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|Swords and Sacrifice|
Book 2 Rise of the Deathbenders
26 Swords and Sacrifice
Last time on TLAT Plans were set in motion. Father Geno is sending one of his best recruits after the Avatar. Smoke found Gatton, who are about to head out to the Central Air Temple. Wong and our three young heroes have started a fight, and it seems to be an uphill battle for them. With all of this going on, an Air Nomad has decided that s/he has had enough, and is taking the temple head on.
Wong looked and, her face showed her determination. Wong could see her will was probably one of the reason the girl was a prodigy. He sighed for a moment.
"You really aren't going to come quietly. Such a shame to cut you all down. Father will not be pleased."
Finosa opened her hands. The purple flames ignited and glowed with an incredible brightness.was kind of dumbfounded at this point. was still hiding, trying to be as far as he could from the action.
"Yeah, such a shame," Wong's voice was a sarcastic scolding. He drew two swords: his blade of air and Baizken. His stance was impressive; he held the dragon sword with his left hand, pointed directly at Finosa. With his left he held his air saber, and he swung it around with a fury. Finosa tossed a firebomb right at his feet. Wong was knocked backwards, but he stabbed the dragon-tooth sword into the ground, keeping him from being knocked backwards.
Baizken was frustrated "First you steal my weapon, and now my moves?"
"Foolish boy," Wong's stared at Baizken. The sword-less boy backed away from the battle even further in panic. Cori awkwardly sent a blast of air Wong's way. Wong effortlessly dodged the blast. This was definitely a challenge. Wong decided to go on the offensive. He brought the sword of air sideways. It created a huge wave of air knocking them all to the ground.
"We need a plan," Baizken mumbled as he got on his feet.
"Any idea, 'great swords-boy'?" Cori poked fun at Baizken and it did lighten the mood.
Baizken addressed his sister, "Finosa, get me my sword. He's toying with us. Once he gets close with those swords, it is over for us."
"Plan four?" Finosa asked her brother. He simply gave a nod.
"You guys gonna finish whispering and come quietly. You guys really need to make up your minds."
"Shut it, you aren't capturing anymore children, THIEF," Cori said. He was serious, for a change. The fight had only begun.
The cloudy night sky was beautiful. The clouds and the stars blended together like a painting.and were ready to leave for the central temple, but departure concerned the Avatar.
"This isn't good," Gatton told Smoke.
"No kidding," the guard muttered. A figure came from the shadow, with two guards by his side. The man was tired like the rest of them and he was not pleased.
"I heard a man in dark robes was breaking into monk's rooms. You match the description, sir," the old monk, Kolp, was rigid and frustrated.
"This is my friend," Gatton said firmly. "He was just looking for me."
"I see, Avatar. I guess we all are just a little on edge."
"Well, not to upset you, but can you tell us if you have seen Head Monk Senzin. This guard says that he went for a midnight bison ride," Gatton tried to keep calm.
"It is pretty dark out. Avatar, we need to talk elsewhere," Kolp replied. He wanted to help the Avatar, however much he could. Especially if it meant getting one of his students back. The Avatar and Smoke followed Kolp to the top of the eastern tower. It was dark and peaceful.
Someone had arrived and hid in the shadows. Sid was ready to give the Avatar a "shove". He was also ready to do by what ever means necessary. The child also hoped to used the technique everyone feared. Sid knew what he wanted to do, and it was not going to end until the temple was painted red. Father Geno said that he loved his cruelness. Father was going to be proud.
A lone airbender stood at the edge of the Central Air Temple. She hid in the shadows. She noticed a couple of guards that watched the grounds. The airbender was stealthy enough to know that she would have to take them down fast. She jumped up high into the air, and landed behind them. Before the could even notice her, she swatted at them, and they tumbled backwards. Right as they began to stand back up, she slammed both of her hands down, sending them back on the ground. They started to yell, so she gagged them with a piece torn off her left sleeve. She took another piece and crudely tied their hands and feet together. She removed the gag from one of the guard's mouth.
"Where are they?" she got more specific. "Where are the Fire Nation children?"
"Like I'd tell you," his voice was condescending. She was quick to air slap him. He tumbled a little way and fell on his side.
"Tell me, or do I have to air slap you again?" she was frustrated.
