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|Free at Last|
The Three Benders
July 21, 2014
When the Fire Nation first began their assault 100 years ago, they had a very simple plan. Their first step was to take out the Air Nomads using the comet to wipe them off the face of the earth. Their next step was to take out the Water Tribes in both the North and South Poles. Sozin knew a straight up invasion of the poles would not work. The Water Tribes would hold out till winter and freeze the Fire Nation soldiers. So they began the raids. Sozin formed two armadas, the Northern and the Southern Raiders. They had one goal, to break the will of the Water Tribes. The Northern Raiders were quickly out matched and were never fully able to attack the norther Water Tribe. The southern raiders were much more successful.
The next step of Fire Lord Sozin's plan was a mainland invasion of the Earth Kingdom. The mainland invasion began 25 years after Sozin's comet. The first attack began on the small earthbending village of Yu Dao. This was followed the 5 year siege of the Pohuai Stronghold. The battle was fierce, and the Earth Kingdom troops geld on for as long as possible, but the battle was lost. The Fire Nation took the Pohuai Stronghold and preceded north to the city of the Queen. The city of the queen was one of the largest resorts in the world. The 15th Earth Queen built the city as a resort for both herself and her citizens. The second division of the Fire Army of the North easily took the city 27 years after Sozin's comet. The army decided to make an example of these Earth Kingdom troops and the citizens who stood up against him. On a cold and rainy day two months after the fall of the city, the army took the 493 remaining Earth Kingdom troops out into the town square and executed them. The last one, a 22 year old with a single son, looked into his sons eyes and said, "It is going to be alright, we kept our humanity."
That man grew up to have a daughter. And that daughter's name was Lin.
"Lin!!! Where are you Lin??" Her mother called.
"Right here mother!" Lin said, walking into the kitchen. She was trailing dirt. "I was just feeding the chickens. I think the oldest is finally ready."
"That's all well and good but you just tracked mud through the kitchen! How can you get so dirty so fast??"
Just as her mother was about to lecture her another servant ran through the door. "The master is coming!!"
"Crap!!!" Her mother yelled. "Lin get a mop now! This floor needs to be cleaned. The master is coming."
Oh no! Not the master! Lin thought. The master was the owner of the spa. He also was the owner of all the people who worked for them. If you did your job well, you were given some food or rarely even a day off. If you did a bad job, you were beaten. In Lin's entire 16 year life she had never been beaten.
"Quick." Lin's mother thought. "Everyone in line." Crap! I'm not done. Lin hurried to try and get it done but it was to late. She fell back in line, scared out of her mind. The master walked in, wearing the finest Fire Nation silks money could buy. He walked with a certain confidence about himself. He wasn't overly rich, he just spent money like he was rich. He walked into the kitchen, there were 13 slaves to meet him at the door. He looked around to make sure everything was in order, then he looked down. He took a quick look at his partner, the man in charge of discipline, and then walked out. The disciplinarian stayed.
"Who is responsible for this disaster??"
"It was Lin!" Someone in the crowd yelled.
"What?? Lin?" All the eyes turned on Lin. "I can't believe this. You used to be so responsible. Alright. I'm sorry. You must be taught a lesson. Guards, 40 lashes."
Two guards grabbed Lin by both shoulders. She tried to escape but she was too weak. She started to panic. She had never been beaten before. She didn't know what to do. The guards carried her down a hallway to a small room in the basement of the building. The room was no bigger than closet. It was known as the torture room. It was the room know body wanted to be in. The room had a single stool in the middle.
Lin sat. She began to sob uncontrollably. "Please. I've never done anything bad in my life. Please. Don't do this to me. I beg you."
"Take your shirt off. Reveal your back." Lin did as she was told. "You have forty lashes. Do you understand?"
"Please, don't do this to me. I beg you."
"Three... Two... One." The first one struck her back hard. Lin screamed. The room was built to be sound proof, but there was one fatal error. The room was not Earthbending proof.
