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About Literature / Hobbyist Member Ian Chisholm26/Male/United States Group :icongrammarnazicritiques: GrammarNaziCritiques
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For a long time I didn't understand the problem of Cultural Appropriation. What could be wrong with appropriating culture? I appropriate other cultures all the time in my writing, when I don't feel like making up a culture on the spot or using my own. And even outside of my writing I use other-cultural words, or I try other-cultural foods, or I practice other-cultural habits. What could be bad about taking some aspect of a culture not your own and trying it out? So that was my starting point. I didn't think there was anything wrong with Cultural Appropriation.

When I was told the full definition of Cultural Appropriation, I started to understand the problem. I'll take that definition and break it into its pieces. Cultural Appropriation is 1) The adoption of a cultural element by a group, 2) When said group may become the most-visible face of said culture, 3) Creating the illusion that said element is central or authentic to said culture. Cultural (Mis)Appropriation is often seen as worst when it is 4) Without the consent of said culture and 5) An ethnic majority capitalizing or profiting off another.

I could only see part (1) of the definition. I had never thought about cultural adoption coming to represent the “truth” of that culture to the world. Now at this point everyone seems to use Native Americans as the example victim of Cultural Appropriation, so pernit me to jump on the bandwagon.

Consider this example: Joe buys a Feathered Headdress (or as we know it an Indian Chief Headdress) and wears it to a Halloween party, perhaps with his deerskin jacket and buckskin pants and carrying a tobacco pipe. Joe is appropriating the headdress (and all that other stuff) from our pop-culture idea of what Native American culture is like. He is cementing the idea that “Native Americans wear Feathered Headdresses” or that the Feathered Headdress is a central or authentic element of Native American culture.

By the way, what does anyone mean by calling a cultural element central or authentic to said culture? Culture is a wide and varied thing, and we get in trouble when we start saying any one thing is central or authentic to any one group. Some members of the culture may say it is, and some members may say it isn't. Cultures change over time, or they have segments within with different beliefs. Culture is created by people, and people cannot be defined by one element. Stereotypes come to exist when we do so. In other words, calling some element of a culture central or authentic is how we create a stereotype about that culture. The problem of Cultural Appropriation is related somehow to stereotyping.

Joe supported / strengthened a stereotype by attending that party wearing that costume, and Cultural Appropriation is the name for how he did so. But then the problem isn't with Cultural Appropriation. The problem is our human nature to stereotype, and to commit evil because of those stereotypes. Cultural Appropriation may be one way to commit a stereotype, but stereotypes don't need Cultural Appropriation to exist. Who started that Feathered Headdress stereotype in the first place? Not Joe, he only bought the headdress because the stereotype existed.

Let's turn the situation upside down. Consider if Joe were in fact a Native American. Maybe he's one-twelfth and likes to play that up. Or maybe he's eleven-twelfths and from a long and proud line. And maybe he knows nothing about Feathered Headdresses, or maybe he knows everything. Notice that some of these are cases of Cultural Appropriation and some are not, depending on how “close” Joe is to the culture. The important point is that when Joe goes to that Halloween party, he is still making himself a public face of the culture and setting the stage for stereotyping to be committed. Everyone who sees him at that party and thinks, “Oh, Joe went as an Indian Chief” is stereotyping Native Americans down to one icon, the Feathered Headdress. The problem is not Joe and Cultural Appropriation, the problem is stereotyping.

On the other hand, what about the eleven-twelfths Joe who knows everything about Feathered Headdresses? That Joe would know that a Halloween party wasn't the right place to wear his Feathered Headdress, if he even owns one. As a close member of the culture, he would know how and where and when and why to wear a Feathered Headdress. But is that the solution? Should members of a culture never share their culture's icons outside of their culture, for fear of creating stereotypes? Even the real and authentic ones? No. Sharing our culture expands and strengthens our culture. Especially someone like Joe who can explain and demystify his own culture.

By the way, what is Cultural Sharing? You might call it the good version of Cultural Appropriation. Rather than being adopted or stolen, someone simply tells people about the element in question. If they become the public face of the culture, they should tell people how central or authentic the element is rather that allowing people to assume, and thus avoid wrongful stereotypes. And I don't want to limit this to just close members of the culture. Any culturally informed version of Joe should be able to tell people about Native American culture. Maybe Joe is just a person who likes Feathered Headdresses. Sharing of the culture expands the public knowledge and will (in theory) banish wrongful stereotypes.

But even if Joe can explain his culture in a authentic way, that can still create stereotypes. Consider the Telephone Game, where a message is passed along and becomes wildly different when it reaches the end of the line. Even if Joe tells people everything about Feathered Headdresses, some of them will misunderstand or hear something wrong. Despite Joe's intentions, a stereotype is created. Whatever is done, stereotypes will be created.

Here we discover a strange positive of Cultural Appropriation. No matter who wears it, a Feathered Headdress is an excellent conversation starter for a discussion on cultural stereotypes. Joe should probably start the conversation himself. And calling something what it is (in this case, a stereotype) lessens its power over us. Stereotyping is the problem, and Cultural Appropriation is one way to start a conversation discussing the problem of stereotyping.

So what about the last two parts of the definition? Personally I don't believe part (4) is going to change the issue. Part (4) is why we say, “I have a friend from that culture and they said it was okay.” Notice how we sound like we are trying to excuse ourselves from bad Cultural Appropriation? But that doesn't change the fact that something bad may be happening. If that friend isn't here, their mere existence can't really be used to say the element is okay to appropriate here and now. Is one person even justified to excuse you? Can anyone gain consent from an entire culture? Maybe from a cultural majority, or a cultural leader, but not a culture as a whole. A culture is not a person, and a culture cannot give consent.

Part (5) of the definition is more troubling. When an element of a culture becomes “cool” or “exotic” it will often be used to turn a profit, and more often than not by members of an ethnic majority. Consider if a company that sold headphones made a special set that looked like a Feathered Headdress, and they sold it as Indian Chief Headphones. That would be Cultural Appropriation at its worst. At a deep, instinctive level it feels wrong for the company to create and sell those Indian Chief Headphones.

But again, the problem is about stereotypes. Even if the headphone company was run by a board of Native Americans, the Indian Chief Headphones they created would be a bad stereotype. But someone could come along and use the Indian Chief Headphones to start a conversation discussing the problem of stereotyping. And if the Indian Chief Headphones are really that bad, people shouldn't buy them; if that happens, the company won't make them anymore.

In summery, the basic sense of Cultural Appropriation isn't that bad. Part (3) of the definition shows us that the problem is related to stereotypes. But even when someone within the culture – in defiance of part (1) – becomes a public face of the culture – as described in part (2) – stereotypes will be created. Cultural Appropriation is no different from (and no worse than) Cultural Sharing in creating stereotypes. Whatever we do, stereotypes will be created. And Cultural Appropriation creates an opportunity to discuss the problem of stereotyping.

The expanded sense of Cultural Appropriation is where we get into the worst cases, that of a majority profiting from a minority. But at that point it also becomes the responsibility of the consumer to not allow any profiting to occur. And above all, it is my belief that we should promote positive Cultural Sharing, even when done by someone who is not a close member of that culture. If someone comes along and tells people, “This element is central and authentic to this culture” they are creating a stereotype, for good or more likely ill. If someone comes along and says, “This element is one part of this culture and I like it” they are acting well.
In Defense of Cultural Appropriation
For a long time I didn't understand the problem of Cultural Appropriation. What could be bad about taking some aspect of a culture not your own and trying it out? When I was told the full definition of Cultural Appropriation, I started to understand the problem. I discovered that the problem is related to stereotypes. But I believe that stereotypes will be created whatever we do, and the act of Cultural Appropriation creates an opportunity to discuss that problem. Cultural Appropriation is at its worst in cases of a majority profiting from a minority. But at that point it also becomes the responsibility of the consumer to not allow profiting to occur. And above all, it is my belief that we should promote positive Cultural Sharing, even when done by someone who is not a close member of that culture.
Mature Content Filter is On
(Contains: violence/gore)
The road is narrow and almost hidden by the horde of people walking on it. They extend out past the sides, trampling the few fields this far from Goldenburg to a muddy pulp. Their cloaks rustle and whip in the light morning breeze, like a thousand flags flown at dawn. Ahead of them is a stretch of blue.

