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|The Waterbending Master|
February 11th, 2013
Roku's body rose out of the water. The previous Avatar looked kindly at his successor.
"Tell me, what were you doing before you came into this realm."
"I was at the Northern Tribe. They had me visit the Spirit Oasis and I saw these two fish...the next thing I remember is this place."
"Tui and La," Roku said.
"The Ocean and Moon Spirits. They must have transported you here for a reason."
"There are Spirits in our world?"
Roku nodded, "They have their reasons."
"Why did they bring me here? Is something wrong?"
"Hmm. I believe I know why you are here. I have been monitoring the Fire Nation as of late. Fire Lord Sozin has been mass producing new war machines he calls tanks. They are capable of scaling mountainsides and pack quite a punch. The amount of troops he has enlisted has surprised me, even more so that most of them willingly joined."
Aang was horrified, "Do they know where the Temples are?!"
"I'm afraid so. It is only a matter of time. It seems the traitor has completed his betrayal. I have talked with the other Avatars and we believe it is in your best interest to get a little help mastering the Elements."
"Well the Comet is going to arrive much sooner than we thought. At the rate things are going you would only have just mastered the Earthbending basics. And learning Firebending is going to be exceptionally difficult at this stage. We cannot help you learn them all at once but we can give you the knowledge to become a Master Waterbender."
Aang stared long and hard at Roku.
"I can't accept the knowledge to accelerate my training."
It was Roku's turn to be horrified.
"But why not Aang? The Balance of the World needs you!"
"I know. I know. But I've struggled accepting that I am the Avatar. It's time that I've started to accept it and if I am going to have to master all elements then it will be done on my terms. It seems like recent Avatars have had a lifetime to learn all the bending arts and now you are asking me to have them down in just a few months, I barely have the basics of Waterbending down!"
Roku stared at Aang in disbelief before his face softened and he smiled.
"Very well Aang. But we do need to get some work done on the Avatar State. You've managed to enter it a couple of times. It seems you are aware of your actions but have little control over it. It is not important at the moment but we shall work on it. It is time for you to return now Aang. Until next time..."
Aang bowed to Roku in response. It was very exciting that his past life was going to train him. He was nervous about the Avatar State as both times he had entered it left him drained of energy. Roku lead Aang back into the murky water and touched the tip of his forehead arrow. A bright flash of light left Aang blinking in the dim light of the Spirit Oasis. To the East he noticed a faint, pink glow that signaled the arrival of morning. Right on time a someone walked through the entrance to the Oasis.
"Avatar Aang I presume?" said a gravelly voice. The man walked closer and Aang got a good first look. His face was deeply tan and rugged. Aang could tell this man was wise and very powerful. He also walked with a slight limp.
"You may address me as Master Tano. Now follow me to the training grounds."
They took a different path to a wide open area that overlooked the entire Northern Tribe. A few others were already here, practicing in the early morning. When Tano entered they all formed three lines of four.
"Join them," was all Tano said to Aang. He found a spot near the middle of the group. Tano stretched a bit before facing the class.
"Today we have a new member to the group. He may be the Avatar but he barely knows the basics Luya taught him. Treat him no differently." There was a suddenly glint in his eye as he focused on Aang, "Surround him!"
The entire class surrounded Aang who was so stunned he didn't move. They all brought water crashing around him, freezing it around him. It crept up towards his face.
"Come on Avatar! Escape or that shall become your icy tomb!"
Aang struggled to shatter the ice but he had never bent water without the use of his limbs. He concentrated hard and tried to transform the ice back to liquid form and managed it somewhat but Tano immediately froze it again.
"Too easy Aang! Try again!"
Frustration was building within Aang, this style of teaching was not anything he was used to. The ice was starting to chill his limbs and a small bit of panic was setting in. He could see Master Tano getting impatient at the fact the ice was still in one piece.
Tano sighed, "Remember what Luya taught you! The basics!"
Taking a deep breath Aang settled down and felt the cold in his limbs. He made the ice around his hands into water before finally cracking the ice. But that wasn't enough as his limbs had become numb and he could hardly move them. Sensing this, Tano thrust a palm forward, shattering the ice.
"Unacceptable. A true Waterbender would not allow the cold to consume him that quickly. Now, everyone pair up!" A heavy set boy stood opposite Aang, who immediately knew his slender frame would be at an advantage vs. this opponent. "The purpose of this practice is to further perfect the Water Whip technique. Our goal is to strike just before our partners face, no contact now. I am in no mood for healing. Begin!"
The large boy immediately drew a whip out of the snow and cracked it right in Aang's face, spraying him with droplets of water. Aang copied his movements and shot the whip towards the boys face but accidentally went too far and connected with his nose. Falling to the snow, Aang could see red droplets from his bleeding nose.
"You broke it!" the boy howled. Tano rushed over immediately, healing the break in seconds before rounding on Aang.
"Do you not understand my instruction?"
"Master I do, I just haven't had a lot of practice."
Tano circled the Avatar, looking him up and down. There had to be a way to get the boy to understand the principles of Waterbending without taking out everyone around him. He had observed his duel with the Chief and read the report from Luya, the kid was a natural but now seemed like he knew nothing.
"Tell me, Avatar, do I make you nervous?"
Aang nodded slowly in response.
"I know what you are capable of. My family has taught the Avatar for generations and they were all exceptional, even Roku. Though my grandfather did say he was horrible at first but what do you expect from a Firebender."
"Master, Luya taught me that the flow is similar in Water and Air, which makes Waterbending easier for me. If I see it like my own element then I have no troubles."
"Are you telling me my teaching style does not suit you?"
The two stared at each other for a moment before Aang scowled.
"No. Just stating the differences, I will learn your way and will not leave until I have mastered Waterbending!"
Tano was taken aback by the sudden change in attitude but it stirred something inside him that had been dormant for much too long. For so long he taught Waterbending to the warriors of the tribe but none had ever excelled at it. Now he had the chance to train the Avatar and finally have a student he could truly be proud of. Turning to the rest of the class he said:
"I would like all of you to return home. Practice your Whips. It is time for the Avatar's private lessons."
The rest of the class gathered their things and left the training grounds before Tano again rounded upon Aang.
"You know the basics and now that it is just you and I it will get much more complicated," he said before raising himself into the air with a Water Spout, "This move is no different than your Air Spout, copy." Aang found it very easy to copy this technique and soon both were facing each other atop their spouts.
"I'm going to fire icicles at you, catch them using the water from your spout," declared Tano before shooting three at Aang, who managed to catch them with two arms of water but missed one that flew past, burying itself in a nearby wall.
Tano and Aang continued this back and forth affair for several hours with Aang sometimes being the one to fire the icicles. They took a break for lunch and continued the same lesson the rest of the afternoon. By the time dinner came around Tano left Aang with one specific instruction.
"Return at midnight. Tonight the moon is full and we need its strength for some advanced moves....Oh, and stay away from the Oasis, it is not a good place to be when the moon is full."
Aang promised but a there was a slight twinkle in his eyes.
- The final sentence of this chapter is a reference to Aang's mischievous side, as seen in his adventure with Kuzon.
- Book 1 will conclude with the next chapter
For the collective works of the author, go here.