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|The War of the Lotuses: Dying Moon|
Terms of War
Aang, Zuko, and Sokka approached the group of three assassins, two had their faces hidden behind hoods and the third was heavily muscled man. As they approached Aang noticed the subtle breeze was becoming a gust of wind.
"Welcome Avatar Aang, Fire Lord Zuko, and Chief Sokka." the center figure said, "My name is Lu Ming, Grandmaster of the Black Lotus Assassins, my companions here are Des, and Lady Sa."
"Quit wasting our time and cut to the chase." Zuko demanded as another gust of wind blew against them, oddly the wind didn't seem to affect the assassins at all, even their clothes were unaffected.
"Of course, my lord." Lu Ming said with the slightest hint of sarcasm, "We are here to offer one set of terms, either you three and the rest of our targets surrender yourselves to us or we kill all of your warriors and you."
"Those are your terms?" Aang asked.
"They are." Des answered.
Aang exchanged glances with Zuko and Sokka. They both nodded and Aang turned back to the assassins and said. "We refuse your terms, and you will not take any of us without a fight."
Lu Ming started chuckling before saying, "Such arrogance, but would else could I expect at your young age. I look forward to facing you on the field of battle, my brother."
"What?" Aang almost choked out. Lu Ming slowly removed his hood revealing a blood red Air Nomad tattoo on his fore head.
"You were never the "last airbender", for nearly a hundred years, I was." Lu Ming said relishing his preys' confusion. "You may have the Avatar State at your disposal, but I have a centuries worth of experience at mine."
With that the assassins left and headed back to their camp. When they were out of earshot Lu Ming spoke, "Lady Sa, I'm surprised you didn't introduce yourself to Fire Lord Zuko, considering your connection to his family."
"That's not your concern Lu Ming," Sa replied.
"My apologies, I forgot that's a touchy subject," Lu Ming said while concealing a sly smile.
Plans of Attack
Team Avatar gathered with the masters of the Order of the White Lotus and some generals from each nation to decide how they would attack. It was eventually decided that the firebenders would make up the front lines, while the earthbenders would launch artillery strikes into the enemy ranks. Meanwhile the waterbenders would flank them along the river on the left, while the non-benders flanked them on the opposite side. Finally the airbenders would fly overhead and drop bombs before they would land behind the assassins and box them in.
"Any questions?" Sokka asked after he explained his plan.
"Won't the airbenders be hit by some of the artillery?" Aang asked slightly worried about having to watch his back and front.
"Not a problem." Sokka said trying to comfort him, "You guys will simply fly higher than the boulders being launched. Try to stay in the clouds. So anymore questions?"
When no one else spoke, Zuko told the soldiers the strategy and told them to get ready. They were to attack in an hour.
Meanwhile at the Black Lotus camp, Lu Ming had gathered Lian, Des, and the other high-ranking assassins.
"Alright then our plan of attack is as follows." Lu Ming began, "Their waterbenders will likely stick to the river so our firebenders will meet them there. Our earthbenders will meet their main forces along with our non-benders, while our waterbenders cover our left flank. War meeting adjourned."
After the meeting Lian asked Lu Ming for a moment of his time. "I'm not too sure about placing the waterbenders in the middle of the battle." She began, "Wouldn't we be more useful by the river?"
"Initially yes, but tonight there will be a full lunar eclipse, so all waterbending will be negated anyway." Lu Ming said with a smile. "You have been keeping up with your weapons training right?"
Lian smiled as she reached into her coat and pulled out a whip, "Of course I have. Just the same however I would like to stay with the river, Katara will most likely be there and I'm itching for a rematch"
"Very well." Lu Ming conceded.
The War Begins
The Black Lotus Assassins stood at the ready as the United Army gathered across the field. The assassins let out a hoarse battle cry that echoed throughout the valley. Once the echoed stop the assassins waited for their response, soon they heard a loud, primal roar that far surpassed their cry. Lu Ming recognized the sound however, a sky bison. With a wave of his hand he gave the signal to attack. The assassins immediately charged forward as did their enemies. As they approached the United Army's earthbenders began their artillery strikes. Some of the Black Lotus earthbenders were fast enough to defend themselves those who weren't were crushed. Within moments the two forces collide as a full moon rose in the sky.
The Front Lines
Zuko led the charge against the assassins, once the forces collided he lost himself in the heat of battle. He used his dao swords in conjunction with his firebending and cut down any assassin that got in his way. Hearing a faint noise he turned in time to block a blade from one of the assassins. Acting on instinct Zuko knocked the enemy blade away with one blade and drove the other into the assassin's chest. As the assassin dropped a larger one came from behind Zuko and raised a giant staff made of earth. As Zuko moved to dodge the assassin's attack a dagger flew past him and embedded itself in the assassin's heart. Zuko turned to see Sa smiling at him while the rest of her face remained hidden.
Still smiling Sa turned and began slicing the United Army firebenders with a dagger coated in a toxin that paralyzes the body, giving the appearance of death for hours. She had to maintain an appearance of hostility. Her helping Zuko could be attributed to simply missing. Sa spent most of the time either paralyzing her "enemies", or "accidentally" killing the other assassins.
Des pounded his way through the ranks of firebenders before him. The enemy was baffled on how this giant could take a fireblast straight to the chest and not even flinch. Des smiled as he charged forward, only using his earthbending to keep the thin layer of sand over his chest, legs, and arms. He didn't need to use bonebending here.
Using the river the waterbenders were able to hold back the assassins with minimal effort. Katara stood her ground as multitudes of firebenders attempted to bring her down. She fashioned two water whips and used them to take out any one who attacked. As she fought she felt the full moon increasing her abilities. She was unstoppable as more and more assassins fell to her whips.
Gao laughed as he faced the nearly unbeatable waterbenders. Now this is fun!, he thought as he attempted to dance around the fluid and flexible attacks the waterbenders used. All the while Butcher spoke to him. All you have to do is survive until the eclipse. the imaginary demon informed him. Gao laughed as a waterwhip sliced into his arm. That might be a little difficult, he thought as he barely dodged another strike.
"It's been awhile Lian. We all thought you were dead." Pakku said as he stared down Lian.
"Indeed Master Pakku." Lian agreed, "I must say I've missed your charming sense of humor." Without waiting for his response Lian attacked. Pakku was surprised to see how ferocious she'd become, compared to the trouble making, yet sweet girl she once was. The two battled for a long time, and as they dueled they each noticed their waterbending getting weaker. Becoming desperate Pakku freezes the water he's using into a spear and hurls it Lian, who dodged the spear while slashing her water whip across Pakku's chest. He dropped to the ground as Lian began to search for Katara.
As the battle raged on the earth began to position it self between the moon and the sun, as it did so the waterbender's abilities began to waver. Katara noticed her abilities weakening and started to fall back with the others. As she did so however the assassins surrounded her. As they prepared a fireblast Lian's voice stopped them in their tracks.
"Do not touch her! She's mine."
Des' use of sand was inspired by Gaara of the Desert from Naruto
For the collective works of the author, go here.