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Avatar: The Last Airbender RPG

420 years after the fall of Ozai, decades of tranquility have brought about an era where peace is no longer only a mere philosophical abstraction. However beyond the grasp of the Four Nations, a long lost legacy resurfaces.
 
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It is currently the year: 420 AO (After Ozai)

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 Long, Long Way From Home

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PineApocalypse
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PostSubject: Long, Long Way From Home   Long, Long Way From Home I_icon_minitimeSat Sep 14, 2013 11:58 pm

It had sounded so simple on paper. Go in, retrieve the goods, get out. What the paper hadn't mentioned was what the goods had been nabbed by. Tamura had expected it to be a small band of raiders, lightly armed and armoured with no real combat experience, after all defenceless travelling merchants bound for Yu Dao didn't exactly require an army to take down. According to these tracks though that was exactly what she was going to have to face if she wanted to complete the job.

 There were at least seven separate tracks clearly inscribed in the fresh mud. The shape and size of the earthy depressions implied that those who had passed by here were well equipped. In addition to that there was a small wagon carried by some sort of draft animal the tracks of which she couldn't identify. It wasn't the wagon which bothered her anyway, the tracks clearly showed it was far too light to be a transport carriage, it was probably used to carry their loot.

 She got up from her squat, stretching and yawning widely, and then visibly deflating with a long sigh. Now Tamura wasn't known for her advanced planning of operations. She relied on her instinct, and that had always served her well. But she was reckless, not suicidal. She knew she needed backup for this. Someone, anyone, even an unarmed villager to use as a distraction. With a skilled companion she was confident she could easily take out this group without even having to use her new recruit as a meat shield.

 Of course there was always the option of giving up on this  contract, but that wasn't her style. Plus she needed the money. Badly. Her purse had been getting lighter and lighter with each passing day. Her last big contract had been weeks ago, and as she knew all too well money didn't grow on trees.

 "What do you think Von?" she asked at the rodent on her shoulder. The little critter looked at her, and she could almost swear one of his eyebrows was cocked as if he was asking her how the hell he was supposed to know that. In all fairness he had a good point.

 She sighed again as she began pacing away from the road, deep in thoughts. The skies had taken on the pinkish, purplish  tints of the early night. Under the cover of darkness would be the perfect moment to strike, but could she do it alone? Deep down she knew the answer was no. Rushing in would be madness. She could see the dim glow of a fire in the distance. The group she was stalking had camped for the night.

 It was Von who showed her the next step, and possibly the solution to her problems. His neck snapped up, he peered left, then right and suddenly bolted off her shoulder, down her arm and onto the ground before pointing his snout to the south, from where she'd come from.

"Help," he growled in his raspy voice. As usual one syllable was all he could get out at once, but this time it was enough to convey exactly what he had on his mind. Tamura swiftly headed south, and soon she noticed what her companion had smelled arriving.

 A young man, probably only a teenager too young to grow a beard was on the road. He had a sword slung on his back, and that should have been enough to tell her she could use him, but was it?

"Are you out of your mind Von? He's just a kid," she hissed at the rodent. The animal simply looked at her with his head inclined to the side, quite obviously pointing out she didn't exactly have much of a choice now did she? "I don't need your attitude, I have one of my own thank you very much," she growled at him dangerously, but he once again had  a point. She didn't like it, but she was desperate.

"Hi there!" she called out, stepping out of the shadows and into plain sight. "Are you interested in using that steel on your back to earn some hard cash kid?"

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PostSubject: Re: Long, Long Way From Home   Long, Long Way From Home I_icon_minitimeSun Sep 15, 2013 4:41 pm

Jonathon had heard the voice and tried to find it. "Hello?" He called as he looked around. Then he saw the girl jump up. Putting on hand on his sword and holding the other in front of him, a ball of fire at the ready. He then paused to take in the woman that clearly wasn't interested in mugging him, or else she would have by now. Lowering his hand an relaxing his body he looked her in the eyes...er...eye. "Well, you aren't exactly the old gravelly voice I heard before hand, so who are you?" He asked her, mildly confused.

In all honesty, Jonathon had also caught wind of the same job as Tamura, he'd just gotten it in a different town. The young fire bender was also not instructed that the goods had been stolen. "Now, when you say earning a bit more cash you mean helping you find some stolen goods, I'm already planning on it. I'd followed the goods I was looking for here, and then you jumped me. Name's Jonathon. And you are?" He said as he began to follow the tracks through the mud.

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PostSubject: Re: Long, Long Way From Home   Long, Long Way From Home I_icon_minitimeSun Sep 15, 2013 8:54 pm

A fire bender? One with quick reflexes too, and armed to boot. Maybe he wasn't as defenceless as she'd initially assumed. Then again for all she knew he could very well be absolutely useless in battle despite being quick to the draw. Only time would tell.

