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EVERYONE: To Sacred Profundities — Olympia-centric Vignettes

Audrelite

When the stars align then I'll be there
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As the title suggests, these are Olympia-centric vignettes that I originally posted on AO3. There are ten in total, and I hopefully plan to post one a day to this thread. Feel free to let me know what you think here or on AO3 :)

Rating and Warnings: Everyone, no warnings




I. Her Routine, Her Ritual




The solarium in Olympia's stately home was awash in soft morning sunshine, shafts of sunlight streaming in through the replete glass panels arched to the domed ceiling overhead. Verdant potted plants in burnished copper pots were arrayed on the tiled floor in deliberate formation — ferns and palms, ivy creeping clinging across latticed walls; it was a meticulously cultivated ecosystem in microcosm. And it was Olympia's pride and place of sanctuary. Under the strengthening rays of the rising sun, she sank into a high-backed wicker chair set before the solarium's central fountain, its tinkling waters serving as a tranquil, recurring meditation upon which she could set her thoughts adrift.

This was her routine, her ritual: to arise with the dawn and give over an hour to meditation was as integral to starting her day as taking her morning tea. Awakening, limbering, and sharpening the mind: mental fortification before engaging with matters of business, or perhaps facilitating social events. Occasional visitors (a privileged few) would be permitted to join her, listening with quiet awe to her expositions on achieving inner peace and focus of thought; but all in all, her meditations were a solitary, private communion.

On this particular November day, attired in a flowing emerald samite robe edged with silver knotwork embroidery, Olympia let her eyes lower once seated comfortably. An exact posture was but peripheral concern, less material than the act of detaching senses from surroundings to move in consciousness closer to transcendent understanding. Inhaling subtly through the nose, exhaling a soft breath through gently parted lips, Olympia allowed impressions and sensations to filter through without grasping at any one: the muted splashing of water droplets falling to the pool; velvet warmth of pooling sunlight washing across her hands, heating the robe at her shoulders; scents hovering sweet and earthy — myrrh-burning smoke, damp soil, dewy leaves.

Thoughts will come, unbidden, as seducing or needling flies to a honeypot; neither pushing away nor clinging was needed; simply acknowledge and let pass by to dissolve back into the vastness of mind, a silent observer. Thus did fleeting fancies arise then retreat: anticipation of a scheduled meeting later that afternoon regarding an investment opportunity for her beloved Anistar City; wry recollections of a less-than-stellar meeting from unenthused dinner company the evening prior; shards of poetry and prose read in recent days glimmering, half-remembered. The tendency to follow one thread, analyze from all angles, to project outcomes, was counselled gently aside, attention recentering again and again on the soft repeating cymbal-splash of water hitting the pool. The fountainhead statue formed a visual mantra: a woman garlanded in a wreath of laurels holding an urn pouring forth — a symbol of nourishing sustenance flowing eternal.

When time and space lose meaning, only then has meditation reached profundity — no mere quietism of an idle mind, instead a profound activation of mental power unlimited by ordinary bounds. Awakening thus from her deep communing, Olympia inhaled slowly, blinking once, then twice to reorient herself to corporeal surroundings. Some forty minutes had passed — confirmed by the warming of the solarium and angle of refracted light — a shortened period by most standards which she deemed barely sufficient. Her sessions often stretched longer when the schedule permitted. Today's allotment would suffice, however, for recentering her equilibrium before present demands claimed priority. Standing, the emerald robe falling in voluminous folds about her slender form, Olympia glided soundless over the mosaic floor and passed through the arched doorway out once more into the waking world and waiting work beyond.



End Notes: The main catalyst for starting this collection of writings was my rather spontaneous desire to create tiny impressionistic paintings of sorts reflecting the fleeting inspirations of the moment— revealing flashes of insight into Olympia's aesthetic proclivities and constant inward ruminations. Scattershot as they may be, I hope you like them.
 
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Here's the next vignette for you all! As always, would love to know what you think :)




II. Marveling Outside Such a Wondrous Place




It was of the utmost importance that the multi-billion dollar Center of Temporal Sciences maintain an environment free of any auditory and visual disturbances; the highly sensitive experiments and research within its walls required unbroken concentration and precision of the instrumentation capable of detecting the most minute fluctuations. Any disruptions, even tiny vibrations or a flashing light, could offset the delicate machinery and skew the accuracy of years-long projects harnessing the power of time itself for the advancement of science and the world's understanding of chronology. The Center's exterior gleamed under the starlight, its smooth metallic surface reflecting the glittering blanket of stars above as if to denote the cosmic forces studied behind its fortified walls. Within its secure perimeter lay world-class laboratories and technology beyond the dreams of the visiting public shuffling across the manicured lawn outside each day — technology that could unravel the strands of time past, present, and future — or even warp reality, as it was commonly accepted — if only it could operate undisturbed in a realm of perfect stillness and silence unmatched anywhere else on the planet.

This was Olympia's current state of mind — one of awe and wonder — as she strolled past the gleaming edifice of the Temporal Center well after one in the morning, the chill air nipping at her cheeks. As Anistar City'sGym Leaderr and mayor, as well as one of the Center's foremost financial backers alongside her eminent family, Olympia was granted access inside if ever she wished, even at these late hours. Tonight, however, she was merely onaleisurelye stroll around the city, as this enforced and established quietude, especially at night, granted her the perfect opportunities for such walks in more frigid weather (just how she liked it), and, even better, opportunities to simply marvel outside such a wondrous place.

As she circled the building's perimeter, she felt another swell of veneration for all that had been accomplished here: the Temporal Center was on the cutting edge of research that could reshape human understanding of time itself. Olympia knew the precise equipment and delicate experiments inside operated best under conditions of perfect stillness and silence; even minor disruptions could invalidate years of work. (That was why night tours were prohibited, after all.) But under the glittering blanket of stars on this autumn night, she was content to simply wander past the metallic exterior and observe the celestial beauty mirrored on its surface. The cosmos seemed to smile down on this haven for unraveling its secrets.

