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|More from BlueDagger||Adventure||PG-13||Positive|
|Battle on the Wall|
October 21, 2011
Feng and his friends are hired by a major of the Earth Kingdom Army to assassinate another, corrupt major. A small battle and a duel with two new members of The Shroud ensue.
"Feng." Wei whispered his name, gently kicked the body still sleeping on his bed. "Oy, Feng, wake up." When he didn't wake, she kicked him harder. He jumped up, rolling on the floor.
Feng stood up, rubbing his head, blinking at the sunlight flooding his room.
"Wei... Ergh, come on, we don't have any jobs today. Can't I take a break?"
"No, we need to go shopping."
"Shopping?" he asked, still groggy.
"You lost your sword at that nobleman's compound. We need to get you a new one. We're getting Nekku a new bow and some arrows, and I need some more knives, too."
"Ugh, fine. Go on out. I'll be out in a minute."
Wei left the room, waiting out in front of the house along with Nekku, who was leaning on the wall of the small home. He turned towards Wei, and said,
"Wei... We still need to figure something out."
"I know," she said, "I know. The Shroud. We'll get to it, alright?"
"Easy enough. We go to Ba Sing Se University. They know everything, there."
"Alright, but promise me, sometime this week, we need to find out what they are. And, be on your guard. They'll be back, I'm sure of it."
"We know that, Nekku. Don't worry. We're the best assassins this side of the city! What could happen to us?"
"We could die in a horrible, painful way."
Feng came walking out of the house, dressed and with a dagger hanging at his waist.
"All right, then," Wei said. "Come on."
Wei led Nekku and Feng down a road connecting to their square, from which they turned, and turned again, and again, and again, until even Feng, who knew the Lower Ring like the back of his hand, was lost in the never-ending spiral of roads and squares and alleyways.
Finally, they came to a small shop in a small road near the wall connecting the Lower Ring to the space before the Outer Wall. Smoke was bellowing out of the shop, and a large man was standing at the shop, peddling his wares. Wei led the two assassins over.
It was a blacksmith's shop. Swords, knives, daggers, spears, bows, arrows, shields, armor, maces, axes, and nearly every other kind of weapon you could think of lined the walls and stood on stands. Wei nodded to the large man.
"Can I see Lily?" The man spoke, with a loud, gruff voice.
"Yeah, sure. She's in the back."
Feng raised an eyebrow as Wei led them into the shop.
"Lily?" he said. "This is where she works? You never mentioned this."
"Really?" Wei said. "Sorry. You know I visit her twice a month."
"Yeah, but, a smithy?" Wei just nodded.
"Who's... Lily?" Nekku asked. Wei smiled.
"What? You have a-"
Feng put a hand on Nekku's shoulder.
"You're about to meet her."
The trio walked a small ways into a room just off the main room of the shop. The room inside was hot, dank, and dark. A fire in a furnace was burning in one corner, and the entire chamber was filled with smoke. There was a constant ringing of metal on metal. The source was from a small, red-headed young girl, with bright green eyes, standing in the corner over an anvil.
She was focusing all her attention into the sword she was hammering into shape. And so she didn't see Wei come up to her, until she hugged her.
"Wei!" Lily said, hugging her back. "Good to see you."
"Yeah, sis, you're looking good. How's work?"
"Great, just yesterday I made-" She stopped, seeing Feng.
"Feng?!" she said, running forward, hugging him. "I haven't seen you since the orphanage! Spirits, you look older!" Feng was thrown slightly off balance.
"Ha, good to see you too, Lily. Yeah, Wei always told me she'd take me to see you, but..."
"Well, Feng, now I did," Wei said.
"Anyways," she said, turning towards Lily. "Could you do us a favor?"
"Yeah, sure," Lily replied. "What is it?"
"Well, me and Nekku here, " she said, gesturing towards the young Water Tribe boy, "need some weapons, but we can buy them easy. Feng needs a sword, though. A good one."