"Well, you aren't exactly the old gravelly voice I heard before hand, so who are you? Now, when you say earning a bit more cash you mean helping you find some stolen goods, I'm already planning on it. I'd followed the goods I was looking for here, and then you jumped me. Name's Jonathon. And you are?"

His reply made her crack a brief smile. A kid alone on the road looking for work to make ends meet. The more she travelled the more she came to realise that she wasn't the only one who'd had to fight on her own before becoming an adult, and even then she'd managed to find her father, so in a way she'd had an advantage he evidently couldn't boast right now.

"My name is Tamura. The old gravelly voice is Von," as if on cue the rodent darted out of the undergrowth, leapt off the ground onto her arm and scaled her back to come resting on top of her head, balancing himself with practised ease on her conical hat. Von stretched forward, sniffing in the boy's general direction suspiciously, but then he seemed to lose interest and curled up on the hat, pointedly ignoring the kid. "That's his way of showing he doesn't hate you as much as other strangers," she commented with a thin smile.

"And yes, it does seem that we have the same mission. I guess it's not all that surprising, only those people with a specific purpose would usually come by these dreary, muddy roads. You see by now I would usually have completed my job and been on my way, but there does seem to be a, erm... snag, of considerable proportion. The goods were stolen by a contingent of seven men, all well armed and armoured. Additionally it wouldn't be madness to assume most of them are benders, and that they're well trained and experienced given the damage inflicted on the caravans they've been raiding," as she spoke she withdrew her pipe and tobacco pouch from her bag and proceeded to light the contraption, taking a long puff from it before continuing.

"Now I don't usually work in a team, but given the size of the reward and the size of the enemy force I'm willing to make an exception. Going in there alone is suicidal, but going in there with even a single additional combatant would probably swing things in our favour. The way I see it in our line of business splitting a reward in half is more advantageous than dying and never getting paid. So, temporary partners?" she extended her hand for him to shake.

Her father would have handled this with more tact, he would have bargained with the boy and would probably have ended up conning the kid out of his well earned cash. He had what one might call a silver tongue and a sharp mind. She didn't, she had no patience for negotiations and shady deals, and anyway she wasn't particularly inclined to cheat the kid, he deserved to be paid for his work, if he was willing to work. There was after all plenty of money in that reward to go around for two people. She'd told it to him how it was, with her own brand of brusque, blunt honesty.

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PostSubject: Re: Long, Long Way From Home   Long, Long Way From Home I_icon_minitimeMon Sep 16, 2013 6:15 pm

Jonathon looked at the hand cautiously at first. Then he reached out and shook it. "Well, it's nice to meet you Tamura and Von." He said, nodding to the rat on the woman's hat. "7 huh? Sounds like a bit of a challenge. Of course, the longer we stay here, the farther away they get." Jonathon said, staring down the road, drawing a curve in the mud.

Shrugging, the fire bender kept walking. "Sounds fair to me." He said, in regards to her plan to split the money. "Just try not to pull anything funny on me, got that?" Jonathon was trying to sound like he knew what he was doing. In all honesty he had no idea how to take on 7 well armed thugs with two benders and a rodent. "So, you have any plans?"

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PostSubject: Re: Long, Long Way From Home   Long, Long Way From Home I_icon_minitimeTue Sep 17, 2013 2:20 pm

Her father always said you could tell much from a simple handshake, a philosophy she'd agreed with. This kid's hand was rough, implying he used them often and rarely with any gloves on. The way he held her hand to shake, and the way his fingers curled when at rest implied that they'd wielded a sword before, but not for as many years as she had, which wasn't surprising given how young he looked.

"7 huh? Sounds like a bit of a challenge. Of course, the longer we stay here, the farther away they get. Sounds fair to me. So, you have any plans?"

"Lucky for you kiddo despite having only one eye it's pretty good at its, job," she said with a broad grin while tapping her eye patch. She slung one arm around his shoulders and steered him in the direction of a faint glow and a plume of very faint smoke in the distance. "See that?" she asked, pointing in the smoke's general direction. "That is a camp fire lad, and that is where we'll find our prey. They've stopped moving for the day, which means they won't be up until dawn, so we've got time to prep before striking."

Preparing, the word felt strange to her, she wasn't much for planning, but she could appreciate the fact that some instructions before the deed wouldn't go amiss. After all neither of them knew much about the other and they'd need to be somewhat coordinated in order to pull this off without a hitch. Maybe she should have thought this through.

"Plans? You're a brash little one aren't you? Maybe you should try seducing ladies your own age boy," she pulled a long drag form her pipe, exhaling a couple of smoke rings in his direction, a teasing grin twisting her lips. In truth she was essentially stalling for time with her (fairly bad) pleasantries. "Joking aside rushing in head first and slashing and hacking anything in my way to pieces is my usual grand strategy, but this might require a little more... finesse, than previous operations."

