but you can get prints, if you'd like, here: [link]
probably the auction will end this thursday at midnight
rules of auction!: it starts at 50USD, increments of 5USD per bid, please! the final price does not reflect shipping, which is 4USD domestic and 7USD outside of the US I prefer paypal but if you don't have that we can work out money order or check, but then it takes longer for you to get the piece, so be prepared for that!
Fortissimo Peak stood against the sky, high above the natural beauty that surrounded it. As scintillating flowers and tall trees grew and died across the ring of fire at its base, and as the world stirred all around it, it simply loomed forever there on the horizon, never changing, never challenged. Many feet of snow blanketed it from top to bottom in the winter; when the summer came, the snow vanished in days, and the sun seared the grey and white bedrock beneath it. Streaks of ash ran grey to black down all its sides through huge gashes in the stone, and flying Pokemon avoided it for the dark, choking clouds that billowed from its top, but for as long as anyone cared to remember, it had never erupted.
To most Pokemon, it seemed so barren that most deemed it not worth trying to explore. But there were landmarks, small details nearly invisible to most, that allowed a brave few to ascend the Peak part of the way and return. Those who did so told vivid stories of what they had heard: music. Unfamiliar songs that tugged at the heartstrings, and familiar songs cast in a whole new light by whatever wind had carried them down the mountain. Many dismissed these stories, but over time, they changed from mouth to mouth, and became incredible rumours.
At the top of the Peak, there lived alone a Pokemon. An old cabin, resting in the stone, had been crumbling there, hidden from view, for a long time. Its inside fared even worse – the furniture sat in heaps, little more than scraps now, vaguely recalling a once grand and beautiful parlour turned to rot. She lived beneath this ruin, which now hid the entrance to her home beneath: a small place, barely more than two rooms, that she knew so well now that she never thought much of its maintenance, or of its layout, or of many other things. She dreamt of, and knew of, and thought of, only one thing: music.
She thought of her music differently from day to day, of course. She thought of choreography one day, and verse the next. If she considered tempo even briefly, it would fill her mind, and it would be all she would think about for days on end. When she finally she cleared her thoughts, she would compose a new song, or refined a centuries-old classic. Then, she would send it away, and hope fervently that the mountain air would carry it to a worthy performer.
Today would be different. The quiet around her was all her ears knew now, and she realized: she understood her music, but it had been long, too long, since she had heard it. She packed only enough for the journey she would take, although she did not need much, and sent her most recent aria away. This time, she would follow it, and hear for herself that her effort had been rewarded.
“Hello. My name is Shou Mei. How do you do?”
She rehearsed that greeting unconsciously. She spoke so quietly that she could barely hear herself in the darkness. It had been a year since she had heard that voice, so long that she wondered if she could call it her own. That wonder blossomed into a great, impenetrable sense of worry, and she forbid herself to speak to herself any more. As she smothered the fear she had once forgotten with the passion that had brought it out, she ascended the ancient steps out of her home, and met the warmth of daylight.
“Dear, could you grab the wooden Totodiles for me?”
Payapa grabbed an armful without complaint, but one fell and clattered to the floor. A sharp look from her mother was all she received, and nothing more. It could have been worse, and it could have happened in the presence of her father. Happily, this was not the case today. She bent down and grabbed the little trinket, nearly dropping another.
“It would go a lot quicker if you just made two trips, dear. There’s no need to take it all in one go like that.”
Payapa considered this, but ignored it. She didn’t really want to be helping stock the day’s items to begin with. It was likely that she wasn’t even going to be allowed to help sell to customers that day, anyway. Thus she was bored by the task. What use was it stocking everything if she wasn’t going to be selling it? Someone else could do such boring work. Well, that’s what she’d have liked. Anana was unavailable; currently, the more respectful daughter was going over some things with their father (What things? Merchant things, things Payapa wasn’t privy to quite yet.)
So, she was stuck doing boring stocking, learning all about the systems of organization that led to more money flowing into the hands of the Kecleon family. That was always the goal.
