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|The Order and the Coast|
Sand and Steel
October 25, 2012
Centuries ago, the world changed with the Hundred Year War. The Air Nomads were wiped out, leaving only the Avatar, Aang. The Fire Nation brought war for a hundred years until Aang defeated the Fire Lord. He and the new Fire Lord helped create a new nation centered around Republic City, a metropolis of both technology and culture. Aang and his successor, Korra kept balance in the world while also aiding the new Republic City. Peace has come to the world again. But peace is an illusion the new Avatar cannot afford. With Korra's inevitable passing, the new Avatar has cycled into the Earth Kingdom born into a girl named Tala.
Chapter 11: The Order and the Coast
The coastlands were a various land, covered with beaches of sand to mountainous passes to a shining metropolis to volcanic islands. But in the aftermath of the Day of Black Sun. Flames predominated the landscape.
To try and repel the Fire Nation-Earth Kingdom alliance, counterattacks across the continent attempted to use the solar eclipse to push off the shackles of the Fire Nation. These attacks ranged from guerrilla warfare in Republic City to outright warzones in the North.
Among these great battles, the success of the Southern Water Tribe to break the blockade and head for Omashu was perhaps the light of hope.
A Week Later...
Tala looked out over the city leaning on the ledge of her window. The week since the Day of Black Sun had returned things to their normal state, at least as far as the siege is concerned.
Omashu had not won much in the fight, they pushed the enemy back a few blocks in New Omashu, they captured more ships than they lost. But none of it changed the status quo of the war here. The Fire Nation pushed back upon the return of their powers.
And the identity of the Black Dragon was confirmed, but in a way Tala wished never happened. Rishu destroyed an entire airship in a single lightning strike to display his might.
Tala felt strained, used, and easily manipulated. She had obsessed about who the Black Dragon was and tried to convince anyone in the council of it. But how did he know that? How did he do what Lira said, "plant the idea in your head."
Tala's reflections were interrupted by the sounds of explosions. She looked for the source and found none. Where did they come from? She went to search for someone who knew, she ran into a couple of Air Nomads, Kulek among them. "What happened?"
"I don't know, the siege lines got hit."
She continued to a better observation area than her window and came across Kuel, "What's going on?"
He smiled, "Good things."
She looked out to see chaos in the siege lines to the south west. She grabbed binoculars and inspected further. She saw that a wedge formation of a medium-sized army had broken through the siege and cut through for the city. While there were many tanks and equipment, all the men wore colors that deeply contrasted that of the Earth Kingdom; white and blue. Only two forces had those colors predominantly; the Order of the White Lotus and the Water Tribes.
Arkoda and Kuel had both assured that their forces were marshaling in the South when the war began. Somehow they broke the blockade and now the siege line to aid Omashu. When that realization struck, the city was cheering and helped with artillery to open the line further.
This surprise attack was not permanent, the Fire Nation's Air Force quickly opened up with bombers. The army got into the city, but the siege closed up the gap they had just made, anything not covered by actual manpower was substituted with bombs.
Ups In The Downs
Excitement rang through the city much like it did when they believed the Ba Sing Se Regulars were coming to save them. But this time the army that arrived was truly a friend of Omashu. At the heads of the army were loyal lieutenants of Arkoda and Kuel.
The leaders greeted their men heartedly. Arkoda was a simple man in his role as leader and shared in their labors and passions. He knew his men and so was genuinely happy to see them well. Kuel's reason more affirmed his status in the Order and that they came to their Grand Lotus first. However, he knew some of the men and happily greeted them.
Urri and Suun arrived within moments and greeted the reinforcements. Urri had adopted the demeanor of overconfidence again, or was it joy?
A war council was held that included the highest-ranking officers of the reinforcements. Omashu had no knowledge of how the Counterattack across the continent fared and if that would help or hinder the siege here.
A Master Lotus stood up to address the war council, "Sirs, as we know, the Day of Black Sun gave us an advantage even when the enemy suspected it. The White Lotus has been able to hold communications across the continent."
He motioned to the map of the world left of King Urri. "The Water Tribes have been left untouched by the Fire Navy and maintained the blockade. There were several major points of battle and war."
