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|Ep.12: Voice of the Crypt|
Team Avatar had been traveling east ever since they had left Ba Sing Se. The news of Quixico's involvement back in Republic City and its defeat left a bit of a mixed feeling. On one hand, that was one less Voronon to worry about, but on the other hand, they knew that any Voronon could appear and attack Republic City at anytime. Or anywhere for that matter. Korra and Ziyou both had recovered from Liunovvix's attack and were ready for anything. They weren't interested in splitting up anymore, Asami left to wonder why she even suggested that in the first place. The main gain the group had was that they had recruited Kuvira in their group, although she was knowingly an escapee. Then again, Kuvira was fully intent on staying with them and proved helpful in the fight with Liunovvix.
The climate was simply great for the flight, which was good for the group. Sky bright and blue with puffy clouds going along by them. While going along, Ikki and Bolin were playing a game of Pai Sho, Kai watching from nearby, since she had nothing better to do. This particular game was the type of chance rather than strategy. So far, Ikki and Bolin were pretty close, down to a very few pieces left.
"Oh, what'chu gonna do, Bolin?" Ikki said cheekily. Ikki had on a smile of victory...until Bolin suddenly beat her with two quick moves.
"Wha?! Oh man!"
"What's exciting about this again?" Kai sighed, pretty bored, lying on his chair watching them play.
"What are you talking about, that was nuts!"
"You said this was an (quotes with her fingers) "Edge-of-your-seat" game of chance, and I'm on my whole chair here," Kai groaned. The other two didn't get it, but Kai just sighed and went over to the window, hoping that they were near the next spot. From what Asami said to them, the next one should be somewhere along the eastern Earth Kingdom. Where exactly, none of them were entirely sure of, but wherever it was, Kai couldn't wait to get back in the battle zone. While looking out the window, Kai could only see clouds and the blue sky above, simply boring and nothing left to do.
"When's the next Voronon going to come up?" Kai wondered aloud, looking around for some sort of clue.
"Don't worry, you can play Pai Sho until we land."
Instead, Kai walked away to look for the others, not interested in their little game.
About an hour later (and after five more Pai Sho games), the team had finally reached the nearest area to the next Voronon, according to Asami Sato. Along the Earth Kingdom shores, the group had found a large area of beaches that was unpopulated and isolated from the rest of the world. That was pretty much a good thing; last thing they needed were more innocent lives being brutally mauled by another Voronon again. The airship landed along the shorelines, one side a pure rocky cliff while the other led to the eastern Earth Kingdom bay. Everyone soon went out of the airship onto the sandy beach, beginning to look around the place for a good while.
"You sure this is the right place?"
"I'm pretty sure, this is where we saw the next Voronon, right, Kuvira?" Asami explained.
"Correct, it should be just ahead, over there," Kuvira finished, pointing ahead of them down the shoreline. The beach was large, so they didn't exactly see anything right away. Then again, they did see a bunch of large rocks, so something could hide its way behind them down the corner. Korra looked on ahead, then turned to the others.
"Alright, everyone, get ready," Korra ordered, starting to move off to the direction said. None of them were entirely sure what they would be coming across around here, but once they did end up face to face with the next Voronon, they had to be ready for whatever came their way. At first, though, the area didn't seem to be anywhere where a Voronon would exactly be, per se. In fact, they didn't find very much at first, only finding the tall cliff face and sandy shores as they continued. Despite their lack of luck, Kuvira and Asami knew it was around there somewhere... Even if they were not entirely sure what Voronon was exactly there, but nonetheless, it was somewhere. The group continued on for a good ten minutes before they were making any progress. Upon walking around one bend in the path, the team finally found the area, rather something of the sort anyway.
Upon the turn, the group had found something ... interesting. The area up ahead of them had yet another cave entrance, similar to the one that Korra and Ziyou had to go through a few weeks back. The markings on this one, though, weren't as unintelligible, some Chinese kanji able to be read out by the others but not all of it. The door wasn't as large either, about half the size at least. Still, the group looked it over, and Korra tried the similar trick like before. Unlike before though, the door didn't budge, let along open up into another door. While Korra was trying to open the door, Mako took the time to look over what writing he could read.
