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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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 Enemies like Me, Kalliope / Closed
Kaia
 Posted: Jun 12 2017, 10:08 PM
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Top Handler
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Total Posts: 344
Member No. 2161
Joined on 29-December 15.


Characters:
Kalliope Tamsin, Namid Waagosh'Giizis

Awards: 3




Kalliope saw nothing. Beyond the whoosh of the wind, she heard nothing. Wherever Bellatrix was, she kept out of sight. Twice now Kalliope had seen the magnemite in the woman's presence--Kali prepared for the inevitable. The evening before, after Larry explained which kinds of pokemon Bellatrix owned and her personality, Kalliope studied her pokecard. She had an idea what they could do and how much damage they might inflict on her pokemon - not to mention she had no idea how strong they were. But despite all the study and the necessary patience to draw in quarry, Kalliope took a step forward - putting Kazimir behind her - and called out to Bellatrix. "I know you're out there. Ambush is useless. Come out here and f--" She dropped to her knees the instant she heard the snap of wire. Crossbow. A bolt buried itself three feet behind her. To the north, toward the bend of the river - though the bend itself was quite far out. In the opposite direction of the town.

Had she gone around to surprise her or did she have another way of crossing the river? Kalliope shook her head and rose once more. She knew where the bolts would come from and drew her shield. It was a trick her father taught her, though he'd used his chespin's bullet seed. She'd gotten enough bruises when she was younger to develop the skill. Loading a crossbow and aiming could take up to thirty seconds or a minute for an amateur. Kali had less time by far. "Cowardly tactics won't--" Another snap of the crossbow. This time Kali remained upright, spine straight as an arrow. She twisted in a whiplash of motion and Kali swore she heard the bolt whistling as it approached. Kali held out her buckler and jolted it forward, throwing it off course to smash into the ground yards away. It lay broken in the dirt. Heart hammering, Kali swallowed her excitement. That one cut a little too close. It had been too long since she practiced the trick.

But by the Holy Arceus, did she look cool doing it. Not that her mind was on such matters. Oh, no. Not at all.

"How many bolts do you have? Twenty-thr--" She whipped her shield into the air and caught the bolt. Twelve seconds. Fast reload. "Twenty-two? Shall we waste all of your ammunition? I don't mi--" Another. She swung her shield in a boisterous arc, whipping it away. "I can do this all day." Less that time. Was it all of eight seconds? Knees bent, arm tight and grip loose, Kali awaited the next one. This time it took longer. She whipped her buckler and had to twist into the motion, taking two short steps to the right. She practically skipped, how quickly did she jump. Two bolts this time. Who carried two crossbows? Who could fire with such accuracy within a breadth of a second? Rather than fill with fear, adrenaline pumped through her veins. Sweat dotted her forehead and her face flushed with vigor. Oh, yes. This was an opponent alright.

The next two she managed to catch in the same motion. Not as easy and she nearly missed but it was impressive. "Sixteen or less. You really want to waste it all?" The rogue must have agreed with her. Bellatrix's shots ceased firing. Kalliope continued to watch the trees where she knew the shots came from. "Is it really worth all of this? Zachariah's dead. He gains nothing from your vengeance." Silence. Only the rippling leaves around them added to the ambiance. Erebus stood beside her and left a few feet of space between to give her room to fight. In the time it took to hear shots, ditch the tiny pokemon somewhere safe, and sprint to Kali's side, and bare his teeth, he'd missed the first six shots. Eerie's menace rose, frustration at the lack of enemy to attack coupled with his inability to protect his handler. He Snarled loudly, putting the anger into the sound and hearing it echo in the open space in a way it shouldn't have. Kazimir flinched.

"Useless mutt! You're interfering, I can't hear or see anything with all your noise." The ralts growled, sheer nonsense to Kali's ears. Though probably annoying and harmless so long as Kazimir connected them with Telepathy, the dark move did in fact make his psychic abilities weaken. Stupid dog and his emitting dark auras. Kazimir concentrated again, eyes closed to open completely to his sixth sense. "You have caused enough harm already. Your friends, the people who consider you family - which is the entire town, by the way. Not a soul did I find that didn't cherish your name." She didn't add that they begged her not to kill Bellatrix. Somehow she figured that would only backfire. Not that talking helped much at all. She stared deep into the foliage, trying to pinpoint some movement or other. Kazimir concentrated with all his ability, marred a bit by Erebus' presence. Suddenly, at the same second the snap of a crossbow string split the air, Kazimir shouted into Kali's mind. Kali reacted without thinking.

The bolt hit the ground harmlessly, the tip smashed from meeting the buckler headfirst and bouncing off the steel center. The second bolt had been wide, missing her entirely. Air rushed through her lungs, flaring her nostrils. Damp curls spattered her face in russet hues. Kalliope held her blade aloft in both hands, eyes narrowed. She was facing the opposite direction of the first shots. Bellatrix had been aiming for her back. "Cowardice!" Kalliope shouted, hefting her blade. "Not only do you refuse to meet me blade for blade, you cower like a baby ambipom in the trees. Are you so terrified of me, Bellatrix? You, who've taken so many lives already? You who've tormented your people for far too long? Face me like a real warrior or scuttle back to your bolt hole." She spat on the dry dirt, mind flashing to the guardian only days before spitting on the ground and infuriating Kali to the point of retaliation. She wondered if it would insult Bellatrix as well. "Are you frightened, Bellatrix? I'll be happy to arrest you without hurting you if you're afraid. I promise - and my word is honor bound, unlike yours."

She meant her words. If Bellatrix chose to offer herself up instead of fight, Kali would turn her in without harming a hair on her head. Of course, Kali was almost certain Bellatrix would do no such thing. If the taunt worked, Kali might lure Bellatrix from her hiding place. If not, at least she gave it a shot. Two more bolts flew from the trees and Kalliope was forced to dodge one to deflect the other. While one buried itself into her shield, the other caught the meat of her right arm and lef a three inch cut in its wake. Kali barely heard the thunk of the bolt burying itself in the ground. "Fourteen." Kali didn't really know how many the girl had. She might even carry two quivers to hold enough for two crossbows. Kali merely proved her point. None would hit their mark, not the way Bellatrix wanted her two, not so long as she had her shield.

Bellatrix would give up soon, at least on that tactic, or use up all her bolts first. Either way, Kali was ready for her.

Or thought she was. Rather than the snick of a crossbow, she heard instead the sharp pop of something more dire. Air particles flared to life and a beautiful, perfect bolt of lighting struck out from the trees, singing the foliage around the magnemite. In a single instant the entire network of electricity split from one side to the other like a tree trunk bursting into its summer branches in one instant, expanding and then contracting into a single bolt twice the size of her fists in width. Perhaps more. Kalliope inhaled in shock, shield raised uselessly on instinct. That one attack could paralyze or kill her - or injure one of her pokemon. She had anticipated a battle but not--not this soon. Not with her still in the trees. Kalliope had miscalculated and someone would suffer because of it. Kalliope's heart leaped in her chest. But the long, painful moment passed. White heat arced around her and behind, as if drawn away. The entire punch of electricity barreled into Kazimir. Kalliope turned in time to shout and hold out her hands--

Uselessly. Kazimir absorbed the attack with no more than a lick of his lips and a smile. Kalliope stared. In the moments where both she and the hidden attackers stared in surprise, Kazimir commanded the attention of the plusle and minun who cowered in fear behind a tree further along the banks. They wanted to crowd Kalliope for protection but she was too far away. The little pokemon were terrified as all get out. You two! Whimpering and tears. Plusle! Minun! He shouted in their minds. They cowered some more and began to tremble. They held on to one another with all their might. Kazimir sighed in irritation and focused, trying to send what Kalliope usually sent him. Calming gestures.

His were pretty rough around the edges, more static than soothing, but it caught the pokemon's attention.

Kalliope had set aside her surprise long enough to sheathe her blade and whip out her bow. Knocking an arrow, she aimed at the now clear path to Bellatrix's hiding place. She shot two arrows in quick succession, the first slamming right into the trunk of the tree Bellatrix had just occupied. The second followed her path to the right, though it missed as Bellatrix climbed upward instead of outward. Kalliope fired a third higher up in the direction of the shaking leaves but gleaned no hits. She switched back to her shield before Bellatrix could attack again. Without an exact location, her arrows did nothing. But that trick of Kazimir's had opened Bellatrix up her vulnerability. She couldn't use an electric attack--not only that, but if she did use any attack it would give Kalliope her exact location. Kalliope thanked the stars this woman had little experience in actual pokemon battles. Bellatrix preferred the angled approach; assassination, shooting unsuspecting victims in the back.

Arson.

Meanwhile, Kazimir had coaxed the trembling pokemon into at least listening to him instead of sobbing. Aim at me. He sensed their confusion and resisted the urge to growl. What had Kalliope reminded him so many times in the past few days? They were children. Babies. They were easily scared and wouldn't understand big things. Charge up an electric attack, each of you, and shoot it at me. Okay? Both pokemon seemed confused. They saw in pictures rather than words, sounds or sweet lullabies or static music instead of proper diction. They sent back a jumble of pain, misunderstanding, and Plusle's ability to suck up electricity. Kazimir rolled his eyes and tried again. I know that. But I can do the same thing as Plusle. If you both gather your energy and hit me at the same time, Plusle's attack will guide Minun's to me and my borrowed Ability will absorb it. Both pokemon still felt confused. Kazimir grunted and urged them anyway.

Kalliope had her eyes on the trees. At this point Bellatrix could be anywhere. Kalliope couldn't figure out how she'd gotten from one side of the trees to the other without getting caught. And then it hit her. The ropes! Kalliope remembered the groove marks in the tavern roof, the matching grooves on the inn's roof and how easily Bellatrix disappeared the first time. She'd been using her ariados ropes. Kali didn't know how she managed to latch them to anything and move them so easily but it must have been possible. Kali looked straight up. Nothing. The trouble with the ariados silk? Invisible to the naked eye from so far away. Unless Bellatrix walked into the open, there was no chance of catching her in the act. She had to be somewhere in the trees downriver. There was no way Bellatrix could move that fast, not with Kalliope watching. Suddenly two more bolts of lightning split the skies. Kali whirled in the direction of plusle and minun, their paws entwined as they shot at Kazimir, who took the twin thunder bolts without so much as a twitch.

Kalliope's connection to him swelled for a second. He felt--stronger. Pleased. Kalliope remembered glancing at the twin pokemon's pokecard entries. One of them had Lightning Rod. Details clicked together. Clever, Kaz. Very clever. She grinned. They might not have the advantage yet but Kalliope was certain she'd manage it somehow. Their battle was drawing near. Kalliope nudged Kazimir mind to mind and he agreed. The air lit with faint, glittering sparks. A sheen of what seemed like partially opaque air encircled them. Kalliope nodded. This was good. This was exactly what they needed. Now, to bring the battle to the ground.


http://files.jcink.net/uploads/harperregion/sprites/280ralts.png
-Traced Lightning Rod from Plusle
-Absorbed Magnemite's Thunder, +1 sp atk
-Encouraged Plusle and Minun's twin Thunder Bolt attack, +2 sp atk
-Used Light Screen
-Used Reflect
+5 sp atk

http://files.jcink.net/uploads/harperregion/sprites/228houndour.png
-used Snarl

http://files.jcink.net/uploads/harperregion/sprites/81magnemite.png
-used Thunder, failed
-Took the secondary effect of Snarl but lost no health points
-1 sp atk

Kalliope
-Bleeding lightly from right upper arm
-Sore and leaking on her right shoulder wound

http://files.jcink.net/uploads/harperregion/sprites/311plusle.png & http://files.jcink.net/uploads/harperregion/sprites/312minun.png
-Used Lightning Bolt in tandem
-Hiding nearby behind a tree, terrified

--------------------
Namid and his Travels
PCR

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


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Kaia
 Posted: Jun 16 2017, 09:11 PM
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Top Handler
*****
Background Mods
Total Posts: 344
Member No. 2161
Joined on 29-December 15.


