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Three: The South
Book Three: The South
8 YEARS AGO
Kyla scanned the horizon for any sign of life. Everything was quiet, still, and eerie. Her feet shuffled through the deep snow as she headed toward the structure in the distance. It seemed to have a tower attached to the building, a very tall one at that.
"I think it's safe."
"Are you sure?" Kilo asked, hiding behind some boulders twenty feet back.
"Yes, now come on!" Kyla urged and raced ahead without Kilo.
Since the recent attacks, Kilo had been personally going on missions to try and find the location of their settlement. They hadn't found anything in their search. It seemed like they were the only ones there for miles.
This time they decided to travel east across the bay from their settlement. They saw the building from the sea, and decided to sail away from it, then approach on land.
Upon approaching the structure it became clear it was a lighthouse. It seemed to be made of red glass. Kyla ran up to the building, barely giving her enough time to stop before hitting the wall. She stopped herself at the sight of how red the building was. She placed her pointer finger onto it and felt the cold pierce her. It was red ice.
"Kilo, you need to see this!" she shouted as he finally caught up. He caught his breath and looked at the ice.
"Is that ice?"
"Yes but it's red. Why's it red?"
"Kyla, I think it's blood," he said as he pressed his hand to the ice and tried melting it. Parts of it did, the rest came pouring out uncontrollably in a red river.
"Who would make an entire building out of frozen water and blood?" Kyla questioned and began investigating all sides of the building.
"Someone sick. Maybe someone who hangs a man's body on a gate, covered in his own blood."
Kyla looked down in silence, thinking of the last time she saw Mokolo. He was buried out at sea, as was tradition. Kyla read the eulogy, every word a beating blow. Who did this and why? And where was Sokka?
"No, it's fine. Come on, let's go inside," Kyla suggested and went into the lighthouse.
They looked around the room, the light of the moon flooding the walls. The light touched shelves of scrolls and splashed on a red sculpture of a large figure. The scrolls were written with blood that had long dried. The sculpture had a deep red core of blood. It was a tall figure with a jumbled face. There was a crescent moon on the top of its head.
"Look at it!" Kyla stated as she inspected it, circling it a few times.
Kilo looked through the scrolls, pulling out ones at random. He opened a few, trying to see if there was anything of significance on them. Most of them were about fishing. One had a picture of a lake, another of Avatar Palokk.
"Kyla, look at this."
She walked over to him and peered at the scroll. The Avatar was on a lake, his hand clenched and reaching into the distance at some mountains.
"Avatar Palokk. Kilo, he was here before. He knew about this place. Why did he send you here? Us here?"
"I'm—I'm not sure."
"Look at this one!" Kyla said as she picked up a scroll from the ground. "It's about the lighthouse."
Kyla showed Kilo the scroll. It was a large picture of the lighthouse and the moon. The moon was full, and when it reached the horizon of the sky, it's reflected light would bounce off the tower where a piece of ice lay. This would result in a bright light pattern.
"Let's come back tomorrow during the full moon! I want to see this!"
"Okay," Kilo agreed without protest. Kyla smiled at him but he just looked towards the statue.
Kyla looked down back at the scroll. She didn't know what to do or say. He was visibly sore from her rejection. She studied the scroll a bit longer before putting it back. Kilo finally looked up and suggested they leave for the night.
It was eerie to be back here. It had been eight years since she and Kilo had last been here, almost taken by the Bloodbenders. The Lighthouse was still being used, there were plenty of footprints around.
Kyla created a light mist just to be sure she wouldn't be seen. She ran through it and burst through the wall of the lighthouse by momentarily turning the ice into water that would flow around her before it changed back to the red ice.
She scanned the room. Inside the lighthouse nothing had really changed. There was still the monument to their leader and a wall full of scrolls. Kyla walked over to one and picked it up. It was about the moon and ocean spirits.
The scroll talked of their decision to become mortal and teach humans the special gift of Waterbending. But the spirits were not foolish; they created a defense mechanism in order to cheat death.