Hands resting by her sides, Olympia sighed contentedly, her breath frosting ever so slightly in the bracingn air. The future of Anistar's legacy certainly looked bright this night.



End Notes: I know that the Anistar Center of Temporal Sciences is not an actual location within Pokémon canon, however, given Anistar City's designation as "the starry city marking the hours," and it being home to the well-known sundial, I'd like to imagine such a city would house an unparalleled establishment dedicated to studying all aspects of time— metaphysical, cosmological, phenomoological, and of course chronological and quantitative. I envision the Temporal Center being situated in the northern part of the city, not far from the iconic sundial, blending the cosmic mysteries of space and time for which Anistar is famed.
 
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III. The Weight of Generations




If asked, Olympia would be hard-pressed to articulate exactly when the manor that had belonged to her family for generations had begun to feel so impersonally grandiose, so staunchly luxurious that, despite her refined sensibilities, it seemed to smother some vital aspect deep within herself that craved less worldly nourishment. As the wrought iron gates swept open before her town car and the tires crunched along the winding driveway leading to the imposing doors, she gazed thoughtfully out at the perfect emerald lawn and precisely-trimmed rose gardens that marked the grounds she had explored as a dreamy child. She reminisced marveling at the soaring ceilings, running tiny hands along the mahogany banisters, believing herself a princess descending the grand central staircase just beyond. Yet at some indistinct point in the journey to adulthood — after countless stuffy dinner parties, after political rallies and business conferences within these walls, after one too many lonely nights wandering these empty halls when sleep eluded her — the sheen upon the family estate had worn thin, revealing itself as more gilded cage than welcoming ancestral home.

Still, as Olympia stepped from the town car into the chill night, the familiar weight of her suitcase bumping along the drive's pale stones behind her, she offered a small smile to the smartly-dressed butler hurrying to greet her; this place was as much a part of her bloodline as her storied surname, and she had long ago made peace with the obligations it entailed. Running conscientious fingers along the leaded glass of the double doors as she entered the foyer, she surrendered her suitcase and long wool coat to waiting staff before proceeding on stockinged feet to her private rooms, relishing the relative hush that had settled after so many days away. The conference in Kiloude had been productive, full of promising talks and influential figures she counted among her allies; but as ever, such trips wore at her patience — too many eyes scrutinizing her every word and gesture; too many mouths murmuring behind hands or backs whenever she turned away. At least here she could move unobserved for awhile, free of impertinent questions or thinly-veiled critiques regarding her age, her status, her general suitability to help guide not only her own elite circles but the political machinery underpinning the entire Kalos region. Sighing inaudibly once she heard her bedroom door click shut, she adjusted a pillow upon the plush bed she had scarcely slept in these past weeks and turned to regard her own gaunt features reflected with unnerving accuracy in the gilt-framed mirror above the fireplace.

It was moments like these that she felt most worn by her duties; that the weight of public privacy came crashing down -- of being so exposed yet unable to meaningfully share her worries or fears with others in her rarified sphere. For all that her peers in the League and countless high societies spoke of "friendship" and "loyalty," they all still jockeyed hungrily for any perceived weakness that might elevate themselves over someone else. She had learned long ago to project only the image expected of her: confident, possessed of a careful, articulate grace, committed to her home city as all the noble line of Anistar had been for centuries. None must ever suspect the anxieties coiled deep within her: that for all her rarified status she felt more lonely ruler atop a frozen throne than flesh-and-blood woman free to voice her true thoughts and feelings.

Which were...? Even she herself was not entirely certain anymore. It was so much easier to don the couture gowns, make the required appearances over champagne flutes; turn statuesque features and fixed polite smiles to the crowds before sweeping back to the gilded estate bearing the weight of it all silently as those before her. As she must evermore. Shaking her head as if to clear away the creeping maudlin fog, Olympia turned towards her reading nook for what she hoped would only be a brief few minutes. She would give in to such sentiments later, perhaps; for now distraction was needed before she drowned in them.

She observed now the golden-veined walls glowing in the scattering candlelight, the vast space between vaulted ceilings broken only by enormous crystal chandeliers that refracted rainbow shards across sumptuous red carpets as she passed below. Here and there she recognized portraits of ancestors whose names and histories she could trace by rote, their painted eyes seeming at times to track her progress, carrying on the legacy their bloodline had entrusted with her. She, too, would pass into history one day. Perhaps mere decades from now some scion of her line would stroll down this same hall regarding her unveiled portrait appraisingly — would they know that hidden within the formidable icon of duty hanging upon the wall there had once existed a young woman both awe-inspired by and wary of the world she moved within? A woman questioning in unguarded moments if all she achieved was truly the life she would have chosen were the choice solely her own, if the endless obligations of expectation had left room for who she might have become apart from the track so firmly set before her cradle...

At the touch of the cool glass beneath her fingertips, Olympia felt the tension in her shoulders release, if only slightly, as she exhaled a breath she hadn't realized she was holding. In this moment, the weight of generations seemed to lift from her ever so briefly as she turned from the mirror. That's enough pondering for the night, Olympia, she quietly admonished herself. It's time to let your mind rest now.

Drawing her robes around herself, she made her way to the plush bed, the silence wrapping comfortingly around her. Sleep came swiftly, bringing with it dreams of years long past, and perhaps glimpses of those yet to come.



End Notes: In envisioning Olympia's character, I've had a particular headcanon pertaining to her ancestry. With Olympia believed to be one of the most powerful psychics in the world — certainly the most gifted in Kalos — I imagine her family tracing back generations as revered spiritual leaders who contributed greatly to the region, ultimately being granted an ancestral mansion in Anistar City for their continued service. As such, I wanted to explore Olympia's inner perspective as current heir to such a weighty lineage. The stately mansion with all its gilded luxury and generations of history staring down at her symbolize expectations to uphold the family reputation; and while she finds pride in following her destiny as Gym Leader, mayor, and psychic guide to so many, I also wanted to explore feelings of isolation, loneliness, and doubts of personal fulfillment beyond her highly-visible roles. It's quite melancholic of an interpretation, I realize, but it's something interesting that's been taking shape in the back of my mind in imagining this minor character we barely get to see.
 
