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 The End Times, [Starter]
Moloch
 Posted: Aug 2 2017, 06:11 PM
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The Rapture had passed, and God's chosen ones were taken into His Kingdom while the sinners of the world were left to rot in the fallen-apart world for eternity until the battle between the Angels and the Devils had finally ceased. That was the prevailing opinion here, but it couldn't have been true; for one thing, He did not take His humble servants, and for another the priests, God-loving men and women, and pure children were not taken.

But that was fine in itself. They needed merely to survive until His watchful countenance fell upon them once more, and He would see their devotion to Him and sweep them up to the Kingdom of Heaven. That was the world Ryan Thomas put his hands and his beliefs in as they held fast within this church, only stepping out for supplies (and even then with trepidation). To his credit, that belief held for nine full years of life before today happened.

Why the world decided that now was a good time to attack the church was a mystery to him. For nine years the Lord's House had been left alone by the ravaged time and space that permeated the rest of the immediate area. But now the distorted forces caught up and wreaked havoc upon their sanctuary. The pews rotted at speeds unimaginable; the stained glass faded to colorless, and holes ripped open from sheer erosion over time. One of the pastors, a man he knew most all his life, quite literally turned into dust on the wind.

The children, he thought, he had to save them at least. They were the future, too young and pure to be labeled as unworthy of His love. But when he turned to reach for them, he found himself able and unable to move all at once. His body made motions, he grasped for them - but no position changed, a sign that distance and space were becoming increasingly unwound. And that was the final trigger.

"Oh, God-DAMNIT!" Ryan dropped to his knees and punched the stone floor, uncaring of the pain that went through him in return, "Why?! What is the purpose of this, O Father in Heaven? Do you think you're funny? Is our suffering Your amusement? You would leave Your flock to flail about in this absurd world, let children die for some absurd cause?! IS THAT IT?!"

Sixteen years of faith, built upon solid fundamentals and unwavering belief. And it took five minutes of sustained agony to bring it all crashing down on itself.

"Well, FINE!" Ryan looked to the skies, now revealed by the crumbling ceiling of the church, "Fine! You have won, O Father in Heaven! Your trials have broken your humble servants! You've left us all to die, even after we chose to believe in Your great plan for us! And this is Your repayment? My only hope now is that one day, Your recalcitrance for Your callous disregard for Your flock is repaid in full!

"May the Devil himself rip through Saint Peter's gates and crash through Michael's unwavering blade! May Gabriel's trumpet sound a dull note, and may You fall as Lucifer did from that profound position!

"May I see you in Hell, you callous God!" And with that final curse, the foundations of the church finally gave way and crumbled under the passage of time gone mad...

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Jani
 Posted: Aug 3 2017, 09:38 AM
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A blindingly bright white flash interrupted the destruction, the first sign of the someone that was finally coming for him.

Following the bright flash, the world around him began to dim- first gradually and slowly, and then exponentially. After only a handful of seconds, everything had lost all its light. In the moment absolute darkness was reached, there was another burst of white light; then, plummeting abruptly from the sky and passing through the crumbling building fell what seemed to be a comet swathed in and trailing a yellow and blue light. It made no sound, and indeed, it seemed as though there was no substance to it. Although it appeared as if it was going to crash directly into Ryan, whether he had opted to flee or not, there were no sounds of impact, no force of impact. Ryan would feel nothing, but he would be blinded by the fierce glow of the shooting star that had nearly plummeted into him.

And then the very air around Ryan seemed to change. The sounds of crumbling vanished. The air currents vanished. The ground beneath him vanished, though no sensation of falling accompanied it; if anything, it would feel similar to floating on water. Weightlessness.

As Ryan's vision returned, his eyes would confirm what his other senses had already told him: he was no longer where he had been mere moments ago. He was... nowhere. He was in blackness. Darkness beneath, above, and on all sides. But right before him floated a fairy-like creature, whose brightness was dimming to a much more reasonable, dulled glow than the light he had been exuding previously. As his light faded, his form became discernible. He was somewhat humanoid, but small- and likely not at all like the God that Ryan had been picturing.

