|Book Six: Steel
Author: Sokkas Instincts 2 PM
Sequel to Cinder. The battel against Fallen Fire continues and the new avatar isn't being cut any slack. With gAang's darker past being revealed the world is going to be anything but crazy. Numerous OC present.Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Fantasy - Chapters: 20 - Words: 48,767 - Reviews: 3 - Updated: 07-10-08 - Published: 11-26-07 - id: 3914182
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
AN: Okay, so this is the first chapter of Book Six or Steel. This story is a 200 years later scenario and I would highly recommend that you check out Book Five before you start to read this or else you are going to be very lost. There are numerous OC characters here and the Gaang won't be coming into the story until the end, so if you don't like that please reconsider! As for how they're still around 200 years later, let's just say they were frozen in an ice burg for all intensive purposes. Not really but it's a surprise! I worked hard on the last story and will do the same here, as well as my own version of book three, which you might want to check out if you're looking for something Aang centric. I might not have started it yet so please wait a little while. If there are three or more chapters here I'm pretty sure that I will have started on it then so feel free to read it! Please don't skip this one though as you might like it just as much. It would also be great if you could review as I have an inferiority complex and I'm going to start thinking my writing is crap if you don't! Anyway, here ya go!
Chapter One: One the Road Again
Saiben had been at the Northern Air Temple for a couple of weeks now and his training was progressing quickly. With the help of the mindset and the encouragement he got from everyone he was advancing his air bending skills at an astounding rate.
This suited Seizu just fine as she was hard pressed to go anywhere without getting some help from one of the air benders. It wasn't that they didn't like here, it was just that she had the same effect on them as she did on other people. Just her breathing was enough to scare some of the more skittish ones. One the other hand, she was in even better shape than she had been back in the Fire Nation.
It was for this reason she had started to try and talk Saiben into leaving for a little bit. This was shot down, as they both knew that the faster Saiben became a fully realized avatar the sooner he could take Fallen Fire down. At the rate he was learning though he'd have to leave soon to start on the other elements.
Narik was just as curious as he had been when Saiben had first met him. His thirst for knowledge of the outside world was insatiable and he questioned Saiben constantly on how things worked outside the temple.
On a particularly question filled practice Saiben finally stopped Narik when he finished up on one of his katas and finally got in one of his own questions, "Narik, why don't you just go out and see the world for yourself?"
Narik blushed a little and rubbed the back of his neck before he answered, "Well, I think it's kind of obvious that I'm really curious and pretty much every person here is in agreement that I'd wind up doing something stupid. I can't really help it though. Your world is so much interesting than this one!"
"What if someone went with you?"
"Never really thought of that. But the elders usually don't exactly like us wandering down from here whenever we feel like it and to make it to the closest town without flying would take a long time so the preparation is too much of a pain in the but to actually just get up and go."
"Well, what if I could make a reason for you to go?"
"What are you thinking?"
"Well, I think I'm good enough now to try some Airball. If I made the team, then I'd have to go to the championship and that's in another temple isn't it?"
"You're a genius Saiben! One problem though, we only send one team, so your chances aren't that good."
"You're forgetting that I have a personal trainer!" Narik gave him a confused look and Saiben explained, "You, it's still airbending, so you can still teach me!"
"I take back what I said, you're a super genius!" Despite his age Narik always acted over the top, which made him seem immature. It only showed when he was happy though. When he was serious on occasion you would never guess the juvenile side of him.
The next day Saiben brought Seizu to the Airball pitch with little effort and put her on top of the post in front of one of the nets.
Once he had her stranded there he flew back down to Narik to begin his instruction, "Okay, you'll notice that the ball we use is hollow with six equally spaced holes on it. These allow us better control of the air currents around the ball. We manipulate these and the air currents in the posts to control where the ball goes. Because of the way it bounces around in the posts, it's extremely difficult to tell where it's going to go so you can set up air currents in the posts to direct the ball and herd it away from your goal and towards the oppositions."
