Ravena

Ravena was a Murkrow, otherwise known as the Darkness Pokemon. But she didn't really deserve her bad reputation since she was one of the friendliest Pokemon any trainer could hope to capture. The only trouble was nobody WANTED to capture her because of various deep-seated prejudices against her kind.

Sometimes, from the top of the tall dark tower where she and the rest of her flock lived, she would hear trainers passing by on their Pokemon journeys But, the second she made her presence known, the trainers would shout "Murkrow!" and flee for their lives. Down in the village, things weren't much better - many times, Ravena would fly down in search of food only to be pelted with stones by terrified locals.

"Get out of here, you evil thing!" they would shout at her. And the missiles would continue to fly past Ravena's ears until she was safely out of range.

Ravena was often in despair. "Why do the humans hate us so much?" she asked her mother one day. "We never did anything to them."

Ravena's mother explained that it had all started when humans and Pokemon first started interacting with each other. In those times, few understood the way Dark Type Pokemon functioned and it had led to many misunderstandings - all such Pokemon were demonised, but Murkrow had been more demonised than most.

"It was a dark time for Murkrow," Ravena's mother said. "The humans caught our kind like they would any other Pokemon, but, instead of training them, they burned them alive on bonfires. It was only by retreating into hiding that we managed to avoid extinction . . ."

But that did not cheer Ravena. She spent many hours down by the pond near her tower, gazing at her reflection and wishing she could have been a Pidgey or a Farfetch'd - in fact, anything except a Murkrow.

"You shouldn't wish for what you can't have," her mother told her. "Just be grateful you weren't alive in the Dark Time . . ."

"Just be grateful," Ravena thought bitterly. "What do I have to be grateful about?"

Then, one night, something happened that would change Ravena's life forever.

It was the night of the full moon and Ravena was out hunting in the forest. Like most Murkrow, she preferred to hunt at night since she was less likely to run into humans who might attack her than she was during the day.

On this particular night, she was flying over the forest when she suddenly heard screaming. A human child was screaming.

"Help! Help me!"

Swooping low, she saw a Gengar leering at a girl of maybe ten years old who had backed against a tree and was fumbling nervously with a backpack. No-one needed to tell Ravena what had happened - clearly, the girl was a new Pokemon trainer and had tried to take on the Gengar before she was ready. Judging by the fact that four Pokemon - a Bulbasaur, a Krabby, a Spinarak and a Togetic - lay unconscious at her feet, the girl had used her Pokemon against the Gengar but none of them had been able to defeat the huge purple creature.

"Beware!" the Gengar shouted as he prepared to launch into his Nightshade Attack. The girl cowered in terror, trying desperately to shield her fallen Pokemon. "Please!" she pleaded with tears welling up in her eyes. "Leave me alone . . ."

"Oh no you don't!" thought Ravena as she flew towards the Gengar and let fly with her Faint Attack. "Take that!"

Stunned by the sudden onslaught, the Gengar staggered. Wasting no time, Ravena followed up with her own Night Shade Attack, knowing from meetings with other Pokemon that this move would damage the other Pokemon no matter what circumstances the battle was taking place under.

Gengar glared at the impudent Murkrow. "What do you think you're doing?!" he demanded angrily.

"Teaching you it doesn't pay to be a bully!" Ravena cawed back as she flew at Gengar in the hope a well-placed Peck Attack might give the Ghost Pokemon a lesson in manners.

But, when she tried to use her Peck Attack, Ravena found herself trying to peck thin air - in her eagerness to fight, she had forgotten that Ghost Pokemon can only be affected by certain types of Attack. Gengar laughed his sinister laugh.

"Looks like your time's up, Murkrow!" he taunted as he prepared to let fly with a Shadow Ball.

"Not so fast!" Ravena retorted as she flew out of the Shadow Ball's range. "I'm going to fix you once and for all!"

True to her words, Ravena quickly called up all her energy and let off the most powerful Faint Attack she had ever used. It struck the Gengar full in the chest and sent him sprawling on the ground. Winded, he struggled to get up and counterattack with his Night Shade - he had not counted on the girl having one more Pokemon up her sleeve.

Seeing the wild Murkrow fighting the Gengar as if to protect her, the girl was filled with admiration for the courageous bird. Then, when things started to go against Ravena, she knew she had to help out - but how? The only Pokemon she had left was a Smoochum - and that would be a fat lot of use against a Gengar.

Nonetheless, she had no choice. "Smoochum - go!" she called throwing a Poke Ball. "Use your Psychic Attack!"

Seeing the small Ice/Psychic Pokemon, Gengar laughed even harder. "A Smoochum!" he said derisively. "Well, I could use another easy win . . ."

But he soon stopped gloating when the girl's Smoochum launched into her Psychic Attack - being a Ghost Type, he was weak against such moves, even from a Smoochum. At the same time, Ravena got her second wind and another well-placed Faint Attack soon made Gengar realise he had made a big mistake in trying to outsmart these Pokemon. Cursing, he drifted off back to wherever he had come from.

The girl recalled her Pokemon and turned to Ravena. "Thanks for helping us out, Murkrow," she said. "My name's Chloe - I'm on a Pokemon journey."

Now that Ravena could get a good look at Chloe, she could see that she had long auburn hair tied back in a French braid and was wearing red dungarees over a cream-coloured t-shirt. She seemed a nice girl and, best of all she hadn't yelled at Ravena or told her to fly away.

Chloe continued speaking. "Y'know I thought all Murkrow were evil until I saw you take on that Gengar," she said. Then, a thought struck her. "Hey, why don't you join up with me - I'm on my way to battle Sabrina and I could use a Dark Type to take on her Psychic Pokemon."

Ravena did not need telling twice and, when Chloe drew her into a Poke Ball, she knew that, at long last, she had found a human willing to accept her.