Book One :
Chapter Ten :
We ran through the darkening forest, running for our lives, our pursuers being the fire nation soldiers we raided just moments ago. Jet, our leader, whistled orders to the others, sending them into the treetops, as the two of us split up still on solid ground. The soldiers' numbers split in two, a very idiotic move if you ask me. Our friends in the trees made easy business of picking them off. Hearing no further footfalls behind me, I took a running start and leaped onto a low hanging tree branch. I then climbed to the top and started on my journey home.
I made quick business of this journey, for the forest was no longer safe at night; more and more fire nation had been filtering into the area. Landing on one of the many platforms that made up our home, I was immediately joined by Jet.
"Kya, I found another camp of soldiers to raid. We can stay in the trees until we get a proper distraction and then take them down," stated Jet. The excitement that once filled his youthful eyes had drained over the many years. He no longer viewed the fire nation as just 'the enemy'. They were now a parasite to him, infesting our lands, destroying the lives of innocents by the hundreds, if not thousands.
I merely nodded my consent to his plan and entered my tent. I spent the next hour listening to the others slowly make their way to bed. As the last set of footsteps made their own way, I silently exited my tent. Making not a sound, I leaped from the platform and landed softly on the ground below. My patrol was unknown to the others. They had not a clue of my nightly excursions searching for Him, the one from my dreams and visions. The visions that fill my mind the moment my eyes close. The dreams that I awake from, silently screaming, in a cold sweat. My searches were constantly disappointing. With nothing but a vague memory of his face and no name, there was little chance of finding him.
Emerging from my reverie, I became aware of a small campfire looming in the distance. It couldn't have been the soldiers Jet had mentioned; their fire would be bright, unafraid of being ambushed. This fire was small, barely flickering between the three sleeping bags set around it. I could feel my heart skip a beat as I thought that maybe one of them could be Him. Unfortunately, my heart was forced to sink when I inspected their faces to find him not there. Instead I found a water tribe boy and girl, and what seemed to be a young air nomad monk. My inspection, sadly, was interrupted when the first ray of sunlight peaked through the trees. I was forced to abandon my search, knowing all too well that Jet would already be awake and readying us to head out.
Arriving at the hideout, I sneaked into the back of my tent through a hidden cut in the canvas. Not a moment later, the bell on the front of the tent was wrung.
"Kya, you awake?" came Jet's voice.
"Yah, I'm up, be right there." I listened to him retreating from my tent and then flung myself back onto my makeshift bed, letting out a frustrated huff. Quickly, I changed out of the black shirt and pants I had worn that night and into my normal clothes for the day, a pale brown shirt, a dark green bodice, and brown shorts . Exiting my tent, I strapped two crescent moon knives to each of my thighs and dragged two foot long Twin Hook swords behind me, hooking them into a scabbard strapped onto my back. They were almost identical to Jet's since we collected both sets from a raid nearly a year previously.
"You set?" asked Jet, and with a collective nod from all of us, we were off. The journey there was easy, it was the waiting that would kill us. Taking them down would be easy enough with the proper distraction, but heading in with them still alert was almost certainly suicide. Granted our numbers had grown over the years, but those numbers consisted mainly of children unable to battle even each other, let alone trained fire nation soldiers.
We hid in the trees surrounding the clearing, poised for attack. Moments later, the three I had found mere hours before emerged from between the trees, giving us the perfect distraction. Jet leapt from his position and took out two of the soldiers saying, "Down you go."
"Show off," I muttered as I took down two of my own. The battle raged for mere moments before all was ceased. I stood next to the ever-silent Longshot as Jet spoke to the travelers. He introduced everyone by name as the others went through the camp: me, Smellerbee, Sneers, Longshot, Pipsqueak, and The Duke.
"Hey, Jet," called out The Duke. "These barrels are filled with blasting jelly."
Pipsqueak added, "And these boxes are filled with jelly candy."
"We best not get those mixed up," said Jet still standing with the newcomers. Getting impatient, I picked up a barrel and walked in the direction of the hide out. The others followed quickly behind, an added three on the end. After not too long I began struggling with the weight of the barrel. Normally its weight would be nothing for me, but my lack of rest was taking its toll.
"Let me help, Kya," said Pipsqueak as the barrel was lifted out of my grip.
"Thanks, Pip," I said massaging my shoulder.
