Til Human Voices Wake Us Nov 13, 2008 18:20:42 GMT -5
Post by graywand1 on Nov 13, 2008 18:20:42 GMT -5
"And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight
Where ignorant armies clash by night."
-Matthew Arnold, "Dover Beach"
"You miscalculated," Mai said, all the anger and rage felt by her whole race flashing in her eyes as she stared down Azula. "I love Zuko more than I fear you." There, she'd finally said it to her. Those words had been gathering weight on her chest for a long time, ever since Ba Sing Se. She'd had an opportunity than to intervene to defend Zuko, but Zuko had managed to save himself. Now, the tremendous moral confusion he'd been subjected to for the longest time had finally driven him to make a final decision to stand with the Avatar. And in that moment, she had been forced to make an endgame move of her own, a move which drove her to engage and subdue the guards attempting to block Zuko and Sokka's final escape, and in doing so had driven her to this moment in time. It's now or never, she thought to herself as she stood there. Either Azula dies or I die, there can be no middle ground.
Azula, her face contorted in rage, glared daggers at Mai. "No, you miscalculated. You should have feared me more!" And, there it was, the storm had broken, their friendship was over. Azula raised her hands into position, obviously intent on frying her alive with her signature lightning bolts. Mai wasn't going to go down fighting, though. She raised her shuriken to throwing position, the light of the sun glinting off the blade's deadly points. If I can get these in her hands, I can cut off her ability to return fire, and I can use another one to finish her off. It should only take three of my blades: two for her hands, one for her throat. Part of her hated to think that last thought, but she didn't feel she had any choice. If Azula survived, she'd try to kill her with her bare hands, something she could very easily accomplish. The way she saw it, there was no choice, one of them had to die, and she had no intention of being that one.
She never got the chance, for Azula, her eyes widened in shock, fell over, limp as a boned fish, her armor clinking loudly as it made impact with the ground. And, standing beside her, with an immortal look of shock in her gray eyes, her hands still in the position they were when they struck her down, was Ty Lee. Her friend ran toward her, breaking every speed record in the Fire Nation. She grabbed Mai by her arms and tried to tug her back toward the gondola. For the rest of her life, Mai would curse her dumbstruck feet. They could've escaped, they could've found Zuko, and his friends and began to atone for the sins they'd committed against them out of fear. But alas, that wasn't to be so. A large force of guards stormed the dock, grabbed them roughly with their filthy hands and forced them to their feet. Ty Lee and Mai didn't even bother to struggle against their captors. There were too many of them for even them, with all their battle-honed skills, to deal with. It was over. And they'd best just accept that.
When one of the guards holding an incensed Mai asked their Crown Princess what she wanted done with them, Azula stood over them, an angry look crossing her face as she took them in.
"Put them somewhere where I never have to see their faces again!" Azula roared, anger and hate spilling out of her mouth, along with more than a few droplets of saliva which impacted her on the face. She grimaced as it splashed in her eyes and around her mouth, causing her to fume inwardly at the fact that she couldn't wipe that despised woman's spittle off of her. "And let them rot!"
Thirty minutes later
Ty Lee shivered uncontrollably in the sunlight. She had just spent a charming time in Boiling Rock's infamous coolers. They'd thrown her in there as punishment for striking a prison guard during processing. Never mind the fact that said guard, a big, hulking thing with an ugly scar on the right side of his face, had tried to touch her in a most inappropriate place. In response, she'd nailed every pressure point on him she could reach, turning him into a musclebound, paralyzed mass on the floor of the processing area. Unfortunately, all that did was draw the ire of the other guards in the room, and they promptly abandoned all lascivious thoughts toward her and beat her up. Bruised, beaten, and unconscious, Ty Lee came too to find herself in the coolers. They left her in there for an excruciating thirty minutes as Ty struggled to keep warm by balling herself up in a corner of the room. When they finally came to get her, all she could do was just let herself be carried out by one of the guards, who promptly threw her out in the middle of the courtyard. She'd lain there, for the past five minutes, desperate and tired, on the ground as she shivered off her remaining cold in the sun.
"Ty Lee," a blessedly familiar voice said to her. He looked up to see her dearest friend, Mai, staring down at her. She, like Ty, was wearing one of the red prison uniforms, and was rapidly running over to her. Mai pulled her friend up by her shoulders and Ty instinctively, fell, crying, into her embrace. After a few moments of sobbing uncontrollably in her friends arms, she looks up and sees that, blessedly, Mai looked none the worse for wear.
"Let's go somewhere safe," Mai told her. "Not that there's much safety around here." And they walked across the quad. They were going to what seemed to be a fairly inviting corner of the quad, it was nice and empty, and hopefully they could start to figure out how to survive in this place. But, they'd never get there. Intent as they were on getting from point A to point B, they feel the hard sensation of toes under their feet. Mai instinctively jumped off the prisoner's foot, and uttered a quick, "sorry." The prisoner, a woman in her thirties with brown hair, brown eyes, and stocky, muscular body obviously brought on by years of incarceration in that prison, stands up, and motions for other prisoners, male and female, to join her.
"Sorry," she said emphatically, anger blazing in her eyes. "Doesn't cut it." She turned around to her thuggish cohorts and said, in a tone that brooked no argument or mercy, "Get him, guys." And they attacked, four moving against Ty Lee, and the other five moving against Mai. Ty, moved immediately, with blinding speed she struck at the lead thug attempting to engage Mai, dropping him to the deck within seconds. Even as the first hostile dropped she knew that she and Mai were outmatched. The enemy was going to overwhelm them through sheer force of numbers. I won't go quietly, she thought. We've defended each other for too long to go quietly.
She moved to intercept one thug, a vicious-looking young man, who was heading toward Mai, who, without her knives, was at a significant disadvantage in this fight. But was stopped butt-cold by a blow to her midsection. As Ty fell over, writhing in pain on the stone floor of the prison yard, she saw two or three thugs converge and begin the assault on Mai. Ty struggled to get up, but was thrown back to the ground by one of the thugs engaging her.
Where are the guards? She thought as she scissored one of the enemy combatant's legs out from under her, causing her to trip and fall to the ground. Then she realized she was being surrounded by a ring of prisoners, all urging them on. And, she noticed, guards on the walls watching the fight as well. Apparently they're fond of watching prisoner brawls,She thought. It has to be one of their few sources of entertainment.
The next few moments were a blur of fist and foot as Ty Lee gave everything she got just to keep herself from being killed. It was at that moment when several other prisoners joined in the fight. Only they were fighting their assailants. One of their unexpected allies, a handsome young man with pale skin and brown hair and eyes, broke off from the fighting and turned to face her.
"Come with me," he said simply. "If you want to live."
She turned to see several other prisoners driving off the thugs attacking Mai. Once they had moved off, Ty got a good look at her friend. She was bruised, bleeding from her nose and mouth, and out cold. She also noticed, with a sickening lurch, that her left leg and right arm were bent at an impossible angle.
"Come on," their rather handsome leader said. "We'll take you a place of safety where we can patch up your friend."
Ty, rather numbly, nodded and followed them. We've either found a new friend, she thought. Or a new enemy that's just using us for their own ends. She sincerely hoped the former was true, otherwise, their survival in this pit would be measured in hours.
A/N: This is my story of Mai and Ty Lee's prison ordeal. Hope you enjoy it.