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Book 3: Earth
August 18, 2014
As the war emerges the waters just aren't safe anymore.
Chapter 1: Dangerous Waters
Book 3: Earth
Chapter 1: Dangerous Waters
Three years have gone by since the war council between Earth King Qiang Zhen, and King Gao Zu of Omashu discussed war plans, Gao Zu declining and leaving the eastern Earth Kingdom to fend for themselves. The new Ba Sing Se gang the Yapo, have taken the streets of the Lower Ring now becoming a threat to the Hei Shichang and Dixia as they begin to take territory belonging to its neighboring gang.
As the Earth King continues to focus his attention of the uprising war between the eastern Earth Kingdom and the Water Tribes, the guards and all the higher authority officials have began oppressing the people of the Lower Ring. Crime rates have excelled highly within the last month. The people are now worshiping the leader of the Yapo named Sunhuai, turning their backs on Baotu and Ying Xiao, their homes having small honoring shrines with a painting of Sunhuai and incense sticks.
Rong Yan, and his two remaining friends Unaraq and Aloi have traveled around the Earth Kingdom helping those in need, finally heading off on their way to Han Tui where Rong Yan would train with Master Sun Wu, a well-known, and renown earthbending master as instructed by Chief Cupun. Within those five months Tanaraq, has grown accustomed to the Northern Water Tribe customs and cultures, still clinging to her Southern Water Tribe heritage and culture. She is now seen a notable person within the palace and within the capital city of the North Pole.
Rumors have gone by as what is happening with General Senlin, news and reports have stated that he was last seen hiding somewhere in the western Earth Kingdom. Due to the Earth Kingdom being ruled by two kings, there were different laws in the two different provinces. While he may be a criminal in the eastern part of the Earth Kingdom, he is a free man in the western part. Bounty hunters have made several attempts in capturing Senlin and his cronies but to no avail.
"Captain! I can still see something through the dense fog!" an Earth Kingdom soldier shouted.
The man wearing a greenish and yellowish set of uniform was looking through a scope to see farther into the dense fog. All of a sudden, the water began to rise and the risen wave had frozen, footsteps on the ice, sharpening of blades and communication was heard.
The soldiers stood in their defense stances waiting startled as to what awaited them behind the fog. The fog had quickly turned into four ice spikes and shot towards four Earth Kingdom soldiers. One of the men ducking, another using his spear to block the ice spikes from impaling him, one being nicked on the right shoulder quickly grabbing his right shoulder in pain and crouching down wincing, the other unlucky and being impaled as he slowly slid down the ice spike already dead.
From the ice wave rode warriors in leather armor, pelt cloaks and animal skull helmets, jumping in like acrobats with their clubs, spears and machetes. Others using the water below them to push themselves upwards and landing on the ship's deck. They began to fight with the soldiers in green uniforms. Ducking, and dodging like primates using their crafted weapons made of bone and leather, and the element of water.
A man with grey, black, and white face paint with a moon marking on his forehead jumping onto the Earth Kingdom ship, dual-wielding two large clubs, hitting and smashing bones and skulls in. Running around the deck of the ship, bashing people on the head. Two Earth Kingdom soldiers bend the rocks on the ship into pebbles the size of their pinky fingers, open palming forward as the pebbles shoot forward at high speeds.
One of the pebbles hits one warrior in the chest, puncturing his armor and cutting into his flesh a bit, making him fall on the floor. On the floor he began to rip away at his armor to examine the cut and check if its a minor wound or a major one. Getting back up he is instantly stabbed in the back with a polearm from an Earth Kingdom soldier. The warrior was hit on the forehead staggering him, as he tries to regain balance he is leg sweeped by another polearm wielding Earth Kingdom soldier and impaled by the polearm.
The instill of fighting continues, the Water Tribe ship had some bombs aboard, some soldiers had lifted the huge bombs onto the Earth Kingdom ship, and lit them afire. The Water Tribe warriors and waterbenders fled. A warrior was running on the makeshift bridges they had crafted as another warrior cuts down on the two bridges. The runner makes a large leap for it, while the other gets a hold of the runner's arm and pulls him up to the ship. The Earth Kingdom ship explodes all the men aboard the ship most likely have died from the explosion, and if they lived then they're food for any large aquatic beasts in the ocean.
Nightfall hits in the Upper Ring of Ba Sing Se, within the War Council room sat three of the five Council of generals of the eastern Earth Kingdom, in the middle of them all sat Earth King Qiang Zhen.
