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Qin Huang

"If you ever face an enemy who is stronger than yourself, he can not be defeated by honorable means. The only way is to decieve him then crush him."

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a character in “A Reason Why”, as played by Roku Mushabuki

Description



Qin Hung



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”All warfare is based on deception."-Sun Tzu


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Name;;Qin Huang

Nickname;;The Wind's Shadow

Age;;25

Gender;;Male

Occupation;;Guerilla/Assassin Group leader

Role;;Non-Bender

Bending Element;;N/A
Hair Color Length and Style;;Qin carries part of his smooth black hair in long pony tail that exceeds down to his waist. It's thin hair.

Eye Color and Shape;; Qin has courageous dark green eyes that are almond shaped.

Complexion;;Qin has a pale skin that is flawless on his face. However he does have a scar on his chest they he had gained during a raid on a Fire Nation military camp.

Height and Weight;;5'10'' and weighing 163 pounds

Body Type;;Qin has a slim built to him. He works constently on his cardio so that he can continue to move as he does.

Voice;;Qin has a medium pitched voice that is quiet and fast.


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Personality;;Quin is a very blunt man. He likes to get to the point as soon as possible. He likes to save as much time when on a mission as he can so that he may have some extra time incase things don't go exactly to plan. Past going on the job he is less strict though still serious. His idea of a fun time is an exciting mission or a night out with friends. Usually drinking and eating is involved. He has a dislike of the fire nation and it's approach of politics. In other words the war. In raids he prefers to order the killings of officers before anything else because it strikes fear into a soldiers heart to see his commander dead on the ground. Qin likes to use fear to his advantage, believing that it can bring down even the mightiest of foes.

Brief History;;Qin Huang was born in a small town in the boonies of the Eart Kingdom. There he grew up with his mother, fater, and four brothers. The Fire Nation conquered the town when he was about fourteen. At this point, being rebelious by nature, Qin formed a group that harrased the soldiers. As the years progressed the group that he had named "The Shadow Palms" had taken more risks to attempt to sabotage the Fire Nation even more. Raiding supply shipments, attacking reinforcements/camps, hijacking ships, and assassinating officers were becoming a common thing for them. They were working behind enemy lines so they rarely gained support, unless it was from th Order of the White Lotus in deserate situations or the Earth Kindom when they back tracked through the borders. Qin soon gained the title "Wind's Shadow" for his group's ability to vanish from an area so quickly that not even some of the best trackers could find them. It is a standard that none of the members of The Shadow Palms can be Benders for instead the use Chi Blocking. There are currently eight in the group including Qin.

Theme song;;To Glory by Two Steps From Hell

Potential Interest;;N/A

Password;;TIGER LILLY

So begins...

Qin Huang's Story

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The supply caravan that the Shadow Palms had been tracking for a week finally stopped for more than a day. Perhaps the caravan knew about the dangers of the area when they came, not wanting to be attacked they moved constantly. When they rested it was always in a town. Now they had stopped to rest in the rain, not knowing that even in this grass land they were in still had dangers.

Hiding in the grass, Qin signaled to the the other Shadow Palms to move up. They had been camouflaged in the grass and moved around to stalk the caravan. It was stocked with food for Fire Nation soldier. The Shadow Palms inched closer until they were eventually ten yards away. Qin gave a call of a local bird for the signal to attack. All at once the eight guerillas quickened there movements to get closer to the enemy. Shots of fires came out as soldiers guarding the caravan were attacked and eventually fell. Three Fire Nation soldiers against eight chi blockers was an uneven fight. The same kind that Qin liked.

With the guards dead the workers were stripped and tied up. The Shadow Palms dressed up in the uniforms and prepared to travel the caravan to another destination where they would be "captured" by Earth Kingdom soldiers. "Shame really. I was hoping that we could help more soldiers reach an early retirement." The rest of the Shadow Palms snickered at Qin's joke as they all put on their fake uniforms.

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Character Portrait: Qin Huang Character Portrait: Sotaro Yuan
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They have been traveling with haste for an hour. Zhao, a fellow Shadow Palm, pointed out that there was an outpost near the capture site. So Chen ordered the tied up workers to be loaded into the carts. It was raining now so moral was high. The captured workers have been dressed in Earth Kingdom uniforms. It be interesting if they were pursued. Especially since the workers tongues were cut out and they were about to be dosed with drugs.

