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|By H-Man Havoc||Genre||Rating||Reviews||Updates|
|More from H-Man Havoc||Action/Adventure||PG (Parental Guidance)||Moderate||Here|
|The Forged Friendships, Part 1|
August 4, 2011
The Forged Friendships, Part 2 (Not yet released)
Previously, on The First Avatar...
Tenzu and Shinjin departed from the Northern Air Temple and set a course for the Northern Water Tribe in order to commence the former's exile. Meanwhile, a vacationing Malu was summoned to speak with Monk Taishu and the rest of the Council of Elders regarding a lengthy reconnaissance mission to tail and covertly gather information on Tenzu's and Shinjin's whereabouts, with the secondary objective of defending the two during a fight if necessary. Tenzu's sky bison, Anka, fell ill and the two were forced to land on a secluded island to allow her to recover. The delay allowed Malu to follow their tracks and intercept the two on the island. She eavesdropped on a conversation between Tenzu and Shinjin, where the former still held regrets over his actions, and the latter told his pupil of an ancient prophecy and how it related to Tenzu, but refused to divulge any further information regarding the specifics. Armed with the information she gathered, Malu began to write her first report to the Council. The next morning, Tenzu and his teacher arrived at the Northern Water Tribe, and met with his acquaintance Azure and her older half-brother Qing. The three then headed indoors to discuss Tenzu's recent situation.
Reckoning and Recognition
Shortly after the three went inside a warm and spacious room near the training grounds, Tenzu retold his role in the events of the past week-and-a-half. While Azure was visibly moved by the account, Qing attempted to dispel his emotions by brightening the mood: "Meh, I've seen worse. It wasn't very long ago actually. Long story short, a lowly-resident of the city tried in vain to bribe an official in charge of protecting my father so that he could see the Chief without obtaining prior permission to do so; gaining royal permission can cost a large sum of money, depending on the occasion and the reasons for the request. Anyways, the peasant was caught by the security detail, was tried and found guilty, then strapped to a water cannon and blasted towards the Northern Ocean. Before that occurred, he was sentenced to exile in the Earth Kingdom and was forced to swim there from his landing spot."
"Uhh... that's not the way to dispel a negative mood Qing. It just tends to make people feel worse about what they did. Same thing regarding Tenzu. He's not jolly after what you described. So much for the ultimate storytelling attempt brother."
"I appreciate you guys trying to cheer me up, but it isn't working". Whispering to himself he mentions that "I already have a feeling that I'll be demotivated after this ordeal; after all, I need to retell this at least another two times". "Azure, help me offload Anka's supplies and saddle."
"What can I do in the meantime?" inquired Qing. "If you want, I can organize the offloaded supplies in the nearby storeroom."
"Sure, but you'll need your strength and balance for reception and transport."
Qing then thought to himself that "This is going to be easy. I'm more than capable...". Before he could finish, Tenzu used airbending to levitate and drop a package of weighted supplies on Qing's arms. "Tenzu! Weren't you going to just slide them down Anka's tail towards me?!" the Northern Water Tribe prince stated while reacting to the sudden drop of supplies.
"Ordinarily I would've proceeded to offload that way, but there's a rule regarding Flying Bison that absolutely needs to be followed. It's that all cargo and related attachments need to be offloaded within a half-hour after arrival at a destination, otherwise the bison would become slightly disheveled, irritated, unruly, and lastly would refuse to fly for what could be a long length of time. By my estimation, we've only three minutes remaining to remove everything, or we could be stuck here for as long as two days," to which Qing scowled and muttered to himself in disgust.
"If you don't want to work on the task at hand brother, perhaps you should wait by the storeroom. You could entertain Tenzu and I by utilizing your ultimate skills at Bass while we continue to work on this offloading business."
Dumbstruck by his younger sister's proposal, he sarcastically reacted by saying "First of all, it's bass with a lowercase b. Secondly, I'm not wishing to play the bass right now; you make me want to relish the task at hand, which I despise but Tenzu will probably state that I'll get better at it..." to which Tenzu coyly replied, "You'll get better at it."
"Aargh! Why does coincidence have to be so prevalent? Anyways, the last thing I'll mention is that if decided to play bass now, it would be Short Perception by Blue Night."
"Let's just get this done before time's up. Fortunately Anka can be trained to avoid this problem in a matter of months."
"You just had to tell me this now... I wonder why it wasn't mentioned before? Let me guess, the information was on a need-to-know basis."
