Author's Note: My greatest apologizes for not updating as soon as I could have. I've moved a while back and had not had access to a computer. And when I did they didn't have any document format I could use to even post a note much less this whole chapter. So I thank you all for your patience and following of my story. Just as a reminder, Four Loves, is still in progress and I am NOT leaving it undone. I've worked on many plots for the next upcoming chapters. So please enjoy and review!
Book 5 Water
Chapter 28 Heavy In Your Arms
The unsettling feeling still stirred inside the dark-skinned woman as she clinged to her dear friend dressed in nomad clothing. The scene then turned to another figure, a black haired woman with jade green eyes.
Pulling her hair back behind her right ear, Toph slowly stepped forth as she stared down at the water tribeswoman. The earthbender's eyes narrowed with a sad expression, as she almost couldn't bare to see Katara in such a broken state. She bit her lower lip as she struggled to say something to her.
As her lips parted, Toph tried to speak words of encouragement, words of comfort to a friend in desperate need.
But they were cut short when the sudden alert of guards rouse above from the top deck. An alarm was triggered as a flashing red light lit down the hallway and the loud noise of a siren rang sharply in trio's ears.
"We have to get out of here!" Toph exclaimed as she swung her head quickly toward the sound of stomping feet and yells of men heard down the hall. Aang nodded his head as he turned to Katara.
"Come on." Aang said in a stern tone as he lifted Katara up to her feet. Katara cried out as she fought back while her knees buckled under her weight.
She didn't want to move. She felt like she couldn't. She felt powerless...Hopeless.
The pounding in her head, the heaviness over her chest, the stinging blurred vision across her blue eyes.
Katara shook her head violently as her legs planted on the metal floor, wobbling uncontrollably.
"Katara!" Aang exclaimed as he held a worried expression on his face while trying to calm down the sobbing woman.
"Just take her and let's go!" Toph yelled as she turned looking straight down the hall sprinting down the passageway. Right behind the earthbender, Aang pushed Katara on to follow him. She held right beside the airbender as they raced down to a dead end of a tall metal wall with bulky bolts hinched on the iron frame supporting the whole side.
Toph stepped up, closing her eyes as leaned her left ear against the cold metal. She knocked three times on the wall as it clanged a hollow sound in the framework. She heard and felt the weak vibes along the metal sheet as she opened her eyes while pulling away from the wall.
"Found it." Toph mummered to herself confidently as she arched her right hand, tightening her fingers back in a claw like pose before forming it into a firm fist. She then took a deep breath and punched into the metal. The impact of her hand created a large dent. Toph took another breath as she struck again only this time breaking through the iron metal. She then ripped back the metal as though it was nothing but a thin silk curtain. As she opened it wider, a splash of foam and salt water came into the ship. Katara screamed out as though the ocean sea caused her great pain as the water soaked the trio huddled against the opening.
Aang turned to his side as he reached into his leather pouch. Feeling through the items, he then felt the smooth, small ivory object in his possession. Pulling it out in one motion, the airbender took a long and deep breath as he placed the object onto his lips.
He blew into the whistle hard as another wave crashed into the hall, drenching everyone to the bone. "Where is he?" Toph cried out as she swiped her wet bangs out of her eyes.
"Don't worry! He's coming!" Aang shouted out as the roaring sound of the ocean and screeching siren dimmed their voices.
Then Aang heard the distinct bellow of his companion in the distance.
"Appa!" Aang exclaimed as another wave blocked their exit.
The air bison roared out again as he tried to fly closer to the ship. Just then the angry yells of guards were heard entering into the hall. Aang turned away from the exit as he stepped forward, shielding the two women behind him. Five men in armor raced to the trio as they started to form their fire bending. In one quick stance, Aang swiped his arm in a jerking swing. A huge gush of air shot down the hall knocking the men back full force. Aang then turned his head to Toph, his eyes expressed great strain as he ordered to her. "Take Katara and jump-!" he exclaimed as the rest of his words were muffled by the howling winds outside.
Toph's eyes widen as she yelled back at the airbender, "What!" in disbelief.
"Go!" Aang yelled back as he turned his attention to the other firbenders drawing closer and the fallen ones were rising up with flaming fists.
Toph then hesitantly took hold of Katara as the she cried out. Turning toward the opening, Toph steadied herself on the edge while Katara stood close by.
Glancing down over the ship's hull, Toph felt uneasy about this escaping attempt. For one she still couldn't swim, and second Katara wasn't in any shape to water bend.
"Are you insane?" Toph called out to the airbender behind her as Aang formed into a stance and then grumbled in annoyance.
"Just do it!" He said as Toph bit her lower lip and looked down again.
The signal was noted as the bison bellowed out. Aang took as the right moment as he then shouted, "Now's your chance! Jump now!"
Toph still unsure of the airbender's plan, trusted him as she grabbed Katara holding for dear life as she jumped out into the open sea. A wave splashed into the hull as the two women screamed out. Just then a large fuzzy creature flew by catching the two in the saddle just in time before they fell into the depths.
As the rolling waves guided along the surface of the gloomy afternoon, the sight of the two ships seemed to be frozen in place as the anticipation of a passable attack grew with each grueling moment drifting by.
