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Li Kazuo

"Come on! Use your fire! Splash me with your water! Blow at me with your air! Throw your rocks at me! I love it!"

0 · 90 views · located in Avatar Universe

a character in “Undone”, as played by Zentose

Description

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BASIC

- Full Name: Li Kazuo

- Age: 23

- Gender: Male

- Role: Supporting Earth Bender

- Primary Element: Earth

- Secondary Element: Metal



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APPEARANCE

- Hair and Eyes: Li's hair, something he hates, is thick, black, and beautiful. It's luscious and shines no matter what happens to it, it is resilient, radiant, and women would kill to have it themselves. It reaches down a good 30 centimeters down to the upper echelons of his spine, he prefers it shorter than this, but whenever he cuts it, it just starts to grow even faster... However, there is one small strand that he braids, it currently reaches down to his butt, he cuts it off every time he loses in a fight. Li's eyes are a dark, unfaltering, amber, they pierce into the minds of those his gaze strikes, causing women to swoon and men to become angry.

- Complexion/Facial Structure: Li's complexion is another thing he hates, it is a beautiful ivory color, silky smooth on his entire body, no matter what he does it remains as such. The few blemishes on him are two scars, one large one encompassing his left body, from when his arm was cut off, and the other reaching from directly below his left eye to the top of his left collar bone. His face is very smooth, and well rounded, his features are not very defined, each flowing smoothly into the next, like a sharp knife through warm butter. Most people would think he spends time to make his skin and face look as wonderful as they do, but(much to Li's dismay) they just are like that...

Height and Weight: 5' 9'' (179.26cm) | 138 lbs. (62.95kg)Image

- Body Type: He has very feminine curves, which got him a lot of mockery as a child, and his entire body type is in and of itself, very feminine. His waist is small, which makes him very mobile in a fight, and his arm and legs are muscular however. His over-all frame is a bit small, but what he lacks in brute strength, he makes up for in mobility.

PERSONAL INFORMATION

- Likes: His favorite thing in the whole world, is sex. He loves sex, and hates working for it, so he spends almost all his money on prostitutes. This stems from a very large internal inferiority complex and needing the recognition and love, even if it's fake, of a woman as she unfolds... He also likes drugs, he never combines this with his favorite thing, but he still uses them every once in awhile. He mainly uses cactus juice, just a little, causing him to hallucinate and forget his life for a few hours. He also loves animals, for they were the only nice thing in a childhood of pure misery. The only other thing he really likes, is fighting. He loves the adrenaline rush from fighting a worthy opponent, the smell of battle, and the feeling of dispatching those that dare think themselves worthy to fight him...

- Dislikes: Li hates many things, but the most prevalent thing is being touched by men. This stems from his awful childhood, and being raped by his uncle and his drunk friends repeatedly after his parents died. If a man touches him outside of battle, Li will begin to hyperventilate, then attack the man, ignoring everything around him until the man apologizes or passes out. He also hates rapists, for obvious reasons, and parents who are mean to their children, he has punched parents(father AND mother) that yelled at their children before. He also despises people who waste food, for when he was with his uncle, he would be starved for days on end for his amusement.

- Quote: "I wouldn't recommend sex, drugs or insanity to everyone, but they've always worked for me." - Hunter S. Thompson

- Theme song: Lilium - Noma Kumiko

- Potential Interest: Anything female that moves at the moment

- Other: Li lost his arm at the age of 12, when he tried to kill his uncle, after 8 years in his "care." His uncle didn't like the idea of Li trying it again, so he cut off his left hand. It got infected so his uncle cut off the whole arm, making sure to clean it, and dress it regularly, in-between other things of course. After two more years in his care, Li killed his uncle by bludgeoning him to death with earth bending for eight hours straight.

- Personality: The psyche of Li Kazuo is a myriad of broken, depressing, fragmented misery and ecstasy. The most undying memories of torture and rape and burning insides linger within him, causing him to be detached, miserable, and a bit sadistic. The years of undying torture cause him to never linger with people, never staying in a single town for long, and never getting to know anyone, fearing that they will cause similar pain onto him. He has a deep seeded survival instinct, being forced to not scream while being subject to immense torment under fear of greater, prolonged pain. He never had time to harbor ill will or gratitude towards a specific type of person(other than hatred towards men and bad parents), so he is completely indifferent towards women(even in bed) or anything of that nature(race, class, etc.). Li has a huge inferiority complex, stemming from the power his uncle had over him(even beating him to death slowly didn't alleviate the baggage), he never thinks he's good enough for love, or position, or respect, so he constantly tries to prove his worth. He has sex with as many prostitutes as he can, making them call themselves weak and under his power and control, and he gets into fights as much as he can as well, mocking the enemy as he beats them down, slowly, enjoying the praise and superiority, before it flees from his body, leaving his an empty, self-hating husk once more...


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ANIMAL GUIDE
- Name: Hayate, meaning smooth, Li has no idea why, he just liked the sound of it
- Type: Raven Eagle

So begins...

Li Kazuo's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Li Kazuo

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#, as written by Zentose
Blackness...

It was all that could be seen... Looking around the darkness, what was there? Nothing but that... darkness... The cold, dark, dank, despondent darkness.... it greeted him as it's child... A feeling spread over his soul, but it was then greeted by the all too familiar voice of that man... his words could not be heard, all that was felt was the burning, ripping feeling in his left arm... screaming only caused the pain to increase... screaming was only a doorway to more pain... screaming...

Li woke up quickly, breathing heavily and sweating through the rough cotton sheets, he placed his hand on his face and wiped away some of the sweat, looking around the small room he was in, he remembered what exactly had happened the night before, he saw a very beautiful woman next to him, lying on her stomach over the sheets, naked, she had clear ivory skin and black hair that was thrown into disarray from the night before. Next to the bed was an old wooden bedside table, on top of it were two empty bottles of cactus juice, taken by him and the whore beside him the night before. He heard a giggle from beside him, but when he looked over she was still asleep. He slid out of the cheap bed and slowly put his clothes back on, always a challenge with only one arm, but he had perfected the art. He walked to the other side of the bed with the money for the night before, he slapped her in the butt hard, making her jolt awake.

"Oh, it's just you baby," she said, smiling and rolling over, revealing her full glory to him.

"Here," he said in a monotone, dethatched, voice, handing her a few pieces of silver.

"Are you sure ya' don't want another round?" she inquired, grabbing the money and sliding out of the bed, moving to her clothes.

Li scoffed and said, "No, I'm fine..."

"Well, see ya' baby, if you're ever in town again I'd be glad to hook up with ya'!" she said in a very unconvincing tone whilst putting on a red silk kimono(and nothing else).

Li grabbed his katana and slipped it into its rightful place in his belt, he never felt right without it, he beckoned to the whore, 'goodbye,' and took his leave. He left the small room into a hallway in the second floor of an Inn, it was less than a meter wide and relatively uncluttered. There was a very large man at the end of the hall, obviously the enforcer of the brothel, he was about 6' 3'', with broad shoulders and a large spherical, shaved, head, he was wearing a traditional robe and had a large sword strapped to his belt. Li started to move towards the door, when he got there and tried to walk past the man, He grabbed Li's arm and said, "You pay?" in a soft, yet forceful, tone.

Thoughts swelled Li's mind as he began to hyperventilate... He saw bits of memories, while thinking dozens of thoughts at once, he saw flashes of his miserable life and the thoughts just grew more and more inside his head until everything was replaced by one though...

KILL...

Through gasps of breath Li said, "Don't touch me..." before kneeing the man in the testicles(because honor means nothing to him) and pushing him through the doorway, off of a railing and onto the first floor, crashing through a table. Li jumped off the floor and crashed into the man's stomach. He then shot a rock through the floorboards and grabbed it, it was sturdy, and had many jagged corners. He lifted it above his head and started to bring it down swiftly as the man screamed and said, "I'm sorry!"

Li stopped and dropped the rock, he got up and walked over to the bar. The bartender had ran to the enforcer, who was unable to move. Li grabbed a bottle of sake from behind the bar and as he was leaving, caught a glimpse of the man on the ground, apparently his leg had broken when he fell. Sucks to be him, Li thought, taking a large drink from the bottle and walking out the door.

