|More from Vulmen||Adventure/Drama||G (all ages)||Positive||News (Eyes of Katara)|
After discovering her actions have inadvertently landed Haru in prison, Katara decides to get herself captured to be taken to him. Once she successfully reaches his side, she gives her all trying to inspire a revolt - but fails. It isn't until her brother and Aang get involved that she succeeds in pushing the Earthbender prisoners into a full-scale revolt, freeing themselves from their captivity.
Additional notes Edit
This is one of those chapters that I raise an eyebrow to, as in "That turned out much longer than anticipated". Especially surprising is that I had already split this chapter into two, seeing that it would be long. Go figure!
Of particular note; I DID change one thing, sort of. The plan to get captured is sort of Sokka's idea in the series. I say it like that because, frankly I don't buy that Sokka came up with it listening to how he phrases it. Beginning by telling Katara he first thought she was crazy, but then "this might work", really leads me to believe it was Katara's idea but Sokka is simply rephrasing it so that we can get the gist of it. Read on to see how I incorporated this, I feel it more captures what I think really happened.
My favorite part of this chapter is actually the very beginning. Haha, rock on Aang with that joke! And the emotional scene that followed... to me it seemed to really hit hard.
The fresh scent of straw was the first thing Katara noticed as she awoke; the next being the gleam of the sun through the window overhead as it had begun to rise. It was dawn. Observing her companions, they both still slept soundly. She let out a soft breath as she sat up, remaining still a moment before turning to poke Sokka.
He groaned and reached back, swatting at her hand absently. “Leave me be Momo…I don’t have any food.”
She lifted an eyebrow and leaned back; he seemed very much awake to her. “Didn’t you want to leave at dawn?”
Rolling over, Sokka sleepy-eyed stared at his sister in depression. “I did? That seems so long ago.”
“Right, enough time to get a good sleep.” She lifted to her feet, shrugged off her blanket and headed towards a clay pot by Appa. “I hope they don’t mind, but we’ll borrow this for some water before we leave. I’ll be back; wake Aang and get everything packed up.”
He apparently had passed out, as there was no reply. Picking the pot up, she turned back to Sokka with a disgusted frown, approaching him steadily. “Sokka.” No answer. “Oh, Sokka…” Still no answer. In disgust, she lowered the pot and began rapping his head with it.
“I said no food Momo…”
She rolled her eyes; she hated trying to wake her brother up. Aang did a great job of it before…let him handle it. She turned towards Appa and began to approach him. Once at the bison’s side, she lifted her eyes to Aang, who lay sprawled out over Appa’s large furry white head. An awkward grin crept over her as she gazed at him curiously. There’s no way that’s comfortable. She thought as she reached her left hand up and gently tugged at his fingers.
“Mm?” He stirred to life, opening his eyes to her. “Oh, morning.” He greeted weakly.
“Morning Aang. Can you wake Sokka and finish packing up? He keeps calling me Momo.”
Aang smiled broadly at the thought of her being called Momo. “I’ll do it Momo.”
Her smile faded to a frown in an instant. “Thanks...” She stated dryly as she turned away. “I’m going to get us some water to drink before we head out, I’ll be right back.” She turned and headed out the barns’ door, leaving Aang to take care of things with her brother.
Stepping outside, the air was warm and clear. She smiled; she hadn’t worn her fur coat for awhile now. This is just amazing. These past several days being her first time away from home, she hadn’t experienced the different climates, let alone the differing cultures. The warm air was refreshing. Katara pleasantly approached a nearby well pump embedded in a rock, which led to an underground stream.
Deciding to practice her bending once again, she set the clay pot down in front of the spigot and entered a soft, slightly lowered stance. Guiding her arms away from the spigot, a stream of water sped out after her arms. With a sweeping motion, she wrapped the stream upright beside her head, and sent it straight down for the pot’s opening with a sound snap of one fist into her palm, finishing the effect with a soft tap of her foot. That might have been a bit much. But it worked, regardless. She only had herself for a teacher to get these moves right.She was happy; her precision with streaming the water seemed to be improving. Picking up her last bending experiment, she prepared to head back. But before she could turn away she spotted a single, lone woman standing by her home, not far away. Haru’s mother was here, not at the shop today. Not knowing what to think, she just stared at the woman’s back as she turned around to gaze at Katara, apparently having felt her eyes on her.
Oh no… Right away she saw the grief written all over the lady’s face. His mother looked like there was nothing left to live for in the world, as tears raced down her cheeks. They didn’t…! Haru! Before she realized it, the pot she was holding slipped from her slender fingers, shattering into numerous shards by her feet as the water spilled over the ground.
Wasting no time she ran over as fast as she could, her heart in her throat. Please, please be wrong! “What happened?! What’s wrong?”
“He’s gone…” She muttered beneath a sea of sorrow, dropping her tear-filled eyes to Katara’s feet, unable to stare at the young lady.
“Oh no!” Katara staggered a step back after she had reached her, her arms spreading out before her in shock before pulling them in by her chest. Stupid…stupid! Her face tightened as she dropped her head in turn. “It’s my fault, it’s all my fault! I’m so sorry! If I hadn’t convinced him to–”
“He told me.” She wept even harder as she dropped to her knees in front of Katara, cupping her hands over her face. “He helped me close up shop, and told me why he was so late. I haven’t seen him that happy for so long. He couldn’t stop talking about his father and you. He told me he had used his earthbending.”
Katara sputtered, as tears formed in her eyes. Her throat clenched up as she choked on the words she tried to say. She couldn’t keep any thought in her head except guilt; guilt that if she had never come, Haru would not have to experience the horror of his new life.
“We came home; we heard your bison sleeping as we went inside. It must have been midnight when they came, that old man he saved was with them.” She dropped her hands, hunching forward as she placed her palms on the ground. “He gave away Haru, my son…my little boy, he just gave him up! For what? What could be worth my son?” She wailed aloud, though keeping her voice in check, she couldn’t keep her grief back.
Now she cried. As if her own guilt hadn’t already been enough, to see his mother’s grief broke her. She looked away, her body convulsing lightly beneath all the hate for the Fire Nation welling up inside of her, dying to get out. “I’ll get him back.” She only barely whispered under her breath, her entire body taut with rage. After she had said this, it hit her like a falling rock. I will?
His mother gasped as she looked up at her. “Don’t be foolish! You can’t do that. He’s gone, gone…” She trailed off, sinking lower to the ground as her head again declined. “Just go, leave this town. Please…please just go.”
Katara shut her eyes and bit back a hurtful cry that tried to break loose. …No. She didn’t say it; she simply turned and ran as fast as she could back to the barn. She had to tell Aang and Sokka, maybe they could help her in this decision; perhaps they would be supportive.
