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|Scars on the World Chapter 1: New Beginnings|
Jurei was silent after Migi had finished her tale about Neo-Avatar Ashi. The old woman with snow-white hair and dark green eyes waited for Jurei to respond to her story.
"Well?" Migi asked, unaware if Jurei was even awake or not.
"Fascinating," Jurei lied. He got up and headed for the door. He opened it, turned, bowed to his teacher, and left.
Jurei had heard that tale at least a hundred times. It was Migi's favorite story. While Jurei respected the old woman more than anyone save his father, her tales had lost their hold on his interest after the twentieth retelling.
Jurei walked along the road to his house in the Fire Nation Capital. His long black hair flowed lightly in the wind. He stared ahead with his deep blue eyes until he saw his father, Hiroshi, standing in the doorway.
"How was the lesson? Did Migi talk about something other than the Neo-Avatar?" asked Hiroshi. The man was tall, and looked very much like his only son, except for a long, dark gray beard, and his hair was cut short.
"No. It was the same story as usual," Jurei replied. "Nothing to really talk about."
Hiroshi hesitated a moment before speaking again.
"Jurei, I'm afraid I have some bad news," he said.
Jurei faced his father, a joking smirk on his face.
"What is it? Did you actually find a customer who refused to but an 'artifact'?"
"No," Hiroshi said, a sad look on his face. "It's about your Aunt, Sobo. She fell down a long flight of stairs this morning, and was hurt very badly."
The smile immediately fell off Jurei's face.
"Is she all right? What about the baby?" he asked, his concern growing.
"The doctors are not sure if the baby survived or not. Sobo is not looking well, either. Doctors are doing all they can, though" Hiroshi added, trying to reassure both his son and himself.
"I hope all ends well," Jurei said, looking downwards.
"I'm sure it will, son", Hiroshi said.
Jurei turned away and began to prepare lunch.
* * * *
"How is she?" Fire Lord Rizon looked concerned.
The doctor avoided meeting the Fire Lord's eyes. "She is not looking well, sir. She has been unconscious for over four hours. To be honest, Fire Lord, we... do not think that she will survive."
"Are you sure? Are you doing everything in your power? What of the Water Tribe healers? Where are they?"
"The healers have done all they can, my lord. It is not within our power to mend a broken skull." The doctor looked sincerely sorry that nothing more could be done.
Rizon stared at his wife lying in the bed. She looked so broken and helpless.
"Leave us, please," he said.
"Of course, sir." The doctor quickly exited.
Rizon stared at his wife for a long time. He did not speak, and she did not awaken. Finally, he mustered enough strength to whisper her name.
* * * * *
Two days later, Hiroshi and Jurei arrived at the Fire Lord's palace. They were greeted by Rizon himself, who stood tall in the doorway. He was a man of great fame and stature, and was respected by people of all the nations. He lead his nation much like the Fire Lords before him, a friendly man who respected his servants and subjects like his friends. Both guests bowed to their esteemed leader.
"Hiroshi, welcome. And young Jurei, it is good to see you, again." Rizon said as they came to the top of the stairs. "Please, come in."
"My lord," Hiroshi began, "I am deeply sorry about the death of your wife."
"Hmm. one more thing we have in common, I suppose. We have both lost our wives," Rizon muttered to himself. "Jurei," he said with more enthusiasm, "How go things with you?"
Jurei hesitated before responding.
"Things go well, my lord, with the sad exception of the event that took place here two days ago, sir."
"How goes your Firebending training?" Rizon asked with genuine interest.
"It goes very well, sir. I have advanced to the top level of the tournament, sir," the young man said, finding it hard to conceal his pride.
Who is your next opponent? And when will you face him?"
"A 16-year old boy from the town of Shanu, sir. He fights well I hear, sir."
"Very good. I have faith you shall win with ease." Rizon turned to Hiroshi. "I have decided to allow you and your son to reside in this palace. I hear your home in Orashi has not been the most suitable place for a former prince to live in."
"Th-thank you, Fire Lord Rizon!" Hiroshi nearly shouted in surprise and joy. "This is wonderful news! We would be honored... most honored... to live in your great palace."
"Excellent. I am glad you are pleased. I will have servants go to your home and fetch your things. I will also..." Rizon was cut off by a panicked servant rushing forward.
"Fire Lord Rizon, I have come to announce terrible news," she said, panting for breath. "The World Order is at your doors! They demand your immediate surrender, or they will destroy this palace, and the entire city!"
Suddenly the palace wall blew apart as four figures walked into the hall. Each had a different symbol on the bands around their heads, but they each wore a circle with a slash through it on their chests: the symbol of the World Order.
One man, a middle aged man with a short, dark beard, stepped forward.
"Fire Lord Rizon, I, Buta, head general of the World Order, demand your immediate surrender," he said.
"The Fire Nation surrenders to nobody!" Rizon exclaimed. He shot four large fireballs at each of the World Order people.
Buta was quick to answer. Using his Earthbending, he threw three large stones from outside the palace at Rizon. Rizon, a very agile man for his age, easily avoided them and shot a jet of flames out of his left hand.
The three other Wold Order soldiers began their attacks. One, an Airbender whose headband covered his eyes, pulled a sword hilt from his belt and created a windsword. He began to attack Hiroshi, who had drawn his own sword.
Jurei leapt at the nearest enemy, a young Waterbender. He attacked with a "spinning blaze kick", knocking the Waterbender off balance. One fireball threw him off his feet entirely. Before Jurei could finish him off, a Firebending woman suddenly attacked. Both Jurei and the woman ignited "fire daggers". After dueling for a short while, Jurei succeeded in knocking the woman unconscious wile throwing her into the Waterbender, who had returned to his feet briefly.
Rizon was still battling Buta, and it seemed to be an equal match. Hiroshi and the Airbender were also still fighting. Hiroshi had succeeded in drawing blood, and gave the man a scar on his left arm. Hiroshi then began to drive him back.
Then time seemed to slow for Jurei. He watched at first in awe and then in horror as the Airbender advanced on Hiroshi. He heard his father's shout of pain as the windword, sharp and solid, pierced his chest and came out the other side. He saw his father fall to his knees, his life ending. Then everything went black.
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