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June 22nd, 2013
Three years have past since Avatar Aang defeated the Fire Lord and ended the Hundred Year War. But the world is not at peace. One hundred years of brutal fighting has left the world scarred and damaged. Because of the Earth Kingdom's focus on defending themselves, they had little attention for regional conflicts. In the Si Wong Desert, the sandbending tribes that have lived peacefully for centuries are at the brink of war. What will the future bring for these tribes, and with the world distracted, who will save the desert from war?
Chapter 1: The Threat
Several dust clouds peaked over the horizon. They lifted densely off the warm desert sand and kissed the crimson dusk sky before fading away. They were expanding and approaching our tribe quickly. A quiet buzz could be herd louder and louder. As they approached it became evident that they were not natural by any means, rather they were from a sand sailor.
"Are those our sailors?!" yelled Quan the man on guard duty.
"No all of ours are here!" my father yelled back "It must be another tribe!"
The sand sailors didn't slow down as they approached. When they arrived they circled around are walls, spraying sand as they went. One of the sailors came to a halt at the gateway. A man walked off the sailor and approached the wall.
"I bring a message from Chief Sha-mo! If you, the people of the Hami tribe, do not tell us where Ghashiun, and his friends are by sundown in two days, we will have no choice but to attack. You have been warned!" Yelled the man.
He then walked back to his sailor, sandbent a spinning funnel of sand in the sail, and they left the tribe. All of the members of our tribe came out of there huts and gathered in the tribe center. People were yelling out."What was that!?"
"Lets show those thieving fools what were made of!" "What were they talking about?!" "Who's Ghashuin?!" My father addressed the crowd.
"I was afraid of this. It is time that you all know. At dinner I will discuss what has happened."
After that he walked off to his hut and closed the door. The room was one large dome. The sand walls all curved up and met at the top of the roof. I followed him in, and as I walked in my father was sitting and meditating in the candle light. I sat down and waited. Eventually he turned towards me. His short black hair glistened in the candlelight. His tan face was bony and defined. His clothes were sandy and worn.
"Dad, what's going on?" I asked
"Mein, my son, you are 15 years old, to young to be worrying about things like this," he said in a cheerful tone.
"But I do care, we could be under attack" I explained "Its okay, everything is going to be okay" My father said calmly
"Its not about that! It about you hiding things from the tribe, and from me!" I yelled "Mein, calm down..."
"No I'm tired of this! Ever since you became chief its like you don't even care about me, about your family!"
"Mein, I do care, can we talk about this later"
"Yea sure dad, lets just talk about it later" I said sarcastically and I then walked out in a huff.
I little over a year ago the Fire Nation came through the desert. Our chief at the time led a small task force to attack the troops. It did not end well, they were all either captured or killed. It turns out the Fire Nation was headed towards Omashu, they eventually succeeded in taking the city. Because of our lack of leadership my father was then asked to be Chief. Ever since then our tribe has avoided conflict of any kind.
Later on that day I had Sandbending Lessons. I went to get my bag out of my hut and set of for lessons. I meet with my master every day for lessons. I walked for about ten minutes until I got to the flats. The flats is an area that has rocks around it causing there to be no dunes or sand hills. It is just flat sand. Master Won was waiting for me in the center of the flats.
"Mein, please sit," he said. "Something is troubling you, I can tell" He added the last part based on my expression.
"Its just the whole thing with the Gobi tribe, why would they come like that"
"Ah, that is a conflict that will resolve itself. You see we sand bending tribes are similar to the desert that we inhabit. During the day we are hot and angry at each other. But at night we are peaceful sister tribes once again. A long time ago the first earth bending family moved here. There was a mother and father, and two children. After the parents died the two children had nothing connecting them anymore. They parted there different ways. One of the siblings tried to leave the desert. One stayed. The one that tried to leave never made it out of the desert and settled and started the Hami tribe. The one that stayed started the Gobi tribe." Master Won explained.
