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January 12, 2013
This is the fourteenth chapter of the series,.
Fifteen years later
Late in the night in the Dragon Flats District, a couple is set upon by a duo of Agni Kai members. The two men push the man and woman into an alley. "Alright folks, money out and no one gets hurt. If not we can have ourselves a little cookout, right here and now." one of them says as a mysterious fog rolls in around them. "Okay, that's freaky."
"You mortals; You're so pathetic. Stealing from the weak and defenseless like new born wolf-bat pups. Your judgment hour is upon you now. Passing sentence." a figure says appearing through the fog with a blue and white oni mask. The first firebender launches flames at him as he disappears back into mist. The two look around as the second is pulled by an unseen force and vanishes. "Choji, where'd you go?" the other says nervously as he backs up. He bumps against the figure as it grabs him from behind and pulls him down into the mist. The couple are terrified as they see flames shoot up into the air before they finally stop. The figure then appears before them. "Are you injured?" it asks as they shake their heads.
"Thank you," the woman says to their rescuer.
"The Blue Spirit watches over all as it has been commanded," it says as it backs into the fog and vanishes as the fog clears.
An alarm clock rings throughout an empty house as it wakes up the only occupant, Tahno, from his sleep. He pulls the blankets away from his face and shuts off the clock, grabbing it to see the time. "Three o'clock. Well might as well salvage what's left of the day." he says as he heads toward the bathroom. He washes his face and looks into the mirror. He has let a short goatee grow out and his skin is pale, even by his standard. He still styles his hair and gets dressed before heading down stairs to grab a bite to eat. As he sits at the table quietly eating his late breakfast he hears a knock at the door and gets up, slowly walking toward it. He opens the door and is greeted by a punch to the face that knocks him to the ground as two men pick him up and a third punches him in the stomach.
"You're late on your payments, Tahno. I told you before I'd take it out of your hide." a man with long black hair tide back says as he punches him again. He continues until his hand is caught by a water whip. He turns around to see a young Water Tribe woman wearing the blue uniform of the United Republic Forces, her hair in a ponytail going down to her shoulders and bright blue eyes holding his arm back.
"Leave, now!" she demands. The man turns around and launches a fire blast at her. She ducks under it and launches a water shot that freezes the man's hands.
"You think that'll stop me? I'm a firebender." he says. "No, that was a distraction." she says running up to him, forcing his ice covered hands up into his face, knocking him out. The other two drop Tahno and rush her as they launch fire balls at her. She uses the water to shield herself, then launches a flurry of ice daggers, causing the two to shoot them all out of the air. She runs forward and grabs one of them, bending his arm and forcing him over. The second attempts to get a bead on her but can't due to his friend's blocking his line of fire. She releases him, pushing him forward, then uses the pond in the front yard to wash the two and their leader away. They get up and jump into their car, leaving in a hurry. "Are you okay?" she says rushing over to Tahno, helping him up.
"I'm fine," he says brushing her off as he strains to get up.
"Here, let me help." she says using her water-bending to heal his wounds. He pushes her away however and leans on the wall of the house.
"Look, I appreciate your help, but Nilak's not here. So why don't you just head home okay?" he turns to walk back into the house.
"But, I am home." she says causing the man to stop dead in his tracks. "Daddy?" He turns to her as she hugs him. "I've missed you so much."
"Sakari, look at you; all grown up," he says with a smile.
"Yeah, fifteen years will do that to you." Sakari looks over at the pond and sees her pet cat-gator crawl to the shore. "Hey Gigi, did you miss me?" she hugs the creature as it nestles into her. She then turns back to her father. "Are you okay, dad?"
"Yeah, I'll be alright. Come on lets go get something to eat, I know you're hungry." he says as he walks into the house, his daughter giving a concerned look. The two sit at the table as he has made them beef dumplings, the eerie silence broken by the old champ. "So, how are things?" he says eating one.
"Good. My waterbending has come a long way. Master Hasook and the others have really been great. Oh, and I saw uncle Shaozu and aunt Ikki with the kids."
