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Current Finals are finished, clouds disperse, CHRISTMAS COMES FOR US ALL
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Exams initiated, self-destruct protocol next in queue
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Laoshan Fang

Ba Sing Se, Road from 8 Path Prison: Northeast.


Mentions: @Bluetommy@Rokoran@Dusty


“Bob and weave, bob and weave!” Laoshan muttered as he flattened himself lower to the ground, zig-zagging through the street. Arrows cut off his path, flitting down from one of the many guard towers positioned immediately outside of the Northeast Eight Path Prison. THAT needed to be dealt with, or the kids could get… in trouble.

Gritting his teeth, the airbender stopped short, pivoting on his heel and launching through the window of the nearest, unfortunate shop. You can’t shoot what you can’t see, and what Laoshan was about to do shouldn’t have to be seen by any man, woman, or child who wasn’t Laoshan.

If one was to scan the streets, as the archers had been, they would see flickers of movement in alleys near where the bedraggled prisoner had busted through a window. They would see fluttering leaves from the nearby pricklepear trees, the whisper of wind through a hanging dryer line. They would see hand signals passed between towers, bows drawn on all exits of the building where the airbender had pinned himself. The airbender had chosen his escape route poorly, his place of residence a one-story building with one door, two windows, and all exits in the front. He’d had a good run of it, but the attempted escape artist didn’t have the ghost of a chance to escape now.

The archers tensed with excitement, bows drawn taut as their shoulders. This fight was as good as over.



Behind an old, twisted grandfather oak, there sat a young boy. His name was Ji Ling, and he was watching a prison escape with wide eyes. Ji Ling wasn’t supposed to be here, and his Papa would kill him if he found out, but it was incredible! He had never seen an airbender before, but when the man ran past the alley he was watching from, there was a shattering of glass and the arrows stopped! Ji Ling crouched behind the oak, holding his breath. Then, he heard a strange, horrifying noise, like a dying cat… or maybe even the escapee! They got him, he was dying! Or at least… that’s what Ji Ling thought he heard, until the horrible, wracking noise turned into a harsh panting… then fevered laughter. The boy felt a chill crawl up his spine. They had shot the prisoner and now he was laughing! The young denizen of the city scampered to his feet, turning around and starting to run. He had no place around men who laughed when they were shot. Whatever was about to happen next, there was no way that the boy was going to stay anywhere near what was shortly to become the ruins of Mr. Fong’s Bar.




The archers held their aim, one pair of eyes taking note of the movement in the alley behind the bar. There was a moment of silence as the wind stilled, the child’s footsteps petering off into the distance. Then the front of the bar burst asunder in a storm of laughter and galeforce winds. A cloud of dust swirled in front of the establishment, pierced by the swiftly dashing form of Laoshan, grit and sand sticking to his teeth through an open smile, a bottle of the strongest grog he could find in this backwater hole in one of his hands and a makeshift pack full of more on his back. Dancing through the storm of debris and swiftly falling arrows, Laoshan carried the cloud on his back, surging from the earth to a nearby roof and bearing the cyclone over the top of the tower, four bottles racing from the storm above directly towards the unarmored heads of each of the archers in the tower with enough force to deter a small adult air bison. The monk waited for the moments of impact as his feet pit-patted on the street below the tower, allowing himself a private moment of satisfaction at the series of shattering bottles and pained exclamations.

Immediately, Laoshan bore his hands around his body, twisting at the hips, wrists, knees, and ankles to provide the torque required to become a human corkscrew, rocketing up to eye level with the guards and kicking off a quick four strike series of blasts. These knocked the archers to the floor, providing the opportunity for the airbender to crawl inside. There were a series of grunts from both Laoshan and the others as the monk hoisted them over the side of the tower, they fell for a moment, then grunted in pain as they made contact with the street below.

Dust finally settled around him as he surveyed the scene, alcohol peeling off his tongue and leaking into the afternoon air. One destroyed bar, guards below a watchtower soaked in disgusting grog and nursing headaches as bad as the one Laoshan had woken up with, enough booze to get him through the week… And the surge of fire over a distant roof? Right around where he had… ditched… the old woman.




