|For One Kingdom, For One World
Author: Sarahsorad PM
There were countless heroes during the war and with countless heroes comes countless stories.A tale of a boy's redemption and a girl's romance.Murder, War, Betrayal, Romance, Kidnapping, all sprinkled with dashes of irony.Feedback wanted Rating may changeRated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Romance - Words: 5,703 - Reviews: 1 - Published: 03-02-09 - id: 4897122
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
So I originally wrote this under a different title, and in a different format with a different style and a different starting place. My computer died I was an idiot who didn't have any backups besides what was posted on the internet; and in the end I decided I wanted to rewrite this anyway. I'm trying to use multiple point of views so I don't know how the end result of this is going to look but fanfictions are practice all-in-all right?
Anyway, using this view point and starting point makes me actually able to really develop characters and stuff and the overall idea of "Rich girl grows out of being a brat" isn't really the main point of the story nor do I intend for it to be.
3-cheers for "snow days" that don't have any snow or ice but still get school cancelled and give me nothing better to do than write huh?
Anyway I do not own avatar and feedback is encouraged.
I write you today not as a child of privilege, nor as distant kin, nor as my father's daughter. I write you merely as a citizen of this thriving and newly peaceful empire. I was told of your actions just before Ba-Sing-Se was taken and the events following, you are the first king in centuries to have a basic understanding of how the world works outside of the upper ring. I thought that you having seen the real world and having an understanding of what your people went through under the Dai-Li would understand the current situation.
Weather by the hands of fate or the hands of man, no crime goes unpunished. It has been said by many that the punishments of fate hardly equal out to the punishments of man that an eye-for-an-eye always evens things out. A friend of mine once quoted a wise man on the subject (whose name I can't remember for the life of me), "An Eye For An Eye Makes The Whole World Blind". After recent events I am not sure that the world could ever understand such a phrase and the people that claim to understand it do not seem to realize themselves that given the choice for revenge, they would take it. Anyhow, I'm rambling on here quite pointlessly so I suppose I should cut a long story short.
It is my understanding that the Earth Kingdom is due for quite a few reformations, to be specific; the trial system. I also understand that as a king you've much more to deal with than minor squabbles over a trial and no, I'm not going to ask for a pardon for him. You're not the first person I've written over the matter and weather or not you'll be the last can be up to you, I'm willing to write other kingdoms, the citizens, the Avatar even, I'll write until I have no strength left in me if it means I can get awareness out.
I'm not sure that you know of a young solider in the Earth Kingdom's army Hyo-Haun, nor if you know of the crimes he's been accused of. The murder of three Dai-Li officers and the kidnapping of the daughter of former officer Gin-Nuhari. As I said I do not ask you to pardon him because of the great and heroic deeds he's done but I do ask that he be given a fair trial so myself and others can prove his innocence. I understand that giving such a trial to one means you will have to do the same for others, however I am now a firm believer that everyone should have such an opportunity in a world filled with not only black and white deeds but so many shades of gray as ours.
I thank you kindly for your time,
One Year Earlier:
He stood frozen, staring in horror at the blood stains and bodies. It was dark but the moon gave enough light for him to make out the brunt of the scene before him. Earth displaced into sharp pikes, three dead men and blood on his hands. The last memories in his mind were of himself pleading for everyone to listen to him and someone to explain to him why he had been arrested. Short-tempered and Hot-headed as he was could he have really committed such a violent act of revenge?
His superiors had mentioned to him before about war-criminals with no memory of committing heinous acts and how even some of the most sound minded people were capable of a momentary lapse. He was barley injured with only some bruises and minor cuts, it could only mean that he was the murderer or he was framed very well. He saw no reason why it would be necessary to frame someone who was already being arrested, especially not by the means of murder. The blood that had splattered on his face was still slightly warm; it must have not been long since he killed them. He had two choices, one: flee the city and not come back and simply live a solider for the rest of his life never seeing his birthplace again; or two: stay and be caught, executed and be no use to anyone.