"They are in the master room. Good luck getting in there though, only a master airbender can get into that room. Besides they are probably lost forever." he chuckled uncomfortably.
"You have the tattoos, so you are a master. I doubt Cori would be 'lost forever'. You are coming with me," her voice was very cold. She untied his feet and walked with him. His arms were still tied. He seemed very unhappy about this situation. The girl knew that she would have to get him to open the door somehow.
"Can I ask a question? Who the hog-monkeys are you?"
"I'm someone like the rest of them, but I was stolen back. I was cheated and abandoned, but I've found knew strength," she said proudly.
"A name would have been fine... later I may have to do an official report," he was very straight forward when he said this.
Finosa launched another powerful blast of flames. Her attacks kept Wong from getting in swinging range, and he was forced to deflect it. Cori finally started to throw some air Wong's way. His palms were sweaty as he punched forward. His form was good, but not very practical. Wong was able to dodge it with ease. Cori ran at the airbender, swinging his hands wildly. Wong braced for impact as a wave of little air blasts hit him in succession. It forced Wong to block for a while and Finosa followed Cori's attack with a massive fire blast. This time Wong was knocked to the ground unarmed. His wind sword rolled to an unfavorable spot between both the children and the monk. He immediately got up and went after the blade of air. Cori ran right at Wong. The monk realized Cori's plan and roundhouse kicked him in the face. While this was going on Finosa tried to run passed Wong to get Baizken sword.
"Nice try," Wong said as he air dashed toward her. He was fast, but Finosa already had gripped the sword. The dark monk managed to grab the hilt and wrestle Finosa for the blade. He swung with his left hand at Finosa, but she was able to dodge all his attacks as the fought over the dragon tooth blade.
Baizken ran to help Cori up, "You okay, Cori?"
"Yeah I'm fine; it was just a kick," he laughed weakly. He had a bloody mark on the side of his face.
Finosa and Wong were still locked in combat. Wong was stronger, but he could not get a good grip. Finosa gave a big tug and managed to get away from Wong. He realized what was going on. Baizken motioned for her to throw the sword at him. The throw was to high and light; Wong jumped and nabbed it in the air. Wong was frustrated at this point. He threw the sword right at Baizken head. The force he threw the sword with was unnatural. Baizken ducked at the last second; the sword was literally inches from his head. The blade went into a nearby wall.
"This ends now; I'm done toying with insolent brats!" Wong was angry as he stretched his hand in the direction of Finosa as if he was choking her.. Her breathing got heavier and heavier, and she felt like she was choking. She fell to her knees. Right when Finosa thought she was going to pass out, Cori launched a huge blast of air at Wong. Wong was not expecting it, So it literally knocked him down again.
While all this was going on, Baizken was trying to pull the sword out of the wall. It was wedged into the brick pretty well. He yanked and pulled but to no avail.
"Come on, sword," he yelled not realizing the ensuing battle behind his back.
Wong stood back to his feet. A hissing sound came from his mouth as he made his blade of air long and pointed. Finosa and Baizken managed to get back to their feet. Finosa looked at him. The look was thankful yet focused. It was all Cori could have asked for.
"You children are proving difficult for me. You really should not toy with the wrath of a deathbender," his eyes were so cold and dark, and his voice was piercing.
Baizken finally ripped the sword out of the wall. He had missed his sword, as weird as that sounds. It was like an extension of himself.
"I got it Fin. You ready?" Baizken yelled across the room.
"Let's kick things up a notch!" she yelled back. Wong just looked at them, thinking he was above such foolish children. This battle's outcome was inevitable, or so he thought.
Head Assassin Sulu was off to himself in the temple. He stood on the balcony looking out at the night sky. He was quiet and calm. Sulu was preparing for something, but he did not know what. The battle had not even started yet; Sulu was sure of that. Sulu's thinking time was interrupted by footsteps. He immediately got into a fighting stance.
"Calm down, why do you have to be so flighty?" Kanasa said as she emerged from the shadows.
"You must always be ready for a fight. That is what they taught me."
Kanasa raised an eyebrow, "Come on, relax. We basically just have to sit here and wait here until Father sends us to do what ever he needs. We can just wait until then."
"There is no relaxation in war," Sulu said heavily. "Only bloodshed."
"You're know fun," Kanasa said as she walked away from Sulu. She looked back at Sulu.