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IV. Eternally Seared Into Her Memory




"It reminded me of your eyes, after moonrise — that shade halfway through twilight when color leaches subtly so that the whole world becomes silvery blue shadows. I saw it in one of the shop windows on my way back and thought how much more beautiful it would look held within your hands."

His eyes crinkled as she accepted the gift, that small intimate smile reserved only for her spreading slowly across a face she wished wasn't eternally seared into her memory...

...

The teacup before Olympia began to rattle, then smoothly lifted several inches above the glass tabletop supported by threads of violet telekinetic energy. Rotating horizontally, it caught rainbow fractals cast by a crystal hanging nearby, refracting miniature auroras fluttering across the surrounding foliage. Suspended thus weightless in her psychic grasp, aspects of its craftsmanship never before absorbed fascinated her now: the delicate gold leaf patterns reminiscent of her most favored dresses, the subtle ombre color effect lightening from deep marine at the base to ethereal azure near the lip, signatures of master Kalosian artisans woven into every unique commissioned set. She studied the cup rotate; nothing altered the underlying truth that this work of beauty carrying echoes of her most favorite things rolled into one, now resided here solely due to a love relinquished...

And it hurt.

...

"A token to commemorate our partnership blossoming so beautifully..."

She recalled his voice suspended over rippling steam, its cultivated warmth stirring the precise infusion: jasmine pearls unfurling ephemeral sweetness within the tiny ocher-glazed vessel. It was a refined taste, favoring understatement in all aesthetic choices, just like the minimalist brushed steel and marble of his sleek penthouse decor. This teacup suited them perfectly...

...

The cup spiraled faster between her open palms, a single focal point growing still even as surrounding surfaces blurred. Love's expression through material tokens signaled at once the giver's generosity alongside their tendency to idealize the beloved, projecting thus wishfully distorted images atop the actual complex person dwelling beyond façades...even her own. The reality of lovers never fully equated fantasies. Nor ought they.

Downstairs in boxed archives lay sheaves of letters equally demonstrative, many books inscribed affectionately, botanical specimens delicately pressed between monogrammed sheets, various collected ephemera carrying remnants of that love now dissolved into the ether. Such ornate expressions of adoration served almost to obscure the two souls behind them in retrospect... as if she could discern two lovers' complex inner lives by merely running fingers over dried flower petals or poetic marginalia. Though she knew better now. Small ornate gifts reflected back more of the giver's interior yearning than the recipient's authentic nature... which must remain ever mysterious even without estrangement.

It still hurt.

...

"Jasmine pearls or vibrant rooibos? Perhaps that delightfully bold cocoa tea you enjoy when writing late into the evenings? I had more shipped in especially for your visit, my darling."

...

The cup slowed its rotations midair, bobbing weightlessly between Olympia's upheld hands. She tilted it left and right, observing liquid light gleaming over smooth ceramic turned translucent as wafer-thin bone china when backlit properly. From certain angles the filigree resembled fine cracks branching across the entire surface... an accidental trick of the light, or perhaps a deliberate effect by artisans well-acquainted with heartache's subtle fissures spreading slowly over even beloved faces until entire worlds split apart along such thin lies nearly invisible...?

The tea set's delicacy, Olympia realized, reflected less her personal fragility than it did the acute vulnerability love itself confronted daily.

And it still hurt.



End Notes: For the longest time, I believed that Olympia had no need for a romantic partner in her life. But as I was working on this particular vignette, I thought it would be interesting to give her a nameless lover from her past. Love, after all, is a fundamental aspect of life that can be influenced by fate, and romantic love is often seen as a reflection of one's destiny and future. It is through this revelation, then, that I felt inclined to explore this facet of Olympia's character and life.
 
V. The Splendid Atrium Around Her




Late afternoon sunshine slanted through the vaulted windows of the Laverre Library's central atrium, casting everything in warm amber and ocher. Olympia sat at one of the ornate study tables, paperback open before her, luxuriating in a rare moment of quietude between meetings. She enjoyed being here not only for the comprehensive collection, but because traces of her personal legacy were woven throughout the architecture.

The construction project had taken years from its initial conception to final execution. An ambitious undertaking spearheaded by Laverre's Historical Society, the original library, believed to have been built three centuries ago, had become perilously outdated and undersized for the growing city's needs, its cramped, dusty halls overflowing with materials covering every inch of the cracking plaster walls. However, funding issues had stalled efforts to overhaul the outmoded building until Olympia stepped forth as primary patron. She was more than happy to contribute a sizable sum, both from her family's ancestral trust and Anistar's municipal coffers (a mutually-beneficial agreement); Laverre's literary heritage held deep personal meaning as the location where her fourth great aunt — an acclaimed novelist and poet laureate — had spent many long hours writing. Olympia herself, in her younger years, loved wandering the shadowed, moldering stacks of the old Gothic library. For her, the scent of slowly decaying parchment still conjured bittersweet nostalgia.

And so the project finally moved swiftly into high gear ten months prior. In the razing and reconstruction process, all salvageable archives were carefully relocated off-site; some especially rare manuscripts would eventually reside permanently in Anistar's vaulted Hall of Records for better preservation. And now, Laverre, too, boasted a spectacular state-of-the-art complex befitting a dynamic city looking boldly towards the future while upholding its ties to Kalosian history.

Steel and glass formed the underlying modernist skeleton rounded by sweeping exterior walls of pale marble and stone. The surrounding gardens and plazas provided ample space for outdoor reading rooms, amphitheater talks beneath twinkling strings of patio lights, and tranquil fountains with benches for contemplative thought. Inside, soaring ceilings allowed natural light to bathe polished floors and towering bookcases. Spiral staircases led to upper balconies edged by delicate filigree railings. An entire technology wing held banks of humming databanks, hologram projectors, and rows of private Media Pods where patrons donned immersive goggles to access virtual worlds of art, literature, cinema, music, and history simulations.

