If Thor wins:
Looks like Wonder Woman got hammered.
If Wonder Woman wins:
Wonder Woman just had Thor on the ropes.
Let me know what you think would make good Boomstick puns.
Fire. Air. Water. Earth. These are the four elements. For over ten thousand years, we have learned how to bend these four elements. And in every generation, there is always one who can master all four: the Avatar. In each generation, the Avatar has always been the one to bring balance to the world.
We’ve just left Ba Sing Se and are now on our way to the Fire Nation at long last. It feels forever since I last laid eyes on my father. I know I promised I would come straight home after finding Jago, but we couldn’t ignore the situation in the Earth Kingdom. All things considered, it will be really nice to see my father again, even if things aren’t so great back home.
It’s no secret that the Fire Lord, Yao Tsung, is in league with the Order of the Sun. Unfortunately, he still has plenty of influence in the Fire Nation, and he has an entire military to enforce his reign. My father is one of the few elected officials who has been willing to stand up to him. But knowing Yao Tsung, it’s only a matter of time before he tries to make a move on my father, the only family I have left.
That’s why I need to do everything I can to help Jago prepare to restore honor to the Fire Nation, just like Aang and Zuko did so long ago. I promised to teach him everything I know about Firebending. He’s going to need all the training he can get in order to master the elements and restore balance.
One day after Jago’s first successful Firebending test, the three young adults had come across a beautiful valley. It had been Akosha’s turn to fly Magmor that day. When she saw the valley below them, she decided it was time for them to land.
“Why are we descending?” asked Jago. “It’s still afternoon, isn’t it?”
“Yeah,” Kyoshi agreed. “I thought we weren’t going to stop until dark.”
“I know what I said,” said Akosha, “but look at the valley below us. It’s the perfect spot for you to continue your Firebending training.”
“I can’t even see it,” Jago reminded her, “but if you think this is a good idea, I suppose we better land.”
Akosha was feeling pretty good about her choice of location. The valley was nice and wide open. There was a small forest to the east, but it was at least half a mile away from where she chose to touch down. What was more, the grass was pretty short, so there was little chance of causing a wildfire.
“I gotta hand it to you, Akosha,” Kyoshi said not long after they had landed, “this was a pretty nice place to stop and relax. To be honest, this would make a pretty nice spot to set up a summer home or something.”
“I wouldn’t count on something like that happening in the near future,” replied Akosha. “This is one of the most well preserved valleys in the Fire Nation. Most people wouldn’t like it if they knew someone had built a house here, even if it was just a summer home.”
Akosha turned around to see Jago doing a full circle around his surroundings. It was as if he was trying to look around at everything there was to see. There was something else about the way he was doing it, almost as if he was trying to remember something.
“What’s up, Jago?” Akosha asked curiously.
“I’ve been here before,” Jago replied. “It’s been over ten years, but the ground is familiar to me. I came here once with your uncle for my earliest lessons in Firebending.”
“What was it like?” Akosha asked, curious to know what Jago would say. After all, he had not mentioned ever coming here before now. not to mention, he had memories here with her uncle, one of her greatest mentors.
Jago turned from Akosha to Kyoshi. “I made the same comment about setting up a summer home here. He told me it was a good thing I was not around the same time he was a boy. Evidently, if I had voiced that thought back then, they would have burned me to the stake. Of course,” he added, seeming to know Kyoshi was staring at him incredulously, “I never really knew whether he was kidding or not.”
“I doubt it,” laughed Akosha. “If you remember Uncle Mokota as well as I do, you’d remember he wasn’t the kind of guy to kid.”
Jago nodded in agreement. “Yeah, you’re probably right. He set his goals on teaching his students discipline. And it was here in this valley that I learned how to block Firebending.”
“But you haven’t had to practice since you went into hiding?” asked Akosha. When Jago nodded, Akosha suddenly had an idea. “Well, I guess I know what we’ll be practicing today. Let’s see how much discipline you inherited from my uncle.”