"Now that you state it that way, the definite answer is an absolute 'yes'. The reality of this is that I just erred in forgetting to mention all the facts about the Flying Bison... your grace" Tenzu slyly quipped, with a hint of sarcasm.
"Aha. Cue the sarcasm. I just want to get it done."
Meanwhile, Malu had managed to tail Tenzu into the city without attracting the attention of the Northern Water Tribe's security forces after she cleared the gates. All she needed to say to them was a code phrase unique to airbending intelligence agents: "Out of sight, out of mind, to tail one who blew away in the wind" and the guards understood, granting her an unconditional passage into the Water Tribe metropolis. After listening in on the banter between Tenzu, Qing, and Azure, she managed to overhear another conversation taking place a short distance away, between Pak and Monk Shinjin.
"So, old foe, how can I help you today on your 'journey' with your pupil? Before you ask me how I'm aware of Tenzu's motives in light of his freshly recent situation, know that I still hold a retainer on several espionage agents after our rather 'idealistic' arguments all those years ago". Shinjin was slightly exasperated, but remained composed after hearing Pak's opening question and statement towards his travels with his student.
"Then perhaps you know what I am about to discuss with you at this very moment". Pak became puzzled and shrugged his shoulders. "No? Well perhaps you should remember to keep being well-informed while remaining tactful enough to allow others to speak of their situations unless it is necessary!" the irritated monk exclaimed. "The truth of the matter is that Tenzu needs to redeem himself after the immediate fracas following his post-promotion brawl with a rival airbender. Long story short, he became troubled and the rest of the Northern Air Temple's Council of Elders made the decision to evict him from the premises during his now two-weeks-old exile".
Heeding Shinjin's forceful advice, Pak became more serious and reserved as he asked his old rival "Is there anything else you want to discuss with me? If not, this chat's adjourned; I do have to get back to training my own prodigal student after all, as she has a bright future ahead of her as a waterbending master."
"As a matter of fact, there is another situation I feel you should be aware of if you don't already know it". Shinjin then pulled out a medium-sized parchment featuring a painting of three large creatures.
Pak became intrigued in the work. "These are Lion Turtles I see. Is it just a painting or is there history behind it?"
"This was an actual event, recorded fourteen years ago on a rocky outcrop on the shoreline of the western Earth Kingdom. The person pictured in front of the creatures is myself. I and the rest of the Council of Elders just departed from a pilgrimage to the Western Air Temple as the landmass it occupies is the birthplace of airbending. While flying across the strait linking that and the Earth Kingdom, I observed what seemed to be three landforms moving slowly across the water. Curious, I guided my flying bison towards them and landed on the beach not far away. The other elders joined me almost immediately after seeing my bison banking sharply to the left and descending. As soon as I dismounted, I saw a rather ominous sight: the three landforms were in fact gargantuan Lion Turtles, and they were advancing towards the shoreline ever so slightly."
"Before you continue, is this edition authentic or is it a derivative?" asked a cautious Pak, to which an attentive Shinjin replied, "Ah, it is a detailed facsimile of the original mural located on the south wall of the Northern Air Temple. Now, let me proceed with the story."
"One of the three Lion Turtles, a large specimen no taller than 50 feet and no wider than 200 feet beached itself and approached my then-slight frame".
"Are you Monk Shinjin, master airbender and a member of the Northern Air Temple's Council of Elders?" the Lion Turtle asked.
"Indeed I am. What is the purpose of this discussion?"
"You and the others need to hear what I have to say simultaneously". Shinjin then motioned the others to approach the creature. "Now that all five of you are before me, I must inquire if you collectively still know the prophecy I have foretold 15,000 years ago".
"Of course. Every airbender's required to memorize the oath until such a time when it is fulfilled".
"The prophecy has been partially completed during this year. I had mentioned that one individual would be born, and who would be able to control and manipulate the four elements, giving that being the ability to tap into large amounts of power. I also mentioned that this would only happen during a time of war, and to my knowledge the planet is currently embroiled in one involving a rogue and powerful sect of firebenders. I sense that it is a boy who was only birthed at the Northern Air Temple a few days prior. How many infants are currently at the temple?"
Monk Taishu, being the statistician of the group responded "There have been 45 births this year, 10 in the past month".
