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|More from Skyart||Drama/Action||PG-13||None||None|
My name is Sintara Skysong, son of Kentara Skyborn and Sola Birdsong, and I am the Avatar. Fifty years ago, I brought balance to the world by unifying it as one unique nation ruled by myself, thus creating the Empire. Alas, conquering the world was not something which could be done without hardships – without sacrifices, and soon many begun to hold me responsible for the permanent scars that my conquest had inflicted to the world. What they did not know was that a far grimmer fate would have befallen them if it wasn't for me.
I paid them no heed at first, as I knew that blaming them for their ignorance would be like blaming a blind man for being unable to read a book. In fact, only a few at that time, and even less today, knew of the true extent of what was about to happen back then. Every nation was at war against every other nations, each of them armed with mass destruction and secret weapons. A single spark could have had destroy the entirety of mankind.
Except that that spark fell on the wrong spot. When my family died, the small spark transformed into a flame so strong that it left no air for the others to burn. That flame, me, consumed everything and anything in its way, leaving only burning scars behind it until nothing was left to burn. The battle was long and hard-fought, and many deserts and wastelands begun to appear on the world map, but peace was at last once again victorious. From its ashes, the world rebuilt itself, starting with Imperial City, built on the remnants of the late New Republic City.
But the sense of fulfillment I had been feeling did not last long. All around the world, every man who had lost a brother, every mother who had lost a child, every orphan who had lost a family, they all looked at me. They looked at me and they hated me. They cursed me. Tyrant, they called me. Monster.
Soon, rebel factions started to emerge. Some amateurish, some consisting of a few street punks, some highly organized. All of them wanting me dead. For a long time I let them play this little warfare game of theirs, but it had to end. So I came out with a clear purpose. Complete annihilation. And it begun with the biggest and strongest faction, the Resistance.
With my army behind me, I stepped forward toward the fortress before me and waited. The structure was impressive. The walls were incredibly high and made of platinum – which had been stolen from my reserves. On top of them, a large number of archers and benders were looking down on me with conceited demeanor. I didn't think they had realized that, despite their big walls, I could have killed them without having to take another step. Some were experienced warriors, but most of them were youngsters barely out of their boyhood. I felt sorry for them, but I didn't pity them. They had made their choice and so had I.
After a minute or so, the great gate of the walls slightly opened and a little fat man came out of the fortress. He looked old and weary and tired, but still managed to walk all the way to face me. Heavily, he took a long breath and begun talking in a hoarse voice.
"My name is Grimgar the Rock, Father of the Resistance," he introduced himself.
Impressed by his courage to stand before me alone, I had begun to introduce myself in return, but he interrupted me on the spot.
"I know who you are. You are the Tyrant. The One Who Cannot Die. The One We Must Kill."
"Mind your tone, rebel," I said, closing the distance between us and looking down at him. "I am the Avatar. Ruler of this realm. Keeper of balance and peace."
"Ah, yes, the Avatar," he replied in a mockingly. "My grandfather told me that you once used to spread kindness with this name. He told me he saw you doing wonders as a kid when he was a young man himself. And yet now he rests in peace after dying from old age while you, on the other hand, still look younger than my own son! If this isn't the work of the devil, then what is?"
"Conflict is," I replied. "And as long as this fortress stands, conflict will continue to exist on this realm. On my realm."
Arrogantly, the little man snorted and spat at my feet. "Conflict will never cease to exist. As long as two different opinions exist, conflict will too. And I'm afraid that there is as many opinions as there are people. Are you planning on wiping out all of mankind simply because it does not share your view on the world? Is that your idea of balance, Avatar?"
"Mankind does not have to share my opinion. Only to respect it. If everyone would just do that, peace would be so easy to obtain."
"You fool. The best thing about opinions is that we can object it! Debate about it! Then, we can learn from this conflict and use the best of both side to evolve. That is the true strength of mankind. If you start dismissing others' opinions, then you will never grow. You will never progress!"
"Grimgar the Rock. In another era, perhaps, you could have been a great man. But you do not know what I know. You do not have seen what I have seen. Those ideals of yours, they were once the reality of our society. But that reality failed. War is the only thing that came with it. And it has come once again because of it."
Surprisingly, Grimgar lowered his head and sighed. "Tell me Avatar," he then said in a low voice, full of pity. "What must have you gone through during all those years of your long life that made you lost so much faith in humanity?"
Swiftly, I raised my right hand and twisted my spun my wrist. At the same time, his head suddenly rotated way more than it normally could, breaking his neck faster than he could realize it. Dead, the fat man fell heavily on the ground.
