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|One or the Other|
One: The North
Book One: The North
One or the Other
~ Canal by the Palace ~
Wato woke up, terrified at the sight before him. His father was impaled with an icicle; his mother trapped underneath a pile of ice. Wato did his best to bend the ice off his mother, but was surprisingly having some difficulty.
"Wato, Wato save your mother," his father gasped.
"Dad, your chest," Wato pointed at the icicle in his chest. His father looked down and passed out.
Wato didn't know what to do, he didn't know how he could help. He started by going over to his mother and healing as many wounds as he could see. It seemed like the bleeding wouldn't stop.
"You can heal?" Jong-Mu asked, stunned that a boy knew how to heal.
"Avatar, please help. My parents are dying," Wato was in tears and shouting through his pain. The Avatar looked at the two adults on the ground.
"I—I can't heal. I never learned how to," Jong-Mu admitted. He took a step back out of fear.
"Tell me what to do then!" Wato was desperate for help. The Avatar looked at the two injured benders. It was clear they were both dying without any healing. Whoever got help second would most likely die.
"Pick one. You just have to pick one," the Avatar whispered.
"Pick one? How do I choose between my parents!?" the little boy screamed.
"You don't have much time. Just pick. I can lift the ice off your mother or pull the icicle out of your father. Choose."
Wato frowned and bit his lower lip. How could he choose? The Avatar stepped in, and bent the ice away from his mother and the icicle out of his father.
Wato reached his hands out to both of them. He tried healing them but his power was significantly weakened as it was divided. He looked at his father, the large icicle left a gaping hole. His mother was still bleeding profusely.
Wato took his hand away from his mother, a drop of water fell from his eye, and he started healing his father.
"I'm so sorry mom," he said while looking at his dying mother. The Avatar tried his best to copy Wato's movements to heal his mother. It didn't work. Kaytonna passed before Wato was finished with his father.
Wato could barely control his crying, weakening his healing.
"Focus!" the Avatar urged him.
"Please cover her. I can't help but want to look," Wato yelped. Jong-Mu cover her with a light layer of snow. Wato looked where his mother was. Just a pile of snow. "It's just a pile of snow," he told himself repeatedly. He continued trying to heal his father, but his condition wasn't changing.
~ Chief's Palace ~
Most of the city had stopped fighting, and was gathering around to see the spar of Toko and Mokolo. It was this battle that would decide the fate of the nation; freedom versus tradition in the form of war.
As the two began shooting water at each other, something strange was beginning to happen. The canals were turning a dark black, as was the ocean. Their streams of water suddenly flew towards civilians. They tried again, only to hit two more citizens. Toko and Mokolo gave each other stern looks as they stared into each other's eyes.
Slowly the other citizens tried to bend the water. The weaker the bender, the less control they had over the water. The entire city was losing its control of the water.
The Spirit Whatali came from above the Palace. It instantly hit Toko and knocked him back to the doors of the Palace. The citizens all felt a common sense of fear. Their bending was out of control and now they were being attacked by a spirit. They were defenseless. Whatali began attacking the citizens who were fleeing from the Palace.
Kyla and Kilo couldn't understand why everyone was running in the opposite direction of them. They quickly made their way to the top of the Palace stairs to find Toko lying on the ground.
"Chief! Are you okay?" Kilo asked. "What's happening here?" Toko looked at Kilo, not even attempting to get up.
"I failed. There's a spirit here, attacking us. No one can bend water. We're defenseless. For the first time in my life, I don't know what to do next."
"No waterbending?" Kyla asked and tried streaming some water. It started out well, but ended up hitting the palace out of her control. "What's going on? Why can't we control it!?"
"Oh no. Someone's stolen the Ocean spirit," Toko gasped. He stayed on the ground, frozen in depression. Whatali returned to the Palace as soon as Toko spoke the word 'ocean.'
"What do we do?" Kilo asked, scared to death. He looked over at Kyla, who was standing with her eyes closed. "We can't just stand here! Let's go!"
Kyla turned around, then swept her hands down to the ground and up to the sky. A wave of pillars streamed towards the spirit. Kilo stood back in amazement. A pillar hit the spirit, knocking it up in the air and towards the Oasis.
