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Thread: Demon's Hand

  1. #1
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    Well, here it is, my fanfic. We'll see if I can bear to make this last past the Prologue and first chapter, or if I'll quit and restart or never go on again. I'm aware of the cheesiness and clichéness, but.... I just don't know how to make it better. Please give me your advice, as I need it and will accept anything you tell me. And don't worry, the first chapter is much longer than the prologue. Well, I now present to you....

    Demon's Hand


    Prologue


    It was that scent. The scent that drove creatures to a panic and made his soft, white hair rise and his blood-red eyes open wide with terror. He thought he could distinctly make out, on about three mountains away, a dark shapeless mass. He turned his head around, only to see a small village where smoke rose from fires and people scurried about, fulfilling their daily needs. He turned his attention toward the shapeless mass of black again. It would not come for perhaps a few more weeks, but it would come in due time. He once more looked back at the tiny village as his mind was clouded with thoughts and uncertainty.

    Humans, he thought disdainfully. They were the creatures that moved from place to place, chopping down trees and moving Pokemon out of their homes. They killed Pokemon in large numbers and dug up the earth of the mountains to re-shape them. They were not to be trusted, nor for any Pokemon to try and associate with. The Pokémon themselves would be all right without his warning, for they were more acutely tuned-in with nature than the humans were. No, the men would need someone to warn them, for they were hopeless on their own. The creature snorted. He looked back at the mass slowly creeping its way down the mountain, its scent gone now that the breeze had died down. Pity and fear crept into his heart as he decided that they should be spared, for no creature, no matter how terrible, could deserve a fate such as one that was about to come.

    He picked his way down the peak of granite until only about three meters were left, then he dropped to the ground and sped at full flight underneath the trees and towards the human village. The heads of many Pokemon turned as he raced past them, almost stumbling over small plants and knocking into trees. Before long, the trees started to thin out and he caught glimpses of people. He sprang into the air, soaring over the treetops for a few seconds before he landed on a small wooden roof of a human home. The people below him had looks of astonishment and, to a small extent, fear on their stark-white faces.
    He panted for about moment, but in a short time, two wolf-like creatures came running through the village until they stood directly below him, snarling as the jet-black hair on their backs bristled with their rage at the outsider. It struck him as somewhat odd to see Pokemon living in a human village, he but wasted no time in considering that matter.

    His breath regained, he raised his head skyward to tell the people of the coming danger, of the horrific nightmare that had become a reality to kill and destroy them all, and their need to escape from the place to escape the dreaded monster that hungered for the flesh of all living things. He expected to see them running around, trying to flee from their homes, but they stood staring at him. Puzzled, he stared at the blank faces, not understanding why they didn't run.

    He was jerked into attention as a stick came whizzing by, faster than any Pokemon could fly. He saw men raising curved pieces of wood with strings connecting the ends and firing dangerously sharp sticks at him. He had seen those before, it was what the human-creatures used to hunt and kill. He ran along the rooftop and leaped to the next one. Leaping from roof-to-roof, he escaped the human village, with the sharp-stick-weapons whizzing by him as he leaped from the last rooftop onto the ground, and into the forest, not stopping until the sounds of the village were far behind him. The great black-and-grey Pokemon had stopped at the edge of the woods and stood watching him run away, their lips curved into a feral snarl. They did not believe what he had said; he was an outsider, why should they believe him? Besides, what he had said was so ridiculous--no creature alone could eat all living things.

    The Pokémon lay down by some small bushes, and took a moment to regain his breath. The humans would not listen to him, and had doomed their race to a demise even they didn't deserve. Standing up again, he walked down the mountain, the gurgles of a stream in early spring clear in his ears.

    So be it, he thought. If they wouldn't listen to him, perhaps he could find some other creatures that would before they would find out themselves. His black tail sticking upright, he weaved through the trees, the pads of his soft, paws making no noise on the grassy forest floor.
    Last edited by starliteevee; 10th July 2011 at 11:21 PM.


    My fic, Drowning.
    Cye of the Torrent is my bishie.
    Credit to Sketchie of Coronet Designs

  2. #2
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    Hmm interesting prologue. You have set this story up with just enough detail to encapture the audience yet you still have kept it simple enough to branch out in many ways. I am liking the short intro I am guessing it was an absol the disaster pokemon?

    Please keep at this despite what anyone else may say don't be so unsure of yourself just go with it!
    [IMG]http://i47.*******.com/291z3g7.jpg[/IMG]

  3. #3
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    Humans, the thought disdainfully.
    You're missing a word.

    His breath re-gained,
    Regained is one word.

    Yet as he looked back at the mass slowly creeping -- its scent gone now that the breeze had died down -- its way down the mountain and soon, he assumed, across other mountains, he decided that they should be spared, for no creature, no matter how terrible, could deserve a fate such as one that was about to come.
    This really needs to be tweaked; it's difficult t read. The dashes are way too strong for this sentence, for example. Likewise, it might be best to break it up into two sentences instead of one long one.

    and had doomed their race to a demise even [/i]they[i] didn't deserve.
    Reverse italics tags.

    It's okay. I can't deny your description progress; I can tell you put a lot of effort into describing a lush scene while keeping the main character mysterious (even though I'm sure most of us know it's an absol =P). The problem lies in that you tend to repeat your descriptors over and over that it gets a tad annoying to see. Color imagery, for instance, is something you repeat constantly for the absol character; we get that it has white paws and blood-red eyes. Likewise, you really have to be careful with color description language. Why use "ebony-black" when "black" or "ebony" suffices? Why even go into the extreme lengths of color descriptors anyway?