Characters:
Kalliope Tamsin, Namid Waagosh'Giizis

Awards: 3




They were up there somewhere. Kalliope kept her head level but her eyes on the sky. All they had to do was move into the open a little bit and Kali had them. There wasn't enough cover in this vast empty road and what few trees Bellatrix could utilize, they were only useful if they didn't get caught. "Nice try. We haven't begun to battle and already I'm outsmarting you." Actually that had been Kazimir but she was trying to keep the attention off him so he could do what he did best. "How long do you think it will take for me to arrest you? There's no chance you're going to escape from here, Bellatrix." It wasn't the best tactic from a strategist's standpoint--unless the strategist liked reckless endeavors. If Bellatrix tried to escape, she'd do so on her ropes more likely than not. Kali could catch her in the act. Or maybe Bellatrix would move while she thought Kali was occupied.

The only trouble lay in her missing their escape in her attempt to draw the woman out.

Unfortunately that's exactly what happened. She'd put everything on the line hoping to catch Bellatrix in the sky and didn't consider how easily the woman might use deflection. She chose a thin limb high on the tree and hopped onto it, then climbed lower to move to a different part of the tree. But Kalliope's eyes were on the shaking limb, sure she saw Bellatrix in the trees. It was Kazimir who caught on. Bellatrix continued to lead Kali along with slight rustles here, a twitch of a branch there, while her magnemite climbed into the sky from afar and flew above them. Kazimir spotted the pokemon immediately and waited until it was directly above them, more in range for his abilities. With glee Kazimir used Psychic, slamming the magnemite from the sky into the dirt below. It bounced hard, a grating sound as rocks scraped its metal body. Kazimir snickered. He reached out to repeat the process and the magnemite, trembling with effort, rolled over. Sound built up and boomed, cutting the dead air around it with razor precision. Kazimir, caught off guard, took the full hit. He flew backward and tumbled to the ground, bouncing a few times before he rolled to a stop. Kalliope sucked in a breath an whispered his name but Bellatrix was back and shooting. Except not at Kalliope.

At Kazimir. She tried to reach him but he was so far away. Bellatrix had incredible aim, it would be nearly impossible to miss. At the same moment Bellatrix had begun to aim, however, Erebus took his chance. As long as all the enemies hid in the trees he had no chance of doing any good. With Magnemite on the ground, however, he wasted no time. Eerie leaped across the ground with vicious eagerness, a blood lust for battle. His muzzle began to smoke and as he opened his jaws, flame spilled out all around his mouth. But his fangs most of all. He buried his teeth in Magnemite's side even as it raised itself for another attack on the prone ralts. It should have known better than to lose focus during a dual battle.

Of course, Eerie didn't know anything about battle either. He was more the bite and snarl type. He did what he did best. Erebus bit down on the magnemite, flame engulfing the metallic creature in single, white-hot fury. It screamed in pain, twisted feebly to escape. Erebus shook its small body like a particularly amusing bone and then tossed it away. The Magnemite bounced a few times, rolled to a stop on its back--and fainted. Kazimir's heightened special attack coupled with Eerie's own heightened attack powers, both getting a direct hit, knocked it out cold.

The bolt aimed for Kazimir missed by three feet as Bellatrix began to scream. It was a wordless cry of pain and fury. Before the Magnemite could settle into the dirt, red light whisked it away. Another flash behind the tree's base. A few seconds passed and Kalliope tried to pick up Kazimir. He flashed her an annoyed zap through her mind and told her to mind her own business. He was embarrassed to have been caught out. Too arrogant to think a dual type pokemon could use anything beyond electricity. He'd thought himself infallible and paid the price. Forget it! Get the girl already. He jolted her out of his mind with a shove and she whirled, trying to catch her balance.

Worried but understanding his weakness to pride, Kalliope turned her back on him to protect him from the enemy. Let him recoup on his own. By now Bellatrix had enough time to regroup. Kalliope would have cursed the missed opportunity but nothing mattered as much as the safety of her pokemon. She didn't regret her choice--besides, she suffered the same prideful arrogance. She never for a second thought she could lose. "You dare!" Bellatrix's voice boomed around them, filling the space with its vibrations. "First you interfere, then you wreak havoc in my home. Now you attack my pokemon. For these, you will suffer and die!"

Bellatrix's voice surrounded them, and if it weren't for the lack of cover in their chosen battle ground, Kalliope wouldn't know where it came from. But Bellatrix was somewhere near the small copse of trees fifteen yards or so away. It was still beside the river and Kalliope was close enough to the ruined bridge to beat Bellatrix to it. But Bellatrix didn't want the trinkets right then. No, she wanted vengeance. Kazimir had the twin pokemons' attentions once more, pressuring them. But they were frightened by the loud, angry voice. He had to try to calm them yet again - not his strongest skill.

"What other choice have you given me? Had you surrendered, your pokemon would be fine." Kalliope pointed out. Not that criminals often turned themselves in. "We can still stop this, Bellatrix. Surrender and you'll be safe. You and your pokemon." Instead of reassurance or relief, this triggered Bellatrix's rage. The insinuation of a threat heard in Kalliope's words sent her off the edge. She screamed bloody murder and whipped around the tree she'd hidden behind with lightning feet. Her voice, still reverberating, caught Kalliope off guard. In both hands Bellatrix carried her crossbows. The second she saw Kalliope she fired, both aiming for Kalliope's face and throat. Kali managed to catch one on her buckler but the other cut along her cheek, glancing off the bone. Blood trickled down her neck and chin as she began to run. Bellatrix dropped one crossbow and loaded the other with her hand, where she'd palmed the spare bolt.

She aimed and fired. It was a lot harder to deflect them while running. Kalliope had to stop and try to catch it, which took more energy than she had to spare. Bellatrix wasn't running. She was stalking angrily toward Kalliope which meant she had enough time to load a fourth bolt and fire before Kalliope was in range. Kalliope couldn't dodge this one, they were too close. She raised her right arm and caught it on the bone of her elbow. It bit half an inch deep and burned. Kali bit her tongue until she tasted blood, forcing her mind off the pain. Luckily adrenaline still raced through her, aiding in the numbing effect. She sprinted the last ten feet and lifted her sword, slamming it down hard on the bridge of the crossbow.

The string snapped with a pop and the wood chipped where she cut into it. But Bellatrix was ready. She used the bolt she would have loaded, tip sharp and serrated, and stabbed upward toward Kalliope's rib cage. Kali had to throw herself away, dropping to one knee when her balance failed. She gave Bellatrix an opening the crazed woman couldn't refuse. Both hands on the bolt's rod, she drove it down toward Kali's head. Unfortunately she fought a skilled swordsman and future Guardian of the region with nothing but a crossbow bolt. Kalliope cut it off two inches from Bellatrix's fingers and shoved the round spherical point of her buckler forward into Bellatrix's solar plexus.

Bellatrix choked as air rushed from her lungs and clutched her stomach, the broken bolt still in her fingers. Out of the trees dropped a tangela screaming her little lungs out, right on top of Kalliope's head. Kali dropped one arm, weighed down by the buckler, and swiped upward at the creature's head. It tangled in her hair and screeched, slapping at her face angrily. Erebus bounded into the scene with his jaw open wide. Black, rippling power sluiced off of him, gathered into a single point and shot off. It smacked the tangela a little higher than he'd anticipated, glancing off her...well head. Ish? Somewhere just above the hollow space to give her eyes a way to see beyond purple masses of vines. It shrieked and leaped off Kalliope's head, tearing strands of red as it did. It ran out of reach and whirled around, facing Eerie with menace. Erebus lowered his forelegs and growled.

Behind Eerie, the Loudred pounded its chest. It stomped toward Erebus with fury in its eyes. Behind Kalliope another shock of lightning went off, zapping the air with a tangy, coppery flavor. Before the first sound completed its echoing path outward, a second bolt ripped into the air. Kalliope didn't turn to look at Kazimir--her attention remained on Bellatrix, who was getting to her feet. She hacked and coughed, spitting up black tinged phlegm. Looks like Kali wasn't the only one to suffer from the smoke. Bellatrix rose the rest of the way and bent her knees, both hands out. Her crossbow was useless. A bolt stuck in each of her hands, outward and up in offense. This would be an interesting debacle. Kalliope held her shield close to her torso, cursing the throbbing pain of her shoulder. Her left hand kept the blade tip up and out, equally as prepared as Bellatrix if not as crazed. She had a thought.

"Kaz. Get the firepower." She didn't mind saying this out loud. Bellatrix wouldn't understand and she might waste a few seconds trying to figure it out. Kali sensed his supreme annoyance at the request but kept pushing until he agreed. With the barest twitch of his natural powers, he prodded the pokeball on her hip. Red light flashed and Ismene burst into the world with a whoosh of flame. She shrieked her tiny, bell-like voice higher into the air as flames shot from her mouth and aimed everywhere she could reach. The grass beside the road caught fire, as did the crossbow abandoned on the ground. She rolled her tiny body forward toward the 'enemy', not that Ismene had any damn clue what was going on in Kaz's opinion, and blasted her flames in the direction of the only pokemon it would hurt most. The tangela.



http://files.jcink.net/uploads/harperregion/sprites/280ralts.png
-Used Psychic on Magnemite
-Hit with Sonic Boom, health 34%
-Hit with twin lightning bolts, one after the other. +50% health
-Hit with Astonish, rolled for flinch: failed to inflict flinch
-Used Psychic a second time
-Health 38%

http://files.jcink.net/uploads/harperregion/sprites/228houndour.png
-used Fire Fang
-used Dark Pulse
-Health 100%

http://files.jcink.net/uploads/harperregion/sprites/174igglybuff.png
-Entered the fray
-Immediately used Flamethrower on everything in sight, aiming for the Tangela
-Friend Guard deflates damage for allies by 25%

http://files.jcink.net/uploads/harperregion/sprites/81magnemite.png
-Hit with Psychic, 50% health
-Used Sonic Boom
-Hit with Fire Fang
-KO'ed

http://files.jcink.net/uploads/harperregion/sprites/294loudred.png
-Used Echoed Voice to enhance his handler's voice
-Used Astonish
-Hit with Psychic, -50% health
-Hit with Dark Pulse, -28% health
-Health 22%

http://files.jcink.net/uploads/harperregion/sprites/114tangela.png
-Fresh to the battle, 100% health

--------------------
Namid and his Travels
PCR

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


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Kaia
 Posted: Jun 21 2017, 09:43 PM
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Top Handler
*****
Background Mods
Total Posts: 344
Member No. 2161
Joined on 29-December 15.


