Eastern Air Temple
Two Separate Lives
Chapter information

When Air Nomads Walked the Earth



Written by

The Ultimate Waterbender

Last chapter

Prologue: As the Sun Rises

Next chapter

Triumph and Tragedy

This is the first official chapter of my fanon, When Air Nomads Walked the Earth, and introduces many of the main characters in the story. Have fun reading it!


The sunrise crept over the horizon and cast a beautiful orange glow on the landscape below. Fluffy white clouds were spread across the early morning sky as though someone had freely run a paintbrush over it. The people of the Eastern Air Temple, magnificently located atop the Telukin Mountain Range, started to rise and prepare for the day. It was a day that promised fine weather and new surprises. Eleven year-old Syra seemed to have almost awoken as soon as the first beam of sunlight shone through her bedroom window and hit her face. She wasted no time jumping out of bed and getting dressed for today was the day of the semi-final Airbending matches at school.

Every summer, her Airbender school held bending tournaments in one of the courtyards. They were more for fun rather than actual heated competition. Students were grouped up with one another and a certain number of children from those groups would have the opportunity of advancing to the next level. One-on-one matches were fought and competitors who had the chance to compete at the next level were announced at the end.

Syra had already won her way through the intermediate and quarter-final Airbending matches and was eager to participate in the semi-finals. She was determined to prevail at this level and move onto the championship levels which were to be held tomorrow. Quickly, she got dressed and headed to the cooking room where her guardian, Sister Min, was making steamed rice.

"Good morning, Syra. You seem to be in quite a rush, dear!" Min exclaimed. "Are you excited about the semi-finals today?"

"You know it!" Syra replied. She practically inhaled the bowl of rice that Min laid before her which made Min smile brightly at her excitement.

"Just remember, no matter whether or not you make it to the finals, it's about having fun and being a good sport," Sister Min reminded her. "And when it's your turn to fight, stay alert and show them how strong an Airbender you are!"

Sky bison calves

The sky bison stables.

Syra quickly bowed before her and said, "I will. See you at the tournament!" And with that, she was out the door. Before traveling to the courtyard where the matches were to be held, she went to the bison stables. She greeted her sky bison, Pala, and fed him. Then she ran off to the courtyard.

"Children!" Min chuckled to herself as she watched the girl racing through the temple. She herself was anxious to see Syra compete in the semi-finals and had baked some Fruit Pies for the occasion.

Syra arrived at the courtyard within a matter of minutes. As she stood still to catch her breath, she saw her best friend, Tyla, running towards her. Tyla hadn't made it to the semi-finals, but she didn't mind. "Hi, Syra! Are you ready for the semi-finals?" she asked.

"Are you kidding? I can't wait!" she told her.

Tyla said, "Neither can I. You're going to blow away the competition! And you don't have to go against Jia or Mika either." They looked over at the two cliques who were engrossed in some conversation.

Southern Air Temple courtyard

The Air Temple courtyard.

"Truthfully, I didn't expect to," Syra said. "Those two have the top gossipers of the class, not the top Airbenders."

"You bet they aren't," agreed Tyla. "You're the best one in the whole class!"

Syra was about to tell her friend that she didn't think she was the best when they heard the Airbending instructor, Master Yangsu, announce, "Alright, competitors! Let's practice your Airbending before the competition shall we? Come on now."

"Looks like I have to go train. Bye!" Syra called out and ran towards Master Yangsu to get a little practicing done. She heard Tyla cry out, "Good luck!"

Yangsu said, "Alright, let's start by practicing some simple air blasts..."

"And Lyana is out! Pang wins that round!" The spectators cheered for Pang who raised her hands in the air and smiled widely. She ran out of the arena and over to her group of friends who were congratulating her ecstatically. Her defeated opponent, Lyana, also walked over and congratulated her for her win.

"Alright!" the announcer, Sister Iio, said, "That was a wonderful match! You both did terrific! Now it's time for our last match of the day!" The crowd hushed in eagerness. "Pang, are you ready because you will now face off against Syra in the final match!" The audience cheered as Pang and Syra both made their way to the center of the arena. The object was to knock the other out of the arena's boundary which was easily identified as a dark red borderline of the courtyard.

This is the last match, my last shot at making it to the championship level! Syra thought excitedly.

"Good luck," Pang said to her.

"You too," Syra replied.

"Are you two ready?" asked Sister Iio. Both nodded and she said, "Then let the final match begin!"

And it was on. Syra quickly looked up to where Sister Min was standing in the courtyard and saw she was smiling with pride. She then quickly focused her attention on Pang who was hunched over, preparing to either strike or elude an attack. Time passed by slowly and neither made any move. They circled around the middle, watching each other intently. Syra could almost sense the crowd becoming restless and was wondering whether she should make the first move when Pang suddenly shot an air blast toward her.

