Total Posts: 1615
Member No. 1923
Joined on 24-February 15.
Alexander Fitzgerald | Emilie Chartoire
Setting: Maritime Industrial Park
Time: Early Afternoon
- Establishing Zuna's backstory and personality
- Initial bonding between Talia and Zuna
"You smell like home."
The words had stuck with the newly named Zuna more than the numel let on. Her own home was far away, a plot of land covered with pokemon of various species all beginning their new lives. And, every few weeks, some of the young ones would be taken away, never to return.
This had been her fate, but the numel had not cared overly much. The pen where she was born had been crowded, too many pokemon in a small building made of stone. The pokemon inside had little more in common than their typing, which often meant stray fireballs splattered against the walls and hot fights between even the littlest ones as they tried to find even a small space to call their own.
It was usually the fighters that got taken from this group. Fire-types were not subtle or conniving, for the most part, and only the strongest fighters got to leave the building, only to be replaced by a clutch of new eggs that would hatch all too soon thanks to all the heat in the air.
She was surprised when someone had picked her up one day, a young man wearing leather armor who lifted her from underneath and brought her to a campsite where she got to smell the open air and learned a few basic fighting techniques before capturing her in a poke ball. She remembered nothing between that day and the one when she was released next, breathing in a saltier air as she looked into the face of the handler who now sat beside her. The handler who had spoken of home.
The newly named Zuna didn't understand why home mattered so much to the human. She traveled the road freely, fresh air in her lungs and only herself for company. Why did it matter where she lay her head at night? Anywhere could be home.
She sat and listened, though, as the handler reached out and touched her hump near the hole where steam lazily trickled forth.
"You smell like a forge, more specifically. It's missing the noise, but if I close my eyes, it's almost enough to take me back."
Zuna wondered why her handler seemed to want the noise. She herself preferred quiet, lonely peace.
"My husband used to work in a forge - or that's what I say. Bosley never set foot in a forge," she said more quietly, "but our sons did. Both of them. I wouldn't let them in the mines. It was a death-trap. And so I restrained them from one danger only to allow them to run headfirst into another..."
The human's hand found Zuna's head, and absentmindedly scratched the coarse texture.
"Thomas taught my boys how to work in the forge. He taught them everything they knew, including that stupid pride of his that landed me here instead of where I should have been. If only I had been stronger, more convincing, more determined, perhaps I would be there right now, and they would be here instead of in the ground."
Zuna looked up at this. She had thought of reasons why she hadn't been claimed by the stranger before: too shy, too quiet, too content with her current position to want anything else. She still didn't know what had happened, or why she had been chosen rather than a more energetic fire-type, but something in the way the handler introduced herself told Zuna that she was content with a calmer, more docile pokemon after all.
The human met Zuna's eyes. "If we're going to be working together, you should know why I named you Zuna. It's because I was once named Diana," the human said, the forbidden syllables slipping out awkwardly as stray tears began to fall from her eyes. "There's a person behind that name who you will never know, a person who died years ago. But don't worry, little one, I will be good to you, and I will give you the best home that I can."
And that was when the numel understood. It was everything, the times with her sons and her brother, everyone she tried to keep alive with memories that faded all too easily, like the wisps of smoke sputtering out of the numel's back. Every clang of the hammer on the anvil, every clink of coin on a shopkeeper's table, every creak of the door as it opened night after night to let her loved ones back in, tired and smelling of the forge but ready for dinner and relaxation and love.
All of that was home.
Zuna didn't have a home. But perhaps she could make one, nestled in the arm-crook of the woman who had given her a name as well. Safe and warm, she listened to the woman cry, somehow comforted by the sound. It wasn't the same as the clamor of fire-types at the breeder where she was born. But it was a rhythm she could get used to - and for the one who gave her a name, she would give it a try.