The Book of Air



  • (Pilot)

    Water. Earth. Fire. Air. Long ago, the four nations lived together in harmony. Then, everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked. Only the Avatar, master of all four elements could stop them. But when the world needed him most, he vanished.

    “Yeah, yeah. We’ve all heard you say that sixty times already,” Fendul said, leaning over to nudge the canoe away from a chunk of ice. “You don’t have to keep repeating it.”

    Katerei thumped the book closed with a huff. “Well, sor-ry your fishing expedition is so boring. We’ve been out here for hours and you haven’t caught a thing!”

    Fendul jabbed at the water with his spear, but the tiny fish he was aiming at swam out of the way. “Just you wait, little sister. The next one is mine for sure!”

    Katerei rolled her eyes and leaned on the side of the canoe. If she was lucky, he might catch a clump of seaweed by nightfall. Her fur-lined hood slumped forward, framing the reflection of her face in the water.

    Movement underneath the surface caught her eye. A brown fish looped around in a circle, breaking up her reflection. Startled, she looked up to call her brother, but saw him standing near the front, spear held high as he fixated on the water. Oh well, he’d probably just chase it off anyway.

    Peeling off her glove, Katerei flexed her right hand. Her waterbending was still primitive, but if she could catch a fish before her brother, he’d never live it down. Taking a deep breath, she closed her eyes and slowly lifted her hand into the air, imagining the water moving along with it. Peeking out from under an eyelid, she was delighted to see a brown mackerel swimming around in a globe of water three feet off the ground.

    “Hey Fen! Look!” she called out as she carefully guided the globe over the boat. At just that moment, her brother leaned back and the butt of his spear smacked into the fish. The globe burst, drenching him instantly, and the fish went flying back into the ocean.

    Fendul turned to glare at her. “Well, that’s just great!” he said, shaking water droplets off his arms. The boat bobbed as he took a couple steps to tower over her. “Why is it every time you try your stupid witchcraft, I end up soaking wet?”

    Katerei covered her mouth but couldn’t hide her giggle. “It’s just too easy!” she said.

    Fendul bit back a retort, taking a deep breath to calm himself down. Just like his father would have done if he wasn’t off gallivanting around the Earth Kingdom. “Kat, I would appreciate it if you would hold off on waterbending until we can find you a proper teacher.”

    Katerei’s mirth quickly faded. “Fen–“

    “No, no, I understand. There aren’t any other waterbenders left in the Southern Tribe so there’s nobody to teach you. Still, it’s important for you to respect–“

    “FEN!” she shouted, pointing behind him.

    “I’m just trying to–“ he glanced back and his mouth fell open. The canoe was headed towards a giant iceberg. Scrambling back to the front of the boat, Fendul fumbled around for the spear, but it slipped from his grasp and fell into the water. Panicked, he held up his arms to cover his face as the looming wall of ice drew nearer.

    A light tap and the canoe came to a rest in front of the iceberg. Fendul peeked out through the gap between his arms and saw the boat was still in one piece. “Kat, are you all right?” He turned to check on his sister only to find her doubled-over in laughter.

    “I didn’t know boys could reach that octave!” Katerei said, wiping away tears. “Your squeal was very manly, big brother.”

    His face burning, he stood up and placed his hands on his hips. “Now look here–“

    A loud cracking noise interrupted him, sending them both into shocked silence. Large cracks formed in the ice, branching out rapidly, until the whole wall looked like it was going to collapse.

    “Quick!” Katerei grabbed her brother by the hand and the two of them leapt out of the canoe onto a flat sheet of ice, scrambling as far away from the crumbling wall as they could. Behind them a bright light shone forth and then the iceberg exploded, pounding the boat into splinters.

    “What was that?” Fendul asked, when the ice had settled down enough he could stand again.

    “Over there!” Katerei pointed. They could barely make out two figures standing in a hollowed-out bowl of ice where the wall had been.

    “Kat, I don’t think we should–“ Fendul sighed and raced to catch up with his sister.

    They came upon two men. One of them looked like he was in his early twenties, with dark hair and foreign red-and-black clothing. The other had an ageless face and a black cloak that was fastened around the neck with an amulet. Strange inscriptions framed a blue crystal embedded in the metal, the only sign of color on the man. Even his eyes were gray.

