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Avatar fic: The Next Legend
Started by: Eman5805

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Eman5805
Soulful Brother

Gender: Male
Location: New Orleans

Avatar fic: The Next Legend

Disclaimer: I haven't read anyone else's fanfic about what happens before or Avatar the events of the show. Any coincidences such as character names, history, or abilities; city or place names; or really anything having to do with this fanfiction, is just that, coincidence. However, this fanfic will occasionally have some parody elements in it, so not everything will be completely made up. It's all for entertainment anyway.
Criticism, hints, accolades, or whatever are welcome. Enjoy! (I hope.)

If there's some way to indent paragraphs here, I'd love to know.


Earth. Fire. Air. Water. For 100 years the Fire Nation waged a war that threatened to destroy world. They nearly succeeded, until the Avatar returned from a century’s absence and defeated the Fire Lord, ending the war and restoring balance to the world. At least for a time. The war was over, but the struggle to maintain that balance is a constant one. To prevent another 100 year catastrophe, Avatar Aang hopes to create an alliance between the nations, which shall cause change on level never seen before. However, such change is not welcomed by all, and the few years since the war, may not have been enough time for the world to recover…



Book 1: Earth
Chapter 1: The World Reborn



Ba Sing Se’s Grand Palace Hall, on the 7th anniversary of the ending of the 100 year war…

The anticipation was palpable, and the crowd grew restless by the minute. Avatar Aang paced nervously, wringing his hands. Momo following behind his moments on the ground. Behind the closed doors to the hall with him was Toph, Katara, and Sokka.
“Aang, you can settle down. He’ll be here,” Katara consoled, as she held the newest addition to the group in her arms.
“I know, I know. It’s not Zuko showing up I’m worried about.“ Aang said still worried.
Sokka, leaning on a pillar, shrugged. “Then let’s give the speech without him. Zuko’s known for a month when this event would be.” Sokka reached and took out a custom pocket watch, the newest model made specially by Teo and his father. “We’ve waited an hour and 12 minutes already. Fire Lord or not, the world shouldn’t stop just because he can’t get here on time. I say we go in now, not unless we want him to-”
Toph’s head jerked up. “Not going to be necessary, guys.” She turned as did everyone else in time to see Fire Lord Zuko saunter up, with his wife Mai in two.
Sokka swung his arms out from his sides. “Geez, what took you?”
Zuko, in full Fire Lord garb, said, “Believe it or not, traffic.”
Katara scoffed. “What? Since when do dragons have to worry about traffic?”

Zuko shrugged. “Since the Earth King’s palace become a no fly zone.”
“Are we going inside or are we going to stand out here and talk?” Mai said with a yawn.
Aang nodded. “She’s right. Let’s go.”


Nobility from every nation was gathered in the Grand Hall. It was the official announcement everyone was talking about. What Avatar Aang originally hoped would be a simple announcement at the palace turned into a function. Everyone inside was well dressed in their most expensive clothing, and someone decided to cater the event. Two long tables piled high with food sat on opposite ends of the large room, Sokka especially loved the sight of that. Everyone turned and parted when the doors opened.
Aang and his friends made their way to the stage. Giving polite nods and waves as the crowd gave their respect.
Sokka, surveying the crowd, leaned close to Aang’s ear and whispered “No sign of you-know-who.”
“Let’s hope it stays that way,” Aang whispered back. “If he shows up, things will get ugly.”
“He won’t be here. He doesn’t even know about this,” Katara, again trying to comfort Aang.
Zuko was frowning. “I wouldn’t be sure. There’s too many people here. Someone got the word out. I’ve got a bad feeling that he found out.”
“Why are you all so worried about one guy? Who is he anyway?” Mai asked.
“Yeah, and how come I don’t know who this guy is?” Toph wondered.
Aang was the first to step onto the stage. “Let’s hope either of you don’t have to find out,” he said.

Zuko took his place next to the Earth King, and Water Chief. Each chair affixed with a flag bearing the symbol of each nation. Aang took deep breathe. Katara touched his shoulder. “It’ll be fine. Just say what you have to say.”

Aang smiled, looking at his newborn daughter. “Thank you, Katara.” He walked up to the podium. “And I would like to thank you all for coming. I know it may have been inconvenient to hold off on your plans to make the long journey to Ba Sing Se. But, again, thank you for your time.” Aang paused. Took another deep breathe and continued. “During the war, a wise man once told me, that the greatest illusion is the illusion of separation. All things that we consider separate are really the same. I knew that this was referring to the four nations. For generation after generation, we’ve all lived in our own separate parts of the world. Sadly, after the loss of the Air Nomads, I know understand that a war between nations was inevitable.

“Fire Lord Sozin believed that the Fire Nation was the superior nation; that fire was the superior element. That ignorant ideal became the reason he used the comet to strike down the Air Nomads and begin a terrible war. If the four nations had been more united, Sozin wouldn’t have believed his nation superior. If the four nations lived as true equals, keeping in constant contact, sharing with one another, living as the one race of people we all truly are, the war would’ve been stopped long before it ever began. To prevent another catastrophe like the war from ever occurring, something must change. Something must be done to unite the remaining nations, to ensure that future generations, will have a peaceful world to be born into. A new world” Aang looked over his shoulder to Katara, who was nodding her approval as the baby girl slept in her arms. Some people in the crowd applauded their agreement, which spread, then quieted.
When the clapping stopped, Aang continued. “And is why, I am happy to announce the-”
The sound of stone shattering, followed by an earsplitting sound came from outside the hall door that made everyone jump and cover their ears. A harsh screeching sound that only came from metal and stone scrapping together. The sound of something heavy being drug across the ground.
Aang’s heart dropped and in an almost whisper. “Oh no.”
The sound was getting closer, and louder. The noise made the baby stir, so Katara tried to cover the baby’s ears. The crowd started murmuring. “What’s going on out there?” Katara asked.
“I’ll find out,” Toph said then jumped down to the stone floor and felt the ground. “It’s some guy. And he’s carrying a…what is that? Some big chunk of metal?”
Sokka shook his head. “This is all your fault, you know that,” he ahead said to Zuko, still in his chair.
Zuko turned. “What? Don’t blame-”
The doors burst open.
The Earth Kingdom general always makes a strong first and second impression. It’s not usually a good one, but it is definitely a lasting one. The first anyone remembers about is his the hammer. More specifically it’s a zhan chui, a war hammer, and an over exaggerated one. It’s impossible to not connect him with his hammer, not because it seemed too large to be useful as a weapon, but because the hammer went everywhere he went. During the war, the saying about a bull-spider in a glassware shop was changed. Soldiers would joke the at least bull-spiders left the glassware shop standing when it left. That hammer cause didn’t damage whether the general wanted it to or not, it caused damage because he didn‘t care if it did or not. Not to be overstated, the hammer itself only the first impression.

Old Post Jul 31st, 2008 06:45 PM
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Eman5805
Soulful Brother

Gender: Male
Location: New Orleans

(continued)

“WHY AREN’T I SURPRISED?” His voice was the second. “You decide to make your little announcement, and lo and behold, who is left off the guest list?” He swung the hammer off the ground and onto his shoulder, causing people nearby to jump back out of the way or risk being bludgeoned.
Toph, back on stage, was covering her ears. “Yikes. You’re right. I do wish I hadn’t met him.”
“I’d rather be blind right now, to tell the truth.” Mai said with a grimace, partially looking away as the general made his way down to the stage.

