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Three: The South
Book Three: The South
8 YEARS AGO
"Help me," she said softly.
She lay in the doorway of the Southern Spirit Oasis. Her skin had a purple complex but her hair was snowy white.
Kyla didn't hear her though. She was busy creating a cyclone of water around the Oasis, trying to conjure Palokk once again. She hadn't heard from him since she was pulled into the Spirit World.
After a few minutes of no progress once again, she decided to give up and go back to her village. The walls of the cyclone started expanding until they froze with the walls of ice. It was then Kyla noticed the girl on the ground.
She sprinted over to her, checking to see if she was alive. She still had a heartbeat and was breathing. She wasn't conscious though.
Kyla made a sled of ice and wrapped the girl in a blanket she kept at the Oasis. She then proceeded to bend the ice sled to her village. Before getting to far, she rose her arms up creating a wall of ice around the Oasis. She wanted the spirits to be safe.
The girl in the blanket woke up once along the way to Kyla's village. Kyla barely noticed until she said two words:
She stood far away from the shattered remains. Pure silence infiltrated the air around Kyla. That's how she knew she wasn't alone.
The Princess walked around the ruins of the Southern Spirit Oasis. Her footsteps broke the quiet. The ice shards had a slight glow to them as they lie scattered on the ground.
"Of all the places," Kyla stated quietly, "how dare you come here?"
"Ky, let me talk."
"Do not call me that. You do not get to call me that," Kyla said a bit less quietly.
"Fine. Kyla, look, I need—"
"And now you have the audacity to ask me for a favor? After what you took from me?" Kyla was yelling now, while holding on tightly to her stomach.
"You took from me, Kyla."
"But you're still here."
"Soon I might not be," the princess looked down at her hands.
"I don't care," Kyla replied coldly.
"I saved her life and now when mine is in danger you turn your back?"
"Saved her life? You gave her a death sentence!" Kyla cried.
The silence returned quickly in between Kyla's heavy breathing. She was visibly upset.
"I never want to see you again. Leave." Kyla ordered.
The princess started to protest, but wasn't sure what to say. She was lost, unsure of what to do next. She turned away from Kyla, leaving her in peace.
Kyla looked at the remains of the Oasis. They were gone. The spirits had been stolen and who knew what was going to be done to them by the Red Lotus.
8 YEARS AGO
The following day the woman Kyla had found at the Oasis was awake and eating as much as she could. She looked like she hadn't eaten in days. Her skin still had a slightly purple complex to it. She hadn't said a word to anyone yet though.
Kyla found her sitting alone, swirling a small amount of water around her wrist. She sat down next to her and smiled at the trick.
"It's like a moving bracelet."
"If only I could keep it without bending," the woman commented, letting the water fall down to the ground.
"Who are you?" Kyla asked.
"Violet. My people call me Violet."
"Because of your cheeks?"
Violet became noticeably embarrassed and covered her face.
"I'm sorry, I actually think they're quite pretty!"
"They just remind me of a bad time," Violet replied, slowly moving her hands down.
"Where are you from? We thought we were the only people to ever come to the South Pole."
"My people have been here for over a hundred years. I'm afraid I don't know much of our history."
"Who are your people?" Kyla asked.
"I believe you have met them already. The Red Lotus."
"They...do you have the power to control us?" Kyla asked.
"Just the blood inside you since blood contains water. We bend it. Though that is mostly the only bending we know anymore."
"You can't bend water any other way?"
"Very few can. We mostly teach bloodbending. It's the most powerful force there is. Waterbending is worthless in comparison."
"So why are you taking my people?" Kyla finally asked, happy yet confused with her compliance.
"I'm not! In fact that's the reason I left. My people have grown wicked. Bloodbending has warped their mind. They are taking the bodies to use as slaves or in extreme cases—food."
Kyla felt nauseous. For all she knew, her people were in their stomachs right now.
"I had to leave them. Those evil men and women. I had to get out of there but they wouldn't let me go. They've been chasing me for days. I hadn't eaten or slept. Then I saw you go into that...place. That magical place."
"Listen, you can't tell anyone about that place, okay?" Kyla ordered. She wanted it to remain a secret.
"Of course. What is it anyhow? It felt so peaceful."
"It was a Spirit Oasis. It's where the spirits of the Ocean and Moon are kept. If anyone finds it, the whole world could be thrown out of balance. You must keep it a secret."
"I will. I promise."
