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|The Black Dragon|
Blood and Swamps
December 29, 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.
Here is a perfect song to set the tone:
Chapter 9: The Black Dragon
Darkness may yield to purifying light, but shadows consume where the light fades and its scars are not so easily healed. Millennia of legacies still plague the present and new ones shall replace the resolved. Ours is a world of conflict, it is then that peace is seen for what it is, a lie.
It was a dark night. Odd, everyone told him it would make him a hundred times stronger and that it only happened every hundred years, and that is was bright as day. But he felt nothing. Typical parents, get your hopes up. Just as he was leaving the courtyard, the sensation rang through his body. Suddenly he felt strong, like he could fly, he smiled and looked up into the night sky. Blazing through and cutting the veil of night was a streak of blue flame, like mom's but stronger. Sozin's Comet had come!
The young child looked forward to a tree he always hated in the courtyard and punched at it. A massive torrent of flame consumed and devoured it. They were right, he was powerful, he could never hit so far on any day, but now he could throw fire for such a distance and still have the desired end.
He kept going, he would never get a chance like this again. He was sweating as adrenaline and excitement pulsed through his body. He could feel his power growing as he tried harder. A pain briefly went through his body but the result was a flame bigger than he had ever seen. He kicked up with more power and his vision blurred temporarily but he could feel the raw might and heat.
The boy kept pressing himself, feeling things and seeing things but saw that his fires were hotter and stronger than ever, they were turning white. He couldn't stop, he wouldn't stop. He inhaled deeply and with all his might breathed out a flame into the sky, the white flame was pure and blinding, and yet what his eyes saw was dark.
Its black eyes had seen him, so had its onyx dark teeth, snarling at him. It moved to him, slithering from the fathomless black but he couldn't move or run. It circled him, making him look it in his eyes. It then spoke in his head, "At last."
Suddenly Rishu saw things. Great things, horrible things. He saw a man in black and gold, and people in a sea of colors. He saw death and life. He saw pain, he felt pain. So much, it was too much. He could do nothing, he was shaking violently, flames blew wildly from his hands and lips, but all that could be heard were the unforgettable screams of madness, coming from a nine year old boy...
She sat down and looked at the map. She felt the rush of power as her ancestor's namesake flew overhead. She was the most powerful firebender alive but still it was small compared to the might every firebender felt on the day Sozin's Comet arrived. She was tempted to use it, but she was better than that.
"How long are you gonna stare at that map?" A man interrupted her gazing, "Looking at it won't change it, my love." He smiled.
Her husband, Prince Luzin, was a handsome and easygoing man. But she wasn't, far from it, she was planning for generations, as her ancestors had done before her. Soon she would set the final pieces and when Rishu was old enough to understand, he would join her on this incredible journey.
"Lya, I sometimes don't understand you. Why is it so important to you that this be done. We're at peace and things are the best they have ever been."
"Because it is an illusion, one our son will suffer if we don't change it; or prepare him to change it."
Light outside caught their attention, no doubt Rishu had finally figured out he could use the comet and was redecorating the courtyard, especially that tree he hated. "I'll talk to him," Lya was heading out when Luzin stopped her.
"Let him go. He won't live to see the next one, the chance is one he should get to explore while he can," the amber-eyed prince pulled her in and gave her a kiss.
Lya sighed, "Very well," she wrapped her arms around his neck, "Wouldn't hurt to have some time knowing he won't bother us." She returned with a passionate kiss.
The two embraced but were interrupted when the flames from the courtyard soon grew. Their heat could be felt from the room and the flames had become white in raw power.
Luzin looked on shocked, "What?"
Lya was horrified, "No, its too soon."
She ran out to the source, guards were already about to stream in when she ordered them to halt, "Stay back! Take the Prince and get him out of here!"
The Guard captain inquired, "But what about Prince Rishu, Princess?"
"I'll take care of my son, make sure Prince Luzin is safe."
"Lya, what are you doing?" Luzin didn't understand, and he never would.
"This is a family matter, my love. I'll take care of our son, go to the Palace, I'll contact you when its safe."