“Well, Avatar Aang?” The word “avatar” was said like it left a bad taste in his mouth.
The Earth King stood out of his seat, furious. “I’ve always had great respect for you, but you go too far. Barging into my palace hall some like rampant animal, is one thing, but insulting the Avatar is quite another! Guards!”
Reluctantly, Aang held up a hand. “No need for that, he can stay. I know everyone doesn’t agree with what we all have planned. A voice of argument is welcome-”
The general broke out into a boisterous laugh. The kind of laugh that comes from deep inside your stomach. It was loud enough to scare the baby fully awake, who started crying. Katara quickly started to shush her. “HA! ‘A voice of argument is welcome’? Funny to hear that coming from you, after all that posturing you did to make sure I wouldn’t show up. How Airbender of you; retreating to save some face.”
Sokka stepped forward. “You see, everyone? That’s the kind of bigotry, Aang was talking about!”
Aang reached up and placed his hand on Sokka’s shoulder, he was still taller than Aang after all this time. “It’s alright, Sokka. I’ll handle this.”
“You’re damn right!” The general turned to the crowd. “If believing the Earth Kingdom is the greatest nation on the planet makes me a bigot, then I guess I am a bigot. Not a single one of you worth the colors you’re wearing would say any different about your nation. Am I right?”
Some in the crowd nodded in agreement, others were staring at the hammer laying on his shoulder, wondering when he’ll slam it to the ground. They all knew who he was, and there is no “if” about it.
“So, for all I care you can to back to the poles and suck on ice cubes in your igloos, you peasant! The Earth Kingdom was meant to be lived in by Earth Kingdom citizens!”
Before Sokka or Katara could say anything, Aang cut int, “And Earth Kingdom citizens will continue to live in the Earth Kingdom. How can the other nations properly trade and work together from our own separate parts of the world?” Aang said down to the general, trying to stay calm, knowing full well the situation was a blasting jelly keg, and this general was the fuse.
“The same way we all have for thousands of years, that’s how!”
“The same way eventually wound up with the Air Nomad’s destruction. I’m all that’s left now. If another crisis event like the war occurs, who is to say what will happen. We need to act now, while the world is finishing rebuilding. By shaping our own fates, we can prevent future wars and create a better world. What I’m talking about is improving all the nations.”
The general turned and jabbed a finger at Aang. “What you’re talking about is the destruction of the Earth Kingdom! You’ve already made the Earth King your lapdog. Maybe he will, but I won’t stand by while Firebenders are living next door! Living next to my family! What’s stopping them from another war?”
Zuko stood up. “I am.”
The general laughed again. “Oh yes, the great Fire Lord Zuko. So great, he’s still fighting the pocket rebellions of Ozai loyalists seven years after Ozai’s reign ended. You could sooner stop another war than stop your gloomy wife from getting her monthlies! Oh wait, I‘m sorry, she doesn’t get them at all! How many kids she given you yet? Don't worry, though, hang tough, maybe next time will be the charm! HAHA!”
No one expected that kind of comment, not from him. Not from anyone. The crowd's reaction was a mixed one. Some appeard to know, others didn't.
It was thought to be a secret that Fire Lady Mai was having trouble bearing any children, at least a secret to all but those closest to the Fire Lord. Somehow word got out, and it spread far enough into the Earth Kingdom that the general even knew. Mai jerked as if she was just stabbed in the heart, then she clutched her lower abdomen. Though in truth, she was.
Zuko flew at the general, flame literally shooting from his mouth! “How dare you!!!”
A gust of wind from Aang cancelled out the flames, as Sokka grabbed Zuko’s arms. “Stop it, Zuko!” Aang pleaded. Zuko struggled, but then relented. The baby was beyond agitated crying, now she was pouring tears. Katara rushed off stage, hoping to sooth it outside. Looking back at the general with absolute disgust.
“YES! Now you know how it feels when your pride is insulted! The thought of something you cherish being taken down to a lesser level! Being tainted by things out of your control! That helpless feeling, that makes you want to lash out! LIKE THIS!” The general whirled around, away from the stage, to the crowd. The hammer was a blur! The impact shook the entire ball room.
Many people speculated on if the general was an Earthbender. But he claimed the hammer was entirely made of metal and only Toph could bend it. Yet, those same people insisted there must be a chunk of rock inside, because at the size of that hammer, no regular person could swing it, at least not in any useful way in battle. Because no one ever held the hammer but him, all they had was the generals word that every time he swung that hammer, it was pure brute muscle that enabled him to do it. The general's word held sway with many, but this was something only a few believed was true.
“That’s enough! Guards, take him away!” The Earth King shouted. Aang didn’t object this time. Before the general could pick up his hammer, it was pulled underground, just enough to where he couldn’t pull it out.
“Don’t bother. I can take my self away,” he said to the guards.
“We have orders from-” one guard started.
“You have some nerve, Cho Li. I saved your father’s life.”
“That was 15 years ago, sir.”
The general spat. “14 years, 3 months, and 23 days ago, son. Regardless of when, thanks to me, you can still go home and see your dad today.”
The guard Cho Li, looked away, then clinched his first in front of him. The hammer lifted back out of the ground. The general lifted it back up to his shoulder. And walked to the door.
Katara returned, holding the still whimpering baby, but not crying out anymore. “Monster.” She said loud enough for the words to carry and be heard by the exiting general.
Just as the doors were being closed on him, the general looked back in and said, “Avatar, you think I’m the only person against this World Reborn Act? You’re wrong. I may be the only person in this room against it like I am, but there‘s many more people out there.” He turned sideways and looked out at even more massive city of Ba Sing Se. “There’s people with my view the world over. From every nation. People meaner than me, because they aren‘t in the army or wear fancy clothes. People who will express their disapproval more than me, because they stand to lose much more than I do if your little plan fails. Being the ‘People’s Avatar’ won’t spare you their backlash. I’ll be seeing you again, Avatar. Count on it.”

Old Post Jul 31st, 2008 06:46 PM
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Eman5805
Soulful Brother

Gender: Male
Location: New Orleans

(continued)

Later that evening…

“I hope I’m doing the right thing, Katara,” Aang said, his head in his hands, sitting on stage, staring at the large dent in the floor. Everyone had left. The general’s arrival ended the whole get together mode, and the general already made the announcement. Everyone agreed it was best to just call it a night. The catered food was never touched. Except by Sokka and Momo. Zuko left with Mai, both of whom were very silent for the rest of the night. Toph had gone home too.
“You are, Aang. It’s a wonderful idea you, Sokka, and Zuko came up with. It really will make the world a better place. I know it.” The baby was sleeping again.
“But, what if he’s right?”
“Who? That loudmouth, thug?”
“Yeah, I mean. Everyone who was here may have their doubts, but they’ll go along with it. But, everyone else…we don’t know yet. Maybe we should postpone the act.”
“Aang, listen to me. That man is just a war veteran who misses being in the spotlight and swinging that hammer around. All his knows is conflict and fighting. And taking the glory from being who he is. Someone like that doesn’t understand the change you’re going to cause. And what he doesn‘t understand, he fights it. The common people aren’t like that. They may object at first, but they‘ll see the change as a good thing in the long run.” She leaned over and the kissed. Aang looked down at the baby, and smiled again.
Sokka, sitting down next to them chomping on a leg of pig-chicken, said “Not to mention you wouldn’t want to hold another announcement to say you’re not going through with the act, would you? Imagine how what he’d show up and do then? Probably knock the walls down in a fit of joy.”
They all laughed. “You’re right,” Aang said, returning to his cheerful smiley self. “I mean, if that’s the kind of person who’s against the plan, I must not be all that bad.”
“That’s the spirit, Aang!” Sokka said with a fist pump.
Katara yawned. “It’s getting late. Let’s head home. Tomorrow we have to start getting candidates for the ambassadors.” They started for the doors.
Aang asked. “Got anyone in mind for the Water Tribe Ambassador yet, Sokka?”
He shrugged. “No, but hopefully someone will qualify.”

