Re: Ghost Road Blues
Then I heard a harsh, wet laugh a’hind me. I turned ‘n’ saw the Jackal Priest lyin’ on the ground, ‘is white fur matted ‘n’ stained with blood ‘n’ dirt. All four o’ the black Aura sacs hangin’ from the back o’ ‘is head was gone. It looked like they’d been torn off. One o’ ‘is long ears was shredded ‘n’ ‘is tail was crooked in so many places it had to be broken badly. Both ‘is legs were splayed at unnatural angels, broken as badly as ‘is tail.
“Fools,” the old Lucario wheezed, ‘is amber eyes glazed with pain. “You can’t stop me. I’ll have my destiny, Gods and the rest of you be damned!” He then flung ‘is arms into the air ‘n’ barked a short chant. I gasped in recognition of the move, unable to believe what I was seein’. What the old jackal was doin’ weren’t meant to be used unless it were in defense o’ the Tribeleader, ‘n’ I could tell just by lookin’ into those glazed that the Jackal Priest was doin’ this fer ‘is own gain. He’d surely be struck down by the Gods that watch over Lucario ‘n’ Riolu-kind! But no bolt o’ lightnin’ or giant ball o’ fire screamed from the heavens to strike down the crazed Lucario, ‘n’ a moment later he stole the life energy from every livin’ creature within ten feet o’ where he was lyin’. Plants shriveled ‘n’ turned brown, trees groaned as they leaves curled ‘n’ fell to the forest floor. Hidden animals gave sharp death squeals ‘n’ hundreds of insects hit the ground after fallin’ from the trees ‘n’ plants. Pokemon stiffened a’fore collapsin’ to the ground, dead as I was. I watched in horror as the Jackal Priest cackled madly, clappin’ ‘is paws together ‘n’ releasin’ all the energy he’d gathered as a vicious, semi-visible blade o’ shimmerin’ blue blade. This tore ‘round the area with deadly intent; every livin’ thing it touched died as they life energy was sucked into the blade. Within two or three minutes, there weren’t a Pokemon still ‘live.
The Jackal Priest didn’t fare much better, though. It took lots o’ energy to draw the lives outta others; that was the price o’ killin’ so many in order to protect one. The Jackal Priest hadn’t looked to be in good shape even a’fore usin’ that move, ‘n’ now he was lyin’ on ‘is back, gaspin’ ‘n’ laughin’ like mad. I shook my head slowly, unable to understand what was goin’ on. The Lucario’s earlier words hissed through my mind as I stared at ‘im, a feelin’ o’ deep disgust bloomin’ within me. This ol’ jackal had been up to somethin’, no doubt, somethin’ that Jackal Priests had no mind bein’ up to. I didn’t know what, exactly, but somethin’ in me spoke o’ blasphemy.
“And so it ends,” a voice to my left spoke. Startled, I jerked my head ‘round ‘n’ saw a single Pokemon approachin’. It were a bird with green plumage coverin’ its body, ‘cept fer its wings, which was white. The tips o’ its wing feathers was black, followed by red, ‘n’ there was yellow-filled red rectangles on the sides. Ebony feathers ‘round its neck shone with some strange sort o’ dim light, while the two red-pink feathers extendin’ from the back o’ its skull waved up ‘n’ down. It strode towards the Jackal Priest on clawed feet the same color as its two head feathers, its long yellow beak parted in a manner that spoke of grim satisfaction. “This madness will end today.” The Pokemon, a Xatu, came to a halt ‘bout a foot from the Jackal Priest’s prone body, shakin’ its head with a sigh. I peered at the bird, unable to tell iffin it were male or female. Its voice was oddly neutral, ‘n’ I couldn’t tell by scent now since I couldn’t smell things.
