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|Chapter One: The Vision (Avatar: Rise and Fall)|
August 8, 2012
Chapter One: The Vision
Southern Water Tribe (Spring,126 AG)
Katara stared out of her window, watching the first of the winter snows fall. She put down the scarf she had been mending and turned to look at the five-flavor soup currently boiling in the pot. Bending some into her mouth, she swallowed it and decided to add some more salt. As she sat back in her chair, she took up the scarf again. I wonder what's taking Aang so long?
Aang, her husband, had taken their youngest son, Tenzin, now six years old, to practice airbending in a secluded spot, away from distractions, like Kya or Bumi. Kya, now almost 18, acted more mature than she did when she was younger, but Bumi, who was now 19, still acted a lot like a kid. Almost like Aang at that age. She found it almost hard to believe that twenty-two years ago, she was just a normal fourteen-year old living in the Southern Water Tribe. Now, she was married to the Avatar and had three children. On top of all that, she taught waterbending to the people of the Southern Water Tribe. So many things have changed.
She started to think about her days back when the War was going on, but heard footsteps approaching down the fresh fallen snow. Katara turned and smiled to see Aang walking down the lane, holding Tenzin's little hand. Tenzin was a quiet child, unlike his two siblings. Where are Kya and Bumi, by the way? Just as she thought that, Kya leaped out of a snow drift and waterbended the snow towards her father and brother. Aang reflexively airbended a shield of air around himself and Tenzin, while sending a shower of snow back towards Kya. Bumi then leaped out of a second snow drift and tried to grab Tenzin, who dodged him and airbended him back into the drift headfirst.
Meanwhile, Katara decided to join in the fun and leapt out into the snow, bending it around her to form a fort. Moving the fort around like a tank, she bended snow at everyone in sight. She swung her arm around and sent a wave of snow towards Aang, while sending Kya's attack flying back at her. Both of the benders were surprised by the sudden barrage of snow, and were buried in two massive drifts. Digging themselves out, they started to laugh and collapsed back in the snow, exhausted. Tenzin, on the other hand, walked up to Bumi and dumped even more snow on his brother with airbending.
Katara smiled and lifted her hands up, so the snow would be lifted off Bumi. Bumi leapt out and attempted to overpower the young airbender again. Tenzin breathed in and out forcefully, sending Bumi flying back into the snow.
The young non-bender spoke as he stood up. "No fair, Tenzin. No more bending; that's cheating." Tenzin didn't respond, instead looking up towards the clouds.
Just like his father. What a powerful bender. Tenzin had shown remarkable talent as he grew, mastering basic airbending by the time he was two, and was already moving on to the next level. Katara spoke up. "Good work, Tenzin. I can tell that you have been practicing." He smiled and bowed. "Thank you, mother." He was an airbender, through and through. Aang was more lighthearted and humorous as a kid, but grew more serious as his life progressed.
"Alright everybody, clean yourselves off and go wash up! Dinner is almost ready." As the kids streamed past Katara, Aang walked up to his wife and gave her a kiss on the cheek.
"How goes Tenzin's training?"
The Avatar's face lit up as he spoke. "Wonderful. He is progressing faster than anyone I have ever seen. He is almost as strong as I am. I just don't understand how he has learned so quickly."
"Like father, like son, I suppose. He is very much like you." She paused to smile and then became serious, putting her stern look on. It always reminded Aang of their time as kids battling the Fire Nation and the good times that followed. "Now, Aang, what's this surprise you have been talking about? The kids are getting anxious and I want to know. Does it have something to do with Republic City?"
He smiled and laughed. "All in due time, Katara. I want it to be special, just like our wedding." Without another word, the two walked inside, hand in hand, to a nice meal with their family.
South of Republic City (Spring, 126 AG)
Appa growled as they passed a flock of birds near the coast of the Earth Kingdom. It was late at night, and Aang was taking his family to the city for a surprise. Katara awoke and saw Aang meditating near the front of the saddle. She shook her head and held Tenzin closer.
Aang drifted through empty space as he meditated, trying to center himself and relax. Suddenly, the Avatar appeared in an igloo, somewhere in the Water Tribes. He blinked and looked around. Where am I? A young girl, only three or four years old, was bending some water in a bowl set on the ground. Smiling, Aang began to awake from his meditation before the girl began to earthbend as well. He froze and turned to watch her. A moment later, he felt a familiar presence near him: that of the spirits of the past Avatars. Could she be...
As he thought this, a powerful force yanked him away from the vision and back into the void. Drifting again, Aang tried to decipher his vision. Before he could think about the mysterious sight, the Airbender found himself standing in front of the giant lion turtle. Bowing respectfully, he spoke.
"I think I just witnessed my next reincarnation. You helped me face Ozai. Do you understand this vision? Is something going to happen to me soon?"
Without speaking, the lion turtle touched his claws to Aang's forehead and chest. Images of fire, a massive fleet of airships, and Republic City burning filled his mind. The strain became too much and Aang screamed, "NO!" His voice was joined by those of all the past Avatars as he entered the Avatar State. The lion turtle vanished as his spirit moved back into the physical world.
Katara woke up again as a wind began to whip Appa around. A bright light shone from the front of the saddle. "No." She saw her husband, with a painful expression on his face, and his arrows and eyes glowing, begin to levitate. Grabbing his head in her hands, she pressed his head to her shoulder and hugged him tightly. Slowly, the wind began to die down and the all-powerful Avatar was reduced to tears as his eyes stopped glowing.
As Aang sat back down, the kids began to wake up. Kya was the first one to notice her father's increased breathing and her mother's frightened expression.
"Mom! Dad! What happened?"
"Nothing, Kya. Just a bad dream." Aang smiled weakly, but grimaced in pain. Kya stood up and walked over to her father, giving him a hug. She was soon joined by Tenzin and Bumi. As his family hugged him, the Avatar reflected on his disturbing vision. When he closed his eyes, the sight of Republic City in flames flashed before him. Terror filled his heart and caused him to hug his children harder. If he failed to protect Republic City, what would happen to the peace that held, in some places, very thinly?
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