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February 21st, 2013
Sweat dripped down Aang's face as he lifted the heavy rocks. Master Kari ordered his training to start with lifting some rocks and carrying them from one place to another. When he had finished that he was ordered to return them to where he got them from. This was to teach him something about feeling them as more than plain rocks, he was to make them part of him. So far all Aang accomplished was a lot of sweat and sore muscles. Kari stood and watched his every move like a hawk, barking an order at him every moment or so.
"Use your legs Aang!"
"Center yourself! Don't let the rock guide you!"
While he successfully managed to move the pile to one place and back again, Aang had to confess he still didn't see them as anything but rocks.
Kari laughed, "Of course you didn't. I just said that to get you to prove to me you had the determination you so dared to boast to me about."
Aang appeared stunned, nearly falling over which resulted in his master laughing even harder.
"Taught you not to talk back didn't it? Now shall we begin our training?"
Aang grumbled a little but took a stance across from her in the sparring ring.
"Our first move will be simple. Using Earthbending we will toss a small pebble back and forth across the ring and gradually work our way up to rock to a large rock and eventually you will be able to toss a boulder as if it were the pebble."
"Sounds easy enough."
"It is, if you know what you are doing. And there's a catch, you can't touch the rock with your hands."
Kari shifted her left foot and a small pebble sprang out of the ground. It hovered level with her eyes before she barely twitched her hand, causing it to speed towards Aang. He held out a palm and attempted to feel the rock like he was able to feel wind currents or water. But the pebble struck his hand quite roughly, leaving a large mark on his hand.
"Adjust your form Aang, legs should be shoulder length apart. Feel the pebble, don't think, just feel.."
Again she launched a pebble at him. This time he was able to slow it down before it struck his palm but still could not get a firm grasp on the small piece of earth. Kari was very patient with him as she must have sent hundreds of pebbles at him for a good part of the day, leaving a small ring around her. Aang was only able to manage to slow the pebble down but could not stop it completely and when the sun began to set Kari declared their training for the day to be over.
"Master, what exactly am I doing wrong? I can feel the rock but every time it feels like I have a grasp it slips away."
"Do not worry Aang. Earthbending while simple can also be very complicated. As an Airbender this element is your natural opposite. Even the most skilled Earthbenders had to start out somewhere; after all, Ba Sing Sei wasn't formed in a day!"
While dinner was prepared, Gyatso told Aang that it was time to practice chi blocking. The Elder Monk again was able to overwhelm him but Aang was able to effectively jab Gyatso in a couple of spots on him arms, rendering them useless. But Gyatso was able to inhale and blow Aang over with a single breath.
"You are getting better Aang, our next lesson will be a new technique."
Aang thanked his master and the two of them walked back towards Kyoshi Hall for the dinner that had been prepared. Kari sat at the head of a very long table that looked like used to be a very large tree, now cut in half. Several interesting dishes were passed around and Aang was soon quite full but managed to stuff down a fruit pie that was presented for dessert.
That night Kari told tales of the Kyoshi Warriors and how they had fended off several invasions on the island. She even mentioned how the two Airbenders had recently fended off some pirates who wished to ransack the island. When her stories were over the fires had nearly died out and it was late, Aang was led to a small room that held two beds and had barely put his head down before he passed out from such an exhausting day...
The face of an aged man appeared before him. He was old but you could tell he was far from frail. Fire sprouted from his fingertips, Aang watched to see where it went. It collided with a large rock wall which immediately crumbled. Blasts of air retaliated, putting out the flames. The man's laugh was loud and wicked and he sent two massive jets of fire towards the source of the Air Blasts. Aang's vision wavered for a moment before clearing.
Now he was in a very dark place that had thousands of shelves. Upon them sat endless amounts of scrolls. A man in a dirty travelers cloak sat at the base of one, a mess of scrolls surrounded him and he read more and more. In a fit of anger he tossed one aside.
"Problem?" said an ethereal voice.
Hissing the man looked into the eyes of a massive owl, "None of these are of any use! Are you leading me on?"
"Oh, not at all. I would never abuse my scrolls in such a manner. If you're having troubles, ask one of my Seekers, they can get you what you need...for a price."
"What price would that be?"
"You will find that in your readings.."
Again Koh hissed, "I don't have time for this!"
"Watch your tone Koh...it is not advisable to anger me in my own domain. One slip of my talons and you would barely pass for a snack."
The grimy man glared back at the spirit and couldn't help but long for his powers. Before the Owl vanished into the darkness he made a mental note to take down this spirit, he didn't have any face like that. Again Aang's vision flickered before clearing up.
This time Aang could make out two people, one was Head Monk Pasang while the other was Monk Tashi. They both dodged the flame before shooting more air at the man but the fires raging all around them continued to suck much of the air out of the area, leaving their attack power halved. Again the man laughed before he punched both fists forward, creating the largest fire attack Aang had ever witnessed, both monks attempted to disperse it but were unable and the last thing Aang saw was the wall of fire rushing over them before his vision was overrun by flashes of orange and red.
Aang sat up in his bed, Gyatso was in the bed next to his, sitting upright with an extremely worried expression on his face.
"Is everything okay Aang?"
The Avatar ran a hand over his head, taking deep breaths to calm himself, "Gyatso, I had another dream or vision...I don't know.."
"Would you care to talk about it?"
"There was a man; he was old but created huge amounts of fire. Monks Pasang and Tashi were doing battle with him but the conditions made them almost powerless. They couldn't stop a massive blast and it consumed them...I also saw Koh in this enormous library, he had been reading many scrolls...he was looking for something. A massive owl spirit was mocking him..I think.."
Gyatso's eyes widened, "More glimpses of the future I feel. We are only delaying the inevitable at this point young one. The Fire Nation, even if you are adequate in all elements, will be tough to battle when this Comet arrives. Our bending may only serve to fuel theirs. As for Koh, he must be plotting to return to power somehow. He must have found the ancient library of Wan Shi Tong...we must prevent the Fire Lord and Koh from crossing paths. "
"What do I do then? How can I stop them?"
"We have discussed this for quite some time. Ever since the winds alerted us to the evil plots in lands far away. When you and I stopped at Omashu, I visited a secret organization I am part of called the Order of the White Lotus. We are spread across the four nations and work to protect the best interests in the world. One of the Fire Lords personal advisers is a member, that's how we learned he was plotting again. They have devised a plan to put a halt to the Fire Nation's plots before they begin. If we are successful in this plan, your visions should cease and peace will reign again."
"I always wondered why you preferred the Lotus...and what about Koh?"
"That is a bridge we will cross when it shows itself Aang. For now we must keep tabs on him, make sure he isn't attempting to aid Sozin. If those two were to join against us in common interest, it would only be that much more difficult to maintain balance."
"And what about this plan?"
Gyatso thought for a moment, "I wasn't go to show you yet but you are big part of this plan."
He plunged a hand into his robes and pulled out a thick, official looking scroll. Breaking the seal he handed it to Aang. The Avatar unrolled it and the title read:
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