|More from Siwongsandbender||Background stories||PG||None||No update page|
June 25, 2012
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?
Previously on Sand Dunes:
The Gobi Tribe and the Hami tribe are at war. Mein met a girl named Mina from the Gobi tribe. He recently received a message from her causing much confusion. Mein's father the Chief is planning to attack the Gobi tribe.
Chapter 4: Vendetta
All of the Sailors in the tribe were charging towards the horizon. I looked down upon the ever accelerating wave of our men heading straight towards the Gobi Tribe. I turned around and saw my father looking down thinking hard. The engineer was busy doing something in the corner. It was a week ago that my father announced his plan to attack the gobi tribe. I remember that night. He unveiled his plan, it was merciless and aggressive. He said we had to go in and destroy every one of their sailors. Then arrest their chief. He said we can't return until we did so. His plan was to form a circle around their tribe and close them in. He had another surprise down his sleeve though. He had gotten into a habit of trading with the Beetle Headed Merchants. He found out that they had the supplies to construct a war balloon. He purchased them in debt and brought the supplies back. He and a few trusted men built a shelter and began construction. It was the same shelter that I had been asked to defend during the last attack. The day after the announcement we were all assigned roles, for preparation. I spent the entire day preparing bombs for use with the war balloon. We had to carefully pack explosive powder and bend sand around them to encase the powder. This way benders could launch them accurately from the balloon. We then painted them and stored them. It was tedious work that took several days. But we eventually finished. The last day before the invasion people were absolutely silent. I think it was the only time I had ever experienced a dinner where no one said a word the whole time. That night I was watching the sun fall behind the dunes. Master Won approached me.
"Mein, I hear you are going to battle tomorrow. Is this correct?"
"Yes, but more importantly, I hear you are not," I said calmly and turned to face him.
"I do not feel that bending should ever be used for violence. It goes against everything I believe," he said. "Your father seems quite upset about it. Did he talk to you?"
"No he does not talk to me much about anything," I responded.
"Well, when the time comes tomorrow for you to attack, I ask that you clear your mind and understand full heartedly what your doing. If you feel it is the best option to attack then I can't ask you not to. Good night Mein."
Later that night, I was sitting in bed when my dad came in.
"You have seemed down lately, depressed. Is everything alright?" he said, trying to sound sincere when in reality he could care less.
"Yes," I said hollowly.
"Good. I'm going to need you in tip top condition for tomorrow. It will be a glorious day. If everything goes as planned this war will be over." I looked at him pretending to look interested when I had herd this about a hundred times before.
"Okay sounds good, I'm going to go to bed okay dad?" I said.
"Yea, good night," he said and he then walked out the door.
We were sitting there floating above the rough desert landscape. The invasion force had come to a halt to have one more rest before we pushed forward and reached the Gobi tribe. I looked up and saw the sand colored fabric of the balloon stretched at the force of hot air. My dad explained to me how the balloon worked earlier on in our journey. That was about the only thing that we said to each other during the whole duration of the flight so far. My father was never a big talker. That was part of the problem I had with him. He would never tell me what I needed to know, and at that time I had one question for him and I needed an answer.
"Dad what happened to mom?" I said as bluntly as I could.
"Well that came out of nowhere," he said.
"You said that she died when I was young, but how?" I said.
"She...was sick," he said while looking down.
"Dad, I'm not a kid anymore you don't have to lie to me," I said sternly.
"Look we can talk about this later. Right now we need to focus on..." I cut him off.
"No, Dad. There is no later. I have to know this. She's my mother."
"Alright fine. But I don't want to talk about this after today. At the time, our chief was worried about the Fire Nation taking over our tribes. He thought that the desert could be considered a strategic area in the war. This fear led him to invest heavily in defensive weapons and gear. He became deep in debt with the beetle headed merchants. In the following years the tribe couldn't pay enough to get out of debt with the merchants. They used their vast resources to threaten our tribe. They said that they were going to begin to get compensation for the debt. They took your mother and two others and said that we could not have them back until we payed the price."
A tear began to trickle down his face. He wiped it off and continued to talk.
"We eventually sold enough things to pay off our debt but...it was too late.""How could that happen!" I yelled "And now your doing it again! Your deep in debt with the merchants right now! How does no one now about this!"
"The chief covered it up. He said the people that disappeared got lost and never came back."
"If all the people down there knew about this they would seriously question you as their chief!" I yelled.
"You need to calm down, we have higher priorities right now," he said.
"I don't even want to look at you right now," I said trembling.
"How dare you speak out to me! You know, I am sick and tired of this, I have tried to be nice, and get you to like me but its time I put my foot down! You will respect me!" I had never seen him that mad before.
