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|Prowess and Priority|
July 2, 2013
What we decide to be important can have a world of difference on fate...
Chapter 5: Prowess and Priority
Tiros let his foot slide lithely as a blade of water and ice attempted to ensnare him. He had finally learned some patience, and was able to predict the otherwise blindingly fast attacks. He clenched a fist to counter, sending a small sprout of water after his opponent.
"No!" The voice yelled firmly after dissipating his strike easily, "Water is not blunt, it s not strong with a fist. A smooth blade is far stronger than a rough punch in this element. Until you can move seas, that clumsy stance you're using will be weak and vulnerable."
"He's right, master," Melasa followed as she and Huam sat on the side watching quietly. "Water is an element not to be rushed or forced, because it is stronger than you."
Tiros rolled his eyes at the comment. Melasa was much more accommodating since their argument but she was now handing out advice. Now that was bugging him. "If I wait as long as you all recommend, it will be years before I master water."
"That is to be expected. Water is your natural opposite, son of fire. You are barely even bending water, more progress than the less Avatar of Fire made in the same time by our records."
"So I just continue on at this sluggish rate?"
"Yes," the old man lifted his hands and sent a storm of icicles after the Avatar.
Tiros watched as steel clashed while Melasa and Huam continued training. Huam was fast and strong, but more rooted in his fighting style. Melasa was much faster and far more agile. She attacked and countered but quickly retreated and attacked again, never staying still. Staying still was dying.
Her hard work at training proved to be successful when a tiny cut in Huam's coat opened up. No one had even seen the blade make its cut, they had only seen its result. Huam smiled as he noticed a small drop of blood come from the cut. "Very good."
Tiros personally wondered how much progress that was. In his old days, Uzusim forced him to fight until near death, pushing him to his limit at every moment. He only rested as was necessary. He hated his master for it, but realized as he mastered firebending, that there was no rival to him. No one could challenge his command of flame and no one knew as much as he did in its secrets.
He noticed the level of difference when he learned airbending and the much more merciful monks. That was why he used airbending first, because calling on his fire was a statement of killing his enemies without remorse.
And that was more frightening to him. It reminded him of the worst act he made in his life. If he dreamed, it was only those memories that came to him.
A quick shuffling of a pair of feet broke the silence as a messenger entered the Snow Bloom Caverns. He held a scroll with a green seal on it. A seal from the Earth Kingdom.
Tiros narrowed his eyes on that. The Earth Kingdom was relatively young compared to the Fire Nation and the Water Tribes, only existing for several generations since Avatar Koru. While largely under the absolute command of the Earth King, there were still regions that wouldn't submit easily.
The messenger bowed before him, "Sir, this is an urgent message for you from the Earth King."
The young Avatar took the scroll. He unrolled it and found a smaller scroll within it. He began reading and was confused by the frantic worry of this Earth King.
To the Avatar,
I write this letter to you with great concern. A terrible war is brewing in the Southlands of my kingdom. A rebel has begun to wreak a campaign of terror on my subjects and is gathering an army of scoundrels to challenge my rule in the South.
This man has somehow managed the impossible. After multiple attempts, the man has survived any method to stop or kill him. He has now earned the title "Immortal Warlord" for his seeming invulnerability.
His rabble grows greater with every passing moment and the stability of the south continues to degrade. I am marshaling my forces in preparation for the worst. However, I would rather the Avatar settle this if possible before I use something as dire as war.
Accompanying this scroll is another message from my scouts about this madman. I formally call on you to help bring balance to the Earth Kingdom before things go down a far more violent path.
The letter ended with an ink seal of the Earth Kingdom with a symbol in the middle. Tiros handed the letter to Huam and Melasa so that they could read it. Huam commented, "The Earth King rarely will send a personal request like this unless it was serious."
"I know. Which is why I need to go."
"Master, that is unwise. You have not mastered the element of water or earth. Entering the Earth Kingdom and fighting earthbending rebels without skill in this would leave you at a disadvantage."
"The Earth King is considering going to war, which means that this rabble is far stronger than he is letting on. It is me or war, I would rather do what I can before something as terrible as war takes the entire Earth Kingdom."
Huam spoke up, "You will need to speak with the Tribe's leadership on this."