"We have a job to do, try not to botch it up," he said sternly.
"So serious," Kanasa said as he walked away. Sulu truly had changed over the years. She took a left turn and enter the corridor that led to a chamber. Everything was ominously quiet. she laid down and went to sleep.
Sulu just stared at the night sky. He'd lost friends, allies, even pieces of himself in the War of the Sages. He didn't like the idea of risking the mission, but he relished the fact that he would have power. He looked at his left arm, in its rigid, metal form. He pulled out a stiletto from the compartment and examined it. It was still there. He threw it out into the night sky and watched it slowly fall down, until he could see it no longer.
"What do you think Senzin would be doing out so late, Avatar?" Kolp said as he looked out at the night sky.
"He could have gone anywhere," Gatton looked west. "Even the Central Air Temple."
Kolp stared at Smoke, "Gatton, I believe you owe me more of an explanation on this man. The fact that he is your 'friend' does not comfort me all that much. Just who is he?"
Smoke sighed and then spoke as if he was proclaiming it to the world, "I am Smoke. I can make stuff reappear and disappear. I can teleport to some extent, and I am a master at fighting. Do you have any more questions."
"You sure do have the weird friends, Avatar."
Smoke heard something. The sound of some kind of creature startled him. He moved to the edge of the tower.
"Do you see something?" Gatton asked. "Is it a bison?"
They heard the sound of a bison roaring. It had to be Senzin. They looked at the direction of the bison stables, and saw Senzin land. They were all relieved to see that Senzin had arrived, not going to the central temple.
"Well that is a relief. I guess we can all relax. Good-"
Gatton interrupted him, "We are actually preparing to head to the central temple."
"Surely you are joking. It would surely be suicide if you went there alone."
"We need to do this," Gatton said puzzled. "You have to understand."
"Uh guys?" Smoke sounded nervous.
"What is it, Smoke?" Gatton replied quickly.
"I don't think that noise I heard was the old monk."
Sid was stealthy. He followed his targets so stealthy, that even he could not here himself. He hid in the shadows, and he saw three people. There was a guy in black who looked powerful, the Avatar obviously, and some old monk that he could not identify. All monks look alike from behind. Sid watched them as they climbed up to the top of a tower. He stretched, and attempted to run up the wall. Much to his dismay. He fell down about halfway up.
"Surely they must have heard the loud thud."
He knew he had no time to waste. Sid was determined to do his task. This time he created a cloud, and decided to fly up. The boy thought that it took forever to get to the top of the tower. When he got to the top of the tower, he could here a voice.
"Probably a lemur, but Avatar, I would advise you not to go to the Central Air Temple, alone irregardless."
That voice. So old and gruff. Sid knew who it was. His master was right up there. The man who said he was not fit to be an Air Nomad. The man who had said he was "too volatile" and "spiritually weak" to train. The man who had drove him away from his home. Sid realized that he was losing his composure, but he remembered what Father Geno told him.
"Your emotions can be your greatest drive. Hate, fear, and power, harness them. Use them. You have power, use it. You can make people fear you, use it. And hate... that is the driving force. Don't just use it, let it be where you draw your bending from."
"I am telling you Kolp, we have made up our minds. You cannot stop us," Gatton was frustrated. "Farewell."
"Guys, there is something out there," Smoke looked down and saw the cloud. "What the-"
Sid flew up out of the cloud into the sky. He landed in the center, in between all of them. He got both the Avatar and Smoke off guard. With a swift kick of air, He knocked them to the ground. The boy's eyes were dark and pierced. The hate that he emitted when he looked at his master was something that no child should ever feel.
"Pupil Sid, what is going on?" Kolp coward back to the wall of the tower.
"Hello, master. Are you still the same old fool that I left?"
"Left? Oh, Sid, we were so worried about you. What on earth is going, boy?" Kolp was genuinely worried about his former student. They feared he had been captured.
"What's going on? I was going to try to get the Avatar to chase me, but I have a better idea," Sid spoke with utter distaste. The Avatar was just in shock as he attempted to get up. Smoke was already in a fighting stance.
"Who is this, Kolp?" the Avatar asked as he managed to get back up.
"My student, he-" there was a tightness in? Kolp's throat. The boy had his hand outstretched at his old master. His hand was moving like he was violently choking Kolp. Smoke and Gatton immediately headed toward the boy.
