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Fantasy OPEN Things We Lost in the Fire

Discussion in 'Role Playing Forum' started by The Jedi in the Pumas, Jun 13, 2020.

  1. greyjedi125

    greyjedi125 Chosen One star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 29, 2002
    IC: Master Xian Nin
    Ba Sing Se, Middle Ring

    Today was indeed a day like no other. A day that had begun like no other and now ended like no other. Master Xian Nin had begun the day with a stroll with one protege, was reunited with his first, technically allowing him to be with both his proteges, and now he had lost them both- in addition to his home, his profession, his reputation and everything else he had built for himself.

    For a single moment, he had believed that having Dol appear on this day, when he finally acted and intervened against Fire Nation injustice, out of the blue, perhaps, maybe, there was a chance that he would be reunited with his original star pupil- that perhaps the errors of the past could be made right.

    All things were possible for him in that moments, but not one of those possibilities would be realized, because the conditions, no matter what his thinking, were simply not right- there were no alignment of circumstances.

    However, at the very least, he had not been killed by Princess Azula, which meant, he could strive to make the best of everything that remained, no matter how small. For, far more precious than all his material gains, was the single thing he still had, the one thing that could not be duplicated or purchased with mountains of gold, the one thing he still possessed.

    His life.

    The swift escape from the Fire Nation guards had made him ‘feel’ young again, but reality would sober him up in short order. Life as he knew it, had come to an end.

    Xian listened silently, as she who had once been his ‘little doll’ and source of great pride, officiously finished her mission. He felt her ‘warmth’ retreat from him as she instructed him as to where he should go next, not even bothering to inform him as to who sent her, or whom he should ask for at this ‘pharmacy’.

    “I think this…is where we say our goodbyes.”

    Dol extended an unsteady hand for him to shake and tried to look him in the eye as she offered more information, still speaking of him candidly.

    Xian took her hand and returned the ‘officious’ hand shake, not wishing to make the moment any more awkward than it already was. His reticence alone spoke volumes.

    Of course, she knew he disdained war. But, the way she said that of him, as if to suggest that he was some kind of coward.

    It stung that she would not officially invite him to fight and liberate the city of Ba Sing Se. It stung that he had now disappointed Ty Lee as well. ‘Saving him’ and leaving others to suffer in ‘what comes next’ was…insulting, though unintentionally so. It would come as no surprise that Master Nin’s face was etched in his inscrutable placid mask, which she would recognize.

    He could not say the words to her, so he would not. He’d never had the chance to say ‘good bye’ then, and now he simply refused to utter those words. Instead, he offered Dol a deferential bow, from one Master to another.

    The War, as she said, was over but the battle continued.

    Xian well knew the transformative power of pain and suffering, of the undeniable ache for freedom and justice. He was not going to ‘escape’ and simply tuck himself away while others suffered. He hadn’t risked himself earlier if he was thinking of hiding or remaining ‘safe’.

    Wordlessly, he watched her go and found himself smiling just a little. Dol’s Light-foot technique had improved a great deal. She left absolutely no traceable wakes of chi behind her- which was the hallmark of a true Master.

    A pause. Then a breath to let the moment pass, then another breath to focus on a decision.

    Xian did not linger, but moved swiftly and silently from rooftop to rooftop, making not a sound, leaving no traces. Judging by his pace, two miles was relatively a short distance when traveling in this manner.

    He would reach the pharmacy in short order and embark on a new journey, one that would aim to free the needy from oppression. That’s what the Avatar would have done. Xian would trust in the Fates, as he’d always done. He would go where he was needed, and do whatever needed to be done. And he also hoped, that whatever happened, he would not need to unleash the unbridled fury, of the Red Dragon Sword.


    Tag: @The Jedi in the Pumas
     
  2. Darth_Elu

    Darth_Elu Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jan 2, 2003
    Varayik Toroq IC:
    ~The Pharmacy Underground, Lower Ring~

    It didn’t take long for the steam to rise, revealing the location to the underground’s entrance. Good, that part went well. Moku and Kon quickly slid over the counter and removed the floorboards to get inside.

    That was when his water senses went off. More steam. Way more than should be happening. That wasn’t him.

    The floorboards were removed, Varayik opened his mouth to shout a warning, but too late. Kon had jumped in.

    The scream was immediate and terrible. It was unsurprising to see him scramble right back out and begin rolling around in extreme pain. Varayik moved swiftly over to him.

    “Kon!” he exclaimed in unison with his other friend. “Let me help you!”

    Moku started trying to grab Kon to assist in aid, but Varayik swatted his hand away immediately. “Don’t! Touching will be worse right now!” Sure enough, his skin began to turn red, bubble, and blister.

    “Just go get the witch!”

    Varayik hesitated and exchanged a brief look with Moku. It was true that time was now of the essence if they were to catch her. Furthermore, healing was not his strong suit. Twice now that had been rubbed in his face. More things to study up on and train in.

    Moku happened to move ahead, calling out for him. The water bender hesitated for only a few seconds more.

    “We’ll be back for you,” he whispered and ran after Moku, jumping down into the basement.

    Not far down the long candlelit tunnel that made itself known, they came across large pots of the boiling water he had sensed lining the path. Further down, at the end, was Lady Yisho herself.

    What was that behind her? Ice. Very thick ice. Very thick. Before he could throw more questions around in his head, Moku was already throwing himself forward after her. The lady seemed at peace, almost accepting of her potential fate.

    His partner had made a very wrong assumption. Varayik knew that stance, knew what it meant. This was how one related to water. Connected to it. Felt its pull as it felt the pull of the Moon. The first and greatest of all water benders.

    “You hurt Kon, you water witch!”

    “Wait, no! Moku! Don’t!”

    Once again. Too late. No sooner had the words left his mouth, than the water blasted out of the pots and smashed Moku into the wall. Freezing him in place right after.

    Varayik sighed and refocused his gaze on Yisho. He had no choice but to concentrate solely on her now. Alone.

    “I cannot let you pass, young waterbender. Nor will I allow the Fire Nation to take anymore children from me.”

    Her hands went into their motions and the boiling water left the rest of the pots and formed three rings around her. She was ready to fight and much more skilled than he had initially assumed based on the technique she now used. He would have to tread carefully.

    Varayik knew well the power of the ocean. And this specific ocean was clearly positioning itself as a guardian of the ice behind it.

    “I am sorry for your sons. But you have now made yourself an enemy of the Fire Nation,” he replied quietly before reiterating, “I’m sorry.”

    He took his stance, ready for anything. The two water benders now sizing each other. An aura much like a riptide proverbially erupting around them as their spirits had already begun to clash ahead of their physical bodies. Soon to find out who was cresting…and whom was merely the trough. After a heartbeat or two, the young man acted.

    Varayik charged. This was what she was waiting for after all and since he sided with the Fire Nation, it was only natural that a fellow water bender would begin to assume things. Like he was out of touch of his element, that he for whatever reason, adopted the Fire mentality. Aggression, attack first and never relent!

    …So he’d play to her expectations. But he was not attacking.

    The moment she made her first move with the water, he’d reveal his tactic. The fact that he had been waiting for her to make that first strike.

    As it crashed towards him, he gave a short hop to give a little extra momentum to his movement, spinning in place as his right arm moved to redirect the water and bend in his full circle stance to have it surge straight back at Lady Yisho.

    [​IMG]

    He did not expect it to ultimately do much, this was merely the opening gambit to the tidal wave that was their duel.

    But Varayik did have a follow up. As his right arm swept across his body to reflect her attack, his left that was tucking into his body was also curling up his hand toward him into a fist.

    She was not facing an atypical fire nation soldier or bender. No. She was facing him. Varayik Toroq. Fellow Water Bender and if he had to show who had the right mindset in this world today among them, then tonight would be that night!

    That which she protected, would be used against her!

    His hand used his bending to latch onto the thick ice and while it was far too much to do anything major with, he had it jettison out five large spikes toward her back in a surprise assault. Both attacks in the same breath.

    If it did not impale her, it would force her to move in a way she would not expect. And Varayik would be charging in again at full speed, quite prepared for the next batch of scalding water to come his way.

    Yes. Even if he felt the Fire Nation’s version of order was the right way of things, he still followed water’s path in view. Calm power. His power was all about one thing.

    Reaction.

    She would ebb before him, for he shall be the one to flow this night. He would make certain of it.

    Tag: Lady Yisho @The Jedi in the Pumas
     
  3. galactic-vagabond422

    galactic-vagabond422 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2009
    Jiao Yuan
    Lower Ring Ba Sing Se

    "What is it dear?" Jiao's mother said opening the door, her eyes red from crying. "Why do we have to leave?"

    "The city isn't safe."

    "Jiao, it will be fine, our shop has…"

    "No mom, what they did today, what they are going to do. Do you think what happened to dad and Feng was an accident?" Jiao's mother could see the pack at Jiao's waist and the determination, and the tears in her eyes.

    "But Jiao, the shop."

    "It will be here when we get back…"

    "Dear," the older woman reached out holding her daughter's cheek. "Is there any leaving? I was born here, raised here, I met your father in that shop. Our life is here, our history is here." More tears started to well up in her mother's eyes.

    "Mom," Jiao pressed herself into her mother's hand. "Mom please, if we don't leave now, then we will lose everything, more than the shop. Someone is targeting us, giving our names to the Fire Nation calling us traitors."

    "Sweetheart."

    "Mom, please, I don't want to lose you too. You're more important to me than four walls and a kettle...I hope that I am for you too." Jiao wrapped her arms around her mother giving her a squeeze. "Please mom."

    They were quiet Jiao crying into her mother's chest. Still begging her mother.

    "Alright, alright." Her mother said, patting her daughter's back. Jiao looked up her cheeks stained with tears. "Give me a moment to get some things together."

