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|What If Part 1: The Fifth Element|
14th April 2014
Water, Earth, Fire, Air, Void.
For 100 years, the four nations were at war and only the Avatar, master of all four elements could stop them, but he vanished. Three years ago, my brother and I discovered the new Avatar. An airbender named Aang. And after finding some allies and mastering all four elements, Aang defeated Fire Lord Ozai and put an end to the war.
But now a new threat has arisen and a fifth element has been awoken. A voidbender named Ithar came with a warning that we were all in danger. An lost past and earlier tale have caught us up, and Aang may not be ready to face it. But I believe, Aang can save us all.
It had been months since the aftermath of the coup. There were no sighs of the remaining forces that escaped, or the sight of Daika. We searched over the tundra throughout the season, but hostile weather made the search much more difficult.
The disappearance of Shen was a concern, but with everything that had happened, not many of us at the time would ever think of him being a threat considering the circumstances of the past month. By the end of the winter, the ice started becoming more crossable and soon we were all at the edge of realization that we would have to depart from this place soon enough.
I walked down the pier, to the ships that lay docked in the make shift harbors stretching from the wall. The winter had finally broken and spring would arrive within the week. But that also meant that soon I'd have to return to my country. I doubted Uncle Iroh would have any problems in staying, but I hated to keep him away from his shop for too long. Especially on this record.
I approached the flag ship where two guards stood to ladder up to the deck. As I approached, they turned and saluted me. I raised my hand to put their salute at ease. "I wish to speak to the captain."
"Of course, your fieriness." The one of the right answered as the both bowed and stepped to either side. "Welcome aboard." They turned and shouted up at the ship. "Firelord at the bridge!", there was a long crank creaking and the ladder dragged itself back and became a staircase. When the crank shut, I took my steps aboard the ship.
Reaching the top I made my way across the deck and into the captain's command room on the upper deck. It was much larger than the one that I used to look out from in exile in the southern ocean. Those days seemed so long ago and "Captain Dui Zhang."
"My lord," he saluted. "Welcome aboard the Dragon's Wake."
"The Dragon's Wake? The name of the ship?" I asked despite the obvious, but it was the
"Indeed my lord. Named for the 75th Anniversary of your grandfather, Firelord Azulon's victory at the Battle of Garsai." Garsai. The last time I had heard of that battle was at my grandfather's funeral. It wasn't the best of times for me, but my thoughts weren't on my grandfather, but on my mother's disappearance, the devilish smile on my father's face. But most of all, the wicked grin on my sister.
Dragon's Wake. Dragon's . . . Wake. I cannot say the word Dragon now without that flute tune now playing in my head, I've been hearing it that long. Thrice on the boat here to add that to the other tome Ithar played it. It was one of two songs that Ithar had a special tone for him to play with on his dagger, taking out his anger in that song. I wondered if that was what every man who played that song when they marched along the ranks to battle.
"As much as I would love to divulge into my family's history, in spite of the now . . . awkward topic. I am here to confirm of the travel arrangements that are set for tomorrow morning."
He nodded. "Indeed they are my lord."
"Good." I licked the inner part of my lips slightly to fight away the cold, despite my best instinct telling me to stop. "Which other ships will be returning home with us?"
The captain was quick to answer, but did so in a slow and understandable tone. "The Ember Island and the . . . Princess So Nya."
That pause was a little odd though. "Y-you hesitated there, Captain. Were you unsure?"
he bared the right corner of his teeth, finely and sharply inhaling through them while his eyes squinted slightly. "Not exactly my lord; the Princess So Nya was sailing three years ago under a different name, and due to the *ahem* outcome of the war it was deliberately changed. It used to be called . . ." The topic was definitely awkward by the hesitation to answer. "*ahem* . . . Great . . . O-O-Ozai."
Yes, I can defiantly see the reason for the change. It also feels like a huge irony considering my father's use of the title 'The Phoenix King' and that So Nya was Avatar Tzenno's daughter. Two very conflicting topics in these post war times. "I see." I pulled a smile for his sake, nodding with it. "For the best."
"Well, if that is all, my lord . . . ?"
"Actually" I interrupted, "could I ask you a specific question, Captain?"
"Of course, my lord."
"I was . . . unaware that The Ember Island was sailing in the northern waters. I presumed that it would have been docked in the western shores of the Mo Ce Sea, or at the ports of Capital City. I wasn't aware that it was even patrolling up north."
"The Ember Island doesn't. And neither does the Princess So Nya, Dragon's Wake, March of War, Yu Dao, Pho Zel Legacy, and The Komodo Rhino."
Huh, that's odd. "Then how did you know about the coup here in the Northern Tribe?"
