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"We shall unite the Earth Kingdom under a single banner of pride. We can remind the Fire Nation that the fire in any man's or woman's heart is never extinguished as long as there is hope, and hope is indeed alive."
— Kyasin's incitation of revolution amongst the inmates of a Fire Nation prison.

Revolution 1 is the fourth chapter of Avatar:The Last Airbender Revised.

Haru earthbending
Revolution 1
Chapter information
Series

A:TLAR

Book

One

Chapter

Four

Written by

Lovelyb0nes

Editor(s)

Lovelyb0nes

Release date

April 30th, 2011

Chronology
Last chapter

Hell Hath No Fury

Next chapter

The Mad Genius

Behind the Scenes

The fourth section has been posted by TAD. It is set at the time as the events in the first three sections.

Song: Revolution 1 by The Beatles. Relevance: Should I have to explain?

Golden Future Time

Their vessel gently pushed through the low-hanging clouds that hovered above the shadows strewn across the landscape. Sakodi had descended into what was practically catatonia at the reigns long ago, but a pilot wasn't a necessity with a conscious vehicle. Kyasin gazed past the horizon for a brief period before adjusting her line of sight to the community below. She thought of the residents of this land, those yet untouched by the savagery of the Fire Nation, despite its overbearing presence. The group was cutting diagonally across the land to reach the vast city of Omashu, supposedly etched into the very mountains. The tribals had uttered rumors about some sort of madman controlling the city, but Ain had assured them that these were misgivings, that there'd been trusted spiritual allies to the Monks within the city in his era. A single departure from their set path to a nearby valley would soon be required, in order to collect supplies for their journey north.

She rotated her body toward Ain and Miza as they slept calmly on Appa's saddle, and wondered whether they were dreaming of a more idealistic setting. Not even once had one of those wishful-thinking sort of dreams crossed her thoughts. The world had been in this suppressed and chaotic state far too long to refuse taking the noxious fruit with the few positive elements that they had. She would carve a life out of destiny's rock for herself and her partner, whether she be Lia or someone new, no matter the cost. Whether her role would be soldier, chieftess, rebel, mercenary, any combination of those or any other that she hadn't considered, it would be she that solely directed her path. She roused Ain from slumber to awareness and asked him how it felt to have the spirit of a being like the Avatar preside within his body.

Ain pondered such an inquiry for what seemed to be an eternity, considering his response pensively as ever. "I feel as though I am never controlling my own body movements entirely, like the Avatar's essence are the strings of a marionette, guiding each of my limbs, barely allowing for me to have any choice in where I go or what I'll do...or who I am...or what my destiny is!" Ain refused to match his own eye with Kyasin's shocked gape, turning his head to to the east. He realized that this action was abrupt and inconsiderate to her sincerely good-intentioned inquisition. "I'm sorry Kyasin, but I just can't talk about the Avatar. It's nothing like I imagined. It's cold and apathetic, forceful and overbearing. It utterly has no empathy towards myself or, seemingly, anyone."

Kyasin was absolutely shocked by Ain's unbridled confessions. She gently put her hand on Aan'g shoulder in sympathy. "I'm sorry that you're struggling with this spirit, Ain. I hope that you won't allow this stress to bear down on you excessively. The three of us to have to be the people's symbol of revolution and hope. Any internal conflicts will be set aside out of necessity, kept under wraps for the sake of ensuring that their faith in us alive. For now, we can try and settle them as well as possible while our dreams and intentions remain unsung, but soon enough restraint will be completely required."

Ain fiercely barked out a response to her words. "I'm not just flawless, able to gloss over any internal issue in an instant, damn it. They can't possibly have that high expectations for saviors, can they?"

"They've wallowed in this miserable war-torn nation for an entire century, Ain. Great strength on our part will be needed for anyone to be convinced that there may be even minor glance of hope. Nobody's conviction is even close to concrete after innumerable detestable years of being hammered by the Fire Nation. For almost the entire populace, the world is practically irredeemably reprobate. I thought the Avatar condemned us to that fate, but it turns out someone else may be responsible as well!"

