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 Intensive training activate!, Kalliope's Team(will probably rename >>)
 Posted: Jul 17 2017, 04:33 AM
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Top Handler
Background Mods
Total Posts: 352
Member No. 2161
Joined on 29-December 15.

Kalliope Tamsin, Namid Waagosh'Giizis

Awards: 3

Navdia Crater
Volcano Base, Early Afternoon

  • Teach Kalliope's pokemon to work together(obviously just the beginnings of this)
  • Training Erebus and Ismene in a new tactic, combining moves. Tactic:
  • Begin building a proper team
  • For Ismene, work on control
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Kalliope led Erebus up the slanting edges of the volcano. The city of Navdia lay in their wake, a good three or four miles back. A gathering of sweat pooled at Kali's shoulders as well as her temples, dripping down to her jaw. She wiped at the perspiration and pushed on. The Pass was a temperate, mountainous climate--cooler by far in the summer than this stifling weather. Rather than the faint humidity of the mountains, thanks to consistent rainfall, the desert was hot and dry, sapping the liquid from her body rather than drenching her. Chest tight with exertion, Kali kept climbing.

Eerie loved it. The heat, the sun on his fur. Even the rocky terrain kept him amused as he trounced ahead, worked his way down the mountain and then chased his handler back up. Kazimir on the other hand hated it. He wanted to nap or take a swim or literally anything but hang out in the despicable heat for the mutt. Kali ignored the annoyed waves radiating off her companion and trekked around the base of the volcano until she came to a wide plateau of sorts, with a sheer drop beneath going about ten or twelve feet down. She stopped and stretched her legs, rubbing the faint exertion of her muscles. "Alright, Eerie. Come here." She stood and gestured, two fingers twitching derisively.

Erebus trotted over, wagging his stumped tail. Kazimir rolled his eyes audibly - psychics can do that in one's mind - and ignored the houndour. "Today we're going to try something new. Something you've never attempted before. Something I've never attempted before." Kali didn't point out the lack of pokemon to try it on. "We all recall capturing Bellatrix LeFrou, correct?" Kazimir muttered an affirmation in her mind and Eerie echoed it with a whuff. "When we were fighting, I didn't notice. But afterward, going over the whole battle step by step? I realized I expected you to fight on your own without orders. In a fight, that's dangerous. You three aren't exactly on good terms."

Kalliope eyed Kazimir with one raised brow. The psychic ignored her. "This is going to change." She folded her arms. The wind kicked up. Rather than relief, it brought only scathing fingers along her bare skin. "We're a team. Partners. The only way we succeed in our duty - and stay alive - is to fight as one. Kazimir, your natural ability allows us to work together without you three injuring one another. This isn't enough. You and Erebus are constantly at odds. Some of it is your typing but most of it is your animosity toward one another. Don't think I haven't noticed." And who could with their constant bickering, one upmanship, and pouting?

"Today we're focusing on teamwork. But more than that, we're going to experiment." Kalliope held out Ismene's pokeball. "Erebus, today is about you and Ismene. You're tough and smart when you put your mind to it. But you're reckless. You act without thinking," Pot meet kettle. "Ismene is worse than you. She has no control whatsoever. She's going to be difficult until she can learn to control herself as much as her attacks. I need your help corralling her today. She'll be working with fire, something you're immune to. Time to prove yourself, Eerie." She smiled at him.

The pokeball flashed and Ismene rolled between them, humming a little tune. Kalliope tucked the pokeball in her belt and palmed something in her other hand. "Ismene!" Her sharp, clear voice caught the child like igglybuff's attention. Ismene rolled to a stop and stared at Kali. "Want to play?" Ismene eyed her without responding. "Erebus is going to use the move smog. It's going to create a cloud of poison gas." Ismene quickly lost interest. She picked up a rock half hidden in the dirt and rolled it around. "You're going to set it on fire."

Ismene's head popped up. With the slightest twist, she tilted her head-body and blinked. "Hopefully. He's going to shoot smog over that cliff and you're going to blast it with flamethrower, understand? We're going to try to catch all of it on fire. If it works, we'll go from there. And..." Kalliope held out her hand, fingers opening like a flower. "If you do a good job and listen, I'll give you a candy." True to form, a rare candy sat in her calloused palm, crinkling in its wrapping. Ismene's eyes went so wide they nearly popped out of her skull. She inhaled a huge breath and began to lift off the ground, her rotund, incredibly light body bloated with air. Before she closed distance Kalliope made the candy disappear.

Ismene deflated with a pout. "Ah, ah. You get the candy after we're done. Now, let's begin." Kalliope directed Eerie to the edge of the cliff. "Kaz, if you please." She touched his hair, scratching behind his horn. He huffed but connected all three pokemon with Telepathy, preventing friendly fire injuries. Just a precaution, of course. "Erebus, use smog. Make it as thick as you can as soon as the wind dies down. Ismene, once he's finished you're going to use flamethrower to light it up." Erebus nodded and lifted his muzzle, testing the air. Once it died down to a flicker he sucked in a breath and exhaled. Black, hideous smog filled the sky, hovering over the edge. But when he was barely halfway through the process, Ismene unleashed a huge burst of flame, widening her mouth until it filled half her small body and shooting enough heat to sear the fur right off Erebus' hide.

Or would, if he weren't immune to fire attacks. The shot of flame bisected the cloud of smog instantaneously and spread outward on both sides. Flames devoured the smog in seconds, creating a huge burst of heat. Expelled outward, the cloud-turned-firestorm engulfed Erebus completely and smacked into Ismene's all but weightless body. She flew backward in a whoosh. Erebus coughed and shook his head. The smog flavored fire didn't taste particularly delectable, though it wasn't harmful to him at all. The fire died out as soon as it ran out of gas to burn up, disappearing in a slow-fading swath of smoke. Kalliope waved her hand in her face to try to escape the smell. "This is exactly what I'm talking about. You don't work together at all. Ismene, look at Erebus." The igglybuff stared at the nearly singed canine.

He wasn't injured but he was covered head to toe in soot. He shook his body and a dusting of soot wafted around him. "If he wasn't immune to fire you could have seriously injured him. What if you were in there? What if Kazimir wasn't around and you weren't protected from his attack? That could have poisoned or killed you." She admonished the deflated igglybuff mercilessly. "You weren't paying attention to him. All you could think about was candy, right?" Ismene didn't respond - of course not, she didn't speak English. Kazimir could translate her but that wasn't the point right now. "You need to pay attention to your surroundings and to your partners. Erebus is your partner. So is Kazimir. If you weren't being selfish you would have realized he wasn't done. A few more seconds and your timing would have been perfect. Try again. This time watch him and stop thinking about candy."

Ismene trudged to the edge of the cliff, dragging her feet the whole way. Kalliope rarely - if ever - admonished Ismene, knowing the igglybuff was more child than not. She wasn't sure if it was her fresh out of the egg look or her personality but Ismene wasn't as developed mentally as the others. She was rash, selfish and dangerous. She needed to learn. "Try again, Eerie." She straightened her shoulders and watched. Erebus opened his jaws and spewed out a cloud of noxious gases. Ismene waited until well after Erebus finished. She watched the canine with droopy eyes and a pout. When he finished and met her eye, Ismene huffed and turned toward the gas. When she shot out a jet of flame, it barely flared to life before vanishing altogether. Ismene huffed again and stared at Kalliope as if to say see what you made me do?

"Don't look at me like that. You're still not trying. If you fire too fast, you'll risk hurting yourself and others. If you wait too long, you're going to waste a move for nothing. Connect with your partner and really put your all into it, Ismene. If you do this just right, it could be a powerful attack in the future. Try once more. When you're ready, Erebus." The houndour looked at the tiny, ridiculously pink pokemon beside him and sat on his haunches. His ears lay flat.

