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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. 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

    Grabbing a pail of soapy water, Jiao headed out to wash the camelephant. The beast was large, larger than anything she'd seen before. She wasn't the best around animals, didn't really have much experience with them. But how hard could it be. As she walked closer Popo laid down in the dirt seemingly unwilling to cooperate. Jiao huffed, setting pail on the ground and walking over and trying to pull the beast out of the dirt.

    "Come on big guy." she said trying to pull on his big head to get him up. Again the creature didn't move. "It's time for a bath…" She groaned feet digging into the dirt before Popo's large trunk lightly bated her away. She stumbled back a few steps and landed on her rear, kicking up a cloud of dirt. "You can't like being dirty." She said walking up dusting herself off. She tried again to pull Popo out of the dirt and again he refused, shaking his head and again sending her back to the dirt. Taking a breath she got up again gently patting his flank. "Hey big guy, you want to get a bath, hum, you want to get a bath?" She said her voice pitched up a little like she was talking to a child. The camelephant responded to this attempt at bonding by shaking again sending Jiao tumbling back, right into the pail she'd set down.

    The water splashed over her soaking through her tunic and pants leaving her smelling of soap, and failure. She could feel tears start to well up in her eyes. Why was this so difficult, why was this, the first job on the list so hard for her.

    "Come on Popo I'm trying to help you." The creature just shook his head letting out a huff. "I've been through a lot and I don't need you making it worse." She turned away, "I'm going to get more water and when I come back, will you help me out here?" Popo looked away, giving no reply. As she filled up the bucket again she let out a breath, it's going to be fine, it's going to be fine, she kept telling herself.

    Coming back out she gave Popo a smile.

    "Hey Popo, you ready for your bath?" She picked up the sponge, starting to rub it against his flank. "Doesn't that feel good? You want more?" She felt his trunk brush against her and just for a moment she thought she might be getting through to him. Until he sprayed her with water. Jiao had enough, turning around she knocked the bucket over and threw the sponge to the ground.

    "Fine, stay filthy you stupid oaf." She stormed away finding a croner to curl up in. Why did it have to go like this, why can't she do the simplest of things. Soaked to the bone fighting back her tears she pressed her forehead against her knees. She just wanted to go home, a home she could no longer return to, not yet. This was her life now and she couldn't change it. The spirits had decreed that her life would be terrible and saw to it that it was.

    The tears finally fell, it wasn't just the fact she couldn't wash a camelephant right, it was everything, the loss, the pain, the fear, all of it came rushing back to her. She could hardly move, barely raise her head to gaze upon her most recent failure.

    She kept her eyes closed and her head down, just wanting to fade away to disappear. She just wanted this all to be over.

    That was when she felt a hand on her shoulder.

    "Don't give up." The voice was kind, and warm, a deep tone that calmed her heart. "I know you can do this." She knew the voice, the voice of her father, a man taken away from her by Fire Nation soldiers.

    She buried her head deeper into her knees, she didn't want to be reminded of her loss again.

    "Jiao, my little leaf, I know it's hard, but you can do it." Now her mind was just being mean, pulling up her father's nickname for her. She just wanted everything to stop, to let her catch her breath, to stop reminding her of the things ripped away from her. Curling tighter on the ground she saw Popo still lounging in the dirt.

    "Stop laughing." She yelled at him. "I'm not being a baby."

    Popo said nothing.

    "You go through what I have then you can laugh at me."

    Again Popo gave no response.

    "You think you can just turn away from me? That you can just ignore me?" Why was she getting angry, why was she having an argument with a freaking camelephant. Surely she must be going mad. "What do you think I'm useless? Just a little girl who can't do anything?"

    She pulled her soaked tunic over her head and threw it over a washing line. In her thin undershirt, that was also soaked but it would at least keep her green tunic from getting more dirty.

    "Alright you lazy bum, you are going to get a bath and there will be no ifs ands or buts, you understand me." She was done, done dealing with this, done with the camelephant, and done with everything else going on in her life.

    TAG: @The Jedi in the Pumas
     
  2. 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 tilted her head and observed the movements of the others carrying the boxes. Twenty feet didn't seem like a lot, but it could take a toll. She smiled at the remark of her being too small, and she shrugged. "If we create a ramp that leads down towards the others, it could help move the boxes faster. So long as we have someone on each end. Is anyone here an Earth Bender?" Mei-Ling asked quickly. "You just have to put it on the right angle so the boxes don't move too fast." She thought for a moment. "Then it takes half the time, and the Fire Nation can't complain because it's efficient."

    She turned and smiled at the worker. "What do you think? Do you want to try it out?" Mei-Ling asked, looking excited to test the theory out. It has to be timed right. But if they are as durable as they look...

    Tag: @The Jedi in the Pumas
     
  3. Darth_Elu

    Darth_Elu Force Ghost star 6

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

    His feet had a mind of their own today. That was fine with him. Today, Varayik let them be in charge as he wandered the Middle Ring. The water bender in fire nation gear took in everything around him quietly. Empty even. Most things he saw were not truly seen at all and the objects of interest that caught his eye, only did for so long.

    His mind wasn’t even being as productive as he’d like it to be. Instead of truly poring over everything that happened and analyzing, oddly…he just replayed it. That’s it. Just an endless loop, going and going and going into eternity within his brain.

    Varayik now wanted it to stop, but that was nigh impossible. He was able to manage an hour or so of strategizing on how to combat that sand bender if he ever got another chance, though even then he wished he got more done.

    Eyeing the immediate vicinity he now had appeared in, miles away from the barracks not that it mattered in the slightest, he noticed it was as mixed as everywhere else in this part of the city. Middle class and nobles nearly rubbing elbows, if not entirely thrilled by the prospect. Then new Fire Nation nobles seemed to be even less thrilled than the original Earth Kingdom ones.

    Not surprising. They’re the conquerors after all.

    Varayik thought of that statement more pragmatically and encouragingly than most others, but he did admit that the Fire Nation nobles did have that haughty air that wasn’t necessary nor helpful. But then, weren’t all nobles like that by nature?

    Now that he really took a longer moment to glance around, a brief moment of lucidity for his mind, he registered the energy in the air. It was charged. There was a quiet, smothered outrage blending with the smugness of elitism. It was…suffocating.

    Another lazy salute from a Fire noble passing by, another salute returned (he at least remembered to do that this whole time, no point in getting the nobility incensed with him) followed by a bow. Sighing after they passed, he moved to continue. He had to get out of this area, away to…

    Where? Exactly where were you going Varayik Toroq?

    He had no idea. Not now, not in life. All he knew was that he was fighting for the Fire Nation, something unthinkable to any other water bender and that made him…what?

    He wasn’t sure.

    His eyes caught the black hair first and the flawless white skin after. The fishing rod in the woman’s hands was almost an after-thought. Varayik paused without even consciously thinking about it. His blue eyes stared at her back.

    Am I staring? I’m staring. Varayik, why the hell are you staring!? Dear water spirit, can you make my eyes not ogle this lady…cause…it’s not…listening to…m…

    She had looked back at him, amber eyes flashing their brilliance in almost nonchalant fashion.

    So there they were. A fire nation soldier, whose a water bender, standing like a mindless buffoon while a young fire nation noblewoman clearly ignoring the sign of ‘NO FISHING’ not far from her. By the Avatar! It was not even two feet away from her!

    But there she was, doing it anyway. You could just tell there was no reason for her to even be doing it in the first place. Those clothes, that skin, her hair, just…everything. It all said ‘yes, I’m noble and back the hell up.’

    He wasn’t backing up. He wasn’t sure what he was doing. In fact—

    “Are you here to ticket me, soldier?”

    Oh no. She spoke to him. And just like that, Varayik Toroq was lost. The man was lost infinitely deep in her voice.

    Shaking his head and slowly, his legs feeling like wood, moving over to the bridge railing next to her; he simply set his arms to relax on the top of them.

    “No, no I’m not.”

    At the very least, he managed to finally tear his gaze away and to the water. The water…yes, that and her coming question helped cool him. A little.

    “You look different than the rest of the Fire Nation soldiers. Who is your family?”

    He gave a single breathless, humorless, laugh. Varayik closed his eyes as the images of his parents visited him from behind his eyelids for the span of ten seconds.

    “My family? They’re not one of note…” He reopened his blue eyes and turned his head to look at her again.

    “Really. Though if I may ask, what are you doing here?” A pause for the idiot’s brain to continue functioning at an appreciable level. “With the rod. Fishing, I mean.”

    If the Avatar was still alive, I’d ask him to strike me down right now.

    Tag: Noble Lady @The Jedi in the Pumas
     
  4. 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

    Piandao clasped his hand on Kasai's shoulder. "Well... we can begin by changing your clothes and your hair. I was able to discern your identity rather quickly." There were a few options in that regard: Kasai could try to risk going out into the city to find clothes, borrow clothes from some of the workers on the compound, or see if he could fit Bohi's rather large clothes that Sha-Sin would give him access to if asked. While they walked out of the storehouse, observing Jiao experiencing a major crisis trying to give Popo and bath, Master Piandao explained to Kasai his presence in Ba Sing Se. Piandao was part of an order; a group of interested masters and observers who were watching the situation closely in Ba Sing Se. Liberating a people so early in the Fire Nation's control would be difficult. Specifically, while Prince Zuko and Princess Azula were still in the city. Even his group would find it tough to combat the entirety of the Fire Nation army stationed in Ba Sing Se and the master tactician that Princess Azula had proven herself to be.

    Not only that, but liberation could not be done by a foreign hand alone; they needed the people to believe in themselves again. A people that are liberated by foreigners would find struggle in governing themselves after the theft of their identity. The Earth Kingdom was full of proud, capable, and strong people. Ba Sing Se was a microcosm of that and if any resistance would be successful, it would need to be done by their hand. In the coming weeks, the goal of the Fire Nation would be to bring in more troops, send the Prince and Princess back home, and have a heavy hand in breaking the remaining spirit of the capital. If Kasai wanted to help, there were a few ways that Piandao suggested, though whatever path Kasai chose would ultimately be his.

    Piandao pointed out that there was no one like Kasai in the resistance so far. Piandao was no Fire Bender, nor was he young. There was information that a skilled, former soldier who looked the part could retrieve if he was able to blend in to his former life. They needed to know what the timeline was for troop movements, troop stationed, and where other resistance fighters were being held and having someone infiltrate the Fire Nation army to get this information would be vital to the resistance's survival. That being said, only Kasai could make the decision of whether he wanted to take on the tremendous risk of such a task at his current level of training. Piandao did not know, but Kasai did; the young man was an adequate fire bender, but he would need practice and access to more advanced firebending techniques. Piandao, of course, did not know this. He did know that high ranking nobles, specifically nobles who had a taste for collecting scrolls and antiques the world over, were visiting Ba Sing Se's Middle and Upper ring. If Kasai was so inclined, there could be a wealth of information if he was willing to make the trip and...relieve the nobles of Fire bending scrolls and possessions that would further his own skills.

