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23 December 2011
Training is chapter nine of.
Team Avatar, with newest ally Reeaki, move to an open location in the Earth Kingdom, where Aang, Katara and Zuko learn Weatherbending.
This chapter takes place over a one-week timeframe. An event will have started during this, which will be discussed in chapter ten.
Western Earth Kingdom, 28 August, 102 AG
Reeaki had now gotten to know every member of the team, and was an accepted ally. Things with them could not have started any better for the young man from another world, he had not only become a part of Team Avatar, but he would get the chance to teach them. For now, however, he was separated from the rest of the team. He picked out a location not too far from the coast, but it was open enough, the type of area Reeaki needed to teach the art of Weatherbending. He sailed on his boat, while Appa soared through the skies, everyone keeping pace with each other.
As they hit the location, Reeaki docked his boat, while Aang led Appa to the ground, the remainder of the team in tow. They all hopped off the sky bison, while Reeaki stepped down from his boat, some devices in hand.
"Is this the spot?" Aang asked.
"Yes, this is right about where we need to be," Reeaki responded. "It's not too far of a walk from here. I have protected my boat, if you guys want to fly on Appa over, I'll join you. It's about two miles worth of walking."
"Yeah, we'll take the bison," Sokka said.
That said, Reeaki and the rest of them got back on Appa, and resumed their flight.
"Why an open area for training?" Zuko asked.
"Sure, we could train anywhere," Reeaki explained, "but it's best we keep away from the populated villages and whatnot. I'd rather not see the weather severely disrupted in such an area. Also, by staying in an open area, we get the more natural weather, whereas it can be affected in such populated areas."
Zuko nodded, as the team neared the desired location. They were a few miles away from a small village, but it was of no consequence.
"Might want to get settled," Reeaki said. "I think we're going to be here for a couple of weeks."
The rest of the team nodded. "This would be a good time to write to people," Toph noted. "I owe my parents a letter."
"I'll write it for you," Katara offered the blind Earthbender.
"Very well, everyone take some time to write where you need to. We have been out for a few days," Reeaki suggested.
Fifteen minutes later, everyone had written their letters. Aang, Katara, and Sokka combined to send a letter to Chief Hakoda; Zuko would send one to Iroh, Toph to her parents, a letter which was indeed written by Katara, with Toph feeding her the words. Suki's letter was directed to the Kyoshi Warriors, and Mai's to her parents.
After this, Aang went to the nearby village and delivered these letters to a messenger. When he came back, he said, "We'll get our responses in a few days, but the messenger I gave them to said we'll need to go into town to receive them when delivered."
The rest of the team nodded in acknowledgment at Aang's words.
"Let us get to work then," Reeaki said. "Aang, Zuko, I'll teach you what I definitely do know first."
The Avatar and the Fire Lord left the rest of team and made their way some distance away, not before the Weatherbender said, "You guys will want to be sure you adjust to any temperature changes quickly."
With that said, Reeaki took a small device over with him to Aang and Zuko, along with a scroll. The scroll had the steps for performing all the Weatherbending acts within the art of Fire.
"The first thing...I am aware you each have experience in lightning redirection?" Reeaki asked.
"Yes, we have each used it," Zuko responded. "Incidentally, each time it was against Ozai."
Reeaki nodded then asked, "but you don't know how to generate it?"
Each Aang and Zuko shook their head. "I tried to learn it once, but didn't do well," Zuko responded.
"I never tried it," Aang added.
"I see," Reeaki spoke. "Well, when I spoke with Avatar Zentai, he told me that the act of both generating and redirecting lightning actually is a part of Weatherbending. If that is true, General Zorro likely knows it. So, you each will need to know lightning generation. Zuko, do you remember what you were taught when you tried to learn it?"
"My uncle told me that I need to be at peace of mind, free of emotion, and something about separating the energies in your body," Zuko responded.
"That's exactly right," Reeaki replied. "All you have to do is just split those energies, and calmly just let it go through you." The Firebender then picked up some lightning bolts off the tips off his fingers, and circled his hand over his head, and shot a bolt of lightning out into the distance. "Simple as that, but be careful, I'm sure you each know lightning can be fatal."
"Yeah," Aang said. "I'm aware..." he thought back to when Azula briefly killed him two years ago in Ba Sing Se.
Zuko was the first to try generation. He was sort of nervous, as he failed at the art during his first training with Iroh. Nevertheless, he took a deep breath, and cleared up his mind. He mimicked Reeaki's movements, and pointed the bolts away at a distance. The lightning shot and went through the open air.
The deposed Fire Lord was stunned. "I...did it?"
"Yes sir," Reeaki responded. "Congratulations. You generated lightning!"
"Wow," Zuko said. "I haven't practiced it in a while, I can't believe it worked on the first try."
