Beginner Run: Sapahn (Ruined Palace)
#1
Post #1

Winter in the Park was always interesting. It affected the island's varied biomes and climates in the most curious of ways. The Ruined Palace, plopped on the border of the Woods and the Meteor Valley. The effect was strange; the Wood's deciduous oaks had withered to skeletons in the wintry chill about the Palace, but the coniferous evergreens of Meteor Valley lay dispersed among them where the two territories blended.

The Palace had been built long ago by an old Head of the Park, as a potential tourist investment, and was left abandoned when a recession hit. By the time the hardship had passed, the Park was under new leadership, and such a frivolous attraction wasn't aligned with the new leader's values. Rather than spending the money to have it torn down, they let nature reclaim it, and reclaim it it had.

Medieval cobblestone rose in impressive towers, a high rock wall racing about the perimeter. The Ranger Outpost was a small stone hut of an extension lodged against the outer wall, next to the wrought-iron gate that was nested in the territory's opening arch. The guard wall was crumbled in many places, allowing glimpses of the main palace structures and the courtyard within. Veins of shriveled plantlife cover the fortress, killed by winter's breath. In the summer, the place was covered in such abundant overgrowth that one could barely see the stone beneath. At this time of the year, it actually looked relatively normal, as if it'd just been abandoned not so long ago.

Babbs waits quietly at the Outpost, a dark shape beside her. Queenie, her Salazzle, stands beside her Trainer. Slender, bipedal form hangs close to offer the old woman the warmth of her fire-lizard body. The creature gives a warbling yawn. Her Trainer gives her a pat on her slender muzzle. The old woman herself looks so old that one wouldn't be surprised if she dropped dead of old age at any moment--watery blue eyes look out from crinkled eyes, feature in a soft resting smile despite the drooping arc of the skin of her jowls. Her usual red kimono is covered by a heavy dark crimson trench coat, its hood pulled up over her white bun.

Trainers coming to the Park had several options; they could find their own way here by their own means and Pokemon, or they could take an escort Dragonite or similar mount provided at the Dock. The noise and pollution that vehicles brought were high stressors for the natural environment and the Pokemon that lived there, so they were only used in emergencies. Otherwise, Trainers mostly had free reign; the outpost kept them from wandering where they needn't be.

A carrier Talonflame had dropped off the info sheet for her charge. Today's charge was a kid that was pretty young, with blond hair and two Pokemon. He should be due here any minute, from Babbs' estimate. It'll be an interesting encounter; hopefully his age wouldn't make him too spooked by the Ghost and Dark types.


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#2
Marcus tightened his grip on the Dragonite's shoulders: a feat he found increasingly difficult against the crisp breeze. His feet must have subconsciously dug into the dragon Pokemon's hips again because it let out a sharp growl and Marcus loosened his legs accordingly. A sigh of relief escaped his lips as he realized the spinning treetops just below were getting closer. He never knew himself to have a fear of heights but hanging on for dear life fifty feet in the air might be proving him wrong. Marcus closed his eyes as Dragonite slowly spiraled down toward the decrepit building.

He felt a slight bump as the breeze softened and assumed they had landed, but he counted to ten in his head before opening his eyes again just to be safe. His legs wobbled a bit after he dropped from Dragonite's back; but, he didn't care and went about attempting to adjust his jacket, hat, and gloves with his numb fingers. He was on the ground and he didn't want to leave it again anytime soon.
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Morphic: Wade
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#3
Post #2

Sure enough, as if on cue, the yellow silhouette of a shuttle Dragonite materializes in the sky, the figure of its tiny wings becoming quickly more apparent as it nears. It flies over them, then spirals slowly back down to the entrance. The creature gives a soft trumpet of greeting as it alights upon the ground, frozen grass crinkling beneath him. Babbs raises her gnarled, wooden cane in greeting, shuffling forward to meet the carrier Dragon.

