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 "Where There's Smoke, There Must Be Fire."

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PostSubject: "Where There's Smoke, There Must Be Fire."   Thu Sep 20, 2012 5:03 pm


Silvery eyes locked onto narrowed blues in an expression that was devoid of mischief. Naiya swallowed dryly and cut her eyes away from familiar wrinkles hardened by the years of being a war veteran. She slid her feet apart and cocked her arm backward, pivoting on her heel to slash at the air. A trio of shimmering water arcs ripped through the howling winds, precisely clipping a pillar of compact snow and ice in three quarters.


Naiya nodded curtly and bent her knees, eyes twinkling and lips pursed. With a flick of her wrists, swirls of water slithered up from the large earthenware pots and hovered above. She moved her arms into counter-clockwise circles, thinning and expanding the tentacles at will. Punching outward, one of the tentacles snaked through the air and smacked against another pillar with a hiss!. The whip recoiled and Naiya turned, snapping the other in tandem and turning them from liquid to solid in a matter of seconds. When the ice blades collided, the pillars shattered on contact and the princess launched a spinning kick. Her wrists bent themselves in an awkward angle, summoning blobs of water from the vessels. They morphed into daggers, targeting random pillar fragments while the rest lined up another in a straight peg-line.

The only sound was her heavy breathing and muffled claps.
Her instructors nodded with approval.
The princess wiped her forehead and smirked.

"Well done Princess." Master Chitsa smiled, which ended up resembling more of a grimace. He stepped up to formally clasp Naiya's left below and forearm with a bow that refused to meet her eyes. She did the same. "Keen, precise eye as always. Though your aim in your left arm was a bit off; but I suppose that comes from late night races with companions, hm?"

The princess's eyebrow's twitched slightly, "I owe it all to you Master Chitsa," Naiya smirked and rotated toward the woman behind them, "You too Master Koko!"

Master Koko rolled her eyes good-naturedly and clasped her gloves together. "That's right Princess Naiya, clean it up. And as always, you have performed your katas with excellence today, though we expect nothing less of you of course." Master Koko raised a tentative eyebrow and tilted her head toward the doors leading into the palace halls. "Although Chitsa and I do enjoy your flattering, do you not think your presence would be much needed elsewhere at this time?"

The two instructors exchanged knowing glances as the princess watched them, momentarily confused. Naiya stooped down to gather her razors and scanned the floors of the training courtyard. Absentmindedly, she noted how they trailed designs akin to symbols in the snow.


"Maa!" Her eyes widened the size of dinner plates and she fumbled with her razor claws. Chitsa, clearly amused, stepped forward and collected them before the girl wouldaccidentally turn them all into minced seal jerky. Jogging in place, Naiya gave a squeak and hurriedly bid her instructors goodbye.



"What took you so long?"

Naiya fumbled with the dark blue pendant of her headdress and hurriedly clasped it around her forehead. Cerulean feathers dipped in black ink fanned out from the diadem she wore; the rest cascaded from the crown of her head and down the rest of her hair, settling once she ran her fingers through until it finally sat right.

She cut her best friend a look, "Like YOU ever get here on time. I was at target practice Mokka."

Mokka fastened one of her own hair ties and opened her mouth to say something, but rather watched Naiya hop around on one foot without a moccasin boot. A giggle escaped before she realized it and she slapped a hand to her mouth.

Naiya scowled, "You're horrible you know that?"
"True, but you love me. And now that I know Her Royal Highness of the Missing Boot is tardy....I don't feel so bad. We can both be late!" Mokka grinned impishly and, fishing a navy blue boot from a trunk, tossed it Naiya who caught it with ease.

"Thanks brat. Guess we'd better get in there before the music starts. Ugh, I wonder what dance we're learning this time?" She hurriedly laced her furred moccasin and pushed through the doors, her best friend on her heels.

