Another filler chapter is this one. Here I sort of give a brief summary of Huaike's life and how he meets Nioh-An. Fogive me if things seem a bit confusing. It's 2 AM at the moment. Next chapter should be a bit exciting. I intend to use the mail system to its fullest extent in Omashu.
Huaike sat calmly on a rock situated on a cliff somewhere near Omashu, playing his flute calmly. Nearby, he watched Nioh-An and Ty Lee spar with one another. Despite his reservations in her monitoring them, the girl had more than proven her capability in fending for herself. She shared the slack equally with himself and Nioh-An and the girl never once complained about anything, instead opting to keep a cheery disposition. He noticed the sudden stop of the two’s actions, and a large presence walking up behind him, panting heavily.
“The girl’s a demon,” Nioh-An told his lover between his heavy breaths. “I take back what I said about her earlier.” Huaike smiled with his eyes as he turned back to look at Nioh-An. The Earth bender studied the man’s face for a moment before sitting down next to him. “You haven’t said anything all day, Huaike,” Nioh-An commented. “Is there anything wrong?”
Huaike stopped playing his flute and glanced over at Ty Lee. “She’s so energetic,” he told him. “It’s just so hard to believe, especially if what she tells us about her first-hand experience in the war is true. She just reminds me a little bit of myself, before I was pulled into all of this.”
Nioh-An snorted in disbelief. “That little ball of energy? I can’t really see that as being you.”
Huaike smiled at the man again. “I know, love, but it was a long time ago. People usually change when faced with hardship.” He sighed contentedly as Nioh-An’s strong arms wrapped themselves around his body. He shifted a bit, allowing more contact between the two.
“You know I love you, right?” Nioh-An asked tenderly, in a voice that only Huaike could hear. The Fire bender nodded into the man’s chest. They were silent for a while then, watching the many colors of the mountainous sunset. Nioh-An broke the silence to whisper softly into the man’s ear. “I’m so happy that I found you.”
“I know,” Huaike whispered back. After a while, Ty Lee walked over to them, humming softly. She sat down on the rock with them, keeping a respectful, yet still close, distance from the two men.
His thoughts shifted slowly then, back before they’d met Ty Lee, before he found Nioh-An, to before all his hardships began, when he still walked freely within the Fire Nation.
“Should we return to Omashu?” Aang’s voice asked the others as they made camp. Toph looked up from where she’d been picking her toes to look at the Avatar.
“We could,” she told the boy. “Omashu drove out the Fire Nation forces some time after I came home. Right now, they’re the biggest resistance the Earth Kingdom has, not including Gaoling, of course.”
“Good,” Aang said happily. “I want to see how Bumi’s doing.”
“Old bat,” Sokka muttered to himself as he set the fire wood down nearby. Lee chuckled to himself as Sokka continued building the firewood.
“What does he have against the Earth King?” Lee asked Katara. The Water bender smiled as she laid out her sleeping bag.
“King Bumi wanted to test Aang, so in order to make him do what Bumi wanted, he put this weird stone on us that grew really quickly. Bumi told us later that he wouldn’t have hurt us, he just wanted to see if the Avatar recognized him. Sokka’s still sore about it.”
“All he could have done was say, ‘hey, Aang, how are ya doing? I’m really old and wrinkly now, but I used to be your psychotic little friend,’ but no, it went down in the way of, ‘hey Aang, it’s me, some creepy old king guy that wants to imprison you. But don’t worry, you’ll be ok. Your friends are just slowly being encased in Creeping Crystal!’” Sokka nearly exploded as he finished setting the wood up. Lee sat next to the boy and flicked a small jet of flame into the wood, igniting it into a blaze. “Thanks, Lee,” Sokka said lowly.”
Huaike was a citizen of the Fire Nation. He was raised in a small town near the Capital City. He lived a normal, happy child’s life, only vaguely aware of the war, brainwashed, as all children his age in the Fire Nation, into believing that the war was for the greater good, a small thing that would be won in a few months, despite the fact that he’d heard the same thing spoken constantly for years.
He grew up in an averaged-sized home. His mother was a seamstress, and his father a warrior. When he first started showing signs of being a Fire bender, his parents were elated. It meant that he could carry on with his father’s profession, and possibly even attain ranks in the military that the man could not, due to his inability to bend. This young boy was more than happy to continue on the proud legacy of his family, and the even prouder one of his nation.
That was, of course, until he was accepted into the military at age 14. The young man quickly learned the ways of the Fire Nation military, a heartless establishment built on rigid order and zero tolerance. Huaike did not agree with this situation at all in the beginning, but in the end, like almost all rebellious spirits in the Fire Nation, succumbed to the leash tightened around his neck.
After basic training in the use of his bending, Huaike was enlisted into a squad of Archers, where he learned and mastered the use of Fire Archery. He was quick, fierce, and nearly heartless in his actions, qualities that had gained him an early place in General Iroh’s armies.
The man had no conscience in battle. He fought ruthlessly, taking down most anything that stood in his way. He made no friends and followed orders down to the letter. He was the perfect soldier. He became so lost in who and what he was now, that when the shock of losing finally hit him, he was left helpless, a child in a world of men.