    "I'll help." It was slow, and every now and again Jiao would look over and see her mother holding her father's tunic, or brush some dust off some letters her father wrote for her. There were a lot of memories here, in this place so much that they were leaving behind. She watched her mom roll up a few letters and stuff them into her pack.

    "Got everything?" Jiao asked.

    "Yes." Her mother wiped her eye.

    "We'll come back mom." Jiao gripped her mother's hand reassuringly. Her mother gave her a weak smile nodding her head.

    It was a tense walk through the city. It was odd, Jiao used to walk these streets unafraid, almost happily. Now though it was a dangerous place, especially at night. Her and her mother seemed to turn their heads at every noise. Jiao knew this area, at least in the day time, she can remember getting medicine from the Pharmacy up ahead. Though it looked in quite the state now, with the door hanging open. Rumi offered to take them to the noodle shop that was near their tea house, but she couldn't help but feel like he wanted to stay and help his friend.

    "We know it, had some family dinner's there after long days at the tea house." She waited for a moment. "Are you sure? It looks like your friend could use some help…"

    TAG: @The Jedi in the Pumas
     
  4. Shadowsun

    Shadowsun Jedi Master star 3

    Registered:
    Jun 26, 2017
    Kasai Oban
    Sha-Sin Shohun's Noodle Storehouse, Lower Ring

    Kasai still bewildered slowly stood up, clearly still wary of his surroundings. Cautiously he waddled over to a chair and sat down. He stared down, let his shoulders drop and allowed himself to fall into exhaustion.

    It had been quite the day.

    He surveyed the room looking at the strange group of individuals present. He looked over to the master earthbender, was his name Li? Seemed this group was part of some underground resistance.

    That might be a blessing and a curse thought Kasai.

    He began to think over what his next move would be, after all he did not know these people and was not sure how long they would be willing to help him. Not to mention if they found any wanted posters of Kasai and found out he was a fire bender he would be thrown out for sure. On the other hand, they were fighting against the fire nation.

    Even worse thought Kasai. More likely they would kill him for knowing too much. They would never trust someone from the fire nation he thought to himself. Kasai would have to keep his mouth shut and get away as soon as he could.

    Kasai then turned his eye to the girl that Li was talking to. Could it be? He squinted his eyes to see more clearly. That pedant? Without thinking he blurted out

    “Where did you get that?”

    His hand pointed toward the pedant around her neck, he knew what is was, it was a Fire Nation pedant. How did an earth kingdom girl get into possession of such a treasured item?

    TAG: @TheSilentInfluence @The Jedi in the Pumas @Master Vo'Un'Var
     
  5. The Jedi in the Pumas

    The Jedi in the Pumas Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 23, 2018
    Outside the Pharmacy, Lower Ring

    Rumi looked into the eyes of Jiao. He was at a crossroads. But he had a duty to Jiao and her mother. As he began to reply, the smoking figure of Kon stumbled out into the street from the pharmacy. He was in great pain and moaning, however his clothing was what caught Rumi's eye. He was Fire Nation. Fire Nation at the pharmacy confirmed his suspicions and his face grew grim.

    "Stay here, and stay low Jiao. I'll be right back."

    He marched down the empty street, on a war path straight towards Kon. On a nearby rooftop, Master Nin would land and see the scene unfolding. He would not recognize Rumi as the boy in blue from earlier as it was now dark; the street only lit by the moonlight and illuminated streets lamps far apart from one another. Rumi was dressed in earthbender clothes now, but he would see the Fire Nation soldier, hunched over on the ground, steam rising from his skin. He would see Rumi stop directly over the young man and grab him by the throat, dragging him to his feet.

    Master Nin would not hear the words from this distance, but Jiao could and would.

    "How many others are there?" He demanded to know.

    Kon, through tears and groans of agony, shook his head. Rumi leveled a punch that dug into his stomach.

    "How many of you are here?"

    "It's...only...me. Please..."

    "Where is Lady Yisho?"

    "They...took her away...Please let me go." Kon did not know who Rumi was, or that he was the same earthbender that attacked the execution squad earlier. He would find out soon that they were one in the same. He knew that he had to protect Varayik and Moku; he had to give them as much time as possible. Rumi released the hold on his throat and Kon stumbled back on his feet. "You're going to tell me exactly where they went. Or you'll die here."

    ----

    The Pharmacy Underground

    Lady Yisho reached out and 'caught' the water strike from Varayik and the water pooled around her hand, extending up to her elbow and providing a controlled, water protective layer. The spikes protruding from the ice were seen too late and while she moved to the side, they tore into her back and her calves, ripping the clothing and drawing trace amounts of blood. He was talented and smart, she thought. He charged towards her and instead of performing an advanced waterbending move, she charged back at him. A small patch of ice formed on Varayik's next step and he, for a split second, lost his balance. That was all Lady Yisho needed.

    She rammed into him with her shoulder, tackling the much younger man to the ground and mounted him. The water layer covering her arm hardened into a sharp ice spear. She put her hand over his face, obscuring his vision, but Varayik did not have to see what was coming next to know what was coming. Aiming for his chest, she drove the spear down to his heart...

    Two fire blasts, launched from the freed Moku's legs, struck her back, blowing her off of Varayik. Moku ran to stand over Varayik. "C'mon Varayik, I got your back buddy."

    Lady Yisho laid on the ground 5 meters away. She was now closer to the ladder entrance to the passageway. Her back was singed and she was breathing erratically. Rolling to one knee, she knew she was on her last legs. In her younger days...possibly. Maybe she would've been able to take them both. But she was slower now and no level of mastery could overcome the truth that father time is undefeated. Both hands extended in the directions of the boiling pots of water. One last attack. She summoned the water to erupt from the pots and, with a gesture similar to clutching her chest, brought the water towards all three combatants. It would burn them all...

    But at least the children would be safe behind the ice wall...

    ----
    "I'll never....tell...you anything!"

    That was the wrong answer.

    Rumi dashed forward and with closed fists, assaulted Kon with a flurry of strikes. They were well placed and brutal. Kon fell to the ground in a crumpled mass and Rumi, unsatisfied, proceeded to began waving his arms in a motion that Master Nin and Jiao would recognize as distinctly waterbending movements. A small pool of sand began to stir and turn around the unconscious Kon. Within seconds, those familiar with Rumi's tactics would know, the young man would be buried.

    Tag: @Darth_Elu @galactic-vagabond422 @greyjedi125
     
    greyjedi125, Shadowsun and Darth_Elu like this.
  6. Darth_Elu

    Darth_Elu Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jan 2, 2003
    Varayik Toroq IC:
    ~Pharmacy Underground, Lower Ring, Ba Sing Se~

    Varayik allowed himself a small, faint smirk as he noticed the spikes strike her, surprising as planned. That she ‘caught’ his water strike was unsurprising by contrast and was about what he expected.

    Then she did something he didn’t think she would do. She charged him back. That wiped away the smirk, but by no means unnerved him. So, a game of chicken then? He kept running.

    Yisho struck first, as intended, but it wasn’t the type of attack he thought she would do. He underestimated her, even when he was trying not to!

    Ice under the foot. Water bender or not, there was no immunity to slipping. Managing to catch himself quickly, he still stumbled for an instant. That was all his opponent required.

    Yisho slammed her shoulder into him and Varayik could suddenly appreciate the strength this older woman still possessed as he was tackled to the ground.

    Oof!

    As she sat atop him, he saw her water layer become ice over her arm. A spear tip forming, even with her hand now being placed over his face, he knew what was coming. He had to act fast!

    Just as he was beginning to attempt twisting underneath her, Varayik heard and felt the heat of the fire attacks knocking his assailant off of him.

    “C’mon Varayik, I got your back buddy.”

    “Thanks, man,” he replied genuinely to Moku.

    He stood up with his help and turned to face their target. Singed, breathing terribly, and barely able to do much more; it was rather clear how this was going to end. It was just a matter of how.

    She seemed to realize it too, thereby deciding to go out in a manner of her choosing. Something he respected.

    Her hands extended in the pots’ direction. Varayik frowned and did the same an instant after her, but she was quicker as she pulled it all violently streaming toward the three of them.

    Yisho’s attack was faster, her pull stronger, and the water itself deadly. There was only one thing he could do and he had to do it now.

    “Don’t move, Moku!” he roared and twisted inward, utilizing water bending’s ever present circling techniques.

    Grabbing the searing water, he moved to instead have it spin around them. Encircling them rather than encompassing. Had she been closer, Varayik would have protected Yisho too. Bringing her in was preferable to outright killing. Execution or not, there was a method to justice. Unfortunately, she was just outside his range of being able to do that and he could only hope she would survive her own attack. Something told him it wasn’t likely. That water was much too heated.

    Varayik did his best to hold onto the defensive circle of water, to make sure he had proper control and incase there was any followup surprises before releasing it all (though with a small ‘ball’ of it over his right hand, ready to attack if need be). There was also the chance he wouldn’t be able to handle it, even then.

    He didn’t want to dwell on that and instead focused on maintaining the defense.

    Tag: Moku & Lady Yisho @The Jedi in the Pumas
     
  7. greyjedi125

    greyjedi125 Chosen One star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 29, 2002
    IC: Master Xian Nin
    Approaching the Pharmacy

    His mind was heavy as he quietly traversed the rooftops of the Lower Ring. Dol’s last words echoed in his thoughts. The War was over. But, War would Free Ba Sing Se.

    More senseless war, more needless suffering.

    This was the Fire Nation’s Legacy.

    His actions now branded him a criminal and a fugitive. He’d destroyed his image and reputation before his second protege and his first abandoned him again, for the second time. The Avatar was dead. What was he left with now, in a world that seemed to be upside down?

    A very good question.

