Some things to get out of the way. I am not the owner, creator, or facilitator of anything from Pokemon, Nintendo, or anyone else who owns anything related to Pokemon. This is an original work based on the Pokemon universe and is a nonmonetary endeavor. Things to know: Lucian Morganson - our hero and the new gym leader of Ravenhom City, he is 19 during the prologue and he is 21 at the beginning of Chapter 1. Madam Nesbitt - The caretaker of the gym and Lucian, combination of maid/security/lawyer and ultimately the matriarch of the gym and everything involved with it. Middonaito - The region the story is set, and is based on a region that is reminiscent of America's New England Ravenholm City - Is a major city that trainers ultimately have to come through is they are seeking the status of Pokemon Master. The city is fair size, in an American Gothic style that plays to the history of the area, and sits buffered between the sea and the forests. Prologue Everything ended with a flicker, or rather, everything started with a flash. The smoke wove it's way into my lungs like a surgeon's suture. I tried to cough but the movements halted before they could begin. I rolled onto my side as every part of me screamed, matching my voice. My face was sticky, blood, shallow grooves carved into the congealing viscous from tears, emotional, physical, tears that I insist were only present due to the black smoke. Slowly, with ginger caution I pushed off the soft grass and rose to my knees. With force I opened my eyes and saw my home, in flames. The explosion had thrown me through the window, onto the grass, outside the house, no not the explosion. My eyes darted about the darkened grounds, that flickered in the fire light, and soon I saw him. On the ground, lying limp with smoke curling from his coat was Shadow. My grandfather's Houndoom, he shielded me from the blast, protected me...”Grandfather!” I struggled to stand wincing as each muscle pulled against another one and constantly straining against my weight. Breathing became a challenge and chore as the pain racked my chest with each movement, at the very least two of my ribs were broken and cuts dotted my body like an agonizing connect the dots. Finally, after wincing and gritting down, I was able to stand and stumble towards the inferno that was my house. The flames licked the sky as the smoke mingled with the clouds and drifted away. All I could see were the flames as my house crumbled. I tried to get nearer the flames, I tried to push my way past the heat as my skin turned red and started to blister. But I wasn't able push through the pain and find my grandfather, in that moment I knew he could have saved himself but had Houndoom save me instead. In that moment I passed out near the flames. Alone and hollow. Chapter 1. Cold. Unspeakably, unbearably, and inhumanely cold. The first and only sensation I felt before the murderous rage welled up in my mind, and quelled itself almost as quickly, as I rolled over on my pillow, it was simply to early and I was to tired to contemplate anything other than sleep. "Lucian get up the grand opening ceremony starts in forty-five minutes, and you need to be dressed, dashing, and ready for the inaugural battle," said a sharp voice. I muttered something incoherent and rather impolite as I felt my blankets ripped away and I finally forced myself to open my eyes. Nesbit stood there staring down at me, much like she used to stare at my Grandfather, with silk blue eyes, devoid of emotion, and tight, thin lips pulled taut in a scowl. Her face was narrow and ended in a point at her chin and crowned with a bun on top of her head, woven with steel grey hair. I attempted an 'I'm sorry smile' and instead, I'm sure, came up with an 'I'm not so sorry scowl'. I could of course judge this by that fact that her face never shifted a muscle. Another, this time smaller, volley of ice water struck my face before she turned and stalked out of the room. She stopped at the door and inclined her head, "Lucian, it's time to act more like your grandfather the gym leader and less like your grandfather. Today's the day." I pushed the wet hair from my face and managed to sit up, on the overly squishy bed. I blinked away the water from my eyes, Nesbitt did manage to completely soak me and water tends to pool. I stood up and stiffly worked the knots of pressure from my body. My wet footsteps slapped the wooden floors as I moved towards my private bathroom. Admittedly, being a gym leader had some perks. I stretched my arms over my head, fingers interlaced and palms up, as I stood balanced on tiptoes and felt the pops shoot through my body like cheap firecrackers. A shower would help but there isn't enough time, so I moved directly to splashing water on my face and going through the routine. I don't often use a mirror or pay much attention to my appearance, I generally only try for looking alive as opposed to a decaffeinated zombie, but Nesbitt was right and today was a special day. I started with the top and ran my fingers through my hair and worked it into my customary mess of ebon spikes. A touch of make up around my eyes created a shadowed, smoky detail, as sometimes a bit of theatricality is needed, and the dark colors created a sense of drama about my dark green eyes, working to make the silver in them dance in the right lighting. I skipped shaving in favor of a dirtied complexion that helped my thin cheeks seem sunken and deep under high cheek bones. I dried off what water was left and realized how pale I had become, and thin, nothing but bone and muscle, wiry is the best description as I flexed my arms and watched tendons and muscle pull, twisting under the skin. Even under the scars I could see them move as the tissue undulated and expanded without sensation, the doctors said it was simply nerve damage but it felt different then that...it felt like that part of me had died but hadn't let go. Pulling myself away from the mirror wasn't hard, I had no desire to linger on the scar tissue and often it was all I saw, but then as I would look at it I would see my Grandfather and I would see to much. The bathroom was adjoined to my 'ready room' and otherwise known as a closet. My training clothes hung on one wall while my street clothes and dress clothes hung on another. Inauguration, ribbon cutting, handshakes, and pictures all but determined that this morning was a dress up occasion. I started pulling clothes down and struggling into them, everything all very black with hints of purple. The slacks and vest were cut approximately one hundred years out of date, only the single thread thick silver pinstripes spoke to the modernity of the clothes, and included a silver pocket watch on a chain. The shirt was a purple that spoke to the last vestiges of sunset and seemed to be woven of the night sky's clouds as the silk caressed my skin. Last was the belt, black with silver mounts for my pokeballs, this morning may not be a battle but my pokemon, my friends, my only family, would still be at my side. My hand caressed Grandfather's jacket, Madam Nesbitt must have put it out for me, and I stoked the soft velvet stirring the smells I had grown up with, morning dew and midnight wind. Breakfast would have to wait, I was running out of time as I moved through the hallways past the gyms support crew, and trainers, on retainer to teach the local kids how to handle pokemon before they left on their journeys. There wasn't time for any talk past the initial greetings as I made my way to the pokemon stabling. When the new gym was designed it was insisted upon that room be made out doors for the pokemon to have the space needed to play and practice without being cooped in their pokeballs. As I walked outside the chill of the air bit at my skin and tore through the thin clothes I wore. I took a deep breath and let the air cool my lungs and soaked in the crisp air of fall, as Autumn shouldered my shins. Autumn, is my oldest friend and companion, I got her from a litter of Eevees before I was even allowed to be a trainer. I took her as my starter and she took the first steps of our journey with me and it was a smile that pulled at my lips as I kneeled to stroke her leaves and fur and marveled again at her color. When Autumn evolved she did so in the fall and took it's colors as her own, as her burnished red and gold leaves were accented the deep earthly browns of the soil. I looked at the others and stood gathering their pokeballs from the shelves. It took only moments to call them from the grounds and attach the balls to my belt, all except one. Autumn would walk with me during the ceremony. My voice came out sligtly horse like the words flowed over gravel, "Today is the day."