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September 30, 2016
flying bison, land in the Air Nomad settlement and walk to Singi's hut. Pulling back the curtains, they enter to find Singi's parents clearing the dining table, turning their heads to face the new arrivals.and , this time riding a
"Monk Jamyang." Singi's father gasps slightly before bowing respectfully, Singi's mother bowing soon after.
"Rabten, Dema..." Jamyang acknowledges, bowing back in thanks.
"I apologize if our daughter disturbed you so early in the morning," Dema states.
"No need to beg pardon, Dema. I was already awake, working on a project of mine when your daughter stopped by for a visit, and she revealed something to me that is life-changing."
Singi's parents glance at each other in confusion.
"You may want to sit down," Jamyang adds.
The four sit back down at the table as Jamyang starts the conversation yet again, Singi looking down expressionless.
"Of course. We actually touched upon it briefly last night," Rabten replies, glancing at his daughter.
"Well, during her visit, she informed me that she hadover the past day involving Avatar Wan."
"But how is that possible? She has no clue about what Avatar Wan looked like," Rabten questioned.
"I know, I found it unusual as well. When she found me in my little workplace at the temple, I happened to be finishing up a wooden statue of Wan and his spiritual half, Raava, that I have been carving for the past decade. From what I can recall from my teachings, this was the first and only time she has seen anything depicting him. Anyway, upon recognizing Avatar Wan, I recalled to her much of the legend that he had told me personally; eventually, she informed me of an absolutely remarkable occurrence that happened at the communal well."
With that, Dema glances over at Singi with a mix of concern and curiosity.
"Really now? She failed to tell me anything before whisking off to visit you."
With that, Singi hangs her head in embarrassment and guilt.
"Oh, please do not be too concerned, Dema. I am sure she was just frazzled over the incident, and wanted to confront me first before approaching you about it. Singi has nothing to be ashamed of."
At this, Singi lifts her head slightly and flashes a small smile at Jamyang.
"Apparently, the rope holding the bucket was worn down, so when Singi attempted to draw up the water, the rope snapped and the bucket fell back into the well. Singi attempted an improvisational airbending move to retrieve the bucket, and instead... she bent water."
At this, Dema and Rabten's eyes widened, and they slowly turned their heads toward their daughter in a mix of wonder, realization, and bewilderment.
"I am sure you know where I am going with this."
"Are you saying that our daughter is the Avatar, Monk Jamyang?" Rabten asks.
With a small smile, Jamyang replies, "I am, Rabten."
Singi's parents then swarm their daughter with embraces and words of praise, as Singi can only hug them back, smiling embarrassingly as she attempts to free herself from the over-enthusiastic attention and sandwiched position in-between her parents. After a few seconds, the parents stop doting on their daughter and a more calm atmosphere resumes within the house.
"With that comes the difficult part for you two. Singi will need to travel and master the other elements. It will likely take many years. I will accompany her on her journey and we can regularly send messages to the two of you on her progress."
"Please, do so only when you have the time and convenience. We don't want any concerns for our daughter to result in you or her getting into any danger," Dema states.
Jamyang acknowledges Dema's request with a nod and concludes his speech.
"Singi and I will depart tomorrow morning. I figured the three of you should have the rest of the day to spend together as you wish."
"Thank you, Monk Jamyang," Dema states, before the group stand and say their goodbyes.
The next morning, Singi packs her belongings, and stands outside the family hut with her parents.
"So, this is it." Singi sighs. Her parents look at her with pride, smiling down at their daughter, Rabten's right hand gently grasping onto Dema's shoulder.
"You're going to do many wonderful things, Singi..." Rabten assures her, "I am sure that Raava chose you as the next Avatar because she knows you will do a remarkable job at maintaining peace and balance in the world."
At this, Singi glances downward, hesitant, but soon shifts her head back up and smiles at her parents.
"I guess you could call it fate..." Singi then embraces her parents, who return the gesture. "Mom, dad, I'll miss you."
"And we'll miss you, too, sweetheart," Dema replies. "Just write to us when you can, and if you have the opportunity, perhaps you can visit us."
"I'll try my best."
The trio release from their group hug and Singi bends a cloud and mounts it. She takes one last look at her parents, smiling, before setting off north towards Jamyang.
Upon arriving at Jamyang's workplace, Singi walks inside to see Jamyang marveling at his statue.
"After ten years, it is finally done."
Singi follows Jamyang's gaze to see the statue of Wan and Raava finished, and she smiles warmly.
"It looks wonderful, Jamyang. I still wish Wan could see it."
Jamyang turns to Singi with a gentle, knowing gaze, and focuses on her.
"In a sense, he can."
Singi's eyes widen slightly, and her cheeks tinge in slight embarrassment. She looks down at her feet before lifting her head back up with a serious look on her face.
"Shall we head off?"
"We certainly can," Jamyang replies before picking up a couple of sacks of belongings and leading the way out of the building, Singi turning around to follow him, but not before taking one last glance at the statue before surrounding herself yet again in the morning sunlight, a look of slight concern on her face. The two mount Jamyang's bison, and he takes the reins.
