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|History is Made|
22 May 2013
- Same Author
"Daddy! Daddy! Daddy! It's today! It's today!" How's bloodshot eyes burst open. He couldn't bring himself to move. Eventually, Huma rolled over and hit him on the chest until he finally got out of bed. He dragged his feet to his bathroom where he splashed his tired face with cold water. He had nearly given up hope on winning the Presidency with all the pain Joo Dee had brought to him. "I can't wake myself up," he complained to Huma. Irritated, his wife got out of their bed, slipped her morning robe on, made her way in front of her husband, and slapped him.
After bringing his hand to his red face instinctively and saying "Ow," the former general sighed. "Thanks." The couple descended to the main floor of their house together, where they caught Bo and Kumbo sipping tea. How shot them both a suspicious look when he saw Taru's feet cemented to the ground in stone mounds.
Kumbo shrugged. "Don't look at me, I'm not the Earthbender!"
"Guilty," admitted Bo. "I love my grandson, but he just wouldn't stop jumpin'."
Huma scoffed. "Well you also tore up my floor."
"That's not gonna matter when you move to the palace tomorrow," retorted her father-in-law.
"After Joo Dee's performance at the debate, who knows if that will actually become a reality," muttered How. "She screwed us. First we get that article revealing her incompetence and then she proves it at the debate. Could this get worse?"
"People are voting for President, not Vice President," Kumbo insisted.
"They're voting for both. If I win, she's one heartbeat away from being the leader of this country. That thought terrifies people. Spirits help me if she gives Long Feng the election."
"There's nothing you can do about it now. Besides, the people still like you, and you are at the top of the ticket," said the campaign manager.
"I suppose you're right. Are we all ready to vote?"
The polls had been open for just over two hours at one of the most major designating polling stations, Town Hall. Thousands of citizens waited anxiously outside, and, as members of the Middle Class, they generally supported either Long Feng or How. For that reason, the Socialist candidate chose that location to make his last speech, one final appeal to the voters. He had already made the same speech in other parts of the ring. He didn't bother to do any last-minute campaigning in the Upper Ring, as its people consisted mostly of the wealthy political allies of Kuei or the military subordinates of Fong. Since the rich tended not to be fans of Socialism, anyone else was a supporter of How. It was clear to the former Grand Secretariat that the race was between him and the Liberal, so his last words were to be an all-out attack.
It had been a while since the man had employed his Earthbending abilities, mostly because he was banned from the art until recently, yet he showed perfect form when he launched himself onto the roof of Town Hall with an Earth pillar. The impressive display of bending made a few people gasp, and one woman shouted "burglar!" Long Feng laughed off this accusation. "I assure you, I mean no harm," he said with a chuckle. "In fact, the only people who have stolen from any of you are the rich elites of this city!" He saw a few people moan and roll their eyes. "Do not worry, I have no intention of boring you once more with my philosophies. I only wish to tell a story, a tragic one too. It really hits close to home for me, and I think you will all be interested in hearing it."
He cleared his throat and annunciated loudly so as many could hear as possible. "I grew up poor in the small village of Tonkin!" he boomed. "It's a simple town in the Western Earth Nation. For the first eighteen years of my life, I had not seen the effects of the War. My happy village remained almost entirely unscathed- until General How betrayed us!" After that line, Long Feng could see more and more people turn their attention toward him. "You see, How had just been promoted, and he had recently been put in charge of the campaign in my province. He was anxious to fight, too anxious. After hearing from a source that lacked any credibility, he came to believe that somehow, Tonkin had been infiltrated by Fire Nation spies. The truth was that no one had moved in or out of the village in decades, but How didn't care about that. He wanted to show off his muscle and impress the King, so what did he do? He attacked! He sent troops, a full-fleded invasion force, on his own people! He didn't merely try to expose the 'spy' or investigate, but rather he attacked with force! Apparently he thought it was better to crush any possible spies by destroying half of our homes and killing half of our people!" Some people shot him incredulous stares. Others seemed angry. "I remember that dreadful day all too well. When I saw the army, I ran home. I was sprinting down my street when an Earth coin launched from Earth Kingdom artillery and... I'm sorry, this part is emotional for me... and the Earth coin bombarded my house!" Long Feng was about to continue, but he got chocked up and wiped a tear from his face. "My little sister was in that house," he croaked. "I'll never be able to get that image out of my mind, it haunts my nightmares every day!"
"This is heartbreaking," whispered one woman to her husband.
Long Feng sighed. "I just want you guys to know that. Thank you." With that, he jumped down from the building, ignored all the people who wanted to ask him questions, and continued down an alley where he met up with Tong.
"Is that story even true?" inquired the mayor and Vice Presidential candidate.
"Up until the part where my sister was killed, it was. How truly was careless with that decision, but that wench is still alive today. Maybe it would've been better if she had been slaughtered, but that doesn't make for a very good speech."
