Born in the Water Tribe
Chapter information

Hikoda: Firebender of the Water Tribe



Written by


Release date

December 13, 2013

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The Ice Sculpture

There was screaming in one of the tents. A woman named Aama was in the middle of giving birth. She was being tended to by Kanna.

"It's almost over, Aama," Kanna was telling her, "Just one more push."

Aama screamed. She cursed the child's father, cursed him for the pain he wrought on her, cursed him for causing her more pain right now, for laying this thing in her belly, forcing her to carry it for nine months. She cursed this child, cursed this parasite, she should have gotten rid of it when she had the chance, then it wouldn't be-

Her eyes snapped open when she heard a baby cry.

"It's done," Kanna told her.

Aama tried to sit up.

"Is the baby all right?" She asked, forgetting any hatred she had for the child, "Were there any-"

"Lay down, Aama," Kanna told her, placing her hand on her shoulder and forcing her to lie back down, "Don't exert yourself."

Kanna was spending time with the baby. Too long for Aama's liking.

"Can I hold it?" she asked.

Kanna gave her a look as if she asked if she could hold a dog bear cub.

"In a minute," she told her, "I just need to clean him up."

"Him? It's a boy?"

"Yes, boys generally are referred to as 'him'."

After washing and wrapping him in a cloth, Kanna gave the child to his mother. Aama looked down at him. She held him tightly. For nine months, she wasn't sure whether or not to have this child, the child of a Fire Nation soldier, but now, looking down at him, how could she have possibly cursed this baby? He opened his eyes, and looked at her. They were golden, the same colour as those belonging to the Fire Nation, to the men who had constantly attacked her tribe. She hugged him, placed him near her shoulder, rocking back and forth, hoping to forget those eyes.

Outside, the entire tribe was watching that tent where Aama was resting, wondering what sort of monster she had given birth to. Many thought that she should have got rid of the child the moment she found out she was infested with it. Many were afraid of what was in the tent, as if a fire was burning in there, a fire that threatened to grow and consume them all!

"Aama," Said Kanna as she was clearing up, "I probably don't need to tell you that that child you're hold will be treated different for the rest of his life?"

"I'm well aware of that, Kanna," Aama told her, "I wasn't even sure that I even wanted this baby, but looking at him now-"

She looked down at him, although glancing away the moment their eyes met. She held him up at her midwife.

"I mean does this look like the face of a monster to you?"

The baby stared at Kanna. Her face remained impassive.

"Let us pray then that he hasn't inherited the fire power of his father as well as his looks," She told her.

That night, the baby, whom Aama had named Hikoda, was crying, waking up the entire tribe.

"Will someone please shut that brat up?" One of the tribesmen demanded.

The crying continued as Aama attempted to get Hikoda to calm down.

"Why doesn't she just drown the little fire monster and be done with it?" Another person suggested angrily.

A year had passed. Aama walked out of her tent with Hikoda in her arms.

"Who's a happy little baby? Who is? Yes you are! Yes you are!" She cooed at him, tickling, causing him to laugh, being very careful as not to look at his eyes. Her smile faded when she caught sight of the looks everyone were giving her. It was as if she was cradling a venomous beast. A group of young mothers were chatting and laughing, holding their own children. Aama sat next to them. They looked at her, then got up to sit somewhere else.

When Hikoda was old enough to walk, Aama attempted to encourage him to interact with the other children.

"Go on, Hikoda," She assured him, "play with your new friends."

Hikoda laughed as he ran to the other children, who were playing a game. When he attempted to join them, they all looked at him.

"Keep away from him!" One of the mothers shouted, "That boy's nothing but trouble!"

The mothers grabbed their children's hands and shepherded them away from Hikoda.

"Shoo!" They told him, "Go away you little fire monster!"

Hikoda stared after what could have been his potential friends. Tears formed in his eyes before he started to cry.

The other children were taught to have nothing to do with Hikoda, and soon they learnt to hate him as much as their parents, teasing him, bullying him, calling him names like 'fire monster' or 'yellow eyes' or 'pale skin'! They even took part in 'stoning' him, punishing him for the crimes of the Fire Nation against Southern Water Tribe by pummeling him with snow balls.

"Take that, Fire Kid!" One of the throwers shouted.

"Yeah, you had this coming!" Another one said.

"This is what you get for invading our tribe!"

"And burning down our homes!"

"And killing our people!"

"And stealing our waterbenders!"

