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Author Topic: "For the Greater Good" (T - violence, death)  (Read 461 times)

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Offline A6

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"For the Greater Good" (T - violence, death)
« on: March 25, 2013, 11:56:57 AM »
This is the last day of Villain Week.  I noticed there were no villain-themed air bending fan fics submitted to the contests.  I guess we can't conceive of a bad airbender.  One time on another forum's contest I did.

I hope you enjoy this dark tale of the air bender who betrayed his nation thinking he would save it.

Title: “For the Greater Good”
Author: A6
Rating: T – violence, death
Word count: 1884
Summary:  My story about betrayal actually explores the possibility of another person as betrayer – not Sozin - in the chain of events leading to the annihilation of the Air Nomads, mistakenly thinking that making one sacrifice would lead to a lasting peace.

”For the Greater Good” (click to show/hide)The figure moved cautiously in the darkness of the moonless night.  He hid his thin white moustache and light skin underneath the hood of a frayed and dirty ochre robe.  He was but a shadow in the moonless night, embracing each inky pool of blackness between doorways and arches in the city, dodging any lamplight.  He clutched a staff close to his body.

At the base of the palace wall he stood and looked up, scanning for guards.

He thought long and hard one final time.   This was a period of rising tension in the world since the disappearance of Avatar Roku.  Roku had been the only voice of reason as the madness increased, but now inexplicably was dead. While Roku lived, the leaders of the Fire Nation had at least heeded his words and were held in check.

Sozin’s great vision of “expanding the great prosperity” of the Fire Nation to other lands was well under way.  Many unwelcome settlements in the Earth Kingdom already flew the flag of the Fire Nation.  But rather than enjoy the success of the Fire Nation, they felt its boot.

Only the Avatar, as Roku had done, could stop the relentless Fire Nation dream of expansion.  But the Avatar was a mere child, and very clearly considered an enemy of the Fire Nation.  By association, that somehow made all of his people a terrible evil to this new unbalanced world. It was inconceivable to the lone figure that his people could somehow be enemies of the Fire Nation.  He was having visions of impending tragedy involving his people, with dire consequences that he could not truly understand.

He had good reason to be fearful.  There were more ominous signs of unrest than just expansion of the lands under Fire Nation control.  There were increasingly harsh words about his kinsmen.  They were shunned, or mocked, or worse, indiscriminately attacked, without provocation.  Their shrines were vandalized.  Racial slurs were commonplace, and angry speeches abounded that labeled his kind as troublemakers, anarchists, and revolutionaries.  His people were anything but that - harmless, gregarious, and peacemakers - anything but warlike.  Some had been imprisoned, tortured, or worse, as only he and a few others knew.   They all were truly treated as enemies.

The new Avatar was not prepared to deal with the growing tension.

He was still a boy, naďve to politics and negotiation, and only beginning his training in all of the bending arts he needed - useless now to stem the rising tide of change.

Who of his people could stand against the power of the Fire Nation if unleashed, and their terrible war machines?

There was only one choice to save them.  A choice no one but the troubled man standing in darkness could make.  It was fitting he was surrounded by the shadows, as his was the darkest of all decisions that could be made.

“Spirits forgive me for what I must do,” he muttered.

He held the staff high, and out popped familiar orange-colored fabric that that formed the wings and tail of a glider.  He bent his knees, and with a slight gust of wind stirring of the dust beneath him, he launched vertically skyward, following the line of the wall closely.  Clearing the top of the high fortification, he turned sharply and headed for a smaller set of chambers away from the great halls and throne room.

Silently the man alighted on a patio in front of two great oaken doors, ornately carved, painted with reds and blacks, and accentuated with gold gild.  He gripped the solid gold doorknob and turned it.  It was still silent, as he opened the door.

It creaked and he froze.

It was too late.  A woman’s voice shrieked knowing there was an intrusion.  Instantly, her sleepmate shoved her to the floor next to the bed - away from the intruder, to put the safety of the gigantic royal bed as protection between her and the unknown possibly dangerous assailant.

A mid-sized muscular old man lept out of bed and assumed a fighting stance.

“Lord Sozin,” spoke the still-hooded glider pilot.

“Move carefully stranger, and make no sudden motion,” growled the Fire Nation patriarch.

The apparition slowly lowered his hood and removed his robe.  In the glint of the few candles that illuminated the nighttime bedchamber of the Fire Lord and his Lady, a bald head was revealed, with an all too familiar blue tattoo.  He was an aged Air Nomad, clothed in the garb of an Air Nomad Temple Council leader.

“You! Monk!  How dare you intrude into my bedroom.  I could burn you down in an instant,” spat Sozin.

“I am perfectly capable of deflecting your moves, Lord Sozin,” said the Air Nomad leader softly.

“Not if I call a multitude of my Home Guard to protect me and my wife. No Air Bender is that good, not even your Mighty Avatar.  If you fly away now, I will hunt you down myself on my dragon,” threatened the chieftain.

