Okrin Island: Genko Volcaono
"Mmmm! Mmph! Mmmm--MMMPH!"
An angry man ripped the cloth bandanna out of Karina's mouth. "What!? What is it!?"
"I need to go to the bathroom, you prick!" she retorted.
"Grr," he stomped the bandanna into the volcanic rock at his feet. "Make it quick."
Karina's eyes darted around. "I can't go if you're looking. . . " she said softly, shyly.
The Okrin man rolled his eyes and turned around. "Go in the corner or something."
Karina shimmied away, her hands tied behind her back, but her legs free. She was hot, tired, and scared. She hadn't eaten much outside of the puny rations they distributed to her. Surprisingly enough, they at least kept a water supply in this cavern. But how? Karina fidgeted with the rope around her hand, trying to use the time she was allotted to hopefully slip away. With her teeth, she grabbed at a loose end of a knot near her wrist, and gave it a tug. At least if her hands were free, she could fight back. A bludgeon to the head with one of these heavy rocks would give her a chance. Being as quiet as she could, she managed to loosen a knot. The rest of the rope fell into place. Her eyes widened with anxiety as she realized her hands were now free.
She rubbed her wrists, trying to regain some of the feeling in them. No thanks to that damned glove, she had a hard time getting the rope off in the first place. She looked around carefully from the stalagmites in the corner she had ducked into. The guard's shadow was bobbing up and down to her north-east, as he stood near the pooling lava stream just around the corner. There was an opening before her, leading back towards the large slope that she was carried up, and into the created staging room in the lower part of the volcano, nearest the entrance. She knew that the boulder would be moved soon for daily operations. She'd been timing the guards patterns for days now. All she had to do now, was dash away when she saw the boulder begin to move.
There was a soft rumbling. "Go!" she encouraged herself. The boulder was being rolled out of place, and they wouldn't be able to close it back in time before she made it!
"Hey! Stop her!" one of the Okrin guards called, chasing after Karina.
Running with all of her might, Karina leaped over their heads, using the slope of the ramp to add height to her jump. She leaped over two of the guards' heads, and ducked beneath the arms of the last man standing in her way. "Daylight!" she thought, anxiously. The boulder that had been blocking the cavern entrance was moved enough that Karina could slip past it, and hopefully into the jungle where her pursuers would lose track of her.
She was mere feet from the entrance, when a Stranger rounded the cavern from the outside, and she ran directly into them. She fell backwards onto her butt, her hands bracing her fall. Looking up into the glare of the sun and the shadow of the Stranger, Karina shielded her eyes until they could adjust to the person standing before her.
She noticed that the guards stopped chasing her, and that the Stranger stooped to meet her on the ground. Their hands fell lazily between tjeir knees, as they spoke to Karina. "I sheltered you. Fed you. Kept you safe. And you repay me by running away? C'mon, we haven't been that inhospitable, have we?"
It was a male, his voice muddied and his face hidden behind a black gas mask. It had tinted green lenses, surrounded with a silver lining. Beneath the mask, Karina could make out soft, silky black hair, with silver tips at the end of every strand. His hair stretched to the nape of his neck, where he had an unidentifiable tattoo, hidden behind his hair.
"Tell ya what," the Stranger said, standing up straight. "Your friends will be here in about a day. You cooperate with me, and everything will go smoothly. We'll all have a talk. Whaddya say?" He extended Karina a hand, to help her from the ground. She cautiously accepted, noting the Stranger's creepy, but charismatic ways. He was of average height, standing about six feet tall. He wore nothing on his torso, but his legs were covered in thick metal platelegs. On his feet were black, Earth Kingdom, military issued combat boots, which Karina noted carefully.
"So. Why don't you tell me which one of these big burly bastards has been givin' you the blues, huh? I told 'em, I said 'don't go pissin' her off. She's important.' But, I mean, I don't expect much from a bunch of stupid savages," he chuckled.
Karina said nothing. She peered over her shoulder, as two of the Okrin men rolled the boulder back into place. She watched the fading daylight and her only escape be closed off once more.
"Here. You must be thirsty. It's hotter than hell in this place." Suddenly, before Karina, the Stranger held out an empty bowl. With a balled fist over the bowl, cool water flowed from his soot covered hand. It was clean, and almost untouched. Karina snatched the bowl from the Stranger, nearly choking as she hungrily downed the refreshment.