    Lastly, Piandao relayed the information to Kasai that there was a disturbance last night with the young sandbender Rumi. Fire Nation soldiers have kidnapped Lady Yisho, one of the other prisoners Kasai was to be executed next to the day before, and several young children who were being protected by the woman. Rumi was on a path to find them no matter the cost. Kasai could also lend his hand there if he so chose.

    There were many paths in front of Kasai and the young man would need to think them over. But first thing was first, he definitely needed to change his appearance or the Fire Nation would recognize him as soon as he stepped out of the Noodle compound.

    Popo continued to lay on his stomach, much to Jiao's chagrin. But...when the girl raised her voice and put her foot down, the giant camelephant rumbled in what would sound like tacid compliance. He rose to his feet, but proceeded to turn his hindquarters to Jiao, apparently only conceding his backside to being bathed. Progress, albeit not the greatest amount. Jiao was on the right track. Sha-Sin called over to the girl "AT LEAST YOU GOT HIM TO STAND UP. WE'LL BE HEADING OUT IN A FEW, SO DON'T BE AFRAID TO BOSS HIM AROUND. YOU GOT THIS SISTER!" Sha-Sin turned back to her pick up customers. Things were going well so far...though slowly. Her workers were having trouble moving the boxes to the front of the compound in an expedited fashion.

    Mei-Ling appeared to have an idea. The worker that called her small highlighted the issue.

    "That's a great idea, lil miss. But none of us are earthbenders. Most of them got rounded up last week."

    Yes...if only they had an earthbender around... The Fire Nation nobles at the front of the compound were outside the wall. Anything that was done with the boxes before getting them to the front would be hidden. An opportunity perhaps for a young earthbender to show her skills?

    ----
    The last to exit the original storehouse, though likely not because of oversleeping was Heng Li. No... Heng Li had been given a very specific task today by the White Lotus Master Piandao: he was to make his way, alone, to the Upper Ring. A message needed to be passed to a very important prisoner that was located in the most dangerous place for an enemy of the Fire Nation to be held: The Royal Palace itself. Bohi was too rash. Piandao was thinking of doing it himself. It was why he had come to Ba Sing Se in the first place. However, he was afraid his former student, Prince Zuko, upon seeing the Master so close to the Royal Palace would be able to piece together why he was there. No...this was a mission that had been passed down to Heng Li...His first steps into the Order of the White Lotus' official membership

    Tag: @TheSilentInfluence @galactic-vagabond422 @Shadowsun @Master Vo'Un'Var

    ------

    Middle Ring, Ba Sing Se

    There was something curious about this soldier. She let it go and turned back to the water.

    "I like fishing. People do like fishing, you know?"

    Just then something tugged at her line. She pulled back and after a tug of war the fish escaped. She was not very good at it, clearly. She blushed and reeled her line back in to start anew. Passing Earth Kingdom citizens avoided looking at the two of them, though they clearly were not pleased about the woman fishing there.

    "My name is Zayne. You will help me fish now. What is your name, soldier?" The rapid transition from introduction to demanding was very...noble behavior. She seemed to say it down her nose, despite the fact that she was definitely shorter than Varayik had she been standing instead of sitting.

    Before Varayik could answer, a rock hit him on the head. Followed by two more pebbles hitting him in the back. Three children stood behind him, at the start of the bridge, defiantly staring him down. The leader was a little girl no older than 7, with more rocks in her hand. No fear in her eyes despite his Fire Nation garb. No one else seemed to have noticed them yet, but that would soon change the longer the exchange lasted. The little girl raised her hand to throw another rock.

    "Go home, Fire Nation!"

    Tag: @Darth_Elu

    ------

    Huriko's Dojo, Lower Ring, Ba Sing Se

    Lord Huriko opened his eyes and remained quiet, a small smile on his face. Master Nin was indeed patient and was responding well to Rumi's reckless proclamations.

    Rumi's eyes slid to Huriko and back to Nin. He stared. The young man was unafraid. Nin would be able to read that. Yet, a look of...insecurity...worry or uncertainty flashed on his face. Young men had a hard time controlling their facial expressions, no matter how hard wars were on them. They were still youthful.

    After a long pause, he sighed and crossed his arms, scratching himself under his left arm. "My name is Rumi. I'm from the sandbending tribes. I was sent here to help the Avatar, but I got here too late. He died because of me."

    "I told you before, Rumi. It is not your fault. That is too much weight for one person to carry. This world failed the Avatar and he has paid the price for it." Huriko sipped his tea, his eyes remaining low in thought.

    Rumi kept his eyes on Master Nin. "Say what you want. It's my fault. But I'm going to make it right." He began to walk around the dojo...No he was circling the pair. What a weird thing to do... "So, Xian... You're a fugitive and you want to help liberate the city that YOUR nation took over? You're not a firebender and maybe your moves can work on a couple of sucker Dai Le agents, but what about the high ranking masters? That's what we're facing out there. There are going to be people putting their lives in your hands. I need to know if I can count on you to keep them safe."

    "Enough Rumi." Huriko warned. "Master Nin is deserving of more respect, especially in my dojo. You do not disrespect your allies!"

    "He's not an ally yet! Just last night he protected Fire Nation scum! I can't let anyone else down, especially by putting my trust in a turncoat!"

    Tag: @greyjedi125
     
  5. greyjedi125

    greyjedi125 Chosen One star 5

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

    Xian shook his head lightly. Behind the increasing disrespect and the blustering bravado, was a young boy who was hurting. Deeply.

    Master Nin didn’t know Rumi’s story, and didn’t really need to for that matter. The boy’s pain was clear and palpable to him. It was irrational for someone so young to blame himself for the Avatar’s death, yet here it was. Not only that, the boys internal suffering would eventually spiral out of control and lead many to tragedy, if it hadn’t done so already. He hadn't dealt with his 'failure' and it was eating him up from the inside.

    Rumi was out of balance.

    “Very well.” Xian said in his trademark calm manner. He did not bother to explain the reasons for what he was about to do.

    “I’m assuming you’ll be facing high ranking masters then.” It wasn’t a question.

    Xian put down his cup of tea.

    “I would like for Lord Huriko to be the referee.” Master Nin looked to the large honorable man and nodded respectfully.

    “If I cannot last five minutes against you, then I pack my things and leave Ba Sing Se. If I win, I will of course, remain and join the Liberation effort and you can be my pupil, since you are in sore need of manners.”

    Xian chuckled, despite wishing to seem more serious, for in his eyes, Rumi was heading down a dark path that would ultimately-and unintentionally- help justify the Fire Nation’s inhumane course of action.

    “So, do we have a deal.”

    'Yes, Rumi. I'm challenging you. It's for your own good- and everyone else that will depend on you.'


    Tag: @The Jedi in the Pumas
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2020
  6. Master Vo'Un'Var

    Master Vo'Un'Var Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 19, 2017
    Heng Li
    Ba Sing Se

    Heng Li had received his orders. Infiltrating the upper ring could be tough, he thought. One wrong step and he could be swept up by the Fire Nation and thrown into a cell. He needed a quick, but quiet way in. Then, he had an idea. As he wandered through the streets of the Lower Ring, he looked for a secluded alleyway behind a building. Finding a desired spot, he slipped out of view and slithered down the small space between two old homes.

    He looked down, closing his eyes.

    Will this work?
    He asked himself, before casting doubt from his mind and focusing. His body shifted into position. He became the mountain, immovable and steadfast. He closed off his other senses, and allowed the earth to tell him what he was doing. He heard the city. Alive, vibrant. It may have fallen, but the people were still here. He needed to save them. He wanted to give him hope.

    His arms snapped into a new position, as he began to twist the earth to his will. The soil and rocks beneath him churned, as he lowered himself into the ground. He would bend the earth to make a tunnel that lead directly to his destination. If he was lucky, he would find some sort of sewage system he could use and quickly traverse through the underground without fear of collapse or making unnecessary noise.

    He thought back to Bumi. Of his wisdom, his teachings, and Jennamite. What Heng Li would do for a piece of Jennamite...

    Li shook his head, snapping his mind back to his task, and continued to twist the earth around him, looking for some entrance into the sewers.

    @The Jedi in the Pumas
     
  7. Shadowsun

    Shadowsun Jedi Master star 3

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

    Kasai was more than willing to go incognito for the resistance. He knew full well, from his time in the military, that information on the enemy was invaluable, especially against a more powerful foe. His thoughts wandered to that of the fire bending scrolls. He had his own, battered, and tattered though it was it could still serve some use to him.

    [​IMG]
    Kasai's Fire Bending Scroll

    As keen as he was to help the resistance, he knew all too well his fire bending was in much need of improvement. Sadly, as gifted as Master Piandao was Kasai was sure that he would not be able to help him much with his training. After all his expertise where in usage and creation of the sword, not in fire bending.

    Kasai would need to find a master perhaps he could find someone in this order the master spoke of. Regardless, he was getting ahead of himself, he needed to change his appearance. There was that word again.

    Change

    He went over to Sha-Sin, apologizing for his intrusion into her life and inquired about Bohi's spare clothing. He nodded to Jiao and Mei-Ling, offering a smile. He squinted, right the necklace! Perhaps it was best that he leave her alone. She did not seem too keen when he brought it up before. Besides it was none of his business.

    Once he had fitted himself with Bohi’s clothes, as best he could, he went to the washroom to cut his hair, not too short to make him bald, but enough to make a noticeable difference to his appearance.

    He looked at himself in the mirror.

    How long had it been since I shaved?

    He decided not to, allowing himself to grow a beard.

    Kasai shifted off to a quiet corner of the complex, somewhere that seemed more fireproof than the storehouse and front shop. He pulled out his scroll that he had, somehow, managed to keep safe. He squinted at the words, putting the scroll down in front of him, trying to make out what remained of the scroll. He tried to do the first exercise. He got in the stance, legs spread apart, in a slight squat. He thrust his left fist forward and in quick succession moved his arm back, stepped forward and punched the air with his other fist.

    A small whiff of fire stumbled out of his clenched fist, whimpering back into nonexistence.

    Kasai looked down at his fists in annoyance.

    What? he thought to himself. Why can’t I fire bend?!

    He tried the movement again, with little to no improvement.

    Again

    And Again.

    And Again.

    Kasai’s frustration boiled within him. His anger pressurizing within him until he was about to burst.