The captain raised an eyebrow to my question. "Your uncle informed us that you had sent him a letter that detailed the usurpation and requested a mobilization of the fleet stationed at Capital City to be deployed in aid of the Northern Tribe."
Did I hear that right? I sent the letter? That can't be right. "I sent a letter to my uncle, but I made no mention about this. I sent the letter before the coup even occurred."
"It's the truth, my lord. I would never lie to you. We just received your letter and it contained the information. I haven't seen this letter myself, but your uncle believed it was sent from you."
"Then it wasn't my letter." My tone was rising slightly from this point on. "It was somebody else's, because I never made a mention about the coup because it didn't happen until after I sent mine."
I turned and pressed myself against the edge of the window. "Then I suppose you never requested the updates on the search?"
I turned my head and stood right back up. "What?"
The Captain took a gulp before continuing. "The letter your uncle received asked for the reports on the search. I suppose that you never requested them either?"
"No, I did . . . ? Do you have them on you Captain?"
"Yes, my lord. It's in your chambers on board this ship." He raised his hand pointing towards the cabins below the helm of the ship. "I presume that it is in the letter your uncle wrote back to you. We left it as it was, and with everything going on, there wasn't a time to inform you."
As much as I wanted to read the letter, it wasn't the time yet. "Thank you Captain. That will be all."
"As you wish, my lord."
"Raise your arms!" Toph yelled. I raised my arms out in front of me. I could feel the earth at the edge of my finger tips. "Pull them in!" I pulled them in close to my chest. The rocks beneath the ice broke free and pierced the frozen ground. "Push Now!" I pushed with all my might and the rock went flying into the distance, crashing into the cliff. She clapped her hands and got back to her feet, with a little flinch from re-exposure to the cold. "Very nice, Twinkle Toes. I would say your as good as me, but then I would be lying to you. But nice work overall."
I pressed my fist into my open palm. "Thanks Toph."
She raised a finger. "Sifu Toph" She reminded me.
I rolled my eyes, but I was smiling while doing it. "Right: Sifu Toph."
She smiled back and nodded. "My pleasure, my apprentice."
I looked arou- *blink*, *sigh* yeah the blinks still around. I'd actually managed to see a reduction, but I still can't shake it. The dreams had stopped the night after the victory, but the blinking was still a nuisance. I clapped my hands together. "So, we have a few minutes to kill. What's next?"
Her smile dropped, and I realized why. "Nothing. That's it. That was the last move I could teach you. You're officially an earthbending master."
I passed? I wanted to smile, but something felt heavy inside. A little unnatural about this occasion. I already mastered air and water, and now earth made three, but the feeling was like accomplishment, I still felt like a student. "Really? Are you sure?"
She stomped her foot and a rock came shooting straight from under the ice hundreds of feet into the sky. "Never question the master!" she shouted before lowering her voice. "But yeah. Huh."
"What? What is it?"
She crossed her arms and leant against the wall. "I guess that really is it."
I didn't like the way she seemed to put emphasis on the middle of her sentence. "What are you saying?"
"I guess you don't need me around anymore. My earthbending master pupil. My work is done."
I looked at my hands, gripping my fingers together every couple of seconds. "But I don't feel like a master. Are you there's nothing left? Maybe I could try metalbending . . . ?"
"No" she interrupted, "that won't work. And speaking of which, . . ." she stopped talking and took a long breath. It was heavy and almost like she was ripping a piece of her heart into it. " . . . That's the other reason I have to leave."
She blew the hair out of her eyes. Then she whacked her hand against the cloud in front of her face. Sokka really shouldn't have told her about it, she really hated anything related to the cold. hate to think what she would do if she went to the Southern tribe. "Whatever you want to call them. They need me, more then you do."
"What about everyone else. Katara, Sokka, Zuko, Suki, . . . e-everyone. What about them?
My jaw dropped. "They know!"
She pushed off the wall and walked closer to me. "They knew it was inevitable. There was nothing much to say after being stranded on this icy wasteland."
"Toph you can still come with us."
She sank and shook her head. "Not this time Twinkle Toes. I keep on running from responsibilities. I need finish what I started. The lily livers need their master."
"It's been an honour being your student, Sifu Toph." I bowed. "May the spirits guide your path."
She bowed also, the twirled her right wrist clockwise. "May all that spirit mumbo jumbo stay out of your way when you earthbend some wind walker butt." I smiled, but it was still sad to know she was going.
We walked down together to the ports, where the rest of our friends were waiting. Appa was there with Momo gliding above his head. Zuko was there, Katara was, Sokka, Suki and Ithar were all there. It was sad to see us separating after being together over the months.
There was a long awkward silence, but luckily we had Sokka to break it up. "Well then. This is it for the team then." It wasn't the best, or the funniest thing he ever said. But maybe that was actually what made it a better silence breaker then what he usually said.