She was racking her brain, trying to think of how her father would have faced this. He always had a plan. And contingencies. Hell his contingencies had contingencies. It wasn't quite the same with her, but she could simply rip off her old man's tactics. And there was one tactic in particular that just might suit this specific situation, something he'd used when she was still young.

"I may have an idea kiddo. Von and I will go in through the front door and give them something to look at while you sneak around the back. From there you can set fire to the camp with your bending. They'll be stuck between me and a burning camp and that should cause some major confusion. The items we're looking for aren't flammable so we should be able to retrieve them safely. Also their loot cart is carried by a couple of animals of some descriptions, scaring them into a stampede would be an inspired touch."

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PostSubject: Re: Long, Long Way From Home   Long, Long Way From Home I_icon_minitimeFri Sep 20, 2013 6:14 pm

Jonathon nodded at her comment about the smoke. He couldn't see any sign of this smoke but this woman seemed trust worthy. "Ok, that's not as far away as I thought. There aren't any settlements that way so they're just in the middle of the woods I think. Should make sneaking a bit easier." He said, grinning like an idiot. His bravado did get knocked down a notch at her comment about him flirting with her. He wasn't really flirting. He was just being nice, after all, in his travels, he hadn't crossed paths with many people, let alone females, that he really got to talk to.

The fire bender began to head towards the smoke. "Sounds like a plan!" He said, giving her a thumbs up as he kept walking. "Come on. Now time to wait!" He says, walking backwards a bit.

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PostSubject: Re: Long, Long Way From Home   Long, Long Way From Home I_icon_minitimeSun Sep 22, 2013 1:29 pm

She couldn't help herself but smile gently at his enthusiasm. He seemed like a good kid, but just as that thought crossed her mind her smile faltered, turning into a worried frown. Thankfully by then he'd already turned and he didn't seem to have noticed her drastic change in countenance.

He was a nice kid wasn't he?The more his charmingly boyish bravado shone through the more she came to believe that he wasn't as experienced as she wanted to think. This posed her a few problems, the most disturbing of which was moral. Was she about to push this kid down a road he didn't deserve? Had he even killed a man before? Up until now she'd only stopped to consider him as a means to an end. Was he skilled enough to watch her back and serve his purpose in this operation, that was the beginning and the end of her troubles regarding him. Now her conscience was starting to muscle in. Deep in thoughts she'd begun scratching the skin underneath her eye patch without even realising it.

It was too late to stop him now though. Too late and not advisable. If she broke their temporary partnership he was likely to attack the enemies on his own anyway. He had mentioned he was on the same job as her, so really by teaming up she was actually protecting him right? She clung to that idea desperately, knowing very well it was a flimsy excuse for what she was doing meant only to ease her conscience.

They were getting close to the point where the raiders had gone off the road and into the trees to camp, soon they'd split up to each complete their part of the attack. She put a hand on his shoulder to stop him.

"Now remember, don't start your approach until you start to hear the sound of fighting, you'll need the cover of the sound to be able to sneak through the camp effectively. Don't take any chances, and take your time. When you've secured the loot try to rely on using bending from afar to confuse and scare them rather than rush in with your sword. I they spot you run, don't wait for me. Good luck, and may benevolent spirits watch over you kid," she then patted him on the shoulder before walking off towards the camp.

She switched her box full of swords from her shoulder to her hands, the blades inside rattling like chains. The tobacco in her pipe was nearly exhausted. She steadied her breathing as she walked, focusing as much as she could. This was it, this was the do or die moment.

As she saw the camp her heart sank a little. There were nine tent. She had been wrong about the cart, it wasn't just for carrying loot. This didn't change anything to the plan though. She'd just have to work harder for her pay. The tents were organised haphazardly around a couple of camp fires. Their conversation was loud, each boasting about their exploits undoubtedly. She'd caught them during dinner. That was good. She noticed a single sentry in the underbrush, but he wasn't looking in her direction. She sneaked up to him, blocking his mouth with one hand and plunging one of her small swords into his back. He writhed for a few seconds before slumping as his last breath flew from his lips. Eight left.

She laid him down gently, before moving on. The talk around the fire didn't change in tone or volume. That was good, if someone had heard anything she'd have noticed. She continued on her way, making it to the edge of the first tent before anyone noticed her.

"Here for some late night strolling little lady?" one of the thugs asked. He was a brute of a man, built like a pillar. As he spoke the others quieted won and turned to look at her, there were five men and two women. Where was the eight? Tamura noticed they all had glasses and bottles of alcohol in their hands. With any luck that would addle their senses and slow their reflexes.