    And while you put a lot of effort into your description, your actual narrative seemed to be pushed back; all we're really reading is description. We don't get a real sense of you as a writer or your writing style nor do we actually seem to be reading from your character's perspective. I particularly liked that the description around the humans shooting at him with the arrows seemed to be influenced by the perspective being from the absol, but the rest of the description was really ... well, to be frank, flat. It's not bad, it's just ... I don't get a sense of anything but pretty description. I think if you were more in-tune with your absol character and described it more from his perspective, it would completely change it up from "good basic blocks of description" to "good basic blocks of description with a nice, interesting kick."

    It's a little too early to judge in terms of character and plot, but you did set it up nicely for the most part. The absol character and the human's reaction to it was foreseeable, but that's because it's an absol. =P

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Breezy View Post
    You're missing a word.
    Woops, I actually accidentally added a letter. (Woo, alliteration!)

    It's okay. I can't deny your description progress; I can tell you put a lot of effort into describing a lush scene while keeping the main character mysterious (even though I'm sure most of us know it's an absol =P). The problem lies in that you tend to repeat your descriptors over and over that it gets a tad annoying to see. Color imagery, for instance, is something you repeat constantly for the absol character; we get that it has white paws and blood-red eyes. Likewise, you really have to be careful with color description language. Why use "ebony-black" when "black" or "ebony" suffices? Why even go into the extreme lengths of color descriptors anyway?

    And while you put a lot of effort into your description, your actual narrative seemed to be pushed back; all we're really reading is description. We don't get a real sense of you as a writer or your writing style nor do we actually seem to be reading from your character's perspective. I particularly liked that the description around the humans shooting at him with the arrows seemed to be influenced by the perspective being from the absol, but the rest of the description was really ... well, to be frank, flat. It's not bad, it's just ... I don't get a sense of anything but pretty description. I think if you were more in-tune with your absol character and described it more from his perspective, it would completely change it up from "good basic blocks of description" to "good basic blocks of description with a nice, interesting kick."

    It's a little too early to judge in terms of character and plot, but you did set it up nicely for the most part. The absol character and the human's reaction to it was foreseeable, but that's because it's an absol. =P
    Thank you, thank you so much! and yeah, you guys are right, it is an Absol :P I don't know why, but it just didn't seem right to say it outright, so I only alluded to it. I've been worrying about the 'too much description' part, and actually copped out a lot of description in some other things I've worked on ^_^ I think I'll work on this before I try to put up my first chapter (as that's already completed, and has been for a while), so thanks again!

    Quote Originally Posted by ScytheSwipe
    Hmm interesting prologue. You have set this story up with just enough detail to encapture the audience yet you still have kept it simple enough to branch out in many ways. I am liking the short intro I am guessing it was an absol the disaster pokemon?

    Please keep at this despite what anyone else may say don't be so unsure of yourself just go with it!
    Thank you! Yes, absol is the Pokemon, and thanks so much for your words of encouragement. I'll keep trying my best before I hit a wall

    Also, Breezy, just out of curiosity: I've noticed that on all my works I post, you review them. I've only put up three, so it's not that big of a deal, just something I've noticed. Any particular reason as to why?


    My fic, Drowning.
    Cye of the Torrent is my bishie.
    Credit to Sketchie of Coronet Designs

  5. #5
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    Chapter 1


    The black night was still and quiet, with only the occasional caw of a Murkrow penetrating the peaceful silence on the mountain. The light of stars shone on the small village where people lay sleeping in the little log houses. The work was done for the day, and people took their rest as they awaited the coming of dawn to begin their work again.

    Riika slowly opened her eyes, blinking a few times through the inky blackness as she tried to see. She sat up and scratched her head, dandruff falling like snowflakes as her fingernails drew across her scalp. Rubbing her ivory-white face, she slipped out from under her furs, trying to not disturb her younger sister that was snuggled next to her. Surveying her family, who lay huddled together under furs and blankets, Riika saw the same expression on each face: an uneasiness, with small frowns slanting over their faces as their eyelids twitched and their hands clenched and unclenched. Bringing her gaze away from them, the girl walked over the dirt to where the door to their house was, and pushed it open. She stepped out into the crisp night air, closing the door behind her as softly as she could.

    The night seemed so tranquil and peaceful, the air was still and the stars above twinkled as they stretched their little fingers of light down on the mountain. Everything seemed to be at ease, yet even as Riika stood there, she felt a disturbance growing inside her. She had this horrible feeling of dread that made her want to run away and not ever stop. This was what had awoken her, for she had been feeling this way for over two weeks, and now the feeling had reached such an intensity that she was no longer even able to sleep. She knew she wasn't the only one who felt this either; people in her village were talking about it everyday since they had first started to feel it. Nobody knew what it was or why it started, but every day the feeling intensified and grew stronger. Sometimes, the people would talk about leaving the mountain to settle and find a new life elsewhere.

    Riika sat down on the dirt next to a furry black mass, and reached a short arm over to scratch it. A pair of pointed ears perked up, and a large head was raised. Sulfur-yellow eyes blinking lazily, Hiken yawned as he stood and stretched his limbs. He nuzzled the other Mightyena with his grey snout, dampening his fur with his moist cherry-red nose. As soon as both creatures were fully awake, they sat down next to Riika, licking her pale hands with their slobbery pink tongues. The girl petted them and scratched them affectionately, but her mind was elsewhere, and she hardly paid attention to what she was doing.

    Two months. It had been two months since her father and other men of her tribe had left for a hunting trip. It was spring, and their trip was likely to be successful, yet there had been no sign of them since they had departed the peaceful mountain for the lowlands. They had only planned on being gone for three weeks.