"How much longer Qin?" Snow asked. Snow was the youngest at twelve and they found her after the Fire Nation burned down a farm. "Another hour is all we need. Maybe even forty five minutes. I do not think we will have many problems with the fodder here." He told her. She smiled reassured.

They were eating on the road now. Jerky was oh so useful. Zhao just reported to Qin, apprently he already finished doping up all the workers who would go crazy in twenty five minutes. They were brought outside the caravan that had stopped. Five hundred yards in fact from it in fact. Their minds were not well from the drugs. "Go that direction. The Fire Nation has a outpost there. They will have food and safety. Now run before we change our minds." Qin told them, pointing to the direction of the outpost. They began to run with fear.

Quin smiled as he climbed on to the lead caravan cart that was moving once again. Once those workers got to the the sight of the outpost's the drugs would kick in. They would be savage cannabals at most or cold hearted killers at the least. Now he looked forward for payment of the caravan.

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Character Portrait: Qin Huang Character Portrait: Sotaro Yuan
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Sotaro approached the sparse growth that gave way to a thick woodland about fifty paces in front of him. He stopped before he reached it, his feet already in a defensive stance and the heat rising up in his blood in direct correlation to the tension in his muscles.

“Hail,” he cried into the thicket, his muscles prepared to spring into action. “Fire Nation Commander. Present yourself.”

The growing darkness made him uncomfortable. He was not afraid, he simply disliked the ebbing of his chi into its coldness. Yet a firebender, even half blind, knew his element when he saw it.

Silence. The unmistakable flame of a torch flickered for the last time before its handler dropped it onto the forest floor. Then the splitting craaaack of wood, accompanied by the most sickening of painful groans – or was it a growl?

It took several moments for the flame to catch on the leaf litter, some of which was dry and still warm from the day’s sun. Sotaro’s eye widened with surprise as he fully fell into his bending stance to contain it, but the fluid motion of the move was cut short by a deranged body crashing full force into his right side.

“Fuck it,” he growled as he rolled with the groaning, bleeding body, quickly pinning it by its throat.

Training and instincts took hold of him, and he showed no mercy. The man sputtered, struggled, and cried incoherently, which only made the bleeding worse. The attacker was joined shortly by equally unfortunate Earth Kingdom citizens, each one mad and bent on destruction in equal measures.

“Shimazu, dammit, attack!”

The shocked watchmen didn’t need to be told twice. Recovering quickly from their momentary shock at the wholly unexpected attack by rabid Earth Kingdom merchants, the small band of benders fell forward. Shimazu himself, Head of Watch, attempted to contain the threatening forest fire.

The commotion was enough to summon a few more guardsmen to help Sotaro’s Watch unit, allowing the benders to come to Shimazu’s aid.

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Character Portrait: Qin Huang Character Portrait: Sotaro Yuan
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The caravan arrived at the checkpoint an hour after the the drugged workers had been set loose. The Earth Kingdom soldiers were unloading the food from the carts. Qin was speaking with the Lieutenant about the resupply.

"We need ten gold pieces, one of those boxes there, four hundred of those shuriken that you promised, and some more Lotus petals." Qin told the Lieutenant. They needed those suplies so that they could possibly take the town.

"Ya you'll get it. By the way intel told us some prestigous captain came to that outpost. I'd suggest you be careful when trying to fight that." The Lieutenant said with a smirk.

A few hours later the Shadow Palms came back to the town for a patrol on the rooftops. Everything seemed fine allthough some Fire Nation soldiers were apparentely taking food from the town. They came across two soldiers harassing a grain store on the edge of town. Qin and Zhao threw two shuriken at the soldiers' necks. In another second they fell back into the shadows in the night.

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Character Portrait: Qin Huang Character Portrait: Sotaro Yuan
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Sweating despite the cool night air, Sotaro left the head watchman to ensure that the bodies of the deranged attackers were burned. He would not risk spreading whatever madness had taken them to his men and city. He restrained himself from gingerly touching his sliced and bitten right arm. The bandage was hidden beneath his sleeve, and it was a minor injury by a soldier's standards. Not everyone had escaped with their lives, and the rest had given the medic reason to work for his keep.