The Count leads them, with Teal on his right side and Sudo on his left. The paladin carries her helm under her arm and marches with stiff knees. Rolf and Sorrow walk behind her. On the Count's other side, Sudo has his arms folded behind his back, and his eye facing the sun is closed. Several butlers walk behind him.

Another butler slips up to walk beside Sudo, who tilts an ear back. The butler whispers to him, and Sudo nods. He turns to Teal and reaches out to hold her shoulder. She turns to him, blinks, and then follows the butler back through the press of people.

In the middle of the crowd, the citizens take turns carrying a litter upon which three children lay. Other children occasionally come through the crowds to stare at them before moving away again. Bell walks beside the litter, wrapped in her gray cloak. She has a hand pressed to Tress's forehead. The vine-haired girl is rubbing at her eyes and rolling from side to side.

Teal pushes through the crowds. “Tress!” Their eyes meet and Tress reaches out for her. Bell moves back as Teal charges in and wraps the child up in her arms to hold her close. “Tress. You're awake. Tress, you scared me, child.”

The girl nods. “Hi, Miss Teal.” She yawns. “I feel okay, I guess. More tired than usual, but I think I slept pretty good.” She sniffs and wipes tears away. “Where are the others?”

“I don't know.” Teal hugs her tight, and then places her back in the litter. “I was hoping you could tell me.”

Tress nods, and the flowers in her hair shift from blue to a dull copper. “I can try, Miss Teal. We were about to eat dinner, but someone came to the door. It was some bad people, and one of them hurt Ruff. Miss Reina tried to stop them, but one of them did something bad to Granny. Reina had to stop, or they would have done worse things.”

The girl's flowers turn yellow. “We all vanished, and later just us kids appeared inside the bad people's hall. Ruff wasn't there, but there were some kids from the town. They said scary things had happened outside too. A big man in black and sitting on a throne told us we would work for him. I didn't want to, but bad people wearing white did some kind of magic.”

She sniffs and looks up at Teal. “That's all I remember. I'm sorry, Miss Teal. We got kidnapped, just like in those stories you read us. I don't know what happened to Reina. I don't think Granny,” she hiccups and doesn't finish the sentence.

Teal sighs. “You survived, Tress. That is what matters.” She pats the girl on the head. “I will bring everyone home. That is my responsibility. And your responsibility is to be brave. Do you understand?” Teal stares into Tress's eyes. “If you need to speak to me or anyone about your experience with those bad people, you must do so. That is true bravery. I will listen to anything.”

“Okay, Miss Teal.” Tress yawns and lays back down in the litter. “Please don't be mad at Reina.” Her hair curls up and over her eyes to block out the sun. “I wish the others were here.”

“Rest easy, Tress.” Teal clenches her gloved hand as she turns away. “I will recover the others.”

Teal pushes her way out of the crowd and returns to her marching position behind the Count. The tall man turns his head to glance at her, but she looks away. The Count sighs and turns forward again. The stretch of blue in front of them looks wider than before.

Rolf whispers to Teal, “How was yer child, Miss Teal?”

Teal grunts. “Doing well. Tired, but that is normal for her.” She squints and frowns. “Rolf, is there any chance she will become one of those large monsters again?”

He shakes his head. “The spell was powerful enough to leave a faint impression upon her, but the spell nucleus itself was gone when I checked. It was a temporary effect, not an actual change to her ether lines.”

“Good.” Teal nods, and looks up at the sky. “Why the children? Why my children?”

Sorrow coughs. “Father often tells me that to be young is to be filled with energy. If I were the Phoenix Army, I would find the largest number of children in one place and abduct them for this spell that transforms people into war machines using their own energy. And there is the added tactical element. Burroughs is farthest from any military response.”

“Err, the drunkard's boy has a point.” Rolf rubs his head and looks away. “Children do have a larger amount of magical potential, though not compared to a trained mage and without much of the control. If that is all it takes, perhaps they will target a mage academy next.”

Teal shakes her head. “They have their army. With every animal from the woods and farms, and every child they abducted, they can wage war on any city they choose.” She grimaces. “And they will only gain more animals and children as they go. If they truly wish to take Antopia, they will go straight for the capitol, attacking any town along the way only if necessary.”

The Count nods. He speaks without turning around. “But the royal family will be on alert now. All the King's Army and all the Queen's Paladins are a fearsome force when combined, and they will recruit adventurers to their aide.”

“The adventurers.” Teal frowns as her eyes grow wide. “That was their plan too. Every small time adventurer came at your call, and I assume many met their end in Goldenburg.”

The Count's shoulders sag, and he looks up at the sky. Sudo pats him on the back. Rolf nods at Teal, who frowns and stares at the ground.

Sorrow tilts his head to the side. “I have something to inform you all. Someone has died ahead of us.” He nods. “Two people. Now multiple people.”

Teal breaks ranks and charges forward. Rolf and Sorrow follow her. Sudo glances at the Count, who nods at him; the old butler vanishes.

The town of beechwood houses and thatched grass roofs burns. A large blue lake at the town's edge has all the water one could need to quench the raging inferno, yet there are no people around to form a bucket line. One humanoid figure runs from a burning house and throws themselves in the water, even as long bone arrows land in their back. They do not stand back up.

Squads of three to five Beastmen lope through the town. They carry torches and bows, and set fire to everything not yet burning. The hirsute soldiers wear soiled, ragtag armor and have weapons strapped to their backs. When two or more of the teams meet, they bark and growl at each other before setting off in different directions.

The townspeople huddle within their shacks and shanties. Large pieces of furniture stand against the doors and windows. The people lay flat against the ground, with any kind of cloth they could scrounge wrapped around their mouths and noses. The beechwood sides of their houses are slow to burn, while the thatched grass roofs are quick and smoky.

A stag erupts through a wall of flames and bounds down the town's main thoroughfare. A gray-skinned young man rides atop the beast, laughing and screaming, a war scythe in his hands. The pair dart past several Beastmen and Joyous cuts through them with broad strikes. The stag's wide rack of antlers impales two Beastmen and flings them high into the air.

Teal appears in the running stag's place. She tumbles forward and rolls along the ground. Joyous lands behind her and slides across the ground on his heels. His arms raise to the sky as he cheers and dances. Teal picks herself up, pulls on her bark armor boot, and stares around.

The Beastmen they cut down turn back into a heron, two snakes, and several groundhogs. More Beastmen soldier squads run in from every direction. One or two from each group pull long, bone arrows from their backs and bite one end to form a notch. The others stalk forward with a war-made weapon in one hand and a bone dagger in the other.

Teal flips down the visor of her helm and raises her shield. Joyous yelps and his scythe becomes a curved tower shield. He stands behind Teal and holds up his tower shield, hiding against her broad backside like the shell of a turtle. A swarm of bone arrows come from every direction and crash against the pair, with a few finding a crack or seam to punch through.

