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|The Legend of Atka: Chapter 1 - Allies and Enemies|
Book 2: The Journey
Atka began to stir, he'd had a bad dream, his eyes shot open but he didn't recognise the place he was in. It was a large, clean room that looked very well done up. Atka was in a large bed and a vase of flowers stood next to it, a large window looked put over a large garden and a town beyond that.
The door began to open and a girls voice came through it, "Yeah, I'll just check on him now..." Akeme walked in and a huge smile broke out as she noticed Atka sitting up under the sheets. "You're awake!" she said loudly as she ran up and threw her arms around his neck.
Atka was confused, "Akeme? What's going on here?"
Akeme released the hug and perched on the edge of the bed, "We're in the Colonies capital city of Yu Dao, my dad will explain a bit more later"
The door opened again and a grey haired lady wearing a Water Tribe tunic walked in, "Did you say he was awake?" she said
It was Atka's turn to smile, "Kya! What are you doing here?" he tried to get up but found he could hardly move his legs.
Kya walked up to him and gave him a quick hug; "I'm doing a favour for some old friends! And don't overexert yourself, you've been through an intense period of healing over the last week"
Atka's eyes opened wide, "A week?" he said with shock.
Akeme's face had a tinge of sadness in it, "You've been unconscious ever since we left the Fire Nation, there were some points where we didn't think you were going to pull through..." she stopped herself from choking up.
"Maybe this is too much for you at the moment, you should get a bit of rest. We'll wake you up before dinner" Kya went towards the door, followed by Akeme.
Atka called after them, "Wait! What happened in the Fire Nation?"
Kya and Akeme stopped dead, "You don't remember?" Akeme asked
Atka shook his head, "The last thing I can remember was us getting ready to go to the Fire Festival, everything after that is blank"
Kya and Atka looked at each other concernedly, "We'll tell you later, for now you should rest" Kya said. "I have to see to Zuko now, I'll see you later Atka". She made her way to the door, "You better leave as well Akeme, leave him to sleep".
Akeme smiled kindly at Atka and followed Kya out of the door.
They quietly shut the door behind themselves and walked on the landing of the large house they were in.
Akeme spoke with sadness, "He doesn't remember..."
Kya put her arm around the teenage princess, "Don't worry too much Akeme, I'll do all I can to get his memory back"
"Thank you Kya, I know you have a lot on your plate at the moment so I appreciate it" she smiled at Kya
"Its my pleasure!" she stopped outside a door, "I better see to your grandfather, why don't you go and tell the others that Atka's awake?" she opened the door and walked in, "Good morning Zuko!" she said cheerfully, and closed the door behind her.
"Winter, spring, summer and fall" sang Kann, playing his lute under the large tree in the garden.
"That was the wrong note" Masaru said putting his book down.
Kann shot an annoyed look at him, "I haven't practiced in a while okay!" he tuned his lute, "This is the first time I've played in four years"
"And it shows" said Masaru
"Do you want a go then!" Kann shouted
Masaru stood up, "Why have you been so angry lately?" he said back loudly
Kann stood in front of Masaru, only a couple of inches from his face, "Why have you been so annoying lately?" he said back
"Maybe its because you've been shouting at me all the time!" Masaru said back crossing his arms
"Well I wouldn't do that if you weren't nit-picking everything I do!" Kann said back
Akeme stepped outside and walked over to Kann and Masaru, "Guys stop shouting!" she said as she stepped between them
They both looked at her with scowls on their faces but they soon softened as they turned away from each other.
"Seriously, what's the problem between you two at the moment?" Akeme asked
Kann tutted, "Ask Mr Know-it-all over there, he's a master of folk music!"
Masaru shot back, "Well then Lord Anger Issues, why don't you just go and learn how to play that thing on your own away from anyone! You might get it in 100 years or so!"
Akeme put her hand on her forehead, "Are you saying that a bloody lute has got you into this argument!" she picked the lute up and snapped the neck off, "There, now please stop fighting all the time! Believe it or not it can get quite tiresome for the rest of us!"
Masaru turned around to face Kann's back, "She's right, we have to stop fighting. Lets work our way around this Kann"
Kann still faced away, "Its not that simple though is it. We've been at each other ever since we got here"
"What are you saying?" Masaru asked sadly
Kann looked down, "Lets end it Mas, its just not working" he felt tears forming
Akeme put her hand out, "No, don't do that"
Kann turned around in anger, "You don't understand! Your boyfriend's been in a coma for a week! You haven't had a chance to argue in that time! In fact, I doubt you've ever had the chance to argue with a boyfriend because you've never had one before!"
Akeme felt herself choking up, "Atka isn't my boyfriend..."
Kann continued his barrage, "Oh right! So why don't you tell me why you've been checking him every hour of the day and crying when you find out he's still asleep. And while you're at it you can tell me why you kissed him at the Fire Festival"
Akeme looked surprised, "How did you know that?"
