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Si Wong Desert · Night · @TLASi Wong Desert · Night · @TLA
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Sumire was first to step out of the vehicle when they finally stopped again. She needed air. Lots of it. And room to stretch. They'd been couped up in the Kyoshi for hours now, stewing in the stink of sweat and blood and exhaustion, so when she'd finally tore off her helmet and inhaled that first breath of colder desert air, the relief she found was almost like a sip from a cold glass of water.

Almost. She realized then that she was also quite thirsty, but finding a drink would have to wait. As she took a few steps away from the truck and finally stretched, her exhausted body gave out and she collapsed against the rock formation they'd found. She didn't bother to right herself and instead simply sank lower into the shifting sand next to her helmet. For now, sitting with her arms and legs out and her fingers pushing into ice sand would be enough. All she needed now was to know what was the plan. They were no longer running and had been travelling at a steady pace for a while, but as far as she could tell, it didn't really look like they had moved at all. She couldn't tell if they'd made any progress without any obvious landmarks.

"Where are we going?" She said aloud to no one in particular.

The group had stopped for the night next to a rock outcropping and while nowhere near the size of the pillar that was still looming in the distant horizon, it did provide something solid to sit against that wasn't also occupied by five other bodies. It could also provide some cover from the chilled breeze that swept across the surrounding dunes. The rock itself had been the only visible object in the sand they had spotted and sitting around it seemed the better option than just sitting in the open.

Out here away from the filth and light pollution of the city, clear skies gave way to a sea of stars above. They glittered the sky, winking down at the group as they watched over them. The moon was suspended among the stars, not quite full but still bright enough to bask the desert in a soft white glow.
Prompt:
This is the groups opportunity to rest and take stock of what they have and what to do next.

While there is no danger and the weather is calm, the temperature has dropped from hot to an uncomfortable cold, making it difficult to sleep if without warmth.
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Si Wong Desert · Night · A TLA CollabSi Wong Desert · Night · A TLA Collab
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canaryrose   
Chu stretched out in the sand against her duffel bag, a few yards from Sumire. She yawned. She had spent the better part of the last few hours napping in the truck, finally letting exhaustion take a hold of her, but she was still so tired. At this point, she didn’t know if it was emotional or physical exhaustion plaguing her. After she had buried Kanna with Vasra’s help, she had crawled in the back seat of the truck and fell into a fitful sleep. If she slept any deeper, she feared she’d have nightmares. But her eyes were heavy, and she couldn’t keep them open for long.

The cold had never bothered Chu. Whether she liked it or not, her latent abilities made it so that she’d always had warmth to spare. Even during the dead of winter, she had often eschewed puffy coats for light jackets. So the desert cold wasn’t too much of a burden. She found that, now, she could bend a bit more consciously. A satisfying heat spread from her core throughout her body, making it so she had little need for additional warmth. Seemingly in opposition to the cold, she shrugged off her jacket, once again revealing the dirty tank top underneath.

“Shouldn’t you know that, passenger princess?” Chu Hua joked, keeping her voice as light as she could muster. She had already started off on a bad foot with these people- better to be nice now. “I thought you were the navigator. ”

“My… friend said there was a settlement out here. Where benders could be safe. I don’t know its name or where it is, but I assumed that was where we were going, unless I’m wrong?”
vietmyke   
There was a small snort as Jin Wei plopped himself against the rock next to Sumire, leaning more against her than the rock itself- much to the small woman’s chagrin. His hair was matted down with sweat, and cradled in the nook of his arm was his helmet- set with a bullet impact and cracks across its face plate. Joints popped and cracked as Jin stretched himself out in the desert sand. Sure, he was used to driving for hours a day, but a bit of a breather was always needed.

”Funny. Sure doesn’t act like a princess.” Jin quipped as he pulled a canteen from his belt. He only afforded himself a small sip of water- enough to keep himself going. They weren’t exactly short on supplies at the moment, but Jin definitely didn’t pack enough for a whole car full, and several of the people with them looked like they had barely brought anything along with them. More than likely, they’d have to share. Sumire scoffed as she elbowed him off of her. Jin rolled his eyes as he gestured towards Chu and tossed her the canteen. ”Drink.”

Jin looked up at the clear skies and stars above them. Admittedly a regular sight for him, but tonight their view felt more… earned. For the first time in what felt like days Jin had the luxury to calm down and think about what they were doing, and not run on nothing but adrenaline and instinct.

”Well, we can’t use the GPS,” Jin interjected, ”They’ll know where we are in no time if we do, so we’re sorta just driving blind right now. I think we’re heading to where you think we’re heading- I think.”
canaryrose   
Chu caught the canteen in one hand deftly, barely having to look at it. She raised it to her mouth and took a small sip, just to wet her lips, and capped it and tossed it back to Jin. “Thanks, man.” She was slightly surprised he was being so kind now- he had threatened to leave her behind earlier, and that had left her with a bad impression of the man before her. Out of everyone here besides Reman, he was the one she knew least about.

“You don’t know where we’re going?” A minute bit of panic entered Chu’s voice, but then she laughed abruptly. Were they really just driving around the desert blind? It was just her luck. “Guess if I had to die anywhere, I’d pick the desert over whatever the Republic had in store for us. And if we get there… well. We’ll see, right?”
vietmyke   
”Sure I do,” Jin quipped as he caught the canteen. ”We're going through the desert.” He took another sip before passing it to Sumire- who very quickly took several large gulps, leaning her back against Jin- much to his chagrin. The white haired girl held the canteen above her head for the next person to grab.

Jin glanced over at the Kyoshi, a slight haze steamed from the hood of his car. The engine wasn't shot- yet, but it definitely wasn't designed for the punishment it just went through. Or well, it was, at least until Sumire set off the street booster she had apparently installed in his car. They still needed to talk about that. He hoped they wouldn't have to push the Kyoshi like that again, or they might have bigger problems.

”Reman knows where we're going.” Jin clarified. ”Said he knew of a settlement or something of the sort in this direction, Tu Shin or something like that.”
Theyra   
“Tu Zin,” Reman’s voice spoke up. He was leaning against the Kyoshi with his arms crossed and his steelcase was on the ground next to him. The two bullet holes in it was on display and the first time in hours he was not holding the thing. “Tu Zin is where we are heading and I have a general idea of where it is.” Reman made a small smile, “I know where we are going so do not worry about that.”

Reman though was hiding the fact that he was still a bit jumpy from the what has happened. He has calmed down but only mostly. Looking down at his steel case and if it were not for the fact that it caught the bullets meant for him. Or if they were not able to escape. Reman is trying to not think about that and focus on the now.

Then he looked up at the night sky and was amazed at the sight. It was so clear compared to back at the city. All of that light pollution and what not. So looking back at Chu after calming down a bit. “We will get there so how about we just relax a bit?”
Abstract Proxy   
Turning her attention from the quiet stars to her companions, Vasra felt oddly at ease. They were being chased. They were being hunted. They were enemies of the state, and yet, with the cold desert wind gently sifting sand against her, she felt content. She had loved the people of Ba Sing Se, she had loved the city, but the wrongness was inescapable. The inequality and suffering was unavoidable. And to Vasra, it had been unbearable.

The choice had been made for her, by who or what, she didn’t know, but was it really so different from what she would have chosen? Nelu would have understood, she thought. He would understand when she told him. Doing the right was never easy. It promised no rewards and no kindness. But it didn’t matter. It never did. Maybe it had been a mistake all along? To think that Ba Sing Se could be saved. To think that the system could be changed, could be guided to be better…kinder. She’d rather be a cast out in the desert, hunted by villains, than be complicit to the crimes of twisted minds, intent only on preserving their own rule.

Offering a smile, Vasra nodded at Reman, ”It is hard not to enjoy a view like this. The desert is a beautiful place, for all the perils it contains. Wherever this Tu Zin is, I am sure we will find it.”
canaryrose   
Chu laid onto her back, taking a moment to stare at the starry sky above. She had never seen it like this before- all the lights in Ba Sing Se had washed out all but the brightest stars, and she had never dared to leave the bounds of the city. It was beautiful. She wished An could’ve been here to see it. Or even Kanna. She thought it with a kind of numb distance, but still felt the noose of her sorrow tighten around her heart. She spoke to escape it.

“How can you be so calm?” she asked, speaking to Reman and Vasra. “You just lost everything. How are you not angry?” Her voice simmered. “It’s not like we’ll get there when we get there or some shit. We need food. Water. How are we meant to survive?”
vietmyke   
"She's right," Jin chimed in quietly, "We're not exactly flush with supplies at the moment."

Jin took a mental stock of their current supplies- the Kyoshi had enough supplies for a bit over a week or two for himself, Sumire and Reman. Unfortunately, the others didn't seem to carry as many in as significant quantities- the remaining athlete seemingly the only ones with any amount of food and water, so they'd likely have to share. They'd be fine splitting food, traveling in a car wasn't a process that required large amounts of calories, but water would run short fast between the six of them.

"We'll be fine with fuel for a while, but we'll need to find some way of resupplying eventually. Even if we find the settlement, that doesn't mean we'll be able to sustain ourselves… Unless anyone knows how to farm."
Abstract Proxy   
“They didn’t teach us much about farming in medical school,” Vasra said. “Still, I suppose there’s always a first time for everything, maybe being a farmer would be nice…”

“I’ve been angry for a long time,” Vasra mused, finding herself drawn back to Chu’s questions. “How could I not be? Ba Sing Se is dying.People are suffering. Many of them are dying. And no one cares. Oh, some will pretend, they’ll offer kind words, a handful of coins, but they don’t care, not really, not in a way that matters. You know, it’s funny, more than once I thought about burning down the royal palace. That would have shown them! But…I couldn’t, my anger worked differently. My clinic was my rebellion and well..now it’s rubble. And I’m a fugitive…being chased by the Avatar knows what and who…”

She coughed, rubbing the back of her neck wearily, “Sorry…We’ll need water first, we can survive for some time without food, but water will be a problem, and soon .”
canaryrose   
Chu made a little snort- almost out of derision. Who didn’t think the city was fucked up? She had known since she was a little girl things were unfair. But things were always unfair. It was the way things were. “I’m sure burning down the royal palace would’ve been productive,” she said, trying not to snap in annoyance. Their supply situation concerned her more than Vasra being a bit of a dreamer. “I guess we’ll just have to hope we get there in time, then. That, or find some place in between.” Her voice was weary. Chu hated leaving things up to hope.