Yet, notwithstanding all the ultramodern integration, certain spaces still honored traditional design as aesthetic tribute to eras past. Hand-carved wooden banisters guarded curving stairwells and lofted platforms under grand chandeliers dangling crystals over clusters of high-backed armchairs and well-appointed reading nooks. The rare manuscripts division resembled more medieval scriptorium than modern archives with vaulted ceilings, thick stone walls, leaded glass windows, iron sconces holding flickering electric candles, and row upon row of hand-bound codices and scrolls on lecterns worn smooth by ages of reverent hands. Portraits and statues of renowned Kalosian men and women of letters from bygone centuries graced these halls as reminders of intellectual legacies undergirding the newest incarnation. Olympia's own likeness hung prominently amidst this pantheon of scholars and scribes, honoring her instrumental role in resurrecting hallowed ground where many seminal works first took shape.

Today that cultural lineage thrived again in rooms filled daily with patron scholars young and old seeking to create new art, research innovative ideas, or simply read for pleasure amidst quietly industrious strangers. But weekday late afternoons tended towards more mellow moods, as students had returned home while most adults finished workday hours. Sunlight now cast inviting pools across polished tables, illuminated colorful spines neatly organized on shelves, glinted off the central arched skylight pyramid of glass panes. Aside from soft footfalls and low murmured conversations, an ambient hush reigned.

This is perfect, Olympia remarked appreciatively, turning another gilt-edged page. The book currently absorbing her interest, an 18th century gothic novel, had only entered circulation recently after being donated by a former Cyllage resident moving abroad. Olympia found these regional mysteries and imaginative intrigues set against Kalosian countrysides or seascapes quaintly engaging; the landscapes described often sparked wanderlust to explore pastoral ruins dotted across her own homeland.

This particular story unfolded languidly, submerging readers into the protagonist's escalating nighttime unease. How delightfully eerie, she considered, tracing the elaborately-long sentences.

"A crystalline moon peered between traveling clouds, its pale radiance falling upon fallen towers and tumbled walls, limning broken gaps with its light even while dense shadows draped across ivy-encased battlements and heaps of crumbling masonry half-swallowed by the hungry woodlands advancing steadfastly year after year to reclaim the site from all traces of its ancestral lineage; indeed, this new moon eve felt uncannily like the grounds were holding their breath, that some restless presence waited within the collapsed structure so that a shiver trickled warningly downEmmeline's spine despite herself."

What fate awaited the intrepid Emmeline exploring these treacherous ruins by darkness? Olympia paused, unconsciously mimicking the courageous protagonist's premonition of danger lurking amidst moon-silvered rubble. Glancing above the top page, she noted with a pang of dismay the lowering light through the soaring glass facade. Had over two hours truly slipped by so swiftly? There were meetings needing her attendance before dinner. Carefully closing the novel, she hoped whoever borrowed it next would temporarily inherit Emmeline's adventures; the storyline intrigued her enough that requesting it again seemed highly probable.

Rising gracefully and collecting her things, Olympia cast appreciative glances across the splendid atrium around her. That Laverre's erudite past now resurged vibrantly to greet future eras in such a magnificent fashion was worth every coin she had contributed, both for the Kalos region and her own legacy herein.

Then, with a small smile, she turned towards the exit and the obligations calling her attention as day dissolved softly into dusk.



End Notes: In this vignette, I sought to indulge my personal delight in richly describing libraries and reading spaces by showcasing Olympia reveling in the recently rebuilt Laverre Library. The details aim to transport readers into a setting as sublime and beautifully constructed as the prose within all the books lining its stacks. Libraries represent humanity's stunning intellectual heritage; and for Olympia, whose lineage boasts its own literary luminaries, their hallowed halls prove perfectly suited for passing an afternoon lost in another world.
 
VI. Waking to the Pelt of Rain




The staccato pattering of raindrops washed in soothing waves against the thatched roof as Olympia gradually awoke, blinking slowly as she took in the crepuscular light infusing the cottage's interior, the incoming dusk painting cerulean shadows across the plain but well-made wooden furnishings. She reclined on a tufted settee upholstered in ecru linen set below a cross-hatched oak beam ceiling; to one side a lead glass window provided pleasing views, when the weather permitted, of the pastoral meadows and Sinnohan foothills now obscured by fog and precipitation. Stretching slowly, she instinctively reached with telekinetic grasp for her pocketwatch left on the low chestnut table before the matching settee opposite. Squinting slightly at the inscription circling fanned numerals in filigreed gold, she noted it was a quarter past four in the afternoon, meaning she had slept soundly for nearly three hours ever since a fellow psychic and friend of hers had dropped her here following an early lunch and cordial conversation.

How strange it was to awaken so far from her own ancestral estate in Anistar City; though certainly this brief respite was overdue after so many months spent tending to various administrative demands back home. The venerable Champion had kindly (and quite firmly) suggested Olympia set aside time for relaxation. With the League on its customary early spring break, there was no better opportunity. And so Olympia found herself surrounded by mementoes and tokens from her Kalosian colleagues creating a home away from home in this burrowed little cottage nestled into the rolling southern Sinnohan countryside: richly woven Hul'qi rugs hand-knotted from Courmarine with marbled jade patina mimicking ocean waves; framed prints of gorgeous black-and-white photographers, all monochromatic elegance and elongated shadows; a collection of various folkloric half-masks from across the diverse Kalosian biomes, their wooden visages frozen in ecstatic expressions mid-dance; even a custom ceramic tea set painted by Cyllage's foremost ceramicist, its hand-thrown pieces glazed in a vivid aquamarine with delicate gold embellishments to mimic one of her most favored color schemes. Truly, it was these sentimental treasures from her acquaintances, rivals, and friends — these personal touches — that welcomed Olympia more genuinely than the rather quaintly appointed cabin itself, charming as its rustic architecture was.

