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|The Northern Fringes|
December 9, 2016
One month has passed sinceof the . Not long after sunrise, steps out of her tent, only to find waiting for her, sitting along the embankment separating solid ground from the sandy shoreline ahead. He turns his head and stands upon hearing the rustle of the tent opening.
"Master Gekkō..." Singi exclaims with slight curiosity.
"I decided to meet you for once, because you will need to do some packing."
"Okay... sure," Singi nods, "but why the North Pole, and not the mountains north of here?"
"The North Pole's climate is more extreme. You should learn to contend with such harsh conditions if you want to build strength and experience as the Avatar; and unlike what you did , I will be supervising you. Now, please pack your essentials as quickly as you can; we'll be leaving as soon as you're ready."
With that, the two part ways and Singi packs her sleeping back and a ration of rice. She also leaves a note for the bay, and depart.when he awakens. Upon stepping out of her tent, she makes her way to Gekkō's residence and quietly calls for him, not wanting to wake anyone else in the settlement. After a moment, Gekkō emerges with his necessities packed and the two make their way to a boat Gekkō had prepared along the dock leading into
After a few days at sea, the duo makes their way to a vast, frozen tundra. Gekkō anchors the boat to a large patch of ice, and the two dismount, stepping onto the hardened, layered snow covering much of the landscape. Gekkō is wearing a warm, cobalt blue parka with white fur trimmings, thick medium gray pants, and black boots; Singi, meanwhile, is still wearing her royal yellow and fandango pink robes, which catches Gekkō attention, and causes him to react with shock, while Singi raises an eyebrow.
"You're still wearing your robes in this frozen landscape?!"
"Well, sure. Us airbenders are able to warm ourselves using proper breathing technique."
At this, Singi smiles and shrugs her shoulders innocently.
"It's how Jamyang, my parents, and I were able to live in the northern mountains back at home."
After taking in the information, Gekkō sighs in defeat.
"Fine. Let's just set up camp and train for a while. The temperature gets very cold here overnight, so we likely won't do any night sessions up here, at least not for this trip."
Upon walking further inland, away from the coast and not far from a small mountain range, setting up camp was rather simple. Gekkō had stashed a few rocks and twigs needed to start whatever fire they could make among his belongings, and the two set up a tent with sleeping bags, fur pelts, and a decent cache of food. Once they complete the task, the two walk a few meters away from camp to commence training.
"Now, bending water into ice isn't too difficult," Gekkō begins. "In fact, other than being solidified water, there's not much difference to manipulating it."
With that, Gekkō suddenly lets loose a small barrage of ice bullets, causing Singi to react quickly and bend a thick wall of snow in front of her. Some of the bullets are able to penetrate the wall, but halt, stuck in the mass of snow. Realizing that her wall wouldn't cut it, and with more bullets being bent towards her, Singi quickly clenches her hands before loosening her grip, turning her barrier of snow into ice as the bullets lodge into the wall, denting it slightly at the impact points, but unable to penetrate it. Gekkō laughs triumphantly, while Singi peers her head from behind her fortress with a mix of curiosity and happiness.
"You see?! You're a natural! You transformed that shield of snow into ice purely by instinct and pressure. Well done."
At this, Singi's smile widens and she giggles warmly.
"Ice can be used in various ways. As you know, waterbending's strength is in its great versatility."
At this, Gekkō removes his right glove and draws water around his exposed fingers, freezing it and encasing his digits in ice. He fires his claws at Singi's ice shield, causing large cracks to form at the impact sites, before bending a column of ice. At this, Singi leaps from behind the ice shield, and Gekkō quickly slices razor-sharp discs from the ice column, sending them her way. Gasping slightly, Singi manages to dodge most of the discs, only getting hit by one on the left upper arm. Grasping her upper arm and wincing in pain, she manages to blow a heavy amount of air down to the ground and cushion her descent before releasing her injured arm and bending her ice shield into a gauntlet encasing her left arm. Leaping into the air, she lets out a battle cry as she directs her arm towards her instructor, who bends a shield of ice, blocking her blow with a sly grin.
"Well done, Singi. You've picked up quickly."
Not yet finished, Singi uses the leverage of her blow to front flip behind Gekkō, catching him off guard. Disintegrating her ice gauntlet, she bends a mass of snow at the elder, knocking him off his feet and into a heap within the river of snow. Disheveled, but unharmed Gekkō rises and brushes the snow off of his parka before putting his right glove back on.
"You've really improved in your skills, young Avatar." Gekkō smiles before bowing in respect, to which Singi returns, smiling.
"If you don't mind, Master Gekkō, there's some place I'd like to visit."
"And what would that be?"
