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CoD Book 2 Preview

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Book 2 production is in full swing and I'm just fleshing out the final story, where everything goes chapterwise, what characters go where and so on and so forth. The first chapter of Book 2 should be out realtively soon, probably before the end of August, but gotta work out those details. The only part I've written of the first chapter is right below all these thoughts of mine. When I was checking trhough CoD Book 1, I noticed a disturbing lack of female characters. I mean, my two original characters are both guys and then I cut out Katara and Toph isn't in it much. I feel really pretty bad, I'm not a sexist bigot. So, Book 2 introduces two original females - a hero and a nemesis for Toph. Katara gets a bigger storyline now, and Toph gets a chapter all to herself (but Iroh will probably steal a little of that show).

Other things to expect - family reunions for both Sokka and Toph, the return of Captain Hydros, Wuoyan's backstory, and Koh - bigger and scarier than ever before.

So, as promised: here's the very first part of Book 2. I'd love some feedback, so please comment. Thanks guys!

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At the very edge of the Fire Nation, on the side of a cliff lay a small house that hung over the coastline. It was a small shack made of dark stone with a sturdy tile roof. Inside, a woman wept and a man did his best to comfort her.

The woman attempted to dry her eyes. “Three years to the day, Ruo,” she said to the man. “Three years since he went missing.”

“I know. I miss him too, Qi,” said Ruo, trying to comfort the crying woman.

“Then why haven’t you been looking for him?” said Qi angrily, through the tears that covered her face.

Ruo was hurt. “I know he was your husband and you miss him, but he was my brother as well. I spent a year looking for him. I’m sorry to say this, but you just have to accept the fact that he’s dead.”

“No!” cried Qi. “They never found a body! He just disappeared one day! I mean he left his food on the table, Ruo! Kan’s alive, I know it.”

“I’m sorry, Qi, but he’s dead. Just like Zhao,” Ruo said, looking sadly at the portrait on his mantelpiece. Three brothers in their youth stared back at him from the lifeless piece of art. There was Ruo with his short-cropped hair in the middle, Kan on the left with his long dirty blonde hair and Zhao on the right with his ugly sideburns stretching down his cheek.

Qi felt bad and hung her head. “Sorry, Ruo. It must be hard. Losing your brothers.”

Ruo turned around and smiled at her. “I’ll always be here for you, Qi, for as long as you need me. It’s the least I can do for my brother.”

Qi nodded. “Thank you,” she said smiling through the tears.

Then, suddenly, the door flew open and in flew a thick pillar of black smoke. It knocked the books and plates in Ruo’s house off their shelves and they crashed to the floor. The pillar of smoke swirled towards the fireplace and then formed a solid black shadow, roughly human shape, but lacking the features of a human being.

Qi screamed manically and she cowered beneath the window.

But, the shadow walked slowly toward Ruo, a black mist following it along the ground. Ruo wasn’t a fighter like his brothers were and he slowly backed away from the shadow, completely terrified.
“Please, whatever you are, don’t hurt me. Please! Please!” begged Ruo, slowly backing up. But then, he hit the wall of his small house and the shadow kept coming closer. Ruo screamed in complete terror, “Please! Don’t hurt me! Please! PLEASE!”

The shadow gave a strange laugh, which echoed in the tiny space, then his form fell apart and the black smoke shot towards Ruo at blinding speed, laughing as it went. The smoke flowed into Ruo’s mouth, up his nostrils, even into his tear ducts.

Within moments, all the smoke had gone, leaving only Ruo behind. He smiled as he flexed his hands. He walked over to a mirror in the room and stared at his own reflection. “How long must I be stuck in these second rate forms?” he complained to no one in particular.

“Ruo?” asked Qi, standing up. “Are you alright?” He ignored her, so she asked again. “What happened? What was that thing?”

“Oh, will you shut up, woman?” cried a voice from Ruo’s lips, but it wasn’t him. It had a whole new malice in it that didn’t exist moments before.

Qi was confused and came closer. “What’s wrong? Ruo, answer me!” she yelled exasperated.

The man turned around quickly and grabbed Qi by the neck. She tried to scream again, but his hands were like iron around her throat and no sound came out of her terrified lips. He drew his face closer; a cruel smile lined it from cheek to cheek.

“My name,” he whispered to her, “is Zhao.”

Qi’s eyes went wide as she whimpered and struggled against Zhao’s grip, but he blasted flame out of the hand that held her tightly. Blood splattered across the small hut and what was left of Qi’s body slumped to the ground, lifeless and aflame.

Zhao walked out of the hut in his new body as the flames began to spread and consume the rest of the house, smiling as he went.

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