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Carraig na Coinnle

Starlight Aurate

Just a fallen star
Hello! This is a one-shot I entered for a contest on another forum that I decided to post here (after cleaning it up a bit). It started as a one-shot I wrote several years ago and, with inspiration from real-life folklore, turned it into what it is.

This one-shot was heavily inspired by Irish Faerie Tales, particularly The Rock of the Candle. I hope you enjoy!


Carraig na Coinnle


Cairn Thierna’s beauty lies.
Its ice and snow—none can defy.
If you see the spellbound men,
Turn, turn away,
Lest you join them.


Colm sang softly as he rocked his baby sister. Siobhan’s cries gradually lessened to whimpers as she stared angrily at her brother with bright blue eyes. He sang the old lullaby over and over again—the ancient poem was the only remotely-soothing-melody that came to mind at three in the morning.

The windows showed piles of snow shining beneath a star-speckled sky. In the distance stood the mountain Cairn Thierna with the old archway of the ruined castle Carrigogunnel. The sight was oddly nostalgic; Colm had spent winter nights as a child looking out the window with his grandfather. Grandfather often told of the monstrous hag, Grana, who lured in travelers and sent them to their doom.

“She’s th’ reason Carrigogunnel is no more,” Colm’s grandfather always said. “Grana’s hunger was so severe that she ate everythin’ in sight. Ate up th’ whole royal family, she did, along with anyone else she saw. Lures people in with th’ light of her candle and swallows ‘em whole!”

Siobhan wailed. Colm rocked her more quickly, trying to calm her down. He sighed; his mother had a hard day, and when the two of them had woken from Siobhan crying, he offered to calm her down so his mother might get some sleep. He wondered if he’d regret his decision—he and Barry had to leave tomorrow morning for a trip for the pharmacy he worked at.

Colm glanced across the room. Barry was wrapped up in a blanket Colm’s mother had knitted for him. Whenever the Grumpig was awake, he communicated telepathically with Colm. But in his sleep, all mental communication was off. Colm smiled as the Pokemon snorted peacefully with every breath. Siobhan loved Barry—he could always make her smile or calm her down. But with the trip tomorrow, Colm figured he could let his friend sleep.

Colm glanced out the window and the sight of the layering snow made his heart sink further. In the bleak midwinter, the iciness could make it impossible to get through mountain passes.

As baby Siobhan’s whimpers ceased and her eyes closed, Colm laid her down in her crib and got in his bed. He looked at the snow swirling outside the window, watching it blow past the ruined archway. He hoped his father and younger brother, Cormac, would make it back safely soon. They went a few villages over to visit some relatives who worked as carpenters and see if Cormac was interested in becoming an apprentice—but that was days ago, and Colm was uncomfortable about leaving his mother and sister alone.

He grimaced as he closed his eyes; he hoped this winter would end sooner rather than later. Tiredness overtook him and he drifted off to sleep, the lullaby still playing in his head.

Cairn Thierna’s beauty lies.
Its ice and snow make blind our eyes.
If you see the spellbound men,
Destroy the hag,
And rescue them.


====================================================

Morning came all too soon, and though Cormac and his father hadn’t returned yet, Colm and Barry had to leave.

Thank you for breakfast, Miss! Barry said excitedly as he piled his plate high with buttered toast

Colm’s mother smiled at Barry. “You’re very welcome.” She looked back up at her son. “Got everythin’?” she asked as she rocked a crying Siobhan.

Barry—with a piece of toast hanging from his mouth—walked over to Siobhan and looked her in the eyes. His eyes glowed purple, and the water in Colm’s cup rose and danced in the air. As the baby watched the water, she stopped crying and surveyed the spectacle curiously.

“I think so,” Colm said. His pack sat on the floor, filled with food and blankets, and he already donned three layers of clothing. Barry—his mouth full of mushed toast—gave Colm’s mother a smile and thumbs-up.

