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|The People of Omashu|
July 28, 2013
This was written for Typhoonmaster's one shot contest
The People of Omashu
It was a year ago on the top of this very mountain.
They had both loved the mountain, and the rocks, and the caves. But most of all, they loved the peace.
It was ten years ago that the war had started. She was Oma, the youngest daughter of the ruling queen of her village, Kiaopulang. Ever since Oma was a girl her home was filled with talk of war. Her mother was always discussing the war with commanders. The latest victories. The latest casualties. As Oma grew older she grew to hate the war that had kept her mother away from her. Then one day, a man came to report a horrible military defeat. As he spoke of each soldier killed, he talked like the dead were simply like cracked eggs or spoiled fruit. It was as if they had no families, no lives. Oma couldn't stand the war. She ran from her home, and ran through the fields and onto the mountain. On the mountain there was no war, only the earth.
It was ten years ago that the war had started. He was Shu, the son and heir of Ma'tanguo's greatest soldier. Ever since Shu was a boy his father would leave for the battlefield and stay for weeks. Shu never knew when his father would return. As Shu grew older and moved into his own home, he saw his father less and less. Many women courted him, but he rejected them all. He didn't want to have a family to worry about losing him to war. Then one day, a man came and told Shu that his father was missing, presumed dead. The man spoke of how much of a hero Shu's father was, but Shu couldn't listen. He ran through the streets of the village, up onto the mountain. On the mountain there was no loss, only the earth.
That was when they met.
They each had never seen anyone else on the mountain but the badgermoles. They met at the very peak of the mountain beneath the branches of a cherry tree, far above both villages, far from the war. They understood each other; they knew each other's sorrows and pains.
They loved each other.
They saw the badgermoles move the earth. They tried to do the same. The power of their love moved the earth itself.
They vowed to meet again in a week.
Her mother refused: Oma was the queen's daughter and would not be associating with obvious enemies from Ma'tanguo. She would be forbidden from going on the mountain ever again. His tribe refused: many soldiers died protecting the village, no one would be allowed outside the village walls except for soldiers. He was forbidden from going on the mountain ever again.
They met again in the caves they had built, a secret passage through the mountain. Only they knew the way through the maze.
They met again in the caves every week, their love for each other growing despite the war dividing them. They learned more about bending the earth, hoping that maybe moving mountains could heal their villages. They laughed.
But one day, the man never came.
The commander came to Oma's mother, and spoke of how the soldiers of Kiaopulang had reached the very walls of Ma'tanguo. How they fired arrows over the great gates. And how many civilians were slain.
Oma went to the cave. Shu would never meet her again.
How was it fair? She thought. She called out to the mountain, she called out to the caves, to the very earth itself.
And the earth heard her.
The earth rumbled beneath her feet, it stirred as it strove to right the wrong that killed its friend, the man from the village.
And the caves heard her.
The caves heaved and stretched, vowing to avenge their maker, the woman's love.
And the mountain heard her.
The mountain rose out of the ground, and lifted itself into the sky to stop the fighting that killed its master, the earthbender Shu.
The mountain split in two, and the woman poured into it all her heartache, all her sorrow.
All her love.
The woman guided it over the two villages, showed the mountain how the war could be stopped, and shouted out to the people what their war had done.
And the war was over.
And he people saw the error of their ways.
And they mended them.
The mountain returned, having finished its job.
The man was buried in the caves he had made, in the very spot where he had met the woman so many times, the spot where they would meet again many years later, this time for eternity.
The people of the two villages founded a new city on the mountain, and named it for the pair of star crossed lovers that had ended their strife.
And they vowed that never again would there be war between their people.
The people of Omashu.
For the collective works of the author, go here.