He pointed to the north of the continent, "Two important battles occurred in the Northlands here. The Northern Fortress, like Omashu has been sieged by Earth Kingdom Armies and Fire Nation Air Force. To the west, a Fire Nation Army and White Lotus Forces collided, they broke on the Solar Eclipse and could not recover even after it ended. The Lotus Forces then went east for the Fortress and cut a swath through the siege, breaking it."
The council seemed pleased at this news. It was a light of hope that there was success in the war beyond Omashu, where things had gotten grim. The Master Lotus, Liman, continued, "But it was a costly battle. Many lives were lost on this day."
The Lotus then pointed to another northern location, "Republic City and its United Forces have not fared nearly as well. The United Forces Headquarters had held out from the attacks since the beginning; but they made a grave error."
He pointed to a valley slightly east of Republic City, "The main force of the United Forces marched to meet the Fire Lord's personal army of Imperial Firebenders. It seemed like a good strategy, the firebenders could only rely on strategy and if they won, the area around Republic City would have been freed."
The Lotus sighed and pointed back to the base, "But they were too eager. Their headquarters were lightly guarded, mostly by firebenders. When the eclipse hit, a mercenary company known infamously as the Seasons came in and took the base. Without their headquarters, the United Forces were now pinned between two armies and forced to surrender."
He focused on Republic City itself next, "The city itself saw an increase in guerrilla warfare and an attack on the Fire Nation's base of command. But these attacks have unfortunately not amounted to anything that gives us an edge except supplies that aren't sent to sieges."
He then generalized to the whole United Republic, "The good news is that the rest of the United Forces are not out of the fight, and that is about two-thirds of their total forces. We believe they have situated themselves on all the mountain ranges where reaching them is as much a battle as fighting. Only the air forces can get there and would be outnumbered. We may then have allies in the future."
"In all, the eclipse gave us an edge to solidify our two strongest locations, the Northern Fortress and here in Omashu. Our allies otherwise have scattered or gone to guerrilla tactics to face the overwhelming size of the armies they face."
"And another situation. It seems that contacts we have confirm that more than the Seasons have been contacted. All the mercenary companies have signed contracts, most of them with the enemy, though the Northern Fortress managed to win at least three companies."
Suun spoke when the Master Lotus sat down, "If the Fire Nation armies have taken the Headquarters of the United Forces, that means they have more men to press into service elsewhere. Especially the two sieges. The Earth Kingdom will redouble its forces to start the siege in the North again. The Siege here will also be enforced as well, possibly by mercenaries."
Kuel spoke, "Mercenaries, are by default untrustworthy. They go to the highest bidder, no matter who."
"I'm afraid I have to interject on that," Arkoda sat up, "Not all the companies are like that. The most elite complete their contracts and rarely break them under any circumstances. The Seasons are the most famous as they have never broken contract in their twenty years of service. Others have loyalties to a certain area but for profit. The Kale-Flyers will never attack Gaoling, where most of their recruiting comes from unless they were defending it."
"Still, if a mercenary company was sent here, we could buy them. Not even for the assurance of their support but for the purpose of distrust between them and their clients."
The council continued much on this way, followed by supply logistics, ammunition and the other things the reinforcements brought with them. Tala left early, deciding that for once, she didn't need to know everything. No one seemed to notice her absence, she went to her quarters, picked up a black cloak and a pack of clothes and went off. She figured she had at best three hours before anyone noticed she was gone. She set for the little window in the palace that was a blind spot. She never told anyone about it, even Kulek.
On The Outside
Kuir looked over the lines, things progressed normally as his men prepared for a counterattack. After the line broke from reinforcements, anger filled the men to restore their pride at such a humiliating loss. They were determined to make the rematch theirs.
A chilling voice near him spoke, "We've confirmed it, the siege of the North is broken. The Earth King is going to personally lead it himself. Fitting that both King and Prince are leading the largest sieges of this war."
Kuir responded lightly, "And somehow the Black Dragon has managed to be only an advisor and not the overlord?" They both laughed, "Tell me Rishu, why the secrecy?"