"So how long do you plan on staying here?" Kyla asked.
"I can't stay. They will come for me here and take more of your people. I have to go."
"Well, let me gather some supplies," Kyla offered.
Kyla began gathering supplies for Violet. The former Bloodbender looked out the window at a nearby gate. Nearby, on top of the village gate, there stood a man silently watching her.
Lily was scouting ahead of Kyla in a deep forest at the tip of the South Pole. She searched for the best route to find what Kyla was looking for. She was only told a direction however, not precisely what it was. Kyla had learned of the forest from the scrolls in the Lighthouse. It was pictured next to a lake similar to Palokk. Kyla was certain she could contact him again there.
Out of the corner of her eye she saw a man in the distance. He was bending a rock of Earth above his head. He disappeared behind a large stack of rocks without noticing her. Lily was certain it was Omu.
She raced towards the rocks but he was gone when he finally arrived there. What she found was an abandoned battle scene between Waterbenders and an Earthbender, and quite possibly bloodbenders by the look of the red stained trees.
The ground was littered with destroyed homes. They were made of wood or animal hides. Lily walked through the wreckage, looking for any clue of who lived in this village. Possibly another group of travelers who were killed by the Red Lotus.
Lily stopped at the sight of something shining near her. She bent down to pick it up. What was there was immediately recognized.
"Kyla come here!" Lily called out.
In her hands was Princess Violet's old tiara.
8 YEARS AGO
It had been a few days since their visit from Violet. She left as quickly as possible, not wanting to put their village in any more danger. Kyla often thought about her and what she had told her about her people. They were evil, a thought that terrified her to the bone.
Kyla visited the Spirit Oasis once again, hoping to finally contact Palokk. She knew something was wrong when she first spotted it in the distance. Something seemed off about the entrance. As she got closer, she noticed the entrance was destroyed and someone had broken in.
Kyla sprinted inside, hoping to catch the people who did this. She found her world upside down when she saw who was there. Standing before her was Violet and Dakko.
"You're—You're alive," Kyla said aloud in shock.
"Kyla, it's been so long," Dakko chortled.
Dakko squatted down next to the pond looking at the koi fish.
"It's been a long time for you guys too," he commented.
"Violet, you're with him?" Kyla interrogated.
Violet showed a slight smile, but said nothing. Kyla straightened her head at the realization of her betrayal.
"You showed up here on purpose, didn't you?" Kyla guessed.
"She played the role perfectly, don't you think?" Dakko interjected.
"What are you doing here Dakko? How did you find us? How did you survive?"
"Oh, another story for another day. I believe we have a fight to get to. After all, I assume you're not just going to let me take the fish. That wouldn't be nearly as fun."
Kyla looked at the koi fish, growing angrier by the second. She clenched her fists, dug her feet in the ground and began swirling her hands around as she swayed her hips from side to side. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath.
"Get her," Dakko ordered Violet.
She didn't move though. Regardless of her alliance with Dakko, she still didn't want to bloodbend.
"I can't Dakko."
"Violet!" He shouted and whipped water at her. Violet became angry and tried doing the same, but only produced a small splash of water. "You have much to learn."
Violet then forced Dakko on his knees using bloodbending. Dakko screamed in agony.
"STOP IT!" he bellowed.
And she did. Her eyes stared blankly at the sight before her. Kyla had conjured a spirit from the Spirit World. Whatali was floating in the sky above Violet and Dakko, waiting to attack.
"Good luck," Kyla stated and left the room. Whatali began bloodbending both of them to their knees and then into a bowing position.
Kyla studied the scroll. They had found the forest quite quickly. It wasn't too far from their village. It existed at the tip of the South Pole where there was no snow. The trees had a bark that was many different colors.
"Lily, this village isn't on the map. It must be new."
"How old is that scroll?"
"About a hundred years or so I'd say. I guess that's not really new then. The destruction of it looks like the last decade at least."
The village had been in the middle of a large battle that had destroyed the environment around it. There were piles of stone everywhere, and evidence of water damage.
"Maybe one of these houses has something that can point us to whatever you're looking for, Kyla."
Kyla and Lily began rummaging through the destroyed village in the forest. There were a lot of children's toys and women's clothes. Not many men's belongings it seemed.
Lily found a small cave that looked like it used to be a home. She lit a small flame in her palm to see the inside. A bed was in the corner, untouched. A crib was next to it, though it looked as if someone at been wrestling with it a bit.
