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|The Avatar Part 2|
9 Part 2
November 17, 2014
Good News or Bad News
"Jaro!" Kharum screams as he watches his younger brother's limp body fly through the air. The impact of the boulder shot by Jaro's opponent shakes the entire complex, unsettling most of the spectators. Kharum, stunned, can only watch his brother's lifeless body crash to the ground and violently roll before slamming into the earth wall of the arena.
A soldier's voice calls out, "The Hopeful from Ba Sing Se is the winner!" Nobody applauds. Everyone's attention remains fixed on the motionless Northerner.
Kharum jumps the boundary and sprints to his brother. Why didn't I do something? he thinks as desperation has already started to crawl into his mind. Sliding to his brother's side, his eyes race over Jaro's bruised head and body praying that he is alright. The world around him and the gaze of the spectators disappear as nothing else matters. Placing his ear to Jaro's chest, Kharum listens for a beat. Kharum smiles Yes!
Materializing behind Kharum, the grizzly voice of the Earth Sage reaches out to him. "Carry your brother and follow me," he says with a hint of pity.
Kharum, unhesitant to obey, lifts his limp brother into the air. Kharum, Jaro in his arms, follows behind the Sage to the Temple still blocking out everything else around him. His world is now a dark tunnel and he trusts the Sage to lead him to the light. The promise he made to his parents to watch over his little brother echoes in his mind.
The Earth Sage leads Kharum into the Temple and they are joined by a female Water Sage. The doors slam shut behind them with wooden thud that disturbs the silence of the Temple's cavernous main room.
"Put him there." The Earth Sage points at an open spot in the center of the room occupied only by a simple green rug. Near the rug, facing in the direction of the doors, sits a stone slab covered with distinct items: two bowls of water, one placed on either end, an egg shaped boulder in the center, and lit candles placed in every spot that could be fit. Against the back wall, a statue of a past Avatar kneels awaiting others to join her in meditation.
The Water Sage kneels down beside Jaro pulling back her long gray hair. "I need you to step back for a moment. " She says looking up at Kharum with soft blue eyes and he obeys. He can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Outside, the muffled sounds of cheers can be heard as the King's little tournament continues on. The Earth Sage mutters a curse under his breath as a thunderous boom shakes the ground around the Temple and the crowd oohs.
The Water Sage begins her work quietly examining Jaro. From a bladder hanging at her side, she pulls the plug off the top and calmly bends water in a smooth arc out in front of her. Her arms dance in rhythmic and soothing motion bending the water into a swirling disc of glowing liquid. Lowering the healing water just hairs above Jaro, she glides it over the length of Jaro's body before halting at his head. Her eyes close in deep thought.
Kharum impatiently paces back and forth while his worrisome eyes remain glued to the Water Sage and his brother. The light is no nearer. Is the light moving away as he tries to move closer? Is the tunnel getting longer? Is the light a sham? His mind races trying to determine every possibility. Stop!..He inhales deeply trying to calm himself down. Patience and time...Patience and time, he thinks to himself remembering one of his father's valuable lessons to him.
BOOM! The Earth Sage stands with arms crossed muttering under his breath as another loud cheer fills the silent room.
The Water Sage opens her eyes and returns the water to the bladder at her side. "Something is blocking his chi," she says turning to the Earth Sage, surprise in her voice.
The grizzly voice scoffs, "Of course there is...he took a boulder to the head."
She shakes her head. "No. Apart from some bruising, he's fine physically. The chi within him is choked."
Kharum steps forward. "What are you talking about?"
"Chi is what gives us life and our bending," the Water Sage explains. "Something within your brother is preventing his chi to flow properly as it does with us."
"And that's bad I take it?"
She answers, "You tell me...Is there anything particular about your brother that would be cause for concern?"
Kharum pauses to think before answering. "No, not that I can think of...well-"
"Jaro's never been...the most gifted earth bender. I mean, he struggles to bend even a rock this big." Kharum holds up his hands at about the width of his head apart.
The Earth Sage rubs his hand over his chin pondering to himself. He then smiles to himself as if he had figured something out. "Can you unblock it?" he asks interrupting.
"I can try."
The Water Sage begins her work. Once again bending the water over Jaro, her eyes close. This time, however, she focuses only on Jaro's head. Again, the water swirls glowing an intense shade of blue. Like a puppet to a puppeteer, the water obeys her every command. She then lowers the water slowly down just kissing Jaro's nose.
The Water Sage holds. "There it is," she says to herself. Another thunderous boom shakes the Temple grounds. "Alright, his chi is beginning to flow."
With those words, the unthinkable happens. Jaro's hips violently lurch up in the air. A white light beams from his closed eyes as a terrifying scream of a man cries out from Jaro's own mouth. The man's voice screams as if fighting back against the Water Sage, "NOOOOOOOOO!!!!"
Then, on the stone slab, the water in the two bowls geyser into the air. The fires of the candles erupt into a flaming cloud. The egg-shaped boulder shatters into a hundred pieces and the shrapnel scatter up toward the ceiling. Kharum and the Earth Sage watch with terror at the splendor of the elements, but the Water Sage is too preoccupied to notice.
"Wait! Something is fighting back!" Her face strains as she struggles to keep Jaro's chi flowing, the healing water's glow fading in and out.
The doors to the Temple then explode open and a gust of wind swirls like a tornado around the room with the other elements. Kharum and the Earth Sage duck to avoid being hit by the fire and earth being hurled around.
"I can't hold on! I'm being forced out!" The Water Sage says yelling over the sound of the wind.
The Earth Sage, dodging one of the boulder fragments, calls out, "Just stop! There's no need!"
And with that, the Water Sage let's go of the healing water. The fire dissipates, the wind ceases, the water and the earth fragments fall to the ground, and Jaro's body relaxes. The white lights shining from Jaro's eyes dissipate. Whatever she was fighting regains its control and Jaro's chi flow remains choked.
The Earth Sage smiles to himself. "We've found the Avatar."
Kharum looks to his brother with pride and pity. He will never forget witnessing the terrible power trapped inside his brother. "Now what?"
"We wait for him to wake up."
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