|More from CigerlitMizu||Adventure||G (all ages)||Here||No update page|
|Out With the Old|
A Story of Light and Hope
Book 1: Sorrow
Chapter 2: Siku's Shortcut
A Story of Light and Hope:
Book 1: Sorrow
Chapter 1: Out With the Old
In 172 AG, Kuvira was encouraging more and more states around the Earth Kingdom to be turned over to her protection. However, some states and provinces obviously didn't cooperate as much as others. A few weeks earlier, Kuvira had claimed all of the Huoshan Island and Kaigan Island states to be under her protection, after a lengthy story about an important figure who lived there, reminding Kuvira and the world of how important those Islands used to be. She ended up preserving areas and secrets that they felt needed to be kept away from the outside world, an exception that Kuvira wouldn't normally grant.
Upon arriving in the Eastern Si Wong Desert, Kuvira got off her train. "Hello, State of Eastern Si Wong! I have come to negotiate with your leaders so that this state can be under the full protection of my army!" Kuvira's signature raspy and loud voice echoed around a small temporary encampment.
"I'm sorry," a man came up from the background, "but the Hami Tribe doesn't need your protection." The man then stood in front of her, looking at her and two of her guards firmly.
"And why is that?" Kuvira asked sheepishly.
"This desert is home to many spirits now, and we can't let you tamper with the new world that has been created by Harmonic Convergence." The man's firm voice almost sounded violent.
"Please, I think you can do a better job than that story!" Kuvira laughed. "People from a couple of Islands told me an amazing story about their history, notably about a whole time period, but about how involved their territories were at the time. They asked me to preserve certain areas for them, and I gladly accepted, but you think that with such a cheap excuse, I will just leave you alone?"
The Hami Tribe leader swallowed loud enough to hear a gulp sound. "Well then, what kind of amazing story did they tell you?"
"I was hoping you'd ask that." She replied, happily. Her eyes got smaller as she calmed down.
In a tent, after dusk, Kuvira opened a copy of Siberlik's journal. Siberlik had an important role all of those years ago. "Now, let me begin. It was 1867 BG..."
Yesterday, the Fire Nation apologized for accusing us, the Ruviks, of bombing their prize ship from the Southern Fleet, the Mumbiao, with blasting jelly and bending. After our meeting three weeks ago, the Fire Nation investigators concluded that the ship was attacked by a small Southern Militant Group, based near the Islands, named Rokuzu. They were brought to justice. No clean up was issued so the shipwreck remains in the sea, off the coast of the Fort Dao Colony.
Today, I reside on the eastern half of Kaigan Island, where the original Ruviks still live, including my mother and father. There's a large settlement there that houses many Ruviks. It is surrounded by wooden walls with beautiful designs. We call it Qualik ever since we were protected by the Water Tribe when the outside world learned about our existence. Qualik was the name of the previous Chief of the Tribe, who passed a few years before I was born.
"You ready to get back to the Parliament in Wito?" My mother asked. My father always looked up every time we say the name of that city, because it is named after him, and his creation of the Nevetta, otherwise known as the Democracy. The people were proud to have more rights and choices, as our Rainforest Tribe wanted everyone to have equal possibility.
"I don't know," I replied, hands in my hair. My elbows almost hurt the way they were positioned on the spruce table in my parent's kitchen. I wasn't down to Earth right there, I was lost in my thoughts. Yes, the Fire Nation was okay with us now, but watching the people in the Ishidoro village protest discrimination on the Fire Colony borders didn't make any matters better. I had a meeting with the Fire Nation a few weeks ago, which probably helped them realized we weren't the issue.
"You don't seem okay," my mother said, softly. I felt her presence, that feeling when your mother makes you feel alright. It lingers even now, to a 19-year-old young man, governing the Tribe that had been neglected by people all around the world for millennia! To be fair, we lost sight of the outside world as well.
"I'm not!" I almost yelled, feeling my mind clear up. "It's not only the Fire Nation, mom. I don't find the world takes us seriously! Even the Kingdom of Omashu feels this Four Nations idea is going overboard. No one understands the difference between a nation and a country anymore."
My mother looked at me, surprised. My father stopped reading a Fire Nation scroll, one that would be delivered to everyone in both the Rainforest and Ruvik Tribes would get around every month, which they call, a Newsletter. My father would read them to practice the Global Tongue, the language spoken in the Four Nations, which is apparently the majority of the world. He was an okay speaker, as he used it in his time as Chancellor, and when he met my mom when she arrived here on a Water Tribe colonial expedition, but he wanted to enrich his understanding of it anyway.
