|More from Skyart||Action/Adventure||PG-13||None||None|
|Prologue - Homecoming (Avatar: The Second)|
Skaï was standing on top of the recently finished tower where he heard the monks planned to build a sanctuary to his effigy. His predecessor, Avatar Wan, was already placed down there, alone, in the darkness of the very top of the tower. The idea that he too, when the time comes, would eventually have a sculpture of himself stored away in this cold place, made him shudder.
It has been ten years since he left the monks and their little settlement, and he was amazed at how fast it developed and how beautiful it became. The now called Southern Air Temple gleamed in the sunshine, above the clouds, piercing the sky with its shiny blue spires striped in gold. Wherever Skaï looked, it was magnificent. Yet, wherever he looked, it was infuriating. For more than ten years, the monks hid away above the clouds, turning their backs on the world, unfazed by all the violence and the suffering that were happening underneath them. Being raised by them till the age of seven, he knew of how much they abhorred violence and conflict, but he still couldn't understand how they could peacefully take their time building temples when the world was in chaos.
Skaï had been so absorbed in his dark thought that he didn't felt the High Monk Chaanakya coming behind him, standing perfectly fine on the steep roof.
"Stop calling me that, Chaanakya. I am not Wan," answered Skaï without stopping to gaze at the horizon.
"Oh! But you are. You may have a different body, a different personality, but in your core, you still are the friend I loved. I can feel it."
"What you feel is my connection to Wan. He is a past life. I am a new life. We are one, but we are different."
Skaï turned around when he noticed the prolonged silence Chaanakya gave him instead of his usual teasing. In ten years, the old monk of now 90 years old didn't change a bit of how Skaï remembered him. His face was still covered in the same old wrinkles that the boy had seen the first seven years of his life. His frail mouth was drawing a faint smile, while his mid-closed gray eyes were looking at the child he raised with a great mix of joy, sadness and nostalgia.
"You've gained knowledge. And wisdom."
"Yet it is not enough. There is so much to learn, old man! Every time I understand something new about my duties, my responsibilities, I end up with more questions than answers. How am I supposed to bring balance as Wan's reincarnation if I don't know the very meaning of 'balance'? Benders and non-benders out there are killing each other for the sole reason of superiority and leadership. I may master the four elements, but I am only one man."
"You are too hard on yourself. You are only seventeen years old. Take your time to sit back, to take a break, and then look back at everything with hindsight. For example, you could start by relaxing those brows of yours and by hugging an old man who missed you during ten whole years."
"You're right," sighed Skaï, finally smiling at his old mentor. "I'm sorry. I missed you too."
The two of them shared a fatherly embrace while the sun started its way down behind the high pikes of the Patola Mountain Range, leaving a crimson filter of light to shine on the white stones of the newly founded Southern Air Temple.
"Are you leaving already?"
Skaï was loading supplies on Molly, his lion eagle, when Chaanakya came. It was still dark and the old monk visibly didn't slept since their long conversation where they tried to catch up with each other as much as it was possible after ten years apart.
"Yes. I was only delivering the message about the earthbenders. I can sit back and relax, but the world can't. I am tired of seeing burned villages, buried cities and flooded landscapes. I may only be seventeen years old, but I got Wan and Raava at my side. I will end this war no matter what."
While speaking, Skaï had already mounted on his beast friend and was now facing the sky, ready to depart.
Chaanakya quickly asked him, "Why would earthbenders climb the mountains? There is nothing of value here."
"Oh, there is," answered Skaï back. "Mountains are made of rocks, and they want all the earth they can gather to fight in the war. You've got three choices, Chaan. Negotiate, leave or fight. Knowing the stubbornness of earthbenders, you might not want to consider the first one too much. I'm sorry that I can't help you more."
"It's alright, my child, I know how important your duties are," replied Chaanakya.
Then, the old monk wondered, "Speaking of which, being Wan's successor, your mastery of the elements must be famous. What do they call you down there? The New Wan? Or maybe The Bending Master?" Chaanakya laughed while imagining people calling his pupil ridiculous names.
Skaï, with an apparent proud face answered. "Actually, someone called me something recently and I feel that it's going to last. You see, I'm Wan and Raava's new incarnation. The bridge between the physical and the spirit world. I'm a representative. An icon."
Skaï then gently clapped Molly on her flank, causing her to take off.
To be continued
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