Path towards Harmony [AU Legend of Korra Quest]

r2walker

Alchemic Anarchist
Pronouns
he/him
Winning vote:
[X][Unalaq] Southern Capital
[X][Priority] Dumping Unalaq somewhere takes priority.

Korra and Harmonic Convergence V (Month 12, part 18)

After talking it over, you and your parents decide that you'd rather not have to drag your uncle around like this all day. But then where to take him? While it's tempting to drag him all the way back to Republic City, that also means that you'd be responsible for watching over him. Besides, you'd also have to glide all the way back to that portal with him in tow, while the portal to the South Pole was much more accessible.

So, you all decide to make the former king the Southern Water Tribe's problem.

Crossing back into the spirit world, you see that Vanra and Biyong are both still unconscious. However, the spiritual auras surrounding them are gently swaddling them rather than violently and threateningly surging. The Spirit Sages and Tenzin are watching over them, but they're all relaxed now.

Looks like it's almost over.

You walk over to Asami and give her a kiss. She gives you a warm smile and then glances down at your uncle, her expression turning to confusion.

"...is that your uncle? Where are you taking him?" she asks.

"The South. I'll be back soon," you say as you start walking off again.

You then stop and walk back over to her. "Biyong and Vanra are okay, right?"

Asami chuckles. "Yes, Korra, they're doing fine. But they'll need to rest until Harmonic Convergence ends in a few hours."

"Oh, well if the Spirit Sages are going to stick around and watch over them, want to come with us to the South?" you offer.

"Uhhh..."

Asami turns to Haiko, Rika, and Zumaq, who all wave her off.

"...okay then."

With that settled, your group of five cross into the southern portal and emerge at the South Pole. The southern lights are still dancing in the sky. Since you're tired of carrying your uncle around, you swaddle him in gentle winds before creating an Air Wheel for the rest of you to ride on. In the Air Wheel, the ride to the southern capital is smooth and fast, taking only a few hours. Along the way, you pass a group of retreating light spirits dragging the Light Oni away, and have a laugh at its plight.

Once you get near the southern capital, military outposts start to pop up. The capital itself has no wall, so the people stationing them are meant to act as guards. Eventually, a few soldiers come out and motion for you to stop, so you slow the wheel down and let it dissipate. The soldier who was about to question you freezes in place as soon as she realizes who you have in tow. She then starts frantically chatting with her companions and then runs inside the nearby outpost to make some calls.

Not long later, the four of you are being brought into the capital while your uncle is put in chains and taken away. Your group go not to the royal palace, which seems to have been converted to a museum recently, but to an office building near the harbor. Inside the building, you meet several representatives of the southern United Front, including Kya and Sira.

While Sira greets you all warmly, Kya wants to get down to business immediately and demands to know how and why you managed to drag an unconscious Unalaq here.

"Well, the how is that we beat him up, duh," you say in a teasing manner. When Kya gives a look, you decide to go along with her and be a bit more serious about things. Be a proper Avatar and such. "Okay, so the whole story is pretty long. Starting from the beginning... you know how my uncle was all about reconnecting with the spirits?"

Kya, Sira, and the others nod.

"That was all a ruse. Maybe he actually liked spirits or maybe he didn't, but really he was just using them... and all of us. His goal was to take control of Raava and Vaatu and use their power for his own ends. Probably start with outright conquering the south via the spirit portal and the moving on Republic City next. We had to stop him!"

Kya nods. "I see... so, then, befriending the spirits was a way for him to gain their support. We did notice some light spirits gathering outside the city, but they dispersed on their own not too long ago."

"They must have realized he wasn't coming and ran off," adds Sira. One of the other delegates suggests chasing them down and interrogating them, and a few leave to arrange for just that.

Kya turns her attention back to you. "Speaking of the spirit portals, did you leave them open?" she asks.

"For bow," you reply. "I have to get back to the Spirit World and make sure things are okay there before going back home."

"Are you going to leave them open permanently?"

You give Kya a confused look. "...should I?"

"It's up to you," she says. "You're the Avatar, so-"

"So what?" you say, interrupting her. "I'm the Avatar, yeah. But what does that have to do with the portals? My role is to maintain balance. I can do that whether or not they're open."

Kya and Sira look at each other for a moment and talk in whispers before Kya turns her attention back to you. "Okay. So... having those portals open and reconnecting the Water Tribes... that's a big change. And we're not sure if it's a good idea or not to have them open, which is why we were going to follow your lead."

"It's not solely my decision to make, is it?" you ask back. "What would you all want?"

"...give us some time to think about it, okay?" asks Kya.

"Of course!" you say with a smile. "I'll be back tomorrow. Can we go?"

"Oh yeah, of course. See you tomorrow."

And with that, you, your parents, and Asami leave the southern capital... but only for now.

(Where do Korra and friends spend the night?)
[] Remain in the spirit world. (auto-skip to next day)
[] Take everyone back to Republic City. (must write-in what you'd like to do in Republic City)


QM Note: Last vote will be in the next part!
 

r2walker

Alchemic Anarchist
Pronouns
he/him
Winning vote:
[X] Take everyone back to Republic City. (must write-in what you'd like to do in Republic City)
-[X] Frantically try to find out what effects permanently open spirit portals would have in an international and spiritual sense before everyone else asks you what to do with them.

Korra and the Spirit Portals (Month 12, part 19)

When you, your parents, and Asami return to the Spirit World, you find that Biyong and Vanra are still out cold. The spiritual auras around them have receded to the point where they're like fine silk cloaks covering their bodies.

"Will they be okay if we take then back to Republic City?" you ask the Spirit Sages. "I can watch over them from there."

The Spirit Sages give you curious looks, and the Spirit Sage of Water asks you if something is the matter. And yes, something is the matter! It's these Spirit Portals! You don't know if you should leave them open or not! So, you need to figure out what exactly leaving them open would do to the world, both internationally and spiritually!

To make matters worse, when you ask the Spirit Sages what they think of the matter, they say they'll go along with whatever you decide. Great! That's not helpful!

