The backdrop was dark red, and the people seen were hidden by the shadows. As they moved, a young woman's voice spoke.
A young woman with a bandana over her forehead stands in a fighting stance. She swings her arms around in a circle, creating a small 'air ball', before jumping up and landing on top of it.
An elderly man with dark skin and white hair swings his arm upwards, causing water beneath him to rise up like a giant wave. He then swung them forward, causing the water to fire forwards.
A woman garbed in a green dress fell onto the ground, causing the earth underneath her to smash. She then reached down a tore a giant chunk of earth, before lifting it above her head, and throwing it forward.
A young man with black, scruffy hair sent a series of fire punches and kickes towards the screen, pulling each one off after the other with near perfection and grace. The last fire punch sent a huge ball of fire flying forward.
My mother used to tell me of a time when the four nations lived together in harmony and peace.
Several Fire Nation soldiers landed on the beach of the Earth Kingdom. The front row in unison, shot a blast of fire straight forward.
Unfortunately, my homeland The Fire Nation began a merciless invasion on the other nations, bringing the Earth Kingdom and Water Tribe into chaos, and the Air Nomads to near extinction…
Avatar Aang slowly floated up into the sky, his eyes ad arrow tattoos shining brightly, signifying him being in the Avatar State. In a mighty display, Aang released a giant gust of wind.
Only the Last Airbender, Avatar Aang, could stop the Fire Nations foolish actions and finally bring peace to the 100 year war torn world. It has been nearly three centuries since the war ended, but despite this the world refuses to forgive the terrible sins of the Fire Nation.
The streets of a small Fire Nation village were surrounded by broken and tatty houses. A few people walked across the streets, their bodies thin and their clothes ragged, they walked slowly, almost in pain from the hunger.
My nation is in ruins, many of my people are dying, and the whole world is against us, despite the efforts of many, including Avatar Aang, Korra and Teresa.
A young man with scruffy black hair stood on a mountaintop, looking towards the sea leading out of the Fire Nation.
But one day, it will be the Fire Nations turn to raise the next Avatar, and it is then do I hope the world will forgive our sins and let us return to an age of prosperity once forgotten. Many people in my nation believe this to be a hopeless cause, but I still hold onto hope that the Avatar will regain our pride as a nation.
And I believe, he will save this world once more…
AVATAR: THE LEGEND OF ZEO
Prologue: A New Beginning
Fire Nation: 283 A.W.
It was nighttime in the Fire Nation, but as it was in the late summer, the air was still quite humid and warm, despite the gentle breeze coming from the nearby ocean, waving the grassy plains flora and fauna.
On that night a lone woman walked across a grassy plain. At first glance, the woman was tall, slender and imposing. Her face and skin were without wrinkles, rather it was smooth and tanned. She walked sternly and proud without any difficulty, like any woman could in the peak of their youth.
No one would believe at first that this lady was nearly 80 years old…
The only sign of age this woman displayed was her long grey hair, which she left loose, waving from the mild gusts of the wind. She wore a bright green dress with a yellow stripe down the centre of the dress, where the buttons were found. It was the type of dress you tend to find in the Earth Kingdom. Around her hips was a long, thin pouch. While unable to be seen by the naked eye, anyone who got close to this woman would feel the energy she exhaled from her body, and it made her seem even taller and perhaps more fierce than at first glance. She was a woman who held unbelievable power.
She was Avatar Teresa.
Avatar Teresa walked down the grassy plain for about half an hour, before reaching a large campsite. The campsite could've been seen from the distance, as several fires created by its inhabitants lit up the night sky. Teresa walked up the hill they had camped and into the camp itself, knowing just who these campers were.
The campsite was a temporary station for Fire Nation soldiers. Various soldiers were doing different things. Some were walked frantically around the campsite, attending to their duties, while some stood near the campfires, talking or drinking a drink of some kind, little doubt alcohol. When the soldiers saw Avatar Teresa, all activity ceased immediately, and the whole campsite became deathly quiet.
Several tents had been set up, and Teresa was certain several soldiers were fast asleep. Teresa sighed, for this campsite had been waiting for her arrival, and admittedly Teresa felt a little guilty these soldiers were postponed because of her own personal tardiness.
Though the chances of anyone scolding her were almost 0%.
"You're late woman" barked an old, yet powerful voice from the largest tent in the whole campsite. Several soldiers went pale-well, paler than a normal Fire Nation civilian-shocked someone would dare speak to that Avatar like that. Teresa smiled and chuckled. She'd forgotten there was one person in the Fire Nation who would talk to her like that.
