Hello, all. This story is a collaboration project written by my friend Pokenutter and myself, Knightfall.
This is loosely inspired by the Incarceron book series by Catherine Fisher, and as always, we own nothing from that universe or Pokemon. All characters and plot within this story, however, are owned jointly by Pokenutter and myself.
This will be rated PG-13 to be safe, though at times it may be bumped up to PG-15. We will say at the beginning of the chapter if it reaches that rating.
So, without further adieu, Pokenutter and I proudly present:
Transcending the Abyss
Chapter One: The Sealed World
World Abyss was a cruel paradise.
A world where every care was met and every case of struggle was resolved with compassion.
A world that could change and shift to conform to its denizenâ€™s needs at their will.
A world that provided shelter and warmth to those who required it, treatment to those unfortunate enough to need it.
A world that sealed itself off from the surface.
A world that denied its inmates a view of the true sun.
A world that oppressed the souls within it far worse than any tyrant in their wildest dreams.
A world running out of resources and energy required to maintain it.
A world that feared its inmates as much as they feared it.
A world that refused to let them go.
But that was a fact that we, its inmates, refused to accept.
To escape from this hell, we will do anything. Hope is the last thing to die in a being.
And hope is all we have left.
Excerpt from The Abyssal Codex
Something had changed.
This was not right. Not in the slightest. Things did not change here.
Long had the prisonâ€™s doors remained tightly shut. The population had remained about the same. The human-PokÃ©mon ratio had remained roughly about one to ten. The predestined seasons came and went as they had for generations.
But now, after all this time, a new arrival? Unscheduled at that.
That in and of itself was suspicious. Even more so was the fact that, in spite of this arrival, was the fact that he had not opened the gates to let another inside.
This vexed him, and when he was vexed, someone took the heat for it… He closed his eyes, and focused on the marshlands wing. They were about to have a monsoon.
Barely focusing on the disastrous change in climate his whim had caused, he began to ponder this development. He was never lied to in this room, and it could not be a mistake.
So, who had the power to open the gate without his knowledge? And furthermore, who exactly was this new arrival? Who was this intruder who had brought the disastrous notion of change to his realm?
Finn yawned, stretching his arms as he attempted to drive the feelings of sleep away from his eyes. As soon as he found the energy to move his body out of the poorly constructed hammock made of vines that comprised his bed, his feet hit the dirt floor with a thud. Blinking in the artificial light that shined through the gap between the logs of the shelter, he slowly shuffled to the entrance and shoved the tattered piece of cloth that served as a door aside.
He was greeted by a blast of dense, hot, wet air mixed in with the smells of pungent plants, rotting leaves, and the remains of the small fire they lit the night before. If he hadnâ€™t smelled that same mixture for the past year of his life, he would have probably thrown up the little remains of his dinner. But heâ€™d had the ultimate misfortune to have been born in the rainforest wing; a fact he cursed every day at noon when the torrential rains came crashing down from the vast set of water pipes and hydraulics system in the vast ceiling above.
The microscopic water droplets in the air made a chill run through his body when they came into contact with the fire patches on his head and tail. Finn took a deep breath and caused his body to tense up, concentrating on the twin patches of pyro-synthetic nerves. The two areas of skin glowed dull red and swiftly erupted into flames, instantly driving away the uncomfortable humidity. As soon as his body was warm enough, the flames on his tail and head subsided.
Now, letâ€™s see… I lost the bet last night, so now I have to shore up the camp and go collect firewood, he repeated in his head, going over the checklist of chores that had been part of the wager among him and the other six Pokemon of this section of the criminal camp.
He shook his head in annoyance as he walked towards the smoldering remains of the fire to begin the first of his forced chores. He looked through the tools and cooking-ware strewn around on the ground until he found a decently-sized wooden pail. He wouldnâ€™t need it to put out the fireâ€™s embers, but if he wanted breakfast, someone had to go get the water needed for the stew he knew they were undoubtedly going to have, as they did for every meal.
