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Preparations is the seventh chapter of the AU fanfiction story Enemies and Traitors.
Fortunately for Shunkai, his tank worked. Sozin ordered the construction of a full fleet of these tanks. After four years, Sozin had tripled the size of the Fire Nation military on very limited resources. All the while Kuzon had just been enjoying his teenage years, playing ball, practicing his bending, flirting with the local girls, and getting in and out of trouble with friends.
In a few months the Comet would descend and the Fire Nation would be made powerful again. Sozin wanted to make his beloved brother a part of it. He summoned eighteen-year-old Kuzon, who had recently moved out to oversee his own duchy, back to the Royal Palace.
Sozin greeted him excitedly. “Brother!” Sozin descended from his throne and the two embraced with slaps on the back. He threw one arm around Kuzon’s neck. “I am about to present you with an opportunity to become part of history!” Sozin pointed to Kuzon’s chest with his free hand as he led him out of the throne room and out of the palace. Kuzon was a little put off by Sozin’s intense excitement. He’s gotten weirder and weirder ever since he became Firelord. But Kuzon walked along with his brother’s entourage, resting a hand on the dao sword he wore. Sozin was being carried in a sedan chair by servants.
They came to a building adjacent to the palace and walked around back. A single tank sat in the middle of a proving ground. Sozin exited his litter and shouted to a soldier standing next to the tank “You may begin, Commander!” The man bowed and proceeded to climb into the tank and drive it around. Kuzon watched as its grappling hooks held firm in stone, as its treads dug into the ground and never wavered, as fire shot from the turret and incinerated wooden dummies cut into shapes that vaguely resembled a human silhouette. At this, Kuzon felt a little ill. He looked over to Sozin, who simply beamed at the tank’s performance.
He looked at Kuzon. “These tanks are an integral part of my plan for the coming war. To take full advantage of the Comet’s power, we will have to invade the Air Temples and capture the Avatar. With him out of the way, no one can stop our victory. These tanks will allow us to enter the Air Temples, where no army has entered before.” He looked at Kuzon, placed a hand on his shoulder. “We can take back our orchards and control the rest of the Air Nomads’ food supply. Then we can move on to the other nations. Whatever resources we need will be at our disposal.” Sozin looked away, clenching his fists. “I will usher in a golden age for the Fire Nation. End the economic strife. End the poverty. And these tanks will be our most valuable tool. Kuzon, how would you like to be not only the youngest officer in my army, but the first commander of the first Fire Nation Armored Division in history? I don’t know anyone else who could accomplish such a difficult task. Family are the only ones you can really trust.”
Kuzon had been disconcerted by watching the dummies burn, but Sozin had reminded him of the poverty rampant in the Fire Nation. Kuzon loved his homeland. He didn’t want it to suffer, or be exploited by other nations. He loved his people, and from the limited amount of history lessons he had shown up for, he knew a military victory might be the only thing that could stop the poverty and starvation they were going through. Plus, his brother really believed in him and was going out of his way to grant Kuzon some responsibility and recognition. This appointment was a gift. He didn’t want to refuse. But he remembered a face he hadn’t seen in four years: his old friend Aang.
“I don’t know, Sozin. These look like they could do a lot of damage. The Airbenders are nonviolent. I want to help the Fire Nation, but I don’t want to lead a massacre.”
“First of all, airbenders can be more violent than you think. Besides, we have to keep the Avatar alive to capture him, and since we don’t know his identity, we have to keep as many airbenders alive as possible. We’re going to keep casualties to a minimum. I promise.” Sozin honestly did have no idea who the Avatar was. Only national leaders were privy to that information, and Izuma had neglected to tell him before she died. Gizu, the brawny idiot that he was, had long forgotten that Izuma had ever told him. In fact, he had probably forgotten the very next day.
Kuzon regarded his brother, then looked back at the tank. “All right, I’ll do it.”
Sozin clapped him on the back. “You and I are going to go down in history, brother.” He looked at the tank as well.
“But Sozin, won’t most of the airbenders escape on their gliders or bison?”
“Don’t worry, little brother… I’m taking care of it.”
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|Enemies and Traitors chapters|
|Prologues - Brothers - Responsibilities - Necessities - Resources - The Avatar - Opportunities - Preparations - Betrayals - Changing Plans - Scars - Counting Losses - Exiles - Ghosts - Homecoming - The Traitor and the Firelord - Escapes - The Last Chance - Legacies|