Storm clouds
Cloud Manipulation
Chapter information

The First Lesson



Written by


Release date

January 24, 2014

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It's been a few weeks since Korra's first experience with healing. Since then, she's been taught multiple moves that she has mastered to perfection; the ice dagger, the octopus form, the ice prison, and the ice ramp.  Katara has been becoming more and more proud of Korra's improvement each and every day. Korra herself is realizing that she is becoming more powerful with every new move that she learns and masters. Also, a week ago, Sokka left the Southern Tribe to go back to his job on the Republic City Council, but plans on retiring in a couple months and plans to stay on Air Temple Island with his nephew, Tenzin. Today, Katara has noticed a little change in the weather. There are more clouds than usual in the Southern Tribe, and Katara wants to use this sudden weather change to her advantage in teaching Korra a new move. Katara has just picked up Korra at her compound, and are leaving to travel further outside.

"Today, I thought I'd teach you a very fun move that might be easier than some moves we've been working with the past few weeks," Katara explained. "You deserve a break from complicated moves, but I guess I can't say that this move will be easy for you, it does work better with an airbender."

"Well why didn't you invite your son to help me?" Korra asked impatiently.

"Tenzin is busy working on the Republic City Council," Katara explained. "But like I said, one day he will teach you how to airbend."

Korra smiled. She really hoped that Katara was right about that. Korra has been trying to airbend since she found out she was the Avatar, but still has yet to do so. She asked if there are any other airbenders other than Tenzin that could've come out of their way to help the training, but then Katara had to explain to Korra how during Aang's time, all the other airbenders were killed by the Fire Nation. Korra was saddened by this news; more because there aren't any other airbenders other than Tenzin over the fact that the airbenders from over a hundred years ago were wiped out to begin with.

"So what's this fun move you're talking about," Korra asked kind of snobby.

Katara turned around, and pointed to the sky, full of clouds. "Look at the sky. What do you see?" She asked.

"Clouds..." Korra said confused.

"Yes. Clouds are made up of water and air, making it easy for either of those benders to change the shape of the cloud. This move is called Cloud Manipulation. You can use this technique to do a couple of different things. You can change the shape of the cloud, or just bend the cloud for any given reason."

Korra was fascinated by this move. She figured that maybe if cloud manipulation was a move that airbenders could do, that she would have more progress with airbending. "If this is a move that airbenders can do, do you think that it will help me with airbending?"

Katara looked at Korra kind of glum. She knew that even though Korra was proud of herself with waterbending, she was also just as disappointed with her lack of airbending skills. "I can't promise you that it'll help you with airbending," Katara finally said. "Airbenders manipulate the clouds in a different way. The bend the air around and within the clouds to reshape or move them. Waterbenders bend the water itself inside the clouds to do the same."

Now it was Korra that looked glum. "Oh," she said sadly.

Katara tried to cheer Korra up, putting on a big smile. "But I'd say this is as close to an airbending move as you'll get until you actually start your airbending training, so it's not a total let down." This made Korra smile again. "Come on, let me show you how the move is performed by reshaping the clouds.

Katara put her hands in the air. She began the move, making her arms go in all sorts of directions. The clouds moved with the actions of her arms, forming a new shape. The clouds twisted and turned; curved and intertwined. Eventually, Katara formed the clouds in the shape of a heart. Korra watched the whole thing in awe. She gasped, her eyes wide open and her jaw dropped.

"So what do think?" Katara asked turning to Korra, who's still in shock. Korra snapped out of her trance and asked, "Wow, you can do that with clouds?" Katara nodded. "I WANNA TRY!" Korra shouted in excitement.

Korra ran ahead of where Katara was standing, jumping on the snowy ground and moving her hands on the ground. She at first thought the clouds were moving because of her, but instead it turned out to be because of a large gust of wind. Of course, Korra didn't give up. She continued to move around her arms. It's not like she hasn't bent water from a place she can really see the water; she's bent water from mid-air, she's bent steam, and she's bent water from an underground cave on a day lesson meant to learn bending when you can't see the element itself.

