|More from DragonGirl028||Action, adventure, fantasy, drama, romance||PG-13||Here||No update page|
March 17, 2017
Two weeks have passed since. steps out of her tent, stretching her arms and legs in the rising sun, ready for another day of training. After about ten minutes, , Guilin, and the former's men arrive to commence training as usual.
"Good morning, Singi. Are you ready to begin training today?"
"Sure, General. Let me just check in on quickly. He's not usually one to sleep in." Singi adds in this last comment with a hint of concern before peering her head inside the tent to find that her mentor hasn't moved from his position inside the structure.
"Monk Jamyang, are you alright? We're about to leave for earthbending training."
Jamyang moans weakly in response, causing Singi's concern to heighten as she gently scrambles over to the elderly monk and places a hand to his forehead. Instantly, she can feel the heat emanating above his brow, along with the slick perspiration, as he shudders slightly in discomfort, his face flushed red.
"A fever! He's burning up."
With this, Singi hustles her way to the entrance of the tent and sticks her head out to address the earthbenders.
"Jamyang has a fever. Is there an herbalist or medical professional here in the settlement? I can't heal illnesses or internal wounds with waterbending."
"We do have an herbalist here—Huaban," Dao replies, "She should be able to cure Jamyang of whatever illness he has."
"Thank you. I'm just a bit more concerned than usual, given how old Jamyang has gotten. I know it's only a fever, at least for now, but I don't want his old age to weaken him any further."
"I'm sure Jamyang can be mended back to health with Huaban's expertise. Let's get him into open air and to Huaban's hut."
Gently, the group manages to get Jamyang out of the tent and hoisted up along the shoulders of Xin Bo and Sen. They walk their way over to a large white tented hut with a pitched canopy above the entrance.
"Huaban?" Dao calls. "We have a patient for you!"
Seconds later, a woman just a few years older than Jamyang steps out of the large structure. She is dressed in beige robes with a vanilla trim and curvy tea green patterning on the back of the robe, and her head is topped with a small white cornette covering much of her graying hair. Her eyes are a bright mint green, which contrasts with her tan skin.
"Not one of your men this time, General?" Huaban chuckles slightly before gesturing them inside. "Please, come in and lay him down on one of the beds."
The group complies and gently settles Jamyang down on one of the beds.
"I don't know when exactly he developed it, but long ago, we found out that he was running a fever," Dao states.
"I'm just worried that, in his age, it could worsen into something else," Singi adds before Huaban places a hand to Jamyang's still moist forehead as the male elder moans quietly.
"Well, for now, the fever is fairly mild. I'm sure there won't be anything to worry about, young lady; but you did the right thing bringing him to me. Let me just grab the necessary ingredients and I'll get to work on making the cure for him," Huaban responds, walking over to a large table with a multitude of shelves and cabinets in the middle of the hut. She mutters to herself while rummaging around the contents, placing on top of the table a few measuring cups, a knife, a cutting board, and three ingredients. She continues searching for another minute before a look of confusion appears on her face, and she sighs slightly before walking over to the visiting party.
"I'm afraid I'm missing a few key ingredients needed for the medicine I plan on making."
"What?" Singi questions, visibly nervous.
"Don't worry. The locations where you can find these last few items aren't too far from one another. Do you have a means of transportation, though? To reach these locations by foot from here would take at most, two weeks."
"Yes, we can use Lychee, Jamyang's air bison."
"Wonderful!" Huaban exclaims, clasping her hands together in delight before making her way to a map of the world hanging from a platform on the other side of the hut, gesturing the group over.
"There are three ingredients I am missing for my concoction. Two of them can be found in the Foggy Swamp..." Huaban gestures to a large patch of green northwest of their current location. "While the other can be found amongst the shops and trading posts of the city of Omashu," she concludes, pointing to a grouping of mountains not far north of the swamp with what appeared to have a large city atop one of the peaks.
"We get to visit the legendary city of Omashu!?" Guilin questions, excitedly. "Awesome!" he exclaims, swiping a fist to his left, smiling.
"In Omashu, you will need to find a bag of miniature royal purple scallops. They're a fairly uncommon item, so you may need to haggle with whoever has them in stock."
"I'm sure we'll be able to make an awesome trade of some sort," Guilin announces with confidence, crossing his arms and giving a sly look straight ahead of him.
"Meanwhile, in the Foggy Swamp, you will need to locate two items: two slabs of sandalwood—that's the easier ingredient—as well as some fruit from the banyan-grove tree—the tree that encompasses and is in essence, the heart of the swamp."