Three of the Beastmen archers fall forward, silverware knives in the backs of their skulls. Sudo appears behind a fourth, twists its neck, and disappears back into the flames. A swirling rift appears in the air above Teal and Joyous. Crossbow bolts pour out in a slow circle; the bolts pierce Beastmen, cause them to dodge out of the way, or break against their mix of natural bone plates and artificial armor. The rift winks out again. Rolf peeks out from behind a house a block away, crossbow in hand.

Teal presses her maul against the ground and forms an earthen head, while the tower shield at her back grows spikes. She and Joyous split apart and charge forward. Teal rams shield-first through the line of Beastmen coming toward her, charges onward toward an archer Beastman, and brains the creature with her earth maul.

Joyous slams his spiked tower shield into the first Beastman he meets, flips up and over his falling foe, and lands behind the soldier's line. His skin and weapon switch their shades, and Sorrow forms his war scythe again. He spins around and cuts the Beastmen soldiers within reach in half.

Only a third of the Beastmen soldiers in the area remain standing. They scream and cry and stomp their feet against the ground. Tensing their legs, they leap atop the burning buildings and run away. The dead Beastmen left behind change back into animals that lay about in the street.

A bucket line has formed, bringing water from the lake. Goldenburg's citizens and the townsfolk work together to pass the water along. Priests in white move among the townsfolk and their homes, healing and bringing strength where they can. Priests in black carry the bodies away. Some of the fires remain untouched, with roasting cows and oxen strung above.

Several teams of one palace butler, two priests in black, and three palace guards move throughout the town. The butlers all carry a long golden decanter, and when they come to a larger fire they turn the spout towards it. The palace guards support the butler from behind as water jets out of the decanter in a firehouse stream. The priests in black spin their shovels against the sandy ground, throwing loose sand to further seal the flames.

An old woman with a brown, leathery face stands ankle-deep in the lake water. She kicks water on the body laying there with bone arrows in its back. “Idiot son.” Turning back to the beach, she trudges through the water and approaches the Count standing a respectful distance away. Teal, Sorrow, and Rolf wait nearby. The old woman holds out her hand to the Count. “Karth thanks you, Count of Goldenburg. Without your assistance we would have all been killed by those strange marauders.”

He takes her hand in both of his. “I only regret we did not arrive sooner, Chief Kingfisher. The fish you send to my hall are always the most delicious.” The Count sighs. “I also regret that I cannot offer you the safety of Goldenburg's walls in this time of need.”

She nods, pulls her hand free, and turns to Teal and the others. “Karth thanks you as well, adventurers. Your bravery and magic were witnessed by my people. If there is anything you need, please ask.”

Teal steps forward and bows her head. “As a Queen's Paladin it is my duty to aid the people. But I do need your fastest boat to take me across Peace Lake. I must go to Riverside as quickly as possible.”

The Chief rubs her chin. “Yes, we can send one or two fast boats. Our fisher folk will return with the day's catch by nightfall, and the three of you will be a simple task for them.” She frowns at the Count. “Your citizens will have to go another way. They cannot stay here, unless a handful wish to replace our dead.”

The Count smiles. “You underestimate my geld, Chief Kingfisher.” He reaches in to his robe and pulls out a toy-sized wooden duck. “Teal, do you really want to leave at nightfall?” Pulling back his hand, he throws the wooden duck into the lake. “Or would you rather leave now?”

The duck lands in the water with a soft plop and floats up to the surface. With a honk the duck spreads its wings, turns white, and explodes in a burst of feathers. Where the duck was, a large boat now floats. Oars stick out from the sides like white wings. The figurehead is a slim, graceful swan.

“I have enough of those for most of my people.” The Count crosses his arms with a nod. “They are fat and slow, but we can leave at any time.”

“Showoff,” mutters Rolf. Sorrow claps one hand against the other in a soft patter. The Chieftain shrugs her bony shoulders.

Teal nods to the Count. “Thank you. When the fires are out and this place is safe, we should leave.” She turns away from him and gestures to Rolf and Sorrow. “Come with me, you two. We will aide in the fire fighting.”

When the three are gone, the Chieftain snorts. “Count of Goldenburg, forgotten Hero of the Flame War, and not a bad looking man. But still you have no luck with women.”

The Count sighs. “A woman like that is the only thing geld cannot bring me.” He reaches in to his pockets and pulls out more wooden ducks.
High War - Chapter 18.1

The beginning of Chapter 18! One of the orphans finally wakes up, the battle for Karth is quickly won (how come some battles go long and some battles go short???) and once again everyone makes fun of that rich bastard the Count! I'm going to have to do something nice for that poor guy, I'm starting to feel sorry for him.

This is a part of my High War project, a story set in a D&D-inspired world that I have tried very hard to make my own. I really don't want to step on anyone's copyright toes here, which to some degree is not easy at all. I have no idea where the background of my preview image comes from, as far as I know it came from a free image site; if you know otherwise then please tell me so I can take it down, although I would be happier to use it with the permission of its creator. This will be a story for somewhat mature audiences, there will be occasional violence, language, and adult themes. Thanks for understanding, and if you don't then I would be happy to discuss with you my thoughts on the issue.


Next: soon ...

SILVIA stands frozen center stage, a young woman with pigtails and wearing very random clothes. As the lights turn on a NARRATOR walks on stage, a face-less man wearing a black suit.

- Narrator
It was a bright and sunny day, actually quite humid, and Sylvia was suffering the pangs of ice-cream. But she did not have the requisite dollar twenty-five for a dollop of heaven and she only had an hour until the ice-cream man would arrive. In her dolor, what will she do?

Silvia is no longer frozen, but she remains stationary while tapping her chin.

- Silvia
Ummm … Ummm … Ummm … Maybe Mom will have some money?

- Narrator
It should be noted that Silvia is, quite honestly, not very bright. She did poorly in school, with many teachers remarking that her mind tended to wander at the slightest provocation. She now lives with her mum, even at the age of twenty-five, mostly of fear for her life if she were to leave. She works as a waitress at a local diner. The owner is a family friend.

- Silvia (shakes her head)
Poo, thinking of kittens won’t help me this time. Guess I’ll try Mom.

Silvia turns and walks off-stage. The Narrator remains, hands behind his back, rocking back and forth patiently. Silvia reappears pulling on JOYCE's sleeve, a middle-aged woman wearing an apron over a pink dress.

- Silvia
Please Mom, I just want some money for ice-cream, please?

- Joyce
No and that’s final! That’s why you have a job, for frivolous expenses.

- Silvia
But I spent it already and I just need a little bit.

- Joyce
You spent your entire paycheck? What on?

- Silvia (counting on her fingers)
Well first there was the Save The Kittens online fundraiser, and then that poor homeless guy, and next the Animal Shelter, and - .

- Joyce (interrupts)
Well there you have it! If you spend money every which way you won’t have any left for the little fun things like ice-cream. That’s why you have to ration, shop wisely, be spendthrift, and so on.

- Silvia (groaning)
But mom!

- Joyce
No buts! Just learn from your mistakes and move on.

Joyce walks off stage. Silvia sighs.

- Silvia
Oh … I need a plan B. What is plan B? Puppies! No, wait. Music!

Silvia searches her many pockets as the Narrator steps forward.

- Narrator
Joyce was right of course, silly Silvia should have proportioned her spending a bit wiser, but intelligence is not Silvia’s strong suit. Perhaps this new plan involving the blissful art of kings would be up to snuff?

Silvia pulls a kazoo out of her pocket and begins playing. The Narrator covers his ears.

- Narrator
I should have known. Well, Silvia stood on her street corner played and played … and played, but to no avail. Unsurprisingly no one believed giving would end this torture. And she did forget a container for the coins.

Silvia droops and starts playing tiredly.

- Narrator
After twenty minutes of … shall I call it racket-earing? Ha. After twenty minutes Silvia finally stopped. Thank goodness.