    Master Nin calculated that he’d travelled two miles, and landed, then began to actively search for the pharmacy Dol had mentioned. It was dark now, so he moved silently, yet with purpose. It wouldn’t be long before he saw something - which he did. The white haired Master frowned at the sight that greeted him.

    More conflict.

    Though he could not hear what was being said, Xian saw two females standing to the side while a man who wore the garments of an earth bender confronted a Fire Nation soldier. Their encounter escalated quickly, with the earth bender assaulting the Fire Nation soldier.

    At first, Xian believed the man was protecting the two women. Then his eyes grew wide as she recognized the weaving motions and the feel of the chi in action.

    A Sand Bender.

    “Sand bending... You’re in the Earth Kingdom, Master. There are quite a few of them in the Sand bending tribes.”

    It appeared that Dol was right. But, were all sand benders fond of burying Fire Nation soldiers alive then?

    “More senseless killing.”

    Xian enhanced his speed and strength as he rushed forward, now moving too fast to be tracked in the darkened grounds. In a blink of an eye, he cartwheeled over the unconscious Fire Nation soldier and picked him up with both hands. He hefted the soldier and landed in a crouch, gracefully rolling him to the floor in a smooth motion.

    In that very instant, he noticed the boils and blisters that marked the soldier’s skin. Such wounds could not have been inflicted by a sand bender. It looked like had been burned, but not by fire, but with water. How very odd indeed.

    Gracefully he rose and glanced all around, in case there was something he'd missed.

    That the floor was made of stone was a detail that did not escape him. All that surrounded them, in fact, was made of stone; he was painfully aware of this and its inherent significance. It was a wonder that the people of the Earth Nation did not simply crush their enemies in one fell strike. He believed he understood why they did not. Because they were not a soulless people. They were not what the Fire Nation had become.

    Well, at least not all of them.

    Xian turned to the sand bender in a quick motion and stood his ground as he addressed him.

    “You have defended these women and soundly defeated your foe. There is no need to slay this helpless man. Please, you can return to your homes.”

    Master Nin offered a respectful nod as he spoke in calm tones; he understood the effects of ‘acting in the heat’ of the moment. He certainly hoped the sand bender would listen to reason, or that the women with him could help to calm him down.

    There was something else besides; he couldn’t help but suspect there was more going on than what was readily apparent.


    Tag: @The Jedi in the Pumas, @galactic-vagabond422 , @Darth_Elu
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2020
  8. The Jedi in the Pumas

    The Jedi in the Pumas Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 23, 2018
    Sha-Sin Shohun's Noodle Storehouse, Lower Ring

    "It is not polite to ask a woman where she got her jewelry, young man."

    The voice came from the now open door of the storehouse. Bohi's eyes widened and Kasai would recognize the man standing in the doorway. Most people would.

    [​IMG]

    Master Piandao, Legendary Swordmaster of the Fire Nation. Bohi immediately bowed as low as he could, but Sha-Sin put her hands on her hips and marched right up to the man.
    "Sifu Piandao...I should've known. Are you the one putting ideas in Bohi's head?"

    "No, Sha-Sin!" Bohi straightened up. "Sifu Piandao is here to help us. I'm going to fight the Fire Nation, no matter what."

    Sha-Sin looked back and forth between the two of them, before looking at the rest of the small group gathered. "Listen up everyone. It is extremely dangerous for all of you, here." She looked at Mei-Ling and the small boy. "You two will leave tomorrow. I'll find somewhere for you to stay that will be safe. You shouldn't be caught up in what this group is planning."

    Piandao nodded. This was Sha-Sin's storehouse, it was her compound, and she was well within her rights to try to keep the innocent and youthful out of harm's way. One view at the girl, and her necklace, and he knew that she was Fire Nation. He recognized Kasai's face from the wanted posters littered throughout the Fire Nation and Earth Colonies. But he said nothing. It was not his purpose to intrude upon the lives of these people. He was not worried about them possibly exposing him as they were in desperate straits themselves. He had not been seen on his way to the storehouse, not that it would've been a problem if he had. Piandao was an extremely private, but well respected master in the Fire Nation.

    The Fire Nation generally did not turn on respected masters without good reason.

    Sha-Sin grabbed Bohi by the ear. "And you're going to learn to stop mixing my company up with your rebellious schemes, Bohi."

    Tag: @Master Vo'Un'Var @Shadowsun @TheSilentInfluence
    ------

    Outside the Pharmacy, Lower Ring

    Master Nin moved so quickly that Rumi did not notice the man until he came to a stop in front of him. Rumi ceased his sand bending motions and took a step back. At this distance Master Nin would recognize the sandbender from the execution in front of him. Likewise, Rumi had only ever seen one Fire Nation man with blazing silver hair in his time. He was the same as the man from before.

    Rumi's hands went to his side, but his chi levels did not lower; they were temporarily tamed, but could at a moment's notice be summoned to attack or defend. His eyes slid to the side as he looked over his shoulder where Jiao and her mother stood. He did not sense that this man was a threat. He wore Fire Nation clothing and had a peaceful disposition; Rumi was unsure what to make of him.

    "They can't go back home. The Fire Nation saw to that." He couldn't waste more time here. Maybe the silver-haired man was right. Lady Yisho had been taken somewhere and Jiao and her mother needed to be taken to the second safe house. Rumi derived no pleasure from beating people down. He wasn't like the Fire Nation. "You act like you're different than the rest of the Fire Nation. If you really are, you should change your clothes, Mister. Tomorrow at noon, Huriko's dojo if you want to help the people who really need it."

    He retreated slowly, backing up and keeping his eye on Master Nin, before eventually turning and running back to Jiao. "Jiao, we can go now."

    Kon lay brutalized at the feet of Master Nin and now that the air was clearing, Master Nin would see into the doorway of the pharmacy...that small, easy to miss puffs of steam were emerging from inside and dissipating into the night air.

    ----

    The Pharmacy Underground

    Splashes from the boiling water occasionally came through Varayik's circle, but after a short while the rushing water settled off to the sides of the tunnel.

    "Hot. Hot..." Moku said as he shook his hands. Ironic coming from a firebender. He looked at the steaming figure clinging to the entry ladder with one hand, unconscious. The woman had frozen her hand to the ladder in an effort to avoid death, but was heavily burned by the water everywhere else on her body. She would need assistance soon if she was going to live. Moku looked at Varayik. The concern on his face was clear. There was something else as well. Confusion. He was torn. Lady Yisho was an enemy to the Fire Nation. It was not in his nature to execute someone brutally or let someone die. This internal indecisiveness left him frozen on how to proceed.

    The valiant effort by Varayik to save their lives had been successful; now the next stage of their mission would require a decision to be made. The physical exertion was starting to weigh on his body and fatigue settling into his mind and muscles.

    What would the pair decide to do?

    Tag: @Darth_Elu @galactic-vagabond422 @greyjedi125
     
  9. greyjedi125

    greyjedi125 Chosen One star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 29, 2002
    IC: Master Xian Nin
    At the Pharmacy


    Xian watched the young sand bending Master with a critical gaze. He would never forget his face or the feel of him, now that he had a sense of his chi. Master Nin held his ground, just incase the passionate young sand bender sought to slay the Fire Nation soldier. He well understood the sentiment, but this was not the moment to indulge it.

    Xian did, however, give him a very slow and deliberate nod, acknowledging both his words and his actions. The sand bender had called Jiao by name, informing him of all he needed to know about the two women. The young sand bender also afforded him specific information regarding ‘Huriko’s dojo.’ Xian would find this place and preemtively change his clothes as advised. He definitely needed to know more about what was happening in Ba Sing Se and this might be the place to start.

    Of course, the whole thing could also be a trap, but what did he have to lose? Xian had far more to gain. Besides….

    Xian bent down and checked the Fire Nation soldier’s breathing, then placed two fingers to his neck, checking the strength of the soldier's pulse. The man still lived and his pulse was strong. He was unconscious and Master Nin did not think he’d heard any of the previous conversation, as it seemed very unlikely, but not impossible.

    He’d also noticed the puffs of steam coming from the pharmacy doorway; a tell-tale sign that prompted him to act with alacrity, since that’s where Dol sent him.

    Hefting the unconscious soldier, Xian placed him just outside the pharmacy entrance. If he could get help, the man would be easy to reach. If there was danger, he would be out of harm's way. In a smooth motion, Xian placed his outer coat on the man, to keep his body temperature stable while he rested.

    For several heartbeats Master Nin closed his eyes, letting his senses and his chi sweep the area and inform him of any shifts in the ebb and flow of energy : Where was the steam coming from? He could hear no pot or cauldron. Xian’s eyes suddenly opened as he felt spikes of energy, those associated with violence and bending attacks.

    Thought became action as Xian moved instantly with no hesitation, even as he entered the pharmacy, trusting his senses to lead him to the epicenter of that which he’d felt. Within himself, he really hoped he wasn’t too late to meet whomever Dol had wished him to contact.

    He would remain sharp and alert, expecting the unexpected.

    Hopefully, 'peace' would not be an exception to that rule.




    Tag: @The Jedi in the Pumas, @Darth_Elu (galactic-vagabon422 *mentioned )
     
  10. TheSilentInfluence

    TheSilentInfluence Outspoken and Enraged Mod of SWTV and SWC star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jul 15, 2014
    IC: Mei-Ling Shu
    Sha-Sin Shohun's Noodle Storehouse, Lower Ring

    Mei-Ling panicked.

    No. No. They can't find out. Please don't ask where I come from. I have to think of something-

    She felt herself seize up, because the man, Kasai must have recognised the Fire Nation necklace. She shifted back further against the wall, and didn't answer, looking up as the newcomer entered the room; defending her. She relaxed slightly at his Fire Nation clothing, which was a strange thought; and kept her eyes on him as the man who had brought her here bowed. He's important then? Shows what I know about the Fire Nation.