Luzin was a Prince of the Fire Nation, he wanted to argue and protest but knew the futility in that. Lya was his superior in almost every way but status. She knew things and if she could deal with this then she would deal with it, "Be careful, Lya. Bring Rishu back safe."
She nodded as she spoke slowly, "I will, my love."
The guards left with the Prince and she turned back to the Courtyard where white flames writhed, screaming in agony. She ran to the source, before it was too late to save her son to the fires, but more to save him from his own mind.
She entered the ruin of a courtyard to see only fire, hot as a star, it made her sweat just to be in the presence as stones melted in the center. Wreathing flames circled the source of this incredible power, an explosion erupted and fires shot out as Rishu stood there helpless as the source, he turned wildly and the flames followed.
He could very well destroy the estate and himself if not stopped. She extended her hands out, releasing the awesome power of the comet through her. The night sky cut through with a bright blue comet, it was unlike any recorded in the previous centuries, was it the sign he promised her?Blue fames emitted from her as she willed to stop her son's rampage. The Blue Flames met the White Flames in a torrent of power that was blinding. The fires beat at each other like waves in an ocean determined to master one over the other.
Lya was being pushed back as the flames pressed against. She punched forward and then split her hands, making a splitting motion as the blue flames cut a wedge through the inferno.
The flames rushed back in like a vacuum. She struck an uplifted hand down like a blade cutting down. She sprinted in while using her flames to propel herself farther before the storm of fire consumed her.
It was hard to breathe as the fires took in the air and left nothing for her.
She reached a place that was inclined down into the ground, the fire was so hot, it had melted the ground beneath it until it buckled.
The flames were so intense, it was blinding even her dark grey eyes. As she reached the caldera of the fire, all the flames curled in as air rushed to what was fire before.
Lya knew that she had to make a shield or she would be destroyed. A sphere of blue fire stood against the blast of raw power. As fast as it came, it was gone.
Lya stood up and turned to face the source as her clothes smoked from the flames. In the center of the courtyard, laid on the ash-colored ground, was her son. The worst was over, for now.
She walked over and picked up her son, she brushed the top of his head, which surprisingly still had its black hair, "Oh, Rishu..."
She looked into his eyes and tears fell from her own. Rishu had black eyes, but they were clear and definite, beautiful as night. Now they were fathomless, like looking into an endless well. She had only seen one pair of eyes like that before.
"She is no more."
"What?" Lya looked at her son, who had spoken solemnly.
"The Avatar has passed. She is no more."
"How do you know this son?"
"I have seen it." Rishu's eyes quivered with fear and madness. A boy who was not even ten saw things no man should see.
"Then now is the time to begin our plans." A tear escaped, she didn't want this for her son, but had no choice. His path, like hers was made long before her birth.
"I saw him." The fathomless eyes closed as if the memory burned into Rishu's mind could wipe it away.
"I know, and soon we shall begin, my son. Your destiny lies ahead of you and it is grand."
Waking From the Dream
Rishu sat up with a start as pain rang through his body and the screams of the past overshadowed him. Black hair was drenched in sweat as he tried to calm his breathing and looked about, he was in the present, it was not his dreams. He thought on the memories.
Rishu often thought back, but he had rarely seen others' memories like that. To have seen his mother's memories of Sozin' Comet was not regular for him, and it made him wonder how long she knew and whether she had planned for this all along.
He stood up and looked at the portrait of Lira. Born of a noble family, she was expected to marry well. Rebel that she was, she set to join the Air Force for adventure and to stick her nose at her family's plans for her.
It wasn't enough to join the military but she wanted to be a Sky Dragon. The best in the Fire Nation military were the 'Dragons'. And the Sky Dragons were the only paratroopers in the world. As such, there were few women.
It was not with prejudice, but simple requirements. Most women lacked the necessary strengths to pass the cruel testing process that Grand Marshal Rishu set for Sky Dragons. Lira exceeded the expectations and was one of three women to call themselves Sky Dragons. She rose through the ranks as both a Dragon and a Dragon Sergeant and then to Dragon Lieutenant, she was set to succeed as Dragon Commander when Taron retired.