    No stop. He knew if he tried the movement again with this anger within him, he would likely burn the entire complex down. He knew he needed restraint, he needed control, but he could not do it by himself. He went back off to bid Piandao farewell

    "Master I will do what I can to help, but my bending....I'm not as strong as I want to be." He sighed. This was another deep regret of Kasai, he knew his fire bending was strongest when he was enraged, the events of the previous day where proof enough of that. A fact that Kasai was not proud of, the illustrious lure still beckoned to him, asking him to give in.

    "There is something I need to fetch at the middle ring" He waited for his response before bowing and leaving the noodle shop, making his way toward the markets of the middle ring, hoping that he would find something useful for himself. Not to mention, not be recognized.

    TAG: @The Jedi in the Pumas @galactic-vagabond422 @TheSilentInfluence
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2020
  8. Darth_Elu

    Darth_Elu Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jan 2, 2003
    Varayik Toroq IC:
    ~Bridge of Beauty, Middle Ring, Ba Sing Se~

    She seemed to study him a few more seconds before she turned away, looking back at the water. For some reason, Varayik felt a small pang when she did. What he wouldn’t give to have those eyes looking at him just a little longer.

    Seriously. What is wrong with you right now, Varayik?

    But then she replied to his question after all, which at the very least, was something. This noble hadn’t completely rejected him out of hand and ignored his own inquiry.

    “I like fishing. People do like fishing, you know?”

    “Yes, I…I do know. I did too…”

    A new pang hit him. But a different one. Sour and discordant. It felt like some kind of bitter vile was in the back of throat, sliding on his tongue, wanting to be retched up. His body shivered faintly.

    “…a long time ago.”

    Images of his old life, his first one. The cold of the snow, the warmth of his parents. The calm of the fishing line, the excitement of the reel. Laughter and security all rolled up comfortably in something you could call 'true happiness.' The innocence of childhood.

    [“I caught one! I caught one! Look Papa! Look!”]

    [Hahahaha! Not bad, son! …It’s my shoe, somehow, but good job!]

    [“Whaaa? Ha! Hahahaha! You’re so funny, Papa!”]

    The tug at her line, the pull back…and the fish was already gone. She wasn’t very good at this. But then, neither had he been. Once upon a time. How would he fair now, were he to ever take up the rod again? He hadn’t done so in years, ever since he went on his exile from the South Pole.

    It was the blush however, that brought him back. The simple feminine cuteness of it, noble lady or not, overpowered the old memories and he found himself smiling for it. How could one person be so thoroughly captivating?

    Varayik didn’t know. But he wanted to. Needed to.

    The passing Earth Kingdom citizens were completely ignored. No, that wasn’t right. The water bender didn’t even notice them passing by at all, a rare lapse in observation. Between the momentary visions of his past and the image of the woman in front of him, everything else just paled by comparison.

    “My name is Zayne. You will help me fish now. What is your name, soldier?”

    That was without a doubt noble upbringing right there. That elitism he hated so much, yet for some reason that usual distaste seemed so distant right now. Almost as if it really didn’t matter. It was strangely endearing even. If Varayik Toroq could scrutinize himself right now unbiased, he would honestly wonder exactly who he was looking at.

    Still. Zayne. That name was etched into his mind. He would be remembering that. For quite some time, he was sure.

    Nodding dully, he moved to assist her, sliding over. It was time to see if he still had the knack for the water in this particular way.

    “My name is Varayik—“

    Smack!

    “Ow! What in the world?”

    Two more little sensations striking his back, though not painful this time, were felt as he turned around to face his attackers while simultaneously moving to block and protect Zayne behind him. His muscles tensed as an arm was held off to the side in a warding fashion; irritation flared into existence like a phoenix. The timing could not have been worse!

    His azure eyes stared to find themselves looking back at…

    Children. The tension eased suddenly, his arm dropping, and he blinked. Children? Why would a child strike him?

    “Go home, Fire Nation!”

    The rock came in at a pretty good speed. Not a bad throwing arm there for a young girl, he noted bemused. Still, he was troubled as well. Go home, Fire Nation. Go home…He was a fool for not thinking even the young would have an opinion on everything going on, but this girl better get home herself otherwise her parents would be in deep trouble. The hit had made him mad without question, but there was no way he could stay angry at a young child like this.

    He raised a hand and snatched the incoming projectile without issue.

    “Not bad, kid,” he dropped the rock on the bridge and nudged it off to the side with his foot calmly, “But you best get home yourselves. Your Mom and Dad could get in big trouble if someone else spots you doing this.”

    Varayik made a gentle ‘shooing’ motion with both of his hands.

    “Go on. I don’t want to see you get in trouble either.”

    Didn't he have some kind of thought about this earlier? The innocence of childhood? But that was a question that hadn't yet occurred to the water bender.

    Were these kids still allowed to keep theirs?

    Tag: Zayne & Defiant Kids @The Jedi in the Pumas
     
  9. 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

    "Oh." Mei-Ling answered quietly. She hadn't thought about that. "Well...I'm an Earth Bender. I'm not a very good one, but I think I might be able to do that." Mei-Ling thought about her idea; and then stretched her fingers. Taking a deep breath, Mei-Ling straightened her stance and started to Earth Bend. She managed to form the ramp, although with difficulty. She winched at the cramp in her hand and stopped, realising that she didn't know the last time she had practised Earth Bending, and feeling a sense of guilt. Mei-Ling didn't like using her bending unless she had to or wouldn't be seen by the Fire Nation soldiers. Part of her wished, deep down that she had been born a Fire Bender instead.

    "Don't tell anyone." Mei-Ling asked quickly. "I don't want to be taken away." And never seen again.

    Tag: @The Jedi in the Pumas @galactic-vagabond422 @Shadowsun @Master Vo'Un'Var
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2020
  10. 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

    With more encouragement, and being driven by her own new found sense of confidence she kept moving the stubborn beast.

    "Now come on out of the dirt." She tugged a little on the rope that winds itself around his head. The creature resists. "I'm not taking no for an answer." She tugged again, Popo resisted again before she looked him right into the closest eye. "Popo no more games. You're getting a bath." Her chest was burning almost uncomfortably, this anger, and determination coming from seemingly nowhere. Or maybe it had been building up for a while. All the things she just sat by and watched, her father being taken away, her brother nearly being executed right in front of her. How she just watched passively as the man that had given everything to his family and his tea house was just dragged away. The image of her father, hands bound with rope, struggling against the Fire Nation soldiers. The look of fear and loss on his face, how he reached out for his wife, holding her hand one final time. The tear in his eyes as he gazed at his only daughter.

    "Little Leaf, daddy loves you." his final words to her. How could the Fire Nation thing that such a loving, caring man could be a rebel, would put his own family at risk. He wouldn't do that, he would never…

    Before she knew it, Popo was out of the dirt, and tears were streaming down her cheeks. The camelephant shook his head a bit, letting out a breath though his long trunk.

    "Don't look at me like that." Jiao scolded Popo, "You'd cry too if you'd been through what I have." Taking a sponge and bucket she started to scrub away the dirt on the beast of burden's back and flank. As she did she felt his trunk brush against her cheek wiping away a few tears. "I'm fine Popo." She said continuing to wash him with soapy water. Trying not to remember the last few days, the days that have turned her life upside down.

    TAG: @The Jedi in the Pumas @TheSilentInfluence @Shadowsun
     
  11. The Jedi in the Pumas

    The Jedi in the Pumas Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 23, 2018
    The Sewers under the Middle Ring, Ba Sing Se

    The Fire Nation was still exploring the tunnels that the pharmacy hideout has exposed to them. Earthbenders collapsed the tunnels to prevent the Fire Nation from learning about the other hideouts and escape routes. As Heng Li burrowed lower and lower underneath the city, he would suddenly sense wide open space below him. The sewage system of Ba Sing Se; unbeknownst to the roaming Fire Nation Soldiers less than 20 yards of earth separated the tunnel of the sewage system from the resistance's remaining network of tunnels. The Fire Nation would not be able to realize this difference, but they could hear Heng Li's burrowing. They could feel the rumbling of moving earth.

    He would have a choice of either path: The sewer tunnel system that no doubt would have multiple Fire Nation patrols from the Middle Ring to the Upper Ring; the path of most resistance in comparison to the empty tunnel system being used by the resistance. Though this would likely notify the Fire Nation patrols that there was earthbending being done underneath the city; they would suspect that another tunnel system was nearby and being utilized.

    Tag: @Master Vo'Un'Var

    ------

    Bridge, Middle Ring, Ba Sing Se

    Wide eyes responded with surprise as Varayik snatched the last rock out of the air. One of the little boys behind the leader released toothless gasp while his comrade dropped his jaw, mouthing a WOW. The young girl who was the leader of the band was not impressed. She stretched her hands in front of the boys behind her in a protective manner, but her stern, ever-defiant expression did not waiver against Varayik's patient gaze. She backed away slowly, sticking out her tongue, before taking off running in the other direction, the boys falling over themselves to follow her.

    Zayne moved little in response to the short interaction. She held her fishing rod with her left hand and brushed her hair out of the way with her right hand. A sideeye awaited Varayik when he turned back to the young woman.

    "Varayik is not a Fire Nation name. Are you from the colonies?"

    She would wait for his answer. Then she would exhale an exasperated sigh.

    "I grow bored, Varayik." In the water below, there were plenty of fish, but they all ignored her poorly assembled bait. It was a wonder the earlier had been attracted to the bait at all.

    "Catch some fishes for me." She shoved the rod towards the soldier and placed her chin on her knees as she pouted and waited for Varayik to comply. She had an important picnic to get to(actually she was quite late already) and, though Varayik did not know it yet, he had been chosen to be her date. He would go with her, Zayne was sure. Because she always got what she wanted. Her father was powerful enough to always assure the princess got her way.

    Tag: @Darth_Elu

    ------

    Huriko's Dojo, Lower Ring, Ba Sing Se

    A few minutes passed. Rumi removed his tunic top. In only his cloth pants and dirty tan long sleeve shirt, he stared down the young Master Nin.

    Huriko spent the minutes clearing the mats. There was a rule in Lord Huriko's dojo: All challenges must be accepted. It was something he taught to his youngest pupils to the oldest. No matter the skill disparity between the combatants, all challenges must be accepted. The reasoning behind this belief... Lord Huriko learned in his younger days of war that obstacles and challenges were not things to be avoided, nor were they to be sought after. Obstacles and challenges were like the hunger in our bellies and the sleep behind our eyes after we have stayed awake for too long: they were inevitable. Neither inherently bad or good, they simply would come to those who lived. The importance of this lesson was in how each individual person learned to deal with the challenges. If a young, inexperienced pupil was challenged by a grandmaster, there was no shame in the pupil accepting and bowing in surrender before the first punch was shown. For it showed respect, humility, and understanding of the challenge that lay before them.

