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August 12, 2013
Devion's eyes widened as the man's torso collapsed back onto the sand, his eyelids sliding shut. He shot a confused, terrified glance up at Kialuk, who was standing over the man, his jaw hanging open.
"We-we need to get some help," he spat out, shaking his head once.
Nodding rapidly, Devion racked his minds for the nearest house or farm that could help this man, or else he would soon die. And from what the stranger just said, they couldn't afford to have him die.
Suddenly, a location popped into his head. "The Air Nomads!" he exclaimed.
"Yes," muttered Kialuk. "They have their camp just a little bit into the forest above here. Let's hurry!"
Devion slid over to the man's feet and grabbed them while Kialuk picked him up by the arms. They started up the path, moving slowly and cautiously to prevent them from slipping and harming themselves and this injured stranger. Devion felt a little uneasy about approaching the Air Nomads. The local attitude towards them was not positive. Most of the islanders looked upon them with annoyance seeing as how the Air Nomads treated them like they were primeval tribesmen incapable of coping with the rest of the world.
They were partly right, but mostly wrong. The Island Tribe, as well as the other two tribes, had turned down the modern cultures that were practiced in the other nations, including the steam punk ways of the Fire Nation. But the Water Tribes were intent on keeping the planet beautiful and clean, much unlike the burning, polluted Fire Nation. However, the Air Nomad "missionaries" wanted to make the Island Tribe more modern and contemporary, something the citizens strongly rebuked.
His doubts about receiving help from the Air Nomads faded away when he thought more about the ways of the monks and however much they disapproved of the tribal ways of the Island Tribes, they wouldn't turn down an injured man in need of help. The Air Nomads were healers, helpers, and religious folk, not protestors and militant-like people.
It took them nearly five minutes to carry the man up the cliff and when they reached the top, they gently set him down and hunched over, huffing and puffing as they rubbed out their sore muscles. The man was fairly tall, but certainly a heavy man. His apparently strong muscles added much weight to him, making it much more difficult to carry him up a cliff.
"Let's go," said Kialuk urgently. "We have to get him to help."
Grabbing the man's limbs, Devion and Kialuk heaved him back up and began to navigate through the forest as quickly as they could with a man swinging like a hammock in between them.
The jungle was dark and crowded, another obstacle that prevented them from getting to the Air Nomads quickly. They had to move slowly in order to weave through the trees without hitting them or tripping over roots.
Devion turned his head around and could see the faint glow of candlelight coming through the trees. "Come on," he said to Kialuk. "We're almost there."
After well over five minutes of walking through the thick jungle, Devion and Kialuk stumbled into the clearing occupied by a small wooden hut and five or six canvas tents. Almost a dozen men and women dressed in the orange and yellow robes of the Air Nomads were sitting around a ring of candles, their legs folded and their arms resting on their legs.
"Help!" cried Devion, setting down the man. "We need your help!"
The eldest man, who looked to be about fifty, opened his eyes and glared at Devion and Kialuk. "Can't you see we are meditating here?" he spat impatiently.
"This man needs your help!" Kialuk said loudly. "Look, we're sorry for disturbing your quite time, but we have an injured, half-drowned man that we just carried up from the beach! Please help us!"
One of the women looked at the old man. "Come on, Yuchan. This man needs our help." The woman stood up, quickly followed by two men and another woman. They all flocked towards where Devion and Kialuk stood, their hearts racing and sweat dripping down their bodies. One of the men looked at the tw of them while everyone else crouched down and started to look at the man.
"Who is this?" he asked calmly.
Kialuk shrugged. "He was floating in the waves on the little beach just below the cliff that way," he told them, pointing in the direction they just came from. The Air Nomad nodded and joined his companions in inspecting the man's body. Devion hopped from one foot to the other, anxious and silently pleading for the nomads to hurry up and start healing him.
Yuchan stood up from his spot around the candles and strode over to where the man was lying on the ground, his chest barely moving up and down as he breathed quietly.
Whipping his head around, he pointed at two younger-looking Nomads. "You, go get the medical supplies," he ordered. Then he turned his gaze towards a boy who looked to be about fifteen. "Kayun, go and make the bed beside the kitchen in the hut. Hurry now!"
The boy nodded and then darted into the wooden building, slamming the door shut behind him while all the other nomads stood and looked at each other, talking quietly. Yuchan faced Devion and Kialuk and pointed at the two of them. "You, stay here," he told Kialuk. "You, go and get Moi!" He stared at Devion, his light gray eyes alert and slightly unnerved.
"W-who?" stuttered Devion, barely processing the man's words.
"Chief Moi!" exclaimed Yuchan angrily. "Hurry!"
"Right!" replied Devion loudly, turning around and shooting out of the clearing.
Branches and leaves whipped at his face as he sprinted through the jungle, hopping over rocks and tree roots until he found the path leading back to Kiolu. He skidded and turned his momentum, darting down the dirt road as dust clouds flew up behind his feet. Running as fast as he could, Devion felt as if he were racing at the speed of an airbender. The wind buffeted his face and swirled around him as he made his way toward Kiolu.