"'Kya'?" asked the water tribe boy we had picked up. "That's a water tribe name. Are you from the northern tribe?" He seemed almost suspicious of me, hiding it poorly.
"My mother was, but she left when she was still very young. She met my father in Omashu and I grew up there," I told him, lying through my teeth. "I've never been to either tribe." He seemed satisfied with my story and we walked on in silence. Coming upon the hide out, Jet showed the three travelers how to get up as I flitted into the tree tops with many of the others. Landing softly on one of the many platforms I watched as the air nomad swooped down on his staff.
I walked to him and held out my hand to greet him. "I'm Kya, and your name?"
"I'm Aang!" he said, or rather, yelled. He shook my hand vigorously sending tremors up my arm.
"Were all air benders as happy as you?" I asked jokingly. He laughed in return and I knew that Aang and I would be good friends.
"Aang!" came the voice of the water tribe girl, Katara. She gestured for Aang to follow her and Jet, and he complied with a slight wave to me. I waved goodbye as he turned his back and I walked to my tent to remove my weapons and rest. My bodice was tied merely to keep from falling off and keep me covered rather than to pronounce my figure, and I had become so accustomed to wearing it that I neglected to even remove it before lying down on my cot. I slept for hours and didn't wake until just before sunrise the next day. Because of our visitors, Jet wouldn't be taking all of us on a patrol, so I had the day off to explore. I left all but one of my knives in my tent, like I normally did on my nightly searches. There was no need to carry the extra weight when there was no threat to me.
Walking aimlessly through the forest, I came to the main path that weaved through the trees. I stayed alongside of it, never actually stepping onto it. The smallest of sounds could be heard somewhere above me and I recognized one of the soft, murmuring voices to be Jet's. Keeping out of sight, I watched as they listened for the footsteps of anyone on the path. A moment later, I saw an elderly fire nation man hobbling on a crutch. Jet, doing the expected, leaped from the trees to confront the man with Smellerbee and Pipsqueak at his side. They harassed the poor man and brought him to his knees, not stopping their cruel actions until Sokka intervened. He convinced them to leave the man alone and they left together.
"Are you alright?" I asked in the best scared little girl voice I could muster, letting my long, black hair fall loosely around my waist and in front of my eyes. I emerged from the bushes and approached the man. Helping him to his feet, I collected his bag from the ground and handed it to him.
"I will be fine, my dear," he said. "Just a little shaken is all."
"Are you headed to Gaipan?" I asked, getting a nod as an answer. "Then I will accompany you there," I said, resolutely. He failed in his protests and gave in, linking his arm with mine. We walked together across the path to Gaipan in silence, only admiring the forest's beauty.
When I returned to the hideout, Sokka was storming from Jet's tent muttering about how he 'didn't see a knife on the old man'. I entered Jet's tent without announcement and found him speaking with Aang and Katara. He nodded once in greeting and I sat down beside him, listening intently on their conversation.
"The fire nation is planning on burning down our forest," began Jet. He explained that to stop them, the reservoir needed to be filled to put out the resulting fires. That was the first I had heard of any such plot, but I kept quiet and merely listened until the two of them left, convinced of his noble intentions.
"What's the real story?" I asked Jet, still sitting comfortably on his bed. He turned and looked at me, trying to feign innocence. "Cut the crap, Jet. I know you're planning something and I want in," I said, my lips curling into a mischievous smirk. He bought the act and went on to tell me of his plan to blow the dam and flood Gaipan, ridding it of the fire nation. My immediate thought was of the elderly man I had helped and the innocent people that would be killed in the flood. By then, he was sitting next to me, leaning in to me deeply. I rested my hand on his cheek and smiled, silently pretending to agree with his plan.
That night near dawn, Jet, Pipsqueak, The Duke, Longshot, Smellerbee, Sneers, and I went out to set up the blasting jelly at the base of the dam. As Jet was giving instructions to the others, I stood at his side, my eyes watching the movement in the tree line. I motioned silently for Pipsqueak and Smellerbee to check it out and they came back a moment later dragging Sokka behind them.
"Sokka, I'm glad you decided to join us," said Jet, jokingly.
The two holding Sokka threw him to the ground at our feet and he struggled to stand, rubbing his shoulder. "I heard your plan to destroy the earth kingdom town."
"Our plan is to rid the valley of the fire nation," Jet responded defiantly.
"There are people living there, Jet. Mothers and fathers and children."