Characters:
Kalliope Tamsin, Namid Waagosh'Giizis

Awards: 3




Ismene was the crazy feather to tip the scale. Her tiny body rolled into and around the fight, scorching the ground between Kalliope and Bellatrix. Once she was out of range however the two ignored her. Kali knew better than to order Ismene around - she wasn't yet bonded enough with Kali at the best of times much less mid battle - and Bellatrix wasn't a strong enough battler to order around her pokemon as well as fight Kalliope. They had to let their pokemon wage their own battles for the moment. Kalliope struck first, leaping forward into a deep lunge with her blade tip seeking Bellatrix's side.

The pokemon battle was not yet complete, however. Kazimir stuck behind Kalliope as he contemplated the situation, watching Ismene roll around like a demon fuzz ball. He rolled his eyes and focused on the tangela which looked to be gathering its power. Kaz knew he had little time left. He was weak, his body ached everywhere. Despite Tracing the minun's healing power, the electricity coursed through his body and left him strangely tingling. If he survived the next round of attacks, he'd be shocked. So he did something clever - and a little bit desperate. Gathering power, Kazimir released one final move. Static zapped the air but lacking electricity made no sound nor light for anyone to see. He awaited this last battle as it unfolded.

Beyond Kaz and the fighting humans, Ismene rolled toward the tangela, singeing the ground beneath her as she did so. Erebus, faster than she was by far, managed to leap over her and bound toward the tangela who was indeed doing something drastic. He latched onto her ever twitching tentacles and bit down hard, flames engulfing his teeth. He was fire, she was grass. He knew she had a weakness toward him. And yet...why was it the tangela only spat in irritation and whipped him off of her face with twitching vines? He growled and latched on, confused. In rolled Ismene, who slathered them both in flames. The tangela escaped most of the attack, using Eerie as a shield. He let go of the grass type to snap in Ismene's direction as she singed his backside. Lucky for him the fire did nothing whatsoever.

Or did it? The flames still clinging to his teeth flashed and swelled. Heat within his belly burned hotter. Oh, yes! His natural abilities added power to his own fire type moves when someone attacked him with flame! Ismene hadn't intended this tactic but he took an advantage where he could find it. Of course, before he could latch onto the tangela again something loud roiled through the air. The loudred, all but forgotten in this new pokemon's arrival, stomped his way over pounding his chest. His circular ears vibrated with sound, taking in his shouting and expanding it. The sound built up and blasted into everything within range - including the humans. For the moment though his intent was on Erebus. Ismene took a hit as well, smacked like a ball by an invisible bat. Her squishy body caved inward around the attack and she bounced away. Crying in pain, she rolled to a stop and held her overlarge head.

Erebus hit the ground and gasped. The attack would only gain in power but he felt like he'd taken a smack down from a rhydon. How could sound do something this...this...immense? He lay on the ground heaving, trying to gather his strength. The loudred stomped closer, preparing another Uproar. Ismene had quit crying like a child when the pain dulled a little, reminding her that she was mad! Some weird purple thingy attacked her precious, pretty little body and abused her poor poor ears! Only beautiful lullabies and sweet songs should enter her precious ear holes. Rage blossomed inside her and filled her tiny belly. She channeled a move she'd known from the egg--heal pulse. The pulse radiated all through her body and healed the aches and pains. The supreme discomfort in her lower stomach where she'd been hit softened to a faint ebb.

Rising to her nubby feet and filled with anger, Ismene tipped over and rolled as fast as her light, spherical body could roll. Before Loudred could begin another attack - these things took time, of course - she barreled into him with both fists raised high. One hit Loudred directly in the mouth - the other nowhere near him and nowhere near as powerful - and Ismene kept on rolling as she went, using that momentum to really ram the stupid purply thingy for hurting her! Eerie hadn't seen Ismene until she rolled onto the scene but she gave him just enough of a distraction for him to gather himself and rush headlong into another attack. The loudred was all but defeated by this point, having been dropped nearly to fainting, but Erebus didn't hold back.

He drove his flaming teeth into the creature's large, rotund purple belly and dug in deep. It screeched as pain radiated through him. This last attack was too much for him. Loudred fainted with a heavy thud to the ground, yanking Eerie to the ground with him. Erebus shook himself and stood, head spinning. He was nearly down for the count as well. He whipped toward the tangela, suddenly afraid it would take him down at the last second just like the loudred nearly did scant moments before. But...what? Erebus padded over to the tangled creature on the ground and sniffed it. He reeled back, waiting for an attack. Nothing. He nosed it again. It moved but without life or energy. Fainted?

Erebus dropped his head low, stub tail twitching. How? He cast his eyes out for--the psychic! Erebus sprinted to Kazimir on the ground. Kaz didn't move, barely breathed. Nothing Erebus did had any effect. He huffed and stared, worried. What happened? While he and Ismene had attacked the tangela and loudred respectively, Kazimir knew he didn't have much else in him. So he enacted Destiny Bond, connecting himself to the tangela. He knew if something happened, the least he could do was take down the strongest pokemon as he did. Then he focused on the human battle. The wildling igglybuff and reckless dog would either get themselves killed or by some miracle scrape by in the fight. Kazimir wanted to help Kalliope whom he knew was injured and wouldn't want to admit defeat easily.

The humans battled after the igglybuff rolled on by. Kalliope had the advantage in close combat but Bellatrix was wily. She hefted the shield and aimed for Bellatrix's left hand to smack the bolt from her fingers. They might still do damage so long as Bellatrix could swing them. It worked--Kali knocked the bolt from the woman's loose grip. But Bellatrix reversed her grip on the other bolt and buried it in Kali's hip. She yelped and stumbled back, whipping her sword between them to gain a little space. The bolt stuck in her skin, mostly caught in her armor, but she felt the tip burying into her. She gripped the handle with her shield hand and yanked, drawing blood.

It was enough of an opening for Bellatrix to leap in and slash at her with daggers, concealed somewhere on her person. Bellatrix looked maddened. Red rimmed eyes, hair a wreck, her clothes ripped in places from the trees and from her battles with Kalliope. She was desperate and ready to kill. Kazimir gathered all the strength he had left and rammed her with it, forcing her back five feet to tumble to the ground. Her sneak attack might have killed Kalliope. Kazimir managed to save her at the last moment--but at a cost. Instead of fighting or stopping the Loudred's Uproar, Kazimir found himself trapped within it. Already weak, the attack crushed his spirit completely and he fainted. He hit the ground with a plop and lay in the dirt, breathing shallowly.

Kalliope felt their connection cut off like a bolt of lightning struck her. She touched her heart as she turned and saw him on the ground. But she couldn't stop to protect him. If Bellatrix beat her or killed her, the woman could sell Kazimir to the highest bidder. Or whatever else she did with those pokemon she stole. Kalliope couldn't bear that. While she wanted to rush to his side and protect him, there was nothing she could do but fight to beat Bellatrix once and for all. While she fought Bellatrix, Erebus found him in the dirt. He whined under his breath and nudged Kazimir again. He never liked the stupid psychic, not one bit. But the telepathy had given them a slight connection and it bothered him to not have noticed Kazimir faint.

It had to do with his natural dark typing and the fact that he'd been in excruciating pain at the same time but it bothered him. Erebus hadn't had Kazimir's back at all. Not really. Even when he'd saved Kaz earlier it had been incidental, the glory of battle being more in his interest. Erebus sat beside him like a guard dog and faced the humans fighting. At the very least, nothing else would happen. "You! Igglybuff!" He barked angrily. "Stop causing a ruckus and get over here! We won the battle. Give our handler some time to win hers and stop being a distraction!"

While the pokemon dealt with their own, the battle raged on. Bellatrix had been knocked to the ground by telekinesis but she was up and fighting before Kalliope could take advantage. Part of her lost advantage stemmed from her concern over Kazimir's condition. But she fought on. She rushed Bellatrix while the woman got off the ground but too slowly. Kalliope's blade drove downward toward the woman's head. Rather than kill her, Kalliope hoped to catch Bellatrix in a defensive position. It worked. Bellatrix thrust both blades up into the air crossed at the hilt to catch Kali's attack. Kali in turn pushed down hard, using her full body weight and height to drive Bellatrix toward the ground. When Bellatrix put her own strength into the battle, hefting her weight to her knees and trying to lunge upward and knock Kali off, Kali pulled back. Her sword hung in the air parallel to the ground, motionless. Bellatrix's arms thrust up wildly, exposing herself.

Kalliope took the chance and swung her foot as hard as she could. With added momentum of swinging her foot back first and twisting on her other heel to gain more power, Kali bashed the toe of her boot into Bellatrix's chin. A crack of teeth against teeth, the hiss of a surprised exclamation, and Bellatrix tumbled backward. She hit the ground with a whump, splayed out with her feet caught under her pelvis. She looked like a marionette whose strings were cut and left to bleach in the sun. Kalliope dried her forehead with the sleeve of her shirt and held the blade across her body. She approached the woman slowly. When she stood over the woman she dropped, knee landing on Bellatrix's solar plexus. Bellatrix, gasping and reeling with sudden lack of oxygen, sat up swinging. Kalliope hadn't known she'd been faking falling unconscious until the woman flailed and fought like a cornered persian.

Kalliope pinned the woman with her own body weight, trapping Bellatrix's legs under both their bodies. A stray fist slammed Kali's face, hitting her cheek right at the prominent bone. Kali reeled, fingers tight on her sword. That alone saved her from losing her weapon to Bellatrix's wrenching grip. Kali bore down on the woman, using an angled position and the leverage of being on top to press the sword's blade slowly downward. When it kissed Bellatrix's throat and drew a thin line of blood, Kalliope held it there. With all her weight on the blade and Bellatrix's inability to move her upper body too fiercely without cutting her own throat, the fight was won. "Put your hands above your head and hold them there." Kali warned. Bellatrix spit in her face. Disgusted but unmoved, Kali dug her knee into Bellatrix's stomach. Bellatrix lurched, pushing harder against the blade at her neck. Kali only barely lifted the sword so instead of cutting an artery, the wound merely grew half a centimeter deeper and stained her neck and shirt.

"Your pokemon have all fallen. You're bleeding, without a weapon and under my blade. Fight and I'll be forced to kill you." Kalliope spoke carefully. There would be no miscommunication. She wasn't lying so much as bluffing a little. With Bellatrix all but bound, Kalliope could never kill her. Not in cold blood, not like this. Kali never wanted to kill Bellatrix. That she might was merely doing her duty to protect the town and bring a murderer to justice was the only reason Kali ever would have used deadly force. But now? The woman fought for her life. Kali couldn't hurt Bellatrix for trying to defend herself. It wasn't her way. Bellatrix glared hatefully up at her with red, bloodshot eyes. Kali's kick must have done more than she'd thought. Hatefully, reluctantly, Bellatrix lifted her hands upward. As soon as they stretched to their fullest extent, Kalliope tossed her blade out of reach of both of them, straining her shoulder once again. She bit her lip and resisted the urge to swear.