Of course in the end he choose life, his fellow comrades may still need him and he simply wasn't yet ready to face death, after all he was only seventeen.
He glanced up at the moon, only a few hours before daylight hit and if he wasn't out of the city or nearly out by that point he had no chance of escape. He glanced cautiously out of the ally and after seeing the streets quiet and empty he fled the scene, gathered up what possessions he would need and stole what he didn't already have.
Fate tends to work in funny ways for most people and Hyo the first time murderer there was no exception, at that very same moment someone else had chosen that night to flee the city. Of course, her reasons weren't nearly as valid or severe but girls always were quite an odd species, specifically wealthy upper-ring girls. Upper-ring girls with a father working in the Dai-Li nonetheless.
She slid out of her window glancing cautiously with her green eyes and listening closely for any noises aside from her dark-brown hair beating the sides of her ears.
She let out a sigh of relief and continued walking towards the nearest rail-car station. If anyone she knew was out at this hour and happened to notice her she would simply say she was getting an early start on her day in order to spend some time with a dear friend recently relocated to the lower ring, after all it would be nearly dawn by the time she made it to the lower ring and the outer wall.
Childish and naive as she was, she still knew what she was doing was completely idiotic under every justification she could supply herself with. When they realize she'd ran away rather than simply speaking out what would her parents say? What would Mzia say? Why did it even matter what Mzia's opinion on the subject was, if anything she wouldn't have even been in such a situation if it hadn't been for Mzia. But who was she to blame Mzia? Mzia who had always been such an influence on her, Mzia who had played the part of 'big sister' and Mzia who was simply trying to make her own life the way she wanted it and never intended for anyone but herself to have a backlash for her actions. Mzia hardly knew of the current situation, but perhaps by nightfall she would after a search was started for Taplo.
Maybe a part of Taplo simply wanted to see the real world for what it really was. She'd been told it was dangerous outside of the city walls but she'd also been told as a child by a traveling circus of human oddities that the world outside the walls was more beautiful and full of more surprises than any scroll could ever hope to describe. She wanted to see this world and she had a pathetic excuse to leave on and she planned to eventually return to the city, just after she felt she was old enough to marry someone. Her parents had been pushing an early marriage but the fifteen-year-old simply didn't want to hear of it just yet.
That fall morning, two worlds would collide.
Paranoia came easily to the new murderer. Hyo had tried his best to look normal but of course trying to look normal didn't make actually looking normal very easy. Every child seemed to be staring and tugging on their mother's robes, some cowered. Every time he would pass a window, mirror, pool of water or anything reflective Hyo would lance at himself to see if he was covered in blood of if he simply looked disheveled as a common criminal, and every time all he could see was a scared looking boy staring back at him.
"Hey you!" A man's voice called from behind him
He cautiously turned around
"Not you, you idiot kid." The man stared at Hyo oddly and sipped on his bottle, appearently it was never too early in the morning for booze. Hyo knew he should be on his way but for some reason he didn't move
"What the hell are you staring at?"
"N-nothing… I - sorry sir." He turned around and tried to walk casually once again. He chuckled a bit he mumbled to himself "Wow, studdering and using the word sir to a guy like that, this is a level of Dato-style wimp."
Dato was definitely going to have to have his dad pull some strings to get Hyo out of this mess, there was no way colonel Rui would have his back. "Hopefully I can count on the little coward."
His mind was starting to ease a bit; he hadn't imagined thinking about Dato's reaction to his latest screw up would help as much as it did. He wasn't far from the city's outer wall; he was at the bottom of the lower ring now, and he was actually starting to breathe a little bit easier.
He saw two Dai-Li members running past a crowd of people behind a small stampede of lower ring citizens; once again that familiar feeling of paranoia was at him again. He ducked into a nearby ally to get out of the way, hopefully be unnoticed and also get a good look at the situation.
