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Author Topic: [TLOK] Book 5 : Humanity - Mixed- [PG-13] [Updated 9-5-15]  (Read 5886 times)
Freedom153
Never Gonna Give Yue Up

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That Could Have Been Executed Better


« on: Dec 26, 2014 08:25 pm »

BOOK 5: HUMANITY

Now updated only on FF.net; see last post. Will make posts for new chapter uploads. I do not have the time or patience to format for this forum, and the Prologue won't appear here. Too much trouble to add.


Summary: Korra continues her adventures and finds that even though she may have defeated Kuvira, the Avatar’s work is far from done, and in some ways, never will be.
   
Warnings: Pushes T boundaries. Korrasami - lesbian relationship, no explicit intercourse, suggestive contact. Mild language, innuendos, violence, parts push it to PG-13/T again. Use of alcohol, depiction of drunken behavior. Talk about disturbing subjects. Tends towards dark where appropriate.

Disclaimer: Nickelodeon owns all rights to characters from the original show and the universe they inhabit.

Feedback/Reviews?: Sure! Just leave it at FF.net.

Just keep in mind this is my first fan fiction, ever, and is a very long-term project. Initially thought this was going to be small - it is not. I plan on eventually writing a Book 6 as well. Some illustrations will be made, at a much later date, and possibly added in retroactively, or not at all.

Format for introduction taken from http://forums.avatarspirit.net/index.php?topic=22227.0.

Fanfiction.net link: Book 5:Humanity
~-~
Part 1: New Challenges

Chapter 1: The “Vacation”

As they both materialized into the Spirit World through the new portal, Korra was shuddering with excitement. She placed her hand on Asami’s cheek. “I can’t believe we’re finally alone, Asami. Where would you like to go? I can see if we can find Uncle Iroh, he’s a really cool guy. He helped me find myself at one of my darkest hours, back when I was trying to thwart Unalaq’s plans for himself and Vaatu.”

Korra could feel the heat on Asami’s cheek before she could see her blush. “Can you put your hand back down for now? I’m not quite ready for that just yet. I have something important I want to talk to you about.” Asami paused, shifting uncomfortably, her dark hair closely following her face and her beautiful green eyes. “Do you think this ‘Uncle Iroh’ might be able to help me? I know he was the father figure for your former lifetime’s one-time antagonist, former Firelord Zuko, and some people rumor he gave really good advice.”

Korra put her hand to her chin, trying to ignore the obnoxiously garish spirit-flower field that surrounded her. “That’s actually a good idea, Asami. Aang knew Zuko well; Iroh told me himself on one of those many forays into the Spirit World when Zaheer was causing problems. He convinced me to ask Zuko for advice. Let me see if that technique I used to find Prince Wu when he was kidnapped will work to find him. Iroh can be… obtuse at times, giving you advice on things you feel you don’t need advice on, and talking about something else instead.” Korra chuckled nervously, “Or manage to make you feel like you’re about as wise as a small child. Or maybe it was the Spirit World that did that. Anyway…” Korra placed her hand to the ground, brushing aside the bizarre flowers.

As soon as she started concentrating, to remember Iroh from over three years ago, she felt both herself and Asami whisked to a familiar place.

“What’s this place, Korra? It’s beautiful. It reminds me of one of Republic City’s parks, but much more interesting,” Asami asked as she turned her head to survey what Korra knew to be Xai Bau’s Grove.

“Remember when we were chasing Zaheer, and all we could get our hands on was that traitor scumbag Aiwei? I met Zaheer here. He tossed Aiwei into the Fog of Lost Souls after, as Zaheer felt he had become a liability…” Korra shuddered at the memory of Zaheer: his erratic behavior, his zeal, throwing Aiwei into that horrible place, the way he helped her against her own inner demons even though he hated her…

“Is something wrong, Korra?” Asami asked, putting her hand to Korra’s cheek. Now it was her turn to blush.

“No, nothing, just bad memories, Asami. I’m not a big fan of this place,” Korra responded, lightly holding Asami’s hand.

All of a sudden, she felt something akin to what she once felt for Mako, except a lot stronger, and with less desire to punch something - or someone.

She heard a noise over her shoulder - surprising, but nonthreatening.

“I wondered when you were going to feel that, Korra,” a familiar voice said. “Now that you have, I believe we can begin to answer Asami’s question.”

Both Korra and Asami turned around. “Iroh!” exclaimed Korra, glad to see him - though not as glad as she would have been with her connection to her past lives still intact, she mused bitterly. “So Asami has a question to ask me. I get the sense this has something to do with that feeling” -Korra gushed- “that I felt just now. What was that? All my youth, I was taught the spirits, being black and white, tend to favor pairing of and on yin with yang. Me and Asami are not … yin and yang, biologically.”

“Well, young Avatar - never thought I would say that again - what your people interpret this to mean is that man and woman are meant for each other, and should be as yin and yang,” Iroh stated, as if awaiting an answer even before he finished speaking. The fact that Iroh did not speak again and merely raised his eyebrows only reinforced this notion.

“Okay, Iroh, I do not understand how this has to deal with my question for Korra,” Asami interjected. “I guess your reputation for obliqueness was right.”

“The better question, my young lady,” Iroh asked, as he came forward to put his hand on both girls’ shoulders, “is in what ways it does not? Remember, there have been many people - humans  - who have said this, but not once in the Spirit World have I seen spirits capricious in their relationships.”

“Not that they have romantic ones -unlike us,” he added, sipping tea from a cup that Korra swore just appeared out of nowhere.

“Are you suggesting that the relationship between the individuals is more important than the sex of them? That would explain my problem with Mako… I have felt this unstated expectation that I should reverse the breakup, but, he said it himself - ‘Ready to follow you in to battle’, not ‘Ready to try making a relationship work’. He’s just lucky I had already made up my mind about that,” Korra ventured.

Iroh, looking like he was trying to use his free palm to create a large flame to add emphasis, forgetting he was a spirit, shouted “EXACTLY! I do not know how - be it the spirit of the person, something in their upbringing, or their” - sputtering out something that for all the world sounded like “Jinns and Dee Nai”, whatever those were - “but some people do not find themselves attracted to what others are, or think they should be. It is better to be attracted to and be with the one your heart desires, rather than worry about other’s opinions of you” - he shot a glance at Asami - “or needing to maintain an outdated definition of balance,” finishing his gaze on Korra.

Suddenly, Asami began crying, flinging herself bitterly against a nearby tree.

Korra could feel something stronger within her, stronger than the Avatar state, stronger than Raava, and rushed to her side.

“What’s the matter, Asami? I know you just lost your dad, but I have never seen you like this,” Korra asked painfully.

Asami stopped crying for long enough to wipe her face, take a deep breath, and started talking again. “The question was, do you want to be my partner?” she asked, making an unsettlingly nervous smile afterwards, as though part of her thought it some funny joke to be so direct.

Korra felt that feeling again, but she was still confused. Sensing that Asami was nowhere near done, she asked “Why were you so loathe to ask me that? The worst I would have done, had you asked before Mako pulled his stupid ‘Oh yeah post Dark Spirit memory wipe girl, there was no breakup don’t mind me’, was said no. I was two things. Confused myself about who I was and wanted to be with, and extremely busy with things that needed other people’s support to pull off. Had I said yes at, well, virtually any point before I beat Kuvira, I imagine there would have been a bigger controversy over those spirit vines that were so ‘totally my fault’ and would have impeded my job as Avatar. So, why?” Korra could sense this would just make Asami cry like, well, that, again, but something told her the truth was more important.

Asami surprised Korra, starting with a steely determination “All my life, Korra, I have been torn between myself - I can remember at an early age, constantly holding other girl’s hands, and kissing - even when I was 12. Even more clearly, I remember my father gently but painfully chastising me at the age of 13 for spurning boy’s advances. He kept prattling on about ‘image of the company’ and ‘not proper’. It felt like he was telling me I was somehow wrong, or less. Finally, at about age 14, he made me take a ‘dating course’, and warned me that no matter how brilliant I was, if he caught me making open advances on anything other than a boy, he would disinherit me of everything but half of what I made myself, inside the company.”

Asami shifted uncomfortably, finally fixing her gaze on the ground at Korra’s feet. Looking up again, she said to Korra’s face, “For a long time, I tried to make it work. It actually seemed like I might have an attraction to a boy, even when my father was in prison - a poor one, yes, but friends with the Avatar, who could handle his own in battle, and seemed to care for me - but eventually...” Asami stopped short, blowing her nose, and said with an angry look, green eyes intent, “I couldn’t take it anymore.”

Asami wiped the glare off her face. “I broke up with him for good, with only the two of us there, just telling him I saw him as a friend. It took me a while to truly see him that way, and not as evidence of my father’s influence, from beyond his jail cell. After seeing the strength of will you displayed defeating Vaatu when Raava was at her weakest, I started making covert attempts to gain more than just your friendship. I couldn’t do anything too obvious … that is, until you ran away after Zaheer poisoned you. I knew that you were being adventurous to just send me the letter, and no one else. When you came back, I was a bit more obvious.” Korra blushed slightly, averting her eyes from the industrialist’s gaze.

Asami continued. “I think you must have noticed too. But that’s not the point. Given how people reacted when we came out about the letter,” she said, finally managing a normal smile, “I guess you were right to just trust me to keep mum. So do you think you can keep mum about this?”

Korra felt extremely angry. Listening to Asami’s story of self-repression, confusion and her controlling father made Korra feel like going up to the nearest man and fire-kicking him between the legs. Of course, that nearest man was Iroh, and wouldn’t have done anything.

“Asami,” Korra said, eyes gleaming angrily, “after hearing all that, I want to assure you that I will not keep mum about this -”

Before Korra could continue, something caught her eye. It was Iroh, frenetically gesticulating to the sky, which had taken on a darker hue.

“Korra, remember what happened the last time you let your emotions run wild in the Spirit World! After that Dark Spirit swallowed you and you lost Jinora?” Iroh interjected on top of her. “Not that I am against being angry over everything Asami just told you, but unless you want chaos here, you need to calm yourself down. Might I suggest defusing your anger with that feeling from earlier?”

Asami was looking at Korra with a skeptical look. “You never told me the Spirit World could be dangerous for humans, that there are certain things we should not do here.” Asami glanced up at the gradually darkening sky.

Korra laid a hand on Asami’s neck. “I am the one who needs to be careful here. Since I am the Avatar, I affect my surroundings in the Spirit World a lot more than other people. Now, about your earlier question… they say actions speak louder than words. Here goes.”

Asami looked hopeful and a little confused at the same time as Korra grasped both her hands and placed her head on top of one of Asami’s shoulder pads. When Korra finally did kiss Asami on the cheek, Korra could once again feel the heat rising on Asami’s face before any words were spoken. As she did so, she felt something akin to that feeling once more, albeit cooler and calmer. A momentary tattered memory surfaced, that was not fully her own. A seemingly shredded memory of embracing another girl, but longer ago than her own age, and feeling this same feeling.

As she withdrew from the kiss, she noticed the sky was no longer darkened.

“I hope that answers your question, Asami,” Korra stated, much more coolly now. “In fact, it answered a few questions of my own I didn’t even know I had until recently, or even the past five minutes,” she stated, blushing slightly.

Iroh began laughing lightly. “I tend to have that effect on people. I am glad that you two have found each other, and that you used the ‘feeling’ to counter your anger, Korra. Rather than forcing the emotion off like you might have, or spirits forbid expressing it fully,” Iroh sighed with an annoyingly noticeable level of relief on the last sentence.

Neutralizing her expression into a more quizzical look, Korra asked, “You keep talking about this feeling. What is its name, Iroh?”

Iroh had a gleam in his eye Korra had not seen before. “The feeling, Korra, is love. It is what Aang felt for Katara,” - Korra felt a shiver go up her spine, and had a fleeting glimpse of the seemingly frozen memory again - “ what my nephew felt for his wife, and what your father felt for your mother. Between men and women, that love can manifest itself eventually in the form of a child.” Iroh gave both Asami and Korra a once-over. “I don’t think it will be able to manifest in such a way between you two, however, unfortunately.”

Korra grinned nervously, laughing weakly. “I may not have gotten much formal schooling aside from that of the White Lotus on bending - How did that organization get to become so twisted, anyways? Must have been after you died - but even I know we are… incompatible, in certain aspects. But I don’t think we’d want to just yet, even if we could. Asami just confessed to me what she had been hiding her whole life, and the reason why she could never truly try to win my hand.”

“The judgment of others…” Korra added, slowly shaking her head.

“Let me ask you a question, Korra. When you felt your newfound love for Asami, did it remind you of any other energy you have felt?” Iroh enquired.

Korra thought, but not for long. “It felt vaguely reminiscent of Raava’s energy. She stands for balance, peace, and harmony. Yet when I got angry, I felt something.” Korra shuddered. “Something that reminded me of the energy I felt as Raava was torn from inside me. Yet, somehow - purified, as though Vaatu’s energies had been separated from one another and only primordial fury remained.”

Korra thought back, to her history lessons, and the many lost causes of the centuries, and those who fought for them.

Korra thought she finally got what Iroh may have been driving at. “So, Iroh,” she stated, turning to face him as he snuck off to drink some tea, as if he did not expect her to be done so soon, “humans can feel emotions that are in line with Raava, yet have the desire for vengeance against those who have wronged their loved ones akin to Vaatu’s wrath and hatred? I assume this is what makes us different from the majority of spirits.”

Korra felt confident in a way she never had before, akin to the confidence that Tenzin gave off when he gave lectures, or Asami when she was messing with some gadget. She continued, saying “Furthermore, it is this feeling that has driven those who logically should have surrendered and given up the fight - be it physical, political or otherwise - to fight to the death, as they feel they have already lost everything.”

Iroh looked faintly surprised. “Funny you should mention that. The fighting to the death, that is. Yes, to all your summations, but I need to tell each of you something that will be important for the coming year.”

Korra interrupted him, asking angrily, “Wait, seriously, am I not done yet? Can’t I take a break? Please don’t tell me there’s more fighting to do. I got poisoned by some zealous freak, took three years to recover, defeated one of the worst dictators since Ozai, and I just  found out that I’m actually a lesbian.” Korra could see Asami’s happy surprise at her candor, but she continued anyways. “I’d sort of like some time to take a vacation. You know,” she shrugged, pointing at the grove and pools around her, “the whole reason we came here!” She stomped the ground out of frustration, moving some grassy earth as she did so.

“Unfortunately, Korra, the work of the good is never done. I suggest that you try to make your relationship with Asami count as a vacation in of itself, and appreciate those around you,” Iroh sighed. “What I wanted to tell you is that for some people, that love can be misapplied or misinterpreted - applied to a thing or idea or ideology instead of a person. Or worst of all, power. You have already met four such people, and when those people are powerful or cunning, they can leave behind much damage.”

Iroh stroked his beard, mumbling. “Enough chit-chat for now. Let me be more direct. Korra, there are two things you should know.”

Korra saw Asami whip out a notepad and get ready to write as soon as Iroh said ‘you should know’. “Dang,” Korra thought, “I don’t think I would have thought of that. She’s so pretty when she’s smart…”

“KORRA! Are you paying attention? Or are you too busy looking at Asami to listen?” something inside her that sounded a lot like Tenzin yelled.

“- and that is my favorite tea. Anyways. After the end of the 100 Year War and the de-bending of Ozai, there was still conflict. My nephew and the Avatar nearly ignited another war over the fate of the Fire Nation colonies, and then later had to deal with a pseudo-cult to Ozai that opposed Zuko’s rule. I advise both you and Prince Wu to tread lightly in the Earth Kingdom - Kuvira may be gone, but there will be holdouts. Some areas of the country she has held for nearly three years. Kuvira is more than a person, Korra - she is also an idea. The idea that the Earth Kingdom should be dominant, after the disgrace it endured during the 100 Year’s War,” Iroh stated, pacing as he described the post-war environment of his time.

“The second one is that there is a time and place for everything. At the very least until Prince Wu helps set up a form of government that the Earth kingdom has never known, you may want to keep your relationship with Asami known only to those you know you can trust. You do not want to lose credibility among close-minded people when it is needed. Nor can you use brute force to open people’s minds - for this, most often a subtle approach is best. I do not know of Tenzin, for he comes after my time, but Katara is perceptive. She probably has already surmised the basics of what you two have done in here, and she does not give up secrets to others,” Iroh finished, walking to a tree.

Asami finished writing, then asking, “What about me? What is there that I need to know?”

Iroh froze for a split second, and then resumed walking. “Asami, I am sorry, but my warnings cannot be as direct as the advice as I gave Korra. These events have not happened yet. The warnings and advice for Korra are based on simple extrapolation of history and my own experiences.”
« Last Edit: Sep 05, 2015 08:18 pm by Freedom153 » Logged

Additional datapoints acquired. Additional animated stories viewed. Directive: adjust opinion... adjusting...
First eyes, a treasure. New eyes, end with a pretentious blink, own vision eclipses.
Book 5:Humanity, aka: Freedom's First Writ
Freedom153
Never Gonna Give Yue Up

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Posts: 549


That Could Have Been Executed Better


« Reply #1 on: Dec 26, 2014 08:31 pm »

(Continued due to character limit)
“The first event somehow involves a great spirit bestowing a gift that has never been given before in the history of the Avatar, perhaps time itself. I cannot discern who will be given this gift, or who the giver is. All I know is that many spirits will be upset with what they perceive to be favoritism, or a perversion of the natural order, and will begin to squabble among themselves. I also know that even though Korra is the Avatar, she and Raava alone will not be enough to bring balance - or, even, a new order - from it,” Iroh stated, as he finally came to rest under one of the many large trees in the grove.

“My final advice is that no matter what happens, and what new things are discovered by inquiring minds, is that the bending arts must continue, and those who practice them remain equal to their nonbender peers. I know only this riddle. ‘They are those who bring mortal’s giants to fall. Watch closely, see all. Should nothing be done, extreme of a madman’s dream shall pass. It all began with description of most important gas.’” He was checking over his shoulder, as though he heard a greater spirit approaching.

Iroh dismissed the noise and turned around, intending to make one final statement. “The only other thing I know about all four pieces of advice is that the order in which they are relevant in the world’s sense of time is inversed, with respect to each other, as yin and yang. Should the first of Korra’s pieces of advice come to pass or be relevant first, then the second piece of advice to Asami shall become relevant at around the same time. If the first of Asami’s pieces of advice occurs first, then the second piece of advice to Korra shall become relevant at around the same time. That is all. Goodbye, young Avatar and young industrialist.” With that, Iroh vanished, much as Zaheer had with Aiwei all those years ago.

Korra looked over to Asami, only to see her shaking her hand back in forth in a mild degree of pain. Asami said, “Wow, he sure had a lot to say. And I thought Tenzin’s ‘Guy who never ate’ lecture was long… at least this was important.” Korra reach down to a pool, bent some water up, and began soothing Asami’s inflamed hand joints and muscles.

“Korra, this place is nice, but I feel like… something is watching  us. Can we go on an open plain of some sort, so whatever it is has to come out if it wants to interact with us?” Asami asked Korra, looking in the same direction that Iroh had.

Korra gave Asami a quick glance. “Normally, if someone were spying on me from the bushes I’d challenge them to a fight, but I remember the last time I tried to use bending against a spirit on its own plane without having entered physically - and I can’t imagine they would react to actual bending much better. That reminds me…”

Korra placed her hand on the ground, and soon both she and Asami were transported to the strange grasslands where those meerkat spirits had sent her crashing through the world. There were no spirits present, however. She put her hand to the ground all the same, scanning for any notable energy.

She immediately got the impression that they had, in fact, been right to leave Xai Bau’s Grove, as there was some unidentifiable yet familiar spirit energy there. She could not detect anything but herself and Asami in their current location.

“The coast is clear, although there was something stalking us back at the grove. It looks like you were right, Asami,” Korra told her with a note of concern in her voice.

“I don’t get it, Korra. You just created a new Spirit Portal, and you removed Kuvira and her abuse of spirit vine technology. What spirits could be angry right now?” She shot Korra a slightly accusatory glance, smiling. “What spirits have you offended lately? What might have been stalking us?”

“The only spirit that I recently interacted with that made me want to punch him was the large, black serpentine spirit who told me the spirits would just sit idly by while Republic City was devastated by Kuvira. I just did not understand why a spirit wouldn’t want to stop the Butcher of the Swamp,” Korra finished.

“Let’s just call that one Angry Bird. I think I saw him on the way in,” Asami said, gazing at one of the many strange spirit plants that surrounded her. “This place is beautiful, Korra, but I still have an uneasy feeling. Why don’t we go back to Air Temple Is-”

Suddenly, Korra felt the energy again, and in her mind’s eye, she finally identified the spirit that had been stalking them. It was not a good answer, but she wasn’t particularly concerned yet. “It was Angry Bird at the grove. I wonder what he wants?” she asked aloud.

“Wonder no more. I thought I might find you here,” a gruff voice from behind them said. “Don’t think you’re the only one who can teleport in here, Avatar.”

“I care little what one so young as yourself refers to me as. Just turn around. I have something I want to say to Korra, about her and her predecessors.” Korra wheeled around on an earthbent disk to face the serpent.

“Almost all previous Avatars have maintained a distance from non-family personal relationships, with the recent exceptions of you, Avatar Aang and Avatar Kuruk. I imagine you do not know Kuruk. Aang’s relationship could be justified in light of him, at the time, truly being the last airbender… but Kuruk and you share something in common. From the ten thousand year perspective, both your relationships were… unnecessary. Avatar,” he asked ominously, drawing closer to Asami, “do you remember what happened to Avatar Kuruk’s ‘unnecessary’ love interest?”

Korra again had a sliver of an icy memory surface, but even the tip of this iceberg was enough to make her panic. Her eyes began flickering light erratically. She admonished the spirit with a voice not entirely her own, “Avatar Kuruk was punished for his arrogance by Koh the Face Stealer, and learned better. Upon reflection over the past few hundred years, I decided that punishment was too harsh, and will not let this happen again. I stress, Long Yumao the Opportunist, that the Avatar is not merely a host for me - she is an individual as well, and her experiences guide my learning, just like any other Avatar.”

Korra could feel herself getting lost in her own panic and anger, alongside this increasingly angry voice she could only guess was Raava. Feeling herself subsumed, Raava continued, in her own distinct voice, “I heard your pathetic excuse for declining action to help defend Republic City. Do you care to explain to me why you refused aid to one of the most powerful SPIRITS in HUMAN form when both Republic City and all physical spirit habitat was under threat … and then suddenly begin stalking and threatening both the Avatar and her love interest after Avatar Korra did all the hard work for you? I know you are called the Opportunist for good reason, but this is simply not acceptable.”

Out of the corners of her consciousness, she could feel her body performing the motions to create an elemental prison around this “Long Yumao the Opportunist”, and then some sort of shield around Asami. Korra could barely sense Asami, and she could tell even then how fearful Asami was.

From within the sphere, she could discern flashes of yellow and purple. Long Yumao began to speak softly, stating, “You know, Raava, there are those spirits who think your time with humans has made you soft, and more human than spirit. They also say that Iroh - his ‘Royal Kookiness’, to quote one particularly amusing mortal - will never be able to understand spiritual matters at the same level as spirits, being a human and all. He may say pretty things, but some of his views are decidedly, well, human. And others, like his views on yin and yang as they relate to mortal mate choices, are entirely his own.”

Korra raged at this last comment, and she could feel Raava becoming even more enraged at the first. “Enough!” the great white spirit roared from inside, “I do not have time for your nonsense. I merged with Wan for a reason, and that was because I saw he did not choose capriciously between human and spirit, and was much wiser than a normal human. Other spirits deny it, like yourself, but that was the day I decided to give humanity a chance.”

Raava jabbed, seemingly pre-empting a specific response, “It may have been a bumpy ten thousand years, but I have learned from humans, as much as they have from freedom, bending and the Avatar. What of Korra’s feeling for Asami I have experienced has taught me is that Iroh is right about yin and yang and mortals, even though their relationship is young. What you have taught me?” The great spirit paused in a mock show of respect.

Raava flared in size and intensity briefly from Korra’s chest. “You and your ilk need to show more respect to worthy humans, and not just blindly dismiss them or their suffering because they are mortals. In this age of cannons powered by our own earthly essence, spirits can no longer afford to sit idly by, with shades of black and white on - as generally all spirits except myself have done in the past. Go think on it.” In a combined effort with Raava, Korra tossed the spirit far away and locked him in place.

After what had seemed an eternity, Korra’s eyes finally stopped blazing, and she could see clearly again. The first thing she heard was Asami straining inside the earth tent-shield she must have bent to protect her.

“I am so sorry, Asami. If I had any idea any of this was going to happen, I would have denied your request to enter the Spirit World,” Korra said, as she lowered the barrier.

Asami looked visibly shaken, but did not show any sign of fear now. “It’s okay, Korra. We’ve learned some valuable information, and gotten to know each other much better, as I had hoped,” she paused, smiling. “I didn’t hear much, aside from Raava yelling. I wonder what could have made such a great spirit so angry?”

Korra described the whole exchange, including the implied threat that Long Yumao the Opportunist (what a name, she thought to herself) had made to Korra and Asami. Asami was writing bits of the exchange down. She flipped back a page, examining the last words that Iroh said.

“I think I know the order of the events now. I marked the order here.” She showed Korra the three pages with Iroh’s advice, and there was a scrawled number over each. The sequence was three, two, one, four. Korra still didn’t quite understand the implications of this, so she listened as Asami continued.

“It sounds like there is tension in the Spirit World over our relationship and the spirit’s relationship with humans in general. This Long Yumao the Opportunist sounds like he really disapproves of any breach of established rules, or anything… ‘unnecessary’”. Asami shuddered visibly after the last word. “So, if there is tension now, it will probably build, until some watershed event forces open conflict…Hang on a second.” Asami began flipping back and forth between pages once more.

Asami shut the book and threw it back into her satchel. “I still can’t make perfect sense of it, but we’ll have plenty of time later to look over Iroh’s words. I want to leave the Spirit World now - I have a feeling that spirit won’t be locked up forever. Is there anything you would like to do before we leave?”

Korra shrugged, deferring to Asami. “I don’t know, you were the one who wanted to come here on a ‘vacation’.” Korra laughed, smirking. “So much for that…. Can you think of anything we can do here that we can’t do outside?”

“Well, given Iroh’s advice about being discreet in our relationship as much as possible at first, maybe we should actually kiss? And not be shy about it.” Asami’s cheeks turned the same shade of red that Korra’s had just turned. “Why not?”

“Let’s do it,” Korra said, as she sat down to reach for Asami. She met Asami’s lips with her own. She began to feel fluttery inside, deep down, and pressed closer to Asami, her hand lazily moving towards the small of Asami’s back.

Suddenly, she felt a familiar sensation - but not the one she wanted, or was expecting. For a brief moment, it felt as though she and Asami had no boundaries with one another, and they were one. Then her eyes began to glow ominously.

“Mmmph! Korra! Whut arr you duuing? Never seen… you… do… thi…” Asami fell silent, at the same time Korra was helpless to stop herself.

Her right hand snaked its way to the back of Asami’s head and she involuntarily pressed her lips harder. Her left hand started pulsating with a familiar, primordial power, and the extremity shot down, and then up underneath Asami’s shirt, finally resting slightly below Asami’s bellybutton.

That was when a bizarre combination of sheer pleasure and extraordinary power shot through all of her body. The pleasure was her own, and the power as well - yet not entirely. While the pleasure did not fade, she could feel the power gradually ebb, seemingly finking a sink in (or was it under?) Asami’s stomach.

Korra took a moment to shake off the rush of feeling that remained, and stared down at Asami’s body. She knew that she was not lifeless, but Asami didn’t look like she was going to wake up of her own accord.

Suddenly realizing she needed help, Korra began picturing those obnoxious flowers again, concentrating.  Please, let me out. Please… This isn’t what I wanted…

When she came to again, they were near the Republic City portal on the spirit side, and Asami was looking down at her perplexedly. “Korra, what in the blazes was that? I know you never use the Avatar State involuntarily, aside from when Zaheer poisoned you. What do you think it was?”

Korra began to answer, “I have no idea, Asami. Let’s just get out of here and -”

The gift has been given.

Korra quickly shook her head side to side, looking for the source of the voice.

I’m in your heart.

Confusedly, she put her hand over her chest. “Raava?”

Katara can help you. Be discreet, but tell all eventually.

And then the voice was gone.

Korra looked at Asami, who seemed to not be fazed by any spirit-related shenanigans now. “I think we’ll need to ask Katara what that was, Asami. Let’s go,” Korra barked, quickly getting off the ground.

Korra stood upright more fully, and held Asami’s hand as they briskly exited the portal. Korra noted that Asami still looked at her the same way she had on the way in; there was one less thing to worry about, at the very least.

After both their bodies vanished, in the far, far distance, a prison broke.

Long Yumao floated freely once more, as the Avatar was gone and Raava could not maintain the prison for her. Though his appearance was much as before, a sickly yellow light glowed strongly in his eyes. No, he practically screamed to himself, it cannot be! Shaking off the last of the earth that covered him, he hissed loudly “This perversion cannot STAND!”
~-~
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Book 5:Humanity, aka: Freedom's First Writ
Freedom153
Never Gonna Give Yue Up

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That Could Have Been Executed Better


« Reply #2 on: Dec 26, 2014 08:32 pm »

~-~

Chapter 2 : Quenched Flame

Mako never was one for parties. He hated the forced atmosphere - something he held in common with Lin Beifong, given the way she had secluded herself earlier. Still, parts of it appealed to   him - pretty girls, good food, a chance to talk to people he normally wouldn’t see, and above all lately, a relief from that insufferable Prince Wu. No, formerly Prince Wu - the world just didn’t know it yet.

“Maybe that boy has some sense in him after all,” he muttered to himself as he watched Korra walk off. “Always good to know when a change is needed…” He felt a slight pang as Korra vanished, but he knew they just didn’t mesh, and that what he had just said under his breath applied to himself as well as… Wu? What was his first name, anyways? No matter. Just Wu.

He began scanning the wedding attendees, to see if he could see Lin Beifong. He figured finding someone to stand around looking grumpy with was better than nothing at all. She was very  hard to spot without her distinctive armor - he had once wondered if she slept in it. He did manage to spot another Beifong, however - Opal. Dancing with his brother…

He felt the pang he suffered when seeing Korra walk away again, but this time much stronger. He took a forceful breath in, and out, and pushed such thoughts out of his mind. He could have sworn he saw a tiny flame come out.

All of a sudden, he noticed Opal had been looking at him. Opal brought the dance to a close, surprising Bolin with a dance move augmented with airbending. “Given Opal’s reaction, I guess I did shoot some flame,” he muttered to himself. He saw both his brother -who had come back for him inside that abomination of Kuvira’s, spirits be praised - being lightly dragged by Opal as she advanced towards him.

“Hey, Mako. You feeling okay? I saw that bit of firebreathing, and I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen you do that before, and it didn’t seem festive at all,” Opal asked, as his brother brought up the rear, pausing to gawk at the band.

“Hey! That must be Tahno on the horn! I wish we could get a fair rematch with those cheaters, but at least he can bend again,” Bolin exclaimed, pointing exaggeratedly at Tahno, as he always pointed.

Opal shot Bolin a sour glance, and blew slightly in his face. “We’re not here to gawk at Tahno, we’re here because I saw your brother do something odd.”

“Oh, sorry. What’s up, bro? Is your arm hurting you?” Bolin asked, cradling Mako’s sling. “I bet Katara or Korra could help fix it up.”

Mako blushed at the mention of Korra’s name. “Actually, I think it’s something we might be better served talking about in the city. Opal, can you call your airbison? Juicy, right Bolin?”

Bolin hesitated for just long enough for Opal to say, “Oof, that beast. I don’t know where he is, and I can’t imagine people at the party would be happy staring at airbison snot. Let’s go somewhere else and I’ll try calling him.” She paused, whipping up an air ball. “I know you two can get to the shore without me pretty quickly. Bolin, with your earthwalk, and Mako, with your hand-” She stopped short, blushing. “Oh, sorry, Mako. I forgot for a second there, about your arm.” She dismounted her air ball, dismissing it to the wind. “I guess we should get started walking. Let’s talk as we walk.” All three started moving shortly after, still without much speed.

Mako started to say something to Opal, then paused, turning to Bolin. “What’s this ‘earthwalk’ Opal is talking about?”

Bolin’s eyes lit up like green flames. “During my time with Toph, I bugged her about more than my commitment to Opal and me’s relationship.” The feeling burned very briefly within Mako again. “I also asked her about advanced earthbending. She told me she couldn’t teach someone how to metalbend on bisonback, but she did tell me about a move she used to move rapidly during the 100 Year’s War, and I think I have the basics down. I just haven’t tried it yet.”

Mako simply raised an eyebrow.

Bolin dropped his normally jovial attitude momentarily, stating “Look, bro, I know that until I discovered I could lavabend I was a little bit of a talent ‘third wheel’ in the team. Lately I have been wanting to better myself as a bender and warrior, and I think learning how to move like that is a good start.”

As they approached the shore, the trio stopped as Bolin finished. “I’m even thinking of improving my physical combat skills as well, and have been reading about the Kyoshi Warriors on and off. I figure a sword at my side couldn’t hurt, to go with my Ghazan shuriken, if I ever need it.” Bolin paused, looking at Opal. “And no, I don’t want a fan.”

Opal only gave him a quizzical look, and blew hard on her whistle.

A short time later, Juicy appeared. Mako exclaimed “Ugh! No wonder you didn’t want this bison at the party, Opal! I thought airbison were supposed to be majestic.” Juicy sneezed, leaving a bit of green on the sand. Mako just swept his good arm out, and said “Not this.”

“The bison chooses you, and not the other way around. You can’t really give back your bison. Sort of how I decided to forgive Bolin for helping Kuvira, in fact,” she teased, blowing a puff of air at Bolin’s face.

Bolin momentarily fussed, then looked around. “I don’t see anyone here, bro. What is it that’s so sensitive you can’t say it here?”

Mako blushed, and just angrily insisted, “It’s an issue, okay? Are we getting on this dumpy thing or not!”

Opal and Bolin didn’t look like they were in the mood to argue with someone in a sling, so they climbed on Juicy, making sure to not step in his nasal leavings. Opal let Mako decide where to go, and they touched down near a ruined building in the heart of the city.

All three slid to the ground, and laid on Juicy’s side, facing the Spirit Portal… and crater, Mako thought bitterly.

“Okay, so you want to know why I brought you all the way out here? Quite honestly, Bolin, I am jealous of you right now. I have nobody else in my life, while you do. Korra hasn’t show real interest in me since my little white lie to her.” Since Opal looked confused, he explained what happened with Korra’s memory wipe two weeks before Harmonic Convergence, and how he had caved to social pressure and told Korra nothing was wrong. Opal’s face became more twisted in anger as he went on. “Not a good sign,” Mako thought to himself.

When he was done, Opal immediately blasted him with a spurt of air to his face. “How could you do that?!? That wasn’t being nice at all, no matter how many disapproving eyes were on you! And I thought blindly working for the worst world leader in decades was bad.” Glancing at Bolin, she said, “I guess I should be grateful for what I have,” following it with a peck on the cheek.

Mako felt furious again, but knew expressing his anger on Opal wouldn’t help, so he simply did his breathing exercise again, this time releasing a larger flame. “I’ve never lived that down - it was probably the reason Korra never even gave me a second thought as a love interest… She’s looked at Asami with more desire lately.” Mako scoffed at the ridiculousness of his implication. Bolin merely smirked, and Opal did not seem amused at all.

“I don’t really see where this conversation is going. I know you better than this, bro, and there’s something more to it. What, do you honestly think there’s no one out there for you?” Bolin smiled, and then began laughing hysterically, holding out a pink piece of paper with writing on it.

“Mako, if that goofball and part time smug genius Varrick can find true love with Zhu Li, you will find someone - no problem. I think you may have once, with Korra, but just because she slipped through your fingers doesn’t mean you won’t find someone else to hold hands with.” Bolin shifted closer to Opal, stating, “Plus, maybe you two weren’t meant for each other.”

Mako wasn’t exactly used to Bolin giving the sound advice in the family. He stood up, and scanned the sky around the new Spirit Portal. He spotted a large serpentine spirit heading into the column of light, and pointed it out to Bolin and Opal.

“I wonder what that big spirit is up to. He seems to be moving with a purpose. Whatever, I leave that stuff for Korra.” He stopped talking briefly, looking at the strange moss covering parts of the damaged buildings. “Let’s just walk around town to see what survived the blast, and see if we spot any new spirit vines. With The Swamp damaged by Kuvira, it could be a good thing to find some.” Opal nodded in agreement as his brother briefly yawned beside her.

Mako wasn’t really that curious about the spirit vines - he just wanted to give the three of them something to do that would take all their attention. “Gotta figure time will help me make sense of all this,” he thought to himself.

They had not found anything of note after 15 minutes, but an unbidden thought crossed Mako’s mind. “What if Korra and Asami were  really together?” it asked. His internal answer was surprisingly quick: “Well, I’d just try to find someone else, as if that’s the case, both are incompatible with me.” Finding himself surprised at how easy that answer was, he wondered why he hadn’t thought of it before sending himself, Bolin and Opal on a wild goosechase.

He was ripped from his thoughts when Bolin spotted something in the distance, and manipulated the ground to bring it closer. At first, it looked like a Republic City cicada-wasp’s husk, but upon closer inspection it looked too… humanoid.

Bolin pushed forward into the air to land next to what Mako now recognized as one of Kuvira’s disabled mechasuits. “Bro, what are you doing? We don’t know if those things are unstable or not! They could have absorbed some of the Spirit Portal’s energy,” Mako chided, barely able to hide his own curiosity.

“Don’t worry, there’s no way this shell absorbed anything - Varrick totally fried it with the electromagnetic wave earlier, whatever that is. Just like he did when me and him escaped Kuvira.” Bolin turned away from Mako and Opal, facing the suit “I just wanted to get a closer look at one again, after my first failed escape attempt from Kuvira.” Bolin furrowed his brows, and bent a piece of earth behind it to make it stand semi-properly again.

“Even though Kuvira used these as a weapon of war, they might be good for reconstruction of the city. They have a lot of raw power, and could make nonbenders more useful in reconstruction away from the blast site. Keep a few weapons on them, in case any of Kuvira’s stragglers want to give us problems, and to deal with any unruly spirits,” Bolin said, slipping in to a slight frown. “Plus, given the world never truly stops fighting, I have the feeling the United Forces may need some for strictly military purposes. I bet Varrick will have fun tweaking the design,” he finished with a slight smile.

Opal nodded in agreement, quickly making a dismissive gesture afterwards. “That goody two-shoes Tenzin might insist on all airbenders being peaceful as possible, but my mother raised no fools.” She paused, and said with a mixture of sadness and anger “Well, except for my bigger brother.” She turned to more directly face his brother, stating “Kuvira may have not had much appeal with the peasants of the Earth kingdom aside from fear, but I’ll bet you a thousand yuans there will be some major issues getting any significant part of the middle and upper class to go along with any disarmament or demilitarization. Not after the chaos they witnessed when the Earth Queen, Hou-Ting, was assassinated.”

Mako saw a distinctly nonpeaceful gleam in her eye - it would have looked more at home on her mother’s face. “If we ever face a major political threat that can be defused with the death of one individual, I’ll be sure to… make use of a technique Zaheer pioneered.” Both he and his brother gave Opal a vaguely horrified look, and shifted uncomfortably towards one another. She regarded them both with a skeptical eye.

“What? If one death can prevent the deaths, or even just suffering, of millions, I do not understand how it is morally reprehensible to take action.” She was lost in thought for a moment, before continuing “Tenzin may not have wanted me to know about her, but there was an airbender nomad Avatar - a female, no less - who was willing to kill in the name of peace. I learned about her by sneaking books away from Tenzin’s watchful eye.” Mako saw a single, lone tear cascade down Opal’s cheek, and was pretty sure his brother saw it too.

Opal sniffed ever so slightly. “More importantly, after seeing what Kuvira put my family through, if there was an opportunity to prevent or stop a war covertly, only a fool would refuse to take it,” she said, pretending that neither had seen the lone tear. “My family was very well off - a lot of folks in the Earth Kingdom lost everything, their lives, or worse - either to the chaos before Kuvira crashed her steel gauntlet down, or beneath that same fist.” Opal seemed to be holding back another salty orb, as she simply implored “Come on, let’s keep looking for any vines.”

It was about 45 minutes later when he actually saw an odd plant growing in an ornamental garden. He could tell there was no way it was like that before the Spirit Portal’s creation. “I think we found our spirit vine. Let me see that pink paper, Bolin,” Mako said, snatching it out of Bolin’s pocket. “Anyone got a pencil?”

As Opal went back to Juicy to get her pack, Mako noticed the vine beginning to glow white. He didn’t like this one bit, as he remembered the power of the vines all too well, and what it had done to his arm. He pushed Bolin away from the vine, asking him “Bolin, is that thing going to explode?!?” with an embarrassing amount of fear. “You worked with Kuvira on that weapon; did the vines ever glow white?”

Bolin earthbent himself a chair to better see the vine, seemingly without a care in the world. Bolin nonchalantly grunted “Naah. I never saw anything glow white in those tests, or when Varrick blew up the railcar. They always glowed purple-pink, like the beam of Kuvira’s weapon but darker.” As soon as it had begun, the plant stopped glowing. “See? Nothing to worry about.”

Opal overheard their conversation and ran back to them, just as the last white faded from its bizarre leaves. “Guys, what was that thing doing while I was gone? It was glowing… white, if I overheard correctly?”

Bolin answered at the same time, producing a synchronous “Yup” of indifference. Opal did not share their sentiment.

“What do you mean, ‘yup’?” she demanded, making a very good bored male voice. Slightly scowling, she continued, “Don’t you guys know that white is associated with the Avatar State, and by extension, Korra?” The color drained from her face. “I don’t think anyone has seen her or Asami lately. Maybe we should go ask Tenzin-”

Suddenly, the plant began turning white, and then it began to physically writhe as it flashed a rainbow of colors.

“I don’t think that’s a good sign, guys. Let me mark this plant’s location really quickly, then I think…” She stopped, as if someone had whispered in her ear. “I think Korra maybe be in trouble. You two, go to the rim of the crater while I mark this down.”

Bolin hopped to his feet, and grabbed Mako’s good arm. “I guess now is as good a time as ever to try that earthwalking technique - not as if anyone will care about me wrecking already destroyed buildings.”

Before Mako could object, Bolin began moving his legs in a perplexing manner, seemingly trying to walk without moving. “Bolin, are you sure this will wooo-” Mako began to say, and then had the wind knocked out of him by a sudden acceleration.

Bolin curtly stated, “I guess it will after all. Guess Toph wasn’t completely crazy,” concentrating his effort on this bizarre earthbending. Bolin navigated through the shattered streets, avoiding fallen buildings and inconveniently placed signs along the way.

Shortly before reaching the crater, Mako heard a heavy breathing, and Bolin let out a surprised shout, and the earthbending mass below him crumbled. Mako and Bolin went tumbling into the side of a ruined Satomobile. As Mako lay dazed on the ground, he could hear a girl giggling, and as he stood up it abruptly stopped.

“Sorry Bolin, didn’t mean to knock you off your… stride  there,” a voice Mako identified as Opal’s purred. “Now quit messing around and let’s see if we can find Korra. If there were events happening in the Spirit World, it’s easy to assume that’s where she and Asami are. Hop on Juicy and we’ll patrol the beam.”

After what was really five minutes but seemed like an eternity, two humanoid figures stumbled out of the beam. “Korra!” Mako yelled. And again, “Korra! Are you alright? Is that Asami with you?”

The blue clad figure came into closer focus, and he could see that it was indeed Korra. She was holding Asami tenderly, as if she were unsure whether Asami was injured, but Asami was walking under her own power.

Shortly after what seemed to be a flush appearing on her face, Korra said “We’re all right! We just had a little trouble with a cranky spirit, is all.” Mako could tell she was hiding something. Her next request only heightened his suspicions. “Can you take me and Asami to see Katara on Air Temple Island, please?”

 “Yes, we will!” Bolin shouted, taking another breath as Mako figured he would. “And just what were you two doing in there?” Bolin asked in a mix of curiosity and innocence. Mako extended his good hand over Bolin’s mouth and found it colliding with Opal’s. “Guess we’re more alike than I thought we were,” Mako thought with a hint of relief. “Anyone who can put up with Bolin for long periods has to share something with someone else who can,” he thought amusedly.

