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Previously, on The First Avatar...
The origin of the planet and the bending arts were explained as slowly evolving over time. The Lion Turtle was responsible for teaching a group of 500 individuals the art of energybending and allowing them to split into five groups of 100; the first four scatter and learn the other four elemental bending arts while the fifth stayed behind and attempted to preserve an inevitably-uninteresting art form against an apathetic younger populace. Thousands of years later, the world was plunged into war and the prophecy of the supreme being known as an Avatar has been partially confirmed.
At his mentor's command, the young whippersnapper moved his arms back and made a spherical spinning motion with his hands which created a sizable ball of air whipping around at high speeds. As soon as the sphere was fully-formed, he gradually slowed his hand movements, only to execute a jumping spin around his backside and hurl the ball at a target tied to a tree over 300 meters away. He looked on in dismay, as the sphere missed the target by around five feet. "Argh" he grunted, expressing his disgust. "Every time I attempt to generate enough power, I'm always overestimating my abilities and thus missing the target."
"I preach patience here Tenzu, my young pupil. Your aim is indeed improving, but not to the level it once was in years past. You have been slacking in terms of your precision training."
"As I've been repeatedly made aware of, Monk Shinjin" Tenzu retorted. "I acknowledge that I have been proficient in the past, yet when I proceeded to learn more advanced airbending techniques I erred by not taking the time necessary to review the essential concepts of previously-acquired skills."
"And there the problem lies. Unlike your schooling, you can't afford to regurgitate past experiences just for the moment. Like the other bending arts, airbending is an extension of the bender's self, channeling energies throughout the body in order to perform incredible feats of martial arts. But unlike the other arts, where one can simply hold older techniques to a lesser standard while learning newer motions, airbending demands that every strategy and move learned by the individual is given an equal amount of emphasis at all times. If not, the art becomes misaligned and you fall out of balance, leaving you vulnerable. I take this rule seriously every time I train or have to defend myself. There is a reason why airbending is the most dynamic bending art form out of the five in total. We lack the crushing strength and rigidity of earthbending, the lightning-fast reflexes and highly-accurate killing blows of firebending, and the variable qualities of waterbending. We must learn to think on our feet and constantly apply all our techniques to survive all challenges, whether natural or man-made."
"That really puts things into perspective" a momentarily-awestruck Tenzu quietly replied. "But it also shows you're a tough instructor."
"I know, and even though I sometimes regret being hard to learn from, there is a certain measure of pride gained when one tutor watches his or her students acquire and successfully apply the techniques they've learned."
"You always were a bit melodramatic when describing the successes of past students."
"Guilty as charged" a gleeful Shinjin replied, blushing with embarrassment.
"Now, about improving my accuracy with the air ball..." a sly Tenzu states.
"Oh, I've got an idea... and it involves my masterfully-made jelly cakes" a jubilant Shinjin quips.
"NICE!!! Oh, I'm yearning for nostalgic experiences."
"Do you remember we used to do this when you were but a small, inexperienced six-year old? The idea's to fire perfectly-formed air balls at these cakes, launching them in the air, only to have them land full-force on each of the Council Monks' heads. Are you ready?" asked Shinjin, to which Tenzu joyfully replied "Never gotten tired of this."
With the mentor and protege standing side-by-side, Shinjin commenced the countdown. "1": Both airbenders drew their arms back while moving their hands in the same circular motion, each creating an air ball. "2": The pair then gradually slowed their hand movements and jumped in the air off their front feet, beginning a 360-degree spin. At the emphatic count of "3", Shinjin and Tenzu landed on their back feet, their bodies leaning forward and their palms outstretched; the action launched their air balls at the cakes, subsequently enabling them to rise 200 feet in the air and eventually landed on the heads of each of the Council monks. Both laughed at the aftereffects, and then Shinjin encouraged Tenzu to use the same strategy against the target from before. Tenzu applied the refined technique, and hit the target dead-center.
"Finally!" exclaimed the triumphant Tenzu.