"Stay back, Avatar. This is my fight, unless you like to see an old mule die tonight!" Sid was so incredibly harsh.
"What..." Kolp gasped for air. "What did I do wrong?"
"You did everything wrong, 'master'. This is my vengeance," Sid walked toward his master and somehow lifted him up by his cloak. The boy's strength was almost inhuman.
"Don't you dare hurt him child!" Gatton yelled at Sid with urgency.
"Avatar, can it unless you want to be next," Sid put down Kolp and motioned his hand at the Avatar. Gatton started to feel weak.
"Smoke," Gatton said as he pointed at the boy. Sid picked up the monk by his cloak again.
"I can not do that do a child," Smoke said contemplating the ethics of sending a child to the darkness.
Sid knew that Smoke could not stop him, "'Master' Kolp, what will it be death by suffocation or do you want to see if you can manage to fly?" Kolp could not speak as he struggled for breath
"Kid, listen to me, don't choose hate and evil," Smoke was almost in pain as he watched the old monk struggle for breath.
"I've already made my choice!" Sid yelled back. The boy went through his pockets and tossed a Black Lotus tile at Smoke. "This is who I am!"
At that moment even Smoke began to feel short of breath. The boy had a power that no one should ever have. Sid tossed the old monk off the building. Gatton and Smoke yelled as they both fell on their knees as the air was slowly being sucked out of their bodies. The monk slowly fell down. Sid knew the monk was unconscious before he tossed him off. The last sound they heard from Kolp was a distant splat.
"Well, Avatar, I guess you know what I am now. Father Geno said that you would follow me to the temple, if I let you," Sid had both his hands outstretched at Smoke and Gatton. "I would love to take you out myself, but I can't decide if Father would like that, so I guess we have to play a game of chase."
"You are no child," Smoke said with tears in his eyes. "What are you?"
Sid smiled as he stood at the edge of the building, "I'm a Deathbender." Sid jumped off the building and flew away on his cloud. Finally, Gatton and Smoke could breathe.
"This is a tragedy," Gatton said as he looked off the end of the building.
Smoke agreed, "Whomever these "deathbenders" are, they must be stopped."
Gatton ran as fast as he could to the stable wherewas kept. They knew that they had know time to lose. No more playing it safe, it had got more serious than ever. Whatever went on at the Central Air Temple it was long past time for the Avatar to take his responsibility seriously and end it.
Cori unleash a fury of air blasts at Wong. Wong was unphased by the onslaught. He charged at Finosa. She ran from him as he came after her with the wind sword. Baizken immediately jumped into action and attacked Wong. This distracted Wong as a horizontal slash was blocked, but not very well. Baizken came back at him with a backhanded slash. It managed to catch the corner of Wong's right wrist. Wong backed away and grabbed his hand for a moment. He launched a blast of air from his left directly at Baizken and knocked him down. Finosa launched a massive fire blast that Wong barely dodged as he ran away to the back corner. Baizken looked at Finosa, motioning at his sword she blasted it with purple flames. The sword glowed with a bright intensity. Wong tilted his head at this as he charged back into battle. He chased down Cori and managed to land a few blows with his sword. Cori was wounded and the boy had to retreat. Finosa launched a barrage of fire at Wong. While Baizken ran charged toward him with his flaming sword. Wong ran around Baizken with his speed. Finosa and Baizken ran toward each other.
"Ready?" Baizken asked
Finosa looked hopeful, "This is the most powerful move we know."
Finosa made two flames appear in her hands and she transferred them to the sword. It was now so bright that it hurt to stare at it. Wong realized that they were up to something, but was a little preoccupied with Cori who even in his injured state was still sending powerful tempests Wong's way.
"You really ought to stop this before I kill one of you," at this point Wong realized that even he could not face all of them at once. They were locked in combat, and neither side knew who was going to win.
"Guys," Cori said. "I'm hurt."
"Hang on," Finosa yelled as they regrouped. "We can win this, Cori."
The group stared at Wong as he looked back in disgust. Baizken swung his sword at Wong in a taunting way. Wong rolled his eyes at the child's foolishness. The swords-boy just smiled.
"Round two, this time know 'bloodbenders'."
