I don't own Avatar: The last airbender

Interlude: Winds of the desert

"Aruk, catch!" A bald boy with arrow tattoos on his head and limbs threw a ball made of air to another monk boy.

"Got it, Aang!"

They, along with the rest of the kids at the southern air temple played "air ball" in the yard. Or at least they were, until one of the grownups called Aang for some decision. Which, of course, caused a wave of rumors among the other kids.

"Hey, Puto, what do you think happened?"

"I have no idea, Aruk. Maybe they finally had enough of having cakes thrown at them while meditating!"

"I don't think so, they would have called us as well."

"True, so what do you think it is?"

"Eh, I'm sure Aang will tell us when he gets out. He never could hold a secret. Unless it's mischief related of course." The two boys snickered.

"Speaking of mischief." Aruk started. "Want to see how many pies we can snick from the storage without getting noticed."

"Now you're talking!"

After some time, with no sight of their friend, the duo went with the rest of the young acolytes to a lesson from the grand monk. When all of them, besides Aang, were present and sited, the grand monk began his lecture.

"Good morning, young air benders."

"Good morning, grand monk…" All of them said in sync, as was practiced.

"Tomorrow is a special day." The grand monk started. "Can any of you tell us why?"

The students were silent, none of them knew what the special occasion was. Then, one of them shyly raised his hand.

"Is it because tomorrow is 'Wednesday Pie'?"

"Hu hu, no." The grand monk chuckled. "Although that deserves a mention on its own. Any other guesses?"

Some more tried, but none managed to give the right answer. In the end, the grand monk rose his hand and stopped the answers.

"Tomorrow is special because tomorrow is the day of the Great Comet. Tomorrow the Great Comet will sour through the sky."

"But what's so special about this comet?" Aruk asked. "We see many shooting stars in some nights."

"I'm glad you asked, little one. This comet is different because it sours so close to us. So closely in fact, that it will be easily spotted even during the height of day. It will paint the sky in red as it passes through."

"Wow…"

"Indeed." The old man continued. "But pretty lights are not why it is called 'the Great Comet'. During the time it's above the land, the comet gives fire benders strength. The regular fire bender becomes ten times stronger during that time."

"How?" One of the kids asked.

""This is quite a tale, little one." The grand monk narrated. "Legend has it that the Great Comet is no comet at all, but something entirely else. A long time ago, before writing was even a thing, something came from the great beyond that surpasses the stars. This thing had one and one purpose only, to devour everything in sight, and it had set sights on our world."

"Great Agni, recognizing the threat, acted immediately. He alone stood at the vanguard, facing the thing from beyond head on. Their battles continued for thirty-six thousand and five hundred days exactly before great Agni bested his foe and threw its burning body across the cosmos. which is the reason why we can see the Great Comet once a century."

"Fire benders, as we all know, get their power from the sun. It is the radiating power of Agni that fuels them. The Great Comet, basking in Agni's power, allows fire benders proximity to Agni's power like never before. This is the reason why fire benders grow so ridiculously strong under the Great Comet."

"Will the thing from beyond the stars ever return?" Came a question from the crowd.

"I hardly think we have anything to worry about." The grand monk calmed the kids down. "Even if by some unforeseen circumstances the thing could return, Agni and the rest of the spirits will take care of it. Now be sure to rest well tonight, seeing the Great Comet is a one in a lifetime opportunity."

In the end, the two, nor any of the kids, saw Aang for the entire day. Most likely, whatever mess he got himself into forced him to stay up late doing some mundane work as punishment. The two young air benders went to sleep with the rest of the acolytes, unaware of what fate had in store for them.


In the next morning, Aruk woke to the sounds of gongs and screams.

"What's going on?!"

"I don't know!" Potu yelled from his side.

The two, with the other kids, ran to the adult side of the temple. On their way, however, they were intercepted by a monk named Gyatso.

"What are you doing here?! It's dangerous!" the elderly monk yelled, which shocked the kids. Gyatso never yelled at anyone or anything.

"Gyatso, what's happening? We're scared…"

"We're under attack." Gyatso replied quickly. "Now all of you must evacuate immediately! Follow me!"

Without anything better to do, the kids ran after monk Gyatso. He led them through the corridors and not once did he let them get close to the outside.

"Master Gyatso, what's really going on?" Aruk asked. "There is no way that someone can reach the temple, it's imposable for anyone who's not an air bender Is it a prank of some kind? A game with the northern air temple?"

To his carnage, the old monk simply shook his head. "I'm afraid we let ourselves be blind with the beautiful image of conception, and therefore did not see the danger right behind it. Apparently, comet fueled fire benders aren't considered 'anyone'."

Aruk was about to argue more, but the screams of men and wind drew closer.

"Quickly, we don't have much time!" Gyatso called them once again.

They ran and they ran until they reached one of the backdoors of the temple, one that was used to dump their waste in the ocean below. As Gyatso opened the door, however, he was immediately greeted with a powerful blast of fire. Thinking quickly, the old monk made a spinning spare of air in front of him, only barley saving him from being cooked. Inside, there was a group of fire benders, specifically placed there to ambush anyone who tried to escape from there.