"What's a Djinn?" Ziyou wondered, hearing Mako read. Mako just shrugged, Korra stopping for a moment to read as well. Whatever she did, the door wouldn't open for any reason. So far, those words were the only ones that could be read from all the odd words said. Kuvira and Asami looked it over the most, knowing that the Voronon had some involvement with them somehow. But the two still didn't know what for the longest time.
"I can't open it. Anyone got any ideas?"
"I don't know, I'm not familiar with this. Asami, anything?" However, Asami was too focused on the writing on the door to listen, Kuvira too. The two girls looked over each detail of the door, sensing that one of the Voronon was inside there, and they had to get in somehow. Kuvira tried her metalbending - nothing. Mako tried lightningbending - nothing. Not even Bolin's lavabending made any scratch. There didn't seem to be any lever, platform, or any main way to open up the door, cryptic or straightforward. Asami and Kuvira went over to the door, trying to look it over for some sort of true clue to open the door and get in to face the next Voronon. Eventually, both of them moved to each end of the large door, again trying to find some sort of clue or way to get inside. So far, there wasn't much of a clue, but then Asami got an idea.
"Jinora, can you try a spiritual projection? Maybe you can see what's inside to open the door?"
"I can't do anything while in spiritual projection, I can just -"
"No no, look in there and find a clue. We can handle it out here if there is anything," Asami explained. At first, the idea seemed ludicrous, but remembering they had Korra, Bolin, and Kuvira with them, perhaps it could work. The others thought it was brilliant too, as Jinora got into position nearby the door. After sitting down, crossing her legs, she began to meditate for a while. Eventually, her projection began to appear on the other side of the door, her green glowing body the only main thing visible. When Jinora opened her eyes, Jinora couldn't see much of anything at first, but a minute after for her eyes to adjust, she could see a hallway, much like one used for the Earth Kingdom palace. Jinora turned back to the door, looking around for some sort of clue. Turned out, the door was actually suspended from the inside by sets of rusted chains, kind of like a draw bridge but with extra chains to keep it stable. It was too bad that Jinora couldn't exactly do anything, being just a projection of herself and nothing more than that. After seeing it, Jinora looked outside, her projection flying through the door to the others outside.
"There're multiple chains holding the door up inside, but I can't work with them this way."
"Don't worry. Guide us in the right location, we can earthbend from out here. Just tell us where to strike from inside," Kuvira said, getting in position, alongside Bolin and Korra. Jinora nodded, and the projection went back inside. She flew over to one line of chain, and then flew out in the exact spot. From the other side, Bolin struck first, and with one stomp, Jinora saw a pillar shoot up, breaking about 3 chains in one strike. After making more accurate works, Jinora flew back out and did the same thing. The process repeated a few more times with each bender, the door noticeably getting weaker from the lack of support from the inside. Eventually, the highest chains were the only ones that were left, and Jinora went back out.
"Listen, there're only two left, but once they're loose, the door will fall, so move out of the way," Jinora insisted, most of them moving out of the way. Bolin took the liberty to move Jinora's body out of the way too before Jinora's projection pointed out the locations to Korra. After the final set of pillars sliced through the chains, they all heard the door creek and lean forward. Korra scrambled and rushed out of the way, the door slamming onto the sand and even part of the water. When the dust cleared, the light illuminated into the large hallway, Jinora taking the moment to go back into her body.
"Good job," Jinora complimented, as everyone started to move on inside and through the large hall. Many of them took note of the large assortment of hieroglyphs edged onto the walls, however, they didn't exactly keep them to mind all that much as they continued onward towards the end of the hall, leading to a giant double door. Unlike the other one, this door was easier to open, all it took was a strong push by everyone there. The door they all opened was tough, but they forgot about that the second they all took in what was on the other side...
Just on the other side of that door was the ultimate throne room. At the very end, they all could see a throne, firmly placed on a platform. In fact, the whole design of the room was similar to Fire Nation Royal Palace design but with a few tweaks here and there (there was nothing symbolizing Fire Nation culture for example). Behind the throne, the back wall appeared to be blasted away, which was odd, considering the throne was still standing, leading on to an even bigger tomb room. Everyone went in and took the chance to look around a bit inside. The room was simply huge, like the group stepped into a giant cube of hieroglyphs, large enough to fit in the air temple back in Republic City. While everyone else looked around, Asami and Kuvira both went over to the main tomb placed in the middle of the room. It was fairly large, but not Voronon-sized. In fact, it was about big enough to fit a platypus bear inside if it were to lay on its back in it. While looking it over, Asami began to notice something about the writing put on the front of the coffin. The writing was in modern language, so it was enough for Kuvira and Asami to read.
