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The eleventh chapter of Book Two of
|Legacy Part 1: Avatar Joel|
March 3, 2011
On the day of the Summer Solstice, Leah learns about Avatar Joel's past and his assault on Uluru.
September 15, 1939
Leah opened her eyes and found herself at the base of a large building in a great city. The air smelt strongly of smoke and sulfur and rang out with explosions and gunshots. Leah took a tentative step forward and the road in front of her exploded in a flurry of dust and tar. Nearby pedestrians looked shaken, but continued on as if this were normal.
Suddenly the roar of plane engines pierced the air. Leah looked up and saw several bomber airs low above the skyline of the city. The doors on the bottom of the plane opened with a creak and bombs dropped like rocks to the city below. The people around Leah looked up in fear, yet not genuine surprise. They ran inside the buildings as the bombs began to make their marks.
Booming sounds blasted through the air as dust and debris flew everywhere from the craters of the bombs. The bomber planes flew in a circle for another round as a squadron of fighter planes followed. They fired, their machine gun fire blasting pocket sized holes in the street and sending the citizens screaming in terror. Leah began to run towards an office building as a bullet passed through her. She gasped in shock for a moment and then realized she was dreaming.
Leah stopped in her tracks and watched helplessly as the bombers came back and struck again on the besieged city. As the fighter planes came around again, a medium sized boulder shot off from the roof of the office building Leah had thought of running to. The boulder struck a fighter plane and pierced the cockpit, pieces of glass falling down to the street below.
The plane spun in a death spiral and plummeted to the city below, crashing on the street and upending large chips of tar everywhere. The other fighters turned around in a wide arc and targeted the building where the boulder came from. They shot at the windows of the upper floors and the roof, imploding the walls and windows and sending debris dropping to the street.
The bombers followed and targeted the foundation of the building. One by one the bombs dropped and blasted through the concrete base, making the building sway with every hit. Papers and office furniture fell out of every window and shattered on impact, splinters of wood and glass flying everywhere. Eventually the building could take no more, and it swayed too far and began to fall.
From the roof of the building clinging onto the edge was a young boy, no older than eight years old. The boy lost hold of the edge and tumbled through the air with the falling building, screaming at the top of his lungs. Leah sprinted forward and held out her arms, disregarding the fact that she was dreaming. The building touched down on the pavement and collapsed in a pile of rubble as the boy still fell.
Leah closed her eyes, anticipating the boy's deadly impact. A tense moment later, Leah opened her eyes to the sound of a faint breeze. She looked up and found the boy in a sphere of air, floating just a few feet above the rubble. His eyes glowed a very faint blue around the edges, and in that instant Leah knew who he was.
Joel floated down gently and touched down beside Leah. His eyes returned to normal and he staggered for a moment, feeling the effects of the Avatar State. After a moment he stood up to his full childhood height. Leah looked at the child version of Joel and wondered in her mind if this could really be the man who led the first real revolution against the BDA?
He was tanned deeply and freckled across his nose and cheeks. His eyes were a deep green and burned with pride and power, even now in this early stage of life. He had gruffy brown hair and was barefoot, his feet wrapped in strips of worn fabric. Joel looked around at the rubble of the building and started to descend down the pile of debris.
Leah followed him as the realization of what he had done dawned on his face. He didn't say anything, but Leah could feel the same turmoil that had plagued her after the incident on Lake Michigan. With her mother. At this, Leah wondered where Joel's parents were, and was answered as he turned to enter a small apartment building. The building was as of yet untouched by the bombing and was relatively new.
Leah followed him into the building and climbed the stairs with him to a small room on the top floor. Joel entered the room. The apartment was modest and humble from Leah's viewpoint. A couch as a makeshift bed stood off to one wall, an old radio next to it currently emitting static. Across from the couch was a small fireplace and mantle, a picture of a beautiful woman and Joel as a baby adorning the center.
Across from the doorway was a small kitchen with a wood burning stove, an icebox, and a four person table. Standing in the kitchen was a large burly man with thick arms and a scruffy beard. The man had the same burning passionate eyes that Joel had, and a second later Leah identified him as Joel's father.
But where's the mother? Leah thought to herself.
"Where've you been?" the man asked with a grunt.
"Caught in a bombing run."
"Downtown. Where're the Germans?"