Shoving the wooden door open, she found everyone packed up as requested, but she hardly even realized it as her mind was so distanced. “They took him!” She cried aloud, still grief-stricken. “They took Haru away!” She shouted, grabbing the top of her head as she did so.
“What?!” Aang lurched forward, eyeing her in disbelief.
“The old man turned him into the Fire Nation – it’s all my fault – I forced him into earthbending!” She shot out in one single breath, waving her hands in front of her in angst.
“Slow down, Katara.” Sokka calmly asserted as he stepped beside her and took her outstretched hand in his, resting his other hand on his sisters shoulder. As he did so, she buried her forehead into the palm of her other hand, firmly gripping the hand he had gave her. “When did this happen?”
“Haru’s mother said they came for him at midnight.” She lifted back up, turning to look at her brother.
He glanced out the open door, giving a final settlement as he released her hand. “Then it’s too late to track him, he’s long gone.”
I knew it! They just want to leave this situation too. No! This is my fault, I’ll handle it myself then. “We don’t need to track him.” She turned her back to the two, and walked out to stand in the doorway. “The Fire Nation is going to take me right to Haru.” She stated, balling her fists and dropping them down by her hips.
“And…why would they do that?” Aang questioned curiously behind her.
Why, why? They take earthbenders so… “Because they’re going to arrest me for earthbending.” A scowl now overtook her, glaring out over the open fields and rising sun. She would not walk away this time, not again. It wasn’t like she had lofty, unreachable goals. She just wanted to correct her mistake and bring Haru back to his mother.
Speaking of whom, Katara saw that she stood slumped against a wooden column that supported the front overhang of her home. Her head rested against its wooden exterior, gazing out into the rising sun over the ocean beyond. “And…how are you going to do that?” Aang followed up with, as he approached her from behind.
Think, think. “Just follow me.” She walked out, turning around the building as she headed down the path she had walked with Haru to the village the prior night. They didn’t quite pick up following her immediately, and ran after her a moment later. How… She kicked around ideas, determined there was a way as she walked down the path that led by the coal mine.
“So…what’s the plan?” Sokka asked as he stepped up beside her. “I mean, you do have one, right?”
She didn’t say anything. Her eyes scoured the mountain in front of her; there was plenty of rock there. But no way to bend it… Glancing to her left, she spotted a small cliff, and what looked like metal grates cut into the rock path. “Are you even listening to me?” Sokka followed up as she turned and began to walk towards the square metal.
“Katara, you’re going to earthbend?” Aang questioned again. “I mean, you can’t. I don’t understand…”
She scratched at her chin as she walked, holding her elbow with her other hand. Stopping to examine the metal air vents in the rock, she suddenly remembered Haru swirling small stones above his hand. Didn’t Aang do that before? “Aang, show me your marble trick again.”
“You got it!” He shouted excitedly without even asking why. “Momo, marbles please.” Momo scurried into his orange-red vest and re-emerged holding two marbles. Instantly Aang grabbed them and held them above his palm, spinning them as he grinned wide.
She remained stoic, eyeing the floating marbles. “Okay great, so how are marbles going to help you earthbend?” Sokka ridiculed.
“Haru did the same thing as Aang is doing right now, but Aang is using airbending.” She turned to the vents, and smiled curiously. “Aang, send some air into that vent to my left…” In turn, she stepped over the other one, and knelt, lowering her hands close to feel for any currents.
“Uh…sure?” Aang put away the marbles and paced over to the grate, staring down into its’ darkness. He stood straight, drawing his hands up into his chest, before lunging straight down with his palms extended. A heavy blast of air rushed into the vent.
She didn’t need to be so close. Her hair flew straight upright as she stumbled back off of the vent, tumbling onto her back. “Whaa!”
“Nice.” Sokka raised an eyebrow, eyeing his sister as if she were having a mental breakdown.
She sat forward and straightened her hair, before rising to her feet and brushing the dirt off of her lower dress and pants. “Good. Now; I have an idea. But I’m going to need both of your help for it to work.”
“I’m listening.” Sokka leaned back against a boulder, it shifted slightly as he leaned against it but settled a moment later.
“When the guards come down this path heading for town, I need you to have an argument with me. Aang can do what he just did, except roll that boulder here so he can lift it when I shout something about earthbending. That way, I can pretend I did it myself.” She walked past Sokka to the other side of the boulder he rested against, and laid her hands on it in preparation to push it.
Sokka smiled at his sisters’ plan, and stood upright as he followed after her. Once they both rounded the boulder, she noticed Aang sitting idly by the vent she had pointed him to, snapping small puffs of wind at a butterfly. Ugh! He can’t keep his attention on anything for more than a minute!
“I thought you were crazy at first Katara, but this might work.” Sokka began as he and his sister rolled the boulder forward.
“There are ventilation shafts throughout these mines. All Aang has to do is send an air current from that vent to this one right here.” With the boulder now sitting over the vent, Sokka leaned over top it with a toothy smile. “The boulder levitates, and, Ta-da!” He waved one arm out in emphasizing the sudden success, before dropping it idly to his hip as he continued his lean on his boulder; on his idea. “Fake earthbending.”
Didn’t I just say that? Well, good, he understands. She turned to the one who might not even be listening. He was just as careless as ever as he still played with the butterfly. She slightly scowled at him, noting nothing but a smile on his face. “Aang, did you get all that?”
“Sure, sure. I got it.” He didn’t cease his activity at all, seemingly dismissing her.
“Do you remember your cue?” Sokka asked, referring to Katara’s shout of earthbending.
“Yeah-yeah, just relax. You’re taking all the fun out of this.” His tone still carried one of enthusiasm, though he continued idly puffing the butterfly into the air as if he were paying no attention. It didn’t seem to mind and kept closing in on his bright yellow outfit. Come again?
“By this, do you mean intentionally being captured by an army of ruthless firebenders?” Sokka continued on, obviously bothered by his nonchalant care just as Katara was.
“Exactly! That’s fun stuff.” He chuckled between his words, but remained in his prior engagement. You’ve got to be kidding me!
Katara now scowled at him, but Sokka broke up the engagement immediately as he looked past Katara down the path. “Here they come! Get in your places.”
This is the moment! What’s a good topic to argue about? She back stepped from her brother as he did the same, staying a short distance off until the firebenders were close enough to notice them properly. She placed a fake look of scorn on her face as her brother matched it, both obviously unsure of their next step.
As the firebenders drew closer, she stormed forward with her fists clenched, her brother mimicking her to try and work some clever idea out. I can’t believe I didn’t think of this part! Come on, arguing with Sokka is easy. Why isn’t it coming to me?
