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|The Final Showdown, Part 2|
3 February 2012
This is part two of the final showdown in.
After a first day which saw a lot of draws, the ceasefire agreements end in the morning across the nations, resparking the battles. Who will win?
The battles will be seen to their conclusions, but results likely won't appear until chapter sixteen to create the setup for that chapter.
Once again, there will be scenes of battle violence, containing graphic descriptions such as bloodshed and death. Therefore, this chapter is again rated PG - 13. Reader discretion is advised.
Fire Nation, nearing 07:00
Overnight, clouds had swarmed in over the Capital, making for a cooler day than the previous at the currently dormant battlefield. However, in just a few moments, the fight was about to begin again. Only this time, Aang and Zuko would be along to assist the Rebel movement. Further, the lead Rebel generals were going to compete with their army. Chances were that this would be the day all was decided.
General Azai was currently busy rallying the Rebel troops. Meanwhile, Tizou and Bujing were feeding the Avatar and the possible Fire Lord some strategy.
"You will travel in a tank with us," Tizou said. "We will be the lead tank, and us generals will take the shots. When we instruct you two, jump out and begin the fighting. Avatar Aang, you take the left flank. Fire Lord Zuko, you take the right. We'll make our way up the center of the field. When we get to the mountain, we'll re-unite and march upwards. By midday, we should be near the wall. In the afternoon, we'll have made it into the city. Just help us along, we will surround the Royal Palace and force Zorro to step down. At that point, you will again be Fire Lord, Zuko."
"Just one thing," Zuko said. "Myself and Aang have our friends and loved ones to re-meet in the Earth Kingdom when this is all said and done. I request of you, as the eventual Fire Lord, to allow us to do so. This way, any segments of Zorro's army, you can also eliminate."
Tizou nodded. "Anything you desire, sir. We'll watch over the nation while you are gone. However, try to be back within three days so we can re-crown you as Fire Lord."
"As you wish," Zuko said.
"What are the chances of Zorro and Ezan joining the fight?" Aang asked.
"I was about to point that out, Avatar," Bujing answered. "It is reasonable to expect those two to make their way to the battle. Zorro will do anything to rule this nation and take the world over. If I were you and/or Zuko, I would be prepared. I would say about a 70% chance those two enter."
"Needless to say, we'll deal with those two when the time comes," the Avatar stated.
A series of alarm bells rang out in the ship, indicating that the battle was about to start. Indeed, the domestic forces were charging down the mountain and to the Royal Plaza. With that, the Rebels moved to the plaza to prepare to take them on. Azai made his way to where the four were located in seconds. "To the tank! Zorro's men are coming!"
Quickly, they all placed on some armor, equivalent to what all Rebel soldiers wore. They ran to the tank they were to be in, sealing its doors tight. Aang and Zuko sat and waited for their chance.
It was just as destiny commanded them.
One fight...for the world.
A nearby clock tower in the Capital tolled seven bells.
It was now or never.
Within seconds, the Rebels and the domestic forces began their clashing all over again, just like yesterday. Further, Zorro took to the balcony on the Royal Palace to prepare for his personal victory day. "They don't want to leave? Then they all shall perish at my hands."
Little did he know the tricks the Rebels had up their sleeves.
Southern Water Tribe, 08:00
The sun hanged high in the sky, not a cloud in sight. It provided some warmth to the arctic climate of the Southern Water Tribe. The battlefield was cleaned away last night; some men were now headed home, either unfit to continue or perhaps deceased.
Every fitting soldier marched to the defense line that had not yet been broken the Fire Nation military after the first day of fighting. It was almost time to go; the ceasefire was almost over.
At the Chief's home, it was another day of preparations. Chief Hakoda and his children were ready to go. Hakoda and Sokka each finished off placing their armor on with the wolfhead helmets. Katara placed small shields over her gloves, some taping on the upper half of her arms. Her boots also had some of the protective padding on them, and she filled three water skins to essentially their max capacity.
On board a Fire Navy ship, Baktan placed on the same shielding that most Water Tribe warriors head, including the wolfhead's helmet. Kianna filled her water skins to their capacity, and prepared for a heavy fight. If needed, these two were going to come in and take care of their business, so to speak.
The children of the Chief were fed their own strategies by Bato. "All right, you two will join myself and your father at the front lines, as you may have figured. You will be subject to our commands as needed. However, should the individual Meteorologists enter the battle, per your request, we allow you two take them on. Today, however, I ask that you try to stay with us. We may very well be the most valuable fighters."
"What if there's someone hurt?" Katara asked. "I have healing abilities...I can help. You know that, Bato."
Bato took a heavy sigh. "Katara, we should not need your healing abilities for this fight; we need more of your combative abilities today. However, should the number of wounded increase to a number that our nurses can't handle, we shall call on you for healing."
Katara's personality was always to help those in need. However, she could also see that her entire people were in need, and fighting this battle to its conclusion was just as important as healing the wounded. She had become a symbol of hope in the South: The last Waterbender, but also a master and the one who managed to conquer Fire Princess Azula. "All right, Bato. If that's what my position is, so be it."
"I don't want to turn up the pressure," Bato resumed, "but I think it's suffice to say that most of this tribe is counting on you two today."
"Hey, we've been in the face of the entire world counting us," Sokka replied. "We'll be ready."
Bato idly nodded, and then they all prepared to meet the Chief once more.
The strategy Hakoda had thought up was simple. Fight as hard as possible, and never give up, even if he were to be the last warrior standing. Hiyoki had stated the possibility of surrender nevertheless, but Hakoda refused. He was not about to let his tribe fall once more.
Soon, Bato, Katara and Sokka joined Hakoda outside the chief's home.
"Katara, Sokka," Hakoda began. "I'm not going to say much else to you today. I'm already proud of you kids as is. Whatever you do today is essentially icing on the cake. However, I have the utmost confidence in the both of you to do well. Sokka, there is a reason I appointed you my successor. Show them why you can't mess with two Water Tribe geniuses."
Sokka nodded with a look of confidence. "You got it, Dad."
"Katara," Hakoda resumed, "you show them just why Pakku declared you a Waterbending master at such a young age, and that you're not just smoke and mirrors. Show them why this tribe made you a symbol of hope."
"I will," Katara said with a nod.
"Remember...everyone's watching us," Hakoda began his closing statement. "Our tribesmen and women, and all of our loved ones...those who are here, those who are in other places...and even those that have departed."
Katara and Sokka each looked at their wristbands which recalled the memory of Ty Lee, and each thought of their mother. They had come so far, though, to let those losses drag them down. It was time to fight.
Admiral Xian, despite his misgivings, again led his men off the ship, making their way to where the battlefield was positioned yesterday. Today, they intended on taking the Southern Water Tribe once and for all, a land Zorro once described as "an icy pest".
Katara, Sokka, Bato and Hakoda moved to the front lines. As they got there, a soldier jumped orders and shot a fireball, wounding a tribal warrior. Another tribesman, apparently of Northern origin, blasted snow at a small group of Xian's forces. With that, everyone again got to fighting, just like yesterday.
"Stay close, everyone!" Hakoda commanded. "We're in for a wild day."
Katara and Sokka seemed extra-motivated, perhaps from the last words Hakoda gave them before approaching the battlefield. Sokka charged into the heart of the attack and began cutting down Fire Nation forces like they were trees. Katara was throwing water in all directions, quickly forming the octopus stance and taking out groups of soldiers.
Within moments, Fire Nation soldiers were already falling back to beyond the second defense line.
"Where the heck did those two get that fire in their hearts?" A Fire soldier asked Xian.
"I don't know..." Xian replied. "This is exactly what I was worried about, though."
Earth Kingdom, 09:00
"All right!" Fong yelled. "Everyone listen up! I want one-quarter of the forces to return to my base! By order of the Earth King and the Council of Five, my base has been placed at priority level one, the highest importance! Everyone else, remain at the front lines and await further instruction!"
With that, multiple forces began to retreat back towards the base. The four members of Team Avatar decided to choose one of their members to fall back with the military.
"What do you think?" Mai asked. "Who should go?"
"I'll volunteer," Reeaki stated. "As the only Firebender, I feel like I would make a solid last line of control as I can match their forces move for move. Also, I have one secret move up my sleeve to stop them."