Sixteen years later…
The massive monumental statue to Avatar Aang was nearly complete and right on schedule. The Avatar was going to be there for the grand opening. It was big news for one of the newest cities in the Earth Kingdom. The grand opening was supposed to be the crowning achievement for the city and bring excitement and life to the new city, but the murders were the bigger news. Each month they grew more frequent. There wouldn’t have been such cause for alarm if the killings didn’t happen all over the Earth Kingdom, and all seemingly by the same person or persons using the same grisly methods.
But, it was all the leaders of the nation’s hope that the revealing of the new Avatar’s identity would put the people’s minds at ease, even if only somewhat. Then perhaps they could start to move one and forget the events 16 years ago. The terrible events that shook the world, especially the Earth Kingdom, to it‘s foundation. The events that took the life of Avatar Aang, and left the world, again, without an Avatar long before it expected to…



The next chapter...
Chapter 2: The Man Called Ezeru

Old Post Jul 31st, 2008 06:46 PM
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That ACDC Chick
All That Noiz

Gender: Female
Location: Stuff and Things

is there anymore?
im likin it


__________________

Old Post Dec 14th, 2008 07:14 PM
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Eman5805
Soulful Brother

Gender: Male
Location: New Orleans

There's a lot more to it, actually, but since it seemed no one cared about it I felt why bother.
Here's the next chapter:

Book 1: Earth
Chapter 1: The Man Called Ezeru


Aunt Meng's diner...

Chef Tin Li shouted over the hiss of the fire, "What time is it, Meng?"
Meng, a portly middle aged woman with a large gap in her teeth, looked at the clock as she counted the change to a customer. "Three minutes to one thirty. You don‘t get off for another hour and a half. And I know you've got a watch, now get on those salmon cuts!"
Tin Li shook his head. "No, not that, Ezeru's coming, you'd better get Miko ready."
Miko, one of Meng's many, many nieces, looked up from rinsing out a pitcher in the sink. "Who's Ezeru?"
"A regular customer, comes in at the same time everyday. He can be...a little intimidating the first time you see him."
"Why?"
Tin Li chuckled, checking his pocket watch. "Oh you'll see. In five, four, three, two, one."
Miko was looking at the front door, so she jumped when the side door, just a few feet away from her, swung open and Ezeru stepped in, leaning under the overhang. His gasa, outfit, and right arm all familiar to Meng and Tin Le.
Miko froze. She was a very short girl of sixteen. Ezeru towered over her by more than a foot. She held the pitcher tightly, protectively in front of her chest, eyes wide and mouth slightly agape.
Tin Li laughed at Miko's reaction. "Hiya, Ezeru. How's work?"
"Fine." Ezeru spoke very softly.
"The usual?" Meng asked, paying out to the final customer in line as Ezeru walked over too the counter. She asked already knowing the answer.
"Yes."
"The usual, coming up." Tin Li said as he flipped his spatcula in his hand.
Meng looked at Miko and saw she still hadn't moved. "Those dishes won't clean themselves, girl. Miko? Hey!" Miko blinked, finally taking her eyes off Ezeru, who never seemed to notice her. "Snap out of it."
"Oh, right, sorry." She feverishly tried to dry the pitcher, but she was too rattled to properly hold anything.
It wasn't fear that had her in a near stupor.
Meng had stepped over, looking at her face. "Blushing, huh?" she whispered.
Miko batted her eyes. "What? No, I'm not."
"Then, why are your cheeks so red?" Aware she was further embarrassing Miko, she added, "It's those green eyes isn't it?"
Miko paused, stole a glance at Ezeru, who still hadn't moved, waiting patiently for his plate. She tilted her head slightly to the side, a gesture of defeat and acknowledgement. "They're...they‘re...amazing."
"I know."
"Hot plate! Hot plate!" Tin Li was reaching the plate through the kitchen window. With a wink, Meng left Miko to her dishes and handed took the plate from Tin Li. Ezeru had already laid out exact change on the counter top and took his plate.

After nine minutes, Ezeru was finished and had left. Without saying a word to anyone else.
"So, he comes at the exact same time, orders the exact same thing, every single day?" Miko asked after she cleaned off his plate, which was nearly spotless.
"He even sits at the same table, same seat. If ol‘ Tinny Linny back there made him the exact same amount, he‘d finish it in the same amount of time. You can set your clock to Ezeru. Never met someone more dedicated to a routine, no one is forcing him to keep, in my life."
"It's almost inhuman," the chef chimed in.
"How old is he?" Miko asked.
Meng started to answer but realized she didn't have one. "You know, I don't have a clue."


Museum of the Avatar...

"You're pullin' my leg," said the former Fire Nation resident Yuan Po, chipping away the final details on Avatar Aang's right arm. "A demon? Come on."
The Water Tribe born, Toruk shook his head as he leaned against the scaffold railing. He finished early for the day. "I'm serious. They say it's an evil spirit running around butchering people."
"And who are ‘they' exactly? Senile, old farts that barely see their own cataracts?"
Toruk chuckled. "No, not every one who has seen it, them, or whatever is old. They say that someone fairly young has seen it. Claims he saw the demon flying off into the night," Toruk waved his hands to demonstrate.
Yuan Po laughed. "Now I know you're joking. Now not only is this demon killing people without a trace, but it's ‘flying off into the night'? Too cliché to be real. It's just some kid with an overactive imagination, that's who it was right? Probably heard the stories, and wanted to impress his friends. Spread some false rumors to get attention. Sounds a lot like my son."
Toruk shrugged. "Hard to say. It's all rumors anyway. It is kind of scary, you know? No one is reporting anything specific on the killings. No way of figuring out exactly why who is dying, well, is dying. Could be random, but it's a little unnerving that so much is being held quiet. Is that how they treat big news like this around here?"
Yuan Po took a few more chips at the knuckles, then wiped the sweat from his brow. "I've lived here only a few months, I know you were here just about a week. The murders were happening long before I got here, and I didn't find out about the murders until I got here. I don't know if that's just how the Earth Kingdom does it or not. Maybe you should ask the big man, he‘s lived here all his life, but you know you won‘t get much out of him." Almost on cue, heavy footsteps shook the scaffolding, which creaked under the weight. They both knew who was coming.
He was carrying two large sacks of earth over his shoulder on opposite ends of a metal pole. Each had to weigh 50 pounds, but he carried them almost effortlessly, with one arm. He was there for the stones each sculptor chipped off of the statue. The pulley system was broken and no one bothered fixing it. "After all," the foreman had said, "why fix it when you can just let Ezeru do the heavy lifting? He don't seem to mind."
"How you doin', Ezeru?" Toruk said.
"Fine."
"I gotta question for you," Toruk said, giving Yuan Po a "Watch this" look.
Ezeru shifted his eyes, toward Toruk, but his head never turned. Talking to Ezeru could be difficult, you had to follow his eyes, but they were hard to see under the shadow his gasa cast over his face. Unless you were standing on a certain side, then it was a little easier. Toruk happened to be standing on the right side this time.
"You've heard of those mysterious killings, right?"
"Yes."
"Know any reason why the newspapers never say much about them?"
"No."
"Really?"
"No."
"Really, really?"
"No. No." Toruk said the same thing when Ezeru spoke. Both men busted out laughing. Ezeru knelt, balancing the pole on his shoulder, picked up the bag of excess stone, and started walking away without saying another word to either man.
Toruk called out, "Oh, hey, don't be like that. I was only teasing!"
"Don't bother the big man; let him work. You're finished for the day, anyway, Toruk, better sign out, or the boss man will throw you off this thing. It says that in the charter."
They both laughed again.

