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|The Charade Part 1 - The Shadow|
March 9th, 2011
The Charade Part 1 - The Shadow is the fifth chapter of, and the seventeenth chapter overall. It is also the first chronological guest written chapter for Honor Thy Father, being written during the summer and autumn of 2010.
Aang and Tengu receive an inconvenient mission, one that keeps the Avatar from his family.
Aang and Tengu walk out of the Omashu palace. The meeting finally ended, leaving Aang feeling like the past two weeks of his life had been gobbled up by Cow hippos. The top leaders of the nations were there: General Sung from the Earth Kingdom, Chief Arnook from the Northern Water Tribe, General Gin from the Fire Nation, and Aang and Tengu were there to represent the Air Nomads. Several lesser officials who knew less about the inner workings of the Black Lotus were there as well, and that's what ended up making the meeting dreadful. The lower officials there kept asking repeat questions, such as "Who are their leaders?" and "Are they affiliated with any one nation?" The answers stayed the same, but the questions kept coming and changing forms. Aang even at one point fell asleep due to boredom. The official's problems never seemed to end, they were concerned more with their region's temporary well being than the perpetual security of the world.
"Well, what if they come after my region?" All the representatives would ask. The answer was always the same: then the Four Nations armies would move in to protect the area. Simple. The participants never seemed to pay much attention. It seemed like every single one of them asked each of the three questions at least once, some even more than that. By the time they left, Aang was at least certain as to the leader of the Black Lotus, that they were autonomous of the Four Nations, and that the armies of the Four Nations would be ready to protect any region that the Black Lotus would attack.
Aang was clearly less than happy, as his childhood friend Bumi was away at a top secret White Lotus meeting. He knew it wasn't his place to be there, but he missed the fun the two would have together. "Well, that wasn't very important..." Aang replies as they walk away from the meeting. He had expected that the meeting would be dull, and repeat information he already knew. Had Bumi been there, the two would have been able to ignore the meetings and even catch up on old times.
"It was not, Master. I could have told you that in five minutes, rather than spending the past two weeks here," Tengu coolly replies.
"Exactly. I could have told you that, I've had the most experience dealing with them. Zuko, Sokka and Toph didn't even show up because they already knew all of that from our experiences with Nero and Lian." Aang shouts to the sky. "They didn't have to leave people they cared about! Suki was with Sokka at Taku, Zuko is at home with Mai, and Toph is likely somewhere in the Si Wong Desert for all I know!"
"At least we haven't even seenvery often in these past few years," Tengu notes, trying to change the subject back, to which Aang nods.
"At least they haven't attacked the Northern Air Temple again," Aang mutters.
"When I get back there I'll have to check for any more signs of them," Tengu calmly adds, again attempting to change the subject. "They should know by now to stay away."
At that moment, a tired runner arrives, panting and clearly on the brink of collapse. "Avatar Aang! Avatar Aang! Avatar Aa-" The runner collapses at Aang's feet. After panting for a moment, the runner finally catches his breath. "Avatar Aang! You have an urgent message from Ba Sing Se!" The runner reaches in his robes, pulls out a scroll, and hands it to Aang.
- Avatar Aang, You are hereby requested to appear before the Council of Five immediately. This meeting is of great importance.
- Earth King Kuei
Glancing at the seal beneath the signature, Aang realizes the urgency of the request. "I am heading to see Katara and Sora today. I don't have time for this..." Aang begins.
"Please Avatar, the Earth King himself has sent messengers all over the Kingdom looking for you. None of them can go home unless you arrive in Ba Sing Se."
"I'll go. Make sure that the Earth King lets everyone else go home," Aang mutters, clearly disappointed that his time with his family was being cut shorter. "Tengu, can you come with me?"
Aang twirls his staff and unfolds his staff. "We're going quickly today, Tengu." Aang kicks off the ground quickly, leaving Tengu and the messenger in the dust. Tengu unfolds his staff and takes off behind him. Tengu catches up to him, and Aang talks to Tengu about his family. Tengu listens, reminding him of his own family, though he chooses to remain silent. Aang and Tengu talk all the way to Ba Sing Se, eventually landing right at the entrance to the Council's chamber. Aang and Tengu move to enter the chamber, when a guard stops them.
