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|Supremacy of Wolves|
Blood and Swamps
December 18, 2012
War and blood have spread across the world again as nations seek to overpower one another. The Avatar is meant to bring balance to the world. But she is enclosed within the great city of Omashu while the Black Dragon plots. Avatar Tala must master the elements and seek a path to continue her journey as the Avatar.
Chapter 7: Supremacy of Wolves
He ran his hand across her cheek, "I'm so sorry Tala."
Tears ran down her cheek, as she pressed her face closer to him.
"This is useless to us!" A voice from afar said frustratingly.
He wiped away her tear, "Please don't cry."
"Very well," another distant voice spoke, "we'll have to try something else."
Suddenly he was fading as if a cloud broken in the winds. A blackness grew and then faded, replaced by the dim cell of steel around her. On her knees, before her stood two armored men, they were Sea Dragons.
The First spoke, "Such a shame, she is a beautiful one."
The second turned and left the cell, "Mind yourself and remember who we're speaking of."
"Even when tied down, you're afraid of her?"
"Terrified, aren't you?"
The first answered smugly, "No."
"Then you're a fool."
Serpentine, the creature weaved through the water effortlessly. The only struggle was for the rider on the saddle to stay on.
They had followed the vehicle in the water for half a day when they finally found what they were looking for. It was unbelievable, even Ralyn had no idea the Fire Navy had progressed so far. This was not going to be easy. She pulled up on Ilan's reins and the two rose to the top of the water.
They reached the surface and carefully ensured they were unnoticed. Reaching the shore of the lake, Ralyn quietly jumped down from the Eel Hound. She looked around, cupped her hands around her mouth and began whistling an irregular pitch.
Now she had to wait.
Liman hated waiting. Patience was key to waterbending but was also an irritant for Liman. But what Liman hated more was having no control. He was a Master Lotus and it meant nothing. He had mastered Northern Waterbending at fifteen and was still second to a mercenary. A faithless killer who was sold to the highest bidder. It made him feel useless that for all his power, for all his hard work, there was someone better.
"How long do we have to wait?" One of the sentries asked.
"However long it takes for her to set a trap for us?" Their hooded compatriot did nothing to hide his hatred of Ralyn and her brother. But no one could blame him, Grand Admiral Alov had burned his face off when they were just kids. He had been waiting for revenge, and now he thought it was the ripe time.
Next to Liman was the large beast that followed the mercenary around. A wolf larger than any he had seen but just small enough to be a truly wild bred one. It was all black, save for the white fur on its chest. Fierce and protective of its master, he stood watch over her during her coma and rarely slept.
Ralyn had ordered Ov to stay behind. He had been laying down resting since then. That changed, he pricked up his ears and then his head shot up. He quickly jumped up and ran off.
Liman got up, "That's the signal, lets go!"
The men got up and followed the sprinting wolf.
Ralyn sat in the crevice of a root waiting silently in the dark of night. This close to the lake meant patrols had to come, or else they had gotten sloppy. She heard sniffing of a familiar friend. Out of the mist rushed a dark-furred wolf barely seen in the dark.
Ov sprinted straight for Ralyn and licked her face, she scratched his chin while waiting for the others to arrive.
They came about ten minutes later. Liman led the group while the hooded sentry quickly followed. Liman inquired, "Did you find it?"
"What do you mean?"
"Fire Navy technology has improved considerably since I last got my hands on water specs. I told you about their submarines."
"Yeah, self propelling boats not needing waterbenders like the old ones."
"Well, someone really took it to heart. They built an entire station down at the bottom of this lake, it houses submarines, small ones that can go through the river, they come back here. I hope you convinced enough of the Swamp Tribe to fight, cause we'll need every man for this, its not a sub we're taking, its an underwater base."
Tala laid down on her side. Someone in charge was smart, they kept her tied up, even in the cell. A Sea Dragon or two always came by in order to do anything she needed but not as often as she would prefer.
The door slid open and three people entered. Two were Sea Dragons given their armor, one a male, the other a woman. Leading them was someone else though.
His armor was nearly identical to their except it had gold lining alongside the scarlet. It was scarred and pitted from battle and made it fiercer than a clean suit. And most distinctive was the helm in his hand, that she almost mistook it for someone else's. It looked very much like the dragon helms all the others wore but it had different eyes and distinct canines. It was a wolfhelm.
