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|The Northern Water Tribe|
One: The North
Book One: The North
The Northern Water Tribe
~The Northern Seas~
He didn't very much enjoy leaving his badgermole behind, but without very much Earth in the North Pole—Gwali would've been useless. Jong-Mu departed with his beloved companion in the city of Taku as he traveled to the Water Tribe. There was a rising conflict that brought upon the request of the Avatar to step in.
Avatar Jong-Mu had only dealt with two major clashes that prevented peace in his time. One was a conflict between the Air and Earth nations. The other was an internal Earth Nation conflict that was quickly resolved. He had dealt with small squabbles in the Water Tribe before—but nothing as dire as this, or so he was told.
Recently there had been talks of a revolution in the North Pole. The chief of the Northern Water Tribe specifically requested the Avatar's help. Jong-Mu was hesitant to come, but decided if there was a conflict it would be best to nip it in the bud sooner rather than later.
Just before he reached the nation he encountered an Ice Serpent. It was a breed so rare that most thought it to be extinct. It looked similar to the Unagi, but this breed was white, with ice rings around its body. It also had the ability to shoot water and even freeze it as it spewed from its mouth. It immediately shot two spears of ice at the Avatar's large wooden ship.
The Avatar jumped off into the water. He created a cyclone in the ocean and rose to half the height of the gargantuan sea snake. While rising he shot two balls of fire from his fists at the ice spears. They clashed into two clouds of steam.
Jung-Mu rose his hands up and clenched his fists. Water rose around the tail of the serpent and froze. The serpent quickly broke free of this and shot a spear at the Avatar and another at his ship. Jung-Mu blasted two more balls of fire from his fists. One intercepted the spear towards the ship, the other missed. The water cyclone quickly rose so Jung-Mu could avoid the oncoming spear.
The spear flew through the cyclone, flying past the Avatar. A spout of water shot out from the Ice Serpent's mouth. A waterfall came rushing down pulling the old Avatar into the water. The serpents body was right next to him underneath the surface.
Jung-Mu's eyes glowed as he entered the Avatar State. The Avatar swam towards the Ice Serpent at an incredible speed and then began twirling. His body looped around the serpent's, freezing the water as he climbed to its head. Jong-Mu burst out of the water, steadily spiraling up around the Ice Serpent's body with a trail of water following. The serpent couldn't move because of the ice wrapped around his body, and slowly began sinking to the depths of the ocean.
Jong-Mu exited the Avatar State, quickly swam back to his ship and continued on his way. He wasn't a fan of interruptions, especially ones that made him late.
~The North Pole~
The ship floated into a bay of the North Pole which contained the great city of the waterbenders. The Water Nation's city was completely designed by the waterbenders. Every building, every canal for the boats to travel in was sculpted by water benders. The city had been growing for quite some time. There was currently an expansion being worked on as the city's population was rapidly increasing.
Jong-Mu was welcomed by the nation. He couldn't bear to look up at the citizens, all cheering loudly—mostly out of respect, but also with a bit of fear. He had grown tired of the 'fans.' He had fulfilled the duties of an Avatar for one hundred eighteen years. His wife died sixty-three years ago and since then Jong-Mu had become very stern and kept to himself. He hoped this would be an easy conflict that wouldn't take long so he could return to solitude.
The chief of the tribe was standing at the edge of the bay, ready to greet the Avatar. Jong-Mu had been taught waterbending in the North Pole, but it was decades ago and two chiefs had since passed in leading the Northern Tribe. The Master that gave lessons to Jong-Mu had passed years ago.
This would be his first interaction with Toko, the current chief. He had blue eyes and short brown hair. He wasn't particularly tall, but he was very well built. The water nation was known to have very strong leaders, a trait Jong-Mu both admired and despised. They would most likely butt heads immediately, another reason he hoped this wouldn't last long.
"Greetings Avatar Jong-Mu," he said, bowing down. The Avatar stepped off the ship and rose his hand.
"Hello Chief Toko. No need for bowing. Let's go somewhere private where we can talk about the state of your nation." Chief Toko immediately frowned.