Tall, quiet, and scary.
Those were usually the three words used to describe Ezeru, the lattermost being based on assumptions tied to the first two descriptions. And because of that, people treat him the way they do most things they're afraid of: Avoiding him entirely, alienating him with jokes and crude comments, or, the least taken choice, trying to understand him. None of this mattered to Ezeru though, and if they did, he never told anyone. Anyone but two people.

He stood at least six foot five, perhaps more. He was clearly physically strong. His arms were very long and thickly muscled. His upper body seemed to form an inverted triangle. Slender at the waist, but growing wider as it gets to his shoulders, which were broad. His head was often seen bent, looking down. Most people were far shorter than him so he didn't need hold his head up often. It's also byproduct of him ducking to avoid banging his head on anything hanging too low for him. The gasa he always wore did little to help in that respect.

The gasa looked like an Earth Kingdom army issued gasa. It has the same color and similar design, but it differed in two ways: it lacked the point at the top and it has roughly a quarter of it missing from the front right side. It was custom made to be that way. If it was damaged in some way, then purposely redecorated to have the missing section integrated into it's design is only known to Ezeru and two other people. Nearly everyone who sees him thinks he was once in the army, yet they figure he isn't seem old enough to have fought in the war. Nonetheless, people say he had to have been in some kind of fight at some point in his life. An assumption reinforced more so by his heavily bandaged right arm.

From the tips of his fingers all the way up to his shoulder, his arm was wrapped. When he walked, or did anything, his right hand was hooked onto the top of his pant. Giving him the appearance of walking with one hand in his pocket, which he actually didn't have. Since it was summer, he wore a sleeveless button down beige tunic with green trim over green pants and sandals. He jet black hair a queue that reached the middle of his back. Unlike traditional queue's, Ezeru didn't shave the front half of his head, allowing it to grow, even allowing short tufts of hair to form bangs occasionally. A choice he was adamant on, for reasons (again) he never told anyone about.

Old Post Dec 14th, 2008 09:22 PM
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Eman5805
Soulful Brother

Gender: Male
Location: New Orleans

continued...

Ezeru was just stepping off the scaffolding when he heard the first crack and heard the shout, "It's breaking loose!". A second, far louder, crack came. Ezeru looked up just as Aang's ear fell off and crashed into the top of the scaffolding and broke through to the next level. The entire scaffolding started shaking, swaying away from the statue! Everyone started shouting and screaming.
"Oh man! It's coming down! Somebody get help!" The statue was nearly 100 feet tall. Anyone on it when it falls will be...
Ezeru dropped rocks and jumped over the side. It was a 30 foot drop! The ground rose up as he landed, absorbing the impact. He scanned the scaffold. There, there, there, and there....
He reached down and literally ripped up a stone block as large as him out of the ground out of the ground. He stepped back, jumped straight up, then drove his fist into the top, piledriving it back into the floor. Four square pillars, rose out of the ground at an incline, each one to a separate level of the of the scaffolding. "Slide down!" Ezeru shouted to the seven men still on it, Yuan Po and Toruk were among them. The entire scaffolding finally gave way just as the last man slid down. Ezeru shielded himself from the debris and backed away. It kicked up a lot of dust and made it hard to see.
Yuan Po shouted, "Look out! The ear‘s coming down!"
The heavy stone ear tumbled off the collapsing wooden structure, right above Ezeru! He had time to get out of the way, but he didn't.
When the ear hit, everyone looked away, assuming Ezeru was crushed.
He wasn't. For the first time since he had been working on the museum construction, he moved his right arm.
It was stretched up over his head, holding the ear which was as large as he was. With what seemed like no effort at all, and even less semblance of Earthbending, he set the ear on the ground. His bandaged right arm returned to it's default position of hooked behind his onto his pants.
All eyes were on Ezeru.
Toruk and Yuan Po looked at each other. Toruk asked the question everyone had to be asking themselves, "Ezeru. Why didn't you just get out of the way?"
"Then, you would have had to carve another ear. Was I supposed to let it hit the floor and break?"

Ezeru's house...

The long walk home was a familiar one, for reasons beyond the obvious. He was going to have to go job hunting. Again.
Once inside, his presence surprised his wheelchair bound mother, the very reason he had a job, and his elderly aunt. His aunt, was busy at the sink washing out the pots and pans she just used, she turned when he walked into the kitchen with a puzzled look on her face. "What's going on? You're home early from work? The last time that happened you were..."
His mother and aunt knew him better than anyone, they could read his face, his eyes. "Oh goodness, what happened?" his mother asked.
Ezeru shrugged. "I saved some people from a giant, falling ear."
"What? You save lives, so they fire you? That's ridiculous."
"There was a construction charter that said-" Ezeru began.
His mother waved that off. "We'll discuss it later, today is a special occasion." She wheeled backwards so he could see the table. They had baked a cake.
His mother said as she wheeled over to hug him, he knelt on one knee so she wouldn't have to hug his waist. "Happy 16th birthday, son!"
"Thank you, mother."




Next chapter...
Chapter 2: The Investigation

Old Post Dec 14th, 2008 09:23 PM
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Col. Valerian
Republic Navy

Gender: Male
Location: Middle of Nowhere

Very good work, I must say. Looking forward for more.


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Old Post Dec 15th, 2008 03:41 AM
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That ACDC Chick
All That Noiz

Gender: Female
Location: Stuff and Things

im liking it smile


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Old Post Dec 18th, 2008 06:21 PM
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Eman5805
Soulful Brother

Gender: Male
Location: New Orleans

I'd say this is my weakest chapter grammatically speaking. I'd edit it, but I wouldn't be able to stop myself from making a host of other edits to the story for logic sake and such and as I've already written 6 chapters beyond this, it would screw with continuity, so...yeah.

Chapter 2: The Investigation

Ba Sing Se, Upper Ring...

When the war ended, there was a question that needed to be answered: What to do with the Dai Li? They betrayed their leader and their nation, and directly assisted in Ba Sing Se's capture. Treason, a crime punishable by death, but Avatar Aang stepped in and spoke on their behalf. No, Avatar Kyoshi stepped in. For the second time, Avatar Aang channeled Kyoshi.

It was she who created the Dai Li, it was felt that she should be the one to decide how they'd be punished. She decided that the Dai Li would in fact be expanded, rather than disbanded entirely, however the Dai Li members who defected to the Fire Nation, and then subsequently banished by mentally unstable Azula, were branded as traitors and forced to either return to the Earth Kingdom and face trail along with former leader, Long Feng, or remain in the Fire Nation as fugitives from the Earth Kingdom. None of the rouge Dai Li agents were ever heard from again.
As for the new Dai Li's function, they would be spread far outside of Ba Sing Se and into all of the seven Earth Kingdom cities, still under construction at the time.

