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|Secrets of the Sun, Part 2|
"My friends," Onjing said softly to his frightened companions, "We are hours away from their shores. We are hours away from destroying the Avatar and climbing closer to total purification of the world."
Neither Kimma nor Zhouray could speak. The Fire Lord started to utter some kind of sound, but couldn't finish as he was petrified by fear from what he was seeing.
Finally, Kimma spoke up. "These... things, can they bend elements other than fire?"
Onjing looked over at a few of the risen dead, but he said nothing. It was almost as if he commanded them with his thoughts, at least, that was the conclusion Kimma drew when the group walked to the edge of the large Water Tribe ship and raised their arms in unison and without emotion, causing a powerful wave to rise by the side of the hull. "Does that answer your question?" the Airbender retorted. He chuckled quietly. "Just think about it. Every Cha Jin De we've ever killed is now at our disposal, as a bender! The spirits contain such staggering power, don't they?"
"They're the bending forms of every person we've killed? That explains my parents," noted Zhouray as the horrifying memory ran through his head.
Onjing nodded and closed his eyes, breathing slowly.
Back in the ancient civilization, Team Avatar had become well aquatinted with the Sun Warriors and their way of every-day life. Kaeta had learned from the locals that his Waterbending could be improved by practicing the form of Firebenders, and likewise, Zola learned to enhance her enhance her skill over fire by observing Kaeta's now-mastery of water. Berani herself managed to ameliorate her expertise in the way of the sword as well as the path of an arrow. The indigenous people showed her how to move with her katana and wrist shield in the motions of what they called "The Dancing Dragon".
"This technique is the key to Firebending," explained Mosha wearing her usual, gummy smile. Her cheerful, toothless face could brighten any mood.
"Could I learn from these formations too?" Brek inquired.
To this, the Sun Chief stood from the rock we was sitting on and spoke. "They can teach you what they've taught a few of your past lives, Avatar. Come." With that, he gestured for Brek to follow him. The leader known as Sun Chief Pajum escorted the Avatar to the same massive fireplace containing intense, everlasting flames that they had visited the first day.
"As I told you earlier, this Fire represents a part of every Firebender in existence, including you. You say you wish to learn the power of our ancestors?"
"Well, I said I wanted to learn the formation, but ancestral power will do I guess," Brek replied.
"You will soon find that the two are very connected," said Pajum. "Go on, take part of the fire in your palms."
Brek was slightly hesitant at first, but eventually, he reached into the blazing inferno the size of a thousand torches and rested a small sample in his cupped hands.
"Now Avatar, walk up this path and present your fire to the masters."
"Who are the masters?"
"No questions! We like surprises."
Skeptical, Brek made the long hike up the path and was struck with awe at what he could see. Just before a cliff overlooking the roaring ocean stood a colossal stone staircase leading to an empty manmade platform.
"Excellent timing my lord," pronounced Kimma as she stood by her master from atop a hill viewing the stone city below.
"Indeed. These so-called warriors don't stand a chance against our might," Zhouray concluded.
"How could you be so foolish!" Onjing snapped. "Never underestimate people like these, for they too have great spiritual connections."
"Connections as strong as yours, my lord?" said Zhouray, trying to recover from his gaffe.
"I suppose, we'll find out soon enough." He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. Although the area around him was silent, he was able to concentrate on the sound of his new army marching towards the enemy. He listened to the noise of his mindless, inhuman soldiers until he heard the sound of horn. The Sun Warriors had set their defensive alarm. "Our armies have met," he announced, opening his eyes slowly.
Zhouray was about to ask how he could possibly know, but Kimma stopped him by grabbing his arm. Please stop questioning him she thought to herself.
Onjing chuckled. "Yes, Fire Lord. Please stop questioning me." He waited to see Kimma's reaction to his impossible knowledge of her thoughts before he continued. "It looks like we're ready. Proceed."
"Yes, my lord," Kimma and Zhouray said in unison before hustling down he hill to battle in the name of the genetically superior.
"Zola! Berani! They're here!" Kaeta exclaimed. "The Isha are here!"
"Where's Brek?" Berani demanded.
"He'll be back," Kaeta assured. "Let's buy him enough time to do his Avatar stuff as we can." With those words, he drew water from a pond and smashed it directly into the chest of an incoming enemy. The man stood, his face void of any emotion. With his left foot, he stomped on the ground, hurling an earth column in Kaeta's direction. The Waterbender evaded the move and turned back at his attacker. With a closer look, he could tell that the man was the same man introduced to him as the mayor of Gaoling. However, something seemed different about him.
At that point, a full-on battle had erupted in the Sun Warrior's ancient city, Huang and Brone among those fighting against the Isha. Zola was impressed with her new elderly friend, Mosha, as she took on three of the invaders at once, and brought them down with three blows. The Princess turned her head just in time to see a line of flames speeding towards her face, which she blocked easily.
Zola took one glance at her assaulter and fell off her knees. "No!" she shouted, her trembling scream echoing across the city. "Impossible!" Her despair grew worse as her mother stepped closer, looking down on her daughter without any sign of feeling.
"Who are you?" Zola demanded. "Bending? Here? Mom!" The princess was hysterical in tears.
The monster that wore Fire Lady Zelda's face simply made a fist with her right hand and proceeded with attacking.