Kyla picked up another scroll. It was a map of the South Pole. Kyla quickly studied the map, discovering a forest next to a lake. She placed the scrolls in her bag and then turned around to look at the lighthouse. It was almost too quiet.
Kyla headed up the stairs of red ice to the top of the light house and looked out at sea. There were no ships in sight. She went over to the ice sculpture and looked up at the full moon. She tried positioning it to reflect properly. Suddenly a pattern of bright colors appeared out in the ocean. It was in the shape of a lotus flower and was mostly bright red.
8 YEARS AGO
The full moon was hanging in the dark sky over the small settlement in the South Pole. The entire village was silent. The guards on the wall stayed hidden in the walls of the snow, watching for any incoming intruders.
Lily was lying in her bed next to a small fire. She liked to keep one running all the time. The smoke rose up through the hole in her roof, aiming for the moon. Her eyes wouldn't close. She kept thinking about the recent kidnappings. Every full moon someone was disappearing.
"AHHHHH!" a voice screamed from next door. Lily shot out of bed and out of her tent.
She barged into the igloo next door and found the initial room to be a mess. There was blood on the walls. Lily softly tiptoed into the back room and discovered her neighbor being thrown into a hole in the ground.
Standing above the hole was a large figure. He was six feet tall and was wearing a long overcoat of fur. Around his neck was a scarf of fur, giving the appearance of the mane of a Zebralion. He wore a mask with a space cut out for his mouth. He turned around and faced Lily. He smiled and jumped into the hole, covering it with ice before Lily could dive after him.
By then more villagers had run into the igloo. They found Lily pounding at the floor. A Waterbender tried opening it but the tunnel was gone.
"They came. They travel underneath us, through the ice."
"Where's Kilo?" one of them asked. Lily knew he was gone against tonight with Kyla.
"He's gone. I'll send a message for him."
"Maybe he should be here protecting us! He is the chief!" one of them argued. Lily quickly slipped out of the hostile environment and headed towards the gates of their village that led to the sea.
She found a snowy owlsquirrel and attached a message for Kilo warning of their recent abduction. Lily sent it into the air and watched it travel across the bay. Her eye suddenly noticed something on the horizon. An entire fleet of ships was headed this way.
"Toko," Lily whispered to herself. She quickly prepared another message for Kilo, warning of his old ruler's return.
Kyla led Kilo to the top of the lighthouse. They began bending the ice into a spiral to reflect out into the ocean as they had seen so many years ago. The full moon hit the ice and sent the light off on to the ocean. It wasn't long before four ships appeared.
"Ready?" Kilo asked.
"I guess," Kyla answered and raised her arms. Four large icicles came out of the ground near the light house, aimed for the ships. She shot her hands forward and the icicles raced to the ships. The pierced the hulls of each of them, causing them all to sink.
"Alright, let's go to the docks. They'll be heading to the shore soon." Kyla stood still as Kilo headed down the stairs. He walked past Lily and Melora, telling them to come along.
"We'll be right there," Melora said. She pulled Lily back, stopping her from following.
"What do you want?" Lily asked.
"It's been a long time, Lily."
"You gave up your son."
"Perhaps that was a mistake. The people who have my son are far worse than Yinlo."
"So how are we going to get your son back?"
"I have a plan. But I'll need your help."
Kilo came back in the building, urging them to come along now. Melora and Lily left, but Kyla remained behind. Kilo went up the stair to talk to her. She was looking at the pattern in the ocean.
"Kyla? What's going on?"
"Do you remember the last time we were here?" Kyla questioned him, not moving her stare.
"I do. We were surrounded."
"And we kissed."
"I never really knew why."
"Me either, " Kyla answered. She finally turned her head towards Kilo and they stared deeply into each other's eyes.
"Why didn't things work out for us?" Kilo asked.
"KILO!" Lily's voice shouted from outside.
"The last time we were here, Kilo, we kissed because we had feelings for each other but I was too scared to admit that. The reason why we're not kissing here now is because you have feelings for her. Not me."
