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Due North is the seventh chapter of the fanon story, written by .
Onboard Hydros' Ship
"Stop!" yelled Captain Hydros, after the moment it took him to figure out exactly what was going on. His men all stuttered in their waterbending motions and the ice that slowly engulfing the Fire Nation ship before them stopped creeping forward. "Stop! Stop, all of you! There's a waterbender on that ship!"
His men stopped their movements and the water and ice that were flying through the air sloshed back into the ocean. A moment after, the seas started to calm and Hydros was left looking at the scared young boy with white hair on the bow of the other ship.
"Captain, this could be a trick," said his first mate.
"I don't care. I won't be hurting a waterbender today." Hydros muttered before he yelled over to the other ship. "Are you okay, son?"
The boy looked back and nodded. "Why did you attack us?"
"We received an order to destroy all Fire Nation ships that were off-course. Why are you onboard? Were you captured?"
"No, I'm traveling with the swordsmaster of Kyoshi Island. This is his ship."
Hydros cursed under his breath and a lot of his men gasped and looked at each other. "Is he okay?" he yelled back to Liang on the other ship.
"He's been better!" came an exasperated voice from the side of the ship. Sokka was still dangling overboard with only his wife's grip keeping him out of the water.
Hydros looked at his first mate. "Yeah, that's definitely him. Get him up and make sure he's okay," and when his first mate didn't respond immediately, he added: "Now, sailor!"
The Underground Prison, Lake Laogai
The underground stone tunnels at Lake Laogai had not gotten any cleaner. They were still cold and dank and Aang shivered as he, Zuko and Toph descended deeper underground.
"Toph, why are you still using this place?" he asked, a little annoyed.
"The Dai Li may have been disbanded, twinkletoes, but there's no point building a whole new prison building when their old HQ will do just fine," Toph replied, matter-of-factly.
"But, why is there any need for a prison at all?" asked Aang.
Zuko snorted. "You may come from the 'we're all peaceful, no one ever does anything wrong' society, but the rest of us aren't so lucky – as my face proves," he said, pointing at his newest scar along his cheek.
"Hothead's right," said Toph. "I figured protecting the Earth King would be easy because the War's over, but there's dissenting locals, other city kings who want more than they've already got, petty nobles, you name it!"
"It's not easy," Zuko agreed, nodding his head slowly.
"Hey, I'm just the bodyguard; I don't envy your job at all," she said with a smile on her face that clashed with their gloomy environment. "Here we are," she said, stopping by a seemingly empty piece of corridor. She stamped her foot and part of the stone wall shot down into the floor revealing the cell inside.
A cage, made of metal and wood, was suspended between the ceiling and the floor with two large chains. The Cult of Sozin soldier, in his crimson armor was inside with big chunks of metal over his hands, feet and mouth to prevent him from firebending.
"Sorry, the treatment's a little rough," Toph said to both Aang and Zuko. "I didn't really know how to stop a firebender from bending."
Zuko went closer to the cage. "Cold," he said, though his mind was somewhere else. "We can't bend effectively if we're cold."
Toph nodded, making a mental note in case she needed to know that later.
"Why the suspended cage?" Zuko asked as he drew closer. The prisoner snarled and growled at him from under his metal gag.
"Most of the prisoners here are earthbenders. The cage stops them from getting contact with the ground, which makes earthbending very tricky."
Aang stayed back, near the exit with a disapproving look on his face.
Toph made a motion with her hands and the metal over the prisoner's mouth bent back; the prisoner let out a long gasp of relief as he was finally able to breathe through his mouth again. "So, this is Pantu."
"Hello Pantu," said Zuko calmly, like he knew the man.
"Hello Zuko," Pantu replied in the same tone.
"Why did you attack the Earth King?" Zuko asked, anger rising in his voice.
"To draw you here, of course. I have a message for you," said the prisoner, a mad smile on his face.
"Then deliver it," the Fire Lord snarled back.
"Stop interfering with our affairs."
Zuko laughed cruelly. "And why would I do that?"
"Because we have your mother."
Hydros stood on the deck on the metal Fire Nation ship along with his first mate, Sokka and Suki. The Water Tribe captain shook Sokka's hand. "Sorry for the confusion, Sokka. You know that the Northern Water Tribe has absolutely nothing against you. In fact, Chief Arnook's been hoping you'd visit for a while."
"It's alright, Hydros; it's our own fault, really," he said. He looked at Suki. "We need a new boat."
Suki smiled back at him, and then turned to Hydros. "Will you be escorting us back to the North Pole?"
