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A Game of Politics, Part 1
The first chapter in the series,, by .
Remember, this fanon takes place in the canon of Avatar Future.
Water. Earth. Fire. Air.
When I was young, my dad would tell me of the happenings long ago, a thousand years to be exact, when the four nations lived together in peace and harmony. But that all changed when the ruthless Fire Nation attacked.
After the peaceful Air Nomads were killed, the Fire Nation provoked a war with the lasting two nations.
After several debates and arguments about military action between different leaders in the great Water Tribe of the North Pole, one side left, cutting all ties with them.
They traveled down south, and created their own civilization: the Southern Water Tribe.
This new Tribe prospered, but then the Fire Nation found them.
The south thus split apart into many smaller, separated tribes and villages.
Four years ago, my dad died: cause unknown. I inherited his role as chieftain of my people.
Ever since then, I have been investigating his death.
There is more to it than meets the eye, however. I know it. I can feel it.
However, the investigation has been slow. Clues have been scarce.
This has been certain though: I am close to unraveling the secret.
I keep being drawn to it. It is always there.
...and that mysterious little blue gem it holds.
Snow fell from the sky.
All was quiet, every sound frozen by the flakes of snow, which so gracefully fell down from the heavens, enveloping the world in their icy grip.
Around fifteen polar gazelles grazed on some rare grass blades that dared to venture above the frosty white covering.
Twenty meters away, a young boy crouched behind an icy wall that the forces of nature erected during the blizzard, a spear grasped in his readied hands.
As he peeked out from behind his shelter, plans of attack were racing through his mind. With the eye of a trained huntsman, displaying skill far beyond his youthful appearance, the watchful lurker chose his prey carefully.
"That one is straying from the herd . . ." the boy whispered to himself.
People told tales around campfires about a young hunter, who had incredible hunting prowess, that can only come once every generation.
As stealthy as the polar leopard, whose pelt now warmed his feet, that young hunter repositioned himself so he could make a clear throw.
He calmed his breathing and brought every fiber of his body under his precise control. He was steady as a rock. Deep breaths.
He strengthened his grip on the shaft of his spear.
He shifted his weight to his right leg, the snow cracking under the pressure. The lead male gazelle pricked its ears.
And... let loose.
The spear went airborne, its lethal whiz sending the gazelles into a frenzy.
The boy jumped out from his hiding place, sliding his machete out, screaming out a battle cry.
The spear slammed down into the snow, mere inches away from its target.
The hunter let out a curse, beginning to sprint.
A gazelle charged into the hunter's back, knocking him down. The boy swung his machete at its leg, but missed once again by mere inches.
Two misses now, eh? Trying to ruin that hard-earned reputation?
He jumped back up to his feet, charging furiously at the gazelle he had attacked seconds ago. It had managed to run about five meters away, but that was no problem for him. The boy ran up onto a snow drift and then leapt off the frozen ground.
He flew through the air, his machete held high, then when he was close enough, he brought the blade down.
The machete smashed into the ground; the gazelle had dodged yet again.
"Come on!" The boy complained.
Suddenly, the gazelle kicked the boy with its hind legs, crashing into his torso. The hunter was thrown back, colliding into a clump of ice, where he cried out in pain, clutching his chest.
When he finally opened his eyes, all the gazelle were gone. He had failed to catch anything.
The boy stumbled into a small village.
The homes around him shared a common theme: tiny, dome-shaped, and built out of snow. Each was about six feet high, with a simple wooden door and window.
Breaking the pattern were the shops, diners, and hotels. These were much larger and entirely erected out of wood. A few men were shoveling snow off the roofs.
Though the town's hospital would not have been the boy's first choice, his wounds would not allow him to go any further and it was the closest one to his recent hunting position.
Los Atalla was an old, rundown place, battered and beaten by rummaging bandits. Because of its closeness to bandits, Atalla Valley higher-ups were forced to make a new capital for the valley. However, in recent times, the chief of the valley had rescued the town, fighting off the bandits and forcing them to retreat.
As the boy limped toward the hospital, each step sending a sharp pain through his already battered chest, making it even harder to breath, someone called after him: "Kallik!"
Kallik stopped, clenching his teeth as even that simple action hurt.
Apparently, he was too easy to recognize. People have a distinct ability to recognize the "hots" from the "nots" and Kallik was definitely one of the hots. In fact, he was the hot.
Kallik was the chief of the Atalla Tribe, who resided in the Atalla Valley, and therefore leader of Atalla Valley.