Aang knew it was now his turn, but he was much more nervous than Zuko.
"It's just like working with the Avatar State," Reeaki told the Avatar. "Clear your mind of all emotions, blocks, if you will, and generate the lightning."
The Avatar sighed and focused on simply generating the lightning. Being a monk helped him, as he was well-versed in meditation, and also the training of getting into and out of the Avatar State cleanly. With a sigh, he followed the same movements, and lightning emerged from his fingertips. With one shot, it went the same direction of Zuko's. Like his friend, Aang was shocked.
"Well, that wasn't so bad, was it?" Reeaki asked at the two now-generators of lightning.
"I guess not," Aang said.
"Great job, the both of you," Reeaki told them. "Now, it is on to the serious art of Weatherbending in Fire: temperature control." He took out his small thermometer and stood up. "Control of the temperature is not so bad. Just like with lightning generation, however, peace of mind is also important. Your chi paths will need to be clear, or the heat won't be absorbed. It has to travel through you for it to leave the atmosphere. The same thing exists with increasing the temperature; an unclear chi path won't allow that heat back into the atmosphere."
"Question," Aang said. "By absorbing or releasing heat, can't that have an adverse affect on our bodies? Like a fever or hypothermia?"
"A very good question, also commonplace," Reeaki said. "I actually asked that to Zorro when I was learning Weatherbending. The thing of it is, heat is energy. Yes, taking in or releasing all that heat can affect your body temperature, but as long as it is not significant, you will be fine. It is recommended you try to not change the temperature by much more than about 10 - 12°C in one shot."
"How long do these temperature changes need to take effect?" Zuko asked.
"Typically, a change of 12°C or less will occur almost instantly," Reeaki responded. "Above about 15°C will take hours, overnights. It's what happened to you a few weeks ago in the Fire Nation, Zuko."
"So, what will we try today? I presume basic shifts?" Aang asked.
"Correct. I'd rather not work you into severe changes until later on," Reeaki responded, and then took a Firebending stance. "We will start with taking heat out of the atmosphere. Again, like with lightning, you need to be at peace of mind. How much heat you want to take out of the atmosphere is up to you. If you want less, your stance should be more loose. If you want severe changes, you will need to be tighter." He then went over to where he was sitting, and took a small device. It had just the time, temperature, and humidity on it, and it was given to the Avatar. "Aang, what is the current temperature on that?"
"17.6°C," Aang responded.
"All right," Reeaki said. He then took a loose stance. "I'm going to decrease that by one degree." The young man took a deep breath, and drew his hand outward into the air. "All you have to do, once you've assumed this, is just start to sort of suck the air in. When you feel the heat entering, you turn your hand and close it into a fist. This will allow your body to take in the heat and then prevent it from escaping once it happens." After explaining, Reeaki made an apparent grunt as if to release fire, but did not. Instead, he mimicked what he just said, and then ended his stance. "Give me the temperature now, Aang."
"16.5°C," the Avatar responded.
Reeaki nodded. "There you go, it's that simple. Another thing you need to know, is that you perform that heat capture motion for a certain amount of time. It is two seconds for however many degrees you want to change the temperature; for example, two seconds for one degree. However, it can be a straining stance and the change of energy can be rough. That is why you need to be careful with dramatic changes. Also is why, for today, we are keeping them small. Aang, it is your turn."
Aang handed Reeaki his temperature sensor back and walked out to the middle of the field. He prepared the same stance Reeaki did.
"Just like with lightning and the Avatar State," Reeaki told him. "I want you to do the same change I did, just one degree!"
Aang took a deep breath and closed his eyes, then drew his hand out. He kept his hand out for two seconds, and then turned it around and closed it. "I feel something," Aang said.
Reeaki saw the temperature dip to 15.7°C. "That's the energy," he said, smiling. "It wasn't quite a full degree, but you did indeed take some heat from the atmosphere. Don't worry; it's hard to get exact times down. You got the temperature down by eight-tenths of one degree. Zuko, it is now your turn."
The former Fire Lord walked out to where Aang had just stood.
"Remember, just like with lightning!" Reeaki yelled.
Zuko took the stance, and held his hand out, as if he was ready to Firebend. He went through the same motions, but unlike Aang or Reeaki, he felt nothing. "I don't think it's working!" He yelled.
Reeaki sighed. "I don't get it...he went through the exact motions..." With that, he walked up to Zuko. "Are you sure you're clear? You're at peace of mind? I mean, you had to be, since you were able to generate lightning."
"I don't know," Zuko responded. "Maybe I got nervous?"
Reeaki was baffled. "Nervous? How? For someone who's been through banishment and tasked with rebuilding the Fire Nation, and had done so successfully, I don't understand that."
"Maybe I just have certain feelings," Zuko said. "Of letting people down."
