Pai Sho
The Order
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Bumi's Story (part of Past, Present, and Future)



Written by

The Bos

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Bumi recalls his experiences in joining the Order of the White Lotus, and meeting of another member who was in the order.


20 AG

Today was the start of a new week. In the last week, I'd learned to tunnel through the earth with ease. I hadn't seen the old man in years, but he would communicate with me. After a long day of not being able to master a certain move, I'd leave discouraged. Then, when I got back the next morning, a note would be carved into the ground. That note always told me just what I needed.

I hadn't seen an Air Nomad, or my friend in years. I remember that when I was a young boy how they would soar above our heads. I decided that I would dedicate this week to flying like they did.

I decided that I would commence my warming up. For a while I wondered why they called it warming up. But by the time I was done with mine, I was plenty warm. I always started with half an hour of listening to the earth. I would then move on to Earthbending that involved motion. I would move the largest rocks in the area, lifting them off the ground and moving them around. I would end by moving the one house in the area. The first time I decided to do that, the family was away visiting some port city. They hadn't returned since, so I used their house as my final obstacle in my daily routine.

The house was always a challenge. If I wanted, I could throw that house off of the city, but my challenge was to lift it up slowly, without moving anything inside. I always would lift it, and balance it over my head. I would hold it there for a minute, and it got easier each day. After I was done with the house, I would put it back down exactly where I found it to make sure that when the family returned, their house would remain in perfect shape. Today, the house felt light. I decided to hold it for two minutes, but it was still light. Could it be that the house is on a diet? I wondered to myself. I doubted it. I put the house back down and listened to the earth for another half hour.

My warm ups were done, and I was ready to start my new mission. I had only heard legends about how Earthbenders could use the earth to make themselves soar through the sky. I decided that it would be interesting to find out. I practiced jumping, though that didn't do me much good. Afterwards, I decided that I would try to jump and have the earth come up under me. I stomped, and tried to jump. I apparently wasn't listening enough to the earth, and it clamped my legs to the ground. I clenched my fist and my shackles crumbled, but it was still not the result I wanted. All day I tried different ways to jump into the air, but I never got very far. Once, I looked up and I thought I saw a silhouette against a building that was looking in my direction, but when I looked again it was gone. I didn't think it was anything. People move all about the city all the time and no one notices it. After failing and falling to the ground for the hundreth time in one day, I was about to call it a day. Maybe the old man's note would help me get it.

I went to get up, and a glow fly flew right above my head. I crouched and thrust my hand up quickly to grab it, and the earth erupted beneath me. I soared through the air, and ended up sending me to what felt like space. I was weightless, and then I felt myself falling. This feeling was nothing new, and I had the ground sink to accommodate my drop. I decided that I had done enough for today, and I went home.

When I returned the next day, the note was simple. Keep Jumping. I felt like today was going to be a good day. I began doing my typical warm ups, and finished them barely breaking a sweat. I started jumping, like the note said, and I got the jumps higher and higher. I began jumping again immediately after I would land, and would almost always be in the air. Most Earthbenders would always try and stay on the ground, but that's just what they would expect an Earthbender to do. I felt something, something strange. It told me to jump through the city. It just seemed to be like something I needed to do. So I did.

I began jumping through the city's many levels. I would always raise an earth column just as I would get close to the ground, and it would propel me back through the air. I managed to leap to the city's next tier, and it was amazing. I hopped around that tier too, until I eventually miscalculated. I almost hit an old man and his lettuce cart. While I managed to avoid hitting his cart, the column I created split his cart in half. "My Lettuces!" I heard. Unfortunately, not hitting his cart made me lose my balance. I was over the next tier down, and I was heading for a large building. I braced myself and managed to make a hole in the roof where I ended up falling through.

I got up, dazed and confused, to a meeting filled with a bunch of old people. There were too many, from old Earth Kingdom citizens sounding like they were from Ba Sing Se to old people from the Water Tribes. As I got up, I was approached by one of the old Water Tribe men. "What are you doing here?" the old man asked.

"Uhh... I just dropped in. I'm sorry," I replied quickly. I heard a few small laughs from across the room, but not enough to imply that I wouldn't be harmed. The Water Tribe man glared menacingly at me. I could tell by his manner of walking that he was a Waterbender, and likely a good enough one to kill me where I stood. Instead of attacking, he burst out laughing.

"Never in my life have I gotten to hear something that funny. You seem alright, kid." the man tells me, relieving my stress. "I'm Sying, Waterbending master of the Northern Water Tribe." Sying guided me around the meeting, as he had taken a special liking to me. He explained that it was a secret Pai Sho convention, with players form around the world attending. Everyone he introduced me seemed to be highly ranked in society, military, or just plain rich. Sying remembered that he had one more person for me to meet, and that it was a surprise.

Sying guided me through the crowd of people, weaving in and out fluidly. Upon eventually reaching Sying's destination, I was shocked at the person he wanted me to meet. "It's you!" I exclaimed upon seeing the face of the person Sying wanted me to meet.

"You two know each other? How would you know-" Sying begins.

"Wait a minute Sying," my Earthbending master says. "Have someone set up a board. I want to play."

"Play what?" I reply, forgetting what Sying had told me earlier.

"Pai Sho. I want to find out how much I've taught you."

I was speechless. The lesser members of the order brought out a table, round and crisscrossed with all kinds of lines. They then gave us each a box, filled with tiles.

"May the best man win," my master said. A member gave me a chair, but my master simply raised a stool out of the ground and sat on it.