Osla forced the guard to walk with her. He let her lead, but he had to hobble. He led her to a hallway inside one of the tower. The room was strangely familiar, as if she had been there before. She saw some guards, but she elected for a stealthy approach. She took them out when their backs were turned. She blew them over, and then punched them out. She had mixed feelings about it, but she had to do it. The guard she brought with her who was gagged was surprisingly compliant with following her. When the got to the massive door, he begged her not to do it.
"Girl, please do not mess with Wong. He will break you," he pleaded.
"I've already been broken," Osla replied, shaking her head.
As reluctant as he was to do this, he was forced to. He began an impressive form as he began to open the door with his airbending.
Baizken ran at Wong with his sword. He attempted to strike Wong with a vertical down slash. Wong was passive this time and dodged it without even trying. He managed to knock down Baizken with a blow from his left hand. Baizken stumbled back a bit. He realized that a light was coming from behind Wong. The door had been opened. Wong could hear the noise going on behind him.
"What is going on?" he said as he turned around. Baizken saw that he was off guard and managed to strike Wong's side with his weapon of intense heat, however Baizken was unable to follow through and finish the job. The pain was searing as Wong let out a fierce screech, but it should have done a whole lot more. He turned to look at Baizken the look that he gave Baizken was so terrifyingly horrible that Baizken backed away in seconds.
"You've done it now fool, I was going to let you and your friends live, but I don't think I can do that now," he grabbed his side that was burned to oblivion. "So you want to poke the hornet-wasp next? You are going to get stung. I hope you enjoy abrupt, painful deaths, because I am going to take your's, your family, and your friends. Father will just have to deal with it. Death is coming!" Wong laughed. It was no ordinary laugh. It was a sound like Baizken had never heard before, nor he would ever want to hear again. It was loud, but not a cackle like. It pierced the soul, mind, and body. Baizken looked behind Wong. He saw his sister help Cori limp through the door. She looked back at him.
"Run, Baizken, come on!" she yelled. She did not want to lose her brother.
"Finosa, I'll be fine. Just hurry up and go! Remember to stay strong." he yelled back. He knew he had to try and save his sister.
"Brother," she murmured as Osla yanked her out of the room.
Baizken side-stepped in front of the door to put himself between the door and Wong. The door was shut at the last moment and it made a loud clang that seemed to signified that they were going to escape. The only lights in the room were some torches and the flaming sword.
"How noble, however I will still enjoy driving my sword of air through your skull, and I will relish every moment of killing your friends with cruelty."
Baizken joked trying to keep himself from stressing out in this crucial, "You are really a messed up guy, aren't you?"
"Funny how that does not phase me," Wong chuckled.
The two were in impressive stance. Wong held his sword backwards and upside down like a scythe. It remind Baizken of a Wraith Spirit that he had read about in one of hisold books. Baizken gripped his sword with two hands. He had hardly realize how much the sword handled had burned his hand. He had not been paying much attention to pain. The two warriors charged at each other. Both were prodigies. Both forced into war. Both masters of the sword. Both with everything on the line. Baizken swung downwards, harder than ever before. Wong used his wind sword like a knife side ways. It was as if he was going to slice Baizken in half with it. Metal, fire, and air collided. The intense heat and powerful airbending were an explosive combination. It rapidly expanded and a massive explosion happened. The entire room was cover in flames, and the power of it was terrible. The ferocity of the sound was unimaginable.
Finosa, Cori, and Osla managed to put a good distance between themselves and the room. They had managed to make it into a hallway where they had found empty. They heard it'. A terrible explosion that shook the building. The sound was poison to Finosa.
"Oh no," Finosa slowly slid to the ground, propped up against the wall. That explosion was too violent to survive. It sounded more powerful than bombs or fireworks.
"Come on, Finosa, we have to keep moving," Osla told her, as the tears welled up in her eyes.
"No," Cori whispered as he winced in pain. The slash Wong had done to his midsection hurt much more than he previously thought.
The sound of silence that followed was enough for everyone. After that they continued on. They knew it was only a matter of time before they would have to fight again. Osla knew that she had to save them. This was going to be her redemption. They left down another hallway, and the world seemed to be silent.
|The Lost Air Temple|
|Book 1 - Fall of the Sages|
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|Book 2 - Rise of the Deathbenders|
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