"Run along and scatter! Escape this place and don't return!" Gyatso yelled as he started to fight with the fire benders. "I'll hold them off as long as I can!"

Without much of a thought, Aruk grabbed Puto and used air bending to get out of there as fast as he could. Much to the protests of his friend.

"What are you doing, Aruk, we have to help him!"

"Master Gyatso said that we run, then we run. He can take care of himself well enough. Do you really want to go there and die? Because that's exactly what will happen!"

The answer seemed to keep Puto quiet about turning back, at least for now. "How are we going to escape? And what about the others?"

"We can find someplace to hide until the fire benders leave, I'm sure the others will do the same" Arnuk said. "If you're going to try and find them now then you're on your own."

They felt the air around them growing hotter by the minute as they continued to run. Around them the sounds of fighting and screaming grew ever louder as well.

"There is one over here!"

"We got them now, boys!"

"Burn the old man!"

"Purge the parasites! Keep none alive, for the glory of the fire nation!"

Their luck ran out as they were spotted by a patrol. "Look, there are two here!"

Fast as the wind they bend, the two air bended away to escape. That, however, wasn't meant to be as the two were caught by a fire ball and sent pummeling down. The blast was strong enough to crush them through the hard stone wall and caused a cave-in.

"Arghhh…." Aruk moaned as he gained conciseness again. "W-where are we? Puto? Puto!"

Aruk quickly went to his friend's side, and it didn't look good. Puto was closer to the blast then Aruk and smashed through the walls harder than him as well, and it was showing. The downed air bender had massive burns, and his body was bent unnaturally in some places.

Aruk tried to get his friend up, saying that it would be okay, but Pito's eyes said everything. Even if the owner couldn't speak. They told Aruk to let it go, there was no help in this stage.

"No, nononono… don't leave me buddy, we can still make it to a healer." Aruk desperately begged, to which he only received a slow and sad shake of the head which stopped in the middle. The body no longer possesses a spirit to occupy it.

"No!" Aruk yelled, forgetting about the genocide outside. He yelled and wailed and moaned for so long he himself did not remember. It could be minutes, it could be days, but in the end, he had no tears left to shed. He looked for the first time at the surrounding, it looked like a hell hole plain and simple. Hieroglyphs and evil lighting did nothing for his psych.

Then, he finally noticed it, a single beam of rock. Only something was half inside it, a black helmet of some kind. In any other state of mind, the kid would have run away long ago. Stories of forgotten cursed artifacts were very familiar to the air nomads. But he wasn't in the right state of mind, he was all but broken, and therefore vulnerable.

He couldn't explain it, but something called him, told him to get closer to the helmet. Like a puppet on strings, he walked to the dark helmet step by step. At long last, it was before him. He put his two hands on the helmet and looked deep into the slits of the eyes. It looked back.

He stood there motionless for spirits know how long, until he didn't. It started with small movements of his chest, then shaking and snickering. Then came the full-blown psychotic laugh.

Something in him broke, he didn't know what it was and frankly he didn't care. He let go of the helmet and began walk unevenly across the room, breathing in the madness while holding his head in both hands. Laughing all the while. The image of the helmet forever imprinted in his mind.

Somehow, he got out of the closed off chamber he was in, he did not know how, nor did he care. If he had the ability to at least consider it a little, he would have definitely recognized a foul play. He expected to face fire benders the moment he came from the chamber, but he met none. It was a sign of how long he was in that room that all the fire nation left.

Walking around, he recognized the many bodies of his friends, none survived. The only one he couldn't find was that of Aang, he hoped that at least it meant that Aang got away. He happily noticed that the bodies of the fire nation were the vast majority and even made sure to let out his pain and aggression over them. All if the monk's teachings died in the fire with them.

After that, he grabbed his stuff and flew off in a random direction eastward. Unfortunately, even the sky bisons weren't spared from the slaughter. Checkering madly all the while. In the end, he flew for a few days until his strength left him. He crushed inside the Si Wong desert

Aruk woke. Looking around, he saw that he was in a tent of some kind. There were people there, who he recognized from their attire were the natives of the Si Wong desert. At least he knew where he was, that's a start.

"You're awake, good." A gruff voice came from the man who was probably the leader of the tribe.

"What happened?" Aruk asked.

"We found you unconscious, boy." The leader replied. "You're lucky you're alive. A few more hours and the desert would have had you."

"I thank you for your hospitality." Aruk replied. "But I must warn the others, could you point me to the nearest air temple?

Laughter was all he received from the other people in the tent. When he asked for the reason, the answer chilled him to the bone.

"I'm afraid your too late, boy." The leader said. "If you meant about the fire nation, then they had already attacked all the air temples on the day of the comet. As far as I know, you're the only surviving air bender."

"What?! No! It's impossible!" disbelief and loss fueled the supposedly last air bender.