After making the hike up long, steep stone steps, Brek had finally reached the flat square platform overlooking the waves crashing on the shore's rocks. Two caves were found to his left and right, and for some reason, Brek felt like he knew what to do. He split the fire in his palms in two, holding one smaller flame in each hand. He held each arm out towards its respective cave and knelt on the cold, hard rock. That's when he heard it. Rumbling sounds emerged from both caves, and suddenly, to long scaly figures shot out towards the Avatar, who ducked his head in fright. Looking up, Brek saw that the two figures were dragons, swirling around him at blistering speeds. One red, one blue. They began to encircle the platform in some sort of vortex pattern, then they made several motions around the bridges extending from the platform to the caves. Somehow, Brek felt confident in what to do, as if he has done it before. He began to perform the Dancing Dragon that he had seen the warriors teach Berani. Looking to his left, he noticed that the blue dragon was making the movements alongside of him. He turned on the next move and saw a boy in Air Nomad clothes dancing in the same form next to the red dragon. Brek felt as though he knew the boy. Upon moving closer, he could tell that their connection was much greater than that. Seeing the boy's glowing eyes, it became apparent that he was the boy.
"Avatar Aang!" he called. He received no response, but noticed that the dragons had ceased their dancing, and were perched on both sides of the platform. He gazed into their beautiful, enormous eyes for a brief moment. Then, they opened their jaws and forced streams of colored fire from their breath. At first, Brek was terrified, but he soon realized the fire swirling around him in a pillar. All different kinds of colors- shades that he had never seen- swam through the harlequin vortex. The sight was incomprehensible, but the Avatar could see its message. The elements. The nations. They aren't divided. They are one. he thought.
"So we meet again, Zola." Zhouray had reached the scene of the battle between the Sun Warriors and the Isha.
"How could you do this? Who was that woman who looked like mom?" Zola demanded.
For the first time since his betrayal, Zhouray showed compassion and concern. "I don't know. This man, Onjing, he did something that I cannot understand. They aren't our parents. They're- They're-"
He was cut off when Kimma sent Zola through the air with a gush of water. She propelled her back further with a second attack, and shot Zhouray a furious look. "What was that? Don't forget why we're here! We have a mission to do!"
Zhouray nodded. "You're right, Kimma. I know." The Fire Lord tried his best to ignore the sight of the dead woman beside him, his mother who had met her fate twice now, and he joined his supposedly dead father in battle. He had never felt anything like what he was feeling then. The thought of fighting along the man whom he had betrayed was torturous. "I'm sorry, Father!" he wept.
Simultaneously, Kimma had engaged herself in a duel with Berani and a Sun Warrior. The Firebender was easy to knock off. An ice claw to his face was enough to silence him. Berani charged with her katana, swiping in the formation of the Dancing Dragon. Now inches away from her enemy, she swung upwards. Kimma avoided the sword and slashed Berani's arm with a knife of ice. She couldn't help but smiling menacingly to the sound of her target's shriek. In immense pain, Berani attempted to swing again, but Kimma used water to push the blade down onto the ground. Her next move, however, was prevented when Berani smashed her wrist shield into Kimma's chin. The Waterbender forced Berani backwards and off her feet with a powerful blast and proceeded by manipulating water to pick up the sword, encasing it with ice, and hurling it at the helpless girl. Berani jerked up her wrist shield in defense, but the attack was too forceful. The katana pierced through her aegis and into her body.
Kimma let out a tremendous, cynical roar of laughter. Then, she remembered Onjing and the spirit Kafaru's power. "Welcome to our side, useless Cha Jin De!" She barely noticed the fire racing towards her and narrowly avoided her own demise by raising a weak water shied. She flew back into a boulder behind her and was knocked unconscious when her head collided with the rock. She never was able to see the Firebender who had attacked her. She didn't manage to get a glimpse of Brek, with glowing eyes and the voice of all his predecessors.
Seeing the girl he loved motionless on the ground, the outraged Brek soared into the air on a tremendous air sprout. He began lashing out, sending mighty gales at the invaders. When he saw Zhouray, he flung him out of sight with a monstrous current.
"Onjing! Show yourself coward!" commanded the horrifying voice of every Avatar.
Brek could see a black figure darting towards him through the air. The figure shot a blast of wind at the Avatar, but Brek deflected it with his own bending. He then punched his left fist in a hook, sending a blazing trail around his body and into the back of Onjing, who collapsed on the ground. Brek's air sprout dispersed, and the Avatar landed forcefully on the ground creating an earth bomb that killed several of his enemies.
Onjing rose and attempted to swipe at the Avatar only for Brek to catch his arm. With his eyes still glowing, he prepared a fireball in his right fist and punched forward, but when the blast had reached Onjing, the Airbender had vanished. Brek let out one final roar, and the glow receded. The Avatar fainted, and Kaeta caught him as Zola ran up to them. She turned to see the invaders retreating, being chased by the victorious Sun Warriors who had suffered little casualties. She scanned the hill for her brother, and upon finding him, she began to generate lightning. The princess thrust two fingers of her right hand forward, and the bolt charged for her target. Less than a second later, Zhouray watched lightning fly above his head and into a nearby rock.
Seeing that her attack had missed, Zola looked down in disappointment, then shrieked.
"Kaeta!" she cried.
The Waterbender turned to his friend, who was pointing at the motionless Berani with a katana impaled through her shield and into her skin. Kaeta immediately withdrew the sword and tore off her shirt, breathing a sigh of relief when he saw pierced armor underneath. "The cut isn't as deep as it looks," he explained as he removed the amor. He drew some water and placed it on Berani's small wound. "I'll see what I can do."
This chapter received a Community Nomination to join the running for Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series in the Third Fanon Awards, but it did not make the final ballot.
This chapter is currently nominated for Outstanding Writing In a Drama Series in the Fourth Fanon Awards!
For the collective works of the author, go here.