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|More from EarthQuetzal||Drama||PG-13||None||None|
|The Coming Storm|
Tenzin, son of Aang, gets disturbing warnings of an impending storm. Concerned, he travels to Republic City, visiting his friend Jin Lee. Jin Lee tells him about the Equalists, a rising organization that is using benders as scapegoats for the city's problems. The story begins.
Republic City, 170 AG
Tenzin meditated. The cool sea breeze washed over his face and the scents of autumn, crisp and spicy, lingered around him. He heard the sound of laughter in the distance. For a small moment, everything seemed to be perfect.
There's a storm coming.
Tenzin shuddered. For a moment the air seemed colder, the breeze eroding, and the scents of the season harsh. He breathed deeply and tried to resume his meditation.
Coming for you.
A bird's cry, brash and startling, rang in his ears. The leaves rustled. The wind picked up. He breathed deeper.
Coming for all of us.
His eyes flicked open. He glimpsed the Statue of Aang in the distance, watching over the Republic City harbor. Everything appeared to be completely calm. He shuddered again. The breeze chilled him. He stood up and wrapped his cloak around him. The twilight sky darkened. Night was approaching.
"Tenzin, dear, come in, won't you?" His wife's voice beckoned from the doorstep. "Dinner's hot and it's getting cold outside."
"I'll be right there." Tenzin, with a swift gesture of the wrist, rolled up his bamboo mat and recalled it to his hand. Head bent, he walked across the grass and stepped into the house.
The warm scents of cooking filled his nose. The soft glow of candlelight soothed him. Here, it was easy to forget the world's troubles.
"Daddy, look what I can do!" Ikki, his daughter, spun a little sphere of air and balanced it on her finger. His eldest daughter, Jinora, ran up to him and gave him a bright yellow begonia. Tenzin smiled. "You two are the best daughters in the world."
"What about me?" Meelo, his youngest, tugged at his cloak.
Tenzin picked him up. "Meelo, you are the most special of them all."
"Not fair!" Jinora and Ikki cried in unison.
Pema, his wife, walked into the room. "Come on, everyone, dinner's going to get cold. Whoever gets to the table first gets an extra moon peach for dessert!"
The kids all rushed to the table. Pema walked to Tenzin in the doorway. She planted a kiss on his cheek. "What's wrong?" she asked, noticing a frown.
"It's nothing." Tenzin smiled softly and took a seat at the table. "Mmm, spicy dumplings? Let's eat!"
It wasn't often that Tenzin visited the bustling mainland of Republic City, but his glider had broken and required repairs. His friend Jin Lee was an expert craftsman in the Business District who also liked to keep up on the latest news and events.
Perhaps I can find out what this storm really is.
Tenzin rigged the sails of his small boat and set out across the bay, passing under the massive statue of Aang, his father. Aang had been dead for only 17 years, but already people seemed eager for a new savior. And the current Avatar was nowhere to be found.
Republic City was a chaotic jumble of people and cultures, all crammed together. Tenzin got a headache just looking at it all. Airships clouded the sky, mooring on skyscrapers, trains roared past, and newly invented "automobiles" now crowded the streets. Tenzin remembered all too well why he didn't like to come here.
The sign above the door read "Jin Lee, son of Teo, Inventor and Craftsman." Tenzin quietly pushed it open. The workshop was hot and muggy, pipes and wires running up and down and across the ceiling, various inventions, parts, and pieces scattered everywhere, the harsh glare of electric light burning the eyes. Out of this veritable jungle came Jin Lee, a grinning, round faced man with thick sideburns, and a long beard. "Tenzin, my dear friend, what brings you here?" he asked in a gruff, but warm, voice.
Tenzin bowed politely. "Jin Lee, esteemed friend, my glider has broken. I thought perhaps you could repair it?"
"Well, you've certainly come to the right man!" Jin Lee laughed heartily. Tenzin handed him the glider and he laid it on a large table. "Aah, the rods. Delicate mechanisms. These won't be too hard to fix." He started to pull tools off a shelf.
"So, what's the latest news from Republic City?" Tenzin asked.
Jin Lee began pounding the rods with a hammer. "Damn Equalists. Tryin' to use benders as scapegoats for all the city's problems."
"Yeah, the bender-haters. Surprised you haven't heard of 'em. They've become popular in the last few months. Say benders are the source of the world's problems and need to be removed."
Tenzin was shocked. I thought benders were welcomed in Republic City. Could this be the storm?
"Two benders founded this city! Why on earth would anyone blame them?"
"Republic City isn't perfect, Tenzin. Crime rates r' high. Pollution's becoming a problem. There's tension between the four races. Equalists wanted somebody to blame."
"What about the police? Chief Bei Fong is a bender herself!"
"Oh, they're tryin' to keep the Equalists quiet. But their forces are stretched so thin these days. Plus, the Equalists have free speech. Can't rightly arrest 'em, can they? The Equalists 'r just rabble-rousers, Tenzin. Probably just a passing stench. I wouldn't worry too much. Now here's your glider." Jin Lee handed Tenzin the fixed glider. Tenzin smiled hastily.
"Thanks, old friend. How much do I owe you?"
"Owe me! Ha! My services are yours free anytime, friend. Now try to stay out of trouble!"
"Of course. Thanks for everything." Tenzin turned and stepped into the street.
On his way back to the harbor, he passed through a bustling plaza. Amid the pedestrian traffic were a group of people wearing dark armor and white masks. One of them was standing on a stack of crates, shouting. Tenzin could only pick up some of his voice: "...down with benders! Save the city from peril!"
"Extra, extra!" A paper boy held up a copy of Republic City Guardian. "Extra, extra! All about the Equalists!"
Tenzin strode over and bought a copy. He stared at the headline.
EQUALIST MOVEMENT GAINS POWER
He flipped the page.
AN EQUALIST REPUBLIC CITY? TENSIONS GROW
There's a storm coming.
For the collective works of the author, go here.