• Welcome to Thousand Roads! You're welcome to view discussions or read our stories without registering, but you'll need an account to join in our events, interact with other members, or post one of your own fics. Why not become a member of our community? We'd love to have you!

    Join now!

Pokémon Carraig na Coinnle (Contest One-Shot)

Starlight Aurate

Just a fallen star
Location
Route 123
Partner
mightyena
Hello everyone! After much procrastinating and some editing, I've revised the one-shot I entered in the Myths and Legends contest earlier this year. I tried cutting down the exposition in the first two scenes and changed some of the earlier character interaction. I also cleaned up wording and fixed typos throughout to (try) make the reveal less obvious and make the story read more smoothly (whether or not I was successful, I have no idea lolol).

This one-shot was heavily inspired by Irish Faerie Tales, particularly The Rock of the Candle. I hope you enjoy!


Carraig na Coinnle


Cairn Thierna’s beauty lies.
Its ice and snow—none can defy.
If you see the spellbound men,
Turn, turn away,
Lest you join them.


Colm sang softly as he rocked his baby sister. Siobhan’s cries gradually lessened to whimpers as she stared angrily at her brother with bright blue eyes. He sang the old lullaby over and over again—the ancient poem was the only remotely-soothing-melody that came to mind at three in the morning.

The windows showed piles of snow shining beneath a star-speckled sky. In the distance stood the mountain Cairn Thierna with the old archway of the ruined castle Carrigogunnel. The sight was oddly nostalgic; Colm had spent winter nights as a child looking out the window with his grandfather. Grandfather often told of the monstrous hag, Grana, who lured in travelers and sent them to their doom.

“She’s th’ reason Carrigogunnel is no more,” Colm’s grandfather always said. “Grana’s hunger was so severe that she ate everythin’ in sight. Ate up th’ whole royal family, she did, along with anyone else she saw. Lures people in with th’ light of her candle and swallows ‘em whole!”

Siobhan wailed. Colm rocked her more quickly, trying to calm her down. He sighed; his mother had a hard day, and when the two of them had woken from Siobhan crying, he offered to calm her down so his mother might get some sleep. He wondered if he’d regret his decision—he and Barry had to leave tomorrow morning for a trip for the pharmacy he worked at.

Colm glanced across the room. Barry was wrapped up in a blanket Colm’s mother had knitted for him. Whenever the Grumpig was awake, he communicated telepathically with Colm. But in his sleep, all mental communication was off. Colm smiled as the Pokemon snorted peacefully with every breath. Siobhan loved Barry—he could always make her smile or calm her down. But with the trip tomorrow, Colm figured he could let his friend sleep.

Colm glanced out the window and the sight of the layering snow made his heart sink further. In the bleak midwinter, the iciness could make it impossible to get through mountain passes.

As baby Siobhan’s whimpers ceased and her eyes closed, Colm laid her down in her crib and got in his bed. He looked at the snow swirling outside the window, watching it blow past the ruined archway. He hoped his father and younger brother, Cormac, would make it back safely soon. They went a few villages over to visit some relatives who worked as carpenters and see if Cormac was interested in becoming an apprentice—but that was days ago, and Colm was uncomfortable about leaving his mother and sister alone.

He grimaced as he closed his eyes; he hoped this winter would end sooner rather than later. Tiredness overtook him and he drifted off to sleep, the lullaby still playing in his head.

Cairn Thierna’s beauty lies.
Its ice and snow make blind our eyes.
If you see the spellbound men,
Destroy the hag,
And rescue them.


====================================================

Morning came all too soon, and though Cormac and his father hadn’t returned yet, Colm and Barry had to leave.

Thank you for breakfast, Miss! Barry said excitedly as he piled his plate high with buttered toast

Colm’s mother smiled at Barry. “You’re very welcome.” She looked back up at her son. “Got everythin’?” she asked as she rocked a crying Siobhan.

Barry—with a piece of toast hanging from his mouth—walked over to Siobhan and looked her in the eyes. His eyes glowed purple, and the water in Colm’s cup rose and danced in the air. As the baby watched the water, she stopped crying and surveyed the spectacle curiously.

“I think so,” Colm said. His pack sat on the floor, filled with food and blankets, and he already donned three layers of clothing. Barry—his mouth full of mushed toast—gave Colm’s mother a smile and thumbs-up.

We’re ready to go!

Colm’s mother looked worried and tired—more so than usual. Lines extended from her bright blue eyes, and her dark blonde hair was messily tied into a bun. “I hope your father and brother return soon. Be careful—don’t stop to rest in Cairn Thierna’s pass, and don’t go in any caves.”

“Yes, Ma, I know.”

“Do you need any more clothes?”

“No, Ma—“

“Did you pack enough food?”

Yes, Ma—“

“Did you need some money to borrow a Mareep from Mr. Padraig?”

“Ma, we’ll be fine.

His mother sighed as she glanced out the window. “I know, I just—I never like seein’ you go out in the snow. Ever since my uncle left and didn’t come back…”

Colm’s heart twisted. He didn’t like his mother doting on him like this, but he knew she just missed her uncle. He put an arm around her and Barry hugged her waist.

“I know, Ma. But I won’t get lost like your Uncle Finn—I have Barry with me!”

I’ll make sure that nothin’ happens to Colm, Barry told Colm’s mother.

Colm’s mother returned the hug and let Colm and Barry go reluctantly. She smiled bittersweetly.

“Come back as quick as you can.”

======================================================

Why are we doin’ this in the middle of winter? Barry asked.

The two of them scrunched their faces up against the winter onslaught. The searing wind slapped Colm’s face raw. Ice crystals formed on his eyelashes, and his nose would not stop running. In spite of his gloves, his fingers were so cold they could hardly move, and several of his toes had gone numb. Barry wore a sweater that Colm’s mother knit for him, but Colm knew the Grumpig’s snout and toes were freezing. His eyes squinted, barely able to stay open against the wind.

There are three other seasons in the year, Barry went on. There’s spring, summer—even the autumn wouldn’t be THIS bad. But your boss sent you to make this trip in the WINTER, of all possible times!

Colm looked back at the Mareep that Mr. Padraig lent them. Her eyes were also shut, and she had difficulty pulling the empty cart through the snow.

Your boss could’ve asked you to go to a less-hidden town to get less-obscure supplies, but no, he NEEDS whatever it is that this place has got—

“Barry, quit it!”

I’m freezin’ solid over here!

“I am too, but you don’t need to complain about it!”

Colm looked forward, but there was only the endless sea of white. They were deep in the mountain pass of Cairn Thierna, and Colm knew that there were cliffs surrounding them—but the snow fell so thickly that he couldn’t see anything other than Barry, Mareep, and the cart. Perhaps it was just his imagination, but he thought the snow was a lot heavier than usual.

You didn’t NEED to work for a pharmacy with your human medicines and drugs and witchcraft but—Oomph!

“Barry? Are you okay?” Colm shouted.

Yeah—I walked into a wall. Wait—come over here! I think I found a windbreak—we can rest here for a bit!

