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Chapter 1- Garami Mir
Garami ducked a high kick and then blocked a jab with his forearms. Tacking a step back he squared up once again before throwing a combo of left, right, uppercut. All of which were blocked as his opponent guarded his face and then shot low. Garami sprawled, getting both his arms in solid under-hooks. "There's your mistake," he thought. He threw a knee into the shorter boy's stomach which knocked him back a step. The right that Garami connected to the other's button stunned his adversary and knocked him to his back. Jumping on him in side control, he used the few seconds of dazedness to swing his legs over the boys chest and wrap around his arm. Arching his back, Garami increased the pressure on his victim's elbow until he felt the three taps on his leg.
Releasing the straight arm bar, he helped his sparring partner up off the ground. "You alright, Akiro?"
"Yeah," the muscular non-bender said. "That shot you threw to my jaw had me reeling pretty good." Garami knew how that was. The small gloves they wore that still allowed movement for grappling didn't protect the other guy's face so much as the users knuckles. The rest of the day went lighter in intensity as they went through forms for various submissions. A few practiced some chi blocking techniques that Garami had never cared to learn much about.
There was an elder who visited the gym once a week to show some ancient art that could block one from using their bending power. The strikes were quick and had to be done in the exact right places with a precise amount of force behind each one. This gym was more for students who wished to learn regular fighting styles, rather than bending ones. There were a few benders who were here however, and sometimes they would use their bending as a demo for the others to try and defeat them without the born gift.
Garami preferred to train at this place over other training facilities designed for earthbenders mainly because this was more real. The people here were better, fiercer, and everything they used here valued practicability over flashiness. He still went to the earth dojos to train as well, the style of this mixed gym transferred well to when he actually used his bending. Garami never did have the most horsepower when it came to his earth moving, but he supplemented it with other ways. Hopefully the raw power would come with age, for now he trained his body.
After their training and workout finished, they all retired to a sauna to clean off. The city was built around a series of high pressure pipes using steam to power many things. Rather than simply having vents at places, they built a multitude of saunas along the pipes main paths. As he was relaxing in the steamy heat, a still wet behind the ears firebender approached him, asking if he was interested in joining a bending team they were trying to start. Garami just gave the boy an angry glare until he left. He was on a team once, and would never join a half-assed group again. They went 1-3 on a weak amateur circuit, the one victory coming when Garami had been able to drop all three opponents himself.
He was looking for a pro team to join. He kept his eye on the papers looking for injuries and possibilities to try out. So far nothing had panned out, but it would eventually and he knew it. Exiting the sauna and toweling himself off, he returned home. He moved to the big city two years ago and lived alone in a small apartment above the market. He'd get a run and a light lift in tomorrow morning before going to his work at a place that repaired the new steam driven bikes around town. It led to busy days, between working out, working, and training. But it was the only way to give himself a shot at becoming a pro-bender.
Garami Mir grew up in a small mining village about a week's worth of travel outside Republic City. From a young age he had always been bigger than his classmates, and as such began working down in the mines much sooner. The heavy lifting and vigorous work had been enjoyable to him and he quickly filled out to his solid 230 lb frame. After completing his schooling, he began to evaluate his life. All the men in his village lived happy lives working away in the mines and coming home to loving families, but something about it seemed drear to him and he looked for more in life.
Sparring with his friends had always been fun, and one of the girls in his village was a waterbender and the two enjoyed competing their styles. With the taking off of the Pro-Bending League (possibly calling this Ultimate Bending Championships) in Republic City, Garami felt it calling to him. He had been dreaming of it since he was 16, and then at 18 he approached his parents about it. After careful thought and convincing on his part, he was finally able to convince his parents to let him go to the big city to train. His family would be fine without him and it was time to live his own life. That was a little over two years ago and now he was living and training in Republic City, waiting for his shot at fame.
