|More from KataraLover||Adventure||G (all ages)||Here||No update page|
|Meeting an Airbender|
The Avatar Returns
It was a cold morning in the Southern Water Tribe. This didn't surprise me, though, since it's always cold here in the South Pole.
I walked outside my tent and over to my grandmother, Kanna.
"Good morning, Gran Gran." I remarked as soon as I was close by.
"Good morning, my young Waterbender," she replied. "Are you ready to start working on your daily duties?"
I sighed. "Ready as I'll ever be."
I always started my day out with chores. It was my normal routine, ever since my mom died six years ago....
I started with cleaning dishes from the night before. Since I was a Waterbender, it was a little bit easier to do. I just pushed and pulled the water that was in the sink and began swirling it around the dishes. In no time at all, I was done with that chore. It also helped that there were only twenty people - including Sokka and I, my brother - in the tribe.
It had been two years since all the men of my tribe - including my father, Chief Hakoda - left to help in the War. Now the responsibilities around camp were put on my brother and I. I seemed to be the one always doing the chores, while he went out hunting and taught little children how to fight.
Next, I went to clean up inside some of the tents around camp. It was never too hard, since all I had to do was make the beds. There were no dirty clothes lying on the floor, except for Sokka's. I never understood why he couldn't just put his clothes in the barrel by the outer wall like everyone else did.
After cleaning up the tents, I began to walk over to the outer wall to do the clothes when my grandmother stopped me.
"Katara, Sokka wants to go on a fishing trip with you," she informed me. I rolled my eyes. He was so annoying to be around. "He says he wants to teach you how to catch fish, just in case something happens."
"Okay, Gran Gran. I'll go," I replied reluctantly. "But what about the clothes?"
"You can deal with those once you get back," my grandmother replied. "You just go have fun with your brother."
I smiled at her and walked away to the edge of the water. I sighed at remembering my grandmother's comment about "having fun with my brother". All he would do is talk about himself, or complain about me and something that I did. My thoughts were interrupted when my brother came by in his canoe, ready to go fishing.
"Hop in, Katara," Sokka invited. "I want to show you how the real master catches fish."
I rolled my eyes and reluctantly walked into the canoe. Sokka brought out the paddles and began stroking in the water. I rolled my eyes, seeing his weak strokes were getting us nowhere. To help save some time, I decided to make a little wave to help us move along. When my brother saw us moving, he sat up straight and looked back at me, smiling.
"Did you see that? I got us away from the shore in less than two minutes." he bragged. I crossed my arms and smirked. He always thought he did things himself, when in reality I helped him. He also claims to the younger kids in our tribe that he's the strongest one of us all, but I know that's not true. Before my dad left, Sokka tried going with him. But when he picked up his bag, he stumbled over to Dad. My dad easily took the bag from him and handed it to one of the other men of our Tribe.
Sokka obviously saw my tears, because when he turned back to watch where he was going, he began talking again, but not sympathetically. "You don't have to cry, Katara. I've always been better than you at things, and you know it." I glared at him angrily, but he didn't notice. To get his attention, I made a small wave splash him.
"Hey!" he shouted. "What was that for?"
"To show that you might be the better non-bending fighter, but I'll always be the best Waterbending fighter." I replied mockingly.
"Oh, yeah? Then where is your army of warriors? I don't see any of them coming up to you for training." Sokka teased.
"Sokka, you know perfectly well that I'm the only Waterbender in the whole South Pole! Our mother died to protect me!" I yelled, tears dripping down my chin as I thought of my mother.
"Katara, I'm sorry. I didn't mean for you to become angry or upset." he said, his voice sympathetic. "I know that Mom died to protect you, and I know that you and Gran Gran do all you can to uphold her responsibilities."
I looked up at him and smiled. "You really mean that?"
"Of course. Now, wipe those tears away. I think I saw an arctic seal on some land over there. Maybe we can have a big meal for once tonight." Sokka commented, paddling over to the large snow-covered iceberg. When we got to the shore, I jumped off the canoe onto the snow. I saw the seal out of the corner of my eye, but I kept my mouth shut, to see if my brother could track it down and catch it for dinner.
"Stay back here, Katara, and whatever you do, don't use magic!" he whispered, pushing me behind a hill before dashing off across the snow. I rolled my eyes at the word "magic". My brother didn't understand that the bending arts were not magic. Since I had nothing else to do, I began playing with the snow around me. I was desperate to find a Waterbending master, but there were none down here in the South Pole, and the North Pole was weeks away.
"Katara!" Sokka called, breaking into my thoughts. "Come help me with this!" I walked out from behind the hill and saw that Sokka achieved in hunting down the seal. It was a nice big one, and would most likely last two days' worth of meals. I ran up to him and picked up the other half of the seal, which had been dragging along the snow. We both walked down to the canoe, leaving fresh footprints in the snow.
"Are we still going to go fishing?" I asked, setting the seal down on the floor of the canoe.
"Yes, but first let's take this back to our camp." he suggested. I nodded in agreement. The seal in the canoe would probably slow us down, if not tip the canoe over into the icy cold water. While looking into the water, and holding onto my necklace, I thought back to memories of my past, when my mother was still alive.
"Katara!" my mother called. "Time for dinner!"
