The Eyes of Malu
Chapter information

The First Avatar



Written by

H-Man Havoc

Release date

June 10, 2011

Last chapter

Tenzu's Past

Next chapter

The Forged Friendships, Part 1

Previously, on The First Avatar...

Tenzu perfects a previously-learned airbending skill known as the air ball, with the help of his mentor, Monk Shinjin. Afterwards, the monk shifts his pupil's mind to discuss the past, as the airbending master was set to be exiled the next morning, following an officially-sanctioned, but emotionally-charged post-promotion initiation brawl with Soro, an old rival. Tenzu lets his feelings interfere with his conduct and he goes on a rampage, seriously injuring Soro. An eyewitness observed that the newly-designated master's pupils glowed bright white at the time of the most severe blows to his adversary. Shinjin advised Tenzu on divulging his past as the starting point for redemption, but his protege at times broke down in tears, though he did eventually finish. The next morning, Shinjin's superior on the Council, Monk Taishu, delivered the statement of exile to Tenzu, announcing that he is to depart immediately with his assigned provisions. After his departure, Taishu ordered the rest of the Council of Elders to send a message to Malu at the Eastern Air Temple for a crucial assignment.

The Unforgiving Isolation

Appa soaring

Tenzu and Shinjin (both unseen) on Anka, Tenzu's Flying Bison, circling the Northern Air Temple one last time after lifting off.

Minutes after departure from the Northern Air Temple, Tenzu commanded Anka to climb in a circular vector overlooking his now-unwelcome home. It was clear that he wasn't quite ready to leave just yet. Shinjin was briefly startled by the maneuver, yet not surprised at his pupil's motives. "You are still unsure about having to go on your exile, eh?"

"Hey! It looks like you're already catching on with that 'great white north' saying I mentioned last night!" Tenzu exclaimed.

A dejected Monk Shinjin swiftly countered, "Easy to learn, and easy to use, given the context. But you are dodging my earlier inquiry."

"That is because I didn't want to delve into it at that instance. But now that you've reminded me, this is my only home. Though I have received some training in survival skills, being exiled from my home is demeaning, sad and somewhat incomprehensible at the moment."

Alluding to the events of the past week, Shinjin stated, "When a consequential judgement is meted out to an individual after an immoral or violent act, in which the latter applies to your situation regardless of unintentional decisions on your part, the resultant decree is largely misunderstood by most until later on. Those who have committed multiple infractions become desensitized to such orders and thus stricter ones are needed to counter those feelings. The point of this exile is to enhance and meet your needs of redemption, rehabilitation, and self-actualization."

"In other words, I'm supposed to achieve a destiny that is unknown to me, while simultaneously striving to become an ideal, well-intentioned individual; in control of my emotions and conduct?" questioned Tenzu.

"I couldn't have said it better myself. Although I too am somewhat oblivious to the nature of such a goal to be reached. I was given the same amount of information as everyone else in the Council 14 years ago, and yet I still don't understand what it all means for you."

Minutes later, Tenzu had Anka halt her ascent at 30,000 feet, well above the temple. The airbender then cast an air barrier around them so they could stay at altitude for a sustained period of time.

"Tenzu, we must leave. The Council issued orders not to remain around the Northern Air Temple for long. In addition, the barrier you created may block the freezing air from permeating the sphere, but it doesn't prevent the air supply from escaping at these heights. Air pressure is falling, and we'll soon be afflicted with hypoxia, otherwise known as oxygen starvation to the brain". Tenzu then released Anka's reins and headed for the edge of the saddle.

"Take the helm Shinjin. I wish to reflect on the matter," to which his teacher was obliged to do so.

The monk took control of Anka, descended to a less forbidding altitude and asked, "Where should we head first?"

"Travel northward. There are some acquaintances I'm itching to see at the Northern Water Tribe."

The Mysterious Malu

Messenger hawk

Malu's Messenger Hawk, Griffon, racing to deliver his master a message from the Northern Air Temple's Council of Elders.

In the eerie silence of the following morning, a large and magnificent Messenger Hawk was observed soaring across the skies over the northern Earth Kingdom. The highly agile bird was headed towards the Eastern Air Temple to deliver a message to his master, but was suddenly diverted by a high-frequency whistle to a secluded cove not far from the Northern Air Temple. He landed to find his master half-asleep in a hammock within a small group of trees near the frigid waters of the Northern Ocean.

"Come, Griffon. What message did the Council give you to send to me?" a tired voice stated. Griffon obliged his master's request by allowing her to extract it from the small cylindrical casing on his back.

Sister Malu,

You are hereby summoned to speak with the Council in regards to a certain matter involving one of our new airbending masters and his hours-fresh exile from his residence following an unfortunate accident. We need your advice on how to proceed with monitoring the situation before it has the potential to become uncontrollable.

We'll be waiting for your arrival.

Monk Taishu

Superior Monk of the Northern Air Temple's Council of Elders

Wanted poster of Aang

The letter Malu reads from the Council about Tenzu's situation.

