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|A Dire Warning|
31 December 2011
A Dire Warning is chapter eleven of.
Team Avatar is informed of Zorro's attack against the Southern Water Tribe and his global conquest plans by the Council of Five, and the spirits give them warnings related to Weatherbending. Meanwhile, a rebellion is set to start in the Fire Nation and the South Pole is in more danger than it appears.
Council of Five Headquarters, 6 September, 09:00
Team Avatar walked into the headquarters of the Council of Five, a place only Katara had seen before. All the meanwhile, the rest of the team looked around at the massive war room in amazement. "Even my great-grandfather couldn't dream of constructing a war room like this," Zuko remarked.
"This was constructed hundreds of years ago, during the war of Chin the Conqueror, in Avatar Kyoshi's time," How explained.
The team's amazement ceased as they realized they had to get to business. They were all seated at the table in front of the door, while the five generals made their way to the other end of the table. The map was positioned such that Team Avatar was sitting at the north end of the map, and the Council at the south.
"We have been preparing for this for a while," How began. "The first military action by Fire Lord Zorro against the world, and as we feared, we received message of it at midnight." How moved two statutes, each of them red and a flame on top, symbolizing Fire Nation, down towards the South Pole on the map. Katara and Sokka quickly looked at each other with worry. "At sunrise on the fifth of September, Zorro's navy attacked the Southern Water Tribe, defeating the warriors that were defending the village gates. With those soldiers fallen, the navy has begun a siege of the South Pole, straining their supply flow from the Northern Water Tribe. We are not sure of the South's current state, but in a continued reconstruction period, this siege could have severe consequences."
Katara's head dipped, and Aang and Sokka each put an arm around her.
"General How," Aang then looked up and started to ask. "Doesn't the South Pole have North Pole reinforcements with them as well?"
"They do, Avatar, but not very many," How responded simply and directly. "Most northern forces left the Southern Water Tribe this past winter, having reconstruction completed by a good margin. Forces were left behind in the event something like this should happen. Once can only hope the north can sneak some forces in there in case Zorro's navy should launch a full assault."
"How," General Hido stood up. "I should inform you that Zorro is not leading this invasion. He has appointed Admiral Xian to command the navy, while Zorro himself remains at home."
"Very well," How responded.
Sokka shook his head in disappointment, while Katara remained worried. The rest of the team looked around, knowing now that their time was much shorter.
"I hate to continue the bad news," Sung took over, the conversation. "However, this siege could be the launching point for more significant military action by Zorro. This will force us to go to backup plans, and you may not like them."
How grew sort of annoyed as Zuko looked straight ahead. "Go ahead, we'll have to follow them."
"I'm talking a military action against the Fire Nation Navy," Sung explained, moving green statutes topped with the Earth Kingdom emblem across the ocean. "We would use General Fong's base as a launching po--"
Aang quickly cut off the general's words. "Wait a minute, General Fong?"
"No way," Sokka got up and added. "That guy tried to bully Aang into the Avatar State! I don't want to deal with him again, and I don't think anyone else here wants to."
"Fong is still one of our trusted generals," Sung replied. "You do not have to be directly involved with him for this military action, as we know of your past encounter with the general. I urge you though, don't let that incident stop you from thinking he is not a good general; his base went untouched during the War, and he is very smart with strategy. We were actually going to use his base to launch the invasion of the Fire Nation during the War, but we know what happened there. Nevertheless, Fong's base has some of the most elite Earthbenders there, and also he trains his men well."
Aang nodded in understanding, though Sokka still was not fully on board with the idea of allying with Fong. Katara too was unsure, having been a victim of Fong's bullying that led Aang to the Avatar State, but recalling her boyfriend's advice of letting go, she accepted that whatever had to be done to end the attack on her home would have to be done. "We understand," she finally said.
