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Tala-Book3Title13
Things in the Night
Chapter information
Series

The Journey of Tala

Book

3

Chronicle

Pyres and Storms

Chapter

13

Written by

Kuir

Editor(s)

Kuir, Decca03

Release date

April 12, 2013

Chronology
Last chapter

Chapter 12: Night of Steel

Next chapter

Chapter 14: Falling Seasons

The world is engulfed in war. Blood has spilled as the Nations contest a balance of power. Avatar Tala must guide the world in order to bring stability back, but must deal with resistance and ancient threats that risk to change the course of the world forever.


Chapter 13: Things in the Night

Waiting for even the smallest of advantages, the Dai Li clad Avatar and the metal-masked Spirit circled. It was an unusual match up, and yet the two could hardly attack each other without having to pull back.

The steel mask of the Spirit of Metal looked on coldly while the screaming face gave more emotion than its owner. It bore a look similar to a skull but with fangs for teeth.

Searing pain ringed her hands as a cut on each palm dominated the surface. She willed her rock gloves to tighten and stem the flow. She needed to end this fight fast or she would likely bleed dry from anymore cuts.

With open hands forward, she stopped circling and waited for him to move first. The Spirit assessed and attacked. She punched with a gust of wind. The metal-masked assailant hooked into the ground with his swords as the wind blew past him.

The emerald-eyed warrior back spun a kick with a trail of fire for the curved sword wielder. The assassin rolled away and came charging. Tala realized that she would suffer if she fought with earthbending, it was what the Spirits were used to, they faced it daily, but airbending and firebending? That was rarer and took more experience and skill. Tala was a prodigy of airbending, no Spirit could hope to counter that.


Spinning disc of wind sliced through the air between them as the Spirit dodged deftly. One nicked his arm slightly, he could feel the cut draw blood. The Avatar was changing tactics, she realized that he knew how to counter almost every technique of earthbending. He needed to go on the offensive before she took a stance that he was unfamiliar with.

Pressure built up, literally. His powerful opponent was creating a dense sphere of air around herself. He moved in and struck with a curved blade. He was expecting the blade to cut through the air and hit the low brim hat, instead, it turned away as if a storm was pushing the sword down. With his weight forward, he fell into the sphere that likewise sent him flying away, crashing him into a wall.

She stood over him, not waiting to send a fist of flames after his face. Sparks flew as fire met metal, but the Spirit of Metal managed to get out of the way. With two fingers, he pulled a grenade and set it off, a blinding light took the radius and he put all his weight into a downward strike with both hands on one sword, praying it would end this.

The sword stopped in place. As the air cleared, he saw the Dai Li Avatar on one knee with a hand outstretched toward his sword. Blast, he thought, she can metalbend. At the command of his enemy, his weapon flew away from his reach and dropped lifelessly to the floor. He didn't have time to reach for his second sword when his body lifted into the air.

At first, he felt nothing, only a little lightheaded. Then he felt pain as his heart churned, his lungs boiled and his stomached crunched. What was happening?

"Fool," a soft and deceptively light voice pressed the word at him. Her hand tightened and the pressure on his body tightened with it. His arms and legs compressed and he felt as if his muscles would explode from the tension. She waved her hand as if she was waving away a fly, he felt himself crash into the wall again. He didn't know if he broke anything, but knew he wouldn't get the chance to find out if he stayed.

On cue, a wave of grenades clanked against the ground and released a storm of smoke as the Spirits receded into the night, signaling that the local authorities were coming.


A volley of stone gloves went after the agile Spirits as two Dai Li kept a steady barrage going after them. Ustad and Li mercilessly hit any that stopped for a second and yet they kept getting up and kept coming.

Finally, a plethora of gas took the street. Coughing to breathe, the Dai Li were vulnerable, but lucky to see that the mercenaries had fled. Soon, a party of local troops arrived, noticing the havoc that had been inflicted on the street.

Ustad looked around, two of his brothers were on the ground, lifeless, a few more were injured. He saw at least five dead Spirits. Up ahead stood his daughter alone, she was furthest from them when the attack came. Two bodies were close by her but she looked up at the crescent moon mournfully.

Ustad approached her, "Tala, are you okay?" He may be the leader of the Dai Li, but he was also her father.

"I'll be fine," she spoke without really paying attention. She looked at her hands briefly before turning her attention elsewhere.

Ustad soon saw why when he took her hands in his. "Tala! These cuts are serious! They need to be stitched."