    Mei-Ling listened as they spoke; and nodded in agreement with Sha-Sin about leaving in the morning. "Yes, thank you. I don't want to trouble you anymore then I...we have." She reached up and wrapped a hand around her necklace, the warmth spreading across her hand. She dipped her head in a bow. "Please forgive me if I have come across as rude in anyway. It has been a long time since I have been around others."

    Once I'm out of here, maybe I can find a job somewhere and lay low. If I can find a way to the Fire Nation, maybe I can find my mother. But I'll have to dress like I'm a Fire Nation teenager when I get there...and who knows if she would welcome with open arms.

    Tag: @The Jedi in the Pumas @Master Vo'Un'Var @Shadowsun
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2020
  11. Darth_Elu

    Darth_Elu Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jan 2, 2003
    Varayik Toroq IC:
    ~Pharmacy Underground, Lower Ring, Ba Sing Se~

    It was an immense strain on his body, a testament to the strength of the attack, with his arms both outstretched and face furrowed deeply in a painful grimace. The sounds of that strain making itself known despite his best attempts to keep it in.

    But finally. Suddenly. It was done and his defense successful. Only then did Varayik notice that he had been hit after all, with a little of the splashes coming through and hitting him on his legs. He had been so focused that he hadn’t even noticed.

    The pain was starting to announce its presence however, now that he had seen.

    Noticing Moku’s line of sight (he was grateful that while his hands had been hit, it was minor), he followed it to see Yisho clinging to the entry ladder. Barely. Steam was rising from all over the older woman’s body. Some ice remained on the one hand holding onto the ladder’s rungs, showing how she had attempted to defend herself.

    She hadn’t been as successful. In the end, she was still alive, but not for long if untreated. Even as exhaustion began to settle in and his mind’s corners experience some fog, he knew that without much effort.

    He and Moku exchanged a look. The water bender found himself rather glad to see the concern on his face, despite it being an enemy. They were still human after all. Nevertheless, the confusion on how to proceed due to their relative positions to the woman was on his face as well. Couldn’t blame him that either.

    “We…brought her in for justice, Moku. It is not our decision to make with what happens to her. She…she needs medical attention.”

    His eyes also settled on that ridiculously thick ice wall. Split priorities. But also there were two of them. Moku would have to take Yisho so he could rest a little then begin to work on that wall.

    Kon.

    A mental sigh reverberated through him and he stumbled a little before placing one hand on the tunnel wall to support himself. Varayik let his head hang low for just a moment as he thought. No, splitting up wasn’t an option now. Moku could take care of one injured individual, not two.

    This gave the enemy time, which he hated, but…he had to make a choice. So he did.

    “We have to go, Moku. I’m worn out and both she and Kon need help. We don’t have much time. Carry her for me,” he moved toward the ladder though waited for Moku to take the lead with their second-time prisoner, “Be gentle.”

    They'd simply have to inform command of what they found down here and hope they could get to it before whatever was protected was moved again. He’d follow up after the other two, unaware that they had a new visitor to the pharmacy above them. This night wasn’t over yet.

    Tag: Moku, Yisho, Master Nin, & Kon @The Jedi in the Pumas @greyjedi125
     
  12. galactic-vagabond422

    galactic-vagabond422 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2009
    Jiao Yuan
    Lower Ring Ba Sing Se

    Jiao followed instructions keeping low and quiet as Rumi moved into the pharmacy. She held her mother's hand watching the entrance and keeping an eye out for any patrols, or more Fire Nation. As a body was thrown out of the building the young woman watched with almost horror as Rumi started taking the still living man below the earth. She lept to her feet ready to interpose her body between the defenseless fire nation man and Rumi's wrath. However her mother gripped her hand tightly preventing her from getting involved.

    Thankfully someone already interceded, the white haired man from the execution. It seemed he didn't take too kindly to murder, though he didn't seem interested in handing out justice to the boy. Likely it spared Rumi's life. Though she looked to their new protector with a wide eyed gaze. Her stomach turned a little as he came closer.

    Getting to her feet she furrowed her brow a little.

    "Lucky that man was there...do you want more blood on your hands?" She said accusing Rumi. "He was beaten and wasn't going to divulge anything. Why kill him, why are you so quick to take life?"

    TAG: @The Jedi in the Pumas
     
  13. Shadowsun

    Shadowsun Jedi Master star 3

    Registered:
    Jun 26, 2017
    Kasai Oban
    Sha-Sin Shohun's Noodle Storehouse, Lower Ring

    In an instant Kasai forgot about the pedant; he could not believe it was Master Piando. Legendary Swordsman of the Fire Nation. If he was helping these rebels, well that changed everything.

    If a prominent member of the fire nation aristocracy was helping a resistance movement than surely a fire bender they would trust? But how could they? They might think he is a spy.

    Not if I tell them the truth, if I say I’m a firebender what reason would I do so other than to gain their trust? If I was a covert firebender agent I would be a pretty terrible one for doing so.

    Sha-Sin had just grabbed Bohi by the ear when he spoke.

    “Earlier you asked me what I was in trouble for, I didn’t tell you the whole truth.” He paused briefly.

    Was this the right course of action? What other choice did he have? If he left tomorrow the fire nation would find him sooner or earlier and then he would be executed. It was a risk, but his only real option.

    Not to mention he wanted to make the fire nation pay for their crimes,

    “I was a former member of the Fire Nation Army, to be more precise I am a Firebender.”

    He extended his hand, palm facing upward and let a small, delicate flame kindle in his hand.

    “I rebelled against my commander, once I learnt the true horrors of the Fire Nation. I fled for the only refuge I could think of, this city. They captured me. Today they were going to execute me for my trying to save a village of earth benders.” He paused again, looking to the floor, the shame of his past filled his face.

    “I have no where to run, no where to hide, if I go they will find me and kill me”

    He looked back up, looking now at Master Piandao and then extinguished the flame.

    “I cannot change my past, but I can change my future, let me help you. Please. It is all I have left”

    TAG: @TheSilentInfluence @Master Vo'Un'Var @The Jedi in the Pumas
     
  14. greyjedi125

    greyjedi125 Chosen One star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 29, 2002
    OOC: A most excellent Combo between myself and @Darth_Elu, under the supervision of our awesome GM, @The Jedi in the Pumas. Please enjoy! :)

    ***********************************************************

    Master Nin & Varayik Toroq

    Lower Level, the pharmacy

    The interior of the pharmacy was not lit, nor was there a sound to be heard, at least no normal sounds.

    Master Nin
    moved with purpose as he followed the steam trail and what he sensed through his chi. He did not know what to expect, so he remained alert.

    As he approached the counter of the pharmacy, he saw Moku emerge from the hidden trap door, carrying an older woman: the Mii Yisho from the execution earlier and the woman was in terrible shape. Moku climbed all the way out and turned to wait for Varayik when he saw Master Nin on the other side of the counter.

    Confused would be an understatement. “Master Nin!” He gasped. His eyes gleamed in the dim light of admiration and then realization. Master Nin was a fugitive now. He shifted the weight of Lady Yisho and took a step back defensively, and raised a palm. He looked around.

    “Where is Kon?”

    Master Nin remained calm as he watched the Fire Nation soldier go through his mental realizations. Xian hoped the man's rational wouldn't simply stop at what was obvious.

    "Kon?" He echoed, then slowly nodded. His eyes narrowed slightly as he saw the soldier's raised palm, then took note of the condition of his water bending prisoner. Master Nin took one smooth step that placed him in front of the soldier.

    "Your friend is just outside the front door, unconscious. He also has burns and boils on his skin, however, I was able to keep him from being buried alive just now. You have no reason to believe me, but I tell you the truth."

    Xian gave the man an respectful nod again, but did not yield his ground.

    "Your prisoner needs medical help, a lot more than she needs a cell right now. I propose we trade for now, as you can only carry one person."

    Master Nin slowly extended both hands. "May I have this burden. Please."

    As Varayik slowly climbed up the entry, now exit, ladder; he heard Moku’s statement from up above. Admittedly, he froze for a moment. He remembered that name. It had been a long day, but an eventful one.

    ‘Master’ Nin was one of the reasons it had been so eventful. This was the last thing they had needed at this precise moment!

    Grimacing, he moved up the last few rungs even quieter.

    Just as the silver haired one reached out to receive Lady Yisho, he was calling up the remaining strength in his body to summon the water from his pack at the same time he jumped up and into a roll from the hatch.

    Water jetted out, not in an attack, but as a warning line in between his friend and this newcomer to the scene. Forcing him to back up.

    “He may carry only one. But I can carry the other. Your assistance is not needed.”

    Varayik straightened and stared hard at the man. This one was still a figure he couldn’t fully figure out, but the events replayed quite fresh in his mind’s eye. Tired though he was, he’d have to be ready for anything.

    "Greetings once again. I should be surprised to see you, but I am not, given today's events." Xian said calmly, but did not step aside. His level of chi however, did rise. This water bender was disturbingly committed to the Fire Nation's ideals. It was quite perplexing and it bordered on tragic. But that was not the focus of the moment.

    "You should gather your friend, attend to his wounds and get some rest. We've both had enough trouble for today. Fighting can be left for another time. So, please...hand over Lady Yisho so we can all rest this night. Please."

    Master Nin took in the entire scene before him, including the water bender's willingness to continue down the path of conflict despite his evident fatigue. Still, he continued to stand his ground and waited.

    Varayik frowned. This one liked to play cool, collected, and elitist. His supposed good nature coming off as some kind of underhanded ploy, at least to him.

    It was starting to get stale very quickly.