"Why are you wasting time?" Eerie demanded. "This is our chance to shine." Ismene stuck out her lips and pouted. "That's it? You're going to pout like a hatchling?" Erebus scoffed and turned his nose away, all but turning his back on Ismene. "And here I thought our human took you in because you were strong. If you can't follow the simplest of orders, what use are you? We should just leave you here and find a better pokemon." Ismene's eyes went wide--and then she began to tremble. Fat drops gathered in the corners of her eyes. In an instant she went from fake pouting to outright weeping, making loud, hiccuping sounds in her throat.

Erebus bared his teeth. "Pathetic. You're weak after all."

Ismene stopped mid-sob and narrowed her wet eyes. Her little body trembled and puffed up. With all the fury of a toddler's tantrum, Ismene blasted Erebus full in the face with flamethrower. Luckily it rolled right off him and filled him with even more attack. He pounced. While Ismene's face still contorted with the after effects of her attack, Erebus pinned her to the ground. Kalliope stood back and let them fight. What was the point of forcing them to work together if they were going to attack one another? Ismene proved time and again she would do the opposite just to spite everyone. Maybe she needed a different lesson today. "Silence!" Erebus snapped his jaws in her face, cutting her cry off midway. "Listen and listen well, hatchling. You are going to stop acting like a rotting egg and do what you're told. All you have to do is shoot flames at the right time, that's it. It's not even hard work--you get free candy out of it!" He growled.

"If you keep acting up I'm going to sit on you and not let you up until you're ready to behave. That's what my pack did to me when I was an annoying little pup fresh out of the shell. I had to learn the hard way to listen when my pack leaders spoke to me. You'll learn the hard way too." With one last grumpy growl, Erebus let her up. He stalked to the edge of the cliff - after first glaring and grunting at Ismene to move - and gathered another attack. Smog billowed from his jaws fast and thick, gathering in a cloud in front of him. Ismene wanted to ignore the stupid houndour but he was heavy and she didn't like not being able to move. And she really wanted that candy. Candy is yummy. So yummy. And it wasn't that hard, anyway. Just shoot the stupid cloud. Easy right? Ismene watched the houndour and the cloud. As soon as Erebus started to close his mouth, she gathered her own attack. All at once she burst with flame, shooting a huge stream into the heart of the cloud. This time it was far enough away from Erebus not to slam into him, yet condensed enough to catch flame properly.

The fire expelled outward in such a burst of speed it seemed to double in size. It burned for quite a bit longer than anticipated, almost twenty seconds. Heat radiated off the fire storm and died out slowly, leaving behind only wisps of smoke. Ismene bounced up and down. "I did it! I did, I did! You can't say I didn't stupid mutt, I did! No sitting on me." She stuck out her tongue and pulled down one eyelid, making a face. Erebus lifted his chin.

"You managed it once. Bet you can't do it again."

Ismene swelled with anger. "Can too!"


"Can too!"


"Can too can too can

"Prove it."
Erebus challenged. He inhaled and shot out a smaller burst of gas in a split second. The gas cloud was smaller and dispersing quickly. Ismene hit it dead on and it burst like a voltorb mid self-destruct. The stench of burnt something and noxious gas filled the air, burning nostrils all around. Ismene stuck out her tongue again. "See? Told you so!" None of their conversation Kazimir saw fit to translate. He was content to sit back and glower at the other pokemon, furious at being on the sidelines of the new tactic but also jealous of the stupid mutt for pulling one over on Ismene.

"Well done, you two." Kalliope clapped her hands. "Splendid. Let's practice." She dragged the two to a more open space this time, without a cliff's edge to risk their safety. With more space in which to move, Kali chose a spot further away than before. She knew exactly how far Ismene's fire could reach--not so much the combination. "Okay. New tactic. Erebus, instead of concentrating the gas on one specific spot, I want you to disperse it into a circle around you as much as you can. Try to make sure it wraps completely around you. Ismene, wait until the circle is almost complete before you blast it." Erebus got into position, claws digging into the loose-packed black earth beneath his feet. In the volcanic ash and dead earth, there was little at risk of catching fire.

It took a few tries. First, Erebus tried to run in a loop around Ismene to make the smog gather faster. Unfortunately the current of his speed dissipated his smog before he could complete the circle and Ismene wasn't fast enough to catch it. She threw a fit and took a shot at Erebus, who retaliated with a snarl. Kalliope had to whistle to break them up. Once their ears quit ringing, they tried again. Erebus tried running a circle twice more before giving up and planting his feet. Once he began, he shuffled in a weird dance in one spot, trying to spin fast enough to get gas all around. He managed to make a circle--but it was spotty at best, weak in points and too thick in others. Ismene lit it at the right time but the entire burst was all wonky.

Kalliope calmed Erebus with a few words and reminded him patience would reward him. Erebus practiced moving in a circle without moving from his position until he kept his feet under him and didn't trip. Then he added the smog. Before his circle was halfway through, Ismene lit it early. She huffed and puffed, more irritated with herself than anything. Apparently she took the whole 'you're useless' comment to heart. And not being able to prove herself through failure, Ismene pushed Erebus to hurry up and try again. The houndour obliged, working his circle of smog to the best of his ability. Right before he connected the circle edges, Ismene used flamethrower. The fire spread right as Erebus completed the circle and finished his attack.

For once everything worked out perfectly. The smog drifted outward instead of inward thanks to the trajectory and the fire assisted by engulfing the gas from one side instead of straight through. Flames burst outward in a whoosh of heat, blasting almost five feet out in every direction and clearing the path around it. Erebus howled with delight and Ismene puffed up with pride. Kalliope clapped and whooped. "Amazing! Exactly as planned. You're both doing amazing. Let's try again a few more times until you've got it down." When the pair managed to create the ring of fire perfectly three times in a row, Kalliope let them rest. She praised them with words and hands as she hugged both of them. "I knew you two could do it. If you work together, there's nothing we can't do. Did you see the distance that last ring got? You had to have at least twenty feet of space in every direction. Ah, if we can perfect this technique you will be a force to be reckoned with in the Guardian world."

Kazimir didn't say much during this time, despite all of Kalliope's mental reassurances. He was the jealous type and nothing changed that, not all the love Kalliope could offer him. But Ismene and Erebus began to work harder. After half an hour's rest and a stop for lunch, they began again. They performed a perfect ring of fire to Kalliope's cheers. Then she had them stop. "We're going to try one last thing. Erebus, instead of doing one full, consistent stream of smog I want you to make as many small bursts as you can. Try to spread them out physically but see how many you can make in a single breath. Ismene, don't light these on fire just yet." Erebus gathered his breath and started to puff. It was harder than it looked. The first one was too big, the second barely existent. But he kept it up until he ran out of breath. Kalliope kept count of each, even the ones that didn't form properly. "Twelve."

She nodded. "Okay. That's the goal we'll work to someday. For now, I want you to practice making bursts that are the same size. Twice the size of Ismene, maybe a little bigger. Don't worry about going fast, aim for size." Erebus nodded and began to blow. He managed five nearly the same size and a sixth a little under formed. The smaller bursts dissipated faster than the huge cloud but he was able to make them all in less time than the huge cloud, saving time in the long run. He practiced for another twenty minutes until he could more or less make five balls of smog around the same size. He might have managed six but fatigue was starting to set in. "Great. Now it's your turn, Ismene. I want you to light each of them on fire--but I don't want you to shoot one long flame. I need you to hit each one individually with a small jet of flame and move on. Try to hit all of them in one move. If you can get all of them to light before the first one fades out, so much the better."

