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|Not Your Typical Days|
31 October 2011
Not Your Typical Days is chapter one of The Weatherbenders.
After some unusual changes in the weather patterns across the globe were put in motion, the first reverberations set in. Fire Lord Zuko, confused about the changes, along with all his advisors, calls an important meeting.
On a small boat, a young man, about age twenty-three, found himself sailing within the Fire Nation. It was a warm, sunny day that he could enjoy. The young man pulled out his digital thermometer.
"Ah, 19.3°C. Beautiful day," he smiled. "I miss my home though...I miss Pennsylvania...I miss the real world," his smile turned to a frown. "I guess I'm stuck here until this thing passes through."
As the Fire Nation came into his sights, he shivered a little. "Hmmm...breeze." Suddenly though, his smile turned to a look of concern as his thermometer began to drop.
"Oh no," he gasped. "They struck. I have to get there before I am too late."
The calendar read as August 13, 102 AG. It may as well have said December 13.
After temperatures plummeted quickly from 30°C around midday the previous day, people awoke in the Capital to temperatures of just 4°C, a severe deviation to the cold side from normal.
Fire Lord Zuko found himself in his throne room, using the flames to keep warm. Never had such cold gripped the Fire Nation in even late Autumn, let alone while still in Summer. People outside found themselves having to don extra robing and jackets. It did not make sense; the upper-air patterns had favored the warm Summer time air to remain over the area. Yet, heat itself had been drained from the atmosphere.
Mai sat next to Zuko, who had sought warmth outside her chilly home during this time. "Zuko...it's so cold," she said, shivering slightly.
"I know Mai," Zuko replied. I have no clue what's going on. "No one has said anything."
As he said this, General Tizou entered the room. "Fire Lord Zuko, a thousand pardons for this interruption, but I need to speak with you," he spoke in an urgent tone, while bowing to him as a sign of respect. "There's a serious problem with this sudden grip of cold air."
"Very well. Invite the other generals in immediately," Zuko responded.
Thereafter, four more generals joined Tizou. One of them included General Bujing, who had been there since the days of Azulon.
"In my twenty-seven years as general," Bujing began, speaking in a shocked tone. "I have never seen anything like this. Never have I seen such a dramatic change in our entire nation. However, it is what is ongoing."
General Ashizo was the next to speak. "We have reports of dramatic temperature drops all throughout the Fire Nation, all occurring at about the same time it took place in the capital, Zuko. On Ember Island, temperatures dropped from 28°C to 13°C within a 30-minute period yesterday. This morning, the temperature there was at -3°C, the first time they have had a below freezing temperature. In the Fire Fountain City, they observed a temperature drop from 33°C to 17°C around the same time. This morning, they were at 6°C. I trust that you know this is very unusual, sir."
The third person to speak during this meeting was General Azai. "The problem we have, Zuko, is that these temperatures are showing no signs of increasing. Frost is occurring on some outskirts, and that is devastating to our crop supplies. If we do not see improvement of temperatures within the next forty-eight hours, several key crop productions will experience fatal frost or freeze. Our food supply would suffer a devastating blow."
Zuko folded his hands and rested them on his chin, followed by closing his eyes and shaking his head. "Why is this happening?"
"We do not know, sir," Tizou said, shaking his head as well. "No one has ever seen the temperature just drop like this with no just cause. What we do know is that there is a serious problem, and you may need to act."
"What about the rest of the world?" Zuko asked, wearing a concerned look. "Are we the only ones experiencing a dramatic change in weather?"
Bujing stood up and took a deep breath. "I'm afraid not. There was a sudden blizzard in the Southern Water Tribe, and rumors of a sharp heat increase in the eastern Earth Kingdom, especially Ba Sing Se."
Zuko's mind drifted off, knowing that his friends could be in trouble.
Southern Water Tribe
After sixteen hours of raging snow, things had tapered off to just a few flurries. The wind howled through the village, making temperatures feel bitterly cold. With a temperature already at -13°C, the risk of frostbite spiked.