Jago sighed in resignation. “I can’t help but feel I’m being punished or something like that.”
“Well, you are ten years late in saving the world, aren’t you?” teased Kyoshi.
After he visit to Mount Beifong, Delores had returned to Republic City to meet with Griffin. He had said Yao Tsung needed to speak to them. However, he was currently away running the Fire Nation, so he would be attending the meeting only by radio.
“Will Gayzer also be attending?” Delores had asked casually.
She had wanted to know what Griffin had had him doing ever since she had escaped the disaster in Ba Sing Se. She had not had contact with him since the last meeting they had attended together. Back when she had proposed killing the Tsunami of the North when she was no longer useful.
“No, he won’t,” Griffin had replied, almost, it seemed to Delores, knowingly. “His full attention has been needed on his projects. Despite the situation in Ba Sing Se, I’ve still been able to supply him with enough benders for the primary experiment.”
Delores had not asked anything else on the radio about Gayzer. She would have to work out the finer details for herself later. Right now, she was needed to plan the Order’s next move. Gayzer and his agenda could wait.
Now she was back in Griffin’s office. The president of United Republic was seated behind his desk as usual, with Delores taking the seat in front of him. A radio had been placed on the desk, allowing for them to talk to Yao Tsung.
“Thank you both for joining me this afternoon today,” said Griffin, starting off the meeting in a casual tone of voice. “As we all know, we have suffered a major setback in Ba Sing Se. We lost that battle, but we are still fighting a war, and we can still win.”
“At least we have the Fire Nation under control,” came Yao Tsung’s voice on the radio. “In over ten years, I have ensured we have had no uprisings in the homeland.”
“And yet there was still voices willing to speak out against your policies,” Delores pointed out. “I am of course speaking of Governor Shang. He has never been afraid to speak his mind, and after our defeat in Ba Sing Se, he’ll only be motivated into taking further action.”
“Shang may have many qualities as a politician,” Yao Tsung replied, “but he is not a warrior. He does not have what it takes to lead an army.”
“And yet he has remained a constant threat within the Fire Nation,” said Griffin, agreeing with Delores. “His voice has influenced many Fire Nation citizens, many of whom have become members of the New White Lotus, who are now being supplied by Earth Prime Minister Zinatsu. Not to mention, it was his daughter who discovered the Avatar in the first place.”
“Many times in history, it has taken only one voice to stir action among people. If there is one thing people are good at, it’s listening to what others have to say. They can become inspired, and they can go on to inspire others as well. That is a dangerous weapon for our enemy to possess.
“Only one thing can be done about this. Governor must be silenced for good. Leachun must be taken over. Without Shang speaking up, the chances of rebellion in the Fire Nation will die.”
There was a long pause from Yao Tsung. Finally, he said, “I do not believe this is necessary, but I will see to it that Leachun is taken. But I will need time to prepare my invasion force. I will need assistance from the United Republic as well. Your forces will be closer to Leachun than I am.”
“Understood, Yao Tsung,” said Delores, rising from her chair, “and you need not worry about time. I am on my way, and I have already made it so you have all the time you need.”
“How so?” asked Yao Tsung. “And when were you going to tell this to me?”
“When it became relevant,” said Delores, “like it just did.”
Of all the places Lee had wanted to visit in his lifetime, this swamp was not high on his list. Of course, he knew all about this swamp and what things were like here. Still, that didn’t mean he had ever wanted to come here to this place himself.
It also wasn’t helping his mood that Liara had run straight in here claiming she had heard a voice only she could hear. How was he supposed to help an amnesiac woman if she ran off on him and got herself hurt or killed? Already, he could tell it was going to be a long day.
On the positive side, he had comfort in knowing Katrinus was with him. The two of them had been through so much together. From fighting crazy Airbenders to helping the New White Lotus, Lee had come to trust his new friend with his life.
As they called for Liara, ducking under vines and leaping over roots, Lee noticed Katrinus’s look of worry. It was clear he wanted to get out of here as soon as possible. Clearly, he didn’t like it here anymore than Lee did.