"They've reached the east of the city. All we have left is a strip of land along the Vistula river. We still have Modlin, but we lost communication with them today."
"What're we going to do?" Joel asked worriedly.
"The Germans are preparing for an all out assault. Czuma has gathered 125 thousand troops, but he's still asking for more."
"And I've decided to go to the front and help repel them."
"You are to stay here and wait out the siege."
"No. Ms. Ochron one floor down will watch you until I return. You are to stay here until the end of the siege."
"No, dad! Don't go!"
"I have to Joel. It's the least I can do for our nation. General Czuma needs every man he can get."
"But he doesn't need you! Please stay!"
"No. I'm not arguing about this anymore. I'm leaving tomorrow morning for the east front."
Joel speed-walked through the bombard streets of Warsaw towards the sound of gunshots and agonizing screams. Yells penetrated the air as shells fired out from artillery and made their mark on the streets of the city. Finally, Joel turned a corner and saw for himself the true scale of the battle going on.
The Polish forces were scattered out along the west side of the river that split Warsaw in half. A few stray artillery guns were spread along the bank along with hundreds of machine gun posts. Wading across the river were hundreds of troops, making their way steadily closer to the smoke pillars and explosions on the other side.
Joel ran through the streets to the bank and started waddling through the river, passing a few bewildered Polish troops. A few tried to grab him and force him back to the bank, but he struggled with all his might and succeeded in escaping their grasp. Eventually, Joel made it to the other side of the river and ran with the troops, looking all around for a stray glimpse of his dad.
"Father!" he called out.
No one responded. The sounds of gunfire became evident as a few men around him were shot and went down, clutching their wounds as they cried in agony.
"Father!" he tried again. Bullets whizzed by Joel as he looked around desperately for his dad. Suddenly, a trooper ran backwards and grabbed Joel, holding him to his chest.
"Joel! What in heaven's name are you doing here?" he yelled over the screams of war.
"I'm not letting you be here dad! Come home!"
"Joel you need to go home right now! Please son!"
Joel's father put him down near a tavern and pushed the door open. "Please, stay in here until I come for you!" Joel's father pushed him in and locked him inside. Joel went up to a window and started hitting it, screaming at the top of his lungs to be let out, but to no avail. Joel's father walked up the street and starting shooting at an unknown target, ducking occasionally to the sound of return fire.
Joel pounded more at the window, small cracks starting to appear in the glass. Joel's father rolled into an alley as a flurry of bullets flew towards him. Peeking out every so slightly, he saw two German soldiers start to advance towards his position. He signaled for Joel to get down and hide, but Joel refused, looking intently out the window towards the soldiers.
Joel's father leapt out and shot at the soldiers as they returned fire. Joel's father staggered back as blood began to pour from several gunshot wounds in his chest. He knelt to his knees and fell on his face, unmoving. Joel screamed out and started sobbing, catching the attention of the soldiers. They shot out at the tavern window, causing it to shatter as Joel ducked underneath a table.
The soldiers jumped inside the tavern and grabbed Joel roughly, throwing him out the shattered window. Joel stood up groggily and wiped the blood off his pavement scratched face, only to be grabbed and yelled at by the soldiers again. They dragged him past his father's body, one of the soldiers aiming a kick at the body as he clutched his wounded shoulder.
Joel began to cry loudly. As he began to sob, one of the soldiers hit him with the butt of his rifle across the face, an audible crack ringing out as his nose broke. Joel cried louder than ever as he the loss of his father and the waves of pain from his nose hit him. A split second later, his eyes took on the same familiar glow as yesterday.
With a blast of wind the soldiers were thrown back to the pavement as Joel rose in the air in a sphere of air like before. He lashed out at them and cracked the street beneath them, sending them into a chasm of dirt and mud. With a jerk of his arms, the chasm began to close. The soldiers screamed out to the enraged Avatar, but to no avail as he closed the pit, silencing their screams.
November 16, 1984
"Please Joel, don't do this," a familiar voice rang out.
Leah opened her eyes and she saw she was on a small hill overlooking a mountainous valley filled to the brim with tents and hundreds of people. The encampment bordered next to the ocean for miles along the coast. Far off in the distance was a large fog wall like at Xylia, shielding the army from public view. Leah looked who was talking and saw, to her surprise, Adrian.
