|More from Swampbender55||Adventure||PG-13||None yet||No update page|
February 8, 2013
This is the twentieth chapter of the series,.
Four days later
"There's nothing you can do?" Tahno asks Jinora as the two sit in her office at city hall. The two had spent the better part of the morning discussing the incident a few days ago.
"I'm afraid not. I've tried my hardest but after that little fiasco the White Lotus just feels it would be better to continue Hokori's training elsewhere under a new set of instructors. I'm sorry Tahno."
"It's...it's alright, I know you did the best you could." he says as he gets up from the chair. "Would it be alright if we had a moment alone to say our goodbyes?"
Tahno heads down the paved pathway to find Hokori seated by the shore, Yoroi lying next to her. He sits down next to her and the two look out over the horizon. "We messed up pretty bad huh?" she says.
Tahno can't help but chuckle for a second. "Yeah, I guess we did."
"So what happens now?"
"From the looks of it, they're sending you to one of the other White Lotus outposts. You'll still be learning what you need to know..."
"Just not with you." she looks down in depression.
"Hey, don't sweat it. You just go learn to be the best Avatar you can be; make us all proud. Don't worry about ol' Tahno." he is surprised by the girl as she gives him a tight hug.
"I'll always worry about you. You're the only family I have."
"Take care kid." he gets up, petting Yoroi. "Keep her safe." he gives her one last look before heading off.
Out on the ocean a small Republic Forces vessel sails with a crew of about fifty new recruits assembled on the deck. Nilak stands among them, his dufflebag on his shoulder, as a lone female officer addresses them. Her hair is a dark brown and her eyes a bright gold. She paces up and down the line of sailors before finally speaking. "Alright boys and girls, this is your first day out so I'm going to say this loud and clear, because I don't believe in repeating myself. On this ship we follow orders, to the letter. If we have a problem with that, we've installed a handy exit ramp." she points over to the loading ramp that leads off the ship. "Second, everyone on this ship works as a team, so if you have any notion in your tiny skulls about being a solo hero, swashbuckling on the high seas, you can shake that out of your pea brains right now."
Nilak, beyond his better judgment, raises his hand. "Um, excuse me." he says as the officer turns to him. "Don't I know you from somewhere?" he stops again as he thinks, reaching into his back pocket and pulling out a deck of cards, sifting through them before stopping at one. "Wait, I know. You're Adi, from the Rabaroo pro-bending team."
"Used to be." she says, already annoyed by the young man she has known for less than a minute.
"My dad's Tahno from the Wolf-bats."
"Oh yes, I remember him all too well." she says stepping directly in front of him. "Tahno, the lowest, most disgusting piece of cheating scum I've ever met." she says, constantly advancing on him, forcing him back.
"Wow, and he always spoke so highly of you." Nilak says sweating. "Maybe I could be assigned to another crew?"
"Oh no, I have a feeling you and I are going to be the best of friends." she says frighteningly, causing him to fall back. This action causes something to stir in his bag as Raza, his pet iguana parrot flies out, accidentally scratching Adi as he clings onto the mast. "What is that?" she demands to know.
"Exactly what I'd like to know." the captain of the ship says as he comes down from the bridge. His eyes are the same as Adi's which gives a hint of his Fire Nation heritage. His skin however is noticeably darker than most fire-benders. He wears the standard red and white uniform of an officer, but also sports a black turban.
"Captain on deck!" the woman shouts nervously as everyone stands at attention.
"At ease," he says, looking over the group. He gives a small squawking sound as Raza responds by perching on his arm. He starts to laugh as he strokes the creature. "This is yours?" he asks Nilak who nods. "I always thought this ship needed a mascot, good job. You're Sakari's younger brother aren't you?"
"She's a good soldier, and she speaks very highly of you. Good to have you on board. Adi, make sure our crew gets acquainted with every inch of this ship, understood. And take care of our new friend here." the reptile bird flies off onto her arm, digging its claws into her. She strains not to scream as she gives him a nod of agreement. "Carry on." he says heading back to the bridge.
Adi waits until he is out of sight before approaching Nilak again. "You got a free pass this time, but don't think that Captain Hathi will save your skin every time." she then turns to the others. "Alright, that will be all, everyone dismissed." she says as the group breaks up.
As Nilak walks off one of the other privates puts his arm over him as the two walk. "First lesson my friend, never upset the second in command on the first day." he says chuckling. The young man has his dark brown hair tied in a top knot, his most distinctive feature being a large red tattoo going over both his eyes in a strange sideways hourglass figure.
"Thanks for the warning, I'm Nilak by the way."
"Honshi. I'm sure Sakari's mentioned me."
"Hm, not really."
"Hm. Well she must have forgotten." Honshi says a bit crestfallen.
"My sister must be pretty popular around here."
"Yeah, well she's the one that got me here in the first place. I come from a long line of marksmen called the Yu Yan archers. I was trained to be the best in the world, so I decided to turn my skills into something profitable. I was a thug for hire until I met Sakari. She convinced me to use my skills for something worthwhile."
"Well it was that or lose my right arm. Time will tell if I made a mistake. But seriously, she never mentioned me?"
At Tahno's home the former Pro-bender sits outside at a table on the back patio that look out over the city. As he sits, Taki comes outside and pours him a cup of tea. "Thanks." he says depressingly, taking a sip.
She prepares to leave him to his thoughts, but decides to say something instead. "You know it's not your fault. Things happen."
"It shouldn't have. If I had kept her in sight none of that would have happened. I let Jinora down, Hokori down, and I let Sakari down. Seems to be the new constant in my life."
"You didn't let them down. You did all you could. In the end she'll turn out to be a great Avatar and you'll know you had a hand in it. This probably doesn't mean much coming from me but you're an amazing person. Hokori knows it, Sakari and Nilak know it, and Korra knew it too."
