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Ba Sing Se
On The Run
Chapter information

Avatar: Dark Days





Written by




Release date

August 5, 2010

Last chapter

Avatar: Legend of Korra

Next chapter

Taverns and Travels

"On The Run" is the pilot episode of Avatar: Dark Days. It premiered on Avatar Wiki on August 10th, 2010.


The boy was running for his life, trying to escape a threat who has been following him all his life.


The Escape

The young boy was running for his life. Panting, out of breath, sweat rolling down his back, he turned the corner into one of the side streets of Ba Sing Se. His wiry stature propelled him further forwards, stumbling along the sandy streets.

Not far behind him, heavy footsteps sounded, pressing him on. They were in hot pursuit, a hair's breadth away from capturing their prey. In the lead, a man in dark green robes stopped abruptly. "Wait," he commanded, and behind him a line of soldiers stopped. "Listen."

He gestured for them to remain silent, but while his men stood confused, he took small steps forward. "Yes, I can hear him... he's cutting back onto the main road."

Without needing to be questioned, a chunk of the guards took off back to the streets, leaving the robes man with three thick, heavy-set soldiers to protect him. "My lord, what do you wish of us?"

The man smiled, his crooked nose flaring as he bared his teeth. They were yellow and decrepit, matching the colour of his aged skin. His wiry black hair was tied back in a bun, a few loose strands casually sticking out. He had a goatee falling an inch from his face. He turned to face his men, his voice stern and unwavering. "What do you think?" he asked. "I want you to kill the Avatar."

Finally Free

Still running and without any sign of stopping, the young Avatar reentered the main street of Ba Sing Se, knowing that the soldiers would be incapable of following him through the labyrinth of alleys. He knew better than to assume the best, and didn't stop, heading in the opposite direction of how he had entered the lower ring of the city, now moving briskly towards the city gates.

His mother had told him the day would come when the Fire Nation would come looking for him. It had been many lifetimes since Sozin's Comet signified the end of their reign of tyranny, in the days of Aang the Airbender. The boy always wondered why - until his mother told him the truth. He was the new Avatar.

The news had been shocking, but they had had no time to dwell on it. A man by the name of Jung Su took the child in for training almost immediately, and the young Avatar learned all he could in Earthbending. It took five years from his mother's first warning for the enemy to find them. She had forced him to leave everything behind and flee the city of Omashu. With the help of the family's connections, he had found Ba Sing Se and tried to make peace there, but the Fire Nation was hot on his trail.

Now he could only wonder what had happened to his mother as he ran down the streets in his bare feet. They were aching and sore, but he couldn't give in to temptation, he had no time to stop running until he had fled the city.

He leapt from the ground and created a plateau from the earth, pushing himself along the path. After he had gained some time, he hoped, from his pursuers, he jumped again off the rock and flung it down another side-street, hoping to distract them. He continued running down the main road, towards the gate.

Not allowing himself to stop, even for the closed steel doors, the Avatar used his bending powers to lift a slab of earth from the bedrock and threw it at the door, creating a hole just large enough to fit through. "I've done it," he whispered, taking a second to breathe. "I've made it out of the city..."

Raising his hands, he examined the steel and forced it to close itself. Metalbending, though not widely practiced, had been taught to many earthbenders since the days of the Avatar Aang. The boy smiled, thankful for the ability.

As he turned around, he paused at the sight of the sunrise. He had been running all night. With a grim smile, he began walking, fully believing himself to be free of the Fire Nation - at least for now. His feet begged to be given a chance to rest, but the sooner he fled Ba Sing Se, the safer he would be.

All The Same

The General approached the gates to the city and smirked as he examined the massive steel doors. "He's been here," he whispered with a hint of malice, his green robes shining in the rising sun. He had bags under his eyes and moved slower now, but was still steadfast in his resolve.

Behind him, one of his soldiers placed a hand on his shoulder. "My lord," he implored. "You can't surely know where he's gone. Perhaps you should rest now and begin again tomorrow..."

He spun around indignantly, his cold eyes staring into the face of the soldier. "Wrong," he said. "I know exactly where he's gone."

The soldier seemed confused. "H-how could you..."

With the slightest hint of a smile, the General answered. "All Avatars are the same," he explained. "He's gone to see his past life."


As the pilot episode, On The Run was the first episode written of the series. It was meant to remain cryptic, with none of the characters involved being named. In addition to the next four episodes, the series creator considers this to be a stand-alone book, or even a prologue, to the story's main action.


  • Evidently, Toph has taught metalbending, and someone has in turn taught the boy.
  • This is the shortest of all the episodes in Book One.

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