We’re ready to go!

Colm’s mother looked worried and tired—more so than usual. Lines extended from her bright blue eyes, and her dark blonde hair was messily tied into a bun. “I hope your father and brother return soon. Be careful—don’t stop to rest in Cairn Thierna’s pass, and don’t go in any caves.”

“Yes, Ma, I know.”

“Do you need any more clothes?”

“No, Ma—“

“Did you pack enough food?”

Yes, Ma—“

“Did you need some money to borrow a Mareep from Mr. Padraig?”

“Ma, we’ll be fine.

His mother sighed as she glanced out the window. “I know, I just—I never like seein’ you go out in the snow. Ever since my uncle left and didn’t come back…”

Colm’s heart twisted. He didn’t like his mother doting on him like this, but he knew she just missed her uncle. He put an arm around her and Barry hugged her waist.

“I know, Ma. But I won’t get lost like your Uncle Finn—I have Barry with me!”

I’ll make sure that nothin’ happens to Colm, Barry told Colm’s mother.

Colm’s mother returned the hug and let Colm and Barry go reluctantly. She smiled bittersweetly.

“Come back as quick as you can.”

======================================================

Why are we doin’ this in the middle of winter? Barry asked.

The two of them scrunched their faces up against the winter onslaught. The searing wind slapped Colm’s face raw. Ice crystals formed on his eyelashes, and his nose would not stop running. In spite of his gloves, his fingers were so cold they could hardly move, and several of his toes had gone numb. Barry wore a sweater that Colm’s mother knit for him, but Colm knew the Grumpig’s snout and toes were freezing. His eyes squinted, barely able to stay open against the wind.

There are three other seasons in the year, Barry went on. There’s spring, summer—even the autumn wouldn’t be THIS bad. But your boss sent you to make this trip in the WINTER, of all possible times!

Colm looked back at the Mareep that Mr. Padraig lent them. Her eyes were also shut, and she had difficulty pulling the empty cart through the snow.

Your boss could’ve asked you to go to a less-hidden town to get less-obscure supplies, but no, he NEEDS whatever it is that this place has got—

“Barry, quit it!”

I’m freezin’ solid over here!

“I am too, but you don’t need to complain about it!”

Colm looked forward, but there was only the endless sea of white. They were deep in the mountain pass of Cairn Thierna, and Colm knew that there were cliffs surrounding them—but the snow fell so thickly that he couldn’t see anything other than Barry, Mareep, and the cart. Perhaps it was just his imagination, but he thought the snow was a lot heavier than usual.

You didn’t NEED to work for a pharmacy with your human medicines and drugs and witchcraft but—Oomph!

“Barry? Are you okay?” Colm shouted.

Yeah—I walked into a wall. Wait—come over here! I think I found a windbreak—we can rest here for a bit!

Grabbing Mareep by the wool of her neck, Colm led her over to where Barry stood. After a moment, the wind and snowfall ceased. Colm rubbed his eyes and blinked several times, trying to get the ice off his eyelashes. Opening them, he saw that they were in a large, cave-like entrance. Colm’s jaw dropped as he saw the high arch of Carrigogunnel rising above them, its lintels invisible in the white torrent of snow. He looked back into what he first thought was the cave but realized now was the entrance to the old castle.

After a few feet, the snow on the ground gave way to smooth, black rock. Barry immediately went to the snow-free rock and sat down, releasing a big sigh. He rubbed his little hands and feet, trying to restore warmth to them. Colm unhitched the cart from Mareep and allowed her to lie down on the ground and warm herself.

Colm sat down next to her, laying a hand on her wooly back. He gazed at the snow outside as Barry came over and wedged himself between Colm and Mareep, trying to absorb their warmth.

Now THIS isn’t half bad. I say we take a break.

