- Title: Where it All Goes Wrong
- Genre: Drama
- Rating: PG-13
- Characters: Aang, Sokka, Toph, Yakone, Katara
- Shippings: Kataang, Sukka (mentioned)
Yakone is on trial for his crimes against Republic City, but he has far more sinister ideas in mind, thanks to his fellow criminals.
Author's note Edit
The idea for this story was based off this blog post.
The story Edit
The sun gleamed down on the large capital city on the late autumn day, twenty-eight years since the Hundred Year War was done. It gave the semblance of a peaceful, serene day in the land of all peoples, but, a ride in any carriage to City Hall would take one out of the beautiful weather.
Inside the large home of the United Republic's center, major cityfolk gathered for the trial of the most dangerous man to the city's balance in its history of just under thirty years. The slick leader of the Red Monsoons had just been seized thanks to the work of the Avatar and the head of the Metalbending Police Force, and was now facing his trial. Attempting to convict him was the council of all nations, and keeping watch on him was the same police force that seized him, inclusive of the famous Beifong daughter.
Avatar Aang stood behind this dangerous criminal, waiting and watching for any dangerous moves he would pull. He knew he had plenty of backup, but was ready for anything. He came here despite worried pleas from his wife, still believing that the criminal could attack at any time, leaving her and their three children without a husband and father. Despite this, he held steady at the trial, knowing that his presence was needed to keep that dangerous man under control.
The rest of the council entered the room. At current, it was comprised of Shi Tzao of the Earth Kingdom, the first son of Earth King Kuei, Maozan of the Fire Nation, Holiak of the Northern Water Tribe, and Prince Sokka of the Southern Water Tribe, who stood as chairman. They took their seats around the U-shaped table and prepared to begin the trial.
Sokka banged the gavel resoundingly. "All attendees please be seated! The case of Yakone v. the United Republic will now begin!"
A few blocks down from the illustrious City Hall was a rather significant home. Inside, an anxious wife, also a master waterbender, took a seat next to a radio, awaiting any updates on the trial. Her children were doing various things at that moment, but had at least an idea of what was going on. The children knew her by "mom", "mother", or "mommy", but everyone else knew her as Katara.
"Did the trial start yet, mom?" A girl of about sixteen asked her, this girl being the couple's firstborn, a waterbender. On that day, she was wearing garments of both Water Tribes and Air Nomads; her hair loopies making up part of her style for the day, and wore darker pants more like the Water Tribe, but had a dress similar to the newly founded Air Acolytes. Her name was Kya, a tribute to her late grandmother.
"It's about to," Katara replied, clearly nervous about her husband's presence within.
"Mom, are you worried about dad?" Kya queried. "Come on, I'm sure he'll be fine. He beat Ozai; one of the biggest baddies ever. I'm sure he can deal with this Yakone guy if need be. Plus, he's got Chief Toph and Uncle Sokka there as well!"
"There's just something that makes me feel uneasy about Yakone," Katara addressed her daughter. "The triad name is the Red Monsoons...which makes me wonder about blood. All waterbenders."
"Well, isn't that why they're having the trial this morning?" The younger waterbender answered. "So they can't bloodbend."
As they conversed, two boys came running down the stairs.
"Mommy! Make Bumi stop!" One of the children yelled; he was in a version of the clothing his father wore when he was young, and his head was devoid of any hair, like a typical airbender, and appeared to be about nine years old. "Mommy, Bumi keeps rubbing my head with his boomerang and calling me 'baldy'!"
"Come here Tenzin," Katara replied, picking up the young airbender and placing him on the couch next to her. Not too far behind was her other son, who appeared to be about thirteen. He donned clothing more like his Uncle Sokka had in his younger years. "Bumi, leave your brother alone," the mother then added.
"Come on mother, I was just teasing him!" Bumi protested.
"You know Bumi," Kya added, "we could just as easily make fun of you for being named after a crazy old king. It goes both ways, little bro."
"No one should make fun of anybody," Katara replied. "But we'll talk about this later. Why don't you three play outside for a little bit? It's a beautiful day."
Bumi pulled out his boomerang. "All right! Come on Kya, water vs. boomerang, right now!"
Kya simply laughed. "I guess someone's anxious to lose again."
Tenzin looked at his mother with a more curious look as his siblings ran outside. He didn't have as much knowledge of the situation as his parents, but knew enough. "Mommy, is daddy going to be okay? They'll get rid of this Ya-Kahn guy?"
