Burning into Cinders
#1
Burning into Cinders
bmkmb's Story Hoard

Explanation: Burning into Cinders will be a collection of stories, most of them focusing around my park character, Raina Moon, her team, and the people she happens to encounter on her journeys. 
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Table of Contents
Ascension - Ascension wasn't born tame. She used to be a princess. Ascension's backstory and how she was captured by Raina. [GRADED]
Those It Filled Eyes - Raina's school once hired a trainer to teach the younger students about battles. Corvien's backstory. [Unclaimed]
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#2
Writing for Cash
Character Count: 21,796
Title: Those It Filled Eyes

       Corvien’s father had always loved Azula more than him. He knew that. It was a fact of life. But Corvien didn’t care. Because even though the bond between Azula and his father was strong, it was probably one-sided at most. Neither he nor Azula cared that much about him. Corvien and Azula’s bond, however, was mutual. And for that reason, he knew that it was even stronger.

       The first time it happened, they were six and five. Corvien was a year older than her. They had no mother, as she had died giving birth. It was another reason their father liked Azula more than him. Apparently, his sister was like their mother’s mini clone.
       Today, their father was teaching him how to fight. (“You gotta how to defend yourself, y’know, when you grow up, kid!” he had bellowed.) Corvien did not want to learn how to fight. Defending himself was fine, but being the one to throw the punches was just a no. He didn’t want to harm, and for that reason, his punches were weak. Not that he was strong to begin with, anyway. 
       “No, no, you’re doing wrong,” his father grunted, irritation eminent in his voice. “Like this.” His father grabbed his hand roughly and bent Corvien’s wrist so that it was straight. The six-year-old’s hand hurt under how tight his father was holding it. It wasn’t the first time they’d done this and it wouldn’t be the last. Eventually, Corvien broke.
       “I don’t want to do this anymore!” he yelled. “You don’t care about how I feel, do you,” he accused. “You just want me to be like you!”
       “Excuse me?” Corvien’s father boomed, raising up to his full height. He towered over Corvien and though the boy wavered, he stood his ground. “You know nothing about the world, boy,” Corvien’s father growled. “If I wasn’t so nice, I’d spank you right now.”
       Corvien bit his lip in fear. How much farther would this escalate? His father was scary when he was mad and the boy wouldn’t put it past him to do something very bad if things didn’t stop soon. Thankfully, it did.
       “Father!” a new voice came from near the doorway. There was Azula, a five-year-old girl, replicating the punch their father had showed Corvien perfectly. 
       Corvien’s dad’s eyes widened. “Azula!” he cried, “What are you doing?”
       Azula grinned. “Corvien wasn’t doing it right, so I did it to make you happy!”
       Her father laughed good-heartedly, then paused. “No, no,” he muttered quietly to himself, “-you shouldn’t be glad. Proper ladies don’t throw punches.”
       Azula tilted her head in confusion as the praise stopped. “Am I doing it wrong?” she asked, puzzled.
       “No, no, you’re doing it fine!” their father reassured her. “But look at it this way: proper ladies don’t throw punches,” he repeated to his daughter.
       “Then what do they do?”
       “Gymnastics!” Corvien’s father exclaimed. Yes, that was it, he thought, gymnastics. “Come, Azula, let me take you somewhere.” Gently leading her by the shoulders, he showed the girl out of the house, and Corvien, all but forgotten, stood in the corner, an unreadable expression on the six-year-old’s face. Right before they had left, he had caught Azula’s eye. He shouldn’t be bothering you anytime soon, she had conveyed to him, I think he’ll be pretty busy with me. 
       Yeah, Corvien had replied glumly, I guess. But even if Azula was trying to protect him, that didn’t mean he wasn’t allowed to feel the littlest tinge of rejection, was he? 
       “Corvien.”
       Corvien looked up at the sound of his name to see Azula staring at him. She smiled and gave him a slight nod. Pride. There was pride in her eyes. But what for? 
       I know it was hard for you to stand up to Father.
       Oh. 
       Azula nodded once more before being led out of the room. The first time, it was pride.

