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|A New Task|
November 10, 2012
A New Task
It was a grueling trip to get out of the Fire Nation. She had no money, prison clothes, and no knowledge of how things ran in the Fire Nation. Her revenge would have to wait, for now, she needed to survive.
That is why she fled here, to one of the most guarded cities in the Earth Kingdom. Massive and surround by a gorge deeper than canyons.
Hama was standing in front of one the most enormous cities in the Earth Kingdom. She gasped at the large hills, pointed at the top. The mail chutes grasped her attention the most because of the rumors she's heard.
I need to ride one of those, fast. The girl said to herself. Being so far back in the line, the front gates soon became larger and larger as did the yellow and emerald Earth Kingdom emblem atop. Curiously, Hama looked over the edge of the bridge wondering how far down the abyss she could see.
"Name." an unknown voice bluntly demanded Naturally, the enthralled young-woman fidgeted at the abrupt sound realizing it was her turn to enter to marvelous city. "Come on, answer the question. We don't have all day!"
An anxious woman exclaimed, "Oh, I'm sorry. I'm Hama. I'm here to start a new life." she said with a big smile
"Okay, okay. All I asked for is your name. You can enter." the guard said motioning the gates open.
The three walls slowly opened, showing some of the city, or in Hama's case, her new home. The half mile trek seemed like miles for the Southern Water Tribe girl so after walking a few feet, she began sprinting until the city was upon her.
Mail chutes surrounded her as well as people. They all wore similar clothes, making the blue-clothed Hama, feel like an outcast; and lived in similar looking homes. The roofs were golden at the point and green everywhere else. Children collided with people as they played and many merchants sold their wares. She knew she would fit in quite well with the citizens but also came to two conclusions. One, she would need to change her customs and two, she would need a job. She looked around and saw a cluster of earthbenders moving packages through mail system. "Um, excuse me," Hama asked, tapping on a mailman's shoulder, "Do you know where I can find a place to stay?"
"No, but if you go to town hall I'm pretty sure they have a list of classifieds. Now if you don't mind, please leave, you're getting in the way." he replied.
"Before I leave, do you mind telling me where the town hall is?" she asked
"It's down those stairs, half a mile to the left." he told, pointing to a grand set of stairs.
"Thank you!" Hama briskly walked towards the stairs, growing eagerly with each step. She was so excited that by the time she made it 20 feet her legs were running faster than a horse, bumping into people along the way. The building was large with, as usual, the kingdom's emblem.
She entered and saw that it presented an image of prosperity but not immaculate wealth. The office was clean but not shining. A man sat at a desk with a line of people in front of him. Hama had some trouble looking at the files, the writing was so small and the office so cramped with people. She decided going into the line might be easier. She did not think that two hours later and still three people away.
She finally reached the office clerk, he was grumbling and looked past her to see how many he had to deal with, "Name?"
"Its not that hard, profession?"
"Well, I can cook-"
"Well, no, not professionally."
The clerk sighed, "Have you had any training for anything?"
"We don't normally recruit women into armed forces unless they train superbly well in earthbending."
Deciding that her waterbending should not be a public announcement, "Okay then what else can I do?"
Before the clerk could vent his frustration, a well-dressed man appeared. The clerk gave a bow of respect, "Mr. Secretary, its an honor to see you here, sir."
"Likewise," he shook the hand of the clerk, "I have a favor to ask of you."
"I need someone to take over Min's position for housecleaning in my home as well as caretaker."
"Sir, couldn't you hire a professionally trained service maid?"
"I could, but I believe in supporting the system I run."
"Then, I'm certain we can find someone."
"I can do it!" Hama interjected.
"And who is this?"
The clerk grumbled, "Her name is Hama, unfortunately, she is untrained in anything except she claims to have combat experience."
The well-dressed man extended a hand to her, "Greetings, Hama. My name is Siel. So what can you do?"
"I can cook, clean, wash. I also do have some training in defense."
The clerk persisted, "I am certain I can find someone better suited for the post, sir."
"No, that will be fine." He turned his attention back to Hama, "I'll give you a chance, let's see what you can do."
The clerk didn't seemed to be pleased by this exchange, Siel continued, "Follow me Hama."
Hama continued with the Noble with a scowl from the clerk. Siel continued up and beyond, high up into the city atop one of the peaks. At the top was a palace so massive it made Hama feel like a child. It was easily twice as big as the Southern Water Tribe.
Siel and Hama entered to a large open area that seemed like a closed-in courtyard. "This is my home. We have housing so that you can reach your duties easily. Lein is the head maid and will teach you everything." As if on cue, an old woman approached.