His wife was truly an amazing woman, and he wished that their first years of marriage were not embroiled running a war, but they had no choice, he had no choice.
He entered the Council for War Plans and sat down, beside him was the Crown-Prince, Kuir, of the Earth Kingdom, his friend and protégé. Sitting in the fashion of a Prince at a war council in the Royal Palace, in his unique armor, he was the picture of power while the heir to the Earth Kingdom Prince was the picture of strength.
Kuir looked down the stretch, "General Siil, your report."
"Thank you, sir," The older man stood up. Siil was old fashioned, he believed in supporting the nationality of the Earth Kingdom and loyalty of the Kingdom to its King, hence his command of the Ba Sing Se Regulars. "We surround the city and are slowly pressing back the defenders in New Omashu. However, we are using too many resources, if any new resistance should spring up beyond the city, our war efforts will be infringed by this continued siege."
"Honestly sir, we need to end this siege."
"What is your recommendation, General?"
"A full-scale invasion of the city, preceded and followed by consistent aerial bombardment. Between our combined forces, the City of Omashu won't be able to withstand us. It may cost us more in the short term as far as resources, but the long siege is bleeding us dry."
"Hmm... Grand Marshal Rishu, you have extensive intelligence networks, even within the city, could we take it?"
"Yes, but at a steep cost. Taking the city in one fell stroke would cripple our operations all over the Southern Campaign. The sheer numbers and munitions required to flatten the city would be too much for us to hold for long. And don't think good math will save us. The Avatar is in there, her presence destroys any advantage we have, especially if we trigger her Avatar State."
"Certainly the Black Dragon can hold her at bay."
"For some time, but if she is in the Avatar State, then there is little we could do to stop her doing as she wills."
Siil objected, "If we continue this siege, we will be just as doomed."
"This siege keeps a city full of warriors and the Avatar out of the war. Need I remind you of the plague we are facing in the Coastlands because someone failed to take the bases out quick. Now the United Forces hit us at every road and turn, from above and below, our campaigns are bogged down."
Rishu continued, "Imagine if Omashu joined in that and extended that warfare here to the South? Then, we would truly be bled dry in the long run. Keeping the city contained is of the utmost importance."
Other generals and commanders of both nations argued for or against various strategies. Kuir raised a hand lightly, signaling that the discussion was over, "We shall continue the siege with a more aggressive tactic. The sooner we end this, the better. However, an all-out assault will cost too much, even for me to accept."
Some of the council agreed, others like Siil didn't, but would follow the orders of the Prince as the Siege was his command.
Plans For The Heir
"Where are we going?"
"Somewhere special and ancient to our people." Lya answered for the tenth time.
"But where?" Rishu asked with annoyance at his mother's evasions.
"You will see soon." The princess smiled nostalgically
Ever since that day, things had been different. His mother revealed that she had the guard take father to the Royal Palace for his safety while she dealt with what happened to him. Now she had taken him and left home. He had been on the ship for two days when his mother finally announced their arrival.
They had come to a decrepit port to what he hoped was an island. No one was waiting for them. The guards tied the boat and prepared everything. "Watch over the boat. I shall be back in two days time to finish this." The boy noticed the lack of "we"
She then looked to him, "Rishu, lets go." He shouldered a pack and followed her as she left the ancient port.
They walked for the better part of a day. Rishu was tired by the end of it, "How much longer?"
"Not long." The same response she gave three hours before.
"Mom? Why is it important that Dad not know about our family's past?"
"Its not that he doesn't know, its that he doesn't know everything. The world isn't ready to know."
His mother shrugged, "People don't like realities that are too harsh for their survival. They would rather lie to themselves about the nature of the world than admit to such realities. The Air Nomads of centuries ago were like this and were destroyed."
They continued walking for a short time until they reached an ancient city, covered in green, the ruins spoke of an age with power and knowledge. The vines wrapped tightly, cracking the stones they encased.