If that wasn't enough, the man's sapphire eyes and near identical features gave away his identity. He spoke to the kneeling Avatar, "Greetings Avatar Tala, it is an honor to meet you."
"Its Grand Admiral Alov. But given who taught you who I am, its not surprising. But I must admit that I am surprised that my sister would come here or teach you."
"What does that matter to you?"
"Curiosity. I invented the Purge Protocol with Ralyn thanks our innate curiosity."
"You mean 'you' invented it."
"Oh, she had plenty of influence on the final product."
"What do you want?"
"My goals at present are unimportant. However, you are of incredible importance." He grabbed the Avatar by the chin with his free hand, "Grand Marshal Rishu still thinks you're in Omashu. A rare feat to get past him. Soon we will know how you got past him and then we will learn more."
"Yeah, your men tried already, it didn't work."
"Trust me, Avatar. That wasn't trying, that was courtesy. The sciences have progressed rapidly, there are things that could make you wish nothing existed. Where a touch was a nightmare and smells were pain. I can spare you of that if you cooperate. If not, we'll see how powerful the Avatar really is, and it will be a test of will."
Alov stood up and place his helm on. Strangely it showed more emotion than his own face. "For now, you are our guest."
The Sea-Wolf and the She-Wolf
"So are there any hatches that are close to the surface?"
"Two. One is one the other side of the lake, and one is just over that way," Ralyn pointed to a spot over the water, "Its about five feet below, but it must need some key or something, I couldn't open it."
The hooded sentry spoke up, "I think our key just arrived. Everyone get back."
The group receded into the trees and mists watching as two Sea Dragons swam across the lake. Only spikes from their helmet could be seen above the water and the ripples were soft. It was amazing that the sentry even noticed it.
The two dove down. Ralyn looked at the group, "That's our cue, lets go."
The group sped forward diving in the water and augmenting their speed with waterbending. They quickly reached the two Sea Dragons as they were opening the hatch.
Ralyn and Liman sped forward, ahead of the others and struck simultaneously. Liman gripped the head of the Sea Dragons and pulled violently, leaving a floating body. Ralyn formed ice claws on her hands and struck the throat of her target. She held him down till he stopped resisting and then let his body flow away. Sea Dragons were too dangerous to let live.
One of the Sea Dragons had opened the hatch already, the hooded sentry and Ralyn swam in while Liman beckoned the others. He then turned to the last two and signaled them to head to the other hatch. Liman entered and closed the hatch behind him.
When the hatch closed it began to remove the water, leaving them in an air container. The door beside them opened into the base. It was eerie, a mix of a military compound and a prison. The pressure made it feel claustrophobic.
They walked forward carefully, Liman approached Ralyn, "We're going to have to split up if we're going to get Tala out and complete our objective."
"You find the Avatar, I'll hold off any if they find out we're here."
"Who said we had to find out? Perhaps we knew you were already here." The voice behind it was around the corner, with him were four Sea Dragons, Liman looked the other way and saw that another five were at the other end of the tunnel.
"Well, well. I never knew the She-Wolf to so easily fall in a trap."
"I never knew the Sea-Wolf to think this was one."
A snicker could be heard through his helm, "We'll see. I suggest you all surrender, there are thirty-three Sea Dragons and me against thirteen of you."
Liman answered, "I see only ten of you and you have two less above."
Alov sighed, "Foolish, Sea Dragons don't take loss lightly, it is met with swift retribution."
The Hooded Sentry stepped forward, "Retribution against you won't be swift enough."
The Sea-Wolf looked at the sentry curiously, turning his head, "Ah, I remember you. Tell me, do chicks dig scars? Or was that a lie?"
The hands of the sentry were visibly shaking, "You'll pay for what've done."
"For what specifically? I have done many things. Putting you in your place was easy compared to this." He lifted his arm beckoning to the station itself.
The sentry lost it, screaming in fury he sent a large icicle at Alov. Alov stepped around it deftly, "Sloppy, your eyesight must be terrible, what with your face hanging over it."
The enraged man rushed forward as Ralyn and Liman sent waves of ice shards at the Sea Dragons.
When they returned their attention, Alov was gone and the sentry was running around a corner. The four Sea Dragons ignored him and pressed forward against the party of intruders.
"Get the Avatar, I'll deal with Alov."
Before Liman could protest she sprinted forward at the four Dragons. She slid low, tripping one before continuing to run forward. On the other side the five were slowly advancing as two made shields and the others lobbed fire jabs at them.