The boy on its back pauses so long to get off that the old woman nearly wonders if he's passed out as she approaches, concern bubbling quickly up to her features until he opens his eyes, as if checking to make sure he's on the ground, and then jumps unsteadily down. She offers a steadying arm of support should he need it as he seems to try to regain his ground legs. Babbs gives a warm chuckle.

"Not your thing, eh?" she inquires as she reaches up to give the yellow Pokemon a scratch. The Dragonite's maw gapes in a yawn, its antennae twitching with satisfaction at the generous scratch, and then she gives it a pat on the neck that dismisses it. It takes happily to the sky, streaking across the wintry air back to the Docks.

Watery blue eyes turn back to the boy. "Marcus, is it?" The old woman always feels a little anxious about taking young kids through the Park, but she's done it at least enough times to know not to underestimate them. As soon as the poor kid gets situated--and comfortable on the ground again--they could set out.


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#4
Gloves straightened, Marcus looked up and took the hand in front of him in a shake.

"Yes," he answered as his eyes looked up to see the face of his greeter. "Nice to meet-"

He jumped slightly, which seemed to be enough to strengthen his legs again. His grip weakened, his eyes widened and his mouth snapped shut abruptly. He shook his head quickly to regain his composure.

"-you," he continued awkwardly with a meek smile, behind which he started beating himself up for showing such a rude response.

He eyed the building behind her as he let go of her hand.

"So this is the Ruined Palace, huh?" he said, reaching for two Poke Balls from his belt and tossing them a few feet away. "I'm hoping to meet new types of Pokemon and expand my team. Right, you guys?"

The metallic balls cracked in half, releasing two flashes of light that took shape as they faded away. Asher looked around excitedly but, upon seeing no opponent, gave Marcus an annoyed glance. Abigail stood next to him and simply started surveying her surroundings.

This was looking to be more difficult than Marcus had thought.
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Morphic: Wade
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#5
Post #3

The boy reaches for her offered stabilizing hand to instead shake it, and she smiles with a pleasant surprise. The old woman's grip is surprisingly firm, papery skin clasping tightly (but not uncomfortably) about the kid's smaller hand as he does a little steadying hop to return the feeling in his legs. "Babbs," she introduces cheerily as soon as he's confirmed his own identity. At least the kid's got manners--Babbs is old-school, and she's got a cane to keep people in line for a reason. Or, so she says. In reality, she'd probably never use it. Probably.

She nods in affirmation as he looks to the palatial complex towering before them. The kid cracks open his two Pokeballs. From within one flourishes a beautiful bird covered in earthen plumage, with a blood-red crest. The other is a more unassuming creature--one whos hump crested a couple of feet tall, with wide half-lidded eyes and a gentle face. A Pidgeotto and a Numel. An unexpected but cute pair.

"We've got plenty here, all right," Babbs chuckles. She beckons him forward to the wrought-iron gate that blocks the worn, brick-paved path that leads into the inner courtyard. On Babbs' back is a massive hiker's pack, its top rising far above her head, balanced almost lackadaisically on her back despite the probably-tremendous weight. She reaches for some keys in a side pocket, digging out the large keyring and thumbing through it.

"Let's see, Enigma, Woods... ah-ha, Palace," she mumbles beneath her breath, finding a skinny metal key with an intricate fob. She unlocks the padlock and the gates slowly open with a long, ominous metal creak. Babbs beckons him inside, and re-closes the gate behind her, though she notably doesn't lock it.

She pauses as they enter, turning to look at Marcus. He seemed like a well-intentioned and respectful kid, but the Park didn't mess around, so Babbs couldn't let him think this was some field trip. "Alright, now this is one place we don't want to get separated in. The place is kind of a maze. We'll just keep this one short through the courtyard--" Babbs gestures to the withered garden, packed with the skeletons of shrubs and vines and trees, still impressively packed and difficult to see through despite the bareness of winter. "--but stay close nonetheless."

