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Fanon:The Last Airbender Revised (Part 5)

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Fade to a night scene. A red hawk like bird flies through the moonless night sky and cries out. Cut to a shot of the upper reaches of a Fire Nation fortress. The shot pans down to reveal several towers connected by the walls of the fortress. All are manned and have fires burning in them. Pan left to reveal Fire Nation ships in the water beyond the fortress. Cut to a shot of several fierce looking archers, their faces painted either for decoration, camouflage or both. They release volley after volley of arrows which strike their archery range targets dead center. Successive arrows split the one already occupying the bulls eye right down the middle of its shaft. Shift to wide shot of the archers which pans up to one of the fortress towers where two men stand side by side watching the archers.

  • Colonel Shinu: Absolutely not. The Yu Yan archers stay here. Your request is denied Commander Zhao.
  • Zhao: Colonel Shinu, please reconsider. Their precision is legendary. The Yu Yan can pin a fly to a tree from a hundred yards away without killing it. You're wasting their talents using them as mere security guards.
  • Colonel Shinu: I can do whatever I want with their talents. They're my archers and what I say goes.
  • Zhao: But my search for the Avatar...
  • Colonel Shinu: nothing but a vanity project! We're fighting a real war here and I need every man I've got, Commander. I don't want to hear another word about it.

Zhao grumbles, then cut to the red bird seen earlier swooping down into the tower. It lands on Colonel Shinu's outstretched arm. He unties a message from its back and it flies away. Cut to a view of the Colonel that shows Zhao behind him. The Colonel's expression turns to horror as he reads the message. Zhao approaches from behind and he hands the message to Zhao.

  • Zhao: News from Fire Lord Ozai? (Smiles.) It appears I've been promoted to Admiral. My request is now an order.

Colonel Shinu bows and exits. Cut to the archers firing again at their targets, then cut back to Zhao looking over the railing of the tower at the archers. The screen pans up and zooms in to reveal a figure in a blue mask sitting atop the tower, listening, who then exits. Cut to Katara and Aang on the river bank at daytime. As Katara begins to explain, she starts to waterbend the move she is describing.

  • Katara: This is a pretty basic move, but it still took me months to perfect, so don't be frustrated if you don't get it right away. Just push and pull the water like this...

She begins to bob gracefully back and forth, the water on the river edge moving back and forth with her.

  • Katara: The key is getting the wrist movement right.
  • Aang (getting up and imitating Katara): Like this?
  • Katara: That's almost right, if you keep practicing, I'm sure eventually...
  • Aang: Hey, I'm bending it already!

View pans left to show Aang moving around a respectably sized wave of water. Cut to a surprised Katara.

  • Katara: Wow, I can't believe you got that so quickly. (Looking a little unhappy.) It took me two months to learn that move.
  • Aang: Well, you had to figure it out on your own. I'm lucky enough to have a great teacher.
  • Katara: Thanks.

Cut to an overhead shot of Katara and Aang from the p.o.v. of the top of the waterfall.

  • Aang: So, what's next.
  • Katara: This is a more difficult move. I call it "streaming the water."

Cut to closer view of the pair. Katara moves her hands and pulls out of a stream of water from the river and begins to loop it around.

  • Katara: It's harder than it looks so don't be disappointed if...

Cut to a wider shot that shows Aang has already mastered this move. He is moving around his stream of water as if it were a toy as Katara stands motionless. After a few minutes of frolicking, cut to Katara who definitely looks sour. She drops her water stream. Aang plays with his for a few more seconds and then dumps his back into the river.

  • Katara: Nice work, though the over-the-head flare was unnecessary.
  • Aang: Sorry. Well, don't stop now, keep'em coming!
  • Katara: Well, I kinda know this one other move, but it's pretty hard. I haven't even totally figured it out yet. The idea is to create a big, powerful wave...

Katara concentrates, raises a blob of water out of the river, but it falls back upon itself when Katara's concentration collapses. Aang sets up to try.

  • Aang: So, like this?

He raises his hands and a huge wall of water shoots up into the air. Cut to Sokka with the wave building visibly behind him. He turns and his eyes go wide.

  • Sokka: Aang!

He gets soaked as the wave breaks over he and Appa. Cut to Katara stoking a little cheery fire on the right as a wet Sokka is covered in cloth, obviously shivering. Katara then walks to Aang, who was sitting alone. She brings him a bowl of soup.

  • Katara: That was some pretty powerful bending. You're a natural. (laughs) You should be. You're the Avatar.
  • Aang: (freezes) I wish I wasn't...
  • Katara: You said that before. Why? What happened?
  • Aang: (hesitates) Well, it's kind of a long story... I'll never forget the day the monks told me I was the Avatar.

When Aang begins to speak the camera pans up and enters a dreamy flashback sequence. The pan up changes quickly from the rock of the cave to an outdoor shot of the Southern Air Temple in its heyday. A stone plaza is populated with many young airbenders playing games, a flying bison soars in the distance.

  • Aang: I was playing with some other kids just outside the south wall. I was trying to teach them how to do the air scooter.

Cut to a shot of Aang addressing a group of young airbenders. Most seem Aang's age or younger, one is taller and probably older. Aang demonstrates the air scooter move.

  • Aang: First, you form a ball. Then you gotta get on quick.

Aang makes an air ball and sits on it fast. He laughs and begins to move at terrific speed across the plaza. He goes upside down in a nearby archway under a walking bridge, then climbs a wall and gets up on to the bridge, coming back to the plaza by a nearby set of stairs. Cut to the older boy, who readies his own attempt.