"Don't know, but I hope to Yue and La it's not that stupid anthem for His Royal Pain in My Behind." Mokka clamped her mouth shut and slid her eyes away from Naiya, "I mean, um...."
Naiya snorted and inspected her nails, completely un-phased. "If it makes you feel any better, I think it's a dumb tribute song. Just...don't let that shard in the tundra hear you say that."

The two of them shared a look....

And burst into laughter on the way to the rehearsal hall.

Last edited by Naiya on Thu Sep 20, 2012 11:21 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: "Where There's Smoke, There Must Be Fire."   Thu Sep 20, 2012 11:11 pm

"... I mean, I just don't understand why we have to learn these absurd dances! It's ridiculous! We've got better things to do all day than screw around here learning dances to be used in..."

Kanok stood against the wall, his arms folded. Joruk was standing next to him, nodding and gesticulating randomly as he blabbered on about what? Kanok had lost track. It happened from time to time. Jo was prone to rants. Anyone who knew him knew to tune him out when he got going. And that was the truth.

For some years now, the two of them had been fellows in the ranks of the Northern Wolves. Joruk, despite his mouthy tendencies, was an exemplary assassin, excellent when you needed something done quietly. At 20, he had already been responsible for the deaths of over a dozen very important Imperial Officials. He was a favorite for the mission to kill Ozai, if there ever was one. That said, at the moment, they were playing the part of prince and noble rather than brothers in arms. Only nobles would bother with learning to dance when there was a war on...

"It's a pivotal part of our culture." Kanok said finally, deciding that he'd figured out what Jo was on about. It was a direct quote from his mother, in actuality, but he happened to agree with it in large part. He wasn't one to turn down learning something new in any case and it wasn't as if the enemy was at the gates, knocking and demanding dinner on pain of death...

"Pft!" Jo snorted after a moment of staring at Kano slack-jawed. He shook his head and gestured in an Of course! sort of exasperated way. "Easy for you to say! You don't have to be your sister's dance partner!"

"And you don't have to be yours." Kano said with a sigh, looking over at Jo's sister, Konai. She'd been his partner for quite some time. Master Narok enjoyed torturing him. She knew how uncomfortable he was around new people, especially when those people lived to be pretty and gun for a man.

"Tsch!" Jo said dismissively. "I hardly think it's the same thing."

Last edited by Kanok on Fri Sep 21, 2012 1:50 am; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: "Where There's Smoke, There Must Be Fire."   Thu Sep 20, 2012 11:44 pm

"What did I tell you?" Naiya remarked dryly, gesturing toward the rehearsal hall, "Genius boy and his bestfriend are right on time." The two girls ducked into the hall behind a group of white-robed dancers and inched over towards a random wall. Every stepped jostled the feathers in her hair which ended up obscuring her vision. Huffing in annoyance, Naiya found herself wishing to be a firebender...if only to burn those accursed feathers!

Mokka, who'd excused herself to go and take a peek at the schedule for their class period, sauntered over to the wall and banged her head against it. "You'll never guess what dance we're doing."

"Do I even want to know?"

"Mpff." The shorter waterbender held up three fingers and counted them off, "First run-through is the opening for the Crown Prince's celebratory banquet at the end of this week. The second one is, of course, the story about Avatar Aang and Yue saving the North. And the last......is the tribute song."

Naiya ceased inspecting her nails, "What? Say that again?"
"Exactly." Mokka flipped over and slapped her forehead, "Can't you use your princessy clout and demand a different dance?"
The princess folded her arms and looked at the floor, honestly entertaining that thought for a moment. Dance was one of her favorites out of her entire princely curriculum and, while three rounds were certainly a treat, the tribute song was a definite sore for her. Naiya pressed her lips into thin lines and leaned against the wall casually, abandoning her lady-like posture for a more relaxed one. For a serious second she considered allowing Mokka to use all of the rawhide drums for shooting practice.

After all, the drums were a crucial instrument for that dreaded song.

