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Pokémon Shadows Cast by Time – TR-versary Bingo

kyeugh

onion witch
Staff
Location
the freaking swamp
Pronouns
she/her
Partners
  1. farfetchd-galar
  2. custom/gfetchd-kyeugh
  3. custom/onion-san
  4. farfetchd


Shadows Cast by Time​

these are my bingo fills from the TR bingo event! my prompt was "moments from pokémon history," and negrek gave me an excellent card to work with:
Lots of iconic moments in Pokéworld history. Let's see what you make of these!
Firing the Ultimate WeaponThe First Golett AwakensAn Ultra Wormhole Opens...
A young man, callow and foolish in innocence, came to own a sword.We sealed that Pokémon away, alone in the dark. We feared it.The New Boss is Giovanni
Rayquaza Grants a WishBrass Tower's BurningN Crowned King
so far i only have one complete, but i'll post them as i finish them! the content warnings are posted at the top of each story. hope you enjoy!

Review Guidelines: as usual, feel free to dig in, no holds barred. this is my first real try at short-form stories longer than 100 words, so critique of my pacing is welcome. especially appreciating line edits/grammatical fixes, as i was much less careful about proofreading here and didn't run anything by a beta.

 
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The First Golett Awakens

kyeugh

onion witch
Staff
Location
the freaking swamp
Pronouns
she/her
Partners
  1. farfetchd-galar
  2. custom/gfetchd-kyeugh
  3. custom/onion-san
  4. farfetchd

The First Golett

Content warning: violence/gore, death, occult elements​

The humans had begun acting differently once they’d started laying their stones and building their wall, so Shah had urged Melichi to be careful. Melichi was not careful, of course, so the humans had captured him, and Shah was quite sure he would never see his warbrother again.

It had not always been like this. Not so long ago, before they had gathered their stones, the humans had been fierce but valiant creatures. They took plenty of prisoners, but the ones with the smaller crests—the ones lower on the scrafty hierarchy—were usually left in virtually unguarded cages, easy to recover. The scrafty had paid them this same kindness. It was part of their unspoken agreement, born of mutual respect. Rather than slaughtering each other’s people, their turf wars came in the form of honorable duels, always stopping short of lethality. Prisoners were taken, yes, but war was for glory, not senseless killing. Land need not be paid for in blood.

Melichi’s crest was not particularly large, and so the humans had never cared to guard him. Shah had rescued him many times and could count on one hand the number of times that had led to a confrontation. It had never been serious.

But things were not so simple anymore. Once they had erected that wall, scrafty that passed behind it rarely left it again. Ones who were sent to rescue their captured warsiblings rarely returned either, unless they were cowards, and a scrafty who showed cowardice was skinless—as good as dead anyway.

Earlier that day, they had taken Melichi away, and this time Shah feared it was for good. It had been a perfectly fair duel, and Melichi usually won those unless he was careless… yet carelessness was his wont. They had dragged him away by his skins, and he had dug his heels into the dirt and bucked in a way he had never done when they’d captured him in the past. They had both known then what Shah knew now: though the rescue missions had been trivial in the past, this one would be a death sentence for them both. Yet Shah still had to do this thing, for his warbrother and his honor. He was to do it tonight.

It was a half-moon, and Shah wondered morbidly if it was the last moon he would ever see. He’d managed to scale the wall without being noticed, and the moon painted the vast structure with its silver light, giving it an ethereal sheen. He was fortunate that no guards had been posted outside the wall tonight, but scaling it was one thing—crossing to the others side was another entirely. Once reaching its top, Shah was careful to hide behind one of its battlements, peeking on the village below with just one eye and keeping his head angled so his crest didn’t poke out and reveal his position.

The whole village was bathed in the moonlight too, and he could see it all from up here. The wall encircled the area and was in various states of completion; the nearest segment was complete, but in other places, the wall was still only a few bricks high. He would have preferred to climb one of the shorter segments instead, but the humans had been sure to build the segment of the wall facing Shah's gang up to its full height before starting on the rest, of course. In order to get to the unfinished segments, he’d have to run past stretches with no wall at all and risk exposing himself.

A smattering of hide tents dotted the enclosed area, but they had raised some stone buildings as well—the result was a strange hodgepodge of the old and the new, the familiar and the alien. Piles of brick were scattered here and there, ready to be incorporated into a building or the wall.

Shah had heard once long ago that the people across the East Sea built large structures of stone and wood like this. He wondered if these humans had learned it from their cousins over there. Whatever the case, things were changing, and not in favor of the scrafty. How could they think to conquer back this land when all the humans had to do was sit inside and let their walls do the defending? And Melichi was in there somewhere, in one of the tents or buildings probably— there were no cages to be found. Shah wasn’t sure why he’d dared to hope for this to be that easy. If they’d bothered to bring Melichi inside their walls, they wouldn’t just leave him laying about to be snatched up.

He had no idea how he could even begin to search for his warbrother short of investigating every last building and tent, and he had no chance of doing that without exposing himself. He’d known this had been doomed to fail from the start, but now the cold reality was truly setting in for the first time. No amount of willpower or ingenuity would save Melichi, or Shah himself. Perhaps it was best to make himself known and get his capture good and over with. The alternative was turning around, and to return home having abandoned his warbrother… No. It was better to die a glorious death. Besides, Melichi would do this for him without thinking twice. He deserved the same respect.

He made to slide down the wall into the village when he saw movement in the village below. His heart leaped and he scampered back behind the battlement, straining his eyes against the dark and focusing on where he’d seen the motion below. To his amazement, he saw a scrafty being forced out of one of the tents, their hands bound behind their back.

Too fearful to hope for the best, Shah squinted his eyes at the scrafty anyway, and he was sure that the crest had all the right notches and chips. That had to be Melichi. He was alive. A squat human followed him, one with large arms and a spear in hand. Last of all came a woman in a long tapered dress, and—ouch. Shah’s brain prickled unpleasantly, feeling as if it had pins and needles. He shook his head a little, screwing his eyes shut, and thought he had felt this strange sensation once before. Stealing another glance, he realized it wasn’t a human woman at all but a gothitelle. What was one of those doing with the humans?

The man shoved Melichi forward with the butt of his spear, forcing him to hobble forward awkwardly. Melichi turned to glare at the human. The human made an aggressive gesture and Melichi continued walking forward. One scrafty probably couldn’t take down a human and a gothitelle alone, Shah thought, especially not with their hands bound, but perhaps if he came down to help…

His train of thought was cut short when the gothitelle raised their hand abruptly. He heard their voice as clearly as if they were standing right next to him: “Stop.” That was a male’s voice, Shah determined.

A chill ran down his spine as the gothitelle turned and looked directly at him. It was dark, and he was mostly hidden behind the battlement, so there was no way he saw him… right? Still, the pins and needles sensation in his brain intensified. He grasped at his forehead but didn’t break his gaze with the gothitelle, even as his heart began to hammer so hard in his chest he was sure the gothitelle would be able to hear it. Finally, the gothitelle looked away, and Shah heard him say, “Never mind. Let’s go.”

Even though there was no way the gothitelle had spotted him—scrafty were immune to the strange mind tricks of the psychics—he still found himself blessing his skins for his luck. He watched as the three of them continued to one of the stone buildings, and then were swallowed up by it, out of sight. The strange prickling sensation in his brain subsided, and Shah returned to himself from the trance state he’d entered watching those three. Melichi was alive, and Shah knew where he was. The two of them could take on the human and the gothitelle comfortably. The scene played out clearly in his mind. He’d take the human first, then use his spear to undo Melichi’s bindings, and they’d take the gothitelle down together. It should only take a few good kicks to topple it—they were weak of body. Yes, they could do this. He and Melichi would live to fight another day.

He skidded down the wall without a second thought, the smooth stones cool on his feet even through the thick protective layer of his skins. When he hit the ground, hard enough for his ankles to twinge with pain, he bunched up his skins and ran to the building they’d taken Melichi to, careful to leave the softest footfalls he could manage. He gave a silent thanks to the Earth Father that he made it there without being spotted. Perhaps the rest of the village was asleep by now. He slid below the building’s rear window, making perfectly sure his crest was safely out of view, and heard them speaking.

“… growing impatient,” a rough, unfamiliar voice said. Probably the human. “Each day you fail is a day we waste some of our hunters to lay these bricks. You promised it would not be this long, and our food reserves are dwindling.”

“You would do well not to make commands of me,” the gothitelle sneered in reply. “Half-measures are worse than no measures in this work. Trust me, human. I am working as fast as I know how.” The human grumbled something inaudible, but the gothitelle evidently didn’t find it worthy of a response, for he remained silent. Instead, he heard the sound of stone scraping on stone.

“W-What are you going to do to me?” he heard Melichi sputter. “What did you do with the others?”

Shah’s gut became ice. Melichi was careless and sometimes foolish, but by the Earth Father’s own skins, he was brave. Yet each word Shah heard him speak was saturated with pure terror.

“Silence,” the gothitelle said. “Stars pity you, but it is better that you do not know. Your cooperation will serve us both. You will not like what happens if you struggle. Now, human—bind him to the table.”

Shah heard the shuffling of rope, then suddenly the sound of skin passing over stone—the sound of frantic scuffling—then a sickening crack.

Stars!” the gothitelle swore, and Shah heard him fall to the ground. His heart thumped so hard he felt it in his head. Melichi was fighting. Now was the moment. He would rush in and fight side by side with his warbrother, and they would escape together. They were going to make it out. Yet he couldn’t force himself to move. Every piece of him was crying out for him to move, but at the same time denied him that motion. All he could do was peek through the window.

The gothitelle was sprawled out on the floor as expected, clutching at his ribs. The human had his back to the window, his spear extended at Melichi. Melichi craned his neck and brandished his crest at the human, hands still bound behind his back. There was a table between them. A strange stone with a bluish color sat atop it, a huge gash in its side.