"What's the big secret?" Suki wondered out loud.
"Hopefully you won't have to see," Reeaki answered. "It's a dangerous move that's meant mostly for a desperate situation. All I will tell you is that involves Weatherbending."
"You sure you can take them on?" Toph asked.
"If it comes down to it, I will," Reeaki again answered, confidence ringing out in his voice. "I came here with a destiny...to stop these guys. I know I will not fail. My home has been calling...but for now, this situation needs fixing. Good luck, you three. I have the utmost confidence in your abilities."
The remaining three nodded. With that, Reeaki entered a tank train and went with the retreating Earth Kingdom forces to Fong's base.
The other forces who would defend the rest of the land stood out over a cliffside, waiting for the Fire Nation military to climb the mountain. In a few moments, Fire Nation tanks and komodo rhinos began to grow closer.
Toph jumped out to the front of the forces as the Fire Nation neared the cliff. She then joined two other Earthbenders in shooting out several pillars of rock, knocking back some of the tanks. The tanks crushed groups of soldiers as they fell back, giving the Earth Kingdom an early lead.
"Charge!" General Shang commanded his men, and they all sped up as quickly as they could to avoid the attacking Earthbenders. Some of the rhinos destroyed the rocks, and then the tanks shot out chains which hooked them to the cliff. Using these chains, the tanks climbed the cliff, forcing the Earth military to start falling back to a safer distance until they were up the wall. Fire came flying from the tanks, causing Earth Kingdom soldiers to fall to their knees. Other Earthbenders jumped out of their tank trains, starting their counterattack on the Fire Nation.
"I guess it's game on," Suki stated, and she jumped towards the front lines as the Fire Nation and Earth Kingdom forces started to blend in to each other's lines. The Kyoshi Warrior quickly took out two Firebenders with chi blocking. However, a third came upon her, and he proved too quick for her. She tried to get in jabs but he was a fast dodger, drawing the two out the main battle, forcing a duel. Suki, however, was fast as well. She dodged every one of his fire blasts, and even broke some of them up with her fans. She then drew her katana, and went in low, towards his ankles. The edge of the katana's blade tripped up the Firebender, even cutting him. Suki quickly disabled his chi and moved along, keeping her katana near to her.
Toph was also working her Earthbending magic within the heat of the battle. Her seismic sense gave her that key advantage that most didn't, being able to detect the opposition's movement before anyone else. The blind Earthbender got towards a tank, and put her Metalbending to work. She destroyed the wheels and axles of the tank by manipulating them to a bent-up mess, thus disabling them. She quickly defeated the Firebenders within using a few boulders, and proceeded to bend the metal off the tank into a shield for herself. She used the remaining metal from the tank to capture an entire brigade of Fire Nation forces, capturing them all within the metal.
"Nicely done, miss Bei Fong," a nearby Earth Kingdom general said. "That said, we need you a bit to your east."
Toph removed the metal shielding and followed the general's movements. "Anything to take down more of these kooks," she added along the way.
Mai was faring better than she was yesterday in the early going of the fight. At one point, she had been surrounded by four Fire Nation soldiers, but with a quick draw of her fist, four darts came flying out and wounded all of her opponents. A low flying fire blast knocked her to the ground, but when a komodo rhino carrying two Firebenders came at her, she raised her right leg and shot another pair of darts out from the ankle of her shoe, one hitting the rhino in its eye, and the other taking off its commanding soldier. The rhino went ballistic, and was forced to sleep by another Fire Nation soldier as it began hitting a nearby tank. Mai was quickly becoming her usual challenge to any soldier.
However, times change.
The day was far from over.
Fire Nation, 10:00
So far in the Royal Plaza, it was the status quo from yesterday. There was mixed success for each side, but no one was picking up any significant ground to note. Fire was flying in all directions, each side getting their blows. A few soldiers on each side were dead, some wounded had retreated back to their respective sides.
Seeing the fight continue to go no where, the Rebel generals decided it was time to reach into their sleeves. Aang and Zuko waited long enough.
"Ready!" Tizou declared, as he brought the tank they were traveling in to a stop. "3...2...1...GO!"
Aang burst open the top of the tank with a blast of air. Quickly, the Avatar and his friend emerged from the tank, and got into the battlefield.
"The Avatar!" A domestic soldier yelled out. "And the former Fire Lord!"
Quickly, the domestic forces turned around and saw the two young men standing out in front of the Rebels' lead tank. Within moments, several domestic soldiers moved around Aang and Zuko, the two standing back to back with attacking stances. As their opposition started to surround them, they each looked at each other with a smirk, and then began fighting Zorro's men.
Aang was swift. Using his staff, he gathered up a fast breeze and blew back several of his opponents. The others tried to Firebend at the young Avatar, but he spun his staff around and the fire was quickly dissolved. He then kicked up some rock that made up the plaza floor and sent them flying away. The soldiers hit the city walls hard, knocking some of them out. Soon, Aang gathered up some water from the nearby ocean, and got up an octopus form of his own. This octopus form Aang formed was strong, dissolving any fire blast that came at him. He then threw out a few soldiers, fighting as his hardest. If there was any rust on the young Avatar with the lack of fighting over the last couple of years, it was not showing.
Zuko was fighting with fury in his heart. These were the men that were supporting the man who had taken his nation from him, and he wanted all of them gone, desiring to waste no time in getting to Zorro. Fire shot from his fists without relent, sending several of Zorro's men away from him. Others were left burned alive, dead upon Zuko's shots. One domestic soldier managed to trip him up, but all that the furious young man did, was spin around and shoot fire from his feet, knocking out all of his opponents. He then got up and mounted a komodo rhino, seizing control of it. He quickly trekked into the domestic forces and shot fire in all directions, defeating most of the soldiers that came before him. Within moments, it appeared that ten soldiers were dead at Zuko's hand. He then used fire whips to clear away more soldiers.
With Aang and Zuko tearing into Zorro's forces, the Rebel Army began to charge up through the open gaps, making their way through the Royal Plaza and then quickly up to the base of the mountain as Zorro's men were in full retreat. They could not even get a shot in now, as the two new entrants were proving too fearsome. As the Rebels moved forward over the next several minutes, Aang caught sight of Zuko and made his way next to the komodo rhino that the ex-Fire Lord was riding. The generals positioned their tank in the middle of them, they were all now leading the Rebel march up the mountain, on the way to the Capital.
Zorro watched the battle turn, still on the balcony of the Royal Palace. General Fuang quickly came running back to his supervisor, left breathless. "Fuang, you had better tell me why those Rebels are marching up the mountain!"
"Sir..." Fuang began. "I hate to say this...but...the Avatar and Zuko...have joined the fight."
Zorro gathered up a fist of flame and slammed it into a nearby wall. "Are you kidding me, general!? And no one is even trying to stop them? This is sickening! You'd better get those men into attack position again! The Fire Nation has defeated the Avatar, and we will do it again! ATTACK!"
Fuang nodded and left the Royal Palace, returning to the battle site.
Hearing all the commotion, Ezan headed out to his close friend. "Everything okay, Zorro?"
"Not exactly," Zorro replied, pointing Ezan to the rapidly approaching Rebel Army.
Ezan looked down at the Rebels climbing up the mountain, his look one of disbelief. "Wait a moment...weren't they just down at the Royal Plaza about an hour ago?"
"That's until we had a couple of party crashers," Zorro replied sternly. "Looks like we might have a fight to join soon enough...the brats returned." He glared out at the battle sight poisonously.
The fight continued, the Rebels winning the day.
It was a matter of how long it would last.
Southern Water Tribe, 11:00
The Fire Nation Military was back towards the first defense line, almost totally driven out by the combined forces of the Water Tribes and Earth Kingdom. They were fighting with extra energy, the momentum from Katara and Sokka at the start of the fight carrying over to the rest of the forces. Quite a number of Fire forces were killed, with very few losses for the other side.
Katara and Sokka were unscathed so far in the early going, having defeated multiple forces. The two teamed up and were knocking out men like there was no tomorrow. The Fire Nation needed some sort of break; Katara was overtaking the opposition with her mastery in Waterbending. She had just finished up another run with the octopus stance which defeated six more Fire Nation soldiers.
