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|The Will of All Mankind|
April 4, 2010
"The Will of All Mankind" is the fourth chapter of the New Politics chronicles of the fanon series, and the ninth chapter overall. It was released on Avatar Wiki on Easter, April 4, 2010, and written and edited by series creator . In the chapter, Sokka begins experiencing graphic, surreal hallucinations which he believes are connected to his previous visions, and struggles to find an explanation.
"The Will of All Mankind" was an experimental chapter for SuperFlash, as it utilized literary techniques such as overt surrealism, descriptive callbacks, spiritualism, and cold openings. Originally, it was supposed to be written in a non-linear style was Flash was unable to work it in. The author struggled to finish the chapter shortly after the release of "" so that he could not have a long waiting period between chapters.
"The Will of All Mankind" was met with critical acclaim and was applauded for its dialogue and character development.
This chapter will finally reveal the big Sokka hallucinations thing I've been hinting at since Chapter 5, "Aftermath." I expect you to love it more than your first born child. Nah, I'm just kidding. I only expect you to love it more than your second child. XD Enjoy and review, as always, good chaps.
The building around him was collapsing. Fire was rimming the walls and edges. Holes lied all over the roof and the ground. Everything was so insane, that as Aang came rocketing through the unstable wall, shards of wood erupting in the wall's place, Sokka felt a moment of pure awestruck, a complete sense of disbelief.
Yino came abruptly through the hole in the wall, a sinister look in his eyes. Sokka's stood and watched as Yino, is face covered in dirt and blood, as he picked up a half-unconscious and heavily bleeding Aang, snarling the whole time. His unclean teeth appeared as he smiled an unholy expression that tore his face, and it was here that Sokka realized that Yino was about to kill Aang. And it was here, and at this moment, and during this state, that Sokka regained his awareness of his surrounding and snapped. He clutched the leathery handle on his newly carved metal sword, swung it to his side, and launched himself at the man.
Then it happened. The fire. The light. The heat. The burning. His mind went rushing. He heard through the fogginess of it all Yino exclaiming, "Don't touch me, fire filth!" His fire whip had hit him, hit him hard. It lit his whole right half of his torso, his arm, his ribs, ablaze. And the blow was so powerful, he was sent back, back far, and fell out of the ragged hole. His mind fell to pieces. Nothing was clear. Only madness. He hit his head on a spike, and flipped around, carving a straight line down his back as a shard of wood caught on him, ripping his shirt as well. He finally fell, fell hard, onto the stone grown, too shocked, too pained, to scream, so he merely wadded there is agony.
A light. There was the light. A blinding light, whiter than snow yet as hot as the sun itself. All thoughts, already shrouded by his flabbergasted condition, vanished immediately. Something came out of the light, but it didn't seem human. It felt, yes, felt, Godlike, and was so unclear to him it looked as if it was nothing. In fact, he would have believed nothing had happened if he did not feel, yes, feel, the force the entity was omitted onto him. The pain grew yes...all things began to clear up...than fade...and everything fell...
Then darkness. Sweat poured down him. Cold sweat. His arms shook. He could see nothing. But things started to become clearer. He was in his room. Yes, his room in Ba Sing Se. It was a dream. Again. Just a memory of that day. Again. He slowly fell back down into his bead, his askew hair falling peacefully onto his pillow. He closed his eyes, but then opened them softly, looking depressed. Damn. He needed to stop having these dreams. They were haunting him, haunting him almost as much as the hallucinations. Related. They must be related. How can he be sure? Damn.
Well, he couldn't fall asleep now. It was well past midnight, but still too far from sunrise. So he crept out of bed and scuffled his feet across the wooden floor. The atmosphere in the apartment was still and unbecoming. Suddenly, he noticed the front door was ajar slightly, the moonlight creasing in ever-so-slightly. So he crept over to it, and opened it lightly. What he saw was Aang sitting thoughtfully on the stone steps that led to the apartment. The darkness of night partly shadowed his face, but the moonlight illuminated his eyes. He appeared to be in deep concentration; as if he was looking back and considering things that had happened. Then Sokka remembered where Aang went last night, off to confront the Council of 5 with Zuko and the Earth King. That must be what's wrong with him...
