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Avatar relics
Ceremony of the Four Relics
Chapter information
Series

Avatar: Before the Legends

Book

1

Chronicle

Aang: Story of an Airbender

Chapter

1

Written by

RuleroftheBisons97

Release date

1/19/12 (original)
12/27/12 (rewrite)

Chronology
Next chapter

Appa, the Sky Bison

Ceremony of the Four Relics is the first chapter of Aang: Story of an Airbender. It was originally released on January 19, 2012, but revised to add additional information on December 27, 2012. To read the original chapter, visit this page.

Synopsis

A young couple is faced with a destiny changing decision once their newborn son is revealed to be a possible reincarnation of the Avatar. Meanwhile, in a nation nestled between volcanoes, a ruler gets a mysterious vision he hopes will lead him to his fate.

13 BG: Late Winter

~~The Western Air Temple: Air Nomad Bedroom~~

Sunlight shone through a window, spreading its warmth and happiness with every touch. Light pushed the darkness away, revealing the small room. A bed was in the middle of the room with the window to its right. To the left, was a drawer filled with clothes. The orange glow rose upon the bed perched in front of the wall, illuminating a couple as they slept in each other's arms.

"I love you." A Sister named Haha announced, touching her husband's cheek. Her own cheeks blushed as she remembered that she was married. Now, she could live with her true love forever in peace and harmony.

He smiled, no doubt recollecting the events that transpired last night. Since his eyes were still closed, Haha assumed he was trying hard not to wake up from that blessed dream.

Haha smiled, slowly slipping out of bed. She got ready for the day, and made her way to cook breakfast. Haha passed through the bedroom, and found herself smiling as she saw her husband admitting defeat.

The two locked fingers, smiling. Haha noticed the freckles sprinkled on his face, the bald head shining in the sun. His stormy grey eyes and mischievous smile gave him a look of rugged wrestler and kind father.

"Shin," Haha whispered, playing with her gold hair. She smiled at her husband and he returned the favor.

The two kissed as the sun exploded behind them, cascading them with its approval of their marriage, ordering the birds to wake up and sing their song, telling the turtle ducks to quack their message, and the bison to play their roar. They smiled, hoping that they would be able to live in peace and harmony forever.

12 BG: Fall

9 Months and Three Days Later

Shin smiled, entering the room backwards. He turned to steer a stroller with Haha perched upon it, cradling a newborn in her arms. The small one had black hair perched on his head, and smiled happily, content with its life.

Haha stroked the baby's cheek as Shin closed the door behind them. He kneeled next to his wife, now sprouting a goatee, and rubbed the baby's head. "Have you decided on a name for our child, our beautiful baby boy?"

The baby laughed when he stopped abruptly. He pushed his nose back and sneezed. Shin flew back a few feet as the baby rocketed into the sky and returned in the same location in his mother's arms.

"Aang." Haha said, smiling.

The boy smiled, happy with his new name. Shin rubbed the back of his head. "A perfect name." He returned to his place beside his wife.

"I agree," A voice said from the doorway.

Shin, Haha, and Aang spun around to see five elderly monks staring at them behind the doorway.

"Who are you?" Shin asked, standing in front of his wife. He knew they weren't enemies since they sprouted Air Nomad attire. Still, his heart told him that something was about to change his life for the worse.

"Relax," One monk said, his black beard reaching his stomach.

"We mean no harm." Another monk, chubbier than the rest, beamed at him.

"We just came to inform you." A third monk said, his appearance being a grey goatee and sour look revealing his harsh nature. Instantly, Shin knew he had to shave the goatee.

"Inform us of what?" Haha said, clutching Aang protectively.

The monk in the middle made his way to speak, when another placed his hand on his shoulder. Shin noticed the kindness radiating from his eyes as he spoke with a friendlier tone than the others, "Perhaps we better introduce ourselves."

The middle monk hesitated as he processed the words. "Very well, Gyatso," he said. He turned toward the couple and spoke. He had a moustache that extended past his collar, separated by the bump underneath his nose. "I am High Monk Pasang." He held out his hand, but Shin made no move to shake it.

