nogan: (Default)
But let's not dwell on that. Instead, here's a fic!

Warning: Fedoras do not necessarily exist in the avatarverse. Nevertheless, one might appear here.

Film Noir

"The night is dark out here. It seems even the moon doesn't want to come down to the harbor after dusk. The only people milling about are an assorted bunch of lowlifes, thugs and pushers. There's a couple of workers around, moving cargo - enforcers, on the payroll of local mob bosses. Normally, I wouldn't come out here, no matter what they paid me. But this case is special..."

"Ty Lee..."


"Stop monologuing." Mai said, looking around her. "I don't want attention."

"But we're being detectives!" Ty Lee whined. "Monologuing is essential."

"We're not being detectives, Ty Lee", Mai sighed as they rounded the corner of a tavern.

"Then explain the hat!" Ty Lee demanded with an air of triumph, pointing at her grey fedora.

"The hat is there because you decided to bring it along", Mai said, digging her knives into the wall. With a grunt, she started climbing up. "I had nothing to do with it."

After reaching the top, Mai took a moment to catch her breath. Life as the Fire Lady obviously isn't doing me good, she thought wryly.

"Your letter specified a hat", Ty Lee said, effortlessly hauling herself on the roof next to her.

"I said 'hat or other head covering'", Mai breathed out, still trying to catch her breath. "To avoid people recognizing us. It'd be a scandal if we were to be seen here."

"Oh, you're no fun!" Ty Lee pouted, as Mai picked herself up and the two started making their way across the rooftops. "We're here to rescue a dangerous lady in red, I've got the hat, and it's night. We're being detectives!"

"We're not here to rescue her, Ty Lee", Mai said, seriously, but with an air of exhaustion. They'd had this conversation on the way in. "We're here to see if she even needs rescuing - and I don't believe she does - and if she does, then we'll alert Zuko, and he'll arrange for her to have better treatment."

"Mai, if they're... mistreating... her, we're not leaving her there for one second", Ty Lee replied hotly, turning suddenly serious herself. "And I didn't think it was a good idea in the first place, to lock her up."

"You know how she was... before", Mai said as they reached the last rooftop, and jumped down. "She needs this, Ty Lee. She needs to be treated."

Ty Lee glared. Mai looked back, impassive. Eventually, Ty Lee sighed.

"Okay, fine. If they're treating her well, and if she doesn't look tortured, then... then she can stay here", Ty Lee said. "But if there's even one bruise on her... Mai, I won't leave her. I won't."

"Ty, she had us imprisoned", Mai said as they stepped on a dirt road, leading in to a forest. "And you... you know what else. She doesn't deserve your care."

"She had it rough, Mai", the acrobat whispered as they dived into the underbrush to avoid a patrol. "It wasn't her fault. And you know that she wasn't all bad."

"Not all", Mai whispered back. "But I've got the scars. What kind of a friend does that?"

Ty Lee didn't reply. The last of the patrol went past, and they continued on the road.

"She wasn't all bad", Ty Lee repeated, sounding unusually subdued. "She... she wasn't."

Mai glanced at her friend's profile, barely visible in the darkness. "Okay, Ty Lee. I'll give her that much - she... had her moments."

Ty Lee seemed more satisfied. They came across the wall separating the facility from the rest of the island.

"But Ty Lee, whatever she said... it... Whatever she said, it wasn't true." Mai said. Ty Lee turned around, denial ready on her lips. Mai cut her off: "Ty Lee, listen to me. She didn't... love... you. She didn't. I don't think she was really capable of it, and you can't live believing that she was some kind of a misunderstood loner or something, she wasn't. You have to stop hanging on to her."

Ty Lee's eyes were sharp.

"Mai, I'm not an idiot", she said. "So stop treating me like I'm some dumb girl with a crush. Mai, I care about her. For better or for worse, I do, and I'm not going to stop. It's not good for me, no - I know that. Really, I do. But I think she can be better. And I think she needs me."