Hearing this, Aang walked over to his friend, and placed a hand on his shoulder. "Zuko, I understand. It's something I had to deal with. But, what's done is done, and now we are here. We have Reeaki to teach us, and we'll get back to the Meteorologists, and reconquer the Fire Nation. I had let the whole world down, but, I got back up, and I helped to save the world...I couldn't do it without others though." Aang gave Zuko an appreciative smile.
"I guess," Zuko replied.
"One of the chakras I learned about in dealing with the Avatar State was blocked by guilt," Aang explained. "Guru Pathik told me that you have to realize that these things happen. You can't let them cloud you. You need to forgive yourself to have a positive impact on the world."
"Indeed," Reeaki added. "Those chakras are important to all of us, not just with the Avatar State. They help you achieve peace of mind, and clear your chi paths so you can allow energy to flow."
"I do feel guilty for losing the Fire Nation," Zuko said.
"Then forget that," Aang said. "Forgive yourself, and now, mentally prepare to get it back."
Aang and Reeaki stepped back and allowed Zuko his space. "All right Zuko, give it another try," Reeaki commanded.
Zuko took a deep breath, and closed his eyes. Forgive yourself... he thought. He held out his hand into the air, and began to perform the move. This time, he could feel the energy, and after a couple of seconds, he pulled his hand back and closed it.
Reeaki looked at his thermometer. "14.8°C. Well done, Zuko!"
Zuko cracked a smile and returned to Aang and Reeaki. "See? I knew you could it," Aang said.
"Good job, the both of you," Reeaki said. "Tomorrow, we shall get to the bigger temperature changes. Over the next two to three weeks, we will make the bigger changes. Later, I will see you both to do the reverse of the process. Perhaps in the early afternoon. For now, Aang, relax for some time. In about fifteen minutes, I will teach you and Katara Weatherbending within Water."
Aang and Zuko returned to camp, while Reeaki stayed behind. "Aang, one more thing. I will be by the shore. When you and Katara come, make sure you have a rectangular-looking device on you. That will have the temperature, humidity, and dewpoint on it."
Aang nodded, and he and Zuko continued back to camp. Reeaki picked up another scroll, and then assumed a meditating position. "Avatar Zentai, Pokai, Algaion, I need to speak with you," he said to himself, though as if he was speaking into the Spirit World.
Before him emerged the three spirits once more. "For what reason have you called us before you?" Zentai asked.
"I have instructed Avatar Aang and Fire Lord Zuko," Reeaki responded. "Now it is time to teach the Avatar and Katara, the Southern Tribal Princess, in Waterbending's forms. However, as you know, I am only a Firebender, and while I have the scrolls, I am not sure how fully to instruct them."
"Reeaki," Pokai said. "It is not as difficult as it appears. Just like with the Firebending moves, they will need their chi paths to be clear. They will also need their typical Waterbending stances. One thing you must let them know, however; like with temperature control, they can't make the moves too severe. Further, they are more likely to become dehydrated or oversaturated should they pull too much moisture into or out of the air. A Waterbending Weatherbender is more vulnerable because moisture is not energy, unlike heat. For today, like you did with the Avatar and the Fire Lord, only teach the Avatar and his girlfriend basic moves."
Zentai added on, "In case you need them, we have supplemental scrolls for you." The former Avatar gave Reeaki two additional Waterbending scrolls which gave better explanations.
"Thank you," Reeaki said, and the spirits faded back into the Spirit World.
Some time later, Aang and Katara joined Reeaki by the beach. It was here where more moisture was located, a slightly more tropical location than near the village. The waves faded to the shore smoothly, and the light sea breeze pushed through the air calmly. The temperature was around 16°C.
"All right, Aang, do you have what I asked for?" Reeaki asked.
Aang nodded and gave him the device he asked for. On it had a relative humidity of 55% and a dewpoint of 6.9°C. Reeaki took a small table off of his boat and placed the sensor and scrolls on it. He opened the scrolls and took a seat.
"I will need each of you to assume a Waterbending stance," Reeaki told him, and the Avatar and Southern Princess each followed the order, taking the needed stance. "I am unable to demonstrate the move to you, but I can take you through the motions. Like with temperature control, you won't see anything move, but you will feel it. This involves moisture, so, you will feel it get either more or less humid. Today, you're going to add moisture from the atmosphere."
"Add it?" Katara asked. "Doesn't that run the risk of dehydrating us?"
"It does," Reeaki said. "That's why I won't take you much beyond small moves. I speak of relative humidity changes no more than 10%. Above there is when you can get dehydrated."
"How come moisture manipulation can affect us so much more then temperature manipulation?" Aang asked.
"As I told you earlier, Aang," Reeaki began his response. "Heat really is energy, that we can add or remove from our bodies. As benders, it doesn't affect us so much. Moisture is not quite the same. So, your bodies get affected much more."
