The cold winds of the north were anything but friendly to those whom were use to more moderate temperatures, let alone incredibly hot areas like the chain of land masses leading to Ember Island or even the Fire Nation capitol.
" Why do we have to stand guard outside, Mara? " one guard whined, the other sighing in annoyance to the complaints of her fellow soldier. " It's what we're being paid for, dummy. " Mara hissed, rubbing her hands together for warmth. " Besides Gin, what else can we do? Go home? " Mara asked sarcastically, the blue tint to her cheeks and the shivering of her shoulders not hindering the questions less than authentic implications from being seen by the man whom stood beside her. " You know as well as me and everyone else we can't go home. What with Fire Lord Zuko being this bid goody two shoes... " Mara hissed, angry and afraid by what this truth, the lack of home to return too once their job was done, getting to her along with the cold. That insult to the Fire Lord was even less affected by the cold than her sarcasm. If anything, it was even better under the effects of the cold.
But something else was also affected, enhanced by the cold. For as Mara began to lose feeling in her nose, mouth and finger tips, her sense of hearing had begun to grow. And with this, a noise became apparent to the former Fire Nation trooper. It was... soft at first, weak and small, but it was getting bigger. Louder. Closer. " Wait... " Mara whispered, watching the clouds shake and shutter, as though under the control of a force beyond the wind. " Mara, I know we can't go home. But why not just make a hidden tower or something and get us out of th- " Gin complained, the man's whines only serving to enrage Mara as she remained wide eyed, starring upon the heavens. " Shhh! " Mara muttered, holding up a gloved finger to her slowly turning blue lips, a stream of white condensation streaking out like an arcing bolt of lightning from her mouth which danced in and around her finger before fading away. Moving to ask her what was the issue, Gin was stopped in his tracks by the sound of... something. Something loud and terribly cruel. It was not the wind that moved and shifted the snow, he knew that as well as she did. No, it was something else. Something far worse than the simple cold. Gin turned to face Mara once again, not blind to her obvious fear or her paranoia at the sound and the sight of incredibly unnatural weather. Thus, Gin followed her line of sight and together, both stayed quiet, listening in for the sound. When it came once again, both jumped in place, frightened like the common house cat. " What the bloody heck is that accursed thing?! " Gin screamed out in shock, confused as to the violent intensity of the hellish roar. Mara remained silent, holding both of her hands over her ears, eyes having gone with with shock as she watched a shadow uncurl itself out of a sprialing dive from within the heart of the gray clouds, wings that were meters wide fanning out to catch the creature as it dived out of the sky. The creature was creature, coated in black scales and adorned with sharply angled armor forged of iron, descended from the skies in a blur of black.
Both Mara and Gin could only stand in place, as if they had truly become frozen solid, as they both stared in shock as the being came to a crashing landing atop them, it's weight smashing their bones and pulverizing their muscles into paste. But to the mass of black scales and iron, that was not enough for these people. These men and women whom sold their loyalty and humanity for a handful of coins. No, to the massive being, a more painful end was needed. A bitter end. And so, the massive creature reared it's neck back, a mounting inferno igniting to life within the back of it's throat, before it cast it's snout and jaws upon the already dead grunts, letting loose a veritable tornado of melting flames from it's open maw that was lined with jagged points, things that could barely be considered true teeth.
Flames that were as black as the void. As the smell of charred human flesh began to grow, a bloom of black smoke billowing out from the surface of the ice and snow and into the heavens, the man that had sat atop the flying terror easily hoped off of the leather saddle, his black clothes accented with flecks of red and silver standing out against the white and blue that swam around him in a frozen sea, the cold not bothering his cold heart or his pale body. " Wait here, Kcriss. I won't be long. " the man cloaked in black whispered softly the creature that was still burning the bodies to ash, patting the side of the creature's snout with his hand as it continued to belch out black flame.
And with no one to stop him from venturing into the base, the man simply waltzed in through the front door.
The sound of so many alarms going off all at once would have been deafening to anyone whom may have had even a moment to stop and listen in to it.
Unfortunately for nearly everyone within the once hidden base, no one had the time or level of sense to do so.
For you see, many of the guards now laid dead, their bodies having been swallowed up by the thick choking cloud of smoke or by the hellish black flames. Even those they had sworn to protect were also less then lively, having been cut down in much the same manner as those meant to protect them.
Others simply ran away, terror keeping them moving and panic for the dead keeping them more than frightened enough to try and look for those who had yet to fall. But for one woman in particular, this lone person being named Michi and co-leader of these insurgents, thought of this entire living nightmare as nothing more than an absolute disaster. She and her husband had tried time and time again to ensure their own safety, all the while continuing their support of Phoenix King Ozai and his rule over not just the Fire Nation, but all the known nations. But this? Nothing could have properly prepared them for this kind of an assault forced against them. Nothing at all.