"Why do you hate her?"
"She was always our father's favorite, and that didn't bother me until she stole my inheritance. I was always the son who disappointed him, so he had no problem promising everything to her when she asked for it, leaving me to fend for myself in this cold world. I had nothing, and she laughed about it. That's why I moved here, actually, in hopes I could just make a living."
"Well you did a lot more than that. And now-"
"And now, after ripping How apart with that speech in seven different major polling places, you might just have to get used to calling me Mr. President."
How and his team decided to walk to the polls where they were to meet Joo Dee. On their way, they noticed three female members of the nobility by the side of the road. "Kuei! Kuei! All the way!" they sang. The former general shrugged them off.
Once inside Town Hall, a young man approached the Liberal Party candidate. "I thought your running mate was bad enough, but it turns out you're rotten too!"
"What on Earth are you talking about?" replied How calmly.
"Long Feng told us about the time you attacked his village and killed innocent Earth Kingdom civilians! You murdered his sister!"
"What?" How had fought many battles and attacked many villages in his lifetime. He had no way of knowing what the man was referring to.
"Vote Liberal Party!" declared the man sarcastically. "You'll get the ditz and the jerk!" Some people laughed hearing this assertion, and others scoffed at the ticket.
How glanced at Kumbo in desperation, then looked back at the man. "Whatever tale Long Feng described to you is completely exaggerated. It reeks of hyperbole."
"So there's some truth to it?"
Kumbo bit his lip. "If you'll excuse General How, he has to vote now."
"Leave How alone!" cried one voter. "Can't you tell Long Feng is lying!" Others rallied behind that statement.
"Long Feng? Lying?" cried the young man. "Sounds like How's the one who's lying! The ditz and the jerk! The ditz and the jerk! The ditz and the jerk!" Half of the room joined in the jeer, while the other half screamed things like "Get out, Socialists!" and "He was lying!" In a matter of seconds, the Town Hall was filled with a cacophonous mixture of pro-How and anti-How shouts."
Huma whispered "Let's vote and get out of here" into her husbands ear, and he agreed. They had to shove their way through a dangerously energetic mob to make it to the voting booths, and it was even crazier when they tried to get out. Joo Dee, late, arrived minutes after they had all voted. How, Huma, and Bo decided to stay and wait for her while Kumbo insisted on returning to their headquarters at How's home try to calculate his chances of victory. He rushed out of Town Hall and began a mild jog. After turning a few corners and crossing a bridge over a small stream, he walked up the front stoop of an unfamiliar house and knocked on the door.
"So you decided to come," said Tanowa on the other end of the doorway.
"I got your message. What is it you wanted to tell me? You have a lot of explaining to do!"
Tanowa, dressed in a very revealing outfit, narrowed her eyes and brought her lips close to Kumbo's neck. "Can't that wait?" she whispered.
How's campaign manager stuttered, and his heart started beating quickly. "I want to know why you ran out and left us."
"You're so impatient. Won't you at least come inside and have a drink first?" She pulled him into her house gently by his collar and closed the door behind him. Then she planted her lips on his, and the two kissed for a few seconds. Kumbo tried to pull away, but Tanowa only brought him in closer. She unbuttoned his shirt and felt his chest seductively as she kissed him. Then she reached for his belt buckle, and bit her bottom lip with a giggle as she loosened it.
"What are my odds?" asked a weary Kuei of his personal campaign manager.
"May I speak candidly, Your Honor?" replied the woman timidly.
"Don't you always?"
"Sir, nothing is out of reach, and you can still certainly win, but..."
"I would prepare yourself for the possibility of maybe... moving out."
Enraged, the King lashed out and let out a roar that made the woman jump back. He furiously sat back down on his throne and buried his face in his palms. "I demand to be left alone for the remainder of the day," he ordered. He didn't move for hours, simply contemplating what his future held.
"The fools of this city expect a peaceful transition of power?" he asked himself, laughing. "Oh no, it's going to be much harder than that to get me to surrender this throne. A king is king until death, and that will remain true for my reign as well." Still alone, he began screaming in his throne room. "If How or Long Feng or Fong wants my royal scepter, he has to pry it from my cold, dead hands!" He cackled wildly, which turned into a sob. "What are they going to do, huh? I will die in this throne! Mark my words! I will sit here until I can no longer breathe! I will rule until I can no longer rule! I will give orders to the people of this kingdom until I can no longer speak! Give me your best shot, Avatar! What are you going to do to me?" He hyperventilated for a few minutes. "Is it already dark outside?" he asked himself. "No, but it's getting there. How many more hours until it's all over? A few more. A few more. A few more hours of dignity! No, but my reign shall last forever!" He pulled out some of his hair in rage, then sunk low in his throne.