    "I agree, so why don't you follow your own advice, friend," he said very cooly, "and get out of our way. If you are truly so understanding a gentlemen, then you would realize there is no logical way you could ever tell us to just hand over a wanted criminal to you. One who attacked the authorities just earlier today."

    He moved over, not willing to get into attack mode due to even him knowing it wouldn't be wise given circumstances, but came to stand next to Moku. His gaze never left the supposed master. Master of what, he'd very much like to know.

    "Normally I'd be in my rights to arrest you, whether you agree with the law or not, it is the law right now. But for the sake of their health and for us to do our duty regarding justice, I'm willing to let you go this time. Now move....please."

    "Be mindful of Pride young man, it will lead you to fall. I've already lost all that I own, save for my conscience. Do you truly know these Masters you so blindly obey? Are you so willfully blind to the suffering around you? Perhaps.

    Consider that you have a wounded friend outside, and the two of you look worse for wear. Like you, I too hold my beliefs close to my heart, unlike you, I am not tired. You could choose wisely and take your wounded, or risk further harm to yourselves. I will not allow you to take Lady Yisho. Of course, you can risk a confrontation in your current state and learn a few new things in the process.

    However, if our sand bending friend returns, I'm afraid I will not be able to be of much help to you. Do you so easily risk the safety of others for the sake of Pride?"


    It was a classic stand-off of polar ideals. Those always began peaceably, but history recorded how most of them ended. Would this end any differently?

    Varayik gritted his teeth. Ever the righteous, was he.

    "I'll mind my pride when you stop acting the wise one. You lost everything due to your own actions, not any fault of ours. And I already lost everything years ago. I built myself back up, remade myself. It was the Fire Nation who showed me the way. In war, tragedies are inevitable. You think all the enemies of the nation you claim to be from," here he jabbed a pointed finger at his clothes, "are more innocent? No blood on their hands? Now who is the blind one."

    The water bender, letting his anger begin to boil like the pots had done down below minutes previous, walked right up into the man's face. Just barely restraining himself from action.

    "You walk the path of the sand bender from earlier now, clearly. And you saw what he did just as much as those you stand against. We at least have our duty and a clear line of what must be done. It is you who seems to be floundering and trying to find their own way right now. You don't need to stop us. You have no formal allegiance...I think. So don't get in our way. Last warning.”

    "We'll fight because you force us to. Violence will be your choice in this case, I think."

    No words were needed. Just lightning speed and accuracy.

    A flurry of lightning fast chi blocking strikes rained on the water benders body, both to block his bending and paralyze him. Xian surmised this might be what the water bender may have desired. Even if the water bender wished to let go Lady Yisho, though unlikely by his own words, his actions painted a different picture. The water bender was too tired to win a physical confrontation, but he could not allow himself to give up his prisoner and appear weak. These were the trappings of his office, trappings and illusions he allowed to have power over him. This is why he moved within striking distance, but had not attacked.

    Xian decided to help him keep his illusions. The water bender spoke of so many contradictions, it was a wonder he could still function in society at all. The Fire Nation was not a healthy place for someone with such a warped mind. Someone who would so willingly oppose his fellow tribesmen.

    Still, Master Nin would make certain the water bender was temporarily incapacitated before turning to his subordinate, who was still holding Lady Yisho and would not be able to mount a defense in time to avert suffering a similar fate. Another flurry of paralyzing and chi blocking strikes would result in another temporarily incapacitated Fire Nation soldier.

    As the paralyzed soldier fell, Xian grabbed hold of Lady Yisho.

    "Those incapable of making a choice will have it made for them."

    Xian could feel that she was badly hurt and very weak. He knew they couldn't tarry here.

    Cradling Lady Yisho in his arms, Master Nin moved as silently and as fast as it was possible, exiting the pharmacy with what was possibly his second lead to the Ba Sing Se underground. First he would need to get medical attention for his charge.

    The man moved quickly, much faster than anticipated, and began to strike him in an odd pattern. Varayik was too tired to respond properly and his arms suddenly refused to work, though he leaned backwards and kicked out in a feeble arc, splashing water at the man's legs.

    It was ineffectual. There was just no strength behind it, so at best the man would simply get a bit wet. No danger inherent. And within seconds, he was crumpling to the floor. His pride more hurt than his body.

    It had been official with this altercation. Varayik hated this man. He no longer cared what his story was.

    Unable to move for the moment, his mouth could still speak. And as Master Nin ran off with Yisho, he could only snarl after him.

    "The only choice you've made is hypocrisy!"

    His main concern now shifted to Kon. If the enemy wasn't lying, he was outside the front door unconscious. But he needed medical attention.

    But how can I do that now!?

    As the disgusting liberator ran off with the criminal he had worked so hard to recapture, he could only feel a mix of his personal rage and a helplessness at his friend's condition he could now do nothing about.

    One way or another, this night had left an indelible mark on both Xian and Varayik in subtle and overt ways. The cycle of conflict between them had likely just been spun into motion.

    Only destiny could now know what held in store for them.



    Tag: @The Jedi in the Pumas, @Darth_Elu
     
  15. The Jedi in the Pumas

    The Jedi in the Pumas Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 23, 2018
    As the moon rose high in the sky, the Lower Ring began to settle...



    Bohi couldn't help himself. Despite his sister's and Master Piandao's protests, Bohi grabbed Kasai and tied him up, taking him to another one of the storehouses on the compound and storing him there. Mei-Ling and Torvau were allowed to sleep while Sha-Sin began looking at the Resistance's network to see what could be done for them...

    Piandao took Bohi and Heng Li aside. He told them that the White Lotus appreciated Bohi's aggressive actions, but that they were too brash. Innocents could've been harmed and that was not the way. With the Avatar gone, the war was going to take a bad end for the Earth Kingdom. Many forces and small villages outside of Ba Sing Se were fighting the Fire Nation and Piandao feared that Fire Lord Ozai's patience would wear off. If they were going to fight back, they would need to be smarter and build the resistance within Ba Sing Se. They'd need more allies...

    Moku, Varayik, and Kon were retrieved from the Pharmacy by a patrolling Fire Nation squad. They would be slightly reprimanded for their actions and Kon would be hospitalized for his injuries. The Fire Nation Garrison command was excited that the young men had unearthed a secret hideout and evidence of a larger network of resistance among the citizens of the Lower Ring. Behind the ice wall in the basement, the Fire Nation found a dozen teenagers who were quickly taken to holding cells in the Middle Ring to be interrogated about what they knew. Moku and Varayik were sent to bed afterwards, to await the Garrison Commander's ruling on their actions in the morning...

    Lady Yisho would awaken in Master Nin's arms and whisper to him. Requesting that he take her to the graves of her sons, behind their house. Once the Fire Nation realized she had escaped, they would eventually go to her home, but not this night. When they arrived the woman asked to be laid next to their respective trees. She would not see the morning, Master Nin would realize, for he knew of no healers in the city. She looked at the young master and knew his heart to be pure and kind. With her last words, she departed a blessing of protection over him, the resistance, and Ba Sing Se. She asked that he do what he could to help them; help the city in their time of need. But warned him... The young sandbender was lost. Misguided. He wants to do right and save everyone, but would destroy himself without the right guidance. Her death would send him past the point of redemption. She asked that he keep this secret...



    Rumi led Jiao and her mother to Sha-Sin's Noodle Compound and convinced Sha-Sin and Bohi to allow them to stay there until he could safely get them out. He never responded to Jiao's question. He could not come up with an answer. After the others had gone to sleep, he climbed the tallest storehouse. He sat, his knees to his chest, arms folded over his legs, and face covered beneath them, hiding his tears. Dol's footsteps made no sound as she landed behind him, but he knew she had arrived.

    "I failed her, Dol. They took Lady Yisho and they probably took the others. I failed them all."

    Dol bowed her head and did not speak.

    Rumi sniffed and continued to cry. "I'm going to find them. Then I'm going to make them pay. All of them." Through tear-filled eyes, he stared at the moon; rage and sorrow clung to him as if they were the very clothes on his back.

    Dol placed a hand on his shoulder. "Yes...yes we will, Rumi."
    ------
    Fire Nation Barracks, Middle Ring

    Commander Xao Zomun was not mad. Not in the least. As he stood in front of Varayik and Moku, he grinned from ear to ear.

    "Very well done, gentlemen. If you had failed, we would be having a very different conversation. Insubordination. Abandoning of one's post. Quite a number of charges we would level against you, but...but young men, you have uncovered evidence of a wide reaching network. The tunnel below the the Pharmacy appears to connect to a web, but of course, the tunnel's path was destroyed by earthbenders before the men were able to find anymore leads. Irrespective, Nice work."

    "Thank you, sir!" Moku said excitedly, giving Varayik a little nudge. Moku was sad about Kon, but their plan had worked in a big way. They should be proud.

    "Now, there is more work to be done, but I think you men have earned a day off due to your late night exploits. Report back to the barracks by nighttime, but feel free to explore the Middle Ring. You've earned it."

    Tag: @Darth_Elu


    -----
    Sha-Sin's Noodle Storehouse, Lower Ring

    Sha-Sin watched as Bohi set off with the little boy in tow. They had changed his clothes and the boy seemed to have a good idea of where his parents could be, so Bohi had convinced her to let him go. Sha-Sin reasoned that he needed something to take his mind off of his rebellious actions. Bohi meant well, but he was brash and that could get him and others killed; they were trying to actually accomplish something here and that meant they had to move strategically.


    Piandao had gone to have a talk with the confessed firebender. Simply being part of the Fire Nation or being a firebender did not mean the young man was bad, but since he admitted to being part of the army that gave them all pause. His very existence could put them at risk. Sifu Piandao elected to talk with him and see where his head was. They would judge what happened next after that.

