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|More from WaterbenderTaikai||Adventure||G/PG||None||This way|
|Death, Departure, Destiny|
February 16, 2013
Keiroh is born in 84 AG to two parents in the NWT. In 88 AG in Ba Sing Se, twins are born as the sisters of Arius. Arius is four at the time. In the Spring of 92 AG, Arius runs away from his home in Ba Sing Se. He is only eight. In the Fall of 92 AG, Keiroh and Arius meet. They immediately become best friends.
Northern Water Tribe, 99 AG – Winter
With every swoosh and zing she heard, Kaiol never could get used to how fast her son and his best friend grew up.
Kaiol took a short walk to the small plaza heading to her humble home. Clutching her jasmine tea, a rarity to the Water Tribes, she watched with astonishment as "her two warriors" took turns maiming dummies and smashing targets (which definitely was not her first choice, but they made it work).
The slice of Keiroh's dual water whips and the snap of Arius' bowstring made her proud to have raised such brave sixteen year olds, more or less.
Arius notched three sharp arrows, and quickly turned the wooden bow on its side. He released his grasp on the string with a focused eye, sending his arrows zooming into the targets as his bow cracked like a whip.
Keiroh brought his wrists up toward the cloudy sky, levitating the liquid contents of two ceramic pots. With a ninety degree turn, he shot the water to his right, clenching his fist to freeze the water into a dozen spears as sharp as knives. The spears pierced the vital "organs" of four different, stuffing dummies.
Kaiol walked away sipping her warm drink, leaving the boys to continue on for another hour or so. As she passed Souri's stable, a friendly man named Kentai hastened over to her.
"Good afternoon, Kentai." Kaiol said. "Is something wrong?"
"Yes, something very terrible..." Kaiol could see the horror in his deep, brown eyes.
"What happened?" she quickly questioned.
"It's...your husband," he replied to Kaiol's gasping face. "Come quickly to the healing hut."
"Keiroh! Arius! Come, now!"
Following the lead of Kentai, Kaiol, Keiroh, and Arius hastily perambulated to the healing hut. At the door, a kind nurse waited for them.
"He was hurt in an accident. Construction workers were remodeling a bridge, and as they disassembled it, a large chunk of debris hit Taiko in the head. This is by far one of the worst injuries we've seen," she said, catching the group up as they rushed inside.
Taiko laid on a bed, with his head wrapped in long strips of silky, white bandage.
"Dad!" Keiroh said, running to his bedside. The others did the same. Perched on her knee, Kaiol grasped Taiko's left hand with a tight grip.
"Will he be okay?" Arius asked an experienced healer.
"Well, I've tried my best. Healing doesn't always work as well as you want. I've even tried water from the Spirit Oasis, but it's no use. He's lost a lot of blood," she answered.
"Keiroh, Arius. May I have a moment with you two?" Taiko groaned. The two stepped forward as the others exited.
"What is it Dad?" Keiroh asked.
"I must tell you... something very important." After pulling off a white blanket, Taiko reached into a back pocket of his pants. He handed a folded piece of parchment to the boys.
"What is it?" said Arius as Keiroh unfolded the old, crinkled document.
- "A Water Tribe boy shall save it all.
- The sun will hide as darkness will fall.
- Beware the strings of the marionette,
- pulled by it's user and biggest threat," Keiroh recited.
"What is this?" Arius took the paper.
"A prophecy... Keiroh's prophecy." With faces of shock, Keiroh and Arius continued to stare at the paper. "We don't know what it means yet...but we know that you are the Water Tribe boy, Keiroh. When you were born... a spirit named Ming Yun visited you."
"The spirit of destiny," Keiroh muttered.
His father continued, "When she visits a baby, it means that they will be a hero."
"I have to save the world?" Keiroh asked with awe.
"Yes, but you need help."
"Count me in," Arius stated.
"I know who could help too," Keiroh exclaimed. A moment of silence followed.
"...I think...my time...has come..." Taiko groaned.
"No! Dad, I need you!"
"I'm sorry...son..." Keiroh's stomach dropped. His eyes dripped. His heart slowed. "I love...yo-" his father's eyes closed. His head fell back. His heart stopped.
