Avatar: Rise
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Release date

August 26, 2009‎

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Avatar: Fall

Part One

Pathik and Aang sat side by side in their meditative state. Sokka was leaning against a rock several feet away, shifting his gaze from them to his sister and girlfriend arguing. Toph was soaking in the mud across the river, and Mai was doing her own mediation. She was sitting under a small alcove in the mountain she had had Toph make for her, writing something on a long scroll. Every so often she would ask Momo if he liked what she was writing.
"She is so out of it. She won't even talk unless there's food." Katara was complaining, glaring over at Mai, who was attaching the scroll to Hawky.
"She's lonely," pointed out Suki, "what with Zuko gone." Suki paused and glared over at Toph, who was bending the mud to form a sort of mud-snowman. "But she...she's disgusting! I tried to clean out her earth-tent, and she walked in and yelled at me. I managed to wash those bottomless shoes though." She scoffed and tipped her hand.
"You'll get used to it." Both shifted their gazes skyward as Appa glided in. Sokka ran up to Appa and helped his grandfather down. Piandao and Hakoda hopped off the giant bison.
"Any news?" asked Mai, walking over.
"None good," said Hakoda. "Fire Lord Zuku sent money to the North Pole as an apology for the battle. But they refused the money unless the Fire Nation gave the same amount to the South Pole."
"Well that's good, right?" asked Sokka.
"Not really." Piandao glanced over at his former student. "There isn't that much money. And the Earth Kingdom wants the same amount they give the Water Tribes. And of course there are still poor towns and cities in the Fire Nation; Zuku has a lot of work too do."
"Excuse me!" called Pathik. "We're trying to concentrate." Aang got a wrinkle in his nose, like there was a bad smell. There was a loud thump behind the group. They all turned to see Toph sprawled on the ground.
"Toph!" Aang was by her side in a second, leaning over his unconscious friend. Pakku leaned down to check her pulse.
"She's alive." Katara and Suki picked her up and carried her to her earth tent.
Zuko was sitting on his throne, alone in the palace, except for a single guard. He sighed. "This is a waste of time!" he cried, fire erupted from his fists. Iroh wandered in.
"I thought you had solved those anger issues," he said, sipping his tea.
"I'm sorry," Zuko muttered. "My father is being very uncooperative." Iroh shook his head.
"You have more important things do to. You must put your nation before your own personal problems. You are the Fire Lord." Zuko stood up, and walked towards the door.
"Well I don't want to be." Zuko turned to his uncle, and took off his crown. "You are the new Fire Lord Uncle." He dropped the crown on the hard floor, and turned to walk out the door, heading for the prison.
It was night, and Piandao and Katara were watching Toph sleep.
"She's getting worse," Katara commented. "Her fever is rising." Aang walked over.
"How is she?"
"She's getting worse. Her fever is rising." Katara and Piandao shared a smile.
"I have an idea," said Sokka walking over. "Aang, why don't you do some of your Avatar magic and fix her." Katara scoffed.
"It's not like he can just walk into the Spirit World, find the spirit of herbs, and ask her what the cure is."
"Actually I can." Aang pointed out. They glanced at Pathik, who shook his head.
"You have more important things to do. You must put the world before your own personal problems. You are the Avatar. Come with me Aang." Pathik started walking into the distance. Katara rested her hand on Aang's shoulder.
"Go Aang. This is what we're here for anyway." Aang sighed and followed Pathik up the mountain.
Zuko walked over to his father's cell.
"I did what you asked, I gave up my role as Fire Lord, and I didn't give any money to the other nations. Now tell me what happened to my mother." Ozai laughed.
"You're determined. Very well. I might as well start at the beginning." He shook the hair out of his eyes, and began talking. "Your uncle was the rightful heir to the throne. But his son, your cousin, died in battle. My father thought this made him unsuitable for him to be prince. So, I became the next in line for Fire Lord. But Azulon said I have to pay a price." Ozai glared at his son. "I had to give up you. But your mother said to take her life instead. Together we faked her death, and she went off to live in Ba Sing Se. When she heard that I was Fire Lord, she was supposed to return. She didn't come until years later." Zuko's eye's widened.
"Mother was here, after her banishment!" Ozai smiled.