Suddenly Bellatrix writhed underneath her. Both hands flew up and downward, steel glinting in the gray, stormy light. Kalliope rolled off of Bellatrix and kicked, aiming for Bellatrix's wrists. She missed--sort of. She hit the blade itself, which didn't wrench from Bellatrix's hands at all with that tight grip. Bellatrix screamed wildly and swung downward, aiming at Kalliope's face. Right when Kalliope thought she had the upperhand. Kali gritted her teeth. It wasn't over yet.



http://files.jcink.net/uploads/harperregion/sprites/280ralts.png
-Used Destiny Bond on Tangela
-Used telekinesis on Bellatrix
-Hit by Uproar, fainted

http://files.jcink.net/uploads/harperregion/sprites/228houndour.png
-Fire fang used against Loudred
-Hit by Uproar
-Health 50%

http://files.jcink.net/uploads/harperregion/sprites/174igglybuff.png
-Hit by Uproar
-Used Heal Pulse on self
-Used Mega Punch on Loudred
-Used Heal Pulse on Kazimir
-Health 75%

http://files.jcink.net/uploads/harperregion/sprites/114tangela.png
-Hit by Fire Fang
-Taken down with Kazimir via Destiny Bond

http://files.jcink.net/uploads/harperregion/sprites/294loudred.png
-Used Uproar
-Fainted

Kalliope
-Injured shoulder, patched up but bleeding
-Right elbow bleeding from being shot
-Cheek bleeding from being grazed by a bolt, scabbing over
-Right hip bleeding profusely from being shot


Bellatrix
-Desperate
-Neck bleeding

--------------------
Namid and his Travels
PCR

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Kalliope and her travels
Incredible sprite by Mackay!


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Kaia
 Posted: Jun 23 2017, 03:33 PM
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Kalliope had to win. The idea of losing never occurred to her. Neither did she feel frightened. Unarmed with a crazed woman and nowhere to find safety, Kalliope should have had some sort of life preserving fear coursing through her system. Instead adrenaline drew her blood and distilled it screaming in her veins. A roar of drums beat in her ears drowning out Bellatrix's screech. Bellatrix hurled herself at Kalliope, swift over grace, and thrust the blade downward in both hands. Kalliope lifted her right arm. The attack bore down on her buckler, taking the force and displacing the power across the whole of the fighting type shield and vanishing.

Kalliope thrust the buckler outward and popped Bellatrix in the face. Bellatrix stumbled back, dazed. With effort, Kalliope got to her feet. Her hip burned and her leg didn't hold her weight or move with the same effortless skill it normally would. Her ribs trembled from strain but held--if they'd been broken in the first place they might still cause her trouble. As it was they constricted her breathing a little but held. Kalliope took one step forward and swung her buckler with both hands. This time she hit Bellatrix's temple. Bellatrix's head snapped to the right and she tried to step backward out of reach. Her legs gave out beneath her and he dropped like a stone. This time when she hit the ground she didn't get back up. The dagger hung from two fingers, caught in the dirt. Kalliope heaved. Before Bellatrix could get up again - hopefully she didn't have the energy but there was no way of being certain - Kali stumbled to the place she'd hidden Bellatrix's spare ariados rope.

In her hands it looked thicker than expected, just shy of one finger's width. Hard to believe anyone might miss it. But she knew the further the distance the harder it would be to spot. Pale, almost translucent, the silk was deceptively invisible. Kali carried it over to Bellatrix and turned the woman over onto her stomach. She took both hands and tied them with twisting, overlapping hoops. It was temporary while she sat on the woman's legs and dug through her pockets. No pokeballs. Odd. Kali tied Bellatrix's wrists tighter and slid off her to tie her ankles and knees together, leaving enough rope between both ties to allow her a little movement without bowing her backward. Carrying her back to town wouldn't be easy. Kali searched her thoroughly and found another blade in one boot, the length of one finger and half as wide. If she'd gotten a hold of that she might have cut right under Kali's armor and killed her.

Kali didn't think on it. She threw the weapon to the side and finished her search. Still no pokeballs. Kalliope frowned. Two of the woman's pokemon lay in the dirt, fainted. But there were no balls. Yet she remembered a flash of red. Kali eyed the trees. Arceus above, this was going to be a pain in the backside. Kali closed her eyes and breathed. She called to the abra from before, the one who took her requisitioned items. Excuse me, I have more to give you. After confirming the abra would be safe, Kalliope opened her eyes to see the abra floating next to her, serene as if it slept deeply. "Thank you for returning. Take these to James as well, if you please." The abra was silent. Kali sensed...nothing. Strange. She was so used to Kazimir screaming in her head that a silent psychic confused her.

We are not all reckless, rash individuals. The abra admonished. It had an almost motherly voice in her head--but Kali knew the voices they used in one's head could distort. Patience, understanding and wisdom are all virtues your...Kazimir quite notably lacks. Kalliope flinched. She rolled her jaw from side to side and breathed. "Kindly take that back. Kazimir is young. He's going to learn. Just because he isn't what you believe a psychic should represent doesn't make him any less than you are." Refraining from responding defensively was as easy for Kalliope as it was for the moon to rotate backwards and turn back time. Kazimir was her dearest companion and she would not tolerate disrespect. Her one hundred percent open, exuding emotions tumbled over the abra quite clearly and loudly - no doubt thanks to her only psychic teacher, Kazimir.

The abra sniffed derisively and took the items. She popped out of existence without another word. Kalliope cursed under her breath and got up to scour the trees. Kalliope couldn't stand anyone talking smack about Kazimir, even if the abra might have been on the right track. He'd learn. He would grow! He wasn't some useless, dangerous creature. He was--he was Kazimir. Strong, clever, a bit rash yes but devoted. He hid his compassion with derision but she knew he cared. She knew. There was so much more to Kazimir than his attitude and outward appearance. Kalliope stripped off her armor and set it next to Erebus and Kazimir, who was being cared for by Ismene. She couldn't heal him completely with heal pulse but she could help ease his pain. Kali nodded to Bellatrix. "I'm sorry to ask this of you Eerie. Can you guard her to make sure she doesn't go anywhere? She's dangerous but I can't leave her pokemon here like this. I also can't carry them myself." She murmured, rueful.

Carrying Bellatrix would be painful enough. Kali probably shouldn't have snapped at the abra until after she asked if the psychic could transport them all back. Oh, well. Too late now. She left her heavy armor, weapons and buckler next to igglybuff and Kazimir, leaving her in nothing but light trousers and a tight, airy tunic. The lighter she was the easier this would be. Kali ignored the red stain around her shoulder wound. So long as it didn't keep seeping red she'd probably be fine. Climbing the tree hurt more than Kali might ever admit. Her bloody hip throbbed with pain, as did her shoulder and elbow. Without adrenaline to rush through her, everything hurt. Even her hands stung with blisters and the rough bark bit into them mercilessly. She breathed hard as she climbed higher. Luckily she didn't have to search long. There were few places to hide pokeballs that wouldn't fall out with a brush of wind. Only the main base of the trunk and a higher break of four branches that turned into a little alcove. She found them in the latter.

Technically Kali found them in a heavy, worn cloak with a few other tidbits. Apparently Kali's hoard hadn't been all of the dangerous items. Along with three pokeballs - of which she returned the remaining fainted pokemon to their balls - Kali found a whistle and something she'd never quite seen before. Dual clawed steel contraptions with welded, oblong steel hooks of some sort attached to one another. The claws looked--Kali examined them further. They didn't look man-made. Too thin and sharp, with no evidence of sharpening them. Kali frowned. These looked like sneasel or weavile claws. The metal pieces attached to them had divets and a little spring that bounced back and forth, like a hook that closed together. Attached to the other end of the metal hook was another ariados rope, this time with the loop in tact. It curled into a nice coil and came with a second set of those claw things. Kalliope frowned. This would explain how she got all over the place without being seen, not to mention the strange markings left behind.

Kalliope tucked them into the cloak along with the whistle and the pokeballs and climbed down. She replaced her armor and then put the cloak on herself - to make it easier to carry for one thing. The storm brewing above looked ready to break so she returned Kazimir and Ismene to their pokeballs and asked Erebus to lead them toward town for as long as he could handle the trek. He was still so weak. She dug in her pack and fed him a potion before they continued to give him as much strength as she could. As soon as they got to town she would get them all to a healer. For now she trekked through the forest taking as few stops as possible back to the village. The storm broke a mile from the village and Kali was forced to return Erebus back to his pokeball to protect him from the weather. She trudged with Bellatrix swung over her shoulder, alternating shoulders as one grew too sore to tolerate it.

She arrived in town drenched head to toe, shivering and aching in every place she could think of. If she hadn't spent most of her life learning to endure what she must to survive she might not have made it at all. But she made it just after night fall, stumbling into the Dozing Smeargle at the height of the dinner rush. It was unintentional to interrupt but she had nowhere else to go. Right inside the door she dropped Bellatrix as gently as she could - not very after carrying her so far - and the eating hall went silent. Then a woman screamed. Kalliope held her hands over her ears and winced. Villagers dropped everything they were doing and rushed over. Children were held back by mothers. A little girl with a doll began to cry and her brother held her resolutely against his shoulder.

Kalliope mustered the last of her strength and lifted her head. She stood on trembling legs, head high, shoulders back and screaming. She let the first wave of people yell at her and swarm. It was when one of them went to touch Bellatrix she pulled out her sword and held it before the woman. Kali couldn't really take a step without risking falling so she used the blade to push people back without touching them. "No one touch her. She isn't dead. I promised I'd do my best to restrain her without killing her and I've done so. I doubt she'll wear a single scar from our fight." Which unfortunately wasn't true in Kalliope's case. She met the eyes of the villagers, some in tears, some barely restraining themselves. "I won't hurt her. I won't hurt any of you so long as you don't attack me or interfere. I swear she'll be brought in to be tried for her crimes and nothing more. I bear no ill will toward her nor her actions beyond what she has done to hurt you."

Someone threw an orange at her. It hit her in the chest and bounced off, leaving a stinging pain behind. Kali didn't flinch though she wanted to. Like a pack of mightenya scenting first blood, the mob of humans converged. Someone threw an entire bowl of hot stew which hit Kalliope in the face, slopping meat juices and carrots down her front. Another pitched their ale at her, drenching her further. If she weren't already shivering from the cold outside, perhaps this would have bothered her more. But she was drained, exhausted, and she'd just finished carrying a grown woman two miles in the rain with bleeding wounds. She had no anger left to give, no forceful words to offer. "Go ahead if it makes you all feel better." She didn't let anyone get close to Bellatrix, wielding her sword with shaking hand. But from afar no one feared her attacking and so continued to hurl things at her.

By the time Larry forced his way to the forefront of the mob it wasn't only Kalliope who took the hit. Bellatrix was wet from the rain and from various liquids that splashed past Kali, and the door behind them was sloppy with foodstuffs as well. "What in Arceus' name are ye doing?" He shouted, stomping into the fray. A few people quieted but the mob continued to sway, ready to bite at the first exposed weakness. "Yer all cut off, and ye can leave--" Larry doubled over coughing, holding his sides. The smoke had affected him worst of all, as he refused to leave even when half the building burned. Somehow Kalliope found the strength to step in front of him and protect him. "Stop!"

She raised her free right hand and held it aloft. "Are you children to attack the odd one out during play? Are you foolish, thick headed villagers with only the drive of hurting others as your goal?" She didn't wait for a response, simply spoke over the rumbling of villagers. "You are the speakers of this village, the caretakers and the parents, the neighbors and loved ones. You take care of one another and protect those from harm. I get that. You are good people with big hearts." She tipped up her chin. "Stop acting like spoiled children before bed time. This woman is a murderer and a thief who has not only hurt all of you but attempted to burn down her father in law's beautiful inn. She killed a young girl and your previous mayor in cold blood. She has taken much from you. I know you care dearly about Bellatrix LaFrou.