Twenty-five inches of snow buried the small village, which greatly hampered reconstruction efforts. People were now changing their focus to getting rid of the snow which buried their homes.
Aang and Katara used their Waterbending to move the snow away from the village, placing it through the outskirts. They received help from other Waterbenders, including the aging but still strong Master Pakku. Not even twenty-four hours ago, the couple was having fun, enjoying their relationship and what remained of their childhood. Now, not only did they find themselves assisting in cleanup efforts, they now had gone back to worrying.
"Aang and Katara, I can't thank you two enough for your help," Pakku said. "This is quite an amount of work with the cold and all the snow."
"You're welcome Master Pakku, but something just seems really strange, and not just the fact that we had this freak blizzard," Aang said. "For some reason, I think this has something to do with a spiritual matter."
Katara's eyes arched up in curiosity at the young Avatar's words. "Aang, what do you mean, spiritual? It's weather, and although this literally came out of nowhere, it happens."
"Katara," Aang turned to her. "While we were huddled together, I swear that I saw a spirit go across the sky. He looked like he had a coat on, like the one Pakku has," Aang called his attention to the dark blue parka that Pakku donned. "I could have sworn, that during that storm, the spirit was looking at me with a worried look, as if to say there was a problem."
Katara shook her head slightly. "I really hope this isn't true, Aang. The last thing we need is some kind of disruption with the spirits. We're not that far removed from the War," she reminded him.
"I know," Aang responded. "But, something just doesn't seem right, like there is something that is very concerning. I might have to go into the Spirit World at some point."
Katara just nodded and gave Aang an understanding look. "All right. You do know more about spirits then the rest of us," she chuckled and smiled.
"Ah, the advantages of being the Avatar," Aang said, as he blew away another snow pile.
The Southerners continued to work on clearing away the snow that had blanketed their village, not full-well knowing what the consequences of what happened were.
Ba Sing Se
Cityfolk within the Earth Kingdom's upscale capital found walking impossible without quickly being overcome by sweat and dehydration. Temperatures had risen to an unbearable 40 C, much warmer than the city's average. All throughout, water was being given away, some people even getting into fights over it, especially in the Lower Ring. With everyone mostly walking in long robes or dresses, city activity dropped considerably as people just could not walk outside.
In the Royal Palace, Earth King Kuei found himself being fanned by his servants in his throne room. He wiped a rush of sweat from his forehead, wondering why temperatures had gone up so quickly from the comfortable warmth they had around twenty-four hours ago. All the meanwhile, a man, clad in armor with a cape on his back, and bare feet walked into the room. It was General How, the leading member of the Council of Five, who was now working more to oversee the Kingdom's operations as opposed to military strategy.
"Your majesty," How bowed to him. "We have some important news that you need to hear."
Kuei held his hand down to his servants, gesturing them to stop fanning. "General How, what is the matter?" He asked to the veteran.
"It relates to the changes in weather over the past day," How brought his head back up to reveal himself to Kuei. "It turns out we are not alone. Your presence with the Council of Five is requested immediately for a briefing."
Kuei nodded and stood up. "Very well. I hope that we can figure out why this has happened."
The Earth King walked into the large-scale war room for the council of five. He took his seat at the front of the table, and looked ahead to see the five generals forming an arc around the upper half of the table. A map with numbers and various symbols made up the table.
"General Sung, your reports," said General How.
Sung began by going towards the Fire Nation, where the number 30 dotted the Capital. "Your majesty, we got a report from Fire Lord Zuko through his generals. Yesterday, temperatures plummeted fast in the Fire Nation Capital." Sung erased the 30 and wrote in a four. "It dropped from 30°C to eventually just 4°C this morning. They are not expected to go above 10°C today, and could suffer crippling frosts and freezes." He then proceeded to move over Ba Sing Se, where the number 22 was located. "As you know, sir, we experienced a great increase in temperature, from 22°C at midday." Sung replaced this 22 with a 40. "Today, we are at 40°C and could hit 45°. A sharp increase was also reported in other points around the eastern third of the nation."
