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Stained Footprints
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The Lost Air Temple


Book 2 Rise of the Deathbenders


27 Stained Footprints

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Last time on TLAT There was an explosive conclusion to an inevitable battle. Wong fought Baizken, Finosa, Cori. Osla came back to save Cori and Finosa, however Baizken sacrificed himself to save them. After the dragon blade clashed with the wind sword, there was a massive explosion. No one knows who is dead or alive. Meanwhile, Gatton and Smoke are heading to the Central Air Temple. They have now witnessed the horror of deathbending and are on a collision course with the mysterious Father Geno.


Father Geno had fallen asleep in his throne room. The leader of the central temple had grown tired and was finally enjoying his rest. He was that is, until Father Geno heard a massive explosion. It was a horrific sound that had to have come from the temple. It was only one explosion, however, so Father Geno thought that it was an isolated incident. He had to actually leave his meditation room for the first time in months. Geno immediately found Sulu in the halls. Sulu was shocked to see Geno out of his thrown room; he was much taller than he thought he would be.

"Father Geno, sir," Sulu spoke with respect. He did not know how his boss would react with him being out of his room so late.

"Did you hear that explosion?" Father Geno said authoritatively.

"Yes, sir. It sounded pretty large."

Father Geno pondered for a moment, "Go investigate it. We don't need any insurrection at this point. Especially when the Avatar is on his way. Eliminate any and all threats, assassin."

"Yes, Father," Sulu bowed before Father Geno. He was dismissed and he headed off. Father Geno knew that he had to be cautious. Geno had a healthy suspicion that Sulu could have had something to do with the explosion. Father Geno figured that if Sulu was investigating it, then he would put distance between him and the trained killer. Even still, Father Geno knew he could handle Sulu if he turned rogue. Father Geno walked back to his room in silence. He was happy to go back to his meditation. The Black Lotus leader sat in silence, and he got back to his dark meditations.

Pain. That was the first thing Wong felt. His body had been blown up against a wall. He tried to move his legs, but one was at least sprained. His arms were bloody. Wong cursed the spirits; he was very displeased. He managed to prop himself up in a standing position up against the wall. His eyes darted across the room. He saw his sword hilt was scattered in pieces across the ground. The metal had totally shattered, and he looked at his hand. There were little flecks of metal stuck in his skin. The airbender yanked the tiny pieces out of his right hand. Wong felt a great amount of pain when he did it and he bled more. Wong now looked at the other end of the room. A body lied on the ground. Wong at that moment realized he had made out better than his adversary. The boy lied motionless, face down. Baizken was bleeding badly. Somehow, it brought an evil grin to Wong's face. After a little while of standing, he managed to start walking. The door was closed, so he opened it with his airbending, wincing in pain.

"Come on!" he yelled as he opened the door in frustration. It was hard to do master airbending when he was so wounded. The airbender did not even bother shutting the heavy door. He looked back at Baizken before he left.

"What a fool. I almost pity him, almost."

Wong walked down the hallways. In such a large place it was nearly impossible to find anyone. If they were hiding in a room, he knew he was in trouble. As long as they were moving he had just a chance of running into them. After a couple minutes of searching, he realized something was wrong. His foot was bleeding very badly. When he looked back, he good see a trail that followed him.

"How does this happen?" Wong said as he yanked another shard of metal. This piece looked like the kid's sword. As Wong began his walk again, he heard a tapping. Footsteps that what it was. Loud, bold, and proud. He got into an awkward fighting stance. His injuries would be a great hindrance.

Osla and the two walked down the corridor. Cori was moving slowly, as his injuries were making him move forward. Osla and Finosa had to catch him a few time, when he nearly fell. Cori almost felt guilty for slowing them down. Finosa was still on the verge of crying. Her brother was injured but probably far worse. Cori had some kind of injury, and it was painful to watch him hold back tears with every step. Osla was looking for places to hide. The way she remembered this place like it was a dream. Osla knew she had to find somewhere safe. It had been a while since the explosion, when Cori broke the pseudo-silence.

"Guys we need to stop, I need to sit down," Cori voice was soft and quiet.

"Come on, Cor," Osla coaxed, "I'm pretty sure we can find a empty room near here. Just a little longer, I promise."

"I need to sit down," Cori would have yelled if he could have. He fell up against a wall. Finosa and Osla immediately took notice to the fact that he was grabbing his side. He groaned as he covered his side with his hand.