As he walked through the empty town, many people were gathered around a courier who was giving a message. Li moved closer and heard that the Air Temples were under attack by the Fire nation. Li looked north and thought, The northern air temple is no more than ten miles from here... Might as well go check it out, maybe they didn't loot all the bodies... Li had no real job, so looting an ancient air temple seemed pretty lucrative to him.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Li Kazuo

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#, as written by Zentose
Li casually made his way towards the air temple, realizing that the fighting was still going on, it would have been best if he DIDN'T die whilst looting the dead... He was making his way through a cold forest, it was far north and the temperatures could reach fairly low, but Li's clothes protected him from the cold, relatively. When he moved out of the forest, he saw a flying bison crashing into a large field, it was covered in arrows and loaded with multiple air nomads. The Air nomads were screaming and attempting to get away from the Bison as a large iron tank ,with a few soldiers riding on top of it, roared towards them... Li sighed as he continued to walk in the same direction, which just happened to be the direction the tanks were coming from. The nomads ran past him yelling, "RUN!"

The tank was about ten meters away from him when he heard one of the soldiers yell, "Run 'im over!"

Li sighed again, then grinned, pushing his hand backwards, preparing for the tank, the moment it was within range, he slammed his fist into it, stopping it and ripping the entire front plating off, the metal formed a spike that traveled inwards, impaling the driver and gunner of the tank. he ripped his hand out of the tank, taking the front plate and blood soaked spike with him, enveloping his arm with it. The soldiers jumped off the tank and prepared their weapons, one said, "Wh-what the hell are you?"

Li grinned before lifting his arm at the man and firing the metal spike through his chest, he then responded, "What do you think?"

Li brought the metal back to his arm as one of the soldiers swung his sword at him, Li lifted his arm and blocked the blade with the metal, before bending the sword itself and causing it to bend backwards and stab the man in the throat. The one remaining soldier was sweating heavily, when Li looked at him, he dropped his weapon and ran away screaming. The metal fell off of Li's arm clanging on the frozen ground. He looked back at the forest where the air nomads ran, they were all starring at him from the forest, them were all children... When Li noticed them, they ran off into the trees, disappearing. Li heard a cough from the bison, he moved over and saw a man with an arrow through his chest, he was coughing up blood and his leg was trapped under the weight of the bison, most likely broken.

He looked up at Li, smiled and said through a veil of coughs, "I thank you for saving the children, I can rest easy now..."

"I didn't do it out of the goodness of my heart, those Fire Nation troops were in my way... Now that you seem to be dying, mind telling me something?" Li inquired, crouching near the man.

"Anything..."

"Is there anything of value in the temple?"

"V-value?"

"Yeah, something worth pillaging the temple for..."

"You... heartless bastard..."

"Yeah, yeah, heard it all before, I saved those kids though, I could always undo that favor, but then who's the heartless bastard?"

"There... there's a vault... but only an air bender can get in..."

"I can always work around that, thank you and goodbye!"

Li stood up as the man cursed him some more, Li continued on towards the temple, it was only a few miles away by then...

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Li Kazuo Character Portrait: Lian Xing

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#, as written by Zentose
Li continued on to the temple, minding his own business as a few Earth Kingdom soldiers ran past him, probably retreating from the "massacre." They almost all ignored him, until one straggler said to him, "I don't think you want to go that way sir. Its... the Temple's burning."

Li looked down at her, she was a good 6 inches shorter than him, maybe a little more, and wearing military clothes. Li didn't like the military, always so noble and all, which in Li's mind was a complete lie. He shook this off and paid close attention to her features instead of her uniform, looking at her for a good while before saying anything, Li was able to distinguish her as not his type, at all. She looked of noble birth, which he didn't mind usually, but nobles were so stingy when it came to who they slept with, plus she was in the military, and military girls are too assertive in bed for Li's taste. Plus she seemed like she would break in half if he got too rough, so Li decided against making a move (he decides whether or not to try with every girl he meets). He looked her in the eyes and said, "After a battle the temple will be a veritable garden of-" he was about to say bodies to loot, but then remembered she was with the military and said, "Art! Yes, art. I figure that once they leave it would be best for me to collect the art so it doesn't rot away or break or get stolen when... looters.... come, which we all know they will." He smiled a bit, hoping that the girl would believe his story, he then said, "Is the fighting dying down any? I already got attacked on my way here by some sort of mobile iron... thing... I have never seen anything like it..."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kira Amori Character Portrait: Sotaro Yuan Character Portrait: Li Kazuo Character Portrait: Lian Xing

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Kira Amori

For a while, Kira had simply watched the exchange between the two women. His muscles tightened, coiled and ready to spring, when the firebender took hold of Li, but based on the remainder of the exchange, it didn’t seem she would attack. That this was the time when the woman would grow a conscience struck him as almost entirely useless, but he supposed late was still better than never.

He shifted, movements carrying him from his reclining position into a crouch smoothly and silently. He was going to hop to the ground and make himself known, perhaps as insurance that the Fire Nation woman would make good on her promise, but he was interrupted by the sound of a body colliding with his tree. The solid thunk of armor indicated that the personage was most likely a soldier. Her turned abruptly, contorting around himself with all the ease of a professional acrobat in order to remain balanced on the branch.

The movement also dislodged a bit more blood from his wound though, and he watched with a sort of disinterested apathy as it hit the other man’s shoulder, running down the indents in his armor as though they were channels through which cut a stream, flowing its natural course down to the ocean. A perfect example of the cyclical nature of all things, and were it not so utterly macabre, perhaps a monk would have used it to drive the point home in his head. From whence we come, so too shall we return.

The monk that had told him that had returned perhaps earlier than he’d been expecting, and even now he was probably naught but dust in the wind. It was an ironic truth, that cremation was the preferred method of sending off Air Nomad dead. Without meaning to, the Fire Nation had done them the smallest of courtesies amidst the most egregious of sins.

Kira watched with disinterested eyes as another man joined the first, this one uninjured. His uniform indicated that he bore a rank equivalent to the man the enraged airbender had killed. Kira’s left hand left the branch, curling into that awful clawed shape that he’d used to remove the air from so many lungs and suffocate an entire platoon of firebenders, but the man chose that moment to look up, and for some reason, this caused him to pause.

He seemed fairly young to be a captain, though the patch over one eye indicated he knew what it was like to take some damage and keep on going. A brief thought flashed over Kira’s mind: why was it that men like that, who’d suffered for a Lord who couldn’t care less about them, followed his orders all the same? That musing bore out in another speculation, and an idea coalesced half-formed into his consciousness. It was perhaps reckless, perhaps stupid, and perhaps it would get him killed, but his life was forfeit anyway.

Beneath his mask, Kira’s lips quirked into a mirthless smile, and he narrowed his eyes at the man below him. “Congratulations, firebender,” he spat the last word as though it were an oath of the filthiest kind. “You and your army have successfully destroyed almost an entire nation’s worth of peaceful, helpless Air Nomads. Monks and children. I hope your victory brings you some kind of satisfaction, because it will surely bring you war.” There was no way the Earth kingdom would take this aggression lightly, and the Water Tribes weren’t likely to look upon it kindly either.

He tilted his head in one direction until his neck cracked, then repeated the same with the other side. “Of course, if you really want to be thorough about it, you have yet one more to kill. So. We can do this two ways, firebender, and I’ll let you choose. One, you can strike me down with exactly as much honor as you showed my kin, and I’ll just sit here and let it happen. Two, we can decide this with the honor I’d always thought the Fire Nation possessed, and actually fight it out. Of course, I’m an injured man, but I am not a pacifist.” Not anymore.

Either way, Li and that other woman would be able to get away without this man noticing, and considering how close by they were, that was probably going to be of considerable assistance.


Lian Xing

Lian was used to being stared at; it sort of happened to you when you were the daughter of one of the most prominent families in Ba Sing Se. Everyone always wanted to know what you were wearing, how you were acting, who you were speaking to. More than anything, they always wanted to see you mess something up, make some fault in decorum so that they could look at you with mock sympathy and gossip about you to everyone else. She was not in the habit of giving people things to talk about, and so it was often the case that they simply chose to make things up.

So the scrutiny itself was not unusual, though something about it was different in a way she could not place. Either way, she reacted in much the same way she always did: her spine straightened so that she looked all of her meager height, and she held her chin a bit higher in the air, refusing to be looked down upon even if it was literally a necessity. She kept her eyes focused on a spot just over the stranger’s left shoulder; the absence of eye contact meant she didn’t have to know if she was being judged negatively in some way. Like it or not, other people’s opinions tended to matter to her, and so she chose to stay ignorant of them whenever possible.

She was also used to being treated as though she was stupid. There was nothing unusual in that; no matter the level of her actual education, she was still not considered smart enough for this or that, or at the very best, it was given that her book knowledge was good enough but said in the same breath that she lacked more “practical” kinds of knowledge that were of course more important.

As much as that was true, she was quite certain she’d never quite been taken for a fool before, and that was exactly what this man was trying to do. She entertained the notion of being very offended and telling him off for thinking he could lie so feebly about his purpose, but in the end, she wasn’t really that upset about it. While she knew that he wasn’t going to collect art or anything of the sort, she had no idea what his real goal was. Looting never crossed her mind as an option, and in this perhaps her critics were right, at least somewhat.