Garami woke early in the morning and pulled on some running clothes before walking down the stairs of his apartment and stepping out into the brisk morning air. He took off, jogging down streets so empty he felt like he had the whole city to himself. He used to hate running; hate it with a passion. But after forcing himself to do it for conditioning he found that he began to enjoy the calming effect of the rhythm. After allowing his legs to eat up a few miles he returned to his residence and took a quick sauna to let the sweat roll off his skin. After dunking himself in cold water to remove the steam/sweat he toweled off and walked back up into his apartment.
The clothing he chose this morning consisted of brown trousers and a green sleeveless tunic displaying the old Earth Kingdom logo in silver embroidery on its back. The city began coming alive around him as he walked to work. Shopkeepers opening up their doors and stall masters wheeling out today's wares. Garami stopped at a fruit stand and bought himself a nice breakfast before continuing on.
"Morning Riki," he said as he entered the repair shop.
"Morning boy," the shopmaster said in response. Riki was in his forties, balding and with a gut starting to protrude, but a good and kind man who had a knack for all things mechanical. "You see this in the paper? There's a team willing to pay a freelance earthbender more than you make here in a month for just one fight. Does that spark your interest?"
Garami took the paper from his boss and scanned the names. "I know this team. Taz was their old earthbender, he got called up to the big leagues. He was their backbone, they're nothing without him. I'll pass." He returned the paper to Riki and set about his morning duties.
As the morning progressed, he finished all his scheduled things and was about to go on a lunch break when a blonde with goggles on her head entered the repair shop with her bike. "Do you have a minute?" She asked. "I'm having some troubles with this thing and I think its coming from the compression chamber."
Garami wiped his greasy hands off on his apron and approached her. "Sure, I can take a look at it. What's it doing for you?"
"Well," she responded, "I can't get it to go above city speeds any more and its putting out a lot of steam. I just don't know enough about it myself."
"No problem," Garami responded and he wheeled the bike back into the workshop. He lifted it up and placed it on the bars so that he could crawl under and get a better look. Adding some water to the reservoir and some coal to the pit, he started it up. As the water inside began to boil and the steam that would turn the turbines which powered the wheel, everything seemed fine. As the steam increased he noticed some seeping out from a seal above it. Shaking his head he opened the compression chamber, ran a finger along the walls, and sniffed it. Definitely not standard riding charcoal, she was running it on something much hotter and the seal couldn't take the added pressure. That girl sure had a thing for speed it seemed.
Replacing the seal with one in stock he wheeled the bike back out to her. "Well?" she asked hopefully.
"Weeellll." Garami replied drawing out the word. "Good news is I only had to replace an O-ring so it won't be too much. But you really should lay off whatever burn mix you're using, this type of bike just can't handle it." He smiled slightly.
She looked away red faced, "I.. Well.. Fine." She placed some money on the counter still smiling that he called her out on maxing out her ride. "I'll see you later then."
She'd be back. Garami was sure of that. Clearly one of those adrenaline junkie types. Garami wanted to fight in the arenas, but there were others who were out there racing the steam bikes. Constantly modifying them and trying to squeeze every ounce of power out of them they could. She'd break something else and then improve that feature of it. That kind of trial and error evolution was what drove this city to new heights. It had come so far in the last 60 years and was still rapidly changing. Kahjin continued working throughout the day, taking a big order that would take both a he a Riki a few days to finish. Apparently someone drove their bike off a cliff and wanted to salvage it.
The rest of the week went by the same as the past few months had. A busy life of working out, working, training, and then trying to find a place for sleep in the midst of all that. He had just finished his shift at the mechanic's and was going to the earthbending dojo to train today. This place of training was much more formal than the combat gym he also paid dues at. Entering required him to remove his shoes and adopt a loose gi to wear. Also to sit and meditate to a calm state before he was allowed to enter the training area. This was another thing he used to hate but now didn't mind it much.