How, who was in charge of the symbols this day, made the next move on the map, taking a sun logo that was located on the Southern Water Tribe, and replacing it with the logo for heavy snow; several snowflakes falling out of a grey cloud. "Further, the South Pole experienced an incredible blizzard. Our sources tell us it went from sunny to heavy snow in a matter of moments, and it cannot be explained why. In any event, they are digging out of two feet of snow as we speak, your majesty. In essence, all three nations have experienced a dramatic swing in their weather conditions over the past twenty-four hours, all of them unfavorable to life as we know it."
Kuei placed his hand over his forehead in shock. "This is....unbelievable. I have never seen anything like this."
"Neither have we," Sung said. "It is ridiculous how much the weather has changed. We have seen big changes in twenty-four hours, but these are severe! Very few people are at normal weather conditions!"
The young King then moved his hands under his chin. "What do we do for now?" He asked, hoping to get somewhere.
"The best we can do is wait this out," How said. "For now, we have to make sure the citizens of Ba Sing Se adequately protect themselves with the heat. I recommend extra supplies of water and any way to increasing shading from the sun. We can only help our people to a certain extent."
Kuei nodded his head. "I guess it is all we can do. After all, no one can control the weather."
Was that really the case?
Bujing resumed his speaking. "In Ba Sing Se, sir, it has gone quite the opposite way of where we have gone here. Temperatures spiked from 22°C to over 40°C, and it is only getting warmer. There, the citizens are struggling to stay hydrated, some are even suffering illnesses related to the severe heat. We see that there appears to be no signs of a cooldown in the Earth Kingdom capital."
"In other words," Tizou took over. "We are not alone in these dramatic changes in weather. Something is ongoing and we are just not sure as to what it could be, Zuko."
Zuko folded his hands and rested his chin upon them. "This is obviously not a good situation. Well, to preserve our crop supplies, try to deliver some tarps to help farmers cover their plants. They'll need them until this cold snap breaks. That is obviously a short-term solution, but it is all we can do, for now."
"What about long term?" Tizou asked.
Zuko did not need more than a moment of thought. "Get me a messenger hawk. I have a message to write to the Southern Water Tribe."
Zuko began writing a letter for Aang and Katara to come to the Fire Nation as soon as possible. Using his best writing possible, he spent ten minutes composing the letter while his curious girlfriend watched.
"Zuko, what do you think bringing those two up will do? How does Aang know what is causing these changes?" Mai asked.
"Mai, it's all we can do. You never know, he is the Avatar after all. This could be right up his alley," Zuko explained. "If this is a threat to the world's balance, he will want to be here."
Mai shook her head, skeptical of the Fire Lord's plan.
General Tizou arrived moments after Zuko wrapped up his letter, a messenger hawk perched on his shoulder. "I have already commanded the hawk to take this message straight to the South Pole," the general said. "Just place the letter in and it will be ready to go. It should arrive there within twelve hours."
Zuko rolled up the letter, and tied it up with a black ribbon, symbolizing vital importance. On the ribbon was the Fire Lord's emblem. He placed the letter in the cylindrical compartment that the hawk carried on its back. Tizou then took the hawk and let it fly out the window, beginning its course to the Southern Water Tribe.
Southern Water Tribe
After eleven hours of cleanup, Aang and Katara were given permission to return home by Pakku, seeing that the two had grown quite tired. The sun was nearly out of the sky, night beginning to set in.
As the two returned to their respective homes, hand-in-hand, the young Avatar wondered out loud what the happenings could be. "Katara, I get the feeling that, spiritually, something is wrong."
Katara shook her head. "Is that just because you saw that spirit? Aang, don't worry. Don't dwell so much on this." She saw his eyes starting to shut. "Go on, get some rest, you need it. We both need it." She offered her boyfriend a hug and a kiss, which Aang both accepted and returned.
"Yeah, you're right. It has been a long day. I'll see you tomorrow, Katara. Good night," Aang said, finishing with a yawn and a stretch.
