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Book 3: Dawn
Chapter 1: War Unseen
"What have you done?!" Usha cried as Susanowo stood at the rift between the mortal world and the Spirit World, her radiant smile was replaced by disbelief.
The Spirit of Tempests looked through the veil. "I thought that I would give my people an edge, Mother. I've given the Water Tribes a foolproof means of defending themselves."
She bit her lip. "My son...why? You know that creating such evil is forbidden!"
"Evil? No. My intentions have, and will always be, honorable. I only wish to see the Water Tribes gain prominence. In their chosen forms, Tui and La are weakened. I can give the mortals a new way to fend off their enemies." He turned away. "And on the subject of evil, why have you not confronted Koh with the same fervor?"
The Spirit of Dawn's youthful face scrunched in confusion. "Koh...his destiny is chaos, Susanowo. Yours could be so much more."
"And it will be." Susanowo smiled. "This will work out, Mother. Watch and see! There is nothing wrong with revealing a new bending form."
She frowned. "I only hope that you know what you are doing, my son."
Korra sat cross-legged in front of Argho, and the Spirit World shook beneath them.
The current Avatar grimaced. "That isn't good..."
"No, it isn't." Korra agreed. "But it is inevitable as long as a war is brewing."
Argho shook his head. "War...? I don't think you understand; the mortal world can't survive a war between the spirits."
"Argho, this is me you're talking to." She smirked. "I definitely get it, but as long as you and your friends can stop Susanowo and Otokami before the rest of the spirits take sides, it'll all work out."
"That's the problem...I'm not sure I can. Otokami destroyed any chance of a physical victory with him, and I'm not sure how much longer I can keep beating Susanowo down."
Korra grinned. "Aaaand that is why you came to me. I'm the most recent Avatar to have studied Energybending, and that is what you're going to have to do in order to have a chance at defeating Otokami."
Argho nodded. "He is pure energy in a metal suit." He began to chuckle. "Perhaps I should let him defeat Susanowo for me."
The previous Avatar shook her head. "Not a good idea. Susanowo's mortal form may be weaker than Otokami's, but he would be allowed to unleash his full power against his brother, an act that would likely kill any mortal unlucky enough to be in the way."
The current Avatar sighed. "Great..." A breath entered his lungs as he stood. "I suppose we should get started then...I don't have the luxury of wasted time."
Kuan Ti sat on the bunk opposite where Argho's still body sat. He gazed at the revolver in his hand and immediately noticed the symbol of the Equalists on his sleeve.
"That Airbender wears our master's like a trophy." Zhan stood in the open doorway, eyes narrowed to slits. "And we let her escape."
Kuan Ti exhaled pulled himself up to a standing position. "That is not our fight. We leave her to Shen."
"Is it really that easy?" The Equalist snorted. "The boy can't handle it; we've seen that. And even if he can...where does that leave you and me? Where does that leave what remains of the Equalists?"
"We will stand with the Avatar, as I promised."
"The Avatar is a bender!" Zhan shouted, somewhat inadvertently.
"The Avatar is balance!" Kuan Ti replied, with equal fervor. "Do you question our role in this, old friend?"
Zhan's shoulders sagged. "No...I just hate knowing that our master died at the hands of one who he was trying to reach out to."
Kuan Ti shook his head. "We can't let that cloud our judgment now."
"My judgment is clear, Kuan Ti." He replied. "Let's just get to Republic City and sort this mess out."
Shen watched the coast of the Earth Kingdom pass by as they made their way into the gulf that would lead into the Pohuai Strait. He sighed. The call had gone out two days ago, and the Republic City Council had acknowledged the need to meet with the Grand Elder of the Air Nation. Petrine would be forced to come.
Or face the combined might of the world's military forces...leading to more of our people's deaths.
"Have you ever been to Republic City, Shen?" Moro came up next to him and leaned against the railing.
The Airbender shook his head. "No...I didn't really get out of the temple much."
"Oh...but isn't your mother the Air Nomad ambassador?"
He nodded. "Doesn't mean I was allowed to come with her...truth be told, I had no desire to."
The Waterbender pursed her lips. "I've never been outside the North Pole either. This mess we've gotten ourselves into has been good for something at least."
Shen stood erect. "I wouldn't exactly consider the pros to outweigh the cons, at the moment."
"Maybe not...I mean, I wonder what my mo—" The words failed to come as her throat closed up and the memories flooded in. An icy dread grew in the pit of Moro's stomach.
"Moro...? Are you alright?" Shen turned to face her.
Mother...Mom...She shook her head. "No...I'm...I'm fine. Just a bad memory..."
The young man inclined his head. "Well...if you want to—"
"No." She said quickly. "I don't want to relive it more than I have to. Forget I said anything."
The Airbender's gaze followed her as she moved to the hatch leading below deck.