Bump. She collided into her brother, and Sokka took the initiative as he pointed at her and shouted. “Get out of my way, pipsqueak!”
Pipsqueak? Uh…right, my turn. “How dare you call me pipsqueak you…” Oh boy, think, think. She held her elbows out and tightened her fists as if she were fuming. She came up with nothing, and panicked. She had to say something! The first thing she noticed as her eyes danced along his face were his ears. “…giant eared cretin!” Great idea there. She mocked, the whole ordeal taking simply a second.
“What did you call me?!” Sokka bellowed back.
She knotted up her face in an even harder scowl to try to fight back the feeling of falsehood she believed was showing. “A giant-eared cretin!” She emphatically spat out, getting a bit carried away with her desire to be believable. “Look at those things! Do herds of animals use them for shade?” She held her hands up to her head and spread them out for effect.
Sokka stretched upright, towering over her as he shoved his scowling face into hers. “You better back off!” But then he followed with a lower voice. “Seriously, back off.”
You mean this is believable? Great! With this enthusiasm she continued further, tightening her scowl. “I will not back off!” She shouted, pushing upright into his face so that he ducked back and cowered, glancing up at her with a seemingly hurt and worried expression. “I bet elephants get together and make fun of how large your ears are!”
“That’s it, you’re going down!” Sokka shouted, obviously trying to cue her into ending this charade.
She took the hint. “I’ll show you who’s boss, earthbending style!” She leapt past Sokka towards the boulder, and tried to mimic what she had seen of Haru, sliding one leg forward and one arm raised high into the air that she kept balled into a fist.
Nothing happened. A moment of silence filled the air as her heart skipped a beat. AANG! She didn’t realize it but she trembled a little in the sudden fit he caused her. “I said; earthbending style!”
The boulder flew up into the air seemingly of its’ own accord. About time! She was irate Aang finished the scene making her look quite the failure. Wait, huh? Why is Momo there? Momo was just behind the boulder, wings outstretched seemingly enjoying the wind.
“That lemur…he’s earthbending!” A lead soldier called out in shock, pointing to the small creature with one hand, his other gripping his pike.
Katara didn’t move. She simply stared bluntly at the man in disgust. Am I really that bad? She frowned at the thought. Aang didn’t help that any. “No you idiot! It’s the girl!” Sokka thrust his arms toward her as he shouted at the guard who couldn’t get the hint from their charade.
“Oh, of course…” He slumped slightly, obviously too blind to have noticed that was the goal of this whole event.
“I’ll hold her.” Sokka emphatically added as he stepped over and laid his hands on her shoulders. As he did so, the levitated boulder dropped to the metal grate with a heavy thud. “You’ve got twelve hours to find Haru. We’ll be right behind you.” Sokka whispered supportively into his sisters’ ear.
Her eyes lowered, holding a stern determination in her that she would succeed. Once the guards approached, they didn’t speak a word but took hold of her by her shoulders and pushed her down the trail, before letting her walk of her own accord between the four of them.
Now, between her four captors, her fears began to overtake her. She doubted if she had made a wise decision, glancing over her shoulder to stare longingly at her brother. Aang had made his way to join Sokka, and stared after her blankly as if he likewise had lost all humor in this event at seeing her taken prisoner. Funny, this reminds me of when Aang was captured by Zuko…but now it’s me.
Nearing the harbor, the walk had been mostly quiet except for a few nonsensical discussions amongst the apparently senile guards, despite their younger ages. “So uh, nice weather today.”
“Yep.” This was another one of their conversations. “Sure is beautiful.”
She sighed as they entered a guarded building, now surrounded by Fire Nation as she was led to a large circular room with numerous carts. “Got us another one for the rig Razei.” Her immediate captor stated as he walked in.
“You kiddin’? She’s awful young…” The guard stated as he stood from counting the coins collected on his desk. “Hm…think I recognize her too.” In shock; she gazed up at the man. It was true, she knew him alright. This was that bully who had practically robbed Haru’s mother right in front of her! She scowled in realization.
“Saw her confront another boy and use earthbending against him.” You’re not so bright are you? She rolled her eyes but didn’t move her head as he spoke about her as if she weren’t standing there.
“Is that so? Well…I guess that’s that. Load ‘er up, I’ll see you when you get back Len. You still owe me a lunch so you’d better pay up today.” Razei reached under his desk and withdrew a brown sackcloth outfit, tossing it haphazardly on his desk.
“Right, right. That’ll have to wait ‘til tomorrow, I think I’m heading to the rig today.” Len grabbed the prison garb from Razei’s desk and tossed it into Katara’s neck, where she reached up and grabbed it, caught by surprise. “Put this on.” As she fumbled with this, Razei handed a stamped document to Len.
Without causing a scene, she immediately pulled it over her head, covering her normal blue outfit with its’ mundane, lifeless brown. She would go through every necessary task to get closer to Haru. Following this, Len shoved Katara’s shoulder as she was led into a cart. Three guards joined her, including this Len who sat just opposite of her.
As they rolled into the streets, she observed him more closely. He crossed his arms and gazed at her sternly beneath his bushy brown eyebrows. She didn’t like the looks of him much, a solid frown on his lips between his brown mustache and matching pointy beard.
Rolling down the docks to a barge beyond, she dropped her head down dejectedly, not daring to eye the man any further. Yet, leaving the town behind, she glanced back longingly at her last shot of escape. In doing so, she spotted Aang and her brother hiding in the crowds, each wearing a straw hat for disguise. Their usual outfits gave them away like the sun to her however.
Goodbye… Honestly, she was scared. At this moment Katara doubted her idea was good any longer. She was all alone, and had no means to really protect herself. Wherever she was going she had no control over now. The Fire Nation had her to-come life of captivity laid out for her. So this is what it’s like…
Having been taken below deck, she was led into a small room with five other earthbenders. After the guards had left, the metal door swung shut with a clang, warranting a shudder from her to the harsh echo that filled the room.
“They got you too huh.” A woman in similar sackcloth addressed her.
Katara softened her eyes, looking at the forlorn faces present in this dimly lit cell. Three men and two women, and all of them seemed so broken already. “Yeah. What are they going to do with us?”
“I’ve only heard rumors, something about coal work.” The other lady quietly replied, before a long-bearded, bald man followed up.
“Slavery, more or less.” The man coughed lightly as he leaned back against the cold metal wall. “It’ll be the end of me. I’m too old for this, my health is failing me.”
I only came for Haru. I just can’t save all of you… Katara turned around, gazing at the door as she fell silent, awaiting their arrival. Frowning, she considered that she couldn’t even save herself. She was just as much stuck in this situation as they were at the moment.