"The guest has the first move," the old man says. I place my wheel tile on the board, and he places one of his tiles on a faraway area of the table. We continued placing our tiles, and we eventually placed them all, and he finished with a White Lotus tile. "Let the game begin..." I could hear him mutter, as I went to move my first tile. I slid my wheel tile, making sure that none of my tiles could be jumped, and allowed him to make his move. The game lasted for at least an hour, during which time I made a few strange moves I didn't even know I could make. He made a few moves that seemed at the level of someone his age, and he eventually told me not to move my tiles again.

"You have more than proven yourself. I would think everyone here would agree, Welcome to the Order of the White Lotus. The Lotus opens wide to those who know its secrets." The man opens his palms to me, almost in a bowing sort of way. I nervously returned it, and the man smiled.

At this time Sying spoke up. "No way! Diju hadn't invited anyone into the Order in years! Congratulations!"

"Thanks. Wait, Diju?" I was shocked. My palms flattened, and I bowed to the king of my city.

"Settle down, when I'm here, I'm not a king. I'm no better than the rest of the people here. We're all equal. And I want you to be one of us." After all he had done for me, I was obligated for me to say yes. Regardless of what those in this group would do, there was no reason not to join. I agreed, and I was a member of the Order of the White Lotus.

47 AG

In the remaining years, Diju and Sying taught me many things. I found out that Diju's style of Earthbending involving the flow of the earth around him was influenced by Sying, and Sying's style of using ice was influenced by Diju. I will always remember what Diju said while explaining it: "It is important to draw knowledge from many different places." It made perfect sense, and the more places you could get knowledge of, the more knowledge you would have.

It just so happened that today was another meeting, and I had to take the day off from Earthbending training to go. I was working on long distance bending without using my hands or feet. It was challenging, but I knew I would get it.

I walked up to the meeting house, and walked towards the wall where I was to enter. I was stopped by the typical gate guardian. "Who knocks at the garden gate?"

"Me. One who has eaten the fruit and tasted its mysteries." I gave him the typical answer, and the wall opened. Of course I could have done it myself, but I didn't feel the need to.

Once inside, I went to find a game of Pai Sho. I hadn't played since the last time the meeting was hosted in Omashu. I found a young Water Tribe man sitting at a table, looking like he recently defeated someone.

"May I have this game?" I asked, playing the part of someone who had little confidence in their Pai Sho abilities.

"Certainly. Around here, the guest has the first move." the man tells me.

"But of course," I reply. I laugh on the inside as I put my first tile on the board.

"What is your name, sir?" the man asks as he places his lotus tile on the board, the most typical first move I've ever seen in the Order.

"My name is Bumi. What's yours?" I ask, while I place my wheel tile.

"Pakku. Interesting placement. Why did you do that?" Pakku asks.

"Oh, I've been told that waiting and listening is the key to many things. I always try to wait before doing anything. It is very important, don't you know?" I asks, returning the question to him. The theory of getting to know someone over Pai Sho may be true, since I was putting out my beliefs, and I was ironically waiting for his response.

"I think that a good balance is best. Waiting may have its place, but I think you need to retreat at some time, and attack at others." Pakku replied. He reached into his stack of tiles and picked out a certain tile. He placed it close to him. I found the very same tile and placed it at the same position relative to me.

The game continued. I learned a lot from his style, and I learned about him. When I asked him why he wasn't wearing the typical necklace showing that a Water Tribe male was married. I had seen one on several of the Water Tribe members like Sying, and I decided I would ask. He said he didn't want to talk about it. He also seemed to be a master Waterbender just from the way he played Pai Sho. His style involved baiting me into traps while he was retreating and they capturing me with a different tile.

I eventually wised up to his tactics, and by waiting, I captured his white lotus tile while he was hoping to capture my wheel. Without his lotus tile, he fell apart quickly.

"That was a good move. You have beaten me. You are very skilled," the young Waterbender tells me.

"Thank you, you're pretty good yourself," I begin. I was cut off by a hand on my shoulder.

"Yes, Sying tells me that this one has great potential," the newly arrived Diju says. "He will one day become one of our greats, I can see it. I'm usually right about these things," Diju says with a smile.

Sying arrives at his old friend's side. "Pakku, come here. There's this new member, I think they said his name was Fung or something... Anyway, would you mind meeting him?"

"Certainly, master. If you will excuse me," Pakku begins. He gets up and bows to Diju and I out of respect before following his master to the other side of the room.

"May I have this game?" I ask quickly. Diju smiles and sits down on the other side of the table.

We quickly placed our tiles on the board, and we began moving them. Diju seemed to be making several small errors, from moving the wrong piece to forgetting that it was still his turn. He managed to capture a few of my tiles, but I easily defeated him. His wrinkles had gotten deeper, and his body that once saved the entire city from an earthquake was week and frail. I managed to win, but the victory was not normal. It was as if I beat someone who wasn't exactly sure what they were doing, yet was also entirely confident in their actions. I wasn't sure what to think of it, so I just let it be. I left the meeting that day, and walked back home, almost disappointed that I spent the day not Earthbending.

Production History

After the publication of the previous chapter, The Bos began writing this one immediately. He wrote the first main section quickly, but struggled with the idea for the second section. The Bos then came up with the idea for a meeting with Pakku, and began writing quickly. The Bos also struggled with the personality of a younger Pakku, though Dudewaldo4 helped The Bos get over it. After he finished writing, The Bos asked Dudewaldo4 about the dates in which the events would occur. Waldo was unsure, so the completion was put on hold. Eventually, during a chat over GMail, Waldo asked The Bos about it again. The two discussed it for a while, eventually deciding on both the dates in the chapters and that the chapter would come out the next day.

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