“You’re a pipe runner, right? Is there a map or some shit? You too, briefcase boy. Any maps?” Chu said to Reman and Jin.
vietmyke   
"A map?" Jin asked quizzically. "Of what? The super secret mystery settlement that will be our supposed salvation?"

Jin chuckled to himself, "I’d hope such a map doesn’t exist- If such a map did exist, that would just mean there’s another way of finding us."
canaryrose   
“Not of the settlement- of some place where we can get water. I’m not stupid.”
vietmyke   
"I don't expect maps will show us any watering holes. If we're lucky the settlement might have a well." Jin responded, "These parts of the desert aren't very well explored anyhow."
Theyra   
”I have might have a solution to the water problem,” Reman chimed in, Kneeling down and he put up his case and placed it in front of him. He was a bit nervous opening it since he has yet to see the damage by those two bullets but, seeing how now Mova can be useful. He opened it and was partly relieved. Mova was intact but it looked like a bullet has clipped the control tablet. Reman sighed it needed to be repaired but, it was barely a setback, he can still use command Mova without it.

So, Reman spoke, ”Mova start voice command 1.” With that the drone started its start up sequence and made some sounds. Before fully activating and soon enough hovering in front of Reman’s face.

“Mova fully operational and what is your command Reman?” Then she looked around a bit, “I see we are in the desert and where is the pipeline?”

“Uhhhh….”, that is right she does not know about what has happened. “Well, Mova there has been a change in plans and right now I need you to scan for possible water sources in the area. Do the widest search perimeter as possible and come back once you are done.”

Mova made a responding chirp,“It will be done Reman.” So Mova went up slightly into the sky and went off.

Reman got up and spoke to the group. “Okay so it will take her time to find a possible water source and before you ask. No, she can not be tracked by anyone in the city. I made sure to that when I built her and since it will take time for her to finishing scanning and come back. Seeing how it is night, how about we all sleep and see what Mova has found in the morning?”

...

The cold night passed without incident as the group rested. Eventually, the lights in the sky shuffled over to make room for the coming dawn as violets and reds began to push the dark away. At such an early hour, first light was a blessing. A kiss of warmth on cold skin or a heat that cut through cold dry air like a hot knife and pierced to the bone. In the distance, the sun finished cresting the horizon and set the world around the group ablaze in bright orange hues. For anyone besides Jin, like the night before, it was a display of color and beaty like nothing witnessed before from within the city. For jin, it was just another morning in a place all too familiar to him.

Everything and everyone was right where they were the night before... for the most part. Sumire found herself standing a little ways away from where the group was resting, standing curiously over a small desert flower that had sprouted from the sand.

"Good morning!" She said to it. "Jin! Look!"
Prompt:
Weiyuan, regardless of how rested you are, you suddenly wake up to vibrations that are coming from the ground, the source of which is hard to pinpoint but you can make out a vague direction: Past you toward someone else.

These tremors are still too weak to be detected by the others.

Mova has not yet returned it seems.
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Hidden 2 yrs ago 2 yrs ago Post by vietmyke
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Location · |@vietmyke] Si Wong Desert · @vietmyke
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Jin's eyes slowly blinked in the glowing dawn of the desert, a hand over the faceshield of his helmet to cut some of the light that morning sun brought. It was quiet and peaceful, to the point that Jin almost forgot what had happened the day before. He sighed, that life seemed so far away now. Jin looked around, from the top of the Kyoshi where he was sat. The Kyoshi itself was parked close to a small outcropping of stone they were resting by. Most of the others were still in various states of rest.

Jin himself was used to waking up early. Out in the desert, the time on the clock and the passing hours didn't really matter- the day usually started when the light came out, and usually ended a few hours after it got dark. There was no electricity in the desert once you got a certain distance away from the pipelines, so there was often no point in traveling- if you turned on your headlights, you'd be spotted from miles away, if you left them off, traversing the sands would be difficult at worst.

Jin stretched his arms out and yawned, a familiar popping sound rattling down his spine as he did.Looking around their makeshift campsite, Jin counted the people and came up one short. Straightening up immediately, Jin quickly did a second survey, his eyes specifically searching for a particularly bunny eared helmet. He relaxed a bit as he saw Sumire a short distance away from the others in the open sand. A morning stroll perhaps? It’d been a while since Jin had taken Sumire out into the desert- ever since she became the company’s de facto radio op, she spent more of her time at either the main center or one of the outposts by the city.

Sliding off the Kyoshi and landing in the sand with a soft thud, Jin made his way over to where Sumire was standing. ”Mir, what’re you doing out here?” Jin called out curiously as he went over to where Sumire stood, leaning over her shoulder to see what Sumire was looking at.

”Jin! Look!” Sumire said excitedly, pointing at a flower- in the desert. Jin for his part looked at the plant curiously too. A flower sticking out of the sands was certainly a strange sight.

”Yeah, look at that.” Jin agreed, ”Was this here last night?

”Hey, Jin…” Sumire said sweetly, the shorter girl’s polarized faceplate looked up at him, the single remaining bunny ear flopping behind her. Jin rolled his eyes, he didn’t need to see through the helmet to know what face she was making. ”Can you get it for me?”

”What? Why? It's right there- if you want it, you get it.” Jin replied.

Sumire punched him in the arm. Hard. ”Just get it.” Sumire demanded sullenly, with a huff.

”Fine, fine, I’ll get your dumb flower.” Jin sulked, rubbing at his arm as he took a step towards the small plant.

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Hidden 1 yr ago Post by KillamriX88
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Desert · Morning · [&.vietmyke]Desert · Morning · @vietmyke
_

Weiyuan lifted his head, though he wasn't sure why. Obviously it was because he'd woken up, but why? Normally one could guess at why they'd woken up, but he was drawing a blank.

He was also... aware he was still in the desert. Had they gotten lost? Stuck? He looked around and it seemed they hadn't moved at all. Had it not even been a day?! Why was he waking up? The last time he could recall waking up twice in a row was all the way back after his throat injury.

Suddenly his head snapped around. He thought he'd felt something. It was faint, but it was... sort've there. Somewhere? He couldn't see anything, but he'd definitely felt it. He pulled his jackets hood back, but no amount of additional peripheral vision was unveiling whatever it was.

He realized quickly enough it was coming from the ground. Was something under it? On a whim, he used his banding, as if he was about to manipulate the sand beneath him, but then... didn't. He could feel it subtly shifting even under his control as the tremors passed through it.

It didn't really tell him anything new, except for perhaps one important detail: the direction it was coming from. It was headed toward them, or more specifically, it seemed like it was moving toward Jin. It was just as well that he could tell the man was awake as well. He was also the one with the gun in case this meant trouble, so that was... good?

Not really taking the time to see what Jin and Sumire were up to, he hurried over, knowing full well he was about to appear quite insane. He waved to get Jin's attention before pointing in the direction he felt the tremors coming from.

Something coming, he mouthed, repeatedly if needed, until Jin got the idea. He didn't even bother trying to whisper, already feeling how dry his throat was. It was only his first time interacting with the man, let alone trying to communicate with him. He had no idea what to expect.

He glanced about, hoping perhaps Chu Hua was awake as well. He wondered if she'd listen to him if Jin didn't, but... could he truly say he knew her any better? With no evidence to back up his words, would she be more inclined to listen just because he asked her to?

Was there even anything to be worried about, or was he just jumping at shadows? Or, worse, what if it was all in his head?

He could still feel it; he wanted to believe he hadn't cracked any worse than he already was. Whatever it was, they'd all find out soon enough he supposed.
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Hidden 1 yr ago 1 yr ago Post by Exit
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Morning · A TLA CollaborationMorning · A TLA Collaboration
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vietmyke   
With little difficulty, Jin plucked the small flower out of the ground. It appeared that a small patch of rocky soil was responsible for a small amount of plant growth in the area, allowing for small but hardy plants. The desert flower itself was a hardy plant as well- a thick stem, with small but large, bright red petals around a yellow core. Jin hadn’t seen many flowers in the desert- nor had he seen much in the lower rings of the city either, but it was pretty, he had to admit.

”Here.” Jin said plainly- but not unkindly, as he returned to Sumire, securing the flower in one of the loops on her harness. The shorter girl pulled her helmet off and shook her head, beaming a broad smile at him. Behind his polarized faceplate, Jin couldn’t help but allow a small smile on his face as well. Looking up, Jin spotted Weiyuan running towards them, his feet kicking up small bits of sand. Jin didn’t know much about the fellow, easily the youngest in their group- a quiet one. Weiyuan hadn’t made much effort to talk to Jin, though he hadn’t made much of an effort either. Sumire had said hi to him the night previously, but only to make sure he had enough food and water for the night.

The man was pointing and mouthing and waving at them- obviously panicked about something, but what? Jin cocked his head at the man, confused and not quite able to read what his lips were saying. Following the man’s finger, he was seemingly pointing at them, or rather at their feet. It was around then that Jin started to feel it, the ground trembling beneath them. Looking down, he saw the sand starting to shift under Sumire’s feet. Now sand shifting beneath their feet was normal- if there was a breeze, but the air had been mostly still this morning, and the shifting seemed to be centered on Sumire, as opposed to all around them.

