AGNPH Stories

Shi'iaqu by Bébinn Heffernan


Story Notes:

I do not own anything portrayed here (Pokémon, Neopets, Dungeons & Dragons, Magic: the Gathering, etc.) except for the setting, which is a D&D 3.5/Pathfinder setting I have been working on for the past couple years. Those are owned by their respective companies (Nintendo, Viacom, Hasbro, etc.).All original characters are the property of whomever created them. Their creators do not own Pokémon, either.

1-1: Welcome to Koutierr

Chapter 1:

Welcome to Koutierr

)10:34, 21st Day of Maturation. Week 1, Day 1 of Shi'iaqu's creation(


Zera woke up in a cold sweat, wiping it from her forehead. She looked down at herself, not wearing her species' signature black dress - indeed, not much of anything. Startled by this revelation, she looked about and immediately saw the first thing wrong... She was in an underground room, twenty feet to a side, with only a bed, a chest at the foot of the bed, and a lantern on a small crate in the corner, its gases vented out by a metal pipe above it. Beside the crate was the exit, a plain wooden door.

She stepped out of bed. "Hello?" she called out. She was expecting to hear her handler's voice. No such luck. "Hello?"

The door opened, only for a drunken Lucario to stumble in and collapse. The sounds of revelry and flowery smells emanated from outside, as well as the sounds of a gruff voice in an unknown language... Gaelic? Scots Gaelic? ... uttering curses. Nervous, she nudged the jackal out with her foot before opening the chest, relieved to see her clothes in there. She quickly threw them on, then left the room, stepping over the blacked-out Lucario.

To her left and right were more hallway. The right-hand side had been conquered by a hitherto-unknown race of crates, and more were being added to the pile as the voice uttered more profanities, followed by a sound not unlike the discovery of something. The sounds of music, merriment, and, over the din, a tortured limerick emanated from the left. Deciding the left-hand side was probably a better choice (and deciding she was uncomfortable fighting an army of broken crates) she meandered to the left, following the hall. As she did, on the left side a door marked "BROOMS" slammed shut.

She was led to a magnificent underground pub and eatery, populated by several individuals of various races and species. The left side of the bar had been cleared out for a dance competition, and several human..oid...s, Pokémon, and what she assumed at first glance were Pokémon, were dancing. A Raichu and two Pikachu were providing the music, playing gaily on panpipes and lutes. On the right were yet more individuals, and Zera distinctly noted a lot of them looked like a cross between a teddy bear and a fox. Several were drinking. Some were 86'd, one of them quite involuntarily on the bartender's part as he lay passed out in a puddle of his own vomit. The tables looked like they were only recently repaired from some unknown form of damage, and several annihilated tables had stuffed a former wine cellar full, though judging by the liquid beneath them there were some cask casualties anyway.

Standing at the bar was what appeared to be a mix between humans and these teddy-bear-like creatures. He was dressed plainly, with a white shirt and leather vest, and a simple pair of pants held together by a makeshift belt consisting of a hemp rope. He wore glasses, and the fur he had was flesh toned. He looked up, setting the glass down. "Ah, friend!" he said, beckoning. "Come and join us in our celebration!"

"Celebration? For what?" asked Zera. She approached on the right, not wanting to get bumped about in the dancing contest, eyeing a particularly incautious Gardevoir whom, for all intents and purposes, may have been there solely to impersonate some silly comic-book villain.

"Why, Koutierr's return from the exile of Creation!" he said. "Beer and spirits are on the house today! What can I get you?"

"Erm, nothing, thanks," said Zera.

"My name's Sam Tender, and I'm the owner of the Cosmopubitan, here," he said, slapping the bar. From the looks of it, whatever "return" this place had from "creation" seemed to have done more harm than good; the bar was badly warped and definitely not level.

"Zera.... say, you wouldn't have happened to find someone, say, yay tall (extended her hands to 6'1"), auburn hair?"

"Depends. What species you looking for? Elf? Kithkin? Bori? Human?"

"Human, human," she said, wondering if he was playing with her. When she went to sleep last night, elves were just fairy tale creatures! And what in the world were "kithkin" and "bori"?!

Sam placed a finger on his lips, thinking. Then, sadly, he shook his head. "Nah; we'd've found him in one of the rooms by now. We've found quite a few humans, quite a few Pokemon, and certainly a herd's worth of mice, but we haven't found anyone remotely fitting that description."

"'Mice'? Where?" said Zera, looking about.

Sam pointed at the sloshed teddy-bear-like creatures. "Mouse. Mus ursus. Kacheek."

"Those look nothing like mice," said Zera.

"And that Gardevoir looks nothing like a taskmaster," noted Sam, setting up this glass and checking the next one. "She looks like a clown."

Zera sighed. "So, where am I?"

"Like I said, you're in the Cosmopubitan, the finest pub... okay, the only pub... in the Koutierr area!"

"Koutierr 'area'?" asked Zera.

"The Alphas seem content to let me run this place like a city. Good thing, too, those straightlaced gits wouldn't know a cause for celebration when they see it."

Zera sighed.

"If you don't mind me asking, what metahuman variant are you?" asked Sam.


"You've got a human body. You're a metahuman."

"So do you, and you're a Kacheek."

"No, I'm a half-breed. You don't walk up to a Bangaa or Viashino and call him a lizard; you don't walk up to a half-breed and ignore half his racial identity."

"Whatever. I'm a Pokemon, anyway. A Gothitelle."

"A what-it-ell?"

Zera grumbled. This was going to be a long day. "Gothitelle." Sam looked even more confused, but dropped the question. "Say, you wouldn't know where I could find a job, would you? Preferably as a circus act?"