Quickly, Syra blocked her attack and sent her own air blast towards Pang who managed to conjure up a small air shield to deflect the attack. She sent another powerful air blast towards Pang, but she used Airbending to jump away. Syra attempted to knock her out of the "ring" with a few air swipes, but missed by mere feet.

"Come on, Syra!" she heard Tyla shout. This stirred up excitement among the other students and children there who began rooting for the competitors.

Syra ran towards her opponent while conjuring up a powerful wind gust, but Pang was able to dodge her attack. She continued to send air blasts towards her, but was unsuccessful in blowing her out of line. I wonder why she isn't trying to attack me back, Syra thought. Well she's certainly doing a good job of evading my attacks. She suddenly saw an air swipe coming her way and jumped out of the way to avoid it. So now she's attacking.

The match carried on for several more minutes. Both Syra and Pang were good Airbenders, though Syra was considered the best in her class by Master Yangsu, and it was clear they had reached a stalemate. Syra continually reminded herself of Sister Min's advice which was to stay calm, fight smart and not put all of her willpower into one strike. She was extremely grateful to have a mentor who was so caring and gave such sage advice.

Meanwhile, on the sidelines, Sister Iio was watching Syra's fighting prowess and agility with great intent. She smiled to herself as she watched the ecstatic young Airbender in the ring, not yet a master, but with great potential. Tyla kept on cheering for her friend and urged the other children there to root for her in a similar manner. The crowd, though not a huge one, was viewing the event with much awe and enjoyment.

The match continued with yet neither one dominating over the other. Syra was unsure how much longer she could continue fighting; although they hadn't been in the ring for more than fifteen minutes, she was already growing tired. She was striking less and less now, trying to save her energy for a final attack that would proclaim her the victor. Pang also seemed to be growing a little weary, but not from repeated attacks. Instead, she was getting a little dizzy from all the flipping, twisting and jiving she had been doing in attempts to dodge Syra's Airbending attacks.

Both, however, continued their match. It was, after all, the final one of the day and the final match was always supposed to be the most suspenseful, at least that was what Syra thought. She lashed out yet again with another air swipe. As she expected, Pang used Airbending to back-flip gracefully into the air, but going at a rather slow rate. That's when Syra knew she had her chance; quickly but precisely, she sent one last powerful air swipe straight at Pang who was still in the midst of back-flipping and thus didn't have time to defend herself. The air swipe hit her, not too forcefully, but just enough that sent her out of the ring. She didn't hit the ground hard; in fact, a little quick Airbending allowed for a gentler landing. However, she was out of bounds and, therefore, had lost the match.

This sent the crowd clapping and the young children cheering for the winner: Syra. She was stunned; she had placed first in the semi-finals and would go to the championship levels which were to be held the next day.

"We have our winner!" Sister Iio announced. "I would like to announce that Syra is the first place winner in the semi-final Airbending matches and will get to compete in the championship matches along with the other semi-final winners. And those are Cesena, Kila, and Salara!" The other girls came forward and, along with Syra, shouted with joy at their victory.

The semi-finals were now finished and tomorrow, the championship matches awaited. Syra ran over to Sister Min and Tyla who both hugged her with pride and excitement.

"I had faith you would make it to the championship levels!" Sister Min said.

"I'm so happy for you!" Tyla exclaimed. Syra didn't know what to say. She was so happy at that moment.

Min told her, "I have already baked some fresh Fruit Pies for the occasion. We can go home, eat them and celebrate. You're welcome to come, too, Tyla if you would like!"

"Thank you so much. I would love to!" Tyla beamed.

"Well, come on little youngsters!" Sister Min motioned for the two friends to follow.

As they were walking away from the courtyard which was still abuzz, Tyla whispered to Syra, "I just looked and saw Jia and Mika. They were both glaring at you."

Syra chuckled to herself and told her friend, "They're just jealous and let them be! Right now, all I want to do is enjoy my victory today and have some Fruit Pie!"

A Rough Day

Siro stood at the base of a large hill, looking up at its peak. He heard his older brother, Zorin, say, "Hey Siro. Want to race up the top of this hill? I bet I can beat you there." The glimmer in his eyes told he was looking for a challenge.

"In your dreams!" Siro objected. "I could beat you!"

"Shall we race to see who wins?" Zorin asked, his eyes only growing more eager to prove his brother wrong.

"You're on!" Siro replied.

Zorin smiled and they both got into a running position. "Ready...," he said. "Go!"

