Episode 12: A False Light
[BGM: The Cries of Oppression]
"So, how did Anima say she would appear to us, again?" Kissa wondered as the group walked along the road to Sindura. It had been several days since her master had found the first Bead of the Elements in the catacombs of Whitespell, and she had learned much about the adventure and their new companion on the way.
"She said we would know Her by Her clothing." Dawn assured Kissa as they strolled into town. Normally, Sindura would be bustling with activity on market day, but the stalls in the marketplace were still empty and there was not a ship to be seen in the harbor.
"Why is it so quiet?" Brock asked as he walked down the deserted streets, a note of worry in his voice.
Ash was about to answer when he heard a woman's fearful pleas and a man's shouting in the distance. "There's trouble!" He motioned for the others to follow him before taking off down a street.
"Wait for us!" Kissa called as the others hurried to keep up with Ash.
After winding down the streets and past more empty market stalls, the group came to the town square, where a crowd was gathered watching a young woman try to escape from a tall and lanky man. Ash was already present in the crowd, watching the tense scene unfold.
[BGM: Run For It!]
"What's going on?" Brock asked. Ash motioned for his friend to be quiet as the man approached the frightened woman, who was fearfully clutching a box full of small Pokemon sculptures.
"I will not mark up my work without a very good reason!" the woman snapped. "I want everyone in Yoso to enjoy my fine sculptures, and with your tax, no one will be able to afford them!"
"Ah, but you seem to have forgotten that we need to stockpile food for the winter, and the tax is to meet that end...besides, Anima has told me that this year's winter will be harsh, and Her word is law." the man replied.
"How can Anima speak to you? You are not part of a true cleric's order!" another woman in the crowd protested. "The Shironise Order is a fraud, for all I care!"
"Everything is NOT fated to be and unchangeable!" another man agreed. "We have the gift of choosing how we price our goods, what trades we choose to train under, and how we live our lives!"
"Have you all forgotten what we have taught you?" the lanky man yelled. "We know all your fates because Anima revealed them to us...and once you know your fate, it cannot be changed." Roars of protest came from the crowd.
The young woman gritted her teeth in rage. "You dare claim to know these people's fates? I'll show you your fate!" She began charging a crackling purple ball of lightning in her hands. "Heavenly bolts, bring divine justice! Thundara!" The man screamed in pain as giant thunderbolts rained down on him, prompting many in the crowd to shield their eyes. When the spell faded, there was nothing left of the woman's pursuer.
"Whoa..." Ash gasped as the crowd cheered.
"I would expect nothing less from the true Anima." Dawn smiled as the crowd began to disperse.
Brock hurried over to the woman's side and helped her up. "Are you okay?" He was about to say more when he saw the woman's hair lengthen and ivy begin to appear on her pale blue blouse and cream skirt. "Anima..."
[BGM: It is I, Anima]
"It is I...." Anima smiled as she brushed herself off. "As you saw in my assailant, many in Sindura are beginning to believe a lie--the Shironise Order claims that I have revealed the world's fates to them, and that they cannot be changed."
"That's not true! You gave us the gift of choice--and every choice we make influences our lives, for better or worse." Dawn replied. Anima smiled and nodded in approval.
"Whose idea was it to turn Sindura into a town of fatalistic zombies?" Ash growled, appalled at what the man chasing Anima had said before his smiting.
"Come..." Anima replied as she traced her finger into an empty house's wall, creating a door. "I will tell you more here." Kissa led the group inside the house, but once Anima had entered, the door disappeared, making the house appear completely normal to passersby.
[BGM: Making Plans]
"Sindura has always been a prosperous town..." Brock mused as he made himself comfortable at a small wooden table in the center of the room. "With it being a port town, many traders and merchants all across Yoso come to buy and sell their wares."
"But is not immune to hard times." Anima cautioned as the others made themselves comfortable at the table. "Three months ago, the storm season began, and many traders either perished in the storms or were lost at sea. The townsfolk grew worried and fearful as their food supplies dwindled. Kione took advantage of the people's despair and sent the demon Melis in disguise as a cleric of mine."
Just then, everyone heard a young male voice resonate through their heads. "People of Sindura, hear now the words of the Lady Kadara..."
Anima's concerned look slowly grew to one of anger as a female voice began. "Oh, children of Anima, do not worry over what tomorrow brings, for it is all left to fate, and the fates of all the world intertwine in a predetermined path that goes on until the end of time. Be proud to serve the Shironise Order, for it is your fate..."