While Lin was screaming, a massive boulder came out of the ground. The boulder cracked into the head of the man who was whipping her. Lin stood in shock. The other guards also were shocked at what just happened. "I'm an earthbender?"
The guards were quick. The grabbed her and wrestled her to the ground. The guards picked her up at forced her out of the room. The third guard was knocked out cold. the guards carried her up into the foyer and then up into the attic. Up there was a metal prison. It was a holding cell for Earth benders that were discovered. The put her in there and locked the door.
"You wait here for the master."
"What are you going to do to me?" Lin asked. They didn't answer. But she didn't need them to tell her. She knew. It has always been clear. Anyone caught using earthbending would be sent to the Fire Nation, probably to be worked to death. Lin started to panic. She wasn't a threat to them, she just had a special gift. She didn't deserve this. But it was irrelevant to them. Every Earthbender was a threat. Every single bender that wasn't a Firebender was a threat to Fire Lord. He wiped out the Airbenders. He wiped out the Southern Waterbenders. And he was on his way to wiping out the Earthbenders.
The master walked in. Lin had never spoken to the master. The first rule of the living here was to never address the master. Never. Only if he spoke to you were you allowed to speak to him. If you even looked at him the wrong way, you risked being beaten.
"What is you name?" The master addressed him in a raspy voice.
"Lin." She responded in a quiet, distraught voice.
"How old are you?"
"Have you ever Earthbent before?"
"No. I have never done this before."
"I met your grandfather once. He was a soldier for the Earth army that defended this city. I was just a five year old boy. I was the son of the general who took this city. I was there when they took him out into the town square. When they killed him, his son, your father, was watching. My after took him is as a servant. After you were born, he decided to break out of here for your sake. Your father tried to fight his way out of the city, but my guards got to him. I knew that you would try to do the same one day. I just didn't know it'd be today of all days."
"But I didn't try to break out."
"You killed one of my guards!"
"I didn't mean to kill..."
"YOU KILLED HIM!" The master yelled. Lin cowered in fear. The master fell back and calmed himself. "Tomorrow you will be sent to the Fire Nation to be sent to a work camp..."
"No! I can't. Please!"
"Too late, you should've thought of that before you were a earth bender."
"I'm sorry. Please. Don't do this!"
"You're likely the comet is coming tonight or you'd already be on a ship." The master and the guards left the room. Lin began to cry. Hard. She was so upset. She couldn't handle this. She looked up into the night sky and saw the orange comet come liberate the world.
The next morning no one came for her. Dawn approached midday. Nothing. She started to panic. Would they kill her here? A million thoughts ran through her head. She could barely breathe. Her clothes began to feel like they were suffocating her. She tore them off. The pain from the whip mark stung. She needed something to wash it, but there was nothing here. Midday began to turn to dusk, and suddenly she started to get dizzy and she started to see things. All the sudden she saw a figure enter the room. She was so weak, she couldn't make out who it was. She heard a voice.
"Lin! Lin! Oh thank god we found you! It's over! The war is over! I love you Lin! It's going to be alright." Lin's mother hugged her. The comet had come. And Aang had saved the world.
The next day Lin and her mother were eating in the kitchen. Ever since the Firebenders had left she had eaten more food then she had ever eaten before. She never knew food could taste this good. She has also never been so happy. She was a free woman. And more importantly she was an Earthbender. Her only goal was to find an Earthbending teacher. She wanted to become a master.
"Where do you want to go?" Her mother asked.
"I'm not sure. Not many Earthbenders live around these parts anymore. I was thinking about heading to a city in the west."
"There is a small city to the south that I know of. It has a strong Earthbender colony."
"Well actually I wanna go west. Several members of the city are going to the capitol. I wanna go to Ba Sing Se mom."
"Really? That's so far."
"Mom I want to do this. I am an Earthbender. My father was an Earthbender. My grandfather was an Earthbender. I want to continue this rich tradition."
Her mother thought for a second. "Okay. What's our next step?"
For the collective works of the author, go here.