Grabbing Mareep by the wool of her neck, Colm led her over to where Barry stood. After a moment, the wind and snowfall ceased. Colm rubbed his eyes and blinked several times, trying to get the ice off his eyelashes. Opening them, he saw that they were in a large, cave-like entrance. Colm’s jaw dropped as he saw the high arch of Carrigogunnel rising above them, its lintels invisible in the white torrent of snow. He looked back into what he first thought was the cave but realized now was the entrance to the old castle.

After a few feet, the snow on the ground gave way to smooth, black rock. Barry immediately went to the snow-free rock and sat down, releasing a big sigh. He rubbed his little hands and feet, trying to restore warmth to them. Colm unhitched the cart from Mareep and allowed her to lie down on the ground and warm herself.

Colm sat down next to her, laying a hand on her wooly back. He gazed at the snow outside as Barry came over and wedged himself between Colm and Mareep, trying to absorb their warmth.

Now THIS isn’t half bad. I say we take a break.

“Yeah, a break might not be too bad…”

The thickness of the snow almost seemed unnatural—there was no way they’d make it through that. They’d be best off waiting for it to lessen. He turned his head and looked into the castle hall, but after a few feet it plunged into blackness. What could be in there? He knew Ursaring frequented mountain hideouts, and an abandoned castle would be a perfect place for them to hibernate and store wood, leaves, and other objects for insulation. If Colm found some of that and could light a fire…

You want to explore an Ursaring hideout? Barry looked skeptically at Colm.

“Come on, Barry, you’ve never been afraid of Ursaring—you’ve fought them at least ten times, and you’ve never failed. Remember when we visited Mucross Abbey and saw an Ursaring—the one that you punched first with a flaming fist, then a thunder fist, then a frozen fist? He never saw that coming! Or the one in the woods on Irelagh that you slammed so hard into that he was paralyzed? And when you beat that she-Ursa without even attackin’? You jumped around so much that she tired herself out! And that was when you were only a Spoink!”

Barry smiled and blushed with pride. Well, yes, that’s all true.

“So I’ll be safe as long as you’re here. And come on, doesn’t a fire sound perfect?”

Mareep immediately baa’d in affirmation.

Barry gazed dreamily upward with a small smile on his face. A fire would be quite nice about now.

“Then it’s settled. You two can stay here—just be ready in case I need somethin’.”

You sure you want to go all alone?

Colm smiled and rubbed Barry’s head. “You two get some rest. I won’t go too far.”

All right, Barry said as he snuggled into Mareep’s wool. Be careful! Give me a shout if anythin’ comes up.

“I will.”

Getting up, Colm made his way into the hall, gazing at the curiously-smooth walls. From the stories and legends he heard about castles, he thought their entrances would be large and grand, with precisely-cut stones—but the round shape and smooth walls of this hall gave it a more cave-like feel. Colm continued his trek, and before long, the entrance was nothing more than a white speck behind him. He pulled his coat around him more tightly—though he was relieved to be out of the wind and snow, the air only grew colder.

At last, the initial cave-like entrance opened wide to a great hall. Chandeliers with empty sconces hung from the ceiling; a balcony with a stone railing and columns cut to look like growing trees encircled the upper story of the room; two large, long tables extended the length of the hall, each surrounded by innumerable chairs; hallways with rectangular doorframes lined the walls, leading ever deeper into the mountain. Colm swiveled his head, gazing at the sight with wonder. Impressive though it was, time had taken a hefty toll on the place: the stone crumbled in many places, and cobwebs littered the whole hall. The spiral stairway leading up to the balcony was cracked and falling apart. Colm must have been the first visitor in over a century.

Looking around, he walked slowly into the hall, trying to take it all in. His eyes lit up when he saw the large fireplace before him—was there any unused wood in there?

Running forward, he stopped before the large fireplace set into the wall and excitedly bent down.

Wood! Dry, crisp, branches—perfect for a fire. Grabbing an armful of them, he got up and scanned the floor with his eyes. Were there more essentials for a fire lying around?

He looked up and saw that the castle was not as dark as he had first thought—something seemed to glow just beyond one of the open doorways. Colm went forward cautiously, acutely aware of the mental link he shared with Barry. The Grumpig was dozing off—if he fell asleep, Colm knew he’d have to exert a lot of mental pressure to wake him up.

But Colm was already this far in the castle—it would be best to see everything in one trip. As he followed the glowing spectacle—which appeared to be some floating, featureless light—he walked through a doorway into a smaller hall. The walls hung with ancient portraits whose subjects had been worn away by time. Colm trailed after the light, following it down stairways and through a few more rooms. Something about it enraptured him—he couldn’t look away if he chose to—but why would he choose to? It was so beautiful. He needed it.

Colm reached the bottom of yet another stairway—he hadn’t kept count. His breaths came out in puffs of white air. His teeth chattered. Colm was dimly aware of his mental connection with Barry, but the mystical glow otherwise captivated him. He gasped as it drifted away from him through the cracks of a large wooden door.

Colm placed a gloved hand on the door handle and it was so searingly cold that he nearly let go. But the light was just beyond the door, still dimly visible through the cracks.

He had to carry on. After the initial shock, he pulled hard, opening to an entirely new room. Colm took a step into the room, hoping to see the light, when he heard a crunch!

There was snow on the ground.

“What the…?”

Following it with his eyes, he saw the sparkling blanket lead further into the back of the room from which the light emanated. He dimly saw something shimmering, as though the air itself was distorted.

Walking along the crunching path, Colm gasped. The temperature reached a new low, and he now saw why: ice coated every surface, forming crystalline structures on the ceiling, walls and floor. Crystals grew in little peaks, poking out from every crevice and niche. Snowflakes hung suspended in mid-air. Everything about Colm glimmered and sparkled in an unearthly, ethereal manner.

The light hung in the room just beyond, hanging in the sparkling air. Enraptured, he went forward slowly, eyes fixed on the glow.

It vanished.

Colm stopped—without the orb, he had no reason to be there. He suddenly realized how frigid the air was, how stranded he felt, and how far he was from Barry and Mareep—he had to return to them.

He meant to leave when, a few meters away from him, he saw a man standing. What was he doing here? How long had he been here? The air was unbearably cold—Colm couldn’t leave him down here.

"Hello there!" he called as he approached the man. Whoever it was, he made no response.

"Excuse me," he said as he got closer, apprehension growing in his chest.

"Excuse me? Can you…" The words died on his lips as his heart sunk. Now that he was right next to the person, he saw why he did not reply.

Ice crystals formed over the man’s skin. His eyes, perfectly preserved, were wide open. His mouth hung open in a never-ending scream. His beard was completely white and covered in frost. His right hand thrust into the air, holding a blown-out torch, while his left hand was behind him, pushing a small Skitty away. Her mouth was open in a silent yowl, and her large ears were bent back as she shied away in fear. Like her master, Skitty was white with frost.

