Harbor City, San decided, was not all that great. It smelled funny, and was so full of tall people that sometimes it was hard to see five feet in front of you. Trying to find things like couriers to take messages up into the 'Caldera City' was difficult. On top of everything else, everything seemed to be red, brown, and black. It made finding your way around difficult.
"Come on Ka." She clicked her tongue and nudged her heels into the buffalo yak that she was riding. "At least we can explore a little." If the palace was on the top of a volcano, it stood to reason that all uphill roads would go towards it, it was only a matter of getting into contact with Master Katara.
Wheeling Ka down a side road that opened out into a small plaza with a fountain, she followed that for a good stretch until she finally caught sight of an aviary with messenger hawks. That would make things a whole lot easier! Sliding off of Ka and settling herself on the edge of the fountain, she began to carefully write out a letter to her future Master.
Touching her quill to her tongue, she started saying the words to herself as she wrote. "Master Katara, I'm writing to tell you that I have made it to the Fire Nation Capital..."
Last Edit: Jul 10, 2011 11:13:38 GMT -5 by Sanandak
The surfer had been walking around the Harbor City complex, looking for low budget finds to waste his parent's money on. Even if he did have an almost unlimited flow of cash, for the wrong reasons, he could still stretch it out. It was the least he could do, considering that none of it was really earned.
Ruon-Jian could have seriously agreed with Sai if he had been a bit more vocal about his opinions as to the condition of Harbor City. Every wealthy young gentleman ultimately needed a cause, and the campaign to clean up the pollution in the Harbor City.
After all, he never wanted to have to detoxify his Chi after illegally surfing in the oily waters again.
That being said, he had not seen a Buffalo-Yak in a long period of time, and that immediately took his mind off of things. Pausing for a few moments, he looked up and sighed with a shake of his head. Such a magnificent beast didn't need to be subjected to such horrible pollution.
Yeah, that was the deepest thing Ruon-Jian had ever thought of.
Pausing for another moment, he decided to go and bother the other individual without a second thought. After all, he was Ruon-Jian. Who didn't want to talk to a great individual like himself?
Nothing was too important for him to interrupt, and this was no different than that.
With a flip of his hair, Ruon-Jian began to speak in his usually casual and laidback tone of voice.
"Uhh, hey man like, what are you doing with like birds? I mean, are you sending a perv letter or something?"
When a shadow fell over what she was doing, San looked up to find a Fire Nation boy studying her. Well, both her and Ka. She straightened in her seat a little and frowned at him, it was more confusion than anything else. The Water Tribes were rather conservative, and she wasn't entirely sure what he was asking her.
"A perv letter?" She asked blankly, "I don't know what that is..." Maybe it was a boy thing that boys did and boys knew about but girls didn't? She'd had one or two very awkward conversations with boys who thought she was a boy about boy stuff that she never wanted to repeat. Luckily she wouldn't have to deal with that much longer.
A little embarrassed, she rolled her letter back up and coughed once. "I'm just sending a letter to my master." He reminded her of those boys that would come to the north pole to strap their feet to planks of wood and slide down the glaciers. Well, the clothing was different.
The embarrassment had changed to a blush, and she tried to figure out why he was speaking to her in the first place. She did stick out a little, but he didn't seem to have any actual questions about the Northern Water Tribe. "Was there... something you wanted?" Spirits, she missed Beau. He usually handled the talking to people bits. Ancestors! He usually initiated!
It wasn't every day that Ruon-Jian got the opportunity to observe a real buffalo-yak, and the magnificent creature took him aback at first. Well, by first one might say after he was done talking. Sometimes it seemed that Ruon-Jian just wouldn't stop.
Nevertheless, he did have an actual, real appreciation for the beauty that Ka embodied. If anyone gave him a chance, he could be a bit deeper than people thought. Not much, but Ruon-Jian wasn't really all that bad if someone got to know him.
Getting to know him though was a real challenge that even an old Air Nomad monk probably wouldn't have the patience to rise to.