The Xatu stared at the Jackal Priest fer ‘nother moment, then suddenly looked up. Its lavender eyes stared right at me ‘n’ I get the uncomfortable feelin’ o’ bein’ closely studied. That was silly, o’ course, since I were dead ‘n’ the strange Xatu couldn’t see me. The bird’s head tilted to one side as it stared at, or more precisely, through me, its somber expression softenin’ to gentle welcome. That sure ain’t no look ya give thin air…
“And here you are, little one.”
“Ya…ya can see me?” I asked in surprise, ‘n’ the bird nodded its head as its beak opened in a smile.
“Of course I can. Psychic Pokemon are extremely sensitive to the presence of spirits.”
“Can ya tell me…why all ‘em Pokemon was attackin’ my Tribe?” I enquired, glancin’ ‘round at the many dead Pokemon that had been caught by the Jackal Priest’s attack.
“They weren’t here for your Tribe, only the Jackal Priest.”
“Because I led them here in a move against him. As I’m sure you know, we Xatu can see into the past and peer into the future, whether we want to or not. Most of what we see are flashes, brief glimpses of things that have been or will be, and then those quick peeks will be muddled and hazy. It’s often hard, if not downright impossible, for us to understand what we see. But there are times when our glimpses become long, focused scenes, where everything is clear and makes perfect sense. I had several such visions of this nature not too long ago, both of the past and the future. The future ones showed a white Lucario, your Tribe’s medicine-Mon, ruling the entire forest as a Tribeleader.”
“What?! That’s ridiculous! A Jackal Priest is forbidden from a’comin’ a Tribeleader! They duty is to be the voice o’ the Gods, to heal the sick ‘n’ injured! A Jackal Priest is prohibited from even talkin’ ‘bout a’comin’ a Tribeleader!” I protested, unable to believe what I was hearin’.
“Exactly, and the future I saw showed him as being a cruel and bitter Tribeleader because of all the misfortune he’d have to face.” Here the psychic bird paused, starin’ at me fer a long moment. Then: “Would you like to hear the whole story, Little Jackal?” the Xatu questioned, tiltin’ its head a li’l to the left. I stared at it fer a good long moment, sensin’ somethin’ ‘bout that name. It weren’t no cute or endearin’ nickname, but a title, one that spoke o’ power ‘n’ influence. I wondered ‘bout it fer a moment a’fore noddin’ at the Pokemon’s words.
“Yeah, I would. Be nice to get some straight, honest answers fer a change.”
“Very well,” the Xatu said, pattin’ its belly with its ivory wings a few times as it settled down. “On the night you were born, the Jackal Priest received a vision from your Gods. That vision revealed his punishment for his ambitions. A black Riolu would be born into his Tribe and become a black Lucario in time, and when that day came, the Black One would mete out the Jackal Priest’s retribution.
“Instead of bravely and honorably accepting what the Gods had decreed, the Jackal Priest instead concocted a lie about the nature of the Black One. He claimed that darkness would strike the Tribe from within, knowing that when the Black One was born, his strange and unnatural appearance would instantly deem him as the darkness. He made it seem as if the entire Tribe was destined to suffer, when it was only himself who was to be chastised.
“His cowardly treachery infuriated your Gods. Instead of acknowledging his transgression and accepting the reprimand, he purposely twisted what the Gods had shown him. Because of this, your Gods began to rain down misfortune on your Tribe. They knew this would only encourage the Jackal Priest’s lies about you -for of course you are the Black One I speak of-, and it caused them great grief. However, with so many disasters befalling your Tribe, the Jackal Priest only had time for his duties and none for working on his aspirations.
“When you left, the entire Tribe was ecstatic. All, that is, save your mother and father. Your mother loved you more than her own life, and your father did, too. He had to hide those emotions, though, and appear indifferent to you and your hardships. If it seemed he cared more for his cursed son than for his Tribe, he would have quickly been stripped of his position as Tribeleader. Thus, your parents were extremely worried when they discovered you missing, but the rest of the Tribe was certain their ordeals were over.