"It has served its purpose. The Avatar heard nothing but of the Black Dragon, convinced that he was behind the war."
"But you were."
"Ha. True, perhaps. Nonetheless, she was obsessed with ending it by slaying one man and leapt, literally, at the chance. we diverted her while we mitigated the damage of an eclipse, which is quite a feat, if I say so myself."
"And now the battle lines have really been drawn. Two major sieges and a guerrilla war across the entire United Republic."
"It would seem so."
"Then what is your brilliant plan now?"
The Black Dragon breathed slowly, concentrating, "Now, I need to prevent the Avatar from using another advantage that is soon coming."
"Where in blazes is Tala!?" Urri was mad as always when the Avatar was nowhere to be seen. He pointed a finger at Kulek, "You! Where has she run off to?"
"I don't know."
"Don't give me that hogwash! She told you where she went."
"No, I didn't." The voice came from behind, Tala stood on the top of steps leaning against the wall as Urri turned around.
His face became more red with anger as his sons smiled, "Where have you been!? Guards are all over the place looking for you!"
She stepped down to the same level as everyone else, "Out." Urri somehow turned an even darker shade at the vague answer. Hava stepped forward, "Avatar Tala, you know the risks right now. Us not knowing where you are gives us the fear that perhaps something bad has happened to you."
"Well, it didn't." Tala was extremely calm; the kind of calm that came when she returned from mysterious disappearances. "So stop worrying. Now, I understand that we are going to test out the siege lines now that we have a larger variety of troops at our disposal?"
Suun decided to follow Tala's train of thought to calm down his brother, "Yes, with luck, our use of more than earth will give us an advantage we have generally been lacking."
Even the mad Urri agreed that the time to test the effectiveness of their now diverse skill-set was now before the enemy prepared for it. Always the hope was to push them completely out of the city, like it was before Kuir took command of the siege.
Suun looked below to the city, which was livelier with the arrival of reinforcements. Both men and women were partying. He was certain a new generation of children would be born come spring.
The people had hope again and with it, the determination to fight and win.
- This was a review chapter for what happened across the world during the Day of Black Sun, where all the resisting forces counterattacked.
- Once again, Tala disappears and returns in a much better mood.
- Chapters 10-14 all occur in the same month
For the collective works of the author, go here.
Storms of the Future Cycle
|The Journey of Tala|
|Book 1 - Sand and Steel|
|- - - - - - - - - - - - - -|
|Book 2 - Blood and Swamps|
|- - - - - - - - - - - - - -|
|Book 3 - Pyres and Storms|
|- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -|
|Fates and Vows|
|- - - - - - Ilera - Solace Fade - Scions - Sovereign|
|The Rise of Lirin|
|- In the Morrow - The White Dragon - Faith in Blood - The Great Gates - Lord Avatar - A Red Sun - Faceless - Faction - Tempest - Rally of Crows - Rally of Eagles - Dragons and Serpents - Kings and Men - Storms of a Spirit - Princes - A Battered Land - Seas of Ichor - Arbiter - Return to a Grave - Declination - Disaffection - Epilogue|
|Myths of the Empire|
|Pacification - Assassins - Empire - Red Sun Under The Empire - White Snow - Heirs|
|The Reclamation of Arein|
|Book 1 - Chaos|
|Refugee - Rogue - Ghosts - Dark Roses - Doyen - Divulgence - The Plan - Abscond - Mists of Illusion - Madonna - Syndicate - Playing the Stakes - Purge - Brothers|
|Book 2 - War|
|Alliance - Temple - Tensions - The Fall - Hunters and Prey - Lussuria - Shades of Relevance - Broken Star - Defiler - Strikeforce - Secrets of the Lair - Eminence - Swarm - Wanderer|
|Dreams of Melasa|
|Book 1 - Servant|
| - - - - - - - - - - - - -
|Book 2 - Shadow World|
|Faint but Clear - Ghost in the Steel - Kurotama - Loyalties - Servants of Shadow - Game of Fate - Shadows and Reflections - Tomb of Blood - Broken Blades - Hill of Shadow - Souls and Swords - Home|