AU. Lyra's life is turned upside down when bandits invade her town of New Bark. She's taken in as a slave, but is quickly sold to a noble family. It isn't long before Lyra finds herself in the service of the young and obedient Prince Lance. Will love blossom?
This is a revised edition, and the story is now complete. The story will change name at a later name (as soon as the art cover is done actually).
I have fixed up a few issues with the original draft so hopefully this edition will make a lot more sense.
There aren't many true high fantasy stories in the Pokemon fandom, so that's something I wanted to address with this.
"Are you certain about this mother?" a young woman said, her arms wrapped around her body, trying to keep herself warm from the piercing cold. All she had to keep herself warm was a sheepskin cloak, a woolen hat and a pair of mittens, but the cold still stung. Although she was protected from the worst of the cold by standing in the cave, the gale still reached her and her companion. "How do you know this will work?"
"Watch and learn, Agatha," her mother said, her long black curls hidden beneath the hat. They were standing before a brown bear's carcass. Her mother pulled out a long knife and dropped to her knees. She made a deep incision from the heart to the stomach, pulling back the skin to reveal the insides. Placing the tip of the knife on the heart, she cut into the muscle and pulled it out. "Arceus has granted us Sight. It would be foolish of us not to use it to the best of our abilities. This is how we ensure the future of our world is a bright one."
Agatha placed a hand over her nose, trying hard not to gag at the stench and sight of blood. Although she had seen her mother perform the ritual many times before, she had never grown accustomed to it. Her stomach muscles tightened, and she made a silent prayer to Arceus her mother would not notice her discomfort. Ritual sacrifice had never been something she liked to watch.
"To gain full Sight, we must make an offering to The Divine." Arceus went by many names. The Church of Blackthorn had given the title of The Divine, whilst the peasants of nearby villages saw him as The Horned God based on the depictions of him in paintings. "We must bleed the heart into a silver chalice. Place the chalice on the ground before me."
Agatha removed the satchel from her back and opened it, digging inside for the item. As ordered, she placed it before her mother then took a step back.
Her mother cut into the heart directly down the middle and held it above the chalice. She didn't remove it until the chalice had been filled. This was the way to commune with The Divine. Or so her mother had claimed.
"What happens next?"
"I will drink the bear's blood." She brought the chalice to her mouth and drank a mouthful. Agatha winced. Her mother drank the liquid as if it were water. Once down, she laid the chalice down and gazed up towards the sky, her palms raised above her head, eyes squeezed shut. "I offer thee this carcass in exchange for your wisdom. Please. Tell me what I must do to serve you."
Nothing happened. Not straight away. Moments later, a white light encased the bear carcass. It disappeared right before her eyes. Startled, she jumped. "It's gone," Agatha exclaimed.
Her mother did not respond. Instead, she started to convulse, her eyes rolling back to show the white part fully. Agatha rushed to her side but was flung back off her feet by a mysterious force. All she could do was look on in terror. Just relax, she told herself. She's done this before. Much to her surprise, her mother grabbed her are, her fingernails digging into her skin. Agatha yelped, and tried to free herself, but her mother's grip was unrelenting. Her mind became flooded with images.
She saw an elderly man wearing a crown of thorns. A woman with long red hair wearing a veil. There was also an image of a crippled hand, and evidence of fire. Behind him, an army of humanoids, their facial features concealed by a hood. A new image appeared. A baby boy born under a full moon. Lastly, she saw a glimpse of a woman standing atop a hill, bathed in sunlight.
Her mother released her grip, and Rebekah stumbled back, but recovered. Regaining control, her mother raised to her feet. "What did you see?" she demanded.
"Um. A baby boy next to a crown. A king with a crown of thorns. A woman who radiates warmth much like the sun. A crippled hand which looked like it had been scarred from fire… or something else. And there were also some robed people, but I couldn't see their faces…." Agatha explained, regaining her composure. She drew in a deep breath, trying to steady her hammering heart, then said, "What did it all mean?"
"It's a prophetic vision. Arceus can't communicate in our language so He sends us images of a future to come. We have to piece the puzzle together ourselves and do our best to serve Arceus." Her mother paused and frowned. "A crown of thorns represents a king who has sacrificed much. His leadership is born from pain and suffering. Hidden faces imply deceit. Why would you reveal your face if you had something to hide?"
"What about the crippled hand?"
"Means a disability or an illness. Perhaps it is connected to the robed people and the woman with the veil. Embarrassed because they are disfigured. The baby boy is the future king. That is why he is next to the crown and he will be born on a full moon. This implies struggle between reason and what the heart desires. Those born under a full moon are cooperative and good leaders because they listen," her mother explained, looking thoughtful.
"And what about the connection to the sun? Is this woman a mage?"
The woman shook her head. "She's favoured by Arceus. Wherever she goes, darkness will be vanquished. She brings light to dark places. These images come together and tell a story. A worthy king will be born under a full moon, and he'll have to choose between duty and the heart. The forces of darkness threaten to disrupt the peace. They lurk in the shadows hiding their features and their intentions, waiting for the right moment. The crippled hand is plague and disease. Fire is rebirth. But there is always hope. The prophecy of the Sun and the Moon. Arceus wants us to protect them both – the cycle has begun once more."
Her mother's voice trembled. The younger woman's eyes widened. Never had she seen her mother so shaken before. "What do you mean the cycle has begun once more?"
"The world will always be filled with darkness and light – chaos and order – evil and good. We strive for a balance. One side must not overpower the other or the balance will be lost. Centuries ago this same prophecy was fulfilled. A hero emerged from nothing and restored the balance."
Agatha frowned. "But the prophecy does not state who will emerge victorious?"
Silence then, "No, it does not but they guide us in the right direction. We could spend the next century leaving in darkness, or we could live in another era of prosperity and good health. We are Oracles, women who have the power to communicate with Arceus, and we have the power of seeing glimpses of the future. We are tested by our Creator, and we must show Him our faith and will is strong. We take the knowledge He gives us to make a better future for ourselves."
"Then what can we do?"
"I will not live to see the boy and the girl mature, but you will be there." Her mother grabbed her hands, her dark eyes gazing deep into her eyes. "This task falls on you. This prophecy must come to light. It is our duty as oracles."
"What must I do?"
"Protect them. Do as they ask. They are the ones who will vanquish the shadow." She wiped her hands on her dress, removing the blood from her skin.
Agatha didn't understand this prophecy – not entirely. This wouldn't be the first time someone had prophesized the end of the world. Not whilst her mother still breathed. This wasn't a task she could do alone. "I understand, mother."
"You are an obedient child. Come. We must retreat further into the cave and wait out the rest of the storm before we can depart for the city once more."
Agatha nodded, shifting her attention away from the carcass. She was eager to distance herself from the dead. Staring into the bear's soulless eyes was unsettling. Without saying anther word, she followed her mother further into the cave.