[WAR XI] Mordred's Lullaby [Not Judged]
warning - this short story is rated PG13/M for violence and gore. Be prepared to be sort of disturbed by the end. I love you all. <3
”Hush, child, the darkness will rise from the deep and carry you down into sleep…”
Lids lifted from shining, beady eyes, chocolate irises staring upwards from their ebony, mask-like frames, jagged-tipped ears flicking forth to listen as the line was sung twice, a gentle, lovely tone layering the lyrics. The furred being shifted, waves of earthy and cream fur shaking as it did so.
“Guileless son, I’ll shape your belief, and you’ll always know that your father’s a thief…”
His tender young mind found comfort in the harsh words, unable to fully understand their meaning and fierce tone. He drew warmth from the more prominent hues of a lullaby that layered his mother’s colorful voice, gazing up at the beige-haired Linoone towering above him fondly. He rested upon his back, his path of sight occasionally drifting to the dark sky as he was lost in the strange song.
“And you won’t understand the cause of your grief, but you’ll always follow the voices beneath…”
The baby Zigzagoon smiled back at his mother as she beamed, claws tenderly laying themselves horizontally upon his stomach. His paws reached up to feel them, a slight gasp of awe escaping his lips as he looked down at the sharp digits, which were much, much larger than his own. He gave a giggle, tapping them playfully. His mother gently pushed his head back into the moss, realizing now that her actions, which had been aimed to comfort and lull, had actually done a surprising job of going completely and totally against her original purpose and reversing her progress.
“Loyalty, loyalty, loyalty, loyalty. Loyalty, loyalty, loyalty, only to me.”
His eyelids began to droop as his mother reached the repetitive part of the song. The consistency would be considered monotonous and boring to most, but to him, it sounded beautiful and was very relaxing. Eyes closing, he sighed, falling into a calm, tune-induced trance; a sort of limbo world between consciousness and sleep, where senses are dulled and creativity sparks anew in preparation for vivid dreams of a child who had seen the world outside of his cramped egg for the very first time.
“Guileless son, your spirit shall hate her, the flower who married my brother, the traitor…”
Sleep wrapped its arms around him, the surprisingly warm embrace of darkness holding him tightly as it dragged him down into unconsciousness.
The Linoone beamed at her new son, nuzzling him as his breathing slowed. Her long body curled around his right side, front arms pulling him close. He buried his nose into her fur, and she tucked his head under her chin. Her own eyes closed and she pondered over what the calling of her unnamed son should be. A deep sigh escaping her, she gave a slight smile. She herself did not fully understand the meaning of the words she sang, but loved them nevertheless.
No human knew of the western, ocean-fed meadow in the Petalburg Woods. They were too stupid, of too much in a hurry, to see the single small gap in the tightly-packed trees that layered the edges of the route in which they traveled. About five minutes of weaving haphazardly between the large trunks and through the thick growth, had they ever tried to make it, they would reach the wonderful meadow.
The trees ended abruptly, giving way to dirt for a few meters before birthing tall, sweet grass dappled with flowers. Waves and waves of foliage rippling in the wind stretched to the ocean up until the very spot where the water touched the earth, where it fell prey to sand and silt. Many Pokemon lived here, hidden away from the ever-smothering weight of the pollution being belched into the air by the humans’ machines…
He turned his head, neck craning over the tall grass as he stopped inhaling the interesting scents tucked at the roots of the waving foliage. The light-hearted soul had become quite a bit larger; he was about four months old now, and growing like a weed.
“Come here, I need to show you something.”
His mother seemed to have found something, so he scurried over, plowing through the greenery until he reached the Linoone. He stopped as he laid eyes upon the object clutched between her claws, head tilting to the side. Mordred gazed upon the battered, slate-grey box of plastic before him, head tilting to the side. He smiled, and made a move to bite the thin, crooked rod of dirty steel protruding from the top in a playful manner, but his mother ushered him back.
“Mordred, no,” she scolded firmly. Her voice became more tender, a small smile gracing her countenance. “Watch.” Her claw turned the wide, groove-edged dial clockwise, and a steady sound reached Mordred’s ears. A wonderful, wide smile spread across his face, delight striking his features as he looked up at her.
