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|Kyoshi's Limited Wisdom|
"What do you mean that this is a sample of the future?" Aang demanded just as a huge fire ignited next to him. "Will Katara be hurt?"
"Many people will suffer," responded Kyoshi, as calm as ever.
"This isn't fair. All of the past Avatars dump huge messes for me to clean. You created the Dai Li, and Roku let the war start!"
"Our actions will always have at least one negative effect, Aang. Has it ever crossed your mind that if you had killed Ozai, this problem would be much less severe? You could have killed Azula too back at the wall of Ba Sing Se."
"But I can't do that Kyoshi! I'm not like you. You killed plenty of people!"
"This is true. I did so out of my love for the innocent."
"Kyoshi, about these villages that General How was speaking of, they are named Oak Village, Siper, and Phond. Do you know where they are?"
"Yes. They are very near each other in the Northwest corner of the Earth Kingdom. They are in a forest close to Lake Zorlin where I first entered the Avatar State."
"How many Firebenders are there?"
"This I do not know. I can only tell you what I know from memory."
The flying rocks and fire continued. Now Aang started to see brief images of his friends running, being hit, falling, and screaming.
"I need to protect my friends. I'm going alone."
"Don't be foolish, Aang. You need them and the support of the Earth King if you are to win."
"I don't need a huge army to liberate three cities."
"Perhaps not. But you will need them for events to follow. Anyone can tell you that. The war is not over, Aang."
With that, a bolt of lightening shot into Kyoshi's back, out of her chest, and toward Aang. When it hit him, he found himself back in the arena.
"Can you go one week without using that Avatar State mumbo jumbo?" pestered Toph impatiently.
Ignoring Toph, Aang considered for a moment that the only reason that he saw flying rocks in the Spirit World was because of Torek's training in the human world, but that doesn't explain the fire, the lightening, or the screams.
He rushed to General How's office to report what Avatar Kyoshi had told him.
"Ah, Aang! Have you seen General Stole recently?" the general inquired.
"No general, but I do have news concerning the villages."
How nodded, gesturing for Aang to continue.
"The villages are by Lake Zorlin in the northwest region of the Earth Kingdom, according to Avatar Kyoshi."
"Did the Avatar tell you anything else?"
"No. I'm sorry. It's just, in the Spirit World, things can get difficult."
"I understand. I was hoping we would know that our enemies were few so we could carry out a secret operation with only a handful of people, but now our only option is to launch a full scale invasion. We will use Omashu Bender Divisions 1 and 2, the Kyoshi Warriors, Chief Arnook's men, Omashu Archer squad 5, the calvary from General Fung's base, as well as you and your friends."
"We could use help from the White Lotus as well," Aang suggested.
"Unfortunately the White Lotus, including Fire Lord Zuko, left to deal with other matters in the Southern Water Tribe. Something about reports of seeing mysterious robed people. Anyway, together we will have 120 Earthbenders, 15 Earth warriors, 10 Water Warriors, 12 water benders, 15 archers, 40 ostrich horses, and Team Avatar. That should be plenty. I also want General Yung and to accompany you."
"Can Torek come?" asked Aang remembering the prince's amazing Earthbending abilities.
"I'm sorry, but he is far too-"
"I'm coming," interrupted Torek.
"Great!" exclaimed Aang.
They departed the next morning. Team Avatar rode on Appa, and Torek and two Kyoshi Warriors rode on Flopsie. The Kyoshi Warriors, along with Suki and Ty Lee, were dressed in their full uniform. Captain Yung, Chief Arnook, Chief Hakoda, Bato, and their men traveled in the trucks designed by the mechanist. The other trucks carried rocks. The archers flew in hot air balloons also designed by the mechanist. General Fung's calvary met up with them halfway. They carried troubling news.
"General Yung!" one of the men began. "We have reports of Fire Nation ships arriving just West of here! There are at least ten, maybe more. The scouts said they carried war rhinos and artillery, as well as soldiers!"
"An invasion? Or perhaps they are more members of the Ozai Movement here to support the occupations!"
At this point Appa landed beside the General.
"Avatar! Torek! Keep heading toward the villages! If you think you can free them on your own, do so. If not, wait for us in a good hiding place! The rest of us need to go the the Northwestern beach and stop a fleet of Fire Navy Ships!"
Without explaining further, the general ordered his men to head towards the beach.
"Appa, yip yip!" shouted Aang. He wasn't sure what was happening, but he understood the urgency of the situation.
When Yung and the others reached the beach, they confronted not ten but fifteen ships. The General quickly ordered the archers to the top of a hill where they could rain arrows down on the attackers while taking cover behind Earthbending-made barriers.
"Warriors on close range fighting! Earthbenders and Waterbenders, fight from a small distance! Archers, make sure as little men as possible reach the shore! Ostrich horsemen, take care of those rhinos! This is going to be a long one! Fight with all you got!"
The first five ships arrived and started unloading. The archers began with their task. Some men didn't have armor because they weren't part of the military and the arrows took out many of them. The Earthbenders started using a new Sandbending move called the sand cannon. The Firebenders retaliated with simultaneous fire blasts, blocked by sand walls. Yung shot a rock right in the face of Firebender with a high-ranking military uniform. Arnook's men threw their spears, but most were burnt to a crisp before they reached a target. The men on the deck of one of the ships were swept of by a wave, then frozen. Others were pelted with icicles. Hakoda fought with even greater skill then he did during the invasion of the Fire Nation, taking on four enemies at a time and winning. He blocked a fire ball with his shield but was knocked to the ground. Then a catapult launched a flaming boulder right at him, but the fire was doused and Yung smashed the boulder with his head. He then helped Hakoda to his feet. The rhinos charged the shore but were easily taken by a combination of calvary and Sandbending. A few Waterbenders started using Pakku-style waterspouts and Katara style ice disks that the Firebenders simply couldn't beat. It looked like the alliance of Earth and Water would win..
Team Avatar flew another hour before reaching Lake Zorlin. Aang spend most of the time worrying about Katara. He wouldn't be able to live with himself if she was lost. Katara had similar feelings about Aang. She would have talked to him about it, but there wasn't any privacy on Appa's back, so she bottled up her feelings for the duration of the flight.
When the team arrived, it became clear the situation was worse than they thought. They found the three villages. They were each about a mile apart. There was also a man made metal structure. It was an Ozai Movement base. On the outside there were barracks and a messenger hawk coop. A bit farther up a path the children could see red-tiled rooftops.
It was worse than they thought. They weren't just occupying three villages. They had built a colony.
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