"The Avatar is the only one permitted in this chamber." The guard looks menacingly at Tengu. "You'll have to wait out here." Tengu stops at the entrance to the council chamber, motioning for Aang to continue on in. "Back away from the entrance!" The guard grunts as he bends the ground beneath Tengu back almost five feet.
"What are you doing? You could have told him to move back!" Aang exclaims at the blatant disrespect shown to someone he held in high regard. "Apologize to him, now!"
"It's okay, Master. Go on without me. I'll hold your staff," Tengu says soothingly to Aang, who was looking clearly angry at the guard.
"Thank you, Tengu." Aang says while tossing Tengu his staff. He walks past the guard, glaring at him as he enters the dark hallway.
Aang walks into the council's chamber, expecting to see a full council to greet such an important guest. When he enters, however, he was only met with one, General Beipan.
"Greetings, Avatar!" Beipan announces upon his arrival, despite the room being empty. "Are you here to deliver your report on the recent battle of Taku?"
"No, actually. I wasn't there. I think Sokka was leading that one." Aang replied. Aang is slightly confused at this, as the battle at Taku was almost a week ago. If anyone had been paying any attention, they would have known that Sokka's forces easily drove all Black Lotus from the area. Beipan was always one of the generals who stayed in the back of the council, one who rarely spoke up. There was a rumor that Aang could see now as plausible, that his promotion was one solely so General How would get an extra vote in Council affairs.
"I'm sure all is well though. Chief Sokka is a skilled warrior..." General Beipan replies as he walks back to the head of the council room, sitting in General How's seat. The 'Raging Badgermole' was out leading the defense effort for the southern Earth Kingdom. Sung was still in Omashu, waiting until he received further orders. The other generals were otherwise occupied as well, leaving Beipan as the only general the Earth King could talk to.
"Anyway Avatar, I have a request of you. We have received information stating that there is a Black Lotus battalion heading towards Gaoling. As you know, that is where your friend Toph Bei Fong lives. We believe that her parents are the targets of their mission. We are requesting that you go to Gaoling for the week and keep her parents safe."
"Those don't seem like Black Lotus tactics..." Aang begins. The Black Lotus always seemed to operate with stealth, rarely using 'battalions'. "Let me just go get someone, he's an expert on their strategy-" Aang is cut off by the general's stubborn demeanor.
"Time is of the essence! Your friend's parent's lives are at stake, you mustn't leave them at risk!"
"What about Toph? Can't she take care of them?" Aang asks the general. The general simply shrugs before he answers.
"Sadly we have lost contact with her in the past few weeks. We can't count on her being there, but we can't lose her parents, they are huge contributors to the war effort. That would make them a prime target."
"I need a minute to think," he turns and tells the general as he turns and thinks about his wife. "Katara, what should I do?" Aang thinks long and hard. He feels torn between his duty to the world and his duty as Avatar, being torn apart by the two opposing forces. He eventually makes up his mind, letting out a small sigh before addressing the General.
"I'll give this one day." Aang tells Beipan. "No more. After that day, I'm heading home."
Beipan's eyes open in shock at the monk's staunch decision. "Avatar, we need you for the full week. It's imperative-"
"No, my decision is final. I have been fighting these people for almost five years now. Your intelligence describes something that is too far out of their style. I will give this matter a full day of my time, no more. End of discussion." Aang replies every bit as abruptly as the general had interrupted before.
"Very well, Avatar." Beipan replies in a dark tone. He was clearly angry that he had been overridden.
Aang turned and walked out of the room briskly, leaving the tense air about the Council chamber.
"We're headed to Gaoling, Tengu. There's been a change of plans." Aang says to Tengu, who was standing and looking at the views of the Upper Ring.
"So this is what Iroh sought to conquer..." Tengu mutters to himself before handing Aang his staff. "Certainly, Master." The two Airbenders unfold their staffs and take off, heading south. Tengu notices that Aang is noticeably more irritated, but leaves him be, as he is clearly trying to seem like nothing is wrong.
The two fly on, with Aang reminiscing about his once peaceful life as a child at the Southern Air Temple. Tengu is shocked at the life of relative leisure the children at the Air Temples were allowed to lead. The pair eventually land at the front of the Bei Fong Family mansion.
"What are you doing here, Twinkle Toes?" a familiar voice calls from the gate.
"There you are, Toph! You're the whole reason that the general ordered me to come here!" Aang exclaims.
