Ice dodging
Chapter information

Spirit of the North


Book 1

Written by


Release date

3 August, 2014

Word count


Last chapter

Chapter 6 - A Final Goodbye (SotN)

Next chapter

Chapter 8 - Visitors from the East (SotN)

"Some friendships that are made in this life are able to transcend even death, and live on in whatever world we find ourselves in next. My good friend, the Earth Kingdom Avatar Furuki, is one such friend, and I believe we will still have contact when we both have departed this world." –From the Book of Tutorik.

"WOOOHOOOO!" A long-haired, overexcited teenage boy screamed from his craft. The wind here was strong, sending his voice echoing in all directions.

It was called ice-dodging, typically done as a rite of passage for any child about to reach adulthood. But as with most Northern Water Tribe traditions, they had an entirely different purpose here in Manirak.

Kesuk released another joyous shout into the wind, clutching the tiller which controlled the rudder. Saskha was also in the boat, controlling both the jib and the mainsail. It had been windy this morning, so the pair had thought it good to try and sail the turbulent seas and dodge the floating chunks of ice or rocks spiking from the water. It provided a welcome distraction from all that had happened this week.

Miki and Anana sat on the shore, watching the pair try to battle the waves in their sailboat. It was a three-person job controlling the sailboat, but Saskha had wanted the extra challenge of controlling both the mainsail and the jib. Anana had also wanted to stay with Miki, just to see how she was doing.

"So," Anana turned to Miki, "How are you coping with everything? If you don't mind me asking, of course."

"I'm... Doing alright thanks," Miki answered her. Anana looked quite similar to Miki; she had deep blue eyes and dark hair, though Anana wore hers in an elaborate design of four strands from her fringe, tied to the back where another ponytail held the rest in place. They often got mistaken for sisters when outsiders came to their village.

Miki looked back to her sister and Kesuk sailing on the ocean while she continued, "I suppose you've heard about the note already?"

Anana nodded, "Yeah, your sister mentioned it a few days ago. I'm sorry about not telling you, it was my idea to keep it from you until you were..." Anana didn't know how to finish her sentence.

"It's okay, I understand," Miki looked back to Anana and smiled. "I wasn't ready to read it the day of the funeral, I still had... A lot to think about," She hung her head and examined her hands, which still ached from a few days ago.

Anana noticed Miki's hands, "Miki, that doesn't look too good. Have you seen a healer?"

"Yeah, Saskha and Junetsu have looked at them. I suppose some injuries take a little longer to heal."

Anana nodded in response. On their day trip Saskha had mentioned a little about the funeral service, some of what she said about how Miki had reacted. Although they weren't as close, Anana had known Miki as long as she had known Saskha, and hearing about what had happened upset her too. But whatever was in that note last night appeared to have helped Miki to begin to move past everything that had happened.

The pair on the shore returned their attention to the screaming passengers of the sailboat ahead. Though they couldn't hear what they were saying, it looked as though Saskha and Kesuk were arguing.

"Saskha! The mainsail! Rotate it further so we can pick up more wind so I can actually steer this thing!" Kesuk bellowed over the howling winds.

"What?!" The other occupant of the sailboat questioned. "The jib?"

"Yes, that's exactly what I said. Go work the jib of course!" Kesuk replied sarcastically. "Gosh, when I say I need the mainsail worked I need the mainsail worked!"

"Okay!" Saskha yelled back in his direction, "I'll fix the jib!"

"Saskha, I was kidding! Grab the stupid mainsail and --"

But it was too late; the sailboat crashed into the iceberg directly ahead of them, sending Kesuk and Saskha lurching forwards. After a brief moment of panic, Miki and Anana began to laugh at the sight, especially when Saskha and Kesuk began to squabble again inside the craft. Once they had managed to free the boat and sail it back, Anana and Miki helped pull it up the shore.

"Well congratulations Kesuk!" Saskha exclaimed with her arms spread wide, waving her hands as if to add extra emphasis. She waited for Kesuk to jump out the boat onto the shore as well before continuing, "If we were in the Northern Water Tribe you would have failed you test of manhood."