Sokka pushed the door fully open and walked down the steps, plopping himself down beside Aang. "So, uh, I take it the talk with the Council didn't go too peachy?"
Aang rubbed his mouth with his hand before licking his lips, breathed in, and sighed. "Well," he began finally, "we're pretty damn sure the Council is starting a coup, the murders are connected to some sort of Fire Nation rebellion, and I've got some more assassins after me."
"Ha," Sokka said disparaging, "nothing new there, huh?"
"Yep," Aang said, licking his lip in concentration as he looked up into the sky hopelessly.
"Well, I wish I had some words of encouragement, but, honestly, things are crap," Sokka said, joining Aang looking up at the moon. Things lied silent for several moments afterwards. But then Sokka spoke up. "I think I died back in that battle with Yino. If only for a moment. And to make things even more freaky, I'm pretty damn sure a spirit was the one who brought me back."
"Do you think it was, uh, it was Yue?" Aang responded, the concept of death and rebirth a, well, far too familiar subject to be awestruck towards.
Sokka turned from the set of stars he was staring at and directed his attention to the moon, which shined dimly and sent but a small stream of light to illuminate the steps. "Nah. I would've known it was her. This spirit was more of an entity then anything; like it was there but really wasn't. If you get what I mean."
"I haven't gotten what you've meant since the day we met," Aang said.
"I've been having really vivid dreams of the whole experience lately too," Sokka continued. "Like I'm trying to decipher it further. Either that or my brain has it out for me and wants me to suffer every night. Knowing my background with comeuppance, I'd usually go with the latter bit."
"I'm sure you'll figure them out eventually," Aang said. "Well, I should be going to bed now. Can't be falling asleep during another assassination attempt; that would just be rude..."
Sokka looked up into the sky again as Aang walked back into the apartment. Maybe he's right, he thought to himself. And when sunrise came and the others woke up, Sokka and Katara went out to pick up food from the marketplace. While walking back to the apartment, clutching a basket of peaches, papayas, cabbage, and some cow-goat meat, Sokka peered down at a puddle that lied over the cobblestone roads, the water caressing through the cracks. He gazed into the puddle intently, and suddenly an image seemed to flash in it, an image of that same glowing, white-clothed woman who raised him from the dead... He had been so infatuated on the puddle that he had not paid any attention to where he was walking and tripped on a loose cobblestone. His shoulders curved inwards as he unintentionally tossed the basket into the air, the contents flying in different directions, and he himself was sent downwards. But wait. Red. All red. He was wading in water. Red water. Not water; blood. It was everywhere. An ocean of blood and he was falling down into it. He didn't even have a moment to take it in as he fell right through the blood. But wait. No more red. He was out of the blood. Everyone was normal again. He was on the cobblestones, his gut to the ground. Katara hunched over him.
"Sokka, are you okay?" Katara asked slightly concerned. Sokka looked completely awestruck, and the look on his face was as if he had just witnessed a massacre.
"Wha-?" Sokka said, finally grasping onto reality again. "Oh, uh...yeah, I'm fine. Just tripped. Wasn't looking..." He picked up the contents of the basket and walked off in a daze. Katara hesitantly followed.
The sun set later that day and night sailed across the sky. As everyone went to sleep, Sokka lied down restlessly on his bed and stared at the moon. It was a full moon tonight. He always felt as if he wasn't alone whenever he saw it. Maybe if he didn't sleep tonight, he wouldn't have the dreams. Yeah, that would work. Just lie down, and keep his mind going. Just think. Don't sleep. Think. Don't sleep. Think. Don't...sleep. Sleep.
The sky was a deep, eerie shade of blue, and the clouds were vibrant and tenacious. He was standing on water. It wasn't shallow at all. It was deep and went on for miles below. Yet somehow he was standing on it. The wind was at a standstill and the water seemed to stretch forever and ever. Without truly thinking and in a daze, he moved his leg and began walking: walking on the water. Ripples shot out around his feet as he carefully put it down on the water, and strangely did not fall in. It just supported him, as if the water was solid metal or rock.
And then on his next step, the whole world seemed to flip, and the ocean he was sauntering down was like the roof and he was hanging upside down. And now below him was the endless sky, still so blue. He kept walking, ripples getting more voluptuous as he progressed.