Tala sat down, waiting. It was necessary to wait but it was dangerous. The same guard who laughed about fearing a tied-up woman was giving her looks as he brought her food. He was back again.
"You know, before you went to Republic City, no one in the Fire Nation had seen you before. You can imagine all the myths that were made up about you. But when you arrived in a Dragon Silk dress, word of your beauty spread like wildfire. Rumors that Grand Marshal Rishu was going to leave his very prestigious fiance for you."
He walked forward and grabbed Tala's chin, "Maybe I'll get to see that once you're taken out of this swamp."
Tala inhaled, letting her lungs fill with air, and with as much speed as she could she let the air blast forward with a breath that sent the Sea Dragon into the wall. She stood up and moved her arms apart. Obviously they didn't know she could metalbend or else they would have used different kinds of restraints.
She sent a blast of air at the man, he rolled with the wall to avoid the collision and promptly responded with a kick of flame. Tala moved quick, she didn't want to get into a strung-out fight with a Sea Dragon. She kicked a gust of wind to keep him against the wall and made her move.
While her metalbending was rudimentary, it was still useful. She sped her hand like a serpent and caught the wrist of the Dragon, she pressed it as tightly to the wall as if it would go through. And to the Dragon's surprise, his hand was encased in the steel wall.
Before he could react, Tala viciously gripped the neck of the trapped man and turned with a cruel snap, nearly turning it completely around. She heard steps outside, no doubt a Sea Dragon was waiting outside. But when they turned to face the open door it wasn't a Dragon, it was Liman.
"I am now."
"Come on, we need to release these prisoners, get enough to overrun the Sea Dragons. As it is my men are making them run circles for a chase."
She nodded and quickly got out of the cell. The two of them and two Southern Tribe members helped release the prisoners, there were about a hundred of them in all. "There's something wrong, Lue said they took hundreds."
One of the prisoners spoke up, "A lot died resisting, others were transferred and taken out of the swamp. But the most dangerous were kept in their own tanks."
"What do you mean most dangerous?"
"Master Tuo and the other plantbenders captured were incredibly dangerous, too dangerous to even move."
"If they're alive, then an escape from the second hatch can happen," Liman looked at Tala, "We have to get them out."
"Wait, where is Ralyn?"
"Went after Alov."
"Not quite, one of my men was first, Ralyn was next."
Tala always thought that Ralyn could face anything, even the Black Dragon. But when she met the Sea-Wolf, she saw for herself the cold detachment. He genuinely seemed to care for nothing. He would not hesitate to murder anyone, even his own sister. For all the things she felt about her mercenary teacher, she was not that heartless, as to kill her own brother.
She sprinted off on her own, Liman called after her, "Where are you going?"
"To stop Alov! Go free Tuo!"
Liman growled as the Avatar kept going despite his protests.
He had waited decades for the chance to strike. Years of training to master waterbending and reach a level of proficiency to fight that little snot nosed brat. He heard over and over of the power of the Sea-Wolf running the Navy. But he doubted that little boy could manage anything with all the emotion he had and has yet to deal with.
He ran through the halls chasing the sounds of footsteps. The thought of drowning him was sheerly exciting. He turned into a room when from above a spinning kick sent him flying. He rolled at turned back around to release a spiral of sharp water.
Alov was closer than he expected and interrupted the technique. Using fire to shield his hand as it shot forward and gripping his wrist. He pulled back with incredible strength and rotated, slamming him into a wall.
"It was foolish to come for me alone," he chuckled, "It was foolish to come for me with a gang even. Remember what I said all those years ago?"
Hatred bled through his eyes. Silent and piercing.
"I'll finish what I started."
He grabbed the cloth that covered the face of the man and pulled the hood back. The sight was grotesque and disgusting. The face, or rather lack there of, was just melted tissue with openings for a mouth and eyes. It was a site to make men sick, to clench the heart. But Alov only saw the boy who was so stupid to think that it was wise to play with wolves.
"You know what the wolf did to the boy?"
His eyes betrayed him for that moment with a glimmer of fear. He smiled inside, "He killed him."
He tightened his grip on the throat of the old nemesis, power pulsed through his hand. Flames erupted encompassing and expanding around his prey. Screams broke, pain unending. He channeled more.
Skin black as ash was all that was left, except for where his hand was gripped tightly, which was the only pink flesh to imply that the mess was alive once.