"General Kuzon! Is that your nostalgically crooked voice I hear?" Teresa asked amusingly towards the large tent.
From the said tent, an elderly man stepped from the trnace, followed by two much younger soldiers. The elderly man was tall, and despite his age, somewhat muscular. He had short grey hair and wore a thin pair of spectacles. He wore a fire nation uniform fitting of a general, and by his side was a sword, as he himself was not a bender. Despite this, the man radiated a strong sense of authority and power that arguably matched the Avatars. This man was General Kuzon, general in the Fire Nation army and one of the finest warriors to greet the army in a long time. An unparalleled swordsman, and a legendary tactician.
And a long time friend of Avatar Teresa.
"We set up camp here 12 hours ago, waiting for you" Kuzon grumbled "can't you for once in your lifetime get here on time?"
"My apologies Kuzon, but getting to the Fire Nation isn't that easy. Not many ships willingly sail to the Fire Nation, being the unpopular sods you are!" Teresa said jokingly, though she knew she was going into sensitive ground.
After the war, it seemed as if nothing could repair the Fire Nations reputation…
"You're the master of all four elements, I'm sure you could've figured out a quicker way to get here" Kuzon retorted, before sighing "but, what's done is done. Since you're here we might as well begin the briefing. Follow me inside."
Kuzon made his way back into the tent, followed by the two guards on each side. Teresa followed in, smiling nostalgically. She'd known Kuzon for 60 years, while he was still but a young lieutenant, but in all those years he was still the same. Cold, straightforward and not one to mess around. Many people wondered how she and Kuzon ever became such close friends, considering her more….fun loving and flirty personality. But, the two had worked together on several incidents within the Fire Nation-usually involving the Rebels- and had grown to trust each other and grow bond as they fought for the same cause.
Probably also helped they had a brief but unforgettable romance. Teresa missed the days of her youth.
As soon as Teresa stepped into the tent, she saw the picture of the White Lotus which had been embedded onto Kuzons private tent. Teresa smiled, and raised her forearm towards Kuzon, lowering the sleeve. Her naked arm showed a tattoo of the White Lotus. It also helped that they were part of the same organisation.
"Let us begin" Kuzon said, ignoring Teresa gesture. He turned to neatly laid down map of the area on the table in the tents centre. Teresa noted two parts circled in red, one where the camp was set up.
The other was where the Rebels were hiding.
"Last month, reports were made by local villagers of Phoenix Rebels being spotted in the area. Since investigations into the villages hadn't found one single rebel afterwards, we dismissed the reports as false."
"And yet, here we are now" Teresa sighed "what happened?"
"Turns out these rebel rats were especially good at hiding. Last week, a small military base was attacked, and the rebels made off with a tank, brand new one and all."
"A Tank….ugh…" Teresa grumbled "..those little buggers piss me off. You should've gotten rid of them all centuries ago."
"We got rid of most, there was nothing wrong with keeping a few."
"Besides them getting stolen."
"Touché…" Kuzon sighed "..but why are you complaining? A tank is nothing for the mighty Avatar."
Teresa giggled "I knew you could be a sweet talker when you wanted to be!"
Kuzon rubbed his forehead and groaned "dear lord….you're 80 and recently became a grandmother, and yet you still act like a child."
Teresa clapped her hands together, and slowly walked around the table, observing the map, humming playfully and smiling as she did. It was fairly obvious that this situation didn't scare her one bit "Let's see…so the Rebels are inside this abandoned factory you've marked with a circle, correct?" Teresa asked, pointing towards the other circle drawn on the map.
"That is correct."
"And I'm guessing that this stolen tank has made attacks on their base too dangerous?"
"Aye, as our first and only attack discovered abruptly."
"But….I still don't see why you desperately needed my help. Not like I won't refuse, but I figured such an incident would've been kept quiet, and you'd just send in your own tanks!" Teresa pointed out.
"True, but the Tank isn't the biggest issue here" Kuzon suddenly added. His face darkened and his voice got lower, like the next subject was one of danger and caution.
"We've had reports Aku is among the hiding Rebels."
Teresa's pleasant smile and carefree posture went with that name. Instead, her face became serious, albeit reluctant and wary. Even though she was the Avatar, it seemed as though this Aku was someone even she was cautious of "Aku…the Fire Demon of the Phoenix Rebels…been a while since I saw him."
