AGNPH Stories

Tempestas et Stringere by Bébinn Heffernan


Story Notes:

Sorry for the long absence; I've had a lot of things to do, a massive amount of writer's block recently (The latest Karistaa Usko chapter's presently in Limbo), and a complete overhaul of my mythos, so I decided to do one more in the general Pokemon universe. As the July contest inspired me a bit to write this chapter, it's a contest entry (or, at the very least, Nowhere and Everywhere is since I'm not certain how long this inspiration will hold).As usual: Pikachu, Pokémon, Mother et al. are the property of Nintendo. The characters are mine, as is the plot.

Author's Chapter Notes:

One's a lord, another a noble, a third a peasant...

Three Perspectives

Chapter 12:

Three Perspectives

*-)September 1, 2009-08:00 KDT(-*

Nicolau woke up, yawned, and scratched his bum, then spun around and started to chew on his forearm a little bit, trying to get at a stubborn flea. The mating season was more or less over, and the storm was starting to settle down, back to normal. He stood up, wincing at every cracking noise his body made as he did so. “I'm getting old,” he mused darkly before stretching himself a bit, focusing mainly on his legs. After stretching, he walked into his private latrine and did his business.

A few moments later, he stepped out of his glade and looked at his doorstep. While he was illiterate, Nicolau was a good map-reader, and always was on the lookout for Ime's maps of the area nearer Mt. Silver, especially this time of year. The Ceremony of Ascension took several months and dozens of map revisions to plan, and the end result was that no two Ceremonies were alike. This was to prevent the omulosi influencing the result by telling a nyithindo they favored what trials lay before them and how to conquer them. Indeed, any one given test would be ignored for a few years before Ime and Nicolau dared include it again. Other missives slipped him were the daily foraging reports, mainly in pictoral form.

Today, there was no such map or report on his doorstep. Nicolau shrugged, knowing that Ime would likely be revising, re-revising, and countervising the map until he was satisfied. He walked back inside and looked at the empty bed, where he'd seduced several Pokemon, almost all of whom weren't Chu. Nicolau had never been attracted to his own species, and always courted outside of it when presented the opportunity. While he had had several relationships over the years, his husbands-to-be kept dying after he opened the relationship with sex. Eoin was the only one who'd broken that pattern, and only by the skin of his teeth.

He heard footsteps approach his glade, then fade away. He returned to the doorstep to find the foraging report, which (as usual) was etched into a piece of bark. The glyphs on it told him all he needed to know: 97 berries, less than yesterday; 13 Pidgey, more than yesterday; no Kakuna or Metapod. (Neither species was available past late June, so this was understandable.) He nodded, then tossed the report aside. There were various food caches secured in dry places just outside the storm towards Mt. Silver; these caches were well out of sight range of the valley the Ceremony took place in and so he could send omulosi in to break them open without fear of influencing the Ceremony.

Nicolau then sat down and began to brainstorm. He spent a large amount of time either brainstorming or flirting with nonChu males, but since Eoin was openly hostile to him at this point he had spent the past several weeks brainstorming laws. His usual focus was on equal-rights laws, intending to put an end to the discrimination between straight and gay. This had been an issue for him since he first joined the storm; Ime would have been his first had they not been caught and Ime accused Nicolau of raping him. Perhaps insultingly, Ime was always amongst the first omulosi to shoot down any gay-rights laws, arguing that gay-bashing was endemic. This put him at loggerheads with other Moonlight Meet-joining omulosi, particularly because Ime had himself sired four clutches of eggs from a longtime female partner. Despite this, Ime and Nicolau were friends, albeit not fast.

Another major issue Nicolau meditated upon was the tendency for his mates to be killed. At first, the mates died from exposure or attack, but recently the deaths were grotesquely violent and largely unexplained. Eight years ago he had a Zigzagoon lover (formerly owned by a trainer, like he had been) whom happily put out for him; he lasted three weeks before someone killed him by jamming a pine branch deep into his right eye. The murders only got grislier from there. While some were done with branches in the eye, three were drownings in the nearby river, two had gone missing (and were later found with their ankle or arm in a snare trap, having died from exposure) and a further two -- one a Rattata, the other a Clefairy -- were systematically kidnapped, tortured, disembowelled and the remains delivered to Nicolau complete with a pictoral threat to castrate him. If Eoin's near-miss was any indication, this one was likely systematic torture as well, interrupted when the attempted killer misjudged how long Nicolau would be out talking with Mirembe about healing poultices.

More footsteps. Nicolau returned to the doorstep and gathered up the small roll of paper there, unfurling it to see Ime's map. Taking a bit of burnt twig, he looked over the map for any questionable sections and marked them. The maps started with as much as thirteen trials on it, but through these notes and face-to-face meetings the trials were whittled down to three. This time, he marked out four obstacles for elimination, then rolled the map back up and left his home to take it to Ime.

*-)07:12 KDT(-*

Ime woke up early, as usual, and shooed the Pikachu he'd slept with the night previous out of his hut. The Pikachu squeaked in protest, but obeyed once Ime began sparking at the jowls, grumbling. After she left, Ime made his bed, then walked over to his desk and grabbed a small piece of burnt twig.

Ime's maps were designed with simplicity in mind. All he ever included were borders were maneuverable terrain met impassible, and symbols indicating points of interest, as Nicolau frequently went into the woods to distract away metal-type Pokemon that made nests. Outside of the Ceremony, only Ime and Nicolau were allowed to enter the path towards Mt. Silver.

He looked over his notes. He drew pictographs to mask his plans should they be intercepted (he and Nicolau knew what they represented; others did not), and was allowed writing utensils solely because he mapped the area. After skimming the notes, he looked at his map, then back at his notes. There were already 13 tra-- er, “trials”, on the map, and he was running out of room to place any more. Satisfied, he laid the map out to settle so that rolling it wouldn't smudge his markings.