"Sure, no problem. Hey, Feng, do you wanna help design it? We can catch up while I do."
"Sure," Feng said.
The next few hours were spent with Feng and Lily by the anvil, Feng helping her to design his sword, while Nekku and Wei picked out some weapons, and chatted with Lily and Feng.
A few hours later, after noon had already passed, Lily held a piece of shaped metal up for all to see.
"Here," she said. "It's done."
The longsword was made from steel, polished to gleam. It was four feet from hilt to tip. The cross-guard, set where hilt and blade met, was beautiful, with pieces of metal curling around it, giving an incredible design to it.
Lily handed it to Feng, who tested its weight.
"Wow," he said. "It's perfect."
"Thanks," Lily said, beaming. "You guys can go pay Jericho up front. But, first, it needs a name."
Feng thought. "Hmm... I want to name it... Shi. It's the name of the spirit of shadows. The patron of assassins and thieves."
"Shi," Lily said. "That's a great name."
"Anyways, thanks a lot, sis," Wei said. She hugged her sister. "See you later, okay?"
"Yeah, sure. Looking forward to it."
"Alright," Nekku said as the trio walked back to their small home. "Why didn't I know Wei has a sister?"
"Well," Wei replied. "She used to stay in the orphanage with us, a couple of years ago. When we fled, I made her stay there, for protection. The orphanage closed down a year ago, so I found her a job here. She's a smith, now, and a good one, too."
"Alright, cool. Well, I've got somewhere to go. Later." And, with that, Nekku turned off to a side road.
"Alright, then," Feng said. "Let's get home." Wei nodded.
They walked home, and opened the door to their small house. They both stopped.
An Officer Corrupted
Sitting at the table were three men, dressed in the green uniforms of the Earth Kingdom Army.
One man stood up. He had a large, black beard, and was very tall. He spoke out in a gruff voice.
"You two are Feng and Wei?" Feng gulped.
"Er... Yes, sir."
Wei looked to Feng. They were both afraid. They knew that these men being here could mean one thing: They had been discovered. Again.
"Well, good, then," the man said. "My name is Major Tu Sang of the Second Battalion of Homeland Defense. First Company. We have a job for you."
The two assassins' eyes widened.
"A job?" Wei said. "Seriously? A job, for the Earth Kingdom Army? First for the Dai Li, now for the army, what's next, a job for the spirits themselves?"
"Yes," the man said. "A job. Come, sit down." He pulled two chairs out at the table, and Feng and Wei sat down, as did he. There was a paper on it, with a drawing of a man in Earth Kingdom armor. Tu Sang pointed to it.
"This is your target. Major Fu Toh of the Third Company of the Second Battalion of Homeland Defense. We have it on good authority that he's been selling off key information on our defense to the Fire Nation for money."
"Spirits," Feng said. "Why in hell would anyone do that?"
"Money," the man answered. "Money, power, whatever. People are greedy. Anyways, Fu Toh is currently operating on the Outer Wall of Ba Sing Se. We need you to kill him. Although you'll likely not need it, the Army will be there to support you, if it is needed."
"How much money?" Wei asked.
"Seven hundred silver pieces."
"Wow... We accept."
Tu Sang looked at Feng.
"Do you accept, too?"
"This man is a traitor to his country, who deserves to die. I accept."
"Good. Remember, we'll be there for you."
And, with that, he and his men got up and left.
Later that day, Nekku came home, and Feng and Wei told him the news. They had an new job.
They were working for the Earth Kingdom Army.
The Great Walls of Ba Sing Se
Feng walked down the street, Shi strapped to his back. The morning was cold, and the last of the stars were just fading away. Wei and Nekku were walking next to him, their weapons along with them. The street would take them to the monorail station, where they would take a train to the Outer Wall.
They got to the station, and sat down on the large train. Only one other old man was on. There was a large rumble, and a team of Earthbenders began to move the train. Before long, the three assassins were riding it out of the Inner Wall, taking in the incredible view.
