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|The Reconstruction Council|
Book One: Deceit
Co-writer who still hasn't made an account
January 15, 2010
En route to the Council Chamber
"Come on!" Kya called over her shoulder. "Hurry up, slowpoke!"
"Why don't you slow down!?" Liv shouted in reply.
Kya laughed spiritedly, continuing her mad dash across the courtyard. She slowed when she came to the entrance to one of the many palace hallways, however. Too often, she had attempted to turn that corner at a wild pace and ended up running over some poor, innocent bystander in the process.
Sure enough, Kya was able to veer to the side just in time to avoid mowing down an important-looking man in the attire of nobility. She shot him a cheerful smile as she passed, to which she received only a stern glare as response. Funny, how none of her unsuspecting victims seemed to find her surplus of energy amusing...
The man shook his head disdainfully, then turned to continue on his way. As he did so, however, he very nearly managed to trip over Liv, who was doubled over with her hands resting on her knees in an effort to catch her breath.
"Would you children watch where you're -," he began furiously. Then he stopped, his eyes wide with shock and, perhaps, a slight touch of fear.
Liv straightened, fixing the man with a cold amber stare. The corners of her lips twisted downward in a slight frown, and crossed her arms over her chest. Kya felt a shudder run through her body at the intensity of that gaze, but she sympathized with her best friend's fierce reaction. The way that guy was looking at her, as if she were some sort of monster, was more than enough to display exactly what he was thinking.
"What?" Liv demanded.
"Oh, um..." the man stammered. "Uh, my apologies...um...Princess. It's nothing, really. You merely look so much like...um..."
Without finishing his explanation, he cast a final, frightened glance at Liv and hurried away.
There was a long moment of silence. Kya reached up and rested a hand on Liv's shoulder, giving her a reassuring half-smile.
"You okay?" she inquired tentatively.
"Yeah," Liv replied quickly, shaking her head as if to clear it. "Thanks for coming with me, Kya. I should really get to the meeting, so... See you in a few hours, then!"
She raced off in the direction of the throne room, leaving Kya alone at the edge of the courtyard.
In the Council Chamber
Liv skidded to an abrupt halt just inside the entrance of the room where the Reconstruction Council had assembled. Seated at various places beside a long table, six adults turned to stare at Liv as she made her grand arrival, her hair in a disarray and her breath coming in short gasps.
Liv met each amused glance in turn, feeling a faint blush spread over her cheeks. Something about their disorganization was not quite right...
"That's nice," her father, Fire Lord Zuko, said, breaking the silence. "We haven't started yet, but I'm glad you're so excited."
"Oh," Liv said, blinking. "Well...I knew that! I just wanted to make sure that everyone saw me come in."
There was a collective murmur, mixed with some amused chuckling. Somewhere near the end of the table opposite from Zuko, a tenor voice muttered, "Females..."
"What was that, Anjoh? Is there something you would like to share with the rest of us?"
Liv turned her gaze to the woman on Zuko's left. Katara, Kya and Gyatso's mother, wore a fierce expression on her beautiful face as she stared down the man who had spoken. Her blue eyes were piercing, as though she could stare straight into his soul. Anjoh met her challenging gaze for a short moment before turning away, muttering something under his breath about the Fire Lord's choice of advisors.
Pleased by the way he sank uncomfortably into his seat, Liv stalked forward to collapse casually across the chair on Zuko's right, slapping a high-five with a tall, handsome albino man on the way. Aristaeus, the husband of Ty Lee, cast a smirk in Anjoh's direction. He seemed on the verge of making a jeering comment when the oldest council member, Charyot, shook his head reproachfully. That was typical, Liv thought. Charyot was known for keeping the peace among the diverse group, especially between Katar and Anjoh.
Katara flashed Liv a warm smile as she took her place. Eagerly, Liv returned it. Since her own mother, Mai, had passed away when she was very young, Liv had always turned to Katara for help whenever the topic was difficult or awkward to discuss with Zuko. In a way, she had almost been like a mother to her for her entire life...
