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|Timeless Security Part 2 - Future Peace|
7 January 2010
Timeless Security Part 2 - Future Peace is the fifty first chapter of.
The battle for the Temple concludes, eventually creating casualties on both sides.
Clear to attack Edit
Aang, Sokka, and Zuko stare at the sky, watching the fire rain down. "Which way do we go?" Aang asks as he deflects a fire blast.
"I say we stick together and move forward," Sokka suggests.
"Works for me," Zuko replies, almost as if he wasn't paying attention.
"I'll clear the way!" Aang exclaims, forming an air ball between the palms of his hands. He balances on the top of the ball and dodges the flurry of fire balls raining down. "On second thought, split up some!" Aang calls back. He raises the snow on the ground and uses it to sever the wheels of the tanks, mimicking Katara. Aang gets off of his scooter in the middle of a Phoenix Warrior division, many of whom turn to attack him.
Deflecting a fire blast from nearby, Zuko sprints off in a different direction. Everywhere he saw a Fire Nation soldier struggling, he would intervene and defeat the Warrior. Zuko sees a soldier in a dire situation, forced into a duel with two Firebenders. Sending an arc of fire in between the three, Zuko arrives and reassures the soldier with a small grin. In tandem, the soldier and the Fire Lord send fire blasts at their opponents. While the blasts are deflected, Zuko moves forward. By the time the fire had cleared from Zuko's blast, he had launched another. The Warrior collapsed as Zuko ran past.
"Fire Lord, watch out!" the soldier calls while launching a fire blast. The remaining Phoenix Warrior had decided to attack Zuko. From the angle he was at, the soldier couldn't have blocked the Warrior's blast, but Zuko was easily able. The blast was deflected, and Zuko watches the Warrior collapse from his wounds. Taking a step back before turning, he bumps into someone. He couldn't tell who, but the person was shorter than him. Turning around into a stance, he meets face to face with Aang.
"Feel like getting some honor back?" Zuko suggests to Aang. From his stare alone, it was obvious that that was meant for both a comical relief as well as a burden the Fire Lord still bore.
"We will," Aang replies confidently, sending an air jet bellowing at the group of soldiers in front of him.
Sokka charges forward, drawing his sword and entering the literal heat of battle. He runs along the side of a fire blast and arrives nearby its creator, an old Firebender. The Firebender sends a fire ball at Sokka, who ducks to avoid the flame. He swipes his sword towards the Warrior, forcing the old bender back. The Firebender thrusts his foot towards Sokka, sending a jet of fire bellowing towards the Southern swordsman.
Sokka, remembering training from more than a year prior, ducks and thrusts his shoulder into the back of the Firebender's thigh. The fire jet goes upward, while Sokka uses his arm to knock the Firebender's other leg from under him. The Firebender falls, and looks up to see Sokka's sword in his face.
"Not bad for a move learned from the Kyoshi Warriors..." Sokka notes with a grin on his face. A fire blast barely misses Sokka's head, and the warrior forgets about the bender and moves on. The soldier gets up and runs back to the Phoenix Warrior's lines.
Zuko sends a jet of fire towards the soldiers in front of him, though some disperse the blast. Aang spins in front of Zuko and raises a wave of snow at the Warriors, who melt the snow with a jet of fire. Aang ducks and sends a wave of air that is parallel to the ground towards the feet of the Warriors.
As the warriors fall, Aang encases their limbs in a sheet of ice. Aang turns to see Boreas and Zuko dueling in tandem against several Warriors. Boreas ducks to avoid a fire ball and slides through the Warrior's legs. When he comes out behind the Warrior, he uses an air ball to knock the Warrior into another who was about to attack Shan.
Shan continues through the battle, looking for something to challenge him. After passing several soldiers whom he ignored, he encounters a tank and decides to boldly take on the mechanized weapon. The tank was flanked by several ground troops, and Shan decides to take them out first. He sneaks up behind one and uses the soldier's own spear to stab him through the back. When the soldier collapses, the nearby soldiers notice the Fire Nation loyalist. A Phoenix Warrior launches a fire blast towards Shan, who dissolves the blast while creating a blast of his own. The attacking Warrior is knocked to the ground as another comes from the other side of the tank.
