The Red Letters
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Author's Note

A few weeks ago I started a new Fanon, hoping that I could keep it alive while being a full-time College student at the same time. Kiviuq 400 isn't dead. But it is a lot to handle right now, and chapters might be weeks apart.

But something did come out of it. My brother and I were discussing some of the political themes in K400 and somehow we got onto the subject of air benders. The story below you is quite far from the original talk we had that day, but it evolved from it.

I wrote these "letters" over the course of a few weeks while sitting in computer lab with a little spare time. They tended to fly off my fingers because first person monologues have always come naturally to me, as opposed to full on epics like K400.

The Red Letters weren't meant to be anything big, but I thought I would publish the few I had written so far. Odds are you will see more of them, I can write one up in five minutes pretty easily, so I do them for fun, and English practice (since we have been studying epistolary novels).

I hope you enjoy them and tell me what you think. There will be spelling and punctuation errors because I didn't really spend much time on them, so bare with me. Some of what sound like word placement errors are actually there on purpose, just FYI.

To the lovely Kamini from Seoung of the Southern Air Temple

My dearest sister. How I often dream that we should meet in person some day. There will be a morning, some golden sunrise when you will see me gliding across the horizon on a great big bison. Of course, the nuns of your Western Air Temple will try to shun me away, but soon would succumb to my inevitable charm. Does this make you laugh? I would hope so, but still it is true nonetheless, not that I boast my charming personality, but I take pride in my abilities. As you know, I bend secrets almost as well as I bend air, if not more. This is how I came to learn of you my brown haired wind spirit. You know the story well, of how I let whispers fly through the temple walls by way of gossip and murmuring, my smile, along with my handsome brown eyes (if it is not vain of me to say) did not yield bad fruit. And after my charms had watered the seeds of gossip, the fruit was ripe and mine to claim. Your identity was my prize, your name was what I repeated as I laid in my bed before sending my first letter to you. But that is old news, I have new information. Since finding you, it had been my obsession to discover our parentage. The labor has proven difficult, but the yield was delightful. The monks are as strict in their confidentiality as they are in their meditation, but a certain one, my favorite, a monk Gyatso is softer and somewhat gullible. Through many games of pai-sho and long meaningless talks, I gleaned some vital information that led me an air village just a few miles from my temple. As you must know, married airbenders are not allowed to live at the temples because a spouse has attached them to the world, I think this is ridiculous, and somewhat inhuman to separate parents from their children in the name of spirituality, but I did not write this letter to you to rant about the customs of our people, instead I wrote to you to inform you that I found the ones that gave us life. Before I had left to find them, I told the monks that I was going to pick berries from the mountain bushes, instead, I took my glider to that certain village and found the objects of my quest. I did not tell them who I was, nor the real reason I was there. I thought it unnecessary at this moment to add that weight to them seeing as how the world is in a perplexed state these days. But perhaps one day, we will tell them together.

I told them I was hungry after getting swept away by the mountain winds and unintentionally landing in their little village. They invited me inside and fed me lunch, it was a delightful time, and I wish you could have been there with me. Our father is an upright man, as straight as the arrow on his bald head. He is handsome, and reminds me of myself in all his looks. But in terms of personality, he is very much like you my mountain lemur. He is quiet and wise, not asking for more than he needs. I am more like our mother, she is a talker, but never says anything boring, in fact she is quite adventurous and told me several stories all of which ended with getting in trouble. But she is what I envision you to look like my dear Kamini, she fits all the rumors and descriptions given to me of you. She has long brown hair that she tied into a single braid that drapes over her shoulder, her eyes are grayer than a mountain storm and hold all the majesty of one. Her smile is my favorite aspect of her. It reveals all the little dimples that dot her freckled face. I would not be surprised to find that you are her spitting image and even more so when you receive your tattoos. If only they gave tattoos for such skills as manipulating the small talk of a temple, I would have surely been named a master long ago, but such a reward does not exist much to my misfortune.