He was much younger with no gray hairs and almost no wrinkles. His eyes were the same shade of caring, compassionate brown that Leah had found solace in during her time in Uluru. Standing next to him was a now fully grown Joel, in his early fifties. He was deeply tanned, bearded, and stood a full six feet tall, muscles bulging from his arms and chest as he looked over the army assembled in the valley below.
"We've come so far Adrian. How can I tell all these people that we're supposed to just turn around and go home?" Joel said in a deep, booming voice.
"We're still over a thousand miles away. That's a long way for the BDA to hinder us."
"Then we fight our way through. We outnumber them two to one, there's no way they could stop us before we get to Uluru."
"Joel," Adrian sighed.
"Why are you so against this Adrian? Do you not want to see the BDA end for good?"
"I do, but,"
"But what? Why do you want me to stop the attack?"
"We don't know we're going to win. If we lose, how many of these people will be dead as a result of it?"
"Either way we're going to lose people."
"But how many are you willing to lose to defeat the BDA?"
Just then, they were interrupted by a beautiful young women. Her pure black hair was straight down to her shoulders and she didn't have a flaw of any kind on her face. She walked up to Joel hesitantly, avoiding eye contact with him.
"Yes Katrina?" Joel asked.
"The frigates are here." she replied, pointing to four army ships penetrating the fog wall while keeping her head down.
"Very good. Get the army onboard."
"Yes sir." she meekly responded.
She walked back down the hill and began calling out to the troops, tents being rapidly disassembled as the frigates docked at the coastline.
"I see she still fancies you." Adrian teased.
"She does not." Joel said with a smile, a small blush escaping through his tan.
November 17, 1984
The dream shifted and she found herself standing at the top of Uluru, looking over the area to the north of the monolith. An enormous fog wall surrounded the rock, creating a large radius of desert shielded from the public eye. To the north right next to the wall was Joel's army in a large mass, screaming and facing Uluru. Behind the army was a large salt lake that formed the northern border of the fog wall.
Directly below her view were the Enforcers, dressed in black. They were formed in ten neat rows of close to a hundred. In contrast, they were silent and unmoving, barely a gasp or cough escaping the silence they radiated. As Joel stated, they were clearly outnumbered.
Standing beside her, looking over the two armies were the Leader, Morgan, Vayu, Jordan, and two others, a man and a women, that Leah didn't recognize. The man was large in stature, bigger than any man Leah had ever seen. Strapped across his back was a large beaten copper hammer. The woman was older and had jet black hair neatly in a bun. Even in the dream state Leah could feel that she radiated power and respect as she surveyed the battlefield in a cold stare.
"What're your orders?" Morgan asked the Leader.
"Tafari, Johanna," he addressed the man and women respectively. "Lead the first five rows forward. Engage them as far away from the lake as possible. If the tide starts turning, Johanna, send lightning into the sky. Until then, Vayu and Jordan will wait at the head of the remaining rows."
Tafari jumped off the rock, landing with a boom on the ground as he ran through the rows to the front. Johanna simply jetted off, landing beside Tafari, who hadn't broken a sweat. Tafari lifted his fist up, raging with power as he started walking with Johanna, the first five rows marching after them. Vayu carried Jordan in an air bubble to the front of the sixth row, waiting for when they'd be needed.
The dream shifted again and Leah found herself on the opposite side, standing beside Joel and Adrian as the Enforcers marched towards them.
"What do you want to do?" Adrian asked, nervously watching the oncoming hoard.
"Stay here. We need the lake."
A second later, Katrina and a man Leah didn't recognize walked up to Joel.
"Orders sir?" the man asked.
"Xavier, take the earthbenders and engage. Katrina, keep your force back here for now. Adrian, find Quidel and tell him to take his firebenders and engage after Xavier, then take the airbenders and attack from above."
"Yes sir." Katrina and Xavier replied, walking towards the mass.
"What about you?" Adrian asked nervously as the Enforcers were halfway towards them.
"I'm going with Xavier's group. Can you please do me a favor?"
"Can you stay behind and make sure Katrina stays out of the fighting unless it's absolutely necessary?"