    Most people had accepted the fact that they had been killed, and a long funeral ceremony was performed for the men that were gone. Yet, as reasonable as it was, Riika didn't want to believe that. She had always thought of her father as a strong warrior, able to take down any foe he encountered. When he was with several more men who were of equal or greater skill than he, she had pictured their force as being nearly unstoppable. Although, as a girl of seventeen years who had spent her entire life on the same mountain, she didn't know anything of the Pokemon that lived down in the flat lands. She hadn't pictured them as being much different from mountain-dwellers, or any stronger. However, deep down inside her, she knew that there was the possibility that there could be some creature so great and terrible that could be stronger than all of her tribe.

    Riika sighed and stood up, as did her canine-like companions. She turned to go back inside her house, though the chance of her getting any sleep this tense night seemed slim. Con and Hiken watched her, their tails waving back and forth in a way of bidding her good night. Suddenly, Hiken's tail stopped wagging, and his eyes opened to their fullest extent. Every part of his body had gone rigid, as if he were made of stone. Only his hairs wavered as a slight breeze blew. Riika and Con went rigid too, as their eyes went wide with terror and Riika's limbs shook from fright.

    No... The one word was the only thought in Riika's mind, the rest was just a mix of feelings of terror and despair, mixed with hopelessness and, to almost a small extent, understanding. She now knew the reason why her father and the other men had never returned. Somehow, she knew what was coming, though she had never smelled the scent that that breeze had delivered to her. As if, by instinct, she knew the dreadful creature that lurked out of sight, just over the top of the mountain. Suddenly, as clear as it was the day it had happened, she remembered seeing the large, white Absol standing on the roof of a village house, barking out a warning that her Mightyena did not believe. She had not believed it either, once they had told her what had been said, but now she knew that the Absol was right. She realized that all of her tribe should have left the village a long time ago, so that they may continue to live instead of dying in this uncomely fashion.

    A duo of tears sprang to and leaked out of Riika's eyes, reflecting the stars twinkling above the trio on this moonless night. She felt as if her bones were locked in place, that she couldn't move, no matter how much she might have wanted to.

    Like a monster coming alive from the worst nightmare, like the incarnation of evil, terror, and tyranny, a great creature loomed over the mountaintop, a black shape silhouetted by the navy sky and its glimmering asters. Riika drew in a sharp breath of horror as fear lanced through her body, numbing her senses and filling every cell with the horrible, awful feeling of dread.

    She could make out one large part of a body, with three enormous legs protruding from each side. There was a smaller part, which she assumed was a head, with a great horn pointing to the sky from the top of it. It was too dark to tell what color it was, but not too dark to make out the eyes. Its eyes were like two giant eggs, each three times the size of a house, and milky white, as if the creature was blind.

    It emitted a horrible, ear-shattering shriek from the mouth kept between its two pincers. Doors from village houses flew open, and each person stood in the same irrevocable horror that entrapped Riika and her Mightyena. Globs of saliva flew over the village, disintegrating any object they touched. A very small one flew through the sky and burned the tip of Hiken's bushy black tail. Hiken let out a yelp as the substance burned away a patch of skin, pain spiking through his body. His body now capable of moving, he turned to run away, but saw that Riika and Con were still immobile in their stances. Turning, he gave the two of them quick bites, only strong enough to break the skin, before turning and sprinting away. A small stab of agony spiked through Con's and Riika's bodies, bringing them back into reality. Their senses now returned, Riika grabbed a fistful of Con's fur and hauled herself onto his back as he chased after his brother.

    The two Mightyena's thick legs flew forward, propelling them through the village as the forest grew closer to them. They could still hear the shrieks of the monster that was behind them. Con and Hiken panted loudly, breathing very quickly as they flew past trees and plants, down the slope of the mountain, Riika clinging on desperately with terror in her heart.

    Con, who was running a little in front of Hiken, stumbled as he tripped over a root of a large white birch tree. He slowed, and was almost able to pick himself up before Hiken had crashed into him, and the two Pokemon and the girl went tumbling down the mountainside. Branches and burs clung to their hair, and Riika nearly screamed with fright as they sped down at a breakneck speed.

    Riika heard a splash, and gasped as she felt something icy and wet touch her. She, Con and Hiken rolled downhill with the stream, and Riika's fear intensified as she felt herself grow very cold from the chilling water. She tried to untangle herself from her companions, but tumbling around on the ground gave her no sense of coordination, and her arms became more entangled in Hiken's thick back legs and Con's fluffy tail.

    Her shin scraped against a rock, adding more pain, along with all the other cuts and bruises she had received in her downhill tumble, to her body. She felt very frightened and insecure rushing down the rough terrain of the mountain, and her mouth tore open as she felt she could bear to roll down on the ground no longer, but her cries were lost among the yips of her fellow Mightyena and water flooded her mouth at odd intervals.

    She almost cried aloud again, this time in her self-misery, but before she could even begin her cranium collided with something hard. She felt the back of her head as if it was in an explosion, and her vision went completely black as she fell senseless.







    Mist drafted upwards from the grass-coated ground, allowing sunlight to touch the floor in thin shafts. Dewdrops glistened on the trees, the sun glinting off of their surfaces so that they appeared as thousands of tiny crystal orbs. A droplet on a dark-green leaf of a maple tree fell, but was never able to touch the ground, for it landed on a patch of skin instead. A tongue as red as cherries' skin slithered out from between two parted lips and licked away the drop of clean liquid on the skin above it. A sigh escaped from the girl, and two pale eyelids slowly lifted to reveal slate-grey eyes gazing groggily at the canopy of leaves overhead.