Zuko picked up his bag and hoisted it over his shoulder. "I need to return to my country. But it's been nice to meet up with all of you again." He offered out his hand to me and I shook it.
"Safe journey Zuko" I replied.
From the corner of my eye, I could see Sokka and Suki sharing a kiss. "See you around Sokka."
Sokka looked at her confused. "See ya? No, I'm coming with you."
She rose an eyebrow. "Seriously?" I rose eyebrow. Seriously? If I looked around I think everyone else who was listening would be thinking the same thing.
"We've been apart for too long" he explained, putting his hands on her shoulders. "And it took me an entire adventure over two seasons to realize that I don't want to be apart from you anymore. So wherever your going, I'm coming behind ya."
"Wait!" Katara interrupted. "You never told me about this."
"I didn't think it would matter."
"I'm your sister of course it matters!"
Knowing those two, they would be bickering for a while, and I really thought that cutting between them wouldn't be the best thing for them. But instead to let them cool down in their own time.
I looked over at the only person who wasn't talking away; Ithar. He was standing towards Appa, working his hands into the saddle. "Great. Flying and on the back of a sky bison. No offence to you, I'm sure your friendly enough."
"He is" Toph answered. "Just don't count too much on the flying."
Ithar nodded as his head slowly rotated back towards Appa. "I'll keep my eyes closed" He said with an awkward smile as he clambered on board my bison.
"Why is he coming with us?"
"Aang", I looked around as Katara was no longer fuming as she placed her hand on my back. "When you think your done learning, another person comes around to teach you."
"He's going to teach you voidbending. What else would he-"
"What?" That word, suddenly pushed me down. the images of Tzenno being drained of all his energy by the black armoured Han years before, and it still haunted me. "Voidbending. Ehhh . . ."
Katara grabbed me and turned me towards her. "Sweetie, it will be okay." She leant in and we kissed for a good long few seconds. "You're the Avatar, nothing will ever change all that's good about you. You are a master bender, think of this as a new opportunity. With Toph leaving, maybe Ithar can be the tutor you need."
Her words melted deep into my thoughts. But that doubt was still piercing me. I looked and I hoped that the boy I awoke in the oasis was really going to help.
The view was pitch black. That was all on me, I seriously still cannot handle flying. I freaked out last time and I really wasn't prepared to be lashing out at everyone else, especially when they barely trusted me. They didn't need to tell me, it was clear how they felt whenever they saw or heard the word 'void'.
The ride was made more confusing when something started nesting itself on top of my head. I felt around and it was fluffy and had a tail and long ears. I think it was the lemur bat, but I wasn't sure without looking. "What's this on my head?" I asked.
A hand reached out and "If it's small and fluffy; that's Momo" Toph answered. "Don't worry about him, he'll disappear for most of the day and comeback when he's tired or hungry."
Well, that answered my question. "Does he do any tricks?"
"He can fly, if that's what you mean."
"I thought that Lemur Bats were trained to retrieve items for Air Nomads, like staffs or small objects."
"Myah?" I guess that was its way of saying 'what?'
"I guess not."
I wasn't good at keeping track of how long it took us, but it felt like a whole day before we reached the ground. I opened my eyes when the bison's legs hit the ground. It was green and wide. But I could still hear the sound of the ocean nearby and I knew that it wasn't the continent we had landed on.
Toph was the first to get off, and she jumped straight off and starting making, um dirt angels in the ground. "Solid ground, at last!"
I leapt off as well, but I wasn't quite the enthusiast as Toph was. I just landed and pressed my hands into the grass. "Solid ground. Phew."
"It will be a few days before we get to Toph's school" Katara announced, picking up a bag from the saddle and laying out the contents on the ground. "But I think for now this will be a good place to set up camp."
"Anywhere that's not frozen is a good place" Toph replied.
I rubbed my hands together and I started stretching out my arms. I'd been out of practice from bending for a while, so I would need to restart training- "So when does training start?" Aang said. Though his tone wasn't too pleased.
"Well" I answered "I was thinking of doing it right now. I really need to-"
"No" he interrupted. "I was talking about my training."
Sorry what did he say? I turned right around. "What training? I thought you and Toph finished training."
"We did. I was actually talking you teaching me."
Come again? "Teach you?"
"He means teach him voidbending, Fairy Dust" Toph yelled out from deep in a human shaped hole in the ground.
I stared at the awkward sight of Aang staring straight at me. Katara's head turned from the bags and straight at me as well. Toph, was still underground. I pulled my fingers out to reply. "1. Fairy Dust? Really? 2. . . . Hang on . . . oh! When on earth did I ever agree to teach voidbending?"
"When you came on this trip with us" he answered. "I'm the Avatar, learning the elements is in the job description."