"Do they want me back?" Toph asks, clearly uninterested. She was bending her meteor bracelet into several shapes, eventually settling to let it mold itself around one of her fingers, before moving on to the next.
"Well, a bit, but they think your parents are targets." Aang replies while closing his glider.
"I've got them covered. Don't worry about me." Toph says, as she brushes off all concern. She bends her bracelet back into its original shape before she slides it up her arm.
"Well, I promised I'd stay here for a day, so we might as well go on in," Aang replies, and Toph motions for the pair to follow her into the mansion grounds. The mansion had changed little in the seven years since he, Sokka, and Katara tried to sneak in to meet her for the first time, with the exception of noticeably less guards.
"What happened to all of the guards?" Aang asks his former master.
"They were only here so no one would sneak in to find out that I existed. Everyone knows now, so there's no need. Plus, I'm the best Earthbending guard around here anyway."
"Good point," Aang replied.
"Well, are you just going to stand out here all day?" Toph asks while leaning back against the wall around her house.
"You're right. Can we come in?" Aang asks, cutting to the chase.
"Let me think about that... Sure" Toph replies as she turns in and walks into her house. "Come on in..." She calls back while waving for them to follow.
"Where were you for the Omashu meeting?" Aang asks sternly as he walks in, followed by Tengu.
"Eh, I didn't feel like going. It seemed too dull." Toph replies as she sits down.
"You were right. It was a week of boredom!" Aang exclaims as he sits down across from her.
"So, what did they say?" Toph asks, trying to make conversation. She asked the wrong question, as Aang began talking about the meeting, going on for what to Toph seemed like hours about how useless the meeting was and how anyone who had ever dealt the Black Lotus would know what the meeting said.
"Wow. So I guess I missed a whole lot..." Toph mumbles at the end of Aang's rant. It was already nighttime outside, but the blind Earthbender didn't know that. The group hears sparks go off from the other room, startling both Aang and Tengu.
"What was that?" Aang asks, standing up into a ready position.
"Relax, it was just the spark candles that Sokka gave me. He said a friend of his designed them. It's to tell me that I need to go tell the servants to go light the lanterns on the grounds. I just don't feel like moving."
"Just tell them to open up the lanterns. I'll take it from there." Aang says, happy to do something.
"Sure... whatever you say." Toph gets up and alerts the servants, while Aang walks into the middle of the courtyard.
Aang inhales and begins shooting small fire balls out of his two fingers, each lighting the flame in one of the small lanterns. After he is finished, he quietly exhales while turning to walk back inside. He sees a black fog growing in front of the door back inside. He ignores how unusual it is and continues back towards the door. Eventually, the fog comes whipping towards him. Aang sends a swipe of air at the black blade, but the darkness pierces through his blade and knocks him to the ground. The blade forms into a dense ball and throws itself at Aang's chest, though Aang is able to dodge the ball. "Who is this?"
"It's your death, Avatar!" The voice seems to come from nowhere. The ball breaks apart into the dense fog again, and jets towards Aang. Aang creates a fire wall in front of him for protection, but the jet continues on. When the jet collides with Aang's fire wall, the resulting explosion knocks Aang into the wall separating the Bei Fong Mansion from the rest of Gaoling.
"What are you?" Aang mutters to himself as he rises. A silent man walks from the shadows.
"Hello, Avatar. I have heard about you. It seems you survived the last war... Congratulations. I'm here to make sure you don't survive this one!" The man thrusts his hands forward, and more of the black fog seems to emerge from the shadows where he was standing moments ago.
Aang propels himself out of the way and raises earth under the man. He does a back flip and lands on his feet a few yards away from where he just was. "Are you bending darkness?" Aang asks, confused at the dark art his opponent is performing.
"You could say that!" the assassin says as he sends another jet at Aang. Aang creates an air dome, and the jet seems to disperse. Before Aang can retaliate, a jet of air from the side knocks the assassin to the ground.
"Master, he's not bending darkness! He's just-" Tengu begins before he is knocked down by a dark jet. The fog forms back into a ball, and knocks Tengu out before flying towards Aang at the bender's direction.
Aang is hit by the ball, knocking him back once again. "What is that?" Aang says as he tries to catch his breath.