High Monk Pasang shifted uneasily in his position, "May we come inside?"

Shin was about to decline, but Haha intervened. "Of course High Monk Pasang. We are honored that you have chosen to enter our beloved home. Please make yourselves comfortable. Shin, darling, would you mind turning me as to face the living room?" Shin knew Haha was just forcing the smile, and putting on a pretty face. Her message was clear: If you want them to leave quickly put on a façade of your own.

He smiled, hoping he didn't look like he was struck by a lightning wielder and escorted Haha, High Monk Pasang, and the others into the family room. On their way, Haha informed the monks to make themselves comfortable while she put Aang to sleep.

Shin steered his wife into their bedroom, with a crib by their bed as promised by the Nursery Nun. Inside was a bison and lion turtle toy. Haha slowly got up and approached the dresser, setting Aang down on the bed. The baby reached out to grab his mom.

"Why are the monks here?" Haha asked, her voice full of concern.

"I don't know." Shin admitted. "Obviously, they're from the Northern or Southern temples seeing on how they are all gentlemen. Should we turn them away?"

Haha opened the dresser as Shin took out a blanket. "No, if we do, then we might just make them angry. It's better if we treat them with hospitality and turn them away when the time is right."

Shin placed the blanket inside the crib as Haha picked up Aang. He played with his mom's hair, smiling happier than he's ever been. Shin finished applying the blanket and set Aang inside. Instantly, he started to cry.

"Is something the matter?" The friendly monk's voice asked.

"No." Shin shouted back.

"Thanks for your concern." Haha added. She turned toward Aang, and sang a lullaby.

Come stop your crying

It will be all right

Just take my hand

Hold it tight

I will protect you

From all around you

I will be here

Don't you cry.

The baby wailed even louder. Haha sang another lullaby.

Leaves from the vine, falling so slow.

Like fragile tiny shells, drifting in the foam.

Little soldier boy, come marching home.

Brave soldier boy comes marching home.

As soon as she finished the song, Haha listened to the sounds of Aang's snores. He whistled through his nose, cuddling with his bison toy as the lion turtle one watched nearby. Shin smiled as he hugged Haha.

"Let's go." Haha said.

Shin helped Haha back to her stroller and wheeled her into the family room. Four two-person sofas formed a semicircle around a fire. High Monk Pasang sat alone and next to the empty sofa to his right.

"I don't believe I had the pleasure of introducing myself." The friendly monk said, standing up. He took out his hand and shook Shin's, "I'm Monk Gyatso, these are my fellow monks. We are the Southern Council of Elders."

"There you go again, Gyatso!" The goatee man said. "You just don't go willy-nilly saying our position and title. We were supposed to be undercover."

"Now, now Tashi." Monk Gyatso said, his eyes filled with wisdom. "I'm sure they had already figured it out, isn't that right?"

Shin instantly knew not to underestimate Gyatso. "Of course, like my wife, Haha said, we are very honored to have you in our humble home."

"Hmph!" Monk Tashi said, sitting down. Gyatso reluctantly sat next to him.

The bearded one smiled, "I'm Monk Meiji. Please to meet you."

"I'm Monk Futo." The chubbier one said. "It seems to me that you're cooking something delicious."

"Um, no, sorry, Monk Futo, but we barely arrived home." Haha explained. "You see, we just returned from the hospital with our newborn, Aang."

"That is precisely why we're here!" Monk Tashi said, thrilled. "They admitted it, Pasang! You heard them!"

"Quiet, Tashi." High Monk Pasang said. He spoke with such authority that Shin had to struggle to not obey. "We are here as guests."

More like intruders. Shin thought.

As if reading his mind, Gyatso spoke. "I know you must question our motives, but I assure you two, that we come with the best of intentions. You see, it not only concerns your family, but the fate of the world as well."

"And why us?" Shin asked, clenching his fists so they turned white.

"Not you." Monk Futo said, smiling at the ridiculous assumption. "Him."

"Who?" Haha asked, masking her mouth with her hand.

"The Avatar!" Monk Tashi spoke. "He may be in this house as we speak!"

