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Giving Up (Avatar: The Last Airbender)

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Fulcon, Oct 7, 2019.

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  1. Fencer

    Fencer Weaponized Randomness

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    If you haven’t read it already I’d recommend checking out Embers. It’s a pretty controversial fanfic for a lot of reasons

    spirits play a much bigger role in events, changing aspects of canon, OC’s playing major roles. Lots of stuff people get offended by. But it does an amazing job of putting different motivations to the main characters actions and taking a closer look at the different characters defining traits.

    Aang gets shit on quite a bit for being a lier, impulsive etc. And at least a few people look at him and take Zuko’s goofy kid stance to more logical conclusions. One City guard actually tells Aang to take a few years and finish growing up before worrying about the war because if they’ve been fighting for a hundred years they can hold on five more until he’s closer to an being an adult.

    It’s not perfect but it will definitely leave you looking at the characters differently which may be useful considering your plot is largely driven by character development and for want of a nail.
     
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  2. Fulcon

    Fulcon Wim Hoff Method Initiate

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    Nah. Zuko should never be allowed to heal with bending.

    Ouch.

    It's an idea, I guess.
     
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  3. Fencer

    Fencer Weaponized Randomness

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    Huh, is that really what sets people off about that fic? I just always assumed it had to be about... well, not that. That never really occurred to me as something people would object to.

    Good to know I guess.
     
  4. codeRR

    codeRR Heroic spirit unkown

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    I honestly didn't think it was that ether. Granted I never got super far into Embers but the healing aspect turned people off? Bit strange but that's life
     
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  5. Fulcon

    Fulcon Wim Hoff Method Initiate

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    I haven't read it, I just read that and went no.

    Katara's the healer, you do not take the healers job from them.

    I object to it's very premise!
     
  6. w34v3r

    w34v3r Versed in the lewd.

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    It would be very difficult to justify healing powers for anyone but a water bender, outside of very niche operations like using lighting bending as a defribulator, or earth bending to compress a wound, or fire bending to cauterize something. Hell it's sketchy when water benders do it without special magical waters and potions.

    Zuko studying medicine, very precise bending techniques, alchemy, and maybe spiritual manipulation of things like chakras and such to become a healer is totally a thing that could happen, but it'd take some work to justify, and having it come direct form his fire bending the way to comes to water benders direct from their water bending powers probably wouldn't work well.
     
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  7. Threadmarks: Realizations
    Fulcon

    Fulcon Wim Hoff Method Initiate

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    The following is a fanbased work of fiction. Avatar the Last Airbender is the property of Viacom, Nickelodeon, Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Koniezko. Please support the official release.

    ---

    It had been about a week since Aang’s departure.

    Sokka looked out across the horizon and saw that, still, there was no Fire Nation. He felt like he had done something nearly unforgivably wrong, but he couldn’t figure out why. When they talked about it, Gran-gran had backed him up, pointing out how they all needed to do be reliable and that if Aang had accidentally signaled the Fire Nation, the village would have been wiped out.

    The mental image make Sokka shiver.

    He was probably just feeling bad about how upset Katara was with him. Yeah, that was it.

    ...something was wrong.

    Sokka shook his head. He could think about that later, right now he needed to find Katara, who had been gone for an hour and he was starting to get worried that maybe she had run off to go find Aang on her own. He doubted it, but she’d done crazy things before…

    She wasn’t in the smoke-hut, wasn’t in the village square and wasn’t trying to eek out extra seconds of precious sleep. The last place to check would be…

    He sighed and rolled his shoulders. “Gran-gran, I’m checking the shrine. Be back in a few.”

    “Be careful, Sokka,” Gran-gran told him as he left.

    Sokka walked out to the ice flows and made a hard left, circling around the walls until he found himself at the back of the wall, then he went straight back until he came across a hole in the snow, a ramp going down into the underground.

    It certainly didn’t look like it, but the south pole wasn’t all ice and snow. Beneath the thick layer of snow was earth and in that earth a cavern had been dug. Sokka walked down the ramp and came to the small alcove.

    This was the home of the village shrine. The shrine was to the avatar; a piddling thing with a single statue of Avatar Kuruk. It was dark with very little in the way of lighting unless you brought a lantern.

    Standing in front of the statue was Katara, who had hung a lantern on the wall and was standing in front of it.

    “Hey, Katara,” Sokka said, startling his sister. “You about done?”

    Katara looked at him, glared, then turned back toward the shrine.

    “Katara,” Sokka started, before grunted. “Whatever. I just wanted to let you know the laundry hasn’t been done and Gran-gran needs help with the seal jerky.”

    “You know what, Sokka?” Katara started dangerously, turning on her heel. “You can wash your own dirty socks today! And you know what else?”

    Sokka took a deep breath. Here we go.

    ---

    Aang hopped off of Appa’s back.

    Contrary to what he had been hoping for, the temple looked like it was deserted. A cold breeze washed over his face and sent a chill down his spine. He had never seen the temple so empty before. There was always someone flying around somewhere, walking down a path or jumping. But there was no one here.

    Maybe it would have been better if he had a few friends to explore with him!

    That thought just made Aang sigh in depression.

    He walked up the stairs that were carved out the side of the mountain and passed the air ball field. He remembered setting time aside for a game every day while he was staying at the temple, playing with his friends.

    That was before he was told he was the Avatar and then none of his friends wanted to play with him anymore.

    Aang shook his head and caught himself looking at something decidedly...foreign. He blinked and stared at the snowbank, the chill of the mountain air seeping into his blood.

    “No...”

    He rushed forward and with a gust of air, knocked the snow out of the way, revealing only a helmet of black and red steel. Aang took it in his hands, his eyes wide and his heart having stopped.

    He looked left and right. “Gyatso? Gyatso!”

    His logical brain then caught up with him and told him that Gyatso was long, long dead. He had been gone for a hundred years. “Hello? Anyone? Is anyone there? Hello?”

    He ran up the side of the mountain into the library. Rapidly, he looked everywhere, trying to find some inclination of where everyone was. But the only occupants of the library were himself and the rotten remains of the scrolls that Aang had once poured over to replace the one that he had lost so long ago.

    Still frantically searching, he jumped out of the library and glided out on his staff, autumn colored wings stretching out above him. He came down to his old masters home, Gyatso and threw open the door.

    That is when Aang first encountered the horrors of war.

    In the center of the hut, lie Gyatso, the skeleton of the airbending master lying within the snow that had settled within the building. Around it’s neck was the amulet his master and teacher had worn so long ago. Surrounding the impromptu grave were suits of black armor, the remains inside of them in varying states of crumbling to dust.

    Aang stopped being able to breathe. He fell to his knees, his eyes starting to water as he desperately tried to summon his voice to deny the sight that lay before him. But he couldn’t.

    His eyes were not lying to him and this he knew.

    And perhaps for the first time in a hundred years, the hut saw unnatural light.

    ---

    Sokka and Katara were in the heat of battle. Well, as heated as an argument with a sibling could be.

    “Look, I made a promise to Dad!” Sokka shouted, pointing up the stone ramp. “And he put the entire tribe in jeopardy!”

    “Jeopardy from what?” Katara yelled back, putting a finger between Sokka’s eyes. “He let out one measly flare and nothing happened!”

    “But something could’ve!” Sokka bellowed.

    “But it didn’t!”