    He swept the mats, thinking to himself. His large cheeks closed his eyes as he smiled and hummed to himself. Was this a good mood? Indeed it was. Lord Huriko was excited and put forth no effort to hide it. Master Nin's pleasant challenge to Rumi would be good for the boy. Rumi was a burdened and dark soul. A young man that carried the weight of the world on his shoulders was destined to stumble and drop the world on the very ones he cared about. Master Nin and Lord Huriko could see this. Huriko never challenged Rumi however and it was now, as he placed two meticulously folded towels in front of both combatants, that he wondered how much of Rumi's destructive path could have been deterred had he intervened earlier. Instead, he cowered when the drill had come. He cowered when the coup happened. And he cowered when the Fire Nation took his students away.

    But no longer would he cower. No matter the outcome of the battle, he would join the Resistance. And he would ask Master Nin to join him.

    For his current students who were imprisoned by the Fire Nation.

    For the future students who have not been born yet.

    For Ba Sing Se.

    The young sandbender was a devastating earthbender and sandbender. Part of the tragic story of Rumi was that he was a genius beyond his years. Earthbending had been as natural to him as a child as laughter...literally; his very laughter as a toddler would cause the ground to shift. Unlike any normal sandbender, Rumi did not need the presence of sand to sandbend for he possessed a unique ability; a bending art that only he had so far discovered and had the ability to do. Earth could be turned to sand in Rumi's hands. He would phase shift the very earth so that he was a sandbender no matter where he went: He simply brought the sand with him. The thought to crumble the entire floor of the dojo into a sandpit did not emerge from his mind, though it was entirely possible by the sandbender. No. He would show Master Nin a different side of him today. Something he had been practicing.

    He closed his eyes and inhaled and waved his arms slowly over his head and back down to his waist. The position he settled in was one that would be familiar to those who practiced Wu Shu and the airbending movements depicted on the walls of the Air Nomad temples: palms open, facing Master Nin, one arm extended and level with his shoulder and one arm bent and parallel to his waist. The first step he took was crossing his lead leg over his back leg. It was gentle, but quickened with each step as he circled the Master Nin.

    There was 4 minutes and 58 seconds left.

    Tag: @greyjedi125

    ------

    Sha-Sin's Noodle Storehouse, Lower Ring, Ba Sing Se

    "Holy smokes, this'll help! Don't worry, lil miss." The loader pushed a box on the ramp and watched as it slid towards the entrance. It was smooth, despite Mei-Ling's cramping hand. "We protect our own around here. No Fire Nation is going to take you from us." He slapped her, fairly hard, on the back. "We got things back here now if you want to go help Sha-Sin at the front."

    Sha-Sin stood at the entrance. She had caught Mei-Ling's little earthbending in the corner of her eye and it brought a smirk to her face. That's what I'm talking about, she thought. The line was dwindling quickly due to the new delivery method. After a few minutes, the last straggler came up. A youthful teenager in Fire Nation garb. Not wholly unusual with the current state of Ba Sing Se's occupation. She was around Mei-Ling's age, but more frail. Her clothes were clearly those of a Fire Nation commoner, not a noble. She passed the scroll of orders to Sha-Sin who could not ignored the clear shy look on the girl's face. This girl was a servant of nobles, Sha-Sin deduced.

    Sha-Sin held the scroll up and scanned it with her eyes.

    "Yes, these will be right up, dear. Welcome to Ba Sing Se!" Sha-Sin said in a confident and reassuring voice. Just because these people were invaders and that Sha-Sin and her brother were actively part of a resistance to kick them out did not mean that she had to be mean to them. There would be a time for that. Not to mention, regular common servant girls of the Fire Nation were not her enemy. This young woman deserved no unkind words and she would receive none from Sha-Sin.

    "Th-THANK you." The servant girl accidentally yelled before adjusting her tone.

    "What is your name, dear?"

    The girl hesitated before responding to Sha-Sin. "Jazmai."

    Sha-Sin began stamping the certified payment scrolls at her small table at the entrance. Jazmai held her hands behind her back and her eyes remained fixated on the ground until she heard the loud groan of Popo deeper within the compound. When she looked up, she would see Mei-Ling and a small tinge of uneasiness rippled across her face. Mei-Ling looked familiar to Jazmai. Though the young women had never met each other before.

    Another loud trumpet from Popo. He was enjoying his bath now, as he always did after giving his bather a hard time. He even joined in on his own bath by sucking water from the bucket and blowing it into the air, covering himself and Jiao in soapy suds. Soon enough his bath was as complete as he would allow it to be and he started to walk off. Clearly, the camelephant considered the bath a success and was concluding the transaction. He wrapped his trunk around Jiao's waist and lifted her up, dropping her on his back and began to make his very wet and large body towards Sha-Sin. Popo may be a troublesome and mischievous camelephant, but he was one of honor and duty and he knew that he and Sha-Sin would soon head out for deliveries. Jiao would see Mei-Ling and Jazmai below her as Popo came to a stop. Would she be as welcoming and kind as Sha-Sin had been to a clear Fire Nation citizen?

    "My my...This is a big order for a single girl to carry. We might have to deliver this with Popo, girls." Sha-Sin said as she continued to stamp the scrolls. It seemed that there was some sort of big picnic being held in the Middle Ring.

    Tag: @TheSilentInfluence @galactic-vagabond422

    ------

    Transport Station, Lower Ring, Ba Sing Se

    The best way to get from the Lower Ring to the Middle Ring...without a long walk or immediate capture was to take the tram. Unfortunately for Kasai, the tram was controlled and operated by the Fire Nation and the Dai Li. His new appearance was sufficient and he did not arouse any suspicion. But to use the tram, he would need to pay for it with money...that he did not have. Though he could access the tram with a pass...that he also did not have. All was not lost. The transport station was crowded as there was an influx of Fire Nation citizens trying to enter the Middle and Upper Ring. They tourists mixed with the citizens of Ba Sing Se made it hard for the authorities to keep track of everyone in the lobby.

    Kasai could take advantage of the commotion to try to sneak aboard the tram, which would be difficult, but possible. Or he could relieve one of the nobles of some coin or a pass to grant him access. Was this what it meant to be at the start of a resistance?

    Tag: @Shadowsun
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2020
  12. greyjedi125

    greyjedi125 Chosen One star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 29, 2002
    IC: Master Xian Nin
    Huriko’s Dojo, Ba Sing Se

    No words were needed within
    Huriko’s Dojo, only silence and intent.

    Harmony, Oneness, in Xian's case.

    Xian had been meditating while
    Master Huriko readied the dojo for the challenge. Master Nin needed to only last five minutes against Rumi, but that was not his focus. Restoring the young sand bender -setting him on the path to recovery was his ultimate goal. The boy was broken internally and his brokenness would ripple like an earthquake if left unchecked.

    Xian could not in good conscience walk away from the execution the day prior, nor could he walk away from this.

    But what if he failed? No, he could not allow doubt to taint his purpose.

    The white haired Master did not change his attire and remained in the water tribe gear he’d acquired. It would remind him of his promise to Lady Yisho.

    Though his mind and his spirit were calm and at peace, Xian wore just a hint of a smile upon his face. He was inwardly content as far as having this opportunity to help someone in need. He did not over estimate himself, but he felt confident in his skills.

    Despite having once been very powerful and highly coveted, yet complex systems, the Ancient Martial Arts of
    Wu Shu, Tai-Chi, Wing Chun, Qigong and the Art of Flowing Chi were seldom seen anymore. As bending increased in popularity and became more accessible, these other practices and techniques receded into obscurity. But there were Masters who preserved these Ancient Traditions and their Artifacts for very important reasons, and passed them down to worthy pupils.

    Master Xian Nin was once one of these worthy pupils.

    In his younger days, Xian had been exceedingly disciplined, yet very competitive to an obsessive degree. But today wasn’t about winning, but something far more important.

    Life was sacred. And there was chi in all living things. In insects, in animals, in trees, in people, the planet - the Universe. Through the manipulation of chi, one could control water, earth, fire, the very air itself. Even life- or death. Chi flowed from one living form to another; it was a living stream of infinite proportions.

    But learning control took years, several decades in fact. But not for individuals like Xian or Rumi- or Dol for that matter.

    Still, no matter what happened, it was Xian’s hope to help Rumi come to terms with himself.

    Master Nin rose from his kneeling position and walked over to the prepared area, his bundle still strapped to his back.

    He looked upon his young opponent….no, the Young Master, and bowed.

    As he righted himself, Xian closed his eyes, took in a breath, letting the universe in, then exhaled, feeling the universal flow of chi. Xian slowly dropped, his stance low, his hands moving, with palms open just in front of him, languidly he moved as if he were under water. His inner chi flowed with balance and clarity.

    Master Nin kept his eyes closed, opting to remain in the flow, in the flux of Yin and Yang. He would meet his his opponent with equal measure, at least that was his initial plan. Xian could clearly sense Rumi’s energy, his aura, his chi. He could see him circling in his ‘mind’s eye’ so he turned softly, smoothly, keeping his opponent before him.

    Xian was a Master of the Eight Gates.

    He would be ready should Rumi contest him traditionally or with his bending ability.

    In addition, not initiating an attack would shave-off a couple of seconds from the encounter at the very least. He only needed five minutes…and counting.

    4 minutes and 52 seconds now remained.


    @The Jedi in the Pumas (combo? )
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2020
  13. Shadowsun

    Shadowsun Jedi Master star 3

    Registered:
    Jun 26, 2017
    Kasai Oban
    Transport Station, Lower Ring, Ba Sing Se

    The hustle and bustle of the transport station was quite the marvel to Kasai. He had not seen quite an urban place anywhere in the world like this, other than the Fire Nation capital. Getting to the middle ring would prove to be a more difficult task than what he had expected it to be. He looked toward the wealthy nobles coming to and from the station. The thought to relieve them of their coin did occur to Kasai, but what would that make him? A thief? Is that what being part of a resistance meant?

    Lying, cheating, subterfuge, stealing these were concepts well known to the fire nation. Did that mean he would have to stoop to such lengths to defeat them? He had no qualms with disguising himself as a Fire Nation solider, what difference did this make? He was planning on stealing a fire bending scroll after all.

    Kasai moved toward one of the nobles, ready to pickpocket them. His hand slid over ready to poach a hefty gold pouch. He stopped.

    No. I don't have to do this.

    There was no need to inflict harm on others when there was another way. His hand retreated, he turned to face the train and attempted to slip into it without being noticed.

    TAG: @The Jedi in the Pumas
     
  14. Darth_Elu

    Darth_Elu Force Ghost star 6

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

    He held his gaze patiently with the defiant youth before she finally backed up, stuck out her tongue, and ran off with the other two running to keep up. It was then that he finally allowed a small smile to appear on his face and gave a little laugh.

