|More from Sep0815||Adventure||PG-13||None yet|
|The Fools' Hope|
Air. Water. Earth. Fire.
After a long, fulfilled and yet exhausting life, Avatar Korra passed, being succeeded by Sari of the Earth Kingdom, who died early and didn't play a role in history.
The current Avatar is Asura of the Fire Nation, who mastered the elements quickly.
Although she thought she would never play an important role in history, she was proven wrong when the black ships arrived. The first one came in peace, but all the following carried a deadly load: WAR.
A war even the Avatar and her allies can barely end, one that threatens to consume the worlds involved.
And the question everyone asks is: Will there still be a world, a mankind to save?
Previously in Avatar: The War of the Worlds
The "Black Sun" manages to convince soldiers all across the Fire Nation to rebel against the 11th Army and Olizon. Fusu and most of the Black Sun engage Olizon in combat, while Arzowa and Muto more or less defected from the organisation.
Olizon's fireballs hit many of the Black Sun's hard as he kept firing at them after his injury and the arrival of the Royal Procession. Even the most skilled of the conspirators were repelled, if there wouldn't have been the fact that since injuring the Fire Lord, no one had seen Admiral Fusu. Explosions rattled the ground while the last of the conspirators' rows were being defeated easily by the Loyalists and Olizon. While Olizon personally executed the rebels, artillery could be heard firing at the two mighty battleships Comet and Sozin. The conspirators were burnt alive until nothing of their bodies was left but a few bones and ashes. Just as he had called for them, servants raced to the spots the rebels had stood only seconds before and cleaned their remnants before a few other officers, mainly of the Wehrmacht, rushed in to speak with Olizon.
"Your majesty, with all due respect, how can you possibly rule your nation if you can't even control your own army?" one asked, but soon saw the Fire Lord's reaction. Olizon clicked with his right hand's finger, creating a spark which he directed forward in a ray of heat aimed at the officer who had asked. He had barely the time realise what was going on when the ray hit him and burnt him in a matter of seconds.
"Anyone else doubting my capability of leading the Fire Nation?" the tyrant said, looking at the officers over his shoulder, before continuing after a moment of silence, "Good. What are you her for?"
The marshal commanding the 11th Shock Army spoke up, "Well, we... wondered if we are allowed to sink the Sozin and the Comet... "
"Of course not! Recapture them fast! Royal Procession, on my tail! We'll show 'em who's the lord..." Olizon ordered before leaving for the harbour with his royal guard following.
Arzowa, Muto and Fusu were all sitting in a transport aircraft that was taking them to the small town of Shu Jing.
"I just want you to answer this one question: Why did you betray us?" Fusu spoke calmly as AA-batteries were fired at their triple-engine aeroplane. It was then Arzowa who responded.
"It wasn't the right moment to strike! I'm sorry, but-"
"Oh, so it wasn't the right moment to strike? Says the one who herself suggested this day to begin! Shut up now, please."
"Which reminds me to ask a question I should've asked much sooner... Where's your little Dai Li friend, this Seon?" Muto asked all of sudden as a twenty-millimetre shell penetrated the hull in the aeroplane's back.
"He left to return to Ba Sing Se... I think."
"Just great. We're being defeated on all frontlines! Just... great," Fusu stated as his face sunk into his hands' cover. Only Arzowa seemed to notice that the fire outside had ceased or at least wasn't aimed at them anymore, and spoke, "Well, our chances were narrow from the beginning. Olizon had killed the last of Zuko's line and given the nation back their fanatic nationalism. So it would've never worked. It was just a fools' hope that kept the plan alive and even made it possible to get it started. Anyway, I have and I know my destiny... I'm sorry... "
She then blasted one of the two doors in the back open and leapt out, leaving the two elder officers alone to lead a collapsing rebellion. Below, in an industrial park, labourers had set several factories on fire and were marching through the streets, armed with their bare hands as the police and domestic forces alongside the 11th Army shot them to pieces. The entire nation was, in some way, ablaze and yet refused to burn or to get burned. Arzowa's thoughts were cut off as her firebending-propelled flight to the Capital came to an end at the sight of the Sozin and Comet ablaze.