    Their argument was cut short when the small alcove was filled with unnatural blue light.

    Sokka and Katara’s eyes both went wide as the statue of Avatar Kuruk’s eyes were glowing bright like a pair of miniature cobalt suns that illuminated their faces.

    Katara blinked. “Aang...”

    ---

    Across the world, similar things were happening. On the opposite side of the world, the shine that the Northern Water Tribe had kept pristine shined. In the Earth Kingdom, their wall mural of the Avatar’s from ages past startled the sages with it’s sudden and violent burst of energy. In the very halls of the Fire Temple, the sages were scrambling to inform the Fire Lord that the one greatest threat to their conquest had reappeared.

    Wherever there was a shrine, there was light. Candles would glow with spiritual power, statues would shine like the sun. There was not a home, town or city that did not know and understand this one, undeniable truth.

    The Avatar, bridge between worlds, had returned.

    It’s too bad that a certain Fire Prince missed it because he was at sea.

    ---

    On top of the Southern Air Temple, it was a disaster in progress. A hurricane threatened to rip and tear every body, stone and tree out of the ground and into the clouds. In fact, some trees already did. Flying Lemurs had already fled the mountain top as quickly as they could when they sensed the raw, elemental fury about to be unleashed.

    For his part, Aang could not hear anything over the sound of his own fury. His omnipotent rage clawing through the winds and slicing through the trees. Appa was flying above the swirling vortex, looking down at his oldest and best friend and trying to figure out how to help him.

    But the storm would rage on, for hours and hours until the sun finally set upon the horizon. Avatar Aang, in all his fury and all his power, felt his strength leave him as he slowly and gingerly set himself on the floor. There he lay, his face in his hands, sobbing uncontrollably.

    I shouldn’t have left, Aang thought. No, no, no…

    Sensing that things were safe once again, Appa gently sat down beside Aang and curled around the boy.

    “What do I do, boy?” Aang asked, embracing one of Appa’s massive legs. “I’m the Avatar and I was supposed to stop stuff like this from happening.

    Appa let out a low rumble, bringing his tail over Aang like a makeshift blanket.

    “Now the nomads are all gone and the world’s been at war for a hundred years,” Aang groaned into his friend and animal guide’s fur. “What do I do? I can’t stop this! I’m just an airbender and all the friends I made over the years are dead!”

    With another rumble, Appa slowly laid down next to the distressed airbender.

    “I can’t do this on my own.” Aang shook his head.

    At Aang’s declaration, Appa let out a groan.

    “Wait,” Aang thought for a minute. “But I’ve got a new friend! But I got banished! If I just show up again, it’ll just cause more problems.”

    Appa just looked down at Aang.

    “Maybe if I go down there, apologize for putting everyone in danger,” Aang started, creating a half-baked plan in his head. “Then maybe they’ll at least point me in the right direction. Maybe she’ll come with me, boy!”

    Appa then yawned, rolling onto his stomach. Aang then saw that the sun had long since set.

    “Alright, we’ll leave for the South Pole again tomorrow,” Aang said, suddenly awash as if things were going to be okay. Or at least, managed. “Thanks, buddy.”

    Appa let out an approving rumble.

    ---

    “I think Aang was the Avatar,” Katara said with conviction.

    She was sitting in the Chieftain's tent, a bowl of soup in her hands, sitting in a semi-circle with Gran-gran and Sokka.

    Sokka had frozen in the middle of spooning some soup in his mouth as he looked at his sister. “Really? Are you sure you’re not just saying that because he was going to take you to the North Pole?”

    “Sokka!” Katara snapped hotly. “I’m serious! Didn’t you see the statue? It was glowing the same way the iceberg was!”

    “Okay sure, the iceberg and the statue were glowing in the same, spooky way,” Sokka allowed with narrowed eyes. “That doesn’t mean they’re connected!”

    “Sure it does!” Katara argued hotly.

    “How?” Sokka asked.

    “The iceberg we found Aang in was glowing. He’s the last airbender,” Katara recounted with a glare. “The Fire Nation attacked the Air Nomad’s to kill the Avatar, but they apparently missed one. Then, when we find an Airbender that’s been on Ice since before the war, his ice berg is glowing, then a week later, the statue of Kuruk starts glowing the same way!”

    “That’s just all circumstantial,” Sokka waved off, inhaling a spoonful of soup.

    “But it fits!” Katara insisted. “I think Aang finally figured out what happened to the rest of the nomads and he started glowing again!”

    “Gran-gran,” Sokka began, turning to his elder. “Help me out here! Explain why Katara’s wrong.”

    Katara huffed and growled in anger.

    “Sokka, I know that Aang needed to be banished for the safety of the tribe,” Gran-gran began. “His lack of respect for our rules and safety could not be ignored. But I think Katara is right.”

    “You do?” Both siblings asked at the same time.

    “Yes, I do,” Gran-gran replied. “My instincts are never wrong and I felt it in my bones that there was something off about Aang.”

    “Okay, so then what do we do?” Sokka asked with a glare. “If he really is the Avatar, what difference does it make to us? What do we do?”

    “We pray,” Gran-gran replied. “That the Avatar will bring balance back to the four nations as swiftly as he can.”

    ---

    Zuko had pulled into port just this past hour and was looking at the town’s bulletin board with no shortage of smug satisfaction.

    He was staring directly at a wanted poster with a Blue Oni mask painted on it with a bounty that had gone up by another thousand since the last poster he had seen, wanted for crimes such as military sabotage, theft, espionage and so on.

    “Are you thinking of adding the Blue Spirit to our list of targets, your highness?” One of the crewman, a non-bender, said, walking past Zuko with a crate full of supplies on his shoulder.

    Zuko smirked. “No. Just admiring the thing’s gall.”

    “You think there’s any truth to what they say?” The crewman asked. “That it really is a spirit exacting vengeance on the Fire Nation for trying to spread our glory everywhere.”

    “It wouldn’t surprise me,” Zuko answered with a nod. “Have you seen my Uncle?”

    “I think he was visiting the local shrine,” The sailor replied, gesturing behind him with his head.

    “Alright, get that on board quick,” Zuko ordered with a frown.

    “Yes, your highness,” The crewman replied.

    Zuko followed the road that had been indicated. The shrine was just a small thing, built in a gazebo. Uncle Iroh was standing in front of it, talking with one of the villagers.

    “Uncle Iroh, we’re about to put out,” Zuko called as he walked up to his Uncle. “I want us out of port before noon.”

    Iroh had this smug grin on his face and it took Zuko a second before he got the danger signals. “Prince Zuko.”

    Zuko got a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach.

    “Leaving port so quickly is wise,” Iroh approved with a nod. “Now tell me, have you heard the good news?”

    “...no.”

    “Shrine here lit up like a fireworks display yesterday,” Iroh explained, gesturing to the gazebo. “Tell me, Prince Zuko. Do you know what that means?”

    “No.” This was a lie. Zuko knew exactly what this meant.

    “It means,” Iroh began with a grin that told Zuko just how much he was enjoying this. “That the Avatar has returned.”

    Zuko slowly shut his eyes and opened them again with the pains of a damned soul.

    He felt as if something inside him was being violently stabbed to death with ice knives and had to resist the almost overpowering urge to throw his fists into the air and scream at the sky with all of his rage, pain and thwarted dreams.

    As it stood, Zuko did swallow hard. “Do we know where he is?”