"But enough is enough. You may speak with her, greet her, hug her if you wish. You may give her counsel and love and food. These are your rights. But if you obstruct the apprehension of a criminal one more time and assault a guardian of the region, I will be forced to take certain measures. Continue to throw your tantrums and I will remove this girl from the village and take her to an undisclosed location where none of you will ever see her again. I will make sure her punishment is somewhere you will not cause danger to her Guardians. Now if you will all sit down and take a breath."
Kalliope's voice broke, hoarse from smoke inhalation, lack of breath from walking all over the forest, fighting, not to mention her once injured ribs and her now injured hip and shoulder. But she kept going. "Everyone will take a seat." One man shuffled his feet and looked down. A rotund woman smacked her lips angrily. But no one moved. "Sit down. For Arceus' sake look what you've done to Larry. Hasn't he suffered enough, that you would cause a ruckus in his beloved inn and disturb what is already a difficult situation with your mobbing?"

Kalliope didn't point toward the innkeeper. She didn't have to. Every eye slid to the man on the ground, arms wrapped around his knees. Larry rocked, tears streaming from his eyes. He coughed every few breaths and buried his face in his knees. Kali had seen signs of breaking in him the day before when he went fugue state. Shock wasn't any easier an opponent. "If you cannot sit down and behave like civilized adults you may leave. I will be taking this woman to the healer. If anyone interferes, I will have you on house arrest. I cannot tolerate these bad attitudes over a girl who has everything yet to live for. You only make her situation worse." With that, Kalliope turned around to pick up Bellatrix once more, though she had intended to take the woman to her room and sleep like the dead while she awaited backup to arrive. She strained and swore, her whole body trembling with effort. Water gathered in her lashes but she ignored them, calling them rain.

When she turned, two cold, shivering pokemon revealed hugging one another and sniffling. They watched Kalliope struggle to lift the woman again and chittered angrily at the humans. Plusle shook its little fingers, big watery tears in its eyes, and minun yipped unhappily and waddled closer to Kalliope. She had tried to carry them earlier or offer them a pokeball but the pokemon wouldn't leave her side for anything. Not even when they got to town and could have rested in the church where the priest would have cared for them. They refused her offer to carry them when they saw her trembling and instead padded out the door behind her. When it closed, it closed on a sea of silent villagers, each a contemplative look on their face. One woman, a physician who worked with the elder healer of the village, bustled around getting her things paid for. She stomped to the door and glared over her shoulder.

"Methinks ye haven't seen the girl afore now. Not rightly. She bled and shook li' a leaf. Ye will kindly buzz off until morn. I see any o' ye afore then and I'll tan each o' yer hides. Y'hear?" With that she slammed the door angrily and stalked off in the rain, huddling her medicine bag amidst her skirts to keep it dry.

--------------------
Namid and his Travels
PCR

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Kalliope and her travels
Incredible sprite by Mackay!


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Kaia
 Posted: Jun 26 2017, 06:37 PM
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Kalliope struggled to carry Bellatrix in the rain. The singular road in town cut through the main square but even that was made entirely of dirt, trampled into some semblance of a route. Loose gravel rolled under Kalliope's feet. Rainfall had flooded the usually packed soil of the walkway into a sludge of muddy dangers. Kali stumbled, barely catching herself on one knee. Muck soaked into her breeches. Gritting her teeth, she got back on her feet. Without warning Bellatrix's weight cut in half. Kali flinched and took a tighter grip on the fugitive, heart racing. If Bellatrix woke up now it wouldn't be the most enjoyable situation to deal with.

Or worse. Kali spotted a dark swath in human shape behind her, gripping Bellatrix's shoulders under her arms. If the villagers decided to physically tear the girl from her arms and hide her away there was nothing Kali could do. A failed mission was a failed mission. Her stomach tightened and her fingers slid into Bellatrix's tunic to hold her down. "S'right heavy load yer bearing, ain't it?" A thickly accented voice, unfamiliar to Kali in the darkness. "S'pose I help ye." Kalliope narrowed her eyes, blinking through the watery fog of the rain.

"Dun get yer britches in a bunch dearie. I'm only here t'help." The woman, whoever she was, hefted Bellatrix's body with skill. She took the brunt of the weight, settling the girl in her arms. Kalliope hesitated. She didn't recognize this woman. How could she trust her? Her pokemon were too weak to fight, for that matter. If anything were to happen, she was screwed. The woman eyed her in the dark, her features hidden. "I swear on Arceus hisself, lass. Does tha' give ye more trust?" She strutted forward, apparently unbothered by the heavy load she bore. Kalliope was forced to follow or get left behind. Kali didn't trust this woman more for her vows--too many people weren't of the Arcean belief, who was to say her words weren't blasphemy? Kalliope herself wasn't much into the belief of the church. Respect wasn't the same as belief.

Still, Kalliope couldn't argue. The woman walked in the same direction as the healer's home, though Kalliope had been aiming toward his shop on the other side of the village. Kali frowned when the woman opened the front door of a modest, one story home and brought them into a living room. The interior was done in shades of pale yellows and silvers, with bare essentials in the front room. The woman carried Bellatrix past the main room, down a narrow hallway and into a room in the back. Understanding dawned. The woman set Bellatrix, still bound, onto a flat, steel table with metal hooks built along a few of the edges. Behind her rested a large, flat tarp built into a divider of sorts, one that would offer a partition if necessary. To the right a chest of implements and a wash bin. To the left, shelves upon shelves of jars with every kind of items imaginable. "You're a healer." Kalliope announced.

"Fraid not, luv. I'm only an apprentice." A single candle burned in a sconce against the wall, revealing the room in faint flickers. After placing Bellatrix on the table, the woman went around the room lighting other candles until there was plenty of light to see by. "Name's Jinny. I work wi' Master Phebus five days a week. It's luck I was out tonight at th' inn." She set to work on Bellatrix, unraveling the rope and piling it on a side table. Kali must have made a sound. Jinny turned to look at her, knowing look in her eye. "I'll tie 'er up soon enough, dear." She went over Bellatrix with care, examining a few bruises and lifting the girl's shirt to find the wound she'd sustained a few days ago. Kalliope turned to one side, eye on the doorway. She could see faint movements in her peripheral in case anything happened. Exhaustion wore on her, pulling at her eyelids and pressing against her temples with throbbing pains. She stood to prevent falling asleep sitting down, forcing her fingernails into her palms whenever she started to lag.

"Done." Jinny stood and went to the wash basin to clean her hands. Bellatrix's wound was redressed, tucked away in a thick blanket. Her wrists and ankles were bound in leather straps attached to hooks, keeping her from moving more than a few inches in any one direction. Kalliope wasn't certain it would hold the woman. She shifted the bag on her shoulder. Heavier than usual. It held Bellatrix's pokemon, weapons - broken or otherwise - and the special tools she used to scale buildings and walk between them. Without anything to her name, Bellatrix could get a ways away. Kalliope moved toward Bellatrix and stumbled. A sleepy miiinnnn escaped the tiny minun dozing on her feet. The plusle curled next to it. Kalliope put a hand to her head. When did she forget about them? They'd followed her to the healer's home and fallen asleep next to her. No wonder her toes were numb. She reached down to pick them both up, head swimming.

"C'mere, girl." Jinny dragged Kalliope from the room and sat her down on a small bed in another room, this one looking to be a bedroom of sorts. "Other than a few bruises, Bella should heal fine. Ye on the other hand," She clicked her tongue. "Ye didn't hurt 'er more n' ye needed t', did ye." It didn't sound like a question so Kali didn't reply. She was so tired. "But she went all out. Raise yer arms." Jinny mercilessly subjected Kalliope to a full check up, ignoring any of Kali's complaints. The twin pokemon curled up on the bed nearby and fell asleep once again. By the time Jinny was done, Kali had fresh wrappings, new stitches on her shoulder, more on her hip and a butterfree bandage on her elbow. Her cheek was cleaned but left bare. To heal proper, Jinny claimed. She shuffled out of the room for something and Kalliope curled up on the bed, eyes closed. Even her eyelids hurt.

The bed squeaked. "Take this first, y'hear?" Jinny lifted Kalliope up and poured hot, soothing tea down her throat. There was a hint of chamomile and vanilla with some other strange flavor. Kali barely managed to drink it down before she pulled away and curled up. She passed out almost immediately. Jinny blew out the candle and left her to sleep. Kalliope didn't have enough energy to dream, nor to worry about whether or not someone was going to smuggle Bellatrix out while she was sleeping. She didn't think of anything at all. Dawn passed well on its way, as did lunch, before Kalliope managed to escape slumber's clutches.

--------------------
Namid and his Travels
PCR

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Kalliope and her travels
Incredible sprite by Mackay!


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Kaia
 Posted: Jun 27 2017, 10:11 PM
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Day Seven
Late afternoon, downpour
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Waking up hurt. Her sides ached, her arms were sore from carrying Bellatrix and all the exertion of the previous day. Her head was thick with sleep and dehydration. But some of her other, deeper pains had lessened. It took twenty minutes for Kalliope to fully wake up and get out of bed. The half burned candle sat on the night stand. Her bag was shoved under the blanket, tangled in her arms. She faintly remembered arguing with Jinny when the healer woman tried to remove it. Kalliope bit her lip. She hadn't meant to be rude. But evidence was in there and she couldn't lose it. She'd even taken the ropes Jinny removed from Bellatrix the evening before and stuffed them into her bag before leaving the sleeping rogue alone.

She rose and pulled on her boots, then she went to the room she remembered Bellatrix was in. Nothing had changed, with the exception of a bucket near the table. Bellatrix slept fitfully, twitching against the bonds. Kalliope snuck backward as to not wake her and headed to the living room. Jinny sat on an overstuffed chair with one leg shorter than the rest, reading over a scroll that looked older than both of them put together. In the light of day she looked a bit younger than Kalliope assumed, in her early thirties rather than her forties. Her dirty blonde hair bound back in a single braid and hooked over one shoulder. She looked up and smiled, face carefully worn with laugh lines. Dark brown eyes, one slightly filmed over. Kalliope hadn't noticed the evening before.

"Morn, girl. Ye sleep alright?" Understatement.

"Plenty." Kali nodded. "Thank you for all of your help. I need to take Bellatrix from here and secure her somewhere safe until the Guardians arrive." She bowed politely. Jinny watched her silently, her hands on her lap. The scroll rolled up and tucked between them. "I can repay you for your services."

"Bah, hush dearie. I didna do more'n bind ye both. I'm no healer." She gestured toward the back room with one thumb. "I'd rethink moving 'er if I was yeh." Jinny shrugged. "Bella is quite sick when she wakes. Concussion, methinks. I sent a message to th' healer, th' proper one. He should arrive soon. Ye can wait an hour." Her hands, graceful and expressive, pointed to the covered doorway Kali hadn't noticed the evening before. The fabric was a threadbare but rich gold, fitting well with the room's coloring. Behind the curtain was a kitchen and a table piled with fresh eggs and greens, with a handful of apples as well. "Eat firs', ye need it." Kalliope wanted to argue but her stomach argued against her. Her stomach won. When she got to the kitchen she spotted two pokemon stuffing their tiny faces with pilfered apples, surrounded by berry pits and stems. Kalliope chuckled.

