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|Another Sun Rises|
Two: The Oceans
Book Two: The Oceans
Another Sun Rises
The sun rose slowly over the mountains flooding the valley with a golden light. Senlin village, struck with grief, was full of sleeping citizens and travelers. A soft wind blew ripples in the fields of flowers. The creatures in the forests were asleep still. All was quiet. The world was full of silence in the days after Jong-Mu's murder. The Green Spirit had vanished from the face of the Earth Kingdom.
Shofini clung to Gwali, hoping it would keep her connected to Jong-Mu. Her mind kept repeating the same thought: he can't be dead. Right on cue, the Green Spirit had appeared out of thin air. Shofini caught the image of him out of the corner of her eye. Her head quickly darted in the direction of the Spirit but found no one to be there. Shofini dismissed this as her grieving mind playing tricks on her.
Then it happened again. Out of the corner of her eye she saw the all too familiar outline of the Green Spirit. Except he wasn't there once she looked. Her bottom lip trembled as she fought back tears. She was suddenly very angry at her mind for the hallucinations. It was torture. Unless, he was alive. Then it was hope.
But it hurt too much to hope, so she was left with anger. Her eyes closed and the waterfall of rocks kept pouring down infinitely in her mind. He can't be dead. Smash! His body was crushed and drowned. And it was her fault. She distracted him by revealing her identity. The rocks around her began to shake. Her thoughts shifted to the Airbenders that caused this.
Instead of returning with the ships after the events of Serpent's Pass, Shofini and Gwali dug underground. They tunneled underneath the Earth as they tracked Yinlo. For the past few weeks he had been hiding out at the top of a tall mountain in a cave. Shofini was just waiting for the right moment to attack.
"Do you want to come along?" a voice called out from out of the blue.
"Mokolo. Hello. I think that I have something to do here. I was really only traveling with you guys because of the Avatar. And now he's gone."
"You don't have to be alone," Mokolo replied.
"I have Gwali," Shofini stated. Mokolo bowed and turned back to the docks. Shofini looked at the Badgermole, saddened by its inability to see. Shofini couldn't imagine earthbending without seeing the earth.
The badgermole burrowed into the ground. Shofini jumped in after her. She had her own mission today.
Once they reached the top of the mountain Yinlo presided in, they cut small holes out of the wall to spy on the airbender.
He was quiet, drinking tea, and sitting on the ground. He was also crying. Guilty. Shofini burst through the wall.
"Who knew the Avatar had a daughter," Yinlo scoffed at the interruption of his tea time.
"Who knew the Avatar had an assassin."
"My wife was murdered."
"I don't care."
"Someone in the water nation killed my wife and our unborn child."
"Enough with the games right now!"
"This isn't a game!" Yinlo bellowed. "It's over. IM done."
Give me one reason I shouldn't kill you." Shofini rose a giant boulder from the ground.
"Two words," Yinlo whispered. "Green Spirit."
It was all blank. His mind was an endless stream of white noise, blocking out any thoughts of the past. His life up to this point had been a disaster. From his failed capture of the spirits to the loss of his beloved—he was a failure.
"As soon as I plan our route we can gather the rest of the tribe. We'll set sail as soon as possible. We have the moon tonight to guide us," Mokolo stated as he studied the maps of the known world. Much of the South had not been explored and drawn on a map yet.
"Are we going to follow the coast line?" Dakko asked.
"We'll move faster if we're out at open sea. We just have to figure out the winds to help push the sails. We'll get there much faster if we do."
"We won't have enough supplies to last the whole time out at sea. We can only eat so much raw fish."
"We'll take periodical stops to the shore."
"Or we take one stop," Shofini stated as she walked in the room.
"What are you doing here?" Dakko interrogated.
"Well I just came back from mourning. Surprised I didn't see you there," she retorted with a hint of disdain in her voice. Dakko looked down immediately. "What was her name? Kiki?"
"Shofini, what did you mean one stop?" Mokolo interrupted.
