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October 22nd, 2015
"Korra!? What's wrong? Are you okay!?" Asami rushed to the Avatar's side quickly as her partner struggled to get up onto her hands and knees, coughing frantically, "I-I'm fine Asami, really.." Asami glared, "You are NOT fine, Korra! Come on, you need to rest!" Korra clenched her fists into the ground, causing dirt to pile up in her palms, "I can't.... what if the world needs me..? What if?-" Then the coughing started again, this time more violently than before. When it finally settled, Korra removed her hand from her mouth and what she saw made her go pale. It was covered in blood. "Asami, I need.....- K..." Korra found herself unable to finish her sentence as the world around her started to spin, and her vision went blurry. "Korra! Hold on, stay with me!"
It all started with the occasional cough a year ago. It was manageable, and they could find no cause. Because of this, Korra brushed it off, until the other day when she started experiencing extreme fatigue and dizziness, followed by the familiar cough – more ruthless and violent than ever, and whatever she had ate through her like a centipede mite. It all happened so fast that there was no way to deal with it in time – if it even could be dealt with.
Korra awoke three days later, her face coated with sweat, despite the cool temperature of the room. She felt weak.. even weaker than she was during her rehabilitation after she was poisoned. "Korra! You're awake, thank god!" Asami hugged her tightly, followed by audible sniffling. Was she crying? "Asami..... how long was I out...?" Asami pulled back and wiped her tears, "About three days... we were worried you wouldn't wake up. I'm so glad you're here now.. it must mean your health is improving, right Kya?" Asami looked over at the aged waterbender that was sitting by the other side of Korra's bed. Kya looked away, unable to meet her gaze. This didn't escape Korra's notice. "What do you know?" Kya gripped Korra's hand tightly, "I'm sorry, Korra.. I did everything I possibly could.. but your body... it's shutting down. I can't explain it.. but I don't..." She wiped a tear away, "I don't think even my mom could heal you now.. I'm so sorry." Korra smiled weakly and patted Kya's shoulder, "It's okay Kya, really. Could you... maybe leave me and Asami alone for a few minutes?" Kya nodded and walked towards the door, glancing once more at Korra with sadness on her face before leaving. "Asami, I..-" Asami wiped tears from her face and shook her head, "It's okay Korra.. I'm not going to break down and make this even harder for you. If what Kya says is true then... then I'll be there for you.. like I always have." She smiled weakly, but Korra knew she was just trying to be strong for her. "I don't mean to be a nuisance but.. could you get everybody here for me?" Asami nodded, "Of course. I'm sure they'll want to be here for you too." Korra's eyes narrowed, "The White Lotus too." Asami's face went slightly pale.. she knew what it meant, why she needed them here. When the implications finally settled in, Asami's lips trembled. "It isn't going to be any less real if I pretend this isn't happening, Asami – you have to realize it too... No matter what's going to happen later, I'm still the Avatar right now – and I need to do my duty and help prepare the White Lotus." Korra was so calm – so focused, even in the wake of death
Tenzin and Jinora had arrived a day earlier and had been with Korra ever since. A day later, Mako, Bolin and Opal arrived too. Mako's eyes widened and Bolin's mouth opened slightly upon seeing Korra in her emaciated state. Mako spoke first, "Uh, hey Korra.. doing okay?" Korra smiled, "Been better. How are the streets these days, chief?" Mako pocketed his hands and looked down, "They're.. good. Crime's down a lot..." Bolin laughed, "Oh Mako.. always so modest. He's a bonifide badass! People say the city's never been safer!" That made Korra happy, "Bolin? Opal? How's the family?" Mako grabbed a chair and Bolin's face quivered a little, "Everyone's good, yeah.. I'm teaching Pabu how to steer a Satomobile in case I need my hands free.. so yeah, got a lot going on right now, yup...!" Tears streamed down his face. Bolin never was one to keep his emotions bottled up. Opal put a comforting hand on her husband's shoulder, "Korra, is it true..? You know... is there nothing anyone can do?" Korra shook her head, "No, there isn't. I've thought about it a lot, and I've realized this is something I've had for awhile now.. I think I've always known... but now I'm absolutely sure of it." Korra laughed slightly, "It's funny, I got the poison out all those years ago and yet... the damage was already done. I'm sure Zaheer would find it funny too." Korra lifted her hand and motioned for Mako, Bolin and Asami to come closer, "Listen.. we'll always be Team Avatar, okay? I may die now.. but I'm not really going away, right?" She hugged them and looked up as the White Lotus entered the room, "Bolin, Mako.. I'd like you to teach the new Avatar earthbending and firebending. I've known you two practically my whole life.. so I know you'll be perfect.. can you do it?" Mako smirked, "Of course.. although I'll probably need to take some temporarily leave.. I doubt anyone would mind. They can't exactly complain when I'm helping the Avatar out, right?" Bolin smiled brightly, "Heck yeah I'll do it! You know, I gotta say, Master Bolin has a nice ring to it." Korra chuckled, "You know, it actually does." She coughed lightly, causing their faces to go solemn again. "Jinora.. do you think you could..?" The master airbender nodded warmly, "Of course." She hugged her tightly, "You've become a great master. Aang would be so proud of you." Jinora's eyes welled up, "You think so..?" Tenzin smiled warmly, pacing slowly towards his daughter. Korra had almost forgotten how frail Tenzin had become. She regretted not visiting Air Temple Island more than she had.. especially now. Tenzin placed his hand on Jinora's shoulder, "He certainly would. I couldn't think of a better teacher myself." Jinora wiped a tear away and smiled, "Thank you, Korra." Korra smiled and nodded to Jinora before turning her attention to Sho, the newly appointed Grand Master of the White Lotus, "I have one request for the White Lotus.. don't keep the new Avatar cooped up in one place to learn the elements okay? I realized long, long ago that the Avatar needs to be free to connect with the world around them, and forge their own path." Korra smirked, "And besides, you won't be able to stop them if they're anything like me." She laughed and coughed again, "Could I have a moment alone with Tenzin?" Everybody got up with a nod and left. Tenzin gripped her hand tightly, "Jinora isn't the only one my father would be proud of. Korra, through your efforts you have accomplished more than any Avatar in history.. I know I've said this before, but I'm truly honored to have been your spiritual mentor in all the years I've known you." Korra smiled, "And I'm honored to have been your student. I know I wasn't easy.." Tenzin laughed, "No, you certainly weren't." Korra grinned, "But despite all that, you never gave up on me, even at my worst. Thank you so much for everything you've done for me. I'd never be the Avatar I am now if it wasn't for you." Tenzin frowned, "You give yourself too little credit. I may have helped guide you, it was your own inner strength that made you who you are. Never forget that." Korra looked up at the ceiling and smiled, "Yeah... I am pretty great aren't I..?" Korra felt her vision start to fade and her strength leave her body. 'Already..? I guess this is it..' She slowly closed her eyes, causing Tenzin's to widen, "Korra...? Korra...!? Korra!!"
