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|Chapter 1: Meeting with the Avatar|
3rd of July 2013
Martin was simply strolling through the desolate street getting food for supper from the local market. It was a warm night as all summer had been but there was a chill in the air. He was casually strolling home his face roughened after another hard day at work, the bags of his eyes deepening even more so. He could taste it.
He had gathered the food. The food he'd bought were the fresh red apples, the ripe bananas, the three freshly baked loaves of bread; the newly caught fish (which took quite some time to catch according to the stall keeper). Oh, but he couldn't forget the peaches. Oh, the juicy peaches. He remembered thinking about eating them swallowing them after taking a thrilling bite into its core.
But as he walked through the street and down the flight of stairs into the alleyway heading towards home, he could sense something; that chill was back. It stretched all the way down his spine. He noticed that the hairs on his hand stood up like porcupines. He heard them. Dropping the food, with no hesitation, he quickly spun around at lightening speed for someone of his stature and yelled "Don't think you can stalk a man like me." He stomped the ground -hard- conjuring up a boulder from the floor. He fired it at a wagon which was where his ears had caught the sound of the creaking voice. It zoomed right at the wagon smashing it with ease.
Shao breathed deeply a sigh of relief. The target had not seen but had almost certainly done so. Shao stood against the wall of the house, his hands practically fused to the wall, next to the now decimated wagon which the target had destroyed only just before. Shao knew he had to be careful. He had to slow down his breathing he was still breathing through his mouth, gasping for air, from the run across the city to get here. He waited for the target to finally move on which he hoped would be soon.
Martin halted. He listened, nothing. He gazed at the then destroyed wagon. His medium long black hair slightly flapping and lifting with the calm wind. He soon thought he'd imagined it and was being paranoid. He picked up the groceries and carried on not wanting to be caught having crippled someone's wagon.
To calm himself down, He began to think about what his wife, Lorraine - with her soft brown hair and hazel eyes - would say; he heard her voice speaking softly in my ear and petty stuff like that. He was calm once more. It was a while that he walked. He soon came to realize that it was still daylight Lorraine wouldn't be expecting him until the sun goes down, meaning he had time to spare. Seeing the view of the horizon in the distance through a gap in the houses on the street made him detour towards the viewpoint on the other side of the city. He reached the point after sometime although he stumbled across the cabbage merchant who kept stalking him; wailing on about how he needed to sell his cabbages. Since he wouldn't leave him be, he said he'd buy one however one led to two then to three, after that four. He eventually lost his temper causing him to shout at the frail and ignorant man who then ran off with his cabbage filled wagon wailing "My cabbages'". He had shook his head in annoyance and carried on.
He began to take in the view although he couldn't see the sun as the palace atop of Omashu where the king lived we blocking it from sight so he decided to detour down a narrow path succeeded by climbing a flight of stairs to get a better look at it. Although you weren't supposed to go up here at the highest point Martin knew how to get through the guards even as a child (though he was caught several times). Martin remembered the first time he had snuck up here. It was with his friend Sam. Martin closed his eyes as the wind brushed his hair.
Sam had wanted to see the view despite the risks convincing Martin to join him. They'd had to sneak around down the same path he'd just came through. E guards had spotted them but they lied that they were just trying to find there way home forcing them to have to lie even more so to make the guards leave them be when they offered to escort them for safety with the war still going on back then. They both stayed there until dawn but it was worth being punished by his father for not returning that night.
Martin opened his eyes. There it was. A most perfect and calming view of the horizon. The sun was setting. He stood there admiring the view feeling so tranquil. Only when it finally set to sleep did he realize how late it was and that he should get back home. He had turned round when he suddenly felt it. There it was, that chill. He heard a trill voice that whispered "Now". He was instantly encased in a ring of fire. Before he had realized what was going on, he saw (to his horror) a ball of wild fire heading straight towards him.
He quickly dumped his food and earth bended a shield around himself. The fire ball struck hard but his shield took the hit. He soon heard the voice again. It was the one that he had heard earlier. It was a dark and croaky voice. It was definitely a man's voice. He suddenly felt another pulse of heat whip the shield, however his shield - although cracked - withstood the fearsome strike.
He quivered in fear as he heard him approach. "So not going to come out are we?" his attacker cried. "Smash him out!" He realized what he meant a mere moment later. He felt the force of ten boulders strike the already damaged shield.
Somehow, he managed to hold on keeping the shield secure. But he was struggling. He couldn't take much more of it. Sooner rather than later, he'd have to come out. They fired more and more boulders and the occasional whip of intense fire. His throat became dry as the heat rose. He began to get frustrated. He couldn't take anymore. He broke a chunk of the shield off and fired it in front of him. He quickly dashed out of his only protection and conjured up another boulder; this one much bigger; and fired it at the group of cowardly men in front of him. He soon ran down the stairs to escape his attackers in the confusion.
He tried recalling their faces but the visions of them wear vague and blurred from the smoke of the fire.
He slowed down, catching his breath. Hid once natural green clothes were burnt around the shoulders and waist, the sleeves blackened with sut. He began patting the remains of the sleeves to stop the embers burning. He thought I was safe. He wasn't. They'd found him. He ran faster, faster than he had ever run in his life. He whizzed through the streets wanting to escape this nightmare, to return to his home where he would be safe and protected. He felt his heart beat at his chest, trying to free itself from his body. It thumped louder and louder causing him to slow down in exhaustion but the sound of his attacker's voice still buzzed in his ear, causing him to run even faster. Taking huge gulps of air, he fled through the streets desperate to get back to where there would be people. He suddenly felt a knock to his back. His limbs went numb causing him to fall forwards slamming himself face first into the hard dry ground in front of him. Everything went black.
He awoke to hear more whispering. He tried to move but he could not. He'd been chi blocked. "No let me go." He wept as they lifted me up.
"What do you want with me?" he wailed.
"We need to grasp a certain someone's attention as well as punish them for their lies and doing what we'd been planning and practicing for generations while he did it and took all the credit. A mongrel like him does not deserve such praise and we will use you and many others to punish him and to allow us to meet with him."
Now his tears rushed with water down his bruised face. He cried "Who are you?"
He gripped Mar's face and forced him to stare at the man eye to eye. Now they were so close the man didn't look like a man. His eyes were a bright purple that stood out on the face but the face looked like that of a teenager's. "We are...the Energybenders". Martin shivered as he released him from his cold fiery grip.
At that moment he moved his hand away from his mouth, raising it to his forehead now dripping in sweat. He pressed his thumb on his head. He placed the tips of the fingers of his other hand on his pounding chest. He was helpless to fight against him. Suddenly, his eyes glowed a dazzling green and his ability to bend was no more.
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