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Three: The South
Book Three: The South
"Let me go!" Kyla screamed.
The guards motioned their hands toward a jail cell, bending the water in Kyla's body and forcing her into the prison. Kyla howled in agony as she landed against a wall and down onto the floor. The guards left her alone with four other prisoners.
Kyla rushed towards the bars and screamed again to let her go. They were locked away in a dry cave in the mountains.
"It's no use," a familiar voice said.
Sokka stepped out of the shadows along with Omu and Melora. The fourth prisoner stayed in the dark.
"Sokka. You're alive!"
"Barely," he whispered. His skin was light purple. "They've bended my blood so much I've bruised all over. Lesson one: do not fight back."
"Melora and Omu. How did they get you?"
"It's not important. They're going to take you soon," Melora replied.
"To find out how powerful you are," Omu answered. "They're going to force you to bloodbend. If you fail, you come back here. If you succeed—"
"If you succeed you become one of them," Melora interrupted, thinking of the child she had lost to them.
"But they can't change my mind! I won't let them."
"They can. First off, they threaten to kill you. And even then, they have brainwashing techniques. They manipulate the blood in your brain and before you know it you think you're a bloodbender."
Guards walked up to the jail cell and bloodbended Kyla out of the cell.
"Time to see how well you can bloodbend," one of them said with a familiar tone. Kyla was certain it was Bonyo from the lighthouse. She tried saying his name, but found herself too afraid to speak.
8 YEARS AGO
Kyla and Kilo were walking along the walls of ice around their community. They were in complete silence under the full moon. Kyla bit her lip, not wanting to break the peaceful moment. Her mouth was urging to tell Kilo something though. Kilo caught her off guard by breaking the silence first.
"I hope they don't come this time," he said aloud.
"Me either. But they will," she responded.
"They didn't two months ago."
"That we know of. Kilo, look I have something to tell you."
"What is it?"
"It's not easy to say. I—Well remember the lighthouse?"
"Remember the night after the lighthouse?"
Kilo was silent.
Kilo stopped dead in his tracks. His eyes were open wide and gazing at the distance.
"Did you hear me?"
Kyla's body was suddenly flung up into the air as Kilo's was slammed into the ice wall. Three bloodbenders surrounded Kyla and took her off into the distance. Kilo was left alone outside the growing town.
It was about a month later when Kyla found the message on the wall in her cell. It simply read:
I'm in the library –C
Her stay in the prison was miserable. She barely got food and was kept weak so she could barely attack the guards. Her attacks weren't any match for the blood bending anyhow though. She often consented to their demands, including learning to bloodbend.
Kyla had examined every inch of her cell out of boredom when she discovered the message scribbled on the wall in tiny neat writing.
Who was C?
It was months later when Kyla woke up in tears. She had been crying for the past 12 hours, holding on to her stomach. She wouldn't get up to eat or drink. She was weaker than she ever remembered being.
Standing outside the bars of her cell was a small boy she instantly recognized.
"Who are you?" she asked.
The boy said nothing.
"I saw you once. On a ship. I was at this lighthouse and you were out at sea. Do you remember me?"
The boy looked over at the tiny message on the wall.
"Do you know who C is? Are you C?"
The boy ran away without any noticeable reason. It was then Kyla was lifted in the air by a guard's bloodbending. Her body was thrown back to the ground, knocking her out.
Sokka, Omu, Melora, and the fourth prisoner stood in the shadows, waiting for Kyla's return. The fourth prisoner hadn't said a thing since being trapped. She never once showed her face. The guards didn't pay much attention to her, but by the following morning she was gone.
Kyla returned just one more day later, accompanied by new bruises. She looked angry and hurt.
"Kyla, are you alright?" Sokka asked, reaching out a hand.
"They remembered me," she stated, referring to the first time she was taken by the Bloodbenders nearly eight years ago. She had been trapped here for nearly four years.
"Remembered you?" Sokka asked.
"They've taken me before. They didn't make me bloodbend back then though. But this time they did. It was awful. I was perfect at it."
"Why are you back here then?" Melora asked.
"Because they remembered me. They've always wanted me back. I've never understood why they let me go in the first place."
"Melora, you were here once too. Why did they let her go?" Omu questioned. Melora looked down, unhappy that her past resided here once before.
"I was unaware Kyla was here when I was here last," Melora lied. Kyla exhaled in relief.
"I'm getting out of here," Kyla said sternly.
"How do you plan on doing that?" Sokka asked. "I've been in this cell for a long time. I haven't seen any possible way to escape."
"Yeah well I was in this cell for a long time too once. There isn't anything to see in here. It's about what you hear."
Kyla pressed her ear against the back wall of the cave and listened. It was still roaring.
"What are you doing?" Omu asked.
"This is going to be so much easier with an earthbender. Omu, bust through this wall."
"The guards are going to hear! Why do you think I haven't bloodbended thus far?"
"Just do it!" Kyla ordered.
Omu unhappily followed the command and made a small tunnel to an opening in the mountain. There was a river flowing right through the mountain.
"Come on, let's go!" Kyla screamed and jumped into the river.
Sokka and Melora hurriedly followed. Omu climbed through the tunnel last, and then paused before getting in the river.
"Come on Omu! Get in and close that hole!"