At that command, the air bison slammed his tail to the ground and took off in a gust of wind.
"Remind me again why you named your air bison 'Lychee'..."
"I found Lychee as a baby when I was twice your age, and training to become a monk. He couldn't even fly when I first met him. Every day, I would visit him and his family from a safe distance so as to get them accustomed to my presence. Over the weeks, they got used to my daily comings and goings to the point where they accepted me, and allowed me to experience an intimate view of their lives. When Lychee was a mere ten months old, he clearly wanted to accompany me on my daily routines, and miraculously, his parents had trusted me enough for me to take care of him. We have been partners ever since. As for his name, during my daily visits, I found myself most often offering him a few buckets of lychee berries."
"That's... pretty remarkable! You were able to befriend an entire air bison family!"
"I was persistent and patient," Jamyang chuckles.
After a brief pause, Singi asks yet another question.
"So... have any idea where we're going?"
"Well, Wan learned the elements in the order of fire, air, water, and earth. I figured we should follow that same pattern and have you learn waterbending first. We'll head southwest, and I'm sure we'll find some waterbender settlement, and see if there is someone who would be willing to teach you."
After a few hours of flying, the trio find themselves approaching a fairly expansive sea. Preparing to land for a rest stop, Jamyang instructs Lychee to descend, during which they notice a village of moderate size settled along an inlet. A small collection of mountains is situated some distance behind the settlement, which is dotted with stone buildings embroidered in fabrics of various shades of blue.
"Ah! Look down there, Singi."
Singi complies and smiles slightly at the settlement below them.
"A waterbender settlement; I am sure someone there would be willing to teach you."
The villagers stare in curiosity and wonder as they witness the air bison descend and land along the shoreline in front of their village. Singi and Jamyang dismount Lychee and walk forward, closer to the settlement.
"Good morning, everyone. I am Monk Jamyang, and this is my close friend and airbending student, Singi. She is the new Avatar..."
At this, the villagers gasp and turn their heads at one another in awe and shock, muttering exclamations of wonder and uncertainty.
"Is there anyone in this settlement who would be willing to teach the Avatar waterbending?"
After a moment's hesitation, the curtain of one hut is pushed aside, and out stepsin his 50s donned in Egyptian blue robes with a zaffre sash, medium gray pants, and black boots. His clothes contrast with his gainsboro-colored hair, with a beard reaching down to his collarbone, as well as his light sky blue eyes. He raises an eyebrow before walking over to the duo as the other villagers simply watch.
"So, young lady, you claim to be the Avatar?"
"I am the Avatar, sir," Singi calmly clarifies.
"Hmph..." the man huffs, crossing his arms before speaking again. "I am Master Gekkō, the most skilled waterbender in the settlement of Kunatuk. If you are indeed the Avatar, I want you to prove it to me in some way."
Singi nods and turns around to face the bay. Taking a deep breath, she focuses her attention on the expanse of water before her and performs the same move she had demonstrated to Jamyang the day before. As the column of water descends back down into the bay, Singi turns to face the audience before smiling confidently and performing a backflip before bending a cloud to ride. She rides above the villagers and Gekkō for a couple of seconds, the villagers exclaiming statements of awe while Gekkō simply watches, seemingly unfazed. After riding around briefly, Singi bends the cloud up into a couple of air columns, disintegrating it, before descending down, her feet lightly touching the ground. With her routine finished, the villagers clap and cheer, while Gekkō slumps his shoulders before walking up to the Avatar.
"So you're an airbender who can also bend water... somewhat. Congratulations, Avatar... we'll start training in a little while."
With that, Gekkō walks off, Singi watching his departure, frowning slightly at his rather gruff demeanor. A woman places a hand on Singi's right shoulder and smiles.
"Don't worry about him; he's always been rather unexpressive. Plus, I think he may have the idea that the Avatar will upstage him at some point." The villager chuckles before winking and walking off. Singi smiles and glances to Jamyang, who smiles warmly back at her.
A half-hour later, Singi, Jamyang, and Gekkō are a couple of miles west from the settlement, Singi and Gekkō standing along the beach, while Jamyang sits a ways behind the two, watching.
"Now then, water is versatile. It is of course, a fluid; in turn, your own body must become fluid in order to bend it."
Gekkō widens his stance before gently raising his right arm, his fingers coming together as a sliver of water rises from the bay. He angles his arm towards his right before bringing it towards his body, the water following his motions towards his body as he begins to pass the water to his left hand.
"This does not mean to become limp, but rather, relax, and let the water guide your body to move."
Gekkō bends the water into a sphere between his hands, waiting for Singi to make the move. Nervous, but taking initiative, Singi faces Gekkō and widens her stance before outstretching her right arm, her palm facing up, her left arm not far behind, and her left palm facing towards her instructor. Gekkō gently passes the water to her and Singi carefully balances it between her hands before slowly, but gently moving it around her body. Elated, Singi laughs excitedly as she continues maneuvering the stream around her body, eventually spinning around in circles in an attempt to both airbend and waterbend. Singi ends up spinning so quickly, generating a column of air revolving around her, that she loses her ability to control the water stream circling with her, and falls on her rear end, the water splashing down onto her head, soaking her. Jamyang smiles slightly at the end result as Singi pouts, ringing the water off of the sleeves of her robes. Gekkō, still stoic, walks up to her, and Singi turns her head to look up at her instructor.