"Too bad for you, that's the truth." The leader said, unmoved by the kid's turmoil. "And I'd bet the fire nation will pay a juicy reward for anyone who brings them an air bender. Don't you think so, guys?"

Aruk went pale with fear as the men all laughed and agreed. He was about to react when the leader spoke once more. "But it doesn't have to be this way."

At the confusion expression on the air bender's face, the leader continued. "In any point of time we can just sell you out to the fire nation, and we will do it in a heartbeat. Even if you somehow manage to escape, you will live a life on the run. But if you prove yourself more valuable than the price on your head, we'll gladly keep your origin as our little secret. What do you say?"

There wasn't much of a choice, and by the smug grin on the leader's face he knew it as well. "What do I have to do?" There was a tone of sorrow and acceptance in Aruk's words.

The leader's grin became even larger. "Your air bending is strong, it can move our sand ships much faster than regular sand bending. With it, we'll be the fastest tribe in all of the Si Wong desert. You will follow our every command, if we tell you to move the sand ships you move them, if we tell you to cook and clean you do it, and if we tell you to hit yourself then you hit yourself with everything you've got. Are we clear?"

"Y-yes…"

The following years had been a nightmare. After being forced to agree to the blackmail, Aruk basically became a slave. His masters were running him rugged and abuse him, he had no friends and he had no one to lean on. He was forced to participate in their raids as well, because of course they were bandits. He was forced to kill innocents, so far have he gone from the air nomad teachings. Of course, he wasn't allowed to have any possessions.

The cruelty wasn't reserved for the adults, their kids participated in his misery as well. Constant mocking, hitting and stealing. The leader's son took it as his personal mission to make Aruk as miserable as he can be.

The boy, Abbas, was vain and spoiled. He believed that because his father was the head of the strongest tribe (using Aruk's air bending to outperform the other tribes), he could do everything. A belief which, to Aruk's carnage, proved to be correct.

If there was something he wanted he got it and if someone had anything to say about it, they soon became very quiet. If he wanted someone beaten then they ended up being beaten, a fact that Aruk saw proved many times by being at the receiving end. Abbas also took great joy in collecting girls, especially those who were in a relationship. More than once, Abbas took a girl that Aruk had an interest in.

One day, after a successful raid (something that became a norm for Aruk), he got ambushed by Abbas and his gang. They began to beat him as usual, but Aruk was tired, hungry and thirsty from the raid. One kick hit him in a very particular way, it hit him just like when he was thrown into that chamber by the blast all those years ago. He suddenly had flashbacks about it and snapped. With a wave of his hand, he sent one of the thugs flying across the camp, crashing into a tent in the process.

"What do you think you're doing, slave boy?" Abbas yelled in indignation. "I'm gonna beat you to a bloody plump! Then, if you beg for forgiveness, I may even not sell you to the fire nation!"

Aruk didn't care anymore. No, he didn't care about anything. Possessed by the same feeling he felt touching that helmet, he unleashed all his pain and madness. He didn't remember much, he remembered killing Abbas, then his dad coming out and ordering to kill Aruk, then more killing.

In the end, he found himself in the former leader's (now his) tent, surrounded by the very same and very attractive harem of girls both Abbas and his father collected. In that moment, he learned the strongest rule, which was that the strongest rule. He now embraced the ways of desert completely. None of the pacifistic ways of the air nomads left, only the pursuit of happiness. And he promised himself to be happy for the rest of his life.

"Argh!" His killer sent him flying across the sand. Aruk knew this day would come, he was growing old, slow, weak. It's only natural that someone would usurp him one day. What was surprising was the air blast that sent him flying, which left little doubt about his attacker.

Being killed by his own son, now isn't this ironic?

Over the years he had sired many children in hopes of reviving the air nomads, but after the first dozen showed no signs of being air benders, he lost interest in them altogether. He cared little for those brats, who were a byproduct of passion more than anything. They will live by the rules of the desert, if they are strong enough then they'll survive, in not then they weren't worth his time to begin with.

Apparently, in the over thousand spawns he produced, at least one of them was an air bender. And a strong one at that. It gave Aruk a strange sense of pride to know that he produced such a strong air bender, and that their race didn't end with him. Which was very short lived as he spat some blood.

"Do you… Have something to say… to your creator… before you strike him down?" Aruk asked his son. He already accepted his fate.

"You had me, then left my mother to rot in the wastes. Why?" came the reply. Oh, Aruk hoped that this isn't going to become some kind of a heartbreaking scene from a play, his legacy should be well above such nonsense.

"I didn't care about her, nor about you or anyone else." Aruk answered honestly. "We had our fun and that's it. It's hardly my fault if she can't follow the rules of the desert."

He got a kick to his kidney in response. "My mother died alone, shamed and miserable, and this is all you have to say?!"