Katara turned to her youngest son and forced her smile, trying to hide her worries. "Oh, I'm sure they will, Tenzin. Your father, Uncle Sokka, and Chief Toph are all in there. They'll protect everybody if Yakone does anything. You'll see, this man will be put away for many years. Him and his 'friends' won't try to hurt us anymore."
The young airbender thought back to the day he and his sister were nearly ambushed by Yakone's Red Monsoons, only the intervention of Toph keeping them safe. "That day they hurt us was scary," he said, his look dropping somewhat.
The older waterbender put her arms around her son. "I know...but they're gone now. Now daddy will make sure they go to jail for a long time. Don't worry about it, they all have it under control. If something goes wrong, we'll make sure you're all safe. We won't let you, Kya, Bumi, or anyone else get hurt." After their embrace was released, Katara rubbed her hand across Tenzin's forehead. "Now go on, go play with your brother and sister. You could use some fun right now; you haven't much had it since that day."
"I'll try," Tenzin replied. He then went off towards the backyard.
As Tenzin left for the backyard, Katara turned up the radio on the small wooden table, where a reporter was providing the news.
"Chairman Sokka rises to his feet as the Metalbending Police Force, led by Chief Toph Beifong, keeps a tight watch on things. Toph has set her police up all over the courtroom in case of any Red Monsoon shenanigans. Stay with us here on Republic City Radio One for all the latest details."
Back inside City Hall, Sokka rose to a position in front of the table. He held a series of papers which contained the details of Yakone's conviction. "Yakone, you stand charged with the leading of Red Monsoon operations throughout Republic City for the past seven years. You have been charged with 22 counts of murder, 38 of robbery, and 35 of assault. You face the remainder of your life in prison following an innocent plea."
"Whatever you believe, chairman," Yakone scoffed. "You and the rest of this pathetic city will suffer for this prosecution."
"This is not your place to talk," Sokka snapped back. "At attention. Will the prosecution please provide their opening statement?"
An older man of about age fifty-five rose to his feet. He was the mayor of Republic City, known by the name of Hashalega. "Ladies and gentlemen of Republic City, there is no doubt in mine or anyone else's mind that Yakone is guilty of the highest crimes of this city! For seven years, he and the Red Monsoons made our citizens cower in fear during the night, ruined many lives, and destroyed the delicate balance of this land! It is time that he pays for his crimes to the maximum extent of the law! Council, there should be no doubts in convicting this evil, slimy criminal, and deciding to put him away forever. I need not go any further."
We shall see who winds up put away. Yakone smirked as his thoughts rumbled.
"Defense," the chairman then said. "Do you have an opening statement?"
Yakone's lawyer, Mr. Makagi, tried to stand up, but Yakone gestured him to sit down and then spoke. "There is no need for an opening statement on my behalf," the triad leader said, still smirking.
As his words poured out, Aang kept his focus on the triad leader. His look was steady and focused, knowing that he was capable of anything at any moment. For someone about to go away for life, this man is way too confident, he thought. That line of reasoning was also why he called upon his old friend, Toph, alongside her metalbending officers to monitor the proceedings. He did not want Katara to come as he needed his wife to remain with their children as the trial went on.
"Yakone, what the spirits are you thinking?" Mr. Makagi said to his client.
"What I think is none of your business, Makagi," Yakone replied. "Just stand by."
"The prosecution may now call their first witness," Sokka declared. "Mayor Hashalega, please stand."
The mayor rose to his feet and stood at the front of the council's table. "I would like to brief Mr. Sagan, who had his home raided by the Red Monsoons fifteen months ago, and had two of his children killed in the process."
A forty-something man, decorated in more middle-class clothing, stood and made his way to behind the council's table and took a seat on a large, wooden chair. The council turned to him as the audience remained sitting, all eyes focused on the mayor and his witness.
"Before we begin," Hashalega said, "Do you promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, spirits help you?"
"I do," Mr. Sagan replied.
"Mr. Sagan," Hashalega began. "Please refer to the events on the night of the 14th of June, 127 ASC. The night the Red Monsoons invaded your home."
The citizen cleared his throat and began to speak. The memories shook at him as if the earthbenders that surrounded the meeting room were all firing in his general direction. He remembered his body being tossed around like a cheap rag doll, and two of his four his children succumbing to the violent movements of the bending triad. His beloved offspring now rested in graves forever, and he knew who it was. He stared at Yakone's face as the memories haunted him.