Then suddenly all reality shifted again, and in an instance the sky was above him again and he was walking straight upward. But the water felt weaker, somehow: like it couldn't support him. And fair enough, it couldn't, and it shook as he fell through the water. But around the moment he fell through the water, it all turned red, turned to blood. And the water seemed to end, falling down with Sokka as he began falling through a series of wooden floors. He was back in the upper ring on that day with Yino. He kept crashing, but it didn't hurt: it just parted away like clouds. And finally, he fell gracefully on the final floor and the blood covered everything, including him.
He looked up in a daze. The woman, that spirit who brought him back, was hovering over him, smiling. Suddenly, she moved very closely and nearly touched his nose with hers. And she peacefully sighed, "Sleep..." And then all the wood around him seemed to fall apart and float away, while he remained in the same position. The woman faded away, and all the darkness left in the place of reality was being reconstructed in front of him, and he was back in his room. He opened his eyes; it was morning, and the sun shined bitterly through his paper-clad windows.
Sokka gazed at the roof awestruck. What the hell is going on?
He shuffled out of bed and went out to the living room, where Toph and Katara were eating breakfast. Aang had just left to go for a walk, so he decided to rush out and meet up with him.
"Aang," he called when he finally caught up to the young Avatar. "Hold on."
Aang stopped in his tracks and turned around. "What's up?" They began walking alongside each other.
"Listen, so, you know a lot about, uh, spirits and...and stuff, r-right?"
Aang looked puzzled. "Yeah...but I always thought you considered all that stuff to be just garbage."
"Well, like, I still don't fully grasp what...what the whole meaning behind it all is, but, n-that's not the point. Listen, I've...I've been getting these really graphic hallucinations. Not like the visions, but...but something much, much more extreme, and surreal."
"Do you think they have to do with the visions?"
"I'd imagine they did. Like last night: that woman, I mean, that spirit, who brought me back, she stood over me, and whispered something about sleep."
"So, they happen during dreams?"
"No, n-not always; a lot of times it's just in the day when I'm walking. The other day, I was walking and I tripped, and then suddenly I was wading through this-this lake of blood."
"Oh, uh...lakes of blood. Delightful...."
"Well, um...maybe they're trying to tell you something. Try reading more into them when you start to experience one."
"Read into lakes of blood?"
"Awesome," Sokka sighed. "So, how's the Council business."
"We're pretty much at a standstill with the whole thing. We don't know exactly which move would be best to take next, 'cause if we just confront them face-to-face again, we'll probably get the same prepared bullcrap."
"Well, good luck, I guess."
"Same to you."
That night, Sokka paced back and forth in his room. If he not sleeping didn't work, and sleeping definitely wasn't going to find him a direct message, what could he do? There had to be some way to contact the spirits and figure out what was really happening. Contact the spirits...that was it. The Temple, just a few blocks from the apartment. There he could try and contact the spirits...
And so Sokka darted out of his room, tossed on a cloak to keep himself warm from the bitter coldness of the outside, and departed. He took long strides, quick ones, as he galloped through the streets and alleyways, until he finally reached the Temple. The Temple was a large building, with a green tied roof, emerald pillars, and white studded walls. On the roof rested a large statue of Kami, the Great Spirit and The Lord of all Realms. It was here where many a citizens would retreat for worship of the spirits and guidance from the preachers in times of great struggle. But tonight, Sokka needed more than guidance: he needed answers.
He crept open the paper-clad, wooden door, and quietly stepped into the Temple. It was grand on the inside, too, with lavish paintings lining the roof and walls, and a beautiful silk carpet spread out along the floor. Beautiful statues lined his path as he sauntered down the soft carpeted walkway, trying very carefully to make little noise. There was a grand door with beautiful architectural designs at the end of the path, which led to a soundproof prayer room. He crept it open as well and went inside. It was dead quiet, and a single prayer candle rested in the center on a wooden table that was elevated a mere three feet from the ground. Another grand statue of The Lord stood before him as he took of his blue hood and cracked his neck slightly. Ne knelled down before the statue and shut his eyes.