       Every week since she was nine, Azula got an allowance. A hundred dollars, every week. Her father refused to tell her where it came from, but Corvien got none. 
If it were up to her, she would’ve split it half-and-half, but her father was insistent that she kept what she got. “It’s my gift to you,” he would always say. “If the boy wanted something, he could always ask.” Except he never did. She wasn’t sure if Father did, but Azula knew that Corvien would never beg. Not even for something small, like a penny. Especially not from their father. It was as if he felt a constant need to prove himself. He probably did. Azula didn’t, couldn’t blame him for it. She was lucky to be on her father’s good side. To never be praised no matter what? She couldn’t fathom how he felt. That day, it was respect.

       Some time amidst the age of eleven, Corvien walked into their run-down, messy kitchen to see Azula washing the dishes and their father at the table. He frowned. Why was Azula washing the dishes? That had never been her job.
       He headed over to his sister and caught her eye. Why? he asked. 
       Azula shrugged, not letting go of the dishes. Because I was old enough and Father told me to.
       But that was his job.
       Azula shrugged again and scrubbed the dish with soap and Corvien had to let out an internal sigh at Azula’s lack of interest on the new situation. She’d been given more work and she didn’t care. Oh, this was going to annoy him.   
       Taking a sponge a sponge and some soap, he-
       “Corvien!” their father bellowed. Corvien flinched in surprise He had forgotten their father was sitting there. He clenched his teeth and braced himself for the question.
       “Corvien, what are you doing there?” 
       “Nothing, Father,” the boy correctly replied.
       “You haven’t been distracting Azula, have you?”
       “No, Father.”
       “Good. Then come here and sit at the kitchen table like a man.”
       Corvien took an exasperated breath and plopped down in one of the wooden table’s rickety chairs. His father glared at him. Corvien glared at Azula. Azula looked back and caught his eye. Gratitude. Meh, at least you tried. Today, it was gratitude.