On the ship noted with blue sails, the water tribesmen prepared their weapons and painted their faces. The bold mask-like images of the spirits of the wolf covered along their faces. The black paint gave the meaning of death as it ringed around their eyes expressing the intense glare to strike fear into their enemies hearts. While the different hues of grey along their upper cheekbones held the sign of the leader and power among the group. Sokka's painted mask was much darker then his fellow comrades, along with his title as a man of a white symbol doted over his forehead baring his trial as a warrior. The thick white paint covering over the jawline expressed their strength and loyalty as one people.
Two of the tribal warriors stationed along the edge of a ship lowering a long slender kayak over the surface of the ocean's waves.
Sokka turned to the other men waiting for his command.
"I'm heading off, if none of us return, send the news. Don't come for us." The leader said with a serious tone as the other men slumped their shoulders ever so lightly as they knew the code to follow. The code of surival rather than leave no man behind.
A law of which never set well with the Water Tribesmen of the Southern clans. Codes such as that were more favorable to the Western militaristic views of the Fire Territories. Still it was order by their leader, and they trust his judgement.
Sokka then turned to the two men already position inside the hollowed boats, with weapons at hand.
With a tight grip on his sword, Sokka then mentality prepared himself as he jumped into the second kayak lead by his strongest member of the group. Naartok, the large one.
His upper body strength rival that of a walrus many would say, with his brute force and temper.
"May the spirits protect you!" one member called out as they watched the men row out to sea.
As the oar dipped into the water, the two boats silently glided over the surface of the ocean.
They drew closer to the pirate ship unnoticed as the waves rolled wider and further while Sokka took more in of the ship's design.
There was a possible blind spot on the left hand side, the warriors sailed along the edge. Drifting along with the ocean's current as they came even closer.
"That's good, Naartok." Sokka whispered as they halted by the edge of the hull. With a cracked formation over the worn wood, the tribal men easily climbed up the ship. One movement at a time, one foot, one hand gripping the crack's edge. They picked themselves up after every wave that would splash along the stern to minimize any noise. Sokka pressed his face against the weathered ship as he then noticed an asymmetrical hole revealing the cargo hold. Peering inside for a brief moment, Sokka then gasped as he saw the last person he expect to see.
The scene of a warm lit room of reds and golds came into view, it shifted to a woman sitting still in a upholstered chair of waverly patteren like with light gold and deep burgundy. Her hands were placed neatly on her lap as the the scene backed up slightly showing the woman's stoic features.
Just then the door knocked softly. Mai called out in a dull manner as the door opened.
It was the doctor sent from the palace. He was known for his advanced works in the medical field as a healer and a revolutionist in strange science or dark magic considered to most people.
Mai rose from her seat and gestured to Azula laying in the bed. The doctor stepped forth and lifted a large leather case from his left hand up on a small table close by. He opened the bag and fumbled through odd instruments until he came across two items he needed.
With both in hand, the doctor walked up to the ill woman. His eyes narrowed as he recalled tending to this woman once before. It would only seem reasonable she'd fall again. The doctor thought to himself he bent down to the woman and leaned close to her face. He listened to her breathing and noted the shallow breath and slight sniffle of her nostils.
Straightening his form, the doctor gazed at his booklet in his right hand. Notes of information it seemed to Mai's eyes as she quietly watched the doctor examine her friend.
Turning her attention to the bag on the table, Mai became concerned. The odd tools and knifes in the bag seemed unusually frightening to the noblewoman. She silently hoped none will be needed to treat Azula.
As much as Mai cared to admit, she'd rather follow the simple treatments of herbal healing and traditional methods of curing someone. She never liked the new arts of medical experimentation, which probably did more harm than good.
Mai's thoughts were creased as she heard the doctor make a small hum in his thoart as he then lightly rubbed the thin hairs on his chin.
"It seems she has nothing but a now common disease that I can easily treat with proper medince and offerings." The doctor said as he placed a small red silk bag over her chest.
Mai glanced at the man's action as he answered her questioning gaze.
"Anemone root, to ward off an evil spirits." the man said as he bowed his head lightly while then tending to his bag.
In his hands, he held a tube like device. A syringe.
Inside was a clear liquid. The doctor then clear away any air of the pump then injected the strange medince into the princess.
"She should be healed in a few days. If any rashes develop or white sores of the tongue appear please contact me immediately."
Mai nodded her head in understanding as she then watch the doctor pack up.
"When I leave you should light some incense to keep the demons at bay." the man said as he picked up his bag at headed to the door.
"Understood." Mai said as she bowed with appreciation and respect to the healer.
Once the doctor was gone, Mai turned to Azula. She seemed a little bit more relaxed as her breathing held a deep and almost comforting sigh in between her intake and exhale.
Mai smiled faintly as she then turned to a small table and opened a thin drawer.
Inside she pulled out a two sticks of incese and lit them. Placing them by Azula's bedside, Mai sighed softly as the hazy smoke filled her lungs.
Now, she is not worried for her friend. Everything should be alright.
I know I shouldn't cut off here. But I have to. Building up for the more to come. :)
Please review and tell me what you think. Please review for quicker updates. I promise I won't disappoint!