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Written Story Unova Teen seasonchild - a black nuzlocke

Thread Description
the one thing that never changes is change. (c1 - 8/30/2019)

Clockenstein

invisible hero
Moderator
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
39
Caught
Jun 12, 2019
Messages
18
Location
~/forums/nuzf/users/c/clockenstein/data/public/
Nature
Adamant
Pronouns
he/him
Pokémon Type
Fighting, Ghost
Pokédex Entry
Fatal kernel error: 'DEX_BASIC' not found.

banner: rainey
seasonchild is a story about things that change.

i originally started this at the beginning of this year as a project in forcing myself to write on a regular schedule. some things don't pan out, least of which was the bad idea of playing my save over an existing one (which meant no saving or breaks). the idea of a story which made use -- even if just thematically -- of one of my favorite gen v mechanics -- the seasons -- has been something i've thought about for a long time, so. now that we're ported over and all, now's as good a time as any to try again, isn't it?

i'll let the rest of the story speak for itself. critique is welcome, very welcome.
1. Faint -> death -> box / release.
2. Name everything; can call dupes clause up to two times; if third encounter is still a dupe, move on.
3. Set mode.
(4. Try to update every week.)
 

Clockenstein

invisible hero
Moderator
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
39
Caught
Jun 12, 2019
Messages
18
Location
~/forums/nuzf/users/c/clockenstein/data/public/
Nature
Adamant
Pronouns
he/him
Pokémon Type
Fighting, Ghost
Pokédex Entry
Fatal kernel error: 'DEX_BASIC' not found.
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #2
Once, is what I'll tell them. But that's if we get caught.

It has a lot to do with the how of saying it. Not that there are a lot of ways to say that boy went with that girl into the little grove off the main road, and not get the wrong idea. Not a boy. Not the boy. That boy. That's always how you say it. In a town like this.

In a sense, I am doing something wrong, anyway. I don't mean it like anything that deserves the word that. But Mom will lose it if she finds out.

"Alright, alright," I tell the girl. She -- well, we are still giggling about it, but I want to do it, want to show her already. Before it gets late and before anyone has a chance of catching us. "Ready?"

There is a smile on her face. Or not. Like the curve of one. She pulls away from my side with a twirl. "Ready? You're stalling."

Well maybe I am. But she enjoys this. Her arms swing because she's not sure if she should cross them. To look more skeptical, you know. Or to just keep them at her sides to look casual.

"Watch this," I say.

I pick up a twig off the ground. I thought of bringing one, actually, because some of them bend just right, and that way it looks more like a bouquet at the end. But she won't believe me if it looks like I practiced this or anything. She's watching, even now, eyes on my hands just in case. I put them in full view.

Officer, please, I'm not holding anything.

I close my hand around it, and breathe. Just to be sure I do it right. But I can feel the warm sensation shoot down the length of my arm, flow into the tips of my fingers, and out. And unfold.

Nothing. Then nothing. Then all at once, the stems shoot out of the discolored rings of the stick: first, leaves, then, flowers. Milky-white. Then flushing purple.

There, in the grove, the whole thing almost takes an eternity, even if it only lasts a second. I roll the twig to the tips of my fingers and offer it out to her.

She doesn't know what to say about all this. But her eyes glint, and the curve becomes a smile that says you win. It is the way that it happens that makes me think.

Making a twig into a flower is one thing, but real flowers are something else.



There is a story about how it got to this point. I don't mean the part just before my little magic trick. Just somehow I think it's probably a bad idea -- telling you the cool parts of the story without really telling you about the why. Sorry.

I'll try to leave out the boring parts if I can.

Rewind.