"Absolutely unacceptable!" The tribal leaders of the North Pole were not so receptive of the idea of the Avatar leaving before he mastered the element.
"If you leave now, there is no telling how long it will take for you to return and what dangers you may face on the way."
"Be reasonable, the Earth King didn't say that this rebellion had taken any cities yet, has he?"
"Does he have to? He is marshaling for war. Wouldn't that already imply that cities have fallen if he has already considered reacting militarily?"
"Does it? As a citizen of such a powerful military state as the Fire Nation, don't you see troops as common place?"
Tiros narrowed his eyes at that jilt. They were trying to lighten the issue by stating that large kingdoms use military force to keep their people in line. They made a foolish decision by bringing in Tiros' homeland.
"Even so, kings of war are wary to send finite resources out. That is why the Earth King has asked me to come. Can I refuse?"
Iruk spoke calmly, "Avatar Tiros, you cannot just stop your training and abandon the North Pole. Your training must continue." His voice was firm in his stance.
"Are you saying you won't allow me to train under you if I leave to resolve this?"
He didn't answer but left it clear what he meant. Tiros scoffed, "So the cost of saving lives is not learning waterbending? Very well, I will leave tonight." He stood up and bowed respectfully as he turned to leave.
They looked on in awe and surprise. A few snarled in frustration at his impudence. Tiros didn't give them another glance. He had his own reasons for holding his ground and they obviously were not worthy of its explanation.
The doors opened and Melasa stood up as she saw him exit. As they walked away, "We're leaving the North Pole and heading for the Earth Kingdom tonight."
"I am going to the Southern Earth Kingdom and doing as much as I can to end this."
"And your waterbending training?"
"I guess I'll teach myself the rest."
"Don't take things to that extreme," the sure voice of Huam broke the conversation.
"Why is that?"
"I think that you are right to go to the Earth Kingdom, the Avatar needs to show that he is out there trying to restore balance. If Iruk won't teach you when you are finished, I will."
Tiros thought about that, "Are you sure? I can't imagine the Tribe will take you defying their decree lightly."
"I have found myself in disagreement with the Tribe over a great many things lately, including their treatment of women. A few others are of like mind. If necessary, we will break away from our home and start elsewhere."
"Huam..." That startled Tiros. He had never heard about deep divisions in the Water Tribe before. How could it be that a small faction was willing to leave over these issues?"Don't fret, Tiros. These problems have been here long before you came and will be here long after you leave. If it is the destiny of the Tribe to break, then it is something you can't change. Perhaps a new place shall be borne of this."
"I'm going to the Earth Kingdom to prevent such a fracture there. I can't just ignore what might become one here."
A hand landed on his shoulder, "Master, I doubt a war will erupt this instant if Huam leaves. We do know that war will break out in the Earth Kingdom if we do nothing."
Tiros clenched at their dismissals. He wanted to prevent such a disaster, and they were okay with it? The only reason he could justify it to himself was that a greater bloodshed wait on the continent. Was that how he would let himself sleep at night?
He looked at the two fools, "Fine." He looked into Huam's eyes, "Don't do anything hasty while I'm gone. I'll do everything to try and make Iruk take me back before I have you throw away your place among your people."
"I will, but I know these people better than you do. At the least, I can hold this for a few months."
Tiros exhaled heavily. He felt just as bad about what he left now as what he was going to. He knew that it was bad to leave things sour in the Water Tribe, but was sure in himself that waiting for things to degrade in the South was wrong. He had made such a decision before and regretted it every day of his life.
He really hated his job sometimes. Grabbing the man, he pushed him forward, knowing exactly what would happen to him. The man stumbled forward as he looked at the imposing warrior before him. He was massive, with a hard face and dark eyes.
"Well, Hanbao?" His boss addressed him.
"Right, this is Leto, mayor of this village."
"Tell me Leto, is there any gold or wealth in this village?"
"We have no such valuables. We are a simple farming village."
"Yes, we heard that. We've already taken your food for our stores, and it isn't enough contribution to your new king. So, again I ask you, are there any valuables beyond your women?"
The man's eyes opened wide, "Please, we have nothing of great wealth here. We are simple peasants."