"No. Just here to get back what you guys so valiantly stole from a defenceless merchant," she replied evenly, dropping the box o' fun to the ground. It fell to its side, spilling its content on the floor. The big guys' eyes narrowed, and his stare drifted to her left. That solved the matter of the eighth raider.

Tamura spun into action, moving her hands in sync with her feet. She spun around, lowered herself and pushed off the ground, performing a single short backflip, a strong air current blasted from her feet, sending four of her short swords off the ground and flying into the eight raider's chest, stopping him in his tracks before he was able to stab her in the back.

"Now that I have captured your undivided attention, would you care to join me for a dance?" she asked to the pillar of a man, a thin smile etched on her lips as she drew the ladies from their sheaths.

There was no articulate response, the raiders jumped to their feet, drawing sword, bows, clubs, spears and axes. The two sides stared at each other for a split second, and then they charged. Do or die.

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PostSubject: Re: Long, Long Way From Home   Long, Long Way From Home I_icon_minitimeTue Sep 24, 2013 6:43 am

Jonathon nodded at the woman's words and ran off into the forest. Using a small flame to light his way he carefully looped around till he was at the back of the camp. Sitting down and watching the thugs celebrate their recent heist, he waited. He heard one of them talking to a new comer to their circle and when the fighting started, that was his cue. The young fire bender began to move quickly through the camp, grabbing and slowly dragging away all the crates of the goods that mattered. Then cam the fun part. First he started by lighting the crates that weren't pertinent to the job, then Jonathon decided to get a little fancy. Engulfing his hands in flames he started running a circle around the camp, starting up a ring of fire, leaving no escape for the thugs. Once the arena was set he made his way back to the goods and sat on a crate, waiting for Tamura.

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PostSubject: Re: Long, Long Way From Home   Long, Long Way From Home I_icon_minitimeWed Sep 25, 2013 8:27 pm

She'd been in some tough fights in her time, both against humans and animals, but Tamura had to admit this particular one rated pretty highly on her 'most intense fights' list. Seven fighters were attacking her at once and there was little she could do other than dodge and parry. These sort of situations mad her thankful for her  air bending, without it she would undoubtedly have been dead already.

Thankfully she didn't have to keep up her dance with death too long as the kid did his job quickly, or rather she assumed he had. Wooden crates piled around the camp began to spontaneously catch on fire. Tamura had been expecting the sudden show of pyrotechnics, but her opponents hadn't. As their camp began to catch fire for no reason they could make out they became understandably distracted.

This was their first and last mistake of the day for them. She leaped into action, going from a defensive dodging and weaving to a brutal no holds barred offensive in a split second. She plunge done of her katanas deep into the big guy's chest, letting go of the hilt, knowing full well she didn't have the time to retrieve her weapon right now. As she spun away from her target she gripped her other sword with both hands, delivering a swinging horizontal cut to a water bending woman's neck, opening her throat.

She had no time to admire her handiwork, or to pause for breath. With the two opponents closest to her out of commission she identified the next major threat in a split second. There was a water bender several paces away who was preparing to fight the fire, well Tamura didn't like it when people didn't pay attention to her. She used an air blast to send three knives straight into the water bender's back. That was three. Four left.

It was around that time that the ring of fire began to appear around the camp. By then her enemies had shaken off their surprise though, and they were waiting for her, having decided the fire was a problem they could deal with later. It was around then that a loud bellow roared out, the ground began to shake and a couple of large draft animals crashed into the camp, wrecking absolute havoc, tearing through tents with their large tusks, smashing crates and bones with their heavy hooves.

That was her cue to get the hell out of dodge. She turned tail and ran, taking the time to retrieve her katana from the big guy's corpse and managing to pick up four of her throwing blades on her way out. She used an air blast to safely jump through the ring of fire, and sprinted all the way back to the road where she and the kid had split up. He wasn't there yet, so she stopped on the muddy track, grabbing her left side which had developed a rather painful stitch. As she regained her breath she started to burst out in laughter, weak at first, but growing in intensity. It was making her stitch hurt like hell, but the realisation that she'd made it, and that she was still alive was making her far too giddy to stop.

Eventually the mirth died down enough for her to take a long breath.

"Well, what a day," she sighed, chuckling.

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PostSubject: Re: Long, Long Way From Home   Long, Long Way From Home I_icon_minitimeWed Sep 25, 2013 9:22 pm

Jonathon had heard the fighting and wished he could help. He knew doing so would most likely end badly. After the sound of some giant animals rampaging in the camp the mercenary took that as a cue to leave. Grabbing one of the crates he headed back to where he had met with Tamura before. "Hey! You made it. I got the crates." He said, holding it up. "The rest are back where I left them. Let's go get them before someone else finds them."

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