Aang and Katara shrugged, but moved along. "What about controlling precipitation?" Katara asked.
"That chance will come in a few days," Reeaki answered. "A storm system is on its way...I can see the cloud formations in the distance." He then pointed out a thin layer of clouds some miles away, that appeared to be wispy. "Those clouds always preclude a storm."
The couple nodded.
"Before we begin," Reeaki said. "May I just say that I am glad you two got together...I think you are perfect for each other."
Aang and Katara blushed and smiled at each other. "Well...thanks, Reeaki," Katara said awkwardly, not expecting that to come up. Reeaki just chuckled and then prepared to demonstrate. His motions were similar to what he did for temperature control.
"Moisture and temperature control take on similar movements," Reeaki explained. "It just is a matter of what type of bender you are. Aang, your stance matters more, since you are both a Waterbender and Firebender. Make sure you are in a Waterbending stance for moisture control."
With the young couple each in the stance, Reeaki began explaining further. "Aang, you already know this, but Katara, you do not. You will need your chi paths to be clear, being sure that nothing is distracting your mind."
Katara was somewhat confused, but Aang explained it a little more. "Consider it like myself with the chakras," he told his girlfriend. "Just open your chi paths so the moisture will flow through your body, and keep it in or let it go."
"Exactly," Reeaki said. He then looked back at his scroll and went through the motions. This time, it was a different movement; he pointed his fist out and then opened it. "It's just like that." The young world crossover walked back to the table where he had everything set up. "Today, the goal is to raise the relative humidity by 3%. That would get us to 58% first, then 61%. Aang, Katara, which of you would like to start?"
The two looked at each other before Aang stepped up. "I'll go first."
Reeaki nodded. "All right, you know the movements, Aang."
The Avatar shifted himself into a Waterbending stance and prepared for the moves. Like earlier, he took a deep breath and closed his eyes. With these complete, he held his closed hand out, and then opened it, slightly straining himself to release his inner moisture. After just a few seconds, he relaxed, taking another deep breath.
The humidity responded to Aang's moves, rising up to 58%, as Reeaki predicted. The dewpoint was now 7.8°C. "Well done, Aang, just as we needed. Katara, it is your turn."
As Aang walked back to Reeaki, he stopped Katara in her tracks and gave her a kiss on the cheek. "Good luck."
Katara blushed slightly and said, "Thanks, Aang."
The Princess made her way to where Aang once stood and took her Waterbending stance. She breathed, closed her eyes and relaxed. Like as was demonstrated, she held out her fist, and opened it up. She then tightened herself up, to allow her inner moisture to flow out of her and into the atmosphere. After she did this for a few seconds, she looked back at Reeaki. "Did it work?"
Reeaki looked at his sensor and saw the humidity read 62%, and the dew point to 8.7°C. "Indeed; in fact, you released a little more moisture than I was aiming for. The humidity went up 4%, Katara. As this is your first time, I suggest you take a small drink of water." Reeaki had already prepared; he had two glasses of fresh water on the table for each of them. "Take, both of you."
The couple each had their water, allowing themselves to be re-vitalized.
"Are we going to do anything else today?" Katara asked.
"Well, there's precipitation control, but the issue is, the only precipitation is still far away from here," Reeaki responded. "We also have precip types, but again, the same issue. We should wait some time before moving on to the advanced drills. For now, Aang, you may rest, but your Airbending is up next. I will need you again to bring a small device; on it has the time, and wind speed with gust. Come back with that in about thirty minutes."
Aang nodded, and him and Katara returned to camp.
Reeaki went back aboard his boat, but the problem was, he did not have any Airbending scrolls. The Meteorologists had not acquired any such scrolls, as Aang was the only active Airbender, and they obviously would have no intention of adding him in. Once again, Reeaki would have to contact the spirits to provide the Airbending information. Like he did before, he meditated, and called on the spirits to bring him what he desired.
The spirits appeared before Reeaki again. "I have a problem," he told them.
"It seems like you are having issues with Airbending," Algaion said.
"How did you guess?"
"Reeaki, you had already dealt with Fire and Water today. We knew Air had to be next," Zentai responded.
"Well, the thing of it is, the Meteorologists never had any Airbending scrolls for weather," Reeaki said.
"We do," Algaion said. Out of his monk robing, he pulled out a scroll. "In here is all the Airbending disciplines for Weatherbending. As we expected, the Meteorologists did not take this information. However, we now have a trusty hand to hold it. Good luck, Reeaki."
"What you also need to remember," Zentai added, "is that an Airbender deals in the upper atmosphere, not the surface. Your wind measuring device would not be needed. It's all about the jet stream and the upper-air flow. Changing the speeds of the flow is how an Airbender on his or her own performed Weatherbending. The other moves were done in conjunction with a Waterbender."