"Yes, you were in the south pole at the time I believe." Zuko's face showed shook and astonishment. "I didn't want to see her, I sent her to Azula, so that she could decide what do to with her."
"Azula saw mother?" Zuko whispered to himself.
"Yes," Ozai's face was filled wit joy at his son's pain. "I don't know what Azula did with her." Zuko's rage came back, and fire illuminated the dark corridor.
It was morning by the time Aang and Pathik reached the top of the mountain. Aang was out of breath.
"What are we doing up here again?" Aang asked. Pathik sat down.
"This is the spot where the first Avatar was born."
"Yes, why would I lie?"
"I don't know." Aang sat down next to the guru and posed as if meditating. "I just thought that, you know, it would be nearer water."
"Why would you say that?"
"Well, the Avatar cycle begins with water, so I thought the first Avatar would be born to the Water Tribes." Pathik shook his head.
"Before the elements, people bent pure energy."
"I know, the lion turtle told me."
"The what?"
"Never mind."
"They stopped bending energy and started the four elements. Simultaneously, the first Avatar was born, to keep the balance. No one noticed the difference of the Avatar compared to normal people, as elemental bending was new to everyone. The first Avatar was an Airbender. As is the last." Pathik whispered the last sentence, but Aang still heard it.
"What do you mean the last. I thought the cycle could only break if the Avatar died in the Avatar state." Pathik sighed sadly.
"You are the last Airbender, nothing can bring them back. The next Avatar won't be able to bend air, he won't have a teacher. The Avatar brings balance, without air, there can't be balance."
"Why not?"
"Earth and air are opposites, as are water and fire. Without air, earth, its opposite wouldn't exist. The Avatar would only be able to bend water and fire." Pathik paused to take a deep breath. "You have to understand, all bending was once energy. Any bender can bend anything; I hear that the old Fire Lord knew lightning. Lightning is Firebending using a Waterbending form. Without air, there can't be fire. Air is fire's fuel. Water is made out of air, with out it, there can't be water. There can't be Earth without water and air, they need each other to keep in place. And there can't be air unless the there is a teacher. Without one, none of the others can exist."
"But," said Aang, "nothing relies on fire, fire can only cause pain."
"No," said Pathik. "Fire is just as important. Fire warms man. Without man, who would drink the water, breath the air, or live on the earth. Fire is not the only thing that causes pain. In your adventures, how many times have people been burned?"
"Three," said Aang. "Ozai burnt Zuko, Zuko burnt Toph, and I..." Aang trailed off.
"You burnt Katara," he said bluntly. "Fire burns, earth crushes, water drowns, and air suffocates. They all can cause death, yet, they all are required for life. Has anyone you know been hurt by Earth?"
"Jet," said Aang. "He died."
"So, earth killed Jet, yet fire only hurt Toph, Katara and Zuku. So which is more deadly? And what about water?"
"Zuku and I almost froze to death at the North Pole..." said Aang "With out that cave, and the fire, we would have frozen. Earth and fire saved us from Water."
"Yes, I think you've finally understood." Aang stood up.
"Can I go help Toph then?"
"Oh no, you've just begun." Aang sighed and sat back down, arms crossed.
The boiling rock was just as terrible as Fire Lord than as a banished prince, Zuko realized. He was back to wearing his Fire Lord crown, Iroh had convinced he think about his decision. Undoubtedly, Iroh had thought that being surrounded by filth and crime would make Zuko glad he no longer had to live that life.
In the two months since the fall of the Fire Nation and the end of the war, the prison had undergone a change. The warden was still just as ruthless, and the coolers, inhuman, were still acting as punishment, it was the prisoners who had changed. The war prisoners had been set free almost instantly. The others were awaiting a fair trial by the judges Zuko had recommended. And of course, all of the people still loyal to former Fire Lord Ozai were now in cells. From generals to convicts overnight.
There was a greeting party at the gate, waiting to welcome Zuko. One of which was the warden. Although Zuko was now Fire Lord, again dating his niece, and had personally explained his actions to the warden after the war had ended, the warden looked angry upon seeing the only man to ever escape from the boiling rock. He bowed as Zuko approached.
"It is an honor to have you at my jail, Fire Lord," he said through a clenched jaw. "Do you require-"
"I need no escort, just show me my sister's cell." The warden's face turned to worry, as if he thought Zuko was going to be setting Azula free. "And I'll need an interrogation room."