Moro fought tears as she moved to her bunk; the memory refused to leave her alone.
"It is time. Kyrie will go with Lord Susanowo, now." Kenshin's cold voice betrayed no emotion, but Ayaki Kenshi only focused on her sixteen year-old son.
"What in the world does Susanowo want with him?" She asked as a thirteen year-old Moro glanced around the corner.
"He will be trained in order to become a member of Susanowo's personal guard. There will be no debate." The Spirit of Ice turned to his son, whose pleading glance caught his mother's eyes. "Come, Kyrie. We must make for the Northern Fortress."
"Wait!" Ayaki jumped in between them. "Kenshin, I am his mother; I have as much say in this as you!"
"Wrong." He pushed her aside. "You have none; do not concern yourself with the matters of gods."
Moro's bright blue eyes widened as she watched her mother begin to sob uncontrollably and her father practically drag her brother out the door.
"Kyrie..." She whispered before rushing out of her hiding spot to help her mother off of the floor.
Ayaki stared at her daughter's blue eyes and dark face, characteristic of the Water Tribes, and slowed her own weeping as best as she could. "He'll take you too..." She brushed away the girl's bangs to reveal the Blood Seal. "I can't lose both of my children..."
Moro clutched her mother's hand. "I'm not gonna go anywhere! When Dad gets back, I'll tell him to give Kyrie back!"
"No!" Her head shot up. "Moro, do you trust me?"
The girl raised an eyebrow. "Yes..."
"Then...you have to leave. You have to run!"
Moro's eyes widened. "What? Why?! I should be here, Mom! With you..."
Ayaki gripped her shoulders. "If you do not leave, you'll just become another gift to that monster! Please, pack your things and leave, before it's too late!"
Moro just stared, open-mouthed.
"Go!" Her mother began to weep again. "Go quickly!"
Sweat rolled down Moro's forehead as panic gripped her. The memory was too painful, too real.
So, with tears in her eyes, Moro had packed quickly and left Kenshin Outpost, but the Northern landscape was unforgiving. The never-ending blizzard buffeted the child with all its might and drove her to her knees. Miles away from home with no clear direction, the thirteen year-old began to cry, but that only served to make things worse.
"You look like you could use a hand." A female voice caused the girl's head to snap up, and she met two beautiful blue eyes, as well as a hand offered to her.
"Who..." She sniffled. "Who are you?"
The young woman smiled. "I am a protector of people like you. I'm here to help you survive. My name is Sora."
Argho opened his eyes to find himself back in the mortal world. His work had only begun, but he needed to make sure his physical needs were met, namely his need for food. He walked to the mess hall, where Kuan Ti was already eating.
The Equalist glanced up and offered him a seat. "Good to see that you're finally awake. Did you get what you needed?"
The Avatar shrugged. "More or less. I still have a lot of work to do, but I'm making progress."
"That's something, at least. Otokami would be impossible to beat otherwise."
Argho nodded. "Yes...as for Susanowo, I think I'm going to have to just cut loose."
"What about Shen, Moro, and Rioku?"
"I have no doubt that we'll see them in Republic City; then, perhaps, we can finally make sense of this mess." He replied.
"Argho, is something wrong?" Kuan Ti frowned. "You haven't been your usual jovial self."
The Avatar sighed. "I'll admit, this Spirit World family feud infuriates me. The brothers have a misguided belief that their actions will bring greatness to their respective nations, yet they fail to see the war that will soon erupt if this isn't resolved."
"War? What are you talking about?"
"Soon many spirits will be taking sides. We have to defeat the sons of Usha before all hell breaks loose."
The Equalist leader began to chuckle. "Sounds easy enough."
Argho allowed himself a small smile before growing serious once more. "Aang once told me of a vision he'd had, a vision where Republic City was burning."
"All of it!?"
"Yes, and he believes that the vision was to warn him of what's occurring now."
Shen sat in his bunk and pulled his sword from its scabbard. He gazed followed the blade to the edge.
"Petrine, you have one last chance..." He frowned. Until what? I'm an Air Nomad; I've never taken a life...and hers? I have to be ready, but how can I?
A knock sounded at his door.
"Come in," Shen said.
The door opened to reveal one of the sailors. "Sir, we've received a priority call from the Republic City Council, specifically asking for you."
At the mention of the council, Shen's heart skipped a beat. "Take me to the telephone."
- Another chapter so soon? I know, it kinda surprised me how quickly I got this one done.
- A little bit more of the Kenshi's backstory is revealed as well, hope it was enlightening.
- I do have a habit of calling my three fanons The Spirit War Trilogy. Now you can begin to see why. ;)
- Oh, shameless self-promotion (well, sort of...it's more of a--well, just read on), the community fanon I'm involved in, Vortex, has gotten an awesome new author, and we're undergoing some majorly awesome story changes. Check it out! :D
For the collective works of the author, go here.