|More from Mageddon725||Adventure||PG||Positive||No Updates Page|
|A History Lesson|
Book 2: Sound
Chapter 2: A History Lesson
Shen looked out over the ocean; he could already see the Earth Kingdom in the distance. He narrowed his eyes as his heart pounded in his chest, sending jolts of pain through his still fresh wound. A fresh white tunic covered the bandages now, so that they were not so exposed.
"He tells me to forget about rescuing her...then asks me to trust her..." He glanced at the water as it rushed under the boat. "Why can't I just focus on the task at hand, the task I've been trying to do since the beginning?"
The answer came from within, but it only made matters worse. I have feelings for her...but...that's not how it was ever supposed to be...
He gripped the rail until his knuckles turned white. That line of thinking wouldn't end well, not for him.
"Shen...eat quickly!" His mother admonished. "You don't want to be late for Airbending practice again!"
"I know, Mom!" The ten year-old rolled his eyes.
"Don't roll your eyes at your mother, Shen." His father didn't even glance over the newspaper.
The young Airbender's eyes widened. "How do you do that?! You didn't even look!"
Gyatso stole a glance at his wife and winked. "Sorry son, but a man has to have his secrets."
The older man shrugged. "Get a move on, or you will be late, Shen."
A chuckle left the young man's mouth as he remembered. That had been happening quite a bit recently.
"As Airbenders, the first thing you must master is calm resolve." The teacher's voice was overpowered by the uproar caused by the students as they played amongst themselves. Several had created Air Scooters and were flying in odd patterns. "Calm...resolve...um...students, if I could have your...oh, why do I bother..."
"Children!" A warm, deep voice boomed across the courtyard, and all of the Airbenders-in-training—Shen included—turned his way. "Listen to your elder."
The instructor exhaled, allowing his frustration to subside. "Thank you very much, Master Tano; they have been a handful all morning..."
"Not a problem, Master Haron." He smiled and motioned forward the girl that had been holding back. "Why don't you go play with the others, Petrine?"
She glanced at the children who had, finally, formed up into something resembling order and raised an eyebrow. "Dad, I'm fifteen; they're way too young for me."
Tano shook his head and chuckled. "Then go show off your skills; I'm sure they'd love the opportunity to learn at your feet."
Petrine smirked. "Good idea."
Both the instructor and Tano watched as she walked over to the group, immediately inserting herself into their midst.
"Watch and learn, kids." She flipped and weaved, creating a beautiful display of Airbending prowess.
"Wow..." Shen stared, wide-eyed, at the girl before him.
"That was so long ago, it seems..." The Airbender pursed his lips. "And now I have to face this head on."
Argho opened his eyes, finding himself once more in the Spirit World. He could see Koh's realm from where he had entered, though it was a ways off.
"Ignore it, Avatar Argho." Aang's voice was accompanied by the roar of a Sky Bison. "It's not worth reentering yet, that place of evil."
The Earthbender smiled. "It has been some time, Aang, and I don't believe you've ever introduced me to your animal guide."
"Oh yes, where are my manners? This is Appa."
The current Avatar placed his hand on the bison's head, gently rubbing the fur. "It is a pleasure, mighty Sky Bison."
Appa growled appreciatively and lowered himself, signaling for the current Avatar to get on his back.
"Now...I would ask that you accompany me; we have much to discuss."
A nod was merely the beginning of Argho's response. "I need to know anything you can tell me about Otokami, for he now intends to lead your nation to ruin."
Aang frowned, sadness evident in his eyes. "It was the sins of my ancestors that caused him to go free, and it was my inability to see where things would lead when I saw him that—"
"Avatar Aang, don't beat yourself up about this; Otokami alone must answer for his sins. Now, please...tell me what you can."
"Very well...if that is what you want. The Spirit of Sound is...well...the inventor of Soundbending as well as the patron spirit of the Air Nomads."
"What is Soundbending? That doesn't seem like it would be a subset of Airbending."
"They don't technically bend the sound; they just...direct it. It is done with great efficiency and destructive power, the latter of the two being decidedly un-Air Nomad. He gave it, apparently, to a volatile Air Nomad group millennia ago, and a civil war ensued in which our power as a nation diminished. Our elders, after the fighting stopped, ensured through various means that all records pertaining to the events were destroyed; they took the secret of the civil war and of Soundbending to their graves."
Argho cocked his head. "I see...and what are they after now? How did they resurface?"
"They resurfaced because Otokami allowed them to. He used his powers to ensure that every Air Acolyte couple would have Airbender children, among other methods. And it seems that, over the years, the Spirit of Sound has been building an army to attack the Fire Nation."