"Aye. That man has been with the Rebels since he was 15. He may only be 29, but in 14 years he's became one of the top Generals among the Rebels, and arguably the most powerful Firebender alive" Kuzon summarised.
"I've met him several times these past few years…" Teresa said almost in a whisper "…and he was unlike anyone I'd ever met...Listen Kuzon, the tank is one thing, but Aku is someone only I can handle."
Kuzon made no complaint, nodding "yes. You may be the only person alive who can beat Aku. And since we have only soldiers, us fighting the tank could be a potential waste of manpower."
"So I go in, clean out the tank, take out Aku, and then you and your boys go in and clean up the rest?" Teresa summarised "seems like I've got all the hard work."
For the first time in this meeting, Kuzon smiled and chuckled "tell you what? When this is all over, I'll buy you a drink, just like old times."
Teresa couldn't help but smile at the offer "I think I'll take you up on that offer. Maybe if I get you drunk, I'll convince you to finally retire!"
"A true soldier never gets drunk, nor does he know when to give up" Kuzon replied sternly "hope you don't expect me to try and convince you to retire."
"Of course not" Teresa said with a huge sigh "I'm the Avatar. I don't get a retirement."
The abandoned factory which supposedly housed the Phoenix Rebels was roughly two miles away from the camp. The factory used to be a leading developer and manufacturer of several industrialised weapons, including tanks and ships. There were even rumours that some of the infamous 'Ba Sing Se Drill' had been manufactured here.
However, like many businesses after the war, it had closed down when much of the Fire Nations military force was destroyed. Now, it was a rotting corpse, with three huge warehouses that were all tattered and rotted. If looked from outside the factory, the place would look alone and untouched by man, but if the info was true, there were not only Phoenix Rebels inside here, but three state of the art tanks inside..
And no one could forget Aku could be inside…
The front door was barred by chain, but there were several other possible ways to get inside the factory. If someone was quiet and agile enough, it was very possible to sneak into the base.
However, Avatar Teresa liked to do everything loud.
The barred gates flew open when a giant boulder crashed into it, causing the ground to tremble from the impact. When the boulder landed and stopped on the floor, all went quiet once again. Teresa walked through the now broken main gate, looking in all directions for any possible attacks. At first, there seemed to be no one here.
Then she heard the rumbling sound coming from the main warehouse. Teresa looked forward, and saw the tank slowly trotting forward towards her. The tanks had changed since the hundred-year war. Before, a firebender had to shoot fireballs out of four hatches on each side of the top of the cabin, relying a lot on the firebender inside.
However, the hatches had been replaced by a gigantic barrel that could rotate a full 360 degrees, and instead of a Firebender having to supply the fire, the tank was loaded with several 'fire bombs' that blew on harsh impact. All in all, it was a major improvement to an already grand achievement.
Considering that the Fire Nation economy had been almost completely destroyed, it was heartwarming to know that some major breakthroughs were still being made.
Teresa watched as the Tank slowly aimed its huge barrel directly at her, hearing the cogs inside the machine move as did the barrel. When it was finally set up correctly, all went quite.
The force of the tank firing a shot caused the tank itself to move backward slightly. In a split second, the tank fired a fire bomb directly at Teresa, and the whole area she stood was engulfed in a flurry of fire and smoke. The power one fire bomb had was enough to engulf an Air Bison! As the smoke cleared, the crator the blast left was large and wide.
However, there no sign of the Avatar…or her remains.
The tank could do nothing when the ground beneath it began to open up! A giant crack in the Earth appeared and began to seperate directly under the tank itself. For the tanks left side fell in, causing the tank to lose balance and collapse on its back into the crack earth. The tank laid trapped in the huge crack in the earth, and just next to the hue crack, Avatar Teresa appeared from out the earth, having digged a hole ever since the fire bomb was sent.
Teresa had quickly and effecitvely immobolised the new tank. She could've destroyed the tank with her bending arts, but that would've been time and energy consuming, especially considering her job wasn't done.
It was also a present to Kuzon. She knew he'd be happy if she brought back his tank in good condition.
Teresa listened but heard no noise coming from inside the tank, so she assumed the driver must have been knocked out. Teresa turned away from the toppled tank, and walked towards the main warehouse. Judging by the tank, this was where the main force was hiding, and it was likely where Aku could be found
"AKU! GET OUT HERE NOW!" Teresa roared, her voice still loud and clear despite her age.