"I said I'll be fine. I can heal them. I can't, however, heal them," she looked to the two Dai Li among the dead, Sung being one of them.

Inconvenient Security

Tala walked a brisk pace as she held her bleeding hands tightly. The cuts would not cripple her, but the scars on her palms would stay. The great door to the throne room was open for the party of ambushed Dai Li.

Standing beside Iruei were two officers. They wore black with green lining, showing that they were generals. Iruei sat forward as they spoke to him. He looked up to Tala approaching, "Avatar, it is good to see you are fine, we have been looking for the attackers, but they have disappeared into the city underground."

"Convenient, two Dai Li are dead and the aggressors disappear before justice can be had."

Iruei's tone took a cold glaze, "Are you suggesting that I had a hand in this?"

"The world knows that you rule this city with an iron grip."

One of the generals spoke up, "Avatar, the Spirits are deeply entrenched in Ba Sing Se and have great resources to keep hidden from our forces. And, with respect," he looked quickly to the Earth King, "with his majesty's presence beyond the city, the Spirits have taken this advantage to press their control of the underworld in Ba Sing Se."

Tala looked at the general critically, Iruei answered, "This is General Qisas, head of Intelligence." He motioned to the other general, "And this is General Luern, head of Defense."

Qisas continued, "Ever since the Spirits showed up, they have been a presence that could not be stomped out. Infiltration is near impossible and they are always a step ahead of us."

"The Spirits act because they know they can without retribution. They know that you won't take action against them for fear of looking like the Dai Li of old. Either way, you play into their hands."

"You are painting with a broad brush, Avatar Tala." Qisas didn't seem to like the young woman's defiance.

Talas Hand

The thin cut hurts more.

"Well," she lifted one of her hands as the stone blocks of her gloves receded, "is that narrow enough for you?" She let them see the deep but thin cut into her palm as a small trickle of blood escaped.

"You're not one for subtlety when you've been insulted, are you?" Iruei chuckled lightly as he sat back.

Tala looked at them coldly, "No."


Qisas and Ustad were looking over tons of old architectural maps of the city, pouring over the possible locations for the Spirits. With such a massive city, the possibilities were endless. Tala was a little more blunt.

"I say we hit the Lower Ring and bust every underworld joint until they squeal."

"That will get you nowhere," Qisas snickered, "The Spirits have led us on fruitless adventures for decades. They run the streets."

"And they will continue to run them unless you take the fight to them. But I will concede that running headlong into the streets is just as unwise."

Qisas nodded, accepting her comment, "The Spirits have an extensive network of information and manpower, anything we do will be relayed back to their hidden headquarters."

"Then we use a resource that has no leaks." Tala rested her hands on the table as she looked at a model of the massive metropolis.

"What can you be sure has no leaks?"

"I know for sure of one and believe that the other has the same principle."

"And who would these resources be?"

She stood up, crossing her arms, "The Royal Guard and the Dai Li."

Qisas had a look of shock, he was not in command of the Royal Guard in any way. As a corp that personally answered to the Earth King, they were autonomous of the Traditional command structure. "The personal bodyguards of his Majesty and the Dai Li, while impressive, are not enough to search the entire city. Besides, you still need the Earth King's permission to use his forces."

"We'll get it. And we won't do searches, that would be wasteful, we'll raid the headquarters personally."

"You still have to find it, how will you do that?"

"They will lead us to it."

All Prey, No Hunter

The shadow fled through the narrow and winding stone streets of the night, desperately trying to get away. He had received the warning too late, he had already attacked a lone Dai Li agent only to find out it was a trap. He used all his skills in evasion to get away now.

Unfortunately, it had to be a full moon, bright light canvasing the street with minimal shadows.

Still they were coming. The sliding stone reverberated at his feet as he felt the Dai Li following him. Worse, he saw men on roofs watching it all, they weren't his brothers or sisters, they were the enemy. He was being chased, but for what? With this kind of manpower, they could have caught him. Did they think he would run for home?

He smiled beneath his mask, if they wanted a chase, then he would give it to them. A zig-zag through the streets was the easiest trick he gave them as he made the streets his maze to trick the pursuers. He heard a crash of stone to his right, someone was turning him left. He had no choice but to follow through with their guidance. Again, another booming sound of a wall breaking as a pursuer joined from another side forced him to continue straight.