"A pervy letter. You know, one where you go and tell the guy or the girl just exactly what you want out of the relationship. You know what I mean right?" Sighing a bit, he looked up. His peering eyes were partially obscured by his long hair, however.
Ruon-Jian then caught on to what she saying and started to laugh, "Ah, sorry man! Err, girl! I mean, I didn't realize it was going off to your master. Are you a waterbender or something? That's actually pretty hot!"
Naturally, no one in the Fire Nation ever said that something was cool. However, her comparison really was right in many ways. Ruon-Jian was a surfer, and if he ever got a chance to go to one of the poles, he would certainly be one of those boys that slid down a glacier on a plank of wood!
Looking back with a flip of his hair, he sighed a bit, "So what's the buffalo-yak's name? Can I give it a cracker, or will it like take my arm off or something? That'd be kinda hot though; a big man-eating beast following you around and everything. I'd so get into that scene."
"Oh! Like a love letter!" San straightened a little and smiled. She knew what those were. "No..." The blush started to creep along her nose, "I wouldn't have anyone to send it to." Technically, she could have sent it to her ex-fiance, but... she didn't love him, or even like him, so it hardly seemed worth the effort of writing it and making a poor bird carry it.
Even though they shared a language, and she had traveled for over a month with a waterbender with such a thick accent that it was very difficult to communicate sometimes, well... She was having trouble following this man to the letter. "Yeah, I'm a waterbender." At least she had understood that bit of it.
Twisting so that she was angled more towards the fountain that she sat on, her paper and quill. "Here, see?" San was still deeply entrenched in her awkward teenage years, and constantly pretending to be something she wasn't was not doing much for what little poise she did possess. Rather ungracefully, with the feel of someone who had not had much practice doing what she was doing, she drew a long snake of water out of midair as it cascaded downward to the belly of the pool.
"Her name is Ka." A moment later though the water was cast back into the fountain, and San began digging in her pack, and pulled out a mealy looking apple. Ka's ears would instantly perk up, and the doe would turn her head and follow the treat as it was held out to him. "Sure. She's pretty friendly, I mean, she is capable of taking your arm off, but she's never tried it." Unlike some buffalo-yaks that she knew. Why Sique loved his brute of a bull so much, she would never know. "I'd worry more about her horns anyway."
"Just be sure to keep your palm flat." Was added a little belatedly, as he didn't seem like the type to know much about animals. As soon as the bit of fruit changed hands, Ka would begin prodding the taller man with her muzzle, her nearly prehensile upper lip straining towards his hand.
Ruon-Jian probably was thinking of a love letter, but naturally his upbringing had lent him to lean towards other less innocent thoughts. It was funny, considering that he actually was not with anyone for real at the time. He talked a big game, and hit on women, but it didn't seem that he was truly with anyone.
Nevertheless, there was the question of Mai. He was actually starting to turn around there. He liked her, and had been pleasant enough around her. Maybe he was ready for a real relationship, even if he was horribly immature about nearly everything in the world.
With a flip of his hair, Ruon-Jian watched in real awe of the waterbending skill that was shown off to him. It may have been, to some degree, respect out of fear. Water could douse the flame of fire quite easily. Ruon-Jian himself lacked any bending skills at all, so he more than anyone perhaps stood in awe of such abilities.
It didn't help that he wasn't all that bright, so these sorts of things were even that much more impressive to him. Such a display was like magic to him, but any bender worth their salt would be quick to tell you that bending wasn't a magical force, but something far different and far more So no matter how much she had been pretending that she was something that she wasn't, Ruon-Jian sure enough thought she was.
"Hey, thanks..." Ruon-Jian said as he took the apple and held out his palm flat. He wasn't necessarily the type to know a lot about animals, but he did have an almost boyish enthusiasm. For so long he would have said something like this 'wasn't hot' and would certainly have turned it away, but now things were different:
No one, besides Sanandak, was watching. A quick glance in either direction indicated that was at least apparently true. He didn't want to have to suffer through any embarrassment after all.