But, yes, you can take Biyong and Vanra out of the Spirit World without causing any problems at this point, so it's time to go home! You put on your wing-suit while the others get in the hot air balloons, and head back to Republic City. You're the first one through the portal, and it's already night-time when you set foot on Spirit Portal Island. Next is your mom and dad, carrying Vanra and Biyong with them...

"...! What the-!?"

...and when they set foot on this side of the portal, vines from the banyan grove tree suddenly lash out and grab your two friends!

You and your parents are too surprised to react in time. Biyong and Vanra get carted off into the massive root system of the banyan tree. The spiritual energy of the forest surrounds them and starts mingling with their own. It reminds you of something... a very long time ago, when your family first moved here, the White Lotus also had you meditate between the roots of this great tree. Does the tree remember that? Or is it simply reacting to the presences of Raava and Vaatu?

You're still pondering it by the time the others – including Tenzin – come out. Rika and Haiko look at once ready to blast the tree and have it let them go, but Tenzin talks her out of it.

"They'll be fine," he insists.

"Are you sure?" asks Rika.

"How can you know!?" asks Haiko.

"We can trust the banyan-grove tree. Right, Korra?" says Tenzin.

Silently, you walk over to the tree. Placing a hand on it, you feel the energy of tree as well as the forest connected to it. All the other spirits... all the plants... all the animals... everything. Vanra and Biyong are there. Vaatu and Raava are there. They're all connected together.

"...Yeah. They'll be fine," you finally say.

Rika accepts it, but Haiko remains a bit skeptical and decides that she'll stick around here.

With the decided, the rest of the group splits off. Rika and Zumaq go back to their home in Uptown, and the trio of Lon-Hu, Aoza, and Zenruk return to Tiger Ward. Your parents head home, to also alert Haiko's dad about her decision and the families of Biyong and Vanra about why they're not coming back home tonight. Tenzin decides to stick around the forest as well, though he gives you the advice to go to Air Temple Island and ask for advice there. And Asami decides to join you on your frantic quest for knowledge.

You can't thank her enough for her support.

The two of you hop on a ferry and head to Air Temple Island. You're greeted warmly by the monks living there and offered tea. Once you explain why you've shown yourself, they of course agree to talk with you. New spirit portals are a serious matter.

You and Asami are escorted to a large dining room and offered a meal, which you both heartily accept. No way you're skipping dinner! During the meal, you're joined by several monks – and happen to notice that others are making phone calls in the background – who talk over the matter of leaving the portals open or closed. They emphasize this it's ultimately your call as the Avatar, but they want to provide appropriate guidance.

First, you can consider the already open Artificial Spirit Portal near your home. In all the years you've lived there, there's only been one major incident with it – the one with Zaheer long ago. Other than that, the portal has been mostly quiet and the forest around it peaceful. Someone brings up the light and dark spirits and the trouble they caused, and another monk points out that this should cease since Harmonic Convergence has passed. Without Raava and Vaatu to lead them, they should disperse. But even if that doesn't happen, you and your friends can handle them, you add.

This leads to the second point, which is that most spirits are capable of coexisting peacefully with most humans. Most spirits are not Raava and Vaatu and most humans are not – to use a dated example – Admiral Zhao. Daily life in Republic City, a place that hosts thousands of spirits without issue, is itself proof of this. One monk points out, however, that because things are like this currently does not mean that things will be this way forever. The nature of this world is change, after all, whether orderly or chaotic.

As the monks talk the matter over, several guests arrive. Some of them are ex-Equalists, including Totola. Some of them are Water Unionists, including Vanrir. And some of them are members of the various councils of Republic City and of the Harmonic Republic. You fill them all in on what happened earlier today, expecting the news to spread pretty quickly overnight and in the morning.

And you ask them to give you their opinions on whether or not the portals should be left open.

In a word, you would describe their opinions as mixed. In fact, it almost leads to arguments and fistfights, so you have to do an odd thing for you and help keep tempers cool alongside the monks.

There are those in favor of leaving the portals open. With Unalaq gone, the Water Tribes have never been closer together, so it's fine to have them connected. The economic and social benefits of fast travel between the poles can't be understated either.

There are those in favor of leaving the portals shut. Developing the areas around the portals might lead to their spiritual presence weakening and them closing on their own. And leaving the South vulnerable to a capture by the more populous North is risky.

There are maybe a few more people in favor of leaving them open than shutting them, but no firm consensus by the time you head home and go to sleep. But when you wake up on the morning of the last day of the month, you feel that you've come to a decision. You know what you'll say to Kya and Sira, to Desna and Eska, to the people of Republic City, and to the world.

What you will say is...

[] ...the spirit portals will be left open.
[] ...the spirit portals will be closed.
[] (more detailed write-in; subject to QM approval)


QM Note: Next update – seeing what happened with Biyong and Vanra, last check-ins on the North and the South, and the end of this quest's main updates!
 

r2walker

Alchemic Anarchist
Pronouns
he/him
Winning vote:
[X] ...the spirit portals will be left open.

Korra, Asami, Biyong, Vanra, and Haiko (Month 12, part 20) [Quest End]

...that, yes, the Spirit Portals will remain open.

It feels more and more right as you get out of bed and stretch. This is a new age. So much has changed recently, so why not embrace it? Not only do you think that the Water Tribes can be trusted not to misuse the portals, but you also will have two new companions to help you deal with spiritual problems.

And speaking of them, it's about time for them to wake up, isn't it?

It is, you think.

You head out of your home, first one up today, and make your way to the Artificial Spirit Portal. Along the way, the dragon-eel spirit drops in from the sky and asks you why there are two people with a similar spiritual presence to yours slumbering under then banyan grove tree. You give the spirit a full explanation along the way, and also inform it that you plan on leaving the other spirit portals open.

"That's quite reckless," it says when you're done. "But that's like you."

"So, you're okay with it...?" you ask.

"As long as balance is maintained, I am satisfied," it says before flying off, leaving you to finish the trek alone. Well, at least it's not mad at you...