The Warrior sends another fire blast towards Shan, and he deflects the blast towards the nearby tank. The fire disperses as it collides with the metal surface of the tank. Shan ducks to avoid a punch from the soldier and slams his face into the side of the tank, knocking him out. The thud against the metal encasement of the tank resonated inside, and the operators of the tank realized that they had an outside threat. As Shan moved beside the tank, he realized that it was turning. Eventually he is cut off by its arc, and ends up staring the tank down.
Every time the hatch opens to send a jet of fire towards Shan, he would dodge. Shan would attack, but the window of opportunity was essentially non-existent.
This strategy never allowed him to get a clear shot at the center of the tank. Shan sends a jet of fire at the side axel of the tank, with the heat and cold wind locking the tank in one place. Shan smiles as he moves to enter the tank. He is stopped dead in his tracks by an overcoming warmth from behind. Shan collapses as a middle-aged leader paces forward. Zui looks through the close up battlefield and doesn't see a single foe.
Although he didn't know it, Zui's invasion was going worse than planned. He had drastically underestimated the forces of his enemy. While the Air Nomads did not cause casualties to his soldiers, they were quite capable of easily defeating them. There were rumors of the Avatar battling, though he hadn't encountered a single enemy. He stayed at the back of the invasion force, making sure that he remained unharmed. He had also heard reports that there was at least an Earthbender and a Waterbender somewhere in the battle. As he looked around, Zui saw a wave of water come up from the snow to his left. Shocked, he stepped back, also witnessing a pillar of earth erupting from the ground. Looking to his right, he sees a massive fire blast soaring into the air, followed by a gust of wind. "It must be the Avatar!" Zui thinks to himself. Looking towards the center and into the air, he sees a figure clad in orange soaring above the battlefield. The figure lands directly in front of Zui, with the gust from his landing knocking Zui to the ground.
"So, you're the last in the invasion?" the figure asks. Zui nods while looking over the figure. He was bald and dressed in orange robes, and clearly an Airbender, but he lacked the tattoos of a master.
"So, you're one of the new Airbenders..." Zui decides as he gets up. He assumes his stance and launches a jet of fire towards the Airbender. The Airbender sidesteps as he catches the fire in an air ball he created at his side. The fire evaporates within the air ball, and the Airbender uses the air ball to knock the Phoenix Warrior to the ground.
"No, I'm the Airbender," the Airbender says with a grin.
"What's your name? I'd like to be able to put a name with some of the bodies," Zui says darkly, hoping his tone could be used as intimidation.
Zui's plan fails. "It's Boreas, and since it's me, you'll have one less body!" Boreas declares with a matching smirk. Zui launches a fire blast, but Boreas jumps over the blast, landing behind Zui and tripping him from behind. Zui moves several feet while on the ground, putting distance between him and the Airbender. When he looks up, Boreas is simply smiling in a fighting stance.
"What do I do now?" Zui thinks while rising to his feet. Zui decides attacking is the best course of action, launching a fire ball at the Airbender for the umpteenth time. Boreas flips into the air and sends a jet of air directly towards Zui. Zui falls back and watches Boreas slowly descend to the ground.
"You know you really don't have to be fighting. You could leave now," Boreas says calmly, touching his feet to the snow.
"I could, but what would happen to me?"
"You don't have to go back," Boreas says while pacing slowly closer.
"We don't have any other choice! It's consume or be consumed!"
"You could try leaving. I'm trying to help you," Boreas says, extending his hand towards Zui. Zui initially reaches his hand towards Boreas, though he pulls away at the last minute. He looks up at Boreas, and grabs his hand. Pulling himself up, he sends a fire blast towards Boreas' face, though Boreas pulls Zui past him. As Zui passes Boreas, he feels his feet come out from under him. He can't stop himself from falling, and lands in the drift.