Ismene gathered herself in preparation. Erebus puffed out five small balls of smoke, spacing them out physically about four feet each. Ismene tried to run beneath them and shoot flame. The first hit perfectly. The second was too long and too hard, overtaking the cloud and doing very little at all. The third missed completely. She didn't make it to the remaining two. Frustration mounted. Kalliope could see Ismene's irritation and called her name. "Ismene. Come here, please." She waved the small, pink blob of a pokemon over. "You've done incredibly well today. I'm very proud of you." She patted Ismene's head and smiled. She reached into her pocket and offered Ismene the rare candy she'd shown the igglybuff earlier. Ismene's eyes lit up and she gobbled the candy, barely letting Kali unwrap it. Kali laughed.

"No one can learn everything at once. It takes time. You want to light them all at the same time, I can tell. You're rushing into it. Don't run. Instead of chasing the smog, I want you to position yourself so you can see all of them as Eerie forms them. Watch the way he places them and try to pinpoint the perfect spot between them all." Kalliope stood up and gestured to Erebus. "Again." Erebus bounded forward in a straight line, creating little smoke spheres. Ismene watched and pouted. Her irritation was clear. This part of the process didn't make sense to her. When she wanted something, she took it. When she wanted to burn something, she just did. All this timing and paying attention and working with the canine was confusing and difficult. Why couldn't she just blow everyone up?

So that's what she did. Ismene blasted a gout of flame at all the balls, lighting them up even as she connected them with a spray of fire. The one closest to Erebus burst and threw him forward. He rolled on the rocky ground and skidded to a stop. As soon as the world stopped spinning he was on his feet and growling. Kalliope prepared to step forward. Kazimir's clear, lyrical voice stopped her. "Idiots! It's bad enough to have a damn mutt running around tripping over his own front paws but to have a little menace rolling into trouble and causing us a thousand problems? Ridiculous." Kazimir sneered. Kali of course couldn't understand a word. But that he was interfering at all surprised her.

"Are you stupid or just like to waste time bickering? You, tubby." He growled at Ismene. "All you do is cry and throw tantrums. If you're so selfish, get back in your pokeball. You have no place on our team. We'll be fine without you. Either of you." Kazimir drew himself up on Kalliope's shoulder. "We were fine before either of you showed up. We don't need a stupid dog that gets itself hurt all the time. We don't need a rude fire breather causing more trouble than they're worth. If this is all you have to contribute, leave now." Kazimir stared down the two pokemon, using his height to his advantage. Beneath the fringe of green, his vivid pink eyes narrowed to slits and met the uncertain gazes of his companions.

Erebus shuffled his feet. His tail stub drooped. Ismene puckered her lips and patted her stomach reassuringly. She couldn't meet Kazimir's albeit creepy eyes for very long. Despite their discomfort, neither tried to move. Not in either direction, in fact. "What, you think you belong?" Kazimir scoffed. "The way you're acting makes it clear you don't." Erebus' ears pricked forward, low to his skull. He growled deep in his throat. "Do you have something to say, mutt?"

"I belong." He muttered. Kazimir tilted his head. "What was that?"

"I belong! Kali found me. She feeds me and she trains me and she trusts me. I helped find the red lady in the village." Erebus stepped forward, head lifted. His tail twitched. "I carried you when you used up too much power. I protected you when you were hurt.You couldn't do it by yourself."

"You mean when you nearly got us killed thoughtlessly charging after the tangela? Or when you were supposed to be tracking Bellatrix and instead you ran off to chase a lead without us? If we're a "team"," He said the word with a look of disgust. "If we need you, then why are we fighting all the time? Why can't you put aside your idiocy and not rush into a fight with the igglybuff when you're supposed to be helping her control her flames? You are a fire type, are you not? Even if you're tainted with dark typing, one would think even a dog as stupid as you could show her how to harness her ability."

Erebus stepped back. He hadn't considered that. Not once. Dark typing had always come easier to him and despite being born with the move fire fang, his own fire was a bit unruly. Eerie looked away. He'd never admit Kazimir was right. Not to the stupid, smug, self righteous jerk of a psychic. Eerie could knock that pompous jerk right off Kalliope's shoulder if he wanted to. So why didn't he? He thought about it. If he attacked Kazimir, their handler would be upset. She would tell him to stop being so silly and antagonistic. She'd put them in their pokeballs and make them think about what they'd done. Even if it would be funny to watch Kazimir fall, what would be the point? He'd still be Kalliope's favorite. He'd still get to spend more time out of the ball with her.

She'd still rely on Kazimir more than Erebus.

Erebus shook his head. That wasn't completely true. She relied on Eerie in the forest. She trusted him to fight without giving him any orders to follow. Even if he'd made a messy fight at the time. Was it luck or skill that won that day? It bothered Eerie that he wasn't sure which. "What do you expect?" He grumbled.

"For you to stop acting like a fool! Use that passion, that reckless behavior and channel it into strength. Learn patience. Try. Try again. Do everything you can to control yourself and your skills. If you keep working hard, who knows what you can accomplish?" Erebus was taken aback by Kazimir's outburst. To be fair, they were Kalliope's words. She couldn't understand what the pokemon were saying. Kazimir connected their minds and she picked up only snippets, a few flashes of emotion. She drew her own conclusions and sent Kazimir the words she wished Erebus to hear. He obliged of course. He cared deeply for the woman, despite her annoying habit of bringing home strays and naming them stupid things.

"What if--" Erebus stopped.

"What if you fail? Then you never deserved to be a part of this team." That one was all Kazimir. Erebus snapped his teeth in annoyance. Stupid psychic. Stupid, rude, loud mouth. Why did Kazimir think he knew everything there was to know? Erebus refused to accept it. He refused to accept any idea of failure, especially when the stupid psychic predicted it of him. He refused to prove Kazimir right.

"Then I won't fail. Just watch me! Come on, Ismene." He barked, turning on his heel. "You're using too much energy and wasting all your strength. I'll show you how to conserve energy and get more fire out of it, too." He didn't take no for an answer. He lined Ismene up beside him, his claws hanging over the edge of the short cliff. "Deep breath, as much as you can hold."

"This is stupid."
Ismene whined. "I can use fire just fine!"

"You're wasteful and you show off too much. You use as much light and heat as you can without thinking through. That's why you can't get the smog balls to light. You use too much at once and you can't keep it up or stop and start it easily. Watch." He opened his maw. Ismene grumbled to herself that everyone kept telling her to watch instead of letting her have fun. But then Erebus lifted his muzzle to the sky, bared his teeth, and shot six perfect balls of fire into the sky. Same size, same speed, equidistant from one another. They reached high into the air before disappearing. He did it again in quick succession, fifteen shots in a row in perfect sync. When Eerie stopped and took a breath, Ismene rocked back in awe.

He did all that with one breath? With one flamethrower? Ismene twitched. She wanted to do that. Ismene tapped his shoulder and pointed at the sky. "Again, again!" Erebus repeated the process silently. She watched his throat, the way his mouth formed each ball. The way he didn't fully close his mouth when he completed one nor did he open too wide when he created the next. His movements flowed seamlessly int one another. Ismene's face bunched up. Why? How? How could he do so much without having to start over and take a breath?

"Your turn." Eerie nudged her. She flinched. How? But no way would she lose to a mutt like Erebus! She sucked in the biggest breath she could, her toes barely touching the ground as the air expanded her small body. She shot out huge gouts of flame, dissected in short spaces, the sky aflame with wide blasts of fire one after another. "Wrong. Too much power. You're using up too much energy when you don't have to. Just a little. Like this." He opened his mouth and spit out a small bit of flame. Hot enough to burn but small enough it vanished without a trace mere seconds after he created it. Erebus lolled out his tongue. Ismene ground her teeth.

