|More from Momoam15||Adventure||PG-13||Positive|
|Life of a Lotus|
September 22, 2012
Chapter 3: Life of a Lotus
"Aalyia...Aalyia..." A swift orange body sprinted across the field. "Aalyia you're falling behind, you need to catch up to the others."
"Iio! Aang! Aamina! Where are you?!" Nomads, hundreds of them, stopped at the edge of a cliff. One of the little ones turns my way and gives the slightest smile, a wink. Then, they jump. I bolt to the edge and look over. Flowing robes disappear behind clouds of fog, and freely fall to the trench below.
"Use your airbending! Your gliders! Something! You're going to die!!! Are you listening? Can you hear me?" I collapse on the grass and cry into my palms. Pollen from the flowers swirl around me and dust is blown into the air. Footsteps crunch on the soil behind me, a warm calloused hand grasps my shoulder.
"Don't worry dear Aalyia; everything is going to be just fine..." His voice, with its soft tones, calmed my senses as I closed my eyes and listened. I turned to look at the man, but the black collapsed around me, and the world faded into nothing.
"AAH!" Hot tears run down my cheeks, and a sharp pain pierces through my legs and up my side. The room is still and quiet, only the sound of wind is echoing through the window. I crawl to the wall, and pull myself up by the sill to look outside. The sun is already set, and the white moon shines a spotlight on the mountains.
"I must've fallen asleep." I let go and sit underneath the window. The stillness of everything is scary. A few hours ago I was running for my life, and the sound of screams pierced my ears. Elderly women, little girls. I couldn't protect any of them, even Aamina. I mean, she's a good bender, but she wouldn't be able to take ten firebenders by herself. She would be beaten, burned, and hurt. Or worse.
"Stop it Aalyia! Get a hold of yourself!" I smack my cheek and take a deep breath. The room is still coated in a blanket of smoke, but I've been in here so long. I'm no longer bothered by the scent.
I can't remember the last time I ever heard a voice so calm and collected. It was just a dream, but that man was the most stable thing in my life as of now. The only time I was ever calm was while playing Pai Sho with Monk Gyatso. If we wanted to, Iio would let us visit the Southern Air Temple for a day, just so we could have little competitions. I'm not much of a bender, but I know that I could beat anyone in Pai Sho. My favorite tile was the white lotus, just because it was pretty. It's funny though when you're little, how you never seem to pick up on things easily.
"My dearest friend,
Since the passing of my husband, I have been alone and frightened. But from the knowledge I have of the situation, I can tell you that no airbender is safe. I grew up with Sozin as a child, and I believe that he will not hesitate to wage war. Even before his crowning of Firelord, I could see the twisted soul the lied beneath the surface of my husband's closest friend. When I married, Sozin expressed his dreams of expanding his nation. I love my nation, but spreading peace by force, will only outrage the world, and chaos will emerge. Please Gyatso, do what you must to protect your people, and to protect yourself. May Roku's spirit live through your pupil, and may the spirits watch over us. - Ta Min"
"So what you're saying, Gyatso, is that we need to alert the order of Sozin's plan."
"Yes Iio, Ta Min sent the letter with this attached."
"Yes, the one of the white lotus."
"But how do we know that Sozin is planning to advance his military? We haven't seen much in the past seven years of his power. Perhaps he has had a change of heart? The death of a loved one can open the eyes of those most blinded by pride."
"Iio, do you not remember what Roku had told us the month of his death?"
"Of course I do Gyatso, but we should at least consult the others before taking the fate of the world into our own hands. Your boy is still training, and even though he's the one, he's just a child."
"Perhaps you are right, can you ple-"
"Are you playing without me? I only went to eat lunch for a half hour and you promised you would wait." I crossed my arms and pouted my lips. The feet that they jumped should have told me I came in at the wrong time.
"Aalyia dear, why are you back? Shouldn't you be helping Monk Katsu with cleaning up the lunch area?" Iio walked over to me and began to scoot me out.
"No, no Iio. A promise is a promise; Aalyia may stay to play me in another round." He shifted over to her and whispered softly into her ear. The only words I could make out were "One day she will understand"... I should have realized who he was talking about. She gave him an accepting look and left the room with a piece of paper in her hand.
"Now my dear, care to kick my butt again in our game?" He sat down on his pillow and motioned for me to do the same. I carefully sat down so that the pillow wouldn't bunch underneath my body. He played the first move.
"Gyatso, what were you two talking about?" I moved one of my pieces and watched him as he concentrated on the board.
"Some things are to be kept secret my child." He moved one of his pieces and smiled warmly at me.
"Oh, I'm sorry for asking. It just seemed that the conversation was intense. I just wanted to help lighten the mood." I moved another piece, and Gyatso quickly moved another to the outside of the table.
"What was that move? It made no sense." I stared at the piece in puzzlement.
"Look closely Aalyia. See this piece here, and that one there?" He folded his hands and placed them in his lap.
"Hmm..." I took my piece and made the same move.
"Interesting move young one." He moved another tile, but this time to the inside. He refolded his hands and sat up straight. "Your turn." I picked up another tile and placed it in the same exact fashion. We continued this pattern until only one piece remained.
"Hey, the only tile left is the white lotus. This one is my favorite." I looked at the board and placed it in the center. "Look Gyatso, we made a flower!" I smiled and looked up at him. He had his eyes closed and a serious look on his face.
"Young airbender, what do you think this means?" He opened his eyes and spread out his arms.
"Well I was hoping to defeat you this round and become the all time champion, but making a flower is more fun. I guess Pai Sho can be more than just a game." I picked up the white lotus tile and smoothed it over with my thumb. Gyatso nodded his head and stood up from the table.
"I believe my next competitor has arrived." Aang stood in the doorway and waved at me. I put the tile down and walked over to meet him.
"Hi Aalyia, did you win this time?" He looked at me in anticipation.
"You know, there's more to Pai Sho than winning. The score of the match is nothing to be remembered, only the experience."
"You lost didn't you?" He smirked, and then plopped down on the pillow I was sitting in. As I left through the doorway into the hallway, Gyatso slipped a smooth object into my hand. When I reached outside, I looked to see what it was. "A white lotus tile?" I held it tight and smiled.
"Now that I think about it, I still don't understand why he even gave me the tile." I slip my hand into my robe and pull out a small round piece. The white lotus is still blooming forever inside its circle prison. I keep it with me because it's my good luck charm, and whenever I get angry or depressed, I can pull it out and remember that there is more to life than what we think.
The letter Gyatso read, I understand it now, and it's a shame that no precautions were taken. The war did, in fact, come. We had a chance to stop it. Sitting behind that corner, I guess I heard more than what my little ears should've. The only thing I couldn't figure out is what Iio said. It was about some secret order? Whoever they are, I hope they're coming soon. I can't imagine never playing another match with Gyatso, and making pretty pictures.
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