As it turned out, she found herself slightly concerned for his heath. “A mobile iron… you ran into a Fire Nation tank?” Her question was soft, but the inflection unmistakable. She knew a fair bit more than the average person about the foreign country’s military, one of the many benefits of a childhood friendship with the son of an allied military family, but this story seemed almost too much to believe. Clearly, this man had a predilection for getting himself into unnecessary amounts of danger.

“Um… okay. You know what? I’m not really sure how far the withdrawal has gotten yet, so I’ll come with you and help you retrieve the art.” She smiled up at him, not giving away that she hadn’t at all been fooled by his excuse. Whatever he was doing here, it probably wasn’t wise to do it alone, and she was enough of a bleeding heart that she wasn’t about to let anyone try. She was also surprisingly stubborn when she wanted to be, and she wasn’t going to take no for an answer.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Li Kazuo Character Portrait: Lian Xing

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#, as written by Zentose
Li listened to the woman, noticing her eyes tarry to his missing arm on a few occasions, he hated when people did this, yet it happened in nearly every conversation, he never really knew the best way to handle it, he's yelled at people before, spoken plainly to them, or even hit them, but they always continue to stare, so he just ignores their piercing eyes, this time was no different. He let her finish with her offer to join him before talking. She smiled at him and Li returned it with a bit of a monotonous scowl. He looked backward, thinking about the mobile iron thing, apparently called a tank before saying, "A tank huh? Surprisingly weak, you guys should have no problem combating those... The Iron was just too thick, it makes it slow and just a downright easy target for earth attacks..." He actually had no idea if this was the case, seeing as he bended the metal itself, but he thought it sounded right, hopefully this girl hadn't come into contact with them to question his statement.

Li then said in a less forceful tone, "And I would much prefer it if you didn't come, I really wouldn't want to burden you, or to bring a noble woman into harm's way," he leaned in closer and whispered, "It's obvious by the way," before returning to his previous position and saying, "So if you wouldn't mind it would be a great boon to my conscience in you just stayed with your ground of thugs... I mean... soldiers..."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kira Amori Character Portrait: Sotaro Yuan Character Portrait: Li Kazuo Character Portrait: Lian Xing

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Kira Amori

A dead-eyed stare watched the branch burn; he had to admit he was almost curious as to whether or not the man could or would burn the whole thing with him on it. That would seem to suggest that despite his honor-laden words, he was going with the first option, since Kira had made absolutely no move to attack, and wouldn’t unless told that’s what they were going to do.

With a jump, he caught onto the next branch and pulled himself up onto it seamlessly, glancing back down at the smoldering stump where his previous perch had been. His guess was that this man’s prowess lay in precise control rather than brute strength, and he was almost envious of that. Regarding the one-eyed man from his new perch, he actually laughed, a mirthless sound that rang hollow even in his own ears. It was a sound that a man made because he could not bring himself to sob like the wretch he was, and so instead he spat defiance at the world like firebenders spat flames at his life.

“So you won’t kill for the sake of killing, but you’ll slaughter hundreds of innocents for the whims of a power-crazed fanatic? If that is honor, I shall gladly consider myself without it.” He cocked his head, a curiously birdlike gesture, and absently his hands tightened and loosened on the bark beneath his fingers. Could he take this man in a fight? Maybe, maybe not. Their strengths likely lie in very different places, but admittedly the soldier had the benefit of more combat experience. Kira’s own extended to friendly matches and what had happened today. That particular feral rage was something he had no desire to call on again.

Part of him, though, longed for retribution, and deeper than that, he wished to understand. This man spoke of honor and duty as though their tenets were obvious, but try as he might, the airbender could see neither in the act that had just been committed. “Tell me true, Captain. Will you really be able to sleep well tonight, knowing what you’ve just done? Can you really tell me that their faces, their charred bodies, the children who died before they could live… can you really tell me that this is worth whatever satisfaction you get from behaving with honor as duty binds you?” Despite the phrasing, the question was voiced with genuine curiosity, as though the asker was trying to figure something out.

Just what that something was, even Kira himself could not say. It was something painted across his vision when his eyes closed, traced in smoky lines and filled in with ichor, a bloody canvas that made no sense to him, and he was asking an artist of this twisted macabre piece to explain it to him somehow, to name it, perhaps. All he really wanted was to wake up and discover that all of it was some kind of twisted dream, that the monks were alive and teaching the children to read, the sounds of a chorus of voices reciting rote poetry like the sweetest music in the world. He wanted to imagine that the young woman he’d been sweet on for a couple of months was still alive and smiling that infectious smile when dropped in to visit her and the others, always amused by his tendency to climb in through windows rather than use doors like a normal person did. He wanted to realize that it was nothing, that the occasional visitor from the Earth Kingdom was the sole cause for the use of the word ‘stranger’ and that eventually even they were no longer stranger, but friends.

But he was certain he wouldn’t wake to find these things, and that certainty made him sick with dread and bitterness.



Lian Xing


Aha, so he was an Earthbender then. She’d suspected as much, but now she knew for certain. She wasn’t sure she believed him about the tanks, though; she’d never tried to use Earthbending against one, but it seemed more likely to her that this man could metalbend as well. She did not react visibly to this information, though her smile did drop into a frown at his next words.

“Obvious it may be,” she replied calmly, trying not to lean backwards when he got closer than was strictly polite, “but I assure you I am nothing too delicate for danger.” Everyone always did that; underestimated her because of where she came from. It made no difference that her family’s heritage was a military one either: she was a woman, and she was small, so she must also be weak. The logic made no sense, but she was forever victim to it.

The last statement drew her smile back out. Ah, so that was the problem. This man didn’t like the military. “Well, it’s too late for that,” she pointed out pragmatically. “The vanguard has doubtless left me behind by now. They didn’t like me much either.” Lian shrugged nonchalantly. It had hurt, actually, that even after training, they’d thought her far too fragile for the kind of work they did, but she’d learned quite some time ago how not to show it.

“Well, I guess I can’t force you to let me help you,” she continued, and an almost-playful gleam entered her eyes. Almost, because she was still far too shaken by what she’d seen to manage actual happiness, but it was a reasonable facsimile. “But then, I suppose you can’t stop me from venturing to the temple by myself, to save whatever or whomever I can, so I guess that just means we’re two strangers, heading in the same direction.” She nodded sagely, then turned on her heel. “We can avoid most of the retreating troops this way, as it happens.”

With that, she struck off for the Temple, knowing that whether he chose to follow or not, they’d eventually end up in the same place. If he was smart, he’d follow, though; she’d already been this way, and knew how to avoid any trouble on the way.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Li Kazuo Character Portrait: Lian Xing

0.00 INK

#, as written by Zentose
Li sighed, realizing the hopelessness of trying to get her to leave, hopefully he could explain his looting away, if not he could always knock her out and leave her for any looters after him, she seemed small enough for that to work... he moved quickly to her side, following her, not speaking for a time, trying to passively express his displeasure at her being there...

He gave up on this approach and asked, "So what's a noblewoman doing with these thugs... sorry again, slip of the tongue, soldiers..." He wasn't usually this much of an ass, but he really didn't want her near his business, he needed to eat, and this seemed a better idea than robbing the living... He had tried this in the past, but it got much too messy, there was a greater chance of capture, greater chance of murder, and a greater risk altogether, he didn't like risks, which seems ironic seeing as he was going into a warzone to loot the dead rather than waiting a few weeks until he was 100% sure there were no soldiers there, but to him, killing a few Fire Nation soldiers wasn't much of a risk compared to becoming infamous...

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kira Amori Character Portrait: Sotaro Yuan Character Portrait: Li Kazuo Character Portrait: Lian Xing

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Kira Amori

“I’ll let you know in the morning.” Were this any other situation, they any other two people, Kira would have chuckled, decided the man was all right, and offered to buy him a drink or something. Unfortunately, the person he was staring down was not some random stranger, to be met casually on the street and spoken to idly. He was one of a great number of people directly responsible for the mass genocide of Kira’s people, including those few folk who’d comprised the closest thing the Airbender had ever had to a family.

The soldier looked away then, ostensibly to check on his companion, but Kira did not miss the fact that his other questions had gone unanswered. Underneath his mask, he sighed quietly. It disturbed him, the revelation that in some other time and place, they might have been acquaintances. Extending the logic, they might have been friends.

This was also true of every single man he’d killed today. And all of the men, women, and children this soldier killed as well. A death was a death, regardless of motive, and he wondered if killing in defense was really so different from killing by order of a liege lord. The answer was not an immediate ‘yes,’ and in that moment, his anger dissipated, replaced by only an aching hollowness that he could not describe.