"Then I present you with four objects: a clay turtle, a fan, a wooden monkey, and a wooden hand drum. The boy would be imbued with a powerful spirit that would recognize these four toys as objects they recognize from the Spirit World. You are to immediately head to your temple, mix these up with thousands of other toys, and have every infant born this year choose four toys to play with into their later childhoods. The one who correctly picks these four specimens is the one whom the prophecy identifies. Monk Shinjin, I will order that you are to be the primary caregiver and teacher to the one that's chosen. Before I finish, I will state that under no circumstances is the boy allowed to learn the prophecy until he is at least fourteen years old, otherwise the experience could prove very traumatic, even fatalistic".
"Will you at least appear in the coming years to give the boy guidance and help him understand the prophecy more than I can teach him should that arise?"
"Should his spirit and subconscious desire it, then I will be obliged to do so. Now, leave this place and put the dictated directives into motion. There is no time to waste".
The giant beast then pushed itself back into the water and turned around. Shinjin and the others were shocked when soon thereafter, the other two Lion Turtles merged with the middle one, becoming much larger and more voluminous, with a thicket of trees now covering its once-bare shell. "Know that I'm the only one in existence, and that I am astutely capable of shifting and creating multiples of myself. It allows me to be in a greater number of locations at once".
"I have not seen that mythical beast again since that fateful conversation. We made haste to the temple and conducted the toy selection tests on all the babies born that year. It wasn't until the 43rd baby, a thin and slightly frail infant was tested that we found one who had correctly selected the four sacred objects. Per the Air Nomad Codex, I was saddled with the responsibility of raising and teaching the child the principles and practices of airbending in preparation of his inevitably larger role. However, I was also the individual who had to ask the baby's birth parents to relinquish their control and responsibilities over him, albeit with a heavy heart as I was once required to give up my own child years ago. Also, per the policies, I had to choose a name for the infant upon which I became the sole guardian of, and I named him 'Tenzu', after the first person to learn airbending from the Flying Bison thousands of years prior at the dawn of our civilization. Fourteen years later and here we are, journeying around the world."
"Interesting story, but I must now return to my own student. If she wishes to become a master and leave my tutelage, she needs to fight me, as per the Water Tribe customs. Goodbye Shinjin."
With that, Pak left Shinjin's company and headed towards the dockyards where Azure and Qing continued to offload Anka with Tenzu.
Time for a Promotion
After writing her report for the Council, Malu overheard a few faint shouts over to her right, near the dockyards. Using her airbending-enhanced hearing, she was able to decipher that a melee was about to commence between Pak and his hotheaded pupil. She then made haste towards a nearby rooftop to catch a glimpse of the "festivities."
"AZURE!" Pak hollered from a distance to his student. "Assume your ready stance. We're going to have ourselves a duel to determine whether or not you deserve to be known as a master."
"I definitely am ready to take you down" the waterbender muttered somewhat incoherently.
"What did you say?" asked Pak, to which Azure cockily replied, "I said I'm going to beat you so I can be known as THE ULTIMATE WATERBENDER!"
"Then let's start. Your biggest weakness is your excessive hubris and I've beaten you before by exploiting that tendency. I wonder if you'll learn."
Azure jumped on the base of a bannister near the edge of the courtyard and froze her feet firmly atop it, giving her a solid base from which to strike.
"Silly girl... that's how she always starts" Pak thought to himself. Without warning, Azure launched herself from the bannister by quickly compressing and releasing the water in the ice. Arms outstretched and both fists clenched in striking position, she planned on landing the first blow on her master. Sensing this, the teacher generated a wave of water at Azure, but she deflected it and continued with her attack, using the deflection to increase her velocity. Pak sidestepped and grabbed her leading arm, putting her in an armbar, but Azure got what she desired when she used her master's movements against him by landing a double kick to his right oblique. Doubling over ever-so-slightly, the elder waterbender raised an ice wall, exploding it when Azure arrived at the correct distance, which sent her twenty feet into the air. Acting reflexively, the student rotated her body, using her feet to conjure a water projectile back at Pak, which he redirected back at her. Using her arms this time, she bended the water over the ground and manipulated its molecular structure to create an elastic construct, breaking her fall.
"I see your environmental aptitude has dramatically improved from the last time we fought at length."
"I did learn from the best after all" Azure replied, to which Pak sarcastically rebuffed "My teachings are only now worth something to your studies I see."
With that, Pak charged at Azure with a tidal wave and blasted her into a nearby pool. Immediately surfacing, she turned some of the liquid into an ice block and proceeded to fire razor-thin disc projectiles at her master. Pak assumed a horse stance and blocked several attacks, but after a minute of blocking, he grazed two specimens with his fingertips and bended them into two water whips, with which to slice the others. Azure kept launching and Pak continued to cut down the discs with his newly-acquired whips.