A distance away, Hakoda was leading his men through the harsh opposition. He had lost a couple of men, as mentioned earlier. Regardless, they had the momentum as things stood at this point in time.
However, things were about to change. Admiral Xian held back a reserve of forces in the event that what he had prepared for that day; a potential rough fight. He knew that the Water Tribes, combined with the Earth Kingdom, were going to be a challenge. They had gotten loose yesterday, and after initial struggles, had shown signs of bouncing back in the second half of action. As a result, Xian prepared a reserve to release if the momentum surge continued for his opponents. However, he knew he needed another advantage. As a result, he went to the last two people he had waiting.
"You want us to jump in now?" Baktan asked. "Are you sure, Admiral?"
"Have you two even looked at the battlefield lately? Right now we are in serious trouble," Xian stated. "Those children of the chief have energized the opponents! We need you two...you are each powerful Waterbenders, and can offset them. Also, it will provide us an extra spark to drive the opposition back."
Kianna equipped her water skins to her back. "Very well. If you need us...so be it. I can take care of the girl. Once we get them...the fight is all yours."
The two Northerners made their way to the battlefield, leaving Xian behind. They each wore a Fire Navy helmet to distinguish themselves from the other Water Tribe soldiers fighting. In a moment, Kianna drew up some water whips and froze one of them to Baktan's sword. Baktan charged into the battlefield and began cutting down other tribesmen rapidly. With one swing, three soldiers were cut in their midsections and fell to the ground, hemorrhaging blood. They died within seconds. Next, Kianna came in and drew moisture from the atmosphere. She took this moisture and froze it into ice spikes. Using a komodo rhino as a personal lift to see her shot, she rained the spikes down on the opposition, and several soldiers, Water Tribe and Earth Kingdom alike, were struck down.
The loss of soldiers were a shock to their allies, forcing them to slow down. They could now see they were dealing with forces of their own nationality against them.
Katara looked towards a komodo rhino, and could see in the distance it was indeed Kianna. The young Waterbender knew that Kianna would be her fight when the time came. She glared ahead at her, now almost like she was daring her to move towards her.
Over the next several moments, the influence of Kianna and Baktan began driving the combined forces of Water and Earth backwards. They fell towards the second defense line in a hurry. The momentum swung to the side of Admiral Xian, as Firebenders were again burning buildings and soldiers. A quick rush of Southern tribesmen was making its way towards the healing huts, straining the on-duty nurses. Many tribesmen were severely cut or burned. Baktan led the way for Kianna, cutting down more soldiers. He was probably more dangerous than Kianna at that moment. Regardless, Kianna continued to rain ice spikes down.
"At this rate, we might not need to deal with those two," Baktan said to Kianna.
"I'm not going to stay too sure about that," Kianna replied. "Keep your guard up, Baktan."
Earth Kingdom, 12:30
The battle was unrelenting as the sun crested in the sky. It had gotten harsh over the last 90 minutes, as the soldiers rounded into shape for the day. The landscape nearby was ablaze as the result of multiple series of fire balls going across the battlefield, all that had been aimed at Earth Kingdom forces throughout the day. Bodies littered the ground around the fighters, but still many forces stood.
"Fire!" An Earth Kingdom soldier yelled, and a series of rocks were propelled off a catapult and towards a Fire Nation brigade. However, the brigade's lead Firebenders charred the rocks to harmless ashes.
"Counter!" The brigadier general yelled, and a series of catapults launched flaming earth back at the Earthbenders, forcing them to scatter.
The battlefield was currently about midway to Fong's base and backing up closer to it. The Fire Nation was winning the day since the battle began, especially with some Earthbenders feeling a loss of morale because of the fall of the mining village the day before.
"For the Earth Kingdom...attack!" Tyro yelled, and him and a few Earthbenders started to use an earlier crafted Earth shield for an offensive. The pieces of rock flew in all directions, hitting some of the Fire Nation soldiers, but they were mostly destroyed by a series of flames. The Earth Kingdom was struggling offensively, getting less and less blows out as the morning faded to the afternoon.
For the three Team Avatar members there, some additional weight was now on their soldiers, especially Toph. With some of the more elite Earthbenders having been defeated. The young blind girl was now more than likely the best Earthbender left for the Earth Kingdom side. However, it would take much more than some pressure to phase her. She stepped up, and using some leftover rock from the earlier shield, she formed another suit of armor for herself. Knowing some of the opposing soldiers wouldn't see her, she waited for them to get close, and then blasted some rocks quickly, knocking out several of her opponents. After she was done, she bent an earth pillar up and evaded some fire blasts and shots of arrows from a couple of Yu Yan Archers who had followed Zorro's army. Toph then re-joined some Earthbenders and the group fired another series of rock pillars, shoving back some Fire Nation forces.
Mai and Suki weren't quite faring as well. Suki had some of her shielding burned by a fire blast an hour ago, forcing her into more of a defensive. She had also lost one of her fans; it was dropped and a Fire Nation soldier managed to take it and keep it in his grasp. Further, one of her ankles appeared to have been twisted or sprained while ducking fire blasts; she had landed awkwardly on her right ankle when jumping over a low blast. She had not yet been physically harmed, but time was running short. Mai was starting to run low on weaponry. She continued throwing sais and daggers with reckless abandon, but she was down to a little under half of her supply. She failed to retrieve these weapons as she was moving faster than ever before in battle.
The two girls were basically borrowing off each other's energy and abilities. The Fire Army had sent more groups of soldiers at them, seeing how weak they were starting to get. Suki could not chi-block effectively on an apparent bum ankle, and Mai had to be more conservative. A group of five, mixed benders and non-benders, came at them. Suki tossed her other fan at a non-bender, hitting him in the stomach and sending him to the ground for a short time. This gave the Kyoshi Warrior leader enough time to block his chi. However, a Firebender moved in and caught her with a blast of fire, burning her left arm. Mai moved in and tossed two sais at the bender, cutting him just over his eye and also on his right arm. This time, she quickly retrieved the weapons and resumed fighting. She defeated another non-bender the same way.
A distance away, Reeaki waited with other Earth Kingdom forces. "I have a bad feeling," the world crossover muttered. "After all the bad that happened yesterday...something just irks me. I think we'll be fighting today."
"Try not to think about that too much," Fong said. "If we have to do so...we fight. Just....be ready if they do come."
Reeaki looked straight ahead, waiting for his destiny.
Fire Nation, 14:00
The mountain trek had come to an end for the Fire Nation Rebel Army. Any battlements that were there had been quickly disabled by the empowered Rebels, who felt a great sense of confidence and momentum with Aang and Zuko now leading the way. The two had suffered only some minor wounds along the way, not slowing down their fighting, helping the Rebels charge up the mountain. Zorro's forces continued to back up further and further, eventually reaching the caldera gates.
Inside the Fire Nation Capital, alarms in the forms of gongs and bells were being sounded. "Get inside!" Some of the law enforcement officials yelled to citizens as the battle got further and further towards the Royal Caldera City. "This is an emergency! We want no citizens outside!"
The people of the Capital began retreating to their homes or other structures as the battle began to close in on them. It was not going to be long before the Caldera City became the battlefield. The domestic forces retreated inside the wall, closing it off.
Outside the gates, Tizou, Bujing and Azai left their tank for the time, and took to the front of the forces. "We haven't much time to speak," Tizou said. "Let me just tell you that we need to go straight ahead for the Royal Palace. Zorro's forces will be coming harder than ever; this is it. This is their last stand. Keep fighting as hard as you can. Victory is upon us! Avatar...destroy this wall!"
Aang went into the Avatar State, his tattoos and eyes briefly glowing before they returned to their normal state, indicative of his control over the dangerous move. He combined Earthbending and Airbending to shatter a large hole in the wall. The Rebel Army moved through and into the city.
The fighting quickly resumed; as Tizou said, Zorro's forces were waiting for the Rebels. Fire went in all directions, but once again Aang and Zuko were the key factors. The Avatar kicked up a small tornado of air, firing it at Zorro's men. Several of them were blasted back as quickly as they appeared, giving the Rebels a further opening. They continued to charge up the city, moving ever so closer to the Royal Palace. Zuko was perhaps fighting even harder than Aang. He was punching out fireballs at a rapid pace, charring several of Zorro's men. He could feel his energy coursing through him fast and furious, his desire to regain his nation clearly in his mind.
