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|The New Moon Festival|
January 30, 2014
Where is that stupid Avatar? Uncle told me he would be here before long. There is nothing here but snowy mountains. The Avatar doesn't even know my name, so he couldn't have gone away from the Northern Temple for me. He should fear me, though. I am the most powerful airbender of our family. My twin may have been Lady Jinora's protégé, but I was the one of us who always came first. Why did he have to make it that complicated? I can't even trust my own family. Should I even trust uncle Soyun? What reasons does he have to want to kill the Avatar, the force of all good in this world? My head hurts. So what if the Avatar made mistakes? Everybody does, right? Perhaps Tian was right when he left me... Not that he ever wanted anything to do with me. No, he was always the goody. Even a little mischief in the streets was too much for him. But who was left with a shattered family when he left? How could he just leave us behind? Leave me behind? I can't hold in my tears.
There is a small avalanche caused by the volume of my words. I don't know how long I stood there. Then again, I don't care.
"The Moon Festival is a festival created during the one-hundred year war, in honor of Princess Yue, who became the New Moon Spirit. It is held every seventy-five years, and it is mostly a festival of joy and community."
"Calm down, Tian, I'm getting there. Every seventy-five years, one child from the Tribe needs to step into the Spirit Pond and fuse with the Moon Spirit. The Moon doesn't have enough power anymore to keep existing forever on its own, and even the spirit of Princess Yue isn't strong enough. So, every seventy-five years, somebody has to fuse with the Moon to make it last. There is also an elite group of people in the Tribe, who want their children to fuse with the Moon Spirit and become the New Moon. Everybody here is fine with that, because that way no one has to sacrifice their children."
"They want to give their children away?"
Elena seems confused.
"Yes. It is a great honor to be family of the New Moon, even though it is sad in the beginning."
She looks a little less troubled, but there is still a light frown on her face.
"Come on! This is a festival! Have some fun!"
Lan apparently has something to say, as well.
"You know, as much as I want to go and have some fun in the festival, I think we should first do something else. After all, it is Elena's birthday!"
"It is? Happy birthday! I hope you will remember this day forever! A birthday on the Moon Festival day... You are so lucky!"
"Come on. I prepared a little something for you."
"Can Tian and I come, too?"
"I wouldn't want it any other way!"
Lan is so upbeat, he must be sure of himself.
Ai Lun Na
I'm not really in the mood to celebrate, but I don't want to ruin Lan's plan.
"You are going to love this."
He must have spend hours to get something ready even he is so anticipating. He tells me to sit down, and after a while, he says:
"We are here."
He opens his eyes and I see. I didn't even notice we that we climbed on Sudu. We are at the Spirit Portal. He opens it, and we go through. Tian and Kassandra are flying on Ekata a little above us.
"I want you to see what I am going to do."
"Just coming here is already a gift."
"Well, I'm kind of disappointed. I thought you would want to see your second gift..."
"Yes please. Sorry, I was just amazed by the view..."
"Look ahead. I asked my waterbending teacher to help with this."
It is abstract art. I don't really get the message but...
"Wait a minute. This isn't it. Could you please move that rock a little to the left?"
I know this is what he did, and that moving the rock will make something happen. I do it, and all I see for a minute are rocks tumbling down. Then, I see the village. The pro-bending arena I created, where we fought side by side against the Earth King's forces. I see a boat on a miniature sea. Everything we did is here, made eternal in ice. Even our faces are detailed.
"Lan, this is beautiful... How did you?"
He smiles with the most beautiful smile I will ever have seen in my life.
"That's not even everything. Look who's there!"
I see a real-life-height ice sculpture of Tian, and besides that are Ti Kuang and Fire Lady Zola.
"Now, you didn't really think I would let your birthday slip as an excuse to come see you, or did you?"
My former teacher makes emotion well up. After Tian and Kassandra are ready with the tour, we go back.
"We still have a festival of fun to attend!"
Lan really outdid himself.
"Let's have some fun!"
I'm really glad Elena enjoyed it. I know one year ago was the day her mother died, so I really hoped she would like it. The two of us are about to go to the marketplace for some goodies, when somebody announces:
"The New Moon will rise in five minutes!"
"Let's go find Tian and Kassandra. We all want to see that."
Elena guides me to them with her seismic sense.
"Hey there! Wanna go check out the New Moon?"
Kassandra seems excited.
The way there is simple, and we just follow the crowd. When we arrive, I see the New Moon. She is a young girl, perhaps she is twelve. She looks serene, and as she steadily walks to the pond, the white koi carper begins to glow. The girl starts glowing, too, and when she steps in the Spirit Pond, she disappears. The moon, which has been faint all night, now glows with a new light. Why is there some tension?
As I look at the Pond, I see. There is a man, in blue. I think I saw him before, on the festival. He doesn't look very extraordinary, but he bends water. His face is pointy, with a small beard. His hair is tied up in a wolf knot. That man is moving his hand downward to the black koi carper. The water cuts down. The man's expression is cold. He could kill his grandma.
I can't reach him in time. He kills La. I send a blast of fire at him, but I am too late. Kassandra sees it. She runs to me.
"No! The Ocean Spirit can't be dead. He gives us life... How will we survive..."
Her look turns from fearing to decisive.
"I will merge with La."
"You can't! Tian needs you!"
The crowd notices something is going on, too.
"Tian is less important than the Tribe."
I don't even try to stop her. It won't work. She steps into the Spirit Pond, and starts glowing. Then, when the glow wears off, something miraculous happens. The New Moon descends, and she says:
"The Moon and Ocean were meant to be here. Now that we have entered different bodies, we will let our hosts decide what will happen."
Kassandra looks hopeful.
"I wish to stay on earth, with my friends."
"Then I will grant this wish. A strong will is good. For the family of Nauja, your daughter's spirit was not strong. She lost her will, but she did give me new power. Tui, we can never be together. We will control the water from our new mortal forms. "
With those words, she leaves. Nobody dares to follow her. Tian runs into Kassandra's arms.
"I thought you were gone! Never do something like that ever again!"
"I won't. Now, just..."
She is interrupted as Tian kisses her.
"I never thought Tian could get so in love."
I'm talking to Elena, but she is crying of joy.
- Yup. It's officially Kassakong.
- The ice sculptures stand for all the good things they did together. It's a reminder that Elena will always have her friends, no matter what happens.
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