       When Corvien turned twelve, Azula was the one to buy him a present. Apparently, she had been saving up since the start, though that wasn’t so surprising. There were only so many things one could buy with a hundred dollars each week. Neither of them used much technology, being raised in a family that didn’t, instead using their imagination and playing outside, despite their age and other children’s screen-obsessed influences. But that one day when Azula had begged him to follow her outside on his birthday at seven in the morning, now that could be considered a surprise:
       As previously stated, it had been seven in the morning when it happened. Six fifty-eight to be exact. And on a sleepy Saturday, too, when Azula, someone curse the girl, had burst into his room. “Good morning, sleepy-head!” she had cried, shaking Corvien from his slumber.
       He remembers muttering something incoherent before digging deeper under the bed covers. “Go away, Azula,” he thinks it was.
       Azula huffed. “What day is it, Corvien?” she had asked.
       “Saturday. Now go away,” he mumbled in reply. Little did he know that that was the wrong answer. 
       A smirk growing on her lips, Azula said, “Okay,” and Corvien had been too languorous at the time to hear the mischievous tone she had put on it.
       As Azula slowly walked out of his room, Corvien sighed in relief. Now he could get some proper sl-
       “Surprise!” 
       Corvien flinched at the sudden noise and threw back his covers in exasperation. Was Azula always this noisy in the morning? Enough already! “Azula, what do you want?” 
       The girl smirked good-naturedly. “It’s your birthday, Corvien. Now get dressed and follow me, or your present might burn down its box.”
       The answer surprised him and Corvien only nodded numbly. He had forgotten that it was his birthday, though truth be told, it wasn’t exactly something important in his house. He had given up celebrating it years ago. Azula was the only one who cared. Then, his thoughts shifted to the last part of her announcement and got stuck on that. (She said something about a present? And... what type of present could burn down a...
       Meanwhile, Azula finally walked out of Corvien’s room, once and for all. And then she balked. She really did hope that Corvien’s present wouldn’t burn down it’s box. Or the woods, or their house for that matter. Or the world. Ah, she could deal with that later, if or when it happened.
       Once Corvien had thrown on a silvery t-shirt and dark blue jeans, he headed down the hallway and into their house’s cluttered kitchen, only to find Azula waiting there for him, her feet tapping against the tiled floor impatiently. She tossed him an apple from the counter and flung open the house’s back door. A strong gust of wind welcomed them as Azula motioned for Corvien to follow her outside. “Let’s go.”
       Corvien grabbed his coat from the hanger beside the door, then hopped outside, mindful of the concrete stairs so that he didn’t trip. He’d done that too many times already. Once he was ready to go, Azula slammed the door shut, obviously not caring that she was going to wake their father up before positioning herself so that she was in the lead. She tilted her head as Corvien finished up with the rest of his coat buttons. “Ready to go?” she asked eagerly.
       Corvien nodded.
       “Alright then, follow me.”
       The siblings trekked silently through their yard and past the valley until finally entering the forest beyond. There was no trail to show where they were going, but that didn’t matter. They both knew the invisible pathway by heart, but after entering the woods, the silence grew unbearable. Corvien was the first one to make a noise.
       “Azula, where are we going?” 
       After more than possibly fifteen minutes of walking, the siblings were farther away from their house than they usually explored. In fact, to Corvien, this place could even be considered unfamiliar. No wonder Azula told me to follow her, Corvien thought musingly. Even though Azula was usually in the lead during their usual adventures, it wasn’t because Corien wouldn’t know what to do or where to go. It was more of a ‘proof-that-she-didn’t-need-his-protection’ type thing. But the way she had said “follow me” this time around was different. Like she had actually believed that she needed to be in the lead. And it bothered him. Corvien had never been here before, but Azula seemed to know this place like the back of her hand. When had she had the time to do this?
       “Just a little longer,” Azula replied, excitement showing through her voice, though Corvien’s wariness still hadn’t ceased. He didn’t reply.
       Eventually, the duo broke through the last lair of trees and Corvien found himself trying to take in as much of the scenery as possible. His eyes shone widely in awe. In front of them, the land was naturally flat. It was a meadow, he realized, and it was shaped in a perfect circle. How could that be?  Lavender was interspersed with the green grass, along with other various flowers and one could easily compare the field to a rainbow. The grass was lush, but none of the vegetation was too tall and they would easily be able to walk through without being tickled higher than halfway to the knee. Precisely in the center of the meadow was a medium-sized, cardboard box. Now get dressed and follow me, or your present might burn down its box. The phrase renewed itself inside Corvien’s head and his stomach leaped in understanding. He knew what was in there, but he wasn’t sure if he should be worried or glad. Either way, he sure hoped he wasn’t right.
       Azula must’ve glanced at him because she asked, “So, Corvien, what’s in the box?”
       “It’s a…” he hesitated, “...it’s a pokemon isn’t it?” The air holes rudely punched into the cardboard box proved that he wasn’t wrong.   
       “Ding ding!” Azula cried happily, bouncing up and down from toe to toe like the hyper little girl she was. The sight made Corvien smile. His eyes trailed back to the box.        “So what type of pokemon is it?” Azula continued to question him.
       “Mm,” Corvien hmmed, but before he was able to answer, an irritated roar came from under the box and it was flung to the side. A relatively small, drake-like creature with strong orange scales and a blazing fire on the tip of its tail glanced up at him innocently upon hind legs as a small flame burst from its nostrils.
       Corvien blinked, then sighed, “It’s a Charmander.”
       And Azula’s eyes shone with satisfaction, not for her, but for her brother, for Corvien finally had a pokemon to call his own. Today, it was satisfaction.

