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An Avatar: The Last Airbender Fanfiction, Book 4: Air Chapter 1: Kim Pei,
Chapter One: Kim Pei
The Kim Pei mountains stood magnificently against the sunset. The mountain range was considered by some to be the most beautiful place on earth. Enormous mountains were surrounded by a vast forest and bordered by a serene beach. At this time of day, it usually rang with the soft buzzing of creatures preparing for the long night ahead, but this evening, the wilderness was unusually quiet. The only sound that could be heard was the rustling of the falling autumn leaves and the waves splashing upon the shore. Docked on the beach, doing little but perhaps marring the beauty of Kim Pei, were two steel war ships, hissing out small trails of smoke but nothing more. If it wasn’t for the smoke, one would assume that the ship was completely empty.But, the sailors remained inside, deathly quiet.
Midway up the mountain, the ship could be easily seen. But the shadowed figures hiding on the mountainside were not nearly as noticeable. Earth Kingdom soldiers lay quietly in wait for the sun to sink completely into the horizon.
“Its kind of creepy,” whispered on of the soldiers, “they haven’t so much as made a sound. What if they expect us?”
“It doesn’t matter if they expect us or not.” Hissed another, rather older, soldier, “We have them outnumbered.” Soldiers held their breaths as the sun made its final decent, sinking into darkness. Then, there was a great, thundering roar as the Earth Kingdom solders propelled themselves down the mountainside towards the beach in an impressive show of earth bending.
A shot rang out as the one of the fire nation ships launched a fire cannon just in time, preventing its enemies from pelting it with boulders. Rockets launched, earth flew, and minutes later, rhino-saddled soldiers poured out of both ships, heading straight for the opposing Earth Kingdom militia.
* * *
‘Come on Appa, just a little faster,’ the man mentally urged his bison. Avatar Aang’s face was set with an expression of mixed worry and determination. A face etched with too many lines than twenty years of time should have caused, the price payed for being responsible for the well being of the entire world. He held the reigns in a death grip, his knuckles turning white. Wind stung his eyes and whipped at his clothes as he and Appa jetted through the sky. With only one passenger and the right amount of coaxing, the air bison could be extremely fast. But at this moment, no speed could be fast enough for Aang. ‘Almost there, buddy. Just keep going,’
* * *
A stoic figure stood solemnly on the deck of a fire nation ship, surveying the surrounding water with little interest. His black and gold armor glistened in the morning sun.
“Captain, we should be arriving within an hour,” a helmeted soldier informed him with a bow.
“Very well,” was the curt reply.
* * *
Back in Kim Pei, the battle raged on. Earth benders hurled boulders the size of small houses at the fire nation soldiers, scattering them, but never for long. Fire benders flung massive balls of fire onto their adversaries, but never to any lasting affect. The two opposing sides seemed evenly matched , neither making any significant advancement, even though the fire soldiers were badly outnumbered. Suddenly, the ground began to shake violently as the entire face of a mountain crumbled to a mass of gravel and dust. Only a hand full of fire nation soldiers managed to scramble to safety before the torrent of collapsed mountain buried one ship with its crushing weight while the other ship was completely toppled over by earth benders using the mountain’s remains. Throughout all of this, the earth soldiers were careful to keep their distance, bending earth against their enemies from afar.
After the ships were destroyed, there was an almost eerie quiet that settled amongst them, disturbed only by the crashing of the waves. Then, after a few seconds of tense silence, there was an uproar of shouting and cheering as the Earth Kingdom soldiers celebrated their apparent victory. There was clapping and whistling, every soldier thoroughly proud of himself.The celebration was cut to an abrupt halt when a few of them noticed something on the horizon lit by the moonlight, a fleet of fire nation ships sailing right towards them.
* * *
With a quick pat on the head, Aang left Appa on a nearby beach. After all, there was no place to keep a three ton flying bison where he was going. He used his glider for the rest of his journey, soaring over shops and homes and schools. Normally, Aang would have enjoyed the view, but today, he had to hurry. Today was different. Today, the Avatar was angrier than he had ever remembered being. When he spotted his destination, he promptly landed and snapped his glider into place. Aang glared at the building with fierce determination. He braced himself, then entered the fire palace.
* * *
The closer the crew sailed to their destination, the colder they became. They began bundling up as much as they could, adding extra padding underneath their armor and into their boots. Even the young captain clutched tightly as his cloak, but his face remained impassive. A few crew members gasped as they passed increasingly large glaciers floating in the icy water, some several times the size of their ship.
“Steady, men,” the captain advised calmly, although with a slight chatter of his teeth. As the glaciers continued to increase in size, solid land became visible far ahead. The captain smirked in satisfaction, “Congratulations, men,” he stated cooly, “and welcome to the South Pole.”
* * *
The once beautiful Kim Pei now lay waited as fire burned the forest and licked at the edges of the sad piles of stone and dust that were once the proud mountains, now stripped of their mass by earth benders. The Earth soldiers were tiring quickly, the sun had been down for several hours and still, no victor. What the Earth soldiers once saw as an easy take over of land from a couple of fire nation ships had quickly turned into a fierce battle against an entire fleet. Sunrise would come soon, and everyone knew exactly what that meant.The battle raged on, the earth benders determined to win, refusing to surrender. But as the horizon began to lighten, changing form black to lavender to fierce orange, it became obvious who the victor would be. Fire benders cam pouring out of the ships, spouting fire at their enemies. And just half an hour after sunset, a fire nation flag flew proudly over the smoldering remains of Kim Pei.
* * * *
Aang stormed into the palace, his furious footsteps ringing against the towering walls and polished floors. Servants scurried out of his way, bowing quickly and taking cover. His feet carried him automatically where he needed to go. He had been here countless times before, but under much better circumstances. The entrance to the thrown room was guarded by two armored men with spears who stopped him as he attempted to enter.
“Apologies, Avatar Aang, sir,” informed one of the guards, rather nervously after seeing the look on the Avatar’s face, “but his majesty is in the middle of a very impor-”
“Move.” Aang’s voice was clam, but the ferocity in his eyes made the other man step back a bit. The guards hesitated, as if weighing who they least wanted to anger, the Avatar, or the Firelord. It didn’t take long for them to make their decision. They quickly stepped aside and shifted into nervous bows to the quietly enraged Avatar. Aang, marched into the dimly lit thrown room with little ceremony. “FIRELORD ZUKO!” he snarled as he approached. A shadowy figure remained calmly seated on his golden thrown, a tower of flames blazing behind him.