"I would love to, but I can't. I'm taking the ambassador back to the Fire Nation briefly, then bringing him back. Hopefully, I'll see you both when I return."
"Sounds good," Sokka smiled back.
Hydros took a package from his first mate and gave it to Sokka. "These are Northern Water Tribe sails, hang them from the chimney and you won't be bothered when you come close. It's just the four of you, right? You and your two students?"
"Well, one of them isn't..." started Sokka, but Suki interrupted him with a simple "yes."
Hydros smiled. "Alright, you're all harmless enough, just don't take anyone else in!" he said, joking. He chuckled to himself and followed his first mate back to their ship and began their journey to the Fire Nation again.
Below Sokka's feet, in the hold of the ship, a man sat in the cold, listening to every word they said through the floor and smiled – his mouth full of dagger-like teeth. He'd seen the ship when it was docked behind Kyoshi Island and after his two soldiers made a commotion to delay the boys from finding the swordsmaster; he ordered his own ship to slip alongside this one, so he could climb aboard and hide below. He'd made sure his men kept Liang alive to deliver his message to Sokka and now his unwitting pawns were delivering him right where he needed to be. Shaoshang's plan had been perfect, and soon his prize would reveal herself...
Liang sat alone in the small cabin he'd called his own since he'd been on this ship. He stared at the wall blankly, unable to figure out what he had just done. He had never been able to bend at all and he was from the Earth Kingdom! How on earth was he able to waterbend?
"Is everything alright?" came a soft voice from the doorway to the room. It was Suki.
"Yeah, everything's fine," said Liang, not really looking at her.
"You never said you were a waterbender."
"I'm not!" Liang cried out. "Do I look like a waterbender? I'm from the Earth Kingdom!"
"Yes, but you told me you had a part of the moon spirit within you, right?"
"That's what Yue told me."
"Well, the moon was the first waterbender, just as the Earth herself was the first earthbender. All waterbenders draw their power from her. If you hold even the smallest part of the old moon spirit, I'd bet that would make you a pretty powerful waterbender," said Suki, sitting down next to Liang and speaking in a warm and understanding voice.
"But, benders can bend from a really young age. Wu was less than three when he started bending! I'm eleven! Why am I only finding out now?"
"Maybe if you were born in the Water Tribes you would have. But, us Earth Kingdom folk are only checked to see if they can earthbend. We aren't checked to see if we can waterbend and maybe, you were so sure you couldn't bend, you never did."
Liang stayed silent.
"Why are you acting like this is a bad thing, Liang? Being able to bend an element, no matter what element it is, is a great honor and an amazing ability. You've gained more power in the last few minutes than most of us will gain in our entire lifetimes."
"But, I don't know how to control it... I don't even know how it happened back then."
"I'd guess your instincts took over when you were in danger and we are going to the Northern Water Tribe, remember? There's more than a few waterbenders there who will teach you the basics of bending."
Liang was still worried. "I don't know, Suki. I'm not ready for this... A couple weeks ago I was a less than ordinary boy in a tea shop... now, I'm a..."
"Child of destiny?" Suki finished for him, laying her hand on his shoulder.
"Don't call me that."
Suki laughed. "I think it sounds rather good."
Liang rolled his eyes. "It's a ridiculous title. I don't call you girl of... fan... fighting..." he stuttered out before realizing how lame it sounded.
Suki smiled at his annoyance, then walked to the door. "The spirits have a plan for you, Liang, and sometime soon, you'll realize just how important you are," she said, before closing the door and leaving the boy to his thoughts.
The Entrance to the Northern Water Tribe
The great walls of the Northern Water Tribe loomed over Sokka's boat as they went through the massive gates made of ice. Waterbenders all around them waved their arms and ice crept up into the gate, blocking the only entrance. The sun sat calmly on the horizon as the creeping ice obscured it from view.
Sokka had outfitted himself in his full Water Tribe armor for the occasion, including his wolf's head helmet. He stood at the wheel guiding the ship into the dock as the sails Hydros had given him hung from the ship's chimney. Suki, in her full Kyoshi Warrior garb minus the make up and helmet, stood with Liang on Wuoyan at the edge of the ship. Wuoyan was nursing the back of his head with a towel – there was a large gash where the chunk of ice had hit him.
Chief Arnook stood at the side of the dock. "Let my boys take it from here Sokka!" he yelled over to the boat. Sokka stepped away from the wheel and went down to join Suki and the others as four waterbenders pulled the boat smoothly into the dock by manipulating the water currents. They formed a bridge of ice moments later and the four visitors disembarked.
Arnook greeted Sokka with the traditional Water Tribe salute, which Sokka returned. "What brings you to the North Pole, my friend?"
