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|The Seventy-Fourth Avatar: Sokka Part 3|
Published on Avatar Wiki by
July 9, 2013
Water. Earth. Fire. Air.
Long ago, the four nations lived together in harmony. Then, everything changed during the Spirit War. Only the Avatar, master of all four elements, gave us hope, but when the world needed him most, he could barely walk. A few years have passed and Avatar Sokka has grown into a powerful warrior. And although his skills are great, he is still skeptical, abrasive, sexist and immature. But I believe Sokka can save the world.
(continuing from part 2) ([link])
Sokka watched as Wan Shi Tong flew back towards the city of Koh, but what he didn't see was Tora slowly walking away. Sokka ran after Tora, curious as to why she was leaving, until she turned to him. Angry, she yelled at Sokka and how she had trusted him. Sokka was confused, until she pointed to the totem in his jacket. Sokka tried to argue that the spirit had saved them, but Tora refused and continued to walk away. Fearing being lost again, Sokka followed her and tried to reason with her, but Tora refused again. Not seeing where she was going, Tora tumbled down a small hill and twisted her leg in the process. Unable to go anywhere, they made camp together in a clearing.
Far away from each other, the two only gave momentary glances to each other, until Sokka broke the awkward silence. Quietly, Sokka told her that he too had made a promise to give up bending, but not until after the war. He explained that without the other four elements, there was no way he combat the spirits without relying on Acquised. Thus, he trained on how to master the Avatar State without them. However, every time he does, it weakens him and his body's ability to handle bending. Tora quietly turned to Sokka and asked how he could trust a spirit. Sokka replied that he really doesn't. A spirit killed his brother and he swears that he saw a spirit of fire absorb his other brother. Sokka said quietly, "The world needs the Avatar now more than ever, but it also needs Acquised now more than ever... and you." A bolt of lightning out of nowhere lit up sky.
After a couple of minutes, Tora asked quietly if Sokka wanted to know why she also gave up bending. Nodding fiercely, Tora explained to Sokka that her father was the leader of the Tu Ying, a group of powerful earth benders from her village. As his daughter, Tora was surrounded by high expectations from the moment she bent her first rock. However, her bending was unstable and chaotic. Instead of moving just a single rock, she would move the rock, the dirt nearby, and anything else made of earth. She became too powerful. Frustrated, her father brought to Farlore Valley to give her private lesson in control and discipline. This only ended in tragedy as her bending created a massive avalanche from her anger and stubborn frustration... killing her father. Blamed for his death, she was alienated by those close to her and was feared by everyone who knew her. Not wanting her to suffer anymore, her mom told her to make a promise never to bend again, no matter what, as she certainly didn't need it. Things were peaceful again for a couple years, but after her mother passed away due to an illness, the townsfolk began hating her again. So... she just left, soon after the village was attacked by the Mutinous. After another couple minutes of silence Sokka told Tora that could relate to that... especially when he was told that he was the Avatar. In a moment of clarity, Sokka tells her that someone else might say something to get her bending again, but it is ultimately her choice. The world will continue to go on, even with the loss of one stubborn bender. With that said, the two forgave each other and went to rest.
In the morning, Sokka asked Tora if she was ready to go to the Fire Nation capital. To Sokka's utter amazement, she said no again, but told him that it is for another reason this time. While reading in Wan Shi Tong's library she found a large and strange scroll filled with pictures of spirits, but could not decipher the strange writing. She had completely forgotten about it, until she saw both Acquised and Galgasses in the scroll. With the help of Wan Shi Tong... she might be able to find out where the spirit of understanding is. Not wanting to leave him lost though, Tora gave Sokka a brand new, completely updated, map she had acquired in Ba Sing Se while they were undercover. Filled with hope and purpose, the two set off in different directions and wished each other luck.
