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|Condemned To Death|
"I don't know yet," he responded in a hushed tone. "Berani, what do you- Berani?" Brek jerked his head around to witness his non-bending friend charge at the royal herald with her katana tightly gripped, pure hatred burning in her eyes. With a vicious scream, she swung her weapon at full force, severing the messenger's head with one, violent stroke. As her target's head fell to floor, the crowd reacted with both screams of fright and cheers. Berani quickly made use of her wrist shield to successfully block an oncoming fire blast. Unscathed, she thrusted her katana into the chest of her female attacker, who coughed up blood onto the already bloodstained sword. Everything was happening so quickly that Berani's friends were still processing what was going on. She barely raised her shield before a line of fire hit it dead on, knocking her off her feet.
At that point, Brek started to rush to her aid, but Kaeta held him back.
"What are you doing?" Brek demanded furiously.
"Saving your life," the Waterbender responded.
Brek's face showed his anguish as he watched a man dressed entirely in black approach Berani. For a moment, everything seemed to pause.
It was when the man began to generate lightning that Zola made her move. She propelled herself out of the dark alley directly into the path between the Lightningbender and his intended target. Mid-air, she intercepted the attack with her left hand, and the lightning seemed to disappear. She landed with a thud, sending the bolts out of her right toes and onto the roof of a nearby house. Within seconds, the duo was surrounded by guards, all ready to strike at any moment.
"Enough!" the booming order came from an abnormally muscular woman in the uniform of a Fire Nation captain. She studied the two girls lying before her with a confused face. "Why would you attempt to save one of them? A Firebender risking her life for a Cha Jin De? You should be executed just for being stupid! But I think the charges of killing three people are enough. You can join the other villagers on their way to death." She turned to a few guards. "I've had second thoughts about allowing the condemned to say goodbye to their families. You have the lists. Gather the criminals now and put them in custody until their execution!"
"Yes, Captain Soza," the guards said in unison as they bowed. Berani and Zola were appended and dragged off through the streets of the village. Brek broke Kaeta's hold and attempted to follow them, but the village's center had rapidly become a place of mass chaos. Parts of the pitch-black streets were constantly lit up with fire, and a silent night was filled with shrieks and weeps. Brek and Kaeta stumbled through the hectic village and made their way to an empty road. They walked cautiously, prepared to defend themselves.
"I hear some! Now!" Those words were instantly followed by the explosion of several small bombs in the immediate area.
"No! We're friends!" Brek beckoned. For a moment, it seemed as though his plea had worked.
"No, they're over there!" The duo braced themselves for a second attack, but instead, they heard explosions from across the road. The bursting bombs gave revealed a wave of guards charging towards them, only to be blown away by the explosives.
"Keep going! Keep throwing the bombs!" Brek looked around for the source of the voice.
"They're coming from the other side!" That was the last thing Brek heard.
Everything was surprisingly silent as Onjing floated through the Palace of the Northern Water Tribe. "Where are you all hiding? There is no hiding from fate!" he called. Finally, he came across a metal door in the center of an ice wall. He chuckled to himself a bit. "So, you've sealed yourselves away? How courageous of you. It's too bad you'll never get to see my face." After uttering these words, he pressed his right fingers together and twisted his wrist as he thrust his hand forward. This motion sent wind drilling into the metal door. Onjing heard gasps from inside the room as a hole was created. He covered the opening with the same hand and inhaled, but he didn't stop. He only ceased to breathe in when he could no longer hear sounds of suffocation and was certain that the room was void of any oxygen. "No need to come check on you then. Have a nice evening."
"Brek! Get up!" Kaeta woke his friend by splashing his face with water from a small barrel.
"Kaeta? What time is it?"
"I think it's a little after dawn. The sun looks like it just came up. We must have been out for hours after that explosion."
"Who were those guys?"
"We need to find them?"
"Find them? They almost killed us!"
"We startled them. From what I remember, their real targets were the guards."
Kaeta hesitantly agreed and the friends set out through the other streets. They walked past all of the shattered windows and blood where the guards must have dragged non-benders from their homes. Kaeta noticed a woman cowering under a cart of hay. The two were halfway down a street when Brek realized that their path was lined by explosives. He glanced up, looking for the bombers.
"If you don't want to die, get on your knees and put your hands up," the voice from the previous night commanded. Brek and Kaeta obeyed.
After a few seconds, a boy their age emerged from his place of hiding. "Who are you?" he demanded.