When you get to the portal, Tenzin is still asleep, so you assume Haiko is too. Tenzin is up on a branch of the tree, while she's likely inside that red tent. Biyong and Vanra are out of view still, so you lightly tap the Earth and bid it to drag them out from underneath the tree. You encounter no resistance, and when you bring the two of them out, they have the same spiritual presence as any other person would.

For a brief moment, you wonder if the tree ate Raava and Vaatu before you enter the Avatar State and watch as Biyong and Vanra start glowing too. Nope, they're still in there, just quiet now. Good!

You turn off the Avatar State and their glow goes away as well.

Alright, now to wake them up...

A wide grin spreads on your face. How about this!

Breathing in deeply, you gather as much Air as you can...

"GOOD MORNING!!!"

...and then yell.

"GAH!?"

"!?!?"

"WHA-!?"

"AGH!? KORRA!!!"

Biyong and Vanra both jolt awake. Tenzin falls out of the tree he was sleeping in. Haiko flops around in her tent and it collapses in on her.

You fall to the ground, laughing loudly, while they recover.

.

.

.

After your friends are done berating you for waking them up like that, Tenzin chides you lightly and then asks how Biyong and Vanra are doing. Both of them smell like damp dirt and are covered in it, but they otherwise look healthy. You and Tenzin do them a favor by using the Air around them to brush the dirt off.

"...I don't feel all that different?" says Biyong. "I can still feel Raava inside me, but it's faint..."

"It's the same for me," signs Vanra. "Vaatu isn't trying to get out anymore. I think the banyan grove tree did this."

You glance over at the tree, wondering what exactly it did or said to the two so-called Great Spirits. But it doesn't respond, as it is a tree.

"Can you try to call them out?" you ask.

"WHAT!?" shouts Haiko at you, while Biyong and Vanra give you horrified stares. "After everything we just went through, you want to summon them back!?"

"Huh? No!" you reply. "I want to know if they can access any of Raava's and Vaatu's abilities."

"Sure, but... can we shower first?" shyly asks Biyong. Vanra nods in agreement.

"Oh, of course," you say. "You can..."

"...use my shower, since Korra will be busy calling Asami over," interrupts Haiko. "Asami has the brains between the two of you, so I want her around before we do anything else."

She then starts ushering Vanra and Biyong away before you can say anything back.

How rude! ...it's kinda true, but still!

You fume for a moment before following along. Tenzin, for his part, goes back through the spirit portal, trusting you all to handle the rest. Ah yeah, he was originally in Agna Q'ela before you all called him over.

Wonder how things are going over there?

.

.

.

Along the way back to your house, you run into your parents calming down the locals. Looks like your little prank woke them up too... whoops. You go and reassure everyone that things are fine and get chewed out a bit before you make it home and call Asami over to Spirit Portal Island. When she arrives, the two of you go over to Haiko's home and find that she, Biyong, and Vanra are ready now, the latter two now clad in red, black, and gray clothes. Haiko made you help her with breakfast, and once you were done with preparations, the five of you sit down to eat and chat.

"Okay, so what happened when you two were under the tree?" asks Asami, taking notes.

"Hmmm... maybe we should start at the beginning?" says Biyong. "We had to fight the Great Spirits for control over our bodies, as you're aware."

"Though, in my case, we also had to fight Vaatu just to seal him inside me," adds Vanra.

"With the help of you and the Spirit Sages, we managed to succeed, and Raava could do nothing try to struggle in vain. A new, green, spiritual presence suddenly appeared and started accosting Raava while she was trying to convince me to free her," continues Biyong.

"The same was true with Vaatu, and the green presence also supported me against his attempts to forcefully escape," notes Vanra.

"That must have been the banyan grove tree," concludes Asami. "It must have sensed the conflict within the two of you and intervened. Fascinating... and I'm glad that you're both okay now. Vaatu and Raava must be asleep then?" she asks.

"Yes, though I think that we could wake them up if we wanted," replied Biyong. "Is it okay if we try?"

Before you can say yes, Haiko cuts in to say that it'll have to wait until after breakfast. No summoning vengeful spirits in her house!

But once you're done eating, she relents and you all set outside to see what Biyong and Vanra can do.

Vanra goes first, meditating for only a few moments before something happens. When she opens her eyes, they're both pitch black and shadows start swirling around her. She can summon tendrils from them and pull objects into them. Biyong goes second, and it takes her a few minutes before any reaction occurs. Her eyes start glowing bright white, as does the rest of her body. ...unfortunately, it's so bright that it's hard for you to see what she's doing, but you can sense out that she can summon tendrils too and maybe make shapes from her light. But Haiko demands she cut it out before you can get a good sense of things.

Still, you'll have plenty of time to figure out the details later.

In fact, you could start tomorrow.

For today, you'll have to stop as it looks like the two of them can only call on so much power before they start to exhaust themselves. After all, they haven't had their whole lives to train for this. And besides, you have something else you need to do anyway.

"...Oh! Haiko, can you do me a favor? You too, Vanra," you say to them.

Haiko sighs. "What is it now?"

Vanra glares at Haiko briefly before turning to you and accepting at once.

"Go to the North and tell them about what happened... and that I'm leaving the Spirit Portals open. Oh, and do fill Vanra in on what happened while she was out, will you Haiko?"

"Oh, that's all? Certainly, I'll help with that," Haiko says, happily.

You then chuckle at her, and she glares at you. "...what?"

"It's just... didn't you say before that you helping me was a one-time thing? And yet, you're still here."

Haiko grumbles under her breath for a bit before answering. "Yeah, well... the world was in danger and stuff... couldn't just let that happen... and also you saved my life twice... and you helped me meet the Four Flames... and you're all actually kind of cool... I guess I'm glad I met you after all..."

You smirk at her, since you could hear that last part, and ask what she said for everyone else's benfit. "N-nothing!" she blurts out, face red. "It's not important. I'll go with Vanra."