"Sounds doable," Dao responds, before turning to Singi and Guilin to his right. "I think the three of us should go and split up. Singi and Guilin, you'll cover Omashu. I'll handle the swamp." Dao turns behind him to face his soldiers. "Men, you commence with training for the day."
The men salute in response before making their way out of the hut.
"I'll watch over the monk while you three are away and do what I can with what I have. I do hope this doesn't turn serious, so I encourage you to come back with the ingredients by the end of the day," Huaban notes before walking over to her table and picking up a parchment before drawing two figures on it and handing it to Dao.
"The scallops should be easy enough to distinguish, but General, here are a few rough sketches of the ingredients you will be searching for."
"Thank you, ma'am," Dao responds, taking the parchment and storing it away within a compartment of his uniform.
The remaining trio make their way to the entrance of the hut, Singi stopping in her tracks before Jamyang's bed to take one last worried look at the monk before turning her head forward and walking out of the structure alongside the father-son duo.
The trio mounts Lychee, Qiú hitching a ride via's talons before being gently set down on the sky bison's saddle. Singi takes the reins and commands Lychee to ascend, Jiefeng taking off alongside them. Once in the air and in the direction towards their destinations, Dao is the first to speak.
"After my birthplace of Ba Sing Se, Omashu is the next largest city in the continent. Singi, did I ever tell you how it was founded? It is a legendary tale for us earthbenders."
"No, I don't think so," she responds, not looking back at the duo behind her.
"Do you mind?"
"By all means. I'm listening."
Dao nods and commences with the story.
"Not long after the era of the Avatar began, there was a young man and young women who hailed from warring villages that met one day atop the mountain which divided their communities. They fell deeply in love instantly. Their relationship, however, was forbidden, and as they continued to meet, the danger associated with their relationship only grew. Eventually, the couple began to meet in secret, and observed the badgermoles and how they shaped the earth around them. Eventually, the couple became the first earthbenders, and using their new abilities, constructed a great labyrinth in which only they could navigate, allowing them to meet secretly, while anyone else who attempted to follow them would end up lost in the complex. One day, the man did not come to meet the woman, as he had died in the war between their villages. Grief-stricken, the women performed a terrifying display of her earthbending powers that could have easily annihilated both villages. Instead, she declared the war over."
At this, Singi turns her head to face Dao with curiosity, clearly intrigued.
"She also demanded that the two villages live in peace. They did so, joining together to build a new city to honor the couple's love. The woman's name was Oma, the man's, Shu, and the city was named Omashu as a tribute to their love."
"Wow..." Singi whispered in awe. "That's a wonderful story, General."
Dao nods once, smiling, "I'm glad you liked it, Singi."
Something catches his attention below, causing him to change subjects.
"Singi, look down there."
Singi complies, and the trio looks down at the expanse of green below them.
"This is the Foggy Swamp."
"It's enormous! Are you sure you'll be able to find what you need in that expanse, General?"
"I have to, for Jamyang's life and wellbeing. And if you look ahead that way..." Dao responds, pointing a finger ahead of him towards a mass of clouds, which fade away to reveal a small mountainous complex with a collection of buildings atop one peak. "That is the city of Omashu. We'll drop you two off there first, and I'll meet you back there once I've collected my ingredients."
"Sounds good. General, in case you and Lychee get separated for whatever reason, you'll find Jamyang's bison whistle right beside you. Just take a deep breath and blow, and he'll find you."
"Thank you, Singi."
After another twenty minutes, the group land before a path leading to the gate of Omashu, Jiefeng taking Qiú by the talons again to set him down on solid ground.
"Good luck, you two."
With that, Dao takes the reins and lifts off, heading south towards the swamp, while Singi, Guilin, and the animal hybrids make their way to the entry gate which is watched over by three guards, one of whom steps forward at the approaching quartet.
"State your business here," the guard orders.
"We've come here looking for royal purple scallops for a friend of ours who's sick. We were sent here by my settlement's herbalist, who said we could find them here."
With that, the guard steps aside while the remaining two earthbend a front portion of the wall of the city, allowing it to open. The visitors walk in before the wall seals behind them. Starting with two statues on each side of the main walkway of the namesake of the city, the complex is an impressive menagerie of buildings and chutes. Guilin simply smiles at the expanse before them, while Singi's jaw drops open slightly, impressed with what's before her.
"Pretty cool, huh?" Guilin asks.
"Yeah... wait! You've been here before?"
"Once before to collect some foodstuffs with my dad, yeah. Now c'mon! We've got some scallops to find!"
Guilin scurries off straight ahead into the heart of the city, while Singi jogs after him, the animal hybrids following them as well.