"I can do it! Watch, watch! I can!" She screwed up her face and took another breath - this one not so big. She closed her eyes and concentrated. As little flame as possible. Just a little. She barely split open her lips and breathed, like she was sleeping. A tiny flame spilled from her mouth, flickering much like a flaming tongue dancing in her face. Erebus crooned with satisfaction. Ismene opened her eyes and beamed. "See? I did it! I told you, I told you so. I can do anything!" Her big eyes glowed with pride, happy enough to take satisfaction in a small task just to prove she could.

"Well done. Can you do it again?" They practiced. Slowly Ismene grew better at forming her mouth around the small bursts of light. She wasn't great and she couldn't do more than three at a time without losing her breath. But she was improving--she was also exhausted. Well before dusk she collapsed in the dirt and heaved. Nothing more could be gained from the tuckered out youngster. She fell asleep where she lay. Kalliope grinned. When Ismene wasn't causing a rampage she was surprisingly sweet. Erebus trotted over, head held high. Kalliope got down and gave him a thorough chin scratching and a hug.

"You're such a hard worker. I'm so happy you're on my team. Things wouldn't be the same without you." Kazimir rolled his eyes but Kali ignored him. "Shall I give you a little rest?" Kali reached for her pokeball. Erebus bared his teeth and sunk on his front paws. The way he tossed his head, she got the impression he did not want anywhere near his pokeball. Surprised, Kali put the pokeball away and returned Ismene back to her pokeball. "Alright, let's walk back together. When we get to the inn, we'll have a feast. Sound good boys?" She smiled and led her two trusty companions down toward Navdia. Not every day is a success but Kali had a feeling she and her team were breaking new ground, building a foundation for an amazing future together.

(Inspired by Johanna's successful tactics, I'm developing Firestorm, combining Smog with Flamethrower. I've also used one rare candy on Ismene.)

Namid and his Travels

user posted image
Kalliope and her travels
Incredible sprite by Mackay!

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 Posted: Aug 4 2017, 09:22 PM
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Top Handler
Background Mods
Total Posts: 405
Member No. 1655
Joined on 16-June 14.

Dionisia Bosc, James Achilles

Awards: 6

Writing Quality & Length: 5/5 - no complaints here. Long, no SPAG errors that I saw, good character development within the training. I don't think I've read anything of Kalliope's before but the team dynamics came across well.

Training Effectiveness/Plausibility/Creativity: 4/5 - I enjoyed the training done here a lot, and I think the control issues with Ismene were worked out well. Though I doubt she'll be perfect just yet, she's definitely learned a lot from Erebus. With regards to the firestorm training, I would have liked to see a little more after Ismene's control was a bit better, but the training was already pretty long so I definitely see why you didn't do it! Kalliope also didn't really do any explaining of what the point of Firestorm was supposed to be, though I think the training spelled it out well enough.

Wow!: 0/2


Ismene and Erebus both gain 9 exp. Erebus levels up. Nothing for Kazimir since he didn't actually train at all. One RC has been applied to Ismene. Ismene receives a note: Working on her control. Ismene and Erebus are 35% of the way to mastering Firestorm.

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 Posted: Aug 10 2017, 10:26 PM
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Top Handler
Background Mods
Total Posts: 352
Member No. 2161
Joined on 29-December 15.

Kalliope Tamsin, Namid Waagosh'Giizis

Awards: 3

  • Practice Firestorm
  • Special session with Ismene to hone her abilities
  • Cement Ismene's place in the team(maybe earn happiness bars??)
  • Possibly work on Kalliope's pokemon handling aptitude? If there's not enough don't bother! ^_^
Outskirts of Navdia Crater
Painfully sunny

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"Day two of special training, friends." Kalliope announced. All three pokemon looked at their handler. Kazimir was on the ground rather than on Kali's shoulder--very out of the ordinary. Ismene and Erebus sat at Kali's feet. "You did impressive work last time. Let's kick it up a notch. First I want you both to practice what we did last time. Use the wall of smog, then the ring. Finish with five or six bursts at a time. Once you've done those perfectly, we'll start working on applying them in battle situations." Ismene bobbed up and down, her easily inflatable body barely touching the ground. Erebus twitched his nose and started off away from his handler.

"Let's see what you can do, hatchling." He muttered. Ismene rolled in his wake, complaining loudly at the insult. Her high, lilting voice was for the most part unintelligible as she rolled. "Stop flapping your jaws and get to work." He fell to his haunches. His chest cavity swelled with air and he felt the shift from oxygen to poisonous gas. As soon as his lungs filled to bursting, he bellowed out the thick smog. It was thicker than the last time they practiced--he'd been working on concentrating the noxious gas to cause a better explosion. Ismene refused to be outdone.

She bounced to a stop and opened her tiny mouth until her jaws hurt. Flames rushed straight into the center of the cloud. Heat boiled outward in a whoosh. The fire ate the gas faster than the eye could keep up with, turning the whole noxious smog into a huge explosion of flames. As it died down, Erebus twisted in a circle, unleashing a second, more concentrated burst. Ismene didn't let him trip her up. She followed his movements with her eyes and swelled up with anticipation. The second he connected the two ends of the ring, she hit the merge point perfectly. If she used a bit too much fire at least she did so with relish. The ring flashed into heat and flame, raging outward and eating up the oxygen until it ran out of gases to burn. The stench of burnt earth and poisonous air filled the vicinity.

Erebus didn't stop. Before the ring had completed its denouement he kicked his hindlegs and barreled forward. In his wake he crafted six nearly identical bursts of gas. Ismene stumbled to keep up but managed to roll to her feet at the last moment and punch through the first three, one right after the other. They burst like a chain reaction--each fading burst blended with the beginning of the next. She hit all of them but the last one, which she missed by barely a foot. Ismene stared at the quickly fading smog and her little face scrunched up in pure hatred for making a mistake. She enveloped the whole of it in an unrelenting flamethrower, overtaking whatever explosion it might have offered. Kalliope clapped her hands.

"Excellent first try. You did well, Ismene. Consecutive moves are difficult to master but you didn't falter. I think before we can go further you and I need to work on control." She twitched her fingers, beckoning. Ismene rolled over with clear disappointment. Her face drooped and her arms hung limp at her sides. "I realized we've never personally worked together. We've battled rogues, fought in the schism, and traveled all over Harper. But you and I have never worked on something together have we?" Kalliope folded her legs and sat down. Ismene watched her in confusion. Their eyes were almost level as Kalliope leaned on one arm.

The sun baked the stones beneath Kali's backside and left her uncomfortably warm but she ignored it to engage Ismene. "I know one of the reasons you act like a child is because I allow you to do so. I treat you like a child who misbehaves and can't control herself instead of teaching you how to behave and showing you the proper way." Kalliope stroked Ismene's cheek. "How can you trust me if I can't show you I trust you? No wonder you act up all the time. I give you no reason to believe in me." Both Kazimir and Erebus sat a ways away, leaving the two to their private talk. Ismene couldn't remember a time where Kalliope sat down with her alone. Kazimir was constantly at her side, translating or making snarky comments.

He thought she didn't hear them. Of course she did, he had a big mouth and he projected his thoughts outward at everyone. Ismene didn't fully understand the psychic type but she could tell when he was saying mean things. He got this...red feeling to him. But right now he was out of earshot - mostly - and silent. Ismene stared up at Kalliope. "I don't think I ever asked if you wanted to be a part of this team." She admitted. "I was so caught up with what an asset you'd be, how strong you are and how clever you might become, I forgot to take a step back and see if you wanted this too." She tilted her head to the side and examined Ismene, who looked so young but who could cause the kind of damage that even a fire-immune fire type pokemon was affected.

