|More from Typhoonmaster||Tragedy||PG-13||Positive||Complete|
"We are spread too thin."
"The Earth Kingdom rallied their troops."
"The Avatar escaped."
The flames dimmed as Sozin rubbed his eyes. Generals and colonels debated the current status of the expansion. After a successful first strike wiped out the Air Nomads, the Water Tribes and Earth Kingdom mobilized troops, ready to defend their nations. Although Fire Nation technology exceeded that of the enemies, the sheer numbers proved an obstacle for even the most well-trained army. Underlying it all, the Avatar still remained abroad: the last hope for the world.
Sozin yawned. To him, the endless debates seemed monotonous. Years of failure in capturing the Avatar dulled his enthusiasm. In the back of his mind, he knew he wouldn't live to see the Fire Nation share its success with the world. The real question was whether or not the dream would die first.
He smirked. Sometimes he wished he could relive his days as a teenager. They seemed so long ago, but he could remember them with detail. Back then, the trees were green, the breeze was gentle, and the girls were pretty. He remembered laughing at festivals, dancing the camelephant strut, and spending moonlit nights on Ember Island. Most of all, he remembered Roku:
"I'm telling you Sozin! She likes me, I can tell."
As a teenager, Roku could be described as charming, awkward, and naive above all things.
"How do you know?"
"She kept staring at me while I was practicing my fire-bending forms. Then when I looked at her, she turned away and giggled."
When it came to girls, Roku was not the smoothest. Sozin could remember countless instances of jumbling words, blushing, or spilling lychee juice. Luckily for him, girls smiled at his innocence. Rubbing the back of his neck, he became a lost cause of embarrassment. Sozin could only laugh at the following apologies and subsequent confessions of his mistakes. Roku never listened when Sozin gave him advice; he simply hoped for the best. Sozin kept him grounded and expected the worst.
"We've been over this man, just because a girl smiles and laughs doesn't mean she wants to say vows and run off on a honeymoon. She could have been smiling at some odd-looking bush or a random pedestrian."
"Whatever Sozin, I know what I saw."
Sozin nudged Roku in the ribs. "Look who's here."
Ta Min and three friends turned the corner. Compared to the other girls, Ta Min looked plain in a light spring dress, her hair tied neatly in a bun.
"Dude, say something."
"Like what? Crap, now she's giggling again."
The girl wearing a red silk dress spoke up.
"Hey Roku, we saw you practicing your fire-bending earlier."
"Hi...uhh yea I was practicing some high level...sets."
The girls looked onward. Ta Min seemed to disregard the flustered Roku.
"Yea, fire-bending is taught in sets based on forms. I could show you some of my moves."
The girl put a hand to her mouth to hide her laughter. Roku's eager smile vanished.
"You want to show us some of your moves.?
Sozin stepped in before he made a fool out of himself, "What my friend meant to say is, he would love to hang out sometime, maybe the party this Friday. It's in the gala of the Palace. Everyone is going to be there."
"Definitely! We will see you two Friday night. Bye Prince Sozin and Roku."
The girls walked past the two teens and whispered something to Ta Min. To Roku's dismay they began to laugh.
"Why do they always travel in packs?"
"Strength in numbers, buddy."
The embarrassed teen flopped down in the grass.
"Don't worry about it. I think you were right about Ta Min. I'm picking up some subtle vibes that she likes you."
"Absolutely, just look at yourself: smart, funny, not to mention and excellent fire-bender."
Roku smiled and sat up, "I feel better now, thanks Sozin."
The Firelord looked up at the General kneeling before him.
"Sir, the meeting is over."
"Why yes, of course. I knew that." The Fire Lord jolted back to reality.
"So should we commence with the plan?"
"The plan to invade the Southern Water Tribe with fleets of-"
"Yes, yes, by all means, go ahead with the plan!"
The General looked to the side, "As you wish, your majesty."
Then he bowed, as was the custom, and left the war room with the others.
Sozin wiped a bead of sweat off his brow. I guess that's how Roku used to feel, at a loss for words, dazed and confused. There was one thing he missed most about his friend: the unspoken brotherhood between them. Roku was always there. Sozin always knew he was destined for greatness, being the prince of the Fire Nation. While everyone else praised him, Roku understood his position and kept him grounded. While everyone called him Prince Sozin, Roku simply called him Sozin.
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