An hour later, Zuko had Azula alone in a dark room. She was strapped to a chair.
"You look awful," he said with no sympathy. It was true. Her hair was falling out, she had cuts all over her body, and her eyes were glazed over, as if she was in a trance.
"Thank you," she said sarcastically. "I assume you're in here because father has finally told you about your mother."
"Yes," said Zuko, leaning over to get face to face with his sister. "What have you done with my mother." It wasn't a question, it was a command.
"I'll tell you," she said with a horrifying smile. "If you set me free."

Pakku, Piandao, and Hakoda left the next morning on Appa, to look for medicine for Toph. The group had decided that, since Aang and Pathik were gone, they would find their own method of curing her. Katara and Suki were with her in her tent all day, and Sokka was waiting out side for either Aang or his father to return. After a few hours, Katara left the earth-tent to speak with her brother.
"We can't wait any longer. If either Aang or Dad doesn't come back before night time, I think Toph might die." Sokka buried his head in his hands.
"Do you know what's wrong with her?" said Sokka through his hands.
"No, she was in the mud, then she fainted. She has a bad fever, really bad. My water doesn't seem to be working." She sat down. And the two stared in opposite directions. One facing the sky, the other, the mountains.
Zuko was lying on his bed, in a guest room in the boiling rock, trying to make an impossible decision. "Mother is the only family I have left. I have to find her, no matter what the cost. And I can just tell Azula I'm going to set her free, and then not do it. But that won't work, she'll say something like she needs full amnesty." Zuko sat up, and then lay back down in frustration.
"Excuse me, Fire Lord, Sir," said the guard at the door. "But you do have your uncle sir. Your mother isn't the only family you ha..." he trailed off at the angry look Zuko gave him, which a second later, turned to one of sadness.
"Your right. I do have uncle." Zuko looked up at the ceiling. The door to Zuko's room creaked open as the warden stepped in.
"Lord Zuko, a messenger hawk has just arrived for you." Zuko stood up, and the hawk on the warden's arm fluttered over to Zuko. He detached the letter, and glanced at it. His eyes grew wide, and he fell backwards onto the bed, transfixed. The letter fell to the floor.
"What is it sir?"
"Uncle is very sick," Zuko choked out. "He is going to die."
Pathik watched as Aang displayed his abilities at bending all four elements at once.
"Very good," he said as Aang extinguished the last flame. "Your are mastering all four elements, you can achieve the Avatar state at will." He squinted at the thirteen-year-old. "And you have learned the concept of energy bending, three years before any past Avatar even learned their identity."
"It doesn't matter," said Aang, sitting next to his master. "If I am the last Avatar, if after me no one will be able to bend anything, why do I need to learn bending? "
"Because we need to make as much progress now with bending before we lose it forever," said Pathik.
"Exactly!" Aang said, jumping on Pathik's words. "Like curing people by going into the Spirit World, bye." Aang ran off down the mountain trail at superhuman speeds.
Zuko was back in the interrogation room.
"I have decided, to set you free, If you tell me what you did with Mom." Azula laughed.
"Fine, but don't think you can just put me back in here after I tell you. I want full amnesty, personally from you, the Fire Lord," Zuko sighed.
"I thought as much." He held up a document. "If I sign this, you'll be free."
"Excellent," said Azula, her normal calm tone back
"Tell me what happened."
"You were in the south pole. Father had not yet heard that the Avatar was alive," Azula began. "She came in and hugged father. He was relived to see her again. He started to say how they would never be separated again, when she shook her head. She said she was just stopping by. That she had to find someone. Some, lost relation. Father told me to leave the room while they talked. Minutes later, the guards brought her out with orders for me to choose her punishment. I did." Her lips curled into an evil smile.
"Well!" Zuko screamed. "Who was the relation, what did you do with her!" Azula kept smiling.
"I through her in a jail cell. Ironically, the same one I'm staying in now. She was in there for about a week. Then I had her sent away."
"Sent away where?"
"I don't know exactly where. I got an old enemy of hers to take her away."
"I don't know. You're going to have to ask the enemy."
"Who is he!" Azula was almost laughing at Zuko's anger.
