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 Cognizance

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Lord E V
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PostSubject: Cognizance   Sun Apr 08, 2018 3:43 pm

The Ruined Chamber.

The royal pain in the ass that was the climb to this room was finally over. Getting out of the house would probably be just as difficult, but that was in the future. For now, all that mattered was that they had made it to their destination, and the hour of enlightenment was finally upon them. They would see what manner of god lived among the ghosts, and they would convince it to fight for Giratina, the idol of impurity. With the might of this recruit, perhaps the dark prince would somehow reign victorious over the other two legends he'd challenged. Whether it was a good thing or not, Krikka was going to see to it that Giratina got his new buddy. She didn't really care much if it was a good or bad idea, nor was she particularly worried about the immediate risks associated with summoning a supposed god.

Actually, she didn't care about any of this. Giratina's apparent goals actually mirrored her own, but that didn't mean she had any allegiance to the giant space worm. She was here mostly for fun and to oppose her special snowflake of a sister, and of course, to do something big and prove to the two behind her that she could back up her words. She wasn't here out of any allegiance in this "holy war," nor did she care in particular about the outcome or how she may influence it. Still, she knew an awful lot about the religious concepts surrounding her circumstances. Thanks to her insufferable father, her childhood had been filled with teachings of the legends and their stories. Unlike Ivirar, she was far from interested in these concepts, and she had always adamantly refused to worship any being, but the information she'd picked up was admittedly a bit useful for context here.

She wondered if Solus and Goro knew anything at all about what Giratina supposedly was, or even about this war. They had yet to say anything, so she assumed they had no idea why they were actually here; they probably didn't even think she was serious about summoning a god... Well, a certain froslass had probably made it clear enough that her promise was true, but she still wondered if the others grasped the concepts at play. As she approached the center of the room, she began to speak, her voice soft and entranced in her own words.

"He was a powerful being and one of the original children of Arceus, equal to the governors of time and space... but he was violent... spiteful. He was not a kind god, but a reaper. For that, he was banished to a reality opposite to ours, cursed to watch the world go on in his absence." Amid her monologue, she lifted her head toward the ceiling to take in the beautiful chandelier of glimmering candles. She spun with an elegance that betrayed her battered state and looked upon the floatzel following her, then flicked her head toward the center of the room, directing him to dump the... sacrificial elements. The "items of combat."

The stabby things.

Continuing in the circular motion as she surveyed the rest of the large room, Krikka continued in her seemingly pointless speech. "That's a quote from a scripture I read when I was younger, more or less. You two ever read the good book of Arceus or any of that mythos junk?" she paused but picked up again before allowing a response, "If you haven't, keep it that way. Would not recommend." Perhaps she was a bit biased, but Krikka truly hated the books she had been made to read, the religious schooling she'd been put through by her zealous father... It felt good to be doing something that went against his philosophies.

"Except the parts about Giratina. I always liked that he didn't blindly follow "God's will." That's why he was punished, or so the story goes... You know, I haven't thought about it until now, but I wouldn't say he's evil for wanting freedom... and revenge. I would too." Her movements finally stopped with the door forward in the center of her gaze. Would they go on? For now, that didn't matter. The moment would be spent performing the ritual to summon the enigmatic creature they'd come so far to see. It all felt so weird to her, getting involved in such a theological affair. It wasn't something she would ever have imagined doing in her younger days. Now that she was finally here, moments away from truly stepping into this tangled mess of the "divine," she was growing conscious of her situation, of what she was doing. It was mere moments ago that her mind had been pinned under the weight of the day's stress, but now she felt... fine. Now things were going her way, after all, and she was starting to really think about things.

"I wouldn't worship him, but I do like the story of the one who defied God."

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PostSubject: Re: Cognizance   Mon Apr 09, 2018 3:04 pm

Completely unconcerned as to whether or not Goro was actually following, Solus followed beside Krikka as they entered the room, stopping behind her as she took in the whole room. Solus made note of the chandelier and likelihood of killing someone if it were to fall. He suspected it to be quite lethal but wasn’t interested in testing that theory. Solus listened carefully to Krikka’s words, hoping that they’d explain things a little more about what exactly they were about to be dealing with, but they didn’t really provide anything Solus didn’t already assume about evil gods.

