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Spinning the serpent
Chapter information

The First Lesson



Written by


Release date

January 28, 2014

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The Last Lesson

It's been a couple weeks since Korra's plantbending lesson. The day after the incident with Katara's plant was a rather slow day of training. Katara didn't feel like teaching and Korra didn't feel like being trained, but in the end, she still mastered ice tunneling. The two were both still upset about what happened, but Katara reassured Korra that she wasn't mad. The day after that, they were more upbeat. Korra even gifted her master the remaining amount of the seaweed soup her mom made the day of the incident. Up until this day, Korra has mastered the razor rings, water pinwheel, and mass freeze. Today, Katara has planned to take the young Avatar back to the same location she held the first lesson at; the cliffside. Only this time, Korra won't be bending a wave out of the water from down below. She'll be doing something that'll hopefully keep the water from overflowing the cliffside. Katara and Korra were walking towards the location.

"Where are we going?" Korra asked.

"Remember where I took you on your very first lesson?" Katara replied.

Korra thought about it for awhile. She could retrace her mind as far back as the night lesson with the full moon, but she knew there was something before that. Then it came to her. She remembered the cliffside. She remembered created a wave big enough to splash over. She remember the incredible view, feeling as if she was seeing the majestic world for the first time. Seeing the water below; blue as her eyes and deep as her determination. "The wave!" Korra finally shouted. "You took me to a cliff and I bent the water below into a wave!"

Katara smiled proudly and said, "Correct! Only today's different. You will be bending something only a more realized waterbender can do."

Korra smiled big and wide. She liked being called a realized waterbender. She knew she wasn't a master yet, but returning to the location she started from as just a beginner, now only being told she's 'more realized'; how could she not be any more proud of herself?

They finally made it to the cliffside. The memories just kept coming to Korra. She could remember her struggling on her first try. She remembered having a conversation with Katara about Aang's waterbending lessons. The cliffside was just as beautiful today as it was during Korra's first lesson.

"Welcome back to the cliff," Katara said. "But today you won't be bending a wave. I have a more complex move for you."

Korra looked down at the rushing water below. She watched as little waves would form because of the wind. She had never felt so much at peace during a training session ever. She thought about jumping in the water, letting the water catch her with a gravitational grip using her skills and just let the water guide her to a quiet place with no interruptions, but then she thought about how worried everyone would be. But it didn't matter, because she loved to just think about the 'what if's' in life.

"Notice how the water is going in a certain direction?" Katara asked. Korra nodded. "Well how would you like to change the direction, but not just in any possible way, in a fast, circular motion?"

Korra was both excited and confused about where Katara was going with this. "How?" she asked curiously.

"Today I'll be teaching you how to make a whirlpool. You just have to keep circling you arms around, feeling the push and pull of the tides," Katara explained. "The move itself is called a Maelstrom--"

"A meal storm?" Korra asked. Katara laughed at Korra's pronunciation of the word. "Maelstrom," she corrected. "Why don't you just call call it a whirlpool." Katara composed herself. "A whirlpool is just a swirling body of water, but the reason I'm going by the name maelstrom is because that's what a more powerful version of a whirlpool is called. You can use whirlpools to trap someone or something in the currents, but be careful because you might end them up in the eye of the whirlpool, causing them to drown."

Without another word, Katara started to bend the water from below. In no time, the water began to spin around, forming a hole in the middle. The two could hear the roaring of the current as it increased in speed. Korra backed up from the cliffside, a little frightened by the sound of the currents. Within a couple minutes, Katara stopped bending the water, and the roars of the currents got more quiet. Eventually, the maelstrom was nothing more than a tiny, water-like tornado.

"My turn!" Korra shouted. Korra got into her stance, as upright and flat-footed as ever, and began to move her arms around, letting herself feel the push and pull of the currents from the distance. Within seconds, the water gave into Korra's abilities and moved around in a circular motion. She had created her own maelstrom. Like Katara's, her maelstrom made a roaring sound as the currents increased in speed. Korra just kept making the water spin around in a circular motion.

Tragically, Korra lost her balance from all the movement and got terribly dizzy from watching the water spin around and around. She fell, but not on the ground; she fell off the cliffside! Katara was shocked to watch as her pupil, and the Avatar no less, was plummeting to what could be the shortest-lived Avatar in the history of the Avatar Cycle.

But Korra was smart. She watched as the maelstrom became deformed and bent the some of the water upwards. Instead of planning to bend herself back up the cliff, the water arm pulled her down. She was now stuck below. She could've easily bent some water to bring her back up, but the current was taking her away too fast and she didn't even know how to make herself go back upwards.

Korra was unintentionally getting what she imagined before the lesson started; she was caught by the water and is now traveling away without any interruptions. Just the sound of the water. But Korra never wanted it to happen this way. She was in a scary situation, but in the moment, she was really enjoying herself. She just didn't know how to get back up. Katara had her own ideas. She kept her eye on Korra the whole time from above. "DON'T WORRY, KORRA!" Katara yelled. "I'LL GET YOU BACK UP HERE!"

And Katara did just as she said. She bent the water around Korra, creating a water-like vortex, making it go up with Korra mid-center. Korra was startled at first, but just laughed as she spun around in mid-air.

When Korra reached the surface of the cliffside again, she was still laughing, harder than ever. "I wanna do that again!" Korra said energetically. Korra was caught off guard by Katara's sudden embrace. "Are you okay?" she asked concerned. "I was so worried about you!"

Korra just giggled and said, "Yeah, I'm fine. That was the most fun I've ever had on a training session! I learned the move and I got to swim away for awhile!"

Katara was delighted to see Korra safe and happy. Katara walked Korra back to her house. Once they got inside, Katara told Korra to sit down on the couch. Katara got a blanket from her room and wrapped it around Korra. "Here, this'll keep you warm." Instead of letting Korra drip-dry, Katara bent the water off of Korra all together. She was dry in seconds. Katara called Korra's parents, telling them about what happened, and said they'd be over as soon as possible to pick her up.

Katara tended to the young Avatar very motherly. She offered her something to drink, got some extra blankets, and even let her listen to the radio. "The Ostrich Horses are still in the lead!" the announcer from the radio stated. "The Sparrowkeets will need a knock-out to win!"

"What is this guy talking about?" Korra asked.

"He's talking about Pro-bending," Katara replied. "It's a sport played in an arena in Republic City."

Korra listened to rest of that Pro-bending game. The Sparrowkeets won because of their earthbending player for knocking out all three of the members from the Ostrich Horse team. Korra loved listening to the remainder of the game, and cheered when the Sparrowkeets won, even though she would've cheered for the other team too.

"Pro-bending sounds like a lot of fun!" Korra said happily. "I'd love to go see a game sometime in person!"

"Someday you might be lucky enough to get that chance," Katara replied with a smile on her face.

Tonraq and Senna showed up at Katara's house after that, hugging and kissing Korra with relief. On their way back home, Korra talked about how much fun she had today, explaining how free and fun it was. She continued telling her parents about the Pro-bending arena.

"I really want to go see a game!" Korra said. "Maybe even be on a team! Maybe I could get a knock-out someday!"

But Korra never held that last idea so highly, because after today she learned to be careful what she wished for, because it could get you into a bad situation.

Little did she know that all those dreams of Pro-bending would someday come true.

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