They reached a base and before them stood a massive set of stairs, on top of which stood a great temple. Lya stepped up and Rishu followed. The steps seemed to take forever, as if that trek was longer than reaching and traversing the ruined city.
They were reaching the summit when Rishu was shocked to see people. Where had they come from? They weren't there before. Their clothes was sparse and bright, scarlet over gold. Their skin was dark from the sun, but their eyes were familiar for almost all firebenders had amber eyes and they did too. Were they savage firebenders? Or were they the mythical Sun Warriors he read about? Were they still alive?
Lya led as her son followed, "Greetings, great chief, I am Lya. I once traveled here as a child myself."
The large man with red paint on his face looked at her sternly and fiercely, "A long time ago, a young woman went by that name as she came to learn the ways of the Sun. But she was easily identified by her eyes!"
Rishu began looking around, it didn't sound very good. But to the boy's surprise, the man smiled and laughed. He walked forward and hugged his mother, "It is good to see you, Lya!"
"As you Chief."
"You can call me Ahndor, you knew me before I was chief." He looked to the boy behind Lya by several feet, "And who is this young man?"
"My son, Rishu, come to learn the ways as I have."
"He is a little young." There was concern.
"It was already chosen." His mother spoke with a tone of finality, that the matter was not up for debate.
A serious look between the two crossed, "Hmmm, I am not here to judge such things. Very well," he walked over to the boy and shook his hand, "Greetings, Rishu, son of Lya. I am Ahndor, Chief of the Sun Warriors."
The party of Sun Warriors walked past the temple. They reached a mural where Rishu looked at the amazing art. "What is this?"
"A test of judgement from the masters for those worthy." High and elevated stood a man. On both sides were great serpents. Their great maws were wide open and an inferno swallowed the man.
"It looks like they're cooking him."
The man laughed deeply, "Hahaha! If you are judged unworthy then you are!"
Rishu paled at that, Ahndor patted his shoulder reassuringly, "Don't worry, you have time before the trials and none of your ancestors have failed yet."
He looked to his mother, "You mean you did this?"
"A long time ago, when it was time to prove myself, I did." Mother answered stoically, as always.
As if it wasn't enough to walk all day, they left now for a mountain beside the city, capped by two peaks. It took a couple of hours and the sun was setting. As the reached the upper ring, Rishu saw there were stairs leading to a place between the peaks.
"Is this where the test happens?"
"Are we going there?"
"No. Where we're going is a place that is seldom known, even to the Sun Warriors."
They walked around the stairs and Rishu saw that the coast was on the other side. It hung over as a cliffside. To the right was a narrow path down, cut into the stone of the cliffside. Lya and the Chief went down as the men waited there.
Lya turned around, "Rishu, come on."
A Betrayed Contract
Rishu looked up at the moon. It wasn't full, a good thing. Even with the Wolves and the Seasons, the city of Omashu had more waterbenders and they wouldn't fall for the bloodbending trick twice.
As he walked forward, the skyscrapers of New Omashu soon obscured his view of the moon. The skyscrapers were indeed tall but not quite so when compared to Republic City or Ba Sing Se.
As he walked forward he could feel the fires of life. As his forces were to turn to a more aggressive approach of sieging the city, so were the defenders. His men marched forward, confident in their power, and that of their leader's.
Grand Marshal Rishu was legendary in his homeland. Since the day he stepped into public life at sixteen, he made a huge impression. He was a recognized firebending master by the few who had the honor of facing him.
It was ironic for someone with such potential to join the fashion business. Rishu started out with a small and upper class business of attire that soon attracted the youth. Reminiscent of old military style, kids thought to join to get better uniforms. Rishu underhandedly brought a sense of nationalism back into the Fire Nation through something simple as clothes.
It was here that the famous Dragonsilk was made and kept secret. A fine fabric that was strong yet smooth and beautiful. Women all over the Fire Nation desired it and saw it as a symbol of high status to get the rare material.