And despite her gut instinct telling her to remain calm, keep her head leveled and focus on keeping her followers sane and safe, her heart and mind were telling her others things. And with this self debate, came selfishness. An overpoweringly high level of selfishness. Michi knew what she had to do, even though she would be bashed and ashamed of it only hours later. She needed to find her husband and leave this place behind them. Take one of their airships and flee. A cowardly tactic, yes, but one that would keep them alive. First however, she would need to find her husband. As she ran, weaving her way past this hall and that one, Michi became worried, paranoid even. She had seen neither hide nor hair of Ukano and she knew this wasn't like him. None of the rooms she visited housed the man she had raised a family and insurgency with, only the bodies of countless dead and now burning provisions.
Stopping just one or two dozen meters away from the back entrance, leading outside and into the icy tundra they had hidden themselves in, Michi stopped and caught her breath, feeling her years and paranoid gang up on her. " Maybe he's outside... " her mind reasoned, trying to alleviate her own panic and fear, her mouth forming those words against her will. Taking in one last long breath of air, Michi turned and began moving towards the back entrance to the once hidden base, only for her feet to skid and throw her off balance as she moved, fear consuming her heart and igniting her blood as she tried to come to a skidding halt. For there, standing strong and cold before her, was... him. The assassin clad in black whom had attacked their base. His face was cloaked in shadows and his body nearly the same, but the red hue of the lights adorning the ceiling allowed Michi to see something she wished wasn't now on her mind. The blood staining his clothes in huge swaths. She tried to move past, tried to keep the momentum of her sprint going without coming to a stop. But this failed as the assailant before her simply sidestepped Michi's sprint, his leg held out to catch her shin, denying her the proper continuation of her stride and sending her to the floor, a sprawled out mess that had bruises in places that would not heal safely over time.
The air in Michi's lungs burned as she fell to the floor, the running she had been doing in conjuncture with being knocked to the floor leaving her nearly unable to breathe. But even in a state such as this, Michi wasn't blind to the man standing above her, faces and expression hidden from view, those his eyes remained in perfect clarity. Standing out from beneath the shadows, was " Where is your husband? " the man clad in black demanded as he held the woman firmly in his grasp, the kicks to his stomach and groin not having the effect she desire it to have, for he simply blocked out the pain. Michi's breathing grew heavy as the assassin clad in black gripped her throat, her wide with fear, even as tears streamed down her face. Panic was filling her lungs with it's heavy content, making her time trying to breath all that much harder. Seeing the woman before him remain silent, the assassin loosened his grips. " Tell me, mother. Where is dad? " But for all she desired to say, to ask of the assassin that stood in front of her, only one word came out. A name, simple in it's pronunciation, but complex in it's implications. Implications that Michi was all too aware of, as she was the one whom had given this assassin clad in black his name.
" Tom-Tom? " Michi asked, her wide growing even wider as shock filled her, replacing her fear with something she could not place, nor describe in proper words. The assassin remained unaffected from her question, silent and his breathing low. He remained calm despite her discovering who he was beneath the black hood that adorned his head. The sound of footsteps came screaming from down the hall and Tom-Tom growled, baring his teeth and detest over this situation, over the abundance of foes he still had to face before his goal could be completed.
And then, all was black for Michi.
Surely what must have been hours passed before Michi finally awoke from unconsciousness, pain filling her every pore with woe.
The world spun and spun and spun as Michi tried to stand, the weight of her body sending her towards the floor time and time again. Whatever Tom-Tom had done to her had very much affected her in a negative way, making her dizzy and weak. But her perseverance finally won out after several more attempts against her weakness, letting her stand and stumble out of the room and into the hallway.
But considering what she saw, the display of pain and suffering that she bore witness too upon leaving, this half of leadership over this installation of Phoenix King supporters severely wished she had remained unconscious. The hall's were slick with gore, blood painting nearly every surface and every spot upon the metal walls. It made her sick, so much so she nearly vomited at the sight of it all. But she restrained herself, keeping enough self control to ignore the desire to let loose her stomach's contents and fall to the floor once more. As she stood, her mind and both both trying to explain away this A cold breeze, like the touch of death itself, struck the back of Michi's neck and she turned to face the source. A lone door leading to the outside was left ajar, creating a small creak as the wind shifted this way and that outside, pushing against the black steel.