Wildspruce is what we call the town. The name had stuck. Once there was a councilor who proposed changing the name to Wildlarch, I heard, and they laughed him out of the town hall, even though all the trees from the roads in to the lake close by are all larches. There is only one spruce tree here: it is the one that the town planted in the center of the park -- but even that had come after the name. There are stories about it, of course: the one that most of the older people believe is about a certain guide, the son of a local First Nations chieftain who was friendly with the British settlers, fur trading and all. Like some cutesy version of Pocahontas if you still know that one. It's all bunk, most of the stories really are. The version I know has smallpox blankets in it, for some reason, and that doesn't really stick if you go look at the dates in the town register.

I'm no good at maps; no one here is, of course. But I get the need for a sense of place. The best I can say is a little bit off of Sudbury. Two hours, give or take a half, I couldn't tell you which direction and I don't really care to. I only really know this because when I was too little not to go on shopping trips, Mom tried and couldn't think of ways to keep me busy in the backseat. When I was old enough to be in charge of the house and therefore old enough for a sense of direction, I never really went.

A sitter was out of the question. I was probably too young to trust not to play a bad prank on them, and then the whole "our family are the nature spirits" thing would be out and that would be a lot of trouble. It wouldn't be the end of things, not by a long shot. But it would be a lot of trouble.

About that.

I know it's funny I say it's a lot of trouble and then I tell you. Anyway, we've always been here. Whose side of the family I don't know, but I get the gist of it. That Dad or Mom and their dads and moms and so on have always been here, even when Wildspruce was just the name for a little clearing in the midst of the conifers. Or when the bands came in, settled the land, and then told stories about us. Or when the British came here too and built their houses out of harder stuff.

There are a lot of things that are different from back then. I think. A great-granddad once said when I was eight or nine, the year before he kicked it, that we used to be able to turn into animals. Dad laughed it off and said that if we could, that we'd probably forgotten how to long before granddad did.

I think I asked him, my granddad, back then, if he knew when the locals stopped with the sort-of-venerating-us thing. Or when we started living with them.

That part he didn't remember.



Fast-forward.



Valerie's dad isn't really huge on pets. But he let her have the oshawott, just the oshawott. Dads are like that. You know.

Ollie (that's its name) is trying to run circles around the clearing. He is trying to catch a little snivy, but Axel keeps giving him the slip. Like Gretzky spinning the other team around their skates on open ice. We watch them for a bit to let the moment cool off, not really saying anything.

"So," Val starts.

"So?" I ask. I pretend I don't know where she's going with this.

"Could you always, like," she fumbles for the words, "do this sort of thing?"

The moment is over. I know that. But some part of me wants to hold on to her look, that I concede defeat, so-- "Isn't it cool?"

She shoves gently. "I get it," and she giggles. "But yeah. Like magic. Like..."

"...Like?"

Touching a finger to her chin, she pretends to think. Watching the otter run where Axel has been and not where he's going, she goes mmmmm and settles on a word.

"Like a miracle, kinda."

The snivy trips. Ollie stops, but only for a second, and the next he pounces onto Axel. The two tumble across the grass.

"I could get used to that," I say.

Val laughs, but she also picks up a little nut from off the ground, and aims for my head.

"Hey."

She looks the other way.

"You know, though," and then she stops her feet onto the log, pushing herself up --"if you did get used to it, then it'd just kinda be, well. Ordinary."

The two pets are tired of their game now: Ollie kind of stays at a distance, but Axel slithers over to my foot, curls around it, starts nodding off. I wiggle just a little bit, so it won't be as annoying for him when it comes time to go.

"Well," and I grin at her, "I guess that'd make me sort of an ordinary miracle-maker."

Val kicks me in the shoulder for that, but she laughs anyway and gets off the log. That, I think, is when the moment's really over -- the part where I'm not the winner anymore and it's just back to being us.

We start heading out a few minutes later.

"You tell Chester about this any?" she says.

I shrug.

"I mean," I say, "I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought about it. But he's, well--"

"Kind of a smartass?"

I chuckle. Not the sorta thing she usually says. "Kind of a smartass. But the good kind. But -- yeah. Maybe later."