Mako whispered into his brother’s ear, ignoring the surprised look on his face. “Now’s not the time to ask prying questions, brother. Let’s just get Korra and Asami where they need to go.”

As the two girls crawled onto Juicy’s back, Asami shot Mako a nervous glance that she then changed to a smile. “Thank you for picking us up, Mako, Bolin and Opal. I feel … strange. Maybe Katara can help us.”

“Guess that thought I had earlier was true. I’m cool with it,” Mako said inwardly while smiling back at Asami.

 Mako saw Bolin ooch closer to Asami. “Sorry, no company, I don’t want to explain,” Asami said quickly. Bolin slouched back and accidentally landed near Juicy’s nose.

“AUGH! Can’t a guy catch a break?!?” his excitable brother yelled, frenetically trying to get the bison fur and snot off of him. Mako saw Opal smiling out of the corner of his eye, and found himself doing the same.

As they finalized their approach to Air Temple Island, Mako thought inwardly “I DID tell Korra I would follow her into battle, no matter how crazy things get, and my exes being into one another is pretty crazy, after all.” He snuck up to both Korra and Asami, hugging them both - as friends, not potential lovers. He could see that somehow both Korra and Asami knew his intent, and most importantly, that he was fine with their relationship.

 Mako felt some kind of angry fire die out in him.

Korra whispered absentmindedly to herself “I guess that’s one person I can trust.” As she made a show of pushing Mako away so as to not make Bolin or Opal suspicious, Mako couldn’t help but wonder why they would need to hide. Korra had just defeated Kuvira and restored some semblance of balance - who could fault her for her preferences? “Maybe I should ask Asami some time,” he mused quietly.

Asami turned around and met her own eyes with his, and gave him a small subdued nod.
~-~
« Last Edit: Dec 27, 2014 09:27 pm by Freedom153 » Logged

Additional datapoints acquired. Additional animated stories viewed. Directive: adjust opinion... adjusting...
First eyes, a treasure. New eyes, end with a pretentious blink, own vision eclipses.
Book 5:Humanity, aka: Freedom's First Writ
Freedom153
Never Gonna Give Yue Up

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Posts: 549


That Could Have Been Executed Better


« Reply #3 on: Dec 26, 2014 08:37 pm »

~-~

Chapter 3 : Dissipating Uncertainty

Glad to have finally reached the upper level of Air Temple Island, Korra turned around to face Juicy’s other four passengers. Korra could sense from Opal’s pained look that she was concerned about both Korra and Asami’s well-being. Bolin simply looked on in curiosity, even though Asami had made it clear it was not welcome.

Korra asked Opal, “Can you take Bolin with you for now? I have something I need to discuss with Asami and Mako.” As Opal took Bolin towards a lower level of the island, Korra swore she saw Opal giving her a wink. In due time, a voice she had heard all too often lately said.

As Bolin and Opal left earshot, and Korra was sure that she, Asami and Bolin were alone, she told Mako “Your unspoken approval of my relationship with Asami on Juicy’s back earlier made me feel a lot better. I didn’t think you would be so accepting, and certainly not so rapidly.” Mako simply looked at Korra, and quoted something he had said only a short time ago: “ ‘No matter how crazy things get, Korra, I will always be ready to follow you into battle.’ When I said that, I meant it. I get the feeling that more happened in there than you two kissing, however.”

Korra clenched her fist silently, cursing Mako’s sudden flood of perception. “Mako, some things happened in there that were definitely not on any vacation plan, and I suppose you needed to know of them sooner or later.” As Korra finished explaining, Mako pointed to a figure far in the distance that was approaching slowly. “I don’t want to keep you from telling Katara about this any longer - I’m certainly in no position to interpret the will of Raava. The spirit stuff is your job on this team, not mine.” He glanced again at Katara’s advancing figure. “I better get out of here. Catch you later, Korra and Asami,” he said over his shoulder, following the direction that Opal and Bolin had gone.

“Oh, shoot,” Asami said, turning to face the nearest bathroom. “I must have drank too many beverages at the wedding earlier, and you know what they say about the Spirit World and bathrooms. Not that I would have gotten the chance to use one…” Asami said, walking away. “I’ll be back - why don’t you try stalling Katara a little bit until I get back?”

Korra knew she was going to see Asami in about five minutes, but after all she had gone through today, she felt a slight pang in her chest as Asami’s hand left her own. “I wonder what Asami felt when her father forced her out of the hummingbird suit…”, Korra pondered sadly.

Katara finally reached Korra’s side at the same time Korra finished her melancholy thought. The old waterbender - her Sifu in this life and the previous - finally asked Korra a question after a slightly awkward pause. Katara started off, with enthusiasm, “So, Korra, I’m always telling you about interesting experiences in my youth, all the different kinds of things I got to do… but I have a question for you this time.”

“Remember what Asami said about stalling and what Raava told me about discretion,” Korra thought to herself. She thought up a suitably silly question Katara could be reasonably asking, and turned to face Katara. “What is it? How I got Naga?” Korra asked, smiling slightly.

Katara must have seen that smile, as she just said “No,” smirking slightly.

“Dang, think of something else - Asami still isn’t back yet,” Korra thought again. She decided to offer something more interesting this time. “What it’s like to be able to bend all four elements?” she asked, hoping to stall Katara a little longer.

Again, that same knowing, frustrating smile. Katara stated, deadpan at first “No. I imagine it would have some… bending  involved though.”

Korra barely contained the rising flush on her cheeks. Why did her relationship with Asami still give her this uneasy feeling? It was something much worse than the simple awkwardness she had experienced with Mako. She might never know, she thought bitterly. It reminded her of the despair she felt while recovering from Zaheer’s poison, and for some reason, shame.

Mind wandering, Korra absently wondered if what Iroh had told her about same-sex relationships was a lie, and if Raava was just placating her.

What would the point of that be, exactly, Korra?  Korra felt a slight chill inside her skull. She still wasn’t used to this more… vocal Raava.

Breaking out of her momentary funk, Korra remembered her conversation. She looked to Katara, who was tapping her fur-boot clad foot on the ground, waiting for Korra to make another guess. Korra realized that one way to throw someone off was asking them about a personal matter, so she asked Katara “What it’s like to kiss a firebender?”

Shifting from her impatient posture, Katara simply laughed, and chuckled “Getting closer.”

This was it, Korra’s chance to stall Katara. She innocently said “But people tell me that you and Zuko - ”

Katara was obviously after some information she wanted, and fast, as she began to show obvious signs of frustration. Or was it the implication? Katara simply barked “NO!

Korra grinned, pointing at Katara, and stated “So I guess you only liked Aang.”

Katara smiled mutely, as though she were about to finish this banter completely. “Yes, we both only really like people with the same first letter in their name. Aang, and…” Katara retorted, sending Korra into a small panic. She wasn’t going to be able to quell her cheeks this time.

Korra simply blushed, at such a loss for words she blurted out “Uhhhh…” Katara really was as perceptive as Iroh had said. Korra added meekly, “What do you mean?” The very least she could do was stall now - no dissuading Katara’s questioning until Asami came. The next thing Katara said only confirmed this.

“I saw you go in that portal. With a girl,” Korra heard Katara say. More stalling it was, then.

Korra asked, with deliberate uncertainty “Which portal again? Because I’m pretty sure I went in two…”

Korra seemed to be getting to Katara with this meaningless banter, as Katara groaned, “The third one, you know, the one YOU created when you saved Kuvira’s butt from her own weapon.” Katara groaned again, this time louder. “Come on, just tell me what it’s like already! It’s not like I’ll ever get to know.”

Korra silently wondered why Katara was so curious about what it felt like to kiss a girl when she had been obviously in love with Aang - idle curiosity perhaps? Korra could only manage to ask Katara “What what’s like?” with a palpable nervousness, her cheeks still flush.

She finally heard footsteps behind her, and turned to see Asami returning from the bathroom. Asami asked them both “What are you guys talking about?” as she approached, with what Korra could tell was feigned innocence. Korra smiled slightly while her head was turned to Asami - she had never seen Katara quite like this before, and wanted to push a bit further.

Making sure that Katara could still hear, but only barely, Korra whispered to Asami “I think Katara finally found her brother’s stockpile of cactus juice.” She could see Asami’s eyes gleaming with mischief as well.

Apparently, Katara had had enough, and she pushed the two conspirators apart, turning to face Korra. Katara had a rather hilarious yet scary expression on her face that she had never seen before, yet was somehow familiar… from behind a sheet of ice, she could hear a muted laughter that she recognized as having once been her own. Aang? an increasingly familiar voice said that was not her own. They live!

Shaking off this interior monologue, she heard Katara yell “I heard that!” with that same hilarious look on her face. Korra and Asami began laughing loudly.

What she recognized as Raava’s voice admonished her, Enough messing around, Korra - we just made a very important discovery. Further unnecessary delays will only hurt you. GET ON WITH IT!

Katara, still visibly angry, now with a touch of desperation, said “Okay, I’ll just ask outright.” Katara paused, clearly not entirely comfortable with what came next. “What is it like to kiss another girl, and, uh… do The Thing afterwards?” she asked, before continuing with even more urgency, “Say it quick, before my stick-in-the-mud son or granddaughter find us!”

This was obviously the point at which Raava would be disappointed if she delayed any longer, and Korra was tired of the game anyways. She said enthusiastically, “Well…” She let out a lighthearted chuckle. “I liked the kiss felt better than the one with Mako, that’s for sure.”

Asami chimed in, with a surprised look on her face, “And I didn’t have any idea what would happen in the Spirit World when we-”

Korra felt her clothes disturbed by a sudden blast of wind. And she was pretty sure she heard -

After a deafening blast of air, Tenzin and Jinora landed next to Katara, one on each side, both grinning wildly. Jinora began talking, animatedly saying “Did someone say spirit world? Can I tell you again about the time when -”

Korra found herself groaning loudly at the exact same time as Asami and Katara, producing a unified “AUUUGH” that sent hiding animals scurrying and fluttering away.

Jinora went straight from a grin to talking, starting “So anyways, about the time I found Raava and helped save the world…”

“Oh no you don’t, you little Miss Perfect,” Korra thought, with a sense of irony that Jinora was delaying something Raava herself found important. Korra snapped, “Come on, missy, one of us is the Avatar, and the other -”

Korra couldn’t tell if Jinora was just playing around, or if she had overheard more than just “Spirit World,” as Jinora just continued talking, despite dirty looks from Korra, Asami and her grandmother. “But I totally saved your butt during Harmonic Convergence!” Jinora countered, with a slight twinkle in her eye. “Ah, crap! Maybe she did hear…” Korra thought desperately.

Tenzin surprised her when he came to Korra’s rescue, wagging his finger at Jinora, saying “Now, now, Jinora, would Grandpa Aang want you to brag?” Katara burst out laughing. Jinora only managed a dejected “… No, I guess not.”

Korra suddenly remembered that they had both saved the other in a time of need. She smiled lightly, asking “Plus, didn’t I get you out of that freaky spirit pod where the Spirit Wilds used to be?”

Jinora looked down at her feet, mumbling “Yeah.” She looked up, and with a much lighter expression on her face asked “Even?”

Korra was glad that Jinora didn’t take anything personally, but nonetheless she wanted both her and Tenzin gone. Pointing at a slight male figure who was attempting to fight a kite in the distance, Korra suggested to Jinora “Why don’t you go fly a kite with Kai?”

Jinora’s face lit up in an expression that caused her grandmother to smile warmly and her father to grimace. “Kai!” Jinora whipped out a very authentic-looking glider - where’d she get one of those, an Air Acolyte? - and flew off to join Kai.

Tenzin, oddly enough, did not give chase. Squinting at his mother, he said “I get the feeling you guys were not mainly talking about the spirit world. What is going on here?”

“Oh crud, I guess he did hear! I hope Katara can think of something better than what I’m about to say,” Korra thought quickly to herself. She deliberately broke out in to a cheesy grin, and started “Well, Asami, Katara and I -”

Katara interrupted her with a gloved hand in front of her face, meeting Tenzin’s gaze. She grinned slightly, telling her son “You’ve never been one to pick up when you’re not wanted, have you, Tenzin? Let’s just say it was a girl talk.”

Anyone else would have blushed and left, but not Tenzin. He crossed his arms, and gave his mother a withering look, saying “I don’t really see what you three could possibly have to say that I cannot hear.”

Katara’s eyes gleamed mischievously. “Maybe you wouldn’t WANT to hear it? That ever cross your mind?” Tenzin impatiently asked, “Oh yeah, like what?” Korra saw a grin creep onto Katara’s face that would have found a better home only on a tiger shark.

Katara spun around, deliberately blushing, then pointing at Tenzin. “Oh, I was just discussing with Korra and Asami the night when your father and I -”

Korra snickered when Tenzin’s cheeks turned a beet purple. He blurted “You’re right. Guh. Pema never bothers me about these things…” His gaze turned towards two smaller figures in the distance, sitting on the top of Air Temple Island, gazing at the last remnants of the sunset. Katara jabbed, “Well, I didn’t exactly bother you, did I? Who bent their way up onto a ledge where someone else was having a conversation?”

Tenzin was visibly irritated, though not at his mother’s borderline admonishment. Turning to face Katara and composing himself, he said “Excuse me, it appears I have another conversation to ‘interrupt’.” He began airbending his way to the top of the spire, towards Kai and his “wayward” daughter. If he disapproved so strongly of that relationship, Korra could hardly wait to see his reaction to her new love interest.

Katara was now wearing an expression that she had seen Kya and Bumi make many times after Tenzin left. She wiped her brow, saying “Phew, I thought they would never leave. Not sure what got into them. Maybe all that excitement with Kuvira has made them on edge. I wish he’d leave my granddaughter be, lest she be even more like him. Where were we? I believe you were saying something, Asami.”

Asami stopped following the movement of Tenzin, turning to Katara. “Yes, I was. Anyways, after me and Korra kissed, I blacked out for a little bit. The last thing I remember was Korra’s eyes glowi- ” Asami paused, with a slightly concerned expression on her face. “Wait. Why would she go in to the Avatar State? As a former lover to the Avatar, you wouldn’t be able to tell me anything about that, would you?”

Korra had no real clue herself as to why she went into the Avatar State when kissing Asami, much less why what happened afterwards occurred, so she waited for Katara’s answer with baited breath.

Katara had an expression that looked like an odd combination of embarrassment and longing. She started, drawing out her response slightly, “Well… sometimes when Aang got especially excited, he would glow it up. The time after we lost Appa was no fun, I can tell you that. But that was rage.” Katara shrugged awkwardly, saying through a force smile, “I can’t remember anything else.”

“Katara, this is important. Is there something you’re not telling us? I need to know if I accidentally hurt Asami - this wasn’t one of those controlled bursts I use in battle. After all, Asami and I just told you a pretty big secret, so I see no reason for you to be embarrassed,: Korra said in a serious tone. “So, what are you hiding?”

Katara chuckled, the last vestiges of unease leaving her voice, with a gleam in her eyes. “Well, Aang would also sometimes go into the Avatar state when he was … excited with me, shall we say.” Korra blurted out, “What, just a kiss?” having a hard time believing that Aang went into the Avatar State every time he smooched Katara.

Katara cryptically answered “Among other things.” Katara raised a gloved hand to her chin. “Only when he was older, though - after he gained all that height and his beard.” She shrugged, continuing “I may be no scholar, but I do know there’s one thing that triggered it in Aang that you two couldn’t have done.”

All of a sudden, Katara had a blank expression on her face. Katara made a low humming sound, and said “Wait a minute…” Korra realized she must have been thinking back to before Jinora and Tenzin’s interruption, as Katara asked “You were in the Spirit World and not ours when this ‘event’ occurred, correct?”

Korra immediately answered “Well, we were in the spirit world, after all, as I said. Who knows what’s possible there, especially given that portal was only recently created.” She did not give Katara the real reason for her added concern - Raava’s increased activity, and how she had been subsumed by the Avatar State not once, but twice within the past 24 hours.

Korra was not used to seeing this much worry on Katara’s face. Katara murmured, “Korra, Asami, come forward, and let me feel your chi.”

Asami looked a little confused, stating “I don’t see what this is going to do, given that I am a nonbender.” Katara turned to face Asami with a warm expression. “Just trust me. I can discern basic biological things about people, even if they are not benders. Korra is first anyways.”

Katara advanced towards Korra, and began feeling the chi in her arms and legs, as though she were a healing doll. She moved towards Korra’s core - chest, stomach and hips - and finished by following Korra’s chi lines on her head.

Korra could see some measure of relief on Katara’s face, but not much. Katara explained, “You seem fine Korra, but it feels as though a lot of spiritual energy has passed through you recently.”  Katara felt Korra’s arms and lips - that felt weird - again, and pursed her own, much older lips. “Almost as if it were heading in a specific direction. And I have never felt that much flow remnants in the mouth region before.”

Katara turned to Asami, asking “You said Korra kissed you, and you passed out, correct? And her eyes were glowing as she did so?” Asami shook her head lightly, bouncing her dark hair. “Asami, come here. I need to feel you as well.”

After Asami stepped forward, Katara again felt the chi lines, this time moving from arms and legs, to Asami’s head. She paused while touching the back of Asami’s head and then her mouth, letting out a confused “Huh?” each time. She finally felt Asami’s chest and stomach. When she got halfway to Asami’s hips, Katara’s face drained of blood rapidly.

“WHAT? By the Spirits! It cannot be! I need to feel that again. I swear I felt something in there, but it could have just been a bad read. It is pretty late, after all.” Katara again felt Asami’s stomach, moving towards her hips, and stopped at the exact same place - just below Asami’s bellybutton, Korra realized in horror.
« Last Edit: Dec 27, 2014 01:48 pm by Freedom153 » Logged

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Book 5:Humanity, aka: Freedom's First Writ
Freedom153
Never Gonna Give Yue Up

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That Could Have Been Executed Better


« Reply #4 on: Dec 26, 2014 08:40 pm »

(Continued due to character limit)

She knew Katara had seen many strange things in the travels of her youth, but Katara looked completely baffled now. Katara exclaimed “This makes no sense!” She pointed to that one specific spot, that spot Korra would rather forget. Where her uncontrolled hand had touched - pulsating with what she now knew was Raava’s energy.

All of a sudden, she felt a chill in her heart. She had finally connected one of Iroh’s prophecies for Asami with recent events, and she was too in shock to say anything. She could only manage to think to herself, “At least we know Asami’s numbering of those transcript pages was correct…”

Katara seemed to not notice Korra’s expression, but Asami did. Asami forcefully turned to Katara, who was now saying “Asami - you say Mako broke up with you, and given recent events fully occupying you, there’s no way you’ve done anything to conceive a child. Yet, I feel a small presence within you.”

Both Asami and Korra now had horrified expressions on their faces - Asami, out of surprise, and Korra, out of horror that her suspicions were being confirmed. Katara said, as Korra and Asami turned to face each other, holding hands in what was practically a vice-grip, “Korra, you yourself said that you were in the Spirit World when this occurred, you went into an uncontrolled Avatar state and that you have no idea what can happen there…”

Korra could only stare at the ground and felt as though she were about to cry more hysterically than Asami had in the Spirit World. Tears finally streaming down her face, she addressed Asami and Katara. “I don’t know whether to be terrified or ecstatic.” Since Katara did not know anything of what happened in the Spirit World aside from Korra and Asami’s kiss, she looked confused as to why Korra would be terrified - but Asami knew all too well what Korra meant.

Looking to distract herself, Asami grabbed Korra’s hand. Korra felt this “love” again - one of the few good things she got from the Spirit World “vacation”, the way she saw it now, yet was somehow enough to override all the negatives - and felt herself stop crying. Asami asked Korra tenderly “Do you want to try to read my belly, Korra?”

Korra smiled - there was nothing she would rather do right now. Mimicking Katara’s movements, she felt her hands being guided by an unseen force as soon as she found Asami’s first chi line. She felt as though she were suddenly reading the chi lines better than Katara had.

Korra could tell that the life force within Asami was very small, but powerful. She could feel Asami’s energy and her own within, but another as well. By the time she realized whose energy it was, it had vanished - re-settling in Korra’s chest.

“Just what is your angle, Raava?” Korra silently wondered to herself. She told Asami and Korra about what she had felt. Katara gave her a look mixed between confusion, anger and curiosity.

 Seeing the anger fade from Katara’s face, Korra told her “Look, there was a lot more that happened inside that blasted place we have not told you yet. But we need somewhere safe from prying eyes. Mako already knows more than you do, aside from Asami’s pregnancy, but we need an inaccessible place to talk about it. We received a warning to be discreet in the Spirit World from someone you knew well - Zuko’s Uncle Iroh.”

Katara’s face lit up with childlike glee, asking “Can you take me and Zuko to see him sometime?” Korra could only respond, “I’ll try to remember that, but I get the feeling we will be busier over the next few days than we ever have before. Do you have any suggestions on a meeting place?”

Korra could see the joy fade from Katara’s face, who continued seriously, “I don’t know of any nosy waterbenders in the general area, so why don’t we meet underwater, and you can fill me in completely?”

Korra could feel another presence tugging at her mind - Raava, again? She ignored it for now, saying “Sounds like a good idea, Katara - I can earthbend a breathing tube so a waterbending ‘tunnel’ or ice sphere won’t give us away.” Katara nodded in agreement, and shuffled off towards Tenzin’s living quarters - perhaps to scold him for his meddling in her granddaughter’s life?

As soon as Katara left, Korra noticed they were truly alone. She told Asami what she thought the implications of the pregnancy were, its connection to Raava, and the fact that they would likely have a Spirit Civil War on their hands. Asami listened patiently, and when Korra was finished, she merely said “Korra, I’m no fool - I figured out about 75% of what you said just from your look alone. I took the notes, remember?”

Korra couldn’t help but blush wildly. “Asami, I’m sorry if I offended you - I just didn’t know if your political and business smarts would extend to Spirit World affairs, as you never had a particularly spiritual upbringing.” Again, the tug… “I think Raava wants something from me - I’m going to meditate for a little bit. Watch over me please.”

Asami drug one of her electrogloves out of her pack, and affixed it to her hand. Korra breathed in, and out, and in…

She was surprised when Raava chose to manifest herself in her chest, as she had after Zaheer helped Korra overcome her block over her near-death experience, and while Raava screamed at Long Yumao.

Suddenly, the great spirit began speaking.

“Don’t worry about stealth, Korra. Only you and Asami can sense me right now, through your shared bond. And don’t ask me how I can apparate outside the Spirit World now, I don’t have the time for unimportant explanations.”

“Korra, you remember all the icy emotions you have been feeling, that are yours yet not wholly your own? I did not know this until today, but apparently when the Dark Avatar - Unalaq and Vaatu - waterwhipped your past lives, they did not destroy them completely. Some mortals who are especially wise, such as Iroh, live on in the Spirit World, and it appears something similar may have happened to your past lives, except they are not free - rather, entrapped in some unknown icy tomb. Even I cannot discern all of what has happened to them. Too much of Vaatu and Unalaq’s residual energy clouds them - time does not pass in the Spirit World as it does on the mortal plane.”

Korra interrupted the spirit, who for a change did not seem to mind. “Raava, if my past lives are still in existence, does that mean we can save them? What would we do? Can we do it right now?!?”

The spirit seemed to know a solution to the problem, but held back, stating “I appreciate your enthusiasm, Korra, but you have already endured much today. From what I can scry of their state, they are not going to vanish in the next five minutes.”

Korra felt angry, stating “I don’t want to take any risks, we need to act now!” somewhat sleepily.

If the spirit had a mobile head, she would have been shaking it. “I see you are not that much different from your predecessor - Aang disregarded rest and sleep completely leading up to the Day of the Black Sun, and I can tell you’re running on fumes. You’re still a mortal like everyone else - get some sleep; a tired Avatar makes bad decisions and can’t think straight. You don’t want to start hallucinating again, do you?”

Korra felt a shiver from inside her own being, remembering her own hallucinations. At the same time, the ice-muffled voice of a middle-aged laughing at the memory of entirely different visions emanated from her chest - a voice that had once been her own.

Raava, had she possessed facial muscles, might have shown surprise. “If Aang can manage to laugh, we may have more time than my initial assessment led me to believe we did. Korra, you and Asami are to get some rest and meet me inside the spirit world tomorrow. Don’t worry - I will keep you safe, Asami. With the extra time, you are to try to extend the circle of trust you have now with Mako and Katara to others close to you. Do so as you see fit - I am in no position to give humans human-y advice. Just know that I will assist in this endeavor as I can.”

With that, the great white spirit disappeared back into Korra’s chest, and she suddenly felt very tired. Mind racing, she tried to think of a place where no one would look - Tenzin’s airbender artifact room.

“Asami,” she managed weakly, “I am very tired and need sleep, and I imagine you do too. I think the best place to retire would be Tenzin’s artifact room - no one ever goes there.” Korra blushed, this time in embarrassment over what she needed next. “Asami, can you… carry me, please?”

Asami bent over, and with considerable initial effort managed to lift Korra off the ground. Asami made a motion to kiss Korra, but she batted at the dark hair over her face. “N-not now, Asami,” she managed. “S-sleep…” Asami drew her head back, and smiled at Korra, green eyes glittering. As Korra fell asleep, she felt a blazing in her chest, and drifted away contently in Asami’s arms.

~-~

Chapter 4 : Unvanquished Hatred

General Jinshu Kuangmai was second in command only to Bataar, Jr., Kuvira’s lover, and third behind Kuvira herself. He knew that second position was volatile, given Kuvira’s temper and dedication to the Earth Empire, first and foremost… Especially given what he had heard of Bataar Jr’s reaction to seeing his sister in the firing line of the final spirit cannon test. Then again, that merciless nature was why he was so loyal to Kuvira - it nicely matched his own.

Jinshu Kuangmai, as he was known for his specialty, was not his real name - only Kuvira knew a sliver of the truth behind his identity. Or at least he thought - had her spies found out more? No matter, he really had nothing to hide from her that might make her question his loyalty. He preferred to keep himself as mysterious as possible to others - even Kuvira - as much as a power play as the… other reason.

Ugh, every time I think of her, I feel like I want to strangle something… in my own special way, he finished with a predatory smile.

Looking at the clock, he was beginning to get somewhat worried, but he corrected himself - perhaps Kuvira had called for a large celebration after crushing those puny insects daring to occupy Earth kingdom land, stolen all those years ago by the Avatar and his Firelord lackey. What hope could such a ludicrous system hope to stand against strength? Elected leaders - what a joke.

Finally, after seeing the clock strike 11:00 PM, he had had enough. When he burst from his tent, he did not like what he saw - all of the elite metalbenders assigned to his command were saluting the entrance of his tent- almost preemptively, to avoid his wrath. They appeared to have been standing there for some time.

“Just what is the meaning of this?” he bellowed, stomping his feet on the ground, shaking the specialty red-black armor draped over his broad chest. “And why are all the conscripts gone? Don’t think I can’t earthsense those empty tents and untended mechasuits. We’re supposed to be ready to push out at a moment’s notice in case the first wave fails to take Republic City.”

He could feel a few of the metalbenders shaking like leaves. He turned to the one shaking the most, who was hiding a radio behind his back, and grabbed him by his armor, lifting him in the air. “Speak! Your General commands you!” He could see the fear in the supposedly elite’s eyes. “Don’t make me…”

The faceless soldier finally started talking. By Kuvira, I love doing that. I just have to make a hint, and…

“Sir, it appears that some of those Republic City geeks found a way inside Kuvira’s Colossus. According to radio chatter, the weapon was destroyed, and Kuvira fought to the end, attempting to kill the Avatar with just the cannon.” The soldier sensed his confusion. “The cannon got tossed into a large concentration of spirit vines, sir - and apparently, if what the Republic City radio is broadcasting is to be believed, the weapon spun out of control after Kuvira fired it at the Avatar, eventually threatening to vaporize our great leader.”

He could tell there was something this soldier was holding back, some very unpleasant news. “I can tell you aren’t telling me something, even with you in the air. TELL ME THE REST!” He began gradually squeezing the soldier’s armor in.

The soldier gulped, and the armor ceased to move. “General Jinshu Kuangmai, I am afraid you are the new commander of our army, such as it is.” He felt his hands beginning to perform the motion, but stopped short. He could tell this soldier was loyal enough - for now.  The soldier began to sweat beads visible in the dying light. “Kuvira shot a beam at Bataar Jr. to attempt to vaporize the Avatar and her followers, who had managed to capture him in the middle of negotiations. All survived, and he apparently turned against us, providing intelligence to the enemy regarding the Colossus.”

I thought that wuss would betray us eventually. Family only makes you weak…

“Go on”, he stated. “You’ve only told me of how Bataar Jr. turned his back on us. Did our glorious leader die in battle? Is this why I am now Supreme Commander Jinshu Kuangmai?”

“And just say it, or I might actually follow through with that hand motion this time.”

He could see the immediate panic this threat caused. The soldier began to show signs of throwing up, so he finally let the soldier back to terra firma. He could feel the soldier better now - and he was an absolute wreck.

“Sir, if reports are to be believed… you see that big green beacon over the horizon?” The soldier pointed at a barely visible green twin helix that never seemed to end he had not noticed before.

“That’s a new spirit portal.”

He was furious. What concern did he have for some spirit portal?!? All the spirits were good for, in his eyes, was fuel for war. “I don’t care if Vaatu and Raava are fighting over that hill! Just what in the name of the Earth Empire does some spiritual gobbledygook have to do with Kuvira?”

His hands began to move of themselves.

“Sir, PLEASE don’t! I was just trying to cushion the blow a little.” Hah, begging for his life, how pathetic.

Wait, what blow?


“What blow, soldier?” I don’t like the sound of this at all.

The soldier began to speak once more, seemingly reaching the end of what was important. “Commander, the Avatar created that portal by blocking the beam weapon from killing Kuvira, if reports are to be believed.”

Hah! Mercy, such fools…

He could see the soldiers let out a final sigh. “She felt she owed the Avatar her life, and ordered our victorious forces to stand down, despite badly beating what those Republicans call a military. Only the Avatar and her follower’s interference prevented a crushing victory.”

His legs trembled with anger, cracks shooting from beneath his heavy iron boots.

“So, soldier, let me understand this - and speak very carefully. Are you saying that our glorious leader ALSO surrendered?” his eyes gleamed with hatred - hatred for the Avatar, and hatred for… Kuvira?

It does not matter who- if they are weak, they should be crushed like ants!

The soldier saw his wild eyes, and knew what they could lead to. “Yes, sir. You can see the soldiers who fled rather than surrender yourself - they should be here by now. Only the conscripts, and those trapped within the city surrendered. We may need to try to rescue them -“

I cannot believe Kuvira would do such a thing. First my own mother, and now my glorious leader?

He sighed deeply, realizing the world really was as one Fire Nation heiress said - “You can only trust yourself. Trust is for fools!”

Figuring his day couldn’t get much worse, he told the soldier, now safely out of his range, to bring in those who escaped. His talks with these ragged soldiers only confirmed what the other had said. The news from one of his spies was even worse.  Almost all the conscripts- gone. And their leader…

I suppose I owe that soldier a favor, and I want only those who fear me at my side.

He turned to the soldier who had had the guts to tell him all these things with only a green beacon and his own word as evidence. “Soldier! Come here, I wish to tell you something.” I love the fear in those green eyes.

“Sir?” was all the soldier could muster.

“I am making you Chief Intelligence Officer. If what that spy told me is true, ‘Prince’ Wu is going to try and dismantle our glorious Empire, and replace it with some sort of mockery - a republic.” He paused bitterly. “Hardly better than the chaos after Earth Queen Hou-Ting’s death - the common ignorant elephant-rat on the streets is still running the show, even if they aren’t burning their world with them.”

He paused once more, reaching inside his metal breastplate, bending and manipulating it with ease. In his hand, he held eight metal straps - three for each of his own shoulders, and one for each of the soldiers’.

He bent the two straps around the soldier’s neck, much as his own, single ring. He then bent the remaining straps around his own neck, closely mimicking Kuvira’s style. He etched a small symbol into the visible portion of each side of the neck, and larger ones on his shoulders- the Earth Empire insignia, with a single drop of gleaming blood in the center.

Appropriate.

“I hereby grant the new rank of Chief Intelligence Officer to Corporal Jang, of the Zaofu Company, and the new rank of Supreme Resistance Commander to myself. We will need to fight this new foe in a different way, as we cannot afford to draw the attention of the Avatar or the other nations - not yet. We will make our base of operations difficult to see, and even harder to break, biding our time as we regroup from the stunning betrayal of our former leader.” He could begin to hear soldiers cheer, and even some making suggestions on how to most effectively meld into the vast Earth Empire, to begin their war of attrition, subterfuge and terror.

“One day, we shall retake all of the Earth Empire - the lands that Republic City calls its own included! We will make the spirit’s power our own once more one day, so that we may seek revenge on both the Avatar and the leader who left us out to dry! And then,” he said with a genuine smile, “a legacy of conquest and colonization that will make Sozin and the Firelords who followed him look like children!”

He could hear the assembled body of soldiers before him become filled with hatred at the mention of the Fire Nation, yelling all sorts of horrible curses and insults. They had over 170 years of shame to amend.

So this is what true power feels like. Good…

“We shall be greater than Chin the Conqueror! TO ARMS!”

The crowd of elite metalbenders and battered soldiers erupted once more.

Basking in the cheers of his soldiers, he had but one thought.

Are you happy now, mother?

~-~
End part 1.
« Last Edit: Dec 27, 2014 09:27 pm by Freedom153 » Logged

Additional datapoints acquired. Additional animated stories viewed. Directive: adjust opinion... adjusting...
First eyes, a treasure. New eyes, end with a pretentious blink, own vision eclipses.
Book 5:Humanity, aka: Freedom's First Writ
Freedom153
Never Gonna Give Yue Up

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That Could Have Been Executed Better


« Reply #5 on: Dec 30, 2014 12:17 am »

Part 2: The Circle of Trust

Chapter 5 : The Inner Ring

Korra awoke to find herself lying on her back on a simple stone floor. As awareness gradually returned, she could make out the figure of Asami lying asleep on her side next to her, with a contented look on her face. Korra vaguely considered shutting her eyes again and just burying her face in Asami’s chest…

Meeting with Katara. Don’t keep her - and Aang - waiting.

Suddenly, a wave of despair washed over Korra, remembering the events of the past 24 hours, and how she believed she had been finished when Kuvira fell - only for the universe to gop up even worse problems in her lap. Korra began to cry softly, mind racing - what would a Spirit Civil War mean for the world? Would she ever just get any time to simply… be?

I told you yesterday, we have enough time. Don’t dwell on might-have-beens, Korra. They lead nowhere.

Korra was starting to tolerate Raava’s increasingly vocal presence better, but she still felt like she wanted to just shut herself away from the world.

Oh no; Aang did that once, and look how that turned out. Plus, you’d be missing Asami.

Korra got the impression that Raava was beginning to understand how humans worked a lot better now - and she was right. “I need to take strength from my love for Asami - just like Iroh said,” Korra told herself quietly. She finally managed the strength to resist sleep’s temptation, and woke Asami.

“Korra, are you all right? Have you been crying?” Asami cooed, reaching out to tussle Korra’s messy hair. “If it’s about what happened yesterday, we should talk to Katara, like we planned,” Asami said, smiling slightly. “I can carry you again, if you like,” she added, laughing lightly and pretending to kiss Korra on the lips.

To Korra’s surprise, she didn’t blush this time, instead sighing in contentment. “No, I can handle myself now - but thanks anyways.” A mischievous gleam entered Korra’s eyes. She said “Maybe we can pick up where we left off, in the Spirit World before my Avatar State interrupted, after our talk with Katara,” Korra finished with a wink.

She could see Asami blushing slightly, but without the deeper colors she found denoted shame or embarrassment. “That sounds like a real good idea, Korra. Let’s go find Katara.” Korra touched the ground to get a read on where Katara was, and they headed towards her location - Tenzin’s house.

As they approached, she could hear some unusually loud conversation between a man and a woman. Getting closer, she could recognize the voices - Tenzin and Katara. Korra and Asami held back a fair distance, Korra figuring that whatever conversation they were having should be left alone.

“- she IS your daughter, Tenzin, but you have no business telling her who she can and cannot like! Would you have liked it if I told you that you had to keep dating Lin instead of breaking the relationship, and never known Pema?” she heard Katara’s voice break out.

She and Asami snickered - they could hear Tenzin’s signature sigh from all this distance. “I guess you’re right, Mother - but the moment I catch that Kai reverting back to his old habits again, I am separating them! That’s final! Now leave me be - I feel the need to meditate after all that … discussion.” Korra heard an audible sliding, and the slight rattle of a bamboo door slamming against the house’s framing.

Seeing that Katara was coming, and not wanting to be caught staring at Tenzin’s quarters, she turned to Asami and whispered “Look like we’re talking about something, quick!”

Asami’s green eyes flared slightly. “Like what? We can’t appear to be talking about this - stuff - we’re supposed to keep under wraps, and certainly not what -”

“Oh dear, please don’t tell me you’re bickering already. That isn’t supposed to come for another 20 to 30 years,” an old sage female voice said behind them. Asami and Korra turned to face a smiling Katara at the same time, who continued “I can only guess that you two heard something of that conversation. Look, I don’t like yelling at family members, and it’s not like our family is as out of whack as the Beifong clan - but disagreement is part of any healthy relationship.”

Huh. Never thought of that, Raava said within Korra’s head. “Wait, seriously - you didn’t know that already? That explains a lo-”

Not now, Korra! I may like humans, but I have not really been paying attention to the fine nuances of human-y-ness until recently. Korra snickered slightly. Human-y-ness…
“You think yelling is funny, Korra? Or are you talking to that voice in your head again?” Katara asked, unconvincingly wagging her finger. Between Raava’s awkwardness and Katara’s finger-waggle, Korra burst out laughing, finally quieting with a smile. She drew a deep breath, and let out a long sigh.

“You got me.” Korra raised her arms in mock surrender. “I was snickering at the voice in my head. Now let’s go underwater before Tenzin decides he needs to ask me how to meditate into the Spirit World or something.” Korra picked up a few tiles off the terrace, and motioned to the now levitating pieces of earth. “Hop on, and let me bend us there.” Katara smiled, stating “I’m sure Tenzin won’t be happy about these slabs being absent, but he can be unhappy with a lot of things. Plus, I’ve never seen somebody do this before.” Asami was already trying to find her balance atop her tile, and as soon as Katara got on hers, Korra used a brief pulse of the Avatar State to launch them towards water.

Just before impact, her eyes flashed again, as she simultaneously created an air bubble around them and created channels inside the solid sea floor to pump air in and out of their hiding place. She wound down the Avatar State with very good control - something she would never take for granted again. Sensing she could still talk while maintaining the water bubble, she turned to face Katara, who looked like she wanted to help. “No, Katara, it’s fine - I’ve got the bubble. If I need a break from talking, Asami will take over so I can focus on the bubble and keeping a steady stream of air going. Don’t want to suffocate.”

And so Korra began explaining what happened in the Spirit World the day before in greater detail, taking a break from talking when Asami was reading the transcript from Iroh’s warnings and prophecies. She decided to feel the flow of the water as she maintained the bubble and the path of the wind through her breathing tubes to relieve some stress. It felt much better than the brute force bending she relied so heavily on. She finally saw what the White Lotus masters and Tenzin meant by “feeling the element” and connecting with it, rather than merely commanding it to obey her will.

Her eyes suddenly opened - and wondered why she had never tried to follow her tutor’s advice before. She felt as though she were flowing as water, and light as air. She was only knocked out of her reverie when Asami lightly tapped her leg, asking “Korra, did something bad happen? Why did you open your eyes like that? I finished talking for you, up until the point where I blacked out - I figured you might be busy talking to Raava or something.”

Korra chuckled lightly, answering, “I was just doing what my Sifus - Katara included - have been telling me to do for years: actually feel the elements I am bending instead of just figuratively yelling at them to obey my command.”

What had been a concerned expression on Katara’s face lightened. “Yes, it’s always good to listen to what your teacher has to tell you - and it sounds to me like Raava might be asking you to teach her more of humanity. I know the purpose of the Avatar is in large part to teach what Aang called the Avatar Spirit - what we now know to be in large part Raava - what it is like to be human.” Katara put her hand to her chin, and asked “Would that have anything to do with why you snickered earlier? It’s not nice to laugh at someone who is learning, much less someone who is part of you, and a very powerful spirit to boot.”

Yeah, that wasn’t very nice - now say you’re sorry, she heard Raava intone in her head, but not entirely seriously - it was almost as if she were practicing something. That was human-y, right Korra?

Korra just laughed, and said out loud “Yes to both of you,” after which Katara snickered slightly. Before she could start telling Katara more fully what happened after Asami blacked out, Raava had another question. What is that sound you humans keep making sometimes before or after you laugh? It sounds like you’re going to choke. Korra figured explaining humor to Raava would take a pretty long time, so she merely thought to herself “That’s complicated, and part of human humor - something very few people know how to explain well. I’ll try my hand at it later.”

This dual conversation was starting to wear on Korra, and she just wanted both to end. She told Katara all about the uncontrolled Avatar State she experienced, and the position it occurred in. After she had told Katara of where her left hand went, it looked like a lightbulb went off in Katara’s head.

Katara began, stating “So Asami told me that Iroh said that a great spirit would give someone a great gift - one that had never been given before. And you said that your left hand, pulsating with what could only be the energy of Raava, touched Asami roughly above her womb. It appears Raava has seen that you and Asami could never have a child naturally, and has seen fit to make this possible in an unknown manner. It would appear that Raava values you very highly, Korra - this sounds like something she hasn’t done since the days of the first Avatar, Avatar Wan.”

Korra had a familiar feeling again, and let herself be subsumed immediately instead of resisting - she knew that Raava would not hurt Katara, much less Asami. Korra felt the great white spirit begin to speak through her chest. “Yes, Katara, you are correct - Korra has achieved much in her lifetime, as your son Tenzin told her directly. I have also seen sacrifices made by humans, such as that of Hiroshi Sato, Asami’s father, and also the bravery exhibited by your eldest granddaughter, Jinora. The world would likely have fallen to the darkness and madness of Vaatu had she not re-united me with Korra, or if Korra had not relied upon her own essence instead of mine when I was weak. These reasons, and others, are why I have decided to push for individuals - spirit or human - to be judged based on their worth and merits and not simply by the status of immortal or mortal. Given that Korra made the choice to reverse Avatar Wan’s original decision on the Spirit Portals ten thousand years ago, and allow human and spirit to mingle freely once more… Change must occur to prevent atrocities such as those committed by Kuvira the ‘Great Uniter’ against the physical spirit vines - or those plotted by Long Yumao the Opportunist against humans and those spirits who do not despise mortals.” Korra could feel her own consciousness resume primacy once more as she heard Raava finish “That is all.”

And Avatar, the Spirit World meeting is still on, though substantially shortened - I did not anticipate speaking so long. An energy pushed me on, as I saw the glittering eyes of Asami and Katara - a distinctly human-y energy. The spirit’s voice paused momentarily. Was it… pride? Korra still did not understand Raava fully, but she did remember how the comment from Tenzin had made her feel, and what it meant to her. “Yes, I believe so,” she thought to herself - or more accurately, Raava.

How far the world has come since the days of Avatar Wan…

Korra shook her head slightly - she could have sworn that Raava’s thoughts and her own were as one for that sentence alone. She turned to face Asami and Katara, and suddenly realized she was feeling tired - not exhausted like last night, but she could definitely benefit from a short rest. No - she wanted to do something else first, she thought, winking at Asami.

“I thought my involvement with the spirits would be done when Aang passed on - shows me what I know.” Katara must have seen the slight rings under Korra’s eyes, as she stated “Korra, you look like you could use some sleep, and I think Raava made plenty clear what has happened, and why. I will talk to Mako about what has happened here, and as you ‘expand the circle of trust’, as Raava had told you, let me know who to fill in.” Katara looked to Korra’s arms, and noticed they were slowing in their motions - something Korra had just now noted herself. “Korra, let me take control of the water bubble, and you can get us back to where we were before. If you’re careful with your earthbending you might even be able to put the tiles back in the right place.”