They would still be consist of some of the most well trained Earthbenders in the world, but no longer would they be a "cultural authority." They'd become special law enforcement agents. It wasn't any surprise the public at large resisted this decision, but it was decided that the Dai Li organization, though rebuilt with a wholesale still had a purpose in the Earth Kingdom and with the baby boom, the more people to keep the peace the better. And with time, wounds healed. The Dai Li became security and the agents themselves seemed untouchable, so it came as quite a shock when a Dai Li agent was found slumped against the side of a house, dead of no apparent injury or illness. Only a single trickle of blood came from his mouth.

The area was quickly sealed off. It was just past ten o'clock. The body was discovered by a woman walking her pet poodle monkey.
One officer, just arriving to the scene, asked another, "What's the body's name?"
The mustached, already present, officer blinked twice at how tall he was and at the almost impersonal manner he spoke, using a word like, "body" and not "victim" or at the very least "man." He held up a laminated card. "His ID says he's Laozheng. He was 36. Lived just a few blocks down the street. Must have been heading home after a late night."

The second officer was wearing his uniform's hood over his face. It was the middle of summer, it was very unusual to see someone wearing the winter uniform over his face. He also had both hands in his pockets. "I see. I also see that you have his ID, which means you disturbed his body, correct?"

"Uh, well, yeah, I did. It's standard procedure. We would've have already called for the mortician wagon if not for the-"

"The special order prohibiting disturbing the body in anyway until the special investigator arrives, correct?" The first officer looked like a child with his hand caught in the cookie jar, but he happened to be caught by a very tall person whose voice seemed far too soft for his body. "Please follow orders next time, lieutenant. There was a purpose for them. It interferes with my analysis if the body has been touched more than necessary." He turned slightly to everyone else, who had all stopped and watched this unknown officer reprimand their superior officer.

The lieutenant's expression hardened. "Okay, well, so then who are you?"

"Isn't it obvious, lieutenant? I'm the person you've been waiting for."

"He's the special investigator," said a female voice from behind him. The lieutenant turned, shocked. He thought for sure no one was standing there just a second ago. She was wearing a similar uniform to all the officers, but she clearly wasn't any simple policeman. She held hers arms behind her back. The lieutenant thought of only one thing: Dai Li. The lieutenant didn't know of many female Dai Li agents.

"We would've arrived sooner, but we were on the other side of the city when the call came," the former Dai Li agent said.

The special investigator walked up to the lieutenant. "I'm done here. Thank you for your patience, lieutenant. Let's go, Hanori."

The lieutenant was incredulous. "Wait, you make us wait nearly an hour, and you show up, spend five seconds looking at the body then leave?!?"

The investigator turned, head slightly tilted to one side. "I've concluded my investigation, lieutenant, did someone say it would take a while? If they did, I'm afraid they lied to you." There was a chuckle in his voice.

He takes a step towards the investigator, he's tall but the lieutenant isn't afraid of someone that skinny. "Look, you pompous-" Hanori slides in front of him, placing a stone encased hand on the lieutenant's chest. She shakes her head slowly.

"It's okay, Hanori." To the lieutenant he says, "I apologize for my hastiness, but I discovered something that troubles me, I really wish to get back and check something in my notes." Hanori didn't move an inch.

"And that something is?"

The investigator, still not revealing his face, paused a bit. "Well, have you noticed that he is a Dai Li?"

The lieutenant's face was turning red with anger. "What? You think I'm an idiot?!?"

"Not at all, I'm just trying to call something to your attention. He's a Dai Li agent, and Dai Li are trained a specific way thanks to a special tactic. Hanori in fact has it on pressed against your chest."

It took a second, but it clicked. "The gloves?"

"Yes, they're still on and around his hands." Sure enough, they were.

"What does that mean?"

"Dai Li are trained to meet any threat with their gloves. If he was attacked and was aware of it, he would surely be missing some parts of the glove. But, all the pieces are present and accounted for. That means that the killing stroke was made before Mr. Laozheng was aware of the killer's threat, or perhaps even of the killer entirely."

"What makes you so sure he was killed? There isn't a scratch on him. He could've had a heart attack."

"No heart attack I've ever seen causes bleeding. Unless of course, the heart was ruptured."

"People have been known the bite their lips or tongues. Heart attacks can be traumatizing."

The investigator seemed to ponder that. "Hm...that's something I wasn't aware of. I'll be sure to research it, but I'm more than certain that wasn't the case, at least not entirely. There's a small puncture wound in his chest. See for yourself, it's okay to touch the body now."

Hanori stepped away and the lieutenant walked over to the body and crouched. He parted Laozheng's coat. A small hole right in the middle of his chest. It was a small wound, almost as if done by a pen.

"Well, I'll be damned." He looked to his left. "Send out a message, put all forces on alert. This just became a murder." He turned back to the But, how could he have been stabbed?"

The investigator shook his head. "He wasn't stabbed. Some sort of throwing weapon was used, like a dart or kunai. Whatever did this destroyed the heart almost instantly."

"Kunai? Dart? The wound is perfectly round. What kind of weapon could it have been? A needle?" With a grunt the lieutenant stood to his feet. "Well, that's all that had you troubled?"

"No, it's something else all together."

"What do you mean?"

The investigator shook his head. "All the other slayings were...more personal, done with more suffering involved. This time the one attack killed him instantly. No," he paused. "It's not the first time. It's just like..." His voice trailed off.

"Other slayings? Wait, you aren't saying that..."

He was walking down the alley. "Yes, I believe the murderer is one in the same. The Demon Killer has returned to Ba Sing Se. I wouldn't even bother with a manhunt. I'd say time of death was at least around midnight, he's long gone by now. It's time I left, lieutenant. Take care."

Hanori and the investigator disappeared around the corner. The lieutenant grabbed the back of his neck. "I see why all dead bodies are to be held until he gets there. He's hunting this Demon Killer. Alright, let's get this poor guy down to the morgue. Someone will have to break the news that to his family. And I'm glad it won't be me."

Old Post Dec 20th, 2008 09:14 PM
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Eman5805
Soulful Brother

Gender: Male
Location: New Orleans

*continued*

Several blocks away...

The investigator, safely out of eyesight from everyone else, stopped and leaned against a nearby street lamp.

"Are you okay, Olan?" Hanori asked, being his personal assistant the last four years, Hanori was genuinely concerned for Olan's well being. Olan was grateful, she was a strong Earthbender and in the event he came face to face with the mass murder, she could prove invaluable, as well as she had become a good friend of his. One of the only ones he has.

"Just fine. I'm just sweating buckets. Help me out of this," he said has he pulled off his uniform. "And these stilts are hurting my feet." His glasses had fogged up and his dark brown hair was matted, and clumpy.

Olan didn't like the act he had to put on, but it was a necessary step. No one would accept that the lead investigator on such a case could be a just turned sixteen year old boy, barely five-five, wearing thin black rimmed glasses. But, whether the world knew it or not, Olan was the most qualified person for the job. A Ba Sing Se University graduate by 12 years old with a degree in criminology, he had spent the last four years tracking down this Demon Killer. Though Olan didn't approve of that name, he felt it accurately described the terrible efficiency the killer, or killers, displayed.