"Generals, good luck." An army captain in full uniform saluted Fong and Sung as they walked by. They decided to wait in the Royal Military Barracks for the results of the vote.
The two teammates decided not to waste their hours of waiting with speculation but rather to share old war stories. They spoke with each other as if one was about to depart on a long trip, or at least, as if they knew they trying to gain some sort of closure with one another. It was almost as if they could tell their adventure together may have been coming to an unsuccessful conclusion.
I wonder if the extra voters from Omashu will be enough? Though the Patriots Party Presidential candidate. In the back of his mind, he knew what the answer was.
"And there goes the sun." Joo Dee was taking note of how a bright day had slowly turned in evening. She removed the sunglasses from her face and placed them in her purse. "What a fancy invention these glasses are. You should have that mechanist work for you and join your administration, How."
"Uh huh," the former general wasn't listening to his running mate and potential Vice President. In the weeks leading up to the election, he had deemed her useless.
Huma looked concerned. "Where is Kumbo? You don't suppose he got lost in all of that chaos do you?"
Bo laughed. "That man has a map of this entire city kept in his head," he muttered with his deep voice. "He knows every street and every corner. I doubt he got lost."
The group sat in small chairs on a stage heavily decorated with Earth Kingdom flags, badger mole symbols, and the iconic Earth Kingdom coin. Below them was an unruly crowd of supporters that extended beyond How's line of sight. That image gave the Liberal candidate some confidence. "Hopefully all these people will be celebrating victory in a matter of minutes," he whispered to Huma, whose reply was cut off by the shouting of a supporter.
"General How! I just got back from the election center! The Avatar and his friends are almost done counting all the votes!"
How's heart stopped beating for a moment. Sensing her husband's unease, Huma put her hand on his. "I believe in you," she said with a warm smile.
Kumbo was relaxing on Tanowa's couch, waiting for her to bring him tea. He had been at her home for hours, after what was the longest sex he had ever had in his lifetime, followed by the longest shower he had ever taken. The sun was setting, and even though he had been there since midday, he still hadn't received the information he wanted. All he had learned was that she had no idea who wrote the hit-piece on Joo Dee.
"I'm just happy you came," the former reporter called from her kitchen, emphasizing the pun in her sentence.
"Ha-ha," said Kumbo dryly. "I gave you want you wanted. Now spill it."
"You want to know why I left?" She asked, taking a seat next to him. "Huma's why."
"She confronted me at her and How's house. She flipped out at me for no reason."
Kumbo sat up. "Go on."
"She threatened that if I got to close to her husband, she'd 'cleave me from the herd' or something. I think she's paranoid about other women being around How."
"Not so strange, actually. She revealed something to me."
"And what's that?"
"Here he comes!" Bo pointed out Avatar Aang as he took his time moving to the center of what had become a massive combination of supporters of all the different campaigns. They were divided in sections, with each ticket and their families on a different stage. How, his heart pounding, could see the other candidates glare at Aang the same way he was.
The Airbender, bearing his formal garments, took his place behind a podium and began a long sermon about how historical the election was and how incredible it was that a city as large as Ba Sing Se could possibly vote Democratically.
How didn't listen to a single word. He only cared about one thing: the results.
Aang cleared his throat. "The people of Ba Sing Se have spoken. And they have chosen..."
"Apparently," continued Tanowa, "How's slept around a bit."
"You're kidding!" explained Kumbo.
"I'm not. She's caught him with a few women, apparently. Maybe that's why she left with Taru for her house in Tonkin for a week."
"House where?" Kumbo asked.
"Tonkin, that's where she's from. At least that's where How said she went after their spat over the anniversary, remember?"
"Yeah, I remember. Tonkin... never heard of it. I'd hate to leave, but I really have to hurry to How before the results are announced."
"Let me come too," insisted Tanowa.
The pair left together, but something caught there attention outside.
"I can't believe General How did that!" said an angry man to his wife as the couple strolled down the road. "Attacked his own people! It will be a damn shame if he's elected!"
The wife shook her head in sadness. "It's tragic. What village was it again, Toobin?"
"Tonkin," the man corrected.
Kumbo's head whipped around. "Excuse me, what did you just say?"
"We were just talking about General How's horrible acts in Tonkin!" snorted the man.
Kumbo could hardly breathe. "That's the village Long Feng said he attacked?!" He spun to Tanowa, his mouth gaping open. "Huma!" he shouted. "You said she kicked you out of the house!"
Tanowa stuttered, completely flustered. "I- uh- ah- yes!"
"And you swear that you weren't the 'source close to Joo Dee' who wrote that article?"
Sitting down in the company of his family, General How was just as shocked as Kumbo, but for a different reason. He was struck speechless, and his face was snow white. "I- I can't believe it." Bo, who looked down at his feet in disappointment, tried to comfort his son by putting a hand on his shoulder. "I'm proud of you, son. I always will be."