After reading the letter, she turned to Griffon and responded, "It looks like I'm headed to the Northern Air Temple."

Malu took one last stroll along the beach, slightly shivering in response to the water's icy grip on her feet. The middle-aged airbender then launched into the crisp air on her glider and flew west along the shoreline towards the Northern Air Temple with Griffon flying closely behind. Taking advantage of the jet stream air currents flowing within that portion of the Earth Kingdom, it took her merely a half-hour to arrive at the temple grounds. Malu immediately set foot towards the Council's holistic shrine near the temple's southern edge.

"Sister Malu, you're quite early. We were not expecting you for several days let alone a few hours," a slightly surprised Monk Taishu responded in reaction to her presence.

"I had just finished a successful mission in the days before and I was relishing my temporary vacation not far from here when I obtained the Council's message. I am ready to be briefed on the matter."

Taishu described in length the situation involving Tenzu's exile and the events causing the recent events to unfold. "One of our intelligence sources placed in a small archipelago near the shoreline spotted Tenzu, Shinjin and the former's bison, Anka, flying to the Northern Water Tribe. It appears that he will be meeting with two acquaintances there, Azure and her elder half-brother, Qing, the heir-apparent to his father's Chiefdom. Azure's been involved in a few minor misdemeanor instances but that is not pertinent to your operation. Your mission is to maintain covert observations of the young airbending master, his whereabouts, his travels and people he'll meet during his exile. While we are not expecting an hour-by-hour account of his movements, we are giving you the task of relaying information back to us every 48 hours detailing everything I described previously. You are also given the secondary objective of defending Tenzu and Shinjin should they require assistance; however a caveat: talk with them only if necessary and attempt to avoid any emotional attachments that may compromise your integrity in the future... our reports highlighted something like this in one of your early missions."

"Understood. I'm happy to accept this important mission on behalf of the Council's current affairs."

"You do realize the implications of this mission don't you Malu? The last time an airbender went into exile was nearly two centuries ago, for a similar incident as Tenzu's. Do not turn this into a fracas."

"What am I granted after the mission's completion?" Malu asked.

Eastern Air Temple

Malu's proposed solution for the Eastern Air Temple.

"We understand that as a nominee for the Eastern Air Temple's Council of Elders you have some expansionary ideas for the temple space."

"That is true." a calm and collected Malu replied. "Due to the sudden influx of displaced airbenders from the Western Air Temple since that temple started undergoing a process of widespread renovations, the Eastern Air Temple has barely been able to cope with all the required residence spaces to house these temporary refugees. What I'm planning is to expand the temple to two nearby cliffs in order to accommodate the population increase. This would require a large amount of start-up capital, building materials, Earth Kingdom contractors and a construction process that would take more than five years to complete."

"Completing the mission will grant you what you desire for the project. Now Sister Malu, it is time for you to embark. We'll be waiting for your first report in two days' time."

With that, Malu lifted off on her glider towards the Northern Water Tribe, a two-day voyage that would feature treacherous currents, limited updrafts and few islands to rest in between.

Crisis on the Island

Anka had become mildly ill due to the frigid cold temperatures she doesn't regularly fly through despite her species being known for its durability to extreme climates. This prompted Tenzu and Shinjin to land on a remote island in the middle of the Northern Ocean in order for Anka to rest and be treated for her illness, delaying the trek to the Northern Water Tribe for up to 24 hours. This turn of events also enabled Malu to make up for lost time, leading her to locate the exiled master and his teacher on the isolated land form.

Shadowed Katara

Malu, dressed in her covert robes, eavesdrops on Tenzu and Shinjin.

Upon settling down on a cliff overlooking the shoreline, she donned black robes to remain invisible while gathering data on Tenzu's actions. Using airbending to silence her steps, the intelligence agent drew close to the campsite, eavesdropping on the current conversation while taking aims to remain unseen to the two.

"I'm worried for Anka's health right now. Even though she's only mildly affected, it's enough that she's unable to continue on with the voyage until her full recovery."

"Perhaps it is just the realization that she won't be returning home for the duration of your exile, Tenzu. You forget that flying bison are empathetic creatures, capable of coping with a human situation by internalizing it. Certainly, it can cause a few minor issues such as this, but nothing is of note with her long-term health except that she will live a full life."

"I keep harkening back to the final blow that was dealt to Soro in my initiation. Perhaps if I had restrained myself and drew the fight out longer, it may have been more rewarding to beat him."

"Trying to use the airbending philosophy of conflict avoidance to plan other possible ways to have won, I see. It occurred in the heat of the moment, and there was not much that could be done at that point. I had trained both of you in your collective childhoods and I noticed that Soro's specialty was prolonging fights, giving him an edge over others in all those mock fights and training regimens. Of course, his bullying of you resulted in his transferal to another monk's tutelage. Had you refrained from striking, he would've been in prime position to attack you, despite his limbs being immobilized by you. Tactically, you did the correct thing by attacking him in that awkward position, but like I stated earlier, your conduct was not privy to the rules governing the match. Had you been a bit more levelheaded, he still would've needed urgent medical treatment but you wouldn't be blamed for the injuries he suffered."

