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Old November 16th, 2010 (9:50 AM).
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EmeraldSky EmeraldSky is online now
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    Join Date: Nov 2004
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    Episode 7: A Lament and a Dream

    [BGM: Prepare for Battle]

    "You're here...good." Dawn smiled as Ash arrived in the temple's main hall the next morning. "The catacombs of Whitespell were initially used to entomb those that had died in service to Anima, but when a statue of Anima was placed down there to discourage grave robbers, many clerics began coming there to have a quiet place for evening prayers or to discuss private matters. But every time there is danger afoot in the world, all kinds of unsightly creatures--many from the underworld--take up residence there."

    "So what sorts of monsters can we expect to see?" Brock wondered as he threw on his cloak to shelter him from the brisk wind coming from a hallway.

    "And, where is the singing coming from?" Ash agreed--he had a nagging suspicion that the singing was not what the clerics believed it to be.

    "Lady Ethani believes it is coming from the room with the goddess' statue, and that something fierce is guarding it, judging from the growling and ghastly yowls we hear every time we hear the singing." Dawn replied. "If you need time to prepare, I'll wait here."

    Ash set his bag on the floor and studied its contents. In addition to potions of life and magic, there was a dizzying array of berries to cure all sorts of ailments--Pecha to cure Poison, Aspear to cure freezing, Chesto for sleep, and Cheri for Paralysis, to name a few. What Berries couldn't cure, Dawn could handle with her holy magic, he figured as he set his sword by his side.

    "I'm only taking the harp with me." Brock told Dawn as he carefully tuned his instrument. "The cadena, the fiddle, and my flutes are in our room, yes?"

    "They are--Kissa said she'd help Pikachu take care of them." Ash replied, slightly surprised that the fiddle was also on the list of instruments that Brock could play. Maybe he taught himself for Ayra's sake. he thought as he silently reminded himself to ask Brock to play it for him sometime.

    He pictured Brock standing in the town square of....any town, playing a blazing fast reel as a crowd of people danced--some alone, and some with partners. Those that weren't dancing were clapping along or tapping their feet in appriciation.

    A clink of a pendant being hung around his neck snapped him from his daydream. "These Dreamlight Pendants are to keep your soul safe, allowing me to revive you should you fall to the creatures in the catacombs." Dawn began.

    Ash examined the large round opal hanging around his neck as he followed his friends down a hallway and down a frail looking stairwell that led to a large door with ancient runes on it. Can this thing really keep me alive?

    [BGM: Song for Marista]

    The notes of a harp got his attention-- Brock was standing before a statue of Anima, playing the song he usually played before he told a story. "Is that song special to you--besides signaling the start of tale weaving?" he asked.

    Brock's expression turned somber. "Yes...I play it in memory of my mentor Marista, who perished by Kione's hand hours before she was to depart on her quest for Rainbow Symphony." He brushed away a tear before continuing to play the song. "She would play this on her fiddle to signal that our lessons were beginning, and we needed to settle down."

    "But why choose to play it when you tell stories?" Dawn was interested now. "Why not at the beginning of every performance?"

    "She specialized in storytelling, and taught me many of the tales I tell." Brock explained before addressing Ash. "Remember our first day together, when I told 'Why Pikachu has Brown Stripes on His Back'? That was one of the very first tales I learned, thanks to her."

    "Interesting...she sounds like she was a nice person." Ash mused. "I would have liked to have met her when she was alive."

    "Despite her tendency to be scatterbrained at times, she was never without a smile, and seemingly knew the right words to comfort you when things were not going well." Brock continued. "In fact, I remember the time when I was struggling to learn 'The Little Gold Flute'--my most popular story..."

    [BGM: Remember When?]

    "Your sister sister's suffering way out" a younger Brock, now clad in the dull blue tunic of a minstrel's apprentice, recites as he paces the floor in Harmony Square. He stops for a moment, trying to remember what comes next in the verse, but no words come. "ERRRRGGHHH!!! Why can't I remember this part?" he rants to no one in particular. "I can tell it just fine up to this part, but I always forget it! I really want to tell it for the hokage of Mizutoshi when the ninjas arrive tonight!"

    "Is everything okay, Brock?" an older female voice asks, snapping young Brock from his anger.