"Spare the self-righteousness, boy. You come to me, kill my men and kill me without remorse or care. You're no stranger to violence and bloodshed, you're a creature of the desert just like all of us." Aruk retorted. "Besides, you can't fool me. I've seen the glint of greed in your eyes, some self-righteous revenge is hardly the main reason you came here."

"Heh… got figured out, did I? Very well, I came to take your place, old timer. Once I kill you, everything you own becomes mine, and I'll be the strongest man in the desert!" His spawn proclaimed.

"As is right." Aruk nodded. "The strongest rule is that the strongest rule. End me and take what's is yours, like your son will do to you, and like his will do to him."

The stronger man snorted. "As if I'll let some brats be the end of me. I will kill everyone who challenge me!"

"Hah… I said the same thing and look at us now."

The spawn had seemed to consider his words. "What about your other basterds, do you know where they are?"

"Ha! Know where they are? I don't even know your name or who your mother is!" The man in front of him gave Aruk a dry look.

"So, you're of no use to me." With those final words, Aruk's neck was snapped by the heavy boot of his son.

With a painful grunt, the man before Mi-Sha fell to the ground. The giant of a man raised his hand and pushed it down with force, it caused the downed man's body splat on the ground like a fine paste.

It was a trick Mi-Sha figured on his own, a new innovation of his. He used his air bending skills to create pressure of an unbelievable degree. For example, the pressure his sperm donor felt was akin to what he would feel if an adult camelephant decided to stand on him with one leg. Usually he would drag on the battle a little to toy with his victim, but he needed to make a statement.

Oh, and what statement he made. All the people around him, those who weren't loyal to him at least, stood dumbstruck with their mouth wide open. For them, the strongest and most terrifying man they knew was finished in a literal second.

"All hail Mi-Sha, the true lord of the sands!" The proclamation of his right-hand man pulled the others back to reality as they chanted as well.

"All hail Mi-Sha!"

"All hail Mi-Sha!"

"All hail Mi-Sha!"

They followed the ways of the desert, where the universal truth of the strong rule was practiced and embraced by all. And he proved beyond any doubt that he was the strongest there is. Those people would be loyal to him, as long as he stays the strongest. Which was fine by him.

He flexed his impressive frame to the crowd, a result of generations of selective breeding where the strongest air bender conceived the best suited woman to produce an even stronger offspring. Each sand lord was stronger than the one who came before him, and Mi-Sha was at its zenith.

Now, with his biggest obstacle removed, Mi-Sha was unstoppable. He was the biggest name in the desert, but it wasn't enough for him. He had what some people would call ambition, and loads of it. His domain will not be a single wasteland, but everything. Unlike those who came before him, Mi-Sha didn't fear the fire nation, he didn't fear anything. Which was one of the reasons for his astronomic rise to power.

He made deals with both the earth kingdom and the fire nation, built himself up from a nameless orphan to what he is today. He used his pressure bending to the max, convincing the superstitious lot that he was a chosen one by the spirits. With this support, he gathered enough man to challenge the now former sand lord and his sire.

With the support of outside help, who was more than eager for a place to commit their dirty deeds undisturbed and far from the public eye, he was going to build a great city. The greatest and only city in the Si Wong desert will be built in his image and by the laws of the desert, the strong thrive as the weak serve and die. And he, Mi-Sha, will be in its center.

He had his eyes for prizes outside the desert as well. While those before him were content enough to tyrannize and raid everything that came to the desert and its periphery, he had no such modesty. He already had his eyes drawn on the islands in the southern sea, with Kyoshi chief among his trophies, he only had to think about a way to destabilize the region enough for him to get hold.

But that will have to wait for later. Now, now it was time for him to enjoy the spoils of his victory.

It is done, after years of hard labor it was finally done. His city, Amora, had been finally completed. With the resources he either robbed from the people, borrowed from his "partners", or even downright made himself, he was able to build a city around the biggest oasis that will not shame any other city from the green lands.

With walls high and strong as any fortress and gates big enough to let a camelephant pass through even if it stood on four legs, the city was finally opened for business. He had lost good coins and favors for it, but now he will finally start to make up for it.

Already reports came to him about the influx of people, both tourist and pioneers, to the city. The gambling dens were full and so were the brothels, by the estimations he will fill his debt in a year's time with those alone. And it was without considering all the money from the slave market, with those he was sure that by year's end he would be richer than ever before.

But it was no time to stand idle. The fire navy made it hard for him to get the islands he wanted, he will have to think of a way to redirect their attention somehow. Fortunately, Kyoshi island was a natural ground and therefore easier to access. Once things stabilize here enough so that he could feel safe to leave the city for its own for a month, he will see what he could do with Kyoshi island. This operation is something he will have personally take charge of, he didn't trust anyone else to not muck it up.

Things were going well, very well. His trip to Kyoshi island was a total success, Zolt was a gift from the spirits. The man had the exact qualities for the job. He was a coward and a lair who quickly bent his tail under pressure, but greedy enough to know how to play along. He also was smart enough to know when to push and when to bail, as well as how to hide things. And with his new position as a husband of one of those Kyoshi warriors, he was close to all the materials for his job to do it without a risk.