Passing near Ba Sing Se, Sokka decided to take in the beautiful scenery when he noticed a bunch of farm fields turning brown and ugly. Running to the farm, Sokka found the dirt to be dry and the plants to be brittle and dying. Saddened, the storm spirit explained to Sokka why each spirit is given one thing to rule and control. It's so that their full attention can be put on that one thing. When the Galgasses, the spirit of flight, wanted to rule earth as well, his attention became so divided that he forgot keep the ground fresh. For the plants rely on the earth just as much as rocks do. It would be like a fisherman trying to do the job of a blacksmith while still trying to get enough fish to feed his family. Now emboldened more than ever to end the spirit war, Sokka ran towards the Fire Nation capitol, making sure nothing distracted him even for a second.
Tora however, found herself lost and almost out of supplies in the desert. All hope was lost, until she was saved by a mysterious stranger whom she could not see due to her fading sight. The next day, Tora found herself in lying the shade of tree, next to an oasis. She sat up and found herself in front of a large brown-skinned man with a long gray beard, wearing clothes she had never seen before... She wondered what nation he was from, but couldn't find anything that could let her define him. It was almost as if he nationless, a wanderer whispered by traveling merchants who had stopped in her town as a kid. Tora tried to speak to the man, but stopped when she interrupted by his deep voice and unidentifiable accent. The man told her that a friend had told him to seek her out and help her; to guard Tora against danger and to save Tora if she needed it.
Tora asked who the man was and the man replied that he simply a guru, a man who gave up everything to seek everything. Not wanting to take up too much time, Tora thanked the guru for the help and continued on her journey, with the guru following her close behind. Tora yelled to the guru that she didn't need his help, but the guru only yelled back that he already did. Suddenly, Tora saw the city of Koh, rise above the dunes as she walked forward. He had carried her where she needed to go. Tora looked back the guru and thanked him, but the guru only replied that she shouldn't thank him just yet. The guru caught up to her and pointed towards the library of Koh. Suddenly, she saw a massive explosion of sand and Wan Shi Tong fly into the air. Rocking up towards him like a snake, she saw what looked like massive centipede drag Wan Shi Tong to the ground. The guru tells her that the spirit she just saw was Koh, the spirit of the sand. Wanting to help the spirit she and Sokka just rescued, Tora ran towards the battle, but was stopped when the guru grabbed her by the collar. The guru told her that she cannot go in without being prepared, as each spirit fights differently. The guru explained to Tora how Koh had the ability to steal people's faces if they showed any emotion at all. Trusting the guru, Tora thanked him and ran towards fight. Tora jumped onto Koh and tried to pierce his armor, but was unable to. Taking advantage of Wan Shi Tong's sudden interest in the girl attacking him, Koh head butted Wan Shi Tong and sent him tumbling into the side of nearby building.
Intrigued by this new annoyance, Koh tried to look directly into Tora's face to steal it, but found that could not. Combined with her speed, skill, and strong resolve, Koh found himself unable to dispatch her as fast as he originally thought. In fact, the girl was doing better against him than even Wan Shi Tong himself. Thus, Koh decided to use one of his tricks to make the girl see him. Creating a sand storm around the girl, Koh hid in the sand while Tora was constantly looking around, trying to see where he would strike next. Jumping directly at her with the force of train, he found himself still unable to match her reflexes and speed. Tora continued to dodge Koh, but soon found herself slowing down. Panicking, Tora kicked up the sand around her and essentially created her own mini sandstorm around her. Using it to get away, Tora hid in a nearby building. She waited a couple seconds, hoping Koh would not find her, but was surprised when she heard Koh cry out in pain. Fighting in her place was the guru, using an advanced form of martial arts actually strike back at koh, while dodging him completely. Seeing that she was okay, the guru nodded to Tora. Understanding immediately, Tora snuck up to the incapacitated Wan Shi Tong who was now under a pile of rubble. Using the same flurry of blows she had Ba Sing Se, Tora woke up Wan Shi Tong, but told him to stay hidden in case they needed him to escape. Wan Shi Tong agrees silently agreed with her and moved the rubble slightly so that he could move when necessary. Tora asked Wan Shi Tong what they could to find Koh's spirit anchor, but Wan Shi Tong dismissed as it impossible for her. Tora asked why and Wan Shi Tong told her that Koh had made sure his anchor couldn't be destroyed, by becoming it.
