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|Through the Desert|
December 3, 2016
This is Chapter 2 of the fanon. It was uploaded to FFN and written on Avatar Wiki on December 3rd, 2016. It is written and proofread by .
Previously on Fire of the Red Lotus
The Avatar finishes her training with each of the Red Lotus members, handily defeating Ghazan, Ming - Hua, P'Li and Zaheer in bending fights and hand - to - hand combat. After she does so, she chooses her new name as a part of the Red Lotus: Korra. A few days after her initiation, Zaheer and Korra head to a village that is being terrorized by bandits. Korra drives them off with her bending abilities, and proves herself an adept Avatar.
In Republic City, Tenzin and Tarrlok jointly create a task force whose purpose is to find the Avatar. They have already chosen some soldiers, but the only two volunteers are some pro-bending brothers named Mako and Bolin. After being briefed by the captain of the task force, they receive news about the Avatar, near Full - Moon Bay.
I sincerely apologize for my long hiatus for the past couple of weeks. I've spent some time playing my versions of Pokémon Sun and Moon, and I also had too much work for college. Nevertheless, I hope you enjoy this chapter of the Fire of the Red Lotus. More information will be forthcoming after the story.
Chapter 2: Through the Desert
Korra stumbled into the cave, exhausted from her long journey back to the cave. Luckily, she was able to remember the direction that she and Zaheer had taken, but she was quite surprised to not find Zaheer when she came back from the village.
Regardless, when Korra entered the cave, Zaheer was in deep conversation with another man. He stood up when he saw the teenager, and enveloped her in a spine - crushing hug. "Korra, you did it. I'm so proud of you," he mumbled into her hair.
Korra returned the joyful hug with as much energy as she could muster. When they finally broke away, Korra turned to the man who Zaheer had been talking with before she entered. He stood about 2 meters tall, towering even over P'Li.
His entire torso was covered in sheets of metal, overlapping each other and providing excellent defense against most types of attacks. They ended in a skirt fashion above his calves, which were covered and protected by steel toed boots. Oh his head, a red band with an odd symbol of a black tree. Around his shoulders perched a red cape that reached down to his shins, secured to the metal with clasps.
He stepped forward, and the boots clinked against the stone floor of the cave. Even as Korra was drinking in his defensive outfit, she raised her arm towards him. "Nice to meet you. I'm Avatar Korra." Grasping her hand firmly, he replied, "Likewise. My name is Rayan."
"We can stop here for the night!"
Bolin crumbled to his knees, slung his bag off of his shoulder and collapsed into the ground. Ahead of him, Mako turned around to see his brother almost close to sleep. He walked back and grabbed Bolin's bag, egging him on. "Get up. We just need to find a spot for our tent, and then we can stop."
Bolin grumbled into the ground and hauled himself upwards. When he signed up for the job, he expected there would be some action and danger, seeing as how him and Mako were the only two volunteers. But all that he had accomplished in the last two weeks was trekking out from Republic City to Full - Moon Bay.
He had to admit, it was a worthwhile trip. Not only could he get himself back into shape for the upcoming pro-bending tournament, but he got to see sights and meet people he never would have dreamed of. Just yesterday, he passed the Great Divide.
In a few minutes, Mako and Bolin had found themselves a nice location to camp. Setting down their rucksacks, Mako pulled a tent and some metal poles to help keep it up. He also brought out some tent pegs; the little blocks of wood he drove into the ground with a swift hit from the palm of his hand.
As Mako began to lift the tent up with the metal poles, he looked over at Bolin in disgust. "You could try to help me, you know." Bolin, who had sorted through his rucksack, looked up. "Why should I? I have my own tent," he replied. With a quick uppercut, two angled blocks of stone rocketed up, and at about 3 meters above the ground, they connected into a tent. Bolin sat down, and motioned for Mako to continue.
Mako groaned inwardly, and continued with his tedious task of bringing the tent up to code. The entire 60 minutes of work, Bolin was organizing his tent and talking to Pabu, a massive waste of time in Mako's opinion. Had it been him, he would have surveyed the area, analyzed maps and the witnesses' accounts of the Avatar. He smirked to himself. Hopefully, this job would give him the experience necessary for a police job.
After an hour of grueling work, Mako stretched a little and began to unpack his rucksack. Thankfully, and although he would never have admitted it out loud, Bolin was willing to live in his own tent, and so Mako could be as messy as he wanted without having to worry about Bolin or Pabu messing it up.
