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|I am your Avatar|
February 15th, 2013
Following his training with Tano, Aang returned to the igloo that he and Gyatso were using. Like the South Pole, this particular building had housed past Avatars. He found his Master meditating in a small room that had a view of the ocean. As usual Gyatso opened his eyes when Aang entered and greeted him warmly.
"Aang, good to see you. How is your training going?"
"Rough. My teacher is much less forgiving than the monks."
Gyatso chuckled, "Wait until you learn Firebending. You better learn a little bit of healing..."
Aang gulped loudly at the sound of this. They both decided it was time for dinner and again joined the Chief for another feast. Aang returned to the igloo and decided he would meditate until it was time to meet Tano but as time went on and the entire Tribe had gone to sleep, Aang snapped out of his meditative state and snuck out. It was still an hour before his training was to begin but he wanted to see why the Spirit Oasis was so avoided during the full moon. The bright light of the moon guided Aang straight to the Oasis and he again stripped out of his heavier robes once the temperature went up.
"Nothing seems different," he muttered to himself.
"Aang! What must I do to get you to listen! Leave the Oasis immediately. It is not safe!"
With a comical look of confusion and horror the young Avatar saw his Master near the entrance and leapt to his feet but the Oasis suddenly began to bubble furiously. It frothed over the edges. An ominous voice rang throughout the sanctuary.
"Mmmm...it feels good to stretch my legs..."
Even with the sudden cloud cover making it very dark, Aang didn't need his eyes to know something very large had just exited the pool. He could hear a slithering and clicking of some sort.
"I know you are there," Aang said, trying to be brave taking a defensive stance.
"Well of course you do...after all you are the connection between the two world and thanks you Avatar I can....hmm...have a night on the town."
The spirits evil chuckle echoed off the cliffs behind them.
"What do you want?"
"You mean you don't know?" whispered the spirit.
Tano yelled, "Aang! That is a spirit known as Koh the Face Stealer. He has no powers in the physical world but he is still strong. He works by deception and stealth to drag his victims into the Spirit World. Distract him long enough and we can trap him here and end him! He has terrorized our village for too long!"
"Are you sure it's a good idea to trap such a monster in the Real World?" Aang responded watching Koh as he pulled the rest of his worm-like body out of the pond.
"He won't have another chance until the next full moon to return home, by then we may be able to vanquish him."
Koh rounded upon Tano, "Pitiful human, you cannot stop me. True I may have none of my powers here but you are still too weak." He lashed his tail at Tano, flinging the man into the nearby waterfall.
Aang faced the monstrous spirit, "HEY KOH!"
The monster faced him, the variety of faces constantly shifting.
Aang quickly flung a snowball at the spirit, striking him in the face.
Koh sputtered, "Come now Avatar, you and I have no quarrel...at least not in this lifetime. Now if you'll excuse me I am going shopping..."
He brushed past Aang and headed towards the town, his massive body leaving a huge trail in the snow.
"Not so fast!" Aang leapt high in the air and pulled out his staff. Spinning it wildly he sent a gust of wind at the snow and it instantly froze underneath Koh, causing the spirit to slip a bit and slid the rest of the way down the hill. Landing in a heap, he hissed loudly.
"Enough! Do not tempt me to ruin another Avatars life!"
Aang felt a twinge of anger for some reason, some part of him didn't sit well with what Koh had just said. A chill ran up his spine.
"What did you say?!"
The spirit grinned and uttered another evil laugh.
"Do I smell a little bit of Avatar...Kuruk? Ohhh how I would love to dance with him again, we never did get to settle our differences."
Aang felt another presence in his own body and before he knew it a Water Spout had lifted him into the air and he was speaking in two voices.
"Monster!" he shouted. It was like Aang was in the back of his mind as his arm shot forward, a tendril of water slamming into the massive spirit. Koh hollered in pain and he was sent careening into an ice wall. A voice spoke to Aang, this time it was like Roku but a deep laid back voice with a hint of anger and resentment.
"Let me take it from here young one. Koh and I need to settle this. If I can help you stall him I WILL finish this beast once and for all!"
Again Aang's armed moved against his will, shooting icicles forward. They slammed into the beast, leaving gashes in his side. Again Koh hissed in anger and immediately darted towards Aang.
"Who are you?" Aang thought.
"My name is Kuruk. I was the last Water Tribe Avatar...Koh stole something very dear to me and I want him to pay!"
"I am against revenge..."
"Do you want this monster to continue to steal people? To ruin families? To ruin lives?!"
"Do not worry Aang, I will not kill him for your sake. Making him suffer and end his reign of terror is enough for me."
Kuruk took control of Aang again and faced the oncoming attack. A swift burst of air prevented Aang/Kuruk from colliding with Koh. The spirit swung around to face the Avatar and prepared to charge again. Aang felt a new sensation flow through his limbs, it was very foreign and as he smacked his hands together two slabs of Earth broke up from under the ice and squashed Koh between them.
Earthbending made Aang feel itchy, probably because unlike Airbending it was such a heavy feeling. Kuruk continue his full on charge at the beast, flinging shards of ice and rock together. They struck him quite painfully, causing the monster to roar in pain and fury.
All of the commotion had woken the whole village and it wasn't long before every Waterbender came running up the path to see what was going on. From what they could see Aang was doing battle with a giant centipede with several shifting faces.
"What in the Spirits is that?!" The Chief exclaimed.
"Precisely that," Gyatso said lowly. The old monk had approached soundlessly, startling The Chief. "He is a terrible Spirit by the name of Koh, I believe he is linked with Avatar Kuruk as your legends tell Chief."
"Ah yes...the description of the beast was never quite accurate. It is much more hideous in person. Shouldn't we be helping the Avatar?"