Confused by this, Wan Shi Tong explained to Tora that Koh had always hated the library for tarnishing the city which was named after him. For the library soon became the sole reason why people became travelled to the city as merchants found it harder and harder to cross the expanding desert. Koh couldn't do anything, until he found a suitable spirit anchor. Koh found his answer though in an ancient mask that was brought into the city to trade when its previous village was destroyed. Koh used the mask's face as his spirit anchor and to guarantee his safety, he stole the face of the mask. For three days straight he had been trying to get Koh to reveal it, but so far has had no luck. When he damaged one face, Koh would blink and another would take its place until the one he damaged was healed. Unsure of what to do, Tora stared at the sand and then was hit by the most brilliant idea. Together the two fought Koh, until Tora told the guru of her plan, a plan that even Sokka would never had thought of...
Without a moment's notice both Tora and the guru ran into the crowded town. Intrigued, Koh followed them into the city, but lost them amongst the buildings. Koh searched the town, but could not find Tora or the guru anywhere. Suddenly, a bright light shined directly into Koh's face. Moving out of the light, Koh saw the guru next to a mirror reflecting the rays of the sun at him. Koh laughed at the pitiful attempt to blind him, but was interrupted by another light. Koh moved again and found Tora this time, next to another mirror doing the same. Koh lashed out at Tora, but was stopped by a quick blow to the head by the guru.
This continued, until Koh finally cornered the Tora. Koh had had enough of these games and was ready to end this. Coiling around Tora, Koh squeezed her tightly and lifted her directly towards his face. Koh wasn't surprised to see the guru run directly at him, but this time, things were different. The guru rushed directly at Koh, emotionless, and threw a hand full of sand directly into Koh's face. Koh thought they had gone mad, but only realized how wrong he was when the sand started to burn his eyes and face. The pain was unimaginable as Koh switched from face to face, trying to blink away the heated sand that was searing into his physical form. Tora knew this was her only chance and jumped right into Koh as he was cycling through his many faces. Waiting patiently for the right moment to strike Tora skillfully grabbed the ancient mask and tried to break it, but could not with Koh thrashing about. Unable to deal with the pain and Tora holding on to his only way of surviving, Koh tried to dive into the sand.
Luckily, the guru joined and together with Tora, ripped the mask's face right off Koh and shattered it. With the mask gone, Koh faded back into the Spirit World. Running back to Wan Shi Tong, Tora told him that Koh was gone and that the city was safe. When asked how she did it, Tora explained how she remembered a tale a long time ago about a Fire Nation city that was under attack. Unable to defend themselves with weapons, the fire benders had heated the sand to fight their enemies. Using that and her knowledge of how to start campfires, she and the guru focused the mirrors to one spot in order to heat up the sand. Impressed, Wan Shi Tong congratulated the two, but asked why they came to Koh in the first place. Tora told Wan Shi Tong that she needed a book and Wan Shi Tong gladly welcomed her into the library. Tora searched the library head to toe, but could not find the book. When she asked Wan Shi Tong about it, he responded that he could not find it without more details. Tora tried to recall what was in the book, but couldn't remember at all.
Eventually, Tora came upon a strange room filled with scrolls, which she felt like she had been before. The scrolls didn't look anything special, but something felt off about them, like something was "added" to them. Tora grabbed the biggest scroll she could find and found it filled with strange pictures of weird creatures she had never seen before. Then it hit her, this was the scroll she had been looking for. Suddenly, Tora saw a shadow standing over. She turned around and found Wan Shi Tong, standing in the doorway.
Wan Shi Tong walked in and was surprised to find her in his personal study. Tora asked about the scroll and Wan Shi Tong replied that it was a catalog of spirits he himself had written a long time ago, back when the Avatar was still new to the world. Giving her special permission as a reward for defeating Koh, Wan Shi Tong walked quietly out of the room. But before, leaving whispered to her, "This might help..." Confused, Tora turned to the scroll and was amazed to find that she could read the scroll. She could understand the writing and maybe could find something to finally end the war. Tora was amazed by the amount of spirits Wan Shi Tong had collected until she came upon a picture of a spirit which made her violently ill. The spirit was shaped like a rhino bear, with fire coming out its skin. Trying to get the picture out of her mind, Tora quickly moved on and continued reading until, she came upon a page with two air benders, both with glowing eyes and tattoos. Reading carefully, she poured over the words, until she came across a single paragraph that made her eyes widen.