Colm breathed heavily and his heart pounded in his chest. His eyes darted around the room. His heart sank with dread as he saw even more people and Pokemon, some completely encased in layers of ice. A woman cradled her Torchic, her platinum-white braid draped over her shoulder as she tried to shield the small Pokemon in her arms.

A little further away was a Spoink stuck in a perpetual crouch, springing for a bounce it would never take. His heart clenched as he remembered his mother giving him Barry as a Spoink. He was startled to see how familiar the man next to Spoink looked. He had the rounded nose of Colm’s mother and grandfather, their drooping eyes, and prominent forehead.

Finn.

Colm staggered back, teeth chattering. He looked around and received a second shock when he saw a lone pair of legs encased in ice—he didn’t want to investigate.

His mother, grandfather, and their warnings about Cairn Thierna—

They were right.

Too afraid to see what other tales were true, Colm made a run for it. The ice on the ground was slippery and he slid several times. The crystal structures, once so beautiful, now held a silent malice. The glittering walls and roof loomed over him, and the glimmer of the icy air now filled Colm with fear.

What happened? Was the air just really that cold?

Or…

Colm hurried his pace.

Barry, he said urgently over their mental link. But the Grumpig was still asleep. As he hurried, the air temperature dropped further.

Barry!

Afraid to glance back, he pushed forward, slipping and falling on the ice as he made his way past the frozen creatures.

Wake up!

The air grew ever colder, and Colm felt his hands and feet go numb. He glanced down, and his heart jumped in his chest as he saw ice crystals grow on his glove. He wheeled around and let out a cry.

A giant mask floated before him, shimmering a pale ash grey. Crystals of ice showered down as it exhaled. Several large teeth jutted from its jaw, and its venomous-blue eyes fixed him with a lethal stare. Colm threw his arms up to protect his face, as the—the thing took in a deep breath and exhaled, blasting ice crystals all over Colm's body.

"Barry!"

Colm tried to shout, but his face hardened as ice coated his throat and restricted his vocal chords.

"Barry..." he repeated weakly.

The mental link between him and his Pokemon was still intact—there was a change in Barry’s mindset. But as the giant face floated before Colm, piercing him with its uncanny stare, thoughts of his friend vanished. The freezing sensation that enveloped Colm turned to a burning one. All that was left was to become part of this creature’s collection like the rest who had wandered into Carrigogunnel.

Life drained from Colm—but he couldn’t just surrender, he couldn’t die like this! He wouldn’t remain in this creature's lair for however long eternity lasted—an eternity without mother, father, Siobhan, Cormac or Barry; an eternity frozen in the castle; an eternity without sunlight or spring.

“BARRY!”

He roared through their mental link. He tried to shout, but it came as more of a croak. Barry’s mind whirred and his presence grew closer.

But numbness steadily leeched through Colm’s clothes to his core. His consciousness slipped, and all sensation left him as nothingness took over. The creature floated over him, letting loose a steady breath of icy wind, the last image imprinted onto Colm's mind before he would fade away....

CRACK!

The floating face flew aside as Barry's fiery fist collided with it. The flames from Barry’s fists lit up the hall, melting ice and casting away the unearthly chill. Barry stood protectively in front of Colm, his heart pounding furiously.

The giant face flew into the wall, breaking many intricate crystalline structures. The creature glared angrily at the Grumpig, and it let loose an infuriated cry as it rose into the air once more. It shot a bright blue beam at Barry, but the agile Grumpig leaped out of the way. The beam collided with the ground and left a mound of ice.

The creature fired more beams, each missing the Psychic-type as the Pokemon bounced off the floor and walls. Barry sprung at the creature, aiming his flaming fists directly at his foe.

Barry's fists collided with the creature, leaving a burn mark between its eyes. But as soon as the flames licked the face, it opened its mouth and chomped on the Grumpig's hind leg. Barry let out a loud squeal as the creature crunched down on him, his bones close to breaking point. As he dangled from the creature's mouth, he set both fists alight with fire and began rapidly punching its underside. The creature's grip lessened, but it still held the Grumpig between its oversized jaws.

The black pearls on Barry's head glowed, enveloping him and his foe in light. As the face's eyes became unfocused, its jaws parted and the Grumpig dropped from its mouth, his pearls no longer glowing. Barry lay on the floor a moment, panting and grasping his injured leg. The face floated in the air, its mouth hanging open and its eyes sliding around listlessly.

Glaring up at the creature, Barry's eyes turned a violent shade of purple. He jerked his head from side to side, his enemy following Barry’s line of sight. The mask-like creature flew around the room, crashing into the floor and walls, knocking chunks of ice and snow from the ceiling. With one final jerk of his head, Barry let his psychic hold on his enemy loose, and the foe went crashing into the far wall. A storm of icicles hailed down from the ceiling. After a second, the creature began to shift, but Barry didn't give it the chance to get back in the air. A purple-and-black beam shot from the pearls on his forehead, hitting the face and burying it deeper beneath layers of crumbled stone. The Grumpig stared at his enemy, but it did not move.

Getting to his feet, Barry limped over to Colm. His heart missed a beat as he saw the human coated with ice, unmoving, his eyes wide open as he gazed upward in terror.

Colm? Barry said tentatively over their mental link.

There was no reply. Heart pounding rapidly, Barry dug deep into his human's mind, searching for a sign of life, for some humanity and consciousness that may be left.

Colm, no, please, please don't leave!

His body shook violently, and his injured leg could hardly support his weight, but Barry’s mind continued to penetrate deeper into the human’s. He readied his hands for a Fire Punch but did not allow them to flame up. He placed his warmed hands on Colm’s face, melting the ice, trying to eke out what life might be left.

Colm!

At last, he found the human's consciousness. His heart jumped with relief, but Colm's mind was fading.

Please, stay with me, Colm!

Barry continued to warm Colm’s face, and as soon as the human’s face was free from the frozen confines, his eyelids closed and his head slumped forward. Barry continued to warm his friend, moving his hands along him as Colm's mind stabilized.

After a combination of much shouting and mental exertion, Barry successfully called Mareep down. Together, they managed to carry Colm back to the cave entrance, swaddle him in all the layers they had, load him in the cart, and set out in the snow again. The blizzard had considerably lessened—the wind and snowfall died, and the cliffs of the surrounding mountains were clearly visible.

Barry plowed his way through the snow so Mareep could pull the cart with Colm on it as they made their way back to his hometown. Barry looked back at his human. His gut twisted and his hands shook. The young man lay still, his face turning red and splotchy.

Hang in there, Colm.

===================================================

“Ár nAthair atá ar neamh,
Go naofar d’ainim…”


Colm’s eyes fluttered open. Turning his head, he saw his mother and younger brother kneeling in front of a crackling fireplace. Cormac’s hands were folded while their mother cradled Siobhan. Both bowed their heads in prayer. Colm looked down to see several fur blankets covering him. Next to the fireplace, Barry lay on the floor with a blanket wrapped tight around his shoulders and bandages wound around his hind leg.

Colm blinked several times, trying to remember what happened. He was so thirsty. Sitting up with difficulty, he looked around. He was in his family’s living room. Outside, snow had stopped falling and the archway of Carrigogunnel was visible. His entire body was stiff, and his hands were wound up in bandages.