Vanra, who can read lips, must also have known what she said, and eagerly takes her away with a wide smile on her face, happy to have a new friend.

You turn to Biyong and Asami. "Ready to go? You should come with us, Biyong."

"A-ah, is that fine? I wouldn't want to intrude..."

"Oh, you're fine," says Asami. "We want you around, Biyong."

"Yeah! You're our friend!" you add.

Biyong starts blushing and it looks like she might cry. "Oooh... thank you both. Yes, let's go!"

She leads the way and you and Asami walk behind her, ready to start spreading the news that a new age of spirit and human relations has come.

THE END
QM Note: So, I said that the actual visits to the North and South would be in this update... but I honestly prefer this as a formal ending, so that'll be kicked to an epilogue. Thanks to everyone who participated!

QM Note #2: Speaking of epilogues, I plan on starting a series of those next week. Plan is: Northern and Southern Water Tribe updates; Korra's visits to Omashu and Gaoling in late summer; and then a longer time-skip to the end of the Earth Republic Civil War another year or so.
 

r2walker

Alchemic Anarchist
Pronouns
he/him
Vanra and Haiko at the North Pole (Epilogue – Year 171 AG, Month 12)

Haiko and Vanra went on ahead of their three friends, making the way to the Artificial Spirit Portal. But on the way, Haiko realized something important. "Wait, how are we supposed to get to the other two spirit portals? We won't be able to fly over like this..."

Vanra pondered for a moment, before coming up with an idea. "Let me try something!" she signed to Haiko.

Haiko wasn't the most well-versed in Harmonic Sign Language (Water Tribe dialect), but she knew enough to get the gist of what Vanra was trying to convey. So, she sat back and watched as Vanra tapped into her chaotic powers once more. Shadows swirled around Vanra, and she squished them into the shape of a vortex. Sending one of her shadowy tendrils in, it then pulled out...

"Huh!? What the-!? How did you-!?"

...the squid spirit, the one Vanra was keeping her eyes on.

Haiko realized at once where this was going. "You sure about this?" she asked, and Vanra nodded.

The squid spirit, meanwhile, was floating around Vanra, examining her. "And how exactly did you get this power?" it asked. "In fact, this feels just like..." It recoiled from her. "...Vaatu!?"

Vanra nodded.

"...and how exactly did you manage that?"

Vanra smiled at the spirit, stuck her tongue out at it, and then signed the word "Secret~!" with a flourish.

The squid spirit scoffed. "Hmph! Don't think you can boss me around just because you have Vaatu's power. Now then, why did you call me here?"

Vanra gestured at the spirit, and then at herself. She had to do this a few times until the spirit got the hint though. It twirled around in the air, thinking it over. "Fusion, huh? I guess I could... but why?"

Haiko decided that this was the time to speak up. "There's an ocean we need to cross in the spirit world. We're on the way to the North Pole... oh, by the way, the two natural spirit portals are open and we've leaving them that way."

The squid, naturally, did not comprehend any of that. "I see..." it said anyway. "Very well, I permit thiiiiiiis!?"

Vanra, not waiting for the squid spirit to finish, grabbed it with her tendrils and shoved it at her. At this rate, she'd exhaust herself before they could even do the fusion!

The two of them were swallowed up by darkness. When it dissipated, Vanra was cloaked in a purple and black bodysuit, running all the way down to her feet and covering everything but her neck and head. One of her normally blue eyes was now pitch-black, and a long flowing cape made of dark tenacles was trailing from her neck. As it turned out, she was able to reshape it to act as glider or a sail.

She nodded in approval. This would do.

.

.

.

With Vanra's new adornment, she and Haiko were able to reach the other spirit portals and exit into the spirit forest at the North Pole. The two of them might have expected to be met with Northern Water Trobe soldiers, but no one was guarding the portal. They might want to have that fixed...

It wasn't until they reach Agna Qel'a that they realized why no one was at the portal. No one was manned at the city gates either. Hopping onto the top of the city wall, the two of them could spot bands of roving soldiers clashing in the city streets! Looking around, they noticed that soldiers with the characteristic five blue armbands of the Water Unionists were the largest single group, but were outnumbered by all the other groups. That said, some of those other groups were fighting each other instead of the Water Unionists.

Haiko and Vanra gave each other confused looks. How could this have happened? Korra had been given the impression that the Water Unionists could handle things here. Things certainly didn't look handled to them!

"Desna and Eska probably let the Water Unionists use the palace," signed Vanra. "We should make our way there."

"...shouldn't we help them fight?" asked Haiko.

"I... I'd rather not fight here," was Vanra's reply, after thinking it over for a moment and then shaking her head.

She then went on ahead, using the darkness and shadows to cloak her movements. Haiko followed along, quite willing to follow her lead. Slowly, they made their way over to the palace, which was now guarded by Water Unionists. While confused by Vanra's outfit, they didn't question it and allowed the two of them to enter. Upon entering, the two of them saw Water Unionists frantically running around, occasionally shouting at each other. One of them came up to Vanra and Haiko.

"Haiko? Vanra? What are the two of you doing here?" asked the man.

"We've come to send a message to you all regarding the spirit portals," signed Vanra. "Korra plans on leaving them open permanently."

"Oh, that's good to know," was the man's reply. "Malina, Eska, and Desna headed that way last night. I suppose we should expect them to come back in a just a day or so rather than in a few months on a boat." He put a hand on his chin. "Then again, we could send a messenger to confirm... ah, but we have to make sure they can get out of the city safely... we need everyone here too..."

He shook his head.

"So, uh... what exactly happened?" asked Haiko.

The man sighed. "A great mess! It wasn't bad enough that Unalaq did have some actual supporters. No, there just had to be a bunch of opportunists in the military, looking for their own chance to size power... ugh! We made the announcement that Unalaq had been deposed and revealed what his vile plans were yesterday as well. The fighting started a few hours later and it's been going on ever since."

He looked them both over. "I know you both just came to deliver a message, but any assistance you can give would be appreciated."