“I don’t know what Liara was thinking,” Katrinus commented eventually. “Of all the places to get lost in, this was the worst. We’ll be lucky to get out of here at all.”
“Yeah,” Lee agreed. “Not the first place that comes to mind when you want to build a summer home, is it?”
“I wouldn’t know,” Katrinus said. “Never thought to make a summer home, did I?”
That was when Lee looked up ahead and saw Liara down her knees. From the sound of it, she was crying. Any annoyance Lee had previously had with her suddenly vanished. He didn’t know what had happened, but he wanted to know.
Katrinus saw Liara at around the same time Lee did. He could hear her crying and knew something unpleasant had just happening. However, something told him it had nothing to with being lost.
Katrinus approached Liara first, tentatively placing a hand on her shoulder, which made her shake. Liara jerked over to the side and saw Katrinus looking down at her. Her eyes had become red, fresh tears on her face.
“Oh, it’s you two, thank goodness,” Liara said, her voice shaking.
“Liara, what happened?”
Liara tried to stand, but when she did, her legs started to shake again, and so she remained on her knees. She took a few shaky breaths, wiping away her tears as she did so. Eventually, she locked pleading eyes with them.
“The voice I heard,” she finally said. “Not long after I heard outside the swamp, it just vanished. I tried to find it somehow, but I gave up after I tripped over here. I’m starting to think I might have been imagining things, but I’m sure I wasn’t. That voice, it felt familiar. What if it belonged to someone from my past?”
Katrinus saw Lee look down at Liara sympathetically. Offering her his hand, he helped Liara stand up before leading her to a thick tree root. There the three of them sat together for a long moment.
“I didn’t hear it,” said Lee, “but can you tell us what the voice said?”
Liara shook her head in frustration, causing the bangs on the left side of her head to cascade over her face. “It kept saying the same thing. It said I needed to come here. That if I wanted to start understanding my past, I would only truly start my journal to discover who I am here.”
“Well, that’s interesting,” a voice said behind them.
Taken by surprise, all three of them jumped off the tree root, falling face first into the water below. When they turned around, it was to see what appeared to be a badger toad. It seemed impossible, but Katrinus had a feeling it had just spoken to them.
But animals don’t talk. Then it occurred to him. Maybe it wasn’t an animal after all. What if this was a spirit? Katrinus suddenly became excited. He had never met a spirit before, yet he knew they were all over the world. the next thing he knew, he had stood up and approached the badger toad.
“Are you a spirit?” he asked the badger toad, uncomfortably aware of Lee and Liara looking at him in confusion. If he was just talking to an animal, he was going to feel really stupid. Just when he was sure it was his imagination all along…
“Well, aren’t you a scholar, my friend,” said the badger toad in a high pitched female voice. “It seems you Airbenders are better at noticing spirits in animal form than I thought. I suppose you deserve more credit than I thought.”
These words took Katrinus by surprise. So this was his first encounter with a spirit after all. Not only that, but the first spirit he meets, and she was giving him attitude. Not how he would have expected a meeting like this to go.
“Who are you?” asked Liara. “Why were you eavesdropping on us?”
The spirit smirked, the first time Katrinus had ever seen a badger toad with that kind of expression on its face. Turning her head in Liara’s direction, she replied, “Oh, I eavesdrop on anyone I see in the Swamp. It’s actually a fun pastime of mine. Granted, most of the things I hear are rather dull, but not what from you, my pretty.”
“My pretty?” asked Liara. “Really?”
“Anyway,” said the spirit, “I believe you asked me for my name. I am called Magheera by my friends, and yes,” she added at the disbelieving look on Lee’s face, “I do have friends.”
She turned back to Liara. “You said you heard a voice call out to you, right?” When Liara nodded, Magheera added, “You are not unique in this regard, honey. Many before you have been called into the Swamp here. I can only imagine you will discover something important to you soon enough.”