"Whoa, easy! Easy! I've got plenty of ice shards to spare, I can give you more water," he said chuckling, as he held out his balled hand. As the Stranger opened his hand, Karina stopped drinking, to oggle at the marvelous translucent blue crystal in his hands. "Pretty ain't it? Heck of a story. I found it--well, maybe I'll tell you some other time. Maybe when we leave. But the cool thing about it is, no amount of heat--"
Karina interrupted. "Wait, wait. When we leave? But. . .my friends are coming. I--"
"Oh. Oh, I'm sorry sweetie. I thought you understood. I can't let you go back. No, not now. I told ya. You're important. In fact, you might just be the last piece of the puzzle that I need. That thing on your wrist is going to open up a lot of doors for us. But you specifically, have to be involved."
Karina trembled at the thought. What kind of plans did this man have?
Udal awoke the next morning, early, before dawn. He sat upright, with his hands on his knees. He'd ended up in a not-so-cozy tent with the other half-benders. Yao and Mimi were curled together in a heap. Tae Jin slept peacefully, and it almost seemed like she was meditating in her sleep. Anyu was stretched wildly about, with her foot landing in Shinya's forehead. Somehow, he slept through it. Udal chuckled softly to himself, as he stood up and popped out of the tent.
Kin was awaking as well, relieving another Okrin male of guard duty.
"Is it time?" he asked Udal, as he passed.
Udal nodded. "I'll wake them up soon. We should leave while its still cool out. It will make our travels to the south easier."
Kin nodded. "What will you do when you rescue your friend?"
Udal paused. They still needed to complete a much bigger mission. "We need to get off of the island. We have a lot to do. A disease to cure. And it means traveling further south."
Kin scratched his chin, stopping beside Udal's tent. "I may be able to have a few of my brothers assist with a boat. It won't be fancy, but it should take you where you need to go."
Udal nodded, with a smile. "Thank you. It will be a great help. Shall we meet you back here?"
Kin shook his head. "Go to the eastern cove of the island. It's easier to get out that way."
Udal shook Kin's hand. "Thank you. We'll be going soon."
"I'll leave the gate open for you."
Udal went back into their tent, and lightly tapped Yao on the shoulder. Yao stirred, waking slowly. Mimi purred softly in his arms, her eyes suddenly wide as they were disturbed.
"It's time. Wake the others. I'm going to grab our supplies."
Yao nodded, as Udal disappeared from sight. Within minutes, he'd managed to gather one of Jeaunau's fancy ropes, and use it to band together a make-shift bag, carrying the team's food that Jeaunau had supplied. They had more than enough, with extra supplies being donated to them by the Okrin. Fruits and vegetables, cured meats, all of it carefully wrapped individually and stored now on Udal's back. They would gather water from the river before they went too far south.
Udal stood with his arms folded as he stared into the early, deep blue of the morning sky. As his friends awoke one by one, they stood beside him.
"Remember. This is a rescue mission. It looks like you guys finally have some basic tools. I'm sorry that I haven't been able to teach you much. But I'm sure that will be all we need to get in, get Karina, and get out." They were stoic. Silent. But Udal knew if he was nervous, so were they. "Yao. Tae Jin. Lead the way."
They passed the gate of the Okrin Sa camp, bidding Kin goodbye.
"Thank Lady Isha and Chief Boa for me," Udal said, shaking Kin's hand again.
He nodded. "I will. Safe travels. And I hope you find your friend safe and in good health."
They disappeared into the jungle, the early wildlife scattering out of their way. Kin watched with anxiety and concern, but he had hope for the Okrin Nehin. All of them.
It was just as Tae Jin and Yao had previously described. The area was fraught with danger. There were now well over a dozen unclaimed Okrin men standing around a large boulder that blocked the entrance to a large cavern in the volcano.
The sun was just cresting on the horizon, and it was starting to get warm out. They huddled quietly in the forest, out of earshot of the guards. "We don't know what's inside. But, I can move the boulder myself. It comes down to taking these guys out and getting inside. But with no idea what's behind that rock, this is risky. Any ideas?" Udal asked softly to the others.
Mission Start: Operation Rescue Cat
- Formulate a plan. There are twelve Okrin guards outside of the large boulder blocking the cavern's entrance, and your way to Karina. You can go loud, and wail on them. Or, you can stealthily take them out, and hope to get some more information about the cavern.
- Locate Karina. She's somewhere in the volcano cavern.
- Meet the Stranger. Wherever he may be, surely will Karina be also.
- Save Karina. You can't go anywhere without her.
- Get off Okrin Island, alive. There's still a lot of people in danger with E.D. running rampant. It's imperative that you continue your primary goal of finding a cure to the disease.