed.
He charged a ball of light in his hands as he raced to keep up with his companions. "A flash of lightning cuts through the night, come forth from my hand and show me thy might! White Lightning!"
Thana's scream of pain went unheard through the bustling crowd of the nearby marketplace, but the spell bought Blair enough time to run to the archway that marked the entrance to the market district.
"Are you okay?" Lyra asked as the haste spell flickered away. "I heard a scream before you arrived..."
"I cast a lightning spell to stun the vampire, making her scream in pain." Blair explained. "I hope to Anima it will be strong enough to hold her for a while..."
A familiar voice got their attention. "I call on the powers of the basilisk! Shoot forth the evil look!" The crowds gasped as a red light flew into a flock of Mareeps, turning them to stone!
"There she is!" Lyra gasped as she spotted Thana racing to catch up with them.
"Hah!" Whitlea cut a few barrels of Leppa Berries free from a cart, making it harder for Thana to levitate, much less run, through the cascading Berries rumbling down the road. The group, meanwhile, wove through the various stalls and crowds, looking back to be sure the vampire was not still chasing them.
"Lyra, do you know any spellsongs that obscures someone's view?" Blair asked before jumping out of the way of a falling stall.
"Yes, why?" Lyra asked as she crawled out of the destroyed stall's awning.
"We still have company!" Tane cried as she spotted Thana approaching them on the road.
Lyra swallowed hard as Whitlea led the way to a storage warehouse at the edge of an alleyway. "I'm not very good at this one, but I can try it..." She dug out her harp from her bag, played a tense chord, and sang Rou eniya yassa tere....
A thick cloud of mist sprayed in Thana's face as she ran, but by the time she reached the warehouse, Blair, Whitlea, Lyra, and the Pokemon were nowhere to be found.
Inside the warehouse, the three companions heaved sighs of relief that they were safe. "We lost her..." Kawa wheezed as he slumped against a box.
"Yes, we may have lost the vampire for now, but Anima knows how long it will be before she finds us in here." Whitlea agreed. "We need to come up with a plan in case she finds us in here."
"Well, let's see what this place is used to store..." Tane hopped on top of a box and opened it, revealing a colorful array of firecrackers inside. "What do you know? This is a fireworks warehouse!"
"Most likely to store fireworks for festivals." Blair mused. "We can't set them all off in here--as that would destroy this place and take us with it."
"Perhaps if we found the largest firework in here, we could set it off." Kawa suggested. "It would probably have a long fuse, which would allow us to escape before it exploded.
Lyra smiled. "Kawa, you're a genius! But...what does the largest firework look like?"
A box marked "Glitterious Light Dragon" got Whitlea's attention. "You know, dragon fireworks are pretty large..."
"Worth a try." Lyra agreed. She helped Whitlea ease the giant blue rocket with a dragon's head top and paper wings to match from the box. After checking to see if Thana was not following them, she tiptoed out to an open area and carefully set the rocket inside the earthen floor, making sure to aim at the hole in the ceiling that served as one of the few light sources in the dark room.
"Okay..." Blair began as Lyra returned. "Once we hear the vampire, I will light the rocket. Lyra will then sing any invincibility spell she knows to protect us from the blast."
"I'm not very good with it yet, so it may not last very long." Lyra cautioned. "But it should last just long enough for us to escape out that tunnel that should lead to the forest outside of town."
Just then, Kawa heard the flutter of Zubat wings in the distance. "She's coming!"
Blair whispered an incantation to an ember spell, which danced and hissed their way to the rocket's fuse. He flashed a thumbs up to Lyra before rejoining his friends at a gaping hole at the bottom of the left wall.
Emyina nes chiel com yutuul... Lyra sang, making a glowing rainbow aura form around the group. Once sure her companions and the Pokemon were protected, they disappeared into the hidden tunnel to safety.
"Light mage, I know you're here..." Thana called as she scoured the warehouse for any sign of Blair and the others. "Come out and I may be more inclined to show you mercy..."
A red aura got her attention, but when she followed it to the center of the room, her triumphant look turned to horror as the last of the fuse went into the dragon rocket...
To Be Continued...
Episode 8: The Song of Power
"There..." Kawa wheezed as he lead the group out of the tunnel. "We should be safe now..."
