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|Collisions of the Mind|
October 5, 2013
There are always forces at work in this world. Some are for good, some are not...
Collisions of the Mind
Lights of blood and sky crashed as the twisted energy of magic crashed with a body harnessed with spiritual energy. The violence of the collision was so powerful, it did not have a physical effect of a destructive blast, but rather an infective plague.
His body spasmed in writhing agony as the energy crashing against each other used his entire existence as a battlefield.
"Fool," he told himself. He didn't have to leap in the way of the Avatar to save her from the attack. But in the rush of the moment and Tala unable to see how vulnerable she was, he made a split-second decision. Now he was paying the price.
He fell down, unable to even wake, let alone stand. Within the mind was a far more hostile event. Cut off from his master for the first time since the Comet, old things rushed to the forefront and that crying child made his move.
"Damn you, boy. Remember your place!" The thoughts of hatred for each other could have destroyed worlds.
"I am, it is here in control. I am going to get the answers you withheld from me. I'll find out the truth." A young voice in the near dead body answered in return.
Laughter broke out from the much more cunning, "How naive of you to think that you can get answers you will never be ready for or accept from me."
"But I won't get them from you. I'll get them from mother."
"Remember what she said? She's waiting for us in the Forest of Shadow, I'm going."
"Fool! You think its a simple walk for you? A fragment, a nothing!"
The young mind ignored the raging voice and left for a new world. The other couldn't stop him, else, he would relinquish control and if they ever awakened, it would be the little one in charge. It was time, time to get the answers. It was time to know what really happened and to understand why it was him.
It struck like a wave of nausea at first. Ma-Tin felt it immediately, soon her guards around her fell to their knees. Was it a gas? Her vision distorted with every blink of the eye. Whoever did this had done it well. This place wasn't safe, she had to get out.
Trying to get up, her knees buckled under her own weight. Why was she so weak? Was this death? It was helpless, resentful. She dragged herself across the dark and imposing throne room.
It was no use, she wouldn't even make it to the door at this rate. Darkness encroached on her ever sooner. As if to stop the darkness of the mind, she sent a flame from her hand to light the way. Only nothing but faded sparks emitted.
What was this?
Trying to stand using a pillar to hold herself up, she used all her will to stay awake. "I am better than this. I am Fire Lord Ma-Tin, heir of an empire. I will not yield. She forced herself to stand and walk to the door. Pushing it forward, it creaked as men outside were yelling for medics when they noticed her.
"My lord!" A faint voice called ahead. She knew that it was someone she knew but couldn't even identify them.
Her mind raced for the answers. Racing about, seeking wisdom, her thoughts strayed to Rishu. Where was he? She knew where he was physically, but she couldn't sense him. Rishu had taught her to understand the fires in hearts.
But she sensed weakness all around her, as if the great fires of the sun itself were cast down. Worst, she felt nothing of Rishu, not even a trace.
It was impossible, he was always present. Like the wind under wings, his fire was always there.
"Rishu senpai," she could stay awake any longer, her eyes closed to a dark sleep where no warmth came to her.
A Strange Malediction
Fire Priest Nagasumi sat down, rubbing his forehead as the stress hit him in the office of the Fire Temple.
The plague that had taken the Fire Lord and her guards was not limited to them. People throughout the Fire Nation were sick and not waking. In fact, he was the only Fire Sage who wasn't sick. Between him and the one member of the Fire Lord's Council who was not sick. The Fire Nation was in dire straights.
A knock on the door herald that same council member's entrance.
"Nagasumi, we have a problem."
"Councilor Nuroko," he bowed before answering in a tired fashion, "which one?"
"Power. All of the workers who would power our grid with lightning are sick. We will only have a week's supply given the war on the mainland."
"Damn it. If our power goes, so does everything else."
Nuroko inquired as he saw the mess of scrolls on Nagasumi's desk, "Have you found anything in the histories?"
"No, nothing in our past has ever shown a time when the Fire Nation has suffered this. The closest comparison I could get was the Darkest Day. And that only lasted for minutes and its effects for a day. We are completely blind."