"Okay, what's illegal?"
"You can't have the ball above the posts for more than five seconds. The last team to have control of the ball gets the penalty. The other team gets possession and gets to control the balls entry. You also aren't allowed to strike an opposing player with your body. You can hit him with an air blast, but only if you're above him. Any other scenario and you're out of the game for five minutes."
"That doesn't sound too hard. All you have to is jump and knock the other players out then smack the ball towards the goal and you're done!"
"No because the entry of the ball gives a huge advantage to whoever has it. They immediately control the currents around the ball and can have it at your net extremely quickly if you aren't careful. It's also very easy for the teammates to support his currents and take them over if he's taken out. It's also common practice to use the ball as a projectile and knock out the other players with it."
"So hitting someone else is illegal but hitting with a ball that's going insanely fast isn't?"
"Exactly! So, are you ready to try?"
Saiben jumped up onto the posts at the other end of the court and Narik threw him the ball. He caught it and started to make it float in his hand. Once he got the hang of that he let the ball drop down into the posts and tried to keep it stationary which he found difficult.
When Narik saw him trying to keep the ball still he yelled up at him, "Rule of thumb: never have the ball still! The faster its moving the harder it is for the other team to get control of it!"
With that in mind Saiben started to bounce the ball around the posts while maintaining control of it. After a few minutes of doing this he had it going very quickly and was still maintaining very good control of it. A few minutes of this and Narik came to explain how to make the ball's entries count. He took the ball and showed Saiben where the ball was usually blasted to begin with and why.
Most of it came down to how well you could guess how the ball was going to bounce. If it bounced in another direction and it hit one of your herding currents it would slow down and let the other team get control of it.
Narik started drilling Saiben on the standard entries and didn't let him stop until he had it going so fast that he was able to knock Seizu off the post even when she caught it. After that Saiben decided to try something and switched on the mindset. With that on he started to choose different paths for the ball. With the mindset on it was far easier to direct the ball and he had it blasting around the court like he was a pro.
When Narik saw him doing this he ran and came back with a bag full of chalk balls. He told Saiben to try and hit them without violating the rules. He then tossed them into the air and Saiben tried to launch the ball out of the court and shattered the first when it was still going up. In next to no time at all the air was dusty and the ball was back into the posts and bouncing around again.
When Narik called Saiben down he was positively beaming, "You're a natural! Well I guess that shouldn't really be a surprise, but that was still fantastic! I'll try and get you onto one of the teams and you can start practicing tomorrow!"
After the practice Saiben headed towards the council chamber to have what he hoped what he was the last strategy meeting about Fallen Fire. Once he got there he greeted everyone and awaited Shunso's arrival. He came running into the room a minute later and bolted the door with a panicked look in his eyes. A moment later there were numerous audible thumps on the other side of the door.
He turned and sheepishly explained his actions, "Hit the lemurs with a pie."
Jiakka gave his warm laugh and began the meeting once he managed to stop laughing, "Okay, you'll have to warn other people about that. On to more serious matter now. I've got an update on our mobilization. We have nomads in every major city in the Earth Kingdoms at every level, a few in the Water Tribe colonies, three informants at the North Pole, two at the South Pole, and five in each province of the Fire Nation.
We're currently trying to get together enough of us to put squads in the South Pole and two of the Fire Nation provinces. We already have a fair numbers of people in the Earth Kingdom cities in case something is tried there. There are already groups in most of the Fire Nation slowing down Fallen Fire activities as much as they can. There aren't any moves being made in the North Pole so we only have our informants there."
Saiben put forward the question that he had the last two meetings they'd had, "Okay, is our alert system any faster?"
Shunso answered this question, "We have improved it. We've been in contact with Krix and he's sent us some dragon fly-humming bird cross that's about as fast as they come. They can go faster than the falcon horses as long as there isn't a strong wind coming at them."