“Hush, child, the darkness will rise from the deep…”
“Oh! Mommy, that’s the thing you did! Uh-uh… what was it called? Oh, yeah! The song you sang! When I was born! I remember that!” he exclaimed, sniffing joyously at the radio. It was such an interesting sound, this music.
“Guileless son, each day you’ll grow older…”
He paused, thinking. “Mommy, what does it mean?”
“Each moment I’m watching my vengeance unfold...”
“I’m not quite sure. They’re human words. I only understand a couple, but even then it doesn’t make any sense,” she replied, tilting her head at the man-made device.
“Silly! Then how do you know the words?” he asked, giggling as he rose up on his back legs, burying his paws into her fur as he pressed his nose against her chest.
“The child of my body, the flesh of my soul…”
“After you hear it for so long, you just memorize how to say it, love,” she said. “My mother gave it to me when I was your age. So it’s yours now.”
“Will die returning the birthright he stole…”
“It’s mine?” he asked incredulously, brown eyes coming alive with light as he gave a hopeful sort of inhaling gasp. As she nodded, he gave a squeal. “Oh, yay!” He turned his attentions to the rectangular figure, wrapping his front legs around it. “I’ll keep it and cherish it forever and ever and I won’t let anything happen to it—”
All of the sudden, the lyrics became warped and choppy. The lullaby was ravaged harshly by static before fading. A horrified look crossed Mordred’s face as he lunged backwards, scrabbling to get away from it, panic flashing across his features.
“It wasn’t me, Mommy!” he cried desperately. “It wasn’t me!” He was at the verge of tears, moisture welling at the corner of his eyes.
She drew him into a comforting embrace, chuckling. “No, no, it wasn’t you. Hush, child,” she cooed. “You see, it’s called a radio. It runs off of these things.” She flicked the device over so that its back cover was exposed. The tip of her claw slid into the slight slit on the head of the screw, twisting it so that the worm shard of metal came loose. She carefully held the vital component in one paw, using the other to lift the battery cover from the device. She pried out the small cylinders inside, showing her child the drained batteries.
“I’ve got to go get new ones,” she said. “The humans have them, I’ve just got to get them.”
“Oh! Oh! Mommy, I want to come with you!”
“No!” she said, suddenly, harshly. He shied, pressing himself to the ground. She gave a soft sigh, taking a deep breath, and then lowered herself onto all fours again, nuzzling him. “I’m sorry. I just don’t want you to get hurt.”
“Okay, Mommy,” he murmured sadly.
“Alright, Mordred. I’m going to—Mordred, look at me.” She waited until his attention averted from the Wurmple crawling up a trunk in the distant tree line. He trained his gaze firmly on her, smiling, his tail wagging slightly. “I’m going to go get some batteries. I’ll be back in the morning. I trust you to take the radio back to the den and stay there until I get back, alright?”
“Alright, Mommy,” he answered jubilantly, always excited to live up to his mother’s expectations. His jaws closed around the plastic handle of the box and began dragging it toward the trees. She stopped him to replace the battery cover and the screw that held it in place, and then watched as her beloved son pulled the small item through the grass. Her gaze held his form until he reached the tree line, and then she scurried off, heading north to the bustling city of Everroad.
He groaned as he struggled to lift the radio into the tree and climb it at the same time. It was bent at an angle just under fourty-five degrees, and yet he was still having difficulty bringing it up. His teeth were clenched around the boxily-arcing protrusion in the device in a death grip. He had promised he wouldn’t let anything happen to it…
Mordred finally reached the wide, curve-bottomed fork in the leaning structure, where their nest of leaves and moss was situated. He placed the radio in the center, and then flung himself onto his back with a ‘phew!’, smiling. He tipped his head back, head bobbing from side to side as his gaze searched for a gap in the leaves that would allow him to see the sunset. He finally found one decent enough to observe from, and watched the sky light up with smog-ridden fire, the burning ball of orange that gave them light in the day make its reluctant descent. His eyes didn’t leave the setting orb until it sank below the horizon, swallowed by the sea as a canvas of dull navy spread itself out above the meadow.