Kann crossed his arms triumphantly, "I didn't, but you've just admitted it"
"You, lying, idiotic, immature...Gah!" Akeme shouted, "I hate you! You can break up with Mas for all I care, the further from me you are the better!"
Kann closed in on Akeme, "You hate me do you?" he grinned menacingly, "Go on then, I'm open, just shoot some fire at me"
Akeme looked him in the eye, "What are you trying to achieve here?"
"Nothing" said Kann shortly
Akeme stared him up some more, "I know what you're trying to do. You're taking everything out on me, all your anger at Mas. You want me to punish you because you feel guilty, and you don't want Mas to do it" she took a step back, "But I'm above that, I'm not going to give you the satisfaction of being punished"
Kann turned back around as tears began to flow, "Fine" he said as he looked over his shoulder, "I'm angry at everyone, especially you Princess..."
Akeme looked angrily at Kann, "Princess?" she said
Kann turned back around, "Yeah, Princess, that's what you are. A spoilt, girly, little, princess!"
He had touched a nerve with Akeme, "I'll give you girly!" she screamed. She sent a huge arc of flame at Kann who managed to get his hands up in time to block it from hitting his face.
Kann fell to the floor in a ball gripping his burnt hands while his clothes were also singed. He was screaming in pain.
Akeme looked in horror at what she had done; the angry red marks on Kann's skin burnt an image in her brain. She ran off in tears.
"Kann! Are you okay?" Masaru ran up to where Kann lay and went to kneel down beside him.
Kann shouted at him, "Go away!' he moved his hand and shot a rock just past Masaru's ear.
"You need help! I'll get Kya!" Masaru insisted
"Just leave!" he screamed.
Masaru stood up and ran towards the house, he didn't stop to look behind him.
Atka was woken from his brief sleep by the sound of shouting coming from the garden below his window, he couldn't quite make out what was being said but it sounded like Kann and Akeme doing the bulk of it.
He tried standing up again but his legs were still not moving, the shouting had stopped and he could hear screaming from one person. Atka was concerned and he desperately wanted to see what was going on. He heard a bumping of someone rushing down the stairs and could hear a voice coming from the garden. A few minutes passed and there was more bumping, slower this time, as someone walked back up the stairs and past his room.
After a couple of minutes there was a knock at the door and Roku walked into the room.
He looked pleased to see Atka sitting up in his bed, "Ah good! Kya said you were awake" he sat in the chair next to the bed, "How are you feeling?"
"Not bad, a little bit slow but other than that I feel fine" Atka said with a grin
Roku smiled back, "That's good to hear, now Kya said that you can't remember anything about the Fire Festival and what happened in the Fire Nation"
Atka nodded, "Everything's a little bit hazy..."
"Kya says she can help to get back most of your memories so I'm not going to go into too much detail here" he sat up straighter, "But essentially, the Fire Nation was taken over by Mizan and a group called the Phoenix Cult. You went into the Avatar State to help us get out alive" Roku said
Atka looked shocked, "I went into the Avatar State?" then something flashed in Atka's mind, it was himself with glowing eyes, "Wait! I remember that! I talked to Avatar Aang as well!"
Roku leant forward, "You talked to Aang?" he said with surprise, "What did he say?"
Atka looked down, "I don't know..."
Roku leant back in the chair, "I think you need to have a session with Kya to help you trigger those memories, whatever Aang had to say could've been very important"
"I guess" said Atka uncertainly, "Why are we here exactly?"
Roku stood up, "We're in the Colonies because they're the safest place for us, and it's a reasonably neutral place for our little alliance to meet..."
"Alliance?" Atka asked
Roku nodded, "We've formed an alliance here to fight back against General Forr when he decides to attack this place, we've gone beyond diplomacy now"
Atka wanted more information, "Who's in this alliance then?"
Roku counted on his fingers, "Some loyal Fire Nation troops, Captain Boncho's men, the Omashu militia and some of General Ling's battalion"
"General Ling?" asked Atka
Roku nodded, "We identified him as the second Council of Five member to be against Forr, along with Bumi"
"Is Ling here now?" Atka asked
"No, he's going around the Earth Kingdom trying to find more people to join our cause, as is Iroh" Roku replied
The door opened and Boncho walked in, "Avatar Atka, its great to see you again!" he walked over to the bed and shook his hand.
"It's good to see you too!" he inclined his head slightly
Roku addressed Boncho, "Any news from the North?"
Boncho looked disappointed, "Nothing, they're not responding..."
Roku sighed, "I know Sokka and Kya said it would be difficult but I didn't expect this"
Atka perked up at the sound of the names, "Is this about the Water Tribe?" he asked.