On these words, Ain fled with several tears of guilt sliding down his cheek. He dove off of Appa and plummeted toward the surface, but the impact was cushioned by an orb of revolving wind. The party had reached their destination. Appa began to nosedive toward a clearing outside of the village whilst Sakodi and Miza were roused from their hibernation periods and began gathering their belongings to take into town. Kyasin spent her last moments contemplating how Ain was feeling, before once again contacting the earth. She ultimately dismissed his troubles, as she felt that despite his conditioning by the Monks to not disregard one's feelings, he could muster his strength and keep himself stitched together for the greater stakes.

Bright and Early

The serrated dagger of sunlight that broke through the swarm of clouds that were suspended above the clearing pestered Kyasin to such a degree of severity that it sliced cleanly through the thin veil of light sleep that kept her peaceful. Kyasin rapidly popped each of her knuckles against a soft rock, before rising to her feet whilst the sun further pierced through the condensed air like an arrow pierces a beast's hide. Sakodi was already marching with enthusiastic gusto toward the small village they'd arrived on the outskirts of. Her eyes were still weighed down by the burden of drowsiness, but Kyasin strained herself so that she could call out to her vigorous sibling. "Your never-ending reservoir of energy never ceases to irritate me, brother. Could I possibly not have to follow you into town just yet?"

He rapidly fired a response, "And your sense of early-morning lethargy never ceases to brighten my day!" He attempted to stride forward, and nearly threw himself into the ground. The air around his lower body had been condensed to the point that he was frozen in place up to his thighs. "Hey, a new trick. Just what we both needed, a new way to torment me that actually does not put me in a life-threatening situation. I'm really grateful, in all honesty..."

Kyasin realized that while freezing was a talent that she'd sorely needed, in this situation it was not ideal for the task at hand, namely pestering her brother. On whom would she take having to wake up early out on? Even she wasn't sadistic enough to torment the new girl or the bison, and Ain was still sulking somewhere. Kyasin melted the ice that had locked Sakodi in place, letting him feel the sweetness of freedom for the briefest of moments, despite the inevitable slight pain from falling forward. As he attempted to pull himself off the ground, she put his arms into stasis, freezing them to the soil.

Sakodi briefly made a rather pitiful attempt to break free, but quickly relinquished. Why should he bother? "And here I thought you were going to be merciful for once. Silly me..."

Kyasin retorted, "Yes, that was rather foolish of you, brother. I'll cause you less anxiety as we'll need to keep a sense of at least partial serenity in our little troupe, but there's no way in hell I'm just going to halt my brazen assaults on your surplus of stamina, no matter who we may be traveling with." She allowed Sakodi to once again make walk without fear of suddenly being trapped in a place, out of a sense of 'been there, done this' more than anything else. Since she could finally manipulate the molecules of water vapor well enough to convert them into ice, there was now an immeasurable amount of new opportunities and innovations in the subtle art of sibling torment. Despite still being in a rather lethargic state, she summoned enough vitality from her inner fiery spirit to follow Sakodi with attentiveness.

Despite the fact that the sunrise had barely begun, the market of the town was already bustling with copious residents eager to spend their wages to obtain sustenance for themselves and possibly for families both nuclear and extended. Sakodi was enamored with the town's atmosphere, but this attitude was swiftly spoiled when he spotted Fire Nation soldiers marching through one of the alleyways. He and Kyasin were forced to climb into a nearby caravan to evade the soldiers. The siblings minimized their breaths and crouched behind storage crates whilst the pack of soldiers unknowingly strode past them. They crept out of the caravan and began to weave their way through the pedestrians, seeking a produce and meat vendor.

She spotted Ain resting on a bench outside of one cottage, and without hesitation sent Sakodi to rouse him with a strong shaking. He was propelled through the air by a gust of wind before smashing against a nearby caravan. He winced and exclaimed, "Don't worry about me...that didn't possibly damage me internally..." She strolled over to her brother with a glint in her eye, as though to say that waking up this early had officially become worth it. Ain was clearly still troubled, but this was not the time nor the place to act on his feelings. He and Kyasin would simply have to remain compromised for the time being.