He had at least in part listened to the other's advice, and seemed to be holding out the fruit properly. Now it was just a waiting game with the buffalo-yak.
It was a little funny, watching him fumble to do something that came so naturally to her. Ka was quite easy going though, the sort of buffalo yak that children could play with, and beginners could ride. She wasn't prone to misbehave or easily startled.
Ka would waste no time chomping down on the apple in the man's hand, biting it in half she would chew a few times contentedly, then go back for the rest. This action would leave a bit of buffalo yak slobber on the boy's hand.
"I think she likes you." It was almost teasing. Ka liked anyone who fed her an apple. Had he been a small child, she would have offered to give him a buffalo yak pony ride. She doubted someone of his age would be keen on such a thing though.
"So, you're from around here?" She asked him a little hesitently. "I'm new here, and I was thinking that maybe you could help me." It was nothing big, she just had a question. "Do you know any good places to stay around here?" It might be a while before her Master returned.
He was glad that the buffalo-yak was so friendly, but it was perhaps sad that Ruon-Jian was 'one of the most important young men in the entire Fire Nation' in his own mind. He actually would have loved to accept a ride, if he didn't have to act in such an incredibly fake way.
Of course, it was his lot in life to continue to do so. Therefore, he didn't change things up and simply acted detached. Surely, though, Sanandak could see in his eyes what the truth was.
That didn't mean that Ruon-Jian wasn't prissy though, and he did remove a length of silk to clean the bit of buffalo-yak slobber off of his hand after it was deposited there. He meant no real disrespect though. That was just how Ruon-Jian always was.
"Well, uhh, I'm glad she likes me, but she doesn't need to be so dirty. Still, she is rather cute and she kind of reminds me of an Air Bison. Since Airboy is gone, it's nice be reminded that there is still some good left in our screwed up world."
"Well, technically I'm Ember Island. You know; where the hot kids are." When he said the word hot, which the place of cool in the Fire Nation, he flipped his hair as if it punctuated the statement.
"I could show the two of you a couple of places to put up for the night? Depends though on how much you wanna go and spend." He sighed a bit and looked away, "What are you doing here anyways? If you're hungry, I know an Unagi stand. If beastie is hungry, I know a feed store."
San nodded slowly then shrugged. Ka wasn't exactly a panda lilly or a dragon, but if the boy wanted to think of her like that she wouldn't stop him. He didn't grow up on a buffalo yak farm, the magic was still there for him. "Yeah, we're both a little grungy I guess." San dusted at a few buffalo yak hairs that were stuck to her britches, but the things stuck fast. "But we've come a really long way."
A slightly disappointed "Oh..." met his comment on being from 'Ember Island'... whatever that was, but she brightened when he shared that he knew the Harbor city pretty well too. Capping her ink and then bending a bit of water over her quill to wash off the tip, she stowed both things in her saddle bag, then she picked up her letter, blowing on it once or twice before it too followed the other implements in.
"Well, I was supposed to meet my master here, you see," She launched into the complete explanation of the topic that they had touched on earlier. "Master Katara, she's building a school and stuff, but..." Airboy? Seemed a little disrespectful. "...with Avatar Aang's death and all, I hear that she left the city rather suddenly to the North Pole." Maybe some sort of world leader meeting? She wasn't sure.
"So anyway, I might be waiting for a while. Somewhere cheap would be great, but..." She laughed a little, as it was a joke but also true, "Nowhere that I'm going to get mugged either." She'd been lucky so far, usually people left her alone, but there was a first time for everything, and Haviv and Beau weren't around to bail her out.
Getting up to her feet, she had to crank her head way back to look up at him. Everyone in the Fire Nation was so tall! She'd forgotten what it felt like to be towered over since she'd split up with Die and Haviv. "I guess I could eat something..." Was added as more of an afterthought. It was lunchtime after all. She'd gotten so caught up in her exploration and her letter writing that she'd lost track of the time. "Ka's alright though." The beast would get fed once San got an inn room and put her in the stable. She'd also get a bath. Correction: They'd both get baths.
