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|The Next Avatar|
March 4, 2011
Kaizan expresses his doubts that Aguma is guilty of betrayal. Before Chuan has a chance to argue, however, a council meeting is called and Monk Wu Han tells everyone that the next Avatar has been revealed...
Book 1 Chapter 4: The Next Avatar
"Forget it, okay?" Kaizan was saying. He was spinning a twig around in the air above him as he laid on the grass, soaking in the afternoon sunlight. "It was nothing."
"Nothing?" Chuan exclaimed. "Nothing!? How can you say it's nothing? A week ago you were saying we couldn't keep this a secret, and now you're telling me to forget all about it?" Chuan stomped at the ground and a cloud of dirt tumbled into the air between the friends. Chuan fell backwards and collapsed onto the grass, breathing out a stressed sigh.
"Look," said Kaizan, resting his chin on his fist and turning to face Chuan, "a week ago it seemed really serious. But we haven't heard a thing about it since then. There've been no more strange letters, nothing out of the ordinary has happened, and Aguma is still his same grumpy self. He's not up to anything...we were both just paranoid."
Chuan jumped to his feet in anger, racking his brain for words that would not come. "But...but!"
Just then, the sound of a Sunghi Horn echoed through the open air down the mountain, reverberating off the surrounding peaks that intensified the otherwise subtle call of the instrument. Kaizan floated to his feet.
"Council meeting," he said. "Let's go."
Monk Wu Han was surveying them all intently. He sat in the front of the temple's main chamber with Saicho to his left. In front of the council sat the rest of the nomads, with the smaller children in the front and the older taking up the back.
"It is not often that we call meetings such as these," Wu Han began, "but I feel it necessary to gather you here today so that I may share an important piece of news with you all." He smiled as he surveyed his audience, which was watching him intently.
"The next Avatar has been announced," he said bluntly. It took a moment for the information to sink in, and then chatter instantly erupted throughout the meeting hall.
"The next Avatar?"
"It's supposed to be an Airbender!"
"Are they from this temple?"
"Are they here?"
Monk Saicho raised his hand for silence, and Monk Wu Han waited patiently for the voices to die down. It was then that Chuan noticed that Monk Aguma was not among the council. That's odd, Chuan thought. The council would never hold a meeting without all three leaders present. Where could he be?
"As many of you know, this generation's Avatar is an Airbender," Monk Wu Han was saying. "The Avatar is a boy from the Southern Air Temple."
A collective sigh was issued from the crowd, who had clearly assumed that the Avatar was among them in this very room. The many shifting eyes in the audience slowly drew their attention back to Monk Wu Han as he continued his announcement.
"Normally, the identity of an Avatar is not announced until his or her sixteenth birthday. However, this Avatar is only twelve. We do not know at this time why the boy was notified of his abilities earlier than is customarily allowed, but rest assured that we have sent a representative to the Southern Air Temple, and we should know the whole story within the next few days."
So that's where Aguma is off to, thought Chuan. Still, I can't put my finger on it but something definitely doesn't feel right about all of this...
"I wish to leave you all now with a few parting words of wisdom. Know your friends, but know your enemies better. Trust your allies, and be wary of your adversaries. I fear that the monks at the Southern Temple must have had a reason for breaking custom as they have, and I can only guess what that must mean lies ahead. Train well, for the future is uncertain. Dismissed..."
On this somber tone, Monk Wu Han concluded his speech. He rose to his feet and led the council out a side door, while excited talk broke out again amongst the crowd. Chuan fought through the throng of people until he spotted Kaizan resting against a wall across the room. He rushed up to him, eager to hear his opinion of the news.
"Are you disappointed?" Kaizan asked as Chuan stumbled up to him, off balance after his mad dash through the crowd.
"Disappointed? About what?" Chuan asked, faking innocence.
"Don't give me that," said Kaizan negatively. "I know you always wanted to be the Avatar."
Chuan said nothing. He was right; ever since youth, Chuan had dreamed of the worldwide recognition he would receive as the Avatar. And since the next Avatar was to be an Airbender, Chuan always wondered in the back of his mind how likely it was that it would be him.
"It's fine," Chuan lied. Finding his resolve, he firmly added, "It just gives me motivation to train even harder. One day I'll become a master Airbender, and then when I meet him I'll teach him an Airbending technique so advanced not even he would know how to do it!"
Chuan grinned, though it was a hollow smile. Nevertheless, Kaizan was content with his answer, and said, "So, you coming?" beckoning to the door.
"Uhh...in a few minutes. There's something I have to do first. I'll meet you in the courtyard in ten minutes!" Chuan turned and dashed away before Kaizan could question him any more. He sprinted out the door, down the central courtyard, past several fountains, and finally he reached the housing section of the temple.
He sped through the corridors, leaving a long trail of dust in his wake, and he didn't stop until he had reached the familiar wooden door. Disregarding any semblance of courtesy, he flung Monk Aguma's door open wide and stepped inside, desperate to get the second piece of evidence he knew he would need before approaching his mentor about Aguma's betrayal...
The room was as empty as it had been that night they had found the first note. And just as on that fateful night, there on the small wooden desk sat a crumpled piece of parchment. Chuan dashed over to it and hastily unfolded it, pressing it against the desk to remove the creases. His eyes widened as he realized this was not the same note they had found several nights ago...
Cliffhanger! Ye gods! :D
~Question: If anybody could do me a huge favor, I'd really like to crop the picture for this chapter so that there are only three council members in it since in this fanon the Northern Air Temple only has three council members. If anyone has a program that could do that, I'd REALLY appreciate it. Thanks, guys, and thanks for reading! :)
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