Before The End: An Avatar the Last Airbender Tale

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Book Hoarding Dragon

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#21

"Well, technically next to Ba Sing Se. We are camped out in the forest right next to the impenetrable wall. You'll see the Big Top in a couple of feet. It's hard to miss!" Rayne found that she was starting to warm up to him, though microscopically. "But, Ba Sing Se, is basically the capital of the Earth Kingdom. The king lives in the big palace near the top. The city is famous for it's impressive impregnable wall. Nothing will ever be able to break through that thing!"

They were almost up to the entrance of the carnival tent. They were going to talk to Yona immediately. "If you can deal with drill sergeants, then you can handle her. Just stay on her good side, it's best for everyone else around you if we all get along."
 
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#22
Cole, however, could not believe what he just heard. "Wait a minute... Ba Sing Se is the Capital?! Then... I've been lied to." He muttered in shock and disbelief. He was really stationed next to the capital of the Earth Kingdom? How many more lies had he been told under service before now? "Of course. I have a lot of work to do if I ever want to get along with anyone, due to my history... But, I put my faith in you to help set things straight. After all, you're the one who found me in the first place."

"Stay on her good side, got it. I'll be sure to do that. Although you'll have to forgive me if I end up screwing something up. My first day with my first superior didn't exactly end well after first impressions, but that's a story for another time, unless you're interested in hearing it?"

 

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#23
"Some time in the future, sure. But we are here - no time." They had indeed reached the tent opening flap. Rayne held one corner open for him, and made him go first. It wasn't that she didn't want to deal with Yona, she just still didn't trust this guy enough to have her back to him. It would take a while for her to trust him.

The vast expanse of the tent was shocking. Taking a moment for her eyes to adjust to the sudden darkness of the tent, she managed to make out Yona at the top of the crows nest where she sometimes perched.

"My dear, you're back from eating. Ready yourself and go get changed. We are going to do another set of plié's to get your balance back up to par." Yona either didn't happen to see the other body present, or she was being self-absorbed like usual, which was the more likely answer.

"Yona," Rayne began. "We have a guest. I have a proposition for you. His name is, err--" She looked helplessly at the guy, still not having remembered his name.
 
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#24
As he walked in, he was indeed shocked at how big the interior was, despite the outside not looking like such. "(Woah... Definitely bigger on the inside... But it doesn't seem to be possible...)" He thought in his mind as he looked around until Rayne introduced, or tried to introduce, him to someone who looked pretty important. "Cole. My name is Cole." He joined in, as he noticed that she forgot his name. Like most do. He proceeded to walk slowly towards Yona, trying not to provide any threat. "I'm uh... someone that this woman rescued. She can tell you the story."

"(At least I hope she can tell the story. Unless she forgot that too...)"

 

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#25

Yona raised an eyebrow at the odd pair, and impatiently awaited Rayne's excuse-story.

"Well, you see..." Rayne seemed very child-like in those moments. She couldn't help herself, she sometimes got like this as Yona was essentially like her mother. "Yona, you gotta understand, they were beating him senseless. Just look at his face!" Yona's eyes did indeed travel to the young man's face, with pursed lips. "On my way to the food hall, I heard some sort of noise coming from the distance. We aren't set up for any shows this week, so I was wondering which of our troupe may be that far out into the woods. Come to find this one here," Rayne jabbed a finger at Cole. "Getting into a full on brawl with four Fire Turds. I helped him fight them off, and clearly he got the short end of the stick. I'll heal him later. But we were wondering if he could stay with us for a while, until he can get healed up fully. He got pretty battered. I think he could maybe give out tickets, or something simple. I'm not sure if he has any skills." She muttered the last word under his breath, hoping that only Yona would hear it.

Yona gave the pair an odd look, but ended up nodding her head.
"All right, fine. Apparently we are a 'lost souls foundation'. He can stay if he puts in the work and makes it worth my while. I won't feed and house a free loader." And with that, Yona was off. Though, out of the corner of Rayne's eye, she saw a familiar green-hued sight. Her best friend Honnah was coming back from her stable duties.

"Hey Rayne, who is the new guy?" Honnah tossed her hair off of her shoulder, and cracked her knuckles while sizing up the fresh meat.
 