"Okay, um, I'm...I'm not very familiar with this kind of stuff. But...but I need answers. Great Spirits, enlighten me, I-I beg of you: why am I being haunted by these visions and hallucinations? What purpose do they entail? What meaning do they serve? Please, Spirits, answer me." But nothing happened, and his voice didn't even echo the sound-roof room. He shut his tighter and clenched his fists, dictating louder, "Please, Spirits, I'm asking you for just some sort of explanation. Why am I being haunted?! Why me?! Answer me!!"
And if it were possible, the room fell quieter, and he felt an eerie presence. He opened his eyes, and saw nothing but utter blackness. But he seemed to still be sitting on something solid; solid nothing. Nothing but the blackness. He turned and before him was the Woman in White, the spirit who rose him from the dead. She bore a reassuring smile.
"Be at peace, Sokka," she said. "All will be fine. Just sleep..."
"I'm sorry, but no. I can't sleep, not again; look, I just want to know what's happening. Please, just tell me why I'm having these visions, and...and why you brought me back."
"Sokka, the spirits predestine all, and with great meaning and patience, all life unravels before the lives of mortals as we carefully sew all-"
"Oh, do not sugar coat it for the boy, Tien Shyr," said a deep voice from behind Sokka. He turned and saw a figure of a man slightly taller than him. He was shirtless, with tattoos all over his incredibly pale chest and arms. His face was melancholy in its form and his hair was a dark shade of black; his coal-like bangs hung soulfully over his eyes. And beneath his eyes laid a tattoo of a long line stretching down to his chin. "The boy has had enough of our cryptic behavior, so let's stop baiting him and give it to him straight."
"Very well, Shiong," Tien Shyr said sighing. "Sokka, the visions you have been experiencing foretell a great and epic tale of tragedy that shall overcome the world within the coming moons. We are so sorry that you were forced to experience them, but it was all required."
"But why me?" Sokka asked.
"Destiny, man," Shiong remarked looking down at Sokka with his cold, black eyes. "All things we spirits do are set in stone and required for the balance of the world to remain never-ending. If we don't follow destiny's right hand reality falls to chaos and everyone, everything, dies. Unfortunately, destiny predated that you had to experience the prophecy."
"Prophecy? But...but what is this foretelling? What is this 'tale of tragedy'?"
"Settle the boy's mind, Shiong; give him prosperity, and cast the revelation," Tien Shyr.
"Very well..." Shiong muttered as he walked over to Sokka. He curved his hand so only his index finger was extended, and with the tip of his black nail he pressed against Sokka's head, and suddenly, all the blackness was replaced with dirt and grass, burned. Noise erupted all around him, of fire, explosions, screaming, running. He was wearing some light armor and his sword was tucked behind his back, and he was crouching behind a rock along with two what appeared to be Earth Kingdom soldiers. They were all covered with dirt and mud.
"What's going on?!" Sokka called to them.
"We've been ambushed, sir!" the black-haired one called, confused as to why Sokka was asking such a question. He was missing a tooth and his mouth was bleeding.
"Ambushed?! By who?!"
"The enemy, sir!" the brown-haired one yelled over the noise. "The D-"
Blood hit Sokka's face fiercely. A flaming rock had been launched and landed: landed right on the two soldiers he was talking to. Blood exploded on all angles. Sokka stared horrified for but a moment before everything melted away and he was back inside the prayer room. He stood up angrily.
"No, no, NO!" he exclaimed. "No, goddammit! Spirits! Shiong! Tien Shyr! Come back! Do not leave me here! I'm sick of these visions! Just freaking explain it to me!! SHI-"
"And, lo, the prophecy shall be revealed mortals," Shiong's voice said from behind him. He turned to see his pale face, and the room became but blackness again. "That is what The Lord exclaimed before he passed on in his mortal journey before returning to the Spirit World. The prophecy dictates that a war will rise and engulf the world again. And all, sinners, nations, Gods-Among-Men, shall clash for survival in the War to End All Wars. You were chosen because destiny shath wrote 'bout you on the stone. You are the to carry the burden of this knowledge, and portray the will of all mankind. And you couldn't exactly do that dead, so Tien Shyr brought you back. And here we are."