"I'll be right there, Mom!" I called back. I washed my hands in a puddle before running to our tent. Sokka was already there, gulping down his meal quickly.
"Sokka, what's the hurry?" My father asked.
"Nothing. I just love this meal." he replied. I looked at my plate and saw that arctic seal was for dinner - specially caught and made by my father.
"Okay, Sokka," my mother replied, laughing. She turned her gaze to me. "So, Katara, what moves did you learn today?"
"I learned how to push and pull water." I replied.
"Oh, really? Could you show us?" she asked.
I nodded, then made a small hole in the snow, making a puddle of water. I began pushing and pulling the water up. When I was done, I closed up the hole and looked at my family. My parents clapped their hands in applause, but Sokka stuck his tongue out at me. My dad noticed and stared at him. He then reluctantly applauded.
"I don't know why anybody needs magic. Normal people can hunt using some more advanced weapons, rather than fire or water. And you don't need a glider in order to 'fly'." He remarked.
"Sokka! That's not very nice. People, non-benders and benders alike, are out there fighting a war." my dad said.
"Yeah. They're fighting in a war because of the Firebenders." Sokka tartly replied. "If it wasn't for firebenders, there probably wouldn't be a war right now."
I began to cry at the fact that my brother didn't appreciate my hard work. "You don't hear me complaining about your hunting or fighting, Sokka!" I yelled. "So why do you have to complain about my Waterbending?" Without waiting for a reply, I ran into my room and lay on my bed, crying. After a few minutes, my mother came in.
"Katara? Are you okay?" she asked.
I looked up at her and began to sit upright. "It's not fair! Sokka never appreciates what I do!" I cried.
"No. But he should. You're a wonderful waterbender, Katara. It is a gift that you have earned. You are strong, brave, and very talented." I didn't respond. "Katara, I want you to have something." She pulled something out of her coat pocket and held it up for me to see. "See this necklace? It is normally a betrothal necklace. It was first given to your grandmother, Kanna. When your father and I married, she gave it to be as a gift. Now I'm passing it on down to you. Hold it close to your heart, and remember: not everyone has to enjoy what you do, as long as you have confidence in yourself."
I grabbed the necklace and put it on around my neck. I looked at the carving and saw it was a Waterbending symbol. I looked up at my mom with a smile. "Thank you, Mom." I whispered, hugging her.
A collision with the canoe brought me back from my thoughts.
"Oh, good. Can you help me carry this seal to Gran Gran?" Sokka asked. I nodded and picked up the seal, carrying it to Gran Gran's tent. She wasn't there, so they set the seal on the table, hoping no one took it, and ran back to the canoe for some fishing.
I walked up to my mom one day, crying. "Mom! Sokka never takes me anywhere! Why can't I go hunting and fishing with him?"
"Well, Katara, you're too young right now to go hunting. If a seal was running up to you, you would be an easy dinner for it, because you're too small to run very fast." my mother replied.
"But Sokka's not that much taller than me!" I argued.
"No, but Sokka is older, and he knows what he's doing out there." she replied. "Besides, it's a man's job to do the hunting and fishing. Women are supposed to stay back here at the camp and do the chores and take care of the family. If everyone went out hunting, there wouldn't be anyone to keep the tent clean, would there?"
I shook my head. "No." I replied.
"Another thing you should think about is injuries." my mother continued. "What if we all went hunting - both men and women - and then we all came back with major injuries? Who would be able to take care of us then?"
I wiped a tear off my chin. "I never thought of it that way." I admitted.
"See? Even if we don't get to hunt or fish with the men, we still get to help them out." My mother remarked. "And a woman's job is also to cook the meals, so when we cook what we catch, we could think about being there with them like it was happening right now, even if we weren't really there."
I nodded, smiling. "I'm not so upset about that now." I said. "Thanks, Mom."
"You're welcome, my little Waterbender." she replied, kissing my forehead.
A jab in my arm brought me back to reality. Sokka was looking at me, his eyes gleaming. I looked around to see that two ice walls were now surrounding us, but there was still enough light from the entrance to see things in the water.
"I just missed a fish, but I'm glad I did, because you weren't even watching me." Sokka said, his eyes narrowing. "You know, if you're really that tired, I could have just left you back home."
"I'm not tired!" I argued. "I've just been daydreaming, of the times when Mom was still around.
Sokka's gaze turned into sympathy, and he didn't say anything, instead just looked back into the water. As I watched, his eyes gleamed with excitement. I looked into the water and saw a fish swimming around him.
"It's not getting away from me this time." Sokka muttered, barely audible for me to hear. "Watch and learn, Katara. This is how you catch a fish."
I stared at him with disgust. Before I could say anything, a flash caught my eye. I look down in surprise to see another fish come by me. I took off my glove off and, while having my hand stretched out towards the fish, began waving my hand up and down. After a few seconds, a bubble came out of the water, holding the fish in it. I gasped in happy surprise that I was able to catch it.
"Sokka, look!" I exclaimed, my eyes not trailing away from the bubble and fish. I began swaying my arms back and forth, feeling the force to control it from going back in the water.
"Shh! Katara, you're going to scare it away." Sokka whispered. "Mm...I can already smell it cookin'."
