|More from MibuWolf||Action/Adventure||PG||Positive||Main Page|
|Whispers of the Past Lie Within the Parchment Part 1|
The voices of the past resound again
A shiver ran down the young Avatar's spine. An indescribable shiver, like that a man would feel while walking to his death. His chest rose and fell; his lungs expanded with the air around them and slowly released the air. The chill did not leave.
"Frost!" Ishio barked accusingly.
"What?" Frost asked innocently, having just begun to paint her nails using her Waterbending to bend the liquid within the paint.
"Don't do that again."
"Do what again?"
"That dumb chill thing."
"I didn't do anything," she said bluntly while continuing to paint her nails. Ishio sighed, and looked to Liwei for support. But his teammate seemed distracted by something, and he had for the past few days of travel. A thick smoke surrounded them, making it impossible to see more than a few feet forward...
A enormous spire broke through the smoke. It was as though fate had been listening to Ishio's thoughts on the inability to see. The spire was decrepit, so old that it was probably around during Avatar Roku's time. At least, the base of it was. This building, assumed by Ishio and Frost to be the library, was quite curious. The base of the building was ancient. Truly ancient. About half way up the building, it changed drastically from the olden, strong design. Towards the top of the spire, it was haphazardly built and dangerous looking. One would not trust too many people to stand towards the top with how it appeared. Wood planks, nailed together in what was probably the effort of a few days maximum. While it wasn't as old as the rest of the building, the wood was at least a decade old, and one could see age and insects eating away at the wood, contributing to its treacherous design. Considering the fact that it was a library, it didn't look as though the upper floors would be able to hold any books.
"I'm assuming that is the library you spoke of?" Frost said with a gulp. Liwei nodded.
"I haven't been here in almost ten years—it looks like Master Geming has built it up quite a bit..." he seemed uneasy while he spoke.
Odraz came to a stop around 100 feet before the library. Something about the building made him uneasy, and he lied down with a grunt, allowing Team Avatar to dismount him.
An unassuming, small voice interrupted Team Avatar's unpacking. They all turned to see a girl standing with some scroll and large volumes in her arms. Short dark hair clumped on her head, and ill-fitting glasses slid down her nose. She was not tall, nor was she short either, and the mysterious girl probably had an inch or so on Frost. Her brow furrowed in recognition at the young Firebender in their group.
"Ai Shi, it's been a while. I see you're still spending time at the library?" Liwei spoke as though he had known this girl for several years.
"Yeah, I've been an apprentice to Master Geming for a couple of years now. He sent me to greet the Avatar, but I certainly didn't expect to see you with him as well," Ai Shi, as she was apparently called, spoke in the same manner towards Liwei. The other two members of Team Avatar couldn't help to wonder who this girl was, and how Liwei knew him. More importantly, they wondered what else about their colleague's life remained a secret. It also occurred to them that Master Geming knew of Ishio's identity as the Avatar, and couldn't help but muse about how most everyone seemed to be able to guess the fact. But they did not have too much time to think about the possibilities, "If you'd follow me to the library, I'm sure Master Geming will be waiting."
The group followed the girl into the library, quickening their normal speed to keep up with Ai Shi's brisk walking pace. Upon entering the library, the only word to describe how they saw their surroundings was sheer amazement. Everyone has been to a library at one point, whether it be for school or otherwise. But this library was completely different than anything they had ever seen. It was as though someone took a hundred or more year-old library and put it in modern times. The walls were lined not by books, as commonly seen, but with scrolls. Ancient scrolls that seemed as though they would disintegrate at the mere touch. Undoubtedly Ai Shi had gotten the books in her hand from someplace else, and the scrolls were her assignment for moving around. It was breathtaking to see so much ancient history in one place. Of course, Liwei seemed least surprised, because of his history with the place.