The main part of his body was white; his arms were long and clothed in white sleeves that seemed as much a part of him as anything else. His legs were comparatively short, though he did not seem to use them for much, as he was floating rather than standing. His stomach had an odd crease in it, shaped like an upturned semi-circle. His eyes were large and black, with little green triangles beneath them. There were no eyebrows nor any facial creases to determine its expression with, but the openness of his eyes and the slightly upturned thin lips seemed to indicate contentment or interest.

Atop his head were three pointed, pale yellow extremities- reminiscent of a star- each with a dangling rectangular blue tag that seemed to shiver slightly in a nonexistent wind. The pale yellow growth also came down to frame the sides of the fay's milky white face. Two long, ribbon-like appendages of that same pale yellow color extended from the base of its neck. They levitated delicately behind the creature.

My name is Jirachi.

The voice that this Jirachi spoke with was clear as a bell and was just as cheerful and musical, though it seemed as though it spoke with a slight echo, or as if there were multiple melodic voices speaking nearly at the same time with a slight delay, which would force Ryan to pay close attention to the words if he wanted to be able to ascertain exactly what being said by the lone companion he had in this strange, empty place.

Do you still retain your memories?

It was a question Jirachi needed to ask first. People's memories faded from them at varying rates; some lost all memory immediately upon entry into the void, others lost them gradually during the course of their conversation, and some seemed to retain most of their memories and sense of self all the way until their final moments in the void. It was important to ascertain their level of remembrance at the beginning, as it would affect the style of conversation and the types of questions he could ask.

Are you injured at all?

(Two quick reminders- 1, a link to your Ryan's profile should be in your signature, and 2, remember to post in the mod req whenever you need a mod or admin to post in this/any thread!)

@Moloch


Welcome to the void between universes. Ryan will begin his journey through this vacuity by conversing with Jirachi, who will learn as much as he can about Ryan. When Jirachi feels he has learned enough, or if Ryan chooses to end the conversation, Celebi will take the information Jirachi has obtained and present Ryan with a number of challenges- mental or physical- to determine which of the Pokemon that Jirachi suggests would be the best partner for him. Enjoy!




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Moloch
 Posted: Aug 3 2017, 11:51 AM
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Divine intervention came... in all the wrong ways.

Everything stopped and the world went white, then black, then still. For a moment he'd thought he died, until he realised he still had his general consciousness. And once he opened his eyes to behold the stillness, a melancholy washed over the area. There was no one here but him - and the strange thing in front of him. A Pokemon of some stripe?

He'd heard of the main religions, of course, the ones that venerated certain mythic Pokemon as deific in scope. He rejected that on a fundamental level; not out of any particular hate, but because it was impossible for a Pokemon deity and a mortal servant to come to any real understanding. Was this the "true" Heaven, the land of life after death? It would be just his luck, to renounce Him and then end up here, a double strike of humiliation.

It was called Jirachi, and it asked varying questions of him. The latter one, about his injuries, he kept mum on for the time (and thus shook his head at), but the former...

"I remember... Time and space fell apart, and the End Times had come for us all. We had held out as best we could for the Son of God's second coming, to be taken to the Kingdom of Heaven, and then... nothing"

Well, perhaps not everything needed to be said - the implication from the words was clear: He remembered enough. Was this some form of sick joke? Or a test? Who knew, in the end of it all. Better to get it out of the way now rather than later, however...

"So, is this what passes for Saint Peter's judgment at the gates among the dominant religions? Just castigate me now; I'm aware of what heretical religions do not gain access to the world beyond the pearled gates."

