1

Topic: Asking for Roc

This is a scenario ficlet I wrote featuring some of Tagg's characters with permission.

The context for this scenario is in the Suocéverse, some time after the Fall of Pokefutures and right in the midtime period between G1/G3 and G2/G4.
At the call of Rayquaza, several Sovereignties (Pokémon realms) are gathering their forces to attack the neighbour region of Emisre, where Pokefutures remains continue to operate and try to take over the country, including a past attack on Rayquaza's nest.
Some of the Sovereignties joining the call are a clan of Pokémon near what could be [Death Desert]. Their emissaries meet with Tagg's team who are vacationing in the area, with the express purpose of recruiting Roc as the leader of their attack wing.

How much this could translate to WAAPT, if any, is left to discussion if desired.


Asking for Roc

Tagg was out there enjoying the landscape after taking part of a televised competition the last few days. PEFE was always in need for exposure and a visit to southern Emisre, land rich in ruins in need of security, was a perfect opportunity as the researcher saw. That and his Pokémon, led by Venusaur, would have busy and inviting environments to entertain themselves in.

In Tagg's absence however, Venusaur was feeling like vacations were already over at the moment.

Tagg's Pokémon, led by his starter and veteran, were enjoying some time under the cover of Powderfly Forest in Emisre, the reservation they were hosted in for the day. Barring the few ones in the team who had taken part of the tournament, the team had been off the circuit and off anything extraordinary for some time already. Spring having come in full, he was glad to have more time, he thought as he rested under two trees, a short distance from the trail heading back to town.

Venusaur examined the situation unfolding before him, frowning at the Pokémon strangers who had been going around the place for a few days already talking to the wild population - and now to his team. Raichu by his side was far less receptive, every once in a while hissing his complaints that the strangers had "no decorum" and were too transparent about having "an agenda" for their recruitment; a situation as shaky as the trees under the wind.

The rest of Tagg's Pokémon probably didn't know better. Of the "veterans" of back then, only Roc was accompanying them today, perched atop a nearby tree.

The visitors in question included a number of bird and dragon Pokémon and they were led by a Breloom of fluent tongue and mannerisms, who spoke to Raichu and the others in the group, and a Haxorus male with a chipped tusk that kept his eyes trained on Draca, the team’s Salamence teammate, whenever he could. The Breloom spoke openly to the group, though his persistent looking and pointing up that one particular tree reminded everyone that his words were aimed at the bird of prey resting atop the branches.

Raichu leered at the strangers. "Why seek him out anyway?" Raichu hissed between his teeth. "I could lead a troop much better if they asked."

"Aha," sneered the Breloom, having obviously listened Raichu's complaint. "We are welcoming all claws who desire to join in the march; today however, we are here for a leader." The Breloom bat with his tail and sized the rodent Pokémon down.

"And you don't... quite look like it," he added with a snicker.

"...Hmph."

"Now, true it is that we would welcome you into our march without hesitation," called Breloom, pointing to Venusaur and his crew, "so that we can join forces with Bjerk. But this..."

He stepped back and pointer up at the bird who barely paid him any attention. A number of bird eyes from the group focused on Roc above and there were some murmurs, and Breloom turned to address them.

"Behold the beacon of your evolution, that even Dragons would seek outside their kin for the striker who soars same skies the Skywyrm now intends to assault."

A few birds trilled in appreciation of the figure above them.

"A skyline sniper. A banisher of golems. Yesterday he took wing, as your Trainers saw in their screens, and shredded a Blaziken out of their Trainer's intensifier light."

"He's not that good," murmured Nudi behind Tagg's group puzzled, "he barely wakes up every day."

The birds in the outer group who trilled their appreciation for the bird above did certainly not share Nudi's opinion; for ill or good, the downwind carried her words away. Draca smiled at the comment but her enjoyment of it vanished, however, as she saw her reaction had once again earned her the attention of the Haxorus leading the visitor group; she let out a growl and the Haxorus responded in kind.

Atop one of the closest trees, indeed, perched impervious the male Staraptor, who only occupied himself with looking past his fellows and the group of visitors, and the preening of his plumage; accompanying him a few branches below the figure of a female Staravia could be seen.

The Haxorus in the group moved forward, taking center spot together with the Breloom. he paced around and showed himself off for a moment, describing the everyday feats of his kind living in the wild; Draca could only groan.

"We look now to grander purposes to follow the heavenly Pokémon to; what we seek for today," explained the Haxorus, tail swinging, "is for experienced Pokémon who would jo-"

A strong gust came and the tree shook and swung soundly, prompting some of the bird Pokémon to shield themselves; the top of the tree bent with the wind and the weight of the bird atop, but with only a motion of his wing the bird prompted the tree to shuffle and straight himself, bouncing eerily in the winds. A joyful chirp came; the Staravia perched under the Roc trilled with contentment at the playful contest between the tree and the winds.

