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The onset of the Summer season has led to a swarming of Fire-, Electric-, and Bug-types, overtaking most populations in the Region. In their place, Water- and Grass-types have retreated to the shade and to cooler areas, while Ice-types have all but vanished. The rising temperatures has also led to the annual thaw of the infamously cold Istin City, though it remains the coldest.

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 Explorations of an Expatriate, Marie's Aptitude Development Thread
Korosensei
 Posted: Dec 4 2016, 10:41 PM
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Far from the Waters of Home
Aptitude: Swimming

The smell of the sea was intoxicating. Marie took a few careful steps forward, looking for pokemon close to the shore, and when she was assured of her safety she jumped forward into the water, eagerly entering the frothy waves until they reached her waist. She took a deep breath and began to exhale out of her nose as she dove in head-first, closing her eyes and reaching out her hands to see if there were any small pokemon nearby. Something tiny brushed by her leg, but nothing harmed her, and underneath the water she felt calmer than she had in quite some time.

Everything had been so chaotic lately. She could still hear Thomas' shouting, the roaring of his anger, the loud crack of the egg that he had broken in his rage. The egg that was supposed to be an engagement gift from Robert, who she thought of every day. It helped that she was underwater, surrounded by water from all angles, so she could not cry.

Being underwater was helpful for her. It was so tranquil, so peaceful, and the soft sloshing of the waves around her began to erase the memory of the other sounds, for the moment. It was hard to imagine the cracking egg, the screaming farmer, when her eyes were closed and all she could hear was the bubbling of air escaping her nose. It was the sound of her childhood, just as much as Carsen was the language of her heart. She would never forget the years she spent on the beaches of Marée-Tombante, even though it had been years since she had seen those sparkling shores.

Eugenie had encouraged the habit when a young Marie had wanted to learn how to swim. Eugenie was only nine years old, and it was a convenient way to entertain her younger sister while she chose her own activities. Eugenie swam sometimes, but usually preferred to collect the shells along the beach, perhaps even interacting with the pokemon on the sandy shores.

Marie took to the water like a water-type pokemon, finding a sense of relaxation in the gentle waves lapping at her. She had learned to swim on her own, like she had done with so many other things, but the process of learning how to swim had been more arduous than anything she had experienced in her life so far. She started out with just a toe in the water, then her feet, and it had taken her what felt like forever to work up to wading into the point where her toes grazed the sand at the bottom. Her first moment without the sand beneath her feet had been terrifying, yet exhilarating, and even as she thought about it so many years later, she could remember the pure thrill it had given her, an escape from the drastic changes her life had contained of late.

"Eugenie! I'm swimming!" she remembered yelling, and she recalled her sister's response, a gap-toothed smile and a wave, followed by a wave from the oshawott toddling along by her side.

Shaking her head at the memory, rivulets of water streamed down from her hair. She looked over at the sand and noticed Meryl laying underneath a palm tree, looking around at the beach. She wished she could share her love of the sea with her new pokemon, but she was well aware that water made Meryl uncomfortable. Just as there were many things the houndour likely enjoyed, and couldn't share with her, she sadly couldn't share one of her favorite pastimes with her pokemon.

She bobbed gently in the water, bouncing on her toes, as she watched the houndour. She had never had a pokemon of her own before, and just like when she had started swimming, she was overwhelmed by the responsibility of having a pokemon to take care of. It was like the time she had seen the ocean for the first time, when each wave looked like a tsunami crashing on the shore. She had been scared that the water would swallow her whole, and although she had wanted to swim, she had insisted that Eugenie guide her towards the water and demonstrate that it was safe.

She had started small, and yet by the time she had gotten brave enough to attempt to propel herself through deeper water, she had begun to experiment with all kinds of strokes. She watched what the more serious swimmers did and mimicked them at first, then discovered what made her muscles hurt less and stuck to that. She ended up preferring what some people called the breaststroke, placing her palms together and then fanning her arms out, and moving her legs in the same fashion. It was a simple stroke, but it worked for her. She saw no need to be a competitive swimmer. She just loved the way the water felt around her, like a warm, enveloping cocoon.

The waters of Harper were colder than those of Carcassone, but her passion was undiminished. She simply had to change her pattern and warm up by starting with stronger strokes and then letting herself bob in the waves. She knew her own patterns by now, knew what felt best, and even in strange waters she was able to adapt. She hoped she would be able to adapt to the challenge of raising a pokemon, and for a brief moment she wished her starter had not been a houndour, that she had been able to swim with her pokemon. But it was not meant to be, and just as she had to adapt to the way things worked in the Harper region, she would have to adapt to this new life as well.

She slowly emerged from the water, wrapping a towel around her bathing-suit-clad form. She approached the houndour, who looked up at her and panted happily in the sun. "Thank you for waiting for me," she said.

"Dour?" the pokemon responded.

"I hope you won't mind coming back here. You don't have to go in the water, but I think it'd be nice to stay on the beach a bit," she said awkwardly.

The houndour put her head down on her paws, then slowly stretched and got to her feet. Marie took a few steps back, hoping to not drip water anywhere near her pokemon. She took a deep breath and thought of her sister's words, encouraging her to take to the water one toe at a time. Perhaps she could handle pokemon like that too. One interaction at a time, and one day, the houndour might become a friend, as comfortable to her as the water's embrace. Feeling hopeful, she headed onwards on her journey.

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The Stonehearted Lady

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Arty
 Posted: Dec 12 2016, 04:12 PM
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Well, it was lovely to see Marie and the first glimpses we get to see of her! I am very happy to see that and how well you already have her fleshed out.

To the exciting part...I am granting Marie a new aptitude for Marie in swimming! While this could be seen as an expansion of her history, I feel you did more work with establishing it and therefore am giving her starting aptitude in swimming a 6! Marie gains 4 exp for this as well. Congrats! Short, sweet, and simple from me!

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Cadence Mansel

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