Silvia finally stops and throws the kazoo away into the audience. The Narrator removes his hands from his ears.

- Silvia
Well … Plan C? What was plan C? Ummm … Plan C needs refreshment.

Silvia pulls a bottle of juice out of her pocket and takes a swig. Then she notices something on the side of the bottle and gives an excited SHOUT. The narrator turns to her.

- Narrator (to himself, then directly to the audience)
What in the world could she be thinking? … Oh, don’t look at me. I may have the power of narration, but looking into her head would probably damage my considerable intellect.

Silvia goes off stage. She returns with two shopping bags full of juice bottles, which CLINK noisily.

- Narrator
Oh … actually, that could work. Silvia raided the fridge and took all the glass bottles she could find to sell for the refund price at the recycling center down the street. Still, did she intend to drink all that juice on the way?

Silvia opens a bottle and pours the liquid into a bush. The Narrator raises a hand to his head.

- Narrator
Of course. Well, Silvia would get her money by wasting ten times as much in juice her mum bought. Typical of the girl, really.

Silvia finishes emptying the bottles and walks merrily along.

- Narrator
Well, our heroine was done doing her dirty deed, so she walked towards the recycling center. Of course, any time Sylvia travels by foot, she almost assuredly gets lost or distracted. At least no one lets her drive!

Silvia stops walking and peers down at the ground.

- Silvia
Why hello Brendon, how are you today? Is your fur still stinky? I keep telling you to use shampoo when it rains. That works to keep me smelling nice.

- Narrator
Along the way she started talking to a bedraggled kitten. Wonderful … I have no idea why I took this gig, they said they needed a narrator and I thought, well, a paying job would be nice, nothing too fancy. Little did I know that I would have to follow this idiot around … and it appears she finished conversing with the cat so off we go!

Silvia continues walking. She runs across MIRABELLE, an elderly woman with a kind face.

- Silvia
Miss Mirabelle, hi! How are you! I’m gonna get ice-cream!

- Mirabelle
Why dear, it’s good to see you. And remember; call me Ms. Azwin, Mirabelle is my first name. So, ice-cream you say?

- Silvia
Yep! I’m gonna sell these bottles for the refund, and then I can buy ice-cream!

- Mirabelle
That’s wonderful dear, I’m happy for you. Now, you run along, you don’t want to get distracted!

- Silvia
Definitely! See ya Miss Mirabelle! Ice-cream, here I come!

Silvia continues along and Mirabelle wanders off-stage. The Narrator strokes his chin in thought.

- Narrator
Now that it has been mentioned, I find this … odd. From the research they gave me, this girl gets lost in her own home. Why, she once forgot to go to her friend’s birthday party, all because she was chasing a kitten in circles. That friendship didn’t last long. And yet, here, she is, determined! She has not lost focus once! Well, there were a few moments, but still. I’ve narrated for a few morons in my day, and yet this one … would it be a compliment to call her the most focused moron I have ever narrated for? This must be the power of sweets over the dumb. Fascinating! Ah, and she arrived at the center. Sylvia still had all of her bottles and she walked triumphantly in.

Silvia walks up to HUMBERT, a middle-aged man behind a counter.

- Silvia
I would like to refund these, for money!

Silvia holds the bags up in front of his face. Humbert reaches out and takes a few bottles before pushing the rest away. After checking the bottles, he sighs.

- Humbert
Young lady, do you know how this works?

- Silvia
Yes! I give you empty bottles, and you give me money. Could we hurry, the ice-cream man comes in ten minutes!

- Humbert
Do you see the little letters here? These mean California, Maine and Hawaii. Are we near any of those places?

- Silvia
Ummm … Maybe? … Yes? … No?

- Humbert
Correct on the third try. Now, I can take them off your hands, but I can’t give you anything for them. So, what’ll it be?

- Silvia
I … ummm … here you go.

She hands Humbert the bags and he nods.

- Humbert
Thank you for recycling and saving the earth.

Silvia (sad)
Yes sir.

Silvia leaves the center and begins walking slowly. The narrator turns away from her and to the audience.

- Narrator
Well now I think I feel sorry for the girl. She tried so hard, as hard as her little mind could, and it was all for nothing … Is this gig almost done? I could really use lunch. Did someone say there was a deli down the street?

Silvia stops and turns to face the Narrator.

- Silvia
You have money?

- Narrator
Well, only enough for a sandwich after this narrating gig is over. Hey, that’s right! I’m the narrator, you can’t see me! Oh, wait: Sylvia carefully considered the situation, then lept like a tiger with its prey in sights … Oh god, don’t!

Silvia WRESTLES Narrator to the ground and digs through his pockets.

- Silvia (happy)
Why, that’s enough for two ice-creams! Yay!
Plan D
I'm attending SakuraCon this weekend! So here's an old and embarrassing thing ... yeah. I have no idea what I was thinking when I wrote this piece. The narrator is amusing to me, in that he's so mean to Silvia and he gets what he deserves in the end and he's got a skewed way of looking at things and he's just full of character unlike most narrators. You might even say he was the precursor to my narrator in Pokémon: the Risen, maybe? Silvia on the other hand is just sort of simple and naive and funny. Her childishness allows her to get away with things that other people cannot, such as spending all of her money on cats, or wasting money by pouring out juice, or just simple things like getting someone's name wrong. But she can also perceive things that others cannot, I guess? Or something. I had to write a five page skit every week for one semester, and some of them are like this, weird.
The moon shines down on the gap-toothed fort walls. A tent crouches in the moon-shade below them, a little light seeping out through the thin leather sides. White beetles the size of bucklers are fastened to the tent, as if to drink in the escaping light.

Laying atop a bedroll inside the tent, Zarah opens one eye. The sounds of someone panting and the occasional grunt come from behind her. She grimaces, clenches her fist, and does a silent stretch. “Are you two seriously doing it in the same fucking tent as me?” At last she turns to face the glow.

“None of yer wit now, Miss Zarah.” Back in his natural insectoid form, Rolf kneels in the middle of the tent. The shape-shifter is the source of the tent's glow. His back is to Zarah. “Miss Teal is concentrating.” Tress is asleep on a bedroll beside him.

The paladin sits with her back against the wall of the tent, stripped down to her padded armor. Sweat beads her brow and her breathing is labored. Her legs are crossed before her, and her bare arms rest on her knees.

Teal's hands and feet change their form in constant motion. They grow scales or hair or bare skin of every color and texture, only to have something else appear next. Teal watches every change. She grunts and the changes slow to a stop on one hand. Teal flexes the razor-clawed fingers of a black, silky paw. For a moment the paw remains, but then slips away.

“Light Damn.” Zarah crawls across the tent. “What are you doing?”

Teal sighs and looks up. Her hands and feet start changing faster. “I am trying to master this curse. It is not going well.”

“Ye are incorrect, Miss Teal.” Rolf leans forward and places a hand on Teal's shoulder. “Consider all that ye have learned so far, and in so short a time.”

She pushes his hand away, but nods. “I know that. But it is difficult to actually believe.” Her eyes narrow and she frowns. “That is the wrong word. To comprehend? Or digest. To know truly and fully.”

“To know in yer heart,” suggests Rolf.

Zarah smirks. “No, for ladies you say in their tits.”

Teal grunts. “Or wherever.” She closes her eyes and takes a breath. “Striger's The Soldier's Companion says that a soldier who waits for their heart to agree with their mind will fail the mission. But Striger is often too rigid for any situation other than full combat.” She opens her eyes to stare at Rolf. “What am I missing, Rolf? What is the next step to this training?”

Rolf leans back. “I do not know, Miss Teal.” He shrugs. “In my case, I cheat. I am able to shift my ether lines as easily as I shift my carapace. For humans it must be difficult to understand.”