"On that night," he finally began. "Four men, each in light blue clothing, white socks, and black shoes...all of them bearing Water Tribe emblems on the lapels of their suits...they busted in around midnight. My wife and I quickly ran down the stairs, and there they were, trashing our house. One of the men turned to me. He had grey sideburns and a beard...much like..." he pointed straight to Yakone. "That man."
Some members of the audience muttered, but for the most part, the reaction was stymied as most really were not surprised about anything that Yakone done.
"At order!" Sokka declared, the crowd falling silent. "Prosecution, you may continue with questioning the witness."
Hashalega acknowledged Sokka and continued onward. "Mr. Sagan, what was your next action?"
"At that point, my wife and I quickly returned upstairs and each grabbed a water skin, us both being waterbenders ourselves," the witness continued. "A fight quickly ensued between all of us. They were tough and refused to leave our house, no matter what moves we did. Our children also came running downstairs when they heard the commotion, and we told them to stay upstairs. That's when these benders turned sinister."
"Explain sinister," Republic City's mayor demanded.
"After I told my children to move upstairs, the criminal that I had pointed out earlier said to me 'Why should your children go upstairs? They may as well enjoy their last moments with the rest of their family before it's destroyed!'. After this, that's when they turned to bloodbending." Sagan began to shake as he continued to picture the night he had his beloved offspring taken from him.
"Continue," Hashalega said.
"Our children suddenly began being shifted back and forth. At first, we were caught off guard because it didn't seem to be the full moon! As it became obvious that they were being bloodbent, my wife and I tried to attack again. However, we too were bloodbent, and we were not powerful enough to escape the art's influence. They all forced us down the stairs, out in front of them. They stopped bloodbending at that moment, and by this point, one of our children already appeared dead. M-m-my beloved daughter..." Sagan continued to quiver, as tears began to pool in his eyes. "Her little organs...they were crushed. The criminals were still standing right above us. The leader then said 'stay there'. He and the rest of the members continued sacking our house of all its valuables. After it was finished, they gave us one last warning..." tears were dropping down Sagan's cheeks. "They bloodbent us all again as violently as they could...and that attempt killed my youngest son. They then left the house, leaving us tied down. My wife was able to bend up an ice spike from her nearby water skin after some time, and we used it to cut the rope...but we soon realized that our aforementioned children were gone." He placed his hands over his eyes as he said their names. "Kashalana...Halik...daddy still misses you so..."
"You may have a moment to compose yourself, Mr. Sagan," Mayor Hashalega replied, then turning his attention to the audience. "This is just one simple example of what Yakone and his Red Monsoons have done to the people of this city! Destroying homes and families! It is clear that Yakone is a despicable individual and that he and his fellow triad members should be put away for the remainder of their lives!" He then turned back to his witness. "Mr. Sagan, can you confirm that Yakone was there?"
The witness wiped away his tears. "I believe so. The man who separated himself as the leader looked exactly like the man we see here in the courtroom today. Plus, when the triad members were leaving, I heard one of them say to him softly, 'This is a nice pull, Yakone. I don't know how you found this place.'"
Hashalega nodded. "Thank you, Mr. Sagan, for toughing out some understandably painful memories, and providing your testimony. The prosecution rests."
Sagan then rose again and returned to the audience. Yakone didn't even turn the witness an eye, just continuing to remain as focused on his smile as much as he could. Aang could not see Yakone's smile directly, but his features did not seem to indicate any shift in the triad leader's general feelings from the trial's start. What could he be up to?
"Defense has the floor," Sokka stated.
Mr. Makagi rose up in front of the table. "I would like to call to the stand now, Lord Gashi Dishin. He has been an old friend of Yakone's family for the longest time, and he can confirm that Yakone was not present the night the prosecution has brought up."
A man in red robing stood up and made his way from the general seating towards the witness stand. He took his seat and prepared to give his testimony following his agreement to give the truth.
"Lord Dishin," Makagi began. "How long have you known Yakone and his family?"
"Nineteen years," Dishin answered. "I have known them since Yakone and his wife were merely boyfriend and girlfriend. My relationship with Yakone goes back even further; we met in one of the provinces that now make up this city twenty-eight years ago."
"Please tell me, where was Yakone on the night in question - the 14th of June, 127 ASC?" Makagi asked.
"Yakone, his wife and their daughter were with me on that particular night--"
"Objection!" Hashalega yelled. "Why should only the night of the 14th matter? I have 38 counts of robbery against this man!"
