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Book 1, Earth
July 2, 2012
This is Chapter 1 of
It was mid afternoon in the Eastern Farms of the Earth Kingdom, when a young man named Toka walked up the dirt path leading to the town that he grew up in. He was eighteen, scars over his body, sweating, and smiling. The first person who greeted him was a boy about his age dressed in a red jacket who was in the middle of work.
"Welcome back!" the boy shouted from across the dirt road, as he grabbed a nail and started to hammer a sign into the side of the barn his family had owned for generations.
Toka walked up to him and patted his friend on the back. "You're welcome, Kuzon."
"You're welcome?" Kuzon asked quizzically. "Welcome for what?"
"For saving our part of the Earth Kingdom with my insane earthbending!"
"Wow, you saved the whole Earth Kingdom again?" Kuzon said, accidentally hammering a nail into his finger. "Ow. What did you save us from?"
"I don't know," Toka muttered. "They were Fire Nation guys. I don't know why they came all the way just to mess random citizens. The point is, I crushed them."
"Wow," Kuzon said in disbelief, rubbing his bleeding finger on his shirt. "You're good."
As Toka proudly nodded, the duo heard the sound of high pitched shouts and laughter, and they turned around to see a group of girls coming towards them, still in work clothes.
"It's him!" one of them shrieked, running over and quickly followed by her friends.
"Did you fight in another battle?" another girl asked. "Can I see your scars?"
Kuzon turned to them. "This wasn't just another battle. Toka saved the entire Earth Kingdom!"
"The whole Earth Kingdom?" the girls asked.
Toka shrugged. "Well, I mean, it was just one village. But it was sort of an important one and I stopped a big force from reaching the Earth Kingdom."
"You're really tough, aren't you?" one of the girls asked.
"Yeah, I am."
"Did you save any children?"
"Well, I sort of did, but-"
"How many scars did you get?"
"Are you brave?"
"How good of an earthbender are you?"
"When was your first battle?"
"How old are you?"
Stressed out, Toka put up his hands to quiet everyone down. "One by one, please. How about I just tell you guys what happened."
They looked at each other and nodded. "Okay," one of them said, "but first, can I have your autograph?"
Toka nodded, and wrote down on a piece of parchment in his pocket, Yeah, I saved Plains village. Love Toka., and handed it to the girl.
"Alright then," said Kuzon. "Gather round for the story of your life."
Toka smiled at the crowd that had formed around him, waiting for the tale of his most recent battle. "We're starting at the village that I saved," he said. "It all started when I was ambushed by a Fire Nation assassin. With my lightning fast reflexes, I kicked up a rock at him - you should have seen it - the huge boulder went through the air so fast was, all like shwish, and shwoosh, and it flew into the smack center of his face. At that point I used all of my bulky muscle," he said, flexing, "And came from behind. But when picked the soldier up, the Fire Nation commander came and started pointing at me, and before you know it lightning was hurdling towards me! I was always a good student in school, and in that split second I still remembered the lesson we had on lightning one day, that if lightning strikes sand, it will harden into a crisp layer of earth. With my quick thinking, I turned the rock around me into sand, brushed it towards the lightning, and it worked! I had turned the attack into a long stone shaped like the lightning. I grabbed hold of it, pulled it off, gave him a good whack over the top of the head."
Before he could continue, on older man in an earthbender's uniform walked up to Toka through the crowds and gave him a stern look. "You're late for something, remember? I think you should be getting along to your training instead of boasting about false accomplishments."
"Come on Mr. Beifong!" Toka said. "I'm in the middle of something."
"This is foolish. You said you'd be back at the dojo by five today. It's quarter of six now."
One woman in the crowd stood up "Who are you to tell this young man what to do? He just saved our nation and our lives. He deserves a rest."
The man looked down at her. "I am Lee Beifong, and I used to be this town's greatest bender before Toka came along. I've served in every major war in the past forty years and am now here to help this young man do the same as both his trainer and manager."
"He's already done the same!" one boy said. "And more. He saved the entire Earth Kingdom for a third time now. How many times did you save our whole nation?"
Lee looked at them, flustered. "I was a general in the War of Ishin Ryu! This boy helped save one village!" He turned his attention to Toka. "Lets get going. We have people who want to spar with you."
Frowning, Toka stood, and started walking away. "Fine, Mr. Beifong." Then he turned to his crowds. "Bye ladies!"
A wave of giggles bursted from behind as they left, and Lee looked at his student disapprovingly. "You can call me Lee, you know."
"Yes Mr. Beifong."
"We enough things to discuss at the dojo," he said, "So I'd keep your smart mouth closed if I were you."
In a dusty gym at the edge of town, its floors covered in sand and stones, Toka stood, Lee watching. Toka raised a rock into the air and flung it at a target hanging a good thirty feet away from him. On his first try, the stone hit the target in its dead center - shattering it into dust almost instantly.
Lee, impressed, closed his eyes and nodded. "Very good, Toka! You are learning faster than any student I have ever taught."
"Tell me about it," Toka thought aloud.
"However, you could use to be a bit more humble." Lee suggested.
A light shade of anger started to appear on Toka's face. "Well, if you could control your jealousy of my incredible skills, then I think we'd both be happy."