"If we get word that Zorro has launched war against the Earth Kingdom," How continued, "we will rendezvous with the military at Fong's base. To get to the Southern Water Tribe, we will go with Fong's men, using our navy boats as the way to travel, and attack the Fire Nation forces. We'll split our power as much as we can, but keep in mind we have to protect our domestic interests as much as we do the interests of the rest of the world. The last thing we need is the Fire Nation taking us over again."
"I promise you that won't happen," Zuko assured them.
"To be honest," Suki took her turn, "I wouldn't be surprised if they tried to go after Kyoshi Island first. We don't have very many benders, and for as strong as the Kyoshi Warriors are, the quantity is not that great. It worries me."
"We are not concerned about Kyoshi's fate," How replied. "The island was not impacted much by the War at all. It seems Fire Lord Zorro wants the big areas...our Omashus and Ba Sing Ses, to be honest. This is no offense intended to you, Suki, but Kyoshi Island is not quite that big impact."
Suki simply sighed, not sure if she could believe the general's words, and also taking slight offense to the apparent dig at her home island.
"We have also received word about a rebellion in the Fire Nation," Hido added. "We will also try and support that if it comes to it."
"Actually, we were going to head to the Fire Nation in some time," Reeaki addressed Hido. "We would help to support that rebellion cause to get the Fire Nation back in Zuko's hands and end the Meteorologists' nonsense."
"We are biding our time and waiting for the rebellion to get into motion," the leading general explained. "Once that happens, again, using Fong's base as a launching point, we will head to the Fire Nation to support that cause, as many men as we need."
"At this point, I'm wondering if we should just head to Fong's base," Toph addressed the crowd, then turned to her friends. "Consider it this way, they want to use his base to launch their attacks. We want to be able to help save the world from those kooks. We should be there with the military then if they move."
"Better yet," Aang stepped up and said. "We can split ourselves up and head to separate nations. This way, everyone can defend their homes, and we can draw the individual Meteorologists out, and take them down, while the larger causes defeat the Fire Nation's military presence."
"I like that idea," Zuko replied, finally cracking a smile.
"Generals," Aang addressed the Council of Five. "Would this be a problem? I mean, do you want us all to stand together in a joint effort, or is dividing our team fine?"
"That would not be an issue," How nodded and said. "We are looking at possibly fighting in all three nations at this point, so dividing yourselves up would make sense. If you so please, go ahead and do that."
The Avatar nodded. "We'll discuss where to go amongst ourselves."
The five generals nodded in understanding of Team Avatar's new plan.
"Do you get our plans, then?" Sung asked. "We will provide you as much as help as possible."
"Absolutely," Zuko stood up and responded. "However, I am hoping we can get the job in the Fire Nation done on our own. The revolt we had last year actually had to do with Earth Kingdom presence."
"We would clear out as soon as we completed the mission," Hido told the courageous deposed Fire Lord. "I promise you, Zuko."
"As you say, I would hope you do," Zuko responded.
"Thank you for your time this morning, Team Avatar," How finally said. "You may now be dismissed if you so desire."
With that, the team gave the Council of Five an understanding nod. "We will head to Fong's base in the next couple of days, then," Aang explained.
As the team left the Royal Palace, Sokka look at Aang with a puzzled look. "Why did you agree to go to General Fong's base? Have you forgotten what happened the last time we dealt with him?!"
"Of course I do," Aang remarked. "But, we can't hold grudges forever. You have to learn to let your anger go, and right now, Fong is one of the best generals out there. His rushing aside, I am sure he has learned right now."
"Besides," Toph reminded Sokka, "Twinkle Toes already mastered the Avatar State. What will Fong do? He can't bend the weather! What can Aang be rushed to do this time?"
"Energybending?" Reeaki said. "But that would take forever..."
"It was hard enough to do that to Ozai," Aang turned towards Reeaki. "To do that to thousands of soldiers would be darn near impossible."
"This isn't even about Energybending," Katara remarked. "It's about Weatherbending and stopping Zorro's Fire Nation!"