Kira seemed to visibly slump where he was perched, the day’s fatigue catching up with him, the revelation that he himself was a killer once again etched fresh across his thoughts. Maybe someday, he’d find the difference, the thing that made him different enough from this man and those like him, but today he simply couldn’t see it. Eyes open or closed, all he saw was unnecessary death. Any death that resulted from this encounter, his own or the Firebender’s, would be exactly the same in this respect.

“Go home, Firebender,” he said slowly, tone laced with resignation. “I will not fight you today, nor will I throw myself on your pyres. Go back to your family and friends, and keep them close. I wish I had.”

With that, Kira ran, using his Airbending to propel himself from tree to tree fast enough that he would make a difficult target. In the branches of an ash, he retrieved both his glider-staff and a trilling red dragonling that seemed inclined to follow him, taking to the skies with more lightness than his heavy heart would lead him to believe.

Lian Xing

She could nearly sense the displeasure rolling off the man in waves, but she didn’t much mind it. He was following, and that was really all that mattered. Loath as she would be to admit the weakness, she could not deny that any company, even the sullen kind, was better than none at all. Perhaps one of Lian’s best qualities was her forgiving, tolerant nature. Abrasive people simply didn’t bother her the way they bothered others, and it took a great deal more than a few harsh words and scowls to work one’s way underneath her skin.

His question was fair, and she considered it for a moment. “Well,” she said at last, “I suppose you could say I’m trying to carry on a family legacy. It’s not working out terribly well, as I’m sure anyone but me could have guessed.” Her smile, still gracious, held more than a touch of melancholy to it. “My first assignment with the vanguard, and this is what I find. If that isn’t a hint that I belong elsewhere, I don’t know what is.” She shook her head slowly, but abruptly fell silent when she heard the telltale snap of a twig beneath a booted foot.

Her eyes went wide, and Lian ducked behind the nearest tree, gesturing for her unwilling companion to do the same. What was this? All of the troops had been departing when she first came this way. Unless… the thought that this lot was some kind of raiding party or rear guard struck her then, and she quelled the desire to say some very unladylike things about her luck.

Oblivious to her presence, the platoon continued forward, and she moved around the tree, trying to stay out of their line of sight. Unfortunately, perhaps, there were enough of them that even as she moved to avoid the peripheral vision of the front rank, she put herself in view of the last man in line. It took him a second to register what he was seeing, and in that time, she debated what to do. She could run, and probably get away, but to her mind, that entailed abandoning her temporary comrade, and she wasn’t about to do that. That left her with few options, and so she chose to step from cover. With luck, they would think she was alone.

“Oi, what have we got here?” The man’s tone grew more aggressive when he recognized her modified Earth Kingdom Vanguard uniform. Lian swallowed, but looked straight ahead, refusing to give away the other Earthbender’s position with a wayward glance.

“Peace, sir. I am a stranger in these lands, as you.” Part of her wanted to yell at him, at all of them, or imprison them all in columns of stone, but this was an entire platoon of war-hardened veterans, by the look of it, and if the bright red sashes were anything to go by, she’d had the misfortune to hit a specialized Firebender-only unit. Fortune really didn’t like her much today; she simply hoped that they’d dismiss her as unimportant and move along.

Not likely, as it turned out. “Earth Kingdom, huh? I don’t know what in the name of Sozin you’re doing here, girl, but you’re not going to leave just to take news of this to that king of yours. By authority of the Fire Nation, I’m placing you under arrest.”

Oh, lovely. This was exactly what she hoped wouldn’t happen. Her chances were poor, but she’d heard some pretty awful things about Fire Nation prisons, and she couldn’t risk it if it were possible to avoid.

Setting her mouth in a grim line, Lian shifted, using her bending to send a tremor through the ground, hoping to knock a most of the men over so she could run. It worked on a few, but two more sent fire at her, and she gestured upwards sharply, pulling up a wall of earth to protect herself. Okay, so much for that plan. Now what?

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Li Kazuo Character Portrait: Lian Xing

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#, as written by Zentose
The Fire Nation was prevalent in the area, that was for damned sure, and they were close, too close. Li was behind a bush even before the woman beckoned him to follow her into hiding. He watched the woman, closer to the men than he was, before noticing that someone had spotted her, she had a clear time to run, yet didn't. What the hell is she doing? Li thought to himself, watching the scene transpire silently. He watched as she tried to weasel her way out with talking, obviously a bad idea. She was arrested, but never so much as made an eye motion to his position. I thank you and your stupidity, now time to abandon you to save my own ass! Li thought, trying to move away.

Sadly his "brilliant" plan didn't go so well, the direction he moved in had fire benders moving along it, and he just happened to make a bit too much noise, and they noticed him. He ran back to his previous position, and jumped out into the open, between the Fire benders and the girl, who was currently hiding from Fire balls behind a wall.. Well damn... as if this couldn't get any worse...

"Looks like we got another one!" one of the Fire nation soldiers yelled sending a Fireball Li's way. If the comet was not in the sky, Li might have been able to kill all the Fire benders with his metal bending(which is why metal armor is a bad idea), but sadly, with the intensity of their fireballs, he wouldn't be able to focus for enough time while dodging giant fireballs to take any of them out.

He shot up a wall to deflect the fire ball before running back and getting behind the girl's wall. he drew his sword and looked at her scowling before saying, "So princess, you have any ideas on how to get out of this?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Suyin Lin Character Portrait: Kira Amori Character Portrait: Li Kazuo Character Portrait: Lian Xing Character Portrait: Li Yu Feng

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Kira Amori

Kira flew until sunset, heading for the Earth Kingdom. It was either that or the Water Tribes, and it would be much easier to get lost in a bigger place. Which, quite frankly, was what he wanted. To get lost for a while, try to ease the ache that throbbed hollow in his chest. It would be impossible to forget, of course, but with time, perhaps he could leave it far enough behind that it wouldn’t feel so acute.

Or perhaps not. It seemed impossible to imagine, at present, but he wasn’t going to rush his grief. He had enough respect for his people to mourn them properly, anyway. Shifting the air around him, he brought himself down to land on the banks of a river. The wound on his arm ached, and though it wasn’t too bad yet, it would probably become infected if he didn’t do something for it soon.

Folding his glider-staff inward, he waited until the dragonling was settled across his shoulders before approaching the stream. Kneeling, he submerged his forearm in the water, not flinching at the icy temperature. He kept it there until the limb began to numb, then used his other hand to clean it as well as he could. It would be impossible to bandage with one hand, but it was clean enough for the moment. Splashing his face and the rest of his exposed skin with the same, he decided he was clean enough for the moment.

Drinking a few handfuls of the water in cautious swallows, he stood and looked around. How was it that he could still smell the burning, even here? He should be far enough away now that- but no, surely that was a different fire.

Curious, Kira took up his staff and followed his nose, the smell of burning wood pointing him in the direction of a grove. It was close enough to the Temple still that someone could have made it here in a day’s worth of travel, so he might be walking right into another Fire nation patrol, but somehow he doubted it.

Slinking about the edge of the camp, he examined the setup. Simple, small fire, no more than four people, probably. Of course, when he spied Li Yu and that Firebender woman, he knew it was more or less safe to show himself, and so he did. “Your pardon,” he said, stepping into the area lit by the fire, “but might you have space for one more refugee, if only for the night?” Truthfully, he wanted to talk with Li Yu, see what she had planned, how she had survived, but he would not do so if this would anger her odd benefactor.

What would remain to be seen, however, was how the two would react to his presence.

Lian Xing

“Well… my original plan kind of failed when they found you,” Lian pointed out pragmatically, still for all the world sounding without any kind of irritation or disturbance. All the same, she winced when he addressed her by her hated nickname. He had no way of knowing, of course, so she couldn’t hold it against him.

Collapsing her wall momentarily, Lian took a solid stance against the ground, sliding one foot in front of the other. Her next step caused the ground to tremor, throwing several of their attackers off their feet.

The ones still on their feet shot more fire at her, and she ducked and rolled behind the other earthen wall, drawing her own sword and shooting a sidelong glance at her erstwhile traveling companion. “I was going to turn myself in, but… they’d probably have more mercy on me than you.” One of a few benefits to having a wealthy, diplomatically important family. “What about you, bandit? Any new insights?” She didn’t know his name, and he’d already given her an obnoxious moniker; might as well return the favor, right?