The Air Nomad monk simply said, “You know I have no intention of flying away. I flew into this place on purpose. As well you know.”

“Speak monk, or I will fry you for daring to enter my chambers.  My skills are far better than you think. Do you have what I need?”

“I know the location of him whom you seek.  He is in the Southern Temple, and is soon to be moved to the Eastern Temple to continue his training. My envoy there has separated him from his guardian. He will be most vulnerable and confused for the next few days with no guidance.  You will have your best opportunity to take him.” 

The monk looked downcast at how easily he had abandoned one of his own – just a child.

“Give me what I asked, that I may be certain only to bring the boy to justice, and spare your worthless kinsmen, ‘Man of Peace’,” Sozin spoke derisively.

With shaking hands, the monk handed Sozin a map showing the Eastern Air Temple.  With a wary eye to the monk to prevent any trickery, Sozin examined the map.

His eyes widened as he thought, suppressing a grin, “How careless. It has all the Temple locations, including the hidden Western Air Temple.  This monk has stupidly sealed their own destruction.”

“Are you sure of his location, monk? If you have deceived me, I will search the other Temples, and show no mercy,” Narrowing his eyes.

“I am certain, Lord Sozin. He will be there, and you will have him.  There need be only one sacrifice, as you have so stated yourself to me long ago.”

Sozin knew in his heart that the final solution to the Air Nomad problem was the right thing to do, now more than ever. If one of them, especially this Council leader, would sacrifice a kinsman in the name of their precious pursuit of world peace and balance - especially giving up their Avatar - what other deceits were they capable of?  He chuckled to himself righteously in his plan against the Air Nomads - worthless meditators that only consumed and did not contribute to the world - especially the world Sozin foresaw. 

There was one final answer he had to know.

Sozin inquired, “Why would you do this, monk?  You are no peacemaker to me, if you would so easily sacrifice one of your own, especially your precious Avatar.”

“That the Avatar is Air Nomad in this cycle is irrelevant, Lord Sozin.  That he is part of the balance and continuity of the Avatar cycle is the only important thing. The cycle will move on. Each Avatar has a place.  Surely the Spirits want this one to keep the balance of the Four Nations, no matter what the cost. Even the boy will understand this.”

“What gives you the right to determine your people’s fates, monk?

“I am the High Councilor of all the Temple Councils.  I act on their behalf for the best of my people.  Ordinarily, I act with their concurrence as is our way. In this case, I act alone, for the good of our people. There are some among us who would fight you, as you have accused us of doing. I know better of your strength. There would be much loss - terrible, innocent loss.  It is far better to lose one now than to lose all, and the cycle forever,” he confessed.

“How do you know of my plans, monk?” not calling him by the title he deserved.

“I know much, sire. It is my business to know. Now that we have completed our ‘transaction’, and you have want you want, what assurance do I have that you will honor your commitment to us? ” the Councilor asked.

“You have my word, monk. I am always good to my word to those who support me.”  Sozin left unsaid that he never once accepted the thought that Air Nomads could ever support the Fire Nation.

“Then may the Spirits give blessing and forgiveness to our plans – however compromised they may be - to keep peace in the world.”

He bowed graciously, opened his glider, and rose into the dark skies above.   Sozin turned and faced one of the high turrets above the landing, and gestured. 

Streams of fire bending from all directions caught the Monk by surprise, but he dodged and weaved his way through the interlacing fire storm.  Sozin himself blasted fire from behind, causing the Air Nomad to veer sharply, and he signaled again.  As the extremely bright light from the flames dazzled the flier, he did not see the Yu Yan archers release a deadly volley of arrows unerringly toward him. The monk shuddered with the impact of a dozen arrows and fell to the ground.  To be sure his work was complete, Sozin unleashed a final fireball which ignited the monk and his glider in mid air. The flames traced a terrible arc.

As the remains smashed to the grounds of the plaza and burned, Sozin bowed to what was the Air Nomad leader, “At least Councilor, you were man enough to die with dignity and did not cry out.  Ironically, you are the first Air Bender to go. I will not stop until the last is gone – including your Avatar, whom I will let live long enough to see all the others go before him.  You were a trusting fool. A man of peace can never think like a warrior.”

He turned and barked to his head manservant, “Clean up that mess.  And I need some tea. Now!”
With the servant scurrying off, Sozin walked back to his chambers to comfort his wife and thought proudly, “The monk had been a fool to think I would stop at just eliminating this Avatar. The Fire Nation World Liberation can only last forever if the Avatar cycle is broken permanently.  How naďve they all are. Even Roku was.”

The last piece of the puzzle was complete. It was only a few more days until the Comet returned, and the plague that was the Air Nomads and their young Avatar would soon be no more.

The world didn’t need the Avatar any more. Sozin had a better way. His way. 

« Last Edit: March 25, 2013, 12:05:50 PM by A6 »
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