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February 1st, 2013
Dashi leapt out of the tree directly onto the beasts' back. Immediately the Bison roared loudly and began to try and buck him off. It ran in circles before charging into the air. The young Nomad whooped in delight, he loved flying more than anything. He felt so at home soaring through the air, he felt so...free. But today the ride was anything but smooth as the bucking Bison grew more irritated that the clumsy human was clinging to its back, pulling its long hair. It flew directly at a grove of trees, Dashi ducked but a branch caught him around the midsection, leaving him hanging as the angry beast snarled at him and tore off into the sky.When he returned to the village, a group of boys where playing a game of ball, tossing it back and forth trying to get it through opposite hoops. Older Nomads would play it balancing on tall pegs made from old trees, they called it "Airball."
As he ran up to the boys to join in on their game, one of the Elders approached him and placed a hand on his shoulder. He looked down on the boy with a stern look on his face.
"Dashi, how many times must we remind you not to bother the Bison?"
"But Elder...I only wish to be like them. I want to fly!"
The Elder chuckled, "Dear boy, you know humans cannot fly. I know rumors are spreading that some have began to manipulate some of the elements but gravity-bending is not included. Now do leave the wild animals alone or I'll have you scrubbing the bathrooms for weeks."
Dashi stuck his tongue out at the Elder once his back was turn and rushed over to attempt to join the game but the other kids had ran off to some other activity. He searched the entire Temple but they seemed to have vanished. In fact, no one was around.
"Maybe they all went into the Hall of Meditation..."Dashi wondered out loud.
Before he even took a step a loud humming filled the air. It was a low yet enticing sound, almost like it was coming from the gorge surrounding the Temple. Dashi felt himself drawn towards the sound, his feet guiding him to the edge of one of their platforms overlooking the gorge. A small lip of earth jutted out a few feet below. On this ledge Dashi saw a young Bison and it looked lost. The small beast noticed him and began to cry out loudly. It scrambled towards a small bush on the ledge in an attempt to hide. The low humming turned into a chanting and Dashi felt compelled to join the young animal. Before he knew it he was sliding down the cliff onto the platform."Come on out...I'm not going to hurt you..." he said softly. The animal poked its nose out of the bush and sniffed the air. The young monk searched his robes and pulled out an apple. This sold the Bison as it ran forward and happily accepted the apple from Dashi. After inhaling the fruit it looked at him curiously and took a cautious step forward before nuzzling his hand. Dashi smiled, he had finally bonded with one of the Bison.
"You like me huh? What should I call you?"
The Bison only looked at him with a puzzled look on his face.
"Hmmmm, how about....Pacha?"
The Bison nuzzled him again and did an odd purring sound of delight. Dashi had not even noticed that the loud humming chant seemed to be getting closer. Pacha nudged him in the direction it was coming from. Down in the gorge and large mass seemed to be slowly coming towards the Temple.
"What's that?" he looked at the Bison, "Give me a ride?"
To his surprise, Pacha walked next to him and dipped low, allowing Dashi a way to get onto his shoulders. Once Dashi was on top, Pacha remained motionless.
"Giddy-up! Yee-ha! Up! Yip Yap!"
Pacha suddenly launched himself into the air and immediately dive bombed the large mass moving through the forest. The close the dive took them the more Dashi realized what he was looking at. It was a massive creature with a small forest growing on its back.
"Pacha, it's a Lion Turtle! I've never seen one before. I wonder why it's all the way out here."
Dashi realized the humming was coming from the large creature. Pacha was taking him right for a field that the Lion Turtle would soon pass through. The two landed and waited for it to come upon them but as it got closer they lost their nerve just a bit as the size of the creature became more apparent. It noticed them right away and stopped a few hundred feet away. Dashi stood in awe, afraid to stay but also afraid to leave.
You are the only they call Dashi? a deep voiced boomed. The Lion Turtle was talking to him!
"Uh-uh, yes I am!"
There are wondrous things in your future monk but they will come with a price. Tell me, what is it you desire most?
"Well, that's easy. I've always wanted to fly with the Bison, to feel as light and free as the wind."
Then learn from the Sky Bison. Observe them. Become them.
