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In the far reaches of the mountains, surrounded by a field of seemingly endless mist, three mountains covered with buildings trimmed with dark green and gold jutted out of the earth like the lower teeth of a great beast, the great land that was the Eastern Air Temple.
Within the incongruous territory of the temple, a small group of children, mostly young women, were playing in the center of a town square. A couple of older women were watching as the girls scampered around, Airbending to their hearts' content. They were focused on one in particular.
"Hm hm. Suni is only twelve, and she already looks more like Aang than you, Naga." the eldest woman chuckled. The younger lady standing beside her laughed, too.
"I guess it's to be expected. She is a direct descendant, along with her sister."
"Hm? Speaking of Meiya, where is the young Avatar, anyway?"
"She is probably at the Windy Rock. She thinks of that place as her second home-"
Naga stopped as she noticed someone sitting near the edge of the square.
"Actually, there she is. I wonder why she's here."
In the square, a couple of the girls noticed Meiya, too.
"Who's that?" one girl asked.
"That's my sister, Meiya." Suni said glumly.
"You never told me you had a sister."
"She's a bit of a downer, actually. A real sharp tack."
"What's wrong with her?"
Suni frowned. "There's nothing wrong with her. Why would you ask that, Kohi?"
"Sorry. Impulse. She just seems so...detached." Kohi said, staring at Meiya.
"She always hangs out at the Windy Rock to meditate. She doesn't have any friends, even though she's the Avatar."
"She's the Avatar? I thought you were the Avatar! You're more like Aang that anybody here!"
"Hey, Suni. I think I heard a couple of girls talking about her a few minutes ago."
"What'd they say?"
"Not sure, but I did hear the word 'wasp'. Is that her pet name?"
Suni shook her head sadly.
"It's a cruel nickname that a couple of jerks gave her because of her hair and personality. Meiya's hair is mostly blonde, but she a huge clot of brunette hair that extends from a little above her hairline all the way to the bottom of her hair in the shape on an arrow."
"What about her personality?"
"Meiya means well, but she can be a bit hard and cold sometimes. And if you annoy her, which is fairly easy, she can really sting you with her words."
"I think I'll go talk to her." Kohi said.
"Go ahead. I promise, you'll hate her at first." Suni said, leaning back and sitting on an air bubble that she made.
As Kohi approached Meiya, the nice draft that blew around the temple began to slowly diminished, and by the time she was right beside Meiya, it had disappeared completely.
"Um, hi!" Kohi said.
Meiya didn't say a word, only continuing her faint and steady breathing.
"Are you alive?" Kohi asked sarcastically, reaching out a hand to poke Meiya.
"Don't touch me." Meiya said sharply, causing Kohi to swiftly reel her hand back.
"What do you want?" Meiya asked, opening one blue-green eye and looking Kohi up and down.
"I, um, just wanted to say hi. Hi!"
"I would prefer you not stand so close while I am meditating. And would you mind not yelling in my ear?"
"Um, sure." Kohi said, backing away one step.
Kohi backed away another step.
"If I go back any farther, I won't be able to talk to you."
"That's the idea."
Kohi frowned and walked back up to Meiya.
"Why do you have to push away people that are trying to be your friends?"
Meiya half-laughed, half-snorted.
"You're just like everybody else. Always in my business."
"I just want to be your friend!"
Meiya laugh-snorted again.
"If I wasn't the Avatar, you wouldn't even give me a second thought. That's all people care about. It's all about being the Avatar."
"True. I'm also 'stone-cold', 'heartless', and a 'wasp'."
The last word slid off of Meiya's tongue like poison. "Is there anything else you'd like to add? If not, could you kindly leave?"
Kohi growled and stomped off. Meiya began her steady breathing again and closed the eye she held open.
"Actually, there is something I'd like to add!" Kohi yelled, stomping back to Meiya. "Why are YOU Avatar? You're nothing like your great-grandfather was. Aang was kind and compassionate, and you're cold and uncaring! You don't deserve the title!"