At the Royal Palace, Zorro was running out of options. He was watching his army back further and further up, watching their numbers dwindle. He could see that the Rebels had the numbers, and the disparity was growing. He came to one final conclusion, his close friend Ezan at his side.
"Ezan...we're going in."
"Are you sure?" Ezan asked.
"Yes," Zorro declared. "The Avatar and that no-good brat are down there. If we stand by, they will just continue to raze down our army, along with the rest of those no good Rebels. We need to fight, use our mastery to start carving up the Rebel Army. Then, we will need to track those two down. It is time. This is what Ozai, Azulon and Sozin would want. As I told Fuang, the Fire Nation has defeated the Avatar before. We'll do it again now."
The two men made their way down the Palace stairwell, then outside to the doorway. Zorro gave simple instruction to the guards. "Get everyone out here and surround the Royal Palace now."
The two guards followed Zorro's orders, rounding up everyone as the Fire Lord and his friend came towards the battlefield. They mounted a komodo rhino that had been provided as an alternative to the palanquin. The two men quickly rode up towards General Fuang, who was still at a distance from the fight, watching his men retreat further and further. He looked up, and grew surprised to see them. "Sir? What are you and Ezan doing?"
"I've seen enough of this foolishness," Zorro started. "Ezan and I are joining this fight, effective now. We will take care of the Avatar and that sad excuse for Fire Nation royalty."
"Are you s--" Fuang was cut off.
"Yes!" Zorro snapped, and him and Ezan rode into the battlefield. Soon, they got to work against the Rebel Army, seeking out their key opposition. For now, they were to defend their nation. They charged up each of their attacks before striking, making sure they would deliver as hard of blows as they could. These charged attacks, in the form of fireballs and fire discs, began wreaking havoc on the Rebels. Most of them could not get out of the way quickly, burning them if not to death, at least severely so.
"Over there!" Bujing yelled, seeing the large flashes of fire. "It's Zorro!"
The other generals looked to see the leader of the komodo rhino wearing the royal robing and Fire Lord headpiece. It was indeed the man they were targeting, along with who they assumed to be Ezan.
Aang and Zuko looked to see large fires in the middle of where Rebel Army formations once were. They were now scattering, with the domestic army getting some momentum of their own. "I think we found our battle," Zuko said to Aang. "Look for that komodo rhino."
The two leaders went on the run, searching for their opposition. It wasn't long before they found them, attempting a devastating move. They each hopped off their rhinos and began to gather up lightning. The Avatar and the hopeful Fire Lord moved quickly to the front them and prepared a redirecting stance.
Zorro stopped his generation, as did Ezan. The Fire Lord smirked evilly. "Well, well, well...looks like the spirits were kind enough to deliver me the spoiled brat and his little friend, the Avatar."
"Stand down, Zorro," Zuko declared. "Your time as Fire Lord ends today."
"You have threatened the balance of this world for the last time," Aang followed up with, pointing his staff at the two men. "Time for you each to go."
"You want this nation so bad?" Ezan asked. "Then you'll have to fight us for it!"
"Make my day," Zuko said with an angry look, preparing a Firebending stance.
The rest of the armies retreated from the incoming duel, and their fight would spread through the Capital, playing a game of catch-up with each other.
Zorro took the first shot in the duel. It was a simple fire blast at Zuko which was augmented. Aang took the next shot, bending out some rock from within the ground, and shooting it at the two men. However, they moved in opposite directions, allowing the pieces of earth to slide on by harmlessly. Zuko followed his up with a fire stream, but Zorro was quick with a fire shield to deflect the flames. It looked like this was going to be a pretty even fight, but potentially the one which decided the entire fate of the Fire Nation. The Rebels had just lost a good portion of their number advantage when Zorro and Ezan devastated their forces. Whoever won would provide a large advantage back to their side, if just in momentum.
Regardless, the fight was on.
Southern Water Tribe, 15:00
The Water Tribe and Earth Kingdom were starting to fade. They had fallen back to the fourth defense line, leaving just one more before they reached the village center. If the Fire Nation made it here, surrender would become almost inevitable. They would be able to take out the key components of the South Pole, including the Chief's home.
Kianna and Baktan were ruthless. They had kept up devastating moves for periods of ten to twenty minutes, wiping out sections of forces. Blood was splattered all over, as their moves literally cut down their opposition. Many men were dead, and it wouldn't be long before they reach the vital forces, including the Southern royalty.
Katara and Sokka had been pulled to the back lines by decision of Hakoda, who had also been pulled back at the request of Hiyoki and Earth Kingdom General Gala. Gala was out of the fight; he had been cut severely on his arm by an ice spike. Seeing the danger, he put in the word to Hiyoki that called Hakoda out of the front lines.
"What are we going to do..." Hiyoki muttered. "Those two are dangerous."
"This needs to stop," Sokka stated. "They want us. I know they do."
"Dad, please..." Katara requested. "Let us back into the fight. Kianna has always targeted me. Not only has she been killing soldiers but she has also been destroying homes, and even I think I saw her kill a young girl. Like Sokka said, this needs to stop!"
"I don't want to risk either of you two," Hakoda said. "You know how much you children mean to me. It was hard enough being away from you for two years."
"Chief, with all due respect, your children are not little anymore," Hiyoki said. "They have traveled the world, have been through the feeling of being counted on by the world. These people are looking up to them. I think they need to go back in. Your daughter is correct, Kianna and Baktan are attacking to get to her and your son."
Hakoda sighed and took a second to think. He then gave a nod. "All right. However...if they go in...I go back in as well. Deal?"
"Deal," Hiyoki said.
"Be weary," Gala warned. "You'll have to get to them quick. It won't be long before they break the final defense line and get to the village center."
The three nodded, and returned to the main battlefield.
Kianna and Baktan were continuing to wage devastation. Another three Water Tribe soldiers were struck by ice spikes, killing them on impact. Katara, Sokka and Hakoda walked through the puddles of blood, seeking whatever opposition they needed.
"There!" Hakoda pointed out the komodo rhino where two Water Tribe citizens were on, but wearing Fire Nation helmets. "There's your opposition. Good luck, you two. I know you will do well."
Katara and Sokka quickly hugged their father and went out to the battlefield. "Stay behind me, Sokka," Katara said. "I have a plan."
The Waterbender drew a large quantity of water from her water skin, and soon the water crawled up her arms. She then wore the arms of water and got to a position onto the side of the komodo rhino. Reaching her arms out, the water came far off of her arms in a whipping motion, and knocked Kianna and Baktan off it. The rhino ran away for a distance before a Fire soldier got control of it.
Kianna and Baktan each lost their helmets as they fell to the ground. They then looked forward to see Katara and Sokka standing, each with a focused position. The Northern citizens rose to their feet and stared the siblings down.
"Look who came for a rematch," Kianna said to Katara. "Word on the street is you miss your best friend. I think you won't have to wait long to re-join her."
"I might miss her," Katara replied, "but I'll assure you that I won't be rejoining her today."
"We can make this easy," Baktan spoke with a devious tone. "Just you two surrender right now, and we won't have to do what we've been doing. I don't think you want to fight us."
"Clearly, you have just half of a mind," Sokka said as he drew his sword. "You have already taken one nation, that's one too many. We will not let you walk into our home and take it from us."
"Then if it's a fight you'll want, it's a fight you'll get!" Baktan yelled, and took the first attempt at Sokka. He charged with his sword, but Sokka threw his sword up and cut him off. The two began a sword fighting duel.
"Don't think we'll be watching, little girl," Kianna declared to Katara. With that, she fired a blast of water at her opponent, but Katara stopped it and redirected it, hitting Kianna and knocking her down.
"You have killed the innocent, Kianna," Katara said with a mean look. "Those are just some of the people who I fight for." She pointed to the initials "T.L." on her wristband.
"Like I said, you'll join her after today," Kianna yelled out again, and she drew some more water from her water skin, and crafted some ice spikes. She shot all of these at Katara, but the young woman proved up to the task and threw up an ice shield, stopping all the ice spikes.