Team Avatar's apartment, 12:00
After getting back to their apartment, most of the team eventually settled in the living room for some time to relax after the crazy morning. However, while Aang was upstairs meditating, his relaxation was quickly interrupted by a vision of Avatar Zentai.
"Aang," the old Avatar commanded. "I need to see you, Katara, Zuko, and Reeaki in the Spirit World as soon as possible."
"What is it?" Aang wondered.
"We'll let you know, just join us as soon as possible!"
Aang left his meditation and made his way downstairs. There, he saw Katara making some tea, while Zuko and Reeaki were talking with another. "Katara! Zuko! Reeaki! I need you all to come upstairs!"
"Something wrong, Aang?" Katara asked.
"The spirits want to talk to us," Aang fired back. "Come, quickly!"
"Oh no, not the spirits again," Toph groaned as the other Weatherbenders made their way upstairs.
After they all were in Aang's room, the Avatar again meditated and soon he established his connection to Zentai. The old Avatar appeared before the four on his dragon; it was a white dragon, with otherwise similar looks to that of Fang. "Come with me, you four," Zentai commanded.
They mounted the dragon and then made their way to the same path that led to where Zentai, Pokai, and Algaion stood guard. Before they knew it, the four young benders were in front of the spirits. The spirits had an urgent look to them, as if to say, "thank goodness you are all here."
"Welcome back, you four," Algaion started. "We are glad you can join us today."
"What do you need to discuss with us?" Aang asked.
"This is an urgent request with regards to Weatherbending," Pokai explained. "I understand you already know that the new Fire Nation has already invaded the Southern Water Tribe. With that said, there's one thing you may not know."
"Zorro has now trained his military in Weatherbending," Zentai explained. "Most of the Firebenders are now trained in the art. Zorro's plans to take over the entire world involve the use of Weatherbending by his men. They will change temperatures as they need to to ensure that nations fall."
"As we told you a while ago, overuse of Weatherbending can have serious consequences on climate," Algaion continued. "If these Weatherbenders get too loose, there will be serious uses of Weatherbending, which means climates could get altered to points of inhabitability."
"So, what do we do?" Zuko queried, his look more serious. "Defeat Zorro and his men as soon as possible?"
"Exactly," Zentai answered. "I understand your training has gone well, and the world is now out to stop the military in its tracks."
"When you have defeated Zorro's Fire Nation," Algaion explained, "We will remove the knowledge of Weatherbending from you and this world. It will never again be among the human world. Its effects are just too severe for it to be loose."
"Understood," Aang replied. "I personally never thought it should be out there."
"Me neither," Reeaki added.
"That's exactly what we thought," Zentai came back with. "The fact of the matter is that it's out there! Just make sure, as soon as you encounter the Meteorologists, defeat them. Military should take care of the rest. We can't pull the knowledge while you still need it."
The four benders nodded, and with the agreement established, they were returned to the mortal world.
With that meeting over, the benders returned downstairs to join the rest of the team.
"So, what did you guys find out?" Sokka asked them as they returned to the living room.
"It's as simple as this," Reeaki explained. "We have to defeat the Meteorologists as soon as possible, or Weatherbending will alter the climates forever."
"I remember you guys mentioning this," Suki told them. "I guess the effects of Weatherbending are starting to become widespread."
"That is the case," Aang replied. "Zorro's army is now Weatherbending-capable; they spread the knowledge through the Fire Nation Army. As a result, with so many benders, they could do irreversible damage to the climate. So, I think we should get on the move, as soon as possible. We know the Council of Five is already set with regards to military resistance."
"Great, so not only is this kook in the Fire Nation already going after the world, now we have to worry about the Weatherbending screwing up the world forever? It's just one thing after another," Toph yelled. "We never get a break!"
"This is what we signed up for," Katara reminded Toph. "We joined Aang and our destinies became intertwined. We all need to stand together now and bring down the Meteorologists before they do such damage!"