General Sudu, grabbed a scroll from his belt and placed it on the large world map and began to report, "Earth King Qiang Zhen, the Water Tribes have hit our naval forces hard, within the past three months they have made advances on our waters, and I've even received reports from General Qingbao that the Southern Water Tribe have seized a village off the coast southeast of the eastern Earth Kingdom, and it doesn't look good."
"Damn, more of these Water Tribes taking my villages, slaughtering my people! General Ren send a regiment of men over to Chu Village, I want those Water Tribe soldiers out of the village and I want it back at in Earth Kingdom control." Qiang Zhen ordered.
"Yes my king, I will see to it that it is done." bowed Ren as he took his leave.
General Tsuo-ya and General Sudu, were left with the Earth King in the War Council Room, discussing matters of the war. Looking at Tsuo-ya, Qiang Zhen asked, "Anything of General Senlin?"
"Negative, your Majesty. It's like General Senlin, doesn't even exist. We've spoken with Fire Lord Yeh Lu, and his men have made a survey of the Fire Nation and have not found him there. The last reports where he was seen in the Northern Water Tribe but, even if he's there he's still a target. My guess is that he's somewhere in the western Earth Kingdom, but King Gao Zu has a large defensive line on the borders of our separate lands." Tsuo-ya explained.
"Aye that is true, Qiang Zhen. If our soldiers even move into Gao Zu's territory, they may think we were sent to attack Omashu or any land in the western Earth Kingdom, something we cannot risk while at war with the Water Tribes." Sudu agreed.
"Hmm..very well let us focus on General Senlin another time, if you get any reports from Ren, Qingbao or Rongyu please let me know. For now I return to the palace, and make that our coastal waters and our frontal defenses are strong, generals." Qiang Zhen finished.
Sudu and Tsuo-ya bowed to Qiang Zhen as he left, they gathered their reports and orders and left the building as well. Somewhere in the waters of the Earth Kingdom, Unaraq was navigating the gang as they neared towards Han Tui. Many naval ships were seen by Aloi at the bottom, she pointed downwards saying, "Hmm I wonder why there are so many ships down there."
"What are you talking about, Aloi?" asked Unaraq turning his attention to the airbender and eyes off the map. Unaraq then shouted as Aloi bent strong gusts of air towards a smoldering boulder that was coming right at them.
"RONG YAN! Make Shen go FASTER!!!" Unaraq shouted at the top of lungs.
"On it!" Rong Yan shouted back, snapping the reins on Shen, as the red dragon sped even faster through the sky. More boulders had been launched in the air, flying across Shen began to dodge every boulder. Aloi, a little upset as to why the other nations must plunge themselves into war.
"What the heck is going on down there?!" Unaraq shouted.
"I don't know!" Aloi replied.
"Were those Water Tribe and Earth Kingdom ships down there?" Rong Yan asked.
"We need to reach Han Tui quickly, hopefully they have a temple there I can use." Rong Yan said.
"There's no time for talking to dead people! We're in a war!" Unaraq panicked.
"Unaraq, I need to speak with Ku Tei he might have wisdom on war. I've never faced a war!" Rong Yan responded.
Paying attention to the map again, he point to right, "There!"
The clouds dissipated as a large city was now becoming visible, they had finally reached the city of Han Tui. Han Tui, was a border city and it rested on the western half of the Earth Kingdom, there were heavy patrols around the city. Must've been an obvious defense protecting the city from any eastern Earth Kingdom or Water Tribe soldiers.
Shen lowered altitude and landed near a stable yard, Rong Yan, Unaraq, and Aloi jumped off Shen and grabbed their satchels. Putting his satchel on his back, Rong Yan grabbed Shen's reins and led him to the stable master. Handing the stable master a gold coin, the dragon's reins were handed over to the man. Rong Yan ran off to catch up with Aloi and Unaraq.
A soldier of the western Earth Kingdom had approached them, "Halt!" he yelled.
"What business have you in Han Tui, Fire Nation?" the soldier asked.
"We're on official business, sir." Unaraq responded, handing the soldier the scroll from Chief Cupun. Opening the scroll he notices the official seal of the Northern Water Tribe chief, only skimming through he closes the scroll and hands it back to Unaraq.
"Welcome to Han Tui, Avatar and friends." the soldier saluted walking away.
Unaraq glanced over at Rong Yan, "What are we doing first?"
"Heading over to Sun Wu's estate, and handing him the scroll given to us by Chief Cupun, I need to start earthbending training now." Rong Yan said.
"Alright lead the way." Unaraq pointed.
Unaraq, Rong Yan, and Aloi began to walk in the direction that led to Sun Wu's estate. A few minutes going up the streets they found the large home, it looked empty, and a few men were carrying things out of the home. Aloi confused walked up to a man drinking from a waterskin.