Things in the city were spectacular as well. The profits were as far as triple what his estimations promised, and it showed. The city was filled with people, and with the new manpower available he was able to increase his influence across the region.

That, however, posed a new problem. The people, most of whom were urchin and other low life, filled the streets and were starting to hinder business. The moneybags called tourists became a prime target for those parasites and that was starting to annoy his pockets.

He built this city in the image of the strong survive, true, and he usually wouldn't even care if some green lander was gutted because he went to the wrong ally. But when it evolves him, all bets were off. He will have to send some enforcers to "remind" the gutter of the streets who's in charge. He will also have to look into a way to get his men an easier access to all the parts of the city, maybe he'll look into building some tunnels.

In any case, the madam told him about a new star in her brothel, a raven haired and hazel eyed girl who was immediately nominated to be the main prize for the arena at their first ever four yearly tournament. He heard his man talk excitedly about this girl as well, who apparently impressed them much more than any other woman of this profession. He decided to see what the fuss was all about. After all, what a better way to pass time in the cold desert night as your soldiers paint the streets in red then in a warm bed with a beautiful woman?

Mi-Sha sat in his office as he listened to one of his man's reports. A heavy feeling filled his heart.

"The children both appear to be healthy, sir. The boy is already showing signs of growing to be as big as his sire, and the girl is to be as pretty as her mother, at least according to the madam. And while the boy showed signs of being a strong earth bender, the girl has yet to show any signs of bending. We suspect her to be a none bender, sir."

"I see… And you are sure that the girl is mine?" Mi-Sha asked in reply.

"We can't be certain, my lord, but with her lack of bending and lack of any noticeable physical traits, we suspect that the siblings are related only by their mother."

Mi-Sha sighed, a part of him relieved and a part disappointed. He, unlike his procedures, at least tried to keep track of his spawns. For no other reason than to monitor which one of those brats may pose a threat to him in the future.

This briefing was about the siblings that he may have conceived with Zaire, the most beautiful woman in all of the desert. At least according to the madam and the costumers. He met her for the first time as his men purged the filth all those years ago, and he certainly understand the excitement about her.

He grew more and more attached, and after she gave birth to her first child, he actually felt something warm inside him. He had never felt something like that when other wenches gave birth to his spawns before, that's for sure. He also had to admit that he kept track of her child more than the others, and he was satisfied with the boy's growth. The kid indeed will reach his size when he's grown.

He also was impressed that Zaire still kept her perfect figure even after the pregnancy. Considering the kid was born twice as large as a normal baby, it was nothing less than a miracle. It also demonstrated her strong genetics and made Mi-Sha certain that she is the one who'll give birth to his heir.

Unfortunately, as her job dictates, not every child was curtained to be his. A fact that he's seeing now. For some unexplained reason he felt immense rage at the thought, more than anything before. Which was strange, he knew exactly what she was, and he can always spawn more children with any woman he desired. It's not like – Oh… he had grown attached to her, didn't he …

There was one rule that all the send lords held, the one rule that survived from their air nomad roots, no attachment allowed. Attachment meant binding oneself to a single person, and such a sin to their freedom wasn't allowed. And that's ignoring the fact that mating with only a single woman will be fetal for their survival as the fittest.

Mi-Sha sighed, there was only one solution to this problem. No matter how hurtful it may be.

"Very well, you may go." And the man left as ordered.

Mi-Sha turned then to the enforcer next to him once it was clear that they were alone. "Take a scorpion viper and put it under Zaire's bed, make sure it hits its mark."

With a salute, the enforcer left to commit his heinous deed.

Mi-Sha sighed once again. It hurt him, it really did, but he can't be held by anyone or anything. He will forget about the kids as well, if they're worth his time they'll survive on their own. Now he has more important things to worry about.

While his empire did grow spectacularly, the advances on the southern sea still was hit by the presence of the e fire navy. As long as those ships patrolled the area, any investment he makes will be more trouble than worth. If only he had something to distract them with… An idea popped in his head. A crazy one, but one that may be crazy enough to work.

He needed the southern fleet to be distracted like he may have been with Zaire. Well, wasn't their main objective to crush the southern water tribe? All he needed to do was to somehow make the fleet return to their usual purpose, but how?

The south pole, as it stands now, was an appetizer for the fleet. Any serious attack from the fire nation will crush it pretty quickly and wouldn't give Mi-Sha the time he needed. So it needs to be the opposite, he somehow needs to convince the southern water tribe to attack the fire nation and be a thorn on their side with guerilla warfare.

The only question is how. From experience, the people of water tribes aren't as motivated by greed and lust for power as people in the earth kingdom or the fire nation. But they do have a much stronger sense of community and familiar bound, if he was to use it… Oh yes, he can clearly picture it now.

With a huge grin, he wrote a letter to a minor noble from the first nation who owned quite a sum to Mi-Sha. It was time for another raid on the south pole.

