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|and Henryjh98||Action, Adventure||PG-13||None||Here|
|Burning Air: Prologue|
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August 3, 2012
Prologue: The Mission
The doors to the hall slid shut, making a loud noise that resonated through the chamber. Several pillars supported the ceiling on either side. The royal throne stood upon a beautiful, raised dais at the end of the chamber. A tall, regal man with white hair sat rigid upon his chair, his muscled chest heaving up and down. He exhaled heavily through his nose, and flames blew from his nostrils. His amber eyes followed the man approaching him from the end of the hall.
"Good," he muttered. "You came."
"My lord," the other man greeted, bowing. "You summoned me?"
"Why else would you be here?" snapped the Fire Lord, leaning forward in his seat. The man flinched, taken aback by the Fire Lord's vicious reply. Sighing loudly, the Fire Lord leaned back in his chair and closed his eyes. "My apologies, Hikaze," said Fire Lord Sozin. "I am stressed and on a short fuse at the moment."
"Of course, my lord," Hikaze replied. "What is it you need?"
"The Fire Nation is strong," Sozin said. "And the only person who can hold us back is the Avatar."
Hikaze nodded. "Yes."
Sozin ignored him. "Twelve years ago, when Avatar Roku died on his island, my plans to rule the world became a reality. But this new Avatar could stand in my way, the one from the Air Nomads!"
Hikaze nodded again, "I understand."
"I briefed you on our mission earlier, correct?" asked Sozin. "Didn't I?"
"Sir," the nervous man stated, while standing at attention.
"You know that the comet will be arriving very, very soon," Sozin stated while pulling at his beard.
"I understand, my lord." responded Hikaze, with a slight suggestion of fear in his tone of voice.
"Do you accept?" Sozin snarled.
Hikaze nodded and licked his lips. "Of course, my lord."
Sozin stepped off of his throne and then walked right up to Hikaze. "If you don't succeed, Hikaze, you know the consequences."
"Yes, my lord," Hikaze replied, trying to maintain a calm composure.
"Then we shall start," said Sozin. "I assume you are ready to go?"
"My dragon is just outside the palace."
"Good, good." There was a long silence and then Sozin stepped away from Hikaze. He closed his eyes and breathed in deeply. By the time Hikaze realized what was happening, it was too late. Sozin slashed his hands down diagonally as Hikaze turned away. Red and orange flames curled towards the running man. The fire hit him on the side, immediately searing through his clothes. He screamed loudly and toppled over. Sozin looked down at Hikaze and smiled. "Guards!" he shouted. "He tried to attack me! Arrest him!"
Three guards ran through the throne room doors and rushed towards Hikaze, still writhing in pain. Sozin looked at him and said, "Better get going." Hikaze flashed a look of contempt at his Fire Lord, but pushed himself off the ground. Adrenaline pumping, he unleashed a barrage of fire at one of the guards while sprinting at full speed and kicked another one down with his foot. The third guard threw out his hand and ignited his fire dagger, and engaged Hikaze in close quarters combat. Hikaze dodged the blows but the dagger hit its mark on his shoulder, cutting deep. He stared at the wound, then faced the guard.
"My turn!" Hikaze quickly roundhouse kicked the guard away, brought both hands together, and unleashed bolts of lightning upon the guard. Blood dripped from his skin, he ran out of the chamber and into the hall. More guards tried to stop him, but he knocked one of them away with jets of fire. The other three blasted flames at him. Two of the shots went awry, but one of them burned Hikaze's right calf. He screamed out, kicked one of the guards in the chin and sprinted away.
Sozin appeared at the end of the hall and raised his hand at five guards rushing towards Hikaze. "Let him leave," he said. "He'll die later."
Hikaze frowned. Why was Sozin acting like this? What did he hope to achieve? Attacking him would only jeopardize the mission. Walking away, Hikaze felt a hand land on his shoulder. The Fire Lord, his white beard glistening, looked hard into Hikaze's eyes. "I must do this for you to get into the temple. You must appear hurt. Now go, or you know what will happen."
"Blast you," shouted Hikaze, turning around. "I'll keep on with your mission, but not out of respect. Out of me valuing my own life. I hope you die painfully, Sozin!"
Sozin did not appear affected by this; he just watched Hikaze walk out the palace.
"You were the best solider I had Hikaze!" he shouted before retreating to his chambers "and my favorite," he muttered.
The huge doors slammed shut and Hikaze disappeared from his sight. Hikaze limped down the steps, and noticed his dragon, Dorogan, curled up outside. He was already saddled. The leather seat was situated between two of the green dragon's spikes. Hikaze jumped on and looked towards the palace fifty feet away. Sozin was standing at the head of over a dozen guards, looking sternly towards his agent. Hikaze patted Dorogan twice and the magnificent dragon pushed off of the ground and took off into the air.
"Don't forget the costs of failing!" called Sozin warning him.
"Don't forget the cost if I make it back!" he responded.
"I know," said Sozin as he watched the warrior fly into the distance, "old friend".
Hikaze never looked back as his dragon flew over the city and out towards the ocean.
He had been instructed to look for a canyon and then follow that until he saw a crescent bend. He would fly inland, still in sight of the canyon, and then would dismount a mile from the end of the crescent bend. Hikaze was supposed to infiltrate the temple; he didn't have the slightest idea how. It was all a mystery to him. Pain was the thing Hikaze focused on the most. He was in pain, from the burns and the blood dripping from his stab wound.
It took all of his focus to finally recognize the end of the crescent bend. Dorogon flew, a green streak in the sky, and the land loomed closer. Hikaze pointed to a spot; the dragon flapped its wings and created forceful gusts of wind as the pair landed. The injured firebender slid off of his dragon and set foot softly on the grassy ground, right outside a forest. He turned to his dragon and rubbed his snout. "Dorogan, I need you to hide," he commanded. "To leave me. This may could be dangerous and you cannot be seen. Goodbye, Dorogan."
The dragon whimpered and nudged Hikaze with his snout, but he was an obedient creature. The dragon cried out once and pushed off from the ground, shooting flames into the air. Hikaze closed his eyes and walked away, towards the canyon. Unknown to himself, Hikaze began to sway and shake as he slowly progressed towards the temple. He was too busy trying to find ways to get into the temple. He blinked twice and yawned, and when he opened his eyes, everything seemed blurry. He was almost at the edge of the canyon when he dropped to the ground. He twitched and violently, pain coursing through his body, the adrenaline had finally worn off. Hikaze instantly blacked, and he slipped into darkness.
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