Just as soon as he finished, a thundering yell could be heard around the acre wide campsite. "Gather together for your nightly debriefing!" Bolin crawled out of his tent in his underpants, yawning. "Put some clothes on and get out here. In that order." Wincing as if slapped, Bolin retreated into his tent.
In the center of the campsite, a gigantic fire blazed, courtesy of one of the lieutenants, a proficient firebender. Around the fire, the thirty or so soldiers cooked their meals, whether it be their meat, or just some dessert that they wanted to cook properly before eating. As Bolin jumped forward to heat up his food, Mako stood back a bit from the group, ruminating and cooking his own dinner.
After everyone had eaten a hearty meal, they settled down as the captain began a full description of their mission. "We're on the very edge of Full - Moon Bay. Out in the bay, there's an island, quite cut off from the rest of the Earth Kingdom. Two weeks ago, they were attacked by some bandits wearing some sort of headband with a black tree on their heads. Fortunately for us, the Avatar came in at the perfect time to defeat them."
"Thanks to eyewitness reports, we determined that the Avatar headed southeast in that direction" - the captain directed everyone's attention to the desert - "and was not seen again. Most likely, she's hiding out with some Red Lotus members, maybe even some of the top honchos themselves."
The captain sighed, his head dropping. "I hate to do this, especially since the last time I did this, 16 men died. But we have to split up. There's no way a group of 3 dozen soldiers, no matter how fit they may be, can cover the entire desert's worth of surface area. We'll be breaking you up into groups of 2, so we can get as much coverage in as little time as possible. By my calculations, we should be able to cover the approximated area of the Avatar's location within two days. You'll get your assignments tomorrow."
The group dispersed and almost immediately began to sleep in their tents. Unsurprisingly, they wanted some shut - eye before the long hiking journey tomorrow. But Mako wasn't ready to sleep yet. "Uh, sir, can I ask you a question?"
The captain nodded gruffly. "Go on, rookie, make it quick."
Mako turned around to show his brother, meekly standing behind him. "We would like to be assigned together. My brother and I have been partners for probending tournaments. We know each other in and out."
The captain leaned in until he stared over Mako's face. "This isn't a sport, son. This is your life on the line. If you don't completely trust your partner, then there's no way that you'll survive. You don't even know what we're up against."
Mako blanched, but held his stance. "I understand that captain, but what you need to understand is that my brother and I lived on the streets of Republic City, alone, for over 10 years. We can handle ourselves, especially if we're together. Now, I don't know how bad it is out there, but I assure you, we have a much better chance of living if we're together."
Red rushed to the captain's face. His hand twitched at his belt, and his eye began to blink randomly. Mako was sure he had crossed the line, and was anticipating some sort of nightstick to hit him in the face when the captain erupted in laughter. He clapped Mako on the back. "You got guts, kid," he admitted. "No one's talked like that to me in over 10 years. You and your brother can stick together. You're obviously much better for each other than anything I can stick you with here."
Mako nodded, smiling. "Thank you, sir."
Korra hadn't heard that name in her life, and she had traveled all over the world to train with the Red Lotus. Zaheer shook Rayan's hand once more. "Korra, Rayan has come to the Red Lotus in search of your help. He has heard of your prodigious bending skills."
Rayan cleared his throat; his own signal to begin talking. "As Zaheer said, I looked to the most powerful figure today in search of help. I represent a group that wishes to change the world for the better. We see a great divide between the bending elite of Republic City and the nonbenders, who are oppressed in the trenches of society. We hope to rectify that."
"As we speak, our men are around the world, garnering support, as well as within the United Republic, trying to sow the seeds of discord. Each of the bending nations has had immense power as part of the bending society, but with your help, we could topple their power. All we need is a figure to spearhead our movement. You've been gone for 13 years, and the world has gotten accustomed to your passing. If you were to support a movement of any kind, people would flock to the idea."
Korra furrowed her brow in thought. On the one hand, she totally supported equality, and perhaps this group was the most suited for the task. However, she was suspicious of the man, and not only because he was talking with Zaheer in private, before they even had talked with her.
Rayan had kept talking, despite her inner battle."...with your help. Defeating the leaders of the bending nations as well as supporting equality will be the first step to world peace. Of course, we can never remove the psychological problems that draw people to hate special qualities, but...we're working on a solution."
Korra jerked out of her stupor. "Uhh - yes...of course," she stammered. "I'll need some time to think about your proposition. I will have Zaheer get back to you when we can."