'You’ve got twelve hours', she recalled Sokka telling her. Don’t let me down guys… But she couldn’t get the old man’s fears out of her head now. He had succumbed to the belief he would just walk right in here to end his life. Why did he have to go and say that…
After a long, silent journey riding the barge, guards finally re-opened the door and led the prisoners out single file. She fell in line second to rear, as the crimson armored men led them over a metal walkway to an immensely tall metal structure. Where am I? What is this place? She pondered as her blue eyes absorbed the massive sight.
This did not look like anything she’d seen in her life. There were even metal poles stretching into the air with lantern light hanging from them overhead, with a setting sun looming in the distance beyond. This felt so foreign.
Just ahead of her, at the base and second tier of this tall metal structure, soldiers stood guard in two’s or three’s. Approaching the line of prisoners, a well-clad crimson armored man approached with a smug grin.
“Earthbenders…it is my pleasure to welcome you aboard my modest shipyard. I am your warden.” His thick accent was unmistakable. He proudly carried an air of regal authority, wearing no helmet to set himself apart from the guards. She scowled but remained quiet, dropping her eyes to the metal floor. Yeah, it’s your pleasure alright.
“I’d prefer to think of you not as prisoners…but as honored guests.” He uttered the last word cruelly, rubbing the salt in their wounds. “And I hope you come to think of me, as your humble, and caring host.” Wow this guy is a real windbag. She lifted her eyes to his side as he walked by, giving him a stern scowl.
“You will succeed here, if you simply abide…” The poor man who had worried for his health earlier broke into a cough, reaching to cover his mouth. Katara broke her scowl at the warden and shifted her eyes towards the old man. Uh oh. She worried as the warden stopped mid-sentence, frowning in certain anger.
In a single upwards leap, he whipped his body around and dropped into a low stance, both his left leg and arm extended towards the man. A solid jet of red flames erupted from his fist, forcing the old man to leap back, cowering from the flames that licked at his skin.
Finishing his show of power, the warden stood upright and glowered directly towards the horrified individual, poising his palms at either of his hips with a snarl on his face. “What kind of guest dishonors his host by interrupting him? Take him below!” He ordered with a sharp swing of his arm.
Immediately a prison guard nearby broke from his post, laying his hand on the man’s back to escort him away. “One week in solitary will improve his manners.” The warden muttered. Will he be alright? She pondered, staring worriedly after the man.
“Simply treat me with the courtesy I treat you–” The warden continued where he had left off. Apparently he noticed Katara’s expression, approaching her and leaning closely, settling his face directly in front of hers. Katara returned the attention he gave her with a sharp scowl. “And we’ll get along famously.” He haughtily scowled back.
Standing upright, he spun on one heel and began to walk back towards the tall metal rig. “Now let us begin the tour of your new abode.” He waved one hand idly to the side before reaching back behind him, clasping his hands together as he walked off. The guards nearby ushered the prisoners forward, as Katara fell in line.
I so don’t like this man. He can’t do this! That poor old man couldn’t help coughing, he’s not well! “You will notice; earthbenders, that this rig is made entirely of metal.” He trailed on with his speech as they walked along a high walkway. The constant hammering of tools echoed, as numerous prisoners were spotted below performing the laborious work the Fire Nation had them enslaved in.
“You are miles away from any rock, or earth.” She paused, wrapping her slender fingers around the cold steel of the nearby rail. This is horrible. Her eyes scanned the horizon. In the far, far distance lay the village some of these poor villagers had once called home and fought to defend.
“So, if you have any illusions about employing that brutish savagery that passes for bending among you people, forget them. It is impossible.” He paused in front of an open pathway, the five prisoners lined up before him. “Good day.” He dismissed, turning to walk away as the guards issued them through the metal tunnel.
Crossing through the dark passageway, she heard the loud shrill of metal on metal as barred gates fell shut behind her. Tossing to look over her shoulder, she spotted the last of three of these solid gates finish their descent. This is it.
Turning back, she scanned the crowd before her, each broken and disheartened face appearing the same as the next. Some lay slumped over against metal grates, others simply sitting idly waiting for the day to end. This isn’t right…all these people… She began to idly pace amidst them, searching for Haru when a familiar voice nearby took her attention.
She whipped her head left at his curiosity. There was Haru, rising from where he was sitting. “Haru!” Yes! I found him! She bolted over to him in a quick sprint, slamming into him and throwing her arms around his neck.
He stood in total shock before leaning out from her grasp. “What are you doing here?!”
Pulling back, she smiled warmly up to him. “It’s my fault you were captured.” Her smile faded as she glanced away for a second, her guilt still on her mind. “I came to rescue you.” She finished, glancing back to him with determination.
“So, you got yourself arrested?!” He called back, seemingly confused over her escape plan.
“It was the only way to find you…”
Haru crossed his arms and smiled broadly. “You’ve got guts Katara, I’ll give you that. Come on.” He reached up and laid his hand on her shoulder firmly. “There’s someone I want you to meet.”
She gladly followed the powerful young man, having not forgotten his display earlier at the mines. After just a short moment, they approached a small band of older men sitting on the cold metal floor together. Many prisoners all around were gathered in small groups, sitting similarly while talking with one another quietly, eating their dinner.
“Katara, this is my father, Tyro.” He held his hand out to a burly, but old balding man with a large white beard that reached up into his mustache. Wow! This is the famous man who fought off firebenders ten to one! She hadn’t forgotten Haru’s tales of this man’s bravery, and smiled proudly to the man as she kept her hands politely clasped behind her back.
“Dad, this is Katara.” Haru smiled back to his friend, as Tyro lowered a bowl he had been eating from to settle his green eyes on the girl before him.
Her smile only broadened as she gently bowed forward. “It’s an honor to meet you.”
He smiled warmly to her politeness. “Have some dinner Katara.” He reached back, and lifted a bowl to her.
Good…dinner! I’m starved. She graciously accepted the bowl, curious what they had to eat around here. Was it soup? …actually, what is that? Some unknown chunks of what was hopefully meat floated amid milky-white liquid that couldn’t pass off as broth in her eyes. Her smile faded as she jerked back at the sight. “Ugh.”
“It’s not as bad as it looks.” The man spoke softly once again, his humorous tone hardly different than his normal one.
Okay…taking your word for it… She knelt down and eyed the bowl warily, holding it in both hands above her lap before finally pulling a spoonful of the liquid up. “Uggh!” It was so horrible her throat clenched at the bitter taste, her cheeks flushing slightly at the lukewarm flavor.
Tyro’s face bent up into a smile as he found grand humor in her reaction. “It’s still pretty bad though.” No kidding. …Sokka…please…I’ll eat those nuts you found now! She forced a toothy smile back to Tyro.