       Like all pokemon, his Charmander grew, but Corvien would never forget the time it evolved into a Charmeleon:
       It had been nine months he’d gotten the fire-type. Corvien and Azula were in the same naturally-flat, circle-shaped meadow as they’d been in when Corvien turned twelve. Somehow, it had become their own special meeting place. 
       “Charmander, try again - use Ember!” 
       Corvien hadn’t named his Charmander. He wanted to call it something special, something between the two of them that only they would understand, but nothing eventful had happened yet, and no matter how hard he thought, Corvien couldn’t come up with anything. So for now, Charmander was just Charmander. It bothered him, but just like        Azula and the dishes, the lizard didn’t seem to care. Corvien always thought it was hilarious how they acted so much like each other.
       His Charmander responded to his request and blew a quick ball of flames out of its mouth. Corvien grinned. 
       “Good job, Charmander. Wanna try something else?”
       The creature nodded, its pride obvious as the flame on the tip of its tail blazed brightly.
       “Okay, how about-”
       Azula tapped him nervously on the shoulder a couple times and Corvien stared at his sister, confused. “What?”
       The girl took a glance around the ringed meadow before replying, “Mm, Corviern, I think we’re surrounded.”
       Corviern followed her gaze to the shadows hiding in the trees. “I don’t see anything there,” he mused, but like Azula, Charmander seemed to sense something. The creature snarled, receiving two threatening barks and a low growl in return. Corvien watched, probably not as scared as he should’ve been as three black dogs pounce out of the forest, landing a few yards in front of them. From the look on their faces, it was quite obvious that they meant harm, but the duo of children stood in amazement before the fear set in, though it seemed that the Houndours followed a code of honor as they waited for the children to get ready before they attacked.
       “Azula, get behind me!” Corvien commanded as he eyed the hounds warily. Charmander stood in front of him, tense and ready for the battle, but there was no way that        Corvien was letting it fight three on one. “Charmander,” he requested, “I think you should go back into your pokeball.” 
       Azula and Charmander stared incredulously at him.
       “Excuse me?” Azula exclaimed, “I’m not going to be hiding from this! I can protect myself!”
       Charmander nodded, making noises of agreement and Corvien put his fingers to his forehead. “I - fine, do whatever you want,” he muttered. Both girl and lizard had crossed their arms, a defiant shine in their eyes, and Corvien knew that it was a lost cause to convince them otherwise. The Houndours seemed impressed.
       Corvien turned his attention back to the battlefield, where the Houndours were all standing parallel to each other in front of his orange-scaled lizard. Opponents gazed into each others’ eyes for a moment before, as if there had been a hidden signal that only pokemon could hear, the Houndours attacked. 
       The middle one moved first, pouncing directly onto Charmander’s neck. The lizard buckled under its weight, but turned its head around to bite Houndour in the paw. The said Houndour whimpered as dragon’s teeth cut into its flesh, and hopped away, careful to leave its injured paw off the ground.
       Seeing their teammate retreat, the other two Houndours came into action, both running towards Charmander, but the fire-type was ready and a blazing fire engulfed the grassy arena. One of the Houndours yelped, but both of them kept going, closer and closer until one of them tackled Charmander and the other used Double Team. 
       Corvien backed away from the fire that - despite the grass - wasn’t spreading, courtesy to the fire-type’s control of its power, and the fire - since when had Charmander known Inferno? Hadn’t they only been practicing Ember minutes ago?
       Charmander snarled under the weight of the Houndour, the second one and its clones surrounding her in an intimidation attempt, but frankly, she wasn’t scared. The              Houndour had chosen a bad position to let her face it, and so she let a Flamethrower directly into its face. 
       The Houndour stumbled back from the jet of fire and his teammate took his hesistance as an order to let all his clones attack. Charmander looked so small compared to the pack of Houndours, real or fake, charging at her and she glanced around finally unsure of what to do. As the Houndours came closer, Corvien realized that he could see panic growing in Charmander’s eyes until-
       All the fire that was left over from the Inferno dissipated and Corvien’s breath hitched as his starter glowed a bright, beautiful, breath-taking hue of blue. Her form shifted and changed, larger, stronger, better prepared. The boy’s eyes were wide as the glow died down. Charmander was no longer a Charmander. She was a Charmeleon. 
       Charmeleon’s scales were a bit darker than her old one’s, her claws larger, build stronger, but more noticeable was that she’d gained horns on the top of her head. The        Houndours - all three of them - had ceased their attacks to watch the process, but now that it was over, they still didn’t attack. Instead, the one who’d tackled Charman - Charmeleon - the leader of the Houndour, Corvien supposed, looked up at her and barked, once of question, twice of… Corvien didn’t know. It didn’t seem threatening, at least.
       Charmeleon looked down and the Houndour and smiled. She made an odd grumble, sort of like a purring noise, and the Houndour nodded. Meanwhile, Corvien and Azula looked on in confusion. 
       Once the two fire-types had finished their conversation, the Houndour licked Charmeleon on the nose before he and his pack of three returned back into the forest. 
       Azula, all confusion dissipated, shared a glance with Charmeleon and they both crossed their arms, smirking, the same spark of defiance in their eyes. 
       “I knew Charmeleon could do it,” Azula said proudly. “And look, Corvien. Neither of us have a scratch.” 
       Corvien huffed. 
       “You really do need more faith in us, Corvien,” Azula continued. Her eyes sparkled with fire and lightning, a bit of laughter in the mix. “Oh, and do remember, you aren’t in control of me.” Today, it was defiance. 

