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|Love at First Glimpse|
February 11, 2014
Sitting back, feeling this big amount of weight being taken off my shoulders was just the beginning of our arrival inside the grand, icy palace that is the Northern Water Tribe. It feels like it has taken forever to finally make it to our sister tribe, even with Aang's flying bison as our transportation 'device.' Still, I feel tired as ever, I can almost feel myself slipping away from reality and into a subconscious state, but the constant cheers from the locals keep me awake. As usual, my stomach is being louder than a seal turtle when it cries out for another when in danger, but there's no more food left as of yesterday night, and I am STARVING.
And yet this tour is so peaceful, so tranquil. The most relaxed any of us have probably experienced in days. I can't help, but sit back and actually admire the beauty that it has come to be. It really makes me wonder why back at home it's rather... rummaged. Even if our tribe has been attacked by the Fire Nation on more than one occasion, it could've been easily repaired. I look over to my sister, Katara, happier than I've ever seen her look. She's finally going to find a master who can teach her how to waterbend. Her wish will finally come true. Then it clicks; of course we're the less fortunate tribe; she's currently the only waterbender from our tribe. She can't possibly be expected to rebuild an entire tribe's structure alone. The Northern Tribe is not only amazingly landscaped, but it also hasn't got a clue how lucky they are to be far more advanced than the Southern Tribe.
My eyes wander off the icy architectures surrounding us and onto a far more stunning sight. Right next to us is a young woman in a boat, enjoying a ride being given to her from another citizen. Her eyes are crystal blue, staring off into wherever the ride will take her. Her lips, so pink and still; undisturbed by anything. And her hair, different from anyone I've ever seen before. A mysterious shade of white, like a pearl from an oyster. As her ride carries her away, my eyes move in the same direction; and yet a weird, but good feeling forms with it. Even with all the cheers from the locals making it hard to listen to anything else, I can hear my heart beating like a set of drums after they've been met with the palms of someone's hands. I can feel a certain amount of heat traveling in my cheeks even though I'm not embarrassed. In fact, I can feel this huge smile come across my face as I continue to watch the white-haired girl fade away from my view.
But I don't want to watch as she leaves from my view. Without hesitation, I slide down Appa's big, fluffy tail, and continue to watch the girl as her and the boat she's being guided around on goes further down the canal. Before I even turned to go down Appa's tail, I recalled Katara remarking something being beautiful, but the only beautiful thing I've seen so far today that's really captured my attention is the white-haired girl. Maybe that's what Katara was talking about.
"Yeah, she is," I say as I continue to watch her the boat float away.
I can't help, but just stand on Appa's tail, watching her as she becomes more a blur in my vision by the seconds. I think I got yelled at a couple times by Aang and Katara before I finally snapped out of my daydreaming. As I climbed back up Appa's tail and onto the saddle, Katara asked whom I was staring at.
"Did you see the girl in the boat that passed us?" I ask curiously.
"What about her?" Katara replies.
"She was the most incredible person I think I've ever seen!" I exclaim.
Katara and Aang exchange smiles with each other before looking back at me. Katara finally says "I think somebody likes someone," very teasingly to me.
Me? Like someone? My sister is completely crazy! There's no way I could ever like someone the way she's making it seem!
... And yet, could I? Even as we continue circling around the Northern Water Tribe, the only thing that is on my mind is that white-haired girl. I only got a short-lived glimpse of her intoxicating beauty, but it's all my head needs to remember her and keep replaying the images of her over and over again. I can't help myself, but to keep daydreaming about her. Who is she? Where did the boat lead her to when my eyes separated from herself? Wait, why do I even care? She's just an average Water Tribe citizen like any other! Is she? Is there something more to her than just what I already saw?
I got interrupted in my daydreams again by Katara. We finally arrive to the building we'll be staying in. It's nothing fancy, but it's definitely an upgrade to any igloo back at home. The three of us walk in, too lazy to arrange any of our stuff where we want to. Instead, Aang and Katara just decide to lay on the ground and make themselves at home.
"Come on, Sokka," Katara says while patting the ground below her. "Let's try to get some rest. We've been invited to a party later tonight and should be more wide awake and well rested for later."
How can I object to such a wonderful idea? I want to lie down and let myself drift off to a place where it seems like time goes by faster than it does when you're awake. I want to stop feeling like I'm too tired to even stand up straight, but for some reason, I also don't.
"No thanks," I reply. "I'm not tired."
Looking out the nearest window of our temporary home, my mind comes across the images of the pretty white-haired girl again. I can't get her to escape from my daydreams at all. Aang is pretty shocked at my response to a nap, but really, I'm not tired. I feel like I've been wide awake for what seems to be like days now, but I just don't want to sleep.
Before I can stop myself, I let out a long sigh which strangely sounded familiar. It was the same tone that I heard Katara make whenever she talked about Jet before she found out he was a traitor. I've heard Aang make the sigh noise once or twice around Katara too. Now me? And why am I making this dreamy sound whilst sighing as I let my mind think about the white-haired girl? Is Katara right? Do I like her?