She was about to ask what else there was to eat, when another dark gray haired man laid his hand on Tyro’s shoulder. “Tyro. The prisoners are complaining there aren’t enough blankets to go around.”
Glancing up into the man’s eyes, he replied. “I’ll talk to the guards. In the meantime make sure the elderly are taken care of. The rest of us will simply have to hope for warmer weather.” He stated as he crossed his arms, similarly to his legs.
My twelve hours are coming to a close. But things are going better than I expected! This man will definitely be breaking everyone out. “If you don’t mind me asking, what’s your escape plan?”
“Excuse me?” Tyro asked, eyeing her in disbelief.
“Y’know, the plan to get everyone off the rig?” He had to just be hiding it. “What is it; mutiny, sabotage?”
“The plan? The plan is to survive, wait out this war. Hope that one day some of us can get home, and forget this ever happened.” He turned away in shame.
No way… Reaching her hands before her, she questioned his determination point blank. “How can you say that? You sound like you’ve already given up!” Having said so, she drew her hands back to her chest. This isn’t possible; there are so many earthbenders here! Where’s their bravery?
“Katara… I admire your courage, and I envy your youth.” Her hands fell to the floor. This can’t be! He turned his head away from her in loss, his voice softening. “But people’s lives are at stake here. The warden is a ruthless man, and he won’t stand for any rebellion.” Tipping his head down, he closed his eyes in sorrow. “I’m sorry, but we’re powerless.”
He cannot be voicing all their opinions! Where’s their heart? Their determination? Her face tightened in a strong-minded gaze. Just watch, Tyro. I’ll use the stories Gran Gran taught me. “We’ll see about that.”
She rose to her feet and drew her hands into tight fists, turning to walk to a nearby table with the putrid leftovers of what they were forced to call dinner. Tyro lifted his head and watched her in surprise as she picked up a lid to one of their pots, and a serving spoon, before climbing onto the table to stand above the crowd of earthbenders.
Bang! Bang! Bang! She beat the lid with the spoon to draw everyone’s attention. “Earthbenders!” She pulled her arm up and away. That did the trick, everyone’s attention fell on her, including the Fire Nation soldiers’ on watch above them. That didn’t deter her though; the guards could see what was coming and panic for all she cared.
“You don’t know me, but I know of you. Every child in my Water Tribe village was rocked to sleep with stories of the brave Earth Kingdom, and the courageous earthbenders who guard its borders. Some of you may think that the Fire Nation has made you powerless – yes, they have taken away your ability to bend. But they can’t away your courage. And it is your courage they should truly fear!” She thrust her arm up and forward to the crowd below for effect.
She wasted no moment continuing, spreading her arms out as she poured all her heart out for them. “Because it runs deeper than any mine you’ve been forced to dig, any ocean that keeps you far from home! It is the strength of your hearts that make you who you are. Hearts that will remain unbroken when all rock and stone has eroded away.” Now for the punch line! She thrust her fist high in the air. “The time to fight back is now. I can tell you the Avatar has returned!” There we go! She raised her other arm in declaration.
Raising her voice to its loudest during this speech, she carried forth to the finale. “So remember your courage earthbenders; let us fight for our freedom!” She stood motionless in hope, now was their time. The many faces of men and women who longed for home, it was their time to react.
Her blue eyes danced with unease. No… Those who had given her their attention dropped their heads and returned to the remnants of their dinner. Nothing? After all that? Her determination died as her eyelids slid lower, gazing down to the metal floor in front of the table. She simply stood there, absolutely still, like the spectacle she now felt that she was.
“Katara?” Haru’s voice reopened her thoughts, as she realized he was holding his hand out for her. “Come on, finish your dinner and get a night’s rest.”
“I failed.” She quietly whispered as she declined his hand, slumping over the table before lowering her legs over its’ side, with her palms firmly grasped about her waist.
Haru looked on her apologetically; she wouldn’t look him in his eye, keeping her head turned down. “From what I’ve seen of this place; these people have been here a long time. They’ve given up; it’s not your fault that they don’t see any hope any longer.”
She closed her eyes. The sun had already set, and darkness was filling the sky. Then what? Just leave them here to die in this metal cage? “You sound like you already have.” She quietly stated.
Haru withdrew his hand, and dropped his head also. “Katara… there’s nothing I can do here, or any of us. We can’t fight firebenders.”
“Are you saying I was wrong?” She looked up to him, still hurt that every earthbender here was in so low a state of mind. “These people don’t deserve to die here.”
“I didn’t say that.” Haru reached for her hand. “Please, just sleep on it tonight. I’ll speak with you in the morning alright?”
She allowed him to take her hand, as he gently pulled her off the table and to her feet. “Come with me.” Tyro called out from where he had remained during her speech, rising to his feet.
Haru and Katara did as he asked, being led to a small rectangular building with sheets of metal placed together to serve as its’ walls. “Katara, use my bedroll for tonight. You shouldn’t be out in this cold night air.”
“But what about you and Haru?”
“Goodnight Katara. We’ll talk in the morning.” The older man patted her arm with his large hand, smiling as he turned for the door.
After his father had left, Haru lifted his eyes sorrowfully to Katara. “I’m sorry you came all the way here and things didn’t work out the way you had hoped.” After a pause, he turned to place his hand by the exit before somberly adding. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
I only came for you. She thought as she knelt to the bedroll, not looking back at him as he left. It was now she noticed that three other prisoners were lying on this cold metal under their blankets in this same makeshift metal room. But…now that I’m here… She sighed, before settling in for sleep.
As she slept peacefully on her side, her hand rested next to her head. Startling awake, her eyes slipped open, realizing someone was touching her. Firebenders? With a sudden gasp she slipped her hand to the bedroll and lifted her head from a folded blanket serving for her pillow.
Aang! He held his fingers to his mouth, and shushed her before she could say a word. Quietly he stood and turned his back to her, heading out the door. Climbing out from beneath her blanket, she slipped into the cool morning air behind him.
Aang led her to the edge of the prison rig, leading to a long drop to distant water below. But here at the edge Appa floated silently mid-air, one paw braced on the metal to hold steady. “Your twelve hours are up, where’s Haru? We’ve gotta get outta here!” Sokka whispered from Appa’s saddle.
He isn’t here, I never told him. Because… She stayed her fears, readying herself for the argument to come. “I can’t.”
Aang leapt atop Appa’s head, grabbing the reigns as he settled. “We don’t have much time, there are guards everywhere!” Sokka held his hand extended for her to grab. “Get on!”
Katara looked away, holding a cold iron bar serving for a portion of a fence in her grip. She’d already said she couldn’t, though she still struggled with the answer as she didn’t know what to do. Aang worriedly stared to her, seeing her struggle. “Katara, what’s wrong?”
