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|The Warrior Within|
27 December, 2014
Bare your teeth, like those of the wolf
Strengthen your loins, like those of the Buffalo-Yak
Cry your nation's name, united against a foe
And if Death glares from the shadows, stare fearlessly into his eyes
--Proverb from Manirak village.
The Hooded She-Spirit, sole female waterbender in their village, councilman of Manirak, and 'supposedly' charmed wolf, reached the base of yet another mound of snow. After jogging for a few more metres, Miki collapsed into the next hill, the soft freezing snow almost feeling like a fluffy pillow in her exhausted state. They had been running for just over two hours, though at quite a quick pace, and the sun had now started to disappear behind rolling blue-grey clouds.
Ulva and Saskha turned back to their fallen comrade. Saskha leant Miki a hand, "We've still got a way to go," She laughed a little afterwards.
As she stood up, Miki began to pant like a parched polar dog. Taking note, Saskha pulled some of her drinking water from her pouch, letting it flow into Miki's mouth. "Perhaps we could slow to a walk or something?" Saskha called out to Onartok, who had kept running. The councilman didn't turn around, which prompted her to yell even louder. "Hey!"
Finally, Onartok stopped in his tracks, and turned back to face the other three. However, he only stared at them, not walking back to join them. After rolling her eyes, Saskha led the other three to where Onartok stood now. "Look, Miki is only 14 years old. She hasn't trained like we have. And even so, we can't keep running the whole way."
Onartok grunted. "You didn't think of this when you signed up for this mission?"
An outraged gasp erupted from Saskha, "I knew it would be hard work, but seriously what's your problem?! You always run several metres in front to keep away from us, you haven't said one word to us since we left Manirak until now, and when you do finally speak you're telling us we have to run the whole way to the Western Air Temple?"
"I never said we had to run the whole way. My point is that we only have three weeks to complete this mission, and so I'm sorry if I assumed you two were up to the task." Onartok retorted.
Saskha was about to respond angrily, but then remembered how upset Onartok's wife Buniq was back at the village. Perhaps he was just frustrated that they had to be apart for three whole weeks. "Look, I know this is difficult; we all have friends and family we left behind to do this. But we need to act as a team. Communicate to each other. Work out what our plans are and all that. Where we will be heading--"
"You want a plan? We're going to find the Avatar. You want a destination? The Western Air Temple. End of story. Now, have I communicated enough for you? Or is there anything else you'd like to do to slow us down even further!"
Saskha couldn't believe what was just said. She was about to reply with her own shouting when Miki spoke up, "What about that bag of coins Chief Iluliaq gave you? I heard him say something about buying Ostrich-Horses?"
The councilman nodded his head, "At the river town of Jiangcheng we will be able to stop and gather supplies. It's the nearest village to us, though it will still take us four days to reach it since we will be crossing the mountain range."
"Why can't we just take the Northern Road? It will take us right to Jiangcheng; it's the first stop from Manirak." Saskha questioned.
Onartok made a cynical grunt, "Yes it is the quickest way, not only to Jiangcheng but also into a prison cell in Utadano. If they catch us and we cannot justify us being away from our tribe they will arrest us. We cannot let them know that we are seeking the Avatar; what if they got to him first? Our whole mission is to keep away from Utadano and make contact with the other nations, one of which has the Avatar." He turned back to the hills ahead. "So, if you're all finished, we best be on our way. We have to climb these mountains ahead."
As Onartok began jogging once again, Miki turned to her sister, "I suppose running it is." She managed to utter in between short breaths.
"I swear, he's going to get on my nerves if he keeps acting like this," Saskha mumbled angrily. Nevertheless, the sisters and Ulva complied, trying their best to keep up with Onartok.