"So your saying that we are all related?" I asked
"Well as far as the legend goes, yes. But that is not important right now what is important is your sand bending. Run the fourth set please."
With that I got up and starting dancing around and bending the sand around me. I waved my arms up and the sand followed. I moved my hand in a circular motion and a spiral of sand formed spinning rapidly. I shifted my weight and spun to the side and lifted a wave of sand, I then moved again and shot a gust of sand forward. I finished by spinning in a circle and solidifying the sand to form sharp knife like objects and sent them forward. When I finished Master Won got up and praised me.
"You are becoming a true prodigy" He said with pride in his voice.
It felt like ages waiting for dinner. I must have herd five different rumors about what is going on with the Gobi tribe. I felt bad about my breakdown, my Dad didn't deserve that. He has enough to deal with, without worrying about simple family matters. There was a sense of fear and anger in all of our tribe members. Finally everyone in the tribe gathered around a fire that night. It was a tribal ritual for us to eat together every night. The Chief, who right now is also my father, gives thanks to the spirits before we eat and then we indulge in what ever the hunters caught for us that day. Right off the bat you could tell that something was not right. My father didn't speak before dinner. We had jackelope stew, but there was barely enough to go around. After dinner we cleaned up and sat down again. It was dead silent, but then my father began to speak. He spoke in a quiet yet vicious tone.
"One week ago, Feng-sha, Bishou, and I, were riding a sand-sailer from the Palms Oasis back here when six or seven people snuck up on us. We said that they are on Hami land and that they must leave now. They responded by attacking us. They destroyed our sailer, stole our things and went on their way. Those people were nothing more then bandits and thieves. Myself and my men followed them by riding the sand using our bending. We caught up to them eventually, but we were deep into Gobi territory. We unleashed a storm of sandbending on them. The fight didn't last long, we overpowered them quickly. Three Hami master sand benders against a bunch of teenagers. They didn't stand a chance. We got our stuff back and took one of there sailors as compensation for the one they destroyed. We then went on our way."
As he spoke the looks on everyones face were ones of disbelief and horror. The Hami tribe has always been the most peaceful one. When we learned about history we were told that when the other tribes got into fights it was us, the Hami tribe that settled the arguments. It seemed it was always the Gobi tribe that took advantage of travelers and the lost. People began to ask questions.
"What happened to the kids, did you...you know...kill them?" A women asked with hesitation.
"We did what we had to do." My father responded sternly "Two kids made it out we captured them and are holding them at the Palms Oasis. There were several gasps from different people. One woman stood up and walked off, a look of disgust on her face.
"Why did you not tell us this?" a young man said with anger trembling in his voice.
If I told you, I would have further escalated the tensions between our tribes. We would have been on the battlefield right now if I had." My father explained.
"What are we going to do, what's your plan?!" People became more assertive.
"Look, we have taken to much from these people. Because of them the world hates sandbenders. We are known as thieves and scum. People look at us and consider us animals. The Gobi tribe has gone on too long abusing there skills. We have no other choice. They have claimed that they will attack us. But It is time that we stand up against them. We can no longer be pacifists, we must actively shape our image. We are not bad people for what we did. Let me remind you that they stole from us, not just that time a few days ago, but for generations. If they want a fight then they have one!" My father spoke with power and might. Several people were nodding there heads in approval. Bishou, one of the men that was with my father during the encounter, stood up and said, "Chief Ta-Min, how would you like us to prepare?" Bishou was the closest thing to a military leader we had. He was like the second in command in our tribe.
"I want you and your men to meet me in my hut later tonight, we must discuss war plans, Feng-sha, I want you and Quan on watch duty tonight if you see anything alert me immediately. To the rest of you sleep well, we have a big day ahead of us tomorrow. Stay calm and stay strong, if we all work together nothing can hurt us. Good night to you all" My father then walked away and entered his hut. It is really not shocking why he was asked to be the Chief. With just those few words everyone had gone from a state of disgust to anger and inspiration. In just a few short hours the Si Wong Desert was entering a state of war, and my father was leading the charge.
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