Meanwhile, Dao has made his way back to overlooking the swamp. He glances around below him before something catches his eye, and he finds a massive tree, taller than the rest, yards away from him.
"I wonder if that's the tree I'm supposed to collect the fruit from. Well, let's see if we can find some place to land first and find the sandalwood before collecting the fruit," Dao talks to himself, while pulling out the parchment Huaban handed him to glance at the sketches of his assigned ingredients. He instructs Lychee to begin descending, to which the animal complies. Soon after, a collection of vines shoot up and begin to entangle themselves around Lychee's legs, pulling the duo down with impressive force. Dao attempts to instruct Lychee to rise, but in vain, as the vines tighten around the sky bison and continue pulling the duo down into the swamp.
"Get ready for a rough landing, Lychee!" Dao calls as he struggles to secure the parchment back into his uniform.
The two crash land into the murky waters as the vines loosen their grip and slip back into the depths. Dao manages to hold on tightly to Lychee's saddle as they finally come to a halt.
"Lychee! Are you alright?"
The massive animal bellows slowly as Dao leaps down and sticks a landing, the waters reaching to the middle of his shins.
"I wonder just how those vines were able to shoot out and grab us in mid-air."
Dao sighs before letting the topic go for now.
"Alright, why don't you stay here and rest for now? I'll call for you with the whistle once I've found everything I need."
Lychee grunts in response before Dao turns in a random direction and begins his search.
In Omashu, Singi, Guilin, and the animal hybrids are making their way through the multitude of vendor huts strewn across a large section of the city. After thirty minutes, Guilin places a hand on Singi's shoulder and shakes it gently, catching the Avatar's attention and causing her to turn to face the earthbender.
"Singi! Singi! I found some scallops!"
Smiling the two rush over to the stall where Guilin had spotted their item of interest. Sure enough, in a small mesh bag is a collection of small scallops colored in a vibrant royal purple.
"Excuse me, sir. I was hoping we could purchase or trade for that bag of scallops you have there," Singi politely inquires the stall owner.
"What do you got to give me?"
"I got three silver pieces!" Guilin exclaims, slamming his right hand down on the table to reveal three small silver coins in the shape of the earth discs.
"Ha! You're going to need a lot more than that if you want those scallops," the vendor laughs.
Singi sets down a small bag and rummages through it, eventually pulling out a finely crafted flute.
"I suppose I could trade you a traditional Air Nomad flute."
"Hmmm..." the vendor ponders.
"Look!" Guilin interjects, catching everyone's attention. "We need those seashells for some medicine for her sick friend! Can't you just... y'know, give them for free for once? This is serious!"
"Tch! You know what else is serious? Me making a living for my family and me! Either give me a better offer, or move on before I report you to the authorities, or the king."
"You know, I heard tale that your relatives joined together after being intimidated out of starting a war by one of the first earthbenders. I would think that you guys would have become a bit more peaceful after what happened, and not be as sour as you!"
"Guilin!" Singi scolds, but it's too late. The vendor's face turns a tinge of red as he balls his fists.
"That's it! I'm taking you in to the higher authorities!"
"Singi, run!" Guilin shouts, as the vendor leans forward to take a hold of the duo. His attempt fails, however, as the two humans bolt in the opposite direction, heading back from where they came down the rows of vendors, Jiefeng and Qiú right behind them.
"Guards! I've been harassed by those kids!" The vendor can be heard shouting as they move further away from the scene, after which four guards begin to pursue the fleeing foursome. At one point, Guilin shifts a cabbage cart over using earthbending, causing it to fall over and the contents to spill into the floor. The guards are momentarily halted as, in their rush, they scramble on top of the spilled cabbages, causing them to warily keep their balance atop the rounded vegetables, two of the guards falling over onto the floor.
"Haha! Gotcha!" Guilin gloats as they continue running away.
Back in the swamp, Dao walks around, glancing at the bases of the trees surrounding him before pulling out the parchment yet again to take a look at the detailing of the sandalwood sketch. After taking a moment to remind himself of the details, he looks around him and notices a rather young, thin tree standing amongst the forest. Walking up to the tree, he places a hand to the base and notices its ash gray smooth bark before smiling.
"This is it."
Taking the axe he packed along his uniform, Dao easily manages to chop down the tree and further collect a few slabs to pack away.
"Well, that's one ingredient down. It's no wonder sandals are made from the wood of this tree—it's so smooth in its natural state. Now to locate the banyan-grove tree in this expanse... it would likely be easier to call Lychee and locate it from above. As Dao reaches for the bison whistle, a faint, warm, and gentle voice calls out.