Ain glided over to Sakodi and pulled him to his feet, firing off apology after apology, regretting what he'd done. Sakodi dismissed Ain's apologies, saying that it was a merely an error that he should not stress out over. Finally reunited, the trio explored the marketplace, being ignored by the citizens that were utterly absorbed in their menial tasks. They finally came across a vendor that could provide them with direly needed supplies. There was a young man perusing one of the stalls, who slipped a coin across the counter, eyes twitching with concern. The vendor bid him farewell and he dashed off as though he was being stalked by a starved predator, and he was a defenseless mouse. The trio noticed that a Fire Nation soldier had came around the corner immediately after the man escaped from what would've been the soldier's line of sight.

Without uttering even the slightest sound, all three sensed that their companions shared the question echoing within their own brain case. In silent agreement on the course of action, the trio dashed between the various buildings, that were scattered as if they were children's playthings on a cottage floor, through the market district. They sought to ensure that their sense of the vagrant's direction did not falter for an instant. Their inquisitiveness had surmounted the logic that challenged the idea of pursuing the man. However, they had their own counter-logic, as the concept of 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend' applied well in a situation where they had found someone who was not comfortable in the Fire Nation soldiers' presence.

Eventually, the trio came across their elusive target, who was concealed within a deep ravine. He had wrenched a pair of boulders straight out of the ground; he was a feline prepared to bite and scratch at any intruder upon its territory. Ain evidently had crafted a inoculation of words to cure this precarious situation. He exclaimed, "We are not welcome amongst soldiers of the Fire Nation as well. Surely the four of us could forge an alliance of some nature?"

The two boulders plummeted back into the ravine from whence they came. The young man lifted himself out of his asylum, and remarked, "You three are willing to provide aid to a dangerous fugitive?" with a smirk creeping onto his face.

Kyasin gestured to Ain and responded, "My friend destroyed an entire Fire Nation warship several weeks ago."

"I see your point..."

Sakodi attempted to defuse the intensity with a joke. It did not go over well. Sakodi apologized, and they all agreed to never speak of those 40 seconds ever again.

. . .

The young man, whose name turned out to be Hodu, had explained his situation to the trio as clearly as possible. The Fire Nation soldiers had arrived in the village approximately seven months ago, and had proceeded to gather the local earthbenders periodically and take them to a prison rig off the coast, in order to prevent any possible uprising. Four months ago, they had come to arrest Hodu's father, after he'd been witnessed bending earth to save an elderly man from a collapsing mine. Hodu resisted against his father's arrest, assaulting and killing a Fire Nation soldier with an avalanche of rock off of the sides of the valley. Naturally, the soldiers had declared that Hodu was a criminal and a fugitive, that anyone who witnessed him would be legally required to report his whereabouts. However, in silent defiance of the oppressive soldiers, the locals had aided Hodu in living on the outskirts of the village in ditches and ravines, providing him with sustenance so that he could survive.

Kyasin came to the conclusion that her brother and Hodu should take refuge in the ravine for the time being, whilst she and Ain trek to the nearby riverbed to practice their waterbending. Hodu concurred with this decision, and offered Kyasin a scrap of paper that led from the river to a water spout, asking if she could acquire some refreshment for the troupe while she and Ain were away. The monk and the waterbender strode through the pampas in tandem, heavy, burdensome silence lingering as an indicator that the rift between the two had not been mended. When they reached the river, the two took their positions with the sort of unfocused accuracy that could only arise from consistent practice. They synchronized their movements of the water that had been pulled from the stream so that it was moving in a consistent cycle. After the tedium of this exercise carried too much weight for Ain to bear, he suddenly remarked "I..will forgive you for your lack of sensitivity towards my condition. I should not have expected you to understand the burden of so many people having their faith rely directly on you."

Kyasin abruptly broke the synchronized cycle of water motion and froze the water she'd been calmly moving moments before, then launched the large ice-projectile at the offending monk. Naturally, Ain gracefully eluded the ice block, and Kyasin was able to restrain the urge to create more. With fury pulsating from her membrane, Kyasin declared, "I have tried to be as kind to you as possible Ain, to be as patient as possible. I even offered to help you socialize and relate to a society that is massively different than the culture you were raised by, and you think you can say that I don't know what it's like to feel the pressure of people's reliance on my effort? I've been leading the tribe that I 'inherited' from my father for the last three years. I put the needs of everyone in that insufferable village ahead of my own, and now, I'm going to relish being selfish every once and a while. So do not say that I don't know that burden Ain. I know that burden very damn well."

