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|By Katherine Rebekah||Genre||Rating||Reviews||Updates|
|More from Katherine Rebekah||Action/Adventure||PG||None||None|
|The Girl in the Iceberg|
June 9, 2015
Fire...Air...Water...Earth... It wasn't long ago that Avatar Korra saved the world, and united the four nations in harmony. But it was not to last. The Avatar was killed at the hands of Asami Sato, and the world, left vulnerable without its guardian, fell under her rule. But what Asami did not know, was that for the first time in history, the Avatar had passed on her life force to her very own child, a daughter, who survived the attack and was blessed by the Moon Spirit. Bolin would raise her to be the Avatar she was meant to be and train her for the largest war the four nations had yet to face.
I am the that child, the chosen one, the supposed savior of the world. I am the daughter of Avatar Korra. My name is Avatar Kyoshi, but you can call me Kyo.
Kyo and Bolin were ambushed by Equalist soldiers. After being captured, Kyo woke up in a room made of ice and soon discovered that the people who captured her were not Equalists, but members of the United Resistance. She accepted their offer to join them and is now on a mission to get back her father before it's too late.
The Girl in the Iceberg
Asaka was laughing. Not just a chuckle either, she was laughing hard, head thrown back and everything.
"Hey." I waved a hand in front of her face. "What in the Spirit World is so hilarious?"
Still she didn't respond, just hunkered over and clutched her stomach, laughing, at me, I suspected.
"You- Ah- You think that? Oh it's too good." She wiped a tear from her eye. "You think that you're now our leader? That we would just hand that over to any old girl we saved from drowning?"
"Well, you said..." She chuckled and I began to question how much I liked her.
"No." Suddenly she sat up, very serious. "You will lead this task force and the rest of the resistance when you are the Avatar. As of now, you still have to learn Waterbending, along with other things. You are not the person we need, at least not yet."
"We're still getting my dad back, right?"
"Oh, yes, of course. But under my order, not yours, Avatar," she said 'Avatar' with a twang of sarcasm that ate at me like a sand shark eats airships.
"Fine," I said though gritted teeth. "I don't care. I just want to get him back. Now if you would excuse me." I shot up from the table.
A sharp pain exploded at the base of my skull, like someone had plunged a knife into my head, cold and foreign. I found myself hunkered over the table with my hands on the side of my head, my body suddenly having gone rigged. Where was I? What was I doing? It was all lost in the pain.
It was gone just as suddenly as it had come.
I lifted my head, feeling like it weighed a thousand pounds. Asaka, Jin, and Kogami stared at me, shock on all three faces, and I realized that I had let out a blood curdling scream.
"I'm sorry, it was just ... my head."
"No need for apologies," Asaka said, the condescending attitude morphed into concern. She turned to Kogami. "I think it's time we all go get some rest. Would you escort Kyo to her room?"
He stood and took me, gently, by the arm to help steady me, but I immediately shrugged him off.
"I'm not an invalid. It's gone now." But it was a lie, my head still throbbed.
He bent a door in one of the walls, revealing an ice hallway, illuminated by what looked like blue LED's, powered by spirit vine energy. Once I walked over on shaky and suddenly aching legs, I could see that it seemed to stretch on forever in both directions.
I realized that Asaka and Jin hadn't followed and spared a glance back at them. Jin had his laptop closed and now he couldn't seem to peal his eyes away from Asaka.
"Go ahead and bend the door shut, Kogami," Asaka said, not looking away from Jin either, an intensity in her black eyes. "We have some things to discuss."
"Sure thing." I caught one last glance at their stare down before Kogami sealed the door. What was that look? Was it love? Fear? A mixture of both? For the life of me, I couldn't tell.
"Why did they ask you to shut them in?" I asked Kogami.
"Oh." He shrugged. "Well, they are boyfriend and girlfriend."
I pouted my lips. "They didn't look like they were too happy with one another earlier, and besides, that's not what I meant. I wanted to know how they're going to get out of there."
He gave a low, throaty chuckle. "Believe me, they'll find a way out. Don't underestimate what they can do. Oh, and something you should learn about them early on, those two are always lovie dovie. They're just polite enough not to be obnoxious in front of other people... most of the time."