For much as she appreciated the Champion's thoughtfulness in arranging this homestay rental from an acquaintance while Olympia journeyed to catch up with comrades Fantina and Lucian (the three friends having agreed to meet tomorrow following their own League responsibilities), this sudden remoteness in such humble quarters could not help but jar Olympia's expectations. Though born of privileged nobility extending back generations in one of Kalos's most resplendent cities, Olympia had always felt most at home wandering paths connecting the nearby rural communities, or camping under the vaulted celestial canopy, communing with wild Pokémon dwelling far from human clamor; certainly as a youth she had often disappeared on solitary sojourns into Anistar's sacred starlit grottos and surrounding woodlands for days on end, only to return windswept and bright-eyed to her family estate. And thus, despite a refined upbringing among Kalosian high society, rustic self-necessary independence rooted intrinsically as second nature.

Even so, waking to the pelt of rain on such a humble thatched roof rather than crystal silences within her much larger bedroom, bereft of beloved routine, was destabilizing, however momentarily. She had consented too readily, perhaps, to this temporary exile at the Kalosian council's behest. And although the solitudinowas admittedly welcome after months embroiled in regional controversies regarding zoning ordinances, infrastructure, and the usual civic matters requiring public diplomacy rather than blunt honesty (and of course her multiple weekly Gym challenges), Olympia did wonder if she might fare better briefly alone on Sinnoh's forest paths than confined indoors dependent on another's shelter. Even this generous gift of remote hospitality could become stifling rapidly when one's spirit was accustomed to roaming untrammeled.

The rainfall continued on, percussive and susurrant, as Olympia mused deeply there, staring into the empty hearth. At times like these, a familiar aloneness would well once again within her chest, a longing not even longtime colleagues could quench. Though she recognized consciously that she pushed many further away through veils of emotional remoteness. Truthfully she had felt detached from ordinary communion ever since that day long ago when fate awakened her extraordinary supernatural faculties, birthing agonizing euphoria as childhood innocence forever faded. The visions, premonitions, fitful portents, empathic receptivity to the auras of others which came raging unmerciful both in dreams and in waking had forever marked her soul. Who else could understand such ongoing tribulations and transcendence but other psychics graced and burdened with similar gifts? These she recognized immediately as kin; with but a glance they knew each other. Among mundane company, however, no matter what decades of camaraderie cultivated, Olympia would ever remain isolated behind glass. Only solitude afforded complete—

The reverie vanished upon noticing a Pachirisu had emerged from its hidden burrow and now hopped about the casement peering inquisitively through the rain-traced glass as if to ascertain whether this human could prove sufficiently entertaining. A smile quirked Olympia's lips observing its insouciant dance. Some lives moved simply along, carefree, from moment to moment; no overcomplicated interiority that muddied the view.

Reclining further back into the embroidered cushions, the increasing weight of all of these scattered thoughts seemed to lift from her at last as she allowed the rhythmic rainfall to cleanse her mind. Then, she sighed, coming to a stark realization: another moment quite like this wouldn't grace her life for a long, long time.



End Notes: While writing this vignette, I understood it might seem to lack traditional cohesion; even so, I thought the apparent aimlessness of Olympia's musings would effectively mirror her mind during a transitional state such as here. I believe that the lack of linearity in her reflections as she gradually awakens would provide insight into her contemplative nature. Though typically hyper-focused when engrossed in activity, the hazy in-between state arising from having just awoken gives rise to this jumble of intensely felt rumination; thus, I aimed to capture a snapshot of her consciousness's transition by reflecting the meandering quality of her thoughts at this specific moment.
 
VII. As An Essayist




Although she deemed it merely an intellectual pastime taken up during scarce moments of leisure, many throughout Kalos considered Olympia's years-long preoccupation as an essayist and "woman of letters" nothing short of an august corpus of insightful philosophical works. Her innate humility prevented that particular self-assessment, of course: in her mind, writing occupied only fragmentary spaces between obligations as Anistar's mayor and Gym Leader. Certainly psychic communion took foremost priority. Yet external demand for her meditations on the mystical arts resulted in a prodigious accumulated output over the years.

The first essay, published when she was merely sixteen (though composed at fourteen), had scrutinized with startling intellectual acuity the delicate interplay between the mental energy expenditure during telekinesis and its resultant physical fatigue. So well-received was this erudite analysis from one so young that a second essay swiftly followed the next year, this one on optimizing psychic focus through holistic mind-body wellness practices. These lucid explorations of psychic phenomena, coupled with Olympia's burgeoning reputation as Anistar City's most adept seer in half a century, established her as a precocious voice within Kalos' occult literary circles. Though initially diffident given such acclaim while yet a teen, she found the writing discipline gradually helped hone innate spiritual sensitivities into coherent frameworks equally logical and visionary. Covering everything from predictive astrology, spiritual communions, centuries-old legends of the psychic arts, to modern scientific attempts at quantifying extrasensory abilities, Olympia's essays swelled across decades into a subversive canon advocating radical empiricism to push boundaries on studying such forces.

Calls only increased over the years, demanding she compile her insights into some form of a seminal book rather than diffuse them over standalone essays. But Olympia resisted such pressures, finding greater liberation in sketches limning her ever evolving truth than risking dogmatic ossification between any covers claiming to delineate universal law. The heavens still unveiled their starry mysteries incrementally; she but mapped their glimmering highlights as best her mortal sight allowed in streams of prose seeking always to uplift consciousness higher.

Now in her eleventh year of writing, having recently finished her 52nd piece (deemed everything from cryptic oracle pronouncements to pioneering scientific hypotheses), Olympia remained intent on recording life's luminous revelations however imperfectly without demanding any work constitute her definitive testament. Acknowledging the pendulum of wisdom ever swung between not knowing and pondering possible knowing, she explored reality's boundless facets in sustained writings residing firmly within neither extreme. In the end she wrote never to achieve acclaim, but for the empyrean visions gleaming intermittently throughout the long labor which embroidered endless human sorrows with hints of cosmic splendor awaiting beyond life's veil. If her devoted readers gathered any drop of that shimmering solace flowing past her pen, she rested content.