As I look out the window, with a much more happy-go-lucky perspective of all these surroundings, I just close my eyes and let the warm sunlight hit my body, drenching myself with its rays of pure light. Just me, standing near the window, letting my right foot balance on the icy walls around the building, not even holding back the huge grin escaping from my lips. And as all of this goes on, the white-haired girl still haunts my thoughts, but in a good way. A way that makes my heart beat so fast, I think it skipped a couple times.
I don't want this feeling of internal happiness to end, but my thoughts are now of course interrupted by Aang and Katara. They ask if I'm okay and say that I'm acting different.
"Different? What do you mean by different?" I ask.
"You don't want to sleep, would rather stare out the window and you let out a long dreamy sigh while smil--Oh! You're still thinking about that girl you saw, aren't you?"
I don't want to admit to thinking about anyone. Especially if it's in a, dare I think, romantic kind of way. But even Katara bringing her up makes me think about the white-haired girl even more! Again and again I see her floating down the canal on the boat she was on and I can't help, but wonder where that boat took her. What if I caught her eye too? Would she feel the way I feel right now? What am I even feeling right now? What is this feeling that is making my heart beat faster than the speed of light? Not surprisingly, I get disturbed in my thoughts, but this time it's my stomach growling. And then I feel something completely different. My stomach is hungry, but I'm... not. It feels like there's this heavy, knot-like thing inside the pit of my stomach, and yet it feels strangely good. It's like the feeling I get when I scratch a scab; it hurts, but it feels good to release that itchy feeling. Except I can't itch this funny feeling away.
"Well there's a good sign that you're okay," Aang says jokingly about the growls from my stomach. "But we won't be eating until tonight at the party."
The party. A party we just heard about within our first few minutes inside the Northern Tribe. This obviously is not a last minute party. Could that pretty, white-haired girl I saw be going to this event?
"I wonder if that girl I saw earlier might be going to the party," I confess.
It's weird for me to want to see someone I don't even know at all, but I really want to see her again. I want to see if what I already saw today is more than just a dream that won't come true. I've only SEEN her. I don't even know what her name is, and yet she is the only thing that's in my mind. Will she be attending a party? Would I even get a chance to speak to her?
I can almost feel myself shaking in anxiety over the thoughts of possibly seeing the white-haired girl again. The skin layered across my back is crawling, but like the tangled knot feeling in my stomach, it doesn't feel so bad either.
Within the next few hours, day turns to night. Walking into the large, icy building where the party's being held, the many sights and mass amounts of effort put into it are astonishing. They really know how to put the word "water" in Water Tribe. Even the symbol on the top of the building was perfectly detailed. The inside was even more breathtaking; everything was made out of ice! The tables, the stairs, the base of the water fountain!
I notice something that's finally a different material; a set of drums on a stage. They look as if they were made out of animal skins and carvings. Whatever the case, at least they weren't made from water.
As we are told to go sit down at the head table, closest to the stage, my nose catches an exhilarating scent. As I exhale, I sigh and saliva starts to build up on my tongue. I haven't had food that smells as good as this in forever! It smells so... familiar. Like home. I can only imagine what kinds of traditional Water Tribe cuisines I'll be stuffing in my mouth later.
More people continue to enter the building, and it becomes louder; their voices echoing off the walls. Before I can even wonder when any food will be placed on the table, a waiter delivers a plate and it's full of food! There's seaweed, kale cookies, and is that... whale? I haven't had whale since before dad left to fight in the war! And it smells just the same way it did the last time I ate it. I can smell other foods being passed around the other attending guests. I notice some plates with squid soup, arctic hen, pickled fish, and blubbered seal jerky! It all brings back memories of from home. I've almost forgotten how amazing Gran Gran is at cooking various soups. In fact, I think I smell five-flavored soup somewhere in the building! And I'm sure I also caught a whiff of sea prunes too. I've never seen so much Water Tribe dishes being served at once! I think I'm going to like my stay here.
Suddenly, the drums start to be played. The beats from the drums are so in sync with the constant rhythm of my heartbeat. It's like my heart is playing a song, but for what reason?
My source of attention leads me to look over at Appa, who just roared at a group of Water Tribe men after bringing him his giant plate of seaweed. I can't help, but smile comically as they run off, startled by his response. I'm pretty sure he's just saying thank you in his bison language, but it's funny to watch the locals run off anyway. I open my eyes as some more Water Tribe citizens place a giant crab in the center of the dining area to let it cook. The crab is massive! It's about half the size of Appa, if not more or less! The Northern Tribe sure won't be starving anytime soon.
The Chief of the Northern Tribe stands up, welcoming Katara and I as honored guest. As Aang gets a welcome to the tribe himself, everybody claps. It feels nice to be happily welcomed into a place that already feels like home.
"We also celebrate, my daughter's sixteenth birthday! Princess Yue is now of marrying age!"
As the Chief steps aside, letting his daughter through to the dining area, I peek over Katara's shoulder. I look at the princess at my heart stops. It's her! The white-haired girl is here!
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