I put both my hands out in front of me, shaking my hands sideways. "I'm not here to teach" I told him.
Aang's eyes were really wide. The whites were covering his entire forehead. "What?"
"He said He's-Not-Here-To-Teach!" Toph yelled out. She was really burrowing herself deep.
"I heard him the first time." he looked back at me. "What do you mean? You're suppose to."
"I don't have to do anything" I replied. *sigh* "I'm sorry but I'm not teaching you."
I turned and walked away. His voice calling to me in the background, but I continued walking away unflinchingly. "Ithar? Ithar!"
I wasn't here to teach him I reminded myself. I was here to save him.
We left him for an hour, but Ithar didn't come back. I went in the same direction to maybe try and settle the feud that was going on between them.
I looked down from behind him at the markings he was writing. ᐄᕧᕐ, ᑑᓖᐊ, ᑌᑲ. I didn't recognize them at all, but something looked familiar.
"What is that?" I asked.
Ithar turned his head in surprise, nearly falling over on his back. His hand reached out like lightning straight towards the symbols on the ground. he looked at me for a while before repelling his hand from the ground. "Water Tribe syllabics" he replied.
I raised an eyebrow. "Syllabics?"
He nodded back, but his eyebrow also rose. "Yes, how do you not know that?"
Now he was just confusing me. "I don't know what you are talking about. We write characters, not syllabics."
Ithar shook his head, almost sarcastically. Not rudely, but more like he should have realized sooner. "Earth Kingdom characters. It started dominating when the Earth Kingdom became the major importer of trade and people started seeing more use in it. Shame though. Each nation had a script unique to them." He looked back to me, picking up the stick he was using earlier. "This was Water Tribe."
"What does it say?" I asked.
"Well, um: This one here, ᐄᕧᕐ, is my name; I, tha, r." While he was explaining it, he started to wipe them out from the ground, like they were never there. "I could easily write your name, here." He dug his stick into the ground and made some "ᑲᑖᕋ, Ka, ta, ra."
This was, really interesting. I hadn't learnt how to properly read or write since I started travelling with Aang. Gran Gran tried her best, but most of our literature was destroyed from several decades of raids on our shores. "Is this all you can do?"
"No," he replied, wiping my name from the ground like he did with the others before. "I can also write using Air Nomad script." He took his stick and wrote again, but this time it looked a lot different then what he had previously showed me. "ཨེང; Aang, or if you want to be more technical: E,ng."
I looked at him. "Eng?"
"Pronunciation," he explained. "If I wrote Aa, ng, it would sound like Uh, ng, like in the word 'hut'. Where as E in 'Eng' sounds like the A in 'say' as well as an E in 'help' for example."
this was a good of time as any. "Speaking of Aang . . ."
he cut me off completely. "I can't teach him voidbending" he bluntly told me.
"That wasn't what I was going to say. I wasn't going to make you do anything."
He sighed and wrapped his arms around his knees. "Katara, I can't because I care. It's bad enough that Daika is damaging the natural predetermination of events, but me being here is even worse. The Avatar has never learnt voidbending before, none of them ever have. If he starts now, what good could come of it?"
Ithar was leaving me with very little choice at this rate. I really didn't want to play this card on him. I thought that I could have explained it to him, but he was too stubborn to change his mind. "Suki and Zuko said you exchanged information for favors."
"I honour everyone of them. I owe him that, but this time I will not do it, no matter what."
Oh, well . . . "What about if I used my favor, what about me? What if you did it for me?"
He stared into space for a while before he flinched, almost like a twitch. his eyes then widened as he reached for his pockets. "My necklace!" he yelled, huffing in a panic as he buried deeper into his pockets. I lost it! Spirits, where is it-"
I realized what I forgot. I reached into my pocket and I pulled out the one item that I had in there. "Here" I said presenting it in front of me. Ithar looked and he snatched it from my hands. "I-It fell from you're pocket during the coup. I'm sorry it took this long to give it back."
He looked at me, tears rolling from his eyes. "Thank you" he smiled to me, putting the necklace fast around his wrist. tightening his grip on it like he could lose it at any second.
"I'm sorry if-"
"You haven't upset me. *sigh*sniff* I'm ashamed that it took me this long realize it was missing."
"May I ask you something?"
He looked back at me, wiping the tears from his eyes. "I owe you for hanging on to this. So yes."
"Who gave you that necklace?"
His smile dropped slightly as he gazed at it, dangling slightly from his palm. "It was my mothers. All I had left of her. *Clank*Clank* and this is what is left of my father."
I put my hand on to his free hand. I just felt so bad for him. "How did they die?"
he shook his head as he picked the necklace up again and closed his fist. "I don't know. There was an attack one day, and all I know is I ran and I survived. I don't know what happened, or who caused it. I was nine." He put it in his pocket and stood up. "I still can't teach Aang. He's not a voidbender. No Avatar is."