"The jet stream may be hundreds of miles away," Reeaki said. "We're not sure where the flow is, or anything!"
"Is there not a storm coming?" Algaion asked. "If a storm is close to your location, the jet stream is closer than you think. No further than fifty to one hundred miles away. Give it a few days...you will find it."
"I was going to use this storm to teach Aang and Katara in the art of precipitation manipulation," Reeaki explained.
"I see," Algaion replied. "Then, once the storm clears, fly about one hundred miles to your south. There, you will find the main upper air flow and the jet stream. We will guide you."
"Thank you," Reeaki said, and bowed to the spirits, Airbending scrolls in hand.
He returned to the camp, where Aang had gathered up what Reeaki requested, but the young man shook his head, as if to wave him off. "Not today, Aang. There has been a change of plans...your training won't begin with Airbending for a few more days."
Aang nodded in understanding, though he was a bit disappointed he wouldn't be able to train that day.
30 August, 09:00
Two more days went by, and the basic training continued for Aang, Katara, and Zuko, though they went with higher and higher changes. By this point, Aang and Zuko had gotten their temperature alterations up to 6°C. Aang also, along with Katara, had now gotten to relative humidity changes of 8%, though Katara had nearly fainted when she went a tick too far with moisture addition, dehydrating herself.
Today, rain was pouring down on the campsite. Reeaki allowed the remainder of the team to stay on his boat, out of the pouring rain and driving wind. The temperature was 12.7°C, the relative humidity 94%. The storm had arrived, as was being noticed two days earlier.
"Aang, Katara, here is your chance," Reeaki said. "Today, we are going to learn how to deal with precipitation control. We can change this storm around, make it happen faster, strengthen it, or weaken it. You will need the basic abilities to do so. We are going to fly into this storm. I checked; there is no lightning."
"We should get going then," Katara said. "No guarantee of how long this storm will last."
The three donned light, hooded jackets and made their way up to Appa. "We have technology where I come from that is pretty good at predicting timing of storms," Reeaki said. "Unfortunately, I do not possess that at this moment, in this world."
"What else do you have?" Aang asked.
"Well, most of our transportation is done by way of an invention called the automobile," Reeaki responded. "We don't typically travel with animals as our transports, but rather, these automobiles achieve fast speeds and get us to where we need to be in shorter times."
"Wow," Katara replied. "Maybe we should see if someone can make these automobiles."
"Well, we do know an inventor," Aang added. "Maybe when this is all over, we could see him about developing such a concept."
"Keep it in mind," Reeaki said, as they all got on top of Appa.
"Sorry buddy," Aang said to his quickly soaked bison. "But, we need this to help save the world." The Avatar grasped the bison's reins. "Yip yip."
Appa took the sky. As this was Reeaki's first ride on a sky bison, he was in some amazement. "Wow...you know, I have seen your bison in action, Aang, but to actually be in the experience...it's amazing, though a little freaky!"
Aang and Katara each smiled at him. "You'll get used to it after a while," Aang said.
They made their way up into the storm, rain drenching them as they continued their flight. Nevertheless, they pushed onward, knowing the importance.
"I have a suggestion," Reeaki said. "I know this may be dangerous for my first flight, but I might need to take control of Appa. Aang, Katara, you guys need to perform the bending, and it would be tougher for you, Aang, to do so while trying to keep control of your bison."
"Are you sure about this?" Aang asked. "If so, let me make it simple. Just keep a tight hold on him, and whip the reins to whichever direction you need to turn him. I'll let you know if we have to."
Reeaki nodded. "Yes, I am sure, and I get all of that."
The Avatar and world crossover switched places, Reeaki carefully taking control of Appa. He took a tight hold of the reins, preparing for anything on this first but also dangerous flight.
"Are you two ready?" Reeaki asked, turning to them, and they each gave him a nod. Further, Aang added, "Turn him to the left! I see some lighter rain up there!"
Reeaki directed the bison that same way, and indeed, the rain lightened some what, though it was still coming down rather hard.
"All right you two, get ready," Reeaki said, and he opened up the scroll, and positioned it between his legs and held it in place, while keeping enough of a grip on Appa. "Precipitation manipulation is a more advanced concept. You will each need some form of a bending stance. Obviously, you will want to be careful with the standing."
The couple stood up, exactly the same way they prepared themselves when they manipulated the clouds over Makapu Village early in their wartime travels.
"All you have to do is just draw the water out of the clouds," Reeaki explained. "However, you just need to push as hard as you can. True manipulation changes the intensity of the precipitation. Aang, with an added Airbending move, you can direct the precipitation elsewhere."
Katara and Aang raised their hands, and slowly but surely, giving their all, they drew the moisture out of the clouds. The rain began to fall heavier and heavier, but the clouds were now shrinking. Soon enough, this part of the storm was now weakened. As this process repeated many times on the westward flight, the western quadrant of the storm fell apart, clearing out the skies.