“Yeah, a break might not be too bad…”

The thickness of the snow almost seemed unnatural—there was no way they’d make it through that. They’d be best off waiting for it to lessen. He turned his head and looked into the castle hall, but after a few feet it plunged into blackness. What could be in there? He knew Ursaring frequented mountain hideouts, and an abandoned castle would be a perfect place for them to hibernate and store wood, leaves, and other objects for insulation. If Colm found some of that and could light a fire…

You want to explore an Ursaring hideout? Barry looked skeptically at Colm.

“Come on, Barry, you’ve never been afraid of Ursaring—you’ve fought them at least ten times, and you’ve never failed. Remember when we visited Mucross Abbey and saw an Ursaring—the one that you punched first with a flaming fist, then a thunder fist, then a frozen fist? He never saw that coming! Or the one in the woods on Irelagh that you slammed so hard into that he was paralyzed? And when you beat that she-Ursa without even attackin’? You jumped around so much that she tired herself out! And that was when you were only a Spoink!”

Barry smiled and blushed with pride. Well, yes, that’s all true.

“So I’ll be safe as long as you’re here. And come on, doesn’t a fire sound perfect?”

Mareep immediately baa’d in affirmation.

Barry gazed dreamily upward with a small smile on his face. A fire would be quite nice about now.

“Then it’s settled. You two can stay here—just be ready in case I need somethin’.”

You sure you want to go all alone?

Colm smiled and rubbed Barry’s head. “You two get some rest. I won’t go too far.”

All right, Barry said as he snuggled into Mareep’s wool. Be careful! Give me a shout if anythin’ comes up.

“I will.”

Getting up, Colm made his way into the hall, gazing at the curiously-smooth walls. From the stories and legends he heard about castles, he thought their entrances would be large and grand, with precisely-cut stones—but the round shape and smooth walls of this hall gave it a more cave-like feel. Colm continued his trek, and before long, the entrance was nothing more than a white speck behind him. He pulled his coat around him more tightly—though he was relieved to be out of the wind and snow, the air only grew colder.

At last, the initial cave-like entrance opened wide to a great hall. Chandeliers with empty sconces hung from the ceiling; a balcony with a stone railing and columns cut to look like growing trees encircled the upper story of the room; two large, long tables extended the length of the hall, each surrounded by innumerable chairs; hallways with rectangular doorframes lined the walls, leading ever deeper into the mountain. Colm swiveled his head, gazing at the sight with wonder. Impressive though it was, time had taken a hefty toll on the place: the stone crumbled in many places, and cobwebs littered the whole hall. The spiral stairway leading up to the balcony was cracked and falling apart. Colm must have been the first visitor in over a century.

Looking around, he walked slowly into the hall, trying to take it all in. His eyes lit up when he saw the large fireplace before him—was there any unused wood in there?

Running forward, he stopped before the large fireplace set into the wall and excitedly bent down.

Wood! Dry, crisp, branches—perfect for a fire. Grabbing an armful of them, he got up and scanned the floor with his eyes. Were there more essentials for a fire lying around?

He looked up and saw that the castle was not as dark as he had first thought—something seemed to glow just beyond one of the open doorways. Colm went forward cautiously, acutely aware of the mental link he shared with Barry. The Grumpig was dozing off—if he fell asleep, Colm knew he’d have to exert a lot of mental pressure to wake him up.

But Colm was already this far in the castle—it would be best to see everything in one trip. As he followed the glowing spectacle—which appeared to be some floating, featureless light—he walked through a doorway into a smaller hall. The walls hung with ancient portraits whose subjects had been worn away by time. Colm trailed after the light, following it down stairways and through a few more rooms. Something about it enraptured him—he couldn’t look away if he chose to—but why would he choose to? It was so beautiful. He needed it.

Colm reached the bottom of yet another stairway—he hadn’t kept count. His breaths came out in puffs of white air. His teeth chattered. Colm was dimly aware of his mental connection with Barry, but the mystical glow otherwise captivated him. He gasped as it drifted away from him through the cracks of a large wooden door.