Today makes eighty-five known slayings, and the third this month alone. The murder frequency has increased steadily. As if the killer is gaining some confidence, and that's the only change. It's been so long, and no breaks. He's no closer now than he was those years ago, when the killer first struck. And took the life of the most important person in Olan's life. And Olan still had no answers...
When inside the steam driven carriage, he throw down his stilts.

Hanori turned in his driver's seat. "What is it?"

"They say I'm a genius, but each time that monster kills someone I feel more like an idiot. Eighty-five deaths and still no connection. Doctors, farmers, teachers, low life thugs, the newest victim being a Dai Li agent, and I can't find the common link."

"Doesn't that mean these are random murders, Olan?" He asked as he started the carriage and pulled off the curb.

"No, eighty-four of the victims all had seedy pasts, things their loved ones didn't know about, smuggling, trafficking cactus powder, maybe even having a hand in those bombings. They were involved in something, and that seems to be the reason for their deaths. I'm still working on finding out exactly what, they were doing, but it'll take time. But, knowing that there's still no connection."

"What connection? To who?"

Olan slumped in his seat and pressed the side of his head to the side glass window. "You know as well as I do, Hanori. There was nothing seedy at all about my mother. She only wanted what was best for me, and for me to live my own life. She has...she had nothing in common with the scum that have been dying, but the Demon Killer took her life all the same. And what makes it worse is I know no ‘evil spirit' is killing these people. It's a person or persons. But, people make mistakes, they aren't perfect. Why isn't this killer making mistake? Why are the clues so ambiguous? Or maybe I'm just not smart enough to make sense of the clues that do exist." Olan sighed, watch the buildings go by, seeing the city just coming to life early in the mourning, oblivious to the death in their city. Death that shouldn't be occurring, that Olan was supposed to be preventing.

"I have to stop this thing, Hanori. I have to."

"And you will, Olan. What do you say about searching for that other thing? Who knows, you may get lucky."

Olan smiled. "I'll need luck too. Finding one of those little critters, might be harder than catching 10 Demon Killers." Stopping the murders was Olan's passion, his drive. Bug collecting, however, was his hobby. And just the thing that would brighten his mood.




Next chapter...

Enter Darlo

Old Post Dec 20th, 2008 09:14 PM
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Eman5805
Soulful Brother

Gender: Male
Location: New Orleans

Newest entry in my lil fanfic. 90% typo free. I hope.


Chapter 3: Enter Darlo



Bull Spider Tavern, Bumi City…

“So, are you saying you don’t find her attractive?” Jieshi, an Earth Kingdom thug, said opening the last game with a three of clubs and a three of diamonds. He and the strange haired Darlo, a Fire Nation born citizen, were the last two players. All the money was on the table for the final game. Everyone present was watching, hovering over the table and watching the two competitors. Jieshi was known as a tough player, but Darlo was putting on a show, finishing first in every game.

They were sitting at the one of the two money corners, the spots in the front corners of the building, where all gambling went on. They were great spots in case the authorities decided to make a bust. They were blocked by an outcropping wall and would block view from just inside the door, and the windows running along both sides of the building allowed for quick escapes.

“No, I’m saying I don’t want anything to do with a woman that randomly pulls fish out of her clothes. I mean, what, does she carry fish around all the time, just waiting for an opportunity to attract penguins? She was pretty, but if I hooked up with her and she gets mad, what’s she gonna do? Smack me with a mackerel?” Darlo said, playing a four of hearts and four of spades. Card games were all the rage now. Pai Sho remained the most common game, but it wasn’t great for gambling, unintelligent people don‘t grasp Pai Sho‘s finer points. Card games like kamikaze were easier.

“More like smack you with a water whip, you know she was a master Waterbender, right? That’s one lady I wouldn’t want mad at me.”
Darlo snorted, learning back in his chair. “Master shmaster, I’d wear her out like I’m about to wear all you out.” Without leaning forward, He threw over two aces, club and a spade. A high play on low cards.

Jieshi stopped smiling. He stared at Darlo, trying to read him. Darlo’s smug expression never wavered and he met Jieshi’s stare. Darlo had nine cards left. If Jieshi passed on this play, Darlo could have a straight run that he couldn’t match, and allow Darlo to get rid of all his cards. However, Jieshi could beat the two aces with his two deuces, which were wild, one of them being the heart, the highest suit in the game. The only thing could beat his two deuces, was a rare move of four straight sets of two of a kind, as in two fives, two sixes, two sevens, and two eights. It was called “bombing” and was only allowed to be played if deuces were on the table. If Darlo had one of those, he’d automatically win at this point. However, on the other hand, Jieshi had a normal straight run from seven all the way to king. If he plays his deuces and Darlo can’t beat it, he can empty his hand and win.

Darlo’s voice broke into Jeishi’s thoughts. “The game isn’t called ‘Stare really hard at your opponent’, you know.” Darlo faked a yawn. “I’d really like to take all your money before I die of old age.” That would be quite the feat, indeed for Darlo, who just made seventeen last month, but certainly didn’t look it. He had a small frame and he was very thin through the shoulders.

Jieshi smiled, deciding against falling back on his special move. “Nice bluff, but I’ve played this game long before you were born youngin’.” He laid the two deuces out, deliberately curling the cards with his fingers so they snapped as they hit the table.

“Got ‘im now,” someone said nudging Jieshi with his elbow.

Darlo looked annoyed and he shook his head as he sank forward, slightly to the left. “Damn.”

“What’s wrong, flamer? Giving up already?” Jieshi said confidently folding his arms.

“No, it’s just-” He slapped down a special kind of bomb, called the Death Bomb, two aces, two kings, two queens, and two jacks. The rarest bomb there was. “-I was hoping you wouldn’t have those deuces, because now it only makes you look bad!” The crowd erupted.

Jieshi slapped the table with his remaining cards, rising out his seat so fast the chair toppled over. “You…!” His clinched fist trembling. Darlo put his feet up on the table, a smirk on his face, and held his arms out, palms up. The “Want to throw down?” pose all too familiar to the few present that knew Darlo best. Jieshi, maybe thinking better of fighting someone known for being good at just that, turned and walked away. “Flamer trash,” he muttered under his breathe.

“Flamer” was an epithet used for Firebenders. All the elements had one or two derogatory names, a byproduct of people not enjoying the company of foreigners.
Darlo’s ears were sharp. “This ‘flamer trash’ just beat you at your own game and took all your money. Enjoy the light feeling in your pockets, as you walk back to your boss,” he retorted, gathering the money and sliding it off the table into a pouch. The small group dispersed and Darlo’s little clique moved in to sit down.

There was Qin, a lanky 18 year old from the southern Fire Nation colonies; Zhi, Qin’s 16 year old brother not as tall but still lanky; and Akeno, an overweight, homeland Fire Nation born 17 year old who was more commonly known as “Damn it, Akeno” to Darlo and the others.

Zhi reached over and patted Darlo on the side of the shoulder. “Man, that was the best hand I’ve ever seen anyone get. All four aces and a Death Bomb? You’re one lucky guy.”

“Luck is just skill you can’t control, Zhi,” Darlo said bending over. He reached under the table, and produced a small handful of cards, all jacks and higher. “Unless, of course, you can control it. Then it‘s not luck anymore.”

“Whoa! You cheated!” Akeno yelped, jumping in his seat.

“Damn it, Akeno!” Qin grated, jabbing Akeno in the belly with his elbow. “Keep your voice down!”