"I see," his master's cold eyes looked at him darkly, signaling him. Another warrior joined him as they grabbed the man by the shoulders and forced him to kneel.
"Please!" The mayor screamed frantically, "I beg you!"
"When you see the Spirits of war and death, tell them that Lesun sent you," the dark eyes had a gleeful look as his boss drew his vile sword.
It was an evil weapon. While the blade itself appeared normal, it was sharper than anything he had ever seen. Still, that was normal compared to the hilt. The handle looked to be made of vines and thorns from some sinister plant.
Lesun gripped the weapon, and the sickening sight of his hand impaled on the thorns took him. Hanbao hated watching it as the boss' hand bled from the sword. The singing steel whispered its tune as it left its sheath completely.
He lifted the sword on high above his head as he and the other man held the mayor down, who was trying to shake his way out. The sword dropped down with amazing speed, taking the man's head and cutting it cleanly from his body.
Hanbao let go of the new corpse and saw a flash before his eyes as he felt a sharp cut on his thick cheek. Lesun gave him the same murderous look reserved for those to be executed. "You let him move."
Hanbao was at a loss for words, the cut was clean. He then looked down at the corpse to see his failure, a bit of the man's chin was still on the neck. Lesun was always particular about how he killed a man, the head needed to be cleanly cut from the neck. "He must have moved at the last second. I am sor-"
He didn't finish as the vile sword was pressed against his bleeding cheek. Rain broke out in the sky as Lesun pressed the sword in slightly into his face so that a small spurt of blood came out. "See that you don't make that mistake again, or I will use your head to atone for the mistake."
"Yes, my lord."
The monster of a man sheathed the sword as another fighter appeared, "My lord, what are your orders?"
"Take the women as you please, store the supplies and burn everything else. Take it all back to Iseran.""Yes, sir." The man smiled as he looked at Hanbao, he snarled in return. Regou had managed to get in good with Lesun while he had managed to piss off the boss with one blunder after another. Regou was always there to taunt him and laugh at whatever punishment he had to endure.
"Hanbao, make sure to plant the heads on spikes around the village. Remember, every head that is not from someone taken back."
"Yes, sir," he answered in a disgruntled voice. He really hated his job sometimes, but what was he going to do? His boss couldn't die.
- has now made a living appearance in DoM.
- We see the first seeds of division in the Water Tribe.
For the collective works of the author, go here.
Storms of the Future Cycle
|The Journey of Tala|
|Book 1 - Sand and Steel|
|- - - - - - - - - - - - - -|
|Book 2 - Blood and Swamps|
|- - - - - - - - - - - - - -|
|Book 3 - Pyres and Storms|
|- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -|
|Fates and Vows|
|- - - - - - Ilera - Solace Fade - Scions - Sovereign|
|The Rise of Lirin|
|- In the Morrow - The White Dragon - Faith in Blood - The Great Gates - Lord Avatar - A Red Sun - Faceless - Faction - Tempest - Rally of Crows - Rally of Eagles - Dragons and Serpents - Kings and Men - Storms of a Spirit - Princes - A Battered Land - Seas of Ichor - Arbiter - Return to a Grave - Declination - Disaffection - Epilogue|
|Myths of the Empire|
|Pacification - Assassins - Empire - Red Sun Under The Empire - White Snow - Heirs|
|The Reclamation of Arein|
|Book 1 - Chaos|
|Refugee - Rogue - Ghosts - Dark Roses - Doyen - Divulgence - The Plan - Abscond - Mists of Illusion - Madonna - Syndicate - Playing the Stakes - Purge - Brothers|
|Book 2 - War|
|Alliance - Temple - Tensions - The Fall - Hunters and Prey - Lussuria - Shades of Relevance - Broken Star - Defiler - Strikeforce - Secrets of the Lair - Eminence - Swarm - Wanderer|
|Dreams of Melasa|
|Book 1 - Servant|
| - - - - - - - - - - - - -
|Book 2 - Shadow World|
|Faint but Clear - Ghost in the Steel - Kurotama - Loyalties - Servants of Shadow - Game of Fate - Shadows and Reflections - Tomb of Blood - Broken Blades - Hill of Shadow - Souls and Swords - Home|