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|The Legend of the Skeleton Ship|
Two: The Oceans
Book Two: The Oceans
The Legend of the Skeleton Ship
"The story came to my village not too long before the illness afflicted my village. It spread through my town like wildfire. There was even a play based on the legend. It was called The Legend of the Skeleton Ship."
"Sounds scary," Kyla replied, "go ahead and tell it." She was teaching Kilo a healing motion. Kilo wanted to be prepared for any possible future attacks.
"Okay, I'm not sure I remember all of it. But here goes."
Lily began to tell the story of the legend that swept her town. Her mother told it to her—leaving Lily to hesitate for a few moments before proceeding. She missed her mother, but didn't want to let anyone else know that.
The legend told of ships the scoured the southern hemisphere at dusk. Many sightings were just of the ship, but few lucky souls saw more. Some unlucky souls saw all.
The ships were never the same except a few small details. The flag always had three stripes of blood on it. And more disturbingly, on board, under the mist that almost always surrounded it—there were rooms filled with skeletons and dead bodies. The walls are covered in blood and the floors are filled with bones. Some people think it's the spirits, collecting souls to bring to the Spirit World. Others believe it to be just a hoax. Some think it's a serial killer.
"It's believed that it travels around kidnapping people."
"Where would one find it?" Kilo asked.
"Around the Fire Nation is the only place I've ever heard of the tale," Lily replied.
"Well if you ever get stolen Kyla, I promise to save you," Kilo said randomly.
"Oh, well thanks," Kyla replied, blushing.
"Excuse me," Lily announced and quickly left. They reminded her too much of her mother and sister, having been so involved in the events that took place under the eclipse. Lily knew her heart was tearing up inside, but she continued to distract herself by telling the legend to other members on the ship. She didn't want any silence that would allow herself to think of her fallen family.
Dakko stood in the shadows of the ship, watching as other members of the tribe gathered around Lily. He began talking to himself out loud, visibly angry at what he perceived to be going on.
"Lily. She's probably talking about what happened in the tower. Talking about me. How I killed that Firebender. I did it to protect them! They think I'm evil. I know it. I can tell. Well, I'll show them evil."
Dakko retreated from the lower decks and found a hawk with a message tied to its leg. Dakko quickly went to it and retrieved the message. It was for Mokolo. Dakko read it and became astounded at the knowledge he had just learned.
"Perhaps I don't have to be evil. Maybe it's not too late. If I stop this myself, I'll be a hero!" Dakko said aloud to himself. He tore the paper in half, throwing one part of it overboard into the sea.
After the paper disappeared, Dakko looked up and noticed his ship was headed for an iceberg. Dakko quickly began bending to destroy the iceberg. He began cutting away at the top. He noticed a hole in the iceberg that began to fill with water. He cut open the iceberg more and found the hole was larger. The water began filling the iceberg feverishly.
"What are you doing?" Mokolo shouted at him. He quickly froze the top of the iceberg, closing the hole. He turned around to Dakko and grabbed him by both arms.
"It's an iceberg. We're going to crash!"
"No! You idiot! It's a ship. We've started making ice ships again to make it less crowded for the airbenders! You can't do anything. Every time you try and help you're really destroying something. Do yourself a favor and always wait for orders." Mokolo let go of him and walked away.
"Wait!" Dakko shouted. He strode to Mokolo and handed him what was left of the letter.
"What is this?"
"I found it for you on the ship. It wasn't intact when I came upon it though," Dakko lied.
Mokolo read what was left of the letter:
of the Earth Avatar.
Her heritage does not
belong to the real
Green Spirit. Beware.
I will see you soon
"You kept this from me?" Mokolo asked.
"I just found it, I swear!"
"Stay out of sight," Mokolo ordered and walked away.
He was alone, sitting near the edge of the ship with his eyes closed. She didn't know what to say but Lily decided to sit next to Omu anyhow. Omu opened his eyes and gave a slight smile to her. Lily tried to do the same, but couldn't.
"Do you know how long until we reach the South Pole?" Omu asked.
"Under a month I believe," Lily replied.
"Do you plan on living there forever? Or do you think you'll go back to your homeland?"
"I'm...I'm not sure. I don't really have a family to go to."
"But you'd have your home land. It'd be familiar at least," Omu reasoned.
"A culture that reminds me of everything I used to do with my family that I now can't. No thanks."
"I'm sorry about your family. That's awful what happened. For the world. For you."
"I miss them. I know I do. But every time I begin to think of them I stop. I can't. It hurts too much. I just want to forget. I think I want to be in the most opposite place of anything familiar with my family. To me that screams the South Pole."
"I don't want to stay. The tribe reminds me of everyone I lost. Especially Jong-Mu. He was my guide and he died. He just stopped existing. Now I'm just floating on this ship with people I don't know," Omu disclosed.
"You know me," Lily protested.
"Thanks," Omu smiled.
Lily looked out over the edge of the railing at the ocean. They were coming on to the next island in the Southern Galapagos. Tears began rolling down her face. She could only think of the last time her family was together, they were all at the beach. She took a deep breath and cut off the thought by asking Omu if he had heard of the legend she had been telling.
"Mokolo, can we talk?" Dakko asked.
Mokolo didn't answer, he continued looking at his maps, planning the final leg of their route.
"Please, I don't want to do anything wrong ever again."
Mokolo continued to ignore him. He honestly had nothing to say.
"Fine, I'll be in my room," Dakko said and walked out of his office onto the upper deck. He noticed Kyla looking out over the ocean alone and headed over to her.
"Oh, it's you," Kyla replied.