I hope this letter graces your spirit with new wind and I hope you will wear that beautiful smile all the day after reading its contents. But I would ask you not to divulge the information it contains, for I am already outside of the monk's good graces and cannot afford such a deed to be made public. Already am I sixteen and without my tattoos, though I have mastered every form learned by the tattooed men which train me. They say it is my restless rebel spirit that holds me arm's length from that prize which we all covet. In a sense, they ask me to change my very being before I can be accepted by their customs. How do you reply my sweet sister? Should I conform for a while in order to achieve my prize, or should I continue to live in the free spirited manner in which I have become accustomed. You know how highly I value your opinion, and will surely follow any word you utter.

With love and ever present admiration, your older brother, Seoung.

To the boisterous Seoung from Kamini of the Western Air Temple

To my most "humble" brother. After reading your letter, I was almost lost for words and pondered how I should reply for almost a day and a night. When I did sit down to write, I thought I had finally gathered my words, but as soon as my brush touched the parchment, my words were gone and I was smiling like an idiot. I cannot believe you found our parents, if only I could paint my dreams for you, you would see that they are haunting them constantly, and now, to know of them, to know what they look like! AH, my dreams will be even sweeter.

You deserve a prize my bull bison, and even though I cannot give you the ultimate prize that you desire, I can give you something that I believe you will cherish. Expect, in my next letter, a portrait of myself.

On to my next point. I have figured, even in the few letters we have exchanged since you discovered me, that your tattoos are very important to you. I know it must hurt your pride not to have them yet, and that those younger than you already do. I cannot give you a solid answer on the matter, I would not want you to change who you are.

As you well know, I am a conformist at heart, an obedient child that does what she is told, I am in all the good graces and am highly thought of, I would have my tattoos by now if not for my utter lack of talent in the ways, but the nuns do not give up on me, they tell me that some of the greatest airbenders were late bloomers. But you my brother, are a solitary bison at your core. Your heart is untethered and free, and rules are not becoming of you. This is why I love you my dearest brother, you are the push to my pull, and I would not have it any other way. I do not want you to change your ways or become a different person, I believe that that is altogether impossible for you. But I do offer you this advice: if you find it necessary to change your ways for a time so that you can achieve your goal, I would suggest you do it, once you attain your tattoos, you are no longer entitled to live at the air temple, if you do not desire enlightenment, you have no reason to stay and meditate. Achieve your goal and be free, this is my advice to you.

I must apologize for the shortness of this letter. There are so many things I wish to say, but I must finish my words and deliver this letter to the messenger. He must travel to the coast and deliver the things to a boat, which are growing harder and harder to find at the docks these days, so he must leave earlier than usual. There are rumors of Fire Nation war ships sailing in territories they should not be in and other boats are becoming wary. The world is in a strange way and you and I are caught in the middle. I hope that someday we will be free to travel away together and away from all this turmoil.

Yours truly, Kamini

To Admiral Cho from General Jong of the Royal Fire Nation Navy

Most esteemed admiral, these are orders concerning your mission in the southern seas. As you know, the time is nearing. For these twelve years since the unfortunate death of the great Avatar Roku, we have been preparing for our next move. Our armies are at peak strength and our warships are the best in the world, we are unrivaled in strength. Fire Lord Sozin's dream of establishing our prosperity in the rest of the world will soon be realized. But there is a matter to be dealt with first.

I am aware of how many times you have been briefed on the subject, but as the day draws closer I believe it cannot be stressed enough. We know that the next Avatar was born into the Air Nomads, and we know that the Air Nation does not agree with our plans for the world. They are fools and if they do not cooperate, they will have no place in our upcoming utopia. They will attempt to raise the new Avatar against us, filling his head with all manner of evil concerning our Nation. We cannot let this happen.

In the upcoming weeks, you will position your fleet around Air Nation lands in the South Seas, at the same time, other admirals around the world will be doing the same, and on the day of the comet you will march into those lands and demand that they turn the Avatar over to you.

They will resist. And no doubt lives will be lost. But it is a necessary evil, one that will ultimately give way to good. It is suggested that you march on the lands several hours before the arrival of the comet, so that you may feel its full power by the time you reach the center of their lands.

Good luck to you Admiral, and may the comet's light lead your way to victory, General Jong.