As he started walking away, I shouted out "How many favours do I still have?
"One" he replied.
"I asked two questions."
He stopped and looked back for a brief second. "I already told Suki and Zuko both of those answers. They should have already told you."
"Ithar" he stopped again. "What about these two names? What did they say?"
He took longer to reply, but he managed to, under a heavy breath. His only answer was "my friends."
"So what happens after we reach the Fire Nation?" I asked Suki. The boat trip was long, but we were almost there. Three days were spent on this boat and it was actually getting boring now. There was a lot more to do during the pre-planning for the invasion then there was actually going straight to the capital without fighting through it. "I was thinking about visiting Master Piandao, maybe get a new sword while I'm at it."
She hung her arms over the side of the ship, and her head rested over the bars. "Maybe."
I wrapped my arm over her. "Hey what's up? I am I boring you? Please don't let it be that."
She smiled and jokingly hit me. "No stupid. I have my own stuff to do first you know."
"Oh, I know that." I nodded along, but I realized I was completely clueless. "What stuff?"
She rolled her eyes, but still smiled, which I took as a good sign. "You ran into the other Kyoshi Warriors on your way here. Do you remember why?"
I scratched my head. "I remember something about trouble in the colonies, and something else. They were talking about them going home?"
"Yeah" She nodded. "The Kyoshi Warriors have been in the Fire Nation for little around two years. We were asked to guard Zuko when he was the target of an assassination attempt. But now that we are at some peace, it felt like the right time to leave for home."
I looked at her expression, but I wasn't too convinced. "Do you feel like it's the right time to leave?" She sighed and she looked down. She didn't need to answer. I knew it straight from her reaction. I kissed her cheek and she turned her head. "If you need to talk to Zuko about it. Go ahead."
"Sokka are you sure."
"If you feel that you need to stay a bit longer. You tell him that."
She looked up at me, smiling and we kissed. "Okay Sokka. I'll be right back."
Aang was still really annoyed. He was pacing up and down the ground like he was impatiently waiting for an answer. But I could tell very well that Ithar meant every word. He wasn't coming back on his word.
"Why won't he let up?" Aang demanded.
"'Cause, you're pestering him. And you're annoying everyone else with your complaints" I told him.
There was a rustle in the bushes. Sweetness walked straight out back towards us. Twinkle Toes stopped stepping hard and faced her approach. "Katara, how was he?"
Katara shrugged her shoulders. "He was, writing in syllabics." I don't know what syllabics are, and I'll find out if it's important later.
"Not that" Aang replied. "What did he say about my voidbending training?"
"He, he said that he won't do it." Big surprise. Katara reached out and put her hand on Aang's shoulder. "I'm sorry, even if he owed you a favor he wouldn't agree to it."
Aang stomped the ground hard and a rock went flying straight into the sky. Definitely a master. I taught him that. that was all me. Footing was off, but what I expected. "What's his problem with me? What have I done to him?"
I shrugged my shoulders, even if he wasn't looking at me. "Maybe that's it."
"Why are you never on my side in arguments?" he asked.
"Because if you were right, nobody would be disagreeing."
He was probably rolling his eyes right now. All I really felt was his arms drop. "Thanks."
"Think about him, what is it we know about him?"
". . ."
". . ."
". . ."
No answer. Shocker. That question sounded a lot better in my head. "Yeah, this is helpful" he replied.
I raised both my hands. "Okay since we're getting no where, I am going to have a look sees." I started walking, but stopped when I reached Aang and Katara and stuck both my arms out with my index fingers pointing at them. "No jokes. Pun wasn't intended."
I walked into the brush. Ithar wasn't hard to find, his foot path was too random and synchronized to be anyone else's. I waited as he continued making odd movements that seemed to resemble how Twinkle Toes practiced, but it was all oddly wrapped together and it seemed almost like they didn't work together. *Fwzoooom*
Then again, if the void was cutting into the ground that finely, then maybe it just worked. It certainly was no bending like mine. Mine was still superior.
I slammed my foot again, and I felt his body standing on one leg, then on two as his legs swerved around. then they slammed and his arms pumped rather than smoothed around. *Fwzoooom* it cut again into the ground. I slammed my foot, and I felt his dagger pierced deep into a stump in the ground.
There was something odd about the dagger though. Not the metal, or the piping that wrapped around and inside the dagger. But there was more inside the blade. It felt weird and flat. Three pieces of it. Like, glass? Three pieces of glass.
I walked up to his door along the corridors and knocked three times before opening it. "Zuko, . . . what are you doing in here?"