"I'm the Avatar," Brek explained. Assuming that the boy wouldn't believe him he levitated a rock and took a small breath of fire.
"Whoah! The Avatar!" After this exclamation, several other boys revealed themselves.
"Now, who are you?" Brek asked.
"You're looking at the Fire Nation Isha resistance squad three. We usually go by the Bomber Boys," the boy said proudly.
"There are seven squads here in the Fire Nation and many more across the world. Headquarters is in the Earth Kingdom. My name's Pun, by the way."
"Nice to meet you," said Brek as he and Kaeta stood up. "This is my friend, Kaeta. He's a Waterbender."
"Do you have a plan to stop the executions?" Kaeta asked.
"Well, I don't think they'll start until they have everybody. We're still here which means they're still looking for us. That should by us some time."
"I think I have an idea," Brek announced. "How close is the prison from the town center?"
"The prison's miles away, but from what I could tell, they were keeping the non-benders in several buildings nearby," one of the boys stated. "Probably to make transportation easier."
"Great! How many of you are there?"
"Fifteen, including me," the leader reported.
A group of five guards were patrolling one of the village's major streets when they noticed a head pop out of a window a few buildings ahead of them. They burst to door down with Firebending and checked the bottom floor. Everything was clear, so they made their way to an old staircase. That was when a small bomb slowly dropped down towards them, step by step. The guards jumped back, but when the explosive did nothing, they laughed.
A teenage boy ran down the steps and expressed great fear. "It didn't go off!" he seemed to shout to others upstairs. "But that was our last one!" came a response. Two guards quickly captured him in a net, and the other three ran upstairs. It wasn't long before they came down with eight more boys.
"These guys are the ones from last night. They're dangerous. Divide them up, three in each holding cell," one guard ordered.
The boys were imprisoned in their three different buildings for an hour before Brek did his part.
"Guards! There are a bunch of them over here!"
The guards in each building acted similarly. Four of them rushed outside while the other two watched from the windows. Twelve total guards to Brek, who was wearing Fire Nation clothes.
"A whole bunch of them ran down that way," Brek reported as he pointed down the street."
"Oh yeah? Prove you're not one of them," a suspicious guard ordered.
Brek stepped back and demonstrated a powerful Fireblast.
"Alright, let's move!" The guards sprinted in the direction of the imaginary Cha Jin De's.
Using the lack of guards to their advantage, the three Bomber Boys strategically placed the explosives hidden in their clothes as spread out as they could throughout the room. The other prisoners noticed, but they didn't object.
A guard noticed one of the boys crouching by a table. "Hey! What are you doing over there!" When he approached the boy, guard noticed that he was simply crying."
"Quit your whining! We're doing the world a favor!"
One hour later, Captain Soza was ready to begin the executions. "Get all of the prisoners out their captivity and organize them in the village center. We can't leave room for any games," she ordered. It didn't take long for the guards to gather each of their potential victims. The Firebending villagers watched in horror as their friends and family prepared to meet their fate. Among them were the nine Bomber Boys, Zola, and Berani.
The Lightningbender from the night before stepped onto the stage. Shivers ran down through the prisoners as they realized how they were about to be executed.
"Begin!" Captain Soza ordered. Her command, however, was drowned out by the combustion of three nearby buildings. "The prisons! Guards!"
Without hesitation, the majority Soza's men rushed to the three separate locations. Each of the buildings was located in the center of their respective streets, which was perfect for the plan. Just as the guards had gathered around the sites of the mysterious explosions, they were ambushed.
The guards on the first street turned toward the rock wall that had risen, blocking them from the town center. None of them turned back in time to see Brek before he flooded the road with fire. He killed the survivors with massive boulders.
Simultaneously, the six remaining Bomber Boys climbed the rooftops of the second street and dumped barrels of oil on the surprised guards. Each threw one bomb for each hand, and the guards were no more.
Kaeta bent a mix of oil and water upon the guard in the third street and finished them off with a few bombs. He managed to cover the few that escaped in oil, and Bomber Boys hit them with flaming arrows just as they made it back to their fellow guards.
Soon, only the executioner and Captain Soza remained, and when they looked down to their feet at the bomb that had rolled in front of them, well...
- The ransacking of non-benders in the middle of night was my Avatar interpretation of Kristallnacht.
- Captain Soza is named for Firelord Sozin in a similar way that Azula was named for Firelord Azulon
For the collective works of the author, go here.