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|The Day the Sky Turned Red|
March 6, 2011
The day of the comet arrives. Chuan unites with Mayana to fend off the invading Fire Nation soldiers...
Book 1 Chapter 7: The Day the Sky Turned Red
Chuan woke with a start the next morning. As he awoke, he raised his hand in front of his eyes to shield them from an exceptionally bright sliver of light that was shining through his window in a cruel shade of crimson. A sudden scream from outside made him jump, and in his fright he accidentally knocked the water glass from his side table onto the floor where it shattered and spilled water all across the floor.
He jumped out of his bed and grabbed his glider, pressing himself against the wall and listening for any further sounds. Something wasn't right...
And then he remembered.
He dashed to the window and looked up in horror as the unmistakable form of a flaming comet streaked across the bloody red sky. Another person screamed, and then in the distance Chuan saw them. There on the horizon, marching uniformly over the ridge of the mountain was the largest mass of people that he had ever seen. Each figure was wearing red and black war armor embossed with the Fire Nation emblem and complete with skull-like masks and ominous-looking shoulder spikes that arced toward the apocalyptic red sky above...
He had been too late. Giving the note to Wu Han hadn't made a difference after all...
And then Chuan made an even more chilling realization. He had talked to the elders with only a single piece of evidence under his belt. If he had taken Kaizan's advice and gone to them with the original note, then maybe they wouldn't be in this mess in the first place!
Chuan shuddered at the thought, but then, regaining his composure, he grabbed his staff and leapt out the door. All around him, parts of the temple were being set ablaze by large platoons of soldiers. He spun in a circle and swung his staff in a wide arc around his body, knocking a few nearby Fire Nation soldiers backwards into some others.
"You! Stop!" one soldier cried. He and several others broke ranks and dashed for Chuan, who spun his staff into its glider form and immediately took off into the air. As he watched from above, doors all across the temple were flung open and Air Nomads burst forth into the courtyard only to walk right into enemy hands...
Suddenly, Chuan felt something hot graze his right elbow and he realized alarmingly that his glider was on fire. Flinging the device from himself, he dove headfirst toward the ground and landed in a sideways barrel roll. By the time he was back onto his feet he was already surrounded by Fire Nation infantry once again. The soldiers all simultaneously issued a war cry and punched fire at him. Enormous conflagrations of flame stole through the air toward him.
He jumped into the air just a moment too late...
The top of the flames engulfed his right foot and he howled in pain as he lost his balance and tumbled back to the ground. Looking around helplessly, he saw that much of the temple was singed a sickening shade of black. One soldier strolled leisurely up to him and prepared to finish him off, cackling and setting a firm fist in front of his face.
"Any last words, you disgusting wind creature?" the soldier spat from behind his mask.
Chuan shut his eyes tight and braced for the worst when suddenly he heard someone yell from his left and felt a strong gust of wind lift the soldier off his feet. Opening his eyes, Chuan saw Mayana use Airbending to throw the soldier from the peak of the mountain, where he would no doubt plummet to his death. She offered him her hand and he gratefully took it as he hobbled to his feet.
"You'll live," she said, surveying his wounded foot, "but come on. We have to help stop this."
They dashed through massive skirmishes and plumes of smoke and fire as they made their way across the temple grounds, Mayana in the lead and Chuan limping in tow.
"Charini!" Mayana cried as her friend backed up against the wall and several Firebenders advanced toward her. Mayana dove forward into a somersault and then leaped into the air in front of her friend, spinning her staff and deflecting an enormous inferno of flames sent in their direction. The fire rebounded back on the soldiers, who were overwhelmed and left unmoving on the floor by the time the flames had dissipated.
Mayana led her terrified friend away from the scene, beckoning for Chuan to follow.
Great, Chuan thought to himself. She finally notices me and now all she does it boss me around.
Then he stepped down too firmly on his right foot and the pain made him gasp. He bit his tongue and repressed further such thoughts.
Mayana spun her hands in circles close to the center of her body and expelled a gale of wind outward in front of her. The gust smacked directly into a large column of fire, and the elements exploded outward on contact. A dangerous mix of wind and flames was sent cascading in all directions, and Mayana gasped as embers rained down from the sky down toward them. She grasped Charini by the shoulder and raced toward Chuan, who was hobbling to catch up with them.
"Get close," she told them.
"Why?" Chuan asked.
"Just trust me!" she replied, gritting her teeth.
They complied and she extended her arms firmly outward, pulling her hands into fists and breathing out calmly. She glanced upward at the impending embers and the tension of the moment fueled her motivation as she began madly spinning her arms around at her sides. A sphere of wind formed around the trio and expanded to cover them...she was forming an air shield! She stopped spinning her arms and held her fists at bay on either side of her. This was the moment of truth...
Mayana's defensive technique did everything that Chuan's could not and more. The embers were extinguished the moment they touched the shield and all accompanying gusts of wind weren't felt whatsoever. Mayana lowered her arms and sighed, clasping her palms in front of her chest to complete the form as the wind around them came to a halt.
"That was incredible!" Chuan exclaimed. "How did you-?"
"There's no time!" Mayana shouted at him, and as they watched, more and more soldiers marched up the mountain toward them. Was there no end to the size of this army?
"We need to find Monk Saicho!" Chuan cried. "He'll know what to do!"
Just as the words escaped his mouth, his master landed from high in the sky and slammed a fist on the ground. A gust of wind was sent outward in a circle from his position. The wind in front of them dissipated the moment it reached the trio and reformed a moment later, and Chuan marveled the simple elegance in his master's highly advanced Airbending form.
Saicho kept low to the floor as he spun around and flung his arms in all different directions; Chuan couldn't even keep up. Soldiers on all sides were flung far and wide, screaming as they plunged to their deaths.
Suddenly, in the blink of an eye all breath left Chuan's chest and he could not find any to replace it. As he watched, a Fire Navy Soldier came up behind Saicho and, as the monk turned to face his adversary, the man impaled him in the chest on one of his shoulder spikes. As the monk cried out in pain, Chuan felt a single tear slide down his own cheek.
"Master, this isn't happening..."
Saicho seemed to stand still for a moment after the soldier had removed the spike from his chest. Then, with a single, barely audible sigh, the monk collapsed noiselessly to the ground. He was dead before he hit the floor...
You guys have waited a long time for the action to pick up, I hope it lived up to your expectations. Rest assured the action isn't over, and there is MUCH more to come very soon even after this battle is over. I'd really like opinions on this chapter, so if you get the chance please comment. Tell me your opinions/responses/reactions!
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