Ahead was a Dai Li thug waiting for him, as they neared each other, he shot a hand forward and a chain with a cufflink on the end rocketed to him. He drew his weapons, hook swords. With only a foot between him and capture, he deftly batted the chain aside, making it close on thin air.

If he stayed to fight the shocked criminal, he would be surrounded. He leapt over the Dai Li and kept running. Not to be so easily avoided, the earthbending raised a wall ahead, hoping to pin the mercenary between it and the thug.

He swung his swords at each other, hearing the clank of them interlocking. With a wide twirl and swing he latched the handle of the sword into the stone wall and pulled himself up with a jump. Landing on top, he spun to catch the second sword and hit the ground to keep running.

Only he never got to landing. He crashed into the ground, mask first. His body had gone limp for an instant and he couldn't adjust. He got up shakily and saw a Dai Li agent waiting for him. He was at his feet, or rather hers, when he looked up.

Behind her a few steps were two Royal Guards and another Dai Li agent, though he had grey hair.

The woman moved a rock gloved hand to him. He was expecting her to fire the glove and prepared to parry, but his body slammed into the ground before levitating in the air.

She chuckled coldly, "Did you think that we would let you run us around the entire city for no reason?"

She turned the palm of her hand back to herself and his body drew closer, "Your merry little chase has narrowed down where we have to search, but we still have gaps. Gaps you will help us fill."

He didn't understand what she was talking about, he didn't give them anything in his chase. As if to answer his masked confusion, the black haired agent spoke again with her cool voice, "When on a desperate chase and aware that you are being funneled, you go everywhere but home. You avoided three specific districts in this run. We know one of them was because of its security, that leaves us two potential areas for headquarters."

She smiled sickly as he realized his flaw. He had run around most of the city except the Gold District, which was a military training ground, the Steel District, heavy with members, and the headquarters. They had narrowed their search to two damaging areas where they could focus their power to find the Spirits and crush them.

"Now, about the headquarters," she tightened her fist into a ball and his body wracked with pain as his heart beat furiously and his lungs failed to breath. His limbs burned and his blood boiled. What was happening to him?

"Blood is such a versatile thing to bend. It is everywhere in the body and the accompanying fluids make the possibilities endless. I could freeze you solid or boil your skin off. I could even bleed you dry through your orifices. Imagine the agony of feeling your life force abandon you and having no power to stop it."

Her balled fist loosened, "But its that abuse of power that makes you hate us so much, isn't it? I know the Spirits come from the Equalists that Avatar Korra put down before me. You hold bending in such contempt for the abuse its users take with regards to non-benders. Perhaps that just the order of things, perhaps there's nothing that can be done to stop it."

He body seared in anguish as she tightened again, "Oh well."

"Stop!" he screamed at the top of his lungs. He had been trained well to endure torture and interrogation, to handle any physical or psychological treatment that may be forced on him to talk. But never had he endured something so horrible as what this sick and twisted woman did to him now.

"Where?"

"In the Lake District," he spoke barely above a whisper. She tightened her fingers and he started before the pain came, "near the shore of Lake Laogai."

He looked up to see cruel emerald eyes and an insincere smile, "Thank you, your cooperation has been most helpful."

Steel is the Gift of Death

Sitting in his room, the deadly warrior known as the Spirit of Metal sat cross-legged by candlelight. He thought on the opportunities he had been given and the ones he had been denied, all because of the status of his bending, or lack thereof.

He was expendable to this city, to its government. To them, he was just another worthless gutter rat that came from the refugee blocs of the Lower Ring. His family belonged the Zhangs of the far south. Crossing the Great Divide, they came to Ba Sing Se to escape the Hundred Year War only to find the secret war of the Dai Li Conspiracy to be far worse.

The blunt Zhangs suffered for their inability to hide their knowledge of the war. The few that could were still poor and underfed laborers like his own family. They were still stuck down there when he grew up nearly two centuries later.

As a child with nothing to be guaranteed, he had no choice but to use the underworld to feed his family. Fighting and killing was a way of life and the only way to survive. But his family's lifeline didn't fit in the picture of the city and the image they were presenting to the world as a great utopia.

Naturally, the expendable and their illegal trade had to be stomped out, violently. He had managed to fight his way out and the blood on his hands was just like paint to his mind. Regardless, 'They' took notice.

The Spirits were the absolute of power in Ba Sing Se. No one challenged them, neither law or crime. They struck and killed as they deemed and no one dared to challenge them. There were hundreds of them, and no one ever truly knew who was one, for their iconic masks shielded them and hid them from the world and themselves.