The unusual circumstances of the ambush set Sotaro musing. The attackers were by no means warriors, but they had fought like savages. Where they from within the city? If so, why? Had he not ensured the safety of Earth Kingdom and Fire Nation citizens alike? Was it some kind of Earth Kingdom uprising? What kind of man throws rabid commoners - his own - to the wolves? And to give them fire! No leader would burn his own cities to ensure that they didn't fall into enemy hands. No - Sotaro wouldn't. He could name at least one leader who would, and it concerned him.

Shaking his head, Sotaro returned to his quarters near the city's original Watch headquarters. He took another swig of his flask, and some of the tension in his hands and shoulders released. Perhaps the attack was just meant to shake them. The fire had eventually been contained, with only moderate damage to the walls. It could have been worse.

With the situation contained, at least temporarily, the Captain turned his mind to other matters. He would certainly not be considered worthy for a Commander's post if he allowed his men to starve. Unfortunately, the reports of the town's stores were disappointing. The pub and tavern masters had yet to send word, and the grain store managers had continued to be difficult. Sotaro considered resolving that matter himself, civilly explaining that he would take any measures to ensure that all Fire Nation provinces fulfilled their duty to support their respective garrison forces.

Removing his helmet in an attempt to appear more approachable (but mostly to allow the cool breeze to cool his brow), Sotaro left it on his low desk. The grain stores would be just locking up for the night. When he reached them, the soldier stopped short. Only the controlled release of air through gritted teeth gave away his exasperation. There was a sincere feeling of loss there as well, but at the moment, that was secondary to Sotaro's general duty to maintain order within the city. He could either help it or turn it to cinders, and nothing on all the earth would stand against his wrath.

On guard, Sotaro swept the scene, rooftops and all. He was very aware of his right side, that his sight could not penetrate the shadows as much as he would have liked. The chances of the killer remaining and leaving were equal. Taking them, Sotaro approached the bodies, always on guard.

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Character Portrait: Qin Huang Character Portrait: Sotaro Yuan
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New reports were in from information gathered. The Shadow palms gathered information from various undesirables at night. Qin had thought that the delay of food would keep the Fire Nation garrison hungary and eventually starved but he did not remember that they could simply take what they needed from the town. The restauraunts had food but not enough to keep for long periods of time. The graineries would be their biggest source and could not get into their hands.

Qin looked at Zhao and a few other members. They had a fierce look in their eyes that cried for retribution. "Zhao, take the others and kill any soldiers who are still trying to gather food. They are free game as long as they are still in the town limit. Stick to the shadows and remember. One shuriken for one soldier. I want at least four dead. If you are confronted retreat, you know the deal." Qin looked around at the four that were about to leave the underground bar they were in. "The rest of the group will come with me to tear down the Fire Nation flag that hangs over the town. We meet back before dawn." The team despersed

Zhao had little trouble finding three Fire Benders carrying food back to the outpost. He and the other three threw four shuriken at once. Two were bleeding out from a star to the jugular but the other was unharmed due to a miss. Zhao jumped from the top of the building on top and landed his feet on the soldiers shoulders. The man collapsed in pain and Zhao curb stomped his wind pin. He and his team fled the sight back to base, the shadows acting as their haven.

Qin's group was at the center of town where the highest flag pole riegned. They had knocked out a Fire Nation guard from behind who was guarding the building and were in the process of taking down the flag. in a few moments they were finished taking it down. Now they began to put an Earth Kindom flag up. They were finished in a minute, taking the Fire Nation flag for other purposes. Qin and his team headed back to base with an Earth Kingdom flag hanging over the town center. Enough had been acomplished tonight.

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Character Portrait: Qin Huang Character Portrait: Sotaro Yuan
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Sotaro stared down his Earth Kingdom counterpart, the fire in his glare kindling. It was was a staring contest worthy of titans, and even with one eye, Sotaro was winning.

"We had a deal, Captain," he said in tones that made no secret of the threat beneath. "That we'd work together, you and I."

