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Character Count: 101
Ml: 48 - Fml: 51 - Oth: 2
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Season: Autumn

With the cooling season of Autumn, Ice-types are starting to re-emerge from their hibernation as Ghost-, Normal-, and Flying-types swarm in the largest numbers they will all year. In comparison, wild Fire- and Bug-type populations are falling in number. The migration of Flying-types to the south in search of warmer weather has also started, as Istin City starts to re-freeze and Autumn marks the beginning of Cypwater Point's rainy season. Handlers and Rogues alike should be wary: Ghost-type powers are boosted during this season, at the cost of being more prone to their triggers.

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 Sarra Wood's Travels, Zealous
Slondermins
 Posted: May 18 2017, 08:42 AM
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Jezenya diHadi | Seze Cal

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(Welcome to Harper, and sorry for the delay! Don't forget to add an egg count to each post and to post in the update request thread whenever you need an update!)

The Story So Far


The pokeball opened in a flash of light, a bright spot in the street that most passerby ignored-
a pokeball opening was no new phenomenon, and the other travelers on the road veered around Sarra with practiced care. It took only a few seconds for the light to reform into a creature with four legs and a bushy tail, and white turned into orange and black. The pokemon her father had accepted as (partial) payment was none other than a young growlithe; she jumped at the sudden revelation of unfamiliar surroundings, met eyes with Sarra, and whined.

The young woman would find that the dog was hesitant, but nonetheless willing to follow her. From here the two could go on together, if they chose, and the whole of Marchton City lay before them.If she wanted additional pokemon for her journey, and had money to afford it, the Bird Man was just on the other edge of town. Otherwise the market was easy to find, and Sarra would be able to duck into the general store to purchase any additional supplies for her journey.

The market also held a large bulletin board, on which were a myriad of parchment pieces and job notices. A few stood out from the rest.

QUOTE
Do you love adventure? Have you always wanted to see the world? Are you okay with the cold? Join us on our expedition to Istin City's caves in search of the mythical crystal onix!* Look for the man with the delibird at the western road to Route 3!
*crystal onix not guaranteed


QUOTE
I want to be a breeder! I'm really good with pokemon and I think I could do it. Please help me find a lady combee. I'd like to go with you, but you can bring me one, too. I can pay you some gold and maybe an egg! I'm sitting by the sweets shop with a teddiursa.


QUOTE
In need of brawlers. See Sten by the stables.



No one seemed to have taken interest in these particular jobs just yet, so Sarra could nab them if she wished. She could also head out onto the route or start her search for Crim right here in Marchton. It was up to her.

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Zealous
 Posted: May 19 2017, 09:13 PM
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Sarra Wood

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Stocky body. Thick tail. Head tuft. Even before the pokemon had fully resolved, Sarra knew. Growlithe. A puppy at that. Her father had thrown away her zangoose, unbreakable Crim, family protector and lifelong confidant, for this—for this. The outrage pressed into her, squeezing the breath out of her slowly.

Sarra had come to Marchton as directly as possible, and though the city now stood all around her, she found herself still mostly unarrived. No father, of course no Crim—she’d never been to Marchton alone and the sudden realization shook her. She’d been stolen from and made it this far on the impulse to do something about it. What was that something now, she wondered, trying to tamp down her anger in the face of this pup. Where was she supposed to start, having walked here so boldly with her back to her father and his house?

The answer cut through her thoughts swiftly and singly: with the growlithe.

Sarra knew growlithes.

They were the farmer’s friend, after all. All her life she had nurtured and corrected them—the barkers and hardbiters, foxbirds and firebrands, snapheads and roaring rorys. Growlithes! She could walk one straight to Seaway if she had half a mind to. The thought filled her and grounded her. She breathed in and out.

Look again,’ her father always told her, so Sarra did.

The puppy was unused to the ball, the city, or both. She hadn’t barked or made any obvious judgments of “not-handler.” Most obviously, she had immediately appealed to Sarra for help when distressed. Unbonded for sure. Sarra bet the thing didn’t even have a name.