”Uh… Mir…” Jin started cautiously, as he reached out for her. Sumire looked at him confused, but also reached out with both arms. ”Weird, you’ve never been much of a hugger-”

”No, Mir! There’s something in the ground!” Jin interrupted, quickly grabbing the girl and leaping back away from the shifting sands, a burst of air from his feet launching them back a few yards.
Exit   
The sand where Sumire had been standing suddenly bubbled, folded into itself and exploded, spraying bits of dust and sand in all directions. Emerging from within this dense cloud of dirt was a massive worm-like beast. It appeared out of the debris head first, mouth spewing sand and mandibles pinching angrily at the empty air having been robbed of its meal. It was a massive creature painted like the desert with a thick carapace covering its back and lighter plates on its belly. It was lined on either side with a distinct orange marker from which three pairs of legs ending in long talons protruded. They clambered together under the beast as it climbed out of the tunnel it had bore through, and as the creature reared to its fullest height, it began screeching at the sky. The noise was ear-splitting and the sand around it seemed to tremble from the vibrations of the sound alone. Granules shifted all the way out to past where the Kyoshi was parked.

Suddenly, the screeching stopped and the creature’s head turned violently toward Jin and Sumire. Its mouth opened and its tongue lashed out in their direction, the barbed tip falling short of Sumire’s back by only a few feet. Directly behind it, sand began to shift where its tail was still buried. This shifting sand began to move toward Weiyuan as if something small was moving toward him.
canaryrose   
A scream tore its way out of Chu Hua’s throat as the massive worm emerged from the sand. “Holy SHIT!” Although already far away, she backed away, heart beating like a rabbit’s in her chest. What was that thing? It seemed like she had been asking that way too much lately, but it was a good question. What kind of monsters lived in this desert? She stared slack-jawed in horror at Jin and Sumire as it seemed to look their way, doing… whatever it was doing with its tongue. Did it want to eat them?

Come on, Chu, think. They needed to kill it before it killed them. It was big, so she couldn’t wrestle it. Guns? No, she didn’t have any. Running it over? No, they wouldn’t get away in time. ...But she had fire. Chu realized it with a jolt, and then a rising feeling of… was that excitement? Her first smile in days crossed her face, and Chu squared her feet in her sand.

“Guys! Out of the way!” she screamed, and then tried something. She reached down into that place inside her where the fire came from, where that ember had always been. It was a burning well inside of her, one that she had always ignored or had tried to smother. She had never used it consciously before to this extent, but she had always felt it. Did it scare her? Thrill her? Maybe both could coexist. Surprisingly, it was easy to summon it, and even easier to send it out around her, expanding towards the beast. The flame expanded into a circle around her, and she shot out her hands, trying to direct it.
KillamriX88   
Weiyuan felt a surge of hope. It seemed Chu Hua might have actually had some ability to bend at will after all! He wasn’t the only one who-
canaryrose   
… But it didn’t work. Why the fuck hadn’t that worked? The flame fizzled out as soon as it had started, and Chu stared at the ground with the face of someone who hadn’t gotten what she wanted. Huh? Wait. “Can you not light sand on fire?!” she yelled, before trying something different.
KillamriX88   
And then it just sort’ve fizzled out and his jaw dropped as she asked one of the most asinine questions he’d ever heard. Of course sand wasn’t flammable! It was just crushed rock! Did she think rocks might be flammable too!?
canaryrose   
Okay. Okay, this time it would work. Chu Hua brought her hands to her side, trying to do the same thing she had just done.

Reaching deep into that long-buried place of hers again, she pulled at the flame, summoning it to her hands as a large ball of rippling heat. She felt the heat on her hands, but it was pleasant. In control. Copying a move she had seen from those tapes, Chu punched at the air as though she had a real opponent, directing a blast of flame directly at the worm’s face.
Exit   
The fireball erupted around the creature’s still open maw, wrapping flames and heat around its face and tongue burning the weaker exposed flesh. It screamed again, this time in pain, as it reared back and then shoved its head into the sand to extinguish the flame.
canaryrose   
Chu Hua could not believe that had worked. She stared in awe for a moment at what she had done with her power, and then briefly cheered. It clearly hated the fire, so maybe she should hit it with a few more of those. But before Chu got to create a stream of flame, it dug its head into the ground, extinguishing the fire. She glanced at the others. “Someone fucking sh- AGH!”

The tail of the worm burst out of the sand and whipped at her face, Chu had only a split second to think- but she always did.
KillamriX88   
Weiyuan was left slack-jawed and so dumbstruck, he almost forgot about the second tremor that had been approaching him.

Fortunately, Chu Hua got her act together enough to unleash a more competent display of firebending and distracted the worm. The worm now attacked her instead and-
canaryrose   
In a moment, she made a decision and ran and jumped at the tail, holding on for dear life. Chu let out a crazed laugh as she summoned the fire, digging her fingernails into a chink in its armor.
KillamriX88   
Again, Weiyuan was stunned by Chu Hua’s thought process. She decided to attack the worm physically, like it was some sort of insane rodeo.

Someone needed to do something before she was killed.

. . .
. . .
. . .

Oh.

He was going to have to be that someone, wasn’t he?

No doubt Chu Hua’s attack was making the worm terribly upset, and it was either going to smash her against the ground, or retreat back under the sands, possibly taking her with it.

Unfortunately for him, but fortunately for Chu Hua, recent events had forced him to dust off his Sandbending skills, so he had an idea. With the worm distracted, he hurried over as close as he dared, and then dug his feet into the sand before using his bending to tighten the sand around the worm’s tail, hopefully slowing its thrashing.
Exit   
As the midsection of the tail landed back in the sand following the swing, it becomes entombed by Weiyuan who hardened the earth around it, heavily restricting its movement. For now at least, it was no longer able to attack with its tail, nor could it move although already there are cracks appearing in the impromptu shackle. Chu, who managed to successfully jump onto and cling to the end of the tail, began to heat up the carapace from the outside. The impact of the tail against her was hard but not hard enough to break any bones.

Once again, desert sands began to vibrate as the creature’s head erupted from the ground, throwing more dust and rock in all directions. It turned toward Chu, opening its mouth to reveal smoldering flesh from where she had struck it. The barb tipped tongue was hanging slightly slack between its teeth.

”EW!” Sumire screamed from behind Jin. She threw a rock at its head where it bounced harmlessly off its armor plating doing little more than drawing its attention.
vietmyke   
Jin stared blankly at Sumire. She returned a sheepish smile.

”If you’re going to get its attention, use something that’ll actually hurt it.” Jin scolded his smaller companion as he grabbed her and bounded again, a burst of air sending them flying over to the top of the rock formation they had rested by the night before- something most likely a lot bigger underneath the sand than it was above the sand. If his thought process was correct, on top of the massive rock, Sumire should be invisible from the creature- unless it detected heartbeats or something too. ”Reman! Vas!” Jin called to the engineer and waterbender, though loud enough for everyone else to hear as well, Up over here! It doesn’t have any eyes, I think it detects motion in the sand!”

Unslinging his rifle from his shoulder, he pressed the weapon into Sumire’s hands. ”You still know how to shoot right?” the bunny ear flopped up and down. ”Wait for an opening- and don’t hit us or I swear to the spirits…”

Jin left the threat hanging as he bounded back into the sand, towards the worm, his bounds crossing twice the usual distance- plumes of sand billowing out as his feet contacted the ground. He had only spent a small amount of time experimenting with his airbending- out in the safety and relative privacy of the desert- so long as no one spotted him, Jin was safe to practice his airbending as much as he wanted. He didn’t have any formal teachers or training, not that he knew where he’d get any in this day and age- asking around might’ve gotten him arrested

Skidding to a stop in the relative front of the worm-beast-thing, a few yards back Jin took a deep breath, cool air filling his lungs as he squared himself in front of the monster. As the beast’s head drew itself out of the sand Jin threw his fist out in a hook, a compressed blast of air arcing from Jin’s fist and towards the monster. Jin didn’t wait to see the effect on the creature, he threw a pair of jabs in rapid succession before following up with another hook. The thing was large and armored, they might able to kill it if they were lucky, but at the very least they could rough it up enough to the point it had second thoughts about whether or not it still wanted to eat them.
canaryrose   
Chu wasn’t watching the others with any particular focus- she was too focused on keeping her grip on the carapace of the worm, desperately keeping herself from slipping. She did, however, hear Jin shouting and she noticed the sand around the tail hardening, keeping the worm from flinging her onto the ground. She would have given Weiyuan a thumbs up, but she was a bit busy. She yelped as the worm raised its head once again, looking right at her, opening its mouth, and roaring.

Using a significant amount of arm strength, Chu hauled her upper body upwards, almost as if she was doing a pull-up. She pointed her feet straight out, facing the worm’s mouth, and then summoned the flame. It came even easier this time, and she directed it downwards. It shot out of her feet with a loud whoosh, shooting right into the worm’s open mouth. Distantly, Chu noticed herself sweating from the heat, but she was grinning with exhilaration. She had just needed to get closer to pull this off- and it had worked!

Now she just needed to think about how to get off… Chu glanced at Jin Wei below, formulating a plan. “If I jump, catch me!” she screamed. She hoped he understood that she meant with air, not his arms. For now, though, she’d cling on.
Abstract Proxy   
Finding fresh purpose, Vasra ran towards the rock formation that Jin had indicated. She hoped the worm wouldn’t notice as she lept upwards, fingers smashing against the rock blindly as she scampered upwards. She had no weapons. The two vials of spirit water she had were too important to waste, besides she wasn’t sure what they would do to the giant…desert worm thing. Hunkering down next to Sumire, she nodded at the flailing worm, “Aim for the head! And not Chu. We need to distract it even more!”