"Do you have feelings for me?" Kilo quickly asked. Kyla looked away.
"We were surrounded. They weren't on the boats," Kyla said aloud to herself. "Lily!"
Kyla raced down the stairs and out of the lighthouse. Kilo followed behind her as fast as he could. In front of them, Melora and Lily were raised in the air and Bloodbenders were surrounding them.
8 YEARS AGO
Kyla was pacing back and forth outside of the cave. She read the message over and over again. She had received it in the dead of night. It talked over Toko's return and the recent attack on the village.
Kilo exited the cave and walked up to her. He was out of breath.
"What did you do to him?"
"Roughed him up a bit. He wouldn't speak."
"Does he even speak our language? They could have lived here their whole lives!" Kyla exclaimed.
"He does. I wasn't expecting it either but he does."
"What did he say?"
"He said his tribe plans on attacking them tonight. He's going to show us back to the Lighthouse so we can ambush the attack," Kilo revealed.
"Why should we trust him?" Kyla asked, unconvinced.
"So what do we do, Kilo? Just let him walk us into what will probably be a trap?"
Kilo was stumped. He was uncertain how to move on. They had captured one of the Bloodbenders from the South Pole. He was traveling alone when they pounced on him and took him captive. He wouldn't reveal anything about his culture though, only that they were about to be attacked.
"Take my hand," Kyla ordered.
"What?" Kilo asked, confused.
"Just take it, because I'm about to say something crazy and I need you to just have faith in me."
"Kyla, I don't—"
"Just hear me out! Let's just let him go with his little plan. If he wanted to kill us, he could have done so by now. The moon is at full power right now. So either they want to capture us or he's on our side. Let's just go. If we get captured we'll figure a way out and we'll know where they live. Let's just do it."
Kilo looked at Kyla, uncertain if her plan really was that logical. But he had no other ideas, so he agreed. He took her hand and they headed into the cave.
A group of five Bloodbenders took Melora and Lily away from the lighthouse. They were being taken on sheets of ice rather than by Bloodbending. Melora and Lily gave a slight nod to each other, happy everything was going as planned.
They were dragged for at least an hour until Lily spotted someone running at them from the distance. She picked up her head and squinted her eyes. It was a man. But who?
Suddenly the sheet of ice Lily was on flew up into the air, her body flinging across the sky. The man shot himself into the air, using the earth as his canon. He caught Lily mid-air and then bended a piece of earth up for them to land on instantly. He then drove the large cylinder of earth far away from the Bloodbenders.
"OMU?" Lily screamed.
"I've got you!" he replied.
After a certain distance he stopped the cylinder and lowered it back down. Lily looked off in the direction Melora had been taken away.
"Are you okay?" Omu asked.
"No. They took Melora. She needs me. She needs my help!" Lily cried.
"So do Kyla and Kilo!" Omu interjected.
Omu explained the danger Kilo and Kyla were in. He and Lily quickly took off for the Lighthouse.
8 YEARS AGO
"Well, where are they?" Kilo asked the Bloodbender.
"Let's get into the Lighthouse. They'll be passing by soon."
Kyla kept staring at him. He was so tall. He seemed unreal.
They entered the lighthouse and made small windows to peer out of. The moonlight flooded the landscape, sweeping over the snow creating a glittery picture.
"Who are you?" Kyla asked. The Bloodbender didn't answer.
"What do you call your people?" Kilo questioned him.
"We are the Red Lotus. I am Bonyo."
Kilo saw a shadow flash by the window. He cocked his head to see what had passed but it was gone.
"Are you sure?" Bonyo asked.
"I saw one."
"We have to get out," Bonyo ordered. They exited through the front of the building, leading to the docks. A heavy snow began falling. Bonyo disappeared quickly in the storm.
"Where did he go?" Kyla asked. She guided the snow away from them as it came down, creating a dome.
"It was a trap," Kilo stated.
Kilo and Kyla both fell down to their knees in a fit of pain. They couldn't get up.