He waited patiently, twitching at every snap of a twig, jumping at every passing Pokemon, hissing protectively at any Swellow that came too near. But as the night dragged on, he tired of this duty more and more, gaze never leaving the direction his mother had gone. Where was she? Did it really take this long to get the little cylinders? He glanced at the radio, frowning. Why was it so important to her? Was it because her mother gave it to her? Was it the song? He stifled a sigh, shaking his head, unable to understand.
She gagged momentarily at the stench of the fumes pouring from the passing vehicles. The cream-furred Linoone, whose pelt was already beginning to darken with the grime, stopped momentarily to stare at the withering, collapsing sign in front of an old building nearby, wondering if there were any batteries there. At a second glance, she realized that the building must have been abandoned at least a decade ago. She scurried past the sign, which read ‘Littleroot PokeMart’, the human runes not registering in her mind.
She came upon her usual target for raid as the sun made its way to the horizon; the gas station. She scampered behind the Dumpsters, keeping her head low and making sure she stayed in the shadows. Her beady eyes remained trained on every passing human and the content of the items in their hands. For hours she sat, until the moon was almost at its peak in the sky. To the left she could see the road, blurred with passing cars and smothering smoke pouring from tailpipes. This place had changed too much for her liking. She had never seen it when it was known as Littleroot Town, but her grandparents had always told her wonderful stories about how the massive city had once been a humble settlement with hardly even three or four buildings. She would have never guessed that this horrid place had once been friendly.
A pale, dark-haired man garbed in blue denim jeans and a sweat-stained red T-shirt stumbled from the door, reeking of alcohol and tobacco. He ran straight into his black vehicle, leaning heavily upon it as he came around the hood of the car and to the pump. She could see the rounded bumps of a package of batteries through the plastic sack that he carried, and made a dash under the ebony car, ducking under its wheel, breathing accelerating from the danger she was putting herself in. The smell of gas flowing into the tank just above her head clogged her nostrils, and she shook her head violently, trying to clear her senses. She slowly scuttled to the side of the car where the man stood, swaying under the deadly spell of his severe intoxication.
He was too busy staring at the rising digits on the green-tinted screen to noticed the Linoone standing on her hind legs, mouth ajar as she reached for the bag hanging at his fingers. The batteries… they were right there…
“Hush, child, the darkness will rise from the deep…”
The female Zigzagoon stared at the radio with wide eyes. She looked back at her emaciated mother, whose fur was dull with lack of health. It was almost as if every bone in the Pokemon’s body could be seen as she lay in the dirt of their humble burrow, eyes half-lidded as she pushed the box toward her daughter.
“Here… Morgan… Take this…”
“No, Mother, I won’t take this from you! You’re going to live! Please! Just eat, please!” The creature pushed the berry closer to her mother’s mouth, a whimper escaping her lips.
Just a little more… Her teeth closed barely around the thin, plastic fabric of the sack, ivory fangs clenching around it, leaving a hole not near large enough for the rectangular cardboard backing of the product to slip through. She rose up again, desperately trying to reach high enough to make a hole suitable in size…
“No, listen to me, Morgan. Take it. You know very well that I won’t make it… Please, take it,” the sickly being managed between bone-rattling, pneumonia-ridden coughs. “Play it for your children… Please…”
Morgan wasn’t quite sure why the item was so important. Sure, it was cool, but it wasn’t needed. Her mother shouldn’t be using her last breaths over this stupid thing!
“Mother, please don’t talk. I’ll take it, I swear, just please don’t talk.” Actually, she would throw it in the ocean the first chance she got. The damned thing was the reason why her mother had caught this sickness from the humans in the first place, when the acid in a broken battery leaked into her mouth when she was carrying them back. It was hard to believe that the Linoone’s condition had deteriorated so quickly and so drastically from only last night.
She had to get them. She had to. She pushed herself onto the edge of her claws, teeth growing further part as she prepared to bite into the sack the moment she came within range…
Morgan lunged back under the vehicle as the man was bent over by a horrible bout of phlegm-belching coughs, clearing his throat momentarily before spitting the thick, dark goo onto the pavement. She winced, shuddering at the disgusting sound and image. She went for the white, claret-printed substance again as the man righted his tottering form, taking something from his pocket. Just as her teeth closed around her target, her senses became aware of the sound of a strange click.
