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|A Familiar Spirit|
January 28, 2011
Aang reveals some shocking information that forces Katara and Sokka to reevaluate their plans...
Book 2 Chapter 5: A Familiar Spirit
"Hi, Katara." The reflection of Aang smiled, then the water twisted upwards and solidified into a solid form of the young Avatar standing before Katara. Sokka stood up and shook water from his ears, unable to believe what he was seeing.
"Oh, Aang," said Katara, tears forming in her eyes, "I thought I'd never see you again!" They embraced while Sokka made wretching noises in the background.
"It's really great to see both of you, "said Aang looking fondly at each of them. As he let go of Katara to embrace Sokka as well he said, "but I wish it didn't have to be like this. I have something you need to hear..."
Back at the North Pole, Katara, Sokka, and Azula's bodies were lined up against the wall of a Water Tribe hut. Their bodies were mere shells now; there was nothing that anyone could do to bring them back to the physical world until their spirits returned to their bodies. And who knew when that would be?
"I'm worried," said Suki, kneeling down next to Sokka's body. His eyes were open and glowing as if he were in the Avatar State, as were Katara and Azula's. "Sokka and Katara don't have the same abilities as the Avatar," she continued. "The Avatar is the bridge between the two worlds, but they're just human. What if they can't get back?"
At this nobody had an answer.
"I hate feeling so useless!" Zuko blurted out. He laid his head and back against the wall and crossed his arms, while the chief paced to and fro across the room.
"Mr. Water Chief, sir?" said Toph. "Can you stop pacing? You're stressing me out, and I can't even see!"
"Erm, yes. Of course, sorry," he replied, his face hot.
"What is it Aang?" Katara asked.
"Well, you know how Zuko's been trying to find his mom?"
"Of course!" said Sokka.
"Well, her grandfather was Avatar Roku. I talked to him, and he told me where she's been all this time," Aang explained.
"Aang, that's great," said Katara smiling halfheartedly, "but I think we have more important things to be worrying about right now. Princess Azula has all four Elemental Amulets, and she's here in the Spirit World."
"Yeah, we grabbed onto her as she entered the Avatar State," Sokka continued, "and we ended up following her here. But we sort of...lost her."
"Guys, guys, I know, I know," Aang reassured them. "But trust me, finding Zuko's mom is the most important thing right now. Roku said that she has information that could change the world!"
"What about you?" Katara asked, her face grim once again. "Will you return with us?"
"I can't," said Aang. "I died. My time on Earth is up. It's up to you to return to the physical world and track down Ursa before it's too late."
"Okay," said Katara, taking a few steps back, "I guess you're right." Gathering up her courage she continued, "Where will you go?"
"I'm on my way to the Eternal Palace," Aang said, as if it were common sense. "It's where all of the purest souls go when they die. I'm hoping to find Monk Gyatso there. It's...been a while since I've seen him."
"The purest souls..." Katara said, her head instantly buzzing. Turning to Sokka she exclaimed, "What if Mom is there?" Her face instantly lit up. "She has to be there! She gave up her life to save mine, she'll be there for sure!
Katara gave a sort of resolute look toward Sokka and then turned to Aang. "Okay, so we'll go with you to this Palace, and you can find the Airbenders while Sokka and I find our mom!"
"Katara, no!" Sokka interjected. "I'd love to see Mom, but...this isn't right. We have to stop Azula before she finds whatever she's looking for here."
Katara's smile dropped a fraction of an inch but she did not relent. "We don't even know where Azula is. Since she's here in the Spirit World, one of us should stay behind anyway in case she shows up."
Aang and Sokka exchanged worried glances. Aang placed his hands on her shoulders and stared into her Sapphire eyes. She was so beautiful, and it was so hard to have to tell her this. "Katara, it would mean the world to me if you could come with me to the Eternal Palace. But Sokka's right. You're needed on Earth right now. Since Azula gained her bending from an outside source, she can use it in the Spirit World. But you can't use your Waterbending here, so staying behind would just put you in danger."
Katara looked from Aang to her brother and back to Aang.
"Katara," Sokka said, taking hold of her hand. "I know how much it would mean to you to meet Mom, so you stay. I'll go back and take everyone to find Ur—" Katara's hug smothered out the rest of his sentence.
Aang didn't have the heart to protest any more, so he relented and allowed Katara to remain in the Spirit World to search for her mother. "One last thing," Aang said. "I can send you back to the mortal world. And when you get there, you need to go to the headquarters of the Order of the White Lotus. Zuko's mom has been in hiding there ever since her exile from the Fire Nation. For protection, no one except a select few high ranking members of the Order know of her existence. It's why Zuko was never able to find her."
"Katara and I will go to the Eternal Palace, and I'll make sure she stays safe," Aang concluded. He breathed in and emitted a solid string of blue light from his mouth. The light hit Sokka and then enveloped his entire body. He barely had time to say goodbye before he disappeared and was sent hurtling back through nothingness on his way back to the mortal world.
Yes, Ursa's story will be resolved in this story. Hooray!
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