The bender brings the ball back towards him, stopping it and catching the ball in his hands. "It's my favorite weapon!" The assassin punches his hands forward, sending the ball moving closer to Aang. The ball stops halfway, and begins going at a faster speed towards the assassin. He is unable to stop it, and it crashes into his ribcage, shattering them all.
"Wow, what a wimp," comes the voice of Toph from behind him.
"Toph? How were you just bending that darkness?" Aang asks while moving over to check on Tengu.
"It wasn't darkness, it was coal. He was breaking it apart into coal dust and back into a large coal rock. You could have stopped it yourself too. You're getting sloppy, Twinkle Toes."
Aang ignores Toph's comment and carries Tengu inside. After nearly an hour, Tengu comes to, holding the gash left on his head. "What happened to Wuli?"
"What happened to who?" Toph asks sarcastically.
"The assassin. Did he kill anyone?" Tengu asks.
"No. We got to him before he killed anyone. Did you know him?"
"Yes. He was one of the Black Lotus' top stealth assassins. He bends coal dust to make it appear like he's bending darkness. He confuses his opponents, and uses his opponent's fear and panic to his advantage. He usually kills them before his victims discover his ability."
"I found it really quickly." Toph begins. "I waited after I heard all of the commotion outside, I waited, and couldn't figure out what he was doing. Then, when he took hold of the coal, I sensed that it was earth, so I moved in. I guess it was some good timing."
"Nice save, Toph. I guess if they're going to keep sending assassins, we'll have to stay here." Aang says, almost as if the words themselves are crushing his soul.
"You know Twinkle Toes, I can handle this on my own. If that's the best they've got for stealth, I've got this under control. You can go do whatever you want. You don't need to stay here."
"I didn't think that there would be any assassins. That was the only reason I would have gone back. No matter how much I want to leave, I'll have to stay here until the week time window is up."
Arrival in the night
Aang and Tengu stay at the Bei Fong Mansion for two days, patiently waiting for more assassins to arrive. In the middle of the night, a loud crashing sound wakes Aang, Tengu, and Toph up.
"It's more Black Lotus!" Aang yells as he grabs his staff and heads out of his room. Tengu and Toph meet him outside the house and the three run out towards the walls.
"There's a bunch of them!" Toph yells, sensing the group on the other side of the wall.
"I'll go through the door, Toph, you go underground, and Tengu you go over the wall. We'll surround them!" Aang orders.
Tengu unfolds his glider while putting his Sansetsukon in a ready position. "Yes, Master." Tengu says as he unfolds his glider and soars into the air. Toph simply nods before sinking into the ground. Aang sprints off, wrapping around the door while sending a swipe of air at the group, only to realize that they were Earth Kingdom soldiers.
"Sorry!" Aang says to one of the soldiers, helping him up from the ground.
"It's okay, Avatar. My name is Dun, and we were assigned by General Beipan to assist you."
"Why did he assign you guys days after the attack?"
"He didn't." a soldier from the background calls.
"Silence. We were ordered to get here as fast as we could. I'm sorry it took so long." Dun replies.
"You would have been more useful a few days ago," Toph mumbles.
"I'm sorry, my lady. Please forgive our tardiness."
"It's fine. I guess you should just go ahead and station yourselves here." Aang suggests, to which Dun nods.
The soldiers begins setting up their camp as Aang, Toph, and Tengu walk inside. "Sir, isn't that the Demon Bird?"
"I think it is. You're right Weng. That is the fabled Demon Bird. It seems someone has managed to cage him after all."
No Way Out
Aang sits at dinner with Tengu and Toph. "There haven't been any assassins since Wuli attacked us four days ago." Toph begins. "I'm almost getting bored."
"You know Toph, you're right. He didn't even come for your parents. He came for me. You clearly could handle yourself, since you killed him in under a minute. I'm going home. Tengu, you can choose where you're going." Aang gets up from his chair, picks up his staff at the door, and walks out of the house. "Good bye for now, Toph." He walks through the property, eventually ending up at the gate. When he opens the gate, he finds Dun waiting for him.
"Where do you think you're going, Avatar?" Dun taunts.
"I'm going home. Out of my way." Aang replies sternly, shooting Dun a deadly glare.