After twenty or so more minutes of jogging, the group made their way into the forests ahead. While the snow wasn't as thick under the trees, making it easier to walk through, the terrain was much steeper than any of the hills they had passed already. Onartok didn't have to let the others know to slow down to a walk through the forests, since he himself could not maintain a steady jog through the forest floor. Even though she was exhausted, Miki couldn't help but grin every now and again. She still couldn't believe that she was really here outside of Manirak, heading to the Earth Kingdom and lands outside of her hometown that she had never seen before. Of course, they were here for an important mission, though it didn't stop her excitement from bubbling inside of her. Whenever the group reached the crest of the next hill, Miki would try and look back at how far they had come. These very hills were the ones she used to stare out at from her own hill in Manirak. She wondered if she would be able to see Manirak from here, or at least the hills she used to watch from, but there were very few clearings in the forest hills they marched through now.
Another few hours of trudging through the dense forest passed, and the group now reached the tree line which lead to the next few mountains to cross. Leaving behind the woody smells and occasional chirp of some forest-dwelling bird, the group pressed on into the thick snow. The mountain before Miki towered over her, though still looming in the distance. In between them and the first mountain were seemingly endless snow-covered hills, with only spots of rocks and boulders to poke through the endless blanket of white. By this stage of the day, the sun had nearly completely disappeared behind the clouds, and the elusive moon would soon take its place.
Onartok turned back to the others, and even he looked worn out from their trek so far. "The Manirak Mountains are made up of two ranges and a valley in between. We will have to start the climb of the first lot tomorrow, but let's keep going until sundown."
Neither of the girls could manage more than a gasp in reply. Saskha had finished all her drinking water already, and so she had to refill her animal skin pouches once again. The next few hills were even steeper than the forest hills, and at some points Miki even had to scale them as if they were a wall. But thankfully Saskha was there, who often had to use her waterbending to pull Miki up the hill. Ulva also needed the extra help at times, though for the most part he seemed to enjoy the climb.
By the time the sun had set, and the moon finding its own space in the cloudy sky, the group had reached a plateau just before the rest of the mountain range. The first mountain Miki had seen when they had emerged from the forest still towered above her, reminding her that they still had a way to go. Tomorrow was going to be a long day.
After receiving the instruction from Onartok, Saskha began setting up camp. She first hastily constructed an ice hut of some sort, using her bending to from large triangle shapes from ground pointing inwards to resemble a tent. After setting his possessions on the ground, Onartok walked into the nearby trees and shrubs to their left, though it was surprising that even a few trees could live up at this altitude. Most of the plants around them were low, dense shrubs, which were blanketed in snow anyway and barely visible.
Miki motioned with her head at the leaving councilman, "Where's he going?"
"Bah, who knows?" Her sister scoffed in reply. "I know we aren't exactly friends, but at least we're trying to make the best of it. He's just driving us to extremes marching for hours without a break, spending time on his own, and hardly ever saying a word to us. We should have just left without him."
"But he did have the idea of crossing these mountains instead of going on the Northern Road," Miki reasoned. "We might have made that mistake if he weren't here. Besides, what is there to talk about? Maybe it is better that we keep to ourselves."
Saskha sighed, "I suppose you're right. Anyway, I'd better start a fire to cook some of the food we've been given which will spoil otherwise." And with that she took the spark rocks from her pack, and collected some nearby sticks to light. After drawing the water from the damp wood, Saskha clicked the rocks together producing small flickers of sparks. After a few seconds the sticks caught alight, and after careful nurturing of the embers a flame burned brightly.
Not even one minute after the fire was lit a lump of snow hurled itself into the flames, putting them out with a hiss. At first slightly worried, Saskha turned around to face whatever threw the snow, but afterwards scowled as she saw none other than Onartok briskly marching back to their campsite.
"Are you mad?" The councilman glared at Saskha, "A fire, at night?"
"What's your problem?! I was about to start cooking--"
"There are trees nearby. We are almost in enemy territory! There could be Utadano scout parties anywhere, hiding in these trees or down the hill. And you think it is okay to light a fire? You may as well be waving a flag and screaming, "Come and get us! We're easy prey!"
Saskha clicked her tongue angrily, "There's no one here! We're sitting on the top of a tall mountain for spirit's sake!"