Babbs exchanges a glance with the two Pokemon, then looks ahead. The courtyard garden path splits here, forming the beginnings of a large diamond around the yard. She looks expectantly to Marcus, giving him the go-ahead on which side he chose. The one on the right seemed more populated with lower shrubs and bushes, and the one on the left with a myriad of trees that were likely part of a verdant orchard. They'd round the full circle, but she lets the kid decide where he wants to start first. Babbs was of the back-in-my-day generation where you could put your kids out alone and call 'em back for dinnertime, so she liked giving this generation a little taste of agency here and there. Built character.


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#6
Marcus reached down to scoop up the Poke Balls as he followed, snapping them shut before reattaching them to the clamps on his belt. His Pokemon followed him through the gate, Abigail taking flight and perching herself on a high branch to continue looking around.

"Abigail, what do you see up there?" Marcus yelled with a chuckle.

The bird Pokemon only paused to give him a brief glance before shaking her head and proceeding to preen herself. Marcus sighed as a crisp breeze blew through the area: he wasn't her original trainer but he was hoping she'd give a warmer reception than this.

The crunching of dead leaves at his feet interrupted his thoughts and he looked down to see Asher walking toward a tight-knit group of bare bushes, eyes fixed. With a low howl, a slightly stronger breeze stirred and the nimble branches danced.

"Hold on, Asher!" Marcus shouted, his hand shooting out; however, it was too late to stop the camel Pokemon from charging into the shadows.

Asher came to a halt, stopped only by an abrupt sneeze resulting in small sparks escaping his nostrils. Fortunately, they quickly flickered and dissipated in a puff of smoke. Marcus thrust Asher's Poke Ball forward and his small, overeager partner was gone in a flash of red light.

"I need to be more careful with you," he muttered and looked back to the underbrush, wondering if Asher had actually been on to something or if it had just been the breeze like he thought. He motioned toward his feathery friend. "Come on, Abigail, we should check this out."

Abigail spread her wings and dove down to flutter next to her trainer's shoulder as he walked forward. Remembering his Ranger's warning, Marcus stopped and turned to face her.

"I think we'll go this way, Babbs."
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Morphic: Wade
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#7
Post #4

Abigail perches easily atop her chosen sentry branch, keen eyes carefully scouring the crinkled grass and skeletal shrubbery for movement. Other than the whispers of the breeze through the wilted foliage, however, the Ruined Palace seems almost deathly quiet on this wintry day.

Babbs watches with a detached amusement as the bumbling Numel charges hastily toward one of the bushes rustled by the breeze. Her brow raises as Marcus rushes after his Pokemon. He quickly gets him under control, withdrawing him back into the ball, but Babbs nods in agreement at the muttered sentiment that he needed to keep a better eye out. Abigail, however, seems to be fairly well-behaved, so the old Ranger isn't terribly worried.

The Pidgeotto spreads her wings and begins to glide down--but as Marcus approaches the brush and delivers the news of his chosen path, Abigail spots movement that stops her short mid-air, pulling up sharply and flapping her wings to allow her to hover a bit. She gives a chirrup of warning, then dives forward just as the bush in front of Marcus rustles, and a shadow leaps out at him!

Abigail's body glows a bright white as she speeds in and hits the attacking figure with her body. The small black form gives a startled squeak as it's cast back into the brush as quickly as it'd emerged. It quickly shakes itself off and scuffles out into the path, however, a surprisingly vicious snarl trickling from it despite its small size. Babbs takes one look at it and recognizes its telltale scruffiness, mustache, buck teeth, and red eyes as a Ratatta-Alola. They were unassuming, but surprisingly fierce, and this one was no different.

The rodent hisses and swaps its gaze rapidly between Marcus and Abigail. It's been made cautious by the counter-attack, but it's obviously not willing to let these intruders pass without some sort of fight.

