I'll admit I'm a little nervous about posting this fanfic. I've been writing it for almost a year and recently been submitting it to fanfiction(dot)net (in case anyone recognises it. It's me. DeliriousAbsol. Please don't worry)
When I realised there was a fanfiction section to this forum I thought 'why not'. Then got nervous and read the rules. Twice. The second time was more of a skim really.
Anyway, I'm rambling. I'll tell you a bit about this fanfiction then just let you read chapter one.
Edit - I've finished writing this story now. All 70 chapters are now uploaded! Also, on my FFnet account, is a series of one-shots that provide character background. (If you want to read them, fair warning they contain spoilers!) If there is enough demand, I shall also post them to this forum.
Blurb - In a world ravaged by war started by a wicked Hydreigon, the Pokemon have been split into three groups - Outcasts, Heretics and Darkness. Two members of the Outcasts Guild - a Meowstic called Cleo and her small Dedenne companion Spark - stumble upon an odd discovery. Something that sparks a little hope amongst the Outcasts. The hope that one day, the Darkness just might be defeated and Pokemon can live in peace once more.
However, this discovery sets two assassins - an androgynous Zorua named Harlequin and a joker of a Banette named Enigma - after Cleo and her friends. What unfolds next is a roller-coaster of events that throw our heroes right into the epic battle between good and evil.
Warnings - there is a little violence and gore in this story. Also, one of the characters has a back history of abuse but I do not write such things in detail. I would personally rate this T for Teen.
Disclaimer - I do NOT own Pokemon or any of its critters!
1 – A World Shrouded in Darkness
Barely a sound rose from the shadows cast by the trees as the setting sun stretched its dwindling rays through the canopy of the Winding Woods. Cleo trudged through the undergrowth, keeping her wits about her as any sensible Meowstic should, making as little noise as the rest of the wood's inhabitants – which were few and far between.
“Argh.” The quiet groan came from the fur about her neck, followed by the head of a small Dedenne. “I'd give my whiskers for a berry.”
“It's not far now,” said Cleo. “We'll be at the Guild before sundown.”
“My poor stomach worries you might be wrong.”
“Your poor stomach will just have to trust me.”
Cleo tapped the satchel at her side, briefly considering pulling out her map then deciding against it. If she stopped and distracted herself, they'd be easy prey. Dark Pokemon often lay in waiting to take out any of the Outcasts who thought it a good idea to wander at night. Granted it wasn't night yet, but the woods were pretty dark and she wasn't willing to take any risks that could put her or Spark in danger.
“Oh! Oh!” Spark covered her mouth with both paws, alarmed at the volume of her own voice, and after a quick look over her shoulder, pointed at the trees ahead. “I see light.”
“Great.” Cleo gave a half smile. “But your over-excitement has attracted some unwanted guests.”
They looked up slowly into the grinning faces of three Weavile crouching amongst the branches.
“I spy with my little eye,” crooned one of them, “two sitting Duckletts.”
Spark growled and shook her tiny fist. “I have you know I'm hungry. And I'm not nice when I'm hungry. So get down here so I can kick your tails all the way back to the Shadowlands!”
“Big words from such a tiny squirt of a rodent.”
The other two Weavile burst into fits of laughter.
“What did you call me?!” The Dedenne shot from Cleo's shoulder and landed a foot in front of her, stretching herself up to her full five inches of height. “Are you making fun of my size?!”
The Weavile's laughter echoed through the branches as they continued to throw jeers at the Dedenne.
Cleo took a step back, not from the Weavile, but because she knew full well what was going to follow next. The overconfident smirks on their wicked faces were wiped clean as a flash of electricity shot from Spark's body and sent all three Weavile dropping from the branches to the damp woodland floor. Their bodies jerked for a moment as static danced across their fur.
Spark crossed her arms. “Who's laughing now?”
Cleo moved to her side and looked down at the fallen Pokemon.
“You could have gone a little easier on them,” she said.
“That would have taken effort,” said Spark. “And I'm already hungry as it is.”
Cleo sighed. “Well, we might not be able to milk them for information but at least we can see what they have on them.”
“I'm already on it.” Spark's tail poked out of the lead Weavile's bag. “No berries though. Darn.”
“Oh there's plenty of that!” The little Dedenne pushed as much loot out of the bag as she could for Cleo to collect before vanishing back inside. She popped out again quickly, holding a small glass tube in her hands. “What's this though?”
Cleo took it and turned it around in her paws. It had a cork stopper forced firmly in place, but what it had inside looked like pink liquid.
“Is it Pecha Juice?” Spark asked.