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#26
"(Fire Turds... That's a new one.)" Cole thought to himself as another woman came over. However he immediately thought to ready himself as he spotted her cracking her knuckles. "You know, making that kind of approach to someone you've just met isn't exactly friendly service. I'm not an enemy. My name is Cole. A pleasure." He responded, acting guarded but also at the same time friendly. He wanted to look like he could defend himself, but at the same time, he had to do it without revealing his bending type. If he drew literal fire in front of how many people including them, he'd definitely not be welcome anymore, or perhaps even free to move around.

 

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#27
Honnah laughed heartily. She was trying to get a rise out of the new guy. Rayne walked over to her friend and clapped her on the shoulder.
"Honnah here wouldn't even hurt a fly. She's the animal carer and makes sure that the animals stay calm during their performances." Rayne explained to Cole. "So listen hear Honnah, this is the new guy Cole. We met in an interesting way." Rayne proceeded to explain their cover up story. Honnah nodded at all the right times, and was surprised at the fight sequence. "Hey, Honnah have any ideas for what he can do? Cole, any ideas?"
 
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#28
"Oh, umm... Any heavy lifting that you need done? Where I come from, I had to lift huge boxes of supplies from town to town, being ever so careful as to not drop anything. I was also pretty good at keeping watch over things." Cole explained. "I may not look it but I'm pretty strong despite my appearance. I can handle most things. I-if that's okay with you, that is, haha... ha..." He added with a nervous laugh. Was he really acting nervous? "But in all seriousness, just tell me what you need doing and I'll do my best."

 

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#29
Rayne turned to Honnah and they both exchanged a knowing look.
"You can work security, and handle handing out the tickets. Best make sure to do it right. Yona doesn't handle it well if money goes missing. She counts everything." Rayne put her hands on her hips and jutted her left hip out.
Hey Honnah, we so catch up with you later. Mr. Man Boy and I have some catching up to do." Rayne looked at Cole and raised an eyebrow.
 
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#30
"Mr Man Boy, huh? That's an... interesting thing to call me." Cole responded with an eyebrow raise as well as he proceeded to acknowledge his objectives. "Security and Ticket Handling, hmm? Sounds good to me. Where should I go to get started?" He asked, getting himself ready. At least it wasn't anything to do with deliberately hurting people. Well... Maybe he'd have to if someone didn't comply, but at least that job was more peaceful. Seems like Cole was getting a bit more than he expected. "Eventually though, I'd like to speak to everyone. I have something on my mind that I need everyone for. She knows what I'm on about." He stated, pointing towards Rayne as he made his statement.

 

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#31
Once the pair had walked off to a solitary corner of the tent, Honnah waved as she went to go off somewhere else on the property. Crossing her arms, she looked at Cole with a half-smile.

"So," she gestured to the tent. "What cha think? It's not huge, but it's home. Thoughts? Suggestions? Any other jobs you can think you would want to do?"
 
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#32
"It's not so bad. Better than what I was surviving in." Cole explained as he lean't in to whisper. "As much as I'd like to keep playing along, I don't know if I'm going to be able to hold my bending back. Especially since my squad could attack at any moment. I suggest we group up with everyone you know who can bend, and discuss our strategy. Who knows what they could be planning right at this moment..."

Meanwhile . . . .

"Alright. We can't afford to wait for him any longer. Let's discuss our tactics." Said the General as she and the rest of the unit gathered around her tent. "Ba Sing Se, the Earth Nation's capital, is nearby. As we know, and from my homework, the Wall protecting it is impenetrable. But, there's a town next to it which we will use as our official staging ground, but first, we got to take it. We'll strike tomorrow morning. Andrew." "Yes, ma'am?" "You are to return to the nation immediately and request additional forces. We're going to need more than a small detachment to take our position." "Yes, ma'am." And so the soldier named Andrew made haste towards the Nation. "Alright. Let's continue the discussion..."

Back at the Tent . . . .

"Look. I just don't feel comfortable quite yet, that's all. I can take any job you can dish at me, but the inevitable will always be on my mind. And I'm worried that if they do indeed attack, they'll do more than just conquer the place."