Laoshan ran towards Ba Sing Se’s 8 Path Prison: Northeast Building. Badger Girl wasn't supposed to get caught, She was supposed to chase after him and save her tail! He couldn’t drive the thrice-blasted ship, the monk needed the girl and that bald one for that! He was motivating them towards self-preservation, which he had thought a basic skill before this point in his life! Couldn’t they do one simple task correctly??


Laoshan Fang
Ba Sing Se, 8 Path Prison: Northeast.


Mentions: @Bluetommy@Rokoran@Dusty





Move as a unit.

That was one of the first rules that Laoshan had tried to drill into his small group of militant airbenders back at the Eastern Monastery when they decided to learn strategy with him. Stay together, or you’ll be split apart and hacked to the ground. Sadly, no one ever saw fit to teach this lesson to Laoshan’s stomach, something he had learned the hard way over the course of dozens of prison escapes and hundreds of hangovers. Bearing this in mind, the monk tried his damndest to maintain momentum as he dodged General Fang’s offensive thrust. The former prisoner didn't break stride as he was assaulted, leaping atop the stone as it moved, quickly kicking off of the projectile and launching himself over the wall as the missile was forced to the ground. He rolled one way upon his introduction to the ground; his stomach rolled another. Rolling was bad, rolling was VERY bad. A wave of nausea came over Laoshan as he popped to his feet, the world spinning around him as he forced the bile back down his throat. “Keep moving, keep moving…”

Escape. Righting himself, Laoshan immediately dove into an adjacent alley, using the earthbent wall as cover for his escape. The large man bulldozed his way through a series laundry lines, rain barrels, one cooling pie, and a slumbering drunkard with something in her hands. He ignored the alley-drunk's protests as he plowed through her designated sleeping alley, snagging whatever bottle she had been cradling in her hands as he went. "You shouldn't drink this, it'll kill you, trust me I know!"

Laoshan emerged from the alleyway, his knuckles white around the bottle of heaven and his lip still bleeding. He wasn’t alone. There were teenagers, two of them. One a woman and the other a young man, both with the look of 'Fire nation tourist' plastered on their faces. Odd. Glancing down, the airbender saw the food stains, vomit stains, and blood stains absolutely coating his tattered sack clothes. The tooth from earlier was still buried in his hand, and somehow he had managed to accidentally steal a solid dress's worth of torn fabric as he plowed through the passage. Between that and the alcohol, he could make something work for a disguise and his headache. That boded well. For the time being, however, his head still pounded and that sturdy earthbending woman was still on his trail.

Laoshan flashed a quick, dirty smile to the two kids, all too aware of what he looked like, and bolted down the new road like An himself were after him, his stride turning from a shifty, side-to-side jog to huge, bounding leaps. The wind swept down to meet him, moving air caressing his body and carrying him to greater speed and height. Whip him bloody and call him Nan, it was good to stretch his legs again!

Laoshan Fang
Ba Sing Se, 8 Path Prison: Northeast.


"We gotta get out of here and get to my boat before the smelly airbender steals it!" She growled, racing towards the metal-covered stonework. There were a few rioting prisoners beating futilely against the wall who were about to be very useful. Throwing her right hand up, Jai let loose a concentrated blast of fire, watching the flickering orange blast impact the deadly-looking razor wire at the top of the wall. Pouncing forward, Jai let loose a feral growl as she leaped onto the shoulders of a rioting prisoner and used his height to spring up. Lashing out with her left hands, Jai twisted her wrist and tossed the chain upwards, watching with surprised satisfaction as it wrapped around a piton connected to the ruined razor wire, and gave her the final edge she needed to pull herself up onto the wall.

With her new vantage point, Jai now saw the threats Laoshan had been talking about. The old man was staying put too, seemingly waiting for her and the other airbender. Jai whistled up to the watchtower to get his attention, glaring up at him with fire in her eyes. "Hey! You better hope you know how to sail if you plan on ditching me again!"