“Colm?”

He turned his head and saw his younger brother looking at him. A smile broke over Cormac’s freckled face. Next to him, their mother kept her head bowed, whispering a prayer.

“Ma!” he said. “Colm’s awake!”

Their mother raised her head and turned to look at Colm. She looked more stressed and tired than Colm had ever seen her—the lines on her face were very prominent, and she did not look as though she had slept in days.

“Colm! Cormac, here, hold your sister.”

Handing Siobhan off and getting to her feet, Colm’s mother immediately sat at Colm’s bedside and wrapped an arm around him.

“Ma,” Colm said as he felt his mother shake, “Ma, I’m okay.”

She pulled back and Colm saw her tearstained face looking at him in distress. She sniffed and swallowed.

“I know you are,” she said thickly. “It’s just—seein’ Barry and Mareep come back with you, and we couldn’t wake you, and there was frostbite all over you—and—and—” A fresh wave of tears started, and Colm just patted his mother’s back.

“Ma—Ma, don’t worry about that.”

“Oh, I bet your hungry—I’ve some stew for you, and here’s some water. Do you need me to help? I bet you can hardly hold the spoon with those bandages. Here you go—“

Colm’s face turned red in embarrassment as his mother insisted on spoon feeding him, but he had little choice other than to comply.

“There you go,” his mother said as her son ate. “And Barry and Mareep told us about what happened—sounds like Barry fought off a Glalie.”

“A what?”

“Cormac, hand me that book.”

With his free hand, Colm’s brother handed their mother a tome full of creatures and Pokemon.

“Here,” their mother said after flipping through several pages. She pointed to a picture that looked like the creature Colm encountered in Carrigogunnel. “They live in icy caves and mountains. I bet that hag Grana kept one as a pet and it outlived her—or perhaps it ate her, too—or maybe it was her all along—oh, I don’t know.” Putting the book down, she said, “Oh Colm, I’m just glad you’re back and you’re all right. Your father returned and he’ll want to see you, too—I should go get him.” She made to leave, but Colm stopped her.

“Ma,” he said suddenly as he remembered, “I think I saw—I think I saw Finn.”

“What’s that, now?”

“Finn,” he said more pointedly. His mother looked at him, her eyebrows furrowed and her mouth slightly open. “Your uncle.”

She blinked a few times and slowly looked down. “Uncle Finn…” she murmured.

“Yes, he—he was frozen solid,” he said quickly. His mother looked at him with her eyes wide open—apparently Barry did not tell her this part. “He, his Spoink, and all the other people and Pokemon I saw. They were frozen—some weren’t all there—“

He couldn’t go on. Closing his eyes, he shuddered as the images of the frozen people came back to him and the chill returned to his bones.

“He’s there?” Colm’s mother looked at him with wide eyes—the corners of her mouth were slightly lifted, and her eyes sparkled with a sort of anticipation he had not seen in a long time. “And others—all in Carrigogunnel?”

“Yes.”

A full smile broke out on his mother’s face. Her eyes darted around and she blinked several times, still smiling.

“Uncle Finn, you’ve been found… And the others? Did you recognize them?”

Colm shook his head. “No, it was nobody I knew.”

His mother stood up. “It might be all of the townspeople who have gone missing—Padraig’s mother, Sile’s nephew—it could be all of them—finally found!”

Seeing his mother get up excitedly made Colm nervous.

“Ma, what are you doin’? You’re not—not goin’ after them, are you?”

His mother sighed and looked at the fire, the light of the flames highlighting the lines etched deeply into her face. “I’m not, no, though right now, I want nothin’ more. Siobhan is nursin’, and I can’t leave her. But if Barry fought that monster and won, it’s possible the hag’s power over that place is broken. I’ll tell your father; he’ll get men from town and go look and bring back everyone they can. Yes, that’s what I’ll do.” Bending down, she wrapped her arms around Colm and kissed his cheek. “I’m so glad you’re all right,” she said again. She straightened up, told Cormac to accompany her, and swept through the doorway without another word.

Colm looked over at Barry. All the talking woke him up, and he gazed curiously after Colm’s mother and brother.

Colm smiled when he saw his friend was all right.

“Barry! Thank you for everything—you really saved me back there.”

Barry waved a hand. Aw, I just did what I had to.

But Colm saw him smile and sensed a deep gratitude and joy.

Colm looked at the doorway his mother and siblings disappeared through.

“What do you think of this?” Colm asked him. He didn’t want his father going into Carrigogunnel—he didn’t want anyone to try it.

Barry thought for a moment, his mouth pursed, and nodded.

I think they’ll be okay. I was able to defeat that Glalie on my own—if they’ve got a bunch of men and their Pokemon with them, they should be fine.

Colm laid back down, his mind still whirring. He was worried—but he knew they needed to get the bodies of the villagers to put them to rest.

As he pondered, Barry started softly humming the lullaby Colm’s mother and grandfather so often sang to him, full of warnings and instructions that he so blindly ignored. Closing his eyes, he fell asleep to the sound of Barry’s hum.

===================================================

Colm, Cormac, and their parents all bowed their heads as Finn’s casket lowered into the ground. Once it touched the bottom of the pit, two men filled it with dirt and laid a tombstone over it.

Colm raised his head and looked around. All over the cemetery, burials took place. People clad in black stuck out in stark contrast to the white snow on the ground. In spite of what would normally be a sad occasion, filled with mourning and weeping, the people and Pokemon felt tension releasing from the land. It was as if the earth itself was letting out some great sigh.

“Colm, come on, we should go.”

He looked up to see his mother, wearing a black veil, put an arm on him and lead him away from Finn’s grave. Her eyes were downcast, but the wrinkles on her face were less noticeable than before—she looked more relaxed than Colm had seen her in a long time. Colm held Barry’s hand as the Grumpig limped along with the family to the large hall in the center of town, where enough food for more than twenty funerals waited for all the mourners.

Looking up at Cairn Thierna, Colm saw the archway of Carrigogunnel. Ever since Barry’s battle with Glalie, the archway cleared of snow and ice. Colm never again saw Carrigogunnel freeze over. The archway stood as a monument to an eternal spring, welcoming the souls of the departed to rest in peace.
 

Negrek

Rise Toward Descent
Staff
Glad you went ahead and posted this--and I can see you've made a lot of revisions, too! In particular, I see you added a lot more Barry, which I think was a good choice.

But before we get to what you added, just the story in general! I was super excited to see a story about glalie in the contest. It's such a great pokémon, yet so overlooked; usually when people want something spooky and icy, they'll even go for froslass first instead! It's naturally a pretty spooky mon, and you did a nice job getting across the horror of it. I also love how you drew a parallel between glalie's in-game lore and real-world lore; I thought that the Irish flavor that you added to the story helped enhance the sense of place and added a neat extra dimension to the tale. One thing I was confused by--Garla's "candle." In the previous version I think it was explicitly called out as confuse ray? But glalie don't learn confuse ray, and in this version the glowing veil is left quite unspecific. Is it supposed to be a relic of Garla's magic, maybe?

