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January 8, 2014
Chapter 3: The Ataviark
Kanalok's feet pressed into the coarse floor of the woven rug beneath him. He surveyed this latest report with disgust. Never had he intended for his soldiers, most certainly not the ones openly acting in his name, to undertake an attack on an air temple, especially not at this early stage in his plans. Why could his subordinates understand the gravity and the care with which such careful formulations must be carried out. Such an attack may have seemed to captain Akojin as simply a means to the seizure of the invaluable cargo on the ship of those merchants, but an international crisis is the last thing Kanalok needed. The plan was relatively simple. Kanalok had already persuaded the military of the Northern Water Tribe over to his side, and the Monarchy soon will accept him, a former rear admiral, as commander in chief of the armed forces. Although based on laws dating back centuries to when the Southern Tribe was merely a colony the monarchy still officially held power over the Southern lands equal to the elected southern chief, for all practical purposes, as dictated by physical distance, the Southern tribe was completely self-governing. Kanalok also knew that his Southern compatriots would also be exceedingly unlikely to submit to a northerner's authority. In order to win over the other half of his native race, he would have to use force. By the point that would become necessary, Kanalok reasoned, he would already have the manpower and diplomatic clout to pull that off seamlessly.
The one final piece, excluding the obviously false rumors of a third Water Tribe somehow unknown to everyone in the entire world, had been lying in Omashu, until it was brought out by those smugglers and traitors. Kanalok wasn't planning to leave something so critical in some storage room in the palace of Omashu, much less in the hands of his enemies. He had sent his special forces, his best unit, the Orca-Kites, to retrieve the Ataviark, or at least prevent it from falling into the hands of the Southerners. Captain Akojin, however, had taken his orders as a license to attack an Air Temple. Not just any Air Temple at that, but the one where the Avatar himself was training. Kanalok chuckled at the irony. In an attempt to take the Ataviark, his special forces had attacked the Avatar. The Avatar seemed to be another great wild card in Kanalok's carefully laid strategy to restore the world to its rightful state, but Kanalok knew how to deal with one man, even if that man was the Avatar, especially if that man was the Avatar. For now, however, he had much more important matters to handle.
A draft flew into the room as the sharp bark of a messenger broke Kanalok's thought. "Sir! There's a royal official outside who wishes to speak with you. He claims that he has an offer of cooperation."
"Tell him to come in, I have nothing better to do right now."
Kanalok observed the representative. He appeared to be a young man, perhaps twenty four, clearly a junior member of the royal court. He was dressed in a deep blue robes, with of course the parka dictated by the latitude except in the spirit oasis. The man spoke tentatively at first, but grew more assertive as the conversation wore on. Kanalok recognized that as a sign that the man was become more at ease in Kanalok's presence. The offer was a simple one. Everyone knew that the monarchy had been slowly falling out of favor since the end of the war of the Earth Kingdom. Kanalok's renown and respect among the commoners was on the rise, but he lacked any authority with the aristocracy, something that the royal family had in excess. Kanalok would officially support the continuation of the monarchy in return for a position as Duke of Inux Isle, a small island between the Northern continent and the lands of the Earth Kingdom. The man was not particularly persuasive, but Kanalok pretended to be slowly persuaded. n reality, he had been hoping for a territory of his own for a long time, but he knew that if the monarchy felt they gained a victory they would be more easily persuaded later. When Kanalok finally announced his agreement, the representative promptly left to convey the result to the palace. As Kanalok saw the door press against its frame once again, he couldn't suppress the smile on his face. His plan was already working better than he had hoped.
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