There was no city in between the two enormous walls. Instead, there was farmland, and scattered small villages. The three of them had seen the incredible sight before, and yet the vastness of it all never ceased to amaze any of them, even Wei.
Before long, the train came to a screeching halt at the Outer Wall, where the trio disembarked. From this station, passengers were to exit the city, go back into the farmland, or get back on the train. Feng, Wei, and Nekku, however, ducked behind a corner. They quickly found a set of stairs, and took it to the top of the huge wall.
Death to Traitors
As they climbed the last few stairs, Feng and Wei got their first glimpses of land outside of Ba Sing Se. It was breathtaking for them. The sun was just rising off to the east, and dawn began to shine on the land. They could see all the way out to the sea from the enormous wall. They were lost for words.
"Guys," Nekku whispered. "Come on. Civilians aren't supposed to be up here." Feng nodded.
"Alright," he replied in a low whisper. "These papers told us where Fu Toh is. He'll still be sleeping, now. His quarters are in the barracks right over there." He pointed to a small building off to their right.
Feng unsheathed Shi, and the trio snuck up to the building. Feng opened the door, as quietly as he could. They stepped inside.
There were beds lining the room, each one with a snoring Earth Kingdom soldier. As quietly as possible, they snuck into an adjacent room.
Snoring on the bed was a man that matched the picture of Fu Toh. They knew it was him. Wei nodded to Feng, who went over to the sleeping major. He lifted his sword, and drove it through the man's heart. He shuddered, feeling the sword slide through the flesh. It was worse when it was a silent kill. Though he was used to it by now, Feng knew he would probably never really get used to it. No assassin ever did.
"Well," Feng whispered. "That was easy. Come on, Tu Sang is right over a ways."
They snuck back out of the barracks. They walked a short ways on the wall. Dawn had broken by that time, and the birds had begun to sing, as morning arrived. The trio found Tu Sang patrolling with some guards a mile away.
Tu Sang looked at Feng as the trio approached him.
"So," he said. "I'll assume the job is done?"
"Yes, sir. It's over."
Tu Sang smiled.
"Good, good. Don't worry, no one but me and a few of my men will know it was you."
He reached for some money at his pocket, offering to Feng.
"Your payment," he said.
Feng took the money.
"Thank you, sir," he said.
Just then, a man came running up to them, dressed in Earth Kingdom armor, arriving just in time to see Feng accepting the money. He looked, shocked.
"You..." he said, pointing at Feng and Tu Sang. "You two! YOU TWO KILLED THE MAJOR!"
Tu Sang addressed the man calmly. "Yuong, I have no idea what you're talking about."
"YES YOU DO! YOU HIRED THIS ASSASSIN! YOU HAD FU TOH KILLED!"
He back off from them, slowly.
"You... You... YOU TRAITORS!"
And Yuong ran away, speeding back towards the Third Company's section of the wall.
"Wei," Feng said. "Follow him."
"You mean kill him?" she asked.
He shook his head. "No. Just follow him. See what he does."
Wei took off, speeding after Yuong.
Nekku turned to Tu Sang. "Who was that man?"
"Lieutenant Yuong Le So, Second Battalion of Homeland Defense, Third Company. Fu Toh's second in command. They were close, I'm sure Yuong knew what Fu Toh was up to. Now, just in case, I'm going to mobilize the troops. He might attack, I don't know."
Tu Sang turned around.
"MEN OF THE WATCH!" he yelled. "In formation! Archers in the back, then Earthbenders, then cavalry, then infantry!"
The men hastened to obey their officer's orders, getting in formation. They were around thirty men strong. Just as they finished, Wei came running back.
"He's back there," she told Feng. "Forty men or so. In formation, coming this way."
"Dammit," Tu Sang said. "Leave it to Yuong to do something like this. Men of the watch, ready yourselves! These are our men, but they're traitors. Don't hold back!" he bellowed.
"Feng," he said. "You can lead my infantry when we get into battle. I don't know why I'm letting you, and I know it's stupid, but I think you'll do alright. Just remember, these are men. You are commanding their lives, here."