“Immobilize it, human! Now!” the gothitelle wheezed. “You must not kill it, or I will—”

He didn’t have time to finish his sentence before the human rushed over the table, swinging his spear wildly at Melichi. The scrafty ducked out of the way, then rushed forward to bash his head into the human. The human tumbled off the table just in time, and Melichi stopped his headbutt halfway through, but inertia carried him another stumbling step forward. The human seized the opportunity to smash the butt of his spear into the side of Melichi’s head. Melichi tumbled to the side, head smacking the stone, and didn’t stir.

Shah shook violently and slumped back below the window, the scene sliding out of sight. I could have done something, Shah thought, feeling breathless. I should have saved him.

Why didn’t I?


The gothitelle was injured now, but so was Melichi. To escape at this point, Shah would have to take the human on by himself, then carry his warbrother out and back home without being spotted. He’d as good as failed, whether Melichi was still technically alive or not. Dread beset him.

He had been foolish to hope for a better outcome, and… he had been a coward not to intervene. A skinless coward. Melichi would pay with his life. Perhaps Shah could still escape with his life, but… no. If he returned without Melichi, they would see him for the coward he was, and it would be all over him. Besides… did he deserve to escape with his life after freezing up like that? Indirectly or not, he had killed Melichi. His warbrother. A swift death would be a merciful end for Shah at this point. He felt more useless than a molted skin, fouler than an oran left to decay.

“Quite the spirited one,” the gothitelle said, sounding amused of all things. “He is perfect. It is rare that a mon is able to resist my powers and attempt to free, let alone fight. I have great faith that the stars have blessed this trial.” He heard the gothitelle rise to his feet, wheezing slightly. “Now he sleeps. Place him on the table and bind him, just in case, though I do not think he will resist anymore.”

The table. The stone. Shah thought of the fear that had pervaded the last words Melichi had spoken. They were going to do something horrible to him now. Perhaps it would be a respect to Melichi to flee, so as not to witness it. Yet still, Shah felt frozen in place. It was too late for him to turn around now. And although he hated himself thoroughly for it, some part of him was curious what would happen next, wanted to know what strange things the humans were doing and what had driven them to consort with a gothitelle.

So instead of fleeing, Shah found himself lifting his head and peeking through the window again.

The gothitelle and the human worked silently and seemed well-practiced. Shah blessed his skins that their backs were to him. The stone was still on the table. It looked heavier than Melichi. The gothitelle was already at work before the human had finished binding Melichi to the table. He was whispering dark words, horrible words, as he ran his hand across Melichi’s body, stopping at certain points—his forehead, his heart, his gut, his groin. When the human was done with his task, he moved to the corner of the room and collected his spear from against the wall, then returned to the gothitelle’s side.

Shah shuddered. The spear. He wanted to look away, but couldn’t.

“Wait,” the gothitelle said. “Move the stone closer. We must be careful not to waste any.” The human obliged, pushing the stone closer to Melichi. It moved between his legs, spreading them apart and pushing his skins up further than they ought to go, until the stone was practically resting against his crotch. The sound it made as it scraped along the table’s stone surface was horrible.

The gothitelle placed one hand on Melichi’s forehead and one on the stone. Then he said some more words, louder and darker and more horrible than the ones he had said before. Melichi stirred fitfully, almost as if he were having a nightmare. Then the gothitelle fell silent. He turned his head and looked to the human, then nodded.

The human raised his spear, then plunged it into Melichi’s chest.

It was everything Shah had not to scream. He couldn’t stop watching either, even though he thought he might be sick at any moment. The human removed his spear with an awful squelching sound, trailing arcs of blood that spilled onto Melichi’s body and the table. But that wasn’t the only thing that came from the rupture in Melichi’s chest.

A strange, silver vapor rose from his chest, wispy and translucent like the last plumes of smoke from an extinguished flame. It billowed upward idly for a fraction of a second before gliding into the crevice in the stone as if sucked. The strange, shimmering tendril moved from Melichi’s chest for several seconds—evidently, there was a lot of it, whatever it was. Melichi’s cadaver seized grotesquely and crumpled around the spot where he had been stabbed, like a leaf curling in a flame.

Shah looked on in mute horror. Whatever this was… it was profoundly wrong. Somehow, he knew that this silver vapor that this gothitelle and this human had drawn from Melichi’s wound was not something meant to be looked upon by mortal eyes. He was watching something undoubtedly evil and forbidden.

Then the stuff stopped flowing. “That is all,” the gothitelle said quickly. “It is done. Seal it now. Quickly, before it leaks.” The human got right to work stuffing the rock’s crevice with cloth, pressing it down, stuffing in even more cloth, then covering the whole thing with another cloth and wrapping it up in twine.

And then it was done.

Finally, Shah was able to close his eyes. He slumped down again, then fell to the floor, the grass cool on his side. He pressed his eyes shut as tightly as he could, and hoped he would never have to open them again. His cowardice had killed his friend, debased his memory. They had done something unspeakable to him, and it was Shah’s fault. If only he weren’t a skinless coward, if only he’d had the strength to get up and fight. If it had been him that was captured instead, he knew that Melichi wouldn’t have hesitated for a moment to throw himself into the fray to rescue him. Yet Shah had been paralyzed in place, and Melichi had been horrifically violated.

“We are finished,” he distantly heard the gothitelle say. “Remove the body.”

He heard the undoing of the twine, the movement of the body, the footfalls on the stone and then on the grass. Getting closer. No doubt the human would find Shah here, clutching his arms desperately and crying like a fool in the grass. No doubt he would seize him and throw him into the building, and they would bind him to the table and stab him into the chest and take his life. And Shah would let them. Melichi hadn’t deserved it, but Shah had let it happen to him, so now he deserved it himself.

The human came into view, carrying Melichi’s body by his skins in one hand as if he were some sort of object to be thrown about. He came so close Shah was sure he would be able to smell the fear and despair radiating off him, yet he didn’t. He simply threw Melichi’s body onto the ground, then returned to the hut.

He’d intended to leave Melichi’s body for the mandibuzz, perhaps, but he’d left it for Shah instead. Perhaps Shah could return him home and give him a proper burial. Yet the possibility of escape seemed so distant, even though it was technically in his power to get up and leave. It just seemed impossible. All he could do was crawl over to the body that had been Melichi and cradle it and weep over it silently. He didn’t weep silently for fear of being discovered—his body simply couldn’t produce the wails that he felt in his heart. Melichi’s body was totally mangled, crumpled like a dead spider around the point where the spear had ruined him, his ribcage warped and deformed. His limbs felt bony and emaciated as if he’d been starved, but he’d been here less than a day. Whatever they had done to him… it was not of this world. Shah wept and wept, for his friend who had deserved a glorious warrior’s death and had instead been desecrated.

Melichi, who fought to the end. Melichi, who fought beside me. Melichi, who laughed in the sun. Melichi, who shared all he had with me. With whom I shared everything. May the Earth Father return your body to His. May you become a beautiful tree who gives life. May you rest well, Melichi. I loved you.

His cries came out choked and quiet, and his chest ached. Then a voice came from the hut, and Shah returned to himself somewhat.

“It is in pain,” the gothitelle said gravely. “Oh, stars above. It is in so much pain. We have failed again. Human, you must destroy it. Destroy it now.”

Shah heard the human grunt as he lifted the stone and then heard it smack against the table, over and over. He heard pieces of it chip off and fall to the ground, and the human continued cracking it against the table horribly until finally it seemingly shattered. Shah swore he felt Melichi’s body relax somewhat, and he clutched it tighter and sobbed against him.

“We have failed again,” the gothitelle said. “I am sorry. We will try again. You did well.”

“Damn it,” the human growled. “This is taking too long. And… it is wrong. We have wasted so many souls.”

“Wrong?” the gothitelle repeated. “If you were worried about right and wrong, human, you would lay your own stones. You chose a different path, and there is a price to pay for that. You knew this when you asked for my help in this. I would not—wait.” He fell silent, and Shah’s brain began to prickle. “There is another.”

Shah felt like his skins were vibrating in terror. His blood was ice and his stomach was stone. He had to go, right now. He didn’t care if it made him a skinless coward. He dropped Melichi’s body, crying for his friend as he… failed to get up. He couldn’t force himself to move, no matter how much he strained against his inaction. This… this was not cowardice, this was not lethargy. This was something else.

“Outside,” the gothitelle said. “Behind this building.” He poked his head out the window and made eye contact with Shah as he sat there in the grass, Melichi’s body dumped unceremoniously in front of him. He felt a jolt run down his spine.

Oh skins of my fathers, oh Maker of the Earth, oh—

The human seized him before he could react, kicking Melichi’s body out of the way as he went back to the building. He carried Shah by his skins, and he felt them ripping from his hide, felt warm blood trickle down his side. It hurt like the wrath of the Storm Twins, yet he was wholly unable to resist. Once they made it inside, the human dumped Shah onto the stone floor, and he was unable to get up or fight or do anything but lay prostrated there before the gothitelle, body racked by silent sobs. His brain prickled so furiously he felt it in his neck.