Immediately recognizing the voice, Dao stops what he is turning and briskly turns to look behind him.
"Ta Ying...?" He utters in disbelief.
Off in the distance, he can make out the image of a young woman wearing floral white robes with a tea green trim. Her outfit, coupled with her pale skin and mint green eyes contrasts with her black hair, and she displays a warm smile before hurriedly walking off.
"Ta Ying! TA YING!!! Wait!" Dao pleads, racing after her, a few tears streaming away from his eyes as he begins his pursuit.
Singi, Qiú, and Guilin continue running down the streets of Omashu while Jiefeng flies from above. The former three turn a corner and manage to squeeze through a narrow alley, just enough so the guards run off without noticing that their targets have tricked them. After a few seconds, things settle down.
"I think we lost them," Singi states, to which Guilin nods before cautiously making his way out of the alley. Guilin peers around before he, Singi, and Qiú step back out into broad daylight, Jiefeng landing beside them. After a breathing a sigh of relief a figure approaches the group, causing the two benders to get into defensive postures for a second before calming down and relaxing, realizing that the stranger is not a guard. The stranger is a woman in her early sixties with light brown bobbed hair wearing baby blue robes with a goldenrod trim. Additionally, she wears a short necklace around the base of her neck with a cherry blossom pendant at its center.
"Oh! I'm sorry for frightening you, but I couldn't help but overhear the commotion back in the market and see you being chased by those guards."
"You... heard everything?" Guilin asks embarrassed, rubbing the back of his head as his face flushes a bit red.
"Oh, don't worry, child!" the woman laughs, "I thought it was very noble of you to stand up for your ill friend. My name is Leihua, and I wanted to help you in your quest."
The two humans glance at one another, intrigued, before looking back at Leihua.
"Please, follow me." Leihua gestures to them, leading the way back around the corner from which they came moments ago, the two benders and animal hybrids complying with her instructions.
"Ta Ying, please! Wait!" Dao calls as he continues chasing his beloved wife jumping from branch to branch, tree to tree. Often, he loses sight of her in the trees, only to hear her call his name and begin the chase again. Eventually, while she is still in his sights, Ta Ying seemingly vanishes in plain sight from Dao's eyes. Baffled he halts himself before looking around him, beams of sunlight pouring through the canopy as he tries to orient himself. Once again, her whisper can be heard gently calling his name, causing him to face the direction of the noise. He finds her standing atop the large root of a tree, which despite being uprooted, appears to be standing perfectly straight. Dao takes a moment to rub his eyes in an attempt to adjust his vision, but upon opening his eyes, he finds that she has disappeared yet again. Dao sighs in disappointment, having lost her again, and leans himself against one of the roots of the tree.
"I've been running around this swamp for who knows how long chasing my deceased wife. What has gotten into me?" Dao groans, placing a hand to his face in embarrassment. Upon removing his hand, he looks at the root which he is leaning against and peers at it curiously. He steps a ways back to take in what he can see of the entire structure.
"Amazing. This root system is above ground, yet the tree hasn't toppled over."
Dao walks back to the tree and looks up to see sunlight pouring around the massive circular top. Glancing down briefly, he finds a few massive, round fruits bigger than his head on the floor. He picks up one of the fruits in his hands to get a closer look at it before glancing back up towards the top of the tree.
With this, Dao puts down the fruit and takes out the bison whistle before taking a deep breath and blowing into the whistle, a shrill yet quiet shriek coming from the opening lasting several seconds. Once Dao has run out of breath, he waits, and a few minutes later, Lychee can be seen weaving his way through the trees before stopping right before Dao.
"Good boy," Dao praises, placing a hand on Lychee's large nose before making his way up the massive creature and commanding him to rise above the trees. Making their way above the swamp, Dao directs Lychee back a few yards to see that his tree of interests towers slightly over the surrounding vegetation.
"Yes! This taller tree must be the banyan-grove tree. Well, let's collect some fruit!" Dao exclaims before directing Lychee forward towards the tree.
After a few minutes, Leihua leads Singi and Guilin into her residence while Qiú and Jiefeng wait outside.
"I wanted to do this behind closed doors because the item you seek is uncommon," Leihua states before turning around to face the two humans, revealing a small bag of royal purple scallops cupped in her hands.
"Please, take them," she instructs, smiling.
"I don't think I can thank you enough!" Singi exclaims, overjoyed, clasping her hands together before receiving the bag.
"It's no problem, young lady. I only wanted to help you heal your friend."
"This will certainly help do the trick, Leihua. As the Avatar, I sincerely thank you for donating these scallops."
