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|"If one of us falls, we all fall."|
I do not own anything from TKoNLG! All rights go to Patrick Ness and Candlewick Press.
PLOT TWIST!!! Please read and review on the talk page. Happy Readings!
The Gaang travels to the Western Air Temple with many injuries and an unconscious Aang.
On Appa's Saddle
I hissed as the water hit my burn. A hand covered it as the water turned cold and the pain started to ebb away.
"Sorry, Toph. I wish I could've gotten to your arms sooner." Katara's voice said near my ear.
"It's not your fault." That seemed to be a mantra that everyone seemed to be repeating lately.
"Are you sure you should be leaving Appa to fly by himself?" Viola said nervously.
"Appa's fine, and I need to treat Toph now before this gets any worse."
"So we're we going?" I asked.
"I think it would be good if we stay somewhere while you and Aang recover before we see Zuko. So we're headed for the Western Air Temple. It's not too far from here actually."
"Happy memories there," I said sarcastically. I felt the water pull away from my arms with the pain being mostly gone. I sighed in relief.
"There are some small scars left, but I can work on those later." I felt the saddle creak as Katara moved away and Viola moved closer.
"Can I see?" She whispered. I nodded, and the softest hands I'd ever felt gently touched mine. "That's amazing," she breathed, almost to herself. "There's hardly anything left." I could almost feel the relief coming off her in waves.
"We're coming up on the temple." Katara said from the front. I felt the wind sweep past my ears as we slowly started to come down. I heard Viola gasp in surprise.
"It's beautiful," she said, clearly in awe.
"Eh, you've seen nothing once, you've seen it a thousand times." I said with a smirk. I felt Viola laugh silently beside me and then a big thump as Appa landed heavily on the temple floor. We all jumped down. As soon as my feet touched the ground, I felt a problem.
"This place is really unstable." Viola and Katara turned towards me.
"Like bits of it won't stop moving. I can feel them shaking around." Katara moved carefully towards one of the huge pillars.
"I see scorch marks. This is the same place we camped last time."
"You mean the place that was bombed and blown up?"
"Exactly. We should go." Katara said. As soon as she stopped talking, a resounding rumble echoed through the part of the temple we were in.
"Move!" I yelled. We all ran towards Appa and got on quickly. As we flew away, I heard a resounding crash and a deep, ominous rumbling that echoed for a while.
"Man, your feet are accurate!" Viola was breathing heavily.
"They're never wrong," I said proudly. "So what do we do now?" I called up front.
"If that was the only part of the temple that was messed with, why can't we just go to a different part of it?" Viola asked.
"I don't see why not. Plus, I have a killer headache, and all I want to do is sleep." I could hear the exhaustion and pain in Katara's voice. Once again, we landed. When we jumped on the ground, Katara asked wearily.
"Is it stab-"
"Yeah, it's fine." I said, finally realizing how tired and sore I was. I flopped down on the ground and raised a tent around me.
"G'nite," I said.
But as I slowly drifted off, I heard a distant rumbling-
That I would regret forgetting later.
In Viola's Head
As Aang rose in the air, eyes and arrows glowing, a huge explosion ripped through the hot, wet air, throwing me off my feet-
Pelting me with bits of broken glass and stone-
One hit my face, causing me to fall back in surprise-
Hit a wall-
Heard a distant scream of pain-
"Aang!! Can you hear me!?" I heard Katara shriek over the rising winds that threatened to rip up the buildings I was standing by-
I moved, but stumbled on rubble and fell again-
And when I looked up, I saw three cold, dead eyes staring back at me.
The Western Air Temple
I woke up and saw Viola moving around. She had cut off her singed braid and changed into her new clothes, the old ones ruined by blood and dirt.
"You cut your hair," I said sleepily. She gave a little scream and turned around quickly. She relaxed once she saw it was just me.
"Sorry if I woke you up." Her eyes had huge purple bags under them and she looked like she was a tightly coiled spring just waiting to bounce up to the ceiling.
"Did you sleep at all last night?"
"So what if I didn't?" Viola snapped.
"Just a question." I said, holding up my hands. She seemed to wilt and sighed.
"Sorry." She looked at me. "How's your head?"
"It's feeling better." I absentmindedly touched the back of my head and winced. Toph walked over and plopped down on the ground. Her arms looked like they were healing, with the skin almost back to its normal pale white.
