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|Calm Before the Storm|
Avatar Tao: Chapter 1 "Calm Before The Storm"
Tao woke up on a broad sunny day. The room around him was surrounded by a few paintings hung up on his wall. The wall was wooden, and filled with holes. Most of the holes were covered by other furniture or tape, but there were still some holes in the wall that stood out. The damage from the war still haunted Tao and his family, considering they were practically homeless. The destruction from the war made the situation worse day by day.
Tao rose from his torn bed and looked at the mirror. Over the years, he recognized that he has gotten more of a tan skin since the last time he looked at himself. Tao's dark black eyes were his notorious trait. Tao knew it was his birthday today, his 16th birthday in fact. Every year he would decide only on his birthday that it was time to change up his hair. Tao went downstairs, filled a bowl up with water and went back upstairs. He grabbed the water by the fingertips of his hand and decided to spike up his black hair for a change. After fixing his hair, he went back downstairs, placed the bowl back and waited until it was time for school.
A few minutes passed by and Tao's mother, June, walked in carrying a bowl of water with wet clothes inside it and a wet towel.
"Hey Tao. You ready for school?" his mother asked.
"Hi Mom. Yeah, I'm ready for school. It's probably going to feel like forever again. Don't ask me about it when I come home please, I would rather not talk about it either way."
Tao's mom nodded in acceptance, but with a stern look on her face. She walked towards the top of the wooden counter, put the bowl and towel down and went back to washing clothes.
"Mom, where's Shen and Dad? Aren't they usually here by now?"
"The King of Omashu decided to put in early shifts for everyone since the war ended. He says the city needs to recover. Shen and your father are in the mine earthbending coal," June replied.
Man I wish I was an Earthbender. Tao thought to himself.
After the conversation, June started hearing footsteps entering the door. A girl and a boy both walked into Tao's home. The girl was wearing a brown shirt and brown pants. Her hair was black with a pony tail in the back. By the look on her face, you can tell she's a smart and happy child. The boy standing next to her looked younger. He too was wearing brown clothing, but with some dirt on the knee caps. The boy had black hair, but not anything special, it was laid down to the forehead.
"Hi Mrs. Run! How are you today?" the girl asked.
"I'm doing great Anjie. I assuming you and Lee are picking up Tao for school?"
"Yep!" Lee quickly replied.
Within a seconds notice, Tao got his seat, gathered his bookbag and went outside with Anjie and Lee. The outside of Tao's home was filled with rocks and dirt. There were no clear pavements on the ground and the people in the city looked like they were hopeless. Omashu was one of the main priority targeted in the war and one of the places hit hard was the Southeast Corner of Omashu, where Tao lived. For the children who walk to school, the rocks hurt their feet. There were shoes, but the amount of sharp rocks on the ground made it hard to walk long distances.
"So guys, anything new about me you see?" Tao asked while grinning
"Judging by the look of your new hair, it's a very special day for you. Your birthday?" Anjie replied
"That's right. Good job Anjie."
"Happy Birthday Tao! How old are you now?" Lee shouted excitedly.
"I'm 16. I don't expect anything much to happen. After the war, I don't think anything bright is happening. I guess surviving is what I'm thankful for."
After those words, everyone remained silent while walking to school. The war hit everyone in the Earth Kingdom pretty hard. Most families were homeless, or they just had no money, food or even water. The houses had no roofs, everything was a cinder block. The mail system was mostly broken. It was one of the targeted features of Omashu that was attacked.
Ten minutes later, the group was approaching the school. The sign on top of the roof was hanging off, slanted. Most of the windows were destroyed, and partially the roof as well. When walking through the entrance of the school, the hallways were filled with rocks, desks and even chairs. Everything was destroyed on the inside. There were only a total of three classrooms that were still viable to use. Lee Sin, Anjie and Tao approached their first subject, history.
"Good morning class. Welcome to History. Today we will be learning about the history of Omashu!"
A few hours passed and school ended. Three subjects done, three hours passed. After school, the group decided to play some sports, have fun and waste the day away. It was Tao's birthday so they decided to do something special and decided to play Earth Soccer. It was hard finding a ball, considering they weren't Earthbenders, but they eventually found one behind the cabbage cart. Anjie wouldn't play the sport. She knows she's bad and would rather let the boys do it than her. She would usually sit by the sidelines and watch Lee and Tao go at it with the ball. As the day went by, the sun started to get lower and lower and sooner or later, it was time to head home.
