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|Wounds of the Past|
"Wounds of the Past" is the fourth chapter of the second book of the. While it is mostly in 3rd person, it switches to first person for a small section.
Philip relives some painful memories but is more than happy to relate them to Korra and Jinora. A man has been caught spying on the Red Lotus.
The early morning sun illuminated the air temples, and they appeared to glow a magnificent gold. The long, green grass rippled in accordance to the gentle breeze. In the distance, bald men in orange robes spoke softly. Philip sat on a small ledge, appreciating the peace, the final peace. The temples were being restored, with some seeming well maintained and others run-down. Philip looked to the clear blue sky and gave a weak smile, his eyes heavy with what he had seen.
The sky turned a deep red, smoke obscuring the sun. A large comet scraped through the sky, plumes of fire forming behind it. The chirping of birds faded and was replaced with screaming. Screams of agony, screams of fear, screams of desperation and finally, screams of futility. Philip raised his head and discarded the outer layer of his robes. Around him were half a dozen firebenders. Philip stood still, arms by his sides. Each man drew their arms behind their heads and punched. Large infernos filled Philip's vision from every angle, and it was tinted red temporarily. When it recovered, the firebenders lay at his feet.
The sky still burned red. By now, bodies had littered the ground, and ash blew with the breeze. The air was filled with the foul stench of burnt skin and decay - death. All was silent, no screaming, no crying, not even the whimpering of a man licking his wounds. Philip walked through the ash, accompanied by a few friends in nomad robes. "I miss the screaming," Philip said. "Screaming, crying, whimpering... they are all signs of life. Silence, it's not alive. It's dead. I hate to sound like a monster, but I would much rather this battle last a hundred years. It is far better to be alive and fighting than dead."
Once more, the sky faded to blue. Philip slowly turned his head to the temples, which were now largely intact. The charred grass was green once more, and not a single carcass littered the fields. The air was clean, and the birds continued their song. Philip muttered to himself, "I saw tremendous horrors that day, horrors nobody could believe unless they were there. I did not bat an eye to the carnage of the Great War, for in relation to this one day, it was nothing. There was so much suffering that day. It was terrible. Mind you, I saved an entire culture, I do not regret anything. I just wish I could stop having those damned visions!"
"What visions?" a soft voice emerged from behind Philip.
Philip woke up in his office. He ran his words together, "whatisitwhoisitwhatdoyouwant?" He then relaxed and spoke slowly, "Ah, sorry, Korra and Jinora. Come, sit down, have a drink." Philip walked to his cabinet and removed a bottle and brought it back with him. Philip poured a glass for Korra and Jinora. His hand shaking, some of the drink spilt on the floor. Philip shrugged and waterbent the drink into Korra's glass.
"Why didn't you just do that earlier?" Korra asked, raising her glass.
"Dowha?" Philip said quickly and sleepily, lowering his head.
Jinora sat still. "I think she means, why didn't you pour us the glass with bending?"
Philip rubbed his face. "I dunno. I guess I couldn't be bothered."
"Professor," Jinora asked, "are you all right?"
Philip lounged in his hard, wooden seat. "Just remembering a terrible past."
Korra was uneasy. "Oh. Do you want to talk about it, or should we leave you alone?"
"No, no!" Philip said, "As the Avatar and Avatar's granddaughter, I think you must know."
The three of them sat in silence for a small period of time. Each clasped their hands and placed them on the table. "Well," Jinora said, "go on."
"Ah yes," Philip said.
Well, I guess around 190 years ago, the four nations lived together in harmony. I'm pretty sure Katara could tell you that. Avatar Roku disappeared mysteriously, rather suspicious, I dare say. Anyway, the spirit of Roku visited the Air Nomads and warned them of the plot. They approached the Water Tribes and Earth Kingdom asking for help, but they were more concerned with their own defence. I can't really blame them. The elders came to us and pleaded for help. Who would refuse them?
I was still young, slightly less than 30. I'm around 200 now. I was a young politician, a senator to be specific. After talking with one elder, Gyatso was his name, I came up with an idea. We evacuate as many people as possible into Hellas. We station Hellenic airbenders in Air Nomad robes in the temples and our waterbenders dressed as southerners. We went there to trick the firebenders and allow the last nomads to escape.
That day was terrible. Lots of people died. The air was filled with screams, if that is possible to imagine. By the end, I missed the screams... at least there was life.
"Then came that weird moment. I was surrounded by firebenders, and I was being attacked. Then my vision," Philip said, "my vision was tinted a glassy red. Does that ever happen to any of you?"
Korra shook her head. "You mean like the Avatar State?"
"I guess," Philip leant back, "but I'm not an Avatar."
"Philip," Korra said, "you didn't gain polybending through experimentation, did you?"
Philip's eyes shifted from side to side. "I got some help from a certain spirit."
Korra lent in and spoke with an interrogating tone, "Which spirit, exactly?"
A series of beeps interrupted them. A piece of paper pushed through a machine. Philip pulled it out and took a look. His frowned.
"What is it, Professor?" Jinora leant in.
Philip sized Jinora up. "Yes, I think so. Jinora, how would you like to be a polybender?"
The three of them continued talking for a while, discussing the possibility. Finally, they stood up and shook hands, with Korra and Jinora leaving. Philip relaxed and closed his eyes. As he relaxed his hand, the paper fell to the ground.
Three men in black and red uniforms dragged another man wearing the same uniform. The man without a hat spoke to the dragged man. "Master Lee, you are guilty of crimes of espionage against the Red Lotus."
"I have done no such crimes," the dragged man said, cleaning mud off his bloodied face.
"We know who you are," the hatless man accused. "You are Nikkolas, Admiral of the Hellenic Navy and a spy. You serve Philip."
Nikkolas spat at the man, red saliva splattered on his face. Nikkolas leapt to his feet and smashed heads with his foe. Picking up a rock, he sharpened it into a point. Plunging it into the enemy, he drew blood. He kicked away the enemy and bent the very blood from the fallen foe. Nikkolas froze the red stream and threw shards of blood ice at the remaining sentries. He pursued his attackers with an aggressive display of firebending.
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