       As time passed, things changed. Corvien and Azula both left home to set out on their journeys once Azula turned twelve. They traveled together. They grew together. 
       Both became renowned for their tendency to host mock battles and make surprise visits to schools, much to the delight of both teachers and children. Azula specialized in contests and performing. Corvien favored not beauty, but strength. 
       They were both content with their lives, but nothing stays forever. When Azula turned fifteen, she got a note saying that their father had died in a brawl. Azula inherited everything he owned, which wasn’t much, just the ramshackled house they lived in, and after much debate, for the first time in three years, Azula returned home. 
       After that, Azula split up her time working around the house as well as performing for money. Corvien, of course, missed her, but tried his best not to let it show. He also continued his journey, now aiming to capture all the strongest pokemon, but he never passed up the chance to show off his skills at schools.
       Without a traveling companion, Corvien became quieter, more reserved, and then one day, he finally learned what it was:
       Corvien’s arms were draped around his Charizard’s neck as they flew, saddleless, through the sky. Despite the pale blue sky and the golden sun radiating heat, it was still quite windy, but not enough to make flying dangerous.
       Corvien loosened his grip a little. Completely through trial and error, he’d learned how tight to hold on during different legs of a trip. Now that they were on the part where they would be flying straight for a decent duration of time, Corvien wouldn’t need to be as careful as when they were diving, for example.
       Closing his eyes, Corvien perceived the feeling of Charizard’s scales - they were smoother than one would’ve expected,  and definitely warm, but also crisp at the same time. Crisp? Oh, why did he think that? Now he had an apple stuck in his mind… and Azula. 
       Suddenly, Charizard jerked up and to the right, doing a wild corkscrewing, pinwheel and Corvien’s eyes widened as he lost his grip. Corvien looked down. He was falling slowly, well, quickly, but he wouldn’t hit the ground for a while. Huh, he mused, so this is what it feels like to go skydiving. He decided right then he didn’t like it.
Charizard roared from above him and Corvien took a chance and glanced up. The beast certainly did not look happy that its master was currently freefalling. Pulling its wings into a dive, Charizard leveled its speed so that it was falling at the same rate as Corvien before slowly easing its way beneath him so that Corvien would land on its back. It then darted forward and Corvien mmphed as he collapsed onto the dragon’s back.
       Charizard growled a question and Corvien responded, “Yeah, I’m fine,” but apparently, that wasn’t the right answer as the creature roared and crained its neck back to look Corvien in the eye. He breathed in quickly. It. And suddenly, Corvien understood. 
       It was defiance. It was satisfaction. It was gratitude. It was respect. It was pride. It was love. Charizard cared for him. Azula cared for him. 
       And Corvien laughed. “Charizard, I finally have a name for you,” he said proudly. 
       Charizard tilted her head and made a snuffling sort of noise. Corvien laughed again.
       “From now on, let’s call you Azula.”

Notes: This was originally supposed to be a Charmander-capture, but then I got a bit carried away with the Azula-Corvien bonding, and then I completely forgot about the capture altogether, so I just turned it into a writing for cash. It's also the longest thing I've written in quite a while, so I'm kind of proud of it. I had to re-indent all the paragraphs, and I think I got all of them, but I might not have, so that's to blame if there are any weird spacings in there. In-depth grading, please!
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