"That's Weatherbending for you," Reeaki said. "Not too hard for the each of you, being master benders. The real challenge comes when it's time to make a storm. We will cover that next week, as it is a more advanced move. For now, the storm will have to re-organize its west quadrant. Aang, we will need this storm for tomorrow."
The Avatar nodded. "I assume you will teach me what else I need to know then?"
"Correct," Reeaki said. "Now, I presume you will want control of Appa back."
"It would be appreciated," Aang said, and him and Reeaki switched places, guiding the bison back down to the boat.
As they arrived, the rest of the team was amazed. They were in the western quadrant, and the storm just ended abruptly. "What was...you guys...what the heck?" Sokka asked, his eyebrows arched up, his eyes having grown large, his hands on the sides of his face in shock.
"That was Weatherbending, big bro," Katara responded.
"That's some good stuff there," Toph said. "I wish I could do that..." her face grew a look of disappointment.
"Toph," Reeaki said. "Just because Weatherbending has no arts within Earth, doesn't mean you're invaluable or not good. You are still an asset, and come on, what Earthbender can top you?"
"I guess you're right," Toph said. "Weatherbending just seems so cool..."
"Oh come on, and Metalbending isn't?" Sokka asked teasingly.
"Haha, you're right there," Toph punched Sokka in the arm and said.
The team finally had the chance to enjoy some light-hearted banter for the rest of the day, now that the storm was clear, and the capable members had progressed well in their bending. Two concepts remained, though, and they were some of the toughest in all of Weatherbending.
2 September, 13:45
Continued training gave the three mastery at the basic levels of Weatherbending. Still, Aang had yet to do anything within Air on his own. Today was finally going to be that day. Once again, him and Reeaki would need to be in a storm. The one Team Avatar had just gone through was now off to the northeast, which was where they had to go to take care of the next move. The two flew into the air on Appa, ready to take on the next challenge.
"This is it, Aang," Reeaki said. "Your chance to take care of your art, all on your own."
"I've got to admit," Aang began. "I've had my reservations about Weatherbending, as I am a spiritual person. The monks always told me that weather was in the hands of the spirits, never to be tampered with."
"It's true, no human should control the weather," Reeaki said. "However, the spirits said you would have to learn it to defeat the Meteorologists. Further, Aang, one of those spirits is also a monk, one of your own people. It's un-natural, but it has to be done. Once it's done, hopefully, Weatherbending will never have to be done again. I just...when I joined the Meteorologists, like I said, I let excitement get the best of me."
"We let our emotions get the best of us many times," Aang explained. "You are interested in the weather, and of course anything to do with it gets you excited. To have your hands, literally on it, of course you would jump at that chance."
"Right now, I feel kind of silly for doing so," Reeaki continued. "I hope this art goes away from this world when we do defeat the Meteorologists. Weather should be done naturally, let it play out the way it was intended for. No one mortal should control it."
"That's what I think too," Aang said back. "I mean, if it wasn't at the point where we had to learn it, I would be against learning it."
Reeaki nodded. "I understand. Now then, we must press on. I see the storm incoming again, so be ready."
The wind increased as the two made their way into the storm they had just been involved with the previous day. This time, however, there would be different moves. "Fly higher," Reeaki commanded.
Aang responded with a whip of Appa, and the sky bison ascended above the storm clouds. They were now at a point where they could see the sun, but right below them lurked those ugly storm clouds that were continuing to flow to the northeast. At this point, the two again traded places, just as they did the previous day.
Reeaki looked at his map. "If I'm right, the mean flow is over this general area." The wind was whipping at the upper levels, reaching speeds of 55 knots. It was great resistance against the two young men, but Appa was able to overcome. "Get ready, Aang. Here's your chance."
Aang sighed and worked into his Airbending stance. He took a risk by standing, but had his glider with him, just in case he were to take a fall off Appa.
"What I am thinking for today," Reeaki again spoke, "is that we speed up the flow. That's a toughie, Aang, only because we need the exact location of it. Once we are there, however, all it takes is a simple increase in the wind speed, and you are capable of that." He took a reading of the wind speed; it was at 55.9kts. They couldn't go any higher; they would be approaching wind speeds 70kts and higher. "We are right about here, though! If you do this right, this storm will clear out of here by sunset."
Aang went to work, manipulating the currents of air around him, increasing the wind speed. Reeaki saw his small device slowly show increasing numbers. Five minutes after the Avatar started, the wind speed was now 59.4kts. "Three more knots!" Reeaki yelled. Aang kept it up for as long as he can, the breeze getting stronger and stronger. Reeaki grasped Appa's reins while looking at his wind-measuring device. Another five minutes passed, it was now at 63.6kts.
