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|Dark Side of the Mask|
July 6, 2013
Dark Side of the Mask
Rain pounded over Republic City, dark clouds brewing endlessly over the horizon, violent thunder and lightning shattering the air. From atop his old, dank house in the outskirts of the metropolis, Noatak stared from his window at the brutal storm seemingly looming above the entire world. Rain dripping from the roof trickled upon his head.
He didn't mind the rain, the wind, the thunder.
He stared down at the mask that lay in his hands, the large red circle upon its forehead and its black voids of eyes.
Those could be his eyes.
They didn't have to be empty forever.
Noatak brought the mask up towards his face, the shadows inside visible, waiting, talking to him with urging power. Halfway up, his arms stopped. He stared back down at the mask, the mask of a new life. He didn't have to do this.
But how could he resist? How he could he deny the ambitions of his entire life as outcast here in the city? Amon had started out first simply as a dream, then a real thought to ponder over, and soon a vision - a reality.
He was one swift move of the arms away from becoming this dream - the mask was so close. Once it was on, Amon would be real, and the life behind him of treachery and betrayal could be forever forgotten in a wild nightmare. Finally, he could put his past life behind him.
No! Noatak said to himself. Remember the Water Tribe, father, Tarrlok. They're still there. The Water Tribe is still out there. People still love me. I still have the chance to be forgiven.
He shook his head, brushing the idea away. Amon was his new identity. Bending had corrupted his life from the beginning, even his own bending, even he was corrupted. The mask was an eternal escape from the madness he and his family had wreaked upon himself. He had the power to be purified, and the power was only a dozen or so inches away from his face.
And although the power seemed so great, his aspirations as the leader of a new movement of equality had two sides.
On the outside of the mask was a new face, a new life, fear and leadership and admirations, a figurehead for justice.
But the inside was darkness.
That was the side he had to bear.
In order for the rest of the world to see him as Amon, he had to be swallowed up in the shadows of the other side of the mask, and live to take away the bending of the world.
He had only performed the technique once, and ever since this dream had begun to evolve in his mind to put it to use. But often forgotten was what it actually was like to rip apart the bending from within ones body. To see the pain in their eyes.
Maybe he wasn't only wearing this mask so he could have a new life.
Maybe, just maybe, he didn't want the world to see the fear and regret in his face when he took away the bending of another. He didn't want his enemy to see the tears welling up in his eyes own as he extinguished them.
Nothing gets done when two people see each other cry.
But he didn't like to admit it.
The scary thing, Noatak realized, was that once he gave his face to the darkness of the mask, there was no going back. Amon was ceaseless.
A crack of lightning flashed over the city.
He looked up, out of his window, and gazed down at all the buildings and people before him. There must be someone else out there whose life was torn apart by bending.
The following giant boom of thunder rocked through the clouds.
He had the power to set things straight, to help them.
Wasn't helping people a good thing?
Amon wouldn't be a bad person. In order to get anything done, one has to give up and suffer. He would have to be the bringer of much pain, yes, but much hope as well.
Non-benders served no purpose in this city, he realized, after living here for years. They were the worthless scum of the population. But he had the power to level out the ranks of society. In a city of perfect equality, everyone would be happy.
Noatak stared out at the gloomy Republic City before him, wet and cold.
Or maybe everyone would be sad.
He didn't like to think about it that way.
Equality would obey him.
Everyone would obey him.
He had the power.
Another bolt of lightning shattered the air, and Amon's hands trembled as he began to bring the mask up towards his face. There it was, coming closer, closer.
No, Noatak pleaded, Don't do this to yourself.
Closer, closer, closer. The new life was calling him from within the mask, reaching out for his soul to come even closer.
Don't do it!
He could see the darkness inside, it was so near, already beginning to consume him.
"No!" Noatak yelled out. "Stop! You don't-"
But it was too late. The mask was already fixed upon his face, shadow had already won him over. His old life was forever silenced in the depths of his mind. He was new. His visions were at last the truth. Everything was so clear.
Amon looked out over the city, an enormous roll thunder erupting in the horizon. He smiled. This was his city. Dreams were a thing of the past.
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