Some of the roughest people in the Earth Kingdom came to the Bull Spider to get drunk, make unsanctioned bets on the now sanctioned Earth Rumbles and other sporting events, sell stolen goods, or whatever the hot illegal activity was that week. There was a true “honor among thieves” and cheating was not taken well, unless the cheater was a lackey of a well respected crime lord, then they tend to get away with whatever they choose. Normally, a bunch of teenagers weren’t allowed in the tavern, but Darlo had connections which allowed him to be there unadulterated.

Darlo smirked. “It’s cool. No one will do anything to me.”

“What do you mean?” Zhi asked.

“Because these aren’t my cards. You know I never cheat. I’d quit doing whatever it is I’m doing if I can’t win the legit way. Ol’ boy Jieshi was the one cheating.”
Qin, who was sitting where Jieshi was moments ago, looked under the table. “Oh, there’s a small slot under these tables. So, the entire time he was slipping cards into his hand. But, how did you reach it from your side of the table?”

Darlo propped his feet up on the table. Darlo wasn’t tall, by any stretch of the imagination; however his body got what height it had from his legs. The same could be said about Darlo’s weight as well. His thigh and calf muscles were well toned and thick. Darlo made it a point to wear clothes that showed off his body, so he wore a red vest with gold trim and black pants that stopped just past his knees. Around his ankles and just above his elbows were gold bands. The appearance of being ready for an official Agni Kai, an intentional one. He was also wearing soft, heelless shoes. “You know what I always say, ‘These feet of mine are my bread and butter, never let me down once.’ Why should this be any different?” Seeing the puzzled look on all their faces, Darlo sighed and put his feet back down. “I did it when I was leaning back. I slipped out of one of my shoes, and took the cards down with my toes.”

“That’s amazing, man, but how’d you know it was down there?”

“Everyone in here knows Jieshi cheats like it’s going out of styles, they just were afraid of his boss, so they never call him out. I watched his hands carefully while keeping my eyes fixed on his face. Not something I recommend doing-” Darlo paused for the few chuckles to pass. “-I noticed he sometimes puts one hand on his lap while getting his cards dealt, and then brings the other one out to collect. The switch is real swift and hard to pick up. He never does it if he sees someone spying on him. I figured he had something under the table, so when I leaned back I felt around and found the cards then grabbed as many as I could between my big toe and whatever the one next to it is called. When I leaned forward and said ‘damn’, I reached down, took the cards out, realized it was six, replaced the ones in my hand with his, and hey-ho-what-do-you know noticed I happened to have a Death Bomb right in my hand.”

Darlo’s clique as astounded by Darlo’s explanation, and apparently the people at the table weren’t the only ones listening in. Two men, most likely pirates, Darlo thought, nodded their approval and raised their mugs, and went back to emptying their drinks.

Cheating was unacceptable, but cheating a cheater was.

Qin shook his head. “So, that means you were bluffing.”

Darlo gave a half-shouldered shrug. “Those aces were all I had, the rest was junk. I really was hoping he didn’t have those deuces. If I didn‘t get that Death Bomb, he would‘ve smashed me with that straight.”

“Way to live dangerously,” Zhi replied.

“It‘s what I do. Everyone is clear on the plan, right?“ They nodded. “Good, good. Won’t be too hard anyway.”

Old Post Jan 15th, 2009 04:25 AM
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Eman5805
Soulful Brother

Gender: Male
Location: New Orleans

-continued-

They sat in relative silence for the next several minutes. Darlo hated waiting, but it was necessary.

“Say Darlo,” Qin began, “did you mean what you said earlier?”

“About what?”

“About beating Katara of the Water Tribe in a fight?”

“Akeno, I always mean what I say about a fight.”

“But…but how? I mean she beat Azula during the com-”

Darlo scoffed, jerking his head to get his hair out of his face. “Beat her? I read that book. She lucked out because a drain was right there. It was clever, but she was one split second from having an extra hole in her head. Not to mention, Azula was having a mental breakdown. If Azula was on top of her game, Katara wouldn‘t have lived seven more years only to get killed by some dude with a hammer. If I had to fight Katara, I’d just get right in her face. The girl has the hand-to-hand skills of an armless, blind person. Shoot, all Spitters have zero hand-to-hand skills to begin with, so she wouldn’t know what to do against someone like me. I‘m telling you, I‘d knock those hair loopies out of her head.”

They all shared a good laugh, which Akeno promptly ruined, in classic fashion.

“Yeah, I like hair loopies.” The silence that followed was all too familiar when associated with Akeno.

Darlo sighed, shaking his head. “Damn it, Ake-”

The door was kicked open and a man brandishing a large dao stomped in. He scanned the room then shouted, “Where’s Darlo?” Collectively, without even hesitating, everyone pointed to the money corner.

When he rounded the corner, he only found Akeno, Qin, and Zhi laughing and joking, seemingly oblivious to him. “Where is he?” he demanded.

“Where is who?” Zhi asked coyly.

The man cursed and slammed his hilt on the table, cracking it, then turned and headed for the door. He was met by another man, his sword sheathed.

“He’s not in there.”

“The boss didn’t think he’d be,” said the other.

Around the back of the tavern…

I knew he‘d run back crying to his master, idiots are so predictable, Darlo thought as he peered around the corner and watched two of Zhang Yu’s thugs split up. Darlo waited a few seconds, and then jogged up the alley, perpendicular to where the two thugs split off from.

Zhang Yu was Jieshi’s employer, a peddler in all kinds of stolen goods. The kind of person common people wished didn’t exist and made authorities turn a blind eye with a well timed “donation.” No doubt they were after the money he won, Darlo disrespecting Zhang Yu’s henchmen was indirectly disrespecting Zhang Yu. It might be enough to draw the guy out into the open. Which was exactly what Darlo wanted. There was something Darlo had to do. More specifically, something he had to get.

He could’ve gone to Zhang Yu, but why hunt for something when you can lure it too you and deal with it on your own terms? And dealing with him around the guys would only get them hurt. Darlo was making sure to keep an eye on his surroundings as he went past. He was still in the back allies. Trash, stray animals, and the occasional beggar aligned the backs of businesses and shops. A couple hundred feet ahead was the market. He could see the people milling about. Damn, I didn‘t lose them did I?

A brief glint of yellow light caught Darlo’s eye. There you are!

The ground heaved up in front of him! A wall twice his height now blocked his path. Behind him a second wall sprouted, hemming him in. Darlo had at least two ways to get over either, three if he went at them at the right speed and angle. But his aim wasn’t to escape. At least not yet.

From both sides of the alley, just in front of the Earthbended wall, Zhang Yu and Jieshi stepped out. Neither was happy. Zhang Yu was unarmed and wore no shoes, while Jieshi had a long sword called a jian. Zhang Yu is an Earthbender.

“You know, when I envisioned my mourning, being woken up to the sounds of whining wasn’t part of my plan. I have a business to run, so I‘ll ge frank, I take it you‘re Darlo?”

Darlo was eyeing Jieshi’s sword. The way he held it, how he balanced it in his hands. His grip is terrible. Probably uses it one handed. He suppressed a smirk. “I am.”

“Now, imagine my reaction, when I hear one of my men has been disrespected? If he’s disrespected and other people see it, then I’m disrespected. I simply can’t have that.”

“Don’t blame me, he’s a terrible cheater.”

Jieshi stuck his finger at Darlo. “Shut your mouth, you crazy haired punk!”