Vanra fidgeted in place, not wanting to turn him down but also not wanting to say yes. Inside of her, Vaatu was stirring. It must have been because of all the chaos and strife in the city. She didn't want to risk him awakening and trying to break out or take control of her.

Thankfully for her, Haiko noticed her inner strife, as it must have shown on her face. Haiko answered for the both of them, and quite formally as well. "Ah, well, Avatar Korra sent us here specifically to inform you of her decision, and is expecting us back. We will need to consult with her first. Besides, she'll probably want to help out as well!"

The man seemed pleased by that response. "Ah, yes! More help would be even better! Will you need help getting out of the city?"

"Not at all! Let's go, Vanra!"

And with that, the two of them departed from the palace, slipped out of the city, and made their way to the spirit forest. They fully expected to return with the full group soon.
 
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r2walker

Alchemic Anarchist
Pronouns
he/him
Korra, Asami, and Biyong at the South Pole (Epilogue – Year 171 AG, Month 12)

Not long after Vanra and Haiko departed for the North Pole, Korra, Asami, and Biyong would depart for the South Pole. As usual, Asami and Biyong would share the basket of a hot air balloon while Korra would glide beside them in her wingsuit. They stopped by the Experimental Station to grab the hot air balloon, and the instant the scientists present laid eyes on Biyong, they were all quite curious as to what happened to her. Her entire aura had changed, even with Raava dormant!

They were promised an explanation another day, and then the trio departed.

With Korra waving away the storms present on the other side of the Artificial Spirit Portal, the travel to the center of the Spirit World was smooth. Korra noticed that the wasteland surrounding the two natural spirit portals was slowly vanishing as the nearby biomes started encroaching on it. Maybe one day a vast Spirit Forest would be growing around the Tree of Time and the Pillar of Power...

Well, with the Avatar cycle continuing, she'd be able to see it for herself one day.

When the three of them crossed into the Southern Spirit Portal, they found a Spirit Forest that had re-filled itself with light spirits. A group of flittering small light faeries were the first to notice Biyong, and they promptly swarmed the trio, demanding to know what had been done with Raava and why she had been sealed inside a human. Korra, not wanting to deal with this, blew them away with a light gust of Air.

"Lady Korra, isn't it better if we explain things properly to them?" asked Biyong as they walked through the forest. "I think it'll cause more problems if they find out later from someone opposed to us..."

Korra waved off her concern. "Eh, we'll deal with that when the time comes."

She then sensed that another light spirit was coming close to them. "...And speaking of dealing with spirits..."

She got into a fighting stance as who else should appear but the Light Oni. But this spirit wasn't interested in Korra. No, it's eyes were dead focused on Biyong. Pointing its' iron club at her, it entirely ignored Korra and addressed only Biyong. "So, you are Raava's host."

"T-that's right..." replied Biyong, tense.

"Hmph." It slammed its club into the ground. "I will test your worthiness. But not today. In one year..." It pointed the club at Biyong again. "...we will meet again. I will have no issues finding you. Prepare for that day. Am I understood?" And it punctuated that question with another club slam.

"Y-yes!?" squeaked out Biyong. How was she supposed to fight that!?

The Light Oni then stomped off, ignoring Korra's demands that it stand down or else.

"Tch!" Korra then turned to Biyong. "Hey, don't worry about that. I'll fight it for you."

But Biyong shook her head, and said that she would do it. "If I beat her, the light spirits will listen to me, right? So, I can get them to stop causing problems for good." Of course, there was no guarantee that she'd succeed, but she had to at least try, right?

"We don't know that..." countered Asami. "Besides, this could be a trap. Maybe they're trying to bait you into releasing Raava."

Korra clenched her fists. "I won't let that happen."

"We won't let that happen," replied Biyong, taking both of their hands in hers, giving them both warm smiles. "Now then, shall we continue?"

.

.

.

It didn't take long from there to reach the southern capital city. The soldiers on guard duty let the trio through, though several of them give Biyong curious looks. They didn't question her presence, though.

From there, Korra, Asami, and Biyong were escorted to where Kya and Sira were on this day – a prison.

As it turned out, they were interrogating Unalaq. Kya noticed her first, and called out to her.

"Korra. Do you have an answer for us? ...and who is this girl?" she asked, pointing to Biyong.

"I am..."

Biyong was interrupted by – who else – Unalaq. "KORRA!! GET ME OUT OF HERE, NOW!!"

"Not happening~!" was Korra's reply, which was followed by more indignant shouting and demands from Unalaq. Not long later, Korra tired of this, and whipped up a swirling wall of Air to block his voice out. She sighed. "You had to deal with that this whole time?"

Kya let off an annoyed grunt, and Sira chuckled.

"It's just a formality," noted Sira. "We have everything we need to keep him here forever. Or if we don't now, we will soon. We're still waiting on some documents from the North to arrive by boat. If we'd known the Spirit Portals would be opened, we could have waited and gone there ourselves to grab them."

"Ah... about that... well, let my friend get back to introducing herself, and then I'll tell you what I decided regarding the portals."

With that, Biyong introduced herself and briefly showed off her powers. Unalaq's undignified ranting behind the wall of Air only intensified, but everyone ignored him. Kya and Sira were more concerned about whether or not Biyong would be okay, and promises from Korra and Asami to watch over her reassured to the two of them.

And as for the portals, Korra announced that she was planning on keeping them open.

"Will that be fine with all of you?" she asked.

The two of them nodded, Kya more impartially, Sira with a slight smile.

"We'll have to have some guarding the portal. Maybe even setup an outpost," said Kya.

"Maybe people will even start settling around the South Pole..." wondered Sira.

"It might be too remote..."

"People say that about the Southern Ice Sheet, but we're still here."

"And with any luck, we always will be."

The two of them turned their attention back to Korra, Asami, and Biyong. "Is there anything else you wanted to discuss?" asked Sira, and the trio were let go when the answer given was negative. But the three of them didn't want to head home just yet, and so Korra and Asami took Biyong around on a tour of the capital of the Southern Water Tribe, a city now at peace.