"No you don't, Avatar. It would be deserting if you leave now. You'd be letting the whole world down. Back inside." Dun replies to a shocked Aang. He stomps his feet and thrusts his hands forward, and the dirt under Aang's feet moves him back within the boundaries of the mansion. "And you'll stay there until the mission is done." Dun says almost sadistically as he slams the gate to the mansion. Aang stands that same place for ten minutes, thinking of whether or not he should leave or not. He remembers the wisdom of Yangchen, telling him his duty is to the world, and that he must stay. He walks back to the house, hanging his head low. He opens the door and slams it shut.
An Angry Avatar
Aang sits coldly at the dinner table in his small guest house on the Bei Fong property. Toph and Tengu were close by, eating their food while he sat in repose thinking about his wife all those miles away. His leg began shaking as he stared blankly.
"Hey Twinkle Toes!" Toph's loud and demanding voice shattered the silence in the room. "What's the matter? You're shaking the whole house!"
"Those soldiers. What's with them?" Aang yells, as if he wants everyone on the property to hear.
"Master, they are-"
"They're keeping everything dear from me!" Aang says as he pushes his chair out from the table. "Tengu, please bring me my meal later..." Aang mutters as he storms off to his room. Tengu looks awkwardly over towards Toph, who continues eating.
"Yes, Master," Tengu replies, although he knows he is being ignored.
Tengu perfectly understood his Master's sense of urgency. To him, the course of action was clear, but his support alone would not be enough to warrant success. He thought of a way to subtly seek Toph's support. He resorted to rhetoric: "Lady Toph, I do not know Master Aang as well as you, but do you think he is troubled?"
"Meh... he'll be fine." Toph replied, aloof as ever.
Aang sits for his daily meditation. His thoughts swirl around him: his wife, daughter, the New Air Nomads, the threat of War, and finally the Black Lotus. Aang feels the suffering the world has been put through during the Lotus war, and he connects this to the results of the previous war. The first victims of that war were his own people, as well as his friend and mentor. Gyatso was the perfect father-figure, perfect for everything he needed. Aang remembered a certain instance that applied very well to his situation.
"Aang, you might be the Avatar, but you need to-" Gyatso begins, only to be cut off by the shrill voice of a tormented boy.
"What do I need to know? I always have something new to learn. Why is it me? I don't want to be the Avatar!" he yelled.
"Aang, we must not concern ourselves with what was, we must act on what is. You are the Avatar. It is your job to maintain balance in the world. You must maintain balance within yourself to keep it in the world. You will have a close group of friends; we all do. I do want you to know this: You must always protect your loved ones. As the savior for the world, your loved ones will be in danger, and you mustn't let anything happen to them."
Aang's thoughts cleared, and he realized he had a choice to make: betray his family, or the orders he was expected to uphold. A knock on the door of his room cut his train of thoughts short.
"Master? I have brought your meal as you asked." The voice of Tengu was clear and strangely refreshing in the cramped room. "Am I interrupting something?"
"No, Tengu. Thank you for the meal," Aang replied, rising from his position on the floor and lighting the lanterns in the room. Tengu walks over to the table in the center of the room and places the simple vegetarian meal in front of a chair. Tengu turns to Aang and bows before walking out the door. "Tengu?"
"Yes, Master Aang?" Tengu's voice seemed calming now.
"Would you mind keeping me company?" Aang asked timidly. The voice seemed unfitting for the powerful Avatar that ended the War by forcing the very bending from the Fire Lord, and Tengu sensed the struggle inside him.
"Certainly, Master." Tengu walks back into the room and sits at the far end of the table. "Is something troubling you?"
"Yes. I just don't know what to do... Katara needs me, I know she does. But General Beipan and Dun expect to stay here. If I leave, I will look like I don't care about the world." Aang's turmoil made the lantern burn brighter, though Tengu's expression remained as solemn as before.
"Master, if I may speak freely..."
"Yes, you may." Aang snapped in the middle of the former assassin's sentence.
"Very well. Master, I have lost everything dear to me. My family was killed, I was branded a criminal while I was innocent, I sold my soul to take those of others. My wife and child were killed by the scars of my past. I would do anything if anyone dear to me needed me. That is what I have learned in my life time. You must protect the ones you love at all costs. Keep them dear forever..." A single tear flows down Tengu's face. "...like I should have done."
"So, you think I should leave?"
"What I think you should do is only my opinion. I have given you my advice, and you must do with it what you will."
"What about Toph? Will she be able to deal with the Black Lotus alone?"
