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A soft breeze blew over Air Temple Island, its many trees swaying gently in the summer wind. Three small figures danced gingerly across the green lawns, singing in high childish voices. Clad in dark oranges and yellows, the young airbenders made their way back to the main temple, where their father had asked to see them. He stood at the top of the great stone steps, looking down at his gleeful children, beside him stood his gentle wife Pema, cradling a small bundle in her arms. When the three little ones reached the steps they bowed respectfully to their teacher and father.
"Children, do you know what today is?" he asked patiently.
"Today is the sixth hundredth anniversary of the collapse of the Zoa Ma Dynasty of the Fire Nation," the eldest of the three added in her usual professional tone.
"That it may be Jinora, but something far more impactful is happening today." Tenzin replied, smiling at their suddenly eager faces. "Today is the day you three pick your sky bison."
"EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEIIIIIIIIIIIII!" Screamed the younger girl Ikki, whirling into the air in a burst of excitement. Meelo, the youngest of the three, let out a great fart of anticipation, while Jinora bounced excitedly on her toes. As their mother, father and baby brother descended the stairs the children whipped off on their air scooters, straight for the sky bison caves chatting excitedly, the rest of their family following at a slower pace.
When they all finally reached the massive caverns carved into the hills of the island, Tenzin motioned for his children to sit, as he explained the importance of the moment. "Your sky bison is your companion for life, so choose well. They will be your responsibility. You will feed them, train them, even craft their saddle. It will not be easy, but when you are done, you will have made the truest and longest of friends." And with that he handed them each an apple and gave a whistle.
A giant dark shape lumbered from the caves into the daylight, its many children trailing behind. They were soft, fuzzy things, with barely visible horns sticking out of their fur and tiny compared to their mother, yet even the smallest was taller than Ikki. The children approached cautiously, looking at each one in turn. Jinora was the first to choose. After a few nervous glances and a gentle nudge from its mother, the smallest of the litter let Jinora give her a soft pat on the head. A great smile crossed the young girls face and she fed the great creature its apple. Her response was a great wet lick. "I'm going to call you Taese, like the great Earth Kingdom Princess of the Xu Doa dynasty," she proclaimed, giving her a big hug.
Meelo's test of greatness was a bit different from his older sisters. He threw his apple across the stone yard and yelled fetch! The first to get there, the largest and shaggiest of the litter was proclaimed "Yasei!" just before he pinned the young airbender to the ground, licking him furiously, Meelo replying with uncontrollable laughter.
So far each of the children seemed to have found their perfect match, but Ikki was having a harder time. She patted and stroked each of the bison, hoping one would pop out to her, and just when she thought she may have to settle she saw her. Off to the side, away from her brothers and sisters was the lightest colored of the litter. She was dancing around a small grove, chasing a butterfly all in a world of her own. Ikki rushed over and presented the apple. The little sky bison ate it with gusto and nudged affectionately up against her new master. "Mulyo!" Ikki called out, and led her new friend over to stand with her siblings and their bison.
Having observed in silence, Tenzin rose and addressed his children, glowing with pride. "You have now found your truest of friends and animal guides," he said. "Oogi has served our family well in our travels, so it seems only fit his children should carry you on your many journeys my children." Then finally, turning to the sky bison he said, "Welcome to the family Taese, Yasei and Mulyo."
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