"Mokka I can't just waltz in and demand they change the song. The Chieftess chose it and I couldn't override her decision, and it's...tradition." Naiya replied. cringing on the last words. 'This going to be downright embarrassing.'

"Oh, Naiya look who's here. It's that Kilik boooooooooy."

"Okay! Time to go find my brother!"
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PostSubject: Re: "Where There's Smoke, There Must Be Fire."   Sat Sep 22, 2012 4:35 am

"Well, well."

Kanok's eyes shut instinctively at the sound of the voice. It was the one thing he didn't want to have to deal with right then and, of course, it just had to find him.

"Hello, Raiok." he said, not bothering to look around as the Crown Prince walked toward him in that exceedingly pompous way. Only he could manage to act like a prick just by walking...

Jo backed away. Kanok couldn't help but curse him for his cowardice, but at the same time couldn't blame him. If he had been in a position to escape... he would have. His cousin was not a pleasant person to be around.

"I hear the Wolves are on the march in a few months." Raiok said, coming to a standstill nearby.

"What the Wolves are or are not doing isn't for me to say." Kanok said, looking away. "You know I can't reveal the result of Mission Votes."

"I am the Crown Prince!" Raiok spat in a low and dangerous voice. The sudden frustration caught Kanok by surprise, making him look around. It wasn't like Raiok to lose his cool. A moment later, though, the fury which had filled his expression abated and he resumed his normal, cool demeanor. "Hmph. No matter. I'm sure whatever your little band is up to will be for the good of the Reach."

Kanok nodded once, but didn't remove his eyes from Raiok the entire time. He was trying to decide whether or not he believed Raiok was up to something. He was, of course. Raiok was always up to something. But ever since Kanok and Naiya's mother, the Chieftainess, Queen Ama, named Raiok Crown Prince, he'd been especially unpleasant and machination-prone. It was a little troubling. Raiok turned and headed off toward the door, dismissing Master Narok's calls to him. Mostly, he'd used his position as Crown Prince to excuse himself from his studies. Technically, he didn't have the authority. But the Chieftainess seemed to be overlooking it and neither Kanok nor Naiya cared to insist otherwise. As the three of them were the only people who could even remotely demand anything of him, it pretty much gave Raiok free reign. Of course, Kanok was glad of any situation that spared him Raiok's presence.

"Ugh." Joruk said as he rejoined Kanok.

"Back, I see." Kanok said, looking ahead at the younger children present, who had all taken to play-dancing in the middle of the room while everyone waited for the lesson to start. The younger kids were just there to watch Kanok, Naiya and the others train. They weren't allowed to learn the dances formally yet. But Master Narok figured the audience couldn't hurt. They had to learn to dance with confidence while people were watching sometime.

"W-What?!" Jo said, doing a poor job of faking surprise and indignation. "I-I was here the whole time! I have your back."

"Whatever you say."

"Tsch!" Joruk huffed, folding his arms, looking away. Even without looking over, Kanok knew he was miming the words he'd just said.

It wasn't really a bother to Kanok, though. He could handle Raiok on his own. He didn't need Jo around for that. And while he wasn't much use socially, Joruk would never shy away if Kanok really needed him. Together with Naiya and the other Wolves, they were inseparable comrades in battle. That said, they were hardly two of a kind otherwise.

Kanok returned to watching the kids dance. Among them was his and Naiya's little sister, their junior by almost twelve years. She'd been something of a surprise in the family, but a welcome one. Kanok had fallen into the role of guardian for her fairly quickly. He was always nearby, what with his hobbies keeping him inside the palace, and for some reason she'd always just come to him when she was scared or upset. He didn't really know why, but he also didn't mind it. He adored her. As he watched her dance about, a small smile grew on his face. He didn't have kids of his own. But he felt like something of a father to her, being that their father had died years ago. More than anything, he wanted to end this war... for her.
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PostSubject: Re: "Where There's Smoke, There Must Be Fire."   Sun Sep 23, 2012 1:49 am

"..........don't get yourself killed."