"I knew I shouldn't have left the Windy Rock." Meiya said icily, standing and walking away from Kohi, who felt bad soon after her anger and frustration diminished.
"I told you that you'd hate her." Suni said, patting Kohi's shoulder.
"Yeah, but I didn't want her to hate me." Kohi said.
In the center of the Fire Nation capital of New Zuko, a large crowd of Earthbenders were protesting, screaming at the guards that were positioned in front of the palace door. Behind the guards, a Fire Nation peace diplomat was trying to appease the crowd.
"Please, people! Calm down! I cannot help you if you are not orderly!" he yelled.
"Why did you destroy Bure Ku, you devils?" one Earth Kingdom citizen bellowed. "That was the center of Earth Kingdom trade. Without it, not even Omashu has enough food to feed every mouth!"
"I have absolutely no knowledge of the act of terror that has fallen on Bure Ku, and neither does the Fire Lord." the diplomat said calmly.
"Then how do you explain it?"
"Why are you blaming the Fire Nation? We didn't invent fire! Why is it that whenever something explodes, we're to blame?" yelled an indignant guard.
"Because you're ALWAYS to blame!" another Earthbender responded. "The Earth Kingdom is prepared to go to war once again!"
"You're really willing to ruin five hundred years of peace?"
"You've already ruined it!"
"That's it! I've had enough of you!"
The Fire Nation guard threw his hand forward and a ball of fire flew forward and exploded at the feet of the Earth Kingdom rabble-rouser. His friends retaliated by lifting the cemented ground and tossing it at the guards and the Fire Palace.
"I've got to alert Fire Lord Houja!" the diplomat panicked, running into the palace doors.
In the rear palace courtyard, a young black-haired man wearing royal garbs sat in a chair within a small gazebo, tying a letter to the leg of a blood-red messenger hawk. He extended his arm outside the gazebo and waved his hand, sending the hawk off. His golden brown eyes shone against the sheer brightness of the sun and the white comet streaking across the sky.
"Prince Zuko!" yelled an alarmed voice.
Zuko turned and saw a palace guard with dents in his armor.
"I've been sent to retrieve you. Some Earthbenders started a riot in front of the palace."
"What does that have to do with me?"
"It's just a safety measure, sir. By order of your father."
Zuko snorted and stood, walking toward the side door to the palace. He flinched and broke into a run as an Earthbent rock flew through the air and completely annihilated the gazebo.
"Are you still upset?" the guard asked.
"Don't push it." Zuko said as he ran inside the palace.
In the city of Ba Sing Se, a young girl sat at her window, looking to the sky, like she was waiting for something. As if to answer her prayers, a Fire Nation messenger hawk flew from the sky and alighted on her window sill.
"Thank you, winged friend." the girl said, stroking the bird's head with one finger. She untied the letter from the hawk's leg and glanced at the letter. Seeing the royal seal stamped in the top-right corner, she immediately knew who it was from and blushed.
I know that as of late, it's gotten harder and harder to see each other, but rest assured that my love for you has not diminished in the slightest. As you know, I'm not good at writing casual letters, so I apologize for the business-like formatting and grammar. Now for the real reason I wrote this little memo.
I only wish that I could ask you this in person, but if I don't do it now, I may never get another chance like this. We have known each other forever, and I know we've had our ups and downs, but after much soul-searching, I have realized that I cannot live without you.
Ischi Bei Fong, will you make me the happiest man in the world? Will you marry me? Circle Yes or No and forward this message back to me.
Ischi covered her mouth in surprise.
"My goodness. I never thought that this day would come!" Ischi said to herself. "My father will be so pleased! I must tell him immediately!"
Ischi clutched the proposal letter close to her chest, then ran out of the room. The messenger hawk squawked, then sat on the windowsill and began to croon softly.
On the other side of the world, a young girl was sitting in a reed boat, rowing with a bamboo oar. She used an ice telescope to see into the distance.
"Come on, where are you? Don't tell me I spent a week on the ocean for nothing! I've been tracking this thing for months now!" the girl said to herself.