"Pacifist Air Nomad and assassin warrior. Doesn't seem like a match made in the Spirit World."
"True, but they make it work. Though, when they're not being lovie dovie, they are usually fighting."
My entire body was suddenly prickly, like all my limbs had fallen asleep. My joints screamed with a deep ache.
"Come on. Let's get you to your room. You're going to need a healing session. Then you'll want to get changed out of those clothes and get some sleep."
I looked down at myself, realizing that I was still in my soiled gown. My shoes, however, were gone, along with my wig. That gave me a small burst of satisfaction.
"Yeah, this thing needs to go into the garbage." I wrinkled my nose at the dress.
Kogami smirked. "I'm sorry to say that I agree."
The walk to the room was short, but painful. With each step, the feeling of knives stabbing all over my body grew worse and my joints had an awful aching in them. I did my best to hide it, but despite being good a swallowing pain, I got the sense that Kogami knew, because he gave me a sideways glance each time I grimaced, no matter how small of a grimace it was.
Finally, we reached a hall that branched off the main. It was short, with five doors, two on either side and one right at the end. They were each made of ice, like everything else, and had beautiful carvings, not disturbing like the ones from the cell, but obviously made by the same artist. Such vivid detail. I examined each as we passed. The fist one on the right had a picture of Avatar Kyoshi. Instead of looking fearsome, she smiled down at a baby cradled in her arms. I remembered hearing about her having a daughter, Koko, but I supposed it had never really registered with me; it was odd to think of her as a loving mother.
The first door on the left had a picture of a girl, an Airbender, who looked surprisingly similar to Jin. She had extremely long hair that was loose and swirled around with the air current she was making. Petals floated in the air around her with her hair. Her eyes were closed and she was smiling.
The second door on the left had a picture of an arctic wolf with strange markings. He stood on a hill apart from his pack, all who were growling and snarling at him in the background. They all had blood on their muzzles except for him. A full moon hovered in the background. There was also another animal, for which I had to stop to examine. A little furry thing curled around the paw of the wolf. I had never seen it before."What's that?" I asked Kogami, pointing to the little thing.
"That," he said, "is an arctic mouse." Then he made a clicking noise and something crawled out of his shirt and onto his shoulder; it stared at me with tiny black eyes peeking out from white fluff. "Kyo, this is Ara. Ara, this is Kyo." He scratched her between the ears. "At first I named her Katara, but she was so mean that it didn't seem to fit."
"She's adorable." I reached out a hand to pet her and she snapped at me.
"She is adorable. She also bites." He chuckled. "But don't worry, she'll warm up to you. She's already best friends with Asaka and Jin." The furry thing crawled back into his shirt.
The door at the very end of the hall was carved with nothing but the symbols for all four nations, and the last one on the right was stark empty. I put my hand to the perfectly smooth ice, able to see my distorted reflection staring back at me.
"Why is this one blank?"
"Because that's your room. Tell me what you want on the door and I'll make it for you."
"You mean you did all of these?"
"Yeah, they're all mine."
The image of my mom in her dying moments flashed through my mind.
Suddenly the sharp pain surged through my head again; I stumbled back, but this time managed to stifle the scream. Kogami caught me by the arm before I could fall.
"Okay, time to get you to your healing session."
We stumbled through the door, him still supporting me, and if it weren't for the awful pain, I would have been in awe. This was possibly the nicest room I had ever slept in. There was a wardrobe, a vanity, books, a telescreen, and a beautiful four-poster bed with Earth Kingdom silks; Oma slept on it, purring.
"Hey, girl," I muttered, but Kogami was already pulling me into the bathroom.
He helped me step into the huge tub and turned the faucet on; it was surprisingly warm water. Without even waiting for the tub to fill, he began the session. I had been healed many times before by very skilled benders, but Kogami surpassed them all. I could feel the repair taking place as soon as that glowing water began to circle my body.
"Why do I feel like this?" I asked. "It's awful."
"You and Oma plunged down so deep that the pressure should have been enough to kill you."