  • Older Boy: Okay! Here goes! (He makes a ball.)
  • Aang: Quick, get on!
  • Older Boy: Wh, wh, whoaaaa! (He wobbles and is thrown.) Ugh!
  • Aang (dismounting his own scooter): You kinda have to balance on it like it's a top. (He twirls his finger to demonstrate.)
  • Older Boy: Man, that's hard.

A young boy enters the screen from the left and tugs at Aang's shoulder.

  • Young Boy: Where'd ya learn that trick, Aang?
  • Aang: I made it up.
  • Young Boy: Wow!

Screen pans left to show five elderly airbender monks on the stones steps leading up to the bridge. Monk Gyatso is one of them.

  • Monk Gyatso: Aang, come with us. We need to speak with you.

Cut to Aang, who obeys with a look of trepidation on his face, the other kids looking at him strangely. Cut to a chamber in the Air Temple where the five elder monks sit cross-legged and serene on five evenly spaced stools. The middle monk's stool rests under an ornate parasol; he is likely the leader or abbot of the monastery. Monk Gyatso is the second from the left. Aang kneels in front of them, head down, his back to the camera. He lifts his head to address them.

  • Aang: How do you know it's me?
  • Elder Monk #4: We have known you were the Avatar for some time. Do you remember these?

The fourth monk on the right who has just spoken reveals a rolled up package, which he airbends over to Aang. It lands at his feet and rolls open of its own accord. Inside are four children's toys. On the left is a little toy turtle. Second from the left is a propeller toy. Third from the left is a little monkey or donkey. The fourth is rattle type object with yellow and red swirls on its face.

  • Aang: Those were some of my favorite toys when I was little! (He picks up the propeller toy.)
  • Elder Monk #4: You chose them from among thousands of toys, Aang. The toys you picked were the four Avatar relics. These items belonged to your past lives.
  • Aang: I just chose them because they seemed fun.

He smiles and pulls the cord on the propeller toy, sending the propeller spinning into the air. It spins through the air and the scene cuts back to a close view of the five monks.

  • Elder Monk #4: You chose them because they were familiar.
  • Monk Gyatso: Normally we would have told you of your identity when you turned 16, but there are troubling signs. Storm clouds are gathering.
  • Abbot: I fear that war may be upon us, young Avatar.
  • Monk Gyatso: We need you, Aang.

Aang lowers his head, his responsibility crushing him. His head stays lowered, but the flashback ends. His head remains lowered in the present as well. Cut to a wider shot of Aang on the left, Katara on the right, the fire between them ans Sokka in the background.

  • Katara: So you were upset that you were the Avatar? Why wouldn't you be excited about it?
  • Aang: Well, I didn't know how to feel about it. All I knew is that after I found out, everything began changing...

Fade to another flashback at the plaza near the south wall of the Southern Air Temple. This time the plaza is full of young airbenders riding on air scooters, laughing, and having fun.

  • Aang: Hey, not bad! You guys have been practicing!
  • Young Boy (scooting around Aang): Not only that, we made up a game you can play with the air scooters!
  • Aang: Great!

Aang makes his own air scooter, but the young boy looks confused and a bit alarmed. He stops his scooter. The shot widens to show the other young airbenders stopping their scooters as well.

  • Aang (dismayed): What's going on?
  • Older Boy (unhappy, but without malice): Now that you're the Avatar, it's kind of an unfair advantage for whichever team you're on.
  • Aang (trying to smile): But I'm still the same, nothing's changed. So, what, I can't play?
  • Older Boy: That's the only fair way.
  • Aang (dismounting his scooter): Oh, okay.
  • Young Boy: Sorry, Aang.

The young airbenders look upon as he retreats from them, sadness in their eyes. Cut to a view of Aang and Gyatso playing Pai Sho through an exterior window. Then a close up of Aang, who absent-mindedly moves a token on the board. He is sad and distracted.

  • Monk Gyatso: Very interesting move, young one.
  • Aang: What do you mean?

Behind his back, Monk Gyatso begins to bend air in an arch over his head and behind Aang. The wind blows Aang's hood up over his face, giving the old monk time to switch a few pieces before Aang can remove the hood.

  • Aang (pointing at the board): Hey!

Both begin to laugh. The door opens to reveal one of the other monk elders, in fact the one who had been sitting fourth from the right in the prior scene.

  • Elder Monk #4: You're playing games with him? The Avatar should be training.
  • Monk Gyatso: Aang has already trained enough for today.
  • Elder Monk #4: Time is short. Come with me, Avatar. I must test you on some high level techniques.

Aang gets up and begins to follow the Elder out of the room. Monk Gyatso then raises his hand in a gesture of cessation.

  • Monk Gyatso: No, as long as I am his guardian, I will decide when he trains and when he gets his butt kicked at Pai Sho.
  • Elder Monk #4 (close up, clearly angry): Hmmph!

The Elder Monk stalks off as Aang turns to smile at Monk Gyatso.

  • Aang: (voice-over) Then, just when I was starting to feel better, something worse happened.

Aang's flashback resumes, this time of Monk Gyatso and Elder Monk #4 standing in front of the monk who sits on the middle stool under the parasol, presumably the abbot.

