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|The Peacock Dove|
June 23, 2012
Three years have past since Avatar Aang defeated the Fire Lord and ended the Hundred Year War. But the world is not at peace. One hundred years of brutal fighting has left the world scarred and damaged. Because of the Earth Kingdom's focus on defending themselves, they had little attention for regional conflicts. In the Si Wong Desert, the sandbending tribes that have lived peacefully for centuries are at the brink of war. What will the future bring for these tribes, and with the world distracted, who will save the desert from war?
Previously on Sand Dunes, The Gobi Tribe and the Hami tribe are at war. Mein left the tribe to go to the Oasis where he met a girl named Mina from the Gobi tribe. Later after the Hami Tribe was attacked Mina left a carving of a Peacock dove for Mein.
Chapter 2: Shifting Sands
I was feeling something I haven't felt in a long time, the cold. I was shivering, and bunching up in a ball. I was far out of my element, there was absolutely no sand in sight. Just a bunch of rocks and trees. I herd a soft, singing coming from a distance. It was not human, it sounded like a bird song. I ran after it to see what it was. I kept running, until the ground became to steep to run and I started to walk eventually I had to climb. I finally got to the peak. I looked out and saw the most amazing and serene view. I was on top of the mountains surrounding the desert. I noticed that the singing had stopped, and then I turned around and saw lying in its nest a peacock dove. It was the most majestic creature I had ever seen. It had the body of a peacock with the white smooth feathers and tail of a dove. I walked forward slowly and reached out my hand. I stretched my fingers out and was just inches from touching the silky white feathers, and then...I woke up.
My father was at my feet.
"Rise and shine son, we've got a big day ahead of us"
"Dad, its still dark out"
"We have got to get to the flats early if you want to be alone during your lesson"
"Okay I'll be out in a minute" I said and then stood up
I walked over to my things and grabbed some clothes. I slipped them on and then wrapped my hands and feet in cloth. I walked out to the main room in our hut. My father was sitting in his chair drinking tea.
"Would you like some?" He asked
"No thanks" I responded "Dad if you are too busy we don't have to go"
"Don't tell me you're to wimpy to come with me, you know.." I cut him off before he could finish
"No, Its just...we are at war" I said
His smile faded
"I know son, just the more reason to practice" He put on a fake smile and walked out of the hut. I followed behind him.
"For the sake of time we will take a sailor" he said.
We hopped on one and left the tribe. We got to the flats quickly and walked to the center. I began to stretch.
"So, show me what Master Won has taught you" He said
I ran the sets and forms I know and looked at his face for approval.
"Your good. Very good. I think you are ready for the more advanced forms." He said while nodding his head.
"This first one I will show you is quite useful and common in combat. First form a spinning wheel, then flick your wrists like this, and while keeping it spinning send it forward. The idea is to create a spinning blade to hurl at your opponents.
I tried it with relative success.
"Good now for the next one, enter your horse stance. This form requires you to shift your weight from one side to the other and let the sand follow. When you do that you can shift all of the sand upwards and then solidify it, encasing your opponent in sand above the ground."
I tried it again and I was successful.
"Wow, you are really advanced for your age, when did that happen!" He joked "Now this one is a lot harder. You remember that sand bending is derived from water and air bending, well this technique is common in masters of both of those elements and can be used with sand as well. What you need to do is create a funnel, like the ones used on the sand sailors and then have it spout off of the ground. Then you can lift off of it while standing on it and ride the spout. From there you have the high ground to attack your opponent."He then demonstrated and I followed by trying it out. I flew up and landed face down in the sand.
Keep practicing. This technique involves patience and balance. Towards the end of the lesson I was beginning to get it. I even managed to create a spout and stay on for about 30 seconds. The sun began to rise and several people started arriving.
"I wish we could do this all day but the demands of war await" My father said
We then walked back to the sailor and glided away. When we got back my father and I parted ways. I left feeling more connected with my father then ever before. As I was walking I began thinking about my dream. I had that one last night and a similar one the night before, when I found the Pai Sho piece. I wish there was some way of talking to Mina about what she meant and what she was trying to tell me. I walked around the tribe several times. The wall was beginning to take shape again. This time they are adding wood supports so it is not just made of sand. They spent nearly all of the tribes money on construction supplies they bought from the beetle-headed merchants. They asked for my help as I was walking by. I cut logs in half and hammered braces onto the wood. I eventually got to sand bend parts of the wall up. After I was finished I walked to Li-Pengs hut. Li-Peng is the oldest person in our tribe. He is considered to be the most wise as well. I knocked on his door and said who I was.
"Mein! Come in my boy!" he said cheerfully
"I was wondering if I could talk to you about something?" I asked
"Sure thing my boy just before that, those angry men blasted a hole in the side of my hut." He pointed towards a large gaping hole in the side of his hut.