Picking up a modest rock between both her hands, no larger than an eggplant, but far denser, Vasra hurled it at the head of the worm with an effortful grunt and a twirl that almost sent her stumbling onto the ground. It hadn’t worked for Sumire, but she had to do something.
Theyra   
Reman ran fast to the rock with Vasra and Sumire after Jin ordered them to. Watching from afar the fight with the sandworm and when Vasra throw a rock at the sandworm to distract but they needed more then a rock to attract its attention. Drawing his pistol and offering Vasra his second that he took from that man back at the outpost. ”I do not have a lot of ammo for both so make it count.” So with his free hand he shot at the sandworm’s head, maybe this will distract it.
Prompt:
The creature screams as flames erupt in its mouth a second time. However, instead of diving into the sand, it immediately shuts its maw. The rest of the flames roll harmlessly off its scales. In retaliation, it stiffens its tail and strikes the sand with Chu still clinging to it, knocking the air out of her lungs and burying her in the dirt. It intends to keep her there, but as it starts to grind its tail along the ground, air blasts from Jin distract the beast causing it to rear up once more and pull Chu back up. Although harmless, the balls of compressed air are strong enough to visibly knock the creature's head back and it is unable to concentrate on what it wanted to do.

At the same time, bullets begin striking the armor plating covering its face. From the rock, Reman continues putting rounds into the creature as Sumire shoulders the rifle and aims for the now much more exposed plates under its neck. She pulls the trigger eliciting a bark and a kick from the gun which she handles almost surprisingly well. The first bullet cracks the plate. A second bullet tears away a sizable chunk exposing pale flesh underneath.

The rock Vasra throws falls short of the body of the creature but does manage to land on one of its outstretched legs, pinning it as it is being pummeled from all sides. It begins to fall on its back just as the earthen shackle around its tail finally shatters.

Weiyuan: You feel a second tremor coming from the Southeast.

Reman: You suddenly hear something directly behind you.
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”Hello again, Reman. I have found a source to quench your thirst.”
Theyra   
”Ahhh, Mova.” Reman turned around quickly to the unexpected drone. ”Mova, you are back.and that is nice to hear. I am betting it is water but, as you can see we are busy with a sandworm.” Reman taking a moment to watch how the others were faring against the sandworm and saw that while they seemed to have the upper hand. It was still touch and go. Turning back and speaking to Mova again. ”Right now, I need you to stay safe and away from the worm. So just keep your distance and stay out of its way, okay Mova?”
Exit   
”I have brought the source here.” Mova responded.

”Does that thing have a gun?!” Sumire asked, taking aim at the worm again.
canaryrose   
Sand filled Chu’s mouth as the worm slammed her into the ground, attempting to bury her. In that moment of sheer terror, all she could think of doing was to just keep holding on. She squeezed her eyes shut and tried not to breathe, although her ribs were screaming in pain.

… Maybe this had been a bad idea.

Just as Chu thought she was for sure going to suffocate, the worm suddenly brought its tail up once more, bringing her with it. Her fingernails were dug so firmly into the carapace that they were starting to hurt more than they already did. Chu screamed, this time in terror rather than exhilaration. “SOMEONE FUCKING KILL IT!” It was rather reductive, but it was all she could think to say while being swung around.

The worm fell onto its back with a bang, nearly throwing Chu off of it. She saw her opportunity then. “Weiyuan! Don’t let it get up!” she yelled, and, from the tail, vaulted off, landing on the worm’s exposed stomach. She had lit the stadium on fire earlier, right? Chu lit herself up much like she had done then, closing her eyes and forcing the fire out of her in a spherical space. Then, she directed a blast of flame at the exposed skin on its neck.
Exit   
The sphere of fire created around Chu was small and dissipated quickly, but was enough to light some of the weaker plates on its belly on fire. However, as a poor source of fuel, the fire here too quickly died. The blast of fire directed toward its weak point under its neck easily charred the exposed flesh, burning it away and further damaging the tissue underneath. It screamed again, thrashing about wildly with Chu on its belly and its legs flailing about. The plating around the opening began to crack further as pressure from the heat caused the boiling material underneath to expand.

In retaliation, it curved its tail into itself as it tried to position its pinchers around Chu.
KillamriX88   
Weiyuan could hardly stand to watch. All he had was sand to deal with a giant worm that… lived in the sand. If he was better at bending, that might not have been a problem, but as things stood he couldn’t hurt it and he could barely slow it down. Meanwhile, watching Chu try to physically wrangle the beast at point blank range was putting his blood pressure through the roof.

That said, it seemed they might have actually gained the upper hand. The worm was taking more and more damage and becoming more and more frantic. This was not necessarily a good thing for Chu who was still on top of the worm. The worm that probably hated her more than anything else right now. As it flailed, she was bound to lose her balance at any moment… so Weiyuan decided it might as well be sooner than later, while she was still free of its pincers.

With the worm on its back and her on its belly, it wasn’t a long fall, so he gathered up a ball of sand and took Chu’s legs out from under her, sending her tumbling to the ground where he turned the sand into a makeshift conveyer belt, dragging her away from it.

Once clear, he would help her to feet, but kept a firm grip on her wrist even once she was standing… not that he would have a say in the matter if someone like her insisted on making him let go. It was times like this he cursed his inability to speak properly.

All he could do was try to get across to her that they needed to get to the solid rock where everyone else was. The worm, presumably, couldn’t tunnel through rock to chase them… and, if it tried anyway… he might have a way to deal with it then. It and maybe whatever else he felt coming, but he didn’t have time to pantomime that information as well.
canaryrose   
Chu briefly panicked as she was forcefully pulled off of the worm and towards Weiyuan. She hadn’t seen the sand ball coming and hadn’t had much time to react, so by the time Weiyuan pulled her up, she was sputtering, incensed. “Kid, what the actual fuck-” she started, but then noticed his frantic gesturing and piped down, trying to figure out what he was trying to get her to do. Her heart was still pounding and she was breathing heavily. She didn’t try pulling away, instead letting her wrist hang limp. Her lips pursed- she was clearly upset. He wanted them to… go to the rock?
Exit   
From the rock, Sumire fired off another round at the worm. The bullet missed the already created hole but managed to crack another portion of the same plate. After some thrashing about from the still upturned creature, that section too fell away exposing more flesh.

One of its legs managed to find purchase in the sand and it began to roll back over in the direction of Chu and Weiyuan.
vietmyke   
”Oh no you don’t!” Jin barked as he saw the worm’s legs connect with the stand and start to flip itself over. Continuing his general strategy of blasting the creature with bursts of air, Jin changed up his strategy a bit as it seemed the creature was too large to be adversely affected by something as simple as wind. Sprinting a bit closer to the creature’s side, Jin skidded to a stop as he exhaled and sent an intense blast of air at the leg that had just connected with the ground. With any luck he’d knock it off balance and send it back onto its back where the others could do more damage to it.

He saw Weiyuan more or less pull Chu off of the creature, and saw the young man’s face turn towards the rock formation. Jin nodded to himself in affirmation, it seemed the two were on the same page. He called out to the two benders, hoping that he was getting across what the mute boy was trying to convey.
It can’t burrow through solid stone!” Jin yelled as he loosed another blast of air. The rocks probably go deeper than what they show, we can use the rocks for cover while we keep hammering its weak points!”

Sending one last blast of air at the worm’s ‘face’, Jin began bounding back for the rock outcroppings, where Sumire, Reman and Vasra remained. There was still the issue of getting the worm to reveal its weak spots to them while they were on the rocks, but it beat getting dragged under- not to mention it would be easier for them to move off of the loose and giving nature of sand.
canaryrose   
Jin Wei confirmed it and explained the decision. It made sense. Chu wished she had come up with it.

She nodded and started to dash towards the rock, following close behind Jin. Running in loose sand was difficult, but she managed.
KillamriX88   
It was only the nature of the sand that allowed Weiyuan to actually keep up with them while running. On more solid ground, he’d have been left in the dust. As they ran toward what was hopefully safety, he was glad Jin had been able to translate his idea to Chu Hua, or at least that the man had been of a similar mind.

Fortunately, it wasn’t too far of a run and the worm was still reorienting itself.

Once at the base of the rock, he once more grabbed Chu Hua, her shoulder this time, and forced her to look at him. They didn’t have time for him to be more polite. He hadn’t had the time for him to try and articulate why they needed to run to the rock, but now he could at least squeeze out two or three words that they all needed to know.

“Something else… coming…” he wheezed the words out of his dry throat. He then looked to Jin nearby, hoping Chu would get the idea to spread the word. He couldn’t make himself loud enough to do it himself.

Maybe if they lived through this he could teach them sign language… then again, who was to say they’d be sticking together much longer?

Well it wouldn’t matter one way or the other if the worm ate them, so he returned his attention to that. Just because it could swim through the sand didn’t mean it was trapped beneath it, clearly. It could still just walk over the surface to get them.

That said, as big as it was, it was still just an animal. Would it really press the attack after taking this much damage? Or was it so frenzied that it would risk further injury? If it was the latter… he figured he had one shot to stop it if it charged them… if he could even do it.
Abstract Proxy   
Uncertain of the value of hurling more rocks from her rapidly dwindling supply, Vasra hurled a final medium sized rock at the worm, before moving to the edge of rock formation. Shifting low, she leaned slightly over the edge, keeping her weight centered, and hold out an arm for any of the others still trying to reach the safety of the rocks.
Exit   
Air erupted around the worm in dust and sand as Jin blasted it with air powerful enough to push it away from him and once again pin it on its back. However, the rock that Vasra threw did fall short as when the others began to retreat to the rock, the worm retreated as well, carrying its new momentum forward into a roll. It recovered as everyone began to clamber onto the rock and as it reared into the sky once more, it let out another ear-splitting screech. However, this time, the sound was cut short. As the sands surrounding it began to vibrate, the damaged portion of its throat suddenly erupted. The weaker plates broke open and steaming flesh and sinew spewed from the gaping hole and piled onto the ground. The worm collapsed.
Prompt:
Despite damaged sustained, the worm is still very much alive but is currently only writhing in pain. It seems to be trying to gather its legs under it so it can stand back up.