    “Kids.”

    Varayik turned to face Zayne once more, glad to see she was still there. In fact, the noble lady hadn’t moved very much at all. How very High Class of her to take such a situation with such aplomb. She even held out the fishing rod to him, her side look telling him she had more to say. Which, for some reason, he found as a relief.

    The way she brushed back her hair was intoxicating. And he was getting really tired of mentally noting how odd he was acting, but there was nothing to be done about it. For whatever reason, or however she had done it, he was putty in her hands. The spell had been cast and he was thoroughly enthralled.

    Had she asked him to jump off the bridge right then, he wasn’t sure he’d disobey.

    “Varayik is not a Fire Nation name. Are you from the colonies?”

    Moving back to his spot next to her, having lost his chance to do much else, he would nod once more. There wasn’t any point in denying it, it wasn’t well known what he was. He was feeling excruciatingly self-conscious about it though, so was only letting the information get out in bits and pieces.

    “Yes,” a pause, “Unfortunately. I wish I had been born in the Fire Nation proper though.”

    Likely she would agree with this assessment. The exasperated sigh would catch his attention again, her eyes flicking down to the water for a moment. Ah, so the sigh wasn’t about him at least.

    "I grow bored, Varayik. Catch some fishes for me.”

    Blinking, he took the rod suddenly shoved into his hands and watched her beautiful siren move into a pouting position. By the tide was she cute.

    “Well…sure, why not.”

    Guess it was time to see if he still had the old skill left in him, though it had been years. Still, some things never truly left you. Or so his mother had once said.

    He pulled out the line first and took a good look at how she had things set up with the rod. In short, it was a bit of a mess. Nothing major, but someone who has fished would notice it right away. Without making any fuss so as not to annoy her, he just calmly got to work fixing it up and then with a practiced motion as if he’d always been doing it without a break…Cast the line neatly into the water.

    Heh. That felt…good. It’s been too long, I think. I need to do this more again.

    A pleasant smile found its way onto his face as he waited for his first bite. As in water bending, still as could be. React with what came, do not force it. The flow was all that mattered.

    It took a few minutes, but only a few before he got his first one with a little tug. Pausing a second or two to make sure it was a true catch and not a snag, he began to jerk the line and reel it in.

    “Here we go!” he grunted with a little excitement. His first catch in years…and he’d idly note in the back of his mind, just like it had been in the past…it was with another at his side. Not his mother or more commonly, his father anymore, but Zayne.

    Was that a sign? Who knew. Possibly. Possibly not.

    He managed to grasp it and pull it off the hook, holding the first catch triumphantly, a little gleam of victory in his eyes.

    “As you commanded, Princess. A fish,” he said it good-naturedly and not in any way condescending.

    If there was a bucket or something similar nearby, he would deposit the catch inside and move to cast a second time. Otherwise, he’d just stand there, looking about and wondering what to do for a moment.

    Varayik didn’t want to make a small show of stunning the fish. Knowing how nobles behaved, such a thing might offend her sensibilities. Or something.

    Still, the elation of a successful catch was suffusing his soul at the moment and it was probably the first true joy he had felt in a long time.

    Tag: Lady Zayne @The Jedi in the Pumas
     
  15. greyjedi125

    greyjedi125 Chosen One star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 29, 2002
    A combo of Mastery and Mayhem with our GM @The Jedi in the Pumas

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

    Master Nin vs Rumi
    Huriko’s Dojo, Ba Sing Se

    Rumi stopped circling, planted his foot and spun.

    Once.

    Twice.

    Covering the distance between he and Master Nin and grabbing Nin’s left arm sleeve with his left hand. He continued to circle, but reversed directions, circling to Master Nin’s left, but staying close to his body.

    Xian smiled, he allowed the grab of his sleeve and simply moved with Rumi as he immediately lowered his stance, bringing his center of gravity lower than his opponent's. When Rumi suddenly reverse directions, Xian pressed downward with a strong sudden movement. With his lower center of gravity, Rumi would have to either break his hold or be jerked towards Master Nin.

    In a blink of an eye, Xian took a single cross-step and simultaneously struck with his shoulder at Rumi's core; the move had just enough contact force to shove him back and set him off-balance, that is, if it succeeded.

    Rumi’s feet changed stance and he took the Force of Nin’s shoulder. He stumbled backwards and dashed forward, throwing right hook at Nin’s face.

    Like Rumi had just done a second ago, Xian spun in place, his motion greatly lessening the impact of Rumi's fist to his face. In a seamless motion, Xian turned his body into and under Rumi, grabbed hold of the punching arm and shifted with his hip to effect a simple arm toss.

    Xian's eyes were still closed for he was deep into the flow of their encounter, which meant he didn't expect the young master to actually be slammed on the floor.

    Rumi landed into a roll and was quickly back to his feet. He turned to face Nin. Nin would not see the look on Rumi’s face and so he would miss what Huriko saw. Lord Huriko’s eyes shot to Nin as Rumi’s speed closed the distance once again and rapid strikes from his hands begin to batter the Master Nin.

    They were not hard, but they were accurate, short biting punches.

    Two rapid punches aimed at his head. Light taps.

    Rumi circled to the right.

    Two more at the same spot. Faster.

    Circled again.

    One to Nin’s left thigh. Hard. Faster still.

    Half a blink.

    Punches aimed for the chest region.

    Lord Huriko had rarely seen someone move this fast without the aid of bending or chi. This was blessed natural talent he was witnessing from Rumi.

    Chi and energy flowed between the two combatants, the intensity slowly but steadily increasing. It was Xian's ability to 'see and read' the pulses, ripples, vibrations, ebbs and flow of chi- once coupled with his Martial Arts training, it allowed him to react as he did.

    Master Nin sensed Rumi come at him, for the young sand bender was not undone by the arm throw, as expected. The young master's speed however, was indeed remarkable, even for one so young. Xian still maintained himself in the flow, his eyes still closed. His body suddenly had no resistance as he accepted Rumi's blows, but in turn, Rumi would feel as if his blows were making contact with an incredibly dense object.

    Xian's body was so conditioned from an early age, that he now always wore his 'iron shirt' and 'iron body' wherever he went. It was an internal system that was not perceived with one's eyes. Physical trauma was greatly reduced, even negated with such training- conversely, becoming 'formless' meant 'no resistance'. It was like hitting the wind. Together, they made the perfect defense.

    Rumi would have better luck hitting a rag doll.

    As the last punch came into the white hair master's chest, Xian exhaled as he collapsed his body, not offering any resistance, accepting the punch into his core, bending over it. In a blink, his hands came around to grab the arm Rumi had just offered him, and held it in a cross grip, before unwinding it and twisting as he took a step forward. This move would cause the opponent's upper body to bend at an awkward angle, allowing for the second move to easily follow through: An arm lock.

    The White Haired Master was learning a few things about Rumi now, things that only fueled his resolve. Here and now, they were speaking to each other, in a way that had not been possible before.

    "ARGH!"

    The arm lock twisted into place behind his back and Rumi exhaled in frustration. He reached up and behind with his left hand and grabbed Nin by the hair. He leaned his weight back onto Nin's and swung his legs out in front of him, before bending them and swinging them full force backwards, catapulting his body, and Nin forward towards the floor.

    They rolled forward together, the movement breaking the lock. By either Nin's choice to let go or the rapid inertia of the maneuver weakening his grip. Rumi went on the attack. With both of them on the ground, he felt a sense of urgency to capitalize. He was on his back. He rolled his weight to his shoulders, the bottoms of his feet facing the ceiling and kicked out, springing his body to his feet.

    As soon as his feet touched the ground, he jumped...

    Of course, Huriko thought. When he felt pushed, he would go to his true skill set.

    Two 12 inch blocks of earth were stuck to his feet and in mid-air he kicked them separately in two bursts towards Nin who had not recovered to his feet yet.

    ’Excellent’

    Master Nin thought. The boy had good reaction time and fought intelligently, he kept his wits and reacted accordingly. These things could not be learned by simply reading a text- only experience could teach a warrior what was necessary in these situations.

    Xian let go of the armlock and remained on his back for a breath. His eyes were now open, but he was not surprised by anything he saw. There was no up, no down, just combat situations. Rumi was coming at him- attacking now, kicking two solid bricks while he was on his back.

    Good, Good

    The best defense in this case was not to get hit.

    Xian quickly rolled to his left and moved from the spot Rumi had been aiming, the bricks narrowly missing him. Instantly, Xian palmed the floor and spun himself upward into a low fighting stance; a half-smile now etched on his face and a glint in his eyes shined through.

    Rumi had taken the encounter to the next level and Xian would meet him there. No gesture was needed as his chi flowed and galvanized his body with Strength, Speed and Durability, for he would needed it. Facing a bender was the greatest challenge and the mark of Mastery for those who practiced Flowing Chi technique - for it required a more fundamental understanding of chi than what was readily apparent. This was the most critical and dangerous part of the encounter. But Xian was confident that he was ready for whatever Rumi decided to do next.

    Huriko remained unmoving as he stood away from the fight. Off the mats. But inside his mind, his excitement and interest was growing. To be able to witness two high-performing artists at their apex was any true martial artist's dream experience. The young Master Nin's chi was rising and this was what Huriko had heard all those years ago. A young prodigy able to control his chi to enhance their speed, durability, and strength. He was no stranger to the practice, but it was seldom seen outside of the small, non-bending martial arts community.

    His eyes shot to Rumi as he landed back on his feet in a strong earthbending stance. Legs spread, hips low, and palms outstretched towards the earth.

    A moment of pause between the two combatants...

    Then Rumi launched brick after brick with each punch from across the room, an unforgiving onslaught, as he charged to close the distance.

    Rumi was not one to disappoint.

    The young sand bending master launched brick after brick at Xian, who deflected the first few missiles with quick and precise deflections, however, he was not surprised when he sensed what was happening beneath his feet. If it weren’t for his high skill in Flowing Chi Technique, he might not have sensed it at all- or until it was too late.

    ’Well now….’

    Rumi was launching a three stage attack. The earth missiles were meant to keep him rooted in place, then the disturbance he was feeling beneath his feet was surely an attempt to entrap his feet, leaving Rumi free to close the distance and deliver the finishing blow.

    Xian could appreciate the tactic and found it sound and commendable, except that Rumi might also ruin Master Huriko’s wooden floor in the process. Control was also part of Mastery.

