Lasting ThingsStarted by Yanxue at Oct 11, 2019 7:05 pm
Then, there was the answer to that. She didn't really have any other answer to give. Granted, she'd attempted to find some hobbies in the north, but it was difficult when everything in a certain range was frozen solid. Yan wasn't terribly fond of the cold; maybe she liked it even less now. But things weren't all work up there, of course. The Northern Fortress had hardly been damaged in the war at all. It was mostly the issue of who was taking over leadership after Arnook, that was all. It was pretty easy, and the rest was Order business.
Yan snorted. "That's precisely my point," she said. "You've got too strong a morality to sit by and not do anything when something needs to be done. That's how things ended up this way. But if there never was a reason for things to turn out this way, I think you'd have done something completely different. And I think showing the younger generation a world that's not perfect but strives to become better is a good thing. It gives them hope, and everyone needs that some time or another." At least, that was what she thought.
Granted, Yan had some strange ways of looking at things, and she knew it. Maybe this was one of those times, but on the other hand, no one could really say she was wrong.
As soon as they got to where Zian was going, she couldn't help the smile. "Wow, what a view," she said, moving to get a better look at what was probably the royal garden. That was really pretty. It was so nice to see green things, no offence to the North or anything, but it was just too white.
At that, Yan made a face over her shoulder at him. "I guess," she said. "But I don't think that'd be very well received by other people. Some of us aren't pioneers, you know." Besides, how did you tell if you were talking to a girl that liked other girls? She didn't imagine they ran around with markers.
Zian shrugged. "I haven't spent much time thinking about what I might have done if things weren't this way. Not much sense in what-ifs." They were a waste of time and energy in a lot of ways. Maybe she was right and he would have done something different. But this was the way the world was, and what he might've done if the world wasn't a war-torn disaster was more or less a moot point.
Maybe he just had a strange way of looking at things. Probably he'd have ended up leaning more heavily on his artistic side. It didn't matter. "I mean, you do have a point, about showing them a world that's trying to be better." But that did mean he still had to find someone to do that with and well... that was its own problem in this mess, now wasn't it?
"I thought you might like it," Zian said mildly, with a bit of a smile. Especially after spending a bunch of time in the North, and then on the ocean, he'd figured the gardens would be a welcome sight. There were some nice flowers in view of the palace too. "When you're up to it, I doubt anyone would mind you doing a walkthrough of the garden, but it's certainly not going anywhere." Zuko didn't seem to mind as long as no one in the gardens was disturbed by their presence and as long as the plant and animal life were left intact.
Zian knew he could trust Yanxue with those things though.
"Your place with the White lotus indicates you kind of are." He pointed out mildly. "Anyway, I'm just saying you shouldn't count yourself out just because you aren't fond of boys."
Yan just made a face at him. One could probably argue that being in the White Lotus did in fact make her something of a pioneer, but it wasn't so hard to just follow someone else's lead, either, and in some sense, she was. In most other senses of the word, not really. Besides, creative and scholarly pioneering didn't necessarily equate to sexuality pioneering.
"I wouldn't consider those the same thing," she said, her tone drawling slightly. "And I'm not, but I haven't noticed a marker that indicates I like girls. How am I even supposed to find other girls like me? I don't imagine flirting with random ladies is going to go well." No, something told her that would not go so great. Besides, she still wouldn't consider those the same thing, and she had little interest in fighting with society and its prejudices. There were too many of those to fight against as it was, and it was really a matter of choosing her battles, so to say.
"I'll eventually go see Lady Ursa," she said. "We got to be friendly. There's something to be said about being the only younger women in an organisation of older men and its bonding value." Yeah, so there was. "Maybe I'll wander around the garden sometime after. I'll be here for a while, I think. We can't find the new chief at the moment, anyway." Who knew where he'd gone. Ridiculous. He gets promoted to tribal chief and vanishes practically overnight. But he did leave instructions and a list of goals to attain by the time he came back, so it wasn't like he'd ditched.