“It is not difficult,” Teal mutters. “It is nigh-impossible.”

She resumes her meditative pose, hands on her knees and watching all four limbs. As she begins to breath in and out at a measured pace, the changes slow. Rolf nods and smiles.

Zarah stares at the rapid transformations. “Okay, I think I get it.” She points at Teal's hand. “You want that to stay as just one. But they keep changing.”

Teal inclines her head. “I wish to choose the form. I know now that such forms can aid me greatly, so I won't try to leave one or more human. Nor do I wish a form that hinders my normal activities. Previously I was able to prevent the fire elemental's hand from changing, and so it remained when the witching hour was complete. But trying to choose a particular form from among the many is difficult.”

She looks down and flexes her fingers, which morph from granite to obsidian flesh to silver fur as she watches. “It is like trying to catch a bird with only my hands. Every time I come close, the form I want flies away and does not return.”

“Huh. I thought only Father used those lines about nature stuff.” Zarah chuckles and leans over to rest on her elbow. “So your problem is speed. The changes happen too fast.”

Teal sighs and nods. Rolf turns to look at Zarah, who nods.

“Speed is my specialty. Father taught me everything he knows, and I figured out some stuff myself.” Zarah looks up at the roof of the tent. “I guess ... don't think about every step it will take to reach your destination. You have to see yourself there, and then let your body take you.”

She looks back down, and grins at Teal and Rolf's frowns. “It sounds crazy, but it works. Like with walking. You would trip over your own feet trying to control every single muscle you use to take even one tiny step. So you don't do that. You just move.”

Zarah stands and seems to vanish. She appears behind Teal, one finger to the back of her head. “The less I try to control what happens between, the faster I go. Instinct and intuition are faster than thoughts and decisions.” The half-human saunters out from behind Teal and returns to her original seat. “You looked like you were trying to control something. Stop that. See what you want, and let it happen.”

Rolf nods and turns back to Teal. “There is truth to her words, Miss Teal. I do not shape each new carapace detail by detail. To do so would be enormously difficult and a waste of my time. Instead I form it whole from some image in my mind, and only later do I fix the details. You should try this end-state visualization to see if it will help.”

After looking from one to the other, Teal closes her eyes. First the changes slow as her brow creases with effort. But then her forehead clears. Her right hand becomes a blur, the changes happening faster and faster. A black sphere of all colors and forms appears around the hand. Then the sphere shrinks down to a clawed hand with five webbed fingers and dusty-green scales.

Teal opens her eyes and stares at the hand. “I am not attempting to hold it from changing, and yet it does not change.”

Zarah grins. “You're not trying to control it. You're letting it be what you want.” She lays back against her bedroll and rolls over. “That's the problem with you authority types. Always trying to control things. It makes you slow.” She yawns. “Anyway, safe night.”

“And I no longer wish to hug you now.” Teal smiles and looks away. “Thank you for turning your point into a personal attack, Zarah.”

“Ye can always hug me, Miss Teal.” Rolf's mandibles stretch outward on the sides. “If ye wish to hug someone.”

Zarah snorts from her bedroll and curls around her stomach. Teal sighs and closes her eyes. The changes from her left hand speed up as her breathing slows. Rolf watches in silence, still with a slight smile.

The moon is not much farther in the sky when the ground begins to shake. A golden aura appears around the black orb set in the ground, and lines of the light extend outward in the cracks between the stones. The orb rotates like the head of a turning screw, and the outermost circle of stones spins with a loud groaning from below.

Teal, Rolf, and Zarah stumble from the tent. Standing at the entrance in his natural form, Rolf holds up his crossbow and aims it at the circle. Zarah drags her Cleaver along the ground, her eyes half-closed.

The gem on Teal's maul is lit from within, though the blue light doesn't reach very far in the darkness. Teal drops her bark helmet down over her head and steps forward, fully armored. After lifting her maul from its harness, she stares at the blue glow.

“What do you suppose this means?” She shows the maul to Rolf.

He frowns. “That looks to be a finding or detection enchantment, Miss Teal.” His eyes go wide and he gulps. “Perhaps undead detection?”

“Perhaps.” Teal stares at the gem. She glances at Rolf. “Defend Tress with your life.”

One by one the outermost stones lower into the ground. Zarah flips Scarfenstein over her shoulder as a cape. Rolf fiddles with the scopes of his crossbow. Teal presses the head of her maul against the ground and forms a hefty cube of rock.

The ground stops shaking, and the stone circle is silent. The orb in the center continues to shine like a golden coin reflecting sunlight. Then a shuffle like hundreds of footsteps comes from the hole in the ground. Heads emerge, covered in a thin layer of loose dirt.

The first wave of Goldenburg's citizens trudge up from the hole in the ground brandishing their swords and crossbows. Zarah drops her Cleaver and falls backward to start laughing. Rolf ducks inside the tent and exits again a moment later in his smiling human form.

Teal runs forward and almost bowls over the Drunk as he climbs up the wide, stone stairs. They stare at each other before embracing like an old man and his lost daughter. Teal releases him and steps away, turning her head back and forth. Her arms reach out and she hugs the air. Sorrow appears in her grasp, shimmering in and out of sight under the moon above.

Packed into the fort behind them, the citizens of Goldenburg celebrate under the stars. People dance and sing and chat and sneak off together, rich and poor alike. Fires and floating globes of light are everywhere, with priests in white robes nearby. The priests in black robes are gathered near the edge of the giant party, praying below the open sky.

The Count stands below an overhang of the fort walls. In his right hand is the winged spear, the small gem inset near the tip glowing blue. At his left shoulder stands Sudo, hands clasped behind his back.

Tress and the two tow-headed children lay in front of them, asleep on a blanket. Teal, Rolf, Zarah, and the Drunk stand spread out around the sides of the blanket. Klax bends over the children, twin halos around his hand and his head as he watches over them. Bell stands behind, wrapped in her silver cloak.

Teal stares down at the three children. “Klax, why will they not wake up?”

The Small Folk glances up at her with a small smile. “I believe they will eventually, Miss Teal. They appear to be extremely tired, both physically and mentally. I can only assume it is.” He looks back to the children. “An after effect.”

The paladin growls. “Tress is one of my charges, but the other two.” She closes one eye and shakes her head. “They are children of the Orphanarium's laundress. If she and her husband died in Burroughs, they have been made orphans as well. The Phoenix Army deserves nothing less than to be put down in its entirety for their crimes.”

The Count nods. “And what will you do now, Miss Teal? Vowing revenge is all well and good, but we need a plan.”

“I will travel to the Capital, by way of Karth and Riverside.” Teal glances away to look toward the horizon. “I will tell everything that I know to the Queen, and abide by her orders.”

“Good. The people of Goldenburg and I will accompany you.” The Count smiles. “If you will have us. And I can have someone look after these children for you. You will not have to worry about them in the slightest.”

Teal sighs and nods, staring down at the two girls and one boy again. Then she smirks. “Your old deal with me is finally done with. The Palace is no longer habitable, I assume.”

“True.” The Count nods. “But were you sleeping here when we arrived? As the Hallows Fort and Palace are connected by a tunnel, I consider them the same.”

Teal snorts but says nothing. The Count shrugs and smiles. Rolf stares at the Count and bites his lip.

Zarah frowns and turns to Sudo. “Father, my mission to protect Teal is complete. Now that she's with you all, she doesn't need me. I want to split away and go directly to Foe Hall on my own.”

Before Sudo can respond, Teal turns to Zarah. “The Army fort? Why?” Zarah only smiles. Teal shrugs. “Come with us then. The fastest way to get to any city is via Rift Circle, and Riverside is now the closest city with a Rift Circle.”

