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The Horror of Sozin is the second chapter of Sokka. It introduces Aang, Gyatso, Hei Bai, Katara, and Long Feng.
Sokka began to tell his story. "This is the tale, as it had first come to us. When the great hall was first finished, it was a place of warmth and celebration. There your king gave gifts of gold rings, ornaments and bracelets to his faithful men. But outside, in the shadows, there was one who hated the sound of men's joy and revelry. When all had fallen asleep, the creature crept up to the doors of Sozin. The door was no barrier for the creature, whose name we have heard, is Hei Bai. As the drowsing warriors jumped to their feet, the monster snatched one up. And swallowed him down. Before the others could do anything, he grabbed up a score of them...fled...and was gone. For twelve long winters, every time someone dares to stay the night in Sozin, the creature returns. So, we have come across the sea to lend our aid, to end Hei Bai's menace." As Sokka finished his tale, the guard became impressed. "By your words and your manner, I can see you are honorable men," he said. "I will guide you to Sozin, Great Aang's Hall."
The guard led them through a dark, thick forest. It seemed that Hei Bai could escape into there if not slain. Sokka was determined to do so. When they reached the end of the forest, the guard stopped. "Now I must leave you and return to my post, to guard the shores," said he. "May Roku, give his blessings to the task you have taken upon yourselves." The guard left them. He was sure that he would not see them again.
When Sokka and his warriors reached the hall, they were stopped by a middle-aged man dressed in red armor. "I am Zhao, herald of Aang, and you must answer to me," he said. "Who are you, that comes to the hall of Aang so boldly? Why are you here?" Sokka stepped forward to introduce himself to the herald. "I am Sokka, son of Iroh. I and those with me hold Zuko of Ba Sing Se as our king," stated Sokka. "As for our purpose, I would tell that to King Aang myself." Like the watchman, the herald could see that the warriors were worthy of trust. "Wait here. I will announce you to the king," said Zhao. Zhao entered the hall and sitting upon a throne, was an Airbender of fifty-five. A man of skill and ever greater knowledge, but in this dark time it seemed that his knowledge had no way of defeating Hei Bai. Zhao made his announcement. "Sokka, you say? Son of Iroh? I knew him when he was a boy!" exclaimed Aang. "I have heard he has grown into a mighty warrior. Bid them enter so I can learn why he has come!"
Zhao obeyed and Sokka entered with his warriors. Aang was indeed interested. "Hail, Aang, great and generous king!" hailed Sokka. "Welcome, Sokka, son of my friend! Tales of your valor have arrived before you. Tell me, why have you come?" asked Aang. "To do battle with Hei Bai! To rid your great hall of the shadow looming over it," replied Sokka. "I have heard that the beast uses no weapons, so I will face Hei Bai with my own bare hands. But should I fail and fall, I ask that you send back my armor to Zuko, my king."
This speach had moved the great king and his court as well. Now Aang began to tell a story. "Long ago, when my brother was king, your father came here seeking refuge. He had to leave your homeland because of a feud. But when my brother died and I took the throne, I was able to set things right, so he could return home. That was before I built this hall. Before Hei Bai came and killed so many. Now you have come, a reat warrior ready to slay the creature menacing my hall. We shall hold a feast in honor of your coming and toast your bravery." Sure enough there was a feast. One of Aang's warriors, called Long Feng, was jealous of the honors heaped on Sokka. "So, you're the great hero, come to save us?" asked Long Feng. "I wonder are you the same Sokka that lost a swimming match to Gyatso? If you can't win a simple race, how is it you expect to defeat Hei Bai?"
Sokka swallowed his mead and looked at Long Feng. He dared to challenge him? "It is true that Gyatso reached the shore first. But only because I had to stop in the open waters and struggle against the sharp-toothed monsters that would have slain us both," replied Sokka. "It was good that I swam with a sword in my hand. But I've heard no tales at all of your prowess, Long Feng. Except that you killed your own brother in battle." It was true. Long Feng did indeed kill his own brother. When his back was turned.
Aang's wife, Katara had overheard the conversation between Sokka and Long Feng. Katara was older than Long Feng by four years. Long Feng showed no respect for his elders. They included, Aang, Zhao, Sokka and Katara. At the age of thirty-six, Sokka had seen more combat than this man of thirty-two. After this insult, Long Feng continued to sulk and skulk in the shadows. Katara then turned to Aang. "My husband, I wish you joy and that our brave guest can rid our hall of the terror we have suffered," said Katara. She then handed a mead cup to Sokka. "And you Sokka! I thank the almighty for sending you here in answer to my prayers." After Sokka had drunk deeply from the mead cup, Queen Katara carried it to the others in the hall. Aang then stood up to make a speech. "Before we go to the safety of our sleeping chambers, I pray Roku will protect our guests and bless their efforts." prayed Aang. Later that night, everyone had left the hall to their chambers. All but Sokka and his warriors. Because the monster, Hei Bai, would have no armor, Sokka swore he would wear none himself.
For the collective works of the author, go here.