Conversations in the Dark
Korra stiffened, "What do you want Zaheer?" She could feel the blade against her throat and his breath on her neck.
"Like I said, I want to have a little chat. Promise to be a good girl and I'll release you. We'll keep your friend of curse, as collateral. Don't want you ruining a perfectly good conversation with a fight."
Korra glanced over to Iroh who was not moving a muscle and had a very large knife against his jugular. "Fine, but you better not hurt him." She felt the blade leave her throat.
"Wouldn't dream of it."
Korra moved so that she was facing Zaheer and at the corner of her eye could see Iroh. It was too dark to see Zaheer's face but she could still see his outline. "Ok, Zaheer what do you want to talk about? Better yet what do you want? Why did you try to kidnap me all those years ago?"
"One question at a time Avatar, one question and one answer."
Korra clenched her jaw, "Fine, What do you want?"
"Our goal is simple, we want to restore balance and see the White Lotus in ruins."
"What? Why would you want that?"
"The White Lotus has lost its way, they were supposed to be a small secret organization containing only the best masters of elements and martial arts. Now they are too massive, too powerful, and too influential. They even have the Avatar under their control."
"I am controlled by no one Zaheer!" She hissed. She would have punched him but she saw the glint of the knife at Iroh's throat and gritted her teeth instead.
"You might not be controlled out right but they do control you. In the name of safety you lived in hiding at the South Pole. They will cage you more in the name of safety once you return to Republic City. Don't believe me?"
"No strangely, I don't."
"You will soon enough, I will let you and your friends leave and return to Republic City. There they will set a trap for me, or one that appears to be for me." He stood up and walked so he was standing next to her. "Just remember this Avatar a simple band of gold will be a noose around the neck of your freedom. There was a reason we wanted to take you away from that oppressive organization."
He moved to leave the clearing but Iroh called after him ignoring the knife at his throat. "Wait! You say a golden band you can't mean that-"
"Yes, Son, I mean just that, The White Lotus will marry our little avatar off to a man that has either sold his soul to the White Lotus or to a fool easily blinded by duty and thus easily manipulated."
"I don't believe you, Master Katarra and the Dowager Fire Lord Zuko would never do such a thing!" Korra yelled her anger getting the best of her.
Korra heard Zaheer chuckle, "Do you really think they would be part of something like this? No they are in the dark about this plot."
Korra crossed her arms. "So if this plot does exist, and I'm not saying it does, what is supposed to happen once I get back to Republic City?"
"They will give you reports, either false or true, saying they have no idea were we are hiding and propose an event to draw us out. They will propose that you have a fake wedding to someone. Everyone loves a big wedding of a famous person. They will probably have a man in mind already that would just fit the bill. He'll be attacked during the ceremony and you'll go into hiding because you want to protect him. Then the trap is sprung; you're trapped under their control hearing only what they report to you. You'll be sent out to do their dirty work, just like what happened with the Earth Queen and her taxes. The Great Avatar Korra the puppet and prize of the White Lotus."
"Korra isn't some kind of object!" Iroh yelled before getting punched in the gut.
Zaheer patted Iroh on the head. "Maybe to us, but to those fools in the White Lotus she's just a playing piece on a Pi Sho board." Zaheer made a gestured and Iroh was thrown to the ground. "It was nice talking to you Avatar Korra, hopefully the next time we meet you'll be a bit less enamored with the White Lotus and have a little more faith in my truthfulness." The four melted into the darkness leaving Korra and Iroh alone.
"Well they are just charming." Iroh stated as he stood up and dusted himself off.
"He was lying. Right?" Korra asked her voice hallow.
"About the White Lotus? I hope so."
"You hope so? You don't know?" Korra wanted a little more reassurance then that.
"How would I know for sure? I'm not apart of that group! I'm an officer of the United Forces and the Prince of the Fire Nation! I've never known the inner workings of that group!" He punched a tree leaving a burn. "And if it is true I'll kill the man who came up with the plan."
Korra looked at her friend worried. She had never seen him like this. He seemed to be getting more worked up about what Zaheer had said then she was. She placed a hand on his shoulder. "Calm down, Iroh please. I don't think the White Lotus would really try something like that. Zaheer is trying to bate me to strike out."
"Then why let us go?"
"Because we're so close to camp? To put doubts in my head about the White Lotus? So I would trust them? Whatever the reason we can't let them in our heads. Now come on I think we have enough firewood for the morning."
"Yeah, I guess so." Iroh picked the sticks back up. Why had he gotten so upset? He wished he knew, maybe the idea of one on his best friends being used like a doll just got to him.
"By the way. Iroh why did you come with Lin? I'm not trying to sound mean but you don't look anywhere near your best."
"I came because I've been having nightmares and visions that may have a spirit connection. Thought maybe you could help. I know it sounds silly but I keep having these dreams and visions that might be linked to an old Fire Nation legend. It's nothing to pressing don't worry about it."
"What kind of visions?" Korra was happy to change the topic to something she might be able to help with.
Iroh sighed and explained what he had been seeing. Korra listened silently until he stopped talking. "I don't know how to help with that Iroh. I'm sorry. I do know what you're talking about or rather I've been having similar visions and dreams. But it's a man and he's being set on fire or a fiery figure is appearing right in front of me." She looked over at him and saw the worry on his face. "Don't look at me like that it hasn't been as bad as your dreams, I'm still getting full nights of sleep. Though now that you mention it, what I've been seeing does kind of sound like the fate of a guy from a really old Southern Water tribe story."
The two stopped a few yards from the camp where most of the group was already sleeping. "We probably shouldn't mention the visions or what Zaheer said to us." Korra whispered.
"Because I don't want them to think I'm fragile being taken off guard by Zaheer and seeing apparitions doesn't make for a very stable looking avatar."
Iroh nodded, "I know it doesn't make for a very strong looking general either. We won't tell them for now but do we address what he said about the White Lotus?"
"No, lets not sow the seeds of doubt were they don't belong. We should get some sleep. Lin doesn't joke about getting up early."
Iroh smirked, "She jokes?" a boot collided with the General's shoulder.
"I heard that General." Came Lin's voice from across the campsite. "Now get to sleep or the next one's aimed at your head and you'll sleep were you fall."