"So how's Twinkletoes doing?" she asked.
"Well, I don't even know what's wrong with him. Aang doesn't have any real injuries, just cuts and bruises. He's just... unconscious."
"What about internal injuries?" Viola asked.
"No, I checked for those. He's perfectly healthy." I shrugged.
"Except for the fact that he won't wake up." Toph said, rolling her eyes.
In Viola's Head
I screamed and backpedaled away from the corpse-
"AANG!! You need to stop this!!" I heard Katara's cry blend with my own-
Then a huge wall of fire came rushing towards me.
I moved quickly behind a home that was still standing as the wall of flame roared past me-
A sharp pain was spreading through my back-
I turned my head and saw that my hair was on fire, burning my back along with it-
I screamed again, the noise blending with the rising winds as I struggled to put out the flames-
I wrapped my hand around the end of it, burning my hand but stopping the fire-
I hissed in pain and a huge gust of air pushed me back, slamming me into a wall with a sickening thud.
The Western Air Temple
I snapped my eyes open-
But before I could even register that-
I was falling off the edge of the temple.
The wind was a distant scream in my ears as I fell, and I was completely blind in the dark-
I managed to look down and blankly saw one of the lower floors of the temple rushing up to my face-
I closed my eyes and prayed-
But instead of a burst of pain or death-
I was slowing down.
I opened my eyes a bit and saw the floor of the temple feet away from my face but then it rushed up faster and faster and I crashed into the ground with a thud and as I looked up I saw rocks raining down from the unstable upper levels and I threw my hands up-
And the rocks stopped.
I looked up and saw the rocks, big and small, spiraling around me in a perfect dome, held up just by the air-
But when I lowered my hands carefully-
All the rocks came crashing down, burying me alive.
In Viola's Head
I staggered over to Katara, who looked like she was about to fall over herself. She cradled Aang's still form. Among all the wreckage and rubble, the figure in blue looked insubstantial and weak.
"Where's Toph?" I asked. As soon as I asked, a huge rumble came from a collapsed, burned shell of a house. A piece of wall came flying out and Toph crawled out, gasping. I ran over and saw her arms. They were blistered and red.
"Oh my God..." I helped her up gently. She pointed towards the street leading through the center of the destroyed town. The citizens were coming back, uttering cries of remorse and despair after seeing their homes destroyed.
"We should leave. They don't sound happy..." Toph said, still breathing heavily. I walked over to Katara and tapped her shoulder. She started and looked up at me with sad eyes. I pointed towards the approaching villagers who now noticed us with screams of anger. She carefully set down Aang's limp form and quickly walked over to where we dropped our supplies. As I looked down at Aang, I was hit in the head by a stone. I fell back in surprise, my nose bleeding. As I looked up, I saw some kids and adults with tears on their faces and more stones in their hands. Toph deftly stepped in front of me and took a fighting stance. The people dropped the stones and ran away, coughing on the dusty air.
The Western Air Temple
Have you seen Viola? She wasn't in her bed when I woke up." Katara said, yawning.
"Well, I haven't seen her," I waved my hand in front of my eyes. Katara sighed.
"You know what I mean."
"Okay, then I haven't." Katara looked around, and I could almost feel the worry on her face. "Katara, calm down. She's probably just off exploring or something like that. I think she has the right idea; this place is awesome." I said, putting my hand on her shoulder. She looked at me, and then walked over to the saddle to check on the boys.
"Speaking of which, I'm going to go and practice my fighting. I'm getting rusty, and I found some great earthbending places here last time." A distracted answer floated over my head.
"Fine, have fun." When Katara was healing, her mind closed to everything. I shook my head and walked out, heading to the lower levels of the temple.
I breathed in the thick, stuffy air and fought back the urge to scream at the rising, crushing pain in my leg. I moved my hand, which was the only part of my body that was outside of the huge pile of rocks, but I froze as I heard a muffled whistling. It abruptly stopped as it came closer. I frantically started waving my hand, hoping that they wouldn't leave me. I heard a little gasp then a loud,
"Please get me out. I've been stuck in here for hours!" I coughed on the dust that was permeating the air. A little rumbling noise then a rush of fresh air was followed by a smirking, but confused face.
"How'd you end up down here?" she asked.