Lily bent down and found a letter on the ground. The letter itself seemed like a generic love letter, but Lily gasped at the three letters at the bottom indicating who it was from: Omu.
Meanwhile, Kyla found herself climbing a tree to a small two story home. She made a ladder of ice in order to climb it. It had not been touched during the skirmish.
Inside it was completely empty though. Nothing was on the first floor except a chair that looked out at the top of the forest.
Kyla collapsed onto the chair and began crying. She wasn't sure what she was doing any longer. This mission to find Palokk was beginning to seem like a wild goose chase. Kyla recognized she wasn't the Avatar, and any spiritual world connection would have to begin with someone from the Spirit World, and not the other way around.
Kyla stopped herself from crying, trying to gather her composure as she heard Lily's voice calling from down below.
"I'll be right down!" She yelled to the Firebender.
Kyla quickly went up the small ladder to the second floor to see if anything was up there. Again, it was empty. Kyla pulled herself up and found herself disappointed once more. She felt like a failure.
She stepped towards the window and looked down for Lily. She was holding a piece of paper and staring at it. Kyla gave a half smirk full of curiosity and turned to see her. It was this turn that made her notice the loose floorboard.
Kyla quickly pulled the board up and found a box. She smiled at the contents of it.
8 YEARS AGO
Her red hair was wet from the mix of rain and snow they were getting. Her body was standing tall on the cliff that looked out onto the ocean. The water was rough and choppy.
Lily began crying uncontrollably as she fell to her knees and hands.
"I miss you," she whimpered.
Her entire family had disappeared in the blink of an eye. Her life was dismantled and she had somehow ended up in the South Pole, completely out of her element.
She felt a warm hand on her back. Lily looked up to see Kilo with a faint smile.
"I'm sorry," he stated.
"For what?" Lily asked.
"You're a Firebender living in the South Pole. You lost your entire family. I'm sorry. That's not easy and you must feel—"
"How would you know how I feel? Just leave me alone!" Lily screamed and buried her face in her hands as she wept more.
Kilo took a step back and stared out into the ocean.
"I was an orphan. I went from foster family to foster family. No one got me. They thought I caused trouble. And this whole time I thought I wasn't a Waterbender. Then one day I find out where my mom and dad live. And I go there and this old lady tells me they're dead. I found and lost my parents all in one day. She had some paintings of my parents and in it they are Waterbending. I was a Waterbender all along and I had no idea. Waterbending is the only connection I have left to my parents. Every time I bend it reminds me of them. It's the most burningly hurtful thing in the world and I never want it to go away."
Lily looked up and gave a slight smile to Kilo. "Thank you for sharing."
"Come on, let's go get something to eat."
"Do you see that?" Lily interrupted.
Kilo looked up and saw a fleet of ships heading straight for their settlement.
"Help me," she said softly.
The Princess was covered in blood, lying outside the gates of the Southern Water Tribe's settlement. She was desperate.
Kilo stood at the top of the wall, looking down at the former Bloodbending Princess.
"What are you doing here?" he asked viciously.
"Help," she begged.
Kilo created a slide of ice and surfed down it to beside the fallen Princess.
"What happened to you?"
"He's coming for me. He's trying to kill me?"
"Who is?" Kilo asked.
"Dakko. He's going to kill me. He will stop at nothing."
"Then go back to your people. Why you think you'd get any help from us is beyond me," he replied.
"They want me dead too," Violet revealed.
Kilo looked at her with pity.
"You can stay here for a few days," he said finally.
"No!" she yelled as loud as she could without her injuries hurting too much. "They will find me here. You must hide me somewhere else. Please!"
"Sorry, this is all I can do," Kilo stated.
"But what about her? What about all the things I did for her?" she protested.
"Her?" Kilo questioned.
"YOUR her!" Violet pleaded. Kilo knew who she was talking about now, but it made him care even less. He simply went back to his village, leaving the Princess out in the cold.
The following morning Kilo went back to the front gates to see if the Princess was still there. After a full night of sleep, Kilo felt he had been too harsh.
However, when he arrived at the front gate all he saw was the cold lifeless body of the Princess called Violet. Her skin was no longer slightly purple, but white as a ghost. Surrounding her were dozens of Moon Flowers, all wilted.
Off in the distance, the leader of the Red Lotus watched Kilo inspect her body. His daughter had died, and he was certain that Kilo and his village would pay.
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