"Alright, Khole, calm down. Center yourself." the girl said to herself. Khole reached one hand into the water and felt the current pulling to the east. Pulling strongly to the east.
"I've got you now!" Khole said, rowing hard in an eastern direction.
After about a minute of hard rowing, Khole heard a low moaning sound that came from underneath the ocean.
In front of Khole's boat was a dark shadow that got larger as whatever was underwater began to rise to the surface.
When the great creature broke the surface and flew into the air, Khole almost couldn't believe it. It was a massive whale-like creature, but had a shark fin where its blowhole should be, and instead of comb-bristle 'teeth', its teeth were razor sharp, like a sharks.
"I've finally found it! The great white whale shark!" Khole squealed, jumping up in her boat. "If I can tame the most aggressive creature in the ocean, I'll officially be a grandmaster Sea Beast Pacifier! Master Rodik will be so proud!"
The whale shark fell back down into the ocean.
"No way! You're not getting away from me!" Khole said, taking a deep breath and jumping out of her boat into the frigid ocean.
She used her Waterbending to jettison forward toward the great beast. She touched the whale shark's tail and held on for dear life. She closed her eyes and softened her grip only slightly on the tail.
Blue energy that was warm and comforting began to pulse from Khole's hand and throughout the whale shark, who seemed to not like it.
'Ugh. This must not be the soft spot. Maybe it's the back fin?' Khole thought as she was whipped around by the whale shark's thrashing tail.
Eventually, Khole was thrown off, and the whale shark whipped around and opened its mouth to swallow Khole whole.
The frightened Waterbender quickly used her Bending powers to rocket upwards just barely out the whale shark's reach. She broke the surface and took a deep breath.
The whale shark's tail burst out of the water and slammed down on Khole's reed boat.
"Oh, no you didn't. Now it's on." Khole whispered. "If only I had been smart enough to do this at night. Sozin's comet really screws with my Bending."
She took another breath and dove back into the water. The whale shark was circling one area, as if taunting Khole, which only made her madder. She clenched her fist, and an area of water underneath the whale shark pressurized.
Khole threw her hands to the sky, and the pressurized water lifted the whale shark. When the pressurized water hit the surface, Khole pursed her fingers together and the water froze over, creating a sheet of thick ice on the surface, with the whale shark thrashing about.
Khole jumped onto the ice sheet and touched the whale shark's back fin, sending another surge of relaxing blue energy into the beast.
This new wave seemed to have a better effect, as the whale shark stopped thrashing and begun to make a low humming noise.
"Did I do it?" Khole asked herself as she touched the ice sheet and watched it instantly melt back into water. The whale shark swam back into the water and all stayed dormant for a moment.
All of a sudden, the whale shark once again rose to the surface, playfully leaping over Khole's head and splashing her with icy water.
"It worked! I am a grandmaster Beast Pacifier!" Khole screamed at the sky. "I've befriended the Unagi, the lion seal, and now the great white whale shark! Go me! But how am I going to get home to celebrate, and how am I going to get proof?"
Khole's hopes were dashed for a moment, but then the whale shark used its snout to lift Khole into the air with a playful whale whinny.
"I think I'll name you Majesty. You're so...majestic! But can I ask you a favor? Can you swim me back to the Southern Water Tribe?"
The great white whale shark slowly nodded and began to swim south.
"Yep. I am good." Khole said, laying on the whale shark and putting her hands behind her head.
- Khole's Beast Pacification powers do not come from Waterbending. It is a special type of Energybending which play an extremely major role in the climax of the story.
- Meiya, quite literally, is nothing like Aang. She is his complete antithesis.
She has (mostly) blonde hair, as apposed to Aang's brown hair.
She and Aang are opposite genders.
Meiya prefers meditation and Airbending practice, rather than Aang's tendency to goof off and avoid work whenever possible.
- Zuko and Ischi, my two favorite characters, have known each other since they were twelve. They started dating when they were fifteen, and now, two years later, they're engaged.
For the collective works of the author, go here.