"Yes, really. The only reason you didn't die, was because I was pushing a lot of it away. Then we came up so quick that you probably got the bends."
"Wait a sec. So you guys were the ones on the airship?"
"Yes, what of it?"
"You shot something into my neck!"
Kogami suppressed a smile at my anger. He wasn't very good at it. "That was a sedative. For your protection and ours. We gave you a shot of adrenaline to wake you. It only began to wear off a moment ago, which is probably why you're just starting to feel your symptoms."
"So first you give me a sedative and then a shot of adrenaline? You people sure love your drugs, don't you?"
"It would seem so."
As he continued to heal me, I began to feel like my real self for the first time since being there, and I became aware that there were a lot more questions I should be asking.
"Where are we anyways? And why is everything made of ice?"
He smirked. "Everything is made of ice because we are in an iceberg, just off the cost of the Northern Water Tribe. Pretty cool, huh?"
"Oh my spirits. That's awesome." But secretly, I felt a pang of fear. An iceberg, surrounded by nothing but ocean, the one place where I would be almost helpless. I reached out and found that I could at least feel some metal around me, but no earth. And what good would any of the other elements be if I were cast out into the water, unable to swim?
"Great disguise too," Kogami continued, unaware of my phobia. "No one suspects anything. I bended the whole thing, the halls, doors, rooms, all of it." He didn't seem to be trying to mask the pride in his voice.
"That's amazing." My voice was hollow. It lied, because I could only feel fear toward a Waterbender so powerful.
"Thanks. By the time you're done training, you will be able to do just as much, if not more." How did he not detect the obvious fear in me? Maybe he wrote it off as pain.
"Alright, that's enough chit-chat. You're going to have to let me finish healing you."
"Okay." I had been about to tell him about my trouble with water, and of anything to do with it, but I figured it could wait. The longer he didn't know what a real screw up their "savior" was, the better.
Kogami spent the rest of the session in perfect silence. For a while, I stared up at him, just watching the movement of his hands and arms, the concentration in his eyes, wondering if I could ever achieve that. But eventually, I gave up, my eyes drifted close and I fell asleep.
A gentle nudge on my shoulder woke me.
"Kyo. I'm done. You can get up now." My eyes fluttered open to see him standing above me. I was still submerged in the water from the neck down. The lights in the bathroom were a sunshiny yellow and the green decorations made it feel like spring, my favorite season. I hadn't noticed that before.
"Are you feeling better?" he asked.
Instead of replying, I responded with a nod and stood up in the tub, my legs strong again, but my eyelids still heavy with sleep.
"Do you want me to bend the water out of your clothes?"
I looked down at the soaking wet dress. It was truly an awful sight by now. "No. It's fine. Thanks for your help." I gave a slight bow of the head, hoping that he would leave soon. He nodded back and that was exactly what he did, left. Not another word.
"See you tomorrow," I called after him.
"Get some rest."
"I will." But the door had already clicked shut.
One of the pros to sleeping in an iceberg is that there are no windows, and therefore no sunshine to wake you in the morning. One of the cons is living with people who think it necessary to wake you at five.
At about that time Asaka burst into my room, flicked on the lights, and stripped the warm covers off me, exposing me to the freezing air. I supposed there was no heating system in an iceberg.
"Time to get up, Kyo. You need to get an early start on the day if you're going to save your father."
I groaned as I sat up. Dad used to get me up that early every day too, but there was no getting used to it.
"Isn't there a lock on these doors?" I asked. She was already riffing through the wardrobe to find me something.
"For safety reasons, no."
"Remind me to metalbend one in later."
"I will do no such thing. Now, please, come and help me pick an outfit for you."
"Just pick out whatever. As long as it's not scratchy, I don't care."
I stroked the still sleeping Oma on the head as Asaka continued to poke through the stuff. I could hear her muffled voice coming from the wardrobe. "It has to be green, a cool green that will match her eyes. No, that won't do. Hum, maybe." After about five more minutes of that, she emerged with an outfit, placing the nicely folded clothes on my bed. "Try that on."
I made a face, picked them up, and walked behind the rice paper screen.
