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|The Airbending Master|
July 9, 2010
The Airbending Master is the thirty fourth chapter of Avatar: Guardian. In the chapter, Aang explores his inability to generate lightning, despite being at peace with himself.
Appa lands with a thud on the ground. Team Avatar jumps out of the saddle and decides that it is time to rest.
Toph is voicing her disappointment at their search. "Will we ever find those agents?"
This is met by similar comments from the rest of the group. Aang decides that he wants to finish his Firebending training. "Hey, Zuko, would you mind teaching me how to make lightning? I've been meaning to ask you for a while, and since we're kinda stuck now, could you?"
Zuko looks up at Aang and agrees. The entire team decides to follow them to an open clearing to watch. Zuko begins explaining lightning in the same way his uncle told him. "As you humbly separate the energies, you guide the lightning, not control it. You must have complete peace of mind and have no inner turmoil. That's why it took me so long to learn it." Zuko begins showing Aang the arm motions that are necessary for lightning.
Zuko then demonstrates the power of lightning, swinging his arms in a slow, semi-circle before touching his fingertips together, and firing a large lightning bolt over the cliffside. Aang and the others watch in awe at the fluid motion. Even Toph turned her head towards Zuko's direction; even though she couldn't see it, she could feel the immense energy. Zuko, after calming himself, tells Aang to calm his mind for a moment before attempting it. Aang sits and calms himself.
Aang then rises and begins moving his arms at the identical rate that Zuko did, met his fingertips together, and went to fire the bolt off the mountain when an explosion knocked him back. "What was that?"
Zuko recognized this because the same thing had happened to him. He thought about how to fix Aang's mistake, but discovered a problem: his technique was perfect. "Don't worry about that Aang, the same thing happened to me the first time. Is there anything troubling you?"
"Nope, nothing at all," Aang replied in his usual tone, "Why?"
"My uncle says that stress and disability can affect your ability to create lightning. Usually he's right about these kinds of things."
"Maybe I should just try it again." He hopped back up using Airbending, and began the motion over again. Zuko saw sparks of lightning, something he didn't see the first time. Aang launched his arms forward, only to have an even larger explosion force him flying back and leaving the part of the cliff he was standing on to crumble down the mountainside. "That felt weird." Aang was about ten feet away from where he was the time before.
Sokka seizes the opportunity and retorts "Aang can't get it? I'm SHOCKED!" Toph laughed and Katara shuts them up.
Zuko was still thinking about why Aang couldn't get it. "It is weird. Everything you did has been perfect. The timing, the angles... I just don't understand this. Let me try again, maybe you are doing something wrong and I'm just not catching it. Watch me carefully." Zuko assumed his stance, and generated lightning again, perfectly. "No, that's exactly what you did... I'm beat, Aang. I can't figure out what you're doing wrong."
"It's okay Zuko. Let's just try tomorrow." Aang turned to the rest of the Team, who seemed to agree with him.
"Maybe a night's rest will help us think it over." Zuko agrees while following the group back to the camp.
An Old Friend
Later, Aang left camp for his daily meditation. He needed a peaceful silence, something that Sokka's and Toph's jokes would not allow for. Aang's focus shifts from the potency of air, to the succession of the elements, to eventually lightning. He gets an idea: why not ask Roku? He seemed to know everything else. He meditated and focused deep inside himself, and Roku appeared before him.
"Hello, Aang. It has been a long time. I applaud your decisiveness. You seem like you need help."
"Thank you, Roku. I'm trying to learn to generate lightning, but I just can't get the hang of it."
"Lightning is a powerful form of energy, one that cannot be fully mastered. To control lightning, you must have mastered all elements fully up to Firebending. I mastered Firebending first, so I was able to utilize lightning at a relatively young age. Sozin showed it to me, but I couldn't control it as well as I would have liked or as well as he could. I largely abandoned it for a while. I was able to use it, but I chose not to. You learned Firebending last, so you may have missed some mastery of any of the elements."
"How, Roku? Pakku certified Katara a master, who said that I'm one. Toph and Zuko also say I've mastered Earth and Fire, that's all of them! Why can't I do it?"