Joo Dee embraced the man as well. "You would have been excellent. You're the most impressive leader I've ever met."
How shook his head. "I can't believe I lost..."
Behind him stood Huma, whose solemn expression morphed into a twisted smile. "Maybe, all of your mistresses voted against you," she said coldly.
Chills ran down How's back. "What did you say?" he gasped incredulously.
"You should concede victory now to Long Feng."
The former general glanced up to see the Socialist President-Elect looming over him, smirking. There was a Dai Li agent on either side of them, marking the first time since the end of the War that the infamous Earthbenders were seen in public. "Well, well, well. If it isn't General How. Can I just call you How? After all, we are brothers-in-law."
"What's going on here?" demanded How.
Huma snickered. "Congratulations... brother."
How snapped. "No! What are you talking about?" Bo and Joo Dee remained silent, equally as flabbergasted. The former Vice Presidential candidate bit her nails nervously.
Long Feng looked through the failed candidate as if he wasn't there straight through to his sister. "You did everything I asked?"
"Of course," nodded Huma. "From tormenting this pathetic weasel at home to chasing away his one ally in the media to destroying his running mate with that article. I gave the journalist some information that could be used against How too, but she neglected to take advantage of it."
"Information?" Inquired Long Feng.
"About his love affairs. I made it look like I told her by accident too."
"Oh that's perfect!"
The Liberal was in utter disbelief, and his mind couldn't process exactly what was happening. "No! No..." She intentionally repelled Tanowa? It was her who wrote that damning article? My own wife! "You betrayed me!" he barked. "We're married! We loved each other!"
"I suppose the feeling of love was mutual, until you betrayed me first, then again, and again, and again." She directed her attention to Long Feng and asked, "How are we going to celebrate, brother?"
Suddenly, the Socialist become more stern. "You are no sister of mine."
Huma's smile vanished from her face. "What do you mean?" Her voice trembled.
"I mean that it's my time to get my sweet revenge. Men," he gestured to the agents beside him and said, "Arrest that woman for the murder of King Bumi!"
"What? You can't be serious!" Despite Huma's protests, two stone chains sped at her wrists and bound her. "Why would I even do such a thing?"
Long Feng showed no remorse for ordering his own sister into custody. "Were you not 'out of town' when Bumi was murdered? You killed him so that the Avatar would suspect Kuei and do away with the Provincial Governor's rule. Bumi was the only Provincial leader who wasn't likely to vote for him, so when he was assassinated, Aang suspected foul play on the Earth King's part and alter the voting rules. You knew it would ultimately assist your husband in winning the election."
Bo cut him off. "Or help you! You sent her to kill him to help your campaign!"
"Nobody sent me to kill him because I didn't do it!" shrieked Huma, but the two agents continued to escort her to a black carriage.
Long Feng scoffed at Bo. "I haven't a clue as to what you are shouting about."
"Bumi was a hero!" Outraged, Bo charged at the President-Elect and landed a fist on his jaw. Long Feng was forced back, but remained standing to counter with powerful rock.
"Dad!" screamed How. He was held back by an entire squad of Dai Li agents as his father was arrested too. He couldn't believe his eyes. In a matter of minutes, his life and family had been devastated.
Huma fought with everything she had to resist incarceration, but the men forced her body into the seat of the carriage and chained her down, and then they took positions to the right and left of her. One of them gave the driver a signal. Just like that, she was off to prison.
"This is absurd!" She screamed. "Let me out! I want a piece of my brother!"
"Calm down, Ma'am," ordered one agent. The other looked at her with a curious face. "Actually Huma, I'd just like to know something." He paused for a moment, then continued. "Just How did you pull everything off? The careful betrayal of How? Then the assassination of King Bumi?"
At first, the bound woman looked at him as if he had three heads, then she exhaled and rolled her eyes. "Well... it wasn't easy."
And that's how Democracy works.
- The village of Tonkin is named after the Gulf of Tunkin, where the United States Navy claimed to have been attacked by the North Vietnamese submarines during the Vietnam War in order for President Lyndon B. Johnson to secure permission from Congress to take matters of the war into his own hands. It was one of the biggest fiascos in American military history.
- The woman who shouted "burglar!" was the same woman who shouted "burglars!" when the Gaang invaded the Earth King's Royal Palace in Book 2.
Well, I guess this is the end! I had a blast writing this fanon! As you all know, politics is an area that greatly interests me, so to capture the essence of real world politics in the Avatar Universe was a challenge I was excited to take. Although this fanon never hit incredible popularity levels, I am proud of the fact that it achieved a loyal fanbase. I'd take less than twenty comments on the main page with consistent, thoughtful comments on each chapter than fifty "Oh my God you're so awesome!" comments on the main page with readers that die off after chapter two. Thanks guys!
For the collective works of the author, go here.