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December 14, 2012
This is the fifth chapter of the series,.
Korra watches as Tahno is swarmed by the group of swamp dwellers. "Hey boy, haven't seen you in ages. How you been?"
"Great uncle Goji." He then turns to a man and a woman with four young children. "Mom, dad." He says as he runs over to the two and they hug.
"Hey honey." His mother says as she kisses him on the cheek.
His father pats him hard in the back. "Hey son, how're things in that big City?" he asks.
"Great dad." He says as his younger siblings, two boys and two girls, all of various ages, jump all over him. His mother turns his attention to Korra.
"And who's this pretty little lady?" she asks.
"Mom, dad, this is Korra."
"Golly, she sure is pretty Suo." One of his brothers says. (Suo-Marsh or swamp in Finnish.)
"Suo!?" Korra says surprised.
Tahno sighs and throws his head down. "Yes that's my real name."
"Suo?" she says as she starts laughing hysterically.
"Will you please?" he says now clearly embarrassed.
"Okay I'm done, really." She stops for a second as she tries and then fails to keep a straight face. "No...I'm...not!" she says as she breaks out laughing again, causing Tahno to palm his face.
"Okay, I get it, it's a funny name."
"What's so funny about it?" one of his sisters asks. Korra than finds the strength to stop and stands up with the rest of the group, clearing her throat. "Nice to meet you all."
"This is my father, Yang and my mother, Li, my brothers Tao and Roten, and my twin sisters Numa and Toro. And this is well, everyone else." He introduces the group as everyone else in the large group introduces themselves as well.
"Well, let's not stand here, come on and we can get somethin' to eat." Li says as the crowd heads over to the huts, grabbing cooking materials and ingredients. She then turns to her son. "You gonna get dressed for dinner?"
"Aw mom, really?" he whines as she gives him a stern look in return. "Oh, alright." He heads over to the small portion of the family hut that was he and his brother's room and grabs the traditional swamp tribe garb from the drawer. His brother Tao surprises him as he appears from behind the bunk beds in the room. "Oh, hey there squirt."
"Hey Suo, mom says food'll be done in a bit. Hey after supper you wanna go vine swinging or play swamp ball." His brother asks as he hesitates to answer, not really wanting to.
"Uh, we'll see." He says as he finishes getting dressed.
"What's that?" Tao asks as he sees something small with straps on it in Tahno's right hand, the center of which looks like a small carved circular object. "Nothing." The Wolfbat captain says quickly as he tucks it into his folded clothing and heads back outside.
"Hey pretty boy!" he hears from above him as Korra, dressed in swamp tribe garb swings down on a vine with Toro and Numa. "Foggy Swamp looks pretty good on me huh?" she asks as Tahno's jaw almost hits the ground.
"Wow, you look...amazing!"
"Thanks, but seriously, I never knew there was a Water Tribe outside the north and south poles."
"Yeah most folks don't know about us so it's pretty quiet out here." Numa says swinging on Korra's arm.
Before anything else is said the supper bell is rung. "Come and get it!" the entire village assembles in the middle of the camp to eat as everyone begins barraging Tahno and Korra with questions. Korra is all too happy to answer them all. Tahno on the other hand seems uncomfortable and out of place in the swamp and its surroundings. As they sit the family passes the food around, Korra and Tahno both receive a large fried insect. Tahno is repulsed by it, not having eaten this swamp delicacy in years. Korra however, has no problem sinking her teeth into the creature.
"Mmm, delicious, reminds me of my mom's cooking." The Avatar says chowing down on the meal.
"Hey bro aren't you hungry?" Toro asks her eldest brother as she and her twin sister look up at him.
"You know, I'm not really that hungry. Why don't you two split it?" he says as he tosses it to them and they wrestle over it, finally breaking it in half. He gets up and walks off to be alone. As he walks down one of the paths he accidently steps on one of the catgator's tails as the creature reacts violently, swinging its tail, knocking him in the water. He moans in frustration as he is covered in the thick slime of the stagnant water.
"Are you okay?" Korra says as she and Tao rush over to him.
"I'm fine." He says clearly upset.
"Are you still gonna play with us big bro." Tao asks.
"No! I'm sick of this swamp, disgusting food, and crazy animals, and I definitely don't feel like playing some stupid bumpkin game with you!" he shouts.
"Tahno!" Korra scolds him as his younger brother runs off crying. She gives Tahno a disappointed look before running after him.
A short while later Tahno sits on the roots of one of the trees as he overlooks one of the ponds. "Tahno?" He turns to see Korra climbing up the branch behind him. "I know, you want to yell at me?" he says as he turns away from her.
"I just want to know what's going on with you, your family's really excited to have you back and this is how you act?"
"You don't get it Korra, I just don't fit in here."
"But this is your home."
"It was my home. When I first left to go exploring, I always planned on coming back, but then I went to Republic City. After a while I realized I had to be someone different then Suo the swamp bender if I wanted to make it there. So I changed my name and my demeanor and Tahno the pro-bender is what you get. After a while it just seemed wrong to come back. I spent so much time in the big city we're just too different now."
"I don't believe that. No matter what happened out there, this place, it's still a part of you no matter where you go. You just need to remember all the good times you had with them. They're your family, and unlike your fans in Republic City, they'll love you no matter what. Like Tao, he really looks up to you, and I just hope you make things right between you two." She says as she heads back down the tree's roots and waterbends herself down one of the river channels, leaving Tahno with his thoughts.
Korra then joins the village kids for a game of swamp ball. They draw a line in the mud dividing the two sides as they play a round, using water bending and throws to hurl the ball at their opponents, the goal being to knock them out of their square, which Korra finds similar to pro-bending. Tao's team dominates Korra's as the first match ends quickly. "Now I know y'all aren't playin without me now." Tahno says walking up behind the group. He walks over to Tao and leans down to him. "Sorry for snapping at ya like that bro, been away from home too long, but I'm here now. Apology accepted?"
"Sure, under one condition, you play on my team." Tao says as Tahno smiles and nods in agreement. The next match then starts as everyone takes their positions. Korra gets the ball and takes aim. "Come on little girl, give me your best shot." Tahno goads playfully as she waterbends the ball directly at him.
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