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Kuruk of the Water Tribe



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Kuruk is told he is the Avatar and breaks the news to his family and friends.


I was sixteen when I was told I was the Avatar.

"Kuruk, son of Nanuk," There were five people on the dais. One representative from each tribe and Chief Tuiyo, who was on the side. Kuruk thought that they couldn't possibly have looked more official. Glancing back, he noticed that the doors had been closed behind him. "Step forward."

"Have I done something wrong?" Kuruk asked, not really expecting an answer. Tuiyo stepped down and stumbled over to Kuruk, standing behind him and placing both hands on his shoulders. "Be quiet, Kuruk. This is important." The boy frowned and looked down at his sealskin boots. He had thrown Hinun in the canal, but he had been asking to go swimming. He was about to say something when Tuiyo clenched his shoulders again and Kuruk clenched his jaw. The four representatives stepped down and formed a line, the water Shaman, Payo, in front.

"What's happening?" Kuruk asked again, quieter so that only Payo could hear. Payo smiled at Kuruk and winked.

"Hush up, we're about to change your life."

Then Payo bowed.

"Kuruk. It is my honor as the spiritual advisor of the Northern Water Tribe to tell you that you are the Avatar."

Kuruk blinked. It took him a second to process this information. By this time Payo had pushed a large necklace into his hands, bowed again and left. Next was a Priest of the Earth Kingdom who gave Kuruk two wrist braces. The Fire Sage, gave him a hair piece and the Air Guru offered a wide belt. Tuiyo took his place behind the four spiritual advisors and they all bowed.

"It is an honor," Kuruk was standing very still, his hands full of gifts, "Avatar Kuruk."

"Uh. Thanks."

Tuiyo almost fell down with embarrassment. Payo smiled and came down to talk to Kuruk, leading him away as he put on the various ornaments.

"Well this is pretty awesome."

Payo laughed as they went outside, "We have made plans for you to leave with the delegation from the Earth Kingdom so you may begin your Avatar training."

Kuruk sighed. "I was just beginning to beat Master Saio on a regular basis." It didn't worry him too much that he was leaving the Northern Water Tribe. "Can I bring Agler?"

"Of course," Payo replied as they descended the steps into the upper town. "She is your spirit guide." Kuruk was relieved. He had found his polar leopard as a cub when he was seven and raised her from there. Agler had grown to be large enough for Kuruk to ride and tame enough for him to keep around his family and the rest of the tribe – unusual for one of the most feared arctic beasts. It made so much more sense now why Aggie was so agreeable to humans.

"Can I bring Hinun?"

Payo's smile faltered. He knew that Kuruk and his son were very close. Kuruk glanced at Payo.

"My son is old enough to decide for himself, I think." Payo said after a few minutes, staring straight ahead.

"Great! He's probably been fished out by now so I'll go catch up with him. Bye Payo!"

Kuruk ran down the steps, through the intricate maze of the noble sector. He laughed, and icicles shot up from his footsteps. He ran into the shamans house and up to the second floor.


"Get stuffed, Kuruk, I'm hardly even dry!"

Kuruk pushed aside the polar leopard skin that covered the door to his best friends room, slightly out of breath and smiling from ear to ear.

"I'm the Avatar!"

"Yeah, and I'm a baby turtle seal. What's new?" Hinun replied, pulling on his long, fur-lined overcoat and tying back his dark dreadlocks, the mark of his status as Shaman in training.

"No, I'm serious, look." Kuruk held out his hands, showing off the braces around his wrist. Hinun raised his eyebrows. "Yeah, and your dad gave me this, too." Kuruk said, pointing at the large whale and stone necklace. Hinun recognized it from the shrine that he had been meditating in since he was eight. So it was Kuruk after all.

"Well I must've hatched out of an egg." Hinun said, giving his friend a deep mock bow, flourishing elegantly. "Congratulations, Avatar Kuruk of the Water Tribe. How may I serve your honorable honorableness?"

"If you call me honorable honorableness I will kill you."

"Kiss my nether regions, sweetheart." Hinun replied, grabbing his necklace and putting Kuruk in a chokehold as they left his room and went outside.

"Your mouth is foul." Kuruk said, struggling to get out of the older boys hold.

"Now you have no excuse when I beat you." Hinun pushed Kuruk out of the house, following him and stretching. Kuruk grimaced, remembering their last sparring encounter. Hinun had always been an amazing bender. Kuruk blamed this on the fact that Hinun had been possessed by a warrior spirit. The thing about that, though, was Hinun had been at the same level since he turned thirteen. While amazing and hailed as a prodigy Hinun knew that he would never be able to improve past the level he was right now. Kuruk, however. . .

The Avatar suddenly grinned.

"Just wait until I learn Firebending." Kuruk exclaimed, jumping back and hitting the air around him in mock bending motions. He gasped as some smoke trailed from his hands. "Hinun look! I'm doing it already!"

He glanced down and realized that it was just the ice steaming as Hinun twirled his hand, melting the ice beneath his feet.

"You're a jerk."

Hinun laughed and clapped Kuruk on the shoulder. The two boys continued down to the lower village, where Kuruk lived. "Yes. But you're worse. How are you going to break it to Oki?"

Kuruk shrugged. "I was thinking something along the lines of 'I'm the Avatar and I've always been into green eyes'."

"I think you're a fool." Hinun said, as they passed through the last of the nobleman's houses.

"Maybe. I'm just worried about what my mother will say."

"Her youngest son, off on his own, learning how to keep the peace, travelling around on a grand quest for enlightenment!" Hinun draped an arm over his friends shoulder, laughing as Kuruk did.

Kuruk lifted Hinun's arm off his shoulders and stopped, "Actually. About being on my own." Hinun raised an eyebrow. "Would you come with me?" Kuruk asked, looking up at Hinun. "You're literally my oldest friend. If you don't come with me I will only have Agler to talk to and she's not much of a conversationalist."

Hinun's smile faltered and he glanced down. "We'll be gone a long time, won't we."

"So you'll come with me!"

"Of course, your honorable honorableness" Hinun said, smiling and bowing deeply again. Kuruk laughed and grabbed Hinun, hugging him tightly. Hinun patted the young Avatar on the back and they continued to walk along the ice path.

"Come on, you sap. Let's go tell your girlfriend you're dumping her for the emerald eyed princess of Omashu."

"Actually. . . " Kuruk skipped ahead of Hinun. "Why don't you tell her while I go chat with my family? Catch you later, bye!" Kuruk ran off quickly before Hinun could get a word in. Hinun sighed and tugged at his pony tail.

Hinun turned left and tried to remember where Oki lived. Typical that Kuruk was going to make one last girl cry before he left the Water Tribe.

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