Desiring to relieve the flammable tension that had been cast by her rage, Kyasin departed from the riverbed, yanking the scrap of paper that Hodu gave her out of her robe, and soon enough she came across the water spout he'd mentioned. She created several small ice-cups to hold the water, and then began pulling water straight from the spout. Having calmed down a considerable degree, she muttered, "Who needs manual labor when you can bend molecules to your will?"

Without any detection of his presence, Ain had flown to the hill on a wind current, and quietly said, "I do believe that labor can be its own reward, but you may have a point."

She turned to examine his expression, but the stoic and merciless surface of her feelings quickly melted in the presence of his innocent sincerity. Having grown far more serene, she responded, "Ain, we both have been making mistakes at each other's expense in our recent discussions. Neither of us have been treating each other properly. We shall put this conflict behind us for the sake of unity, yes?"

He simply nodded, and the two strode back to the ravine where their allies were awaiting the arrival of purified nourishment from the spout, which would be delivered by a monk without any control of his destiny and a waterbender that had only recently regained control of her own. When the duo discovered a pair of soldiers carrying Hodu away in chains, Kyasin pulled Ain into the underbrush and the two concealed themselves. She created a block of ice, then asked Ain if he would coat it in a thin layer of rock with the minor earthbending abilities that he possessed. After doing so, Ain asked, "Why do you need for me to do this, Kyasin?"

"Because the three of us led the Fire Nation soldiers directly to where Hodu was hidden. If I use this against them, they'll think I'm an earthbender."

"Why would you knowingly allow them to track Hodu?"

"Because if they arrest me for being an earthbender as well, I can infiltrate the Fire Nation prison and liberate all of the local earthbenders. If I can achieve this, we may be able to set off a chain reaction of rebellion that could even reach the territories that were converted to colonies in the west." Ain was taken aback at Kyasin's ruthless strategy and willingness to risk Hodu's life and her own for this operation. The 'boulder' hurtled through the air directly at the soldiers, but it was obliterated by a swift kick on the part of one soldier. With a triumphant grin on her face, Kyasin was roughly dragged through the dirt alongside Hodu.

The Dawn of Revolution

The crests of fierce waves were dispersed as they crashed against the iron ship's hide. The warship plowed through the shifting foam of the seas toward the imposing platform that lied ahead. The guard watched as one of the new prison wards expressed his mute wrath at another by simply averting his bitter gaze from her, no matter where the rocking ship turned his body.

To intentionally lead his pursuers to him in an attempt to increase her own notoriety seemed like utter greed to him. Eventually, Kyasin grew irreversibly sickened of his attitude and simply allowed the pressure of sleep to consume her. Over the next several hours, her ferocious internal flame burned brighter than ever before. Her instincts had told her that the decision she'd made would have a vast ripple effect, and this pleased her.

The two benders were roughly cast off of the solitary ship that was docked, and onto the rig by the gruff soldiers, and they stubbornly refused to be escorted to the central plaza, preferring to stride forward forcefully, with a ferociously defiant energy emanating from their bodies. Each and every guard recoiled at the sight of meager peasants whose spirits had not yet been shattered by the warden. The guards almost pitied these two for their internal strength, as it would only condemn them in this place of cruelty, Warden Liruk's domain. Liruk was a vile and detestable sadist, even by the standards of the Fire Nation's military. He had been an affiliate of the renowned raiding party known as the Southern Ravens until their defection, when he had chosen to align with the authority rather than his lawless, anarchic comrades.

Kyasin and Hodu stood on a pedestal on the south side of the main platform, being presented to their fellow prisoners like tender young bull pigs being sold off at a marketplace. The warden stood between them, leering at Kyasin with unmistakable lechery in his eyes, then arrogantly glaring at Hodu as if he was no more than dirt. He looked down on each and every prisoner to assert his dominance, then began to speak with a distinctive lisp, perhaps marking his background within the Fire Nation.

"Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. These two new inductees are the beacon for myself and my soldiers, as they're the last benders we needed to round up." With a malicious smile, he gestured to Hodu on his right side. "This ruffian was terrorizing our shoreside soldiers for four months, steadfastly refusing to not be a thorn in our sides and evading us with the aid of the locals, who will be appropriately punished in due time." He then walked over to Kyasin and attempted to penetrate the mental barrier she had erected with another lecherous stare and toothy grin. "Hello beautiful. This one attempted to defend the rabble-rouser, whom we presume to be her partner, but naturally a boulder or two cannot surmount the might of the elite Fire Nation soldiers."

Kyasin slammed her fist into the warden's gut, but immediately was restrained by the guards afterward. The warden chuckled and remarked, "A little fight in you, I like that."

With a stoic and outright resentful glare, Kyasin responded, "Oh I assure, you'll love me."

The warden's smile suddenly dissipated. "I want her in my private quarters in three hours. She's going to be tonight's entertainment." He then turned back to the prisoners and announced, "In two days time my soldiers and I will be departing from this rig. After a discussion or two with the FireLord, he and I concurred that the most efficient way to prevent any uprisings while we overtake and occupy the eastern half of the kingdom is to simply take all the most capable fighters, the earthbenders, and isolate them miles away from any form of earth with no available food supply. I actually have a betting ring set up on how long it will take for the last of you to expire." The warden cheerfully leapt from the stage and strolled to his quarters.

Kyasin and Hodu were left to mingle with the dozens upon dozens of haggard and famished prisoners. Hodu quickly approached an older man with a thick beard, and embraced him. Kyasin assumed that the man was Hodu's aforementioned father, and turned to observe the afternoon sun as it began its descent past the horizon. She stared at these pitiful, disconsolate warriors and realized how far they'd truly been dragged into the abyss of despair. These were the same immensely proud warriors that were spoken of as myths back home, that her father was serving alongside, but their spirit of defiance and courage had been swept away with the tides when they were brought to this damned rig. This revolution was not about her obtaining notoriety for she, Ain, and Sakodi any longer. It was not about gaining a reputation, or even starting a ripple effect. To restore the souls of these hollow knights would be rewarding enough.

Having noticed a few wisps of steam rising from it, she strode over to the large vent in the center of the platform. As she inhaled a few streams of it, she exploded into a fit of coughing and dry retching. She wandered over to where Hodu and his father were. "That vent leads directly to a furnace of some sort, doesn't it?"

Without physically acknowledging her presence, the two bluntly said, "Yes."

In return, she exclaimed, "Then the fuel that they're burning could be coal, correct? That is to say, earth, that each and every prisoner on this rig could use as a weapon?"

Without emotion, Tyro, Hodu's father, turned to her and stated, "The fuel could just as easily be some sort of organic product that wouldn't be of any use to us. The guards say that the very first prisoners were tossed into the furnace for attempting to pull the fuel out of the vent. It had been a wasted endeavor any way, as they could not grip onto any element, proving that coal was and is very likely not at the bottom of that vent. Everyone here has concluded that the only option is to simply embrace that these soldiers are in complete control of our fates. And now we know their intentions for our fates."

Kyasin was tempted to slap this man into submission, despite his age. She declared, "Then I'll gladly be the one to pull the first punch. That perverse bastard of a warden won't know what hit him." She stormed away from the two men that she considered utterly pathetic, and decided that she would require rest before her...rendezvous with the warden.

. . .

One of the warden's lackeys attempted to rouse Kyasin from her simulated sleep with a vicious kick to her ribs, and in response she turned her body and swept out the guard's legs, then snapped his neck and threw him over the side of the rig. With a feral glint in her eye, she looked at the warden and each of his soldiers, fearlessly challenging any of them to approach her. She'd relish the opportunity to swiftly end one of their horrid lives, and there was no petty regret holding her back. The names inscribed on their armor meant nothing to her. The warden drew a queer metal instrument from his belt, and pressed it against her skull. He calmly stated, "You will transport yourself to my quarters without faltering, or I will be forced to do something we would both regret."