Korra managed a slight smile. After they returned in the way they came back to Air Temple Island and Korra had sensed Mako’s position, she told Katara where he was - thankfully, alone along the north side of Air Temple Island, on the shore near a fire he had bent. Upon hearing of the fire, Katara’s face lit up, and she said “Good - maybe that fire will get out the water I miss. I didn’t tell you, but you started letting the bubble down a little at the end, my dear,” as she bent the moisture out of all three’s hair and clothing.

After Katara left, Korra and Asami returned to Tenzin’s artifact room. Looking at Asami, she felt a rush of something that told her she wasn’t tired anymore. She had never felt this feeling before, and although it was similar to the many adrenaline rushes she had felt over the years, adrenaline never made her feel like losing control. And… grabbing Asami’s butt? Or her chest? She couldn’t quite put the name on this feeling, but she was really liking it.

She managed to splurt out, as they entered the room, “Asami, close that door. There’s something I want to do, and badly.” She could feel an odd grin forming on her face, all the while staring intently at Asami’s shapely rear end as she went to shut the door.

Asami must have known something Korra didn’t about facial expressions, as when Asami turned around, her cheeks flushed almost completely, and she began pouting her lips. This just made Korra more… what?

“Looks like somebody wants to pick up where we left off yesterday, before that … interruption.” Asami smiled, putting her hands at the bottom of her vest, which she began to unbutton and remove, revealing her shirt underneath. As Asami finally began removing her shirt, Korra felt one of her hands shoot a blast of air that knocked her own off.

Asami stopped suddenly, looking at Korra’s increasingly sweaty body, fixating on Korra’s chest. She could barely hear Asami as she said “Now, no really funny business - I may be pregnant, but I don’t want someone, Raava forbid Tenzin, walking in on us - going all out with each other,” over the sound of her own increasingly heavy breathing.

Korra managed to mumble “Sure, yeah, whatever.” Asami seemed to buy it, since she came closer, and lightly touched her bare shoulder. Korra felt a shiver shoot up her spine, like lightning.

Unable to stand it any longer, Korra dropped to the floor, rolled over, grabbed Asami by the waist and drug her down on top of her. She felt all kinds of new sensations through her body, and made to grab at Asami’s butt. Her hand lay outstretched over her partner’s rear now, and Asami giggled, rolling so that both were on their sides. She then pressed into Korra’s face, kissing her on the lips.

Suddenly, she felt a rush of the same feeling she had felt what seemed like so long ago, during the failed vacation - love. This feeling tempered what she now remembered her father had called “lust”, and she no longer had any intention of pushing too hard on Asami to do a lot more than what they were currently doing. Korra grinned mischievously, though - she still wanted to push a little.

Asami muttered dreamily “I always wanted to do this…” as she rolled once more, putting Korra staring up into her beautiful face again.

With but a little input from her, her hands began making bending motions - she was going to take off those cursed straps -bras - around their upper bodies that kept them from fully physically touching. Both her own and Asami’s metal bra clasps began to move, and Korra could tell she had a mesmerized look on her face.

She was shocked to feel the slap - it was light, but still stung. Asami pushed away from her, leaving her on the floor alone. She didn’t like being alone - not when she got so close…

“HEY! I told you, no really funny business - I was fine with everything up to your sneak attempt to undo my bra. It’s not that I don’t feel the same way for you - just not here.” Asami paused, lowering herself back over Korra. She noticed Asami’s eyes glittering, and her cute mouth grinned wildly. She put out a finger, and began tracing Korra’s collarbone. “That’s what mansions are for, silly.”

Asami and Korra both burst out laughing, seemingly laughing harder than they ever had in their lives. Her mouth opened so far her jaw hurt.

Korra suddenly felt like doing nothing more than just cuddling next to Asami - she felt tired enough for a short nap. Even though Asami wasn’t sleepy, she seemed glad to join Korra for a close slumber.

As Korra drifted off to sleep, she mumbled, “I regret nothing.”

Neither do I, Korra. Sweet dreams, young Avatar.

~-~
Logged

Additional datapoints acquired. Additional animated stories viewed. Directive: adjust opinion... adjusting...
First eyes, a treasure. New eyes, end with a pretentious blink, own vision eclipses.
Book 5:Humanity, aka: Freedom's First Writ
Freedom153
Never Gonna Give Yue Up

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That Could Have Been Executed Better


« Reply #6 on: Dec 30, 2014 12:18 am »

Chapter 6: Unanticipated Success
~-~

Tenzin had been meditating for what seemed like hours. He got over his anger at his mother pretty quickly - he realized the point wasn’t whether or not he trusted Kai with his eldest daughter, but whether she wanted to be with him or not. He remembered tales of his parent’s youth, and they hung around some worse characters at times - the amoral Jet that had gotten his own mother’s fancy temporarily was far worse than Kai, after all.

The real reason he stayed meditating was he desperately wanted to finally enter the Spirit World legitimately, as Korra, his father and even his own daughter had done - no walking through a portal. Though he had failed many times before, Tenzin held hope that the newly opened Republic City Spirit Portal’s proximity would help him in his quest.

So far, though, he had little to no luck, though he did keep feeling odd spiritual energy emanating from the portal’s direction - something that reminded him of Vaatu. “Isn’t he supposed to be severely weakened? This makes no sense,” he thought to himself, accidentally interrupting his meditation. He shifted his stance, attempting to regain his composure.

Suddenly, he felt that strange energy intensify. A strange spirit’s voice began drolly saying “You’re more perceptive than you think, human,” sounding vaguely displeased. The presence subsided, but not completely.

Not quite sure what to make of this, he shifted his tactics from general meditation to focused contemplation. Taking a technique from Korra’s book, he focused on a specific person’s energy - his daughter’s. “Breathe in, and breathe out. Let your mind be as a leaf on the wind…”

Suddenly, he felt a very odd sensation - as though he were no longer inside his own house, but still in the physical world. He looked down at the ground, and noticed something very odd - he was blue!

Suddenly realizing what this meant, he cried out “By the spirits, I’m projecting myself! I thought I would go into the spirit world before this…” He heard a girl and a boy yelling in alarm behind him. He suddenly realized who they must be. “Jinora? Kai? Come around front, I literally just figured out how to do this, and don’t want to risk moving.” He saw his daughter run around the edge of his vision, dragging Kai behind her.

His daughter’s reply shocked him - there must have been a reason she didn’t come out front. His mind raced back to his conversation with the two late last night, and his row with Katara this morning. Jinora simply said, “I don’t care if you just learned to project - I’m not talking to you until you apologize to Kai for what you said yesterday, and to me for meddling in my affairs so much. I’m rapidly approaching adulthood, and want - ”

Tenzin sighed deeply, with regret and disappointment - in himself. He felt himself turn to face Kai and Jinora as he uttered the words “I am sorry. To you both.”

Had he not known doing so would likely sever the connection, he would have laughed at the expressions on both their faces - Kai and Jinora were in complete shock. Tenzin continued “I had an argument with your grandmother today, Jinora, about you and Kai, and after meditating on her words I came to realize she was right. She told me what I am doing was the equivalent of her forcing me to stay with Lin Beifong, and that it isn’t fair of me to try to closely control who you show affections for.” As he thought of what he wanted to say to Kai, he found his body pivoting once again, to face the boy. “And Kai, I am sorry if I have allowed your past actions to cloud my judgment. I had forgotten the lessons of my father’s youth - to cast you aside would be the equivalent of my father refusing Zuko’s pleads to join his team.” As soon as he had finished talking, he saw a gleam in Kai’s eye - as if he had spotted some scattered, ownerless gold coins.

Kai picked up a small rock, and began spinning it in a small ball of air, still looking at Tenzin. “So, Tenzin, does that mean I can kiss Jinora?”

Tenzin couldn’t help but blurt out an emotional “NO!”, and much to his surprise he did not get booted back to his house. Relaxing a little, he laughed as Jinora slapped Kai lightly in the face. She scolded him, “I’m the one with the airbending tattoos, so I’ll decide when we kiss!” She gave Kai a withering glare. “And that’s a little bit too much to be asking of my father, a man who only just now confessed he no longer sees you as a little airbending thief.” Tenzin could not help but approve of his daughter’s attitude - she wasn’t some gold statue to be snatched from a mansion. Wait - if Kai wasn’t a little thief, why did he keep thinking this way? He shook his head slightly.

“Well, whatever you two decide to do, make sure it doesn’t go beyond kissing for now. I don’t want to be a grandfather just yet.” He sighed deeply, as though some burden had been lifted off his soul. His image vanished, leaving only the two young perplexed airbenders behind.

Instead of returning to his house, he suddenly found himself in the middle of a large grove of trees surrounded by randomly distributed pools. He did not find the place familiar at all. He heard a strange voice behind him, that sounded human, but not entirely. The older male voice calmly stated “I found that letting go of control can be very helpful in accessing the Spirit World, and I see you are no different. Your block wasn’t spiritual, Tenzin - it was emotional.”

Not feeling entirely comfortable turning to face the voice, Tenzin asked “Who are you, and exactly where am I? This place looks awfully earthlike to me.” The owner of the voice appeared before him, and he looked awfully familiar. Wait… could it be?

Tenzin could feel his jaw drop, and nearly bit his tongue as he closed it again so he could speak. “Are you… Uncle Iroh? My father’s best friend and loyal ally, Zuko’s uncle?” The older man laughed in a familiar way. Tenzin could have sworn he had once met him in his youth, before Iroh passed. “Yes, Tenzin, I am Uncle Iroh. Congratulations on finally achieving your ambition of entering the Spirit World through meditation, and not physically. You should know, it is very rare for any mortal other than the Avatar to successfully enter in this way - you should be very proud of both yourself and your daughter.” Iroh smiled warmly, and put a hand on Tenzin’s shoulder.

He noticed Iroh tense up at the same time his own body froze. That energy from earlier… it was close. Iroh started frowning deeply, and he slapped his hand on his forehead. “Oh, not again! Not another person’s spirit trip ruined! When will he quit poking his big beak where it’s not welcome?” Tenzin was about to ask Iroh just what spirit he was talking about, but then a large shimmering mass appeared behind the old firebender. Tenzin swore he could see undulating purple and black, and small points of a familiar sickly yellow light as the spirit took complete form.

Even before the spirit was completely finished appearing, it began to speak. “Ugh, another mortal tourist?” The spirit finally stopped shimmering so much, having fully materialized, but the undulating colors on the upper portion of its hide did not stop. Behind the spirit’s serious face, bizarre long twin feathers, large grey-black beak and piercing unsettling yellow eyes, he saw a substantial serpentine body. While the bottom of this spirit was colored much the same as its beak, except lighter, the upper half of its body was mainly black, except for one detail Tenzin found very disturbing - the black pulsed erratically with large, continuously moving patches of an uncomfortably familiar purple that had even more unsettling red eye-shaped spots in their center. A large mane lined the top and part of the bottom of the spirit, its color pulsating in a mix between the sickly yellow of the spirit’s eyes and the red that caused Tenzin so much alarm.

Had the spirit possessed a mouth, it might have smiled. It turned to a visibly shaken Iroh, and clacked its powerful beak menacingly, starting to laugh in - yet again - an eerily familiar fashion.  The spirit began talking with a cool hatred, saying “Yes, Iroh - in case you haven’t noticed since our last encounter, I have grown substantially. I do not yet enjoy the support of as many spirits as I would like, but Raava’s little party trick with her host and that other mortal woman has upset plenty of sensible spirits. As more spirits join my side, my power only grows. You are lucky only great spirits can truly harm another spirit.” The spirit started cackling wildly as it turned to face him, and Tenzin finally realized what its oddly modified voice reminded him of - the same bone-chilling laughter of Vaatu. “What is the meaning of this, spirit? I thought Vaatu was the size of a teapot now, contained inside Raava!” This just made the spirit laugh even harder, all the various frightening and sickening colors intensifying, pulsating unnervingly in rhythm with the malicious laughter.

The spirit zoomed closer to Tenzin’s face, its beak narrowly avoiding his own nose, as it began to speak once more. “Vaatu himself may be weak, now, but that doesn’t mean there are no darkened spirits - your father encountered a partially transformed spirit in his youth, decades before Harmonic Convergence’s occurrence. A pity Hei-Bai did not simply smash that village in a single fit of rage.” Tenzin heard a small sound, and he noticed more Dark Spirits now present in the grove. The large yellow eyes glittered again, in seemingly higher hatred - Tenzin wanted to get out, and fast.

“Oh, no you don’t, airbender. I may not be able to strike at Raava, but I can certainly hurt the Avatar - my friends here will see you do not leave.” Tenzin took a large step backwards, and as the large spirit began to open its mouth, Iroh ducked in front of Tenzin, who only managed to say “Shut your eyes, and brace yourself!”
----
Despite being half asleep, Korra felt her body sit up and roll Asami slightly to her side with no input of her own. She felt a very strange jerking motion, and her eyes begin to glow as she, seemingly in a dream, appeared in Xai Bau’s Grove once more.

Her now flexing limbs splayed out into a star pattern, in what she assumed to be a bizarre dream, and became aware of a nightmarish scene before her - a thousand piercing yellow eyes, and a substantial mass owning even larger eyes in front of her. Her own body, in the center of a very angry white spirit - Raava. Two humanoid figures behind her, seeking shelter behind the great white spirit’s pulsating form. Her body took a deep breath of its own accord, and she saw a large white and blue beam shoot at the largest spirit, who moved his large body with unnatural speed, letting a lesser Dark Spirit take the blast instead. She saw the energy strike its unintended target with a sense of mute horror, and obliterate the spirit, leaving many small, normal copies of itself behind, about a quarter of which immediately turned dark again.

The last thing she felt before this weirdly specific dream ended was Raava’s energy tossing the two figures behind her with great force.

Korra rubbed her forehead, and muttered “Knew… I… shouldn’t have eaten… that… old sea-prune… stew…” before collapsing back onto Asami, half remembering a bad day of her childhood. “Wait a minute - I haven’t eaten Water Tribe food in ages. Just what was that?” she asked herself silently, staring at the ceiling before her eyes shut completely a short time later.

You’ll find out soon enough.

----

Tenzin opened his eyes slightly with a start, and felt immense relief - he was apparently back in his own home. He heard a sound that made him immediately doubt that, however, and fell backwards to the floor when he saw who was standing in front of him.

“I don’t know why Long Yumao hates humans and Raava so much. What, did a former Avatar use him as a plaything or something?” Despite Tenzin’s expression of disbelief and gaping jaw, Iroh laughed lightly, and wondered aloud “Did they play serpentball, or spin-the-spirit?” and began laughing harder. He suddenly became serious again, and said “Though a Spirit Civil War is no laughing matter.”

Tenzin pointed a finger at Iroh in shock. “Iroh, you’re a spirit now - just how in the name of the spirits are you here with me now?” Iroh stepped forward, and ran his hand through Tenzin’s legs. Tenzin let out a small yelp. Iroh said “After Korra opened the spirit portals, all spirits could come and go as they pleased - I just never had a real concrete motivator to leave the spirit world until now. However, since I was famous in my lifetime, too many people - especially your mother and Zuko - would recognize me, so I will need to find a new temporary home. I want nothing to do with the spirit world - not after that - until Long Yumao the Opportunist is dealt with.” Iroh smiled slightly, and vanished through a wall.

Something Iroh had just said itched at Tenzin’s mind - “Spirit Civil War.” Tenzin had never been one for total guesswork or ancient accounts, but that had an eerily familiar ring to it - it sounded an awful lot like what Avatar Wan had to deal with between humans and spirits before closing the portals. He also had some scrolls in his study talking about contention amongst spirits - observations about the affairs of the Spirit World from airbender scholars that had miraculously survived for thousands of years inside an arid cave.

After Tenzin ran to his artifact room and opened the door he couldn’t help the shocked expression on his face at what he saw - and he had the uneasy feeling that was exactly the wrong expression to have if he didn’t want a fireball shot at him. He could only manage, as the two girls stirred from their slumber, to ask “Korra? Asami? What are you doing here?” He looked at the floor, and his cheeks turned a deep red. Were those… their shirts? He pointed at one, and began to say “It’s certainly not to study”, and just managed to dodge the spurt of flame aimed near his feet.

~-~

Korra was just finally reaching a deeper sleep again when the doors to the artifact room burst open. After all this time in relative darkness, she couldn’t make out who was there very well. A voice began talking, asking “Korra? Asami? What are you doing here?” Korra had an unpleasant realization - it was Tenzin! If he decided to go running to anyone but Mako or Katara, the whole circle of trust plan would fall to pieces. She saw him eyeing their discarded clothes with mounting alarm - and the face he was making pushed her over the edge.

As he began saying “It’s certainly not to study”, Korra cut him short with a small spurt of flame between the feet. He was quicker than her own still-slightly sleepy self. Ignoring his now horrified expression, Korra shook off the last of her sleepiness, and jumped to her feet, forming a fairly large fire in her right hand. “What are you doing here, Tenzin? And just what was the meaning of that expression you had earlier?!?” she snarled, adding “This wasn’t how it was supposed to work!” desperately.

“KORRA! What are you doing? Put down that fire right now - it’s just Tenzin!” a female voice said from the floor. She felt a well-placed kick on her bottom, and she fell forward face-first. Face now blushing hotter than the now-extinguished flame, she managed to squeak out “Hey, Tenzin! Fancy meeting you here…” as she scraped her chin on the floor to look up to him. She braced for the inevitable angry lecture about proper use of firebending, and to be more careful around so many priceless artifacts. Tenzin surprised her - he almost looked ready to cry in sadness.

Tenzin turned his downcast eyes to Korra, who was still looking up at him awkwardly from the floor. After wiping his eyes slightly, Tenzin said mutely “Korra, you have to know I would never judge you or reject you over anything, much less who you want to be with. I may be hard on you at times, but airbenders were - and still are, to a large extent - renowned for their open-mindedness and compassion. Your hostility hurts me more than if your fire had hit its mark.”

Korra was still shaking slightly on the floor in anger and embarrassment - anger at Asami for the kick and for her own foolish reaction to Tenzin, and the remnants of the embarrassment of one of her best teachers and friends finding her in such a … position. Asami, now standing, bent over to take Korra’s hand and lift her off the floor. Before Asami could say anything, Korra said directly to Tenzin “I’m sorry for my reaction, Tenzin. I just need you to understand the importance for secrecy regarding our unconventional relationship, and why that made me panic and act so hostile.” She bowed deeply to Tenzin.

He bowed back, stating “Apology accepted, Korra.” A smile lit up his face, and he pointed to a pot full of scrolls. “I think I know something that will make you two feel better. Here, let me grab a special scroll quickly.” He rummaged through the pot, finding a scroll with Air Nomad markings that looked as though it had barely survived Sozin’s genocide - she could see charred segments.

Tenzin brought the scroll to Asami and Korra, and pointed to an unmarred section. “Most of this scroll is of no consequence to anyone but the most serious Air Nomad scholar - even I fell asleep reading parts of it. I could only imagine Zaheer would be interested in its entirety. Anyways - it is a list of decrees and findings by various Air Nomad scholars and leaders over time, and this is the one I found most relevant.” He pointed to a block of script with a red pencil’s markings surrounding it. “As my ‘apology’ for bursting in on what was clearly a private affair, allow me to read it to you - just sit down with your girlfriend Asami, Korra. I have a feeling you’ll really like this.”

Before Korra could ask some smart-alecky question like “Is it the guy who never ate finally eating?” or “Is it sexy?”, Tenzin began reading. He dropped into a more serious tone than usual - if that was even possible - and began saying “It has not escaped the notice of the elder monks and Air Nomad leadership that some individuals in our communities do not seek the company of members of the opposite sex during the short window we Air Nomads allow for intercourse, nor has it escaped our notice that these same individuals will act with one another in a decidedly non-platonic fashion outside of this time.” Korra could feel her curiosity growing by the word. “The assembled scholars have agreed that in the name of compassion and empathy, that these relationships are not to be disrupted, as they might be in the other three nations. Furthermore, these relationships shall be allowed to exist in their full capacity - including intercourse, of its kind - all the time, as these woman on woman and man on man pairings have no potential for producing a family unit that might supersede the primacy of Air Nomad culture and community. Their relationships shall from henceforth be known as ‘another way for the wind to blow’, without any of the derogatory remarks present in the other three nation’s vocabulary.”

Though the writing was dry, Korra found what it said to be more liberating than when she busted loose of Zaheer’s chains, and based on her look, Asami felt even more relief. Korra felt some tears coming to her eyes, as she asked Tenzin happily “You mean we’re not alone? And that a whole NATION saw homosexual relationships as not only acceptable, but equal to norma- I mean, heterosexual ones?” Tenzin laughed, and said “From what I have read further on the subject, some of the Air Nomad leaders actually found same-sex relationships to be less troubling - no potential for an untimely baby or ‘subversive’ family unit formation.”
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Book 5:Humanity, aka: Freedom's First Writ
Freedom153
Never Gonna Give Yue Up

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That Could Have Been Executed Better


« Reply #7 on: Dec 30, 2014 12:19 am »

(Continued due to character limit)

Korra could see Asami blush at the same time as she felt her own cheeks fill with blood. “Yeah, about the baby part, Tenzin…” Asami began explaining, as Tenzin looked at her with increasing surprise. Both she and Asami started unleashing a veritable tide of words, explaining everything that happened in the Spirit World, and what Katara thought had occurred. When the name Long Yumao came up, Tenzin looked uncharacteristically uneasy. Once he felt that both women had talked their share, Tenzin put his hands on both their shoulders.

“You mention this ‘Long Yumao’ spirit… I believe I now have something to tell you.” Korra could see his unease rising. “To keep the story short, after the argument with my mother this morning, I meditated. At first only on what she said - which I eventually realized was wholly true.” Korra couldn’t help but let her jaw drop open slightly. “I managed to accidentally project myself to where Jinora and Kai were by focusing on Jinora’s energy. I told them both about the conversation I had with Katara, giving my support to Jinora to make her own choices. When I finished, I felt as if a large burden had been lifted from my soul.”

Korra hugged Tenzin, looking up to his face, and said “That’s great! You can project yourself just like your daughter can now.” Korra felt a frown form on her face. “What does that have to do with Long Yumao?” Tenzin shivered slightly, continuing “Apparently, the control I had attempted to exert over Jinora had served as a block to entering the Spirit World properly - through meditation.” As Tenzin explained his encounter with Iroh, Korra felt a smile return to her face - only to be replaced by a look of abject horror as he described Long Yumao’s new appearance, size, and how many spirits were following him. She suddenly remembered her bizarre dream, and realized it was no sleepy hallucination.

She began to cry out of fear and uncertainty, tightening her hug around Tenzin, who let out an audible grunt. “Easy, Korra! You’re a lot stronger than you think - physically, emotionally and spiritually.” What Korra felt to be false, placating words only made her - and now Asami, who was also now hugging Tenzin - start to weep more bitterly. Korra cried, “This is all our fault! If me and Asami hadn’t gone into that stupid portal…” Tenzin let out a deep sigh.

 “By the spiri- I mean, Raava. Can’t really say the first now, can I… You are right to be somewhat fearful. This does not sound good, Korra.” Korra still could not completely wipe away her fear, but her tears began to subside. Korra saw Tenzin extend his hand, and blow the tears off her own cheeks, as well as Asami’s.  “Korra, this is not your fault; it sounds as if Raava wanted this to happen - for the spirits to start treating us more reasonably, if not in some cases as equals. This Spirit Civil War is just a nasty side effect - growing pains the world must go through to enter a brighter future. On the other note -you said yourself  Raava now sees yin and yang as Iroh does, through no small help on your own part. This other wonderful event is both something for us to celebrate as a group for its own sake, and a catalyst for the other change.” Tenzin pushed both Korra and Asami away from him slightly. “Though Iroh is probably right that no one we cannot trust should know. Especially Asami’s pregnancy.”

Korra felt herself stand up straight again, and sniffed slightly - the last sign of her earlier outburst. “Thank you for all your kind words and helpful information, Tenzin. I need to wash up, and …” Korra’s eyes opened in a slight panic. “Tenzin, quick, help Asami and I get our clothes back on. It would be really awkward if someone walked in on us like this.” Korra was just helping Asami finish buttoning her overcoat back on as she heard the sounds of running, and panicked breath. “Looks like we’re not a moment too soon,” Korra groaned. Tenzin hurriedly stuffed the scroll back into its pot as the footsteps approached.

Bumi was running as hard as he could towards the trio, seemingly forgetting he was an airbender now. Bumi was being trailed by his little spirit friend, Bumju - who looked a bit whiter than normal. Bumi began talking rapidly when he reached his brother. “Bumju says a big mean spirit tried to insult him for hanging out with humans, and that he can’t remember anything after that! Can you help him?” Bumju let out a sequence of shrills and high-pitched squeaks, and Bumi told the spirit “What do you mean you’re perfectly fine! Now why don’t you tell me the real reason I ran halfway across Air Temple Island.” Bumju made motions mimicking those of an airbender’s, and Bumi slapped himself in the face. “Why didn’t you tell me I should have just airbent my way over here!” Bumi crossed his arms, pouting. “Whatever. Won’t wear my sweater, and now all this nonsense.” Korra noticed Bumju coming to her.

She reached out to touch the spirit, intending to tussle it - it was very cute, after all, and seemed to want her attention. Instead, she heard a high little voice in her head when she made contact. It said “Hi, Avatar! Can you help me? I was trying to warn Bumi about a war that I don’t understand, but he wouldn’t listen.” Korra found herself talking to the spirit, much as Bumi would have, asking “Can you show me what happened?” As she felt herself beginning to fade, she could hear Bumi yell “Hey! Korra, you already have a spirit friend, and Bumju’s mine!” She felt her eyes glow slightly, and her palm shot up to meet Bumi’s forehead, holding a wildly grabbing Bumi back from her and Bumju.

----

As the Avatar, Korra had plenty of experience with the sensation of another, more powerful being inhabiting her own body. Now, though, the feeling was reversed - here she was, watching the small spirit’s memory of what had happened as the more powerful and wiser presence. She couldn’t help but wonder if this was part of what being a parent or Raava felt like.

As she fully came to, watching a stilled Spirit World through Bumju’s eyes, she heard his high little voice again. “I was just minding my own business, Avatar, when a big mean spirit came and started talking bad about me and Bumi.” The scene in front of her unfroze, and she saw a visibly incensed Long Yumao rise before Bumju, as though he had just lost some quarry he desperately desired to catch. She remembered what had just occurred to Tenzin, and as she said “Bumju, this is Long Yumao, and you were right to call him mean - he doesn’t like spirits who tolerate, much less like humans, and despises humans as well,” she noticed the scene had frozen again. She took the opportunity to study his features, and she confirmed what Tenzin had said - Long Yumao certainly had a lot of hateful and wrathful energy in him that reminded her of Vaatu’s, but it lacked something - chaos. Korra suddenly understood this new adversary’s nature better - he wanted order, much like Kuvira, but saw spirits ruling humanity with an iron fist instead of a human - Kuvira - doing so. Though even Kuvira had made no pretense to try and rule spirits outright…

She could sense Bumju was confused, much in the same way she was when Raava wouldn’t tell her something. “Sorry, Bumju, I was just thinking to myself that this big mean spirit is an awful lot like two individuals I have already met - one spirit, one human. Bet he wouldn’t like me telling him that last bit.” Korra tried to smile, but found she couldn’t - she felt as featureless as Raava. “Anyways, show me the part where you stopped remembering - I may be able to see what you couldn’t.”

The frozen image before her resumed motion once more, with Long Yumao snarling “Hello, little spirit. I’ve heard that others make fun of you for how close you are to that clown of a mortal, Bumi - they say it’s not proper for humans and spirits to be friends.” Korra saw many yellow eyes appear behind Long Yumao, sheltered in darkness. “They wonder whose side you are on - spirit, or human - along with that traitor, Raava. You must have heard the rumors of her favoritism, and that… gift she gave her lackey.” Korra was surprised when she encountered what appeared to be an inner block that stopped her from becoming angry. Bumju chimed in, “This is where I forget what happened.”

Korra could sense the normally peaceful spirit growing very angry, and she sensed Bumju’s body growing in size, to occupy the form he took under Unalaq’s influence. Something was off compared to that terrible time, however - Bumju was a striking white-blue instead of the evil color he was temporarily all those years ago.

All of a sudden, she heard a very familiar voice - but one that had obviously caused Bumju much confusion, and was possibly the cause of his lapse of memory.

Interesting, my first convert - I didn’t expect this so soon, a voice whispered into what she assumed was Bumju’s consciousness. What she knew to be Raava continued, You need to get out of here, Bumju. Just focus on Bumi’s energy, and I’ll help with the rest.

Before doing that, however, Bumju grabbed a surprised Long Yumao by the eyefeathers and began spinning him around, eventually letting him go, sending the enraged spirit sailing over the horizon. Not quite what I had in mind, but that will do. She could feel Bumju shrinking back to normal size, and focusing on Bumi. The small spirit vanished just in time, before the multitude of Dark Spirits that had been behind Long Yumao crashed onto the spot where he had once been.

She heard Bumju’s high voice asking her, “So what happened? Did a fight happen? I don’t like fighting.” Korra told him what had happened, and told him he had been very brave to grab onto Long Yumao like that. The spirit then asked her “And why am I whiter?” Korra did not have an immediate response, so she returned both of them to the physical world, from the spirit’s memory.

Now you have some idea of what it feels like to be me, Avatar, and vice versa. Maybe you will be a bit more sympathetic to my occasional slipup.Raava continued, with what felt like a small amount of budding human emotion, Bumju is whiter than he was because, in standing up for “his” human, he aligned himself with my will. I hope he will prove valuable in this coming Spirit Civil War, especially as one of my first converts, even if he doesn’t like fighting much.

Korra began to explain this to Bumju, letting Bumi fall flat on his face. After she was finished, she noticed everyone but Bumju giving her a very strange look - almost as if she had been speaking gibberish. Bumi stared with wide eyes, telling her “I’ve never seen a human speak Bumju’s language before - I didn’t think it was possible.” He put his hands on his hips, and with considerable jealousy said “Now that you’re done with my Bumju, want to explain what happened in there?” When Korra got to the part where Bumju tossed Long Yumao like a sack of potatoes, Bumi started laughing hysterically, and grabbed Bumju, saying “That’s my boy!”

 Instead of an angry trill like Korra expected, as Bumju did not like fighting, he merely squealed contentedly. The same unknown part of her mind that had apparently let her verbally speak to Bumju translated it as “I may not like fighting, but I will gladly follow you into battle, Avatar, if it means protecting Bumi and his human friends.” She started smiling at the same time as Bumi, who picked Bumju up into the air, and said  “You’re darn right, soldier - the real reason humans fight in wars is rarely for an ideology, but for their comrades or loved ones.” Bumi fished in his pockets, and produced a sufficiently gaudy medal, looping its string around Bumju’s neck. Bumi yelled, with a dramatic flair “I now pronounce Bumju Commander of the first Spirit Battalion! Now, Bumju, if you’re going to command, I’ll need to tell you -” A sudden blast of air knocked Bumi off his feet, and Bumju simply trilled and began flying again.

“Brother, I won’t have you trying to militarize your own spirit buddy! Now take that ridiculous thing off him - I have a feeling that Raava can handle orders just fine, being an all-powerful spirit and all,” Tenzin barked. Bumi stood back up, and looked like he was going to ask another stupid question - probably involving why Tenzin had been with Asami and Korra before he ran up. Predictably, Bumi started, pointing at Korra, asking “And just what were you three doing before I came? It certainly didn’t seem like you were talking about the weather.”

Korra vaguely considered earthbending a small wave of earth at Bumi’s feet as Toph had once done to her, but stopped short - she was no grouch. She started telling Bumi about the coming Spirit Civil War, making careful to avoid anything to do with the “gift” from Raava or her and Asami. Bumi put his hand to his chin, with a concerned look on his face. “I know that reconstruction has not yet begun on Republic City, but it might be wise to declare a control zone around the portal. I don’t want any nonbenders entering and being abducted by Long Yumao, or any hotheaded benders stirring up the spirits inside any more than they already are.” Bumi turned to Korra, with an increasingly uncharacteristically serious look on his face. “The Northern and Southern Spirit Portals are not extremely close to any large human populations, Korra, so I do not think you need to do what I am about to suggest with those portals. I know this goes against what you did after Harmonic Convergence four years ago, Korra, but if the infighting between spirits becomes too great and begins to manifest around the new portal, you may need to shut down the Republic City Spirit Portal.”

He brings up a very good point, Korra, but I believe that point in time is very far off. It was good to have such a knowledgeable advisor, now that she was more used to the formerly practically mute spirit’s increasing presence.

Korra responded “Raava does not believe that is necessary just yet - it has only been a single day since the portal’s opening after all, and closing it would lead people to question my decision to keep any Spirit Portal open in the first place.” She turned, addressing both a surprised Tenzin and smiling Bumi at the same time. “I have other business I need to attend to, and would appreciate you both leaving me and Asami be.” After Bumi rushed off after a freewheeling Bumju, Korra whispered to Tenzin “If it’s alright with you, I would like to make your artifact room Asami and I’s ‘secret’ bedroom until things settle down a little.” Tenzin gave her a slightly distrustful look. “And I promise, no more elemental bending inside the room.” The look persisted. Korra mumbled, “Or the other kind of bending.” With this final promise, Tenzin told her, “Yes, you can stay in the artifact room - you’ll need to wait until more private quarters are available to carry out any… other activities, I’m afraid.”

After Tenzin left, Korra told Asami “Just wait here and doodle on your design pad until I come back - it may be a while.” Korra stopped for a moment, and suggested “Perhaps some long-term project you can work on when your pregnancy becomes a hindrance to your agility, and you no longer can fight as well. I’d hate for you or the…” Korra paused, the reality of the situation finally beginning to hit home. “… baby. To be harmed. Love you.” She opened a window in the back so Asami would have a light to work by, and quickly left the room.

As she stepped out into the sunlight once more, one name entered her mind - Jinora. Before she tried to read Jinora’s location, she thought to herself, in a way not much different than Bumju had when she was observing his memory, “How can I tell if she’s circle-of-trust material, for sure? Raava, you mentioned that you would help in any way you could - care to give me any specifics?” She heard Raava intone, seemingly pleased, If you can get me close enough, I should be able to judge her through your physical touch - though I doubt there will be anything wrong with a girl who once saved me. Raava made something that closely resembled a laugh. Korra thought with a sense of relief , “You’re starting to get the hang of some of this ‘human-y’ stuff, Raava - and not just through your connection to me.” At first, the spirit had seemed somewhat dense regarding humans, but she could tell Raava was learning well from Korra.

You’re the first Avatar to try to directly teach me anything human-y, Korra - most of the other ones just taught me some important things not to do to or say to other humans with their own misadventures. Korra felt the spirit laugh again, this time much closer to a human’s, and saw a very brief flash of a laughing small girl with snow-white hair. I think I would be a lot less awkward if I had connection with our shared past lives again - but that’s something for later. As the spirit finished, Korra placed her hand on the ground, focusing on Jinora’s energy. She saw a vision of the young airbender sitting apparently alone, facing the sea - seemingly pondering something.

As Korra approached the spot she sensed Jinora sitting atop an air scooter, she saw a small form still facing the endless ocean. “Hey, Jinora!” Korra yelled, dismissing her air scooter. “Why the long face?” Seeing that Jinora was still reluctant to turn and face her, she added “Your father already told me about his little projection stunt. So I’m not here to ask you if you kissed Kai, or whatever you might think I am curious about.” She became more concerned when even this good-natured jab produced no reaction. Korra ran up to Jinora’s side, and used her waterbending to create a platform in front of Jinora that she could sit on and face Jinora directly.
As she finished sitting on the solid ice, she noticed Jinora had a very dark, concerned look on her face. Her head slowly rose, and she could see that Jinora had her eyes closed. Jinora gasped in shock, and opened her eyes, coughing violently. Jinora said, clearly concerned, “Korra! I was just in the Spirit World, trying to be peaceful and figure out why my dad had such a sudden change of heart about me and Kai, and some big Dark Spirit tried to spook me! He said ‘My name is Long Yumao, and you’re not welcome here - and now to do what I failed to do to your father!’ and I broke the connection instantly by instinct. You wouldn’t happen to know anything about that spirit, would you?” Jinora usually tried to remain relatively stoic, but Korra could hear the fear in her voice. Jinora started tapping her finger on the sand - half impatiently, half anxiously.

This spirit was really starting to make her mad. First, he refused to help defend Republic City, home to both humans and spirits, then threatens to have a malicious spirit steal her girlfriend’s face, insults Raava, attempts to do goodness knows what to Tenzin, bullies a much smaller spirit, and now threatens Jinora, a fourteen-year old? Korra felt an immense heat building in her chest, and faced up towards the afternoon sky. Eyes now glowing, she roared “Universe, WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?!?” as huge spouts of blue flame left her mouth and intense jets of the same strange blue fire shot from her hands.
   
So this is what pure, human righteous anger feels like. Korra suddenly remembered she wasn’t alone, and inhaled deeply, shutting off the seemingly infinite power of Raava and the Avatar State, leaving only a single orb of blue fire in her right hand. Jinora was staring at it, as if she were afraid the fire might take human form and try to kill her.
Logged

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First eyes, a treasure. New eyes, end with a pretentious blink, own vision eclipses.
Book 5:Humanity, aka: Freedom's First Writ
Freedom153
Never Gonna Give Yue Up

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Posts: 549


That Could Have Been Executed Better


« Reply #8 on: Dec 30, 2014 12:20 am »

(Continued due to character limit)

“Korra! What in the name of the spirits did you just do?!? You know that blue flame was the signature of one of my grandfather’s worst enemies, Princess Azula, right?” Korra heard an icy yelp in her head at mention of this Azula. A desperate look entered Jinora’s eyes. “Please tell me you aren’t going crazy like she did!” Korra sighed deeply, and walked towards Jinora, outstretching her left arm - Korra wasn’t done looking at that bizarre flame just yet. “Sorry about that, Jinora. No, I’m not going crazy, though I fear the world - specifically the spirits, just as you mentioned - may be. Raava’s been talking to me seemingly nonstop in the past 24 hours.” She noticed Jinora was still eyeing the flame, more so in curiosity than fear now. “I only have a vague idea where that flame came from, so I’m not going to dismiss it just yet. Here, let me sit at your right side, and I’ll explain more of what’s going on. Sound good?” The young airbender’s head bobbed up and down enthusiastically.

After Korra maneuvered carefully around Jinora, making sure to maintain the flame, she extended her arm to rest on Jinora’s right shoulder. Korra grunted in exertion as she tried to sit down properly from a standing position without letting that odd blue flame go out or crush Jinora into the sand. Korra told Jinora to sit still for a second so that Raava could finish reading the young airbender next to her.

Read completed. It is as I thought, Avatar - she is trustworthy. Her experience with her father’s disapproval of her relationship with Kai has made her very accepting of other’s relationships. Korra felt Raava re-center herself inside Korra’s chest. Before she could begin talking to Jinora, Jinora suddenly turned to her and said “What was that weird energy I just felt? It felt like something was judging my worth. Can you teach me how to do it? If you do, I’ll help you learn how to project yourself!” Jinora’s eyes shone brightly - she always was thirsting for knowledge.

Korra patted Jinora on the head, and said “No, sorry, kid - this appears to be Avatar only, unless Raava teaches me how to do it manually. I will, however, fill you in on what I said I would earlier.” And so, Korra began to spill all the details of the past 24 hours. Again. As she finished, Jinora said, “Wow! And I thought creating a new Spirit Portal was cool. You truly will be a legend, Korra.” Korra gave Jinora an odd look, and asked “Aren’t you worried at all? You know, about the Spirit Civil War, or what people will say once Asami gives birth to what will probably be a waterbender?” Jinora shrugged, and said “I figure nothing can be worse than Harmonic Convergence and Vaatu almost destroying the world.” Korra smiled at this young brazen optimist, and said “I wish some of your optimistic attitude would rub off on me or your dad. We can both be a bit pessimistic at times.”

Suddenly, Korra felt as though they were being watched. She yelled, “If that’s you, Long Yumao the ‘Opportunist’” -the last word in a goofy voice, making Jinora laugh - “I’ll wreck your - ” Stopping short, she realized the presence was no spirit - it was Opal. Korra stood up, facing the bushes and flaring the mesmerizing blue fire in her right hand at the same time, hoping to penetrate the darkness. Realizing that Opal had likely been listening in for some time, the flame flared larger under the influence of her rising anger. She asked loudly, noticing Jinora was quickly scooting away from her legs, “Just how long have you been listening in, you little sneak, and why didn’t you just come out?” The only sound she could hear was the cracklings of the fire in her right hand. “Don’t make me earthbend you out, you little eavesdropper - ”

Opal suddenly leapt from the bushes and simultaneously used one hand to shoot a powerful blast of air at Korra’s forehead and a leg to sweep a gust of wind from behind Korra, striking her knees. At just the right moment, when Korra was at her wobbliest, Opal used a powerful punch of air to hit her in the gut, breaking her flame and sending Korra tumbling backwards. She saw Opal’s face appear over her own shortly after, and Opal gloated “I may not be able to bend blue noble’s fire, but I can still knock you over. Now apologize to me.” Korra made a quick grab for Opal’s leg, catching her off guard, and the airbender joined Korra in the sand.

Read complete. Opal is also trustworthy - though I would suggest you treat your allies a little better. Korra thought with a whine, “Come on, that was just being… playful! Just a little good fun -” Don’t bother trying to lie to me, Korra. We both know you were furious at Opal. Now say sorry, before she notices the delay this unnecessary second half of our conversation has caused and thinks you’re crazy. Korra had to admit - Raava only continued to improve. She seemed less a clueless child now, and more an exasperatingly knowledgeable mother. Of course, that lie had been pretty weak, and the spirit wasn’t trying to read another human - she was just reading her vessel.

Returning her attention to the people around her, Korra shook the sand off her body and Opal’s, Korra said “I’m sorry, Opal - I just don’t like being stalked, and depending on how much you heard, the reason for that would be apparent.” Opal said “I’m sorry as well, Korra - based on what I heard and understood, it sounds like some very sinister spirit has something of a vendetta against you, and I shouldn’t have remained in the bushes so long.” Opal sighed slightly, and continued “Since I don’t know what I don’t know, you may as well start from the top.” Korra groaned slightly, and said aloud “Just one more to go after this,” and then told Opal everything she had been repeating so often lately.

Saving the most bizarre news for last, Opal giggled slightly when Korra mentioned that she had basically made Asami pregnant. Stepping back from Korra’s more-than-slightly angry frown, she just said “I already figured out that Mako knows about your relationship with Asami, but I can’t wait to see his reaction to that.” Korra laughed, and said “Too late - I told Katara to let him know what she figured out earlier. Sorry - I don’t think you’ll be seeing any shocked reactions from him.” Opal looked vaguely disappointed, and then she began talking again with a slight gleam in her eye. “Oooh! I know one person you haven’t told yet who should have a funny reaction - Bolin. Can I tag along to see his face?” Opal put her hands together in what had to be the most annoying way possible.

Seemingly without her input, Korra’s right hand formed a blue flame again, this time in the form of a small blue dagger. Korra yelled at Opal, the dagger growing slightly, “Do you think this gift from Raava is some sort of carnival freak show, or what? I do not find this funny at all!” She heard Jinora mumble “That looks an awful lot like one of Azula’s firebending forms!” Korra took a deep breath. The sickening fireblade vanished. Opal looked at Korra as if she were Kuvira. Korra began crying lightly, partly out of cumulative stress, partly out of guilt - and partly out of her ineptitude at controlling her emotions lately, crying included. “I’m sorry, Opal - the past few days have been extremely stressful, and in some ways I have been running on adrenaline for months now. If I am to master this ‘gift’ of blue fire, I will need to learn to control my emotions much better.” As she said this, an idea occurred to her - what if she tried to temper that volatile flame just like she had tempered her anger in the Spirit World, and the lust that was leading her to disrespect Asami’s wishes in the artifact room earlier today?

Korra motioned to Jinora and Opal to stand back, stating “Can you two step back for a second? I want to try something to control that flame.” Their overeager faces and unanimous reply of “Sure!” from both of them annoyed her - but only a little. Closing her eyes and taking a deep breath, she pointed her hands out towards the open sea. Korra tried to make the most violent and unruly flames that she could, thinking of Zaheer, Long Yumao and what Asami endured growing up. Based on the sounds of shooting jets, intense crackling and deep gasps from behind her, she had succeeded. Then, breathing deeply once more, she thought of Asami and her own love for her, opened her eyes, and the flames stopped behaving wildly. Both had shrunk to manageable blue bushes, no longer striking violently across the ocean’s surface. Examining her now upturned palms, she could have sworn she saw multiple colors at the base, but she was satisfied with blue.

