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|The Lore and the Quest|
May 12, 2017
The air in Gai Chan is filled with cries of anguish, horror, and fuming hatred.releases his hold of 's right shoulder, allowing the former ruler's limp body to fall forward, a steady fountain of blood pouring from where his head once stood, as his bloodied head bounces down the stone steps of city hall and rolls onto the main square before the captivated audience. draws up his blood-soaked dao and grimaces in wry amusement at the audience, a sickening feeling of pride washing over him as he takes in the reactions of his onlookers as if he were listening to a heavenly choir.
"War! This means war!" One citizen cries, which is followed by shouts and fist raises of agreement by multiple members of the crowd.
Maku simply sneers at the crowd before pointing his dao to the crowd, as he and Gaza simultaneously address their troops.
With that, Maku, Gaza, and their men rush towards the crowd, weapons drawn and firebending, as they begin to clash with the men of the village as the women and children scatter in fear. Some of the warlords' followers fan out to give chase and pillage the settlement.
From their vantage point a few yards away,grits his teeth in anger and tightly clenches his fists, while and can only watch in horror at the takeover they are witnessing, Singi's knees shaking in terror. After a few seconds of processing, Singi manages to compose herself and a determined gleam in her eyes replaces her expression of fear moments ago.
"Jamyang, get back to Lychee andas fast as you can and get out of here, back to and the others," Singi whispers. Before Jamyang can even protest, Singi turns around to face the carnage and airbends herself onto the roof of the building they've been standing alongside.
"Men! Aid and protect our allies!" Dao orders, and just as they are about to rush out, a loud WHOOSH echoes above them and they find Singi rushing towards the thick of the battle. Dao looks up in shock before calling out, "Singi, wait!" in vain, before his men run into battle.
Just as Singi begins to leap off of the roof of a building overlooking the center of the battle, a wall of earth blocks her and she cushions the impact with airbending, skidding down to solid ground. Turning around to ten o'clock, she finds Dao rushing to her before bending the remainder of an earth shield around them and placing his hands on her shoulders, the noises of the siege muffled slightly from within the one story shield.
"Singi. I know you want to help in this fight, but I urge you to retreat and find a firebending master."
"What!? No, I can't! Gaogui just got executed right before us, and you want me not to intervene!? The last time I witnessed a confrontation like this,, and told me to flee! I can't just stand by and do nothing!"
"I admire your compassion, Singi, it's a quality the Avatar needs to maintain peace. However, your waterbending master had the right idea—these warlords and their men are too great of a threat to you, having not yet mastered all of the elements."
Tears begin to well in Singi's eyes and her vision becomes blurred.
"You will be able to face these men neutral jing. My men are out there now helping the citizens of Gai Chan, and I need to help them; I'll give you cover while you escape.", Singi, I promise you that. But for now, you must leave and master firebending. Don't forget about on
Without warning, Singi flings herself at Dao, wrapping her arms around him as tears begin to fall. Dao returns the embrace.
"I'm so sorry..." Singi mutters into Dao's uniform.
"Don't be. None of us knew these warlords would be so brazen as to attack a settlement as peaceful as Gai Chan."
Suddenly, a blast can be heard pounding on Dao and Singi's temporary fortress, and the temperature slowly begins to climb from within. Singi and Dao turn to face the sound of the blast as the dark brown earth slowly begins to turn a light red-brown color.
"They're trying to force us out! Go! I'll handle them."
With that, Singi and Dao unlock from their embrace and break down the earth fortress. Singi runs away from the battlefield, not looking back as tears continue to fly from her eyes, while Dao engages with three firebending soldiers. Eventually, she spots Lychee in the sky piloted by Jamyang, with Jiefeng beside him, and uses earthbending to rocket herself into the air. The flying bison meets with Singi mid-air and she lands on the saddle before the group fly northwest.
Singi faces away from Jamyang, looking down glumly as the noise from the battle fades away as they continue flying. Jiefeng walks over to Singi and places her head on Singi's left shoulder, catching the Avatar's attention and causing her to stroke the cranefish's head in appreciation.
"I suppose we shall search the Islands to find you a master."
"I don't know if there's a firebending master out there for me."
"Surely, there must be. We must remain optimistic if we are to see victory in this war."
There is a prolonged silence before a thought crosses Jamyang's mind and his expression brightens.
"In fact, my pupil, I know for a fact that there is someone special who can teach you."
"Really?" Singi lifts her head and turns towards Jamyang, intrigued, meeting her gaze with the elderly monk.
"Yes," Jamyang nods, smiling, before turning his head back to the horizon before them, "Avatar Wan told me when we met that he perfected his firebending prowess while living in the Spirit Wilds by learning from a dragon."
"Yes. Just as how the air bison taught us airbending when the time of the Avatar began, so too did the dragons for firebending."
"So you're expecting my firebending master to be some enormous, flying, fire-breathing creature? How in the world are we going to find one?"
"We won't necessarily be searching for a dragon, but a civilization which worships the original firebenders—the Sun Warriors."
"The Sun Warriors?"
"Yes. I'm afraid I don't know much about them, other than that they are an isolated society which greatly admires the dragons, and learned to perfect their firebending abilities by meticulously observing them."
"I suppose it's worth a shot; but like you said—they're isolated. How in the name of the spirits are we going to find them within a collection of islands?"