"I don't feel like telling you," said Azula. "Maybe tomorrow."
"Has she improved?" Aang had arrived before Hakoda.
"No. Her fever got worse." Katara left out that Toph might die. "Dad went to find a cure. But he might not get here in time..."
"So I have to go into the Spirit World?"
"Exactly," Aang sighed. Katara hugged him. "It's going to be fine."
"I'll be back in a few hours." Aang sat down, crossed legged. His arrow began glowing.
Aang appeared in the Spirit World, sitting on a log in a foggy swamp.
"Here." Aang turned around, and then turned around again. Roku was in front of him.
"We have to talk," he said, sitting next to the Avatar.
"Yeah, do you know any cure to-" Roku cut him off.
"Pathik, that man. He's been telling you many Avatar related things lately."
"Yeah, I was going to ask you about that, but I have a more important thing to do first."
"You will listen. Pathik told you that you would be the last Avatar because you are the last Airbender. That is wrong. You are not the last Airbender."
"I'm not! But they all-"
"You are now the only Airbender, but your children. They can teach the next Avatar. And their children. And their children. And their children. As long as your family continues, there will be more Airbenders. And more Avatars. More Benders." Aang was now interested enough that he momentarily forgot Toph.
"But what if my family ends, what if I don't have kids."
"Then no one will ever bend again."
"So I have to have kids?"
"Yes, and another thing. Now that you can achieve the Avatar state, you are a fully trained Avatar. I can never talk to you again."
"Yes, you can not talk to any past Avatars anymore. You are on your own." Roku stood up.
"The one you are looking for is nearby. You and he have spoken before. He is the only one old enough to remember the last time this plague swept Earth."
"What do you mean, plague? Why can't I speak with you anymore? I need help!" Aang through his arms up in the air in exasperation, and fell backwards.
"Aang, don't think of yourself as the last of the Airbenders, but the first of the new. Only you can save your race." Roku disappeared into the fog.
Zuko was back in his room, talking to himself.
"If uncle dies, Mother will be the only family I have left. I have to find her."
"Or you could try to save your uncle," the guard cut in.
"You should mind your own business."
"My business is you, and you have a problem, so I have a problem." Zuko sighed. He through his arms up in the air in exasperation, and fell backwards.
"Azula said she got an old enemy of Mother to take her away. This enemy is the only lead I have. Azula has to tell me or I won't set her free..."
"You're letting the princess free?" The guard took of his helmet, and looked terrifyingly at the king.
"You don't understand."
"I understand something you don't. Before you left, your uncle told you that your nation was more important then your personal life, now you're going to let a highly dangerous person free just to get a lead? Your mother could be dead! You don't know what you're risking. Those could possibly be the last words your uncle says to you. Don't disobey them. Don't disappoint him!" Zuko jumped up, and shot a fire blast at the guard. He ducked, just as the door opened.
"Ah!" the fire hit the warden, who had another hawk on his arm. The hawk scratched him before flying over to Zuko.
"I'm sorry!" Zuko rushed over to the warden and helped him up.
"Another hawk came for you. I thought I may have news about your uncle, I brought it immediately."
"No," said Zuko, looking at the bird. "That's Hawky. It's from you're niece."
"Oh." They walked over, and read the letter together.
Dear Zuko:
Life is so dull here with your friends. But I'm sure it's even more boring back home. I hate all of these politics. I wish you were here though.
-Love Mai
Zuko sighed, and wrote something on the back. He reattached it to Hawky, and the bird flew off.
"I'm sorry for burning you," Zuko said.
"What about me?" the guard had stood up.
"Never bring up my uncle, or mother ever."
:Aang was at the entrance to Koh's home.
"No emotion." He said to him self. "I can't show emotion." Aang hesitantly entered the cave.
"Koh," he called.
"Yes." Koh appeared before him, with an old man's face.
"Roku said you would know something about a plague on Earth. It's coming back, my friend Toph has it." Koh vanished, and reappeared with a baby's face. "Why yes, I do. Hundreds of years ago, before Roku, a plague swept the Earth, Killing thousands. It was a time few still speak of. The plague only affected those who lived in the Fire Nation. They found out the cure, but I doubt anyone will still remember."
"But what was the plague. What were the symptoms, the cure. You must remember," Aang said flatly.