"Cori, how bad did Wong hurt you?" Finosa got down on the floor with him. She looked him in the eyes. She knew something had to be seriously wrong.

"He got me with that sword of his. I just need a breather," Cori strength was slowly fading away.

"That jerk!" Osla immediately came to Cori's side. This was serious. "Where did he hit you. That wind sword is just as lethal."

Cori pointed at his side. He lift his shirt to reveal a severe gash. He looked away, "It isn't too bad, is it?" Cori smiled, but it was fake.

"You have to tell someone if you get hurt," Osla said as she tore another piece off her cloak. She managed to rap it around Baizken wound.

"Ow!" Cori yelled. When he did this, Osla put her hand over his mouth.

"You want someone to hear us?" she backed off, not wanting to sound too harsh. "We have to be careful to survive this place."

Finosa watched Osla bandage Cori up. She thought for a moment of the last time she saw Osla.

"How did you get here? How did you know that you would find us?"

"I was with Baizken, but," she hesitated. Osla did not want to tell the truth, at least not at this point. "We ran into Wong and he captured your brother, but I escaped. I came back to rescue you guys."

Even though she was under her own power, she still did not tell the truth. Osla thought she had to keep their morals up. They stayed in the hallway for a while. Silent and nervous. Coir needed to rest, and it was time they did not have.

The crisp night now was a bloody one. Gatton and Smoke rushed down the stairs. A child. How evil did you have to be to use one as a weapon? The Avatar knew they were dealing with some serious evil. Smoke had a look in his eyes that Gatton had never seen or rather noticed before. He was angry. His eyes were focused straight ahead, and Smoke gritted his teeth. Smoke's face was all tense and he walked like a soldier.

They made it down the flights of stairs. Both of them enhanced their speed. Gatton did some airbending to enhance his running, and Smoke shadow-traveled which easily out-sped Gatton. They made it to the entrance of the bison stables rather fast. They almost blew by Senzin.

"Where are you going?" Senzin asked a bit flustered.

"Where were you?" Gatton replied back in a taunting way.

"Meditating," Senzin said slowly. "Now answer my question."

Smoke tapped his foot, "No time. We have to get to the Central Air Temple to stop this Father guy from taking anymore lives. Well I guess there is your explanation, monk."

"Who has perished?" Senzin followed them as they walked to the back of the bison stable.

"Kolp died, and," Gatton bit his lip before he got any further.

"A kid killed him of all things. Pretty gruesome," they had taken a back door out of the stables and found the other stable behind that. It was only occupied by the dragon. Smoke reached around in his pocket and pulled out the Black Lotus piece that Sid had thrown on the ground.

Gatton looked at Duma, but looked back, "Kolp called him Sid."

"No, Sid would never do that. He was the temple's best pupil before he went missing. I don't believe it."

"Get believing," Smoke's voice was harsher than usual. "The world is dangerous. It could implode on itself any second."

Gatton looked at Smoke in a kind of confusion, "Take care of Kolp's body, and ask around if this kid and Kolp had some kind of history."

Senzin watched as they jumped on the bison, "I already know the answer, but I'll try. What will you be doing?"

"Taking down the Central Air Temple, and getting our children back."

Wong stumbled through the halls. It was obvious he was in some kind of injured state. He was glad there was no onlookers to their future ruler in this state. Wong had managed to stop most of the bleeding, but he knew he was bad off.

"Shame I'm not a healer," he jested with himself.

He now looked down. There, Wong saw something, dried blood. He thought for a moment. Then he realized that he had gotten that poor excuse for an airbender a couple times with his sword. Assuming this was his. He could follow this trail of breadcrumbs to get the rest of his victims. This was the break the injured needed. The trail started at an intersection, however Wong knew the temple well enough to know which way each of the paths went. One went to the chamber, and one went closer to the outside.

"I'll find them yet," Wong grinned while he spoke. It was the type of smile that would make one fear the bearer.

Footsteps. Finosa, Cori, and Osla all heard them around the same time. Silently, the girls helped Cori back to his feet and tread lightly.

"Please forgive me," Cori whispered. He managed to make eye contact with both of them. He almost started to cry.

"Save the tears for when we are free," Osla whispered back. Finosa watched as Cori managed to put on a straight face and continued walking. She wondered how long it would take or even if they would get out of this place.

No doubt about it the footsteps were getting louder. They both knew that someone was just around the next corner. Wong's trail had died out near a wall, but he still knew where they would go if they wanted to leave. Osla knew that Wong was behind them. Which made her very when she realized the footsteps had died out. She knew he was up to something.