"How are you doing that?" Kilo shouted.
"I have no idea," Kyla said softly, amazed and scared by her power. "When we were in the Spirit World looking for you, Palokk did some waterbending and I had never seen moves like he performed. I just tried one and it worked."
The Avatar rushed to the Oasis. Blasting fire stream after fire stream, hoping to get the Spirit to retreat. The spirit was harmed by the attacks, but was ready to fight back. The spirit's eyes glowed and suddenly Avatar Jong-Mu couldn't control his body. He was being lifted into the air by the spirit.
"What's...happening?" he struggled to say. His body felt like it was being crushed—and then he went into the Avatar State. He easily broke out of the 'spell' the spirit had placed on him. The Avatar created a radius of fire, then let it flow to the spirit and engulf it. The spirit was in a shell of flames. The Avatar then pushed the ball of fire into the outer waters near the Oasis. The Oasis was shrouded by steam.
Then the steam took the form of Palokk for a brief moment. He gave Jong-Mu a vision of Dakko walking into a hut with a ball of ice. The steam evaporated revealing the Oasis. Jong-Mu realized what was in the ball of ice and rushed off to find the man with the Ocean spirit.
~ Koko's Hut ~
"I have something to show you!" Dakko shouted as he walked into Koko's home.
"Dakko? What are you doing here! I told you I never wanted to see you again!" Koko screamed.
"You must see this!" he shouted again. Koko walked to the front door and saw the ball of ice.
"It's just ice. Now will you please leave my husband will be returning any second now."
"Husband?" Dakko asked in disbelief. He stared down at the fish in the ice. "You just got engaged. Why are you married all ready?"
"As soon as the war stopped we were so scared of the Spirit that we decided to get married in case... in case something bad happened. Now please leave."
Dakko turned around, he had never felt such a mixture of sadness and anger before. His feelings quickly evaporated when he saw the Avatar right in front of him.
"Jong-Mu! What are you doing here?" With that question the Avatar immediately entered the Avatar State once again.
"Dakko! You have stolen a sacred spirit. The ocean waters are out of control. You must return the spirit NOW!" he and his previous lives bellowed.
Dakko only felt fear now. He knew of Jong-Mu's powers and his tendency to finish situations with immediate force.
Jong-Mu slowly walked to Dakko and took the ball of ice from him, returning it to the Spirit Oasis. Dakko was left stranded. Having lost everything, he had no idea where to go or what to do. So he stood in the same spot, frozen in emptiness.
~ Chief's Palace ~
Toko stood up in front of his people, given a helping hand by Mokolo. The city cheered. Peace had finally flooded the city. The waters turned blue and calmed down.
"Today has been an awful day in our history. But with the Avatar's help we have united and tomorrow we will begin reconstructing our once great city. It won't be an easy road, but together we can rebuild and live in peace finally!" Toko shouted to the crowd. They all applauded.
"You're wrong," Jong-Mu interjected. He had just come from the Spirit Oasis.
"What?" Toko asked. "We're all okay. We're together. This city, our citizens have all faced a great danger today, and we come together to grieve. All will be well."
"No. You all united under the fear of the spirit. But the spirit is gone now. Your issues are still here. When the city is rebuilt, you will face the same problems that caused your war in the first place. Honestly, I'm not sure anything can be done." Jong-Mu started walking down the Palace stairs.
"Wait!" Kyla yelled from out in the crowd. "Go Kilo, tell them." She smiled and pushed him to the base of the stairs. "Go!" she whispered and pushed him again. He hesitantly walked up the stairs of the Palace.
"What is it young citizen?" Toko asked.
"It's about your journey in the Spirit World, isn't it?" Mokolo interrupted.
"Yes. I was taken into the Spirit World. And the previous Avatar showed me there's a South pole. And then I had a vision of a beautiful city. I think it's the answer to our problem. This city has two different ideals of what we should be. I think our only choice is to split up and build a city in the South Pole. I think that's our only solution."
Toko stared at the bender. How could he not have known of another land of snow and ice at the other side of the world? Suddenly Toko knew what he would do next.