The half-human shakes her head. “Foe Hall and Riverside are about the same distance away. I've run both routes before.”

Teal blinks. “But the swamps will be slow traveling. We can hire a boat in Karth to get across Peace Lake, and there is a good road leading to Riverside on the other side.”

Zarah growls. “I'll do as I want, Teal!”

Sudo stares from one to the other with a half smile. “Daughter, I accept your decision. Your mission was completed to my expectations, and perhaps beyond. But if you are leaving, perhaps one of my agents should accompany you. When winter comes, the birds flock together.”

“May I be the one ta accompany ya, lass?” The Drunk grins at Zarah, then Sudo. “I'll look after her for ya. Traveling by boat never agrees with me anyway. Funnily enough though, I was once the cabin boy of a grand caravan a merchant ships. The seas were bigger back then, an the storms wilder, but I could nae feel them because our ships were bigger yet.”

Sorrow appears from the air as he steps below the overhang. “That is a lie, father.” His eyes flash black and he nods. “It was, because seas do not become larger or smaller.” He turns to the Drunk. “Father, tell me if I should travel with you and Miss Zarah, or with Miss Teal and the Count.”

The Drunk considers Zarah, and then turns back to Sorrow. “With the others, boy. I believe the lass an I will be running full tilt.”

Zarah grins and nods, and Sudo inclines his head. Sorrow blinks. The gray-skinned young man walks over to stand behind Teal. The black pickaxe hanging at his hip rustles against his leathers.

The Count raises his spear up and thumps the butt against the ground. “Then we are agreed on our plans. Please, everyone rest here for the night. In the morning we will set out.”

Teal nods. “Though if it's all the same to you, we will move our tent outside the Fort. It has become quite crowded anyway. Safe night.” She turns and marches away. Rolf and Sorrow follow her.

“Oh!” Zarah chuckles. “That deal.” She smirks at the Count. “You know she doesn't feel the same, right? You have zero chance of getting any with her.”

The Count sighs and turns away. Sudo pats him on the back and glares at Zarah, who runs after Teal with a wide grin. The Drunk sniffs at the air and frowns.

“Aye, the smell a disappointment in the night.” He nods his shaggy head at the Count. “You an me lad, we should visit a good bar or three when this is over. Ta.” The Drunk ambles away, lifting his flask from its pocket.
High War - Chapter 17.3

Almost but not quite late! And the conclusion of chapter 17! So begins the grand journey to the west for our heroes, Zarah to reunite with her husband as all war breaks loose, and Teal to seek guidance from the Dragons Queen. Does it feel epic yet? Heh, maybe it would if everyone would stop going on about their love interests. And you know I kinda like that.

This is a part of my High War project, a story set in a D&D-inspired world that I have tried very hard to make my own. I really don't want to step on anyone's copyright toes here, which to some degree is not easy at all. I have no idea where the background of my preview image comes from, as far as I know it came from a free image site; if you know otherwise then please tell me so I can take it down, although I would be happier to use it with the permission of its creator. This will be a story for somewhat mature audiences, there will be occasional violence, language, and adult themes. Thanks for understanding, and if you don't then I would be happy to discuss with you my thoughts on the issue.



“This will be a one on one battle. Use as many Pokemon as you have. Winner takes half of the loser's Pokedollars.” The young woman is sitting in a harness that hangs down from the cliff edge above. Below her is a long drop to the canyon floor.

Zack steps out from a ledge to a harness opposite his opponent. Between them is a stretch of vertical climbing wall mixed with ledges. Several of the ledges have holes in the dirt wall large enough for an average sized Pokemon to walk inside. Cid and a herd of Scraggy watch from above, only their heads poking out over the edge of the canyon wall.

“Oh, and if you return a Pokemon that falls off, they are considered knocked out for the rest of the battle.” The other Trainer stares at Zack for a moment. “But otherwise, standard battle rules apply.”

His eyes on the ground far below, Zack nods. “I guess this is better than holding on to the wall while battling. My arms would fall off. It's not good to strain your muscles from doing the same thing for a long time. Say, does the harness of whoever loses fall to the ground? I don't see a net, but maybe it's really hard to see. I think I saw a TV show like that once.”

The Trainer shakes her head. “No, these harnesses are perfectly safe. There's no need for a net. Just don't leave it and your safety is assured.”

“Demon Trainer Cid will cut your harness if you are defeated!” Cid chortles and reaches out to flick the rope for Zack's harness. “Now you will have the motivation to win!”

Zack takes a deep gulp of air. “Oooookay! My name is Zack. I have my good buddy Slakoth and our new friend Kinder. Leeeeet's get this battle thing started!” He stares down at his two Pokeballs and mutters to himself. “Having two makes it a tough choice.”

“It's good to meet you, Zack. My name is Sayde and I'm a Pokeclimber. I have four Pokemon.” Sayde takes a Pokeball from her hip and calls out the Pokemon inside. “Go, Wall Climber!”

“Go on and let's see what you can do, Kinder!” Zack activates his Pokeball and snaps the other back to his side.

Chansey and a Sandshrew appear in a flash of light on two separate ledges. The Sandshrew scrapes its claws together. Kinder adjusts the tiny cowboy hat tied to her head. She looks around at the terrain and her predicament, then back to Zack. He shrugs.

“You can do it, Kinder! You just have to,” Zack punches the air. “Bam! Like that!”

Kinder turns to stare at the Sandshrew, then at Sayde. The Chansey wavers on the ledge as wind gusts through the canyons. She shakes her head. “Chan chas, ansey. Sea?”

The Pokeclimber frowns at Zack. “If you won't attack, I'll go first. Wall Climber, use Sand-Attack!”

The Sandshrew nods and runs on its ledge toward Kinder. The Pokemon scrapes its claws against the ground and leaps toward Kinder's ledge. In mid-air the Sandshrew twists around and flings the sand in its claws at Chansey. Kinder gets a large dose of the sand in her eyes, and she turns away with a whimper to wipe at them. The Sandshrew lands on her ledge in a crouch.

“Huh? Come on, Kinder!” Zack leans forward in his harness and grabs the ropes. “Are you okay?” Kinder doesn't answer him, her paws still against her eyes. Zack bites a corner of his lip. “Um, Kinder, I believe you can do this. Just tell me if you don't know what to do. I'm new at this too, but I do know a little about how battle works.” He clenches his fist. “You can fight like my buddy Slakoth! It's time to use his attention grabbing super cool Body Slam! Go ahead, it's not like he and I trademarked it.”

Sayde sighs. “Wall Climber, I don't know what he's doing, but use Poison Sting!”

The Sandshrew lopes forward. The middle claw on its right turns purple, and stabs into the defenseless Kinder's thick hide as she bawls into her paws. Her skin at the spot turns purple as well. The Sandshrew scurries backward after the attack, but Kinder does not retaliate.

“Hey, idiot!” Cid shouts at Zack from above. “Even Demon Trainer Cid knows to check her Pokedex in this situation. You must discover what moves a Pokemon knows and does not know.”

“Can't she use ordinary fighting moves?” Zack places Kinder's Pokeball in his lap and flips open his Poketool. He types in a few commands, and holds the Poketool up to scan Kinder. “Oh, neat! That app Lana showed me has all sorts of useful information! Oh no, you're hurt! I'm sorry, that's my fault. Kinder, use.” He stares at his Poketool screen and nods. “Refresh!”

“Wall Climber, use Scratch!”

The sandy brown Pokemon walks forward, swipes at Kinder, then stands and stares at her. She nods and gives a final sniff. Pressing her toes against the ground, Kinder raises her head to the sky. She shines for a moment, and the spot of purple disappears when the glow has gone, though her scratches and wounds remain.