Back on the main battlefield, the Fire Nation's momentum slowed down a bit thanks to Katara and Sokka drawing Kianna and Baktan out of the fight. Their opposition took advantage, breaking out some heavier attacks to start driving the Fire Nation back, as they could now draw a better offensive with them not having to worry about a larger assault. Two Waterbenders each got into an octopus stance, slapping back multiple Fire Nation forces, injuring a few of them. Some of the non-benders charged at Fire Nation forces on a komodo rhino, leaping on to them and taking them down, tying them to the ground. The tide was beginning to turn ever so slightly, but it would be a while before they could drive them back.
"The fate of our tribe may very well depend on Hakoda's children now," Gala said to Hiyoki. "If they don't win...what's stopping Kianna and Baktan from unleashing their devastation?"
"We have to believe," Hiyoki said. "Let's not worry about what could happen."
The Fire Nation continued to drive forward, making their way further towards the major army base that stood between them and potentially taking over the entire Earth Kingdom. They were in control of the fight, using their bending and non-bending strategies alike to decimate the defenders of their home.
For Team Avatar, Suki had officially been pulled off the battlefield at General Yung's request. The Kyoshi Warrior leader's ankle had pained her to the point where she was essentially immobile, and she had suffered another burn wound. In addition to that, she was cut on her shoulder by a sword, requiring her to be hastily bandaged. Suki was determined as too wounded to continue, and she was going to be transported to the medical ward at Fong's base.
Toph was standing the strongest of the three girls who had stood with the Earth Kingdom army beyond the mining village. It was this young, blind girl who was again proving to be the greatest active Earthbender in the world. Her attacks forced back Fire Nation soldiers to a full-rate advance, which would have had them to Fong's base by this point of the day. Nevertheless, they were closing in, probably not much longer than an hour's time. The Earth leaders kept the Bei Fong child at the front lines of the army. She quickly kicked up some more boulders and used them to destroy a pair of tanks. After this, she pulled off the same move she did earlier in the day; bending the metal into a shield for herself against the Firebenders. Toph then swung this metal around to again seize a large gathering of Fire soldiers, and disengaged her shield.
Mai moved in to back up Toph, seeing that Suki was now out of the game. The two girls, who were fighting harsh, drafted up a plan.
"Listen," Toph whispered to Mai. "I got an idea to start wiping out these guys. It would be a little ugly as in bloody, but it's effective."
"I'm listening," Mai replied with a whisper.
"We just need some of your weapons," Toph began. "I'll attach some of them to a large rock. I launch that rock, split it up, and essentially it becomes a double attack. Your weapons get some of the soldiers, the segments of rock will get others. If the Firebenders try to burn the rocks, they got flaming weapons coming at them. It's a win-win for us."
"I hope you know what you're doing," Mai warned. "There's a lot of guys coming at us." The noblewoman pulled out a handful of darts. "Just be careful...I don't have too many of things left."
"Don't you worry," Toph assured her. With that, the Earthbender jolted up a rock as several Fire Nation soldiers came towards her and Mai. Toph simply did her way of eyeing them, detecting their movements in the ground.
"Let's have them," she told Mai, and she opened up some small cracks in the rock. Mai then placed the darts in the cracks quickly as the soldiers approached. She locked the darts into place and elevated the rock. She then shot it forward at harsh speed, and quickly broke it up, releasing the darts. These darts hit three Fire Nation soldiers, knocking them over and opening wounds where they were hit. The pieces of rock proceeded to hit other soldiers in the vicinity, knocking them down and out.
"Cover me," Mai said. "I'm going to retrieve those things."
Mai and Toph quickly moved into the battlefield, seeking the weapons that had just been launched. Mai even took the risk of reaching into some bloody areas where the darts hit and pulled the out. A Firebender tried to attack her, but Toph was quick with an Earthbending move to slam him away.
"You're pretty good at this stuff," Mai said with a smile, as the two girls moved out.
"Thanks, but we'll talk later," Toph replied quickly, seeing the Fire Nation soldiers continuing their attack on the Earth Kingdom forces. "Right now, there's some trouble that needs eliminating.
Back at his base, General Fong was out overlooking the land from his balcony. He could see the smoke in the distance, and the sound of attacks getting louder. The general knew his base was about to become a battlefield. Standing with him was the only Firebender not supporting his nation's cause, Reeaki.
"Word is, you have a secret move," Fong said.
"Hopefully you won't have to see it," Reeaki replied. "It's only to be used if a situation becomes dire. A devastating mix of Weatherbending and Firebending. It could take away one's energy."
"We're bordering on dire," the general told him. "Soon, these men will have to fight. You know that if my base falls, the Fire Nation will have a large set of resources available to them. Even if Zuko and Aang win in the Fire Nation, this base could become the starting point of a new revolt, and we'll just have a mess on our hands again."
"Well...let me tell you something," Reeaki said. "if we do win today....I am leaving this world. I have decided that my life and education back home mean a lot to me. It has been too long since I was home, and too much has happened for me to stay longer. If I have to use that move...most of my energy will be drained anyway, rendering me useless. This will be the last time you see me, more than likely, General Fong."
Fong nodded. "I wish you the best of luck upon your return. For now...let us prepare for a fight."
The Fire Nation Capital was becoming a firestorm. All throughout the streets, flames erupted and soared through the air. Families barricaded themselves in their homes, dodging the final battle as it raged on through the day, the afternoon starting to fade to evening. Soldiers did not lose an ounce of energy as the day continued on, their causes carrying them through.
A Rebel soldier kicked up two flames from his feet and blasted two domestic soldiers through a shop window, prompting citizens to run outside the store in panic as the brawl went on inside. Despite the cuts the domestic men suffered, they got up and each gathered fire whips, taking their blows at the Rebel. The store was soon set ablaze, forcing the soldiers to evacuate and get back to the streets.
"Get inside!" A panicked mother yelled to her children at the northern end of the city, where some soldiers had made their way to in a straining showdown. The flames got near to the mother's children, sending them running into their house.
Back out near the city center, the potential deciding duel was ongoing between Avatar Aang, Zuko, Fire Lord Zorro, and General Ezan. The four fighters were going at each other with their hardest blasts. Neither side of two had gained an upper hand in the fight at that point, but plenty of fire was being exchanged. The fire locally heated up an otherwise lukewarm day of 16°C.
Zuko was rapidly firing fireballs at his opponents, but Ezan was holding a strong wall of flames to keep all the fireballs away from him and Zorro. Aang's moves, despite being able to mix in Airbending and Earthbending, had also been of no affect at this point. He knew he would likely need to fight fire with fire, as he was too far from a source of water to deploy Waterbending...or was he?
Aang...although Hama was not the kindest of women...she did teach me this. You know you can pull water out of thin air...just take a look. Aang had himself a flashback to when Katara demonstrated this Waterbending move for him. Being resourceful is key to being a Waterbender. Remember that.
The Avatar knew he needed a nice move. With that, he quickly yanked a blob of water out of the air. However, Zorro was prepared for this. As Aang directed it to a Waterbending attack, the Fire Lord took a leap over the wall of flames, and threw out fire blades. The blades caused the water to split, shifting harmlessly to the left and right.
Seizing a moment, Zorro came out from beyond the wall of flames, and shot a pair of fire discs at the Avatar. Aang had no time for a defense, and was impacted. He was slammed all the way back to the city wall, parts of his body burned on impact. Nevertheless, he was quick to get up and return to the fight.
Zuko turned back to Aang, seeing him get hurt. "Aang, you okay?"
"Zuko, this is for the world," Aang replied. "I'm not letting one little fire blast keep me out of this. I'm fine."
"Look out!" Zuko quickly yelled, seeing another fire disc coming at them. This time, the ex-Fire Lord was on his game, augmenting the flames to nothingness before they hit the two.
"Now starts your backtracking," Zorro said evilly. He was smirking again, as he began to shoot fire blasts repeatedly. "Surrender now and we won't have to hurt you." Ezan was also coming on.
"Only in your dreams," Zuko replied harshly, and got up a fist full of flames. He came right up to Zorro, and punched the Fire Lord in his face. Zorro went backwards by a good distance, and fell to the ground. A small amount of blood came from his nose, signaling that it may have been broken.