Both began scrambling as fast as they could, trying to outrun each other. Zorin almost pulled into the lead, but Siro quickly stuck out his left leg and tripped him. Before he could leap over the obstacle in his way, Zorin fell to the ground.

"Ha-ha!" the twelve year-old taunted as he sprinted towards the top. He could hear his brother shouting, "You're so dead, Siro! Siro! Siro..."

"Siro!" a loud voice shouted suddenly.

"Huh?" The vision was gone and Siro snapped back to reality. Oh great, I've been caught daydreaming! he thought.

"Care to open your textbook and begin reading the next chapter?" His school teacher, Master Shyo, raised his eyebrow almost mockingly and commanded, "I would suggest you spend less time with your head in the clouds and more time bent down over your book."

Fire Nation school afar

Siro's school.

The embarrassed boy could hear a few other kids snickering in the background and felt his face turning red. He didn't dare avert his eyes away from Master Shyo's fixed gaze upon him. Quietly, he said, "Yes sir." He opened his textbook to where they had left off yesterday. His class was learning about the reign of Fire Lord Kuzora who had ruled the Fire Nation 140 years ago.

Siro began reading the lesson, but the words seemed to blur together a little bit. His mind drifted off to other things. He remembered the days so vividly when he used to play with his older brother, Zorin. The two siblings would always challenge each other to Firebending matches and races. Zorin would win most of the time, but he would sometimes let Siro win.

That was quite a few years ago. Now his brother was sixteen and was training at a Fire Nation military school in a town a few miles away from Siro's hometown of Sen Go. Although Zorin lived on the campus, he visited Sen Go every week to see Siro and his family. Still, it wasn't the same as it had been.

School clothes

Siro and his friend Jengso, the boy to the right of Siro.

"Psst," he heard a voice calling to him. Siro looked up and saw his best friend, Jengso, looking at him and then pointing his eyes towards Master Shyo who he saw was eyeing him suspiciously. Siro guessed the teacher must have known he was paying more attention to something other than his studies. Siro nodded to Master Shyo and began reading the lesson again. This day is going to drag on forever, he thought.

After school had ended for the day, Jengso agreed to walk home with him. "What was that all about?" he asked curiously. Siro, feeling tired and depressed, said, "I've been thinking about my older brother a lot lately. I miss doing all the fun things I used to do with him."

"Oh," Jengso said. The two came to the point where they had to travel home separately now. "Well, see you in school tomorrow!" He bid Siro a goodbye and continued on his way home.

"See you," Siro muttered. As he watched his friend happily walking down the street, he thought, Sometimes, people just don't understand. As he continued walking home, he recalled another memory of him and Zorin.

Siro was eight years-old and he and his family had taken a vacation to Ember Island during the summer. Zorin was twelve at the time. It was a blazing hot day and they were spending time on the beach. Siro splashed around in the water near the shore while Zorin swam out farther.

Then, his older brother came up to him and said, "Hey, come out a little further into the water and I'll show you something fun." Siro followed him out and Zorin said, "Now look over there." He pointed towards the beach and, when Siro had turned around, he grabbed his head, dunked him under the water and held him under for several seconds.

When Siro resurfaced, he yelled, "Hey, that wasn't funny!"

Zorin said grinning, "It was funny to me!" and dunked him again.

"I'm going to get you!" Siro shouted and tried to swim as fast as he could to tackle his brother, but every time he seemed to reach Zorin, he just quickly dove under the water and swam away. They carried out this play until Siro grew tired and went back to shore.

Later that day, he spotted Zorin sculpting an elaborate sand castle in an attempt to impress a girl lounging nearby. Seeing this as the perfect opportunity to get revenge, he walked over to the sand castle and crumbled it quickly with one kick.

"Dude, not funny!" Zorin protested.

"It was funny to me!" Siro mocked.

"Oh so that's how it's going to be!" Zorin said. "Come here you little monster!" He chased Siro all over the beach until both of them collapsed on the ground tired and began laughing uncontrollably. "You're such a pain!" Zorin exclaimed smiling, "but you're sure fun to mess with!"

Siro walked in the front door of his home and put his school books on the table in the kitchen. He opened the cupboard and poured himself a bowl of Sizzle-Crisps.

"Siro, is that you?" He heard his mother, Zala, calling out to him from her working room.

"I'm home!" he replied.

"How was school?" she shouted back.

"Fine!" Siro answered.

Zala asked, "Do you want a bowl of noodles or some tea, dear?"

"No thanks!" he yelled. He took his books and the bowl of Sizzle-Crisps upstairs in his bedroom and placed them on his desk. He sat down in his chair and began doing his homework in silence.

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