End Notes: I find it quite serendipitous that of all of the glimpses I have written, this one — in which Olympia's prodigious writing talents are illuminated — emerged the shortest among the collection thus far, at just above 450 words. Brief though it may be, I believe there exists a certain beauty in such concision and restraint. It appeals to my sense of intrigue regarding how even Olympia's extensive philosophical and parapsychological treatises, which have surely grown to span hundreds of pages, were seeded from humble beginnings across her teenage years. Much can originate from such a compressed humble start. And brevity need not undermine profundity, as I aimed for even in this small snapshot.
 
VIII. Inexorable




From the earliest eras, humanity has sought to measure and record the passage of time, while simultaneously grappling to comprehend temporality itself. This preoccupation catalyzed innovations from sundials, hourglasses, and lunar calendars to mechanical clocks with ever more precise gearworks monitoring minutes and seconds. Simultaneously, psychic Pokémon and their psychic human partners seem intrinsically attuned to flows of time, exhibiting prognostication powers from predicting short-term events to sensing immutable future happenings.

Researchers have uncovered evidence that the earliest psychic seers and diviners across all parts of the Known World often served critical cultural roles as keepers of calendars and heralds of key annual cycles. While no direct psychic manipulation of time has verifiably occurred, their extrasensory insights into nonlinear temporal flows and future occurrences appear retrospectively validated. Intriguingly, depictions exist linking legendary psychics to the movement of celestial bodies—acting as human sundials channeling omens and prophecies when the light struck them at appointed times. Some manuscripts even attribute the design of prototype clocks and observatories for tracking solstices to their visions.
This interweaving of early time quantification efforts with psychic divination suggests that while incapable of literally altering time, psychics and their paranatural partners represented Guardians of Time in ancient societies. Their powers governed cultural rhythms and offered glimpses into impending turns of fate's wheel. While modernity shifted timekeeping from mystical to mechanical feats, psychic bonds to temporality persists...

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Olympia knew this already.

As she closed the heavy tome, titled Chrono-spatial Dimensions: Psychic Insights into the Fabric of Time, frustration and fatigue competed within her mind. She gently massaged her temples, eyes strained from poring over the arcane text borrowed days prior from Lucian during her latest mandated diplomatic visit to Sinnoh. While she certainly appreciated her colleague's scholarly intentions in sharing this exceptionally rare compendium which explored the intersections of temporality and psychic phenomena, the act of reading extensively on such metaphysical subjects already intuitively grasped grew tedious now.

Rising slowly from her velvet chair, Olympia glided in practiced motion towards an ornate bronze astrolabe adorning her study's east wall, then gazed contemplatively through its intricate moving pieces — her own creation, placed here more so for decoration than practical use — allowing glimpses into the precise positions of the celestial spheres at requested past, present or future coordinates. Her innate senses had always felt the subtle pulls and pitches of cosmic forces upon the world's temporal strings, plucking moments into being. She had never needed scholars' scrolls or star charts to attune to the rhythms of fate, space and time — they flowed through her restless dreams and waking visions unbidden.

Yet equally little could halt these omens once unleashed, their glimpses often cryptic yet unrelenting till the foreseen moment materialized. Thus when beseeched by distraught Trainers or petitioners seeking to alter some ordained misfortune she had foreseen, Olympia remained powerless but to ensure its precise arrival. Neither her nor her disciple's psychic arts could rescind the inexorable. At best, their extradimensional insights made the turning gears of destiny incrementally smoother. Here she pondered: had those ancients chronicled in Chrono-Spatial Dimensions faced similar trials reconciling finite free will with time's infinite movements? Did their mythic statuses ever prove to be burdens rather than gifts?

These restless ruminations only deepened listening to the Grand Hall's pendulum clock toll midnight, its weighted tempo stretching seconds into aeons. Elbows resting upon her astrolabe, eyes closed against the tolling bells, Olympia centered her awareness through labyrinths of lifetimes and ley lines seeking the infinite's guidance on why she had been hewn hollow as destiny's vessel. The soundless response echoed from her psyche's deepest chasms: because fate and freedom remain time's shieldmates, their dance unbroken since no beginning.

A loud sigh rippling through her, she opened her eyes once more. There were things she knew already, there was no doubt. But it was more constructive, she reminded herself now, to incorporate these premonitions into her consciousness, allowing them to flow through rather than attempting fruitlessly to halt the inexorable.

Because like these concepts she'd been trying so hard to grasp within the past few hours, time and fate were inexorable.

And Olympia knew that already.



End Notes: Having long nurtured a fascination with the occult and esoteric, I relished the creative concept of formulating a fictitious scholarly excerpt around historic psychic links with the fabric of time as a springboard to explore related metaphysical themes. I began by drafting said pseudo-academic excerpt as a contextual backdrop; only afterwards did Olympia's inner journey take shape. By concluding her speculative arc peering again into time's uncertainties, the abrupt ending aims more to provoke further rumination than resolution. Throughout, constructing interwoven references and structural symmetry between Olympia's experiences and the excerpt's historical overview remained an intuitive priority, seeking to achieve cohesive narrative flow even amidst the backwards drafting. Just as time weaves past and present eternally together, beginnings and endings entangle.
 
Content Warning: Mentions of alcohol and drinking

IX. Abstemious Principles




Though never one to overindulge — indeed, two or three glasses of wine well-savored was her per annum limit at social gatherings such as this — a languid sigh escaped Olympia's lips as she surveyed the effervescent revelry surrounding her. Seven years and thrice as many galas since assuming official leadership of the Anistar Gym, yet still such lavish theatrics endured interminable in her eyes. Truly, in the (by her estimation) two hours and twenty-seven minutes elapsed since this esteemed affair's commencement at six o'clock sharp, had she not smiled graciously through countless introductions, nods and handshakes, as though each mundane exchange proffered some hidden wisdom? Had she not navigated countless rounds of idle small talk swirling through these opulently appointed ballrooms, sidestepping occasional drunken non-sequiturs whilst offering only sincere if vague affirmations?