"I didn't mean to..." Mai trailed off. "Listen, Ty. I care about you. And I even care a little about her - if for nothing else than because she means something to you. I just don't want to see you hurting yourself because you think she's a hurt puppy."

"Mai, I want to help her", Ty Lee pleaded. "I want her to be better. And she can't be better, if nobody's there for her."

They fell silent. Without looking at eachother, they scaled the wall, and made their way toward the east wing.

The facility had once been a manor. It had belonged to some nobleman or other, until he had died, and his descendants had died, and in the end, the island itself had been deserted apart from a small town, consisting of a little harbor, an inn, and a couple of rundown buildings. Then Zuko had discovered it, and turned it in to a mental hospital. Most of the manor now housed medical staff and an extensive security detail. Out of the east wing, a large and imposing tower rose to the sky. It had been used as a watchtower, back when the manor had still belonged to the nobleman, and now, it was used to house... her.

They made their way to the root of the tower, and still silent, they started climbing up - Ty Lee effortlessly at the front, and Mai at the back, hauling herself up by her knives. There was a solitary window on top of the tower. Bars ran across the expensive glass window, preventing entry or exit.

Inside, there was a spartan room. A desk, a bookshelf with a modest collection of books, an entrance to the top of the tower, which had been barred, and another trapdoor, leading downwards, decorated with a heavy lock.

And in the opposite wall from the window, a bed with a figure lying on top of it.

Ty Lee reached the window first, being faster. Mai followed behind, panting heavily.

"Azula", Ty Lee whispered, reaching out to touch the glass.

Azula laid on the bed, with a book in hand. Mai took in her general appearance; no bruises, no cuts, not even any shackles. She did appear to have lost some of her muscle mass, but otherwise... she seemed healthy.

After a while, she nudged Ty Lee.

"She seems healthy", Mai observed. Ty Lee nodded.

More time passed. Ty Lee appeared fixated.

"Ty, we need to go", Mai said softly. "We can't stay."

With some reluctance, Ty Lee nodded again, and they started the climb back down. When they reached the bottom, Mai felt the need to say something.

"Ty... if", she started and then corrected herself to avoid saddening the acrobat. "When she gets out, and if she's really changed, I'm... I'm willing to try being friends with her again."

Ty Lee grinned and tried to hug her. Mai stopped her.

"But", Mai said and watched as Ty Lee's face fell and her arms drooped. "I won't let you hurt yourself over and over again. If she's really changed... if she's really changed, then, hell, I'll be your best... woman, or whatever. But I can't - I won't watch you hurting yourself. I... you're my best friend, Ty Lee."

Ty Lee looked at her for a moment, and then launched herself at Mai. Mai, uncharacteristically, returned the hug.

"Thank you", she said, slightly muffled against Mai's shoulder. "Mai, you're my best friend too."

And with that, they headed back toward the harbor.

nogan: (Default)
Also; this is now a writing blog. I aim for one piece of writing, fanfic or original, a week.

For some reason, these turned out longer than they maybe should be. So, to compensate that, there's only four! (and the fourth is the BEST IDEA EVER)

1. Next Year

There are mountaintops in the world, where you can lose yourself in everything else, just be a part of the scenery. Where facepaint, lightning, green, red and burn scars are just another thing, not of any particular significance and without any memories, painful or sweet. And she writes letters: "I'll be coming home next year." And who knows? Maybe some day she will.

2. Lost

There are many ways to being lost, and you always know where you're going before you don't.

Obi-Wan had always been a master of wise - or wise-sounding - one-liners. Anakin never got the point - he had a soldier's mindset, rather than a student's, and he wasn't interested in information for itself, only information as a tool and a weapon. But now, as he wanders a plane made of thoughts and energy, trying to call up two people who will never answer, he tries to ignore the taunting statement that seems to tell everything he should've known.