The whine was a trap. If Sarra gave into that and responded with affection, the puppy would learn it was good to be anxious. The proper response was to ignore the plea and redirect the growlithe’s attention with a task. Sarra spied a nearby alley that would serve her purposes and took a step towards it.

Follow me,” said Sarra. The puppy’s ears perked with surprise, then alarm, and she whined more insistently. When this too failed to move Sarra closer, the growlithe grudgingly moved towards her. The reluctance faded once the destination became clear.

Once the two had stepped into the alley, Sarra took a knee and waited for her pokemon to close the distance between them. “Good girl,” said Sarra, before finally giving the growlithe some light chin-scratches. “I’m Sarra. Will you be Yan?

The puppy merely thumped her tail against the ground and leaned into the touch. Her instincts told her this was right. Yan she would be.

As Sarra tended to her new pokemon in the relative quiet, a calm settled, then understanding. Nothing good would come from panicking. Sarra allowed herself time reflect on her situation and slowly, a plan of action formed.

With her pack on the ground beside her, Sarra retrieved a bundle of faded rags tied into a single fat knot. It was Crim’s cherished puzzle, subject to many savage unravelings with his teeth and claws while Sarra brushed him. Not even repeated washings could remove the zangoose scent from the fabric, which was exactly what Sarra wanted.

She curled her fingers around the ragged toy to keep Yan from biting it, but gave it an enticing shake so the growlithe would approach it on her own. “Smell it, but don’t bite it. Remember this scent as best you can,” said Sarra. After a tentative series of snuffles (and a chiding “tsk!” from Sarra when Yan dared tug at a fraying edge), Sarra concluded the investigation with a few finger taps on the tops of Yan’s front paws. “This is Crim. I want this pokemon. Tap my feet like this if you find him.

To Yan the odor had been strong and strange, indicative of a bigger beast than she. She didn’t like it at all, and the longer it lingered, the more nervous it made her. Still, Yan understood something was wanted of her. She took both the scent and the signal without complaint and timidly stepped on Sarra’s boot to show assent. This made Sarra put away the toy, which was good. It also made Sarra give Yan a rare candy, which was even better.

In time, once they were much more settled, the pair departed from the alley and struck out into the rest of the city.

Even though the market was easy to find, Sarra had taken a taken a roundabout path. Mostly it was to familiarize Yan (and Sarra herself) with the new surroundings, but it was also a chance to catch Crim’s scent somewhere along the walk. If that proved unsuccessful, Sarra would eventually stand before the bulletin board. She scanned the imposing number of postings for anything of interest. Three opportunities caught her attention:

The first, the crystal onix expedition, she dismissed outright. Questionable goal aside—though she respected the caveat—she didn’t see a need to venture into the far north. (Faced with the questions “Do you love adventure? Have you always wanted to see the world?” though, there had been a stirring in Sarra’s heart, even something of a yearning, before the sentiment was firmly extinguished.)

The breeder’s request was much more reasonable. Money was always a good reward, a possible egg was a worthwhile addition, and there was also, ideally, a chance to network with a potential breeder. Yan was too inexperienced for the odor sleuth technique, but growlithes had a keen enough sense of smell and Sarra believed her general know-how would make up the difference. The tracking experience would be good for the both of them, too. Sarra was about to make for the sweets shop when the last request caught her eye.

She had nearly overlooked the final posting. Its message was brief, but inspired many questions (provided the brawlers were pokemon, that is). Brawlers for what purpose? What level of experience? Of particular interest was Sten himself. Sarra wondered if she knew him. Before the shutdown, the scratchpits had been small but popular, and Sarra was familiar with many of its attendees. If Sten had been a part of that scene, Sarra meant to reconnect, and even if he wasn’t, she wanted to know what this job was all about.

Sarra stepped away, her mind made up. It was Sten and the stables for her—but before then, a detour to the other side of town. Whether brawling or combee-chasing, her team badly needed another member. The Bird Man could provide. She’d never met the man personally, but his reputation preceded him; she’d gladly invest in a common flyer knowing it came from him. Any species would do.