I looked over as he shuffled quickly, like he was hiding something quickly. "Nothing, just reading my uncle's letter."
I entered and closed the door behind me. "What does it say?"
"Um, basically, he's just writing to say he got my message."
He pulled it back out and he folded it back up and put it in his pocket. "Eh. The one I sent before the invasion. The one that, didn't call for the navy to be pulled out of the harbor and sent North. But somehow managed to write the rest of my letter as me. My uncle believes what was written in the letter, but I never wrote about the coup, and that's because my letter was sent before not after."
I walked over to his bed and sat down next to him. there was a moment of just silence before I just came right out and said it. "Do you still need us?"
He looked at me. "Who?"
"The Kyoshi Warriors" I answered. "If you still feel in need of our help then we'll stay, or at least the rest of us-"
"No it's, okay" he interrupted. Turning his head. "You need to go home. Your allegiance is to your island, not to my country."
"Our allegiance is to our friends; Kyoshi Island stayed out of the war for ninety nine years of the hundred years war. We thought we were alone, but then we were opened up to the world by the arrival of Aang, and y-, by Aang. Now we have to stick up for our friends, when they need our help."
He nodded like he understood, but he still didn't change his mind. "Thanks, but I have kept your warriors from home for too long. They need to go home to their families, and they need to be at home to rest. I have welcomed your and their help, but help doesn't last two, nearing three years."
I sighed. "So what do you plan to do?"
"When we reach the Capital, there will be celebrations for the brave Fire Nation marines that freed the northern coup. Then I will make my speech thanking the Kyoshi Warriors for their help and allowing them the freedom to leave. I expect that Sokka will be leaving with you after the speech."
"Yeah" I replied.
he hunched over and put his hands together. "Might I ask, if it's not too personal?"
I leaned closer. "Sure, anything."
He turned and looked towards me. "What do you see in Sokka?
Wow. I didn't think that would be personal. I took a deep thought before I gave my answer. "I can't really explain it; he make me laugh, but it's more then that, it's . . . his determination, his focus, his . . . he's just the best guy I have ever known. He once held a very sexist view, but when he realized he was wrong, he came out and apologized and even more surprisingly, he asked for training. I didn't know a lot of people back then, there was never that many new faces except for the few fishermen that came in and around the port, provided they avoided, Kisu." I still laughed a little at that name. it was hard to imagine the fierce Unagi being known by that. "Sokka . . , he just knew when to admit he was wrong and move further when everyone would have run away and tried to forget."
Zuko nodded and smiled. Tapping his knees he replied "thank you, for the conformation."
I stood up, believing it was my cue to leave now. I reached for the door and was about to leave, but I looked back. "Is there anything else?" I asked.
He looked up at me and shook his head. "No. Thank you" he smiled, forcefully as I closed the door behind me.
I seriously tried to train on my own terms, but interruption kept breaking into my psyche every time. I could hear Daika's voice just bleeding in my mind, with every attempt to block it out. But I struggled on to continue training:
I extended my arms down my sides and branched them out as far apart as I elevated the to my shoulder height, completely straight. Reaching above my head, I cuffed my hands together and pulled the down over my face, with the palm facing away from my vision, as the sparks started to build in the slow motions.
Alright then. I accept your offer. Thank you. I won't let you down.
Reaching chest height I flipped my palms flat against my belly, and reaching to the floor. I the brought my hands back up and stepped lightly to my left. I started to move faster now, with both hands still locked together. Above my head I swerved them around and pulled to my waist, flicking my right leg against the back of my left knee before stepping back behind me.
Let's do this thing. Friends, Partners. Brothers.
Kneeling down, I extended my legs out shoulder width and swung my arms clockwise back above my head. Bringing them down, with void now built up around. I pushed off in front of me and pulled them back. Part of the void started flying off. I pushed down and flung my arms back up. Back up then behind my head, I now separated my hands and brought them to my right hip as a trail followed me through now, and my speed started increasing.
Ithar. I don't understand? Why?
Crossing my left leg behind my right, I twisted my arms out, pulling my left arm to my shoulder and extended my right arm with my right leg mirroring below. I pulled my body back, while keeping fixed into the ground, and then rotated my arms over my chest, up and down, pulling back my right leg across the ground to my shoulder width. then, in a split second, I pulled my right arm straight out, with my left, and sliding my right leg out sideways. Then facing my left, I hooked my arms into a crescent shape with my left arm below and my right over my head. The void now heavily encasing my hands.
Can you hear yourself? Years ago this same thing happened and I couldn't have what I wanted, yet your the one doing the same thing and you get away with it. It's not fair!
I pulled them in and span round counter clockwise till I was facing forward again, with my hands in chops inline with my chest. I rotated my left hand over my right, letting the void merge around both my hands before breaking them above my head. Then I- . . . I . .