He stepped over the ring of small, jagged rocks that outlined the firepit and stamped his foot down on the coals. The heat of the embers which would have easily burned anyone else in the camp, was not felt by him even as he twisted the coals and charcoal into dust.
Why the night watch let the coals smolder and continue to release tell-tale smoke into the air was beyond Finn. He had suggested the idea of a more efficient night watch countless times to Creon, but the stubborn captain of the Ventus Raiders refused to hear the word of a rookie.
Once the coals were put out completely, Finn climbed over the fire ring and tried in vain to shake the grey ash off his feet and lower body. Not that it matters much; the rain will clean it off in an hour or so anyways, he thought glumly as he knew the bright artificial light of the rainforestâ€™s skies wouldnâ€™t last.
Giving up on trying to clean himself, Finn set off for the opposite side of the camp where the only well was located. As he passed by the ramshackle dwellings made of decaying tree bark and vines, he wondered when Creon was planning on leaving the clearing. The Ventus rarely stayed in one place for very long, and the five days theyâ€™d already spent here was pushing that tradition.
There was nothing left here: the fruit trees werenâ€™t in season yet, the berry bushes had all been picked clean, and the only village close to them had been thoroughly looted --â€œliberated of possessionsâ€ as Creon called it. There was nothing left for them in this section of the perpetual rain forest that covered the entire wing.
He shrugged his shoulders. It wasnâ€™t his place to decide what should happen, though he did like having slightly larger rations than he was normally allotted by the stringent Togetic cook after a good dayâ€™s raid. Looking around, he saw no one aside from the remnants of the night watch awake, but that would change soon enough. His gaze traveled to the giant, rusted metal plate used as an alarm to signal the arrival of morning and also enemy attacks. Everything in the Abyss was required to be useful for more than one thing. If it wasnâ€™t, it didnâ€™t survive for long.
The camp itself was less-than-impressive. As much as Creon tried to convince himself that he and his cronies were running a tight ship, Finn knew he had to have been blind not to see the disarray of the Ventus encampment. Precious metal and stone tools were left out overnight, bags stuffed with miscellaneous materials were nearly as common to step over as fallen leaves, and sacks of dried berries were left strewn haphazardly around the â€œtentsâ€.
Finn reached the well with no encounters with the Pokemon he was supposed to call comrades, and he was perfectly fine with staying apart from them. He would have left them long ago, but he was certain he would be slaughtered the minute he left the relatively safe confines of the Ventus. That, and Silas would almost certainly forget to come to dinner if it werenâ€™t for him. The prophet was impossible to drag away from his studies of the Abyss.
Finn attached the pail to a small metal hook, turned green after years of use. He grabbed the fraying rope attached to a rudimentary pulley system and gently gave it some slack, allowing the bucket to drop lower into the well. Since it was more uncommon to have a day without rain than with, the water level in the well constantly stayed high above the water table, making it incredibly easy to fill.
Once he felt the bucket fill up, Finn tugged on the rope to pull it back up. The course surface burned his paws and threatened to open up the blisters he received the day before. He was barely able to let go of the rope and sprint forward fast enough to catch the bucket by the handle before it fell back into to depths of the well.
Hugging the container of water to his chest, Finn waddled his way to the kitchen area of the Ventusâ€™ camp. As he struggled to keep a hold of the item, he vowed never to make any type of wager with the Pokemon in the D-crew ever again.
â€œHow was I supposed to know that those small, red berries they told everyone to eat were that hot?â€ he grumbled as he approached the cooking area. Thankfully, Kaligo seemed to still be asleep, so he took the opportunity to simply leave the bucket next to the large iron pot used for stew.
â€œAlright, so that was the water, and now Iâ€™ve got to go gather some firewood. Oh, great…â€ he groaned. Gathering usable firewood in the rainforest was one of the worst jobs a Pokemon could be assigned. It often involved digging through layers of dead and decaying plants and leaves on the floor to find pieces dry enough to use for fires. The Ventus had coal, but the supply of the precious black stone that produced both ample light and heat was in constant short supply, and Creon had been wise enough to lock the remaining supply away.
