Fire bomb
The Spark to Ignite a Rebellion
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Emblem of the Outlaw


Three: Water



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Every Photograph Crops the Full Scene

Revolutions grow like a wildfire

I knew it was coming. It seemed like forever, though it was only a few months. My fate is set. All of our fates have been set, since we first met in Republic City. Destiny always seems to have a hand in these sorts of events. My friends' fates are none of my concern, but I know that we will not all make it out. Revolution is costly, and this revolution will cost us, this handful of teenagers. Going into this battle with this knowledge makes it easier. Like how it's easier to watch a movie full of tension when you know the ending. This day, in 211 AG, is the beginning of the end.

The end of a corrupt and unjust world.

"Are you ready, Avatar?" The voice pierced Ishio's thoughts, and he turned to see Hiraoka standing in the doorway of his tent. Lips pursed in a tight line, concern was painted all over Hiraoka's face. Even the rough Waterbender could not hide his feelings now.

"Yeah," Ishio replied, the last sound of the word lingering on his breath as though he was going to continue. But nothing followed.

"I wish I could have had twice the time to teach you Waterbending," Hiraoka wrung his hands absentmindedly. "More than anything because having the extra hand around for hunting was really useful, even if you did complain like a child." His face seemed to shift back into the usual teasing grin which Ishio had come to know.

"Oh? You know I'm the master of all four elements now. I could beat you in a duel in ten seconds flat."

"Don't get cocky now. I'm still a better fighter, and I'd squash you like a fly."

"You want to try?"

"What's taking so long?" A different voice interrupted their conversation. Ishio's departure schedule had been delayed already, and undoubtedly the pirates were beginning to lose patience.

"After this is all over," Hiraoka began, turning to Ishio once more, "we'll see who's stronger."

The ground below them suddenly shook violently, knocking both benders off their feet. Without second thought, they rushed out into the middle of camp to see the source of the ruckus. In the distance, the silhouette of a heavily armored ship loomed. And no one needed to see the ship's flag to know it belonged to United Republic. Somehow, those hunting Ishio had gotten word of his current location.

As the ship grew nearer, the pirates scampered onto their own vessel. It seemed as though they would leave with or without Ishio to save their own skins. "Go Ishio!" Hiraoka shouted urgently over the sound of the villagers' panic. "We'll draw them in and hold them off here!"

Ishio was not given a chance to argue with this decision. His Waterbending master practically shoved him onto the pirate ship. And the timing was impeccable--the pirates had already raised their anchor, and within moments they were far enough off shore that Ishio could not go back. But he could see Hiraoka assemble with a few other men at the gaping hole left by the pirates' ship. Their bodies were like tiny insects as their arms spun, creating a tide which would draw in the enemy ship. They were most likely sacrificing their lives to save Ishio. A sickening feeling shot throughout his stomach, but he knew that all he could do was walk forward.

"Time to leave," a scratchy voice broke through the usual silence in Frost's cell. She knew the day had come. And yet, she was not afraid. In the few weeks leading up to her transfer, she had realized that this was the end of her journey. Yet, she knew that she had never been alone. In the end, she wished that she could have seen Liwei again. Though she and Ai Shi had promised not to talk about him anymore, expressing her feelings fell into the regrets category. Maybe if things had been different, we could have been together, she thought now, as the guards roughly dragged her to an armored vehicle. Maybe if we hadn't met Ishio, we'd be living happily, without this fear of death.

Thoughts of what could have been filled her mind as the vehicle clunked along a dusty road. And an epiphany struck her midst these hopeful thoughts. If we hadn't met Ishio, Liwei would still be a police officer, and I'd still be in the rings. The road had been rough, but she now realized that Ishio, and this whole wild adventure, changed her life. For the better. Her grandfather had died in the rings, and she didn't even know what happened to her father, or who he was, and maybe her mother didn't either. The only life her path would have brought her was a life of pain, misery, and scandal. A young death, or a single mother with one of too many to count possible fathers. But Ishio had given her hope in society. A purpose. Instead of going through as one in a crowd, she helped him. Made a difference.

Liwei had a poor life, too, she mused over another bunk which nearly launched her off the hard metal stool in the back of the van. He hated his home life, and hated his work life, but he has been able to find a purpose. Same with Ai Shi... Had Ishio not come, she'd still be working with that crazy librarian, Geming. I don't know much about Whitey, but I think Ishio killed his mom and he's probably been able to somehow forgive him, too.

Ultimately, Frost realized that this had been a meaningful journey. If it were to end here, it would not be so bad. She knew that the others were still out there, and surely they would find some way to make things right. Her journey might end, but others would go on. Such was the way of life. The world did not stop turning, even if the world was unjust. Even if all those fighting for a better world failed, even if the world fell into ruin, even if the corrupt government continued, the world would not stop turning. Endlessly, it would continue to go on. And there would always be another chance, even if it weren't for a hundred years. Musings filled her mind, and the time seemed to literally fly in the end of her journey. Her procession to the stake.

Ai Shi's heart beat against her ears. Accompanied by several members of the Order of the White Lotus, including Meelo, stood by her side, awaiting the armored van to arrive for their ambush. In moments, it would all begin. Of course she was nervous, but the types of nerves a musician gets before performing. Excitement. Within the nerves, there is a mild fear of failure. But such fears are ultimately squashed by the joy, the anticipation of seeing something one has worked on for so long be put into effect.

Though her journey with the Avatar had only been a couple of months, it was beginning to seem to Ai Shi as though her journey had begun years ago. When she first left to join the library with Master Geming. All her life had been a buildup for this one moment. This one moment where she would help to change the world which had kept her bound for all these years. And it practically took the breath out of her.

Of course, she never forgot the downsides to the journey. In these moments, Ai Shi thought back to the day she lost her bending. Had she never traveled with Ishio, she would still be able to Firebend. And maybe then, her bending would have lasted until bending was legal once more. Then, she could pass on her knowledge to others, train more to bend than Ishio. I wouldn't have seen Liwei again, though, she told herself as these thoughts swelled through her mind. And if he hadn't had a Firebending teacher, who knows if Ishio would be able to save the world. Though conflicted, Ai Shi knew that now was not the time to allow her mind to be preoccupied with such dealings. All she could do was focus on the present. On the coming storm.

"Has it begun yet?" Haneul seemed to be brimming from within his small hut in the prison camp. Kiri stood at the door, awaiting word from Tuzo regarding the Order of the White Lotus's movements. She only responded to Haneul's words with a slight shake of her head, the concerns of his disease still clouding her mind.

Suddenly, Tuzo rushed in the room and practically knocked Kiri over. "The van's just over the horizon! In two minutes, everything will begin."

The Airbender stood and grinned wildly. He walked towards the door and placed his hand on Kiri's shoulder. "I thought I told you not to worry. It really will give you wrinkles."

Shouting could be heard outside. Gun shots rapidly began to fire, and they all knew that it had begun.

Since when has the way become unavoidable like this?


  • "Procession to the stake" at the end of the ninth to last paragraph is a reference to the Fourth Movement of Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique.
  • "Since when has the way become unavoidable like this?" is a line from the song "In My World" by ROOKiEZ is PUNK'D. Another good song, but totally different from Berlioz...
  • This chapter was originally to be written as an epic-style poem, but I am so sick of dactylic hexameter that it's not even funny.

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