"That's good. Fallen Fire doesn't move slowly so the first hour or so will make or break the fight for us."
Jiakka started again with another report, "The Western Temple has informed us that the High Chancellor has the capitol city crushed because of fear. Anyone who opposes him just disappears with a trace."
"That sounds like him alright. Do we have anything about my family?"
"Yeah, your grandfather has made them a guest cabin down in the ravine next to his house. They've had a couple visits from the authorities, but nothings happened. Any other concerns? No? Okay this meeting is over." Jiakka concluded the meeting and Saiben waited for everyone to leave so he could have a word with Jiakka.
Once everyone else had left and Shunso had been chased away by lemurs that had come through one of the windows Saiben went to ask his question, "Elder Jiakka, when is the Airball tournament?"
"Why do I get the feeling you're going to be joining one of our teams?"
"Well, I feel that I owe Narik something and he would have to come with me so, I was just wondering when."
"You can be manipulative when you want to can't you?"
"Can you please tell me so I know how long I have to practice."
"We were going to have our selection games at the end of this week actually."
"Thanks, I think I'm going to need and go practice now."
Jiakka gave a laugh at Saiben's problem and left through the window to try and rescue Shunso from the lemurs.
The next day Narik came and told Saiben he had found a team for him to join. Narik had actually had a bit of a choice as to which team to pick as a couple were willing to take Saiben on. Narik told him who was one each team and Saiben chose the one he though had the best chance.
He met up with his new team shortly thereafter and they explained the situation between the other teams. They were up there in their temple's rankings but there were a few other teams that had a bigger reputation than them. Once the introductions were done they went out to the Airball pitch and had a scrimmage to see Saiben's skill level.
Shortly after that they were drilling him on making the perfect entry for the ball. Because he used the mindset, he could pick whichever path he wanted and that meant that there was a much bigger chance of them scoring right off the bat. Once they had practiced that enough they had Saiben try it again and had some of the other team members try to stop him. Saiben promptly circled their currents and shot the ball through the goal.
After that they had a real scrimmage and Saiben found out something very discouraging. Whenever he had control of the ball it would become extremely obvious that his strength in airbending was easy to surpass. The ball was continually blasted off the course he wanted by the other team members who would add kinks to his currents that would make him lose control.
After he got so fed up with that he called a stop and called them together to get some advise, "Okay, how do you block those kinks, they're driving me crazy!"
"Only us and one other team use that. You have to just go with the flow. Use the added current to blow the ball into another current you've set up. Other teams just try and blow the ball off course, so it's not hard to compensate for that. Just add more force in the direction its coming from." Once he learned that Saiben was more proficient at it. The ball was still taken from him a fair amount, but the same was true for the rest of the team.
By the weeks end they had everyone worked into their strategies. Saiben was goalkeeper as he could deflect the ball well when it was launched at him and he was the best at blasting the ball in the beginning. Another two members were excellent at making kinks and were positioned a third of the way up the court. The remaining three members where the offence and were excellent at infusing Saiben's support into their own currents.
There were five other teams in the temple they had to compete with. It didn't matter how many wins and losses you had though because the Elders judged how you played and sent the one they thought was the best. The first team they played was the other team that Saiben could have been apart of. Their airbending was strong but they went down before the kinks, which made Saiben thankful he hadn't chosen them, as he would've been completely blindsided by his own team's tactics.
The next two teams they played were repeats of the first with scores varying slightly but always in Saiben's favor. By the beginning of the fourth game Narik's smile was practically splitting his head in two. It promptly disappeared, as the next team they had to play was the one that used the kinks as well.
Saiben got into his position and hunkered down for a brutal game. They lost the pie toss and the other team got the ball to start. In an unconventional move it was blasted right at Saiben at high speed. Saiben didn't want to get hit this early in the game so he jumped over it and simultaneously blasted it down so it bounced off the goal post and back down into the forest of posts. The rest of his team took over and the ball was consumed in a titanic battle that had it blasted all over the court, very rarely leaving the posts.