"NO! No...please no!" Keiroh screamed. The other rushed back into the room with deliberate speed. Keiroh tried to run back to his father. "NO!" He screamed once more. Kentai and Arius grabbed Keiroh's arms, dragging him out of the building. "No! Dad! NO!" Tears transformed into rivers. Rivers led to dams. Dams overflowed.
Keiroh was high up, perched on a cold, thick branch of a snow-capped tree, wiping away his last tears. The branches twisted and turned in all directions. Long, clear icicles hung off of them.
"Daddy, help!" a young, scared Keiroh yelped. "I'm stuck in the tree! A monster was chasing me," he pointed to a twelve-foot, raging monster of unimaginable hybrids. "And then I got up here! Help before he gets you too!"
"We're going to be okay," his father reassured.
"Are you going to help me?!"
"No. You'll have to help yourself." Keiroh began to tear at this news. "It's time you learned to use your gift."
"I've been using the toy boat you got me!"
Taiko chuckled. "No, no. I meant waterbending. Remember when we saw those waterbenders at the festival?" Keiroh nodded. "I thi– I know, you can waterbend like them. Focus on the snow. Use your arms to make something that can get you down."
Keiroh looked at the snow on the ground, concentrating on every flake. He raised his ams up, and slowly brought up a patch of snow. Keiroh gasped, thus causing himself to drop the white powder. I'll never do it, he thought.
Keiroh tried again. This time, a large range of the fallen precipitation came up in a big hill. With the flick of a wrist, Keiroh formed an edge around the hill. Taiko smiled.
"Whheee!!!" Keiroh slid down his slide. "I did it! Daddy, I did it."
Keiroh turned to see the evil monster. "AHHH!!!" Keiroh dove behind his father's legs.
"It's okay, Keiroh. It's just an otter penguin. They are very gentle and give you rides. Here." Taiko handed his son a small fish. Immediately, the penguin waddled up to Keiroh.
"Um...hi...monste- I mean, penguin." Keiroh slowly held out the fish. "Here?"
The black and white bird tilted it's head, thinking about the fish. After a brief moment of silence, the penguin hopped up. Bending it's legs, the friendly animal sprung up off the icy ground, flapping its wings.
Keiroh and Taiko gasped. The bird flew up to Keiroh's' and and snatched the fish. The penguin landed and ate the treat.
"It files!" Keiroh exclaimed. "Can I keep him?"
"Sure, Keiroh! He's special, just like you."
"I love you, Keiroh."
"I love you too...Daddy."
The next day
"We need to leave," Arius said, walking up to Keiroh, who was sitting on a log outside the eel hound stable.
"How could we leave?! My mother is heart-broken."
"We just do! Didn't you hear your father? There is some crazy guy going to take over the world! This is real, you know. It's not some story."
"So? Where do we go? We don't know where that freak-show is? And I'm just so confused."
"Well, let's start with where ever this other person is that you said could join our adventure."
"You say that like it's some magical journey with fluffy bunnies and flying ponies," Keiroh said aloud.
"Okay, 'Operation Fluffy Bunny' begin!" Arius said triumphantly.
"The supplies have been packed, the saddle has been prepared, and the map is ready," said Kentai.
Souri the eel hound stood at the gates of the Water Tribe, ready for departure.
Kaiol teared up. "I'm going to miss you so much."
"It'll be okay. Koti can send messages," Keiroh reassured. A sweet, gentle otter penguin waddled up to his master. "He can also keep you company." Koti slid over to Kaiol, cuddling his head against her legs.
"Aw, Koti, I love you too." Kaiol said. "Come here you too." Kaiol hugged Keiroh and Arius. "I'll miss you guys."
The two boys climbed up onto their big transportation method. "Bye everyone!"
"Wait!" an unfamiliar voice called. "A special delivery for Arius Liuqin." A messenger in light green robes knelt holding out a large box. Arius climbed back down and grabbed the shimmering box with curiosity. The young man bowed once more, to which Arius did the same, eager to open his package. The messenger scurried off.