“Did you come here to rescue your friend? So noble,” he said. “I am sorry you had to bear witness to what we did. It was not pleasant. It will not be pleasant for you either, I’m afraid. The stars have cursed you to lead you to this place of undeath, where my Shadow Tag precludes your escape. But they have blessed me.” He looked at the human. “Bind this one, human. I have great faith that the stars have blessed this trial…”

- - -​

It appears the stone must be broken for a soul to inhabit it—the golett and spiritomb constructed by the ancients have this in common. This may be related somehow to the structural imperfections which exist in all viable mega stones, as observed by my colleague Dr. Sycamore. The reason for this remains a mystery, although—forgive me for waxing poetic—it is oddly fitting that the souls of the departed can only take up residence in a broken vessel…​

– Dr. C. Juniper, The Golett of Dragonspiral Tower
 
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kintsugi

golden scars | pfp by sun
Location
the warmth of summer in the songs you write
Pronouns
she/her
Partners
  1. silvally-grass
  2. lapras
  3. golurk
  4. custom/booper-kintsugi
  5. custom/meloetta-kint-muse
  6. custom/meloetta-kint-dancer
Goodness, I started reading this, got sucked in very thoroughly, and halfway through I was like "I wonder how this is going to go" despite having read the bingo card, the title, etc etc. The worldbuilding you do here is immersive and you create the shapes of this conflict in so few words--things weren't always this way; perhaps they don't actually have to be; but they're definitely going to be this way if no one stops it. But Melichi is just one person, and these are forces far beyond what he understands.

(why do we build the wall, my children?)

“If you were worried about right and wrong, human, you would lay your own stones. You chose a different path, and there is a price to pay for that. You knew this when you asked for my help in this.
The gothitelle here is a really fitting antagonist, and I liked how you fit everything together with Shadow Tag and the blessing of the stars. The refrain of "oh yeah the stars have definitely blessed *this* trial" was delightfully haunting as well; how many times has this actually been said over rituals that didn't work? I liked the portrayal of the gothitelle's relationship with the humans--there's a lot of unanswered questions in this timeline, if gothitelle end up eventually facing a similar gruesome fate once they outlive their own usefulness or if they're permitted to remain in this capacity--but the choice that the gothitelle has made seems clear enough. Having it as a human/pokemon duo here really sells it more than just having one or the other imo--the things we do in order to make sure we aren't the ones on the table, in the stone. And I think his line here sells the overall conflict really well as well: it was always about choice.

I also thought it was a really effective description to have Melichi be a protagonist who never speaks. Even Shah, who has the least agency, gets a few lines to question his situation, what's happening to him. But Melichi's trapped by doubt, and ultimately it leaves him passive. It's an unorthodox way of character conflict but I think for this oneshot it's really effective.

Misc other cool worldbuilding--the scraggy funeral blessing that Melichi gave (maybe it wasn't like an official thing but it was a great way of showing what they value), the Storm Twins, the skins, the golett stone needing to be cracked and stuffed together (is this a reference to the golurk design?). At first I did think this was mostly going to be a spiritomb story since they kept sealing souls in a rock, but I think golett works quite well for this! And Melichi would be a great first golett, rip, oof.

I know you asked for line-edits but honestly I couldn't find many. Your prose was really smooth here; nicely done! good fic upd8 more
He’d managed to scale the wall without being noticed, and the moon painted the vast structure with its silver light, giving it an ethereal sheen. Shah was careful to hide behind one of its battlements, peeking on the village below with just one eye and keeping his head angled so his crest didn’t poke out and reveal his position. The whole village was bathed in the moonlight too, and he could see it all from up here. The wall encircled the area and was in various states of completion; the segment of it where he stood was complete, but some were just a few bricks high.
Wasn't sure why he scaled the tall part of the wall if there were actually short parts of the wall to look through?
Shah had heard once long ago that the people across the East Sea built large structures of stone and wood like this. He wondered if these humans had learned it from their cousins over there.
oh no is this the story of how ancient conkeldurr inevitably ruined everything by kindness
He had no idea how he could even begin to search for his warbrother short of investigating every last building and tent, and how could he do that without exposing himself?
More of a stylistic thing instead of grammar but I wasn't quite sold on the statement-question construction here.
Last of all came a woman in a long tapered dress, and—ouch. Shah’s brain prickled unpleasantly, feeling as if it had pins and needles. He shook his head a little, screwing his eyes shut, and thought he had felt this strange sensation once before. Stealing another glance, he realized it wasn’t a human woman at all but a gothitelle.
I like the idea that gothitelle don't normally wear dresses but this one does because of human conventions, if that's why Melichi was slow on the recognition here. Really sells the difference between the gothitelle and Melichi--Melichi can't comprehend the humans and doesn't understand their traditions or why they would do this; the gothitelle understands the inevitability and puts himself on what he believes is the winning side. clothes vs skin, you know?
he came down to help. . .

having abandoned his warbrother... No.
I did notice that you flipped ellipses styles a few time. Genuinely I think both are correct but you should be consistent.
Melichi’s cadaver seized grotesquely and crumpled around the spot where he had been stabbed, like a leaf curling in a flame.
All of your imagery was really good but this one was my favorite, unsure why! It's a very vivid way to describe what's happening--it's horrible and irreversible, but it's also slow and inevitable.

– Dr. C. Juniper, On the golett of Dragonspiral Tower
Unsure on the capitalization on this one--I know academic papers typically go for capitalizing the first word and then lowercasing the rest of the title, barring proper nouns (as you've done here), but the tone of the excerpt feels more observational than academic.
 

WildBoots

Don’t underestimate seeds.
Pronouns
She/Her
Partners
  1. custom/moka-mark
  2. solrock
This is an end-of-the-night review and my brain is going mushy, so this will be pretty shot and sweet. Overall: This was a fun read!! I hadn't expected scrafty to come into play in this story about golett-making, and it was a pleasant surprise! You've got a lot of flavor, both in the setting and the characters. The in-perspective insults and prayers are spot-on, and we get a great sense of what Melichi is like even though we don't see a ton of him in the present. I also think your scene-setting/sense of place is getting stronger. Lots of really nice imagery throughout. Something something, Kint already said the smart things about collusion and blame and avoiding punishment re: gothitelle/human collab. I wonder what the gothitelle is getting out of this project (but I didn't mind not knowing definitively).

The skeksis called and they want their essssssennnnnnnnce back.

those stones and building that large wall of theirs
There was a lot of those/theirs, especially in the first few passages. I didn't necessarily mind it, but part of me wanted to trim them down. Not totally sure, but it caught my attention.

Not so long ago, before the humans had gathered their stones, they had been fierce but valiant creatures.
I wasn't sure whether "they" meant the humans or the scrafty.

War was for glory, not senseless killing; land need not be paid for in blood.
There IS blood being spilled though, even if it's not a slaughter, right?

Shah had rescued him many times
Omg, this says so much.

But things were not so simple anymore.
New paragraph here?

a scrafty who showed cowardice was skinless—as good as dead anyway.
Excellent in-POV insult! Sounds so much like spineless but fits the character much better. And, yeah, without skin, you're exposed to a lot! Talk about valuing a thick skin, huh?

He thought of the moment they took Melichi away.
This was a moment when I realized, huh, we don't actually know what Shah is doing in the present. It might help if it were instead structured like "The day they took Melichi away, [something about the scene?]" I also wondered if it wanted a "for good" at the end? Or "for the last time"?

this task that had not so long ago been little more than a minor annoyance was a death sentence for them both now.
A little wordy on this one. It made me confused about whether or not they'd been on some special, specific mission together before Melichi was captured. (I figured it out, but it took me a second.)

He’d managed to scale the wall without being noticed, and the moon painted the vast structure with its silver light, giving it an ethereal sheen.
The emphasis on the moonlight makes me wonder why he wasn't noticed. Just no one looking his way?

the segment of it where he stood was complete, but some were just a few bricks high.
the nearest segment was complete, but in other placed, that wall was still only a few bricks high.

Doesn't have to be those exact words, but I had some conflict between segment/some.

but they had raised some stone buildings as well—the result was a strange hodgepodge of the old and the new,
I thought the second part could stand just fine as its own sentence!

How could they think to conquer this turf when all the humans had to do was sit inside and let their walls do the defending?
Wasn't sure about "this turf."

He had no idea how he could even begin to search for his warbrother short of investigating every last building and tent, and he had no chance of doing that without exposing himself. He’d known this had been doomed to fail from the start, but now the cold reality was truly setting in for the first time. No amount of willpower or ingenuity would save Melichi, or Shah himself.
Nice moment of internality here.

He made to slide down the wall into the village when he saw movement.
We do get a direction in the following sentences, but I wanted it here.

The man shoved Melichi forward with the butt of his spear, and he hobbled forward awkwardly, turning his head and glaring at the human.
Oh man, the struggles of oops all masc pronouns. Might I suggest:

The man shoved Melichi forward with the butt of his spear, forcing him to hobble forward awkwardly. Melichi turned to glare at the human ...
He and Melichi would escape to live another day.
Live to fight maybe?

“Silence,” the gothitelle said. “Stars pity you, but it is better that you do not know. Your cooperation will serve us both. You will not like what happens if you struggle. Now, human—bind him to the table.”
I loved his continued references to the stars. (Nice contrast to "Earth Father," actually. Lots of things in conflict here.)

And ohhhh NOOOOO.

He felt more useless than a molted skin, fouler than an oran left to decay.
Nice.

We must be careful not to waste any.”
Oh nooooo. 🥴
Beeeg The Dark Crystal Vibes.

like a leaf curling in a flame.
Excellent.

Melichi’s body was all messed up, crumpled like a dead spider around the point where the spear had ruined him, his ribcage warped and deformed.
"All messed up" feels tonally different from the rest. (Dead spider though!!)

Whatever they had done to him. . . it was not natural.
A bit of a repeat on this one.

for his friend who had deserved a glorious warrior’s death and had instead received desecration.
Idk if you can receive desecration. Also unsure about the repetition of desecration. (I think this second use of it is the stronger placement.)

Melichi, who fought to the end. Melichi, who fought beside me. Melichi, who laughed in the sun. Melichi, who shared all he had with me. With whom I shared everything. May the Earth Father return your body to His. May you become a beautiful tree who gives life. May you rest well, Melichi. I loved you.
This passage is lovely. :c

“It is in pain,” the gothitelle said gravely. “Oh, stars above. It is in so much pain. We have failed again. Human, you must destroy it. Destroy it now.”
Fascinating that the un-golett's pain matters to the gothitelle, but the scrafty's doesn't.