    A quick stomp on the floor and Master Nin leapt high into the air and flipped, but he did not land on the floor, instead, he landed on the very bricks Rumi was firing at him and quickly ran upon several of them with his lightfoot technique! Just before he was within Rumi’s contact range of attack, he twisted and vaulted over the sand bending prodigy and struck out to simply tap him on the back of the neck, a ‘vulnerable’ spot, before landing low on the floor and simultaneously performing a reverse sweep to knock him off his feet.

    At this level, a mistake on his part could very well end the encounter, but even so, the boy demonstrated a facility with earth bending that clearly defined him as a Master. And that in itself was both chilling and impressive.

    Rumi lost feeling in his right arm. He raised earth below his feet to break through the floor, causing Master Nin's leg to slam into the earth block. Rumi knelt down on the block and placed his hand, looking Nin in his face. They were indeed close. Close enough that Nin would see that the sandbender's intentions had taken a dark turn. He was no longer just fighting. The block shook and sand spread up Nin's leg, seeking to engulf him.

    Lord Huriko stepped forward, ready to intervene.

    Nin held Rumi's gaze firmly and did not waver. The earth block to the sweep was anticipated, for it was the only time he had truly attacked and given Rumi a chance to counter. Master Nin was completely in the flow of the battle, weaving not only his own moves, but the enemies as well. This is how he'd gained his reputation at his age, it was his talent, his gift.

    To bend sand and stone required chi and benders controlled very specific and precise frequencies- all which were distinct. A Master of Flowing chi didn't bend the elements like benders did, but they could manipulate chi properties themselves to varying degrees and varying effects. Xian was in harmony, not only with himself but also with Hou Long, quite in contrast to Rumi's storm.

    The white haired Master felt stone turn to sand which began to creep up his leg- however, he introduced another element to the the mix.

    Fire.

    A sudden flash of fire swirled around the creeping sand and glassed every single particle, Xian simply flexed and shattered it in a single move as he rolled back to perform a perfect kip-up, then landed with feline grace on his feet. His stance was low and fluid, regardless of the now exposed leg. He made sure now to study Rumi's face, to see what was in his eyes. He could already feel the polarity in the boy's Chi. Had he forgotten that this was a sparring match?

    He would have to check for bruises on the left side of his face and on his right leg as soon as he got a chance.

    "FIREBENDER!" Rumi shouted. He knew there was something different about Master Nin and now he knew. Or thought he knew.

    Lord Huriko's eyes widened as he took another step forward. No, Master Nin was no firebender...At least not in the way that Rumi was thinking. "Rumi, you must control yourself!" He was not worried about his dojo. He was worried whose attention the continued earthbending would atttract. Rumi had to be stopped.

    A downward thrust from his palm cracked the floors of the dojo as geysers of sand began rising. The entrance of the dojo became sealed by a wall of earth. In coordination with the movements of Rumi's arms, the geysers began sending sand slices at Master Nin.

    One slash.

    The second.

    Then one more.

    Each more deadlier than the last made their way towards Master Nin.

    Master Nin covered himself in a nimbus of flame, glassing any sand attacks that came in contact with him, but made sure to keep the flames he controlled from burning anything else around him.

    "Think Rumi." He urged calmly. "Do you mean to destroy Master Huriko's dojo? Control Rumi, you must exercise control!"

    It looked as if the test had now changed, would it even matter how much time had now elapsed? Was Rumi even listening?

    No. He was in a rage. A wrath now.

    Rumi twisted his foot into the floor. Master Nin would see the room spin 90 degrees to the left and feel an earth pillar ram into his ribcage with enough force to crack the pillar itself and send the Master stumbling to his right. The earth split into chasm below Nin and he would be faced with falling into a deep, dark abyss.

    At the same time, Lord Huriko grabbed Rumi under his arms and lifted him into the air. Rumi's struggle against the massive strength of Lord Huriko was futile, but a sandpit opened beneath them and they slowly began to sink into the floor. The Sandbender's rage could not be quelled and he was blinded by it.

    Master Nin fell into the dark abyss for many meters, but he was able to stop himself once the gap between the walls became thin enough.

    He could very well begin to make his way back up by bouncing between the two walls, but not likely before the boy closed the chasm and crushed him like an insect.

    The irony of it all did not escape him.

    The Leaders of the Fire Nation were so blinded by ambition that they could not see that killing the Avatar only threw everything out of balance and the ensuing cycle of violence would likely consume all the nations, the Fire Nation included. The War had claimed Lady Yisho and her two sons, and many others; at this rate there was no telling how many more.

    Rumi was also a victim of the war, a fractured being, a chasm that would swallow the whole of Ba Sing Se.

    He would liberate the Earth Nation from slavery by burying them all.

    Still, Xian bounced from one side to the other, his lightfoot technique allowing him to gain speed as he moved upwards.

    If he made it to the top alive, he would tell them. He would leave Ba Sing Se. The Fate of the Earth Nation would be in the hands of Earth Benders. Xian had forsaken his home and was now a stranger in a strange land.

    At last, Xian made it up the chasm and flipped out of it, but was greeted by another alarming sight. Master Huriko was holding a raging Rumi over his head as they both sank into a sand pit created by the sand bending protege. Was he planning to doom them both?

    "I yield RUMI!!" Xian declared as he landed in a low stance, but then fell to the floor, and hacked blood all over. Of course, he wasn't surprised. The boy's earthen pillar would have shattered his entire rib cage. If it weren't for his 'Iron Shirt and Iron Body' technique, he would have been instantly slain.

    "You WIN! I will leave Ba Sing Se! Isn't that what you want!?"

    Xian eyed the sand pit and resisted the urge to glass it with fire as he wiped blood dripping from the side of his mouth, the pain he now felt he could handle. Rumi needed to regain a measure of control on his own- but if an intervention was needed....

    Master Nin regarded both Huriko and Rumi and mentally poised himself to strike the boy - to keep him from bending if he did not bring himself under control.

    There was no response, as the moment came and passed with no change. Master Huriko and Rumi were still sinking, a bit faster now and there was not a second to waste. Xian ignored the pain inside him and launched himself into the air, his leap turned into a vault, and as he sailed over Rumi, his hands flashed at incredible speeds. Master Nin let loose a volley of chi blocking strikes to temporarily disable young Rumi and simultaneously stun him in order to quell his tantrum.

    The vault was controlled, so Xian was able to literally 'snatch' Rumi as he was held aloft and land with enough grace, thanks to his light foot.

    Gently, he lay the boy down on the floor and held him and did not let go. He held him close, as if he were the son he’d never had.

    Inside himself, he secretly hoped that Rumi would not hate him for what he had done.



    Tag: @The Jedi in the Pumas
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2020
  16. 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 staggered a little from the clap on the back but managed to keep herself upright. "You're welcome...and thank you." She smiled back at them and went to go back inside to help Sha-Sin. She stopped short, a brief look of hesitation as she spotted the Fire Nation girl, before she walked the rest of the way inside. Mei-Ling smiled a little; realising that she was nervous. She had never met anyone from the Fire Nation so close to her age before. Mei-Ling looked over at Sha-Sin and walked a little closer, stopping and glancing between them.

    "Hello." Mei-Ling greeted quietly. She tilted her head in a bow, and looked nervously at Jazmai. She glanced back up at Sha-Sin and added, "Is there anything I can do to help get the order ready?"

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

    Popo was finally enjoying his bath finally working with her. It was a small victory for the young girl completing a task doing something that wasn't just standing around just simmering in her own thoughts. That was one thing she did not need or want.

    She finished cleaning him and had started trying to dry him but he just walked away wrapping his trunk around her waist and lifting her up.

    "Woah." she exclaimed as her feet were swept off the ground. As she was set on the back of the beast she settled herself looking out from her suddenly high vantage point. It was interesting and an entirely new experience for her. At the tea house they never needed a beast of burden, largely their shipments were dropped off by the tea merchant and everything else they brought in by hand. She was a little nervous being so high up, a little worried she would fall but Popo seemed content to help her keeping his head steady, using his trunk to stabilize her when needed. As he plodded his way towards his master he waved her still dry tunic in front of her.

    She put it on and secured it over her, it wouldn't do to meet with a client in her underclothes. She looked down souring just a little at seeing the fire nation garb. Though it wasn't hate, just a little discomfort. She'd served many fire nation citizens in the tea house, she'd gotten used to seeing them and their deep red garments.

    Hearing that they were heading for the middle ring Jiao swallowed hard. What if she was a wanted woman? Or someone recognized her from the incident at the tea house. She looked away a little worried but, not saying anything, lest an outsider hear something they shouldn't. Putting on a brave face she looked to Sha-sin.

    "I think Popo is a little attached to me so...I'll um...tag along."

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

    Sha-Sin giggled as she saw the soaking wet Popo standing proud and determined to begin the expedition to the Middle Ring; the small Jiao Yuan on his back. Impressive, Sha-Sin thought. Popo was not an easy animal to bond with but the girl's nature must have made him comfortable enough to allow her to ride him.

    Sha-Sin stamped the last document on the order and stood, walking back over to hand the bundle of scrolls to Jazmai. She turned to Mei-Ling.

    "Yes, we will load Jazmai's order onto Popo and deliver it to her home."

    "That's really not necessary-"

    "Think nothing of it, my dear." Sha-Sin was a woman that could not be dissuaded once her mind was made up and certain. She was also curious as to what kind of conditions Jazmai was coming to them from. The girl was clearly not royalty or of the upper class, judging by her hair and clothes. She was a servant and Sha-Sin had never been able to observe the Fire Nation wealthy in a close setting. It could be useful information to be attained for the rebellion.

    "Mei-Ling, Jiao, we will load Popo up and set off in a just a few. I'll return shortly." Sha-Sin walked back in the gates of the compound leaving the three young women to converse while some of the workers of the compound attached a carriage to Popo and began loading boxes of uncooked noodles. Popo stomped his feet, irritated, but anxious to begin.

    Jazmai tried not to. She could not help it. Her eyes settled on Mei-Ling and how she moved. Even her voice seemed familiar. She grabbed a box of her shipment to make herself useful and placed it in the carriage. Then she stopped, hidden behind the box and quietly asked Mei-Ling:

    "Do you know anyone in the Middle Ring, ma'am?"

    Tag: @galactic-vagabond422 @TheSilentInfluence

    ------

    Lord Huriko's Dojo, Lower Ring, Ba Sing Se

    Rumi's body felt skeletal and small. Almost fragile in the hands of Master Nin. It was a subtle reminder that the young man was closer to being a boy than he was to being a man, despite his power, ruthlessness, and the terrible burden he carried. He was...young and had years ahead of him if the battle for Ba Sing Se's freedom did not claim his life.

    For it appeared to have already made great progress in claiming his soul and it only had just begun.