The Tides Turn
While Olizon flew at his target like a rocket, his royal guard and - recently - secret police made use of two gunboats to get to the Comet, which was trying to escape the shelling by streaming full speed ahead into the east. The two gunboats arrived at the same time as Olizon landed aboard, burning the first two sailors who dared to approach him to ashes. Olizon now was being approached by an entire squad at once whose members aimed their rifles at him, but the ammunition they were carrying was set aflame and exploded as fireballs sore into their chests. After having defeated the twelve sailors, the Fire Lord leapt, propelled by firebending, up to the ship's bridge, where he burst right through the front window. A few rifles, submachine guns and pistols were fired at him before he evaded them in a spin around his axis, which spread bent fire across the bridge and, as before in the fight against the sailors, caused the ammunition to explode. A few seconds after the Fire Lord had entered, the entire bridge's personnel was defeated. In the meantime, the Royal Procession had managed to defeat all of the battleship's soldiers as the engine and the four turrets exploded. The whole ship shook at the power of this explosion, which set the top deck on fire. The Royal Procession escaped to the two gunboats while Olizon, semi-conscious and almost deaf because of the explosion, made his way to the Sozin's bridge alone. There, he observed many crewmembers and soldiers of both ships abandoning them as the two gunboats approached. Catching sight of the Royal Procession, he cried out, "Take prisoners only if they surrender as obvious as possible! Kill every other traitor!"
He then leapt into the ship's bridge, from where he had started his invasion of the URN and fired precisely aimed blue fireballs at every present soldier's heart. After he had killed every rebel on the bridge, he looked at the scenery below as he noticed a ticking sound. His eyes widened in realisation and he decided to, for once, run. He leapt off the bridge and propelled himself to one of the gunboats as the Sozin met the same fate as its sister ship Comet did before. Within a few minutes, the Fire Nation may have de facto won over the rebellious Black Sun, but still have they lost their most modern and mightiest battleships. At this thought Olizon shouted, "They've cost us enough already! Kill every traitor at sight!"
Arzowa sore past the two battleships, using the setting darkness and the smoke as a cover. She descended near the two afloat, burning wrecks to get a closer look when she noticed her uncle Olizon and the Royal Procession killing the ships' crews, dozen by dozen, with no expectations. She - mentally - shook her head before propelling herself to the docks, where the rebuilding from the brief bombardment was slowly beginning. She was barely noticed in all the smoke emerging all around her, and when she was, her "underlings" seemed to be too afraid to do anything else, so they just bowed. Wearing her sadistic expression again, she was let through everywhere in the whole city, until she reached the palace. There, she encountered a familiar face in unfamiliar garb - Seon dressed as a servant.
"How can I help you, mistress?" he asked with a slightly sarcastic undertone.
"Well, Agent Seon, is everything ready and set? The - false - traces and... stuff?"
"Of course, your majesty. How do we proceed?"
The Crown Princess looked down the hallway they were standing in and, hearing footsteps, answered him, "Not now! Now go, lowly servant, henceforth!"
As the disguised Dai Li agent had rushed out of sight, Arzowa recognised the man who had come up the corridor at first sight: her uncle, Fire Lord Olizon. He walked past her, ordering her to follow into the throne room, where the infamous "Minister of State-Security" Zhang Asano already waited as blue flames rose before the throne whilst Olizon approached it.
"Why haven't you warned me about this, Asano?!"
He screamed in rage, almost scorching the ceiling with his curtain of blue flames.
"Your majesty, I was busy governing the newly-occupied territories in the Earth Kingdom. The Führer personally ordered me to establish so-called Concentration Camps there to systemically exterminate the non-Aryans. I doubt that we can eradicate all of the dirt people, but anyway, I had no idea of the Black Sun, I swear!"
As he begged the Fire Lord not to be executed, which, according to Olzion, was the proper punishment for such "crimes", Arzowa could get a closer look on both men's faces. Olizon looked very much like Ozai had according to paintings, only that his hair was relatively short, barely long enough to make the traditional topknot, while his moustache was trimmed to a rectangular something under his nose. Asano, on the other hand, wore round glasses and his short hair, as far as possible, combed to his right while his moustache was - barely - shaven. Behind the megalomaniac, amber eyes the minister had Arzowa saw pure fear of Olizon, at least in this moment. Shouting erupted all around her although she was sitting in some kind of periphery, and from his voice, Arzowa could tell that, Olizon, too, was fearing someone. Who could HE be fearing? I mean, he's the mightiest, the most powerful firebender in the world, what power could he fear?, the Crown Princess thought before the essential word was shouted. It was none of their own, English language, but of a related one and meant, as far as she knew, "leader" or "guide". Führer. But then again, she thought, What power could this ominous Führer possibly possess that even Olizon fears him? Like a lightning, realisation struck her, but she didn't dare to even think the word. To bury these thoughts and to seem less bored, the Crown Princess now paid attention to the judgement.