Across from the worm atop a rolling sand dune, a silhouette appears. Its features are somewhat obscured as it stands in front of a still rising sun. A high pitched whistle that cuts through the still air follows its arrival, and four more silhouettes join the first on the ridge.
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”Uuuuhh… Sumire began, adjusting her aim for the shadows standing on the ridge ahead. ”...More?! Am I… am I shooting them?”

”Reman is thirsty.” Came Mova who was still floating behind them. On Reman’s order, the drone was simply hovering slightly higher.
canaryrose   
Chu Hua looked at Weiyuan for a moment, considering, and then turned to the others. His voice was so quiet, but she had heard him. An ominous feeling spread through her. Something else. Could it be so bad as what they were already facing? Just then, before she was about to shout out, she heard Sumire’s voice and turned her head to the horizon, where she saw two things: the worm writhing about with its throat blown open and five human-shaped silhouettes on the ridge beyond. Well… her strategy had worked! She nearly cheered, but stopped when she noticed it wasn’t dead quite yet. Unfortunately, she was no use at a range.

She climbed onto the rock, completely ignoring Vasra’s hand (truth be told she didn’t trust the little woman to be able to help her up). Chu turned to Weiyuan once more. “Those people- they’re what you meant, right? “ She was pretty confident, just wanted to make sure. “How could you feel people walking? Or was it more than that?”

“Let’s see what they do first,” she said to Sumire. Her body was coiled with tension. This- this is what I live for, she thought. Despite the mortal danger, she was almost excited. “I’m curious.”
Theyra   
“I…I am not sure Sumire,” he said as he turned to face the new shadows on the ridge. Thinking are these new sandworms or something else? And Mova is not helping with the situation and is acting odd. Raising his voice to Mova. “Mova what are you talking about and do you know what these shadows are?” Still looking concerned and uneasy, one sandworm is one thing but now there are unknowns to deal with. He should have studied the area more when he had the chance but that is hindsight and does not help now. For now, they were stuck between a sandworm and five unknowns. But, the sandworm is the current threat and so Reman spoke. “Sumire, keep firing at the sandworm. Me and Vasra will watch the shadows on the ridge in case they attack.” Once again offering his spare pistol to Vasra and carefully watching the shadows’ next moves. Please not be a threat please not be a threat, Reman thought as he waited to see what these shadows will do.
Exit   
”The shadows are a friend.” Mova replied.

One of the silhouettes started descending the hill. As their form caught the light of the sun from a different angle, the silhouette became a human, cloaked in brown, riding an ostrich horse. They pulled a rifle from over their shoulder and began firing upon the worm. The bullets kept it pinned as they began to punch more cracks into the soft armor. The others behind the rider joined in, keeping a loose formation like that of a circle as three more riders appeared from over the ridge. In total, eight strangers began approaching the worm. Two more pulled out rifles while another pulled out a spear.
vietmyke   
”Just one thing after another.” Jin grumbled as he found purchase on the stiff rock formation, watching what appeared to be human riders on giant birds coming to their supposed rescue. Whether or not these folk would actually turn on them and shoot them afterwards remained to be seen, but for the moment they could be content in the fact that they weren’t actively shooting at them. ”How would you know if they’re friends or not?” Jin questioned the small drone- not entirely sure if it would answer him.
canaryrose   
Chu squatted down on the rock, gaze fixed on the horizon- at the people below. Who were they? She watched them defeat the worm with fascination. She had feared they were RSF or military, people following them, but no officer or soldier carried those kinds of primitive weapons. No soldier rode an ostrich horse.
vietmyke   
”At least they’re shooting at the worm.” He sighed. He held an arm to stop Sumire from aiming or firing the rifle, ”They seem like they have it handled. Best not waste ammo- or accidentally hit one of them while they’re running around this thing.”
canaryrose   
“Agreed,” she said, answering Jin Wei. They were focused on the worm for the time being, and Chu felt they shouldn’t get in their way. Besides, the little robot had said they were friends. Hopefully it was right.
Abstract Proxy   
“Is everyone alright?” Vasra interjected, taking advantage of the fresh help and welcome chance to breathe in between hurling rocks. She kept an eye on Chu, well aware that the outlawed athlete had taken the brunt of the damage from the monstrous desert worm.
canaryrose   
“I’m fine,” she told Vasra. Many injuries throughout her lifetime had conditioned her to both minor and major aches and pains, and she felt being slammed into the sand created a pain that was solidly in the middle. “No broken ribs or anything. Just some sand in my mouth. Blegh.” Truth be told, her hands, although bandaged and rubbed in salve courtesy of Vasra, had likely been rubbed raw from gripping the worm. They didn’t need to worry about that now, though.
Exit   
One of the riders broke away from the others and began to approach the main group, letting the rifle hang loosely to their side as they put their hands up in surrender. They kept them in the air until they were within talking distance and with one hand, pulled down the mask covering their nose and mouth and pulled back the hood revealing a woman underneath.

Mahogany hair, freed from the dark brown denim, fell loosely around her softer face framing her round lips and slender nose. An odd portrait of perfection against the backdrop of a desert worm being anchored in place with ropes before being run through with a spear. Her piercing blue eyes fixed on Reman as Feyi smiled playfully.

"I found you."
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Behind Feyi, the others were already securing the worm with ropes and tying the ends to the saddles on their ostrich horses. It looked as if they meant to bring the entire thing back with them. All of them were cloaked in similar garb: Long leather and dark outerwear that helped to protect from the heat of the sun but remained loose enough to breathe. Packs were strapped to their back as were weapons and gear, all in varying states of deterioration. It looked like a lot of what they had on them had been scavenged but held together well enough to get the job done. Besides the rifles, there were weapons, machetes, knives and a few handguns. At first glance, none of the firearms looked like they could be synergy.

Feyi dug into the folds of her jacket and pulled out a canteen. She tossed it up to Reman.

”You look like shit… as usual.” She said, her smile turning into a small laugh. As her eyes scanned over the rest of the group, her smile faded. ”Actually… you all do. Are you all that’s left of the caravan?”
canaryrose   
Chu Hua’s mouth opened into a small ‘o’ and her eyebrows contorted into something resembling confusion. She glanced between Feyi and Reman, and then took a step up to stand next to Reman. Who was this woman? Chu eyed her with some level of distrust. But then again, what did she know about Reman? Next to nothing, but she had no idea how he could’ve known this desert raider. She watched them cart away the worm. At least they could do that, she supposed.

Chu leaned in to talk to Reman, but made no effort to be quiet. Feyi could hear her, but she didn’t address her. “Um. Reman. Mind introducing us to your friends?”
Theyra   
” Uh…uh.” Reman wided eye, stumbled on his words and barely caught the canteen. Feyi was the last person he expected to see and he had many questions. “Feyi… her name is Feyi but I only know her. Not her friends and she is a friend of mine from the city.” Reman then tried to focus and stopped being eye wided. “Yeah we are the only ones that made it.” Reman looking back at the Kyoshi and then looking back at Feyi . “We got attacked while at the outpost, speed and a sandstorm saved us. But, I have many questions Feyi. I…. I do not know where to begin.”
Exit   
Feyi giggled, placing a hand on her hip. ”Reman is being modest. I’m really his only friend anywhere.” She threw him a wink and then once again turned to the others. ”Although I guess that’s changed, huh? And I know you’ve got questions but I’ve also got some of my own, starting with…” She turned again to Reman. ”Why didn’t you tell me you were a Bender, Reman!” She clicked her tongue and furrowed her brow looking somewhat disappointed. ”What the hell?”
Theyra   
”Uhh…..” Reman looked awkward at her and started to speak. ”Well, Feyi the truth is and this will surprise you but I am not a Bender.” Saying it as matter of factly. ”You see while I was at the Synergy Storage Facility for business when the explosion happened and one of the pipe runner Jin.” Reman turned to point at Jin before turning back to Feyi. “Turned out to be a Bender and while his plan was to escape into the wasteland I knew he would not last long and I know of one place out here. Granted the information about it is old and its looks like it is still good. I well did not want Jin to die out in the wasteland like that so I came with him as a guide and well, you know I always wanted to see the world beyond the city.”

Reman smiled weakly, “There is more to that but I think that is best for later and in a place where it is safe.” Reman looking back at the dead worm and Feyi’s friends messing with it. ”Are there more creatures out here we should be worried about? Nothing in the city said there would be sandworms out here.”
canaryrose   
Chu was still incredibly confused. She looked back at the others and shrugged, not sure what to say. Apparently Reman had a friend who got out. Honestly, Chu was jealous. She looked at him, reappraising and envious. Did this man even need to be here?

“So, erm, Feyi, Reman... care to enlighten the rest of us?” She crossed her arms.
Exit   
”That information is still good. It exists.” Feyi turned to Chu. ”And it’s where we’re headed, or where you would have been headed.” She paused for a moment realizing that there was a lot to cover and there was no real good place to start. Considering what she’d just walked into, she was sure they were all flustered having just fought for their lives and it wouldn’t do to hit them with more information all at once.

”The short of it is, I’m your rescue.” She flashed Chu a smile. ”Reman being here just happens to be a weird coincidence since… he’s not a Bender but I guess we’ll have to talk about that later. That just adds more questions…” She furrowed a brow at Reman.

”We were out on a hunting run when we got word that Tu Zin lost contact with Tikaani. They sent us to go find any survivors of the caravan and that’s when I ran into Mova. I was just…” Her eyes grew soft and a little disappointed. ”I didn’t know this would be it. But you’re safe now. We can keep the worms away and it’s only a couple days to Tu Zin from here. Maybe less since it looks like…” She pointed at the Kyoshi. ”...It looks like you’ve got a working vehicle. We’ve got plenty of food and water.”
vietmyke   
”Well, I’ll never complain about an excess of food and water.” Jin said gratefully as he pulled off his helmet, Sumire doing the same. ” Our situation wouldn’t have been good in a few days. Either way, we appreciate the save.” He relaxed a bit, though he was still a bit on edge as he glanced at the worm.