Miki stood up as well, glancing at Onartok, "Well maybe you could have just come over here and talked to us instead of throwing that ball of snow at the fire from a distance."
The councilman sighed loudly, shutting his eyes and placed his index finger and thumb around the top of his nose. "Look, this is how it is going to work. I will cook my own food. You cook your own food. I sleep in my own hut. You sleep in your own hut. I walk a few metres ahead of you. You walk a few behind. If we just keep to ourselves, and stay out of each other's hair, than we will be able to function properly as a team, as you put it earlier Saskha." Saskha tried to respond but Onartok cut her off, "But most importantly, I expect you to listen to me. I did not leave my wife and village behind on this mission to protect both of you, just so you could do something stupid and get us all captured or worse. You can light the fire in the early morning, sheltering it to ensure that the plume of smoke does not give away our position. That is all."
After finishing, Onartok turned and raised both his arms simultaneously, constructing a similar hut from the ice to Saskha's. After picking up his bag and other belongings he made his way inside the hut, sweeping an arm upwards to close the door.
The sisters sat for a few seconds, mouths agape. "Who does he think he is?!" Saskha exclaimed in a hot whisper, "I can't believe him!"
"Maybe we should just leave it for now," Miki let out a huge yawn, "I'm far too tired to be arguing anyway. And I'm looking forward to that turkey-gull we get to cook tomorrow morning."
"I'll have to wrap it and keep it in the snow to preserve it for tomorrow morning," Saskha mentioned as the sisters made their way inside their hut. Saskha had to alter the design slightly to incorporate a space for Ulva as well, and once he was inside he snuggled against Miki in her sleeping bag. The young girl stroked her friend behind his ears, and his bright blue eyes lit up for a moment before the effects of fatigue and exhaustion began to seal them shut. It seemed all of them had had a rough day, and they would need their sleep in order to make it up the mountain tomorrow.
Miki awoke the next morning to a peculiar sound. Groaning slightly she rolled to the side, feeling the fuzziness of deep sleep reluctantly wearing off. As she started to fully awaken, Miki recognised what had woken her. Out of all things, it was a pan flute.
Storming out of their ice hut, Miki marched past her sister cooking some delicious smelling breakfast, ignoring her greeting and continuing to the man sitting on the next hill, his pan flute in hand.
Onartok noticed her approaching, though didn't stop playing until Miki had been there a few seconds, glaring angrily into his eyes. "Yes?"
"I have tried to put up with you. I have tried to allow you to do you want to do. I even tried to convince my sister to drop whatever it was last night that got you all upset. But this is too much!" She yelled, pointing a finger towards herself, "Yesterday I travelled for half a day, jogging for a lot of it and climbing this mountain for the rest. You could at least have let me sleep in for spirit's sake! We have to climb that massive thing today!" She motioned towards the looming mountain before them. "Who on earth plays the pan flute anyway?! What, are you going to play for the Utadano soldiers all the way to their prisons when they hear us and find us?"
"Sunrise was almost an hour ago," Onartok motioned towards the cloudless sky, the orange orb beaming over all the hills and rocks peeking from the snow. It was really quite stunning, and Miki would have appreciated it any other day since today she had been woken up by some musical instrument. "Besides, too much sleep keeps the body heavy and sluggish, while meditation and music can aid one's spirituality and prepare them for whatever lies ahead." The councilman concluded matter-of-factly.
"I don't believe this," Miki muttered before turning away and heading back to the ice huts. There was no reasoning with councilman Onartok; he seemed to always think he was right, and would never give any room for any other opinion. As she continued back to the huts, Miki was greeted again with the tantalizing aroma of cooked turkey-gull, and joined her sister at the cooking plate over the fire.
Saskha grinned slightly, "I thought it sounded kind of nice."
"Shut up Saskha. You know I hate getting woken up in the morning." Miki grimaced at her sister, her tired eyes liked claws lashing out. "It seems we've had a role-reversal; I was trying just to look past everything that he was doing while you were getting frustrated with him last night, and now it seems like it's the other way around."