  • Monk Gyatso: Aang needs to have freedom and fun. He needs to grow up as a normal boy.
  • Elder Monk #4: Humph! You cannot keep protecting him from his destiny.
  • Abbot: Gyatso, I know you mean well, but you are letting your affection for the boy cloud your judgment.
  • Monk Gyatso: All I want is what is best for him.
  • Abbot: But what we need is what's best for the world. (Looking down for a moment before raising his head to continue) You and Aang must be separated. The Avatar will be sent away to the Eastern Air Temple to complete his training.

Monk Gyatso bows as the camera zooms past him to reveal Aang eavesdropping through a hole in the ceiling, his eyes alarmed and distraught. The flashback ends as the camera pans left back to Appa, Katara, Soka and Aang around the fire.)

  • Katara: That's awful, Aang. I don't know what to say.

Katara tries to put her hand on his shoulder, but he gets up, angry.

  • Aang: How could they do that to me! They wanted to take away everything I knew and EVERYONE I LOVED!

Aang's Avatar Spirit begins to activate, the arrow tattoos on his body beginning to glow and the energy shell beginning to form around him. He shuts it down however as Sokka cries out as cinders from the fire swirl around him.

  • Aang (his glow fading): I'm sorry I got so mad.
  • Katara: You have a right to be angry after the monks sent you away like that.
  • Aang: Well, that's not exactly what happened...

Aang's looks downcast and guilty as the camera zooms past his left shoulder. The flashback then continues, showing an overhead shot of the young airbender monks hard at play on their air scooters back at the south wall. The shot zooms backwards to reveal that we are seeing the kids from Aang's p.o.v., he is watching them from a window high up in the Temple. He is sad and clearly longs to be normal again. While Aang narrates to Katara, the Aang in the flashback leaves his window and flops dejectedly on his bed.

  • Aang (voice-over, narrating from the present): I was afraid and confused. I didn't know what to do.

The scene fades to a night scene in the hallway outside of Aang's bedroom. Monk Gyatso approaches, knocks and enters.

  • Monk Gyatso: Aang, I'm not going to let them take you away from me. Aang?

Gyatso sees a rolled up scroll on Aang's bed. He picks it up and opens it, his eyes going wide in concern. He draws an intake of breath to look at the window where it is storming violently. The camera pans across the storm tossed ocean as Aang narrates again from the present.

  • Aang: I never saw Gyatso again.

The flashback continues with Aang's and Appa's plunge into the sea during the storm, activation of Aang's Avatar Spirit and subsequent encasement in ice.

  • Aang: Next thing I knew, I was waking up in your arms after you found me in the iceberg.

The flashback ends. Aang looks vacantly across the fire, a slightly guilty expression still settled on his face.

  • Katara: You ran away.
  • Aang (looking up at Katara): And then the Fire Nation attacked our temple. My people needed me and I wasn't there to help.
  • Katara: You don't know what would've...
  • Aang: The world needed me and I wasn't there to help. I turned my back on the world.
  • Katara: You're being too hard on yourself. Even if you did run away, I think it was meant to be. If you had stayed you would have been killed along with all the other airbenders.
  • Aang: You don't know that.
  • Katara: I know it's meant to be this way. The world needs you now. You give people hope.

Aang slowly smiles, raising his head to look at her, an expression of hope spreading across his face. Momo hops over to Aang and chitters. Cut to night-time. All three are asleep in their sleeping bags. Aang is in his dream where he was in a glowing blueish background. Suddenly the same dragon who appeared in Aang's vision at the Southern Air Temple is upon him and Aang cowers beneath it, fear framing his young face.

  • Aang: What...who are you? Where am I? The Northern Air Temple?

In response, the dragon bends its head down and touches Aang's head with one of its whiskers. Aang's eyes glow with a blue fire when touched. A flashback begins of an old man riding the dragon the way Aang rides Appa. They approach the camera; in life the dragon was red and brown. The flashback ends as the blue dragon breaks its touch.

  • Aang: You're Avatar Roku's animal guide! Like Appa is to me. Is there some way for me to talk to Roku?

Aang looks back at the dragon, which touches him on the temple once again. Aang's eyes light up blue, and this time the vision is of a huge, flaming comet rocketing through the sky. The vision ends as the dragon breaks contact.

  • Aang: Is that what Roku wants to talk to me about? A comet? When can I talk to him?

The dragon lowers its head in response. Cut to a wider shot where it now revealed that the sun shines through a tiny window high up in the ceiling. The shaft of light, previously blocked by the dragon, now hits the wall near Roku's right shoulder. The dragon touches Aang again and a vision of time passing at the Northern Air Temple begins. Cut to an exterior shot of the temple sitting on its volcanic promontory. Clouds fly by at incredible speed overhead and the sun rounds its daily course in a matter of seconds. Three days pass in this fashion before a fade to show the floor of the statue's chamber. Two Asian written characters are shown before cutting to a shot of the little window where the sunlight enters. Days pass in rapid succession there as well. Shift to a long shot of the statue from the back of the room, where it is clear with each day the spot where the shaft of sunlight hits the back wall gets closer to hitting the statue's face as each day passes. The vision ends.

  • Aang: It's a calendar, and the light will reach Roku on the solstice! (Turning to dragon) So, that's when I'll be able to speak to Roku? (The dragon grunts and flies off) Wait! Come back!

Aang wakes up from his dream. He rushes to Appa, only to find Katara, also awake, waiting for him.