"Our Aang? How can he be the Avatar?" Haha asked. "Avatar Roku is still at the Fire Nation, protecting the world with-"

"His life!" High Monk Pasang interrupted. "Avatar Roku died three days ago, ma'am."

Haha exploded in tears as the news reached her ears. Shin wrapped her around her arm and pushed her in for a hug. Realization dawned on Haha. "So, that means that Aang is the next Avatar?"

"No," Monk Meiji said. "There are still more candidates around the world that we must investigate, but we are asking the parents to travel to the Southern Air Temple to perform in the Ceremony of the Four Relics to prove if they are or are not the Avatar."

"Why can't we have the ceremony here?" Shin asked.

"Because it will take a hundred bison to transport all of the relics to each temple!" Monk Tashi shouted.

"So, may you travel to the Southern Air Temple?" High Monk Pasang asked.

Haha hesitated. Should she let Aang participate in the ceremony? While it would be a huge honor for her to be the mother of the Avatar, if he was, then Aang would be taken away and forced to train under their monks. No, she couldn't allow that.

"No," Haha replied. "I'm not letting Aang be separated from me."

"You may travel with the baby." Monk Futo reasoned.

"It's not that!" Haha screamed, her emotions boiling inside. "If Aang is the Avatar, then he will be taken away! I can't bear that!"

"Haha, please reconsider-" Gyatso spoke gently.

"No, get out!" Haha screamed.

"We don't have to listen to you." Tashi reasoned with the monks. "We could just take the baby ourselves!"

"Are you threatening us?" Shin asked, growling.

"I am merely stating the obvious." Tashi yelled back. "Where is the baby?"

Shin shot a blast of air at Tashi, shooting him into the air. The monk twisted in midair and spun, circling his hands around the air. He spun it and directed the air attack at Shin. High Monk Pasang twirled forward, clasping his fingertips together. The air attack parted ways, avoiding the monk.

"Control yourself, Tashi!" Gyatso said, covering his arm with an air gauntlet. He slashed out with air spikes at the end, shooting Tashi back with every attack. Tashi ducked behind the gauntlet and masked his punch with a fist. He directed his fist upwards and a torrent of air smacked Gyatso into the sky, slamming into the roof.

Aang started to cry. Monk Futo and Monk Meiji grabbed Tashi as the monk screamed and shouted. Haha ran toward the bedroom, cradling her child, singing the song. Shin turned toward High Monk Pasang.

"You are the worst monks I have ever seen! Air Nomads are peaceful! Get out of my house now!" Shin shouted.

High Monk Pasang frowned and nodded. He led the others out of the room and toward the doorway. The leader stopped and turned, "If-When you change your mind, please meet us at the Council Chamber in a month time. We still have many travels to partake." With that, the monks left the room.

"I will." Shin said through a forced smiled and shut the door. Aang stopped crying.

~~The Northern Air Temple: Air Nomad Bedroom~~

A man paced the length of his room, eyeing his son sleeping nearby in a crib. He stroked his long beard when he was interrupted by a knock to the door. Tidying up the living room, the man walked over to the door and flung it open, revealing the Southern Council of Elders.

"Welcome to my humble home, great Council." The man said, bowing. "I am truly honored to be in the presence of such a terrific group."

"Flattery will get you nowhere Afiko." High Monk Pasang said. "Only the Ceremony of the Four Relics will determine if your son is or not the Avatar. However, it is appreciated. " He entered the room. "Where is the child?"

"I will gladly take you to him, High Monk Pasang." Afiko said, hiding his anger with a crooked smile. He turned and led the council down the hall. Turning, the boy wailed to be in a room with many people.

"Is he always a crying?" Monk Tashi snapped.

"My apologies Council." Afiko said.

"At least we know that he has the emotions of being the Avatar." Gyatso joked.

"Do we perform the test now?" Afiko asked eagerly, raising an eyebrow.

"Do you see us with the Avatar relics?" Monk Meiji asked.

"Um, no, but how will we determine my son is-may be the Avatar?" Afiko asked.