Val says something under her breath then that's kinda like mm. Like an okay. Which is the cool thing about her, really. The reason I told her first. Because she didn't flip. Because she knows it's not like I'm pulling my heart out and showing it to her.

Because, somehow, she can tell that friends just sorta have these secrets between them.

"Thanks," she says.

And that's just how it is. In this town.

Or anywhere.

"Nah," I say back. "Thanks."
There was a really long note here in the original version of this, so I'll try to make it shorter this time.

Credits again to Dee, who helped make the whole story about the smallpox blankets more historically sensitive; while there's not a lot of proof that the smallpox blanket thing worked, that particular incident is, as far as can be reliably gathered, the only time it was tried.

It's not exactly a secret for those who know my old stuff that I don't really give a hoot about canon, so setting Unova right in the middle of small-town Canada is the kind of thing I do. Like, all the time. I hope the end result's fun -- but at the same time, probably best not to expect any world-ending creation myths about god-dragons. Y'know?

The primary inspiration for this, writing style and setting and all, is an author named Alice Munro, and in particular her latest (or second-latest?) collection, Dear Life. I promise she's a terrific writer, even if she has a Nobel Prize in Literature to tell you that herself.
 

cyndakip

there goes my luck
🌱Featurer
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
23
Caught
Jun 9, 2019
Messages
332
Location
Lilycove City
Nature
Hardy
Pronouns
they/she
Pokémon Type
Fire, Water
Pokédex Entry
Part Cyndaquil, part Mudkip, entirely tired.
I'm so happy to see this back and better than ever! You know I loved the original version, but wow, I'm amazed at how much you've managed to improve it! It's been particularly cool to see that opening scene keep evolving into something even more wonderful. So excited for more of this!
 

d'angelo russell

tomorrow ain't promised to no-one
Writer
Team Omega
Pokédex No.
231
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
226
Location
ontario
Nature
Adamant
Pronouns
he - him
Pokémon Type
Dark, Dragon
Pokédex Entry
it was banished for its violence. it silently gazes upon the old world from the distortion world
omfg this is back this is back this is back!!!!

ahem,

so I literally went to the extent of pulling up the original alongside to make a comparison and I'm just left thinking 'holy-' bc goddamn is this a step up or what. thoughts in short:
I really like how the open has expanded from what it originally was - it's a lot more talkative and I like how you wind the implications of the setting around (and tbh there was already a romantic subtext you could read in the scene) as well as establish a lot more of merrick's voice right there. also the transformation / flower growing scene feels a lot more vivid this time around.
I feel like the rewind section if its less personal is more on the nose with the sentiments you've talked about with this - stories imitating real life and how just telling the cool parts doesn't quite satisfy. in that sense it's definitely a huge upgrade and one I dig.
also I like the addendum right before fast-forward, where the line of nature spirits becomes more vague and human...it's like they've been assimilated so long that its no longer really a mask tbh, and the uncertainty about the 'when' really does sell that.
I dig the greater focus of the last section tbh - how it's shorter, tighter, drawn back into the moment itself and how the dynamic between merrick and val is still somewhat in flux. the pacing feels a lot more natural, a lot more familiar, and I'm really interested in how val goes from 'magic' to 'miracle' (which also calls the more religious connotations from miracle into the picture, beyond just the whole miracle / ordinary juxtaposition).
the ending changes are the ones that rly make me want to scream though bc I thought it was perfect before but suddenly you sharpened it to the n-th degree. the call-back from the beginning to 'in this town' and then the correction to 'or anywhere' rly feels telling and powerful, and the more understated dialogue (really more understated yet is perfect for the tweaks. it's special and yet ordinary and local and yet universal and just beautiful on the whole.

anyways I'm still in awe at your handle on minimalism and drawing meaning out of the smallest most poignant things and glad to have had the chance to dissect some kinda meaning out of it (because I swear every time I read something of yours I improve my own writing a bunch) - glad to see this back, glad to see this rolling again and really excited to see how it comes together the second time around! 👍
 

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