"But Sokka," I protested, "I caught one!"
I moved the bubble over to my brother, hoping he would see it. Unfortunately, he was just about to strike. The end of his spear touched the water bubble, popping it and letting the fish jump back into the water.
"Hey!" I exclaimed, watching the fish swim away. Behind me, I heard my brother groan. I turned around to see that the water from the bubble splashed on him.
"Why is it that every time you play with magic water, I get soaked?" he asked angrily.
I sighed, annoyed. "It's not magic. It's Waterbending." I explained for the second time that day. "And it's-."
Sokka interrupted my speech. "Yeah, yeah. An ancient art unique to our culture, blah, blah, blah. Look, I'm just saying," he squeezed some water out of his hair, "that if I had weird powers, I'd keep my weirdness to myself."
"You're calling me weird?" I asked as I amusingly watched him make a muscle at himself through the water. "I'm not the one that makes muscles at myself every time I see my reflection in the water."
He stopped and turned to look at me, obviously annoyed by my remark. But before he could say anything, we collided into a swift-flowing current and the canoe shook. We both looked ahead to see barriers of crushing ice in front of us. One piece came by and hit the boat.
"Watch out!" I yelled, watching the ice come closer into our way. As I looked, I saw an opening in the left direction. "Go left! Go left!" Unfortunately, the current took us to the right, heading straight towards two large floes of ice. As we got closer, the ice floes began closing in on us. Sokka and I watched in horror as they were just about to crush us inside the canoe. We jumped out of the canoe onto an ice floe just as the canoe was crushed. I slid down it onto the other side, barely stopping myself from plunging into the water. I looked around to see there was no way of escaping this place now. Sitting up, I moved over to where my brother was sitting.
"You call that left?" I asked him.
"You don't like my steering? Well, maybe you should've waterbended us out of the ice." he replied grimly, waving his arms mockingly.
"So it's my fault?" I indignantly asked.
"I knew I should've left you at home! Leave it to a girl to screw things up!" Sokka replied.
Now he had gone too far. "You are the most sexist, immature, nut-brained...I'm embarrassed to be related to you!" I yelled, waving my hands back and forth. I heard a crack, but I didn't care. I wanted to get my point through Sokka's head. "Ever since Mom died, I've been the one doing all the work around camp while you've been off playing soldier!"
Sokka looked nervous, then pointed behind me. He wasn't listening to what I was saying. "Uh...Katara..." he began, but I interrupted him.
"I even wash all the clothes! Have you ever smelled your dirty socks? Let me tell you, not pleasant!" I yelled, throwing my arms back again.
"Katara, settle down!" Sokka yelled, terrified. I ignored him and continued my outburst.
"No! That's it, I'm done helping you! From now on, you're on your own!" This time, when I threw my hands back, a big cracking sounded. I looked behind and saw the iceberg splitting apart and gasped. Chunks of iceberg fell from the iceberg, causing a big wave to push us backwards. We both laid against the floe under us, Sokka having his arm wrapped protectively around me. Once we stopped moving, he let go of me.
"Okay. You've gone from weird to freakish, Katara," my brother tartly remarked.
I stared out to where the iceberg used to be. "You mean I did that?" I asked.
"Yep. Congratulations," he replied sarcastically.
An eerie blue glow showed in the water. Bubbles began to burst out onto the surface. I stood up and walked away from the edge. An enormous round iceberg came up onto the surface. I walked a little closer to it, trying to see what was in it. It looked like a person, but how could someone get stuck in ice? Then it opened its eyes, and its arrow tattoos began to glow. I gasped.
"He's alive!" I exclaimed. "We have to help!"
I grabbed my brother's club, pulled on my hood, and jumped across pieces of ice to the platform on the iceberg.
Sokka began to follow. "Katara, get back here!" he called. "We don't know what that thing is!"
I ignored him. Once I reached the platform, I began to break the ice with the club. After a few hits, a gust of wind pushed her back, and a stream of light shot up into the sky. Sokka and I huddled together, waiting until the wind died down. When it did, we stood up and looked up at the top of the iceberg, now cracked open. I hid behind brother as he protectively held the spear up. Even though he wasn't the smartest, he was still my brother, and I trusted him to protect me. The boy walked up, his eyes and arrows still glowing.
"Stop!" my brother shouted. Suddenly, all the lights died down and the strange boy's tattoos and eyes stopped glowing. He lost his balance and began to fall down. I ran forward and, before he could hit the ground, caught him in my arms. Sokka walked over and began to poke him in the head with the end of his spear. I looked up at him, annoyed.
"Stop that!" I shouted, pushing it away. Once the spear was away, I turned the boy over and laid him on the ice. The boy slowly opened his eyes and gasped. I smiled at him, relieved to see he was still alive.
"I need to ask you something," he said weakly.
"What?" I asked, intrigued.
"Please, come closer," he replied weakly.
I obeyed and moved a little closer to him. "What is it?" I asked.
"Will you go penguin-sledding with me?" he asked, his voice now back to normal.
"Uh...sure. I guess." I responded, confused. Didn't this boy know there were responsibilities and chores to do? The boy quickly stood up, using a gust of wind to help. How did he do that? Sokka gasped in shock, pointing his spear out again. The boy began to scratch his bald head as he looked around.