"Exactly," Suki stood up and said. "No one ever said this would be easy."
"If we all band together, we're set," Aang addressed them all. "Everyone is needed, no one of us can do it on our own. Toph, I know you're feeling down because you can't Weatherbend, and yes, sometimes it is frustrating. But, we all need you to be in on this."
"All right," Toph gave up. "I've kicked Fire Nation butt before, I can help do it again." She formed her hand into a fist, and punched it into her other hand, growing a smile.
"All that said, we should leave Ba Sing Se tonight," Sokka remarked. "It is a long flight to General Fong's base, I mean, it's on the other side of the country. It will probably take us a couple of days to get there. So let's not waste any time. Hands in, Team Avatar!"
The team got together on followed Sokka's request. "For the world on three," the Southern Prince commanded. "One...two...three..."
"For the world!" The members yelled out, and then got to packing.
Southern Water Tribe, 16:00
Hakoda, Bato, and two advisers, Hiyoki and Sokura, the latter from the Northern Tribe, gathered in the small war room that had been assembled within Hakoda's home. They were sat around a table, Hakoda and Bato opposite the door that led to the war room, the advisers at the opposite side. The advisers carried reports on military and supplies, and the news they are about to give was not good.
"Your reports," Hakoda demanded, his arms on the table with his hands crossed.
Hiyoki pulled out a small map that was of the Southern Tribe. Surrounding it was a bunch of red lines along the northern coast, and then the northern areas of land were covered somewhat in blue. "These red lines indicate the Fire Nation's current military presence around our perimeter. As you can see, there's a good amount of the navy, carrying several army forces ready to drop in and attack at any time. In addition, our remaining defenses are holding, but we don't know how much longer they will do so. Our flow of reinforcements from the Northern Tribe is currently stopped, and their supply boats can't reach us. Sokura will get to the latter in a moment, but for now, our forces are starting to feel some strain, even now just forty-eight hours into the siege."
"We'll have to call on more men," Bato said after him and the chief took a moment to absorb the news. "Thankfully some of our sister tribe left other warriors and Waterbenders here after pulling out a few months ago. It's not the biggest reserve out there, but it will have to do for now."
"I recommend a strike against the Fire Nation Navy with these forces," Hiyoki told them.
"I wouldn't," Hakoda sharply responded. "As Bato just said, our reserve is not large. As much as I hate to say this, we would not survive a strike. Plus, that is our entire reserve. We would become highly thin and probably lose the tribe if such an event happened. If we strike, we'll need reinforcements."
"Then the Earth Kingdom is your best bet," Hiyoki told him. "They would have the best way to get around the blockade; they can use the eastern half of their nation to get around the blockade. However, those journeys could take many days. Larger amounts of their army are at bases in the northern half of their nation."
"We have to do everything we can to stop the Fire Nation," Hakoda got up and said. "If that is what we have to deal with, so be it. I've been in contact with Earth Kingdom generals for such an occurrence."
"We understand that," Hiyoki told him. "Now then, Sokura, your report on supplies."
Sokura took out some reports he had been given. "Our supply is in some trouble. We do have a good amount of viable food, clothing, and weaponry left, but without Northern Tribe support, we will see that grow thin in the next few days. We have enough for the military to last them about a week, but after that, who knows."
Hakoda simply shook his head, but knew now was not the time to lose his own morale. He was a chief who had been through a war, the loss of his first wife, had to deal with an extremely thin tribe, and a man whom he and his kids were being looked at as a symbol of hope. "I will make sure I deal with this. We can route our supplies through the Earth Kingdom if needed. Send them with reinforcements, possibly."
"That's the best way you can go," Sokura said before turning to a warning. "It's basically the only way. If we don't get this through, the military and our people will starve...and this tribe will become a part of Zorro's Fire Nation within two weeks' time."
Hakoda nodded in understanding of the situation before saying, "Then let's get to work right now. We clearly have no time to waste."