So long as it was confident, that is. Sarra glanced down at her companion as they walked. Yan regarded everything in the city with wide-eyed curiosity, but made sure never to stray too far from her handler’s side. She radiated inexperience and was practically begging for a more assertive teammate to emulate. That was fine by Sarra. This was just a moment in time. Her stride grew more confident, and Yan worked to keep pace with her.

Yan was a sorry trade for Crim, that much was certain, and the pursuit seemed a daunting task. Still, Sarra was calmer than she had been at the outset.

She knew growlithes, after all. That, for now, was a start.

{Summary: headed towards Bird Man to buy a common flying species before going to see what Sten's all about! No species-preference, just looking for assertive mons; Yan the Growlithe has been fed 1 rare candy and regrettably has zangoose stink in her scent memory. She has been told to tap Sarra on the boot if she ever smells Crim.}

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Korosensei
 Posted: Jun 2 2017, 09:20 AM
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[[ +0.7 EXP for you!]]

Now that Sarra’s mind was made up, and the growlithe was complacent, if not what she had wanted, the pair would be able to find their way over towards the other side of town. The Bird Man’s location was well-known, so even if Sarra got lost along the way, she would be able to find a wandering townsperson and get clear directions. Plus, by the time she got near the area where the Bird Man raised his flocks, the cawing would be loud and insistent, and it would direct her the rest of the way.

When she arrived at the Bird Man’s shop, she was greeted by a young man with auburn hair tied back into a ponytail with a leather thong who held his hands clasped behind his back. “Welcome to the Bird Man’s shop,” he would say with a slight smile on his face, not looking altogether excited but still polite enough. “What can I help you with?”

Before Sarra could explain her goal, a loud screech from nearby would alert her to a low-flying pidgey, its beak glowing as it dove towards a ducklett. The pidgey looked slightly worse for wear, with ruffled feathers and a healing cut on its side, but it seemed undeterred to continue in its attack. The ducklett was equally eager, sitting on a fence-post with a gleam in its eye. It waited until the pidgey got very close before starting its own attack, lashing out with its wing when the pidgey had no way to escape. The normal-type fell slightly in altitude, but continued to flap its wings, irritated at its foe.

“Hey! You two! Stop it!” the young man said, then repeated himself, his voice getting louder as the two birds ignored him. When he raised his hands to wave them at the dueling ducklett and pidgey, she would notice bloodied bandages around his hands going up his forearms. “They never know when to stop,” he would explain if he caught Sarra looking.

Although these two were the most obvious, there were plenty of other pokemon to choose from at the common rarity, some of which might appeal to Sarra’s wishes. A starly on a nearby post stayed very alert, not interacting with any of the other birds as it kept its eyes honed on Sarra and the growlithe beside her with fierce determination. And, a woobat perched on the roof, staying out of sight, watching the battle between the ducklett and pidgey very carefully, noting each movement before mimicking them to the best of its ability.

“Sorry about that,” the young man would say with a sigh. “What are you looking for today, miss?”

Whatever Sarra said next, her words would be mimicked by a chatot hiding somewhere, although the growlithe would need to use her keen nose to find it.


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Pokemon for Sale

There are more pokemon for sale around the shop; these are just a few that happened to be towards the front.

http://files.jcink.net/uploads/harperregion/sprites/16pidgey.png
- Fighting the ducklett

http://files.jcink.net/uploads/harperregion/sprites/580.png
- Fighting the pidgey

http://files.jcink.net/uploads/harperregion/sprites/396starly.png
- Watching Sarra and Yan very carefully; seems to have a good amount of berth from the other flying-types

http://files.jcink.net/uploads/harperregion/sprites/528.png
- Watching the battle below, and trying to mimic the moves

http://files.jcink.net/uploads/harperregion/sprites/441chatot.png
- Somewhere nearby, exact location unknown
- Will mimic Sarra’s words when she answers the young man’s question

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Caledonia picture by August! Alexander and Casper sprites by Mackay!
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Zealous
 Posted: Jun 4 2017, 01:42 PM
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Sarra Wood

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{Egg Count: 2.}

Finding the Bird Man had been easy enough. By the time Sarra thought she might have to ask for directions, she heard the cawing and made it the rest of the way.