    Riika sat upright, then groaned in regret as she placed a hand on the back of her head. Dried blood caked her noggin where the rock had hit her, and congealed bits clung in her hair. She wasn't quite sure, but somehow, she felt different, even when not including the pain she felt from the numerous wounds on her body. She felt as though as though some weight had lifted from her, and that she was freed from some sort of oppression.

    Riika removed her hand from her head and rubbed her eyes. Looking around, she found herself in a forest, with trees over four meters tall stretching upward from the grassy ground. A stream ran to her left, quietly flowing over moss before splashing over a rocky cliff. Hiken and Con lay nearby, their cloud-grey ears twitching as they dozed peacefully beneath the deciduous covering.

    Suddenly aware of the great thirst that she held, the seventeen-year-old crawled over the stream. Cupping the clear water in her petite hands, she drank greedily, constantly scooping more of the wonderfully thirst-quenching liquid into her hands before transferring it to her mouth. She drank long, for though she felt herself becoming full, she still craved the mountain water, seeming to never be able to get enough. As soon as she was aware that she was not stopping after she had taken so many handfuls, she forced herself to stop, berating herself for allowing her wantings to overcome her self-control. She took in but one more handful to cleanse her face, then stepped away from the shallow stream and sat beside her canine companions.

    She rubbed a white hand over the Mightyenas' ebony fur, switching back and forth between the two. Placing her chin in the palm of the other, she closed her eyes as she concentrated, trying to recollect her thoughts from last night's events. It had seemed so long ago, and yet it was impossible to say that it had not happened. She clearly remembered waking up in the middle of the night, unable to sleep because of her disturbance--

    The disturbance!

    Riika's eyes snapped open as she suddenly realized what was different: she no longer felt the horror that had settled over her body for the past months. She had, for the first time, felt normal. She felt unshackled, without any mental tension restricting her in any sort of small way. She felt free.

    Riika almost gave a laugh with relief, until it came to her that there was nothing to laugh about. She was relieved of the disturbance, but why? Why had it, after growing stronger as time went by, went away? Reflecting on these questions, the black-haired female could only suggest to herself that it was related to the appearance of last night's creature.

    A shudder ran through Riika's body as she thought of the mysterious figure from the night before. Of how everything had seemed so awful when it became visible to the eye, and how it had felt as though the end of the world had come. Screams resounded through the girl's head as she remembered the shrieks the creature had emitted, and she remembered with a chill as the monster had started toward her.

    She took her hand off Con's fur and hugged herself, as if to provide comfort to her own body. Oh, those eyes! She may not have paid attention to them much at first, for she was much too overcome by the monster coming and the power it exerted, but as she remembered them now, they seemed so appalling. Being entirely pupil-less, they were so different from any eye Riika had ever seen. They had seemed to spell out your death to you, and leaving you to wait as it would shortly come. She dimly wondered if anybody else that saw it was as horror-struck as she was....

    Her head snapped upward as the thought of other people filled her mind. What had happened to them? And her village, what happened to that? The forest was still here, and in seemingly perfect condition, but what about everyone at home? The pre-matured girl's heart chilled as she pictured her family, lying awake screaming as they and their home dissolved from the creature's acid.

    As soon as she even touched that image, Riika sprung up from the ground and set off at a sprint, leaving her Mightyena looking back at her for a second before they got up and went off after her.

    As soon as Riika had stood up, she felt odd parts of her body ache, but she tried to ignore them, as she told herself that she must know that everybody else was alright before she worried about herself. But as she pressed on, the pain grew worse, and she was only able to go at a sort of hopping-limp after twenty meters.

    As she limped along, Riika looked down at her legs and was surprised to see that some of the scabs had cracked open and were bleeding. Many greyish-purple bruises dotted her legs and arms. Riika quickly looked back up, worried that if she inspected them any closer she may find something nasty and try to treat it before going home.

    Hiken walked beside her, for he and his brother had caught up to her shortly after they had started running. Hiken kept on trying to lick the blood off of his mistress, but was only barely able to touch the red liquid before he was shooed away. Con walked slightly behind Riika, preparing to catch her if she fell or stumbled backward and support her if she grew too weak to keep walking by herself.

    Tears formed miniature brooks as the coursed their way down Riika's pale cheeks. Her teeth gritted as she tried to push the increasing pain behind her, but the more she kept her pace up the side of the mountain, the more she hurt. She stumbled frequently as she clenched her eyes shut, as if that would shut off the pain along with the scenery. But she had to open them again to try and avoid anymore stumbles as she went along. Each time she tripped over some plant or rotting log, Con or Hiken were able to catch her before she hit the ground. They would look at her with worry and concern showing in their saffron eyes. But she refused to stop, she was too stubborn to let minor injuries hinder her if somebody she cared about was needing her.

    She slowed down several times, for though she tried to not feel it, the agony and blood loss was leeching away her strength. She gasped, trying to gulp in enough air to fill her lungs. She stopped and rested on her knees, cursing her ill condition. She raised her eyes to the heavens, cloudy and deep with gloom, and said a few pleading words to nobody in particular. Then, feeling as though she had accomplished nothing, she resolutely stood up, and placing her hands on her Mightyena for balance and support, continued on.

    After walking on for over an hour, Riika, a bit bloody and bruised, flopped onto her back and covered her face with her hands in shame. Her two companions, seeming in near-perfect condition, went over to try and clean her wounds using their slobbery tongues. Riika kicked them away before they were able to touch her, however, and shouted out ,"Stop it!", from between her enclosed fingers.

    Riika widened the gaps from between her fingers so that she was able to see the coniferous canopy of needled branches above her. She deeply rued leaving her home that night, for being stuck without any knowledge as to how her family was doing was an ache for her mental health. She wished, more than anything at that moment, that she was safely with them and caring for her smaller siblings.