    “No,” Iroh shook his head. “But I think we should be on watch to make sure we can swiftly respond to reports of his presence.”

    “That sounds like a good idea,” Zuko replied through grit teeth. “What do you recommend?”

    “Putting out to sea as quickly as possible,” Iroh replied with a smile. “And start our search anew.”

    Zuko’s scarred eye was twitching.

    “Perhaps Lieutenant Jee’s suggestion to search the South Pole will hold water,” Iroh theorized, stroking his beard. He didn’t actually know if the Avatar was there or not, but he did want Zuko to get back on track traveling the world and hopefully, getting more ready to take the throne as Iroh knew was his nephew’s destiny. “If not, then perhaps we might be able to pick up a trail and track him down.”

    “Uncle, it will take us over two months to get there,” Zuko replied with an annoyed glare. “If anything, he’ll either be in the North Pole or going to the North pole to amass an army if he isn’t heading inland to the Earth Kingdom.”

    Iroh blinked and cursed his nephew’s ability to logic out a problem. He wasn’t nearly that clear headed a year ago.

    “Our best bet is to sail around the northern coasts and wait until we either hear something about the Avatar amassing an army or moving somewhere,” Zuko replied. “That way we can intercept him as he goes to the North Pole.”

    Iroh’s eyebrow rose in fascination. Was his Nephew starting to fall back into his desire to hunt the Avatar?

    “Realistically, though,” Zuko began with a sigh and a small smirk. “The Avatar will sneak past our single ship and completely evade our cunning trap for him. But at least we were in the general area, right?”

    Of course not. “It would be more effective if we used the feelers we’ve been putting out to gather information on his movements, in addition to using my contacts in the Army and Navy. So should we not move to the...equator? It would give us the greatest range of movement to respond and go in whichever direction we please.”

    Zuko thought this over. “Alright. We’ll set up a base at the Merchant’s Pier. I might be able to find something to help us...find the Avatar. And other things.”

    It’s a start, Iroh thought. “I will go inform the helmsman.”

    ---

    Author’s Notes: A little short for my tastes, but that’s fine, I guess. I knew Zuko was going to find out much later than in canon, but how much later? Given how the entire world seemed to know and accept Aang was the Avatar, it only stood to reason that the entire world learned that the Avatar had returned, through what is likely the same method: Glowing Shrines. Zuko doesn’t have a shrine aboard his ship, so he learned a day later than the rest of the world.

    Shout out goes out too Melden V, Anders Kronquist, Ray Tony Song, Volkogluk, Aaron Bjornson, iolande, Martin Auguado, Julio, Jiopaba, Hackerham, Tim Collins-Squire, Maben00, Sultan Saltlick, Ventari, PbookR, Seij, ChristobalAlvarez, Aenor Knight, Apperatus, EPiCJB19, Seeking Raven and Handwran. Thank you for your continued support.

    Until the next time!

    ~Fulcon
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2019
  8. Fencer

    Fencer Weaponized Randomness

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    manipulative old shit. Can’t just leave a man alone to determine his own fate even after advocating exactly that.
     
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  9. Fulcon

    Fulcon Wim Hoff Method Initiate

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    Hm...maybe I need to lay off of that since that's not what I want Iroh to be in this fic.
     
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  10. codeRR

    codeRR Heroic spirit unkown

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    well shit there go Zuko's dreams avoiding the avatar...it's just so funny. He's scared of Aang, what he represents and what it means for what the Fire nation did. I imagine there is plenty of guilt and fear which Iroh hasn't picked up on. Not that I expect him to.

    But it's just nice that Zuko's clear headedness can surprise even his uncle!
     
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  11. w34v3r

    w34v3r Versed in the lewd.

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    I can just imagine the finale sequence involves Iroh and Zuko trying to force each other to take the throne and getting into a shove fight trying to force each other closer to the funky hair pin.
     
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  12. Reymen

    Reymen Your first time is always over so quickly, isn't it?

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    I find it just as sketchy that waterbending can heal. The only difference is that we are trained from all rpg to expect it.
    Consider if you are hurt and someones solution is to dunk you in water. Sure it might clean my wound but I would not be healed.
     
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  13. Simonbob

    Simonbob Really? You don't say.

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    Sure.

    But, bending is magic. It has it's own rules.


    Personaly, I'd have fire bending be able to clean out poison and disease, but not actual healing.
     
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  14. w34v3r

    w34v3r Versed in the lewd.

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    Like I said Water benders having healing magic is sketchy as all hell, although you could use it to clean wounds and manipulate damaged anatomy, but it's an established canon ability from LAB, so it gets a pass, mostly.
     
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  15. TRm

    TRm Experienced.

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    Thank you for writing this; I've been having a fair amount of bad news today but after having read through the parts of this story relating to Zuko's realising his freedom and laughing at some of the more humorous parts, I've found that my mood is much better than it was before.

    On the story itself, I'm definitely interested in seeing what sort of growth each of the characters might take from here on, especially in regards to how Zuko learns from the other nations.


    Towards the topic of the story "Embers", I think that it, and another story "Traitor's Face", looks at the events of the canon series as well as the various personalities involved and considers them from a very different different perspective. Both end up going very AU in regards to to the past and some of the metaphysics involved but the parts of them that I find most interesting is the analysis of characters and culture.


    I mean, canonically (to LOK, anyway), firebending can be used to assist with the healing process. Though it seems to relate more to chi and Spirits than actually healing the body.
     
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  16. Fulcon

    Fulcon Wim Hoff Method Initiate

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    Honestly, I'm glad I was just able to help. Thank you for letting me know! :)

    Thank you! :)
     
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  17. Threadmarks: New Journeys
    Fulcon

    Fulcon Wim Hoff Method Initiate

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    The following is a fanbased work of fiction. Avatar the Last Airbender is the property of Viacom, Nickelodeon, Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Koniezko. Please support the official release.

    ---

    “Katara, what are you doing?” Sokka asked, looking at his sister in alarm.

    His sister was currently standing in a small boat, counting everything she had stocked within. She looked at her brother with a glare. “What’s it look like I’m doing, Sokka? I’m leaving!”

    The boat was perhaps the only sailboat the village had left, large enough to have a cabin to sleep in during any voyage. The sail was furled up and it was tied to the ice with a rope.

    “You’re what?” Sokka yelped in alarm. “Katara, you can’t be serious!”

    “Oh, I’m serious,” Katara barked, hands on her hips. “He needs help and if he can’t come back here to get it, we’re going to him.”

    Sokka simply stared at her with a confused expression before responding. “Do you even know where you’re going?”

    “The North Pole!” Katara snapped in response. “Aang needs our help and that’s where he’s going to learn Waterbending.”

    “How do you know that?” Sokka asked with exasperation.

    “Because he’s only an airbender,” Katara replied. “And the Avatar cycle goes from air to water, to earth to fire. So the first place he’s going is the North Pole, since there’s got to be a Waterbending Master there.”

    “Katara, the North Pole is on the other side of the world!” Sokka pointed out the obvious. “Do you have any idea how long it’ll take you to get there by boat?”

    “I don’t care,” Katara snapped. “Now if you aren’t going to be helpful, go away.”

    “Do you even know how you’re going to get there?” Sokka asked.

    “I’ll figure it out!” Katara shouted and stomped, causing the ice below them to start breaking. “Go! Away!”