It hurt like the wrath of the Storm Twins,
Nice.

he stars have cursed you to lead you to this place of undeath, where my Shadow Tag precludes your escape. But they have blessed me.”
Aha!!!! Got it. Wow, so he really can't leave for *several* reasons. And, RIP, I was hoping he'd escape to warn his people. Whoops.

the golett and spiritomb constructed by the ancients have this in common.
I feel so vindicated, because I was thinking about spiritomb, too!
 

kyeugh

onion witch
Staff
Location
the freaking swamp
Pronouns
she/her
Partners
  1. farfetchd-galar
  2. custom/gfetchd-kyeugh
  3. custom/onion-san
  4. farfetchd
hi guys! thanks for checking out my oneshot! 😁
hey kint, thanks so much for the speedy review! i was a little worried that this story would be boring since it doesn't have much in the way of interaction, so i'm super glad to hear that you seemed to have liked it.
definitely had this in mind while writing this, lol. it's not something i explore a lot in wandersword, which takes place long after the agricultural revolution, but i think it's pretty interesting to think about how humans and pokémon probably spent thousands of years living alongside each other on essentially equal terms, until one day humans started to settle down and grow surpluses and erect walls and then suddenly nothing was the same at all.

I also thought it was a really effective description to have Melichi be a protagonist who never speaks. Even Shah, who has the least agency, gets a few lines to question his situation, what's happening to him. But Melichi's trapped by doubt, and ultimately it leaves him passive. It's an unorthodox way of character conflict but I think for this oneshot it's really effective.
i thought it might be a little boring to have him so silent, and i almost made him say his eulogy for melichi aloud, but decided it was too weird for him to say that many words at once after having gone the whole story without speaking, heh. i'm glad the silence contributes to his Trapped vibe. Shadow Tag is nominally what was preventing shah from leaping to action or fleeing, but it didn't hold melichi back from fighting his captors—i wanted to make it arguable whether it was really Shadow Tag holding him back that whole time or not. maybe he is just a skinless coward 😔

Wasn't sure why he scaled the tall part of the wall if there were actually short parts of the wall to look through?
the answer is that the taller part the side facing his home settlement, and to get to the shorter parts he'd have to run past unbuilt parts and risk exposing himself, but i see now that that information did not survive Ye Editing, so i have attempted to fix it. thanks for catching that! 😁

Unsure on the capitalization on this one--I know academic papers typically go for capitalizing the first word and then lowercasing the rest of the title, barring proper nouns (as you've done here), but the tone of the excerpt feels more observational than academic.
good point. i was unsettled on whether i could get away with that in an academic paper or not—i thought maybe if it was Old enough, but i think you're right, it's easier to just not shoot for that.

thanks a ton for checking this story out and offering your input, i hope the next two are enjoyable too!
hello, thanks for stopping by!

I also think your scene-setting/sense of place is getting stronger.
this means a lot, it's something i really struggle with.

There IS blood being spilled though, even if it's not a slaughter, right?
mm, not really. maybe a little bit, but people aren't really dying. i tried to hint at this rather than explaining it outright since it isn't super important to the way the story unfolds and wasn't sure if it was worth the distraction, but i was somewhat inspired by flower wars here. my idea was that the fighting is mostly ceremonial and doesn't really go as far as death; it's a lot of little turf disputes that are highly ritualistic and duel-oriented, and combatants from both sides are captured but the less important ones are essentially let free and the more important ones are used as bargaining chips. something like that. the fact that they've stopped being like this, and are in fact now just straight up capturing scrafty and never releasing them, is part of what's freaking shah out about the humans. i can see the phrasing i provide in-text is a little confusing/incomplete though, so i'll think about how i can make it a little more clear.

The emphasis on the moonlight makes me wonder why he wasn't noticed. Just no one looking his way?
essentially, yeah. no one posted outside the wall, and he just scaled it and immediately hid behind a battlement, so not a lot of opportunities to be spotted so far. i might emphasize the lack of guards posted outside to make that a bit more obvious.

Beeeg The Dark Crystal Vibes.
omg. i didn't think consciously about this connection while writing, but yes, absolutely. infinity energy in general (which is what this is, although i didn't name it in the text) sort of has that vibe in general, huh?

Fascinating that the un-golett's pain matters to the gothitelle, but the scrafty's doesn't.
what good is a slave that's too busy screaming in unholy anguish to lay your bricks? 🙃

I feel so vindicated, because I was thinking about spiritomb, too!
it's a funny coincidence in their designs! golett/golurk, spiritomb, and sigilyph tap into one of my favorite themes in worldbuilding/fiction, which is that ancient people had their own genius technology, and it took us thousands of years to catch up after we lost their knowledge. i like to think of these guys as ancient precursors to "new, revolutionary" technology like porygon and the harvesting of infinity energy—sure, they didn't do it in exactly this way, but people thousands of years ago were just as inventive as we are today. pokémon gives us some neat stuff to play around with there, i really like thinking about the societies that lore hints at.

thanks for stopping by! your line edits are super helpful, i'll get to incorporating them ASAP.
 
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Sealed Away, Alone in the Dark

kyeugh

onion witch
Staff
Location
the freaking swamp
Pronouns
she/her
Partners
  1. farfetchd-galar
  2. custom/gfetchd-kyeugh
  3. custom/onion-san
  4. farfetchd
trying to get these out before midnight. i expect i will edit them more thoroughly soon. direction on what works and what doesn't would be greatly appreciated!

Sealed Away, Alone in the Dark


“It will be okay, great one.”

The Icebringer was a being of great power, but it was also young of mind, and deeply fearful. No doubt it remembered this room, where just a few years ago it had awoken from its unknowably long slumber into a strange and frightening world. What did it mean for it that Lěi had returned it here?

Its seven amber eyes blinked asynchronously. Anxiously.

Lěi preferred the anxiety over the alternative. They had a plan for if the Icebringer became violent, but that plan did not account for heartfelt goodbyes. Yes, anxiety was good.

Answers and explanations would not assuage the Icebringer’s fears, so Lěi did not attempt to provide them. Instead, he set his pack on the ground and rummaged through it. “I have a special treat for you,” he said as he searched. The Icebringer’s eyes switched to a gently pulsing cadence, the outer eyes blinking more rapidly. Curiosity.

It was a wonder that he could see the eyes so clearly. Unlike his father and grandfather and the last several shamans who had come before them, Lěi was born blind, and so he was permitted to keep his eyes. It was said that blindness brought one closer to the spirits. The truth was that Lěi was not totally blind—he could make out basic shapes, splotches of dark and light—and growing up he often wondered if this made him a worse shaman than his truly sightless forefathers.

Yet his partial sight meant he was capable of seeing those eyes. Somehow, they were perfectly clear and defined, even when everything else was a hazy blur. They filled his vision, and oftentimes he could see nothing else. He learned to read them intimately, and had come to know the hearts of the Icebringer and its siblings, the Stonemaker and the Steelbreaker. It had only been a few years, but he felt he knew them as deeply and intuitively as he knew himself.

His hands found purchase on a large glass jug. He removed it from the pack, then set it on the stony ground. Inside was a mixture of overcooked rice, tauros’ milk, and a blend of spices. He produced a bowl from the pack, too, and poured the contents of the jug into it. “I will need some snow,” he said. The Icebringer’s eyes stopped pulsing, and flashed their yellow light steadily instead. Concentration. It shuddered slightly, and the temperature plummeted. Lěi pulled his robes close and shivered. After a moment, the Icebringer’s eyes returned to a gentle pulse. Contentment. Lěi hunched over and patted the ground in front of him, and sure enough, his hand sunk into a frigid pillow of snow. He scooped up a handful of it and dumped it into his bull, then began to stir.

The Icebringer had been different from its siblings from the first date. The Stonemaker and the Steelbreaker were docile, obedient creatures. Only the Icebringer was fearful, and only the Icebringer threw those horrible tantrums. The others mistook those tantrums as rampages of anger and animosity, but Lěi knew better. He knew the Icebringer. It was a child, he pleaded. It was afraid and confused. How strange this world must be to it, how overwhelming. Like any child, it needed to be shown patience and a firm hand. With time, it would adopt the docile dispositions of its siblings. No one had agreed, but communing with the gods—even new ones such as these—was a matter for the shamans. No secular demands could outweigh his own.

It had not gone Lěi’s way in the end, of course. Lěi still thought that it might have, given time. But they had no time to give it. Its rampages grew worse, more destructive. Houses were demolished, roads ruined, crops destroyed. The sounds were still fresh in his memory: men arguing, women hushing their children, babies crying as families climbed onto the backs of dragons one-by-one to flee the Icebringer’s frenzy. They returned to devastation. It could not go on.

Once the bowl had been stirred to his satisfaction, he let it on the ground, then scooted backward. The air around the Icebringer was uncomfortably cold from a distance but downright dangerous in close proximity. The Icebringer moved forward, its feet dragging on the ground as it walked, then hunched over and picked up the bowl with its huge hands. Its grip was oddly delicate. It raised the bowl before its face, and its eyes flickered with curiosity.

“This is a special treat our princes enjoy in the summer,” Lěi explained. “It’s delightfully sweet and creamy, perfect for a hot day. It’s made with snow, so only the highest among our society can afford it in the summer when it’s most desirable... but with your powers, it would be easy to make it any time.” He smiled. The Icebringer examined the bowl closely, eyes glowing softly. Joy. “I know you can’t eat it,” Lěi added, “but I wanted to give you a special treat. Something nice that I could have only made with your help. I hope you like it.”

The Icebringer continued to look at its new present gleefully. “You’re welcome,” Lěi said. He smiled still, but his heart was heavy.