Even if they were incidental, the facts changed everything. Kalliope couldn't afford to indulge her fantasy that Ismene was too young to understand. "Let me tell you a story about a stupid kid who rushed headlong into danger and nearly died. When I was a child, barely bigger than you are now, I decided to go after bad guys. I was playing by myself in a dangerous place and heard adults arguing. I investigated and found them smuggling goods. My father was a very successful merchant, I know the difference between craft and stolen goods." Kalliope closed her eyes.

"I remember there being two of them. I had a sword I stole from my dad - it was much smaller than mine now but so heavy back then. I thought: this. This is what I can do to prove I'm tough. I rushed into their conversation swinging. I was strong even for a young girl and I had surprise on my side. I cut them pretty good before they realized what happened and fought back. I thought I was properly grown up. I didn't need to learn any more. I could do anything. While I battled one with my blade thinking all the while I was going to win, the man behind me released his pokemon. I should have noticed but I was too stubborn." Ismene crept forward unbidden, her little hands touching Kalliope's knee. Her eyes grew so huge Kalliope could see her own reflection in them. Pale, bright red hair.

"I was so sure I would win that I didn't hear the poochyena's warning growl until it sunk its teeth into my shoulder and tore my arm up." Kalliope pulled the edge of her collar down to expose the white scars, less puckered after all these years but hard to miss. "It bit me deep and one of the men punched me in the face. They took turns kicking me, then left me for dead. When I woke up I was in a healer's home and my father was standing over me. I thought he'd be furious. But he was so upset he hugged me too tight and began to cry."

Ismene didn't understand. Kalliope could tell by the furrow between the igglybuff's brows. "He wasn't mad. He was terrified. I hadn't thought twice about what I was doing, I just leaped into the fray and expected strength was enough. It's not the first time I almost died but it's one of the few I have lasting proof of. You're a lot like I was. Reckless. Stubborn. Those are good traits when your skills have been honed and you know what you're doing. Fear is dangerous. My father had a problem after all the times I frightened him half to death. It did...bad things. His fear crippled him as much as his age. But his fear protected him numerous times over the years. You and I, we don't see fear. We see opportunity and determination. We see what we want and we take it."

Kalliope sat up straighter and put both hands on Ismene's hand. "We need to be able to use our skills. You're strong and fearless. In a battle you are the wild card. Anything can happen. You could take down five opponents with one attack--or die. With proper training, you'll grow strong. If you fight training, if you act up, if you spend too much time selfishly thinking of yourself and no one else, you'll only grow closer to death. I don't want to lose you, Ismene." Kalliope picked her up and held her close. Her soft, plush body was so weightless Kalliope wasn't fully sure Ismene was in her arms at all. "This team is going to face dangers. Criminals, murderers, thieves. We're going to run into fires, jump into flooded rivers. We're going to fight for justice and rescue innocents. More often than not we're risking our lives every time we go out into the field. This is what I love. This is what I plan on doing the rest of my life.

"If you don't want to risk your life, if you don't want to learn discipline and become strong, if you'd rather throw in the towel and do something else with your life I will accept that. But I need you to be sure of what you want. Don't half ass training any longer if you choose to remain. If you want to relax and live a different life, I'll make that happen. But whatever you do, do it with your whole heart."
Kalliope set Ismene back on the ground. "I can't give you a treat every time you do something right. It's going to be hard work with not as much reward as you would like. But we'll be making a difference in the world. It's up to you. I respect your choice either way." She got up and dusted off her overheated backside.

"Think on it for a while. I'm going to speak with Kazimir and in a few minutes we'll begin practicing again. You don't have to make the decision now. If you could put in your all for the next few hours at least, I would appreciate it. If you're not up to it, I understand as well." Kalliope left Ismene to think. Ismene for her part was torn. She loved being strong and doing what she pleased. She liked that Kalliope never made her do any of the hard work like the others. She liked getting candy and playing around and showing up to save the day. Save the day? Ismene considered it. She'd rushed in during that one fight with the bad but good lady. She didn't use the best moves, admittedly, but she'd turned the tide of battle. In fact, every time Kalliope called her into a battle it was a derisive tactic to change the battle entirely.

Wild card. Wild? Am I wild? Ismene wondered. Sure, she liked to burst into flame for no reason. She had temper tantrums and couldn't be controlled--oh. That's what Kalliope was saying. She was wild. She was uncontrollable. Before she might have liked knowing that fact. Right now? It meant her own handler couldn't trust her. That was why Ismene was only ever released as a last resort. Never because her particular skills would be useful. Had Ismene ever obeyed one of Kalliope's orders? Not in the middle of a battle. Ismene preferred to wing it. And it worked. But this would only work until it didn't anymore. Wasn't that what Kalliope was trying to say? What happens next time? If she makes the wrong choice and gets seriously hurt? Not only that but if her handler only calls her on dire emergencies, what would happen to everyone else if Ismene chooses wrong?

The psychic was a jerk. He had such negative aspects on life, Ismene could all but see the sharp needles sticking out of every pore to keep people away from him. Erebus was rude, stupid and over eager. He had a hard head too but a different kind. He obeyed Kalliope. Mostly. And he was let out to play way more often. Ismene frowned. She didn't like the idea of being a last resort, someone only called out when there was no other choice. She wanted to be first pick. Or at least chosen for what she was good at. What am I good at? Burning things. But the mutt can do that. What do I do special?

Ismene's chest clenched like she'd swallowed a stone. I don't have a special skill do I? I'm just...here. In the way. Again.

Is that all you want to be? A burden? Kazimir's voice cut through her mind. Ismene flinched. Congratulations. You succeeded. If that's all, how about you leave?

I don't want to!
Ismene protested. I want to help. I want to be... Kazimir barked a laugh. It resonated in his mind, a painful echo that doubled in on itself. I want to be more.

How can you do that? You don't even know what you're going to do now. Part of you wants to leave and have it easy. I can sense it.
Kazimir chided. Never try to hide things from a psychic. We check in your secret hidey holes first. If you don't want to be here then leave. I'll tell Kalliope she was wrong. You are a coward. You're afraid.

Ismene swelled. I'm not afraid! I'm tough!

Then what's this overwhelming fear I sense? You're afraid you'll fail. You'll disappoint everyone and get someone killed. You're not wrong. Kazimir watched her from twenty yards away. Ismene felt his beady eyes on her beneath the cover of his bangs. Unblinking. Give up. Failure is what you're good at anyway.

I'm not afraid! I'm not going to fail. Ismene argued. Her voice trembled even in her own mind. It's not scary. I'm not scared.

You're lying. Kazimir chided. Kalliope's voice rang in Ismene's mind; a faint echo, a recollection. Fear is dangerous. Fear crippled him. Kazimir's haunting voice followed on the tail end of Kali's words. You're full of fear. Admit it.

I'm scared! I'm so scared. What if she dies? What if I die? What if because I'm not strong or smart or brave enough something terrible happens? She said it herself. Fear is dangerous. I am dangerous. Ismene drooped. Her body trembled with the threat of tears. I can't hurt her. I can't--I can't--

You can't, you can't, you can't.
Kazimir scoffed. Or you won't. No one's stopping you.The only one in your way is you. He accused. He didn't move from his position but it felt like he shifted beside her. The heat of his fur, the pale rose eyes staring into her own. You're useless. You give up before you even try. Every single time. The world around them narrowed. White light from the sun surrounded them. Her attention dwindled to Kazimir's haunting eyes. You can't do anything. If you don't want to be here, leave.