~Avatar Ice Temple~
Jong-mu followed Toko through the city of ice to a secluded temple. It too was built from ice but with a few features made of stone. Inside was a stone statue of Jong-Mu, as well as several pelts on the floor to sit upon. There were also a few ice statues of previous Avatars, the last being a waterbender named Palokk.
Toko took a seat on the floor. Jong-Mu remained standing. He stared at the ice statue of Palokk, his spiritual guide.
"What must I do to bring peace here?" asked the Avatar.
"Our nation is divided. Our customs, they are being questioned by many. More than half our tribe is unhappy. There has been talk of a revolt. I need you to put an end to this before it begins." The chief's voice became clearer as he spoke, as if fear slowly took over his words.
"I do not put an end to conflicts without knowing exactly what's going on. Please, explain to me these customs being questioned."
"Who cares about the customs! Just shut the revolution down permanently before my people get hurt!"
"Toko!" the Avatar bellowed, "I do not know what you expected when you called for my help but I don't simply shut down the people's voice because the chief says so. My duty isn't solely to you, chief. If the people have something to say then tell me what they wish to change!"
"It's our benders. The females wish to use their bending for other purposes than healing. Their desire for power is unquenchable. The younger citizens, they don't agree to arranged marriages anymore. They even wish to be able to lead the tribe in a different way. Our customs have been followed for hundreds of years, they are not about to change now!"
"Very well. I wish to talk to your citizens. When I return I will inform you of my plans to handle this situation." Jong-Mu left the temple immediately before Toko could express his discontent with the meeting. Toko's intention was to get the Avatar to put an end to the revolt before it grew out of hand, not for the Avatar to talk to the revolters.
Toko was a fan of the traditions of their tribe. Women's destiny was to heal. Men's to fight. Marriage had little to do with love, but was just a way created to bring peace among the smaller tribes that existed before the city was united.
He looked down at the waterbender's creation. One of their most impressive buildings was the Healing Temple, a large corridor filled with separate rooms for patients, as well as a direct link to the purest water in the North. The water source was the second best healing catalyst known to the world.
The Healing Temple was nearly empty. Inside was a young healer named Kyla and an Air Nomad that was recently injured. The healer was tall with black hair and green eyes. The Air Nomad was of medium height, head shaved, and his arm and leg were badly hurt.
"Just one moment, I'm almost done healing you, Taizo. How did this even happen?"
"I think it was an Earthbender. I was flying when a bunch of rocks were hurled at me. I crash landed onto a ship that was heading here."
"That doesn't make any sense, how did the rocks get all the way up in the air?"
"Earthbending. They can do that."
"Over the ocean? How high?" Kyla questioned. She had a natural curiosity that had proven to both help and hinder her in the past. The airbender looked down and pondered her questions. Suddenly he was unsure of what really happened.
"I don't know how to explain it. I just saw a blade of rock fly at me and then I was on a ship."
"Well whose ship did you land on?" Kyla smiled. The injuries she helped heal always gave her a new story to tell others, especially with foreigners.
"The Avatar's!" Taizo said in excitement. He quickly grabbed his arm in pain.
"The Avatar is in the city? Kyla asked as she whipped more water out from a spout and around his arm. It glowed bright blue.
"Oh yes. He was very nice. Well mostly silent, but still nice."
"I've never met the Avatar before. Do you know how long he'll be here?"
"Like I said, he was mostly silent," Taizo answered.
"Oh. Wait, do you suppose it was him who brought you down? He does hail from the Earth Kingdom."
"No. I was watching his ship before I went down. It came from the west of the ship and myself."
"Did you see anything over there?"
"There was nothing else below. I have no idea how it happened. The Avatar didn't see anything either and didn't concern himself with my injury. He just said it was lucky I was going to the one place with healers on the Earth."
"How nice. So why were you flying over the ocean anyhow?"
"I'm a nomad. The whole world is my home. Though I must admit as I grow older I have felt a yearning to settle down in my last years. I was thinking of living here."
"Why not return to the Northern Air Temple?"
"Oh the Northern Air Temple was never really my home, not for long anyhow. The place I lived longest was the Air colony, not the temple," Taizo responded.
"Colony?" Kyla's eyes widened.
"Fifteen years ago the Air Nomads built a settlement not too far South from their temple."
"How come I never heard of this settlement until now?"