"Haaa! Faster, papa!" trilled the Staravia, though the larger bird showed no reaction.

A few voices from within the group of visitors showed their perception of the larger bird.

"...Makes it look so simple..."

"Trainer said it was on this tele-vision thing, he took down twelve of them..."

"...Did you see that? Only one bat of his wing."

The Haxorus and the Breloom stared at each other for a moment, it ended with Breloom stepping back and letting Haxorus resume center stage.

"Ahem... " insisted the Haxorus with a cough. "We look for experienced Pokémon who would join our cause and lead our forces in Mount Piutá towards our final goal- right in the heart of Emisre."

"...Mount Piutá?" spat Raichu, ears straightened.

Venusaur felt his brain almost short-circuit, he was sure he remembered that name from somewhere.

A few of the other Pokémon had already perked their ears at mention of the place. For the elder members of the group, like Raichu, it brought sour memories. The various birds and dragons in the group were talking about the various locations they had come from in their pilgrimage to Powderfly, and the name of Piutá did show up a number of times. Haxorus turned to them and started talking about how his people back home were gathering forces, and Breloom took instead his place.

The Pokémon in Venusaur's group exchanged glances and murmured, all cut suddenly when Raichu snarled back at the visitors, putting himself in between Breloom and Draca.

"Everyone stand back!" Raichu screeched.

"...Eh?"

Breloom seemed puzzled and tried to get closer - though he only made as far as one step before an arc of electricity flew by his neck and towards the sky.

"Venusaur! They're Mount Piutá! They are of Angela's marches!"

Whatever doubts remained in the group, the mention of Angela cleared them; some of Tagg’s Pokémon hurried to gather behind Venusaur and Raichu as the latter stood his ground growling at the Haxorus and Breloom. Draca quizzically looked at the leading Haxorus in the group, and the two dragons shared a tense moment looking at each other before the Salamence, pushed by her peers, turned tail and headed closer to Venusaur.

Venusaur for his part did not move from his position and only instructed Nudi to not address the strangers as the Shellos, slower than his peers, crawled past his side and towards the back of the group.

"...What?" asked the Breloom, confused. "What is this?"

"Don't risk it," answered Raichu, pointing his paw menacingly back at the Grass-type. "What is the order? Infiltration? Assassination? You have waited long for your revenge."

"Revenge?" asked Haxorus. He blinked and looked at Raichu up and down evaluating his lack of disposition; he decided to turn to Venusaur instead. "One of us may have misse-"

Venusaur stomped on the ground and interrupted everyone. "Whatever your course, we are not for it," he said. "so go off the way you came."

The Haxorus remained in place for a moment, breathing calmly. His eyes wandered from one member of the team to the other, ignoring Raichu's figurative eye daggers. The dragon then turned to the Breloom and motioned for him to step back and focus on the other Pokémon already accompanying the visitors, who looked at each other and gossiped, confused.

The Grass-type tentatively looked up the tree, only to see that while the young Staravia was attentively looking at him and at the sudden mayhem below, Roc remained impassive in his perch, examining the closer trees.

Finally, Haxorus sighed.

"It is not spoke of in public circles, child," he spoke addressing Raichu, ignoring the smaller Pokémon's spat at the last word, "but the Angelan's march in the Desertland is no more. Our fathers killed them."

Some surprised expressions went around Venusaur's crew.

"Wha-?"

"Killed...?"

"How come we did not know?"

"...T-that's Vow Breaking!"

"...Where is this desertland?"

Of the Pokémon around the group, Nudi turned to Venusaur, keeping the strangers in his sight.

"Tagg said many of the people who worked past the mountains 'went dark' when Angela fell. Is... is this what you meant?"

Venusaur remained silent, prompting Nudi to nudge him for an answer; but as the Venusaur remained stiff and focused on the Haxorus, the answer came from atop the trees.

"It's about hiding from one's mistakes," spoke Roc from his perch, not bothering to look down to the two groups. "It seems it did not go that well for them."

Breloom took a look at the Staraptor perched above and proudly laughed at the explanation; he noticed then the lesser form accompanying him shuffled around uncomfortably and shot him a glare. Still, taking notice of Nudi's words, Breloom resumed his approach to the group once again; while he had to stop as soon as an arc of electricity from Raichu landed close to his feet, he still spoke to the elder members in Venusaur's group.