"Hm...I wonder what it is," Arius said.
"I'm still at the question of how he got here..." Keiroh said.
"I'll just bring it with us and open it later," Arius stated, disregarding Keiroh's remark and climbing back up into the saddle.
"Bye, Mom! I love you!" Keiroh waved.
Arius snapped the reins like his bowstring and the eel hound hopped the entrance, speeding across the water. The Northern Water Tribe was now far behind.
Keiroh slumped over and fanned himself out in the back of the saddle. The brown leather felt hard against Keiroh's mentally battered body. He had just experienced a nightmare, but didn't know how to respond. Scream? Cry? Curl up in a ball?
Keiroh though of a terrible dream he had years ago. He was trapped in the deep darkness on a tall, scary cliff. All around him, his family and friends wore heavy, metal armor. His mom, dad, Arius, Kentai, even Master Pakku. In the distance shined a bright, stunningly colorful orb. Keiroh saw colors he'd never seen before. Many shades of pastels, neons, and primary colors swirled around inside the perfectly round sphere.
With sudden force, Keiroh and his "army" were pushed back towards the end of the cliff with sharp, silver blades. The swords were not controlled by anyone, or anything. The swords inched closer and closer, almost slitting Keiroh's through. They could face their demise, or jump off the cliff and face whatever the bottom featured.
With quick turns, each person took one step forward off the cliff. The blades lunged for their targets, also diving down the distance of the cliff. Keiroh never learned the end of the dream because he woke up before it could happen.
That nightmare always gave him a jumble in his mind, mixing up his emotions, much like the one he just lived. Sad, or scared? Cry or get mommy? You can't get mommy, Keiroh thought. You just left her.
Keiroh rolled over and groaned like pig.
"You obviously can't think about anything but the last day or so," Arius said, not even needing to look at his best friend to know. "Lemme see if I can change that..."
"The two-hour long Arius Pun-filled Comedy Show! isn't going to work."
Arius laughed. "Get it? Pun-filled instead of fun-filled!"
A sparkle caught Arius' eye. "How about the Arius-Opens-a-Box-From-Some-Messenger-Dude-We-Don't-Even-Know Show'?"
"The title's a little long-winded, but okay." Arius grabbed the box, sliding off the green lid. A small, elegant piece of stationary sat atop large pieces of emerald fabric.
Reading the note, Arius said:
"'To Arius Liuqin,
I have not seen you for a long time, and I hope you'll forgive me. I've wanted to give you this for quite some time now, even though you can't use it the way I always wished you could. I hope to see you soon.'"
Arius set the note down and pulled out the fabric contents of the box. When he laid eyes on the Earth Kingdom symbol though, Arius gasped with disgust.
"My father..." On the brown backdrop of the saddle now, the long, silky, soft, emerald robes fanned out, topped with a matching, cone-shaped hat. "The Dai Li..."
At the bottom of the box sat one more card reading 'Happy late birthday!'
Arius growling in anger. His eyes got wide, bringing out the green around the pupils. He picked up all of the uniform and prepared to dump it down into the sea below.
"No," Keiroh stopped him. "You may need that!"
"Why do I need anything from that low-life scumbag?!" Arius bellowed, looking eviler by the second.
The boys forgot about the high-speed sourt was going at. Arius huffed and puffed. Decreasingly releasing some of his steam, he asked, "Where are we going again?" Souri groaned loudly. Keiroh noticed the changing sea-level. It was getting higher.
"Under." Keiroh yelled. He couldn't close his mouth before it filled with salty water.
Wow. My fingers are dying. It felt like a long chapter to me, but it's not yet a Minnichi chapter. I hope you enjoyed it. I worked hard on it.
I'm sorry about the sadness, I hope there was a little comedy relief in there. Bwahahaha. I always have a sad chapter. :P
I swear, Arius is hard to write for. Dai Li haters...in my story....what was I thinking? XD
Postscript: Don't laugh that it took over two months. I was busy...
|Book One: Scars|
|Prologue · 1 - Death, Departure, Destiny|
|Book Two: Strings|
|Book Three: Puppet|
For the collective works of the author, go here.