This is part of a series of posts chronicling the ION Organized Play event, the Kanto War Game. In the last post, I introduced one of the teams in the game, Ultraviolet. Now, we’ll learn a little more about the group. The following pieces were written by one of the players in the game, Jeff, known as Hageshii.
An open letter to the people of Kanto.
My name is Jeff, but you can just call me Hageshii if you’d like. Lots of people do. Apparently I have a reputation on the battlefield for having an aggressive demeanor. Certainly Flannery would say so. It’s a fair assessment I suppose, but don’t think less of me for it. I fight with passion, but off the field I’m rather docile. Plus the nickname is cool.
Some of you may know me as the semi-finalist of the ION Tournament, either through spectating or because we faced each other. If it’s the latter then you know the passion of my fire, and you have experienced my fervor first hand.
War, for lack of a better term, is coming to Kanto; even I can see that from Hoenn. And I’ll say, I don’t approve or appreciate that. We’ve had our fair share of villains where I come from, but nothing on this scale.
Know that before you judge me or my partners, who I admit are less than reputable. We’re all worried. Worried about what will happen to the region. Worried about what will happen to the people. It’s for that reason that we’ve come to Kanto; to fight. To ensure that whatever happens, evil does not take hold of the region.
I understand that some of you may not approve of our methods. You might consider us vigilantes. Let the police handle it, or someone else more qualified and more appropriate. I would say that I agree with those sentiments, but I don’t think it’s enough. I think this war needs to see good people on many sides, not just one, in order to ensure that nothing is lost.
To those other teams who agree with our goals; who want to see Kanto survive this war unscathed and prevent disaster; we do not have to be enemies. Please let us help you, and you help us. We cannot and will not show weakness towards you, and we will fight you if it comes to it, but our goal at the end of all things is to ensure that Kanto falls into the hands of the right people. That does not have to be us. I almost hope it isn’t us. But if it has to be… well so be it. My only desire is that it will be we who face each other at the end of this. I must warn you; if that is the case we will still fight. The security of the region will at that point have been won. We will then desire only to experience the noble sport of Pokémon battling.
To those who would wish harm upon the people of Kanto, or who fight for sinister reasons; know that we will not back down from you. We will not allow Kanto to be lost; not this day. Not so long as we burn. And even if you should defeat us, it will not be without cost. Like the flames of a Houndoom, the burn we mark you with will never heal, and those who were stronger than us will ensure that you fall.
I hope that our efforts are not wasted. I hope that we can make a difference. And I hope that we are trusted.
War Within the Spirit
“Are you sure? Is it worth it?”
A good question. His head didn’t know if his answer was correct, but something inside told him that it was. The journey would be risky, he knew that. A number of things could go wrong, including the loss of his soul. He knew the risks. They both knew. But in order to prevail, to give him that edge-
“Is it worth it?” Flannery said again.
Hageshii furrowed his brow and crossed his arms, staring at the drink in front of him. It was morning, and Flannery had just finished pouring her morning coffee. Flannery was about to take a bite from a cake when Hageshii told her his intentions.
They sat in silence for a bit, Hageshii still staring at his juice and Flannery watching his face closely. She wasn’t sure, but she was certain that she could see a determined look in his eyes, one usually reserved for battling. In the distance they could hear roars and grunts; probably Charizard and Garchomp sparring as they often did in the mornings. A loud “MAAA!” told her that Mag was probably in the crossfire and hustling to get out of range.
“I think it is,” he said finally, sighing and looking her in the eyes. “It… it could give me the edge I need to pull ahead. To make sure that Po, Bobby, and I can do what we need to do over there.”
Flannery frowned, suddenly very interested in the marble pattern of the table. “Things could go wrong, Jeff. You know that. We both know the stories…” She started for a second when his hand fell over hers.
“I do, but I don’t think that will happen. I can’t let it happen. I need to do this… so I will. I won’t let it get the better of me.”
She looked up to see him looking at her, his expression set. Yes, it was there like she thought; that look of determination, that this was just another challenge for him to overcome. And she had to believe that he would.
She smiled, more for her own benefit than for his, and clenched his hand in hers. “You’re right. You’ll do it. I mean… you already raised a Chandelure, right?” She let go of his hand and reached for her coffee, so that he wouldn’t feel her shake. “How difficult could this be?”
– – – – – – –
Hageshii walked through light rain, hands in his coat pockets, fighting the chill. He hadn’t expected that the ritual would go like this. Somehow he had thought that the process would be a bit more bombastic; maybe some sort of chanting or a blood sacrifice to break the seal. After spending days searching for a stone that wouldn’t be missed, “go talk to a few dozen people” seemed immensely odd.