Letting her mind wander, Payapa decided that she would always get someone else to deal with that crap when she had her own store. (And it wasn’t really a question of if, but when. It was actually a little bold to dream such, considering that their parents hadn’t even decided she was worth training alongside Anana yet.)
Eventually, after a few more trips of awkwardly carrying boxes and stacks of things to her mother, Payapa was done with her duty that morning. In truth, she could have stayed and helped actually arrange the items on the shelves, make sure everything looked nice before the main shop opened-- but she was hardly interested. What was the point? She didn’t really care how it all looked if she wasn’t even going to get to help run the place.
She was vaguely aware that this made her look lazy in the eyes of her parents, perpetuating their decision to favor training Anana in salesmanship, but it didn’t really affect her decision much. If anything, it only gave a slight pause to her step before she left the building.
And so the day was hers! The entire rest of the day was free to her to do with as she pleased. Anana wouldn’t have that luxury until maybe the afternoon, after the busy noon shift was over and their father took over selling by himself. Or their mother. This was more and more the case lately, as there were often things to be done and overlooked in some little village their father also managed. It was just big enough that it was a good place for shipments to pass through on their way to Alomomola City: a quaint little place called Tao Village. Payapa didn’t figure she’d like it very much, as the city had really captured her heart. So many Pokemon! So many things to do! There was really never any end to the entertainment that could be found in the city, and this tickled her childish sense of wonder greatly.
After wandering around for a bit, Payapa left the pier. It was a nice pier and all, and housed a lot of different stores along its length, but she knew them all too well to be very interested in any of them at the moment. She decided that perhaps she would find someone to play with until Anana was done with her own work for the day.
Payapa didn’t really have any particular friends she could call on to want to spend time with her; she only really knew of some kids from the rough neighborhood who sometimes would throw a ball with her, or maybe play in constructed forts near their shanty homes. She had a suspicion, one that had started to insidiously creep its way into the back of her mind, that these kids didn’t particularly care for her. It was hard to place, but she felt that this assessment was more-or-less correct. She wanted to be trusting like many small children often are, but had started rather early to pick apart motivations... making it incredibly difficult to be a friend without some level of reservation.
But these creeping thoughts didn’t matter so much when she just wanted someone to play with for a few hours. So, she dismissed them and carried on.
The foreign merchants lining the streets--having done business with her parents countless times--recognized Payapa and nodded as she passed. She acknowledged them with a half grin. The day was still hers, so she could afford smiles to those boring adults.
Eventually, as she reached the poorer area of the city, she noticed something in particular. There was a Pichu with a little green cloth tied around his head like a bandana, and this fellow was standing very high up on a pile of discarded wood and pieces of houses. Much rubble lined the base of this mountain of refuse, and Payapa was sure that if a fall was taken from the top to the bottom, someone would have a very unpleasant morning.
Luckily, this kid knew what he was doing. He made a giant leap, and just when Payapa was certain this kid was crazy, a Taillow darted out of nowhere and caught the Pichu on its back. It was smaller than the Pichu even, and still this tiny bird had managed such a feat. Someone had confidence, apparently, and rightfully so.
While she didn’t particularly know these kids, Payapa thought she might have a good time with them. Maybe she’d spot the other kids she normally played with while they were out and about. But first, she needed to get their attention.
As the pair made their way around the sky, something snapped the underside of the Taillow’s belly and the force caused the Pichu to go flying and into the dirt. The Taillow had nearly crashed, but avoided it at the last moment with a sharp u-turn away from some rotting wood jutting out of the earth.
The Pichu was understandably confused. And annoyed. “Gail!” he cried out in a squeaky voice (that was incredibly hard to take seriously.) “You tryin to kill me, eh? What was that?!”
This “Gail” was irked too. “It wasn’t my fault, Chulo! Something smacked me!” She flitted around near her friend when she spotted a very conspicuous Kecleon. “It was you!” she cried, landing next to Chulo.