"What's going on here?" he asked.
"You tell us!" Sokka responded aggressively, poking his spear into the boy's sides. "How did you get in the ice? And why aren't you frozen?"
"I'm not sure." The boy replied, distractedly pushing Sokka's spear away. A groan sounded from behind the crater of ice. The boy froze and then climbed up the side of the ice. I looked at my brother in confusion. He was as shocked as I was. I looked up the ice to where the boy vanished, and began to walk around it, figuring it would be too hard to climb up it. Sokka began to walk around as well. When we reached the other end, we saw a huge beast licking the boys back and dragging him up into the air. Sokka and I both looked disbelievingly at the creature.
"What is that?" my brother asked.
"This is Appa, my flying bison," the boy introduced once he was back on the ground.
"Right. And this is Katara, my flying sister," Sokka replied sarcastically. I glared annoyingly at him. Before anyone could say anything, the beast began to sneeze. Some snot shot out, landing on Sokka. He cowered and began rubbing against the snow, trying to get it off.
"Don't worry. It'll wash out," The boy replied cheerfully. Sokka put his hand up against some of the mucus and stretched it out. I covered my mouth in disgust. "So, do you guys live around here?" the boy asked.
I opened my mouth to reply, but Sokka stepped in front of me and pointed his spear threateningly at the boy. "Don't answer that! Did you see that crazy bolt of light?! He was probably trying to signal the Fire Navy," he accusingly replied.
I walked up in front of my brother. "Oh, I'm sure he's a spy for the Fire Navy," I replied sarcastically. "You can tell by that evil look in his eyes." The boy grinned innocently. I ignored it and stood upright again. "The paranoid one is my brother, Sokka. You never told us your name."
"I'm A-." the boy began, but then started shaking. Without warning, he sneezed and rocketed up into the air. I looked up and watched as he fell down the long distance and slid on the ice curb, finding his balance. "I'm Aang," he finished, rubbing his nose to stop himself from sneezing again. I stared at him in disbelief.
"You just sneezed! And flew ten feet in the air!" My brother exclaimed, sharing my disbelief.
"Really? It felt higher than that." Aang replied, looking up into the sky. I gasped, finally understanding how he could get up easily and fly once he sneezed.
"You're an airbender!" I exclaimed. This was the first time I had ever seen an airbender, or any other kind of bender, for that matter, aside from firebenders.
"Sure am!" Aang replied. There was so much that I could learn from this bender about techniques and motions!
Before I could ask him anything, Sokka started waving his hands around. "Giant light beams, flying bison, airbenders...I think I got midnight sun madness. I'm going home to where stuff make sense." He stated, walking away from us, but then stopped when he realized there was no way off the ice.
"Well, if you guys are stuck, Appa and I can give you a lift." the young airbender offered.
"We'd love a ride!" I exclaimed, running over to where Aang was. "Thanks!" He jumped up on top of the bison's head, then bent over to help me up. Grabbing his hand, I climbed up the side of Appa.
"Oh no! I'm not getting on that fluffy snot monster!" Sokka argued.
"Are you hoping some other kind of monster will come along and give you a ride home?" I asked, now on top of Appa. "You know, before you freeze to death?"
Sokka opened his mouth to argue, but closed it again, realizing there was no point in it. He picked up his spear and walked over to us. He threw up his spear, which landed in the saddle on Appa's back, before grabbing Aang's hand and climbing up onto the bison. He stood up and walked to the back of the saddle, sitting down crossly. I sat in the front, wanting to watch the young airbender.
"Okay! First-time fliers, hang on tight!" Aang yelled. "Appa, yip yip!"
The bison growled before jumping up into the air, its tail flapping up and down behind. After a few seconds, however, it landed in the water, swimming slowly across.
"Come on, Appa!" Aang urged, whipping the reins again. "Yip yip!"
"Wow. That was truly amazing," Sokka commented sarcastically. I glared at him, annoyed. Why did he always have to make sarcastic remarks?
"Appa's just a little tired," Aang responded confidently. "A little rest and he'll be soaring through the sky. You'll see."
I smiled at the young airbender. He smiled back. I enjoyed being around his cheerfulness. It was much better than with my groaning brother. I began to move to the back of the saddle when I realized he was still smiling at me.
"Why are you smiling at me like that?" I asked, feeling a little uncomfortable.
"Oh, I was smiling?" the boy innocently asked. I smiled again at his innocence. That upbeat attitude, unfortunately, was disrupted by Sokka's groaning. I angrily glared at him while crawling in the saddle to sit next to him. Appa was still slowly moving through the water. I didn't mind how slow the ride was, though, as long as we got back to the Tribe.
"I don't trust that kid," Sokka whispered once I sat comfortably next to him. "I still believe he's from the Fire Navy."
"Well, he is our only hope to get back home tonight. You'll have to deal with it until then. After that, you can do whatever," I replied. "Besides, why would an airbender help the Fire Nation, especially after what happened to all the other airbenders?"
Sokka sighed. "Fine. But only until we get back home."
I thought back to the time shortly after my mother died.
I stood outside, grieving for my mother's death.
"Katara, did I ever tell you about the Air Nomad Genocide?" Gran Gran asked.