Jet gave his reasons about there being a need for sacrifices. They continued to argue back and forth, and I ignored their petty excuses. "I was hoping you'd have an open mind, Sokka," said Jet. "But I can see you've made your choice. Smellerbee, Kya, take Sokka on a walk, a long walk."
Smellerbee tied Sokka's hands behind his back and we began our way through the forest, following one of the minor paths. "How can you stand by and do nothing while Jet wipes out a whole town?" asked Sokka incredulously.
"Jet's a great leader," began Smellerbee. "We follow what he says and things always turn out okay." Suddenly, Sokka took a sharp turn to the left and ran off into the forest. I stayed glued to the path as Smellerbee ran after him, winding up caught in a fire nation trap. She sat, suspended in a round metal cage over twenty feet in the air.
Sokka stood on the ground beneath her as I made my way toward him. He glanced my way and backed up slightly. "Stay back," he commanded.
"You're not really in a position to threaten me." His hands were still tied behind his back and he carried no weapon. He took off running through the untamed forest, but quickly tripped from his usual clumsiness. He lay on his stomach and I came up behind him, cutting away the rope binding his hands. He turned over and looked up at me as I held out my hand. A moment later, he accepted my help by taking my hand and I pulled him to his feet.
Without a word, we took off into the forest and headed to Gaipan. When we arrived, Sokka began urging both the villagers and soldiers to leave the town and he explained Jet's plan to flood the valley. No one seemed to believe him, claiming he was merely a spy and one of the soldiers pointed out my allegiance with Jet and the Freedom Fighters. It seemed hopeless until the old man we had tried to help stepped forward. With his help, we led the villagers out of the city and to higher ground.
"Sokka, you go get Appa," I began, "I'll see if I can stop the explosion." He nodded once and took off into the forest, calling for Appa. Leaping into the trees, I made my way to the dam, praying I could get there in time. The unmistakable chirpings of Jet and the others rang through the air as I spotted Longshot, perched on a branch, an arrow already lit and ready to fire. I surged forward, but he had already let it go when I ran full force into him. He fell from the tree and hit the ground as the blasting jelly ignited. The explosion rang out as the water gushed forward destroying the town below.
"Jet, you monster!" cried the voice of Katara from the ground below me.
"This was a victory, Katara, remember that," responded Jet. I slowly climbed from the tree I was in and discovered Jet frozen to the trunk of a tree. Aang and Katara stood before him as tears ran down her face. "The fire nation is gone, and this valley will be safe."
I looked over and saw Sokka riding on top of the great bison Appa calling out to the others, "It will be safe, without you. Kya and I warned the villagers of your plan, just in time." At that, I emerged from behind the tree Jet was pinned to. He looked at me and his eyes showed a hatred I had only seen directed towards the fire nation. Good call.
"You fools!" he spat at us. "We could have freed this valley!"
"Who would be free?" asked Sokka rhetorically. "Everyone would be dead."
"Kya, you traitor!" he screamed at me. The betrayal in his eyes hurt me to look at.
"No, Jet, you became the traitor when you stopped protecting innocent people," I hissed. "I trusted you! Katara is right, you have become a monster." I turned away from him and joined Katara at her side. Looking at Aang I asked, "If you will allow it, I would like to join you in your journey." The smile I received from both him and Katara made my spirit lift and Sokka held out his hand to help me up onto Appa. I grasped onto his hand and swung myself up, but began having second thoughts when I saw how high up I was. "I should mention, I'm not a big fan of flying."
"You fly between trees on a daily basis," Sokka laughed.
"But that's only short distances and I'm always an arm's reach away from a branch."
"Well, hold on to something and pretend you're just jumping between trees," he joked, pulling on Appa's reigns. We lifted into the sky and, with a small yelp, I clung to the closest thing possible. In other words, Sokka.
Author's note: Greetings, people who actually care enough to read these things!
I'm new to the whole posting things for people other than my somewhat delusional friends to read, so feedback is crutial for my mind to not implode from paraniod ramblings about how no one is commenting so they must all hate it. And I want your brutally honest opinion. No fluffy shite. If you think it sucks big blue monkey balls, then tell me it sucks big blue monkey balls!
I believe that is all for now. Stay tuned for more of me rambling about monkey balls and friends that may or may not exist. Considering I can't seem to shake the image of monkey balls, if I did have friends, I probably wouldn't much longer... I'll stop now.