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The twelfth chapter of Book Two of
|Legacy Part 2: Avatar Aang|
March 11, 2011
Avatar Aang teaches Leah about how the Avatar came to be on Earth.
"Why are you here?" Leah asked.
"You want to know about the Avatar?" Aang asked.
"Yes, but why are you the one to tell me? Why are you even an Avatar? There've only been three."
"Perhaps it might be better if I showed you; it might be a little easier to understand that way?" Aang suggested.
Out of the clouds came an enormous flying monster. The creature was bigger than any animal Leah had ever seen. It was covered in white fluff, had six legs, horns, a beaver-like tail, and a large arrow running lengthwise down to its forehead.
"What is that?" Leah asked hesitantly.
"This is Appa. He's a flying bison."
"A flying bison?" Leah asked skeptically.
"Just get on. You'll understand in a moment."
Leah climbed onto the fluffy animal and sat in a unique saddle of leather. With a crack of the reins and a "Yip-Yip", the creature lifted its tail and pounded it down, lifting it off into the air. Leah leaned over the edge of the saddle and watched in amazement as the great beast flew threw the air, using its feet and tail to propel it forward.
Appa descended through the clouds and they emerged over a titanic city. Leah's mouth dropped in awe at the scale of the city, stretching for miles in every direction. At the only edge of the city she could see, a great, thick wall seemed to go around the entire metropolis. The bison flew over the city towards the center, where stood a great palace.
The bison landed near a large, rough hole on the left side facing the palace. Aang jumped off the bison's head, patting it gently while Leah awkwardly climbed down. Once she landed the two walked inside the dark hole. Aang lit up gently with a blue glow, granting light to the tunnel. Leah gasped in amazement until she realized she was doing the same.
After walking through the tunnel for a considerable distance, they emerged in an underground cavern. Crystals that sprouted like weeds lit the cavern better than Aang and Leah had in the tunnel with their glow. A river and a waterfall flowed through the center. On the edges, etched into the cliff were primitive dwellings.
They stood on a ledge overlooking the cavern floor below. On one side stood Aang in a fighting stance, facing a man with a scar like Keith's, a malevolent looking woman, and over three dozen men in black robes. On the other side stood a girl that looked remarkably like Leah, waterbending water into an octopus shape while facing a dozen of the robed men.
Aang looked at the army against him in despair, lowering his fighting stance.
"I'm sorry Katara," he said, closing his eyes.
Aang turned around and enclosed himself in a crystal pocket. The malevolent woman walked around the cocoon, facing opposite of the scarred boy and the men in robes. A white glow started to emit from the pocket, and a split second later, it exploded in a wave of light energy. The shockwave rang out, rushing out past the robed army and forcing them to recoil in its wake.
A pillar of light rose from the shattered crystals, and inside the pillar raised Aang. His eyes and tattoos glowed with a power and fury that no Avatar Leah had ever seen ever experienced. The glow itself took up the whole eye, instead of just the edges as Leah's did. The boy rose, an angry look on his face. In the corner of Leah's eyes, she saw sparks gathering as the woman swung her arms in a circle.
The woman pointed towards Aang's floating form, and a fluid spark of lightning flew out. The lightning struck him in the small of his back, burning his clothes and skin and making him convulse in mid-air. The lightning came out his left foot and shattered the ground below as Aang fell, motionless. The waterbender girl rushed forward on a wave of water, hurrying to catch Aang before he landed.
The waterbender held Aang in her arms, tears flowing down her face. She looked pitifully at the scarred boy and the woman who struck Aang down as they advanced towards her. Suddenly a fire blast interrupted their advance, and an elderly bearded man leaped down in front of them.
"You've got to get out of here! I'll hold them off as long as I can!" he yelled.
He ferociously fired fire blasts as the girl carried Aang to the nearby waterfall. The robed men, now free of the shock from the wave, launched gloves of earth at him. The old man swung his arms and the gloves exploded into dust as he launched another stream. The girl, now in the pool at the base of the waterfall, took a stream and lifted them both out of sight in a corkscrew movement.
The spirit form of Aang touched Leah's forehead and they both returned to the bed of clouds where they started. A second later, Appa came through the clouds and joined them.
"Okay, what was that about?" Leah asked, confused.
"You saw the city, the catacombs, the robed men, all that? You see Appa sitting here beside me?" he said, patting the bison's nose.
"Yes, but what does that have to do with the Avatar?"
"I'm still getting on that. That was to show you that I'm not from Earth. I come from a different world, the one you just saw."
"You...you're telling me that there's another world out there with life on it; and you're from this world?"
"But..." Leah tried to continue, but found herself speechless.
"Let me explain. It might be a little easier that way."
Leah motioned for Aang to go on.
"All this, all that you see around you, is part of the Spirit World. This realm was ruled by two individuals known as the Celestials. They governed the unborn souls of men and the great spirits that called this realm home. They designed a plan that men might better themselves, and they set to work designing a world in which they could learn. You follow me?" Aang asked.
"Yes, go on please."
"While designing the world for their plan, they came to some disagreements on the design of the world. One favored knowledge, the other power. Eventually the two could come to no agreement. They decided the only way to settle the dispute was to create two separate worlds. One created Earth, the other Liheane, my world."