"What's happening? I can't move!" Kilo shouted.
Kyla wiggled her fingers, widening the dome they were under. They were surrounded by Bloodbenders, including Bonyo. The Bloodbender's hands were in the air in rigid positions. Then they went down and Kyla and Kilo fell into the snow.
Kyla quickly pulled Kilo towards her and kissed him. Kilo pulled back in surprise. Kyla looked around her and closed her eyes. She rose her arms and hands close to her body, and then pushed them out. The snow and ice beneath their feet rose in a ripple around Kyla, about to knock over the Bloodbenders.
Her arms were forced down and the wave of ice was stopped. Kyla was thrown to the ground again.
"What are we going to do?" Kilo yelped. Kyla looked around, desperately trying to figure out a way to get away.
Kyla looked out to the docks and saw a brilliant spiral of light hit the ocean. Just as soon as the lighthouse cast the reflected light onto the water, ships started coming in.
Kilo looked up at the ships. They looked like their ships but the sails were black. They were blowing horns as they pulled into the docks. The Bloodbenders had all run away at the sight of the ships. Kyla and Kilo were left holding each other.
"What could have scared them?" Kyla asked.
"I don't really want to stick around and find out!" Kilo shouted, grabbed her hand, and led her far away from the light house. Kyla only got a glance of who had come to the Red Docks. She saw a small child standing on the bow of a ship before she was whisked away back to their village.
Kyla and Kilo were standing back to back. Kyla was spinning a wall of water around the two of them at an intensely quick speed. She was hoping their bloodbending wouldn't work if they couldn't be seen.
Her arms suddenly flung down to her sides. It didn't work. The two of them stood still frozen.
"Where is Akuji?" Kyla asked out loud.
"Kyla, what are you doing?" Kilo questioned her.
"Where is he? We know you have him. Give him back," Kyla ordered.
A man with a black cloth over his mouth walked up to Kyla. He spoke loudly through the cloth.
"Who is Akuji?"
"Who are you?" Kyla instantly responded.
"I am Zinzo. We are the Black Lotus."
"You have a child. I saw him years ago on one of your ships."
"We have take many children."
"Take?" Kilo questioned.
"Take. We belong to the Red Lotus. Except we follow the rules of the old ways."
"What would those be?"
"We see humans as the ultimate food."
"Gross!" Kilo shouted.
"So you what, travel around taking people?"
"From all around the world," Zinzo answered Kyla. "We take ships from docks, then we take bodies from the shores. We bloodbend them to death, and then use their bodies to take others."
"The Spirit Ships!" Kyla gasped.
"Ah, yes. There are many legends about us. In the Earth Nation we are known as the Ships that. But now my children, it is time to feast."
Zinzo took a step back and began clenching his fist. The Earth underneath Kyla and Kilo took off, flinging them through the air just as Lily had earlier.
Omu flung up a wall of Earth at the members of the Black Lotus, distracting them long enough for Omu to take Lily, Kyla, and Kilo on another cylinder away from them.
Kyla and Kilo thanked Omu for his help.
"It was no problem. But I think I've had enough adventure for one life time. It's time for a change."
"Are you staying here?" Lily asked, almost excited. Kilo looked down briefly because of this comment.
"No, I think I'm going to go to the Swamp Tribe. It's in the Earth Nation and new. I'd like to see what it's like in a mixed community of Earth and Waterbenders."
"Oh," Lily said disappointed.
Omu said goodbye to Kyla and Kilo, and then took Lily aside.
"I'm going to miss you most of all," Omu stated, and kissed her on her forehead.
Lily smiled and a tear fell down her cheek. She quickly wiped it away.
"I just want to say... What I want to tell you is that... What I meant to say is—"
"Lily!" Kilo shouted. "Let's go home!"
Kyla turned away, depressed. She headed for her own lonely home. Lily looked at Omu, gave him a quick hug and then left Omu alone, facing the sea. He headed for their village's docks, ready to move on to the Swamp Tribe without Lily.
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