He stepped back, "I'm shocked you didn't come to your friend's aid." He looked to the woman on his left.
"That cocky idiot was about as much my friend as he was yours. Like I said before, he deserved it, but it wasn't your place to give judgement."
"Oh and the Water Tribe would have given me justice? When I'm done here, they'll be next and the South first. They'll rue the day they turned on blood."
Ralyn took a stance to prepare, abandoning the relaxed one as she had watched the sentry burn alive.
"You really think you could kill me?" Alov's voice was hollow.
An sphere of flame jetted forward. Ralyn rolled beneath it and sent an orb of water after the attacker. He rolled under the attack and came in close. He closed in and punched up, forming a fire dagger in his fist. She arched back, barely avoiding the cutting fire.
She rolled back, giving herself space. She whirled her hand in the air absorbing water from the atmosphere around her. Sharpened claws of ice formed around every finger of both hands. Alov responded by making a fire dagger in the other hand.
Ralyn rushed forward and swiped at the head of her brother. In a blinding motion, Alov pulled back but did not completely escape the strike as four claw marks etched themselves into the skin of the helm. Alov kicked up sending a small flame forward as he charged.
Liman and the others continued through the hall and encountered two Sea Dragons, despite the numbers they had, the two persisted and held their own, forcing them to go around them. Most of the waterbenders they had couldn't fight due to fatigue or lack of resource.
They kept moving, joining up with the rest of his men, they had lost two but had two Sea Dragons down, now only pursued by seven with another two joining. They pressed further and reached the place they were looking for. The moment he walked in, he nearly choked on the air, dry and stale, it was without water. He looked and saw several elevated and isolated cells. In them were men and women, tied and gagged.
In the farthest point was an even larger more impressive cell holding a single man. His gray hair wildly grew and cover his face, showing only his blue eyes.
The man responded to that, looking up, "Who are you?"
His voice was dry, croaking from the abrasive air in his lungs.
"My name's Liman, we're here to get you all out."
"Wait! The cells are rigged any tampering causes them to shock the occupants."
"So how do I stop that?"
"The guards have keys but only a couple have the right ones, the men with gold lining."
"Thanks," He looked at his three best, "Find a Dragon lieutenant or commander, they'll have gold lining alongside their regular colors."
Tala continued through the station, it was a maze of twisting and turning hallways. And no matter what, it felt like she was going deeper, but she felt called to continue. She finally reached a large and massive room to see something disturbing and shocking.
The room was full of machinery to the ceiling. But she could tell what kind of devices they were, drills. She leapt down and saw a viewing port below. She looked at the window and saw a button nearby that said 'light'. She flicked it and the scene beyond presented itself.
Before her was wood, ancient as stone and hard as steel. It was deep beneath, the heart of the Banyan Grove Tree. And they were drilling into it, destroying it. It set something inside her alight. This was no ordinary plant to cut and unroot. This tree was alive and had its own ways. No wonder the swamp had changed, it was dying.
She heard steps coming and turned, ready to unleash her power on the next to step through when a ragged man entered, no Sea Dragon. He had wildly growing grey hair and his blue eyes shone through. Behind him was a much more familiar face, Liman.
"Tala, this is Tuo. Tuo, meet the Avatar."
Tuo bowed, "An honor, Avatar Tala."
She nodded her head, "Likewise. Did you know about this?"
He walked up, "Its why they took me. Everyone else had given up looking for the answer. But I looked deeper, deep beneath the surface where the tree itself had fought me. And I found it, this base is not stationary. It is cutting into the heart of the swamp and bleeding it dry."
"When I found out the secret, they came for me, before I could warn anyone. I fought but they were too strong, too organized, too prepared; and I wasn't. They've been holding me ever since and taking my brothers & sisters as well."
"Then we need to destroy it, before it causes more damage than it already has. You guys take care of this, I still haven't found Ralyn."
"The She-Wolf is here too? Fighting the Wolf siblings won't be easy."
"Ralyn's on our side."
"Trust me, she isn't. This entire plan, she was a founder of."
"I know, she made the purge protocol with her brother, but she is also my waterbending master, and it was her idea that got us here."
The look in Tuo's eyes clearly showed his disbelief. But she was not concerned, she knew that it would take time for anyone to accept that her master wasn't the enemy.
"Ralyn and I should take Alov. Just hurry and destroy this and help us."