After staking a career as a savvy businessman, Rishu was well situated. It was in this time that the Fire Lord, his uncle passed away in what was relatively unexpected. Everyone knew the Fire Lord was old and sick, but not how severe until he passed.
This left the sixteen year old Crown Princess, Ma-Tin, unready to rule. A youthful young woman who was still enjoying the perks of royalty without the responsibilities left her hard hit when both her father passed and she was now expected to run a Nation.
She had no choice but to seek help from the only one she knew to have experience and yet still family, her first cousin, Rishu. At first, she offered the throne, which he denied. He took the post of Regent and helped mold his cousin into a true Fire Lord and a great leader.
The success of their partnership was incredibly prosperous, but many understood that Rishu was the source and thought it was time for his family to take the reins completely. In time, even Ma-Tin thought so. Rishu declined again.
To avoid the throne he took office of the Grand Marshal of the Air Force making him subordinate to the Fire Lord and began his quest to set the world right through military means.
Reflecting on the past ended when defenders soon approached the Grand Marshal's forces. Among them were Air Nomads and White Lotus forces. A mix of variety greater than his own. But the nomads lacked military training, and usually could be trapped by tactics if not by muscle.
Rishu and his men marched forward to face the enemy and fight. An airbender leapt forward and quickly struck first with a swipe of his glider staff. The nomad was easily distinguishable from his compatriots, he wore light robes, revealing one side of his upper body.
It was that side that made him more starkly different. The flesh was burnt, but instead of raw skin, it was black as coal and hard like scales. Rishu had seen it before, but never had he seen someone survive his flames.
The sweep of air was strong and growing as it reached its zenith before hitting the Firebenders. Rishu set a large fireball ahead of him, catching and dissipating the air before him but those around were not so quick.
The flash of white fire brought a spark of recognition to his eyes. They narrowed in determination as he ran ahead of the group, and rushed forward. Rishu charged along with his men, moving to battle.
Rishu knew that the nomad was charging forward for him, he slid under the leap of the burned airbender. The airbender took it in stride and sent a gust of wind against him while landing among the enemy of a wall of Firebenders.
He easily held his own, when one of the Fire Nations soldiers tried to grapple him, he threw the man over his shoulders as if he was lighter than normal. He was strong for an Air Nomad. He swept his staff, tripping those in close, giving himself the breathing room to fight.
Rishu didn't concern himself with the airbender, he was one of many defenders, even if he survived one of his attacks. He continued charging the lines of nomads and Lotus sentries. White flames blasted forward, few defended and were blown back by the force while others were sent to slow agonizing deaths to immolation.
His men were soon behind him, barring those fighting the nomad in their ranks. His men were hardened and trained; while not as powerful as his 'Dragons', they were far more numerous and could reach a battle differently.
He breathed out, sending a breath of fire out that blinded or burned those too close. WIth the space he made by burning resistance, he had clearly cut a swath through the front of defenders. His men filled in the hole he made and cut a wedge through the defense.
The voice was sharp and clear, even in the haze of battle, the Avatar. A fireball and a blast of air came his way. He dodged the air attack and caught the fireball in his palm, "Really, Avatar Tala, you need to learn true firebending from someone who can call themselves masters."
She sent a spinning kick his way, three boulders flew for him, which he did his best to roll beneath though one grazed him and slowed his pace down. Enough for him to be blindsided by an attack from the left. He was drenched from the assault. He looked up to see a familiar face. A famous warrior, the Crescent Wolf, the She-Wolf, Ralyn.
Another stream of water came after him, this time from the Avatar. He sent a searing blast to turn the water into vapor as he got up, staying still was death, stationary targets could be hit, but a moving targets wasn't easy prey.
The two worked together in an attempt to corner him, when that failed they pushed him away from the battle of men and into a fight of their own.
Rishu soon caught onto their tactic, they were leading him to water where both would have adequate resource to combat his firebending. Between a large moon and an Avatar, he would not risk it. Tala would not hold back in this fight like she did in the Agni Kai.
The combined ferocity of the She-Wolf and the Avatar was surprising. He knew what Ralyn was like, but Tala had indeed changed. She fought with precision, aiming to kill her enemy. Even if the attack failed, it was dangerous and forced the enemy to rethink.
