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|More from WaterMasterFinn||Adventure||PG-13||N/A|
|The Four Spearheads|
Three: The South
Book Three: The South
The Four Spearheads
A DECADE AGO
The City of Taku
"Gwali, I'm so sorry." The badgermole let out of noise of discomfort and then returned to the city alone. The Avatar began heading towards the harbor when he decided to enter the Avatar State.
"Glad to see you changed your mind."
"When I saw your Polar leopard I knew something important must be happening. I know you rarely connect with me since I'm not a huge fan of the whole spirit side—but I couldn't ignore your own companion," Jong-Mu said to his mentor, Palokk.
"It's time I told you something."
"I'm not dying am I?" Jong-Mu let out a slight chuckle. Palokk didn't say a word.
"Palokk, what is it?"
"It is not just your death. It is quite possibly the death of the Avatar Cycle. I must tell you of a prophecy. One I learned long ago."
Palokk told Jong-Mu of his travels in the Spirit World. Time was not the same as it was in there, and this allowed Palokk to see parts of the future. What he saw was Jong-Mu's death at the hands of an imposter, then a baby falling to her death. Finally there was a moment that was unclear. It seemed to happen twice—in one version a young man consumed the world, and the world consumed him. In another version, a woman brought a thousand men and women to their knees, and the young man was nowhere to be found.
"There is a woman, you must meet her. She will save the Avatar, our lineage will live on—we will live on. You must find her."
"How will I find her? I don't even know her name," Jong-Mu lamented, casually trying to brush off his apparently imminent death. He tried to wave it off.
"The prophecy will come true in over a decade's time. You will have met her by then, I promise you this. Her name is Lily and she will save the Avatar."
PRESENT DAY 10 HOURS BEFORE THE PROPHECY
"I knew you would be back. You can't resist," Zygo taunted Kyla. "Once you start bloodbending, it consumes you. You are a bloodbender, Kyla. Welcome back."
Kyla's eyes remained focused on the ground. She tried to control her breathing. He couldn't get to her.
"I had some doubts of course. I thought maybe you weren't brave enough because it takes a brave powerful person to be a bloodbender. But here you are."
"I'm here too," Kilo interjected.
"Yeah, because you love her," Zygo instantly replied.
Kilo looked at Kyla, who was in a bit of shock at the suggestion. It had been years since she had thought of him in that way.
"Well look at that. I meant the firebender but it would seem your eyes mean Kyla here. But you already let her go. Isn't that right Kyla? He wasn't here when you had—what did you call her? C—something?"
Kyla looked down at her stomach. Kilo clenched his teeth upon seeing her do this.
"Her name is—was Clara."
"Look at what love has brought you Kyla. You lost the man you love and your child. You know how you don't get hurt? You don't go near love. Haven't you learned that by now? Why do you think your bloodbending improved so much after we took your daughter away? Real power comes from bloodbending. Love is weakness."
Kyla continued gazing at the floor as she held her stomach. She didn't want to let her mind think about the words he had just said.
Kyla and Kilo were thrown into a makeshift jail cell. Standing outside were five to six guards, facing every direction—including inside the cell. They had no chance of escaping, or even looking for Lily.
"What do we do?" Kyla asked quietly.
"I don't know. I think we just need to wait it out."
"So you love me?" Kyla asked, switching the subject quickly once she realized there was nothing that could get them out of the jail cell.
"I—uh... look it's complicated. I'm with Lily."
"You're not answering the question."
"Do you love me!?"
"Yes!" Kilo shouted and grabbed her. Kyla and Kilo's lips touched, plunging together as if an eternity might come between them at any instant.
"Hello sweetie," a voice called out from a neighboring jail cell.
Kyla and Kilo immediately stopped kissing and looked around for the voice. Lily lit a flame with her hand and revealed herself.
"Lily?" Kilo asked.
"Wait—where are the guards?" Kyla asked.