    Kasai was still tied up from the previous night. Piandao set on a barrel in front of him. The storehouse they were in was much more cramped than the larger one everyone else had slept in. Piandao crossed his legs and waited before speaking. "Kasai...I recognize you from the wanted posters. You're among a kindred spirit when it comes to fighting against the actions of our Fire Nation. But you injured multiple soldiers in your escape. Do you make a habit out of attacking your comrades?"

    Jiao's mother had slept in Sha-Sin's loungeroom that was more comfortable than the storehouse's hard floor. Sha-Sin asked Jiao and Mei-Ling to help her move some barrels and shipments of noodles to prepare for the busy morning of pick ups from the storehouse. Most restaurants in the Lower and Middle ring would ride down to Sha-Sin's storehouse to retrieve her shipments. After that, Sha-Sin would load deliveries onto Popo, her large camelephant, and go out to make her rounds. She wasn't sure if the girls would want to risk going out into the city, so preparing the morning shipments was the best thing for them to past time. Plus, she needed the help, the tasks for the morning were:

    • Feed and Wash Popo
    • Tag the shipments with the customer names
    • Stack the shipments at the entry to the compound
    • Load Popo with deliveries
    • Process the Transactions
    Hopefully the young women would not mind helping. Everyone had to pull their weight.

    Tag: @TheSilentInfluence @galactic-vagabond422 @Shadowsun

    ------
    Huriko's Dojo, Lower Ring

    [​IMG]

    Lord Huriko, a middle aged grappling and martial arts expert, was renowned around the earth kingdom. He was a celebrated soldier 20 years ago on the front lines fighting the Fire Nation. His career came to an end at the Battle of Earth's Edge where the attacking Fire Nation army, his men, and his village were all destroyed in a confrontation that lasted months. Since then, he has been dedicated to teaching grappling and submission martial arts and following a more peaceful life since resurfacing in Ba Sing Se a decade ago. His dojo was known across the Earth Kingdom. Yet...

    This morning, like the previous weeks, his dojo was almost empty.

    Many of his trainees and students were taken prisoner by the Fire Nation after the Coup. Some of the young men and women had fought back during the coup, but many of them were taken as a show of strength to Huriko and the rest of the Lower Ring: if their children and fighters could be taken, then they would be wise to not fight the new Fire Nation rulers.

    Huriko sat in the small backroom he called his office. A large hammer wrapped in bandages in front of him. He wanted to take action but...he couldn't risk putting everyone in danger. He was distressed. Last night, Lady Yisho, one of the few waterbenders who lived in Ba Sing Se for decades and was a known healer and friend, was taken by the Fire Nation. Yesterday, they tried to execute her and one of the Yuan sons in front of the family tea house. Did these atrocities know no end? Was this their life under the Fire Nation for the foreseeable future?

    As he sat, distraught, while only the youngest of his students, children between the ages of 3-8 practiced grappling on the mats, the door of the dojo opened. In walked Rumi, still in complete earthbender attire. Huriko's eyes narrowed. They were here again. To petition him to join their underground resistance. He had refused every day, and still Rumi came, no matter what. Today though...Huriko's answer, given the past 24 hours, may be different.

    Rumi smiled at the children and made his way to the backroom.

    "Here again, sandbender?" Huriko asked impatiently, rubbing his temples.

    Rumi cocked his head to the side and laughed. "Think you could say it any louder, old man? Geez...You never know who's listening."

    "Or who's watching. Like your little slaughter in front of the Tea House will go unnoticed. They're going to reign fire down on all of us because of what you did, boy. You know my answer, now leave."

    Rumi's grin faded and he sat on the floor. "I'm not here for you, old man. I'm here because I'm meeting someone... I think. No clue if he'll actually show."

    Tag: @greyjedi125
     
    Darth_Elu, Shadowsun and greyjedi125 like this.
  16. greyjedi125

    greyjedi125 Chosen One star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 29, 2002
    IC: Master Nin
    Lower Ring

    ****Night Time****

    It had been a very long time since he had felt this powerless, a very long time indeed. The feeling was not welcome, but he accepted it, just as Lady Yisho accepted the inevitable.

    Master Nin did not have the means to heal the waterbender or knew anyone who could, so he fulfilled her wish and carried her to her sons' graves, behind her home. The Fire Nation had robbed this woman of her children and now they robbed her of her life as well.

    Xian listened to Lady Yisho and comforted her as best he could. The growing grief and rage he was feeling, he kept it hidden and compartmentalized, away from the dying woman; she needed kindness and companionship in her final moments, that was the least he could do. He’d help save her from execution in the morning, just for her to die in the evening anyway.

    It was beyond senseless. The cycle needed to be broken. It needed to end.

    With an open heart did he accept her blessing of protection, and learned more of the resistance. Though his eyes narrowed as he heard of the young sandbender, he held himself in check. He swore to keep her secret. But secretly determined to do what he could to help, if it was still possible.

    When the time came, Xian buried Lady Yisho next to her sons. He grieved her loss and let his tears run. He felt her loss, the vacuum that such a venerable woman left in her wake, thanks to the machinations of the Fire Nation.

    With silent determination, Xian entered Yisho’s home and searched for the sons’ room. The silver haired Master had another promise to keep, so he availed himself of appropriate garments. The irony was not lost to him as he donned the garb of the Water Tribe. He despised the theft he now committed, but saw no other alternative. He would beg Lady Yisho’s forgiveness in prayer.

    Xian raised the hood of his top and covered his head. His sword was strapped to his back, bundled as ever. Once he stepped outside, Master Nin held the Fire Nation garments he’d worn between his two hands and allowed the rage he had been holding to flow through him. The hilt of his sword glinted as did his eyes, fire suddenly flashed in his hands, fierce and ravenous. Almost instantly, the garments were consumed and nothing but wisps of ash were left.

    With that done, Master Nin found a place to fast and meditate until almost noon.

    ****Day Time*****

    The place wasn’t hard to find, oddly enough, but it made sense. As the renown Master Nin of the Fire Nation, he’d resided in the luxury of the Upper Ring of Ba Sing Se and had nearly no knowledge of the Middle or Lower Rings. It shamed him that he’d been so aristocratic and aloof, to the point he hadn’t noticed the change.

    Inwardly, he was relieved that his eyes had been opened once again.

    Xian had arrived early and waited outside at a good distance. Seeing what he could see and sensing what he could sense. Truth be told, there was not much of either. There was no activity of note.

    At the given hour, Xian rose from his seat and moved casually as he came to Huriko’s Dojo. As a proper guest, he rang the bell as he entered, then bowed at the entrance. For now he left his hood up as he continued in.

    He smiled upon seeing young children practicing martial arts. The sight of it immediately warmed his heart and his smile widened further.

    “Pardon me, young ones….” Xian found himself saying, quite amused, as he tried not give ‘pointers’ on their form.

    “Is your Master in today?”



    Tag: @The Jedi in the Pumas
     
  17. galactic-vagabond422

    galactic-vagabond422 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2009
    Jiao Yuan
    Sha-Sin's Noodle Storehouse, Lower Ring, Ba Sing Se

    It was a fitful night's sleep for the young woman. She left her home, her family's store, everything she'd ever known. The only thing keeping her from falling apart was the hope that she would one day return, that this was only temporary. Curled up tight on the floor she clutched her pack close to her chest. She was surrounded by strangers and all her worldly possessions were in this simple pack. Losing even one item would be devastating her. Rumi hadn't given her answer to her question, on why he was so eger to kill. He had told her that he didn't enjoy it, but that didn't explain his short temper, and his seeming indifference to the lives he was taking.

    It wasn't as if she liked the Fire Nation, but she knew the pain of losing someone, and she would not wish it on anyone. She lost one brother in the attack, and nearly lost another one today. Her heart ached with an emptiness, the hole left by her brothers and her father disappearing. Why was the world dead set on taking everything away from her, everything. There was a part of her mind wondering when she would be next, when would the Fire Nation take her away, or when would Rumi kill her?

    Looking around the store room she saw other people, other fighters for the cause. Were these all killers too? Did they have the same cold heart as Rumi, would they do whatever they thought necessary to end this occupation? Could they even end it? These questions swirled in her mind robbing her of sleep, of the peace she once had.

    Waking in the morning she was tired, her body didn't want to wake but the sun had other ideas. Getting up she saw a list of chores to be done, most of them involving getting the shipments ready to move.

    She looked to the other girl who looked younger than herself.

    "You want to take half the list, I'll take the other half?" she asked, doing chores was nothing new for her, at the tea house everyone had to do something, and maybe it would be helpful. Help keep her mind off everything going on.

    TAG: @TheSilentInfluence @The Jedi in the Pumas
     
  18. Darth_Elu

    Darth_Elu Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jan 2, 2003
    Varayik Toroq IC:
    ~Barracks, Middle Ring, Ba Sing Se~

    It was a long night, laying on his cot with both hands tucked behind his head. Varayik could only stare upwards at the ceiling. So many things had happened on his first day. Too many, if you asked him.

    An execution. Rebellion and convicts escaping with him present. His added failure in saving the Captain from his injuries and that damned sand bender that had taunted him throughout the confrontation. And Master Nin with his odd placement in the whole thing, yet the showings of his elitism persisting nevertheless.

    Tch.

    Varayik made a face as he continued to lay there, his eyes wide open. The sounds of the night were oh so calm, it made it seem like all this stuff happened ages ago. Somewhere else, not here, not in Ba Sing Se. It was so peaceful, couldn’t you tell?

    No, of course not. Because in his heart, he felt the truth. It was anything but.

    Moku and Kon. Their excitement at the barracks earlier being infectious and their half-baked plan to get justice. The actual raid on the pharmacy. Kon…poor Kon and the steam.

    Varayik closed his eyes tight, as if he was in agony at the memory.