"Proving one count right or wrong does not mean Yakone is guilty or innocent on all counts, mayor," Sokka replied. "Overruled. Continue, Lord Dishin."
"On the night in question," Dishin continued, "Yakone, his wife and his daughter were with my family and myself. I queried him about his potential connections to the Red Monsoons, and he said that he had nothing to do with them."
"Liar!" Mr. Sagan yelled. "Then why did I see him in my house that night?"
Sokka banged his gavel. "At order, Mr. Sagan! Please be seated and remain silent!" He then turned to the defense's witness. "I apologize, Lord Dishin."
Dishin shook off Sokka's apology and continued. "I asked Yakone what he thought about the Monsoons' crimes, and he told me that they were the most despicable acts he had ever heard. Also, about bloodbending, he said he had no interest in such a dark art. He loved his waterbending and desired nothing evil from it. Those are his exact words to me from that night."
"Isn't it also true that Yakone is a generous man?" Makagi asked him.
"Indeed," Dishin replied. "He always provides my kids with small gifts and toys whenever our families get together. He enjoys playing with them, so much so that sometimes they call him their second dad. He is a kind, warm-hearted man to us. There is no way he is such a criminal as is being portrayed this morning."
Makagi turned to the crowd again. "As you can see, Yakone was not present the night of the crime the prosecution has used. We can go through every date as needed, and I guarantee that every witness I call will say the same thing. We can keep going, but that is the truth. Yakone is a generous man who has been wrongly accused of being an evil being. The defense rests." He then turned back to his witness. "Thank you, Lord Dishin."
Dishin acknowledged Yakone's lawyer and left the stand, returning to the audience.
After Dishin settled, Sokka resumed the trial. "The prosecution may now call their next witness."
Mayor Hashalega rose again. "I would like to call another victim of Yakone's crimes to the stand. This man was nearly murdered three years ago in a senseless attack on the streets...one of the more grievous, albeit non-murderous accounts against Yakone. I would like to call Mr. Yakato Golshi to the stand!"
A man who was decorated in less elegant clothing than the rest of the courtroom stood up. He appeared to be young - not much older than thirty - and had two marks across his face from the apparent attack that the mayor was going to call him on. Following the standard promise, Hashalega began his questioning.
"Mr. Golshi, please try your best to recall the date of the 19th of September, 125 ASC. What do you most remember about that night?"
"Well," Golshi began, "I remember it being a bit late in the night. I was with my friends, having a good time...had a bit too much to drink I believe. I did not feel too good, so I decided to leave the party early to rest. As I made my way home, I could have sworn that I heard or saw some people moving around."
"Please inform the council and everyone else here today," Hashalega continued, "what you were most known for prior to the events of that night."
"Seven months prior to the incident," Golshi replied, "I inherited the ownership of Golshi Construction Corp from my father, whom, spirits bless him, passed away from pneumonia. It was the leading construction company in Republic City, and we were the driving factor behind all the large expansion the city was making. We were holding up well, and then...the incident happened."
"Please explain the incident to the people of this great city," Hashalega said.
"I was...I don't know, about six blocks from my house?" Golshi mused. "Anyhow, one of the triad members then grabbed me. I was physically thrown to a wall and surrounded by them...they had all the looks of clothing I was told to look for in a Red Monsoon member. The clothing just like the accused is wearing today."
Yakone stayed focused as another witness picked him and his triad's look out from the crowd. Not all of our triad members have to wear that, you know. You just wait and see.
"What did they do to you?" Hashalega asked.
The once-wealthy businessman continued. "They surrounded me and stood over me, taking what appeared to be waterbending stances. As a non-bender, I knew I had no chance to defend myself unless I could get up. One man, sporting the same sideburns and beard that Yakone does, along with the same clothing, came up to me inparticular. He knelt down and got in my face, and asked me, 'Where do you keep your assets?'. I refused to tell him, but then he started shifting my body around. I was shifted quickly from left to right, now out of my control when it came to my actions." He shuddered, thinking about how scary it felt to not be able to function normally. "They then kept demanding where I held my assets while bending my body wildly."
"So they utilized bloodbending?" Hashalega asked.
