|More from AvatarIonathan||Adventure||PG||None||See blog|
July 9, 2013
I woke up to the glow of the morning sun in my eyes. It was melting away the window sill of ice and snow. I froze it back to the original form it was in.
I went into the bathroom to take a shower and wash away the smell with the fine yet cheap soaps the Water Tribe offered. After I was done, I waterbended the water out of the murky mixture of soap and water and put it back into the pot. The same technique was used on my hair and body.
I ramped myself in sarashi. On top of that I put on my traditional blue kimono. My final layer was a fur coat that all women who were training to become nurses were required to wear.
The next step of preparation was my hair. My hair was light brown and straight. I usually tie it in to a ponytail as I was doing now. Due to my hair being short as I like to keep it, it made a short little wisp of fire at the crown of my head. I was so busy getting ready I almost didn't realize I was about to miss breakfast.
"Tunerk! Hurry up! Your food's getting cold!" I heard my mom call. I rushed to the dining room where my mom was cooking up a bowl of sea prune stew. My mom was sitting there eating as well. As I started slurping up my stew, I realized something was missing.
"Hey, where's Aukaneck?" I asked.
"Oh, the guards took him for some 'important matters'. I wonder what that could mean? They said we would be seeing before tonight is over with."
"They didn't say. You'll have to have someone tell you. Surely Chuatek knows something." Chuatek was the trader my mother usually does business with. He was a friend of the family. "I have some errands I need you to run." She goes over to her room and brings out some of the textiles she has been working on. "I'll need you to sell these. Here's a list of the prices I want you to sell them for or higher. You can use some of the money to buy yourself lunch or something." My mother usually has my brother Aukaneck go out and sell the clothes and other textiles she makes.
My brother works a part-time job for the Water Tribes military. When he's not either selling for my mother or doing tasks for the military (which all soldiers were required to do while not on service) he's on hunting missions with his buddies who were also in the military.
There are two types of hunting companies: federal and private. Federal companies were usually large groups of people who worked for the military. They would usually go out for the day but on some occasions they would go out for days or weeks. Private companies are usually small groups of people who do it for a living. They usually went out for the day or in my brother's case, for a couple hours. They usually didn't kill much but it gave him something to do. My mother didn't like him going out too much. She didn't want the same thing that happened to my father to happen him.
My father died on one of those private hunting trips. He married my mother in one of those arranged marriages. Even though he supported women's rights in the original war for the unification of the Water Tribe, she still never loved him like a real wife should. My brother was only three when that happened. I wasn't even born then. Since then, my mother has had to support the entire family.
Usually women are housewives and don't hunt or trade as the men do. The women would usually cleaned the house and disciplined the children. This usually involved making clothes for them, too. Since this is one of the few things that women were allowed to do, she was forced to make a living out of it. Most of the stuff she worked with were military uniforms. The military were willing to pay a high price for them so money was never an issue for us.
As soon as I was done with my stew, I headed out the door with the textiles and my satchel full of scrolls for my healing class. Healing was one of the few jobs women were allowed to do. The government thought it would be a waste to not let female waterbenders do anything at all so they decided let them be healers as they would be doing something productive.
Even though women weren't allowed to learn waterbending that's applied to combat, my brother sometimes taught me in secret. He could get in a lot of trouble for doing that, but he didn't care. I looked up to my brother. I can tell he really loves me, too.
Finding Chuatek was no problem. I had been there a couple times before. He was in the same hunting company my father was in. He saw no reason to go back since all of the other members in the company just left. So, he just decided to become a trader. His office doubled as his home. He was always walking places selling things so he had no reason to buy an office. I walked into his house and went to the kitchen table where he was sitting down doing work. He recognized who I was immediately despite the fact that I almost never come here.
"Hey, Chuatek," I said.
"Tunerk! Long time, no see! I take it that you're the one doing your mother's business for the day. I understand it that Aukaneck has to prepare for tonight's gathering." Gathering? My mother said something about tonight but she didn't say anything about a gathering. Our tribe usually has a gathering when something very important is about to be announced. I've never been to one. I don't think we've ever had one. It must be extremely important.
"What's the gathering about?"
"Rumor has it that the tribe is going to war." A war? The last war our tribe was involved in was the Civil War in which our tribe was fighting over what type of government we were going to have. My father was part of the party that lost. His party was known as the Tribal Party. They had many different beliefs about individual freedoms with the main one being women's rights. They lost to the party that currently rules the Water Tribe now, the Royal Party. Some people think my dad was murdered during the hunting because of his heavy involvement in the war, even though the war ended a long time before he was killed.
"So what do think these things are worth?" Chuatek asked.
"I don't know," I replied. "My mom gave me a list of the prices she thought would match." I handed him the list.
He looked carefully at the prices. "Seems fair enough," he said. He handed me the money and laid down the quilts and coat on his table.
"Have a nice day!" I said.
"You too!" He yelled as I walked out the door. I put the money in my satchel.
My next stop that day was my healing class. Right now we're all working as interns at the hospital. As much as I love waterbending, healing was not my favorite thing. I wanted to do something associated with waterbending and healing was the only thing women were allowed to do. Without waterbending, my life would be incomplete.
I walked into the doors of the hospital and put my satchel in the room where we were supposed to keep our things. Right now I was an intern. I was practicing basic skills I need to learn in order to be a nurse. There were a few other things I'm supposed to learn before the end of my training but I haven't quite gotten there yet.
I entered the room where the rest of my class was. All my other classmates were busy tending to their patients. I went ahead and got started. All we basically had to do was walk up to patients who were mildly sick and heal them. It was very easy but we had to get the experience. If someone was having trouble, our healing instructor Arnaka helped them out and told them what to do. Arnaka almost never had to help me. She always told me I was her best and favorite student. She knew I was meant to do something special.
I continued healing people for a couple hours. After we were done with our session for the day, Arnaka talked about one of the more complex healing techniques we would be going over tomorrow when two elite Water Tribe soldiers walked.
"Mrs. Arnaka, we need to see you outside please." She walked out of the classroom. After a few minutes, she walked back in with a sad look on her face. I could tell she had bad news.
"I'm sorry to inform you of this but... I'm closing the school down." Every student in the room gasped.
"How long is this going to last?" one of them asked.
"I don't know... a couple years?"
"Are we going to graduate and become nurses?" asked another.
"I wish you could but... I'm afraid you don't know enough in order for you to become professional nurses."
"But what about me!" I exclaimed. "You told me I was the best healer you ever had!"
"I'm sorry Tunerk, but there are no exceptions." So that's it then. Arnaka was the only healing teacher in the entire tribe. I would be forced to live my life as a housewife. My life was ruined.
For the collective works of the author, go here.