"Hey guys, it's getting pretty dark. I think we should head on home." Tao asked.
"Aww man. I was about to beat you." Lee replied in sadness.
"Actually no you weren't. According to my calculations, you were miles behind." Anjie said
"Thanks for telling me. Real help."
Tao chuckled for a bit, and then the rest of the group started laughing as well. A few minutes later, everyone stopped laughing and they decided to go home. Lee Sin and Anjie went on a separate path, while Tao walked by himself back home.
Normally, Tao would walk with Lee Sin and Anjie, but while walking to school, Tao spotted an alleyway that he could take which he perceived as a shortcut. While walking down the alleyway, he suddenly felt a strange chill behind him. Almost as if someone was watching him. Tao looked back at where the chill was coming from. Nothing. Tao decided to keep walking until he felt another chill of air. He looked back thinking it's nothing again, but out of nowhere he was hit by large splash of water and knocked into the wall. Tao's vision was distorted and blurry, all he saw was a woman and a young man in front of him. Before Tao could get back up he was knocked back by a ball of air. When Tao opened his eyes, he could see a young boy and a woman surrounding him in the alleyway.
"What do you want?" Asked Tao in pain.
"The Judge has sentenced you to Death." Replied the Woman.
The Woman bends water around Tao and creates a large ball with it and puts it around Tao's head. Tao was beginning to drown. He tried to escape the bubble, trying to get his hand to break the bubble but the pressure of the water kept entering his body and he couldn't move any part of his body. In his eyes, all he could see was darkness and he could feel the pressure coming into his skull. After one minute, Tao was running out of time. He couldn't hold his breath in any longer and he couldn't breathe either or else he would die. The skin color of Tao was turning blue then turning white at a rapid pace. Tao slowly began to fade away. The woman's eyes looked like a killer. She knew what she was doing and proud of it. The young boy was just watching in horror, not making a move because of what the woman was doing. He knew this was wrong. The woman applied more pressure on the water until a bright light started to take over Tao's eyes and body. Tao could feel the immense power rushing throughout his body. Tao could feel that his soul was intertwined with a spirit. In the state, he could see other humans, people he had never seen before, but recognized at the same time. He could feel the cosmic energy and a new profound of knowledge entering his mind. The ground started to tremble beneath his feet and large rocks started hurtling towards the attackers. The bubble broke and the woman gazed at Tao in a shock state. The large rocks started to hurl towards everything surrounding Tao. The rocks hit houses and roads at a large impact. The huge rocks also hurled towards the two people. The large rock went right for the boy, but dodged it due to airbending away but also hit the woman in such an impact, she flew to another wall. In shock and anger, the woman got up decided to form an icicle and kill the boy, but was stopped by a sudden gust of wind.
"No Kalista! We can't! He's in the Avatar State. You know that! He will most likely annihilate you and I if we attack. Leave him be and let's go back to the judge."
The woman grunted in ignorance as she formed the icicle again.
"Kalista! Please LISTEN TO ME. Run. AWAY!"
"Fine, but whatever punishment that judge has, it's your fault."
The young boy nodded in agreement nervously, and in a moment's notice, the young boy used his glider and flew away to a higher place and then into the sky while the woman used waterbending to transform water into a sharp ice hook to hook through roof top ledges. While escaping, they were still being hurled at by rocks but evaded them. A few minutes passed, and they were gone. The bright light escaped from the eye, and Tao resumed to his normal state, passed out on the ground.
The moon was bright. The midnight wind was freezing cold. A body laying down on the ground, only to be known as Tao. Tao opened his eyes, slightly, then fully. Tao looks down on his hands, confused on what has happened. After a moment of getting a sense of consciousness back he uses whatever energy he had left to get up and try to walk home but eventually falls to the ground again, unconscious.
- Describing Tao in the Avatar State was difficult to write. We wanted to put the Avatar State in the Avatar's Point of View to describe what they're feeling.
- Questions will be answered in the next upcoming chapters.
- Let me know what you think of the story! Thanks for reading!
For the collective works of the author, go here.