It's what was suppose to happen. It was always meant to happen. You taught me that, we both saw there was no escape from destiny. The world is written before it's even performed, and we are just characters in this enormous play. This year, this day, you were always going to lose your precious star.
I stopped. I sat back down. I couldn't get those memories from my head. The more I practiced for these three days we've been camped here, the more they just kept coming back to me. Like earlier, when Katara was talking to me:
'What about if I used my favor, what about me? What if you did it for me?'
What about me? Wouldn't you do it for me? was all I could hear.
I covered my eyes, and I rubbed them over. I pulled them downwards over my eyes, and I could see all the void floating in the air. And a huge gathering that was hiding behind the bushes.
"Aang, I can see you in the bushes!"
there was a rustle and Aang came out with a twig over his shoulder, that he easily brushed off. "How?"
I wiped my hand over my vision. "You are covered in void and most of them are partially frozen."
He sighed and starting twirling around in circles. He stared at me. "If you are not going to teach me voidbending, then why are you even here?"
"I'm here to make sure Daika doesn't do something to damage the order of the events."
He looked absolutely unconvinced. "What could he possibly do that he hasn't already done?"
I shrugged my shoulders. I was telling him the blunt truth. "I don't know?"
"You don't know, yet your the one who's sure that something will happen."
"Because he will."
"How are you sure?"
He was really starting to bug me now. For the Avatar you would have thought he would have more patience. "I've known him for about seventy years. Or at least I thought I did."
"Well then doesn't that give me all the reason to be learning voidbending? Why are you so stubborn?"
I sighed and I plucked my dagger from its sheath. Rubbing my lips against the mouth piece. I pulled away and looked up at him. "Okay Aang. If I was to teach you, what would you do with it?"
His anger dropped in an instant. His expression was now confused. "What?"
I rammed my dagger into the tree stump again. "Tell me, what would you do with it. You will be one of two people alone who could voidbend, what would you do with it?"
He hesitated with his answer. " . . . Uh, um. Well I am the Avatar."
"You think that being the Avatar gives you the authority to learn voidbending?"
His anger started building up again. "Just to be clear, I don't have authority."
"So you walk into a city and say your the Avatar, then everyone ignores you."
His lips started fighting against each other, pushing so hard against each other. "I saved the world when I was twelve. From what I have gathered you have been hiding away and goofing off for eighty years. What did you do when you were twelve?"
I completely lost it, and I lost myself. I slammed my foot down and I bent at his direction, cutting it close before I stopped myself. I breathed heavily, and it was fuming. I stared right at him and pulled my dagger out. "Do you want to know what I was doing when I was twelve? Hmm?" I got off my tree stump and I walked right up to him. "While you were chilling out in an iceberg, people were at war. At the age of nine, I lost both my parents and my entire village. For the next three years, I was homeless and I had to do whatever odd jobs I could find, which gets very tricky when there is a war going on." Aang started losing his edge, but still tried to keep his anger locked in. "I wasn't a bender, I was plain and I had nothing to my advantage. I am of Fire Nation and Earth Kingdom heritage, but I had to lie about my identity so that I wouldn't be scorned at and be attacked with little experience in real fighting." I turned away and put my dagger back into its sheath. "Then, by accident, a lion turtle called to me and it asked to present me a gift, but after I answered a question; he asked if I was to be given this power, would I use it in revenge or not. I told it, I wouldn't. I promised I wouldn't. And he gave me, for the first time in my life, bending. I had power for the first time, and despite everything that has happened, I have never once abused it. There have been times where I have thought about changing my fate, but I didn't." I turned back around. Aang was no longer angry, but his face was now slightly drooping. Not sad, but there was a slight hint of regret in his face. "So tell me again; what would you do with voidbending?" He opened his mouth to answer, but he couldn't come with an answer. He just lowered his head and stared to the bottom corner of his eyes. "I thought as much."
I turned again, like I did days ago. And I just walked back to camp.
I was still sitting on my bed. I looked at the reports. Okay that was a lie. I didn't. I pulled my uncle's letter back out, unfolded it again, for the fourth time this trip:
I received your letter and I am deeply concerned about your request, but nevertheless I will send reinforcements to aid the Northern Tribe during this coup you speak of. In concerns to Ithar, It saddens me to hear of his comatose state, but I hope that it can all be resolved in time.
I have sent you the reports of the search in a separate letter that should be attached to this one. I have looked over it myself and I'm sorry to say that the results are as usual. There is little sign of her. I wish I could be of better news, but there is none.
The only thing that I look forward to is your return home. I wait for the day to see you return to your country.
I pulled my reports back out. There was nothing but blank sheets of paper and big written no's on every side. There was still no sign of her, on any island that they searched. The forest was completely empty, and none of the faces in the forest ever saw her. It was growing impossible. No new leads and just empty answers left.