Fire Nation Royal Palace
"Sir," General Zin came up to the Fire Lord. "We need to start getting ready here on the homeland."
"What are you talking about?" Zorro asked him. "Some silly rebellion, I presume? What exactly will these people do? We crushed their morale when we knocked out that brat of a Fire Lord! But if you're so worried, go ahead and position our domestic forces into a protective stance at the harbor."
"You are quite confident sir," Zin remarked.
"There's no reason not to be," Zorro replied with a smirk. "We have the best military in the world, and no rebellion would be able to stop us. The only thing that can is the Avatar and his silly friends, and without Weatherbending, they're nothing."
"Well...uhhh...I wanted to address that," Zin said, a quiver in his tone. "Uhhh...Reeaki found his way to Team Avatar and is currently in the process of teaching them Weatherbending, per our sources in the Earth Kingdom."
The flames that surrounded Zorro's throne rose rapidly. "What?!"
"Yeah...he found them about nine days ago," Zin continued. "They were in the southern half of the kingdom at the time. Who knows, they could be on their way to help the other causes in the world shortly."
Zorro growled before resuming his talk. "Fine...give me a status report from the Southern Water Tribe."
"I do have good news," Zin began. "The tribe is presently under siege after Xian's attack overwhelmed their defenses. Their supplies will soon stretch thin and then we can attack and take over."
"As soon as we get close," Zorro demanded, "You are to launch the attack against the Earth Kingdom. If Team Avatar is allied with that traitor now and also has the capabilities, we can't afford to take any chances."
"Isn't that risky? I mean--" Zin was cut off fast as Zorro's flames rose again.
"Did our previous rulers wait!?" Zorro's voice hit a yell. "We have taken down the Earth Kingdom before, we can take it down again! Invade the west, using Whale Tail Island as our base! It's as simple as that! Now carry that out or I will have you banished for disobeying a direct order!"
Zin simply nodded and left the throne room.
Zorro lowered his flames and walked down to the large map. "This world needs to become fire once more. Ozai...you will be avenged."
Rebel Army Headquarters, 17:30
"Some good news," Azai began. "Our headcount has increased to over 500 soldiers over the past couple of days."
"We shouldn't wait," Tizou declared. "We need to invade the Capital as soon as possible, and depose Zorro before he takes over the world."
"The Capital, tomorrow?" Bujing now had the tone and look of alarm. "Our forces will not be ready to take on the Capital! Zorro will no doubt have his strongest forces ready."
"Either we get to the Capital or Zorro takes over everything," Tizou responded. "If we take the Capital, we take the Fire Nation, right? Like I said, Zorro has moved his strongest military out of the Fire Nation to launch his takeover. They are all scattered throughout the Southern Water Tribe, and soon, the Earth Kingdom."
"We shouldn't try that on that basis," Bujing urged. "If we go the Capital we'll be crushed, and then we won't have an army to overthrow! I suggest we take smaller towns first and gather up more forces. As we take the towns, we'll get more and more people to join our cause. Those men keep adding up and we'll have an army more suitable to attack the Capital. All we need is to take out the mayors that support Zorro and we'll be on our way. Domestic support for Zorro is down, but people have low morale thanks to Zorro taking over the whole nation. If we get these small towns, we can raise morale and have a better chance of gaining men. Further, if we pressure him by taking over more and more towns, he could surrender."
"I don't know," Tizou replied. "If we can't get support of the leaders, we should just go right for the Capital. Plus, we could meaninglessly lose more forces if we try to take the small towns."
"I agree with Tizou," Azai said. "Taking over towns won't make Zorro leave, only attacking the Capital directly and putting the pressure down right then and there."
Bujing sighed, seeing that he was outnumbered. "Fine. We shall march towards the Capital, then. I don't think it's the right move, but, whatever."