"No..." Ash challenged the telepathic voice as it continued to speak. "No, no, NO, NO, NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
"You have it all wrong!" Brock agreed.
"The Shironise Order is false!" Dawn countered.
"The real Anima wouldn't be so indifferent and oppress Her people!" Kissa agreed.
"Simply yelling and screaming at the lies won't do a thing." Anima began when the telepathic message finally faded away. "We have to expose Kadara for who she really is--Melis, the Princess of Lies. Normal beings cannot discern a being's true form, but since you have a singer of magic with a Wandering Eye, we have the advantage." She got up and began tracing a door on the wall again. "Kadara will arrive in the square this evening to speak again to the people and work 'miracles'--but it is merely magic twisted to her ends. The more people that follow her, the stronger Kione's foothold in this world will be."
"Just say the word, and I will play the song that will show them the truth!" Brock smiled as he followed Anima into the street, being careful to shield his eyes from the flash of light that formed as Anima shifted into her human form from earlier.
"Goodness!" Dawn gasped at the size of the crowd surrounding a platform where a girl with pale skin and maroon hair looked out over the crowd.
[BGM: The Dark Takes Form]
"Who's the girl?" Ash wondered as he carefully guided the group through the crowd, being careful not to push nor shove in an attempt to get closer to the simple platform serving as a stage.
"That is Kadara, the form Melis has chosen to take." Anima mused as she watched the girl's black and white robe flutter in the wind.
"Good evening, my people...take comfort in knowing the future is already determined!" Kadara began, to the roars of the crowd. "All of Yozo's history, from the time of creation to its end, is predetermined!"
"So it was mere chance this world came into being?" Kissa gasped, shocked. "I think not!"
"Lies..." Dawn hissed. "The future is not predetermined, and neither is the past!"
"You shape it according to Your perfect will." Brock smiled. "If it's all predetermined, then what is the point of faith?"
"Exactly...I don't reveal the paths of history to everyone because I want My people to trust Me." Anima replied. "If everything is predetermined, there is no reason to have faith in any god..."
"I've had enough of this fatalistic mumbo jumbo!" Ash began to charge a blue ball of energy in his hands. "Drifting breeze, come down with fury! Blizzard!"
"...For example, I know that I will be frozen with ice magic, and bring a Pokemon back to life today." Kadara continued. The crowd gasped as Ash's spell impacted a few seconds later, enclosing Kadara in ice.
"Take that!" Ash laughed, a confident smirk on his face.
"Uh, Ash?" Kissa stammered as the ice cube enclosing Kadara began melting away, to the crowd's cheers.
Ash watched, shocked, as a girl ran to the platform and offered Kadara a lifeless Taillow. Kadara smiled and formed a blue white light in her hands. "Spirits of light, give a new dream to the soul! Arise!" More cheers went up as the Taillow woke up with a peep and flitted back to its master's shoulder.
[BGM: How Could This Happen? (sad theme)]
"I've heard enough..." Kissa grumbled as the group turned to leave. "The world You and the other gods lovingly made, Anima, laughingly explained away by fate...."
"It breaks my heart that Sindura is falling for these lies--and all the more reason we must open their eyes to the truth." Anima sighed as the group walked down to a temple not far from the square. "Take your instrument, Brock--Kadara and her guards will be arriving here soon, intent on destroying you all. Be ready to perform Wandering Eye at my signal."
"Yes, my lady!" Brock fumbled for his harp and frantically began tuning it.
"Ash, Dawn, ready your weapons for battle." Anima added as she threw on a deep red cloak to hide her identity. Dawn obediently nocked an arrow and Ash drew his blade as Kadara and her guards burst into the temple.
[BGM: A Challenge!]
"So you are the one that cast the ice spell..." Kadara smirked. "Why do you not accept that our battle here is fate, and that Anima will triumph over your dark arts?"
"Dark arts?" Ash shot back. "You call explaining away our world as mere chance and calling power given to me by Anima dark arts?"
"I alone hold Anima's power as Her avatar! Do you dare take on a goddess?" Kadara screeched.
"Seems you forgot a tiny detail...." Dawn retorted. "Behold, the true Anima!" At this, Anima threw off the cloak, revealing her true identity. Kadara teleported away, but the guards were too frightened to move.
"Now!" Anima called to Brock as the guards began charging energy in their staves.
"Spirits of light, show me things hidden to the Mortal Realm! Wandering Eye!" As Brock began to play, Ash gasped at what the guards actually were--goblins!
To Be Continued...