  • Katara: Aang? Where are you going?
  • Aang: I need to talk to Roku and I think I've found a way to contact his spirit.
  • Katara: That's great!
  • Aang: I saw Sokka's maps. We're near the Northern Air Temple. If I go there on the solstice, I'll be able to speak with him.
  • Katara: But, the solstice is tomorrow. You should get some rest.
  • Aang: No, this is something I have to do alone. Don't worry, I'll be back soon.

Cut to Aang flying with Appa. Katara had a worried look on her face.

  • Sokka: (woke up from his sleep) Hey, where's Appa?

Cut to a shot of Zuko's ship steaming through water with land visible behind it. Cut again to wider view of the bridge where Iroh and some crewman are playing Pai Sho on the right. Another Fire Navy ship, a massive hulking thing, is passing them to starboard, headed the opposite direction. Everyone on Zuko's bridge stares at it.

  • Zuko: What do they want?
  • Iroh (hopefully): Perhaps a sporting game of Pai Sho!

Cut to a brief shot of Zuko's ship resting alongside the much larger, double-smoke stack Fire Nation vessel. Switch to a scroll being unrolled to reveal a drawn figure of Aang and some writing in Asian calligraphy. Cut to a shot behind the herald who is holding up the wanted poster. Zuko is in front of him, looking sour.

  • Herald: The hunt for the Avatar has been given prime importance. (He lowers the scroll.) All information regarding the Avatar must be reported directly to Admiral Zhao.
  • Iroh (making a move on the Pai Sho board): Zhao has been promoted? Well, good for him!
  • Zuko (sullenly): I've got nothing to report to Zhao. Now get off my ship and let us pass.
  • Herald: Admiral Zhao is not allowing ships in or out of this area.
  • Zuko (angrily): Off my ship!

Cut to Iroh, with the Herald and his two guards behind him. They leave as Iroh smiles.

  • Iroh: Excellent! (He leans forward and gathers all the chips on the table) I take the pot. But, you're all improving. I'm certain you will win if we play again.

Cut to Zuko looking out over the waves as Iroh and the men begin another game in the background behind him. Cut to a view of a mountain path. The screen pans right to reveal a Fire Nation lookout post, the switch to a view inside the post. One of the lookouts is looking out with a telescope, another is reading Aang's wanted poster. The telescope lookout looks through his instrument, where we cut to his p.o.v. through the telescope. He has a view of Appa flying towards a direction. The other lookout blows his horn to the sky. Pan up to the empty sky, quickly replaced by an exterior shot of the of the Northern Air Temple. Once there, Aang was inside the sanctuary. He crouches on the floor in front of Avatar Roku's statue. The setting sunlight comes through an octagonal window at the top of the sanctuary. The light is reddish and moves slowly up the great statue.

  • Aang (standing up): The light hits the statue and I talk to Roku. So why isn't anything happening?

The light from the window is now on Roku's chest.

  • Aang: I'm so confused! I don't know what I'm doing! All I know is airbending! Please, Avatar Roku, talk to me!

Scene cuts to a close up of the Avatar Roku's face. The sunlight moves up his face. When the light hits the statue's eyes, they begin to glow. The sanctuary is filled with white smoke. When the smoke clears, Aang is standing face to face with Avatar Roku. They are on the top of a mountain range.

  • Roku: It's good to see you, Aang. What took you so long?

Camera cuts to a close up of Aang's face. He is shocked and amazed. He bows deeply to Avatar Roku. Cut to Iroh playing Pai Sho with a crewman.

  • Crewman: Hey, General Iroh. If you don't mind me asking, why does the Avatar mean so much to that nephew of yours? He's so concerned about it.
  • Iroh: Do you really want to know? (going for his next move on his game) Try to understand, my nephew is a complicated young man. He has been through much...

Fade to a flashback of a younger Zuko, without his trademark scar. His look of determination, however, has not changed. He walks down a hall to a pair of Fire Nation guards who block his attempt to enter the room beyond.

  • Zuko (in a higher voice than we are used to): Let me in! (Iroh appears from the left, putting his hands on the young man's shoulders.)
  • Iroh: Prince Zuko, what's wrong?
  • Zuko: I want to go into the war chamber, but the guard won't let me pass!

Zuko's voice breaks slightly at the end. He is clearly disappointed. Iroh leads him a short distance away from the guards.

  • Iroh: You're not missing anything, trust me. These meetings are dreadfully boring.
  • Zuko: If I'm gonna rule this nation one day, don't you think I need to start learning as much as I can?
  • Iroh: Very well. But you must promise not to speak. These old folks are a bit sensitive, you know.
  • Zuko (bowing to Iroh): Thank you uncle!

Iroh puts him around Zuko's shoulders and walks him past the guards, who make no move to stop them. Cut to a wide shot of the war chamber. It is a temple like chamber, with a throne on a dais, wreathed in fire. The back wall is occupied by some sort of huge, ornately carved red statue. The screen pans down to the show the war council in session. Fire Nation generals sit around a map of the Earth Kingdom continent that adorns the floor. One of the generals on the left is standing to address the general staff.

  • General: The Earth Kingdom defenses are concentrated here.

Cut to a view from the throne, where the Fire Lord is watching the generals discuss the situation, the cut back to the speaker.