The Sea Dragons answered the call, a third of their number were already engaged with the infiltrators, including the Grand Admiral. Now the Commander called the rest, "Alright men! We are cleaning up. You're going in and dealing with the prisoners, expect them all on the loose." He then pointed to four dragons, "You, you, you, and you; come with me."
He walked down the hallway to a set of stairs, he looked at three of the Dragons, "Get the Mongoose up and running while we secure the hatch." The three nodded and head down another hall.
The Dragon Commander and his fellow Dragon climbed up the ladder rung. The stepped out of the hatch where water slipped in lightly but not a flood as the hatch was at the surface of the water. The two stood up and inspected the area to secure an evacuation site for the dragons if anything should happen.
Before they could counter, a wave hit the two sending them back several feet. Before them were two White Lotus sentries, but there was help behind them. Emerging from the mists and the water were the Foggy Swamp Tribe and amongst them were the things the Sea Dragons dreaded. A tangle of vines and water, they rose out and towered over the men and women they fought with. The plantbended vines of a monster.There were three of these gargantuan vine monsters. The closest struck first, speeding a large vine that was as big as anyone. The two rolled away from each other and opened fire. They attacked the people first, the creatures were pointless to attack until their support was dealt with.
Three swamp men fell to the flames of the Sea Dragons but the others rallied and readied for a phalanx of water in defense.
"Come on, where are you with the Mongoose?"
A large thrum coming from the water answered his question. The water churned and first the three heads of the Sea Dragons rose but soon it was seen that there was more than that. A large disc-like pod emerged. One of the Dragons was in the back behind an area that clearly controlled the Mongoose. The other two were in the front. Between them was a cannon built in and connected to the steering device of the pilot.
Each man stood at railing, which held up turrets. The barrels were three feet long and were specifically made for Sea Dragons. It amplified firebending, but did so at a faster rate than the old weapons the United Forces used. The turrets were special as they also conducted lightning from their users.
Shock was present on the faces of the waterbenders. What would have been a slaughter of two by dozens was not so sure anymore.
The hum of the Mongoose gave early warning that it was firing as it came to life. Immediately the turrets opened fire on the man-made vine creature. All the waterbenders fled from the monstrosity as two fireballs came streaking through the misty air. They hit the beast head on and the wrath of flames over powered it, forcing it to stumble back.
It put an arm down to steady itself as the fires had cut deep. It was already growing back the wounds as it recovered and rose to charge the mechanical weapon. As it charged, the cannon operated by the pilot opened fire. A spinning capsule loosed forward. Too fast to react, the capsule embedded itself into the middle of the vines.
The creature imploded as flames consumed the middle of the creature taking it and its maker into the deep lake. Fear spread but the two Sea Dragons smiled beneath their helms and attacked. The enemy was now in chaos. The younger lower ranked Dragon tackled one of the swamp men, standing over them, he then struck forward into the man's chest with a palm strike as bones cracked. The Sea Dragon Commander fired many streams of flame, keeping the enemies back as the two pressed forward.
The two remaining vine-made beasts rushed the Mongoose. Stopping it was vitally important to securing an escape for the prisoners inside. The Mongoose fought back each turret firing at a vine creation.
The Mongoose backed up, leading the two things away from the Sea Dragons. The two marines pressed against the dazed warriors. They were lost and pathetic, unprepared for things to change. The two dragons had taken down five of the swamp men but the two Lotus Sentries rallied the remaining fighters.
A clash of flame and ice as brother and sister clashed for blood. Their armor bore the scars of their brawl as Fire Daggers and Ice Claws ripped at each other. Alov was much stronger but Ralyn was more agile. The two were locked in fight that could go on for a long time.
As Alov was trying to bring down a flaming dagger on Ralyn, a current of wind hit him and sent him into a hallway. Ralyn looked to the source to see her apprentice.
"I figured you could use help."
"Unnecessary, but appreciated."
"Oh, you'll need all the help you can get."
A massive center of fire streamed forward, Tala quickly made a sweeping motion to cut the flame. It was still powerful enough for the power to push the two back. As the two recovered, the Sea-Wolf was out of the hallway and attacking.
A fire jab and a whip of flame set out. Tala pulled her shoulder back to avoid the jab as Ralyn used ice claws to catch the whip.
Tala fired a kick of air to trip the Sea-Wolf, it didn't work. He leapt over it and the Avatar, firing at Ralyn and then running down the same path Tala had come from. Tala and Ralyn pursued. A maze of halls to work through didn't make it easier.