“Why would they juice it?” Cleo shrugged and stuffed it in her bag. “We can ask at the Guild. I think we've got enough, let's move on before any more of their gang arrive.”
Spark leapt back onto the Meowstic's shoulder and they moved through the trees, picking up pace to reach the light before it faded with the setting sun.
As they left the woods, the dwindling light was almost blinding after the darkness of the trees. They blinked a few times as they focused on their surroundings. Before them lay a stretch of grass that ended at a low stone wall. Beyond that was a little wooden town, the likes of those built quickly by Outcasts who were always on the run in an attempt to reach safety.
These little wooden towns were rarely inhabited for more than a season or two, and needed to be built up quickly over a short period of time. As such they were often flimsy and made of anything that can be found quickly and cheaply, but preferably free. Near woods was the best place to erect them, however that also meant they were easy targets for any Dark Pokemon that may be lurking nearby.
Cleo quickly vaulted the wall and trotted along the dirt path that ran through the rickety little town. It was quiet, only a handful Pokemon left outside. A Meinshao cut in front of her, walking with the confidence and posture of a member of the Night Watch.
“What business do you have?” He asked firmly.
“We're looking for the Guild,” she explained, gesturing to the sun-shaped badge on her bag. “We're members.”
Spark poked out her head. “Yes, we. Where is it?”
“Oh.” The Meinshao seemed a little taken aback. “It's the large building over there.” He pointed behind him. “You can't miss it.”
“Thank you.” Spark retreated back into Cleo's fur.
“By the way.” Cleo nodded back to the woods. “We ran into three Weavile. You may want to take them into custody, but be careful. There may be more of them.”
The Meinshao's eyes widened and he nodded his understanding before returning to his allies.
The Guild Hall stood tall and proud amongst its hastily built surroundings, the Outcasts obviously taking more pride in its appearance. Guild buildings existed in every Outcast town to accommodate its travelling members and to look after those in the town who were struggling or unable to care for themselves.
Cleo flashed her badge at the Combusken on the door and went inside.
“Ahh, Cleo!” A Riolu ran over to her and took her paw, giving it a firm shake. “I thought you might arrive today.”
“Oh, Tinker...” Cleo snatched her paw back. “What are you-”
“We're just starting the evening meal if you wish to join us?”
“Yes!” Spark shot from Cleo's shoulder and followed a stream of Pokemon into the dining hall.
“Please excuse her,” Cleo told him. “Food has been a little scarce over the past few days.”
“That is a growing problem now the cold season is closing in.” Tinker scratched his nose. “Be sure to take some supplies with you before you go rushing off again.”
They joined the other Pokemon in the dinner hall, which was bustling with Guild members and local Pokemon of all shapes and sizes. Voices filled the air in a blend of friendly discussions, news and requests for various food. A large table filled the middle of the room holding a vibrant spread of berries, apples and dried meat. Spark perched on a log stool between an elegant Furret and a friendly-looking Snubbull, tucking into a plate of berries.
Cleo and Tinker sat down on the other side of the Furret.
“So, Cleo.” Tinker poured her a glass of berry juice. “What adventures have you been getting up to since I saw you last?”
“Just rounding up rebels and helping Pokemon when I'm needed.” She piled a plate with dried fish and tucked in. She would have to wait until they were out of the dining hall before she mentioned the Weavile, otherwise she risked getting the other Pokemon into an uproar.
“Staying out of trouble then?”
Cleo shot him a sideways glance. “I don't make a habit of running head first into danger you know.”
“I'm sorry, Ma'am, but you're the only Pokemon I know who would run blindly into a crowd of Dark Pokemon to get at their leader for the sake of a bounty.”
“It's not just the bounty,” she said flatly. “They're more willing to talk when you take their leader out.”
“They're also more likely to riot.”
Cleo snorted and took a swig of her berry juice.
“Sorry for being a worrier,” he went on, “But you're one of the best warriors the Guild has to offer, if not the best, yet you're so unwilling to take any extra help with you except your oddly small comrade.”
Cleo almost choked on her juice. She snapped to look round at Spark. Luckily the Dedenne hadn't heard Tinker's words, too occupied with filling herself full of Oran berries.
“Spark's a great ally,” she told him. “She's perfectly capable of watching her own back as well as mine. I never have to carry her in a battle and she never has to carry me. We're the perfect team. Any one else would just be a burden.”
“Because you'd have to worry about them?”
Cleo said nothing, instead stuffing dried fish in her mouth.
“Well I can't make you take another partner.” The Riolu shrugged. “However, I can offer you a room for the night, or longer if you wish.”
