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Literature by ZutaraLives




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September 4, 2010
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(Contains: strong language)


-Danger,Deceit-
Prologue .01: Under Lake Laogai (21st Year of Kuei,* Late Spring)


[No one is dead until he is dead and buried.]
-

"Can you save him?"  

"Give me a second… damn, that little girl was right.  I think I can keep his heart beatin' and hold his insides together, but we need to get him to my master, now."  

"You two, bend a stretcher."  

"Careful!  You tryin' to rip him apar'?!  Slow, now.  Someone grab my canteen for me."  

"Take the fourth and eighth passages to my office.  Your master's waiting for you."  

"… Fuuu, you had this all planned out, didn' you.  Figures."  

"Tell them we're clearing out the operation, once you've finished with him.  I'll join you after I've made sure no one else is prying around."  

"You do that, love.  Jes don' get killed off now."  

"I don't intend to."

-----

"Considering how that rock just about caved in his ribs, it's a miracle we pulled him through."  

"He's a fighter, a damned stubborn one.  If I hadn't taken him to fourth-level, the Secretariat would have liquidated him."  

"Hoo, that much brainwashing, and he still shook free?  Here I was thinking you wanted to save him out of guilt or somethin'."  

"You're not very generous, are you?"  

"Tch, I'm very generous, I just call cat gator-shit when it's cat gator-shit.  What about the other two?"  

"They were escorted to the Third Ring, and given money and passes to take them wherever they please."  

"Ooohh, so now that you've gotten what you want, you think it's all right to kick the dead weight to the sewer pit, is that it?"  

"I don't like…"  

"Dey's kids, dammit!  You coulda done the decent thing and taken 'em clear of the city all together!"  

"We don't have the resources or the time to…"  

"Pffft, don' give me the old "priorities" speech.  I've heard it enough.  I jus… oh, to hell with it!  I wish I was back home!  Occupation's better'n all dis cloak-and-dagger shit, wid our own damned people!"  

"Then stay around.  The Fire Nation will be knocking on the Palace's gates in a few days."  

"… What?  But, the Avatar's…"  

"The Avatar is a child, his companions are children, and the King might as well be a child.  The drill was hardly the Fire Nation's most deadly weapon."  

"So that's why you're closing up shop.  You're cuttin' and runnin' 'fore de big fight, aren' you?!"  

"The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the…"  

"BULLSHIT!  Do you know what de Fire Nation's gonna do to dis city once de get deir filthy claws in'o it?!  I do, an' if you tink I'm goin' to…!"  

"We've been ordered to shut down and pull out.  The Secretariat will throw in with the invader, and we'd be discovered and purged, without making a difference.  Simple as that.  Were it up to me, I'd be manning the walls, alone if I had to, but at least this way, the Society will have full documentation of the Dai Li's methods and crimes.  The War must end, and if my city has to be sacrificed to end it, then…"  

"… I'm sorry."  

"I beg your pardon?"  

"Don' be getting all prissy-manners on me, love, you know what I'm saying.  I… I know you think you're doing what's right, that you think your hands are tied.  My master probably agrees with you.  But I still think we're running like cowards, like we always have.  When do we get to fight?  I don'… I don' think we can wait for the Avatar."  

"Neither do I.  I'm leaving the city with the boy, joining the camp.  We'll be moving the base of operations south… you're more than welcome to come along, if you want.  Everyone else is going their separate ways."  

"I'll see what my master says; we might come part of the way with you.  But I think she wants to be gettin' on home, after all this time."  

"I understand.  I'll gladly take what time you can spare."  

"Ooo, you do know how to sweet-talk a girl, being all noble like that."  

"Does that sort of thing impress you?"  

"Would I be sticking around, with the walls falling around us, if it didn'?"  

"Point taken."  

"About the boy… you'll make him a Guard, won' you."  

"Yes.  As far as the world's concerned, he died down here.  Now he can carry on his fight alongside other dead men, free of former loyalties and concerns.  A better fate than what Long Feng handed him."  

"… I guess we all gotta tell ourselves little lies to get by.  Just do me a favor: don' empty him out like you did some of the others.  That… that never set well with me."  

"I might not have a choice.  But as I said, he's a stubborn little bastard; I doubt even level-six programming can erase all his grief and hatred."  

"You know, before I met you, something like that would have horrified me.  Now, all I can think is, 'Thank goodness, he'll have something to keep him alive.'  How twisted am I?"  