And most critically, had she not somehow managed to accumulate no less than seventeen individual partygoers sidling over, proffering some specialty vintage with an "Oh but Olympia, surely just one glass wouldn't hurt?" before politely demurring each? Seventeen... Why yes, she confirmed with a cursory psychic catalogue, seventeen distinct offerings since arriving. Two from more outgoing and vivaicious fellow gym leaders (Korrina and Viola) angling shamelessly to loosen her tongue regarding shrouded Anistar secrets; five sycophantic reporters seeking some salacious morsel that would make their careers; three unaffiliated trainers blinded by her mystique; and seven government officials seeking favor.

Perhaps she shouldn't fault them much: After all, outside the rare upper echelons, how could mundane society grasp the mental rigor demanded of a psychic scaling Olympia's altitude? Intoxicants addled the psyche's finely tuned instrument — that in itself was strict deterrent without even accounting for how alcohol might react with her medications! Besides (she mused, accepting a frosted glass of sparkling cider from a passing waiter's proffered tray), it was all too easy to discern how lowering inhibitions could jeopardize dignified facades and distinguished reputations built upon noble principles...

Olympia averted her gaze before her imagination could tip into outright coveting... It was a particularly bold fascination given she had little taste for alcohol under normal circumstances. As both practiced psychic and very public persona, maintaining utmost clarity took foremost priority — an imperative not merely for propriety's sake, but moreover self-preservation. Even with protective wards and charm stones attenuating external energies, this social minefield posed sufficient psychic onslaught to give less-seasoned seers vertigo.

Thus while colleagues and acquaintances drank freely, she held fast to abstemious adherence. Crystal water glasses and tea cups made up the majority of her liquid intake... Still, as the evening wore on and most guests slipped from gregariously relaxed well into raucously tipsy, well, could anyone truly fault her for entertaining fleeting 'what-ifs'? What few sips might feel like, warming blood too long cooled by deadening social frost?

She pursed her lips, debating inwardly. Truthfully her resistance was equally parts principle and — though she hardly cared to admit such petty rationale — sheer stubbornness. After decades declining the array of rare vintages continually offered at high-society functions, to acquiesce tonight would feel a defeat somehow. As though the adamancy of her restraint had become a personal contest of self-denial amidst Bacchic excess... Ironic considering her peers likely chalked Olympia's abstinence up to some pretentious 'self-mastery' regimen for mystics.

Which wasn't wholly inaccurate, she mused, eyes following a waiter proffering a salver bearing crystal flutes bubbling with what looked like...ah, yes — Ruinart champagne, a particularly fine vintage. The gentleman currently engrossed in regaling Olympia with up-to-the-minute contest updates leaned close, hand hovering above the tray in unspoken offer. She opened her mouth, prepared to give the usual demurral — but faltered, sudden daring seizing her before doubt interceded.

"...Perhaps just one couldn't hurt," she acquiesced, accepting the glass with the faintest of smiles. Her companion blinked, nonplussed, before his face crinkled in delight.

"Ha! Finally, our esteemed oracle partakes with us mere mortals! I'd near written you off as hopelessly pious for propriety, Madame Olympia." Her name came punctuated with a roguish wink as he lifted his own freshly-filled glass. "To your uncommon virtue... and resisting even rarer vices."

Olympia merely tilted her head in tacit amusement, watching bubbles rise en masse through straw-hued liquid before settling. Then, decisive, she took an appreciative sip. Crisp carbonation first tingled the tongue, chased swiftly by subtle sweetness undergirded with applewood smokiness. Quite smooth, even she could tell — the champagne's nuances bloomed beautifully.

She took another, deeper drink; warmth blossomed in its wake, spilling slow and honey-like to meander through veins too long chilled by lifeless pleasantries... A pleasing contrast, she decided privately. In wider company her role demanded ambassadorial poise; a paragon exuding grace and wisdom befitting Anistar's luminary seer. Outwardly the genteel psychic they expected, prodigiously gifted yet approachably mundane.

But here, now, amidst these glittering halls of excess, thronged on all sides by jostling, jeweled multitudes half-feral with worldly passions, even her composure yearned a more spirited form of release...

"Madame Olympia! A word, if you will—"

The brash greeting cut sharp across her musings. She turned, spying a journalist, Edmon Chevalier, ambling through the crowd, his path leaving noticeable wake given the man's impressive (... Alarming? Ostentatious?) stature. Taller and broader than most professional athletes, Chevalier's commanding physicality paired with his zealous personality rather gave the impression of an Ursaring single-mindedly charging a target: in this case, her, she noted wryly, raising the champagne flute subtly to her lips in instinctual defense.

Ah well...

Olympia allowed herself the slightest sigh before arranging her features into their customary pleasant neutrality. Interviews posed necessary evil for public figures, and this one in particular she knew better than attempting escape. At least the wine might render interpersonal friction less grating than usual — small comfort that it was. She nodded graciously as Chevalier approached, his toothy grin suggesting he'd already enjoyed liberal libations over the course of the evening...

This conversation would no doubt prove most interesting.



End Notes: While I've typically depicted Olympia in quieter, more serene settings, I felt inclined to explore her perspective in the livelier, more raucous backdrop of a high society function. The champagne's temptation allowed me to briefly touch on inner conflicts between her abstemious principles versus sheer curiosity. As an elite psychic intensely focused on honing mental clarity, she understands alcohol could potentially endanger the meticulous control she exerts over her abilities; yet Olympia also intimately knows her own formidable restraint and wisdom. One singular indulgence, while mildly regretful afterwards, likely won't upset her psychic equilibrium too drastically given her experience and self-knowledge. Essentially, she permits herself this lone departure from discipline amidst the bacchanalia, conscious that no real harm should come from it. And lastly, in terms of narrative progression, the interruption by the journalist at this ficlet's conclusion provides forward movement and adds a modicum of tension, however subtle.
 
