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|The Start of a Journey|
"Brek, you are the next Avatar!" The words were difficult to comprehend even minutes after they came from the messenger's mouth. Everyone gawked at Brek in disbelief during a moment when time and space seemed to have frozen. The other messengers had dismounted their ostrich-horses and bowed on their knees. Slowly, the other students, including Berani and Kaeta, joined them.
Suddenly, the air was filled with shouts of joy and celebration. Berani rushed to hug Brek, as did Kaeta. "You're perfect for the Avatar!" cheered Berani with the utmost confidence. Brek was still speechless in disbelief.
The people of Kekuatan were thrilled that their town finally produced an Avatar. The celebration continued all the way to Brek's house. When Kupo heard the news, the misery of the anniversary of his wife's death was melted away by a strong feeling of pride.
"My son, you have always been an exceptional boy. I am hardly surprised that you are destined to have such great power."
"Thank you father. You have raised me well."
"Learning the four elements will be cool for sure, but this Avatar stuff is really going to help with your lady situation over there," noted Batu as he gestured to Berani.
Brek ignored him, although he knew it was true. The fact that he was the Avatar had finally hit him and he needed sit down. He sat there, imagining the adventures that he could possible travel on while trying to figure out everything that this news meant. After a few minutes, the men from the Avatar temple approached him and his father.
"The main duty of the Avatar is to master all four elements so he can keep a balance in the world. In order to master Earthbending and the culture of the Earth Kingdom, we advise that you travel to Ba Sing Se right away."
"Ba Sing Se? That's all they way on the other side of the Earth Kingdom!" protested Brek.
"Which makes it even more perfect. On the way, you'll have the opportunity to explore several locations, meet masters of Earthbending, and learn new things about Earth Kingdom culture in the villages you pass through."
Kupo was concerned, but not because of the distance issue. "Gentlemen, I'm sure you're all aware that Ba Sing Se is heavily populated with Monarchists. Are you sure he can't stay in places like Kekuatan where we Revolutionists have the decency to believe in democracy?"
"Yes, we are very informed about the revolution of democracy beginning to form throughout this Kingdom. However, how can the Avatar end struggles such as this one if he is only familiar with one side?"
Kupo couldn't call to mind a counterargument. "I suppose you're right; I want to come with my son."
"Father, I love you, but part of my journey should be to experience life without parents to guard me."
Kupo was a bit hurt by this comment, but before he could respond, one of the men cut in.
"The Avatar is right. This journey should be made by him and his friends."
Kaeta was overjoyed to hear this. "We get to come? That's great, Brek! I can teach you everything I know about Waterbending!"
"No!" exclaimed one of the men. "Waterbending is an art of grace. Waterbenders are masters of using their opponents force against them. You are familiar with the unyielding force used in Earthbending, and you first must master this. Then you have to learn to tame fire, the most aggressive element. You can then move on to air, the element of freedom. Only after these three elements are mastered can you begin Waterbending."
"I understand," Brek replied. "Avatar Korra also had to learn the elements in order."
The man nodded. "When you are ready, you should pack everything you will need. Meet us by the trading port later tonight and we'll escort you across the river. After that, you're on your own. The easiest way to get to Ba Sing Se is to first travel south to get around the mountains, and then come back up through the North-western regions into the North-eastern regions containing Ba Sing Se."
"I'll be there," assured Brek. As the men got up to leave, Brek felt mixed emotions. "I guess I'm not going to celebrate my birthday," he joked to himself.
Kaeta and Berani departed for their homes to pack and say farewell to their families. Brek went inside his own house to find his father upset.
"I already lost your mother. I don't want to lose you too."
"I'll be back, Father. This isn't for good. I'll visit frequently and one day, I'll be a fully realized Avatar."
"I know." Kupo hugged his son with tears in his eyes. "Now go pack."
Brek went upstairs and sat on his bed. The Avatar? Out of all the Earthbenders out there-- What about Father, Batu? The shop? All of my friends? he thought to himself. Suddenly he heard the voice of an old man.
"We didn't choose to be Avatar either," it spoke calmly.
Brek jerked his head up and scanned his room, seeing nothing. He only felt a slight breeze brush up against him.
Whatever the voice was, it gave Brek a sudden feeling of inspiration and duty. He began to gather his things. He packed both formal and sparring clothes, boots, a rain jacket, a few toiletries, money, Earthbending scrolls, and a pillow. He managed to fit all of it in only two bags. He almost forgot to pack his blindfolds. He often practiced Earthbending while blindfolded to concentrate on the movements of the Earth, a technique based on the Blind Bandit's fighting styles.
Kaeta was also packing. While preparing for the upcoming adventure, he wondered what his parents would say if they were still alive. He was only ten when they were violently ripped from his life. Kaeta sat on his bed in reflection...
After saying his goodbyes to his father and brother, Brek convened with his friends outside his house. Kaeta had packed all of his necessities, as well as a pot for cooking. Berani brought money, her necessities, a knife, a large tent, and an ancient katana given to her by her father for the journey. Seeing the katana made Brek wonder about the possible threats he would encounter, but he ignored it.
They walked slowly down the streets of Kakuatan over to the trading docks. The city's primary role was trade, mainly because it was located at the fork of two rivers.
The group arrived at the harbor during a frightening scene.
A ship of pirates pulled up to the docks. At least twenty men with swords piled onto the docks and plundered the nearby shops. Most people were deeper in the village at this time of evening, and the shop owners were defenseless. The pirates would have successfully raided the town with no opposition if Brek and his friends hadn't been there.
"Stop where you are, thieves!" Brek commanded. He levitated a rock nearby and launched at the invaders, who dodged it. He then fired three smaller rocks in a quick succession, taking out two of the pirates.
Kaeta extracted water out of nearby jugs. He tried to create a wave like he did in the battle at school, but he ended up freezing a few pirates instead. A few more were taken out by Earth columns formed by Brek. He then blocked an incoming knife with an Earth wall.
Berani was battling two pirates using her katana. One was about to slice her before he was thrown back by Kaeta's Water Jet move. Berani shoved the other one into a rack of oranges.
After a few more minutes of blocking attacks and counterattacking, the local police arrived, and the pirates didn't last much longer. Most of them were arrested. When the scene had been cleared, Brek couldn't help being proud of his first accomplishment as Avatar. He was ready to go on a quest to learn the four elements. The team walked down the harbor to the dock where their boat was. They embarked with excitement, completely oblivious to the dangers that awaited them.
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