    At that thought, images of the youngest villagers swam through Riika's head. She saw her neighbor's baby, who had been born with a twin that shortly died after birth; her aunt's child, who had only lived through six summers so far; her friend's little brother, with brown eyes in the shapes of perfect circles that would always be so curious and cute that one couldn't help but love him. Then she saw her own siblings: Jinju, her nine-year-old brother that had once chopped down a tree; Marriet, who killed a Buneary with a stone and sling when she was only four; Kâtert, the six-year-old boy who was always quiet, but a logical thinker; Jöhann, only a two-year-old, and always such a good brother that tried to protect Cecilia. And Cecilia, oh sweet Cicily, always so cheerful, always full of such positivity that it seemed to radiate from her and make others gleeful too. Whenever the day was rainy, she was always able to make the sun come out in some way. It was almost impossible to be upset around Cecilia --at least, when she was a good mood.

    At the thought of her youngest sister Riika gained the ability, through sheer determination, to raise herself to her feet and walk forward again. Riika knew that if she was going to be the older sister she was supposed to be, then her siblings couldn't die -- nobody could. Whether she would be able to save anyone from the aforementioned fate, she knew not, but if it was possible that she could, then she had to try.

    After another ten meters of walking, Riika's strength drained from her again, and she would've fallen flat on her face if it wasn't for Con, who hurried toward her and broke her fall. She lay sprawled over his crouched form, eyes closed as her lips moved silently. Re-opening her eyes, she threw her left leg over Con's back, so that she was in a position to ride him.

    "Con," her whisper carried to his ears, "I know we haven't ridden much, but I need you to carry me back to the village. I know it will be hard, but please Con, please you've got to do it. If I wait until I recover and find out that . . ." She broke off, and her mouth closed in a convulsed scowl. "Please Con, just do it." She wrapped her arms around his thick, muscled neck. "For me."

    The Mightyena leapt forward, his powerful legs propelling him through the forest and up the mountain much faster than a human could have gone. Muscle rippled beneath silver fur as the Pokémon drove himself forward, his brother following close behind. Riika was jostled and jolted as she rode, and winced more than once, but refused to complain. She was, at the very least, happy to be making actual progress.

    As the trio went on, there was a dramatic change in the scenery. The thick blanket of grass that coated the ground eventually thinned out and became bare. Streams occurred less frequently, and were there used to be some, they were now gone. Ground was torn up and trampled as though a herd of Pokémon had stampeded through it. But most noticeable of all were the trees: Originally tall and sturdy, with moss layering their trucks and their leaves a solid verdant, they were now completely naked. Bark and moss had been stripped from their bodies, exposing their paler wood beneath. The branches were now bare, like dry bones that had lain in an empty sepulcher for centuries. Further on past them, entire trees were completely gone, with only the acrid smell of burning wood wafting from black patches.

    To Riika, it seemed to take an eternity to get to her village. She had lost track of time, and had no idea how long she had been riding. She found it hard to believe that she had actually fallen so far.

    Eventually, there were no more trees. The ground was black, like ash left from a long-gone out fire, or it was naked. All foliage near her house was gone, and where they had once been, Riika was able to see at least eighty meters to where her village was.

    Or, rather, where her village had been. Every house that lay before Riika on the leveled-out mountainside was destroyed. Many houses were crushed, as if they had been stepped on. Parts were blackened and burned away, and some were entirely gone, leaving sooty marks. Con had stopped running as soon as they came up to the ransacked and crushed village and stood, panting. For a moment, Riika could only stare at the place where her home once stood. Mixed feelings of confusion and shock ran throughout her, and she finally leapt off the Mightyena and ran forward.

    Sprinting through the destroyed homes and piles of charred soil, Riika stopped where her house was. The roof was crushed inward, and the top of every wall was burned away. The door was still intact, and stood open, exposing the blackened and empty insides of her old home.

    Riika stared at her hold home, she felt tears begin spilling down her face. Old memories of happiness flooded her mind as she remembered growing up, always in that same house, always with her family and friends. Lifting a pale hand, the girl wiped her tears away and turned her head towards the other houses and their surrounding area. Though this scene of devastation saddened her, she turned her thoughts towards what she thought was most important: Where was everyone?

    Riika shut her eyes for moment, trying to form a legitimate reason as to why nobody was there. Perhaps they had gone into the forest, to flee from the thing from last night. Though that also made the girl wonder why they had not come out by now, as she had. Surely the people would want to come back to their home, to re-build, to salvage what remained, or perhaps even move on? Despite that thought, Riika called Hiken and Con over, and told them to help her search the forest for her people. Dread clung to the maiden's heart like roots clung to tightly-packed soil, but she walked over to the forest and began to look around, not willing to give up hope that they were alive.



    Riika gripped Hiken's fur as they trudged back toward their once-was village. They had found nobody, and as Riika glanced up, she saw that the sun had nearly reached its zenith, meaning she had been searching for over an hour. The pair sat down, and Riika fought back negative emotions as hunger began to eat itself through her thoughts.

    From not far off, she heard a howl. Her heart leapt, and Riika grew hopeful. She pulled herself onto Hiken's back as he cantered to where the noise had come: about five meters into the dead woods. Once Hiken had reached Con, Riika dismounted and frantically asked her Mightyena why he had called them. The mournful saffron eyes sighted a small figure sprawled on the ground, whose lower half was hidden by a leafless bush on top of it.

    Rushing over, Riika gripped the figure -- a woman, her neighbor Tot -- and a wail escaped her throat as she saw that Tot's lower body wasn't hidden under a bush; it was that there was no lower body. At her waist, where her lower body had been severed off, was a nasty black mark that let loose a most foul smell. Riika immediately released her grasp and covered her mouth, gasping. Tot's empty eyes seemed to stare through Riika, and the girl ran back to the ashy ground of her old village and ran inside her home.