She felt Yan growing tense as the shop drew near. No doubt the sound of the birds unnerved the growlithe, whose hearing was better than hers. Sarra decided it had been good enough to get Yan acquainted to the city itself and saw no need to push things too far too soon; however, when Sarra offered Yan’s pokeball as refuge, Yan declined immediately and made to push ahead. Pleased at this show of courage, Sarra obliged her.

The man at the shop seemed nice enough. Sarra regarded him with a nod and a mild smile, about as delighted for the interaction as he was. She managed an “I’d like to—“ before the screech swallowed the rest.

The fight had Sarra’s complete attention. She found the pidgey surprisingly fiery for its kind as it went on the offensive. It seemed to have determination and aggression to spare, qualities she typically had to work into a pidgey’s disposition. In the ducklett, which thwarted the attack with apparent ease, Sarra saw cunning. This surprised her far less. To her, the little blue birds were synonymous with upsets; Sarra had seen too many favorites to win—including her very best yungoos—unexpectedly rent by a keen Air Cutter, pre-empted by Me First, or Scalded, burnt, and finished by Brine. It was practically pit tradition to lose to a ducklett at some point. Sarra found herself drawn to it.

(Pete the Great—the name came to her out of nowhere. That had been the drake to finish off her yungoos. Despite favoring the ducklett, Sarra rooted for the pidgey to win the duel playing out in front of her.)

She noted the man’s bandages, his very ineffective calls, and his comment all with a polite “I see”; she had just turned away to regard the starly when she heard another “I see” float out of nowhere. Sarra blinked. She decided she’d misheard.

The starly got her focused again. Sarra knew them to be loud and gregarious creatures. This one didn't appear to be either—or sick, or afraid, ruling out her immediate concerns—and what’s more, she could feel its gaze burning into her. It wasn’t the obvious choice, but Sarra found her curiosity piqued enough to keep it in mind. The woobat, which she saw at the last minute, she firmly ignored. Hopefully it was kept under better control than the pidgey and ducklett.

When asked about her preferences, she motioned to the fighting birds. “I had some questions about the starly and those two.”

The mystery voice struck again. “I had some questions about the starly and those two.

It was nearby. Sarra cleared her throat and glanced around. Somewhere, something cleared its throat too. Yan was much less subtle and looked all around for the voice; finding nothing, and casting a one last confused look Sarra’s way, the growlithe resolved to search with her nose.

I uh— The starly—” continued Sarra, silently wishing Yan luck, “that’s a fierce look on it. Is it usually alone like this? And also, the two battlesome ones,” —“the two battlesome ones” — “are they like that to everything, or just each other?

—or just each other?

Some birds just talked, she told herself to keep her annoyance from growing. (A more unreasonable part of her suspected the woobat playing some sort of psychic trick, but she resisted playing into that fear.)

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Ray
 Posted: Jun 23 2017, 06:15 PM
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Dionisia Bosc, James Achilles

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[ .7 exp. ]

    As Sarra spoke, the young man would twitch in annoyance whenever the chatot would repeat her words; the bird was a pest like no other, and had driven away more than one customer before. He noted the growlithe sniffing around, but said nothing. Maybe the puppy would put the chatot in its place.

    While Yan looked for the source of the voice, the man turned his attention to answering Sarra's questions.

    "The starly does tend to be more of a loner. Very observant, that one, and not a fan of fighting for fighting's sake. I have seen it involved in breaking up one fight, however, that got a little out of hand. Kinda wish it would do that more often," he grinned sheepishly, rubbing one of his injured arms. "Lots of roughhousers in this group."

    As he spoke, the two pokemon came barreling towards them once again, squawking at each other. The ducklett shot out a little water at the pidgey, which the pidgey agilely dodged and countered by divebombing the ducklett. The ducklett took some of the pidgey's talons, and flapped its wings in return. The dance continued on as Sarra and the auburn-haired man looked on.