3. You Fight Me

Father lies - he says the line of Sozin is the greatest, yet Sozin was effortlessly defeated by the Avatar at least once (she is, of course, clever enough to get to several documents that differ from the official history) His dreams are mundane: he wants power, wants to be immortalized as Ozai the Great, wants to be ruler of the world. Azula wants more. But Father is powerful, very powerful, and Azula wants that power. Mother lies - she lies all the time. She never tells the truth to Azula, only whispers it behind her back (fear, it must be fear. She is afraid of Azula - as she should be, as should everybody) There is nothing to Mother, nothing worthwhile whatsoever, so Azula does not miss her or mourn when she leaves, not at all. Zuko lies, because he is weak, and the weak are wont to do so. But Zuko is pathetic, Zuko is to be pitied; and he is family, so he stays, at least for a while. Mai lies, because she is from a family of politicians; and politicians lie for a living. But Mai is subservient to her, useful in a combat situation and occasionally witty, so she stays.

Ty Lee tells her the truth, because Azula is superior in every way; and somebody who tells her this is undoubtably correct. Ty Lee, of course, has her own areas of expertise - but these are merely fields Azula chooses not to excel at, and so, she graciously acknowledges these things (that is, as long as Ty Lee refrains from showing off - after all, you shouldn't tease a dragon, especially if you're a vapid, stupid, ugly common noble) And when Ty Lee leaves for the circus, Azula tacitly approves - it's a stupid dream, but it makes her happy. Later, she of course wants to stay, but her obligations are to Azula, and Azula alone; and she isn't afraid to reinforce the fact. She is good company - not because she's a particularily stunning conversationalist, but because around her, Azula can let her guard down. Because Ty Lee is stupid, too stupid to lie and too stupid to betray.

And Azula never expects the blows, because Ty Lee tells the truth. Because Ty Lee would never betray her. Because Azula is supreme, and Ty Lee always tells the truth.

4. Into the Fire

History books say nothing of the fate of Princess Azula. They mention, briefly, that she died, interred in a hospital of some sort, but nobody found it particularily notable. Somebody might've celebrated. Somebody might've mourned.

They don't mention the pillar of blue fire that was seen hundreds of kilometres away. It's for the legends and ghost stories to recount. They don't mention the fires that ravaged the island for days, forestalling any rescue attempt. They don't say that no body was found, only ashes.

In fact, they don't say much at all about Princess Azula, even though logically they should, as the lives of all other Fire Nation royals have been minutely documented - Zuko I the Great has nearly eight books to his name.

Another Azula - a namesake - finds this curious. Curious that Azula I is barely mentioned in any of the royal histories, even though she herself has a complete book to her name already. Curious that people in fisher villages tell tales about great spirits dying the sky blue.

Curious that there's a trail nobody's yet followed.

It leads from the royal archives to numerous small villages along the coast - all of which know a tale of blue fire - until in one of them an old Fire Nation sea log, stored in a museum, gives her the coordinates of an island in the middle of the sea. An island that's not on any of the maps.

She thanks the museum director, who replies with a slightly confused-sounding "anytime", puts on her wide-brimmed hat and sets out to find a ship.


I kind of want to continue that. It would be awesome.

nogan: (Default)

There's a link to some basic information about ACTA - the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement - and also a petition you can sign if you're so inclined.

So, what would ACTA do? It would allow corporations to police the Internet. There hasn't been any transparency, and the details of the agreement have been negotiated in secret.

A quote:

"The oppressively strict regulations could mean people everywhere are punished for simple acts such as sharing a newspaper article or uploading a video of a party where copyrighted music is played. Sold as a trade agreement to protect copyrights, ACTA could also ban lifesaving generic drugs and threaten local farmers' access to the seeds they need. And, amazingly, the ACTA committee will have carte blanche to change its own rules and sanctions with no democratic scrutiny."

We can't stand for this. This would threaten everything that the Internet currently is.