"We are taking different approaches this time." Monk Futo explained.

"Still, I sense great power in this one," High Monk Pasang said. "Perhaps he is the one we have been searching for." Afiko's crooked smile grew an inch longer. "My son is the best candidate. We must test him at once!"

"I agree." High Monk Pasang nodded. "Journey to the Southern Air Temple in a month's time Afiko. There, we will determine if your son is or is not the Avatar."

The Council bowed and exited the room, leaving Afiko and the boy alone.

Afiko patted his son's head after the boy stopped crying. "Now now, Aka do try not to disappoint me. I wouldn't want my-our plans to go astray because of you." Afiko eyed his closet and made his way to open it. He closed his hands around the handles and tensed, ready to swing it open. Relaxing, he stopped and sighed.

Aka began to cry again.

~~Fire Nation: Palace Halls ~~

The polished floor shone brightly like a sun, sparkling like diamonds. The glow radiated off the floor filling the room with a magnificent glow. A man walked inside, his footsteps echoing in the empty room. He moved swiftly and silently making his way toward a wall to the right of him. The wall was aligned with paintings that spread all around the room. He touched one and gasped. A comet with an orange tail and the rock engulfed in a bright yellow flame erupted in his eye. The man wailed covering his eye and extinguishing the comet. He kneeled on the ground, panting like a dog after a run.

"Is something the matter Fire Lord Sozin?" A man asked, running inside.

"I'm fine." Sozin said, standing back up. "What was that?"

"What was what? Sir, are you sure you're -" The man asked, looking worriedly at the Fire Lord.

"I need an expedition to Crescent Island soon." Sozin arubtly interrupted.

"How soon?" The man asked.

"Immediately." Sozin announced.

~~The Western Air Temple: Air Nomad Bedroom~~

Shin put his arms on Haha's shoulders as she rocked back and forth on a chair while cradling her baby, Aang. "Haha, I've been thinking."

"No, Shin, please don't tell me." Haha said.

"Haha, it may be for the best. We would be selfish keeping Aang to ourselves. The world may need him." Shin said.

Haha started to cry, a silver tear escaping her eye. "But, if he is the Avatar, then they'll take him away."

"Then we'll move with him too." Shin said. "We demand and won't take no for an answer. Shall we go?"

Haha's emotions exploded and a fountain of tears broke free from their prison. She brought her face closer to Aang's. "We will go my little Airbender."

Aang smiled as Haha walked over to a cradle and placed the baby inside.

"Let's go pack honey." Shin said, placing his arm around Haha and escorting her to the living room.

Aang cried being separated from his mother, as tears dripped from his face and drenched the bedsheets. The young Airbender clutched his sheets as he struggled to stand. He fell and cried even more. Shaking his arms, the little boy bended the water out of the sheets but they failed to obey and erupted into little raindrops.

Thinking they were Haha's tears, the nomad smiled.

~~The Southern Air Temple~~

3 Weeks Later

"We are very glad you accepted our invitation and have agreed to participate in the Ceremony of the Four Relics." Gyatso said, helping Shin escort Haha and Aang, now sprouting a tuft of black hair, off the sky bison.

"Thank you Trip Trip." Shin said, petting the bison.

Aang smiled at the bison and struggled to say his name. "Yip Yip?"

"It's Trip Trip honey." Haha smiled.

"Would you be kind to follow me?" Gyatso asked, pointing to a small mountain road.

Gyatso led the three up the windy mountain road until they reached a courtyard. The courtyard was elegantly beautiful with murals of nomads bending, gliding with lemurs, and flying on sky bison everywhere. In the center was a fountain with water sprouting out of the top bowl and curving downwards into the middle bowl which bounced into the bigger bottom bowl. Like sun's rays at each cardinal location, north, south, etc. were beautiful roads that led to a different area of the humongous temple.

The three story walls ringed around the fountain with a domed opening at the foot of the roads and spiraled around the courtyard. Gyatso led them to the center of the fountain and proceeded north.

"This is the way to the Council Chamber." Gyatso explained.