”Sand worm isn’t on the menu is it?” Sumire chimed in curiously, looking disdainfully at the fallen worm as she too removed her helmet.

”The others were killed or captured by RSF,” Jin informed the woman named Feyi, answering her unasked question. He decided it would be wiser to leave out the fact that one of their drivers had tried to shoot and rob him of his car. ”We only made it through on account of the sandstorm rolling in. Barely.”
Abstract Proxy   
Vasra followed the growing conversation with carefully guarded caution that soon shifted into a soft smile.. A happy meeting between friends was a welcome relief in between running from people trying to kill them and staving off deadly giant sandworms. The young doctor could not help but reflect with some surprise that she had not been seriously hurt in the insuring scuffle and by the looks of it neither had anyone else.

”Many thanks for the rescue, as the others have said, our journey was not an easy one, then again what is easy these days?”

Her lips pursed in a small frown as she looked at Chu, noting the state of the bandages she had wrapped around her hands and the sand that now covered the wounds, “Forgive me, Chu, but I must see to your hands when we have the time. An infection now would be far from idea and I hold little hope concerning the cleanliness of giant sandworms.”
KillamriX88   
Weiyuan found himself just so very tired. Relief at being rescued was making him realize that he still hadn’t gotten any proper sleep, food, or drink. For some reason all he could think about was that at any other time, his other half would be absolutely losing his mind over being this close to an ostrich horse.

It wasn’t really something you saw in the cramped streets of the Lower Ring.

The exhaustion was only held at bay as they were told that their promised sanctuary was real and they’d now be led to it. A few days away still, but as far as he knew, they had enough supplies to make it there, right?

. . . but then what?
Prompt:
Feyi escorts the group safely the rest of the way to Tu Zin over the next two days. The Kyoshi and the worm are taken with them.

End Chapter Two.
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The next two days brought heat and sand and a cold night. Feyi led the group across the endless desert, stopping only for short rests or during the night they had to make camp. She’d spend the majority of the day answering questions and catching them up on the world outside, or at least the parts of the world she knew about.

Outside the walls of Ba Sing Se, a world thought dead was still thriving, though it was very much changed. Pockets of civilization created by survivors of the war had sprung up, opting to take their freedom in the waste rather than live in the confines of the city. Trade flourished, people were happy and more than anything else, Benders were not so heavily persecuted. Places existed where they were protected and even worshiped. Hailed as protectors and sought after so as to find safety in their watch from the threats born of a changing world. Like in the city, they were few and far between, and while life was still difficult for them, it was not so oppressive as it was within the walls. There of course were still those who did not want for a Benders well-being, but Tu Zin was a place of safety. In fact, Tu Zin was home to two Benders.

The leader, Unye, was an Earthbender and had been for years. It wasn’t the most well kept secret but not all the ears out in the wild were not given to Ba Sing Se. Raiders and other dangers alike usually gave the place a wide berth for fear of his reprisal and in this way, Tu Zin thrived. Not so much as to draw attention but enough that those who knew it knew they could seek solace and a place to rest if needed.

The other was a recent addition to the settlement having arrived in Tu Zin nearly a year earlier. It was also someone quite close to Feyi. Feluna was Feyi’s little sister who at the age of seven, had discovered she was a waterbender.

---

Late into the second day of travel, the scenery began to change. Rolling hills of sand turned to flat, sunbaked land. Loose pebbles turned to gravel and eventually compacted dirt and the barren world of the Si Wong Desert slowly transformed into a land where flora could once again thrive. Dry bushes and small shrubs marked the landscape until eventually, some small amount of green began to stand out in the brown of a mostly dry world. There wasn’t enough to make shade or take the dust out of the air, but it was a noticeable difference from before. And, it was a sign that the riders could break their circle formation as the threat of attack by a sandworm passed.

Eventually wayward dirt became a trail and after two days of traveling, the first sign of civilization beyond the wall appeared under the horizon. A mountain pierced the darkening sky splitting the colors of a setting sun in two, and at its base were unnatural shapes crowding in the mountain’s shade. As they approached, these shapes became buildings made of stone and wood and metal and eventually, standing in and around and on top of these buildings were the silhouettes of people.

They were greeted with a mix of emotions. Some cheered, greeting the arrivals with shouts of joy and welcoming home the hunters and the food they’d returned with. Some gawked at the newcomers with awe and curiosity. Children ran up to the Kyoshi to try and peer through the metal shutters of the windows and see who was riding inside. Worried parents would run after them and fetch them away, admonishing them for being so brazen. Some stared into the distance behind the group, out into the desert in the hopes that there were others who were not far behind.

But no one else arrived.

To the side, standing atop a raised platform, was an elderly man with graying beard and white hair who held a striking resemblance to one of the drivers who had been at the outpost. He was wrapped in thick blue cloth and dark leather straps and held himself upright by the cane in his hand. He paid no attention to the Kyoshi or the returning hunters and only stared into the desert. The setting sun illuminated weary, sad eyes in golden light.

---

The group had been given rooms at the local tavern and a day to rest and gather themselves. Food was provided along with water and any amenities they needed. The following day, they were allowed to explore freely although they were informed that later that day, Unye would be returning and would want to talk to all of them. Although smuggling Benders out of the city was not new, the arrival of a group of Benders had never happened before. He would want words as their arrival was unprecedented. He was also currently away as Tu Zin itself was in the midst of its own celebration of the end of the great war. Their celebration differed slightly from the city. Hunting parties were formed to seek out and hunt the largest prey in the sand and the group with who returned with the largest kill was rewarded. Feyi had been in one such party before they were diverted, and although their rescue also rewarded them with a kill of their own, the worm was an adolescent and quite small. Word had been received that Unye had managed to get a kill early and was quite happy with the size. He and his group were already on their way back, but until his return, everyone was free to do as they pleased.

Tu Zin itself was rather large to those unfamiliar with it. The settlement was built into the base of the mountain and was also partially carved into it. Much of the remains of the expanding city it once was still survived to the current day. Buildings, streets, street lights and power lines from a bygone area remained frozen in time, scarred now by the elements as a result of disuse. Much of these structures became the skeleton and the veins of the settlement built over it, as those who moved in transformed it into the haven it was now. A safe place at the edge of one the most inhospitable environments in the world. Of course from the outside it was hard to tell. The outer walls were simply the old abandoned buildings of the original ghost town. These had been converted into a kind of ‘wall’ with towers and guards patrolling the perimeter on a regular basis. There was a main entrance, but there were also many other smaller entrances and it seemed there were no procedures or checks to enter.

Within the walls, the settlement was stained by the sea of sand it sat on the edge of. The streets were ever covered in a layer of loose dust and the town itself seemed covered in a brown haze that persisted. Despite this, life brought color toTu Zin by way of the people who lived within it and those people thrived. Families flourished and trade was good.

Prompt:
I want to open up the opportunity to allow for creation of part of this settlement from the players. Specific buildings and businesses exist, but you are free to add to Tu Zin. Keep in mind that people who live here now would have most likely migrated from cities nearby, including the now destroyed Gao Ling. Gao Ling would have at one point rivaled Republic City with a population hailing from various nations. Tu Zin will not have an identity to any one specific nation however, some people may have been able to keep track of their lineage and may present as still being a part of that nation.

The group has been given the day to do as they please. Players may interact with each other or explore and find more information about the world. There will be no joint collaboration doc for this posting period.

Places that currently exist: The Thirsty Cactus, the tavern where the group still has rooms and free food for the rest of the day although the proprietor insists he can’t keep giving out his stock for free even if it’s for Benders. There is a gun/weapon smith named Bartus who owns the Platinum Blade. A doctor named Sarah. A square where various goods are traded at stalls from vendors and peddlers. There is also a town hall where Unye resides that exists within the part of the city under the mountain. It is currently off limits.
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canaryrose   

The rest of their journey passed with little incident. Though, after a full 48 hours of dread and panic, Chu found that she couldn’t let go of her paranoia. Always looking over her shoulder, she couldn’t shake the feeling that the next disaster was just ahead of them. At Vasra’s insistence, however, she spent most of the next two days seated in the truck, trying to get as much physical rest as possible. She tried not to look at the trunk too hard. The last few days had taken their toll on her body, and, although she would never admit it, Chu knew she needed to recover.

Every night, she probably badgered Feyi with the most questions. Where exactly was Tu Zin? What was it like? How many benders were there? She couldn’t believe the place even existed, let alone thrived as Feyi described it. It sounded like a fairy tale, a trap. She kept her thoughts to herself, but privately doubted what Feyi was telling them. It was too good to be true.




Chu found herself staring out the window of her tiny room in the inn that morning, wondering if she was hallucinating. It certainly didn’t seem so, but she had to check one more time. The town was lackluster, but she was mostly clean of blood and dirt for the first time in days, warm, and, most importantly, safe. She didn’t know how to feel about it. Kanna had been right after all. The thought made her queasy, so she pushed it away and tried to see what she could out the window.

The glass was flecked with grime and dust. Chu tried opening it, jimmying the lock with her bandaged hands, but found she couldn’t. Age had stuck the window in place. She sighed in frustration, but she’d leave it well alone. It would be better to explore than be stuck in this room, anyways.

She left the tavern (such a funny word- there were no taverns in Ba Sing Se, just bars and hotels), and emerged onto the street. She shielded her eyes almost immediately, hissing from the bright glare of the sun. She coughed. At least the awful air quality was familiar. Chu began a stroll down the street, but she couldn’t help herself from looking over her shoulder every few moments, paranoid of what might be following her. But there was nothing. No one. She walked among people going about their day, attracting stares and whispers, yes, but no danger. In her life, reverent stares were normal, but she couldn’t shake what they meant now. They didn’t recognize her for being Chu Hua, the legendary sports star- they recognized her for being their newest firebender. It was an ugly feeling, but… gratifying, maybe.

