The first lights of Dawn pierced the dense cloud cover over Castle Remi. All throughout the castle town, the remnants of battle slowly faded as the city guard, the active troops recently raised up and their accompanying pokemon fought off the plague of ghost types that descended on them over the night. Many innocents and defenders alike littered the sides of the streets, coughing from the sickness the pokemon brought with them.
Near the heart of the last pocket of invaders, Xir watched from afar. His battle scarred armor reflected the morning light. “Who would have thought they would come in such numbers?” he asked himself out loud. By his side was his pack of chimera pokemon. One of them barked up its opinion in response.
Smiling down at the dog like pokemon, he said, “I take it you want some more action Balto?” With a yip and a grin, the pooch ran forward. Grabbing his weapon, he order the rest of the pack to rest up before following his loyal hound.
An old clocktower served as the last hold out of the plague ridden ghost pokemon. The town guard circled it, their pokemon ready to blast any single pokemon that tried to escape. As Xir approached, the line parted slightly to let him pass before quickly reforming behind him.
“What’s the hold up?” he asked, taking note of no one stepping close to the clock tower’s door. “Why hasn’t anyone flushed them out?”
“It’s the sickness sir,” a soldier replied, taking a step forward to be at Xir’s side. “Everyone fears the air in there is clogged up fully with it. For all they know, you could drop dead after taking one breath. Not even the pokemon want to get near it.”
“Where’s Ardnak? She likes doing these kinds of crazy things,” Xir pointed out looking for the Myst-touched woman.
“No clue,” the soldier said with a shrug. “Reports say that she was last seen chasing a group of the pokemon through the fields to a forest of sorts. But last time I knew, there were such no such forest near here. At least not for 40 miles at least.”
“There is none,” Xir confirmed before reaching for the scarf around his neck. “But we don’t have time to go chasing after her. Balto get ready.” the chimera barked in response before growling at the tower.
“What do you plan on doing, sir?” the soldier asked ash both Xir and his pokemon stepped toward the clocktower.
Turning to finally look at him, Xir simply stated, “I’m going to flush them out. Be ready.” Pulling the woolen scarf over his mouth and nose, the bulky man marched forward toward the tower. Like a shadow, Balto followed after him.
The masonry of the clocktower was old, dating back to when the city was first coming together. The base was overgrown with ivy, flowers and many other climbing plants.upon reached the door, Xir tightened his scarf around his face.
“Hold your breath and spam your rock throw attack,” he ordered his pokemon as his hand drifted to the door handle. “Watch your aim though. We don’t want to damage the clockwork in there.” Balto nodded twice before baring his fangs with a low growl. Smiling at his pokemon’s readiness to fight, his free hand reached for the sword he carried on his back.
“On three. One. Two. Three!” Taking one last deep breath, the two of them pushed through the door. The inner workings of the clocktower was vast. Gears turning in a rhythmic pattern all the way up the stone tower. As expected the inside was also filled with a swarm of ghostly eyes staring back at them.
Taking the offensive, Balto fired off his first bombardment of rocks into the tower’s interior. Some hit their mark, knocking the ghost pokemon out almost instantly, most ended up bouncing off the walls and falling to the floor harmlessly. But the intend was clear to the sickness carrying pokemon. Like flies, they scattered, most phasing through the walls into the open air of the town only to meet the guardsmen and their pokemon. Those that stayed dove down at Xir and Balto. Xir could only smile as he drew his sword.
The final battle lasted but a moment, ended with many ghost pokemon unconscious while the rest scattered to the winds. The defenders celebrated with cheers of their victory. But eventually, the revelry would soon turn to cleaning up the damage and taking care of the sick and wounded.
Xir knew of this as he wandered to the city's edge, Balto by his side. He knew he should have stayed and partied with his soldiers, as it was his boldness was what help flush the ghost out. But something was nagging at him and he planned to settle it. Ardnak was nowhere to be found with in the city. The woman was prone to give chase for great distances and long after the heart of the battle. This usually resulted in her returning after losing her prey or catching and killing it. For her to gone this long only men one thing, she was captured or dead.
Signaling for a group of men to follow him, the Raggora’ advisor mulled over for what reason she could have been captured for. His Lord, Valerius Raggora, did prize the wild woman for her courage in battle so holding her ransom would be likely. But then why would pokemon go out of their way abduct her.
The next reason that came to his mind came to was to settle a grudge. If that was the case he needed to find her quickly. Her nature made plenty of enemies and would more than likely piss off her captors, probably hastening her own death.
Settling on that thought process for the time being, he exited the city’s main gate. The vast crop fields and paires that fed the city and keep stretched for miles in every direction. Little dots on the horizon marked homesteads and watchtowers established by kingdom. Xir scoffed slightly, commenting on how well they did to warn the city of the pokemon’s attack.
With a sigh, he knelt down to Balto’s height and patted the chimera’s head. “Ready to find Ardnak for us?” he asked. The pokemon happily barked in response before giving his trainer a lick on his face. Losing his stern face for a moment, he chuckled happily as he fished out a strand of cloth that he knew Ardnak wore recently.
Offering it to Balto, the pokemon took several sniffs of the fabric before sticking his nose to the earth. Sniffing loudly, he scanned the dirt path bath and forth. With a happy yip moments later, he stood stock still, whole body pointing like an arrow to the east. Motioning to the men he gathered, Xir told his small companion to press on.
The small company trekked through the open plains for nearly an hour, finding more signs of Ardnak. A path cut through a corn field, footprints left in drying cow pies, and spots of burned grass where her pokemon Tiamat had attacked. There was even some ghost pokemon still knocked out littered the path the general took.
All the while on their journey, one spot on the horizon started to grow. Stopping at a homestead that Ardnak had pass for both information and water, Xir stared at the now huge silhouette that stood before him. This was clearly the forest that was mention in the last sighting of Ardnak and he could easily see her getting lost.
From the height of the trunk and the color of the bark, he knew it was redwood forest. Not seen in Jallera outside of picture, the forest was alien to him and his men. From the farmer, he learned that the trees just appeared the night before, much like the ghost swarm.
With an exhausted sigh, he turned to the troops he gathered and declared, “Men, outside of Ardnak and her pokemon, we don’t know what’s in those trees. It could be more pokemon like those of last night. It could be a group of bandits, itching to add us to a ransom pile. Whatever it may be though. I want you to be on guard and be ready to fight off anything that my attack us.”
“What if Ardnak attacks us?” one soldier asked.
Not thinking of that before hand, Xir replied with, “Leave her to me then.”