Korra woke inside a strange yet familiar place, her body taking on a bluish hue, with golden chains surrounding her and the light spirit – connecting them. "Raava.. where are we?" The soft melodic voice responded warmly, "We are inside of you, for the time being." Korra smiled, "I've died so many times... but I'm still scared. Is that normal?" Raava's voice resounded once more, "Of course. It is a natural reaction for anybody, even the Avatar." Korra frowned, "I know but.. after this I'll have to start as somebody new.. I'll never be Korra again.. if I ever see my friends again, it won't be the same.. everything I am right now will be gone, won't it? Isn't that the same as dying for good?" Raava responded gently. Somehow, it helped set Korra at ease, "You are mistaken, Korra. Think back to when you met the friends you had during your previous lifetime. What did you feel when you were with them again, after you had become your current self?" Korra looked down, "I felt.. familiarity... I felt like I had known them for a lifetime.." And then something clicked as Korra's eyes widened in realization, and Raava responded in turn, "Exactly right. That is because when you were Aang, you HAD known them for a lifetime. Do you see Korra? Your life is forever connected to the people you hold most dear. Your experiences, your relationships, your memories, everything you are, were, and will ever be will always be a part of you no matter what happens. You will always be Korra, deep down inside, and you will never truly say goodbye to the people you love. You will see them all again soon." Korra closed her eyes and smiled warmly, "I feel tired, Raava." Raava's voice became more hushed as the world around them went bright, "Then rest now, Korra.. the time has come."
In the real world, Korra exhaled deeply in her unconscious state as everyone she cared about surrounded her. Through her breath, the Avatar Spirit left her body and floated into the air, breaking off into hundreds of tiny particles before fading. Asami burst into tears and grabbed Korra's lifeless hand tightly as everyone around her shared similar grief. And so the life of Avatar Korra came to an end.
"Fire. Air. Water. Earth."
"A long time ago, a young man named Wan befriended the spirit of light and together the two became one. Through his connection with the spirit, Wan became the only person able to bend all four elements, and during Harmonic Convergence he sealed away the spirit of darkness and became the bridge between the human and Spirit Worlds - the Avatar. The Avatar continued to be reborn continuously for ten thousand years, continuing it's mission to bring peace to the world, but Fire Lord Sozin, fearing the immense power the Avatar possessed, attempted to destroy him once and for all by massacring the peaceful Air Nomads, among whom the next Avatar was born. Unbeknownst to him, the Avatar survived, and became frozen in an iceberg for one hundred years. His name was Avatar Aang. Together with his friends, Aang defeated Fire Lord Ozai, and brought about an era of peace after one hundred years of war. After this, Avatar Aang and Fire Lord Zuko created a nation separate from the rest, where benders of all nationalities could live together. They called it the United Republic, and it's capital was known as Republic City. Unfortunately, Aang exerted a great deal of energy staying alive in the iceberg for so many years, and his time came to an end. The Avatar Spirit was once again reborn, this time into that of a waterbender named Korra. It saddens me to say that I never knew my grandfather - but I knew Korra. Hot headed, rambunctious and eager to fulfill her role as the Avatar, Korra accomplished incredible things in her life, perhaps more than any other Avatar. She defeated Vaatu and opened the spirit portals, reconnecting us with the spirits, and as a result of this, many non-benders around the world suddenly gained airbending, which essentially restored the Air Nation.. our nation. However, a group known as the Red Lotus, and it's leader threatened to destroy the Air Nation if she didn't surrender to them. In order to protect our people, Korra gave herself up, and they poisoned her in an attempt to destroy the Avatar Spirit once and for all, Although Korra was able to get it out, the poison was strong, and the damage it caused took it's toll. Korra's time came too, and she died young. I still miss her even to this day, but I know she'll always be with us. The cycle began anew, like it always has, and the Avatar is out their, somewhere - and will continue to bring peace and harmony to the world...."
Jinora looked up at the young air nomads sitting in front of her and smiled nostalgically, "And the rest of this story has yet to be told.. but I have a feeling it's going to be worth the wait."
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