"Yes," Golshi answered. "They continued to do so, while continually asking, 'Where are your assets?'. Just as they were about to break my neck...I gave in and told them. We went back to Golshi Corp's headquarters, where I was planning a defense. But they just bloodbent me again. They forced me to grab the key to the underground safes where I kept all the yuans we had made off the many construction projects in the city. Within minutes, they had me frozen to a wall and knocked me unconscious with several blows to my head. When I woke up the next morning...they had seized everything. Almost all my assets were gone. Not to mention I had suffered serious head trauma and many physical deficiencies because of the bloodbending."
"This destroyed Golshi Corp as well?" Hashalega asked.
"Indeed," Golshi replied. "With basically all our assets gone outside of a few hundred yuans I had on me, there was no way to pay our workers, or continue to acquire equipment. We were forced to contract to a small company, and eventually then forced to declare bankruptcy by the end of the year. As a result, I was left out on the street. The only indoor living I've done is in and out of shelters and generous people who were willing to host me for some time. Plus, it took me years to recover on my own from my injures, as a matter of fact, my blood flow is still restricted somewhat, and I occasionally suffer shortness of breath. Plus, headaches remain quite common, and there is no way I can fix any of this without money to pay for the treatments."
"Can you confirm that Yakone was there?" The city's mayor queried.
"Like your last witness," the broken man replied, "I believe I heard one of them say his name to him in a conversation as they started raiding. After that, he saw his mistake and knocked me unconscious in an attempt to wipe it from my memory."
"As you can see," Hashalega then resumed, turning back to the council and audience, "Yakone and his men destroyed a once-booming company, and ruined this man's life through robbery and assault. Although you can't convict him on the moral basis, you can most assuredly do so on the physical grounds. The Red Monsoon Triad assaulted and robbed this man of everything. Yakone is also clearly guilty of prime assault on him. The evidence is overwhelming." He the turned back to his witness. "No further questions, Mr. Golshi. Also, if you need any assistance, I would be pleased to help."
"Spirits bless you, Mayor Hashalega," Golshi replied, and then he returned to the audience, feeling thankful for the mayor's kind act.
"The prosecution again rests," the mayor told the council.
At this point, two members of the audience in more regular clothing, standing in the back of the room, looked toward each other. However, unbenknownst to anyone, they held a deep secret - a secret that would change everything for the worse.
"When did Yakone say we would go into action?" One of the men asked as quietly as he could, making sure they would not tip anyone off.
"Talak," the other man replied. "Keep it down a little! Do you want the metalbending officers to know of our plan?"
"It won't matter, Hin Shang!" Talak replied. "If we have everything down, even if the metalbending officers come for us, we'll be able to just bloodbend them right into submission."
"That doesn't prevent them for arresting us right now?" Hin Shang shot back. "Now, when Yakone is called to the stand, and everyone focuses on him...we strike. Turn the hole courtroom into chaos, and allow him to escape. Then we are right back in business. We'll have the Avatar, the Council, and the Metalbending Police Force out of the way. It's all according to plan."
Back inside, no one was even the slightest bit suspicious to what was coming from Yakone's associates. Aang didn't trust Yakone himself, but he certainly was not aware of the other threats around. Chairman Sokka just wanted this dangerous man off the streets, and Chief Toph would make sure he was shuffled in and out as soon as possible.
Word by word, minute by minute, many more witnesses on each side came up. The prosecution brought stunning witnesses to the stand. A lot of them had been victims to Yakone's crimes - suffering the loss of money, homes and family. The defense all came up as close friends of his, all showing signs of his generosity. Everyone wondered which side was telling the truth, and which side was just for show.
Seven more members on each side came up and gave their testimonies. Soon, morning was giving way to the afternoon, and anxious moments were coming up for each side.
"That is enough!" Mayor Hashalega declared. "Now that it is my turn to call a witness...I would like to call none other than Yakone's lawyer to the stand. Mr. Makagi?"
"Objection!" Makagi yelled. "Your honor, I'm the defendant's counsel! There's no just cause for the prosecution to call me to the stand!"
"Mayor Hashalega," Sokka asked the mayor. "Do you have just cause for calling the defendant's counsel?"
"Yes, I do," Republic City's mayor answered. "Mr. Makagi was a witness to one of Yakone's last crimes before his arrest at the hands of Chief Beifong. I should know because of one of his crimes was the murder of my own daughter!"
The audience gasped vividly, not remembering whom had been killed on that early winter's day that year.
Sokka tried to process what he had just heard. "Well...if you believe Makagi was there, Mayor Hashalega...if you have just cause...I can't deny. Makagi, objection overruled."