“But how am I supposed to know what that is?” Liara demanded. “I don’t remember my own past! I won’t know whether anything is familiar to me or not!”
“That’s the beauty of the Swamp,” said Magheera, turning into a flying lemur, “it’s always full of surprises.”
All three of them stared at Magheera in astonishment. “What?” she asked. “Never seen a shape shifter before? I can tell you, it’s been a fun ability to use practical jokes and pranks.”
“I can imagine,” agreed Lee, muttering under his breath.
“I heard that,” said Magheera.
Katrinus laughed a little, looking up into the sky. There was a long gap between two trees, so the Airbender had a good view of the blue sky in front of him. Suddenly, he saw a long shadow of something big. It was bigger than anything he had ever seen. It almost seemed familiar, but it couldn’t be…
“Did anyone else just a see sky bison?” he asked.
Magheera looked at him for a moment, then replied. “Nah, you’re probably going crazy or something,” she replied jokingly.
It had not taken Jago long to get into a proper stance when Akosha had begun his training for the day. First, she had told him the correct movements needed to block fire. They spent a few minutes going over the moves slowly, making sure he was doing it correctly.
After half an hour, Akosha nodded in satisfaction. “Alright, ready to do it in real time?” she asked the Avatar.
“As long as he doesn’t send any fire at the trees behind him,” commented Kyoshi as she began feeding Magmor some fish she had just caught. Jago could swear the dragon was laughing at him.
“Oh hush, both of you,” he commented indignantly. “If anyone causes a wildfire here, I won’t be the one who sets it off.”
“Still,” said Akosha, “Kyoshi has a point.”
Jago sighed and muttered how impossible women could be, but agreed to turn around so he was a considerable distance away from the trees. He then got back into the correct stance and faced Akosha, using his seismic sense to find her.
“Alright, I’m ready,” he called to her, “as ready as I’ll ever be,” he added in an undertone.
He felt Akosha get into a battle stance, Jago tensed, readying himself for her first shot. He had to admit he was nervous. He had fought Firebenders while trying to save the Earth Kingdom, but he had mostly relied on his unique skills with Earthbending. But he knew that since he was the Avatar, he had to master all the elements.
“Think fast, Jago!” Akosha called.
And in that moment, Jago heard the sound of the fire ball coming his way. Not ready for the sudden projectile heading for him, Jago felt himself get forced backward. He groaned a little, regaining his footing.
Jago cursed himself, feeling he had not done enough to prepare himself. How was he supposed to intercept something he could not see? He had a feeling this lesson was a bad idea. But he couldn’t give up now. That had only been one mistake. He had to try again, prove he could do this.
“It’s okay, Jago,” Akosha called encouragingly. “Let’s try that again.”
Jago nodded to indicate Akosha should send her next fire ball. He felt her kick outward in his direction. Another flaming sphere was sailing toward him, but Jago stood his ground. Once it was feet away, he gestured with his hands, dissipating the fire.
“I got it!” he called to her in excitement. “I didn’t see it, but I blocked it!”
“That was really impressive, Jago,” Akosha agreed, admiration in her voice. “My uncle taught you well. You don’t know how much it means to me to help you continue what he started.”
“Oh, I have a pretty shrewd idea you’re feeling proud of yourself,” Jago replied, smiling.
He felt Kyoshi step between them, and something about the way she was walking gave Jago the impression she was up to something. Sure enough, when she spoke, it was in that tone of voice that was always she used when she was trying to mess with them.
“That was pretty good interception from Jago,” she commented. “But Akosha, wouldn’t your teaching be more useful if you were to shoot at Jago with more than one fire ball at a time? I mean, that ought to help him improve his technique if he ends up in a literal fire fight.”
Jago was all set to deliver a clever retort back at Kyoshi, but he faltered. He had just felt something in the earth. He suddenly heard footsteps, walking purposefully toward them. It gave the Avatar a great sense of foreboding.
“Guys,” he called, “I think we better move. I think someone else is…”That was when the world blew up around him.