"The Earth Kingdom took it as a threat and the Avatar intervened."
"He destroyed the village."
"Well this Avatar is turning out to be a real piece of work," Kyla stated and frowned. This was not her idea of a great Avatar.
"He has also created a great deal of peace."
"Sounds like an abusive man to me. You can't take sides if you're the Avatar!"
"I try not to bring up the past. Why he handled it the way he did... well that's our Avatar I suppose."
"I guess... Well you're healing session is done. I'll need to see you in the morning."
"Thank you, Kyla." The air bender left the hut and Kyla packed up her belongings to go home. She was a very great healer for being only sixteen. At least that's what the elder healers said to her.
She took the long way home. Kyla needed time to think as she felt unsure about what the elder healers had said. She didn't feel like a great healer. She didn't even feel like she knew what she was doing half the time. Most often it felt like the water took over and did the work for her.
~The Spirit Oasis~
On her walk home she passed by the most sacred spiritual place in the North Pole. In the depths of the city is the Spirit Oasis, a pond in the middle of tall ice cliffs.
The Avatar was sitting in front of the pond that contained two koi fish circling one another. He was happy to finally be on some earth. It was part of the reason he so rarely came to the North Pole. Kyla often slipped into the spirit oasis when the guards changed duty. She didn't expect to see the Avatar there. He noticed her first, however.
"Tell me, are you happy here?" the Avatar asked promptly when she arrived to the pond. He didn't break his concentration on the pond.
"Avatar Jong-Mu! It is an honor to be in your presence."
"No need for that. Are you happy here?" he asked again.
"Of course. I love the water nation. I love being a healer. I just came from healing an Air Nomad actually." Kyla smiled.
"Ah the air nation. Naturally I don't very well understand their ways. Or rather, I understand their ways least out of the four nations. So free from Earthly concerns."
"Did you really destroy the air nation colony?" Kyla blurted out just before putting her hands to her mouth. She felt like he held a natural grudge against the Air Nation. Jong-Mu wasn't surprised though. He quickly answered.
"You sided with the Earth nation? Because you came from there?"
"You are quick to assume, young lady. I sided with peace and tranquility. My duty is balance to the Earth."
"But all those people—"
"Were in the way of keeping that balance. Both sides suffered. But it had to be done."
"How do you plan on handling our revolution? Killing any amount of us because we're not part of the Earth Nation?"
"Like I said, both sides suffered. I did and I will do what must be done to keep balance. I hail from the Earth Nation, but I do not favor them over any other nation."
"Sure about that?" Kyla asked again. "What kind of Avatar are you? You're supposed to protect humans! Keeping peace means you keep lives!" Kyla yelled. She didn't realize how passionate she was about this subject until the words boiled her blood. The Avatar kept staring at the fish.
"Did you know a few decades ago I was called the Stone Blooded Avatar? The Earth Kingdom was having a civil war. I ended it by ending the extremists. Then to protect the royal traditions I began the construction of the walls of Ba Sing Se. I watch out for the greater good young healer. I can't spare every second for individuals."
Kyla was angered by this conversation. She peered at the pond in the middle of the ground and was instantly cured of her wrath.
"This pool is so tranquil." Kyla felt the calm lift as she moved her eyes to the Avatar.
"What side are you on?" The Avatar asked her.
"Side? We're not divided yet."
"Yes, you are. You're either part of the city or part of the rebellion."
Kyla paused. She hadn't realized how real this situation was. The Avatar was here—something awful could happen. "I'm part of the city then."
"You don't mind not learning to bend water?"
"Balance is your duty. Mine is healing. I'll leave the waterbending and fighting to the men of my nation."
"Interesting. A human not interested in their own equality, yet concerned for all other's life."
"I never said—"
"Are you happy here?" the Avatar cut her off.
"You all ready asked that."
"I know. But now you're rethinking all your beliefs."
"I am? Yes, I mean... I'm fine with being a healer. I'm really good at it. I'm happy..."
"Should I not be?"
"I can't answer that for you." The Avatar left quickly to talk to other citizens. Kyla looked down at the water. She slowly raised her hand and watched the water quickly rise. A line of water was parallel to her arm. She was stunned, amazed at how quickly the water followed her movements. Her eyebrows pressed together as she tried concentrating. Just as quickly as it rose, the water fell. The two koi fish continued swimming around one another and Kyla couldn't stop staring at them.