"Let us begin, then."
Liv's thoughts broke off as Zuko recalled her attention with his commanding voice. Standing there at the head of the table, with his smoky hair falling just above his golden eyes and his scar prominent against the white skin of his face, Liv thought he looked like a true ruler - impossible to ignore.
"It's been brought to my attention that some violent activity has erupted in an industrial city by our coast," Zuko began.
"The one with the sweet fire fountain?" Sokka interjected.
"Yeah, that one," Zuko confirmed. "As of right now, it seems like some kind of minor riot. But, before any real damage can be done, I intend to step in and deal with it personally."
Liv glanced over at the place where Katara's brother sat, just to the left of his younger sister. He was reclining casually across his chair, feet resting comfortably on the table. Liv shook her head in response to the image Sokka created. Really, for such a strategically astute person, he did not look all that smart. In a way, however, his lack of formality was a comfort. It stayed the same, even when the rest of the world seemed swept away by change.
Liv sometimes had trouble believing that a nice guy like Sokka had participated in the creation of...Rohan.
That annoying Dictionary...
"You want to handle an entire riot by yourself?" Katara questioned doubtfully. "I don't know, Zuko..."
"Of course you don't," Anjoh put in snidely. "Women never do."
"Here we go..." Zuko muttered, his head dropping into his hands.
Liv felt a surge of passionate fury. Seriously, after what had happened before the meeting, she was more than done with men and their testosterone-pumped idiocy for the day. After all this time that the Reconstruction Council had not been convened, Anjoh still just had to go and be a jerk. And as for that random imbecile who had almost collided with her outside, well, he had overstepped her fragile boundary.
She hated being compared to her aunt. More than she hated Anjoh's guts and wished that she could slice them out and put them in a bowl. It wasn't her fault that she looked so much like Azula.
"Shut the hell up, dammit!" she snapped. "I am not dealing with you today."
Katara glanced over and met her eyes. Liv felt the wordless communication pass between them, then relaxed with an inaudible sigh of frustration. Katara turned her neck slowly to glare at Anjoh, but he was already trying to use Charyot to shield himself from her sharp gaze.
As usual, that didn't work. But Charyot did seem glad that he would not have to break up a physical fight this time. Liv smirked to herself. That one time between Katara and Anjoh had been really fun to watch.
"Right," Zuko said, calling the focus back to himself. "To answer your question, Katara, I don't mean to do it alone. Aristaeus and Charyot, if you two would agree to stay behind and watch things around here, then I'll take Katara, Sokka, Toph, and Suki with me."
"A strong group," Charyot commented, nodding his approval.
"Actually," Zuko continued, "that's not quite it. I'd also like to take Liv, Rohan, Gyatso, Cyrene, and Kya with me. They've all become skilled fighters, and it should be a good experience for them."
"That'd be great!" Sokka agreed enthusiastically. "I'll get to teach Rohan how real men kick butt!"
"I suppose," Aristaeus drawled, the mocking tone of his smooth voice causing Zuko's brows to furrow. "But if anything happens to my Cyrene, it's on you, man."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah..." Zuko said dismissively. "Are we all in agreement?"
The other council members murmured their consent. Liv, on the other hand, was seething. How could her father do this to her!? She had told him plenty of times before how she felt, and she had made it perfectly clear.
Zuko looked at his daughter's reddened face, one elegant black eyebrow rising ever slightly at the sight of her fury. He had seen her boil over quite often in the past. Liv was sure that he knew exactly what was coming...
"NO!" Liv yelled at the top of her lungs. "I ABSOLUTELY REFUSE! NO WAY IN HELL AM I SPENDING THAT MUCH TIME ON A BOAT WITH ROHAN!"
- Liv's idea of cutting out Anjoh's innards and putting them in a bowl was inspired by a line from Episode 6 of Inuyasha.
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