Boncho nodded, "We want the Northern Tribe to join us, the South are already a part"
Atka looked surprised, "Really? I didn't think the Water Tribe forces would be useful in a land conflict"
Boncho chuckled, "We've got spies in Forr's camp, we know that he's got a substantial naval fleet ready to go"
"Fair enough..." Atka replied
Roku had been standing deep in thought, "I've just thought of a way you may be able to help us Atka"
Atka looked up at him, "How?"
"Do you think you could go to the Northern Water Tribe and convince them to join us?" Roku asked
Atka wasn't so sure, "Are you sure? I've never been to the North, they've always been isolated, even from us southerners"
"You're the Avatar, your last incarnation saved them during the war. I think they'll listen to you if nothing else" Boncho said
Atka looked down, "Okay, it can't hurt to try. But I'd like to have some time to relax here before I go"
Roku smiled, "Of course, I'm not going to send you to some cold snowy tundra just after you've been asleep for a week"
"Great!" Atka said loudly, "I think I should try having a walk, do you mind helping me up"
Boncho and Roku put their arms under Atka's shoulders and pulled him up onto his feet. He was a bit wobbly for the first few steps but he was soon steady enough to walk unaided. He pulled a blue dressing gown on and slowly walked around the room.
"You okay to go by yourself?" Roku asked
Atka nodded, "I think so, I'll take a walk around the garden in a minute to get some fresh air"
Roku smiled, "Good to hear, we'll leave you to it. If you need any help there are loads of people around here" he walked out the room with Boncho, leaving Atka to test his strength around the room.
"Just tell me what happened Kann" Kya asked the young earthbender.
Kann looked annoyed and faced away, "I told you, it was a training accident..." he said gruffly
Kya sighed and bended water around his hands, "I heard the shouting, that wasn't training" she made the water glow as she worked on the burns, "Unless you were argument training with Akeme and Masaru" she said
"Fine..." Kann spat, "Akeme lost her temper and burnt me"
Kya let the water drip off Kann's hand as the burns faded, "Why did she lose her temper?" she asked softly
Kann looked at the ground sadly, "We were having an argument" he admitted
"But what did you say to make her shoot fire at you?" Kya asked, "I've known her since she was little and she isn't one to lose her temper without good reason"
Kann looked angrily at the waterbender, "Are you trying to blame me for this?" he asked
Kya shook her head, "Not at all, I just want you to tell me what happened" she said calmly. "But I don't think you're blameless in this at all, you have to accept what happened" she moved on to heal the left hand.
Kann reluctantly told her what happened, "I shouted at her because I was angry at Masaru, I took it out on her..." Kann felt regret as he said the words.
Quiet crying was coming from a small bench, which was surrounded by tall bushes; Akeme sat with her knees drawn up to her face.
Atka was walking past the bench and heard the noise; he poked his head in to investigate. He was surprised to see Akeme sitting there.
"Are you okay Akeme?" he asked
Akeme rubbed her eyes, "Yeah..." she said shortly
Atka sat down next to her on the bench, "Doesn't look it, what's on your mind?"
She leant on Atka, "I did something awful, I don't want to talk about it..." she started to cry again.
"You should talk about it, I'm here to listen" Atka said softly
Akeme smiled through the tears, "Thank you..." she took a few moments to calm herself down before she spoke again, "I had a bit of a row with Kann"
"About what?" Atka asked
Akeme nearly started crying again, "I don't really know, but we got angry at each other, really angry. Then he said something and I..." she choked up at the memory.
Atka urged her, "What?"
Akeme looked away from him, "I burnt him..." she said quietly
"You did what?" said a shocked Atka
"I told you, I lost my temper and I burnt him" Akeme said with disgust.
Atka was still confused, "What did Kann say that made you lose your temper with him? Because it doesn't sound like the sort of thing either of you would do"
"He's been arguing with Masaru ever since we got here, I got involved and he took it out on me" Akeme said
Atka put a hand on her shoulder, "You should talk to him about it" he suggested
"There's something else as well" Akeme said
"What?" asked Atka
Akeme looked at him, "Something happened at the Fire Festival that you can't remember. Something between us..."
"Me and you?" Atka asked
Akeme nodded, "Yeah..." she whispered
Atka took his hand off her shoulder, "Can you tell me what?"
Akeme shook her head and faced away, "I don't think so, it would make Kann angry"
"Why would he be angry?" Atka asked
Akeme sighed, "I don't want to talk about it..."
Atka stood up with a sigh and walked away from the bench, "I think you should"
"I don't want to talk about it!" Akeme shouted, she shot some flame at Atka's feet but it fell just short of them.
"Akeme!" Atka said, shocked at what she had done
Akeme cried to herself, "I'm so, so sorry Atka!" she curled up into a ball.
Atka stood in silence few a few moments in contemplation, "I think you need some time to yourself, maybe I'll speak to Kann"
Akeme didn't respond so Atka just walked away from her and back towards the house.
Still crying, "I'm a monster" Akeme said to herself
For the collective works of the author, go here.