"Just lead the way!" She'd follow him, unless he started leading her somewhere scary looking.
Last Edit: Jul 21, 2011 13:29:17 GMT -5 by Sanandak
The magic was especially there since Ember Island was just about as far from a buffalo-yak farm that one might come. It wasn't at all like that on Ember Island. It may have been classy, but there was still something pleasant about the simple life that Ruon-Jian never got to enjoy.
Some of that surely came from being a surfer. He actually appreciated a little bit of that simple life, but it didn't come easy. He demanded perfection from everything and wanted to honestly live in the lap of luxury.
Still, he watched in equal amazement as she bent water over the quill. As a skill he couldn't master, bending of any element was impressive to him.
Naturally, Ruon-Jian flipped his hair before he spoke. "Where did you say you were from anyways? I mean, like, I don't think you told me."
He frowned, looking away with a sigh, "I know. When Airboy died...it..." Though one might not expect it, Ruon-Jian actually was showing a bit of emotion. Maybe he wasn't that disrespectful of the Master of All Four Elements after all.
He sighed a moment, thinking of where they might go. The Harbor City wasn't the nicest place ever. As a wealthy and fashionable individual, he actually decided that he needed some cause to support since it seemed that all the wealthy fashionable young people had some cause they were in support of. His was quickly becoming the movement to clean up the Harbor City.
After all, it would make for some killer surfing had it not been so polluted. He'd surfed in it before, during his Probably Illegal Barbecue Bash Party. That had certainly been a quick way to understand that it wasn't at all clean. In fact, ever since visiting here he had been asking Agni to boil out whatever toxins may have gotten into his body.
The direction he had been leading her actually appeared to be closer to a nicer part of town. That was all relative when talking about this den of thieves so to speak, but she couldn't have mistaken him for someone who was leading her to that aforementioned fearful place.
"How cheap, exactly, do you want it? A guy like me is used to staying at some classy places, you know."
San nodded. It was true, she hadn't told the man where she was from, or even her name. Then again, he hadn't either, though she assumed that he was from the fire nation, just as he probably assumed that she was from one of the poles.
"I'm from the North Pole." She told him, then introduced herself. "I'm Nandak, son of Towaka." Reaching out, she patted the buffalo yak, "And of course, that's Ka. You've already met her." Intimately, judging from the slobber. Hopefully he would return the introduction so she could stop thinking of him as 'the man' in her head. It seemed rude.
"Really?" The surprise in her voice was evident, and it quickly sent her stumbling over a timid apology. "I mean, not that I'm surprised... well, I am a little, but, you just seem so... so... laid back." Not the type to be dropping large sums of money for the fanciest rooms in the city. "Sorry." Was mumbled a little defeated, and she stared at her toes. She wasn't good with boys, especially cute ones.
Falling in step next to him, she decided it would be best to concentrate on his original question. "Well, it's just that I'm going to have to stay indefinitely... I was thinking a few silver?" That for a room and board for both her and Ka was easy in the country, but in the city? She wasn't sure. Things tended to cost more in the city.
Ruon-Jian had assumed that she was from the poles as she thought, and his assumptions were confirmed. Nevertheless, he decided that this might have been the best place to rectify the fact that he himself hadn't yet given out his own name. Technically, though, he had already told her he was from Ember Island. There wasn't anything that said he couldn't repeat that bit though.
Flipping his hair to the side as he spoke, the surfer smirked a bit, "North Pole? That's pretty hot...or, well really its cool. Yeah, I did meet Ka. I'm Ruon-Jian and I just happen to be one of the most important young men from Ember Island. That's one of the hottest places around here."
While he wouldn't have said anything directly, it was simply because he was trying to preserve his demeanor. Sanandak could more than likely tell that he was actually happy to have met her, and probably considered both her and Ka fast friends. It was just that he had a certain 'mystique' to keep up about himself.