This was different. For some reason, Korra couldn't grasp her abilities to make the clouds move and reshape. Instead, she made the clouds lose water, causing rain drops to fall, which quickly turned into snowflakes due to the temperature. "I don't understand," Korra said sadly. "Why didn't the clouds move?" Korra fell flat on her back, letting the snowy ground catch her. Katara dealt with Korra's moments of being short-tempered with encouragement, especially since they've been happening more often as the moves get harder. Katara walked up to the young Avatar and said, "Korra--"

"I know what you're going to say!" Korra said cutting off Katara. "You're just going to tell me to keep trying because you know I'll get it and that I shouldn't expect to get every move right away. Well guess what? Someone told me this would be an easier move, but it's not! It's as hard as the other ones! You lied to me, Master Katara!"

Katara looked very down at what Korra said. She felt as if she was letting Aang down when she said that, even though he never spoke to her like that. How could she not feel that way? She promised Aang that she would train the next Avatar, but how can they be happy training if Korra's not happy with who the master is? On the other hand, Katara knows that Korra is just frustrated with herself and doesn't mean to take it out on anyone else. She's only four and she has no idea what challenges she will face when she gets older.

"I also said that the move might not come easy to you since it works better with an airbender," Katara explained. "I know that you're not an airbender, and I know that you're frustrated with yourself, but you can't be mad after trying the move only once. Don't keep letting yourself down and just keep trying." Katara smiled at Korra, but it was a forced smile. Even though Korra didn't mean to tell her off, it still hurt Katara's feelings being called a liar.

Korra just rolled her eyes in response. "If you say so," she replied unhappily.

Korra and Katara spent hours outside. Katara watched as Korra would practice, but she didn't make any progress with the clouds. That's when Katara got an idea. She remembered how sometimes in order for Aang to master a move, he would have a trigger. Even when he first tried getting into the Avatar State, it only worked when he or anyone close to him was in danger. Katara thought that made all Korra needed was a trigger to get her to perform the move. The problem was that Katara couldn't think of a trigger to make Korra bend the clouds.

Maybe a trigger wasn't the way to go, but Katara still was thinking. Then it came to her. Maybe all Korra needed was an idea of a shape to bend.

"Time out, Korra!" Katara yelled.

Korra stopped practicing, and walked over to Katara.

"What is it, Master Katara?" She asked.

"I think I have just the idea that'll help you with this move. Instead of you just bending the clouds, I'm going to tell you a shape and then you bend it into that shape. I should've thought of that right from the start!" Katara replied.

"Well I'm not gonna bend my cloud shape into a dumb heart. Love gives me the oogies!"

Katara cringed at the word 'oogies.' "You hung out with my brother a little too much when he was here," she said sarcastically. "But if not a heart, then just bend me a nice circle."

"I'll try," Korra stated. "But I don't know how giving me a shape will make me any better at this."

Korra tried again, she thought about the shape of a circle. She knew it had no sides, so she figured that it was easy. She felt more focused if that counted as anything. For some reason, it was actually working out. She could see the clouds moving this time; and not because of the wind; because of her. She made the clouds twist and turn, and eventually it did form a circle. Maybe the idea of giving her an actual shape worked, or maybe Korra just blocked out her frustration and put more focus in the move, but she did it.

While walking Korra back home, Katara told Korra of the time she and Aang changed the shape of the clouds at a nearby village to warn them about a volcanic eruption. When they got back to Korra's compound, she congratulated her on another job well done.

"Thanks," Korra replied. "Not just for today, but for everyday. I get so mad at me for not being able to do a move right away, but no matter what, you always believe in me," Korra said with a smile. "Sorry for calling you a liar. I was just mad with me, not you."

Katara smiled back at Korra. "Apology accepted," she replied.

Even after this lesson, Korra had still let anger take over her actual learning process, making it hard to focus sometimes, but for some reason, she always kept in mind to focus, and apologize if she hurts anyone.

In a weird way, the Cloud Manipulation move had a connection to Korra being manipulated by her frustration. She bent the clouds, forming them a different way as if she was changing the way her mood was. Maybe she never thought of it that way, but it doesn't matter as long as she can change how she feels with like the clouds in the sky.

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