"So, you're an Airbender too? Don't think I'm about to let that go, we've probably got business to settle with each other-" He glanced down at the swiftly approaching, small army headed their way. "After we escape. I'm not leaving without my glider though. If we don't find it on the way to the ship, I have to sneak back in afterward and find it here, it's just that I'm not crazy enough to stay while an army's here on high alert. You can leave me behind then, but it's something I need to do. You might wanna take the pirate lady though. I wouldn't wanna piss her off."


Laoshan blinked. He looked from the young firebender, who was LEGITIMATELY impressive at this point, to the nomad boy trying to pick a fight with him, and loudly declaring that he would break back into the prison after they escaped. His head throbbed, his eyes still burning from the noonday light. The light of noon. When they were escaping. Spirits behold, he loved his life, and this youngblood was going to cause nothing but trouble.

Of course, he could always… Heh.

Laoshan took one solid look at the younger airbender, glanced back at the approaching army, let off a nasty grin. “So you think we have business to attend to, eh?” The air nomad chuckled as he dropped down from the tower, landing next to the youths with the softness of air cradling his descent. “Baldy…” The monk paused, his body stiff, and turned exactly 90 degrees to face the oncoming army. Cupping his hands, Laoshan cried out,
“OH, YOU’RE GOING TO BREAK BACK INTO THE 8 FOLD PRISON, HERE, IN THE NORTHEAST SECTOR OF THE CITY, AFTER WE ESCAPE TO GET BACK YOUR AIRBENDING STAFF?? THAT SURE IS GOOD TO KNOW.”


The sound echoed off of walls of the city, supernaturally enhanced by the absolutely astounding lung capacity of a master airbender and the geography of Ba Sing Se. It bounced from the walls, curved off of the ground, and there wasn’t a penguin-owl’s chance in a volcano that it didn’t reach the swiftly approaching horde of An’s cronies.

Laoshan turned back, his rank breath escaping through bloodied, smiling lips. “Now, we have business to settle with each other.”

Without another word, the drunkard leapt from the wall, jetting off another burst of wind and sprinting down the stonework to the streets below. He landed with the puff of a zephyr, feet tapping lightly onto the cobblestones before launching him deeper into the city. “We better hurry, kids, the army gets here soon! Best of luck to both of you! Badger Girl, I hope you’re there when I get to your boat or it’s miiiiiine…!”

The monk’s voice echoed up to the stone walls as he ran. He smiled through the pain of his throbbing skull. Those two would have to move fast or they would get caught, and if he had guessed right, he had given them juuuuuust the incentive they needed. They would be after his head, and something told him that a shared goal would help them work together. Besides... “First lesson of being an airbender is freedom. Can’t be free if you’re too attached to your earthly possessions. Hell, I’ll make him another one after he cools off, but breaking back in after the prison break would be suicide.”

Kids these days, he swore…


Practice
Primary Objectives: Acquire Education, Form Friendly Bonds with Fellow Students
Secondary Objective: Find Pants

@Norschtalen@Driving Park





There was a valiant struggle.

Blood was shed, tears were shed, clothes were shed, and through it all was the constant refrain of violence and passionate youth. A battle between two colors, red and blue, parsing the notes of a primal song; part humanity and part of the wild, bodies clashed and the ball flew. Magnificent, beautiful, disturbing: all these words would well describe the fray, but Blaine would settle on: expensive.

At the end of the period, Blaine stood in a tattered coat, shredded pants, buttons from his assorted clothes littered the floor of the gym, and his shoes were entirely covered in scuff marks and the damage of being used repeatedly as launch pads. For now, he would have to remove his jacket and tie it about his waist if he was to preserve a sense of decency. As he understood it, showing too much of one's thighs was inappropriate, and he still had first impressions to make. Impressions aside, he couldn’t afford to keep doing this, much less considering the rather small remains of his scholarship money. There simply wasn’t room in his budget for more clothing. If only the school gave out some kind of... exercise clothes. Like a gym uniform. He should look into that.

Still, it was worth it. One uniform was a small price to pay for the beginnings of bonds with his fellow Hunters and Huntresses-in-training, and from the look of things, there were a few people who seemed interesting to Blaine. Of particular note were the vibrant faunus girl, the metal-armed boy with his poor attitude, and the leader, Ben, to whom Blaine had explained that he had no tablet, but that the colossal faunus could be found in his room, and if not present would respond shortly to written notices.