He was treated as a god by these grateful townspeople ever since he made their lives safe again.
He did not like it.
People seemed to materialize out of nowhere. Kallik unconsciously took a step back as a group of small children charged him like a stampede of furious wildebeests
"Kallik! Kallik! Kallik!" they chanted.
"Nice to see you too." Their young chieftain was unable to suppress a sigh.
"Will you play with us?" As the children moved as one, beaming smiles and eyes full of hope appeared on every face around Kallik. "Please? Please? Please?"
"Maybe later. I got to get to the town medic."
Never before had he seen a whole crowd go from so excited to so disappointed in so little time, as they let out a collective, "Oh...", and he could just feel what was about to happen.
"We'll come with you!"
Kallik gulped. "Uhh... I think I can get there. No need for that!"
"Come on, Kal! Let's go." A child grabbed his hand and started dragging him along with the group, not noticing his pain-stricken face.
Unable to resist, the chief resigned himself to being dragged through town.
A few moments later, Kallik was shoved into the waiting room of a large dome-shaped building.
A nurse in her early twenties walked over just as Kallik and his entourage entered.
As she neared him, her eyes grew wide in recognition and soon dreamy admiration flooded her otherwise attentive gaze.
"Are you Chief Kallik?" the nurse asked.
"Yeah, that's me," Kallik replied, sighing.
"Oh!" The nurse beamed at Kallik. "Please come with me, your chiefness."
She indicated for him to follow her, and they started to walk down a hallway.
Since most of the rooms were full, Kallik and the nurse, who had identified herself as Akna, continued to walk for some time.
Kallik privately wished that they would just get to wherever they were going, as Akna had taken on the mission to get to know as much about him in the little time they had together.
"I really admire your fighting skills. Who taught you?" Akna asked, beaming at Kallik.
"Wow!" Akna sighed happily, while stopping.
Kallik raised a questioning eyebrow. As Akna looked at him, she snapped to attention again, aware of the fact that she had been staring.
Slightly embarrassed, she cleared her throat and gestured at a door to her right.
"Well, here we are," she said in a hurry.
Kallik stepped into the room, and Akna slowly closed the door behind them.
"So tell me, what happened to you? Where does it hurt?" Akna inquired.
"Well, I was out hunting and—"
"Oh, you are so cool."
"Umm... thanks. . . I guess . . . Anyway, as I was saying, I was out hunting, and the gazelle won the match. It kicked me in the chest. I think I might have broken a rib or something." Kallik said, blushing furiously at Akna's obvious crush.
"Well, I'm going to need to check that . . . Er . . . I . . . I need you to remove your...y-your s-s-shirt...please?"
Suddenly, a loud crash and the high-pitched scream of a woman filled the room.
Grateful for the distraction, Kallik jumped up, only to immediately fall on the ground as his body could not take the sudden movement. A grunt of pain escaped his lips.
"Stupid . . . rib cage . . ." Kallik muttered bitterly, his breath ragged as a new wave of pain washed over him. Trying to ignore it as much as possible, he tried to stand up again.
Akna rushed to his side and supported him, steadying him as she swayed on his legs. Taking as many seconds as he dared to waste to suppress the agony emerging from his chest, he moved to the door a second later as fast as possible, nearly yanking it out of its hinges in his hurry to get to the hallway.
"Kallik, don't! You're hurt!" Akna yelled after him, but the Chief ignored her warning. Simply put, there was no time for technicalities such as wounds.
He looked down the hallway, where he saw someone running with a nurse thrown over his shoulder. He glanced around, noticing a toppled medical cart behind him. Stumbling over, he quickly snagged three needles off the ground and started pursuing the man as fast as his injured body would allow.
It would be risky throwing the needles, he knew that. There was always the possibility he could hit the girl the man was carrying. The memory of his earlier hunt came to mind. It would not have been the first time he would have missed a throw today.
The pain in his chest flared.
He would have to stop any time now. Making a split second decision, Kallik threw the first needle.
He held his breath, watching the dart fly in slow motion.
The man and his victim were nearing the turn in the hallway. The needle continued to fly towards the duo.
They were less than a few feet away from safety. The man began to turn.
And then his legs caved down underneath him. He slumped over, falling against the wall, and the nurse slid off his shoulder.
The dart had embedded itself into the small of the man's back.
"Perfect," he whispered to himself. "Take that, stupid gazelle."