There were five people; a man running in the front of the group was carrying some box that Hyo assumed had a valuable inside of it. He'd seen this kind of thing a few times growing up in the lower-ring. The only true criminal in the group was the man with the box, the others running behind him were there to provide a distraction and seeing as no one had been cuffed just yet there had to be at least one highly skilled earth bender among the group or the Dai-Li didn't want to use a lot of force in front of so many citizens. At second glance, Hyo realized there was something odd about this particular group. The diversion trick wasn't an old one; however it was rare that girls participated, specifically those of the upper ring.
The girl was obviously making a pathetic attempt to blend in with commoners but the mark of wealth was all over her. Her robes were obviously worth more than he was willing to spend on a year's worth of clothes, her skin was paler than the average commoner's and her hair was brown but a dark shade of brown obviously not lightened by the sun as most people's were. The crime must have been more than a robbery, a possible kidnapping, or maybe the girl had unwillingly been drug into the situation. Playing hero had always come naturally to the youth and before he could give it a second thought he'd yanked her into the ally with himself and covered her mouth to keep her from screaming.
Taplo thought her heart was going to completely stop when the stranger grabbed her; she'd understood that the lower rings could be dangerous but to think that she could get caught right from under everyone's eyes.
She kept trying to scream and kick and punch but she really didn't seem to have a sinle idea about where to kick and punch, Hyo was very glad for that. "I'm trying to help you just keep quiet!" Hyo kept his voice at a whisper and the girl paused, she slowly nodded "I'm going to let you go but don't run off and don't scream, you'll get us both in trouble."
Taplo nodded a second time but fully intended to run and scream as soon as she got the chance, of course the boy caught on to this and silenced her as soon as she showed a sign of it.
"Shut-up I'm only trying to help you out! I know good and well no upper-ring girl is going to participate in petty theft but if the Dai-Li catches you around a group like that it's only going to look bad for you. You owe me a thanks and an explanation, not to get me killed!"
The girl tried to say something but was muffled by his hand; he released her hoping that this time he wouldn't have to quite her again.
"How dare you imply I was involved in a crime, I was simply at the wrong place and I'm sure the Dai-Li would see it my way!"
Hyo sighed and ran a hand through his short choppy brown hair. "I never said you were I said they would probably think you were. And if the Dai-li was so sure to believe you, you wouldn't seem so worried aobut getting found in the first place. Besides not to say you don't look the least bit suspicious. You fail at blending in you know." He smirked a bit, almost playfully.
"I look suspicious?" the girl scoffed "You don't seem the least bit odd hiding out in a dark ally."
He rolled his eyes "The upper class really is full of hypocrites huh… you shouldn't be so rude to the person that just saved you."
"And you shouldn't act so high and mighty towards a lady!"
He laughed "I see no lady around here! Just a trouble making girl, where is this lady you speak of? Is she more grateful than you?"
"If I wasn't trying to make my way out of this city I'd expose you to the public for the creep that you are! You said yourself I'm upper-class and don't you think as a member of the elite that I deserve respect and that it's better to stay on my good side and-" she paused and a horrified look came over her face "Was it really that easy to tell?"
"Of course it is, you can't hide how pale your skin is or how dark your hair is. You upper-class must think that the only difference between yourself and a commoner is makeup and headdresses."
He thought it might infuriate the girl more but she clearly was too panicked to pay attention to his insults at this point. He sighed, "What exactly are you doing here?"
"Leaving the city, but that's none of your business."
"Like hell it isn't my business, I just saved you, do I have to remind you again? I could be asking for a lot more than an explanation, I've really got nothing to lose."
The girl gasped "What are you talking about?"
"All I wanted was an explanation, I'm not really depraved enough to ask for anything else."
Hyo sighed "How about this, seeing as you're trying to leave the city and well I'm also in the same position as yourself. I can be your escort; it'll look a lot less suspicious for two to travel tougher rather than apart. Of course once we're outside of the city I'll fully explain myself if you're willing to do the same."