Chu came to a small market and slowed. Something smelled delicious. Her mouth watered, and she turned, looking for the source of the meaty smell. Her eyes settled on a small, ramshackle food cart, and she found her sneakers moving across the dusty ground of the crowded market towards it of their own free will. She stopped before the stall, appraising what the old woman tending it was cooking. Some kind of meat. It smelled good, and she was hungry…

The older woman (really, she couldn’t’ve been older than 60), raised her head. “Gonna buy something?” She said this with the strangest accent Chu had ever heard.

Chu blinked, short-circuiting for a moment. “Um, yeah,” she said. “Hold up.” She dug in her pockets for a moment, pulling out a few crinkled yuan. 10, 20, 30… she presented it to the shopkeeper. “What’ll this get me?”

The woman looked at the money, surprised, and then looked back up at Chu. A certain look dawned on her face. “You’re one of the arrivals from last night!” she exclaimed. “No, no, I can’t take this. Keep your money, it’s free.”

“I- I really can’t-” Chu protested, but the woman was already shoving meat skewers at her, and she was holding them awkwardly now, and she couldn’t give them back. “Thank you very much, miss,” she finally managed to say, blushing.

After devouring the mystery meat in a short amount of time, Chu wandered down yet another strange path, away from what she thought of as the center of town. This place was incredible. People lived here, this far out from Ba Sing Se. There were children playing, couples laughing… a young couple that she passed on the street in particular made her sad. If only An was here. She stuffed her hands into her pockets as she thought it, digging her fingernails into her palms. They could’ve made a life here, maybe. All these people had.

While trapped in her melancholy thoughts, Chu came to a small clearing among the buildings. Again, she slowed to a stop, staring at the makeshift field before her. There were children, playing, laughing… holding sticks. Dumbfounded, Chu Hua watched as the little kids played some form of a stickball game, organized into little makeshift teams and throwing around the ball between them. Sure, they had the rules almost entirely backwards, but it was something familiar in such an unfamiliar place, and she stopped to watch, mouth open as she stared. She leaned against the nearest building, watching their game with pleasure in her gaze. Her eyes sparkled.

Exit   

Not unlike the game in the city, players were split into two teams of similar size and used ‘sticks’, although these were very obviously made of whatever they could find that resembled the same shape. Surprisingly, despite the difference in design, players here could still balance and serve the ball. The major difference between this variation of the sport and that of the city was the inclusion of obstacles on the field. There was junk between the two goals including a dilapidated car and a rusted fridge that the kids would often climb over or even through and would also use as a surface to ricochet the ball off of. There was a very strong element of parkour involved it seemed and some very surprisingly accurate banked shots.

”A-... are you one of the people from the city?” Came a voice next to Chu. Standing next to her was a boy that looked to be in his early teen years. He was a little scrawny. A little dirty. But you couldn’t tell just by looking at his bright green eyes. There was a bit of life behind them that refused to be snuffed by the dirt in the air. His short matted hair was pushed to one side and sliced at the air whenever he moved his head to speak.

In his hand was a stick that was slightly bent at one end. There was no flat surface.

canaryrose   

Chu turned to the boy, smiling slightly. “Yeah. That easy to tell?” Her eyes flicked over him, trying to gauge what the kid wanted. He didn’t look like he was gonna ask her for anything. “Nice game you got going here. I’m Chu.” She didn’t ask his name, instead letting hers hang in the air.

Exit   

He smiled back. ”I’m Twig! I thought I recognized you from Yesterday. I uh… ran up to the car you were in and saw inside… and got in trouble…” He laughed sheepishly and rubbed the back of his head. ”Anyways… is it… uh… is it true you can Bend?”

canaryrose   

The question made Chu instinctively jolt, a look of terror crossing her face before she realized that it was safe to be a bender here. More than safe. They practically worshiped them here. She wouldn’t die for it, or even go to prison. She was safe. She looked at the kid- Twig- and nodded. “Yeah. Wanna see?”

Exit   

Twig’s eyes brightened. ”YEAH!”

canaryrose   

Chu’s lips quirked upward, almost out of amusement. “Alright, get ready… and maybe step back?”

Tentatively, she held out both of her hands, and then… woosh. A small flame surged up in between them. This was getting easier, she thought. She tossed the crackling flame upwards into the air, making a small, careful arc above her head before bringing it back down into her hands. Her smile grew until it filled her entire face. This was what had been missing her entire life. Bending was fucking awesome.

“Cool, huh?”

Exit   

That same light in the boys eyes seemed to grow as he watched in awe at the display. The warmer light danced on the dust covering his face, illuminating the shape of his cheeks and nose and the smile spread across his lips. He remained silent during the entire demonstration and only spoke up after Chu was done.

”Gu- GUYS!” He suddenly yelled out, waving at the other kids on the field and getting their attention. While most of them stopped, one was a little slower than the rest and smacked another kid in the back of the head as they turned around to look. He got a shove in reply.

”SHE’S A FIREBENDER!”

”WHAT?”

”Hey! Isn’t that the lady you saw in the car?”

Whatever game had been happening was immediately forgotten as all of the players abandoned their positions and began crowding around Chu. Their impatient questions and curious comments drowned each other out until the noise became a sea of small voices from the kids clearly enamored with the woman.

”She’s so cool looking!”

”She bends fire?! I wanna see!”

”Do you have a boyfriend?”

canaryrose   

Chu first looked startled at all the small children crowding around her, and then laughed, still holding the flickering flame in her palms. At calls from the little children, she drew her hands apart, letting the flame grow and then shrink back together as she brought her hands back together. Several children reached forward to touch it, at which she clicked her tongue. Finally, she clasped her hands, letting the fire die out. “Happy?” she teased.

At that last question, she paused. The happy look melted off her face. The kid probably meant no harm, but… “No, I have a fiancee,” she explained. She held out her hand, pointing at the gold engagement band. “It’s like… a girlfriend who’s gonna be your wife soon.”

Exit   

One of the girls stared wide eyed at the gold ring, the light of the sun glinting off the dusty metal and dancing in the brown of her eyes. She was speechless. The curious boy next to her was not. He placed one end of the stick in his hand into the ground and leaned on it with both hands.

”You ain’t afraid someone’s gunna cut yuh finger offa that?”

canaryrose   

Chu raised a brow, then laughed. “I’m not afraid of anything, kid. I’d just firebend at them until they gave my finger back, yknow?"

Exit   

The boy shut up, his eyes widening too, this time in fear.

Twig, who was standing next to him, spoke next, seemingly emboldened now by the mention of Chu being ‘fearless’. He moved a little closer, pushing the other boy to the side. ”What about ghosts? Are you afraid of those?”

canaryrose   

“Don’t believe in ‘em,” she replied evenly. “Why? Are you haunted?”

Exit   

The girl responded first, shaking her head. ”No, there are… there are ghosts stealing people...” Twig nodded and the other boy continued to eye the gold on Chu’s finger. Twig stepped in front of him, breaking his line of sight with the trinket and pointed in the direction of the main gate.

”Outside. Are you guys here to help? I know Benders are powerful but we only have one!”

”Nu UH. We have three!” Came the boy’s voice from behind Twig.

Twig turned to the boy. ”Feyi’s sister is just a kid, you idiot. And Tikaani… well… he never came back…”

”What?”

”I think he’s gone, Desh.” Twig turned to Chu. ”There’s a man who usually brings Benders from the city. He’s in charge of it I think. Was he with you?”

canaryrose   

Chu frowned. So many people had died, and she had never learned their names. No Tikaani had come back with them. “Who you saw is who made it, kiddo,” she told them. “I’m sorry.”

Exit   

”So we’re down to two and one of them can’t fight.”

Desh peered around Twig and stared up at Chu. ”Can you fight?”

canaryrose   

Chu Hua looked down at the kids, bemused, fighting the urge to laugh. Ghosts weren’t real. Spirits had been real once, maybe, but ghosts? Nah. Instead, she kept a serious look on her face, crouching down to their eye level. Stealing people... now that was serious. Maybe the RSF had made it this far after all. Her face didn’t betray the fear she felt at that notion. “Hell yeah, I can fight,” she said, not admitting that she really couldn’t. Playing stickball and doing martial arts were wildly different. “Stealing people, huh? Tell me more about that, and maybe I can help.”

Exit   

Twig stepped to the side, shooing another one of the kids away from him with a wave of his hand and creating some space. He then took his stick, pushed the end into the ground and began drawing something in the dirt. A long circle became a head with two shallow holes for eyes and out of the top of its head, Twig drew two long lines that resembled a shape not unlike horns.

”Ghost.” The girl said when Twig was done. Twig nodded at the drawing, satisfied with his work.

”Some people are afraid to leave. But some of the adults say it’s not ghosts. It’s just dangerous to travel.”

”Maybe ghosts are afraid of fire…?” Desh surmised.

canaryrose   

Creepy. Chu stared at the drawing for a moment, furrowing her brows. It didn’t look like anything from the city. But these were kids. Unreliable sources. She looked up at Twig and the girl again. “Well,” she said, standing up. “I’ll keep an eye out for horn dude here and let you know. Promise.” She ruffled the kid’s hair affectionately. “I’m gonna get going. Thanks, kid.”

With that, she turned and walked off, leaving the kids to play their game. Ghosts… now that was something.
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Hidden 1 yr ago Post by vietmyke
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Location · |@vietmyke] Si Wong Desert · @vietmyke
____________________________________________________________________________.
”You did WHAT?! Jin cried out incredulously for what was quite possibly the fourth time that hour. His head jerked up, slamming painfully against the bottom of his car’s raised hood. For the first time since they’d left Ba Sing Se, Jin was finally out of his helmet and in more comfortable- if equally utilitarian clothes. His sleeves were rolled up and he was currently elbow deep within the innards of the Kyoshi’s engine. Sumire sat on top of a stack of tires, tool box wrapped in her arms, rolling her eyes.

”I may or may not have installed a Synergy supercharger into the Kyoshi…” The smaller girl admitted for what felt like the tenth time that day.