They would be on the way back home when they ran into Haiko and Vanra, who informed them of the situation up North.
 

r2walker

Alchemic Anarchist
Pronouns
he/him
The Crisis in Agna Qel'a! (Epilogue – Year 172 AG, Month 1)

"...Ultimately, these authors believe that the most direct cause of the Crisis of Agna Qel'a lay in the actions of the former King Unalaq. First, he made himself the central figure of the government of the Northern Water Tribe. All decisions had to be made with his approval. All power flowed from his person. With his sudden removal by the foolish Avatar Korra, the rest of the government was not capable of responding to the Water Unionist coup, especially when one considers how much effort those foul eel-snakes had put into infiltrating the state and military..."
-Excerpt from a pamphlet on the Crisis of Agna Qel'a by anonymous anti-Water Unionist authors under the pseudonym "The Northern Order", published from the Fire Nation Capital.

"...Despite the intense urban combat, the Crisis of Agna Qel'a is not often referred to as a true civil war due to its brevity. The most intense fighting was over within a fortnight. The bulk of the credit for this swift victory lays with the brave people of Agna Qel'a, led excellently by the local Water Unionist vanguard. But this was no solo victory. The early intervention of the Avatar of the Elements, the Avatar of Light, and the Avatar of Darkness was critical, and they were followed not long later by Water Unionist support from the Southern Water Tribe and the Harmonic Republic. Quite ironic since, at the time, they were still technically at war! But once the city was held safely by the Water Unionists, peace treaties were signed in short order..."
-Excerpt from a book on the Crisis of Agna Qel'a written by a historian of Republic City University.

"What can we, as people who want to create a socialist republic on the Fire Islands, learn from the Crisis of Agna Qel'a? It is clear that despite resistance from monarchists and fascists, the support of the masses was behind the Water Unionists. This must have been the work of careful agitation over the years... if we want to achieve the same aim, then we must do the same thing... we must return to the Fire Islands!"
-Excerpt from an article on the Crisis of Agna Qel'a printed in the "Flames of Liberty" newspaper, published from Yu Dao.

.

.

.

On the first day of the new year, Korra, Asami, Vanra, Biyong, and Haiko departed into the Artificial Spirit Portal yet again. This time, rather than splitting up, their group would head as one towards the Northern Capital of the Water Tribe. Korra had already alerted her parents about the crisis, and expected more support to arrive later. Hopefully they would also contact the Southern Capital and pull in aid from there as well.

But they could worry about reinforcements later. For now, they rushed ahead towards Agna Qel'a.

When they arrived, the city was once again in turmoil. Militias led by Water Unionists and their supporters were openly clashing with the allies of the now-deposed Unalaq. Seeing this, Korra immediately rushed in ahead of everyone, joining the fray with a massive ice attack!

...she also left the rest of the group behind, in her eagerness to fight.

Haiko sighed, annoyed, while Asami chuckled.

Biyong, meanwhile, summoned her Guardian Spirit. Not yet willing to call forth Raava's powers, she could at least have it defend civilians. The two of them, joined by Haiko, rode forth into battle.

Vanra, also not willing to bring out Vaatu's powers just yet, helped sneak Asami into the Water Unionist base. There, the two of them made contact with the Water Unionist leaders, and Asami helped them there while Vanra used her abilities to run messages around in the city.

As for Korra, Haiko, and Biyong, they would arrive at the palace that night. Only then would the northern Water Unionists get the full story of what happened during Harmonic Convergence and how Vanra and Biyong had changed. They, much like Korra, were quite curious as to whether the two would be able to use their powers to help out. While the two would rather have not risked losing control and so not done so, they would end up not having a choice in the matter.

On the second day of the new year, the Water Unionists and their supporters would make major gains in Agna Qel'a. By the end of the day, more supporters from Republic City and from the Southern Capital had arrived, and victory seemed certain.

On the third day of the new year, the anti-Water Unionist forces surged, bolstered by sudden support from dark spirits, led by the Black Cat and other powerful beings. As it turned out, they were using Unalaq just as much as he was using them, and they wanted him back in charge. Now with a spiritual threat present, Vanra and Biyong released their powers, managing to keep control of themselves all the while. Between Biyong's light casting out the encroaching darkness and Vanra's darkness turning the opposing darkness against its wielders, this alliance ended up not being the trump card the anti-Water Unionist forces had hoped for.

And so, over the next week, the Water Unionists would gain control of the city, and eventually the whole of the North over the next month, setting up a northern republic go along with the already established southern one and ending all ongoing wars.

This was, of course, greatly appreciated by the Harmonic Republic, which could now turn its full attention towards the matter of the ongoing war in the former Southern Earth Republic...

QM Note: Next epilogue (which may or may not be posted next week) will be after a time skip!
 

r2walker

Alchemic Anarchist
Pronouns
he/him
A Visit to Omashu (Epilogue – Year 172 AG, Month 8)

With the crisis in Agna Qel'a over, Korra and friends would return to Republic City and not leave again until late that summer. Korra's original plans to visit Omashu and Gaoling over the winter had been scuttled due to the urgency of the Harmonic Convergence and her uncle's plot. But now with her having handled those and being done with high school, she had all the time in the world to go and visit both cities.

She was sure that the locals wouldn't mind either way. In fact, based on how the war was going, Gaoling might appreciate her presence more now, as she could devote more time to aiding their cause...

Over the course of the year, the Civil War in the former Southern Earth Republic had heated up again. Omashu, which Korra was visiting first with her friends, remained neutral, as did neighboring and independent Si Wong. Gaoling and allied provinces were slowly marching their way towards Tu Zin, the still-beating heart of tyranny. The ongoing aid they're getting from the Harmonic Republic must be deeply appreciated.

To the North, Tu Zin's forces had attempted to lay siege to Ba Sing Se, and had been repelled by the combined forces of the Northern Earth Republic's military and the Green Lotus militia forces. And similarly, the Triple Island Alliance was now retaking their homeland and pushing out Tu Zin's force with support from the Water Tribes.