"Ain't gonna be any circuses for a long while, Zera. Not when all that're out there are badgers, the occasional occupied dungeon, a few scattered freemice and oblivion a few miles out." Sam listened to a Kacheek slur out an order, and Zera noticed that that Kacheek's back smelled like Sam's front. "Not happening, you drunkard batt. Get aired out first."

Zera looked quite stunned. "O-oblivion?"

"Yes. As in nothing. Head five miles out and all you see is a white curtain of light that impedes your progress."

Zera whined. "But... but how can that be?!"

Sam set the glass down. "How it can be is that we're the guinea pigs for some squat hume named Wright. And I'm told it's not the one with an addiction to pointing."

Sam decided not to call out the blatant anachronism. "So there's no work to be found here at all?"

"Oh, I didn't say that," replied Sam. The Kacheek tried to order another drink again. "I eighty-sixed you! Go home!"

"What are you implying? That I tap kegs?" she said, snarling.

"No, no, nothing like that. Rather..." he pointed at a nearby flyer, handwritten.

"I can't read English," said Zera.

"You're in good company and reading English wouldn't have helped anyway when it's in French." He pulled a copy of it out from under the bar. "*ahem* To all who believe themselves brave enough, Les Troupeau Koutierr seeks adventurers to join the Ranger Corps and protect the land from dangers both mundane and fantastic while exploring the dangerous caverns and lands of Shi'iaqu's environs."

"Les Troupeau Koutierr?"

"Literally, 'The Herd of Koutierr.' Kacheek cities are called herds."

"Are you suggesting I get a job as a mercenary?" asked Zera.

"No, no. Mercenaries get paid per hit. Rangers are salaried, usually pretty well."

"How much are we talking?"

"Hmm... Well, the advert here says about 500 wyrm per week with the potential for a raise depending on circumstances."


Sam pulls out a pressed gold coin and sets it on the table. The heads side had printed on it an image of a majestic dragon, roaring and breathing fire, as well as a spot for the year of issue should it become a necessity. On the tails side was the denomination, indicated as "1ψ". (A/N: The symbol should be a struck-through lowercase psi.) "This is a wyrm. Silver drakes are worth a tenth the wyrm, copper tatsus are worth a hundredth, and platinum elders are worth ten wyrm."

She saw the gold and was quickly allured. "Where do I sign up?"

"Don't get too hasty, now," said Sam, setting the coin away. "The Alphas hire in groups of four or five at a time, largely because it helps with the formation of squads."

"Four or five? So I need to find a bunch of people to join me?"

"Yes," said Sam.

She sighed. "If the pay is that good, I don't have much of a choice..."

"Just make sure you live to spend it," warned Sam. He hands her a small weapon that looked like a sword that ended in a hook, made of bronze. "Take this with you, and get some practice with it."

She took it out of his hands. "You sure? I've never touched a sword, let alone something this... goofy-looking."

"I have a truncheon hidden behind the bar, and I know how to use it. I don't, however, know how to use that sapara. And since we don't have any ores, old Melchor can't do you better unless you're into smashing skulls with blunt weapons."

She looked over the sword, nodding. "Thanks..." Then she remembered. "As for..."

"The room is yours," said Sam. "And don't worry about paying me rent; at this point I'd lose more money collecting it than I could charge. If you're looking to expand, though, it's gonna be pricey."

"Thanks again,"said Zera, smiling.

She left the bar and, before returning to her room, knocked on the broom closet door.

"Who is it?" a young voice enquired.

Zera wasn't taken too aback; after all, she assumed every child's played pretend in a closet at some time or another. "Zera," came the reply.

"Zera who?"

"I'm not here to punish you; just wh-"

The door opened, revealing a very young Kacheek clutching a wand and fiddling about with it. From the looks of it she was blasting more space for her, as the closet was ten feet deeper than it should have been.

"-at are you..."

"I made it for myself after Sam wouldn't let me have my own room," she said. She seemed more overtly supernatural than most Pokémon Zera knew. "My name's Rena."

Zera curtsied. Rena looked confused at this show of greeting. "Rena, where're your parents?"

"Gone, gone and not back," she said, a bit more solemnly.

"So... you're an orphan?"

"I'm a magical orphan." With that, she waved her fingers... and promptly blew up her room with an ill-controlled spark of fire. She fell on her face and started to cry; Zera approached and comforted her.

"Leave her be, lass."

Zera looked up into the beard of Melchior Maulrender, who she recognized as the man searching for something earlier by voice. He was wearing a sallet on his head, and his torso was covered in cheaply-made brigandine, rusted and corroded. His hands and feet... well, his whole body was squat and stocky. His skin was a slightly ruddy hue, his hazel eyes twinkling above the red morass over his torso, intricately braided and decorated.


"Aye, local smith at your service."

"You look like you've seen combat."

"Aye, against the Cabal and its machinations, but that's neither here nor there." He pulls Zera up off of the ground. "Now, I overheard you and Tender talking about employment as part of the city militia."

"You interested?"

"Feh! I supply the local militia! But I don't have a lot to work with. I need materials other than wood and rocks, you understand?"

She did. "So if I see any open veins, let you know?"

"Aye. I'll even excavate them myself. And whatever I make will go on sale in my shop."

She nods. "I'll do this for you. Now, it's been nice to meet you two, but now I have to head back to my room."

She excused herself and stepped back over the passed-out Lucario, re-entering her room. She sat on the bed and thought about how she would find three or four other individuals also willing to do dangerous things for money, then she remembered what Sam said earlier. She laughed at it... what a cliché! ... but then realized it was really her only shot.
Chapter End Notes:And the setup is ready. Head on over to and read the thread, and, if interested, feel free to post a rough character idea there. I'll take it and make it fit in the story. Preference will be given to Pokémon, and only original characters will be accepted.
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