Colm placed a gloved hand on the door handle and it was so searingly cold that he nearly let go. But the light was just beyond the door, still dimly visible through the cracks.

He had to carry on. After the initial shock, he pulled hard, opening to an entirely new room. Colm took a step into the room, hoping to see the light, when he heard a crunch!

There was snow on the ground.

“What the…?”

Following it with his eyes, he saw the sparkling blanket lead further into the back of the room from which the light emanated. He dimly saw something shimmering, as though the air itself was distorted.

Walking along the crunching path, Colm gasped. The temperature reached a new low, and he now saw why: ice coated every surface, forming crystalline structures on the ceiling, walls and floor. Crystals grew in little peaks, poking out from every crevice and niche. Snowflakes hung suspended in mid-air. Everything about Colm glimmered and sparkled in an unearthly, ethereal manner.

The light hung in the room just beyond, hanging in the sparkling air. Enraptured, he went forward slowly, eyes fixed on the glow.

It vanished.

Colm stopped—without the orb, he had no reason to be there. He suddenly realized how frigid the air was, how stranded he felt, and how far he was from Barry and Mareep—he had to return to them.

He meant to leave when, a few meters away from him, he saw a man standing. What was he doing here? How long had he been here? The air was unbearably cold—Colm couldn’t leave him down here.

"Hello there!" he called as he approached the man. Whoever it was, he made no response.

"Excuse me," he said as he got closer, apprehension growing in his chest.

"Excuse me? Can you…" The words died on his lips as his heart sunk. Now that he was right next to the person, he saw why he did not reply.

Ice crystals formed over the man’s skin. His eyes, perfectly preserved, were wide open. His mouth hung open in a never-ending scream. His beard was completely white and covered in frost. His right hand thrust into the air, holding a blown-out torch, while his left hand was behind him, pushing a small Skitty away. Her mouth was open in a silent yowl, and her large ears were bent back as she shied away in fear. Like her master, Skitty was white with frost.

Colm breathed heavily and his heart pounded in his chest. His eyes darted around the room. His heart sank with dread as he saw even more people and Pokemon, some completely encased in layers of ice. A woman cradled her Torchic, her platinum-white braid draped over her shoulder as she tried to shield the small Pokemon in her arms.

A little further away was a Spoink stuck in a perpetual crouch, springing for a bounce it would never take. His heart clenched as he remembered his mother giving him Barry as a Spoink. He was startled to see how familiar the man next to Spoink looked. He had the rounded nose of Colm’s mother and grandfather, their drooping eyes, and prominent forehead.

Finn.

Colm staggered back, teeth chattering. He looked around and received a second shock when he saw a lone pair of legs encased in ice—he didn’t want to investigate.

His mother, grandfather, and their warnings about Cairn Thierna—

They were right.

Too afraid to see what other tales were true, Colm made a run for it. The ice on the ground was slippery and he slid several times. The crystal structures, once so beautiful, now held a silent malice. The glittering walls and roof loomed over him, and the glimmer of the icy air now filled Colm with fear.

What happened? Was the air just really that cold?

Or…

Colm hurried his pace.

Barry, he said urgently over their mental link. But the Grumpig was still asleep. As he hurried, the air temperature dropped further.

Barry!

Afraid to glance back, he pushed forward, slipping and falling on the ice as he made his way past the frozen creatures.

Wake up!

The air grew ever colder, and Colm felt his hands and feet go numb. He glanced down, and his heart jumped in his chest as he saw ice crystals grow on his glove. He wheeled around and let out a cry.

A giant mask floated before him, shimmering a pale ash grey. Crystals of ice showered down as it exhaled. Several large teeth jutted from its jaw, and its venomous-blue eyes fixed him with a lethal stare. Colm threw his arms up to protect his face, as the—the thing took in a deep breath and exhaled, blasting ice crystals all over Colm's body.

"Barry!"