...There was also the attractive man who had changed into a woman at the beginning of the match, but it was best to keep those ideas to himself, at least for now. So far, it seemed as though he had made a good first impression, so it was with a parting of teeth meant to approximate a smile and a twinkle in his amazingly intense eyes that he strode towards Practice.

As he walked, Blaine kept his eyes forward, face composed with a polite disinterest, and back ramrod straight. As long as he acted casual, surely no one would notice his largely destroyed uniform. He had seen stranger fashion statements already. Besides, he had business to attend to. He had already given Orrin the charm he had made for him, and from what he had seen on the class registry, the other members of Team Obelisk would be in Practice, providing the opportunity he needed. Most excellent.

Cheerful in his heart of hearts, throat humming ever so slightly with the growling music he remembered from the old days, the young faunus arrived at the obstacle course where he soon spotted Selena and Iona. Reaching into the pocket of his ravaged jacket, the faunus walked behind them, his practiced footfalls unintentionally quiet. With a guttural cough, Blaine cleared his throat, covering his mouth with one hand and clutching towards the charms he had made with the other. He bore his teeth, trying to smile and not really managing to reach his eyes. That was something he still had to practice. “Pardon me, teammates Selena Cecilia and Iona Murasaki. Teammate Selena, I am aware we have seen one another, but missed the chance to introduce ourselves. Teammate Iona, it is a pleasure to finally meet you. I am Blaine Olbrecht, fellow member of Team Obelisk. As our instructor has stated, we have one minute to ‘catch our breath,’ I have already expended 23 seconds, and I need roughly 20 more to properly give each of you a gift and exchange proper... cultural… um.”

As he spoke, Blaine’s teeth ceased to show, his expression becoming more and more intense as his face paled. The faunus rooted through his tattered jacket’s breast pocket, the front pockets of his destroyed pants, his back pockets. ...The charms weren’t there. He had placed them in the morning, but the charms weren’t there. The words died in his throat, his breath wheezing out like a dying accordion.

All of a sudden, it was very hot outside to one Blaine Olbrecht, Hunter-in-training.

Laoshan Fang
Ba Sing Se, 8 Path Prison: Northeast.


Mentions: @Dblade26@Korkoa





“Remember now, we have to keep moving if we all want to get away! I want whoever hired these guards to be horrifically disappointed when they show up!” While the young ones were still talking, Laoshan started hoofing it up the stairs, confident the others would follow. Where they went after they escaped the prison wasn’t immensely important as long as it got them out of the city. Things were a little hot right now, and the former monk most certainly didn’t want to know what happened to prison breakers in Ba Sing Se. The old regime crushed their hands, and he could only imagine what this supposedly crueler warlord of a king would do. “Boat sounds good. Boat sounds quite good. Upriver would be… bloody badgermoles, that’s towards the Middle Ring. Fantastic. We should be heading that way anyhow. Gates are open today with coronation, at least according to the guards I overheard blabbing about it. That, and no one will expect prisoners to escape towards law enforcement. This plan can’t possibly go wrong. Right? Right.” Laoshan muttered to himself, well aware that he was fully audible to those around him.

Destination aside, things inside the prison were going rather smoothly. As things turned out, the guards weren’t prepared for a prison break on the day of An’s coronation, which meant that the riot, the wave of angry nonbenders, and the scattered handful of capable benders from various nations that had been picked up by the wave of rebellion proved more than capable of taking on the reduced watch. The middle aged man smiled as he ran past unconscious prisoners. The meatshields were doing their jobs, and the few groups of guards they encountered on their way outside the cellar were swiftly dealt with by a small horde of angry benders.

Soon enough, the metal of the bending section of the prison turned into the stone of the regular quarters, and the group emerged from their subterranean incarceration into the blinding light of day. Laoshan blinked several times, muttering oaths to himself as the bending party made their way outside. His headache still hadn’t gone away, and all the sun wasn’t doing him any favors.