"I think it was sleepwalking, but I don't know anymore." I looked up at the distance I fell, a good hundred feet up. Toph looked at me in surprise.
"You sleepwalked all the way down here?"
"No. I fell." The surprise and confusion on her face increased.
"But how'd-" I cut her off.
"I don't know. But could you help me up to Katara? My leg is messed up." I looked at my leg for the first time and shuddered.
"That's probably a good idea." She carefully helped me up and I put my arm around the shoulder of the shorter girl. I gasped in pain when I jostled my leg, but we quickly started moving towards the stairs.
I sighed and put the water around my hand back into its pouch. The knife wound on Todd's back was a tiny red slit now, and was definitely an improvement over the infected mess I had seen when he first arrived. I had finished cleaning up when Aang stirred next to Todd. I shook his arm, hoping to revive him further, and he opened his eyes. When he saw my face, he smiled, but then his features darkened as he remembered.
"I'm so sorry," he said softly. I put my hand on his and he weakly grasped it.
"It's okay." I assured him.
"No, it's not okay. I took a life, Katara. We didn't even know his real name, and now he's dead." He looked away and let go of my hand.
"I know what you're going to say. That it was self defense. And I know it was, but it still doesn't excuse what I did. All those people's homes and lives were destroyed, and I burned Toph, just like I burned you. And now I can barely move! What's wrong with me?" Each of Aang's words were heavy, like he had been through this before.
Considering all his past lives, he probably had.
I put my hand gently on his shoulder and turned him towards me.
"Aang. It wasn't your fault. You were in danger, so you went into the Avatar State to save yourself. Combustion Man would have killed us all if you hadn't done that."
"But what about the town-"
"You're right. It's horrible that it happened. But Aang, remember that acorn? Things grow back. It's nature's way." I calmly said. He sighed and laid back down, but then Viola and Toph burst into the room. Viola looked like she was about to pass out, and her leg was bleeding and broken.
"What happened?" I said as I jumped off Appa and ran over. Viola fell to the ground, but it almost seemed slower than it should be, and she settled silently on the temple floor in a move I had seen Aang do hundreds of times to soften a fall-
I heard a sharp gasp behind me as Aang realized what happened and then a mad scrambling noise. I quickly turned to Toph.
"Make sure he doesn't get off the saddle. Aang's still weak." She nodded and ran over to Appa. I slowly knelt by Viola. "How did this happen?" I asked quietly.
"I fell. I was sleepwalking," Her eyes were wild with pain. I touched the mangled limb gently and she recoiled.
"Viola. You need to calm down; otherwise I can't fix your leg." I said calmly. She breathed deeply and nodded. I carefully cleaned it and applied a splint to the broken limb. A look of relief came onto Viola's face.
"Thanks," She looked up at Aang, who had been able to get up and was watching the proceedings quietly. "I expect you want to put me through the third degree."
"Kind of. First, where did you fall?" Viola stood up and hobbled over to the edge of the floor. We looked down and saw a floor that was slightly covered with mist and rubble. Aang whistled.
"Wow. How'd you survive?"
"I don't know. I was about to hit the ground, but I started to slow down. But when I realized it, I started falling again..."
"And then a bunch of rocks started to fall on me, so I lifted my arms like this," she demonstrated. "And they stopped. But when I put my arms down, they all fell on me. And this happened." She motioned to her leg. Aang stared at her, and then broke into a wide smile.
"Congratulations, Viola. You're an airbender."
- "Fall" in TKoNLG is synomous with "to kill someone". Aang fell in the last chapter, and the other reason why is pretty clear once you read the chapter.
- The name also fit a quote that is said by Aaron frequently.
Production Notes and Other Notes
- This episode was one of the first ones planned back when the series was just getting started. It's gone through a bunch of plot changes, but the basic idea's still there.
- This is the first chapter that has parts in Toph's point of veiw.
- This chapter and its events is what all the foreshadowing has been building up to.
- What happened in the previous chapter (that was previously left very and purposely vague) is recounted through flashbacks, much like .
- Viola once again seems to be unsure of Appa flying.
- Katara references the acorn she gave to Aang when he felt guilty about the forest in Winter Solstice Part One.
- This chapter has a heavy emphasis on guilt, something that was exaggerated in TKoNLG and the original series.
For the collective works of the author, go here.
|Avatar: Choices Chapters|
|Book One: White Bones|
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