Exiting the changing room he emerged in a wide and open courtyard with a floor and walls set up to look like the inside of a cave with large boulders jutting out at odd angles, uneven footing, and tiered shelves that constantly changed as a result of their bending. This dojo also employed a waterbender who was always around to heal the common injuries they would sustain when going to hard. Earthbenders can be stubborn about winning even an exhibition at times. Garami went through the initial movements in form with the other students. Moving rocks and shaping the earth in time with the grand master. After drills, and instruction in a new form, they were split up to spar.
Garami was paired with Gina, a girl his age who was an excellent earthbender. It was a shame bending teams only had one of each element on them. Gina was one of the few people he would have enjoyed fighting side by side with. The two had trained together many times, and she knew to stay out of his reach. Their showdown consisted of nothing but a wide assortment of rocks thrown back and forth. Eventually, Gina got the best of him and he took a rock squarely to the temple, knocking him out. This was the one area of his game he knew he had to improve. Gina was one of the best young earthbenders moving up the ranks of the teams, but Garami's lack of the earthly control that some of the other earthbenders possessed had been a reason he wasn't able to catch the eye of a tier 1 team.
On his way out for the evening, one of the waterbenders soothed away the large bump that was forming on the side of his head. Now returning home for the evening, he paused when he heard a commotion a few streets to the side of him. Slinging his bag over his shoulder, he went to check it out. There was a small group of citizen's surrounding a masked thug who was pushing a steam bike. "You can't just take that!" A watcher shouted at the thief.
"Really?" The masked man asked sarcastically. "And I suppose you'll be the one to stop me." The thief swung his arm out and a tendril of water followed from a pouch at his waist and formed a water whip. The end wrapped itself around the original speakers ankle and the thug yanked on it, dragging the older man violently to the ground.
The kid just laughed and continued walking away with the bike. People like that pissed Garami off. People who used their gift to take advantage of those less fortunate. This kid thought he was invincible. Garami would change that. "Kid," he said low and calmly. "Put it down and go home. You don't want any trouble."
"Haha, you think you can stop me punk?" The waterbender sent a sharpened icicle straight at Garami's chest at that.
Garami stepped to the side and turned sideways to dodge it. He almost blasted the little shit right there, but decided this would be better if he didn't use any of his earthbending. That would be too easy and plus, it would put this would be hotshot in place if he got his butt kicked by a regular person. Garami sprung forward and the man with his face covered was shocked and didn't have time to get off another attack. Garami delivered several solid punches to the punks face and body before he went down. Garami then took his back and put him in a simple choke hold. The blood stopped getting to his brain in a few seconds and the thief passed out as Garami released the pressure. After turning the boy over the metalbending police who showed up shortly and giving them his story, Garami was free to go home with a thanks from the owner of the steam bike.
It was people like that who were giving the Equalists momentum. Their beliefs were simple. All men were created equal, and that couldn't be the case while some were born with the magical gift of bending while others weren't. A person could improve the strength of their limbs and improve their mind, but can never learn bending if not granted with the skill at birth. That unfairness was the basis of their movement. Someone who could bend was inherently more powerful and had more opportunities in life than someone who could not, and they sought to level the playing field.
There were times Garami agreed with them, and tonight was one of them. Power went people's heads. And with power others did not have at their fingertips, it was no wonder that many benders thought regulars as beneath them.
Please, please leave me feedback on this. What you've liked, what you didn't. Even just letting me know that you read it gives me the motivation to write more! Thanks
So welcome to my fanon. This is all a work in progress that I have a vauge outline for in head. Any help and feedback is much appreciated. I used this chapter to set up my main character and to show how interpreted life in the new Republic City as. Note that I am going off information of Legend of Korra that was revealed in the first trailer and the interview at San Diego comic con. This is the way I envisioned it when I heard about professional bending fights. Much more mma and UFC based than the leaked clip reveals, but I'm sticking with my original idea.
For the collective works of the author, go here.