"Yes, sir," Feng said. "Infantry!" he yelled. "You'll be under my command!"
Some of the men whispered about being under the command of an unproven boy, but no one cared enough to speak up.
"Alright," Nekku said. "We're thirty men strong. Five archers, five Earthbenders, five cavalry, five pikemen, and five swordsmen. I suggest, Tu Sang, that you weaken them with the archers and benders for a bit, then send in the cavalry in wedge formation straight on, letting Feng, Wei and I, along with your pikemen and infantry, flank them."
Tu Sang looked at him.
"That's a good plan, son. Where did you learn strategy?"
"I was trained in it back in the North. My dad was one of the heads of the Northern Water Tribe's military."
"Well, it's a good plan. We'll do it. Make yourselves ready."
Before long, Yuong and his men came marching up. They stood around a quarter mile away.
"Alright," Yuong said to his men. "These men are traitors to the Earth Kingdom! They killed Major Fu Toh! Leave no survivors! CHARGE!"
The small portion of the Third Company that had been on patrol obeyed Yuong's order, charging forward with a roar.
"Alright, men," Tu Sang said. "Steady, steady... And... Archers, fire! Benders, fire!"
The archers of the First Company loosed their arrows. One man of the Third Company was hit through the throat. Another in the shoulder. The rest of the arrows were either blocked or missed.
The benders launched shards of rock. One Third Company man was hit in the stomach, another in the heart, another in the leg.
The Third Company retaliated. Their benders sent out boulders. One archer of the First Company was hit in the leg. A bender was hit by a Third Company arrow, through the skull. Two pikemen were hit by a boulder.
The vicious ranged cycle repeated twice, leaving the First Company with twenty-five men, and the Third Company with thirty.
The Third Company was closing the distance between the two small opposing forces.
"Cavalry..." Tu Sang shouted. "CHARGE!"
Five men, riding ostrich horses and wielding pikes, charged at the Third Company men in wedge formation, with one man in front, and two on each side. They crashed into the Third Company lines, killing several men. They broke through the other side, and circled around to do it again.
"Pikemen," Feng shouted. "Charge!"
They did as he said, charging into Third Company lines, soon creating a vast melee between them and the cavalry and the Third Company men.
"Swordsmen, follow me!" Feng shouted. He ran forward, Wei and Nekku at his side. The four swordsmen followed. Feng led himself, his friends, and the swordsmen smashing into the right flank of the Third Company men.
Feng was soon embroiled in the melee. He cut down a man with Shi. He stomped his foot on the ground, making an earthen slab hit another man, killing him. He continued to cut his way through the men. Wei was near him, cutting down man after man with her daggers and knives. Nekku was riding around on a stream of ice, killing with his water.
And, before anyone knew it, it was over. Five Third Company men remained, who dropped their weapons and held their hands in the air, surrendering. Yuong lay dead.
There were fifteen First Company men left. Two archers, two benders, three swordsmen, two pikemen, and four cavalry.
"Look through the bodies," Tu Sang said. "They'll all get a proper burial. They were good men, who didn't know what they were doing. They didn't deserve a death like this. Damn Yuong. As for the survivors, hold them in custody. Long Feng will decide what to do with them."
He turned to Feng.
"As for you, we thank you and your friends for the help. You may go; we will not speak a word of this."
Feng, Wei and Nekku walked back to the monorail station, and boarded, heading back to the Lower Ring.
A Second Attempt
Two shadowy figures moved in the morning light.
"There he is," a woman's voice whispered. "The Shadowborn."
"Then let's go," a man's voice whispered back.
"No, wait. Remember what happened to Ehan. He was cocky, and he suffered for it. We'll wait for a better chance."
Feng, Wei and Nekku were on the monorail back into the city proper. Wei was counting up the money they had just earned, Feng was taking a short nap, and Nekku was staring out the window, looking at the scenery.