    Young Brock looks up to see an auburn haired girl in a blue and green striped outfit and black leggings approaching him and smiles. "Marista...just who I needed to see! I really want to perform for the ninjas of Mizutoshi, so I asked Lady Arina for suggestions for what sort of tales they like. She suggested I try and learn 'The Little Reed Pipe', which I have adapted as 'The Little Gold Flute'. However, every time I get to the Murkrow's appearance, I blank out!" He sighs in frustration as he sits on the floor and covers his face with his hands.

    "Calm yourself, Brock...remember what I told you about first approaching a story?" Marista asks as she dries the tears welling up in young Brock's eyes.

    "You should learn it as a whole, not in pieces?" young Brock hesitantly answers.

    "Yes, and what else?" Marista prompts Brock for more information.

    "Don't try to memorize anything except the first and last line?" young Brock asks, a nervous note in his voice.

    Surprisingly, Marista doesn't yell. "Can you show me that you've learned your first and last line?"

    "Sure!" Young Brock gets up and begins "A long time ago, in a place far away from here, there lived a mother and her daughter."

    "And your last line?" Marista assks.

    "Yet Aozora kept the little flute with him, just in case he needed its song again." young Brock replies.

    Marista nods in approval. "Very good! As for the rest of the story, you only need to remember the very basic storyline..."

    Young Brock thinks for a moment. "Maybe I have been going at it the wrong way by memorizing the whole thing...will you come with me to the Room of Lore?"

    "I'd be glad to..." Marista smiles as young Brock leads the way down the north hallway....

    [Cut BGM]

    "So did you ever get to tell that story to the hokage of the water village?" Dawn asks.

    "I did, and Marista was there in the audience to encourage me--her being there gave me enough confidence to speak well before the hokage and Arina." Brock concluded. "She was due to leave on her quest a few days after the visit from the water village, but a few nights before she was to leave, Mightyenas possessed by Kione attacked the hall and set it ablaze." He plays the song again, showing Marista leading a group of apprentices from the burning hall.

    [BGM: How Could this Happen? (sad theme)]

    "And she gave her life so you could live?" Ash asked as he watched the terrifying scene of Marista comforting the scared apprentices and young Brock as the fire raged on.

    "Yes--but it was not the flames that took her...a Mightyena attacked and killed her." Brock replies.

    Tears welled up in Ash's eyes as an eerily familiar scene played out through Brock's song--a Mightyena pounces on Marista and a great struggle ensues. This looks just like my encounter with the Scyther! He brushes away a tear as he watches young Brock cry over Marista's bloodied and lifeless body. That could have very well been Pikachu crying over me... "Is that why you saved me? So you wouldn't lose another potential friend?"

    "Yes, and no...I saved you because I have always believed in helping those that need it. Although I did not show it to you at the time, I was deeply saddened at how similar your encounter was to Marista's death, and how your family would react if you had died." Brock replied as he concluded his song. "At her funeral, I promised myself to do two things--to learn the fiddle and the songs she often played in her memory; and that should the opportunity for me to unleash Rainbow Symphony present itself, I would undertake the quest in Marista's stead as thanks for her being a friend to me."

    "A very noble goal indeed." Dawn smiled. "I believe she is buried in the catacombs, so you are welcome to pay your respects if you find her tomb."

    "I will--I've wanted to lay her ring on her tomb for some time now." Brock replied as he toyed with a ring with a pear shaped emerald inside. "It was the only thing unharmed on her body, and it was given to me at the funeral. But I could never bring myself to wear it because of the memories it evoked, so I figured that the best thing to do would be to lay it on her tomb."

    [BGM: In the Catacombs]

    "So you have a reason for this quest..." Ash mused as Dawn led the way down the west hallway and opened a large door inscribed with runes. "As I have said before, I have long dreamed of going on a quest like the heroes you tell about..."

    "You realize that going on a quest like this is not all fun and games like you probably think it is..." Brock cautioned as the group wound down a long stairway. "You will encounter monsters, and traps, and puzzles you have never seen before."

    Ash swallowed hard as he continued down the stairs. Monsters, I can handle, but traps and puzzles? By Anima, what have I gotten myself into?

    To Be Continued...
    The Pokemon Anime Remix Project:

    Pokemon Moonlight Silver--A re-imagining of Johto, without all the filler.

    Pokemon Island Sun--a live episode by episode remix of the Alola arc as it airs, done as a collection of letters
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