"You are way out of your bounds, little man." I turned and walked away, back to my army, which opened a path for me. On the walls, someone shouted and a rain of arrow and rocks went up in the sky before falling back on us. Without turning back, I raised my arm to bend the rocks and the arrows' metal, stopping every single one of them in midair and then let them fall on the ground without a single one of them reaching me or one of my men. "Get them," I said wearily to my troops. In a roar, three thousand elite warriors charged the fortress, which suddenly didn't seem as mighty as before.
As I walked away to let my men do the work, my General came to me with an overly exaggerated salute.
"My Lord! I have a report that another rebel faction is on its way to aid the Resistance. They will arrive directly from behind our army. I have taken the liberty of gathering three hundred men to intercept them before they can surround us."
His name was Joeffrey Yaolang, an excellent warrior and tactician with incredible leadership as well as a veteran. He was also planning to assassinate me in the mist of the action. I pertinently knew that he was the one who organized the coming of this new faction. I didn't think he had anything against me personally. He just wanted to be acclaimed as the hero who took down the Tyrant, which would probably grant him the support to become the new Emperor. Too bad for him that I wasn't ready to pass the torch yet.
"Thank you Joeffrey, but I have other plans. I need you at the vanguard. I will take those men you gathered and lead them myself. In fact I won't. I'll do it myself."
Taken by surprise, he lost his composure and his salute became lousy. "But... my Lord, my place isn't..."
"Your place is where I want you to be, General," I cut him. "Or are you doubting my judgment?"
"No, my Lord, I could never..."
"Then get going," I said to him in voice that suggested a warning rather than an order. Red of either embarrassment or anger or both, he quickly went away. I looked him go, wondering if he'd die today. A General at the vanguard would become a primary target for the enemy, for killing him would bring their moral up and demoralize our troops, not to mention the fame it would bring to the man who would achieve it. I thought about his wife and son, but quickly chased them out of my mind. I was not responsible for the man's foolish ambitions.
Dismissing the man from my thoughts, I extended my seismic sense to the east, where the new rebels were supposed to come from. Nothing I couldn't handle. Without hurry, I called two men to get my steel armor off to reduce my weight and took off in the sky. More than a hundred years after I first discovered it, the feeling of being able to freely roam the sky was still exhilarating. It was the only time I felt like true freedom was within my reach. If I would ever get to live without having to care for anything, I'd probably spend the rest of my days sharing the sky with the birds. But I knew better than everyone else that those days would never come.
As I glided through the air, I remembered some fragments of my childhood. Winged engines soaring the sky like metal birds. Biplanes I think they were called. Now, like most of that time's technology, they were gone. Even when I was a kid only a few of them were left. Mankind had been destroying the world way before my time.
I felt the disturbance in the air caused by the moving mass before I could actually see the troops. I waited. It would be dealt with quickly.
They were around a hundred men on foot, poorly equipped. The steel of their blades was rusty and the best body protection they had was leather. Not that better equipment would have helped them.
Patiently, I waited for them to be right underneath me and then dived. Free falling, I felt the power of the air on my skin as the attraction of the earth pulled me faster and faster towards the rebels who had begun to notice something coming from the sky. Unfortunately for them, they would never understand what had befallen them.
Like a meteor, I crashed right in the middle of the troops. On impact, a massive shockwave amplified by my earthbending made the earth quake. Like shattered glass, it rose, crumbled and split in a radius large enough to engulf all of the rebels and even more.
After the earth stopped shaking, my seismic sense confirmed me that all of them, save for one, were already dead. I earthbent the dust raised by the quake to condense it into a small compact rock, giving me some visibility, and then went to the last breathing man. His right arm crushed by a big round rock and his left lung pierced by a sharp one, he was desperately trying to stay conscious despite choking with his own blood.
"I'm sorry," I said as I crouched beside him. "It was supposed to be a quick death."
His eyes opened in small slits and he looked at me with green irises tainted with fear. "What... what are you?" he asked between two coughs.
"What am I?" I asked back as I put my hand on his heart. "Nothing more than a puny human who happened to be born with more power than you..." On those words, I stopped his blood from flowing through his heart. The man dead, I looked up to the sky of billion blues. "I wish I didn't. But I've come too far. Without me to hold it together, the world would collapse. I've come so far. I might as well see this through the end, whatever end it might be. May the ending come, my work will be done."
"Lay him there!"
"... healers, quick!"
"... with him. Move aside... save him."
"... in there, Anvy. Stay... me..."
"You'll be alright."
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