It’s a cold, winter night. The wind is howling ominously as snow piles up against a cabin. Inside, an old woman tends to a fire in an effort to stay warm. Across the room, two young children and a cleffa are staring at the sky with their heads out the window. The old woman scolds them for opening up the shutters, and bids them to join her by the hearth. They quickly listen, shutting the window and running towards their grandmother. She wraps them each in a woolen quilt, the cleffa hopping up into the young ones' laps, then settles down in her own chair. A vulpix curls up at her feet.
“Nana, why do stars blink?” One of the children, a girl, asks.
“Oh! Oh! And why do they move?!” Asks the other, this one a boy. “Sometimes when I look at them they’re different than before!!”
The old woman stares at the dancing flames, silently, for several seconds before answering with her own question. “How many stars do you think there are?”
“I think maybe a hundred!” the boy answers immediately.
“There’s a lot more than that,” the girl corrects, matter-of-factly, “There’s got to be at least a thousand!”
Slowly, the woman nods. “Indeed. However… there used to be many more than that.”
Both children gasp in shock, leaning forward in interest.
“How many were there?!”
“Hush. Lower your voices, children, and lean back. It’s quite a long story…”
|QUOTE (Old Woman)|
|Long ago, long before any humans were brought to this land, there was only the earth, the sea, and the sky. As you know, pokemon lived on the earth and in the sea, but in the sky—|
“Was it the stars?!”
“Quiet! Let her tell the story!!”
“Thank you, dear. Yes, it was the stars.”
|…In the sky lived the stars, along with their father, the Sun, and their mother, the Moon. They all loved each other very much, and their family was so large that their light filled the entire sky. What we now know as night did not exist, for back then darkness was found only in the shade of trees and the depths of caves. Because of this, demons were not as present, either; only a handful of them lived in each corner of the land.|
And yet, this era of light was not meant to last. The demons were not content with their circumstances, believing it unfair for the darkness, their home and their source of power, to be so outweighed and outnumbered. They gathered together in secret, in the deepest of shadows so as not to be discovered, devising a plan to take out the light. It would be difficult, and they stood no chance in a head-to-head battle, but more than any other type these dark pokemon specialized in trickery and deception. After many, many arguments, and several of which escalated into physical scuffles (it is no secret that demons enjoy fighting of any kind), they finally all came to agreement as to how they should proceed.
They called on the most skilled of their kind, the zorua and zoroark, to use their illusive abilities to lure the stars down to earth. Knowing that their normal appearances might alert the more experienced Sun and Moon, the illusionists disguised themselves as creatures of the light, spread out across the continent, and, once in position, began singing sweet songs to the stars above about the fun, joy, and freedom of frolicking on land:
Shiny, shiny, stars so bright,
You lot make a sorry sight!
Cooped up high, with naught to do,
We just want to play with you!
Won’t you join us on the ground?
Sing and dance and jump around?
Stay at home, up in the sky;
All the fun will pass you by!
Join us, join us, if you wish,
Fly with birds and swim with fish,
Run across the hills and fields,
Pick and eat what nature yields!
Lovely, lovely stars so bright,
Won’t you bless us with your light?
Come with us, you won’t feel blue:
We’ll treat you to something new!
Having known nothing but their parents' benevolence, a good number of the stars leaped down without hesitation. They often watched the activities of those below, and jumped at the chance to participate themselves. Some landed in the water, some landed among the mountains, and some landed on the grassy plains; but wherever they landed, a demon waited for them in disguise. For days, weeks, months, they kept up their ruse, playing with the fallen stars for as long as they could hold their attention. Every game that could be imagined was played. From hide-and-go-seek to tag, the demons switched from one game to the next so that the stars would not be allowed to spare a thought toward the consequences.
The more the stars played, the dimmer their lights shone, and it was not long before their bodies began to adapt to their new environments and become pokemon in their own right. Some of them kept their star-like forms, some adopted the appearance of their parents, while a rare few crafted an entirely new image for themselves. Regardless of how different they ended up, one thing remained in common: they were no longer the stars they once had been. Still, the once-stars thought little of their sudden transformations. It made sense to them, that they should blend in with their new friends; moreover, they were incapable of comprehending any sort of lie or ulterior motive.