"The Avatar? So the Avatar is reborn into another person when the previous one passes away?"
"Well, how remarkable! Please continue your mission for peace for the rest of your lifetime into the next."
"I certainly will, Leihua," Singi responds before bowing, to which the elder reciprocates.
"Well, we'd better leave the city before the guards find us again. Thanks, Leihua!" Guilin exclaims with a slight chuckle.
"Goodbye, you two. I hope your friend fares well."
Upon exiting Leihua's house, the group takes notice of a flying bison overhead making its way to the entry gate of the city.
"That must be Dad! C'mon!"
The group eventually make their way out of the city to find Dao standing on the other side of the path leading to the city, smiling.
"Dad!" Guilin shouts, smiling, before the four of them rush over and Guilin hugs his father.
"Did you find what you needed?" Singi asks hopefully.
"Yes I did, Singi. They're up on the saddle. Now, let's go and cure Jamyang."
With that, the group lifts off and head southeast.
Back in the settlement, the group rushes into Huaban's hut, ingredients in hand.
"Huaban, we got everything! How's Jamyang?" Singi inquires.
"Well done, you three! He's gotten a shortness of breath, and his fever has gotten a bit higher, but otherwise, nothing grave. Hurry, hurry! Gather the ingredients here and I'll get straight to fixing up his medicine."
The trio scramble to settle their items onto the table, after which Huaban cuts, grinds, and mashes them into a semi-solid mixture. After placing the mixture into a bowl, she pours hot water over the contents and stirs the concoction thoroughly until a thick, warm broth is created.
The group makes their way to Jamyang, and Singi sits beside Jamyang and gently pours the broth down the monk's throat. After ten minutes of nervous anticipation, Jamyang breathing begins to settle before he slowly peers his eyes open.
"Monk Jamyang!" Singi exclaims in relief. "How are you?"
"I'm starting to feel much better. Whatever it is you've given me is clearly working."
"It took us hours to get the ingredients, but we managed to find them. I can tell you more about it all later."
"I'd like that, my dear friend," Jamyang whispers, smiling before he turns his attention to all of those present. "Thank you, all of you, for your hard work in curing me of my ailment."
"Of course, Jamyang, you're welcome. Anything for you," Singi states, nodding.
"It was no problem! You're welcome!" Guilin exclaims, smiling.
"You're welcome, Monk Jamyang. Getting you back to good health was paramount for today. I'm glad to see that Huaban's herbalism skills are still great, as always, and that we were all able to contribute to getting you back to strength."
"Well, I don't know how much I can say about physical strength, given my age, but I'm glad to have the opportunity to live another day," Jamyang chuckles.
Huaban smiles at the happy scene before her as the remainder of the group draw themselves closer to the monk in a gentle, loving embrace.
- Huaban (pronounced: Hwah-bon, 花瓣) is Chinese for "petal," while Leihua (类花) translates to "kind blossom".
- Leihua's cherry blossom necklace coupled with her caring nature are indicative of her namesake.
- Additionally, her robes contain colors of both Oma and Shu's robes, which symbolize her as one of the kinder, more peaceful residents of Omashu.
- Leihua's cherry blossom necklace coupled with her caring nature are indicative of her namesake.
- Sandalwood was previously mentioned as a tree used as medicine in "The Blue Spirit" by the herbalist.
- Omashu and the story of its founding is featured.
- In addition, is it revealed that the city is being ruled by a king. His identity, however, is not mentioned.
- The Foggy Swamp and the massive banyan-grove tree which makes up the majority of it are also featured in this chapter.
- Like the instances in "The Swamp", Dao receives a vision while in the swamp of someone he has loved and lost, in this case, Ta Ying. This marks Ta Ying's only "appearance" in the trilogy.
- As noted by Dao, the banyan-grove tree at this current time period isn't much taller than the other trees in the swamp, indicating that it will eventually grow to its enormous size as featured in Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra over the millennia.
- Guilin knocking over the cabbage cart and the resultant slip-up with the Omashu guards is a nod to the misfortunes of the cabbage merchant in Avatar: The Last Airbender and Lau Gan-Lan in The Legend of Korra.
- Originally, Jamyang illness was going to be disclosed as pneumonia. This was dropped in order to simplify the plot of the chapter, in addition to the notion that such an illness may not exist in the Avatar universe.
- This is the second chapter to contain distinct A and B-plots: Singi, Guilin, and their animal companions's adventure in Omashu, and Dao and Lychee's time in the swamp, respectively. The first chapter to contain distinct subplots was " ".
For the collective works of the author, go here.