"You see? The previously-learned techniques must be constantly refined and maintained while advancing in your bending training". Suddenly, Shinjin's carefree demeanor was replaced by a more serious, and stern-sounding one. "Now that it is only a matter of hours before your exile from the Northern Air Temple as well as the other regions is set to start, are you prepared to sacrifice your playful intentions and turn your thoughts to redeeming yourself?"
Tenzu's lips became pursed and his confidence was replaced by a fearful, but muted sense of regret. "This is the worst I've felt about anything in such a long time. I'm going to miss this place, with all its serene beauty, vast fields, and countless friends and acquaintances. At least you'll be joining me in my journey towards rehabilitation."
"Indeed I am, and I am happy to join you, despite some recently heated opposition. Part of redeeming oneself requires that an individual should periodically remind him/herself what he/she did wrong initially. Do you care to remind myself as well as some other individuals about what you were responsible for?" inquired Shinjin.
"If I must, then it shall be done."
Visions of a Terrible Week
"Last week, I received the airbending tattoos acquired only by mastering the bending art, and at the tender age of fourteen I was one of the youngest airbending masters since the discipline was first taught to the energybenders by the Flying Bison thousands of years ago. No doubt I was overjoyed by my new certification, but I was eager to test my skills in combat, as all master airbenders are obliged to do as an immediate initiation, post-promotion. As a result, I was partnered with an old rival, Soro, and the venue was the canyon at the foot of the mountain. After the match commenced, Soro initiated the first move; an air slash at my back. I dodged it in time and generated two air balls, but he countered with two of his own and both sets canceled each other out. Soro then conjured a massive air cylinder striking me square in the forehead and catapulting me in midair. While I reeled from the impact, he used his enhanced speed and ran towards my backside, generating another cylindrical construct which bruised my left latissimus dorsi muscle. Cringing in pain, I yelled "ENOUGH!", and fired an air wake which he evaded. Once my feet were firmly on the ground, I became apoplectic with rage. My memory became somewhat fuzzy at this point, but from what one of the spectating monks informed me afterwards, my pupils narrowed and started to glow white with such polarity that everyone witnessing the fight could observe it. I still remember that I was lucid and very much in control of my faculties after that instance...."
Shinjin, noticing the abrupt stop asked, "What's wrong my pupil? Are you ready to continue?"
Tears were starting to flow down the young airbender's cheeks, and soon they progressed at a quicker pace. It was immediately made clear to the monk that Tenzu was finding reliving his recent experiences intensely difficult and was nearly unable to proceed. Shinjin advanced towards his student and consoled him "I know it's hard right now, but foretelling the regrettable action is always the hardest part to cover," to which a sad and dejected Tenzu replied "As much as it pains me, maybe this will grant me a bit of closure". He then began to divulge the final sequence of events.
"I darted towards Soro and he launched an assortment of air projectiles at me, which I blocked with an air shield. Then, I fired four air disruptions at Sora's limbs, temporarily immobilizing them above the ground. He then blew a large volume of air at me, and I jumped high in the air to avoid the impact. Once I was at that point, I generated a tornado; a technique you somewhat taught me but subsequently did not teach me all of it, saying it was too powerful and thus I needed to educate myself in the rest of the strategy involved; and once I did that, I launched it at Sora's paralyzed body to which he was unable to counter or evade from. Upon returning to the rocks below me, I generated an air cylinder and knocked him over the canyon wall. What I did next was something I wished never occurred. I jumped after him, with palms clasped together and struck a blow to his chest, knocking him down full-force to the canyon floor, 150 feet below the surface. Fortunately the impact was not as severe as I feared, as he managed to free himself of the disruptions and generate an air current to cushion the blow. However, he still suffered a fractured right arm, a broken left leg, and a bruised neck."