  • General: A dangerous battalion of their strongest earthbenders and fiercest warriors, so I am recommending the 41st division.
  • Old General: But the 41st is entirely new recruits. How do you expect them to defeat a powerful Earth Kingdom battalion?
  • General (coldly): I don't. They'll be used as a distraction while we mount an attack from the rear. What better to use as bait then fresh meat?
  • Zuko (jumping up): You can't sacrifice an entire division like that! Those soldiers love and defend our nation! How can you betray them?

Cut to a view down the map as the generals look back to Zuko, clearly disapproving of Zuko's outburst. The scene fades to the present where Iroh continue his story to the crewmen.

  • Iroh: Zuko was right, you see, but it was not his place to speak out. After Zuko's outburst in the meeting, the Fire Lord became very angry with him. He said that Prince Zuko's challenge of the general was an act of complete disrespect, and there was only one way to resolve this.
  • Crewman (horrified): Agni Kai. A fire duel.
  • Iroh: That's right. Zuko looked upon the old general he had insulted and declared that he was not afraid. But Zuko misunderstood. When he turned to face his opponent, he was surprised to see it was not the General. Zuko had spoken out against a general's plan, but by doing so in the Fire Lord's war room, it was the Fire Lord whom he had disrespected. Zuko would have to duel his own father.

In the midst of Iroh's story we see Zuko in a rectangular arena with a large crowd on either side. He drops his ceremonial cloak to the floor, exposing his bare chest. He turns to face his opponent, and, recognizing him, freezes in horror.

  • Iroh: When Prince Zuko saw that it was his father who had come to duel him, he begged for mercy.

While Iroh speaks, the scene cuts to view of Iroh's face through the fire that burns in the fire barrel around which the crewman sit. When his voice trails off, the flashback continues where we left off, with an overhead shot of Zuko in the rectangular arena. A much larger opponent, silhouetted, advances slowly on Zuko. Cut to a side view of the horrified Zuko.

  • Zuko: Please, father, I only had the Fire Nation's best interest at heart! I'm sorry I spoke out of turn!

Cut to a closer shot of the advancing Fire Lord, still silhouetted against the fires burning around the arena. He too is shirtless, but built massively.

  • Fire Lord Ozai: You will fight for your honor.
  • Zuko (stricken, abasing himself on the floor): I meant you no disrespect. I am your loyal son.
  • Fire Lord Ozai: Rise and fight, Prince Zuko!
  • Zuko: I won't fight you.
  • Fire Lord Ozai: You will learn respect, and suffering will be your teacher.

The Fire Lord now stands a few feet from Zuko, as the Prince raises his tear filled face to his father. Cut to a close up of some spectators. They are familiar. Many in the background are generals from the war council. The three in the foreground are, from left, a grinning Admiral Zhao (then either Captain or Commander), General Iroh, looking fearful for his nephew, and a cruel looking young girl in a soldier's uniform who is clearly hoping for the worst to befall Prince Zuko. This is Azula, Zuko's sister. She raises her left fist in anticipation of the disgrace her brother is undergoing. Iroh's looks away in despair.

  • Iroh: I looked away.

The spectators are illuminated by flame, Zuko's scream of anguish is heard in the background, and the camera zooms to a close up of Iroh. The flashback ends, but Iroh's face in the present is in the same pose as it was when Zuko was scarred. It is clearly an unpleasant memory.

  • Crewman (abashed): I always thought that Prince Zuko was in a training accident.
  • Iroh: It was no accident. After the duel, the Fire Lord said that by refusing to fight, Zuko had shown shameful weakness. As punishment he was banished and sent to capture the Avatar. Only then could he return with his honor.
  • Crewman: So that's why he's so obsessed. Capturing the Avatar is the only chance he has of things returning to normal.
  • Iroh: Things will never return to normal. But the important thing is, the Avatar gives Zuko hope.

Cut to a shot of Zuko's back. He is in darkness, except the flame on the altar in front of him. The flame is blocked by his body so he is silhouetted. A flashback appears in a still frame. It of two young children running across the crest of a hillside, an older man, their father, follows behind. The colors are drab, but the children look happy. The scene cuts quickly back to Zuko in front of the altar, and then to another flashback. This one is a close of a young boy, Zuko, perhaps at Aang's age, standing on that same hillcrest with his father next to him. His father's hand is on his shoulder. Cut back to Zuko at the altar again, and then back to the previous flashback, except this time from the front, showing a much younger Zuko, clearly smiling and happy. The music becomes serious though, as the flashback fades around the boy's face, replaced by the face of Zuko from the present, scarred and unhappy. Scene cuts back to Aang and Roku in the Spirit World.

  • Roku: I have something very important to tell you, Aang. That is why I sent you that vision.
  • Aang: The one with the comet?
  • Roku: Yes.
  • Aang: What does it mean?

The camera pans so that Roku's face is on the left of the screen. The light of the mountain range fades into a starry night sky. The comet slowly crosses the screen from left to right as Avatar Roku speaks.

  • Roku: One hundred years ago, Fire Lord Sozin used that comet to begin the war. He and his firebending army harnessed its incredible power and dealt a deadly first strike against the other nations.

The camera follows the arc of the comet across the sky. The scene slowly fades to the light of the mountain range as the comet approaches Aang.. Aang is standing on the right of the screen as the comet fades away.