Adrian thought for a moment of taunting Joel's small display of affection for the young waterbender, but repressed the thought, replying with an "Okay." Adrian floated in an orb of air as he jetted towards the lake. Meanwhile, Xavier took a good chunk of the mass and charged them towards the Enforcers, screaming with pride as they ran. Joel ran towards them, easily entangling in the mass of earthbenders.
The Enforcers continued marching silently as the mass of rebels came upon them. In a matter of tense seconds, the two forces collided. Johanna, Tafari, and the first row detached from the force and engaged as the others continued marching, breaking off in rows. The rebels were first met with a group of Enforcer earthbenders, each trying to match their own as they attacked each other with their native element.
Leah spotted Tafari in the crowd as he smashed the ground with his hammer, shaking the very earth itself and making large cracks in the desert floor. As people fell from the shudders, he would smash their skulls in, killing many with this one devastating shock. Johanna was on the edge of the battlefield, firing pinpoint fire blasts into the crowd, never missing their mark.
The two armies fought viciously as each tried to gain favor over the other. After Quidel, a man with large sideburns and a lively spirit, came with his force the air was full with fire and smoke. The Enforcers, who had no firebenders of their own, were outmatched. The airbenders flew above, striking with air swipes and bombs. The waterbenders waited patiently near the lake for any signal that they were needed.
Leah spotted Tafari again, looking over the rebels. Suddenly, Tafari lifted his hammer above his head, and with a mighty cry, split the earth beneath them, sending Enforcers and rebels alike into the pit. With a great jerk of his arms, he rejoined the two halves, crushing the prisoners and decimating the rebel's ranks.
Joel rushed forward to confront the beast of a man as he prepared to duplicate the attack. Tafari sent the hammer crashing down, sending the cracking earth towards Joel. With a kick of his heel the ground, the split stopped at his foot, the energy of the blow jerking through his body. Joel lifted himself with an air blast and launched through the air, landing a kick to Tafari's heavily muscled chest.
Tafari looked down at Joel undaunted and lifted his hammer, preparing to crush Joel's skull. As the hammer came down, Joel took control of the metal, swung it around, and crushed Tafari's waiting hand. Tafari screamed in rage as he felt his bones turn to paste under the weight of the hammer. With a jerk he freed his hand and kicked his foot down, bringing up an enormous boulder.
Joel backed away as Tafari kicked the boulder towards him. Joel dove into the earth with a spin and came under Tafari, sending him a short distance away. Tafari stood up and charged towards him, screaming with rage as he shook the ground with every step. Joel took the hammer, struggling to contain it's weight, and bended the metal. Tafari jumped, intending to crush Joel with his weight as Joel threw the newly shaped hammer forward.
Joel rolled out of the way as Tafari fell, the hammer turned metal spear running through him. Tafari stopped breathing as he tried to get up, falling to the ground with a final thud. Joel looked down with satisfaction and slight remorse as he surveyed the battle around him. There were only a hundred or so Enforcers left, including Johanna. The rebels outnumbered them ten to one as air missiles rained from above with earth and fire. Joel was amazed at the luck; half the Enforcers were defeated, and they hadn't even had to use the waterbenders yet.
Joel helped to pick off the remaining Enforcers as the rebels surrounded the survivors. Within minutes, there were none left as strength in numbers overwhelmed them. Xavier walked up to Joel, battle worn but energetic, as he suddenly stopped and shook with spastic convulsions. He fell to his face, dead, as Joel spotted a malicious burn mark in his back.
Joel looked to the source and saw Johanna, standing there with her fingers smoking. Joel started walking towards her as an air swipe lashed out in front of him. Adrian landed, stopping Joel.
"No. Let me do this." Adrian said firmly.
"Fine. I'll regroup the others." Joel said, walking to the victorious rebels.
The Final Charge
Adrian and Johanna circled each other, daring the other to make the first move. Johanna struck first, sending one of her pinpoint blasts toward Adrian. Adrian blew it away with an air blast and retaliated with a ball of air. Johanna rolled out of the way and struck with a fire blade while Adrian sent an air blade, the two canceling each other out.
Johanna charged her fire before releasing a great fiery inferno. Adrian spun in a circle and split the fire down the middle, the two halves missing him and dissipating several feet away. Adrian then made a tornado and pushed it towards Johanna, carrying dust and grit and blood from the battle. Johanna jetted up above the tornado and landed in the middle, traveling with the motion of the twister.