"The northern spirit portal. Monk Jamyang told me one night that it is located at the very center of the North Pole."
"That's quite a ways from our current position, Singi."
"Hey, I can airbend, and we can both generate ice. I'm sure, combining our forces, we can make it there before dark."
With that, the two set off. Gekkō takes the lead and creates a path of ice as they go while Singi stands behind him, facing the opposite direction and airbending the two of them along the makeshift ice path as it's formed, rocketing across the landscape at a blazing speed. After a few hours, Gekkō notices something ahead of them.
"You're going to think I'm mad, but I think I see a forest ahead!"
Still airbending, Singi peers her head around her instructor and catches sight of the incoming mass of conifers.
"Let's check it out!" Singi calls.
Eventually, the duo makes their way to a rocky plain just bordering the relatively small forest and cease bending. Walking up the plain and into the forest, the two benders glance around as they make their way deeper inside.
"How can there possibly be a forest in the northernmost point on the plan—" Gekkō begins, still taking in his surroundings and exiting the mass of trees into an open area before bumping into Singi, who has stopped walking and simply stares ahead of her. Following her gaze, Gekkō's attention is soon captured as he and Singi can only stare in silence at a large orange-red orb lodged into the ground and swirling with some sort of energy.
"The northern spirit portal..." Singi marvels, still staring at the orb of spiritual energy before she slowly begins to walk over to the mass as if in a trance and stops a couple of feet away from the portal.
"Singi!" Gekkō calls with a sense of urgency, breaking Singi out of her trance and causing her to turn her head towards her waterbending instructor. "You'd better not touch that thing!"
Singi turns back to face the portal as she responds, "Don't worry, I won't, Master."
The two continue gazing at the closed portal. Singi's formerly blank expression turns to one of confusion and slight concern.
"Just how are the spirits able to cross over into this world with the portals closed?"
Before she can ponder further, Gekkō approaches and stands beside her, the two gazing at the orb for a few seconds longer before Gekkō finally breaks the silence.
"We should get back to camp."
Later that night, the two are settled in their tent when a faint glow penetrates their shelter. Singi stirs and lazily gazes up, noticing her surroundings have a slightly greener, brighter tinge to them. Sitting up, Singi glances around and settles her gaze on a still sleeping Gekkō before quietly and carefully exiting the tent. Looking up, Singi smiles and exclaims a hushed "Wow..." as the northern lights gracefully flow around the sky.
A few minutes later, rustling is heard from the tent, and Gekkō emerges, rubbing an eye as he awakens before he finishes putting his parka and gloves on. As he approaches Singi, he glances upwards and smiles warmly, seeing the light show above them.
"The spirit lights," Gekkō exclaims pleasantly. "I didn't think we'd be fortunate to see them during our time up here."
"They're beautiful," Singi exclaims.
"Did you ever see them before back in your settlement?"
"No. I think we were just a bit too south to see them. I mean, I'm sure that there may have been some nights when we could briefly catch a glimpse of them, but this is my first time."
"The spirit lights hold a great position within my culture. We recognize them as peaceful spirits, which dance in the sky when the entities are in balance. They serve as a reminder to us of our connection to the spirits."
"Ever since the Full Moon Festival, I've really come to appreciate your culture, Master Gekkō. It warms my heart to know, not just as the Avatar, but as an airbender, that my culture isn't the only one that looks to the spirits with admiration and friendship. I'm glad I got to participate in the Festival, I'm glad I got to learn more about your culture."
At this, Singi steps over to Gekkō and wraps her arms around him gently.
"And I'm glad that I met you."
At this, Gekkō becomes flustered for a few seconds before smiling appreciatively and returning the hug.
"I'm glad that I met you as well, Avatar Singi. You are the only person who reached out to me with understanding when for decades, I felt shameful for my past. I don't think my personality would have softened at all if it weren't for you, and for that, I sincerely thank you."
After a few more seconds of holding their embrace, the two separate, smiling, and continue watching the spirit lights dance along the sky. After about 15 more minutes of watching the lights, Gekkō clears his throat before speaking.
"Well, we should probably turn in now. We've got another day of training ahead."
Reluctantly, Singi complies, and the two retreat back into the tent. For the rest of the night and into the early morning hours, the spirit lights continue to dance in the sky, and Singi swears at one point, she could hear faint whispers calling from high above her.
- This is the second chapter not to feature Jamyang, and the first for Jiefeng since her initial appearance.
- Both are also absent in
, the Book 2 chapters " " and " ", and the Book 3 chapter " ".
- The second and third listed chapters involve Singi within the Si Wong Desert.
- The first four chapters involve their absence due to the harsh climate of their respective destinations, while the last chapter solely focuses on the antagonists of the trilogy.
- Both are also absent in
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