"Okay." replied Leah, the look of deep though on her face as she took this in.
"The creation of two separate worlds created dispute among the spirits of man as well, and in the end they split as well. Half went to Earth, the others to my world."
"But they all came from the Sprit World?" Leah asked.
"Precisely. When the two worlds were designed, they both incorporated their own ideas in, as long as ideas from the original design."
"Well, both worlds have benders. Both were divided into continents, with two icy poles. Both are covered mostly by water. Both have a moon, and a sun. Actually, both planets share the same sun; they're on opposite sides of it."
"And that's where your world is?"
"What about the animals? Why are they so different on your world?"
"The Celestial that created Earth kept the original designs of animals they had created. The Celestial that created my world took the original designs and mixed them up, combined them. Almost every animal on my world is a hybrid, including Appa here."
"What else is different?"
"The main thing the Celestials debated on was what was to be given to man once they were on the planet. The Celestial that created Earth favored knowledge and understanding. The other favored power and unity. As a result of these two different views, the two worlds grew up very differently."
"What do you mean?"
"Knowledge, power, unity, and understanding are four very different influences. Earth was blessed with knowledge and understanding. My world with power and unity. Neither world can exist without all of these traits, but the Celestials foolishly created their worlds with only half these traits. As a result, the two worlds grew up to be completely different from each other."
"As I've said before, Earth was blessed with knowledge and understanding. With these gifts, your world has accomplished so much in every field. You have knowledge of things that cannot even be seen, mysteries of the past and the future, and even out in the far reaches of space. With your world's understanding, you have the capacity to absorb the new knowledge that continues to be learned. In the field of spirituality, you have such great understanding and knowledge that your people know and worship the Celestial that created your world. However, your world lacks power and unity. Without the blessing of unity upon your world, your people have split amongst themselves. Your world has never gone two centuries without the curse of war upon it."
"What about power?"
"I'll get to that in a moment. Now my world was blessed with unity as well. We were once one people, living together in peace and harmony. Over time, we split into four nations, but we never experienced international wars on the scale you have. Well, until recently. But our world, above anything else, had one thing your world was never meant to have."
Leah sat there for a moment, dumbfounded. "What?" she finally responded.
"The Avatar was never meant to be on Earth. It was created by the Celestial that created my world. The Avatar was created to keep balance among the four nations of my world. The Avatar was the only person who was capable of bending all four elements, and it was considered the Avatar's duty to master them."
"Then how did the Avatar end up on Earth?"
"Perhaps I should explain what the Avatar is first? It'll help me explain how it ended up on Earth."
"The Avatar is the spirit of the planet in human form. They alone can manipulate all four elements to their will. It was the Avatar's duty to keep balance between the Water Tribe, the Earth Kingdom, the Fire Nation, and the Air Nomads."
"The Four Nations?" Leah asked.
"Exactly. The world's balance and survival depended on the Avatar solely. After the Avatar before me died, I was the next in line according to the cycle; Water, Earth, Fire, and Air. Before Roku died, the leader of the Fire Nation had been making plans to wage war against the other nations. As a result of the Air Nomads sensing this, I was told of my status when I was 12; four years faster than normal."
"And what did you do?"
"I ran away. I left my home on Appa and was caught in a storm. We were caught in a wave and forced underwater. But then something happened; I believe you are familiar with the Avatar State?"
"The thing where my eyes glow?"
"Precisely. The Avatar State is a defense mechanism, designed to empower you with the skill and knowledge of all the past Avatars. The glow in your eyes, and in Air Nomad's tattoos, is the combination of all the past lives, focusing their energy through your body."
"Then why do my eyes glow only around the edges when yours are so bright in the State?"
"I'll explain that, give me time. Anyway, when I was caught in the storm, I activated the Avatar State and froze Appa and myself in an iceberg. There we stayed for a hundred years while the Fire Nation launched their bloody war. As a deadly first strike, they took the energy of a comet and killed all the Air Nomads in an attempt to kill the Avatar.
The girl who caught my body after I was stricken, Katara, freed me from the iceberg. Together with her brother Sokka, we journeyed around the world to master the elements and stop the Fire Nation. Eventually, we came upon knowledge of a solar eclipse that would leave the Fire Nation defenseless. So we traveled to Ba Sing Se to give the knowledge to the Earth King."
"And what happened?"
"The city was controlled by a secret police known as the Dai Li, the robed men you saw in the catacombs. Along with that, the Fire Nation princess, Azula, the one who killed me, infiltrated the city. She took control of the Dai Li and launched a coup against the government. We confronted her and her brother, Zuko, in the catacombs, but we were terribly outnumbered."
"And I saw you went into the Avatar State on your own. How'd you do that?"
"Shortly after we informed the Earth King, I left after receiving a message from a Guru. He said he could teach me to master the Avatar State. This was done by clearing my chakras, don't ask on that, I'll explain it another time. Upon clearing my last one, I saw a vision of standing in space above my world, on a path of celestial energy. My tattoos started to glow, and I saw the Avatar Spirit. Now when I went into the crystal pocket, I bonded with the spirit, allowing me free access to the Avatar State. When in the Avatar State, you are at your most powerful. But you're also at your most vulnerable."