"What exactly were you trying to do?" he questions.
Singi's cheeks turn a slight tinge of pink as she mutters her response, turning her head away in embarrassment.
"Trying to bend more than one element..."
At this, Jamyang chuckles slightly, causing the student and master to focus their attention at the old monk.
"My dear friend, you only found out you were the Avatar just yesterday. It will take much time for you to learn how to bend multiple elements at once, at least more than just creating clouds to ride upon."
Jamyang continues chuckling for a bit while Gekkō looks down on his student with a smirk. Singi at first, stares at Jamyang in annoyance, but soon smiles and begins laughing at her predicament.
After a few hours of training, Singi requests for a break, and Gekkō complies. Happy, Singi trots over to Jamyang, a large smile plastered on her face.
"Can you believe how much I've improved over the past few hours, Jamyang!?"
"You've certainly come some ways from bending that column of water, my pupil. But do not expect to master waterbending within a day, just because it has come fairly easy for you."
"I won't, Jamyang. You want to walk down the beach with me?"
"Why don't you go along? I might catch up in a bit."
Singi nods before setting off. A few meters way however, she hears a high-pitch trill coming from the border between the sandy beach and the more solid hillside. Walking over, she findscovered in a fluffy, earth yellow down, with yellow legs and eyes, black pupils, and a beige beak. The bird stands, coming to about six inches in height, and hastily walks over to Singi, its right wing noticeably angled upwards as opposed to being tucked into its side like its left wing.
"Hey there, little one. How come you're all alone?" Singi coos, kneeling down and gently scooping the bird in her arms before delicately brushing her finger against the off wing. In response, the bird cries out loudly and flinches, Singi frantically trying to keep a hold of the animal.
"Shhh! Shhh! I'm sorry!" Singi exclaims before the creature calms and glances up at the teenager. Not long after, Gekkō and Jamyang rush over to the scene.
"Singi, are you alright?" Jamyang asks before the two men notice the animal cradled in her arms.
"A cranefish chick..." Gekkō exclaims.
"I just found her here..." Singi glances down at the spot she found the chick before looking back up at her instructors "Her wing is injured. I want to mend her back to health and reunite her with her flock."
"I'd advise against that, Avatar," Gekkō states. "It is better to let nature take its course."
At this, Singi's brow furrows slightly.
"No," she states bluntly. "To us airbenders, all life is considered sacred. I insist you let me take some time off from training so that I can treat her then reunite her with her flock, please."
Gekkō blinks a couple of times before turning his head towards Jamyang, who simply smiles and confirms the philosophy.
"Indeed, we think that every life has its virtue, and believe me," Jamyang begins to chuckle "you won't be suading her otherwise."
At this, Gekkō groans slightly before composing himself and staring at Singi.
"Well, water is known as the element of change. I suppose I could let you take the next couple of days off to tend to this chick."
At this Singi smiles a wide grin.
"Oh, thank you, Master Gekkō! I promise, as soon as this chick is back where she belongs, we'll get right back into training!"
For the rest of the day until the early afternoon two days later, Singi bandages the chick's wing, feeds it a crushed pile of fish by hand, and sleeps with the creature on multiple occasions. After removing the bandage a few days later, the wing has healed, and the chick is much more active, much to Singi's delight. As she, Jamyang and Gekkō make their way to the shoreline, the chick nestled in Singi's hands, they find the area once again abandoned of any cranefish, causing Singi to frown. She glances down at the chick in her hands, who looks up at her and cocks its head slightly. Singi smiles as she comes up with a new resolve, a slight breeze blowing from behind.
"You know what? I think I'll keep her as my own."
Gekkō widens his eyes slightly in surprise, while Jamyang simply smiles and nods his head in agreement. Singi holds out the cranefish chick in front of her.
"I'm sure that once she matures, she will be a beautiful and graceful creature, flying high in the sky with the wind pushing her on."
At this, Singi pauses before sealing the deal.
"I'm going to name her 'Jiefeng', for she is, and always will be, as beautiful and graceful as the winds that carry all of us that take to the skies."
"Except for the times when a storm comes afoot..." Gekkō mutters, and the two airbenders laugh at his response while Jiefeng tilts her head back and calls in the crisp seaside air.
- This is the first time Singi's parents are addressed by name. Dema (德玛, pronounced: DEE-ma) is an Arabic name meaning "the cloud that brings rain to the crops after a drought", while Rabten (pronounced: ROB-ten) is Tibetan for "steadfast" or "faithful". Both are also airbenders.
- Kunatuk will be the site of Republic City millennia later, situated along what will be known as Yue Bay.
- Gekkō (月光) is Japanese for "moonlight", while Jiefeng (婕风) is Chinese for "graceful wind" or "beautiful wind".
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