"Good morning to you two. Enjoying yourselves?" Kali waved at plusle and minun and went to eat her own breakfast. The town healer arrived before she finished eating so she ate slowly to give him more time to work. It was impolite to interrupt healers and ill patients, even if one was a criminal. When she had nothing left to eat, she washed up her dishes and put them away. Then she sat in the living room on the woman's chair, waiting for the healers to finish their assessments. Eventually a hobbled, elderly man came into the living room with his white fuzzy hair bound back in a head band. He wore plain clothes and no jewelry, though he carried a small bag on one frail arm. "Keep feeding her broth every few hours. Wait until after the nausea is passed, and I would avoid any more sedatives, Jinny. You know what I mean."

Kalliope rose at the sound of his voice, hands behind her back. He saw her, gave her a thorough once over Kali was quite sick of receiving, and smiled. He was missing all of his front teeth and his eyelid folds were so folded over she was surprised he could see at all. "Afternoon, Miss Kalliope Tamsin. We haven't met. My name is Maol-Moire MacIlleNaoimh. I suppose you would like to know about Bellatrix LeFrou." The way he spoke names made a shiver jump up her spine. Like he knew her. Not just knew of her but Knew her right down to her soul. She stepped forward and held out a hand anyway.

"It's good to meet you, sir. Yes, I would like to know about Bellatrix."

"The girl has a pretty severe concussion, possibly a mild one aggravated by repeated abuse." He raised one bushy brow. "Otherwise she's okay. She's severely undernourished, however. I can't imagine she's been eating properly. Skin and bones, even more so than you." Kalliope grunted. Interesting. Malnourished though she was fed by the villagers? Was she eating her food properly? Concussion meant she probably couldn't ride for a day or so. Or be moved, unless Kalliope wanted to smell like vomit. She needed to secure the building as is and keep everyone out until the escorts arrived. Like the wheels under constant pressure from a river's current, Kali's mind churned thoughts faster than she could put them together.

Maol watched her, his thin lips drawn tight with thought. "Miss Tamsin." Kali didn't sense a chill up her spine this time. Interesting. "You have more to ask. Ask." Kalliope blinked. Did she? Her mind raced. Bellatrix swum around her thoughts, pulsating like a hive of bees swarming in her mind. She needed to know everything about Bellatrix. Why, how, for what reason? Was love such a strong emotion that it could change the entire being of a person? Maol clucked his teeth. "Those questions will wait. That isn't what I speak of. Think more simply." Somehow he had a crisp sort of voice, like a scholar. How could an aged man have both a gravely, hollow voice and yet a crisp, clear voice that cut through her wild thoughts like a razor through the sand?

"My pokemon. Do you also heal pokemon? And Bellatrix's too, of course. I can't stand to watch pokemon suffer." The request burst from her mouth almost before she could formulate the thought. Kazimir. The ralts flashed through her mind, larger than life, an ever-present ebb and flow of emotion. He was a churning whirlpool of thought and feelings, all raw and powerful. Even so young as he was, he was a power in his own right. Erebus was tough and handsome, a fierce fighter. But he needed discipline and training. Ismene....well, she was young. Practically a child. She needed to learn discipline, yes. But she also needed to learn right from wrong, selfishness, greed, petty demands. She needed to see her place in the world and find a way to cut at the rough edges of her soul until she was as strong and beautiful as she believed she was inside already.

Why did Kalliope's mind race this way? She met Maol's eyes, though they'd been staring into one another's gazes for a few minutes now silently, and her own gaze cleared. Who was this man? "I can pay if necessary." She reached for her coin purse. Maol closed his eyes and raised one gnarled hand.

"For your pokemon, there will be a fee. Bellatrix LaFrou's dues will be paid in time. Do not worry so much, child. You have time." He patted her cheek and headed toward the chair behind Kali. She slipped out of his way and bowed again. "Thank you, sir. I will leave my pokemon and Bellatrix's with Jinny." She fished into her bag and handed everyone over. Kazimir's ball she cradled for a few seconds too long. This would be the first time she spent a whole day without Kazimir. Her mind felt the empty void his presence left behind. She swallowed and handed him over, keeping a grip when Jinny would have taken him. "Take good care of him. He's precious." Jinny nodded, slipping the ball from Kali's fingertips. Kali felt vulnerable in a way she hadn't experienced before. It wasn't that she leaned too heavily on Kazimir or trusted too deeply in his abilities that she couldn't fight for herself.

Kazimir had become her partner. Over the past few months working with him, fighting along side him and protecting him or being protected in turn, he was a part of her. Without him by her side she sensed a piece of herself missing. Kali scuttled from the room and cloistered herself in Bellatrix's room. The candles were out, replaced by the light of the sun through a watery ceiling window. Kali glanced up at the light. It was just the right amount; muted, pale and painting the walls gray. Rain bounced off the roof and the window, echoing its soft tap-taptap rhythm in a soothing manner. Kalliope approached Bellatrix. The woman looked--vulnerable. Weak. With her hands bound and a thin sheet her only cover, scrunched up around her legs as she fought her bonds in her sleep, she looked thinner and younger than Kali remembered. Her hair puffed out in ragged ringlets, an explosion of springs. Kali noticed the thin lines of her face and how much sharper it made Bellatrix's features.

Bellatrix's eyes fluttered open, focused on Kalliope--and then glazed. She leaned over and began to upchuck the last remaining contents of her stomach. Kalliope rushed to her side and held up the bucket so she made a mess only in its already sloppy contents. She kept Bellatrix's hair from her mouth as she puked, then lay the girl back onto the table and replaced the bucket near the door. She grabbed a towel - this one clean and fresh - and dipped it into the wash basin. Warm, soapy water with a faint scent of roses. She wiped up Bellatrix's face and dabbed at the girl's temples. "Are you thirsty?" She would offer food but after puking...well, Bellatrix doubtless wasn't hungry. "I can fetch you something."

Bellatrix stared up at Kalliope, eyes coming in and out of focus. Her fingers flexed and twitched. Without tools, however, Bellatrix had no chance of escape. "What do you want?" Bellatrix closed her eyes and heaved, chest fluttering up and down. She held her mouth tightly shut until Kalliope fetched the bucket and offered it. She got sick again, then lay back. "Leave me alone." Bellatrix's voice bore a slur she hadn't had before. Kalliope remembered a distinct clarity. Not this slurry of letters. Kali didn't go anywhere. She stood beside Bellatrix and wiped at the spittle at the corners of the girl's mouth. Bellatrix yanked away, turning her head, but Kalliope ignored her and continued to clean her up.

"Go away!"

"So you can do what, exactly? Weep? Drown in self pity some more?" Kalliope couldn't help studying the girl's figure under the sheet. She looked more like a corpse than a girl. Thin wrists, hollow hips. Flat chest, concave stomach. "You've done enough of that. Now let me clean you up and get you something to drink. If you can hold that down, I'll grab you some broth as well. Nothing solid yet, doctor's orders." She did exactly that. Kali cleaned the last of the vomit, then washed her hands in the basin. She dumped the remains of that water into the bucket, set the towel in a basket designed for soiled linen, and fetched Bellatrix a cup of water and a pitcher. She asked Jinny for a fresh bucket and more linen on her way. Bellatrix watched Kali with unblinking eyes while she sipped slowly.

"Why are you doing this?"

Kalliope looked at Bellatrix. She tried to meet the girl's eyes but Bellatrix had her eyes on something else. Kali's shoulder, her cheek. Inevitably, her hip. Kali tried to cover her slight limp from the wound but it wasn't easy. "Should I be spitting on you? Cursing you to the last of your days? How about kill you while I have you pinned here and helpless?" Bellatrix flinched. Kalliope softened her voice. "Like I told you before, I don't want to kill you. I'm a Guardian. I fight for justice. You've committed a lot of crimes over the past few weeks. But you're still human. You're still alive. You'll be punished to the extent of the law and no more--I am not judge, jury and prosecution. I'm simply a woman doing her job. Now, would you like some broth?"

Bellatrix nodded meekly. Kali fetched her some to drink and dragged a chair into the room from the kitchen, feeding her sips until the girl lay back and dozed some more. Kali opened the window to let some of the fresh, rain-scented air in. It was a beautiful day, in her opinion. Cleansing. Like the first hard rain after a battle. The scent of soil mixed with rain filled her nostrils, the last hint of flora thriving before the end of autumn. Kali breathed deeply. She was still sore, tired, and a bit stinky from not bathing and from scrubbing vomit. But she felt good. As if there was still the hope of good things to come for this village, and for Bellatrix. Even if it was a long time coming. Kali didn't know what was going to happen the next day or the day after that, nor six months from now. But she knew there would be another day and another week and another year. There was so much more.

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Namid and his Travels
PCR

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Kalliope and her travels
Incredible sprite by Mackay!


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Kaia
 Posted: Jul 17 2017, 07:28 PM
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Characters:
Kalliope Tamsin, Namid Waagosh'Giizis

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Day Eight
Storm rages, windy

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The next morning just past dawn the Guardians arrived. No one Kalliope recognized - unsurprising, considering this was a different region of the world where she joined the ranks. Jinny roused her immediately. Kali was bandaged in places, her shoulder and hip ached and there had to be a dozen rings under her eyes. But she got up, stretched, and dressed in her freshly scrubbed uniform. Tight, but mobile trousers, heavy boots and a sleeveless tunic. She wore her cloak over her bare arms to keep Kazimir from getting soaked in the downpour outside. Otherwise she didn't mind walking around in a little rain. Two men stood in Jinny's living area. One was about four inches shorter than her, pot bellied and grizzled. He looked bedraggled and unhappy being in a backwater town. His thick, black mustache stuck up at odd ends, dripping rain. Despite his smaller stature, he had a heavy frame. Big shoulders, thick chest and meaty legs. He looked like someone squashed some barbarian into a more portable body.

He didn't introduce himself. His partner, roughly the same age in his later thirties, stood at Kalliope's height with prematurely silver hair. She could tell despite his lined face, he still wore the strength of his age. His right eye lay empty and long healed over, though his left was clear and bright green. Kalliope held out her hand and shook his firmly. "Welcome. My name is Kalliope Tamsin. This is Jinny, town healer--'s assistant." She caught Jinny's eye and corrected herself before the pushy woman inserted herself into the conversation. "I assume you're here to collect Bellatrix LeFrou." The silver haired man nodded, a short jerk of his head.

"Correct. I'm Hirsham. That's Dig." Hirsham squeezed Kali's hand back and released, putting both hands behind him in parade rest. He turned toward Jinny and gave her a bow and Kalliope knew two things. First, this man was respectful toward civilians and healers, offering Jinny a hand where Dig merely sneered. Second, he was missing his right leg. At least the lower half of it. Kali noted the man's change in stance and looked down. Hidden beneath his pant leg was a bulging apparatus of some sort that ended in a boot. If it hadn't been for the flash of wood, she might not have noticed at all. She glanced at Dig, who glowered and said nothing. "We're to take the prisoner to Cypwater for her trial. This completes your mission, young Guardian. You may rest a while and return to Cypwater at your leisure for your bounty reward."

Kalliope held up her hand. "Not necessary. I'll be returning with Bellatrix LeFrou. If you lack the space for my transport I will walk alongside."

Dig stomped forward and shoved his craggy face up toward hers. "That isn't up for discussion. You're done. We're taking the prisoner and leaving." He shoved toward her, bunching up his chest to physically force her out of his way. Kalliope side-stepped and lay a hand on his back, using his momentum to push him forward and out of reach.