"I'll mobilize the troops tonight, and we shall move thereafter," Tizou explained. "It's time for Zorro to leave. Once we do this, we send a message to Zuko and he takes back over, and pulls the military out of the Southern Water Tribe and Earth Kingdom."
Central Earth Kingdom, 01:00, 7 September
Team Avatar landed in a deserted area, using it as a place to set up camp after a long day of flight. They had landed a few hours ago, and Reeaki taught some more Weatherbending. The training was tough, featuring Aang and Zuko working through temperature changes of 8°C, but they were successful. Katara had done more significant moisture manipulation, a relative humidity increase of 8%, close to the 10% warning level that Reeaki had started previously. Nevertheless, she had success, but came out of it feeling a bit lightheaded, and wound up resting for the remainder of the night. However, at this point, she awoke.
The young Waterbender had some pictures she had in recent years that she always traveled around with. She had been in paintings with Aang, others with Sokka, Hakoda, and then some of her closest friends. She took out one with Ty Lee, which was painted a year ago on a trip she had taken with Sokka to Kyoshi Island. The painting featured Katara in her standard blue Water Tribe dress, boots and long hair. Ty Lee was featured in her Kyoshi Warrior attire. The two girls were painted hugging, but looking towards the artist and smiling.
Katara cried some light tears as she looked at it. "You know we still miss you, right?" She asked to no one in particular, but was looking at Ty Lee. Her tears were not as prominent as just after the Kyoshi Warrior's death, but she still felt the loss.
All the meanwhile, Mai was returning to her and Zuko's tent after a late-night walk. She heard the tears and peeked into the tent, and gave the scene a blank look. After pulling back, she quietly sighed and muttered, "You've got to be kidding me...right?" However, after a moment, a stray tear dropped from her eyes, but she wiped it away. "No. I have to be strong. I'm not like that...I'm not a crybaby."
Katara could have sworn that she heard something, but by this point, Mai was already going back into her tent. The young Waterbender looked at the departing Fire Nation noblewoman with a sort of poisonous look, but decided to just move on as she was tired. Did I hear her call me a crybaby? Ehhh...it's late. I'm still exhausted from the training...if she does it again, I'll call her out. Eventually, she made her way back into her tent and made her way back to sleep. Regardless, Mai and Katara had struggled to get along in the two years after the War with such large differences in their personality, and this moment had emphasized it.
Fire Nation, 06:00
The sun had not yet risen on that morning, but light was beginning to reveal itself.
All seemed quiet on a typical morning within the Capital. However, at the shores, a small army had assembled itself, and was ready to march.
On board a boat, three men stood, looking ahead at the situation, ready to deliver orders at possibly a matter of just seconds' notice. They had their army of 500, had come in with some division, but were ready.
"This is the day we restore peace to the Fire Nation," Tizou said quietly. He then increased his tone. "Gentlemen...ready..."
The soldiers got into an offensive position, preparing to charge, when finally...
"Attack the Capital!" Tizou commanded.
The men surged ahead and started their attack on guarding forces. Within moments, fireballs were flying in every direction, from domestic forces and rebel forces alike.
Everyone watched and waited.
Fates would be decided today.
Zorro would stand or fall.
Who would come through, when the last fireblast, the last clank of the sword, made their way through?
I had different plans to end this chapter, but after talking with a couple of my readers, I changed them around.
Remember Mai's quiet words when passing by Katara's tent...you will see something like this come into play for chapter twelve.
A time skip will occur from this chapter to twelve....7 September will be skipped, and the next chapter will start on the 8th.
For the collective works of the author, go here.
Changing Weather - Not Your Typical Days - Regathering the Team - Into the Fire Nation - The Masters of Weather - The Meteorologists Attack - Recovery and Disasters - Searching for Instruction - Reeaki's Arrival - Training - Reverberations - A Dire Warning - Can We Hold Together? - Last Preparations - The Final Showdown, Part 1 - The Final Showdown, Part 2 - Survivors of the Conflict - Moving Forward
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