Tora had to tell Sokka what she had found or else the consequences could be greater than anything the Spirit War could ever produce.
Sokka on the other hand, had followed Tora's map until he came to an area named Makapu Valley. Sokka was very careful to stay off the roads, but was still worried that he might be discovered by a patrol. While walking across a hill, Sokka heard a loud whistling noise getting closer to him. A sound he felt like he knew... Suddenly, a spear zoomed straight past Sokka's head. Feeling grateful that his life didn't just end right then and there, Sokka ducked around looking for his attacker, but could not it. Sokka carefully looked at the spear that was now sticking out of a tree and immediately recognized it. It was a Southern Water Tribe harpoon, made specifically to hunt owl-tuna with the tone it whistles. Sokka wondered where it came from, until he noticed a larger sound growing in volume just around the mountain next to him. Acquised warned Sokka not get involved, especially if he didn't know he was getting involved in, but Sokka claimed that it was his duty as the Avatar and a man to help everyone, especially considering how much others have helped him.
Feeling anxious and proud of his words, Sokka used a nearby creek to accelerate himself with water bending. This continued until the creek ended in a waterfall over a medium-sized cliff. But, it wasn't the roar of the water fall that stopped Sokka and made the loud noises he was hearing... it was a massive battle. An enormous clash between thousands of trained Fire Nation soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Water Tribe villagers, just underneath him in a flat field. The soldiers were almost outnumbered 15 to one. Sokka watched the armies collide with another and thought about jumping in to help his people, but something made him freeze. There were his people, fighting for their lives, but something was different about them. They fighting wasn't in the same style he was taught, it was vicious and merciless. Never had he seen Water Tribe soldiers risk their necks without any tactical support or advantage. Those who died merely paved a way for those behind.
Sokka was conflicted. Should he help the Fire Nation soldiers as the Avatar or should he help his people as a member of the Water Tribe? Unable to choose, Sokka decided to turn around, remembering that he needed to get to the Fire Nation capital as soon as possible. Sokka faced away from the battle and started to walk away with Acquised when he was tackled by an enormous dog. Not a bat dog, or a chameleon dog, but just a dog. The log licked Sokka and then ran off towards the battle. Worried about the innocent dog, Sokka chased after the dog towards the battle. Not wanting to get mixed up, Sokka tried his best to stay out of the major battle, but was soon swept up as he dodged both fire balls and spears of ice. Sokka knew that finding a dog, even a specific person, in a battle would be pointless, but something compelled him to find the dog. After a couple of second of death defying dodges, Sokka made it out of the battle, but was confronted by two Southern Water Tribe soldiers. Sokka told the soldiers that he was alright, but the soldiers only moved in closer. They were going to attack him. Sokka told the soldiers that he was the Avatar, but the soldiers moved in closer. Not wanting to hurt them, Sokka grabbed a nearby spear to defend himself, but soon found he didn't need it. The same dog that had got him in this mess, knocked the soldiers off the feet and began to tore into one them. Horrified, Sokka ran over to stop the dog, but was surprised to find the soldiers body being torn up like paper. No blood, no pieces of clothing, only strips of what looked like cloth being torn to pieces. The soldier was a fake.
Sokka looked towards the second soldier and found him to be unconscious from the force of the blow. Sokka kneeled towards the other soldier and was about to check to see if he also was paper, when he was stopped by what looked like a woman dressed in clothing he has never seen before. Her skin was darker than his and she spoke with an accent he couldn't recognize. The woman told Sokka that she was a guru and that she was sorry her dog was causing so much trouble for him. Sokka wasn't sure if he could trust her, but knew that she had stopped him from hurting the fallen soldier for a reason. Only when Sokka heard shouting around them did he understand. Surrounded by Fire Nation soldiers demanding him to surrender, Sokka slowly got up and whispered to the guru that he could get them out of here. The guru looked at the dog now barking loudly and then looked back at Sokka. Sokka was amazed to hear that she wanted them to surrender, but somewhere in his gut... he knew it was a good idea.
