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July 4, 2014
Bloodbending. It's the ability to control the fluids in an organism's body. We know all too well the stories of Yakone, who once terrorised Republic City with its power. His sons, Noatak and Tarrlok, learnt the art from him as well. And we cannot forget Hama, who was in fact the one who called it bloodbending, discovered it while imprisoned by the Fire Nation. It has become one of the most feared bending arts throughout history.
My Cave of Enlightenment has not been visited for a long time now. But I don't mind; spending eternity in the Spirit World suits me fine. But there once was a visitor worth mentioning, a young girl who summoned me to tell her who she really was. Unknown to almost everyone at the time, she was actually a powerful bender. A bloodbender, though her power was attributed to spirits possessing her, giving her evil and terrifying powers. But she would be responsible for uniting her tribe against a tyrannical leader, leading them into a war like nothing this world had ever seen before. This is her story...
Inside their small hut, Miki shivered in the corner. It was colder in the north, but living there her whole life she had gotten used to it. However, her shaking was not because of the temperature, but out of fear.
Their house was rather small and made from wood, different to the other Northern Water Tribe villages which built them out of ice. It had only two rooms; a bedroom which Miki shared with her sister, and the main room she sat in now, which they used for cooking, eating, and her father slept there. Various skins of animals were arranged around this room, and weapons decorated the walls, some painted in bright Water Tribe colours like blue and white.
There were always consequences to actions. It always happened like this. Miki would endure weeks of names, rumours, dirty looks and stares, but then she would snap. Which was expected of course; she was only a 14 year old girl, shy and almost always hid beneath her black fringe and hooded coat. She was too young to carry the burden she had been given. But nevertheless, for using her powers she would surely be punished.
Her father would be home soon. Before she heard or saw him, Miki would always smell the booze; a sickly sweet aroma of Earth Kingdom liquor would waft into the hut, like a warning scent to his arrival. Then she would hear him, the soft crunch of snow after each step as he made his way to their small home. And then, once the doors were pulled open, he would stare at her with those cold and merciless eyes. Just as she predicted, her father entered their home.
A grunting sound passed his lips as he walked in, almost like a hibernating platypus-bear being woken up. He took his coat off and hung it on the wall to the right. With sloppy movements he turned to face Miki, his feet stumbling.
Her father, Keiro, sighed loudly, still clutching the gourd which contained the alcohol. His hair was a mess, with strands of dark brown hair strewn across his face. His beard was hardly ever kept tidy, and dangled underneath his chin like a weed growing on the side of a cliff. In a slightly slurred voice he answered his daughter, "You just couldn't help yourself, could you?" Miki faced the floor beneath her, too afraid to speak again or look while her father continued, "I don't know what to do with you. I've tried to tell you to stop but you won't."
Keiro reached to his belt and grabbed an animal skin bag containing some foul smelling contents. "Look here, I brought something home", her father waved it around, prompting Miki to look up at the bag. Mustering up enough courage, she raised her head. Something squishy yet painful smacked her in the head, causing her to fall backwards. After sitting up again, Miki placed one hand on her forehead where she had been hit, and one hand to pick up whatever Keiro had thrown at her. The bag was filled with something slimy with a repulsive odour. Fish innards.
Miki pushed the bag away as her father continued, "That's tonight's dinner. So why is it that I, a once respected leader of Manirak, would receive such a payment for the work I do? Hmmm?" Keiro took another few steps forward, and with each one Miki shuddered a little, "Because you are a wretched, disgraceful embarrassment of a daughter, who cannot keep her evil spirit powers to herself! And because of my relation to you I can't seem to get a decent payment for anything I do!" Even though he was drunk, Keiro still managed to scream so loud that Miki thought the walls of their hut would crumble.
With tears forming in her eyes Miki looked back to her father, "You're right," she barely whispered, "I used my powers... But I'm not sorry."
As soon as she uttered those words she instantly regretted it. Her father's expression became even more outraged, his eyes squinting with fury. His teeth clenched as he growled. He tried to lunge at her, but two arms held him back. Another figure was in the doorway, screaming at Keiro to stop. After a brief moment of fury he calmed down, and Miki was able to see that her older sister, Saskha, had arrived just in time.
"By the great sea spirits what the hell is going on here?!" Saskha yelled, looking back and forth between the two of them.
Miki stayed silent, too shaken by what had happened to respond. Keiro simply grunted and turned to leave. "Wait! Father! Where you going? Tell me what happened!" Saskha tried to stop her father but he pushed her aside. "Please don't trade anything else for more Earth Kingdom alcohol, its expensive!" Saskha called out to him but he was already walking through the snow to the village centre. "He'll probably return in a few hours. Even more drunk than he already is." She rolled her eyes, closing the doors to keep the cold out.
Saskha helped Miki stand up and hugged her tight. "Miki, was this about last night?" She gently whispered into her sister's ear. Miki pulled away slightly from her sister's embrace so that she could look at her face. She was really quite beautiful; her long dark brown hair was braided into two strands that began at her temples and hung by her neck, and the rest was tied into a ponytail at the back. Her eyes were icy blue like their fathers, yet on her they seemed so kind and soothing. Her expressions and mannerisms were just like their mother's.