"Stop it! STOP IT!" Hikoda would cry out, but he got no pity.

"Go back to the Fire Nation!" a boy a year younger than Hikoda shouted, before throwing his snowball.


That one felt like it had ice in it.

"Mommy," Hikoda once asked when he was three, "Why does everyone hate me?"

"They don't hate you, Hikoda," His mother told him, "They hate what you remind them of?"

"The Fire Nation?"


"Are they really that bad?"

"The worse."

"So - does that make me bad?"

Aama looked at him. She grabbed his wrists.

"Listen to me, Hikoda," She told him, "You are not bad. You are not like the Fire Nation who attacked us. You are good and pure like the snow and ice that surrounds us, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise."

Hikoda nodded, although he couldn't help but notice that his mother wasn't able to look him in the eyes.

"Was my Daddy a bad man?"

"Yes. He was a monster."

Hikoda was confused.

"Then-why did you marry him?" He asked.

Aama stared at her son.

"I didn't."

"Then - how did you have me-"

"I don't want to discuss your father ever again Hikoda."

And that was the end of that conversation.

When he was four, Hikoda's estrangement got even worse. It was one morning when the children were playing a game where Hikoda was the invading Fire Nation soldier and they were defending their home by chasing him out.

"There he is!"

"The invader!"

"Drive him out of the city!"

They threw snowballs at him. One kid on top of the wall raised a very large snow ball, aiming it at Hikoda as he was passing by.

"For the Southern Water Tribe!" He cried, throwing the snowball down. Hikoda, seeing the snowball instinctively raised his hand to shield himself. A ball of fire shot out of his hand and destroyed the snowball before it hit him. The impact caused the boy to fall off the wall. The other children stopped in their tracks, staring at Hikoda.

"He's a firebender!" One of them cried out.

All of the children screamed as they ran away from Hikoda, as if he was going to do to them what he did to the snowball.

Hikoda was later brought before a tribal meeting.

"Hikoda," Stated Kanna, "You stand before this meeting of the Southern Water Tribe for terrorizing your fellow Water Tribe kin, with firebending, including knocking one child off a wall."

"My son has a broken arm because of him!" One of the tribespeople shouted.

"I didn't mean to," Hikoda replied tearfully, "It was an accident-"

"Silence!" Shouted another elder.

"Please," pleaded Aama, coming to Hikoda's aid, placing her arms on his shoulders, "My son didn't mean any harm! It was an accident! I'm sure if he promises never to firebend again then we can forget this ever happen!"

The tribe's leading people and elders looked at each other. They nodded in agreement.

"Very well," replied Kanna, "Hikoda, we will pardon you of your crime, if you swear in front of your whole family never to firebend again."

Hikoda looked up at the elders, the leading men and women, and the rest of the tribe. He nodded in agreement.

The other children no longer bothered Hikoda. They were too afraid of him. But they now wanted him as far away from them as possible. Whenever they felt he got too close, they would shout at him things like 'go away firebender!' Hikoda would often spend time alone in the icy wilderness. He could not keep the promise he made to the tribe, though, as he would often test out his firebending out here where nobody could get hurt.

"Where have you been?" His mother asked him when he came home late one night.

"Just been wandering," He told her.

"Well you shouldn't go off wandering anywhere, I was almost worried that a dog bear got you - wait, let me see your hands."

Hikoda did as he was told.

"Have you been firebending again?" She demanded.

Hikoda could not bring himself to answer, nor look at his mother. There was an awkward silence.

"Hikoda, how many times have I told you?" She started shaking him, "You are not to use firebending ever again!"

"But Mommy, I like it."


She slapped him across the face.

"Don't you ever say that again, I never want to hear you say that again, don't you ever express love of firebending, I WON'T HAVE YOU BECOMING ONE OF THOSE MONSTERS!"

Hikoda stared at his mother. He ended up crying. His mother put her hand to her mouth.

"Oh sweetheart, I'm sorry, come here."

She hugged him as he wailed. Tears trickled from her eyes.

"I'm sorry."

She started to rock back and forth, "I'm so, so sorry! But promise me, Hikoda! Promise me that you'll never firebend again!"

"Okay Mommy," Hikoda sniffed, "I promise."

But Hikoda couldn't keep his promise. He liked firebending. He liked the feeling of energy it gave him, how it was one of the few warm things he had in this icy world, and it was his, nobody else's. And he hated himself for liking that he was cursed with.

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