To his surprise, Sokka found himself unburned and untouched. Instead, he found himself being escorted away from the battle towards a large group of Fire Nation tents with one large tent in the middle. Sokka was escorted to large tent, along with the dog and the guru, and was shoved inside. Inside, Sokka saw what he never could have expected. There, right in front of him, was Fire Nation general standing above a large map of the area. Upon his entrance, the Fire Nation general walked over to Sokka and demanded to know why the Avatar was here and whether or not he was friend or foe. Sokka looked up at the general and told him honestly that he didn't know. The general is disappointed by this answer, but is relieved in this. The general then told Sokka that he didn't need both the entire southern tribe and the Avatar against him. Sokka asked why they were fighting in the first and the general let out a deep sigh.
About a year ago, the Fire Nation general was ordered by the Fire Lord to take a large portion of the army and train a nice flat area to learn formations. One day, during a training exercise, the soldiers were suddenly attacked by a large number of Southern Water Tribe soldiers who had obviously come from a Water Tribe fishing town nearby. At first it was only a few soldiers and a captured prisoner said it was because the Fire Nation soldiers were catching all of the fish needed to feed their families. Soon, it was as if the entire South Pole and North Pole had mobilized against them. The general slammed his fist on the table and looked at Sokka like he was supposed to have an answer.
Sokka told the Fire Nation general that he was fighting a losing battle, but the general told Sokka that he would rather have his men fighting then die like cowards. Sokka wasn't sure what to do. He turned to the female guru, but the guru only sat on a nearby chair in silence. Sokka looks at the map in desperation, but is still unsure what to do. He didn't know anything about commanding armies and he sure didn't know what was going on with the fake soldiers. Then he heard it. A soft voice telling him that answers didn't appear when asked to, they appear when understanding is applied. Sokka tried to hear more of the soft voice, but couldn't over the dogs sudden large barking behind him. Sokka turned to hush it up, but stopped when he saw the dog, holding the map that Tora had gave to him in its mouth.
Sokka grabbed the map out of the dog's mouth and unfurled it. It looked like the general's map, but many things were different. Rivers were in different places, certain valleys weren't there, and the area they were in... was completely different. Intrigued by the map, the Fire Nation general walked over and immediately thought the Avatar had stolen one of his maps, but stopped when he noticed it to be of Earth Kingdom design. Sokka looked at the generals map and then to his. They were similar, but the general's map had a time stamp that was off by over 30 years. Sokka told the Fire Nation that his map was out of date, but the general refused to believe this. The guru then stood up and pointed out a forest that wasn't on the general's map. She told the general that his map was wrong since she had traveled through the forest to get to the battle. Embarrassed, the Fire Nation general was silent as Sokka showed him a nearby mountain range where his men could retreat and completely entrap the Southern Water Tribe army and win. The Fire Nation general agreed and the plan was set into motion.
The night before the retreat, Sokka spoke with Acquised in secret. Sokka asked Acquised if it knew anything about what was going with the fake Water Tribe soldiers and the generals out of date maps. Sokka knew it was the fault of a spirit, but wasn't sure who or how. The storm spirit recognized this to be the work of Wuuluzu the Ever Gorger, the Spirit of Battle, who wanted to become the spirit of deception as well. Obviously, the general was being tricked on multiple levels, but for what purpose? Thinking about what to do next, Acquised gave some suggestions to Sokka, but he rejected them all. Sokka was stumped and needed time to think. Acquised wondered if it should leave him alone, but Sokka stopped it, claiming to need its suggestions in case of one of them turned out to be brilliant. Together, the two discussed their ideas late into the night, until Sokka fell asleep.
Luckily, Sokka's plan goes went off without a hitch and Fire Nation general found his soldiers gaining a massive advantage in the mountains. The Southern Water Tribe fakes were destroyed and the Southern Water Tribe soldiers were captured and placed into temporary prisons. The battle was over and the Fire Nation general couldn't even begin to think what he could do to reward Sokka for his help. Sokka was overwhelmed, but then he had a crazy idea. Sokka looked straight at the general and then asked him if he and his soldiers would invade the Fire Nation capitol, with him leading them all the way.
