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|Chapter 4: The White Lotus|
July 26, 2012
Lien grew concerned. They had flown all the way here only to find that the airbenders were either all dead here, or had all left. The war apparently had followed them here despite their attempts to escape it.
"Maybe we can go to the Western Air Temple, they might still be there," Bo suggested.
"Or, they might still be here!" Lien exclaimed.
"What's gotten into you?" Bo asked rather confused.
"Look," Lien pointed to the purple and grey flag that was flapping in the wind above the temple.
"So what?" Bo asked.
"So, that flag is new, if the airbenders had left, they would have taken it with them and if they had died then the flag would be tattered."
"Yes but what if they died within the past few days?" Bo asked.
"Well look at the ground, it's the end of summer the beginning of autumn and the trees around here would have left leaves all over the ground, the ground is clean, it's just been swept," Lien explained. "That means they, or someone, are still here!"
Bo looked at Lien quizzically.
"Let's land, and then you'll find out what I'm talking about," Lien said responding to Bo's confused look.
Bo started taking the heat off of the balloon and deflating it. They slowly descended. When they were just above the ground a gust of wind blew Lien and Bo out of the balloon from behind. As they hit the ground a second gust blew the balloon off the mountain. Lien and Bo jumped back to their feet and gazed off of the precipice at the balloon which was now completely deflated and in pieces along the mountainside. They turned back to see themselves surrounded by people, both young and old, dressed in yellow and orange clothing. They had found the airbenders, but they were also now their prisoners.
"Trap them!" one of them exclaimed from the shadows.
Suddenly Bo and Lien were encased in several rotating spheres of air. As they were lifted into the air, Bo quickly bloodbent their captors and they stopped levitating. As soon as they landed, Bo earthbent and trapped the airbenders' arms and legs so they couldn't bend. Bo stood looking at the trapped airbenders and then decided to try to explain to them why they were there.
"We just came here for your help, and to help you," Bo said.
"You have a funny way of asking," one of the airbenders remarked.
Lien caught something out of the corner of her eye, like a tall person clad in a long, hooded, dull brown, robe. Lien ignored it for a while thinking that it was just some leaves fluttering in the breeze. Then she felt someone creep up behind her she turned to see a figure hidden behind a hood who reached out and grabbed her. She tried to earthbend a rock at him to knock him away but as soon as he gripped her shoulder she saw the world grow dark around her as she collapsed to the hard cobblestone ground. Bo noticed and as he was turning, he too was rendered unconscious.
Lien awoke in a dark room which was lit by only one torch and guarded by two men uniformed in blue and white. Lien found that her wrists were bound, she quickly rectified that. She earthbent a spike which cut her bonds. She was then able to cut the bonds on her feet. She considered trying to get past the guards, but then she had another idea. She looked up at the ceiling which to her relief was made of stone. She bent the roof out of the way and was about ready to jump up to the next level and proceed ever upwards when the guards entered and blasted her against the wall with air. She knocked both of them back with two quick barrages of rock disks and she turned once again to the ceiling but before she could catapult herself up, she felt a power come over her. She turned, not of her own will of course, to see another blue uniformed figure who was apparently bloodbending her. Lien was forced back to the ground and two more blue uniformed people entered the room, this time with a platinum box. The bloodbender bent Lien into the box and the others shut it, and locked it.
"Shoot!" Lien exclaimed. "Now I'm trapped again, I wonder how Bo's doing?"
Bo regained consciousness. He stared into a bright light above him and he blinked his eyes as he turned away. He was restrained. The cuffs that held his wrists and feet to the chair were cold and metallic, they wouldn't respond when he tried bending them so he assumed that they were platinum. Bo considered pulling the water out of the air and making a water blade, but when he tried, he only got a miniscule amount, not enough water in the air up here he thought.
Soon a man entered. A tall man in a long, dull brown, hooded cloak. He spoke in a gravelly voice, "I apologize for the inconvenience, it is just that we have not seen any outsiders for a very long time."
"Who are you, and why have you captured us?" Bo asked.
"You will find out who I am in good time, as for the capture, the ultimate reason for that is that your people are very excitable, especially the airbenders who are very reclusive and since the war have not wanted to be seen by anyone." "Simply put, the airbenders were paranoid and attacked you despite my warnings and as a result the situation escalated forcing me to ultimately render both you and your friend unconscious for a time," the man said.
"So, prove to me then that you are reasonable, release me," Bo said.
"Very well, but you must promise to remain here, in this room, preferably seated." The man went around Bo undoing his cuffs. He then came back to face Bo as he rubbed his wrists and ankles.
"So, why do you want me to stay here and not leave?" Bo asked.
"First, I wish to verify your identity, second, I wish to know what you know, both of these can be accomplished within the next few moments. The third and final reason why you should stay, is the reason you came here in the first place, to seek our guidance," the hooded man explained. "Now, if you would please, I wish to complete the first two tasks I mentioned."
The man reached out to Bo with his right hand. Bo knew what was going to happen, the hooded man was an energy bender, and he was going to take Bo's bending. Bo began to move to escape, but it was too late, the man had already placed his thumb on his forehead. Then, something strange happened, the man's index finger did not go to his temple, but instead to his cheek bone, then the man laid his middle finger down at the back of his jaw and the other two fingers followed laying on Bo's face below the previous fingers.
Bo was now confused, this wasn't the way that people usually energy bent. Suddenly Bo was plunged into a world that was nothing but white. He looked down and saw that he was standing on mist. "Where am I?" Bo asked himself. He turned to see the man who had captured him off in the distance. Bo ran up to him but stopped short as he saw yet another hooded figure clothed in almost exactly the same cloak as the man. They were talking to each other in a language that Bo couldn't understand. They then turned and looked at something to Bo's left. Bo also turned and saw a woman dressed in Earth Kingdom garb and behind this person were more people dressed in clothes from all four nations of old, while several children sat in front of this person smiling at the two cloaked men.
Bo now realized who those people were, they were the past Avatars. The children were those who lived briefly during these dark ages before they were snuffed out by witch hunts and raids.
The Avatars spoke in their collective voices, "We are sorry to disappoint you T'las and T'ron, but your search must continue, we are not present in this one, but he can help you find who the next one of us is. Enlist his capabilities and those of his friend, teach him what you know and learn from him, this is our wisdom to you."
The white void vanished, replaced by the room in which the man had energy bent him. The man removed his hand from Bo's face. "Now Bo, I will see to it that you and your friend are mad comfortable here while you stay," the man said. "Guards, escort Bo and his friend to the courtyard and tell the monks to make arrangements for their stay."
Bo met Lien in the courtyard where they had landed earlier. "Lien, are you alright?"
"Yes, but I am very confused about what's going on here," Lien replied. "Why did they capture us, only to release us?"
Bo listened to Lien as he tested that he still could bend. He extracted the water from a fallen peach, he launched a piece of cobblestone off the mountain, he lit a fire in his hand and made an air scooter beneath him before he was satisfied that he hadn't lost his bending. Then he responded to Lien's question, "I guess they captured us to avoid escalation and an all out battle out here. The tall man who knocked us out told me that we overreacted quite a lot, especially the airbenders who like to remain hidden."
"Oh, well we overreact and he doesn't?" Lien asked sarcastically.
"Well, that's the thing, I don't think he does," Bo replied.
"What are you saying Bo, that he isn't like the rest of us, that he isn't human?"
"Lien, while we were in our cells, he energy bent me, I worried that he was taking away my bending, but instead, I think he was in my mind, and the strange thing is, his presence didn't feel human."
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