Kesuk snorted, "Well, if you were to receive any mark for that performance, the only one applicable would have been the 'Mark of the Deaf'!"

"You were the one who said work the jib. I thought we needed to work the mainsail, since the wind had changed direction slightly, but no, I went with what you said and then we crashed!" Saskha didn't look back at Kesuk, but instead walked towards her jacket lying in the snow in front of her.

"I didn't say that! Well, I did but I was being sarcastic! You should have done what I said in the first place and worked the mainsail!"

Saskha knelt down by her jacket after Kesuk had finished. But she didn't pick it up. Instead, she formed a ball of snow with both her hands. "Well, obviously there's only one way we can solve this," Saskha spoke as she began to stand up. "Think fast!" The snowball was launched from her hands straight in Kesuk's direction as she turned back around. With a slight wave of his hands, the snowball dispersed before reaching him.

A sly grin crept over the competitive teenager's face. "Oh, is that how you want to play?"

There was no snowball fight like two waterbenders fighting. A stream of snow rose around Kesuk, who used his right hand to form the snowballs and fire them at his competitor. It was similar to the moves used to stream water; Kesuk used his left hand to pull snow from the ground and stream it passed his legs, then around to his right arm, which continued the assault. Launching two, three, and even five snowballs at a time, Kesuk cheered loudly as he watched Saskha bolt away from the shore to the rolling snow-covered hills.

The other waterbender had anticipated Kesuk's moves, but she hadn't had enough time to take a similar stance as him. But Saskha still felt confident that she would beat him. She dodged most of his attacks, and swept her arms in the way of others, sending the snow flying off to her sides. There was slightly more cover where she was now, but Kesuk still relentlessly fired his projectiles at her. Saskha blocked the next snowball with her left hand, and then the next with her right, performing a spinning motion with her upper body. She continued the motion, turning her whole body, but this time her left arm swept the snow in front of her upwards as her arm came back around. This formed some sort of barrier between Saskha and the flurry of snowballs, which she quickly ducked behind.

"Ah, are we hiding now?" Kesuk boasted from his position, still firing upon Saskha's defenses. He laughed loudly, "If you apologize for causing the crash of our sailboat I might go easier on you, not that I'm going all out now."

Saskha used both arms to fortify her wall, sweeping the snow from behind her. "Keep dreaming! When I'm through with you you'll be the one apologizing to me!" She mocked his laugh with a sinister laugh of her own.

"Ooh, I might join in this fight too!" A cheerful Anana declared from the side lines. She placed her hands into the snow, rolling it into three balls. After picking them up, Anana charged into the war zone, only to be greeted by a wave of oncoming snowballs from Kesuk's streaming, and Saskha's wall, who aimed for both Kesuk and Anana. Hitting her face and upper body, Anana flew backwards, performing an unintentional back flip and crashing into a pile of snow behind her.

The dazed girl sat up from the pile of snow she was in now, still away with the spirits as she rubbed her head. "Maybe... I'll sit this one out," she said as Miki came over to her.

"Yeah, you know what these two get like when they're in a snow fight," Miki commented as she lent her hand to Anana.

Kesuk had released the snow he had been streaming around his body after he had fired at Anana, since Saskha had attacked both Anana and him which caused him to lose control. Defenceless and without ammunition, he lowered his whole body to the ground, dodging the few attacks from Saskha's wall. With a quick upwards motion of both his arms, followed by the rest of his body, a large wall of snow rose from the ground. Kesuk kept the wall growing until it was at least five times taller than Saskha's.

"Kesuk, what are you doing with that? You know the taller towers always fall easier," Saskha scoffed. She continued to fire at his construction, refusing to make it easier for him.

The teenager said nothing in response, and instead ran in front of his massive snow wall, dodging almost all of Saskha's attacks. The next barrage of snowballs from Saskha collided with Kesuk's ankle, tripping him, but Kesuk quickly swept his right arm upwards, creating a second wall in front of his other one, though much smaller. He smiled. This was working out perfectly. He needed to be in front of his defence for his plan to work, and this second temporary structure was perfect for diverting his opponent's attention.