She glared out at the rolling waves, then turned her icy gaze upon the softly-singing object to her left, but it thawed as it fell to the recently upturned dirt to her opposite side. Why was this thing so important? Why?
She picked it up, charging at the shore. She raised it mightily above her head, and with a roar, made a move to toss it out into the cerulean sea…
..but she couldn’t.
Something inside of her screamed “no! no!” as she tipped her arms forward to cast it out into the tide. She quickly pulled the radio back toward her, clutching it to her chest, stifling a sob of frustration. She threw it onto the sand, snarling as she ripped off the cover. Instead of the radio itself, she used its life source as an outlet to her anger. She watched as the batteries disappeared into the water with a plop, and felt a bit better afterward. She carried the radio back to her burrow, and fell asleep.
A month had passed, and the meadow was dying.
The grass was yellowed with malnourishment, despite the fact it had rained only yesterday. The trees drooped under the heat, despite the fact that it was cool. The Pokemon were thin from starvation, despite the fact that they had no shortage of food in their stores. The air seemed thin and polluted, despite the fact that the trees blocked the near-toxic air of the city from permeating their once flourishing haven. The wild creatures that resided there had become short-tempered and quarreled and fought violently, and often, despite the fact that before they had all been a close-knit community with nothing to fight about.
She remembered her mother’s final words as she watched the sun sink down below the horizon, looking up at the space where the stars had once been. Though they had before been dull, they never appeared at all now.
”We are the guardians of this place… please…”
She had been confused as to how this was possible. To how her existence mattered at all to this place when there were plenty of other Pokemon to protect it and contribute to the ecosystem. But now she knew. She was not the sole guardian, but an assistant to it. Nothing but a slave, cursed with this task of feeding energy to the evil box that lay beside her, mocking her silently, not even caring about what she had risked her life for to retrieve for it.
She placed the batteries into their slots, double-checking to make sure that they were in correctly. Her mother had always drilled the correct ways to match up the bump in relation to the spring into her mind, insistent that she never forget it. She snapped the cover into place, tenderly pushing the screw into its circular slot, and then using her claw to twist it firmly against the smooth surface of the radio, fastening the battery’s protective shield to its bodice.
Flipping it upright with a bit more force than intended, she twisted the dial until it could turn no more, and listened to the music that flowed from it.
”Loyalty, loyalty, loyalty…
And the broken spell was mended.
She froze in place as he brought the lighter to the cigarette in his mouth, flame flickering from the cylinder and lapping at the alabaster paper shielding the contents. Just as she was about to withdraw and retreat back to her shelter behind the Dumpsters, he saw her, dark brown eyes widening to the size of saucers. He froze, fingers releasing both the cigarette and lighter from between his smoke-yellowed digits and dropping the sack in his other hand. She averted her gaze to the plastic bag as it clattered to the concrete, forgetting almost completely about the ticking time bomb that had just hit the ground. She burrowed into the opening of the bag, snatching the batteries from their shelter and turning toward where she had came.
It was not the flames suddenly sparking from the cigarette as it caught on the air, which was drenched heavily with gasoline fuel, that made her stop in her tracks. It was not the sound of an inferno rippling out behind her that stopped her, either. It was no other scent except for her sight that made her stop. It was the glow of two beady, flashing eyes as they were hit by the light of the gas station, framed by the familiar black mask of a Zigzagoon’s markings. The radio the Pokemon carried was dropped suddenly as he emerged from the bush, seeing his mother with the batteries in tooth. He cried out, lunging forth and sprinting toward her.
A single, salty tear rolled down her cream-colored cheek, and then the world exploded around her.
.previously known as White Wolf of the Snow.
[12:38:59 AM] GallantlyGlaceon: ...So how do we do this? XD
[12:39:20 AM] Sight of the Stars: it's nothing really big, just usually a note in your sig that's all like 'paired with soandso'
[12:39:44 AM] Sight of the Stars: just be like "SIGHT OF THE STARZ IS MAH BIZNITCH"
[12:39:57 AM] GallantlyGlaceon: XDDD
[12:39:59 AM] Sight of the Stars: and I'll be like "GALLANTLYGLACEON IS MAH HOE."
Last edited by Sight of the Stars; 06-30-2012 at 03:46 AM.