The Icebringer was not evil. It couldn’t help its fear. It felt dreadfully unfair to lock them all away because they were incapable of managing it—because Lěi was incapable of managing it. It felt like a personal failure for which these creatures, these gods, were suffering the consequences.

But there was no other way. It felt horrible, but that didn’t make it wrong.

Lěi returned his empty bottle to his satchel, then stood. His breath trembled. He was willing to make a personal sacrifice for the greater good. He just wished it didn’t feel quite so much like giving up a child.

“Sweet dreams, Great One,” Lěi said at last. “When you enter the world next, I pray it is ready to receive you.” The Icebringer just stood there with the bowl, its eyes pulsing slowly.

It was a complex emotion to read, but Lěi thought he understood it. It was part anxious, part sad, part fearful... but most of all, it was understanding. Something about that made Lěi feel even worse.

Unable to bear any more, Lěi left the chamber. The stone door fell into place behind him, sealing the Icebringer away, alone in the dark.
 
Gods of the Brass Tower

kyeugh

onion witch
Staff
Location
the freaking swamp
Pronouns
she/her
Partners
  1. farfetchd-galar
  2. custom/gfetchd-kyeugh
  3. custom/onion-san
  4. farfetchd

Gods of the Brass Tower

“Sachiko?”

“Present.”

“Gihachi?”

“Present.”

“Keizou? . . . Keizou?”

“Oh, present. Sorry.”

“All is well. That’s all of us, then,” Kōsei said. “We are blessed indeed, to have all survived.”

There was a murmur of assent among the brothers. Kōsei opened his mouth to continue speaking, but he halted by the sound of an ugly sob. Someone was choking back whimpers and sniffling feebly. The brothers turned their bald heads, searching for the source of the weeping, and eventually parted to reveal a young man hunched over and holding his head in his hands.

“Kakunen-bōzu?” Kōsei said, putting his arms behind his back and stepping toward the crying monk. “Why do you weep?”

Kakunen looked up at Kōsei from behind his hands. His eyes were red, his cheeks glistening with moisture. “We didn’t all survive,” he whimpered, then buried his head in his hands again and resumed his weeping.

Panic stabbed at Kōsei’s heart. Had he forgotten someone? His eyes flew over the crowd, and he started another mental tally. Sachiko, yes—there was Eisō—

“Master,” said Gihachi softly, stepping forward. He looked uneasy. “Kakunen was. . . keeping pokémon. It doesn’t seem they survived the fire.”

“Ah,” Kōsei said, a deep grimace pulling at his lips. Judging by the fact that Kakunen was shaking harder than ever, he supposed the words were probably true. “I see.”

He felt a spur of anger stab at his heart. The restrictions against keeping pokémon in the temple were not arbitrary—they were for the sake of safety! The thought occurred to him that perhaps one of Kakunen’s pokémon had caused the flame, but he pushed it out of his mind. No good would come of blaming this tragedy on an individual. Besides, they had all heard the thunder. This destruction had been caused by the heavens, not by a person.

“Kakunen,” Kōsei said firmly. The young monk looked up from behind his hands. “Pull yourself together. Stand up straight.” Kakunen obliged, though he didn’t seem happy about it. He straightened his back and put his hands to his sides. His face blotchy and red. “Your loss is regrettable. However, it is forbidden to keep pokémon within the temple. You know this. The responsibility for the harm that befell those pokémon is yours.”

Kakunen’s face tightened with outrage. He began to protest, but before he got a word out, the tower behind them collapsed. A huge cloud of dust and ash flew into the air as the blackened, rain-soaked timber fell inward. A loud crunch filled the air as the tower was flattened. After a few moments, the dust settled, and the only sounds remaining were the soft pitter-patter of the light rain and Kakunen’s barely suppressed sobs. The man folded in on himself again, clutching at his arms, back heaving.

Kōsei shook his head, then turned his gaze to the horizon. The crest of the Bell Tower was visible over the tops of the gently swaying maples. “We must stay with the brothers of the Bell Tower for now. We should begin moving now. It is possible they will not have enough bunks for us all, in which case—”

A loud roar split the air. Kōsei whirred around to face the tower.

Three pokémon stood on top of the wreckage, huge plumes billowing from their backs, ornate crests adorning their faces. They had the muscular builds of apex predators. Kōsei had never seen nor heard of pokémon like these before. “Guardian of Skies, protect us,” he muttered, stumbling backward and clutching at the pendant hanging from his neck.

The pokémon that stood in the middle—a blue one, dappled with white rosettes—leapt in a graceful arc off of the tower, landing squarely in front of Kōsei. He swore under his breath and scampered backward, but not quickly enough; the pokémon let out a low growl and swiped at him with a huge paw, knocking him to the side. He landed hard on his rear, then scuttled backward, shivering. The pokémon fixed him with a crimson glare, then walked forward, its gracile limbs stepping delicately.

The monks moved out of its way, save for one. Kakunen was frozen in place, his eyes wide and his jaw slack. The pokémon moved up to him, then—when it was only inches away—it inclined its head and pressed its impressive cress to Kakunen’s forehead.

“S-Suicune?” he whimpered. The pokémon let out a low trill and nuzzled the monk, who burst into laughter and enveloped the pokémon’s huge head in a tight embrace. They stood that way for a while, Kōsei and the other monks staring in silence, partly fearful and partly reverent.

Then one of the pokémon still at the tower—one with a furious mask of red—let out a chilling howl. Suicune shook itself free of Kakunen’s grip, then trotted over to its siblings. The three of them gave Kakunen a final glance, then sprinted away into the forest, the plumes on their backs billowing behind them.
 

kintsugi

golden scars | pfp by sun
Location
the warmth of summer in the songs you write
Pronouns
she/her
Partners
  1. silvally-grass
  2. lapras
  3. golurk
  4. custom/booper-kintsugi
  5. custom/meloetta-kint-muse
  6. custom/meloetta-kint-dancer
These are really fun! Here for the other two. It's a fun set.

Sealed Away--this was a brighter take than I was expecting, both from the prompt and from the first story. I quite liked the details of Lei's role and how they work into the regi lore--the line of blind shaman (WHY DO THEY USE BRAILLE???? asked and answered, sorta; do they carve around the letters to make them raised or do they carve the dots into the stone to make them indented and not braille? why make the letters big enough to span a room, making them so massive that they'd be borderline impossible to read quickly without sight? so many questions), the gesture of leaving ice cream even though it can't be eaten (I think that's also a game reference?), the different names for them (breaker/maker/bringer is a cool trio!). I also like how Regice is treated here; it seems truly alien and frightening, in a way that's kind of parseable but also not cohabitable. It seems more like a force of nature, and that's a neat angle for a worshipped figure--can you really befriend a thunderstorm, or do you just hope it arrives when you want it and stay away when you don't want it? I like the through-line here, and Lei's insistence that this is just something that could be tamed? or understood? it's very fraught and I don't actually know if he knows either, although they certainly aren't equivalent.

The pacing on this one is really nice, and I think it works for this size. It's very tightly focused on the moment before Regice is sealed away, which as a moment isn't necessarily substantial, but the backstory and buildup here makes it all click together.

"i pray it is ready to receive you" oh yeah this is gonna go great

---

Gods of the Brass Tower--it's Suicune! let's throw rocks

I feel like this one could be explored a bit further! I like the central focus on responsibility here--you're the one who kept these pokemon in the tower, so you're responsible when they're hurt--being upended by literal godhood and divine intervention. The other interesting thread here was the idea of taking blame for an action vs its repercussions; Kakunen is quick to assign fault but that designation does nothing for the actual deaths that have already occurred (and, given that the tower never gets rebuilt, arguably isn't helpful for preventing future death). But I'm not quite sure if these knit together in a way that I fully understood; the main catharsis of the story seems to be from knocking Kakunen on his butt and lives being saved by forces beyond our understanding or control. The imagery here is really nice as always though, and I'm still a huge fan of forehead bumps, and no one throws rocks! I also like the implication that Suicune/Entei/Raikou are just ... actual names that some kid gave them a long time ago, lol. The beasts definitely straddle this line of being the most mystical (literal, witnessed resurrection) and most mundane (dog bork bork, kind of unclear what they actually do all day, sorta thing) of the legendaries, and this was a nice way to encapsulate it.

(sidebar--it's definitely interesting that the only pokemon in the tower seem to be the ones that humans brought there--seems to paint a much more stark dichotomy between who's allowed to be here and who isn't, even if the general motivation for this reason is "if we lock you in a cage and the building burns down that would be sad")

Overall these three are really fun. I was pretty excited to see where you'd take these prompts and the concept as a whole of different time periods is a neat genesis for an anthology series like these; any chance you'll be doing more?

some quick line edits:
Yet his partial sight meant he was capable of seeing those eyes. Somehow, they were perfectly clear and defined, even when everything else was a hazy blur.
Wonderfully spoopy concept, although this sentence read a bit confusing to me in context but also redundant with the previous paragraph somehow--maybe:
> His partial sight meant everything else was a hazy blur, yet somehow those eyes were perfectly clear and defined.
He scooped up a handful of it and dumped it into his bull, then began to stir.
bowl I assume? although it is for tauros milk so maybe it's ornamental? worth clarifying either way.
The Stonemaker and the Steelbreaker were docile, obedient creatures. Only the Icebringer was fearful, and only the Icebringer threw those horrible tantrums.
I wonder what the line between fearful and docile is--usually I associate docility with being afraid of the consequences, but that might just be a me thing!
The sounds were still fresh in his memory: men arguing, women hushing their children, babies crying as families climbed onto the backs of dragons one-by-one to flee the Icebringer’s frenzy.
Bit of nitpick re: families/babies and one-by-one here--are the families going as family units on the dragons (one family at a time) or are individual members of each family going up one at a time?