It took me a while, but eventually I figured out how to put all the stuff on. The shirt was a light green that, like Asaka said, matched my eyes wonderfully. It was sleeveless and had a high collar and white trimming. The pants were fitted, but not uncomfortable; they were also white, which I thought was highly impractical, but they did match my hair. To go over that was a coat sort of thing. It was a coarser material, but had no sleeves to fend off the winter chill, though it was beautifully plated. There were also dark brown upper arm bands that I slipped over my biceps. There was only one thing I couldn't figure out.
"What is this for?" I stepped out from behind the screen and handed a piece of light green fabric to Asaka.
"It's a sash, of course, for your jacket. Turn around and let me put it on you."
I obeyed and waited patiently as she tied it around my waist. When I turned back around, she squealed with excitement, a sound that I never figured I would hear coming from an assassin's mouth.
"You look amazing. Here." She thrust a pair of knee high boots at me. "Put those on." Again, I listened to her.
"Is this all necessary?" I asked as I slipped the boots over my calves.
"Well, the fabrics are all flame retardant, the jacket has been designed to help absorb the energy from spirit weapons, the sash is great for storing weapons, and the boots are highly functional."
"The arm bands?"
"To look cool."
I removed them.
"Asaka, I usually wrap my hands. Do you have any tape?"
"Why on earth wold you ruin that outfit by wrapping your hands?"
I sighed. "Look, I'm an Earthbender. Sure, I'm the Avatar, but my primary element is earth. If an Earthbender gets in close range, or can't use their element, what do they do?"
"They fight with their fists."
"Exactly, and that is why I tape my fists."
"Fine." She said it like a pouting two-year-old. She rummaged through the wardrobe and threw some tape at me.
When I was done, I examined myself in the mirror and I had to admit, I liked the way I looked. I had never really wore anything but rags and disguises.
"Okay, Kyo," she grabbed my arm and tore me away from the turns I had started to do, "stop gawking at yourself and let's get to breakfast."
It turned out that the fifth door at the end of the hall was something like a family room; there was an open kitchen and couches facing a telescreen along with a shelf stacked full of movers and board games. Jin and Kogami were seated there already, attacking their breakfast, Jin with his feet propped up on the coffee table. There were two bowls waiting next to those feet, one for me and one for Asaka, I assumed. We took the bowls and found our places on the couch, Asaka next to Jin and me on her other side.
"This breakfast is amazing, sweetie," Jin cooed after he had shoveled down the remainder of his rice. I could see what Kogami had meant about the lovie dovie, but one bite and I knew he wasn't just buttering her up.
"Man this is good. I can't believe you cook too."
"And why can't you believe it?" Asaka suddenly seemed defensive.
"It's just, well, this morning you were acting all girly with the clothes, and now with the cooking. I just- didn't think you were the type, you know, being an assassin and all."
She shrugged, and I was surprised to see that it was not anger that shadowed her face, but sadness. "A lot of people think that about me." It was the quietest I had heard her speak. "But just because I am this way, doesn't mean it's what I want. It's just the way things are."
"Asaka." Jin placed a hand on her shoulder. "You don't have to." I supposed he knew her enough to know she was about to launch into something, and so did Kogami, seeing as how he got right up to take his bowl to the sink.
"I know, I just want to tell her. She should know, okay?" He nodded.
Asaka turned to me, her black eyes filled with the seriousness of what she was about to tell me.
"When I was little, all I ever wanted was to grow up and be a mom. Just a simple life in the country: a husband, children, a home. But things happened and now it's impossible."
"What? What happened?" It jumped out of me before my better judgment could kick in. I was afraid that Asaka would snap at me, but she just let out a heavy sigh and continued.