Of course, none of these gains would be permanent unless Tu Zin was defeated, but at the rate things were going, that seemed more and more likely.

So, Korra and friends put the war out of their mind for now, and just tried to focus on the experience that is Omashu, the capital and crown jewel of the newly re-established Kingdom of Omashu.

Due to developments over the past few decades, Omashu was now easily accessible by both rail and ferry from Republic City, while air transit was still rare. This time, the group of Korra, Asami, Biyong, Vanra, and Haiko took the scenic Southern Route which started from Republic City, passed through Taku and Hu Xin, cut through the plains in the middle of Honghai, and went on to the three great southern cities of Omashu, Gaoling and Tu Zin... or, it would, but since the war began all trips to the south terminated at Omashu. Well, it worked out in this case, since that was where they wanted to go, but moving further south could prove tricky.

But that was an issue for another time.

Even with the rail access, the Earth-bender guards were still on duty for getting people into and out of the city. Omashu itself had two major train stations – one inside the city for internal transit, and one outside the city for transit to other places. Naturally, an Earth Train was used to move between the two.

From this connector train, one could get a good view of Omashu from the outside. It remained an ancient city carved from the mountains, but it too was changing with time. Smokestacks could be seen emerging from the city, and spirits were floating around inside and outside the great walls. And after entering the now permanently open (and always under watch) gates, it was clear that parts of the city were becoming metallized, although the bulk was still the stone that Korra had a vague impression of remembering from a past life.

Of course, the unique gravity and Earth-bending based delivery system had gone nowhere, and Korra recognized it at once despite having never seen it before.

Omashu is rarity among the small states of the Earth Continent. Almost all of them have either completely abandoned monarchism, or have at least defanged their noble class. Omashu, meanwhile was going in the opposite direction. It was now ruled by a man who was styling himself "New King Bumi", a man that had proved himself in both combat and politics. He had defeated Zaheer and the Red Lotus, and had become the head of the Green Shield Society, a pro-monarchist grouping of nobles, landlords, bosses, generals, and various others. Furthermore, he had angled the Green Shield Society into an (uneasy) alliance with the Earth Sharing Movement, whose policies of land redistribution and a land value tax he had partially and slowly started to implement. The two groups now dominated the politics of the capital, and thus the whole kingdom.

This had the handy effect of stunting socialist development – but not ending it. Over the course of their visit, Korra and friends would quietly meet radical union leaders, as well as socialists and anarchists who were disguising the depths of their politics. They had judged that their moment had not yet come.

But it might soon.

As for the King, he of course lived in the royal palace. Omashu was built on a series of hills, and the palace was built on the biggest of those hills, having once been the tallest building in the city. Like Unalaq's former home, it was attended by a host of spirits, but these spirits greeted Korra and friends warmly and openly, rather than hiding away and lurking in dark corners. The King himself was quite the friendly man as well, dismissing his royal guard to meet with Korra and friends alone, despite their protests.

Just because Korra and friends were from a socialist country and Vanra was a prominent member of a continent spanning international socialist organization didn't mean that they were there to kill the king!

Balance.

Maintaining balance was Korra's role.

Of course, what is in balance or out of balance may change with time.

And she didn't have to do this work alone.

She never did.

The King, of course, viewed himself as a part of that balance. He was not merely restoring glory to Omashu. No, he was bringing it into a new age. Indeed, they had seen both the spirits and the industry spread across the city. In order to keep up with this age of popular control, monarchs like him had to adapt. But he would only be adapting so much – that was clear from his position, acts, and self-styling.

When Korra and friends left after a week of wandering the city and meeting people, they left with the impression that Omashu was a city in transition.

But what it would transition into... that was not yet clear.
 

r2walker

Alchemic Anarchist
Pronouns
he/him
A Visit to Gaoling (Epilogue – Year 172 AG, Month 8)

Gaoling, much like Omashu, is surrounded by mountains. However, it resides inside a central, idyllic valley, rather than being carved out of the rocks and stones. Despite its peaceful surroundings, life inside Gaoling was moving at a frantic pace.

The necessities of the war required it.

Korra, Asami, Biyong, Vanra, and Haiko arrived unceremoniously after many days of travel across plains, through swamps, and over mountains. The mountains outside the city were covered thick with fog and smoke from all the industrial activity, but the air near Gaoling was much cleaner. The five of them, breathing much easier in the valley, entered the city via one of the main roads quietly, slipping in unannounced as there was no city wall, nor guards keeping watch.

None of them had been to Gaoling before, and Korra's vague sense of familiarity inherited from Aang wasn't much help to them. The city streets were quiet, with most people out working or out on the front lines, and the few who were out and about not paying much attention to them. It wasn't until they stopped and asked a young woman at a newsstand for directions, and said woman asked who they were and how they got to Gaoling, that anyone realized the Avatar had finally come to visit.

She then immediately directed Korra's group towards the dense city center, where the Radiant Society was based.

It wasn't at all surprising to find that most of the leaders of the Radiant Society were out on the front lines, either fighting or coordinating. The few that remained, a group of men and women, were more than hospitable to Korra and her friends, offering them free lodging for as long as they wanted to stay.

It wouldn't be long.

While the five of them did still want to get a tour of Gaoling, they had also come as volunteers to help out the war effort. Well, Korra and Asami had always been planning to help out, and had talked Biyong, Vanra, and Haiko into staying to contribute as well. It was support that the Radiant Society was all too happy to accept, though they had questions about what Asami, Vanra, and Biyong would contribute, as all of them passed as non-bender non-combatants. Said questions were answered once they learned about what had happened during Harmonic Convergence, the powers that were now under the command of Vanra and Biyong, and how Asami was instrumental in figuring out how to pull this all off.

Now, the Radiant Society was not a particularly spiritual movement. But they weren't against the spirits either, and so weren't going to turn down a clear blessing like this. After meetings with not just leaders but also ordinary members, and extended discussions with all of them, the aid from the Avatar and her friends was accepted without reservation.