”And you’ve been using the Kyoshi to street race?! You’ve been using my car for street races?!” There was a loud clang and a slew of curses as Jin dropped a tool and forced his arm deeper into the car to fish the item out.

Technically it's the company’s car…” Sumire reminded him sheepishly, ”And if you ask anyone in Ba Sing Se- they think it’s my car.” she added, a bit more smugly.

”My. Car.” Jin reiterated, a motor oil soaked glove slapping the top of the engine for emphasis. ”Did you win at least?” came the followup, quieter.

”Of course I won, who do you think I am?” Sumire retorted sweetly. Jin just stared at her with a look that might’ve said ‘I don’t even know anymore.’ ”Jiinnn…” she whined, ”At least it got us out of there, right?”

”Yeah, yeah...” Jin grumbled, deflating slightly as he pulled a blown out part out of the car.

With everything that had been happening, they’d been more or less avoiding the subject until they were safe. But two days after the sandworm attack, here they were- in relative safety. After dropping the others off in town, Feyi led Jin to a garage that seemed to hold the entirety of the settlement’s vehicles, which admittedly weren’t many. As a result, the space was spacious, though crowded at the same time. A veritable junkyard of spare parts were heaped against the walls and in unoccupied parking spots- useful for their purposes.

Jin had made himself comfortable here, not quite free with his belongings- the most valuable of which he kept locked inside the Kyoshi’s trunk, but a lot of the non essentials were added to the garage’s controlled chaos and spread out around the small parking space as he more or less established himself within the garage. Only really using the tavern to sleep, Jin had spent most of the day in the garage, attempting to fix the damage to his car caused by Sumire’s booster, as well as the RSF gunfire, only really stopping to eat and drink some food offered by the locals.

Likewise, the folk in Tu Zin had been more than welcoming thus far, though none of them really had any clue what the Kyoshi was. Compared to the rest of the vehicles in the garage, the Kyoshi might as well have been from a different planet. Not a spot of rust, angular lines, metal for windows and a modernized synergy intake instead of regular fuel. Still, the gearheads there were helpful and cooperative, though it wasn’t difficult for Jin to notice that there was something- or someone missing. Jin didn’t know Tikanni, at all really- last month Tikanni might’ve just been the name of another nameless raider, but it didn’t take much for Jin to notice the atmosphere.

With a frustrated sigh, Jin slammed the hood of the Kyoshi shut. Sumire slid off the stack of tires as he pulled off the worn gloves and set aside the tools the settlement had provided them. ”All done?” the white haired girl inquired.

”What can be done, anyway.” Jin sighed, ”We still have another issue at hand- fuel, synergy. I don’t think there’s just an abundance of it here out in the boondocks.”

”We could ask around?” Sumire suggested, Jin shook his head.

”I doubt the people here will be willing to just give it away- remember, one of their guys tried to rob us.” Jin whispered in a low voice, his eyes straying around the garage to spot potential eavesdroppers.

”Well, no sense standing around here then,” Sumire replied, a sudden pep jumping into her step, ”We’ve been cooped up in this garage all day, I want to check out the rest of the town!”

”You go ahead I’ll just-!” Without so much as a request, Sumire was already grabbing Jin’s arm and dragging him out of the garage and into the rest of Tu Zin, intent on exploring the rest of the settlement with Jin in tow, whether he liked it or not.



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Exit   
It was still somewhat early in the day by the time Feyi and Reman had made it to where they were in one of the watchtowers. The desert Reman had just crossed the day before stretched for miles below them and eventually transitioned into more fertile land. Mountains in the distance cut jagged shapes out of the horizon and wrapped around behind them. The air too was cooler and cleaner up here and the crisp breeze carried with it a hint of the taste of the ocean.

”Different from home, isn’t it?” Feyi asked as she leaned out of the side of the tower and let the wind dance in her hair. ”Is it what you expected?”
Theyra   
Reman was busy looking all around. For most of his life it was only desert that existed beyond the walls and now that he has proven that there is more than just sand and wasteland in the world. It made him happy despite the circumstances that led him here. ”Much different Feyi,” Reman leaned out of the side of the tower with her. Letting the wind brush against his face and hair. ”It is better than what I expect actually,” he let out a relaxed chuckle. “I did not expect to see green on the other end of the Si Wong Desert and a thriving town to boot.”

Reman let out another chuckle, “And the most amazing part of it is that you knew of this place and…. and… I mean the oldest information about this place I could find is a century old and it was a guess that this place was still around and yet.” Reman looked around again and could only be amazed that not only is there life beyond the walls but thriving life. “Here I am in Tu Zin and with you all because of a explosion back at the city.”

Reman sighed in amazement, it is truely something where life takes you something.”
Exit   
”It was only because you also knew of it that I was willing to try. I’m only sorry I didn’t tell you when I left. I wasn’t sure who I could trust but… in a way, you did convince me to leave which saved my sister.” She turned to Reman, smiling warmly at him. ”Thank you for that. But now that you know what I’ve been up to, what about you? Why… I mean I know you wanted to see the world but why’d you leave? How did you end up with all of these people?”

Feyi pulled herself back into the tower and turned herself around, leaning against the railing with her back turned to the horizon. Her hands were propped behind her, giving Reman her full attention. There was a well of curiosity in her eyes.
Theyra   
Reman could only sigh at the thought and lean backwards and stood in front of her. ”Well it started when my family sent me to the Synergy Storage Facility to meet with the Moons for a deal. Basically, they wanted to replace the pipe runners with our drones so I was sent out to test and gauge the conditions the drones will be under. I was supposed to leave the city and travel along the pipe with Jin and Miss Moon. Then the explosion happened while we were still inside but it did not harm us. Jin turned out to be an airbender and I did not want him to die out in the wasteland and well I knew of Tu Zin so I came along to guide him there. And I met up with the others at the outpost and we barely got out alive in Jin’s car and well the rest is history.”

Then Reman’s face and tone turned serious. ”But something else happened that day at the storage facility that I do not know why it happened. For some reason two of the people with us at the facility attack us. I mean they tried to strangle me and Sumire. And because Jin wanted out of the city as fast as possible. We did not really have time to figure out why they attacked us and it may be related to the explosion or I do not know really.”

Reman shrugged and looked at the horizon for a short time before speaking again. “Just something I have been thinking about since we left the city.”
Exit   
”Actually… that sounds very similar to the creatures in Gao Ling.” Feyi replied, crossing her arms and furrowing her brow. ”Actually exactly like them.” Her eyes fixed on Reman’s ”You might know this already but every city that was hit with a bomb is irradiated. We were taught in the city that if anyone enters it, they’ll get sick… and they do, but not in the way they think.”

”There are people in there but not… regular people. They’re violent like the ones that attacked your friends. Mindless. Dead, we think. The running theory is that after the bombs were dropped, any bodies that were not completely destroyed became possessed… with spirits. And we only know this because we’ve sent people in there. They start to lose their minds until whoever is inside is completely taken over and replaced by something that just wants to kill. Not even eat. Just… It’s horrific.” Feyi shook her head. ”But… we also discovered that on rare occasions, someone will return a Bender. That’s how Tu Zin got its first one. Unye.”
Theyra   
Reman furrowed his brow, “Spirits possessing people… synergy is energy we get from the spirit portal in Republic City but, I have not heard spirits possessing people. That and maybe producing a Bender.” Reman thought for a bit in silence before looking at Feyi and spoke. “So it is tied together and that would explain-ish why the explosion revealed Benders in the city or made them I guess. And then spirits possessed the two people in the room and…” Reman pondered for a moment, “Does that mean more people were possessed that day? I never did know what happened to the spirit possessed person that was not killed. Maybe Ms. Moon has it somewhere or something and…”

Sounding a bit annoyed, “Well too late to know now or I could ask the others if they saw something. I did not really talk to them about that day, I was too focused on getting Jin out of dodge and not dying.” So Reman let out a long sigh, ”Some answers and more questions it seems. But, the spirits or synergy or both is at the heart of it and I wonder what it means.” Then he let out a short chuckle, “There goes exploring old ruins and I guess I am at a loss of what to do now.” Reman then looked at Feyi’s eyes and then quickly looked away. “Still at least I am with you, someone that I know and can trust and not with total strangers.”
Exit   
Feyi smiled. ”Being away from everything you know makes you appreciate the few things you do. My life. My sister.” She looked at Reman. ”Of course, there’s never going to be anyone you trust more than me.” She threw him a wink. ”Which means I’ll be helping you get to the bottom of this Bender business. It is interesting to know that somethings similar happened in the city but it does bring up a good question…”

”Why didn’t you change?”
Theyra   
”Change? Why didn't I change….?” Reman thought for a bit, ”Not sure to be honest. Let’s see, it was me, Jin, Sumire, Ms. Moon, her bodyguard and those two people in that room when the explosion went off. Jin was a Air Bender, me, Sumire and Ms. Moon’s bodyguard were not affect and you know what happen to those two people and Ms.Moon….” Reman was thinking if he should tell Feyi that Ms. Moon is a firebender but he can trust her right? ”Well Ms. Moon has her own problems now and either way. I guess maybe it is random? I mean only a small number of people became Benders or maybe there is something else in play?” Reman shook his head annoyed, ”I do not know where to begin to figure out this mystery, you have any ideas?”
Exit   
”We could ask Unye. Being the only person to successfully return a Bender from Gao Ling, he might know more about what happened than anyone else if it’s a similar change. Otherwise, I’m not really sure where to look. There aren’t a lot of people questioning what is happening in irradiated zones. They mostly keep away. The crazier ones, or the more desperate ones, are the only people going in there for supplies.”
Theyra   
”That sounds like a plan, maybe he saw or felt something that we do not know about. Hmmm,” Reman crossed his arms. “I almost wish I had access to my family’s library but since the city is anti bender so I kinda doubt I could find the information I want about this. So yeah let’s ask Unye about this and see where we can go from there. Who knows maybe the others will help us with this.”
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