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kanna Jinook Character Portrait: Li Kazuo Character Portrait: Lian Xing

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Kanna walked the halls of the destroyed air temple, hiding around corners and pillars as soldiers passed. She gazed in wonder at the artwork that decorated the walls and the intricate carvings on the now destroyed stone. Such a shame that the Fire nation have destroyed an entire culture in one fell swoop. What could they have been doing it all for. They left all the artwork where it was and nothing has been sacked just yet. They only came and killed. She pondered these thoughts over and over in her head. No matter what, she could see no reason for the massacre other than the Fire Lord attempting to make an example of the poor air nomads. It was as she was mulling over these thoughts that she felt a sudden quake underneath her feet. She grabbed the nearest support she could to steady herself. "What in the hell?!" she thought aloud.

She ran on the shaking ground as best as she could to find the source. Its probably that socially inept idiot she thought, seeming somewhat amused at his immediate failure, however, she couldn't in good conscience leave him to fight the fire nation alone. Jebi seemed frantic as well, though, he didn't like the ground quaking beneath his feet either.

She stopped just at the entrance of a hallway when she was rather stunned by what she had come upon. She witnessed a whole squadron of firebenders fighting with a small earth kingdom soldier and what appeared to be a man missing an arm, but he seemed to be holding his own in battle. One earthen wall collapsed and the two ducked behind another. Both had swords drawn and were whispering frantically to one another. She grimaced with the thought of what she was about to do.

She pulled her water pouch from it's hiding place in the fire nation armor she had stolen and told Jebi to stay out of sight. She drew the water out and as quickly and silently as she could, and attempted to draw it on the ground towards the soldiers without drawing attention to herself. She gave a smile of satisfaction as she remained unnoticed by the squadron. Alright, gotta time this just right she thought and released the breath she had been holding. With a quick turn she had revealed herself and had brought her hands up with a quick jerk, bringing the water with it. She froze the water in place about their ankles and dashed out. She hoped she would make it behind that wall before they came loose, but her luck wasn't about to last. Two soldiers had already managed to free themselves and were realizing that a waterbender was responsible. She had dashed and that made her the most obvious target.

The firebenders brought their fists forward with a full blast of flame and she narrowly dodged out of the way in time. She drew more water from a tree nearby, and made a water shield about her person. While this stopped the firebenders for a short moment, she had no offensive weapon. She sudden;y came up with an idea. She shot ice spikes through the shield. It effectively took down one firebender but that left one other still attacking her and six others who were freeing themselves from the ice encasing their ankles.

The firebender who was still on the offensive weaved about making him a hard target. She was stationary and knew she would need to move behind that wall soon. Her shield was beginning to wane from the onslaught of fire. As quickly as she could possibly manage, she through all her effort into a solid attack on the moving target. She predicted by his movement where he would be and sent the water straight at it. She froze it in midair turning into an ice spear. It struck him solidly in the chest and gave her ample time to duck behind the earthen wall. She gave a smile of satisfaction at the two earthbenders and said " Hi, I got two, but there are six others who are really mad at me. "

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kanna Jinook Character Portrait: Li Kazuo Character Portrait: Lian Xing

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#, as written by Zentose
The girl removed her barricade and tripped several of the benders, then she inquired about a plan. Li was standing behind her, using her as a human shield while he thought for a moment. The armor they were using was obviously metal, to deflect attacks and such, but with only one hand he couldn't bend more than two things(one with his hand, the other with one of his feet). He yelled at the girl over the roar of battle, "I can kill two of them at a time, all I need is a distraction!"

The girl however, was not the integral part of the 'distraction' in his plan. Another woman got into the fray, she had a very nice set of breasts(the first thing he noticed of course) and was pretty attractive, very curved and womanly. as she took out two of the benders, Li threw his hand out and bended the metal in another one's armor, he closed his hand slowly, making the metal collapse in on the man, slowly crushing his ribs and back until his lungs or heart simply gave way and he died in a fit of convulsing blood and over all grotesqueness.

The woman came over and said, "Hi, I got two, but there are six others who are really mad at me."

Li scoffed a bit and said, "Make that five..." before firing up a rock wall to defend himself from an onslaught of fire. He jumped out of the wall and bended another one of the soldier's armor, lifting him off the ground and slamming him into two of the remaining soldiers, before bending the man's helmet, and crushing his skull in an even more grotesque manner than before, his skull caved in with an explosion of eye balls, blood, brain, and bits of bone.

"Princess!" Li yelled, "You want to show off your own skill?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Suyin Lin Character Portrait: Kira Amori Character Portrait: Kanna Jinook Character Portrait: Li Kazuo Character Portrait: Lian Xing Character Portrait: Li Yu Feng

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Lian Xing

The two of them were soon joined by a woman, a Waterbender of all things if her attacks were anything to go by, and Lian spared her a genuine smile. “Your timing is either lovely or terrifying, depending on perspective,” she pointed out with something approaching gallows humor.

Meanwhile, Bandit (because she had nothing better to call him), did something with his arm that seemed to suffocate one of the soldiers. Did he just bend…?

But there was no time to think on it, because it was apparently her turn to do something about this situation. Grimacing, she vaulted over the wall, surprising the Firebenders, who were doubtless expecting someone to step out from one side or another. The time it took them to adjust their aim was time she used well. When you have the advantage of surprise, make the most of it, for it is soon gone. they were words from an old lesson, repeated so many times they were practically part of her being.

Taking a solid stance, she used her arms and legs in tandem to raise three stone prisons. The first two worked, effectively trapping the targeted men in domes of earth. Mercifully, she left small gaps at the top to circulate air. Still, any use of Firebending would roast the men trapped like they were in an oven, and she trusted that they wouldn’t try it. The third man caught on, and she missed, a column of earth catching his leg with a sickening crunch. He collapsed, but he was not out of the fight, and she was aware that the other two had readjusted their aim.

Panicking, she sank into the earth itself, popping up on the other side of the wall with a gasp.

Unfortunately, it was at that point that Fire nation reinforcements arrived, and their position was far from ideal. “Okay, new plan. I hold them here, you two run,” Lian proposed. “If you start now, they might not catch up.”



Kira Amori

Kira did not miss the way the fire leaped to the woman’s hands, but she had known she was a Firebender already, and he forced himself not to retaliate. Instead, he stood calmly by while she considered, inclining his head in acknowledgement of her eventual answer.

Taking a seat on the forest floor, Kira ran a hand through his river-damp hair. He caught what she said, and his head snapped in her direction. “Did you just say what I think you said? You intend to resist the Fire Nation?” His words were quiet, but there was no mistaking the flat intensity in his stare.

“You’re going to need more than one or two people to manage that,” he pointed out, “and probably someone with a penchant for sneaking around.” His tone didn’t waver, though he omitted his bending abilities for now. Let her think he was a non-bender; it wasn’t like he had the tattoos to prove otherwise. Maybe, if he trusted her enough at some point in the future, he’d tell her. In the meantime, he had to hope that Li Yu would catch on to the omission and go along with it.

The offer was clear, but he turned back towards the fire, as though it meant little or nothing. The way he saw it, he had precious few choices. He could hide in the Earth Kingdom. They’d never find him without anything identifying him as air nomad. He could try to take up a trade, but his skills were oriented to stealth and fighting, not pottery or cooking or anything like that, and he’d probably end up little more than a thief or mercenary.

Or… or he could do what the Firebender seemed to be suggesting. The idea was intriguing, and he turned it over in his mind for several moments. To resist, to fight back on behalf of those who no longer could… that sounded like something worth doing. Perhaps he would do that after all.

If he was not welcome here, than somewhere else, maybe. There were bound to be Earthbenders of a similar mindset, those who would act before their government was ready. It occurred to him that he could enlist into the army, but that wasn’t something he thought he’d do well at. Strict organization and chains of command were just that: chains. It was in his nature to be more capricious, more free-willed and self-directed than that. Perhaps it was simply the wind in him; it was hard to say.

He glanced over at Li Yu next. She was so much more identifiably Airbender than he was. The fabric she’d tied over her forehead helped, but even so… she didn’t exactly have the same options as he did, and as the only other Airbender he knew who still lived, he had to consider her well-being also. What good would him vanishing do her? No, it was better that he did something, something to ensure that they would be safe in the future. He was not by any means the type optimistic enough to foresee the return of the Air Nomads- that was far too hopeful for the day he’d just had. Chances were, their people would die with them.