Glaring through the piercing assault on his brain, Laoshan took note of a few things. The escaped prisoners seem to have taken the guards they found hostage, hog-tying the lot of them and throwing them into the middle of the prison’s yard. The yard itself was huge, with vast metal walls and a clever gate system. The gates were made of gigantic slabs of stone, requiring multiple earthbenders to open them. That wasn’t the problem. The biggest issue was that they would have to be opened from the outside, the entire inside of the courtyard lined with metal so that any earthbending escape could only make it so far. As things stood, the collected masses of prisoners who had helped clear the guards away from Laoshan's escape route was stymied, slamming their faces against the gates in frustrated woe. However, for a clever airbender, it wasn’t hard to notice that there wasn’t a ceiling on this courtyard, and the walls could be surmounted with a bit of fancy footwork, assuming he could get past the razor wire ringing the place.

Taking a moment to gather himself, the mendicant crouched, leaping up into a spinning jump propelled by a gout of wind that dented the metal where he had stood. His dirty feet made contact with the steel of the wall, pushing off, turning, and jetting loose another air blast from his legs to propel himself up to the razor covered wire surrounding the lip of the walls. His fingers latched onto the top of the wall, and he felt himself dangle. Laughing for a moment at how absurd he must look, a massive man with his arms outstretched like a child hanging from a tree, the monk shoved off of the wall, kicking off one final burst of air to flip over the wire and land atop the high ground. Laoshan spun on his feet, adopting a low defensive stance to take on the guards rushing towards him…!

...No one was on the wall.

What? The airbender leapt up to the viewports of the nearest watch tower with a small gust to push him, clinging onto the bars on the exterior of the tower and staring into the city. He knew he heard alarm bells ringing, and sure enough, there was plenty of sound coming from the Inner Ring… then the monk blanched.

“So about those confiscated items… I think we should forget them.” The bulky man tottered slightly, resembling a filthy hog monkey as he leaned away from the bars, shouting down to his younger compatriots. “We have company coming. I see… lots. Lots of ostrich-horses, and a good bit of fancy armor at the head of the charge. We have… 2 minutes? Let’s say 2 minutes, until they get here. Personally, I’m going to skedaddle and find that boat. You all are welcome to join... You know, if you can make it over the walls.” Laoshan grinned his dirty grin, hair slapping across his face in the fresh air as he stared down at badger-girl and the bald one. It was the challenges that made life fun, especially when they were for people other than him. Still, he hoped the fire nation girl would be willing to take help from the nomad. Lao sure as hell didn't know how to pilot a ship by himself.

Laoshan Fang
Ba Sing Se, 8 Path Prison: Northeast.


Mentions: @Dblade26@Korkoa





“‘Please and thank you’ wouldn’t be remiss…” Laoshan went door to door, opening the cells after fumbling with the key-ring where he heard coherent complaints. Apparently, there was a lively one or two, but most of the prisoners were soaked, frozen, and not in a state remotely close to being able to fight. Unfortunate. He used his airbending to pull those still hanging from inside their cages to the platform then undid their bonds, but that was about all the happiness he could afford them. Stragglers would be left behind. Poor buggers.

The monk sucked on his teeth, frowning as he regarded those around him. The blasted headache was back, and his mouth was all cotton. The sooner they got out, the sooner he could find something strong, and he had at best a handful of benders to work with. Most of those present were dead in the eyes, but two in particular stood out: a young air nomad, he could tell by the build and the shaved head, and a firebender with blackened fingertips and snarl like a dragonbadger. She had been waiting for him, bonds torn from the corners of her cell and rage in her eyes. Dangerous. Neither one of the young guns would go quietly. Laoshan liked it. He could work with fighters. “Alright. If you can still walk, we’re leaving. If you can’t, that’s tough, but we can’t get weighed down. There’s only so much time before the rest of the city guard catches on to what’s happening here, so I hope for your sakes you’re all capable. Baldy, you're our left flank. Young gun, you're on the right. I'll lead. Let’s hop to.”

The former monk turned, weight on the balls of his feet. Uneven teeth showed through a slightly maniacal grin. Laoshan had what he came for, and now it was time to split.
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