"But how do I do that? I've been watching them forever!"
You have seen them, now you must watch them. The world is changing, the winds are shifting. A great event shall soon unfold.
"Am I going to be part of this?"
The entire world will play a role. It is up to you to decide what yours will be. Now be still if you would.
Dashi nodded as the Lion Turtles eyes glowed a brilliant green color, he lifted a handed to shield his eyes as the light illuminated the field. A strange sensation overcame the young monk; it felt like he had lost quite a bit of weight. Before the Lion Turtle walked away he met eyes with Dashi once again and said one last thing.
Watch the Sky Bison and beware the Slayers...
With that, the beast stomped off and left Dashi stumped and staring at Pacha. The Bison seemed different all of a suddenly. It was flying in low circles and it was almost like Dashi could see the air currents around him.
"Let's go back to the Temple, I feel a bit tired."
Dashi went to bed the moment he returned to his room and did not wake until the following morning. He entered the eating area and all the kids began to tease him because of his morning ritual of quite violent sneezing attacks.
"How many do you think he'll get off today?"
"I bet 10."
At that precise moment, Dashi's nose began to itch and the overwhelming sensation to sneeze became too much.
The children braced for it, gleeful looks on their faces as they were all eager to be right.
"CHOOOOOOO!"The mess hall exploded, dishes flew everywhere. All monk, young and old, were flung against the stone wall. Dashi himself was propelled backwards but an unseen force. He flew out of the main door, knocking over several Elders arriving for breakfast. He raised unsteadily on his feet, the kids all piled one each other in the corner were cheering.
"That was awesome Dashi, how'd you do it?!"
"I'm not sure."
By that time the Elders had untangled themselves and immediately whisked the young monk away from the rest. He found himself before them in their meeting chamber.
"What is the meaning of this Dashi? We've had quite enough of your antics!"
"I'm sorry Elders. I didn't know that was going to happen.."
One of the kinder ones asked in a gentle voice, "Please explain yourself."
And so he did with the Elders quite calm with the whole situation. The leader of the Council of Elders spoke to him next.
"Young Monk, we have sensed the changes in the winds for quite some time now. Several months ago the Council of Elders achieved enlightenment and with the gift a few of us received from the Lion Turtles we were able to become one with the wind, something you have quite publicly desired. We purposely and selfishly kept this from the rest of our kind but yesterday's events have made it clear it is not ours to keep to ourselves, our entire race must be part of this change. The Lion Turtle must have changed you as a reminder not to be greedy. It is time we learned from our brethren the Sky Bison, they are the masters of the Air. Dashi, you are experiencing the birth of something amazing, we are the Air Nation!"
Over the next few years, Dashi and the Elders visited their sister Temples, bestowing the gift to every Nomad they came into contact with. A couple of the Temples were as peaceful as the others and immediately declared themselves the Air Warriors, something did not bode well with the Elders but they shared the gift with them anyway. After Dashi had bonded with Pacha the rest of the Sky Bison population seemed to warm up to the newly declared Air Nomads (and Warriors). On Dashi's sixteenth birthday the Elders told him it was time for his journey through the rest of the world and that his first stop would be a tribe in the North Pole region to meet with the people who could bend water....
The giant creature roared loudly and swiped one of its massive paws. A nearby man pulled a blow dart pipe out of a pouch at his side and loaded it with several shirshu darts. He fired the first round and it only made the creature more angry.
"Now now now!"
Several others jumped out of the foliage, throwing small smoke bombs filled with the same poison. They had all donned face covers that prevented them from inhaling the vapors but the beast wasn't so lucky. The darts might have only caused a minor irritation but it couldn't stop him from breathing in the smoke.A menacing man made his way to the face of the beast.
"You're big for such young one...still some of your larger companions gave more a fight. What you did to this world cannot be forgiven. The chaos is already unbearable and now that you have four separate nations with these "Bending" abilities it will only become a power struggle. I will end your race and erase your knowledge from the world. We are the Slayers and will eliminate every last Lion Turtle."
As the man walked away his followers rushed forward to finish off the beast. A dying race was one step closer to complete extinction...
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