Nuroko sat in the only empty chair, "Blast this horrid plague! If only we had a couple firebenders to even keep this place running."
"Wait," Nagasumi stopped his mind in its tracks, "what did you just say?"
"I was saying that we could use some firebenders to even keep our power plants running."
"That's it, isn't it. Councilor Nuroko, you're not a firebender are you?"
"No, though I hardly see how that helps us."
"Neither am I."
"Huh?" Nuroko's face changed to confusion, "Then how did you become a Fire Sage."
"Having a connected family has its privileges. But even then I am not exactly high up. Still, I am the only Fire Sage not sick. You are the only council member who is not sick. I thinks its a safe bet to say this plague is affecting only firebenders."
"While tough to swallow, that could be possible, especially with the darkened sun. But how come its this bad?"
"I don't know. But I bet something to do with the Sun Spirit might be involved."
"The Sun Spirit? I have never heard of there being a specific spirit associated with the Sun."
"That's probably because he doesn't demand sacrifices or worship of the masses like others. The ancient texts referred to him. He was the Father of Dragons and Phoenixes and lover of the flying shadow."
"A Shadow Phoenix, unimportant. The Sun Spirit was said to be directly tied to firebending to the point that he could affect any single firebender how he wanted to, separate of each other. However, this meant he was at risk should those he connects to were harmed. This connector must have been harmed."
"Was it the Fire Lord?"
"No, I don't think so. Whoever it is was harmed before the plague broke out and was the cause, not the effect."
"So, what do we do?"
"Hope, and pray."
In Other Forms
The child wondered fearfully. He didn't know this place, he didn't know anyone here and he was not ready. He was alone and afraid. Still, he persisted. There was someone here, waiting, that he needed to meet.
He tripped on a root of a great tree. As he looked up, a sinister look possessed the tree. A shadow cast over it as nothingness inquired, "What are you doing here?"
"I'm looking for my mother."
"Foolish boy. The past is done and set in stone. Nothing you do can change that."
"I want to know the truth, even if it changes nothing."
The oblivion laughed, "Very well, boy. You will get your answers. Do not curse names, though, when you fall into madness again. Because this time, I will destroy you."
Before he realized it, the boy noticed that tendrils of shadows had coiled up and around his body. They tightened and restricted his movements and he felt a burning pain as his mind became flooded with memories of an era he did not belong to.
He saw many things; Avatars, Spirits, and the world before them. It was beautiful and terrifying. Darkness and light clashed like warring forces for supremacy. The darkness spoke again, "Now, I will give you the answers. Let's see if you can handle the depth of truth!"
The memories flooded his mind even more intensely as more happened in his eyes. It was too much. Just like then, he couldn't take it. With maddening force, he screamed. Unheard and unattended, his screams reached no one.
The boy laid on the ground in a pitiful hovel of a rut in the ground made by the roots of a great tree. Tears flooded from his eyes as he tried to claims his sense of reason. To reclaim himself in the madness of truth.
A voice in his mind spoke. It had come from somewhere, it was foreign and alien to him. As he looked around, he realized that there was a women not too far behind him that cautiously approached.
You can't help him," a voice from nowhere spoke, feminine but strong. "He's been beyond help for some time."
The boy looked to see that someone had taken place near him. She was strong and proud, with dark grey eyes that spoke of deep wisdom. With hair dark as night she looked on with cold detachment at the young woman before them. "I know why you are here, keep heading this way and you will find the Shadow Forest, the heart of these lands. Whom you seek will be there."
"What else will be there?" Tala crooked an eyebrow at the mysterious woman.
"Many things, but you must brave them in order to save the one you came for. Beware, for Koh will be there waiting for you." She turned to him, signaling what she had to say to the girl was done.
The emerald eyed woman left them as she continued her own path. The dark eyed one turned her full attention to him. "Hello, my son, it has been too long."
Recollections of Fact
"My, my, son, you certainly haven't changed in all this time, have you, my little prince?" She patted his shoulders and cupped his face as she smiled, looking into his eyes.