@Jani

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Jani
 Posted: Aug 3 2017, 04:54 PM
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Jirachi's head tilted ever so slightly forward and to one side. Son of God? Saint Peter? He knew that the human boy must be speaking of religion- what else could it be?- but the specifics of what the human was trying to say eluded him, and he only became more confused as the boy went on, with... bitterness? Bitterness or something similar tainting his tone of voice.

I am not entirely sure what you're saying,
But I have no interest in castigation,
Nor in passing judgement. That is not my duty.

No, his duty was to save people. As many people as possible. And to provide them with the best chance at surviving and thriving and living as happily as possible in the new universe. And to do that... he needed to get to know them. Bringing his train of thought back from its brief tangent, Jirachi recalled the answer to his first question. The human did still have his memories- at least some of them. For now. There was no sense in dawdling; he mulled over what questions to ask for a moment, before speaking once more.

Do you believe 'heretics' should be punished?

Religion was an interesting topic, though Jirachi wasn't sure exactly how in depth he wanted to discuss the facets of whatever religion this man committed to. He wanted to know what the man believed, desired, though, as an individual. Surely that was heavily influenced by the religion- but what else was there to the man? After all, he couldn't take much of his religion with him, so what would he be like without it? Still, it was a good place as any to start.

How has your religion affected your life?
What about it is good? What is bad?

Jirachi would be a good listener when Ryan was speaking his part; attentive, nodding at the appropriate times, making consistent eye contact. Jirachi was entirely committed to the conversation- it was clearly very important to him.

@Moloch



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Moloch
 Posted: Aug 4 2017, 07:25 AM
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He wasn't the arbitrator of Ryan's fate. Except he was. ... Was Jirachi even a "he"? Ryan couldn't tell. Not that it mattered; Jirachi asked questions, and all that was left was to answer them.

"Heretics?" He repeated the word. What a dangerous word, one with multiple connotations. "... Defining that word is important. The mainstream Pokemon worshipers, the Muslims and the Jews, even the denominations of my own Church, those would be called heretics by the dangerous constituents of the Church. But those are not heretics. Now, those apostates and zealots who threaten other religions and bring down the name of all God-fearing men and women of the world? Those are heretics. They threaten the sanctity of the church, its people and all free peoples of the world. Those are the ones who should be brought low."

So, he wasn't a complete fanatic for the banner of God.

"As for my religion... Well... It wouldn't be wrong to call it the foundation of my life. It held fast in the face of the world's purity, in the face of madness. It brought salvation to the downtrodden, to the hopeless. It created faith and belief in the world from nothing.

"My only complaint is that all promises of a future in the world beyond that one were all lies."

@Jani

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Jani
 Posted: Aug 7 2017, 08:03 AM
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Admin


It wasn't much, but it was a start, at least.

There is another world,
That is why I am here;
To bring you to it.

Jirachi stayed silent for a moment, churning over in his mind possible follow-up questions he cold use to continue the conversation and to get to know this human better. There were many rolling around in his head. Did he change the subject, or remain on the one at hand? Finally, he decided that he needed further clarity and detail from the answers that had been provided for him. He hadn't been provided enough useful information in the answers he had received thus far.

What does "brought low" mean, in this case?
How do you bring one low?
Verbal condemnation?
Ostracize them from society?
Physical punishment, imprisonment?
And who commits the act of bringing them low?

Perhaps he would have understood easier, faster, if he had known much about human religions; but alas, he did not. He was somewhat familiar with the various religions that had called upon him, back before he and the others had fallen asleep. He had answered many pleas, granted many wishes. But that was then. Now, he was out of touch.

Your church provided a stable environment,
a nurturing environment?
That is what you believe is good about it?

With (hopefully) some clarification on those fronts, Jirachi felt comfortable enough to shift the subject of their conversation ever so slightly.

How did you spend your time?
Within your church, what did you do?
What did you accomplish?
And what of your time spent beyond,
Outside of your church?