Adrian looked around confusingly for Johanna, keeping the tornado going. Suddenly, a fire blast came from the middle of the tornado. Adrian dissipated the tornado and sent an air swipe in return. Johanna swung her foot and cut it down the middle, sending another fire blast with it. Adrian swung his arms in a circle and dissipated the fire, waiting for the next strike.
Johanna suddenly swung her arms in a circle, sparks gathering at the tips. As she pointed the lightning at Adrian, he stuck his index and pointer finger out, catching it. Adrian shook with power and exhilaration as the lightning traveled up his arm and to his shoulder. He took his other arm to guide it through his stomach when he felt a great burst of pain from his heart. Adrian collapsed as he convulsed erratically on the ground.
Johanna walked over and began charging a fire blast, smiling as she did so. She sent the fire and was met with shock as Adrian stood up, blasting the fire away. He took his left arm and pointed to his stomach and up his other arm. Johanna screamed in pain as her own lightning burned her shoulder. As she prepared another attack, Adrian sent her flying with a powerful air blast. She flew through the air above the remaining Enforcers and crashed into Uluru, sending up a cloud of dust and grit.
The Leader and Morgan shook slightly as Johanna crashed into Uluru. After regaining his balance, the Leader sent up a lightning bolt in fury, signaling Vayu and Jordan to begin the march with the others. They marched forward as the rebels regrouped and charged forward with a scream. They collided and the Leader watched in fury as his Enforcers were picked off one by one by the overwhelming numbers.
"Lock up the prison." the Leader yelled at Morgan.
Morgan dove into Uluru as the Leader slid down Uluru using earthbending. He charged forward on a wave of earth and soon emerged on the edge of the throng. He sent another bolt of lightning into the air, stopping the fighting immediately and turning the rebel's attention to him. The Enforcers walked silently past him in shame towards Uluru as the Leader surveyed the army.
"What're you waiting for, take them out!" a voice rang out.
The crowd rushed forward, jets of fire and earth and air raging towards the Leader. The Leader rose on an earth pillar and trapped the rebels between four enormous walls of earth. The Leader breathed deeply and unleashed a mighty fire blast. The consuming inferno traveled in the consumed space, killing hundreds of rebels as they tried to scramble above or through the walls.
The airbenders came down and began launching their attacks. The Leader began the same technique as Johanna and used small pins of fire, taking them out of the sky one by one. They began to retreat and the Leader turned his attention to the surviving rebels in the box. The Leader jumped off his pillar and stomped the ground, sending the four walls crashing down, crushing the rebels.
Joel watched in anguish as the walls came down, the screams of his rebel army cut short as their lives ended. In mere seconds, the Leader had decimated all he had worked for, all he had accomplished. The airbenders flew over the remaining forces and landed, panting heavily. Joel turned to the disheartened mass.
"Retreat! Fall back!" Joel screamed out, running with all his might from the Leader.
The rebel army started screaming in horror as the Leader arrived, taking them out one by one as the Enforcers ran towards them to join in the slaughter. Joel ran towards him and punched him, sending him to the ground with a bloody nose. The Leader stood up, wiped away the blood, and sent a great fire blast towards him.
Joel dove into the ground only to have the Leader force him back up, slamming him into the desert floor. Joel coughed as the wind was knocked out of him and got back up, his heart aching as he ran with the fleeing army.
"No Joel! We can still do this!" a familiar voice rang out.
Joel looked over and saw Katrina near the edge of the lake with a younger version of Bronson. Together, they took water from the lake and formed it into long ice spears, lunging them towards the Leader.
"No Katrina! We need to go!"
"No, come on, we're so close!" she screamed as she sent another wave of spears.
The Leader rushed forward on a jet of fire and confronted the two. "NO! KATRINA!"
The Leader kicked aside the spears and launched a fire blast towards Bronson. Katrina took a large orb of water from the lake and froze it into a shield. The fire obliterated the shield and came on strong towards them. Katrina kicked Bronson out of the way and made another shield. The fire blasted through this one and consumed Katrina, leaving nothing left but a cloud of steam.
"KATRINA!" Joel screamed in anguish.
The Leader turned to him and on a jet of fire, sped in his direction. Bronson looked in horror at the spot where Katrina vanished. As the Leader turned his attention to Joel, he ran off in the direction of the desert. Joel ran with all his might as tears flowed down his face. Leah remembered the words of Adrian as he ran, his decimated army behind him.