"Look, I know how hard it is to face this discrimination issue, I was in office as well, as a Chief, and a Chancellor, but we shouldn't become angry with the other nations because of them not being used to us. We aren't common knowledge to them, just like how they aren't common knowledge to us!" My father always knew what to say.
I stayed quiet as the great Wito continued, "People are afraid of the unknown, so we just have to remember how we are all equal, and slowly they will adapt to us and consider us as one of them."
I just couldn't say anything against that, so I nodded. He was right. I needed to change my way of thinking, but I will need to take a break from this Chancellor post as well.
"I realized that it's my turn to go out into the world!" I exclaimed, a little more upbeat than my previous mood. My parents looked at me carefully, and were ready to listen.
"Arosha went out into the world to find his true passion. Being an airbender opened up his curiosity. He wanted to be an Air Nomad, and now look how far he has come; the head Elder of the Southern Air Temple! Vihn travelled North to find new meaning in the Earth Kingdom, and he joined the military, not just for the fighting, but to aid in mediating between the nations!"
After saying this, I saw it in my parents eyes. They didn't want me to leave, their little, young boy who was making them proud at home.
"They saw what their nations brought them, now it's time for me to find out about my ethnicity! I want to visit our family in the Water Tribe, I haven't been there in ages!" My parents looked at me with a worried expression.
"If you go, who is going to run the Rainforest Tribe?" My father's concerned voice didn't worry me.
"We will set up a democratic poll. The Tribe can vote which Member of the Council of Founders they want to run the Tribe." My father looked at me again.
"Haneul and I are the only members still alive in the Council," he muttered.
I still wasn't worried. "That's why it will be a vote with Haneul and Asmita! I find Asmita leads the Original Ruvik Territories so well that maybe she could fill in for me while I'm away."
Both my parents' eyes widened. "I have to admit, that's actually a really good idea," my father smiled.
"With the Fire Nation's help, we can make many copies of a bilingual voting census." My parents nodded at my idea. "However, I have to leave before the decision is made."
My dad looked confused, but my mother knew exactly why I needed to leave earlier. "The Festival of Eternal Light..." my mother's murmuring was loud enough to hear.
"Exactly!" I replied, smiling. My father then understood. "I want to make it there this year."
"Wait, I want to come too!" My mother suddenly exclaimed. "I haven't seen your uncle, Jionik, since our last visit five or six years ago."
"Great! I'd love to have company on the journey there. Dad, are you coming?" My question didn't seem to surprise him.
"No, I should stay here and watch over whoever rules in your place while you're gone. Besides, I should stay with Gran Gran." My grandmother peered in and smiled from the other room.
"Okay, then it's settled. Dad, are you okay with sending the request?" My father shook his head. He pulled out his empty scrolls, ink, and brush, and handed it to me.
"You know the Global Tongue better than I do." I nodded, and I took the stuff, then laid it on the table. I began to write.
After around forty minutes of writing the request, I decided to also write a letter informing the Water Tribe that we were going to arrive at the Northern Water Tribe Capital in a few weeks, in time for the Festival of Eternal Light.
I handed the request scrolls to my father. "Send these to Fort Dao when you get the chance." He agreed and tied the scrolls together so he wouldn't lose them.
I walked over to the market and found the booth for Fire Nation messenger hawks. I needed to send my letter to the Water Tribe.
The clerk asked for, "730 Ban please." I handed the shop clerk one gold piece, one silver piece, and thirty copper pieces.
"How do I use it?" I asked, hoping for a simple answer.
"These hawks have been trained to use their migration skills to bring them places where humans live instead of where they normally go during seasonal migration." He handed me a bag of treats. "The food inside have concentrated amounts of magnesium so that the messenger hawks will orient themselves to specific locations. The back of the bag tells you how many treats need to be given based on your current location, roughly."
"Thanks..." I thanked the man unsurely. I barely understood what he was saying. The Fire Nation specialized in mineral chemistry, as they were working on industries from what they haved mined. They created special buildings for working with these, just like how they figured out glass. Us Ruviks and Rainforest Tribesman specialized herbs! This was indeed complicated.
