Hama demonstrates her skills
Chapter information

The First Lesson



Written by


Release date

January 27, 2014

Last chapter

Cloud Manipulation

Next chapter


Another night has come and gone, and it is a new day at the South Pole. Senna has just finished getting Korra dressed and helped put her hair in a pony tail.

"Owww!" Korra yelped in pain. "Why do you gotta pull my hair so hard?"

"I don't mean to," Senna explained. "I just have to make sure all of your beautiful strands of hair get in your accessory."

Korra hated being told the thing she puts in her hair is an accessory. She always felt the word was to girly for her. "It's just a hair piece!" Korra snapped.

Senna, now frustrated with her daughter, gave her a quick, but light smack on her mouth. Korra was shocked by this action, looking angrily at her mother. "Don't talk back to me that way," Senna demanded. "I know you don't like it when I call it an accessory, but that's just what it is. If you want, we can just leave your hair down."

Korra hated that idea even more. "NO!" She yelled. "I want it up in the piece!" Senna looked at Korra with an angry expression. Korra sighed heavily and said, "...please."

Senna finished up with Korra's hair, just the way she liked it. After that, the two of them along with Tonraq walked over to Katara's house. It was an abnormally warmer day in the Southern Tribe, so much that Korra even took her jacket off. Senna was shocked by this, practically furious with her daughter. "Korra!" She yelled. "Why would you take your jacket off? It's freezing!"

"I was getting warm," Korra replied.

"Hand me your jacket," Senna demanded. She started to put the jacket back on Korra, while she said, "I don't understand! I'm not cold!"

Senna, finishing up with the jacket, replied, "Well you're gonna catch a cold if you keep the jacket off. Just please keep it on today."

Korra was not happy about this at all. Even if she was still cold, she could've just firebended a little ball of fire to keep her hands warm. She wondered why her mother was so uptight with her today. Was it her? Was it her mom? Was it both of them? Korra really didn't understand why Senna was being so overprotective. She wanted to ask, but they had reached Katara's house before she could get a chance.

Tonraq knocked at the door. The door immediately opened, but the three were surprised that it was Kya who answered. "Hello," she said.

"Hello," Tonraq replied. "Is Master Katara home?"

"Yes, she's getting Korra's lesson ready. It will be an indoor lesson today, so Korra can just take off her coat."

Korra gave her mom a smirk after that. Senna could not understand why Korra was being so complicated and rather rude to her today. She wanted to ask, but she knew her and Tonraq had to go. They hugged Korra goodbye and left.

"Come in the kitchen with me, Korra," Kya said. "My mom is waiting for you there."

Korra followed Kya into the kitchen, seeing Katara looking at a plant. The plant had many leaves and vines; nothing more or less to it. "Korra's here, Mom," Kya stated.

Katara looked up from the plant and welcomed Korra inside the kitchen. Kya left the room, telling Katara she was going into town to buy some seal jerky and sea prunes. Korra started staring at the plant Katara was looking at. "Is something wrong with the plant?" Korra asked.

Katara let out a short and quiet chuckle. "No," she replied. "We'll be using this plant for our next lesson." Korra rolled her eyes. "Don't tell me we're gonna water the plants," she said annoyed.

"Not exactly," Katara explained. "Instead we're going to do another waterbending lesson that involves bending without seeing the element you bend. So today, you'll be bending the water inside the plant. The move is called Plantbending."

"And why is this an indoor lesson?" Korra asked.

"Because there aren't many plants in the Southern Tribe, and this is a plant that was given to me from a group of waterbenders in the Foggy Swamp Tribe after Aang passed. I usually like to bend the vines around when the plant looks like it'll die. It keeps the plant looking healthy and the water circulates better," Katara explained.

Korra was fascinated by this technique already. She asked Katara who the Foggy Swamp Tribe is, and so Katara had to explain that they're a waterbending tribe that live in swamps and how they met. She also explained how they moved the vines around, and how she learned about doing it herself.

Eventually, Katara started to show Korra a demonstration of bending the vines around. As usual, Korra watched her master in awe.

"Okay, why don't you give it a try?" Katara asked. "And since giving you a focus worked for you yesterday, I want you to focus on bending this vine," she explained while pointing at a vine.

Korra got in her stance, moving her hands around. She picked up this move very quickly; the vine started to move. Korra was so happy with herself for accomplishing the move so fast. She began to move the vine left and right, up and down, all around, any way she could make the vine move, she did. Korra couldn't help herself, but start bending all the vines at once. Sadly, Korra got a little carried away with herself. She pulled her back to herself, thinking the vines would just drop and she'd be done. Instead, the plant's water spewed out of the vines like a dragon exhaling fire through its nostrils.