But let nobody say that the Air Nomads ended in a pained whimper.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kanna Jinook Character Portrait: Li Kazuo Character Portrait: Lian Xing

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#, as written by Zentose
Li was ready to run, leave the girl to the mercy of the Fire Nation. She was being stupid in his view, but he didn't really want her to stop, seeing as she was the only thing between him and capture, something he absolutely wanted to avoid at any cost whatsoever... But then his mind slowly wandered to her being captured... a pretty girl, noble, obviously never done certain things, soldiers might get anxious during a war... he wanted to run, he really, really wanted to run, but something deep inside stopped him from his survival instinct... It was most likely memories, tortured past, all those things that he couldn't stand that boiled up within him like a dam on the verge of collapse. He took a few steps away from her, ready to run, but then stopped... He sighed before moving towards her. He looked back at the woman that was with him, hoping she would have the sense to run rather than stick with people she didn't even know...

He moved up next to her quickly. He pulled out his sword from his belt(sheath and all) and dropped it on the ground. He looked at her before saying, "You may hate me for this, but trust me, some day you will look back and thank me... because in the long run, this is for your own good..." He moved up against the wall and yelled, "We surrender! We have valuable information and wish to speak to a commanding officer about an exchange! Safe treatment for inside information on Earth Kingdom plans!" he looked at the girl and whispered, "I can get us out, it's better than dying or being imprisoned on your own, so just give in..."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kanna Jinook Character Portrait: Li Kazuo Character Portrait: Lian Xing

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Kanna looked nervously at the earthbenders as they both fought the firebenders. She had used up a lot of energy during this whole escapade and had little strength to run. Her best option was to stick with these people and hope that they took them all out. The girl disappeared into the earth and popped up on the other side of the earthen wall. Kanna could not see her but could hear her muffled voice from the other side. “Okay, new plan. I hold them here, you two run,” the earthbender soldier said. “If you start now, they might not catch up.” It was still a very tempting offer.

The one armed man looked toward the earthbender girl and spoke up. "You may hate me for this, but trust me, some day you will look back and thank me... because in the long run, this is for your own good..." He moved up against the wall and yelled, "We surrender! We have valuable information and wish to speak to a commanding officer about an exchange! Safe treatment for inside information on Earth Kingdom plans!" he looked at the earthbender and whispered, "I can get us out, it's better than dying or being imprisoned on your own, so just give in..." He seemed very noble towards the young girl and she could tell why. The pretty young earthbender was easy prey for male soldiers who craved attention.

Kanna whispered towards the man "Look, I'm probably gonna get caught if I try to run and if they catch me, I'm as good as dead. I've had a bounty on my head for months not to mention that I just killed two firebenders. If I stick with you and the noble out there, there's a higher probability that her status might just save my hide." She added to the both of them "My name is Kanna by the way and it's been a pleasure fighting with you guys."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Suyin Lin Character Portrait: Kira Amori Character Portrait: Kanna Jinook Character Portrait: Li Kazuo Character Portrait: Lian Xing Character Portrait: Li Yu Feng

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Lian Xing

Lian sat on the floor of the prison cell, somehow managing to maintain a hint of dignity despite the fact that her arms and legs were bound to prevent her from bending… or doing much of anything else, she supposed. Since they’d been brought to this town- Highfax, if she remembered correctly- she and her fellow ‘criminals’ had been languishing here. Though the false promises of vital information had kept them safe for the moment, they’d only been visited once, and their keepers hadn’t even asked about it.

The trouble was, she actually did have information about the Earth Kingdom that was fairly important, which had nearly caused her to panic when Bandit had called out to the guards. Inwardly, though, she was fairly happy she hadn’t died, and she supposed his way of looking at things had saved her life, even if it had landed her in prison. Still, if she were to look at the bright side, it had to be better than returning to the earth quite so early in life, though the delay may only have been a few days.

She’d given her two fellow prisoners her actual name she doubted they would recognize it, and even if they did, it hardly mattered now. Besides, after all they’d done for her, giving her pseudonym just seemed… wrong. She wasn’t exactly sure what had changed Bandit’s mind about running away, because he seemed the sort that would consider it (the smart sort, that is), but something had, and between the two of them she was privately glad of the company.

She’d managed to thank the two of them just as the soldiers reached them, and she’d surrendered with no further protest. She supposed it must really be obvious that she was a noble, for when she’d claimed that her attendants were not to be harmed if they wanted anything, they’d been treated about as well as Fire Nation prisoners of war were ever treated. Her story was that Bandit was her bodyguard and Kanna was her advisor on matters related to the Water Tribes, because there was no way anyone had missed that she was waterbending. Lian had immediately affected a haughty, superior demeanor in front of the guards just to drive the point home, though she stopped short of being truly insufferable, else they might decide to beat her or something.

She could only hope the lie would keep them safe until they figured out a way to escape; a difficult task when your bending was restricted so thoroughly.



Kira Amori

Kira turned over the problem in his mind, considering. How exactly would they earn the attention of the Earth King? Suyin was right in pointing out that being a firebender made her almost automatically untrustworthy given the situation. But… he and Li Yu wouldn’t have a much better chance. He wagered they’d be offered asylum, assuming he chose to reveal the fact that he was an airbender, but even two of them probably wouldn’t be enough to convince the man to retaliate. Actually, chances were good that the fact that there were only two would do exactly the opposite. If the Fire Nation could wipe them out so thoroughly, the Earth Kingdom was more likely to want to focus on defense.

Which meant… that they needed someone close to the king’s elbow to convince him otherwise. That entailed making friends with high-ranked Earth Kingdom nobility, preferably a family or two with some serious influence over the military as well.

“I think… we’ll need to get some nobles on our side, first,” he pointed out. Of course, getting to them wouldn’t be much if any easier than getting to the king. He frowned slightly, turning to Suyin. “Do you know where the Fire Nation intended to go next? We might be able to get some nobles on our side if we do something to help them. Like, say, free their captive soldiers.”

The plan was somewhat reckless, he knew, but right now, it was probably the best chance they had. A prison break in an Earth Kingdom town was bound to free at least a few soldiers, and those soldiers reported to officers who reported to the nobility. It probably wouldn’t be enough on its own, but it would be a start.

If they got the chance to thwart the Fire Nation on the way, well… that was just a bonus.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Suyin Lin Character Portrait: Crypt Ookagari Character Portrait: Sotaro Yuan Character Portrait: Kanna Jinook Character Portrait: Li Kazuo Character Portrait: Lian Xing

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This was it. The chance of no return. Sotaro had fought for his honor, his rank, and his men, but it was a battle he could never have won. He had always known that, in the back of his mind, but the fire in his blood had driven him to take a stand in any case because, as far as he was concerned, the integrity of the Fire Nation had also been at stake.

Now, in the depths of the damp stone prison, Sotaro had nothing to show for his effort or dedication to the tenants of a nation that had abandoned him save a blistering burn across the right side of his jaw and a court martial on his shoulders. For insubordination and attacking a superior officer. Now, treason was about to be added to the list, and – out of necessity – desertion.

Desertion. The entire concept was contemptible in Sotaro’s mind, the height of dishonor that would bring enough shame to himself and his entire house as to outweigh even the death sentence it would surely bring. As much as Sotaro hated to turn his back on those who served under him, he understood that he would not have remained the Captain or Commander in any case. In the end, it was not them he was deserting, not even the Fire Nation – not really, anyway. It was the corruption and bloodlust, led by fear and greed, that he left behind. Even if it was denial, this was the reasoning that had allowed him to make the decision. Anything else would have been unacceptable.

As night fell, the coldness of the stone walls seeped into Sotaro’s blood and lingered there, even as he tried to warm himself using the energy of his chi. It seemed to have paled somewhat in the growing dimness, especially after the passing of the comet. It had brought great power with it, insurmountable energy, and had left a sort of emptiness in its wake.

The dull sound of his boots against the solid ground was amplified by the otherwise restless silence as he entered the cell block and made his way towards the end. He could feel the silent stares following him as he stopped before the cell holding the new arrivals. He appraised them silently, ignoring that creeping feeling he got in cold, dark places that were never meant to see the sun.

“Keys,” he commanded the guard nearest him as held out his hand.

Word of Sotaro’s disgrace had not yet trickled down the ranks, and the guard obeyed.

“You’re dismissed for the night,” he continued without the slightest change in expression.

Sensing the unusual hardness in his tone, the guards within the cell block dropped their attentive at-ease postures and filed out in silence. Sotaro was left facing the cell at the end of the hall. At least three benders that he could see from the shadows, all political prisoners from the vicinity of the Northern Air Temple. Under normal circumstances, they would have been confined separately, but the Earth Kingdom prison was not large enough for such measures.

A fleeting moment of déjà vu made Sotaro pause before he spoke. The slight woman in Earth Kingdom greens was unusually familiar. Anyway . . . He stepped close to the iron bars and showed the prisoners their keys to the ultimate jailbreak. His expression was as set as it had been a moment ago while giving orders. Something resembling a roughish grin almost took hold of his features before Sotaro stopped it. No, this was nothing like a childhood game of sneaking out in the dead of night.