"Mother, I need to know why."
Her eyes darkened with fear and guilt. "I'm sorry, Rishu. I could never expect you to forgive me after everything I have done to you."
"Still, I want the truth. The truth you from me as a child. The truth you hid from me as an adult. The truth you hid from me in that book. I don't care if you still think I am too young for it, I want to know. I have to know that my body was taken from me for a good reason."
She sighed heavily as if the weight of the world had fallen on her shoulders. "Very well, my son. I will tell you the secret of generations of planning and the end of ages of destiny."
Lya was the Dark Dragon, a beautiful woman who was the spitting image of her ancestor, Azula, though not nearly as mad. Her dark grey eyes added to her allure. Her beauty had won the love of a Prince of the Fire Nation.
She sat across from her young son. The nine year old boy that was her son sat across from her as he crossed his legs, waiting for the answers he had waited nearly two decades for.
"Have you ever heard of the Destiny of the Avatar, Rishu?"
"Its an ancient myth. It says that the reason the Avatar isn't an almighty Spirit is because a human can empathize and feel what other humans feel. Unlike a detached overlord, a human Avatar would value life and do anything to protect something so precious."
"In essence, the destiny of the Avatar is to become human. To truly be human. It has been over ten thousand years since the first Avatar, Wan. The time is nearing in that clock. The time for the Avatar to have reached his destiny and become human."
"What will that entail and why is it so important?"
"What is inevitably human, Rishu?" Her dark eyes burrowed into his being.
"I don't know."
"Think on it. I had told you before."
He searched his foggy memory. Something she had told him before. His mother gave him very serious lessons in life since youth, since before the Comet. "Death."
She nodded in confirmation, "Yes, death awaits at the end of destiny."
"But why is that a good thing?"
"All things must die, Rishu. It is in the natural order of this world. The Avatar Cycle thought it could cheat death with this cycle of rebirth. It indeed has extended their life, but it will also ensure madness and death. Soon, a time will come when there is no good outcome and no right alternative. The hero will become the villain and the world will hate him for it."
She continued while sitting across from the young boy, "This will be the era in which the Avatar shall die. This will be the beginning of a new world."
The boy sat there taking it all in. They were working towards the death of the Avatar. "What does this have to do with me?"
"You, my son, are the vehicle for that destiny. After years of detailed breeding and observation, our master has chosen you to carry out the final plans of his will. You will guide the Avatar onto her path so that one day, her successors will go the way they must, to their destiny."
"I am leading the Avatar to her death, then?" He looked down in sorrow.
"In the simplest terms, yes. But you are doing what is necessary for mankind. If we always have an Avatar, then the human race will never feel the need to progress past our sins. After all, the Avatar will always be there to save us. Why should we worry?" Lya looked on into the dark forest ahead, "They have now crossed paths. You will soon have no choice but to return to yourself or be forever separated."
"I guess you're right. In the end, the answers were worse than the questions. You always said that was the case with answers and cures."
The woman chuckled and smiled, "Rishu, I am so proud of you. To have taken all this in and accept it shows a strength in you that I am so proud of."
A tear dropped from her eye, "My son, I will always love you and watch over you. Please be careful from here on out and don't let yourself get hurt by a witch again."
"I will, mother, thank you." He stood up slowly and looked back to the way he came. It felt so long and yet so short since he had come here. He turned back to Lya and hugged her, "I miss you, mom."
"And I you, Rishu. Be strong, and be wary of what is going on between Kuir and Ma-Tin, it could ruin everything if not checked."
"How are you sure?"
"The Dragons have their ways of knowing. After all, our master is the master of all firebenders." She laughed off his inquiry, as if that was the least important thing they discussed. Farewell, Rishu. Know that I will always love you, in this life and the next."
- Rishu seems a bit more complicated now, eh?
- Lya cited Yangchen's story about the Avatar as an ancient myth, implying it was once knowledge to more than just the Avatars.
- This revelation has important impact onto the overall story of Storms of the Future.
- This chapter takes place at the same time as , in the Journey of Tala.
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|