Colm tried to shout, but his face hardened as ice coated his throat and restricted his vocal chords.

"Barry..." he repeated weakly.

The mental link between him and his Pokemon was still intact—there was a change in Barry’s mindset. But as the giant face floated before Colm, piercing him with its uncanny stare, thoughts of his friend vanished. The freezing sensation that enveloped Colm turned to a burning one. All that was left was to become part of this creature’s collection like the rest who had wandered into Carrigogunnel.

Life drained from Colm—but he couldn’t just surrender, he couldn’t die like this! He wouldn’t remain in this creature's lair for however long eternity lasted—an eternity without mother, father, Siobhan, Cormac or Barry; an eternity frozen in the castle; an eternity without sunlight or spring.

“BARRY!”

He roared through their mental link. He tried to shout, but it came as more of a croak. Barry’s mind whirred and his presence grew closer.

But numbness steadily leeched through Colm’s clothes to his core. His consciousness slipped, and all sensation left him as nothingness took over. The creature floated over him, letting loose a steady breath of icy wind, the last image imprinted onto Colm's mind before he would fade away....

CRACK!

The floating face flew aside as Barry's fiery fist collided with it. The flames from Barry’s fists lit up the hall, melting ice and casting away the unearthly chill. Barry stood protectively in front of Colm, his heart pounding furiously.

The giant face flew into the wall, breaking many intricate crystalline structures. The creature glared angrily at the Grumpig, and it let loose an infuriated cry as it rose into the air once more. It shot a bright blue beam at Barry, but the agile Grumpig leaped out of the way. The beam collided with the ground and left a mound of ice.

The creature fired more beams, each missing the Psychic-type as the Pokemon bounced off the floor and walls. Barry sprung at the creature, aiming his flaming fists directly at his foe.

Barry's fists collided with the creature, leaving a burn mark between its eyes. But as soon as the flames licked the face, it opened its mouth and chomped on the Grumpig's hind leg. Barry let out a loud squeal as the creature crunched down on him, his bones close to breaking point. As he dangled from the creature's mouth, he set both fists alight with fire and began rapidly punching its underside. The creature's grip lessened, but it still held the Grumpig between its oversized jaws.

The black pearls on Barry's head glowed, enveloping him and his foe in light. As the face's eyes became unfocused, its jaws parted and the Grumpig dropped from its mouth, his pearls no longer glowing. Barry lay on the floor a moment, panting and grasping his injured leg. The face floated in the air, its mouth hanging open and its eyes sliding around listlessly.

Glaring up at the creature, Barry's eyes turned a violent shade of purple. He jerked his head from side to side, his enemy following Barry’s line of sight. The mask-like creature flew around the room, crashing into the floor and walls, knocking chunks of ice and snow from the ceiling. With one final jerk of his head, Barry let his psychic hold on his enemy loose, and the foe went crashing into the far wall. A storm of icicles hailed down from the ceiling. After a second, the creature began to shift, but Barry didn't give it the chance to get back in the air. A purple-and-black beam shot from the pearls on his forehead, hitting the face and burying it deeper beneath layers of crumbled stone. The Grumpig stared at his enemy, but it did not move.

Getting to his feet, Barry limped over to Colm. His heart missed a beat as he saw the human coated with ice, unmoving, his eyes wide open as he gazed upward in terror.

Colm? Barry said tentatively over their mental link.

There was no reply. Heart pounding rapidly, Barry dug deep into his human's mind, searching for a sign of life, for some humanity and consciousness that may be left.

Colm, no, please, please don't leave!

His body shook violently, and his injured leg could hardly support his weight, but Barry’s mind continued to penetrate deeper into the human’s. He readied his hands for a Fire Punch but did not allow them to flame up. He placed his warmed hands on Colm’s face, melting the ice, trying to eke out what life might be left.

Colm!

At last, he found the human's consciousness. His heart jumped with relief, but Colm's mind was fading.