"It will likely take us days, but we may simply have to search. Perhaps some locals may have an idea as to where they may reside."
"If it's alright with you, Monk Jamyang, I think we should just search on our own, without help from the local residents," Singi suggests, rather despondent.
At this, Jamyang expression changes to one of perplexion, and he takes a moment to gaze back at his student.
"Are you sure, my pupil?"
"Yes. Besides, they must be isolated for a reason. Maybe they don't want contact with the locals. Maybe they don't want the locals to know where they're living."
"Hmm... you could be right. But are you sure you do not want to ask around for any information?"
"I'm sure. Let's just search on our own for the time being."
"As you wish..." Jamyang responds, taking notice of Singi's rather disconsolate tone of voice, but not wanting to question her of the matter for now.
By nightfall, the gang has reached the southeasternmost islands among the collection of landmasses—the smallest portion of islands making up the Fire Islands. They set up camp on the easternmost island, and, after an eventful and tiring day, turn in for the evening. At dawn the next morning, Jamyang and Singi pack their belongings and fly off on Lychee to begin their arduous quest. As they make their way to and from each of the smaller islands, Singi dismounts Lychee on her glider and surveys each location Jiefeng flying alongside her. Singi observes the small settlements that dot the islands from a reasonable distance. The residents, she finds, don't appear to hail from a dragon-worshipping civilization. She investigates caverns, and seeks out settlements that appear to be out of the ordinary compared to the usual communes that include huts draped in fabrics of various shades of orange and red. As they continue west over the next two days, the islands appear larger in size, the settlements more numerous, the peaks taller and smoking with volcanic activity. On some instances, Singi can see battles commencing below her between rivaling warlords and their armies. She furrows her eyebrows in discontent before taking a deep breath and focusing her attention back on the task at hand.
Late one afternoon, after further searching with no success, the group lands on the peninsula of one of the islands, setting up camp along one of two large lakes, which Jiefeng immediately walks towards and wades into, contented.
"Spirits, you weren't kidding when you said the Sun Warriors are an isolated society."
"We have covered plenty of territory so far with more yet to survey. I have no doubt they are still out there somewhere."
"I'm sure they are. I just hope that whoever teaches me won't be anything like the warlords of these islands."
"I am very confident that you have nothing to fear from the Sun Warriors, my pupil. They are a unique civilization, which, like Avatar Wan, perfected their firebending by carefully observing the original firebenders."
At this, Singi's eyes widened slightly in realization.
"Of course! Avatar Wan! Why didn't I think about this earlier? Maybe he'd know where the Sun Warriors reside."
Jamyang nods, smiling, happy to see Singi more optimistic compared to the past few days.
"It's worth asking."
Later that night, Singi sits on the strip of land dividing the two lakes, bringing her fists together whilst closing her eyes, and begins to meditate. She focuses her energy on contacting Wan, and after a few seconds, the familiar fwashhh can be heard as Wan's blue, semi-transparent apparition appears before her. Opening her eyes, Singi smiles at her predecessor, who smiles back warmly at her.
"Hello, Singi. What can I do for you?"
"It's good to see you, Wan," Singi starts before her expression changes to a sorrowful one. "I'm afraid something terrible has happened with regard to the war. Maku and Gaza sieged the city of Gai Chan—one of, if not the most prosperous and peaceful earthbender cities in the main continent. In the process, they executed the city's leader, Gaogui, who was a very benevolent person in earthbender society."
At this, Wan frowns, visibly hurt.
"I'm so sorry, Singi."
"So the citizens of Gai Chan declared war against the warlords, and there's absolutely no doubt other earthbenders will follow suit. I was present in the city when the siege began alongside Jamyang and my earthbending instructor—General Dao. Dao instructed me to flee," Singi begins again with a hint of dissatisfaction in her tone. "I obeyed, and now I've got a global war on my hands. Dao also instructed me to find a firebending master to help me master the element, and I've been searching for the past few days ever since. Jamyang told me about a civilization known as the Sun Warriors, and I figured someone from that society may be my best choice of a firebending instructor. Do you happen to know where on the Islands they live?"
"I'm afraid I don't. All I know is that they reside in a city of their own creation somewhere in isolation within the Islands."
"A city... so it should be very distinct compared to the settlements I've seen while searching. I think that in itself should help. Thank you, Wan."
Wan nods in acknowledgement before responding, "You're welcome. Jamyang did the right thing by suggesting that you learn from the Sun Warriors. They use a unique form of firebending based off of their observations of the original firebenders—the dragons."
"Yes, so I've heard; and Jamyang told me you perfected your firebending skills by observing a dragon as well," Singi responds with a smirk.
"I did," Wan acknowledges with a chuckle. "But certainly not to the degree that the Sun Warriors have. I believe you'll come to appreciate their form of firebending; not only does it involve using fire as an extension of one's body, but it is genuinely quite beautiful."
At this, Wan's apparition begins to fade from sight, disappearing completely after the former Avatar utters a few more words of encouragement.
"Good luck, Singi. I know you'll find the Sun Warriors, and eventually, put an end to the war as a fully-realized Avatar."
Smiling, Singi stands and makes her way back to her and Jamyang's tent. She retreats in for a long rest before their search resumes yet again.
- Wan was originally not intended to be (directly) included in this chapter, but was added in order to include further content for the chapter.
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