|More from Taekwond1||Action/Adventure/Drama/Romance||PG||Here|
|Return to the Temple|
March 10, 2011
Chuan and Mayana head back to the temple to search for survivors but they only find deaths around every corner, one of which affects Chuan deeply. Chuan realizes that they need to get to the Southern Air Temple because there's a chance that the Avatar survived, so the two head off to find Noma, Chuan's sky bison...
Book 1 Chapter 9: Return to the Temple
Chuan groaned as he woke up, sore from a night spent sleeping on the cold, hard ground. Mayana was already awake and busy disassembling various remnants of the fire.
"We don't want them to know we got away," she said without looking at him, her voice empty of emotion.
He got to his feet and dusted off his clothes. He watched her as she destroyed the evidence that they had been camped there, and then realized that he had been staring and quickly looked away. She took no notice and continued silently covering their tracks.
"You can talk, you know," said Chuan hesitantly.
"What's there to say?" Mayana responded, to which Chuan had no answer. "Okay, done," she sighed, placing her arms on her hips and admiring her work. "It's like we were never even here..."
"We should go back."
A moment of silence.
"What?" Mayana asked, her voice suddenly shaky and barely audible.
"We need to go back," Chuan repeated. "To the temple. We don't know for sure that they lost, you know," he said, his optimism audibly hollow.
"Yes we do," Mayana said almost silently. Nonetheless, she agreed to follow Chuan and together they set off on the enormous hike back up the mountain.
It was a little past midday when the peak of the mountain finally came into view. Shielding their eyes from the furious glare of the afternoon sun, they scrabbled up the remainder of the cliff side until they finally reached level ground.
All was eerily quiet. Mayana let out a little whimper and stepped closer to Chuan, who stood up extra straight and broadened his shoulders in an attempt to seem more tough and confident than he really was.
The two of them trudged through a thick silence that seemed to amplify their every sound multiple times over. Every step they took sounded like a gunshot, and when Mayana sighed, Chuan's heart skipped a beat and he whipped around rapidly with his hands raised in front of him.
"You're brave," Mayana said sarcastically, pushing past him and continuing toward the temple. They passed the Air ball field, which was completely void of any life. Chuan realized that things looked dreadfully grim, but he urged himself to push onward. They had to do this...
Mayana stopped suddenly and Chuan walked directly into her.
"Sorry," he said as he stumbled backwards. "Why'd you stop?" He fell silent. In front of them was the first Airbender that they had seen since returning to the temple.
Chuan instantly felt unbelievable rage surge through his body as he gazed down at the blackened corpse. He gritted his teeth and screamed in rage, an anger that, midway through his scream, turned to a sentiment of intense grief. He took a few weak steps forward and then fell to his knees and put his face in his hands, gasping for breath.
Chuan shook in anguish, tears streaming from his eyes as he mourned the death of his lifelong friend. He was suddenly overcome with a flurry of memories that momentarily removed him from reality.
He was no more than three years old, playing rock paper scissors with a tiny Kaizan who would win every game and brag about it each and every time. Now they were a few years older and they were practicing basic Airbending techniques. Chuan would laugh when Kaizan struggled with the air whip, but then he helped him until he could do it confidently on his own.
Flash forward to a couple of days before the present. Kaizan was congratulating Chuan on the fact that he had just talked to Mayana for the first time. Chuan saw Kaizan's approving pat on his back, but he felt nothing. As he grappled to reach his friend's hand, the memory faded away and Chuan was left bitterly alone...
He reached out and took his friend's limp fingers within his own and lowered his head until it touched the floor. "You can't be gone..."
He felt a comforting hand touch his back, and as he turned Mayana sat down on the floor beside him. Overcome with woe, he turned and wrapped his arms around her, fiercely weeping into her shoulder. He felt her hug him back and in her embrace he found that he was able to gather control of his emotions.
"I'm sorry," Chuan said, releasing her and staring back at the body lying dead in front of them. "That was weak of me to do. I shouldn't cry."
"Yes, you should," said Mayana. She smiled faintly at him. "It shows that you care."
Chuan got slowly to his feet. He had never felt so utterly worn out or defeated. He continued to limp through the temple with Mayana until the pain in his wounded foot got to be too great and he encouraged her to go on ahead.
"What's the point?" she said. "Everyone is dead." She gazed around at all of the bodies that littered the temple grounds.
"We need to go to the Southern Air Temple," Chuan said suddenly as he sprang to his feet with a start. "Why didn't I see it sooner? We have to get there now!"
Mayana gave him a confused look. "What's there?"
"The Avatar is there!" Chuan exclaimed, his voice rising as he realized the implications of this realization. "The Avatar! What if they got to him, too?" Chuan's gaze narrowed. "And Aguma will probably be there, too. He'll pay for this. For Kaizan, for Saicho, for Charini..."
"Chuan, calm down!" Mayana said, alarmed, but it was no use.
"Come on!" he yelled. He grasped her wrist and led her off through the temple.
"Where are we going?" she yelled, shaking her wrist from his grip.
"To get Noma!" he hollered back, hatred burning in his eyes. He picked up speed and began rapidly hopping on one foot when the pain in his injured foot became too great.
"Who's Noma?" Mayana called, rushing to catch up.
"My bison, of course!" Chuan answered as if it was common knowledge. Then, to himself, he added, "Aguma, when I find you, you'll regret the day that you picked a fight with the Airbenders..."
Just one more chapter left of book 1. I'm excited to post book two. The first few chapters of book two are REALLY really good. :)
For the collective works of the author, go here.