    “Alright, alright,” Sokka quickly admitted defeat, turning tail. He took a deep breath and started muttering to himself. “Gotta find Gran-gran...and a map.”

    Grumbling to herself in frustration, she got to work organizing her load into the boat. “Shouldn’t have let him go alone. I wanted to go but no...”

    She bent down with her knees and picked up the box she just placed in the boat, moving it, slowly, into the cabin. “Family comes first.”

    She looked up at the sail and realized that she had only been been told how to sail once when she was a small girl and thus had only the smallest idea of how she was going to get out to sea.

    “Katara?”

    Katara growled in irritation as the sound of her Grandmother’s voice. She walked to the main deck and saw that Sokka had called in reinforcements.

    “You can’t stop me, Gran-gran,” Katara told her. “I should’ve left with Aang when Sokka banished him and now he needs our help.”

    “Do you know how you’re going to get there?” Gran-gran asked with a frown.

    “I’ll figure it out!”

    “Well, come ashore,” Gran-gran told her. “Sokka brought a map.”

    Katara blinked and looked at her brother, who was indeed holding a rolled up leather map. Cautiously, she stepped over the railings and back onto the ice. As she did, Sokka unrolled the map on the ice.

    “Okay, so the distance between us and the north pole is almost twelve-thousand five hundred miles,” Sokka explained, pointing at the map. “That’s one way. So if you sailed along the straightest path there, it’ll take you months to get there. Months!”

    Katara’s eyes narrowed. “Months it is! What’s the straightest path?”

    “You’re serious,” Sokka replied with a gaping mouth. “You’re crazy.”

    “Well you don’t have to come with, Sokka,” Katara told him sweetly.

    Sokka groaned. “If you go, then yes I do.”

    “No you don’t,” Katara snapped sharply. “I can look after myself just fine.”

    “Katara,” Gran-gran started levelly. “No, you can’t.”

    “Sure I can, I’m a Waterbender,” Katara replied dismissively.

    “Without any training and you don’t know how to use any weapons,” Gran-gran continued to pour frozen rain all over Katara’s parade. “If you intend to make the journey across the globe, you will need your brother’s protection.”

    “And if you go, I promised Dad I’d keep you safe,” Sokka pointed out with a frown. “And if I go with you, I can’t protect the village.”

    “Sokka,” Gran-gran started with an annoyed look. “Aang is the Avatar. If your sister is right, and I believe she is, then going to assist him is much more important that keeping our small and easily hidden tribe safe.

    “But...but...” Sokka started, unable to talk. “But Gran-gran!”

    “Katara,” Gran-gran started with a serious expression. “Are you absolutely sure that going off on this quest is the right thing to do?”

    She looked right into her grandmother’s eyes when she answered. “Yes.”

    “Alright,” Gran-gran nodded. “Sokka, what route are you suggesting?”

    “If we travel along the coast of the Earth Kingdom, it’ll mostly be a straight line through the Mo Ce Sea,” Sokka replied, tracing the route along with his finger. “We can stop at a few of the villages to refill our supplies. If we cut through this center channel here, we can cut right through the Earth Kingdom to get to the north pole in five? Five to six months. Our first stop would be here at...Kyoshi Island? Just to refill our supplies before we come to the main coast.”

    “How long will it take us to get there?” Katara asked.

    “Two weeks,” Sokka answered.

    “Okay, sounds like a plan,” Katara said, rubbing her hands together.

    “Do you have enough supplies for the trip?” Sokka asked with a raised eyebrow.

    “Yes, I have enough,” Katara replied.

    Sokka had a disbelieving expression as he stood up and stepped into the ship, looking at where the supplies were stored in the cabin. “Yeah, no. That’s not enough. Maybe if we were fat enough to eat ourselves, it’d be enough, but we’re not.”

    “Well, it’s not my fault you can eat an entire dolphin shark on your own!” Katara snipped, joining him on the boat.

    “That was just on a dare!” Sokka rebuked sharply. “And it was just a baby!”

    “Enough!” Gran-gran shouted, grabbing both siblings by their ears and pulling them back onto shore. “You are not going to be crossing the ocean bickering like toddlers! You will kiss and make up right now, or you’re both forbidden from leaving the village!”

    Gran-gran folded her arms and glared at the two siblings, who were looking at each other angrily at first, then...sheepishly.

    “Katara,” Sokka started. “I’m sorry I had to throw out your chance at getting a Waterbending Master.”

    “It’s okay,” Katara sighed. “I should’ve put my foot down when Aang insisted we explore the fire nation ship. This whole thing is my fault and I’m sorry for getting mad. Forgive me?”

    “Yup!”

    The two embraced in a strong, sibling hug.

    “Good,” Gran-gran let out a sigh of relief.

    ---

    The trip to the Merchant’s pier only took a few days in Zuko’s ship. In spite of his irritation at how the universe was willing to give him the quarry he had sought only a year after he had stopped caring about it at all, this was turning out to not be so bad.

    The crew had bought Zuko’s explanation about waiting at the Pier to gain information on where the Avatar was going. Given the Pier’s fairly central location with easy access to the Fire Nation, Ba Sing Se and a channel going to the North Pole, it was easy to see why the port was so successful.

    Which meant that it would also be a haven for smugglers. Zuko knew that but he had overestimated the amount of time he had to actually complete his goal of going to Hira’a. So having easy access to smugglers, especially the good ones, was going to be at a premium; he didn’t know when a lead on the Avatar that he couldn’t afford to miss without raising the crews suspicions would show up.

    Zuko liked the crew, but he knew they wanted to go home almost as much as he used too. Counting on them for the search for his mother was unwise.

    Still, though, Zuko felt like he had hit some sort of wall. He had tried to hire the services of some smugglers before. Multiple times, as a matter of fact, to get him into the Fire Nation. But every single time, those smugglers found themselves snatched up or destroyed somehow before they could actually ferry him. The first one earned a fortune somehow and defaulted on the contract. The second one was lost at sea. The third one died in a firefight with a Fire Nation cruiser. The latest one was arrested. By the fire nation. If he could get in and rescue him, he wouldn’t need his services in the first place.

    It was almost like the entire universe was telling him to forget about his mother, follow his Uncle’s advice go after the Avatar. Zuko had only one response.

    No.

    Now that that thought had been dealt with, it was time to make plans. Zuko had taken the crew ashore to establish a secret base within the Pier. A warehouse that had been sitting abandoned for nearly three years after it’s previous owner died. So Zuko, under the assumed name of Lee, had purchased it. The crew was in the middle of renovating it to function as a proper base, for roughly ten of the crew, in addition to Zuko and Iroh to use.

    Zuko was actually looking forward to using it. It was going to have a secret entrance, a room to store and sort through communications and keep tabs on each of the legitimate and seedy elements of the pier and an armory.

    Though while his crew was busy building up their base, Zuko remembered that his Uncle wanted to speak to him. So the prince walked off, looking for his Uncle.

    Uncle Iroh was sitting in the corner of the warehouse, meditating in front of a row of candles. It was a sign of his Uncle’s mental fortitude that he was able to keep his focus even in the din of the construction. Zuko took a spot next to his Uncle and tried to join him. It wasn’t like he was doing anything else while he waited for his Uncle to be finished. He was less than entirely successful, to his annoyance. The sound of hammers slamming into nails was difficult to tune out.