Also, draconids??? 👀
Inside was a mixture of overcooked rice, tauros’ milk, and a blend of spices.
also purely nitpicking based on canon that you're totally free to yeet, but do tauros produce milk? normally I see them as an all-male species that cohabitates/maybe reproduces with miltank, but since that's kind of a weird biological dichotomy anyway I can see why this would be yeeted.
“We didn’t all survive,”
all the important people did smh we did a role call weren't you paying attention
This destruction had been caused by the heavens, not by a person.
pokemon aren't people you silly goose!
 

HelloYellow17

Artsy Whimsical Nerd
Pronouns
She/Her
Partners
  1. suicune
  2. umbreon
*All Might voice* I AM HERE!

Well, The First Golett was a complete surprise—though I should have expected something profoundly unique from you!! And wow I enjoyed this. It was grim, it was heartbreaking, it was eerie, and once again I’m in love with your prose.

I do have to admit that I found myself struggling to visualize where this all took place, though. The beginning had me confused—are they in a village? Is this a new settlement they’re building? Where is Shah right now?

My biggest pitfall, though...is that I don’t know the lore behind Golett and had to look it up. 😅 Of course, that’s on me, not at all on the story! But it did leave me very confused until I did some research afterwards, lol.

That said, I did find myself wondering why it was so important to create Golett in the first place? It’s cool to see some lore as to the how—but knowing the why would make the story even more compelling, I think!

Now for some line-by-lines:

The humans had begun acting differently once they’d started laying their stones and building their wall, so Shah had urged Melichi to be careful. Melichi was not careful, of course, so the humans had captured him, and Shah was quite sure he would never see his warbrother again.
YOOOO what a SOLID opener. I am instantly invested And we know right away that there are some stakes here. I love that you jumped right in and described the scenery and the situation as Shah goes along.
he still found himself blessing his skins for his luck.
I really liked this phrase :D
He gave a silent thanks to the Earth Father that he made it there without being spotted.
And this one! So many lovely hints of lore in a very natural way. (Also this story gives me big eoe vibes, was it perhaps a source of your inspiration?)
He didn’t have time to finish his sentence before the human rushed over the table, swinging his spear wildly at Melichi. The scrafty ducked out of the way, then rushed forward to bash his head into the human. The human tumbled off the table just in time, and Melichi stopped his headbutt halfway through, but inertia carried him another stumbling step forward. The human seized the opportunity to smash the butt of his spear into the side of Melichi’s head. Melichi tumbled to the side, head smacking the stone, and didn’t stir.
I’ll admit I had to read this a couple times to fully understand what was happening. Might just be me, idk. Action scenes are tough!
If he returned without Melichi, they would see him for the coward he was, and it would be all over him.
I think you’re missing a “for” here? “It would be all over for him.”
Melichi, who fought to the end. Melichi, who fought beside me. Melichi, who laughed in the sun. Melichi, who shared all he had with me. With whom I shared everything. May the Earth Father return your body to His. May you become a beautiful tree who gives life. May you rest well, Melichi. I loved you.
Noooooo!! 😭 you only had a few paragraphs, but you wrote grief extremely well. And ugh the guilt Shah was feeling...great job with this.
“It is in pain,” the gothitelle said gravely. “Oh, stars above. It is in so much pain. We have failed again. Human, you must destroy it. Destroy it now.”

Shah heard the human grunt as he lifted the stone and then heard it smack against the table, over and over. He heard pieces of it chip off and fall to the ground, and the human continued cracking it against the table horribly until finally it seemingly shattered. Shah swore he felt Melichi’s body relax
This also confused me. Do the spirits not work if they are in pain? And why was Melichi in pain compared to the other spirits? Was it because of Shah grieving over him?

This was not at all what I expected, and I loved that! I always enjoy stories that take me surprise, and even though I’m a sucker for happy endings, I do love a dark and sinister story when it’s done well—which you’ve done here!
 

kyeugh

onion witch
Staff
Location
the freaking swamp
Pronouns
she/her
Partners
  1. farfetchd-galar
  2. custom/gfetchd-kyeugh
  3. custom/onion-san
  4. farfetchd
thanks for the reviews you guys!! some responses incoming :quag:

thanks a ton for your speedy reviews here! i'm glad you enjoyed this second story; i became less sure and more rushed with these as i went on, so i'm pleased that this one turned out decent. i had a lot of trouble with the pacing on this one, too—probably rewrote the whole thing five or six times, cutting more and more every time, oof—so very nice to hear that it turned out okay in the end. in this one, i really wanted to get into the weirdness i've always felt about the regis where they're like... i don't know how much of this is headcanon and how much of it is actual canon, but i've always had this impression of them as creatures crafted, by regigigas or otherwise, as servants. but they're also dangerous, and people feared them, and they were some of the most alien pokémon around prior to the UBs. seems like a pretty interesting contradiction to me. their existences are pretty weird. glad that the weird dissonance—parseable but not cohabitable, a force of nature but perhaps a tameable one—came through there.
do they carve around the letters to make them raised or do they carve the dots into the stone to make them indented and not braille? why make the letters big enough to span a room, making them so massive that they'd be borderline impossible to read quickly without sight? so many questions
i had no idea the letters were that big, omg. gonna come out and admit that i had to google this prompt, i don't remember any of this lore pretty much at all, oops. 😳

the gesture of leaving ice cream even though it can't be eaten (I think that's also a game reference?)
yes! not sure if this is just an ORAS thing or if it occurs elsewhere, but to summon regigigas you need... a nicknamed regice holding an ice-related item, such as ice cream. it's pretty weird and arbitrary. i wanted to explore why it's uwu special.

"i pray it is ready to receive you" oh yeah this is gonna go great
it is a little embarassing for leǐ that the person who ends up taming the icebringer is like twelve.

I wonder what the line between fearful and docile is--usually I associate docility with being afraid of the consequences, but that might just be a me thing!
i was thinking just subdued/obedient here—any one of the regis could wipe out any given human trivially, but in the end they are creatures designed to follow orders, at least in theory.

Bit of nitpick re: families/babies and one-by-one here--are the families going as family units on the dragons (one family at a time) or are individual members of each family going up one at a time?

Also, draconids???
i was thinking one family at a time, but there's only one dragon being used—so the families are evacuating one-by-one. i was not actually thinking of draconids at the time but that fits really well, maybe i'll edit some stuff in to draw that line more clearly.

also purely nitpicking based on canon that you're totally free to yeet, but do tauros produce milk? normally I see them as an all-male species that cohabitates/maybe reproduces with miltank, but since that's kind of a weird biological dichotomy anyway I can see why this would be yeeted.
that's a good point! i was pretty much just yeeting the all-male thing, yeah. the ice cream leǐ makes here is something that was actually made in ancient china using buffalo milk, and tauros like the best mon for that role.
I feel like this one could be explored a bit further!
that about sums up my feelings as well, lolol. i had to get that sweet sweet second farfetch'd though.

But I'm not quite sure if these knit together in a way that I fully understood; the main catharsis of the story seems to be from knocking Kakunen on his butt and lives being saved by forces beyond our understanding or control.
mm, yeah. i'm not very satisfied with the way it ended up coalescing. i think what i was going for here was, like, vaguely something about how divinity is arbitrary, genuine compassion counts for more than mindless adherence, something about how if the act of caring for others is good then looking after the pokémon is good and thus the responsibility for the death falls on the person restricting that act—idk. very jumbled, haha. mostly stuff just happens. it's nice to know which aspects did shine through despite that, it'll help a lot when i go back and spruce this piece up a bit!

all the important people did smh we did a role call weren't you paying attention
who will cry for the rattata that perished? 😔

pokemon aren't people you silly goose!
not until they're big enough to beat and/or laser your ass to death. :quag:

Overall these three are really fun. I was pretty excited to see where you'd take these prompts and the concept as a whole of different time periods is a neat genesis for an anthology series like these; any chance you'll be doing more?
glad you enjoyed them! i am tempted to do more, although there's so much other stuff i really ought to be writing right now. maybe sometime soon though...!
hey yellow! i was unsure what you would think of this story when i saw you'd rolled it, so i'm glad it seems you mostly enjoyed it. some great catches here, and some very kind words—thanks a lot for your review!

I do have to admit that I found myself struggling to visualize where this all took place, though. The beginning had me confused—are they in a village? Is this a new settlement they’re building? Where is Shah right now?
hmmm, i'll have to look into making this a bit more clear. mapping out physical space is a weakness of mine. the idea is that the humans are inside a village that's partially enclosed by a wall they're in the process of building. shah starts out on top of the wall, hidden behind a battlement.

That said, I did find myself wondering why it was so important to create Golett in the first place? It’s cool to see some lore as to the how—but knowing the why would make the story even more compelling, I think!
to lay stones! the humans are building a huge wall and large buildings out of stone bricks, where they'd only had hide tents before. it's a big undertaking, and they're looking for a little, shall we say, free labor to make it happen.

(Also this story gives me big eoe vibes, was it perhaps a source of your inspiration?)
not really, although i'm interested that you thought so! i really love the way that each viewpoint in eoe feels very distinct, with differing biases and cultural backgrounds, so that probably leaked over a bit here, although i wasn't doing it consciously.

This also confused me. Do the spirits not work if they are in pain? And why was Melichi in pain compared to the other spirits? Was it because of Shah grieving over him?
they do not work if they're in pain, they're too busy being in intense extisential and spiritual anguish to worry about paltry matters like wall construction. :p melichi isn't especially in pain when compared to previous attempts to create a golett—the idea here is that they've tried many times already to create one, and each time they're on the brink of doing so successfully, but the end result is always a tormented monstrosity. playing with the spirits is dangerous stuff, for the spirits being played with anyway. i took a look back at this and it isn't super clear that this is what i was getting at, so i'll have to think a bit about how to make it more obvious.
 