@Moloch



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Moloch
 Posted: Aug 8 2017, 08:46 AM
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"You've not heard the stories?" Ryan asked, "Imagine a human with a broken limb. It's immune to all attempts at recovery and in fact actively stymies all recovery attempts. It has to be amputated, as all vestigial existences are. That is the kind of person that is brought low. Apostates, blasphemers and heretics are summarily excommunicated, by the community leader or the community itself should consensus be reached."

Everything he said sounded as if it was natural, the most obvious thing in the world. As for the church...

"Correct," He nodded, "The church helps those who are lost find their way. Those thrown into the gutter by the machinations of Fate, those lost by other groups... God open a window to those who have those doors closed. That a group can save those people is indicative of what we went through during the end times."

Probably best to leave out that it had all been for naught at the end of it.

A barrage of questions came, such that Ryan himself was nearly overwhelmed by the saturation of interrogatives. Through bracing himself, however, he was able to stand fast against the tidal wave.

"Hm, spending time... There wasn't a lot of free time once everything went to the Devil's Handbasket..." It wasn't wrong; he'd been fairly young when the world fell apart. "I was about... seven? Eight? When everything went to pot. Most of our time was spent holed up in that church, protecting those who couldn't defend themselves - children, the enfeebled, the elderly - and breaking through the maddening chaos to find material to survive another week. There was very little "free time" not spent trying to reforge the routine of the old days."

How bad had Hearthome City been struck, that this was something that had happened?

"I watched the pastor be whisked away in the ravages, you know. Time took him and accelerated his body to decrepitude and then to dust. Without our shepherd leading us, those of us old enough to understand had to lead the infirm and the infantile into safety, in the hopes that the Second Coming would spare us. If we left, it was of the idea that maybe there were supplies out there that twisted time and space had yet to claim."

The implication was clear, at least - in that time, there was little fun to be had at all. Notably, nothing before the tragedy had been brought up at all. Was that because he had genuinely forgotten about them, did not care for them, or due to the loss of memory that came within this liminal space?

@Jani

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Jani
 Posted: Aug 15 2017, 03:18 PM
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I see.

Jirachi seemed exceptionally thoughtful at the human's most recent responses, his eyes cast downward for a moment as he contemplated what had been said. After a few moments of silence, Jirachi looked up once again to meet Ryan's eyes.

One last question, then. Do you have any unfulfilled wishes?

Each person seemed to interpret his final question somewhat differently- it was a curious thing, and he was quite interested to see how this particular human interpreted the question, and how he responded. It would be the final insight Jirachi would get into the boy's mind before the next step.

When Ryan had said all that he wanted to, Jirachi would bow deeply to him. If he was observant in that moment, he would see, written upon the three blue tags that dangled from his star-shaped headdress, a record of the conversation that the two of them had just shared.

As Jirachi bowed, his dull glow began to increase in brightness. It was gradual, at first, but as he straightened from his bow the lightening was exponential. Before the light became too harsh for Ryan's eyes, Jirachi spoke his goodbyes.

I wish you luck.

With those final words, he swiftly flew up into the air, his trailing lights of yellow and blue following him as he took a position high above, finally settling into place as some sort of star or moon. He cast a slight bluish light over the black void.

I am Celebi.

The new voice that greeted Ryan was disembodied; no source revealed itself and it sounded from every direction simultaneously. The voice sounded nearly like a whisper, like a light breeze blowing over a delicate wooden flute; breathy, and yet sober, with full, velvety undertones. The voice was both more feminine and more bold than Jirachi's had been. Judging by her next choice of words, she was even more direct than Jirachi, as well.

I desire to test you and thus make a judgement and determine what will await you in your new world.

As the disembodied words reverberated through the inky black void, Ryan's environment began to change, to come to life. All around, little green saplings- tinted slightly blue by the light that Jirachi was radiating down upon everything- sprouted up out of the nothingness and matured right before his eyes into healthy, tall, magnificent trees. Celebi herself remained out of sight, her voice echoing from all around.

Do you agree to be challenged?

@Moloch



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