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Avatar: Centennial Embers
Book 1: Earth
Avatar Kuruk 1
Embers Unearthed is the sixth chapter of Avatar: Centennial Embers.
Aang meets the General in charge of the Earth Kingdom colonies.
Northern Earth Kingdom
"Come on, guys," Aang said eagerly. "We have to go investigate this ship." The team had just set up a campsite near a small fishing village after flying all morning.
"Aang, can't we just take a break?" moaned Sokka, drowsily. "We've been running around the Earth Kingdom for days. I'm exhausted."
"Sokka's right," said Katara. "We need to get some rest, Aang." She was already climbing into her sleeping bag, as was Suki.
"But didn't you see how decorated the ship was when we were flying. That thing must be carrying Ozai or something."
"Actually," Sokka said with a yawn, also climbing into his sleeping bag, "I'm pretty sure Ozai's still in prison."
"So they haven't freed him yet?" Aang asked. "How can he be leading this force if he's still in jail?"
"Well that's the strange thing. According to those documents, these troops haven't even been to the Fire Nation to try and free anyone or get directions for over a month. And they're not planning on it any time soon, either." He turned over in his sleeping bag.
"Come on, you can't just go to sleep. It's the middle of the day!" He was prepared to keep arguing, but when he heard a snore coming from even Suki, he realized it was hopeless. He decided to go check out the ship by himself, so he grabbed one of Katara's water skins and set off.
When he walked into town, he saw the ship docked in the small harbor, which appeared even smaller in comparison. The ship wasn't much larger than average, but was ornately decorated, with gold-plated dragon at the front, and silk flags hanging form the railings. A walkway led up to the side of the hull where an opening gave access to the inside of the ship.
Aang heard someone approaching, so he ducked behind a fishing gear stand to hide. He saw two Fire Nation guards walk on board. After waiting several seconds until he thought it was safe, he snuck on behind them.
As he walked through the narrow passage leading to the deck, he was surprised at the seemingly empty appearance of the ship. He walked up a ramp leading to the main deck, which was also deserted. He was wondering if the crew might be in town, and if he should just turn back, when he noticed that there were people walking in the ship's tower.
He pulled out his glider and flew up to a ledge on the tower. Looking inside through the open window, he saw two men talking. One was wearing a standard soldier uniform and appeared to be a guard, while the other had on elaborate armor with gold trim along the edges. He listened in for a minute.
"Do you know why I asked you to come here, Captain Chan?" Aang heard one man say. A quick glance through the window told him it was the more impressive looking man, although he figured he could have just assumed that.
"N-no," the other man said nervously, but it wasn't entirely true.
"Well, then let me tell you," the first man replied. He said it in a very inviting tone, almost kindly, but Aang could tell there was another layer to his voice underneath the warmth. It was very unnerving. "I was reading through your reports, and I came across something rather interesting. Do you have any guesses what that might be?"
Chan shook his head, even though he knew exactly what the other man was talking about.
"Well let me tell you." Although Aang couldn't see it, the man's face became very harsh all of the sudden, and his voice became more strict as well. "You reported that you lost one of our colonies to the Earth Kingdom. And not only that, but one of our airships was destroyed as well! I know I don't have to tell you how expensive those are." The man's voice gradually got louder until he was completely shouting at Captain Chan, who simply hung his head. Not quite as loudly, but still in a harsh tone, he voiced Chan's punishment. "So, the only fair way I can see for you to compensate the army for the damages, is to pay for them yourself. You shall not receive payment until you've have worked off the cost of a new ship. Now, go back to your quarters."
Aang heard footsteps, and he knew he had to move now, before he was found. He grabbed the top of the window frame and swung through, feet first, kicking down Captain Chan as he was walking out, and then knocking the more decorated man into the wall. He pulled out a splash of water and froze both men in place.
Chan appeared dumbstruck, while the other man seemed slightly shaken, but still in control of himself. His face returned to its former, calm state. "Well," he said, "it seems as if the Avatar decided to pay us a little visit."
"I'm not in the mood for games," Aang replied. "Now I want to know what you're doing in this town, and more importantly, I want it to stop." Since he had heard the previous conversation, he wasn't going to fall for the kindness routine, or any other tricks.