Shaking his head, Finn jogged to the edge of the clearing. He knew if he went fast, he might be able to make it back before the scheduled noon downpour was set to begin. At the sentry post he caught the eye of the half-asleep Gabite guard who waved him onwards before he started to snore.
Finn continued to run through the dew-ridden undergrowth of the forest past the barren berry bushes and low fruit trees picked of their not-yet-ripened produce. If he was lucky, heâ€™d find a dead tree or a branch that was easy to snap off. If the gods of the surface found favor with him, he would have all the wood he needed and could be on his way back within the hour.
Slowing his pace down, Finn kept his eyes peeled for the rare spot of dead brown in the vibrant green forest. Despite his best effort though, he couldnâ€™t see anything past the unrelenting wall of accelerated life that surrounded him. Slightly dismayed, he jogged further into the woods, his paws coming into contact with the springy ground with an uncomfortable squishing sound.
And then, he saw it. Pointed to the great vaulted ceiling of the wing was a single tower of dull, dusty brown that signalled that the tree was long dead and waiting to be harvested for fuel. Finn nearly felt his heart leap, the prospect of not having to dig through the countless layers of leaves and bugs to find sticks was enough to make him laugh giddily as he approached the base of the trunk.
Unfortunately, there were no branches that had already fallen to the ground, but Finn hadnâ€™t expected this job to be easy in the first place. The tree itself was a blessing enough. Looking up, he saw a few decently sized branches several feet above his reach, and beyond that, the top of the tree was covered by the leaf-covered limbs of its neighbors.
Seeing no other readily-available option, Finn squatted down and leaped as high as his short legs could get him. He dug his claws into the soft, dead, tree bark and used all four of his paws to slowly climb up the side. Finn had the branch in sight; it was fairly large and rounded, and from the ground he was pretty sure he could get enough leverage to break the thing free without falling. And, if this succeeded, the camp wouldnâ€™t need firewood for at least two days.
He reached for a branch underneath his target that seemed sturdy enough to support him and pulled himself onto it. Though it probably wasnâ€™t the best idea, Finn looked down. He was probably fifteen or so feet up in the air, and quite suddenly he felt a whole lot smaller and the branch a lot less sturdy. His breaths became shorter and quicker as the nerve patches on his head and tail flashed with fire.
No, I canâ€™t panic now. Iâ€™ve been through worse than this. Just keep it together, Finn, he told himself, taking a deep breath to calm himself. The flames on his body gradually subsiding as he once again focused on the prize above him. The branch was partly concealed by leaves from the nearby trees, but they wouldnâ€™t be an issue is he held the limb at the right spot.
Finn shuffled along the support branch until he found an area of the limb above that bent down towards him slightly, giving him a natural place to grip. Once again ignoring the several reasonable doubts he had about this, he placed both of his paws on the hold and shifted his weight so that when he pulled, there was more power behind it.
He took a deep breath and yanked down on the branch. He felt it bend and crack slightly, but as soon as he eased up on his grip, it returned to its normal position. Undeterred, he tried yet again. This time, several fine cracks audibly made their appearance near the base of the limb. Third timeâ€™s the charm, right? he thought as he planted his feet on the branch and pulled down with all his strength.
He expected the branch to come down, he knew it would happen when he saw the results of his other two attempts and he had prepared himself accordingly. He positioned himself that the branch would fall to the side of him and down to the ground where he would collect it. He had expected all of this. What he wasnâ€™t expecting was the green and white body of a Servine to come crashing into him from the thicket of leaves above him, and knock him off balance.
Finn screamed much louder and higher pitched than he would ever admit to doing as he, the branch, and the unconscious Pokemon all fell the terrifying distance down to the ground. Time seemed to slow as he was able to see every splinter of wood that broke as it spun mid-air and each leaf that accompanied them down from the canopy.