    Once she was there, she stopped running, and sank to her knees, gasping as the woman's face continued to stare at her. Finally shunning her optimistic attitude aside, Riika withdrew her hands from her mouth and dug her fingers in to the dirt, clenching and unclenching them. Tears poured profusely down her face as Riika, at last, let herself believe what she had refused to for the past couple of hours.

    "No... no...." Raising her head skyward, she let loose a strangled 'NO! Bowing her head, the maiden cried out her sorrows. Her Mightyena kept their distance as they respectfully left their mistress alone in her mourning, their ears flattened against their bowed heads as they, too, remembered the villagers.


    My fic, Drowning.
    Cye of the Torrent is my bishie.
    Credit to Sketchie of Coronet Designs

  6. #6
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    Aug 2008
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    Better post this now, or else I never will!

    Chapter 2



    Riika dug her hands into the ground, mixing dirt with ash. The blankets and furs her family had slept on were mostly charred, with only a little of the fur or cloth still intact. Raising a tear-stained face, Riika gently picked one up and pressed it against her head, taking in the pungent smell. It had not always smelled so; she distinctly remembered the smell of blood that had lingered for a bit shortly after the Stantler had been killed, and then the smell of firewood it had taken up after many long nights of sitting by the fire wrapped in it. Dropping the blanket, Riika searched the small house, which consisted of only a single room, searching for anything that might still be intact. Something to remain as a reminder of her family, something that would still keep them alive, would be more substantial than just a memory. . . .

    But sifting through the heaps of ash proved to be a fruitless effort, for Riika sat down once again, and furiously punched the ground. She took her hand back with alacrity, trying to shake away the ache that had occurred from her knuckles striking something hard. Using her other hand, she moved away some of the ash and dirt, and gently picked up a knife. Small, with only a length of about five inches, it took the shape of an isosceles triangle, with the shorter part forming the base where the handle was located. Staring, Riika gripped the black stone handle with familiarity, remembering what her grandmother had told her when she gave it to her. Standing and taking a few swipes with it, the words of Riika's grandmother echoed in her head as she relived the final visit with her grandmother before she passed away: "This knife was made from the stone of Mount Horeb. It is sacred, and was used by my great-great-grandfather to execute people who had been cursed by witches or demons." She gave a feeble cough, the whitening hair floating in front of her face, as if it was weightless. "Take care of it. . ." The old lady reached and clasped her eldest granddaughter's hand and smiled. "I trust you will use it well, little hunter."

    Riika stared down at the dirk, feeling more sorrowful as she remembered another dead family member. She had always liked it when her grandparents referred to her as 'little hunter', and Riika had made sure she deserved that title rightfully. Memories of bringing in dead Bunearies and Teddiursas with Con and Hiken, who were still Poochyena, flooded her mind. Her parents' pride, her neighbors' surprise, the verbal praise given to her by Maetung; once that had all been so sweet, and had earned her a good reputation, were now painful reminders of a life that was now dead to her. The teenage girl allowed herself a few more tears as she relived the happier moments of her life.

    Con and Hiken were laying on the ground when Riika came outside. Lines curved from her eyes, and the wetness of her cheeks still reflected the sunlight. A small knife was in her hand, and she carried herself with a somber aura. Wordlessly, she began to walk towards the edge of the village when something caught her eye. Towards the far end of the village, closer to where the mountain sloped upwards once again, the girl could make out a gleam. Curious, she walked toward it, and was surprised to find an emerald puddle glimmering in the sun. Leaning down, Riika examined it, trying to see into its depths, but there was no bottom visible in the deep, vivid color. Glancing around she noticed that there were a few other puddles similar to this, though none were very large. Again returning her attention to the puddle before her, Riika reached out with her left hand and dipped her index finger into the alien liquid.

    Immediately, she jumped back as pain drove through her body like a hundred spears, starting from her finger, continuing down her arm and throughout her body. Her mouth opened in a scream that rose into a pitch until only Con and Hiken were able to hear it. Their mistress lay on the ground, gripping her arm with such intensity that her blood circulation was nearly cut off. Tears from the anguish poured down her face as she sobbed. Recovering, she raised her hand and saw a grotesque, deep-green mark spread from her finger and down onto her hand. She watched, fascinated and horrified as it spider-webbed across her palm and ended as it reached the back of her hand. Riika flexed her fingers, wincing as the mark was bent beneath the skin folds. The pain had faded from the rest of her body, but her hand still stung smartly.

    Standing up again, the girl gingerly touched it with her other hand, wincing as the flesh burned at the touch. Looking down at the puddle with hatred and fear, Riika kicked the dirt and soot onto it, to be sure that she could never touch it again. Hiken and Con stood by Riika's side, gazing at her with concern and worry.

    Riika kept turning her hand this way and that, but other than the fading sting and initial hurt, it felt no diferent. Picking up her knife again, she turned away from the puddle, Con and Hiken following her as she walked through the village to where the mountain sloped downward again. When they reached the edge, where the village disappeared and the dead woods reappeared, Riika look back on her old home. Her heart weighing down, she lifted an arm, as though to say farewell. Everything she had ever known was now behind her, and the downward slope of the mountain no longer seemed familiar or promised a safe return to her family. With a deep sigh, Riika gripped Hiken's thick fur and mounted him as they began to descend the mountain for the last time.