People were strange. Menfolk were stranger.
Maybe they weren't exactly, but Zian didn't think that they were as different as Yanxue was pretending they were either. "You might be surprised." Just sort of mildly. "I'm not saying you should just flirt with anyone though. Just... keep an open mind. I know it's easier said than done." But she might be surprised, too. Zian kind of hoped so, even. It'd be nice to see his little sister happy with someone one of these days.
Even if that someone was another girl.
Zian nodded a little. "I'm sure she'll enjoy the visit." Ursa didn't seem to have many friends that he'd noticed, so seeing one would certainly lighten her spirits a little. Not that she seemed particularly unhappy. No, she certainly did seem to be glad to be home, if only because she could see her children here. "I could see how that ended up making the two of you friends." Even if that was perhaps the only thing they had in common, it was more than they might've had in common with some of the others.
"... You can't find the new chief?" Zian sounded slightly surprised and maybe a little concerned. So this person was made chief, and there was a story to that, but he'd also immediately gone missing? That was... probably not a good thing.
"But it's good that you'll be visiting a while. It'll be nice to have you around." Just, ah, also more than a little interested in the tidings that she brought. The White Lotus had some interesting ties.
If he said so. She supposed that was a strange thing to argue about, but at this point, she had accepted and was okay with the idea that she'd probably die alone. It was fine. It wasn't like she was unhappy with how her life had turned out, even if maybe it wasn't the way she'd had in mind when she was younger.
Then again, when she was younger, she'd been rather well-convinced she was probably going to join the army and die fighting for something she didn't really believe in. Maybe it was best that didn't end up happening. Nobody else was around to make fun of Zian, anyway.
"Long story," she said. "But he wrote up a bunch of instructions for his commanders to follow, and then took his sister and disappeared. No one saw him leave, so we don't know where he went or when he'll be back. I'd ask if you've seen him, but in thinking up how to describe him to you, I realise he looks like any other water tribesman. Well, his hair's ridiculously long, their hair's black instead of brown, but aside from that, they could be easily mistaken for Katara and Sokka, no doubt." Then again, she didn't think Katara and Sokka were still travelling together.
"He seems to have some kind of a plan, though," Yan added. "Arnook decided on him because he's got a weirdly progressive ideology. It'll either be great, or the North is going to devolve into a civil war eventually. I can't decide which." Perhaps both, really.
Zian listened to her answer, rather curious about this one who had taken over the Northern Fortress for various reasons. "That's still a little concerning, but I suppose leaving instructions is better than nothing." But a leader couldn't properly react to the ever-present changes if they weren't there to see them so that certainly meant that the instructions could easily become out of date.
"I don't... think I've seen anyone matching that description. But unless he'd visited as a dignitary, I may not have seen him at all, since I don't go out into the city for purely social calls very often." So... unless he'd made himself known to the palace it would have been quite easy to miss him.
That wasn't much better than the fact that he'd completely disappeared. Either the north was going to move forward with this progressive ideology or they were going to go to war with themselves, and the reality was that was the last thing the world needed, another war, even - maybe especially - civil wars.
"Hopefully it goes okay." Was what Zian said finally. "A war would be pretty unpleasant. Especially if the Fire Nation ends up sliding down the same." But it wasn't something Zian could rule out, of course. Some of Zuko's choices weren't terribly popular, and how everyone handled the colony decision remained to be seen. Mostly because Zuko hadn't wanted to share it out without talking to the Earth King first.
It was wise, probably, so that no one had their heart set on a specific resolution as all sides needed to agree for this to even begin to work. "Weirdly progressive how?" Zian was curious and it was less depressing than the possible civil war.
Of course. That would be too easy.
Yan loosed a sigh. She was half looking for Shigeru, of course, but only somewhat. He'd made it quite clear early on that he was not to be held to tradition, and would be doing more or less whatever he wanted. Yan supposed, now that he was chief, nobody was going to tell him he couldn't do something, but really, it would be in his best interest not to run off too far from the fortress.