Please, stay with me, Colm!

Barry continued to warm Colm’s face, and as soon as the human’s face was free from the frozen confines, his eyelids closed and his head slumped forward. Barry continued to warm his friend, moving his hands along him as Colm's mind stabilized.

After a combination of much shouting and mental exertion, Barry successfully called Mareep down. Together, they managed to carry Colm back to the cave entrance, swaddle him in all the layers they had, load him in the cart, and set out in the snow again. The blizzard had considerably lessened—the wind and snowfall died, and the cliffs of the surrounding mountains were clearly visible.

Barry plowed his way through the snow so Mareep could pull the cart with Colm on it as they made their way back to his hometown. Barry looked back at his human. His gut twisted and his hands shook. The young man lay still, his face turning red and splotchy.

Hang in there, Colm.

===================================================

“Ár nAthair atá ar neamh,
Go naofar d’ainim…”


Colm’s eyes fluttered open. Turning his head, he saw his mother and younger brother kneeling in front of a crackling fireplace. Cormac’s hands were folded while their mother cradled Siobhan. Both bowed their heads in prayer. Colm looked down to see several fur blankets covering him. Next to the fireplace, Barry lay on the floor with a blanket wrapped tight around his shoulders and bandages wound around his hind leg.

Colm blinked several times, trying to remember what happened. He was so thirsty. Sitting up with difficulty, he looked around. He was in his family’s living room. Outside, snow had stopped falling and the archway of Carrigogunnel was visible. His entire body was stiff, and his hands were wound up in bandages.

“Colm?”

He turned his head and saw his younger brother looking at him. A smile broke over Cormac’s freckled face. Next to him, their mother kept her head bowed, whispering a prayer.

“Ma!” he said. “Colm’s awake!”

Their mother raised her head and turned to look at Colm. She looked more stressed and tired than Colm had ever seen her—the lines on her face were very prominent, and she did not look as though she had slept in days.

“Colm! Cormac, here, hold your sister.”

Handing Siobhan off and getting to her feet, Colm’s mother immediately sat at Colm’s bedside and wrapped an arm around him.

“Ma,” Colm said as he felt his mother shake, “Ma, I’m okay.”

She pulled back and Colm saw her tearstained face looking at him in distress. She sniffed and swallowed.

“I know you are,” she said thickly. “It’s just—seein’ Barry and Mareep come back with you, and we couldn’t wake you, and there was frostbite all over you—and—and—” A fresh wave of tears started, and Colm just patted his mother’s back.

“Ma—Ma, don’t worry about that.”

“Oh, I bet your hungry—I’ve some stew for you, and here’s some water. Do you need me to help? I bet you can hardly hold the spoon with those bandages. Here you go—“

Colm’s face turned red in embarrassment as his mother insisted on spoon feeding him, but he had little choice other than to comply.

“There you go,” his mother said as her son ate. “And Barry and Mareep told us about what happened—sounds like Barry fought off a Glalie.”

“A what?”

“Cormac, hand me that book.”

With his free hand, Colm’s brother handed their mother a tome full of creatures and Pokemon.

“Here,” their mother said after flipping through several pages. She pointed to a picture that looked like the creature Colm encountered in Carrigogunnel. “They live in icy caves and mountains. I bet that hag Grana kept one as a pet and it outlived her—or perhaps it ate her, too—or maybe it was her all along—oh, I don’t know.” Putting the book down, she said, “Oh Colm, I’m just glad you’re back and you’re all right. Your father returned and he’ll want to see you, too—I should go get him.” She made to leave, but Colm stopped her.

“Ma,” he said suddenly as he remembered, “I think I saw—I think I saw Finn.”

“What’s that, now?”

“Finn,” he said more pointedly. His mother looked at him, her eyebrows furrowed and her mouth slightly open. “Your uncle.”

She blinked a few times and slowly looked down. “Uncle Finn…” she murmured.