They were in the Si Wong Desert, on there way to Ba Sing Se. Huaike’s group of soldiers had been separated accidentally from the rest of the army, and day by day people were dying, from the heat exhaustion, from exposure to the elements, and a whole slough of troubles that came from wandering the desert. Suddenly, a sandstorm blew in, blinding the Fire Nation archer. He opened his eyes through the blowing sand, to see the group surrounded on all sides by men dressed in robes identifying them as Sand benders. It was a quick and pointless battle, one that Huaike felt shame for, even to this day.
When the Sand benders defeated the battalion, the sand storm lifted, and the men were all tied and bound before the survivors were placed onto the Sand Sailors. A few days after that found Huaike on an auction block, waiting to be sold into slavery.
Lee watched Sokka from his place in front of the fire. Everyone else was asleep except for him, a time the Lee oftentimes took for himself. Tonight had him wondering just how his feelings for Sokka had developed, and why. He was crass and sarcastic almost one hundred percent of his waking time, he was usually overconfident and cocky, and loud. He couldn’t forget loud. But then there were the times when he was sweet and considerate of the people around him. He was also mature when he needed to be, and was by far one of the most brilliant tactical minds that Lee had encountered. He’d also experienced much of the same hardships Lee had, and still managed to go on.
He lay back down and shook his head. “Stupid kid,” he muttered as he closed his eyes.
His first master was a man by the name of Qin. Qin was a member of the upper class in Ba Sing Se, and had bought Huaike because of the boy’s slightly muscular body, golden eyes, and longish dark hair. He considered Huaike an exotic commodity. He quickly became a whore-slave to the man, his pride and will broken in the short months that the man had kept him. He was the man’s prize possession for that entire time, until the man bought a boy younger than the sixteen-year-old slave. Huaike was sold quickly after that. Later on, he felt horror at his emotions, but at the time, he had been thankful that the man had found someone else to humiliate.
He was sold in Omashu to be the slave of a general’s son. He never remembered the general’s name, but the boy’s name had been Jin. Jin had become the first kind person he’d met in the entire Earth Kingdom, and treated Huaike as an equal. Jin taught Huaike many things about the Earth Kingdom, and in turn, Huaike slowly opened up to him, telling the boy of his life in the Fire Nation. Huaike served Jin for nearly three years, when a small uprising occurred inside Omashu.
It was about the time that General Iroh’s men had discovered how to penetrate the walls of Ba Sing Se that a peasant uprising occurred. The people of the city demanded the return of Earth Kingdom soldiers to Omashu, a request that King Bumi denied. Enraged, the peasants attacked the Upper Class. Huaike and Jin were fleeing their home, when a band of mercenaries attacked them. Together, Jin and Huaike managed to take down most of the mercenaries. They made a valiant effort until, at last, only three were left alive. One of the mercenaries killed Jin, and while he was in a rage, rendered Huaike unconscious.
When he awoke, he tracked down the three mercenaries. He never learned the names of two of them, for he sniped them before they even knew of his presence. The last one he followed an hunted for nearly a year before, at last, the man caught him.
This man was Nioh-An.
He wasn’t sleeping well. Lee had woken up several times over nightmares he couldn’t remember, except for the fear and the terrifying feeling of loss, but of what, he had no clue. He’d look over the others for a moment before, uneasily, he’d go back to sleep and repeat the cycle. He told no one of his dreams the next day as they picked up.
To say that Nioh-an didn’t scare him at first would have been a lie. He had been seeking out vengeance against the man for nearly a year, and each time, the war hammer- wielding man managed to keep the archer at bay. Nioh-An also had an unusually short hairstyle for an Earth Kingdom native, opting to keep it nearly shaved at all times. He also never spoke during their encounters.
Nioh-An was planning on taking Huaike to the slave trade once again, but somehow had become infatuated with the over-passionate Fire bender. He told Huaike of the reason they’d accepted the job. Fire benders had killed his brother and sisters when he was young. All had been soldiers. He also apologized for the death of Jin. He released Huaike then, but the Fire bender chose to stay, for no other reason than having gotten used to the man’s company.
As time went by, and Nioh-An opened up more, Huaike couldn’t help but start returning Nioh-An’s amorous feelings. The two had been together ever since.
Huaike woke up the next morning in the embrace of Nioh-An. He could see Ty Lee off in the distance, putting her things away. “Good Morning, love,” the low voice of Nioh-An said lovingly.
“Morning, An,” Huaike returned as he sat up.
“Are you sure about this?” he asked as Huaike stood and started helping Ty Lee.
“Sure about what?” Ty Lee inquired curiously.
“Going into Omashu,” Huaike told her. “I have a bad history with that place.”
“Well, we’ll have to, if the Avatar’s going there,” she reminded him.
“I know Ty Lee,” Huaike told her. “That’s why Nioh-An asked me if I was sure about that. He wanted to know if I wanted to walk around the city and meet you later, or go with you two. I’ll come.”