Saskha was continuing her assault on Kesuk's smaller wall; he could feel it crumbling behind him, and it wouldn't be long before she destroyed it completely. But he only needed a few more seconds for his plan to work. Breathing in deeply, Kesuk closed his eyes, and then placed the palm of his left hand under his lower lip. Once he reopened them, he moved his hand towards his larger wall, exhaling a mist which began to freeze the wall in front of him. The wall made a crackling sound as he continued to freeze it, and before long the entire structure was coated in a thick layer of ice.

The other competitor's eyes widened at the site of Kesuk's monstrosity. "Hey! No ice! You know the rules of snow fights!"

"Ice isn't allowed to be fired, as I recall. But there are no rules regarding it being used in a barrier," Kesuk retorted. His usual cocky laugh sprang forth from his lips as he ran behind his fortress, leaving his second wall crumbling from Saskha's attacks. Using the snow from behind, Kesuk shaped the top of his wall into a ramp-like structure, almost like the spout of a teapot. He knew Saskha was fast, but even she wouldn't be able to dodge his attacks if he rained snow over top of her defences.

Saskha wasn't the type to sit and hide behind a defence, so the fact that her enemy had built a massive fortress made her buzzing with excitement at the thought of destroying it. And he was letting her attack; Saskha had hurled several snowballs at it, but the ice was too thick for any of them to do any damage. But she was determined to beat him, especially now that he had pulled this dirty trick. She would need time though, as a wall this big would need a big projectile to obliterate it.

Meanwhile, noticing the increasing seriousness of the fight, Miki and Anana had retreated a few more metres away from the war. From here, they could safely watch the two fighting each other, snowballs whizzing and fired from both defences. Anana laughed to herself, "I suppose I never really had a shot," She remarked, examining both of the tall fortresses that had been created.

Miki replied with a small smirk, "Yeah, I don't think either of us could have stood much of a chance." The duo continued to watch the battle unfolding, until a voice called out from behind them.


Both Anana and Miki turned around to see whoever was calling her name. It was Kashi, followed by her mother Hinani. The bright eyed youngster ran over to Miki and wrapped her arms around her. "Miki, I haven't seen you for ages!" She exclaimed.

Miki was still a bit stunned that her old friend was even talking to her, let alone embracing her with a hug. After they both let go, Miki replied, "Hey...Kashi. What are you doing here?" As soon as she had said it Miki realised she was sounding unhappy to see her.

Kashi rolled her eyes, yet still kept that bubbliness and positive energy that made her who she was, "I'm here to see you of course! I heard you guys were going Ice-Dodging, though it appears that...Um..." She paused as she noticed the fight before them, the towering walls and snowballs being hurled by the two competitors.

"They had an argument," Anana joined in the conversation. "And so, they thought they could resolve it with a snowball fight," She sighed. "Anyway, I'll leave you guys to it. I can try and make sure this doesn't get any worse," Anana added with a laugh, "Nice to see you Kashi," She smiled while turning to leave.

"Yeah you too Anana," Kashi chimed, waving her goodbye.

"Hmph, you would think that they were children, the way they're acting," The judgmental sea cow, also known as Hinani, mumbled from a few metres away.

Her daughter turned back to her mother, "Mom, I'll be okay. I'll see you later tonight?"

Hinani looked from her daughter back to Miki, the she-spirit who only 8 nights ago had used her powers on her and sent her flying into a pile of snow. Hinani was reluctant to leave her daughter with such a monster, but she had heard that her powers flowed from the moon and were only available to her at night. Perhaps it wasn't so bad to let Kashi spend some time with her.

After a brief pause she nodded to her daughter, but before leaving, looked Miki in the eye, "Miki...I am... Sorry for your loss," She muttered the last part too fast, though Miki had understood her. Although Hinani practically despised Miki, she knew what it was like to lose someone, and she felt sorry for the girl. She smoothed her greying hair and then turned to leave.

Miki smiled slightly. It must have been humbling for Hinani to do that, given that Miki had attacked her only a few nights ago. Perhaps she did deserve a better nickname than the one Miki had been using.

