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|The Refugees Part Two|
Book 1: Escape
September 4th, 2012
John is reunited with a lost love as the group attends a party
The rumbling sound of Earthbending filled the air as Korra, Mako, Bolin, Leon, and John approached the Refugee borough. They had been placed in a rundown section of the city along the bay and far from the towering skyscrapers downtown. Much of the evening fog had cleared, showing off the red setting sun in the West. Naga seemed to be unfazed by the noise as they approached the borough, although she did seem wore down by the amount of people on her back.
Earthbenders were working hard, forcing boulders out of the ground and sliding them up to make a wall of sorts. A long and wide trench had been dug around the borough, ready to be flooded with water from the bay at a moments notice. Three bridges connected the three main streets into the borough, spanning the gap that was roughly six feet deep.
"I can't believe the city is allowing this to happen," said Mako as they brought Naga to a halt, allowing everyone to slide off the polar bear dog's back.
"City doesn't have much say in the matter," Leon replied. His Irish accent sounded way out of place with the cultural surroundings. Two men met them halfway across the bridge, their slide action Colt Lightning rifles held across their chests.
"Sorry people, no locals allowed inside the barricade. You're going to have to...Hello sir!" the guards shouted suddenly when they saw John step forward from behind the group. They quickly snapped their rifles to their right shoulders and held their left arms across their chests as a means of salute.
"Hello boys, I want the word passed around the borough that these three are to be permitted inside the barricade, understood?" he asked.
"Yes sir," the guards said, stepping aside so that the group could complete the crossing. Inside the barricade, it looked more like a military camp then a borough. Men and women where all armed with rifles, many of them exercising or doing some sort of drill.
Earth and Waterbenders worked together in order to purify water from the bay for them to drink. Those who weren't working or training where enjoying some downtime, playing either card games or dice games. Many, if not all of the games being played were games of chance. A few people shouted out to John and Leon in a strange sounding language. Both the Gunslingers returned the greeting before continuing on, leaving their companions confused.
Pabu scurried around Bolin's shoulders and chest like a nervous blur of red and white. The Fire Ferret jumped once from Bolin to Korra before he leapt back again. Then, he almost seemed to sway on Bolin's shoulders as the sound of music and laughter filled the air.
"What is that music?" asked Korra as she listened to the sounds flouting out of a nearby tunnel entrance. Leon grinned slightly as they neared the entrance.
"That's the sound of Ireland," he said. A young man approached them as they began the decent down the ramp. He had black hair, ice blue eyes, tan skin, and a scowl on his face.
"John Rider, I thought you were dead," he said. John sighed as he came to a halt.
"What are you doing here Collins?" he asked. The young man shrugged slightly.
"Well I am the commander of one of the divisions," he replied. John let out an auditable groan, but otherwise remained silent.
"Anyway. Avatar Korra, Kyle Collins," said Leon, motioning his hand between Kyle and Korra. Kyle clicked his heels and formed his hand into a Gunslinger salute.
"Avatar," he said. Korra didn't answer, as she could sense the death glares John was sending to Kyle.
"Hi John," came a soft voice from behind Kyle. John's expression changed, going from angry to happy and hopeful. A long brown haired girl stepped out from behind Kyle. Her hands were held behind her back as she looked down at her feet, as if doing that could hide the smile on her face.
"Evey," he breathed, almost not believing his eyes. To Korra, this girl looked like the paintings she had seen of a younger Katara. The two looked like they were frozen in time, just standing and staring at each other. Leon cleared his throat slightly before he motioned to the girl.
"Korra, Mako, Bolin, this is Eve Collins. Kyle's little sister and um, John's special friend," he said awkwardly. Neither Eve nor John replied, just continuing to stare at each other.
"Maybe we should give them some space," said Korra after a few moments.
"I'm not leaving her here with him," Kyle replied, uttering the word him like it was foul. Leon stepped forward and placed his hand on Kyle's shoulder from behind.
"Leave um be boy o, or I'll bend you into the harbor," he hissed into Kyle's ear. After a moment of straining, Kyle finally allowed himself to be dragged down the ramp into the party area. Now alone, the two continued to stare in silence, waiting for the other to speak.