"Is this Sun Wu's home?" she asked.
"Was." the man answered.
"Was?" Rong Yan wondered.
"You didn't hear? Old Sun Wu died three days ago, of natural causes." the man said.
"Oh..I was sent here to look for him..I need an earthbending master." Rong Yan added.
"Hey wait! I recognize you, you're the Avatar." the man commented.
"Yep that's me!" Rong Yan smiled.
"That's a bummer, Avatar. I believe he was the only earthbending master here too." the man pitied.
"Thanks." Rong Yan thanked him.
"By any chance does Han Tui, have a spiritual temple?" Rong Yan asked.
"Sure does, just go down this road, walk past two blocks, turn right and you'll see a bridge. Go over that bridge and continue walking down that road and you'll reach the temple." the man directed. Rong Yan thanked him with a slight nod.
"Well? The old guy died, so what? There are plenty of master earthbenders out here in the western Earth Kingdom." Unaraq claimed.
"True, I think I'm going to go talk to Ku Tei though." Rong Yan spoke.
"You do that, I'll go restock us some food and supplies. Aloi you want to come?" Unaraq inquired.
"No thank you, I think meditating sounds great right now." Aloi bubbled.
Unaraq split from the duo and went his own way with a sack full of money and an empty bag. Aloi and Rong Yan, strolled on off to the temple to meditate. They reached the spiritual Earth temple in a matter of minutes. Going down all the busy streets that were full of people was hard, trying to avoid anyone handing out pamphlets and merchants trying to make buy their wares.
Opening the doors they both walk into an Earth priest walked right out and approached them, "I'm sorry travelers, but the temple is currently closed to the public. The workers are cleaning it up."
"I can't wait any longer, I need to speak with Avatar Ku Tei at once!" Rong Yan ordered.
"The Avatar? Please excuse the mess, Avatar. Please it'll be my pleasure to lead you to our Avatar mural." the priest suggested.
He led both Rong Yan and Aloi, to the mural of which he spoke of, the painted mural was on a large wall. Painted were five Avatars two which were recognizable as Avatar Ku Tei and Avatar Xi Tong the other three were a mystery. One was a large man, the other looked like an eastern Earth Kingdom noblewoman and the other one looked like a simple farmer who wielded a katana blades. Rong Yan was always interested in learned the names and the lives of his past lives, so he was curious and he asked the priest who they were.
"These Avatars, they're unrecognizable to me who are they?" Rong Yan asked.
"Well as you may know Avatar Ku Tei is on the far right famous for ending the Thirty Year War, next to him is Avatar Xi Tong heir to the eastern Earth Kingdom famous for ending the tyranny of the regent lord of Ba Sing Se, in the middle is Avatar Bhudev, famous by creating the valley known as the Great Divide to stop a tsunami from flooding his hometown, to Bhudev's left is Avatar Avani, who was a noblewoman of Omashu famous for ending an attempted assassination on the King of Omashu at the time, to Avatar Bhudev's far left is Avatar Girilal, a simple farmer who's life changed when he was told he was the Avatar. Girilal, is famous for ending a civil war in the Earth Kingdom." the priest explained.
"That is something to think about, what will you be remembered for?" the priest added.
The priest walked away, Aloi sat down somewhere far from Rong Yan to not disturb his meditating. Rong Yan plopped down and began to focus on clearing his head, and began to meditate. Few minutes in he inhaled and his eyes had shown brightly, the essence within him had summon Avatar Ku Tei to him. Ku Tei sat just a few inches from Rong Yan.
"Ku Tei, I need your help..the Water Tribes and the eastern Earth Kingdom have plunged back into war." Rong Yan began.
"Avatar Rong Yan, I will help you along the way, but remember this war has only resumed because of one man. The actions of the two nations is only misdirection, believe me when I tell you but Senlin is planning something big. And that is up to you to find out." Ku Tei said.
"I haven't seen Senlin since, the Southern Air Temple...its like he's avoiding me." Rong Yan commented.
"A perfect reason for that, he might be avoiding coming in contact with you because he wants no distractions on his big plans. My guess is that he wants to get back into Ba Sing Se and weaken the eastern Earth Kingdom, then he may focus on you." Ku Tei guessed.
"Chief Cupun, has sent me to Han Tui, to train with Sun Wu a master of earthbending. But Sun Wu has recently passed away." Rong Yan added.
"My old comrade Sun Wu.." Ku Tei paused and then sighed.
"Rong Yan, you will find an earthbending master...soon. You will know when I tell you that person is worthy." Ku Tei said.