    "Like those two. That pidgey tries to pick on everything. It loves fighting and trying to show off how strong it is. The pidgey started the fight, I think, but the ducklett isn't any slouch in the department. Likes using strategic moves. I think they'd both look up to a strong trainer."

    As the man explained the characteristics of each bird pokemon to Sarra, Yan was off sniffing out the source of the mysterious voice. There was a scent trail that didn't belong to any of the birds she had seen in the front; maybe that was the culprit. If Sarra spoke to ask questions in between any of the employee's answers, there would once again be an echo.

    Yan's ears would perk up; it looked like she was on the right track. The growlithe sniffed with renewed vigor, nose to the ground as she followed the trail. After a minute or so, it would lead her to the bottom of a large tree branch that had been placed in the shop for the birds to play on. Yan sniffed again; the culprit was definitely here. She barked proudly, wanting Sarra to come and see.

    If Sarra went to see what her growlithe was up to, there would be a flash of blue and black, heading straight towards her head. If the chatot reached its destination, it would park there gladly, sitting on Sarra's head like a crown.

    The employee, following with all the commotion, looked a little worried. "So sorry, that's just chatot - it likes being very, very mischievous. Don't you, chatot?"

    "Don't you?" the bird sang in return, making itself comfortable in Sarra's hair. Sarra would feel her plaits being moved as the chatot made itself a little nest.

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Zealous
 Posted: Jun 26 2017, 01:29 PM
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Sarra Wood

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{Egg count: 3}

That the starly was observant went without saying. Its gaze was almost palpable. Sarra took in the news of its nature with disappointment, however. “…a peacekeeper.” (“…a peacekeeper,” said her echo, giving Yan a sudden lead). With only one ‘mon to her name, Sarra hardly needed help maintaining order, and though she was fine motivating passive pokemon, principled ones had always been more time and trouble than they were worth. She said no more about the starly, denying the chatot another chance to mimic her. The other two prospects were at each other again, anyway, and Sarra eagerly awaited the outcome.

The pidgey was agile. The ducklett, composed. Fine fighting birds, thought Sarra, listening to the man’s explanations and nodding her approval. She was sorry she couldn’t get both, and sorrier still she hadn’t chosen the pidgey. What she wouldn’t give to have it go in on a spearow, and have the spearow end up the meeker of the two!

Yan’s barking interrupted her thoughts. Sarra turned, realized, and followed the ruckus, not at all expecting her mystery assailant. Instinctively she threw her arm over her eyes at its fast approach, bracing… and made an undignified “guh” as something warm and feathery plopped on her head.

It took her a moment to register that she was now a perch. For what, she didn’t know, because it took her no time at all to understand Yan’s reaction.

If ever a growlithe could look offended, Yan was that dog. Her mouth parted. Some barking or growling would have been understandable, but ominously, Yan did not provide. She was still taking breath, about to release a far more tremendous sound than that.

Eyes wide, Sarra scrambled for Yan’s pokeball and recalled the growlithe before the Roar came. The last thing today needed was a bunch of scared birds flying around. The shame might have been enough to send her back home.

The worker, with some concern, introduced the cause of the near-disaster: a mischievous chatot. Sarra tried to get a look at it, even though its current location made it as impossible to see as before. She’d neither pit nor pit against the things, but knew their look well enough; they were small birds, decently quick, and if she remembered the rumor correctly, capable of screaming a hole straight through a wall.

It occurred to her that the man would have to continue dealing with both the pidgey and chatot after this transaction was over, and this let Sarra forgive him for addressing the chatot while it was still in her hair. She even attempted a gracious smile. It was not a look that came easily to her stony features, though, and she was left with a tight, chiseled line.

If there’s an egg up there, I expect it for free,” she said to the man, motioning up at her new tenant, “but otherwise, I’ll just take the ducklett.

