Author's Note: I'm on an Avatar kick of late. To kill time while the Ursa thing is going on I wrote this up real fast. It's about the new Avatar character of a series that hasn't come out yet. I wasn't sold on her design right off, but it's grown on me. So here's a short story about a girl from out of town getting wrapped up with the wrong gang. Enjoy, hopefully. And yes, the Ursa story is still going on, if you're curious. -------------------- Republic City had been a humbling experience for Avatar Korra. She had come into town brash and confident of setting things in order whether people were ready or not. After all, it was her duty to maintain balance and she had picked up the art of bending three elements naturally. All she had to do was learn airbending to become a fully realized avatar. Then she could handle anything. But here she was bent over in a back alley, holding herself off the ground while a gang closed in on her. It wasn't what she imagined. "Aaahh..." She hissed. "I'm the Avatar... shouldn't have to put up with this..." Korra rushed in to defend a couple being harassed by a gang of three men and one woman. Just as she got in close, one of them threw a powder in her face. Whatever it was, it stung her eyes and rubbing only made it worse. Also, little did she know that the woman was an expert kicker with lighting fast reflexes. In no time at all Korra had been struck multiple times before she could react. Kicks landed on her sides, her legs and worst of all, her stomach. She tried to clutch her gut when someone yanked her arms back to leave her defenseless. Korra tried to stand up and was stomped back down for her trouble. She refused to fall to the ground and grunted in pain. Her attempts to shake it off didn't work. The gang had really done a number on her, as much as she didn't want to admit. It felt like every part of her body was in agony. She wished it was numb... that way she wouldn't have to deal with it at that moment. There would be plenty of time for pain later. Right now she needed to deal with this. With her arms held back, the kicker laid into her without a moments hesitation. Korra was stopped dead in her tracks as a powerful strike landed right between her legs. The low blow made her grit her teeth and close her eyes from the sheer agony. She wasn't about to show weakness to a bunch of lowlifes who lived preying on passerby's. Especially those who resorted to cheap shots and sucker punches. But as more kicks landed... she had to admit it hurt a lot. A foot pinned her head to the cobblestones. In this position the gang could do some real damage. As much as she felt like teaching them a lesson with a well timed fire blast or rock slide... her body was in no condition. She closed her eyes and grit her teeth expecting the worst. A kick landed on her side causing a long painful groan to escape her lips. How long would they drag this out? Finally a kick hit Korra right in the face. Whether it was snap kick or a roundhouse she wasn't sure, but it did a number on her. It stunned her long enough for the gang to throw her through a nearby cabbage stand. She was buried in vegetables for a short time before one of the gang grabbed her ponytail and dragged her to a nearby alley. Korra felt like they were going to yank every hair out of her head. It was a relief when they finally let go and settled on throwing her across the alley. But the landing did leave her short of breath. Korra found herself crawling toward the street. She didn't know what the gang was waiting for, but she wasn't going to stick around. All she needed was a moment to collect herself and catch her breath, and she'd teach the gang a lesson they would never forget. One of the thugs grabbed her leg and dragged her back until her boot fell off. Then the other boot came off. Were they trying to steal the clothes right off her back? "Lowly thieves... Face me in a fair fight. You'll get plenty of my boots then." Korra laughed dryly. It was the kind of a thing she expected a crummy gang would do in a city like Republic. For some reason she was more concerned with her dignity than her life. Maybe that was an Avatar thing. Somehow Korra got back on her feet. She went into a fighting stance. First up was a firebending sandwich for the whole gang. But the kicker of the gang deflected her punch and then delivered a drop kick right into her chest. Maybe if she had not crashed through a cabbage stand she would have been faster on the draw. She was sent flying into a solid brick wall. The worst part was when the back of her head hit. It certainly didn't help her dizziness any. The gang removed the fur smock around her waist, her armband and her wristbands. And with the gang's criminal ingenuity used them to tie her up. Her legs were pinned together with her smock and her arms twisted up with her wristbands. "You think you'll get away with-" Korra's protest was cut off as they shoved her armband into her mouth to become a gag. Her cries became muffled noises as the gang dragged her toward the street. At that point she began to wonder where all this was going. Her mind had already come up with many unpleasant scenarios. She struggled as hard as she could, but her clothes made surprisingly good restraints. The Water Tribe had always made quality goods with the simplest materials. The brick wall had done its damage. Her head was killing her. She could barely stand as she clutched the back of her head and tried to focus on her attackers. The edge of her vision was fuzzy as she stumbled forward into a punch right into her gut. The air escaped her lungs again. She bent forward and wretched. It was a devastating blow she could have done without. Against her stubborn will, she fell to her knees and tipped forward. She caught herself with her arms and began to cough. The gang took Korra out of the alley and brought a rope probably made of stolen laundry. They tied a loop around her legs and hoisted her upside down from a streetlamp to swing in the wind. With her arms tied and her mouth gagged, Korra could only dangle helplessly as the world turned upside down. The last thing Republic City needed was a front page headline of the Avatar dangling from a downtown street lamp. If she couldn't handle a gang, how could they trust her to bring any sort of order to the world? Maybe that was the point. She let loose a few tears of frustration as she wrestled with her clothes-turned-restraints. "So that's the Avatar? Not much to look at now." The kicker laughed. "I don't know, Lin. Her blue adds some color to downtown." "She thinks she can ride in on a polar bear dog and change the city in a day? Ha. She's got no idea." "Hear that Avatar?" Lin the kicker called. "Let this be a lesson. We don't care who you are. This is our city. Don't get in our way again." The gang scattered to avoid the police. Korra continued to swing upside down from the streetlight, tied up with her own clothes. A strong wind reminded her that they had stolen her boots. Her bare feet had already gotten cold. It wouldn't be long until someone found her. Whether they would cut her down right away or call others to come and stare was another question. She was the Avatar. This wasn't supposed to happen to her. She found it too early to tell if she could ever live it down... Humiliation wasn't something Korra ever expected to deal with. Right there and then she had to face the fact that Avatar or not, she was still human. She was subject to all the possibilities in the world as much as the next person- even failure. Republic City had been a humbling experience for Avatar Korra. She had come into town brash and confident of setting things in order whether people were ready or not. After all, it was her duty to maintain balance and she had picked up the art of bending other elements naturally. All she had to do was learn airbending to become a fully realized avatar. Then she could handle anything. But here she was bent over in a back alley, holding herself off the ground while a gang closed in on her. It wasn't what she imagined.