"Hahahah….as you wish, dear Avatar" chuckled a faint voice. Teresa recognised it to be Aku.
Something was wrong however. The voice came from behind her…
Teresa spun around, but was still pushed back when the tank exploded! A giant fire engulfed the whole tank, reducing the once brand new and heavily fortified tank into ashes.
Teresa shieled her eyes from the glaring light of the fire with her arms, but she managed to see a figure walk from out from the huge fire. Teresa was almost shocked, not only was this man unharmed, but as soon as he stepped out the fire, it began to cool down, as if the individual whole body shot out fire!
As the fire cooled down, Teresa could see Aku properly. He was a tall man, at least six foot, with a strong muscular body that was neither pale nor tanned. His black hair was long, but it was incredibly scruffy and unitdy, and he had a goattee that stuck out of his chin. Teresa could feel the energy and power in his aura. It sent chills down even her spine, and she had seen some scary things in her time. This man may have only been 29, but he had more skill and power than any firebender she'd met.
She'd learnt this on the several occasions they had fought in the past.
"Hey Hey Avatar Teresa!" Aku greeted. His voice was cheerful, loud and sinister wrapped into one "it's great to see you again! Like my flashy entrance?"
"Aku…only you would do something so mad and unthinkable" Teresa let out a fake smile "but I'll admit you caught me offguard with that trick of yours. I didn't expect you to be inside the the tank."
"Ah…for you to say that is the ultimate compliment" Aku said, bowing at her "it seems as though fate always bring us together! This is our fifth time meeting like this, and despite your past achievement, you've never actually caught me!"
"Do not rub it in" Teresa grumbled, readying herself "and it's a pain. I utterly detest you."
"Well that's a shame…" Aku whispered with a sick smile "…because I LOVE you!"
Teresa saw Aku step forward, bring his fist back. In a mighty thrust, Aku sent a blast of fire so powerful it spread towards everything in front of him. Teresa quickly created an air shield, shielding herself from the raging fire, though she felt great difficulty trying to protect herself from the mad flames.
"I love everything about you! I love the power you hold! I love the way you so masterfully control it! I love the fact that your will practically controls this world!" Aku cackled as he continued to fire flames from his fist. The flames engulfed not only her air shield, but the giant warehouse behid her! In but a few seconds, the entire warehouse was engulfed by the flames, reduced to nothing but ah and debris by one punch alone!
"You….Avatar Teresa…..are the embodiment of the Phoenix Rebels desires! With your power, ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!" Aku roared, almost in esctacy. Teresa gritted her teeth, fighting back the immense power Aku displayed. It came no surprise that Aku had been the only person she could never capture. He was truly a Firebender unlike any other, a once in a millennium kind of person.
And someone who she had to get rid of, once and for all.
Teresa, with great force, expanded the air shield to completely stop Aku's fire blast and blow it back, with was a much harder feat than thought. When the fire was gone, Teresa quickly smashed the ground beneath her. A giant rock sprouted at the earth, and into the air. Teresa quickly got up and punched the boulder directly towards Aku. Aku smile never left, and he merely kicked his leg up high, breaking the boulder with his foot alone! Smiling confidently, Aku charged forward. He pan around and sent a spinning flame kick directly towards Teresa's face.
Teresa promptly dodged under the kick, but Aku was quick, and when his first attack had missed, he sent his other leg directly towards Teresa. Teresa could not dodge this one, and the kick went directly into her arms that were covering her face. Teresa fell back from the force of the kick, and landed on the ground. Aku turned to her, jumped into the air, and span in the air, his right foot covered in fire. Teresa saw the fire kick heading straight for her face, and waved her hands forward.
Water flew out the pouch on her hip, and blocked the fire kick headed straight for her face. Teresa then quickly rolled out the way and got up back to her feet. Like a tiger, Aku pounced towards her, throwing a fire fist directly at her face, but this time she was ready. With a stamp of her feet, Teresa caused a slab in the earth to move upwards and dsrupt the incoming punch. The force of it caused Aku to lose his balance and fall back a few steps, just how Teresa had planned. Aku was about to regain his balance and charge back, but then he felt a sudden chill creep down his right leg.
And then he realised that he couldn't move his right leg at all.
Aku quickly looked down, and to his surprise, saw his whole leg frozen! In but a quick second, Teresa had used the remnants of the water she used to block his attack with to freeze his whole leg.