"What do you mean?"
"If you are killed in the Avatar State, the reincarnation cycle is broken and the Avatar will cease to exist. And that's precisely what happened when Azula shot me with lightning. Because I was bonded with the spirit, when I was killed, so was the spirit."
"Spirits can die?"
"Only if they have a form on the planet. Since the Avatar Spirit is manifested in a human, in this case me, if the human dies while they're bonded, then yes, the spirit can die. But I was killed because I didn't see the lightning. The Avatar Spirit did. Before I was hit, it split itself in two and went to seek a new host. But before it could complete the split, I was killed. As a result, it lost all connection with the original spirit."
"And when it went to find a new host, it found Bracken?" Leah suggested.
"Did the Avatar cease to exist on your world after you were killed?"
"No. I was brought back by Katara; she healed me with a special spirit water."
"So the Avatar Spirit, the original, was brought back while the copy inhabited Bracken?
"And that's how the Avatar ended up on Earth?"
"All through that fateful lightning bolt." Aang sadly remarked.
"And you said that it lost all connection to the original spirit?" Leah asked.
"Is that why when I'm in the Avatar State, my eyes only glow faintly around the edges?"
"Yes. With loss of connection to the original spirit came loss of the previous past lives. You only have Bracken and Joel's power to draw from in the State."
"And Bracken had none?"
"Alright, another question. So far, all three of us have been born earthbenders. I thought you said there was some cycle the Avatar's supposed to go through?"
"I'm only guessing on this, but I think it has to do with the last element I bent before going into the State was earth. I'm not sure, but it looks like it. Anything else?"
"Yes. Joel?" Leah asked quietly.
A second later Joel materialized out of the clouds beside Aang.
"When you went back to your apartment, after finding out you were the Avatar, I only saw your dad. What happened to your mother."
"She died giving birth to me."
"Mine did too. Does being the Avatar have something to do with that?" Leah asked Aang.
"I can't explain it completely, but I think that the sheer power of the spirit passing into the unborn child overexerts the mother when she is giving birth."
"So every Avatar's mother will die?"
"Sadly, yes." Joel said.
"Do you understand now Leah?" Aang asked.
"You said that the Avatar was created on your world to keep balance among the nations?"
"Yes." he replied.
"Then what am I supposed to do? You said the Avatar was never meant to be on Earth, so what is my purpose? What am I supposed to be doing? I don't know how to be the Avatar." Leah lamented.
"The Avatar's purpose on my world was to keep balance among the nations. There are only four, so that was relatively simple for me. But in a world such as yours where so much diplomacy is required and topics are so complex, it's hard to find your place. I think the best place for that needs balance is between the benders and non-benders." Aang replied.
"The world has lost knowledge that they even exist, and without them they are falling apart. But benders can't come out and help improve the world as long as they are being exterminated and kept quiet." Aang replied.
"And for that to stop, I need to end the BDA?" Leah suggested.
"Yes. You need end the BDA if benders and non-benders are to live in peace and learn to cooperate. And to do that, you need to go to New York as fast as possible." Joel said.
"But I'm in Mesaba right now; wouldn't it be easier to master waterbending now and get to New York later?"
"Logical yes, but it's not what needs to happen. The BDA is planning something that involves the New York colony, and I want you there to protect it should anything happen. We can't lose that city, it's the only airbending colony left." Joel taught.
"I understand." Leah replied, feeling the dream ending.
"And Leah?" Aang asked.
"Remember what you've been given, and do your best not to lose sight of that." Aang taught.
This chapter is considered a package of several Avatar episodes that are referenced and quoted, such as:
- The Boy in the Iceberg
- Winter Solstice Pt 2: Avatar Roku
- The Storm
- The Avatar State
- The Library
- The Guru
- The Crossroads of Destiny
The portion detailing the Avatar's purpose on Earth was conceived byin a question package on the Alone Facebook page.
For the collective works of the author, go here.
|Book One: Glass|
|The Message - Leah - The Glow - BDA - Gone - Uluru - Revealed - The Colonies - Brethren - The Survivors - Joel's Old Friend - Alice Springs - School - Sierra - Discovery - Bracken - Visiting the Past - Goodbyes - Escape Part 1: Shards of Glass - Escape Part 2: Confrontation|
|Book Two: Smoke|
|The Outside - Questions - Flight - The Rogues - Forewarned - Keith - The Exiles - Forfeit - Choice - Consequence - Legacy Part 1: Avatar Joel - Legacy Part 2: Avatar Aang - Open Arms - Father - Learning to Fly, Part 1: The Apprentice - Learning to Fly, Part 2: The Master - A Leap of Faith - Negotiations - Twin Towers, Part 1: Successor - Twin Towers, Part 2: The Black Plume of Smoke - Twin Towers, Part 3: The Burden of Atlas|
|Book Three: Storm|
|His Dark Materials - Wounds - Rest in Peace - Somewhere Only We Know - The Mistress - Smoke and Mirrors|