    Down the hatch and the full confrontation with Lady Yisho. They’re near ascent into full victory, but then….That man again. Master Nin.

    Tch!!!

    He had escaped after finishing them off in a flash. He was lucky he had been tired, though it was true, if he had only maintained his distance perhaps he could have warded the man off better…In any event, he lost. Again. Yisho escaped. Again.

    Varayik had stayed behind by request to learn that behind the ice wall were teenagers, which made him finally understand the woman’s words. He was glad they still managed to catch them, though for some reason he felt a little conflicted about that particular detail in the whole thing. Guilty almost.

    Still. It was done. For the most part, in his eyes, he had failed. The reprimand they had received was completely worth it. Seeing Kon head for the hospital was the worst however.

    That. That right there, Varayik. They did that. But it’s also YOUR fault for letting it happen.

    Finally forgetting sleep altogether, he rolled out of bed and got dressed. From there, the water bender strolled out of the barracks and just sat there, to the side of the door. Nearby guards raised eyebrows, but they said nothing. And he said nothing in return.

    He sat there all night and eventually watched the sun rise the next morning…

    *****
    Varayik was tired, but he felt it a small price to pay for his shortcomings as he stood with Moku before Commander Xao Zomun. The man was grinning widely. Why he wasn’t sure. I mean, they did catch the teenagers, but what of it? Really.

    “Very well done gentlemen.”

    He could only blink, while Moku’s smile suddenly plastered itself onto his face. He always did seem the easy-smiling type.

    “If you had failed, we would be having a very different conversation. Insubordination. Abandoning of one’s post. Quite a number of charges we would level against you, but…young men you have uncovered evidence of a wide reaching network. The tunnel below the Pharmacy appears to connect to a web, but of course, the tunnel’s path was destroyed by earth benders before the men were able to find anymore leads.”

    Ah. So there was more to it than just the new bundle of prisoners. Well, that was something. Still, Varayik couldn’t quite find it in himself to agree on the ‘success’ part.

    “Irrespective, Nice work.”

    “Thank you, sir!”

    Moku nudged him happily. Varayik affected a weak smile in response, but managed a full salute to his commander more convincingly.

    “I’m glad it all worked out, sir. I just wish I had managed to catch Yisho. In the end, I couldn’t help but feel like I needed to prove myself, and am proud to see we have leads on this network.”

    That was a partial lie. He didn’t feel proud at all. That sense of crushing failure despite the praise was too strong, but he kept it as hidden as possible.

    “Now, there is more work to be done, but I think you men have earned a day off due to your late night exploits. Report back to the barracks by night time, but feel free to explore the Middle Ring. You’ve earned it.”

    “Sir.” He saluted again then, when prudent, backed away to do just that.

    Varayik had no idea where to go, he decided to just let his feet take him somewhere. Anywhere. But he did beg pardon to his friend, asking him if he could just be alone for awhile.

    He had some thinking to do.

    Tag: Moku & Commander Zomun @The Jedi in the Pumas
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2020
  19. Shadowsun

    Shadowsun Jedi Master star 3

    Registered:
    Jun 26, 2017
    Kasai Oban
    Sha-Sin's Noodle Storehouse, Lower Ring
    Kasai dazed into and out of existence. His thoughts muddled. Had he made the right decision?

    He knew that saying what he did would be a risk, he was a former member of the fire nation military after all, it made sense they would not trust him. Kasai looked towards Piandao as he entered the room, was it all ready morning?

    "Kasai...I recognize you from the wanted posters. You're among a kindred spirit when it comes to fighting against the actions of our Fire Nation. But you injured multiple soldiers in your escape. Do you make a habit out of attacking your comrades?"

    Kasai hung his head in shame. And with a gentle sigh he let out:

    "No I do not. I ashamed that I attacked my comrades, that I almost killed them. But the things I've seen, the things I've seen my comrades do...." He looked up at Piandao tears running down his face.

    "They made us go from village to village, and force them to accept the Fire Nation." He paused briefly, closing his eyes tears still flowing. "Usually it went smoothly, they would see the armor, the fire, the power and give up. "

    He opened his eyes again and cast his glaze to the floor. The pain was stretched over his face. The next few words he let out with a stutter, each word leaving his lips with a sad somber.

    "But t-there was a this one village that wouldn't give up, wouldn't give in. We were ordered to kill them, all of them. I....I just couldn't do it..."

    Kasai stopped, he could not go on. The past, it was too painful.

    TAG: @The Jedi in the Pumas
     
  20. TheSilentInfluence

    TheSilentInfluence Outspoken and Enraged Mod of SWTV and SWC star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jul 15, 2014
    IC: Mei-Ling Shu
    Sha-Sin's Noodle Storehouse, Lower Ring, Ba Sing Se

    Mei-Ling awoke with a start, and realised that things were different. There were new people, and some of the old ones; the little kid were gone. Mei-Ling wished she had a chance to say goodbye, and made a mental note to ask if she could send a message later. Mei-Ling didn't really want to get up; but she knew she had to. Mei-Ling stood up and took a few minutes to get herself cleaned up, before she had been asked to help around the noodle storehouse. She looked at the other girl, who was a few years older then herself; who had asked of Mei-Ling wanted to split the list with her.

    "Okay." Mei-Ling agreed. She frowned and added, "I'll take the second half." And then, "I'm Mei-Ling by the way. From Omashu." She tilted her head in a bow and smiled a little. She wasn't sure if they would be friends, but it was nice to have someone close to her age to talk to. But could she trust her? Mei-Ling wasn't so sure. She didn't trust anyone here much. But it was nice to have a place to stay, if only for a bit.

    Tag: @The Jedi in the Pumas @galactic-vagabond422 @Shadowsun
     
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  21. The Jedi in the Pumas

    The Jedi in the Pumas Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 23, 2018
    Sha-Sin's Noodle Storehouse, Lower Ring, Ba Sing Se

    Popo the camelephant was dirty. Very dirty and when Jiao approached him with the bucket of water, he laid flat on the dirt, refusing to move. Sha-Sin noticed and laughed from a distance at the front of the compound.

    "HE LIKES TO SPRAY THE WATER ON YOU SO BE CAREFUL!" She yelled. There was a secret to getting Popo to comply with bath time. He liked to test people's will and only responded when someone was strict and disciplined with him; proving they were not one to be toyed with. She wondered if Jiao would be up to the task.

    On the other side of the storehouse, there were over three dozen boxes that needed to be moved to the entrance of the compound; more than 20 yards away. A few of the workers were lifting them one by one and carrying them to Sha-Sin at the entrance. The boxes were durable and could likely take a drop...but they're had to be an easier way to move them. Some of the pick up customers were starting to arrive, so time was of the essence. One of the workers looked at Mei-Ling and scratched his head. "These boxes might be alittle heavy for you little lady."

    Inside the small storeroom, Piandao stood above Kasai and untangled the young man's bonds.

    "You're being given a second...Maybe even a third chance here, Kasai. Do not waste it. You have within you competing ideals and confusion that is born from one's sense of what is right and one's sense of duty. You must gain control of this conflict. Of this storm within you if you are ever going to be able to rise out of the shadow of your former self."

    Piandao opened the door of the storehouse. "Do not hold shame at attacking your comrades. You did what you believed was right and there is no shame in that."

    The view from the storehouse door allowed Kasai to see Jiao with Popo and Mei-Ling working with the boxes.

    "The people of the Earth Kingdom will suffer greatly at the hands of the Fire Nation if Ba Sing Se does not liberate itself. What do you think of that, Kasai? Do you think you have a place here? Look inside yourself and answer."

    Tag: @Shadowsun @galactic-vagabond422 @TheSilentInfluence

    ------

    Middle Ring, Ba Sing Se

    His feet took him miles from the barracks. In his absentmindedness he would lose his way. Though Varayik likely did not care.

    [​IMG]
    There was a mix in the Middle Ring. There were the typical Earth middle class and nobles, but there were also Fire Nation nobles as well; individuals who had arrived since the Coup, looking to buy up property, experience the sights of Ba Sing Se, and some crueler ones visited to purchase or take souvenirs from the conquering of the once great Earth Kingdom Capital.The was thick with....animosity? Possibly. A clashing of energies? The energy of enthusiasm and smugness coming from the Fire Nation visitors and the energy of inferiority that the citizens of Ba Sing Se now exhibited. Citizens who once held their heads high now kept their eyes low and avoided bumping into Varayik, in his Fire Nation attire. He did get a few "Atta boys" and poorly executed Fire Nation salutes from the Nobles.

    His walk took him to a bridge, where there was a young woman fishing, where a nearby sign clearly stated there was a no fishing allowed. Her skin was clean and her hair flowed down her shoulder. She wore the clothes of the Fire Nation and judging from her look, she was clearly accustomed to the finer things in life. So why was she fishing?

    Perched on the side of the bridge, seemingly bored with her fishing, she gave him a slight glance before looking back at the water.

    [​IMG]

    "Are you here to ticket me, soldier?..." She eyed his skin and hair. "You look different than the rest of the Fire Nation soldiers. Who is your family?"

    Tag: @Darth_Elu

    ------

    Huriko's Dojo, Lower Ring, Ba Sing Se

    The child looked up with missing teeth and laughed.

    "You have grey hair like my grandpa! You must be reallllllyyyy old!"

    "Gen, that is not how we address our elders." Lord Huriko corrected the young man with a deep voice. "Apologize."

    The smile faded from the boy's face and he suddenly took on a more disciplined expression and bowed before Master Nin.

    "I'm sorry, sir."

    "That's better. Welcome stranger. I am Xiong Huriko. This is my place of living and training. How may I help you?"