“Test completed. You may now approach me again,” she announced, dismissing the flames and turning to face the thicket behind her. She laughed at the shocked expression of Jinora’s and Opal’s faces. Opal asked, with some hesitation, “How on earth did you get those flames back under control? You barely avoided incinerating a passing boat!” Korra turned around, to see an obviously panicked fisherman gunning his motor. She frowned - she was sick and tired of almost hurting people. You should be glad you haven’t hurt any people you love yet - your record is actually better than Aang’s; remember the story of the first time he attempted to firebend and burned Katara? Korra felt herself relax, and she answered to Opal “I thought of my love for Asami, and I instantly regained control of the flames.” Jinora cooed “Awwww,” and Opal said rather dejectedly “I wish I could firebend - there’s no airbending moves I can augment like that.” Opal laughed, adding “Plus, I’m not sure that thinking of Bolin would give me more control over my bending just yet anyways - he’s still too much of a goofball. I might just knock someone over.” Korra snickered - business first, then a little “romance”. Typical Beifong. Speaking of which…

Korra pointed at Opal’s hands, then her feet, asking “What did you knock me over with earlier, Opal? It didn’t look like any airbending I’ve ever seen. It looked more like…” Korra suddenly slapped her forehead in realization. “Earthbending. It’s based on earthbending, isn’t it.” Opal smiled lightly, and said, “Close, but not quite - the form and idea is closer to my mother’s and aunt’s fighting style, and the smaller, denser punches of air are intended to mimic steel projectiles.” Opal’s eyes glittered slightly as she said “steel projectiles”, and said “I wish I could get my hands on something to propel with airbending that’s easily storable in a magazine.” Jinora shot Opal an accusing look, and said “That’s not very pacifist!” Opal laughed deeply, and said “Look, no offense, Jinora, but a sizeable chunk of these new airbenders still think less like you, and more like I do, given that they are from the Earth Kingdom.”

Jinora stuck out her tongue at Opal, and said “Sounds more like 100-Year’s War era firebending to me.” Apparently, this struck something of a nerve, as Opal scowled and used her same hybrid airbending move on Jinora. As a clearly shocked Jinora got up from the ground, Opal told her “Look, you may be Tenzin’s daughter and have your Airbending Master tattoos, but the facts support my view, not yours. We have a lot of new airbenders who are more steeped in Earth Kingdom culture, despite all your family’s hard work over the past three to four years.” Korra was tired of watching two practically mature women fight like five-year olds over a toy, and simply bent a wall of ice between the two feuding parties, and moved to straddle the wall. When she noted both Jinora and Opal giving her a sheepish look, Korra said “Let the individual airbenders decide how they want to fight after showing and explaining the basics principles and forms of your new form, Opal. You also might want to hone this new style more first. If any show as… combative inclinations as you do, Opal, and want to augment their airbending with projectiles, I will ask Asami to design some new equipment for them. As is, I will make a special request for new equipment for you - she is currently doodling as we speak, probably coming up with ideas that far outstrip our own.” Korra vaguely considered lightly splashing both as she tore away the ice wall between Jinora and Opal, but refrained from doing so. She walked towards solid ground, and placed her hand down.

“Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go talk to Bolin,” Korra said, as she headed in the direction her reading told her where Bolin was. Before she had walked even five feet, she could hear both Opal and Jinora starting to bicker. Korra walked backwards just enough to be able to manipulate the ocean’s water, then bent two small jets of water from the sea at both quarreling girls’ faces. “And quit fighting - it’s not very pacifist or like an Air Nomad either.” Korra heard both girls laughing as she finally left earshot.
----
Chapter 7 : Exchange

As Korra’s foot hit the solid ground again, she noticed something she hadn’t before - Bolin wasn’t alone. “Mako? I thought he knew better than that!” Korra said as she began running towards the two brother’s location. When she could finally hear what the brothers were talking about, she wanted to smack herself on the forehead. She had assumed they were talking about her and Asami, or the spiritual events of the past 24 hours. They were talking about their own lives, and how Bolin had helped Mako narrowly escape death. “I may be the Avatar, but I’m not the center of the Universe,” she told herself drolly.

Agreed.

Korra burst out laughing at Raava’s impeccable timing, causing Bolin and Mako to turn around and give Korra a quizzical look. “I know you’re the Avatar and all, Korra, but sometimes I swear you’re just crazy,” Bolin said, obviously not aware of the recent increase in Raava’s presence in her head. Seeing the look on Mako’s face, she realized with a start that Mako needed to be brought up to speed on more recent events as well. She concentrated, attempting to mimic a move she had seen Mako use, and shot a rearward burst of flame from her fists and felt a sudden rush of wind. Given Mako’s reaction that she could see once she opened her eyes again, those flames must have been blue.

“Korra! What the eff was that? I have heard stories of Azula and her noble’s fire before, but never actually seen it - when did you figure out how to do that?” Mako asked in a mix of fear and jealousy. Bolin stepped forward, putting his hand on her shoulder, and said “I’m sure Korra will explain, and maybe even teach you how to do it - right, Korra?” Bolin gave her a cheesy smile, and elbowed her hip. As Korra answered, “Sure thing, but there’s something else I need to do first,” she felt a voice intone Read complete. He may be a gumflapper, but only when it comes to his own affairs - at least now. He has matured just as Mako and yourself have after all, Korra. Korra returned with a cheesy grin of her own, and told Bolin “You may want to sit down - things are about to get interesting.” Mako groaned slightly, wondering aloud “What else is there now that Katara didn’t tell me?” and Korra shot him a quick glance, saying “Hey - at least you haven’t had to play the part of a broken phonograph today. Now sit down and listen, please.” She recounted the events of the past 24 hours in order, finishing with her encounter with Jinora and Opal. When she got to the cat fight, Bolin laughed, saying “That’s Opal for ya!”, suddenly getting a nervous look on his face when Korra stressed Opal’s fascination with “steel projectiles” again. “Been a while since I messed with Bolin,” she thought to herself. Mako laughed, patting his brother on the back, and said “Sounds like you’re going to have your hands full, brother. I think I’m glad I am single for now.” Bolin merely bent over, making a low weeping sound. Mako smacked his brother on the back, this time much harder, making him sit up straight again. Bolin was staring off into the distance, seemingly remembering something.

Bolin pointed at Korra, then at the partial ruins of Republic City. “Toph told me that all I needed to learn metalbending was a good teacher, and I think someone who has been trying to teach the most powerful spirit in the WOOOORLD ‘human-y’ things and succeeding has to be a pretty good teach.” Korra could feel herself blushing. Bolin continued, “Plus, both of us know how to do something you don’t - Mako, lightning generation, and me, lavabending - so we could swap roles back and forth. Kill two birds with one stone. What do you say?” Mako interjected “I’d really like to know how you generated that noble’s fire. Why don’t we go into the city, and spend some quality Team Avatar time together?” Korra smiled, and said “Well, if it’s the whole team, I’ll need to go get Asami. Raava wanted to discuss something with Asami and I in the Spirit World sometime today anyways, and with that Long Yumao running around I’m certainly not meditating into there.” The three teammates laughed lightly together, and even though it was not a deep laughter, it felt wonderful all the same.

After Korra returned with Asami in tow, still staring at her notepad and frowning slightly, the four entered the city after quite some time of pleasantly silent walking. When Korra reached what seemed like a good, open spot with plenty of earth, space and metal, she stopped and bent a ruined Satomobile towards the group, clearing a large swath of earth to its side. Korra said, “Bolin, I think you’re first - come over here,” and he ran over away from his brother with a gleaming look in his eye. “I can’t wait to metalbend! Can you think of anything that might make it easier for me?” Korra paused, and shot a continuous jet of blue flame at the Satomobile, stating “I think you might have an easier time of it if the metal is more malleable. When Su taught me how to metalbend, we used exceptionally pliable metallic meteorites. We don’t have any of those here - I get the nasty feeling Kuvira used those to help pilot her Colossus - so we’ll have to make do with this.” As she finished talking, she noticed that most of the car was red hot, and some of its extremities were melting. Bolin regarded it with a slightly nervous look in his eye. Korra said, “Come on, you touch lava all the time!” Bolin sighed, and relaxed - just a little though. Korra continued, hoping to get Bolin’s confidence up “Now, just focus on the impurities within the metal, and pretend the metal is like cooler, harder lava. Don’t try to lavabend it though, or I’ll have to bring another car over here.”
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Freedom153
Never Gonna Give Yue Up

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That Could Have Been Executed Better


« Reply #9 on: Dec 30, 2014 12:21 am »

(Continued due to character limit)

Bolin screwed up his face in a way that made his brother laugh, then sigh immediately after, as though remembering a previous particularly bad attempt at metalbending. Korra gave him a dirty look and a quick “Shhh!” Mako blushed lightly, then turned to talk to Asami, asking her questions about why she felt the need to hide her relationship with Korra. Satisfied that Mako would not interfere with her training of Bolin any further, she turned back to Bolin. Bolin gave what sounded like an awfully final grunt, and she saw the front door to the Satomobile fly off. She began clapping loudly, saying “Good job, Bolin! I knew you could do it! Now let’s try a colder Satomobile - this should be a bit harder.” She stopped congratulating him, noticing he was running in circles like an ecstatic top. Bolin finally stopped celebrating, and said “I KNEW Lin was a horrible teacher! Bend me another car, Korra.” After the new car rested on its ruined springs, creaking in what almost sounded like resignation or surrender, Bolin went from the cheapest metal on the sides of the vehicle to the denser metal of the engine, punching holes and opening cracks as he went. He wiped his brow after managing to rip a hole in the rear without physically touching the metal siding, and said “Okay, now my turn to teach you! I imagine this could be easier for you than it was me, given that you can firebend and all.”

Bolin grabbed Korra’s hand, and pushed it against the open ground. She noticed absentmindedly she felt nothing even resembling attraction, even though she had once gone on a “date” with him - maybe Asami had truly ruined men for her. Snapping back to the present, she heard Bolin say “When you try to lavabend, the key is friction. You want to rub the earth against itself in a way that it does not break, but instead becomes very hot.” He stepped forward, and created a small pool of lava to the far front of her hand. “Now why don’t you try? And try not to use firebending for now - just get not crushing the earth down.” Korra attempted to do as he said, but after making at least five imprints of crushed earth and no lava, she was getting frustrated. She decided to move some distance away from Bolin and disobey his orders - she made the earth move against itself at the same time she used her firebending to heat the ground. Not fully expecting it to work, she had barely enough time to move her hands back - and then jump backwards away from a growing pool of magma whose center was white-hot. She turned to face Bolin, who was wearing one of his surprised expressions. “If I had known using firebending would let you do that, Korra, I wouldn’t have even bothered telling you to rub the earth on itself.” Korra held up a hand, and said, “No, Bolin - you were right about the friction; I guess unless you have the natural talent like you do you need firebending and earthbending to make lavabending work properly.” Korra sat down beside her creation to catch her breath, staring at its now orange center.

As soon as she felt up to teaching and learning again, she stood up and walked towards Mako and Asami, who were embracing after what must have been a difficult conversation for Asami. Again, she felt no jealousy - funny what time could do to a person. Korra merely said “When you’re ready, Mako, come over to me at this clearing, and we’ll start.” Asami told Mako “Thank you for listening to my story and being so understanding - sometimes it’s just good to have a friendly face listen to your troubles.” Mako hugged her tightly, and said “I never thought you had so many problems, Asami - first your mother, and then your father’s meddling, then his betrayal and death. I knew of the first one and last two, but now I understand you had a lot more on your plate than you let on. I guess money doesn’t buy happiness after all.” With this, he stood up and walked towards Korra, finally putting a hand on her shoulder. “Let’s do this.”

Again - no attraction, just a feeling of friendship. Korra really was Asami’s now. Korra looked back to Mako, and said “Yes. Come with me - I want to do this part away from any buildings, we don’t want to start a fire after all.” Once they were on the open ground, next to the now-cooled lava crater, she told Mako “When I first bent this blue fire, I was extremely angry - but not at something someone had done to me, but rather, at what this ‘Long Yumao the Opportunist’ had attempted to do to three people I hold dear - Jinora, Tenzin and most of all, Asami.” Mako made a funny face, and said “But I thought that the new firebending wasn’t supposed to be about anger! Isn’t hatred what the firebenders of the Fire Nation used to fuel their blasts during the 100 Year’s War?” He was getting visibly angrier, though not in the way that Korra had hoped. She told him curtly “No, you didn’t let me finish. As a firebending source, hatred for one’s enemies is a very fickle and weak power, unless the bender possessed great skill and apparent clarity of mind, as I have heard this Azula did. This anger is righteous anger - imagine if someone killed your brother, or how you must feel about Kuvira and what her weapon ended up doing to Republic City - your home.” She let Mako calm down. “Meditate on these feelings, and perhaps the prejudice Asami faced, and try to get as angry as possible. Then, channel that energy into your firebending, and let it free.” She stepped back, adding “And I suggest you point your right hand towards the sky, and not anywhere else - this fire can have a nasty habit of hitting or almost hitting things you don’t want it to.” She heard Mako take a deep breath, and he pointed both his face and his one good hand up towards the late afternoon sky. He let out a sudden, loud yell, and bursts of blue flame erupted from his mouth and outstretched hand. Before Korra could congratulate him, he took another deep breath, and let out a mind-shatteringly furious scream, creating a massive blue fire vortex just above his mouth that was almost as big as the fire Korra had created not long before. Noticing a single tear sliding down Mako’s cheek, Korra asked him - once he was no longer trying to breathe fire, of course -“What were you focusing on for that last blast, Mako?” Before she could continue, he answered “The loss of my parents, Kuvira and the devastation she wrought on Republic City, and most of all, what I would feel if my brother died of anything but old age,” barely avoiding letting loose the tears that Korra knew he was holding back. She approached Mako and gave him a big strong polarbear-dog hug.

Mako sniffed slightly, and his face was serious once more. “Okay, Korra, great - so now I can make big spouts of blue flame that I have no idea how to control. Now how do I keep from hurting my brother with this same flame? I don’t have a significant other to focus on to temper the flame’s wrath like you do, Korra.” Korra remembered how Mako mentioned his brother dying last, and said “Why don’t you try to temper it with your brotherly love for Bolin? You did mention his death as the thing that would make you most angry, after all. So that the stakes are raised, I am only taking a slight step back this time - good luck.” Korra moved back five feet- she didn’t want to be Avatar flambé if Mako failed - and waited for Mako to try again. The increasingly familiar blue flame gushed from both right hand and mouth once more. After Mako took a deep breath, the spout of flame from Mako’s mouth vanished, and he opened his eyes to stare at a small blue flame in his right hand. She saw the multicolor flame base again - if she ever saw Aang’s spirit again, she’d have to ask what this multicolor fire meant. She clapped loudly, and said again “Very good job! I wasn’t expecting you to make quite so large flames - they were almost as big as my first ones while in the Avatar State. If your brother is done cowering behind that Satomobile, you might want to go tell him you love him very much before we continue.” Korra’s eyes darted over to Bolin, who had apparently bent a third Satomobile to their location to use as cover. She noted with pleasure that he had successfully bent most of the metal into a protective covering, leaving only his eyes exposed.

After Mako managed to coax his brother back out of hiding, he led Bolin to Asami, and rejoined Korra. Mako attempted to form a lightning bolt to demonstrate the proper form, but found his sling getting in the way. He asked Korra “You’ve heard of Katara’s adventure with the bloodbender before, right, and how the old woman bent water from the air? Think you can do that, and try to heal my arm - while in the Avatar State?” Korra felt the blood draining from her face - she had never heard of an Avatar State healing before. There’s got to be a first time for everything, right? Korra sighed slightly, and tried to see if she could replicate that horrible woman’s less notorious feat. She found it quite easy, and she surmised it must have been their relative closeness to the ocean that allowed her to draw the water without much effort. As she approached Mako with her hands sheathed in water, she tried to come up with something to think of while she tried to speed the healing of his arm. Finding her Love for Asami not quite appropriate, she took a deep breath and focused on her friendship with Mako instead. By the time Mako had removed his sling, her eyes were glowing brightly - yet she found she still retained control. Although she had never been particularly good at healing, she felt a mix of her platonic love for Mako and Raava’s energy assisting her, letting her finish faster than Katara might have done. When she opened her eyes again, she was surprised to see Mako holding two blue flames - one in each hand.

Zaheer was right, Korra - you do have virtually limitless power. It’s just that a substantial amount of your power is from a side you have never really expressed that much - the power to heal, to console, to mend, to make whole again. I hope you can learn to wield this power well, before the baby comes.

Mako, Asami and Bolin all gave Korra a quizzical look, and Korra explained what Raava had just said. Asami laughed lightly, saying “Yes - I’d prefer our child to have a balanced bender role model, and not one who is just mainly good at fighting.” Mako shifted in front of Korra’s vision, saying, “Thanks for healing my arm like that. Let’s get back to what we were doing before - lightning generation.” As Bolin and Asami sat back down far away from the two, Mako began making the circular motions, generating lightning and letting it loose into a distant hill, finding a power line and being absorbed before it could make any impact. Mako said, “To generate lightning, you must separate and manipulate the yin and yang in air - positive and negative charges, just like you’d find in a modern appliance.” Korra struggled, after a while finally generating a charge, accidentally knocking herself unconscious when she failed to release it properly. She felt herself fading…

Ugh, not this crap again.

Korra opened her eyes, seeing Mako standing over her - as though he had just shot a tiny bit of lightning into her. Korra panicked, asking “Just what did you do? Did you knock me out? And what did Raava mean by, ‘Ugh, not this crap again’?” Mako frowned slightly, and Asami began laughing. Before Mako could explain, Asami said “Mako just used a controlled amount of lightning to get your heart back into a proper rhythm. And I believe Raava was talking about the time that Aang almost died from a shot of lightning from Azula - though this shock was self-inflicted.” As Korra sat up, she said “Sorry for my reaction, Mako - that was some quick thinking. It sounds like I didn’t get part of what you are supposed to do once you generate lightning. How do you direct it?” Mako wiped the slightly sour expression off his face - he never did like being “scooped” by someone else - and said “Once you generate the lightning, you need to act as a neutral conduit, and let the energy flow - you are not directing it, but rather serving as a pathway for it to follow. This is why it is important to aim your hands carefully, and not be rigid - almost as water, which shouldn’t be a problem for you.” He approached, demonstrating the strange technique again, this time on a nearby fancy model Satomobile, which began to honk erratically. Asami laughed, stating “You must have turned its alarm on - you might want to turn it off.” Mako turned to Korra, and said “Why don’t you try redirecting the current out of it? That might be a safer way to start. I’ll just watch.”

Korra approached the car, and extended her left hand to touch the hood, at the same time extending her right hand upwards. She felt a strange current travel through her left arm, down into her stomach, and out through her right hand. She saw the bolt strike the same electrical line Mako’s had struck earlier. Mako let out a low whistling sound, clearly impressed. He shifted slightly uncomfortably, saying “I lied about that being easier - unless you have some major emotional turmoil, lightning generation and direction is easier that redirection, as redirection requires a different mindset than that of a normal firebender. I believe one of the first people to do it - a fire nation noble and former heir to the throne, Iroh - said redirection is a lot like waterbending. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised you did it so well, since you are a Water Tribe Avatar, after all.” Korra decided to give lightning generation another try, but this time with a slight twist - she was going to see if she could temporarily power a part of the city with the Avatar State. She chose that same power line, as it did not seem to be connected to anything that could cause a fire - if it were, she would know by now. Taking a deep breath and eyes beginning to glow, she began the odd motions she knew produced lightning, and shot what seemed to be an endless current into the power line. After what seemed like an eternity, the current stopped, and she opened her eyes again. She saw Bolin frantically jumping up and down, Asami staring with huge eyes, and Mako wavering between anger and admiration. Mako simply said “That was… amazing, and… reckless, Korra. Let’s hope that didn’t start any fires.” Korra smiled as she walked towards the rest of Team Avatar - she hadn’t done anything truly reckless in years, and she missed it.

~-~
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Freedom153
Never Gonna Give Yue Up

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That Could Have Been Executed Better


« Reply #10 on: Dec 30, 2014 12:22 am »

Chapter 8: Mr. Tuber-Vine

Thankfully, the huge blast in the center of the city did not vaporize all of Varrick’s assets - in fact, the only reason he had for not being in Varrick Industries Tower right now was that the power was still out. Varrick still couldn’t figure out why Kuvira hadn’t simply vaporized all of Team Avatar, plus friends, while they were in his tower. He figured her for crazy, sure - but not stupid.

Varrick shrugged, and returned to his work inside the small tent on the outside of town. He wasn’t happy that he and Zhu Li had to start their married life together and do The Thing in a refugee tent instead of in style and comfort. At least he had managed to connect himself to one of his personal portable generators properly, and could work under a dim light if he felt inspiration in the middle of the night. He had connected some lines from the local power supply to a box with some old blank film reels submerged in a proprietary solution he used for his feet calluses when Zhu Li couldn’t help him on a whim from a strange dream he had last night. His brain usually did not lead him astray, awake or otherwise. He noticed a small ripple in the liquid’s surface, and saw a leaf settling towards the bottom - but he knew this was no ordinary leaf.

He gazed over at the odd thing he had picked up in the city yesterday - he called it Mr. Tuber-Vine, noticing it was missing one of its few leaves. He hadn’t dared to touch it since yesterday, as he still didn’t know what to make of its strange behavior the night before. He knew it sounded ridiculous, but it had almost felt like the plant had judged him somehow. As he snickered at the ridiculous idea of even a spirit being able to judge a man just by touch, the divider opened behind him.

He heard a familiar voice behind him - it appeared that Zhu Li had gotten up from her afternoon nap. She gave him an odd look, and asked “Varrick, I know you love money, but really - up since 6:30 AM, working, the day after our marriage? Why don’t you stop working on that ‘color mover’ idea you’ve been obsessing over, and come sit back down on the cot with me.” He told her “Not just yet - I’m not going back to sleep until my dream comes true. I did something like what I have here,” he said, pointing at the wires dropped into the box with blank film reels, “and when I popped the rolls into a camera, they were in COLOR! Just think - no more black-and-white movers!” He held up a large sheet of blueprint paper, and pointed to a pair of humanoid figures. “I’ve also been working on a little side project for the both of us - I know we’re both smart, no, geniuses - but I am getting tired of playing second fiddle to benders when stuff hits the fan. These should help even the gap.”

Zhu Li’s eyes widened, and Varrick could clearly see Zhu Li liked what she saw. She began excitedly, “Sir, is that a- ” and Varrick’s cheeks turned a deep red. Zhu Li still hadn’t gotten used to marriage yet, despite her earlier feistiness, and every time she called him “sir” it made him feel all guilty. He said calmly, “Honey, I thought I asked you to stop calling me that - it makes me feel all horrible.” Luckily, Zhu Li was still excited about the blueprint in front of her. “Okay, honey - are those custom mechasuits for the both of us?” She pointed at the larger, more complicated design on the right, and snickered slightly. “I assume that one is mine, given how much trouble you had with one of Kuvira’s gruntsuits.” His cheeks darkened again - he had botched that escape attempt pretty badly. “Yes, Zhu Li, that one is yours, and I plan on making this project a priority. Just as soon as I can find an ethical power source- no spirit vine abuse here. Not after it vaporized half our city.”

As he finished saying this, he swore he heard an odd sound - halfway between a continuous hum and a croak. He didn’t have any animals with him, and he had no clue what would make a humming croak anyways. Zhu Li moved the paper from in front of her face, and pointed at Mr. Tuber-Vine, mouth slightly agape. Varrick stuffed the blueprints back where it came from, and looked at Mr. Tuber-Vine. The odd plant pulsed, much as it had yesterday with one of its tendrils over his heart, producing that same strange humming croak he had just heard. “HMMM HMMM…. HM HMMM.” Getting an idea, he took the blueprints back out, and held them close to Mr. Tuber-Vine. The odd plant flashed a bright white - the same color it had settled on when it felt as if it were judging him yesterday. Putting the blueprints in range of the plant’s tendrils, two pointed to the large question marks where he intended to put the suit’s power source, then back at itself. The plant hummed “HMMMMM HMMMMM”, and twisted the ends of its tendrils into what appeared to be check marks, and placed them back on the blueprints, covering the question marks. Zhu Li said, “I think you found your powersource - it appears that odd thing wouldn’t mind powering those suits.” Varrick jumped when he heard the plant seemingly exclaim “HMMMMM HMMMMM,” almost like it was agreeing. Varrick folded the blueprints back up, and stepped aside to let Zhu Li get closer to Mr. Tuber-Vine.

Varrick said “Be careful! I don’t know much about spirit stuff except how to use it for weapons or as a power source, I’m afraid.” Zhu Li grabbed the odd thing by the pot he had put it in, and brought it closer to her chest to inspect it. Just as it had last night, the plant began changing colors rapidly, immediately settling on a bright white after a tendril touched Zhu Li on the left side of her chest. Varrick felt vaguely offended. “Hey! When Mr. Tuber-Vine did that to me last night, he briefly flashed red and purple before settling on white.” He laughed along with Zhu Li, and said “Never thought a plant would try and insult me.” Varrick got another idea, and he grabbed a loose newspaper - one with a portrait of both Zaheer and Kuvira. He held Zaheer’s portrait the closest, and the tendril on Zhu Li’s chest shot up to meet it. Again, it flashed many colors, before finally settling on a familiar angry red and purple and neatly charring the airbender’s portrait out of the paper. As Zhu Li snickered slightly, Varrick felt a chill run down his spine - Mr. Tuber-Vine had been judging him after all. Trying to distract himself from the implications of the plant’s earlier indecision between white or red and purple as its tendril had hovered over his own heart, he held Kuvira’s portrait next to the plant, fully expecting it to immediately incinerate the entire page. Much as before, the plant cycled between various unrelated colors, seemingly settling on the same red and purple he could now see denoted unworthiness. Much to his surprise, the plant suddenly flashed white, and merely tore out the text “The Great Uniter” in the portrait’s caption instead of incinerating it. The tendril snaked around, and formed a questionmark shape over where Kuvira’s heart would have been.

Both he and Zhu Li looked at each other in confusion, and said at the same time “Surely Mr. Tuber-Vine doesn’t see Kuvira as anything but evil?!?” Both turned to the plant, and Zhu Li said "'HMMMMM HMMMMM' for redeemable, and 'MM MM' for not." Mr. Tuber-Vine merely made another “HMMMMM HMMMMM” sound, much to Varrick’s confusion. Feeling rather ridiculous, he yelled at the plant “Okay, I can’t take anymore of this spirit judging shenanigans. Who should I talk to about all this claptrap?” Varrick and Zhu Li both yelped as the plant sprouted two more tendrils and used all four to flip over the newspaper page, which was now on the floor. All four tendrils then pointed to a picture of Korra, and the plant - said? - “HMMMMM HMMMMM.” Zhu Li finished placing the ridiculous talking spirit-plant back where it had sat, and before Varrick could say anything, he heard an enormous crack - as if a huge spirit had just struck out at the world with a lightning bolt.

Zhu Li pointed at where Varrick knew the submerged films reels were, and exclaimed “The current in those wires better not burn off all that water and set those film reels on fire - we both know you don’t exactly use nontoxic ingredients in your film!” Before the water had been boiled off completely, the current stopped - a flash of lightning must have struck a power line somewhere. No, no - lightning didn’t provide constant current like that. Varrick began to stroke his chin, then stopped.

Varrick stood perfectly straight in excitement - he was pretty sure that his dream had involved an electric current now. He grabbed the film reels, and told Zhu Li “Find the camera- we’ve got some film to test!” Zhu Li hurried off much as she always did, and Varrick tried to think of something to test the film on. He heard a loud “HMM HMM!” and turned around, to see Mr. Tuber-Vine flashing all sorts of wonderful colors. As Zhu Li returned with the camera - how did she always find whatever he needed, anyways? - he grabbed it out of her hands, carefully inserted the precious film reels, and began shooting footage of Mr. Tuber-Vine. The plant seemed to make a show of shooting some spirity energy out the window with all four tendrils for reasons Varrick didn’t understand. When he finished, put the film into a portable mover projector, and pointed it at the tent wall, he noticed Zhu Li had already shut all the tent’s windows. Before he turned the film on, he kissed her in the low light, and said “You’re always one step ahead of me, and I like that. Good work, honey.” He made sure to stress the last word, and could feel that Zhu Li appreciated it. They were definitely doing The Thing tonight.

Much as he had hoped, the film displayed full color, as well as those odd little energy blasts. He could hear flapping yuans already. “Honey, we’re going to be RICH! Just look at that beautiful color.” Before he could continue, Zhu Li added “And look at those spirit blasts - I bet this film could capture images of spirits as well.” Not really caring about that just yet, Varrick finished “Now to only find out what made it possible.” He heard a loud “HMM HMM” from the other room. Running in, he saw Mr. Tuber-Vine wildly pointing at one of its leaves, and then at the container the film reels and solution had been sitting in. Suddenly, in a burst of insight Varrick yelled “So, you take a leaf from a friendly spirit tuber, put it in some … proprietary solution” - “One can never be too careful of spies”, he whispered to the plant - “along with the film, apply strong electrical current, and BAM! Color movers that show spirits accurately.”

As he felt a playful tap on his shoulder from Zhu Li, Mr. Tuber-Vine merely intoned “HMMMMM HMMMMM.”

~-~
End Part 2.
« Last Edit: Dec 30, 2014 01:34 am by Freedom153 » Logged

Additional datapoints acquired. Additional animated stories viewed. Directive: adjust opinion... adjusting...
First eyes, a treasure. New eyes, end with a pretentious blink, own vision eclipses.
Book 5:Humanity, aka: Freedom's First Writ
Freedom153
Never Gonna Give Yue Up

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That Could Have Been Executed Better


« Reply #11 on: Jan 02, 2015 06:50 pm »

Part 3: The Restoration

Chapter 9: The Arrangement

Even though she was thoroughly enjoying the time away from everyone else but Team Avatar, Korra knew she needed to end it - Raava might consider a hundred years to be barely any time at all, but Korra knew the as-of-yet unassigned task was time sensitive, and probably involved her past lives. She placed her hand on Asami’s shoulder, who took this as a signal to stop, letting Bolin and Mako walk a little distance ahead of the pair. Korra told Mako “Asami and I have some unfinished business with Raava to attend to,” ignoring Bolin’s mischievous wink and quip of “Looks like the girls want some alone time” to his brother. Mako pinched Bolin on the shoulder, and then said, “Sure thing, Korra - just let us know if you need anything. Me and Bolin can keep watch over the Spirit Portal while you’re in there.”

Waving a temporary goodbye to the brothers, Korra grabbed Asami by the waist and used her earthbending to send them flying towards the portal - Raava may have told them they did not need to hurry as badly as the spirit had once thought, but suspense was gnawing at Korra. After an initial surprised yelp, Asami seemed to enjoy hurtling above the cityscape, and made to kiss Korra. “Not right now, sorry. Unless you want to be kissing a messed-up me in a broken heap on the ground.” After Korra wound back down towards the earth with one of her favorite moves, the air spout, she lightly kissed Asami on the lips. “There- that’s much better than a broken face,” Korra said, making Asami snicker slightly. Korra added, putting her hand to Asami’s chin, “Especially one as pretty as yours.” Asami blushed, and said “The same to you, Korra. Now let’s see what Raava wants with us.”

To Korra’s surprise, when she and Asami stepped into the portal, they did not actually appear to be in the Spirit World, but rather some seemingly hastily constructed replicate of it - almost as if floating inside the real thing in an opaque ball. Knowing this was probably not relevant, Korra began meditating, and saw Asami sit in front of her, mimicking her own position - except fishing out her notebook and pencil again, instead of closing her eyes in concentration as Korra had just done. She felt a familiar tug on her consciousness, and attempted to allow herself to be subsumed by Raava. Much to Korra’s surprise, she neither felt herself slip into the Avatar State nor felt Raava appear from her chest. Thinking the attempt had failed, Korra took a deep sigh and prepared to meditate again, but was interrupted by a small girl’s voice behind her. The oddly familiar voice said, “Turn around, Korra - we have much to discuss.” As she did so, she heard Asami say “Oh, spirit, you’re so cute! I hope our child looks like you.”

When Korra saw the girl, she immediately recognized the form - she had seen a brief flash of it before talking to Jinora while Raava was communicating with her. The small white-haired girl put her hands on her hips, tapping her foot lightly. Korra blurted out “Raava? What are you doing in this form, and why does it feel like we’re not truly in the Spirit World?” The little girl looked vaguely disappointed, as if someone had figured out a secret she would have rather no one known. “Yes, Avatar, right now we are not truly in the Spirit World - we are within a shielding cocoon that blocks any spirit who harbors ill will to humans from entering. Just take a look to your left, and you will see why.” This strange form of Raava pointed at a figure both Korra and Asami would rather forget. Long Yumao was pecking madly at the barrier, desperately trying to get inside, and Korra saw an unsettingly familiar centipede-like form approaching in the distance. Two icy chills, back to back, and she recognized this spirit - Koh the Face-Stealer. Korra pointed at Koh, telling Raava “I can now see why you put us inside this protective bubble, seeing as Long Yumao is attempting to… greet us. But what’s Koh doing here? I thought he had to stay in his tree.” She shuddered intensely as she heard Long Yumao laugh, bragging through the glass, “Yes, Avatar - Koh normally does not venture from inside his tree, at a distant edge of the Spirit World. I visited him recently, and at first he did not seem to care about my conflict with Raava, but when I told him he might get to steal a lot of human faces, he decided to strike a temporary deal.” The spirit laughed loudly, pressing his eyes against the bubble, staring at Asami. “He is especially anxious to collect your face, Asami - he always loves a pretty face. He says they are much more useful in tricking people to react.” Asami blew a raspberry at the pulsating spirit, and Long Yumao recoiled in mock horror. “Oh no, Avatar, your lover is spittlebending at me - whatever shall I do?” Long Yumao said, speaking and moving his beak in an exaggeratedly slow manner. Noticing the foul centipede-like spirit had finally arrived to also place “his” face against the bubble, she heard a slithering voice moan desperately “If only this bubble weren’t here, I’d have Asami’s face already. That raspberry would have been your end.”

Korra heard an angry grunt from Raava’s… Erm, avatar? Korra would need a new name for this form. Korra turned her head to better see Raava. Both Raava’s human apparition - that sounded decent - and Korra’s own eyes flashed at the same time, and the two leering spirits were knocked back a fair distance. Korra faced the two again and began to make the motions she had learned from Unalaq to attempt to cleanse the spirits, but stopped after she could see that Long Yumao wasn’t going to be defeated so easily and that Koh was seemingly immune to the move. As Korra’s arms began to stop moving, Raava seemingly forced Korra’s limbs to move in a way she had never felt them move before. Before she could ask what Raava had done, she noticed that both hostile spirits were trapped inside a prison that resembled the yellow ribbons she had trapped UnaVaatu inside, except the two streams met at the top. She heard a light giggling, and before she could ask Asami what was funny, Raava’s human apparition appeared at Korra’s left side in a low flash of light.

Raava said, “her” hair shaking lightly back and forth, “Now that those two bullies are gone, we can get down to business. In case you’re wondering about my change in appearance, I figured that if I am to master the human-y, it might help to change how I project myself.” Korra gave Raava a skeptical look, to which the spirit replied “Avatar Korra, this will not affect your performance, and should the situation arise where it is needed I can revert to my original form. Though Asami is right - I am cute.” Raava giggled slightly, stared at one of her hands for a short time, and then played with her snow-white braids of hair while she began to speak again. “The reason I asked you to come here was for a few different reasons. First, I wanted you to acclimate to this new form, and I also wanted to tell you how much I appreciate everything you have done in your lifetime as the Avatar, Korra. You stopped a madman from potentially eliminating bending in a part of the world, and a new system of government rose from the ashes. You, along with Jinora and the rest of your team, prevented Vaatu from finalizing what seemed like an assured victory for darkness and turned Unalaq’s manipulation of you into a positive, with your decision to keep the spirit portals open. Without this, the Air Nation could never have been reborn as fully as it has, and without your intervention Earth Queen Hou-Ting would have turned many of these new benders who were supposed to be instruments of peace into weapons of war. While it was unfortunate that you were unable to prevent the anarchy that followed her untimely death” -Korra could have sworn she saw Raava wink slightly- “ or Kuvira’s rise to power and abuse of it due to your mental and physical trauma from Zaheer’s poisoning holding you back, with the assistance of your allies and much hard work on your own part, everything turned out alright. You even tore a rip in the fabric of space and time that manifested itself as a new Spirit Portal - sure to be a source of many good things.”

Korra jerked involuntarily - the small girl she knew to be Raava was cursing loudly. After both herself and Asami stopped laughing, they looked at Raava, and saw something truly unsettling - the spirit appeared to be crying. Raava croaked “I try to give both of you a gift to show my appreciation for all of Korra’s effort over the past four to five years and humanity’s hard work over the past ten thousand, and what does that insubordinate Long Yumao the Opportunist do? He stabs me in the back! I may have told you earlier to just suck it up in regard to this new conflict, Korra, but the truth? The truth is, I am hurt as well. I just had no idea that hatred was so powerful that it could transform a relatively minor spirit into such a major threat, nor that he could manage to get so many spirits to betray me. I have the bad feeling he may manage to solicit a human traitor as well, but even I cannot discern this human’s identity yet.” Raava stopped crying, and managed a weak smile. “At least the Circle of Trust has been established well, and may even grow more. I know it’s not normal for a spirit, but I actually find this form quite fascinating, and, in some ways, freeing. I normally have no hands to admire, no hair to twirl, no legs to run around merrily with… Korra - I don’t even have eyes to cry from!” Seeing that the spirit might just start doing exactly that again, Korra ran to the spirit and put her hand on Raava’s shoulder. Korra began to console the spirit, which felt odd - usually this sort of thing was the other way around. Asami followed shortly after Korra and told Raava “I think it might be good if we talked about this time sensitive issue you had mentioned to Korra before, Raava - it might help distract you from the past 48 hours’ events.” Korra turned from Raava to Asami, and put a hand on her cheek - she just loved Asami’s caring nature. Korra started to feel like grabbing Asami’s butt again, but before she could, a high voice interrupted “Ooooh! I like that feeling, Korra! Tell me- would I have to be a human to feel that directly?” Korra blushed, turning to Raava, and stated “Yes, I’m afraid you would, Raava - I don’t think spirits ever get this feeling.” The small child crossed its arms, cursed again, finishing “Rats!” Raava’s eyes opened wide after a while, and the child again said “Next time when you die, Korra, let’s switch. You be the all-powerful spirit, and I’ll be the Avatar and vessel, okay?” Korra couldn’t help but laugh, saying “I’m pretty sure it doesn’t and can’t work like that, Raava. Maybe if we both had connections with our past lives again you wouldn’t be so antsy to be human - it’s not all it’s cracked up to be, even as the Avatar.” Korra was rather concerned - she had never seen Raava this distracted before, or to think of it, period. Maybe the five-year old “human” brain was interfering?

“No, Korra, I’m perfectly fine - even though I am technically over here, I can still feel your emotions and hear your thoughts. But you’re right - I got distracted by all these human-y emotions, though they have nothing to do with this form’s brain. Let us call this form my ‘human-y’ form, to distinguish it from you - the Avatar. Let’s get back to business,” Raava finished, motioning for Korra and Asami to sit down. Asami whispered to Korra, “I hope raising a kid is easier than this,” making Korra snicker. “And you must tell me what this ‘snighhggtt’ noise means sometime as well - but anyways,” Raava said, taking a deep breath. “I mainly asked both of you to come here to discuss an opportunity that has presented itself. During the aftermath of Harmonic Convergence, everyone believed that the Avatar’s past lives had been destroyed - spirit and human alike. However, as I told you both after your initial meeting with Katara, in reality, their spirits had not been destroyed - merely imprisoned in icy tombs. Since yesterday, I had wondered who to ask for more details - and I think I know just who.” Raava had an almost predatory smile on her face for an instant, which vanished before Korra could ask Raava about it, replaced by a slightly devious grin.

Raava produced a familiar teapot from behind her back, though with an interesting modification - it had strong metal latches on its openings, as though it was intended to shut something up. Raava held the modified teapot that Korra now recognized as the one that Wan had put Raava into over ten thousand years ago in her dainty left hand, and plunged her right hand into her chest. The spirit seemed to be rummaging for something that had a will of its own, and did not want to be caught. Raava gave the same unnerving predatory smile again, pulling out a small cursing squirming mass. “Do you recognize this villain?” Raava said, her eyes humming a bright white with power, and held out a distinctive form. Wait…. What? Could it be… “Vaatu?” Korra and Asami said at the same time, confused as to what Raava wanted with a spirit that would have no inclination to talk to its mortal enemy. The diminutive Vaatu struggled frantically to escape Raava’s now glowing grasp, and eventually noticed Korra staring at him. “What do YOU want, Avatar?” the spirit spat in a pathetic show of rage. “I’m not planning anything - it’s not as if I could for another ten thousand years! And as far as I am concerned, Long Yumao is a fool! There should be no order, even if it is led by spirits - only chaos and darkness!” Raava turned the miniature Vaatu to face her, and the smaller evil spirit practically had an apoplectic fit as Raava grinned wildly, clearly pleased with Vaatu’s reaction. “RAAVA? What are you doing in a human form?!? I knew you always had a soft spot for humans, but that’s just… wrong! Don’t tell me you’ve somehow managed to become even more lovey-dovey!” Raava laughed, and said “As far as you’re concerned, anything but total hatred and chaos is lovey-dovey! So maybe I did soften some more to humans and their human-y-ness! At least I’m not going to be stuck in a teapot soon!” Korra watched as Raava and Vaatu stared at one another, as though they might never stop. Korra tapped Raava on her shoulder and said “Hey! You said there was a reason you dragged this loser out, so let’s get on with it. And no more staring matches, they only waste time.” Raava did something quite unexpected - she blushed. She gave Vaatu one final look and said, “You’re right, Korra - I have one question I need to ask Vaatu.” She pointed Vaatu at Korra and Asami and said, “And you better answer, or I’ll force you to watch Korra and Asami kiss… out of love.” Raava made a sound that bore a lot of similarity to a snicker - but not quite one.

Vaatu began twisting violently, screaming, “Anything but that! I hate love! Just tell me what you want, Raava, and leave me to sulk for another five thousand years - please!” Raava was positively aglow - and not in the normal way. She looked extremely pleased with herself. Still facing Vaatu at Korra and Asami, who was making a kissy face - much to Vaatu’s chagrin - Raava asked of the captive spirit “I know you and Unalaq did something to the Avatar’s past lives, and did not destroy them. I want you to tell me exactly what you and Unalaq did to them - before Asami kisses Korra. Go.” The dark spirit began saying frantically “Okay, Unalaq actually imprisoned their spirits inside ice augmented with my own power - but I’m not telling you where they are, even if you show me Asami giving birth to Korra’s child! I know what you did, Raava, and it makes me sick. Now put me back!” Raava snickered properly, and began laughing so hard she almost dropped the odd teapot from the hand not holding Vaatu. Taking a deep breath to compose herself, she said “I guess you aren’t so different from Long Yumao after all. And I think I know a way to get them out anywa - ”

Raava stopped suddenly, and then Korra heard a loud pecking sound. All four - Raava, Korra, Asami, and Vaatu (though not of his own will) turned to face the sound’s source. Korra pointed her finger in shock - it appeared Long Yumao had broken free of his prison in the commotion! When the large serpent spirit had noticed all four entities inside the ball staring at him, he chuckled “Hah! Your blind hatred and discomfort make you weak, Vaatu - I would have never given Raava or the Avatar any valuable information. When it comes to the bottom line, you really have no subtlety - Raava just manipulated your loathing as a puppeteer moves strings. I never really understood what was so great about chaos or darkness, anyways. All I want is for spirits to rule humans with an iron fist, and for no deviances such as these two mortal’s relationship to exist, much less that accursed gift Raava gave them or spirits that sympathize with humans.” Korra noticed that Vaatu was actually attempting to avoid Long Yumao’s gaze, and as he did so, the serpentine spirit grew substantially larger. “WHAT’S THIS? You actually fear me now, Vaatu? That’s so hilarious, I could almost die,” the much more massive spirit cackled. Vaatu stopped avoiding Long Yumao’s increasingly wild eyes and merely said “I don’t fear you - I only fear you completely misunderstand what the new purple, yellow and red energies on your body mean. They might stand for hatred, just as you do, but they also stand for chaos - something you lack completely. You shame the colors - they are my own. Now give them back!” Korra snickered - Vaatu’s voice didn’t sound very confident on that last part.

