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The following story is indubitably fanon and should not be considered actual canon.
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TO LEAD THE SOUTH
"Sokka, would you please just consider it?"
"No!" he folded his arms grouchily and repeated in a stern and unwavering tone of cruelty, "No, no, no, no, and did I mention, NO!"
"Dad's been gone for a long time, Sokka!" Katara stated, "You never took a real interest in leading the tribe from home, and your son is just the same. He has enough to worry about with five children on the loose!"
"Then I'm here now!" Sokka exclaimed, "I'll be the chief!"
"Do you even know how!?" Suki shouted, "You were a warrior and a councilman, do you really think you can lead an entire tribe all by yourself? Sure, back in the day when you were the only half-a-man in the village of ten people---even you could keep order then, but now there are hundreds of families, thousands more responsibilities to look after. Sokka, even you can't handle a burden like that!"
"I can so!" He pouted, "And what do you mean by "half-a-man"!?"
"The Northern Council has had it in their interests to take care of us ever since the war ended," Katara said. "It doesn't mean that they'll be taking away our freedom as a Southern Tribe, it just means that they will be providing aid and revenue from a larger and more stable community. Sokka, we need their help if the South Pole is going to house all of these new families."
"Our family has been the self-appointed chieftains for generations, little sister!" He spat, "And I'll be a hog monkey's uncle if I'm going to just throw that title over to someone like---" Sokka shuddered, "Hahn!"
"Oh come now, I thought you and Hahn made up years ago?" Suki rolled her eyes.
"That is beside the point!" Sokka proclaimed, "The North are a bunch of weirdos! They fight if they disagree with something, they are stuck in their ways, they are closed minded to new things, and it took Katara just to let them train women how to Waterbend! We don't need some stubborn old fools coming in and running our village!"
"Right, because we already have a stubborn old fool whose here and willing, right?" Suki said.
"You're darn right there is!"
"Um," Tarrlok inched in, "As the Northern representative for the United Republic Council, I take offense to the ex-councilman's statement..."
"You have no leeway here," Sokka rolled his eyes, "Now sit back and watch politics at work rookie!"
Tarrlok's gaping mouth closed abruptly, but he snarled and sat back in his chair with a pout of defeat.
"It is just as you said," one of the Northern councilmen argued, "Your family has been the "self-appointed" rulers of the South. Your father may have lead an army in the Hundred Year War, but it was simply his great social skills that allowed your small village to follow his orders, even while he was away from the village."
"And might I add," another Northerner stated, "That after the Fire Nation wiped out half of the tribe, the South was desperate for leadership and your forefathers fit the bill?"
"It is an illegal election, and it always has been," someone declared, "Only now has the North come to realize that the South is in desperate need for more that petty repairs to the city!"
"Why don't you three just go back to serving under Hahn!?" Sokka bellowed.
"Can you at least TRY to be civil?" The Southern representative sighed, "I thought that I had large shoes to fill, but this certainly can't be the great "head councilman" that came before me, can it?"
"Dad," Koda urged, "calm down, maybe Aunt Katara has a point, maybe this is for the best? I mean, I don't really know anything about being a leader. I was bossed around by women my entire life!"
"Take your son's advice you Sothern peasant, you are not fit to rule this land."
"Southern what?" Sokka screeched.
Katara stood to and wagged her finger at the Northern council, "That's crossing the line!"
"Say that again Northern kiss-ups!" The Southern Councilman roared, "We are to be respected in this hall! Tarrlok say something!"
He held his hands up in defeat and grinned wickedly, "I was told not to speak..."
"Hey! Easy everybody!" Koda held his father back.
Suki also held the United Republic councilman back, "Take a breath..."
The silent man at the head of the table sighed into his hands as a fury of outrageous bickering filled the large icy hall. Guards who waited at the walls of the meeting hall each stared to one another, but they neglected to step in and break up the fight---at least not while it was still a war of words. The arguing continued for several long minutes before a loud *AHEM* got hold of every persons' attention at the front doors.
"I'm sorry, am I interrupting something important?" A voice echoed as a new face walked into the meeting room. "Our apologies for being so late to this meeting."
"Zuko!" Katara smiled.
"Zuko!?" Sokka spat, "Why is he here, he's the Fire Lord!? This meeting is to discuss the rightful ruler of the Water Tribe!"
"Always nice to see you too buddy," Zuko gave him a look and took a seat with his escort.
"Everybody, this is my son, Rook," the Fire Lord motioned, "He will be sitting in on this meeting and acting as my personal aid for the evening."
"I must protest," a Northern councilman groaned, "The boy may be of noble blood, but we all know of his background, and he has no place in a meeting of politics."
Zuko and Rook gave off a similar snort and a frown before the man at the head of the court finally stood and cleared his throat.
"That is quite enough of that," the young man said in a one tone voice of serenity... "I am afraid that the Queen of Ba Sing Se, and the King of Omashu will not be joining us this evening due to prior arrangements. As a matter of dominancy over one of the world's great nations, this meeting is certainly an act of importance that the other Nations were all invited to be a voice to. I am honored that the Fire Lord and Prince Rook have taken time out of their busy schedules to join the noblemen and women of the South, and the council of the Northern City in our discussion today."