"How do I know I can trust you?"
Hyo laughed a bit "Because if I was really not trustworthy you'd never really be able to tell, let along fight me so there'd be no reason to put fourth all the effort to fight."
"Okay then, I'll go with you."
"One other thing, you're going to have to look more like a commoner." Hyo stared the girl up and down "Well there's nothing that can be done about your clothes but the headband, get rid of it."
The girl did as he said "Better?"
"A bit, more hair in your face makes your skin look a tad darker, but I guess there's not much else that can be done."
He got a bit of an idea and reached into the bag he'd been carrying. "It's the over-coat to my uniform, just drape it over your shoulders and if anyone asks we're just two siblings off to see your boyfriend who is a solider that guards the outer wall."
"You really think anyone will buy that story?"
"Not really but hey, you got to admit for on the spot thinking it's a pretty good idea."
Hyo already knew he was most likely making a huge mistake, if he was spotted with someone of the upper-class leaving the city there was no telling what kind of ideas people would get, but even so he was hoping by the time anyone realized what was going on he'd be well out of the way and split up from the girl.
The two made their way out of the ally and walked for sometime in silence and without a hitch.
"So, what part of the city are you from?" The girl glanced at Hyo curiously "Middle ring, nothing fancy and nothing really drab."
He glanced over his shoulder, a thought had just occurred to him and things might be a bit more complicated. "Do you have a passport?" He had his own but seeing as he was now on-the-run it wouldn't be the best idea to use it
"Passport? You mean like a rail-pass?"
"No I meant one that could get you on a ferry; people take ferries to and from the city. Usually more to the city than from the city. Helps so they avoid having to use the serpent's pass."
"I'm afraid I don't; but serpent's pass, that sounds dangerous."
Hyo rolled his eyes "Well that's bad luck for you, it can't be a walk in the part but I don't think it's really as dangerous as the name implies. I can't take a ferry myself, too much suspicion, and seeing you're lack of a passport if you're really sure about leaving the city you'll be wanting to take the pass and I suppose I should get you through there. I'm an Earthbender so if it's really dangerous I'm sure I could get us through."
"Are you a master?"
"Not just yet, few more years of military service and I should be just fine."
"You're military? You look a bit young."
"Well where'd you think I got the uniform from? But if I was to enlist at the proper age I'd be starting just now but I lied about my age and enlisted at fifteen. I'm pretty sure they could tell I was lying but at the rate things are going the Earth Kingdom isn't bound to be too selective about who joins."
"What do you mean? Is it really that bad outside of the walls?"
"The war is going nowhere fast, one of the generals, Fong, says that if there's no turn around in a few months we're going to lose."
"What else would I be talking about? Oh right, you're upper ring… you probably don't know a thing about the war, then again we're still in the city limits and after what just happened to me I'm guessing a wiser person wouldn't talk openly about it in the city."
"What happened to you?"
"Not really anything I should tell a lady about. But since I promised I would… when we got out of the city I guess I have no other choice, can't risk being overheard so explanations should wait."
"No choice just obligation." The girl smirked "By the way, can I at least have a name of my" she giggled "As you said earlier, my savior."
"Oh right, Hyo."
"Surname too." Hyo had forgotten the value the upper class put on surnames.
Once the two had managed to exit the city Taplo had to admit she was slightly let down that outside of the city walls wasn't all that amazing, just wasteland.
"Is this it?"
Hyo laughed "Of course not! You're upper class you had a proper education and all, even being stuck inside of the city all you life you should know there isn't much to see just outside of the city because of its geography."
"Well, I suppose you're right about the geography. Education? A minor one; you should know girls don't stay in schools nearly as long as boys do, after all I'm not going to be a family leader so there isn't much use for one."
"Seems stupid if you don't mind me saying, the upper class is supposed to be so progressive but there's more equality in the lower classes."
Taplo shrugged "No need to question everything in life, because I can't really complain. It's not like I really intend to work for a living."