Sokka was horrified again. He shook his head and grinded his teeth. "I have to the others about th-"
"You can never tell anybody," Shiong exclaimed, his voice echoing in the darkness. "For if you do, destiny shall be rewritten and the very stone shall have to be recast. Everything, everybody you know shall fade away, and existence itself will have to be reborn. Nothing can throw destiny of its righteous path, or else you, the world, everybody, will be gone, and reality will restart its never-ending cycle. Sorry, kid, but them's the works." And as he said this, images of soldiers marching, fire, corpses, carnage, began appearing through the darkness, and Sokka was horrified once more.
But then suddenly, all the darkness started to disappear, and along with it Shiong did as well.
"But wait, no!" Sokka called out, extending his hand as Shiong and the darkness began fading away. "No, I can't, you have to-no, please!" But he was too late. Shiong was gone.
"The Will of All Mankind" was a title added by SuperFlash101 when he was coming up with upcoming chapter titles for "The New Politics Chronicles." Having realized that the overwhelming majority of the titles are religious and/or Biblical parables, he wanted to create one that would not incorporate the theme but still be powerful. Inspired by the anime Fullmetal Alchemist (which makes frequent mentions of "mankind") Flash created the title "The Will of All Mankind," feeling that it made the right amount of gravity he desired.
SuperFlash did not have any idea as to what the chapter would include when he came up with the name. However, when the storyline of Sokka's mysterious visions developed in the chapter "Aftermath," he decided that "The Will of All Mankind" would reveal their meaning and act as the storyline's conclusion. Many hints were included sporadically throughout the various chapters following "Aftermath," and each helped SuperFlash develop how "The Will of All Mankind" would commence.
Following the conclusion of "Be Thou a Cain," SuperFlash immediately began writing "The Will of All Mankind." The chapter was a rather experimental one for Flash, as it explored a plethora of writing styles he was unfamiliar with. First, it began with a technique known as a cold open, in which there was no announcement as to where or when the beginning was occurring and jumped directly into a piece of action. The chapter features a retelling of a scene from the chapter "Eruption," only it is done with much more detail than the actual chapter did. "The Will of All Mankind" was overtly surreal and included detailed scenes of odd pieces of surrealism via Sokka's graphic hallucinations, particularly the walking on water sequence. Flash originally intended to write it as non-linear, but could not work it in to the plot.
The chapter also deals highly with spiritualism, including the introduction of Kami, the ruler of all spirits who is generally referred to as just "The Lord." "Kami" means "lord" in Japanese. "Shiong," meanwhile, means "omen," and "Tien Shyr" means "angel," both in Chinese, respectively. Shiong was invented during a conversation withon IRC, in which he was linked to a video that featured the Bleach character Ulquiorra Cifer, and Flash was inspired to use a spirit who looked like him. Ulquiorra was used as Shiong's image in the chapter.
SuperFlash desired to finish and release the chapter shortly after "Be Thou a Cain," as he was getting tired himself of having such a long waiting period between chapters and empathized with his readers' obvious desires to not have to wait so long to read a chapter. Therefore, he continuously worked on it for a week. "The Will of All Mankind" was finally released on April 4, 2010, Easter Sunday; exactly a month after the release of "Be Thou a Cain." Flash released "," the first new chapter of in three years, a few days afterward as part of a mini-marathon called "Sokka-to-Me."
The chapter was met with unanimous acclaim. struggled to find a way to describe it, noting, "Wow... this was amazing. Simply amazing. I'll leave a full review on a blog as Kai did, because describing everything I liked about it here would take up a lot of space." called it "excellent" and described the dialogue between Sokka and the spirits as "great." Waterkai wrote, "Again, you manage to amaze [us] with your incredible [dialogue], ideas and portrayal of characters. Not to mention originality." Kai also noted his enjoyment of Shiong's character and the usage of Ulquiorra to portray him.
For the collective works of the author, go here.
|Better World chapters|
| The New World Chronicles
|Bad Start - Hunted - Settling Scores - Eruption - Aftermath|
The New Politics Chronicles
|Bitter Empire - Spare the Innocent - Be Thou a Cain - The Will of All Mankind - Forgive Me, Lord... - ...For I Have Sinned - Bathe With the Dogs - Into Here I Am - John the Revelator - Brothers in Arms|