- recalled Yan before she could use Roar (she’s female, by the way, haha edit: Thank you!)
- will buy the Ducklett (male; paying 100g extra for abilities Big Pecks, Keen Eye; egg moves Air Cutter, Mirror Move for 400g total. If I can choose the TM learnset, water please)
- accepted fate as chatot perch; 32% concerned about state of hair and rising

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Rosalie
 Posted: Jul 15 2017, 12:17 AM
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[.7!]

There was little and less doubt that her hair was definitely going to need rebraiding. The shop worker coughed and glanced gratefully at the pokeball, and even more so at the assertion that she would purchase the ducklett. He chattered at her as he counted her coin, checked the ducklett against his pokecard to show her the pokemon's details, and called it back to a ball. "Ah, ha, yes well, the chatot is actually a boy -- If you find an egg he probably stole it from someone else's nest as a prank. I mean, I know you're joking but... Sorry, I'm less good with customers than my father is. I usually tend to the nesting mothers in the back!" He tapped two fingers on a glassy false gemstone embedded in the tabletop, and an abra appeared with a pop and a yawn, passing the ball from the shopkeep's hand to Sarra's, officiating the sale. It vanished again almost immediately. It was unclear whether the pokemon had even woken up for the process, but Sarra's pokecard would register the bird as hers, now.

The shopkeep took a couple minutes to coax the chatot off of her head with a berry that the pidgey kept trying to snatch from his hand, but eventually the parrot hopped from her head to a perch a few feet above head height and shuffled over to where he could reach up and feed it the berry. "Sorry for all the trouble, ma'am, have a good afternoon -- enjoy the festival if you're going!" If she glanced back, she would see him visibly slump as he relaxed. Nervous fellow.

Nevertheless, her errand was run and making her way back across the port city was tiring but not particularly eventful. If she was released from her ball for the trek back, Yan looked near-overwhelmed at one point when they had to cross the market thoroughfare, flooded with people on their way to and from the shops and the road to the docks.

When she reached the stables, a tall man leading an irritable looking blitzle would pause to wait for her to introduce herself and state her business. He didn't seem to recognize her, but it was possible she would know him from his on-occasion visits to the pits perhaps once a month. He was the quiet sort who always lost too much money at the bets. If she mentioned Sten, he'd nod and say gruffly, "That'd be me. Only, I'm lookin' for folk who can fight, not just pokemon. Both. Gotta go collect some debts from people ain't paid their pokemon's board. Always gets ugly. The ones who don't pay proper get mad and start swingin' mostly. Got a couple of rough sorts on my list. You look a bit... thin for this. You wanna convince me or look elsewhere, lady."

He'd give her a minute and a nod, before turning and continuing on his way if she wasn't interested after all, but he would listen and watch if she offered objection, and suggest that she set Yan against his young jolteon for a practice battle to prove herself if she insisted on the work. If she released Yan, the blitzle would snort and roll its eyes, obviously nervous about the dog and wiling to bolt or spook if provoked.

But once Yan was released, she would dance on her paws as though startled, hesitate, and turn to jab at Sarra's boots with his nose. She would whine, perhaps a bit uncertain, and cast for the scent before letting her ears droop. She'd had it -- for a second, before the wind changed. Crim's scent.

She could stay and battle, or try to chase that fading scent and see if the puppy could manage to track it without training. If she stayed, she might be able to ask questions she wouldn't get another change to ask. If she left without releasing Yan, she would miss the cue entirely and be back to square one. But then... if she ran off to try and track the scent, there as no telling how successful they'd be and whether that grumpy blitzle would spook and interfere. Dilemmas, dilemmas.



http://files.jcink.net/uploads/harperregion/sprites/522.png Lv. 12
- Clearly has something against fire types
- Spooky, but not moving yet
- Held by Sten

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Old Characters: Tobias Middleton & Travels, Gineva Winstret & Travels

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Zealous
 Posted: Jul 17 2017, 12:06 AM
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Sarra Wood

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{Egg count: 4} {Also, setting Sarra up for disappointment woop woop}

Once Sarra had the ducklett’s information, she was content to let the worker talk about whatever he liked. She half-listened to his apologizing and chuckled where appropriate, all the while turning the ducklett’s moves over and over in her mind. Air Cutter! Scald! Mirror Move, which she’d seen but never used! If she were less courteous, she would’ve already started planning out a training regimen, or thought about what kind of pokemon she’d have the ducklett try his moves on.