"All right, that's enough!" Reeaki yelled out over the wind, and Aang ceased his Airbending motions, sitting down again.
"So, we just wait?" Aang asked, and Reeaki nodded. "How did I do?"
"Well, you bumped the wind speed up by eight knots, increasing the flow by about three to four hours," Reeaki responded. "This storm should be out of here about thirty minutes before local sunset. Remember this, Aang. It may come in handy, some day."
The two again switched places, and Aang directed Appa down through the atmosphere, and slowly but steadily, the two made their way back to the surface, and waited out the storm.
"Local sunset is around 18:15," Reeaki said.
"Good," Aang replied. "The storm is down to just a few showers. I think it's all right."
Reeaki nodded. "You guys are really good at this. Are you sure you haven't practiced in it long before I came around?" He asked with a chuckle.
"Well," Aang also chuckled. "I guess, like you said, it just comes from us being masters of our elements."
"An elemental master would be more likely to succeed with Weatherbending," the young Firebender said. "That's what puts you, Katara, and Zuko at an advantage. When I first tried it, I was nowhere near a master Firebender, and I struggled."
"I see," Aang said. "Nothing ever comes easy at first...I was a terrible Earthbender when I started training with Toph."
"At the end of the day, though," Reeaki said, "you get the job done." As the showers ended and the cloud deck broke, he added, "you just...get it done."
19:15, Team Avatar's campsite
When the storm ended, the two got back on Appa and flew back to their campsite, only to notice everyone was congregated at the boat. The rest of the team was a bit worried.
"Where were you guys?" Katara asked, after giving Aang a tight hug.
"I forgot to tell you, so this one's on me," Reeaki responded. "Aang and I waited out the storm, to make sure everything worked."
"Well, did it?" Sokka asked.
"Yeah," Reeaki answered. "Aang's manipulation caused the storm to exit about four hours faster than normal."
Katara again hugged Aang and gave him a kiss. "That's my powerful bender," she whispered, calling back to when she first realized he was for her.
Aang blushed at her words. "Oh, come on, Katara, everyone here knows there's someone more powerful," he teased her, poking her shoulder.
Katara returned the teasing with a finger on his cheek. "Excuse me, Mr. I Can Bend All Four Elements," she spoke with a playful tone. "Now who's more powerful?"
Mai shook her head in the background, even chuckling herself, somewhat. "Love...I don't know what that feels like," she spoke with sarcasm, smiling at Zuko.
"Gee, I don't either," Zuko replied, bringing his girlfriend into a hug, which Mai returned.
"Well, enjoy yourselves, lovebirds," Reeaki turned towards the deck of his boat. "I'm going to take care of some things. Aang, Katara, there's one more concept I want to teach you two, tomorrow."
The Avatar and Southern Princess nodded, ready to take on Reeaki's final test.
4 September, 08:00
The day was starting early, as Reeaki wanted to get Aang and Katara out while the relative humidity was still high; it would be vital to the final technique he wanted to teach them. The humidity was at 77%, more than enough.
Aang and Katara followed him back out to the middle of the open land, where they had done their first round of training a few days ago. This was just part of a big day, responses from the people the team wrote to were likely due after the delivery process was halted by some issues throughout the Earth Kingdom.
For now, it was time to learn. "All right you two. The other day, we disintegrated a storm," Reeaki explained. "Now, you're going to create one. We'll need to be in the air again, which is why I asked you to bring Appa."
That said, they all hopped aboard the sky bison. This time, Reeaki would control Appa all the way through, while giving the instruction.
They made their way to the sky, which was partly sunny on that morning. Later, skies would clear, and it would become harder for them to create a storm.
"Take your stances!" Reeaki commanded, after they made their way to the clouds. "These clouds have some moisture in them, but right now, the atmosphere is too dry for any precipitation to fall." He looked at his sensor. "84% is a high number...but more will be needed for precip to fall. At least 90% at this level."
"So, we need to perform the moisture manipulation move, like normal," Aang asked.
"Correct," Reeaki responded.
The two began the stance they used in early training back on the twenty-eighth, and started to make their move. Slowly, the humidity began to increase. Within moments, the humidity was up to 93%, and the rain started to fall.
"All right, let's keep this up through a couple more levels of the atmosphere," Reeaki said, lowering Appa. "If you don't get the humidity high enough through the surface, the precipitation will dry up in the mid-levels."
They made their way towards the surface, making clouds as they placed more moisture into the atmosphere, through their own body contents and through water that Katara had packed into two water skins. They manipulated clouds around, and eventually, enough moisture was created so that the rain began to fall to the surface. Sure enough, when they reached the surface level again, they could see the raindrops falling to the ground. It was a light rain, but a rain nonetheless. The humidity at the surface had increased to 85%.
"This rain won't last long," Reeaki said. "But...you got the job done. Way to go."