I want to...I want to be here. Ismene barely allowed the thought to exist. She pictured leaving, never seeing Kalliope again. Never going on adventures. She recoiled. I want to stay. She whispered. Even in her mind, the words were quiet. Where would she go? Not to the woman who stole her in the first place. Kalliope would never do that. To an old human who stays home all day? To a little kid for their first pokemon? Passed off on whoever walks by? Ismene didn't want that. It wasn't just the fear of the unknown. She felt safe with Kalliope. She--she belonged. Even when they were arguing, the other pokemon never hurt her.

They weren't very nice pokemon. But they were never cruel.

Cruel? I'll show you cruel. Kazimir's soft voice surrounded her. Suddenly she saw Kalliope passing off her pokeball to some faceless human. Instead of seeing the faceless human, she saw Kalliope leaving. The redhead disappeared down the road. Bad humans attacked her and Kalliope called out Erebus and Kazimir. The battle was heated, if blurry with motion and attacks. Kalliope was cut down by her attacker. She lay in the dirt, bloody and sweating, her blade up defensively. The faceless man above her laughed and gripped his blade with both hands, driving it downward. Kalliope's sword snapped beneath the weight and the blade kept going--

"Nooooo! Ismene screamed and flame erupted from her. Everything in the vision caught flame except Kalliope's dark, lifeless eyes. Ismene screamed again and fire exploded outward, engulfing the vision as well as the haunting eyes Kazimir projected in front of her. "I won't let that happen! I won't! I won't, I won't, I won't! You can't! I won't!" Ismene trembled, eyes squeezed shut and tears dripping down her soft, pink fur. She covered her face with her hands and shook. Kalliope picked her up immediately and squeezed her tight. Ismene had to close her mouth at the last moment to avoid burning her, so traumatic was the sight. But she recognized the smell of her handler and the tight embrace. Kalliope hugged her tightly and rocked her until the igglybuff breathed without sobbing.

Ismene looked up with wet eyes. Kalliope was holding Ismene in her lap, stroking her back. Kazimir hadn't left his position twenty feet away. Erebus on the other hand was circling the pair, snuffling at Kali's knee and making soft chuffing sounds under his breath. He looked at Ismene with a cocked head. No one had seen what Kazimir had been doing. Ismene wasn't sure even Kalliope knew what had happened. I hope you can back it up. Ismene flinched and ducked her face in Kalliope's shoulder. Don't be such a caterpie. None of it was real.

Leave me alone.

Why? So you can walllow some more? You've done enough wallowing and pouting. Grow up, Ismene. Kazimir responded. His tone was cool and precise, nothing like the voice he'd been using before. You wanted to leave. I was only showing you what might happen if you do. Sure you'll find a nice family to go to and you'll probably never spend any time battling rogues or chasing down murderers. Kazimir shrugged both physically and in her mind. But you'll be leaving her vulnerable. She relies on you. Your strength, your resilience. Your ability to see past everything and do what must be done. That's what she sees in you. I know, she never holds anything back. She loves you. There was a trace of jealousy in his voice. Ismene's forehead furrowed. The squiggle above it wrinkled in tandem.

She wants to do what's best for you. She still sees you as a child. But she can't let you live as a child all your life. You need to grow up and start learning responsibility. You're strong--but you waste your strength. You're determined--but you give up as soon as you hit resistance. Anger fuels you instead of your own innate fighting spirit. Ismene's eyes opened wide and she stared up at Kalliope. The voice in her head wasn't Kazimir's. It was, but it tasted and sounded like Kalliope. It was like one voice on top of the other. No, she's not communicating. That's what she thinks about while you're training. Ways to help you grow strong. She studies your weaknesses because she senses her own weaknesses in you. At least, that's how she sees it.

Kazimir started forward, a surprisingly quick gait for a small psychic. You passed.

Passed what?

Do you think I'd let some wild, foolish creature put my Kalliope in harm's way? Someone so selfish you'd probably run off in search of berries in the middle of a dangerous situation because your tummy is rumbly?
Kazimir demanded. Kalliope trusts you a lot more than I would like. So I tested you. In the end, you would have thrown yourself between her and the blade. Grudging admiration. Kalliope thinks, for some inane reason, she needs a full team to become the best Guardian. If she's going to keep sticking idiots on our team, they at least need to have complete loyalty for her. She should be able to trust her team, not worry they're going to get her killed. But you...you might actually be decent. If you stop crying all the time and get some actual work done.

Kazimir reached the pair and patted Kalliope's knee. The dog snarled at him but without any malice. He was confused, Erebus. Something was wrong and he didn't know what but he figured the psychic was to blame. Ismene saw his concern. Not only for Kalliope but for her. He nosed her foot. He was a big bully sometimes. But maybe he wasn't doing it to upset her or to belittle her. Maybe...maybe he was trying to train her too. He was terrible at it, if that's what he was doing. Ismene patted his nose. "We should get back to training." His nose wrinkled in confusion.

"What happened? What did the psychic do?" Eerie demanded. He glared at Kazimir.

"Nothing. We need to train don't we?" Ismene wiggled in Kalliope's arms until Kali put her down, then she rolled toward where they previously trained. The stench of smog still tainted the air. Erebus wasn't certain what was going on but he followed behind, tail stiff. You want to be a part of this team? Prove it. Our lives will be difficult. If you want this, seize it with both hands and never let go. So long as you do that, we will always have your back. Ismene peered over her shoulder at Kazimir.

Kalliope is my life. I would throw my own life away to protect her. She felt his eyes on her. Get strong. Prove you can protect her. Prove you can be her strength. His voice disappeared. So did his presence in her mind, though he hadn't realized how strong it was until it was gone. There was a faint tendril of power remaining. His Telepathy ability, keeping everyone safe from friendly fire. Ismene swelled up. The psychic hated everyone. The mutt was loudmouthed and a bit rude. They both believed in her.

That's what Kazimir was saying. And she needed to believe in herself. Kalliope watched the trio of pokemon, keeping a safe distance back. Kalliope believed in her too. It was in the human's nature to put her trust and love into her team. Ismene had understood this from the beginning. How quickly Kalliope accepted her, fought with her, fought for her. Ismene knew if she were ever in danger, Kalliope would throw her life into the fire to save her. Ismene would do the same. Trust was a difficult bond to build up to when you had no recollection of what the word 'trust' really meant. But Ismene was beginning to understand the depth of it. The strength of it.

Be her strength. Ismene shivered. Her little heart pounded in her chest like a trapped pidgey. Adrenaline surged in her veins. She smiled. "Let's do it, Eerie." She swelled, anticipation and energy coursing through her. This was her team. Her family. Maybe she's not what they expected--they certainly weren't what she expected. But they accepted her. She closed her eyes and breathed in deep. Erebus built up another cloud of smog. When she opened her eyes, she blasted a perfect spout through the fog and ignited the gas. It burst outward like a sea parting for a wailord, waves of heat eddying in both directions. Erebus flowed into the next move and Ismene followed. They moved in tandem.

When it came time for the small bursts, Ismene didn't rush into the roll. She waited until the first formed, blasted it, and followed Erebus' path with her round body, rolling easily beneath them. She timed her rolls so she fell beneath them, face up. Just long enough to ignite and roll to the next. They hit seven balls of flame in sync. When they finished, Erebus caught her mid roll and rolled her upward. He bumped her with the wet point of his nose, tongue hanging out with delight. Kalliope clapped proudly and cheered them both on. "Excellent! You managed even more this time. Well done." Kalliope bent down to kiss them both on the head. "You're working well together. I knew you could do it." Kalliope stood.

"Now we're going to try something new. Same concept, different application. Kazimir?" Kalliope put her hands together, head tilted to glance at the psychic. He waltzed over, all pomp and bluster. He looked smug already. "I'm sure you both want to know how we're going to use this in the field and when. It's not something we can suddenly throw into a situation. So I decided we'd practice. Kazimir has a particular skill that's quite useful for what we're doing. He can create illusions as most psychics can.