Instead, Sarra refocused on what was being said to her. Something about customers and nesting mothers in the back. She gave what she hoped was a sympathetic hum as she worked out the rest. The man was awkward for sure, but at least he was trying. Sarra had no room to judge.

Her mind was still abuzz with ideas when the worker touched a gem. Everything that followed played out like a dream: there was an abra, it had a pokeball, Sarra had the pokeball, and suddenly there wasn’t an abra anymore. Sarra stood there staring, not sure whether she’d nodded off for a second and dreamed it. The abra was erased, gone—no flying off or fading away, but actual self-annihilation. Sarra’s arm lifted the pokecard almost of its own volition. Male ducklett, hers. The empty space where the abra used to be did not register as a pokemon. It took her longer than she cared to admit to realize a teleport had happened, and embarrassed, she endured the chatot extraction in silence.

By the time the parrot pokemon was lured away (and that monster pidgey wasn’t berry hunting anywhere near her), Sarra was more or less back to normal. There was the notable exception of her hair, in which the chatot, gripped by artistic fervor, had recreated the exact likeness of a bramble bush. To Sarra’s credit, her fingers didn’t tremble too much when she felt the knot the chatot had introduced up there. She took in the sight of the little bird enjoying his berry, wordlessly retrieved her coif from her pack, and jammed it over the mess on her head.

Have a good afternoon,” she told the worker as she cinched the knot. Though she smiled in passing, she made a point not to look back.

With the events of the Bird Man’s shop behind her, there was one last delay. Sarra found a space she could work in and released Yan, who became a yappy little bundle of nerves the moment she was free of her ball.

Relax,” Sarra tried, but Yan turned around every which way, hackles ridging up along her back. Catching sight of her handler made her jump. Sarra tutted sharply for her attention. “Lie down. I'm safe.

There was a long, confused silence as Yan came to terms with this. Eventually she shook out her jitters and complied.

After a while Sarra asked her, “You still want to walk?” to which Yan huffed agreeably, though with little enthusiasm. Clearly the Marchton experience was tiring her out. “Take a break first. I’ll let you out when we get where we’re going.

That Yan offered no protest at all was telling, and so she was swiftly returned. Sarra took a moment to fix on her coif before forging ahead. Honestly, she was feeling a little weary, too.

By the time she arrived at the stables, Sarra had tensed up considerably. She was really doing it—chasing down work like an actual handler. Now it was time to act the part. She tried to think up a few ways the meeting could go, but not knowing who she’d be was talking to or what she was in for did not sit easily with her. Sten, she thought to herself again. There was a tickle in the back of her mind. Then a tall man with a blitzle came into view, and she connected the name to the face.

Sten wasn’t someone Sarra knew personally, but she’d seen him around and knew his type. He was a known Tide Man: “those hard-luck people,” she’d overheard a pit attendee inform another, “who’ll wash into a meet, but always wash out.” That was the extent of her knowledge: that the man didn’t bet very well, and also that he was taller than she thought. She’d hoped she would have had more to go on than that.

Immediately mindful of the blitzle, which looked to be in a bad mood, Sarra straightened up and put on a brave face. “Good afternoon. I’m here about the job posting,” she said. “You’re Sten?

It didn’t surprise her too much when Sten confirmed this, but when he went on to explain the nature of his work, Sarra found herself at a loss. Debt collection, of all things. Sten was delicate with his misgivings. If Sarra were in his place, she would have told herself to leave.

And yet…

She had two pokemon that could fight on her behalf, and she knew—boy, did she know—what a collector sounded like. There was also her pride, which made her bristle at the idea she could be unqualified for this. This last part was not something she was fully aware of, so it came as a huge surprise to Sarra when she looked Sten in the eyes and said, without a shred of doubt, "Try me.