    He was a large man, even by Earth Kingdom standards and very muscular. He stood about 4 inches taller than Master Nin. His disposition was one of a gentle giant, but seeing as he seemed to be a warrior (various small scars along his arms), Nin could guess that the gentleness only extended towards people Huriko considered his friends and allies. The man was centered. Peaceful. There would seem to be something on his mind yet he pushed this aside in order to extend genuine greetings to Master Nin. This was in stark contrast to the young Rumi behind him. There was nothing peaceful or gentle about the young man's energy or presence, even if a smile was on his face.

    "He's the guy I was waiting on."

    Huriko's closed his eyes. Clear irritation from hearing the sandbender's voice.

    "One moment, traveler." He turned to the children and clapped his hands, loudly three times. The children of the dojo all stopped and clapped three times in response and bowed to Huriko before hurrying outside the front to go play. It was not just the three masters in the dojo.

    "May I interest you in a cup of tea?" Huriko asked, politely.

    Tag: @greyjedi125
     
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  22. greyjedi125

    greyjedi125 Chosen One star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 29, 2002
    IC: Master Nin
    Huriko’s Dojo, Lower Ring

    Xian smiled, then chuckled, charmed by the young student, though he remained silent and allowed the young boy’s Master to offer guidance and discipline.

    Xian happily bowed back to the youngster as he accepted the apology.

    “I’m sorry, sir.” The young boy had intoned frankly.

    “Peace between us.” Was Xian’s response.

    "That's better. Welcome stranger. I am Xiong Huriko. This is my place of living and training. How may I help you?"

    First impressions were always important. Xian noticed the man before him was physically large and much taller than himself, yet he seemed balanced, centered and at ease. He was the definition of a ‘Gentle Giant’. However, it was clear that he was also a warrior, as the various scars along his powerful arms attested.

    “A pleasure to meet you.” Xian replied as he removed the hood which had been concealing his face, then introduced himself and offered a polite bow.

    “I am Master Xian Nin.”

    What was now a familiar voice came from behind Huriko.

    “He’s the guy I was waiting on.”

    It was the sand bender Xian had agreed to meet. Gauging by the Sifu’s not-so-subtle shift in expression, Master Nin surmized the two might be acquainted. Not only that, the sand bender had chosen this location as their meeting place. That was clearly not a coincidence.

    Xian patiently waited as Sifu Huriko dismissed his students and watched them exit the dojo.

    “They seem very well trained and disciplined for being so young.” Master Nin complimented, an easy and pleasant expression playing on his features, as one who probably reminisced.

    "May I interest you in a cup of tea?" Huriko asked, politely.

    “Thank you. I would be honored.” Xian responded, his left hand clasped over his right fist as a demonstration of respect and gratitude for the man’s hospitality.

    As he prepared to follow, Xian gazed at the young sand bender. Though the young one smiled and also affected a modicum of politeness, Xian could feel the roiling turmoil in the his chi. So young, so powerful and so very troubled. This was no life for someone his age, but the Fire Nation had seen that war was everyone’s reality. Xian recalled Lady Yisho’s words and felt an aching pang inside his chest.

    How best to share news he knew would not be well received?

    At the moment, he did not have an answer.

    It was not a question of ‘if’, but ‘when’.


    Tag: @The Jedi in the Pumas
     
  23. The Jedi in the Pumas

    The Jedi in the Pumas Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 23, 2018
    Huriko's Dojo, Lower Ring, Ba Sing Se

    "Xian Nin."

    Huriko repeated the name in the tone of one who recognized its significance. The years of war with the Fire Nation did not conceal the names of young prodigies from the other kingdoms. Yes, he was familiar with the young master. This was the first time he had laid eyes on him. He poured a sweetened variety of lychee tea. This was the tea he preferred due to its energetic restoration benefits after consumption.

    "I apologize. I am not as gifted as the fine tea makers of the Upper Ring, Master Nin." He served the hot tea with a humble bow before the young Master. Rumi stood with his arms crossed, a mixture of befuddlement and curiosity on his face. Lord Huriko was acting as if this 'Master Nin' was someone of some renown and this caused Rumi to search the recesses of his mind to see if the name piqued hidden familiarity. Huriko retrieved two stools from his office and placed them in the middle of the dojo before taking a seat in front of Master Nin.

    "I will not pretend to be unfamiliar with you: The young silver-haired qigong prodigy of the Fire Nation. It is an honor and pleasure to welcome you. I heard stories of your prowess when you were but a teenager and I was a young soldier. It is indeed fate's cruel twist of the knife that the war between our nations is what brings us together, here."

    There was an aged gravitas to Huriko's voice. He could be no more than 10 years Master Nin's senior. There was pain in this man. Loss. And the great strength of a warrior spirit buried beneath the negativity.

    "I assume Ru-" Huriko began.

    "He's able to stop benders from bending..." Rumi interrupted. The young man scratched the cut on his face.

    Huriko closed his eyes again. Asking the spirits for patience. "Master Nin is knowledgeable of chi, I presume. If you would not interrupt your elders so much, boy, you would learn something."

    "I know what I need to know about both of you, old man. I ...The resistance needs your help. Huriko...Xian... Both of you need to step up if you really want to help Ba Sing Se!"

    Lord Huriko's fists curled into balls as they remained laying on his knees. He did not interrupt the sandbender, though.

    "The Avatar is gone and if we don't act now the war will be over and the Fire Nation will win."

    Tag: @greyjedi125
     
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  24. Shadowsun

    Shadowsun Jedi Master star 3

    Registered:
    Jun 26, 2017
    Kasai Oban
    Sha-Sin's Noodle Storehouse, Lower Ring, Ba Sing Se

    Kasai soaked in the words that Piandao spoke to him. Allowing them to flow within him, like ripples on a pond. He felt his bonds loosen, twice now he had been freed by the kindness of strangers. He looked toward Mei-Ling and Jiao attempting to clean the camelephant, a small, soft smile broke across Kasai's face.

    He recognized the girl from the teashop. He could not even begin to comprehend what she had been through. These people deserved so much more he thought to himself. He looked away from the trio and back to Piandao, his words, soft-spoken, like leaves on a wind, settled much of angst within Kasai.

    "The people of the Earth Kingdom will suffer greatly at the hands of the Fire Nation if Ba Sing Se does not liberate itself. What do you think of that, Kasai? Do you think you have a place here? Look inside yourself and answer."

    Kasai closed his eyes, and focused on his breathing, contemplating the master's words. He remembered the dream he had when he past out. This was the change he was looking for.

    "Master, you are right. For too long our Fire Nation has tried to consume the nation in its fiery madness. I will no longer stand idly by as my comrades slaughter innocents. Tell me what I can do."

    TAG: @Shadowsun @galactic-vagabond422 @TheSilentInfluence
     
  25. greyjedi125

    greyjedi125 Chosen One star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 29, 2002
    IC: Master Nin
    Huriko’s Dojo, Lower Ring

    “Xian Nin”

    Xian did try hard to contain his surprised at being recognized by name, which was something he had not expected at all. Such reactions were a thing of the past and celebrity was no longer a focus.

    Xian graciously accepted the cup of tea that was offered and bowed in return as he continued to listen. Taking a sip of the lychee tea, he found it to be very good indeed, and gave Sifu Huriko a solid nod of approval.

    When Sifu Huriko mentioned Xian’s teenage years, it all clicked. It was true; as a teenage prodigy, Xian was possessed by a relentless and obsessive pursuit to prove his skills against an innumerable number of Masters. Weapon Masters, Martial Arts Masters and Benders alike. The encounters were truly fierce and near otherworldly; most of them were bloodless, but not all.

    In the end, he was proudly able to establish himself as a True Young Master in the Martial Arts World. He had trained tirelessly, every single moment of his entire life to finally attain that achievement- and he had thrown it all away in a single moment.

    In his heart, he would have done nothing different. Life and Freedom were far more precious than Social Standing, Riches or Vain Accolades.

    The very act had been 'liberating'.

    As he continued to listen, Xian noticed something curious. Huriko’s ’turn of phrase’ revealed something about the man.

    “It is indeed fate's cruel twist of the knife that the war between our nations is what brings us together, here.”

    Xian could not help but offer a stoic nod in agreement. He could sense a certain heaviness behind the man’s words. War bringing people together could be seen as ironic, but if it were for a common cause, a good cause, then that was worthy of note.

    The young sand bender acted out with impatience, as compelled by his character., cutting off Master Huriko in mid sentence. ‘Why are brilliant young people so ill-mannered?’ Xian absently wondered. Dol had been no different.

    Xian continued to sip his tea and waited until the exchange between Master Huriko and the young sand bender came to its natural conclusion.

    “Huriko...Xian... Both of you need to step up if you really want to help Ba Sing Se!” The young sand bender would say.

    Master Huriko's fists curled into balls as they remained laying on his knees. He did not interrupt the sandbender, though. Xian would notice this fact and make a mental note.

    The Avatar is gone and if we don't act now the war will be over and the Fire Nation will win.”

    So much emotion and inner turmoil. Xian mentally counted to three before speaking.

    “I’ve renounced the Fire Nation.” Xian declared calmly as he continued to speak and sip his tea in intervals.

    “I am now considered a fugitive for disrupting a public execution, attacking Fire Nation Soldiers and escaping from house arrest.”

    Xian’s eyes regarded both men, as he looked from one to the other, before continuing. He also opted to sense the flow of their chi.

    “I am a wanted man and have nowhere to go.”

    Another pause.

    "And yes, I wish to help liberate Ba Sing Se from Fire Nation oppression."

    Another nod.

    “But before we continue, I’m afraid I am at a disadvantage here.”

    Xian's eyes remained on the young one.

    “You know who I am, but I haven’t had the pleasure of a proper introduction or simply knowing your name?”

    A simple question. A simple test.

    That shouldn’t be too hard. Should it?


    Tag: @The Jedi in the Pumas
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2020