Miki turned away from her sister and looked towards the wall, pondering before she spoke, "I told him I wasn't sorry."
Saskha wore a confused look, "You said that? But why? No wonder he's angry." She started walking over to the bedrooms but stopped when she noticed an animal skin bag on the floor. She almost picked it up until the smell reached her nostrils. "Eww! What is this?" She exclaimed while gagging and nearly vomiting.
"Dinner. Father brought it home."
With only the tips of her fingers Saskha managed to pick it up, "Hmm, maybe Ulva will like this?" A small laugh passed her lips before she continued, "I managed to pick up something a bit nicer after training today. Did you have any luck at the market?"
Miki pulled a few pieces of blubbered seal jerky from her pockets. "Only one shop keeper thought it was okay to serve a possessed monster child such as myself," she replied coldly.
Saskha sighed, "Don't say that about yourself. You're not any of those things. You're my sister, whom I love. You can just... do things that others can't".
"That's one way to look at it."
"Miki stop --"
"No you stop!" Miki shouted as she turned back to Saskha. "Look, I'm grateful that you stopped father and all but don't act as if you care! I see you when we go to the market, trying to keep your distance from me as if I really am possessed. You walk with your friends instead so you don't have to be near me. Everyone seems to think that I am a monster, including my family." Tears began to run down Miki's cheeks as she spoke.
Saskha's eyes were also glassy form tears. "Miki, you said it yourself. The other shopkeepers don't serve you so I have to keep my distance to buy supplies. Please, don't think of it like that--"
Miki ran out of their hut, snatching the bag of fish guts from her sister's hands. Although Saskha called out to her Miki didn't look back. She kept running past the other huts, gathering a few troubled glances from onlookers.
"What's with this family and storming out? If only we could just talk about these things," Saskha pondered as she wiped her eyes. Did Miki really think that? That she didn't care about her? Saskha had always looked out for her, but maybe she had been a bit distant at times. After walking back inside their hut, she began preparing dinner, troubled by all that had happened.
The snow wasn't as thick under the trees, making it easier for Miki to walk through. Manirak village was situated on the northern coast of the main continent, west of the Northern Air Temple. To the north was the small stretch of sea that separated the other Northern Water Tribe villages, and to the south were forests of pine trees. Whenever she was upset, Miki would come here and walk among these trees. She regretted all she had said to Saskha, about not caring and avoiding her. She wasn't so much angry with her, just at the whole situation. How the others in their village treated her. Sure, it was frustrating that Saskha had to go alone to the markets, or walk a few metres ahead of her just so people would actually serve her, but if she didn't do that than they would never have enough to live off. She wanted to go home and apologise to her sister, and she would, but first there was something she needed to do.
Miki whistled while scanning the forest, the wind carrying her voice among the trees. Before long, she could hear rustling sounds in front of her, and she could see a shape emerging from the darkness.
"Ulva," Miki smiled as she said his name. The shape belonged to her closest friend, Ulva her pet wolf. Well, he wasn't really her pet; she would never be allowed to bring him home and have him live there like a house pet, instead he lived in the wild amongst the trees and the outskirts of the village. However, he behaved just like an ordinary polar dog when they were together. She stroked his head, feeling the warmth of his fur through her gloves. The top of his head, back, and tail was grey, while his fur underneath was white. He also had bright blue eyes which gleamed every time he saw Miki. Sniffing her pockets, Ulva snuggled up to Miki and rubbed his head against her arm.
"I knew you would smell it. It's so strong my coat is going to smell for weeks!" Miki laughed. She reached into her pocket and pulled out the bag filled with fish guts. Ulva's eyes lit up as he moved into a sitting position, and at this height he was almost taller than Miki. The guts splattered into the snow when she emptied the bag, which she tossed away afterwards. There was no point in keeping a bag that smelled that bad. Ulva began to hack into the fish scraps, which he appeared to be enjoying greatly. Miki laughed to herself, "I suppose wolves don't mind the taste of fish innards."
After Ulva finished his snack he licked Miki's face, causing her to giggle. He always knew how to make her smile. The pair made their way to the top of the hill where the trees were more spaced out, and magnificent views of the lands south of Manirak could be seen. Miki often came here to reflect and watch the sunset, and to spend time with Ulva. She had found him in these forests almost a year ago, trapped under a fallen tree. After nursing him back to health, Miki didn't have the heart to send him away, but her father would never let Ulva live with them so he had to stay out here. But it was better that way; he was able to run around, hunt, and explore the surrounding areas, just as a wild wolf would. It hadn't helped her reputation when she found him; not only was she able to use her 'spirit powers' but she was also able to charm dangerous animals into doing her bidding, so people claimed. Rumours spread throughout their village and now most people kept a good distance from her.