“Just the one is fine. We're on our way back to New City.”
“Very well.” Tinker finished his juice and stood up. “I'll meet you in my office when you're ready.”
Cleo picked up her empty plate and stood up, depositing it on a shelf and following the Riolu from the room.
His office was situated at the back of the building. A long desk stretched across the back wall, adorned with various nicknacks that probably had many uses that one wouldn't expect. Another door stood aside from the table with 'keep out' painted on it in bright red letters. Papers lay strewn over tables and the floor, etched with writing and elaborate diagrams that Cleo didn't care to examine too closely. She tiptoed around them to join Tinker who had taken a chair by his desk, flicking through some paperwork.
“You ran into some trouble on the way here, didn't you?” He asked.
“Yes. How could you tell?”
“I have a note here that says the Night Watch has gathered three Weavile from the woods.”
“Ahh.” Cleo nodded. “I was going to mention that. I was worried there may be more.”
“Did you get any information off them?”
“No.” She rummaged through her bag and pulled out the glass tube. “Spark found this in the boss's bag, however.”
Tinker took it and sat back in his chair, turning it in his paw. His eyes scanned over it, the right one not focusing like the other. Cleo was aware it was a fake, but she'd never asked how he'd ended up with it.
“Suspicious?” She asked.
“I don't know. I'll examine it later.” He dropped it on the table and picked up a small brown pouch. “Those Weavile did have a bounty on their heads. I am obligated to give it to you.”
He tossed the pouch and Cleo caught it. “I had no idea.”
“Yes, they've been terrorizing some of the inhabitants of this town, causing them to move three times in one season. We've taken them into the Guild for safety but... they'll be pleased to know that gang will be gone before dawn.”
Cleo didn't desire to know what the Night Watch would do with the Weavile. She pushed the thought to the back of her mind and stuffed the pouch into her bag.
“Do you know if they've managed to get any information out of them?”
“Not as of yet. Its probably another army sent to extend the reign of Darkness and gain more territory. However, they'll be sure to tell me, and when they do I'll let you know.” He glanced at her. “Provided you'll use it wisely.”
“Always.” She sighed. “I think I'm going to call it a night. I'll see you in the morning, if our paths cross.”
“Very well. Good night.”
Cleo left his office and poked her head back into the dining hall. Spark sat back on the log stool with a paw over her stomach looking fully satisfied with her meal. Cleo caught her eye and the Dedenne climbed to her feet and dragged herself out of the dining hall.
“That was a great meal,” she said with a yawn. “ A good sleep is what I need now!”
A flight of stairs led up to a chamber of small rooms, each one with a bed of fresh hay. Cleo had split it into two for her and Spark. The Dedenne had fallen asleep no sooner had her head touched the hay, but Cleo lay on her back staring at a large map. She'd marked on it the various places they'd travelled, shading in black the places taken over by the Hydreigon. Several cities, towns and islands had red crosses through them – neither under the rule of Darkness nor safe for the Outcasts to retreat to.
Large areas of black consumed the entire northern portion of the map, covering a large continent and taking over a third of the west. This had been named the Shadowlands, a large area that lay under the Hydreigons' rule, inhabited by dark and dragon Pokemon and unsafe for anyone not in their ranks to step foot on. Purple covered the lower part of the west, and large chunks of the south, leaking into the eastern regions. These marked the Heretics, a fanatical group who lived so much in fear of Hydreigon they practically worshipped the Darkness, trying anything they could to appease them in exchange for their lives. They were almost as bad as the Darkness themselves if they were to cross paths with the Outcasts and were better off left completely alone.
The rest of the map showed which areas were still safe for the Outcasts. Cleo's eyes fell to an area in the east, a two day walk from where they were now. She hadn't marked it for fear of her map falling into enemy hands, but she knew well enough where it was – New City, the safest place for Outcasts. A secret city hidden underground, known only to those in the Guild and the Pokemon that inhabited it.
She sighed and folded her map, sliding it back into her satchel, then fell onto her back and stared at the ceiling. One thing was bothering her. Why were those Weavile in the woods? They'd apparently caused the Pokemon in this town to move several times, so they could have been planning another attack. Yet there were only three of them. Against the Night Watch and the Guild's warriors, they wouldn't have stood a chance. This meant they were either alone and the Pokemon here weren't their target, or there were more of them waiting somewhere. Maybe they were waiting for reinforcements? Whatever the case, she feared the Outcasts here were in a lot of danger.
This little town may soon end up being nothing more than another red cross on her map.