Oh well. It was far too late for all that now, now wasn't it?
"He seems to take issue with the northern gender inequality, for starters," Yan said. "The walls seem to be staying, but he wants to start moving away from isolationist policies, as well, and intends to send northerners to the south to assist in restoration efforts. If I had to guess, he's most likely in the south, just based on what I know of his plans." Understanding what you were helping to fix, after all, helped in actually being of some use. It was either that or he was somewhere in the Earth Kingdom, but offhand, Yanxue couldn't think of why he would be.
"Of course, traditionalism is somewhat strong in the north," Yan admitted. "So, like I said, either this will be good for the north, or they'll devolve into war." One of the two.
Zian listened to Yuanxue's brief explanation of his goals with some interest. There was a reason he'd asked. ... It did sound like working with the Northern Chief may be easier now than he had anticipated with the change. But... he could certainly see the concern as well. Those sorts of changes could be very good if taken well, but they could also be very bad.
It depended heavily on how the rest of the tribe took the changes. On the one hand, the Southern Tribe already had a much different culture, but the two had been separated for a very long time. It was no surprise that their cultures were practically polar opposites now.
"I do see your concern." Zian agreed after a few moments, grimacing slightly. "Though for what it's worth, I do hope the changes go over well. Most of them appear to be good things for the tribe to grow into." But those sorts of changes also took time, and it was very possible the traditionalist Northern Water Tribe was simply not ready for something so drastic.
They'd just have to wait and see.
"That would make some sense. Getting an idea of what the south needs most so he can help if that was something he really intended to follow through with." It would be good to get the Southern Water Tribe back to some of their former glory. The Fire Nation had done it a world of damage.
"I'm half-looking for him," Yan admitted, "but only somewhat. His sister's with him at least. He can't be in that much trouble. That girl can water-whip your pants off when you're not looking." Oh, right! "His sister, Xiaodan, she has the battling thing down. They can pretend she's exclusively a healer all they want, but I saw some things up there. Shigeru's the healer. He seems to have some sort of an illness that prevents him from being an offensive fighter, so apparently he doesn't try. I'm not sure what this illness does though, so I'm a little concerned he'll eventually get in over his head. Then again, no one really knows he's chief now outside the North. ... well, you I guess." But she wouldn't have told him if she didn't have a fair bit of confidence that he wouldn't say anything to anyone that didn't need to know.
"So far, there's very little opposition to some of his more radical ideas, but I can't tell you if that's because there is very little opposition to speak of, or because it simply hasn't had the time to be expressed. It's not like he did much before running off, of course, and some of his opponents might think he wasn't serious, maybe especially because he ran off the second he gained the chief position." It was difficult to say for sure.
"Sometimes, the people watching is educational all on its own." Honestly. At least she was never really bored?
"It's interesting that she's the combat-trained one." From what Zian remembered that was incredibly rare to the level of just not happening in the Northern Water tribe. Maybe that was one of the reasons that this Shigeru wanted to make so many changes so that his sister could be safe in this knowledge, and maybe teach others too. There was logic to be found there, even if there was some... confusion, too.
"Well, I don't plan to share." Ah, no. There was no reason for even Zuko to know that. "Though I may eventually tell His Highness that there is a new Chief, without the rest of the details." Just because Zuko may want to prepare for the reality that the people he was to be politicking with had changed again. Usually, the warning was at least somewhat kind.
Hm. "People watching is educational." He agreed mildly, leaving the other statement alone for the moment. So far there was no opposition, but the Chief had also run off so quickly that there hadn't been time to address those things. "You can learn all kinds of useful things about people if you take the time to keep an eye on them before you interact." Or while interacting, for that matter.
"Sounds like you've had quite the time away though, even if it was busy." Nothing wrong with that. Zian, at least, was terrible at being idle for too long, and it wouldn't have surprised him to learn that Yanxue was similar.