He smiled. Good, the sooner she learned this, the better. He sent two flames her way and then attacked Ralyn. Rather than try and fight his bending, she avoided, knowing she would lose her water in attack to attack fighting.
Tala stopped waterbending and sent a large funnel of air at him, too strong to avoid or withstand. He was sent flying backwards through a thin stone wall. As he landed ungracefully on the ground, he felt the bruising on his back from both hitting the wall and then landing so poorly. He saw that there was an artificial lake behind him. He got up, reminding himself of stillness' fatality.
As he twirled up, the two had already passed the wall and landed in stances to attack. Attack after attack, they were trying to push him into the water, and it was working. Blistering assaults on him forced him further and closer to the lake, and soon they could easily overpower him with such a large source between the two.
He struck forward like a serpent, so unexpected was the move that Tala leapt back to avoid any attack. Ralyn held firm and continued fighting. She used ice shards as a way to keep him moving and from charging his strikes.
But Rishu had tricks up his own sleeves. Most firebenders required solid footing in order to make stronger strikes, Rishu had complete training from a source beyond the elementary of the world.
Light on his feet, he danced forward to face the waterbender. Her attacks were slaps against wind, meaningless. Finally within feet of her released his attack on her. Raw and powerful, the fire sent her skipping across the lake until she plunged in.
Tala was already attacking before he could think about Ralyn's response. Every element was thrown at him in a flurry of strikes, some well planned but most were wild. He defended himself until she tired, not much, but enough for him to take the opportunity and strike.
He sent another blast, powerful and concentrated. Tala used airbending and earthbending to try and stop the blast but had little understanding of such advanced techniques in firebending. The fire launched her into a solid wall, where it cracked but held. Tala slumped, motionless but alive.
He looked back to the lake to see the water was churning. Well, she was in her element, literally. Ralyn rose from the lake on a waterspout and sped forward, charging at a high speed.
The waterspout lowered itself to level with the ground where it became a sort of pinwheel of that spiraled around its master and sped her faster through the ground.
The black armored figure unleashed a stream of fire at her but it failed to hit her, only catching trailing water. She responded with two large whips of water while circling him. He easily blocked them with a firewall and sent another stream at her as she circled back to the lake.
As she reached the lake again, she used the abundant resource to release a wave against him. Too much to evaporate, Rishu directed his flames into the ground and propelled himself in the air. He made a cutting motion with a wedge of both hands, slicing into the wave and making a path for him to land free of the oppressive opponent to fire.
Tala felt battered and broken like she did on the night of the Full Moon, or the Night of Puppets as it had been called, on that night, Kuir broke her ribs. Her back felt injured badly from the impact, not so much that she couldn't move, but not so little that she would risk getting up yet.
While she could feel around herself, her vision was blurry and only flashes of light registered in her mind. Suddenly the lights faded and she feared that she was blacking out when something blue approached her. It shook her lightly, "Avatar Tala, can you hear me?"
"Yes, master, I can hear you just fine."
"Good, can you move?"
"I'm not sure. My back feels funny."
"I'll get a healer and be back quick."
Ralyn returned quickly with someone who gently moved her from the wall and used healing on her back. The man smiled, "She'll be fine, its just bruised heavily. A couple of sessions should take care of this."
"That's a relief compared to the last time I felt this bad."
Ralyn and the healer chuckled uneasily. Ralyn asked the healer, "Can we move her?"
"Yes, but gently."
Into the Fathomless
They continued down the path, which was short and reached the mouth of a cave. Ahndor sat down, "I cannot enter, that is for you two to brave."
Lya nodded and beckoned her son to join her in the dark. He walked into the opening of the cave reluctantly. He looked in and felt constricted, as if restrained, the cave seemed endless. Suddenly he began seeing it again, those eyes.
"Huh?" Rishu shook his head and looked back in, the cave was as dark as any cave as the sun set.
"Come on, we're going in."