"I remember everything," he said, circling Aang. "I remember that you tried to kill me."
"But I didn't, that was a past life."
"I also remember that you saved those two spirits at the North Pole." Koh turned to face the wall. When he turned back to face the boy, his face had again changed, now it depicted a hawk. He squawked.
"I never knew the cure. I believe it was the prince at that time."
"The prince of the Fire Nation."
"Yes, it was some kind of tea I believe." Koh turned around again. "Last time I was on earth, I heard that only one man had enough skill to make the tea, and you would still need to know the ingredients."
"Who is the man?" Aang asked, still with a flat tone. Koh turned, with a new face. A woman, with black hair and golden eyes. She looked sad.
"Iroh of the Fire Nation." Aang Gasped, and eye's widened in shock. But not at the information. At the face.
"Ursa," he breathed. Koh smiled, and lunged at Aang.
"Do you think he knows yet?" Katara asked Sokka, watching Aang's body.
"I don't know." He glanced at the sky. "It's almost night. She only has a few hours." Katara sighed sadly.
"To think of how young she is. After all she's been through. She was blind, but used that to her advantage. She ran away from home to help Aang, and we don't even know what's wrong with her." Sokka looked at Katara impatiently.
"You always summarize everything when you're sad. Really. You don't stop talking." Katara rolled her eyes.
"Yes. That's all I know. I told you what I did with your mother. Now, sign that document."
"So...she's in the Spirit World?"
"Yes. Lucky your friends with the Avatar, isn't it?"
"Yeah...Zuko trailed off."
Aang side-stepped the first lunge, and then ran. "Help!" he called as he ran through the fog. The portal. Aang ran towards the spot where he had re-entered Earth at the North Pole. It didn't work. Aang started running again. Koh was right behind him, crashing through trees. "Help!" Koh dived at Aang, and pined him to the floor.
"Nobody runs from me." The face stealer loomed over the Avatar, and grabbed his face.
"Aang!" Katara's voice brought Aang back to life.
"What!" Aang sat up. He was outside Toph's Earth tent.
"You came out of the Spirit World unconscious."
"The portal worked?" Aang asked confused
"What is he talking about?" Sokka asked.
"Did you find the cure? Toph doesn't have much time."
"No..." said Aang, slowly.
"WHAT!" Sokka exploded. "YOU DIDN'T GET IT!"
"Don't be so hard on him," said Katara.
"Wait, I talked to Koh, he said, no, Roku said it was a plague..." Aang was obviously out of it. He kept trailing off and looking up at the moon. "A plague that, uh, killed a lot of people years ago. He said the cure was a type of..."
"...Tea. He said the only one who could brew it was..."
"WAS WHO!" Aang was transfixed, looking at something in the sky.
"Hawky is the only one who can make the cure?" asked Sokka stupidly.
"No. He means Hawky is here." The both glanced up. Hawky swooped down, and landed next to Mai. She opened the letter.
"Who is the only one who can make the tea, Aang?" asked Katara sweetly.
"Then we have a problem," Mai spoke for the first time in hours. "He's dying."
"What?" Sokka ran over to read the letter."
"Zuko must be so upset," said Katara. She was patting Aang on the back, and making sure he didn't fall over.
"Zuko?" said Aang, trying to remember something. "Ursa..."
"What about her?" Mai snapped. She knew Zuko didn't like anyone mentioning his mom. Aang twitched back into reality.
"I met her in the Spirit World."
"What!" Everyone was in shock.
"Yeah, Koh had her face."
"Oh no," said Katara, covering her mouth with her hand.
"I have to tell Zuko." Mai started writing something beneath Zuko's message. "Toph has the same disease Iroh does," she said out loud as she wrote. "It's an old plague. Only Iroh knows the cure. And we found something out about your mother." She paused. "Should I tell him, or wait to tell him in person."
"Tell him now," said Sokka. "I bet he would want to know as soon as possible."
"Aang saw her in the Spirit World, Koh, the face stealer, has her face..." she shivered. "I don't feel right, telling him like this." She sighed, attached the note to Hawky, and the bird flew off.
The rest of the group was more preoccupied with Toph. If Iroh was the only one to know the cure, then Toph's chance of living was very small.

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