"I can help you with that" I said
I waved my arms and bent some sand to fill the hole.
"Its not pretty but it will do for now" I said
"Now, I was wondering.." He cut me off
"Oh not so fast first we must have tea!" he said while bouncing around the small hut surprisingly fast.
"Oh I really don't need tea I just need to talk"
"Well we can do both!" He then shoved a cup of steaming tea towards me.
"Its jasmine! You know legend has it that jasmine tea leaves only grow where dragons pooped!" He stared at me with gaping eyes
"Your crazy aren't you?" I said bluntly
"That's right!" he said and then started laughing "Now what was it that you wanted to ask?"
"I wanted to know if you know anything about peacock doves?" I asked curiously
"Ahhh, well as rare as they are there story is quite well known. It is said that peacock doves, when born, are a very close knit family. They only give birth once in a lifetime, to twins. They are inseparable at birth. They go everywhere together, and never lose sight of the other twin. But as soon as they reach maturity they separate. They leave and go opposite directions. Never to see each other again for years. Until they are very old near the end of their life they fly to the same place they were born. They meet and when they see each other again they are once again a family. They usually die within a few days, but they die together."
"I don't understand! What does that even mean?"
"How should I know I am just some old guy?!"
I thanked Li-Peng and left. I walked back to my hut and sat down. I was confused, what does some bird have to do with this war. Maybe I am over thinking this. Maybe Mina is just another crazy Sand Bender from the Gobi tribe.
Things were calm in the tribe until later in the day. You could hear the buzz of sand sailors in the distance. The gobi tribe was coming. This time I am not going to hide I am going to stand up and fight for my tribe. I ran towards what used to be the wall. I started to walk out when I herd someone yell.
"Mein! We need help to protect the construction over here!"
"Got it!" I yelled and ran over to the site.
There were several people that came to assist.
"What ever you do protect the wall construction and that building over there" said the man my dad put in charge of construction.
"What's in the shelter?" I asked
"That's not important right now!" He yelled as he was running "Just keep It safe!"
"The initial sailors arrived and they all jumped off. They were shouting and running towards the huts. They were destroying them all. I looked over and two sand benders were at my hut. I started running. Someone grabbed my shoulder.
"Your place is here!" he yelled
"Your right, I'm sorry"
Several men approached us. I used the blade technique my dad showed me earlier. The man pulled out a sword and sliced the blade in half. I formed a whip out of sand and started whipping it forward. He was gaining on me and quickly approached. With a move of my foot I turned some sand to quicksand and the man began to sink. He threw his sword and it landed in the sand. Two more people ran at me. I used the shifting technique to encase one of the men. I shot sand at the other and he redirected it, I tried a slice but he dispersed that as well. I hardened the sand under him to catch his feet. He fell forward and I caught his hands in the sand as well. I looked around to see the other people in my tribe either captured or not moving. I could either run or face the Gobi men. I formed a funnel under me and rose up with all the sand spinning under me. I was shooting gusts of sand from up high. Everywhere I looked people were bending at me. Out of now where I heard my fathers voice.
"Get away from my son!" he ran forward and blasted two men together. He spun around and whipped sand around someone binding their arms. I used the sand spinning beneath me to form sandstone and blasted them towards the other men. I looked around again and saw most of the Gobi men were gone. I stopped bending the sand and fell forward and face planted. I looked up and saw my fathers arm extended towards me, I grabbed his arm and he pulled me up.
"You'll get the landing one day" he said smirking.
We got up and started walking towards the mess. There were very few huts that were still in tact. Several sand benders created two large shelters in the middle of the tribe. They were cones with a hole at the top. One was for the injured people, one was for the leaders to plan. I sat by myself thinking about the past few hours. I used my bending to hurt all those people. I abused my skills. As night fall approached my father and the other tribal leaders came out of their shelter. My father told everyone to sit as he spoke.
"The time has come for change. We as a tribe can no longer take the destruction these people bring. We are planning an attack. I need volunteers to come with us and bring justice to the Gobi Tribe. It will be dangerous and several of you will not come back"
Just about all of the men stood up, and several women did as well.
"I thank you for your bravery. Those who have volunteered please stay after this meeting to be briefed on the details of the mission. The rest of you, find something to eat and get some rest. You have all been through to much. Please join me in thanking the spirits and asking them for there guidance and wisdom in these tough times."
I began to walk away.
"Mein, where are you going?" My father asked confused
"I didn't think that you would want me on the mission" I said simply
"I wouldn't have it any other way. I want you on my side when we go to battle." He said with pride
I put on a fake smile and sat down. I am not thankful for this at all, and I am not proud of myself. All I feel is shame for what I have done. I am confused and lost, and now I'm going to battle.
For the collective works of the author, go here.