Forgetting about his earlier misfortune, Mi-Sha went to sleep with a smile on his face

It took a few months for that guy to pull it off, but finally Mi-Sha had the distraction he needed. With the raid kidnapping the very own wife of chief Hakoda, the man all but declared a crusade to rescue his wife. A crusade that Mi-Sha will make sure to last forever.

To put a cherry on top, the wife, Kia, was to be brought to him as an offering. Now all he had to do was to wait a little and give Hakoda a bone here and there so that the southern fleet would be too busy with the chieftain. He's going to start preparing the squads for their future territories.

And who knows, he may actually let the guy go home before he cuts off loose ends.


Kya was terrified, and that was putting it mildly.

She was in a cell on one of the frigates of the southern raiders after she surrendered herself to save her daughter. She didn't know how they discovered that there was a water bender in the village, be it by scouting or by a traitor, but luckily, they had no idea about her daughter's gift.

The commander of this force, a cruel looking man named Yon Rha, targeted her specifically and accused her of being a water bender. Such a direct accusation couldn't have been made without someone targeting her specifically, but who it was is beyond her. Without any real choice, and of fear of endangering her daughter, Kya agreed.

Katara, her poor child, bore witness as she was being taken away by the commander. It broke Kya's heart to see her daughter in such state, but it was the only way she could protect her little water bender. Kya had a small hope that her husband would come and rescue her, but unfortunately the raid was too well planned.

And now here she was, taken prisoner with little water in an enemy ship. Her guards were rotating and changing every few hours and so far, none of them came close to her besides bringing her food and water, let alone talking or touching her. Something she considered a miracle.

At long last, she felt the ship halt. They were making a stop, or even taking her to whatever hole they put all the water benders to. Soon enough, the soldiers came to her cell and accompanied her outside. Even cuffed in both hands and legs, Kya was happy to feel fresh air. As they walked off the ship, Kya noticed the man who quickly became her most hated person, talking with a well-dressed man.

"And here the water bender is, as instructed." Yon said. "Although I still don't understand why we returned to the old orders to keep enemy water benders prisoner, I thought the instructions were changed to killing on sight."

"Well, good thing your job isn't thinking then. You've done your job, you can go now." The snooty tone of the other man made her skin crawl, and it wasn't even directed at her.

Yon scuffed and uttered what must have been some unkind words under his breath. Before he left for his ship. As the frigate began to disembark, Kya was left alone with the stranger. And of course, his guards.

"Right then." The man clapped his hands. "You're Kya, right? The wife of the chieftain?"

She nodded, seeing no point in denying simple facts. Especially when it clearly was a rhetorical question.

"Good, good… Now as you heard our sour faced friend, there have been a kill order on water benders, right?" She nodded as he continued. "Well, you're in luck you had me, because the order is very much intact!"

"… What?!"

Seeing her bewilderment, the man grinned as he continued. "Yes, I was able to forge the edict so that old sour face over there would keep you alive." The man smiles. "With great risk, may I add."

"How… selfless of you…" Kya spoke for the first time, not buying anything that man was trying to sell. If anything, his smile only grew after her response.

"Why, thank you." Suddenly, his face grew somber. "Unfortunately, this is all I could have done. And we can't have you being sent to wherever they keep the water benders either, they will figure out the scam immediately. I will have to hide you with me for now."

Oh… now it made much more sense. This man wanted a new toy to play with and she was unfortunate enough to catch his attention. Did he merely change orders or was he behind the whole raid, Kya wondered. Immediately having a new person as her most hated man.

"I thank you for your… generosity." Kya managed to say without puking. "And I suppose my stay would have to be indefinite?"

"I'm afraid not." The man said, much to Kya's surprise. "As much as I would appreciate your company, you wouldn't be safe in any part of the fire nation. I can secure you a passage to an acquaintance of mine in the earth kingdom, but that's where my reach ends."

"I… thank you." Kya didn't know what to think, let alone say. Did she really misjudge the man in front of her? Perhaps not all of the fire nation were irredeemable.

"Don't thank me yet, we still have to get you there unnoticed." The man reminded her. "Tomorrow I will have a ship ready for us in the morning, so I suggest you rest for now. I hardly think a prison cell in a warship did you any good with that."

"Thank you, it would be lovely." Kya accept his offered hand and let him lead her to where she would sleep for today. She didn't trust him, not by a long shot, but she will play her part for now. She needed to return to her family at all costs.

The ship arrived in the following day as promised and Kya internally sighed in relief. A rather large part of her feared that the man, Lur as she discovered, had lied to her. They ate breakfast and she made sure to try anything only after her host tasted it first. While he proved himself reliable so far, she didn't want to risk being drugged because of her trust.

The ship itself was also a far step up from her cell. It was wooden, thank the sea and moon for that, and much more similar to the canucks she was used to sailing in. She also got her own room right next to Lur, which had the most comfortable bed she ever slept on. The room itself was also very large and pretty, although she wouldn't mind if it was less red and more blue.