When Krikka gestured for Solus, he immediately moved toward the centre of the room. She had explained in the most basic terms that a sacrifice would be necessary and he happened to be carrying both her bag as well as his own. Upon reaching the centre of the room, and with little consideration, Solus upturned his bag, dumping the contents on the floor. He proceeded to then pick up only a few of the stray items which he intended to keep and had forgotten—or wasn’t aware—that he had; a couple of random berries, a couple of random seeds, and a pair of glasses he absolutely didn’t remember finding, as well as the used TM, although he didn’t know what use it was at this point.

Upon Krikka finishing her religious monologue, Solus responded to her possibly rhetoric question. “I have never heard the name in my life—Or at least if I have I don’t remember it. Also, I can’t read, remember?" Solus was never particularly interested in theology, almost certainly due in part by the fact that he’d somehow managed to avoid coming into contact with it much within his lifetime—although given his upbringing that might actually make a fair bit of sense. He wasn’t uninterested in learning to read, however. He’d made an agreement with someone who was supposed to teach him, but that agreement was on indefinite hiatus on account subjection by an outlaw.

Continuing to deposit the sacrificial items, Solus did the same with Krikka’s bag as he had done his own, turning it upside down and dumping the contents into a pile in the centre of the room. Looking over the items, Solus realised that he didn’t actually know which of any of the things Krikka might want to keep, and he was pretty sure she’d want to keep some of these items. “Uh, also also, I don’t know which of this stuff we’re supposed to be sacrificing."

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PostSubject: Re: Cognizance   Tue Apr 10, 2018 1:12 am

While Solus and Krikka were in the next room over preparing to summon an evil god or something, the croagunk accompanying them was brooding where they had left him. Between the psycho's awful countenance, all the battles she had haphazardly led them into, and the disastrous confrontation they had just had with the froslass that'd guided them this far... he was seriously reconsidering the merits of his decision to join this umbreon. Everything about her pissed him off, and it all came to a head a few moments ago when he tried to do a good thing - the right thing - and stand up for someone who Krikka wanted to kill. But then Nevi threw it back in his face, escaped, and he had to deal with Krikka's condescending bullshit and her pet's smug lecture.

Almost everything about the other two pokemon rubbed him entirely the wrong way; The only redeeming traits about Krikka were her power, her ambition, and her apparent desire to become a leader. Those were things he could get behind. But just the sheer bitchiness that oozed off of her, her inherent need to smack him in the face with her superiority every time they interacted... it made him want to challenge her again. Solus was the same way. He was grudgingly alright with the water type's resilience, being able to bounce back from the truly brutal beatdown that his master gave him a while ago, and his apparent thirst for more had to be respected. It took a tough motherfucker to take those kinds of hits and then get up and ask for more. And the way he'd given Goro the trophy off of the Hypno was... thoughtful, even. Goro didn't exactly make a secret about how badly he wanted it, and Solus didn't think twice about tossing the pendulum to him almost immediately. But again - the weasel backed out of that first fight with him. Then he went on to cling to his master's skirts at every opportunity, only being brave enough to take verbal potshots at him from behind her protection. That... that last interaction notwithstanding. The thought of the now floatzel standing over him giving him advice was still infuriating. The fact that he'd followed the crazy umbreon this far was even more so.

The marks of her bad decision making had made themselves apparent on his own body, even. Goro lowered his head and looked himself over. He'd had better days. The croagunk had deep cuts all over his forearms and torso left by the storm of sharpened hail, the puncture wound in his thigh from an ice shard and the one still embedded in his shoulder, the deep bruising in his limbs and torso from getting thrown about by blizzards and Krikka's own dark pulse, and that was all to say nothing of his still throbbing head. Now that the tension was beginning to flood from him, it was starting to hurt a lot more. Curiously, he raised his hand again and touched the side of his skull, bringing his fingers back bloodied. It wasn't as plentiful as last time, so that was something, but still...

