Northern Water Tribe
In The Beginning
Chapter information

The First in a Long Line





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Release date

July 18th, 2012

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The Forbidden World

Pulling, pushing. It was a strong, free spirit, the moon - and powerful. So much power. Opening her eyes, Inna looked through her window to the full moon ahead, its energy soak through her bones. She knew the feeling, as it occurred every full moon, on clear nights, the pounding in her head. She also knew that her best friend, Kaio, felt it too. But, he would. He's a manipulator, a changer, a bender. He can move water. Despite feeling the strength, she couldn't bend. She the only person born in the Water Tribe who did not have the ability. "I wonder why I'm the only one not able to bend..."Inna thought glumly, casting her thoughts back to Kaio. He was a prodigy, a natural. The same age as her, he had passed his ice-dodging test far better than anyone before him. Two years ago, just when he turned 14, he went on his ceremonial rite of passage. But, he went alone, with no-one to control the other parts of the boat. And he survived! She felt jealous that he could be so powerful, and she was just his friend, who could never amount to anything because she was a non-bender. The only thing she could do was liaise between the Training House for Prodigious Benders, and her father, Nanuku, the Chief.

Unable to ignore the pounding in her head, she got up and tiptoed to her door. Sliding it open carefully, so she wouldn't wake her father, she stepped out into the hallway. Keeping to the shadows, Inna moved faster and faster towards the front door, stepping outside to find it snowing and her head in far less pain. Pulling her dressing gown tighter around her body, she started moving towards the front of the city with the intention to visit Kaio. Every step she took away from her home was one which increased the shouting in her head.
The moon doesn't normally cause this kind of feeling... She thought. She turned around and the relief was immediate. But... wait. There was something, something else. A sound. It was a sound – chanting, of some kind, soothing her head. She followed the noise, up past her house and up to the Palace where the Five Chiefs of the Northern Waters held counsel every half-solstice. She didn't know what spectral force was guiding her, but she knew it was benevolent. Omnipotent. It would not harm her. She arrived at the ornate wood doors, intricate carvings covering the dark pine. Pulling on the door, she stepped inside, noting the odd warmth and several shoeprints, enough for fifty people to have passed through here recently. The warriors from the Training house! Only they would be here... But why? Could they not stand the noise either?.

Suddenly, Inna heard a scraping noise on the floor; ducking behind a pillar, a person she did not recognise walked out from an eave and into the foyer. He stopped in the centre of the room, followed by hooded figures - the students from the training house.
The one in the middle... he must be the leader. What was his name? Kyoki? Ikoeru? Reikoku. That was his name.
Inna froze at the realization, a memory surfacing. She had been caught in here once before, in a situation very similar – she had followed the sounds that time too. One of the acolytes had spotted her. She couldn't sit down for a week after that. Moving slowly around the pillar as the man began walking to the entrance, she let out a small gasp as some ice touched her bare flesh. Clamping her hand down on her mouth, she closed her eyes, and hoped she wouldn't be found out again. Her head was beginning to hurt again. She heard Reikoku whisper something to one of the acolytes, and then begin walking again, followed by the rest of the group. Inna sighed inwardly.
At least he won't be the one to catch me, she thought, remembering his wicked temper. The disciple he had spoken to was walking towards her pillar, moving slowly and carefully. He was about halfway to her hiding spot when the last of the followers left the main entrance hall. Stopping at the same spot his leader had only a few minutes earlier, a voice rang out through the hall.
"Come out where I can see you, or I will attack." Inna perked up, widening her eyes; she knew that voice. Jumping out from behind the pillar, she whispered conspiratorially to her friend, unsure whether Reikoku would be able to hear her through the door.
"Kaio! Wow, fancy meeting you here!" She grinned easily at the bender.
"Inna? What are you doing here? You know you're not allowed." He did not return the smile for a moment, however he was unable to stop it sliding up his face.
"Well, if I said I came to see you, I would be lying," she joked easily. Her face took on a quizzical look and she cocked her head. "I couldn't help myself. I felt as though something bad would happen if I didn't follow the chanting. My head was going to explode, or something." Kaio had been listening with rapt attention, and at the mention of her headache, perked up.
"You - You heard it too? That's why we all gathered here. We went to the Oasis, to find out what it was, but the Spirits wouldn't answer us..."
Inna looked at him hopefully. He looked away, thinking, knowing the question she was asking.
"Fine, I'll take you to see them." He sighed, sounding annoyed. Inna looked at him, and he cracked a huge smile. "I've always wanted to show you!"

Author Notes

This chapter was originally much longer, going on for 5 pages in my notebook. My A4 notebook. I cut it down.
The next chapter is essentially part 2.
It took me over 3 hours to decide on a name for Kaio. It means Water Hero, using the right Kanji.
This story has been revised thrice.

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