Ghosts of the Past
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Shattered Balance


Book One: The Avatar



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The Dancing Dragon

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The Journey Begins with a Single Word


Suzaku tied the last rope in a tight knot, his suitcase now properly closed. He pulled up to check for the knot's strength, and satisfied, gathered his things on the bed for a final count. Two suitcases, a bag, and a small box made up the pile on his bed. A rap on his door caught his interest.

"It's open!" he called. Seiryuu, as he had guessed, waltzed in, a large bag lifted onto her shoulders.

"So, when are we leaving?" Seiryuu asked. Suzaku raised an eyebrow.

"We?" he asked.

"Well you don't think I'm staying here alone do you?!" Seiryuu exclaimed with mock surprise.

"...I thought you were gonna go back to the Northern Air Temple..." Suzaku replied sheepishly.

"That's what I thought too, but Shogun Waizumasutā said for me to accompany you to the Fire Nation Capital, at least until I'm able to learn how to be a Samurai." Seiryuu explained, shrugging her shoulders.

"Huh" Suzaku replied, and returned to gathering his things and bringing them outside, where Azura was waiting, asleep.

"Oh, but before we go on ol' lizard bones here," she said, pointing to Azura, "I wanna show you something."

Suzaku shrugged, and followed Seiryuu down to the Sun Warrior Temple. There she lead him to the Room of Arts, where all along the walls, and in the books of each section of the wall, were pictures and words and all other kinds of things relating to the seven forms of Fire-Bending.

"Could you show me what the forms are again?" Seiryuu asked...politely.

This is....unusual... Suzaku thought, but he decided to comply anyway.

"Well, there are seven forms of Fire-bending. The first is the most recognizable, which is the Strength Form, which uses the muscles and upper body strength as the power source of your fire" Suzaku explained, but when he turned to Seiryuu, she seemed to be focused on something else.

"What are you looking at?..." Suzaku asked, starting to turn around, but Seiryuu quickly turned him back to the wall.

"Oh nothing!" Seiryuu said quickly, though it seemed to Suzaku she shot an angry glance at something behind them. "Continue please. What is this form, with the blue flames?"

So Suzaku explained all about the different forms of Firebending: Strength Fire-Bending, Vortex Fire-Bending, Obelisk Fire-Bending, Cyclone Fire-Bending, Illusion Fire-Bending, Spirit Fire-Bending, and Anima Fire-Bending. Finally, in the middle of explaining Anima Fire-Bending, she cleared her throat.

"Suzaku, may I turn your attention to behind you?" Seiryuu asked slyly.

"Why, what's th-" Suzaku started, but when he turned around, the group of people that had silently gathered around behind him shouted all at the same time:


A few hours later....

The party was in full swing. Outside the Room of Arts, where the party had been set up, the cool air refreshed everyone, and once it started getting dark, lamps were set to keep the mood. Suzaku was hanging out in the corner, talking to some acquaintances of his. Seiryuu was dancing wildly (Suzaku later suspected she had slipped some alcohol into her drink), and sitting down and relaxing was Liang and Shogun Waizumasutā.

Liang and Waizumasutā knew each other from way back, he was her older cousin, and they saw each other often. So, given the time they had, they talked about this and that, Liang's father Akiro, matters that concerned him with the Fire Nation, among other things. Finally, they got around to talking about Suzaku and Seiryuu. Liang had always felt relunctant to have Suzaku and Seiryuu together, feeling that she brought down Suzaku's potential. Waizumasutā's decision to have her accompany Suzaku to the Capital had been the final straw.

"I am sorry if I offend you cousin," Liang said sternly, "But what is with this nonsense of having Seiryuu follow Suzaku like an untrained dog? I know you think he can teach her discipline, but right now all that is happening is her bring his potential down. He could be on his way to replace me as the head of the Dragon Rider Samurai at this point if she was not with him!"

Waizumasutā listened patiently as Liang ranted. When she was done, he spoke.

"I know of your concern for Suzaku Liang, and you are right in that he has extreme potential. But Seiryuu also has the same potential, if you haven't noticed. Shouldn't she get a chance too?"

"But she's had the whole training period to shape up, and hasn't even tried!" Liang protested.

"The training period is only four months Liang, you must have patience for the girl" Waizumasutā countered, "and besides, as much as she needs him, so does he, her."

"What do you mean by that?" Liang questioned.

"Do you know who Suzaku's father is Liang?"

She shrugged "I...I never really asked, and he never told me."

"...His father was Gion." Waizumasutā said sadly.

Liang's eyes opened wide in surprise. It took a moment for her to find her voice. "Oh my....damn, it makes sense now..."

Waizumasutā nodded "I only found out a few days ago, but it swayed my decision greatly. He is held back by the pain and fear of what happened. Not to mention what has passed down from Gion's mother..."

"Shhh!" Liang said quickly "Let's not announce that Suzaku is the grandson of...of her. You know what that will do to him, in reputation and probably emotionaly too."