"Good night, Aang. See you tomorrow," Katara said, smiling at the Avatar before her. With that, the two went their separate ways, anxious to get rest.
The Fire Nation messenger hawk found itself closing in on the snow-covered village, cleanup still progressing. It descended down towards the home of Chief Hakoda, where all international mail was to go first. The hawk landed outside Hakoda's house, where Bato was keeping watch.
"What's this?" Bato took the hawk and first saw a small note attached to its foot.
"Bato, what's going on?" Hakoda asked, hearing Bato.
"A letter from the Fire Nation," the middle-aged warrior explained. "This note on its foot says it is for Aang and your daughter."
Hakoda took the note and read just what Bato had stated. "I see. Take this to them as soon as possible. It says it is of vital importance."
Bato nodded and set off towards Aang's home, which was closer to Hakoda's. He arrived and knocked on the igloo's interior. Aang walked to the door, rubbing his eyes as the start of his sleep was disturbed. "Bato?" He asked, quickly recognizing the warrior.
"A message from the Fire Nation, for you and Katara," Bato said, showing the messenger hawk.
Aang took control of the hawk and opened the cylindrical tube. There, he saw the message, rolled up and held together by a black ribbon and with the Fire Lord's emblem. "Zuko," Aang said out loud. "The black ribbon...I last saw this when the revolt happened last year. This is not good." The Avatar placed his coat on once more and walked to Katara's house.
Within, Katara was trying to fall asleep, when Aang knocked on the interior, Bato at his side.
"Aang?" The Waterbender questioned. "I thought you were off to sleep."
"I was," Aang said, "until Bato came with this message from the Fire Nation. It's from Zuko, and it's addressed to us." With that, Aang opened the message that was addressed to him and his girlfriend.
The message read as follows:
"To Avatar Aang and Katara,
I understand you guys just went through a severe blizzard, and that you are just recovering from it. However, what happened to you seems to be happening all around the world. Here in the Fire Nation, we experienced a sharp temperature decrease, while in Ba Sing Se, there was a sharp temperature increase. My generals and I do not seem to know what is going on. I know this may be though, but I will need both of your guys' help with this. Re-gather the team as soon as possible, so we may discuss this. I do not know what is going on, but I do not want to take any chances. Sincerely, Fire Lord Zuko."
Katara raised an eyebrow in curiosity. "Hmmm...I wonder why Zuko has summoned us. Does he think we may know something? I am just as confused as he is..."
"Me too," Aang said. "But, we may as well go. We should take a look into this, because I did see that spirit, after all. Perhaps there can be a connection made."
Katara nodded her head. "Yes. For now, I think we should get back to rest. Tomorrow, it's off to gather everyone up. Sokka's already here, but we have to travel to find Toph, Suki and Ty Lee."
"I am aware," Aang said. "How about this, we all go to the Fire Nation, and then one of us leaves and heads towards the Earth Kingdom to get the rest of the members?"
Katara quickly agreed. "I see no problem with that. Bato, tell my dad that we are going to have to leave the Tribe. As much as I don't want to, it's important."
"Your father will understand, I am sure," Bato smiled and nodded.
"Good night Katara," Aang once again said.
"Good night Aang," Katara replied.
Aang and Bato left Katara's home, Aang returning to his igloo.
Tomorrow was the day.
Team Avatar was getting back together once more.
Another fight was getting set to begin.
What a mess with the weather.
Keep your eyes on these spirits. They will all be revealed in chapter three.
What's this? Real world? Pennsylvania? Who's that? Future chapters shall answer that. Also, that was supposed to be within the prologue, but I forgot it. But yeah, he's just noticed the temperature drop.
For the collective works of the author, go here.
Changing Weather - Not Your Typical Days - Regathering the Team - Into the Fire Nation - The Masters of Weather - The Meteorologists Attack - Recovery and Disasters - Searching for Instruction - Reeaki's Arrival - Training - Reverberations - A Dire Warning - Can We Hold Together? - Last Preparations - The Final Showdown, Part 1 - The Final Showdown, Part 2 - Survivors of the Conflict - Moving Forward
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