"I'm still annoyed at him too," Saskha replied. She inspected the turkey-gull to see whether the outside was crisp, and once satisfied placed the whole thing into a pot of boiling water over the fire, stirring the contents with her bending. "I know that he didn't like our father but there's no reason to take it out on us."
Onartok had gotten up from his spot on the snowy mound to walk over to the sisters. None of them greeted the councilman as he stood in front of them, and neither did he to them, but after a few seconds he spoke, "Miki, I was wondering if we could have a word."
Miki rolled her eyes, "Haven't you already annoyed me enough today?" She asked with an exasperated voice.
"My job on this mission is to ensure that you and your sister are safe. But to do that I need to know that you can protect yourself."
"I have my powers, as you know," Miki replied with a monotone and uninterested voice. This councilman was trying her patience more and more by the minute.
Onatok unfolded his arms as he continued, "But you only seem to use them at night? Can you not use them during the day?"
Miki shifted uncomfortably. It felt strange talking to someone else about her abilities who she didn't know very well. "No, I can't. So we could just enter the Earth Kingdom villages on the way at night in case Utadano soldiers are there."
"And what if they come during the day? What if they ambushed us right now?"
"Exactly. You cannot protect yourself without the help of your powers, which you cannot use during the day."
"What's your point?" Miki asked him irritably.
Onartok paused a moment, as if he knew that his next words might not be taken well, "I am asking you if I could train you. In combat that is."
The young girl laughed sarcastically, "You're not serious are you? You know, I thought you were just stuck up and annoying, but now it seems you have a personality disorder, since you keep changing your mind about whether you want to be around us or not."
The councilman grunted at Miki's insults but did not respond any further to them, instead continuing with his original conversation, "The point, is that I need to know that you can handle your own at all times of the day. I know we have our differences, but... Perhaps we can put them aside for now."
Miki turned her glare away from the councilman, only to be greeted by her sister's eyes. "Miki, he has a point."
"What? Not you too."
Saskha laughed, "You know I can't believe I hadn't thought of training you myself, since father and councilman Noarah taught me." She motioned to the cooking pot in front of her, "But breakfast will be a while, so you have some time to at least learn the basics."
"I'm... Not really the fighting type."
"Well, you're going to have to be," Onartok replied. He motioned behind himself to a flat patch of snow. Miki reluctantly arose, glaring at her sister on the ground and expelling an angry sigh. The councilman stood opposite Miki, "So ... First we should pick a weapon."
Miki pointed to the machete near Onartok's stuff, "I suppose your machete will do, I'll be happy to take that from you," She joked unapologetically.
Onatok frowned, "Well, we wouldn't want to give you anything sharp, lest you slice you own arm off by accident."
"You make me sound as skilled as a slug-a-pede with no legs." She muttered sarcastically.
"Quite accurate if you ask me," Onartok grinned slightly. The expression looked strange and abnormal on him, almost like an otter penguin performing a trick it rarely did. But soon after his reply, his mouth reformed into the serious frown it usually was. He walked over to Miki and began examining her, making Miki feel uncomfortable. After a few seconds he placed his hand on his chin, deep in thought, and then proceeded to make his way over to the collection of weapons by his ice tent. It was no arsenal, but at least they had spare weapons in case any were stolen or went missing. After selecting a weapon, Onartok turned and walked back to Miki, holding the weapon in his hands. "This here is a battle club," He held the weapon out to Miki, and she took hold of it.
Miki lifted the club up and down a few times, feeling the weight of the weapon. It was almost like a curved sword, though it did not have a blade and instead a heavy blue ball was attached to the top. The rest of the weapon was white, most likely made from the femur of some carnivorous animal. "Why did you choose this one?"
"Well, given that you are 14 years old, a girl, and probably have very little muscle or strength in you upper arms, the weight of the club and the pull of gravity will help make up for your lack of strength needed to make powerful strikes."
"Way to make me sound like I have potential," Miki muttered sarcastically.