Sokka smiled, but it was rushed. "It's a long story, and I don't have the time to tell it. It's almost moonrise..."
Suki interrupted him. "It's okay, Sokka; I'll explain everything. Take Liang and go. You can't be late."
Sokka nodded, grabbed Liang's hand and started running into the city. Wuoyan ran after them yelling: "Oi! Yer taking me too! Hold up!"
The Chief of the Northern Water Tribe looked a little frustrated at not knowing what was going on, but not too surprised – he knew Sokka quite well. "It's alright, sir," said Suki. "I'll explain everything."
They both turned away from the docks heading towards Arnook's home, with the waterbenders following. Behind them all, a man slipped off the ship and ran into the shadows of the frozen city.
Deep within the Frozen City
Wuoyan was lagging behind. Sokka was running at a blistering pace through a city that he knew well, but Wuoyan hadn't a clue where he was going and his head wound took a lot of his strength away from him. It wasn't long before he lost them completely.
"Dammit!" he swore loudly and desperately glanced around the place, looking for any sign of his new master, but the streets that surrounded him were empty and the water in the canal next to him was perfectly still. He sighed and looked at his reflection, spinning around to try and look at the gash on the back of his head, but couldn't catch sight of it.
He growled in frustration, but was silenced when something dash across the roofs of the buildings behind him, reflected in the water. Wuoyan span around quickly, drawing one of his long knives. "'Oo's there?" he yelled loudly, turning on the spot, trying to see whatever made that reflection.
He span to the left and the streets were empty and still. Something clunked behind him and he turned around quickly, his knife extended. In the street, that was empty just a moment ago, stood a man in Fire Nation armor, which glinted in the sunset.
"Hello Wu," he growled, showing off his pointed teeth.
"You," Wuoyan snarled back, and then with a yell, he charged at the older man swinging his knife viciously.
Shaoshang dodged Wuoyan's first blow, then lashed out with his fist, knocking Wuoyan's knife out of his hand. It clattered to the floor and slid into the canal with a splash. Wuoyan reached for his second knife, but Shaoshang opened his mouth and a fireball flew from his maw, straight into Wuoyan. The flame hit the teenager square in the chest, sending him flying. He screamed as he came crashing down into the canal.
Wuoyan was completely submerged in an instant and bubbles surrounded his face and obscured his vision. He was never too a strong swimmer, but he fought to the surface and erupted from the surface with as big a splash as when he'd been thrown in. He breached the surface and looked around quickly, but it was too late, Shaoshang was gone.
"Dammit!" Wuoyan swore again, hitting his fist against the surface of the water. "Liang! Sokka!" he yelled urgently, swimming back to the shore.
Liang and Sokka stood on a small bridge over the canal, where Sokka took Yue on a date eleven years ago, just before Zhao started his siege of the North. As they looked back, the sun dipped below the horizon and night fell over the city. The moon beautifully shone in the dark sky.
Suddenly, the section of canal beneath them started to glow a dazzling shade of blue and the moon above them dimmed to the point where it was only just visible in the sky. Then, in the canal, the water spun around in a whirlpool; it climbed into the air raising a beautiful white haired girl out of the water and setting her gently down on the bridge.
Sokka stared for a moment. "Hi Yue."
Yue, outfitted in long flowing white robes that seemed appropriate for the moon to wear, smiled at him. She hadn't aged a day in ten years; she looked exactly like she did when she first took on the role of the moon spirit. "Hello Sokka. I like the beard."
Sokka rubbed his chin sheepishly.
"Hello Liang," Yue said. "It's been a while. Thank you for delivering my message."
"You're welcome, but it hasn't been that long. It's only been a couple weeks," Liang replied, a little confused.
"Time is strange in the Spirit World. Moments here can be an eternity there and an eternity here can be moments there. You'll get used to it, I'm sure."
"Why are we here, Yue? How are you here? I thought spirits couldn't cross over to our world," asked Sokka.
"No. We normally can't, but there is a breach in the fabric that separates our worlds. It is being broken down, and the whole of creation is going to be destroyed if you can't stop it."
"Why didn't you just talk to Aang?" asked Sokka, incredulously.
"Because Aang is part of the problem, Sokka. The breach is being widened by spiritual events, including the birth of the airbending child. He has been so focused on restoring the balance between the four elements, he has forgotten about the more important balance – the balance between the physical world and the Spirit World."
"What can we do?" asked Liang.
"I don't know, but I think the breach will start to close if the person who created it was destroyed."
"And who's that?" Sokka questioned.