“Your freedom for my temporary companionship. What do you say,” he offered once the guards had left, offering no pretense of polite introduction. This was not the time, and time was very much against them at the moment.

This was, of course, only the reason that he gave out loud. They didn’t need to know that what had initially driven this offer of liberation and life was a desire to save his own skin from execution. Thwarting the capitol’s further attempts to create needless misery and keeping the prisoners’ sorry blood off the hands of the very guards who had just left them were added factors.

In any case, if they were as valuable as they implied, perhaps they would be of value to him now. His life was as much on the line as theirs at this point. And his good name, as much as his life, depended on demonstrating that he had not abandoned the tenants of discipline and service.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Suyin Lin Character Portrait: Kira Amori Character Portrait: Sotaro Yuan Character Portrait: Kanna Jinook Character Portrait: Li Kazuo Character Portrait: Lian Xing Character Portrait: Li Yu Feng

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Lian Xing

Lian had lost track of exactly how much time had passed. The only real way she had of taking a guess was watching when they changed the guards, and she thought she might have slept or dozed through a few of those. Her instinct by now was to wear a hole in the cell floor by pacing, but her ankles were bound together too closely for her to manage much more than a shuffle. Additionally, it was probably undignified, and she shouldn’t be giving off that impression right now, in case it made someone suspicious.

The soft thud of footsteps and low murmur of voices drew her from half-sleep, and she couldn’t help but think that it was yet a little too early for the guard to be changing. Such an interruption in the usual schedule probably meant that she was going to be questioned now, and Lian drew herself up into a straight-backed sitting position, ignoring the way her bonds dug uncomfortably into her wrists.

When someone finally made his way over to her cell, she was struck by an immediate, though vague, sensation of recognition, almost as though she knew who this person was. But surely that was impossible; she would have remembered a one-eyed Fire Nation military man. He flashed the keys to their cell, and stated his offer. Now negotiation, this was something she could do.

Rising to her feet with as much grace as she could, she set her mouth in a firm line. “Not just us. All of the political prisoners; there are children down there, and I’ll not leave while they stay behind and face execution.” She knew something of the typical method of conquering nations, as history had at least that much to teach.

“But if you do that, then yes.” She felt kind of bad for not consulting the others first, but this was one of those act first, ask questions later kind of situations, and she had a feeling that time was going to be limited. So while she had very many questions, she bit down on her tongue and waited.



Kira Amori

“Kira,” he replied in kind to the greeting, and then nodded resolutely. Highfax it was, then, and let it be but a step on the journey.

Several days later, the three found themselves crouched behind a rise overlooking the town of Highfax. A few hours earlier, Kira had ventured into the local tavern to collect rumors, and the sense seemed to be that the current relatively peaceful regime was about to be superseded by one of Sozin’s personal favorite pet officers, and there were indeed a number of political prisoners. He’d left before anyone could think that he was asking too many questions, and now they were trying to decide how best to get into the city.

“There are no wanted posters for you, Suyin,” he pointed out. “I doubt word of your defection has made it through the ranks yet, which means we could probably walk right in, even if that wouldn’t get us all the way to the prison.” He meant, of course, as long as Li Yu’s tattoos were covered, but that much was obvious, and he felt no need to say it aloud.

“Our best bet is to act now, when the chain of command is still readjusting. Word is, they’re replacing the Captain here, though nobody seems to know if it’s yet official or not. They’re trying to make it look like proper protocol, but a few seem to think it’s fixed. A confused command structure could give us an edge in escaping.”

That said, he was not the one at greatest risk simply walking into a Fire Nation-controlled town, and so he would not make the decision, or at least not without their input. He didn’t exactly consider himself the leader-type, but he did have a fair bit of experience with sneaking around where he was not welcome.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Crypt Ookagari Character Portrait: Sotaro Yuan Character Portrait: Kanna Jinook Character Portrait: Li Kazuo Character Portrait: Lian Xing

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A dull pain throbbed along his blind side as Sotaro’s jaw tensed. He didn’t flinch at the earthbender’s counter-offer as he straight in the eye, in a gesture of both unspoken respect at her attempt to retain some semblance of dignity and to demonstrate that he still held the keys to freedom. Did this woman believe herself in a position to negotiate? There was no way she could have known how dire his own position was. Nobility. They couldn’t help but at least act as if they were not only the natural leaders, but always had something to bargain with. Wait . . . a young Earth Kingdom noblewoman . . . doing her service time . . . perhaps fate had brought back a ghost from the past, either in kindness or retribution . . .

Had he the time to entertain the thought, Sotaro might have taken the chance to pursue a possible reunion. As it was, he could not refuse the offer of a possible alliance with other benders, especially those with some status in the Earth Kingdom. And he hated to admit that she was correct about the likely fate of her fellow prisoners.

“Any extras you wish to take will be your responsibility. I’ll get everyone cleared past the town walls, but can only account for those taken by the Fire Nation from Temple beyond that,” said Sotaro as he lowered the keys and turned them.

The bars clanged open, the sound absorbed by the cold darkness. It would certainly be a blow to lose both their own political prisoners, as well as those taken before the Fire Nation’s occupation. Tong would have no one to make an example of, and so long as Sotaro stayed low, it would stay that way.

“Follow my lead. Step lightly,” he instructed shortly as he turned.

Here goes nothing. As long as he got everyone to the cover of the hilly evergreen growth surrounding town, they might stand a chance to do . . . something . . . Some small part of him still hoped that there was a chance to set things right. Perhaps an alliance with these people would help accomplish that.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Crypt Ookagari Character Portrait: Sotaro Yuan Character Portrait: Kanna Jinook Character Portrait: Li Kazuo Character Portrait: Lian Xing

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Kanna had taken her usual spot in a corner in the cell and sat. She hated the idea of being locked up. She couldn't go where she wanted and worse yet, she couldn't smell the sea. At any rate, she supposed being locked up was better than being dead. She sighed and let her head fall against the wall. "This is so boring" she muttered under her breath. The people she had been locked up with weren't much for conversation.

She could see that the socially inept man was here. His hands were unbound while her's was. When she first arrived here, they had taken her pouch. There was no water source other than when they brought them water to drink, so she didn't see much reason for her hands being bound. She turned and could see Jebi hiding in the shadows, waiting for the guard to change. Jebi had followed silently as the soldiers brought their prisoners to the dank dungeon, and kept her company sometimes. She appreciated that he hadn't abandoned her.

Her eyes shifted to the cell door when she heard footsteps approaching. She was curious because she knew it wasn't time for the guards to change. She got up slowly and stepped closer to Lian who had been pacing. As she watched with her, a man approached, dismissing the guards. He spoke to Lian promising their freedom for his companionship. Kanna looked him over. He seemed a little worse for wear, but at this point Lian was the one with the cards in her hand and Kanna didn't voice her opinion.

Kanna went to sit as Lian and the man exchanged words. Finally, a decision was made and the doors opened with a clang. “Follow my lead. Step lightly,” the man said at a whisper. Kanna smirked. No one knew how to step lightly better than she did. She slinked out of the cell behind Lian and Jebi jumped from the shadows onto her shoulders. He snuggled her cheek and she smiled. "It's good to see you too, Jebi" she said in a whisper.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sotaro Yuan Character Portrait: Kanna Jinook Character Portrait: Li Kazuo Character Portrait: Lian Xing

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#, as written by Zentose
Li's thoughts of a safe return diminished with each step towards the prison. He began to fear the worst as they approached, there were other prisoners, and he highly doubted that they were all political once such as themselves. After massacring the Air Temples, it was highly unlikely that they would keep them alive, so with a bit of fear-induced deduction(false of course), it meant that the Fire Nation was not going to bother with execution, and simply let them rot in the prison. He had no way to test this theory, but he had assumed the worst. he instinctively attacked the men when they touched him, which made them knock him out, which was unpleasant.

He woke up in the cell, face down on the floor, it smelled of old piss and sorrow. They had tied his hand to his feet, limiting all his bending. This spelt the doom of the two women, something he didn't really care about... all he was worried about was not dying high and inside a woman... Li saw it as life giving him one last knife to the gut before leaving him for good... He had accepted his death when he was still a child, so the idea of it now was fine. Luckily, his mild preparation was all for naught, when a Fire Nation officer, looking a bit gruff and unwelcoming to Li's eyes, offered them a route out. Li, being his untrusting self, did not believe the man, yet the princess took him up on his offer if he released the other prisoners, who were bound to die sooner or later. This severely limited their chance of escape, so Li was hoping that the man would refuse, that being the logical decision, but the fool took her up on the offer for some unknown reason.