"You need a fire, why not just pick up some Firebenders? Instead of taking all those stops along the Earth nation that will slow you down, just get some Firebenders to come along."
"I know," Shofini agreed.
"So we head directly West to the Fire Nation. Then we head south and use the major ocean currents to help us get there faster. Dakko, go round up the tribe. We leave immediately. Shofini, we could use an earthbender if you'd like to come along."
"I have nowhere else to be." Shofini smiled.
"Then come with me. You can take your father's place."
"I'd be honored to." They headed off to their ship. Dakko was left behind in silence, fearing his confrontation with the Water Tribe. He decided it was best to ask for help.
"We're leaving already?" Kyla asked.
"Yes. We're heading to the Fire Nation and then southwards."
"Why the Fire Nation?"
"To help cook our food we're taking some Firebenders. Now, tell the rest of the tribe. I have to go help Mokolo."
"Like anyone would want your help."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"Last time you 'helped' one of us you killed one of us," Kyla angrily exclaimed. A flash of the bloody corpse of Koko flashed through Dakko's mind. He quickly squinted he face together and tried to block it out again.
"Just tell the others; I have to go!" Dakko shouted as he ran away trying to stop the tears from falling.
Kyla made her way to the grieving tribe. She could hear them singing songs of grief. The villagers of Senlin had joined them. The ones who didn't sing were silent on their knees, thinking of their fallen Avatar. She slowly stepped to the middle of the group and announced the news. It was time to move forward.
As the waterbenders pushed their ships through the waters out into the open sea, Shofini watched Omu from across the ship. He was the last to talk to her father. She was certain he knew something about the Green Spirit. She waited until they were alone to approach him.
"Hi, Omu," she said softly.
"Oh, hello Shofini. How are you?"
"Time doesn't move quickly enough."
"I know what you mean. He was my hero and just gone. He's just gone. I hate it. I had so much to learn from him."
"He was great."
"I didn't know you were his daughter."
"It's not something I like to brag about. Listen, you talked to him before his death. May I ask what it was about?"
"It was nothing important."
"Just tell me."
"No, it was really nothing. He told me to be brave and then... oh. He did tell me of two prophecies. One was of his death. I didn't believe him at the time."
"What was the other?"
"A simple message. I don't know if I should tell you."
"Please tell me! I'll give you anything!" Shofini begged.
"Anything? What about something of the Avatars!" Omu was ecstatic. He wanted to be Jong-Mu.
"Fine! Fine! Now tell me!"
"It was just a small message. Pretty vague. He told me that one of us would give birth to a legend," Omu replied.
Shofini turned away from Omu in disgust. She was hoping for something more.
"Hey, you still owe me something of Jong-Mu's!" Shofini wasn't listening. She was looking at the shrinking land in the distance. Somewhere there was the Green Spirit on the run. She only hoped the Green Spirit would be seen again soon.
A mist shrouded the ships in the middle of the day. The Waterbenders tried to push it away to no avail. Mokolo tried to bend the water but found he could not. He headed to the mast of the ship to see what was the cause of this. He could see nothing that would cause this.
Dakko headed to the bow of the ship. He wasn't sure what was causing the mist either, but he could sense a spirit was coming. Right on cue, a large wave of water turned a ship over, sinking it.
"What happened?" Mokolo shouted at Dakko.
"Sir, a ship just sank."
"How is that possible?" Mokolo asked. Dakko started helping the survivors of the sunken ship on to his own. Suddenly he was able to waterbend again.
"What happened? How did your ship go down?"
"There were huge cracks. We couldn't do anything about it! Wait, did you hear that?" the waterbender asked Dakko. Dakko looked over the side of the ship and saw a large crack forming in the hull.
"Give it back!" a loud voice called out to the Tribe. "I am a spirit of the water. You shall obey!" A large wave rose above Dakko's ship.
"Everybody abandon ship!" Mokolo screamed. Dakko dove into the water and swam underneath the wave. He surfaced in front of the water spirit. He could only remember the spirit as being beautiful. Dakko felt nauseous as he began attacking the spirit.