The man in Earth greens wore the insignia of Captain of the Guard, but he remained so in name only. Once Sotaro had taken the city, he had effectively become second in command to the Fire Nation appointed lieutenant. Even so, Sotaro made it a point to treat the man with some amount of respect in an honest attempt to integrate his garrison with what remained of the watch. He was currently failing rather ungallantly in an attempt to find words to sooth the firebender.

"Did I not keep my word that the prisoners would not be killed," asked Sotaro.

"Yes, sir."

"Did my men not stand alongside yours to protect the women and children of this godforsaken city," he continued with biting strength.

"Yes, sir."

"Then why are they dead," he spat with vengeance.

The Captain attempted to maintain his composure as his features began to melt into a vaguely lost expression. He could not give Sotaro a straight answer. Sotaro was not one to take anything less pleasantly. He had nothing to do with the soot that stained the outer walls, the black stubby remnants of the trees beyond, or the silent deaths of several Fire Nation soldiers after the attack had been overrun. Although he was not sorry to see them go. The supposed peace brought by this Fire Nation Commander felt tenuous, cold. Strange for someone who loved the warmth of his element so much, who looked warily over his shoulder in the darkest night when he thought no one noticed.

As he attempted to come up with some sort of response, the Captain's attention was pulled towards the shuriken Sotaro had practically stabbed into the heavy wooden table. The blood on them could not hide the Earth Kingdom design. The same that decorated the flag that Sotaro had the great honor of taking down a second time. The original Fire Nation banner had yet to be tracked down, and putting up a new one had delayed first the morning salute, and then everything else. This did nothing to sooth Sotaro's frustration. He had real work to do, and some Earth Kingdom punks insisted on playing games with him . . . with the lives and livelihood of his men. And his rank.

"No one is to go off duty until the renegades are found. You will join the next sweeping party, which will return with either their heads or yours," commanded Sotaro.

Then, turning to his own officers, "Torches and watchfires are to be maintained at all times. Every corner of the city is to be lit. Bring me their leader alive. You may dispatch with the rest as you see fit."

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Character Portrait: Qin Huang Character Portrait: Sotaro Yuan
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The results of last nights activities were annoying. Those soldiers were patroling the streets more and it was becoming difficult to operate. They would need to get more supplies in the town soon. Qin was finishing up writing on a piece of parchment. "Sincerly The Wind's Shadow." He signed the paper before rolling/tying it up. It was a good day to perom his own little mission.

Qin was walking around the town gathering groceries, dressed as a local commoner. As he was buying some grain he caught sight of the old Earth Kingdom captain who was the new Fire Nation lap dog. He walked straight in front of the captain so that they would bump shoulders and Qin would lose balance, dropping his bag of grain. When they bumped he quickly and unnoticably stuffed the letter he had wrote earlier into the captain's pocket before he dropped the grain. "I'm sorry. Sorry. Didn't mean to get in the way. Here keep the bag." With that he scurried off acting fearful.

Two hours past Qin's encounter and he was in an alley watching others go by on the street. He was dressed as a beggar with his head down and face covered wtih a disguise. He was watching a patrol loop around the street for the third time that hour. One of the soldiers was distracted by a gold coin that Qin had set by the alley when the patrol was ten yards away, just enough to allow the sun reflect off the metal. The man that caught sight of the coin brought the other two in the patrol. When they entered the alley, distracted by the gold, Qin attacked. Striking at their pressure points in a flurry of blows they were rendered incapable of bending. Qin then continued to knock two of them out with more palm hits. The one who had been the first to be distracted was concious but in great pain. He grabbed the top of the man's head and whispered words into the man's ear. "The captain of Earth sends his reguards." Qin whispered.

Qin left the alley to go to another alleyway. Upon walking into the shadows he stripped off his beggar disguise to revert back to a commoner. He headed back to the grain store to buy another bag, smiling at what would happen to that traitor of a captain when they would put all the peices of the puzzle together.

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Character Portrait: Qin Huang Character Portrait: Sotaro Yuan
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Rong Shi's face visibly paled upon reading the note which had mysteriously appeared upon his person. This was quite a feat considering his usually tanned complexion and the full flask of hot sake he had just drowned at the local tavern.

"Captain," asked the young guard beside him, recruited from the city's ranks after so many of Shi's watchmen had been decimated.

"Nothing," said Rong shortly, ripping his eyes from the parchment. "Forgive my abruptness, I'll see you at the drill yard tomorrow. Don't be late."