"I think it was his greatest regret to see so many die for a cause he never saw accomplished."
The dream shifted and Leah found herself in the same bed of clouds where she had met Bracken. Sitting opposite of her was Joel, who looked the same as he did the day of the attack. Leah sat there for a moment, unsure of what to say to this man who had endured so much.
"Why did I need to see this?" she asked finally, a tear forming in her eyes as the images of the dead flashed in her mind.
"I hoped that you would learn from my mistakes." he said with a sigh.
"What do you mean?"
"I mean me running away when things looked grim. I should have stayed and confronted the Leader, like you did when you escaped."
"You would've been killed anyway."
"Better to have been killed than to die with that regret of cowardice."
"I still don't understand why you wanted me to see that."
"Leah, I understand that you want to end the BDA for good. I respect you for your determination and hard work. But the BDA will continue to live as long as the Leader is alive."
"What do you mean?"
"I mean the Leader will stop at nothing to accomplish his goal of having the bender population of Earth under his control. Human life isn't a concern to him. Did you see when Johanna and Tafari were killed he didn't even flinch? He just replaced them."
"Why do you think Adam and Kumara are part of the Elite now?"
"Those two, Tafari and Johanna, they were members of the Elite?"
"The very first Elite, yes. After they were killed, the first new members were brought in. Adam was an Enforcer who survived the battle and he replaced Tafari. Kumara replaced Johanna."
"How was Kumara brought into the Elite?"
"Kumara was a colonist who lived in San Juan at the time of the attack. When I fled to the city and the Leader massacred it, her brother was killed in the inferno. She chose to join the Enforcers instead of die, a reasonable choice for a six-year-old."
"She was only six when she joined?" Leah exclaimed in shock.
"Yes. The Leader saw potential in her, and trained her himself into the killing monster she is today."
"What about Katrina and Adrian?"
"Adrian was captured by the Enforcers after the Leader showed up. He's been in Uluru ever since. I don't know what ever happened to Katrina. I never saw her body after the smoke cleared. I just assumed she was dead."
"And you wanted me to see this to realize that the BDA will never end as long as the Leader's alive."
"Yes. You need to master the four elements to your best extent and confront him if the benders of Earth are to be free. And for that to happen you need to hurry up and get to New York."
"But what about firebending? There're no free firebenders left."
"I'm sure you'll find a way Leah. You are the Avatar after all."
"But what does that mean! What am I supposed to do? Why does the Avatar even exist?"
"I'm afraid I can't answer those questions Leah. For that, there's someone else."
Joel disappeared in a cloud of mist as a new figure took his place. He was a young boy, no older than Keith. His head was shaved and covered in a bright blue arrow. The boy was dressed in an orange robe with a large prayer bead necklace around his neck.
"Hello Leah. My name is Aang."
As stated before, this chapter is meant to clear up misconceptions about Joel that the author didn't think through. As of this chapter, this is fact:
- Joel was never brought to Uluru by the guise of a car crash
- Joel gathered his army after Hitler's reign
- Joel's army was never decimated as a result of the Holocaust
For the collective works of the author, go here.
|Book One: Glass|
|The Message - Leah - The Glow - BDA - Gone - Uluru - Revealed - The Colonies - Brethren - The Survivors - Joel's Old Friend - Alice Springs - School - Sierra - Discovery - Bracken - Visiting the Past - Goodbyes - Escape Part 1: Shards of Glass - Escape Part 2: Confrontation|
|Book Two: Smoke|
|The Outside - Questions - Flight - The Rogues - Forewarned - Keith - The Exiles - Forfeit - Choice - Consequence - Legacy Part 1: Avatar Joel - Legacy Part 2: Avatar Aang - Open Arms - Father - Learning to Fly, Part 1: The Apprentice - Learning to Fly, Part 2: The Master - A Leap of Faith - Negotiations - Twin Towers, Part 1: Successor - Twin Towers, Part 2: The Black Plume of Smoke - Twin Towers, Part 3: The Burden of Atlas|
|Book Three: Storm|
|His Dark Materials - Wounds - Rest in Peace - Somewhere Only We Know - The Mistress - Smoke and Mirrors|