"Anyway, first things first, we need to establish our relationship. I do not know how long I will be teaching you, but I need you to show respect towards me as I am your teacher." Miki responded by rolling her eyes and sighing, eliciting a frown from Onartok. But he didn't dwell on it, and instead continued with his teaching, "So Miki, tell me what you know of the element of water."
"I didn't realise that we were learning philosophy."
Onartok laughed, "Philosophy is tied to all of life Miki. It is woven into our spirituality, bending, music, culture, and our fighting style." He motioned to her to continue answering his question.
"I... Suppose water is the element of change."
"And what does that mean?"
Miki paused before answering, "Water moves down the stream, adapting and changing to the environment."
Onartok smiled, and again it looked strange to be upon his face, "Exactly. Change and adaptability are fundamental concepts to waterbending. One must employ a variety of moves and techniques to their waterbending repertoire because it is uncertain what environment a waterbender will find themselves in. It is our biggest weakness which the other elements do not possess; air and earth are abundant in almost all areas, and fire is created from one's own body. But this weakness with water being the scarcest of elements is also what makes waterbending versatile, as different styles are needed to suit different environments."
"Well in case you haven't noticed, I'm not a waterbender."
"But remember what we just said about philosophy? It ties into all areas. The concepts surrounding waterbending are also applied to our fighting style."
Miki even managed a small smile at the councilman's statement. She had never thought of that before; that waterbending concepts were tied to fighting style as well. With a little more enthusiasm, Miki listened to Onartok's next words.
"To fight like a true Water Tribesman, one must utilize the flow of energy in a battle. Your weapon in your hands," Miki glanced at the club, "Is an extension of your own body, and because of this it is an extension of your own energy. Your chi flows through your body, extending to your limbs and allowing them to move. You must train this flow of energy to follow your command."
"You're sounding a little like an Airhead," Miki mumbled under her breath. She still didn't quite get how all this 'chi' stuff worked, though it seemed important to learning how to defend herself so she tried her best to listen on.
"In waterbending and combat, one deals with the flow of energy, turning an opponent's attacks into their strength and redirecting the energy into their own attack. To do this, one must have an understanding of chi and their own energy. So, it seems fitting to teach you the basic defensive positions so you can learn how to redirect your opponent's energy in your own attack." The councilman scanned the snow around them, and once he noticed a sizeable stick he picked it up in his hands. "Now Miki, show me your best defensive posture."
Miki didn't quite understand what he meant at first, but then held the club in her right hand near her face. Onartok stood next to Miki a while, his hand resting on his chin again as he pondered. He reached out with his arm and pulled Miki's club-holding arm down a little, "It is best to keep a balanced posture when defending from a foe; you must protect your vital body parts evenly. To protect only your head leaves your body wide open. Now," Onartok took a few steps back, "I'm going to swing this stick at you, and I want you to hold your defensive position to block it."
Onartok held the stick behind his body, ready to swing it forwards. Miki gulped. She shouldn't be afraid of a stick, especially when she was holding a club in her own hands. Holding the club up how Onartok had shown her, Miki braced herself for his attack.
The stick collided with her own weapon, which she had successfully used to block Onartok's attack. However, the force of his strike caused Miki to flinch and lose her ground, nearly falling backwards. Onartok straightened himself, "Your stance is off. You need to have a wider stance when defending, or you will be easily knocked over."
Growling slightly, Miki shifted her feet in the snow until they were a little wider apart, and her body lower to the ground. "Again," Onartok called as he swung the stick in Miki's vicinity, though this time in travelled in a wide arc from the right. Miki held her club out to block the attack, though again the power behind the stick made her stumble. Despite this, she readied herself as the councilman repeated his word, this third time the weapon was pointed straight ahead. With a stabbing motion he lunged forwards and although Miki swung the club upwards to defend, Onartok's attack was too quick. The stick collided with her shoulder, and this caused her to slip backwards.
"Why do you hesitate? Are you afraid?" Onartok simply watched as Miki rose to her feet.
"I'm not afraid of some stupid stick!" Miki called out.
"Then tell me what you see in your hands."
Miki glanced at the weapon in her hands, "A battle club, as you said."