"No." I responded, a tear running down my cheek.
"Well, come inside, and I'll tell you all about it," she responded, gesturing with my arm to come into her tent. I obediently followed. She sat down on my bed, and gestured for me to sit down next to her. Once I was comfortably seated, she began her story.
"There used to be four nations that all lived in peace together: the Water Tribes, Earth Kingdom, Fire Nation, and Air Nomads. There was an Avatar - a master of all four elements - as well, to make sure all four nations were in peace," my grandmother began. "But about 94 years ago, during a comet, the Fire Nation attacked all the Air Temples, leaving no airbender left alive. We haven't seen any new Avatars announced yet, and they usually find out that they're the Avatar on their sixteenth birthday. But it has been well past sixteen years now, and still no announcement has been made. Many believe the cycle has been broken, and there will never be an Avatar again. Others believe, since there was no announcement of an Avatar from the airbenders, that the cycle ended before the genocide. I have not lost hope in the Avatar, and I hope that one day he will return. But I wanted to tell you this story to show you that your mother was a big loss for a lot of the Southern Water Tribe, but the Air Nomads' death was even greater. So just remember about the genocide, and don't lose hope in the Avatar."
I woke up to see stars in the black sky. Night had fallen, but we were still riding on Appa. Sokka was sleeping next to me, snoring loudly. I couldn't see Aang from here, so I crawled across the saddle over to him. Once I reached the front of the saddle, I saw him laying down on the bison's head, his arms tucked under his head.
"Hey," I greeted, resting my head on my arm.
"Hey," The boy greeted back. "What'cha thinkin' about?"
"I guess I was just wondering, you being an airbender and all, if you had any idea what happened to the Avatar?" I asked.
"Oh, no. I didn't know him. I mean, I knew people who knew him, but I didn't," He replied, sitting up. "Sorry."
"Okay. Just curious," I replied. If an airbender was the Avatar, and the Avatar was still alive, there must be some other airbenders around, just hiding. I smiled at him. "Good night."
"Sleep tight," he replied as I crawled back next to Sokka. It didn't take long for me to fall into a deep sleep.
I opened my eyes to see the sun shining brightly. We were back in the Southern Water Tribe, but where were Aang and Appa? Then I recognized my mother and father standing on a small hill, watching the tribe do their daily routine. I ran up the hill to meet up with them. They saw me coming and smiled, opening their arms wide to me. I ran as fast as I could, jumping into their arms as I reached them. But then I fell into the snow. I looked around, but could not see Mom or Dad anywhere. I cried out desperately for them, wanting to be in their arms right now. Gran Gran and Sokka saw me, their gaze sympathetic. I realized Dad was gone again, and Mom was dead, just like what it was now.
I woke up to a nudge in the shoulder. Opening my eyes, I saw the first pale light of dawn showing. Sokka was prodding me with his spear. I groaned, but sat up anyways, stretching. I realized we were back at the camp now, but this time it was for real. I crawled up to the front of the saddle to see Aang sleeping.
"Don't wake him," my brother whispered. "Let him sleep. I don't want to have to deal with him until after I teach the little warriors."
"Well, we can't just leave him here on Appa. He'll freeze," I protested.
"Well, you're the one who found him, so you deal with him. I'm going to tell Gran Gran that we have a visitor," Sokka replied, before standing up to get off Appa. I sighed, then stood up and stepped over the saddle, making sure not to step on Aang. Once I was safely over and found my balance, I picked the young boy up. He was heavier than I expected. I carefully stepped over the saddle again, making sure not to lose my balance and completely fall off. I used Appa's tail as a ramp to get down. I decided to let Aang lie down in Sokka's tent. He wouldn't mind, since he would be teaching the little kids about how to become a warrior. As I neared his tent, Gran Gran was waiting for me. Sokka was nowhere to be seen, but I knew he had already told her about Aang.
"Is that our visitor?" she asked.
"Yes." I replied. "I found him in a block of ice along with his flying bison."
"Flying bison?" my grandmother repeated, surprised. "I thought those were all extinct." She began examining the boy, her eyes widening as she saw the tattoos. "The symbol of an airbending master," she whispered. "Katara, where are you taking him?"
"To Sokka's tent for now, until he wakes up," I replied, motioning my head to the tent only a few feet away.
"Alright," she agreed. "But I want the whole village to meet this airbender. They'll be surprised to see him."
I nodded in agreement. Gran Gran moved out of the way, and I finished carrying Aang to Sokka's tent. Once we reached it, I laid the boy gently down onto the floor. It was really hot in here, so I carefully took off his jacket and shirt, not paying any attention to what was on his back. Once I was done, I carefully set him down, put the blanket over him, then left the tent. I decided to check out how my brother's training session was going. When I reached them, all the kids were sitting around, bored.
"The men stand up for their friends and family against enemies. Without that, many of us would be killed in an instant. For example, our current enemy is the Fire Nation. Many of them are firebenders," he saw me approach and smiled. "Katara will show you how destructive bending can be."
I rolled my eyes. "Sokka, Waterbending is not destructive," I stated. "It's more of a calm type of bending."