"He has all the help he needs; Avatar Kuruk seems to be channeling his energy through Aang. It would seem he wants to settle the score with Koh."
"And how do you know all of this??"
"You should meditate Chief, your vision will clear. For now maybe we should help Master Tano, he has been injured in the attack. You will find him near the Spirit Oasis."
The Chief stared at the monk before the two rushed off to the Oasis to aid Tano. Meanwhile, Koh had just landed a vicious blow to Aang that had sent him into the cliff. The Spirit stood for a moment before realizing there was an audience.
"Ahh I see my dinner has delivered itself. How delightful!"
He slithered towards the crowd, immediately the Waterbenders began to conjure water whips but they seemed to have no effect on the monster. He snatched a guard in some in his claws and scurried quickly towards the Spirit Oasis. He was nearly there when the pool exploded, Aang surfaced, his tattoos glowing brilliantly. It would appear Kuruk was not the only Avatar aiding Aang now.
"You shall no longer terrorize the innocent people of this realm Koh!"
Tui and La swam in circles around Aang, faster and faster they swam. The cloud cover broke in a brilliant beam of light which struck Aang. In turn the young Avatar opened a palm towards the enraged Spirit, who was currently charging the Avatar yet again. The beam of light from the moon shot from his hand and struck the monster.
"What is this?!" Koh screeched as he was lifted into the air. He began to writhe and wriggle, convulsing as the beam engulfed him. His screams got louder and louder until they seemed to lose their ominous tone. Slowly the dazzlingly light faded and the moons intensity faded. Aang lowered himself onto the pool and walked back to the ground. His tattoos ceased to glow and the Moon and Ocean Spirits returned to their eternal dance. In place of Koh stood a ragged looking man, he looked terribly disoriented as he took a shaky step forward. Immediately the man lost his balance and tumbled into a snow bank.
"That would be Koh," Gyatso said as he helped a limping Tano.
"I'm fine," he growled. "Don't think this will delay your training."
"What have you done....how..." gasped Koh.
"You are harmless now Koh. You have lost your spirit status and your immortality," it was Kuruk speaking again through Aang.
"But I am one of the Ancient Spirits! You can't do this to me!"
"You abused your status and now have faced justice. You are cursed to live the remainder of your days as a human being. You have no bending abilities. Now begone with you! You are banished from ever entering a Water Tribe village again!"
With that Koh ceased to protest, rose shakily to his feet and walked past the village people. He looked once back at Aang.
"You will pay for this Avatar! I know secrets none of your past lives have even dreamed about! Mark my words you will suffer!"
And with that Koh disappeared into the night. Kuruk released his control of Aang before appearing to Aang and the village in spirit form.
"Thank you Aang. I can finally rest easy now that my betrothed has been released from that monsters grip. I just need to locate her spirit now. You have done well and I am proud to declare you a fully fledged Waterbender."
Tano snorted, "I'll be the judge of that."
Kuruk flung an arm out, covering Tano in snow before fading from sight. Gyatso put a hand gently on Aang's shoulder.
"Well done young monk, well done."
The Chief even offered his congratulations, "I think this calls for a feast! But first...let's get some rest!"
"Except for the Avatar, he's late for his training!"
Tano grabbed Aang by the collar and drug him to the training grounds. The man looked more irritated than usual.
"Aang, Water is acceptance," he began, "Do you know what I mean?"
"It allows us to let our emotions flow like gentle stream. I am aware of your struggles accepting your role as the Avatar. While you may have mastered the basics, you are far from mastering the advanced moves; we can work on those in the future. You and I do not have the time it would take for you to master them all but I want to make sure you are adept at some more...unusual methods."
"Like what? I've heard of the Octopus."
Tano nodded, "We can work on that one another time but tonight we are under the full moon. We, as Waterbenders, are at our peak strength. In your travels you may find an absence of water...but fear not, water is all around us whether visible or not."
Tano waved his hand in the arm, droplets of water seemingly coming out of nowhere. Aang stood stunned.
"If you are focused enough you can pull moisture straight out of the air. I want you to meditate on this until your focus is enough. When you can prove to me you can pull enough water out of the air to make a whip and successfully fire it in one fluid motion, I'll consider naming you a Master."
He left Aang to meditate. For several hours the young monk was motionless, long enough that the sun was beginning to set before he stood, opened his eyes and drew a small amount of water out of the air. It covered his hands but nothing more, certainly not enough for a whip. He resumed his meditation. Every so often Tano would return to see him still meditating. After about two full days of meditation Tano was going to rouse the boy but as he entered the grounds he saw Aang rise, focus, draw the water and crack a Water Whip with flawless precision.
"Well done Pupil Aang."
The Avatar jumped slightly not realizing his teacher had been watching. But he smiled at the praise, bowing to him. And for the first time since they had met, Tano bowed lowly to him, his nose almost touching the ground.
"Come Avatar, let us join everyone else. It is time I finally announced a new Waterbending Master."
The entire village seemed to be gathered in the town's square once word was out Tano had an announcement. He spoke briefly about his training with Aang, that at first it was not easy but eventually came natural to the Avatar. He then knelt to him again, acknowledging his mastery in front of the village. They all follow in kneeling, even Gyatso. Aang turned to them, heart pounding, the Northern Water Tribe was accepting him as one of their own. It was time for him to accept his role.
"Thank you all. My duty is to you and the world. I won't let you down. I am your Avatar."
END BOOK 1
- This is the longest chapter yet with over 2,000 words. Had to have a good finale.
- This is not the last we will see of Koh.
- While Aang has been declared a Master Waterbender, he still has much to learn. Tune in for Book 2 to see.
- The idea of Aang's acceptance came from the movie The Last Airbender as well as Tano's speech to Aang about water and acceptance.
For the collective works of the author, go here.