The three looked around and realized that all the guards had left. Their revelation was expanded when a large icicle came spiraling down in between their cages.
"What is going on?" Lily asked, visibly frightened.
"I don't know, but I think it's our chance to escape!" Kyla shouted.
Kilo bended water into ice and slams it into their cage, releasing them. They got Lily out next and started looking for any sign of their settlement.
"Wait—is that Dakko?" Lily asked.
Dakko's kingdom, or what was left of it, was attacking Zygo. After Kyla's recent visit, Dakko decided he didn't want to give any more of his people to them.
"I don't want to stay to find out," Kyla answered and led them out of the oncoming battle.
9 HOURS BEFORE THE PROPHECY
The battle between the Southern Water Tribe and the Northern Water Tribe, with help from the Foggy Swamp Tribe, was only beginning to get bloody. The attacks became more brutal, and the first deaths were beginning. Toko showed no mercy, and Sokka would not relent as well.
Toko's army still consisted largely of nonbenders, but he had picked up more Waterbenders from the Swamp Tribe and in the Earth Nation this time around. A few Earthbenders even came along. Most were in it for the money, as Toko had promised a large amount of silver in the South Pole.
The nonbenders stuck to guerilla warfare, hiding in buildings and jumping out to kill unsuspecting citizens of the South. The Waterbenders stuck to more open areas, attack the strongest Waterbenders there were. The Earthbenders had a limited supply of Earth, so they stuck in the shadows, acting like snipers.
Sokka's tribe was morally weakened from their encounters with the Red Lotus. The battle was more than they could take. Toko's forces were strong, but were taking it slower this time. They did not have the help of a moonless sky this time around. The Southern Tribe could only hold off for so long though—they simply did not have the numbers.
Near the gates of the City Kyla was racing towards the ongoing war, eager to help out. Kilo and Lily were following not far behind. Kilo tried holding Lily's hand but she pulled away.
"So were done then, yeah?" Kilo asked.
"Absolutely," Lily said angrily.
They headed towards the gate and found it to be wide open. Sokka and Toko were at the front of the war dueling each other to certain death. Every strike of water included a deadly blade of ice, only to be turned to water before hitting—then of course converted back to ice as it was thrown at the opponent. It went on and on like this. They were too evenly matched.
Kyla wanted to help Sokka, but her waterbending still wasn't working. She watched as Toko rose up on cylinders of ice, jumping from one to another while throwing spears of ice. Sokka would melt them, wrap them around his back and create shields. He darted through the cylinders, taking them down one by one. His main attack was using the shards of the cylinders and flying them at Sokka.
Toko was just about to land a blow on Sokka when the incoming icicle stopped and fell to the ground. Sokka had been pinned under a cylinder, unable to move.
"What're you doing? Strike me!" Sokka ordered. Toko didn't answer, and then suddenly Sokka felt in his body. He instantly knew what was happening—a new war within a war.
The entire war stood still frozen. Everyone was being bloodbended by a member of the Red Lotus. There was a quiet silence as the members appeared in red hoods. At the top of the wall near the main gate Zygo revealed himself to the fighting tribes.
"This may be my favorite day," he began. "Not long ago my daughter was viciously and brutally murdered. Now I want to know who and I want to know why."
Toko and Sokka were released from the hold some Bloodbenders had on them.
"Well? What say you Tribal Leaders?"
"I haven't been in the South Pole. I don't even know your daughter!" Toko screamed, trying to relinquish himself from any guilty burden.
"I was in prison at the time of your daughter's death. As for my people, well I assure you they did no such thing!" Sokka added.
"Well maybe we need an outsider to help give us a character reference," Zygo suggested and ordered the prisoner to be brought up. In a few moments, Dakko was being bloodbended to the spot right next to the leader of the Red Lotus.
"Dakko, please tell us about your old friends," Zygo smiled.
"They all did it," he lied. "It was revenge for the Spirit Oasis."