Kallik's improvised weapon had buried itself right into a pressure point, causing the kidnapper's back to spasm and blocking all control over his back. The part of his body that he could still feel was stunned with agonizing pain.
Supporting himself against the wall, Kallik walked down the hallway to the man and his victim. The Chief immediately recognized the clothing of the man to be the same as the bandits he had disposed of months ago.
Or so I thought...
He moved to the panicked nurse. With her back pressed against the wall, she stared at her downed attacker in horror. It was not till Kallik touched her shoulder and uttered reassuring words, that she dared to look away from the bandit.
"Thank you . . ." she whispered.
Kallik smiled at the woman, though as the adrenaline subsided, it changed into a grimace.
"Are you okay?" The nurse asked him.
"Yeah, sure, I'm fine. Fit as a fiddle." He saw the doubtful look of the nurse, so he quickly changed the subject. "You don't happen to have anything to bind this guy up with, do you?"
"Will bandages do?"
The nurse handed him over her supply of fresh bandages and Kallik went to work to skillfully bind and gag the bandit.
Once he had finished, he turned back to the girl who was shaking from shock.
"Why don't you go home to rest?"
"But . . . my shift isn't over . . ."
"Don't worry about that. You've been through a lot just now, so take the day off." The girl was still in doubt.
"Don't worry, it is fine. If anyone's got a problem with that, they can talk to me. Now go."
He smiled encouragingly to her. The nurse's eyes grew wide with gratitude, and she rushed to Kallik, hugging him tightly.
"Thank you!" She released him, and darted out of the corridor, leaving Kallik struggling to breathe. The sudden hug proved to be too much for his already tested rib cage, though not a word of discomfort passed his lips.
"That . . . was amazing. You are amazing! What an action!"
Kallik turned around to find Akna approaching him.
"Thanks." Kallik could not help but smile.
"Although, I wouldn't mind some of your healing action now."
An hour or two later, Kallik finally reached his home.
Plowing through the snow with an injured chest had not been easy, but he was glad he made it.
The hospital had been reluctant to let him go, and it was not until he promised that he would take his antibiotics every day that Akna released him. He stopped briefly to take a breather and took a bottle out of his pocket. He was told that it was some kind of special herbal blend that was supposed to have his rib cage healed by the end of the week. He had never heard of it, but he would try anything, if not just to be able to get away from that village.
He tucked the vile away and looked up the hill where his igloo stood proudly on top. He exhaled deeply and started the difficult ascent. Compared to most, his home was large: three domes stood at ground level in a triangular position, connected by small doorways, and in the center was a fourth dome on top of the others. Strong, though nearly transparent pillars of ice held it in the air, giving it the appearance that is was floating about ten feet of the ground. It created an open space between the domes below. The openness allowed the fresh mountain air to pass through it, though the surrounding domes protected it from the forces of nature. It was the perfect practice area for Kallik.
As was the traditional building style, the outer walls were made of ice, though inside the freezing material was covered by pure wood with a coating of fur to stop the cold from coming in.
Kallik knocked on the door. As if she had been waiting, it was immediately pulled open by a ball of energy named Nukka, who was also Kallik's little sister.
"Kallik!" she yelled excitedly, her brown hair falling in her face as she jumped up and down. "Guess how old I am!"
"Hmm . . . let me take a look at you." Kallik looked appraisingly at his sister and gestured her to turn around. The girl made a swift pirouette before beaming back at her big brother, who was rubbing his chin, pretending to think hard. "I'd say . . . six."
"How'd you know?"
"I'm just good like that." He winked at the girl and rubbed her hair.
Apparently she had forgotten that it had been her birthday just last week and that he had been present.
"Oh, yeah! My brother's the smartest and the bestest!"
Nukka turned around, running back into the entryway. It was a spacious area, decorated with Water Tribe ornaments and relics, such as a fur and an animal horn. On either side of the entry was a hallway. The one on the right led the kitchen, where Surgik was probably in eating. The left one led to the family room.
He looked to a family portrait hanging from the wall at the entrance and smiled, his dad smiling back at him from the frame.
"I'm home, Dad," he whispered in longing futility.
Turning around, he closed the door, before slipping off his coat and hanging it in the closet next to the front door. He awkwardly kicked off his boots, which proved to be harder than he thought with the limited leeway that the bandages around his chest gave him.
Kallik limped over to the left hallway, and pulled the animal skin hanging in the doorway to the side. The family room had a couch on one side that wrapped around most of the room. Opposite of it was a blue chair, on which Kallik's mother, Kia, lay as always.