"Only twisted as you let the world make you.  One day, we'll be able to set it all right again…"    

----


*See Author's Note for details.  
-Danger, Deceit-: An Avatar: the Last Airbender Post-War Fic

Two years after the Century War, Avatar Aang, Fire Lord Zuko, the Earth King, and the chieftains of the Water Tribes attempt to win the peace. Behind the scenes in the Royal Palace of the Fire Nation, a young noblewoman fights her own war, where the battlefield is the Court and words are the weapons.
----

Prologue .01: -> (you are here)
Prologue .02: -> [link]

----

A/N: * The numbering of years in this series is based on the Japanese era calendar scheme, in which the era is designated by the name of the Emperor, followed by the year of his reign (ex: 2010 in the Western calendar is Heisei 22, the 22nd year of the reign of Emperor Akihito ["Hesei" being the teigo - the posthumous Buddhist name of the Emperor - though I'm not quite sure why the death name is the tradition, or how it's chosen]).

In the case of the Avatarverse, for the sake of simplicity, I am naming the era according to the canonical name of the character, instead of making up a teigo for them. Also, the era name will be tied to where the chapter/book takes place - Earth King-era name in case of chapters taking place in the Earth Kingdom, Fire Lord-era name in the case of chapters taking place in the Fire Nation.
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:iconamaterasu16:
Amaterasu16 Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2011  Student Traditional Artist
Also

I love how you always save Jet :iconblushingplz:
Reply
:iconsylvacoer:
sylvacoer Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yep! Though the price, as always, is pretty high...
Reply
:iconamaterasu16:
Amaterasu16 Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2011  Student Traditional Artist
Well yes, realistically.:nod:
Reply
:iconamaterasu16:
Amaterasu16 Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2011  Student Traditional Artist
Ah! who are the two people????:O
Reply
:iconsylvacoer:
sylvacoer Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You'll see - I've already drawn one of 'em. One of their accents is a clue... :meow:
Reply
:iconamaterasu16:
Amaterasu16 Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2011  Student Traditional Artist
Gah...The guessing :idea: :faint:
Reply
:iconalleluiaelizabeth:
AlleluiaElizabeth Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2010
Just reviewed this fic on FF.net, but figured I'd say something here too. :)

White Lotus shenanigans? Cool! Also, I suppose this *does* explain how Iroh "happened" upon a Dai Lee agent who told he and the gaang what they needed to know in Crossroads. lol Already, the White Lotus Order is more of a secret society in your fic than it was in the show. XD Plus, at least one swampbender is in it, too. :) Very nice. (Now you just need to confirm Aunt Wu's a member and my fangirling will be complete. ;) )
Reply
:iconsylvacoer:
sylvacoer Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Though technically, since the group here is deep cover, Iroh wouldn't have known that the man was a White Lotus agent, and the man wouldn't have been able to tell him without compromising the unit in front of the GAang. Of course, since the man was caught and executed by the real Dai Li after Iroh and GAang left, he never had a chance to inform the others that the Grand Master was there and might need their help.

At least, that's how I'd write it. :iconcrowfaceplz:
Reply
:iconalleluiaelizabeth:
AlleluiaElizabeth Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2010
And that would be an excellently realistic way to portray it, too. :)

I do wonder though if Iroh should have just forgone tradition/protocol and made the Gaang aware of the White Lotus Society in the first place. It might have proved beneficial to the gaang to have those contacts. Day of Black Sun might have gone better, too. That's a long shot, though, since the reason it failed was b/c Azula knew ahead of time not a flaw in strategy that the WLO people could have fixed. But at least they could have maybe provided an escape. Or, I dunno, facilitated some kind of popular uprising... if not then then later on.
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:iconsylvacoer:
sylvacoer Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I am ambivalent about the WLS, honestly - I think the fandom has made them out to be more effective than they actually were. If they had the army that Iroh assembled in the finale this whole time, why haven't they used it before? Why depend on the Avatar, if you can subvert? The idea that a worldwide network would bank their survival and success on a savior that did bunk a century ago AND only produced limited successes that that were quickly reversed strikes me as either negligence or just plain strategic blindness. :shrug:
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:icontela-omnom:
tela-omnom Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2010
tela-omnom = somniumweb @ lj

That cajun accent... I think I know who this might be. :flirty:

Great set up so far.

I hope Smellerbee and Longshot did manage to leave Ba Sing Se...
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:iconsylvacoer:
sylvacoer Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
OH MAI GAWD HAI. 8D *goes to friend you*

:iconohohoplz:
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:iconpokegirl5000:
pokegirl5000 Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2010  Student
Omg, yay! Jet FanFiction! :dummy:
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:iconsylvacoer:
sylvacoer Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Savor it - he will be back, after a (long) while. Because I have to justify even my crack. ^^;
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:iconpokegirl5000:
pokegirl5000 Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2010  Student
o3o Okay. xD
Reply
:iconbeloved-stranger:
Beloved-Stranger Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
Nifty! But man, you and your intrigue! I can feel my brain imploding as I type...:zombie:
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:iconsylvacoer:
sylvacoer Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
:iconcrowfaceplz:
Reply
:iconbeloved-stranger:
Beloved-Stranger Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
...fiend.
Reply
:icontrillean:
trillean Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2010
Sounds awesome! I'm a little confused so far but I imagine that was the intention.
Reply
:iconsylvacoer:
sylvacoer Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
The confusion is supposed to be there, so long as you know that Jet made it out alive because of the intervention of... someone. :meow:
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:icontrillean:
trillean Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2010
Good to know, I'm glad to see you're filling in Bryke's missing plot holes.
Reply
:iconsylvacoer:
sylvacoer Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Of which there were many - but hey, that's what fanfic is for!
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:icontrillean:
trillean Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2010
Fanfic is a wonderful and often terrifying thing.
Reply
:iconsylvacoer:
sylvacoer Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yus. :icondemonhappyplz:
Reply
:iconrad1986:
Rad1986 Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
They saved ... er, should I say who they saved?