"Hmm, interesting. I guess I'll just have to kill you all!" Zygo laughed and then sent a huge icicle right through Dakko's stomach. Dakko flew back on the top of the wall, howling in pain.
"See these spears? One for each of you. One for the Ice King. One for the leader of the North and one for the leader of the South. Your heads will rest upon these by the setting of the moon."
Sokka snarled. He did not like wars to be glittered with entertainment. He slowly rose himself with a cylinder of water. He guided the water carrying his body to the top of the wall. Zygo did not move one inch. Nothing in his face changed. He looked Sokka directly in the eye.
"This spear is for you," Sokka stated as he planted his own down next to the others.
"You don't have the guts," Zygo declared.
"Like you're really going to tear one of our heads off?"
Zygo smiled and walked over to Dakko. He took out a knife and placed it at Dakko's throat.
"Any last words?"
Dakko coughed up a bit of blood, trying to squeeze his last words out. "I killed her. I ripped her heart out for betraying me. I would kill her again and again every day until the last day of my life."
Zygo's nosed wrinkled and with that he slashed off Dakko's head. He grabbed the blood leaking skull and placed it right on a spear in front of Sokka.
8 HOURS BEFORE THE PROPHECY
The bloodbenders were backing both the North and the South into a corner. They were winning the war. It was almost too easy. Every attack was evaded by bloodbending an arm to move slightly away. This caused every waterbending move to miss.
And Kyla found herself unable to waterbend still. There was only one type of bending she could do—but she refused. She hated how it felt, and didn't want to take part of it anymore—especially with what Zygo had said.
She was alone, thinking Kilo was still with Lily, so she escaped the Outer Wall by herself. She was shocked to find another member of her tribe there too.
"What are you doing? You have to lead our tribe!" Kyla begged, mostly unhappy she couldn't do it herself.
"How? We're doomed. I came out here to think of something else but I've got nothing," Sokka replied, angry at himself.
"The Spirits! Maybe they can help us!" Kyla suggested.
"As I recall, the moon and ocean spirits were taken by the Red Lotus."
"But the Oasis is still warm! Come on!" Kyla pleaded and grabbed his arm. They raced to the Spirit Oasis, hoping to find a way to connect with the Spiritual world.
The destruction of the Oasis was still untouched. The only way to the pond at the center was by crawling. Kyla and Sokka were just barely able to remain side by side as they peered in the water, which still radiated a soft warm glow.
"I don't think anything is going to happen," Sokka said after some time passed.
"It has to. Water is where I received all of my visions from Avatar Palokk. It's where I heard a prophecy—"
"A prophecy! What did it say?" Sokka quickly asked, hoping it had some connection to the current events.
"It just spoke of well a lot of things actually. Palokk wasn't too clear. I'd say the main things he wanted me to know were of the Bloodbenders and that we must release the beast beneath the lake. Well it's not exactly as it sounds. Avatar Palokk trapped the very spirit that taught him and the Red Lotus how to bloodbend. He wants us to bloodbend if we're to stop them."
"We don't have time to teach our citizens how to bloodbend as well as they do!" Sokka screamed in anger. Another dead road.
"He said there was no other way," Kyla continued.
"And that's it? Nothing more?"
"Well there was one last thing about clarity but—"
Kyla was cut off by Sokka being pulled out of the ruins of the Oasis. Kyla quickly got out to see Zygo holding Sokka in the air by his bloodbending.
"Let him go!" Kyla bellowed.
"Or you'll what? You can't waterbend and you won't bloodbend," Zygo stated and proceeded to fling Sokka's body through the sky, far away from them.
7 HOURS BEFORE THE PROPHECY
Lily's arms were stretched out straight in front of her. Her fury fueled the fire that sprang out of her hands and melted the wall of ice in front of her. She heard footsteps in the distance and immediately ran outside of their city.
Lily had no idea where to go. She just needed to escape, particularly from the bloodbending. Every time she was taken control of, it felt like she was dying but would never be dead. If she felt that one more time she was going to be sick.