"Kilo, if what you're saying is true, I think you're right," Toko said loudly. "Mokolo, Jong-Mu if you will, please, let's have a discussion in the temple." Toko smiled and they proceeded into the partially destroyed building.
Kilo was left on the stairs, feeling as if his duty was all ready over. Kyla sprinted up the steps to meet him.
"You did it!" she nearly screamed.
"Yeah. I guess I just thought... whatever. I'm tired, I think I'm going to go home—if it's still there." Kilo turned around, leaving Kyla behind.
~ Yinlo's Home ~
"Taizo, you've returned." Melora was sitting on the couch.
"I failed. I didn't get the moon spirit."
"Yinlo won't be happy. But it doesn't matter."
"It doesn't?" Taizo asked.
"No. Taizo may I ask you something while we wait for Yinlo?" Melora asked as she picked up a cup of tea.
"Why did you leave your Air Temple?" Melora quickly inquired. Taizo was taken aback by this. His past was not something he liked to bring up, but something about her tone made him answer.
"I was a strong airbender for my age. Met my wife when I was quite young. She was impressed by my skills. We had a child and he had so much raw talent like I had. One day, I thought I was teaching my son a simple airbending move. My wife was watching. Next thing I know they're both flying over the edge and... I never saw my son again. I couldn't save both of them. I took off, I didn't even say goodbye to my wife. I had killed our only son. Since then I have just been traveling the world, looking for somewhere to bear my guilt until I die."
Melora smiled. She heard exactly what she needed to hear.
"We're done here. The water nation has suffered enough. Yinlo believes the water nation has given itself the revenge he wished to do. Especially with the spirit attack. We must move on to our next plan. We will be leaving here tomorrow morning."
"What's our next plan?"
"Yinlo will tell you in the morning. For now go get some rest."
"What about the airbending move? Will I still be taught it?"
"That's up to Yinlo. Go get some rest—NOW." With that, Taizo exited.
Taizo headed back to his home, pondering his past. His son had flown over the edge, along with his wife. He quickly grabbed his glider and flew down. His wife and son were falling. He reached out for his wife's hand and returned her to safety. Then he went back down to save his son but it was too late. He had landed on jagged rocks. When Taizo saw the body, the amount of blood made him vomit. His own son was barely recognizable. He took off, never to see his wife again.
~ Mokolo's Mansion ~
Mokolo returned to his home. There he found his lover, sitting on floor, looking nervous.
"Are you okay?"
"Mokolo there's something I should tell you."
"Wait, before you do. Can we just rejoice in the fact that not only are we alive, but soon we'll be in a city tolerant of us!" Sokka didn't look at Mokolo. He continued to stare at the floor.
"No, we won't," Sokka softly stated.
"What? What do you mean?"
"Mokolo, if our tribe splits up... I have a duty to stay with my wife."
"No you don't. You don't have to!"
"I wasn't lucky like you, okay? My wife didn't just vanish one day. I have a duty to be with her."
"Do you even love her?" Mokolo asked. Sokka felt a pain in his chest; tears were building up.
"I'm staying with my wife, Mokolo. Maybe one day we can be together but not now."
"I should be going."
"Sokka please! I love you. Don't go. Don't go. I need you!" Mokolo shouted as he walked out of his mansion. Mokolo fell to his knees. He'd rather experience the war all over again then feel the pain that was ripping through his chest. He couldn't help but cry, something he rarely did.
Suddenly there was a knock at the door. Mokolo rushed to the door happily. He rubbed the tears off his face and opened the door.
"Hi," Dakko said.
"What are you doing here? You stole the Ocean spirit! You are the worst soldier I've ever met!" Mokolo screamed and swirled water around Dakko; leaving only his head free when he turned it into ice. Dakko was certain this would be his end—and to an extent, he didn't mind.
Mokolo was ready to blow a final strike, but caught his reflection in the ice. He fell to his knees once again and the ice melted. Dakko quickly ran out of the Mansion. Mokolo's emotions were so intense, he was pulling snow off the tops of the Western Cliff and turning it into water. He controlled the weather over his house for over an hour. It rained as Mokolo's heart melted away.
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