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|Winter Breaks Through Fall Part 2|
One: Hushed Mystery
March 11, 2013
Previously in Tempests
Sohyon receives an invitation to attend an event held by Emperor Mashita while stress and tension is rising between Eizo, Kanae, and him.
The cold crisp air is coming
- Something doesn't feel right. I've been sick for the past several days... bedridden. Now that I'm finally ready to get out into the world again, I find myself literally unable to. Maybe fate is trying to tell me something. It probably sounds silly, but... I'm not sure. At this point, I feel as though if the spirits were ever there, they have long since abandoned me. Not only because of my illness, but because of everything that happened. In the simplest terms I can think to put it, everything feels like it's turning against me. The world itself wants to see me return to the temple without victory. Maybe it's because of this, but it only makes me feel all the more motivated to fix this situation. And the more motivated I feel, the more hopeless the coming loss feels. I can't see any way to fix what is happening, but I feel like I have to.
- But I suppose you'd be more successful in stopping a war than I might be in preventing it. Coming here was foolish, and I've failed Master Seijin. No matter how I look at everything that has happened, I can't ignore the fact that I didn't rise up to my Master's expectations. He, and all the Air Nomads, put their hope into me and I did not rise to the challenge. Because of it, Kanae and Eizo might very well be exiled. I've been thinking about it, and they followed me against the will of the Elders, not to mention the fact that I failed. Those two factors in mind, it might look like they were the reason that I did not succeed. I only hope that I might be able to convince the monks to at least let them stay in the temples...
- Kanae made fruit pie again this morning. She hasn't done so since we first came here, but she felt like we should do something to extend our kindness to the Emperor and Empress for the festival-event-thing tomorrow. Eizo has been strangely detached—I think he's worrying, but that seems so unlike him. Something's on his mind, and I don't think Kanae knows either. Further, it seems that as Eizo has become more detached, Kanae is trying to fill the gap by acting overly excited, but maybe that's just her way of worrying. Either way, I can tell that they're both on edge... I should probably be nervous as well, but more than that I'm just disappointed.
- I hope I can meet you someday, Avatar. If nothing else, so I know I'm writing to someone out there, even if you never read this journal. At this point, though, I feel that if you don't read this journal, it'd be because something bad happened to me and it never made it out of Ishi Sentō.
- On that morbid note, I sign off. I don't think I'll write another entry before the festival, and I have this feeling that the festival will decide the course of events. This might very well be the last time you hear from me... so I just wanted to say again that I hope this might be of use to you in the future, Avatar.
The Air Nomad set down his brush with those final words and stared at the journal for a moment. He took a slow, deep breath in; the smell of fruit pie permeated his nostrils. For a while, he just sat and thought about everything he had written, and everything that would happen. Both Kanae and Eizo insisted that he stay in bed, thus he now lay with his journal spread across his lap as the ink dried. The fur of some animal Sohyon did not recognize was spread across his lap—much against his will. Like most Air Nomads, Sohyon was opposed to the slaughtering of animals for such purposes, but Eizo calmly explained that the warmth would help Sohyon to sweat out his fever, which was in fact slowly going away.
"Soh!" Sohyon looked up to see Eizo standing at the doorway of his room. His face reflected his fatigue, though Sohyon could still see some of the light of his personality underneath. They were all just weary, but somehow Eizo seemed to be taking the worst of it. "I'm going out to get some more water—Kanae is going to stay around, though."
For the past couple of days, Eizo had been going out alone for all the errands; through the door, Sohyon could sometimes hear him and Kanae arguing about it. Every now and again, they would catch themselves shouting and switch to a lower tone, only serving to further spike Sohyon's curiosity. He knew that there was something more than fetching water happening, and whatever was happening was creating a rift between Sohyon's two comrades. However, like so many things, this was not something Sohyon could easily inquire into. Thus, his response came as a nod. "Could you get some fresh fruit as well? I feel like I've had nothing but water for years."
Eizo laughed politely, but it was a weak laugh. Sohyon cleared his through uncomfortably, but Eizo had already left.
Almost immediately after exiting the house, Eizo looked around for a moment. The streets were the same as ever: bustling crowds talking in loud tones. As with the past several days, Eizo looked about for a particular face. It was a face which Eizo had never thought he would be this keen to find, but as with the other days Eizo quickly found it and hastened to catch up with the face's owner. "Isitoq!" he called after the Water Tribe warrior.
Isitoq turned, pursed his lips for a moment, and sighed. "Eizo, I respect you as an equal, however I don't think there's much more for us to speak of."
"Please, Isitoq. You pulled me aside a few weeks ago and mentioned some sort of scheme, and then mentioned that it was going to happen soon... I... I just have to know..." Eizo looked extremely anxious, quite unlike his typical demeanor. Almost immediately, it was clear that whatever Eizo was asking of was what had changed his personality recently, and further what was making Kanae anxious as well. "Is... is the Emperor—" Eizo quickly caught himself in mid-sentence, realizing that speaking of the exact details in the middle of such a public place would be unwise—"is it going to happen at the parade?"
The Water Tribe warrior glanced around in discomfort. "It's not my place to say. I have already told you more than I should have, and in talking to you at all put my job in jeopardy. I respect you, Eizo, but it would take a lot more for me to take such risks."
"I know you don't like this job anyway—"
"It's bigger than that." After saying this, Isitoq cringed and shook his head. He scowled a little, though it was unclear whether he was irritated with the situation as a whole, or just with the Air Nomad's pestering. "I wouldn't expect an Air Nomad to understand that these politics puts more than your own neck on the line..."
"What do you mean?"
"I have a family, man," Isitoq's right eye twitched a little, as if with madness over all the different moving pieces of his life. "I have a wife and a little girl... it's not something that an Air Nomad could ever understand." Once again, Isitoq shook his head. It was clear that he was uncomfortable with the situation and trying to back out somehow.
Eizo shook his head in confusion, not getting the message to back off. "But what about the bigger picture? There's no way that the possibility of something bad happening is worse than the fact that something will happen..."
"You see," Isitoq began, "You really don't understand how the world here works. The world everywhere outside your precious temple." He coughed, and glanced around again to check for watching eyes. "I'm not insulting you nor your way of life, but I can't say any more, Eizo... Goodbye."
"Isitoq! You can't just—" It was too late: the warrior had already ducked into the crowd and was gone.
"Spirits damn it all!" Eizo uttered this curse under his breath. Around him, the crowd continued to shift like a never ending ocean around the stationary airbender. He did not immediately move; rather, he simply stood there with his fists clenched, watching the ground as though it was moving with the people. It was clear that he was deep in thought, though none of the people seemed to care. Such seemed to be the way of the people of Ishi Sentō: to keep moving in spite of those who cared to stop and think.
The sun of early winter hung over head, glaring down on the marketplace. As if in a daze, Eizo held up his hand against the sun, examining his Air Nomad tattoo as the sun seeped through his fingers. He took a deep breath in and exhaled slowly, letting his hand drop limply to his side.
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