Ezan got up for the moment his friend was disabled. He started a steady stream of fire from his fist, targeting both Zuko and Aang. Aang was the one to make the protection this time, whipping his staff around in a circle to deflect the flames clear of him and Zuko. This action continued for a moment before Ezan gave up on the move.
Zorro got back up and opened his mouth, before a stream of fire came from it. The rapid fire blast caught Aang and Zuko unprepared, and they were each impacted. They received a couple of more cuts and burns, falling to the ground. As they were down, Ezan gathered up a fire bomb. He launched it down as quickly as he could, again throwing his opponents back, hurting them even further.
Dazed, Aang and Zuko each got up. However, they needed something quickly, or they were going to be defeated, and perhaps the last bit of hope for the rebellion would fade.
"Say hello to all your fellow Air Nomads in heaven, Avatar!" Zorro declared. "And Zuko, remember, no traitor deserves the crown! Ever!"
The Fire Lord gathered up another pair of fire discs. Quickly, he shot them, but Aang somehow proved even faster. He quickly got a ball of air going, and hopped on it. He grabbed hold of Zuko and the two were able to get away from the scene for the moment. The discs sailed away to an unknown location. Frustrated, Zorro and Ezan looked around quickly for the two.
A distance away, Zuko was placed back on the ground by the still somewhat dazed Aang, after the young Avatar disengaged his air scooter. "Wh-what happened, Aang?" Zuko asked.
"We barely got away for the moment," Aang answered, wiping beads of sweat from his face. "Let's take a deep breath, and hurry. They'll be back soon."
A minute later, Zorro and Ezan successfully tracked their opposition down once more. "Where we we?" Ezan asked, as he shot two fireballs. Aang used his staff again to disintegrate them before any impact.
Zuko decided to return the favor, shooting several fire balls at his opponents. He was still dazed, and possibly on his last bits of energy for that point. However, they did make an impact, and Zorro and Ezan each went backwards and into a house wall.
Zuko was having a rapid heartbeat, him nearly on the verge of passing out. This was proving to be a long and trying battle, but he knew he had to stay on his feet.
All through the Capital, flames had engulfed several buildings. Glass, blood, and soldiers' bodies littered the streets. It was looking more like something out of a horrific nightmare.
However, only one side would survive.
Perhaps in a pyrrhic victory.
Southern Water Tribe
The icy landscape was heating up as the battle raged throughout the main village. The fight was now centering a little back beyond the fourth defense line, headed towards the third. The Fire Nation indeed had lost their momentum as a result of Kianna and Baktan being drawn out of the battle.
A Southern tribesman seemed to have been caught by two Firebenders, but a Northern Waterbender jumped to his defense and used two sets of iceberg spikes to knock the soldiers away, showing the increased closeness of the two Water Tribes over the past two years.
This was just a minor win, however, compared to what the combined tribal forces and Earth Kingdom forces needed. The Earth forces, having lost their leader, were a bit disorganized and thus becoming a limiting factor to the Water Tribes' progress. A young Earth Kingdom soldier, potentially the man who had been second to General Gala, was trying to gather them up, but the heat of the battle would not allow time for an organized strategy.
Hakoda had seen his children fade out of the main battlefield a while back, and was now just trying to keep his mind on the situation that faced him. The Southern Chief had not fought in a while, but he was certainly working like a seasoned warrior. He had thrown back four Firebenders over the course of the past hour. He was burned on his hand, but he fought on through the pain. Two more Fire Nation soldiers, this time non-benders came at the chief. They each shot arrows at him but Hakoda was quick to raise his shield and block them. He then cut down one of the soldiers with a machete, and faced the last one. This soldier proved to be a draw with him, neither one getting a good blow. When the battlefield came towards them, they each ceded.
However, perhaps the most important sub-battle had broken off from the main battlefield, and didn't truly involve the Fire Nation. It was the battle of Water Tribe citizens, as Katara and Sokka continued their respective fights with Kianna and Baktan.
Baktan and Sokka were evenly matched. Baktan was unable to utilize his bending for most of the fight as Sokka was quick to defend with his sword. Further, though Baktan was equipped with a water skin, Sokka had broken it with a toss of his boomerang. The two had continued a relative sword clash. Each had received a cut as the result of a brush-by from their swords. The swords clinked with every swing throughout the air, neither one getting any blow. The two men were exhausting themselves in a hurry.
The older man tried to quickly work his Waterbending. He bent up some water out of the air and attached it to his sword in a freeze, but it was barely enough for a whip. The ice whip was weak, and Sokka destroyed it easily. Baktan had run out of options for that moment, and Sokka was pushing him back.
Eventually, they made it to the wall of an igloo. Baktan was pinned back by Sokka, the Southern Prince holding the tip of his sword at his opponent's neck, waiting for him to surrender. The Northern man looked around briefly, a couple beads of sweat dripping down his face for the moment. However, he quickly kicked up some snow and shot it at Sokka, causing the younger man to fall away from him. Baktan quickly then pulled more water out of the air and froze it to his sword, this time more than enough for a solid ice whip. He quickly got up and swung it at Sokka, causing Sokka to move to his left from the ground. The younger fighter got up quickly with his sword and ran.
Katara was not faring very well with Kianna; it was appearing as if the Southern Princess had met her match. Katara was fighting as hard as she could, pulling off several harsh Waterbending moves. However, it was as if her anger was fueling her more than anything, and her shots were wild.
Kianna, on the other hand, was focused. Sure, she had taken her licks, but she kept on moving. She had hit Katara several times with some ice spikes, giving her opponent a few cuts on her arms and face. She drew more water out of her water skin in a whip, and struck Katara across her face, opening up another wound.
Katara felt her face for that second, and saw the red liquid appear on her hand. She knew she was bleeding and was in pain; there was blood dripping from near her nose and on her cheek. She looked to her right arm to see blood stain her blue parka. Regardless, she was determined to keep fighting. But she was exhausted, blowing out all her energy in anger. Her hair had fallen out of place, her hair loopies broken. She took a deep breath and froze some water out of her water skin. She shot the ice spikes at Kianna. One managed to nick her opposition on the shoulder, cutting it slightly.
The older woman quickly bounced back. She charged and drew a large blob of water from her water skin and formed it into water whips. The whips each hit Katara multiple times and drew her back further and further. Finally, the last hit slammed Katara to an igloo wall, knocking her out. Kianna withdrew her water whips and simply smirked.
The Southern Princess lay there, wiped out. In her mind, she believed she had failed.
Her loved ones.
Suddenly, a vision came to her barely-open eyes. The tribe faded away, and all she saw was white. A young girl wearing a green kimono, some shielding, face paint, and a headpiece appeared before her.
"T-T-Ty Lee....?" Katara murmured. "H-h-how...."
"Get up, Katara!" Ty Lee yelled. "Remember why you fight! It's not over...you haven't failed! Come on...this isn't you, to give up...remember who you are! I know you never lose hope, Katara...don't lose it now. Get up! Please...for me...your mom...everyone you know...you need to remember who you are!"
Ty Lee faded away after that, much to Katara's disappointment. However, her words swarmed into her mind.
Kianna came up over her opponent, still smirking. "All right little girl...say goodbye." She gathered up another round of iceberg spikes, trying to finish her the way she almost did earlier. "No one will save you now!"
As Kianna prepared to launch the ice spikes, Katara's eyes opened. She saw them about to rain on her. Quickly, she drew some water from her water skin, and froze it over her body.
The ice spikes hit the ice shield, but it did not crack.
Katara was unscathed.
Kianna was stunned.
Seeing an opening, Katara melted all the ice and formed it to a water blast. The blast hit Kianna and sent her flying back.
Katara rose to her feet and re-formed her determined look. She was now bleeding from her lip and nose, but was far from out of it. "Last I checked...I'm someone," she said. The young woman then looked up to the sky. "Thanks for that inspiration," she added, likely trying to get to Ty Lee.
Earth Kingdom 17:00
Time was running out for the Earth Kingdom forces. They had now been pushed back towards General Fong's base, and the Fire Nation Army was drawing close to the wall. The Earth Kingdom had just a few hundred forces left, and appeared outnumbered by almost 2:1.