    After a while, Iroh finally spoke. “Zuko, thank you for joining me. Would you be interested in a game of Pai Sho?”

    There was something very odd about how his Uncle asked that question. But, again, he had already done his training today and he wasn’t feeling overly anxious about anything, so he shrugged. “Sure, Uncle.”

    “Good,” Iroh said with a nod, standing up.

    They moved to a table that Iroh had set up on the outside of the warehouse and thankfully, the sounds of construction were much quieter on the outside.

    “I feel that I must apologize, nephew,” Iroh said, taking a seat and bringing out a box of Pai Sho tiles.

    “For what?” Zuko asked with a frown.

    “I had been pushing you to do what you want to do for so long,” Iroh said, pulling the tiles out of their box and handing Zuko his set. “That when you finally did it, you did not go on the path that I had expected you too, so I began trying to push you back.”

    Zuko shrugged. “I didn’t really notice.”

    “I credit your relaxed and flexible attitude for that,” Iroh replied, setting the first tile, a white lotus in the center. “But the reason that I was pushing you back toward what you were assigned to do was because I was afraid that your sense of honor and responsibility departed with your spiritual wounds.”

    “Because I don’t want to chase after the Avatar?” Zuko asked, setting his own tile.

    “Because you want nothing to do with the land of your birth,” Iroh answered.

    “They made their bed with dragons,” Zuko replied, looking off to the side. “It’s their fault if they get eaten.”

    “I understand why you feel that way,” Iroh said, placing his next tile. “And I understand the allure of a private and prosperous life. But I always thought you were destined for more.”

    “You were thinking I’d take the throne,” Zuko clarified, looking over the tiles and muttering to himself. “I hate that opening...”

    “I had thought your destiny was to lead the Fire Nation back to peace,” Iroh replied. “But your destiny is determined by your choices. What you choose to do is up to you. But I believe you might be happy if you had the opportunity to find the Avatar and offer to help make things right.”

    “What makes you say that?” Zuko asked as he put down his tile.

    “How you reacted after you learned the war with the Air Nomad’s was not a series of battles, but a slaughter.”

    Zuko grumbled, watching his Uncle place the next tile down. “The only thing I want to do is stay out of his way.”

    “That is your choice.” Iroh said. “But it occurred to me while I was meditating that perhaps it might be easier for you to focus if you found your mother. So, I checked around the Pier and I think I found a few...friends who would be able to help you.”

    “Really?” Zuko asked. His eyes narrowed, only briefly wondering where these friends had been for the past year. “Alright, who are they?”

    “I can’t tell you here,” Iroh replied, stroking his beard. “But I can tell you how we are to be introduced.”

    Zuko’s head tilted in interest. “I’m listening.”

    “First, let us restart the game,” Iroh said, picking up his tiles.

    The prince blinked, but did as his Uncle requested, scooping up his tiles.

    ---

    After their ‘game’, the two had moved to a seedy bar, where an old man sat at a Pai Sho table, as was a common sight.

    “May I have this game?” Zuko asked, placing a hand on the chair.

    The old man smirked, looking up at the Prince with an amused expression. “The guest has the first move.”

    Zuko heeded his Uncle’s instructions and placed a Lotus tile directly in the center.

    The old man raised a fascinated eyebrow, cupping his hand toward Zuko. “I see you favor the white lotus gambit. Not many still cling to the ancient ways.”

    It took Zuko a second to remember the next phrase. “Those who do can always find a friend.”

    Iroh tapped him on the shoulder and Zuko remembered to cup his hands in a mirror of his opponent.

    “Then let us play.”

    Then came the complicated part. Zuko did his best, Iroh only having to correct his placement a few times, before the two had created a lotus with the tiles they had placed.

    “Welcome, brother. The White Lotus opens wide to those who know her secrets.”

    “I have yet to see them for myself,” Zuko replied.

    The old man hummed. “Very well, come with me. I have something to show you.”

    Zuko turned to Iroh, who simply nodded with a small smile. Zuko stood and the two of them followed the old man into what looked like a storage room. The old man turned on his heels.

    “Welcome, both of you. I am Kung,” The old man introduced himself with a bow. “I am assuming that your mentor here is your contact?”

    “That is correct,” Iroh said. After he introduced himself, he continued. “We need a way to smuggle junior here into the Fire Nation village of Hira’a, past the blockade.”

    “And for what purpose is that?” Kung asked.

    “I’m looking for my mother,” Zuko replied. “She disappeared when I was eight and I’ve always wondered what happened to her.”

    “Disappeared after a little court intrigue, eh?” Kung asked with a small smirk. “I’m afraid that usually doesn’t bode well. But, we’ll certainly see what we can do about getting you through the blockade.”

    “Thank you,” Zuko replied. “Now, Uncle mentioned something about becoming an initiate?”

    “That is the game we played,” Kung replied.

    “So,” Zuko began. “Who are you?”

    “We’re an order dedicated to transcending the divides between nations, seeking to share ancient knowledge and truth,” Kung explained. “Our order has undermined the Fire Nation’s conquest for nearly a century, your highness and we’ve been very interested in you since you had abandoned your hunt for the Avatar.”

    “My great grandfather committed genocide,” Zuko stated with all the gravitas of someone talking about the weather. “It’s hard to hunt for someone when you can’t even look him in the eye.”

    “So it is,” Kung’s eyes narrowed. “If you are serious about becoming an initiate, there is a trial that you will have to perform.”

    “Will I need to complete this trial before you get me past the blockade?” Zuko asked, eyes narrowing.

    Iroh stepped forward. “No. I am a grand lotus, a way will be found past the blockade without that.”

    “Then what is the point of joining the order?” Zuko asked with a frown.

    “Zuko, you want a life separate from the Fire Nation,” Iroh pointed out. “The quickest way for a person of your noble stature to disappear is to have a network of support to allow them to leave. It just so happens that the Order can help you do exactly that.”

    The Prince’s eyes went wide. “What’s the price?”

    “As an initiate, you may be called upon to complete certain tasks once you are relocated,” Kung replied. “Though once you have proven your worth and have become a full member, we will only call upon you some of the time.”

    “What are these tasks?” Zuko asked, his eyes narrowing.

    Kung simply leaned forward. “That depends; what skills do you possess?”

    ---

    Author’s Note: Going to be frank, I was curious on what Zuko would be doing while he was waiting for the Gaang to actually get together and make their way up toward his area. Then I remembered ‘wait, the white lotus is a thing’ and here we are.

    Hope you enjoyed. It’s going to take a bit longer than I expected for the Gaang to get together, but I think that’s fine.

    Shout out too Melden V, Anders Kronquist, Ray Tony Song, Volkogluk, Aaron Bjornson, iolande, Martin Auguado, Julio, Jiopaba, Hackerham, Tim Collins-Squire, Maben00, Sultan Saltlick, Ventari, PbookR, Seij, ChristobalAlvarez, Aenor Knight, Apperatus, EPiCJB19, Seeking Raven and Handwran. Your continued support helps make this possible!

    Until the next time.

    ~Fulcon
     
  18. codeRR

    codeRR Heroic spirit unkown

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    Lotus!Zuko? I don't honestly think I've ever seen that before. Quite a path...also props on Iroh for realizing and admitting to his nephew that he was trying to push him towards a certain goal and has ceased now.
     
  19. Fulcon

    Fulcon Wim Hoff Method Initiate

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    Not entirely sure why, you'd think it'd be stupidly popular with how awesome Zuko is.