He didn't want to be here anymore. Honestly, he just wanted to go back home to his swamp shack and sleep off all this bullshit, but there was no way he was going to get out on his own. He needed Krikka to get him out, and that meant following her even deeper. He had come this far, admittedly, and he'd done more than pull his weight on the way here. The croagunk couldn't deny being curious as to what she was going to do or what she was after in this hellish mystery dungeon. He deserved to see it, but that meant following her further. It would mean having to put up with her and all her bullshit, her pet included, but the prospect of battling more ghosts wasn't unappealing. Nevi had been the exception; He'd been friendly with her, and her with him. And while fighting ghosts wasn't exactly satisfying, seeing as how they could just run away through the floor or the walls when it looked like they were in danger - and thus deny him any extra fun with his defeated victim - he couldn't deny that it wasn't valuable experience.

It was with a rueful sigh and a defeated frown that Goro turned on his heel and - slowly - made his way to the open doorway that Krikka and Solus had went through. He arrived just in time to catch the tail-end of her little speech about this Giratina god again, and he couldn't help scrunching up his face disdainfully. Was she some kind of cultist? She said she didn't worship, but she was going to an awful lot of trouble to apparently do the god a favor, according to Nevi. Then again, Nevi could have just been spewing more bullshit in an attempt to make him do what she wanted - she'd fucked with his head for a minute there. He only half-paid attention to Solus' response to his master. Instead of entering the room proper or offering his help in this ritual or whatever, Goro leaned up against the doorway with his arms folded across his chest, staring up at the ceiling of the room with a stormy expression. He had to keep going with these two, but that didn't meant he had to like it.

Goro stubbornly tried not to think about Krikka's offer in the meantime.

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PostSubject: Re: Cognizance   Mon Apr 16, 2018 9:18 pm

Solus didn't seem to know much about religion, but that wasn't what he was here for anyway. Krikka's disappointment in being unable to talk about the thing she abhorred was reasonably minimal. She thought some of the stories of deities such as Giratina were cool, but that was about as far as her interest in such concepts went. The reminder of her pet's inability to read was a bit more bothersome, however, as it reflected poorly on her. "I'm starting to realize there are a lot of things you don't know," she spoke with a lack of enthusiasm, more underwhelmed than anything else. He didn't know how to read, didn't know anything about religion or philosophy, and barely understood the basics of social interaction. It was as if he had never attended school or had friends or anything, which... was probably true. Krikka tried not to think too hard about the presumably poor circumstances of his upbringing; she reveled in the misery of others, but she didn't like things that reminded her of... well, her own personal experience with home life.

She made a mental note to teach him at a later date or perhaps just lock him in a library for a while, but that would have to wait. Actually, it was starting to look like there were a lot of things she would need to teach him if she wanted to avoid having him make her look bad in public, or in general. She needed to teach him how to be useful too, and he was still learning how to and not to please her. There was so much he had to learn, but now, in this moment, there was something more important that beckoned his master's attention, and she intended to give just that. What did they need to sacrifice? She was uncertain since she didn't exactly have an instruction manual on occult summoning rituals, but they needed to offer... weapons? "Items of combat." She stepped closer to the pile to gaze down upon it and collect whatever items she felt they wouldn't need.

...

The first thing the umbreon noticed was a certain plush toy amid the pile composed mostly of sharp objects. She gave a quick glance to Solus out of the corner of her eye, trying to hide her embarrassment at how he had most certainly seen her... possession. At least Goro hadn't seen it, right? She turned to look back at the croagunk leaning against the doorway and, after reassuring herself, plucked the plush eevee gently off the ground with its scruff between her teeth. She hurriedly stuffed it back in her bag, but with an obvious caution that advertised how hard she was trying not to damage it. She made another note, this time to be more careful with her personal belongings in the future, and tried to forget about what had just happened. She could only hope her bui- floatzel would do the same... and if he didn't, she'd probably hit him. Again. She wondered if perhaps easing up on that would be a good idea, mostly due to a concern that he seemed to be growing used to it. Or maybe that meant she should do it even more often to toughen him up. This, too, would have to wait until after she was done here and out of the chateau.