  • Aang: So the comet made them stronger?
  • Roku: Yes. Stronger than you could even imagine.
  • Aang: But that happened a hundred years ago. What does the comet have to do with the war now?
  • Roku: Listen carefully. (Scene cuts to a close up of Fire Lord Ozai. His body is black against a wall of flames.) Sozin's comet will return by the end of the summer. And Fire Lord Ozai will use its power to finish the war once and for all. (Ozai takes a deep breath, raises his head, and screams a burst of fire from his open mouth. Scene cuts back to Avatar Roku.) If he succeeds, even the Avatar won't be able to restore balance to the world. Aang, you must defeat the Fire Lord before the comet arrives.
  • Aang: But I haven't even started learning waterbending, not to mention earth and fire.
  • Roku: Mastering the elements takes years of discipline and practice. But if the world is to survive, you must do it by summer's end.

The camera zooms in on Aang's face. Fear and worry wash across his features.

  • Aang: What if I can't master all the elements in time? What if I fail?
  • Roku: I know you can do it Aang, for you have done it before. The solstice is ending. We must go our separate ways...for now.
  • Aang: But I won't be able to come back to the temple. What if I have questions? How will I talk to you?
  • Roku: I am a part of you. When you need to talk to me again, you will find a way. (The camera zooms in on Roku's face. He closes his eyes. The scene dissolves to the Yu Yan archers preparing their weapons.) A great danger awaits you outside the temple. You must leave immediately. We'll meet again.

Fade to white. Cut to Aang running out of the temple and then flying on Appa. Suddenly arrows fly towards the air at him and Appa. Aang airbends a shell of wind around him knocking all the arrows aside.

  • Aang: Appa, you go without me.

Aang jumps out from Appa and flies with his glider. Cut to a panning shot of the Yu Yan archers in the surrounding trees, They fire, but he dodges and runs in the opposite direction. Dodging hails of arrows, he jumps off the cliff at the back of the institute. Cut to Aang hurtling down the cliff. Aang managed to grab his staff at the same time. Up above, the archers jump off the cliff after him. Cut to side view of Aang falling with the cliff face on his left. He lets his hood billow a bit to slow him down until he hits the tree canopy beneath. Aang's face gets beaten repeatedly by the brush rapidly flying by. Cut to the archers who fire in mid flight, sending anchor ropes into the nearby trees as they fall so they can swing tarzan-like after Aang. Several shots are shown in quick succession as Aang is pursued from tree branch to tree branch by the archers. Eventually Aang comes out of the forest in the swamp. He stands up and tries to run through the water. Arrows fall all around. He gets to a log rising out of the water, and an arrow pins his right arm to it. It is soon joined by several more. The archers fire another volley, but Aang waterbends a wall of ice in front of him. The arrows shatter the ice. They fire another volley, pinning his left arm, followed by a net that covers his upper body. Close of Aang's face in terror. Fade to a close up of Aang's upper body, his arms stretched out, his face downcast. The room is dark, but there is fire in the room that sheds some illumination. Aang's raised eyes of defiance as the screen fades to a wider shot. Aang is a prisoner in a large room with two stone pillars that have fires on their crests. Aang is shackled to them from his arms. Fade to a shot of the guards outside his room, then fade and zoom out to show exterior shots of the fortress in which he is being held. It looks impregnable. Rank upon rank of walls, gates and towers. Cut back to the prison chamber, where Aang struggles against his bonds. The door opens and Aang looks up. Cut to a view from the doorway. Zhao walks into the room towards Aang, holding Zhao's staff.

  • Zhao: Wake up, prisoner. My name is Commander Zhao.'re that great Avatar I've heard about? I don't know how you've managed to elude the Fire Nation for a hundred years, but your little game of hide and seek is over.
  • Aang: I've never hidden from you. Untie me and I'll fight you right now!
  • Zhao: Ah, no. Tell me, how does it feel to be the only airbender left? (Putting his face up to Aang's.) Do you miss your people? (Aang's look of defiance melts and he drops his head.) Oh, don't worry, I'm not going to kill you. (Aang looks up again in anger.) (Zhao speaks in an almost bored tone) If I did, you'd just be reborn again, and then the search for the Avatar would continue. So, I'll keep you alive... (smiles cruelly) but just barely.

Zhao turns to leave, still smirking. Aang blows a gale force wind, knocking Zhao until into the wall where he collapses in a heap. He shakes his head to clear his vision and stands up.

  • Zhao: Blow all the winds you want! Your situation is futile. There is no escaping this fortress, and no one is coming to rescue you.

Cut to an overhead shot of Aang still bound between the pillars, then cut to several exterior night shots of the fortress, culminating in a long shot of the figure in the blue mask. The camera zooms in three step changes to a close up of the blue masked face which then moves left o.c. Cut to a view of the road leading to the fortress where a wagon is making its way toward the gate. Cut to a view of the undercarriage of the wagon as it passes. The Blue Spirit is holding on to the underside of the wagon. The wagon reaches the gate. A gate guard looks at the wagon and walks around it. When the guard checks the undercarriage, the Blue Spirit is gone. The guard gets back up. Cut to a wider shot of the wagon and the guards around it. Shift to a view from inside the wagon where the Blue Spirit has hidden himself, then cut to an overhead shot of the wagon as it enters the first of the fortress' three gates. The shot pans up to rest on the massive central tower where Aang is held prisoner. Cut to a view of the first courtyard where the boxes in the wagon have been unloaded. The Blue Spirit runs from them and ducks into the shadows. Cut to a shot of an ornate balcony with bonfire pots on either side. The balcony is festooned with gold and red spades. Admiral Zhao appears in ceremonial dress flanked by attendants. During his speech the view cuts to show the innermost courtyard full of Fire Nation soldiers standing at attention.