    I was afraid it came out forced, but I'm pretty happy he was able to do that. I figured a wise old man would realize he was screwing up way before a headstrong, emotional teenager, so I had him act as such. :)
     
  20. RichardWhereat

    RichardWhereat The Dawn Will Cum

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    It's because they are older than the protagonists, and a lot of fanfiction writers are stuck in their rebellion against authority stage, so they see them as fuddy duddies to be ignored in favour of an Independent approach.
     
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  21. Fulcon

    Fulcon Wim Hoff Method Initiate

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    That makes perfect sense, thank you. Have a cookie. :)
     
  22. codeRR

    codeRR Heroic spirit unkown

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    Very....now I just have to find that one Avatar!Zuko story I found awhile ago
     
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  23. Fencer

    Fencer Weaponized Randomness

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    Link when you do? Please?
     
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  24. Akuma-Heika

    Akuma-Heika The Devil Exists Within

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    Is this it, Reluctant Hero?

    Fencer link above.
     
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  25. Edifier

    Edifier To rectify be my cause, The Goddess be my purpose!

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    I don't think there's a reason for everyone to be spirit informed of the avatar, it feels very AU considering nothing of the sort was ever mentioned nor hinted towards, it gave me mental whiplash reading your reasoning. Before that I thought it was a change to cannon from the Avatar being more deeply effected and the spirits of the past avatars or something interfering, like a call to action. If everyone becomes certain that the avatar is back, it makes me think that the war would start much sooner than in cannon, with the fire nation being accosted on all sides. Everyone knows the avatar is back, it's like an unified signal to say REVULUTION!
    Avatar is a famous figure celebrated all over the continents, anyone can claim to be one yet... only one can airbend. Everyone knows of him because of the fame, of the significance. Not to mention he's always spreading the word wherever he goes, word of mouth too.

    Isn't Sokka the character who sees trough the bullshit, sees the truth and trough illusions and of course jokes around - the rational one of the group. Yet by the looks of it in this instance Katara has taken his role. Yet than again, he's the one with the plan to achieve Kataras goals, like the map.

    The straightest path on sea usually is the slowest path on the sea, to use currents to go around currents that slow you down, to circumvent storms. Uncounting for spiritual nonsense and seamonsters like amm, safe waters are best waters yet I may be too pias to count them as an actual point of consideration.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2019
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  26. wtdtd

    wtdtd Getting some practice in, huh?

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    Dude, do you mean Suki or Zuko? Right now it could be both!
     
    Fulcon likes this.
  27. Edifier

    Edifier To rectify be my cause, The Goddess be my purpose!

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    The holy union of Sokka and Zuko.
     
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  28. Threadmarks: Complications
    Fulcon

    Fulcon Wim Hoff Method Initiate

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    The following is a fanbased work of fiction. Avatar the Last Airbender is the property of Viacom, Nickelodeon, Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Koniezko. Please support the official release.

    ---

    “So the wind’s looking pretty good,” Sokka said, pulling a line and putting the sail in a better position. “I think we might even make Kyoshi ahead of schedule!”

    It was a beautiful day to sail. The wind was strong but not overbearing, there was not a cloud in the sky and above them the sun shined with a warmth that made the two siblings feel like it was smiling upon them.

    “That’s a relief,” Katara replied, letting out a sigh and looking out across the water. She stretched out her hands and started trying to focus, moving her hands.

    A stream of water sprung from the ocean, flowing in between her hands and coursing around her fingers as Katara practiced.

    “Well, while you’re playing with magic water, I’m going to check our maps,” Sokka said, heading inside the cabin.

    The water dropped from Katara’s hands. “It’s not magic it’s-!”

    But he was inside and out of earshot, so she simply growled in frustration and started again.

    She was going to need to be her best so that she could help Aang when they found him again.

    ---

    “There it is!” Aang said, pointing down at the village made of igloos and snow.

    During his time at the temple, the pair had accidentally taken an unexpected visitor. On their first day back in the air, a Lemur who had stowed away in one of the bags on Appa’s saddle had woken up and accidentally flew off of Appa before frantically flying back to the bison.

    Aang adored the little guy immediately, naming him Momo and allowing him to stick around. Of course that did mean the supplies that Aang had hurriedly tucked away were being eaten a little faster than he’d like. Hopefully, that wouldn’t matter so much since they were now in sight of civilization.

    Appa rumbled as his rider took him down for a landing outside the village walls.

    As he expected, there was a line of grown adults at the gates, wearing less than pleased faces. At the front, was Gran-gran, who looked livid. And shocked. “What are you doing here?”

    “Look, I know I’m not supposed to be here,” Aang let out like a machine gun for words. “I shouldn’t have gone on that ship after Katara told me it was forbidden. I didn’t listen. It was bad and I am bad and I’m really, really, really sorry. I just need to talk to Sokka and Katara and you’ll never see me again, I promise.”

    Gran-gran blinked, her mouth turning from a shocked anger to an annoyed frown. “Answer me this one question. Are you the Avatar?”

    Aang’s eyes nearly bugged out of their sockets at that question. He gulped and sharply inhaled. “Yes, I’m the Avatar. I left the nomads when they told me because they wanted to send me to another temple. I got caught in a storm and that’s how I got frozen in that iceberg.”

    “For some reason, I believe you,” Gran-gran grunted. “But, I am afraid you have wasted your time. Sokka and Katara have left the village.”

    “What?” Aang asked with a thunderstruck expression. “Why, where did they go?”

    “They left for the North Pole the day after the Shrine to Avatar Kuruk became active,” Gran-gran replied. “Their first stop was going to be Kyoshi Island where they’d purchase additional supplies and then hopefully they’d meet you at the North Pole while you were learning to Waterbend.”

    Aang blinked. “They were coming to help me?”

    Gran-gran nodded. “They were. Now get out of here and go find them!”

    “Can I have some supplies first?” Aang asked with a sheepish look. “A flying lemur snuck into mine and ate some of them.”

    “A lemur,” Gran-gran deadpanned.

    On cue, the flying Lemur flew out of the saddle and landed on Aang’s head.

    The old woman started massaging her eyes. “All we have is some jerky, but you can have some, alright.”

    “Oh, never mind then,” Aang said, hopping twenty feet in the air and landing on Appa’s head. “I’m a vegetarian. I’ll find something on the way. Come on, Appa! Yip-yip!”

    ---

    Zuko and Iroh were sitting in their newly constructed hideout that had been walled off from the rest of the crew. In the center was a table that Uncle had procured from the markets of the pier that had a Pai-Sho board carved into the top. On the wall was a board with a map and communications ostensibly about the Avatar pinned to it.

    All they said was that there had been no sightings of him at all since the shrines had lit up and the communications between the army and navy were getting more frantic with every passing day.

    But they weren’t talking about the Avatar, they were talking about the Prince’s real goal.

    “The week of Winter Solstice?” Zuko asked with a frown. “That’s the closest date they can get me in?”

    “It will be a while before we can get everyone we need in place,” Iroh replied with a shrug. “The white lotus has a few captains they can get stationed in the blockade that will let you in.”

    “Alright, I guess I can wait,” Zuko said with a frown. “I just need something to do in the meantime.”

    “Well, if you decide to join the order, I imagine we’ll have things for you to do,” Iroh pointed out. “Though I understand why you’ve decided to take a step back and think it through.”