Long Yumao began cackling so hard, Korra saw cracks appear in the glass-like shield around them, much to her horror. A slightly larger Long Yumao pointed an eyefeather at Raava’s form, and howled “You’re in no position to make demands, Mr. ‘All-Powerful Spirit’ :a little girl defeated you at Harmonic Convergence, and one is holding you right now - your antithesis!” Vaatu groaned, with an air of defeat, “Oh, for crying out loud, Raava, just stuff me in that stupid teacup already! This fool is wasting both our time - though if you want to save the Avatar’s past lives, I have far, far much more of it to waste than you!” His small form cackled in what was a decidedly non-intimidating manner as Raava stuffed him into the teapot, and shut the metal clasps tightly. Raava yelled “I’m kicking us out - that shield won’t hold much longer, and I can tell you what you need to know outside like I did after your first meeting with Katara. I’m beginning to think the Spirit World is not a good place to meet uninterrupted.” Korra saw Long Yumao beginning to strain his jaws open wide enough to completely crush the orb, getting ready to shatter the shield completely. When he finally brought both halves of his maw together, the spirit’s monstrous beak just clacked against itself forcefully - the Avatar, her lover and the little white-haired girl were long gone.
Logged

Additional datapoints acquired. Additional animated stories viewed. Directive: adjust opinion... adjusting...
First eyes, a treasure. New eyes, end with a pretentious blink, own vision eclipses.
Book 5:Humanity, aka: Freedom's First Writ
Freedom153
Never Gonna Give Yue Up

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Posts: 549


That Could Have Been Executed Better


« Reply #12 on: Jan 02, 2015 06:51 pm »

(Continued due to character limit)

Apparently, all this action inside the Spirit World had caused the Republic City Spirit Portal to behave erratically, as when Korra got out, Bolin and Mako were running towards her and Asami. Raava intoned in her head They may as well hear this - though I will have to “broadcast” myself on a different frequency this time. I believe the relationship you share called “friendship” will suffice. Korra let Mako and Bolin hug them both in a huge group hug, and explained what had happened inside. For once, Bolin didn’t have a panicked look on his face, and Mako just said “Well, whatever it is Raava has to say, let’s do it out here - I’m certainly not going into the Spirit World anytime soon.” As his brother and Asami laughed, Korra sat on the shattered ground around the portal, and prepared to let Raava speak through her.

Based on the trio of surprised yelps Korra heard, she knew that Raava had not chosen to appear out of Korra’s chest as she had done so previously. Opening her eyes, Korra began laughing when she spotted the metal-clasped teapot on a string around Raava’s “human-y” form shaking, producing almost inaudible curses as it moved ever so slightly. Bolin, apparently making the connection between what had just happened inside the Spirit World and the “angry” teapot, began laughing loudly, slapping his knee repeatedly. After Mako snickered and joined his brother’s laughter, Raava said “I thought it funny to stuff my opposite into the teapot that had once been my own salvation, and if Team Avatar, as you call it, thinks so as well, then my own growing sense of humor must be on-target. I was very happy I managed to ‘snighhggtt’ in the Spirit World earlier, though I do not think this is its proper name.” Raava turned to Korra, who had just thought the word “snicker,” and Raava’s small human-y form said “Ah, ‘snicker’. I like that word. I will make sure to open Vaatu’s teapot prison from time to time and do so at him. Anyways, he won’t be a concern for almost another ten thousand years - back to the matter at hand.” Raava cracked her knuckles, much as Toph might have, and all four humans gave her an odd look. “What? I don’t learn from just the Avatar. No time for that now. ‘Speaking’ of Toph, Korra, she has something to do with our next fire of the day. I believe that we can reclaim the trapped human Avatar spirits from their icy tombs, but we will require the presence of four humans who knew Avatar Aang well in his lifetime. Three of them are obvious - his close friend, Zuko, his wife, Katara, and Toph, his earthbending teacher. I get the feeling from your interactions with Toph she may not be keen on doing anything but hiding in retirement in the Swamp, so if she has any bizarre conditions for her assistance, you’d better agree to them. The fourth person - ” Raava stopped, with a mischievous smile on her face. The spirit finished, “I’ll let you figure out who it is - I figure this is something a human might do, and I like the expression on your face already.” Korra blushed, wiping the pout from her face. Raava laughed, saying “I did it! I made a human blush! I love this human-y stuff - I guess spirits are kind of boring.” Raava stopped laughing, seemingly remembering something. The small girl’s mouth opened again, Raava’s human-y form saying “You will also want to bring your friends from this lifetime with you to strengthen the energy we will be using to break the Avatar spirits free. No one outside the Circle of Trust is to come, but do not reject anyone either.” Korra absentmindedly placed her hand on the ground to see where Jinora was, and she got a sudden vision of the young airbender hopping around her father’s house as if her pants were on fire.

Raava giggled, saying “Apparently it was not just Mako and Bolin who noticed the odd behavior of the Spirit Portal, Korra - Jinora, your young prodigy friend, must have sensed something wrong as well.” Raava walked back to Korra and placed a small hand on Korra’s seemingly gargantuan one. “We need to contact Zuko and make sure he knows where to go, and that he needs to leave - soon. I know you have never projected yourself before, Korra, but with my help you should find it easy.” Raava wagged a finger at Korra lightly, finishing “It also helps that you finally attuned yourself better to air this morning in the bubble by feeling the air you were bending instead of just ordering the element around. Now let’s contact Zuko.” The spirit walked back into Korra as she closed her own eyes, focusing on Zuko’s energy. Korra felt a presence she had not felt so fully in more than three years.

“Aang? Is that you? I guess your spirit really is still alive!” Korra could feel tears coming to her now open eyes. Korra, there is no time - I think I will barely be able to help with this as is, the voice rang from behind a sheet of ice. Just close your eyes, and we might see each other again. Good luck. Korra felt her own consciousness fading quickly as she shut her eyes.

~-~
Zuko liked being alone lately. His daughter’s slow response to one of his greatest legacies -Republic City- and its call for help still rankled him. He sighed, almost exactly as he did so often in his youth, and began to sip from his teacup once more.

Suddenly, an apparition popped up before him, and he spat out his tea in shock. He looked at the liquid in dismay. “That was some of the last of my Uncle’s blend! This better be important, whatever you are!” When he looked up again, he felt rather koala-sheepish.

The image before him fluttered between that of a very much alive Korra, and a painful image of Aang that looked to be entombed in some horrible, unnatural ice. “Uhm, hello, Avatar Korra! Didn’t think anyone but Jinora could do the whole projection thing,” Zuko nervously said as he waved to the image.

When her image flashed, he could see her chuckling, in stark contrast to Aang’s desperate look. “Neither did I, until just now. Raava helped me. Anyways, I think what Aang has to say is more important.” His childhood friend again appeared. Zuko realized with a shock he did not appear as he had last known him - a grown man - but rather as the small 12 year old he once so desperately wanted to capture.

“Zuko, the Avatar spirit may still be alive, but all the human lives of the Avatar, like me, have been lost. Obviously, we were not destroyed, because if I had been you wouldn’t have wasted some of Iroh’s tea just now.” Yes, Aang was still himself, even in that ice tomb. “We’ve all been biologically aging reversely, and while some like Avatar Kyoshi don’t have anything to worry about for now… others aren’t doing so well.” An image of a black-haired little boy no older than six appeared, slowly crying inside an outsize block of ice.

The image shifted back to Aang once more, who continued “Raava has found a particular… issue rising, and she has need of all her past human lives, both for strength-” What could an all-powerful spirit need of even the Avatar’s strength for so badly?, Zuko wondered - “and to help get Korra back to where she was raw power-wise before Unalaq seemingly destroyed us.” Zuko stroked his bearded chin. “What use could an all-powerful spirit have for me?” he asked.

“Raava needs you and three other people possessing together all four elemental bending types who knew me well in my lifetime to meet in The Swamp. How is the Swamp, anyways?” Zuko smiled nervously, merely stating “It could be worse off, but not much.”

The image of Aang was shoved aside by another familiar face. Korra interjected, “Just who is the airbender? You were the last, after all.”

Aang laughed, and then seemed to grow slightly younger. “I was the last airbender, until the second-to last finally came along.” Zuko saw the apparition of Korra slap itself on the forehead. Aang turned to Zuko one last time and said “Bye Sifu Hotman!”, seemingly freezing back into place. Now only Korra’s image remained.

Letting go of some unseen strain, Korra continued, “So this must be what Vaatu was taunting us about - Aang actually aged half a year backwards while we were talking to him. That must mean Wan is five and a half now.”

“Wait, that little boy was the first Avatar, Wan? Why is he so young compared to the others?” Zuko asked, half panicked.

“It appears that since he was the first, he aged backwards the quickest. That would explain why Raava is so concerned. I need to go find Tenzin-” Zuko overheard her mumbling, “Gah, how could I miss that, even for a second!” -  “and Katara and get to Toph in the Swamp as soon as possible. There will be some other familiar and not-so familiar faces there as well. You must meet us at the Swamp - Druk should be able to carry you pretty rapidly,” Korra finished. “I hope Toph will be in on this with us. She is stubborn for no good reason.  See you soon!” Then the image of the young waterbending Avatar vanished.

Zuko laughed- he swore there was still something in his head insisting he needed to capture her to get his honor back. Aside from betraying his dear Uncle Iroh all those years ago, he never really had lost his honor. Zuko stepped outside with an energy he was surprised to see he still possessed, and called for his dragon Druk.

“Even after you’re dead, you still need help from your old tormentor. How ironic,” Zuko mused, as Druk gently lowered his head to let Zuko on.

~-~

Korra opened her eyes again, noticing that Raava had left her body again - this time without any warning. Korra looked at Raava with a mildly angry expression, and said “Raava, what are you doing? You should at least ask me to meditate you out before leaving my body - what if Long Yumao poked his beak out of the portal right now and tried to snap you in two!” Raava was completely ignoring Korra as she ran off closer to the Spirit Portal, extending a small hand to touch the outer edge. Korra made to get up and drag the foolish spirit from the portal, but Raava extended her other hand in Korra’s direction, somehow stopping Korra in her tracks. After a minute or so, Raava let down both of her small hands, giggled, and said “Avatar Korra, I know what I am doing. If Long Yumao tried to bite me, even as big as he now is, he’d just shatter his beak. Bumi is right about the control zone around the portal - I just augmented the portal with my own energy such that only spirits that like humans can pass freely through it - but it is only a semi-temporary measure. You need to get Republic City to establish the no-man’s land - sooner rather than later.”

A sudden muffled pecking sound caused everyone on Team Avatar and Raava to jump slightly. Raava said, sighing, “As you can see, I was not a moment too soon - especially if Koh the Face-Stealer is really with Long Yumao now, even if for his own gain only. I guess that Long Yumao was trying to uphold his end of the deal and kidnap some humans so that Koh could steal their faces. Only the Mother of Faces can reverse a stolen face - you may have heard of the time Zuko found his mother, Ursa.” While the name did sound familiar, she was sure she could ask Zuko about that and get a better version of the story. Raava ran back to Korra, letting out a contented “Whee!” as she ran, and pointed to two large approaching shapes in the distance when she was at Korra’s side. Raava said, “Korra, I know who those people are, but let’s see if you can project without my help. Focus on Jinora’s energy.” Korra closed her eyes, and found herself staring at some very shocked figures when she opened them again - who were all on bisonback. Noticing who one of the bison was, she let out a loud laugh. Juicy sneezed in surprise, causing his passengers to grumble “Mangy beast!” in unison. A figure she now recognized as Tenzin was pointing at her, smiling broadly. “Korra! I didn’t know you could project yourself like this - I guess you really did finally feel the air as you bent it instead of just ordering it around,” he said, with clear pride in his voice.


Korra told everyone she could see “I can see that Jinora brought you all here. Good.” She recognized, in addition to Tenzin, that the others who were present included Jinora, Opal, Katara and… Su and Lin? Korra pointed to Su and Lin, asking Opal “What are they doing here? I - I mean, Raava - hasn’t gotten to read either one yet!” Opal looked deeply offended, and explained “We got a radio call from an overly excited Varrick earlier today, babbling about some plant that could judge a man’s worth and was going to make him rich. I remembered an odd plant that Mako, Bolin and I found right after the Zhurrick wedding, and wanted to see it in action for myself. We stopped by and I held the plant up to my mother’s and aunt’s chests, and of course the plant glowed white.” Opal grew angrier steadily as she explained this, and punctuated the last sentence with an airblast aimed at Korra’s “head”. Korra might have snickered, but that would have just made Opal angrier, and Opal continued, “Unless the ‘tuber-vine’ and my word isn’t enough proof for you, you can do your reading thing later en-route to wherever you’re going.” Seeing the withering stares from all three Beifongs, Korra said, “I don’t think that will be necessary. I’ll explain what has happened to Lin and Su on the way there.” Korra felt a familiar tug on her mind, and said “It appears Raava has something to say. I’m going to go now.” Much to Korra’s surprise, Raava’s human-y form appeared beside her, and said “Not just yet. While Korra may not feel the need to help me read Lin and Su, I’m going to do it anyways - more so to make sure that my other gift to humanity is calibrated properly.” Even though normally such a remark - even by a great spirit such as Raava - would have made all three Beifongs fume with anger, Raava’s defusing human-y appearance and most especially the last remark about a second gift made everyone else sufficiently curious that no one - not even Lin - objected. After Raava had floated over to and read both older sisters, Raava said “Good - it appears that what you refer to as ‘tuber-vines’ are working properly. I don’t have time to explain what they are right now, so I’m going back to Korra’s body now, and she is as well.” Before Korra could try and see more of what they all thought of Raava’s new form, she felt herself dragged back to the Spirit Portal crater by the same tug she had felt on her mind a short while ago.

As she felt herself regaining control of her body, she noticed that Raava was still not inside her. Raava said frankly, approaching Korra, “Don’t worry about explaining all this crap again - I know you aren’t overly eager to continue being a broken phonograph, and you probably feel a bit tired again.” As Raava said this, Korra noticed that she was tired - everything since her rude awakening by Tenzin had apparently taken a toll, especially the mutual training with Mako and Bolin. Raava continued “I will explain to everyone what has happened over the past 48 hours, starting at the top, from this human-y form. After all is said and done, I want to talk to Jinora about the Spirit Civil War - I have the feeling she will be a great ally, and help convince many spirits to join our fight against Long Yumao. You, Mako, Bolin and Asami should all get some rest - I might suggest you all ride the airbison you call ‘Oogi’ and let Tenzin guide it, as it does not appear anyone is fond of the other, ‘Juicy’. You will need to keep both airbison relatively close if I am to explain things to the uninitiated or others who aren’t fully caught up with events- no further apart from one another than my human-y form was from your body when you were projecting.” As she heard the two great airbison touch down, Raava slipped back inside Korra’s chest, and while she now felt a little less tired, she still could use a nap. Tenzin, now on top of Oogi’s head and extending a hand towards Korra, said “You four look tired - why don’t you come on Oogi and take a nap. He’s a much better flier than Juicy.” Korra noticed herself yawning when she was next to Asami on top of the fluffy friend’s back, and drifted off to sleep, noticing Mako and Bolin doing the same as Jinora turned to face familiar small form. Korra managed to say “Hey! I thought I told you no more leaving my body without asking, Raava!” before falling completely asleep.
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Book 5:Humanity, aka: Freedom's First Writ
Freedom153
Never Gonna Give Yue Up

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That Could Have Been Executed Better


« Reply #13 on: Jan 02, 2015 06:52 pm »

~-~

Chapter 10 : In Transit

Even though Jinora had already heard most of what Raava had to say, she still listened to the spirit with rapt attention as the two airbison went towards the Swamp - one of the first things Raava said was where they all needed to go. When Raava described Vaatu’s behavior in the spirit world, Jinora giggled lightly, glad to hear that nasty thing put in its place, and was surprised to see Raava turn to face her. The spirit’s “human-y” form, as Raava called it, gave Jinora a smile and said, interrupting the story to address Jinora, “I thought you might find that entertaining and ‘ironic’. Just keep listening - it gets better.” The spirit closed its eyes and smiled in pleasure, before turning back around to better address everyone else. While Raava’s description of the exchange between Long Yumao the Opportunist and Vaatu produced plenty of surprised gasps - herself included - Jinora did find it hilarious that such a formidable former foe had been laid so low. However, the spirit’s increase in size and power since he had interrupted her earlier meditation disturbed Jinora, as did knowing that Koh the Face-Stealer was in on the action.

As soon as the spirit had finished after what must have been at least an hour and a half of straight talking, possibly even two, Jinora laughed when she saw Lin and Su collapse onto Juicy’s back out of listening fatigue. Lin said weakly “And I thought Tenzin was long-winded.” Jinora heard a low grumbling sound from her father and a lighthearted laugh from Raava’s human-y form. The spirit put its hand on Jinora’s shoulder and said, “Now, granddaughter of Avatar Aang, and rescuer of my butt during Harmonic Convergence,” tapping her shoulder with some force three times, “I have something I want to talk to you about.” Jinora, with eyes gleaming, turned to face Raava - she couldn’t wait to hear what such a powerful spirit wanted with her. Raava, who had apparently read Jinora’s face quite well - Korra really was teaching the spirit human-y things - said, “What I will need from you, Jinora, is to serve as a hopefully temporary secondary bridge between the two worlds. Whenever the Avatar - Korra and I - encounters a spirit that is put off by my presence, but still seems sympathetic to humans, you will try and win them over. Long Yumao is right to an extent - my little trick with Korra and Asami has upset plenty of ‘sensible’ spirits. These spirits are likely to be hostile, or neutral - but some, only towards me, Korra and Asami. It will be your job to find those spirits that have distaste for my actions and try to convince them that while they may not agree with what I did, humans are not bad and do not deserve to be ruled with an iron beak by Long Yumao. It is my hope that you will be able to turn hostile spirits neutral and neutral spirits friendly.”

Jinora could hardly believe what she was hearing - Raava basically wanted her to be a temporary secondary Avatar! The spirit continued, “I know what you’re thinking, Jinora, due to Avatar Aang’s blood running in your veins and your exceptional spirituality. You aren’t going to be a secondary Avatar, really - more an ambassador for humanity. If -  no, when - the restoration of the Avatar’s past lives is completed, you will enjoy enough protection as Avatar Aang’s granddaughter to avoid harm from any minor or major spirits you encounter. You should be able to resist letting Koh provoke you into losing your face - you are Avatar Aang’s granddaughter, and he successfully dealt with the spirit. I also know of two Northern Water Tribe rulers who would be well suited to getting information from Koh the Face-Stealer : Eska and Desna.” Jinora snickered slightly - those two would make good “ambassadors” to Koh. Raava took on a more serious tone, frowning slightly, “However, if you sense, see, or hear Long Yumao at all, you will need to break the connection. You heard what he did to my bubble in the Spirit World - it may not have been my best effort, but I was still surprised he managed to crack it. No one but a fully realized Avatar - a combination of myself and Korra - can really stand a chance against him now. I really wish Vaatu hadn’t avoided his gaze like that, as we cannot afford for him to keep growing unchecked.” The frown vanished from Raava’s face, and her small mouth turned upwards in a smile. She continued, “One good thing about Long Yumao the Opportunist is that he was not a major spirit such as myself or Vaatu.” Jinora laughed when she saw the metal-clasp teapot around Raava’s neck begin to shake visibly, and Raava smacked the container, making it still once more.

“As I was saying,” Raava continued, “Long Yumao’s size is dependent on how much support he enjoys with other spirits. After his success in making Vaatu avert his gaze, many more spirits flocked to him that were formerly neutral, given his increase in size. I would guess that about 40% of spirits are currently neutral or have limited sympathy for him - all that sympathy caused by my little stunt with Korra and Asami, I am afraid.” The spirit looked vaguely dejected, but that didn’t make any sense - she was Raava, the spirit of order and light! Jinora had a hard time believing Raava could feel down. This made the tear that began to form in Raava’s right eye even more alarming. Jinora hadn’t really believed Raava when she told everyone about that outburst in the Spirit World until now. Seemingly not wanting a repeat of earlier, the smaller girl sniffed, playing with her hair seemingly to comfort herself. Raava finished messing with her snow-white hair after some time, and said “I guess that he currently has about 40% of the spirits whipped up into a fanatical frenzy, with the remainder not really caring either way and unlikely to ever do so. I haven’t told anyone else this yet, but so far Bumju is my only ‘fanatical’ convert. You can see why your mission is so important now.”

At first, Jinora’s heart sank, but then something inside her caused her heart to seemingly swell and ache - but in a good way. Remembering some spirits from her grandfather’s youth - including the extremely powerful moon and ocean spirits, Tui and La, one of which was partially human - she confidently told Raava “I think I know some spirits who would be sympathetic to humanity’s defense, though a couple would probably need to see my grandfather’s spirit again to join our side. I know at least one who would be very sympathetic - she is part human, after all.” Raava slapped her forehead, and cursed - something Jinora thought most improper for such a noble, powerful entity. Raava gave her a look that would only have found a better place on Lin’s face, and asked curtly “You got a problem with strong language, or something?” Jinora’s head frantically shook side to side, and Raava laughed deeply, saying, “It’s all good - I was merely angry at myself for not thinking of Tui and Yue before, and ‘her’ counterpart, La. Good thinking, kid.” Raava patted Jinora on the back, and what she now recognized as pride and steely determination appeared in her chest again. Raava said, pointing at Jinora’s chest, “You may be a pacifist most of the time, Jinora, but you’ve got your father’s and grandfather’s fighting spirit. Don’t be afraid to let it out - you could stand to learn a few things about how the world really works from Opal and Korra. Remember - past Avatars have killed in the name of peace.” Jinora didn’t really know what to make of that last comment, so she made her way away from the spirit towards her father. As she did so, she saw Raava stare out at the vast expanse of land and forest around them.

Jinora wiggled in next to her father and asked him, “Dad, is what Raava said about this feeling I have true?” She didn’t like the idea of taking anything’s life - unlike Opal, apparently. Her father sighed, and said, “Yes, it is sweetie - you remember when Zaheer had captured you, Ikki, Meelo, and the rest of the airbenders? I fought like a man possessed by a great spirit against Zaheer, and was starting to get the upper hand - then his three followers joined the fight.” Her father sighed deeply, and continued, “Even after they had bested me, and Zaheer told me ‘Give up. It’s over.’ I told Zaheer ‘As long as I'm breathing, it's not over.’ I meant it with every fiber of my being - I was willing to die to protect my family, and the new Air Nation. I was also willing to kill, I later realized - though, as an airbender, only as a last resort. The world is a much more complicated place than you think, Jinora. After all, look what the original Air Nomad’s pacifism got them. Had every single Air Nomad stole the breath of even two Fire Nation soldiers apiece, Aang might have had something to come back to - Sozin’s comet or not. Based on my father’s first-hand accounts of the temple where he grew up, even the great Air Nomad Monk Gyatso was willing to kill - your grandfather found a lot of Fire Nation soldier’s skeletons around that great soul’s mortal remains.”

Now Jinora sighed - while she would never be as aggressive an airbender as Opal was, she did suppose her father made rather good points. She stared at her father’s intense face, and said “I suppose you’re right. Though, from what Raava tells me, I won’t have to deal with this quandary anytime soon - I can’t kill a spirit.” Her father laughed lightly, and said “I wouldn’t be so sure of that, Jinora - life has a funny way of throwing unexpected obstacles in your path. Just look at Korra - I could tell she felt on top of the world after defeating Kuvira, in her own way, and less than a few hours later, the universe throws something else in her lap, demanding her immediate attention. I think I am beginning to understand where that blue flame came from, Jinora - Korra seems to be sick and tired of fighting. She’s been almost constantly battling something ever since she came out into the world’s view as a more mature Avatar, be it Equalists, Vaatu and Unalaq, the Red Lotus, her own physical and mental disabilities, or Kuvira. I think you might want to talk to Korra about your conversations with Raava and I once she awakens again - she might be able to help you better parse their meaning as well, and she might find your defiance in the face of unsure odds inspiring.”

Jinora left her father’s side, and made to wake Korra, but Raava gave her a slight glare. Jinora heard Raava say, “Just give Korra a little more rest - we still have a long way to go to the Swamp. If she isn’t up in 15 minutes, feel free to wake her.” Jinora followed the spirit’s gaze as she took in the world seemingly for the first time. She heard a deep, content sigh, and heard Raava say “I’ve always been able to see the world - but as though through a filter, and not directly. Now that I can see it directly, I can see why Wan wanted to fight, and risk his life when I did not quite understand mortals, who seemed willing to throw away a one-time precious gift. At times, over the thousands of years that followed, I found myself in awe of the Avatar’s mortal allies - here were humans with no hope of reincarnation or continuity between lives, risking their own to help ensure balance while the Avatar had access to things they could never dream of getting themselves, and I was… just sort of there. I never contacted any Avatars directly other than Wan and Korra, instead operating behind a shield - the nebulous concept of the ‘Avatar Spirit’. I did not want anyone to know what the sorry state of affairs the world had been in before Wan, and only really came back for my ‘part’ of the show - the showdown with Vaatu that occurs every ten thousand years.” Raava sighed, and said “After seeing all that Korra went through, and Kuvira abuse spirit power to attack other humans and harm one of the greatest wonders in the world in the process - the Swamp - I felt as though I could no longer sit idly by. I was not content with merely providing the Avatar with a source of power and, until recently, a sense of continuity. I did not act on what I did not recognize as ‘feelings’. It took the initial events in the Spirit World yesterday to push me over the line - Long Yumao managed to get on my last nerve.”

Both Raava and Jinora turned to face a stirring figure behind them. Korra, now slightly more awake, asked them both “W-what are you guys talking about…?” Jinora saw Raava smile out of the corner of her eye at the same time she did.

~-~

Korra woke up to the sounds of voices - she heard two young girls talking, one much younger than the other. Opening her eyes, she asked “W-what are you guys talking about…?” The smallest, which she remembered with a start was Raava, began to say “Jinora and I were just discussing…” and then stopped short, thinking for a moment. After a considerable pause that Korra had no clue on what it meant, Raava said with a smile, “Constantly telling people things that you just said is tiring, Korra - I didn’t really appreciate all your repetitive yammering to other humans on recent events until I had to explain everything to Su and Lin. That was an interesting two hours.” Korra looked over to the sisters on Juicy’s back, who were both asleep. Lin moaned “No more talky, Tenzin - only touchy. Mffgh…” Jinora had a thoroughly horrified look on her face - apparently the young airbender had forgotten her father and Lin once were lovers. Raava ran over to Korra, as if Lin’s inappropriate outburst had given her an idea. Raava explained, “I think I might be able to impart all the information you need to know about what Tenzin, Jinora and I said while you were asleep. It could even work on other individuals as well.” Raava touched Korra’s shoulder, their minds re-uniting fully for a brief moment. Raava withdrew her hand, and the feeling passed - but the information Raava had conveyed remained. Both Korra and Raava sighed at the same time, Korra exclaiming, “Finally, no more long talks to catch people up!” Raava held up a finger, and corrected Korra, saying “Not just yet, I’m afraid - we don’t know if you will be able to share information with others in this manner, even if I am inside you. Mako might be a good test subject once he wakes up. For now, let’s talk briefly about Jinora’s conversations.” Raava made an odd attempt at a courtesy bow, and pointed to Jinora, saying “I believe this young woman has something to tell you.”

Jinora began to open her mouth to speak, but Korra caught her off guard with a big hug instead. Korra told Jinora “I already know about what you discussed with your father - Raava heard that conversation as well.” Jinora began to fuss slightly, stating “A cursing, eaves-dropping spirit of light and order. Seems rather odd to me…” Raava put her hands on her small hips, and said “I don’t have to worry about disapproving fathers, re-election or approval ratings, so I’ll do as I please, Mrs. Goody-Two-Shoes.” Korra rolled her eyes and pushed the obnoxious spirit away from herself and Jinora, who began laughing. Korra looked at Jinora in a serious manner and said, “What your father was saying about being willing to take a life - I believe he is correct. Of course, I have a reputation for being a rather violent Avatar, so you should take my words with a grain of salt. That being said, I did spare Kuvira and have matured as an individual over the years, so I see your concerns. My best answer to you? Don’t take away someone’s life unless you believe it is the last resort and you or someone you love is in mortal danger from that person.” Seeing that Jinora was not quite satisfied with this answer, Korra continued “Think of it this way - if you had seen your father fighting Zaheer and his disciples, and it looked like Zaheer was about to remove the air from your father’s lungs when he lay prone and helpless on the ground, and you were alone, what would you have done?” Though it obviously pained her to say it, Jinora said weakly “I would have summoned all my strength, and taken their breath away. I wouldn’t want to lose my father, after all.” Jinora looked crushed, but Korra could tell she got the message. Jinora started to laugh lightly, and said through a smile “Though if Opal were with me, there wouldn’t be any quandary for me - all four Red Lotus members would be lying dead on the ground, with metal projectiles sticking out of their foreheads.” Korra laughed, remembering Opal’s request for the new “equipment”.

Korra heard some mumbling behind her - apparently all this laughter had woken Bolin and Mako at the same time. Raava said “Quick! I’m going to go back inside you, Korra, and you can try to convey all three conversations to them both. I need a challenge once in a while.” Mako stared at Korra for a second in sleepy confusion, waking up fully once Raava was back inside Korra. She had noticed she felt rather lonely and weak whenever Raava was not within her. She heard the spirit whisper Quick, before Bolin asks what’s goin o- oh, nevermind. Too late. She whispered in Mako’s ear “I’m going to try a new technique on you and your brother - just get him to hold still.” Mako said, “Bolin, Korra needs us for something, but you have to stay really still. Just pretend you’re trying to hide from Opal when she’s mad.” Glancing over at Juicy’s driver, Korra could see this was no hypothetical situation - Opal was sending angry glances at Mako and Bolin right now. Korra planted her hands on the brother’s shoulders, and felt as though something had temporarily left her and then returned. While Mako did not seem phased by this odd new technique, Bolin was squinting his eyes and rubbing his head, saying “Why did you just project a symphony of voices into my head, Korra? Is regular talking too good for you?” Korra laughed lightly and said with a smirk “I just needed to test out a time-saving technique on you two, and it appears to have worked. Did you get the image of your girlfriend’s wrath for the Red Lotus, Bolin?” Opal looked back to Oogi’s passengers, this time to Korra, and asked “What was that?” Bolin looked relieved that she was no longer giving him the stink-eye, but he still said “Yes I did!” rather nervously. Maybe Jinora did have a point about Opal - but that was something for another time. Korra told Opal “Jinora can tell you about it later!” and to her surprise, she heard a relieved sigh from Jinora, who said “I never thought I’d be bonding with anyone over violence, but it’s better than another catfight.” Opal’s suspicious look did not entirely rule that last possibility out.

Suddenly, Korra heard a loud roar, and turned to see its source - Druk, Zuko’s dragon. Oh good, now we can start the Restoration - if you can convince Toph, that is. Korra looked around for the telltale Great Banyan tree to guide her to where Toph might be, but to her horror, she had a hard time finding it. When she did, her eyes flickered in and out of the Avatar State momentarily, in a combination of both her own and Raava’s anger. She pointed to what should have been a lush, gargantuan tree, and yelled “THAT’S what Kuvira did to that poor thing?!? Maybe I should have killed her after all!” With both of the airbison’s passengers now wide awake and staring on in mute horror, Korra took in the horrible scene. Even Druk hung motionless in the air, flapping his wings and occasionally shooting bursts of flame skyward in anger, and she heard a distinctive sobbing from the beast’s rider.
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Additional datapoints acquired. Additional animated stories viewed. Directive: adjust opinion... adjusting...
First eyes, a treasure. New eyes, end with a pretentious blink, own vision eclipses.
Book 5:Humanity, aka: Freedom's First Writ
Freedom153
Never Gonna Give Yue Up

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Posts: 549


That Could Have Been Executed Better


« Reply #14 on: Jan 02, 2015 06:53 pm »

Chapter 11: Arrival at a Rock Wall

The upper canopy of the massive tree appeared to be withering away as a result of the massive, sickening chunks taken from the sides. Many large branches ended abruptly, and almost all the roots had large swathes removed from them. The smaller vines around the tree had been almost completely removed, with only lifeless tendrils here and there to tell the world of the massacre. Lin yelled “I don’t get it, Korra - it looks like they took almost half the blasted tree, but I never saw that much spirit vine material inside the Colossus!” Mako added, half looking like he wanted to join Druk’s display of anger with his new blue flame, “Even the spirit vine inside the reactor wasn’t this big! Kuvira must have stashed it all away! That’s bad news, if anyone decides to continue fighting when Wu makes his announcement.” Korra felt a sinking feeling in her gut - Iroh’s warning about Zuko’s post-war rule came scurrying back to her, like a pack of unwelcome giant spiders.

While this atrocity sickens me to my core, Korra, we need to get a move on - and remember, you decided to spare Kuvira’s life, and killing her to avenge the Great Banyan tree will accomplish nothing. Raava was right - Korra didn’t have time to gawk at that horrible mess. She yelled, loud enough for a now much closer Zuko to hear, “I’m going to find and talk to Toph with Asami! I have the feeling she wouldn’t take to my new communication technique at all - she’s not so keen on regular conversation anyways.” As Lin, Su, Bolin and Opal began laughing loudly, a mysterious gust of wind picked Korra and Asami up off Oogi’s back. Much to her annoyance, as she and Asami were swept away, she could see Tenzin wasn’t concerned at all - he appeared to be laughing. Then a distant icy memory surfaced, once more, and Korra understood the reason for his laughter.

When Asami and Korra landed in the Swamp, they appeared to be on a large crushed fluffy white pillow. Suddenly, it squawked - this was no pillow! The mass beneath them shrugged them off violently. Korra grabbed ahold of Asami’s hand as they fell into a thick bed of leaves, and a strange white bird turned towards them, and let out a piercing screech that sounded like a human scream. A vine whipped the bird off into a distant corner of the swamp, and Asami began laughing like a madwoman. Korra let out a sigh of relief, saying “Well, it appears the Swamp is still alive, but wounded. I wonder how long it will take to regrow?”

A familiar crotchety voice said behind them, “Oh, I don’t know - maybe five thousand years. Welcome back to the swamp, Korra.” Korra grabbed Asami’s arm, and rushed towards the hunched-over figure of Toph. Korra told Toph, “Hey again! I’d like you to meet my gi-, uhm, my friend, Asami.” Toph gave Korra a quizzical look, and began laughing loudly, saying “Hah! I bet even Bolin could tell that she’s not your ‘friend’ - I’ve felt my own toddlers give more convincing lies, and both your hearts are beating far too fast for your bond to be just friendship.” Korra was half tempted to give Toph a halfhearted shock with lightning, but remembered the last time she had tried to start beef with Toph Beifong, and decided against it. Toph pointed at her rocky shelter and said “I can tell there’s a lot neither of you are telling me. Come here, and get started with the gumflappin’.” Once all three were inside, Asami took out her notebook, all prepared to give Toph a full account of the past 48 hour’s events. Korra began talking, saying “Okay, so first me and Asami go on a field trip to the Spirit world, and then we meet Iroh, who gives us some big warnings - ” Korra fell backward as the rock floor slid under her feet, Toph beginning to cackle simultaneously.

“What did I tell you about trying to lie, Korra? The only liar who’s ever bested me was Princess Azula, and she’s long gone - may she rest in pieces.” As Toph began to laugh again, she pointed to Asami, and said “I can tell you and her have a thing for each other - more than that, I can tell, given how you’re both blushing. Why don’t you just hurry up and spill the beans - and don’t include any of the spiritual claptrap, it always did bore me.” Given that so much of Korra’s relationship with Asami and its unusual fruit had been enabled by “spiritual claptrap,” she told Toph the relevant spiritual parts anyways. Toph must have been able to tell that Korra was still withholding information, and in a way that was consistent with Toph’s command - the floor did not move again.

Before Korra could get to their first meeting with Katara, Toph held up her hand and said, “I bet Katara pestered you about this a bit.” Korra laughed weakly, saying “I guess you could say that.” Before Korra could go back into the story, Toph added, “And I know you aren’t telling me everything that happened in there, as per my request, but you have told me about what I really cared to know, and wish you to tell me more. Remember, no claptrap. Now go.” Korra snickered, managing to say “I guess you and Katara have… similar interests.” Korra could hear Asami and herself laughing, and Raava giggling inside of her.

Korra felt a sudden pain in her foot, and felt the world moving around her - apparently Toph had shot a wave of earth at her feet, much as she had before. Toph walked over coolly, stood over her body, and said “You really should be more aware of your surroundings, you know,” with no hint of emotion in her voice. She felt Raava snickering inside her, although this time Korra did not see what was funny. Korra let out a deep sigh, and got back on her feet once again. Remembering her trick with the tiles from earlier today, she bent a square of earth up from the floor and kept it floating in mid-air, hoping this might fool Toph’s earthsense. The old earthbender instead began laughing wildly, turning the square into dust. Stomping her foot on the ground, Toph turned Korra to face her, and said “Nice try, but I still can hear, you know. Some floating rock trick isn’t going to fool me - at least not at close range. I still remember how Twinkletoes cheated against me during our first encounter. Anyways, why don’t you just finish - I have to clean my toes.” Toph held up her foot, and Asami turned away - even Korra thought they were overdue. As Korra finished her edited version of events, she heard the door to the cave open - apparently Toph was done with them now.

Before Toph could bend them both out, Korra blurted out “Toph, the real reason we came here was to get your help - we need your assistance to help save Avatar Aang’s spirit, and all the lives before him.” Toph stomped the floor again, making both Korra and Asami spin like tops - the same technique Korra had used on one of Tarrlok’s assistants. Toph said, stopping the girl’s motion temporarily, “I thought I told you no claptrap! I don’t want anything to do with you kids anymore, or the world for that matter. Not after what Kuvira did to the Swamp.” Korra felt her blood boil, and her eyes flash a bright white. She quickly closed the distance to a surprised Toph, and forced the information regarding Raava and her past lives into Toph’s mind. She didn’t feel proud doing this, but she felt it was the only way - it’s not like Toph was going to even let them stay otherwise, much less listen to her tale of woe and urgency.

Korra felt her eyes halt their glowing, and she removed her hand from Toph’s temple. Without missing a beat, Toph said, pointing at the door, “Nope, still don’t care. Now get out!” Korra was really angry now - did this woman honestly not care about the fate of her deceased friend?!? Before Korra could say anything, she saw a shadowy figure extend a gloved hand to Toph’s side, and a moderate amount of electrical current enter Toph’s body. Knowing she couldn’t possibly have generated lightning that quickly, Korra turned her head slightly, and saw Asami by her side. Asami removed the electrogloves from her hand, and said “I know you can’t bloodbend, much less without a full moon, so I guess this is the next best thing. Hopefully some peer pressure will make her cave. I’m going to radio Lin, and you should shoot a large beacon of blue fire outside as a signal flare. I know we both had hoped to get Toph to behave reasonably, but it was a long shot.”
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First eyes, a treasure. New eyes, end with a pretentious blink, own vision eclipses.
Book 5:Humanity, aka: Freedom's First Writ
Freedom153
Never Gonna Give Yue Up

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That Could Have Been Executed Better


« Reply #15 on: Jan 02, 2015 06:53 pm »

Chapter 12 : Completion

As Korra ran outside to create the signal, she couldn’t help but feel incredibly guilty about what had happened - but then again, it had been Asami that incapacitated Toph, and not Korra. Then again, Asami was right - if Korra was under a full moon and knew how to bloodbend Toph without hurting her, and the only alternative was the death of all her past lives, she’d do it. Maybe she wasn’t so different from Tarrlok after all…

The more I see of humanity, Korra, the more I see that black and white, pure good and pure evil, perfect yin and yang - they are all lies. You may regret forcing information into Toph’s mind, what Asami did, or what you were willing to do if you knew how to bloodbend, for the rest of your life - but as I have seen, humans have to walk the fine line between light and dark - myself and Vaatu - in a way that no other beings have to. Having finally experienced such a thing relatively first-hand, I only have one regret now: not equalizing spirits and humans sooner. Now go, and bend that signal!

Korra chocked back her bitter tears, and shot a jet of blue flame skyward. A sudden panicked thought occurred to her - what would Zuko say when he saw the Avatar using one of his evil deceased sister’s moves? The signal flare momentarily flashed a normal orange, but then Korra took a deep breath, and remembered what Raava had just said. She re-focused herself, and the flame turned blue once more - but this time, with a substantial colored base.

She heard a momentous crash in the forest surrounding her, as though a leviathan had landed near her. Remembering Zuko’s dragon mount, Druk, she turned in the direction of the sound, and saw a stunned Zuko staring at Korra’s flame. “Korra! That flame! I thought it died with my sister! How did you… wait. What’s that at the base…? Is that… multi-color fire?!? It’s… a rainbow! What… That’s the color of dragons’ flame!” Zuko stood mute, in stunned silence, as did Korra, who only managed to maintain the flame - if she had spoken, the flame would have been extinguished. Korra took a deep breath, yet again recollecting herself, and said “I can explain everything to you later, Zuko. I saw the same colors at the base of Mako’s flames when I taught him how to wield and control this unruly blue fire.” Korra thought for a moment, and it suddenly dawned on her - the colors that Zuko referred to as dragon’s fire appeared whenever she or Mako had thought of some form of love, and apparently her acceptance of the contradictory nature of the world had intensified the amount of the odd flames. She took another deep breath, and explained all this to a motionless Zuko as the other members of the party had assembled behind him. Suddenly realizing she no longer needed to maintain the flare, she snuffed it out - and was met with slight booing. Tenzin stepped forward, and said, “Whatever happened in there, Korra - we all need to know. And old-fashioned style, please - that new technique leaves something to be desired, according to Bolin and Mako.”

Noticing that Asami had a groggy Toph over her shoulders, Korra began explaining the events of the past 45 minutes, and what Raava had said to her. Lin and Su did not laugh once - not even when she described how Asami had incapacitated their mother. Apparently, Toph had been faking, as when Korra finished she said “I don’t know whether to try and bend your skull in or hug you, Korra. I still won’t assist in the Restoration, though.” Toph blew a vigorous raspberry at Korra. Rather than getting angry, Korra just laughed and said “I’m sure Zuko and Katara really appreciate your help here. Both Sokka and Aang may be dead, but we can at least revive the latter’s spirit. I know you don’t care about all this spiritual stuff, but please - can you do this for Katara and Zuko?”

Again, a resounding “Nope.” Toph added, “I really am done with you kids - especially after that sneak attack from Asami.” Korra never could tell when Toph was kidding. Tenzin stepped in front of Toph - for some bizarre reason, Toph was blind after all - and asked, in an exaggerated tone, “Am I a kid?” Toph snickered and said “Yes.” Tenzin gave Toph a nasty glare, and stormed off, stopping near Korra’s side. He patted Korra on the shoulder, and said, “Will THIS change your mind? Korra, project Raava out here - Toph should be able to sense her energy, even if she can’t see her.” Korra took a deep breath and placed her knuckles together, and much as she suspected, Raava chose to come out in her true form - apparently she was trying to slightly intimidate Toph, which Korra knew would never work.

Raava boomed “I know you are stubborn, Toph, but let me see if this vision will change your mind. I managed to get a good enough lock on Aang’s energy to show you what you are about to SEE.” As Toph began to protest, “What are you, stupid? I’m BLIND!” Raava extended a tentacle to Toph’s forehead. Korra’s vision was suddenly blackened, and then she saw what Raava must have been showing Toph. Korra saw what must have been a ten-year old Aang inside a block of ice, shivering in the cold and crying heavily. She could hear intermittent muffled cries of “Somebody save me! Please! I’m so cold…” Korra’s heart felt like ice - she knew that Wan was now four, and time was short. The vision lifted, and she felt Raava’s presence within her body once more.