"How will I stop this war though?" Rong Yan asked.
"My wisdom to you, to stop the war you must end the threats that have started it." Ku Tei finished as he dispersed.
Placing his hands on his knees, he sat on his knees thinking about Ku Tei's last line 'To stop the war you must end the threats that have started it.' He was thinking about it, but the answer just wouldn't come to his head. Aloi had opened one eye and saw that Rong Yan was done, using some air to lift her up into the air and onto her feet. She ran up to him and asked about what he was discussing with Ku Tei.
"So what were you and Avatar Ku Tei discussing?" Aloi curiously asked.
"This war we're in..he thinks that Senlin is avoiding me because he doesn't want me to disrupt his plans. He thinks that Senlin wants to weaken the eastern Earth King and then strike me to complete his personal vendettas." Rong Yan responded.
"That guy is crazy, but.." she paused.
She placed her hand on his shoulder and smiled brushing her bangs away from her face. "I'm here for you..and I know that Unaraq is here for you too. We can do this, we can beat that insane general."
"Thank you, Aloi. But I have to face General Senlin alone. Your destiny is not mine." Rong Yan reassured her.
They walked out of the temple, and down to the bazaar in hopes of catching up with Unaraq. After running into the bazaar they saw Unaraq enter a tavern, going in after him they walked into the two story tavern filled to the brim with tables, patrons and drinks. He ordered a drink to slog down before heading off somewhere.
Next to Unaraq sat another man behind drinking a large wooden mug of brew, he had long black hair that he wore in a pony tail. He also wore standard lower class clothing, completely different from Unaraq's silk threads. The green clothing had a few holes, and tears with stains here and there. He looked around the same age as Unaraq and Rong Yan, must've at least been in his early 20s. On his back was a brown satchel and a katana blade. He adorned a green headband on his head, and he had green eyes.
When Rong Yan and Aloi, walked into the tavern Rong Yan had heard a small whisper and looked over at the man sitting next to Unaraq. Unaraq looked back and hopped off the stool to greet his friends.
"Guys where were you?" Unaraq asked.
"We went to the temple remember? Spoke to Ku Tei as well." Rong Yan answered.
"Oh yeah. I forgot. What did he say?" Unaraq asked.
"He gave me some wisdom and I'm still trying to figure what he meant when he said, 'To stop the war you must end the threats that have started it.' do you know what he meant?" Rong Yan quoted.
"This old man named Ku Tei of who you speak of meant that whoever began the war, you must end to have this war meet its finish." the man responded.
They looked behind Unaraq and shrugged asking Unaraq who is friend was since he seemed so quiet plus Unaraq never introduced his friend to Aloi or Rong Yan. He hopped off the stool as well and introduced himself to Rong Yan and the group.
"I am Jushi, and no need to introduce yourself..I already know you're the Avatar. You're hunting the escape traitor who assassinated the Earth King while mastering the four elements." Jushi introduced himself.
"Yeah...how did you know?" Rong Yan inquired.
"Word gets around the world y'know, I'm from the town of Lu'an, the Earth King's nephew was killed in my town by waterbenders. You're friend here is the crowned prince to the Southern Water Tribe, and this little lady is an airbender from the Eastern Air Temple. Impressive." Jushi acknowledged.
"What do you do, Jushi?" Unaraq asked.
"I am a swordsman and an earthbender I travel the Earth Kingdom doing bounty work, from crime bosses, bandit leaders, to thieves and people who've skipped trials." Jushi claimed.
"You're a bounty hunter then. Perfect. And a master earthbender, I believe we are looking for one of those." Unaraq said.
"What? A bounty hunter?" Jushi wondered.
"Well...no more like he's looking for a master, the man we were sent to died a few days back." Unaraq noted.
"Old Sun Wu? Yeah that's saddening but we all die someday." Jushi mentioned.
Jushi was holding tight onto a scroll, before adding on to what he just said he opened up the scroll, the scroll contained the following: 'Kimaru of the Northern Water Tribe, Wanted for murder, escaping a prison escort, mugging, assault, stealing, extortion, and war crimes. Reported traveling with wanted criminals former General Senlin of the eastern Earth Kingdom wanted for treason, and former Admiral Palartok of the Northern Water Tribe navy wanted for treason, escaping trial, and war crimes. Considered armed and dangerous, reward one thousand gold coins.'
Rong Yan gave a look to Unaraq, and then Unaraq nodded his head and mentioned, "We've ran into him before."
"What?" Jushi asked.