"Oh yeah, haven't talked to him in years. How many kids do they have now? Two, three?"
"Five, dad. The last time I talked to them was about three years ago. You know grandpa Tonraq and grandma Senna asked about you too." she looks up to her father with concern. "They really wish you'd come visit."
"Yeah, well I've been pretty busy around here." he says. Sakari looks around and sees the room littered with empty bottles and garbage. She notes that he is far different than the father she remembered before she left for her training. She reaches over the table and places her hand on his. Just then an iguana parrot hops down on the table and grabs a dumpling, startling Sakari as it flies up to the rafters.
"What is that?"
"Oh that's Raza, he's Nilak's." Tahno says as the reptile bird looks down, biting on the dumpling.
"Where is Nilak?"
"Oh, he's off in town. He work's for your aunt Asami now. Even when he's not working he's gone most of the day anyway. Don't know what he does all day but it's more than me."
Sakari then sees an opportunity to bring up the subject. "When's the last time you've been out of the house?"
"Eh, I don't remember. A month or two maybe."
"Why don't I take you out on the town on me. I've got a lot of requisition money saved up."
"I don't know." he says hesitantly. She then puts a scroll on the table and pushes it toward him. "What's this?" he says unraveling it to see a long list.
"A well thought out list of grievances made by me against you. It's basically everything you and I never did together while I was gone. At the bottom you can see it's been signed and acknowledged by United Republic Commander Toru. So you really have no choice but to complete it. See you tomorrow morning." she says as she kisses him on the cheek and excuses herself, leaving him dumbfounded.
In town Nilak is busy flirting with several girls as they sit at an open-air cafe. He takes a sip of his drink as the dark-skinned boy looks at the girls with his blue eyes. "How about we go get dinner, my treat?" as he continues Sakari walks down the street and immediately identifies her brother, the boy sharing many of his father's features as well as his fashion sense. She decides to spoil his fun and runs over jumping on his back, surprising him.
"Hey baby, where've you been?" she looks up at the girls and puts on a false angry expression. "Who are your friends?"
"Who are you?" one of the girls says with a haughty attitude.
Sakari pulls out her mother's necklace from under her shirt and shows it off. "His fiance." Nilak panics as the girls leave him at the table. He immediately stands up furiously and turns to the woman. "You better have a good excuse for doing that, miss."
"And you better have a good excuse for not recognizing your older sister," she says with her hands on her hips and a smile on her face.
"Sakari?" he says at first confused then turns his attention to the girls, that are still within earshot. "Wait, it's cool, she's my sister."
"Yeah, that'll get them to come back," she says sarcastically. The two then hug and laugh. They walk down the street, talking about all the events in their lives. "What's up with this Blue Spirit guy running around? Saw an article about him in the paper."
"Just some crazy guy running around dressed like a fool who thinks he's some kind of spirit of justice and order in place of the Avatar." Nilak stops as he looks over at his sister. "Have you guys found anything?"
"No, we haven't heard any news from the White Lotus. They think mom was still in the Avatar state when she died." she sees his sad expression. "But maybe they just haven't looked far enough yet."
"So have you talked to Yi recently?" changing the subject Sakari asks, remembering Shaozu and Ikki's oldest child. She remembers the first time she met the fire-bender when the family came to visit her during her training and how they became quick friends.
"Yeah, Yi ran away from home a few years ago," Nilak says quietly. "She came back, but different."
"She stopped training with her dad and starting hanging around with the Triple Threat Triad. I tried talking to her once, but good luck getting anything out of her these days."
"Maybe I'll see what I can do. By the way, what's up with dad, he's acting really strange."
Nilak let's out a small sigh. "Sis, I should probably tell you this now. Dad hasn't exactly been the same since mom died. After you left he sent me to stay with aunt Asami. I've been staying at the house with him for only a year or two. He's really messed up, hasn't gone outside for much of anything outside of shopping."
"Well all that's about to change. I've got three weeks worth of shore leave and I'm getting him out of that house. You in?"
"Well seeing as how you've probably ruined me for the next few weeks date wise, I'm in."
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