The two figures moved quickly, jumping off the Outer Wall and onto the monorail. The man took out several small bombs, lit them, and set them down. They jumped off the train and on to the monorail tracks quickly.
Wei looked up, hearing a noise. She shoved Feng awake.
"Feng. Feng, what is that?"
"Huh? What, what's what?"
And, suddenly, there was a large explosion.
Feng, Wei and Nekku were thrown from the train, landing a short ways away. The epicenter of the blast had avoided them, and they were thrown out with only a few bruises and scars.
"What the hell was that?" Wei muttered.
"That was us," a woman's voice came from behind her.
The three assassins turned around. Standing behind them was a woman with long, blond hair.
She was dressed in black robes, with a picture of three crossed swords sewn into them.
"You," Feng said. "You're with Ehan, aren't you?"
"Ah, Ehan..." the woman said. "He got cocky when he went after you. We went for the stealthy kill. That failed." She shook her head. "Nice going, Airan!" she yelled sarcastically.
Another man, also dressed in the black Shroud robes, came jumping out of the rubble. He had black hair put into a ponytail, and had a large claymore slung over his back.
"Ah, 'twas the bombs' fault," he said.
"Yeah, yeah, whatever you say."
Feng looked at the two of them.
"So, you two are with The Shroud? What the hell is it? What do you want from us?"
"Ah, questions before death. We are The Shroud. We are assassins. And someone very powerful wants you dead. That's enough for me. The name's Kayla, by the way. And this man here is Airan," the woman said.
"Pleased to make your acquaintance," Airan said. "Now, if we could hurry this along..." he took his claymore off his back. "All the world's a stage, and the men and women merely players. This is where your act ends."
Kayla swirled around, drawing water out of the plants at her feet. She used the water she got to create a sphere of ice, surrounding her, Airan, and the three assassins.
Nekku looked at what she did, wide-eyed.
"How did she do that?"
He got no answers, as Kayla drew water out of her pouch, made spikes of ice, and launched them at the trio, and as Airan charged, claymore in hand.
"Feng, Nekku, you guys take the Waterbender. I got this one," Wei said, as she drew her two daggers out.
She charged at Airan, clashing swords with him. She struck out at him a few times, each attempt at a hit being blocked by her foe's large sword. She quickly sidestepped to Airan's back, going for a strike there. However, he jumped in the air, doing a flip, landing behind Wei. She whirled around, pressing her attack.
Feng and Nekku stood across from Kayla, the duo circling their would-be assassin. Feng drew Shi, and Nekku took water from his pouch. And they attacked.
Feng stomped at the ground, lifting up three boulders. He punched twice and kicked once, sending them flying at Kayla. She used her water to make a pillar of ice, propelling herself into the air. She separated it into shards, and flew at Feng. He propelled himself into the air, with shards of earth following him. The two assassins met, and both were sent flying.
Nekku ran forward while Kayla was down. He made his water into a large stream, sending it at Kayla, who was blasted back into her own sphere of ice. She got up, and twirled both of her arms in a circle, sending circles of water at Feng and Nekku. Feng submerged himself in the earth. Nekku dodged, but was hit in the shoulder by one of Kayla's attacks.
Airan swung his claymore at Wei. Wei blocked, and countered with a kick to the stomach and some slashes to the face, which Airan narrowly dodged. She pressed the offense, slashing at his chest, but he blocked all her shots. He jumped over her, and turned in a circle, claymore held out. Wei jumped over the sword slash, and landed next to Airan. He held his wrist out, and a blade came protruding from his sleeve. He slashed, hitting Wei across the shoulder.
She stumbled back, holding her shoulder. She tried to ignore the pain, heading forward, and slashing at Airan again, who dodged and blocked all of her attempts at getting a good strike. He swung again, hitting her in the left leg. She swore, but kept fighting on.
Nekku propelled himself into the air with a pillar of ice, grabbed the surface of the sphere of ice, and sent down a pillar from it at Kayla, who dodged it. At that moment, Feng jumped out of the ground which he had been hiding in, punching upwards as he did. Kayla was sent flying into the air. Feng took a shard of sharp earth, and launched it at her as she hit the ground again. She rolled over, but was hit in the hip.
