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By DragonGirl028 Part of the The Rise of Avatar Singi continuity.

The siege of Gai Chan was an assault by Fire Islands warlords Maku and Gaza alongside their troops on the proto-Earth Kingdom city of Gai Chan. Its takeover by the two warlords and antecedent execution of its leader, Gaogui, was the catalyst event which compelled the proto-Earth Kingdom to take up arms and declare war on the two warlords, leading to their involvement in the large-scale war that continued for an additional four years.

History

Prelude

With the closure of the spirit portals by Avatar Wan in 9,829 BG, the spirits gained the ability to transcend into the physical world during and the days prior to the solstices. The Air Nomads and proto-Water Tribe viewed the spirits with admiration and great respect, while the proto-Earth Kingdom and regular citizens of the Fire Islands remained relatively tolerant of their presence. The warlords who competed for land on the Fire Islands, however, found the spirits to be a nuisance to their common goal of conquering land. Two warlords in particular—Maku and Gaza—eventually fled east to greener pastures in an attempt to conquer lands in the proto-Earth Kingdom continent, as well as to avoid the spirits combined with having to contend with rivaling warlords.

In Summer 9,747 BG, Maku, accompanied by Gaza and a faction of their combined troops, confronted Avatar Singi, Monk Jamyang, Guilin, and waterbending master Gekkō at Kunatuk. There, the warlords explained their reasoning for moving east before belittling the spirit-worshipping cultures for admiring "entities that should no longer have anything to do with our world". Additionally, the warlords declared that the Avatar has failed humanity as a result of the spirits' ability to transcend into the physical world on the day of and days prior to the solstices, despite the closure of the spirit portals. After suggesting that the [people of the] spirit-worshipping cultures should be enslaved, if not killed, for their admiration of the spirits, the warlords declared war on the Avatar in addition to the spirit-friendly cultures before engaging in a battle with Gekkō and the other members of Kunatuk. Gekkō urged Singi to flee, stating that her life is more valuable than his, and she reluctantly complied. The next day, the student and master would exchange letters, revealing that Gekkō and his men were able to fend off the warlords with only a few casualties, and "... If you can, only confront the warlords when you feel skilled enough to battle them." The letter ended with a statement reading "I know that in due time, you will be strong enough to put a stop to this war—this War of Spirituality."

Prior to its siege, the city of Gai Chan was one of the most prosperous and peaceful settlements in the proto-Earth Kingdom continent. The people were respectful and lenient towards the spirits, and thus, there were little to no negative confrontations between the residents of the city and the spirits. Gai Chan was ruled for a long time by Gaogui, a non-bender, but well-revered man who put [the care of] his people before himself, making frequent check-ins to every residence, and working hard to improve the city and its amenities to those that lived there. Gaogui's reputation was so well-known, that he and Gai Chan were practically famous to all earthbenders throughout the proto-Earth Kingdom, to the point where they needed to expand the city to accommodate additional people who wanted to settle down in the location.

Battle

A couple of hours after dawn, Maku, Gaza, and their army of over 100 men strategically ambushed Gai Chan. After ordering most of their men to gather the residents of the city to the main square outside of Gaogui's office building, the two warlords made their way to Gaogui's office, with a small group of their followers, where they took Gaogui hostage. Gaogui's guards were immobilized by the small band of troops that had accompanied the warlords to the building.

During this time, General Dao received word of the ongoing ambush of Gai Chan. As quickly as they could, he, his 20-strong men, Singi, Jiefeng, and Jamyang made their way to Lychee—Jamyang's flying bison—and took off to the city. Guilin, meanwhile, was ordered by his father to remain in their settlement, not wanting his now teenage son to be heavily injured, if not killed.

Landing some ways outside of the city, the group (minus the two hybrid animals) carefully made their way inside the city and stationed themselves behind a few buildings bordering the main square, by which time had been filled with the city's residents. Eavesdropping, they found Maku and Gaza's armed troops standing at attention along Gaogui's office building, and soon after, the two warlords burst out of the building, Gaogui's wrists tied behind his back and each warlord gripping him by the shoulder, leading him to the front of the complex just before the small stairway down to the main square. Additionally, Maku had his dao placed along Gaogui's neck. Gaogui, in the meantime, showed no signs of fear, and kept his eyes to the ground at all times. The two warlords set him down to kneel before the crowd, while the onlookers, including Dao and the others, grew increasingly nervous, Singi and Jamyang especially, knowing too well the danger these warlords posed.