In mockery, Kyasin asked, "Would this toy of yours somehow harm me?"

The warden chose to answer with a demonstration. He pulled some sort of mechanism on the back of the tool and pointed it at the nearest guard. He pressed some sort of trigger with his index finger, and then a massively deafening sound and bright sparks erupted from the device. She turned to the guard and realized that the machine the warden was carrying had launched a projectile of some sort, which perforated the guard's skull. She walked to his quarters without further challenge, and he followed her close in step. Seeking to avoid the possibility of her using it against him. he handed the weapon to one of his guards.

She walked into a cold and barren room that was utterly devoid of objects excluding a filthy cot. Once the warden had closed the hefty metal door, she put her hands behind her back. So that his guards would not be able to intervene on their friendly chat, she froze the hinges of the door. The warden remarked that his accommodations would suffice for the next 36 hours or so, but they were far more appropriate for the guards than himself. He leaned forward in an attempt to get a grip on her robe, and she side-kicked him against the wall, then froze his arms and legs against the chilled iron. She drew the knife that he had tucked into his belt and pressed it against his throat.

With loathing boiling beneath her stoic exterior, she uttered, "You will provide me with every article of information that I require, and in return, I will provide you with the thinnest morsel of mercy, an amount which you don't even deserve, and plunge this blade into your skull. Do we have a deal?"

He smugly laughed at her, before wincing once she'd smashed the handle of the blade against his chest. He muttered, "If you're simply going to execute me whether or not I provide the information you desire, then what motive do I have for offering this information?"

"Perhaps you misinterpreted my words, scum. Stabbing you in the jugular is a reward, an act of mercy. You would be allowed to submit yourself to the reaper swiftly, rather than expire slowly in misery. If you do not divulge the information I require, then I will kill you as slowly as I wish, and will relish every second of it. Maybe I'll start with flaying off that pale skin of yours." She regretted these words instantaneously. If the warden took her up on her bluff, she'd have no choice but to attempt to subject him to sickening torture. He unquestionably deserved to die, but she couldn't stomach the thought of actually performing what she was describing.

The warden cringed in absolute fear. There were no physical give-aways to betray her words. As far as he could tell, there was no reason the woman would not keep to her word. With his voice cracking on every other word out of sheer terror, the warden surrendered his pride and said, "Wha..what do you seek to be enlightened about?"

With a triumphant and sadistic smile creeping onto her face, Kyasin tapped the blade against the warden's armor. "The fuel inside the rig's furnace...it is coal, yes? The prisoners were told those lies just to suppress any morale and ensure that their spirits would remain broken?"

"That would be correct, my dear." He amplified those final words with a flavor of unrefined obscenity. "Do you sincerely believe that these husks that barely pass as human beings will be riled up just because of some coal? You're wasting your valuable time with these pathetic Earth Kingdom peasants. Your cunning and fighting ability would get you very far in the Fire Nation army. You have much more in common with our warriors and commanders than those of the primitive Earth Kingdom military. You're a calculating strategist, always waiting for the proper timing to strike. You're exactly the sort of warrior we need."

"With these pitiful earthbenders, I am fighting for something tangible. I could not say that if I was serving the FireLord. He just desires power, and as a symbol of this power, he seeks to conquer his mighty neighbor the Earth Kingdom. I can serve alongside these warriors and emancipate them from the Fire Nation's tyranny. I can whip them into shape and restore their honor and pride. What sort of reward do I obtain by serving him? I take no pleasure in being able to practice oppression and sadism in return for wealth and property, unlike your military leaders. There is satisfaction and accomplishment in my chosen path, rather than shallow pleasure at the expense of others. We will achieve our freedom, and the FireLord will get to hear his empire crashing down around his ears."

Warden Liruk was stunned, and he failed to retain composure no matter how much strain he gave. He muttered, "You have made your point. What other information do you seek to acquire?"

Kyasin pondered for a few moments, examining the warden, before stating, "This symbol on your armor...what does it signify exactly?"