"Here lies Lord Umbra. Valiant ruler of the Shadow Nation Dynasty."
Shadow Nation Dynasty? What kind of information did the ruler's crypt have? Kuvira went and got the other's attention for the tomb and the readings around. It was hard to decipher, mostly because it was rotted away, musty, and hadn't been tampered with for who knew how long, but Kuvira and Asami were beginning to piece together a story amongst the hieroglyphs within the crypt...
The first one to catch their eye was a hieroglyph symbolizing a group of people, about ten. Their clothing were robes, either black of purple, none like the Fire Nation, Water Tribe, Air Nation or Earth Kingdom. All of them were standing under some sort of dark figure, pitch black. Even if the writing was hard to decipher, the pictures got enough of the analysis already. Asami and Kuvira looked each over, the story starting to unfold. However, the more they looked, the more Kuvira and Asami began to hurt again ...
"Asami, Kuvira, you okay?" Korra asked. The pain began to increase a bit more, but Asami looked back and smiled a little.
"I'm fine, I ... I need to sit down," Asami said, sitting down on the ground by the tomb. Kuvira walked over to the crypt, pushing her back against it as she sat down ... which slightly started to smoke ... While the two tried to relax a bit, the others began looking over the various pictures on the walls. Each picture seemed to detail a story among the wall.
The first picture showed a group of people standing in a circle. Thing was though, they didn't appear to be of Earth Kingdom, Fire Nation, Air Nation or Water Tribe origin. The robes they wore were black in color, unlike the other four nations. They appeared to be members of this supposed 'Shadow Nation', a large black figure standing in the circle, with four lion turtles surrounding them, giving an idea that benders still got bending from lion turtles during the Shadow Nation's time. The figure was too dark to make out any features except for white eyes ...
Looking to the left, the next one showed a group of the same people running and getting killed by members from the other four nations: One group was scorched, another was drowned, one was crushed by a landslide, and another was suffocated, a royal figure they assumed was King Umbra watching on in concern ...
The next hieroglyph showed all the people, similar in appearance, using some sort of black smoke to form a much large creature under the supervision of King Umbra. The figure seemed to be, to their surprise, one of the Voronon. In particular, it looked like a large humanoid Voronon ...
The fourth hieroglyph showed King Umbra at the mercy of four leading benders, the king lying on the ground in defeat, a dark mist surrounding him. The other ones, one for each nation, watched his demise, and combined their powers, appearing to blast him from all directions ...
Everyone (aside from Kuvira and Asami) could piece together what had happened to the Shadow Nation: the other four nations had wiped them out, and they had made the Voronon in order to protect themselves against the threat. Korra and the others thought for a bit longer and eventually turned to see Kuvira and Asami. However, when they did, Asami and Kuvira both got up, slightly recovering from their headache.
"There, you two better now?" Bolin asked. However, Kuvira and Asami didn't say anything at first.
"Asami? ... are you—"
Before Korra could finish, all of a sudden, the raven-haired girl charged forward and grabbed Korra by the neck. The grip was firm, and Asami didn't let her go.
"Asami!!" Ikki gasped, trying to make her let go alongside Kai, Bolin and Ziyou, only to get knocked off by Kuvira. Korra managed to get Asami to let go but didn't have a clue why she did that. When Korra took the moment to look in her eyes, Korra noticed something different with them ...
... Her eyes showed a deep hatred ...
"None of you belong here! Djinn!" Kuvira yelled, her voice sounding full of anger and even kind of ghostly. Asami shared the same hatred as Kuvira did, yet none of them knew why they were so angry all of a sudden, not to mention the Djinn comment. Asami and Kuvira started charging at them again, but Ziyou quickly stopped them, tackling them both to the ground. Korra didn't want to hurt them so instead froze them in place. The two struggled more and more, as Ziyou got back up.
"What the heck is wrong with you two?" Ziyou demanded firmly. However, both girls on the ground didn't listen. In fact, Asami looked up to the ceiling.