They found something in the young man and took him under their wing, giving him the tools to take his revenge on those who had done him wrong.

He realized that the founders of the Spirits had suffered similar fates as Equalists who fled Republic City. It was necessary to hide yourself further and the Equalists took an old myth in Ba Sing Se. Many refugees and residents had spoken of a mysterious Blue Spirit who raided the lands. He carried dual Dao Swords and wore an iconic blue theater mask with a taunting face on it.

The Blue Spirit was a non-bender and still managed to even infiltrate the lair of the Dai Li during the Hundred Year War, when they were at the height of their power. He was never seen since, likely killed by the secretive oppressors of the city, but his mask was found. A new path for the disenfranchised and defeated Equalist to start anew, as the Spirits.

He was one such new recruit who had suffered and joined them. But unlike his brothers, he no longer thought along the lines of bender or non-bender. It was warrior or not to him.

As he honed his skills further, he realized that the purest expression of life was its loss, death. It was service to this end that fulfilled him and gave him purpose. He now had the honor of facing one of the greatest agents of Death, the Avatar, and living to tell of it. The Avatar was immensely powerful and he had the claim that he gave her scars she would bear for the rest of her life.

His meditation on the recent events of his life was cut short by a blaring alarm in the underground compound. The signal it gave was clear, the base was compromised.

Orders were to destroy any evidence that would compromise their operations. The Spirit of Metal had a large responsibility to finish the job and even stay to ensure that if he had to. His master entrusted the safety of their Order's survival with him.

A new alarm screeched, the base was under attack. It was hardly a minute, that wasn't nearly enough warning to purge the base before leaving, they would have to fight. Normally, they would have the manpower to easily hold until they finished the job, but with the massive contracts from the war, most of their forces were abroad.

He felt the rumbling of the earth as benders were undoubtedly pouring in. He armed himself and put on his mask, though he hadn't place the head wrap behind it.

As he ran through the halls of the underground base, he came across a pair of the invaders. With disc shaped hats and lean steel armor, the Royal Guard were distinctive. It seemed they had made a breach into the base from here and possibly another location.

More soon joined the two elite warriors. Chief among them was a long robed woman with a conical hat and long black hair. Her emerald eyes instantly caught him and recognized the man who gave her parting gifts on her palms.

"I guess I should have expected to find you here, that's good."

Revenge

Tala watched contently as the Spirit of Metal stood before her. The Royal Guard informed them of his reputation. He seemed to go by a code different from his fellow Spirits. He was soon joined by reinforcements as five more assassins filed into the hallway behind him.

The Royal Guards moved forward to disarm the mercenaries. She waved them to stop and took a step ahead of them. She breathed in deeply and prepared for a taxing but effective technique.

It began as a whistle that was barely audible. The discomfort of her targets grew and soon they realized as they tried to cover their ears that the Avatar was using a sonic power.

Soundbending was a highly advanced tier of airbending that required absolute mastery to even use lightly. The scream she was currently using was one that took all of Tala's effort.

The assassins dropped their weapons as they flailed in pain at the ringing in their ears. By the time she finished, all but the Spirit of Metal were on the ground. He picked up his unique swords and warily readied himself.

She smirked as he stepped forward. She lifted a hand forward and lightly twisted it. His chest pushed forward as if his heart was being taken out of his chest as his toes barely touched the ground.

"You will only win this fight when you can resist your own blood."

Hollowmask

So falls the strong...

He tried to move and even managed a grunt, the Avatar coldly chuckled, "Impressive. You're strong, but not strong enough." She waved her hand to the wall and he slammed into it himself. His mask fell to the floor with the vicious motion.

Tala walked forward lightly, as he looked on helplessly. She lifted a hand towards him and brushed his light hair, "Poor thing, your masters had no idea what I had to become to win this war."

She looked back to the soldiers, "Take him."


Tala walked through the base, there was sporadic fighting as the Dai Li and Royal Guards encountered light resistance. There were hardly any personnel in the base, though the potential capacity was impressive.

The Avatar found the deepest and darkest corner of the lair and entered. A dark room with a light in the center was the only definition she could give at first. Until she realized that there was a pedestal beneath the light holding something. She inched closer, careful for any traps in this dark abode.

It was a mask. Blue and white, it had a taunting face common in theater with tusked teeth at the bottom. It was rusted and cracked as if kept underwater for years.