As I mentioned earlier, I liked the additional focus on Barry and his role with Colm. It made Barry rushing to save him from the glalie, then frantically trying to revive him after he'd fainted from the cold, more impactful. I also liked that it gave Colm someone else to play off of earlier in their trip through the snow. Though I can't say I agree with Barry about how frivolous their trip is--if the pharmacist needs something in the dead of winter, I imagine it's something pretty important! In general I liked the way you handled the pokémon characters in the story. A particular detail that stood out to me was how the frozen people Colm encountered in the castle appeared to have been trying to protect their pokémon. Usually you see pokémon going to extremes to protect their trainers, so it was refreshing to have humans just as concerned with the well-being of their pokémon here.

In general, it looks like your revisions primarily involved adding to the existing story. In a lot of places I think this worked well; I already talked about Barry and his relationship with Colm, in particular. Another area that I thought was improved was the part where Colm realizes what's going on and tries to run from the castle. Here I think drawing things out a bit more added more buildup and increased the overall tension in the scene, to good effect. It's really the climax of the story, so adding more good stuff amps it up nicely. I think the expansion in other areas may not have worked quite as well. For example, I think last time we didn't get info about how Barry carried Colm out and wrangled him home with the mareep. This is something I don't think really needs explaining; I'm fine with having Colm wake up at home and assuming Barry and the mareep worked things out somehow, and adding more exposition there deflates saps some of the tension you'd built up with the part where Barry was trying to revive Colm. I also don't think that the ending segment of the fic needed expanding; the real climax of the story is the confrontation of the glalie, and I think you don't want to linger too long in the denoument. Stuff like Colm worrying about whether or not his dad should go out to retrieve the bodies isn't of much interest to us as readers, since we know this is the end of the story and everything's going to be fine. There were parts of this one-shot that warranted a bit of expansion, but I think you want to focus on what are really the most important elements to the emotional or thematic core of the story and make sure those are the ones you're giving the most extra attention.

Some line-by-line stuff:

At times your tenses get a little funky, specifically when you run into the past perfect--where you're in the past tense but talking about something that happened even further in the past. Usually you need a "had" in there as a helper. For example:

He sighed; his mother had a hard day, and when the two of them had woken from Siobhan crying, he offered to calm her down so his mother might get some sleep.
Here you get it right with "had woken," but Mom's hard day and Colm's offer both also happened in the past and should use a similar construction. Should be, "his mother had had a hard day" and "he had offered to calm her down."

Barry wore a sweater that Colm’s mother knit for him, but Colm knew the Grumpig’s snout and toes were freezing.
Similarly, you want "Colm's mother had knitted."

Colm looked back at the Mareep that Mr. Padraig lent them.
And Mr. Padraig had lent them the mareep.

Colm’s mother looked worried and tired—more so than usual. Lines extended from her bright blue eyes, and her dark blonde hair was messily tied into a bun.
I think it's redundant to say Colm's mother looked worried and tired and then follow up with describing how she looked worried and tired. I think this would work fine without the first sentence--the physical description gets your point across just as well.

“Come on, Barry, you’ve never been afraid of Ursaring—you’ve fought them at least ten times, and you’ve never failed. Remember when we visited Mucross Abbey and saw an Ursaring—the one that you punched first with a flaming fist, then a thunder fist, then a frozen fist? He never saw that coming! Or the one in the woods on Irelagh that you slammed so hard into that he was paralyzed? And when you beat that she-Ursa without even attackin’? You jumped around so much that she tired herself out! And that was when you were only a Spoink!”
It feels weird for Colm to be telling Barry about all the times he's battled ursaring in the past. I think the concept works well enough here--a way of showing Barry's battling abilities. I think it just needs the right framing to make it seem like a more normal conversation. I think something like this would work. "Come on, Barry, you aren't really afraid of an Ursaring, are you? After you sent the last one running with your elemental punches? You even managed to tire one out when you were only a spoink. And now you're telling me you're worried?"

Grabbing an armful of them, he got up and scanned the floor with his eyes.
"Scanned them with his eyes" strikes me as redundant. What else would he be scanning with?

Walking along the crunching path, Colm gasped. The temperature reached a new low, and he now saw why: ice coated every surface, forming crystalline structures on the ceiling, walls and floor. Crystals grew in little peaks, poking out from every crevice and niche. Snowflakes hung suspended in mid-air. Everything about Colm glimmered and sparkled in an unearthly, ethereal manner.
Quite liked this description here! Glittery ice palaces are totally my thing.

Colm tried to shout, but his face hardened as ice coated his throat and restricted his vocal chords.
Vocal *cords.

He placed his warmed hands on Colm’s face, melting the ice, trying to eke out what life might be left.
Mmm, "eke out" sounds weird to me here.

She pulled back and Colm saw her tearstained face looking at him in distress.
It's a bit weird to refer to Colm's mom's face looking at him. She's the one looking. I think something like, "She pulled back, face strained and tear-streaked" would sound a bit more natural.

Oh, I bet your hungry—I’ve some stew for you, and here’s some water.
*you're

All in all this was a great contest entry, and one that I thought worked very well with the theme. I also enjoy a freezing wonderland sort of setting, so the whole aesthetic of the story was really my jam--especially in the middle of the summer! I'm glad you entered the contest, and I hope you enjoyed writing this one, too.
 

Starlight Aurate

Just a fallen star
Location
Route 123
Partner
mightyena
Glad you went ahead and posted this--and I can see you've made a lot of revisions, too! In particular, I see you added a lot more Barry, which I think was a good choice.
Thanks so much for stopping by and dropping a review! It took me long enough to get these revisions done, hehe ^_^;

But before we get to what you added, just the story in general! I was super excited to see a story about glalie in the contest. It's such a great pokémon, yet so overlooked; usually when people want something spooky and icy, they'll even go for froslass first instead! It's naturally a pretty spooky mon, and you did a nice job getting across the horror of it. I also love how you drew a parallel between glalie's in-game lore and real-world lore; I thought that the Irish flavor that you added to the story helped enhance the sense of place and added a neat extra dimension to the tale. One thing I was confused by--Garla's "candle." In the previous version I think it was explicitly called out as confuse ray? But glalie don't learn confuse ray, and in this version the glowing veil is left quite unspecific. Is it supposed to be a relic of Garla's magic, maybe?
Thanks! I've had this sort of idea with a Glalie finding a lost wanderer and freezing them on the backburner for a loooooong time (I think like, since... 2009? idk) and I already used Froslass in another one-shot (a Yuletide giveaway on Serebii about 5 years ago). Glad to meet another Glalie fan!

As for the "candle," I actually never referred to it as a confuse ray. One of the judges assumed it was that (and thus gave me credit I did not deserve ^_^;). Tbh it was one of those things I didn't think through for an answer to. In the original folktale, the magic behind Grana's candle isn't really explained, and I felt like it was okay to do that here as well. Maybe having Glalie do it makes it a bit dubious, since Glalie don't have psychic or ghostly powers.