There was a long silence. Korra was in shock over what happened. Katara was just speechless. The gift that was given to her from a fellow tribe of waterbenders is now dead. There was something about that plant that made her feel so close to Aang. Maybe because when her, him and Sokka went to the swamp, it gave them visions of people they've loved and lost. The plant made her feel like she was spiritually with Aang, feeling his spirit around. She could sense the feeling of someone she loves and has lost. When the plant died, a part of her did, too.

"Master Katara," Korra finally said. "I am so sorry, I didn't mean t--"

"It's okay." Katara said, cutting Korra off. "Plants don't live forever." Maybe she was right. Plants don't live forever, but it wasn't okay. Korra could tell that Katara was deeply upset, and she knew it was all because of her. Katara just told Korra that the lesson was done early and told her to wait outside for her parents to come and get her. Katara was so upset, she didn't even feel like walking Korra back home.

And so Korra did wait. She sat in the snow, just picking it up and letting the flakes fall back down. She was startled by footsteps approaching. Kya had returned with a basket in her hand, holding it by the handle. She walked over to Korra. "Why are you outside?" Kya asked.

"I killed Master Katara's plant," Korra said upsettingly.

Kya noticed something different in Korra that day. She was so used to seeing her excited and sometimes frustrated, but never upset. Kya put the basket of food down and sat down next to Korra. "How?" Kya asked.

"I was bending the water inside the vines and then just bursted when I was finishing up the move," Korra explained. "Master Katara hates me now."

Korra buried her face in her arms and legs and began to cry. Kya put her arm around Korra. "Master Katara doesn't hate you," Kya stated sympathetically. "It was just an accident. She's just a little upset because the plant meant something to her is all. She'll be fine." Kya smiled at Korra. "Everyone makes mistakes, when I learned waterbending, I can't tell you how many times I waterbended a giant wave over my brother Bumi." Kya got closer to Korra's ear. "Sometimes it wasn't an accident though." Korra couldn't help, but laugh at that.

"I guess you're right," Korra said. "But I feel so bad about what happened. Master Katara doesn't even want to look at me."

"She just needs to be alone, nothing personal," Kya explained.

Kya and Korra shared a long hug after that.

"That's my mom for ya," Kya said humorously. "She just handles things the way she needs to. All moms handle things differently."

"My mom handles me weird," Korra explained. "Just today she slapped my mouth with her hand while doing my hair and made me keep my coat on even though I wasn't cold. She's been too mom-ish lately," Korra stated.

"Maybe she just doesn't want to see you grow up so fast," Kya replied. "You are the Avatar, and that means you'll be helping with saving the world when you get older, and you won't see much of her or your dad when that happens. Just try to be nice to her when she baby's you; it won't last forever."

A few hours go by, and Korra is picked up by her parents and taken back home. Kya explained to Korra's parents what happened. Senna thought about trying to cheer Korra up by cooking her favorite meal; seaweed soup. Korra, who spent the longest time trying to eat it due to her still trying to master using chopsticks, ate it up, feeling only a little bit better.

Korra went to bed a little earlier than usual. She wasn't tired, still wide awake in her room under her covers, but was surprised to see her mother walk in.

"Korra, honey, I think we need to have a little talk," Senna said.

Korra sat up, listening to her mom as Senna stated, "I know that you're still upset about what happened today at Master Katara's house, but it was only an accident. Katara just called us and wanted me to let you know that she's not mad at you and that mistakes happen." Korra nodded. "Also, was there any reason you were so upset with me today?" Senna asked.

"I was just upset," Korra replied. "I didn't like that you called my hair piece an assessory--"

"Accessory," Senna corrected.

"And I wasn't cold when I took my jacket off."

"I know that both of those events didn't exactly make you happy today, but you're my daughter and I love you and taking care of you," Senna explained.

"I know," Korra replied. "And I'm happy that you do things for me. Sorry for being mean to you today. I know you do it out of love and because I'm gonna grow up and take care of the world."

"I'm gonna miss you so much when you leave the South Pole," Senna said.

"I'll miss you too," Korra stated. "But don't worry, I'll visit you and daddy."

The two hugged, now understanding each other a little better. Senna tucked in Korra, kissing her forehead, and saying good night.

On this day, Korra didn't just learn that everyone makes mistakes. She also learned that like the vines, she's going to grow up.

Lastly, like the now dead plant, it will someday be the way Senna cares to Korra; it won't last forever. It's just nice when it lasts.

See more

For the collective works of the author, go here.