Grab something! Anything! Do something! his mind shouted as it tried to think of anything to save its host. Finn whispered a prayer to the gods of the surface that they would accept him into their afterlife as time accelerated back into its normal pace and he slammed into the springy, soggy ground of the rainforest.
â€œIâ€™m dead. Iâ€™m dead. Iâ€™m dead. I died. Iâ€™m dead,â€ he muttered frantically as he expected the immediate darkness and the fabled light at the end of the tunnel to take him away. Instead, he felt an incredibly painful rush of agony rush through his entire right side as the very layers of dead leaves he despised bent inwards and rebounded his body.
When he dared to open his eyes, Finn was greeted by a loud ringing in his ears and an intense pain in his right shoulder that told him it was probably dislocated. He tried to get to his feet, but suddenly his vision swayed dizzily, making him fall to the side onto his damaged shoulder, the impact popping it back into place.
His next round of screaming startled several flocks of tropical birds and Pidove alike from their roosts in the towering trees. Tears welled up in his eyes as Finn lay on the ground, trying not to make his situation any worse. He didnâ€™t know how long he stayed on his stomach on the plants, but when his shoulder finally stopped throbbing and his vision stopped swaying like a tree in a hurricane he mustered the strength to attempt to stand.
Finn swayed in the air as he tried to get himself upright and stay there. Once he was steady on his feet, he surveyed his surroundings. He was still at the base of the dead tree, the branch was largely intact and hadnâ€™t splintered too badly in the fall, and the unconscious Servine started to stir from its spot on the grass.
â€œI-Itâ€™s still alive?â€ Finn asked himself incredulously even as a feminine groan from the Pokemon reached his ears. Ignoring his own pain, Finn rushed towards the Servine. He had acquired some knowledge of herbal cures and remedies from the foragers of the Ventus, but he didnâ€™t know what to do for a possible injury.
â€œOh no, oh no, oh no. Umm, what was it that the healers said? Check for broken bones? Or was it pulse? Come on, Finn, remember!â€ Finn stammered as he kneeled over the Servine.
Her eyes popped open as she started to rise, but she seemed to be struck by a wave of pain.
â€œ…Gah!.. My side… What?â€
She didnâ€™t seem to be aware of her surroundings. Given her frequent twitching and heavy breathing, however, she was very aware of a pain along her side. Her movements and cries were discomforting to Finn, and he found himself shouting at her to calm her.
â€œJust hold still a moment!â€
Her movements slowed down to a stop. She seemed to be dimly aware of his words at least…
â€œNow, Iâ€™m going to see if youâ€™ve broken anything. Hold still…â€ he said as he began to move his forepaws along her side, noting where she seemed to be the most injured. Funny, he didnâ€™t actually find any breaks. It was almost as if she had survived with only a few bruises. A few seconds later, she tried to sit up again. She teetered unsteadily for a moment, and finally sat still.
â€œ…I think I hit my head…â€ she said, holding her head in her hands.
Finn nodded. â€œLet me have a look.â€
He moved his face over her head. He examined her, but didnâ€™t see any kind of mark.
â€œI donâ€™t think-â€ he began before she cut him off.
â€œLook, somethingâ€™s obviously up with my brain, so I had to have smacked it.â€
Her abrupt change in attitude was certainly jarring, and Finn did a double-take. He regained his composure, and glared at her.
â€œRudeness doesnâ€™t help you in the slightest,â€ he said crossing his arms before immediately undoing them when his shoulder suddenly flashed with pain.
â€œLook, thereâ€™s absolutely no way Iâ€™m talking to a gigantic Quilava,â€ the Servine stated, motioning towards Finn with her hands, â€œI guarantee you- thereâ€™s been some kind of trauma to my brain case.â€
Gigantic Quilava? What does she think is going on here? Finn wondered, feeling as confused as she must have felt then.
â€œ…Are you okay?â€ he asked her tentatively.