There was a knock on my door and it started opening. I quickly hid the letter, thinking Suki, or spirits help me, Sokka was going to walk straight through that door. Luckily for me, it was just a crewmen. He walked straight in, lined up and saluted me. "My Lord, we are nearing the port as we speak. We should be at Capital City within the hour."
I nodded back. "Thank you captain. Is that all?"
"Yes my lord."
"That will be all then. Thank you."
He bowed and saluted me again before leaving through the door. "Of Course. My lord."
Pestering? What? Toph had no idea what he was really like? He just plain hated me.
What was he thinking? I need this. I needed to learn voidbending. I just . . . *Blink*, Okay that was it. I couldn't take it any more. I don't care what Ithar said. I'll teach myself. This blink was a constant reminder, and I needed to overcome it.
I stood up and maneuvered around the camp. I used my air scooter to stop Toph from noticing me moving past them. I reached the outskirts of our camp and found a tree stump to stand on. I watched how Ithar did this moves and I replicated them:
I did the moves like he showed' starting with the airbending foot movements, coupled with waterbending build up movements in the arms. I did it for two minutes, just moving them around, but nothing built up around my hands. I gave up on that and I skipped straight to the last movements; I slammed my foot like an earthbender and then scrapped my hands together like I was striking flint to make fire. . . but nothing happened. I scrapped my hands together again. Nothing. Nothing happened. No void.
I needed more power. I wasn't producing anything. No gold dust was wrapping around the tips of my fingers, nor was it blasting from my palms. I activated the Avatar State, then . . . everything was wrong:
Then the voices of my past lives started talking. "Void? voidwhat is arreyusurbafahfmemmkjnhdgkjjsgabskjsfysnedbhnekiosxhshaklux" The voices were muddled. I heard Roku, but Kyoshi started bleeding into it, then Kuruk, Yangchen, Tzenno, Uru, all the voices started talking and I lost it.
I held my head together as it started to feel like it was being torn apart
Ithar's eyes shot wide open. He rolled over and took to his feet in a flash. "Noo!" he yelled, his eyes widen and it just happened. the void that had been building all around me exploded and my world was consumed in white and gold light, till nothing was left.
I threw my head up, breathing heavily and sweating all over. My sight returned as I passed back down onto my bed- wait? I stood up and turned back at my bed. It literally was my bed. my bed, from the Southern Air Temple.
"Where am I? Home?" I looked around. it was my room. My room like it was a hundred years ago. All my toys were here, all my furniture. My Pai Sho pieces. My staff was leaning against the wall. My ceremonial beads were on a shelf. everything looked like they were still brand new. My room was still in good condition.
The door then creaked. I jumped and slammed my foot to block the door. but no earth rose. I looked down, and I slammed again. But nothing happened. I punched, but no fire came out. I flicked but the water in my bowl didn't fly. "Aang" A voice said as the door opened wider. It was a coarse voice, old and a smooth. And it was strangely familiar. "I'm not going to let them take you away from me."
My heart skipped. I couldn't believe what I saw. The bald head with the sky blue arrow marking down to his forehead. The white and clean slick beard falling from his chin and around his mouth. And the kind eyes that welcomed me. I missed the sight for so long. My guardian, my friend, my father. "Gyatso?"
"Yes, Aang. I mean it."
this couldn't be right. "Wait. Um, where?" I got up straight from my bed and rushed to the window. My friends were all still playing in the courtyard, on their air scooters, like the day I left them. They were alive before my eyes. "Everyone's here? But . . . there suppose to be dead?"
- Zuko's letter to Iroh was sent in " ".
- Ithar told his life story before obtaining his bending in " ".
- Aang's old life at the Southern Air Temple was last seen in "The Storm".
- Aang's trouble entering the Avatar State after obtaining voidbending was highlighted in " ".
- The Kyoshi Warriors disbanding was first initiated in " ", then later seen in effect in " " and " ".
- Ithar alluded to not being a teacher in " ".
- Just as ("Earth Kingdom") Writing is based on Traditional Chinese Characters, the other scripts are based on real world scripts:
- The Water Tribe Syllabics are based on Inuktitut Syllabics.
- The Air Nomad Alphabet is based on the Tibetan Alphabet.
- Voidbending is based heavily upon "Wujiquan" (also known as Ultimate Void Boxing), which is one of the oldest forms of Chinese martial arts.
- It is the mother art of Taijiquan, the martial art basis for waterbending.
- It is part of the shaolin kung fu's, like Northern Shaolin, the martial art basis for firebending.
- While this martial art is the confirmed inspiration for voidbending, earlier chapters show moves more akin to Aikido.
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