The warden was able to restrain himself, but just barely, as the desire to smirk was almost unbearable. He felt that she was in the palm of his hand. "You mean the Southern Raven mark? I was a member of one Fire Nation raiding party known by that name before the other members defected and became simple mercenaries. You wouldn't happen to hail from one of the tribes we ransacked?" She winced with the pain of long-buried trauma. He was enraptured, as a nerve had clearly been struck. Now all he had to do was exploit it. "You didn't lose someone...dear to your heart in our raid, did you beautiful?"

She gripped him by the strands of hair protruding from his scalp and slammed his skull against the iron wall. With disdain, she said, "That has nothing to do with this, swine."

He burst out laughing at how she had fallen into the spike pit he'd baited her into. Barely able to contain his excitement, he managed to utter, "Never go for the head. My mind will just get...fuzzy and then I will be of no more use."

He was in absolute hysterics as she pummeled his torso with her fists. She was outright disturbed by the masochism that he was displaying. "We shall keep the questions asked here directed at you."

He gleefully remarked, "I'm sure the repercussions of our actions were very damaging for you, dear. But it's so...pathetic. How could a warrior as fierce as you are get teared up over something that happened more than a decade ago?"

Kyasin stared at the monster she had pinned to the wall. "Because every human has their weaknesses. I don't become ecstatic over the prospect of inflating my ego by dominating over broken souls that aren't worth my attention, or demeaning my subordinates, because I am human. I care about the repercussions of my actions because I am human." She came upon an internal realization. "A human is supposed to care about lives being lost...but then, I suppose you have no idea what being human even means, do you?"

The warden's joy had been torn apart at its foundation. He tripped over his words in an attempt to counter her flawless destruction of his own self-awareness. He bellowed in her face, "You have no justification for suggesting that I am anymore corrupted than you are! You-" Kyasin slashed his throat with utter satisfaction.

The guards were futilely attempting to break down the door. She muttered, "I should be courteous and get the door for them, I suppose." She strained the water vapor out of the air around and created a strong enough surplus of water, then pushed forward, smashing open the door with the full force of a komodo-rhino. The soldiers beating at the door were flung outward by the water-propelled iron door. She was surrounded by guards bearing short swords the moment she stepped out of the room. Kyasin gripped some by their necks with water coils and tossed them over the rig's side. For the rest, she maneuvered around their broad slashes, utilizing years of training under her father, and plunged the warden's dagger into their necks.

She called out to her fellow prisoners, "We shall unite the Earth Kingdom under a single banner of pride. We can remind the Fire Nation that the fire in any man's or woman's heart is never extinguished as long as there's hope, and hope is indeed alive. The Avatar host has returned. He can harness his raw power and follow us as we begin the revolution. The western lands will be returned to the Earth Kingdom as they should be, and the tyrant FireLord Aizo will be overthrown. But the first step must be taken if any of that will occur. We must return to the mainland and push back the occupying soldiers away from the east."

The entire crowd of prisoners began chanting the traditional warrior hymn of the Earth Kingdom. She allowed herself to give off a bright smile. Hodu and Tyro were the first earthbenders to board the ship with her. Once the ship was fully loaded, they began to charge away from the rig, before Kyasin asked for it to stop. She constricted the posts that supported the rig with ice, reducing them to brittle columns. She then pulled up a four-foot wave out of the depths, and sent it toward the posts at full force. Each post shattered, and within a moment, the entire rig had collapsed into the ocean.

The Chains of Dynasty (Guest Written by Trillian, The Avatar Demotivator)

The tea was almost ready.

Ginseng.

His favorite.

His hands, though old, never shook as he carefully pick up the pot and tipped it, watching the steaming liquid pool in the cup; when the amount was satisfactory, his fingers found purchase, and he lifted the cup to his nostrils, inhaling the sweet fumes. Then, and only then, did he take a sip.

And to think that this is what has become of the Dragon of the West, thought the former general Indo, his beard now gray with age and worn from too much stroking. But at least I am alive . . .

His thoughts shifted, as they always did, to his son, forever frozen at seventeen years, the ghost of his last laugh still etched upon his face.

Whenever Indo closed his eyes, a vivid image of the body, lying so still in the pure white coffin, seemed to hover just beyond his reach, and sometimes his hand clenched uncontrollably, a fading echo of the memory of setting the marble and flint aflame.