To the revered Monk Tashi, from Nun La-Ming of the Western Air Temple

It is with a heavy heart that I must bring up this subject. The subject of a young airbender residing at your temple. His name is Seoung. I have been kind and merciful in my dealings with the boy, allowing him and his sister to exchange letters, despite its obvious break in our customs of interaction between young airbenders of different sex.

For many months I have tolerated it, seeing as how it has caused no trouble in the Western Air Temple. But recently, Kamini has been displaying behaviours that are alien to her; such as speaking out of turn and causing mischief among the other girls. She has been reprimanded and has repented with a sincere heart, but I believe it is time for a change in both children.

At my command Kamini brought me all her letters, I have read them and found that they suggest rude behaviour, behaviour not becoming of an young airbender of either gender. I also discovered a portrait which she was painting for the boy, which as you know is against our rules.

I do not want to lay blame on you my dear Tashi, but I will lay the blame for Kamini's behaviour at her brother's feet. After reading his letters I have concluded that he is a bad influence on the girl and he should be punished for his actions, and I am referring to the ones of which you are unaware. Kamini is a budding airbender, incredibly intelligent and gentle. I will not see her spirit soiled by this rogue child. It is time that we enforced the rules set in place hundreds of years ago, the two siblings must be forbidden from speaking, lest their rebellious actions increase.

I have enclosed with this letter several letters of Seoung's; the ones I deem most unacceptable.

Your sister in the ways, Nun La-Ming

To the beautiful, Kamini, from Seoung

It must be strange to receive a letter this way. But I have found that mountain lemurs are incredibly intelligent animals hiding behind a mask of ignorance. They migrate back and forth between Air Nomad lands, and know their ways well.

After the monks received your Nun's letter, they confronted me and restricted me from sending any more letters to you. But I am crafty, and my mind is always finding ways to trick those that intend to suppress me. I strapped this letter to the leg of a lemur and simply shouted "To the west!" the beast immediately left as if it knew exactly what I was saying. Of course, this letter might never reach you, my efforts were probably in vain. The stupid animal probably just left to pick berries. But on the off chance that my genius paid off, and this letter does reach you, then this will be how we exchange letters from now on.

Now on to the important stuff.

It is not your fault, my temple flower, that this misfortune has befallen us. I will take the blame. I admit that I may be a bad influence on you, but we must both ask ourselves "is it really bad?"

For our entire lives we have lived under the rules of our culture; stoick and stanch rules. Rules that forbid brothers from knowing their sisters, and parents from knowing their children. That is why I am not entirely upset at the punishment that the monks have given me.

They are sending me away, dearest Kamini, to the Northern Air Temple. They believe that by getting me away from my familiar stomping grounds, I will be forced to conform to new rules under new people. But they are wrong. This is actually a great opportunity!

Run away with me!

Yes, Kamini. Run away with me, to the Earth Kingdom. We can travel and be free. Don't you see, we do not have our tattoos for a reason. It is an act of providence, an act of divine intervention. Without those markings, we can roam freely without being identified. Without those marks we are free to act as we wish, without being subject to the rules by which tattooed airbenders live by. Oh, Kamini! How I have always wanted to taste meat, and get into a fist fight, and not act as if I am a wise and noble person!

Already have I been conspiring with several of the other boys. One has a bison, and has offered it up as our means of escaping. We will leave as soon as I have word back from you.

Please say yes my sweet sister! This is our chance, let's not waste it!

Your hopeful brother, Seoung.

To the humble La-Ming, from Monk Tashi of the Southern Air Temple

I must apologize for the influences that Seoung has had on young Kamini. He is a wild boy, one without proper reigns. But all that is about to change. The discovery of his sister (which until now we have tolerated) and his recent discovery of his parents (of which we had no idea) should not be overlooked. As Air Nomads, we must break away from family bonds if we are ever to achieve enlightenment, the boy's actions are a blatant disregard of our customs and I believe the only way to cure this is to send him to a new environment, somewhere far away from his original source. I have sent a letter to the Northern Air Temple, telling them to expect a new student and asking that they be especially strict in their dealings with the boy.