This continued until Saiben finally got fed up with the stalemate and blasted on of the other team that had come to near the goalpost. He was spun around and fell off his perch all the way to the ground. Now that Saiben's team had the upper hand the ball made a definite path for the other goal. A moment later the ball was through the goal and Saiben was cheering his lungs hoarse. He was the only one and stopped once he noticed this.
"You know there's still twenty minutes of the game left right?" Someone asked.
Saiben blushed a deep red and tried to focus back onto the game. It was a good thing he did as the other team tried something similar to what they did last time. This time they bounced the ball off a single post and then right at Saiben. Also like last time, the whole team moved forward to take advantage of any hesitation Saiben had because of the speed of the ball. Instead of moving this time though, Saiben grabbed it and sent an air blast directly in front of him and took off in its wake. The other team was left standing stupidly as he whizzed by them and jumped through their goal once he had their goalkeeper in the chest with the ball.
Once again there was no cheering. This time though it was because everyone was dumbfounded. None of them had ever seen anything like that ever happen before. Saiben stood where he was on the ground and looked at the zombified group around him. He jumped back up and left the ball in the hands of the other goalkeeper that was still stooped over a little because of the hit Saiben had given him. He hadn't meant to hit him that hard, but he hadn't really been hurt so Saiben just thought it had become part of the game.
Once everyone had recovered after a few minutes the game continued and Saiben's team was eventually handed a shut out victory. Now the crowd went wild, at least most of them. Anyone who had been a fanatical fan of the other team was acting sullen.
Shortly after Jiakka came to the front of the crowd to make his decision, "Well, I think that you all know who I'm going to choose to represent us. Captain Hino's team will be going to the Eastern Air Temple to represent us. Since our elders are prone to a bit of procrastination now and then, you'll be leaving tomorrow."
Shortly thereafter Narik showed up on Saiben's shoulder again with a big rucksack on his shoulder and a bag of money clinking on his waist. When Saiben gave him a weird look Narik explained his thinking, "Well, they prepare everything they need well in advance for the trip there so I snagged some and now I'm ready to go."
"You want to leave ASAP don't you?"
"Okay, give me a couple of hours to find Seizu and get everything together."
"No need. I brought enough food for all of us and the clothes you were wearing when you came here were fixed so you can use them again."
"You know, ordinarily that wouldn't be good thing as it is a school uniform, but we'll be heading towards by the place the bending tournament is being held so this could work." Narik practically bounced away, his smile lighting up his surroundings the way dawn normally did.
Seizu walked up to Saiben when she saw this and started to talk to him, "I knew he'd be happy about getting out of here, I mean, I am too, and this place is a pain in the but to get around. I didn't think he'd be that happy though, it's kinda creepy."
"That's because he took the liberty of getting everything ready for us to leave as soon as the game was over. We could leave in a few minutes actually."
"What are we waiting for!?" Seizu grin suddenly matched Narik's and she bounded off to get her stuff together. Saiben went to get ready much slower than the other two had and told the team captain, and Jiakka what they were doing. Neither objected so he went up to his room and gathered the meager belongings he had amassed since his arrival. A book or two in philosophy, some pieces of wood used in games around the temple, and the glider he had made only a week ago.
He put all of it into a cloth and tied it around his glider. He would have loved to have just flown all the way to the Eastern Air Temple, but flying was out of the question as there was always a possibility that someone saw and that wasn't a good things. The surprise that caused would give Fallen Fire all the opportunity they needed.
Narik and Seizu were waiting at the drop off for Saiben. Narik was hopping impatiently from foot to foot. As Saiben approached Narik's hopping increased in speed so Saiben jogged up to them and gave them the okay and they started down the winding path towards the ground they had lost from view for the past few weeks.