"I understand I'm not well liked around here. I get it, okay?" Dakko stated angrily.
"You don't exactly have the best track record."
"I don't have the best luck either."
"Bad luck or bad choices?" Kyla retorted.
Dakko looked out at the nearby island. It was covered in mountains. Near the beaches were a large amount of caves.
"Look at those. Who do you think lives there?"
"Or people! Let's explore!" Dakko suggested. "We'll be docking on the island anyhow!"
"What makes you think I would go anywhere with you?" Kyla commented.
"Two reasons. Look there!" Dakko pointed her to one of the caves. It had a river that let out to the ocean. A small ship was heading inside. It had a flag with three red stripes on it.
"Is that the ship?"
"Yup, and this is your brush," Dakko hastened to add. He had taken it off her while distracting her with the ships.
"Hey give that back!"
"You'll have to catch me!" Dakko created a small boat of ice and jumped in it. He then began swinging his arms in a circle to motor the boat into the cave. Kyla did the same and followed him in.
"Are you sure?" Mokolo asked.
"Yes. They raced off a while ago and haven't returned," Lily replied.
"Kilo, come with me. Lily, stay here," Mokolo ordered and made an ice boat for Kilo and him to travel in. They quickly bended the ship to the shore and parked it near the melting boats Kyla and Dakko had arrived in.
"They must've went into the caves. We'll have to check them all," Kilo said.
"Let's try this one first," Mokolo suggested and pointed to the one to the left of the one that contained the river.
Mokolo took out a spark rock and was able to make a torch. He led Kilo inside. The further they went in, the more cave drawings appeared.
"What do you think they mean?" Kilo asked.
"No clue. They must have been painted on with berries."
"No, it's blood," Kilo said as he gazed at the texture of the drawings.
"I think this cave is flooded too," Mokolo added.
"With more blood," Kilo pointed out. Mokolo moved the torch closer to the floor of the cave and noticed it was filled with blood.
"I think we should go."
"Yeah me too!" Kilo agreed and they began to run back. The cave started to rumble and rocks began falling at the entrance. Kilo was just able to make it out. Mokolo's leg was crushed by a rock.
"Help!" a voiced called out from the cave beside them.
"Go!" Mokolo shouted. "I can take care of myself!"
Kilo, hesitated, then decided to stop and help. He pushed the rock off his leg and healed it as best he could.
"This won't heal you completely, but it will give me enough time to get Kyla here so she can heal you. I'll be right back, I promise," Kilo pledged and ran off into the nearby cave.
They abandoned their ice boats outside of the cave and walked alongside the river. Kyla was astonished at the small ship they were heading towards. They quickly climbed aboard, nervous of what they were going to see.
"Can I at least have my brush back?" Kyla asked.
"In a second. Let's see what's inside!" Dakko stated and ran to the door that led to the hull of the ship. He opened it and the two Waterbenders went inside. They stepped down the stairs, carefully waiting for what they would see.
The legends were true. Kyla gasped at the blood covered walls, the bones on the floor, and the skeletons and bodies shackled to the walls.
"Quiet!" Dakko whispered.
"Let's get out of here!" Kyla insisted.
A large thumping noise began. It grew louder and louder. The door at the far end of the room began opening. Decomposing bodies were moving towards them. Dakko quickly turned around and ran up the stairs. Kyla followed him. The door was locked, however.
"Look if we don't get out of this, you need to give this to Mokolo!" Dakko shouted and handed her a piece of paper.
"What is this?" Kyla asked. Dakko then kicked the door open.
"Just go!" Dakko shouted and Kyla ran out. She ran off the ship as quickly as she could. She turned back and noticed Dakko wasn't following her. She darted back up the ramp onto the ship and found the door was closed. She tried opening it but it was locked once again.
Kilo found Kyla running off the ship screaming for help. She had to catch her breath before she could talk to Kilo.
"What's wrong?" Kilo asked again and again.
"Dakko went into the ship and there was blood everywhere and bones all over the place. He didn't make it out!"
"Come on!" Kilo exclaimed and grabbed her hand. He pulled Kyla back on board the ship and up to the locked door. It opened for Kilo instantly.
"How did you do that?" Kyla asked. Suddenly a body came running towards them.
"Run!" Kilo shouted and grabbed Kyla's hand again. They sprinted off the ship. "Grab some water!"
Kyla let water fly up onto her and enshroud her arms. "Should I attack?"
"No, I need you to heal Mokolo." Kilo led her to Mokolo and she instantly started healing his leg. Then Kilo noticed the body heading towards them. "It's coming closer!"
Spears of ice began flying at them.
"I've got this," Mokolo mumbled in pain. He lifted one arm and swiped it from right to left. A wave from the river was created and it swept the body back into the cave.
"Stop moving!" Kyla shouted.
"Was that Dakko?" Kilo asked.
"I think he's snapped. I've seen it coming for a long time. He's got no good left in him," Mokolo answered.
"He did want to give this to you," Kyla interrupted. She handed Mokolo the letter. Kilo and him both read it at the same time:
Hello my love,
I am on your tail.
I will be there soon.
Beware of Shofini.
She is not dead.
She works for someone.
She is not the daughter
"Do you think it's true?" Kilo asked.
"I didn't think she was dead. But a spy. I think we're in trouble if it is true. Let's hope we don't come across her again. At least Dakko was good enough to give this up," Mokolo said to Kilo. "But if that's the case, why would he attack us?"
The trio headed back to the ship after Kyla finished healing Mokolo. From the cliffs further up on the mountain, Shofini watched them create ice boats. She had finally caught up to them.
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