The warrior princess blinked, "Huh?" Mokka gave an exasperated sigh and threw her hands in the air, rolling her eyes to the ceiling. "You weren't listening to me at all, were you?"

"Not exactly." Naiya replied, bluntly. She ignored Mokka's harrumph and craned her neck westward. Kilik, who had been right on their tail the moment he spotted them, was lost among the swarm of their clansmen. The princess drummed her sharp fingernails against her arms and snorted, clearly amused. For all Kilik's unrivaled tracking skills were worth, he sure was easy to lose in a crowd.

A subtle flutter of furred fabric fleeted past the corner of her eye and Naiya nearly snapped her neck to the right. True to her assumption, her pompous cousin had burst in with formal abandon with his ever-imposing glory in tact. Naiya narrowed her eyes and watched as he stalked over to her brother and Joruk, however her feet remained rooted.

'Kanok's more than capable of handling that idiot himself. Whatever he's up to anyway.'

"Angasuk! Angasuk!"

A blur of blue and black darted from the middle of the dance hall and tackled Naiya with a momentum so strong it nearly knocked her over. Mokka struggled holding in her laughter at Naiya's winded expression.

"Unasuk!" The older of the three repeated with equal lilt, "Mikko, look at you unasuk...so pretty!"
Miakoda giggled and clambered off of her sister, her thick black hair and clothes tousled by the tackle. She stood patiently as Naiya rearranged the lone feather sticking ramrod-straight atop her head like a rogue feather from a turtleduck's behind. As soon as the familiar gesture stopped Miakoda grabbed her sister and Mokka by the wrists and began leading them into the middle of the dance floor.

Miakoda dropped their hands, "Dance with us!"

Three of the children, whom Naiya recognized as the kids of some of the palace nobles, sat in the lotus position and began pounding in rhythm on their little drums. The rest of the kids fanned out in a circle and started drumming their feet against the floor while their hands clapped and bodies twirled.

The song was an age-old folk rhyme taught to each and every water tribe child even before their birth. If she remembered right, her sister was practically born dancing and singing the song. Naiya glanced around until her eyes rested on the instructor who, seemingly didn't mind the little spectacle taking place in the center. Her cousin Raiok was nowhere in sight, and Kilik was somewhere doing who knows what. With an amused sigh, the princess smirked at her best friend and waited for her sister to shrink back in tandem with the rest of the children. When she stepped forward, their entire little group opened their mouths and chanted:

"There lives the wolf-lions out in the tundra.

Naiya pretended to bounce and stalk around the circle while Mokka followed suit.
"With mighty mighty teeth and eyes so wise!"
One of the children squeaked and ducked out of the way when wolf-Naiya twirled in his direction and did a playful swipe at his nose.
"Appa wolf, Eomma wolf, baby wolf!
Appa wolf is powerful and protects the pride.
Eomma wolf is sharp, clever, commands the tide!"

The circle broke and the children bounced their way around the "big wolves" in organized confusion. Hands linked and unlinked, the drumming sped up, legs leaped and bounded while spinning before being lifted into the air. The children who weren't caught by "Appa wolf" and "Eomma wolf" pretended to sink into waterbending stances and weaved around them in circles. When the drums changed tune they all fanned out again and Miakoda, along with several others bounced around Mokka and the princess.

"Appa wolf is powerful and protects the pride.
Eomma wolf is sharp, clever, commands the tide!
Baby wolf sleeps and plays all day....
Grows big and strong to lead them all one day!"

A round of applause sounded, (whether genuine or in mock-fashion, Naiya could not tell nor did she care) and the little dancing troupe broke apart with flushed faces. Master Narok strolled onto the floor and stopped three feet short of them. He regarded them with his usual firm face, yet his twinkling blue eyes betrayed his amusement.