"I have spent almost my entire life dealing with the Black Lotus. I know their style, and this is too unlike them. They have seen what Toph is able to do, and it would take someone like Des or Lu Ming himself to even deal with her. They are up to more important things. They have no need to go after Lady Toph's parents, they are insignificant targets, and too well guarded at that. I believe Gaoling is safe until Lady Toph leaves."
"I trust you, Tengu. Everything you said has made sense." Aang says nothing for almost an entire minute, staring just over Tengu's head to the wall right above. Tengu says nothing as well, he knows that it is not the right time.
"Tengu, I just want you to know, that I know you would have made a great father," Aang replies. Pausing briefly to both calm himself and to regain his thoughts, he sets forth the pair's plan of action. "We leave at midnight."
Aang and Tengu opt to leave Toph's house quietly, sneaking onto the roof with Airbending and walking quietly along the rooftop. The two jump off the roof to walk out the open gate, slowing their descent again through their bending. Not a minute after they touched the ground, the soldiers that ordered Aang's stay in Gaoling be prolonged arrived to stop their captives from leaving prematurely.
"What's wrong, Avatar? Do you sense some assassins, other than the one you keep with you at all times, that is..." Dun sneers.
Aang twirls his staff and sends a gust of air at Dun, blowing him and the soldier by him to the ground. "Tengu is a good man. Better than any of you!" Aang screams at the soldier.
"Men! The Avatar just defected! Let's bring him back in line!" the soldier says in an increasingly dark tone while rising to his feet.
The soldier quickly stomps and raises several boulders from the ground. The boulders are mostly directed towards Tengu. Tengu hops over the only boulder that came close to hitting him. "Right about now, Earthbending might have been useful after all..." Tengu muttered under his breath while drawing his Sansetsukon. Tengu's first strike was swift and brutal. Tengu's staff went under the legs of one of the soldiers, and he spun around and used the momentum to send the soldier behind him jetting in the other direction from an air blast. Aang's soldiers were faring little better, Aang's anger finally had a legitimate source to manifest itself on. The three readily available elements were being sent in every direction as Aang's fury blew away all of the soldiers Tengu wasn't already fighting.
"What are you waiting for? Get them!" Dun yells at his underlings. They were genuinely scared, as they were forced to decide between fighting the mighty Avatar or the infamous Demon Bird. They charged, each picking the Airbender they would end up losing to. Each soldier charging Aang was met with one of three elements, a fire blast, an air jet, or a torrent of land that indifferently blew the soldiers back. Tengu's soldiers were met with a more creative defeat: his Sansetsukon was just too flexible a weapon to repeat its motions. Tengu's staff swung in several different directions at once, knocking the soldiers onto the ground around him, falling stone cold at his feet.
Tengu jetted himself into the air swiftly, ignoring the soldier that was coming towards him. Lunging closer, the monk seizes Dun and pinning him to the ground, with his Sansetsukon on his throat. Aang expanded an air dome around his body, blowing the nearby soldiers all over the Bei Fong property, some onto roofs, others crashing into the mansion's walls. Aang walked towards Dun, raising earthen shackles around his limbs so Tengu could stand.
"Who ordered you to keep me here?" Aang asked the soldier, who stared at Aang's dark scowl.
"I have my orders, Avatar. Their origin doesn't matter, you are needed at this post, and you must obey your orders!" Dun replied. "These orders came from as high up as they go, and you're supposed to follow them!"
"Beipan. He did it." Aang coolly says in realization. Aang gets up and turns to face the exit of the Mansion. "Listen," he begins, clearly addressing the defeated soldier. "I'm leaving Gaoling. I will not take orders from some general!" the Avatar's words intimidated the captive, who remained bound by his earthen shackles.
"You're going to her, aren't you?" Tengu asked Aang.
"I need to. She needs me. Her and Sora... I won't let them down."
"What do you want me to do sir?" Tengu asks Aang, whose back remained turned. A sudden crash came from behind Tengu. A soldier went flying over Tengu and Aang's heads and landed several feet in front of Aang. The two turned to see the source, only to find a calm teenage girl standing in a fighting stance with a column of earth in front of her.
"You really are getting sloppy Twinkle Toes," Toph adds, sending the column back into the ground.
"Tengu, I think you should stay with Toph. I'm going to home."
