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October 2, 2009
Ever-Changing Plans is the eighth chapter of Avatar: Guardian.
Mitros, leader of the Firefighters, realizes he must take drastic actions against Team Avatar, along with the Fire Nation. The other organizations have similar realizations as well. Team Avatar, knowing of all three organizations, try to decide which to go after first.
On a house overlooking the sea, there is a man, alone in a dark room. He is practicing his swordsmanship, his dual katanas flashing even though there is not much light, cutting down the dummies he made. Once he cut them all down, he grew angry over one missed slash. He thought to himself that he knew even Firebenders could do better than that, which he viewed as a miserable failure. He used his Waterbending to cause the fallen ice dummies to rise back into their place. He began cutting them all down again, and just before he attacked the last one, a knock sounded at the door. Angry, he stabbed his swords into the dummy he was about to cut down. "What is it? You all know not to disturb me, especially while I'm training!" The thunder of his voice caused an echo that scared the living daylights out of the servant.
"I have explicitly told the entire organization not to bother me with news of minor victories."
"Sir, the entire force has been defeated."
Mitros' eyes lit up at this, "They LOST?!" Thoughts raced through his mind: who could have defeated them, how did they do it, why weren't they killed? All these thoughts in such a brief period unleashed themselves in a small rage. "Incompetent imbeciles! They can't even take a small Fire Nation town?"
The messenger cowered at the man's rage, but knew he must relay more information: "Sir, our sources claim that the Avatar and the Fire Lord were in the village at the time. The civilians were almost defeated, until the Avatar intervened and managed to almost single-handedly defeat our entire force."
Mitros began to rant angrily, "The Avatar. How he infuriates me. His negligence allowed my brother to be killed at the North Pole and after he spares the life of the Fire Lord, he doesn't even punish the Nation that caused all the suffering! How could one be so hypocritical, claiming to be out to defeat him only to spare his life? Even after the destruction of his own people? I won't allow the same fate to behold my race. No one will stop me, not even the Avatar: I will destroy the Fire Nation."
Just like old times
On a Fire Nation island, Team Avatar is huddled around their camp fire for the night. Toph is picking her toes, Sokka is trying to make jokes about Zuko, who seems to be depressed and claims it's about missing Mai. Aang and Katara are snuggling, before Toph breaks the dreary conversation with a serious topic: "Okay, what are we going to do about all the crazy people trying to destroy the world?"
Aang and Katara sit up, Zuko and Sokka stop their petty argument and begin brainstorming. Aang tosses the first idea out, "Maybe we should go in the Avatar cycle: defeat the Waterbenders first, then the Dai Li, and then finish by finding the Firebenders."
Katara looks at him, understanding what he is saying, but wondering why he chose the order "Why that order, Aang?"
"The Waterbenders seem more intent on attacking the Fire Nation, and they have less ground to cover. The Dai Li want to attack us, so after we finish the Firefighters, we can just wait and they'll come to us. That will give Zuko's agents time to find out information about the. Wait that is their name, right Zuko?"
"Yep, that's it, I'll have to send a message or something to be announced so the people don't panic. Then they could be on the lookout and be able to give us leads."
Sokka said in his usual pessimistic attitude "Well I would be scared if a bunch of crazy Waterbenders wanted me dead!" Toph sent a small earth wave to bump him up a bit to make him shut up. "Hey!"
"I'm sorry Sokka, Suki will have to wait." Aang tells Sokka, who nods his head in agreement.
Katara ignores Toph's actions, gives Sokka a 'you deserved it' look, and says "Well, I'm hesitant to fight Waterbenders, but if it's for the betterment of the world, I'll do it."
Aang, trying to cheer her up, says "Well, I'm hesitant to fight anyone! Hehe..."
Zuko says "Exactly, that's why we're looking for my dad."
Aang pokes back at him sarcastically "Isn't this where your uncle would say something cryptic and wise that would put you back in line?"
The group laughs, and the mood is brought back up. Zuko agrees, "You're probably right." In his poor Iroh voice, he says "Zuko, you must keep your emotions under control or you will burn up faster than Wulong Forest."