"Just show them some of your moves," Sokka insisted, irritated. I decided to do a move that would get back at him. I made some snow from a tower slide off and topple onto him. He fell, covered in snow. The pupils laughed, and I smiled mockingly.
"You see?" Sokka stated to his pupils when he emerged from the snow. "Any type of bending can be destructive," I sighed and walked away, not wanting to listen to anything else.
"Katara," a voice called. I turned to see Gran Gran walking up to me. "I talked with all the women. They think we should meet our visitor now. Where is Sokka?"
"He's doing one of his training sessions," I replied, pointing in the direction that I just came from.
"Okay. I'll go get him. You go get the airbender," she responded, before walking to Sokka. I nodded, then walked over to Sokka's tent. Aang was still sleeping, but now he was fidgeting. I sat next to him and began shaking him awake.
"Aang?" I called. "Aang. Wake up!"
The airbender sat up, gasping for air. "It's okay, we're in the village now," I stood up and pointed out of the tent. "Come on, get ready! Everybody's waiting to meet you."
Aang grabbed his shirt and began putting it on. It wasn't until now that I realized his tattoos extended down his back, arms, and feet. I gasped with wonder at it, then grabbed his arm when he was almost finished. I couldn't wait for the village to meet him! Aang let out a surprised gasp as I dragged him out. Sokka was sitting next to the tent, sharpening his boomerang. Just as I'd hoped, the whole village, including the children, were standing around waiting to meet Aang. I stopped walking about four feet away from them and let go of the airbender.
"Aang, this is the entire village," I introduced. "Entire village, Aang."
I watched as Aang clasped his hands together and did a respectful bow to everyone. To my dismay, the women moved their children closer to them protectively.
"Uh, why are they all looking at me like that?" he asked, obviously uncomfortable by the tribe's greeting. He began checking his clothes. "Did Appa sneeze on me?"
My grandmother stepped forward a few paces. "Well no one has seen an airbender in a hundred years," she explained. "We thought they were extinct, until my granddaughter and grandson found you."
"Extinct?" Aang repeated disbelievingly.
"Aang, this is my grandmother," I commented.
"Call me Gran Gran," she replied simply.
"What is this, a weapon?" Sokka asked, grabbing Aang's staff. "You can't stab people with this."
"It's not for stabbing," Aang replied, amused. He used airbending and took it away from Sokka. "It's for airbending." He opened it up to reveal an orange glider inside. Sokka stepped back in fright, covering his head with his hands.
"Magic trick!" Marie exclaimed, excited. "Do it again!"
"Not magic, airbending," Aang corrected gently, moving his glider around in demonstration. "It lets me control the air currents around my glider and fly."
I smiled in amazement at his explanation. Unfortunately, not everyone was convinced.
"You know, last time I checked, humans can't fly!" my brother replied disbelievingly.
"Check again!" Aang replied before jumping into the air with his glider. Sokka and I took a pace back, but watched as he flew around. The kids gasped with admiration as they watched him fly around.
"He's flying!" Marie exclaimed.
The young airbender soared down close to the ground, flying between the crowd, then lifted back into the air, watching us.
"It's amazing!" the little girl said. Aang soared over me, and I smiled broadly at him. He turned sideways, still lying, and closed his eyes in a big smile. The moment soon ended when he crashed into some snow only a little ways away. I covered my hands over my mouth as I watched him get unstuck from the snow. When he fell onto the ground, I ran over to help him.
"My watchtower!" Sokka exclaimed. I ignored his statement and reached my hand out to Aang. Some snow had tumbled onto him, but he took my hand gratefully.
"That was amazing!" I exclaimed while pulling him up. Aang closed his glider, and at the same moment some more snow fell, this time landing on Sokka. He quickly got out of it.
"Great. You're an airbender, Katara's a waterbender. Together you can waste time all day long." Sokka commented, annoyed. He soon escaped from the snow mound and stalked off.
"You're a waterbender?" Aang asked, his voice filled with surprise and admiration.
"Well, sort of." I replied. "Not yet."
"All right, no more playing," Gran Gran interrupted. I turned to her. "Come on, Katara. You have chores."
I walked over to her, leaving Aang with the rest of the tribe. Once Aang was out of earshot, I turned to my grandmother. "I told you, he's the real thing, Gran Gran." I blurted. "I finally found a bender to teach me!"
"Katara, try not to put all your hopes in this boy," Gran Gran replied calmly.
"But he's special. I can tell!" I remarked. I clenched my hands together and closed my eyes. "I sense he's filled with much wisdom." I looked over at Aang. To my dismay, he had his staff stuck to his tongue, entertaining the kids.
"See?" Aang stated. "Now my tongue is stuck to my staff!" One of the boys pulled Aang's staff, trying to get it off. I looked worriedly at my grandmother, who was also staring at him.
"Warriors! Time for another training session!" Sokka called from the top of a hill. The kids sighed and walked away from Aang over to my brother. The girls walked over to their mothers, prepared to help in chores.
"Come on, Katara," my grandmother urged. I obeyed and walked away with my grandmother. "By the way, I saw your catch from yesterday. We didn't eat it, since I figured it would be better if we all had it together. Do you want to help me cook it for tonight?"
"Sure!" I remarked joyfully, then looked down at the ground. "What about my other chores?"