"With all due respect, no. I am going with you. I've already collected my things and Bellatrix's. The prisoner is weak but she still might cause trouble. Be wary." Kalliope nodded at Jinny. "Thank you once again for your hospitality. It was lovely to meet you."

Dig snarled, spittle slapping onto Kali's face. She met his glare blankly. "You didn't hear me. You're not going."

"Say it as many times as you like. I'm going." She didn't falter when he stared her down. "Hirsham if you would be so kind as to assist me in escorting Bellatrix. As I mentioned, she is quite weak." She walked calmly past Dig, who was so angry he was spitting wordlessly. She didn't close the door behind her as she went to Bellatrix's side. The young girl was wide awake, staring up at her. There was no fear--only a strange look. Kalliope awaited Hirsham, who did in fact follow her in. He shut the door, preventing Dig's angry complaints from following her in.

"That was not wise, miss." Hirsham met her eyes with his singular gaze.

"My name is Kalliope. Guardian Tamsin is equally acceptable." Kali folded her arms across her chest. She waited for Hirsham to blow up or say something along the tune of you're not going. He didn't. But then Kali pegged him for someone less easily irritated. How could he and Dig work together if they were both hot headed? No, Hirsham's gaze felt cold rather than heated.

"For what reason should we give you passage?" Hirsham asked instead. He leaned against the door, hiking his real foot up against the wall and holding all his weight on the false boot. Kali didn't stare or acknowledge that she'd noticed.

"Once again I don't need your permission. I'm not asking for you to give me anything. I'm going." She glanced behind her, where Bellatrix observed silently. Her face remained blank, lacking the expression Kali spotted earlier. "As to why, three reasons. One," She lifted a finger in the air. "She was my capture and I will see this through to the end. My mission ends when she reaches the Cypwater holding facility unharmed." A second finger popped up. "She has a number of medicines provided by Jinny and Maol to keep her healthy and hold down her food. A concussion, malnutrition and blood loss means her life is in danger if she's not properly cared for." Kalliope didn't take her eyes off Hirsham's cold, unblinking gaze. "I know every exacting detail of her dosage, when she takes it, how long she takes it and what each item does."

A third finger straightened. "I made a promise. She will have someone with her in Cypwater for her trial. She will have someone beside her every step of the way. That person is me. You can accept it or try to argue with me but I guarantee that'll go nowhere. If you try to take her from me by force and leave me behind, I will follow you all the way to Cypwater and explain how her nearest kin's wishes were completely disregarded - against the law mind you - and appointed adviser refused." The last part wasn't a lie per se. Larry requested she stay with Bellatrix and make sure the girl was okay. If she received the death sentence, there was nothing Kali could do and Larry couldn't hold her to that. But until or unless she was put to death, Larry wanted her to stay by Bellatrix's side and not leave her alone. He was too weak to travel after the fire. Something wrong with his lungs, Jinny said.

Kalliope waited. After a long staring contest, Hirsham broke it with a derisive nod and pushed off the wall. He pulled out two pairs of iron cuffs. Kali took one and he the other. Between them, her ankles and wrists were bound and she was released. They packed her up in a thick blanket, both sets of cuffs exposed, and carried her to the cart parked outside Jinny's home. It was pulled by a particularly grumpy looking rhyperior. Kali resisted the urge to ask why a brutish pokemon such as this with strength in spades - but no speed - was taking them through the rain to Cypwater. They put her in the back, locked behind not one but two barred doors, and Dig met them outside. Jinny watched from the doorway just out of the rain. "You're staying."

"Come off it, Dig. Why waste time arguing? It's not like we can outrun her with Champ over here." Hirsham slapped the rhyperior's shoulder, who bugled in irritation but made no other move. "No skin off your nose if she follows." The silver haired man stared at Kali and frowned. "Best if you ride in back. Less likely you'll fall off. Or get pushed." He glanced at Dig and went to unlock the secondary door. Kali climbed in and set her belongings against the dry wall, then stretched her legs out while he locked up. "Be there by nightfall, I should expect. He looks slow, but Champ's pretty light on his feet. Don't mind the bumpy ride." With that he left the girls on their own, climbing into the front seat. They were off. At first the pace was as slow as they expected.

"It was Larry wasn't it?" Bellatrix turned away from her, lying in a heap. Her head must have throbbed but she refused the chew-able leaves meant to curb headaches.

"It was. And then it was the Father of the Church. And a little girl with pigtails who thinks you're the prettiest lady she's ever met. Not to mention a squabble of bickering, angry old biddies who yelled at me long and hard for capturing you. And then there were the counsel who used to support the mayor. They were all quite clear that I keep you safe and that I was a terrible person for capturing you." Kalliope drawled. "For a girl who killed a lot of people, you sure do have family who loves you. A lot of it." Kalliope shut up. Kazimir curled up against her chest and dozed, still worn out from the recent days. Or maybe he was just enjoying the quiet. Kalliope kept him covered in her cloak so he didn't catch a chill.

More than an hour passed in silence. Just outside the village the pace ratcheted up threefold. Whatever Champ was doing, he practically flew down the route. Kalliope gave Bellatrix some medicine to help with nausea and dozed herself.

"They don't know me."

The voice startled Kali from an almost dream. She glanced at the bundle of blanket and irons. "The villagers. They don't know anything about me."

"They seemed to know you well enough to want to protect you from yourself and every outsider who got in the way." Kalliope pointed out.

"They're wrong." Bellatrix shouted. The crash of the rhyperior's feet and the pounding of the rain forced to hit the cart even harder covered her outburst but only barely. "They have no idea who I am, what I've done."

"Maybe they don't care what you've done."

"They don't know." LeFrou's voice went soft, almost too hard to hear. Kali strained to listen, wondering if she'd missed the girl's next words in the lengthening pause. "I'm not who they think I am."

"Who are you?" Kali asked softly, matching the girl's tone. It took time but the girl answered.

"I'm a rogue. A thief. A killer."

Kali snorted. "Believe me, they know that. Didn't bother them a bit."

"Not that! Not now! Before. Before I came to Twin Cedar. Before I met...Zachariah." Bellatrix paused. She shuffled under the blankets, moving disjointedly. Kali was confused until he realized Bellatrix was shaking. "My parents. We used to do it in every backwater village we found. Play acrobats, performers. Do shows for the people. Use sleight of hand, show off some tricks. All the while my siblings and I would move through the audience swiping coin. Not much. Not enough to get caught. But we'd keep offering new shows, new "tricks". And eventually, we'd get close enough to rob them blind and disappear into the night. We were going to do it in Twin Cedar. We did, a little. But something else was happening."

Kalliope let the girl speak her mind. Kazimir was wide awake and listening to every word. "This time, my parents found a new set of performers. Outsiders. They weren't very good at what they did. They were brutes, rude, and a bit strange. But we led them to the next stop. Twin Cedar. They didn't perform. They kept back the first few days. I performed for the crowds. I saw Zach...he came to every show, watching me. He was handsome and he came from the wealthier family in the village, I could tell. I followed him home once. It was the night..."

Sobbing. Kali reached through the bars and touched Bellatrix's shoulder - or what might have been, hard to tell under the blanket. Bellatrix froze, then leaned into the touch. "It was the night he was trying to paint the Dozing Smeargle. Except it's not like he told his father at all. He caught me trying to break into the inn after hours. He asked me what I was doing. I tried to run--but he wasn't chasing me. Wasn't trying to catch me or call for help. Just asked me questions. So I started to answer them. By the time I realized we weren't just chatting thief to victim, we were laughing about something stupid. I don't remember what. And I promised him I'd come back the next night. Not to steal. To talk. I did."

Kalliope was surprised. Not only had Zachariah known she was a thief, he'd invited her back. Kalliope never would have done that. "I brought my mother's pokemon and helped him paint. Or I held the paint for him and lifted him up using my ropes so he could paint higher. Larry never asked me how we did it. I never said. But Zachariah did. He asked every question you could think of. And I told him. Everything. Everything about me, what we were doing there, why we stole. How long I'd been doing it. And he said...he said...

"Why not stop? You don't have to steal you know. You could stay here with me. As if that were ever an option. He said it like he meant it. Like he had no idea what it meant at all. I laughed at him and he didn't laugh back. Instead he looked at me very seriously. The way Larry sometimes looked when he tried to teach Zach about the family business. Like every word he was about to say was vital to my survival. If you stayed, I'd take care of you. I'd marry you. We could run away together or raise a family here. We can steal a ship and sail to Maritime. We could become pirates and haunt the pennant isles. We could fall in love. And then he laughed. Well, it's too late for that. I'm in love with you. And I know it sounds corny--and it did, he sounded like a lunatic--but I mean it. Stay here. With me."
Bellatrix breathed hard through her mouth, voice tight from dehydration.

Kalliope swallowed hard. Her brows knit over her nose in such fierce concentration, so deep a focus on this young girl. This woman who was barely older than Kalliope, if at all. "I ran away from him that night and went to my parents' camp. Then I packed up what I owned and told them I was staying. They'd already robbed plenty and surely there was a town up ahead they could deal with. I left them without a word and started sleeping behind the tavern, then asked for a job. The ladies, Cheryl, Grace and Gretchin all took me in. They took care of me. I thought my parents believed me and left." Tears poured down Bellatrix's face. Kali knew because the girl turned to face her and gripped both hands on Kali's. Tear streaked, eyes bloodshot, face pale. She looked so fragile.

"The day Zach died--the day he was killed in cold blood, it wasn't the villager's fault. It was mine. My parents were punishing me for what I'd done. I was trying to get Zach away. I recognized the mages who strode into town. They were the new hires backing my parents months before. They were here to--to take me back? Or to kill me. Or make me wish I was dead. I don't know. They made a huge show of taking over the town and Zach couldn't run away. This was his home. He had to protect the people he loved. None of them are to blame. I didn't blame them at all. They were scared and about to die. They couldn't stop this, only I could. But I didn't. I was a coward. I told Zach who they were and he went out to face them alone. His death was my fault.

"I would do anything--anything to go back to before I'd ever met him. Before I knew--before I had to--before I killed him."
Bellatrix heaved, her whole body wracked with shakes. Kalliope couldn't hug the girl, couldn't do anything. "When Zach--when he was murdered, I set my sights on killing the mages. And then everyone in town. They kept--they kept consoling me. They kept holding me and telling me everything would be okay. They kept saying they were sorry. Larry promised I had a home forever. They didn't know. They didn't know it was my fault. So I tried to make them hate me. I tried so hard. I stole, I kidnapped their pokemon. I--I nearly--I tried to burn down the Dozing Smeargle. I wanted them to hate me.

"But they won't. Why can't they just hate me? Why can't they see I deserve to die? That I ruined everything? I destroyed their home, their family? I'm not one of them. I'm nothing. I'm a killer."
She broke down. Kalliope forced both hands between the bars and pulled Bellatrix to her, holding her as tight as she was able through cold iron. It hurt. She held Bellatrix until the tears ran dry. It took a long time.

Bellatrix fell asleep somewhere during her crying. She was still exhausted and sickly. Kali grew a pit in her stomach. Toxic, hideous. She sat there until almost nightfall, holding the girl's hand. When Bellatrix woke up, red faced and thirsty, she helped the girl drink and eat some broth from a skin of what usually held water. Bellatrix said nothing. "The bridge." She didn't elaborate at first. Bellatrix remained silent. "The people you killed. They were mages, weren't they? The ones who killed Zachariah." Bellatrix nodded. "They were planning something else against the village weren't they?" Another nod. "Were your parents a part of it?"