As I mentioned earlier, I liked the additional focus on Barry and his role with Colm. It made Barry rushing to save him from the glalie, then frantically trying to revive him after he'd fainted from the cold, more impactful. I also liked that it gave Colm someone else to play off of earlier in their trip through the snow. Though I can't say I agree with Barry about how frivolous their trip is--if the pharmacist needs something in the dead of winter, I imagine it's something pretty important! In general I liked the way you handled the pokémon characters in the story. A particular detail that stood out to me was how the frozen people Colm encountered in the castle appeared to have been trying to protect their pokémon. Usually you see pokémon going to extremes to protect their trainers, so it was refreshing to have humans just as concerned with the well-being of their pokémon here.
Thank you! I try to make humans-protecting-their-Pokemon a theme across all the stories I write. It might not make the most logical sense, especially if Pokemon are stronger and more likely to hold their own in battle, but if trainers really love and care for their Pokemon, I'd imagine they'd try to protect them.

[/quote]In general, it looks like your revisions primarily involved adding to the existing story.[/quote]
Oh interesting; I felt like I was cutting out a lot by my revisions, heh.

I think the expansion in other areas may not have worked quite as well. For example, I think last time we didn't get info about how Barry carried Colm out and wrangled him home with the mareep. This is something I don't think really needs explaining; I'm fine with having Colm wake up at home and assuming Barry and the mareep worked things out somehow, and adding more exposition there deflates saps some of the tension you'd built up with the part where Barry was trying to revive Colm. I also don't think that the ending segment of the fic needed expanding; the real climax of the story is the confrontation of the glalie, and I think you don't want to linger too long in the denoument. Stuff like Colm worrying about whether or not his dad should go out to retrieve the bodies isn't of much interest to us as readers, since we know this is the end of the story and everything's going to be fine. There were parts of this one-shot that warranted a bit of expansion, but I think you want to focus on what are really the most important elements to the emotional or thematic core of the story and make sure those are the ones you're giving the most extra attention.
Thank you so much for this! These are things I kept wondering as I edited, and I wonder about these a lot when I write in general. I never know how much to explain and how much to leave out and I guess I tend to overexplain things. This is really helpful to know!


At times your tenses get a little funky, specifically when you run into the past perfect--where you're in the past tense but talking about something that happened even further in the past. Usually you need a "had" in there as a helper.
Thank you so much for this, also. I struggle sooooo much with past perfect. When I go through and edit old stuff, I tend to take out all gerunds and use of "had," but apparently they are necessary at times.

I think it's redundant to say Colm's mother looked worried and tired and then follow up with describing how she looked worried and tired. I think this would work fine without the first sentence--the physical description gets your point across just as well.
Duly noted! Thanks!

It feels weird for Colm to be telling Barry about all the times he's battled ursaring in the past. I think the concept works well enough here--a way of showing Barry's battling abilities. I think it just needs the right framing to make it seem like a more normal conversation. I think something like this would work. "Come on, Barry, you aren't really afraid of an Ursaring, are you? After you sent the last one running with your elemental punches? You even managed to tire one out when you were only a spoink. And now you're telling me you're worried?"
Hahaaaa yeah I realized how awkward this dialogue was when I wrote it but I couldn't think of a better way to write it. I appreciate it!

Quite liked this description here! Glittery ice palaces are totally my thing.
EEEEEE me too!!! Another big inspiration for this story was that I finally had a reason to write this setting--almost everything I write is in Hoenn and ain't no glittery ice palaces there.

Yarrrgh, even after having someone else point out my typos before I post this, one still slips by.

All in all this was a great contest entry, and one that I thought worked very well with the theme. I also enjoy a freezing wonderland sort of setting, so the whole aesthetic of the story was really my jam--especially in the middle of the summer! I'm glad you entered the contest, and I hope you enjoyed writing this one, too.
Glad you liked it! I'm very glad I got to write this and enter the contest. I guess my procrastinating on editing and putting this out worked, so there's a wintery piece during summer. Thanks again for the review! Always good to hear from you.
 

canisaries

voted most likely to be edgy
Location
the middle of nowhere
Pronouns
she/her
Hey! I decided to read this on a whim, and I'm glad I did.

The environment and suspense here are really tangible and immersive. Only looking back did I realize how much about ice and snow this story was, but I never noticed description becoming repetitive or stale despite the scenarios being vividly in my mind, so you must have done very well in that regard.

I like the bond Barry has with Colm and the place he has in his family. Given he's basically treated as a person, it was strange when the mareep seemed mostly animalistic, but I imagine this would be due to different Pokémon species having different intelligence levels in this world. I also know that limited story space makes this stuff hard or impossible to establish clearly, so it's not something I really consider a fault.

What seemed to be due to the story size limit too were some of the more exposition-heavy parts that didn't really come off that natural, but it never lasted long enough to do considerable harm to my engagement or jump out of suspension of disbelief. I think mentioning Barry's Fire Punch briefly with the other Punch attacks also did a good job of masking the foreshadowing, as I only realized it retrospectively and didn't go "oh, Barry's gonna come in with a Fire Punch and use it to resuscitate a frozen Colm" right as it was given, even if it was obvious in hindsight.

When Colm went after the light, his "seduction" as it were felt to me as happening a bit too fast. This is again a spot where the word limit comes in, but I just thought that it could have had his mind changing about following the light more gradually to be more suspenseful. I really like the setup and execution of him discovering the frozen corpses, though. /morbid author bias

Also, just like Negrek, I liked the touch of the humans protecting their Pokémon. It's cute, though bittersweet given the context.

I have to say that I think the structure is a bit weak towards the end. Seeing the townsfolk decide to take on the Glalie despite it being so dangerous and then having succeeded in the very next scene felt anticlimactic. It probably wasn't even intended as a setup for anything, but it just came across that way with Colm worriedly pondering it, and Barry's response felt like a handwave. I guess I was also extra-looking for a second climax since the first one came fast and the falling action felt proportionally long.

But I do like those last two scenes individually! It was lovely to see Colm reunited with his family and the townsfolk getting closure. They were only strange pacing wise.

Finally, I think I noticed a period missing after a sentence somewhere, but I couldn't find it again when looking for it. I did spot an extra period at the end of this ellipsis, though:
The creature floated over him, letting loose a steady breath of icy wind, the last image imprinted onto Colm's mind before he would fade away....
That's it for my thoughts. Thank you for posting this here after the contest!
 

Starlight Aurate

Just a fallen star
Location
Route 123
Partner
mightyena
Thanks so much for stopping by! I really appreciate that you left a review. I need to leave some for the other contest one-shots that have been posted here!

The environment and suspense here are really tangible and immersive. Only looking back did I realize how much about ice and snow this story was, but I never noticed description becoming repetitive or stale despite the scenarios being vividly in my mind, so you must have done very well in that regard.