The general was astonished, but decided to hear Sokka's explanation for such a crazy idea. Sokka told the General about Wuuluzu the Ever Gorger and how it was using the Fire Nation stubbornness and honor bound society to maintain control and remove any who might pose a threat. Demanding proof, Sokka tells him that the proof is in the fake soldiers, the out of date maps, and the ridiculous orders given by the Fire Lord to go training outside the Fire Nation right near a Southern Water Tribe fishing town that was heavily guarded. Still unsure, Sokka told the general that he had captured one of the spirits from the rebellion and had forced it long ago to tell him. Sokka released Acquised and the general was taken back. Acquised then told the general that this was true and that Wuuluzu took over the spirit of deception and is manipulating these battles to fuel its power. Wuuluzu probably saw the general as a threat and got him tried to get rid of him through the Fire Lord. Now that the Fire Nation soldiers are no longer fighting, it will probably send a scout to investigate. The general was still unsure, but was reassured when Sokka explained that sometimes you need fire to fire. The Fire Nation general agreed with Sokka's plan and said that he explain it to his men in the best way possible. They would march to the Fire Nation capitol and destroy the terrible spirit who is corrupting their country from within.
Before the march towards the capitol, Sokka looked for the female guru and the dog which had saved his life and helped him so much. Sokka looked around, but couldn't find them. He thought they were gone, but soon found them sitting together near a river. Sokka ran towards the guru and thanked her for suggesting he surrender. Sokka looked down at the dog and thanked it as well for helping him so much. Then something hit Sokka, he didn't even know the dog's name.
Sokka asked the guru and the answer made him excited beyond his wildest expectations. The dog was actually the spirit of understanding, Zhi Hui.
Sokka grabbed the dog excitingly exclaimed it to be the final brother. The dog barked at Sokka and licked his face, smothering it all sorts of slobber. At first Sokka was overjoyed, but his joy quickly turned to confusion. How was a dog supposed to team him the other elements as Wan Shi Tong had said? Noticing his confusion, the female guru walked up to Sokka and explained that she will show him the stances, but the dog will ultimately decide whether they are right or wrong. Trying to prevent further confusion, the monk showed Sokka many advanced bending techniques, but without bending any elements. Sokka asked how she could possibly learn those from a dog, but she only replied that anything is possible with a little understanding.
For the next couple weeks, Sokka marched with the Fire Nation army and learned from the Guru how to bend the other three elements. Sokka was amazed at fast he was learning and how amazing a teacher the dog was. When his stance was incorrect, Zhi Hui would push him into place and when he got it right, Zhi Hui would back in approval. Sokka was ready to face Wuuluzu, but Acquised was not.
One night, Acquised asked Zhi Hui to meet her secret deep in the woods, but to her surprise, she was greeted by Avatar Zulana. Acquised demanded to know why she was here, but Zulana only smiled. Acquised looked away in shame... Zulana knew. She knew that Acquised was in love with a mortal. A mortal named Sokka.
Acquised wasn't sure what she could. She couldn't love him like Tora could and the world needed an Avatar who could save the world without any distracting him. How would he feel? What would he say? Acquised was angry and upset, but Zulana just continued to smile. Zulana comforted her and explained to her that love comes in many forms. It comes in the way of sacrifice and it comes in the way of acceptance. When she was the Avatar, she knew she the avalanche was going to kill her and that she had a choice. She sacrificed herself and didn't go into the Avatar State, so that the Avatar could continue to exist and be reborn in the cycle. Rain started to pour from the sky. Acquised couldn't help, but cry of her dilemma. She was jealous, the world needed Sokka and not her. It needed a savior and not a terrible spirit, which couldn't even control her tears. Zulana then grabbed Acquised and looked deep into her eyes. She reminded Acquised what Sokka said and how he needed her. Without her, this world wouldn't have had a chance.
Fate is cruel, but it is also mysteriously forgiving. If Acquised truly loved Sokka, he must know... or she will lose him forever.
To be continued...
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