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The eighth chapter of
August 25, 2010
A Waterbender named Rose tells Leah of the bender colonies still in hiding from the BDA.
Adjusting to life in the prison was not a dramatic change for Leah. Her captors and guards wanted the "residents" not to think of it as a prison but simply as a new home.
The residents were treated very well. Food was always available in the main dining room, with meals being served regularely. Residents were allowed to roam any cell block of the prison, needing permission to visit the lower levels. Good behavior was awarded by being allowed to the sky deck to train.
The sky deck is a large garden at the top of the compound, with a retractable roof looking up out of the mountain to the sky, through blocked by glass mesh. Bad behavior however, was punished by being confined to your cell for two weeks, which could be increased depending on your offense.
Other services available included: a library, with books on call from Alice Springs; a hospital, with the best doctors in Australia; a movie theatre with all the latest in cinema; even a school, for all ages and all subjects. But these little conveniences never seemed to hide the fact that this place was a prison, and here they stayed until they died there or trying to escape.
Leah stood in the grass and flowers, looking up at the sky sliced by the mesh. Standing beside her was an elderly women named Rose Anderson. Rose was teaching Leah the techniques of the original form of waterbending.
"Waterbending is a graceful and fluid form, turning the opponent's offense against them, switching your defense into your offense. Now can you please tell me a guess of what you did when you were brought here?" Rose asked kindly.
"Well, they were making waves of snow come at me and when they were a few feet from me they shattered into shards of ice. I moved my hand out, the shards stopped, and I kind of sliced them around in the air."
"Well, I'm only assuming here, but it sounds a lot like a water knife, compressing the water to an almost razor edge. Please stand back for a moment," Rose warned.
Leah stepped back a few feet, as Rose raised her wrinkled hands at the jugs near the door. Water leaped out, now in Rose's complete control. She turned to a nearby tree, proceeding to slice through the air with her arm, the water mimicking her. The move sliced through the tree, leaving a distinct mark several inches deep.
"Impressive," Leah commented.
"Why thank you dear," Rose said smiling, returning the water to the pot.
"In my opinion, each of the four elements has their own way to performing the moves. Water is a cutting, fluid motion. Earth is blunt and stubborn. Fire is fierce and consuming. Air is gentle and harmonic. Many motions of waterbending will involve quick, minute wounds to the opponent. Examples of this include the move I just performed. Water is also available in many forms, including the very air itself."
Rose stopped, swirling her hands in the air quickly to reveal small quantities of vapor on her fingers.
"Waterbending requires intelligence and improvisation; keep an open mind, there's water in places you never think about." Rose stated before releasing the vapor back in the air.
"Wow, I never realized that there was so much to take in. Can you teach me more?" Leah asked.
"That'll be enough for today."
"But why? I've only scratched the surface of it." Leah said, confused.
"Being the Avatar, you will become a natural master of each element, but you picked up earthbending first. I suggest you master earthbending before moving on to waterbending, as it will certainly be the easiest for you to learn."
"But there are no earthbenders, they were all killed in the Holocaust." Leah stated sadly.
"Oh honey, you've only been roaming around the waterbender's cell block, have you checked the other floors?"
"Dear, the BDA and the Leader views bending not as something to be exterminated, but as a subtle and beautful art, but one that must be kept to ourselves. That's why they allow us to train. They don't want the bending arts to disappear, just stay away from "normal" people. However, their methods of persuasion and punishment are a little harsh."
"Then how come the BDA used Hitler to exterminate the earthbenders?"
"The uprising that oringinated from Europe started because of a bender that escaped from the prison. He easily convinced other benders of the BDA's presence, and raised an army to assault the prison and expose them to the public view. The BDA viewed them as a threat to their operation, and as they are technically a government branch, they were able to use Germany's army to contain and elminate them."
"But why would the government allow them to do that?" Leah asked.
"The BDA started from a small division of the CIA, that believed the colonies of benders living in the world were a threat to world peace."
"Before the BDA, benders lived in small colonies hid in plain sight from the rest of the world. In fact, some of them are still around, but many of them have been eradicated."
"Well, there used to be a firebender colony in Mexico, but it was very recently eliminated. And there are rumours of an airbender colony in New York, but I am not sure where. Where I came from was a waterbender colony in New Orleans. But their intentions and view of the rest of the world were against mine, and I left without a second glance. The BDA soon caught me on the outskirts of Baton Rouge."
"What about earthbenders?"
"I'm afraid I've heard nothing about earthbender colonies. Most of them lived in Europe and were either wiped out or captured. A good chunck of the benders out there though are part of the BDA's enforcers, most of them from Asia and Africa. The colonies I've told you about are the only ones I know of."
"So all the benders in the world are either against us, here, or hiding out there?"
"Yes dear, and I'm afraid that as the Enforcers's ranks grow, it won't take long for every bender not killed by them to be carted off here," Rose said sadly.
"Have you ever thought of escape?"
"Like the Leader said when you first arrived, there is no escape from this prison. Only one person has done it, and he was killed shortly after. I've been here for a while, but every cell block has their own defenses. In the water and earth cells, if you're caught bending in your cell, they shoot those darn bullets at you. For the fire and air, they suck the air out of the room. From what you've told me, they can do both for your cell. My dear, do me a favor and just live here. They treat us well, and they have every oppurtunity here that's out there."
"Except for living a free life."
"Every four years, if you have behaved well, they let you out to go to Alice Springs for a week. They bring a glass holding cell, but otherwise you are completely free. You've been here six months now, just wait for a few more years, get to know the other residents here, and then you can have a break."
"And then you wait four more years." Leah said spitefully.
"But the important thing is that you live. Could you stand having to run for the rest of your life?"
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