Wrapping her arms around her chest, keeping her self warm, Michi trekked forward, certain that Tomas was gone, having moved on from his little massacre and was off somewhere else. Though she followed the trail outside with relatively no difficulty, easily traversing over the myriad of bodies and blood that stood in her way without loosing herself, Michi was quick to regret this course of action, finding what was outside A trail of blood, drops both large and small, had formed upon a set of stumbling foot prints in the snow. And at that trail's end? Her husband, Ukano, laying upon his back, holding a hand to his side as he tried to crawl away, terror in his aging eyes as he held his free hand up in front of his attacker, silently pleading for his life to be spared. Something both he and Michi were sure was far from possible by this point. As she stood still, snow collecting atop her head as she watched her husband be placed upon the teetering edge of death, Michi saw her life flash before her eyes. Everything event from her own birth, to her marrying Ukano, to Mai and Tomas's birth's years apart, to the rise and fall of the Phoenix king flashed in front of her eyes, forcing the air out of her lungs. She wanted to scream, to call out to Tom-- No... Not Tom-Tom. This man clad in black wasn't Tom-Tom anymore. Michi shoulders sagged as understanding washed over her, weakness over taking her body and sense of self control as she watched the man that had once been her son stand above her husband, holding one of his sister's Sai's in his hand, as if contemplating actually using it. Michi had wanted to stop her son from killing her husband, but upon seeing this? Seeing the massacre he had committed, the slaughter of so many people? It had left her... confused. Unsure. But what her son- what the assassin did next made all doubt vanish from her mind, sending her into a sprinting frenzy as she appeared before he husband in a blur of speed and awkward grace, her age and panic sending her down a path of stumbling and weakness.
" May you find peace with the spirits of the past at your side, father. " Tomas said, his voice hollow and bleak, as if he lacked even the most basic levels of moral strength to either condone and refrain from this course of action he was now partaking in. But before he could strike Ukano down, the form of Michi was in front of him, panting in exhaustion, shivering from the cold and looking up at him with dark eyes rimed with black. She was... conflicted, he saw that much. He saw her fear, her hate, everything swirling in her eyes as she keeled before him, trying to find her voice and speak up at him. " Even though your may be an assassin now, we know you can't kill us, Tomas. You don't have that kind of ruthlessness within you. " Michi said, a shaking breath taking over her would be stern tone of voice as she stood in front of Ukano, hoping to shield her now injured and dying husband from the wrath of their only son. Tomas remained silent, his gaze cold and dark. For a moment, Michi contemplated the idea that her son would turn and leave, silently acknowledging that she was right and he couldn't deny it. But such an idea proved utterly fruitless however, as Tomas took a single step forward, eyes glazed over with tears. Not tears of sadness from the murderers or atrocities he had committed only an hour prior, but from what was surely coming next. " Perhaps not. But... I know someone who can and will kill you, without something such as petty emotions or a conscious to weigh him down when he does so. " Tomas said, his voice taking on an edge as cold as the very ice around them.
Behind their son, Ukano and Michi bore witness aa the sun, as bright and as powerful as an inferno, finally fade behind the horizon, revealing the light of the moon as it began to ascend over head. And in a flash of black light and an unnatural level of burning warmth, Tomas was utterly consumed by his own flames. All that remained of the assassin was his skeleton, consumed by black flame that moved and shifted about in unusual patterns, turning and dancing like each spark itself was alive and full of demanding life, despite emitting an aura of nothing less than pure hatred and death. Throwing his head backward, the skeletal form of Tomas let out a roar, something born from a combination of rage and hatred mixing into one cruel emotion as the lack of flesh and muscle made him appear as an Oni or an even darker entity. A hand, comprised now only of bone and black billowing flame, was cast forward, outstretched and nearly detached from the shoulder it was connected to by the long slender arms, allowing two chains too shoot fourth from the sleeve covering the rest of the arm. Both metal instruments of multipurpose were bathed in flames as black as sin, darkness and death swarming over the two living constructs, instruments of death. Tipped with spikes and coated in flames unlike all others, the twin chains of black steel impaled Ukano and Michi through both of their chest's, each chain link searing skin and bone like it were all little more than water logged parchment, each piece of the unnatural metal tearing it's own individual path through muscle as it struck organs and needless tissue alike.
His work now done, Tomas gave a violent pull of his arm and yanked the twin chains backward, the two murderous weapons disappearing beneath the black leather-like material of his jacket. Turning away from the now burning bodies of his dead parents, Tomas took in the form of the moon as it hung above him in the dark blue sky, surrounded by a swath of murky white dots, each one a light just as bright as the sun, but only now visible in the darkness of the night. His hollow eye sockets, despite being empty and void, were still fully capable of seeing despite lacking orbs of any kind within them.
Though he would not admit it to himself, Tomas could never deny the fact that, if he still wore his flesh when in the presence of the full moon, he would have been crying.