"The last words Monk Taishu spoke to me before my exile involved me being destined for greatness, but what does it all mean?"

"Technically I am not supposed to divulge this information until the right time, but your birth coincided with the partial confirmation of an ancient prophecy. It foretold of a youth that would arise during a time of worldwide strife, such as the current political climate, being capable of learning and using multiple forms of bending in ways unheard of before. Though there is more to the prophecy, I vowed to keep the rest of it secret until such a time that you would understand. The SoE is much more educated than the Council or myself on this matter and it is advised to learn the prophecy's full extent from one of them."

"How am I supposed to know what I'm destined for if I can't comprehend the full prophecy?" a tense Tenzu asked of his teacher.

"You will learn in time. This is all I am obliged to say now, as the information is on a need-to-know basis. In any case, the weather is prohibitive to fly in, even had Anka been well presently. Let us get some rest, and we will ascertain weather conditions and your bison's health status in the morning. It will only take six hours from this location to make it to the Northern Water Tribe."

After what seemed like a short while, Malu had obtained the necessary information that was desired from the outset of her eavesdropping. She sauntered away from the rocky beach after the pair had fallen asleep and jumped back to her own campsite high above. The agent then took out a roll of parchment and began to write part of her intelligence report for the Council.

"At 2000 hours, I overheard the two talk about a prophecy concerning Tenzu....".

A Small Reunion

On approach to the Northern Water Tribe the next morning, Tenzu struggled to maintain Anka's altitude close to sea level, to avoid being intercepted by the patrol units. The bison, though recovered was still not at full strength to follow such a request, and was constantly drifting closer to the ocean and subsequently rebounded each time. Eventually though, Tenzu had to deal with the border guards in order to get into the city. Soon after the proper orders were filed, the airbender was able to set foot in the magnificent metropolis. The last time he was there was several years before, when he was part of a small group of airbenders accompanied by Monk Shinjin assigned to promote airbending culture in the Bending Festival. This festival was a trade show that displayed the four cultures, recent improvements as well as any new fighting styles learned since the last one. The show is held once every decade, and the next one would be held in Ba Sing Se, three years from now.

Katara vs Master Pakku

Azure sparring with her master, Pak.

From overhead, Tenzu saw his old acquaintance Azure utilizing her immense waterbending potential against her teacher. Pak generated a large tidal wave at Azure, which the prodigy deflected with a water barrier and immediately responded with two water whips. Pak then countered with the octopus form, nullifying the water whips.

"Good Azure. Your skills are improving. However, we'll reconvene at another time; I see an old friend of yours is arriving from above to meet with you."

"TENZU!" she exclaimed.

Tenzu and Shinjin descended sharply only for Anka to misjudge the landing vector and crashed into a snow bank. The three escaped unscathed, but dazed from the impact. "Ooh..." stated Azure, cringing from the botched landing. "Come Qing, there's someone I want you to meet". The prince descended from his position on the steps to the training grounds and headed towards the now destroyed snow bank.

Team Avatar meeting

Tenzu meeting Azure and Qing, with Shinjin (unseen) tending to Anka following the landing.

"Azure, and, oh, you must be her half-brother, Qing. Nice to meet you."

"That's not the way to greet a Water Tribe prince" quipped Qing. He then proceeded to issue a one-armed bear hug to Tenzu, who then squirmed as he tried to escape. "Don't you remember me? You and your entourage followed me around as I was tasked with showing you the city all those years ago."

"Yet you were more boisterous back then. Now you've changed somewhat."

"Glad I changed for the better..."

"I almost forgot. May I introduce you two to Anka, my flying bison and Monk Shinjin, my teacher," to which Shinjin who was tending to the supplies brought with them on the voyage replied in a somewhat muffled voice "pleased to meet you too."

Azure's warm expression was soon replaced with a somewhat worried expression "I got your message before you left. What happened in the past week-and-a-half or so?"

"Well, the gist of it was that I did something foolhardy and got myself exiled over the fallout from it. Now I'm here."

Qing interjected "Let's go inside where you can tell us the long and short of your recent events over a hot cup of ginseng tea."

"Sure. What's better than a cup of tea?"

Author's Notes

  • Malu has certainly become a more interesting character than the author had first envisioned.
  • The author gave the Air Nomads their multi-tiered intelligence systems due to what he felt was a lack of it in the series proper that had doomed them in the Air Nomad Genocide. More of it will likely be seen later in the series.
  • The prophecy is delved into once again, but Tenzu is still not ready to hear the rest of it as he is still mulling over his previous actions.
  • This is the first chapter where Tenzu becomes allied with other characters, those that were mentioned on the fanon's main page. The next chapter will broach that topic more thoroughly.

See more

For the collective works of the author, go here.

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