She released the bar and stood upright. “I’m not leaving.” She let out a quiet breath, shutting her eyes for only a moment. “I’m not giving up on these people.”
“What?!” Sokka exclaimed as he and Aang leapt over to the prison rig’s walkway. Kneeling to avoid detection, he continued. “What do you mean you’re not leaving?”
“We can’t abandon these people! There has to be a way to help them…” She pleaded. I need you guys’ help…don’t let me down, please. Please… She thought to herself as she sorrowfully looked to the metal below her, remembering the heartbroken faces and those who accepted death waiting here.
“Maybe she’s right.” Aang asserted, turning to Sokka. “What do you say Sokka?” Thanks Aang… He seemed genuinely concerned now; unlike earlier. Not just that, but also supportive of her decision.
“I say you’re both crazy!” He stated, but pointed directly at Katara as he said so. This earned him a scowl in return. This isn’t the time for fun and games Sokka, this is serious. Before she could respond however, a searchlight roamed just overhead. Horrified they were about to be detected, all three crouched lower to the metal deck. “Last chance, we need to leave, now!”
Take the hint already! She thought furiously as she turned back to her brother, sternly making her point clear. “No!”
“I hate when you get like this…” He shook his head in angst. “Come on, we better hide.” Aang crawled over to Appa, while she darted off with Sokka into the prisons metal yard.
“We don’t have much time. What are we gonna do?!” Sokka began as all three huddled together after quietly finding a safe, unnoticeable corner between wooden crates.
“I wish I could make a hurricane!” Aang exclaimed. And nearly kill us all…again? Katara was not impressed. Her lips fell to a sullen frown as she eyed him in disbelief.
Instead of feeling deterred by her and Sokka’s looks, he excitedly continued as Momo rested on his bald head. “The warden would run away and we’d steal his keys!”
“Wouldn’t he just, take his keys with him?” Sokka interjected, holding his hand out in gesture as he pointed out Aang’s flawed plan.
“I’m just tossing ideas around!” Aang dismissed as he turned his head away.
“I tried talking the earthbenders into fighting back, but, it didn’t work! If there was just a way to help them help themselves…” She pointed out, trying to help with the ideas.
“For that we would need some earth, or…” Sokka raised his hand, balled it up and thrust it into his other hand similar to the game fire-earth-water-air. “Some rock. Something they can bend!”
“But this entire place is made of metal!” Katara replied, placing her left palm flat to the cold surface.
A moment of quiet filled the air. “No it’s not.” Aang added in surprise. What? She glanced up and stared expectantly to Aang. “Look at the smoke!” He pointed up to the air, huge smoke-stacks resting at the tip top of the large metal structure. “I bet they’re burning coal. In other words – earth.”
Brilliant! She smiled broadly. “Great! But we still have one problem.”
“How do we get it to them?” Sokka added.
The three stood, glancing over the top of the wooden crates carefully to ensure they wouldn’t be spotted. Immediately, a loud scream echoed in the night air as a guard plummeted over a walkway and out of sight below, following with a loud splash. “Is that…normal?” Sokka questioned Katara.
She scowled back at him. “How should I know?!”
“You’ve been here longest.” He shrugged, turning back to Aang. “I think I have an idea. Follow me.”
That was fast. Katara blinked in surprise, how had he come up with something already? Perhaps it wasn’t any good. Still, she leaned forward and stealthily followed behind him and Aang.
She rejoined them at a large metal vent in the middle of the prison yard, where they all knelt facing one another. Sokka had apparently been whispering to Aang as they had been walking, so she missed some of the conversation. “You just go down and find where the coal is and blast it up here like before.”
“On it!” He leapt up, as he airbended himself straight into the sky, bounding over high metal walls as he took off out of sight in the direction of a larger smoke stack.
Katara eyed her brother in surprise as Aang slipped away. “What are you doing? He could get killed because of this idea!”
“What, and you coming here in the first place and getting us all involved here isn’t dangerous?” Sokka shot back at her.
“But… I had no choice! This was all my fault!”
“Yes, it is.” Sokka pointed out.
“No I don’t mean this I …” She paused mid-sentence as her scornful expression faded. He’s right… Sorrowfully, she scooted forward on her knees to the vent and laid her palms on its edge, resting her chin over top her fingers as she gazed down into the darkness after Aang. If he gets hurt it is all my fault.
“Look, just settle down. We’ll get through this, together.” Sokka patted her back as he sat next to her, awaiting some hopeful sign of Aang’s work.
Silence. Life on this prison rig was quite lonely, not even a bird chirped in the air, far from the show. Only the morning sun's rays gazed upon the gloom of the area. “It’s almost dawn; we’re running out of time! You sure this is gonna work?”
“It should. These vents reminded me of our little trick back at the village. We’re gonna do the same thing, but on a much bigger scale. There’s a huge deposit of coal at the base of the silo, and the system is ventilated. Aang closed off all the vents except one. When he does his airbending the coal only has one place to go, right back here.”
They had both been staring down into the vent, paying no heed they were crouched out in the open in plain daylight. She glanced up and into Sokka’s face. I hope this works. “There’s the intruders!” Oh no!
She leapt to her feet and threw her back to Sokka. Six spears were drawn on them in a full circle, along with several other Fire Nation guards standing at the ready a short distance off. “Stay back! I’m warning you…” Sokka bluffed, as he whipped out his boomerang and poised it ready to strike.
I did not come this far to fail! No way! She scowled at the spear tips in front of her and took up a waterbending stance, though she had none nearby to bend. I can still fight!
“Katara, stop!” Tyro absolutely bellowed at her with a sharp, crisp upward wave of his hand in demand. “You can’t win this fight!” His words struck her dumb. She gazed at him in shock to be shouted at to not stand up to the Fire Nation. Weren’t you the man that took on firebenders ten to one, against all odds? How could you say this?
“Listen to him well, child.” The warden’s thick accent filled the air, drawing her attention. “You’re one mistake away from dying where you stand.”
This is all my fault… The six guards approached, bringing their spears closer to piercing both her and Sokka. This can’t be happening!
A rumble echoed down the vent by her side. She gasped and watched as the metal lid shook from a sudden tremor. With a loud clattering smash, a heap of coal blasted through the opening and tore the barred lid off the vent. “Run!” She called out to Sokka, though she could barely hear herself over the coal. The two escaped just in time as the coal fell in a pile between the earthbenders and the Fire Nation guards.
Nobody moved, even the warden had back stepped and was eyeing this in certain confusion. A moment later, Aang sailed into the air covered in soot, landing in a crouch atop the center of the coal pile. He did it! Aang, you did it! This is going to work! She bolted forward as Aang began to cough fiercely, ridding the soot from his lungs.