"I grew up in a family of nonbenders, or at least I thought I did. My parents were Equalist fanatics. I went along with it, I didn't know any better. But one day, my mom caught my dad firebending. She grabbed a kitchen knife and killed him on the spot, right in front of me. Then she grabbed me and started screaming at me, asking if I was a bender too. I swore I wasn't. She decided to let me live, but she took me to a clinic that day and told them that my father was a bender and that she wanted to make sure I could never have children. They did the operation for free." Asaka paused, her fists clenched around her chopsticks. Then she took a shaky breath and continued. "She was the first person I killed." I felt my heart pounding like a sledge hammer against my rib cage. She had killed her own mother. How did a person do that? "I ran away that night, still covered in her blood. Jin found me. His family took me in; they protected me, even moved so that I wouldn't be caught. I lived with them for a year. I was going to become an Air Acolyte, to embrace peace and repent for taking another person's life, but when we were going to have the ceremony..." She trailed off, glancing at Jin. He slid his hand across the couch and grasped hers.
"I'll take it from here." She nodded, obviously grateful.
"Asaka was going to become an Air Acolyte the same day that I was going to get my tattoos. Me and my sister, June, had both mastered airbending and we were going to get them together. At the end of the ceremony, we were ambushed by Equalists. The Airbenders did their best to fend them off, but no one would kill them, so they were winning. We would have all been killed or taken if it weren't for a group of Kyoshi Assassins, who showed up and basically started slaughtering them. The Equalists retreated. In the end, they had killed eleven people and captured three. Among the dead were my parents, among the taken my sister, June. Asaka and I ran off with the Kyoshi Assassins so that she could train with them. The other Airbenders didn't approve of it, but I didn't care; by then, I was already in love with her."
"That day, I saw the evil in this world needs to be cleansed, or else it will exterminate all the good, and I realized that by taking my mother's life, I had done the world a favor. I discovered that nonviolence was a privilege that not all could afford. Even so, it is a privilege that I wish I could have had. So, you see, my dream is not to go around killing and destroying. I get my hands dirty, so that others can keep their hands clean and escape with their lives. I want nothing more than to live in a peaceful world where I can be a wife and a mother and live a simple life. But that's not the world we live in. So I fight, so that maybe someday I will live to see that world."
A terrible silence passed before I realized she was finished.
"I - I'm sorry," I stammered out.
"No need to be sorry, Kyo. Just don't question me when I try and act like a housewife, because it would be a heck of a lot better than the job I have. Now eat your breakfast so that we can figure out a plan to rescue your dad. Maybe we can save you from the same misery we have."
I nodded, but somehow, I had lost my appetite.
"If the tracking device I read is right, they are holding him in the palace," Asaka said. We all hunkered over a tablet that was on the table. It displayed the layout of the Northern Water Tribe's palace and a green blip that was supposedly my dad. I hadn't even known we had trackers, but I could't be mad, it was sure coming in handy.
"Why haven't they contacted us yet?" Jin asked. "You would think they would try and bait Kyo."
"It's a possibility that they don't know that she was with him," Kogami chimed in. "Did any of them see you?"
"No, I don't think so," I said. "At least, the ones that did, he took care of."
"In that case, they are most likely to torture him for information. If he gives nothing, then they'll kill him, so we have time."
"Time that he is being tortured in."
"It's better than being dead, and besides, this could be a good thing. They don't even know you are here. If we can get him out without them discovering your whereabouts, that gives us a huge advantage."
"Please don't tell me I have to sit this out or put on a wig."
"Nope," Asaka said. "You're lucky, white hair is hugely in fashion right now, especially in the Water Tribes. As long as you stick to Earthbending, they will have no reason to think you are the Avatar."
"You really think these people are that stupid? Don't I look suspiciously similar to Avatar Korra?"
"I think you give them too much credit. Think about it, Kyo, how many people know that the new Avatar is Korra's daughter and was healed at the Spirit Oasis? Was your dad really dumb enough to share that info with just anyone?"
"Have you ever heard the media put out your description?"
"Then to everyone, even to Asami, it's all rumor and speculation. Trust me, you look like you're from the Earth Kingdom. Just stick with your native element and you will be okay."
"Alright, so what's the plan?"
An almost scary smile spread across Asaka's crimson lips. "I thought you knew, Avatar. The plan is to get Bolin back, by any means necessary."
My stomach churned. I did not like the way she said 'any means necessary'. Not at all.
- Kogami highly idolizes Katara (hence the reason he named Ara after her). This is due to the fact that he is her reincarnation. He, of course, is completely oblivious to this fact.
For the collective works of the author, go here.