"He's going to design illusions and you're going to decide whether to attack or hold back. Kaz."
The psychic nodded and five people formed in front of them. One was a perfect replica of Kalliope. The next was a woman with two children, one a baby and the other a toddler with dirty blonde hair. The man after that was dark skinned and dark haired with vibrant clothing. The remaining pair were clearly siblings, possibly teenagers. They had the dusky skin of bulwari or dorani coupled with rich mahogany hair. "These people are the innocents. If you see them, don't fire." She explained. Kazimir made them vanish and replaced them with five others. Two were women, one blonde and the other a redhead. They were pale and carried blades in each hand. The next was an older man with a bludgeoning stick in one hand, his grizzled face dark with a beard. The next was a dark-skinned female with a seviper at her feet, hissing angrily. Finally there was a young man with big, dewy eyes and an ugly sneer on his otherwise handsome face.

These people weren't imaginary. Kazimir had seen all of them at one point in time or another and for reasons beyond himself committed them to memory. Each had a natural stance or body language insinuating friend or foe. They had voices, though none spoke of yet. "These are the criminals. You don't know their crimes, you don't know who they will hurt next. But you know you can stop them. Kazimir will change the scene every fifteen to thirty seconds upon his discretion. You'll see about five scenes before we stop for the first round. Begin in three, two..." The illusions disappeared. A ring around thirty feet in diameter encircled Ismene and Erebus with Kazimir just on the outside. Kalliope stepped out of range just in case. "One!"

What was once a sunny day went black.

They were in an alleyway. A dingy wall covered their back, another in front of them fifteen yards off. The ends of the alleys disappeared into mist. Before them stood two of the criminals: the blonde woman and the young, dewy eyed boy. They stood on opposite sides. The woman charged them but the boy remained in place, wielding a thin looking blade. Erebus billowed out a wall of smog stretching between them and the blonde. Ismene ignited it quickly, bursting outward to engulf the woman. She screeched and jumped back. Behind Ismene, the male attacked. He kicked her soundly in the backside and she lifted up and bounced hard ten feet away. Erebus snarled and shot flame of his own. The scene dissipated. It was a bright morning in a grassy field, the sunlight gentle instead of searing.

The young woman with two children cowered nearby. The grizzled older man stomped toward them with his weapon raised over his head, the blunt stick thick enough to break bones. Erebus shot two balls of smog at him. By now Ismene had righted herself and followed at his side, igniting both. The man stumbled back, then swore and raised his weapon again. Erebus modified the original ring of smog to make a thick rope between him and the innocent. Ismene lit it up a little off kilter, spreading the fire a little lopsided but enough to force the man back. The scene vanished.

They were in a busy street, a market of some sort. The people around them were blurred and faceless but there was a cart laden with fruit and a cart full of leather goods. Between them were two women stealing items from both while a third, this one the kindly looking dorani talking quickly with pair of faceless merchants, shaking her head. Erebus growled but didn't make any smog. Ismene poked him min the side. "Hurry up! We're running out of time." Erebus shook his head.

"No. It wouldn't be useful." He tried to explain. Ismene frowned and blasted fire at the two girls stealing. They screamed and the carts on either side caught fire, burning quickly. The scene vanished. Ismene wasn't sure what happened--it didn't really count did it? The next unraveled. An unnameable road with a cart. One busted wheel kept them from going anywhere. Two men, the dewy eyed man and the darker skinned male had daggers and they were jabbing them at the innocent family, the woman and her kids. Erebus ran between them and Ismene followed. One tried to stomp on her. She felt his foot glance her side when she dodged. But Erebus had already built up a wall of smog between them, which circled around the men's legs and torsos. They covered their mouths and backed up.

Ismene just barely ignited the fire and shot them backward onto the ground, clothing smoldering, when the scene vanished. The last one had seven people all in a group, moving and shouting and hitting at the wall of some business. It might have sold clothes or bread for all she knew. The front window shattered under the onslaught. Erebus tossed his head back and forth, wavering. "Follow my lead." He rose up on his hind legs and aimed upward. He built up a moderate sized ball of smog, one that rose upward instead of toward the mob. Ismene blasted upward as soon as he closed his maw. It burst with a loud bang and a whoosh of heat. The humans dropped to their knees and covered their ears.

The scene disappeared. They were back in the bleak volcanic dirt. Kalliope stood apart, watching them. Her eyes were dark with thought. "Tell us your thoughts. Don't worry, Kazimir will translate. Where did you go wrong?" Ismene looked back and forth between her and Erebus, uncertain.

"Did we do bad?" Her tiny voice wavered. Erebus bopped her with his nose.

"Pay better attention. She didn't say we failed. She asked what we did wrong. It's how you learn. Think back on what we just did. Was there any moment where we did something we shouldn't?" Erebus sank to his belly and folded his paws under his chin. "Take your time."

Ismene obeyed. She thought about them all. The first one they didn't make any mistakes. The second not really. She pursed her lips. "Do you mean the thieves?" He nodded. "Well...when I fired at them, the carts caught fire. That was bad?" She thought. "And when I got kicked both times. That wasn't good either, was it?" She tilted her head. "How did they kick me anyway?"

Kazimir laughed. "They didn't. I did. I used a little telekinesis to make it more realistic. Pretty cool, huh?" He went silent for a moment, translating. Kalliope nodded her head. "Do you know why those were mistakes?" She asked. Without waiting for them to respond, she answered. "The first time, you forgot to pay attention to your surroundings. If you'd been watching for him you could have dodged, Erebus could have smogged him and then you could have incapacitated him with the blast. Though there are other ways you could have stopped him. The second one was pretty good. But the two girls stealing? It was a bit of a trick, I'm sorry." She stretched her shoulders, one arm behind her back.

"We're going to see all kinds of different crimes. Sometimes violence is the wrong answer. They could have been hungry. They could have been scared or lost, or they might be petty thieves who get caught for this a lot. Either way, we would have arrested and restrained them. Attacking them is the wrong move. Sometimes peaceful ways are better. Understand?" She explained. "During the caravan robbing, you might have used a little less smog and concentrated it more in one place, Erebus. The backlash of the explosion might have hurt you or the innocents behind you. As for the final scene, very well done. You were resourceful, Erebus. Attacking the humans would have been a bad idea."

Erebus' tail wagged. "They were vandalizing and mobbing a store but instead of using force, you got their attention and made them stop. Well done. Overall you did a great job. No one is perfect their first try. Ready for another round?" She smiled. Erebus got up and barked in agreement. Ismene bounced up and down as well. Kazimir stretched and shifted his weight from one foot to the other. Everything went black. When the light came back on, they were trapped in a small room, maybe ten feet wide. Kalliope was bound and strapped to a table of some sort and two of the bad women were standing over her. Erebus rushed in and started to mime biting at their legs. The women reeled back and started to swing. Ismene was starting to get it.

Follow their movements, assess the situation. Respond.

They were attacking Kalliope. She couldn't move. Erebus distracted them by attacking first. Ismene bounced behind him and took in a tiny breath. Lips pursed into a tiny o, she breathed. A tiny jet of flame, perhaps four inches long, came into being. She used it to mime cutting the straps holding Kalliope down. Then she turned at the sound of Erebus' yelp. One of the women tried to stab him, which dropped him to the ground. "Eerie! Smog, quick! Keep to the ground." Erebus huffed, leaking smog. The woman stomped on him and he grunted but kept spewing out more gas. Ismene rolled toward him and ignited the gas, continued rolling, and blasted a flamethrower behind the women just as they jumped back from the flames. They fell to the ground and rolled, trying to put out the flame. The fake Kalliope leaped in to arrest them. The scene faded.