"I don't know...vampires are persistent creatures, and usually only defeated by holy magic or a well placed stake through the heart." Tane cautioned.
"If our pursuer did survive that blast, we need to prepare to fight her while we can." Whitlea suggested. "Once she is defeated, we can continue to Sanyou in peace."
"I've heard that Sanyou has been overtaken by a ruthless warlord and his bratty son..." Lyra mused as she brushed off some leaves from her outfit. "There's no way we can enter the ruins while they are in charge."
"Do you think Sanyou's fall and the appearance of a vampire in this world are connected?" Blair wondered as he cradled Tane in his arms.
"I'm not sure, but our undead pursuer and the fall of a great city has to be more than coincidence." Whitlea replied, glancing around the forest for any sign of Thana. "Thank Anima the three brothers of Sanyou are safe, although in hiding."
"Anima knows what will happen if the mage Cilan, the warrior Chili, and the ranger Cress fall to a warlord's blade." Lyra mused. "They are seen as the guardians of Sanyou..."
"Forgive me for interrupting the discussion, but I think we have company!" Kawa cried as the flutters of a Zubat's wings echoed through the bushes.
Whitlea drew her sword as a Zubat approached the group and reformed into Thana. "There you are! Thought an explosion vould destroy me?" she sneered. "We undead are stronger than that."
"Gloat all you want, but we will still awaken Reshiram!" Blair retorted as he readied an arrow.
Emyina hoda vyfre... Lyra sang, making Blair's arrow glow with a bright light.
"Kill me if you must, but there is another in your vorld and many in the Dark Realm that seek to avaken Zekurom." Thana cautioned. "I am only the first of many, and I will see to it the holy firefox is not avakened!"
"Now, Blair!" Tane yelped.
Blair fired his shot, but the light infused arrow fizzled out on a swirling shield of dark energy, rendering what should've been a fatal blow harmless.
Karuto, iichiida shou... Lyra sang, allowing the group to race away from a large wave of dark energy.
"Good thinking, Lyra." Kawa called as he dove out of the way of a black bladed knife. "PETIT BOLT!" A tiny spark went flying from the sapphire in his Archmage's Circlet, but it only managed to hit Thana in the leg.
"Thanks for the help, Kawa, but I don't think your spells can reach a vampire's heart either." Whitlea called as she slashed Thana in the stomach, making a gaping hole in her clothing.
"Can you enchant blades like you do arrows?" Blair asked as his next shot ended up embedded in a tree.
"Yes, but I only know how to bless a blade with wind magic for now." Lyra replied as she jumped out of the way of a dark orb, scraping Thana's head with her own sword on the way up. "I can give a blade the ability to shoot a beam of light, though..."
"Sing that song--maybe it will give us a chance to strike the vampire's heart!" Whitlea suggested.
"Okay..." Lyra closed her eyes and focused what little sun she could into her blade. Emyina van sevien dihe... Next, she aimed her glowing blade at the fleeing vampire's leg, making a teal beam fly. The resulting explosion of light made Thana fall to the ground in pain.
"It worked!" Blair smiled as he fired another shot, grazing the vampire's arm. Tane was close by, purifying what plants had been tainted by the vampire's dull red blood.
"Hah!" Whitlea fired a beam into Thana's other arm. Her ghastly howl of pain could be heard all through the forest.
"A stake! Where are we going to find a stake?" Kawa cried as he glanced around the forest floor for a piece of wood thick enough for a stake.
"We don't need a stake, remember?" Lyra told Kawa. "Vampires fall to holy light too, and that's how we're going to get rid of this one!"
Blair watched in awe as Thana's last scream pierced through an explosion of rainbow light. "By Anima...how did you do that?"
"Lyra and I combined the power in our enchanted blades and aimed for the vampire's heart." Whitlea replied as she watched Tane heal more poisoned plants. "The combined power was enough to destroy her."
"I see..." Blair mused as he slung his bow on his back. "But, one thing the vampire said before we battled her intrigues me--she said she was the first of many..."
"First a vampire pursues us, and now Sanyou has fallen to a warlord--who am I to suggest that someone is working behind the scenes to see Zekurom's appearing in this world through."
"I don't know, but we may find answers to your questions and more about the ruins if we liberate Sanyou." Whitlea replied before motioning for the group to follow her through the forest...
To Be Continued...
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