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September 16, 2016
In small bursts of wind, West Lake, the midday sun casting an almost diamond like sheen to the rippling waters before her. Warmly smiling, the girl soon closes her eyes and falls backward onto the ground, slowly opening her eyes after impact and aimlessly gazing at the clouds slowly trailing above her. Eventually, relaxation consumes her and her eyelids slowly come together while her breath remains steady.jumps from branch to branch, tree to tree, within a forest of tall conifers. Exuberant laughter echoes from the canopy as a girl seemingly flies south through the forest, taking care so that her royal yellow and fandango pink robes do not get entangled among the branches and twigs separating her from her destination. The faint, but familiar scent of water enters her nostrils, and is soon followed by a burst of sunlight as she finally exits the maze of boughs and generates a small cushion of air and descends to the ground. As soon as her feet kiss the earth, she rushes over to the shore and takes in the view of the
After a while of listening to the small waves splash along the shore, and the heat of the sun warming her, she finds herself standing within a vast plain, grasses up to the middle of her shins, and a few mountains nearby. A gentle breeze blows southeast as she turns her head in the direction of the gust and gasps slightly at the sight a few meters away of what appears to be a person mounted upon a familiar creature. The animal, predominantly light brown in color, sans for its white underbelly, tail, inner surface of the pinna, and antlers, has the facial features of a cat, while exhibiting the physiology of an antelope. Its rider, donned in robes of various shades of orange and yellow, a dark blue sash with light blue embroidery, wrappings covering the majority of the arms and hands except for the fingers, and a bright red hood obscuring the face, stares back at her before turning its head in the direction of the wind and wordlessly directing its mount onward, the hood revealing one end of a scarf flowing elegantly before the individuals are out of sight.
"W-Wait! Come back! Who are you!?" she cries out, reaching a hand out in desperation and taking a step forward. As soon as the moment passed, the young woman's eyes shoot open and she gasps, jerking herself up into a seated position and taking in her surroundings.
"A dream..." she thought to herself. Turning her head to the west, she is shocked to discover the sun setting.
"Oh no! Mom and dad are going to be furious!" She lightly gets herself on her feet with a gentle push of air and soon bolts back north toward the mountains on the other side of the forest.
Upon hastily entering her hut at the top of a small mountain, she is soon halted by a gentle, yet authoritative voice "Singi," her cheeks tinting pink as she hangs her head slightly in guilt "... you're quite late."
"I'm sorry, mother. I fell asleep at the shores of the West Lake. I got back as fast as I could." The duo take their seats at the dining table alongside the father of the family.
"Plus, they are the original airbenders..." her father chimes in.
"What about the lion turtles? They granted people bending."
"Until about seventy years ago, Singi. Granting someone bending is different than teaching someone bending. Your grandparents once lived on the back of an air lion turtle, but then the lion turtles relinquished themselves are protectors of our kind and no longer granted people the power of air," Singi's father says.
"Besides, airbending was only temporary back then. It was only to be given when those before us had to venture into the wilderness to gather food and supplies, and it would be taken back upon their return. Back then, the wilderness was known as the Spirit Wilds, and people from other cultures were not as friendly as ours were toward the spirits that inhabited it, and they had to protect themselves," her mother adds.
"I know all of that," Singi remarks "... but what caused the lion turtles to stop housing people? Did we have to be punished for something? Where have the spirits gone?" Her parents look at each other in slight shock before turning their heads back to their daughter.
"Monk Jamyang hasn't told you?" Singi's mother asks.
"Well, no, not yet. I mean, the last time I saw him, he told me about a man from a lion turtle city who stole the element of fire and was banished, after he led a raid on the palace of the city's ruling family. So he lived with the spirits in the Wilds and... something about learning other elements to defeat an evil spirit. I don't know why that would lead to the spirits leaving the wilderness; you would think they would still be around... but I'm going to visit Monk Jamyang tomorrow; I'll ask then."
"Alright. Now please, eat your dinner," Singi's mother instructs. Singi complies, albeit staring of into the distance, thinking to herself.
Later that night, Singi lies on her bed and stares at the ceiling of her room, thinking about her dream from earlier when her eyes widen, and she mentally slaps herself on the forehead. "Of course! The animal was a cat deer! My parents once said there were a good amount of them in the Wilds during my grandparents' time, but nowadays, they've been dwindling a bit in numbers. But that person... why do I feel as if I should recognize that person?" Rather than mull it over for an endless amount of hours, Singi rolls over to her side and closes her eyes.
After a while, Singi now finds herself in the midst of a fierce blizzard in one of the polar regions. She immediately attempts to shield her eyes from the piercing flakes of snow and assess what she can of her surroundings. Garbed in her usual robes, she immediately begins to shiver violently, not properly dressed for the bone-chilling temperatures she has found herself in, and attempts to bend a shield of air around her in an effort to blow the falling snow away from her face. Half a minute later, she finds herself drained of energy and stops bending, lurching over with her hands on her knees and her breath shaky as she composes herself. She lifts her head up when she notices a faint orange glow in front of her. With difficulty, and as much focus as she can muster in the blinding storm, she is able to faintly distinguish the form before her as the same cat deer and human that appeared before her earlier that day. A ball of fire can be seen dancing in the right hand of the being, who has positioned the flame in front of its abdomen in order to shield the source of light and warmth from the piercing winds that would otherwise put it out. Singi can only stare in wonder and curiosity at the human before her, who is wearing the same outfit from earlier, the shine of the flame revealing a faint image of a black goatee on the being's chin—a male. Suddenly, the man's eyes begin to glow a bright white, with a faint light blue tinge circling the outline, and the flame grows in size and intensity. Singi gasps in awe at the sight before her, but her wonder is soon broken when the cat deer once again turns its back to her and begins to walk off, taking its rider with it.
"Not again..." Singi moans. "Please sir, stop! Wait for me!" Her calls go unanswered as the winds only muffle her cries. Weak, Singi collapses to her side; barely able to keep her eyes open as she can only make out the faint silhouette of the man and his mount fading into the white abyss before everything goes dark. Reality snaps back as Singi wakes up from her dream. Sitting up and taking in her surroundings once again, she is relieved to find she is not freezing to death atop a frozen glacier. "I really need to visit Monk Jamyang tomorrow..." she mutters, Singi composes herself and eventually lies back down to sleep, a confused expression etched on her face.
- In her second dream, Singi should not have been shivering and feeling cold in the blizzard, as airbenders are able to warm themselves using proper breathing technique. This may not be true in this instance, however, as it was a dream.
- Jamyang (pronounced: JAHM-yahng, 嘉木样) is Tibetan for "gentle voice".
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