"How about we go to the beach?" Miki turned back to her friend. "Just so it's easier to talk," she laughed while motioning to her sister and Kesuk still fighting each other, and now it seemed Kesuk was raining huge clumps of snow over Saskha from his tower. Kashi nodded.

"You know, I am really sorry," Kashi apologized to Miki, the pair now seated on a short cliff face overlooking the rolling seas before them. The sounds of the tide against the shore echoed, and the smell of sea salt wafted over to them. "It wasn't exactly my idea to stop talking to you all this time, though I should have done more to see you," She stated, her expression much sadder and sorrowful than it usually was.

Miki smiled, placing an arm on her old friend, "Don't worry about it," She reassured her.

Kashi continued, "You know what my mother can be like," Miki had to bite her tongue to stop her from replying to that statement, "She didn't want me to have anything to do with you since you found out about, well, your powers," She looked back to Miki before continuing, "But that's only because she lost her brother to a spirit once; her parents told her that he had been possessed, which led to his death when he was only 15 years old. She has always been wary of spiritual matters."

"I'm sorry about your uncle," Miki replied.

Her old friend shook her head, causing her braided ponytail to swing about, "It's alright, I never knew him," She smiled, "But often I wonder if he's there, looking down on me from above somewhere, wishing me well or maybe guiding me somehow."

A small cry made its way from Miki's lips. She thought about this morning, how she had gone to her father's gravestone to say goodbye. "Do you think those who have died can still hear us?" She asked her friend, tears starting to form in her eyes.

A slightly guilty look formed on Kashi's face, "I'm... Sorry, I didn't mean to make you cry." Miki responded by shaking her head, and so Kashi tried to answer her, "I suppose they might. I like to think that there is nothing ever left unsaid; that if someone forgot to say something to a loved one, or never made amends, then the loved ones who pass away will still be able to see and hear those they left behind." She turned her head to the vast ocean ahead of them, "It's all about balance. This world, the Spirit World, whatever world we go to once we die, they're all kept in balance and harmony. And so if there were some things that were never said or heard from loved ones than the worlds would not be in proper balance." Miki looked back to her friend, her eyes still wet while Kashi continued, "Therefore, it makes sense that your father has heard how you feel about everything, just as he has let you know how he felt through his note," It seemed some others had found out about the note her father had left, though Miki was too preoccupied with other things to worry about it. "And so now that you both know how the other feels, you both can strive to be at peace with it. And where there is peace, there is balance." She concluded with a smile.

It was her childlike optimism that Miki admired the most. She had once too been like Kashi; she remembered the Full Moon festival three years ago, and how her and two others had looked upon the moon with such admiration and optimism that Tui was somehow their protector. Miki shook her head, quickly dismissing any thoughts related to the moon. Tui was someone who Miki felt she would never be at peace with, or ever make amends with.

Kashi noticed her friend was still upset, and so she placed her arm around her, stroking Miki's shoulder. "It will be okay," She comforted, "You and Saskha will get through this. And remember that you're not alone."

"Thank you," Miki whispered in reply, a grateful smile forming on her face.

"I only wish I had talked to you sooner," Kashi responded. The two friends continued to watch the waves hit the shore, occasionally sending sea spray high enough to reach them.

The snowball fight was reaching its climatic finale. The two competitors were beginning to fatigue after their relentless battle. Saskha hid behind her wall, but stuck her arm around the right side where Kesuk couldn't see. She lifted her arm up and clenched her fingers, causing the snow to rise slightly and give the illusion that she was making another wall, this one much close than the wall she hid behind now.

Kesuk laughed, "I'll make quick work of that base!" He cheered while dumping a good amount of his snow on top of it. But he noticed that Saskha hadn't been running towards that wall. It had been a decoy. Turning his gaze to the area in front, Kesuk saw Saskha dismantling her entire wall, also pulling some of the snow around her, and then proceeding to roll it into a massive boulder which she lifted in the air above her. His grey-blue eyes widening, Kesuk tried to sweep what was left of his ammunition towards his opponent, but it was too late. Saskha threw her whole body forwards, the snow comet flying towards his fort. The impact shook the entire wall, causing Kesuk to lose his balance and nearly topple off. Fissures cracked in the ice shell, yet the whole structure didn't disintegrate. Although damaged, his wall had stood firm.