“Way to go, Kinder!” Zack bounces up and down in his harness. He catches Kinder's Pokeball before it can fall out of his lap. “Your move thing worked like the app said! Okay, now.” He stares down at the Poketool screen. “Where's your … don't you know those moves like Awesome Punch and Mega Beam and Hyper Kick? Can't you even do a Football Tackle?”

Kinder shakes her head to every one. Zack bites his whole lower lip and stares at the screen. He nods.

“Tail Whip sounds like an attack. Go for it, Kinder!”

“He doesn't know what he's doing, Wall Climber.” Sayde shrugs and points at Kinder. “Use Scratch until his Pokemon faints.”

The Sandshrew circles Kinder, scratching the Chansey with its claws at every turn. She winces, but her rubbery skin bears the brunt of the attacks. The Sandshrew doesn't even try to attack with precision now, and the ground cracks a little from its wide swipes. Kinder twirls and whips the Sandshrew with her tail, and Zack cheers.

“Okay, that was good!” Zack glances down at his Poketool and his eyes widen. “But no damage? Um … Use Helping Hand, Kinder! I bet that will help, it's always good to give a helping hand.”

Sayde raises an eyebrow but says nothing. Cid shakes her head, and the Scraggy around her all start muttering to each other. “Scra crag. Raggy scrag. Sag craggy rag.”

Kinder's paw glows red, and she reaches out to hold Sandshrew's arm as the Pokemon swipes at her. The claws glow red and swing down to smash the ground. The ledge explodes. The Sandshrew tumbles out of the burst of sand and dirt and hurtles toward the canyon below, its arms and legs swinging, but the wall is too far away to grab. Sayde catches the falling Pokemon with a beam of light from its Pokeball. Kinder stands on the lip of the broken ledge and blinks several times.

Zack jumps up from his seat and yells, “Oooooh yeah!” With his arms up in the air and his eyes on the battle, he doesn't notice Kinder's Pokeball fall from his lap. “Way to go, Kinder! That's one down!” The Pokeball lands on a ledge below and rolls into a crevice.

“No way.” Sayde shakes her head and takes another Pokeball from her side. “Wow. There is no way I'm letting that happen again. Go, Sky Climber!”

A Spearow appears and flaps down to rest on a ledge above Kinder. The Chansey stares up at the Flying type and whimpers.

“Okay, Kinder, I understand. I'll bring out Slakoth so you can take a break!” Zack glances down at his lap. His eyes widen and he looks around for the missing Pokeball. “Uh-oh. Um … Kinder, use Tail Whip until I can do that!”

“Sky Climber, use Peck until it faints! Don't worry, it can't do anything dangerous.”

The Spearow flits from its ledge, darts down through the sky, and lands on Kinder's head. The Flying type starts drilling its beak against her head, poking the cowboy hat to shreds. Kinder cries out as the scar tissue on her head is assaulted. She bends low over her egg and snaps her tail from side to side. Each sharp whip-crack causes Spearow to shiver, but it doesn't stop attacking. Eventually the Tail Whips stop having any effect at all.

A Nuzleaf runs straight up the cliff wall, a Pokeball in its grasp. The woody brown Pokemon leaps outward, flips through the air to catch the hanging ropes of Zack's harness, and slides down. The Pokemon hands Zack the Pokeball.

Zack smiles and pats the Pokemon. “Hi there! Is that Kinder's Pokeball? Thank you! Hey, actually I could use some help in this battle. Would you want to?”

The Nuzleaf shakes its head and salutes Zack before falling backward. The Pokemon vanishes before it can hit the canyon floor.

Zack shrugs and turns back to the one-sided fight. “Come on back, Kinder! Go, Slakoth! It's a whole new battle now!”

“This calls for a change of tactics, Sky Climber.” Sayde nods. “Use Leer!”

Wobbling on her feet, wounded all over her body, Kinder sighs in relief as the light from the Pokeball captures her. Slakoth appears soon after on a different ledge. His eyes grow big as he takes in the precarious arena, and he turns back to Zack with tears in his eyes. Zack snaps both Pokeballs against his side and gives Slakoth a thumbs up.

Slakoth flops against the ground and lays there, crying big tears. The Spearow flies a tight circle in the air and stops to hover at eye level with Slakoth. The Flying type glares at him, its eyes glinting. Slakoth hides behind his paws.

“Oooookay! Slakoth, use your sleepy yawny battle ending move!” Zack stares down at his Poketool and smiles. “Use Yawn!”

“Sky Climber, that one's a physical attacker! Use Growl!”

The Spearow opens its beak and makes a warbling, grunting cry. Slakoth shakes, turns tail to lumber away, and enters the hole in the middle of his ledge. After a moment he pokes his head out from another hole higher in the wall and peers down at Spearow and the ground far below, still shivering.

“Awesome, Slakoth! You found a secret path that I bet few have traveled and lived to tell the tale! But now we have to fight!” Zack points at the Spearow. “That one pecked Kinder a lot. Return the favor with your earth-shaking, rock-breaking, everyone loves it Body Slam!”

Sayde crosses her arms. “It's sufficiently debuffed, Sky Climber. Use Peck!”

Slakoth emerges fully from the tunnel, his eyes wide. “Sla? Lakoth loth, thos.”

The Spearow flies up and straight for Slakoth like an arrow. “Row! Ear spea pear, ower esparo!”

The Flying type charges Slakoth, who raises an arm to swat the Spearow. Spearow's beak pierces the skin of Slakoth's forearm and Slakoth blinks as a tear forms at the corner of his eye. But he does not cry. Slakoth closes his eyes and frowns. His forearm swings around and slams the Spearow against the cliff wall. Spearow coughs as its eyes go blank. The rock face shatters behind the Flying type.

Sayde captures the fainted Spearow as it falls away from the cliff face. Zack gapes for a second, but then starts to cheer and wave his arms. Slakoth harrumphs, and places a paw over his forearm to cover the battle wound.

Above them all, Cid grins. “Using Tail Whip to bring your foe to a weakened state, and then defeating it with a single strong attack. Demon Trainer Cid could have done better, but she will clap for you all the same.” She claps her hands with a stern nod.

“Is that what I did?” Zack grins and rubs his hair. “I'll have to remember that!”

Sayde shakes her head. “You've done well to climb this far, Trainer Zack. But there's no way you can defeat my last two. Go, Diglett!” She aims the beam of light from her third Pokeball at the cliff, and a Diglett appears in a burst of dirt. The Ground type pops into the wall and back out again several times, moving through the dirt like a Horsea through water.

Zack pumps both fists. “This looks like a fast one, Slakoth buddy! Give it your all!” He looks down at his Poketool. “Oh! And tell your opponent to give it their all too, with Encore!”

“Diglett, use Sand-Attack!”

The Diglett appears from the ledge in front of Slakoth and spins around, throwing a spray of sand everywhere. Slakoth grunts as the sand enters his eyes, and he rolls around on the ledge. He stops and blinks his eyes. A few grits remain, but he can see. Slakoth sighs and opens his mouth as if to yawn, then stops and rolls over to lounge against the cliff wall.

“Nooooo!” Zack grabs his hair. “Slakoth buddy, come on! This is the time to be serious! Use Encore so your opponent will try their best and you'll become the fastest!”

“Diglett, try that new move you learned. Use Astonish!”

Slakoth nods. The shaggy Pokemon stands up and looks around, but the Diglett is gone. Slakoth inches toward the edge and peers down, but the Diglett isn't there either. Turning around to face the wall, he places his claws at his hips and tilts his head to the side. “Lak thoth?”