The Dragon of the West would never forget Lu Ten, nor would he forget his Xira, his beautiful Xira.

People, it appears, just enjoyed dying for him.

One fist slammed down onto the homely mat he called his bed. "It should have been me, not Lu Ten," the Dragon whispered, as he does every morning, and then he inhales and exhales several times. "I—"

Suddenly, he ceased moving. Something was amiss. With little difficulty, he stood, his bushy eyebrows drawn together.

He heard the noise again.

A strange clanking, like that of a ship's anchor.

"Spirits," hissed the Dragon of the West, "they've found me."

Nimble for his old age, the former general moved through the rooms of the Avatar Temple, swift as the raging river, mysterious as the dark side of the moon. The sea fog was unusually thick this morning, and the Dragon squinted to make out the dark shape of the incoming vessel. The sharp prow and stylistic scarlet windows betrayed the origin of said ship, and the former general sucked in a breath.

Fire Nation.

Yet no flag flew upon the mast, and this somewhat relieved the Dragon of the West; even in the dead of night, the arrogant Firebenders proudly displayed the distinguishable crimson red and jet black banner.

Who could it be?

Taking shelter behind a white dragon bush, Indo peered into the misty morning. Soon enough, the land-bound vessel was close enough for the crew to attempt to drop anchor yet again, and the former general assumed the fog had caused them to think the land was closer than it actually was. This time, the anchor found purchase in the rock, and a small parade of figures cascaded onto the shore, among them a clearly troubled young man with a striking scar that appeared to cover half his face.

The Dragon of the West smiled slightly.

Prince Zotu.

A fellow fugitive.

Perhaps . . . perhaps this could turn out well.


~*~


Zotu hated the feeling of powerlessness.

His hand clamped rigidly to the railing of the ship. His gaze shifted from the dismal gray clouds hanging over his head to the horizon. The sky appeared to meet the sea in an angry clash of air and water, and the thin line separating them had been breached.

"Surely you're not going to be outside in the fog. It appears as though it will rain."

The prince did not turn his head; his grip tightened, and he noted how his knuckles appeared to become almost white.

"What is wrong, Prince Zotu?"

Zotu's head snapped up at this, and he winced at the crack in his neck. "I'm sorry," he muttered. "I'm just thinking."

The Dragon of the West was staring not at him but at the troubling clouds ahead. "Prince Zotu, you cannot act this way. The crew is worried. We are sailing through a fog, it is about to rain, and no one quite knows where we're going." His hand slammed against the railing, and the vibrations shook Zotu's arm. The prince looked away. "Spirits take you, Zotu!"

"Uncle . . . Uncle Indo," Zotu choked out. "I seek your advice."

One bushy eyebrow was raised. "Go on, then." His voice was unusually brusque.

Zotu leaned further against the railing, his eyes straining to pick something out from the fog. "It's not a normal sea fog, is it?" he murmured, half to Indo, half to himself. "I'm going through it because I have no other choice. Just like I didn't have a choice of whose son to be or what destiny to have." A spasm passed through his fingers, forming his hand into a fist. Beads of blood dotted his palm.

"The bitterness in your voice is more than that of wormwood," commented the Dragon of the West, "yet the truth is less than a pure gold brooch in the street market. You say you have no choice in your destiny. How so?"

He could see something faintly emerging from the fog. "My father. My grandfather. My great-grandfather. All noble Fire Lords. All proud, all loved." His words had frozen into ice. "And all murderers. Every single one. How must I—am I to be a murderer as well?" Zotu shivered, though whether from his thoughts or the chill he could not know.

Indo laughed harshly. "And you think you are alone in your struggles? The chains of dynasty are not merely a burden upon children of the Royal Family, Zotu. Each and every inductee into a Fire Nation noble family carries the weight of their forefathers and their legacies upon their own backs, bending and straining to lift their destinies as the rice farmer strains to lift his pails." Zotu could count his heartbeat. "And yet the rice farmer can choose to cast aside his pails and go hungry that night, then rise once more tomorrow. We cannot—for the only way to cast aside our pails is to take our own lives."

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