"Listen, Twinkle Toes. I've got my parents protected fine. No assassin is just going to march in and kill them if I'm here!" Toph says triumphantly.
"I know, just in case." Aang replies, unfolding his seven year old glider and soaring off into the midnight sky.
"Good riddance!" Dun screams in the direction Aang flew off in.
"Good luck" Tengu corrects Dun as they watch Aang fly off in search of his wife.
"Yes, Lady Toph?"
"Go with him. I think you'll be needed. I can feel it in the way he's walking. His steps are shaking the ground more. I can't exactly describe it, but I know he'll be thankful that you're there."
"Yes, Lady Toph." Tengu bows and unfolds his glider, soaring off to follow his Master.
Tengu gets within easy speaking distance of Aang, who seems to be cold and distant. Tengu is almost certain that he hears a recurring noise, almost a whisper in the breeze. I will never let them down...The journey to the Southern Water Tribe was a long one, one that could have been made quicker by friendly conversation. The difference was more than clear; Aang's jovial personality had faltered, and a tense, protective person had stepped in to fill the void. He did not engage in any of his usual antics while flying: wind surfing with his glider, letting his feet hang loose, or performing flips. He stuck to the rigid gliding form and sped on ahead of Tengu, somehow going faster than Tengu could manage. Aang's cold expression matched the ever cooling landscape as the two flew towards the South Pole. His stern expression shocked Tengu, who didn't recognize the formerly happy-go-lucky young man who gave him a new life. Aang's aura worried Tengu. It was so drastically different that he wasn't sure as to the person he was flying with.
I will never let them down...
Several months before production began,contacted about guest writing a chapter for his series, . Dragon of The West didn't have a lot of information as to the content of the chapter, but told The Bos that he would know when he had more information. Months past, and eventually, after the publication of , Dragon of The West felt that it was time to begin publication. He gave The Bos information on the next two chapters, and the buildup to an eventual character climax.
The Bos began writing immediately after receiving the email on the subject of the chapter. He first came up with the idea of Aang being conflicted while talking to a soothing Tengu, and after a suggestion of Dragon of The West, he added a flashback to Gyatso. He then wrote a section with General Beipan, a general that was named just for this chapter. He wrote a scene with Katara, Sora, Tengu and Aang flying to Ba Sing Se on Appa, involving Aang experiencing the joy of fatherhood, as well as one with Tengu teaching Sora some basic Airbending moves. Dragon of The West later scraped these ideas, saying that he would rather explore those themes later in the series. The Bos removed all references to that section, while he added a new section about Aang and Tengu flying to Ba Sing Se instead.
The Bos came up with several new characters for this chapter. The first two that The Bos invented, General Beipan and Dun, were originally unnamed in the first several drafts.
- Beipan - Originally came up with first, he was clearly intended to be a reference to officials who were under qualified for their positions and constantly out of the loop.
- Dun - Came up with shortly after the beginning of writing and intended to show what a kiss-up can be like.
- Wuli - An idea The Bos came up with during 'work'. His Shadowbending is a small parody of The Bos' disbelief in the ideas of Shadowbending and/or Darkbending.
Eventually, the writing slowed, as The Bos suffered from prolonged periods of writers block, until he came up with the idea for the assassin, Wuli. After the after mentioned section was completed, The Bos quickly finished the remainder of the chapter, sending Dragon of The West his completed draft. Dragon of The West had some minor changes to suggest, and had a problem with Tengu's scene. The Bos made many of the changes suggested, yet requested that the Tengu scene remained unchanged. Dragon of The West agreed that the section was important, and said that it should stay.
- This is the second longest chapter has ever written, originally his longest prior to the writing of .
- The scene in which Aang lit lanterns was inspired by Zuko's lighting of the lanterns in "The Tales of Ba Sing Se."
For the collective works of the author, go here.
|Honor Thy Father Chapters|
| Hope Against Hope - A Change of Pace - Tainted Sanctuary - A New Home - Recovered - Empowered - When In Doubt - The Hunt - Full Moon - Reckonings - Sora
The Love of the Daughter - The Wasted Warrior, Part 1: Cycles- The Wasted Warrior, Part 2: Regrets- Daddy - The Charade, Part 1: The Shadow - The Charade Part 2: The Beast - The Charade, Part 3: The Fool - The Breakthrough - Redemption, Part 1: Dejection - Redemption, Part 2: Dominion