Sign the petition. Help try and derail this treaty. Help try to save the Internet.
nogan: (hot fuzz)
So, I've thought intensively about what I want to do with the rest of my life, and here are the options I've seriously considered:

- Go study medicine, be a doctor! (need maths. bad.)
- Be a full-time poker player! (it's actually boring. still, glamorous. also, you get to wear a hat indoors, because it's part of the image. wait, what?)
- Go study economics, be a highly-paid person! (what do people in economics actually do?)
- Go study journalism, be a journalist! (most logical, most reasonable option.)
- Go study journalism, but hop over in to politics! (you've got opinions. you just need a way to express them publicly. then you can rule the world!)
- Join the Army! (well, I'll be doing my mandatory year anyways, and if I should get to RUK (Reserve Officer School) during that one year - about some two percent or something are chosen, and during training you rise to the rank of 2nd Lieutenant, so that'd be a good place to start! cons: it's the Army, and... technically, I'm a pacifist. I believe in violence as an ultimate last resort to defend your life or other peoples' lives. If you can't defend your beliefs with words, you obviously haven't thought them through enough.)
- Start up your own company! (what kind of company? film, game developement, something practical and useful (and boring)?)
- Go do volunteer work in developing countries! (useful, you'd do some good, dangerous. cons: won't get rich that way, little stability in life, you are a pathetic coward with no resolve)
- Write professionally! (nobody wants to read that shit, gtfo.)
- Police! (pros: be a cop! a cop! law things! you could believe in the Law and you'd be a cop! cons: low pay, bad hours. also: you missed your chance already! should've signed up for security instead of upper secondary. still, I could just do that after this, then take military police during my year in the military, then sign up for the police academy (it's actually located right here, like a ten minutes' walk from my place!
- Screw society! I'mma travel the world in search of adventure! (you'd get shot, stabbed, beaten, burned, and when you'd finally settle down you couldn't because no education. it'd be completely idiotic. lunacy. madness. and awesome.)
- Acting! (hahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahaha yeah right.)
- ... Voice Acting! (oh god hahahh acting... oh, wait what? your voice sounds either like you gurgle with glass shards and vodka in the mornings, or like you just got off the debate team and are now headed to polish your glasses and then push them repeateadly up the bridge of your nose while stating facts in a monotone, passionless tone to a group of other, equally nerdy people.)

So. Eh. That's how far I've thought.

nogan: (Default)
Shove loads of music in a single playlist -> shuffle -> ??? -> fic! Saw this somewhere: the idea is to write a sentence or more of fanfic based on a song title. That's, er, it.
Random notes: 17 and 18 are connected, but *cough* I'll leave the pairing ambiguous. Warning: 16 contains a steampunk motorcycle-riding Iroh.
Mixed fandom, really random:

1. Points of Authority
Azula knew that the bruises were merely there to illustrate her father's authority, but she couldn't stop them from hurting.

2. Angels Calling
Toph Bei Fong doesn't really care when she dies. If she did, it'd mean the illness won.

3. Pearls of Light
Good memories are few and far between, but that just makes them more precious for the prince in exile.

4. A Place For My Head
After the war, Kyoshi Island seems like a nice place. After Kyoshi Island, the Northern Water Tribe looks like fun. After that and the Southern Water Tribe and Omashu and Ba Sing Se and all the Air Temples and every single village in between, she thinks about how nice it would be to have a home.

5. Shot In The Dark
Not even close, thinks Sokka and just like that, the Fire Nation's won and they're done for, as his boomerang misses.

6. Hit The Floor
As she falls, Azula can only think: I should've known.

7. Figure.09
It's so hard letting go, especially for him. Anakin can never forget.

8. Endless Nights
As the night slowly swallows the cigarette smoke away, Snake briefly wonders how many exactly like it he's seen.

9. From The Inside
The conflict is tearing him up, and Zuko just wishes he could be someone else.

10. Reign of Terror
Ozai can hardly understand the complaints. How could anybody be unhappy when ruled by someone such as him?