The Firebender was done with Waterbenders. They had only led to heartbreak for her, starting from the death of her family ending to her recent break up with Kilo. She could only expect something terrible to happen with this war, except her own death. Lily felt invulnerable to death, despite wanting it more than anything some days.
There was a light glowing in the distance. It was small and just barely visible, but Lily could sense the heat. She walked towards it without a moment's hesitation. The light was being held in a small cave nearby. The one holding it was Akuji.
"Akuji?" Lily asked.
"How do you know my name?"
"Everyone will know your name one day. Better get used to that," Lily said.
The young man looked at the small flame in his hand.
"I was cold and suddenly... suddenly I made this flame," Akuji said with a sense of wonder in his tone.
"I can do that too!" Lily countered with an ever larger flame.
"I'm a Firebender. Like you."
"A Firebender? Who are you? How do you know me?" Akuji asked, scared of how knowledgeable she seemed.
"My name is Lily. I'm a Firebender from the Fire Nation. And I know you because...well it's kind of a long story. But now I'm wondering, why don't you know who you are?"
"I'm a Bloodbender. Son of an Airbender and well... I used to think Zygo was my father but my mother told me that wasn't so. She died before I could find out who," Akuji lied.
"I'm so sorry," Lily replied. "But if you want to know, well I could tell you everything about yourself and who your father is."
Akuji nodded his head after some pause.
"You're the Avatar. You can bend all four elements. And your father's an airbender named Yinlo."
"I'm the Avatar?" Akuji asked. He had never been told by his mother or Omu, and the Bloodbenders had mostly brainwashed him.
"You are. You're the one who is supposed to keep peace. You are the bridge between the spiritual and physical world. You have the power to bend all the elements and even go into the Avatar State to connect with your past lives!"
"My past lives?"
"Have you seen any of the previous Avatars?" Lily questioned.
"Well, I don't think so. Sometimes I see a baby in my dreams. It's always the same baby but she never says anything."
Lily looked down, realizing exactly who he was seeing.
"It's my sister. You're seeing my sister."
"The previous Avatar was killed as a baby. She happened to be my sister."
Lily suddenly flashed back to her time in the Fire Nation before leaving it. There were a few moments where it was good. Where she had a mom and a sister. This was the only moment Lily wanted to live again.
"How do I get help from a baby who can't talk? Why didn't my mom or Zygo tell me any of this?"
Lily was too distracted to notice how angry Akuji was becoming. Her mind was filled with thoughts of the family she had lost.
"THEY LIED TO ME," Akuji yelled as his eyes began to glow.
Lily fell back at the sight of Akuji entering the Avatar State. She backed away as a ball of air surrounded him and flew him outside to the village. He instantly began raining fire on the ongoing war and all who were participating.
6 HOURS BEFORE THE PROPHECY
Sokka woke up on the ice of an immense lake. His vision was blurry, but he was certain the mountains he was looking at were the ones that surrounded the Bloodbender's city. Then it all came together for Sokka. He stood up and looked at the crack his body left in the ice from the impact.
He looked around for the spear he was thrown with. It was about twenty feet away. Sokka carefully walked over to the spear, trying not to slip and further injure himself. He grabbed the spear and then with his other hand he drew water from the ice on the lake. He covered the spear with the water and then froze it. Finally he bended the ice to move the spear far up into the air; the spear came crashing down right on the point of his initial impact.
A bright light blasted out of where the spear hit. The ice began to crack around it. Sokka turned around and melted the ice around his feet. Then he pulled the water around his ankles and froze it again. He bended the ice around himself to hover off the lake. He turned around only to see a giant wave behind him. He knew he wasn't going to make it.
Out of the Lake came the Spirit Shotarko, killing anyone on the lake. The lake was water once again, and with that change the entire city of the Red Lotus was flooded. Shotarko immediately began its search for Whatali.
For the collective works of the author, go here.