Life Crisis

People come to a point in their lives when they begin to doubt their choices that brought them to where they are. This is what's called a midlife crisis. They look at what they've done, what they're doing and wonder if this is really it. If this is what they've been striving so hard for all their lives.

Most continue this way for a time and follow it up by doing something drastic like quitting their nice, stable, boring job and becoming a vagabond musician or trading in their spouse for a newer, ditsier model.

Another key point: these people are usually middle aged.

Piandao not yet of Shu Jing didn't quite fit that qualification; however, he'd been a soldier for nearly half of his life at the point of his breakdown. Yet it was a very calm matter altogether.

The Battle of Pomei was long and hard and the exact same as every battle before it. Earthbenders turned the flat plain into jagged pits. Firebenders swept waves of fire over dry grass. Wind pushed it on. The Weapons Squadron went in for the rest.

Piandao cut down enemy after enemy, barely receiving so much as a graze for every dozen. Many of the men he'd started the battle fell to either injury or death, and it was something he'd grown callused to. It was something that should disturb him, he knew. But it simply didn't.

Thrust. Parry. Dodge. Thrust. Step back. Lunge. Duck. Strike up. Run and spin. Drop and thrust.

Repeat...

It took forever, and all too soon the battle was won for the Fire Nation once again.

With much blood and much gore painting the battlefield, with many splintered bodies and torn earth, Piandao marched out over it, searching for survivors, following orders. It was difficult to find a spot not bathed in blood, so he didn't try to avoid it.

Twisted limbs, innards splayed on the ground, and burnt flesh...he should be disgusted. He should be on the ground, crying and pulling his hair out.

Because what was the point"

Follow orders, soldier.

But...

It was so ugly and pointless. His comrades were torn apart on Earth Kingdom soil that drank in their blood, and it was all for the cause of the Fire Nation's glorious vision of the world. A beautiful utopia built atop a mountain of the dead and rotting.

He didn't like the idea, could no longer believe in this...fantastic nightmare.

He passed one soldier, clothes so stained red, uniform and body so torn, he couldn't tell whether he was Fire or Earth. He was little more than a boy.

Sword on his side, Piandao reached the edge of the war zone and kept walking. He would be hunted, no doubt, for a while. Eventually, the Fire Lord would get tired of receiving reports of the many dead soldiers that would cause and leave him be.

If Jeong Jeong could do it, he'd do it better.