Guess whose art was featured at [link] ! There was an art show this weekend for it, so I hope at least some of my watchers got to go and see this piece in person! I believe the size I made it at was 7 by 24 inches or so. Apparently it sold for $120! (Which went to Child's Play)
I'm so happy I got to partake in such a cool thing. Ahh!
After an hour or two of searching, the triplet stumbled upon their quarry. It took a lot of extensive searching through the torn planks and fallen walls of northern Alomomola, but finally Rionna was within sight. It was purely by accident; huddled around her ball, Rionna had been taking a nap under a partially built stairway when Chulo accidentally collapsed one of the stairs and nearly landed upon her body below. Her first reaction was to stumble back, and for this error she suffered a lump to the back of her head courtesy of the rotted wood.
Payapa looked over her opponent carefully. There didn’t seem to be any immediate, obvious tricks. Rionna was a scruffy child. A tough, yet quiet, Riolu. She wore a tattered little poncho (which Payapa’s parents would have loathed to see within 20 feet of either of their children), and perpetually carried with her the only other possession to her name, her prized toy ball. It was remarkably sturdy despite the beatings it frequently took from Rionna, her brothers, and Payapa. It wasn’t a looker, but it was a fun toy, and that was what mattered to the children.
Rionna wasn’t very pleased to have been woken up from her nap in such a way, but this simply said to Payapa that this girl wasn’t going to be much of a challenge for her hide-and-seek prowess. If she couldn’t even take a successful nap in a good hiding spot, how on earth was she to find such a Kecleon of stealth? After a little bit of chit-chat, Rionna learned of both the reason they sought her out and of the wager on her head. She agreed to play the game. Payapa became suspicious.
Eventually, the question had to be asked. Rionna was the one to do it. “So, which one of us is ‘spost to seek first?”
“Well, you’re not gonna find me, so I might as well go first. That sound all righty with you?”
Rionna stood in silence for a few moments. Chulo and Gail looked at her with slight apprehension. Eventually, Rionna replied. “That’s fine. But what if you find me? Is it my turn to seek then? Or do we end the game?”
At this, the tiny Kecleon laughed. It was a little rude and a little obnoxious, but the idea that she should lose the game was so absurd that she was unable to contain it. Chulo looked on with unease, but Rionna maintained her proud stance. Payapa cut off her laughing upon realizing the others did not find it quite so hilarious, and then fumbled around for her next words. “Well,” she started, “I wanna finish this game ‘fore my sister gets out here. So if you can find me before... hmm.” Payapa looked toward the sky, briefly calculating the time. “If I can’t find you before about noon, then we’ll just end the game and ya’ll win the bet. Kay?”
This sounded plenty fair to Chulo, but Gail seemed annoyed by the suggested longevity of the game. “That’s way too much time! Anyone could find her by then!”
Rionna spoke before Payapa could protest. “I think that sounds fair. In hide and seek I usually like to both... hide and seek, but I’m okay if you just want me to hide.”
This was not what anyone had expected to hear from the Riolu. Least of all, Payapa. That Rionna should agree so easily was disconcerting. It made her reconsider the order the game should be played in. “Yanno what,” she said, sauntering up to Rionna, “I think I actually wanna hide first. I happen to like it more, and if we’re gonna only be doing one round here to pick the winner, I wanna do the thing I like best. That a problem?”
Rionna clutched her ball momentarily, then eased up a bit. “That’s okay with me. I’ll look for you.”
Perfect, Payapa thought. I don’t even have to do the boring part. I bet I can find some sweet hiding spots today. But which one is the best?
The next course of action was to put Rionna in a dark shanty to count loudly and away from the others. Chulo and Gail scattered in opposite directions, and Payapa immediately sprinted off when the count began. She wasn’t terribly speedy, but she could move it when she wanted. Playing with Rionna had helped her reflexes quite a bit. There was hardly another child so physically adept in the entire bay, counting even those children of the dojo she passed on her way to the shanties. Rionna was strong and sharp.