    The air rang with laughter as smoky fires expelled the perfumes of exotic herbs and spices being boiled, cooked, and roasted. Mouths drooled as they sampled the succulent meat, paying the trader for the herbs they selected. Ladies stood before booths, "ooh"-ing and "awe"-ing in delight as they witnessed the glittering of trinkets crafted from silver, copper and gold; their eyes widening in pure fascination as they beheld those inlaid with miniature gems. Butchers laid out meats to be cut, and children ran amuck with no parent supervision as they waved their souvenirs and chased each other in jealousy. Midian breathed in the air, a smile creasing his tan face as he began to walk toward a man showcasing an arrow to a group of interested bystanders.

    He surveyed the weapon with a critical eye, listening as the trader told him of the wood type and the quality of the feathers that had been used to fletch it. He reached into his pocket to retrieve money, when he realized he had left his wallet with his older sister that had to loan a few coins that had promised to give it back as soon as she was done. Midian turned around to go and find his sister when he saw something rather unusual. True, he admitted inwardly as examined the pair of Mightyena, the traders bring many strange things with them. Though, as he continued to examine the girl's palid complexion and unusually round eyes, he realized that she was of a race that he had neither seen nor heard of.

    The girl suddenly turned her head to look at him as she became aware of his gaze, and he abruptly turned his head away, feeling slightly ashamed of his rudeness. However, she took the liberty of walking up to him herself, staring sheepishly around her as she quietly asked him something. Bending down, leaned forward to better hear what she was trying to say. Though she appeared about the same age as him, she was barely able to reach his shoulder. She looked around again before Midian heard her ask, "Do you know where I may buy gloves?"

    Standing back to his full height, Midian opened his eyes in surprise at the simple question. The girl seemed so bashful, scared, even, to be standing in the vicinity of such a noisy crowd of people. Being more mindful his manners, he kindly replied, "Of course; see that woman down there, with the red-banistered booth? Her husband can help you." He gave her a smile as she mumbled a word of thanks, and, struck by a sudden inspiration of chivalry, offered to take her there and show her the goods that were to be offered. She took time answering this, her eyes sweeping back and forth before hesitatingly accepting. Smile widening, he beckoned her onward, ever aware of the two Mightyena that watched him suspiciously.

    At the booth, Midian helped the girl as she made her purchase. When she had selected the gloves she wanted, she brought out a handful of coins, seeming unsure of what to do with them. Midian picked out the ones that would be needed to pay, and helpfully explained to her the value of each. Something in his brain shifted with curiosity as he looked at this girl. She was unsure how much the money she held valued, but his knowledge of how other clans commonly treated their women came to mind, and he paid no further attention to it.

    Midian, for all the well-manners he had grown up learning, could not help staring at the girl as she pulled on her gloves, keeping both hands behind her Mightyena's back as if she didn't want anyone watching her. Curiosity piqued by her silence and unfamiliar appearance, he addressed her once more. "Madame," he began, trying to be as formal and gentlemanly as he could. But by the started and slightly unsettled stare she gave him, he switched to a less formal turn of talking. "If you have nobody else to be with, would you like to join me and my family this evening at the bonfire dinner?"

    "What's the bonfire dinner?" she asked suddenly. He noticed for the first time that she had an accent; her words were slightly harsher sounding, putting greater stress on the "f" sound and not pronouncing the "r" at the end of "dinner" at all.

    "It's the dinner my town has on the first night of the arrival of the traders. We make a large bonfire and cook our dinners on smaller fires around it during the evening. Then, at night, we dance and sing around the large bonfire as a celebration of Spring."

    The girl shifted uncomfortably at this. Her eyebrows were creased, and she moved from one foot to the other. "How long does it last?"

    "Until dawn." Midian could almost see the girls thoughts dancing around her head as she debated with herself on what to do. "It will be much fun, and I assure you that no one will harm you while you are here," he implored her.

    "Is it free?"

    A smile split Midian's face as he grinned widely and almost chuckled. "Yes, for you it will be free, if you accept to be my guest."

    The girl shifted uncomfortably, taking a few minutes to think before nodding. "I will go."




    Hands clapped along to the music as people danced rambunctiously and with great alacrity around the large fire. Several small fires dotted the village, people heating food as they chatted conversationally or told stories. Midian was sitting upright, leaning back on his hands as he smiled at the dancing villagers. His stomach very full, the heat from the fire began to make him feel drowsy as he half-listened to his friend, Yegern, talking next to him. Turning his head, Midian switched his gaze to the girl sitting only a few meters away from him. She had her knees tucked around her chest and was laying her head upon them. Bags drooped under her eyes as though she hadn't had much sleep, and the two Mightyena she had come with were the only living beings around her. Midian felt pity well up inside him, for he had never come across a girl so young and so grim. She had come to the town alone, dirty and with nothing but the money she carried and the clothes on her back. Acting very silent all throughout the bonfire festival, she had declined the offer to dance, refused to sing, and had only indulged in a very large meal.

    "Midian?" Yegern interrupted his friend's thoughts.

    "What?" Midian finally turned to look at his friend.

    Yegern nodded toward the girl with two Mightyena. "Who's your friend?"

    "She came into town today, and she didn't seem to be in any rush to get anywhere, so I invited her," was Midian's only reply.

    "But what's her name?"

    "Oh . . . ." Midian was about to answer before he realized and confessed that he didn't know it.

    Yegern snorted. "You invited her here and you didn't even ask for her name?" He stood up, chuckling, as Midian's face went slightly red. "I know you're trying to be chivalrous and all, but you do have a knack for being too hasty." Yegern nudged his friend before turning to walk away. "You might as well go find out."

    Sighing inwardly in embarrassment, Midian got up and walked over to the girl. The Mightyena raised their hands and growled as he came near, but the girl shushed them and assured them it was all right. Sitting, Midian gave the girl a smile, which she returned wanly and without enthusiasm.