However, I did figure out that the bird needed 19 magnesium treats to reach the North Pole from my location near a tropic line in the Southern Hemisphere. I'm very glad I went to Fort Dao Collegiate for Secondary School! Or else I would've never understood what that meant.
I put the letter in the capsule on the bird's back and fed it the large amount of strange chemical food. The hawk actually seemed to like it and left for the North.
It was early in the morning. We had a boat ready for us at the Beach Oasis Camp. A few other people wanted to go to the Water Tribe as well, so they came along with us.
"This should get you there in around two months if you follow the route Governor Siku designed for you, just enough time to get you to the Festival of Eternal Light," my father yelled from the dock, happily.
"Thanks, we will try to contact you whenever we can!" I replied, yelling back from on the boat. My father smiled, and I smiled back.
"We're about to leave, is everyone ready?" The owner of the ship, Nilak, wanted to make sure everyone was prepared to leave. Nilak is a childhood friend of mine. Ever since I visited the Southern Water Tribe when I was eight, we've been penpals. He came over to Huoshan Island every other year when his father needed to meet with the Chief in the North, as Huoshan Island was on the way there.
"Yes!" The reply came from everyone, all at different times. There were seven people on the boat; three people from the Southern Tribe (including Nilak and his father, Siku), and four travelling Ruviks, (including my mother and I)
The boat slowly pulled out the dock as the anchor was lifted. I really couldn't wait to see my family in the North, and maybe this trip would help me clear my head from all of the political issues going on. I didn't want to wait for it, but I had two months of travelling to do if I wanted to make it there in time.
We hit the Earth Kingdom Continent just in time. Our food supply was running low. I went into the city with Nilak to buy food.
"Do you have any Ying?" I asked Nilak, wondering if he had any money in Earth Kingdom currency. Nilak shook his head.
"The only money I have is in Nipi, sorry," Nilak replied, seeming concerned. He only had Water Tribe Money.
"Let's hope we find a bank that exchanges currencies." Nilak nodded at my statement as we looked around the town.
"Wow!" Nilak exclaimed as we walked near the shore. "This town is completely guarded by those forts!" I looked at two Earth Kingdom forts linked by an immense iron chain, blocking ships from entering the Kingdom without position. The chain links were around the size of an average hut.
"Yeah, luckily we docked our ship a little further down," I whispered, "Because some of us don't have passports. They probably wouldn't let us in." Nilak smiled. Only the Southern Water Tribesmen and I had passports.
Near the fort, we found a building that said 銀行 on it, meaning bank. We rushed through the door, only to find it densely filled inside.
"We don't have time for this! We need to stick to our schedule!" I yelled. Nilak could barely hear me over the noise.
Nilak pointed to an aisle saying 交換, meaning exchange. The aisle was empty! I rushed to that aisle, Nilak following close behind. The rows and rows of people made it hard to pass to the Currency Exchange aisle all the way on the other side of the building. However, we did make it, and I spoke to Nilak before we went to exchange our money.
"Should we exchange mine or yours?" I asked Nilak. He thought for a moment.
"Hmm... I guess we can start with you. According to that poster, Ban is higher against the Ying currently, so using yours would get us more money.." I agreed with Nilak's response, wondering why I hadn't thought of that sooner.
"Here, 500 Ban," I put one gold piece on the table.
"That will transfer to 698 Ying," the man confirmed upon giving me some Earth Kingdom Coins.
"I would like it in change please," I asked, since I knew I wouldn't spend a gold piece on food.
He handed me one silver piece, and 398 copper pieces in three bags of one hundred pieces, one bag with 98.
"Have a nice day!" Nilak greeted, and the man nodded.
"You too!" the man said happily. We then walked out of the store.
We walked back to the market, using up barely one third of our bag of 98 copper pieces. We were set for around two or three weeks of food.
We walked back to the ship, feeding our shipmates, knowing we would have to move on.
My mother and I got off the ship this time. My mom wanted a little break from the boat; she was sick to her stomach. You would think a waterbender would be immune to getting seasick!
"Excuse me!" A man yelled from far away. It grabbed people's attention all over the town plaza. I looked up, and the man was running towards me!
"Are you-" The man had trouble speaking, he was still a few feet away from me.
"Are you Siberlik?" The man finally was able to speak.
"Yes.....?" I replied, having trouble to find words. I was shocked that someone knew who I was, and my worrying mother behind me didn't make it any easier to speak.