He followed her as they went into the dark expanse. It seemed to go on forever and yet he could still see a small amount of light from the entrance. His mother stopped and sat down with her legs crossed as one would when in the presence of royalty.
He followed suit before she told him to.
Lya began speaking out into the darkness of the cave, "My master, I have returned with my son, as promised."
"Good", Rishu looked around, terrified. He had heard that voice before, but it came from nowhere. "For long millennia, things have been out of balance and the Avatars have been misguided and plagued by all."
"Yes, master, they have fallen from their path."
"We will set that right with a man of incredible power, an Apex of Fire. He will help guide the Avatar back to her destiny."
"Her? But the Avatar has passed."
"She is born on the day of the comet and revealed her power early. Soon she will be discovered and taken to learn." As if the soundless voice's attention turned, "And he will help her." The focus was on him and it felt heavy as if a million were gazing at him. Like the sun was burning him.
"How, my lord?"
Suddenly he heard rustling, no, slithering. It was around them but he couldn't see it. Then he realized that the sun had fully set and that a blue light his mother made is what gave him the ability to see anything.
The slithering continued, "Step forward, child."
He did so, out of fear. He didn't want to, he wanted to run away to anywhere. The voice spoke again, "Together, we will do great things to change this world. And soon you will understand that it was not with malice that I came to you."
And suddenly it moved forward, he saw its face and head, but was stricken by its eyes, those eyes. They were the same ones that made him scream. He nearly did so again, but felt strength, "Don't worry Rishu, I am here, my son."
"The world will remember the man who takes the title, the Black Dragon." The Fathomless eyes shined.
A Set Path
Rishu looked out onto the city from one of the skyscrapers his forces had taken in the assault that night. While the Avatar's forces rallied and held some mile from the line, the assault as a whole was a success and pushed the defenders further back.
Rishu breathed out slowly, a grin on his face "You have to move quieter than that to surprise me, my love."
Light hands landed on his shoulders gently, "Shall I not breathe when I need air, shall I whisper when I need to speak?" Light sarcasm was inherent.
"Even then, my love, I would know you."
The amber eyes shone brightly. She kissed him slowly.
"It warms me to see you again, Lira. Has everything gone as planned?"
"The Spirits took care of most of the wetwork and we mopped up anything that was too much for them. It went along perfectly. If you put this skill of foresight into ruling, you would be the greatest Fire Lord in the history of the Fire Nation," she handed him a glass of wine as she took up one for herself.
"My path is not to rule, at least, not yet."
"My love, I will always be at your side, no matter what. But please, why must you keep it all to yourself?"
"Because the world won't understand it. I barely understand it and have spent my whole life devoted to this cause."
"Then have help. There are many who would do anything you asks, they trust their lives in your hands, trust them, trust me."
"In time, you and the world will see, but until I am given another command, I must continue this path." He looked out over the city, "Set for me before I was born, before my mother was born, before her father and his father. I am on a path I have to complete or risk dooming not only the Fire Nation, but the world."
"Rishu, continuing down this path will set you against the Avatar. You may be the most powerful firebender in the world, but I couldn't bare to lose you to her hidden power."
He walked over to her, "Calm yourself, Lira. I do not want to fight the Avatar. I intend to win her to our cause, but it takes time for such things. And time is what is our enemy here, not her."
Time, Rishu had been fighting against it since the Day of Sozin's Comet. He needed more time, why was he given such a task if he couldn't rise to it? Rishu hated failure more than anything, in a family of standards it was perfection that they all set their goal to. Failure was a blight on one's honor.
His fathomless eyes narrowed in controlled anger. No, he would complete his task. He would not fail. No one would stop him from completing the mission his family had been given generations ago.
"I will succeed."
- Rishu saw the events concerning his mother, making his dreams more than just memories but also her memories.
- Lya can bend blue flames, like her ancestor, Azula, could and is likewise the spitting image of her.
- This chapter is the author's favorite, as is the principle character, Rishu.
- The song added is Altar, from the soundtrack of the anime Dusk Maiden of Amnesia.
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|