Aku couldn't help but smile even more. She wasn't the Avatar for nothing.
Momentarily stuck, Aku was unable to save himself when Teresa punched him directly in the face. Aku fell back, blood flying out his nose which was most likely broke now.
Aku hit the ground hard. In a quick second, Teresa stamped the ground, and the earth trapped Aku's arms and legs inside the Earth itself, trapping them.
Despite the severity of the situation, Aku chuckled "well now, you finally got me down for good!"
Teresa looked down at the trapped Rebel. She had fought him several times beforehand, and each time Aku had been relentless, ferocious and unwilling to lose of get caught. His strength was enough that he had evaded her capture on every occasion.
But this time, it was different. It felt as if he'd LET her catch him.
Trying to put it out her mind, Teresa smashed the floor, and lifted a big chunk of the earth over her head. She held it towards the young face of Aku.
"Aku…..I dislike killing more than anything in this world…" Teresa said slowly "…but your death is one step closer to destroying the Phoenix Rebels and bringing peace once again to the Fire Nation. I am sorry, but you must di…"
Teresa dropped the boulder behind her, a searing burn felt in her chest. She looked down towards her left breast, a dazed and shock expression covered her face. Blood was pouring out rapidly, turning her bright green dress into a crimson red.
She had just been shot from behind.
Teresa felt the weight of the world on her shoulder, collapsing to the floor. Her breathing became heavier, her eyes felt heavier and she felt the strength inside her quickly deplete. Teresa was able to turn around, and see the face of the shooter.
It was General Kuzon wielding the rifle.
"K…Kuzon.." Teresa whispered. At first, she thought that she was hallucinating from the blood loss. There was no way her long time friend…..her former lover, would shoot her!
She looked again, hoping to see another face. It was still Kuzons.
"Forgive me, Teresa…." Kuzon sighed, holding the long rifle up, disgust on his face "I dislike these things. They may be excellent killing weapons, but there is no honour to them. I would've rather have took your life with my blade."
"Now, we know that isn't feasible" Aku laughed, literally smashing his arms and legs out of the earth, and standing back up over the crouching Teresa "if you tried it that way, Teresa would've noticed you. Besides, our bait and distraction plan worked perfectly."
"Kuzon…Kuzon…." Teresa groaned, as the traitorous general walked towards her "….why….are you doing this…."
Teresa looked Kuzon in the eye. His face was still the battle hard general she always knew, but underneath that, she saw elements of sorrow and regret. He hadn't wanted to shoot her.
"Forgive me Teresa…." Kuzon said solemnly "…it was nothing personal. I did what I did because we-The Phoenix Rebels- need the next Avatar."
"Trying to convince you to help us would've been pointless. You've been nurtured and educated into thinking us rebels were the bad guys" Aku explained "but with the next Avatar…we will bring him up ourselves, and teach him the truth of our nation."
"He will see the corruption in the government I once blindly believed in…..and he will destroy it" Kuzon stated "Rebirth through destruction is our belief, and like the Avatar, a new era for the Fire Nation will be created."
"No…you can't do this…." Teresa cried in a small whisper, lifting her hand to grab Kuzon, but she had no strength to move nor bend.
In unison, Kuzon and Aku bowed down to her dying body.
"It has been an honour and a pleasure knowing you, Avatar Teresa" Kuzon said formally "I hope the next Avatar inherits your determination."
"Don't worry about him…or her Teresa" Aku chuckled "we'll raise him well, and he will save our nation."
With nothing else to say, Kuzon and Aku turned left and slowly walked away, leaving Teresa alone to die on the floor.
Teresa's live flashed before her eyes. The day she was born, the place she grew up, the day she learnt she was that Avatar, the .many years of training, the day of her marriage and her childrens birth….everything came back to her, tears flowing from her eyes like rivers
Teresa, in her final breath, smiled to herself. Despite this horrible betrayal, Teresa could look back on her life and smile. She had lived a good life, considering the circumstances.
Teresa body became motionless, her breathing completely stopped.
Her story had ended…
1 week later…..
"WAAH! WAAH!" A young male baby cried loudly in his crib, only just being born into this world. The baby cried loudly as the doctor held up the baby, and handed it to his tired, but smiling mother, while the young boy was watched intensely by her 12-year-old sister.
"My baby boy…" the young mother cooed "…from this day on, your name is Zeo."
And now, this is his story…