Onartok sighed, "Wrong Miki. Tell me, what do you see in my hands?"
The young girl had no idea where Onartok was going with this, and the fact that her answer was wrong when there was clearly a battle club in her hands made no sense whatsoever. But still, she tried her best to answer, "A stick?"
"Wrong again." Onartok held his arms out as he spoke, "Have you not heard anything we talked about before? Think about what I said earlier about the fundamental concepts of waterbending, and then tell me what you see in both of our hands."
"Um... Weapons?" Miki suggested.
"Yes, but more importantly weapons are...?"
"An extension of one's own body," Miki finished the councilman's sentence.
Onartok managed a slight smile, "Yes. And flowing through your body is your own chi, your own energy. Now, let's lie all of this together," The councilman held his stick in one hand and gestured to Miki's club with the other, "There is no need to fear whatever your opponent holds in his hands. Do not view these things as a 'stick' or a 'club'; they are extensions of oneself, and are extensions of one's chi. The stick and club are just forms that the energy takes, and of course anything could be used as an extension of one's body. Therefore, it is important to understand the flow of energy in order to become a talented fighter."
Miki nodded slowly to Onartok's words. She was beginning to understand what he meant, though it was still confusing how it would all tie together.
"Remember what I said about the fundamental concepts of waterbending? One deals with the flow of energy, turning their opponent's attacks into their own attack. But to do this, a warrior must first 'receive' the energy as such. You must predict how my arm will move, where it will come from, the force behind it, in order to 'receive' the energy in my strike by blocking my attack. Watch and predict the best way to block my strikes, do not simply flail that weapon around. When you are able to judge your opponent's body movements it matters not whether he holds a club, stick, or just uses his fists. Understand how his energy flows, how his body moves, and predict the best way to defend."
Narrowing her eyes, Miki braced herself for Onartok's next move. With lightning fast movements, the councilman lunged forward again with a stabbing motion. Miki swung her club upwards but the stick collided with the same shoulder as before, causing Miki to fall backwards.
"Predict my movements, and alter your own defensive position accordingly. Only then will you be able to redirect the flow of energy." Onartok suggested as Miki stood up again. Brushing her hair out of her face, Miki tried desperately to predict the councilman's next move. She concentrated hard, trying to feel the energy in his next strike. His left arm pulled back slightly, and his hips twisting in the same direction as he thrust his right arm bearing the stick forwards. Time seemed to slow down as Miki not only saw, but felt his next move. She could somehow sense his muscles tensing, noting which ones were extending and contracting. Focusing in on these movements, Miki lifted her club into the path of the stick, pushing it up so the stick only struck the air above her head.
"Perfect. Again." This time, Onartok swung the stick from the right in an arc. Miki once again tried to hone in on his movements, watching his body move and projecting its future position in her mind. His arm was moving quite quickly, and at this angle she would have to swing her club upwards to redirect the path of his attack. In the split second that she had to decide how to respond, Miki figured out what to do. Bringing the club to her right, she lifted it until it collided with the stick, which again only struck air as it slid against the club.
Retracting his weapon, Onartok smiled. For his next attack he first stepped forward on his left foot, and Miki could somehow sense his right arm beginning to swing her way. But it lacked the power behind it like his first attacks, so Miki guessed perhaps he wouldn't end up striking with his right arm. Just as she predicted, Onartok feinted a right, and quickly tossed the stick into his left hand to carry out the motion of swinging to the left. But Miki had predicted this, and simply stepped back with he left leg to dodge the attack altogether.
"Good. You're beginning to realise that there is more to defensive maneuvers than simply blocking attacks. Letting my own energy flow without redirecting it is a good way to tire an opponent. Again." After he said this, Onartok began circling Miki, striking every few seconds. Miki kept her guard up, and almost always blocked his attacks. There were a few times where he would strike and Miki would not block the attack properly, and stumble back a few steps, but for the most part she seemed to be getting the hang of defending herself. She had somehow learned how to sense his body movements and predict his next attacks, almost like when she used her powers under the moon to feel another's muscles in their body and control them.