"Well all I'm saying," Waizumasutā finished, "is that they both need each other. That is why she will stay with him. Okay little cousin?"

Liang nodded, and bowed slightly in apology "I understand. I'm sorry if I acted rudely."

Waizumasutā smiled "It is okay, you were only thinking of Suzaku."

A courier walked up to them, a small package in his hand. He bowed first to Waizumasutā, then Liang.

"Have either of you seen the samurai Suzaku?" the man asked, "I have a package for him from his mother."

They pointed him in Suzaku's general direction, and once the courier disappeared into the crowd, Waizumasutā sighed.

"His heart will be broken tonight, I believe.

The World as He Knew It...

Twelve Years Ago......

Sewanin entered the dusty tent silently, her small bag of newly-cleaned dishes clanking softly as the plates tapped each other from movement. She poked her head inside, and sure that nothing, or no-one, had stirred, made her way to her side, where she started laying the plates out on a sheet to dry.

Suddenly, the lamp turned on by itself, though the flame was a light purple instead of the usual red. Sewanin smiled, and before she was able to turn around, a young boy jumped onto her shoulders.

"Gotcha mommy!" The boy yelled in delight, tapping her head twice before leaping off. Sewanin only smiled.

"Hey Suzaku honey. Did I wake you?"

Suzaku shook his head rapidly "Nope! I woke up all by myself, and I wanted to sur..sar..soar..."

"Surprise me?" Sewanin guessed.

Suzaku nodded vigorously "Uh huh! I wanted to soar-prise you!"

Sewanin chuckled "It's surpise honey."

Suzaku pouted "I know! Hmph...." Suzaku pouted for a few minutes, and then smiled. "When is daddy coming home?"

"Soon sweetie." Sewanin replied, cleaning and fixing up Suzaku's side of the tent.

"But I thought he was gonna come home with you!" Suzaku protested, "Just because he's a arche...archo....archaeologist, doesn't mean he has to come home so late!"

"Its archeologist sweetie, and daddy had to stay to make sure the explosives are stored correctly."

"Awwwww!" Suzaku complained.

Sewanin smiled in exasperation "Okay fine, give me a minute, and we'll go visit daddy. Okay?"

"YAY!" Suzaku screamed in delight, and ran out of the tent to wait for her.

Sewanin smiled. Suzaku was a handful alright, but she was proud of him. He was able to bend earlier than any other child of the group, and he was very nice, even if his energy got carried away at times.

Suzaku then poked his head into the tent, and at the same time the ground, disturbingly, started shaking slightly.

"Umm mommy...daddy's coming...really fast..."

Sewanin's face became one of worry, and she rushed out of the tent. Gion, her husband, ran up to the tent.

" and Suzaku...up hill now....earthquake!" He panted. The ground started to tremble further.

"What?! What about you?!" Sewanin said worriedly.

"I have to make sure the others get to safety. I am supervisor, I have to make sure they're okay as well." Gion said, and seeing the worried face on his wife grow more concerned, he added, "Don't worry, I'll be fine. You know me. I'll never let this family be split apart. That's a promise!"

Sewanin's sighed, but kissed her husband lightly on the cheek, "And you better keep that promise." Sewanin said, and grabbing Suzaku's hand, rushed up to the top of the hill, as the ground shook with more force. At the top, Sewanin was able to see all that her husband and the rest of the diggers were doing. Most of them were, like them, going to safe ground. However, as the earthquake started to reach its peak, the ground shattered under the feet of one, and he became trapped.

"Help!" he cried. Gion quickly rushed over to the trapped digger's side, and started trying to pull him out. However; Gion could barely pull the man up from the ground, and tears in the earth began to rip into existence around the two. Sewanin could not stand there and simply watch her husband be almost killed.

"Suzaku, stay here. I'm going to help daddy, okay?" Sewanin said quickly, and rushed down the hill. Suzaku watched with a scared expression as he watched his mother run down, jumping over the ridges and cracks in the ground. Suddenly, a crack in the earth opened right below him.

"AHHHHH!" Suzaku screamed, and lept out of his way, flames emanating from his hands in his panic. He grabbed onto a tree, but no sooner did he grab it than it lit on fire. Suzaku stumbled back as purple flames engulfed the tree, and burning its roots right up, it fell with a mighty crash and began sliding down the hill. At the bottom, it flipped over, and fell onto the storage shed.

Suzaku wasn't able to see what happened next, for at that moment the tree hit the shed, a bright light filled the whole world, a massive wave of heat smacked Suzaku back on the ground.

And the screaming, it started and never stopped.

And when he awoke, twelve years later, from the nightmare of that earthquake, he awoke to the bright light of Seiryuu's candle, the heat from the candle, and then the screaming.

The horrible screaming, echoing not from everyone else, but from his own throat, borne from his sorrowful heart.

Shattered Balance
Book One: The Avatar
The Dancing Dragon - Ghosts of the Past - The Jouney Begins with a Single Word - Giant Evil Demon Bird!

Suzaku's Ambition - Reflection - The Oni

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