With that, Rong Shi excused himself, and left the bar followed by a few curious stares from his men. Being older than many of the men he served with, his speech lacked some of the rough crudeness of the younger men. The last phrase held a sharpness to it that made up for any lack of strength he previous words suggested. Head of Watch was the highest rank a career officer could hope to achieve at Diamond Peak, and now his livelihood, his very life, was threatened.

Upon reaching his quarters, Rong's concern rose exponentially. Said Fire Nation flag was nowhere to be found. A simple earth bending motion moved the earthen components within the heavy wooden door to lock it. Releasing a deep breath, he controlled himself.

Maybe they haven't arrived yet. Yes, I'll take anyone who comes with the damned flag, and the bastard'll never have to know about the letter.

Within minutes, Rong Shi's hopes were dashed. Heavy pounding on his doors broke him from his meditation.

"Commander's orders, open up!"

Rong sighed heavily in exasperation at the sound of the muffled voices. As the pounding continued, he knew he couldn't deny the unwelcome visitors.

"Captain Shi," said Sotaro. "Forgive us for disturbing you. Your patrol report came up empty regarding the outlaws."

The firebender's expression was unreadable, and he wasted no time getting to business.

"But we did find the flag," he continued.

The soldier to his left presented the ragged flag, clearly tampered with since its disappearance.

Demonstrating at least some backbone, Captain Shi maintained his composure. Both knew where the flag was found, but only Rong knew that he had not betrayed the Fire Nation.

"Commander - " he began.

"Take him," ordered Sotaro.

The two benders beside him moved in unison to grab hold of Rong's arms. Once his hands were bound behind him, Sotaro sent him gasping with a solid punch to the solar plexus.

"I told you that there wouldn't be a second chance," he said with the same composed calmness as he searched Rong for weapons and removed the note. "Truly, I regret that it had to come to this, but treason is not taken lightly by my lord."

In the moment that it took Sotaro to read the Wind Shadow's note, his composed expression froze. Now he understood completely. No Shadow would take his city or threaten either his men or his chances at a promotion. To prove the point, he sent a fiery backhanded swing across Rong Shi's jaw.

"Long live the Fire Nation."

* * * * * * *

Within the hour, Sotaro inspected his soldiers' labors. Upon the executioner's platform that had been raised in the public square, Rong Shi knelt fully bound and gagged. Stripped of his rank and uniform, he bowed his head in shame as short flames burned around the perimeter of the square and fully uniformed, skull masked guards stood sentry at the four corners. He wore only dusty prisoner slacks, and the Earth Kingdom banner lay carelessly before him. The characters burned into the skin of his upper body read "Come and get it".

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Character Portrait: Qin Huang Character Portrait: Sotaro Yuan
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Qin was watching Rong Shi's execution from the crowd. He was looking at the burned letters in the traitor's skin. Glad almost that the man was punished but sad that a good soldier had to be wasted. Zhao was out making negotations with the Earth Kingom army. It was a deal over number of troops and the amount of aid that the Shadow Palms would recieve. For now the only thing for Qin to do was to wait for Rong Shi's head to roll on the ground.

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Character Portrait: Qin Huang Character Portrait: Sotaro Yuan
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The executioner was a heavily muscled trebuchet operator, chosen from Sotaro's ranks. He could have had one of the Earth Kingdom men do the job, but the possibility of any resentment against him personally at having to kill the old captain seemed a greater threat of any resentment against the Fire Nation in general for doing it. Rong Shi was a traitor, a criminal by martial law, and deserved his sentence. Perhaps the execution was excessive by usual standards, but Sotaro felt that the show was necessary to prove a point. Much of Diamond Peak had gathered, all of them commoners and miners. Nobility was scarce in this outlying city, and that had served to the conquering army's advantage.

Sotaro scanned the crowd, saw nothing out of the ordinary . . . yet. With the moment upon them, and the sun at its zenith, he stepped forward before the bowed victim. He appraised the disgraced man, himself in full uniform.

"Rong Shi, former Head Watchman of Diamond Peak," began Sotaro for all to hear. "For sabotage, theft, treason, and the killing of civilians, you are hereby sentenced to death by martial law. May Diamond Peak flourish safely in your wake."