Toph hummed absently, and started wiggling from Asami’s shoulder. Back on the ground, she motioned to Korra, saying “Come here. I have something to ask of you.” Asami stepped aside as Korra got closer, and Toph whispered in her ear, “If we restore the link, will you call Aang Twinkletoes for me and harass him from time to time?” Korra felt like slapping Toph, but just gave a noncommittal “Sure.” Korra felt the earth rumble under her feet, and gave Toph a sideways glance. “Yes, I will. I might even be able to project him out for you, like I did with Raava.” Toph slapped Korra on the back, gave everyone a big grin, and said “I’m in.” Toph slapped her hands over her ears to block out the raucous applause. Before Korra left her side, Toph told her “And after we’re done, I have a confession of my own to make - but no one else can hear. You got that?” Not having any idea what Toph could be talking about, she said “Sounds good - I’ll need Asami at my side as a scribe, though.” Toph grunted lowly, and said “Fine. Now let’s go save Twinkletoes.” Korra smiled slightly - Toph still did care after all. It was uncharacteristic of her to share deep, dark secrets. She was just being exceptionally cranky today for some reason - maybe she thought doing so would antagonize Aang?

Korra walked back to where everyone else was, but she was sort of at a loss - Raava had told them to all gather in the Swamp, but nothing after that. Korra projected Raava back out, who took her human-y form this time. Zuko stared at the small form intently. Raava said “I need Tenzin, Katara, Toph, and Zuko to hold hands around Korra in a square formation, in that order. Korra needs to grab Tenzin’s right shoulder with one hand and Katara’s left shoulder with the other, as they have the closest relationship with Korra. I need Asami, Mako, Bolin, Opal, Jinora, Lin and Su to hold hands, in that order, around the inner square. Someone will have to hold Asami by her side - I think that would be Su. Asami needs to touch Korra with her free hand, somehow - if memory serves me right, Korra would prefer on the butt. You got that?” Korra blushed, and said “Yes!” at the same time as everyone else. Raava finished “Good. I will be inside Korra for this. Allow me to provide some quick transportation.” With that, another not-so mysterious wind picked everyone up - Druk, Oogi and Juicy included - and deposited them on a somewhat intact section of the Great Banyan tree’s roots. The animals stared in curiosity as everyone assembled the bizarre formation.

Okay, Korra - now I just need you to enter the Avatar State, and the energy of those around you should take care of the rest. Hatred imprisoned your past lives - and now human love will free them. See you on the other side. Korra took a deep breath, and after she felt Asami pinch her butt in a mischievous manner, she entered into the Avatar State.

Korra felt herself leave her body, finally stopping before her apparition hit the underside of what remained of the Great Banyan tree’s canopy. A massive beam of blue light shot from the crown of her head, making Druk, Oogi and Juicy bellow in shock. Korra watched in amazement. Two concentric rings of water rose towards the two rings of bodies. Both waterloops began to glow a familiar yellow at the exact same time, and formed a covering over all those assembled’s arms and hands. When the outer ring finally connected through Asami’s outstretched hand to the inner ring, the water began glowing the same white as Korra’s eyes. Soon after, Korra heard a deep groan in the distance - as though a giant had wrestled a massive chunk of earth free.

A massive boulder suddenly flew towards the inner ring containing herself, Toph, Zuko, Tenzin and Katara. The boulder began to writhe over top of Toph’s head, and a flash of light from its surface told Korra it must have had some metal content. Finally assuming the form of a square, the boulder began to send out massive heat waves from its top surface, singeing some Great Banyan tree vines in the process. The inner portion of the boulder began bubbling madly - she must have been using Avatar State lavabending on it! As the roiling surface began to calm down, she saw a familiar symbol etched in stone and iron on its surface - the symbol for Earth.

Korra’s apparition jumped aside out of shock, barely avoiding the next elemental display. A massive spout of multicolor fire sprang from her body’s mouth, again singeing some of the Great Banyan tree, much to her dismay. Druk bellowed again, in surprise at the color of the flames. As the great ball of multicolored flames hovered over Zuko, Korra saw her body take a deep breath, and exhale forcefully, eyes still glowing. At first, it appeared as though this had done nothing - then a bizarre spherical electrical lightshow appeared over her head. Korra’s mouth fell open of its own. Was that… ball lightning? She had heard of accounts told by crazy hermits of such things happening naturally, but had never seen such a display herself - much less one created by bending. The ball of lightning united with the ball of fire over Zuko’s head, and the hypnotic mixture immediately formed the symbol for Fire, with the lightning serving as a background.

Korra’s body took another deep breath, and exhaled a great gale of wind that tore into the Great Banyan tree, yet again - Korra wondered sickly if there would be anything left when this Restoration was completed. The wind howled as it concentrated over Tenzin’s head, ripping more leaves from the tree. After a while, the wind began holding a familiar pattern, its pattern illuminated by the now-glowing Great Banyan tree leaves within the streams of air - the symbol for Air. A steady lighter stream of air formed a box around the inner lighted maelstrom.

Korra’s body gave an odd jerk, and she stared in horror as a sizeable portion of the tree’s great trunk shriveled as torrents of water were ripped from its flesh. The water pulsated, condensing down to a much smaller form. The water congregated over Katara’s head, and she saw a familiar symbol beginning to form out of ice- the symbol of her own element, Water. After the symbol formed, an icy mist enveloped it, and a square of shimmering water formed behind the ice.

Suddenly, the Great Banyan tree beneath all those assembled began to rumble lightly. Korra saw bright white lines interconnect every individual gathered in a beautiful spider’s web, and the tree groaned. Just when Korra thought the tree was about to give its life to restore her past ones, a beam of pure, white light erupted from Korra’s chest and struck the tree in the trunk with full force. Korra first thought this meant the end for the tree, given the power of the beam, but something unexpected happened. The tree began to grow bright white lines in its trunk, and after she felt an immense pulse of power from her own body, she watched in glee as the tree healed all its wounds - but with that same white color placed against the green of the tree.

Let’s see those scumbags try and use the Great Banyan tree’s vines as a weapon now, a steadily louder voice said in her head. I can’t wait to see the first unworthy harvester to try and cut this poor thing to be turned to ash - good riddance. Korra felt herself return to her body, and couldn’t help but make the same predatory grin she assumed Raava would have made. Anticipating the incineration of evil people wasn’t exactly in line with the “new Korra”… But she remembered how the tree had looked, all those horrible camps Kuvira made, all the crimes against humanity and the spirits…

Her last thought was “I think it’s high time I was a bit less understanding and a bit more unyielding again - yielding to those without principle is foolishness,” which was met with a simple About time.

Welcome back, Korra - it’s been a long four years.
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First eyes, a treasure. New eyes, end with a pretentious blink, own vision eclipses.
Book 5:Humanity, aka: Freedom's First Writ
Freedom153
Never Gonna Give Yue Up

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That Could Have Been Executed Better


« Reply #16 on: Jan 02, 2015 06:55 pm »

----

Chapter 13: The Avatar Party

Korra had no clue what would happen after she had completed the instructions for the Restoration, and certainly did not anticipate the regrowth of the Great Banyan tree, but she certainly wasn’t expecting this. She appeared to be standing inside a massive hall, which was filled with over 100 people - a good number of which she recognized immediately. She saw Raava standing in front of her in a formal dress in her human-y form, and she saw everyone else staring at Raava’s new form. As she began to scan the crowd in more detail, Korra’s heart jumped - she could see Avatar Wan, Avatar Aang, Avatar Roku, Avatar Kyoshi (who she recognized from history books), and all her other past lives! A rather severe woman Air Nomad Avatar who was staring at Raava and a male Water Tribe Avatar who was approaching Raava caught her eye. The Water Tribe Avatar came up to close Raava and said “I bet if you ever grow up, you’ll be a looker, Raava.” As the closest Avatars began laughing wildly, Raava cursed and flicked him in the forehead, sending him crashing into Korra. As their bodies collided, she instantly knew who he was - it was Avatar Kuruk, who Raava had once mentioned as having lost a loved one’s face to Koh.

Seemingly knowing what Korra had been thinking about, Kuruk asked her “So what’s that no-good scumbag centipede up to these days? He try and steal anyone’s face recently? I gotta get back to hunting that villain - I never did get him to give Ummi’s face back.” He frowned at the ground, seemingly ready to cry - which seemed rather uncharacteristic. This brazen man had just hit on the human-y form of one of the most powerful spirits in the universe. Korra explained the threat Long Yumao had given Asami, and Kuruk scratched his head lightly, saying “Wait - I don’t get it. How does that compare to Koh stealing my beloved’s face…?” Korra whispered in his ear, and Kuruk’s cheeks turned a deep red. “Oh, sorry, Korra - I never figured that some girls bent that way. Might help explain why some of those Air Nomad chicks just walked off before I could show them my tricks,” Kuruk said, putting a hand on Korra’s shoulder. “Now that I think about it, I don’t really mind - just as long as somebody was getting some action.” Kuruk winked at Korra, making her laugh, and he continued “I get the bad feeling you aren’t done telling me what happened while I was trapped in that icecube - go on.” When Korra told him about Raava, Asami and her own encounter with a freewalking Koh in the spirit world, Kuruk nearly had a fit. He managed to sputter “That’s just awful! Koh was enough of a menace when he stayed holed up in his tree. I hope this Long Yumao can’t uphold his end of their disgusting pact.” Kuruk stormed off, apparently annoyed to be trapped with the other past lives of the Avatar instead of harassing Koh.

When she saw Aang walking towards her with Roku at his side, she realized with a start that Aang no longer took the form of the middle-aged man she had seen before who had restored her bending - he was 12! Aang, seemingly anticipating her question, said loudly “When you restored the link, some Avatars chose to not completely reverse the backwards aging - I chose to stay 12, and I know Wan chose to stop aging once he got to the age where he and Raava fused during their fight with Vaatu.” Aang pointed at Roku, and said “Here’s Roku, my mentor! He helped me a lot when I was trying to defeat the Fire Nation.” A nasty frown suddenly appeared on Korra’s face, and she asked “Yeah, about that kind of help, Aang - why didn’t you warn me about Harmonic Convergence anyways? I didn’t see or even hear much of you at all until recently.” Korra shot the little boy a rather nasty glare. Aang just began laughing, saying “Sorry, Korra - I let myself get… distracted, shall we say. Even after death, I always loved to check in on Katara.” Roku gave him a face that outdid her own scowl, and smacked Aang across the face, yelling “THAT’S what you were doing before Avatar Korra got swallowed by that Dark Spirit?!? Honestly! You told me you were trying to get more information about Harmonic Convergence out of Wan Shi Tong - you’re lucky your granddaughter didn’t get hurt by that smug owl.” Aang blushed slightly, and said “Yeah - maybe it wasn’t the best decision. I don’t think I was thinking with my brain. Anyways, Korra - I want you to tell me everything that happened since Unalaq and Vaatu imprisoned us.” Seeing that Roku was curious as well and they were serious, Korra groaned slightly, and prepared to start talking - again. Before she could, she saw Raava sneak up behind the two, who told Korra “Touch their foreheads! This party may not take any time in the real world, but I don’t feel like standing here for two ‘hours’ either!” She put her palms on a laughing Aang’s and a confused Roku’s foreheads, and withdrew her hands once Raava removed her own from their backs. Roku stared at Korra, saying “That was amazing! All that information at once…” Roku trailed off, and looked angry again. “Wait - so Firelord Izumi didn’t make it to Republic City in force in time? It doesn’t matter if Kuvira attacked one week early. I know I wanted the Fire Nation to stop messing in other nation’s affairs, but I think she’s grossly overshot the mark. That crater in the middle of the city…” Roku headed past the tea table, straight for what Korra recognized as some sake bottles. Korra turned to stare at Aang - she was still angry at him for his… dereliction of duty. Aang could tell that Raava was angry as well - the small spirit had her hand on her hips, seemingly ready to launch into a barrage of curses. Aang twiddled his fingers nervously, and yelled “Off to spy - I mean, check up on Katara again! See you later!” He ran off, staring out what appeared to be a window. Raava made to chase after Aang, but stopped, and sighed “It’s no use - he always was a big kid, even on his deathbed. Why don’t you talk to these two while I join Roku at the sake table?”

Korra giggled at the idea of a great spirit getting drunk. Raava shot her a wink as she left, and said “You might want to try alcohol with Asami some time - I get the feeling both your inhibitions will melt away like ice before fire.” Korra remembered what Asami had said about hanky-panky and mansions - that sounded like a really good idea. Korra was dragged back to the present when she noticed two severe Avatars approaching her - one, an Air Nomad woman who she did not recognize, and the other what must have been Avatar Kyoshi. She would recognize that outfit and makeup anywhere. Kyoshi started, asking “Who’s this ‘Kuvira’ you mentioned? Don’t tell me some fool is trying to follow in the footsteps of Chin the Conqueror. And none of that weird information dump thing Roku was so excited about. Why don’t you just start from the time both me and Yangchen were imprisoned.” She now knew the other Avatar’s name. Korra groaned loudly, and said “It’s not like I could do it anyways - not with Raava half drunk all the way over there.” She heard loud awkward laughter from the direction of the sake table - apparently Roku was making up for over 170 year’s lack of drink with a vengeance, and Raava couldn’t get enough of this strange new “human-y” pleasure. Korra vaguely considered cutting out certain parts, but the curious yet stern looks on Kyoshi’s and Yangchen’s face convinced her that wasn’t a good idea.

When she had finally finished - it was a good thing this party wasn’t taking up actual real time, she thought with relief - she saw Yangchen staring at her in an odd mix of disbelief and admiration. Kyoshi looked to be fuming, but likely to stay silent for now. Yangchen said, putting a hand on Korra’s shoulder, “I can’t believe it - the Air Nomads, no, I guess the Air Nation now - back after all this time. And your sacrifice to protect them… You even put your life at risk to stop Kuvira’s weapon from turning her into ash. I thought Aang’s energybending of Ozai was merciful.” She blushed slightly, adding, “I can see my own ‘mixed’ reputation precedes me - this ‘Opal’ girl sounds a lot like me, and Jinora sounds an awful lot like Aang. I believe they are both right, in their own ways, about taking life. I counseled Aang myself that he needed to just kill Ozai, and when I saw this ‘New Ozai Society’ I thought I had been right. I never expected one as violent and brash as yourself to show that there’s a time and place for everything.” Yangchen looked slightly concerned, and began to say, “The New Ozai Society came to mind when you talked about Iroh’s prophecy, and I fear a repeat of that may happen in the Earth kingdom, except not around Kuvira - she ‘disgraced’ herself in the eyes of her followers, most likely, with her surrender.” Yangchen barely finished before a much more visibly incensed Kyoshi pushed her aside, and pointed an accusing finger at Korra, and cursed at her in blind rage loudly for at least a good five minutes. She heard Raava laughing hysterically, who, given the loud thump at the end, must have fallen face-forward onto the floor in her drunken stupor.

Kyoshi actually began to talk instead of cursing, and she lashed into Korra, saying “So you mean to tell me your incompetence let an anarchist madman plunge the Earth Kingdom into chaos, destroying countless artifacts and inflicting massive property damage in the process, and then you seriously considered SURRENDERING to this same lunatic? Which, I may add, if you hadn’t gone to him like you did, he would never have been able to poison you. And that brings me to my second point - this ‘Kuvira’ woman. She sounds WORSE than Chin the Conqueror! All those slave-labor and ‘re-education’ camps… I can hardly believe you didn’t just crush her like the vile insect she is outside Zaofu, ‘Dark Korra’ hallucination or not. Then, instead of letting the Universe exact poetic justice on this horrible, evil person, you SAVED HER FROM HER OWN WEAPON?!? I thought you were supposed to be more like I was - strong, willing to kill, and an instrument of order. I guess not - For crying out loud, you just started a SPIRIT CIVIL WAR! Someone told you were a ‘legend’, Korra - I think you’re a disgrace. Now, to join Roku and Raava at the sake table - I need a good stiff drink after hearing all that ... that… ” Again, with the cursing. With a final angry grunt and four-letter word, Kyoshi stormed off, almost stepping on a floor-bound Raava who was singing horribly off-key with Roku.

Before Korra could start to cry wildly, she felt a very familiar energy near her, and looked up to see who it was. “Avatar Korra, I’ve always wanted to meet you directly. As the First Avatar, I know quite a bit more of what has happened than that brute of a woman did initially - even inside that ice, my special connection to Raava let me see the odd vision here or there,” Avatar Wan finished, wiping a solitary tear from Korra’s cheek. Wan began to drag Korra towards the sake table - the last place she wanted to go. Seeing the look on her face, Wan said, “I want to see Raava up close, after all this time - even if she is so drunk she can’t see straight. Never thought I’d see my friend in the form of an intoxicated little girl.” Both Korra and Wan laughed loudly. This got Raava’s attention, who managed to waddle over, saying, “Hey, Waaaan! Nishe to shee you againnn! If I evur get a bigger ‘human-y’ form, wanna do the… The Thing?” As Raava hiccupped and then giggled loudly, Wan’s cheeks flushed, and he said “Hey! I may have sworn off humans - much less intercourse with one - after I fused with you, but I’m not your husband or boyfriend. Now, please, do this new ‘information-sharing’ technique with Korra, before you pass out or something.” Korra was rather surprised - she had never heard of an asexual individual before. Raava slurred “Fiiine. Now jusht hold shtill, and don’t questionnn where I put my handsh.” Korra put her palm up to Wan’s forehead, and laughed loudly as Raava made her move - she firmly grasped Wan’s buttocks, producing a surprised yelp from the first Avatar. After a short time, she saw Wan swat Raava’s hands off his rear. Raava groaned loudly “Awwww! And I wash jusht shtarting to feel that feelinggg Korra said I couldn’t feel as a shpirit. You arrr no fun, Waaaaan.” With the last word, Raava feel backwards again, landing on her long braided white hair. The small clasped teapot now sitting on Raava’s chest let out a muffled mad laughter, vibrating as it did so. Roku burst into hysterics, Kyoshi actually snickered, and she could hear Aang laughing wildly - apparently, he had become bored of the Katara peep show. Wan said, still blushing slightly, “I believe I have something to tell you, Korra. Now let’s get away from these drunken hooligans.” Raava managed a weak “I’m no hoooligaaaander - I’m the mosht powerful shpirit in the Univershe!” before blacking out again as Wan and Korra walked away.

Wan stopped when they had reach an empty corner of the odd house, and said “You seemed surprised when I said I held no desire for humans after fusing with Raava. After seeing all that humanity could do, I felt dirty even being near anyone but my closest allies, and even they regarded me with a small amount of fear - there had been no Avatar before me, and they never really knew if I was going to glow it up on them. Given this, I never developed a close relationship with any human - the closest thing I had was my bond with Raava, and despite her impious behavior just now, I can’t find myself attracted to a big spirit, much less a little girl.” Korra gave Wan a confused look - while this information was interesting, she didn’t see what it had to do with her. She told him as much, and Wan said, “Ah, yes - so direct. What I brought you over here to tell you, Korra, is that you are not alone.” Korra was getting slightly angry, and said curtly “Of course I’m not alone! You’re standing right here, next to me! If you have something to say, spit it out!” Wan laughed, and said, “Okay then - Korra, you are not the only Avatar to have a same-sex relationship. You are the first outside the Air Nomads to actually follow through on your desires. There was only one other Avatar who pursued his love - a male Air Nomad, Avatar Garkan. His time occurred after the finding by Air Nomad scholars that Tenzin showed you.” Korra could hardly believe what Wan was saying - she truly was not alone! Korra began to grin broadly, hugging Wan, saying “That’s wonderful news! What about the other Avatars who weren’t heterosexual?” Wan looked down at the floor, and said with clear disgust in his voice “They had to keep their relationships secret, or worse - they kept their desires pent up inside. Unrequited love - not because the target of their affections would have rejected them, but because they knew they would become a ‘lame turtle-duck’ Avatar if they showed their feelings openly. It is as Iroh warned you - there is much intolerance in the world. Even for the Avatar, the most powerful human on the planet.”

Korra felt an anger rising inside her she had only felt a few times before. It blossomed fully, and she felt tears running down her face. Had she been in the physical world with Raava inside her, she thought she would have incinerated all within a hundred feet of her body, even turning earth and steel to ash and slag. Wan lightly tapped her head, and said “I did not tell you this to make you rage against the machine, Korra - it is my hope that you may help change the world’s attitude towards non heterosexual relationships. You won’t get anywhere incinerating cities like what that anger would have done, however. While the Spirit Civil War is ongoing, this will need to be put to the side - you will need the support of humanity, even bigots, if you are to successfully stop Long Yumao’s growing influence and defeat him.” Korra was still seething with rage, so she asked Wan, “Can you show me one of these Avatars? And please, no depressing stories - at least not right now.” Wan ran off suddenly, dragging a large man behind him in Air Nomad attire, who looked very surprised. After Wan whispered in this Avatar’s ear for quite some time, the burly man stepped forward.

A deep voice boomed, “Hello, Avatar Korra - my name is Avatar Garkan. Wan told me of your relationship with this ‘Asami’ woman and his own conversation with you, among other things. He made it clear you didn’t really want to hear the other gay Avatar’s testimonies of woe right now, so allow me to share my own story.” Korra felt a small head at her side - apparently Aang wanted to hear this story as well. Before Garkan could begin, Aang piped, “I had heard of this decree that Korra ‘mentioned’ in the information sharing earlier before, but never knew anyone who it would apply to. Hope you don’t mind, Avatar Garkan.” The large Air Nomad Avatar laughed deeply, and said, “You can just call me Garkan. No need for formalities here. As I was about to say, I noticed that I never looked at girls with desire when I was young - even less than the average airbender boy. By the time I was told I was the next Avatar, I had already engaged in relations with another boy - Air Nomad Ryung. Just like you and Asami, Korra, we had not gone beyond close physical contact yet.”

Seemingly satisfied that he had answered Korra’s main unasked question - which he had not - Garkan continued, saying, “I grew up during a time of peace - the previous Avatar, Avatar Akane of the Fire Nation, had ended a brutal war between the Northern Water Tribes and the Earth Kingdom over territory. Her skillful use of the Avatar State ended the lives of the lead generals before they could command their armies to fight to the death outside Ba Sing Se’s walls. The leaders of both nations found themselves free to talk out their differences and reach today’s borders without the threat of a military coup de ’tat hanging over their heads. Nobody really felt much like fighting anyways, once both generals’ remains had been burned together as a symbol of peace and the Avatar’s power.” Garkan pointed two large fingers out - one at Aang, and one at Korra. “My life as Avatar mainly revolved around diplomacy and finalization of peace, unlike your own tumultuous experiences. From what Wan told me, Korra, you will have some diplomacy of your own to engage in shortly - remember, draw from each of the Four Nations for inspiration, and listen to this ‘Su’ - she sounds like a highly intelligent woman.”
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Book 5:Humanity, aka: Freedom's First Writ
Freedom153
Never Gonna Give Yue Up

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That Could Have Been Executed Better


« Reply #17 on: Jan 02, 2015 06:56 pm »

(Continued due to character limit)

While what Garkan had to say about history and diplomacy was sure to prove useful, Korra was getting rather impatient, and said, “Okay - the reason I wanted to talk to you wasn’t about diplomacy or peace talks, Garkan. I figured you might have some solid advice for me on how and when to come out about my relationship with Asami. Do you?” Garkan had a rather resigned look on his chiseled face, and said, “No, I do not, Korra. I am sorry. The reason I told you about the environment that I was Avatar during was because I did not face the divisive challenges you or Aang faced. This allowed me to freely pursue my relationship with my lover, Ryung - even outside of the non-judgmental environment of the Air Nomads. I did not have to worry about the other three Nation’s opinion of me - they were still in awe and fear of Avatar Akane’s feats. Her legacy, combined with my physical strength, size and elemental prowess, made it so none would challenge my ‘odd’ relationship with Ryung. We grew old together, as I hope you and Asami will - all without a derogatory look from anyone. ” Garkan smiled lightly, then put a massive hand to his chin, thinking. He finished, “On your original question - I think I may have a partial answer. You have done much during your lifetime to command respect, according to Wan. I think the best time to bring your relationship with Asami and the plight of non-heterosexuals into the spotlight would be after a major victory against an unambiguous foe. While you may think this applies to Kuvira, I do not believe that situation is so simple. You need someone that almost all of humanity hates, like Ozai - Long Yumao sounds like he’s trying his best to fit the bill.” With that, Garkan walked off towards the sake table - what was it with people and booze?

Aang told Wan “Last one to Raava’s a rotten egg!”, and the two rushed off towards a now semi-lucid form in the distance. Korra felt herself running over as well - she felt ready to leave, and she needed Raava to come to her senses first. As she approached, Raava said, with much less of a slur, “Ready to get back to the human-y world, huh, Korra? Here - take my hand.” Raava extended her hand, and Korra grasped it, but not before Raava said “And I’m not done with you yet, Waaaan,” and slapped Wan on the butt again. As Korra felt herself fading, she heard a smack on someone’s face, and a small girl giggling in reaction.

----


Chapter 14: Hidden Sorrows

As Korra came to in the physical world, the odd mansion long vanished, she felt her eyes glow strongly, and much to her surprise, she was actually able to manually tell her body what to do while in the Avatar State and somehow talk at the same time. She said, “The Restoration was a success” in a voice that was loud, but fully her own. She heard multiple surprised yelps around her - even Tenzin was surprised. “Korra! I’ve never heard of an Avatar talking in their own voice while in the Avatar State before… what happened?” Korra’s body momentarily stiffened, and a deep multi-voice replied “As Raava has directly acquired more human characteristics, new and unprecedented things have happened. This is not the first, nor is it the last.” Korra felt control return once again, and she could feel a raw power coursing through her that she hadn’t felt in four years as she remained in the Avatar State. Seeing that everyone but Tenzin was still alarmed by this bizarre development - even Katara - Korra deliberately halted her use of the Avatar State.

Everyone gathered around her began to ask the inevitable questions, and rather than explaining the “Avatar Party”, as she thought of it, a novel idea occurred to Korra that she followed through on. She took a deep breath and placed her hand on the newly re-invigorated Great Banyan tree’s trunk beneath her, and used the tree to broadcast the events of the “party” to everyone assembled. She made sure to catch Zuko up to speed on everything that had happened in the past 48 hours at the same time. This time, there were no complaints of odd feelings or disorientation - apparently the tree had helped somehow.

Zuko was the first to speak, saying “So I guess I’m not the only one frustrated with my daughter, Firelord Izumi - funny Roku should disapprove of her blind adherence to ‘non-aggression’ in the face of Kuvira when he tried to stop Sozin from enacting his aggressive dream.” Zuko shifted uncomfortably, saying “Speaking of family - I think, after ‘hearing’ about Korra and Asami’s relationship, and what Avatar Garkan had to say, I have something to confess.” Toph made a loud, angry grunt, saying “I can’t tell if it’s about you or someone else on top of this tree - I can’t earthsense through roots! Why don’t we go back to solid ground.”

After everyone arrived at Toph’s residence, everyone but Zuko and Korra talking animatedly along the way, the group dismounted from their respective animals - Toph had hitched a ride on Zuko’s dragon, Druk, talking animatedly about some “life-changing field trip” all the way. Zuko said, “While I am dying to try my own hand at this blue fire that apparently both Korra and Mako have acquired, I have a story to tell about someone who is… related.” While everyone else stared at Zuko blindly, Katara, Toph, Tenzin and Jinora shouted “Azula? Tell us more!” They seemed to be expecting a laugh out of the former Firelord, but he sighed deeply instead. “I am afraid this is no funny tale, my friends - Avatar Garkan’s story and Wan’s words finally convinced me this family secret must be shared.”

Zuko, clearly pained to talk of his deceased sister, said, “When I was about 12 years old, two years before my banishment, Azula was trying to master lightning generation, despite only being 10. She was not proficient enough in it yet to seriously harm someone, as she did my future best friend and Korra’s predecessor, Aang. One day, when she was practicing as I watched in secret - I was desperate to become as good a firebender as she, but it did not come to pass - she accidentally hit an attractive teenage servant girl, knocking her out.” Zuko took a long pause, causing Toph to yell “Get on with it already! She’s dead Zuko - she isn’t going to come and electrocute you or burn you to cinders. May she rest in pieces.”

A single tear streaked down Zuko’s cheek as he said, “I know she was an evil person, Toph - but this story might change your image of her. She had multiple issues. She always had a strained relationship with my mother, Ursa - but until a short time from now, no one but myself, Azula and Ursa knew why.” Zuko gulped, and continued “I saw Azula walk up to the girl, thinking she was completely alone, and touch her, as if satisfying a forbidden curiosity. As Azula made to grab the older girl’s chest, I involuntarily yelped, drawing her attention. She had a mortified look on her face - she realized that for the first time in my life, I had a trump card to play against her with my father. Being only 12, and bitter at my father’s favoritism, I threatened her, saying if she ever tried to betray me I would tell her father what she had done - even though I did not fully understand her action’s meaning. I saw her cry for the first time in my life, and she ran off to go harass the palace turtle-ducks.”

Zuko suddenly looked extremely guilty, and said “That’s when I noticed I had not been alone - my mother, Ursa, had been standing out of both our sights. She whisked me off to her room. That was one of the few times she ever spanked me. She told me that I shouldn’t threaten someone based on their ‘sexual orientation’ -Fire Nation schools had never taught me about homosexual relationships or attractions before - and that if I ever followed through with my threat, not only would she be very disappointed with me, Ozai might even kill my sister. She said he would have no use for even a prodigy if she was ‘aberrant’ and unlikely to produce a successor in the event of my own death.” Zuko sniffed deeply, and said “That was the first time it hit me what an evil man my father was - my mother sounded dead serious, and I sealed my lips seemingly for good after I learned the truth about Azulon’s plans for me as punishment for my father’s cruel words about Uncle Iroh and Lu Ten.”

Zuko shook his head, and said “This story isn’t about me - it’s about Azula. Anyways, when my mother had finished, Azula walked in on us. Before Azula could flee, Ursa grabbed her tightly and cried into my sister’s shoulders. My mother told Azula that she would always love her, no matter her choices, and that even if her father wasn’t okay with who Azula was, that she would protect her with her life. Azula shocked us both - she bit my mother on her hand, and ran off, screaming ‘Father loves me more than Zuko - I don’t need your love or acceptance, mother! I’m going to make your life unbearable, Zuko! Just you wait and see - you’ll never get the chance to rat me out, I’ll keep you so far away from Father!’ My mother was devastated, and Azula treated her with hostility and suspicion from that day forward, knowing that if Azula ever tried to hurt me, Ursa might just turn her in. Or at least that’s what Azula thought, anyways. With the events of the next four years, Azula became almost like a great spirit in my father’s eyes, but she still craved the forbidden - other women. She truly slipped over the edge when Ty Lee and Mai betrayed her, as they were the closest things she had to truly loyal friends. She drank in what power she had like a raging alcoholic drinks sake, and in the end, she shattered like overheated glass plunged into icy waters. I never did see her again after I found my mother.” Though Zuko was not crying, Korra could still see he was extremely sad.

As Korra felt a single tear fall down her cheek, knowing just what rejection by the world could do to a person, she realized with a start there was a figure in front of her. She yelled, “Raava, what have I told you about exiting my body without asking!” and then realized with a start that somehow, during the course of the conversation, Aang had apparated out of her body. She added lowly, “Oh great, another entity that leaves my body without asking!” and then noticed that Aang appeared to be crying.

Her past life sniffed, saying “I never knew Azula was so conflicted from such an early age. I just figured her to be crazy and evil - not tormented by anything but her mother’s undying love for her, and the schism that caused in her world view.” Katara, Tenzin, and Jinora walked to join the projection’s side, but Toph remained put, saying “I don’t care if Vaatu possessed her - there’s still no excuse for her behavior.” Korra found herself torn between Aang’s viewpoint and Toph’s - but her own experience with Asami helped her form her own. Korra said loudly, scaring some animals out of trees around them, “This, along with other reasons, is why I plan on someday putting a stop to, or at least blunting, people’s prejudices and discrimination against those they see as sexually ‘deviant’. We may be a small group, but our voices matter too. It’s time the world saw homosexual relationships as the Air Nomads did.” To her surprise, she heard everyone clapping - even Toph.

Suddenly remembering Toph’s earlier offer for some sensitive information, Korra announced, “It’s time everyone returned to the city. I don’t want to be in the Swamp at night. However, myself, Asami, Toph and Zuko will be staying, as I have some private matters to speak about with both Toph and Asami.” Lin and Su were giving their mother the stink eye, and both began to rotate rapidly - apparently, Toph didn’t want them hearing any of this unknown secret. When Lin and Su were sufficiently dizzy, Toph said, “I’m certainly not spilling my guts to you two - you bug me enough about family matters as is!” Toph suddenly put her hands to her mouth, as though she had revealed something she didn’t want anyone but Asami and Korra to know. This just confused Korra - surely, Toph didn’t have another kid, just wandering the world?

After both Oogi and Juicy had left with their passengers, Zuko decided to go stand by Druk, talking to the dragon in a low voice. Korra snickered slightly - it almost looked like he was trying to tease the secret to dragon’s fire out of his trusty steed. Given Druk’s confused look, she must have been right. Toph tapped Korra and Asami slightly above the waist, and said, “Come - we have much to discuss. And unless this information becomes relevant to your job as Avatar, no one else is to know but you and Asami. Let’s get started,” Toph finished, sitting with her dirty feet in the air.

Toph frowned slightly, saying, “You both know that I have not been the best of mothers to Su and Lin, but I tried. What no one knows is that after resigning as Chief of Police and before leaving to travel the world alone, I had one last fling with one of the city’s most skilled metalbending cops - Officer Tong. He was the father of Su, and I wanted one last quickie before seeking enlightenment.” Toph sighed deeply, continuing, “Even though I was 54 at the time, I still wanted to take no chances. So, we used protection - I didn’t want a baby slowing me down on the road, as unlikely as it was. I thought I was good to go, and would have no issues.” Toph paused, a single tear streaking down her face, and she said “I was wrong.”

Korra’s jaw dropped - why had she never heard of this third child before? Surely, if Toph could raise Su and her former criminal tendencies, she could handle anything? Seemingly anticipating this question, Toph said, still ignoring the tear on her face, “I had thought that raising Su was difficult. Apparently, Officer Tong had some really good inheritable talent, but his second child by me was worse than Su and her underworld antics - much worse. I gave birth to him on the road, and I named him Tonga after his father. At first I loved him - he was a perfect physical specimen, and showed exceptional earthbending talent. He could manipulate miniscule, almost non-existent iron in rocks at the age of three that even I had trouble sensing, and while sometimes cruel to animals, he showed no real problems. Then, when he was four, a day shattered my perception of him forever.”

Toph suddenly began sobbing. When Korra made to get up and hug her, she found the floor resisting her. Giving up after a minute of futile running, Korra stood still, and let Toph talk when she was ready. After about four minutes, Toph looked up, with a horrified look in her eyes, as though remembering some atrocity. “That boy … who I thought was normal… is a monster. The ability he showed me that fateful day, with so much pride in his heart - it made me sick.” Toph coughed violently, and wiped the tears from her eyes. Seemingly not wanting to go on, Korra asked “Just what could he do that was so horrible, Toph? Surely nothing could rival the psychic bloodbending of Yakone and his two accursed sons.” When Korra said “bloodbending”, Toph straightened and sat up, “staring” at the wall with wide eyes.

Coughing again, seemingly this time to regain her composure, she said, “I am afraid his ability is worse, Korra - especially the way he uses it. Those poor animals…” Toph took a deep breath, and said “I can only thank the spirits that Su did not exhibit this ability as well, as if she had, I believe she could have used it to eclipse Yakone in the criminal underworld, and no amount of parenting could have stopped her. I only hope Tonga never manages to have kids of his own.” She stopped, staring Korra directly in the face, and said, “Korra, my son, Tonga, is what he named a ‘blood-iron bender’.”

Korra looked at Toph in utter bewilderment. She said, “Toph, I know the theory behind bloodbending - you manipulate the water in the other person’s body to gain control of their limbs, etcetera. Normal waterbenders can only perform it under a full moon, and individuals of exceptional ‘talent’ can do so psychically at any time. How does one manipulate blood by bending iron?”

Toph managed to regain a somewhat normal expression, and said, “Remember how I said he could manipulate the miniscule iron in rocks by the age of three? Apparently, he discovered shortly after his fourth birthday that he could manipulate some unknown deposit of iron in a living organism’s blood. When he demonstrated it to me, he told me that he could manipulate tiny iron particles in blood - much as a bloodbender bends water.” Korra gasped as Asami said “Wait a minute… I remember from my learning that some people believe that what we need from the air we breathe is carried by small amount of iron in the blood, and cite the red color of blood as evidence for their claims.” Asami’s face, now uneasy, said “I think what you just told us confirms this theory.”

Korra asked, still in slight disbelief, “Okay - so Tonga can basically use metalbending to bloodbend. What did he do with it that was so horrible?” Toph slammed her hand on the table between them, saying, “Rather than bashing some animal’s heads in so I could prepare them to eat, he held them above the ground and suffocated them to death while his heart beat in excitement like a madman, that’s what! I didn’t know how he suffocated them at the time, but he must have prevented the iron particles from moving in the poor animal’s bloodstreams!” Toph looked like she was about to curse, and she did so, saying, “I was 54 years old when that abomination was conceived, for crying out loud! I never thought … If only that blasted rubber had worked properly!”

Hearing the description of how Tonga used his special ability, dark memories raced in Korra’s mind - of “Amon”, Tarrlok, their horrible bloodbending… Korra only had one question now. “What happened to this son of yours? It doesn’t sound like he stuck around for much longer.” Toph spat on the floor, saying, “After he became increasingly nasty, violent and even began temporarily bending my blood-iron whenever I tried to get him to stop throwing a tantrum, I decided that I couldn’t handle him anymore. I dropped him off at a very strict couple’s house, along with some special instructions I got someone else to write for me, and never ‘saw’ him again. If he hadn’t reminded me so much of Azula, I might have tried to make it work - but there was just something fundamentally wrong with him, beyond his awful skill.” Top managed a weak smile, and said, “Keep in mind, he should be 32 by now. When you see Lin and Su, tell them I love them very much, and appreciate that they were as cooperative as they were when I was raising them. And as I said before, unless you think Tonga is relevant to your job as the Avatar, mention this to NO ONE. Good luck with your Spirit Civil War, Korra and Asami - I get the feeling you’re going to need it.”

Korra and Asami walked away from Toph’s “house” in stunned silence. Korra could only hope this individual - Tonga - had never joined Kuvira’s army. He could very well be the leader of the potential resistance so many different people and spirits had warned might form. Zuko could see that neither were in a mood to talk, and merely led Druk towards the pair. Breaking his silence for a moment, he jokingly asked, “So, when does Toph want her life-changing field trip?” Korra just gave him a blank stare, though she could feel Aang’s spirit laughing inside her.

After a while of mute silence, riding on Druk, Korra remembered that there were two individuals close to her who were most certainly trustworthy who knew nothing of the past 48 hour’s events - her mother and father, Senna and Tonraq. As Asami studied Druk’s scales, seemingly for inspiration of some kind, Korra focused on her parent’s energy, intending to inform them of everything that had happened - old-fashioned style. No information dumps for them.

~-~
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First eyes, a treasure. New eyes, end with a pretentious blink, own vision eclipses.
Book 5:Humanity, aka: Freedom's First Writ
Freedom153
Never Gonna Give Yue Up

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Posts: 549


That Could Have Been Executed Better


« Reply #18 on: Jan 02, 2015 06:57 pm »

~-~

Chapter 15: Good Wishes
   
Senna was worried - she hadn’t seen Korra since the Zhurrick wedding, and it wasn’t like Korra to just run off and not tell her own parents that she was leaving for what seemed like 24 hours. Korra’s separation from her and her husband, Tonraq, by the White Lotus all those years ago had instilled a deep respect and value for family and the precious time they could spend together in her daughter. It didn’t help that she had seen practically everyone else who had dealings with her daughter disappear earlier today - apparently on some hush-hush mission.

Tonraq could tell Senna was worried, and he said “Our ‘little girl’ is 21 now, honey - she’s fine.” A loud barking outside their temporary housing was followed by a huge white form knocking over half of the tent. Naga began licking both her and Tonraq excitedly, as though the polarbear-dog was expecting Korra to come calling soon. Petting the huge beast’s side, partly to calm Naga down and partly to alleviate her own stress, Senna said, “You’re such a good girl! Who’s a cute polarbear-dog?” as Tonraq set the tent up around its new huge occupant. Naga settled down, staring expectantly at the small space left by the door - her body took up most of the tent.

Tonraq put a large, comforting hand on Senna’s shoulder and said “We’ll need to return to the South Pole relatively soon - as soon as I hear what Prince Wu’s plan is for the Earth Kingdom, I want to return home. This place is far too hot for my tastes, and given the way Naga is panting she doesn’t care much for this small tent or weather either.” Senna said, “I agree - I came here to see my daughter, and Zhu Li and Varrick get married - not sweat in some uncomfortable tent.” Getting an idea, she asked Tonraq, “Do you think you could get an earthbender to set us up a larger shelter? I hadn’t anticipated Naga being so friendly when I picked out our temporary tent.”

Tonraq patted her on the back, saying, “That sounds like a good idea, Senna - it’s just the only earthbenders I’d trust making me a shelter left on some urgent mission earlier today.” Senna suddenly realized something - before she saw the two airbison laden with passengers, she had noticed the new Spirit Portal acting strangely. After she told Tonraq this, he said, “It must be something to do with Korra - I can’t imagine what else could cause a Spirit Portal to act like that.” Senna thought to herself, that that was rather obvious, but didn’t say anything. She yawned absently - all the commotion of the past 48 hours was much more excitement than she was used to, ever since the Water Tribe Civil War had ended.

Just before she told Tonraq that she was going to see if she could find a source of water to form some ice to wake them all up, and cool down an overheated Naga, a strange shimmer appeared in the spot that Naga had been staring at intently. Suddenly, a form appeared in place of the shimmer, and Senna shouted with happiness - it was Korra! Naga began panting excitedly, staring at the blue form - apparently she could see Korra as well. Her daughter was smiling warmly, saying “I’m sorry that I didn’t tell you where I was going before I left - had I known that my little trip would cause so much trouble, I would have told you before I went.” Her daughter sighed deeply, seemingly ready to cry, and said to Senna “I’m sorry I can’t hug you, Dad or Naga - this is just a projection, like what Jinora can do.”

Tonraq asked, with a proud look on his face, “Just how did you manage to do that, Korra? I know that projection is a very advanced airbending move, and you never were one to strike me as an airbending master - at least not the spiritual side.” Her daughter laughed, and said, “You’re right, Dad - I’ve got a lot of explaining to do. But we just left the Swamp, so I’ve got plenty of time. Make sure no one can hear us, and I’ll start.” Tonraq gave his daughter a funny look, and said, “It appears you have already made sure that there’s no one around to hear - what did you need ten people for in the Swamp, anyways?” Korra laughed again, saying, “It’s a LOT more than just what happened in the Swamp. Let me start with when me and Asami entered the spirit world - ” Senna saw an odd, surprised look on Tonraq’s face, and given how Korra stopped suddenly and looked vaguely hurt, she must have seen it as well.

Seeing that he had potentially hurt his daughter’s feelings, Tonraq said, making to cradle the projection’s sullen face, “I don’t know where you were going with that, sweetie, but wherever it is, I’m not going to judge you for it. It’s just that the last I knew, you were still interested in Mako, and figured if you were going to take anyone on a vacation, it’d be him - especially after what happened to his arm. He’s lucky his brother saved him.” Korra looked much more alive now, breathing an oddly large sigh of relief.

When Korra began her story about since she had last seen her parents, sometimes Senna laughed, sometimes she cried, sometimes she recoiled in horror. She even noticed Tonraq getting emotional at times, and when they were both sad, Naga howled along in sympathy. When Korra had told them everything, Senna sighed contentedly, and told her daughter, “I’m glad that even though you’re with Asami now, you’ll still have a child - that was awfully generous of Raava,” making sure to not mention the Spirit Civil War. Tonraq added, “This news also makes me happy, and I am especially glad you re-connected with your past lives again. Raava sounds like quite the lively spirit - never thought a huge white kite would have feelings, much less want to be ‘human-y’, let alone get drunk.”

