Terra held the match to the wick of the last unlit candle, and nodded in satisfaction as the wick went up. She then placed the match into a small glass of water next to her. Only then did she turn back to the small crowd gathered just outside the door to her home with a wide smile. “All right you, come on in. You best mind the candles this time though!”
That was all the encouragement the children needed, and they crowded into Terra’s tiny home. It consisted of a single cramped room carved into the face of the canyon. Terra had moved the few pieces of furniture that she owned around to create as large of a seating area as possible, but it seemed that even that wasn’t quite enough this time. She ended up perched on her little table so that they could all fit inside.
Terra smiled again and addressed the cluster of tiny, wide-eyed faces. “Well now, I do believe it’s time for a story. Are there any requests?”
The tiny room erupted with requests immediately. She quickly quieted them, and tried to get them to give requests one at a time. (Which was only mostly successful.)
“Tell us about the Great Mother!” A little budew cried, bouncing up and down.
“Tell us a scary story!” An eevee called, a sentiment that seemed to be shared by the other older kids.
“Please tell us about somewhere far away!” Pidove cooed excitedly.
“All right then, I believe I have a story for you all.” Terra said.
A hush fell over the room. Terra looked down at her claws and took a deep breath, letting the words come to her before she began.
“The tallest mountain in the world is called the Palace of Clouds.”
The Palace of Clouds is a beautiful place. There is a temple dedicated to the Great Mother carved into the top. Flowers grow all around it, and a spring of clear water flows from the very center. The spring eventually became a beautiful pond in the center of the temple. Bathing in that pond is said to bestow good health.
Now, this place is beautiful. Even so, it has a bit of a sad story associated with it.
You see, the Great Mother has six children. Dialga, the guardian of time. Palkia, the guardian of space. Giratina, the disgraced one. And the three spirits: Azelf, Mespirit and Uxie. They are the guardians of willpower, emotion and knowledge respectively.
Now, the Great Mother loves all of Her children. However, She is said to have the greatest connection to the three spirits. If they call, She will come.
“This story isn’t very scary yet.” A small voice piped up, breaking Terra’s concentration. “I thought it would be scary!”
Terra turned her gaze towards the voice, though there was no anger in it. Interruptions were common with an audience this young. It was just part of the experience now. “Well little one, the truth is that this isn’t a scary story. At least, not like what you’re used to. It probably won’t scare you younger ones, but the older children could get quite frightened by this one!”
The teddiursa nodded and fell silent. Terra took that as an invitation to keep going.
Now then, the story about the Palace of Clouds goes like this: if one brings the three spirits to the temple at the top, the Great Mother will appear before them.
If the spirits will vouch for the summoner, the Great Mother will bestow Her blessing upon them. They will be granted a long and happy life, as will their families and descendants for generations to come. She will then depart, along with Her children.
If however, the spirits were forced up the mountain through evil means, the Great Mother will become furious. She will agree to any request in order to ensure Her childrens’ safety, but if the wish is granted the summoner’s soul is forfeit. It will slowly wither away until they are nothing but a soulless husk, existing only to feel the eventual pain of death.
“Wow, that’s pretty intense.” The eevee from earlier whispered, not seeming to realize that he’d spoken until all eyes were on him. He blushed and tried to hide behind his tail.
“It certainly is. However, I did say that the Great Mother loves Her children dearly. Any good parent would be rightfully angry if their children were harmed.” There was a lot of awkward shuffling in the crowd, and Terra remembered a moment too late that many of these children didn’t have very good home lives. She quickly added, “Besides, the spirits are very kind children. You would have to be a truly nasty person for them to refuse to vouch for you.”
Mood restored, she decided to continue with the story.
There is however, one thing that must never be done.
The three spirits hold within them great power. They can’t use it themselves though: it is the power that brought the soul into existence.
That isn’t to say that it can’t be accessed at all.
If one is to sacrifice a spirit on the peak of the Palace of Clouds, the power in the spirit’s heart will be released. It can then be claimed by the spirit’s killer, granting them power that can only be rivaled by the Great Mother Herself.
But, like with all evil actions, killing the Great Mother’s children comes with terrible consequences. The Great Mother will call down the wrath of the gods to destroy Her child’s killer. The old gods will rise from their slumber and rain destruction upon the world. The Great Mother Herself will stop at nothing to destroy that person.
She will even give Her life.
Later in the day, after putting out the candles and returning her furniture to it’s rightful places, Terra allowed herself to reflect on the day.
She wished she’d thought a little more before telling that particular story. Her earlier assessment had been incorrect: the story had scared and saddened the entirety of her young audience. She had told a few more, sillier stories to make up for it.
Though maybe now the older ones would think twice before asking her for a scary story.
A knock on the wall next to her door scattered those thoughts like a herd of litten. “Just a moment!” Terra called, unnecessarily as she could reach out and touch the curtain that fell in front of her door from almost anywhere in her home. She pulled it aside and was greeted by an incredibly tall wall of sky blue scales. She craned her neck back as far as her spine would allow, and was still only barely able to see her visitor’s face. He had a serious look on his face, but a small smile appeared when he realized she was looking at him.
“Hello, madam. My name is Jove. I believe you have information that could be very useful to me.”
Terra blinked in surprise, before she realized what he meant. Her expression hardened. “I had no idea that terrorists cared about silly fairy stories.”
“If it’s just a fairy story, then it shouldn’t be any trouble to simply tell it to me.”
“... Absolutely not.”
“As I suspected. You are a priestess of Dialga, unless I am very much mistaken. No story that you tell will be a mere fairy-tale.”
“Well then, you can come to story-time tomorrow and listen with everyone else.”
“I don’t believe I will need to do that.”
“Well then I suppose you won’t hear my stories.” Terra said, putting as much finality in her voice as possible. “Good day.”
Jove’s voice hardened into a firm line. “You will regret this, hag.”
“Somehow, I have a hard time believing that.” And with that, She drew the curtain back across her door, ending the conversation.
Loud cursing could be heard outside the door, and Terra gripped a small pouch of blast seeds between her claws. Just in case Jove needed a little… “Encouragement” to leave her alone.
Fortunately he left after a few moments, shouting that she would wish she had simply cooperated with him. Terra waited until she was certain he had left before collapsing onto her blanket.
Yet again, she regretted telling that story.