Finosa however thought they had eluded their pursuer, "We did he is not following us anymore," she said aloud. Finosa was happy but loud. Osla covered the girls mouth.

The monk girl whispered, "Come on guys be quiet. You don't know if he is listening."

"Listen to her."

That voice. It was unmistakable. They all turned around to see Wong walking on the ceiling.

"After all, look where it got that swords-boy."

"What... has happened to my brother?" Finosa wanted to yell, but she just could not. Finosa felt afraid, with every fiber of her being. This man brought death.

"Well he put up a good fight," Wong gripped his arm. "Even left a few battle scars, but no matter. I enjoyed seeing him die. It is a shame, that I could not have beaten him up a little longer."

Wong thought to himself, "It was also a shame he did not deathbend the child when he had the chance. This should all be over by now."

"No," Finosa continued in her fearful voice. "You monster."

Wong laughed, "A monster? What do you call a monster? Someone who sells out their people. Maybe even their friends. Someone who tries so hard, but falls short and dooms you all? That is what I call a monster: a traitor."

"What do you mean, foul one?" Cori said as he leaned up against another wall.

"I must thank only your friend there. Osla was an intricate part of our plan. She infiltrated you. She tricked many, even Baiken. If it wasn't for her many would still be alive. All it took was a little messing around up there, inside her head."

"Osla?" Cori questioned. Wong fell down from the ceiling and managed to land on his feet; he still cringed with pain when he landed.

"Yes, 'Osla' is the only reason all this was possible," Wong knew he had won

Osla lost her calmness. She launched a blast at Wong's head. Surprising to them all, he did not dodge it. It landed square on his head. Wong tumbled backwards a bit before he manage to come back onto his feet. Immediately, he stretched out his hand at Osla.

"Make another sound, and you all die. Osla is the only one here with someone death on her hands."

Finsosa was still on the verge of crying over her brother. This was all too much, and she cried. Cori just stared it Wong. The outstretched hand was a symbol to Cori now. It meant evil and death. Cori began to move, but Wong threatened him.

"Don't move. I can manage without all of you," Wong face was no longer smiling. He was in some kind of deep focus. Cori looked over at Osla. Her breath was short now, and she did not talk for a while. Cori put the pieces together. Osla was suffocating.

"Osla, please say something!" Cori yelled as he grabbed her arm. She yanked it away from him with her minuscule strength.

"Cori," she said in horse whisper. "You are like family to me. I am sorry you have to suffer like this- You can still fight him. I am the only one who has to suffer this fate. It is my destiny. Don't take my gift lightly. Run."


"Oooooo," were Baizken first words when he woke up from his state of dreaming. He had dreamed he fought some kind of evil monster. Baizken quickly realized it had not been a dream. He had fought Wong, and he had lost. Baizken managed to prop himself on his hands and knees. Baizken looked in his right hand.

"My sword," he said as he looked at the piece of metal. Half of it was gone. The blade was shattered and part of the grip was missing. It looked more like an old cooking knife than a boisterous sword.

The next thing Baizken realized were his injuries. Everything around him seemed to be stained red. [I will spare my reader the details due to the rating]. The piercing metal was painful and his arms felt like Grandma's flaming-pudding. His legs were not to bad, just scorched a little bit from the explosion. Baizken managed to stand on his feet for a little while. He then decided that it was better for him to sit down so he was not in so much pain. Even his feet hurt. Baizken knew he had to think of a clever way to escape. Someone could come at any moment. He decide he needed to get down as quickly as possible. Baizken thought about trying to jump out the window, but he remembered that would be too perilous. Baizken saw a gift. The door was left open. If he could muster up enough strength to get through the door, he may be able to escape.

He tried to walk, but he fell on his face.

"Looks like I am crawling out of here," he chuckled.

The one thing he did not know was where Wong had gone. All he saw were faint red footprints. Baizken crawled out the door. The ominous silence was interesting to him. Someone had to have heard the explosion.

The Eastern Air Temple faded away as they flew on the back of the dragon. The old beast managed to put up a fast pace for his age. They certainly had waited too long. It was time for them to confront the Central Air Temple, and take it down.

"We are going to the origin of this evil, Avatar."

Gatton realized the gravity of his voice, "I fear loss, Smoke. This is something that I do not know if I can win. It was foretold that-"

Smoke cut him off, "You control your own destiny, Avatar. You must not let this darkness win. It is far too fierce. The world is not ready for anything near what may happen. We are counting on you."