Climbing to the top of the pile, she wrapped her fingers on a chunk of coal. With her back turned to the Fire Nation guards, she attempted to compel the prisoners present into action. “Here’s your chance earthbenders!” Immediately she thrust the coal she clutched high above her head. “Take it! Your fate is in your own hands!”
What happened next scarred her. Only one prisoner began to move forward, Haru. But as he did, his father held his son back firmly, disallowing him to heed Katara’s inspirational request. Still yet others stepped away, horrified at the very thought of standing their ground for once.
A loud, boisterous laugh resounded from the cruel warden behind her at this display. Stop it! You won’t be laughing for long! “Foolish girl, you thought a few inspirational words and some coal would change these people? Look at these blank, hopeless faces.” She did as he asked, looking at the once brave benders. He was right. I can’t believe it. I did everything, everything…
“Their spirits were broken a long time ago! Oh, but you still believe in them.” The warden continued, rubbing Katara’s face in the wounds of the earthbenders. “How, sweet. They’re a waste of your energy little girl. You failed.”Katara hunched over, leaning downward as every portion of her hung limply toward the pile of coal on which she stood. The one time I try to stand up to the Fire Nation… Her heart ached, until she snapped to seeing a chunk of black coal sail past her. Lifting her eyes in surprise, she saw Haru shove past his father and levitate three pieces of coal above the palm of his hand, glaring hatefully toward the man who had just brought Katara to her knees emotionally. Haru…
Katara turned to spot the warden instantly retaliate to Haru, lunging forward with a double-fisted punch as he shouted, launching a blast of fire straight for him. Haru didn’t defend himself; he drew back and hid his head behind his arm. No!
But then she felt the coal shift beneath her feet as a massive portion slid away, bracing as a thick curved wall over the young man. There stood Tyro, at his sons’ defense, arms upright with determination across his face. Katara’s eyes widened fully. This is it, it's happening! Her heart absolutely leapt into her throat.
“Show no mercy!” The warden replied to his comrades, as guards began to launch a stream of fire at the earthbenders who gathered by Tyro. The five benders, Tyro and Haru included, worked in tandem as they hefted an enormous wall of coal to block the fire.
Tyro strained as he allowed his body and mind to recall the ways of earthbending they had both long forgotten. “For the Earth Kingdom – attack!” He demanded boldly as he slammed his palms to the ground, propelling numerous shards of coal into the offending guards.
They leapt back, swirling fire before their hands to deflect and destroy some of the shards, though many still pelted them as they faltered to regain their balance. All the prisoners rioted, leaping forward with shouts and war cries, climbing atop the coal pile or gathering around Tyro on his offensive as they pressed the guards into a full defense.
Overjoyed, Katara bounded off the coal and darted behind Sokka as he charged nearby guards. Be careful! She still feared her brother's abilities, not having known he’d trained a portion while with Suki. He amazed her, leaping to the side just as a spear thrust for him, bringing his sharpened boomerang in a sharp swing, breaking the tip right off the wooden shaft.
Striking the man on the back of his helmet as he fell, the man slumped to the ground as Katara and Aang ran overtop him, slamming his head into the metal floor repeatedly. Sokka kept this up, jumping many guards by surprise as they kept their focus on the attacking earthbenders, failing to spot the trio bolting up behind them.
Thrum! Katara staggered from a sudden quake that shook the entire prison rig as an enormous, solid boulder of coal knocked a gaping hole through the gates barring their exit. “Aaaah!” Guards from the second tier walkway fell over the rails, slamming to the metal deck motionless.
Her heart pounded; there was too much going on around her. Blasts of fire, smoldering coal, spears and shouts all filled the air. “Get to the ship, we’ll hold them off!” She heard Tyro command.
“Do not let them escape!” The warden retaliated, directing the fire from his surrounding guards towards the old prisoners who attempted to flee the combat.
Katara glared back to him and clenched her fists. You have no choice! The Fire Nation will fail today! “Guys, throw me some coal!” She heard Aang shout as he spiraled his arms, creating a circular funnel of air up behind his back and into his arms as he quickly rotated his hands back and forth maintaining its’ strength.
What is…ooh, awesome! She bolted over and snapped up straggling pieces of coal, dropping them into the vortex of air. They spun rapidly under his arm and shot forwards to the warden, pelting the area inaccurately. This isn’t working! She feared, until noticing Sokka drop in a heap of coal held between both hands.
Aang struggled under the sudden pressure placed on his vortex, but thankfully the cluster of coal blasted out and sailed for the gathered firebenders before the air funnel dissipated to the stress. The men gasped and the shrill ring of rock striking metal filled the air. The coal pelted their masks and the metal building behind them, knocking the men to the ground from the heavy barrage.
Yes! Hah! Take that you creep! That’ll show you who’s boss. She leapt upright and threw her fist high in the sky proudly. “I don’t see a bunch of blank hopeless faces now!” She jeered, though not as loud as she intended. A wry grin crept up her cheek as she settled behind Aang and Sokka.
The coal surrounding the warden and his squad levitated, sliding them back to a gathering pile of coal. Katara held her hands out and bent back in surprise, before spotting Tyro and two other benders shift their stances and bring the pile of coal beneath the guards into the air altogether. The warden stood as the island of floating coal drifted over the edge of the metal surface. “No, please! I can’t swim!”
With his two arms high in the air, controlling the levitation of this island, Tyro replied solidly. “Don’t worry, I hear cowards float.” He drew his arms together, before lifting them soundly upright and lowering them to rest in front of his body. His control of the coal released, dropping the firebenders screaming into the ocean below.
Triumphant shouts filled the air, shaking the very prison rig down to its fire pit as every earthbender cheered for their freedom. Katara’s eyes lit with excitement. The Fire Nation had actually lost this battle, and she had a part in their undoing. This feeling was invigorating.
“Well we’d better get going.” Sokka broke out, turning to Aang. “Let’s get Appa and get headed back on track, we have a lot of ground to cover. Katara?”
She only half-way heard Sokka, smiling broadly at the happiness and joy that now covered so many prisoners’ faces. I did this. I made this happen… She could not shake her smile; this felt so much better than all the times she had ran before.
“Excuse me.” Tyro spoke up as he stepped beside Katara, laying his large warm palm over her shoulder. “Do you mind if I borrow the young lady for awhile? I’d like to give her proper thanks.”
“Sounds great! We’ll be tagging along with Appa, see ya by the boat!” Aang exclaimed as he turned back, airbending himself feet into the air as he ran across the second tier, searching for his bison.
“Hey wait for me!” Sokka called out and took off after him on from below. “Aang!”