Darlo’s hair was thick, black hair packed into thick, long strands and tied at the base of his head into a ponytail. A few strands weren’t long enough to tie back, and they hung over his face. His unique hairstyle was something he was proud of. Darlo could take insults about his dark skin. He could take insults about his body. But, one thing Darlo didn’t take was insulting his hair.

He was planning on getting what he had to get from Zhang Yu and leaving Jieshi alone, relatively speaking, but now he would make sure Jieshi was also spitting up teeth.

Zhang Yu gestured for Jieshi to back down. “So, let’s just give us the money, and forget this all ever happened. It’s the best I can offer.”
Darlo put his hand to his chin, leaning against the wall behind him, pretending to think. He waited a lot longer than he needed, trying to egg the two men off. He waited until Zhang Yu said anything before cutting him off, “To tell the truth, you can have to money.” Darlo reached behind him, untied the pouch of money, and threw it on the ground. “I just wanted to get you out here.”

Zhang Yu frowned. “What are you talking about?”

Darlo shrugged. “You’ll understand after you wake up dazed with a massive toothache.”

That made him made Zhang Yu mad, though Darlo didn‘t think Zhang Yu got the implication. “You’re out of your mind. Jieshi cut this little flamer in half.”

“With pleasure.”

“If you think what’s about to happen to you as pleasure, then that makes you a masochist.”

Jieshi charged in, swinging the sword laterally, trying quite literally to fulfill his order.

Darlo was already moving, stepping away from the wall, towards Jieshi!

He pivoted on his right foot and snapped his left leg up and around, blocking the swing; pinning Jieshi’s arm to the wall.

He twisted his foot against Jieshi’s wrist, grinding it against the wall. Jieshi cried out has he let go if the sword.

Jieshi cried out again when Darlo took his foot off Jieshi’s arm the same leg’s knee into his face. Drops of blood flew from Jieshi’s nose and mouth as he toppled over. Jieshi’s sword hit the ground with a loud clank.

Darlo heard the sound of shifting stones and Zhang Yu grunt. Acting on pure reflex, Darlo kicked off the wall, just as a large stone came flying.
It smashed into the wall where Darlo’s head once was, and broke through! Darlo twisted, somersaulting to the ground. He landed on both feet and dashed straight at Zhang Yu!

Zhang Yu punched! The wave of stone pillars didn’t make it halfway out of the ground before Darlo made it to Zhang Yu, cutting the twelve feet of space to nothing in two steps!

Darlo toe kicked Zhang Yu in the stomach with the full force of his momentum, doubling him over!

“It’s on the right side of the jaw.” Darlo jumped back, whirling around and delivering a heel kick to Zhang Yu’s face.

Like Jieshi before him, Zhang Yu was on the ground. From the moment Jieshi first attacked until Zhang Yu was defeated, ten seconds had passed.

The glint of gold on the ground assured Darlo that he hit his mark. Zhang Yu’s gold tooth had came out. Seeing the small piece of gold lying on the ground made all the effort he put getting it seem insignificant. He picked it up. “All this for his tooth? Hardly seems worth it.”

Zhang Yu groaned. He was tougher than Darlo thought.

“What’s going on here?” came a shout from the direction of the market as footsteps echoed through the alley. One of those steps was Darlo’s.

Darlo, at half run, rounded the first corner. He looked back over his shoulder, catching a glimpse the wall Zhang Yu Earthbended up being pulled back down-
Darlo ran straight into a statue. It didn’t give an inch to his impact as he spun off it and fell to the ground. “Ow! What the…?” He looked up.

It wasn’t a statue. At least, Darlo didn’t think it was a statue. If it was, it was expertly painted and inexplicably dressed in real clothing. The only things stopping him from knowing it was a living person, was that it seemed ten feet tall, and hadn’t moved since Darlo bumped into it. The man-statue was staring straight at Darlo, a disturbing almost emotionless stare from green eyes, shaded under a gasa. A gasa with a section of it missing.

“Who did this to you?” The question from the alley snapped Darlo out of his momentary stupor. He climbed to his feet, noticing the man-statue was in fact all man, as he followed Darlo’s moments with his eyes. Darlo also saw the man’s heavily bandaged right arm. Not wanting to hang around, Darlo broke into a run again, this time not turning to look behind him.

Old Post Jan 15th, 2009 04:26 AM
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Eman5805
Soulful Brother

Gender: Male
Location: New Orleans

-continued-

Tao’s Pawn Shop…

Tao’s Pawn Shop was just a front. The woman was really a fence/bootlegger for stolen goods. At one point in her life, Zhang Yu was her husband. He got the stolen weapons and she sold them. For reasons Darlo didn’t care to know, the relationship soured. Tao believed that Zhang Yu’s infamous gold tooth was rightfully hers, seeing as she was the one who bought it for him. Zhang Yu’s mouth jewelry had come to identify him in the criminal underground. Darlo figured the move was really about Tao trying to spite Zhang Yu and damage his image. Either way, if it gave him another connection, it was another step closer to finding that “big break to mega fame” Darlo was striving for.

Darlo went inside, stepping through the isles of stuff Darlo knew was all stolen, handed her the tooth, and gave a quick account of how he got it. She picked it up, examined it, then said, “Yep, the genuine article.” She plopped a small pouch of money on the counter. “Thank you, come back soon. I may have more work for you.” Tao’s no frills, all business demeanor was probably why she and Zhang Yu never worked out, Darlo figured. Not even an ounce of remorse about her ex’s busted chops…

Darlo opened the sack and gave the money a quick count. “Is this it? I had more money when I won the card game!”

Tao who had turned and was feather dusting some swords and other weapons behind the counter said, without turning, “And where that money now?”
Darlo started to answer, then caught himself. “I…I…” he groaned. “I left it on the ground.”

“That was a dumb thing to do. Now leave, the cops will be here soon. And bribing cops is harder when suspect is standing six feet away.”

Darlo pursed his lips then sighed. “See you around, Tao.”

Bumi City Grand Train station…

Darlo’s clique had gathered at the predetermined spot just by the station. Darlo knew he’d have to leave town for a while. Zhang Yu wasn’t one of the main crime lords of the city, but he commanded enough respect to have a lot of people looking for Darlo. Something Darlo didn’t feel in the mood to deal with, so they would catch a cross-country tram to Ba Sing Se.

“So, what happened to the money from the game?” Qin asked after they took their seats.

Hands locked behind his head, Darlo gave a nonchalant shrug. “Must have fallen off after I kicked Zhang Yu’s face in.” The guys respected Darlo too much for him to admit to doing something as stupid giving the money away like that.
Akeno, who was busy wolfing down fire flakes, asked between bites, “When will we be back?”

“Isn’t the Avatar being revealed two weeks or so from now? I’d say then would be a perfect time. Lots of people will be in town, and they’ll have stopped looking for me by then. Not to mention we can check out the whole event in person. Should be interesting.”

“Why are they revealing the Water Tribe Avatar in the Earth Kingdom anyway?” Akeno sometimes asked smart questions.

“It’s because of that museum to all the Avatars. There’s one in each nation, but this one will be finished before the others, so they’re supposed to bring him or her down here to make it official.”

“If it’s a girl, I hope she’s hot.”

Everyone seemed to freeze. Akeno now had that look he had when he says something dumb. “What?”

Darlo, staring narrowed eyed, said in a dark voice, “Who are you and what have you done with the real Akeno?” His face broke into a smile. “Because you’re right. I hope she‘s hot too!”


Next chapter…
Chapter 4: The Revealing

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