    "How are you?" he questioned.

    The girl shrugged. "Fine." After a pause, she added, "The food was good."

    Midian nodded. "I'm happy you are satisfied.... by the way, my name is Midian. Who are you?"

    The girl paused for a moment before slowly replying, "My name is Riika." As she said this, Riika lifted a hand--she had removed her gloves to eat and forgotten to put them back on--to rub her eyes, and as she did so, Midian noticed dark lines stretching all the way from her fingers down to her wrist.

    "What's wrong with your hand?" Riika immediately looked at her hand, and crossed her arms so he couldn't see it. "Can I please look at it?" he implored her. But she looked straight into the flaming gulf before them, ignoring Midian's words. Midian noticed Riika's eyes, the slate grey shining as they began welling up with water. "I'm sorry," he quickly added, remembering Yegern's words about him being too hasty. The two sat there for a moment, the large Mightyena breathing deeply, when Midian decided he would try again to soothe any unrest inside her.

    "Do you have a place to stay the night?"

    As always, she took a deliberately long time before answering. "I don't think I'll stay for the night. As soon my Mightyena are fully rested, I will leave."

    "That isn't a good idea," he warned. She turned sharply to look at him, a fierce firelight dancing in her eyes that was not reflected from the flames before them. "The people and Pokémon in these areas may be friendly, but as soon as you leave the vicinity of this town, the trees grow more closely, and robbers use it as their home. Thieves will cut your throat in the middle of the night while you sleep, and the Pokémon are savage and will kill you if they don't choose to flee." Riika's steely look softened as she adhered to his words, and her crossed arms began to fall loosely. "Please Riika," he begged her, "If you go out there alone, you will die." She began to tremble slightly, and Midian reached out a hand and delicately cupped her face. She jumped back at his touch, turning her face away in a vain attempt to inconspicuously dry her tears. The Mightyena growled, and began to get on their feet as they glared lividly at Midian. Backing away, Midian kept pleading, "I only want to make sure that you will be safe, Riika. Too many times have I heard reports of they who ventured into the forest killed by bandits." Midian's eyes went downcast as he softly whispered, "Please don't be one of those people I've lost."

    Her tears wiped away, Riika looked back at Midian. "Why?"

    Midian could only look at her, puzzled. "Why what?"

    "Why do you care if I live or die?" Her voice turned steely as she continued, "You don't even know me or who I am. I haven't given you any service that you need to repay; you don't even know why I've come through here or where I'm going." She glared at him, and, whether from tiredness or agitation, Midian thought he could see a hint of orange creepy into her stony eyes.

    Midian continued to back away as the hair on the Mightyena's backs rose. "I don't have to know any of that. You can stay in the village for the night, and leave as soon as daylight touches the ground. I just want you to know that many people die in these woods. The next civilization is over a day's trip away; if you don't know the area, you can easily get lost. Bandits work in groups, they set traps, they ambush people and rarely ever leave anyone alive." Midian could not keep the desperation out of his voice. "You don't have to listen to what I say. You're right; I don't know you. I don't know anything about you. But all life is amazing; it is worth living. No one should have to die from another person's selfishness."

    Riika trembled as she responded, "I'm sorry, Midian, but I can't stay here. It's nothing to do with you..." she began, then changed her mind and re-started her sentence. "It's because of this." She held up her hand, revealing the spider-webbing mark. "This... I don't know what it is, but it's been bothering me. Every time I feel good about something, it stings, and I remember . . ." she swallowed hard before going on, "All of my bad memories are brought back to me, and I can't even remember why I was happy in the first place."

    Midian hesitatingly walked over to Riika; the Mightyena glared at him, but neither growled as he reached their mistress. Delicately, Midian took Riika's hand and surveyed the mark. It seemed to have been cut into her skin, and looked as though an emerald dye had been sluiced through the incisions. "How did you get this?"

    Riika stayed silent for a while. Her eyes moved left and right as she thought. Sinking deep into her thinking, her frown became wider and more pronounced, steatched across her face like she was resisting the urge to open it. After a minute, Midian began to apologize for his rudeness, but Riika shook her head saying, "No, it's all right... I'll tell you." Riika told her tale, recounting the appearance of the monster and the emerald puddle. She spoke haltingly, hesitating each time she stretched the truth. Though her voice trembled, she steadied herself and avoided bringing any more tears.

    Decadent with pity, Midian looked away from her face and to her hand. "So. . .your mark is from some sort of demon, huh?" Casually, he replied, "I do know someone who may be able to help. I don't know anything of curses, but one of our town elders, Lady Ipporah, is the healer here. She may be able to cure you of. . . whatever this is."

    For the first time since he had seen her, a smile dawned on Riika's face. Hope shone in her eyes as she asked, "Could she really?"

    "I don't know. . . But if anyone can do anything about it, it's her."

    Standing up, Riika asked, "Could we go now?"

    Also standing, he replied, "Now is probably not the best time." He gestured to the tired dancers laying on the ground, and all the other people beginning to douse their smaller fires as they headed home. "Everyone is tired, and people want to sleep. Lady Ipporah may be able to help you better if she is well-rested. I can take you to her tomorrow, if you'd like."

    Standing, Riika nodded. "First thing in the morning?"

    Midian smiled at her. "First thing in the morning," he promised. "So, will you stay for tonight?"

    Riika returned a small smile--the simplicity and genuine nature of it pleasantly surprised Midian--as she responded, "I will stay for tonight."


    My fic, Drowning.
    Cye of the Torrent is my bishie.
    Credit to Sketchie of Coronet Designs

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