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|The Raging Gale|
Chapter 12: The Raging Gale
"I got here as soon as I could." Sokka entered the tower, a solemn expression on his face.
Yun nodded, hands folded behind his back. "Good to see you again, Sokka. Iroh's been resting; it seems—"
The Grand Lotus nodded. "His heart, I know. He's had problems for about five years now. What's the news on Sora?"
He shook his head. "We don't have as many leads as we'd like, and Toph has been working almost non-stop."
The swordmaster frowned. "Aang's not gonna like that..."
Ty Lee sighed. "Unfortunately, there's nothing we can do. Without the proper info..."
Yun gripped his wife's hand. "We'll figure this out, but for now we have to make sure everyone else is safe."
Sokka nodded his head in agreement. They needed a plan. "First, we need to ensure the other children's safety." He glanced at Yun and Ty Lee. "Is San...?"
The Kyoshi Warrior motioned with her head. "She's upstairs with the royals and Chikyuu."
"Good. Now where are Kyani and Tenzin?"
Silence. "Uh, where are Kyani and Tenzin?" Guilty looks were exchanged.
"For that matter, where's Pema?" Ty Lee asked.
Yun slapped his forehead. "Don't tell me..."
Toph sighed as she ran her hand over the corpse. "Longshot, get Gareth in here, now!" Tao was dead; she could tell that much by the feel of his facial features. "You will not get away with killing one of my men, Kiryu Iran; I will see to that..."
"Ugh...Chief Bei Fong, please tell me we didn't just—." The Firebender held his still unconscious wife in his arms and winced, still pained by his fight with the Governor-General.
"We did, Gareth!" She didn't even bother to turn and face him. "And now we have nothing!"
The Brotherhood leader smirked. "That's not entirely accurate..."
She clenched her fists and gritted her teeth. "I. Do not. Have. Time. For. Games. You will tell me everything. You will hold nothing back!" Longshot put a steadying hand on her shoulder.
He nodded. "I agree, but perhaps this should wait until we regroup. My sources have informed me that a small group of your...I hesitate to use this word for fear of being incorrect...friends are meeting at the Fire Nation Royal Tower. I suggest we pool our resources there and begin making plans."
Her concentration moved once more back to the fallen officer. "Fair enough."
Tenzin tried to move, but his efforts were in vain. The Equalists didn't even have to hold any of them at this point; the five friends were completely at Koruhagi's mercy.
The Airbender rolled his eyes. Great...
"This is magnificent!" Solf raised his hands in the air. "I have two of the Avatar's children before me, and two traitors to boot! It cannot get any better than this."
"Solf..." Pema began pleadingly. "Listen to reason; this will not end well."
One swift backhand later, Solf gritted his teeth. "You do not speak, traitor!"
Tenzin's blood boiled, and his eyes burned with anger. "This is between you and me, Solf; you know that. I lied to your face and told Chief Bei Fong about the warehouse. If anyone deserves this, it's me!"
The Equalist glared. "Oh, I intend to deal with your deceit as well, young Airbender." He hissed. "In the most painful way I can imagine."
"Solf Koruhagi! I challenge you to single combat. For our freedom." Kyani tensed.
The anti-bender smirked. "No. I already know that I can beat you. It would be foolish to waste such an opportunity to have all of you here, now. No...I think I shall use this to strike fear."
Kyani shot Tenzin an apologetic glance, as if to say 'I tried'.
"So you have no idea where they could've gone?" Sokka asked ruefully.
Lu Ten and San shook their heads. "We know as much as you guys. They didn't even tell us that they were leaving."
The three adults glanced at each other. This was not good. "Aang's not gonna like this, either..." Sokka sighed. "At least Fiora and Chikyuu are still upstairs." He stroked his goatee. "On second thought, bring them down here; we don't need any more wild Pai Sho tiles in this mess." The servant he had addressed bowed and made his way up the stairs.
"I suppose we should just wait for Toph to get here. Maybe we can get an idea of where they are from her." Yun suggested.
"I think that is the only thing we can do at this point." Sokka sighed. "I hate unknowns."
Ty Lee pouted. "Whatever happened to going with the flow? I miss those days."
"Yeah, well," Yun smiled. "We didn't have kids then."
A couple of hours...that was it; he was almost there. That was all Aang had to do now, but he hated waiting.
Appa growled, anticipation apparently gnawing at him, too. Aang scratched the top of his friend's head. "I know, buddy; we're almost there."
Ice formed in the pit of his stomach; he feared that Usha's vision would come true soon. I'm so close...just a little longer.
Tenzin exhaled; Solf's monologuing was beginning to grate on his patience. He knew one thing: the anti-bender was dangerously unbalanced.
"And so...you think that you can lord your abilities over us? Well...we can see now who is superior." He grinned maliciously. "But I think Kiryu Iran is moving a little too slow for my taste; we need to strike fear now if we are to gain momentum!"
The Airbender grimaced. He needed just a little more time before the functionality of his limbs would return. "Heh...too bad your leader been imprisoned! Looks like your little 'revolution' won't even be able to get off the ground."
Koruhagi's sneer made all four teens visibly recoil. "Yes, well, you should know that one man does not make a revolution. That being said...I suppose it is difficult to begin without Kiryu Iran..."
Tenzin's moment of temporary triumph was crushed when yet another Equalist dropped down from the roof and began to whisper into Solf's ear.
The silver-haired Equalist's grin widened. "Well, well...it seems that our leader has made good on his plans to escape." He chuckled. "You have no more leverage."
Kyani narrowed his eyes. "What exactly do you want with us? Ransom?"