"I was immediately brought before the Council of Elders to explain my actions during the fight. While the Air Nomad laws permit fights as part of the initiation after airbending mastery is bestowed upon an individual, the Codex also strongly condemns the use of blind rage or overzealous emotions whilst in a brawl, as they can unfairly influence the results and turn a clean fight into a bloody mess, which I unintentionally had done moments before. Pending a public inquiry, I was tasked with aiding in Soro's initial recovery, despite my protests. After three stress-filled and remorseful days, I relinquished care of Soro to the medics and headed over to the Grand Square, where my inquiry took place. After two more days of misery, the Council's verdict was handed down and I was sentenced to exile until I could redeem myself in such a way that a return would be possible."
"Now here I stand, telling my story to you Monk Shinjin."
"Even though I'm part of the Council, I had to excuse myself from the deliberations, since you are my pupil and it would've presented a conflict of interest. I presented myself to the rest of the Elders in private and told them I desired some leniency in the final judgement; at least I was allowed to do that and protect some of your dignity. You're quite lucky that the Council didn't resort to sending for a member of the Society of Energybenders to remove your bending skills while having you remain capable of bending, as is the typical punishment for this type of infraction."
"Then I have to thank the SoE in advance for not having to be summoned by the Council, eh?"
"What is 'eh'? Some 'great white north' saying?"
"I don't know... I only heard it from my friend Azure when she visited here last month; and now I can't stop saying it."
"Ah, I see. Anyways, let's get some rest; the official statement of your exile is tomorrow."
The next morning, Tenzu was awoken by the Council of Elders. One of them stepped forward and asked him "Do you know who I am?" To which the young airbending master replied, "You are Monk Taishu, the head of the Council of Elders for the Northern Air Temple, Monk Shinjin's superior and the presenter of decrees and statements of exile."
"That is indeed correct. Please step forward and hear this regrettable statement, as stated in the Air Nomad Codex," to which Tenzu obliged "I am ready to accept my fate."
"Master Airbender Tenzu, due to your recent actions, if not intentional, you are now hereby exiled as of this moment. You will still bear the mark of mastery and be officially known as such, however you are forbidden to set foot on this hallowed ground and this is extended toward the other air temples as well. For your voyage, you are to be given seven days' rations, your glider-staff, your Flying Bison, Anka, and a companion of your choosing, though Monk Shinjin already volunteered himself to go with you. You are not permitted to return until you have atoned and redeemed yourself for your actions, or have been summoned by the Council.
"Fourteen years ago, I received a vision stating that you are destined for great things. I do not understand what those may be at this moment, but when the time comes, I'll be able to tell you." Taishu told Tenzu.
"I accept your judgement, and I will now be on my way, to find my friends, and carry out the exile to the best of my abilities. Come with me Shinjin, let's leave this place."
"Right away, Tenzu."
After the two left, Taishu turned to his colleagues and told them "Send a letter to Malu at the Eastern Air Temple, telling her that she has been summoned to meet us. We'll be needing her assistance."
- This is the longest chapter the author has written to date, and while he hopes that the other chapters won't exceed this one in length, he may submit to writing more issues of similar or greater length due to a certain prankster's demands.
- When Shinjin mentions "some other individuals" before Tenzu recounts his actions, the author is poking fun at the readers of the fanon. No one would know of the succeeding events if there were no readers.
- The author credits his Canadian heritage by having Tenzu say the popular Canadian colloquialism "eh," with Shinjin replying with "great white north," another reference to Canada.
- Taishu foretells Tenzu of his destiny, though neither know of its true potential yet. As the readers know but the characters don't (dramatic irony), Tenzu is destined to become the first Avatar.
- Tenzu's pupils glowing during the match is an early sign of the Avatar State, though he doesn't know it yet. He's still in control of his actions and the true state will not appear for some time.
- The latissimus dorsi muscle is the medical description of the middle-back muscle (plural: Latissimi Dorsi). The two muscles are situated in between the trapezius (upper-back) muscle and the erector spinae (lower-back) muscles.
For the collective works of the author, go here.
|The First Avatar Chapters|
Prologue - Tenzu's Past - The Eyes of Malu - The Forged Friendships, Part 1