“Your Gods were now more enraged with the Jackal Priest than ever before. Three days after you left, the worst calamities yet struck your Tribe. Now they started to wonder, to become even more worried. They feared they’d somehow offended your Gods and were being punished for it. I’m not sure if this will bring you solace or not, but they were deeply troubled with how they’d treated you and by your disappearance. You couldn’t be the source of their troubles if you were no longer there, could you?”
“If they was so upset, why ain’t they never come to find me?” I interrupted. “I weren’t too awfully far ‘way from Tribe territory, just a few days’ worth o’ trekkin’.”
“Ah, by now your Gods had a new fate for you. You were still to be the Jackal Priest’s punisher, only in a different manner. You see, a day after the new catastrophes started, a scout found a dead jaguar near the borders of your Tribe’s territory. It had only died the day before, so the smell of rot hadn’t been strong enough to mask your odor on it. The blood on it was yours, as well, and it was believed that you’d been killed by the cat. Your father couldn’t send any out to search for you either way, as all the Tribemembers were already constantly busy with defending the Tribe and trying to find enough food for everyone.
“Back to the story…ah yes. Your Tribe became extremely strained and the members went from thinking they’d offended your Gods to wondering if maybe the Jackal Priest hadn’t misinterpreted the vision he’d had about you. Oh, none of them were able to even think that he’d do something so horrible as spin such an outright lie, but at the very least they suspected that he’d messed up somehow. They were confused and worried, and over the months many of them became bitter and untrusting of each other.
“Finally, the Tribe was just barely being held together by your father. This was the time when they were at their weakest, and so this was when I led the forest denizens I’d rounded up over the past few days on the strike. We never meant to injure or kill any of your Tribe, simply use their own divided weakness to drive them away while we dealt with the Jackal Priest and kept him busy long enough for you to realize your purpose.”
“My purpose…” I repeated softly, glancin’ over at the prone body o’ the Jackal Priest fer the first time since the Xatu had started tellin’ me this tale. The minute I laid eyes on ‘im, I felt a surge o’ strength ‘n’ the knowledge o’ what it was I was meant to do. I was the Black One, the one who would pass judgment on the Jackal Priest, the executioner who’d carry out the deed.
For now, I knew, that the deceitful, back-stabbin’ Lucario was meant to die. But…
“How d’ya know ‘bout all this?” I asked.
“I saw the past, remember? Those visions showed me what I have just told you, save for the final part, which, of course, happened today.” The Xatu motioned with a wing to the Jackal Priest, who was starin’ at the bird with a look o’ bemused horror. He’d never thought that he’d be uncovered, I guessed. I glared at ‘im, feelin’ anger stirrin’ in me the longer I looked at ‘is broken form. He were the reason I was dead, the real reason fer my sufferin’ ‘n’ the sufferin’ o’ the Tribe!
“Look at me!” I snapped, willin’ the Jackal Priest to see me. I felt that unusual sensation o’ energy flowin’ outta me as I growled, “Look at me ya no-good traitorous snake!” The Lucario blinked slowly, then ‘is head turned towards me. ‘Is eyes flew wide when he saw me, hoverin’ a few feet ‘bove the ground ‘n’ probably lookin’ all misty ‘n’ translucent.
“No…you’re dead…the jaguar…” he wheezed, ‘is chest startin’ to heave up ‘n’ down as ‘is breathin’ grew ragged. “You’re dead!”
“Yes, I am,” I answered, lettin’ all my anger into my voice. The Jackal Priest flinched at the heat in my words, ‘is fur bristlin’. “I’m dead ‘cause o’ ya ‘n’ yer cowardly actions! Four good Pokemon are dead, too, Pokemon what acted more like my family than any o’ the Tribe did, ‘cept fer Momma. But now I know it weren’t the Tribe’s fault fer treatin’ me like they did. It were ya! Yer the cause fer all this grief ‘n’ sufferin’ ‘n’ death! “N’ now it’s time fer ya to answer fer what ya’ve done, fer what ya’ve taken from all o’ us!”