Toph laughs "Ha, then he would go back to tea."
Katara realizes, "Hey, even though I'm the only one to go into your tea shop, I'm the only one who hasn't had your uncle's tea. Aang had it when I went with Sokka to spend some time with our dad, Sokka had it when Aang and I went for a trip around Ba Sing Se, Toph met him in the forest and had some and Zuko grew up with it! That's no fair!"
The rest of the group laughs again. These were just like the times they used to have, and they all enjoyed it.
Manipulating the Masses
Meanwhile on a remote island in the south-western Earth Kingdom, Long Feng is trying to plan how he will win support from the Earth Kingdom commoners for his takeover. His high-society position has caused him to lose his middle class roots, and he knew he must channel them. What sort of emotional garbage would my parents use to win support... He decided to meet with his advisors, the small fraction of agents who remained loyal to him alone when the treacherous princess took over command. They had waited for the right moment to free him, while the Fire Nation's forces were busy fighting some unknown war party.
Long Feng walks into his council room and sits at the head of the table. He asks for advice from the few agents whom he trusted.
"We need to gain support from the masses if we are to launch an attack on Ba Sing Se, Sir."
Long Feng did not even turn his head towards the agent "I don't want to rule just Ba Sing Se, I want the entire Earth Kingdom."
One agent speaks "Sir, I believe we must appeal to the families who lost a loved one to the Fire Nation. We will tell them how we are a group determined to get justice against the Firebenders for the damage they have caused to their home landscape."
Long Feng thinks this over, "Hmph, my goal is not to necessarily destroy the Firebenders, I want to recreate my utopia. To do that, I need absolute control of the Earth Kingdom. I will achieve it by any means necessary. My question is, exactly how will I go about it?"
"What about the Earth King?"
Long Feng's eyes widened at that. Thoughts began racing, how could he have forgotten? "Yes... He is the missing link. Without the Earth King, the current government is powerless. We must find the Earth King."
"Sir, no one knows where he is."
"What? Wasn't the Fire Nation keeping him prisoner after they took over?"
"Sir, he went missing after the fall of the city."
Long Feng was furious on the inside, but managed to keep his cool. He said, calmly but sternly "Spread the agents around the kingdom, look for signs or rumors. We WILL find him."
A Phoenix Rising
A former Fire Navy vessel sails towards the Earth Kingdom, heavily guarded by a naval brigade to protect their cargo, the Phoenix King. While the Phoenix King slept, the commander of the fleet sat in the First Mate's quarters. Why should Ozai get all the praise in this organization? After all it was he, Jiang Rha, who founded and organized it and recruited for it. He then calmed down, realizing that all was for the betterment of the Fire Nation. We shall lead the rise out of the ashes of this so-called 'defeat.' But exactly how? The entire nation is blinded by that traitor of a Fire Lord, and will not support us. We lack the manpower to launch an invasion of the world like what occurred 100 years ago, as well as the timing.
Perhaps they would adopt a raiding strategy! "That's it!" Jiang Rha said quietly to himself. Yes... they would raid, like his pathetic younger brother. It was dishonorable, but it is quite necessary at this moment of desperation. They could attack the coastal towns and after they were defeated, use them as a base to launch further into the Earth Kingdom. They would not need to worry about the Water Tribes, who are too busy with their own issues to be interested in this. Jiang chuckled a bit to himself. This is the same strategy Sozin adopted, except with a more direct approach. But instead of Sozin, Azulon, or Ozai, Jiang knew that it would be him to lead the Fire Nation to its rightful place as the only nation worth existing.
As he finished this thought, a messenger knocked at his door "Sir, we have received word of a cell of Waterbenders in the Fire Nation. One of our battalions is nearby; should I send the order to attack?"
Waterbenders? That was unexpected. He expected to be the only organization ready for a prolonged assault. "Yes, send orders to attack the Waterbenders on sight. But warn them to fight the Waterbenders away from water." He would destroy them before they had a chance to damage the landscape of the most prosperous nation on the planet. They would feel the wrath of the phoenix.
- This chapter is designed to set the order of attack for Team Avatar.
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