    “It just seems like a bad idea to tie my loyalties down until I absolutely have too,” Zuko replied with a shrug. “Sure, they can help me...disappear, I don’t see why I need to right this second.”

    Iroh gave a sage-like nod. “Perhaps we can begin by looking for Waterbending scrolls?”

    “That’s a good idea,” Zuko nodded. “A trade hub like this has to have a few around. But there’s not really a point unless those scrolls also talk about the philosophy behind the bending. Is there?”

    “I suppose not,” Iroh answered. “There’s not really a way we can judge our performance otherwise, is there? Tell me, Zuko, what do you think a firebender can learn from Waterbending?”

    Zuko blinked. “Well, you developed that lightning redirection form you told me about by watching Waterbenders, right? So maybe a better way of bending lightning?”

    Iroh hummed. “Maybe, but I’m wondering if that’s not a shallow way of looking at it.”

    He only got a shrug in response. “Probably.”

    ---

    “Land!” Sokka called, pointing straight ahead at the island in front of them.

    Katara, who had just woken up, walked out of the cabin rubbing her eyes and yawning. “We finally made it!”

    “Yes!” Sokka shouted enthusiastically. “I hope they take Water Tribe money because I am starving!

    At that second, the boat was rocked by a massive wave, the boat nearly capsizing as it was shoved out of the way. A massive shadow fell across the boat as a twenty-foot tall dorsal fin poked out of the water and blocked the sun. Sokka’s heart stopped while Katara’s blood had frozen in their veins.

    The two siblings looked at each other and then around them as other dorsal fins stretched out of the water for a brief second before sinking beneath the water.

    “Let’s get ashore,” Sokka said quickly.

    “Yes. Let’s.”

    They took the ship into the shallows, starting to work on circling the island, looking for a port. The massive cove they had come to looked like it should have had a dock or something built out from the shore, but there was nothing.

    As they orbited the island on the sea, they only saw more of the same. No docks, ports or anywhere to bring their ship into for a resupply.

    “Maybe their village is hidden?” Katara suggested with an uncertain expression.

    “Probably. We’ll bring the boat back into the cove,” Sokka replied, turning the sail with a push of the lever. “And go looking.”

    So they did. Sokka took extra care to avoid the massive fins that periodically sprung out from under the water, each time making the hairs on the back of their neck stand up at attention like they were in an army. When the boat finally ran ashore, both of the water tribe siblings let out the tense breath that they didn’t know they were holding.

    “You know, if we had a bigger boat, we could probably catch one of those,” Sokka pointed out, licking his lips.

    “Come on, Sokka,” Katara replied, rolling her eyes. “Let’s see if we can find a village or something.”

    “Yeah, just give me a second to grab Boomerang and my club.”

    ---

    “There really aren’t any water bending scrolls in the Pier?” Zuko asked with shock.

    “No, Prince Zuko,” Lieutenant Jee replied with a shake of his head. “This isn’t the Poles, and they aren’t exactly going to be keen on just handing scrolls out like candy.”

    Zuko let out a disappointed sigh. “Figures. Alright, perhaps we could put the word out that there’s a buyer interested in obtaining these scrolls.”

    “If I may, your highness,” Jee began. “Last night when the crew when I was off duty, I heard some rumors shared between some of the traders. Apparently, there’s a tribe of water benders that lives independently of the poles.”

    Zuko blinked. “Really? Where did these traders say they were?”

    “A place called the Foggy Swamp,” Lieutenant Jee replied, pointing toward it’s spot on the map that Zuko had been sitting at. “I did some research and the swamp does exist, though it’s reportedly infested with hostile spirits. As for the benders, there’s more than one account of them I was able to find. They’re real, alright.”

    Zuko’s eyes narrowed. “That would take weeks to get too. Alright, lets make plans to head over there following the Winter Solstice. If we don’t find information on the Avatar by then, obviously we’ll need to try a different track. Thank you, Lieutenant.”

    “Thank you, your highness.” Jee bowed.

    “Will that be all?” Zuko asked.

    “Yes,” Jee replied. “By your leave.”

    Zuko nodded and Jee left Zuko’s private war room, just as Iroh entered. “Did he tell you about the swamp benders?”

    “Have you met them before, Uncle?” Zuko asked with an analytical expression.

    “No, but I had heard whispers about them during my march to the wall of Ba Sing Se,” Iroh responded, sitting down. “Though I had also heard that they were not just water benders, but plant benders.”

    Plant benders?” Zuko asked with an intrigued and delighted smile. “Okay, that I got to see. After Winter Solstice.”

    Iroh hummed. “Don’t want to miss the window, do we?”

    “We do not,” Zuko replied with the smallest frown. “Uncle, if the White Lotus were to help me disappear, where would they send me?”

    “Well to be honest, Zuko, they would likely send you to Ba Sing Se,” Iroh replied. “We haven’t had agents there in decades, as I’ve been told.”

    “What would I be doing there?” Zuko asked.

    “You would be trying to find out why Ba Sing Se has not done anything to formally join the war,” Iroh responded. The conversation halted when a Yeoman knocked on the door and walked in with lunch. After the Yeoman left, they continued. “It would be up to you to find out why.”

    “They’d want me to to get involved in the war?” Zuko asked, looking decidedly unimpressed.

    “No,” Iroh shook his head. “You’d only be an initiate. They’d just want to know why the Earth King has not responded to the Fire Nation’s repeated incursions on it’s massive wall. I got through and they still have not responded. Your job would be to find out and report back. Easy.”

    “And that’s it?” Zuko asked, sounding a little confused.

    “That would be it,” Iroh nodded. “Of course, if you progressed beyond the rank of initiate, you might be asked to do more...”

    “No, no,” Zuko hurriedly shut him down, shaking his head. “Initiate is good.”

    Iroh suppressed his frown. “It’s your choice, Prince Zuko.”

    ---

    “Appa, there it is!” Aang shouted, pointing down at their island destination. With a rumble, Appa descended down upon the cove, right next to a wooden sail-boat that was very clearly Water Tribe. “They’re definitely here alright!”

    Aang hopped aboard the boat and saw the blue sleeping bags on the floor, which just added to Aang’s enthusiasm. I’ll get to see Katara again! It’s going to be so awesome.

    His attention was pulled when a rumble sounded, followed by something heavy hitting the ground. Appa was laying on the ground.

    “Alright, you rest boy,” Aang said, twirling his airbending staff and snapping the wings open. “I’ll go and look for them.”

    He jumped into the air and hooked his ankles around the bottom, flying forward on bent gusts of air. Sometimes he wished he could fly without his glider; much like Appa did. But he wasn’t entirely sure how he could pull that off whenever he thought about it. Maybe he could ask his old buddy one day how he did it and try to figure out the answer.

    But until then, he had to find Sokka and Katara and pick them up.

    He glided through the trees, turning and dodging around the tree branches as they came. If he remembered right from what he saw above, the main village was near the center of the island, so he’d probably run into them over there.

    “Wait, who are you?” Aang heard loudly to his left. “Where are the men who ambushed us?”

    “Sokka!” Aang cheered, making a sharp turn toward the sound of the voice.

    “There were no men, we ambushed you!” Rebuffed a female voice as Aang took a perch in a tree among the leaves. “Now tell us, who are you and what are you doing here?”