She didn't get anymore time to reflect on the relic when a whistle of air signaled danger. She leapt out of the way of a bola that crashed into the floor. As the three bolas dragged back to its owner, she saw curved spikes on each ball scrape the ground.

The wielder stepped forward to reveal another assassin. He wore the same dress as the rest of his brothers, but his mask was distinctly different. Almost all black but with red lining, it showed no emotion and looked stoically forward.

Spinning the bolas again, they whipped around for the Avatar. She ducked under and fired a rock glove after the silent warrior who deftly dodged her strike. Leaping up and standing upside down on the ceiling with her rock boots, the bright emerald eyes narrowed as they observed their opponent.

A fist emitted flames after the warrior. He was fast, but something told her that he used to be faster, like he was older. That did not impede him as his experience seemed to be far above hers. When she saw him easily avoid any fire jab, she sent a stream instead. Flames licked at the air and Tala leapt at the cornered Spirit.

He threw the bolas forward. Tala narrowly made a funnel that was able to direct them away. Now she was toe to toe with her opponent. She punched the one hand that still had an earth glove but it was too slow as the man countered with a Chi Blocking strike just above her elbow.

Stepping back she looked warily. She knew the Spirits were Chi Blockers, but she never had given them such an opening to actually use it. The Spirit took his advantage and kicked at her ankle, barely catching it and sending her to the ground.

Standing over in emotionless victory, he readied for another strike when the Dai Li child exhaled heavily and sent a rush of wind straight into the chest of the Spirit. She spun her legs to kick her opponent and get up simultaneously.

Nothing else occurred except blinding pain in her eyes and ears as a small blast pushed her back. Utter blackness followed. She didn't notice when she woke up, but when she did, the light was out and the flames she had made were isolated to a corner opposite of her.

She turned her head to the spot with burn marks, there was no one. Her enemy had taken the opportunity to run after setting off a flash grenade.

She stood up unsteadily, her legs quivering slightly, and an arm limp. She tucked at her hat, nodding to the non-existent foe, "Well-played."

Subversion

Tala sat at the bed as a physician checked her. She had suffered slight injuries from the grenade and the Chi strike was already fading. The handsome young man seemed to have trouble either looking at her or not looking at her and would make quips and quickly regret them.

"You don't look too bad. Not that you don't look-"

"Relax, I can handle some flak. Am I going to live?"

"Yes."

"Good, then I will be going."

"But, Avatar, you need to stay until we are certain you are fine."

"I have duties that supersede my health."


Tala walked through the palace and entered the throne room by a side door. As she walked forward, Qisas and Iruei waited for her, "Avatar Tala, congratulations are in order," Qisas humbled himself.

"Thank you, General, but this isn't over. There were too few of the Spirits, especially since this was their headquarters."

Iruei looked to Qisas who continued, "I have just received reports explaining that discrepancy. The contract Urri had made with the Spirits has expanded, he is calling for all the forces of the mercenaries he has bought to marshal to Omashu."

"He can't honestly believe that they can break the siege?"

Iruei began, "Them alone? No. But they aren't the only factor in the siege."

The Earth King walked to a map focused on the South of the Earth Kingdom. At its center was Omashu. "The fire sickness took its toll on the siege as a large force was incapable of combat. The defenders used it to hit hard. Our supplies routes were lost when our forces had to return to Omashu to hold the lines."

"How do you know that the Spirits are complying with the contract? The Spirits aren't exactly known for their word."

"My son," Iruei looked away from the map, "Crown-Prince Kuir has a source in the Spirits that has corroborated our reports."

Their discussion was shortly interrupted as General Luern approached. He bowed low to the Earth King before continuing, "Your majesty, we have a problem."

"What is it?"

"The Siege of Omashu has hit a new complication. It seems some foul 'monsters' have begun attacking the lines. They are supposedly made out of stone and trees and don't die easily. Our men are getting cut down."

The emerald eyes of the Avatar constricted, "do these monster emit a foul green mist?"

"By reports, yes."

"Lenet," she whispered the name to herself, "we've got a problem."


Tala walked through the lengthy halls of the Palace. The ceiling was easily ten feet above her head. She hadn't seen such expansive architecture before, not even in Omashu. This Palace truly was a jewel.

As she walked through the halls, she passed General Qisas. As head of intelligence, she decided he would be the best to know, "General!"

He turned to her, "Yes, Avatar?"

"I was hoping to take a moment of your time to have some wisdom imparted."

"Certainly."

