Written Immediately Post Episode 10 aka Lin's Defining Episode of Awesome
The Equalists half-carried Lin down hall after hall that finally led to row upon row of barred cells. Wide-eyed faces peered out at her, and voices called her name. She thought she might know them, but her mind was too focused on trying to remain upright to recognize them.
The loss of her bending left her feeling unbalanced, like trying to walk on tilting ice. Desperate calls echoed all around, crashing into Lin's ears like garbled static. She stumbled as the Equalist on her right faltered, and Lin caught a flash of a pale hand around his ankle before he kicked it off. That would have been the perfect opportunity to escape if the guard on her left wasn't the only thing keeping her from falling flat on her face.
He brandished a kali stick, electricity sparking off it, and slammed it onto the bars. The metal conducted the stream down the entire length of the cells, and Lin blinked at the sudden absence of noise, shaking her head lightly.
"Everyone shut it!" the Equalist, a woman, barked. "This one isn't going to be helping any of you."
Lin's eyes narrowed in a glare, not at the words because they still didn't quite have meaning behind them yet, but the woman had yelled right next to her ear. They marched her further down the cells before stopping again. The door slid open, they slipped the shackles off her wrist and shoved her inside. Support gone and stubbornness finally faltering, Lin sank to her knees.
She felt entirely drained, like she'd fighting for days or running a marathon, and this was the first time she'd rested in forever.
"You know, when I saw the other council members, I had half a hope that there would be a rescue."
Lin glanced up and saw a man sitting on the bottom bunk of a bed, exactly like another room she'd seen. It took her mind a moment to register, Tarrlok, and she distantly wondered if she should be more concerned. But she felt detached and heavy at the same time, as if observing these things outside of her own body, but where she was watching from pressed a heavy weight down on her.
He looked as bad as she imagined she felt. His hair was long and wild around his face, his clothes were torn in places, and he just looked tired. Tarrlok was always one for appearances. This must be very galling.
"You look like crap," she said, and her throat felt dry.
"You've been better yourself," he sneered back, half glaring.
There was nothing to say to that because it was undoubtedly true. She could feel and see her hair tickling her face. A throbbing near her temple suggested a bruise, and the side of her face cracked and flaked with dried blood.
"So that's it then? Amon has taken everyone down?" he asked.
"Tenzin and the Avatar are still out there. There's hope for us yet."
"What hope? Unless I'm mistaken, you're bending is gone!" he snapped, throwing out a hand, and Lin flinched, barely. He caught it anyway, eyes narrowing. "As is mine. It's over for us."
Lin looked down at her hands, lying limp across her knees. She flexed them. Hours ago, that motion would have done…something. It would have moved mountains, ripped down bars, torn apart blimps. They were pale hands with long fingers, tipped with calluses and short nails. She curled them into fists.
"We're not benders anymore," she murmured then raised her head to stare Tarrlok down. "But I've still got some fight left and no intentions in letting Amon win this war."
Tarrlok's palm met his forehead, and his fingers pushed through his hair.
"I am a career politician," he said. "I know hippo-bull when I hear it."
"Except when I talk, I mean what I say," she said in that tone that brooked no argument. She stood, hardly graceful but without falling over at least. "For now, wait. And listen."
"Wait and listen? So the great and gutsy Lin Beifong has discovered the key to defeating Amon! And it's to wait and listen. Now are you sure it's in that order or can we listen and wait instead."
It was incredible, really. The more Tarrlok spoke, the more herself Lin felt. It was as though a dose of annoyance and whining served bitter courtesy of the councilman was the best ticket to sobriety. She once again wanted to punch him in the face, but that appeared to be a side effect of his particular brand of honesty.
"Water adapts," she said, taking three steps to the other bunk and holding onto the pole as she slid down.
"So you had better adapt to this situation, or else you'll be adapting to having one of these metal boots planted up your backside."
His lips curled contemptuously, and he crossed his arms. Lin ignored him and lay back on the bed. He remained silent. She grinned thinly. The boy could be taught.