Once the man had finished speaking, Li spoke in a hushed, yet very angry voice, "Hey princess or big tits, one of you want to untie me?" He wasn't usually that rude, but he couldn't stand being tied up, it made him feel weak and vulnerable...

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Suyin Lin Character Portrait: Crypt Ookagari Character Portrait: Kira Amori Character Portrait: Kanna Jinook Character Portrait: Li Kazuo Character Portrait: Lian Xing Character Portrait: Li Yu Feng

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Lian Xing

Lian nodded to the officer, accepting the terms of the deal. She knew there wasn’t a lot she could do to help the other prisoners, but she didn’t desire there to be any innocent people here for the Fire nation to execute in her place. Languishing here alone was punishment enough, and for no crime at that.

“Follow my lead. Step lightly.” Lian understood, but she wouldn’t be doing much of that with her hands and feet still bound. Luckily, her wrists were cinched together in front of her body and not behind, and she was able to help Bandit with his predicament before turning to Kanna and her own feet as well. Nobody expected a noblewoman to be able to help herself, apparently, much less anyone else. Their mistake. Her hands were still tied, but that wasn’t a big deal; hopefully, they could find their equipment on the way out and she could cut her bonds on her sword.

They passed by another cell, this one with a fair mix of men, women, and children, and as soon as they were free also, the escape was on in earnest. Lian tried to make as little noise as possible, and gently shushed the other escapees when they did not quite manage the same, and the whole group managed to be largely silent, even the children apparently aware of how much rode on their soundlessness.

She sorely hoped they would not be discovered, but readied herself to fight if they were. She had no taste for killing, but she would not allow these people to be put back in chains. She and her companions had done nothing to warrant such punishment; their violence had been solely with the aim of defending themselves.

Kira Amori

Kira noted the need for disguise with a nod; it would probably be better for all of them to be considerably more difficult to pick out of a crowd. He had never been particularly glad of the fact that he wasn’t cut out to be a monk, until now. It was a grim sort of emotion though, and there was nothing truly happy in it.

“If we skirt the edges of the town, we can steal some things of clotheslines left out to dry,” he pointed out. He wasn’t really sure how the two of them felt about stealing, but for him, it was by now a practical necessity it was that or be attacked the first time they stumbled across a Fire Nation soldier or sympathizer.

He followed the other two as Suyin led them forward, alert for any danger from behind. He resisted the urge to compress a ball of air in his hand; he was still not a known airbender to anyone but Li Yu, and until he was certain he could trust Suyin or had no other choice, he wouldn’t be.

The town itself was a quiet place, cobblestone streets and smooth stonework houses, humble but well-built. Once upon a time, Highfax had been home to a small enclave of earthbenders, taught by an old man who had her students train by doing good works for the town. Something about that story, simple as it was, had always stuck with him. Maybe because nobody ever mentioned what had happened to the earthbenders all those years ago.

Probably killed by the Fire Nation, he thought bitterly, then chastised himself for it. Just because they deserved his ire didn’t mean he had to give it constantly. Weren’t the monks insistent upon forgiveness? He doubted that was possible for him, but it would be better for him if he didn’t allow his hatred to consume him just yet. Not while there were still things he could do. Hatred was for the idle, and idle was one thing Kira had never been.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Crypt Ookagari Character Portrait: Sotaro Yuan Character Portrait: Kanna Jinook Character Portrait: Li Kazuo Character Portrait: Lian Xing

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One after another, the prison bars swung open. There weren't many in this outlying colony, but enough to make a respectable group of vagabonds. Under different circumstances, Sotaro might not have risked taking such a ragged group, but his life depended on a successful escape as much as theirs. Next, came the prisoners themselves. Being the keeper of the only set of keys available to them, one by one, he released the ankle chains on each. The benders with bound hands kept those shackles for the time being. This would maintain the appearance of order should a stray eye catch the group's departure, but give them enough freedom of movement to make their way silently. Sotaro was impressed by how unusually subdued the children were. The hard ways of the world had taught them things no human being their age should have known.

Within minutes, Sotaro returned to the band of benders led by the Earth Kingdom maiden. Theirs were the only hands he released. If he expected them to live up to the deal, it was necessary, and also demonstrated that he would carry out his own part truthfully.

"Your hands" he said quietly, extending out his own to release her.

"You two will go in the center. If we run into anyone, keep your hands hidden unless bending is necessary. Once we reach the hills, I'll take care of the rest," he continued in a low, rushed tone as he moved to release the foreign-looking woman in Fire Nation uniform.

The plan was simple. Make it look like he was marching the prisoners to carry out Captain Tong's orders, and if anyone stopped them at Highfax's gates, this simple explanation would suffice to prevent further questions. Sotaro sincerely hoped that word of Highfax's new leadership did not spread this far yet, and that his own rank and reputation among his men would carry the group through without much of a fight. It may have been a reckless plan, but it just might work. Currently, their options were limited. Being near the outskirts of town certainly had its advantages. Sotaro hated the thought that the western contingent of heavy infantry, the ranks of which he had come to know well, would now be under the leadership of a man like Captain Tong.

He was about to line everyone up and set out when an indignant voice whisper-yelled sharply from the shadows.

"Hey princess or big tits, one of you want to untie me?"

Turning quickly, Sotaro noted a darker shape against the deep shadows. The man's shackles chained his arms together to his legs in an adapted format to accommodate for a missing arm. Whether this was due to birth or injury, he couldn't tell, but from the scar across the prisoner's face, Sotaro suspected that it might be the latter.

"Just keep quiet and do what I tell you," whispered Sotaro quickly as he crouched to undo the last of the chains.

Standing, he offered a hand to help the freed prisoner up.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sotaro Yuan Character Portrait: Kanna Jinook Character Portrait: Li Kazuo Character Portrait: Lian Xing

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#, as written by Zentose
Neither of the two women he asked bothered to free him, but rather the man whom unlocked the door. Li didn't like this, the sensation itself moving through his body like a razor moving through his veins. But he didn't have time to feel uncomfortable, he needed to move, he needed to get the hell out of there and back to the sweet bosom of the first harlot he saw. The man set out his hand, a sign of understanding maybe, a gesture to make him seem genuine? Li didn't care, all he knew was that there was no way he would take it. Li glared into the man's eye, his own symbolizing pure hatred and suffering, they were cold and collective. He scoffed and scowled before saying, "Get the hell away from me..."

Li got himself up, using the wall because the stiffness he felt in his joints, being in that position for hours. He wanted to leave the dark prison, he wanted a good fuck and some good drugs. He checked his pouch, and just as he had expected, his vials of cactus juice were missing, as well as all of his supplies, but those he cared less for. To get pure cactus juice in the ass-end of nowhere was near impossible, but no doubt he could get some harder drugs in whatever town was nearby, should he be unable to find the vials again. The noble girl, whose name he couldn't remember, was rescuing the prisoners in a trite display while the big breasted woman was following with the relatively quite crowd. He thought it was moronic to save them all, it only lowered their chances of survival greatly, he needed to be rid of that foolish girl, all that had happened since they had met pissed him off...

He sighed looking away from the door, knowing that the man was still there. Li turned his head and looked at the man once more before quickly trying to circumvent him to get out, for that was all he needed, he needed to leave the place of sullen memories and depression, his consciousness was at ease with the chains gone, but his inner workings would never be clean...

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Crypt Ookagari Character Portrait: Sotaro Yuan Character Portrait: Kanna Jinook Character Portrait: Li Kazuo Character Portrait: Lian Xing

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Only a slight shift of features gave way to an expression of mild surprise, followed by a short nod of understanding as Sotaro watched the one-armed earthbender rise slowly, but successfully. He understood that he may not have been held in the highest regard by either this prisoner, nor the others, but he hoped his actions would influence his standing for the better. The noblewoman seemed willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, which was a start. She just had to insist on taking all the prisoners. They would be on their own beyond the walls, for there was no way he alone could protect this entire band of women, children, and men who had not seen the light of day for gods knew how long.

With the other benders, however, all their chances of survival were increased if they worked as a unit.

"Two rows of ten, benders between them," he commanded the unit of renegades. "Keep up, the new guard should be on its way, and they're not mine."

The last part was said with a note of bitterness. Surely, the new command would have come with at least a few troops of its own, and it would not take long to notice that the prison guard had been dismissed early and that the replacement had not been sent in. Sotaro turned to take the lead, brushing past the earthbender as he also did so. Were Sotaro actually trying to intimidate an opponent, the shoulder tap may have been interpreted as as just such an intimidating gesture, but as it was, it was an act that barely registered in Sotaro's mind. Not only because the move was was innocuous, but because he did not expect a prisoner he had just freely released from chains to take it as anything more.