Chapter Sixteen: Returning Home
A Pokémon Fan-Fiction
By Hoenn Master
"Though Chess is a poor teacher for realistic troop movements and the way a Medieval army would fight, it still teaches us one all-important lesson: If you don't think and plan carefully, even the most inexperienced opponent can and will topple you." – Myself
The morning after I awoke, I was permitted to leave the medical tent, and on shaking legs I walked around camp, noting with little surprise that I was in reality walking through the Polish camp, and the soldiers were watching Blaziken and I with both a healthy amount of fear, and mistrust. Not that I could blame them.
After plucking up the courage to ask a nearby guard the way to the section my countrymen were staying in, I was quickly guided to the location, and after several minutes of searching, I found Sabrina and Lance sitting at a cooking fire and some of the survivors of the siege. Much to my surprise, however, I also found Matthew and Cain sitting on the opposite side of the fire, along with many ex Order members.
Sabrina saw my questioning look, and motioned for me to sit down next to her; not a sign of the vulnerability she had exposed last night showing through her mask. "My lord father is currently in negotiations with the Poles; Hochmiester Ordenmarschal Arnold is there as well."
"Ah, so he did escape: I was curious to know if he had survived." I thought as I nodded in understanding.
"I see, my lady. Are they boding well, then, or are you ignorant of any developments?"
Sabrina shook her head with a tired sigh. "I know nothing else; I wasn't permitted into the deliberations today, Sir John."
After that, we all sat around the fire, talking in hushed voices and watching the Polish soldiers carefully; they could easily take over most of Lithuania at that point if negotiations failed, and they no doubt fully understood that fact.
It was several hours later, just as the sun was beginning to set that we heard the sound of an armored retinue making its way towards us, boisterous talking and a sense of relief preceded them like a refreshing wave of comfort.
After several minutes, the armored figures of Teutonic Order Spearmen, marching side-by-side with dozens of Lithuanian infantrymen and Polish knights, filed into position around Sabrina's fire, leaving a small lane in their formation for the passage of three welcome figures; King William, Hochmiester OrdenMarschall Arnold, and the king of Poland. We all immediately lurched to our feet, even Sabrina, and stood in line before the three rulers, all anxious to hear of some agreement between our nations.
For a few moments, no one spoke; we all simply stared into one another's eyes, none entirely sure what to say.
Finally, after a few minutes, King William said, "It has been decided that the forces of Poland will assist us in our time of need while we begin to rebuild our capital, and they will also provide an escort for the Teutonic Knights until they can get onto a ship and sail for Sinnoh to join the Pope. So from here on out, those who have been with Lithuania since the beginning of the siege may return home to their families."
With a cheer of relief from those who had survived, and a few more words, I looked at Sabrina with both a joyous and depressed expression; I needed to return home to deliver my message to Ghetsis' parents, as well as see what happened during the siege to my hometown.
So, after a relatively brief series of talks or speeches, the joint guards dispersed, allowing myself and Blaziken to freely gather our things for the coming journey home.
The next morning, Blaziken and I both set about our final preparations, and right as the sun began to rise, we stepped out of our tent, only to come face-to-face with Sabrina and Lance, who both looked grim at the sight of our luggage.
After a moment, Sabrina cleared her throat and said, "I wish I could go back to Fortree with you, John. But, as it is, I cannot; father will need my help to rebuild our nation after being away for so long from the people. I pray you'll understand."
Both Blaziken and I nodded in understanding, prompting me to speak. "I understand, my lady; I need to see to my own home before anything else as well. Of course, your home being all of Lithuania, you must see to her people before any one small fortification on the far western border."
All the while, Blaziken and Lance were speaking in hushed tones in the language of Pokémon, heedless of their partners' conversation. With a sigh, Blaziken nodded before turning his attention onto our conversation instead. "Princess, John and I are deeply motivated to stay with the King and yourself until everything returns to normal, but we cannot; we have been unable to see our home due to war and strife for almost an entire year. 'We need to see to our own lands', as John put it."