They heard laughing and the tapping of footsteps, Alov was taunting them. They turned around the corner following his clues. Alov waited calmly as three Sea Dragons stood behind him. "Never let the prey get away, and never let the predator get away."
The four charged forth and Ralyn and Tala split letting them pass and then attacking. Ralyn went after the Dragons while Tala targeted Alov. She used air and fire to keep him off-balance but was making little progress.
Alov was powerful, not as much as Rishu, who had unnatural power but he was dangerous nonetheless and did not restrain what he would do to his opponent.
Tala ducked under a powerful fire breath and kicked hard, amplifying it with air. Alov didn't wait to respond but Tala was fearful anyways. He arced his arm up across his chest and soon mirrored the motion with his other arm.
His moved forward as two fingers prepared to release a storm on her. As the power escaped something grabbed his body and threw his arm off course. Explosions ensued as the lightning streak swept across, destroying the hull.
Water rushed in as the integrity of the station was gone. It was time to run.
The two vine creations were still searching for the Mongoose. In this thick swamp they could hear it but not see it. The two split up to find it and would soon see the mistake of that. Turning on a sharp corner, the Mongoose reappeared and opened fire on the plantbender. A cannon capsule came screaming. The bender didn't try to catch it, instead he let go through and out, as the vines loosened briefly to let it pass.
Even without the cannon, the two turrets were cutting down the creature when the second reappeared. Attacking together, they got closer to the Mongoose than they could alone as the turrets split their attention. One of the Sea Dragons decided to end this fight, generating lightning and firing it through the turret. A torrent of energy released and shot forward. The vine creature couldn't avoid it or let it pass through the vines. The vines withered as no one could hear the screams of the man within while the vine caught on fire and turned to ash.
The light was blinding, so much that even the dragons couldn't see five feet ahead. When it ended in a flash, the carcass of a vine-made monster slumped into the river. But a far worse dilemma than sore eyes occurred. The third and final beast was gone. It was too far to be affected and hurt by the lightning.
It was bad, finding anything, even a massive tangle of vines was hard here. Visibility was only ten feet ahead because of the mist and things were dimmer in the night. The water was calm except the ripples originating from the Mongoose itself.
The Mongoose uneasily floated across as its occupants looked for their final target. Suddenly they heard the inner workings of the Mongoose meet resistance and break down, vines began crunching the metal from below.
The center of the Mongoose buckled and collapsed and the creature emerged again. The final target adapted and learned to face the Mongoose by not directly attacking it.
The Dragons leapt out of the doomed vehicle as it fell into the river. Each Dragon stood on a different side of the monstrosity. The creature rushed the Dragon in the front as she flipped backward to avoid the hit. The other two fired on the vines to distract it. As it prepared to strike at another, all three fire at once, creating a blinding flame. As the flame dissipated, there was only calm and silence.
The two White Lotus sentries led valiantly against the two Sea Dragons. They were deadly and powerful. A third of their men had been lost already and still the two were persisting. Any time they tried to hit them they dodged, or tried to use the floor they evaporated it. The Dragon Commander charged as the other fired streams to keep the waterbenders back.
He rushed for the sentries, they were leading and their death would send these incompetents running. He easily disabled one, grabbing his wrist and spinning him around. Then, the world seem to turn as those in the shallow water fell and rolled back toward the hatch. The Dragons soon realized what was wrong and used the commotion to disappear into the water.
The station was flooding as Tala and Ralyn were joined by the White Lotus sentries and the prisoners including Tuo. As the water rose, they spoke, "The pressure of the base is compromised, the entire place is going to collapse."
Nothing else could be said as the hall filled completely with water. They swam out the opening made when Alov's lightning struck wildly. He was thrown out from the pressure change, yet there was no sign of him.
They continued swimming, out and up. Finally they reached the surface and soon heard the screams of joy from the shore. Tala looked around to see the swamp men rushing forward to help their released brethren.
Joy was obvious but there was still pain. Less than they expected were free and even now there were bodies floating along the river of men slain.
Tuo stepped forward approaching Ralyn. Ralyn stood alone, strong and unwavering, "The Sea-Wolf told me of the Purge Protocol's inception."
He paused for a time. One word and the tribe would attack her, Liman wouldn't defend her, only the Avatar would. Tuo then put his hand forward to shake hers, she returned the offer, "Thank you."
