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Book 1: Blood
The one thing that still defined the Northern Water Tribe was the snow and ice; both were still readily prevalent. Now, however, sprawling skyscrapers replaced the buildings made from the elements, and industrialization reigned.
And at the heart of such growth: NowoCorp. The snow fell and plastered itself against the glowing light of the electronic sign topping the tower, a monument to one person. The man who held sway in both the North and the South as an innovator, a visionary, was the one who made all of the marvels into reality.
His visage appeared as the slats that made up the signs shifted, followed by the company's motto.
Change is coming, and everyone will be a part of it.
The Council was in session, once again meeting to direct the fate of the Northern Water Tribe. A massive round table made of solid ice and maintained by the finest Waterbenders throughout the day was now home to the seven members of the Northern Tribe's Advisory Council, of which Chief Anorak was a seasoned member.
"I have said this before, and I will say it again. We cannot allow NowoCorp to take hold of our weapons manufacturing. If they do, it would give—!"
"I understand your concern, Chief Anorak." A tall man with long, dark hair and piercing blue eyes leaned back in his chair. "But I only have the interest of the Water Tribes at heart; I assure you."
The old man stroked his beard. "I'm sure you do, Susanowo, but I would appreciate it if you'd allow some competition into the mix. I feel as if we are being smothered by your 'generosity'."
Cries of protest began to slowly build, and Susanowo smirked.
"Susanowo has done nothing but help us reach our potential!"
"He gave us a future!"
"He has made us the envy of the Fire Nation and the Earth Kingdom!"
The portly councilman that occupied the seat next to Anorak sighed. "We have this discussion, it seems, on a weekly basis, Chieftain. It feels to me like you have some sort of vendetta against the head of NowoCorp."
"Now, Susanowo," Anorak pressed two fingers to the bridge of his nose. "I have nothing against what you've done for us over your long life, but I have also seen those with any skill and ambition that weren't involved with you get stifled by you."
"Listen closely, Chieftain. I have the utmost respect for your unfailing support and love for your tribe, but I do not wish to see all this good work undone by those who mistakenly believe that they can do it better." The progenitor of the Water Tribe's bright future, at least in his mind, stood and exited.
The stars, despite the artificial light spawned by industrialization, shone, and a new moon was upon the North. The snow covered the stone structures, but no new powder had fallen that evening. Wind, absent as it was, did little to increase the discomfort of those outside.
Particularly the guards.
Being Chieftain did still have its privileges, among them a private guard detail. These men were the best of the best, and they wielded the latest weaponry: the NowoCorp bolt-action rifle.
With a ten-round magazine, the weapon would fire and be able to launch the spent shell as soon as the wielder pulled back and also included a whale-bone bayonet, and it, at least in the minds of the everyday citizen, made the confrontations between benders and non-benders a little more fair.
How wrong they were.
The entrance to Chief Anorak's home was guarded by two posted sentries who changed shifts on the hour, and two such sentries stood there now.
Though initially wearing an expression of boredom, the man on the left nearly jumped to the ready when he spotted the trespasser.
"Halt! You can't be here!" He took a step forward and threw up his hand, a futile gesture designed to stop one who wouldn't be deterred.
The man, with jet black hair and light blue armor, lifted his hand.
Crack! The bullet struck the guard in the back of the head, and he collapsed face-first in the snow, red now seeping into the bank.
The gun that had gone off was still in the other guard's hands, but he was no longer in control. Someone else was.
"Pity...it seems these guns are more trouble than they're worth." A twist of the armored man's hand was all it took, and the remaining sentry twisted the rifle around and impaled himself silently on the blade at the end.
As the last man fell, the attacker winced. "It is indeed a pity..."
Chief Anorak stirred in his sleeping chamber; something about the night had awoken him. That in and of itself was odd, because his wife always said he slept like a rock. He began to sit up, but felt a weight on his chest.
"I wouldn't move if I were you, Chief." The man with the blue armor was flanked by two more people, each wearing standard Water Tribe attire consisting of the traditional furred overcoat in various shades of blue along boots and a heavy set of pants. "This will be a lot less painful for you that way."
"What...er...what do you want?" Anorak found that he was having a difficult time forming the words. "Who...are you?"
"Who I am is not important; what I represent..." He moved his hand above the Chieftain's chest and clenched. "...is much more so."
A muffled cry escaped the old man as he could feel his heart being crushed. He looked over to his wife; she was fast asleep.
"Oh, I wouldn't worry about her. My men are ensuring that fluid pools in her ears as we...well, as I speak; she will not have to see you die. I'm afraid..." He twisted his gloved hand, causing Anorak's eyes to roll back into his head. "...that heart attacks are rather common for someone of your...advanced years."
She hated this. She hated coming to him, but he was the only one who could stop them. They had moved beyond her reach now.
Usha reached the door of the modest home in Ba Sing Se's Upper Ring and knocked. She waited for a few seconds before reaching in once again; however, the door opened before she got the chance.
The man that greeted her was large, normal for most Earthbenders of considerable skill, and his black hair was slicked back. A goatee adorned his tan face, and he wore a simple white tunic.
He smiled at the woman before him, finding her white hair and particular garb out of place. "Is there something I can help you with, Ma'am?" He glanced up at the night sky for moment before ushering her in.
"Yes, I hate to bother you at this late hour, Avatar, but—."
"Please, Spirit of Dawn, no need for such formality with me. Call me Argho."
The woman raised an eyebrow. "Impressive. Not many know of this form..."
Argho smirked. "Yes, well, Avatar Aang is screaming at me, telling me not to trust you with anything. So, you have but minutes to convince me otherwise. What is it you want?"
The spirit frowned. "Believe me, I'd rather not be here, but I have no other choice. I have had a vision, and I cannot stop it. Only the—!"
"—Avatar, master of all four elements, can, right?" Argho finished in a mocking tone. "I am willing and able to help the people of this world, of my world, but why should I lift a finger for a vengeful spirit who caused the death of one of Aang's children?"
She looked up at him. "Because if you don't, the world will be destroyed by blood and sound run amok. Now," she turned to leave. "I should go before your next visitor arrives. Good evening, Avatar Argho; you and I shall meet again very soon."
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