I like the bond Barry has with Colm and the place he has in his family. Given he's basically treated as a person, it was strange when the mareep seemed mostly animalistic, but I imagine this would be due to different Pokémon species having different intelligence levels in this world. I also know that limited story space makes this stuff hard or impossible to establish clearly, so it's not something I really consider a fault.
Thanks so much! I admit that I could have done more with the mareep and given her a personality. I didn't feel like doing so would've added to the story, so I didn't bother with it too much.

What seemed to be due to the story size limit too were some of the more exposition-heavy parts that didn't really come off that natural, but it never lasted long enough to do considerable harm to my engagement or jump out of suspension of disbelief. I think mentioning Barry's Fire Punch briefly with the other Punch attacks also did a good job of masking the foreshadowing, as I only realized it retrospectively and didn't go "oh, Barry's gonna come in with a Fire Punch and use it to resuscitate a frozen Colm" right as it was given, even if it was obvious in hindsight.
I agree with you here. I cut out a lot of exposition before posting it here, and I see that there's still a lot that could've been cut. I've struggled more in recent years with telling instead of showing, and in this case I see that I told too much to the point where it doesn't flow! Thanks for pointing it out!

When Colm went after the light, his "seduction" as it were felt to me as happening a bit too fast. This is again a spot where the word limit comes in, but I just thought that it could have had his mind changing about following the light more gradually to be more suspenseful. I really like the setup and execution of him discovering the frozen corpses, though. /morbid author bias

Aaah, I gotcha. That's good to know! Thanks for the tip. And lolz no worries, I enjoyed writing that part.

Also, just like Negrek, I liked the touch of the humans protecting their Pokémon. It's cute, though bittersweet given the context.
Awww that's really good to hear ^_^ I appreciate it! Thanks!

I have to say that I think the structure is a bit weak towards the end. Seeing the townsfolk decide to take on the Glalie despite it being so dangerous and then having succeeded in the very next scene felt anticlimactic. It probably wasn't even intended as a setup for anything, but it just came across that way with Colm worriedly pondering it, and Barry's response felt like a handwave. I guess I was also extra-looking for a second climax since the first one came fast and the falling action felt proportionally long.
That's fair. I realize now that the denouement was long and I was sick of editing this by the time I finally got around to posting it and that I didn't need to provide a conclusion for EVERYTHING set up in the story. I'll keep that in mind for future works

That's it for my thoughts. Thank you for posting this here after the contest!
Thanks for those pointers, and thank YOU for leaving a review! I'll have to leave a review for yours and the other contestants' soon!
 

Pen

the cat is mightier than the pen
Staff
Ooh, Irish mythology! It's funny because I was just reading up about Fionn Mac Cumhaill for another story. I read a version of the original myth first, which was also fun, so thank you for the new myth. Do you see Barry as being the pokemon equivalent to the magical cap?

You do a good job setting up the world here--remote, icy, perilous. There were some lovely sequences--the moment Colm steps inside the frozen, sparkling sanctum stands out. It reminded me a bit of Team Flare's freeze the world master-plan.

Since I read the myth first, the twist, as it were, was a bit spoiled from me, but that didn't lessen the enjoyment of watching it play out. I appreciated you setting up Colm as a good kid before we get into the meat of it. His home felt very cozy and his care for his family felt real. In terms of structure, I'll echo other reviewers and say the ending sections (post-battle) did drag a bit for me and not really feel necessary. I'd say of the wrap-up segments the one that most stood out as compelling was the final one, with the funeral. It's a poignant scene and I think it delivers closure nicely without having to go through repeated exposition.

Line-by-line comments and reactions:

Siobhan’s cries gradually lessened to whimpers as she stared angrily at her brother with bright blue eyes.
"Stared angrily" was a bit jarring to read, especially when the sentence says her cries are lessening.

He sang the old lullaby over and over again—the ancient poem was the only remotely-soothing-melody that came to mind at three in the morning.
Love this, and feels very real.

Grandfather often told of the monstrous hag, Grana, who lured in travelers and sent them to their doom.
Think a little specificity here would make this come more alive. Did he only tell this story on the coldest nights of winter? Did they drink hot chocolate while he told it? Did the story keep Colm up at night or did he imagine himself in the place of the heroic Regan?

Siobhan wailed. Colm rocked her more quickly, trying to calm her down. He sighed; his mother had a hard day, and when the two of them had woken from Siobhan crying, he offered to calm her down so his mother might get some sleep. He wondered if he’d regret his decision—he and Barry had to leave tomorrow morning for a trip for the pharmacy he worked at.
This paragraph felt like it lingers a bit long on self-evident exposition. You could condense a little, like, "Siobhan wailed. As Colm began to rock her more quickly, he let out a sigh. He was already beginning to regret volunteering to calm Siobhan down. At this rate he'd be up all night, and he and Barry were supposed to leave early in the morning for their trip."

Colm glanced across the room. Barry was wrapped up in a blanket Colm’s mother had knitted for him. Whenever the Grumpig was awake, he communicated telepathically with Colm. But in his sleep, all mental communication was off. Colm smiled as the Pokemon snorted peacefully with every breath. Siobhan loved Barry—he could always make her smile or calm her down. But with the trip tomorrow, Colm figured he could let his friend sleep.
You could explain about the mental link without directly explaining it by saying, "Colm didn't have to look over to Barry to know the grumpig was fast asleep. Their mental connection was silent."

Colm glanced out the window and the sight of the layering snow made his heart sink further. In the bleak midwinter, the iciness could make it impossible to get through mountain passes.
This was a nice scene-setting moment.

As the baby watched the water, she stopped crying and surveyed the spectacle curiously.
Surveyed is just another way of saying watched, so this reads as "As she watched the water, she watched the water" to me. You could say, "She stopped crying to survey the spectacle curiously."

Colm’s heart twisted. He didn’t like his mother doting on him like this, but he knew she just missed her uncle. He put an arm around her and Barry hugged her waist.
Ah, the Uncle. You don't make a big deal of it, but the step-up is effective.

She smiled bittersweetly.
Not sure how one smiles bittersweetly.

The two of them scrunched their faces up against the winter onslaught. The searing wind slapped Colm’s face raw. Ice crystals formed on his eyelashes, and his nose would not stop running. In spite of his gloves, his fingers were so cold they could hardly move, and several of his toes had gone numb. Barry wore a sweater that Colm’s mother knit for him, but Colm knew the Grumpig’s snout and toes were freezing. His eyes squinted, barely able to stay open against the wind.
This was a great paragraph. I'm getting winter weather flashbacks as I read it.

Her eyes were also shut, and she had difficulty pulling the empty cart through the snow.
Maybe emphasize more that it's empty. Like, "Her eyes were also shut, and she was struggling to even pull the empty cart through the snow."

There are three other seasons in the year, Barry went on. There’s spring, summer—even the autumn wouldn’t be THIS bad. But your boss sent you to make this trip in the WINTER, of all possible times!
Your boss could’ve asked you to go to a less-hidden town to get less-obscure supplies, but no, he NEEDS whatever it is that this place has got—
Would be nice if Colm had an actual reply to this other than don't complain. Maybe he knows what the medicine is and who in the village it's supposed to help? If he could say "Look, so-and-so needs the so-and-so herb that only grows beyond the mountain and without it she won't get through the winter months," that would help. At the moment it feels like the story has no good answer for why Colm needs to do this and like Barry's dialogue is lampshading the plot contrivance.