"...but I believe you will be crucial in our future, thus I have no other choice than to let you live. Since you did work for the Führer at his direct order - What is your opinion of this, Arzowa?"
The Crown Princess dared not to hesitate and immediately answered in her ice cold voice, "He shall be of our use. I highly advise against his execution."
"Very well then. Now, to get back to business... We have to track down this traitor Fusu, Asano. Follow every lead, every slightest hint of a trace. I need him dead."
At these words, Arzowa smiled. She and Seon had set up several false traces to protect Fusu as long as possible. It was just as the uprising's idea, just fools' hope, but as long as there was any kind of hope, Arzowa would keep on fighting in some way. As a glance was directed at her, she changed her previously warm and somewhat kind smile into an evil one, before she and Olizon stood up simultaneously and both left the throne room.
"The tides have turned, Arzowa, they have turned in our favour... And from now on, they always will," Olizon declared, which his niece answered with a simple nod, thinking, In my favour, maybe. But not in yours.
The Calm after - or before - the Storm
The Führer entered, accompanied by a dozen of black-clad men, the throne room, where Olizon sat at his throne, Arzowa to his right and Asano to his left, and, as the other two, bowed until Johnston ordered them to rise.
"Why do I have the honour, mein Führer?" Olizon asked submissive, like no one but Johnston had heard him talking before.
"The recent rebellion in the Nation of yours, obviously. How could you let this happen?"
"We do not have the technology to keep all of our officers under surveillance, and my niece, Arzowa, struck too late, as it seems, though now she has provided me of their last member's location."
Johnston walked through the curtain of fire, which could have been a campfire as well, and grabbed Arzowa's chin and turned her face to stare into his. Not the smallest hint of fear could he notice as he spoke, "Of course. It would be a shame to lose your only heir, especially when she's of such skill."
He narrowed his eyes as if to stare into her very soul, but she repeated. Thus, Johnston let go of her face and directed his attention to Olizon, demanding the name of the last of the "filthy rebels".
"Admiral Fusu. He is father to Avatar Asura and Captain Zolu of the United Forces, who, as of our knowledge, are travelling with Grand Admiral Přemysl in the Earth Kingdom. Anyway, with my niece's and my minister's information, we could track him down. He most likely regained command of the Southern Fleet to wage war against us, again."
The Führer stepped down, less satisfied with the situation than he anticipated, back into the cover of the soldiers, and shot Arzowa one last warning glare, one that said, "Don't try to play games with me."
Arzowa remained expressionless until the spaceship he had come with could be heard searing over the palace. Arzowa went to her room, where dropped on her bed before deciding to write two letters, one to Olizon, the other one to Fusu. She would leave, alongside her 101st Division, to conquer the impenetrable city.
Muto and Fusu, two long-time allies, stood facing each other in front of Fusu's castle's gate, a car waiting for the High General.
"So... I believe it's all over now, eh?" Fusu spoke with slight sadness in his voice.
"Unfortunately, old friend. This... is the last time we meet, I believe."
A few seconds of silence passed, until Nora, Fusu's wife, walked to stand by her husband, and spoke, "I just hope our children decide to... come around one last time... "
Fusu thought at what Muto had told him in the night they had flown here, and asked, "I know it will only delay the inevitable... But are all the false traces set?"
"Yes, and you should thank Arzowa for it, more than me, for I was with you till... Now. Arzowa said something about a second chance for the rebellion and stuff, but that doesn't really matter now," Muto declared, before bowing to the couple, saying, "It was an honour to have known you, Nora, Fusu."
The High General and the Admiral then saluted before each other, Fusu starting, "It was a pleasure to fight at your side, General!"
Muto remained silent and only gave Fusu a Pai Sho tile, the white lotus one. Fusu looked at it, slowly realising what it meant. Once more, he saluted before the High General before the car was out of sight. The two of them now walked inside, inside the castle in which they have lived as long as they've been a couple. As they passed the former rooms of their children, Fusu stated, "It was all a fool's hope that we would succeed - my hope."
Nora walked before him and stopped him by turning to face him, speaking, "Our son is one of the best swordsmen worldwide and our daughter is the Avatar, Fusu. Hope does not only die last, it never dies."
Notes and Trivia
- The threatening skill of the Führer Johnston will be important in Book 3.
- As hinted by the last section's name, the real trouble's just ahead. At the beginning of Book 3.
- Olizon looks like Ozai with Hitler's beard, and, of course, way shorter hair.
- In case someone had forgotten, Zhang Asano also once was the Fire Nation's representative in the URN council.
- Yes, the Order of the White Lotus is alive - and secret again!
For the collective works of the author, go here.