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February 16, 2013
This is the twenty-fifth chapter of the series,.
"Hey look, we're here." Nilak shouts as he watches the shore of the Northern Water Tribe draw closer. The small fleet of vessels escort the remaining two ships to the docks, the Republic Navy ship having been scuttled due to heavy damage. Adi stands on the deck of the second pirate ship as her remaining crew stand around the now restrained pirates. "This is going to be a nightmare to report to High Command." she says to Hasook who is staring out over the night sky.
"Eh, I wouldn't worry too much about it. Your team did help rescue the Avatar, not to mention one of my special forces team. I'll put in a good word for you." Hasook says with a light smile.
Hokori sits on one of the boats next to Tahno as they ride toward the north. She gets chills, not being used to the cold Tahno gives her his jacket to warm up. "I'm sorry about your brother. I know what it's like to be disconnected from your family."
"It's okay. Whoever Sakyu is, he's not any brother I want to know. I guess I'm going it alone again."
"You don't have to." he places a hand on her shoulder as she leans into him to rest. "Thanks dad." this slightly surprises him but he gets used to it quickly.
As the crew and tribesmen finally reach the shore, they are given a warm greeting from the Water Tribe members, who quickly offer them hospitality. "Thank you so much for taking in my troopers. I'll radio ahead to my superiors and let them know our current situation." Adi says in conversation with Chief Unalaq.
"It' no trouble at all. We'll make sure the injured are taken care of and have you where you need to be as soon as possible, but while you're here, enjoy the festivities."
Across the way the rest of the troops are doing just that as they walk around, testing Water Tribe delicacies, taking part in games, and in Nilak's case, showing off for the ladies. As the group look around at all the fun, Dogu leaps down out of the boat and accidentally crushes Yi's foot as she yells out. "Why you big stupid....?" she stops, as she and everyone around her realizes she has just spoken. "I...I can talk again!" she says jumping up excitedly. "Woo-hoo!" she shouts into the air, shooting up a tall pillar of fire for the entire village to see.
"Korra did that?" Hokori asks.
"You did it kid." Tahno says, putting his arm proudly around her shoulder as the two watch as Yi unloads a fair amount of rage at Dogu that has apparently been pent up for years.
"Hey dad, there's someone waiting for you." Sakari says, tugging his arm. He looks over to see Nilak talking to Tonraq and Senna, the children's grandparents, and Tahno's in-laws. Although hesitant to speak with them, not having spoken to them in almost two decades, Tahno slowly makes his way over to the three as Hokori as well as Taki watches from a distance. No words seem to be spoken. Only after a second or two the two grandparents embrace their son-in-law with tears shed by all three.
"Well I don't know about you but I'm going to check out the local scene. You want to come with?" the older water bender asks as Hokori agrees and the two leave the family to reconnect.
Across the village Dogu is exploring with Nilak and a quartet of his Northern and Southern Water Tribe friends as Raza perches on his master's shoulder. The group walk by a large igloo and quietly walk behind it. "Shh, this is gonna be good guys." One other says as he uses his water-bending to melt small holes in the wall, a set for each of them to peak in. Dogu follows along as he sees what's on the other side, a woman's changing room.
"So worth the price of admission; free." Dogu says as he and the others chuckle, watching the "show" on the other side.
"Ahem." they hear behind them as they turn to see several Water Tribe girls behind them.
"Ladies, I'm going to be brutally honest this time. IT WAS HIS IDEA! EVERYBODY RUN FOR IT!" Nilak says pointing an accusing finger at Dogu before he and his friends run off, leaving the earth-bender alone with the girls as they create a large snow tidal wave that roars toward him.
"I regret nothing." he says boldly as he is soon buried.
Later that night Tahno is walking through the village, still a bit chilled by the snowy weather, uncommon to him. It did snow in Republic City but not year round. He is soon approached by Honshi. "Hello, Tahno sir." he greets him.
"Hey, Hoshi right?" he says shaking the young man's hand.
"Honshi sir. I just wanted to tell you just how big an honor it is to finally meet the eight time pro-bending champ himself. Sakari always speaks so highly of you and I was just wondering if we could talk."
"Okay, about what?"
"Sir I've been in the United Republic Forces for four years; going on some of the most dangerous missions they could come up with, visiting places you've never seen, seeing things that make it hard to sleep at night; and all that is nothing compared to what I'm about to do right now. And I know I'm probably going to get kicked to the curb but sir, I love your daughter!" he says nervously.
Tahno looks off in the distance and sees Sakari taking care of Naga and Yoroi as the two animals sniff one another. "Son, let's have a little chat." Tahno says as he and Honshi walk through the festival. "You know, I love my daughter. She's my first born. There's nothing in the world I wouldn't do for her."
"Yes sir. She's told me a lot about you, says I reminded her of you."
"Well that's not good, cause I was the most pompous, petty piece of scum you'd ever met when I first met my wife." he grabs Honshi around the shoulder and draws him closer. "You know Honshi, a relationship is just like, well a ship. If you steer it correctly, keep your heading straight, make sure you're keeping everything in order; you'll have some choppy water every so often. For the most part though it'll be smooth sailing. Of course if you just leave your post, let the ship drift, ignore your responsibilities, do anything to hurt her, you will be sent to a watery grave." he says as he bends some snow from the ground, turns it into water, then freezes it into ice daggers that levitate around the archer's head. "Have I made myself clear?" he asks coldly.
"Clear as ice sir." Honshi says nervously.
"Good." the daggers quickly melt as the water falls back to the ground. "Treat her well." Tahno says, walking away casually.
Later that night Tahno, Nilak and Hokori sit at a table in a restaurant. Across the room they watch as Sakari has her date with Honshi, who actually mustered up the courage to ask her. The three are wearing Northern Tribe clothing as well as fake mustaches so as not to be recognized by Sakari as they spy on the two. "Man this looks good on me." Nilak compliments his fake stache as he looks at his reflection in a glass.
"You look like a dork with that mustache." Hokori says to Nilak as she holds up their menu.
"Oh really? Oh well. Yours looks good though. You should think about growing your real one out that thick." he says with a large smile.
"Why you..." she says in anger, almost ready to jump over the table at him.
"Will you two keep it down. You'll embarrass your sister on her date." Tahno rebukes them as they quite down.
"Sorry dad." they say in unison as they bow their heads.
"Here you are." a familiar voice says as the three look up to see Taki acting as their waitress putting their meals down. "What can I say, the pays good."
"So what have you got planned for the sand-benders?" Tahno asks.
"Well I've talked it over with Hasook and Adi and I plan on letting most of them go under Jaggi and Dochu. I gave them specific orders to release the tribes my brother subjugated. Someday we may unite as one, but not like this." Hokori explains.
"I think that's for the best." Tahno says before realizing something. "Taki, hold on. What did you do with Gigi?"
"Oh don't worry I had a friend come over and feed her." she says.
Back at Tahno's home the inside of the house is in shambles and Taki's friend, a woman with brown hair and dark skin is hanging from the living room chandelier, trying desperately not to be eaten by the catgator below as it continually jumps up at her. "No, bad catgator, get away. Don't eat me! Somebody help!" she cries out. Just then the front door opens up and Bolin walks in. "Hello Avatar family. Bolin's back." he stops looking around. "Is anyone home? Oh, hey Gigi." he says patting her on the head. He suddenly hears a scream as the woman falls into his arms. "Oh my." she says tenderly in his arms as she looks up at the well built earth-bender.
"Oh okay." Tahno says casually, sipping his drink.
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