She nodded silently.
Tala sighed in relief.
Relfections in the Swamp
The swamp was festive back at the village as lost family returned and the news that there were other survivors taken out of the Swamp. Tala looked out over the crescent moon that was setting, they had searched the ruins in order to find those who were responsible. That should have been thirty-four Dragons and the Sea-Wolf. They found twelve bodies, including those in the wreckage of the lake. A third of those they fought.
"Its not a full moon," Ralyn walked of to the ledge of roots that Tala stood over.
"Thanks," she answered sarcastically, "I had no idea."
"I am telling you that because it leaves a mystery, my brother did not shoot lightning wildly, he was thrown."
Tala turned to face her master, "That's impossible. Only one line was capable of such power, and they're dead."
"It often comes to light, where there is one, there is more. Tuo is more powerful than anyone here knows, but Alov knew. That's why he was here, imagine if Tuo taught this power to others. My brother won't rest, he will come back with more."
To Tala, this meant the Tribe wasn't safe. Alov was too dangerous to simply stay, these people would have to proactively defend themselves and advance, she looked out and saw little to no technology amongst them. They were savages if there ever was one when it came to technology.
But Tala couldn't stay. Omashu was critical to the entire war as its resources and numbers could turn the tide in the Southlands. And with the Southlands, there would be resources to fight north.
Tala hated that she had to choose one over another, "These people don't stand a chance if they stay."
"If the siege can be broken, then perhaps resources for Alov will be needed at ports and other places instead of a bog. That is the best you can do for these people unless they evacuate."
Tala let her head drop, "I'm the Avatar, I have to do more."
"You're the Avatar, a human. Even you have limits. Come on, we need to get ready for the trip back."
He walked down the hall of the ship. He entered a room to the right, several radios and cables dominated the room as two men operated the devices, "Sir, Grand Marshal Rishu has sent word that he has received your message and will contact the Fire Lord immediately."
"Good, send another message, I have proof of what I suspected here in the swamp."
- Alov either invented or had a hand in many of the advances of Fire Navy technology, this is due to his long time in the Water Tribe and understanding the nature of water so well.
- Plantbending in the Swamp Tribe is prevalent enough for several masters to exist.
- Ralyn and Alov were both capable of ranged and close-quarter bending, as exampled with Ice Claws and Fire Daggers, respectively.
- Tuo bloodbent Alov on a night, but not the full moon. Ralyn begins to wonder about the possibilities.
- The sentry Alov killed was the same that bullied Alov in his childhood and got his face burned off the day before Alov turned ten.
For the collective works of the author, go here.
Storms of the Future Cycle
|The Journey of Tala|
|Book 1 - Sand and Steel|
|- - - - - - - - - - - - - -|
|Book 2 - Blood and Swamps|
|- - - - - - - - - - - - - -|
|Book 3 - Pyres and Storms|
|- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -|
|Fates and Vows|
|- - - - - - Ilera - Solace Fade - Scions - Sovereign|
|The Rise of Lirin|
|- In the Morrow - The White Dragon - Faith in Blood - The Great Gates - Lord Avatar - A Red Sun - Faceless - Faction - Tempest - Rally of Crows - Rally of Eagles - Dragons and Serpents - Kings and Men - Storms of a Spirit - Princes - A Battered Land - Seas of Ichor - Arbiter - Return to a Grave - Declination - Disaffection - Epilogue|
|Myths of the Empire|
|Pacification - Assassins - Empire - Red Sun Under The Empire - White Snow - Heirs|
|The Reclamation of Arein|
|Book 1 - Chaos|
|Refugee - Rogue - Ghosts - Dark Roses - Doyen - Divulgence - The Plan - Abscond - Mists of Illusion - Madonna - Syndicate - Playing the Stakes - Purge - Brothers|
|Book 2 - War|
|Alliance - Temple - Tensions - The Fall - Hunters and Prey - Lussuria - Shades of Relevance - Broken Star - Defiler - Strikeforce - Secrets of the Lair - Eminence - Swarm - Wanderer|
|Dreams of Melasa|
|Book 1 - Servant|
| - - - - - - - - - - - - -
|Book 2 - Shadow World|
|Faint but Clear - Ghost in the Steel - Kurotama - Loyalties - Servants of Shadow - Game of Fate - Shadows and Reflections - Tomb of Blood - Broken Blades - Hill of Shadow - Souls and Swords - Home|