With the mini-vee tucked safely away in her bag, she got back to work sifting through the pile of junk to pick out anything that wasn't junk or that probably wouldn't work for the ritual. There were a lot of sticks. She hoped this god liked sticks. There were also her treasured golden thorns, which she picked up almost as quickly as the plush. She stopped short of dropping the thorns into her bag, however, and instead released them from her mouth and onto the floor. Did they have enough to meet the demands of whatever they were summoning, or did she need to give these little pieces of gold up? She couldn't remember the exact amount needed, but she was pretty sure they had enough since she had prepared ahead of time. She would simply trust her past self on this one, but still, did she really need two of these thorns? She looked down at them, then up to Solus, who had yet to say anything about her little... companion. In fact, he didn't even seem to be struggling to keep his composure; it truly seemed as if he wasn't judging her at all. Without much warning, she scooted the thorns over to him with her paw.

"Want one?"

Of course, if he accepted, he would be the one to pick between the two thorns. She still didn't know which one she had stabbed his friend with, so it didn't seem quite right for her to choose which one to give him; whichever one he got, it was in his own hands. Paws. Whatever. Under normal circumstances, Krikka would never have considered giving away solid gold, but Solus had really come through and was starting to behave himself better. She had thoroughly enjoyed herself punishing him for bad behavior thus far, so it only seemed fair to reward him on the rare occasion that he did something to please her. Besides, she had two, and it wasn't as if she needed both of them; and if all went according to her design, she would find more fortune than such a paltry amount of gold. She still wasn't entirely sure what this "design" of hers even was, but one thing she did know was that she wanted money and power, and she planned to do everything in her power to get it.

But first, summon an evil god. Or something.

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PostSubject: Re: Cognizance   Tue Apr 17, 2018 12:59 am

Despite the fact that Krikka’s comment was effectively an insult, Solus wasn’t bothered by it in the slightest. The floatzel simply shrugged the comment off. He knew she wasn’t really wrong; he assumed he knew relatively little compared to the average individual. He did in fact lack any schooling—formal or otherwise—nad had very little social experience, the majority of which could be described as negative and may or may not have frequently devolved into a scuffle. The most positive social experience he could think of was his interactions with a certain togepi and a buizel named Xeno, memories of which were now both tainted for various reasons with a common source.

That source was an umbreon by the name of Krikka—the very umbreon who stood beside him, gently placing an eevee doll back inside her bag. Solus hadn’t failed to notice the thing before when he was searching through Krikka’s bag for useful items to use against Nevi, and he didn’t fail to notice how careful the umbreon was handling the plush now. He avoided bringing attention to it. In fact, he actively avoided bringing attention to the fact that he had noticed it at all, turning his attention to the croagunk as she did and kept his attention fixated there for the moment. Solus’s new focus was clearly trying to avoid direct interaction with both himself and Krikka.

Solus could sense how upset Goro was, though he wasn’t sure what was the exact cause. It could have been a number of things: the way Nevi had parted with them, Solus’s own banter, or any of the things Krikka had done or said in the last… week or so. Knowing how quick Goro was willing to jump to violence, Solus didn’t want to push his luck any further. In truth, he was surprised that Goro had let him get more than a sentence in, let alone finish his entire spiel. In an attempt to relieve some tension that may exist between the two, Solus gave an acknowledging nod that hoped wouldn’t somehow be interpreted as aggression.

Solus turned his attention back to Krikka and the pile of items that lied in the centre of the room just in time to see Krikka push her two golden thorns in front of him. They were clearly important and valuable to her, so it surprised him that she was offering him one. He had rarely received gifts before—actually, he couldn’t remember ever receiving a gift at all, ever. But he was pretty sure accepting a gift wasn’t supposed to be a moral dilemma. And yet, this was, or at least he felt like it was. After all, one of these thorns had been used to stab who he considered his best friend. He’d seen Krikka kill another Pokemon with one—possibly the same one, but no one could be certain, and he had no idea how many others Krikka had harmed or killed with either of these two weapons. Granted, they’d used one of them to cut open a berry at one point, too, and he hadn’t had any problems using one then. But what would this mean, accepting a gift like this from someone like Krikka?