Still, he had a feeling that it had worked, a growing sense of dread that started at the base of his spine and worked its way up to his shoulders. He had returned to the shrine once before completing the task, to ensure that the stone was still there. No matter what happens in his life, Hageshii will always remember the chilling words that he had felt, rather than heard. Sparrat’tum, it had said. Sparrat’tum. That’s the only name you’ll hear. Sparrat’tum. It means the end and the death. Sparrat’tum.
He shivered again, less due to the rain this time. Up ahead he could see the shrine, dark against the darkening sky. He pulled a Poké Ball from his belt and activated it. Lumiere flashed into reason next to him, chiming uncomfortably even in the light rain. He flared up his flames to compensate and floated closer to Hageshii, silently inquiring, is it ready this time?
Hageshii stopped, and the Chandelure floated above his head, arms curling expectantly. In front of the small shrine was a tablet, at one time illegible but now clear as day. A keystone sat upon it, but while it had previously been inert and little more than a hunk of rock it now literally oozed a strange purple substance. As Hageshii watched the ectoplasm coiled upwards and condensed, spinning gently in the air. He could feel the voice again, echoing in his mind. We are Sparrat’tum. Sparrat’tum is all around you. Sparrat’tum is the beast beside you. Sparrat’tum shall gnaw on your bones.
The energy coalesced into a vortex, purple and green, and the ghostly relief of a haunting face formed out of the swirling energy. Green orbs floated about it, and Hageshii could see the Pokémon grin menacingly at him. Look out! said the voice, as both ghost Pokémon charged up a Shadow Ball. Sparrat’tum is here!
– – – – – – –
Hageshii woke up with a start, sitting up quickly. He looked around the darkened room, head still spinning a bit, and braced himself on the mattress. Flannery’s nearby breathing was calm and even.
He closed his eyes, thinking. He had been dreaming about the battle with the Spiritomb. It was grueling. His Chandelure had done what damage it could, but the other ghost was more resilient, and hit back harder. Garchomp and Kingler had a difficult time landing any blows, and Hageshii was shocked to find that it could levitate into the air even still attached to the keystone. He was finally able to make something of a dent in its defenses with Venusaur; the grass Pokémon’s seeds slowly but steadily weakened the Spiritomb. The Dusk Ball that Hageshii had brought with him had done its job beautifully. The Spiritomb was his.
But this dream. He could remember it vividly, could hear the voice again, only this time it had spoken different words. Words of encouragement. Of strength and power. We could work together, it had said. You and we. We could be unbeatable, but only if you let us reach our true power. Venusaur had been replaced with a solid platinum statue, rising high into the air. The Hallowed Shrine before Hageshii burst into a pile of gold coins. The rain that fell around him had solidified into small diamonds. Let us be free. Release us. You’ll be unstoppable. Everyone will bow to us, to YOU. Without us you can’t win. You NEED us. Release us. Release us. Release us.
Hageshii shook his head, clearing his mind of the visions. He moved to get out of the bed and grab a glass of water, but froze when something heavy resting on his lap resisted the blanket’s movement, and rolled away. He looked down, eyes now adjusted to the darkness, and felt a cold dread reenter him.
The Dusk Ball lay on the bed, having rolled from his lap and come to rest between him and Flannery. Gently he reached for it, and carefully held it in his hands. It felt warmer than usual, and Hageshii could swear that a gentle pulse emanated from it, like a heart beat.
Release us. He couldn’t tell if the voice was from his memory, or if he could hear it speaking even now. Release us. Become stronger. Become strong enough to win. Release us, and win. Perhaps the voice was right. That’s why he had captured this Spiritomb; to win. To give him the strength to win, and defend others. If he allowed the Pokémon to reach its peak he could ensure that Kanto would be safe. He slowly raised his arm, the voice still chanting the same two words in his head, ball held in his hand as though ready to open.
Flannery shifted in her sleep, and suddenly her voice reached up from Hageshii’s memory, just for a moment rising higher than the echoing voice. “Is it worth it?”
He paused; his hand clenched around the ball, the voice suddenly speaking with renewed vigor, as if aware that its spell had been broken. Release us. Release us. RELEASE US!
His arm tensed, and Hageshii slammed the ball down on the night stand. All at once the voices stopped. The ball no longer felt warm. The pulsing was gone. Hageshii held it there for a moment, staring at it, before finally moving his finger to hit the central button. The Dusk Ball retracted back to its smaller size, and Hageshii felt safe to let it go. It rolled against the alarm clock before coming to rest.
He did need the Spiritomb, but not at that cost. He’d win without giving up his soul. He had already gained its respect; now he could turn it to the right mindset.
Flannery hadn’t woken, and Hageshii laid back down, confident that he could now sleep in peace.