They had little time to absorb their surroundings; a figure strode down the stairs almost immediately after they entered. And strode was a perfect way of describing the manner with which he held himself: the figure seemed to glide down the stairs, as though his feet were not even making contact with the floor. One couldn't tell whether his feet actually were grounded either, due to the long robes that extended past the floor and flowed out behind him. The whole appearance of the library was extremely old fashioned; the inside of the building, full of scrolls, and now the keeper who seemed to be stuck in a time many, many years ago. As for his face, the man was old. So old that the fact he could still hold himself upright with such dignity was flabbergasting. Scars from many years of training and bending blended into wrinkles and a light gray beard. His orange eyes watched the newcomers, and a smile crept into his appearance.
"You've grown in these past years, Liwei. You've turned into a fine young man." his voice reflected his appearance, aged and rough, with a hint of kindness beneath the rough exterior.
Liwei smiled as though glad to see that his old colleague hadn't changed too much. "It's good to see you again, Master Geming. When I left for Republic City, I thought I'd never have an opportunity to return to the Library again."
The old librarian smiled. "I've always said that those who continue to seek knowledge will find their way back to my library," he now turned to Ishio, "and with the Avatar, no less!"
Ishio seemed uncomfortable about the fact that the man was calling him the Avatar, but Frost spoke up before he had a chance to inquire about his knowledge. "Both you and the Corsair knew, or know, that Ishio is the Avatar..."
"Oh! Pardon my rudeness!" Geming interrupted the Waterbender, and caused a look of discontent to flash across her face. "I did not mention how I came about that knowledge." he continued to acknowledge Ishio, completely ignoring the previous speaker. "I am not like the Corsair... I don't make all the connections on my own. I form my own connections based upon what I hear from others. There has been rumor of the Avatar travelling about the Fire Nation on a quest to liberate benders. When I saw a badgermole at my doorstep, it only confirmed the theory!"
"I'm sorry Master Geming..." it seemed as though the conversation was now simply between Liwei and Geming, though said in a way that everyone had the responsibility of listening, "but we're not on a quest to liberate benders... Right now, we're just trying to find Ishio a Firebending teacher."
"Ah..." he nodded in acknowledgement, "You went to the Corsair first, and now you look to me for said tutelage?" Liwei nodded, and the Firebending master continued, "I would be honored to teach the Avatar, however," the side of his smile twitched a bit, and for a split second Geming looked insane. Only for a split second before he was once more a kind old man, "I want to see it. The Earthbending of a badgermole."
The library was located on a cliff of sorts overlooking the ocean. Just behind the library was an open area where the water splashed against the side of the cliff. Three sides were surrounded by the ocean, and the fourth lead to the library. Geming had taken his own Firebending stance, and Ishio was reluctantly in a position to combat the old man. Frost, Liwei, and Ai Shi stood just outside the library, watching the duel to follow.
"Geming was taught Firebending by a dragon," Ai Shi explained, "and he has sparred with an Airbender taught by a Flying Bison and a Waterbender who learned just from watching the moon."
"It only makes sense that he would have a fascination with Ishio's bending, having learned from a badgermole." Liwei concluded. Ai Shi nodded, confirming his theory.
Feet planted firmly on the ground, Ishio waited for the old librarian to make a move. Both the benders' breathing was freakishly steady; they were trained enough that they knew their discipline required a great amount of breath control. Without warning, Master Geming leapt into the air. His feet left the ground with amazing grace for his age, and he actually spun to the side and shot a crescent wave of fire towards Ishio. The Earthbender looked shocked, but he quickly moved his right leg forward and created a wall of earth to take the force of the blow. Not a few seconds afterwards, Geming landed on the ground once more, rolling forward behind Ishio's rock wall. He remained close to the ground as he spun around and released a low circle of fire aimed towards Ishio's legs. A pillar of earth shot up from the ground by the Avatar's bending and he grabbed he end, shifting himself upside-down by holding the pillar with one hand. The earth received the force of the fire, and Ishio brought himself back to a normal fighting stance.
Now the roles would shift. Ishio's right foot traced a path in front of him and he held his arms extended. He quickly folded his arms inward, bringing a large boulder out of the earth. From here, he shot his arms forward and launched the rock at the old man. It had already been shown that Geming was more agile than he appeared, and one would not be too surprised to see that he managed to dodge the fast-moving boulder. Over the edge of the cliff, the boulder landed in the water with a thunderous splash. The old Master smiled at Ishio's offensive ability.
