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|Severing the Ties|
Book 1: The Uprising
The Veil of Deceit
Toph wakes up in one of the rooms of the Southern Air Temple. It's almost sunset of the next day. Ty Lee stands at the base of the bed while Aang gazes at the sunset. He senses Toph has awakened and asks Ty Lee to leave them alone. After what feels like hours, he addresses Toph:
"You know," he said, quietly "this temple used to be my home. It had always been the place of my most beloved childhood memories. Now it's a haunted place. The two people I have loved most in all of my life have both been killed here - in cold blood."
Toph could hear that Aang was playing with some sort of small trinket. She did not need to see to know what it was - – Katara's necklace. She stood up on the bed and took her left hand inconspicuously toward the back wall. She could sense Ty Lee sobbing in the next room. She began crying herself.
There was an icy silence. Toph finally managed to blurt out between sobs:
"Oh please Aang, tell me I didn't..."
She heard Aang's breath breaking. She felt hollow and cold. Every hair of her body stood up in horror. She tried to hold back the tears out of respect for his friend, but she could not. Toph was barely able to hold back a sharp howl of pain, as she started banging her head against the headboard. She had always been so sure of herself – so in control. Now she didn't know who – or what – she was anymore...
Toph once again started her plea:
"You lied to me, Toph. You lied to all of us. You concealed your situation. All of this could have been prevented." Aang interrupted with a dry and severe tone.
"Aang – please, you don't understand..."
"You're right, Toph – I don't." He still avoided her sight, facing the twilight – feeling the cold breeze on his face.
"I have sent Suki and Zuko to take Katara's body to the Northern Water Tribe for a proper funeral. Chief Arnook has promised to honor her as a War Hero. Pakku, Gran Gran and Chief Hakoda are already making their way to the North Pole – we sent a message with Zuko's messenger hawk. Ty Lee was kind enough to stay behind and assist me in tending to you."
Toph begged – her voice a tiny sliver of sound: "Aang – Please... Help me..."
Aang replied in a dry tone: "After the rest of the family left, I attempted to bend your energy while you were unconscious, but was almost completely sucked into a deep, dark void. Ty Lee had to chi block me to pull me out. She has saved us twice already... at least me..."
Toph finally asked, "What about Sokka?"
"You Waterbended – you impaled his legs with icicles. The Northern Tribe healers are very powerful, but the wounds are very severe. Chief Arnook has promised that they will do everything in their power to have Sokka walk again..."
Toph cries, remembering her beloved "Sugar Queen". She really cannot hold back anymore and bursts into bitter tears.
Aang trembles as he gathers himself and makes way towards Ty Lee and Appa.
"Aang, you have to forgive me..."
Aang stops, as he clenches his fists and closes his eyes. He pauses for a brief moment, allowing his anger to subside before addressing Toph once more:
"I remember arguing with Katara when she and Zuko set out to find her mother's killer. I remember telling her 'It's easy to do nothing - but hard to forgive'. I remember she told me - "It's not just hard – it's impossible.' I regret having to admit I finally understand her. I'm sorry Toph. I cannot help you - at least not right now. I must leave for Katara's funeral. You are free to stay the night. You will be safe here."
Severing the Ties
Toph hears Aang leaving and she throws herself from the bed to her knees as she clamps on to Aang's legs - sobbing hysterically.
"Aang - you have to help me - don't leave me!!!!"
"You know - I was not even able to give her this." He takes a new betrothal necklace out of his robe. Only now, touching him, she notices he is wearing his master robe. "She was gone before I had the chance"
His voice breaks momentarily. Toph lets go out of sheer shame and guilt.
"I bid you farewell, Toph."
Aang and Ty Lee soar into the tangerine sky on Appa while Toph is left alone at the Southern Air Temple, screaming into the wind...
"You cannot forsake me! You're the AVATAR!!!!"
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|The Darkness Within Chapters|
|The Era of Darkness - Death of a Waterbender - Severing the Ties - Injuries|