The Leak Edit
Aang deflects a fire blast from a Phoenix Warrior. As he blows the Warrior away, Katara arrives and freezes the warrior in the snow from the surrounding area. Toph follows, running through the cleared pathway where she can see. She creates a fissure that forks in several directions. Before the soldiers fall into the ground, pillars shoot out of it. Many of them make contact and knock their targets away from the team.
"Way to go Toph!" Aang says in congratulations.
"I think I'm doing more damage than you are, Twinkle Toes. You need to step up your game!" Toph turns and launches a Phoenix Warrior into the air while Teo swoops in and blows him away from the temple. Bending the air currents around his chair, Teo begins descending in a downward spiral.
As he approaches, Sokka runs in covering his nose. "Guys, is it just me, or do the new Nomads kind of stink?"
"No, Sokka! It's the natural gas leak!" Teo exclaims, remembering the problem Sokka fixed a while back.
"Toph, you must have opened it up when you were Earthbending!"
"Whoops... Sorry guys..." Toph says quietly. She suddenly has a thought, and looks up towards the group. "Wait, what's so bad about that?"
"It's natural gas," Sokka begins. "It's highly combustible, and we're in the midst of a bunch of people who are shooting fire all around!" Sokka exclaims.
"Zuko, come here!" Aang yells, watching as Zuko defeats a nearby Warrior.
"What's wrong?" Zuko asks.
"We need to call the soldiers back!" Katara says.
The Avatar and the Fire Lord turn to the battle. "Fall back!" the two scream, echoing around the temple. The Fire Nation military begins pacing back slowly, and the Air Nomads leave their battles and soar into the sky.
Boreas looks at Zui, who was face first in the snow. "Too bad. I hope we can do this again some time, it's been pretty fun..." Boreas smiles and leaps off the ground, back towards the temple.
"Where are you going?" Zui barks, brushing off snow and standing up to see his enemy falling back. "Ha! We did it! We won!"
At the top of the hill, Aang sees the figure of Boreas bouncing off the ground. "We need you!" Aang calls, and Boreas heeds the call. Boreas lands on the ground with a bow and quickly rises. "Help me bend this natural gas up!"
The two Airbenders begin pulling the escaping fumes and forming them into a wall. Boreas separates the gas in the air from the gas that is continually escaping while Aang fills in the crevice. Upon sealing the crack, Aang gives a signal. The two Airbenders send the natural gas blasting towards the Phoenix Warriors. Zuko realizes that he now has a better chance, and sends a fire blast into the center of the jet. The blast explodes, sending flames bellowing in the direction of the Phoenix Warriors.
Zui rises slowly, feeling incredibly jarred from the explosion. As he looks around, he sees his campaign in shambles. The tanks he brought lay malformed across the icy incline, and many of his troops were injured. Despite not having given any instructions, Zui notices that many of his officers were ordering retreats. Zui hung his head low and walked the pathway back to the ships in shame.
Team Avatar and Boreas watch as the Phoenix Warriors walk back towards their ships. The fire from the gas cloud prevented the group from charging through, but also forced the Warriors to leave the temple. "Where were those reinforcements?" Sokka asks Zuko.
"I don't know. Let's find Shan," Zuko decides. "He should know."
"Fire Lord, Shan perished during the battle," Boreas reports with a solemn tone.
"He what?" Zuko asked in shock.
"He will be missed. I only wished I could have gotten to know him more."
Looking around, Aang realizes that standing outside the temple is not the right place for them. "Back to the temple!" Aang screams. Zuko points his hand towards the temple, repeating the order. The Air Nomads arrive at the gates of the temple first and are followed by the small remaining number of Fire Nation soldiers.
"We've got to help the injured," Katara immediately notes, pulling water from the air and beginning to heal a scorched soldier. The soldier initially winces, but eventually sighs in relief. "I've got to go now," Katara says calmly, moving on to the next soldier. Aang and Zuko do their rounds as well, with Zuko personally thanking his troops and Aang checking on the security of the Nomads who chose to battle. Eventually, Team Avatar moves towards the front of the temple, looking over the horizon and seeing the smoke left by the Phoenix Warriors.