Diglett bursts from the wall as shadow duplicates emerge from its body. The shadows reach out toward Slakoth and each one forms a grinning face. They stop right in front of him and scream in a cacophony of shrill shrieks, their eyes swirling and their tongues wagging.

Slakoth blinks. He nods and brings his hands forward. With a big smile, he claps.

“That's right, Slakoth buddy!” Zack's smile is shaking. He grips the ropes of his harness with pale fingers. “That wasn't scary at all. I mean, who would be scared by something like that? Not me. Ha!” His hand shakes as he checks his Poketool. “Okay, now use Body Slam again!”

Diglett's shadow duplicates shrink away and retreat. The Ground type stares at Slakoth.

Sayde gasps. “How could the move have no effect? Diglett, quick, get away from it! Use Scratch!”

Diglet pops back into the wall, then out again from the same spot. It twirls around but does nothing else.

Slakoth walks over to lean against the cliff wall beside the Ground type. “Lak loth. Sla lat ko, koth slo slothak.” Slakoth shrugs.

“That's right, Slakoth buddy! Tell it not to use that weird move again!” Zack exhales and nods. “And I guess you can't use Body Slam from close range. So start using Scratch or Body Slam, whichever you can do!”

“Diglett, why?” Sayde stares at her Pokemon, then shakes her head. “Your opponent is debuffed, so use Scratch until it faints!”

Diglett dives into the dirt and is gone. Slakoth searches inside the tunnel and around the ledge, but the other Pokemon remains underground for several seconds. Then Diglett pops out of the ledge in front of him. The shadows emerge and grin at Slakoth, who grins back at them. Slakoth hops into the air and drops down on Diglett, passing through the shadows and slamming against Diglett. The ground breaks and they fall to a lower ledge. Diglett escapes into the dirt as Slakoth stands up.

Sayde frowns. “I didn't say to use Astonish again.” She pulls out a Poketool and starts tapping the screen. “Oh! That was Encore. Which means.” She sighs.

She holds out Diglett's Pokeball and waits for the Pokemon to emerge. When it does, the Ground type spins around until the beam of light grabs it. “Return, Diglett. Go, Scraggy!”

The herd of Scraggy on the cliff above all cheer as a smaller Scraggy appears in front of Slakoth. The two Pokemon's eyes meet. Scraggy glares at Slakoth, who smiles and reaches out a paw to shake. The Scraggy holds its loose skin in both hands and stomps toward its opponent. Slakoth's smile shakes and falls away.

Zack sighs. “Aw. Slakoth buddy, this guy doesn't look very fast. Use Yawn for a quick win!”

“It's a Normal type, Scraggy.” Sayde smiles. “You know what to do. I just wish it was a larger weight class.”

Scraggy nods. It twists around in a flash and brings its leg out to kick Slakoth's feet out from under him, bending the leg in and causing Slakoth to cry out. Slakoth falls over and hits the ground with a thud, his eyes wide and filled with painful tears.

Despite his pain, Slakoth opens his mouth and lets out a Yawn. Scraggy blinks and gives a small yawn too, its eyes drooping.

Zack shakes. “Are you okay, Slakoth buddy?” He glances down at his Poketool, which is beeping and flashing a red light at him. “Just hold on, buddy! I know what to do!”

He pulls a Potion out of his bag and stares at it, then at the vertical battlefield. After a resolute nod he stands in his harness, bends his knees, and leaps to the nearest ledge. Without looking at the potential drop, Zack starts running and jumping between ledges. A Magnezone floats out and through the canyons below him, ready to catch him should he fall.

Zack bends over Slakoth to apply the Potion. The shaggy Pokemon sighs with relief as the Potion is sprayed against its leg. Slakoth moves the leg around and pats Zack on the shoulder in thanks.

Sayde sighs. “So close. Should have used Leer more. Okay Scraggy, use Faint Attack!” She stares at Zack. “And Trainers should return to their positions. Most aren't crazy enough to use items on this field. It's why I battle here.”

The Scraggy yawns, but then vanishes. Zack scurries away as the Scraggy appears above Slakoth and stomps on his gut, causing Slakoth's head and legs to jerk up into the air. Slakoth is left gasping for air, but still conscious. Scraggy backs away and then falls over, pulling its loose skin up around its neck as it falls asleep.

Above, Cid laughs. The herd of Scraggy are silent.

Zack stares at the Scraggy. He smiles. “Oh yeah! Hey, Slakoth buddy, come on!” Zack motions for Slakoth to come help him. Wincing and limping, Slakoth does so. Together, they push the sleeping Scraggy over the ledge.

Sayde blinks. “No way.” She returns the falling Scraggy and looks down at her third Pokeball. “And Encore will still be affecting Diglett.” She closes her eyes. “I forfeit. You win.”
Pokemon: the Game - Chapter 24

Fight! And my favorite kind of fight, one with wacky terrain and different rules! I gave Zack a few lucky breaks here, but I also had some unfortunate things happen as well. I'm going to miss that tiny cowboy hat, but that means Zack will have to buy her a new one! And to be honest my plan was for Zack to lose, because he should be someone that wins and loses battles, but he actually won! And does anyone know who that Aerodactyl, Nuzleaf, and Magnezone were? The clues are all there, you don't even need to read the Risen to make a correct guess! And seriously, who would want to read the Risen? I went back and read a little last week to check my facts on something, and wow was it difficult. I had no idea how to paragraph back then.

This is part of my Risen Saga, a Pokémon story with blood and violence and occasionally even death. There may at some point be nudity, sexual themes, strong language and material that is almost certainly ideologically sensitive ... but I rarely put up the mature content filter because I don't want to restrict anyone from reading this story. If you feel strongly that I should for a specific piece, please say so, I would appreciate that! Oh, and if you go here you can check out a map I made of the Leogre Region, complete with routes and location information. Pokémon belongs to the Pokémon people and not to me; thank goodness, I'd probably do this to it.


Next … soon



Ian Chisholm
Artist | Hobbyist | Literature
United States
Favorite Quote: “Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!”

I'm here to tell my stories; I love Anime and I'm aiming at a career writing animation scripts, but for now I'm a writer-in-training creating worlds and characters and telling stories with them for my amusement. I'm also searching for a visual artist to collaborate with; if you read something here that inspires you and you can make dem perdy picture things, I would be interested in enlisting you for a creative partnership with the goal of collaborating on something awesome. And I'm here to learn; I want advice on how I can improve, I gladly work with, co-author or even take on requests to sharpen my writing skills, and if you'd like a critique or some proofreading you only have to ask.

I upload something new every week, either part of an ongoing story I am writing, or something more random like a character piece or personal opinion paper. I also try to do prose critiques every week, and I write webcomic reviews semi-regularly for my Journal section and collect them in archived compilations of ten. Occasionally I look back at something I have uploaded to DA (at minimum a year old) in the hopes that I can glean something useful from it, and when I'm bored I hang out in the Philosophy forum. Of course the busier my life gets, the less of all that I do.

My 2015 avatar is me, writing down by the lake! Of course you can't see much of me, especially not the sweet hat I'm wearing, and this image is from forever ago, like high school or something, and I'm writing data findings on the water for science, some project my Grandpa gave me to help his fishing club ... but it's me!

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92LAW Featured By Owner 6 days ago  New member
thank u
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confusedkangaroo Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2015  Hobbyist
Thanks for the llama!
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TheArchosaurQueen Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hay, I want to apologize for not contacting you sooner, but I've been really busy with other things since last year to the point I even put my story on hold, but once I get enough time I'll get back to you and review your story too. I hope I didn't come across as rood, for that was not my intent in the lest :(.
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samosvulter Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2015
Thanks for the fave~:D
Have a nice day~~:iconlucywaveplz:
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ColorCosmosFlurry Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
thank for the fav!
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