The story of a young charismatic firebender and her plans to leave her mark on the world, told from the point of view of her archer friend and companion.
We were in desert, far from civilization, with some organized pebbles on the ground that somewhat resembled a road. I didnt know who this Noble was or why he was here. I didnt particularly care. All goes well, we get the loot free of bloodshed. I knock out the Fire Nation soldiers, knock them off the cart and onto the desert ground, and then the Sand bender traps them in sand, while our leader went to get the Noble to give us the goods. We were about a mile out from a nearby town, so the targets could get back to town within a short time, so we would just take the carriage to another town ten miles down the path, where would sell the stuff for money and use what money we got to buy supplies of food, water, and other such essentials.
The attack starts when the leader lets out her flame signal. When the carriage moved directly in front of my position, the signal went off on the other side of the road, a small ball of flame bursting upwards and dying out high in the air, and I quickly snapped to the two soldiers. As expected, the two soldiers turned their heads to the direction of the signal. I snapped my arrow off, the blunt point impacting the side solider in the helmet, knocking it off and throwing it into the drivers face, who lost his balance and fell off. As he made ground contact, the sand he lied on twisted around him, encasing his chest in that compacted itself into a hard and tight clamp. The other solider was still sitting where he was, gripping his head in pain, as a massive clump of sand shot up from the ground and flew him over the side, landing next to his comrade as he was encased in the same manner.
I slid down from my position, coming to the ground as I met with the sand bender, as our leader approached from the other side of the road. She walked in a wild manner, her long black hair furled around with little concern, her clothes dirty and ragged, her face pattered in dirt and soot. It wasnt because she didnt have the ability to clean herself up, she just didnt care. She gave a light, cold smile as she approached the two of us, her amber eyes gazing over the treasure trove we had just seized. In only a few moments she was standing with us.
"Good work, Denan."
She gave me a light pat on the head, giving me a smile filled with warmth. She simply gave the sand-bender a approving nod. The sand bender was just a mercenary for a series of raids we performed in the desert; she would get her one third cut for this last raid, and then she would go back to her tribe with some new money with which she could improve her tribes poor living conditions. Me, I was dedicated to our leader, Gratia. Friends would be a good term for us, I suppose. She looked over me happily before speaking in a playful and near-mocking tone.
"Aw, Den-Den, you didnt even get a little dirty ...fix that, will you Yully?"
I put my hand over my mouth and nose as the sand bender, Yully, poured an amount of sand over me, with a overly large smirk likely behind her face covering. I pretty much had sand everywhere, much to Gratias delight. There were only a few times the normally serious Gratia was even a little bit silly or childish, though she did enjoy teasing me. She quickly went back into her business mode as she turned to the carriage, and he spoke in a similar tone but with a hint of cruelty behind it now.
"Oh Mr. Zulong, you should come out to play unless you want to know what it feels like to be baked."
The door snapped open as a lavishly dressed, very fat man stepped out in a huff, a silk thread dangling on his hat dangling in front of his face. He spoke in an angry tone, suggesting this fool was far too arrogant to understand the position he was in.
"I have no time for common bandits. You insult me by attacking me; I will destroy you peasants for this insult."
Gratia responded in a sarcastic, cutting tone, putting her hands into the traditional pattern of one hand straight up with another hand put perpendicular to it, then giving an exaggerated bow.
"Oh, I am so sorry, glorious Zulong, what was I thinking? You are a Noble, so instead of robbing you, we should throw you on a pile of wood and give you a nice pyre to honor you."
The Noble was taken aback by this threat, and yelled at Gratia.
"You dare to insult me, Peasant?"
"Oh, you arrogant, fat man. You foolishly hope from respect because of your birth. You expect me to respect some social order of a land hundreds of miles away. You believe in the divine right of your order, and that it will be around forever. Well, I have a message for you."
She grabbed his hat, touching it a bit with fire, as she threw it hard and it began to spin in the air, catching fire and turning to ash mid air.
Those were the first words the fire-bender told me. That was her creed, her phrase. Everything Burns; both a literal and symbolic phrase. Truly, the mightiest of Fortresses can catch ablaze and burn to ash. Tyranny, Slavery, Corruption .those burnt too. All it takes is someone with enough fire to spark the blaze, and then you can simply watch as it all turns to ash. Chaos was something she loved and thrived in. Order was something she simply could not stand. Freedom is what she wanted, what she needed, and she wanted nothing more to wander the world free of everything except a group of utterly loyal true companions.
Me, I was a Yu Yan Archer, deserted the Fire Nation after that Zhao forced us into his service; I had no wish to be hunting avatars. That was nearly a year ago, Zhao was dead and the Avatar was doing something in the Fire Nation. Still, it was not relevant to me. I followed Gratia, and I really had nothing else but her companionship, and we were in the long-conquered Earth Kingdom areas anyway. She found me some time ago; I was guarding a merchant during a path through the Si Wong desert. She hit us hard, alone, and took down all the guards but me; I managed to fight her off and engaged in battle with her for over an hour before I finally collapsed in the heat of the desert sun and her intense flames. I woke up tied up far away in Ba Seng Se in what I imagined was her base of operations; she saw some value in me, and essentially convinced me to follow her over a period of a few minutes. She had a near unnatural charisma and I couldnt help but want to follow her.
I snapped myself out of my memories as I focused on what was going on now. The Nobleman had been cowed into submission, and the Sand-bender was releasing the two soldiers; they knew they were outmatched, so they made no attempt to attack us. Gratia pulled me into the carriage by my shirt collar as the sand bender went into the drivers seat. Gratia spoke to us both, but mainly to me.
Well, that was a good raid He kept a lot of Gold on him. A LOT of Gold.
She then focused solely on me.
Denan, you havent slept in a while. You were waiting on that rock a full day, I think? I know you didnt sleep, too vigilant for that.
I simply nodded and slid to lie down on the seat as she lightly brushed my head.
Well be in the little town in about an hour, so rest for now Den.
I slid into sleep rather quickly, knowing it would be a short time before we were in the towning, spending our ill-gotten gains and getting ready for our next raid. I had to wonder when this would end- she was a masterful fire bender and I was one of the best archers around; we could do so much more than common banditry. And when I looked into her eyes as I faded to sleep, I saw the fire of pure ambition in her golden amber eyes, and I knew she had some great plans in her head. I went to sleep, eager to see where she led me next.