"You can help me start cooking the seal, and then you can go do your chores." my grandmother replied.
I walked with her to her tent, where the seal was still lying down on he table. I picked it up and set it outside near the fireplace. Gran Gran brought over some sticks and rope. I stuck a couple sticks in the ground, and poked another stick through the seal. My grandmother came out with a knife and took the fur off the seal. I put the stick with the meat onto the other two sticks, tying a rope around them to make sure they didn't move. I walked inside the tent to get the fire candle. Once I had it, I walked back outside and placed some sticks under the seal, then set them on fire to cook the seal.
"Well done, Katara," my grandmother praised. "I'll take care of it from here. You go do your chores."
I smiled and ran off to my tent. I looked around and saw barrels of clothes in there, all of them being Sokka's. I wanted to just ignore them and let Sokka do them, like I said, but then I remembered what my mother said many years ago, and decided to do them anyways. I grabbed the first barrel and brought it over to the corner of the tent. I grabbed a wooden bucket and filled it up with water, using waterbending to help make it quicker. I added some soap to the water and carried it over to the barrel in the corner. I pulled out the first piece of clothing, which happened to be my brother's sock. I wrinkled my nose, but began cleaning it anyways. After only a few minutes, the first barrel was empty. I moved over the other two and began working on them. One by one, all of Sokka's clothes were cleaned. I went outside, carrying the soaked clothes, and hung them up on the line. As I finished putting up the last item of clothing, my grandmother came walking over to me.
"Katara, have you seen Aang?" she asked. "I haven't seen him since I took you to go do your chores, and that was over an hour ago."
"No, I haven't," I replied. "But don't worry. I'll look for him." Without another word, I ran off to find Aang. I decided to look over where Sokka was having his lesson first, to see if Aang might have been interested and went there. I recognized Shiloh waving his arm around, but I didn't see Aang anywhere. I watched as Sokka asked something, and all the kids raised their hands. Sokka face-palmed himself as the boys stood up and walked away.
"Have you seen Aang?" I asked once I reached my brother. "Gran Gran said he disappeared over an hour ago."
Before Sokka could reply, I heard a familiar voice from behind me. I turned to see Aang walking out of the bath igloo, where all the kids were waiting.
"Wow! Everything freezes in there!" he exclaimed, pulling his pants up a little higher. The kids laughed with him at the fact.
"Uh!" Sokka groaned. "Katara, get him out of here! This lesson is for warriors only!"
Sokka began to walk away. Before I could stop him, I heard a "Whee" sound from in front. I looked to see the kids sliding down Appa's tail and landing in snow mounds. The bison's tail was rested upon Sokka's spear, which was supported by two sticks. As another kid slid down and landed on the snow, Sokka began to run over there. I laughed for a little bit, realizing that it was the first time I had laughed in years. I ran over to Appa's side to hear what Sokka had to say.
"Stop!" he was angrily saying. "Stop it right now! What's wrong with you?! We don't have time for fun and games with the war going on!"
Aang slid down Appa, using airbending to slow himself from plummeting straight down. "What war? What are you talking about?" he asked, genuinely confused.
"You're kidding, right?" Sokka asked disbelievingly.
Aang looked questioningly at my brother, but then his expression changed to enthusiasm as he caught sight of something behind us.
"PENGUIN!" he exclaimed before dashing after it. A gust of wind blew some snow in our face as Aang left. Sokka then turned to me.
"He's kidding, right?" he asked again. I looked at him, worried. Was he really joking, or had he been serious? The War was a hundred years old now, and almost every living person knew about it. So why was Aang confused when my brother mentioned it?
"I'll go talk to him." I replied. "Maybe I can find out if he was joking or not."
Sokka nodded in agreement. As I walked around, I heard my brother call the kids back together to continue his lesson. I veered away from the direction that Aang had disappeared to and walked to the edge of the island. If Aang wanted to catch an otter-penguin, he would need some supplies. I watched as some fish swam around. Using the same technique I used yesterday, I brought up a couple fish, then tucked them inside my arm sleeve before walking over to find Aang. It didn't take very long, especially with the penguins making their noises. I walked around a hill to see Aang chasing after a penguin.
"Aang?" I called. He must have not heard me, because he continued to chase after a penguin without glancing up to see who ws speaking.
"Hey, come on little guy," he stated, following a penguin. "Wanna go sledding?" He jumped, trying to catch it, but it was too fast for the young airbender, and Aang fell in the snow. He turned around onto his back and noticed me before airbending himself up again.
"I have a way with animals," he said, before chasing after another penguin, mimicking their noise and walk. I laughed.
"Aang, I'll help you catch a penguin if you teach me waterbending," I informed him. He was hanging onto the tail of one and being pulled through the snow.
"You've got a deal!" he exclaimed, letting go of the penguin. "Just one little problem." He got up into a sitting position, using his airbending to help. "I'm an airbender, not a waterbender. Isn't there someone in your tribe who can teach you?"
"No." I replied sadly. "You're looking at the only waterbender in the whole South Pole."
"This isn't right. A waterbender needs to master water." He looked down, thinking. "What about the North Pole? There's another Water Tribe up there, right? Maybe they have waterbenders who can teach you."