"Excellent work children," He supplied in good nature, "Yue and La will make dancers out of you all yet. Now I will have to ask you to find your posts by the wall and for my dancers to come center stage. It is time we rehearse before the celebratory feast this week's end." He gestured subtlely and waited for everyone to situate themselves.

"As you know, wateerbenders and the our tribe work best in pairs. Today we are going to focus on the positive and negative jings in dance. Students, locate and pair up with your partners....and let us begin."

Master Narok gave Naiya and a few other students a pointed look; she groaned and held out her hand. Soon enough, a smooth one larger than her own graced her talons and traced over her fingertips.

"Greetings Princess," Kilik smiled.

Naiya swallowed a groan and forced a smile. She looked into his eyes and fought to convince herself not to find his lopsided smile to be so daringly attractive. "Hello Kilik."

'Negative jing....negative jing. La this is going to be a long day. I wonder how Kanok's faring with all of this. Ugh.'
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PostSubject: Re: "Where There's Smoke, There Must Be Fire."   Sun Sep 23, 2012 5:45 am

"H-Hello, Prince Kanok." said a tiny little voice. Kanok looked around and found a very nervous looking Konai standing there, a bit pink in the cheeks. Before Kanok could respond to this, however, Jo stepped in.

"Oh! Prince Kanok!" he said in a truly disgusting mockery of his sister, dancing around on the spot and flapping his arms oddly. "Hold me while I swoon!" he stopped his bizarre dance abruptly and went straight into serious mode, hands on his hips and a harsh gaze at Konai. "Pathetic!" he declared. "It's not like you've never seen him before. You've danced with him half a dozen times, for spirits' sake!"

"Y-Y-Y-YOU!" Konai raged, bristling. Her whole body had gone rigid as she stood there, fists clenched, a dagger look striking out from her vibrant blue eyes. "SHUT IT, YOU TROLL!"

"You see?" Joruk said blandly, looking to Kano while gesturing at her offhandedly. "That's what she's really like. Our mother puts her up to this, you know. She wants a queen in the family and she's willing to pawn off any of her daughters to do it."

Next moment, Konai had him in a headlock that looked pretty unbreakable, all things considered. He choked and sputtered as he slapped her arm, trying to get her to let up. Konai took to punching him as she had him in her hold.

"Why don't you 'pawn' this off, huh?!" she growled as she continued to whack him. "How 'bout that?! FEEL THE PAWNAGE!"

Kanok chuckled as he enjoyed the show. The dynamics of this whole situation were complex. Joruk had been Kanok's friend for many years. And for the past few years Kanok's mother had been in negotiation with Anya, mother of Joruk, Konai, and about half a dozen other girls to arrange Konai and Kanok for marriage. It wasn't the most contemporary of traditions. Frankly, it was a little frowned upon. However, Ama was a queen and she could do as she pleased with even the most antiquated social traditions. That said, the would-be couple had very little experience with one another. Kanok admired Konai's spirit, but he couldn't exactly say he was thrilled with the prospect of spending the rest of his life with her.

Of course, that was all an aside to the fact that they barely knew each other. The most that could be said of their relationship was that they made for abysmal dance partners, mostly because neither was very apt at it. Kanok had been surprised by his poor performance in dance. Swordsmanship and bladed combat was much like a complex, improvised dance as far as he could tell. He was an excellent swordsman. But he still made for a poor performer. It defied his logic.

In the end, though, all that mattered was the moment. Whether or not his mother was trying to set him up with the fiery Konai was beside the issue for the moment. What mattered was that Master Narok wasn't interested in the political dealings behind the scenes. He was concerned with teaching people how to dance. Kanok was neither interested in prolonging the situation nor avoiding it and that meant that he needed his partner to stop beating her brother (things had escalated into a vicious walloping after Joruk answered Konai's question of 'have you had enough?' with the reply: 'You hit like a girl!') so they could get to their lesson. It took three Wolves to pry them apart...
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