She called out Yan, who was thankfully much more relaxed. Very suddenly though, she wasn’t, and the blitzle wasn’t either.

Calm descended over Sarra like snowfall, powdering over her other thoughts and feelings until her mind was pristine. The blitzle was agitated. Why? Sarra cut her eyes to the cause of it. Yan was making a fuss. Why? Didn't matter as much. Yan had to go. But would the light and sound of a recalling pokeball set off the blitzle further?

Yan had to be settled, Sarra decided, but before she could even say “lie down”, Yan gave her the special signal. The tranquility Sarra had enforced upon herself met with a sudden, wrenching shift.

Go on. Find him,” she said to Yan. There was a whisper of doubt that Yan could manage this order, that she was too young and knew so little, but Sarra silenced this thinking before it could get louder. Sarra turned to Sten. “I can’t anymore, sorry. Please contain the blitzle. We’ll try to get out of your way.

Unless Sten spoke, Sarra spared no more of her time for him, though the blitzle was a lingering concern. If Sarra could keep Yan well away from it and avoid all conflict, that was of course ideal. If the blitzle saw fit to run, it wasn’t Sarra’s problem. But if it got out of Sten’s control and attacked, there'd have to be a response.

Crim was still in Marchton. Sarra felt the weight of that in her chest. There was hope, and she would chase it, even if she had to brain the damn blitzle herself.

http://files.jcink.net/uploads/harperregion/sprites/58growlithe.png Yan, Lv. 7
- ordered Yan to track Crim's scent
- trying to not provoke the blitzle, but watching for an attack
- hair unrecoverable, RIP May 18th 2017 - July 17th 2017

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Stan watched her with a hard gaze, and it was evident by the look in his eyes that his assessment of Sarra hadn't changed regardless of her confidence. The blitzle stamped a foot and threw its head back as Yan tried to get her handler's attention, clearly wanting the growlithe to just go away. Sarra's quic departure almost threw the zebra pokemon over the edge; it reared, sparks dancing around its head and jagged horn, before Sten yanked the equine back to all fours.

"Good-bye," Sten said as Sarra turned away. His voice held no remorse or disappointment, nor did it sound relieved. Frankly, the man didn't seem to care what she did one way or another, and with that he moved to continue leading the blitzle away.

Yan hesitated for the briefest of moments, as unsure as Sarra was about her capabilities, but damn if she wasn't going to try. The scent wasn't strong, but it was there, weaving through the crowd of people like a subtle, colorful trail of perfume. The growlithe took off down the road at an easy lope, rounding the nearby building, nose in the air. Every once in a while she sneezed, clearing her sinuses so she could catch Crim's aroma anew. Not surprisingly, Yan wasn't straying too far from the area. Perhaps the zangoose had fought here recently.

As she progressed- and the passerby got seedier by the minute- Yan's confidence seemed to grow. The scent was getting stronger, although it was still faint, and the growlithe led Sarra into the open door of a house one building down behind the stables. Several brawlers lounged outside of the door with equally rough-looking pokemon at their sides, but besides the gruff looks they shot the growlithe, no one moved to halt Sarra's progress.

The inside was clearly a makeshift medical facility. Several healers patched up either human brawlers or Pokemon, but this wasn't a very high-end operation. Tables were dirty, as was the floor, and there was old blood and fur here and there. One woman washed a brawler's wound out with what appeared to be a bottle of alcohol, then wrapped it in a dingy bandage. Yan charged right past them, her nose to the ground now, and stopped at the back of the room. She looked over her shoulder at Sarra and whined.

On the floor was an old, but small, bloodstain, cemented to the floor and interspersed with white hairs. No doubt a brawler who had just been treated here had passed Yan earlier, giving her the scent to work with- and, no doubt, Crim had been here at some point.

A man came up behind Sarra. "Who're you? Neither you nor your Pokemon looks hurt," he sniffed, his voice half-snob half-threat.

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