*Shifty eyes*

So... these are White Lotus people?

*Confused*

~*~ Rad
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:iconsylvacoer:
sylvacoer Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Who do you think they saved? :D

Possibly. :meow: (And if you're confused, that's all right - I was vague on purpose because I go for the cheap thrill of the "reveal" many chapters on, when sane people have forgotten everything. :iconohohoplz:)
Reply
:iconrad1986:
Rad1986 Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
I wasn't sure if I should write whom I think they saved because I don't want to spoil it for other people... Jet?

And, just out of curiosity, isn't it the Dai Li, not the Dia li?

Ah! Well, that always works too!!

~*~ Rad
Reply
:iconsylvacoer:
sylvacoer Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yesh! Naw, it's not a spoiler, since I did announce it was a mai/jet AR from the start. :meow:

Dai Li - Did I misspell it "Dia li"? Dammit, you'd think I'd catch that the fifth time around! :dohtwo: *goes to fix*
Reply
:iconrad1986:
Rad1986 Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
Well, heh, you did it in the .02 Prologue too...

Would you like a beta?

~*~ Rad
Reply
:iconsylvacoer:
sylvacoer Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Naw, I'm okay - my writing schedule is so bizarre I try my own patience. I wouldn't inflict that on another person. ^^;
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:iconrad1986:
Rad1986 Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
What if the other person was willing for such an infliction? :-P

~*~ Rad
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:iconsylvacoer:
sylvacoer Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Heh. Thanks for the offer, but I'm okay as things are now. I just need to amp up the type-A nitpicking a couple clicks. (and stop writing while drinking. Oi.)
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(1 Reply)
:iconsuperaura:
superaura Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
really impresssive prologue! it works in a way very similar to my own fanfiction!
I love how the White Lotus is already plotting here <3
Reply
:iconsylvacoer:
sylvacoer Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
They're in retreat, actually - Azula's plan and the Dai li's treachery caught them by surprise. But hey, Jet was saved - there's something in that!
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:iconsuperaura:
superaura Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
yeeees! that made my day <3
Reply
:iconskysongma:
SkysongMA Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2010  Student Writer
...I love how one of your Earth Kingdom characters talks in a Cajun accent. :)

So, yeah, not gonna lie. Super-excited.
Reply
:iconsylvacoer:
sylvacoer Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hm, I wonder who they might be. 8D

Yayz - I hope I don't disappoint!
Reply
:iconlavanyasix:
LavanyaSix Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2010
It's good to see this project is finally going public! I'm looking forward to reading it.
Reply
:iconsylvacoer:
sylvacoer Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
"finally" ^^; Yeah, took me long enough. I haven't gotten as much down as I wanted, but I realized unless I started posting, I wouldn't be able to force myself to write. My muse is uncooperative like that. What you've read has gone through a couple rewrites so I hope you are pleasantly surprised!
Reply
:iconjoran-antilles:
Joran-Antilles Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2010  Student General Artist
So Ba Sing Se was allowed to be captured by soldiers making strategic retreats? That would help explain the lack of resistance in the show.
Reply
:iconsylvacoer:
sylvacoer Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
In this case, a deep-cover White Lotus Society spy operation working IN the Dai li to figure out a way to bring it down had to pull out before it could carry out its mission because the occupation would compromise the agents. It was very small, so there really wasn't any way the agents would be able to make a difference (even if they resented the hell out of that).

In the show, I think the lack of resistance stemmed from the Dai li's propaganda being TOO good, and everyone had fooled themselves into a state of willful ignorance. When the invasion shattered the illusion, the effect was the annihilation of morale, in both the army and the civilian populace. And pretty much anyone who WOULD have stood up to organize resistance had likely already been dealt with by the Dai li anyway.

/rant. Sorry, the military historian in me has to justify what we were shown with logic and historical precedence, otherwise I get twitchy. :iconsweatdropplz:
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:iconjoran-antilles:
Joran-Antilles Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2010  Student General Artist
Ah so these people were White Lotus agents. Not sure how I missed that.

Always interesting to see how the politics and military operations of the show would work if they were taken to their full conclusions. Such complicated explanations would never fly if put in the show, but still.
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:iconsylvacoer:
sylvacoer Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
One of the characters mentioned "the Society" - it's a passing mention, and it's only going to be explained much, much later. :meow:
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