"I faced a particular Spirit in the headquarters, he was a superior warrior but he was also older than what I expected of this cutthroat group," she recounted the fight to him and asked for his input.

Qisas rubbed his chin, "It sounds like you had the rare instance of actually facing the Spirit of Revenge."

"Who is that?"

"The leader of the Spirits. He has never really been seen or faced. He popped up on the map about a decade ago before he disappeared."

"How do we know he is actually the leader?"

"Anytime that we have been able to interrogate a captured agent, they would only promise us that the Spirit of Revenge had the last laugh."

"How is he able to stay under the radar?"

"We think he has infiltrated the government and must have access to sensitive information."

"That's not good."

"Indeed, he seems to have an uncanny ability to fool and trick those around him. He could be a director in the service or a secretary with access to all the files."

"Don't you vet your personnel?"

"Vigorously," Qisas affirmed, "but the Spirits live double lives. On one hand, there is life with friends, family, and the world; but on the other hand, there is the secrecy of war and the way of the sword."

Tala thanked the man and went on her way. Qisas intrigued her. She didn't know much about him when she first arrived but learned from the Royal Guard that he was a trusted advisor with innate knowledge of the Lower Ring, his old home.

As a non-bender, Qisas clawed his way through the ranks by virtue of his information seeking skills. Qisas had networks of talkers that fed him constant information. It was this skill that got the attention of Earth King Iruei.

Qisas was the kind of man needed in this war, like any war. His abilities give the edge to whoever has him. Tala hoped that her side could hold onto such assets, they couldn't afford to lose this war.

Reminisce

The Dai Li agent walked the wall that guarded the Royal Palace. Since the raid on the Spirits' headquarters, the riots and protests against the Dai Li had increased dramatically. He paced on one corner where the two guards eyed him suspiciously.

He knew that Royal Guards came from all across the Earth Kingdom, not just Ba Sing Se, still it didn't change anyone's view of the Dai Li. His ancestors had planted a lasting legacy with their actions.

Ustad looked out onto the rising city. He was sure they did it to protect the city, but power has an interesting way of corrupting oneself. Even he couldn't deny it. When Tala was born and breathed fire, he knew who she was. It was just as present in his mind to use her to bring his people back into the fold of the world, the others certainly thought it was the only way.

The grey haired man considered himself lucky that he was never tested over the loyalty between his daughter and the Dai Li for both were blood and family. The cold winds of winter were coming and smacked at his hardened face, "Oh, Kiyoura, if only you were here."

Ustad often thought about his wife. He had been best friends with Li for his whole life but didn't notice his sister until later years. As members of the secretive Dai Li, they eventually ran into each other. Li was not happy with the growing relationship but couldn't do anything to stop it.

Ustad was so happy when Kiyoura married him. He was happier still when they had a child. But happiness was temporary, as was love. Kiyoura got sick not too long after Tala was taken, perhaps that had to do with it. When Tala was only nine, her mother passed, leaving a hole in their hearts.

The leader of the Dai Li was noticeably colder and more authoritative since then. He buried himself in work and Li was his only door to the world beyond. He never asked his brother-in-law about his view about Kiyoura, he never wanted to.

Try as he might, it was harder for the aging man to understand people. They were so different, they wanted to smile and laugh every moment, they wanted only good things and to never be tested for the ill. Ustad was a different breed, he had suffered throughout life so that he could be strong. His daughter was just like him, and he saw that she shared the same disconnect, but worse.

He at least understood that people were different. Tala made no distinction, as if everyone were raised as her, hardened and tested to their limits. The young Avatar was about clarity above all and spat on the confounding lies people tell themselves. He recalled on one of her trips home from Omashu how she made a girl cry when she made it obvious a boy didn't like the annoying brat. Tala had been punished and couldn't comprehend why. But when he thought about it, he couldn't either, but he had explained it to her nonetheless.

Was that a good thing for an Avatar, who was there for the people of the world? She needed to moderate and create balance. It wasn't her place to make final judgements the way he had taught her to. Did he do his daughter any favors?

A softness took the wind, calming him and reassuring him of his choices. He gave her the tools to make her own choices with minimal emotion, to trust her intellect and not her heart. He had done his best as a father.

Notes

  • Kuir's source will be explored in Fates and Vows.
  • Tala showed a colder side here with bloodbending.
  • The Spirits are not out of this fight yet.
  • Ba Sing Se has expanded to the shore of Lake Laogai, hence how residents were able to find the Blue Spirit's Mask.

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