Less than three minutes later, Devion stormed onto the beach only to find the party still in full swing. Even the little children were up and about and it was well after midnight. Apprehensively, Devion slid through the crowd, pushing and shoving past people without even saying anything to them. His mother was talking with a few other women from the town and she smiled and waved at him.
"Hey, Devion. What are you doing back so early?"
"I can't talk now, Mom," he responded tersely, pushing past a few twelve year olds and moving towards where he spotted Chief Moi drinking out of a wooden cup, talking animatedly with the captain of the Kiolu warriors and a rich merchant from one of the outer islands.
Devion strode into the middle of their conversation without even announcing his presence. The captain threw him an angry glance and the merchant looked rather repulsed, but he paid no attention to them. Instead, he just made direct eye contact with Chief Moi.
"Excuse me, Chief," he said quickly. "We need you up at the Air Nomad camp." The chief's handsome, broad face had a confused expression on it. "Why?" he asked, bewildered.
"Someone washed up on the small southern beach," Devion explained. "He said something about the Fire Nation, and Kialuk and I took him to the Air Nomads, since they were closest."
"Who is this man?" asked Chief Moi, looking at the captain and the merchant.
Devion shrugged. "We don't know, sir," he told the chief. "But he's seriously injured and Yuchan requested you."
Nervousness flashing in his eyes, Chief Moi nodded. "Show me the way," he ordered his voice authoritative and strong.
Nodding, Devion turned around and pushed his way back through the crowd, Chief Moi right on his heels. Once they got through the party-goers, Devion turned his head back and said, "From here we'll run."
He took off up the narrow dirt path without waiting for Chief Moi to even answer. The chieftain said nothing; he just ran a little bit behind Devion as they raced up the path towards the Air Nomad camp.
They ran at a slower pace than Devion's sprint down the cliff, instead running at a fast jog, but not quite a full out dash. Five minutes after leaving the beach, they ran out of the shadows and into the warmly lit clearing. Devion stopped right at the edge of the trees and placed his hands on his hips, breathing heavily, but Chief Moi just changed his run to a walk and strode up to wear Yuchan stood.
"May I see him?" he asked.
Devion looked around the clearing and noticed that the man and most of the Air Nomads were either in the hut or their tents. A woman was standing beside Yuchan, and Kayun, the young nomad, was lurking in the shadows of the hut. Kialuk moved over beside Devion, but said nothing.
Yuchan shook his head. "We do not want you to interfere with his healing. We shall inform you when he is awake." The eldest monk turned towards Devion and Kialuk and dipped his head. "You two may leave. Anything here now is between Chief Moi and my nomads."
Kialuk nodded once and started to turn back towards the forest, but Devion grabbed his arm and stopped him. "No," he said defiantly. "I want to hear what this man has to say when he wakes up."
The nomad looked annoyed and shook his head. "This is none of your business."
"It's only fair that we get to listen to him," continued Devion, ignoring Yuchan.
"After all, we were the ones who found him on the beach." He cast a glance at Kialuk for some help, but the scrawny teen just rolled his eyes.
Again, Yuchan started to shake his head, but then Chief Moi sighed loudly and nodded. "He's right, Yuchan," he muttered. "They were the ones who found this man. Devion came and informed me of him being healed here. The two of them have been through a lot and deserve to hear what he tells us."
Devion nodded his head in thanks towards the chief and then looked back at Yuchan. The monk crossed his arms. "Fine. But you will stay out here by the candles until we tell you he is awake."
All three of them nodded and then sat down in a triangle by the warm candles. Devion extended his legs and stared at the entrance to the hut, while Kialuk sat with his knees against his chest. Chief Moi sat down cross-legged and placed his hands on his knees.
Devion wanted to talk, and he could tell Chief Moi and Kialuk also wanted to speak a little, but none of them could figure out where to start. They were all lost in their thoughts, wondering who the man was and waiting for Yuchan to emerge from the hut.
Although he was trying to distract himself from the fact that Kialuk would be moving to the Northern Water Tribe, Devion's thoughts about the man kept feeding into a stream of thoughts directed towards Kialuk's departure. But whenever his thoughts got off track from the stranger, Devion would force himself to keep thinking of possibilities for why the man washed up on the shore.
The biggest and most probably solution was that the man was on a boat and was attacking by someone or something and the boat was destroyed, causing him to have to drift in the ocean to survive. But who or what attacked his boat, and why? Devion dwelled on these questions, staring into the dancing flames on the candles, trying to keep his eyelids from drooping.
Then, after what seemed like hours, Yuchan stepped out of the wooden structure and stood on the covered porch, quiet noises coming from inside the building. "Your stranger is awake," he said quietly, beckoning for the three of them to come inside.
2,036 in Patient Silence
|Flames on the Horizon Chapters|
|Book 1 - Embers|
|~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~|
|Book 2 - Flames|
|Book 3 - Inferno|
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