"Hah! I have no need of you three other than to bring about the fear I promised. I am going to kill the two benders and the traitor, and I am going to make you, oh great swordsman, my messenger! What better way to show the bending community of this city our intent then to bring down the children of the Avatar!"
Sora's eyes widened. This isn't good...
"There is a way out." She recognized the voice, the very same from her nightmares. "You have a power they cannot match; use it."
No, she responded adamantly. It isn't worth the cost! I will not Bloodbend anymore!
"Suit yourself...not that it'll matter now anyway..."
Sora was dragged forcibly out of the conversation as the Equalists holding her brought her to her feet. Solf motioned them over.
"Shall we start off this...revolution...with her blood? Hm? Or yours, Airbender?"
Tenzin's eyes widened. "No! Leave her out of this! Let them go; kill me instead!"
The anti-bender narrowed his eyes. "Oh, I intend to, but only after you've suffered!"
They continued to drag Sora toward Koruhagi, and Tenzin finally began to despair. "Solf, please...I'm begging y—"
"Quiet!" The Equalist screamed as he gripped Sora by her hair, eliciting a strangled cry from the Waterbender. "I WILL NOT BE OVERLOOKED! The Revolution will—!"
"Solf..." Pema's light voice interjected. "Please...don't cross this line..."
The anti-bender pulled Sora to her feet and brandished a shikkar in the other hand. "This line should've been crossed long ago. Now..." He thrust forward, the blade tearing through Sora's stomach. "...now they will fear us."
His sister dropped to the ground, blood already flowing from her wound. His twin...and he could only sit and watch as she turned pale from the loss of blood. So much blood...
When he finally could speak, a guttural, primal cry flew from his mouth. As he screamed, Kyani's own rage and pain was brought to the forefront, and he barely registered his own cry amid the haze, her name, over and over. His cousin was dying right in front of him.
"Ngh...SORA!!" Tenzin's first words were filled with anguish unlike any he had ever felt. And his fury...it was far too late to turn back.
On instinct, for he would have never dared attempt this under normal circumstances, the Avatar's son breathed in deeply, sucking the air from the Equalists that were holding him. They didn't even have time to gasp for breath, because the air was ripped from them with such force that their lungs compacted under the strain.
As his cousin's two captors went down, Kyani could feel life returning to his limbs, but he needed more time. Fortunately, the extra adrenaline now pumping through his system was quickly bringing his nerves back into working order, and he threw his head back, connecting with, and breaking, his handler's nose. As his opponents reeled back with surprise, Kyani rolled forward and drew his shotos.
Tenzin, however, paid them no mind. The wind whipped around him, unbound by his rage, and it formed into a spinning vortex that surrounded him. Solf Koruhagi smirked as turned; his work was done.
"Where are you going?" Pema stood in his way, knife pointed at his heart. Her voice was heavy with emotion. "You have a lot to answer for."
He scowled and waved his hand, and two Equalists dropped down and immobilized Pema. "As do you. Take her back to our designated place; Kiryu Iran will want to deal with her personally." He glanced at a few of the others. "Keep the Airbender and the swordsman busy."
"KORUHAGI!!" Tenzin cried as he walked toward the Equalist. Gone was the light in his eyes, replaced only by rage and pain. The wind moved so powerfully around him
The Equalists that Solf had sent to stop them tried their best, but it was far from enough. If they got close enough, they were torn to pieces upon contact with Tenzin's vortex, although most of them simply died of asphyxiation. Kyani cut down anyone lucky enough to escape that, and the silver-haired madman truly began to understand fear.
He turned to the two escorting Pema. "I think it's time we move."
"You aren't going ANYWHERE!!" Tenzin yelled, but his movement was halted as he came to his twin. All thoughts of anything else were gone from his mind. "Sora..."
She strained to turn her head; most of the color was gone from her face. Tears fell from Tenzin's as he watched her try, futilely, to heal herself.
"T-Tenzin..." She whispered. "I'm...so-sorry..."
He just shook his head as Kyani came up beside them. "No...no! Don't-don't apologize...Sora, we'll...get through this. We have to!" Despair filled his voice. "Don't go..."
"Tenzin, tell Mom and Dad...I'm sorry...and I love them..." She smiled weakly. "Saving my own life wasn't worth...wasn't worth the cost."
"Ngh..." Tenzin held nothing back as he pulled his sister close. "I love you..."
"Wow..." She breathed. "Don't be such a sap, Tenzin..." The Waterbender smiled weakly. "I...I love you, little brother..."
Then she was gone.
Lu Ten shook his head and glanced at San. "Where do you think they are?"
The other Firebender shook her head as she looked up from reading Iroh's memoir. "I don't know, but Tenzin and Kyani can take care of themselves."
"They'd better, because when they get back, they'll answer to us." Yun and Sokka stood side-by-side, arms folded. "They should've never run off."
Chikyuu's wide eyes were filled with concern. "They will find Sora; won't they?" It's my fault she got captured in the first place.
Toph walked down the stairs, now clad in black and gold armor. "That would make my job easier. With Kiryu Iran gone, we need one less thing to worry about."
The door to the main hall creaked open, and all those present whirled to face the arrivals. They were not prepared for what they saw; no one could be. Tenzin held Sora's limp body in his arms, with Kyani beside him. She was lifeless and pale, and her twin bore an expression that was vacant, to an extent, but what emotion remained was pure anguish.
Sokka, Toph, and Yun were the first to meet them, and the swordmaster took his niece's body, allowing Tenzin to collapse in a sobbing heap.
Sora was gone, and there was nothing anyone could do.
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