The monk led them to a fork in the road. Turning right, the guests hesitantly followed as they reached the elaborate doors. Now was the moment of truth. Shin and Haha swallowed their fear and followed Gyatso to see if Aang was or was not the Avatar.

Gyatso smiled. "Shall we enter?"

~~The Council Chamber~~

A Few Hours Later

"What is the matter High Monk Pasang?" Monk Futo asked, stopping to eat a leechi nut pie. "Have we discovered our Avatar?"

"This is most unusual." High Monk Pasang said, scratching his beard.

"What?" Monk Tashi yelled. "What can be so unusual about this simple concept? The one with the spirit of the Avatar is the next Avatar!"

"Monk Tashi, the reason I have not decided is because two candidates possessed the presence of the Avatar." High Monk Pasang revealed.

"But that's impossible." Monk Meiji said. "No two can possess the spirit."

"High Monk Pasang has not stated both of the younglings possess the spirit. He merely felt the presence, Monk Meiji." Gyatso reminded.

"Then what are we to do?" Monk Tashi asked.

"We will have to be patient and hope in a few years time that the Avatar Spirit will reveal itself." High Monk Pasang said.

"But if what the Air Agents report is true, then we won't have a few years." Monk Meiji protested.

"For all we know, Guru Pathik is wrong. Unless the Fire Lord, Sozin himself, retaliates with an attack, we must not assume." High Monk Pasang reminded.

~~The Southern Air Temple~~

A Few Hours Later

"What do you mean?" Shin asked. "We expect an answer."

"I know how you must feel, but we cannot determine anything at this point. Do you think you and your wife will be able to reside here for a few more years? We cannot risk losing the Avatar." Gyatso pleaded.

"Yes, we can." Shin said after much hesitation.

"Thank you, I am very much oblige." Gyatso said.

7 BG: Fall

The seasons passed, and time went on. Still, no news had arrived of which of the two is the Avatar. Shin had passed on and Haha was reluctant to leave her son alone, but she had to. Why, she did not say. As a result, Aang was left in the care of Gyatso. Aang looked around the Southern Air Temple. He breathed slowly as he made his way to the Council Chamber, passing many of his friends as he went.

"Today is a very special day Aang." Gyatso said. "The monks have asked to speak to you personally."

"Oh, I wonder why." Aang said, chuckling. "I hope it's not because of the fruit cake incident last week."

"I can assure you it is not." Gyatso smiled.

Aang was snapped out of his worries when the sound of a feminine chuckle caught his ears. He looked over to the right and saw a girl.

The girl had a beautiful face with two stormy grey eyes as her main attraction. Her tanned skin wasn't unusual and her smile made her look fierce but caring. Her long fish-tail braided black hair, parted in the middle, covered most of her back and she wore a necklace embroidered with the Air Nomad symbol.

"Hey Gyatso," Aang said, not being able to take his eyes off of the mysterious girl. "Why is there a girl here?"

"Her name's Mia, Aang." Gyatso said. "Her parents brought her here to finish her Airbending training."

"Well, why did they bring her to an all boy temple?" Aang asked. "That might be pretty distracting for her."

"I have no idea." Gyatso admitted and stroked his beard in thought.

Aang walked in silence until they reached the doors to the Council Chamber. A boy about Aang's age and an old man walked toward them.

"I presume everything went well Afiko?" Gyatso asked.

"Everything went fabulous!" Afiko shouted. "My son, Aka, will be the next Avatar!"

Aang looked at the fellow four year old in front of him. The boy sneered and averted his eyes.

"Hi there!" Aang said, falling into his line of sight and holding out his hand. "I'm Aang. How about you?"

"Aka." The boy responded immediately, but made no effort to shake the hand.

"Come now Aka!" Afiko shouted.

The monk pushed his son until they were out of Aang's sight.

"What was that about?" Aang asked.

"Who knows?" Gyatso said. "Come now, we must get inside."

Gyatso turned and breathed heavily. He shot gusts of wind out of his hands. The wind blew into the tubes of the Air Sanctuary. Aang followed the tubes with his eyes. The first shell turned releasing the air. About a second later, the next shell turned. Finally, the last shell turned and blew the air straight at Aang's face. The doors unhinged and creaked as they opened with a huge boom, revealing the darkness within.

