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The ninth chapter of
August 26, 2010
Leah learns from the earthbenders in the prison.
Leah stood in the training courtyard, back to another bender across the field from her. As the signal was given to start, they both turned around and unleashed their earthbending attacks. The opponent launched three small boulders, while Leah countered with an earthen wall. Leah then shattered the wall and launched the pieces at the other bender. The other bender, an old man, raised a tent and launched the two separate pieces at Leah. She launched herself, almost able to touch the mesh, then dropped like a bomb, releasing an earth wave. Beaten, the old man stopped the wave and gave the signal that the fight was over.
Leah got up from her makeshift ground zero, looking at her opponent eagerly.
"Well done Leah, you have improved drastically. I'd say a few more lessons and you will be a master," the old man reported proudly.
"Thank you Master Don," Leah said, bowing to him.
"Anytime Leah," Don said to her. "Well, you've mastered the earth wall, boulders, and the bomb. You've almost mastered the basics. We will cover the rest of the basics, and then start the advanced today. Then next training session we will try cover the rest of the advanced and start on the master techniques."
"What does the advanced cover?"
"Advanced techniques will take longer for you to master, as they involve getting a direct feel and touch for the earth. Basics have covered manipulating the earth, but I want you to get a feel for it, become the earth itself."
"Can you show me some moves?"
"You still have some basics to cover, but I was quite surprised at that earth bomb, as it is an advanced technique. But yes, I will show you. Please stand there, in your stance."
Leah assumed her stance, ready.
"Make the first move," Don said, also in the stance.
Leah moved her foot up, prepared to kick up some boulders to launch. Just as her foot touched the ground, Don moved his foot slightly, and her foot slid into the earth up to her knee.
"What was that?" she asked, trying to free herself.
"That is called sinking. Like I said before, advanced techniques cover getting in touch with the earth. Other techniques include armor, tunneling, gauntlets, quicksand, and compression."
"What about the master techniques?"
"Master techniques mostly just cover the basics again, and doing them bigger, like bigger boulders, lines, columns. It also covers being able to bend other sources of earth, such as crystal, dirt, sand, mud, metal, things like that."
"You can bend metal?" Leah asked, awestruck.
"Metal is nothing but processed earth, but bits of impurities in it. If you can sense the impurities, you can bend them, along with the metal itself. I myself have never had the chance, as they don't supply you with metal here."
"Can you teach me some advanced techniques?"
"That'll be enough for today, as I am tired, and must rest."
Don walked away from Leah into the "airlock", a place where you meet up with guards to be escorted back down to the cell blocks. Leah walked to the airlock too, meeting up with Don's wife, Jane.
"Hello Leah." Jane said.
"I see you worked my husband out today. About time, he hasn't been out of the cell block for ages."
"Oh, just old age and bad memories. He's been that way since we were brought here."
"And when was that?"
"Don and I met in Galveston Texas, but were forced to flee to an earthbending colony in Tripoli. We married there, but soon after the Nazi's stormed North Africa, finding the colony. We were brought to one of the work camps in Poland. We were kept there for five years until Allied troops finally stormed the compound."
"How come you didn't escape? Surely they couldn't control your bending?"
"You're right Leah. We knew that, and so did they. Any bending was met with harsh retribution not to us, but to the non-bending population in the camp. If we bended, they would've killed more innocent people. We had no choice but to stand down. Well, after the camp was liberated, Don and I were moving back to Tripoli to convince earthbenders to come back. Soon after the BDA found us and brought us here."
"How long have you been here?"
"Oh, I'd say about 40 or 50 years. Time has really kind've gotten away from us since coming here."
"Then why don't you just escape from here?"
"For one thing, we can't escape, there's nothing we can use. Secondly, if we did escape, they would only renovate the prison, making life harder for the other residents. This prison used to be made of metal, until one of earthbenders found a way to escape. They then transferred the whole compound to this plexiglass, and imposed harsher rules to the residents here."
"So escape has never crossed your mind?"
"I could never live down the fact that my happiness meant restricting everyone else here."
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