Aang and Katara hugged each other, and slipped in a quick kiss. "We make a great team," the Avatar said to his girlfriend.
"Yeah, we do," Katara said. The two kissed again, and each had loving looks.
"Rightfully, you guys are proud," Reeaki said. "I am quite thrilled...I thought this would take you all two weeks...instead it has been just six days and you guys are well set."
The team had completed enough Weatherbending to leave their training campsite; occasional lessons would follow over time, until combative action was needed. They knew that could be at any time, so they would train as much as possible. For today, it was gathering the letters. Suki and Mai volunteered to go into town and gather up the messages, leaving the rest of the team time to rest, especially the Weatherbenders.
"Hey Katara," Sokka asked. "Why did you think Kianna had it out for you, when we fought the Meteorologists?"
"I don't really know," Katara responded to her brother. "She seemed to really hate me for some reason. She said something about not learning combative Waterbending..."
"I guess it's because she was from the North, with their traditions," Aang responded. "Yet, you learned Waterbending."
"I don't see how that's cause to try to kill her," Toph said. "I'll never understand people, I guess."
"She's just jealous because she couldn't become an awesome Waterbender like my sister," Sokka said with a grin on his face. "Isn't that true?"
"Oh, Sokka," Katara said. "You like to brag about me, don't you?"
"Come on, not very often you get a sister like yourself!" Sokka said, Katara just laughed at her brother's bragging.
Moments later, Mai and Suki returned. Suki had a response from Toph's parents, and Mai held the response from Hakoda to his children, and Iroh's to Zuko.
The children of the chief took a look at Hakoda's response letter:
"Sokka and Katara,
So far, all continues to remain quiet here at the Southern Water Tribe. Everyone remains actually in pretty good spirits, even though the Fire Nation did fall. They have a lot of faith in all of you. Your grandmother and Pakku are still doing well, reconstruction is once again underway after the blizzard, and it's just so far, so good. Your new ally is quite interesting....but he's your guy, apparently. In any event, I hope to hear more from you soon. Continued best of wishes to my son and daughter. --Hakoda"
Toph had also received a response, but Suki elected to read it to her due to the former's blindness.
We are glad to hear your current trip with your friends is going well. Your mother and myself await your return, and we hope you are still healthy. In any event, you haven't written here in a while, which made us nervous since we heard your team lost to the Meteorologists, but we are glad to see you made it through the ordeal. Keep up the good work, and it is also great to know you have made a new ally in place of the fallen Kyoshi Warrior. We expect to hear more from you in due time, for now, just stay safe. --Lao Bei Fong"
The last letter to be read was Iroh's response to Zuko. This one, however, would contain more serious notes.
It is great to hear from my nephew again. Congratulations on gaining another ally in your fight, but I have heard of someone of his type, if what you say of him being of another world is true. Also, I would like to say something to all of you about this art of Weatherbending. If you have the chance, I would like to see all of you in Ba Sing Se, at the Jasmine Dragon. I can also speak with your new ally about his situation. See you soon, nephew. --Uncle Iroh"
"Guys," Zuko got everyone's attention. "Just got done reading my letter from my uncle. He said he wants to see us in Ba Sing Se."
"What's going on?" Aang asked.
"He said he wants to talk to us about Weatherbending," Zuko answered with, then turned to Reeaki. "Also, he apparently knows something about people who have come from other worlds."
Reeaki nodded. "Good...I hope maybe that could explain how I got here...it's just such a fog to me. Shall we go?"
"I think we should," Zuko replied. "My uncle is pretty smart. He would know a lot about this type of stuff."
"Then to Ba Sing Se we go!" Sokka declared.
The team slowly packed up their campsite, and boarded Appa afterwards, and began their flight to the Earth Kingdom Capital.
For now, training was complete.
Little did they know, things were already in motion, going against them.
For those who may not have seen...about a day after I published chapter eight, someone posted a fake version of this chapter. Caught me totally off guard, but I promptly deleted it.
This chapter, at over 7,400 words, now takes the spot for my longest writing ever.
Awww, Reeaki ships Kataang. ^_^
This was a tough chapter for me to write. Probably the toughest since chapter five.
I was not planning to put the Meteorologists in this chapter, as I wanted to focus solely on the training. At the end of the day, good thing I didn't. XD
Iroh's going to get a role! You guys think I'd forget about him?
For the collective works of the author, go here.
Changing Weather - Not Your Typical Days - Regathering the Team - Into the Fire Nation - The Masters of Weather - The Meteorologists Attack - Recovery and Disasters - Searching for Instruction - Reeaki's Arrival - Training - Reverberations - A Dire Warning - Can We Hold Together? - Last Preparations - The Final Showdown, Part 1 - The Final Showdown, Part 2 - Survivors of the Conflict - Moving Forward
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