"They were right when they said we'd find you here. The fighters from back then, who helped liberate the natives of the westernland." He turned to Venusaur, measuring him up and down. "Your work was good, but the vermin continues to hide."

"You- who told you?" asked Raichu with a hint of surprise.

The branches up the trees shook a little and Roc's voice came from up there. "Yes, they live today. Still, many have faded away... or made to fade."

Venusaur shook his head. "Many of the humans we fought were wrong. Many groups met ends like what you claim, but it was not by Trainer's hand."

"...We did our part," hissed Raichu.

"Hah! And so we did ours!" answered Breloom, challenging Raichu's words. "You uncovered the rot, and we brought the fire to consume all the vermin."

He shot a venomous look at Raichu; somewhere between accussing and daring. "You would say ‘thank you’, by the way."

Raichu's tail swung harsh and the two Pokémon glared at each other; before it could get more personal, Venusaur shook his body and stepped forward, and for a response Breloom stepped back and paced around, looking at each member of the team.

"Now that I think of it... we would have thought you glad to jump at this opportunity, to exert your power in benefit of all Pokémonkind."

He smiled teasingly at Raichu.

"To stop hiding behind the humans and actually become part of a force of order."

He then turned to Draca, making a welcoming gesture with his arms stretched.

"To rise to the ranks of your kin and rain nilzu'um over the dried lands... for the Rienna to flourish again, immaculate."

Draca fumbled, her eyes went to the Haxorus for a moment but she then lowered her head.

The one who had issued this invitation then turned to Roc, a bit puzzled that the bird would not acknowledge his presence.

"And you... To show yourself worthy of flying in the same skies as our Lords, instead of flying in circles for the humans' circus."

"I- I don't..." Draca stammered; she craned her head, avoiding Venusaur's gaze when he turned to her. "I only know fighting with my Trainer." She could feel the Haxorus's gaze upon her... was it pitying? Or inviting, forgiving?

"We have our own thing going on here," spoke Roc finally, "I have family visiting."

"What we come here with is a request and a gift both unparalleled," explained Breloom, looking a bit agitated at Roc's continued evasiveness. "Command of an entire wing of our kindred who only look to put an end to this affront. Your... own... combat wing," the Breloom stressed.

Much to his annyoance, Roc's only answer was turning to ruffle his wings. The Staravia daughter puffed her chest and glared at him, and Breloom snarled back at them both, perplexed.

Draca sighed as she seemed to fantasize with the idea in her head, something that Haxorus instantly took notice of. His eyes trained on the Salamence, become slits, he turned to her showing himself off. "You long for battle, for retribution," spoke the Haxorus invited. "It moves our blood. Our kin has been called by the Skywyrm after the humans' attack on his refuge."

Draca sighed, she had sensed her blood pulling her Westernwards since a few days actually, but did not like it spelt out for her. Raichu, noticing her uneasiness, stepped in front of her and let his electricity cackle around the dragon, threatening to strike the Haxorus if he tried to inch closer.

"I wouldn't know how..." she spoke curtly. "I'd just want to learn..."

"Even the wild ones know how to be a predator," spoke the Haxorus, pointing to the various Pokémon around him.

Raichu straightened himself. "Shut up now."

Haxorus craned his head and backed down, his gaze still challenging the Salamence, his attitude inviting, extending the same glories that they were extending Roc. Meanwhile, Breloom raised a hand and a few of the Pokémon following him formed alongside him, prompting Venusaur to stomp on the ground once again to remind them to not get closer.

Breloom made a sort of reverence and turned to the birds in the tree. "Our offering is open, and we would joyously have you lead us to triumph," he spoke eager.

The Haxorus waved his hand and the various visitors started turning around and leaving their way. He waited until the end and leered at Draca. "You too, if you want," he invited.

Breloom made a motion to tip his 'hat' to Raichu and Venusaur, and turned to Roc's tree for one last time. "Our group stays here until the waning moon. You'll hear us through the winds."

For the while that the visiting group reorganized themselves and header back the way they came, Roc remained impassive in his perch only listening to the winds, ignoring Venusaur and the rest of the group as well. His child chirped up to him a few times, though the larger bird met her only with a practised silence, an invitation to find answers in the whispers of the land's breeze.


Credits as per usual

Tagg's team (here Venusaur, Raichu, Roc, Draca and Nudi plus others unstated) are © Tagg of course and drawn from his pool here. They are portrayed in their Suocéverse incarnations under consultation with Tagg himself.

The unnamed Staravia is Shahinne.

The characters from the Sovereignty (the Haxorus and Breloom) are © VeniaSilente.

Also available on AO3.

Thou hast forgotten the face of thy Lord. Remember, mortal, and fear pet me.