“Yes, he—he was frozen solid,” he said quickly. His mother looked at him with her eyes wide open—apparently Barry did not tell her this part. “He, his Spoink, and all the other people and Pokemon I saw. They were frozen—some weren’t all there—“

He couldn’t go on. Closing his eyes, he shuddered as the images of the frozen people came back to him and the chill returned to his bones.

“He’s there?” Colm’s mother looked at him with wide eyes—the corners of her mouth were slightly lifted, and her eyes sparkled with a sort of anticipation he had not seen in a long time. “And others—all in Carrigogunnel?”

“Yes.”

A full smile broke out on his mother’s face. Her eyes darted around and she blinked several times, still smiling.

“Uncle Finn, you’ve been found… And the others? Did you recognize them?”

Colm shook his head. “No, it was nobody I knew.”

His mother stood up. “It might be all of the townspeople who have gone missing—Padraig’s mother, Sile’s nephew—it could be all of them—finally found!”

Seeing his mother get up excitedly made Colm nervous.

“Ma, what are you doin’? You’re not—not goin’ after them, are you?”

His mother sighed and looked at the fire, the light of the flames highlighting the lines etched deeply into her face. “I’m not, no, though right now, I want nothin’ more. Siobhan is nursin’, and I can’t leave her. But if Barry fought that monster and won, it’s possible the hag’s power over that place is broken. I’ll tell your father; he’ll get men from town and go look and bring back everyone they can. Yes, that’s what I’ll do.” Bending down, she wrapped her arms around Colm and kissed his cheek. “I’m so glad you’re all right,” she said again. She straightened up, told Cormac to accompany her, and swept through the doorway without another word.

Colm looked over at Barry. All the talking woke him up, and he gazed curiously after Colm’s mother and brother.

Colm smiled when he saw his friend was all right.

“Barry! Thank you for everything—you really saved me back there.”

Barry waved a hand. Aw, I just did what I had to.

But Colm saw him smile and sensed a deep gratitude and joy.

Colm looked at the doorway his mother and siblings disappeared through.

“What do you think of this?” Colm asked him. He didn’t want his father going into Carrigogunnel—he didn’t want anyone to try it.

Barry thought for a moment, his mouth pursed, and nodded.

I think they’ll be okay. I was able to defeat that Glalie on my own—if they’ve got a bunch of men and their Pokemon with them, they should be fine.

Colm laid back down, his mind still whirring. He was worried—but he knew they needed to get the bodies of the villagers to put them to rest.

As he pondered, Barry started softly humming the lullaby Colm’s mother and grandfather so often sang to him, full of warnings and instructions that he so blindly ignored. Closing his eyes, he fell asleep to the sound of Barry’s hum.

===================================================

Colm, Cormac, and their parents all bowed their heads as Finn’s casket lowered into the ground. Once it touched the bottom of the pit, two men filled it with dirt and laid a tombstone over it.

Colm raised his head and looked around. All over the cemetery, burials took place. People clad in black stuck out in stark contrast to the white snow on the ground. In spite of what would normally be a sad occasion, filled with mourning and weeping, the people and Pokemon felt tension releasing from the land. It was as if the earth itself was letting out some great sigh.

“Colm, come on, we should go.”

He looked up to see his mother, wearing a black veil, put an arm on him and lead him away from Finn’s grave. Her eyes were downcast, but the wrinkles on her face were less noticeable than before—she looked more relaxed than Colm had seen her in a long time. Colm held Barry’s hand as the Grumpig limped along with the family to the large hall in the center of town, where enough food for more than twenty funerals waited for all the mourners.

Looking up at Cairn Thierna, Colm saw the archway of Carrigogunnel. Ever since Barry’s battle with Glalie, the archway cleared of snow and ice. Colm never again saw Carrigogunnel freeze over. The archway stood as a monument to an eternal spring, welcoming the souls of the departed to rest in peace.
 
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