As Zuko looked and saw the last bit of smoke from the Phoenix Warriors leave sight, he turned to Shan's replacement. "Go after them. I don't want them to be able to go back into the Earth Kingdom."
The commander bows in agreement, but begins taking out a scroll. As he unrolls it, it is clear to Zuko that it is a collection of reports. "Certainly, sir. I need you to direct your attention to a few other matters. We have just received information that says that your mother has been captured. We are already-"
"What?" Zuko screams at the commander, sending massive fire arcs out of his hands as he turned in shock. "We are working to get her back, but-" the commander begins.
"I'm going after her myself," Zuko interrupts again.
"There is more sir. We have lost contact with the ship carrying your uncle. And your sister's con-"
"You mean to tell me what happened?" Zuko said darkly, with every fire in the area blazing stronger.
"We meant to tell you earlier, but you wouldn't see us. I'm sorry, sir."
"These Warriors will not go unpunished." Zuko turns and looks over the horizon with a burning rage in his eyes. "No one will hurt my mother..." he quietly mutters to himself.
The whole team bore witness to the pain Zuko endured. "Zuko, everything will be alright," Katara begins.
"No one will take her away from me," Zuko mutters, ignoring Katara's attempt to calm him.
The plan had always been to leave the temple as quickly as possible after the battle was over, so no one was shocked when Zui came back towards the ships along with his army. The troops loaded themselves in the ships and the boats set sail. Zui stumbles through the ship looking for his room. His disorientation almost prevented him from seeing the soldiers walking towards him and he almost hits them. "I'm sorry, excuse me," Zui says, trying to get past the soldiers.
"Not so fast," one soldier says while grabbing Zui's arm. "You're coming with us."
Zui is dragged to a dark room, one he didn't recognize. He is thrown into a chair in the center of the room and the door is slammed behind him. "Where am I?" Zui screams in terror as he moves to get up.
"Get back in your seat," a voice whispers as he is thrust back into the chair. Jiang Rha is now visible. Seeing his stare, Zui wished he would move back into the shadows. "Some of the returning soldiers have said that the Air Nomads are alive. How could they have made it? You said it yourself, Airbending is peaceful, and the monks will refuse to fight back." Jiang approaches Zui, who slides further down in his chair. "What happened to the projected minuscule casualties?"
"I don't know what happened sir. There were Fire Nation soldiers there! They defended the Air Nomads!" Zui belts in his defense.
"Then why aren't they dead? You know our policy: capture or kill dissenters. You're undermining all of us!"
"Sir, they overwhelmed us! I don't know how to describe it, but they were just too different... I-"
"Silence," Jiang coldly orders. "What makes you worthy to serve the Phoenix King?"
"Sir, I don't understand the question," Zui says in terror.
"What's not to understand? I asked you a question about your qualifications. Answer me."
"Sir, I have organized many invasions... I have tried to-"
"You have tried, and you have failed. There can be no mercy for those who fail. You are hereby removed from the Phoenix Warriors," Jiang concludes.
Zui's face was reminiscent of his inner shock. He knew that there was no way to leave the organization. He frantically searched his recent memories to try and find some indication of his fate, but continued to draw a blank. He looked up to see Jiang's hand glowing orange. The dancing flame illuminated the room, but it slowly dimmed. "Hopefully you can rise from your own ashes," Jiang sneers while thrusting his arm forward. The flames in the room converged and engulfed Zui, with the force of the attack knocking the chair over. Zui's body lays sprawled on the floor, lifeless.
Production History Edit
This chapter was conceptualized from the middle of Book 1. After writing down the idea, The Bos moved on, writing other chapters and scenes before coming up with the idea to reintroduce Ursa. After that idea was finalized, The Bos then decided to include a mention of Ursa at the end of the chapter, and left several of the events ambiguous so that the details could be filled in by the next three chapters.
For the collective works of the author, go here.