Saskha narrowed her eyes. She wouldn't let him win. Sprinting through the snow, Saskha swept her right arm in front of her, forming a ramp made out of ice. She ran up the ramp and leapt in the direction of the wall, one arm clenched in a fist and held behind her and her left arm reaching forwards. As Saskha sailed through the air, Kesuk tried to stop her through hurling more snowballs, though none of it slowing her down. Saskha's left hand collided with what was left from her snow boulder and then punched with her right arm. She used the momentum to push through the entire fort. The ice shell shattered around her, and the whole structure toppled over, sending her opponent flying in the other direction. Saskha's feet connected with the snow boulder, which landed amongst the remains of Kesuk's fort. After a few moments she rose, panting and trying to catch her breath. But when the realization that she had obliterated Kesuk's wall came to her, she couldn't help but cheer loudly, her fist raised and a look of triumph on her face. Anana cheered from the side lines too, her arms waving from the distance.

From underneath the piles of snow, a bitter Kesuk emerged, a scowl spread across his face, "Hey! What was that?" He accused angrily, "You can't use bending on each other's defences; the only way to destroy them is to fire projectiles!"

The apparent winner smirked cheekily in reply, "My hands never touched your wall, only my projectile which was still embedded in that ice layer of yours, which I might add was a stretch of the rules as well."

Kesuk folded his arms, turning his head away while an angry sound passed his lips. "Well, I suppose you needed this win," He stated in his usual cocky/sore-loser voice, "You were the one who caused us to crash the sailboat, so I suppose this victory, although obtained through blatant cheating, will help boost your self-esteem."

"Ah ha ha ha," Saskha teased, and the pair made their way back to Anana, who patiently waited on a nearby hill.

When Saskha and Kesuk reached her, Anana stood up eagerly, "So, now that you two are all done with that, how about we do something where I can actually join in," She stated half-jokingly.

"As I recall," Kesuk placed his hand around his chin, "You did join in. Didn't you get owned by my attack?"

"Yeah but as soon as I joined in you both aimed for me! You didn't even give me a chance." Anana retorted in her defence.

Saskha held her arms up, "Okay, Okay, let's not start another war," Saskha joked. "Anyway, where's Miki?" She turned to Anana.

"Kashi turned up and both of them walked over to the coast," she answered.

"Really? Kashi?" Saskha was surprised that she would turn up. Miki had tried at one stage to keep in touch with her friend, though her mother always made it difficult.

Anana smiled, "Yeah, even Hinani turned up, though she also left pretty quickly. Anyway, should we grab some lunch?"

A loud growl came from Kesuk's stomach. "I wouldn't mind. All this winning is making me hungry," He replied with a cheeky look in his eyes.

Saskha would have responded with some sort of comeback but her thoughts were elsewhere. Things were starting to change around here; Miki had reconnected with her old friend after being apart for so long. She faced the ground as the trio made their way back home, unable to stop herself from smiling. Although she still grieved for their father, things were beginning to look bright again.


  • I've always wondered what a snow fight would look like between two waterbenders. I hope I've done it justice! :P
v - e Spirit of the North
Book 1
Chapter 1 - ManirakChapter 2 - MemoriesChapter 3 - The LibrarianChapter 4 - LiberationChapter 5 - GuiltChapter 6 - A Final GoodbyeChapter 7 - ReconnectionChapter 8 - Visitors from the EastChapter 9 - AvatarChapter 10 - The Dream that Led to a JourneyChapter 11 - PromiseChapter 12 - The VoteChapter 13 - Unspoken DesiresChapter 14 - Beyond the BordersChapter 15 - Foreseer of FuturesChapter 16 - The Warrior WithinChapter 17 - First BloodChapter 18 - Victories and DefeatsChapter 19 - Secrets of the BookChapter 20 - Entering the Earth KingdomChapter 21 - The Dream Nobody Thought Would Come TrueChapter 22 - The Great River City: Part 1Chapter 23 - The Great River City: Part 2

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