The executioner lifted his razor-like scimitar. Rong Shi did not look up, and could not have said anything more in his defense if he had had the use of his lips. His set jaw did not waver, and neither did Sotaro's voice. With a silent hand motion, he signaled the executioner to bring down the blade. Only they two heard Rong Shi's last breath before his head came off in a spurt of blood. The four masked guards stepped heavily as if to march in place and used their spears to coax the fire behind them into tall, bright flames around the square. Without another word, Sotaro turned his back to the dead captain and walked out of the public eye as the head rolled behind him.

* * * * * * * *

Sotaro rested his right elbow on the low table before him as he closed his eye and rubbed his temples with thumb and forefingers. The meager bowl of rice and sake lay untouched before him. The sealed report lay before him. He considered how to best send the report so that at least one copy would reach the capitol. How many hawks and couriers? Which routes to use?

His thought was broken as a messenger gave three hard knocks on his door in quick succession. He didn't wait for a response before he burst in.

"Commander," he began hurriedly, slightly breathless. "The walls have been breached. Five are dead, and the bandits have infiltrated our lines."

The shift from administrator to fighter was instant, natural, as Sotaro reached for his light armor and stood.

"Where are they," he asked his lieutenant, following him into the waning light.

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Character Portrait: Qin Huang Character Portrait: Sotaro Yuan
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The walls were fairly easy to climb but it was once they were inside was when it became more difficult. That new captain really did kick the watch up a notch. Qin, Zhao, and Moa were seiging the outpost to get to the weapon caches. So far they killed five though more were either being injured or knocked out. They were swiftly moving to the armory and Zhao began to take some explosives out of his pack, Moa too.

Qin and his two friends got to the armory with little resistance. The only one who carried a significant weapon was Moa. He cut a limb off of two guards who opposed them coming down to the armory. They set up all the explosives up and ran outside where Zhao threw an explosive inside the armory. The explosion was large. No doubt the smoke mixed with the fire could be seen for miles. The message was clear. The group began to run for an exit out of the outpost.

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Character Portrait: Qin Huang Character Portrait: Sotaro Yuan
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The two men momentarily froze at the sound of an explosion somewhere near the town square.

"Those weren't tanks, were they," asked Sotaro, knowing that Lao wouldn't consider using such machines within Diamond Peak's walls.

"No," the lieutenant confirmed as a plume of debri filled smoke rose up behind him.

"Our men are to seal the city's perimeter. All available hands are to thoroughly search the city for insurgents, with orders to kill on sight. Everyone. No one is off duty. Then take any available unit and meet me there," commanded Sotaro, motioning towards the armory.

At this point, Sotaro would completely trust only his own men to ensure that at least the rebel leader didn't escape.

"Sir," affirmed Lao.

The two men broke, Sotaro following the smoky beacon. It reflected the city's many watchfires and torches in patches. How much had been damaged? Who were these rebels? Thus far, they had been silent to the point of frustration, yet devastating in their attack.

Time to show your face, coward.

His breath steady and deep, Sotaro wove through side streets and alleys to the epicenter of the attack. Even with the extra light he had ordered after the initial belated shipment fiasco, there were still a few flickering pockets of darkness.

Sotaro suspected that the mastermind behind this attack would want to see his work come to fruition, and knew that he had a better chance of running into the bastard without a small army in his wake. Alone, he was less threatening, but no less dangerous. Perhaps he would even seem vulnerable without the personal guard each commander had. Good.

Once he was within sight of the damaged building, Sotaro heard the painful groans through its open windows, unable to escape the thick rising smoke. Small pools of blood reflected the firelight, and three dark shadows moved silently against the darker shadow of night just beyond its reach.

Sotaro focused on them and almost growled. Instead, he used that anger to release his pent up energy and pick up a nearby flame and split it into two fiery balls around his palms and fingers as he stood with hands raised in a ready stance.

The three didn't speak as they moved, and Sotaro noted that one was armed as they approached. Once they were close enough, about to pass before him, Sotaro lit up the night as he sent a long flaming tongue with one hand to wrap itself in front of the armed man and return to the other. He only meant to cut the dark figure off at this point, but did not mind if it singed.