“Follow me, Katara. I want you present for this.” Tyro took his hand from her shoulder and began to lead them through the hole they had smashed in the rig, leading to the docks.
Haru placed his hand on Katara’s other shoulder. Turning to see his face, he addressed her warmly. “You did it Katara, you actually busted in and you did it. You’ve got more than guts, you’re amazing.”
She blushed at the compliment, turning away from him. “Thanks…” She sheepishly accepted. I have a feeling I’m going to hear a bit of this soon. I don’t know what to say! She hesitated; it was awkward to be on the end receiving much praise. But it was oh-so-pleasant!
A long line of earthbenders crossed numerous suspended walkways onto four immense barges. She spotted the old man who had accepted death climbing up from a stairwell by the rig, free from his trip to solitary. The bald man had so large a smile plastered on his face even his beard looked like it was grinning.
She felt her eyes grow moist, seeing his freedom. I’ll never forget this day…never. “Right this way.” She turned, hearing the old man’s deep voice. Tyro stood on the barge nearby with his hand extended for her. She graciously accepted, his hand dwarfing hers, following him on the deck of the barge. Why do I get the feeling there’s going to be a speech? Her stomach swam, she had tried to speak twice publicly before everyone and they were so unreceptive before. What was going to happen now?
“Can I ask you to carry a message for me Haru?” She asked as they followed his father to the upper deck.
“Of course, anything. What do you have in mind?”
“When you see your mother, tell her I said you’re welcome.” She smiled broadly, overjoyed that she would more than settle the grief she had caused her.
Haru shared her smile, and gave her an understanding nod. “I’ll tell her myself.”
Once the barge began to pull away from the docks, Tyro pointed over the rail at the rear of the ship. “Look.” Huh? She turned and gazed to the back of the ship. Three barges followed, as Appa descended and set down in the water just over the rail by her. Sokka and Aang waited her return patiently, while Aang remained occupied playing with Momo merrily.
The three barges were packed with prisoners, lining every deck as black smoke poured lazily out the ship’s tall smokestacks. She smiled, knowing Tyro meant this. All these people are heading home now. “I want to thank you for saving me.” She turned around, returning her attention to Haru. “For saving us.”
Oh here come the compliments. She grew nervous, lifting her hand sheepishly to rest atop her head. “All it took was a little coal.”
“It wasn’t the coal, Katara.” Haru added. “It was you.”
I can hardly take this! She blushed and averted her gaze, this was so unordinary, but she loved it. Tyro stepped between her and Haru, placing a hand on each of them. “Thank you for helping me find my courage, Katara of the Water Tribe. My family…” He turned his face to his son, before turning to the freed prisoners of war behind her. “…and everyone here owes you much.”
I just don’t know what to say! I’m so happy… But she couldn’t help remaining nervous over all these compliments, and decided to change the topic. “So…I guess you’re going home now.” She smiled up to him, her blue eyes taking in Tyro’s relit flame.
“Yes.” He stated with pride. “To take back my village.” He withdrew his hand, lifting his green eyes to the glaring sun behind her. Hefting one fist high in the air, he raised his voice to its highest as it echoed across the ocean to the trailing ships. “To take back all of our villages! The Fire Nation will regret the day they set foot on our land!” A chorus of cheers filled the morning air, as every prisoner stirred from his or her position and shook their fist to the sky.
She smiled so broadly her mouth opened wide of its own accord. Look what I started! Her heart was full with pride, when she was startled at a request she had not expected from Haru. “Come with us.”
Her eyes widened as she took in his words, turning back to face him. “I can’t.” She apologized. “Your mission is to take back your home.” She glanced back over the rail to Appa. “Ours is to get Aang to the North Pole.”
Aang sat on Appa’s head, airbending a fragment of coal around his body quickly as Momo darted after it. “That’s him, isn’t it? The Avatar.” Yes. And it’s because of him this was possible. Filled with joy over his support for her during this event, her grin tightened as he caught Momo up in his arms in a large hug. “Katara, thank you for bringing my father back to me. I never thought I’d see him again.” At this, his voice began to fall sorrowful, drawing her attention from Aang as she turned her head in Haru’s direction. “I only wish there was some way…”
He means mom…I do too Haru. “I know…” She slipped her eyes shut, reaching to hold the blue medallion on her choker. Her fingers felt nothing. Wha..what?! “My mother’s necklace, it’s gone!!” How? Where? She glanced left and right at the ground, clawing at her neck a moment longer.
Haru gasped, stepping closer to support her. He didn’t say a word, simply giving her a consoling supportive look. Katara leapt to the first iron bar of the railing, standing upright as she shouted aloud to every earthbender present. “Has anyone seen my necklace?! It’s a dark blue choker with a blue medallion on it, a hand carving of the symbol of the Water Tribe!” Silence. Her heart beat madly as her head swam with the fear of its loss. Glancing to her side, she saw Aang looking up from Appa’s head in distress.
Katara started to cry. How? How could such a good experience end like this!? Mom! No, I can’t have lost your necklace… “Maybe it’s not too late!” She burst between her tears. “Tyro please turn us around, it’s got to be at the prison rig!” She spun around and ran closer to him.
Tyro raised his hand in protest, before gently taking hold of her arms and shaking his head. “If it isn’t here, there’s no return. I’m sorry Katara.” Fire Nation guards could be seen in the vague distance, already regrouping on the prison rig as they made for the last remaining barge. “There’s too much at stake to look now. I promise to you when we clear out the Fire Nation I will look for it myself.”
Aang suddenly glided up with his staff, landing just past the rail. “What’s wrong?”
Katara forcefully stopped her crying desiring to at least end this event on a good note even if they already had seen her loss. Now I really am the spectacle. “Aang let’s go now. Thank you Tyro, Haru…good luck.” She hurried over to Aang and grabbed his arm holding his staff, and held it up. “Come on let’s go to Appa please.”
“Uh…okay, thanks for everything guys!” Aang turned his back to them, as Katara wrapped around him before he leapt into the air. A moment later he set down in Appa’s saddle, and Katara let go of him quickly and fled to the back of the saddle.
“Katara?” Aang turned to her, frowning heavily under the weight of seeing her like this. As he began to approach her, he ran into Sokka’s outstretched hand as he raised it to stop Aang.
“Leave her be Aang; she’s going to need some time.” Katara pulled her legs into herself, lying on her side to hide beneath the lip of the saddle. She was glad for her brother. He understood her pain, knowing just how dear the necklace was to her. “Come on, let’s get Appa flying again.”
Props to Ianbernard for helping make this wonderful chapter template with images! (he created the images)
The Boy in the Iceberg
For the collective works of the author, go here.