The two had to walk through what seemed to Taplo, miles of rocks and sand and Hyo would walk very fast saying he didn't want to worry about the possibility of people from the city catching up. Her feet were killing her and she tried to only complain a little bit.
"Stop the wining princess-privilege, or do you want to go back home already?"
"But I've never had to walk this far, ever."
"Well I'm not going to carry you, and stopping again would be a pain in the butt, you just wait, a few weeks and you'll have no trouble at all with this kind of walking." Hyo laughed, having the girl around had given him a good bit of distraction to his otherwise gloomy thoughts about how badly he had screwed up.
"Well just how much walking are you talking about?" Taplo was horrified
"I'm kidding, nearest town and I'm buying an Ostrich-Horse, I can't really stand it either. It's a bit of a mind over matter thing, complaining only makes it worse, besides leaving the city, you got to have wanted to see the outside world, take a good long look."
By late afternoon the two had made it to a shore line and a rocky path.
"Well here we are princess-privilege you're majestic bridge to the word, the Sepent's pass!" Hyo tried to let his sarcasm show through
"Oh thank the spirits!" Taplo immediately took a seat on the ground.
Hyo laughed "For a deadly rock-path? Yeah if only the spirits had actually finished building it!"
"I wasn't talking about the path; I was talking about how tired I am."
"Really? Because I was thinking we could walk the rest of the night, you know skinny-rock paths are so safe at night because you know walking the wrong way means death."
"We're not really going to-"
He laughed again shaking his head "The rich really are a funny bunch of people, I can't see so well at night, even when the moon is out and it's full my vision is worse than the common person's. We're going to start walking but we're not going to go too far."
Taplo rolled her eyes at him and the two started walking again. "Honestly, it's hardly a thing to do with being rich. I thought soldiers should be able to see much better at night."
"Well most battles are during the day and, fire can't help but give some light you know. So, ladies first what brings you to the tip of this deadly rock path?"
She laughed nervously "I'm afraid it's very childish."
Hyo automatically began to reflect on the past night, and the triple murder he'd committed. "Wish my reason was."
"Oh? Can't be that bad, I think I can read people well enough."
He almost laughed she had no idea. Hyo had the chance for some inner musings on the density of the female species and in particular the privileged female species.
"It's really, really very stupid. A friend that I grew up with got married to someone in the lower ring against her parents' wishes. My parents were worried that I might be influenced to do the same so they started trying to get me to marry and I don't want to get married just yet."
"That's it? So then what was with all the running this morning?"
"Oh, my father works morning shift for the Dai-Li, he works pretty closely with Long-Feng and well I wouldn't be able to run away if the Dai-Li were to see me leave and tell my father. Besides it's not like I plan to stay away for good, just for a little while"
And that's when it hit Hyo; he wasn't just a murderer anymore. Now he was also a technical kidnapper.
Hyo stopped dead in his tracks "Do you mind by any chance if I just go kill myself now and spare you father the chance?"
She gave him an odd glance "What are you talking about."
"The reason why I left the city was because," Hyo hesitated while a million words circled in his head, most of them swear words. "Aw damn it, I- I just sort of killed three Dai-Li members last night."
"No kidding huh?" She didn't seem freaked out as he'd expected most people would be. "I didn't know it was possible to commit murder inside the city. You must be some kind of deviant, I've never heard of a murderer around the city before, and of course I've never met one before now. Did you really do it? I mean I didn't peg you as that kind of person-"
He had to interrupt the girl "You know what this means right?" He glanced around the area quickly
"That you'll be executed if you get caught."
He stared at Taplo in shock "Oh for the love of badger-moles! You're really dense aren't you? It means I've got to take you back to the city! They won't just be after me for murder but kidnapped too! Oh man my C.O. is going to kill me for not listening to him and going to the city when more soldiers were on break!"
Taplo stood up quickly "You-you can't take me back!" she was obviously not getting the gravity of the situation.