â€œDo I need to reiterate myself?â€ she immediately snapped, glaring at him.
Was she raving? Finn tried to think of a response, but arrived at none. He abruptly changed tactics. A more simpler question was in order.
â€œ…Whatâ€™s your name?â€
She began to speak, and then closed her mouth. â€œIâ€™m… Now, hang on. I know this…â€ she said, suddenly unsure of the answer.
Finn was about to try and ask another question when she spoke over him. â€œDonâ€™t tell me, I… Huh. Iâ€™ll be damned. I donâ€™t know.â€
She sat down on the ground, concentration written across her face. â€œWho forgets their own name? …Okay, Quilava-guy? Any advice?â€
Finn had absolutely no idea on how to respond to the clearly confused Servine. Heâ€™d never met someone with amnesia before, though he had met the rabid Pokemon of the South Jungle Plateau and he desperately hoped she wasnâ€™t anything like them.
â€œIâ€™ll be honest here, I really donâ€™t know what to do. Injuries on a whole arenâ€™t my forte, and I know even less about head trauma. Hmmm… What to do?â€ Finn pondered as he paced around the female Servine. â€œWell, I could take you to the Ventus. They have some healers, and Silas might be able to help you out. He knows about this sort of thing,â€ he suggested to her.
â€œWell, alright. Any other humans around there? Do you know?â€ she asked him after hearing his suggestion.
Finn was unprepared for her latest question. Humans? Why would anyone want to know about them? he thought as he tried to formulate a valid response.
â€œWhy do you want to know about them? The last of their villages the Ventus raided was â€¦ Well, it was horrible. No sane Pokemon would go near them,â€ he told her, trying to block out the memories of what the older Ventus members had told him about that certain village. Images of grisly corpses of Tauros butchered and set to cook over fires was only the first of the horrors they told him about.
â€œHorrible… Well, thank you very much. I guess you guys are more than a bit frightened of us, though… I just think theyâ€™d have a better idea of how to treat one of their own than a PokÃ©mon would,â€ she told him with a small laugh.
â€œWell, of course we are afraid of them- whatâ€¦?â€ he trailed off, as his brain finally picked up on a phrase. Us? One of their own? What is she talking about? Rightfully puzzled, Finn stopped pacing and stared at her.
â€œWhat kind of Pokemon are you?â€
â€œPokÃ©mon…? Oh, wait, I think I get it now. Wherever we are now, humans are like boogeymen, right? Youâ€™ve never actually seen one?â€ she said with another small laugh, though this one more forced than before.
This threw Finn off even more. He sat down on the ground across from her and held his head in his paws. He only came here for firewood, not some inane discussion about humans. He took a deep breath and looked back at her.
â€œ… Iâ€™ve seen one. Granted, it was dead, but I wonâ€™t forget it anytime soon…â€ The vivid memory of the desiccated corpse hanging from a noose swinging in the breeze. Itâ€™s mouth and eyes frozen open in a single, silent, strangled scream. He shook the memory away. â€œIâ€™m wondering why a Servine like you would want to know where the humans were,â€ he asked.
â€œServine? You think Iâ€™m a-â€ She broke off chuckling. â€œI think you need your eyes checked, buster,â€ she said with a titter.
Finn tilted his head to the side. She certainly looked like a Servine in every way, shape, and form: green and white scales, a small gold crest about her neck, leaf-like hands, nothing about her was different than any Servine he had seen before. Finn groaned; this was almost too much. His head still hurt and she wasnâ€™t making it any better.
â€œYou are a Servine, just look down. Youâ€™ll see just who needs their eyes checked,â€ he snapped at her. She quieted down after a minute, and followed his advice.
â€œSee, nothing unus-â€ she broke off, and her red eyes swelled to the size of dinner plates. She didnâ€™t say a word for a good thirty seconds. At that point, however, she sank down onto the ground, before shouting at the sky.