Omu looked as if he were about to speak, but no words came out. Suddenly his neck snapped to the side, breaking his neck. He fell forward into the river, letting the current carry his body away.
Melora, Sokka, and Kyla were all bloodbended out of the river and into a neighboring cell.
"I will tell you this one time," the guard said, "if you try to escape again I will break all of your necks."
She spent days in the mountains near the lake, following anything she considered a trail by the Red Lotus. Lily surrounded herself in a ring of fire to keep warm, afraid of being caught the entire time though.
She realized after some time she was going in a circle. Sighing in contempt, she gave up and headed towards a nearby stream.
Lily looked down at her reflection, unsure of what she was doing. The water began running red, however. Her head swung to view what was upstream.
Lily rushed over to the lifeless body that was drenched. Omu was dead. It was in that moment that Lily recognized how much love she had for the Earthbender.
Lily backed away from the body while crying. The world began spinning. Her breath became short. Her mind was falling down a black hole and took the rest of her with it.
"Goodbye my love," she whispered and began climbing a nearby cliff.
On the top of a ridge, she looked at the lake in the valley below. She felt as if she had failed everyone she knew and somehow she was the one always left behind.
With that thought, she leaped from the ledge and flew to the Earth below.
4 YEARS AGO
In the middle of the night, under the full moon, ships began landing on the shores of the South Pole. Toko was the first one off the ships. He bent down on the ice and looked into the distance. The rest of the ships were waiting for the signal.
Toko waited for nearly an hour before it was time to attack. It wasn't Toko who gave the sign though, it was the moon.
Hanging in the night sky, the moon slowly turned to black, disappearing for an unknown length of time. Toko smiled and got up. His army exited the ships and headed towards Kilo's army. The Lunar Eclipse had been picked specifically for the sole reason that the army he had been collecting was full of nonbenders.
Kilo and Lily looked into the distance at the incoming army. He took her hand, and kissed her on the cheek. It had been four years since either of them saw Kyla. Lily was still fragile, but with Kilo by her side she could feel herself becoming stronger.
It took only half the length of the Lunar Eclipse for Toko to take the capital of their new settlement. His army infiltrated the town and imprisoned all most all of the benders. Kilo and Lily had fled to the outside wall on the opposite side of the shore.
They embraced each other, waiting for Toko's army to find them. Instead, rain and snow began to fall. Lily and Kilo looked up in confusion.
"How is this possible? There are no clouds in the sky!" Lily shouted.
Kilo got up and looked around. Off in the distance he saw a large dark cloud moving their way.
"What is that?" he asked.
Lily turned around to see what was coming. She had no idea what it was.
"Should we run?"
"Kyla?" Kilo asked, positive it was her. Lily doubted him immediately and grabbed his arm, urging him that they should run.
Kyla appeared out of the clouds. She looked angry and her eyes screamed of having lost someone important to her.
Toko stood from the top of the Palace being constructed. He saw Kyla coming, and was stunned. How was she waterbending?
"I am the descendent of Avatar Palokk. I am all powerful. I am a legend. Get out of my home!" Kyla screamed and unleashed a hell of water and ice onto the town—only hitting those who had invaded.
Toko immediately called for his army to retreat. It only took the second half of the lunar eclipse for Kyla to reclaim the city as her own.
Kyla and Melora were placed in a cell together, far away from Sokka. Melora was sitting in a corner thinking to herself. Kyla was hanging on to the bars of the cell, breathing heavily. She didn't want to be here again.
"It's there again," Kyla stated, pointing to a message near them written on the mountainside. It read:
Find me. –C
"Who is C?"
"Kyla, I've been thinking," Melora began, "we need to get you out of here."
"What about you?"
"What about me? We both know my son is here. But your daug—"
"No!" Kyla interrupted her. "Don't say it."
"I have a plan."
Melora instructed Kyla of her plan, and they immediately put it into action. The next time Kyla was taken for her bloodbending lessons, Melora was able to slip out before the bars of bone were closed.
She purposely made a loud noise, gaining the attention of the guard who instantly ran after without a second thought. Kyla quickly took this chance and escaped.
Melora was instantly thrown back in her cell. She was given no meal to eat, but instead visited by a young man.
"Hello mom," Akuji said.
"You're alive," Melora whimpered.
"The girl you were with. Is her name Clara?" Akuji asked in a rushed tone.
"Is her name Clara!?" he asked again.
Melora didn't answer; she was simply stunned by his presence. Akuji ran away at the sight of an oncoming guard.
Kyla ran in the shadows of the city, making her way to their nearest exist. It wasn't long before she was stopped, and not by just anyone.
"Kyla, my favorite bloodbender."
"I am not a bloodbender!" she protested.
"You will be. Soon enough."
"Why? What do you want with me? Who are you?"
"I am the leader of this tribe. My name is Zygo."
Kyla tried bending a large whip of water at the leader of the Red Lotus, but was stunned to find her waterbending didn't work.
"What? What's going on?"
"Kyla, you didn't even give me a chance to answer all your questions. Please, before you try attacking me, which won't work by the way, let me tell you what I want with you."
Kyla tried waterbending again but it was of no use.
"How are you doing this?"
"I'm not doing anything. You did this to yourself. Now, dear, let me tell you what I want with you."
Kyla didn't answer, she just stared at him right in the eye.
"I want revenge. I want you to kill your own tribe for killing my daughter."
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