They were deep in the mountain pass of Cairn Thierna, and Colm knew that there were cliffs surrounding them—but the snow fell so thickly that he couldn’t see anything other than Barry, Mareep, and the cart. Perhaps it was just his imagination, but he thought the snow was a lot heavier than usual.
This works well. It's on that line where it could be perfectly normal winter shenanigans or supernatural shenanigans.

Opening them, he saw that they were in a large, cave-like entrance. Colm’s jaw dropped as he saw the high arch of Carrigogunnel rising above them, its lintels invisible in the white torrent of snow. He looked back into what he first thought was the cave but realized now was the entrance to the old castle.
This confused me a little. I thought Colm had entered a cave, in which case the sky is blocked off and how's he seeing the castle? I'm not sure how you mistake an arch for a cave, unless the arch is so thick he has to take a few steps before he realizes.

The thickness of the snow almost seemed unnatural—there was no way they’d make it through that.
Since Colm is used to heavy snows, I'm kind of curious for a point of comparison. Is this the thickest snow he's ever seen before? How high does it rise?

“So I’ll be safe as long as you’re here. And come on, doesn’t a fire sound perfect?”

Mareep immediately baa’d in affirmation.

Barry gazed dreamily upward with a small smile on his face. A fire would be quite nice about now.

“Then it’s settled. You two can stay here—just be ready in case I need somethin’.”

You sure you want to go all alone?

Colm smiled and rubbed Barry’s head. “You two get some rest. I won’t go too far.”
The logic behind this seems a bit off to me. We start with Colm saying he'll be safe because he has Barry with him and then he decides to leave Barry behind? If a wild ursaring attacked, it seems plausible that it could kill Colm before his mind-link went "oh crap help me." There also seems no good reason to leave Barry behind if it's dangerous. Maybe Barry needs to watch the mareep?

From the stories and legends he heard about castles, he thought their entrances would be large and grand, with precisely-cut stones—but the round shape and smooth walls of this hall gave it a more cave-like feel.
Smooth walls reads more as man-made castle than cave to me, so I'm a little confused at the contrast being drawn here.

Colm continued his trek, and before long, the entrance was nothing more than a white speck behind him. He pulled his coat around him more tightly—though he was relieved to be out of the wind and snow, the air only grew colder.
Ooh, yes. The sense of vastness is palpable and the paradox of it growing colder as he gets more insulated teases whats to come.

At last, the initial cave-like entrance opened wide to a great hall. Chandeliers with empty sconces hung from the ceiling; a balcony with a stone railing and columns cut to look like growing trees encircled the upper story of the room; two large, long tables extended the length of the hall, each surrounded by innumerable chairs; hallways with rectangular doorframes lined the walls, leading ever deeper into the mountain. Colm swiveled his head, gazing at the sight with wonder. Impressive though it was, time had taken a hefty toll on the place: the stone crumbled in many places, and cobwebs littered the whole hall. The spiral stairway leading up to the balcony was cracked and falling apart. Colm must have been the first visitor in over a century.
The description of the castle is nice and clear here. I'm enjoying the architecture words sprinkled in, "lintels, sconces, etc."

Colm went forward cautiously, acutely aware of the mental link he shared with Barry. The Grumpig was dozing off—if he fell asleep, Colm knew he’d have to exert a lot of mental pressure to wake him up.
Seems like what he should be acutely aware of is the sense that Barry s falling asleep, not the link itself. Maybe phrase, "Colm went forward cautiously. He could feel Barry's presence growing muddy across the mental link—the grumpig must be starting to doze off. That wasn't good. If Barry feel asleep, Colm wasn't sure he'd be able to wake him over the link."

As he followed the glowing spectacle—which appeared to be some floating, featureless light—he walked through a doorway into a smaller hall.
This drops the pretense that the light is coming from another room in a natural-ish way pretty quickly. I wonder if you could keep that up a bit longer? Have Colm think, oh it must be in the next room, then the next room.

The walls hung with ancient portraits whose subjects had been worn away by time. Colm trailed after the light, following it down stairways and through a few more rooms. Something about it enraptured him—he couldn’t look away if he chose to—but why would he choose to? It was so beautiful. He needed it.
I like the description of the portraits having lost their features. Feels like foreshadowing for the ice sculptures.

Colm placed a gloved hand on the door handle and it was so searingly cold that he nearly let go. But the light was just beyond the door, still dimly visible through the cracks.
Nice moment where the senses are saying 'flee!' and the mind is saying 'noo, pretty light.'

The temperature reached a new low, and he now saw why: ice coated every surface, forming crystalline structures on the ceiling, walls and floor. Crystals grew in little peaks, poking out from every crevice and niche. Snowflakes hung suspended in mid-air. Everything about Colm glimmered and sparkled in an unearthly, ethereal manner.
Oooh, very very pretty.

Ice crystals formed over the man’s skin. His eyes, perfectly preserved, were wide open. His mouth hung open in a never-ending scream. His beard was completely white and covered in frost. His right hand thrust into the air, holding a blown-out torch, while his left hand was behind him, pushing a small Skitty away. Her mouth was open in a silent yowl, and her large ears were bent back as she shied away in fear. Like her master, Skitty was white with frost.
This whole scene is really nicely described. The horror and perverse beauty come through.

His eyes darted around the room. His heart sank with dread as he saw even more people and Pokemon, some completely encased in layers of ice.
It seems a little off that he wouldn't have noticed them at the same time s he noticed the other one? Maybe their features are less distinct, so what he took as overgrown bursts of ice are actually people?

His heart clenched as he remembered his mother giving him Barry as a Spoink. He was startled to see how familiar the man next to Spoink looked. He had the rounded nose of Colm’s mother and grandfather, their drooping eyes, and prominent forehead.

Finn.
It's uncle!

The mental link between him and his Pokemon was still intact—there was a change in Barry’s mindset.
"a change in mindset" feels a little, mm, clinical? I think this could benefit from something more sensory. Does he feels a warmth in his mind as Barry wakes up? A sense of motion?

Getting to his feet, Barry limped over to Colm. His heart missed a beat as he saw the human coated with ice, unmoving, his eyes wide open as he gazed upward in terror.

Colm? Barry said tentatively over their mental link.
The switch in perspective threw me here. We've had a tight third with Colm, so I think it would be appropriate to have a line break for when we switch over to Barry.

It was as if the earth itself was letting out some great sigh.
Lovely.

she looked more relaxed than Colm had seen her in a long time.
Maybe "at peace" instead of relaxed?

Ever since Barry’s battle with Glalie, the archway cleared of snow and ice. Colm never again saw Carrigogunnel freeze over. The archway stood as a monument to an eternal spring, welcoming the souls of the departed to rest in peace.
I like that you chose to zoom out and end on a more mythic note.
 
Top