What she thought was an insult was actually simply a stroke to his ego. Flipping his hair once more, the surfer seemed utterly pleased with himself, "Laid back? Well, I try. Anyway, a few silver? Here in the Harbor City things tend to be cheap because the town smells like boarcupine droppings. The water here is kind of, well, you know. Like you'd find in a toilet."
No one ever gave him an award for tact, but he was probably right. This wasn't the nicest place in the Four Nations to stay. Nevertheless, there were a few gems here: diamonds in the rough, so to speak.
"I can think of a pretty kickin' place at that price. Sure you can afford that much?" It was simply his nature to consider everyone to have less money than he did. Odd for someone who didn't seem to actually be able to hold a job.
"I've never been to Ember Island." She said, thumbing her lower lip, "But I have heard a lot of good things about it." Mostly about how nice the beaches were, and how good the sand felt, and how amazing the food was. Vacationy sort of things. "Why'd you ever want to come here?" She smiled innocently, never doubting for a minute that he might not be as important as he said he was. What reason did he have to lie to her?
Judging by his expression, at least, he didn't seem angry about her slip up, so she was quick to let the subject drop and be forgotten. "I guess when you grow up on a buffalo yak farm," San crinkled her nose in a girlish way, "You just stop noticing stuff like that." At least the cold up north seemed to help with the animal smell.
Falling in step beside him, making sure that Ka wouldn't head butt anyone as she walked, San let her arms swing a little to help her hurry along, as she had to take two steps for every one of his. "Well, If you think that I could get something cheaper..." she trailed off, waiting for him to give an opinion on the matter. He was the one who knew the city, and San knew from experience that she could be taken advantage of in the money department.
"So, Ruon Jian, you said you were pretty important..." Having three older brothers, San knew a thing or two about flattery. Unfortunately, she wasn't particularly good at molding it to fit her facade of a gender. "So, maybe you'd know when the Fire Lord and Master Katara might be expected back to the city?" It couldn't be too long... could it?
Ember Island was certainly a place for vacationers, and that translated quite well into Ruon-Jian's laidback lifestyle. Growing up around those sort of wave breaks made one end up living as a surfer. To make things even better, it seemed that she was totally eating up the story about him being important.
Well, to his credit, he was from a wealthy noble family. That being said, Ruon-Jian wasn't himself important in any way. He had escaped military service by relying on his parents to weasel him out of the draft, and at the same time hadn't shown any wish to go into business or even hold a proper job.
With the kind of money he leached out of mom and dad, though, he didn't have much of a reason. Perhaps they should have been held at fault for not towing his leash in a bit, but what damage was done was done and Chan totally had it in Ruon-Jian's head that they were two of the most important young individuals in the Fire Nation.
"Well, you see," he started to say in answer of her question as to why he came here, "You don't realize how great many of the night clubs in this district are, now do you? I mean, these are hot, swinging places that aren't all stuck up like the ones in the crater itself. Now, like, Looserboy is like always busy and so is his girl!"
That was certainly an interesting way to address the two rulers of their nation.
"They never tell me anything, and I doubt they even tell the royal court. Can you believe they go gallivanting around the world like that? All Four Nations...I mean, I'd love to grab some of the sick waves that they must see!"
"I've never been to a night club." San agreed. Was it something like a mixer? Probably. Sometimes the Healing students and the Warriors had very very well supervised mixers.
"I guess it never hurts to ask, right?" She smiled ruefully. Too bad. She'd waited for six months though, she could afford to wait a little longer. It wasn't like there was any hurry.
Stopping in front of the inn he had led her to, she looked it up and down once. It seemed nice! It wasn't particularly fancy, but at the same time, nobody was stumbling out drunk either. That would have been especially bad since it was still morning. "Gosh, it looks perfect, thanks for the recommendation." Then, because he really seemed to enjoy the complements, "You're a really great guide."