Her voice echoed for a bit, but so far nothing seemed to happen. However, when some of the others looked up, they suddenly noticed a small flash among the hieroglyphs in the ceiling. No sooner after they saw that, something huge flew down from the ceiling right at them. The group jumped aside, allowing the thing to fly by. As it turned out, Toroon was a commanded Voronon, which basically resembled a giant bat, eyes directly onto them. Toroon's flight ended with it landing by Kuvira and Asami, freeing them with a swipe of the claws on its wings. Kuvira and Asami both got up and looked to everyone else with Toroon standing beside them, not attacking them.
"Asami?! Kuvira?! What are you doing?!" Kai yelled in shock.
"None of you belong here, you're trespassing on Shadow Nation ground," Kuvira stated firmly. What made the group a bit more worrying was when they saw Asami place her hand on Toroon, as if she owned it. Toroon didn't even bother to attack Asami or anything, only giving a low content groan.
"What're you talking about, you two never—"
"What the heck's a 'Djinn'?! That makes no sense!" Ziyou snapped. Kuvira and Asami didn't pay much mind, as Toroon growled at Ziyou. Asami stepped forward to them, still angered.
"Give us one good reason why we should spare you," Asami Sato demanded. In just two minutes, Asami and Kuvira turned from their friends to sudden authority to the wrong side of the board. They could tell from the tone of their voices that they weren't lying either ... Toroon remained still, awaiting any order Asami or Kuvira would give ... It explained so much about every Voronon they had met thus far, and the reason Kuvira and Asami were never attacked the entire time. While they were wondering, Jinora glanced over to the coffin and noticed some black smoke beginning to seep out of the confines...
"Asami, it's us! We're your friends, remember? We just got here together, we protected each other for years!" Korra said, moving closer to her, looking at her right in the eyes. "Asami, it's me, Korra, I'm your close friend. Asami, please, you have to remember me!"
"Get away from her!" Kuvira yelled, whacking her aside, good and hard. After that, Kuvira and Asami both moved aside, allowing Toroon to charge forward at them, wings spread. Mako struck first with a lightning bolt to the chest, but Toroon was only slightly affected by the blast. As it made a flying U turn at them, Kuvira and Asami moved aside and watched everyone else struggle with the creature, not showing any remorse like they should be. Toroon didn't seem to relent either, not showing much of an effect towards most of the attacks done to it. Korra tried the hardest with Toroon, trying each element she could waver, but it didn't seem to slow it down, as it pinned her to the ground, claws digging into her arms.
"Korra!" Ziyou yelled, jumping on Toroon's back. The giant bat jumped up into the air, trying to get Ziyou off it, the girl trying her best to hurt it. The major difference with this fight was that Asami hadn't told them much about Toroon, and she obviously wasn't going to say anything now. Kuvira was equally silent on the matter, watching them over like the tyrant she was. Toroon finally managed to fling Ziyou off, the girl taking a rough fall. However, before Toroom could finish off her, Jinora came up to the plate, blasting air into Toroon's face. The airbender tried to avert its attention away from the others, as Toroon marched forward on the ground, claws slashing every which way. Jinora tried to think on where a weak point would be on the bat, but Toroon didn't give her much of a chance to decide anything, moving rather too erratic for her to get a good view on it. Toroon grabbed her by the leg, already drawing blood from her, and flew high in the air so none of them could get to her. Ikki and Kai both tried, but Toroon flew too roughly for a clean rescue.
"LEAVE MY GIRLFRIEND ALONE!" Kai yelled, finally ramming hard into Toroon. Jinora got freed, caught by Ikki, as Kai and Toroon slammed hard into the side of the wall. Jinora got back up quickly, though with a little trouble due to the bite, and looked to Kai fighting the beast. Toroon struggled over and over again, but Kai kept a firm grip as he fought it. The giant bat thrashed around on the ground, as Bolin went up next to try finishing it. Bolin, with one stomp, opened up a heated pit under Toroon, the bat screeching slightly due to the lava on its back. Toroon got airborne again, Kai hanging on its chest as they flew around the room. Toroon spun around for a bit, the others having to avoid flying lava, before Kai could let go and fall to the ground. Kai went right to Jinora, who finally pointed out the seeping smoke.