"Is it really you?" Eve finally asked, her voice just barely a whisper. John nodded and swallowed, trying to return some moisture to his mouth. "Yeah, its me," he replied, just as quite. Eve shifted her feet slightly before she suddenly launched herself into John's arms. He held her tight, a deep fear of loosing her taking root. He could feel her tears dampen his shirt as she buried her face into his shoulder.
"They said you were dead," she said, almost crying.
"I came close a few times," he replied, holding her a little closer. She finally released him and looked up into his eyes. He gazed back, looking into her shining blue eyes.
"Hey John?" asked Roland as he tapped John on the shoulder, seeming to have appeared out of nowhere. His grey eyes shone out from behind his rappings with amusement.
"Why are you still wearing those?" John asked, motioning to Roland's wrappings. The young man shrugged slightly.
"Keeps me warm, anyway they want you two down there, it's getting ready to start," the young Sandbender said before he turned and walked back down the ramp. Turning and looking back at each other, the two lovers smiled slightly. They rapped their arms around each other before they descended down the ramp.
A few flood lamps hung from the ceiling as the only light source in the entire room. Many of the people looked at the square space at the center of the room. A small band with various strings instruments and drums sat next to the square, hidden by the shadows created by the flood lamps.
The low murmur of the people filled the air as John scanned the crowd. He finally spotted Korra and the others near the square. Many, if not all the people in the crowd had a rifle within arms reach.
"Boss! We need you to play!" called one of the band members when he noticed John enter. He looked down and reluctantly parted with Eve and made his way over to the band. Eve made her way over to where Leon, Korra, Mako, and Bolin stood.
"What does he play?" asked Korra as Eve took her place next to the young Avatar. Leon grinned slightly as he folded his arms and leaned against a post, sharing it with Mako.
"You'll see," he said as John sat next to the band. A scruffy red headed young man made his way out into the middle of the square. His pale skin almost seemed to shine in the light of the flood lamp overhead. He clapped his hands together, causing the sound to resonate around the room.
"Thank you all for coming tonight!" he shouted over the murmur of the crowd, his Irish accent resonating around the room. The crowd instantly quieted down and waited for him to speak.
"As you all know, the Irish Platoon has been assigned for tonight's festivities. But before we begin, I'd like to take a moment to look around us. If it wasn't for our leader, John Rider, we wouldn't have been able to accomplish this remarkable trip to a new world," he said, motioning a hand back toward John who sat in the shadows. An almost unanimous shout of approval went up from the crowd toward John, who made no effort to stand or be recognized.
"So without further trouble, let us celebrate a happy moment at least once beneath the Twelve Universes," he said before turning and walking out of the square. A drummer began to tap out a rhythm before John joined in with a steal flute, his fingers flying over the holes with expert ease. After a few moments, most of those present began to pound their rifle butts on the floor as the base rhythm.
"Her breath began to speak as she stood right in front of me."
"The Color of her eyes were the color of insanity."
"Crushed beneath her wave, like a ship I could not reach her shore."
"We're all just dancers, on the Devils Dance Floor!"
"Well, swing a little more, little more o'er the merry-o."
"Swing a little more, a little more next to me."
"Swing a little more, little more o'er the merry-o."
"Swing a little more, on the Devils Dance Floor!"
Korra, who had been clapping her hands along with the song, suddenly turned and grabbed Mako by the wrist. Without so much as a thought, she dragged him out into the square along with the others who were streaming out to dance.
"Pressed against her face I could feel her insecurity."
"Her mothered been a drunk, and her father was obscurity."
"Nothing ever came from a life that was a simple one."
"Pull yourself together girl, and have a little fun."
"Well she took me by the hand, I could see she was a fiery one." '
"Her legs ran all the way up to heaven and past Avalon."
"Tell me something girl, was is it you have in store?"
"She said come with me now, on the Devil's Dance Floor."
"Well swing a little more, little more o'er the merry-o."
"Swing a little more, a little more next to me." '
"Swing a little more, little more o'er the merry-o."
"Swing a little more, on the Devil's Dance Floor!"
Korra and Mako swung around the floor, completely oblivious to anything around them as they danced. Eve watched her love from the corner as he played the flute as fast as he could. For a moment, life was seemed to be peaceful and perfect.
Korra and Mako's dance was inspired by Katara's and Aang's in the original series. The song, The Devil's Dance Floor shares a title with an upcoming chapter.
For the collective works of the author, go here.