"Maybe," I replied. "But we haven't had contact with our sister tribe in a long time. It's not exactly turn right at the second glacier! It's on the other side of the world!"
"But you forget, I have a flying bison!" he pointed out. "Appa and I can personally fly you to the North Pole! Katara, we're going to find you a master!"
"That's..." I began happily, then stopped, unsure of what to do. "I mean, I don't know. I've never left home before."
"Well, you think about it." he said. "But in the meantime, can you teach me to catch one of these penguins?"
"Okay. Listen closely, my young pupil," I began, acting like a teacher. "Catching penguins is an ancient and sacred art." I took a fish out of my sleeve and threw it to him. "Observe!"
Aang caught it, and right at that moment, all the penguins began swarming around him. The young airbender laughed, falling in the midst of the penguins. I laughed as well and pulled out another piece of fish. The penguins smelled it and began waddling over to me. Aang caught a penguin before they all disappeared, holding it tight so he didn't lose it. The penguins began to knock me over, but before they could, I gave the fish to one of the otter-penguins and picked it up.
"Come on, Aang!" I called, running off with the penguin. Aang dashed away from the other penguins and jumped into the air, sledding down the hill. I followed closely. The two of us started screaming with joy as we slid down. In some areas, he would get in front of me, and in some areas I would get in front of him. I used a ramp to get in front of him, but he had the same idea and went up the same slope. We were side by side for a little bit, and then he used another, smaller, ramp and got ahead of me. I used the next jump to land next to Aang again. We both laughed and shouted out as we rode over snowy bumps.
"I haven't done this since I was a kid!" I said happily.
"You still are a kid!" Aang pointed out.
We rode through a tunnel of ice. I was in the lead and tried to hold Aang back by constantly changing my direction when he wanted to pass me. Aang solved this problem by increasing his speed with airbending, enabling him to race over the ceiling past me. The tunnel leveled out on an open plain of ice where we got off our rides. I looked up and saw a dark shadow. It was the Fire Nation ship that waterbenders had captured many years ago. Aang walked over to the shipwreck.
"Whoah! What is that?" he asked in awe. Haven't you seen one of these before? I wondered, but decided not to speak the words, remembering what he said to Sokka about the War.
"A Fire Navy ship. And a very bad memory for my people," I said, in a slightly dark tone. Aang began to approach the wreckage. Knowing the rules, I tried to stop him. "Aang, stop! We're not allowed to go near it! The ship could be booby-trapped!"
"If you want to be a bender, you have to let go of fear." He said. I pondered over that remark for a moment. I made my decision, and walked toward Aang, scared. We ventured closer toward the ship. Aang helped me climb some of the blocks of ice that were too high to reach. We crawled through a hole in the hull of the ship and walked through the silent rooms of the shipwreck. I heard some squeaking, and had a haunted feeling. Aang entered a room stocked to the rim with weapons.
"This ship has haunted my tribe since Gran-Gran was a little girl," I explained. "It was part of the Fire Nation's first attacks."
"Okay, back up." he said. "I have friends all over the world, even in the Fire Nation. He picked up one of the weapons to inspect it. "I've never seen any war."
I looked at him, confused. The War had been going on for a hundred years. How could somebody not know about it? "Aang, how long were you in that iceberg?" I asked.
"I don't know." he said uncertainly. "A few days, maybe?"
I then started putting the pieces together. He had no idea about the War at all, and he was being truthful about it! "I think it was more like a hundred years!"
"What? That's impossible!" He said disbelievingly. "Do I look like a hundred-twelve year-old man to you?!"
"Think about it. The War is a century old." I remarked. "You don't know about it because, somehow, you were in there the whole time! It's the only explanation!" I watched as his expression turned from disbelief to comprehension. He backed away and fell to the floor, shocked.
"A hundred years?" He exclaimed sadly. "I can't believe it."
"I'm sorry, Aang," I said, squatting next to him. "Maybe somehow there's a bright side to all this."
"I did get to meet you," he said cheerfully, looking up at me. I warmly smiled at him and offered my hand to help him up.
"Come on, let's get out of here," I said. The longer we stayed in here, the more haunting it seemed. He grabbed my hand, and I pulled him up. We walked out of the room and back to the ship entrance.
"Aang, let's head back, this place is creepy," I said, but instead, he turned into another room. I followed him. He began to trip. I heard a crash and realized it was a trap! We were stuck in the room, with nowhere to go. I looked through the bars with Aang, realizing our mistake.
"What's that you said about booby traps?" he asked.
The gears and engines of the shipwreck began to power up and function. Aang and I followed the movements of the machines in shock. A flare was fired into the air. I was going to be in a lot of trouble now.
"Uh oh," Aang said as we watched the flare explode in the air. He turned around and, without warning, picked me up in his arms. "Hold on tight!" he exclaimed, before jumping through a hole in the roof and down the side of the ship. I held on to the young airbender as tightly as I could.
When we landed on the flat ground, he put me down.
"Don't ever scare me like that again!" I exclaimed. We began to run back to the village. I tried not to think about how much trouble I would be by Gran-Gran and some of the other adults in the tribe. I just hoped the village wasn't attacked by firebenders before we made it back.
For the collective works of the author, go here.