Korra laughed so hard she seemingly got an unseen figure to interact with her, and she yelled, “Zuko, stop that! You’re supposed to be guiding Druk back to Republic City, not laughing so hard you double over.” Tonraq said, in an overly loud voice, “Tell Zuko I said hi, and that his daughter is a coward!” After an apparent short exchange, Korra returned to face Senna, Tonraq and Naga once more, and said “He says hi, and that he agrees with you about his daughter.” Given Tonraq’s initial reaction, he was expecting a very different answer, but her husband resumed smiling all the same. Korra turned away once more, in a different direction, then said “Asami says hi as well! She pestered me about an official Water Tribe betrothal necklace just now, but given what I told you that Iroh said about discretion, I don’t think that’s a good idea.” While Senna was always one for romance, she found herself saying “I agree” at the same time as her husband. Korra blushed slightly, and turned in the same direction again, saying “Later, Asami! I don’t really feel like doing anything ‘interesting’ right now. I’m not done talking to my pa -”

Suddenly, Korra’s eyes glowed momentarily, and she now had a rather confused look on her face. Her daughter shook her head from side to side, then said, “I’m sorry, Mom and Dad, but it looks like Raava needs me to help someone. She wouldn’t say who - just that they were desperate, and she’s telling me to hurry up. I’ll talk to - and hug you - later.” Just like that, her only child’s image vanished once more. Even though she was no longer worried for Korra’s safety, Senna hugged Tonraq and petted Naga intently all the same, wishing good things to come to whoever needed Korra’s help.

~-~
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First eyes, a treasure. New eyes, end with a pretentious blink, own vision eclipses.
Book 5:Humanity, aka: Freedom's First Writ
Freedom153
Never Gonna Give Yue Up

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That Could Have Been Executed Better


« Reply #19 on: Jan 02, 2015 06:59 pm »

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Chapter 16: Melted Steel


Kuvira thought it an extraordinarily good stroke of luck when her temporary jailors, Suyin Beifong and Lin Beifong, ran away from her wooden prison, leaving Kuvira alone in silence. She was thoroughly enjoying her solitude, and the first thirty minutes felt like bliss - no constant quips from Lin, and no more motherly lecturing from Suyin.

After about an hour, Kuvira realized that everyone of any importance or power had left along with Lin and Suyin. She even spotted a lone female guard who had foolishly carried some metal jewelry with her - this was it, her chance to escape. While a small voice gnawed at her mind -one she had ignored plenty times before - Kuvira carried out the first part of her escape, manipulating the guard’s necklace into blacking her out. She didn’t feel like killing anyone - she had been genuine in a portion of her remorse. “Only a portion,” she mumbled under her breath, causing the annoying shrill voice in her head to scream even louder - she sometimes wished she were like the Fire Nation princess who some said had been born without a soul.

As she bent the guard’s necklace closer to the wooden prison, she trembled with excitement. She used the necklace - some sort of profession of love - to form a small saw. As she began working on an out-of-sight corner, her mind raced. She remembered she had told General Jinshu Kuangmai to hold a position outside the city, not matter the circumstances or cost. Perhaps she could meet up with him - though, she realized with a dry horror, she might not be well received by him. At all, she remembered with a grimace - his specialty did unnerve her, ever so slightly. In a moment of absent pondering, she asked herself - how had she brought herself to associate with his kind again?

See? This is why you should just stay in this box, and serve time for your crimes! Quit resisting already!

Kuvira let out an unstable laugh - this was the first time her conscience had manifested itself this strongly in years. She began to wildly use the small saw to go deeper into the wood, her hair swinging in front of her field of view. When she finally cut through a cross-section, she sat down on the floor and idly played with her messy locks of hair. She heard a sound behind her - that of a woman rummaging through her pockets. She turned to see the guard looking for her necklace wildly, slightly crying as she did so, before letting out a dejected sigh, seemingly too lost in her grief to bother checking on Kuvira. As she watched the guard leave, Kuvira smirked - what a fool.

As soon as she thought to return to her work -she figured she could be out in another ten minutes, being conservative - the same shrill voice in her head said If you won’t listen to me, let’s see if you’ll listen to someone else! Kuvira laughed lowly - what could happen to stop her? As she began sawing once more, she let out a muffled scream - the saw suddenly stopped moving! Turning around to face an odd sound, she saw a hallucination.

“Uhoh, this is not good - I read that scholars think Azula saw these kind of things before snapping.” Kuvira had not realized she said this out loud, so she fell backwards when she saw the hallucination respond. A small, white-haired girl said “This is no hallucination, ‘Great Uniter’. I have temporarily blocked your bending, Kuvira. Now, I will let other, more ‘human-y’ spirits take over.” As the blackness took her, Kuvira heard a familiar voice that said Let’s see you run away from this!

Kuvira realized with a start that she had no physical form - she was floating above what appeared to be an Earth Kingdom village, watching its activities. She felt herself whisked near a dog, who was looking for something frantically. Suddenly, she heard a voice in her head that said “Where is my owner? The last time I saw him, he was yelling at some men in green.” Kuvira was forced to track the dog, stopping its sniffing at a mound of fresh earth. Again, the thought - “Why is Master under this mound of dirt? Surely, the nice green men didn’t…” Kuvira felt a horrible sensation course through her, as she saw the mangy hound begin to howl furiously.

Now you can see the true fruits of your labors. But we’re not done yet - we’re only getting started.

Kuvira sat up inside the cell, sweating wildly. A dog grieving its master wasn’t going to break her! …

Before she could think, she felt the blackness take her again, and she got the distinct impression that she perceived it as black, when it was really blinding light. The fact that when she thought this, she began to see a very dark grey sphere appear in front of her didn’t help any. She felt her hand shoot out to touch it without her input.

She was transported to hover over what she recognized as one of the greatest sources for war fuel on the planet - the Swamp. She was jerked closer to the butchered central tree against her will, and once her skin touched its bark, she felt an immense, beating energy - one that seemed on the verge of dying. As she heard a groan from the tree, she felt this portion of it lose its energy, and a large swathe suddenly turned an eerie brown. A part of her felt as though it had died with this section of the huge tree.

As she sat up again, she noticed in terror that two guards were standing outside her cell, one of which was waterbending an ice support where she had cut, before the odd girl had apparently blocked her bending. One she recognized as the female guard who she had taken the necklace from, who was crying wildly. She pointed her finger at Kuvira, screaming “You ruined the last keepsake I had of my beloved - killed by your army! If you weren’t such an important prisoner of war, I’d have half a mind to make you join him! Though I doubt you’d understand my grief - you shot that horrible weapon at your own boyfriend!” All sorts of horrible feelings ran havoc inside of Kuvira, gripping her chest in a vice-grip - feelings she hadn’t felt since Suyin had adopted her orphaned self all those years ago. She felt an odd sensation when looking at the girl - one that Suyin had tried to teach her the meaning of, and failed to do. Kuvira began to say something, but found she could not speak, and she fell backwards once more.

This endless cycle repeated itself countless times, with the grey ball gradually becoming lighter, until Kuvira was once more plopped into the viewer’s seat of a gut-wrenching scene. She had noticed the shape of yin and yang, slightly darkened, in its surface before she was forced into this vision. Over the course of the past three to four hours - Kuvira did not know exactly how much time had passed - she continued to feel emotions and sensations that were increasingly familiar to her. She had names for many of them now - guilt, compassion, remorse, empathy, self-loathing, to name a few - but it still felt as though they were walled off from her. The vision of the yin and yang sphere again - they must all be trapped inside. But when would the sphere break, and release her from this torture?

The same small girl appeared in front of Kuvira once again, blocking her view of a now stilled scene. Suddenly, the girl began to shift, seemingly possessing a hundred faces, and then exploding to take an unfamiliar larger form. What she assumed was a huge spirit had a blinding radiance, but was still not white - a perfect grey, completely neutral. One of the spirit’s two strange large tendrils touched Kuvira’s forehead, turning her to face yet another small village, with a powerful voice booming in Kuvira’s head “Before you can shatter that ball, Kuvira, you must witness this final scene - this will be the hardest for you. Keep in mind that all your progress could be lost in an instant, and your mortal mind will shatter - just like Azula’s, over 70 years ago. You will feel everything connected to this event - not just the individual’s feelings. I wish you good luck, but I have more important matters to attend to - such as undoing the damage you did to the Great Banyan tree, for example. Goodbye - I still do not see what Korra saw in you.” Kuvira’s eyes widened at the mention of the Avatar’s name.

With that, what must have been Raava vanished, and Kuvira felt her gaze transfixed to a small girl, no older than eight. Kuvira felt a sudden immense pain that felt as though it threatened to cleave her in two, and gritted her teeth, realizing what was about to be shown to her. She endured many different individual’s pain and visions, all revolving around the girl that was constantly fixed in the center of her view. Every time she saw someone fall to her troop’s hands, she felt the ripples their actions caused. Finally, as she witnessed the hapless girl’s parent’s demise - they had resisted after Zaofu had fallen, out of loyalty to Suyin, her own adoptive mother - she felt a strange sensation. As she saw the orphan fade from view and the last of her torturous feelings fade, Kuvira felt an odd crack - as though she had split in two.

When she opened her eyes again, she was met with a fearsome visage - she saw a metallic representation of herself, with unnerving steel eyes, reaching out to grasp the yin and yang sphere. Realizing what would happen if this half of her was not stopped, she extended a fleshy hand, hitting the orb at the same time as what must have been her evil self. She tugged with this awful creature, before finally yelling “I WANT TO LIVE!” and striking a foot into its leg, shattering the metal spectre as though it were glass.

Kuvira felt a rush of emotions that she had not felt since she was a little girl, and also the nasty emotions she had caused others to feel - it was a wonderful yet awful mix of emotions. But they were hers. She noticed that she was back in the physical world again, and felt so transformed, that she did something that she never would have tried before - she began to meditate. As she crossed her legs, a familiar voice screamed “NO! WAIT! IT’S NOT SAFE! NO….”

Kuvira awakened - despite all the odds, and never having been so inclined before, she had made it into the Spirit World. She became aware of a presence near her.

It sent chills down her spine. This presence was more foul than the metal Kuvira she had just faced - and that was saying something, she realized.

A long, serpentine form came into her field of vision - and she felt her heart fill with pure terror. She felt herself shrinking, smaller and smaller, until she was the same size that she was when Mother Suyin had rescued her. The oddly colored spirit began speaking, saying through its massive beak, “Ah, Kuvira the Great Uniter - a pity Raava hadn’t given Korra and Asami that party favor when you were running amok - the Spirit Civil War would have been over in less than a month!” The spirit began cackling wildly, and said “I’m afraid your reformed presence would have a moderating, or even healing effect on the world, and humanity’s behavior - and I can’t have that. Oh, no - I need humans acting at their worst if I am to maintain my following, and pry the title of Grand Dark Spirit away from that pathetic fool, Vaatu. Then, Harmonic Convergence or not, I can try and destroy Raava myself. Your little games with the Earth Kingdom - your ‘Empire’? You knew nothing - when I am done with humanity, the spirits will retake their rightful place as supreme masters, with humans as slaves - no, worse.”

During this terrifying monologue - which she knew she would have to report to Korra, if humanity stood any chance of remaining free - Kuvira clasped her hands together, wildly pleading for help. She opened her eyes to see a long, centipede-like form crawling closer to this awful spirit in front of her.

The much larger spirit said, “Good, good - Koh is almost here. He always did love a pretty face…”

Kuvira began crying wildly “Please… anything… I know I haven’t exactly been good, Universe, but I’m begging you…” She saw a familiar figure appear in front of her body: a small, white-haired girl. It must be Raava! The small girl said “Request accepted. Please stand by.” The small form began glowing a brilliant white, and both of the much larger spirits behind what must have been Raava’s human ‘avatar’ began howling - though, disturbingly, the most important one seemed to be much less affected. The centipedal spirit she must have assumed was Koh managed to inch closer, saying, “Oh, my, such a pretty face…”

That was when what seemed to be a huge spirit cannon beam with a strange wavy line in the middle raked both malicious spirits, sending them into a fit of pain - she could see a gash taken from the closest spirit’s carapace, and the largest was missing a small part of his beak. Except the beam hadn’t come from Raava - it came from the side. Fairly certain she was now safe, Kuvira stood up to face the source of the beam - and smiled broadly. She ran to the figure, who was performing some odd hand movements, yelling “Korra!”

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« Last Edit: Jan 02, 2015 07:55 pm by Freedom153 » Logged

Additional datapoints acquired. Additional animated stories viewed. Directive: adjust opinion... adjusting...
First eyes, a treasure. New eyes, end with a pretentious blink, own vision eclipses.
Book 5:Humanity, aka: Freedom's First Writ
Freedom153
Never Gonna Give Yue Up

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Posts: 549


That Could Have Been Executed Better


« Reply #20 on: Jan 02, 2015 07:01 pm »

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Chapter 17: Of Confirmations and Confidentiality

Korra finished imprisoning Koh and Long Yumao - she noted with no small pleasure that the most ancient spirit had a chunk of missing carapace, and that a small groove was now present in Long Yumao’s awful beak. The two spirits were still moaning loudly when a seemingly familiar small form embraced her - though it was not the small, white-haired girl she knew to be Raava, who was pointing at Long Yumao’s beak and laughing.

When this small girl, apparently no more than eight years of age, finally touched Korra, Korra let out a surprised yelp - this young girl was Kuvira! Now she understood why Raava had seemingly blocked Korra from sensing who she was to help - even though she had saved Kuvira’s life slightly over 24 hours ago, Korra had to admit her reaction would have been ... delayed by this knowledge.

Kuvira began talking with a lightness and animation she had never seen from the former tyrant before, saying, “Thank you so much for saving me again, Korra - that ‘Koh’ spirit was getting closer, and telling me I had a pretty face! He made me shiver deep inside, Korra - I don’t think he was there to admire my mug.” Korra’s eyes widened, and she said, “You were very perceptive to be concerned, Kuvira - that ancient spirit’s full name is Koh the Face-Stealer. The other spirit I just imprisoned is called Long Yumao the Opportunist.” Korra paused, letting the look of terror leave the young Kuvira’s face. Korra continued, saying, “Knowing him, he probably made some long, boring speech to you as Koh approached. Want to sit down next to me, and you can tell me about it - and why I was called here by Raava so urgently?”

Before they could move, she heard a slithering voice say, with a surprising amount of anger, “Yes, Long Yumao - you do have a nasty habit of making long, boring speeches. You even gave me one when you were trying to get my support. So far, I have exactly zero faces, and one chunk taken from my body - not even Avatar Kuruk managed to do that! He stopped trying to kill me, realizing if I died his precious Ummi’s face would vanish with me. Speaking of faces - If you hadn’t been so slow in alerting me of this ‘Kuvira’s’ presence, perhaps I would have another FACE right now!” Koh pressed a blue, almost simian face with pronounced lower teeth against the wall of the prison, staring at Long Yumao in intense anger.

When Long Yumao recoiled slightly, Koh began to laugh wildly through the face of a savage looking monkey, saying, “If I could steal a powerful spirit’s face, I’d have my first face since I entered into this stupid pact. One I’m starting to regret making with you, I might add!” Long Yumao turned to face Koh from within his own prison, and opened his massive beak wide, as a dark energy manifested itself just inside his mouth. As a large pulse left his beak, it made an all-too familiar deep “BWWOOOONG!” sound that made Kuvira yelp, almost as if in pain. The prison held, however, causing Long Yumao to do something Korra had never heard him do before - he cursed! Raava began laughing wildly, and a Kuvira who was now hiding behind Korra’s chuckling body managed a weak laugh, seemingly growing as she did so.

Noticing that both Koh and Long Yumao were wildly cursing at each other, letting out their frustration for not claiming Kuvira on one another, Korra grinned a predatory smile at the same time she saw Raava make a similar face - it was time to have some fun. Feeling that Raava had just re-entered her own body, Korra began to interlock the two large spirit’s prisons with one another, breaking the yellow ribbons that separated them from one another once she was confident there was no escape for either spirit. They began to fight vigorously, Koh attempting to use his many legs to pin down Long Yumao’s head, and the other spirit trying his best to get his beak at Koh’s face.

“No good, long winded, useless self-important serpent! Long Yumao - you haven’t given me a single human’s face!” a monkey faced Koh yelled, managing to sink the long, dagger-like fangs into the side of Long Yumao’s own face. Long Yumao howled in anger, bellowing, “Maybe if you had run to Kuvira instead of moving slowly at first for drama’s sake, you’d have her face!” His powerful beak - which Korra noticed now had a new unnerving serrated edge - finally managed to catch Koh by surprise, tearing the howling monkey’s face from Koh’s body. The fierce face remained in Long Yumao’s beak, seemingly lifeless.  Koh’s preferred black and white face returned, screaming, “You were supposed to get me new faces - not take one of my best away! Now give it back, or we’re through!” Koh was now being toyed with - apparently, Long Yumao found it hilarious to play keep-away with one of Koh’s most valued faces.

Content that both spirits were now fully occupied, Korra stopped laughing and turned to a wide-eyed Kuvira. Seeing that she once again had Korra’s attention, Kuvira began to speak, but then a strange thought occurred to Korra. What if she could make the information transfer work in reverse? She held up a hand, explaining what she wanted to do to Kuvira, who said, “That sounds like a good idea - when you re-unite with the rest of your friends, you can use this ‘information dump’ to show them what happened to me before I entered the spirit world - in excruciating detail. I think Lin and Mother Suyin will find it very interesting.” Curious about this odd new turn of phrase in regards to Kuvira’s adoptive mother, Korra took a deep breath and placed her outstretched palms on Kuvira’s forehead.

Once the flow of information began, at first Korra felt very angry - Kuvira had lied to her! She had tried to escape, after telling Korra she would come to be judged willingly! As soon as the visions began, however, she couldn’t help but feel an immense sadness, in addition to the myriad of different feelings she was feeling through Kuvira. Korra felt her eyes water multiple times during the process, and when she saw Kuvira shatter that metallic monster, she screamed “Yes!” - forgetting to keep her hands on Kuvira’s temple.

As soon as Korra’s hands left Kuvira’s head, she saw the small girl shift and return to her adult size. Even though she was smiling, much as Korra was, she grabbed Korra’s hands and told her, “There’s something else you need to see - Long Yumao told me something I figured you’d want to know. It chilled me to my very core.”

Kuvira forced Korra’s hands back onto her own forehead, and Korra felt Kuvira thinking of this unexplained encounter and her terrified feelings. Korra absorbed the information, finally letting her hands down in shock. She told a staring Kuvira, “You came very close to being Koh’s first victim in this Spirit Civil War, Kuvira. You are a very lucky woman, that I came when I did. This other news, of Long Yumao’s aspirations - if he successfully challenges Vaatu for this ‘Grand Dark Spirit’ title… he could end the Spirit Civil War almost instantly, and begin to enact his terrible plans on humanity.” Korra turned, staring at Long Yumao, who was still playing keep-away with a furious Koh.

Feeling a tapping on her shoulder, she turned to face a slightly impatient looking Kuvira, who said, “Spirit Civil War? I’ve given you my information, Avatar Korra - now it’s time you spilled some of yours.” Korra hesitated to respond, and Kuvira laughed, saying, “I know you don’t exactly trust me, but do remember - I did just shatter my evil half into a million pieces, and Raava wouldn’t have called you to my aid, much less made a personal appearance on my behalf, if she thought I was the same monster who terrorized the Earth Kingdom and butchered the Swamp.” Korra noticed something odd - Kuvira’s normally tightened irises had softened, and the “Great Uniter” had tears on her face.

Just do it - you did spare her life when she was at her worst, after all.

Korra shrugged - what did she have to lose? If Kuvira decided to rat her and Asami out, people would just assume it was the ravings of a madwoman. She placed her hands to Kuvira’s temple, taking care to send her the depth of information that Kuvira had let her take.

After she was done, she and Kuvira talked for what seemed like an hour, with the sound of Long Yumao and Koh squabbling serving as a surreal background noise. After they had talked about Korra’s relationship with Asami for what must have been the fifth time - Korra found this odd, as Kuvira’s little “gift” to Bataar Jr. made her think that purification or not, Kuvira had no romance in her soul - Kuvira stopped smiling, with a serious expression on her face.

Kuvira’s eyes hardened back into their normal steely green. “I noticed a rather large gap in time in your account, Korra - after Zuko’s story about his sister, and before you left the Swamp. I think I know what it was about, too - and unless we do something to stop him, I get the bad feeling even more spirits will join Long Yumao’s side. You will need to act covertly, however - brute force was never effective against my third - no, first now - in command, General ‘Jinshu Kuangmai’.”

Kuvira pointed at a stunned Korra’s heart, and said, “I have something to tell you - I will only share it with Lin and Mother Suyin when the time is right, after I have regained their trust. No one else is to know until it is strictly necessary - this news, in of itself, would probably cause enough bad behavior in Republic City and the Earth kingdom to tip the balance of spirits more towards Long Yumao.” Kuvira took a deep sigh of regret - as though she had associated with Long Yumao herself.

Kuvira, taking another deep breath, said “When I was ‘re-uniting’ the Earth Kingdom, I came across a desperate-looking rich couple who looked as though they had tried to raise a particularly horrible being. They looked at a large wooden cage in fear as I approached, yelling, ‘No! Don’t get too close, or he will do something horrible! Why, why oh why did we ever take him in…’ while sobbing loudly. I ignored them, curious to see what would require a purely wooden cage so large and strong, and what it could possibly do to me from inside.”

“As I approached, I felt a vibration in the earth beneath my feet, but it was small - as though someone had poked a single, powerful finger against the earth. I held no fear in my heart - and this individual could tell. He told me, in a deep voice, ‘I have heard of your exploits, Kuvira the Great Uniter - and you are the first person in my life to ever not fear me. Something tells me that this means we would be most… compatible.’”

Kuvira shook her head, and continued, “At the time, I was thoroughly intrigued - someone who knew of me yet did not fear me, who apparently thought himself my equal somehow. I told him as much, and he said, ‘If you bring me those two cowards over here, I can show you why I dare to compare myself to your greatness, Kuvira.’ A very small part of me railed against it - what I now know to be my conscience, the little voice that overtook Varrick and made him run away.” Kuvira laughed painfully, as though this were going to be the last time she laughed for quite some time.

“When I dragged what I assumed to be his parents kicking and screaming closer, they pleaded with me, and I ignored them, thinking nothing would happen to them - certainly not at the hands of their own adopted son. However, when we got within fifty feet, they jerked violently from my grasp into the air, suspended by some unseen force. The figure inside the wooden cage said, ‘See, Kuvira? THIS is my great gift. I call it ‘blood-iron bending’.’ He jerked the couple closer, saying, ‘I have half a mind to just stop the iron in your blood right now, like I did to those animals on that fateful day so many, many years ago - but I think I have a better idea.’ He turned to me, and said, ‘Kuvira, I will lend my specialty and other strengths to your cause, so long as you make sure these two wretches never see the light of day again.’ Though that same small voice objected, I accepted his conditions, imprisoning his adoptive parents in a special jail. I believe they both died shortly after - apparently from heartbreak.”

Kuvira acted like she wanted to commit seppuku over what she had just told Korra, but Kuvira continued, saying “He rose quickly through the ranks, as not only was he a powerful bender, he displayed tactical and political acumen that rivaled my own. He also used fear and his horrible talent very effectively - there were a number of incompetent officers who stood in his way to greatness who had ‘strange’ asphyxiation deaths. I never let him rise above third in command - I did not think that Bataar Jr. would take kindly to being outranked by a mysterious stranger, and General ‘Jinshu Kuangmai’ seemed rabidly loyal to me. At times, I felt myself attracted more to him than Bataar Jr. - I used to think Bataar Jr. was a sappy, weak romantic, good only for technical prowess and company, while ‘Jinshu Kuangmai’ was a man closer to my old self.”

Again, with this constant old self talk - Korra could only hope Kuvira wouldn’t be crushed when she saw that the world would still demand justice to be served. Korra gently told Kuvira as much, and Kuvira looked down to the ground, saying with resignation, “Yes, I am aware that protocol must be followed, and to be honest, after all those horrible visions and almost losing my sanity, someone’s hateful glare or sitting in a prison cell won’t bother me.” Kuvira looked up, with slight tears in her eyes, “I just hope that you can convince Lin, and most of all, Mother Suyin, to forgive me - if she rejects me forcefully, I might just snap like Azula did.” With this last word, Kuvira began sobbing, and Korra reached out to hug her - half to comfort her, half to selectively gather some of Kuvira’s feelings and words to “show” Lin and Su later. Apparently having noticed the strange interaction, Kuvira sniffed, and said, “Good idea to show Lin and Mother Suyin this - maybe that will make it easier to believe I have changed.”

Korra broke the hug, thinking that Kuvira was done. She made to place her fists together and take them both out of the Spirit World, but Kuvira said, “Wait! There’s one last thing I need to tell you. Until recently, this ‘Jinshu Kuangmai’ and his true identity were a secret from me, but a spy of mine managed to finally obtain a valuable set of documents. Apparently, the couple had hidden a set of instructions deep within the surrounding woods in wooden boxes. These instructions appeared to be from the boy’s mother, as they talked at great length about how he was to be raised with extreme discipline, and that they would likely need to drug him if he ever got really angry or threw a fit - even at the age of four. They also contained instructions for that wooden cage - it was made with no nails, yet was to be strong enough ‘to contain a platypus-bear’. In what must have been the final box, there was a piece of paper with the words ‘I love you - I just wish you’d be nicer. Tonga - stop using that awful ability already! Love, Mom,’ and a relatively small smudged hand print beneath it. This box had a familiar family crest carved on its outside - the Beifong family’s flying boar.”

Korra took a jagged, stilted breath - so Toph’s son had joined Kuvira’s army after all, and he was now in charge of it! This time, it was Korra who cried, hugging Kuvira tightly. Seemingly without effort, she felt the information she had promised to keep secret for Toph flow to Kuvira. Kuvira began to sob after the information flow stopped as well, saying, “Why didn’t I turn good sooner?”

As Korra felt herself hug Kuvira so tightly, she felt a familiar feeling - the same that she had for Mako. After what seemed like an hour, they both collapsed onto the ground, exhausted. Before she could nod off to sleep, she felt a surge of energy, and then a light tap on her shoulder.

Raava’s human-y form was pointing at two large forms, seemingly about to break some odd chains that bound them. Korra suddenly remembered that she was in the Spirit World - and apparently, Koh and Long Yumao had put aside their differences, and were trying to break free! Raava said, “Unless you really hate having a face, I suggest you both leave - and now!” Korra heard a surprised gasp come from Kuvira’s body, and the enemy turned friend vanished. Korra half felt like ripping those two awful beings in two with another blast, but Raava smacked her across the forehead. Once back inside her chest, the spirit said Now isn’t the time for heroics, kid - your body is about to be back in Republic City shortly. Why don’t you take a nice nap…

Korra felt herself back on Druk’s back, next to a wide-eyed Asami. Before Korra could think, Asami kissed her on the lips, saying once she had withdrawn, “Nice to have you back, Korra. Why don’t you tell me about what just happened?” Still knowing that Zuko was near, Korra did the information dump on Asami, who moaned in pleasure after it was over. Korra felt an odd sensation as well, and realized something with a start. They had felt as one body, one mind, one soul - this time, without any interruptions by an uncontrolled Avatar State. Korra wondered, as she began to drift off to sleep, slumped over Asami, whether it had been the information dump’s doing or her feelings for Asami.

A small voice giggled A little bit of both - though more the latter as she faded.

~-~

End Part 3.
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Freedom153
Never Gonna Give Yue Up

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That Could Have Been Executed Better


« Reply #21 on: Jan 07, 2015 11:17 am »

Part 4: Contact

Chapter 18: The Expansion

When Korra awoke, she felt Asami by her side, who said “Good morning, sleepy head. Do you want some tea? I have some packets in my gear over there.” Asami pointed at what Korra saw as dark blobs near what appeared to be … an Air Nomad artifact? Korra created a very small blue flame in her right hand, suddenly taking in where they were. Korra asked Asami, “Why are we in here? I think Tenzin just might die if he saw me bending flames in here.” Someone opened the door, letting in blinding light. A voice she recognized as Tenzin’s said, “You’re both more valuable than artifacts - though you are right. I’d prefer no flames in here, much less Azula’s blue. If that’s your new color, I’ll just have to get used to it.” Tenzin paused, erasing a slightly fearful look off his face. He continued, “I suppose I will need to get some lights and electrical wiring installed, even though modern technology isn’t exactly as spiritual as the rest of the room.” Asami asked, with some confusion, “Wait - what do you mean? I thought we were here temporarily, and my mansion should still be intact, unless some Earth Empire stragglers torched it.” Tenzin said, smiling slightly, “Your mansion is fine, Asami - it’s just that even those who you think your most loyal servants may not keep their lips sealed. Here, on Air Temple Island, you’ve got a whole variety of people who are not only trustworthy, but they already know of your relationship with Korra.” Asami let out a contented sigh, saying, “I always wanted a family after my mother died - one that didn’t consist of me and my father, who still judged me for who I was.”

The sounds of children laughing filtered in through the morning sunlight. Not wanting to have to explain to Meelo or Ikki that she and Asami were more than just friends, Korra got up and put her clothes back on, and Asami joined her shortly, clasping her hand tightly. She saw Ikki and Meelo running from their older sister, Jinora, who looked like she was trying to help Pema keep the two away from the artifact room. Sensing the futility in her chase, Jinora merely took a place next to her father, and told her siblings “Now, Ikki, don’t ask any prying questions, and Meelo - ew, stop that!” Meelo had just bent some bugs from his hands into Jinora’s hair, and he laughed maniacally. “Forget ‘Be the leaf, Korra’ - be the bug! And why are you holding Miss Asami like that? And why is your face the color of this bug now?” Meelo held out a hand, showing a … slightly squished purple bug. Korra sighed deeply, suddenly straightening as her eyes glowed for a split second.

Meelo and Ikki let out shouts of mixed joy and surprise - apparently, Aang had decided that now would be a good time to apparate out of Korra! As the young Aang gave the two troublemakers a slightly dirty look that made them laugh, Korra couldn’t help but be thankful for this unplanned projection. Aang said, “Wow - you’re both so cute! I never got to see my grandkids up close, being the Avatar and all. Seeing you guys through Korra’s eyes before I was… busy didn’t cut it.” Aang obviously did not want to tell Ikki or Meelo about his ordeal in the ice prison, or remind them how the world had once thought all past Avatars lost. Before he could turn to Jinora, Meelo and Ikki asked in unison, “Why are Miss Korra and Miss Asami holding hands so tightly, Grandpa Aang?” Aang laughed, then tried his best to look stern and scary, saying, “Your mother will explain when you’re older. Now let me talk to your sister, Jinora - I want to get back to talking to Avatar Kyoshi. She’s still mad at Korra.” Everyone but Meelo and Ikki laughed, blissfully unaware of Kyoshi’s curse-laden diatribe.

As Ikki ran off after a butterfly and Meelo went prowling a nearby bush for more bug ammunition to use on his eldest sister, Jinora asked, “What do you have you need to say to me, Aang? Is it that Opal is crazy, and I shouldn’t take anyone’s life?” Jinora had a very hopeful look in her eyes - apparently she still wasn’t comfortable with what Opal and her father had told her. Aang sighed, saying, “Originally, Jinora, I had nothing to say - I just wanted those troublemakers gone, as was Korra’s wish.” Jinora sighed dejectedly, and Korra couldn’t help but wonder - she had literally just wished they would go away when Aang came out. Aang seemed to think of something, wildly waving his hands to gain Jinora’s attention again. He said, once she was looking at him again, “The reason I didn’t have anything to say to you is that I already know you’re a good granddaughter - and judging by those tattoos, you’re an Airbending Master now too.” Jinora had a big smile on her face once more.

After sighing deeply, Aang continued, “On what you asked earlier - unless you can figure out how to energybend, I’m afraid your father and Opal are right. The only way I was able to spare Ozai’s life was take a huge risk and try to take his bending away - and it almost backfired, too. I don’t know if you father ever told you, but he almost overwhelmed my own energy. If that had happened, I would have died, or worse - become corrupted. Given what the ‘Dark Avatar’ Unalaq did to me and the other past lives, I don’t want to think about that possibility - especially considering he only controlled one element, and I controlled all four.” Given Tenzin’s grumbling, it became apparent that he had not let Jinora know these crucial details. Jinora said, “Oh… I guess that does change things. Thank you, Grandfather Aang.” Jinora shot her father an angry look, and went to where Ikki was, content that her mission of distraction given to her by Pema was complete. Pema herself was holding a screaming Meelo tight, brushing “his” bugs back into the bushes. Why did that poor woman not receive airbending after Harmonic Convergence, anyways? There were things she would never know, even as the Avatar.

Korra let out a nervous chuckle, and said, “Hey, Aang - about what you said about a ‘Dark Avatar’. And the corruption… I have something that might be relevant to tell you. It happened when you were imprisoned in that ice block.” Korra told Aang about the “Dark Korra” she had seen, and as she finished, a concerned look fell across his face. Aang said, waving his hands into the air, “That’s just awful! And I thought my hallucinations before the Day of the Black Sun were bad.” Korra said, “Except I don’t think it was fully a hallucination - that little ‘dog’, a spirit, saw her as well. Given the story that Kuvira told me about her clash with her evil self, I get the feeling that ‘Dark Korra’ may be exactly that - my evil half. She might be small, and only able to harass and dog me when I am at my weakest, but she did almost cost me my life once.” Seeing Aang’s shocked expression, she explained how Dark Korra’s face had appeared on Kuvira’s outside Zaofu, causing her to lose her resolve and become weak against Kuvira. Tenzin added, “Korra’s life really was in danger - Jinora told me later how Kuvira had sharpened some metal into small scythes, seemingly ready to tear into Korra’s flesh. Only my daughter and Opal intervening saved her life.” Aang’s image said, “As long as you don’t try to energybend a spirit or somehow absorb a direct blast of dark energy into a chi line, I think you will be fine. I’m going to go pester Kyoshi some more.” Remembering a promise she had made, Korra yelled, “Toph wants me to call you Twinkletoes!” A slightly faded Aang laughed, saying “Better Twinkletoes than Grosstoes!” Korra laughed as Aang vanished, once again resting inside her - she’d have to remember that one.

Now that the distractions were gone, Asami turned to Tenzin, saying, “So it sounds like Korra and I will be staying here in your artifact room, then. Maybe we should make an extension, so Korra can bend as she likes and not risk torching your collection.” Tenzin pointed at the ocean, saying, “There’s just one slight problem - if you do that, we’re going to start running of out room.” Korra had an idea - inspired by something Avatar Kyoshi had once done, but a bit more extreme.”

Korra said, “Why don’t I just make some more land?” Given their confused looks, she explained how Kyoshi had separated her island from the mainland, and figure she could just create new land. Korra could lavabend now, after all, and her close bond with Raava coupled with the strength of her past lives being her own once more made her think she could one-up Avatar Kyoshi’s feat. She told the two as much, seeing how Tenzin was still staring at the sea.

Tenzin stood in silence, seemingly shocked at the idea of trying to go one step beyond one of the most powerful Earthbending Avatars in history. Asami said, “That sounds like a wonderful idea! If you are successful, after things settle down, you could even expand Republic City further out into the sea.” Korra slapped Asami on the back, saying, “Now there’s an idea! I could even use this service to bribe the Fire Nation and Firelord Izumi - they always did need more land.” Tenzin chuckled slightly disapprovingly, saying, “We shouldn’t have to bribe our allies to help us.” Getting an uncharacteristic gleam in his eye, he added, “Plus, what’s to stop Firelord Izumi from backing out of whatever deal you made with her once the land is settled?” Both Asami and Korra let out a low whistle - even though he was an airbender, he had still learned something from his time as a Councilman.

Tiring of all the talking, Korra grabbed Asami and slid down the slope behind the artifact room, noticing that Oogi, Juicy and Druk were all stabled on the other side of the island. Korra felt a sudden pang of nerves - she hoped she wouldn’t fail in front of a large audience. Asami asked, as they approached the bottom, “What do you need me for?” Korra answered, “You’re going to be my architect - we’re going to do more than just make some new land.” Asami hugged Korra tighter, giving her the feeling that Raava was so jealous of.

First row seat is better than nothing. When are you going to go to that darn mansion and drink alcohol, anyways? I wanna see!

Korra laughed, explaining why once she reached the shore with Asami, saying, “Raava is a dirty little spirit, isn’t she?” Asami laughed, then pinched Korra’s butt, saying, “I’m getting impatient too - it’s too bad the Spirit World is off limits right now.” Korra could feel some very familiar and welcome sensations again, seemingly flowing through her chi lines from the nape of her neck, down her spine, to below her bellybutton. All of a sudden, she felt a whole new feeling… this one decidedly physical. Mako never made her feel like this.

She shook her head, side to side, finishing, “Come on - the sooner we get private quarters, the better. Asami - can you remember the topography on the sea floor in the bay? I don’t want to do work I don’t have to.” Asami shrugged, saying, “I have some records - only rough estimates. But they’re at my office.” Korra stamped her foot down in frustration, sending sand flying. As she prepared to make some glass on the beach with her new wonderful blue flame to vent her frustration, she got another stroke of inspiration. Korra told Asami, “I’ll be right back,” running over to the solid rock cliff. She began to punch the cliff with great care in the Avatar State - hoping for help from one of her past Earthbending Avatar lives.

When she saw the slight figure that appeared in front of her, she burst out laughing. “Wait, what, really - an airbender? That’s who I get? SERIOUSLY? I don’t care if you knew Toph in your lifetime, Aang - that’s just ridiculous! You’re the OPPOSITE element! I know Kyoshi wouldn’t exactly be lining up to help, but I’d prefer an actual Earthbending Avatar.” At first, Aang looked hurt. He said, with an angry grimace, “Really, Korra - I know you can be blunt, but that was a bit much. Raava may like your warlike personality better, but you need a balance between the two. Keep in mind, Raava can be a little … odd at times. I think these new ‘human-y’ feelings carry her away at times.” Aang pointed a finger at Korra, saying “I managed to hear her telling you while I was still imprisoned that you needed to be more in touch with the healing abilities - bending and emotional  - that you possess. Right after you healed Mako’s arm. Then, right after I was freed, I heard her telling you that she liked you eagerly anticipating the first person to try and harvest from the Great Banyan tree being turned to ash. You need to trust yourself, above all - don’t let the vacillations of Raava influence you.”

 Korra’s eyes began watering, and she burst into hysterics. Aang’s image softened in its formerly stern expression, and he said, “Don’t feel bad, Korra - I almost hurt Katara while in the Avatar State more than once, first when that stupid general tried to get me to enter the Avatar State on ‘command’, then when I was out of control in rage after losing Appa. What Raava said after your ‘test’ of the blue flame… Raava is right, in a blanket sense - you should be glad you haven’t hurt anyone you love yet. Just remember, sometimes words cut deeper than steel.” Curious as to how he had managed to get so many “blips” of information while entombed in ice, Korra asked, “So that’s two different times you got information from the outside world while completely imprisoned. How?” Aang laughed, saying, “I was the Avatar before you, so I could ‘hear’ a little better- but not much. I did have 100 years’ experience of being entombed in ice before that, after all. I suppose I shouldn’t be mad at you for those comments - you did save me and everyone else, after all.” Aang pointed slightly to the right of Korra, saying, “It appears someone wants to say hi before I begin training you in what you desire - earthsense.”

Korra wheeled around, and looked in horror - apparently Asami had heard everything. Asami said, in an even voice, “Aang is right - you need to be true to yourself, first and foremost. Let Raava figure out the right balance herself - she’s always had a human Avatar holding her hand in the emotional department, apparently. She must be able to handle the things she felt as a spirit just fine - it’s these new ‘human-y’ emotions that give her problems.” Korra saw Aang’s image replaced by a familiar white-haired girl, who said, “At first, I was going to yell at you, Asami - because what you said made me mad. But I guess you’re right. Anyways - back to what you were doing.” When Aang reappeared, he was grinning widely, and an unseen hand smacked him across the face. Yelling over top of the sound of a giggling girl, Aang said, “Why don’t you try using your feet instead of your hands?” Korra heard a slight scuffling sound as Aang threw away an unseen being. He yelled, “Why don’t you go bother Wan, Raava - I still belong to Katara, and I’m not really 12, so I’m not close to your ‘human-y’ form’s age! Now, shoo!” Asami snickered and let out a long sigh, saying, “If this is what you’ve taught Raava about romantic relations, I can’t wait to actually do something interesting with you, Korra.” Her cheeks blushing, Korra imagined Raava’s face on the ground - she wanted to shake the little rascal up, but not hurt her. To her surprise, this must have been the right way to strike the ground - she could feel shockwaves traveling from her foot up the cliff face, as well as towards the sea.

Korra grinned widely - almost as far as Aang could, but not quite. Given the expression she saw on Aang’s face when she looked up, he felt the waves somehow as well. When she turned to face Asami, Asami gave a small yelp, saying, “I hope you don’t teach that face to our kid. Sorta creeps me out.” The smile vanished, as did Aang - Korra was tired of waiting. Her eyes now aglow, she struck her foot against the ground in the same fashion once more. She felt a footprint created in the earth and felt small cracks spread from her feet while she processed the vast amount of information that flowed into her being.

She detected a minor deposit of metal under the sea near her, as well as a large, strange pocket of liquid trapped beneath the sea in the far distance in some fragile rock. Making a note of its location - Asami might know what it was - she focused on getting a better picture of the ocean floor, but only lightly striking her foot against the rock beneath her this time. She saw a much clearer picture - and knew where she would begin.

Still in the Avatar State, she created a circular part in the sea water with one hand, and began manipulating the sea floor with the other. Suddenly realizing she did not have enough earth for what she wanted, she focused all her energy far beneath the exposed sea floor. She felt an immense heat, and began to manipulate it towards the surface, opening her eyes fully. She watched keenly for what she was manipulating to finally break the surface - magma. As it broke through to the surface, she heard a surprised gasp from beside her, but maintained her focus.

Korra had a momentary vision of a figure she somehow knew to be Firelord Sozin performing some odd hand movements, cooling a vast amount of magma with firebending. Keeping this vision from what must have been the end of Roku’s life in mind, once a large amount of magma had been released - enough to increase the size of Air Temple Island by a third, or more - she began to channel heat away using the odd technique from the large, glowing mass until she felt comfortable with its temperature. Korra wanted to make sure there was no further unplanned volcanic activity in this spot, ensuring that this would be so by sending the plume of magma deep beneath the new island - back to wherever she had dragged it from. Pushing both hands forcefully towards the cooling mass and the sea, she created a large, slightly sloped hill between the shimmering walls of water. She folded her hands multiple times towards herself, letting the water crash into the new, solid rock while a somewhat natural looking pathway came towards her current position.

She spun around, striking her foot against the ground once more - she wanted to be as delicate as possible, with the artifact room nearby. Locating a suitable spot, she quickly and delicately created a sloped path from Upper Air Temple Island down towards the bottom of the cliff face, linking it to the new path in the sea. Turning around towards the new landmass, she was still not satisfied, so she raised the pathway between the main island and her new addition, creating sea walls around the path and addition’s boundaries. Korra created a large courtyard on the side of the island closest to the artifact room by shearing off a large amount of rock, depositing it on the far end of the island. She fused the two pieces of earth with lavabending, effectively creating a tall, inaccessible plateau. Her final major act was to manipulate the minor mass of what must have been iron from beneath the water, letting it crash next to the far end of the island.

Korra took a very deep breath and created some small pier-like spits of rock near the back of the new plateau, at the same time exiting the Avatar State. Breathing heavily, she said, “If the Fire Nation wants any new land, they’re going to have to pay a fortune. That really took it out of me, Avatar State or not.” She looked at Asami, who was staring at the island with wide eyes. She said, pointing to the plateau, “Is that what I think it is…? Is that where you want my helping in bending us a house?”
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First eyes, a treasure. New eyes, end with a pretentious blink, own vision eclipses.
Book 5:Humanity, aka: Freedom's First Writ
Freedom153
Never Gonna Give Yue Up

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That Could Have Been Executed Better


« Reply #22 on: Jan 07, 2015 11:18 am »

(Continued due to character limit)

Korra shook her soaked body, splattering Asami with sweat - she actually seemed to like it. Absently licking her lips and ingesting some of Korra’s sweat, Asami said, “Where’d you get that huge lump of ore from? Are there any interesting deposits under the ocean here?” Korra said, whipping off her shirt out of combined heat and exhaustion, “Yes - I also detected a distant, large pocket of a strange liquid inside fragile rock. You wouldn’t happen to know what that is, do you?” Asami’s eyes widened, staring at Korra - and not just at her glistening body. She said, touching Korra in the abdomen, “Korra - that’s oil! You just discovered a major deposit of oil! I’ll have to contact Varrick, and see if we can devise a way to get at the oil beneath the sea.” Asami paused, looking at Korra’s sweaty arms, saying, “Though I see some oil I like right here.”