"The honor is ours," Zuko bowed back to the young man respectfully and the two Fire Nation visitors took their seats.
"Now that we are all at attendance, might I introduce myself to the court," the gentle young man said. "I am the young lord, Unalaq, my father, Chief Hahn of the Northern Water Tribe, has come over ill recently and as heir to the throne, I have been ordered to take place in his stead."
"Your father!?" Sokka wondered in a burst. He then cleared his throat and coughed, remembering all of the things he had said about Hahn recently and added sheepishly, "I'm so sorry to hear that."
"That he's sick or that he's the boy's father?" Suki mumbled to herself.
"In any matter, many numerous points have been brought into light," Unalaq stated, "The South has been given aid by the North in rebuilding our sister tribe to glorious ranks. In doing such, the fame of the Southern Tribe has grown much in these past years and has become a much larger populated city than it was just less than fifty years ago. It is predicted that the numbers in population will only continue to rise as the years grow and as such, the North would like to provide produce and aid to counter the rising demand for goods."
"That is understandable," Zuko agreed.
"And it is always appreciated, even now while we are running low on food and equipment," Katara stated.
Unalaq continued, "In any matter, the North would like to permanently take over as head of both of the Water Tribes in order to unify our existence as sister tribes and use the new bond to help one another."
"Take over is more like it," Sokka gruffed, then he assumed a more professional attitude and continued, "Sure it all sounds nice in words, but friendship now can turn into a hostile takeover later. New rules soon turn into new laws, and those laws are going to be broken if our tribe is unfamiliar and uncomfortable with many Northern traditions. It has been said that the Northern and Southern ways or the Water Tribes were separated for a reason, and to combine the two now may very well lead to an inevitable catastrophe. It would be like taking a Swamp Bender and tossing him in the Fire Nation!"
"Just look at the United Republic of Nations," The Southern representative urged.
Tarrlok nodded, "All different cultures blended together, and yes, while we have had our differences, we still continue to thrive as a great society."
"That is also a fine point," Zuko agreed, "Sometimes nations are meant to be separate, and I should know that better than anyone by now. Still, I have also learned that blending cultures can be a great thing and that change isn't necessarily a one way ticket to war, but a gateway of new opportunities."
"Well said Fire Lord Zuko," Unalaq acknowledged, "And Ex-Councilman, Sokka, I understand that change can be a frightening thing, but without change would Republic City not have been created? Would the Hundred Year War not have ended? Would any of us today even be here if not for the will of fate and the change in life?"
"The South needs a capable leader," one of the council stated, "Or else it will fall into certain chaos and the nation will go right back to the way it was before."
"Sokka," Katara urged, "The South needs their guidance. What would Dad have done?"
After mulling it over, Sokka sighed and he looked to the table with a stern frown, "He would have done what was best for the tribe."
"I understand your lineage in the South," Unalaq said humbly, "But for such a growing urbanizing area, the South needs more than a strong neighbor to lead it, it needs a firm hand, a trained figurehead to care for it."
"I cannot be that hand Father," Koda frowned, "And neither can you."
"It's what is best dear," Suki added.
"Katara," Sokka ignored them and looked her straight in the eyes, "Do you believe that this is for the best? Wholeheartedly, do you feel like this is the right course of action to take in order to protect our people?"
After a moment she returned his look, "Yes, I think the tribe needs their help and I have faith that the North can provide great care to our rising people. Things are new and different than from when we were growing up. I believe that the change will be a good thing. I really do."
"The Northern Water Tribe looks to have a fine young chief in their hands," Zuko smiled, "I haven't seen such confidence to rule a nation since I assumed the throne myself. I and my people are putting our faith in you, young Unalaq."
"Then it is decided," Sokka frowned, "The Northern Water Tribe's head Chief, will also become the Chief of the Southern Water Tribe."
"Very good," A Northerner clapped.
"On one condition!" Sokka stood tall.
Unalaq grinned, his smile twitching in the slightest as he wondered, "And that would be?"
"You leave our customs alone and let my people continue to inherit the traits of the South. We are separate for a reason and I will not allow my heritage to be overwritten by Northern customs. Do we have a deal?" He held out his hand.
Unalaq swallowed and after a moment, returned his grasp in an official Water Tribe handshake, "Seeing as there is no convincing you otherwise, we do indeed have a deal. We can discuss the little details later."
"This meeting is adjourned," an official proclaimed, "Please, if you will all follow me into the other room, we will fill out the paperwork at once and make this meeting official!"
Everybody started to fall out as Zuko and Katara made their way to Sokka's seat. The old warrior stood firm and clenched his fists at the thought of losing his people, but it was all over now and so long as he still had their freedom, Sokka could be content.
"You did a good thing big brother," Katara hugged, "Dad would be proud!"