Ime shut his binder, stashed it under the desk, and started to take down all the notes he had made and tacked into the walls the year prior. In general, he kept these up until he started making revisions for the new Ceremony, then he took them down and threw them into the mountain rapids nearby, which destroyed them. Because he got few visitors, he wasn't under any obligation to hide whatever he was doing, and whatever he did tack to the walls during the development cycle were rejected ideas, whether by Nicolau, himself, or the two of them together. No other omulosi was involved, and as far as Ime was concerned that was for the better. He didn't take too long to gather all the sheets of paper up and put them into a pile which he'd marked as “JUNK”. Once this was done, he rolled up the map and loosely tied it with a small vine.

The map thus prepared, Ime grabbed the junk pile and took the map to Nicolau, setting it onto his doorstep. He then started to walk towards Mt. Silver, deviating from the path four yards in to follow a barely-noticable and even more barely-used footpath. During the Ceremony, this footpath was blocked off by heavy logs Ime rolled into place to keep them focused on the main goal, but all other times of year anyone could gain access to it. The actual Ceremony started several hundred metres away, around a bend in the path, and so this was generally considered the limit as to how far down the path you could go, mainly because there was nothing further before the trials.

Ime followed the footpath to a clearing overlooking the rapids thirty feet below. There were three nyithindo watching the rushing river, and throwing rocks, acorns, and pine cones into it. Despite the noise, this was a very peaceful place, and because Nicolau had found it impossible to keep them from coming to this spot, he decreed it to be fully accessible. When Ime objected, the rest of the omulosi voted, 12-3, to make it accessible. This was four years ago.

“Morning,” Ime grunted, stepping beside them and hurling his armful of schematics into the river below. They fluttered down to the water and were swiftly grabbed by the rushing current, dissolving in the turbulent water very rapidly.

“Ime, what those?” asked one of the nyithindo, a Pichu. It was still learning to talk.

“Junk that blew in from outside,” he lied. It was his go-to line if he was seen dumping papers into the water, since literacy was unpopular at best, and human detritus was normally treated as garbage. Not to mention it was self-justifying because the vast majority of the storm was illiterate. The nyithindo accepted this before picking up another rock and nonchalantly tossing it into the river. Ime turned and returned home.

*-)09:12 KDT(-*

Mudiwa yawned and woke up, stretching as he rolled off of his bedroll. His parents were awake and had already left the house to forage, leaving the 14-year-old alone.

The Pikachu stood up, grounding himself into the dirt in the center of the hut as he looked at the reading material by his bed. Unlike other Chu, Mudiwa cherished his reading material, more because it reminded him of the value of arguing from logic, which he preferred to the constant appeals to emotion his peers used. The pages taught him Common, taught him how to read, taught him how to make a point. It was in them he immersed himself when nobody else was around.

Today, however, he wasn't in the mood for reading. He sat on his bed and began licking himself clean, spitting out or swallowing the dirt he removed from his fur. Chu weren't particularly fastidious, and Mudiwa was no exception, grooming himself only once every few months, usually when the smell of filth overshadowed the usual scent of ozone. He spent a good half-hour cleaning his arms and legs, his spine not flexible enough to get anything else. Then, he stood back up and stepped outside.

A sea of Pikachu and Pichu greeted him as soon as he stepped out the door, with the occasional Raichu (or human in a Raichu getup, as Eoin was aptly demonstrating as he broke up a fight over a female) in the crowd attempting to keep the peace. For the most part, the Pikachu and Pichu stuck together in groups of four to twenty-six, with scuffles breaking out when two Pikachu in a group disagreed and ending when the omulosi forcefully separated them into different groups. Whereas most other species, and even other Chu, had a strong sense of parenthood and were fiercely protective of their offspring, Viridian Storm Pichu were never under a Chu's direct supervision for more than ten hours at a time, and when they finally evolved at one-and-a-half, had been supervised by almost the entire nyithindo population of the storm.

Upon evolving, the new Pikachu generally lived with their biological parents if they were still alive and if they were part of the storm, and were taught the rest of the storm's laws and traditions by them. Mudiwa was born outside the storm, and had been adopted by his present parents,whom he'd been living with for thirteen years, almost. He had two siblings at one point, but a cold winter killed one and a Misdreavus drove the other to suicide, feeding off of its feelings of fear. The nature of the second death is why Mudiwa preferred logic to emotion; emotions tended to lie. Even worse, the Misdreavus had itself been murdered; someone staked it through the eye with a pine branch, though Mudiwa never understood why the corpse was in the Kabaka's glade.

Mudiwa stepped out and joined a group of ten others, four of whom were Pichu. He was always mindful of his words, since one of the more common causes of a fight was exposing one's homosexuality -- whether intentionally done or not, by either a straight or a gay. He envied those who preferred both genders since they didn't have this dilemma as bad as tailraisers like him did. Unfortunately, the topic of discussion was mating, so Mudiwa could do nothing but slink away from the group, keeping away from it to avoid exposing himself.

Mudiwa first realized he was gay shortly before the humans entered the storm, when he tried to mate with a female. Not only couldn't he get an erection from looking at her snatch, but when he did try, she responded by attacking him. Shortly after the incident, he started attending the Moonlight Meets, where he found himself, to his horror, attracted to the swaying genitalia of other males. He unwittingly outed himself to his parents, whom had attempted to organize a search for him that night, and while they were shocked to learn Mudiwa preferred males, they were equally relieved to find he had not given away his virginity that night. In fact, Mudiwa was still a virgin. Since then, his parents had been supportive, but they were growing concerned that Mudiwa was eyeing Eoin as his mate.

He silently slipped into the bushes to be alone for a bit.
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