Her wardrobe itself had to change as well. If someone saw her wearing her blue parka, there was a real chance that they may have recognized her as a woman from the south pole. Therefore, she reluctantly agreed to Lur's suggestion to change her clothes.

Her new clothes were… different. They were red, first of all, which considering she was to be disguised to a woman from the fire nation made sense. It was also very liberal, for lack of better words. The upper part of dress itself hung from her neck and exposed her shoulders. It also stopped a few centimeters above her bellybutton, showing her tanned belly that kept its figure even after giving birth twice.

The lower part was a warped skirt that stopped at her knees, crimson as well, and exposed way too much skin for her liking. She heavily suspended that her rescuer had ulterior motives when he offered her that dress, but seeing as other women did wear such things, she had little choice but to agree.

Lur also had a mild attraction towards her, she noticed. He always tried to get close to her and help her with small things. It was adorable in a way, but she was happily married with two kids. She of course always let him down easily, both because she didn't want to hurt his feelings and because she didn't want to ruin her chances to get back home.

Once they reached the place that she was told was called the Si Wong desert, however, Lur offered her something she couldn't accept.

"No! There is no way I'm wearing that."

What he offered her was a beautiful piece of cloth. It was baby blue with shining pearls and looked like it cost more than her entire village, the problem was…

"It barely covers anything! I'm a married woman and a mother in case you've forgotten!"

"And I'm telling you that you need to change again! You need to blend in with the locals!"

"Bulls! I don't see you getting changed!"

"I don't have to make a good first impression. Mi-Sha must be pleased, I've risked too much already…"

"I don't understand, isn't this Mi-Sha a friend of yours?" Kya asked confused. She was led to believe that she would be staying at a friend's house until she could safely return home, but apparently it was more complicated.

"We're… acquaintances." Lur started. "He helped me in a tight spot before and he said he could host you, but he wanted to meet you before agreeing to anything."

"Then why the getup?" Kya asked with a raised eyebrow. "Did he demand it? Should I be worried of his advances?"

"Ni, no!" Lur waived his hands. "He's exactly what he needs to be! I have never seen him do something he shouldn't be doing. But knowing him, he will be much more agreeable if you show respect to his customs."

"I'm not wearing this, if he has any problems then I'm sure we can talk things out." She noticed how concerned he became as this Mi-Sha was mentioned, what she isn't seeing here?

"If you don't want then I can't force you, but for the love of spirits, at least keep this close. We only have one chance, so we can't mess this up."

Why did she think that the last part was more directed at him than her?

In any case, once they got out of the carriage, she experienced the hottest sun in her life by far. Hopefully she wouldn't have to stay here for long. They entered a big building made of sandstone and Kya couldn't help but look around. After a minute, Lur led her to what she figured was the clerk.

"Hello sir, I have an appointment with lord Mi-Sha. I believe he's expecting me."

"Name?"

"Lut, but it may be written as Kya as well."

The clerk scanned his list for a long stressful minute until he apparently spotted what he was looking for.

"Yes, I see you on the list. A meeting about settling debt, correct?"

"Y-yes, that m-me."

What debt? She wasn't aware of any debt! And what about her? She was about to interject, but the clerk beat her to it.

"And the miss?"

"She's lady Kya, Mi-Sha expects her as well."

"Very well, you may proceed." The clerk said. "Please follow this gentleman."

Seemingly out of nowhere, a large figure stepped out of the shadows. It was a tall man, taller than either Lur or her husband, and armored. He had bronze carapace armor with green fabric and brown gloves that left no skin exposed. His head was covered in a green hood, and she could only see the helmet, which was no more than a slab of metal with five holes in it. And last but certainly not least, he had mean looking swords at each side of his body.

She was terrified, like a penguin seal in front of an owl wolf. And her companion wasn't much better. Luckily for them, the killing machine in front of them merely started walking slowly.

"What was that about a debt?!" Kya whispered to the fire nation noble. "You have never mentioned it!"

"It wasn't important for your situation, okay? I didn't need you to worry about my problems as well!" He whispered in the same tone. "Besides, all of my debt problems will be over after today, so don't worry about me." He said with a smile.

After walking a few corridors and a few steps, Kya was met with a pair of large doors. Each side was guarded by a similar individual to their own scary guide. Said guide knocked on the door three times.

"Come in." the voice said, but the power behind it made it all but command.

Kya did as instruct, immediately feeling goosebumps. Whoever was behind this door was a terrifying man indeed, even Yon didn't scare her like that. Going inside she certainly wasn't disappointed.

The man, if that thing could be even called a man, was by far the largest human being she ever saw. Standing with his back to them, was an over seven feet hulk of muscles. She had a feeling that he could easily snap a man to two. And when he turned to face them, her breath hitched.

The man wore a traditional outfit that showed of his impressive abs. No, seriously, one could grind meat on them! But what really caught her was the face. He was a handsome man, in a roughish way, but he had that cruel glint in his eyes that she couldn't miss. Suddenly she was much more afraid of staying here, temporary as it was.