With Gaza keeping ahold of Gaogui's right shoulder, and moving his niuweidao to his right side, Maku once again begans another speech. In it, he remarked about Gai Chan and Gaogui's prestige and how the latter is "a beacon for the future" which is tolerable of spirits, which as of eighty-seven years ago, should have nothing to do with the mortal world after Avatar Wan sealed the spirit portals. He noted that the spirits are able to cross over into the mortal world during the solstices, and acknowledges that he does not know how this is possible. Regardless, he declared that the Avatar is a failure to human-kind for being unable to fully prevent the spirits from crossing into the mortal world. Maku praised the earthbender culture for not "worship[ping] the spirits like almighty entities", unlike those of the proto-Water Tribe and Air Nomads, but pointed out that during his and Gaza's travels throughout the continent, they had requested earthbenders to join them in their campaign to "put these people in their place", only to be rejected. Maku then stated that he had hoped the "intelligent and successful" residents of Gai Chan may have proved otherwise, but it appeared that all earthbenders are the same in that they sympathize with the other cultures who "mindlessly admire" the very creates that had killed some of their ancestors in past centuries. He concluded his speech by declaring the he, Gaza, and their men have arrived in the city today "... to teach you a lesson, and to demonstrate what happens to those who refuse to join forces with us to ultimately better our world!" With that, Maku beheaded Gaogui with his dao in front of the onlookers, much to the horror of the city residents, Singi Jamyang, Dao, and the latter's men.

With the well-revered Gaogui killed in such a gruesome manner, the once peaceful residents of Gai Chan, fueled by rage and adrenaline, declared war on the two warlords. Maku and Gaza willingly counteracted this by ordering their men to siege the city, and they and their army immediately began a violent clash within the city. Singi ordered Jamyang to leave the city and get back to Guilin and the others in the earthbender village with Lychee and Jiefeng before she airbends herself atop the roof of one of the buildings they were hiding by, not giving the monk any time to protest. Dao began to instruct his men to enter the fray to protect their allies when from above them, Singi rushed along the roof towards the carnage, intending to confront the two warlords. Dao immediately chased after her, and just as Singi was leaping off the building to engage in battle, Dao earthbent a wall in front of her, causing her to skid down the wall and onto the ground before Dao rushed in and sealed both of them in an earth fortress. Inside, Dao acknowledged that he knew Singi wanted to help in the fight, but urged her to leave so that she could find a firebending instructor and master the element. Singi protested, questioning how she could not intervene after having witnessed Gaogui's execution, before recalling that her waterbending instructor ordered her to retreat during the confrontation at his settlement years ago, emphasizing that she just can't stand by and do nothing. Dao acknowledged her strong compassion, as it is something the Avatar needs to maintain peace, but he reiterated that Gekkō had the right idea by sending her away, as Maku and Gaza are simply too much of a threat for her at this time, having not yet mastered all of the elements. Dao promised her that she would be able to face them one day, and again urged her to leave and find a firebending instructor, before reminding her about his teachings on neutral jing. He then stated that his men are outside their makeshift fortress, fighting, and he must join them, before stating that he would provide cover while she escapes. The two shared an embrace, during which Singi apologized, and Dao responded that she should not feel sorry, as no one expected the warlords would attach a settlement as peaceful as Gai Chan. Their moment was then interrupted with members of Maku and Gaza's army attempting to force them out of the fortress by heating it with firebending.

With that, the two quickly broke down the fortress before Singi fled, tears streaming from her face, before she rocketed herself in the air with earthbending and landed on Lychee's saddle. Jamyang, Lychee, Jiefeng, and a heartbroken Singi fly northwest, away from the ongoing battle, the sounds from the carnage below becoming fainter as they moved on and away.

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