Finally tired of waiting, Korra hugged Asami and kissed her on the neck. She was about to give in completely, but a voice behind them said, “Ahem. Just because you’re not in the artifact room, doesn’t make any funny business a good idea, Korra - if you want to do something, you should finish that island and your house first.” Ignoring the intruder for a moment, Korra bent an earth wall between her and this unwelcome visitor. Re-focusing on Asami, she didn’t hear the man walk around to the side of her barrier until it was too late. A sudden blast of wind knocked her off her feet, making her land next to Asami.

Staring blearily up at the morning sun, she saw a familiar figure coming into her field of view - it was Tenzin! Korra gasped for air, still not quite over the exhaustion from creating an island. She heard the muffled sound of running, and a cool wave of water splashed over her and Asami. Korra said weakly, “Thanks - that was just what I needed. Wait… Tenzin? Katara?” Before Tenzin could answer, what must have been Katara said, “Hello, sweetie. My son and I noticed a lot of noise from this direction and thought we should investigate. I never expected to see this wonderful addition to Air Temple Island, though.” Tenzin added, “I noticed how delicately the path from the upper level to this new addition was made, Korra - thank you for remembering to not wreck my artifact room.”

Korra managed to get up and pull Asami with her, saying, “I’m still not done! I need to make a house, and bend some… privacy measures for the house out of the ore I drug up.” Katara patted Korra’s shoulders, saying, “It looks like you could use some help. Tenzin, why don’t you project to Bolin, Su and Lin, and tell them to come to the artifact room. And make sure to tell them this isn’t an emergency!” Before Korra or Asami could object, Tenzin sat down, took a deep breath, and shut his eyes. Korra did feel very tired - she bent herself and Asami a single chair to sit in. Katara, seeing what they were doing, bent a large ball of water from the sea, did some strange hand movements that Korra assumed were to remove the salt, and created two separate, smaller balls of water. Katara said, “Why don’t you try and bend two clean mugs from this rock? If I give you ice glasses, they’ll just melt.” Korra did so, making sure to create a clean inside surface with some minor lavabending that she cooled rapidly.

After, Korra and Asami held out their earth cups. Katara bent the water inside, and created a large block of ice with the leftovers. When Korra had emptied her glass, she made to refill it, but Katara held out her hand, saying, “Uh-uh, Korra! It may be 8:00 AM in the morning, but I don’t want you getting heatstroke. I’m sure Bolin, Lin and Su will be too busy admiring your handiwork to be ready to help you finish it right away.” As Korra fixed her gaze on a large, tasty-looking creature in the distance, Katara tapped her son on the shoulder, whispering, “Tell them to bring some food - it looks like Korra and Asami haven’t eaten since they got up, given how they are staring at that shark whale.” Korra sat up, and said, “Some sushi does sound good. Ooooh, my head…” Korra slumped back into the chair from the new pain in her forehead, stirring Asami, who stood up, addressing some unseen new arrivals. Despite all the fighting Korra had done lately, she realized that she was pretty out of shape - if she had any hope of winning this Spirit Civil War, she’d need to become physically robust again, like she was before that crazy idiot Zaheer had poisoned her. She remembered how, in almost all her fights lately, she had been beaten or on equal ground with people she should have handily defeated.

That’s not the main reason - for instance, why didn’t you use the Avatar State inside the horrible Colossus’ cockpit? I’m criminally underused!

Korra groaned loudly, saying, “Not now, Raava … ugh” out loud. She finally fell asleep.

She saw a little girl - Raava - in front of her, saying, “Remember, you need to take care of your physical body. Until you get more fit, no more trying to make a whole island by yourself without what your body needs- if you try to push too far, I’ll just shut the Avatar State off.” Korra yelled, “But how am I going to get better unless I exert myself? I’m sick and tired of being weak - until relatively recently, I couldn’t even walk or fight properly, and now look where I am!”

Raava wagged a finger at Korra, saying, “I didn’t say you couldn’t make islands, Korra - you just need to remember to do, you know, basic things… like EAT and DRINK!” Raava flared to her full size before the last words, and the vision ended. Or was it a dream?

Given how Korra saw the world through rapidly blinking eyelids, it must have been both. She saw Bolin standing over her, holding a small cut of cooked meat, saying, “She’s awake! Thirty minute nap… wish I could do that.” Korra opened her mouth, savoring the flavor of the bite Bolin gave her. Korra stood up, seeing that it wasn’t just Bolin, Lin and Su - everyone was here, even her parents!

After eating some more and drinking plenty of water, she began telling everyone how she made the new addition to Air Temple Island. When she finished, she noticed multiple stunned expressions - noticing that Zuko was one of them. Before anyone else could speak, Lin yelled, “We’ve got an addition to finish, people - stop staring at Korra! Let’s go!” She turned down the trail, and ran to the large clearing, Asami running after her. Everyone else - including Korra - followed suit. While no longer physically tired, Korra chose to defer to Asami on completion of the island, following her instructions. Korra worked with Bolin to finish the large plaza with a mix of earthbending and lavabending, working alongside him to give it a marble-like surface that Asami suggested and directed the appearance of. She noticed the final pattern of its surface resembled the tiles of the rest of Air Temple Island. Korra added the four elemental symbols to the center of each tile with a burst of the Avatar State and some earthbending - without any nagging from Raava.

Korra spotted Su out of the corner of her eye with a proud look. Apparently, Su had managed to hook the shark whale with metalbending while Korra and Bolin had worked on the plaza, as Korra saw the massive beast dead, floating near the sea-wall. Korra said, “Nice work with the shark whale, Su! I can’t wait to eat it!” Shortly after, she heard Katara yell, “Aren’t you gonna thank me too? I bent the water to get at it in the first place!” Embarrassed at her assumption, Korra yelled “Thanks!” as Bolin bent a small shore to drag the beast onto the new “marble”. Su and Lin used metalbending to butcher the beast at the same time Jinora came back with some more vegetarian fare. Asami motioned to Korra while the impromptu celebration was being prepared, and Korra approached her at the base of the tall plateau.

Much to Korra’s surprise, Asami said, “Okay - what now? I know you had something in mind with that metal ore, but what?” Korra said one word: “Privacy”. In a stream of consciousness, Korra explained her idea to Asami - make it so that only someone who can bend multiple elements, or know a special “code” can enter without assistance. Asami’s eyes widened as she explained, saying, “Sounds even better than my mansion, Korra. But how are you going to implement it? There’s lots of metalbenders and earthbenders around here - someone could just break in through the wall.” Korra frowned, saying, “I’m not trying to make a fortress - I just want somewhere private for us is all. I don’t like that artifact room - it’s barely private, and those dusty old scrolls make me sneeze.”

Asami laughed, coming up closer to Korra, running a finger on her still bare collarbone. “If that’s what you want, Korra - a ‘private retreat’ - you might want to add sound dampening into your design.” Asami gave her a coy grin. Korra began to reach out to grab her butt, but stopped at the last minute, saying, “No, Korra, not right now! Just finish this house already.” Asami looked vaguely disappointed. Given Asami’s experience with security, Korra let her make most of the design decisions and all the locking mechanisms. After Korra had finished making a legion of bizarre metal objects, she implemented her own ideas. She bent some fresh water into a container that she superheated and compressed into stainless steel. Seeing Asami given her an odd look, Korra explained, “This is going to be the main door’s lock. It can only be opened by simultaneously waterbending and metalbending - this main key mechanism here floats in the water and needs to be metalbent into position to turn the lock into a somewhat open position. While that is maintained, the bender has to freeze the water, expanding it into these crevasses with skill. Then, the user bends the ice sphere to generate enough force to open the lock.” Korra looked at the key mechanism and said, “Though I guess that will need to be stainless steel too,” as she performed the appropriate bending on it.

After arranging the parts in the proper orientation, Korra stomped the ground of the plateau, wanting to form a picture in her mind’s eye of the design that Asami had described, taking into account the main watermetalbending lock. Korra took a deep breath, and began to create the house using the Avatar State. First, she created a foundation, springing the inner walls up from the slab of earth. She then bent two concentric earthen shells - one that was the outer wall and provided a gap of air for noise muffling, and a second that perfectly fit the inner walls, adjusting all the walls as she went using earthsense and bending. She then bent in various fixtures, such as a bed base and headboard in the “recreational room”, some earthen cabinets and an island for a kitchen - no need for gas when she could just firebend food to heat it, she thought - and a table for eating at, and she bent some strange metal into the walls where Asami had instructed her to - copper, she called it. Korra then created light fixture holders near these metal veins. Feeling creative, she tried and successful manipulated some earth into crystal form using heat and the latent air moisture, creating a chandelier to hang outside the kitchen near the bedroom, affixing it to the ceiling with lavabending. She began creating a bathroom near the bedroom, but suddenly remembered that Asami wouldn’t be able to use what she had in mind without her assistance - she was no waterbender. It’d have to wait until later, and they would need a link to the main Air Temple Island system. Korra bent out doorways to the outside - the main door using a watermetalbending lock and the second door using a complicated number-based lock - and suspended the doors in mid-air. She then lavabended to fuse all the pieces together and give all the earthen surfaces the same pseudo-marble look she had used on the plaza. Once the heat died down, she fixed the copper veins - she had forgotten to leave them until after the “marbleization” - and used her metalbending to insert locks and hinges into all the now-snugly placed doors. She then decorated the outside of the house using metal and lavabending in a four-elements theme, putting large Future Industries logos on two prominent parts of the house.

Korra took a deep breath - both to end the Avatar State smoothly and for energy. She opened her eyes, telling Asami loudly, “I’m ready to eat! Come on, we can stare at this house later - and use it for other purposes.” Giving Asami a wink as she ran off, Korra smelled an irresistible smell in the air - roasted shark whale meat!
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Book 5:Humanity, aka: Freedom's First Writ
Freedom153
Never Gonna Give Yue Up

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That Could Have Been Executed Better


« Reply #23 on: Jan 07, 2015 11:21 am »

Chapter 19 : A Private Affair

When Korra and Asami finally got back to the new plaza, both stared in amazement. There were more people here than when Korra had awakened from her short nap! One of Varrick’s surviving huge boats was moored near a dock she didn’t remember making, and Korra even spotted two strange, wooden cages containing rather defeated looking figures.

Tenzin, Zuko and Katara were standing in the center, laughing and talking to each other, only pausing to eat shark whale. Even Tenzin ate the meat, seemingly out of politeness to his mother rather than actually liking it. Mako, Bolin and Opal were close by, with Mako looking rather glum as Bolin kissed Opal, Bolin making to grab her - which only netted him a slap on the face and an angry girlfriend. He yelled loudly, “Oh, come on, Korra’s already grabbed Asami’s butt, and only they know what else, and you won’t even let me squeeze your arm?” He began to say something else, but Opal cut him off with a blow of wind to the face, followed by a strong kiss on the lips. Opal asked him, “You happy now?” to which he could only reply “…. Yeaaah” before falling over onto his flushed face. Lin and Su, who were close by, started laughing wildly, and when their faces were red from laughter they resumed sipping what must have been weak sake. Or at least that’s what Korra assumed their faces were red from, anyways.

Pema was leading Rohan, Ikki and Meelo on a tour of Varrick’s huge boat, and given some angry shouts from a running Varrick, he either wanted them to pay admission or leave his possessions alone. A shrieking Meelo shot a few blasts of wind at a stuffed platypus bear standing on the deck, apparently trying to control it like a huge puppet. He failed miserably. A large piece of stuffing flew out, hitting Varrick in the face. Varrick grabbed Meelo and yelled “Why you little dirty rug rat!” Meelo smiled broadly, managing to get a hand free to point at an angry duo standing behind Varrick: Pema and Zhu Li. Pema snatched Meelo from a stunned Varrick as Zhu Li hit him over the head with a ledger and yelled, “No Thing for you tonight, mister!”

Jinora stood behind a large table, deftly sending plates and glasses flying back and forth to the different groups of people, some with food on or drink in them. She even managed to land two plates with food into the two odd cages, followed by two glasses of sake, receiving applause for her feat. After finishing clapping, Korra traced the path the plates and glasses had taken back to the table, and noticed three familiar figures behind the impromptu serving bar - one of whom was very large, and chewing on the remnants of the shark whale in content.

Korra dragged Asami behind her as she ran towards her parents, yelling, “Mom! Dad! I want you to meet my girlfriend, Asami!” As Naga leapt onto her master and Tonraq wrapped Asami in a polarbear-dog hug of his own, Korra barely heard a squabbling Zhu Li and Varrick yell “Asami’s your WHAT now?!?” in the distance. Blowing off the inevitable twin information dump until later, Korra talked and laughed with her mother and father for a good thirty minutes, Asami clearly enjoying having something close to a mother and father in-law. Tonraq even told Asami, “Korra was right - you do have a beautiful face,” making Asami blush slightly.

They were only interrupted when Varrick, having apparently pried the ledger from Zhu Li’s grasp, smacked Korra in the back of the head, saying, “Everyone talking about all this ostrich horse leavings that I have no idea what it means, and I hate not knowing what’s going on. So I’ll keep hitting you on the head with this now-unreadable ledger until you tell me!” Varrick proceeded to weakly bonk Korra on the head at least 20 times before she stopped laughing, and took him seriously. Korra told him, “Get Zhu Li over here and promise your undying secrecy and I’ll tell you - though not with words.” A confused Varrick ran off to get Zhu Li, and Korra told Asami, “Seeing Varrick and Zhu Li are basically your business partners and co-inventors, they’d have to know what was going on eventually. I wouldn’t worry about him secretly selling our relationship information to the press - when he gets over here, just make sure to have your electroglove on, and mention it would be an unwise business move to anger his major business partner.”

The ploy had the desired effect, though Senna was not pleased with Korra’s dirty little tactic, or that Asami went along with it. Zhu Li found it hilarious, however, much to an already small Varrick’s chagrin. Once Zhu Li had finished laughing, Korra told them both, “Prepare for the update of your lives!” and placed her hands on their foreheads. At about the point she was transmitting information about her training with Bolin, Korra felt a bit of information actually enter her brain - something about color movers? When Korra had finished - realizing she had accidentally imparted information about Kuvira’s trials too late - she placed one hand at her side and one on Asami’s shoulder. Before she could say anything, or ask about the color movers, Varrick yelled “Wow, Korra - that was great! Any chance you can teach me how to do that with a machine or something? That’s so much more efficient than talking!” Caught off guard, Korra laughed and said, “Nope, I’ll tell you again what I told Jinora - this appears to be Avatar only.” Zhu Li said, “That stuff you showed us about Kuvira - it was heartbreaking. She sounds like a changed woman, Korra - all thanks to you. You saved her not once, but twice.” Korra fidgeted nervously, prompting Zhu Li to ask, “Surely, you have told people that Varrick and I’s crazy former boss is now just formerly crazy - right?” Korra whispered to Zhu Li, “No - I guess now would be as good a time as any, though. By the way, who’s in those wooden cages?”

Remembering what Kuvira had said about Tonga’s wooden prison, their identities hit her like a ton of bricks. Korra said, looking at everyone around her except Asami in disbelief, “Surely you didn’t bring two war criminals to this gathering - what were you thinking?” To Korra’s surprise, it was Senna who said, “Last night, I happened to walk by Kuvira’s wooden prison, and she yelled out to me to come closer, starting to tell me about what had just happened before you fell asleep on Druk’s back. I thought that if she really was telling the truth, it’d be cruel to keep her and Bataar Jr. away from this celebration - I had a very hard time convincing Su and Lin with just Kuvira’s word. They’re still in those wooden cages, obviously.” Tonraq put a large hand on his wife’s back and said, “Why don’t you try and use that new ability of yours to update everyone on what happened with Kuvira yesterday? I’d like to see what this ‘information dump’ feels like, especially since you told us the events of the past 48 hours old fashioned style. Varrick is right - while I thoroughly enjoyed our talk last night, this does sound like it would be a lot more efficient than talking.” Before Korra could place her hand on the ground to impart Kuvira’s trials to everyone - including Bataar Jr., hopefully - her father added, “Though something tells me this wouldn’t be a good thing to use in diplomacy - politicians and rulers always love a good long speech or debate, though not if the speech is someone else’s.”

Laughing at a sudden image of trying to “update” President Raiko or Firelord Izumi with what Korra had just named “infobending” in her own mind, Korra entered into the Avatar State and placed her hand on the ground, using her new earthsense to “see” through now closed eyes. She used the channels in the marble-like stone beneath her feet to connect with everyone around her, and began infobending Kuvira’s trials in great detail, making sure to keep the information she divulged about Jinshu Kuangmai to the necessary minimum. After she felt the light of Raava fade from her eyes, she withdrew her hand from the ground, looking around to see people’s reactions.

Korra saw a surreal scene - everyone except herself, Asami, Varrick and Zhu Li were wobbling slightly with stunned looks on their faces. Apparently, receiving all of Kuvira’s experiences and emotions from last night was quite stressful. People began shaking their heads back and forth to regain their composure, some like Zuko and Katara running towards the wooden cage on the left as they did so, most just rubbing their foreheads and groaning lightly, and others bursting into hysterics. Bolin and Su were both in this last group - though for different reasons. Bolin yelled, “AUGH! What did I tell you about doing that… thing, Korra! Now I’m going to have a headache all day!” before falling over - though this time, onto his back. Su sobbed loudly, “Wait… she called me MOTHER Suyin? She never even called me that when she was a child! And shattering that horrible thing, only to almost lose her face to Koh… I’m coming, Daughter Kuvira!” Su bent some metal off her person into the shape of a large saw, running off to the cage that Zuko and Katara were in front of, talking excitedly with its occupant. Lin could only manage a temporary look of cynicism at her sister before running after her, yelling, “Wait - don’t just cut her free yet! What are you thinking? We need to replace the platinum handcuffs first!” Korra saw everyone else follow suit, finding her own legs moving of their own accord.

After both Kuvira and Bataar Jr. were outside of the wooden cages and bound in handcuffs - though Korra noticed that Lin had let both prisoners keep their hands in front of their bodies - Su hugged them both, saying, “I never thought that you’d call me something like Mother Suyin, Kuvira - or should I say, Daughter Kuvira.” Kuvira began crying happily as Bataar Jr. let out a horrible yell, saying, “Get away from me! I want nothing to do with you - and I have no idea why everyone is acting so friendly with you now! You kept yammering at me last night, but I just plugged my ears - we’re done!” Kuvira stood silent at first, but then said, “Look, I know I fired that awful weapon at you, Bataar Jr. - but I was most definitely following my evil side up until last night, like I tried to tell you.” Bataar Jr. spat in Kuvira’s face, cursing and then yelling, “I don’t care if you became the new Avatar and vanquished Vaatu permanently tomorrow, or magically restored the Earth Kingdom, Zaofu AND Republic City to what they used to be before you ravaged them! Now, just leave me alone!” Lin forcibly restrained him from attempting to kick or knee Kuvira in the groin as he cursed madly.

Su ran away from Kuvira and Bataar Jr. towards Korra, saying, “Why don’t you do that … thing on my son, and see if he changes his mind? Apparently, the wooden cage must have blocked the information from flowing.” She turned around, with a stern expression on her face, saying, “Right, Junior?” Korra walked over to Bataar Jr. with Asami and Su as Su’s son said, “I don’t know what you’re talking about, Su, but I don’t care what Korra has to say!” He broke free from Lin’s grasp, only to be entombed in ice. An angry Katara yelled, “You stupid fool - surely, you’ve heard the stories of how then Prince Zuko defected to Team Avatar after having a change of heart?” Bataar Jr. said curtly, “Yes, I have - but then again, Zuko never tried to turn me into ash with a spirit weapon!” An angry Zuko started explaining to Bataar Jr. just how off his excuse was as everyone else just stared at the angry former Firelord. Korra felt her eyes glow momentarily, and Aang’s figure appeared in front of her body, turning to face and join Zuko in his little ten-minute lecture. Korra noticed that as the two former enemies turned allies lashed into Bataar Jr., even Lin’s eyes softened.

After Aang’s image vanished, Zuko stared intently at Kuvira’s obviously now ex-boyfriend in anger. Bataar Jr. just crossed his arms as far as his handcuffs and ice prison would allow him and said, “I don’t care if Zuko’s switch ended up saving the world - Kuvira still tried to kill me in cold blood, and it’s not as if she’s going to get a chance to help save the world. After the Battle of Republic City, I can hardly imagine anything being more dire or worse.” Everyone - even including Pema, Rohan, Ikki, and Meelo - began laughing hysterically. Korra felt her eyes glow again, and a familiar small, white-haired girl very briefly appeared in front of Bataar Jr. He began to laugh wildly, causing Raava to grow to full size before anyone but Korra had seen the previous, smaller form. Raava yelled, “NOW do you recognize me, you stubborn moron? Here, allow me and Korra to demonstrate exactly what happened to Kuvira last night, that you couldn’t be bothered to listen to. As well as exactly why Kuvira is needed and not just a prisoner of war, like you are.” Raava extended a large tentacle rapidly to Bataar Jr.’s forehead, and Korra followed suit on his back.

Korra could feel Raava putting extra care into this infobending, making sure that Bataar Jr. saw that there would be no peace for quite some time and that he felt everything that both Kuvira and Korra had. Korra noted with pleasure that Raava also kept Jinshu Kuangmai’s identity a secret. After Raava removed her tentacle and returned to Korra’s body, a voice intoned proudly I know what a secret is - and I plan on helping you keep it.

For about five minutes, Bataar Jr. stood in mute silence until finally saying, “You’re all crazy! I fail to see how Kuvira will be of any help from a jail cell!” Turning his head enough to barely see Kuvira, he yelled, “I still don’t care about your ‘trials’ Kuvira, shattered evil self or not! We’re completely through!” He took a deep breath, adding with a hoarse scream, “For crying out loud, you tried to kill me, you crazy b - ” Su’s hand slapped him across the mouth before he could finish the last word and stayed put until Lin bent a strip of metal towards Bataar Jr.’s face. He bit Su’s hand and managed to say, “Lin - surely you don’t buy Kuvira’s bulls - ” before his voice was muffled by the large strip of metal. Lin held him in the air by his new gag and forced him back into the wooden cage, bending some more metal to form a lock.

Kuvira had been crying bitterly for quite some time now. Mako approached her, saying, “I trust you - if ‘Mother Suyin’, Raava and Korra trust you, I see no reason why not.” He put both arms around her chest, making sure to avoid the handcuffs, and Kuvira managed to say, “Thank you - that means a lot to me, especially after what I did to your home city and your arm” before her tears could return. She looked down at Mako’s left arm and said, “Wow - I knew Korra ‘told’ me she had healed your arm, but I didn’t expect this. Here, I want to feel it - I figure I’ll need to start learning more about healing of any kind if I am to be of any use in the Earth Kingdom’s rehabilitation.” Kuvira grabbed Mako’s palm with her handcuffed hands, feeling the flesh intently. When Kuvira didn’t let go and clasped her hands tighter in an unanticipated move, both Mako and Kuvira blushed deeply. Bolin let out a whoop, starting to say an... earthy celebratory exclamation before a blast of air from Opal and then another metal gag from Lin stopped him short. Bolin removed the gag from his face, seemingly having gotten the message, and then ran up to Mako and Kuvira to hug them both. Mako let out a startled “Ow! Bolin, you’re pressing me up against her handcuffs - don’t hug so hard!”

Meelo tugged on Pema’s clothing, asking, “Mom, can you teach us these words that keep getting interrupted? They sound cool!” Pema picked him up, letting a boisterous Rohan free, and said, “Maybe when you’re older, Meelo - though I don’t see what use an airbender would have for such words.” Meelo pouted, saying, “I’m not just an airbender, Mom - I’m also a stylebender! You remember that picture I painted hung in my room, right? That’s how I wanna roll.” Pema rolled her eyes, saying, “Yes, I do remember that portrait. While it is a fine piece of art, it seems more suited to a firebender’s portrait - Firelord Ozai or Princess Azula, perhaps,” finishing with a mischievous smile. Meelo’s cheeks turned red, and Pema and Tenzin laughed deeply. Jinora began snickering in the background, along with Katara and Zuko.

This more lighthearted exchange and the silence of a gagged Bataar Jr. removed the pall in the air that the altercation between Bataar Jr. and Kuvira had produced. Thinking to herself that everyone who mattered was now present and somewhat happy, Korra felt a sudden surge of energy, spotting a familiar figure in front of her. Korra groaned deeply and said, “Raava, cut that out! I hate it when you leave my body without asking.” Korra crossed her arms and let out an angry “Humph!” as Raava laughed hysterically, along with everyone who had been present at the Restoration.

Zhu Li, Varrick, Senna and Tonraq looked wide-eyed at Raava’s “human-y” form - they had heard of it before, sure, but never actually seen it. Raava made a funny face, sticking out her tongue, making all four jump. She ran off towards Tenzin and Jinora giggling, and as Korra followed to maintain a close distance to Raava, she heard her father say, “She reminds me an awful lot of Korra at about four - now I see where she got it from.” This just made Raava laugh loudly, only stopping once she and Korra were near Tenzin and his eldest daughter, now standing near the hugging trio from earlier.

Jinora had a mischievous look on her face.  Once Korra and Raava arrived, she looked at her father and said, “So I guess it is true.” Tenzin, taking the bait, asked, “What is true, Jinora?” Without missing a beat, Jinora replied, “They really will let anyone into the spirit world these days,” closing her eyes and grinning widely much as her grandfather might have done. Apparently, Kuvira, Bolin and Mako overheard this, and all three began laughing loudly, with Korra and Raava joining in their mirth shortly after. Raava slapped Jinora on the back, saying loudly with a fake groan, “You beat me to it!” Tenzin had a furious look on his face, saying, “That smile! Urgh… You’re just like my father, Jinora. If I weren’t so thoroughly an Air Nomad, I’d spank you for that!” Korra heard Kuvira, Bolin and Mako laughing harder, and what she sensed as five individual’s footsteps approaching them. As Jinora and Raava giggled, she identified the two other individuals - Asami and Opal. Shortly before the rest of the core of Team Avatar arrived - Korra realized with an odd start she had just lumped in Kuvira with the rest of them - Tenzin looked at Raava with a serious, slightly desperate expression. He asked, “You don’t really mean to tell me her joke was the truth, do you?” Raava laughed with an edge of irritation, saying, “Just so you know, Tenzin, what she said isn’t true, in case you took my comment seriously. Do remember, before Kuvira meditated into the spirit world, she had just shattered her evil half in a fight for her sanity and soul.”
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First eyes, a treasure. New eyes, end with a pretentious blink, own vision eclipses.
Book 5:Humanity, aka: Freedom's First Writ
Freedom153
Never Gonna Give Yue Up

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Posts: 549


That Could Have Been Executed Better


« Reply #24 on: Jan 07, 2015 11:22 am »

(Continued due to character limit)

Once the new arrivals were comfortable, Jinora said, with a serious look, “This private party can’t and shouldn’t just be about laughing and having fun, so it’s time for me to share an idea I had. I remember in the - what is your name for it, Korra? Information dump?” Korra answered, “I want to call it infobending - information dump just sounds unelegant and slightly dirty.” Bolin laughed as Jinora continued, “Yes, infobending. Anyways - I remembered the comment that Long Yumao made about trying to challenge Vaatu for this never-before heard ‘Grand Dark Spirit’ title if he could get his beak on Vaatu. Thinking about how Long Yumao loves to prattle on about how many ‘sensible’ spirits were offended or enraged by Raava’s generous gift to Asami and Korra, I thought that we could use this new information about Long Yumao’s plans against him. I figure that if some of his supporters or neutral spirits knew he intended to usurp Vaatu and disturb the balance that has existed between Raava and Vaatu, two perfectly opposed spirits, we will get some spirits to come to Raava’s side. Long Yumao holds chaos and utter darkness in disdain, making him a flawed foil to Raava.” Jinora stopped, clearly proud of her idea.

Before Korra could compliment her idea, Raava said drolly, “While that is a good idea and will likely win us converts, Jinora, I am afraid due to my own changing nature that Long Yumao is now a better foil for me than Vaatu.” The teapot around Raava’s neck seemingly “nodded” in agreement. “Before my close interactions with Korra - especially of late - Vaatu and I were perfect foils of one another. He mainly represented darkness and chaos - spirit and human alike, while I mainly represented light and order. However, as my interactions with Korra have changed me, I have begun to value something you humans call ‘freedom’, ‘humanity’, and ‘equal opportunity’. Vaatu, while he dislikes humans, doesn’t really care if it is human darkness and chaos or spirit darkness and chaos. I have the feeling that had the Fire Nation won the 100 Year’s War, he wouldn’t have even bothered trying to get the new Avatar to free him for Harmonic Convergence - his job of bringing about darkness and chaos - even if it did manifest itself in the form of an oppressive government instead of absolute disorder -would have already been done for him by human tyrants.” Korra noticed with a sickening feeling that the teapot was now vigorously “nodding”. Raava stopped, opening on a clasp on the teapot and yelling at Vaatu, “You can stop doing that any time now!” and shut the clasp again before continuing, “Long Yumao the Opportunist, on the other hand, does not stand for absolute darkness or chaos, but instead stands for ‘oppression’, spirit’s rule of humans, and the superiority of spirits over humans. As I find the qualities of light in more and more humans, and reflect on the great improvements of order in the world worked for so hard by humans, I feel myself transferring my value of light and order into a larger blanket - the ‘humanity’ I mentioned.” The teapot began vigorously vibrating, knocking a clasp slightly ajar and a small curse escaped from Vaatu, who then yelled “That fool must not get my title!” A laughing Raava shut the clasp once again, smacking the teapot’s side for good measure. Raava finished, “My experience with Kuvira has only accelerated this process - I honestly thought she would lose to her evil half and her mind would shatter like Princess Azula’s did, and seeing her triumph has only increased my faith in humanity.”

While Jinora did look slightly disappointed, she still seemed glad that her idea would be of some effectiveness. Kuvira looked positively ecstatic, picking up Raava and grinning wildly. Raava enjoyed it at first, but tired after about thirty seconds, saying, “Please put me back down, Kuvira. My… stomach? … doesn’t feel very good.” Once back on the ground, Raava stumbled around until her eyes widened in anticipation. As she began running, Korra realized with a start she was heading towards the sake table! Not wanting a drunk Raava, Korra did something she hadn’t tried before - forcefully recalling Raava. At first, her attempt was very weak, then she felt a huge surge of energy - it must have been her past human lives helping! Once an angry Raava was back inside her, an image of Aang left Korra’s chest, who said, “That was satisfying to watch, after all the trouble I had controlling the Avatar State during my youth.” He grinned widely and said, “Carry on!” He vanished without a trace. Despite Korra’s best efforts, Raava exited her body yet again - though this time she seemed uninclined to run off to go drink sake, and seemed to pay Korra a bit more respect.

Apparently, Katara had heard Aang’s voice, as Korra saw her running towards them away from Korra’s parents and Naga. Once she arrived, she asked, “That was Aang, wasn’t it? I was just talking with your mother and father, Korra, and it got me thinking about my own family. While it is nice that I can see Aang again, I still feel the loss of my brother. He died too soon…” Tenzin gently walked to his mother, saying, “I’m sure he’s in a good place, Mother - if he were alive, he’d probably still be looking for that sword of his.” Katara managed a weak laugh, saying, “You’re right - it’s just sort of depressing to think that when almost any human dies, their spirit just vanishes, except for a few like Iroh.” Katara looked like she was about to start crying, and a concerned Raava said, “Who knows, Katara - after this Spirit Civil War is over, I might be able to do something about that.”

Bolin, who had been muttering, “Sword! Sword! Sword!” under his breath the whole time, finally couldn’t wait any longer and said, dragging Korra off to the side, “Korra, I’ve been wanting to learn how to use a sword, like the Kyoshi Warriors use their fans. But Kyoshi Island is all the way in the Southern Earth Kingdom, and given all this new information about this General Jinshu Kuangmai, I don’t really want to go anywhere outside Republic City. So, do you think you could project Avatar Kyoshi herself out here?” Korra gave him a dirty look - he had dragged her over here to ask her to project the one Avatar that hated her guts? Bolin said, “Look, I know you and Kyoshi aren’t on the best of terms, but maybe if I talk to her she’d be willing to listen.” Figuring she had nothing to lose, she focused on Kyoshi’s energy, noticing that Raava was at Korra’s side once the angry Earth Avatar had appeared. Raava was doing her best stink-eye at Kyoshi, and given how the ancient Avatar didn’t start cursing at Korra, it must have had some effect.

Kyoshi said, giving Korra a withering look, “You already know my opinion of you and your actions - or rather, lack thereof. What do you want?” Korra said, pointing to Raava and then Bolin, “My friend here - Bolin, a talented earthbender - wants to train with you or the Kyoshi Warriors, and given that Kyoshi Island is far away and possibly inside hostile territory, he was wondering if you could train him in the ways of the warrior. Specifically, the sword.” Kyoshi rolled her eyes, clearly not in the mood to talk to anyone related to Korra. Kyoshi confirmed her suspicions, saying, “And why should I help you learn the art of physical combat, Bolin - friend of Korra, who I consider to be a failure?” Raava cursed loudly, making Kyoshi laugh and say, “Not even Raava can change my mind about Korra - only Korra can. So, unless you can name me one reason I should train you, I’m going back to the Spirit World to finish my other, more interesting conversation.”

Bolin surprised Korra by not showing off his lavabending for Kyoshi, instead kneeling before her, simply stating, “Avatar Kyoshi, I know one thing : as far as non-elemental combat goes, I am not worthy of your training. I may be able to lavabend -something Toph told me is a very rare skill - and use my earthbending to its full potential, now including metalbending thanks to Korra, but my physical combat skills are adequate at best. I am keenly aware of an earthbender’s dependence on having available earth or metal to bend - we cannot simply remove water from the air, create fire, or conjure wind as the other benders can. It’s one of the reasons we can be so easy to imprison - throw me in a wooden cage away from any metal or earth, and I’m trapped.” Before Kyoshi could say anything, Bolin finished, saying, “I have relied on raw talent for far too long, and have felt at times that I was a secondary player in events, with only my newfound lavabending making me feel like I was an equal contributor to Team Avatar. I didn’t learn this wonderful skill, or earn it - I was just born with it. An undeserving recipient of a gift from the Universe. I’m not going to ask you to train me in my element - I trust Korra can fill in the gaps there. I just wanted to know if you would be willing to help me better myself as a warrior.” Appearing as though he had just remembered something, Bolin said, “Not with the war fans, though - my girlfriend Opal harasses me enough as is.”

A presence behind Korra said, “Ah yes, I remember the time Sokka trained with the Kyoshi Warriors - makeup, fans and all.” At the mention of Katara’s brother’s name, Kyoshi said, “This Sokka... I mentioned earlier I had a much more interesting conversation to return to. Before I continue, I will let your know your request has been denied - but not for the reason you might think.” Once Bolin had refocused after this distressing news, Kyoshi continued, “A rather serious human spirit was telling me about a humble individual much like Bolin before Korra booted me out here. Bolin, your speech reminded me of one a young boy gave Piandao. Piandao mentioned his name a few times, even telling me the whole speech. It was considerably shorter than Bolin’s I might add.” Kyoshi gave Bolin an odd look, saying “Gumflapper.” As Katara and Korra laughed and Bolin blushed, Kyoshi continued, “Piandao was deemed worthy of the honor given to Iroh -human spirit immortality - given their shared ideals and proficiency in various physical arts. Piandao was a nonbender artisan, both with the brush and the blade. This other human he spoke fondly of? I honestly forget why he was deemed worthy of spirit status after his death.” Kyoshi stopped to think, a vaguely annoyed expression forming on her painted face after a while.

“Oh yes, I remember now, Korra - your predecessor’s spirit, Aang, lobbied very strongly for this ‘Sokka’ -a relation of yours if I remember right, Katara -to be immortalized in Iroh’s fashion after his death. Once individuals - including myself - managed to look past the… qualities he exhibited in his youth, we accepted Aang’s request. The only spirit who had major objections was Wan Shi Tong - something about tricking him with some knots. If anything, this just solidified our decision - Wan Shi Tong is not easy to trick.” Kyoshi paused, to let a now hyperventilating Katara calm back down. “We considered mainly his adult self, as well as his contributions to ending the 100 Year War and maintaining peace after. Particularly impressive was his role in defending a young Avatar Korra from the ‘Red Lotus’, despite his advanced age at the time. Sokka also came recommended by Iroh and Piandao - though the latter did have some reservations. Upon entering the spirit world, Sokka of course immediately manifested as his younger self.” Kyoshi gave a disgusted groan, saying, “One of the first things Sokka did was go to Koh’s tree, make all sorts of rude faces at the ancient spirit, and said something ‘witty’ as he left - ‘Water Tribe’, if Koh told the truth. Koh was not amused, as he couldn’t steal a spirit’s face. It didn’t get much better after that. We haven’t used an Avatar’s request as criteria for human spirit immortality since.”

Katara was actually rolling on the ground, growing hoarse from her wild laughter. She howled, “I can’t believe Sokka taunted Koh like that - and then said ‘Water Tribe’ as he left!” While Korra was laughing as well, she didn’t quite get this “Water Tribe” reference. She could hear Aang laughing hysterically in her head, however - it must have been one of those things that you had to be there to find funny. Once he had stopped laughing as well, Bolin asked, “I still don’t understand what Sokka and Piandao have to do with my desire to train as a swordsman.” Kyoshi said, with a tone that let everyone else know she was about to vanish, “As I said, someone else will be training you. I get enough of Sokka’s antics as is, and from what I have heard, yours are even worse.” Korra and Katara laughed as Bolin grumbled, “Well, I think I’m funny, and that’s all that matters!” pointing his hand at a confused Raava. Kyoshi continued, “Given your humility, Bolin, I still think you are worthy of a master’s training, however - and I get the feeling you don’t want to train with war fans anyways.” Bolin’s face lit up, and before he could ask Kyoshi anything, she continued, “ Piandao and Sokka will help you train in the art of the sword in the Spirit World. I’ll finish my conversation with Piandao later - I believe they are waiting for you right now. Be careful, however - none of you will be able to bend.” As Kyoshi vanished, Korra could see Katara crying, who was blubbering, “We can see Sokka again! That’s great! I can’t wait to hear his voice again…”

Korra grabbed both Bolin and Katara by the shoulders, making ready to transport them both into the Spirit World, but then she remembered something Kyoshi had said at the end - no bending. Reading Korra’s mind, Raava said, “Kyoshi never did pay attention to fine detail - since you are the Avatar, Korra, and I have such a strong bond with you, especially given all the human-y stuff I have learned, you should be able to bend even if you meditate in. No one else can, however - you will need to work with Bolin outside the Spirit World to incorporate any sword forms he learns with his bending. At the very least, you can imprison Koh and Long Yumao temporarily as you did when you saved Kuvira.” With that, Raava re-entered Korra’s body, and she felt Bolin and Katara vanish with her.

Chapter 20: Bolin’s Training

When Bolin, Korra and Katara got inside the Spirit World, the first thing that Korra did was try to pinpoint where Koh and Long Yumao were. As usual, they were hiding in the bushes outside Xai Bau’s Grove. Without explaining to Katara and Bolin, who were too busy looking at the beautiful trees, she used her earthbending to move them both into view - Long Yumao had been sleeping on the ground, leaving him vulnerable. He awoke to find himself hampered by earth, far too late. Korra yelled, “You two won’t be taking anyone by surprise this time!” as her eyes glowed and she performed the hand movements necessary to imprison both. These prisons looked more substantial than previous ones, and she realized with a start that she had made an inner elemental prison without consciously directing their formation. As Long Yumao accused Koh of failing in sentry duty, and Koh yelled at Long Yumao for not sleeping while floating above the ground, Korra grinned widely. She noticed that Koh was still missing a portion of his carapace, and that Long Yumao’s beak had a familiar score in its surface.

As soon as Bolin and Katara had finished gawking at the two spirits, Katara yelled, “Hey, Sokka! A little grumpy bird told us you have something for Bolin - come on out!” Much as Iroh had over two days ago, Piandao and Sokka strolled out of the bushes. Piandao spat in the direction of the two imprisoned spirits, saying, “Good riddance. I like the little inner prisons, Korra - they should buy us some more time to train. Sokka, are you ready to start help training Bolin?” Piandao looked around in panic, saying, “Sokka, this isn’t funny - we have a time limit here! Oh, there you are - I see you already found Bolin. Just what are you doing?” Korra and Katara turned to see Sokka and Bolin talking animatedly, and from what Korra heard, they appeared to be… swapping jokes?

Korra and Katara groaned at the same time, Korra saying, “I don’t think anything short of bloodbending could separate those two now. We may as well wait until they’re done and Piandao tells us they’ve stopped yammering. Let’s go under that tree over there.” As she and Katara walked to the tree, something occurred to Korra - her little jest made her remember Tonga’s awful ability. Korra shivering involuntarily, Katara asked her, “What’s wrong, Korra? You look like you just saw a ghost.” Korra said, “My little bloodbending joke just reminded me of Jinshu Kuangmai and his awful ability. I don’t know how I would counter it just yet.” Bloodbending, silly - I bet you could bloodbend without a full moon if you used the Avatar State.

Raava’s little suggestion just made Korra shiver even more - didn’t she know how Katara felt about bloodbending? A clearly concerned Katara hugged Korra as she explained Raava’s little comment. Katara gave a deep sigh, saying, “I hate that form just as much as you do, Korra - I still remember the despair people had when they thought that monster Amon had taken all your bending. But if this Jinshu Kuangmai is who I think he is, you’re probably going to need it.” Korra’s mouth was now agape... had she accidentally let the fireferret out of the bag? Seeing her expression, Katara said, “If you’re worried that you accidentally let the fireferret out of the bag about Jinshu Kuangmai’s identity, don’t worry - I figured it out myself. I’m old, but not senile, you know. Especially given how Toph covered her mouth after mentioning ‘family’, and ‘Jinshu Kuangmai’s ability to see Kuvira did not fear him - Su and Lin may have their suspicions as well. I’ll keep it secret, of course.” Taking another sigh, Katara said, “If half of what you told me about his power is true, and he really is Toph’s amoral son, you’re going to need some ace up your sleeve against him - and Avatar State bloodbending does sound like a rather good trump card.”

Slightly confused with this talk of cards, Korra said, “So, you’re implying that you’re willing to teach me bloodbending?” Katara said quietly, “Yes - but not the kind of bloodbending I used in my youth. The form that Hama and Yakone and his sons used is cruel - bending limbs deliberately just to inflict pain, jerking people around like puppets. I hope that we can, under a full moon of course, try to bloodbend some adorable creatures.” Korra yelled “WHAT?!?” and Katara sighed, saying, “I figure it would be best to practice on something cute so that you have added motivation to not use any of the forms that previous bloodbenders have used. I want you to be able to immobilize people without killing them - bloodbending could even be a humane tool if used right, akin to those electrogloves the Equalists used. My ideal bloodbending form would just use waterbending to hold someone in place while another combatant handcuffs them.” Korra said, “But what about lethal force? If Jinshu Kuangmai is too strong to hold.” Katara shivered, saying, “There was one move I thought of absentmindedly in my later years, after swearing off bloodbending forever - internal ice crystal formation. If you were to take blood surrounding the brain or inside the heart and force the water into a jagged shape and use it as an internal dagger, you could kill someone very rapidly. It’s a good thing Amon never thought of it - it would be very hard to counter.” Korra shuddered, still not relishing the idea of using bloodbending. Korra felt a familiar energy surge and saw Raava in front of both herself and Katara - in her true form.
Logged

Additional datapoints acquired. Additional animated stories viewed. Directive: adjust opinion... adjusting...
First eyes, a treasure. New eyes, end with a pretentious blink, own vision eclipses.
Book 5:Humanity, aka: Freedom's First Writ
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