"Kimaru, that's his name right? We ran into him. The earthbender that is with him has a personal vendetta against the Avatar, the last we seen those three was at the Southern Air Temple." Unaraq informed. Rolling the scroll back up he stashes it back into his belt, and turns to look at Rong Yan, Aloi, Unaraq. Crossing his arms beginning to think of a deal, looking down as his arms still hold the position they're in he comes up with an idea.
"Hold on I want offer you guys a deal, you lead me to Kimaru, Senlin, and Palartok..and I'll teach the Avatar earthbending." Jushi declared.
"Deal." Unaraq promised.
"Hey! Wait isn't this my decision?!" Rong Yan argued.
"What? It's a perfect deal, if we track down and help him capture those guys, one they won't kill you, and two Jushi will teach you earthbending along the way. Everyone's happy!" Unaraq attempted to convince Rong Yan.
"As long as we put away those horrible men in a prison, then I agree with Unaraq." Aloi commented.
"Fine, it's a deal, Jushi." Rong Yan said. They shook hands, the deal seemed to be a good one, and they all shook hands with Jushi. Jushi finished the last of drink and signaled Rong Yan to lead the way. As they walked out of the tavern Jushi mentioned.
"As for learning earthbending....the art of earthbending brings discipline, strength, the stronger you are physically, the stronger your earthbending will be." Jushi stated.
"I can teach you earthbending, must you be physically and mentally prepared, Avatar. Because earthbending is not for the weak! My training style and discipline will bring you to your knees if you are not prepared." Jushi claimed.
"I'm ready." Rong Yan assured.
"Good, training starts tomorrow morning before sunrise..I hope you're ready." Jushi restated.
"Where are we heading to first?" Jushi added.
"We can start with towns we haven't traveled to yet and ask around for Senlin and his lackeys." Rong Yan responded.
Meanwhile, somewhere in the western Earth Kingdom, in a port town where ships stop by to get repairs, and the naval forces stop for breaks. A small wooden ship was docked at the harbor's docks. Three men were walking down the street, all three of them wearing hats like one of the man wearing dark blue colors. He grinned and pointed to the small wooden ship on the docks, the one in the middle who was wearing green clothing lifted his hat up and grinned as well, all three approached the wooden ship and began to walk up onto it.
One of the men on the ship was wearing light green clothing, he had a dark brown pony tail, green eyes, a scruff under his chin, and had a slightly fit build. He adorned jewelry on his ears, and rings all over his fingers. The man was a pirate, he felt the suspicious presence of Senlin and his lackeys. Walking up to them he warns them, "Hey! You can't be on this ship! Get off now or else!"
Kimaru walks to him, placing his left hand on the pirate's mouth, and his right hand grasping his shirt and slamming him against the wall of the cabin house on the ship where the Captain of the ship resided in. "We need to speak with Captain Sao Feng, where is he?" Kimaru demanded.
Kimaru removed his left hand from the pirate's mouth so he could speak, "He's inside his cabin house, but he doesn't want to be disturbed!"
Senlin opened the door anyway, Senlin walked in as Kimaru let go of the man and followed right behind Palartok. Walking through the cabin, the captain of the ship named Sao Feng, was busy writing things down on a piece of parchment and counting the gold he had made in the town. Sao Feng looked up, giving a concerned but aggravating look, "Who let you in?"
"Your slender, weak thug did, so easy to intimidate." Senlin laughed.
"I'll have to have a little talk..with him." Sao Feng murmured.
"Now's not the time to talk to weaklings. We're here to strike you a deal.." Palartok claimed, looking at he Kimaru he nods his head, Kimaru slightly nodding back tosses the large sack of overflowing gold, Sao Feng's eyes lit up and he smiled. Senlin chuckled when he saw the reaction on the pirate captain's face.
"You like what you see?" Senlin chuckled.
"You can have this large sack of gold, and there is plenty of this where it came from, if and only if you lend your aid to me..I'm creating an army." Senlin explained.
"Army for what? General." Sao Feng inquired.
"I'm going to assault Ba Sing Se, and overthrow the Earth King...my friend here will be commanding the ground troops..and if you accept you will command the naval forces. What do you say?" Senlin claimed.
"That's suicide, we can't do it alone with fifty pirates!" Sao Feng argued.
"You let us handle that, Captain. We will keep in touch with you." Palartok reassured.
Sao Feng nodded with agreement Senlin asked for another request to the pirate captain, "Send a man to Ba Sing Se, we have a message for..a friend there. This friend of mine is a crime lord named Baotu. When he receives the message tell him its from Taofan, we will meet him in Omashu." Senlin requested.
"Your request will be granted, General." Captain Sao Feng promised.
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