"Aang, you forget, you never mastered Airbending." Roku replies calmly.
Aang was surprised to hear Roku say that. "Roku, I definitely mastered Airbending. I have the tattoos." he says while pointing to his forehead.
"Aang, in my day, there were 36 tiers of Airbending that took me years to master. You may have the tattoos, but you lack the final level of Airbending mastery. Until you master that level, you cannot generate lightning."
"Roku, there are no more Airbending masters. No one alive knows that last level."
"Aang, all the past Avatars have mastered that level, along with all the others. Look to your past lives for guidance. We shall teach you the final level of Airbending."
The rest of Team Avatar sat around a campfire, waiting for Aang to return.
Toph is the first to express an actual concern for where Aang went. "Does anyone know where Twinkle Toes went? He's been gone for hours and I've been hearing thuds and crashes for the past hour. It's getting old."
Katara's motherly instincts kicked in "What? Crashes? Maybe the Dai Li found him!"
"Wow, I never thought of that." Toph mutters to herself. Katara grabbed her arm and pulled her up as the rest of the team began following them.
"Toph, from what direction have you been feeling the crashes?"
"Just follow me!" Toph replies, pulling ahead of the rest of the group.
After about ten minutes of running, the team found the source of the crashes. Aang was standing in an open clearing, alone, practicing his Airbending.
"What were all those crashes, Aang?"
Aang turns around, and in his usual happy tone, says "I'm just practicing my Airbending, nothing major. And now, I should be able to generate lightning."
This was met with shock from the rest of the group. Zuko was the first to bring up the fact that he was practicing with Airbending, not lightning. "How do you expect to be able to generate lightning, just like that? It's not just a simple exercise; it takes a long time of training to do!"
"Well, it turns out I couldn't make lightning because I didn't master Airbending."
Katara did not expect that. "You didn't master Airbending? I thought you were declared a master over a hundred years ago."
"I was, but it was because I invented the air scooter. I never mastered the final level. But I know it now."
Sokka asked with sarcasm "What did you just use some sort of crazy Avatar power and learn it all of a sudden?"
Zuko was still skeptical. "Prove it. Make some lightning."
Aang nodded his head, and assumed the stance. His arms moved in opposite directions, and sparks flew through the air. His fingertips touched, and he thrust both arms into the sky, away from the rest of the team, sending a large lightning bolt into space.
With smoke coming from his fingertips, he exhaled and his smile returned to his face. "See? I told you!"
"Wow, I think you beat my sister for the title of the youngest person to generate lightning." Zuko says in congratulations.
"Actually, Roku told me Sozin did it before me."
"Wow, he must have been cold-hearted," Katara notes.
"But I'm the youngest Avatar to be able to make lightning." Aang replies, excited.
Toph broke Aang's joyous moment, "Actually, you're 113. It took you a while."
The group heads back to camp; with Aang still arguing with Toph over his age.
This chapter was written immensely out of order, due to the timing in which The Bos came up with the idea, conceptualized during the middle of Book 1. He wrote down the idea with specific details about the dialogue before forgetting about the project to write other chapters. When he returned to it, he had more inspiration than before, and wrote the remainder of the chapter in one sitting with little edits to it later on.
This chapter was published into a receptive audience. Dragon of the West referred to the chapter as "beautiful" while Dudewaldo was impressed that The Bos caught Aang's incomplete Airbending training. The Avatar agreed, adding that he found it interesting that Aang learned Airbending via the spirits. Vaznock read the chapter later and remarked on The Bos' use of the knowledge of the 36 tiers of Airbending, remarking that he had "forgot we even had that information!" while saying he enjoyed the chapter.
References to the Original Series
- Roku's mention of Sozin being more advanced at Firebending than him is a reference to how Sozin defeated him when they were children in "The Avatar and the Fire Lord."
- According to Avatar Wiki, Aang never mastered the last tier of Airbending, the basis for this chapter, and he is never shown generating lightning.
For the collective works of the author, go here.