"Good bye dad" I said and looked at his faceI jumped off the balloon and flew down to the ground. As I approached the sand I bended a funnel to cushion my fall. When I surfaced again the men on the ground were all looking at me. I ran over to a sailor and jumped on. It took about thirty more minutes to reach the gobi tribe. When we arrived the sailors surrounded the tribe as planned. Several of our men jumped off and approached their wall. The war balloon circled above and began to lower down towards the tribe. The large balloon looked far out of place in the barren wasteland we call home. The first bomb was dropped down on some of their sailors. It exploded with a searing noise and caused convulsive demolition. Several more followed. You could see my father and my replacement bending the sand casings with sheer accuracy towards their targets. I could just make out the look on my fathers face. It was not one of fear or anxiety but one of joy and excitement. When the bombing stopped we approached their walls and attempted to get through. We were commanded to bend the sand in the wall away and smash through it. On the inside you could hear screams of fear and confusion. It felt so similar to what we experienced just days ago.
We got through the wall and stuck together. Our men were ransacking buildings trying to find the chief. A couple Gobi sand benders approached me. I was hesitant to bend at them and was using mostly redirection and defensive tactics. I eventually was running out of energy and had to strike. I formed a large wave of sand and sent it at one of the men. They toppled over and I hardened the sand trapping them on the ground. The other one formed a whip and was trying to slice me with it. I bend a huge amount of sand upward and it absorbed the whip. I then sent it flying to the ground and buried the man.
"Aren't we supposed to be finding their chief?!" I yelled over all of the chaos.
"We are! He could be in any of these buildings," they responded.
"Wouldn't you think he's in the big protected building over there!" I yelled
They seemed to ignore my comment.
The whole tribe was so different then ours. They had square buildings with wood supports. All of the buildings were circled around one large building. It was like a palace of sorts. It had a large tower in the middle with several men bending sand downwards from the top. I could see the war balloon sweeping by it and taking its shots. The balloon lowered and my father stepped off of it. He ran by accompanied by two men.
"Take this! And This! And that!" he yelled as he blasted them with sand
Several of the men he fought fell, never to get back up again. My father had a look of pride and accomplishment whenever he defeated someone. He went up to
a small building, and disintegrated the roof. A woman and a child were inside. He bent some sand and several long blades formed. The woman shielded the child. My father waved his hand down. I looked away before he finished. From the corner of my eye I saw someone recognizable. It was Mina, and she was fighting with one of our men. They were engaged in a bending fight. I broke ranks and ran over to her.
"I'll take it from here!" I yelled to the man fighting her.
He ran off and engaged in a battle with someone else.
"Mina! Its me!" I yelled
She blasted me with sand right in the face.
"What are you doing here?" she said, frowning.
"Well, we are attacking you but..." I was at a loss of words.
"Yea I can see that," she said sarcastically.
"The peacock dove, what does it mean?" I asked.
"Lets think, a bird that separates from its family for no good reason, what does that remind you of?" she said in a sarcastic tone.
"Our tribes, but... What are you trying to say?" I asked.
"All this fighting, it serves no real purpose! It is all just a waste of human life. We started together and we separated and now its time to rejoin or die alone. Its just like the peacock doves," she said powerfully.
"We are alone out here. When will you realize that we have to solve are own problems. We have problems and you are in a position to solve them! You are strong and you are smart. You know what's right, and its time you stop looking the other way! You can end this," she said.
"We only met once. How can you know this. You don't know me!" I said starting to tear up.
"We may have only met once, but I saw something in you that I haven't seen in any other sand bender or person in this desert. I saw someone who cares. I saw someone who genuinely wanted peace. I saw a selfless person surrounded by conceded, self centered thieves," she said.
"I can't solve this," I said.
"Well if you can't, no one can," she said. "And there is no hope. This will continue until.."
As she was speaking a blade of sand shot into her face. Another blast of sand hit her in the stomach causing her to fly back. She hit a wall and fell, lifeless, to the ground. I turned around and saw my fathers face smiling and his hand stretched out.
I stood there trying to comprehend what just happened.
"Get back to your group boy!" my father yelled to me as he turned and ran away.
"I ran over to Mina and checked for a pulse. I felt a faint rapid beating in her chest. I held her up and tried to move her out of the battle zone. I stumbled and fell. I lifted her head in my arms. Her eyes opened ever so slightly and her lips began to tremble. She muttered ever so faintly.
"You have to end this. It is the only way for there to be peace." With that her eyelids dropped and her head fell back.
"Mina...Mina wake up. Mina!" I said quickly
I felt her chest once again and there was no pulse. I felt her neck and there was an emptiness. Just a couple strikes from my father and my friend was dead.
At that moment I knew what had to be done.
To be continued in Chapter 5...
For the collective works of the author, go here.