"Guys, look at the crypt," Jinora pointed out, them all seeing the coffin seeping out a lot more black ash like a dragon about to breathe out fire. Toroon recovered from the lava blast, the others taking the moment to put together what had happened to Asami and Kuvira. The beast flew down again, head long and wings folded, only giving the team a few seconds to dodge again.
"That smoke, it corrupted them both," Mako thought, looking to their effected friends. While Toroon flew back to Asami and Kuvira, the team quickly conjured up a plan, which quickly was put into action. Toroon flew forward again, Mako, Ziyou, and Bolin keeping Toroon distracted. Kuvira and Asami stepped back as Kai, Jinora, Korra, and Ikki went right to them. Of course, the two tried to fight, but Korra moved too quickly for them and froze them in place again.
"TOROON!" Kuvira called. Toroon heard them and tried to fly over, but Ziyou jumped up and dragged it back down, keeping it away from them. Korra tried keeping the ice where it was for their sake, Jinora moving into place. Jinora still was a bit concerned about what she was trying to do, but it was the only chance they got. Jinora began to create an air orb around Asami's head, the girl starting to lose her breath. Korra had to look away with gritted teeth, remembering all too well what it felt like from past experience as Jinora continued. Inside, Jinora was begging for the plan to work, as she began to suck the air out of Asami. Eventually, Asami began to look pale, as air continued to be sucked out ... then the air turned to black smoke. As soon as Jinora got the smoke out, she returned the normal air inside Asami's lunges as fast as she could. The sudden lose and gain of air made Asami too lightheaded to stay awake, and she passed out. Kuvira looked horrified to see what just happened to Asami. Jinora bended the smoke within her hands as Kai moved to Kuvira and began doing the same thing. Kuvira took longer than Asami did before black smoke started seeping out her mouth, and Kai ended with the same result. As soon as they were done, Korra turned to the others, still fighting Toroon.
"Stand clear!" Ikki shouted, as Kai and Jinora made a smoke-filled air blast right back at the coffin. Everyone ran aside, Toroon finally taking the chance to charge at them as soon as they were finished. The large bat flew up once more, but Korra countered the charge with a fire blast, directly down Toroon's throat. Toroon gagged, hacked, and coughed for a while, the throat scorched from the inside, before it finally fell in the center of the room, the eyes no longer glowing ...
Eventually, everyone moved back to Asami and Kuvira, Korra letting them out of their icy prison. At first, Asami and Kuvira didn't move for a good two minutes until the air gave them back their consciousness. Both women didn't say much at first, as Korra went right up to Asami, helping her balance.
"Korra ... What happened? ..." Asami sighed, looking to Korra.
"You remember," Korra said, hugging Asami in glee. Asami wasn't sure just yet on what had happened, but she soon saw Toroon dead on the floor. Kuvira saw it too.
"Toroon ... It ... let's get out of here ... Please ..." Kuvira insisted, a hand on her head the whole time she was talking. However, Ziyou was thinking on the events that just happened and suddenly got it all together...
~~ Later on, the group was already on the airship and back up in the sky. Asami and Kuvira were both sitting in the main room, some cold wet rags on their foreheads to ease up their pain. Korra, Bolin, and Jinora stuck around them both. By the window, Ziyou was trying to figure out why Toroon took their commands ... Then she got it.
"The Shadow Nation, that's it!" Ziyou exclaimed in discovery. Of course, the others were confused by the sudden outburst.
"The Voronon, that's what! You know that Voronon never attacked Asami and Kuvira, but you know why? You two are connected to the Shadow Nation!"
The hypothesis was a bit odd to say outright, considering this nation was gone for a LONG time, and Asami and Kuvira a part of it?
"Ziyou, how can that be, the Shadow Nation had been gone for who knows how long," Korra pointed out.
"Got any other reason for the Voronon giving these girls a pass every time we come across one? The Shadow Nation created these things, and they listen to every command they give! And Asami and Kuvira can command these things to do what they want, we just saw that with Toroon, and Liunovvix back in Ba Sing Se!" Ziyou made known. The clues were too good to not fit together ...
The two were of Shadow Nation blood ...
"That ... That's very good, Ziyou."
"Thanks ... Now I need to handle my own headache."
Ziyou walked back to her room. She left a pretty shocked crowd in her wake. That fact made way too much sense. They wondered for quite a while why Asami and Kuvira were never attacked ...
And now they got their answer ...
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