"Hey, Mom," Kallik greeted.
His mother did not notice.
She never noticed.
It has been like this ever since Kallik's father had passed away. She just lay there, all night, and all day. She had lost interest in life, and if it was not for Kallik feeding her, she would not even be alive at all.
Her appearance mirrored her mental state. Even though she had the natural darker complexion common to the Water Tribe, it was now pale as the ashes of an old campfire. The only color came from the dark, bruised shadows beneath her closed eyelids.
She was extremely skinny, the flesh having melted off her. Her limbs were thin as sticks and her ribs and bones stuck out through her unhealthy skin, which was now nothing more than a thin, transparent veil.
However, despite all that, one could still see the remnants of the beauty she once possessed. It was still there below the surface: long, dark brown hair, though now matted; intelligent sapphire-colored eyes, though now dimmed by heartache.
The image saddened Kallik as he remembered the happier times with her.
Nukka walked to his side from the living room, carrying a wooden toy he had crafted for her for her birthday.
"Hey, Kallik?" She tugged on his baggy pants. "Can I go play outside?"
Thinking that the outside she was referring to was Kallik's training area, he nodded, knowing that she would be safe there.
"Yay!" she yelled, darting away.
He entered the room and sat down beside his mother, gently stroking a stray hair out of her face. Even now, she did not seem to notice him. He was not even sure that she still knew who he was anymore. Even so, he recalled the events of his day to her, hoping that at least a part of her still registered what he was saying.
"Now, I'll be right back, Mom. I'll make us something to eat." He got up, and made his way to the kitchen.
Kitchen appliances like an oven, a fridge, and a microwave were built into the counter at the sides, and in the middle of the room stood a wooden table. On the other end, a glass slider door led to the training area, and next to it was a staircase leading up to the upper igloo.
Sitting at the table, like Kallik had thought, was Surgik, snacking on a deer leg - the one he had previously said he could not have, unless Surgik helped around the house. Surgik, however, had said that he could not, blaming his "dysfunctional" leg, though Kallik knew the he was just lazy.
Apparently, Surgik remembered that as well as he suddenly choked on the meat when he saw Kallik.
"What'cha eating there, Uncle?" Kallik said, smugly crossing his arms.
Surgik smiled nervously, and attempted to hide the bone underneath the table.
"I knew it. Cough up the money. I win the bet."
Sighing, Surgik pulled out a mark, the highest denomination of Water Tribe currency, and tossed it to Kallik, who snatched it out of the air. It had been more a reflex than a well thought out action, as he regretted it instantly as his broken rib protested violently against the sudden movement.
Desperate to change the subject, Surgik noticed that Kallik was not carrying anything.
"So, I take it you failed to hunt anything down?"
His nephew sat down at the table in silence.
"I'll take that as a no." Grunting in dismay, Kallik stood up again.
"I was just wondering . . ." Surgik said sheepishly.
Ignoring the taunting tones of his uncle, he moved toward the slider door, looking out to see his little sister play outside. However, Nukka was nowhere to be found in the yard.
Alarmed, he opened the door.
"Nukka? Nukka! This isn't funny, girl. Where are you?" he yelled, looking around. No response. She was not there. Worried, he ran back inside, threw on his coat and boots, and dashed out the front door to look for her.
She can't be far . . . More to reassure himself than actually knowing it, he kept thinking that over and over.
An hour later, Kallik still had found no trace of his little sister.
"Come on, sis, where are you?" he muttered to himself, wracking his brain over all the places Nukka liked to go to.
Los Atalla; she was not there, he checked. No one had seen a trace of her. The Snow Plains; he had gone through half of it, not a human track to find. The Northern Cave; also no.
Suddenly, it came to him.
Yes, that must be it! Kallik could've smacked himself against the head.
He berated himself over his stupidity as he could not comprehend how he could have missed that. Nukka loved playing there.
He turned around, running in the opposite direction of the one he had been heading. If she was there, he could be there in a few minutes if he took the short cut over the hills.
As he reached the top of one final hill, the iceberg came into view.
Massive as it was, the most mysterious part about the iceberg was that no one knew how it got there. They were not near any valley walls, and therefore collapsing from one of them was ruled out, and they were even further away from the shore.
Sliding down the slope of the hill, Kallik ran as fast as his chest would allow him toward his destination.
The closer he got, the more distinct Nukka's silhouette became.