"Zhao's dead, Yue. Zuko told me he was the ocean spirit dragged him under the water and drowned him. Right here, in fact."
"No, Sokka. La did more than that. Zhao murdered La's partner, someone he had been with and loved for all of eternity. La dragged Zhao into the Spirit World; all of him, not just his spirit like when Aang travels there, but his body as well and he planned to torture Zhao forever for what he had done to Tui.
"But, after a century as La's prisoner, Zhao's spirit manage to escape. He found the gap in the worlds that La used to bring him there and escaped into the physical world. His spirit form forced itself into someone else's body and now he's here in this world leading the Cult of Sozin against Zuko's new regime."
"But Zhao died ten years ago!" said Sokka. "How can he have been a prisoner for a century?"
"I told you, time is weird here. It doesn't flow at the same speed."
"Right," Sokka nodded, trying to keep up. "So, we need to kill Zhao."
"No. You need to destroy his spirit, if you kill him, he'll just find another host. You have to completely destroy everything that he is."
"And what happens if we don't?" asked Liang.
"The spirit and physical world will collide and destroy each other."
"And you came across to warn us?" the boy continued.
"Yes. Normally, I can only communicate with the Avatar, but you're special, Liang. I could talk to you for a short while, enough to get you to bring Sokka here. Then, I brought my whole self across from the Spirit World so I could explain everything to you."
"You're not doing a very good job," Sokka interrupted. "I'm still confused."
Yue smiled and shook her head. "I can't stay much longer. I'm a spirit now. I belong on the other side... If I stay much longer, the breach will widen even more."
She turned to face the water as if to go back, but Sokka grabbed her hand. "You can't stay just a little longer? Your father would love to see you."
"I can't, Sokka. Besides, I don't want to have say goodbye to my father and you in the same night."
Sokka hung his head slightly. Yue raised it with her hands so that they were looking each other in the eyes.
"Aang is distracted, Sokka. He's lost something dear to him and the whole world could suffer if you don't do this. It's up to you and Liang. You have to get Zhao and you have to save this world."
"No pressure then," the swordsmaster mumbled.
Yue smiled at him. "If you do see Aang, tell him she's safe. Now, I have to go."
She broke away from him, preparing to go back through the breach and back to the Spirit World, but a shadow in the corner of her eye distracted her. "What was that?" she whispered.
Sokka looked around. "It's probably just Wu."
"No, something's wrong..." Yue said with fear in her voice. Less than a second afterwards, fire engulfed the bridge, creating a long line of tall flames between Sokka and Yue.
"Yue! Behind you!" screamed Liang as a Fire Nation man walked out of the shadows of the city. Yue span around and raised her arms, making the water from the canal rise up and swirl towards her. But, Shaoshang was too quick. He ran towards her and punched her hard in the face, knocking her out cold and the water sloshed back into the canal.
"No!" cried Sokka, drawing his sword and attempting to jump through the fire, but the flames were too intense. He turned to Liang. "Bend the water! Get these fires out!"
"I don't know how!" Liang protested.
"Try, Liang!" Sokka yelled desperately.
Liang closed his eyes and concentrated and the waters in the canal shifted and swirled in response, but he was taking too long. Beyond the wall of flame, Shaoshang lifted the unconscious Yue over his back and ran into the shadows of the city.
MightyBrit found this to be a really difficult chapter to write as there is a lot of exposition involved, but he still wanted the story to be exciting, especially when Yue is kidnapped. The chapter was also delayed because MightyBrit saw the film The Last Airbender and hated it so much, he struggled to get back into mindset he needed to write a story with the same characters. After rewatching Siege of the North, he got back into it.
Wuoyan's history with Shaoshang was not originally planned when MightyBrit designed the characters, but Wuoyan has had such a great fan reaction to him that his backstory was increased. MightyBrit came up with a cool backstory involving Shaoshang, which will be explored in a flashback chapter sometime in book two. He inserted a teaser of their history in this chapter to give the exposition-heavy chapter a little more excitement.
This chapter also reveals that Zhao did not die during the events of Siege of the North and was in fact dragged into the Spirit World by La. MightyBrit came up with this plot twist a while ago when watching the episode with his little sister who asked him if Zhao was dead after the scene.
I'm not sure just yet, why don't you review it and let me know?
For the collective works of the author, go here.
|Child of Destiny Chapters|
Book 1: Fear
The First Airbender - Stolen - Sharks and Sea Serpents - Asylum Seeker - The Swordmaster of Kyoshi Island - Cold Snap - Due North - Better to Have Loved and Lost - Wrath of the Blackened Blade - Water's Fall
Book 2: Anger