"The people of Fort Lian spotted you a few days ago, but didn't get the chance to deliver this. It's addressed to you, Chancellor Siberlik.' The man handed me a letter, kneeling on one leg. I bowed to him, my hands in traditional Fire Nation greeting, and then I took the letter.
"Thank you very much! Please, no need for kneeling and stating title." I wasn't really hoping to get into any diplomatic issues on this trip. It was supposed to be a break from leading the Rainforest Tribe.
"No problem, Chancellor, have a nice day!" The man bowed to us with the Earth Kingdom greeting, and left.
I read the inscription on the letter aloud, ヲシ ウィト. "Woshi Wito. It's from dad!"
My mom smiled. We both missed him dearly. The way he wrote in Ruviaq always warmed our hearts, especially now that we were miles apart!
"Dad wrote that the Chieftess of the Water Tribe had replied to my message about us travelling to the Northern Water Tribe."
The packaging around the letter was bigger than a regular sheet of paper. My father had forwarded the Chieftess' letter to me!
I opened the letter from the leader of the Water Tribe, and read it proudly:
"Dear Sir Kassuq, I am pleased to hear you and some other Ruviks are coming to join us at the Festival of Eternal Light! I am glad you are coming, as your Ruvik family has always been a dear friend to the Northerners and the Southern Colonials. We will have a special welcome for the people of the South, the Rainforest, and Ruvik Tribes at this year's Festival of Eternal Light, and we hope you will be quite surprised with our festivities. We hope to see you soon, signed, Chieftess Aluki."
"I love how world leaders say important things with precision, yet keep it simple," my mother thought aloud. I smiled at that.
I stuffed the letters into my jacket pockets. My mother and I continued our trek around the village, only to find an amazing Temple ruin uphill.
"This is astonishing!" My voice echoed through miniscule holes in the ruin walls. The inside seemed to still be intact, but the door wouldn't want to open.
"The ruins aren't as breathtaking as the view of the valley!" my mother exclaimed with wonder. She was right, the valley, including the village, the marina, the rivers, and the bamboo forests, all look perfectly in harmony. Upon looking at the village, I noticed that its structure wasn't shaped normally. It looked familiar... I knew what it was! I turned to the big door on the ruins and saw a beautiful lotus symbol chiseled into it. It reminded me of a Pai Sho tile.
"The architecture of the village shouldn't be much older than this temple," I hypothesized, examining the area. There was an inscription to the left of the temple door. It was still legible!
"To preserve balance, seal the Temple of Jishi Mountain, conceal the stars..." I couldn't exactly understand what that meant, but I knew that the people from the past wanted to keep the Temple sealed from outsiders, preserving what was probably left within.
"There are drawings of the Sun and the Moon surrounding the Earth," my mother noted, feeling the old granite walls.
This temple was very mysterious, and curiosity did get the best of me; I found a crack big enough for a person to fit through a little higher up the hill, behind a few tree trunks.
"Mom, I'll be right back. I have to go." My expression was familiar to her, that sentence would usually mean, 'I have to urinate, leave me alone.'
I climbed up the side of the mountain where my mother couldn't see me, yet still close enough for me to reach the Temple quickly.
Upon cutting a few branches, I found my way into the Temple. Many paintings of stars and constellations dotted the ceiling and walls. However, the main attraction was a giant display of circular celestial bodies, beautiful crafted. They were built into the ceiling, with a dried adhesive that seemed to still be intact. I was surprised to see the Sun in the middle, Earth as the third planet, and the Moon circling around us. There were planets everywhere!
"Solar System..." An inscription below this figure stated something I had never thought was even possible. Personally, I thought this was all crazy, as everyone knew the Earth was the center of the Universe. However, I'm starting to have doubts on what the Fire Nation teaches us about astronomy, or in fact about the world itself!
"Siberlik!" My mom yelled with worry. Yelling to a 19-year-old about being lost... Wow. Her muffled voice got louder; I had to go.
I snuck out of the Temple, taking the long path back to my mother.
"There you are!" my mother's voice sang joyously once again. My mom and I both let out a sigh of relief for our different reasons. We hugged.
"Are you ready to get back to the ship?" My mother asked politely.
"Yes! Let's go!" I was very excited to leave, despite not being able to learn more about those ancient ruins. I couldn't wait to see everyone in the Water Tribe, even though it was weeks away! We went down to the docks, boarding our ship, with me wondering not only about the journey ahead, but about the future...
For the collective works of the author, go here.