Rayan bowed his head. "And that is all we ask of you, Avatar. I thank you, and Zaheer, for your time." His metal boots clinked against the ground as he left the cave, his cape fluttering around his as he exited into the desert.
Korra turned to Zaheer. Before he could say anything, she cut him off. "Give me some time. I'm tired." With a curt smile, she swept past him and the other members of the Red Lotus deeper into the cave, where the pelt of an animal served as her bed.
Sand streamed out of Bolin's upturned boot as he crouched down in the sand. Shaking the boot as the last grains of sand streamed out of it, he stood up, yanking the piece of leather onto his foot again.
Mako stood on the dune, casting his eyes over their sector. They had long lost sight of the other members of their party, spread out over the vast area of the desert. They had trekked for over 12 hours, and were ready to turn in. However, before they could do so, they had to find shelter. With the sand whipping their faces, they couldn't afford to sleep unprotected.
"I see a cave in the distance. It can't be more than 5 kilometers away. We should be able to get there before sundown." Bolin peered into the sun, already nipping at the horizon, directly opposite of the cave and towards their campsite. "Well, we better get moving," he grunted. "I don't want to be out here when it gets dark."
Even though both Mako and Bolin were in shape, spending hours at the gym each week and practicing their bending, it took them a good 45 minutes to get close to the cave in the sandstorm that whirled around them. Luckily, the landscape was flat enough that Mako spotted it within the time that they had, because it was almost dark by the time they reached the cave.
Mako held up his fist, a soldier symbol that he had picked up from the captain. Luckily, Bolin had been in the room at the time, or he would have bumped into Mako and started to complain. That was the last thing Mako wanted right now, because he could see a faint light flickering from within the cave. Mako ran around the outside to the lip of the cave, almost breathless, his tiredness gone.
Within the cave, there were the dying embers of a fire, long put out. He could see 4 cots scattered within the cave, 5 if you counted the pelt in the far corner as a sleeping area. Each cot was designed with specificity, as if it was personal to the owner.
The closest cot was built as if made by an engineer, someone skilled with their hands. It was elegantly built, rising only a few centimeters off of the ground, but with intricate designs it seemed like the bed of a king.
One was shaped completely out of ice, which was amazing considering the temperature had risen to over 38 degrees Celsius at high noon. The last two were somewhat simple, one made completely out of earth, and the other one out of wood, but with some distinct singed edges.
"What in the world is this place?" Bolin's whisper startled Mako, and he turned around. "Let's check it out."
At once, Bolin's face became a mask of terror. "No way, Mako. We can't afford to make a mistake. Let's just call it in and be done with it." Mako shook his head. He whispered, "I can't give up the chance that the Avatar might be around here. I'll check it out; you stay here and cover for me."
Mako crept inside without waiting for a response. Aside from the cots, there was nothing in particular that Mako could find. Just a deeper cave, with more tunnels and rooms evidently meant for each person in the cave. It was honestly quite spacious, and Mako envied their protection from the bitter winds outside.
Speaking of outside, Bolin was probably still waiting there. Mako tramped through the cave quickly, wanting to make sure he hadn't missed anything, before he came upon a hole in the ground in the last room. He knelt down to examine it, but was thoroughly disappointed. Other than it being the size of a human, there was nothing special about it.
Mako bit his lip, thinking long and hard about the effect of his actions. He thought of Asami, their bed in the streets of Republic City, and the crime that threatened their lives every day. Once he made up his mind, he stood up and jumped down the hole.
Rayan knelt before the throne, shrouded in darkness. "We have planted the seed in her mind, sir. She cannot help but come to our cause. Zaheer will be an effective ally, and you will have Republic City."
A white hand tapped the desk in front of the throne, although the rest of the body was hidden. Glinting white teeth shone out from the head of the chai, a ghoul's smile in the darkness.
Because of some personal problems, work in college and an upcoming vacation, I will be taking a short break from FFN just until the 31st of December. After this story airs, there will be no more updates for any of my stories until that date.
On that date, I will upload one episode of Kun: The New Avatar, and I will post one chapter a day for the 5 weekdays the next week. From there, I will continue my normal schedule of one chapter every two weeks for Kun, and then one chapter a week for one of my other stories.
Who knows? By then, I might even have my first one - shot prepared.
Again, I apologize for my absence, and my future absence, but I hope you guys understand. Bye.
For the collective works of the author, go here.