 

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#33
She listened quietly to his explanations. She absentmindedly twirled a lock of her black hair and thought. So, there could be an impending attack on the town. There's no way that Ba Sing Se would be under siege. It just wasn't possible. It WASN'T possible. No one can get through that wall. Only maybe a badgermole could, but there were none of those for hundreds of miles! Shit.

"I hear all that you're saying, and I think that I am finally willing to believe you. But I can't guarantee your safety if you're exposed as a fire bender. My people here aren't fond of anyone who is from the Fire Nation, even if they are gentle-minded. They wouldn't hesitate to throw you to the authorities, lock you in the stockades, or maybe even maim or kill -- depending on how blood thirsty. If it comes to that, I don't know that you'll be safe."
 
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#34
"If I have to defend myself, I probably will have to do something. But if they do indeed use bending, then I will probably have to retaliate in kind. Close quarters combat against an Earth Bender is suicide." Cole exclaimed, making sure no one heard him say that. "Alright. For now, I'll do my best. Just show me where to go and I'll handle it. Then tomorrow morning, I want to gather everyone together for a talk. Okay?" He asked, looking towards Rayne with a serious expression.

"Alright. Where do I go?"

 

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#35
"We can just take the night off for now. We will start tomorrow fresh. Here, follow me. I want to heal those burns of yours." Rayne offered a small smile, which was a lot coming from her. She was surprised even with herself that she was being so calm and collected around a firebender.

"It's been an eventful night, eh? But, I am curious, why do you want to tell everyone else? Do you want us to rally with you in defense? That's going to be a tall order for a bunch of carnies." Rayne walked over to a near by bench that over looked the traipeze. Next to the bench was a basin of water for the performers to use to cool off and drink after a performance or practice. She held her hands above the water and bended it around her hands.

She sat down on the bench and patted the space next to her.
 
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#36
"That, right there." Cole exclaimed as he pointed towards Rayne when she bended water just then. "Anyone can pull things off like that." He then looked around for a moment before resuming. "Before I entered the Military, I took classes on military tactics, strategy and leadership. Unfortunately though I never got to put them in action since I signed up a month ago, and have yet to promote from Foot Soldier." He then saw that she patted a space next to her and slowly sat down. "You're right. Today was quite the day. While that is a tall order, I believe we can do it." He then smiled when she did. "I'm glad that, despite our clear differences, and your hatred for us, that we were able to get along."

 

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#37
"Well, not every one is a bender. We have several nonbenders in our troupe. And not everyone can waterbend; I'm the only one here who can. Also, the one one who can chi-block, and heal with my waterbending. I learned the chi-blocking from Yona, but she is getting older and cannot move like you need to be able to in order to perform the maneuver's. We aren't a fighting breed here." Rayne raised her hands slowly to his face. Her hands began glowing a soft pale blue, and she hovered her hands on his cheeks and other affected areas.

"In all honesty, this is still an easy truce as far as I see things. Just tread lightly."
 
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#38
"Yes. Of course. But at some point, we're going to need to do something." Cole exclaimed as he got himself ready. "I guess all we can do is wait until it happens, and figure it out as we go. But for now, where am I going to sleep? I don't exactly have anywhere to go at this point since you know." He exclaimed as he looked around for a moment. It was a nice place, and they seemed to warm up to him pretty well. He turned his head up and looked towards the ceiling. "I'm hoping things go well, working like this might be a change of pace from where I used to be. Perhaps I may even be able to actually do some good."

 

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#39
"I would be happy for you if some good came out of this experience. It is always good to find a place that you belong, and where you can help make a difference. That is what this place did for me. I was a homeless vagabon, travelling from one Nation to the next until Yona picked me up." Rayne smiled to herself at a memory. She looked down for a moment to reminisce and then looked back at Cole. "You can sleep either in the guys' barracks, or you can pick a nice corner that you find. Ha!" Rayne was attempting to be funny -- but humour wasn't her strong suit.
 
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#40
"Haha. Very funny." Cole exclaimed with a fake laugh but smiled nonetheless. He really did think that this place would be an ideal home at least for now, with people making it more lively than the camp. He proceeded to stand up and dust up. "Right. So, where's the Barracks then? Might as well get myself comfortable with a familiar setting. Oh, and your humour could use some work. While mine isn't exactly very plausible, I still spotted the flaw with that." He muttered as he winked towards Rayne before walking off to look for the Barracks.