  • Zhao: We are the sons and daughters of fire! The superior element! Until today, only one thing stood in our path to victory. The Avatar! I am here to tell you that he is now my prisoner! (The soldier's cheer three times.) This is the year Sozin's comet returns to grant us its power! (Another cheer is heard.)

As Zhao speaks, various shots are seen of the Blue Spirit steadily and stealthily infiltrating the fortress. Cut to the four guards standing outside the chamber. Suddenly they look up as a Fire Nation soldier's helmet comes bouncing down the corridor towards them. One of the guard walks up the corridor and turns right at the first junction, disappearing from view. A gout of flame erupts from the cross hallway as well as the sound of a brief scuffle. Two more guards go up to the junction and turn right, firebending stances at the ready. Cut to a view looking down the cross hallway. The first guard who went is hanging from the ceiling, tied up. Shift to the hanging soldier's p.o.v. and pan up to reveal the Blue Spirit on the ceiling above the two new combatants. He drops down and melee begins, but it is over quickly. Cut back last guards p.o.v. where he now sees the Blue Spirit at the junction. Cut to a view of the door to Aang's chamber. The lone guard grabs the alarm horn next to him, but a knife throw from o.c. knocks it out of his hand. The guard lets loose a gout of flame at the Blue Spirit as he runs down the hall toward the door, but the intruder extinguishes the blast with a bucket of water. The masked figure then sweeps the guards feet out from under him with the empty bucket. Cut back to Aang, still struggling fruitlessly against his chains. He stops and looks at the noises of violence coming from through door. These stop abruptly and replaced by the sound of the lock turning in the door. The door opens and the Blue Spirit enters. He brandishes two curved swords and runs forward to Aang, who screams in fear.he Blue Spirit approaches and two sword cuts are heard. Aang pulls his arms back in surprise, the Blue Spirit has freed him. He looks at his liberator in wonder. The Blue Spirit comes closer and cuts his remaining bonds, turns and walks back toward the door. He threw Aang's staff at its owner and Aang catches it.

  • Aang: Who are you? What's going on? Are you here to rescue me? (The Blue Spirit opens the door and motions for him to follow.)

Cut to Zhao walking in one of the torch-lit corridors of the fortress, followed by some sort of scribe.

  • Zhao: I want a full transcription of my speech sent to the Fire Lord, along with glowing testimonials from all of the ranking officers present, and...

He cuts himself off as he hears moans. Cut to Zhao's right, where the soldiers that the Blue Spirit tied still lie. Zhao, upset, slams open the door to Aang's prison cell. It is empty. Zhao turns in anger and leaves, the scribe in tow.

  • Scribe: Sir, should I hold off sending that speech to the Fire Lord?

Cut back to the two would-be escapees who are now scaling a rope on the innermost wall of the fortress. They are spotted and the view zooms out as one of the guards shouts.

  • Soldier: There, on the wall!

A soldier appears at the top of the wall they are climbing. He cuts the rope and the pair fall down the wall, Aang screaming. Cut to side view where Aang airbends them to a soft landing. When the dust clears, the Blue Spirit unsheathes his swords and they run. Cut to Zhao on the ornate balcony.

  • Zhao (shouting): The Avatar has escaped! Close all the gates immediately!

Cut to the escapees running, Aang passes the Blue Spirit.

  • Aang: Stay close to me!

The third gate is closing in front of them, as are the two beyond it, and it is blocked by many soldiers. Aang airbends a blast of air that blows them out of the way. Aang makes the gate, but the Blue Spirit gets involved in melee and has to stop. Aang turns to see his liberator in trouble. He grabs a spear from a guard near him, airbends him out of the way, breaks the head off the spear and launches back into battle to save his new friend. The gate closes behind him. The Blue Spirit is surrounded, but Aang airbends them all out of the way. With a mighty effort he then catapults his liberator to the top of the third wall. He is instantly surrounded, but Aang appears using his staff as a helicopter blade. He plucks the Blue Spirit off the wall and heads into the next courtyard. Cut to a close up of Aang struggling to keep them aloft. The Blue Spirit uses his swords to knock the spears sent up at them by the guards. They barely next the top of the next wall as they crash unceremoniously onto the battlement. Aang's staff goes spinning away as guards instantly rush them. Aang runs for his staff, but a guard stops him, taking several swings at Aang with his sword. The Blue Spirit throws the guard over the wall. Aang then airbends the other guards off the wall. Cut to a wide shot of the second wall, where more soldiers are brings scaling ladders. Aang the Blue Spirit knock off the soldiers as they reach the top. With two mighty blasts, Aang depopulates the two scaling ladders nearest him as the Blue Spirit knocks the one final soldier off his. Aang brings over his two scaling ladders and steps onto the one his liberator has just emptied. He hands one ladder to the masked man.

  • Aang: Here, take this. Jump on my back!

The Blue Spirit complies and Aang begins to use the ladders as massive stilts, shedding one each time a step is taken. Cut to a wide shot of the second courtyard where dawn is approaching in the background. The first ladder shed still had some Fire Nation soldiers on it, but it falls in the dust.

  • Aang: Gimme the next one!

The Blue Spirit again complies. Cut to the bottom of their final stilt where a Fire Nation soldier sends a gout of flame up the ladder. It is too late though, as Aang and the masked man jump from the last stilt and just manage to grab the edge of the final wall. They are unable to hold on, however, and fall to the ground. The Blue Spirit draws his swords. Four firebenders unleash their flame on them, but Aang puts the masked man behind him and airbends the flames away.