Pen

the cat is mightier than the pen
Staff
Partners
  1. dratini
  2. custom/dratini-pen
  3. custom/dratini-pen2
So, I was 100% sure that I had already reviewed these, but apparently I did so in my mind and then neglected to actually put the words down on virtual paper. So here I am, back to talk about three oneshots I greatly enjoyed.

The First Golett

You had me from the first line on this one. Humans building walls? Yes. This is the content I am here for. On a writing level, I think the first two sentences do a great job establishing the setting, the protagonist, and the stakes rapidly and with minimal fuss. I appreciate how you start the story here at this tipping point moment in time. The balance between humans and pokemon is shifting, but the dust hasn't completely settled yet. Shah's quest provides us with a personal window into this historical turning point. I enjoyed his straight-forward and simple character voice and had fun with the scraggy honor culture and the various idioms around skins. The gothitelle is a sinister character from start and his sinister quality is only emphasized by his mildness. The moment where he says "Stars pity you," fully solidified his menace for me. He recognizes what he's doing to his victims, but abdicates the responsibility of feeling for them. The portrayal of the humans was interesting to me--the individual human we meet feels like a background character and almost bumbling, but it's humans as a collective that is the more looming threat. The slow reveal of the soul-splicing-golette-operation they have going on is delightfully tense. Shah is an ultimately passive narrator, but I didn't mind that. His inaction is a product of numbness and absolute fright and repulsion.

I'm into the theme of how walls create imbalances between peoples, and I see a lot of that here. The initial relationship of the scraggy and humans is one of reciprocality. There's an implicit understanding of inequality. The wall and the golette change that. The wall means the humans can be defended without defending; as the gothitelle points out, the golette means that they can profit from labor, without themselves laboring. I like how the changes here are depicted in both supernatural and mundane forms. Overall, a wonderful nugget of spooky dex-filling speculation!

The scrafty had paid them this same kindness.
I wasn't sure about kindness as the right word to describe this. It seems to be about something more fundamental--a consideration, maybe.

a scrafty who showed cowardice was skinless—as good as dead anyway.
Love the idiom that is rooted in our xenoPOV.

Melichi usually won those unless he was careless… yet carelessness was his wont.
I wasn't sure about wont here. The fic is set in the far past, of course, but the rest of the narrative doesn't seem to be in an archaic style, and wont is a formal word that felt out of place in Shah's personal syntax to me.

Yet Shah still had to do this thing, for his warbrother and his honor.
I like how simply this is stated. It's just a thing that's true.

crossing to the others side was another entirely.
Think there's an extra s here?

He’d known this had been doomed to fail from the start, but now the cold reality was truly setting in for the first time.
I definitely get the sentiment you were going for here, but I wanted a bit sharper of a painting of what the cold reality means here, since he's already recognized this as a suicide mission.

The scene played out clearly in his mind. He’d take the human first, then use his spear to undo Melichi’s bindings, and they’d take the gothitelle down together. It should only take a few good kicks to topple it—they were weak of body. Yes, they could do this.
Nothing like a good old hope spot.

He felt more useless than a molted skin, fouler than an oran left to decay.
Some nice in-POV similes.

It billowed upward idly for a fraction of a second before gliding into the crevice in the stone as if sucked.
Love the verb choice of gliding here. Smoke does not glide, and the word emphasizes the unaturalness of what's occurring.

Melichi’s body was totally mangled, crumpled like a dead spider around the point where the spear had ruined him, his ribcage warped and deformed. His limbs felt bony and emaciated as if he’d been starved, but he’d been here less than a day.
Really vividly gruesome.

If you were worried about right and wrong, human, you would lay your own stones.
A killer line.

—wait.” He fell silent, and Shah’s brain began to prickle. “There is another.”
The tension just skyrockets here. Well done.

“Bind this one, human. I have great faith that the stars have blessed this trial…”
oooof at the repetition of the phrase.


Some extremely minor prose tweak suggestions:

and the moon painted the vast structure with its silver light, giving it an ethereal sheen.
and the moon gave the vast structure an ethereal sheen.

The wall encircled the area and was in various states of completion
The wall encircling the area was in various stages of completion.

He made to slide down the wall into the village when he saw movement in the village below. His heart leaped and he scampered back behind the battlement, straining his eyes against the dark and focusing on where he’d seen the motion below.
Both sentences here end with 'below.' I think that's solved by cutting the second below, the sentence doesn't need it.

Melichi turned to glare at the human. The human made an aggressive gesture and Melichi continued walking forward.
Melichi turned to glare at the human, who made an aggressive gesture.

One scrafty probably couldn’t take down a human and a gothitelle alone, Shah thought, especially not with their hands bound, but perhaps if he came down to help…
but perhaps if he helped . . .(note the correct ellipses, please)

“Silence,” the gothitelle said. “Stars pity you, but it is better that you do not know. Your cooperation will serve us both. You will not like what happens if you struggle. Now, human—bind him to the table.”

He’d as good as failed, whether Melichi was still technically alive or not. Dread beset him.

He had been foolish to hope for a better outcome
I think this would hit me harder without the 'Dread beset him.'


Sealed Away, Alone in the Dark

This is definitely a unique take on the Regis. I didn't expect to walk out of a fic with my mental image of Regice being approximately equal to a baby arctic seal. You pack a lot of internal conflict into this one, with Lei's doubts about his own ability, love for the Icebringer, and regret. But it's the regret of someone who has already made their decision. One moment that hit hard was Lei preparing and offering the special treat. In a true instance of 'it's the thought that counts' he knows that the Icebringer can't eat it, but it's a way for Lei to convey his love.

There were some worldbuilding components that were a little fuzzy for me. Lei's family has been shamans for generations, apparently, but the way the narration describes the Icebringer's actions makes it sound like a recent phenomenon and Lei's conclusion that the Icebringer is like a child one that he came to entirely on his own. Did his ancestors not have to deal with the Icebringer, or does Lei simply have a different perspective than them? When he compares himself to them, I would have expected that to come up.

Where the villagers see a destructive god, Lei sees a child. To the extent that the child has the capacity of a destructive god, the practical difference it makes may only be one of conscience.

Gods of the Brass Tower

Yusss, the best setting with the best legendaries in the best region. I got such a strong sense of atmosphere from this one, even though you don't belabor the description. The focus on the monks doing rolecall and trying to assess the fallout implies the fallout without having to go into it as explicitly. Kosei's one of your vaguely nasty establishment types. I like the way they say "keeping pokemon" like they're discovering an insect in their salad.

This one did feel a bit incomplete--a snippet or vignette more than a oneshot, perhaps. The sentiment against keeping pokemon and Suicune's reaction to Kosei makes me wonder if the divine punishment in this world was rooted in their holding themselves apart from pokemon. Or it could be a more general punishment of the kind of self-centered callousness Kosei shows when he dismisses the deaths of the pokemon.

This one does a great job sketching out an era--would love to read more if you ever get the urge to go back and color in!
 

Persephone

Ace Trainer
Pronouns
her/hers
Partners
  1. mawile
  2. vulpix-alola
Drabble Reviews



The Golett



I loved this one. Definitely see some parallels with Sugi’s krookodile chapter / fic, although I’m not sure which was written first. I’m all for Ancient Pokemon Fic in any case.



Got strong Aztec vibes from this one. Most Mesoamerican wars were fairly bloodless. Killing an enemy was seen as shameful. The strong took their opponent’s alive. Now, this is where a slight divergence comes in as most of the Mexica’s captives did not remain alive. Still, the capture-the-flag style warfare feels fitting for societies that don’t have much in the way of resources.



And I’m always a sucker for xenofic. The scrafty putting so much emphasis on skin and honor makes sense. It’s still cool to see fleshed out, and I like xeno expressions a lot. I like Shah. He’s clearly something of a coward and not the best fighter, making him an outcast in his society. But he still does that which he feels he must. Shame he got stuffed into a clay golem for his troubles.



It’s really cool that it was the gothitelle that invented golett and walls in this story. There’s a running gripe in the fandom about how the Dex must be bullshit because psychic types would’ve taken over if it wasn’t. Seeing them actually do something is cool. And outright evil Pokémon is a fairly rare trope in my experience. It’s cool to see a dynamic where the human is the muscle and the Pokémon is the one with the plan.



I liked the end note and it’s contrast. Juniper talks about it in her detached manner, trying to put poetry over what was actually a really horrific thing to experience. Is that the detachment of time or species?



I don’t really expect answers. I just wanted to say I really liked this entry.



Regice



Look I’m one paragraph in and I already empathize with regice. *Regice.* A Pokémon I’d never really thought much of before.



I love the line about heartfelt goodbyes. Really established that this is more putting down Old Yeller than exorcising a demon.



Realistic depiction of blindness is cool. Most people don’t know that the vast majority of legally blind people can see some things. Of course, for lazy writers like me it’s more interesting to go with total blindness.



And the child metaphors really make this more heartbreaking. The narrator sees it as a child and, potentially, as their own child. You did a lot in a few words here. Fits the spirit of a Drabble thread.



The treat for Regice became sadder when you confirmed it can’t eat it. This is just a bonding activity. One final good memory for best bot?



I thought towards the end that maybe Lěi would be locked in with Regice. Maybe that would reduce the loneliness, having a friend. Maybe it would make it worse when that friend died of exposure right in front of it.



Feels bad, man. Great job.





Burned Tower



“Keizou? . . . Keizou?”



“Bueller? . . . Bueller?”



Kōsei’s just a lovely person, isn’t he? Exactly what I’d want in a religious leader. I bet he’s great at funerals. Turns to the survivors and blames all them for the death. Then he probably charges for it.



Suicune is adorable. Two cute water / ice gods in a row. Intimidates assholes *and* comforts mourners. Best girl. 12/10 would let nuzzle. Deserves all the scritches.