"That's not a very good way to make first impressions. We haven't even introduced ourselves. I'm General Jin Yu. I can see you found your way onto our ship. How do you like it?"
Aang was really getting annoyed by the way the General was acting. "I don't want to play around, I said. If you don't stop, it will just end badly for you."
"Well, I suppose there's no point in hiding it, but I assume you already know what's going on."
"I know you're completely disregarding Fire Lord Zuko's authority and keeping your hold on the Earth Kingdom colonies."
"Not very well thanks to you, Avatar," said Jin Yu, still not even attempting to free himself.
"And I know that your leaving your loyalty in the hands of a tyrant. Ozai had a horrible vision for this world, and I know that you won't be following it for long."
"Well, you are clever, Avatar," said Jin Yu kindly again, but a slight twinge of determination in his voice made Aang take a step back. "But not in the way you think. I'm going to be nice and help you get on the right track, but first...." He whistled a few quick high and low notes, signaling his men. Two soldiers came in from the hall and grabbed Aang's arms. He struggled to get free, but they had a tight grip, and had caught him off guard. Another then came and tied him up with a metal chain. He then tied a cloth around his mouth to prevent him from bending.
When Aang was subdued feeling stupid for walking right into that, General Jin Yu used Firebending to heat his hands and easily melt through the ice. He stepped away from the wall and stood tall. His voice became another tone darker as he began to speak again.
"Fire Lord Zuko is a fool. Our nation had the rest of the world practically in the palm of our hand. Then, he rises to power, and gives everything up. Do I have any respect for his authority? No. However, you misguided little Airbender, I wouldn't dream of following Ozai. Ozai was a failure. He had succeeded generations of military geniuses, and could have ended the war. We had conquered Ba Sing Se. Sozin's comet was upon us. Yet he failed. If you ask me, he wasn't fit to run this war. He understood power, but not strategy. And that is where he failed.
"But I saw his weaknesses. I had a feeling the end was coming for our greatness. So I seized my opportunity. All of the colonies you see in this Kingdom now answer to me. I will finish what Sozin started, but this time, I will come out on top."
Aang was really confused about what he just heard, and needed time to process it. He also need to find a way off of the ship, so he tried buying himself some time to think. "Why are you telling me all of this?" he asked, his voice muffled by the rag tied across his face.
"Honestly, Avatar, because I see you as no threat to me or my aims. In fact, I'm going to let you go from here freely today, and I won't pursue you. And I will guarantee that the Earth Kingdom will be engulfed in our flames by this coming winter, with or without your interference. Now, guards, throw him overboard."
Aang's eyes grew wide in fear when he heard this. "I thought you said you were letting me go free?" he asked in desperation.
"Well, not completely free," Jin Yu said with a smile as Aang was dragged outside.
The guards pulled him to the edge of the ship. As they were getting ready to drop him, he made a mental note to ask Toph to teach him metal bending if he ever got out of this. He braced himself for the fall, when the General came out for one final word.
"Remember, Avatar," he said. "You may have extinguished the flames of the great war, but this was a fire one hundred years in the making. And you can never have a fire without leaving behind a few embers." He gave the command to let Aang fall.
Aang splashed into the water fairly harmlessly, and was able to kick his legs a little to do some Waterbending-enhanced treading and stay afloat, however he was still adrift at sea. He saw the ship pulling out of the port, and knew he couldn't possibly get back to it.
After several minutes of drifting, he decided he should try slowly kicking his way to shore. But before he could, he felt a tug on his shirt. He looked up and realized he had been caught by a fishing line from a nearby boat.
When the fisherman who had caught him realized what happened, he turned to his friend who was with him. "Hey, you know what?" he said. "I think I just caught an Avatar." They reeled Aang in and offered to take him to shore. Aang thanked them for their help, and when he got back to the docks, he realized he was very tired. He decided to go back to the campsite, go to sleep, and tell the others what happened in the morning.
- For more information on Jin Yu, see this page.
- This chapter contains the explanation for the title of the fanon.
For the collective works of the author, go here.
|Avatar: Centennial Embers Chapters|
|Book 1: Earth|
|Unrest - Escalating Danger - An Unsettling Detour - A Lingering Flame - Young Gangs and Old Games - Embers Unearthed - Reunion|