What did it mean that his first instinct upon hearing her offer was to say yes and take one? Or after briefly considering that he might be jeopardising any good moral standing he had left, that he accepted the gift anyway? Solus picked up the golden thorn that was closest and twirled it a bit—he’d be lying if he said he didn’t have an appreciation for the type of weapon after using a similar thing in the fight with Nevi. ”Thanks… Really, I… Are you sure? You don’t need it for the whole ‘sacrificing things to summon an evil god or something’ thing? Not that I don’t want it—I do, it’s just—are you sure?” Solus made an excellent demonstration of his social ineptitude that Krikka had mentioned earlier.

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PostSubject: Re: Cognizance   Tue Apr 17, 2018 2:26 am

For his part, Goro merely kept silent where he was. It was tempting to peer over and get a look at what Solus and Krikka were doing, but his gaze remained stubbornly transfixed on the ceiling. He didn't want to pay them any more attention than he needed to. He didn't want to interact with them any more than he absolutely had to. The croagunk just wanted to get this over with and find a quiet place to think for a while, so he could sort out all of his rampant thoughts and get a grip on how he felt about everything. He was having difficulty with that; Did Solus deserve his animosity? Did Krikka? Was he even sure about the course of action he was taking? The fighter was having second thoughts about it all, but in this situation, he had no choice but to stay on course with things. He knew for a fact that he wanted to see where it all went, though. The outcome of this trip carried significant weight with it - if whatever Krikka was after ended up being worth it in the end, then he would continue to follow her. For now.

More than anything, he just wished he was stronger. If he had more power, then he wouldn't be forced to take anyone's shit or follow behind them. If he'd simply won that fight he had with Krikka, then his life would be so much simpler right now. But compared to her and all the enemies he had run into since she found him, he found his strength lacking. She hadn't even broken a sweat against him and the psychic in the chandelier room by all rights should have blown his head in. It was only because of her and her pet that he didn't die there, and even Nevi, afterward, had wiped the floor with him. He had thought, before all this, that he was progressing nicely in terms of power. If the poison type had to guess, he was probably several times as strong as he was when he left home. But he was rapidly running into bigger and bigger obstacles, and those all lead to more and more complications.

Broadening his horizons shouldn't have been such a bad thing. But the fact that he had fared so poorly against all those foes left him feeling incredibly frustrated. It made him want to get stronger and fight them all again and win next time. And if he took Krikka's offer and swore loyalty to her, he'd never get a second chance at her.

Goro's foot began tapping irritatedly as he waited for the two to finish. He noticed the floatzel nod at him in his peripheral, and the sight made his chest tight with anger. At who, though, he wasn't sure. The croagunk didn't nod back, though. Instead, he allowed himself to turn his head and glance at what the two of them were working on for a few moments. They'd dumped Krikka's bag in the middle of the floor, and were looking over a bunch of shit. Some things in the pile were garbage, but others were items and weapons that he could recognize. The fighting type narrowed his eyes when Solus plucked a golden thorn out of the pile and twirled it around absently in his paw - were they divvying up loot? But this had all came from Krikka's bag. Perhaps she was just giving him his pick of a toy in return for his good performance.

The sight of Solus with that thorn made him feel uneasy. Goro had caught a few glimpses of the floatzel in motion during that last fight. He was fast now. Faster than he had been in their fight. The croagunk had at least been able to keep track of Solus when the then-buizel darted around him, but suddenly he wasn't so sure. He remembered the sea weasel pokemon waving the poison thorn in his face in the last room, and idly wondered if he could beat him again. He hadn't even truly won last time, which made it so frustrating in the first place. Solus had just decided to quit before they really got started. But he assumed that was because the water type figured he couldn't win... did he think differently, after evolving? Goro felt like there were ants crawling underneath his skin as he studied the floatzel openly now, staring shamelessly. Forget Krikka - was Solus stronger than him?

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