And I love how Kōsei gets rebuked by the gods twice. Once when they burn his tower, once when they resurrect the Pokémon of someone he’d just chewed out.
 

aer

Bug Catcher
Pronouns
he/they
Shadows Cast by Time

This was pretty fun to read! I loved the role of the gothitelle as one of the ancients in charge of the ritual, and the human assistant. I also enjoyed the repeated references to skins and skinless cowards and scraggy culture.
All he could do was crawl over to the body that had been Melich and cradle it and weep over it silently.
Melich should be Melichi
“Damn it,” the human growled. “This is taking too long. And… it is wrong. We have wasted so many souls.”

“Wrong?” the gothitelle repeated. “If you were worried about right and wrong, human, you would lay your own stones. You chose a different path, and there is a price to pay for that. You knew this when you asked for my help in this. I would not—wait.” He fell silent, and Shah’s brain began to prickle. “There is another.”
This sure sounds like an argument they've had before...
It hurt like the wrath of the Storm Twins, yet he was wholly unable to resist.
Not sure what this was a reference to. There's a lot of other scrafty worldbuilding that's quite intuitive, it's just this, which seems like to a reference to an unmentioned legend. It's a little disappointing to have it appear so late in the game as only a vague allusion.
Once they made it inside, the human dumped Shah onto the stone floor, and he was unable to get up or fight or do anything but lay prostrated there before the gothitelle, body racked by silent sobs.
Probably better to split into two sentences.
The stars have cursed you to lead you to this place of undeath, where my Shadow Tag precludes your escape. But they have blessed me.
This is insanely cool, a great finishing line and reference to the gothitelle's ability.
It appears the stone must be broken for a soul to inhabit it—the golett and spiritomb constructed by the ancients have this in common. This may be related somehow to the structural imperfections which exist in all viable mega stones, as observed by my colleague Dr. Sycamore. The reason for this remains a mystery, although—forgive me for waxing poetic—it is oddly fitting that the souls of the departed can only take up residence in a broken vessel…
Though I'm not sure enslaving golett made out of creatures tortured to undeath in a trial that failed many times already would be necessarily more efficient than just enslaving the creatures. I guess that's why goletts never really took off!
 
2022 Anniversary Bingo Fills New

kyeugh

onion witch
Staff
Location
the freaking swamp
Pronouns
she/her
Partners
  1. farfetchd-galar
  2. custom/gfetchd-kyeugh
  3. custom/onion-san
  4. farfetchd
2022 Bingo Fills
i didn't proofread this or anything before posting so if you're reading this before i get around to editing: sorry.



The Name Not Theirs to Take

The wind batters a tent erected against the steps of the Snowpoint Temple. A young boy within snuggles his mother against the cold Alabaster night. She strokes his golden hair.

"I don't get why they should get to call themselves Celestica when they're not," Volo grumbles. The mother breathes deeply.

"Celestica," she says. "Do you know the meaning of that word?"

"It's us," Volo says.

"No. It means 'the chosen people of Sinnoh.' We thought it was us, once. And we were wrong."

"How could it be them instead? They're outsiders."

"As were we once," the mother says. "All humans are outsiders to this world of pokémon. We had our time to serve Sinnoh, and he rejected us. Now it is their time to serve, and our time to be silent, and watch. And right this moment," she said, tapping his nose, "it is your time to be silent especially. It is late. Go to sleep, my starly."

Despite a grumbling protest, he rolls out of her embrace and wiggled into his sleeping skin. The air is too cold, and the ground is too hard. He wishes they could sleep in the comfortable quarters of the temple instead, but he knows he can't set foot there; it would anger the almighty Sinnoh, the elders say. The temple they had constructed for him lays empty, no longer theirs to use.

He squirms in place. No one can ever explain to Volo what they had done wrong to deserve this, only that they must continue doing right.

On some nights, this one included, he wonders if Sinnoh had chosen the wrong people, or if his people had simply chosen the wrong god. The blasphemous thought quickens his pulse, and he counts his heartbeats until they slow and he falls into slumber.



The Fool and the Sword

Your brother called you a fool for taking this risk. The barrow is a cursed place about a half day's hike away; by the time you get there, conduct your search, and return, dusk will likely have fallen. And you know all too well the risks of being caught alone outside at dusk.

But you are tired of cowering in your home at night, waiting for the sun to return. The ghost king will not rule your life anymore. And if you're right about this, you won't have to cower ever again, least of all on your trip home.

The sun has just begun its descent when you arrive. The barrow is an overgrown mound, gnarled roots covering its surface. If not for the stele marking the location, you might have mistaken it for a hill. Time has worn the writing on the stele away, but it still serves its purpose as a landmark.

You grab your shovel and get to work. The sun beats down, and within an hour your shirt is drenched. You try to focus on the physical sensation of the hard labor, but it does little to stave off the creeping dread that perhaps your brother was right.

Then you hear a shrill, almost devious voice in your head. "Hello, traveler. How would you like a brand new, world class sword? Free of charge."

The legends were true. You were right. You dig feverishly in within a few moments you uncover the rusted scabbard. You wrest it from the ground, place it in your lap, and give yourself a moment to rest. You can afford it now; you don't fear the dusk anymore.

"I think will be a wonderful partnership," the sword says to you. "Don't you want to draw me? See my blade?"

"Quiet, sword," you tell it. "There will be plenty of time for drawing later."

When you kill the ghost king.

- - -​

The sword makes a gobbling sound in your head as it slurps the ghost king out of existence. Its violet energy is sucked from its keystone, and then it's gone entirely. The keystone shatters, and it's done. Vanquished.

You let out a ragged breath. You hear cheering distantly, see the other villagers flowing out of their homes, lighting bonfires, their fear of the night gone. You want to revel in it. You're a hero. But it's hard to concentrate on anything over the gurgling noises in your mind.

You pull yourself away from the celebratory throng, into the forest. You turn the sword over in your hand and with great effort drive it into the ground. It cuts through the earth like butter and stands erect there. "Thank you for your help," you say, "but my work is done and I have no more use for a sword. Our partnership ends here."

You start to walk away, but you feel something grab your wrist. It's the purple ribbon tied to the sword's hilt. Thinking you must have wrapped yourself up in it by mistake, you tug on it, but it just tightens its grip.

"Oh, I don't think so," the sword says in your mind, and you recoil at the terrible sound of its chuckle, like metal scraping metal. You pull and pull, but its tight grip does not relent, and neither does its laugh. The sound haunts you forever.



The Tundra King

"You have done well, General," the king of Galar said from atop his rapidash, his armor clinking with each step the horse took. "Rest assured you will be rewarded handsomely for your contributions to the kingdom, should all go well today."

The general beside him smiled smugly. It had been his idea to ambush the so-called "tundra king's" retinue and surround it. They had spent the last few weeks waiting patiently as the tundra king's supplies drained. Today was the day they finally struck.

"Everything I do," the general said, "I do for the glory of the kingdom, my lord."

"I will just be relieved to be rid of this insipid rebellion," the king said. Then he spurred his horse onward, the thundering of a charging army at his back.

- - -​

A blade clipped the general's arm, and his blood spilled onto green that should not have been there. Closed into the desolate plain for weeks, the tundra people had created a oasis where there had been nothing. The general strafed back, clapping his hand over his wound and applying pressure. Things were not going well. At least the king had retreated early, safe behind rows of his soldiers.

There was clamor behind him. The general disengaged, and fortunately his opponent was quickly swept up in a duel with some other soldier. He whipped around to see the sea of soldiers parting for a galloping rapidash, the king of Galar on its back. "My lord!" the general cried. "Get back to safety! It's too danger—"

The king jerked his head toward the general and met his gaze. His eyes were shining white, his jaw slightly slack. He leapt off his horse, and the impossible vegetation rose to meet him. It enveloped his feet, his ankles, wrapped up his legs, entombed him. Wrapped in a tornado of leaves, he towered upward. The general cowered, barely deflecting incoming blows as he stumbled backward.

A voice that was not his own boomed from the king's lips. The battle froze to hear him speak: "THE PEOPLE OF THE TUNDRA BOW TO NO KING BUT ME. LET THIS BE A LESSON." And before the general could react, the king was totally overtaken by vegetation, the glow of his eyes disappearing last. Then the column of green collapsed, and the king was gone.

The general caught a glimpse of a massive crown held up by a gracile, floating body; then the battle resumed, and he became lost in it.
 

Panoramic_Vacuum

Hoenn around
Partners
  1. aggron
  2. lairon
A Name Not Theirs is actually quite topical, as I just finished Volo's battle in PLA tonight. I found it really interesting how in the game, Volo talked about creating a new world free of struggles. He wants to meet Arceus to use its power (not ask for help), but also has pledged himself to Giratina and appears to be taken by it as his chosen deity instead. You capture this battle between injustice and uncertainty that surrounds Volo from a young age, and I can see that fueling his mission in his adult life. There's a softness to it that works well to have us sympathize with Volo and his ambitions.

The Fool and the Sword Mm second person here we go! Love fics about Honedge as a cursed blade that takes advantage of unsuspecting humans. The way that ghost pokemon can toy with and feed on people's emotions is :okgon: I don't think I was expecting Spiritomb as the ghost king, but any kind of ghost type definitely can drive humans into fear and cowering. The twist at the end is expected, but no less chilling, and I think the beginning of the fic does an excellent job of setting up the end. I was quickly invested in the MC's quest, and the visceral nature of the labor it took to achieve their goal vs the matter-of-fact way it simply. Ended. And not the way they wanted. Good stuff.

The Tundra King ohh Calyrex fic! I admit I know next to nothing about the Crown Tundra, so this supposed history of some kind of struggle between humans and Calyrex's domain is really interesting. Of course messing with psychic types is going to end poorly, and I love the impressive way in which Calyrex asserts its dominance. It gives me Night King/white walker vibes from the early season, when they were this powerful, unstoppable enigma, almost like they were a force of nature.

Great stuff, and great job getting these done in a short amount of time!
 
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