At sunset, Kilo was signing up to learn waterbending from the Masters. His ability to bend didn't arise until late in his teen life. His skill was hidden from him. He never knew his parents or the fact that they were benders. When he discovered it, he almost didn't believe it. Yet he knew that he had a strange connection with the water, but having no parents left him unable to completely connect. Until now.
He stepped into the Water Bending Academy. There he met Mokolo, leader of the Northern Military.
"Beginner's class? You're that bad?" Mokolo joked.
"Don't worry about it. Welcome to the academy. Are you signing up to be in the army as well? We could use a man of your stature."
"I don't really know. I never thought about it."
"I'll be leading the first couple of classes."
"Well I don't see why not."
"Excellent. I'll see you soon then!" Mokolo smiled and walked away.
"Thank you, sir." Kilo watched him walk down the hall. Mokolo was known for his sense of humor. Despite being one of the most powerful waterbenders in the world, his humor often got in the way of his leadership skills. Still, Kilo hoped more than anything that Mokolo would be his master.
As he exited the building a group of blue wolf-masked citizens came rushing up one of the canals on planks of wood tied together. It was a side canal that connected the academy building to the main Chief's Palace. They were headed towards the building in what seemed to be a kidnapping plot.
Suddenly the water around their raft rose up and froze. They quickly jumped out of the small raft and ran towards the Palace. A few of them bended water at the guards of the Palace. Three of the guards were taken out. The other just narrowly avoided the attack.
Avatar Jong-Mu rushed over to the scene of the attack. He pulled water from the canals with one hand, five jets of water streamed to the attackers. A ring of water wrapped around each of the rebels. He lifted them into the air and tossed them out into the harbor.
Toko came running to Jong-Mu. He glanced at the water benders in the bay, then at the Avatar.
"What did you do!?"
"Your revolution isn't quite as huge as I was expecting. Was I really needed?" the Avatar smirked.
"That wasn't the revolt. That was just a warning. We were expecting it. We froze their ship. We were ready to arrest them before you stepped in!"
"Toko, that was five waterbenders. Hardly a need to call upon the Avatar."
"You haven't seen anything yet." Toko fell down to his knees.
"How large is this revolt? Why are you acting so scared!?"
"It's over half the city."
"How do you know?" the Avatar asked. Toko pointed to the bottom of the city behind him. A few lights were gathered among a building by the bay. Then another appeared. Then another followed by two more. Suddenly a quarter of the city was shining. There were lights all moving towards a central building by the bay. Jong-Mu's eyes glowed from the reflection of the lights. He was astonished.
"They're meeting to organize a coup," Toko explained with grief.
"And the other half?"
"I'm not sure most of them even know what's going to hit them. It's a full moon tonight. I'm quite worried the Palace invasion was just the beginning of the revolt."
"Toko, earlier you asked me to put a permanent end to this revolution. Did you call me here to destroy half of your city's population!?"
"I called you here to bring peace! You're the Stone Blooded Avatar after all."
"So you think I would wipe out half a nation in order to please you and your desire to keep your culture!?"
"You've done it before!" Toko shouted. He took a step back, regretting having just said those words.
"ENOUGH!" the Avatar screamed, entering the Avatar State for a brief moment. A ring of fire blazed around them for a few seconds. Then pure silence.
An outbreak of wolf-like cries emerged from the bay moments later. Toko quickly blew the horn for alarming the Northern Army to assemble. But only a few men showed up, much to Toko's dismay. Toko grabbed one of the men by their shoulders and shook them.
"Where are the rest of the men? Where is Mokolo!?" Toko screamed.
"Chief Toko, I'm right here," Mokolo replied, appearing out of no where.
"General Mokolo, where are your men? I fear the revolution is upon us!" Mokolo looked down.
"Those lights are my men."
"Oh no," Toko gasped. His eyes glared at the lights that continued to glow brighter and brighter.
"They've got the army on their side," Mokolo finished.
Toko, Mokolo and Avatar Jong-Mu watched as an elite group of water benders marched up to the Palace.
For the collective works of the author, go here.