Lee frowned but kept a calm voice. "I'm not jealous, merely annoyed with your unnecessary boasting."
"Who are you to tell me that?" Toka shouted. "Old man!"
"I am Lee Beifong, the savior of Ishin Ryu, the greatest earthbender in Plains Village. No, scratch that, I am the greatest earthbender in the world. I was the only sandbender, before I taught you!" he declared.
"What are you compared to me? I've saved dozens of villages. I have all the earthbending power in the world. I bet you are only my manager to steal my fame - the fame that you lost!"
"I am your manager," Lee said, finally on the verge of a shout, "Because your Mommy and Daddy wanted the best for their little baby!"
"You're just a crippled old man!" Toka replied, his face red with anger. "You got famous for being in the war, what, fifty years ago? Your time is past. My time is come. You're just clinging on to me to hang onto the fame that you loved when you lived your short period of glory."
"I have been your teacher for ages. Do you have any respect left for me? Leave, get out of my dojo then, and don't come back until it is time for you to spar tonight!"
Toka cursed. "Bah, why do I need you anyway?" He crouched down and with a single punch upwards overturned every individual stone chair surrounding the gym. "I'm too strong already. Every opponent you give me falls in a matter of seconds."
"When will you learn? When will you start to be humble, to give respect? I have taught you since you were a small child, I've treated you as my son." Tears started to well up in Lee's aging eyes. "My own, a non-bender, hasn't spoken to me in decades, and just when I though I was going to snap in despair, you appeared, and ever since I started training you that sadness has been healed. I've always loved you, Toka."
Grimacing, Toka left towards the door, throwing sand into his master's face behind him. "Would you shut up already? I've heard that speech a hundred times before. And if you don't mind, there's a group of ladies outside the dojo who I'd rather be with right now."
"Don't you think you should be going to the temple? The Avatar's supposed to be meeting you in ten min-"
But the door was already slammed shut.
In the old clay village temple, two airbenders stood by the door, one an elderly monk and the other a young girl. They both had arrow tattoos on their heads and arms.
"What's taking this master of mine so long?" Avatar Yangchen wondered aloud.
The older monk shrugged. "We will wait until he arrives patiently."
"I'm right here," shouted a voice from behind them, down a hall. The airbenders turned around to see Toka walk up to them. "Sorry I'm late," he said. "I've got a lot of fans out there."
Yangchen paused a second. "Well, uh, nice to meet you Master Toka. I can't wait to start learning earthbending from you."
"Just call me Toka, okay?" Toka replied. "All the girls do."
"Well, I must be going now." Monk Shiyo said awkwardly, and slowly trotted away, quickly waving to Yangchen and then going straight to the door.
"Goodbye, Monk Shiyo!" Yangchen called.
"That guy's got a nice beard," Toka said.
Yangchen chuckled, still a little uneasy about her new teacher. She decided that giving him a good scare would get them on equal terms to start practicing. "Hey Toka, come outside, I want to show you something."
They opened the front doors and walked out to the main stairs in front of the temple. After a few suspenseful seconds, a large white animal suddenly flew out of nowhere towards Toka, and licked his face. Yangchen laughed.
Trembling from shock, Toka wiped the saliva from his face and examined the beast. Large, big tail, arrow on its head, six legs, "What is that thing?"
"Lily?" the Avatar asked.
"You know it?" Toka said, traumatized.
"It's my pet sky bison." Yangchen said. "She's my animal guide, and will accompany me after my training with you when I stop the Hot Earth War." Yangchen said.
"The Hot Earth War?" Toka said. "Impressive. You know, I actually once saved an entire village from some of the Fire Nation troops fighting in that one. I completely annihilated this commander, do you want to hear the story?"
After an hour or two talking with Yangchen, finally delivering her to the house she'd be staying at, and giving her instructions for training the next day, Toka walked back to the dojo for his own. When he opened the large front doors, he saw Lee and a sweaty earthbender already dressed in his sparring gear sitting next to him. "I'm back, and I'm ready win to win!" Toka exclaimed. Both of them glared. "To spar, I mean. I'm ready to spar."
Lee nodded. His anger from the earlier training session seemed to have faded, which was good. "Yes, it is time, time for you to fight Tennto, the challenger."
Toka quickly pulled on his gear and went up to the ring with Tennto. "Give me your best shot."
In that moment Tennto sent a rock at Toka, who grabbed it with his wrist like it was nothing, turned it into sand, and sent the particles at a high speed towards Tennto. The sand cut into his face, and Toka used that advantage to send a rock towards Tennto, who took the blow and fell.
Toka started laughing. "I told you Lee, all my opponents are too easy." He looked around. "Lee? Lee, where are you?"
Suddenly, a shadow flashed in front of Toka, and a sharp pain stabbed through his legs. Blood spurted everywhere. He heard a crack. Another incredible pain. He looked down and saw jagged of pillars of stone everywhere that had sliced straight through his legs.
Then, everything went black.
The first chapters up, yay! - Zhao's Fanboy
- It is revealed that Lee is a member of the Beifong family.
- It is revealed that Plains village, which was the home of Lee, is also the home of Toka, and Lee.
- It is revealed that a war exists between the Earth Kingdom and Fire Nation.
- It is revealed Lee was the first sandbender.