    Lord Huriko placed a hand on Master Nin's shoulder as he stood. He lifted Rumi out of Master Nin's arms with one massive arm. The sandbender's head shook and raised to look at Master Nin with fire in Rumi's eyes. He tried to reach an arm out to grab Nin, but his body did not respond. Before he could utter any words of anger or condemnation, Lord Huriko's other hand pinched the back of Rumi's neck and the young man lost consciousness. Huriko's eyes slid to the front of the dojo, towards the doors, over the chaos and destruction that was now his dojo. Raising one finger to his lips, he made a shushing noise and hurried back to his office with Rumi and reappeared a second later with a large hammer in his hand.

    "Master Nin, if you would excuse me and speak nothing of what you are about to see." Huriko dropped the hammer on the ground, where it landed on it's base with the handle sticking skyward. Huriko placed his hands together in a praying motion and assumed a strong base with bent knees. His hands jutted outward and the floor beneath the dojo flattened. The broken wood where Rumi's pillars had risen was still evident, but the pillars themselves disappeared. Hands closing, as if grasping some invisible towel from an imaginary rack, Huriko brought his arms to his chest and the holes in the floor closed. He quickly grabbed the large hammer up and placed the heavy end in one of the existing holes just as a Fire Nation soldier entered his dojo, in full armor.

    "We received reports of a disturbance here. What is going on here?" The soldier demanded.

    Lord Huriko flashed a disarming smile and raised his hands and shoulders in a confused, innocent way.

    "No, sir. I am just performing some renovations. I do apologize for the noise." He said.

    Master Nin would see behind the Fire Nation soldier, a small group of soldiers. They always traveled like that. He would...maybe...even catch the glimpse of...

    Tag: @greyjedi125

    ------

    Transport Station, Lower Ring, Ba Sing Se

    "Hey you! Where's your pass?"

    The bald government official tasked with checking boarding passes, flanked by two Dai Li agents, grabbed Kasai by his collar and yanked him from taking another step onto the train.

    "Trying to sneak aboard, eh?" The man was an older earth kingdom official that had clearly submitted to the new Fire Nation authority with gusto. He was not uncommon. In the week of Fire Nation occupation, many formerly popular and trustworthy government officials were becoming aggressive supporters of the new regime; honestly, it could accurately be said that these officials were even more aggressive than the Fire Nation at times simply to cover themselves from suspicion of being to lax on their countrymen.

    "Take him away!"

    "Just a moment. The man is my bodyguard."

    It was a calm, authoritative voice. Deep and decisive that somehow rose above the idle chatter on the train. It came from a tall, serious looking man.

    [​IMG]

    The government official and Dai Li agents looked at the man and quickly released Kasai.

    "Professor Fu, my apologies. We did not know."

    Pon Lan Fu maintained his stoic face as he thanked the official and beckoned Kasai over to him aboard the crowded train. One of the Dai Li agents took a step forward.

    "Excuse me, Professor Fu. What is this bodyguard's name?"

    Pon Lan Fu looked at Kasai. The train grew quiet as the altercation gained attention.

    "His name is Wang. Isn't that right, Wang?"

    Tag: @Shadowsun

    ------

    Bridge, Middle Ring, Ba Sing Se

    "Ew."

    Was all Zayne said in response to the wiggling fish that Varayik had deposited into the bucket.

    "That'll do. Now, come along we have a picnic to get to and you will escort me. If anyone asks, you're my boyfriend and have been for many weeks. That'll show Azula."

    Zayne began walking off towards the opposite end of the bridge that Varayik had scared the bothersome children off. Four men awaited her. They were her...steeds. She stepped onto a carriage that was being drawn by them and waited for Varayik to bring himself and his fish to join her.

    Zayne's bored visage stared at the Middle Ring as she waited for Varayik. She could not believe her father had sent her her by herself. Sure, she was instructed to make all formal appearances for the family in his stead, but she hated this life. She hated the high society of Fire Nation royalty and military leaders. They were all so very boring to a woman her age. Azula was the worst of them. Despite the 4 year age difference, Zayne being older, Azula being Princess of the Fire Nation was something she always held above Zayne's head since their time at the Royal Fire Academy for Girls. Now since she had conquered Ba Sing Se and killed the Avatar, Zayne would never hear the end of it. The least she could do was rub in Azula's face that she had a boyfriend and that the Fire Princess did not. The picnic was not going to be so much a picnic as a gushing private ceremony of high ranking military officials and noble sycophants praising Zuko and Azula. She did not want to go, but the look on Azula's face when she arrived with a man on her arms would be priceless.

    The thought brought a nice, thin smile to Zayne's face.

    When Varayik would come near, Zayne demanded to know more about him and would flirt in a rather effective way. She could be very persuasive and charming when she needed to. One more thing she had over Azula.

    Tag: @Darth_Elu
     
    Darth_Elu, greyjedi125 and Shadowsun like this.
  19. 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 nodded in agreement and went to work, helping the others load boxes into the carriage. She smiled a little as Jazmai came to help, and gave her a curious look at the question. I just got here. How can I know anyone in the Middle Ring? "No. I'm sorry, I don't know anyone there. I really only just got this job. I came from Omashu as a refugee." She tilted her head and looked curious. "And you don't have to call me Ma'am. We're the same age I think." Mei-Ling looked amused at the thought and laughed. "You can call me Mei-Ling." She assured Jazmai. "Really it's okay."

    I wonder why she thought I had been to the Middle Ring. From what I've heard, that's for fancy nobles and I'm certainly not one. Mei-Ling wondered if she had seen her necklace, but realised that it wasn't showing. She shook her head at the thought and continued to load the carriage, wanting to get done quickly. Wondering if Sha-Sin would let them explore the Middle Ring when they were done. I could see if they have any of those fancy shops I've heard so much about. Where the ladies come out with five different outfits and hats. It must be nice, to have more then one outfit.

    Tag: @The Jedi in the Pumas @galactic-vagabond422
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2020
  20. greyjedi125

    greyjedi125 Chosen One star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 29, 2002
    IC: Master Xian Nin
    Huriko’s Dojo, Ba Sing Se

    Had five minutes elapsed? Was anyone keeping time? Did it even matter? Probably not.

    Master Nin had prevailed, but seeing the abject look of seething hate and anger pouring out of the boy, Xian knew right then and there that Rumi was forever lost to him. It would not matter if he single handedly defeated the Fire Nation and ushered them from Ba Sing Se, Rumi’s hatred would remain, and in time, it would grow fiercer than ever.

    Tragedy and Loss were the gifts the Fire Nation brought upon those it conquered. Such was the way of things - still, Master Nin would not give up on hope- not without a fight.

    Slowly, he rose from his position and absently rubbed at his sore leg as he watched Lord Huriko take the now unconscious boy into another room.

    A moment later, the large man returned with a very large hammer in hand. Xian couldn’t help but to do a double take at the sight.

    "Master Nin, if you would excuse me and speak nothing of what you are about to see."

    Xian found that he could only nod affirmatively in response. The chi he was sensing now was so astonishing, it rendered him speechless. Silently he watched and felt as Huriko surged and flowed with incredible chi energy and did the unexpected.

    Lord Huriko began to Earth Bend!

    So many thoughts rushed through Xian’s mind at the moment, even as he continued to watch Lord Huriko restore the ground and earth around them to their proper places and settings.

    Did Lord Huriko posses a Legendary Weapon as well?

    A sense of elation came over Xian, one that he had long forgotten. His face did brighten then as questions filled his mind and hope warmed his heart. This was certainly a fortuitous occurrence, it had to be fate.

    Just at that moment, Fire Nation Soldiers in full armor entered the dojo and immediately questioned its Master: Lord Huriko.

    Something about a disturbance.

    Xian’s expression changed, his exuberance diminished, but he still managed to retain a polite demeanor. It was clear that Rumi’s outburst and consequent bending had drawn unwanted attention.

    Lord Huriko’s response was - thankfully- ‘believable’.

    To Master Nin, these seemed like standard Fire Nation soldiers. He had seen them out in formation time and time again. Personally, he offered a silent thanks for the Water Tribe outfit he presently wore-given his recent escapades. With a casual gesture, he raised his hood while everyone’s attention was focused elsewhere- so he covered his head.

    Still, he could sense something else among these soldiers. His attention was being drawn to something or someone who did not quite belong.


    Tag: @The Jedi in the Pumas
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2020
  21. Darth_Elu

    Darth_Elu Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jan 2, 2003
    Varayik Toraq IC:
    ~Bridge, Middle Ring, Ba Sing Se~

    Zayne’s reaction to the fish was so noble-like and Varayik’s own happiness at that moment caused him to grin and let out a small laugh. He couldn’t help it.

    “Only doing as asked, milady,” he chuckled.

    “That’ll do. Now, come along we have a picnic to get to and you will escort me.”

    The mirth subsided with a few more quiet rumbles of suppressed laughter. His eyebrows still managed to raise with the sudden statement, puzzlement appearing on his face though he dutifully grasped the bucket and began to move with her, almost as if instinct.

    “If anyone asks, you’re my boyfriend and have been for many weeks.”

    Varayik managed to keep moving, though he nearly choked. B-B-Boyfriend!? This was way beyond what he had even begun to imagine with her! I mean, hell, he hadn’t actually expected to get anywhere, a-and he hadn’t even held hands with the opposite gender let alone get an actual girlfriend!

    Make what jokes you wanted about him being behind in that department, but his life had always been focused on other things before he could really think about it heavily. His face turned red, yet he nodded all the same.

    Perhaps a little too exuberantly.

    “That’ll show Azula.

    “Of course, I’ll do anything you ask. It would definitely show up—“

    His mind froze as he had just begun to step up into the noble carriage without even thinking about it. Varayik had been so stunned by this abrupt turn of events, and elated, that he had mercilessly been allowed to not see the expressions on the four men acting as steeds to the palanquin.

    Azula. Princess Azula.

    Resuming his motion, trying to hide the pause, he sat down next to his new girlfriend. Pretend or not, this was beyond his wildest dreams. How had the day started again?

    He couldn’t remember, it felt like an age past. Time was ticking along at a pace a turtle would have resonated with.

    Varayik was on his way to see the person he most admired in the world. The one whose power and tactics persuaded him to join the Fire Nation completely. And now the one who he was going to intentionally annoy just by being him. Essentially anyway.

    …..But that too fell away, the world seeming to shrink to the inside of the palanquin, as those beautiful eyes batted toward him. The words drifting from her lips like honey. She was now openly flirting with him.

    And he was hers like the biggest sucker in the world. One who also couldn’t care less about that very fact. Was a heart-bender a thing? It felt like it.

    At this point a voice whispered in the back of his mind, ‘Maybe you should tell her about being a water bender. Appearance and all that…’

    Varayik Toroq shut it up. His Lady was saying something about his muscles and he needed to make her happy.