  • Zhao (initially from outside): Hold your fire! (Cut to Zhao) the Avatar must be captured alive!

The Blue Spirit instantly comes up behind Aang and crosses his swords in front of Aang's throat. Cut to a view behind the escapees that pans right slowly, accenting the stand off, then cut to the implacable blue mask of the intruder. Cut back to a close of Zhao's eyes.

  • Zhao (through gritted teeth): Open the gate.
  • Officer: Admiral, what are you doing?
  • Zhao: Let them out, now!

The gate is opened and the Blue Spirit backs out with his captives, swords still at his throat. Cut back to Zhao, the officer questioning him still visible over his left shoulder.

  • Officer: How could you let them go?
  • Zhao: A situation like this requires... precision.

The Blue Spirit continues backing away from the fortress. Zhao now looks on from the top of the main gate. Cut to an arrow being strung on a bow by an unseen soldier, then cut back to Zhao, who looks to his right as he speaks.

  • Zhao: Do you have a clear shot?

Cut to a Yu Yan archer, who doesn't respond, but lowers his head in preparation for his shot.

  • Zhao: Knock out the thief. I'll deliver him to the Fire Lord along with the Avatar.

The archer releases his arrow, which the camera follows across the field to its impact point on the Blue Spirits masks. Cut to a side view of Aang and the Blue Spirit as the masked man collapses backward in slow motion. Aang turns in horror, his eyes glazed. He recovers, turns around and airbends up a huge cloud of dust around him and the Blue Spirit. Cut to Zhao.

  • Zhao: Quick! Recover the Avatar!

Cut to the main gate opening and a crowd Fire Nation soldiers emerging and running towards the dust cloud. Cut to inside the dust cloud, where Aang removes the Blue Spirit's mask to reveal Prince Zuko. Aang starts back in horror, he falls backward on the ground. He also noticed Katara's necklace beside him, so Aang grabbed it. He jumps up and runs away, but then turns to look at Zuko, his eyes huge and full of compassion. He sees the Fire Nation shoulders getting close through the smoke. Still, he hesitates. When the dust clears, however, the soldiers find nothing. The crossroad where Zuko had fallen is now empty. Cut back to Zhao looking insanely angry. Cut to a blurry shot of a forest looking straight up into the canopy overhead. It is morning. The screen pans down to Aang sitting on a nearby root, the view is still blurry. He looks forlorn. Cut to Zuko, whose view we were clearly just seeing. He looks a bit dazed still.

  • Aang: You know what the worst part about being born over a hundred years ago is? I miss all the friends I used to hang out with. Before the war started (cut to Aang still looking down at the ground), I used to always my friend Kuzon. The two of us, we'd get in and out of so much trouble together. He was one of the best friends I ever had... (he turns to face Zuko) and he was from the Fire Nation, just like you. (Cut back to Zuko still looking at Aang.) If we knew each other back then (cut back to Aang), do you think we could have been friends too?

Cut to a wide shot of Zuko lying on a bank of earth, Aang next to him, perched a large tree root. After a pause, Zuko lets loose a huge gout of flame at him, but Aang dodges and flies away on a current of air. Zuko watches him hop away from tree branch to tree branch and out sight. Cut to Zuko as the camera slowly zooms backward. Cut back to a wide shot of Zuko's ship reeling in the cutter vessel back into the mother ship. Shift to Zuko, sullen, walking past his Uncle on the main deck. He has been practicing with his tsungi horn

  • Iroh: Where have you been, Prince Zuko? You missed music night!
  • Zuko (walking away): Nowhere. I'm going to bed. No disturbances.

Iroh rubs his head and begins to blow his horn again, echoing the same sad dirge that has been playing for much of the scene. Fade back to Katara and Sokka's campsite. Katara quickly runs towards Aang and hugs him after his return.

  • Katara: Aang! You were gone for almost a day! So did you get to meet Roku?
  • Aang: (somewhat dejectedly) I did. He has a very important message. I'll tell you guys later.

Aang collapses onto Appa's beaver like tail, clearly exhausted.

  • Sokka: Aang, how your trip? Did you make any new friends?
  • Aang: (sadly) No, I don't think I did.
  • Sokka: (confused) Er... okay then...
  • Katara: You should get some rest, Aang. We'll be going to the North Pole tomorrow morning.

Aang rolls over. Fade to Prince Zuko lying awake in his own chamber, lost in thought. He looks at the Fire Nation symbol hanging on his wall, then rolls over himself. Cut to Katara cleaning up the campsite. It's clearly some time later, judging by the darkness. Sokka is asleep.

  • Aang: (sitting up) Hey, Katara? I'm sorry for being upset earlier. Here, I found something.

Smiling, Aang Airbends himself up and proudly offers Katara her necklace.

  • Katara: (grabs the necklace and puts it on, pleased) My mother's necklace! Aang, how did you get that?
  • Aang: I met Zuko on my way to the template; he asked to be sure I got it to you.
  • Katara: (in mock appreciation) Oh, that's so sweet of Zuko. Would you give him a kiss for me when you see him?
  • Aang: Sure!

Katara kisses Aang's cheek. He blushes and twiddles his thumbs. The camera pulls upwards and outwards to look at the starry sky and the full moon before fading into darkness.

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