"Oh of course not because you'll be grounded and we wouldn't want that would we!" It simply wasn't Hyo's day, even with good intentions he'd still managed to royally screw up. "I don't think you understand how serious murder is! And on top of it…. Kidnapping? Kidnapping! If I get you back to the city now though, I bet I can push the murders off on someone else!" An idea had struck him "You could just do me a huge favor and say I rescued you, then the Dai-Li would have to let me have contact with my mother and Haun!"
"No way! I said I'm not going back and I'm not going back! And you saying you'll push the murders off on someone else call yourself a hero, see mommy? How low is that? If you take me back to the city I'll say you did more than just kidnap me."
"What? Oh come on I helped you out all day and the one chance you really have to help me out you refuse to take!"
"Well in this case helping you isn't helping me out, everything else today has been win-win right?"
"Win-win? are you insane? I saved you, helped you out of the city, allowed you to complain all day, let you drink all the extra water I had and nearly broke my ankle keeping you from breaking yours. Shouldn't you be concerned about traveling with a murderer, and your father is a Dai-Li agent and I'm a Dai-Li killer!" Hyo was so frustrated and backed into a corner right now he thought he could easily commit suicide without a second thought. He tried to steady himself fearing he might accidentally Earthbend and doing something to the pass didn't look like it would have a good outcome, but before he realized what he was doing… he'd managed to make a large crack straight across the width of the pass in between himself and Taplo
"Are you crazy?" Taplo shrieked glancing frantically at the ground
"Probably!" Why wasn't she moving? Just how stupid was this girl? "What are you waiting for move you idiot!" Hyo grabbed her by the arm and yanked her over to the part of the pass he was standing on just in time for the crack to make the rock completely break appeared in one large chunk.
The two ended up falling on their side of the pass but at this point neither particularly cared about bruises.
Taplo stared at the place where the rock had broken off, and then at her arm which now had a small gash in it. "You-you said this would be safe."
"I said I wasn't totally sure but it was safer with an Earthbender, do I really need to remind you how often I said the word 'deadly'. Besides, I assumed I could handle it before I really got to know you." Hyo rolled his eyes at the girl and took a look at the damage he'd accidentally caused. And there it was, a giant gap stood between them and the road back to Ba-Sing-Se, now even if he could get through the girl's thick head he wasn't even sure how to repair something like that without facing the possibility of making the rest of the pass collapse. Of course Hyo wasn't about to admit he was unsure of his own ability, not to someone as high and mighty as Taplo, no he'd sooner admit verbal defeat to the nit-wit!
And before he could even speak up the crying started "I'm so selfish, and stupid, I'm so childish I can't even stand up for myself with my parents or fend for myself or face responsibility or give up on something that I know is stupid for someone who really doesn't seem like such a bad guy."
He sighed and tried to get her off the subject "Let me see your arm, that cut needs to be cleaned and luckily I stole bandages before leaving town."
"So you're a thief too?" She extended her arm towards him.
"Oh don't even start on me about the stuff I've done that wrong the whole city's rotten starting off with Dai-Li. They brainwashed my mother into thinking I didn't even exist, when I got home just yesterday afternoon, the first thing that happens is I get arrested, I don't even remember anything after that to tell the truth but I can't deny that I had to have killed them no one else was around to do it and I had plenty of anger in me."
He finished wrapping the bandage on her arm
"Hey, ya' know what… maybe it's best if I don't take you back to the city after all, I'll bet that even if you were a nice and good person who was willing to help me out and get my life back for me that they wouldn't believe you."
"Glad you're seeing things my way!"
Did she really think she'd won or did she understand that he'd only gave in because of the two nearly falling off of the pass?
No, she really thought she'd won.
I realize I fail at last names, and grammar mechanics (my N and G keys both tend to stick so there's no telling how many spelling errors I have) and probably writing too. But, I'm at least hoping the characters were okay and the story is convincing so far.
Drop a review and tell me how you feel.