The last defenders, inclusive of Reeaki, were about to go into the battle for reinforcing purposes. They would be able to cut into the Fire Nation's number advantage, but overall, it would not be enough. Regardless, they had to take up the good fight for their nation or they would lose a vital part of it.
"Attack!" Fong yelled to the defense forces, and they all sprung into battle. They were quickly on scene with several Earthbending moves and styles. One of the younger soldiers was able to locate Toph and team up with her to provide a deadly duo. They each tunneled into the ground below them, confusing their opposition. Some time later, they emerged in the heart of the Fire Nation calvary, and started pounding the ground. Their move forced earthquakes and knocked the soldiers off their feet. The two Earthbenders then emerged and pinned their opponents down with rock fragments.
However, as quickly as they started, they were each finished off. A Firebender caught them off guard, and blasted a large fireball. Toph was hit, burning her hands and cutting her to half of her abilities. Her new ally was burned across his face, ending his time in the battle. As it turned out, the soldier that attacked them was the second in command at Senlin Village yesterday. "That's what you get for running your mouth, child!" He yelled at the injured, blind Earthbender.
Mai was the only other active Team Avatar member. She had lost track of Toph and was now fighting on her own. She had been cut across her forehead earlier when a katana swipe intended for her wrist to cut off her access to her weapons went errant. Blood was dripping down the middle of her face, something she was wiping away as quick as she could. It had stained her robes as well, and Fire Nation soldiers were swarming her, seeing she could be weakened. Mai fought as valiantly as she could, tossing out her weapons as fast as possible. However, her supplies were quite low now, and she was nearing a point of defenselessness. She was just ducking and dodging, hoping for the best.
Within moments, Fong's forces were already fading. They were being overwhelmed by Firebenders, and were already cut in half. Some were wounded on the first shot, others managed to stay active but were cut down quickly. Fong was beyond frustrated, wondering why the men he chose to defend his base were quite weak.
Reeaki studied the situation carefully. He could see that the momentum was clearly against the Earth Kingdom, and with each passing second, their men were fading. He could see Mai struggling, and didn't even know where Toph was. Suki had arrived at the medical ward some 45 minutes ago. He then decided it was time for the last resort, the only move he had left in his arsenal that could defeat the Fire Nation. "Fong...call your forces back. Get Mai and Toph out of there. It's time."
"You had better be sure of yourself," Fong stated. "Men! Full retreat! Everyone back to the base! That includes Team Avatar!"
Within moments, everyone was rounded up at the base walls. Toph and Mai were located, and were now standing next to one another.
Up ahead, Reeaki stood against the advancing Fire Nation troops. "Spirits...don't fail me now." He prepared his stance and took a deep breath. Ready to come was the most dangerous of all Weatherbending forms, flying from his fingers. He began to extract the heat, feeling it move through him like a smooth-flowing river. The Firebender went for a while with this stance, holding it for as long as he could. 18...19...20...that should do it.
The next thing, he relaxed his stance and then quickly jumped to attack. He grunted and groaned going forward, and opened his mouth with a roar as a huge blast of fire flew from his fingers and even from his mouth as well. The equivalent of 20°F (12°C) of heat was flowing from him. The fire was a large wall, making it look like the entire landscape was ablaze. Fire Nation soldiers tried to retreat, but the blast of fire was so large, it was encompassing almost all of them. They were getting charred to a crisp, or just dying right on impact. A few soldiers had ducked successfully, but they were the exception to the rule.
A distance away, the lights of the fire were apparent in the medical ward. Suki and other soldiers watched in horror as they believed the Fire Nation was close, not knowing that it was their own Firebender who was winning the day now.
Reeaki continued to hold his blast as long as he could. The next thing he knew, the blast had ended. He took a short look at everything, but could feel a large weakness within him. His vision was blurred, and his heartbeat was rapid. He breathed as fast as he could, but no matter. The crossover collapsed to the ground, losing his memories of that moment. His eyes closed and everything faded to black.
Everyone was stunned at what they had just seen. Suddenly, only about twenty Fire Nation soldiers remained, compared against still a few hundred Earth forces.
"Men! Attack the Fire Nation forces!" Fong yelled. About a hundred Earthbenders went in, but would not get a move.
"We surrender," one of the soldiers declared, and they all got up and raised their hands. The Earthbenders then arrested them using rock gloves that had been seized from the Dai Li following their expulsion postwar.
The fight was over.
The Earth Kingdom won.
Not even with one of their own.
However, Reeaki still lay on the ground, with no apparent motion. Toph, Mai, Fong, and a couple of other soldiers came to him. They turned him over so that his face was showing to them.
"Unbelievable...." a soldier muttered. "It looks like his destiny has been fulfilled." As it turned out, that soldier was Hashidi, the old man from Maryland that Reeaki had met in Ba Sing Se.
"I wonder if this is the last we'll ever see of him," Toph wondered out loud.
"If he's done," Mai began, "That's one heck of a way to go out. I've never seen Firebending like that before."
"Let's get him to the medical ward," Fong said.
With that, Reeaki was placed on a cot, and his body was moved to the medical ward. There, he would lay, with everyone wondering what would become of him.
Southern Water Tribe
The armies of the three nations continued their fight on the battlefield. The Water Tribes and Earth Kingdom had re-seized the momentum, and had driven the Fire Nation back to the second defense line. If Kianna and Baktan were to be defeated, they would likely win the fight.
The white of the snow remained tainted red through all the fighting, as swords swung, despite those too having the blood of others on them. They continued to cut down their opposition, whomever held them, whomever their opponents were. Many soldiers were dead or severely wounded, but some continued to fight regardless.
The main focus, however, had become the duels. These fights had gotten ugly. Several blows were dealt, and the four combatants of the fight had several wounds, and had blood on them. Still, neither had yielded.
Baktan was cut on his stomach and just over his eye, yet he still played on. Sokka was also cut just over his eye, received a second cut on his ankle, and even a third on his hand. Like his opposition, he too was fighting on.
Katara received several wounds. In addition to the ones she received earlier in the fight, she now had one on her right leg and just under her wrist. Kianna had now also sustained cuts, including one on her nose and also on her upper lip. Still, these two had it out for each other, and a few cuts and drops of blood would not change that.
Baktan prepared more water whips, but he could feel the air drying as more and more water was sucked from the air. The humidity had dropped to around 25%, indicating very dry air. Sokka could see his opponent's ice whips were getting smaller and smaller. If he could bide his time, the Southern Prince had a chance at an advantage. He could also see Baktan's frustrations rising. His shots had gotten more and more wild as he fought on.
The older man swung his sword again, but missed once more. The younger Water Tribesman then pulled out his boomerang and tossed it at the ice whip, shattering it again. This time, when the Waterbender tried to pull water out of the air, hardly anything came out. The Southern Water Tribe had become as dry as a desert.
"No matter!" Baktan said. "I'll take you out with the sword, anyway!"
"I'd like to see you try," Sokka replied.
Once again, a swordfighting clash was the situation. The metal of their swords clinked throughout the air. Baktan tried to use his bending to kick up snow at Sokka, but the warrior had proven too quick.
Sokka got close to a win when he swung his sword high, over Baktan's. However, the shot turned out to be too high, and only managed a few shreds of Baktan's hair. The duel continued at a dead heat for a few minutes, each of them exhausting themselves with every swing of the sword, every move that they tried blocked by the other.
"That's it!" Baktan yelled. "I've had enough of you! One shot, and let's end this!"
"Fine," Sokka replied. "I hope you enjoy the last swing of your sword."
The two men stepped back a distance away. Sokka looked at the "T.L." on the wristband he was wearing, and looked to the sky. He thought about all that was lost -- his friend Ty Lee, his mother, and a lot of the tribe that would soon be his. However, he was prepared to win the fight for all of them. He got up and drew his sword out.
Baktan also drew his sword out. With that, the two looked ahead at one another, with a poisonous look. They each charged at each other, swords pointed. They met each other near the center and...