A full belly laugh emanated from the Earthbender. "You and I both know that they would fail! She would not allow them to conquer!"
Aang narrowed his eyes. "Make no mistake, Argho; if they are using Soundbending, even Saitei will have a tough time of pushing them back. And if Otokami is personally involved, the Fire Nation will fall."
The leader of the Equalists sighed; he felt like a fool. All this time, I've been pressuring Shen for answers...and he clearly had his reasons for keeping these secrets from us. Even still...he chose to tell Argho from the beginning; that took guts, I'd imagine.
The wind whistled over the boat as he noticed Shen leaning against the railing. "I don't know why you're here, Kuan Ti, but I think I've spilled my guts enough. Don't you?"
"I'm sorry...I had no idea."
"No, it's my fault." The young man frowned. "You already apologized; I've been the one unwilling to let it go. You were right; I haven't been a very good Air Nomad..."
"You...you said you abandoned your family and friends to Otokami a while back, while we were still in the Northern Water Tribe...you really didn't...did you?"
Shen gripped the sword hilt at his side. "As far as I'm concerned, I did. It really doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. I ran when things got heavy, without regard for anyone else."
Kuan Ti chuckled.
"What's so funny?!"
"You know what, Shen? It doesn't matter; you have a chance to right whatever wrong you feel you committed. So let's do it."
The Airbender glanced at the older man and raised an eyebrow. "Why are you even here? I'm sure Argho knows the whole story already, but I have no idea why you're here honestly, beyond the basics."
"Actually, Argho knows as much as you do. Let's just say my master is dead, and I am honoring what I believe to be his final wish."
Shen shook his head and smirked. "Fair enough; we both love our secrets, it seems."
"I am so proud of you, Moro, for what you did." Kenshin gazed at his daughter. "You made a sacrifice, but in the end, it will go well for you."
"Shut up!" She glared daggers at him, tears forming at the edges of her red eyes. "You've thrown in with the monster that manipulated all of us in the first place; you let him mess with Kyrie's mind! My brother, who used to look after me, can't even look me in the eyes anymore! You've destroyed us!"
"Have a care..." The Spirit of Ice hissed. "Susanowo is the source of all great things for both Water Tribes, and I will not have you ruining that."
Her finger pressed against the Blood Seal on her forehead. "How can I when you gave him control of your own children, Dad?"
"You've proven quite adept at resisting his control; I will not have you doing so now."
She took a step toward him. "If I could find a way, I would bring this place down on all of our heads if it meant that damn spirit went straight to whatever hell awaits him!"
The Ice Man sneered. "Too bad there isn't a way to do that, eh, Moro?"
"I hate you..."
Koh's tree towered over both Avatars and their guide as they neared it. Aang grimaced as the darkness grew almost palpable.
"I hate this place..."
"Why are we here, Aang? What awaits us inside?"
Realization dawned on the Earthbender. "Usha..."
"Yes, we must find out everything she knows about her sons, and she would know much." Aang shivered. "I don't want to do this...at all..."
"I'm not inclined to talk to you either, Airbender; you killed my son."
He narrowed his eyes. "And you allowed my daughter to be slaughtered by a madman!"
She smiled, but it was a smile reminiscent of that disgustingly wide, slit-mouthed grin that she had displayed in their first meeting. "So we're even."
"EVEN!" Clenched fists and teeth were but the opening of the former Avatar's rage. "Are you insane!? This in no way makes anything right! Sora was innocent, a non-combatant in our war!!" His voice grew heavy. "You should've come after me, not her!"
"If you'll recall, I—"
"Enough!" Argho stepped in between the two spirits. "This solves nothing now! Save your disputes for a time when the fate of two worlds isn't hanging in the balance and focus now!"
The Air Nomad straightened and composed himself. "Of course...you're right, Argho..."
"Fine...later then, Aang." The Spirit of Dawn turned away. "Why are you two here, as fun as reliving the past has been?"
"We need to know everything you can tell us about both of your sons, Usha..."
"Huh...you've already battled with Susanowo, what could I possibly tell you about him that you can use? This little venture is obviously about Otokami and that...that is very troubling..."
Argho's heart sank. This would not be good. "And why is that?"
"Because Otokami is probably one of the most powerful spirits that I know of, and I know of many. If you have to fight him...you will lose, Argho. I cannot help you."
"Then what am I supposed to do?! I must protect the world, keep it in balance!"
"You want my advice...run! Do. Not. Engage. Him! Or you will die..."
The Avatar frowned. "It is my duty, Spirit of Dawn; I will not abandon it."
"This foe is beyond any of you...if you insist on continuing down this path, I cannot help you."
For the collective works of the author, go here.