She struggled up, and punched both her hands forward, converting a great part of the sphere of ice into water, and sending it at Feng. Nekku jumped forward, grabbing the water and swirling it around Feng and his backs, launching it back at Kayla, who used more water to make a shield of ice. She converted the ice back in to water, and made a stream of it form into ice at her feet. She slid along the ice, going around the small arena.
Wei knew she was in trouble. If she didn't beat Airan soon, she would end up dead. She blocked more of his strikes, but was slowly being worn down. Airan stuck his hand out, throwing out a lit small bomb, which Wei rolled away from.
Thinking quickly, she took a handful of dust and threw it at Airan. It hit him in the eyes, temporarily blinding him. He held a hand to them, trying to get the dust out. Wei pressed her advantage, getting in a strike at his chest, shoulder, and left arm before he blocked her strikes.
Feng and Nekku stood back-to-back, watching Kayla go around the arena. Kayla launched a spike of ice, which hit Feng in the right arm. He swore, holding the wound. Kayla drew her arms around her, getting water vapor from the air and converting it into water on her fingertips. She made it into ice spikes, and launched the ten of them at Feng and Nekku. Feng pulled up a wall of earth. He punched at it twice, sending chunks at Kayla. She dodged, returning to the ground. Feng kicked at the wall.
It was sent slamming straight into Kayla, who was knocked into the sphere of ice, falling unconscious. As she did, the sphere of ice reverted into water.
Wei and Airan had battled each other to a near standstill. Airan saw the sphere turn into water, and saw Kayla lying unconscious. He decided that the fight was lost, and nodded at Wei.
"Thank you ever so much for the fight, honorable foe. You were a worthy opponent. Until next time."
He dashed over, grabbed Kayla's limp body, and sprinted away, jumping off the Outer Wall (which was a short distance away) and onto the monorail tracks, disappearing into the wall, before the assassins had time to follow.
Seeing the battle was over, Wei relaxed, her adrenaline rush going away. She fell, unconscious. The three assassins had narrowly survived the battle. Not saying anything, Feng grabbed Wei's body, and he and Nekku began the long walk back to the great city of Ba Sing Se.
Feng gently lowered Wei into her bed. It was night by the time he and Nekku had worked their way back into the city. They had visited a doctor when they got back, getting their cuts bandaged. Wei had fallen asleep at the doctor's office.
Feng smiled. His best friend. She really had gotten him out of some tough spots. He yawned, said, "Good night, Wei," and exited the room.
The young assassin sat down at the table with Nekku, who turned to him.
"Feng," Nekku said. "I think we can agree, here. It's time we find out what The Shroud is. Why they want us dead so badly.
Feng nodded in agreement.
"We'll find some information in the morning. We'll start at Ba Sing Se University. Get some sleep. It's gonna be a long day, tomorrow."
- This was both the first large-scale battle in Dancing Shadows, and the smallest of all of them. Though there will be no more in Part 1, expect a lot of them in Parts 2 and 3.
- The next chapter will, indeed, be Feng, Nekku and Wei searching for information on The Shroud. It will also advance the story somewhat, reveal some secrets, and create some new ones.
- Tu Sang will have a major part to play in Part 3. Jericho, the owner of Lily's smithy, will have a small role to play in Part 3, as well.
- Wei's sister, Lily, is going to be the main focus of the chapter after Starry Skies, entitled Sister Dearest.
For the collective works of the author, go here.
|Part 1: Beginnings|
|First Blood - Bar Fights are Fun! - Civil Unrest - What Goes Around - Comes Around - The Shroud - Battle on the Wall - Starry Skies - Sister Dearest - One Last Sale - Horizon Part 1: Stormy Sky - Horizon Part 2: Farewell|
|Part 2: Journeys|
|That Long Road - Morning Never Comes|