Zuko gave Sokka a comforting pat on the back, "This is a new beginning Sokka, the tribe still needs your leadership, just in a different way as a whole."
"I feel like I just lost a huge piece of me," Sokka frowned, "First Space Sword, then Aang, and now the Tribe."
"Space Sword?" Rook interrupted, "Forgive me, but what exactly is a space sword?"
The elders all gave him a look and Sokka flew into Zuko's face and held him roughly by the cloth on his shoulders. "You never told the boy about my sword!?" the old man screeched.
Zuko stared pale and wide-eyed down at his old friend and nervously answered, "It must have slipped my mind?" He then gently removed Sokka's grip and readjusted his collar to the way it looked before being abused.
"Young man!" Sokka pointed right to Rook's nose, "In my youth I had crafted the finest sword in history, mended by my own two hands, crafted in detail with the artistry of the great Master Piandao, and melded together with the forged metal of a crashing meteorite---that was my space sword!"
"Wow!" Rook's golden eyes seemed to shimmer in awe, "What happened to the sword, sir?"
Sokka drained halfway to the floor in despair and dramatically wailed with one arm slammed across his forehead, "Sadly, the sword was lost on the final day of the Hundred Year War! It fell a hundred feet to the earth and vanished into the ocean forever."
Katara and Suki rolled their eyes and patted Sokka on the shoulders.
"We sent out a few scavengers to see if they could find anything of the sword," Sokka continued, "But the current could have taken it anywhere, and Aang's massive amounts of bending could have taken my poor sword to any number of places. Finding it is simply impossible."
After a moment, Rook looked up brightly and smiled, "Well, why don't you just make another one?"
Sokka glared and Rook looked taken back.
"One does not simply "make" another Space Sword!" He exclaimed, "It was one of a kind!"
"But---" Rook started, "Didn't another meteor just crash somewhere near the Chin Village a few weeks ago?"
Sokka sprang towards the words.
"Yeah," Suki mumbled, "I remember Kanna telling us about that. She and the Knowledge Seekers were going to go and preserve it or something? They should still be there on scene if I'm not mistaken?"
"And, back in Omashu, I was known as the finest blacksmith in the Earth Kingdom," Rook grinned, blushing slightly as he tried to sound more modest than braggy. He added, "I don't know if I can light a candle next to the famed Master Piandao, but I can still help you, if you wish?"
"Why does nobody tell me these things!? Nothing! Nobody tells me anything anymore!" Sokka roared, "Agh! Suki, you go and finish signing over the city with Koda! Katara, watch over the tribe while I'm away! And, Zuko---"
"Yeah?" He still stared down in an odd fashion as Sokka gripped tighter onto his clothes.
"Zuko, I am stealing your son!"
Zuko regained his stance and glared over at Sokka until the old man backed away. With a nervous laugh, Sokka sweated and hummed, "Poor choice of words?"
"The poorest," Zuko grumbled, "Peasant poor..." He sighed in defeat and added, "If Rook wants to help you build another sword, then I cannot stand in his way. Good luck to the both of you. Now would you care for a ride to the Earth Kingdom peninsula on my War Balloon or would you rather ride the fumes of Sokka's excitement across the ocean?"
"If it's all the same father," Rook bowed, "I had something a little quicker in mind."
He thought in silence for a moment and then gave his son a sudden look of dread, "You didn't?" Zuko sighed.
"Iroh broke me!" He laughed, "The little boy has quite a convincing attitude."
"How many?" Zuko growled strictly.
"Just the one!" Rook eased shakily, "I swear! He's onboard, below deck. No need for you to go out of your way on our account."
"Zuko," Katara eased in, "Please tell me that he isn't talking about what I think he is."
Smoke trilled from the old Fire Lord's nostrils and he huffed, "Unfortunately it is becoming harder and harder to contain them with young Iroh around. Rook is as complacent and influenced as a child himself, no wonder my grandson wore him down."
"Well," Rook smiled timidly, "I suppose we should be off then. Do you have everything you need, sir?"
"I have a few things to grab at home, but what exactly is this newfangled contraption that we're supposed to be driving to the Chin Village? Is it one of these Sato-Mobiles that I've been hearing so much about? Oh, does this one work on water---like some sort of jet-powered boat contraption type thing!?"
"You should know it better than anyone, Sokka," Zuko slapped his forehead, "Considering you named the blasted thing."
"Oh?" Sokka thought it over and gulped suddenly as his pupils shrank into little dots of terror, "Oh..."
SPACE SWORD MARK II
TO BE CONTINUED...
For the collective works of the author, go here.
|The Years Before the Equalist Revolution|
|Year Fifty-Three (Part Two) - Year Fifty-Four- Year Fifty-Five- Year Fifty-Six - Year Fifty-Seven - Year Fifty-Eight - Year Fifty-Nine - Year Sixty - Year Fifty-Sixty-One - Year Sixty-Two - Year Sixty-Three - Year Sixty-Four - Year Sixty-Five - Year Sixty-Six - Year Sixty-Seven - Year Sixty-Eight - Year Sixty-Nine - Year Seventy|