During this time, the visiting group of five would get their tour of Gaoling. What was most surprising to them was how much it reminded them of Republic City, particularly the areas were the majority of people claimed descent from the Earth Continent... so, most of the city. The main difference was how radial the city was, with everything flowing outwards from a central downtown core, the density steadily decreasing the further one got from downtown. The outskirts of the city were populated by large estates formerly owned by single families, now under the control of those who worked them. In rare occasions, those families were also among those workers, but in most cases they either fled or died trying to maintain control of their property. Plenty of bosses in the city still remained, and some even went up to complain to Korra and her friends about the new way of doing things, but they had no organized power. In contrast, the workers of the city were organized in various overlapping groups that shared power and control over the city and surroundings, incorporating other locales as both groups desired. The people of Gaoling and the surrounding villages and towns had formed their own counterparts to the Assembly of Communities based in Ba Sing Se and the local councils of Republic City.

It seemed like a reunification of (most of) the Earth Continent under a common system of governance was back on the table... if Tu Zin was defeated.

The forces of Gaoling were steadily making their way towards Tu Zin, with the aim of crushing it and thus the basis of the Southern Earth Republic. Of course, this would not end the war itself, as Tu Zin controlled plenty of other territory from which they could keep fighting, but it would be a critical blow. And with the Green Lotus and Northern Earth Republic marching down, they would steadily lose that territory too.

As far as everyone was concerned, it was just a matter of time. The main questions were how much damage Tu Zin would do before they were defeated and whether or not they had any secret weapons. The Anti-Spirit Radios and the Air Raiders were well-known and it was common knowledge by now that they had been trying to develop an Artificial Spirit Portal themselves, its failure being what led to the Spirit Wastes. But that didn't mean they had given up on such super-weapons.

Korra, however, was worried about that, as she was a secret weapon all on her own!

And after a few days of meeting people and resting, she and her group would head east and show the people of the Earth Continent just what happens when there are three Avatars on the battlefield.
 

r2walker

Alchemic Anarchist
Pronouns
he/him
Path towards Unity (Epilogue – Year 172 AG, Month 12, Final)

It doesn't snow during winter in Tu Zin.

The city – now partially in ruins and occupied by forces from Gaoling – was on the border of the desert and far from the coast. It was always arid, the air so dry it was hard to Water-bend, something that Korra had noticed almost immediately when they had arrived. Now the air was chilly, just like over on Spirit Portal Island and Republic City, but the snow was missing.

It was Korra's first winter without one, and it was the same for her four companions – Asami, Biyong, Vanra, and Haiko.

When the five of them – and particularly, Korra, Vanra, and Biyong – had joined the battle, they were a force multiplier that Tu Zin's forces had little means to counteract. Tactics to work around the Anti-Spirit Radios had already been put in place by Gaoling well before Korra and her friends arrived. The Air Raiders, while threating, were themselves threatened by Korra and by the previously unknown abilities of Darkness and Light channeled by Vanra and Biyong. And the final secret weapon – super-concentrated spiritual energy channeled into one explosive burst – was still in-development by the time they'd arrived at Gaoling, and so wasn't enough to turn the tides on its own.

So much for Tu Zin's secret weapons!

Sure, the war was not totally over – there were still battles raging as some generals were refusing to surrender – but Tu Zin itself had capitulated. Gaoling, with all this aid, was finally able to break the stalemate and drive their way towards the former capital. Had the decision been solely up to Tu Zin's government, they probably would have kept fighting, but enough generals had banded together to stage a coup and force an end to the fighting here. They were likely hoping to become a part of the new system, as had happened in Ba Sing Se many years ago.

But things are not as they were so long ago... these generals will likely only find that they have postponed their final defeat, not prevented it entirely. They're not the only ones who will have a say in how things go, after all. All sorts of popular councils and small collectives suddenly sprung up as if they had been there the whole time and could only now risk being visible.

Of course, some of them were opposed to these changes just as much as some were in favor of them or wanted to go even further. But the path towards re-uniting the Earth Continent was now clear.

All that remained now, was to walk it.

Korra herself was not involved in that part, however. She left that to Asami and Haiko.

She, Biyong, and Vanra had other matters to attend to – cleaning up the Spirit Wastes.

Spirits who had the misfortune to enter that wasteland turned hostile towards themselves, towards other spirits, and towards the surrounding villages and cities, including Tu Zin itself. It had even affected light and dark spirits there, though they didn't really need more of a reason to fight each other. Despite being called the Spirit Wastes, it looked just like an ordinary forest... from the outside. Only on the inside could one see how the land and air had been warped. It was always foggy and overcast, regardless of the weather outside the forest, and the air smelled of rot and decay. The ground was covered in a thick layer of muck and the trees were choked by overgrown banyan roots.

Slowly, Korra began the work of healing the land, aided by Biyong and Vanra, who had become more in tune with their own power over the past few months. Necessity had forced their hands. They also healed the local spirits, who were grateful for the sudden arrival of the Avatar.

It was during this time that the Light Oni made good on an old promise and suddenly arrived, itching for a fight.

But Biyong was ready.

With her light, she constructed herself armor and heavy weapons. She fought just like the Light Oni – fiercely and directly, charging straight on into battle.

It was exactly what the Light Oni wanted. When Biyong won, the Light Oni pledged to now serve her.

Biyong, however, had no need for servants, and bid the Light Oni work together with her as equals. It was a new state of affairs that the Light Oni did not understand, but one that was accepted. It was one that was being developed over the last year by both her and Vanra. She had worked to weaken the rigid hierarchies inside the Light, while Vanra had worked to create loose connections inside the Darkness. All the while, the two of them were connected to each other and to Korra, and to the world.

Light and dark were less divided now than they had ever been. The path towards uniting them in truth was now clear.

All that remained now, was to walk it.

END OF EPILOGUES
QM Note: Thanks for reading everyone! Hope to see you in another quest. Let me know what you thought!
 
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