"Ah, Lur my old friend. I was just about to send someone to fetch you!" The giant said with humor. "And you brought your end of the burgeon as well, marvelous!"

"Hih.. You know me, sir, I… amm… I did as I said I would, didn't I? So about our deal… is it all?"

"Excuse me, what deal?" Kya asked with confusion.

"Why the deal for your possession, of course." Mi-Sha said evenly as Kya's world crushed around her.

"What… No, it can't be true!" She turned her head to the smaller man. "You lied to me!"

"Well, I had to pay my debts so Mi-Sha somehow." The man she was foolish enough to trust mockingly replied.

"So you decide to sell me when I needed help the most?!" The rage in her tone was clear.

"Oh, he did much more than only that, I'm afraid." Mi-Sha said as he walked behind the slimy liar and put one massive hand on the smaller man's shoulder. "He particularly designed the entire raid, all your suffering was by his design. And to think he did all that because he owned a few coins."

Kya let out a string of cursed that would have had her tasting soap for a year should Gran-Gran have heard her.

"You sure have a mouth, let's see what else it could do in a month. I'll be sure to test it." The thing that lured her revealed his true colors.

"Get out!"

He was about to respond when he felt sudden pressure on his shoulder.

"You heard the lady." Mi-Sha said. "Out."

"B-but out deal-"

"Will stay the same as long as I don't see you your ugly mug in the next minute."

"Y-yes sir, t-thank you, sir…" The sniveling cowered ran away, leaving her alone with the brute.

Mi-Sha now turned his attention towards her. "You were given proper clothes earlier, wear them."

"What?! No way!" She yelled in defiance. "Listen here, you sick retard, you may have me trapped here, but don't think for a second that I'll humor any of you deranged ideas. I'm a proud woman of the south and the wife of the chieftain himself! And when my husband finds out I'm here, and you can bet your butt that he will, he will come here with the entire tribe and shove a spear up your ass so deep it'll come from your mouth!"

At her bold proclamations, the man had the gall to laugh. "What's so funny?!"

"Oh, you're adorable." He spoke. "I'm well aware of the lengths your husband will go for you, I'm counting on it actually."

At her confused look he explained.

"I… wasn't completely honest with you. Lur did have you kidnapped, but on my orders. You see, I needed something to distract the southern fleet with, and your husband was just the expendable tool I needed. He will be too busy with the fire nation to look for you here, and you'll do everything you can to keep it this way."

"And why in the world would I do that?" Kya didn't think that guy was this delusional. The shock from the reveal still hadn't sat yet. And the man smiled, smiled!

"Because, my dear Kya, unlike my appearance suggests, I actually have a working brain. Unlike some, I actually read the raid's report. And one detail buggers me. Why, oh why, someone who is as fierce as you shown yourself to be right now would willingly let herself be captured?"

Kya start to worry for a different reason now as Mi-Sha circled around her.

"Why it's almost like you let yourself be sacrificed do hide something… or perhaps a someone? I wonder what would happen if an anonymous letter found its way to the fire lord, tipping him on something?"

"No!" She yelled.

"Well then." He said as he put his hand under her chin, forcing her to look up to him. "I suppose that you better obey and wear your new clothes then. Of course, it's your choice in the end."

Damn him, Kya thought, damn him to Koh!

AN

The first interlude of the story!

hope it helped you all with some points that frankly were bothering me as well, as why Mi-Sha is a thing anyway and how Kya ended up where she is. this also has a few ester eggs for the future, hope you all enjoyed.

Now for the reviews:

02cjdgmail:

The answer to the first question is both, and depends on the spirit. The more knowledgeable spirits who know about Sai consider it the one in charge, but in any case the spirits see the image of the overlord as a deranged spawn of Vaatu, an unholy mockery of what's a spirit suppose to be. Of course the Avatar is an exception because they are the Avatar. The synergy will have its place, but in the future. I need to build the foundations for a reason for such a powerup, which already has early seeds. I don't plan for him to take any immaterial domains as for now, can imagine the paperwork that comes with the job...

deniswanheda:

Thank you!

Glad you liked by interpolation of spirits, and I agree with you. As for Senso, we're humans! we always have one war or another, just look at the state of the world! The real one, I mean. With Thrawn, my idea was that all of his achievements are his own. He is only human, no spiritual help, everything he did was by his own skills. he's just so good at what he's doing that one may confused him with a spirit chosen. Can you write what the names of those two stories are?

Engineer1869:

Xing is always a good boy, and I pictured his bark in the same way. he's a growing boy after all. I'll dwell into the rabbit hole that is spirits in the future. As for Thrawn, I already talked about it in the review above, but I must stress that Thrawn is Thrawn. Everything he did was because of his own skills and wit, having him being empowered by a spirit will ruin this. As for the propaganda... well there may have been a mutiny attempt or three off screen.

USSRFox:

He sure will!

Anyway, thank you for reading, and please feel free to review!