    Sokka and Katara were tied straight to a large wooden post apparently at the entrance to their village. The two looked unharmed for the most part, but clearly annoyed.

    “Don’t mind him,” Katara said diplomatically, but quickly. “We’re just travelers from the Southern Water Tribe, we came here to replenish our supplies for our trip to the North Pole.”

    “And how do we know you’re not Fire Nation spies?” This came from an old man that was standing among the female warriors. “Kyoshi Island has stayed out of the war and we intend to keep it that way!”

    “Why would we spy for the Fire Nation?” Sokka asked sounding both confused and insulted. “They’ve attacked us a bunch of times! We even have a ship trapped in the ice back home to prove it!”

    “That doesn’t prove anything,” The first girl pointed out. “They could just be Fire Nation colonials dressed in blue.”

    “Hey no,” Sokka started trying to sound as stern and authoritative as possible. “No! Would a Fire Nation Colonial, whatever that is, have a Water Tribe club and boomerang?”

    “Yes,” The old man replied, hefting said club in one of his hands. “Best we feed them to the Unagi. We can’t be too careful.”

    Not good! Aang thought, jumping into action immediately. He landed between the warriors dressed in green and his friends, blasting the opposing force with enough wind to knock them off their feat and send them flying.

    “Aang!” Katara shouted, sounding relieved. “You’re here!”

    “Glad I found you,” Aang said, before turning his attention back to the Kyoshi Warriors. He blasted them with another gust of wind, forcing them against the trees of the forest before leaping forward and grabbing Sokka’s club and boomerang.

    With a single leap, Aang jumped back and cut the siblings free with Sokka’s boomerang. “Come on! Appa’s on the shore by your ship, let’s get out of here!”

    The trio, now reunited, bolted down the path laid for them, running past the warrior women who were struggling to get up.

    “Wait, how did you find us?” Sokka asked, hoofing it as quickly as his legs could carry him.

    “Your gran-gran said you were heading to the North Pole,” Aang explained as they ran. “She told me your first stop was Kyoshi Island, so here I am!”

    “Wait!” The voice of the warrior from before sounded from behind him.

    Aang, not particularly in the mood to potentially lose the only friends he had in the world right now, stopped and sent yet another severe blast of air directly at the pursuing warriors, sending them scrambling as they made to dodge the wave.

    They came to the shore and when Appa saw them, he stood up with a rumble.

    “Get on the saddle, get on the saddle!” Aang shouted, helping both Sokka and Katara up onto the saddle. He hopped onto Appa’s head and grabbed the reins. “Quick, Appa! We gotta get out of here! Yip-yip!”

    Right as Appa started to lift off, the Kyoshi Warrior broke the clearing. Their leader, a girl with short brown hair outstretched her hands in an attempt to call them back. “Wait! We-”

    ---

    “...didn’t know...you were friends of the Avatar,” Suki found her volume decreasing as the flying Bison took off, leaving her and her warriors in the dust. With a groan of annoyed embarrassment, she rubbed her eyes with her fingers and thumb.

    “Well,” One of her other warriors began. “At least we didn’t feed them to the Unagi.”

    That just made Suki groan even louder.

    ---

    “We’re flying, we’re flying!” Sokka shouted enthusiastically. “So long, you crazy-!”

    He was stopped when he caught sight of Katara’s somewhat smug expression.

    “Yeah, I mean...we’re flying,” Sokka amended, adopting a cool and calm exterior.

    “It’s okay, Sokka,” Aang beamed with the largest smile either of them had ever seen on a person. “Flying is awesome!”

    “Thank you so much,” Katara said, wrapping Aang up in a hug and kissing his cheek, making him turn pink. “I thought we were done for!”

    “It was nothing, really,” Aang downplayed with a bashful expression. “Really, it was fine. I’m sorry you had to go through that. I didn’t know you guys had left the Tribe.”

    “Well, it was Katara’s idea,” Sokka replied, pointing the finger of blame at his sister. “She figured out you were the Avatar and decided she wanted to help. I couldn’t let her go on alone, so here we are.”

    “How did you figure out I was the Avatar?” Aang asked with a raised eyebrow.

    “Call it a gut feeling,” Katara answered. “But the fact that the Iceberg was glowing when we broke you out of it like how the shrine of Avatar Kuruk was glowing kind of clinched it for me.”

    “Oh. The shrines all lit up?” Aang asked.

    “Like a sun,” Sokka replied. “What happened?”

    Aang looked down at the saddle. “I went to the Southern Air Temple and...I found my old Mentor. Gyatso. He...”

    Katara found herself, again, wrapping an arm around the young Avatar’s shoulder in support. “I’m sorry, Aang.”

    “It was my fault,” Aang replied, taking a deep breath. “So, I need to make it right; and in order to do that, I need to master the four elements and I can’t do this alone.”

    “Look, we were pretty much ready to sail across the world to help you out,” Sokka replied with a shrug. “So don’t worry, we’re here. First stop is the North Pole, right?”

    “Right.” Aang nodded. “I need to learn Water, then Earth, then Fire.”

    “So you’ve pretty much already mastered air, then?” Sokka asked, his eyes narrowing.

    “Got my tattoos a few months before I wound up in that Iceberg,” Aang replied with a bright grin.

    “Oh so that’s what those mean,” Katara said with a nod. “I was wondering...but Aang? What do you mean when you say it’s your fault?”

    Aang took a deep breath. “I don’t really want to talk about it. Lets just say that I never wanted to be the Avatar and leave it at that, okay?”

    Katara nodded. “Okay.”

    It was then that Sokka’s stomach grumbled. “Aw, man? Do you have any food on this Bison?”

    “Barely. Check that bag,” Aang replied, pointing at one of the saddle bags. “It should be enough until we get to Whaletail island where we could gather some more supplies.”

    “Do they have meat there?” Sokka asked quickly.

    “Uh,” Aang began, remembering that the siblings were indeed not vegetarians like he was. “Yes, there should be some edible creatures there.”

    “Yes!”

    ---

    Author’s Notes: Well, that was over kind of quickly. Personally, I don’t want to go over every single possible thing that could happen in this fic since I don’t want it to take too long, so I hope you guys can forgive me if we skip past a few things or get them over with quickly.

    In this chapter, I actually wanted Sokka and Katara to get captured by a passing Fire Nation patrol boat but that idea died pretty quick when I figured out that I couldn’t get it to play out the way I wanted it too. So, I decided to shelve the idea, possibly forever. But then I remembered that they were going to run into complications on Kyoshi Island anyway and went with a more condensed version than what I had planned.

    Shout out too Melden V, Anders Kronquist, Ray Tony Song, Volkogluk, Aaron Bjornson, iolande, Martin Auguado, Julio, Jiopaba, Hackerham, Tim Collins-Squire, Maben00, Sultan Saltlick, Ventari, PbookR, Seij, ChristobalAlvarez, Aenor Knight, Apperatus, EPiCJB19, Seeking Raven and Handwran. You guys are the best. Thank you for your continued support.

    Until the next time!

    ~Fulcon
     
  29. Simonbob

    Simonbob Really? You don't say.

    Joined:
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    "I'm a water bender!"
     
  30. Fulcon

    Fulcon Wim Hoff Method Initiate

    Joined:
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    That too.

    Katara probably would've brought that up but Aang interrupted them first.
     
    Akuma-Heika and RichardWhereat like this.
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