11. In the name of God
He's long since forgotten all the names, but he remembers the people. They threw themselves to death, trusting that their god would guide them to a good afterlife. He remembers how superior he felt then, knowing that certainly, he was blessed with more of a capacity to think than those primitives. As the two lightsabers close in so slowly, Dooku doesn't know if they were so different after all.

12. Stand My Ground
Victory or death. In Azula's world, those are the only options; and since she would have to be much weaker for Death to take her, victory would have to be the outcome.

13. Deceiver of Fools
Sidious has always felt like a god amongst mortals.

14. Papercut
Every failure sinks in her skin and Azula realises that there's no-one left to help her.

15. In The End
As the light grows dimmer, Jack realises that in the end, none of them understood the Boss' will.

16. Hellrider
This machine handles very well, thinks Iroh as he blazes through the countryside.

17. Don't Stay
One has no need for friends and the other has no reason to be there.

18. Somewhere I Belong

But somehow, it works out.

19. Iron
Someone's trying to kill me, Toph realises and grins. Awesome!

20. Faint
Ozai takes all and gives only illusions, and finally, enough has been taken so that there is nothing to take from and he only receives the illusions he gives; and Zuko has had enough of running in circles.

21. High Voltage
Sokka strides in, and as the room pauses to snicker a bit, he already knows that he's better than all of them combined.

22. Replica
You don't survive a war unscathed. Bato and Hakoda know this too well.

23. Nobody's Listening

Hermione won't stop trying, even if they stop listening.

24. My December
The door bangs behind her and suddenly, Snake doesn't know if there is any redemption for him.

25. Screaming Eagles
The battle sucks him in as his starfighter dives and rolls and attacks; the atmosphere screams at him when he enters and he screams back.

26. One Step Closer
Zuko feels like he's surrounded and on the edge of a cliff: the only way out is to jump.

27. Mother Earth
Iroh doesn't fear death. Every end is a beginning.

28. See Who I Am
Neither Ozai nor Ursa ever shed any tears.

29. Runaway
Azula wants the truth and Ozai always lies. Azula wants out, but the door is locked.

30. Grace
All the lives lost. All the cities burned. All the victories and the losses amount to nothing as Azula counts the stones on the floor.


Jan. 1st, 2012 02:48 am
nogan: (Default)

I wonder how many apocalypses we'll have this year - last year was two, I think. Hope we beat that!
nogan: (Default)
I passed Independence Day on the sixth sleeping and not particularily caring, so I'll be a little patriotic now. Finlandia by Jean Sibelius is absolutely beautiful.

English translation of the lyrics:

O, Finland, behold, your day is dawning,
The threat of night has been banished away,
And the lark of morning in the brightness sings,
As though the very firmament would sing.
The powers of the night are vanquished by the morning light,
Your day is dawning, O land of birth.

O, rise, Finland, raise up high
Your head, wreathed with great memories.
O, rise, Finland, you showed to the world
That you drove away the slavery,
And that you did not bend under oppression,
Your day is dawning, O land of birth.

Finland has a lot of good things in it. Our education is free, and so is our healthcare. In our society, you can always receive aid if you need it; be it that you're jobless, impoverished, disabled. Our country also gives aid to developing countries. We are equal. We are peaceful.

In many ways, I owe everything I am to Finland. In many other countries, my family wouldn't have survived - here, we did. Here, the future is open and full of possibilities for me. I am thankful for all this.

Finland isn't perfect. Discrimination, because of either gender or race, is still common. Depression is common. Alcoholism is a national problem. Joblessness is on the rise. We have one of the highest suicide rates in the world. The list goes on. Nevertheless, I am proud to be Finnish; if not for any other reason than that that's what I am and what I'll always be. If not for any other reason than that things aren't as bad as they could be, and we, as flawed, greedy, evil people have built a nation in which things aren't even nearly as bad as they could be - to me, this is an achievement to be proud of. Because we could be a lot worse and we aren't.
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