"I wonder what it's like," Miki pondered, stroking Ulva as they snuggled at the top of the hill. "I've heard it's so green out in the Earth Kingdom; lots of grass and plants to run around in. I'm sure you would love it," and with that she stroked Ulva again behind his ears, his favourite spot to be patted. Miki scanned the area ahead of her, and even in the fading light she could see the rolling hills and trees before her. What would happen if the two of them just left? Just ran into the forest and kept heading south? There was nothing for her here now, not since mom had died. Well, she had a few friends who still managed a hello every now and again. And her sister of course. But still, wouldn't it be great if they could just leave?
She wouldn't care if she never saw her father again. Most of the time they were separate; Keiro would go to work shifts cutting wood and Miki would spend her day elsewhere. It was only when she used her powers that her father would get aggressive. But even when he wasn't like that, he wasn't exactly a loving father. Miki felt her eyes grow warm with tears. Why, why should she waste any tears on that man? But she couldn't help it. He used to be so different. He used to be a real father to them, before mom had died.
Miki got up and dusted the snow off her coat. Guilt crept into her thoughts again, about what she had said earlier to Saskha. She wanted to go make amends, and it was getting late anyway. Patting her friend goodbye, she walked back the way she came through the snow.
When Miki arrived home dinner was almost ready. Steam rose from the cooking pot and the smell made her mouth water. Saskha stirred the stew as she looked up, "Listen, Miki--"
"No wait," Miki interrupted, "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have snapped at you like that. After everything that had just happened I..." She shook her head, "I'm sorry. I know you care about me and I am grateful."
Saskha waved her hand, "Don't worry about it. Father was in the wrong, but you know what he's like after a few drinks. Anyway, come and eat the stew is ready." She handed Miki a bowl and motioned for her to sit down. It was still summer, though nearing the end, and Saskha wore her singlet top. Miki kept her coat on but finally pulled her hood off her head. She almost always kept her face hidden beneath it and her dark fringe, to try and remain unrecognisable by others. The trouble was most people didn't wear hoods over their head unless it was really cold, so Miki did stand out and was often referred to as 'The Hooded She-Spirit'.
After serving herself and her sister, Saskha spoke a short prayer thanking the water spirits and Tui and La, the moon and ocean spirits, for the food before them. She had managed to catch a few squid and found some sea prunes, which were common around the waters to the north.
After taking a few mouthfuls Saskha spoke, "So... what did happen last night Miki?" Miki sighed a little but said nothing. "You must have known we'd find out. I mean, I've heard the stories, but since when was gossip accurate?" She smiled a little but kept looking at her sister, waiting for an answer.
"I sent Kashi's mother flying a few metres into a pile of snow," Miki stated after she finished her mouthful.
Saskha nearly choked on hers, "What?!"
Miki looked up at her sister before continuing, "I haven't spoken to Kashi since... well, you know, since mom was around. And she was about to talk to me when her mother pulled her away, saying that the thing I needed wasn't company but an exorcism. And... well I was furious and lifted my arm without thinking. I was just so angry at her."
"But...It wasn't a full moon. How did you...?"
"I've been able to for a while now. Just not during the day."
Saskha didn't know what to say. As far as she knew Miki could only use her powers during a full moon. That's how it had first happened, during the Full Moon Festival three years ago.
"I know I shouldn't have, but I was just so upset. I know I've brought shame and dishonour to you and father every time I use my powers but... I just miss what life was like before. When... when mom was still around. Before people hid from me and said things and--"
Saskha touched her sister's arm gently, "Hey, you haven't brought any of those things upon us. We're your family," Noting her sister's distress, she thought maybe it was best to change the subject, "So... I learnt a new waterbending technique today."
Miki smiled, glad to be talking about something else, "Yeah? Did you show up any of the boys?" She added with a wink.
Saskha laughed. "Master Kesaq still doesn't approve of teaching a girl how to fight, even after I've been in his class for almost two years. But, I managed to do a good job, if I do say so myself."
The two sisters laughed and continued to eat. Their father was once a respected warrior of Manirak, and an accomplished waterbender. But their mother Liena died three years ago, and Keiro had no sons to teach all that he knew about waterbending and fighting. So after a lot of persuasion, Chief Iluliaq allowed Saskha to learn combat waterbending as well as healing. She had excelled at it too, often performing better than many of the other students in her class. Such a thing though would never be allowed in the Northern Water Tribe since it was forbidden, but here in Manirak rules were not as enforced as they were in the other cities.
After cleaning up, Miki crawled into her bed; a hammock made from animal fur which hung just above Saskha's. She hated sleeping, being transported back in time through dreams. Not being able to defend herself if their father returned. But it was her only time she got to see her mother, even if it was only in nightmares. Miki had never thought it end up like this. Three years ago she was happy, her mother was alive, and she had so many friends she hardly had enough hours in a day to see them all. And father... He was so gentle and kind. He never used to get angry, or drink as much as he did now. Before drifting off to sleep, Miki began to cry, wondering how things had ever become so bad.
- This is 's first fanon chapter ever written.
- It took him 3 years to finally release something on the fanon portal.
- Chapters are not always this long, and sometimes longer, depending on the scenes involved.
|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|
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