X. Perfect Tandem




Astrolabes are such beautiful things, aren't they? Olympia pondered as she turned the device over in her hands. Finely wrought of burnished brass, the instrument gleamed dully in the muted observatory lights — rete and mater and alidade and more — many graceful interlocking components precisely engineered to model celestial movements. Each section boasted ornate arabesques chased delicately about the rims; these miniature engravings prickled her fingertips as she traced their serpentine coils in admiration.

Fitting then, that such refined designs etched themselves into her very skin from so many years spent cradling these tools. No generic mass-produced items, these. Each astrolabe emerged uniquely from its crafter's touch to nestle singular against the palms in a synchronicity that bypassed mere utility. The devices became nothing less than extensions of herself — tangible manifestations mapping the whorls and ridges slowly wearing grooves into hands and mind alike through the attentive study of astronomic secrets scribed across ancient pivoting discs.

This particular astrolabe had accompanied her for a long duration of her life, its once-mirrored plates gone tarnished and silky-smooth while the formerly crisp indicators and labels grew subtly mellow beneath her assiduous ministrations. Olympia smiled faintly, recalling countless midnights charting the heavens with this faithful companion — expeditions braved solely to snatch elusive data and return, triumphant, to log new knowledge amongst the annals of history. How many hours, days, weeks, months, years, had she thus whiled, heedless of the passing of time, immersed in private discourse with the glimmering empyrean?

These contemplations buoyed Olympia's thoughts as she stood alone atop Anistar Observatory's uppermost observation deck, the filigreed astrolabe still cupped almost devotionally between her palms. Velvety night stretched away on all sides, the darkness glittering with countless stars whose cold light gently illuminated her upturned features. High above Kalos's slumbering sprawl, the world felt liminal... It was as though she poised at some privileged interstice with only mirrored celestial vaults arcing overhead and underfoot to enclose her suspended between.

An involuntary shiver rippled down her spine, awareness prickling suddenly at her nape and sternum. For an instant Olympia fancied she glimpsed her own pale reflection shimmering faintly across the astrolabe's burnished face. But no... that pellucid overlay blurred, reformed, resolved anew into another visage altogether. Slightly softened features swam dizzyingly beneath the instrument's curved surface; a subtle illusion conjured through adroit manipulations of shifting planes and scintillant highlights.

Glacia?!

The mirage dissolved as quickly as it had coalesced, but left Olympia's heart thudding erratic pulses against her breastbone nonetheless. With trembling fingers she traced again those arcane spirals and epicycles etched across the astrolabe, lines describing orbits both cosmic and metagalactic. Metaphorical circuits suddenly resonant in ways surpassing mere physical laws. As above, so below; as within, so without. How strange yet fitting, that a tool designed to elucidate heaven's loftiest motions might equally illuminate the heart's most intimate tiltings.

"Olympia, are you ready to go?"

A rich alto timbre filtered slowly into her reverie before Olympia blinked twice, her trance dispelled now. Pivoting sharply on a heel, she turned surprised eyes toward the speaker patiently awaiting her acknowledgment. A rosy tint bloomed onto her wintry complexion at being thus discovered whimsically mooning about as if she were the veriest inattentive dilettante.

"Oh, hello, Glacia. Apologies for keeping you waiting out there."

"Don't trouble yourself, I haven't been waiting long." The blonde waved a dismissive hand, then glided to Olympia's side. "You know, your dedication proves admirably indefatigable... but surely you of all people recognize the thoughtlessness of neglecting one's health in favor of their biggest passion. Even goddesses must sometimes deign to indulge mortal limitations."

Here, Glacia arched a quizzical brow in playful punctuation, the faintest of smiles quirking to invite reciprocal mirth. Despite the mild chastisement couched within her words, only warm regard lit eyes the pale blue of glacial ice. Olympia found an answering grin tugging helplessly at her own lips, powerless as ever before the understated solicitude of one who knew her arguably better than she knew herself. Humility and affection suffused her breast in bittersweet tandem, chastening her earlier absorption.

She sighed. "You are, of course, right, as you somehow always are when it comes to me. But it seems I must remind you once more today: I am no goddess." Inclining her head in abashed acquiescence, Olympia extended a conciliatory hand. "Anyhow, shall we? I am finished here now, and it's getting quite cold."

"Of course. Let's get going."

Olympia's slender fingers interlaced with easy familiarity through Glacia's as she fell into step beside her lover. They exited thusly with no fanfare beyond a companionable silence. The heavy door drew shut behind them, locking itself, sealing away that liminal space until the next stolen interlude would eventually come about.

Olympia smiled secretly to herself, secure in the unassailable certainty that, so long as they moved hand-in-hand, she and Glacia were, and would always remain, beautiful things moving in perfect tandem with each other, just as the astrolabe, guided by human hands, moved in perfect tandem with the stars.



End Notes: I have always harbored a deep fascination for the celestial arts and sciences — astronomy, astrology, archaeoastronomy, cosmology, the list goes on — disciplines that seek to unravel the enigmas of the universe. Olympia, being an astrologer, afforded me the perfect conduit through which to flex, as it were, the inherent beauty and allure of such a task: to observe, catalogue, and quantify something as vast and numinous as the myriad stars in the sky, using the device so integral to such a task. However, I also wished to incorporate a counterbalance to Olympia's all-consuming passion, and thus, Glacia's role emerged as that of the attentive and concerned lover. Furthermore, I sought to challenge myself by depicting Olympia engaged in actual dialogue, as I firmly believe that her propensity for speaking in haiku constitutes an art form unto itself: one must not only adhere to the syllabic constraints of the haiku, but also ensure that the resulting dialogue flows naturally, for it is, first and foremost, spoken conversation. Ultimately, this piece allowed me to explore the interplay between the ethereal and the earthly, the cerebral and the emotional, and the technical and the artistic, all while paying homage to the timeless allure of the stars and of course, Olympia herself.



Thank you very much for reading these vignettes! You're always welcome to leave your thoughts. Until next time!
 
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