Now, there is no doubt that these fallen stars enjoyed their little vacation, and loved interacting with the other pokemon, but, as all things do, it had to come to an end. They grew weary of endless play; more significantly, they longed for the family they had left behind. And so, they bid farewell to their “friends” and attempted to return back home — only to discover that they were unable to do so. Whether it was because they looked so different, or no longer shone as bright, or had been doomed the moment they had left the sky, they had no way of knowing; in any case, they cared less for the reason why and more about how to remedy the situation. They turned to their companions for help, but by then the demons had receded back into the shadows, their purpose having been completed.
Confused and heartbroken, the fallen stars called out towards their family, but even their cries were denied entrance to the heavens. Their voices, while heard and acknowledged, had been altered so greatly they no longer could be understood. And though the Sun and Moon recognized the plight their children were in, they could no longer assist them, their divine protection having disappeared along with their original faces. Aware of the extent of their children’s recent, drastic changes, the parents realized they were gone for good, and cried for their loss. Had they known that the stars’ departure would be a permanent one, they never would have allowed it.
If only the demons had understood the full extent of their crimes, if only they had they known the trauma they would cause, if only they had the tiniest glimmer of empathy, perhaps then the demons would have reconsidered, and all this could have been avoided. As it was, the demons’ plot did far more damage than they ever could have anticipated, fracturing not only their adversaries’ hearts but the bonds between them as well. You see, there is no tragedy greater than a parent losing their child, and having lost so many cursed them with a burden they would never be able to recover from. The strain was too much for either the Sun or Moon to handle, and they split apart, two broken individuals unable to pick up each other’s pieces while struggling with their own. Refusing to face each other, but both sill hoping to save their lost children, the parents took turns searching for a solution. The Sun, with his fierce, burning passion, scours the earth in persistent interrogation, and we call this day; the Moon, with a much gentler, soothing disposition, blankets the world in her lamenting song, and we call this night.
The demons flourished underneath the new reign of darkness, and have since spread further across our land. Their domain expanded, and their numbers growing alongside it, these dark-typed pokemon were no longer confined to hide in the shadows of others. They danced in glee, this time without guise; so happy they were with themselves, they openly mocked the beings who once suppressed them, knowing they were now powerless to retaliate. As the demons were free to do as they wish, Terrene became a wilder land, a more frightening land, and the demons began subjecting other pokemon to their torment. Even the former stars, who the demons once played with and called their friends (though, admittedly, that had been a ruse) were made their victims, as if being shackled to the earth was not enough punishment.
I am sorry to say that even the remaining star children did not leave this incident unscathed; despite remaining in the sky, their lights had dimmed considerably, too, as every person gives a piece of themselves to the people they love. They joined their mother in the night, feeling safer under her protection than their father’s rampage. They travel across the evening sky, searching for their loved ones, who despite looking very different were still family to them. Whenever they spot a pokemon they thought might be one of their siblings, they blink brightly; both a signal to the others stars as well as an attempt to reconnect to the fallen ones. Never do they receive a response, and so they move on, praying that their next venture will be more successful.
Of course, all this happened several lifetimes ago. Those stars that had originally fallen are no longer with us, having moved onto the next life. Some say that they’ve reunited with their family; others believe that they never will be. Whatever the truth may be, you needn’t cry over it — for, though they may have lost their first family, the once-stars made new ones. They embraced the pokemon they had become, giving birth to a new generation, who gave birth to another, and so on. Today, these children of the fallen stars have all but forgotten their heritage. Yet, their connection to the sky remains in some deep, hidden part of themselves. Sometimes, you can catch one staring up at the stars above, who will smile back in return.
As the old woman finishes her story, she studies the faces of her grandchildren. They seem frightened, half-hidden beneath their blanket, while their arms are wrapped tightly around the pokemon on their lap for comfort.
“Th-that’s scary, Nana! I didn’t like the demons part.”
“Y-yeah! What she said! I didn’t know the demons were so mean. And that they — they’re in the shadows!” The boy eyes the dark corners of the room warily.
“You are focusing on the wrong parts, my dears. Yes, there are demons are among us. But don’t forget — so are the stars.” She looks pointedly at the cleffa in their lap.
Immediately, the two children turn to the small, star-shaped pokemon. The fear in their eyes appears to melt away, replaced with awe and wonder. In return, the cleffa beams at them brightly.