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Qin was a bit startled whem Moa was attacked by the flames. He attmepted to help before Zhao stopped him. Moa gave them a nudge with his head, face burned. The two ran to the gate where five guards were opposing them with fire bending. The two were more experienced than Moa so they were able to easily dodge the blasts to move in close. Within fifteen seconds the gaurds were knocked out, their bending would be stunned for hours. The gate was two feet from closing when Zhao slid out of the gate and Qin jumped in a horizontal manner. They ran off into the night to safety.

Moa was out numbered by the Fire Benders now and he knew his time has come to die. He looked up at the officer that attacked him. Staring into the man's eyes. "I am Moa. A shadow in the night but a beacon of hope in the day. Be on guard Fire Bender. I will not hold back!" With that he began to side step charge at the officer with one hand on his curved sword. Moa was ready to dodge any fire that his opponent may use against him. He was doomed, but that did not mean that he would die with out glory.

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The two men who escaped were obviously important enough to protect. Sotaro trusted that his men would follow his orders successfully and contain them for him to deal with later. At the moment, he focused on the bandit in front of him. Under different circumstances, he may have even laughed at the younger man's imputence. Now, having caught the elusive shadow bandits who had so relentlessly plotted against him at the expense of his regiment, he simply wanted to be rid of the plague. The fact that his - his - arsenal was burning behind him with injured inside was the last straw. There would be no mercy, no quarter asked or given.

Sotaro attempted to slow or completely halt the charge by bending the flames around his hands into fireballs and sending them at his attacker's feet. Then, taking a back step closer to one of the watchfires, he moved fluidly to pull a small portion of the flames behind him into his hands, and leaned forward while extending them to send a fiery whip towards Moa's middle. Maintaining his position, Sotaro kept up the steady burst of flame for as long as he could.

Lacking arms of his own, he depended on his bending and hand-to-hand combat skills in battle. That meant either ranged attacks or close quarters combat. Nothing in between, like this man with a sword.

That's why he must die.

"Captain Yuan," said Sotaro harshly, stating his own name. "You may die with the honor of having made introductions, though a brigand like you doesn't deserve it."

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Character Portrait: Qin Huang Character Portrait: Sotaro Yuan
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Qin and Zhao dodged between alleyways of the town as they escaped the outpost. Bodies of firebenders and Earth Kingdom peasants alike were spilling blood onto the ground. There had been a revolt in the town over the death of Rong Shi that the Shadow Palms had backed. When the soldiers in the town tried to retreat back to the outpost when the townspeople ambushed them in every crevise of the city. The two Shadow Palms continued to run through the town until they reached the stable. They would have to ride out ten miles out off of the mines to reach the Earth Kingdom camp. It was time to prepare the counterattack.

Moa had always been the least skilled out of the Shadow Palms. That factor was obvious through his dependency on an actual weapon. He usually served as a scout which was the only reason we was on this mission. They needed somebody to track patrols and to serve as a pair of eyes. He had never thought that he would have to fight.

The fire an easy thing to dodge for those who were skilled at Chi Blocking. Only Moa was not a skilled person. His feet were hit a bit and as he attempted to parry his side was severly burned. He knew he was not going to kill the captain but hopefully he could at least scratch the man. When he got close enough Moa used a skilled slash with his sword at the man's jugular vein, hoping it would hit.

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Sotaro smirked as his fire burned his opponent. He had to commend Moa’s courage. Although he was not a man who took great joy in killing or disfiguring his enemies, these . . . Shadow Palms had provoked him so thoroughly that he liked to know that he could touch them. Could they not see that he was only trying to bring order to Diamond Peak, that no one had to die needlessly? It was a pointless question now.

Having little to no space into which to step back, Sotaro attempted to dodge the sharpened steel coming at his throat by bending to the side and bringing up his forearm to deflect the blow. It was his injured arm, and pain seared through his body when armor met handle. He was not able to avoid the blade altogether, but kept his life with only a cut from lower jaw to upper cheek. It was on his blind side, and this angered him more than if it had been on the other. He scowled as the wound bled freely, the sweat from heat and exertion making it sting.

Swinging left, away from the fire, Sotaro brought some of it with him. Part of the fire bent around his waist like a belt and swept forward towards the Shadow Palm. This was a move meant to push his opponent back and cripple. Then would come the final blow.