A whirlwind sound filled the empty darkness and Aang turned around frightened but Gyatso wasn't there anymore. He gulped and began walking down the dark room. Aang's steps echoed as he gulped! The menacing sound of the doors closing frightened the Airbender. Aang screamed and ran straight down the room and into a chamber filled with sunlight.

"Aang!" Gyatso yelled.

Aang ran straight up a wall and hung on to a wall supporter. He looked down and saw the Southern Council of Elders, Monk Pasang, Tashi, Futo, Meiji, and Gyatso, looking up at him.

"Oh." Aang chuckled and floated down until he landed in front of the Southern Council of Elders. High Monk Pasang was in the middle with Monk Tashi to his left. Monk Futo sat next to Monk Tashi. Monk Gyatso sat to the right of High Monk Pasang while Monk Meiji sat to the far right.

"Aang, resident of the Southern Air Temple, on level 15 of his Airbending Training, it's time to test you in the Ceremony of the Four Relics." High Monk Pasang said.

Aang sighed in relief.

"Afterwards, we will discuss the fruit cake incident." Monk Tashi snapped.

Aang chuckled nervously.

"They were really delicious." Monk Futo said. "What was your recipe? You have the makings of a great chef."

"Enough Futo." Monk Meiji said. "High Monk Pasang, are you ready?"

"Let the Ceremony of the Four Relics begin!" High Monk Pasang said.

Aang looked around the bright chamber. Gyatso got up and Airbended into a wall. The wall broke into pieces. Rumbling, the earth shook forcing Aang to look around with wild eyes. The floor vibrated but the Southern Council of Elders didn't move. The tremor grew and grew. Through the wall, thousands of items fell out. Soon, more walls opened and even more toys fell out.

"AH!" Aang shouted.

He fell to the floor as many toys collapsed on top of him. Gyatso chuckled, got a stern look from Monk Tashi, and stopped laughing. Aang jumped up and landed farther away from the Southern Council of Elders.

"Aang, you are allowed to choose four toys from this pile." Gyatso said.

"Really?!" Aang asked.

Aang looked through each toy and tossed some away. He looked around and gasped. There was one that looked like a hog monkey. Aang laughed and put the toy in his belt. He looked around for more until he was done.

"Clear this mess." Monk Tashi ordered.

Many Airbenders walked into the room and bended the toys back into the walls.

"Show me the toys you picked out Aang." High Monk Pasang instructed.

Aang took out the four relics and put them in the table between the Southern Council of Elders and himself.

"Now, put your hand on top of them." Monk Futo said.

Aang closed his eyes and put his right hand over the toys. Suddenly, Aang changed to Avatar Roku, then Avatar Kyoshi, then Avatar Kuruk, and lastly Avatar Yangchen.

The Southern Council of Elders gasped.

"What?" Aang asked, returning.

"Nothing, young Airbender." Monk Meiji said.

"Is that it?" Aang asked.

"No, now it's time for the third step." High Monk Pasang said. "You will play with these toys for a week and then return. If you qualify, you would be allowed to keep them."

"Thanks!" Aang said, turning and running out of earshot.

"He is the Avatar!" Monk Tashi shouted.

"Unbelievable." Monk Futo said. "I was hoping he'd be a cook."

"Gyatso, keep a close eye on him," High Monk Pasang said. "We will decide what to do with him after we confirm Afiko's claims."

Gyatso nodded. "I am his guardian after all."

"Come on Gyatso." Aang shouted. Gyatso excused himself and walked off.

"Let us hope nothing happens to change that." High Monk Pasang mumbled under his breath.

Extras

  • Aang's line, "Well, why did they bring her to an all boy temple? That might be pretty distracting for her." was inspired by a comment on The Storm article.
  • Phil Collin's song, You'll Be in My Heart is used as a lullaby, referencing Disney's 1999 film, Tarzan.

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For the collective works of the author, go here.

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