"You are not certain that we will win?" Gatton said with a hint of worry.

"We must."

"Why do the spirits want to help me?" Gatton said. "Does this have to do with a similar fate? After all I am the bridge."

Smoke had a good chuckle, "Bridge? Good one. Actually the spirits want this to happen. Only the "shadow" spirit wants you to emerge victorious. Something about plans not yet a fold."

"So basically, I am helping darkness, by defeating darkness, so darkness does not win the way it does not want to win," Gatton was confused.

"Kinda... but Avatar, we must not squander this opportunity," Smoke knew he had to convince Gatton to fight still.

"I don't like this idea," Gatton said quietly. "Darkness is bad. I must be a force of light."

"Gatton, listen. The fate of the world is at stake. Do not let your vision be cloudy."

"When did you get so..." Gatton chose his words carefully. "wise?"

"The Spirit World. It is feels like eternity there..." Smoke said it so ordinary, that Gatton could not help, but laugh. Smoke joined in. The world was tense, but they needed to laugh. Perhaps it was a helpful one.

Cori watched in horror as Wong choke Osla. Finosa seemed like she was not willing to fight this guy. Wong had the upper hand. Cori felt so helpless. He was like a child to them. Cori was angry.

"This will all be over soon," Wong told them. His voice was as tauntingly vicious as ever.

"No!" Cori yelled. The boy lost his temper. He unleashed a fury of blast on Wong. The first one managed to break Wong's focus. The second blew him back a little back. A third blast totally knocked him over. Cori continued with several blasts that hit. When he saw that Wong was on the ground, for a moment he was glad.

"We did it..." he looked at Osla. She was on the ground, bent over. She wasn't breathing either. Finosa was on the ground beside Osla.

"She is not breathing, Cori," Finosa said quickly.

"No," Cori got down on the ground. "Come on, Osla, you can make it."

Osla gasped for a quick breath, "I'm not going to make it. Run, Cori. You need to live. That is what I want." Osla reached out and grabbed Cori's hand. However it went lifeless.

"Wow, such a strong tile." Wong's hand was outstretched as he got up.

She was gone. Wong was a bringer of death, the forbidden art. Cori stared at Wong's eyes. They were dark and cold. Cori hated Wong. First his friend and now his family. This was it. Cori saw the monster right in front of him. A warped young man with no respect for life. Cori stood up on his feet. He reached down and touched Finosa on her shoulder.

"We need to run," Cori looked at Wong. "I don't want to let him go, but we need to get out of here."

"Cori," Finosa nodded at him, it was like she knew something. "Wong is going to go easy."

Wong charged at them. It was a slow one. Wong was pretty banged up. His knees were bruised. his right arm was probably sprained at least. Wong was going to get them. He still knew he could out speed them. His running was more than enhanced.

Finosa got up. She simply put her hands together. This was a fight that they had to win. Finosa saw him as if he was source of evil. She had to defeat him. He had claimed to many lives already. This was it. She backed away slowly, as did Cori. They knew they could not run from him. Finosa prepared her blast.

Wong did not think they would try to attack he prepared to choke them as he had done with Osla. He was ready to fulfill his task. He needed to finish the job. He had forgotten all about Father's plan. He just wanted to destroy those who had knocked him down, burned him, scarred him. He was not going to be defeated by a bunch of children.

The purple flames appeared. Finosa was not concerned with if it was to powerful, or if it would burn Wong to the point of death. This was vengeance, though not good or thought out She needed this. Cori immediately got behind her when her hands began to light up in bright purple. The blast was powerful when it launched. Thee room in front of them was engulfed in purple flames. The entire hallway was just fire in of that shade. Everything was set a blaze. Wong's face was of sheer horror. The heat was scorching. He literally felt like he had gone through an oven his skin was scorched, his clothes torn and on fire. Even parts of the hallway managed to stay on fire. Finosa was surprised by the sheer power she had just displayed. It left Wong on the ground. Cori tugged on her arm as she looked at the scene, impressed and scared.

"We need to get out of here."

They ran leaving the burnt Wong far behind. They needed to get out of this horrible place. It was time to find there way home. They needed to escape. This place only brought death.

In his deep meditative, Father Geno heard a whisper. Someone was coming. Someone powerful. This person was whom he waited for. Sid had done his task. Father Geno got out of his state. He stood up and he cracked and popped his bones. He got up and began stretching, as if preparing for an inevitable battle.

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