It is a good thing that you revealed this, sending your letter and revealing the boy's actions to us. As you must know by now, the new Avatar has been revealed to be a young boy living here at the Southern Air Temple. Should Seoung discover that the Avatar is his youngest brother, trouble would never find rest here in the South. So it is with great haste that we must send away the trouble maker, before he discovers the identity of the Avatar and attempts to unite his family. This could have a disastrous effect on the young Avatar's mind and should be avoided at any cost.

Due to the ever increasing trouble on the seas, communications between temples are becoming more difficult. I just hope that these rumors of war do not become reality. This is only gives us all the more reason to begin training the Avatar at an early age, and with Seoung gone, he can train without the hindrances of family.

In hopes that the world will become bright again, Monk Tashi.

To the admirals, from general Jong

The time is nearing, my brothers of the great Nation. Under your collective command is the bulk of the Fire Nation army.

When you see the comet's glow approaching, begin your invasions of the Air Nation Lands.

May the Fire Lord reward you for your bravery, General Jong

To the amazing Seoung, from Kamini of the Western Air Temple

My dearest Seoung, you never cease to amaze me! Even in hard times you prove that wit can overcome all else. It is truly amazing, what you discovered. It seems as if these lemurs know us by name and will come and go at our command, surely we have underestimated them.

Now, about your request...

It is a difficult one my brother. I love my home here in the Western Temple. I love my teachers and my friends. But your offer is tantalizing. It tickles my deepest fantasies of adventure and surely it is alluring to me. But I have not decided.

Do not be dismayed. I have a counter offer. If you are still so set on running away, then I have good news. Because of the ever increasing rarity of normal cargo vessels, one of my elder nuns has offered to deliver mail to the Northern Air Temple and has asked me to accompany her. We will have to stay and rest for a few days, and during that time...

I will be given the chance to choose my very own bison!

Depending on how far you make it, I might be able to fly out and meet you. Can you imagine it!? Meeting in person for the first time! How I have often dreamed of meeting my own flesh and blood!

I hope this offer satisfies you. We are leaving in a few days, and by the time this letter reaches you we will have already started our journey. Send your lemur to the North, and I will have arrived by the time it gets there.

Your excited sister, Kamini

To the wonderful Kamini, From Seoung no longer of the Southern Air Temple

I accept your offer, my dearest sister. And I long to see your face in the upcoming weeks.

I must admit, I am sad to leave my home. Things were just beginning to become interesting. The Avatar was revealed to be a boy living at the temple! My temple! I was a little bit distraught to find out, because I should have already known! But oh well. The monks have proven to be better at keeping secrets than I thought.

But it was strange, I wanted to speak to the boy, whose name was Aang. I had met him before. But the monks kept me from him, and finally, when I thought I had escaped them, the boy was gone and the temple was in a frenzy. I seized the moment and gathered my entourage, and we left amongst the confusion. But I cannot help but feel that there was one thing left undiscovered, something the monks did not want me to know. Of course, I'll never figure it out, and it will perpetually bother me, but I am looking to the horizon, toward better days, days with you, days without rules and lessons. Days without restrictions.

As I write these words, I write them on the wind as we travel across the sky, I write them under the light of the comet. It is so beautiful, my sweetest sister. The emblem of fiery freedom, forever blessed to explore the heavens, and every one hundred years, reveal to us its truths.

The world is covered in a soft red, blushing at the sight of such a noble rock. The birds are silent, the creatures of the ground are silent. We are silent. Just staring at its magnificents. If some day, we explore the world till we have found all its secrets, maybe, if we live long enough, we can grab on to the tail of the comet, and ride it to secrets unknown. Just you and me. Seoung and Kamini. Imagine the things we could find, things far greater than enlightenment! Things unknown to even the most knowledgeable monks, and perhaps even the oldest spirits.

I am at most, a week away my sister. But when this letter reaches you, I shall only be days. I hope you had a chance to watch the red glory of the heavens, and I hope it reminded you of all the good in the world.

Your unexpectedly philosophical brother, Seoung.

To Seoung, from Kamini

They're all gone.

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