“No!” the jackal screeched, flailin’ ‘is arms weakly ‘n’ whippin’ ‘is head from side to side. “No! I’m going to become the greatest Tribeleader this forest has ever known, and I’m going to rule and make everyone give me the respect I deserve!” Flecks o’ foam started flyin’ from the Pokemon’s lips ‘n’ ‘is eyes rolled madly in they sockets. I glowered at ‘im as he had ‘is fit, raisin’ my arms ‘n’ rollin’ my paws into fists. I willed all the energy that I had in my possession to gather a’fore me. It cascaded outta me, formin’ into a huge wall that constantly fell in on itself a’fore reformin’. Bigger ‘n’ bigger the mass o’ energy got, ‘til I sensed I had only a li’l left. I cut off the flow. Instantly, the thick haze o’ glitterin’, soft blue energy shaped itself into what looked like a long cylinder. It took on more shape ‘n’ form, though, until it were the head o’ a Lucario. The head opened its mighty jaws ‘n’ let out a howl, which drowned out the scream o’ the Jackal Priest. I lowered my arms when the head stopped howlin’, lettin’ the energy loose. The giant glowin’ blue head sped angled its muzzle down a’fore fallin’ upon the doomed Lucario a’neath it. The white Pokemon’s voice rose into a fear-crazed shriek as the energy-head craned its jaws open; when those jaws clamped shut, the Jackal Priest’s scream ended abruptly. The next thing I knew, the energy collapsed into a formless cloud that raged momentarily over the dead Lucario’s body. As the energy started to fade, I saw a ghostly white shape rise from the corpse. It were the Jackal Priest’s treacherous spirit, drawn from its deceased shell by some power. The Lucario were still screamin’ as the energy, ‘n’ the spirit ensnared within, finally faded completely.
After that was done I looked up, not seein’ the sky but somehow sensin’ that endless expanse ‘bove me. I felt a tug, that force that had guided me here now drawin’ me up, but I fought it fer a second. I had a’come ‘ware of a faint moanin’, ‘n’ though I couldn’t do nothin’ to help whoever was hurt, I could try to comfort ‘em a li’l a’fore I left. I followed the sound ‘til I came on the mangled body o’ an Arbok. The eleven-foot-long serpent had dark purple scales coverin’ its thick body, which was shredded to bloody ribbons. The snake was writhin’ weakly ‘mong the leaf litter o’ the forest floor, its hood openin’ ‘n’ closin’ as its life poured outta it. It must have been hit by the Jackal Priest’s attack.
I watched the snake, feelin’ a strange sort certainty that its existence weren’t gonna end with its life…
“Now I’m at the end o’ my journey
The road’s come full circle.”
-Jerma, “Ghost Road Blues”
‘N’ so there it is, the tale o’ my life ‘n’ death, ‘n’ the reason why you’re goin’ through what ya are. It might not help ya any in findin’ yer purpose, but iffin there’s even the slightest chance it might, then all the better. Now it’s time fer me to get goin’. I’ve got an afterlife or some such thing to be livin’. Well, not livin’, but you get the idea.
Oh, yer gone…well, ya might not hear me, but good luck anyways. Huh, I wish I could see the expression on a person’s face iffin someone ever sees ya. An Arbok is scary enough when ya ain’t a ghost.
Pokemon Going For: Riolu, Scyther, Buneary, Nincada
# of Needed Characters: 75k-110k
Total # of Characters: 138k+
I know the battle with the Buneary and Nincada was EXTREMELY short, but I had didn’t want all this story to go to waste since it was over 100k about ¾ of the way through. I didn’t want to drag it out longer by having more battles, though, so that’s why the battle for those two is on the short side. Heh, besides, we don’t need battles to catch the Mon, right? XD I wanted to throw them in there somehow and not just try to claim them at the end without mentioning them. Just wanted to point that out 8D.