Kianna and Katara were still going at it. Each of the two Waterbenders had basically lost the majority of the energy they had at the start of the morning. A couple of factors were now issues for the each of them: Their water supplies were low, and they too could feel the drying air. They would soon have to resort to the desperation of Weatherbending, which meant having to release their moisture to the atmosphere to generate additional water, which in turn carried the potential to dehydrate them. This was amplified even further because a moisture increase of over 10% could be draining.
Regardless, they each did quick Weatherbending stances, and they performed the required motions for several seconds each. The two Waterbenders felt themselves dehydrating as the humidity went up. Soon, their own moisture would be the catalyst for the last stages of the battle. One or even both of them would fall.
After they were done, Kianna looked ahead at her opponent. She drew the fresh moisture from the atmosphere and gathered up in more iceberg spikes, her favored attack. However, Katara used the fresh moisture to get up an ice shield, stopping the ice spikes before they hit her. Katara then melted the shield into a water blast, but Kianna dodged it, unlike earlier when the same sequence broke up the older woman's momentum.
Each side needed a finishing move. Katara was shaking, the lack of energy and now dehydration setting in. She could feel herself getting weaker with every passing second. Kianna wasn't holding up much better; her vision was starting to divide, and more blood was coming from her cuts. She even spit out a little bit of blood, as the cut on her lip drained into her mouth.
Katara wiped some blood and sweat from her face and gathered up more water, this time into a pinwheel as Kianna shot water whips and yet more ice spikes at her. The moisture had run out, and once again the two fighters had to put their own moisture in.
That was about it for Katara. Her vision too was dividing, and her thought process was a scramble. She could barely stand up, and couldn't exert herself more further. Kianna was feeling the same effects, but she needed one more blow.
The two Waterbenders gathered up the last bits of water from that fresh moisture and targeted their opponents. Without a word, they gathered up a move they each felt could win the battle. The attacks were launched, only to result in...
(TO BE CONTINUED)
The domestic forces belonging to Zorro had clearly lost a step over the last hour. They seemed out of sorts, running in all directions, clearly lacking any leadership. On the other hand, the three generals of the Rebel Army were in clear command of their soldiers, working to keep them in line and not to ease up. However, they still could not seize the Capital until they took Zorro and Ezan out of the equation. As seen just before they faded out to duel, those two alone could stop the rebellion.
A few hundred feet from the Royal Palace, the duels continued. The four were still evenly matched, trying to levy as many blows as they could to their respective opposition, but it was tough. Even if Zuko had a moment of being caught off-guard, Aang's quick thinking would stop any shots directed at his friend. They were showing excellent camaraderie against Zorro and Ezan after nearly being defeated an hour ago.
With the battle going nowhere, each side decided to go to new moves of Firebending. Zuko and Aang decided to go to direct combat with fire daggers, but these had proven ineffective. Their opposition easily stopped them in all attempts, forcing the Avatar and the former Fire Lord to retreat back to a distance away from them.
Zorro and Ezan each shot fire bombs back at Aang and Zuko, but the Avatar threw up a shield of rock and stopped all the bombs from hitting them. Once again, a power move failed to finish the trick.
Exhaustion was settling in amongst all the heat being exchanged from every side. Although the temperature was not warm, it felt like a heat wave in the duels.
Aang switched elements and took an Earthbending stance. He kicked up a series of rocks from the ground, and shot them at the two men. However, Zorro torched the rock directed for him, and Ezan dodged the other. The Avatar then tried a move only one of his kind could do with Earthbending. He picked up another rock and then fired it as several pieces, almost like bullets. The small pieces of Earth hit Zorro and Ezan, each leaving them with some sharp pain for a time.
Seizing a moment, Zuko shot a quick stream of fire at the two. They were each knocked down and almost appeared to be out of it. Zuko looked at Aang with a smile. "I think we did it."
Aang shook his head. "Think again." He then turned to the two men who quickly rose to their feet.
"Going to take more than some silly basic moves to defeat us!" Zorro said. "Face it, you failure of a Fire Lord! You can't best us!"
"Avatar," Ezan stated. "It amazes me that you manage to work together with that failure. Then again, you each have failed at your task, so I guess you guys have to stick together!"
In the past, this comment would have shaken up the young Avatar. However, he was older and wiser. The time to wallow in misery over what happened in a hundred years was done. He knew he still did what he needed to, and now he had to do it again. With that, Aang attacked with Earthbending again, but a rock was easily dodged by the two.
"Is there any simple finishing move at this point?" Zuko wondered out loud, directing his thoughts to Aang.
"Why don't we get somewhere safe if---" Aang was cut off as a fireball approached him, and quickly directed it away with his staff. The Avatar took Zuko by the shoulder and they each ran to an unknown location and hid. They moved fast thanks to Aang utilizing his Airbending.
"Split up and find them!" Zorro commanded Ezan, and the two split their movements to separate directions.
Aang and Zuko took shelter in an abandoned house that had already seen damage as the result of the fight.
"Aang," Zuko began. "We're running...out of time," the former Fire Lord was exhausted and pressed for energy. "We have got to do something....it might be time for Reeaki's move. What do you think?"
Aang kind of shuddered at the thought of such a powerful attack. "He said only to use that if the situation got dire, Zuko! We're not losing this fight...it's even! We don't need to go to it yet!"
"They just attacked us," Zuko replied, "and got us on the run. I'm not so sure the tide is in our favor anymore. We need a gamebreaker now. Reeaki's move will do that for us! I told you...you have to release your reservations if you want to win and accomplish your goals, Aang! We have to do this."
"If we get caught on the run again," Aang spoke after a sigh, "we'll go to it. Right now, let's just stay from it. It's still too dangerous for the time being!"
Zuko nodded. As soon as he did, a fire blast broke through the door. It belonged to Zorro, who had located the two. Ezan was running nearby. "Right here, Ezan!" Zorro yelled to his buddy.
Seeing them cornered, the older men shot another stream of fire at the two. Aang and Zuko barely dodged. The younger fighters quickly ran out to the back door, Aang leaving behind a blast of air to throw them off. They then ran around the side of the house and back to the city. A Rebel soldier fell before them, with several domestic forces swarming nearby.
"Stop where you are!" A domestic soldier yelled, and soon six other soldiers surrounded them. Also jumping in were Zorro and Ezan.
"You were saying about a dire situation?" Zuko whispered to Aang, who was now standing back-to-back with him.
Aang decided then with no additional thought. "Fine. Let's do it."
The two youngsters then each took their stances, and prepared for a Weatherbending move.
"Do they really think Weatherbending will save them now?" A domestic soldier wondered out loud. "How ridiculous...a little chill in the air."
"Wait a second," Ezan said. "There's one move that can double as..." he then realized that move. "Zorro! Quick!"
Seeing the preparation for a Weatherbending move, Zorro also recognized the move that was coming before them. "No!" Quickly, he assumed his stance. "Soldiers, back!"
Aang's tattoos and eyes also lit up, preparing to merge the move with the Avatar State. He and Zuko began to draw the heat in, holding the stance for several seconds. Soon, over 10°C of heat coursed through each of their bodies. The glow from Aang stopped, and they each relaxed their stances. Zorro and Ezan worked the same moves, but in a faster fashion, feeling desperation.
Soon, large blasts of fire emerged from the fighters. The fire went through the streets, also engulfing other soldiers who were not ready for it. Several buildings quickly went up in flames, as the attacks were large-scale.
Spectators inside their shelters ducked as the flames illuminated the inside, some flames even breaking in to these shelters.
Any soul who could was ducking or taking fast shelter as the flames raged through the streets. Most were pretty sure they had not seen Firebending this strong, not even during the last approach of Sozin's Comet.
In the large blasts of fire, only one side would emerge as survivors.
(TO BE CONTINUED...)
Head on over to chapter sixteen for results!
No author's notes this chapter, those will be in chapter sixteen.
For the collective works of the author, go here.
Changing Weather - Not Your Typical Days - Regathering the Team - Into the Fire Nation - The Masters of Weather - The Meteorologists Attack - Recovery and Disasters - Searching for Instruction - Reeaki's Arrival - Training - Reverberations - A Dire Warning - Can We Hold Together? - Last Preparations - The Final Showdown, Part 1 - The Final Showdown, Part 2 - Survivors of the Conflict - Moving Forward
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