Meanwhile, the Pidgeotto gives a warning ca-caw, but her eyes turn to Marcus, anticipating orders.


Encounter Stats:
[Image: 19-alola.gif]
Rattata-Alola / ? / ?? / ??? / 85%
It tried to attack Marcus, but Abigail intercepted!

[Image: 17.gif]
Abigail the Pidgeotto / F / Bashful / Keen Eye / 100%
Used Quick Attack to intercept!

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#8
Marcus barely blinked before the Rattata was back in front of them. He saw a few feathers on the ground where it stood and pieced together what had just happened. He turned to Abigail and pumped his fist with a smile in thanks before he looked back at Rattata to figure out their next move.

Even though Abigail was evolved, he knew Rattata could be quicker and stronger than her so they needed to be careful and tip the odds more in their favor, but they couldn't take too long to do so. In addition, the fact Rattata had attacked him couldn't leave his head since Pokemon weren't known to attack humans without reason. It had come from the bushes as he approached. Could it be protecting something he couldn't see? They needed to be wary of that, just in case.

"Abigail, use Feather Dance and try to lure Rattata away from those bushes," he spoke softly.

Even if Abigail turned out to move slower than Rattata, it was more important to keep her in good condition for the long run. If they needed to rely on Quick Attack, it seemed to work well enough anyway.

Abigail nodded and flew over Rattata, beating her wings just hard enough to loosen a small shower of her exterior feathers on the adversary. She then made to turn away as Marcus had ordered.
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Morphic: Wade
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#9
Post #5

An order bounces up to the hovering Pidgeotto, and Abigail nods as she carries out the attack. Beige feathers shed from her downy bodice, freeing themselves to begin a slow spiral down toward the Rattata-Alola.

Dark-furred rodent hisses at the perceived projectiles. It hops aggressively back and forth upon its hind legs, as if anticipating its need to dodge them. When the feathers finally get too low for comfort, it drops to all fours and scurries quickly out from under them, effectively flushing itself away from the bush. The plumage comes to rest peacefully on the ground. The Rattata glares at them for a long moment, but then realizes that they're harmless decoys. Its anger returns upward at Abigail, who hovers several feet away where she had retreated. The Feather Dance hasn't disarmed the Rattata, but it has made it move away from the bush.

Babbs observers quietly, lips twisted in a frown. She shares a similar opinion--either it's guarding something, or the Rattata here have become fiercely territorial for some reason. It's not unusual for them; she's seen the Dark types be territorial before, but this one seems even more temperamental than usual.

Immediately, it begins charging toward the elevated avian. Its steps suddenly grow faster and faster with each touch ont he ground, until it takes a flying leap at an incredible speed, a familiar white glow overtaking its body. Abigail gives a startled squawk and starts to dive to the right and out of the way, but the Rattata's body collides with the creature's wing. The Rattata-Alola latches fiercely onto the middle of the top of Abigail's right wing, clutching desperately with its claws to hang on. It rears its head back, opening its jaws wide, as it prepares to give a punishing Bite if she doesn't do something quick about it!


Encounter Stats:
[Image: 19-alola.gif]
Rattata-Alola / ? / ?? / ??? / 85%
It Quick Attacked, and is preparing to Bite!!

[Image: 17.gif]
Abigail the Pidgeotto / F / Bashful / Keen Eye / 94%
Used Feather Dance to draw it out!

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#10
Abigail tried to keep her wing flapping to no avail as Rattata clamped on with its small claws. Her slight ascent quickly turned into a nosedive. With a few seconds until they'd hit the ground, Abigail instinctively aimed a peck toward her pursuer in an attempt to free herself.

Watching on, Marcus finally grasped the reality of what was happening but his thoughts were still racing with concern as he watched the two plummet. Blood rushing, he took toward the seventy-pound falling bird. He stretched his arms out and prepared to dive and catch them, failing to think for his own safety.
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Morphic: Wade
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