With a somewhat shaky sigh, Sabrina nodded before stepping aside to let us pass, a mixture of determination and resignation crossing her features. "I shall pray for your safety in that case. Return home my friends; we will be seeing one another often enough soon, I suppose. Good-bye."
With that, Blaziken and I set off towards the southwest, directly into the trees.
The lonely journey home took us almost two weeks to accomplish, even with Blaizken's help. Due to Mount Pyre's eruption, the old path along the cliff walls, which had been the fastest way home up to that point, was now either covered in still-cooling magma, or otherwise obliterated in the explosions and earthquakes.
It was with single-minded determination that we managed to put an end to a feud between two Pokémon blocking our only way home, battled aggressive Pokémon who refused to see reason at times, and traversed the difficult terrain on foot without complaint.
On the last day of our journey, however, Blaizken and I slowed our pace to allow ourselves a certain enjoyment of the familiar territory we had played in when we were both but children; touching ancient trees and remembering Ghetsis, Sabrina, Joseph, and I all running around while Gerik was forced to teach us techniques on the fly at times.
I sighed as we stepped into the clearing housing our village, seeing that everything was mostly unchanged; new additions to the walls, as well as a new house here or there, but more or less, my home was unchanged.
With a great sense of relief, Blaziken and I both made our way back into town, quickly gathering a crowd around us as people asked for news from the capital as much as the both of us asked for the same from our own home. After almost half an hour of taking and answering questions and people admiring Blaziken, Joseph and Captain Smith both managed to make their way into the center of the crowd where I was to make themselves heard over the chatter.
Finally, Joseph managed to calm down the crowd, and Captain Smith, thanking Joseph, said happily, "It seems one of our Knights has returned home to us at last! Tell us, John; are Ghetsis and Sabrina waiting just outside of the town to avoid being crowded?"
I looked down, grief filling me anew at that; now was the time to inform everyone of the sad events that had occurred while I was away. "No, they are not. As you all have no doubt heard, Lillycove has been under siege by the Teutonic Knights for the past year. However, this was actually made up only of the Ritterbruder and former Hochmiester, who have become worshipers of Arceus for unknown reasons; most of the rest of the order was against them and actually fought alongside us to defend the great city. Two and a half weeks ago, however, Mount Pyre erupted, routing everyone in the city, and forcing us all to evacuate; I was one of the last to escape, and only because Blaziken managed to rescue myself and the King at the last minute.
"Beyond the fact that our capital has been destroyed due to Mount Pyre, Sabrina and Ghetsis will not be returning to us. Sabrina, as I have discovered, has been our Princess this entire time, sent here in order to protect her from an ambitious nobleman as far as I can understand.
"Ghetsis, however… Ghetsis is missing in action after being the one to force the enemy to fully rout. Not even the King's best scouts and spies can locate him."
There was a general murmur of surprise and sadness amongst the crowd at that; all of them knowing the two Knights that would seemingly never return. It was with a heavy heart that I located Ghetsis' parents in the crowd, their heads bent and his mother weeping into her hands. I pushed through the crowd, the people parting to allow me passage as I stepped in front of the couple. "Ghetsis was a great Knight; greater than myself. He fought harder and with more determination that even I did. Sabrina and I owe him our lives, as well as a great many other soldiers. While I pray that he is still alive, let it be known that whatever wealth is in my inheritance, I give to you as some consolation to try and ease the burden of your loss. I have some gold for my services to the King, and these coins I also give to you to use how you should see fitting," with that, I gave Ghetsis' parents both a small sack of gold, and the letter I wrote to them.
They simply stared at it for a few seconds before Ghetsis' mother fell into her husband's arms, weeping all the more fiercely for her son, and Ghetsis' father looked on the verge of tears himself before accepting my gifts and news with a nod, leading his wife out of the silent crowd as my own parents stood to the side, nodding their approval at my actions before coming forward.
I must say, I'm glad I finally forced myself to sit down and write; it felt good to finally get this part of the story produced. The aftermath of war is itself almost as horrible as the fighting, after all.
Signed: Hoenn Master, forever a patriot.