"You can't hurt us!" Dakko screamed and shot icicles at the spirit. None hit it.
"I am not responsible for her death," the spirit calmly said. Dakko's eyes shot open. "The water is not responsible for Koko." She seemed all knowing.
"How did you know?" Dakko was confused. It was like his mind was being read.
"This is my warning. Give it back!" the spirit and the mist instantly disappeared. Dakko and the other survivors of the sunken ships climbed aboard the others. The attack came and left too quickly for any of the tribe to fully wrap their heads around the situation.
They quickly arrived at the Fire Nation. They landed at some abandoned docks and set up camp for the night. The grieving songs continued.
"Seems like we can't catch a break," Shofini said as she sat down next to Kyla on the docks.
"You'd think someone doesn't want us to go down there."
"I didn't even get a chance to tell you—I'm so sorry for your loss. I had no idea the Avatar even had a daughter," Kyla told her.
"Not many people did. I miss him. I just got to meet him and I miss him so much. I don't even know what I'm doing here. Am I trying to replace my father? I feel like I'm doing this just so I can remain close to my dad but... am I really any closer?"
"I miss him too. He was brilliant. He was the whole reason I came on this trip. He made me question myself like no one ever had in the past. And now I'm doing these impossible things... I just wish he was here to help me sort it out."
"Maybe he is still here."
"Well a part of him is thanks to the reincarnation cycle. But the new Avatar will be younger than me and so different. I'll be a no one."
"If he's really dead."
"He was pummeled to death by stones. We all saw it. He's dead."
"Oh yes. The Earthbender was killed by Earth," Shofini laughed and walked away. Kyla pressed her eyebrows together, wondering if there was any truth to what she had said. Deciding it wasn't possible; she stood up and faced the mountain on the island. For a brief second, she swore she saw the Green Spirit running.
"Dakko, we need to talk." Mokolo stepped over to him. Dakko was watching the ocean from the deck of one of the ships.
"We have reason to believe that our ships were tampered with."
"Do you think I did it?" Dakko quickly became defensive.
"You have a past that isn't too clean!" Mokolo yelled. He took a deep breath. "We just need an alibi. What were you doing on the ship before the attack?"
"I can't say."
"I just can't yet. But you have to believe me—I didn't mess with the ships. Why would I mess with the ship I was on? All of my stuff was ruined!" Dakko argued. Mokolo didn't look satisfied but left regardless. Dakko sank his head. Everything seemed to be falling to pieces.
"I believe you."
"I know you didn't mess with the ships. I saw you. You were crying about someone named Koko. Did she die in the attack?"
"Such straightforward talk from a little boy," Dakko replied.
"There was a woman. I couldn't save her. She was pregnant and she died right in front of me."
"I'm so sorry. But there's not much you could have done."
"I'm a healer. My parents taught me to heal. And I couldn't heal her. I just want to stop, ya know? I feel like I can't even move. Everyone keeps dying and for what? I just want everyone to stop," Wato whimpered. He began crying.
"You can't just stop. The sun will keep rising no matter who dies."
"Some days I wish it wouldn't. I wish the sun would just disappear."
"I'd like to see the day the sun disappears," Dakko joked. "Well I'm going to get some rest. I'll see you around." He quickly went down into a lower level of their ship. He had rescued something from the wreckage earlier before boarding the rescue and wanted to make sure it was safe.
Dakko stepped forward to the glowing box. He was mesmerized. He was just about to open it when a scream came from the shore. He quickly turned around and scurried out of the ship. Dakko sprinted off the ship. He jumped over the water and sprang his hands into the air. A wave of water carried him to the shore. In the distance, a young man was running at the tribe.
"HELP!" the man screamed. "HELP!"
Dakko and Mokolo were the first to meet the man and question what was wrong. The Fire Nation Citizen simply replied:
"My village is taken over by the living dead!"
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