Nod.

Kalliope swallowed. "I understand. Rest now, okay? We'll be in Cypwater soon. You need your strength."

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Nightfall, Day Eight
Downpour, a sheet of rain in every direction



The Captain of the Senior Guardians wasn't exactly pleased at the interruptions. Kalliope didn't understand where the Lady of the city was but then it wasn't her business. She stuck by Bellatrix's side as she was led in chains to the barracks, and now she sat in the Captain's office in the flickering light of a toasty fire. Dig and Hirsham stood at the wall behind her. Katarina Beauchamp was lovely and riddled with muscle, thick in the arms and even her neck said I dare you to try to snap me. Kalliope admired her immediately. She'd interrupted Hirsham's explanation of Bellatrix's capture - and by that, he merely stated she was dangerous and a killer and was captured - to request a personal chance to speak.

Katarina was incredibly unamused. "What is it? I'm busy, I don't have time for greedy greenies asking for a hand out." Kalliope didn't respond to the dig. She'd listened to worse from Dig all the way up here. Kalliope put one hand over heart and bowed properly, Kazimir ever present on her shoulder but warned to remain silent. Dig laughed behind her, as if incredibly amused by whatever was about to happen. Maybe he expected Kali would get reamed for being disrespectful.

"Apologies, ma'am. I wanted to give you a first hand account of what happened. I would also like to extend my time in Cypwater until Bellatrix LeFrou's trial to speak."

Katarina snorted. "What for? To get a harsher sentence? Don't waste your time."

"Begging pardon, no ma'am. To tell the truth, the entire truth and lay it bare for the court to decide. You know her crimes. You don't know her." Katarina narrowed her gray eyes. After a tick, she shrugged.

"Enlighten me."

Kalliope did so from the beginning of her arrival into Twin Cedar all the way up until their arrival at Cypwater, including Bellatrix's story. Dig's jaws flapped with disbelief. "How could you--how could you possibly get a confession in a few hours? From a murderer? A psychopath?"

Kalliope didn't take her attention from Katarina, who sat higher in her seat, straight backed with her hands under her chin. "Perhaps if someone cared to listen to what really happened, they would realize murderer and psychopath are incorrect descriptions. Broken, perhaps. Abused, raised by the wrong people. In love. Destroyed. Any one of these might fit. If I may continue with my report, ma'am?" Kalliope asked politely. "I'm not asking for a lighter sentence or leniency. She killed two innocent people - if by accident on one count - committed arson, petty crime and breaking and entering. The arson charges were dropped by the owner of the Inn quite vehemently, and none of the people whose items and pokemon were stolen will speak against her. The mother of one Lily, murdered by accident, refuses to testify against her. I simply want you to understand the full story. Something tells me Bellatrix LeFrou would die before she told the court what really happened."

Silence. The guardians behind her made no noise, neither did the Captain. Only the fire crackled and the faint hiss of the storm slipped through the shutters. "As I said, I will stay for the trial and testify the complete tale. I don't believe in wrongful convictions nor do I believe in using half truths, especially when it comes to justice. Thank you for your time, ma'am. I will remain in the inn nearest this location until you've decided." She bowed once more and headed out of the room. As she reached the door, Katarina's voice halted her.

"You may speak at the trial if that is your wish. You were the one who captured her, you have a right to testify. I'll send you information on the trial as soon as it's established. Good evening, Miss Tamsin."

Kalliope turned and bowed low again. "Actually, it's Guardian Tamsin." With that she left. If Katarina laughed, Kalliope would deny ever hearing it. She took a room in the closest inn, directed by the young recruit downstairs who grew up in the city, and began to write a letter to one Larry of the Dozing Smeargle.

Greetings.

I remain for LeFrou's trial. When there has been a decision made and punishment decided, I will send another letter. I send my best wishes. I also send you Bellatrix's love. Perhaps you know her better than I do, but I do know one thing. She loves you, all of you in Twin Cedar. Good luck during the turn of the season. If you ever have need of me again, contact me in Harper's pass.

Guardian Kalliope Tamsin




Conclusion

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Namid and his Travels
PCR

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Kalliope and her travels
Incredible sprite by Mackay!


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Korosensei
 Posted: Jul 30 2017, 11:37 PM
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Stupidface McNoctowl
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I came into this thread expecting a large amount of fighting and not much else, and came away very pleasantly surprised by the amount of depth that went into this thread.

Overall, although I think the beginning posts were rambly until you got into the battle with James, I enjoyed your very unique take on the bounty situation. Whereas most of the threads I’ve seen focus on the fight to get to the bounty and take them down, you really made me feel a lot of things as you took me through why Bellatrix Lefrou had committed the crimes she had, and I got emotionally invested before the first bolt was fired. This was unexpected for me, and it really helped me understand Kali and Kazimir in addition to the creative villagers you’ve crafted. I hope to see some of them again in the future! I also hope you’ll continue to work on the bond between Kali and Kazimir, for which I’ve given a happiness bar. I’ve been reading Kali’s stuff from the beginning, and I think she and Kazimir made big strides here. They are truly becoming partners, and I think this is deserving of a happiness bar given the circumstances.

Pokemon-wise, I think you did a very good job of showing how comfortable the plusle and minun are with Kali, even being willing to battle by her side. I wasn’t expecting that when they first joined simply for food, but I enjoyed the way you developed them over the course of the thread. I’m giving them good catch chances… and the RNG agrees with me that the little electric mice want to join Kali’s team! As per your suggestion, I’ve randomized their levels between 1-5; the plusle is level 3 and minun is level 4. I’ll add them both to storage for now, but please feel free to poke me if you want them in the main party.

In terms of non-pokemon rewards, I can’t give the full bounty rewards because you did go over the 3-month mark even with the six-month hiatus in mind, but I will give Kali 2.3 EXP for the thread, which will put her over the mark to level 5, 0.44/5. This is a high grade from me, basically my territory of 1/2 WOW points but with a small negative modifier for timing. Thanks to the level, her egg gains three counts and the pokemon in her party before the freeform (not counting plusle or minun, unfortunately) gain two levels each. Kazimir levels to 15 and learns Lucky Chant (and gains his last happiness bar!), Erebos levels to 14 and learns Odor Sleuth, Ismene levels to 13 and learns no new moves, and Rajani levels to 13 and learns Shadow Sneak. Your pokemon who participated in the thread will also gain EXP for their participation – Kazimir gains the most with 3 points, followed by Erebus with 2.25, and Ismene with 1.5.

The Guardians are rewarding Kali for her victory in other ways, too – she will receive 450g (with the negative multiplier), as well as 1 dive ball, 2 potions, 1 great potion, and 1 psychic gem for the grouchy ralts http://files.jcink.net/uploads/harperregion/sprites/emoticons/13.png 400g is subtracted from her profile to pay for the shortbow and quiver.

In terms of the aptitudes, I think Battle Tactics was your strongest showing. You did this both in the initial battle against James and in the battle against Bellatrix, which required a lot of complex strategy and manipulation of the battlefield to win the day. I will give her 8 exp in this aptitude, leaving her at rank 6, 3/10. This is a lot of points, and well deserved – you spent a lot of time and effort setting up the situation with Bellatrix and having Kali figure out the way to get her with both human and pokemon battling tactics.

I’ll also give her some exp with weapon proficiency: swords, which I saw in the battle against James in the beginning plus the coaching from him afterwards. I think she deserves 4 exp towards the aptitude – the focus was well-written, albeit brief, and she did lose the battle and didn’t practice any of the new techniques. This leaves her at rank 7, 8/15. More than halfway there, still, and a good improvement for a freeform!

Mediator was definitely in the thread too, although to a lesser extent. I think Kali relied too much on the monologuing technique to get what she wanted out of the situation, and although it worked in these circumstances, I feel like she has a ways to go in becoming more creative about it. There are many ways to mediate a situation, and I hope to see her develop proficiency in more of those ways over time. Nevertheless, she did gain a foundation in mediation, and I’ll give her a 5 for now, meaning she’s at around the average level. She will gain 4 EXP for picking up this aptitude, leaving her at level 5, 4.44/5.

I will add another aptitude to the list: the investigation of Bellatrix was particularly fun to read, and I like the way you chose to give Kali a way to find out her whole backstory and motive from a variety of townspeople before beginning the actual battle with her. It flowed very well, and it helped the freeform feel very real for me. For Kali’s effort to get to the bottom of this mystery, I would like to start you off with the Investigation aptitude at rank 5, 5/10 exp. Although there were some points where she could have been more exact with her technique, I really got the feeling that she was getting the hang of how to get the information she needed out of the townspeople. For gaining another aptitude, she gains another 4 EXP, leveling her up to 6, 3.44/10! The egg gains another three counts for a total of six, and the team gains more levels: Kazimir levels to 17 and learns Magical Leaf, Erebus levels to 16 and learns Roar (and gains a happiness bar), Ismene levels to 15, no new moves (but a happiness bar for being with Kali for another 5 levels), and Rajani levels to 15, no new moves.

Finally, I will be demoting Kali’s injuries to a sore hip for 3 IC days. All previous injuries were healed as stated in your initial posts.

Please let me know if you have any questions about this complicated grade, or if you’d like feedback about other things I may have missed. Also, please let me know what you imagine happened to Bellatrix in court; the ending left me wanting to know!


Pokemon Get!

http://files.jcink.net/uploads/harperregion/sprites/311plusle.png http://files.jcink.net/uploads/harperregion/sprites/e335252.gif
Plusle

Lv. 03 Exp: 0/4
Friendliness: {||||||||||}
Original Handler: Kalliope Tamsin ( Kaia )
Held Item: ---
Health & Condition: Fine
Abilities:
Plus: When battling with Plus or Minus, Special Attack increases by 50%.
Lightningrod: Electric-type moves are drawn to this Pokémon. Electric-type moves will do no damage and the Pokémon's SP ATK is raised one stage. If the Pokémon is Ground-type, moves are drawn to it, but it gets no boost.
Moves: [ primary / secondary ]
Nuzzle, Play Nice, Growl, Thunder Wave, Quick Attack, Sing [Egg], Sweet Kiss [Egg], Thunderbolt, Thunder, Charge Beam, Volt Switch, Thunder Wave, Wild Charge, Shock Wave
Notes:
Ubiq catch on Route 2, July 2017
Close friends with Minun

http://files.jcink.net/uploads/harperregion/sprites/312minun.png http://files.jcink.net/uploads/harperregion/sprites/e335251.gif
Minun

Lv. 04 Exp: 0/4
Friendliness: {||||||||||}
Original Handler: Kalliope Tamsin ( Kaia )
Held Item: ---
Health & Condition: Fine
Abilities:
Minus: When battling with Plus or Minus, Special Attack increases by 50%.
Volt Absorb: The Pokémon heals up to 1/4 of its maximum Hit Points when hit with Electric-type moves.
Moves: [ primary / secondary ]
Nuzzle, Play Nice, Growl, Thunder Wave, Quick Attack, Charm [Egg], Discharge [Egg], Thunderbolt, Thunder, Charge Beam, Volt Switch, Thunder Wave, Wild Charge, Shock Wave
Notes:
Ubiq catch on Route 2, July 2017
Close friends with Plusle

--------------------

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