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|What We Have Become|
October 23, 2009
What We Have Become is the eleventh chapter of Avatar: Guardian.
Mitros was alone, he had his katanas at the ends of his 2 water whips, swirling around the room. He could stretch and retract the water at will, and knew that his practice would be useful in the future. He brought up the targets he was using and focused them inward. He then used his technique again, this time forming the water whips themselves into sharp blades that held another blade at the end. He knew that the move could cut down many Firebenders at once, so he needed to make this attack second nature, so he began the attack again.
As Mitros practiced, a messenger again arrives. "Sir, there is another message from the front. This time from Zhangzi Village"
"Zhangzi... That's the village Karno is in charge of, right? There should be nothing wrong." He said it lightly, but wondered momentarily why he needed to hear news about it. He glares at the messenger, before restating slowly, "Nothing is wrong, right?"
"Sir, we have lost the town. It was somehow reclaimed by the Fire Nation. There were..."
Mitros' eyes flashed and he pulled his water into an ice blade, which he stabbed through the messenger's torso in his rage. He pulled the ice out of the body of the messenger, bent it back into his water pouch, and walked over and picked up the message. As he read it over, he noticed that the reports said Karno died. He muttered to himself that the message must have been incredibly inaccurate. "We could not have lost." he said to himself, "I know we didn't lose. No one survived that raid, I made sure that the only survivors were in a prison. Even so, those few prisoners could not have defeated Karno... No one could have..."
He continued reading, and saw Zuko's name in the report; the Avatar was also mentioned. That was the explanation, he thought. Somehow, the Avatar and the Fire Lord managed to defeat Karno, a feat that he himself thought was impossible. He would not underestimate them again. He called down the hall of the building to call the Aqua Assualters. He summoned the elite force and ordered them to coordinate an assault on the Avatar; he would not escape this time.
Aang was lying down at the campsite, and closed his eyes. The image of a hand swiping forward surrounded by fire shocked him. Aang awoke again, completely startled. He just saw Zhentu strike down Karno again. Aang wasn't getting much sleep, and decided to meditate to try and relieve his stress. Aang walked away from the camp site and began meditating on a raised rock. After a few minutes, he felt a vibration coming from the camp. He opened his eyes and saw Toph walking towards him. With a huge yawn, she said, "What's on your mind this time, Twinkle Toes?"
He thought he might be having another daydream, except at night, and began rubbing his eyes to make sure he wasn't seeing things. "Toph? What are you doing up?"
Toph smirked. "Are you kidding me? I feel vibrations, and when I'm sleeping, my whole body feels them. Even your baby steps were loud!"
She was right. "Oh. That makes sense."
Toph let out a sigh. "What's on your mind? Don't tell me you woke me up for nothing."
"Again, I'm sorry I woke you up. I was just thinking about the battle again."
Toph let her head hang and shook it back and forth. "That wasn't your fault. And I know you're expecting something that will cheer you up, but it's not going to be coming from me right now. Now get some sleep." She summed it up with a punch on his arm, which even though she'd been doing it for 2 years, it still hurt.
Aang rubbed his arm, and said sarcastically, yet cheerfully as she walked away "Thanks Toph! , It really helped." before returning to meditating. He inhaled and exhaled slowly, muttering to himself "Let your burdens flow down the river..."
The New Phoenix
Back in Zhangzi, Zhentu had been assisting the few members of his village who survived rebuild the town after the battle. The work was tiring, so he was allowed a day off. He gathered a few things from his home in a bag, and left into the forest surrounding the village. He walked for almost an hour, and finally settled at a location on a small hill with a tree growing in the center. He took out pictures of his parents and placed them next to each other, leaning against the tree. He then placed candles that he lit himself on either side of the pictures. He proceeded with a prayer of remembrance to his family, refusing to take his eyes off the pictures. A few tears formed in his eyes, but he tried to hold them back.
Eventually, an ominous wind blew and the candles went out. Zhentu tried to relight them, but his sorrow prevented him from doing so. He grew frustrated with himself, and began to blame himself for their deaths. He decided to go and find some spark rocks, and as he got up and turned around, he saw an old man, wearing a long, black cloak. "I am sorry for your loss, my brother. They were taken before their time."
"Who are you? Why are you here?"
"I am someone who can help. I would like to know what happened here. The villagers seem to be of little help."
"There were these Waterbenders, they called themselves the Firefighters. They took the village in an ambush, and killed most of our population. I managed to escape to another nearby island. I found the Fire Lord, who is traveling with the Avatar, and they helped me retake the village."
The old man's eyes widened at the mention of the Avatar and the Fire Lord together. "Do you know where they are going?"
"No. After the battle, I left them. I can't help you, sorry."
The man thanked him and began turning away and started walking away from Zhentu. "No, my boy, you have been of much help... More than you know." The man stopped briefly, turned and using his middle and index fingers, shot small fire bullets and relight the candles on Zhentu's memorials. "They deserve to be remembered fondly, and to be avenged." He resumed his walking away, into the darkness.
"Wait!" The man turned to see Zhentu closer to him, with a desperate look on his face. "Who are you? And why do you want to help me?"
"The name's Jiang Rha." A smile briefly flashed across his face. "I think that tragedies like this should not be taken lightly. Will you help us?"
Zhentu looked back towards his parent's memorial and remembered the battle with the Waterbenders that resulted in their deaths. "I'm in."
- The name is influenced by the song by Daughtry of the same name.
- Zhentu's memorial was inspired by Iroh's in "The Tales of Ba Sing Se."
For the collective works of the author, go here.