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|Scheming and Training|
February 16th, 2013
Fire Nation Royal Palace....
Flames licked the air all around the throne. Shrouded in shadow sat a bitter man, full of resentment and, yes, even some guilt. Though he felt remorse for allowing one of his oldest friends perish, his ambitions justified everything in his mind. He had such a convincing manner; his War Council immediately praised his plan. What they were about to do in a few short months was going to be an open act of war and their nation would spread prosperity throughout the other nations whether they liked it or not. It was necessary beginning, he had to remove the Avatar from play before they became Fully Realized. The next would be born into one of the Water Tribes and wouldn't pose a threat for years to come and by then, he would have the power to turn the Poles into mere puddles. With two nations wiped out, the inevitable Earth Kingdom Avatar would never be able to gain the power to defeat them. A knock on the elaborately decorated door echoed across the room followed by a young guard.
"My Lord, Master Afiko requests an audience with you.."
"Very well, send him in."
The guard disappeared for just a moment before leading a tall, slender man with very pale skin and a gaunt face. He sported a long pointed goatee and had a look on his face that it was as if he felt superior to those around him. He approached the throne and opened his mouth to speak.
"You know all subjects bow before me before speaking..."
The man scowled momentarily before stiffly bowing to the Fire Lord. He hate being ordered around like he was some peasant but his desire for power made it tolerable.
"Good. You may speak."
His voice was barely above a whisper as always, "The winds are changing, there is a variable that you have not counted for in your planning.."
Sozin scowled, the fire in the room growing, "Do not accuse me of miscalculating, I have covered everything in my decades of planning! I may have made you an advisor but you are still expendable!"
"Were you aware the Avatar has mastered Waterbending?"
Sozin remained silent.
"I didn't think so; your spies are less than capable. But as I said, the winds have spoken to me. As we speak the Avatar heads for the Earth Kingdom to begin his Earthbending training. I cannot understand why they are accelerating their training unless they too sense something. They know you are plotting."
"There is nothing I can do until the arrival of the Comet. We need our bending to be at full force."
"Then as your advisor, I suggest you take care of the Avatar before he becomes a problem. You've done it once, shouldn't be too hard to do it again."
"Killing the Avatar does no good if they'll just be reborn into the Water Tribes."
"Who said anything about killing?"
A glint appeared in Sozin's eyes, one could practically hear the wheels spinning as he devised a plan. He looked at Afiko.
"I want the Avatar captured and brought to the Fire Nation.....but....let him finish his Earthbending. Lull them into a false sense of security...then strike and we will prevent him from ever becoming realized. By the time he succumbs to old age, the other nations shall no longer exist and the Avatar will be useless to this world."
Afiko nodded, delivered another stiff bow and exited the throne room. Sozin's heart and mind were racing. Formulating several different plans for when he began his conquest of the world. Capturing the Avatar wouldn't be easy, but it wasn't entirely impossible...
As much as Aang enjoyed the North Pole, the day came for them to leave and pursue Aang's first Earthbending teacher. Gyatso had told him they would travel all the way back to Kyoshi Island to train with one of the more practical Earthbenders in the whole kingdom. The ride back was about as dull as the right there. The Elder Monk constantly drilled Aang on chi blocking and the Air Dart but was in no hurry to teach him more techniques. Before they knew it the tiny island had appeared in the distance. Appa roared with pleasure at the thought of a good meal and landed in a hurry.
The two Airbenders floated off his saddle and approached the village. A guard, one of the famed Kyoshi Warriors, stood at the entrance Archway and greeted them with a smile.
"Welcome Avatar, welcome Airbender! Please come this way."
They bowed in return and followed her up a long winding path to a large hut at the top of a hill.
"So Gyatso, where is my teacher?"
"She goes by Kari and is the leader of the Kyoshi Warriors. She is the only Earthbender to ever join the whole organization other than Kyoshi herself. I hear she is a fierce but kind woman. She is rumored to descend from the first Earthbenders but that cannot be proven. Nonetheless she is very powerful and will be a good starting teacher."
"Will this be like Waterbending? I just need to Master the movements?"
"Unfortunately not young one. Earthbenders prove their skill by a show of power. You will have many Earthbending tests, each different than the last. The tests are not meant to bring any harm but you must show great power and great understanding of the earth itself."
"Gyatso, how do you know so much about this?"
He laughed softly, "You aren't the first Avatar I've met."
It had never occurred to Aang that Gyatso might have known Roku. It was nice to know that Gyatso had known his past life, no wonder he liked him so much. In a matter of short minutes the two reached the home of the Kyoshi Warriors and knocked on the door. It swung open with a mighty crash.
A tall lady in green flowing robes walked out. Her face was covered in white paint, her hair pulled back into a tight bun. Aang could see she was sporting two fans, tucked into her belt. Immediately Aang bowed lowly and looked to her.
"Master Kari, I thank you for your humble welcome. Please accept my request as the first of my Earthbending teachers. It would be an honor."
Kari walked a wide circle around him, sizing him up. He felt her poke the end of one of her fans into his sides a couple times.
"I have never trained a male before and certainly no one this scrawny. You sure you got what it takes to be my student Avatar?"
Aang rose to his feet and looked her in the eye, "Avatar Kyoshi is my past life. I have all of her knowledge stored within my spirit, I believe I will be able to keep up."
"Touché Avatar, you already have a bit of her legendary sass in her as well. Very well, I shall teach you. We can begin your training immediately. As I will be training you in Earthbending and not our fighting style I require you to wear a simple pair of pants. No shirt, no shoes, no robes," she grinned, "You're going to get dirty Airhead."
"Why does everyone call me that...," Aang muttered before following her into the hut to prepare for training.
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