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|Calamity in the Fire Nation|
The Avatar and the Magistrate
November 19, 2014
Chapter 1: Calamity in the Fire Nation
It was a beautiful day in the Fire Nation. The sun shone upon the forest with blinding brightness, creating a show of shining leaves that engulfed the dull, grey construction scene. A dam was near completion, a dam that Fire Lord Izumi, the erudite daughter of former Fire Lord Zuko, commanded to be built. In the world as it is today, the only country in the world that was the Fire Nation's rival in the economic field of government business was the recently formed United Republic of Nations, created at the hands of the previous Team Avatar and Izumi's father in order to cease hostilities between an Earth Kingdom governor and a handful of independent Fire Nation colonies. In this time period, it was good for people to be residents of either the Fire Nation or the United Republic. The Northern and Southern Water Tribes have recently split apart and are both currently in a state of recovery from their civil war. The Earth Kingdom is now under the leadership of the fatuous ruler, Earth Queen Hou Ting Hua, who is more concerned with ornaments for the Royal Palace rather than supplies for the outer territories, which are currently being tormented by powerful gangs of bandits. The only problem facing the United Republic is the new Spirit Forest in Republic City created by Una-Vaatu during his attack on the realms of mankind and spirit-kind, an issue currently being looked into by Avatar Korra and her friends. Fire Lord Izumi's nation was in a state of economic recession; this was a thing that she was not going to stand for, and this dam she commissioned was her ticket to better living and more job opportunities for citizens of the ancient Fire Nation.
The overseer of the construction site was looking pleased with the progression of the dam.
"How's the dam looking from your point of view?"
"It's looking very good, sir. Within a couple of hours, the dam will be completed, and new jobs will be available for the growing populace. I'm definitely seeing a bright future for our kids, boss."
"Yes; the future really is looking bright. For the first time since the start Hundred Year War, the people of the Fire Nation can truly rise out of the filth and show their capability and formidability in the face of change and progress; what's even better is that now we can be able to do those things without the use of giant machines of war, like our ancestors from times as old as the Sun Warriors did before."
"Hmm? Little Phoenix?!"
The overseer's niece, Little Phoenix, who was a maid in the household of the Fire Lord, came to see her uncle at the construction site, to be one of the first to join the celebration of the finished dam.
"Little Phoenix. This is a construction site. You're not supposed to be wandering around here without a hard hat."
"That is true, so I went ahead and took one of your spares."
"Where is it?"
"In my new sack, here."
The overseer looked at his niece's sack with pleasant surprise; it was a bag made with yellow silk, lined with red dragons soaring through red clouds by a red sun.
"What a very pretty sack, my Little Phoenix."
What was first heard was the sound of cracking stone and water flowing from the cracks like some great beast eagerly taking a chance to break free from a cage. The cracks became louder and louder; the flowing water grew bigger and bigger. Little Phoenix looked upon the dam with immense worry, while her uncle called off the construction.
"Everyone, get back now! The dam's breaking apart! Get out now!"
In spite of all the running from the water, which was ready to unleash its unfathomable fury for being blocked off from its natural course, there was no hope for them. The dam broke apart under the immense weight and force of the river. The water flowed through the construction site, washing into oblivion everything that stood in its way. This wrathful river even went so far as to proceed to a nearby village, and all of those people shared the same fate as the people who worked on a project that promised to bring a brighter future for generations to come.
The Fire Lord, who had yet to hear of this incident that occurred not long ago, was holding a meeting with her trusted advisers regarding other matters of the state, one particular case that involved Hou Ting Hua's neglected bandits.
"Your Majesty, the bandits that the Earth Queen disregarded have now amassed enough arms and fighters for a small, but highly skilled army. For reasons currently unknown, the bandits have stripped their bases of any and all supplies from their camps in the outer territories of the Earth Kingdom, and have taken six large airships into the borders of the Fire Nation. My predictions were that they would use the village of Jang Hui as a base of operations, so I had the major stationed there escort the people out of Jang Hui to make way for the bandits, and spies posted in nearby fishing villages, which are heavily guarded."
"Mr. Asano, do you think that these bandits are actually audacious enough to launch an attack on our Capital? I think that they're meant only to be handled just like any other band of thieves and cutthroats. We will simply hunt them down with coordinated reports on the whereabouts of these hooligans, and we will mete out punishments in accordance with their crimes against the Fire Nation. What most concerns me at the moment are the people."
"Mr. Liu, what problems with the people do you refer to?"
Secretary Liu Cao had no regrets about letting his mouth fly away a bit like that, but his feelings of tension at reporting the grave news couldn't escape the notice of Izumi and Secretary Cato Asano.
"Your Majesty, my estimable colleagues... I received a report from this morning. It was with regards to the dam."
Fire Lord Izumi was prepared for bad news, but she still dissembled behind her composure. She, in a harsh voice that rang with the anger of her father and the supremacy of her aunt, demanded that Liu's dawdling in telling the bad news be reduced.
"Speak quickly, Mr. Liu!"
Tears began to drip from his eyes, tears that steamed as they tried to escape his sorrowful eyes, for he attempted to maintain his composure by firebending the tears to make them more inconspicuous.
"The dam broke apart..."
This news of this devastation shocked and dumbfounded everyone in the Fire Lord's office, government official, Royal Family member, and servant alike. Asano appeared to be least affected by this news.
"...allowing the river to escape the dam's confines and destroy many homes and people that were in the river's way!"
For the collective works of the author, go here.