Onartok then spun to the right, catching Miki off-guard since she moved to the left. She had tried to block his attack she thought he would make. This exposed her right side, and as Onartok moved over there he lunged again with a stabbing motion, thrusting the stick through the air. Miki quickly stepped back on her right foot, dodging his strike, and then used the momentum of pushing her right side back to thrust the club and her left arm forwards. Her club connected with the stick from a side on an angle, but then she somehow managed to send Onartok's weapon flying to the right as she brought the weapon upwards in a swinging motion. The stick spiralled towards the campsite and nearly struck Saskha in the forehead, who yelled something Miki couldn't hear properly from where she was.
Miki stared at the strange weapon in her hands, wondering how on earth she had managed to fling the stick from Onartok's hands. The councilman smiled and walked over to Miki, "And that, is why I gave you a battle club to use." He took the weapon in his hands, kneeling slightly so that he was level with the young girl. "This battle club teaches the fundamentals of Water Tribe fighting style all in itself. The weight in the ball end helps a warrior learn to channel their chi into their striking arm, as strength is needed to swing the weapon around. But it also teaches how to redirect an opponent's attack with this part," Onartok ran his fingers over a notch in the weapon just below the blue ball. "Using this notch in the weapon, one can disarm an opponent and send their weapon flying from their hands."
Miki glanced over at the campsite, though she couldn't see the stick she remembered how she had flung it over in that direction only seconds ago. The councilman placed the weapon back in Miki's hands, continuing with his explanation, "But to deflect a weapon and disarm an opponent, a warrior must understand his opponent's movements; you must understand how his energy is flowing, how his body moves, in order to block and redirect his attack. See, my chi was tied up in my attack when I lunged at you, but you turned my own attack against me by simply sidestepping and disarming me. Now of course, there are many other things to consider when in a battle. If a large battle axe-wielding soldier runs at you, you would probably employ a strategy to dodge his attacks rather than block them. But what we have covered today are the basics in combat; you must predict your opponent's moves, and understand the energy flow in each of his movements. And as you have seen today, combat can also involve avoiding attacks, and so in that way our bending art and fighting style is almost graceful. A set of movements, flowing on from one another."
The councilman walked back to the campsite, Miki following behind him. When they reached his tent, Onartok tossed a satchel for the club which could hang from Miki's shoulder. "You keep this weapon now, and practice with it every day." He managed a smile after he had finished, and somehow, Miki felt that maybe the grumpy and stuck up councilman wasn't so bad after all. She turned back to the mountainside from which they had trekked yesterday, finally able to appreciate the sun's radiant golden glow over the snow-capped pine trees far below them. Perhaps Onartok would make a warrior out of her after all.
- Ironically, what Onartok thinks is Miki beginning to predict an opponent's attack by sensing their chi flowing, is actually Miki's first taste of bloodbending during the day. Though she didn't actually bend any muscles, she was able to sense Onartok's during the battle, similarly to how she would sense a person's body movements while bloodbending at night.
|Spirit of the North|
|• Chapter 1 - Manirak • Chapter 2 - Memories • Chapter 3 - The Librarian • Chapter 4 - Liberation • Chapter 5 - Guilt • Chapter 6 - A Final Goodbye • Chapter 7 - Reconnection • Chapter 8 - Visitors from the East • Chapter 9 - Avatar • Chapter 10 - The Dream that Led to a Journey • Chapter 11 - Promise • Chapter 12 - The Vote • Chapter 13 - Unspoken Desires • Chapter 14 - Beyond the Borders • Chapter 15 - Foreseer of Futures • Chapter 16 - The Warrior Within • Chapter 17 - First Blood • Chapter 18 - Victories and Defeats • Chapter 19 - Secrets of the Book • Chapter 20 - Entering the Earth Kingdom• Chapter 21 - The Dream Nobody Thought Would Come True • Chapter 22 - The Great River City: Part 1 • Chapter 23 - The Great River City: Part 2|
For the collective works of the author, go here.