Pillars of Sand is a crossover between Worm and Avatar: The Last Airbender by Argentorum. It was originally posted on his Ten Times Snippet Compilation Thread but will soon receive its own thread (in a similar vein to Beacon Hill's Morning Worm and spinoff stories From High Above, The Student, Woof, Nemesis, and I Am Skitter).
Taylor Hebert is now a Sandbender of the Si Wong Desert who travelled south to Gaoling and started competing in the Earth Rumble tournaments. During the events of Book 2 Chapter 6, "The Blind Bandit", she goes up against Toph Beifong as Aang, Katara, and Sokka are in town. Taylor somehow manages to win against the Blind Bandit in the contest, earning the fascination of Team Avatar (and even Toph!) in the process, but Taylor is interested in learning from the previous champion.
Things quickly spiral out of control when Lao Beifong wants his daughter back.
This fanfic contains examples of the following:
- Ambiguous Timeline: Zuko should have left Uncle Iroh already as Zuko Alone was concurrent to The Blind Bandit, but here they're still together.
- Furthermore, both Zuko and Iroh are acting like their Book One selves (Iroh taking a relaxing side trip, Zuko chasing the Avatar) rather than their Book Two selves (on the run from the Fire Nation).
- Big "WHAT?!": Taylor's naive "What's an Avatar?" remark provokes this response from the Gaang.
- Berserk Button: Lao and Poppy Beifong for Toph. Taylor is marginally less of one.
- Color-Coded Wizardry: Subverted- Sokka and Katara ditch their Water Tribe clothing, resulting in Zuko accosting a random Earth Kingdom woman who liked the color.
- Combat Pragmatist: Taylor and Toph.
- Culture Equals Costume: Taylor suggests subverting this and adopting Earth Kingdom disguises. Cue Zuko accosting a random Earth Kingdom woman who bought a nice blue dress.
- The Dreaded: The Fire Nation, the Fire Lord, and Azula, as per canon.
- Discard and Draw: Taylor's bug control was swapped out for Earthbending in the Avatar World.
- Dishing Out Dirt: Taylor as an Earthbender.
- Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Toph, as per canon.
- Enemy Mine: The Beifong Parents, Master Yu, and Xin Fu for Taylor and Toph.
- Establishing Character Moment: Taylor is first introduced being a Combat Pragmatist against the Boulder, outmaneuvering him before taking him out in a cloud of sand.
- Force and Finesse: Despite both combatants normally being on the "Finesse" side of the scale (Sokka describes their duel as "Earthbending Pai Sho"), Toph is Force ('conventional' Earthbending tactics learned from Badgermoles) and Taylor is Finesse (unconventional use of Sandbending directly compared to Airbending by the Avatar).
- The Ghost: Azula hasn't even appeared yet, and readers on SpaceBattles.com are already speculating how Taylor will react to her.
- Guile Hero: Taylor is this compared to Team Avatar, being a lot more street-smart due to Brockton Bay being a Wretched Hive.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Toph erects stone barriers to protect against Taylor. Taylor outmaneuvers her and suddenly they block her escape.
- Jerkass: Lao Beifong, as per canon.
- Mistaken Identity: Zuko accosts a random woman who bought Katara's clothes.
- Taylor going airborne No-Sells Toph's seismic sense.
- Taylor's street-smarts No-Sells Lao Beifong.
- Oh, Crap!:
- Toph when Taylor leaps over her.
- Everyone when Taylor sends Toph flying out of the Arena.
- Toph when Master Yu finds her.
- Lao Beifong when Taylor confronts him.
- Opposing Combat Philosophies: Most Earthbenders use extremely aggressive and up-front methods. Toph's badgermole-derived Earthbending is calculated and technical. Taylor, on the other hand, uses Sandbending in an unconventional manner that Katara compares to Waterbending and Aang compares to Airbending.
- Paying for the Action Scene: Taylor gives some money to the restaurant owner after she and Toph subdue Lao Beifong and Master Yu.
- Rousing Speech: Taylor's rant to Lao Beifong counts as one for Toph.
- Sand Blaster: Taylor as a Sandbender.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Toph running away from home.
- Step into the Blinding Fight: Toph is normally immune to this, but Taylor manages to circumvent her Seismic Sense by going airborne.
- The Red Baron: Taylor is the Sand Singer. Toph is the Blind Bandit.
- Take That!: Earth Rumble VI is sponsored by an obvious parody of Raid Shadow Legends, a game infamous online for spamming its sponsorships.
- Weak, but Skilled: This is Taylor's strength and weakness. She uses her bending in creative and unconventional ways that allow her to deliver stronger than expected blows and flow around her opponents, but she also doesn't have much in the way of stamina. She openly says that if she had had to fight through Earth Rumble VI the normal way, she would have lost to Toph.