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|Rain of the Unagi|
22 April, 2011
"Rain of the Unagi" is the second chapter of Book 1: Earth in
After the Fire Nation arrives on Kyoshi Island, the warriors are forced into battle, finding their greatest ally in an unexpected place; the bay.
How? That was the main question that was clearly echoing through the warriors' heads as they ran from the Bay of the Unagi.
"An invasion," Aya darkly muttered. "Just what we need." "Suki isn't going to be happy," Caili said as the warriors sprinted back through the woods, too distracted to see the crowd of girls following Avatar Aang down a neighboring path towards the bay.
Miekka too was not pleased. It had been an all-in-all horrid day; the excitement over the Avatar's arrival had turned into a burden, she was miserably tired, and Zhe had completely humiliated her in front of all of the warriors. And now, as if that isn't enough, the whole village will be destroyed by rampaging firebenders. Miekka thought as they approached Oyaji's home at the center of the town. Great.
"Oy-a-ji!" Aya hollered, pounding on the door to is elaborate house. A rumpled looking Oyaji answered her shouts. "Yes?" he asked irritably.
"Looks like we caught him in the middle of a nap," Caili muttered smugly to Miekka, but she was appalled that Caili could maintain any sense of humor during the drastic situation. "Fire Nation. At the Bay," Aya explained. Oyaji seemed to wake himself up as his face darkened. "Go get Suki," he said. "I'll warn the villagers."
The warriors sprinted toward the dojo, but encountered Zhe before they could reach it. Every one of them wrinkled their noses as the snobby girl began to speak.
"What's going on?" Zhe scanned the crowd of warriors for a hint. "The Fire Nation, that's what." Miekka snapped. Zhe opened her mouth, a sadistic comeback obviously ready, but Aya stopped her as screams sounded from the village. "Party's here," Caili said.
Aya turned toward the village and made a split second decision. "Suki will figure it out. She's drawn to a fight. They need us down there." Aya began barreling toward the village, the other warriors following.
"Who put her in charge?" Zhe muttered, and Miekka was not yet too far away to overhear. Who let you in the Kyoshi Warriors in the first place? she retorted back in an imaginary verbal assault against Zhe. One day, she told her self. One day, I'll give her what's coming to her. And it won't be anything like the fight on the beach.
Miekka stopped off quickly at Grandfather Mong's to retrieve her battle fans, then continued racing toward the village. The other warriors had long since reached the village where a thick haze of smoke surrounded burning houses and screaming villagers. Firebenders riding rhinos swarmed the town.
All of the green-robed girls but one had run off to fight heavily armored firebenders. Through the smoke, Miekka was vaguely conscious of seeing two figures, one clad in blue and the other with a blue arrow on their head, but at that moment, she didn't care. She was staring at a little girl with angry red burn who was crying in front of a burning house. Strangled cries were coming from inside of it. "Mom!" the girl shouted. "Dad!"
Suddenly, the smoke around Miekka vanished. The screams and noises of battle faded. Miekka remembered. "Bye, Mong!" she skipped gaily away from his house. You idiot! Miekka tried to tell her younger self. Don't be happy! They're dead! But she couldn't stop herself. It was a memory; the past. She couldn't change what had happened.
Miekka watched her face fall as she saw the smoke coming from the direction of her house. She helplessly saw her younger self running towards her house, watched as she saw the collection of Kyoshi Warriors and villagers, too late to put out the fire. Too late to save her parents. Too late to save Miekka herself, Miekka thought as she watched her heart break.
A series of shouts jolted Miekka back to the present. She snapped back into reality, forgetting any burnt houses or unsaved people as a burly firebender lunged at her. He began shooting a tongue of flame at her, but she deflected it with her fan. She quickly jumped behind the firebender and swept her fans across the pressure point on his neck. He crumpled to the ground in a heap, but Miekka didn't have time to assess the damage.
She spotted Suki and Sokka running toward the center of the fight, followed by yet another firebender. "Oh, no you don't," Miekka snarled, and sprinted off to attack the firebender before he reached the green-robed duo. Miekka swiftly knocked the firebender to the ground and slit his pressure point before he realized what had happened. I really am improving, she thought proudly. Her pleasure was reflected on the faces of the other warriors; though they were badly outnumbered, they were able to hold off the firebenders.
