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December 12, 2015
Nineteen years ago
Jinora was walking down one of the deserted streets in the periphery of Omashu. She had her long, brown hair over her forehead to cover the blue tattoo that marked her as an airbender and, instead of light, sand-colored robes she usually wore, she had a black leather jacket on, and her airbender staff fastened to her waist.
She approached the doors of one of the old, shabby buildings covered in dust and debris and unlocked them with shaky hands. She wasn't bringing good news into the headquarters of the Resistance. Even though the war was lost, even though the hope was dead, they still they kept the organization working. Jinora couldn't see the point in that. Not until now.
On the other side of the doors there was a long, dark hallway. The airbender gripped the gun she had inside her pocket. If she had to defend herself, she would rather fight with her bending, but the space was very limited inside the headquarters.
She entered the elevator and pressed the black button and took a deep intake of breath to calm herself down. On the yellow light of the elevator, her skin seemed grayish and she had large dark circles under her eyes as well as a fresh bruise on her cheekbone.
The elevator doors opened directly into a large, dimly lit room with a round metal table in the middle. Five of the Resistance's members were sitting around it; Asami Sato, wrapped into an oversized woolen coat, was leaning her head on her hand. Bolin, unshaved and tired, was drinking a cup of cold coffee and Mako a glass of some stronger liquor. Eska, with a face full of old injuries and deep cuts was glaring directly at Jinora, and Ikki with her mop of purple hair who waved discreetly at her.
"What are you doing here?" Asami's voice was as cold as ice.
"Is that a proper way to welcome an old friend?" Jinora raised an eyebrow.
Asami opened her mouth to say something but Ikki was quicker.
"C'mon Asami. You know she wouldn't be here if it wasn't really important." The younger woman rubbed Asami's shoulder and patted the chair next to her. "Hey, Jin. Sit down."
Jinora sat down and passed all the faces in the room with her eyes. Perhaps it was a mistake to come here. Maybe she should've gone straight to the chief. No, who am I lying to? She corrected herself. The chief was practically a dead man now. He couldn't do anything to save his people. But the Resistance could.
"There are rumors." Jinora started. "About the day of the Northern Lights."
Asami gave her a bitter smile. "Did you really think we didn't know about that? We got the message last week. You can not stop our army."
"The day of the Northern Lights is coming." Jinora finished the sentence. "But I know the date."
"How?" Eska, who was silent until that moment hissed trough her teeth? "How can we trust you? How can we know that you're still on our side after you abandoned the organization at the crucial moment?"
Jinora returned the cold stare. "Are you serious? You think I'm on her side, after all she did? After what she did to my family? I want revenge, Eska!"
"You're not the only one." Mako muttered.
"We all do." Eska traced the deep scar that marred her face from the eyebrow all the way to her lower lip. "Do you know what the day of the Northern Lights is, Jinora?"
"They say," Jinora knitted her eyebrows. "That there will be a bombing. With a new, horrible kind of bombs. A bombing of the Northern Water Tribe."
"Not just a bombing, Jinora." Bolin frowned.
"Extermination of the tribe. A kill order." Eska muttered. "My people are the first on the list. It's a punishment. And there will be a day that it would be your people."
"The day is winter solstice." Jinora's face remained expressionless. "At midnight. There will be no survivors. I have a man in The Spirit's inner circle."
"Is there anything we can do?" Bolin's voice was almost pleading.
"There is, but the chances are one in a million." Jinora replied flatly.
"Then we will have to take a risk. We've lost the war but we can win this one battle." Mako slammed the table with a hint of that fire in his eyes that was absent for so long.
"If only Faris was still alive." Asami sighed. "She would know all about that weapon and its weaknesses. Of all Spirits-damned four hundred people we lost one person who knew everything there is to know about the Spirit technology."
"There was nothing we could've done, Asami. She was already on the kill list. Just like-" Ikki shook her head.
"Just like Korra" Asami finished the sentence curtly. "Don't miss Meelo, Jinora. There's no point in that. Avenge him."
The silence hung heavy in the air. Ten minutes passed. Twenty minutes. Half an hour.
"My brother just got a son, you know. There was a barest hint of affection in Eska's voice. "It's weird that something as normal as getting a nephew can still happen at times like this."
"It is, isn't it." Ikki gave a sad smile.
"Well, I think we're done here." Asami stood up. "Mako, spread the word. Sixty-two days until the Northern Lights."
In a small house in Ba Sing Se, a middle aged man with piercing amber eyes opened a telegraph.
In a penthouse in Omashu, a green-eyed earthbender gently pushed his daughter away to read the letter he received.
In a luxury flat in the Southern Water Tribe an elderly man with a thin, snow-white mustache was laughing hysterically, with a piece of paper in his hand.
In the Northern Water Tribe royal palace, the chief's eyes widened as he dropped the paper to the floor, ignoring the alerted questions from his niece.
On all four of those, and twelve more telegraphs stood only seven words.
Ninety eight days until the Northern Lights
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