    Somewhere, a candle over a pond was laughing. What a dance opposites could make.

    Tag: Lady Zayne @The Jedi in the Pumas
     
  22. Shadowsun

    Shadowsun Jedi Master star 3

    Registered:
    Jun 26, 2017
    Kasai Oban
    Transport Station, Lower Ring, Ba Sing Se

    Kasai's heart froze. The hand on his collar might as be the hand of death itself. It was over, all over. It would only be a matter of time before they identified him. So much for being part of a resistance.

    "Just a moment. The man is my bodyguard."

    His heart now leapt, thankful yet again that the kindness of strangers had saved his life once more. What was his name? Professor Fu? Kasai looked to the man's eyes, strong and decisive and yet Kasai felt a sense of noble grace from him. Upon hearing the Dai Li agent ask for his name Kasai, looked awkwardly toward the professor, opening his mouth to speak but before he could Fu answered for him.

    "His name is Wang. Isn't that right, Wang?"

    Kasai gave a knowing look toward Pon Lan Fu, the silence of the train station almost deafening. He turned toward the Dai Li agent.

    "Yes, the name's Fire, Wang Fire." He almost let out a laugh, did he really just say his last name was fire? What idiot would think that was a good idea? Hopefully the officials would still believe their story.

    TAG: @The Jedi in the Pumas

    OOC: Leave me alone I couldn't resist.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2020
  23. 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

    Jiao sat atop Popo as Sha-Sin gave orders to the workers around. They brought the carriage and lashed it to the beast. The young woman rubbed the side of the large head of the camelephant patting behind his ear. As the crew was loading up the carriage, Popo stomped his feet a little like some of the toddlers Jiao would see in the streets or in the tea house. She laughed a little, patting the side of his head again.

    "It's alright big guy. I'm sure we'll get going soon." The younger servant girl started to assist with the boxes. Jiao thought of helping but when she tried to slip off the back of Popo the creature used his trunk to push her back up. Stuck above the conversation she couldn't really cut in though it was interesting.Jazmai asked if the other girl was from the middle ring, Mei-Ling denying that she had any connections to the middle ring where the shipment was going. Jaio looked down after hearing about where Mei-Ling came from Omashu. Another person forced from their home because of the fire nation. The former tea house girl looked away awkwardly just waiting to get going.

    She'd only been to the Middle ring a few times, and she hadn't been since the Fire Nation took control; it would be interesting to see what it had become. Though there was a bit of horror at that thought as well.

    TAG: @TheSilentInfluence @The Jedi in the Pumas
     
  24. The Jedi in the Pumas

    The Jedi in the Pumas Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 23, 2018
    Lao Khan Garden Center, Middle Ring, Ba Sing Se

    [​IMG]
    The Middle Ring was like another world. One that would be familiar to Jiao Yuan, aside from the presence of Fire Nation nobility walking the streets. There seemed to be more tension in the air to Jiao. Mei-Ling and Jazmai would have no such comparison. Popo proudly lumbered through the nicer streets of the market, requiring Jiao Yuan, who Sha-Sin was letting hold the reigns while she provided directions, to correct the camelephant more often than not to stay on the right path. He wanted to smell the flowers and drink from the cleaner fountains, but under the watchful eye of the roaming Fire Nation squads and Dai Li Agents, Jiao would think better than to allow Popo to linger in any one place.

    Eventually they arrived at the entrance to the Lao Khan Garden Center, behind a line of carriages.

    [​IMG]
    Sha-Sin sighed and wiped some sweat from her brow.

    "Alright ladies..." She gave Jiao and Mei-Ling a subtle look and nod. She told both of them before they departed, out of earshot from Jazmai, that as long as they remained calm, there would be nothing to worry about. There were no wanted posters for Jiao Yuan, the underground network had confirmed, and Mei-Ling had generally nothing to be worried about. No one was after her and no one would be. Sha-Sin informed them that she would be personally escorting the shipment in, as she needed to gather intel on which generals and personnel were in the city. One of the shipment boxes in the cart that Popo pulled was an extra one, containing Fire Nation uniforms and clothing. She gave the young women a choice.

    ~~Flashback to Before their Departure~~

    "Jiao, Mei-Ling, you do not have to participate in this if you do not wish to. This is my burden, my brother's burden, the burden of anyone who seeks a free Ba Sing Se." She had told them back at the Storehouse Compound. "You girls are young and this war has already affected you. When we arrive at the picnic, I will give you a choice whether to enter with me into the picnic or go about your business in the Middle Ring. I should only be an hour or so.
    Unlike my brother, I will not involve bystanders and civilians in my covert activities.
    The choice to participate or not, is yours."
    ~~Return to the Present~~

    Popo moved forward. They were only a cart or two away from the entrance. Sha-Sin would need their decisions soon. Jazmai sat on the back of the cart quietly until she heard the laughter of two children chasing each other around at the entrance, two carts away. A distinguished, stressed noble stomped his feet, his voice carrying above the background noise of congregating voices inside the picnic.

    [​IMG]

    "TAMIKO! TATSUO! Come here now!"

    Jazmai perched up. It was her Lord Shu's voice. She hoped that he would not be upset with their contributions to the picnic. It was very important that the Nobles made a good impression on Prince Zuko and Princess Azula and the rest of the important figures attending. She hoped Tatsuo and Tamiko would behave, though this was an incredibly ambitious hope!

    ----
    "TAMIKO! TATSUO!"

    Zayne craned her neck around as they heard a noble yelling at his children. Her face remained plain as she turned back around, clinching Varayik's arm tighter, almost yanking him forward off the carriage. He could tell she was excited...maybe even in a rush. She had revealed to Varayik that she had gone to a very nice school in the Fire Nation with the younger Princess Azula. She was well acquainted with the Royal family. Unlike most others, however, this proximity brought her no joy. Constant comparisons, her father's long expeditions across the world, and the overwhelming pressure to always look her best and behave her best. It was exhausting!

    As they walked through the picnic, Zayne commented that they must have arrived early. The fire thrower performers had not started and apparently Azula was not there yet. Of course, she thought, the Princess just had to be fashionably late. They passed many nobles that bowed or offered to shake Zayne's hand (all the while giving critical looks at Varayik's presence on her arm), but Zayne would not entertain any of it. She just wanted to get to their blanket and be seated. That was...until she saw the young Prince, the redeemed, Prince Zuko starring out at the pond water, deep in thought, located at the center of the garden.

    [​IMG]

    She hastened her step, yanking Varayik and his fish violently. Zayne was stronger than her noble frame would have one assume!

    "Oh ZuZu!" She called over before the air grew very....dark...and boring.

    "Hello Zayne." A girl with jet black hair and an equally plain expression stepped into view from seemingly nowhere, stopping Zayne from making contact with Zuko.

    Zayne's plain expression twitched with irritation. "Hello...May. So...nice...to...See...you." The words sounded like they hurt Zayne to say. Their interaction snapped the young Prince Zuko out of his thought and he turned to them, but said nothing. The girls continued their stand off while Varayik would notice that Zuko did not seem...well how a redeemed Prince who had killed the Avatar would seem. He seemed...so...sad.

    Tag: @Darth_Elu @TheSilentInfluence @galactic-vagabond422

    ------

    Ba Sing Se University, Middle Ring, Ba Sing Se

    [​IMG]

    The transport ride to the Middle Ring was peaceful after the rocky start. Pon Lan Fu said nothing the entire walk to Ba Sing Se University besides imploring Kasai....Wang Fire...to follow him. He seemed wise and knowledgeable and it was quite possible that Kasai had even heard of him in the foreign land of the Fire Nation. On the outside he seemed a stern, cold scholar. On the inside, he was blazing in raging patriotism. This would become clear once they arrived on the steps of the Ba Sing Se University. No one else was around...

    Pon Lan Fu waited a moment, stood still as a mountain, before turning his head to Wang Fire.

    "Mr. Fire, I would like to speak to you in my office. There is something I would like to show you."

    Tag: @Shadowsun (combined?)

    ------

    Lord Huriko's Dojo, Lower Ring, Ba Sing Se

    Chi levels...rising...then fading...Like the belly of a beast from behind the squad...

    A few minutes later, after more questions, the Fire Nation squad left and the only people that remained were Lord Huriko and Master Nin.

    Huriko rose to his feet and dusted off his knees.

    "I am sorry that this is your initial impression of the city...My apologies, Master Nin. But...The struggle. Watching Rumi and you do battle...The damage caused to my dojo is microcosmic of what is happening in the world. My dojo can be repaired, but I will need to do the work. Ba Sing Se is the home of many innocents and they need our help. I will be joining the fight. I would like you and...your special friend to join me in this endeavor, but I respect your decision no matter what way the wind blows you."

    Huriko bowed before Master Nin. The fight had begun and Huriko would need to get in touch with Sha-Sin. Rumi was that connection...

    And someone was trying to pick the lock of the back door of Lord Huriko's Dojo to "rescue" Rumi.

    Huriko would sense it as well as Master Nin. The Lord smiled and remained still.

    "It appears we have more company."

    Tag: @greyjedi125 (Combined?)
     
    Darth_Elu, greyjedi125 and Shadowsun like this.
  25. galactic-vagabond422

    galactic-vagabond422 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2009
    Jiao Yuan
    Lao Khan Garden Center, Middle Ring, Ba Sing Se

    The lumbering beast plodded through the streets making their way towards the Middle Ring. One knew when they arrived, passing under the gates marked the entrance to the place between the poor and the rulers. The streets were clean, the fountains gleaming with clear water and the houses had gardens. It was beautiful, but also the kind of place she would never get to live. This place was for the nobles who inherited more wealth than her family would see in decades. But it was nice to see it to visit.

    Though there was something different, when she was here previously. While it wasn't the most laid back place it didn't feel like this. There was more red and brown, than green and gold. It was clear who was in command here, the dominant group.

    As Popo moved towards one of the fountains to take a drink Jiao pulled on the reins to move him away and move him along.

    "Come on big guy." She said watching another patrol of Fire Nation guards march past her. Seeing them her stomach tied itself up in knots. Sha-Sin had pulled her and Mei-Lei aside and asked them...if they would assist in the revolution. It did not sit well with her, she just wanted to get out of the city, or hide until this all blew over. The young woman wasn't here to throw off the shackles of oppression, she was just here to survive.

    As they came to the long line outside the gardens Jiao slipped off the neck of Popo, much to his displeasure.

    "Hey, it's ok, I'll be back later." She patted his side giving him a smile. She started walking away she heard a voice call out.

    "TAMIKO! TATSUO! Come here now!" Jiao lowered her head keeping her eyes on the road as she walked away.

    It would only be an hour, only an hour to occupy herself.

    Though she wondered what that could be...

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