â€œAlright, universe, what the hell?â€
Again, Finn was unsure at how to respond. Nothing he had seen or met before compared to this. After waiting for her curses to the rapidly darkening ceiling of the Abyss to finish, he gained the courage to talk again.
â€œMiss, whatâ€™s going on? What do you think you are?â€ he asked, trying to be as polite as possible as he saw that her reality was just shaken pretty badly.
She seemed to ignore him at first, muttering to herself. â€œOkay, family. Drawing a blank. Okay, friends? Hm… Either I had none, or that infoâ€™s gone, too… Place of residence? Letâ€™s see… A shopping center, a game corner, a gym, but oh, no name…â€
She turned to face Finn. â€œIâ€™m… Iâ€™m supposed to be a human. I donâ€™t know why Iâ€™m a PokÃ©mon now, nor do I know why there are half a million blanks in my memory â€¦ What do I do now?â€
Finn began to think. She was crazy. Either that, or she was having some kind of identity crisis. Either way, though, she needed help. Leaving her out here was the worst possible thing for her.
Before he could offer to help her though, she leaned close to him. â€œTell me, where did you find me?â€
â€œUp that tree, but I donâ€™t think-â€ Finn said, pointing up at the tree in question.
â€œSpiffy! Be back in a moment!â€ she shouted as she began bounding up the side of the tree trunk. She got about ten feet before her feet slipped on the vertical bark and came crashing back down. She landed hard on her tail, nearly crushing the leafy appendage against the ground.
â€œGah!!! Er… Any clue how I use the vines that Grass-types are supposed to have?â€
Finn shrugged. â€œIâ€™m not a Grass-type. Anyway, I seriously doubt-â€
She didnâ€™t wait for him to finish, already making another attempt. When she barely made it five feet up, Finn decided that heâ€™d had enough. As she fell, he quickly placed his forepaw on top of her, preventing her from trying again. She slumped down to the ground.
â€œItâ€™s very rude to run off when someoneâ€™s trying to give you advice. I doubt very highly that youâ€™ll find any answers in that tree, and itâ€™s a dangerous drop if you manage to fall again. Now, I know of a few Pokemon who could help you, but theyâ€™re not going to be able to do much about a fractured skull, so why donâ€™t you just calm down, and let me take you to them?â€ The Servine was silent for a moment. He went over to her and offered her his left paw.
â€œ…Sure. Youâ€™re the boss,â€ she told him as she accepted his paw and pulled herself up.
â€œMy nameâ€™s Finn, by the way,â€ he told her, aware that he had yet to tell her his name.
Suddenly, the ceiling exploded with the sound of thunder that made both Pokemon jump a foot in the air. Finn looked up, the misty ceiling was pumping out thick, black artificial clouds that signaled the coming of a major storm. He cursed staying and talking with this girl; he had stayed out too long. He needed to make it back to the camp before the rains hit and the eyes of the Abyss opened up.
â€œAlright, we need to get back to the Ventus. But first,â€ he said as he walked over to the fallen branch that started all the trouble, â€œWe need to take this back with us otherwise Kilago will skin me alive.â€ Finn squatted down and hoisted one end of the log into the air. He looked back at her; she was still sitting numbly on the ground.
â€œCome on! Letâ€™s go, we donâ€™t have time.â€
â€œEr, right!â€ She hopped to her feet, and nodded. â€œI donâ€™t know my way around whereever we are, so why donâ€™t you fill me in on our present location as we leave?â€
Finn pushed aside the strangeness of the fact that she had no idea where she was, and decided to indulge her. â€œWeâ€™re in the Rainforest Wing of World Abyss; otherwise known as hell. Now that you know, can you please grab the other end of this branch? Weâ€™ve got to double time it back to camp before the storm hits,â€ the Quilava ordered, directing her to the opposite end of the branch with an urgent wave of his paw.
She hoisted it up onto her shoulders, muttering to herself about how little that actually managed to explain. After a moment, she nodded to Finn. â€œRight, then. You know where weâ€™re going. Lead on.â€
[b]Continued on next post[/b]