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Qin was speaking to Captain Ho Ming of the Earth Kingdom army. He had six hundred well armed infantry who were mobilizing to attack the next night at midnight. With the Shadow Palms commanding the troops they would be able to take out the outpost, therefore taking the town by force. The casualties during the attack was thought to be any where from thirty to fifty but that was only due to the mere numbers. Also because Earthbenders carred nothing about walls. They could be nocked down, stepped over, or simply walked through. When midnight struck tomarrow the Earth Kingdom flag would once again reign over the town of Diamond Peak.

Moa was no match for the Fire Nation captain. The man nocked Moa back on his ass, spraning his ankle in the process. He thought of his time with the others. He thought of his parents being killed by the Fire Nation during their invasion. Swelling with anger he stood up, taking off his thick cotton shirt that was slighty burnt as that was a special waxed shirt though he felt all the heat. Underneath he wore a vest of bombs. Had always thought that he would die by his own inventions than by the hands of an enemy. With one final attempt he charge at his enemy, ready for one last swing.

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Sotaro was moving in for the kill when the bandit stripped his singed shirt to reveal a vest of explosives. He halted his lethal kick immediately, and stepped back into a low defensive crouch with his good side facing the suicide bomber.

Close quarters combat was now out of the question if he expected to live, and aside from the last minute surprise, this fanatical youth was an entirely unworthy opponent. Nothing but a distraction to give the others time to do further damage.

Sotaro knew that he had moments before Moa selflessly collided with him. With a solid kick towards the bandit's knees, Sotaro landed as far back as he could. His timing had been true, and he sent a solid burst of flames at Moa's armed body. The explosion was bloody and fiery in equal measures.

Breathing somewhat deeply in the hot air, Sotaro brought his hand to his own wound. The bloody rivulets soaked his fingers and ran down his palm. Although he took no particular joy in killing, he could not say he was sorry to see this particular enemy fallen.

"Let the leader reckon with me himself," he muttered.

His backup arrived as the remnants Moa's body burned at Sotaro's feet.

"Search the building for survivors," Sotaro commanded without any comment regarding the fight. "We need to contain the fire."

There was still a column of black-gray smoke billowing from the arsenal, and where there was smoke, there was fire. And Sotaro was tired of smoke and shadows. He was determined to wipe out the Shadow Palm threat with whatever it took.

* * * * * * * *

Night fell once more. Sotaro had sent a black ribbon messenger hawk at dawn with a preliminary report of what had happened, and a request for more arms and men and two stealth units. He did not expect to get it all, but hoped that enough would be sent to work with.

It turned out that the infiltration had provided just the right amount of chaos for a full revolt against the "murder" of the late Earth Kingdom captain. Yes, Sotaro was a killer by necessity, but he was not a cold-blooded murderer.

He had spent the day attempting to rebuild the city and his reputation among the exponentially growing and vocal rebel group. The latter proved much more difficult than the former. Sotaro could practically feel his success slipping away, into the depths of the earth.

He was finally turning in for the night when the Fire Nation Head Watchman intercepted him.

"Captain . . . Commander," he saluted.

"Otero," Sotaro acknowledged the man warily.

"Our wall garrison has spotted approaching forces from the east and west."

Sotaro knew that it was too early for home reinforcements to arrive.

"Under what banner," he asked.

"We can't tell from this far. But . . ."

Sotaro understood the implications. With a curt nod, he turned his back on his empty bed and followed the watchman.

"Curse the damned Shadows," Sotaro muttered.

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Qin was commanding the main force of one hundred men. The town had been taken by Snow's force of one hundred and fifty. Now the remainder of the army, four hundred and fifty, were besieging the outpost. As the Fire benders shot fire from the sky the Earth benders bent walls up for cover. More came up using their bending to rip open walls, use pillars to fly over high, and summoning stairs to storm through the walls. The clash began. Though many Earth Kingdom soldiers were beginning to die it seemed much more tragic for the Fire Nation who were against severe odds.

Qin took down three soldiers with his Chi blocking but it was hard to find Red colors in the crowds of soldiers. Alll he saw was green. He continued a search to find the Fire Nation Captain who would be fought in an honorable duel.