She was hunched over and wore green & white robes. "Good afternoon, sir. Do we have a new worker?"
"Yes this attractive young lady is Hama. She will be filling in Min's position.Would you help her get situated?"
"Of course, sir."
A crash reverberated through the room, Hama assumed a stance for fighting. Both Lien and Siel were not quite as alert but frustrated, "What did he get into now?"
"What else? His toys, sir. All he does is tinker with those contraptions."
"Who sir?" Hama inquired.
"My son. He is a bit of a wildling sometimes."
Hama hadn't dealt with children in so long that she wasn't sure how to handle a kid, a destructive one less so.
Siel yelled, "Teo! Get over here!"
A child did not arrive. Instead, a young chiseled man covered in soot arrived, "Yeah?"
"What did I tell you about your destructive hobbies?"
"Oh please, look at my brother, he is twice as destructive."
"He is training, admittedly, in the wrong place. But you are not."
Teo rolled his eyes. They landed on Hama and stayed, "And who is this charm?" Hama reddened at his stare.
"Min's replacement. Be courteous."
Siel left as an attendant came with a message. Lien turned her attention back to Hama, "Lets get you situated."
Two Weeks Ago...
The air was dry and could barely be breathed in, or so he had been told. No water available and yet a waterbender escaped on the full moon. It was of the utmost importance to keep this event in the utmost secrecy. That was why he was sent.
He reached the compound, it was lightly manned and lightly built in regards for defense. This was abysmal security, it is shocking that someone hadn't escaped before. No wonder command had opted to kill any waterbenders after the capture of the last one.
A lieutenant was waiting for him along with three guards. "Welcome, sir. We are honored by your presence."
He walked past them without responding. The officer continued, "We have all the other prisoners secured."
"Only the one who escaped."
"Y-y-yes, sir." He answered nervously.
He walked up to the elevated cells. They held shadows of humans; they were broken beyond recognition. He approached the empty one. There was no sign of a struggle, the cell was opened by key.
"I will need to speak with those who were on duty that night."
"Of course, sir."
"Well? Get them."
The officer ran off while two guards stayed in the corner watching the prisoners, whispering about the inspector, "Yeah, he's some kind of assassin, is a Dragon to boot. You know how they got that title."
"You killed a firebending master," he was behind them as he addressed the rhetorical question, appearing as if from the shadows, "a dragon."
The men paled into ghosts, "Uh, yes sir."
"What is your name?"
"Uh, Li, sir."
"Uh Li? Tell me, Uh Li, have you earned the title?"
"Then you understand that you are supposed to afford a Dragon with the utmost respect?"
The officer returned with two guards, "Sir, these are the men you requested."
"Very well," He looked the two over, "is there an office we can hold these questions?"
"Yes, colonel, we have an office." He led them to his office, an off-branch of the building, it still had dry air cycled into it as well.
He separated the men and questioned them. Both gave slightly different but corroborating stories. Their bodies were moved against their will. One was forced to open the cell before he banged his own head to the ground, the other never saw it coming and simply was knocked against the building repeatedly. The prisoner was seen after that.
The first guard mentioned how she moved her arms as if bending when his body was floating around and released her. As if she was bending him to her will. He would have to think on that.
He let the men go about their duties. The officer returned, "Tell me, lieutenant, are all the men present and accounted for?"
"Yes, sir. Everyone is here in the compound."
"Good, go on about your duties for now. I will assess the situation and make a decision."
He leaned against the desk as the officer left. He had already made any relevant decisions. Now the part was to clean up. The least favorite part of his task was cutting all loose ends. Orders of the War Minister.
Lien had led her through the many duties of the house and where she would be living. As she left, Hama looked on the outfit, she would wear, it was beautiful, as if for a wedding, but it was for a maid. A stark difference from her life as a prisoner.
As she was about to change, she heard the breath of someone at the door. She looked to see Teo leaning against the door. "So, you're going to replace Min?"
"I'll try, sir."
"Don't worry, I'm sure you will do fine."
"Well if there is anything you need sir, don't be afraid to ask." She spoke as she approached the closet next to the door.
"I will." He then made a big mistake. He extended his hand and clapped her from behind, and worse held it.
A loud smack reverberated through the hall as Teo was reeling. Hama stood there, her eyes darkly looking at him, "Don't ever do that again?"
Teo laughed, "Ooh..." He walked off chuckling.
She slammed the door in his face and sat on the bed, crossing her arms around her knees. A horrid image crept into her mind, she shivered, "Never again!"
For the collective works of the author, go here.