"Not bad, Avatar," he said while loosening his stance. Ishio followed his lead.
"Will you teach me Firebending?" Ishio asked.
Geming chuckled, before breathing in deeply. His hands, straight with his palms upward, built their way up to his chin. Quite a strange sight, considering the fact that their duel seemed over. An instant later, Geming's hands shot downward and he released his breath. A stream of fire came from his mouth, as though he were a living dragon. Ishio barely managed to shift his stance in a way that caused he fire to miss. Left fist clenched, while Ishio spun forward he slammed his fist sideways. The earth created a protrusion that slammed into the side of Master Geming and sent him flying into the ocean. Like the earlier boulder, the splash signified the master hitting the water.
"NO! I killed him!" Ishio looked panicked after he realized that he had just sent his only chance of learning Firebending flying off a cliff. The others seemed to still be in shock over the fact that Ishio really didn't have enough control to keep himself from launching an old man into the ocean.
"Your bending truly is amazing, Avatar!" the sound of the old man's voice brought all four of the teens to the edge of the cliff. He sat on the beach just below, dripping with the ocean water and laughing at the fact that he had so easily lost when faced with the Avatar's Earthbending prowess.
"Before I begin teaching you Firebending," once more, they were within the library. Geming had a towel wrapped around his shoulder and had mostly dried off from the earlier encounter, "there is something I want you to see. Follow me." The Master seemed to be ignoring the others once more as he gestured for the Avatar to follow him up the stairs. Ishio looked uneasy, but he knew that he had to do whatever Geming asked, for the sake of learning his bending.
The ascent was not as treacherous as it would appear from the outside. For the first few floors, the surroundings were like that of a library, as they moved higher the scrolls around them appeared more intense and aged. Ishio looked in awe at the sheer amount of material here, though Geming seemed quite used to it. Once they came to the higher floors, the surroundings changed drastically from earlier. No longer were they climbing floors so much as stairs barely held up by hasty wood supports. Looking out to the side, Ishio could see as far as into the ocean and the nearest village, which was several miles away. The fact that Geming had built the library this high was amazing, even if the job seemed half-hearted. From the beautiful view, Ishio thought about how rewarding building the library up must have been. To have such a view laid out before you was breathtaking. Yet, it still seemed as though Geming was not in this for the view.
As they continued to climb, Ishio thought more and more that it was possible Geming did not do this for the view. The village and ocean grew smaller as they ascended hundreds and hundreds of feet higher. What had been a view was now tiny specks in the distance, and the view grew less remarkable the higher they went. Maybe Geming had the goal of going as high as the moon in the sky. Several years ago, the theory that the moon was just beyond the clouds had been disproven, and Ishio knew that there were several thousands of miles between them and the moon, and a great dark, unexplored expanse. Yet, if Geming kept building up, they could reach the heavens sooner rather than later.
The hot wind blew across Ishio's face. He closed his eyes against the travelling embers. On the top floor, it was as though the entire world was spread out before them. The Avatar turned to Master Geming to remark on the view, only to find that he was preoccupied with an entirely different matter. On the top floor, the Firebending Master had built a room with small, more sturdily built walls and a locked door. Brass keys fumbled in the old man's hands as he put the key into its slot and opened the door. Beyond the door stood something which made Ishio question his sights.
"This is..." Ishio barely made the words come out. Beyond the door stood what looked like a tear in the very fabric of time and space. Within the tear was an extension of the world around them, but...different. To a normal eye, it would look like some sort of visual trick, having the air seem torn. But Ishio knew that it was no visual trick. Something inexplicable in his gut told him this. And the demented grin on Geming's face told Ishio that the old man knew as well.
"A portal into the Spirit World," the old master's voice had changed. He no longer sounded kind; his hidden agenda shown through his voice, and Ishio knew that Geming did not plan on teaching him Firebending.
- Ai Shi's character is that of someone who would have participated in the RP, used with her permission.
- That same friend helped edit this chapter, but she doesn't have an Avatar wiki account so I can't reference her. But she's reading this, so hi! (sorry for breaking professionalism)
For the collective works of the author, go here.