"I just hope their faith isn't misplaced." he says lowering his head.
"No matter what's been thrown your way, you've always beaten it and I know you'll beat this two." she says, blushing slightly. The two stare into each other's eyes before she pushes her lips against his. She then stops and pulls back nervously. "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have done that. I...I should go." she runs into the house abruptly leaving Tahno with a strange feeling, something he hasn't felt in years.
Later that day Tahno makes his way to the city. He walks through the streets and makes his way to a part of town that has been rebuilt recently. As he makes his way through he sees a large statue dedicated to Avatar Korra. He stares up at it for a long time and sees a plaque on the front. It has her name in bold letters on top as well as commendations for all she had done for the city and it's residents. He sits on the bench adjacent the statue and simply sits for a while, contemplating his thoughts as night falls upon the city, the lanterns giving the only light in the area. "I really wish you were here." he says staring up at the statue. He chuckles for a moment. "I guess if you were here I wouldn't be in this situation."
"I thought I might find you here." he turns to see Taki exiting a cab and walking over to him. She hesitates to sit down next to him. "Ming called. He wanted to know if you'd be interested in teaching at his water-bending academy. He thinks you'd make an excellent example for the students."
"You didn't come all this way for that." he says leaning back on the bench.
"True, by the way you owe me cab fair. Finding you wasn't easy. I just wanted to apologize for earlier. I shouldn't have tried to take advantage of you like that."
"Don't blame yourself. I've been on my own so long, and when you did that, well it reminded me of back then, when I was the happiest I can remember. You're right, I know I'll get over this, but it's going to take me some time to..." as he says this he looks over into the sky and sees a police airship approaching Air Temple Island. "What's going on over there?"
On the island only a short time before, Hokori walks along the shore with Yi and her armadillo-wolf, Yoroi. (I guess this is good bye for now.) she signs to her friend.
(My Dad's going with you as a guard. We'll visit him which means we'll visit you.) as they walk, Yi stops in her tracks and looks over to see the lighthouse signal is out. She then turns her attention behind the two.
"What is it?" as Hokori asks her friend is hit from the side by a water shot that knocks her away as several figures in black rush the Avatar. She unleashes a flurry of fire blasts at her attackers. They evade the attacks launching a mix of water and sand attacks at her. She counters the attacks by bringing up a pillar of earth, shooting out sections of the pillar at them. Yi jumps back up launching flames at the group as several White Lotus members rush toward the area. Before they can come to the duo's aid they are set upon by a dozen more shady figures. The young fire-bender takes out two of the attackers and attempts to reach her friend. One of them creates a sinkhole in the ground that trips her up as the others focus back on the Avatar. She attempts to get up only to be pushed into the hole and fastened there by one of the earth-benders.
Hokori takes a stand against the attackers, bringing up an earth wall and pushes it at four of the attackers, knocking them back. She then shoots fire at another group coming on her left, then air blasts a group coming from her right. Before she can proceed, she is hit in the neck by a thin needle. Her vision begins to blur as her adversaries close in. The girl however, is far from helpless as she surrounds herself with a sphere of air as several of the figures are blasted away as she stops. She is then hit by at least six more darts and falls. The group grab her and head toward several cables hanging down from an airship hidden by the darkness. The cables quickly rise up as the ship prepares to make an escape.
Shaozu leads the group of sentries to counterattack as the masked figures fall back to several boats that the water-benders of the group control. "After them!" he shouts as he spots his daughter stuck in the hole and tells one of the earth-benders to free her. "Where's Hokori?" he asks as she points up to the sky. "Light it up." he says as the fire-bending sentries illuminate the sky as the ship speeds off. Ikki quickly comes to his side. "Launch me." he says.
"Be careful sweety." she says worriedly as she performs an air-bending maneuver that puts a pillar of wind below him.
"My heart burns for you." he says with a smile as the wind tunnel launches him upward towards the open hatch of the airship. He lands on the edge of the hanger. He spots an unconscious Hokori in the arms of one of the men. Before he can act, he is struck in the chest by a water whip that causes a large gash across his chest as he falls back to the ground. Ikki spots him and catches him on a cushion of air, as she lays him gently on the ground, kneeling over him. "My heart really is burning, whether it's for you or the open wound I don't know." he says trying to lighten the mood. Yi rushes over to him, then looks up at the escaping airship. "Yi, gimp their ride." he says gesturing to her forehead.
The girl nods, removing her headband, revealing an eye tattoo on her forehead. She looks up at the ship, takes in a deep breadth then breaths out, unleashing an energy bolt that travels through the air towards the vessel. The bolt connects with the ships side causing a massive explosion that rips a hole in the side as it limps away. She falls to her knees, drained of energy as the group can only watch as a police airship continues the pursuit. Nearby, Jinora on her sky-bison, Misora, follow closely behind. Moments later Tahno and Taki arrive on the island, using water-bending to surf across the water on ice boards. "Where's Hokori?" Tahno asks as he sees the scene all around as he quickly gathers what has just happened.
Hokori slowly opens her eyes as she lies on the ground, looking up as several of her captors converse. "What is this? I told you I wanted her unharmed."
"We just knocked her out with the darts. She's fine." as the one says this, Hokori jumps up, blasting several of them with air blasts. One stands unwavering as she blasts the others than turns her attention to him. She stops ans looks at him, in regular sand tribe clothing.
"Where am I? Who are you?" she demands to know.
"It's okay, you're safe now." he reassures her.
"But you're not." she forms a fireball in her left hand.
"Please, let me explain, sister." he says as she lowers her guard, allowing the flames to vanish.
For the collective works of the author, go here.