"Nukka!" His excitement quickly subsided for worry, as he saw that his little sister was in the process of climbing up an extremely treacherous side of the iceberg. "Oh no . . ."
He reached the base himself and stared up. His sister was already high up, probably having scaled at least 20 feet of the iceberg.
Though he was worried sick about her, dreading to thing what would happen if she would lose her footing even for a second, he could not help but feel impressed about her skills.
The admiration did not last long as Nukka stepped on a loose piece of ice, that came tumbling down immediately.
Kallik quickly sidestepped the falling debris and looked up. To his relief, Nukka had managed to hold on and resumed her ascent like nothing had happened.
"Nukka!" Kallik yelled after her, beginning to climb up the ice wall, hissing in pain as his ribs started throbbing. "Stay put! I'm coming to get you!"
Recognizing the voice of her brother, Nukka looked down at him, smiling.
However, the shift of balance the motion brought with it, proved to be the wrong course of action, and Nukka slid off the slippery ice. Not having the upper body strength required to hold on to the wall, she plummeted down toward the ground, her high-pitched scream of terror yelling out Kallik's name stopped his heart from beating.
"NO!" Agile as the ibex, Kallik pushed himself off the wall, catching Nukka midair. Using the momentum to summersault, he positioned himself underneath her, cushioning her fall as they crash-landed on the ground below together.
Even though the storm from before had covered the icy bottom with a soft blanket of fresh snow, it felt like smashing into a wall on full speed.
Instinctively, Kallik tugged and rolled, protectively covering his sister with his own body.
Kallik's injured ribs screamed white-hot pain into his brain at the pressure Nukka's weight pushed down upon his chest.
"Are you okay, Kal?" Nukka moved off his chest and sat next to his head, swiping some snow off his face. Her soft, concerned voice pierced the deafening agony in his head.
Released from the pressure of her weight, he blinked away the clouds of anguish until the sweet features of his little sister came sharp into view. Not knowing where it came from, he smiled reassuring at her.
"Yeah, I'm fine." As the burning in his chest lessened to a sensation slightly less than being run over by a stampede, Kallik forced himself upright. "Though let's not do that again, okay?"
With tremendous effort, he stood up. He rested his hand on Nukka's shoulder to balance himself for a moment, before taking her hand to start walking back home.
"Now, Nukka, when we get home, you are so on a timeout."
A look of pure horror crossed over Nukka's face.
"What? Why? You said I could go outside!" Tears welled up in the corners of her eyes.
"I meant the backyard! Not climbing up a dangerous iceberg. You know you're not allowed to venture up there, especially not by yourself!"
Nukka sniffled, but could not hold back the tears of injustice, and began to bawl.
Kallik tried to ignore her, though succumbed as she did indeed ask to go outside and he never specified what he meant with "outside".
"Oh, fine . . . You're not on a timeout, but just so you know: whenever I allow you to play outside, I mean in the courtyard, okay?"
Nukka dried her tears and nodded vehemently at her big brother, hugging his leg, which nearly tripped them over again.
"You're something special, little rascal." He lovingly ruffled up the hair of the little girl, who giggled loudly.
"Can I re-braid Mama's hair?" Nukka said laughing.
"Yeah, sure. I bet she'll love that."
Just below the top of a mountain a hundred yards away, a man set his telescope down, and nodded to his companion. They both smiled devilishly.
"Send word to the captain."
A third man saluted, before dashing away.
The man tossed his telescope to the other one, who looked through it toward the disappearing figures of Kallik and his sister.
"We found you . . ."
- This chapter contains 4, 465 words.
- This chapter took the author an entire year to come up with how to begin the fanon.
- "Snow fell from the sky" is my spin off of the popular opening of Mistborn: The Final Empire, "Ash fell from the sky".
- Kia was based on Katniss' mother from The Hunger Games.
- Akna will play a large role in Book One. Yes, a very large role indeed...
- The pressure point attack Kallik utilized on the bandit was based on Ty Lee's chi blocking.
|The Hunter's Gem|
|Book 1 - South|
|Spotted ~ A Game of Politics, Part 1 ~ A Game of Politics, Part 2 ~ The Hunt|
|Kallik ~ Surgik ~ Kallik's Father ~ Kia ~ Nukka|
|Atalla Valley ~ Atalla Mountain ~ Los Atalla ~ New Atalla ~ Snowy Plains ~ Northern Caves|
For the collective works of the author, go here.