Suddenly a dozen pokemon surrounded them. All types and sizes, running toward them in almost slow-motion. Erebus rose to his feet and shakily turned, building up the ring of smog. The pokemon were getting close. He finished the ring and looked at Ismene. "Hurry! But she bit her lip at his request. What had Kalliope said the entire time they'd practiced this tactic? Know when to set the gas on fire. The pokemon weren't close enough. Rattled, Erebus started the ring over again, trying to keep it thick as it slowly dissolved. When the pokemon got in range, Ismene fired. The twice-thickened ring exploded outward in a whoosh, hitting most of the pokemon full in the face. A few it effected very little. But for the rest, most were thrown backward by the attack.

The scene disappeared.

They kept on with different sorts of scenarios, from attackers holding their victims down to all out attacks. One distinct scenario depicted one of the innocent women but without her children, leaping off a building with a knife in her hand. Erebus mimed knocking her to the ground and Ismene followed in with heal pulse to ease the wound in her broken wrist. Another was an interesting tactic. For a full minute Erebus and Ismene were attacked by a warm of zubat. Speedy buggers, they had to be dodged or hit with a tiny burst of smog to keep them away. When it was over, Ismene counted less than half were dodged or stopped by fire. She swelled with frustration. The normal anger that flooded her veins when she was upset started to rise.

Channel your strength of spirit into battle, not anger. Kazimir whispered. Ismene sensed they weren't his words. Her tiny fists squeezed tight. "We've finally found something you need to practice." Kalliope clapped her hands together derisively. "You've done quite well at adapting to each new scenario. Mistakes are expected but you've shown a lot of promise in your ability to respond in times of danger. I'm proud of you." She beamed. Kalliope ruffled her hair, pushing the thick tresses from her face as a rare breeze blew them into her face. "I was afraid we'd never find something to work on."

Erebus canted his head. "You do well when you have a few seconds to plan and execute. The zubat prove you need a little work at quickfire. We'll try again. No one masters a move at once, so don't worry if it's not perfect." She didn't look directly at Ismene but Ismene felt the comment directed at her. Erebus huffed, knowing full well it was directed at both of them. After a few minutes to rest, they started again. "We'll keep going until you can hit twenty targets without missing one or it's been five minutes." She explained.

They began once more. First only five zubat swooped in. This time they had full range of the sky above them as well as thirty feet in every direction. The first two swooped down and the pair managed to hit them both full on, driving them away. However, the third rounded behind them and flew right through them. Start again. They caught five zubat and dodged two more in a row before a pair of zubat zigzagged downward and tangled Ismene's and Erebus's attacks to ruin their streak. They kept going. Eleven dodged or hit. Thirteen. Seven. Fourteen. When they hit fifteen in a row, five more zubat burst into existence. They lost. Erebus howled in frustration.

Ismene wiped sweat out of her eyes. Or maybe they were frustrated tears. She ignored them and fought. They got up to ten targets before three caught them off guard. Eleven. Thirteen. They made it to fifteen again. After each defeat on, another zubat entered the fray. They were on nineteen and running out of steam. The whole of the zubats began to swirl in a tornado of wing beats and screeching. "Surround us both in the smog. Fill everything. As much as you've got." Ismene panted hard, her chest heaving. She was so tired. But Erebus obeyed. He expelled quickly and with force, trying to get as much smog out of his depleting lungs as he could. When he could get no more, the zubats all descended as one. In the center of the blast, protected by Telepathy and Erebus' natural immunity to fire, Ismene ignited the attack from within. All the zubats phased out of existence and the resulting firestorm rose up and up, eating at every ounce of gas.

It took a few long seconds for the flames to vanish. Ismene coughed, a little soot stained around her face. Dirt covered her backside, her feet, her paws. Erebus' coat was dingy with the various amounts of dust and dirt all over his body. Ismene sat hard on her butt and panted. "We...we did it." She huffed. Air rushed in and out of her like a whirlwind. When her breathing started to return to normal, Ismene laughed. "We did it! We beat them!" She laughed again and lay down. Her eyes closed immediately and she fell asleep. The poor girl tuckered herself out working so hard. Kalliope picked her up and held her while she slept. Erebus lay on the ground panting but happy. He was exhausted, sure, but perhaps not so tired he would fall asleep.

"You both did absolutely amazing. You worked hard and well." She praised. "I'm so proud of you both. It's time you rest." She stroked his fur and returned them both to their pokeballs. She would feed them and let them rest once they got back to their room in Navdia. Then she bent down to pick up Kazimir. He made it look easy but the illusions coupled with telekinesis had taken a toll on him. Ismene and Erebus lasted longer than he'd anticipated. He'd used up too much energy and needed a rest too. She didn't bother offering his pokeball--he wouldn't take it. Instead she carried him as they headed back to the city.

They were impressive weren't they? Kalliope asked. You didn't make it easy for them. Kazimir sensed the well of love and admiration Kali had for him. She drowned him in her own silent praise for working as hard as he did. He would never admit to exhaustion to the others and probably not to Kalliope if she hadn't known it on her own. Kali filled her whole heart and mind with love and joy that they were all together, becoming a real team. Kazimir drowned in the wealth of emotions and said nothing. He closed his eyes, heart slowing as he let her warmth fill him.

She's staying. Kazimir mumbled. Kalliope sent him a faint question. She doesn't want to leave you. Or the team. She's devoted to you. His usual jealousy wasn't present. Softly, as he drifted to sleep, Kalliope heard something she probably wasn't meant to hear. Maybe that wouldn't be so bad...

Kalliope smiled and held Kazimir close as he slumbered, trekking the rest of the way into town on sore feet. She would suffer anything for her team. But more than that, she would give them anything they desired to make them happy for they gave her the deepest and purest happiness she had ever known. She kissed Kazimir's green hair and began to sing softly, a song her father taught her many years ago. A lullaby.

Namid and his Travels

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Kalliope and her travels
Incredible sprite by Mackay!

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 Posted: Aug 24 2017, 01:42 PM
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Stupidface McNoctowl
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Alexander Fitzgerald | Emilie Chartoire

Awards: 5

Writing Quality & Length: 5/5 - Great quality, and the length was very good for a thread with goals like these. No problems here!

Training Effectiveness/Plausibility/Creativity: 5/5 - I was a little nervous about this area in the beginning, when you were practicing what the pokemon already knew, but the angle to practice variations for different situations by using Kazimir's psychic powers was very creative and engaging to read about, and I think it'll be even more effective than rote practicing because Ismene and Erebos are now understanding the ramifications of their move, the ways it could go right and wrong, who it could help and hurt. This is a much deeper understanding of moves than I usually see, so kudos to you for your ingenuity here!

WOW: 1/2 - WOW points are also hard to earn from me, but I wanted to give one here because of the way you so effectively blended the dev material with the training material. I think it's great that Kali took a step back to share some of her own experiences and really explain to Ismene why they were fighting, and that segued amazingly into the exercise with Kazimir.


Ismene and Erebus both gain 11 exp; Kazimir will gain half (I'll round up to 6 exp) for his effort in making the illusions for the others to practice with. Kazimir doesn't level up, but Ismene levels up twice and reaches 23, no new moves, and Erebos levels to 23, no new moves (but one level away from evolving!). Ismene also receives a happiness bar for her work with Kalliope - one, rather than two, because I don't think this is quite maxed-out territory, but getting close. In terms of Firestorm, Ismene and Erebus are 75% of the way to mastering Firestorm - a large improvement, but not quite perfect yet, and still needing some more guidance from Kalliope and Kazimir. Kalliope will gain 3 points towards her Pokemon Handling aptitude for her creativity in this training session.


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