A scarred, angry looking young man on a large rhino was at the center of the Fire Nation troops. Out of the corner of her eye, Miekka spotted Suki and Sokka approaching him. The young man shot a powerful bolt of flame that nearly missed Suki, but Sokka deflected it with his fans. Suki, Miekka thought with grim satisfaction. She really can train anyone. Sokka's victory didn't last long; the scarred man was gearing up to strike again. Not if I can help it, she thought furiously.
She ran up behind him and knocked him swiftly from his rhino. However, though he lie paralyzed on the ground, he was quick to recover; he leaped up, and in a swirl of flame, knocked Miekka, Sokka, and Suki backwards. "Nice try, Avatar, but these little girls can't save you!" the scarred boy shouted out to Aang. Little girls! Miekka thought angrily, difficultly suppressing the urge to lunge out and attack the young firebender. No, an unfamiliar voice in her head told her. This is Aang's fight. Miekka was too distracted by the shout rising on the brisk air to realize that the thought wasn't hers.
She stood from where she had fallen, looking towards a figure standing on the horizon. "Hey!" Aang shouted. "Over here!" He was standing in front of the statue of Kyoshi, looking furious. "Finally," the scarred boy said softly, and swept a flurry of fireballs at Aang. Break them, Miekka silently willed the young airbender. Break them with the air.
A strange voice of recognition sounded in Miekka's head, and Aang fiercely slashed his air-powered staff through the young man's attacks. Panting for a moment to recover, Aang swept up two nearby fans laying on the ground. With a start, Miekka realized that they were hers. The Avatar is fighting with my fans, she thought, watching as he brandished them.
This is it, she thought, The final fight. The scarred boy gathered energy as he prepared to deliver the blow that would potentially finish the fight. As he prepared to deliver the final strike of fire, Aang swept him backwards with a furious shout and a huge gust of air. As the scarred boy landed in the doorway of a burning building, Aang swept up his glider, and, with a running start, flew away into the sky. Kyoshi's statue burned ominously as the Avatar retreated.
"Keep fighting!" Miekka heard Aya shout. "We have to drive them out!" Miekka risked one glance at the airbender flying away, and knew that though it appeared he was running away, there had to be another plan. "You're the Avatar," she whispered desperately as she picked up her fans and ran to fight her next foe. "You have to."
Every warrior was exhausted by this point. They were running out of steam, and Miekka knew that they wouldn't be able to keep up the fight forever. In pure frustration, Miekka threw her fan, pointed end facing outward, into the chest of the firebender she was fighting. The man fell to the ground with a grunt, his eyes misting over. Miekka dislodged her fan from the man's heart, muttering, "Not just a bunch of little girls any more, huh?"
The fight continued for many minutes that seemed to stretch into an eternity. It was when the remaining firebenders spotted a giant flying buffalo passing overhead that the leader, the scarred boy, shouted, "Back to the ship! Don't lose sight of them!" Miekka didn't even bother to chase after the remaining enemies; nor did any of the other warriors. If they were feeling anything like Miekka was, they were just glad that the battle was over.
Miekka realized the battle might be over, but the fight wasn't. There was a collective sigh from all of the warriors as they realized that they would have another long afternoon of putting out fires. Miekka knew that they would be too late to save some of the lives of villagers, and a burning hate for the Fire Nation rose inside of her. The village was partially demolished, Kyoshi's statue was in ruins, and lives had been lost.
No, Miekka thought. I became a Kyoshi Warrior to prevent things like this from happening. I saved lives. But as she thought it, a small voice in the back of her head whispered, But did you save enough lives? Miekka chose to ignore it, and, rubbing her golden panda amulet, followed the other warriors to begin putting out fires.
Just as Aya said, "How do we begin? We're not waterbenders." a small splash sounded in the distance. "The Avatar." Miekka said softly, and the surface of the bay erupted with the Unagi.
"Is that the Avatar?" Zhe asked in disbelief. As Miekka stared in wonder, she saw it was true. Aang was riding the back of the Unagi, and harnessing it.
"That kid," Su said smugly. "First the elephant koi, now the Unagi. He just can't get enough of a thrill." Water spewed from the mouth of the Unagi, totally soaking the burning village. To Miekka, getting splashed had never felt better. As Aang hosed down the town, even Kyoshi's statue stopped smoking.
Miekka's relieved laughter rang out over the town as Aang hopped back on his sky bison and flew away. Soon, many people had joined in. "Saved by the Unagi!" Suki shouted. "I will never understand the Avatar."
We don't need to, Miekka thought. I don't even think he understands himself. But that arrangement seems to be working just fine for him.
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