Having enough of Pak's tactics, the prodigy tossed the block up in the air as a distraction, which the master cut down with one of his whips. As soon as his attention was diverted, she procured a humid fog, reducing his visibility temporarily. "Very resourceful" commended Pak, who attuned his hearing in lieu of his obstructed sight.
He heard his pupil's footsteps behind him and launched a water whip at her general direction. Azure intercepted the whip, absorbed it onto her arm and froze it so that her limb became armoured in ice. He tried to attack again but she evaded it and landed a punch to his face, knocking him over. When he attempted to get up again, Azure converted her ice armour into spikes and pinned his extremities so that he was unable to bend. The battle had been won by Azure in convincing fashion, something she had never been close to accomplishing ever since she first trained with her master.
"I won!" an exhausted Azure commented. "I am the ULTIMATE Waterbender!"
Next Stop: The Earth Kingdom
Pak slowly got up with the assistance of his pupil. "Good work Azure," he said under mild strain. "My hearing wasn't as reliable as in years past, so you being younger gave you an edge. I'll officially announce you as a Master Waterbender in a few hours, but I deem you one now for practical reasons. Help your brother and your friend pack the latter's bison; you'll be needing to leave here shortly". On the surface Azure was collected, but internally she was overjoyed and could barely contain her excitement. Pak motioned to his student that he was fine and he gingerly walked to the healing huts nearby to recuperate for the ceremony.
Azure ran back and hugged both her brother and Tenzu, exclaiming "I DID IT!"
"Congratulations Azure. But like your teacher said, let's keep this a bit quieter for now" stated Tenzu. "In the meantime, we should heed his advice and load up Anka with the necessary rations and supplies."
"A rational idea, Tenzu" quipped Qing.
A few hours later in the Great Hall, located at the head of the city adjoined by towering glaciers, the ceremony was about to commence. "Azure, would you kindly rise and head towards the podium?" asked Pak, the M.C. for the evening. The waterbender gracefully rose from her seat at the front of the chamber and confidently strode to the stage. "Azure, daughter of the Chief of the Northern Water Tribe and younger half-sister of His Royal Highness, Prince Qing, I hereby declare you a Waterbending Master. From this point on, you are free to travel the world and continue to train in the art, as well as having the ability to teach others waterbending should they be willing. Lastly, you are no longer the subordinate of a master, and are now considered an equal."
Azure hugged her former master and embraced her new role. "I thank each and everyone of you here who encouraged me and carried me on while I trained for this day, as well as Master Pak for ensuring I didn't get here easily. My ultimate skills have been attested to, and I will seek to expand the bending art further."
An hour later, Azure and Qing said goodbye to their people and then lifted off on Anka with Tenzu and Shinjin, who only shortly before had returned from a convalescing session.
"Where to Tenzu?" asked his teacher.
"Next stop: The Earth Kingdom" Tenzu replied while steering Anka to the southeast. "I have a few others to join up with."
TO BE CONTINUED...
- First of all, the author apologizes to anyone who was desperately waiting for this chapter. He had originally envisioned this as a very long section (about 2 times as long as this chapter), but noting his anemic progress to that point, he decided to split it into two and expand this chapter before publication. There may even need to be another split down the road if necessary.
- This chapter contains comedic references to other Avatar Wiki users, specifically , and of course, the latter of which has her name prominently appearing in the chapter.
- The song that Qing goes off to play, "Short Perception" by "Blue Night", is a reference to one of the author's favourite bass-centric songs: "Longview" by Green Day.
- The author originally envisioned Qing as a rational foil to Azure's hotheadedness, but he decided to include Sokka's sarcasm skills to provide comic relief as well.
- The battle between Pak and Azure is loosely based on the fight between Katara and Pakku in "The Waterbending Master" (an aside: most of the images came from that episode's screenshots). Unlike that fight though, Azure wins the duel.
- Pak having his sight temporarily impaired and quipping "Very resourceful" afterwards is almost directly attributed to Piandao's quote and sequence during his sword fight with Sokka in "Sokka's Master". Unlike that episode obviously, the person who stated the quote (Pak) loses his fight with his student.
- The author enhanced the fight between Pak and Azure to display more mastery of waterbending as well as enabling creative freedom with the process.
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