    Katerei stepped forward. “Um, hi. My name is Katerei.” She reached back and grabbed her brother’s sleeve tugging him forward. “And this is my brother Fendul. We’re from the Southern Water Tribe.”

    Fendul staggered forward in awe. “No normal person could survive being trapped in ice like that!” He clutched at the red fabric. “You must be the Avatar!” The two strangers exchanged glances.

    “You’re the Avatar? That’s amazing!” Katerei ran forward and grabbed the other red sleeve. “I’ve only heard about you in stories, but I’ve had a secret crush on you ever since I was a little girl!”

    The man looked at Katerei, saw the adoration shining in her eyes. “Um, yes. I’m the Avatar–” He coughed. “–a. And this here is my flying companion.”

    “Flying companion?” Fendul turned to stare at the gray-eyed man. “I don’t believe it.”

    “It’s true. Selax can turn into a kinaru and fly.”

    “Not by choice,” Selax muttered.

    “Would you like to see?” Avatara grinned. “He has to do what I tell him. His fault for trying to steal the Seal of Thera.”

    “Well, we did lose our boat.” Katerei said. “Can you take us back to our village? I don’t want Isu yelling at us for coming home late.”

    “Yeah, our grandmother is a little over-protective,” Fendul admitted. “But you’re kidding, right? Nobody can fly.”

    Avatara’s grin grew wider. “I guess I’ll just have to show you.” He turned to face Selax. “Yip yip.”

    Selax let out an exasperated sigh and rolled his eyes, but the crystal around his neck began to glow with a bright blue light. There was a blinding flash and where Selax had been standing was a giant gray bird.

    “See? Told you I had a kinaru,” Avatara said, hopping into the saddle. He leaned over to help Katerei up.

    “Wow, this is…kind of weird actually,” Fendul said, scrunching up his face. Avatara leaned down and pulled him up as well.

    “There’s always a critic,” Selax rumbled.

    “Hold on tight,” Avatara said, picking up the reins. “Let’s go meet your parents.”

    “Our mom is dead and our dad is off fighting the war in the Earth Kingdom,” Fendul pointed out.

    “Oh,” Avatara looked at the somber faces of his two new companions. “Well, let’s go meet your grandmother then. Yip yip!”


    The Southern Water Tribe consisted of a handful of igloos surrounded by a three-foot wall. A small tower made out of snow stood watch over the icy waters that led to the ocean. A tiny snowman stood watch over the entrance to the snow-covered plains.

    As Selax looped over the village gliding in for a landing, a number of people poked their heads out of the igloos, mostly old women and small children. As soon as he touched the ground, Selax unceremoniously dumped everybody off his back and shifted into his human form. The kids rushed forward to welcome Katerei home and Selax took the opportunity to pull Avatara aside.

    “Are you sure about this?” Selax whispered. “The current Avatar is supposed to be an airbender. You are a firebender and can’t even summon a simple puff of air! It won’t be long before they puzzle it out.”

    “It’ll be fine,” Avatara said. Katerei was gesturing in their direction and all the kids were now looking at him and grinning. “Just look at how happy they are! Besides, I have you around in case I need to do any actual airbending.”

    “Your father will not be pleased.”

    “My father doesn’t care about me anymore. If he did, I wouldn’t be living in exile!”

    “I look forward to the moment when I can remind you of this conversation,” Selax stated flatly.

    “Since when have you looked forward to anything?”

    “Precisely.” For a moment, it almost looked like Selax was smiling, but Avatara figured it was just a trick of the light. He dismissed the airbender with a wave of his hand.

    Four little blonde girls ran over to Avatara. The eldest one spoke up first, “Can you let us play with your flying bird?”

    “We want him to carry us around too!” the second-eldest spoke, blue eyes shining.

    “Sure, he’s all yours,” Avatara said. He turned to head over to Katerei, pretending not to hear Selax’s cry of dismay as four little pairs of hands clutched at his cloak.

    Katerei was standing next to a woman whose hair had completely turned white. “Isu,” Katerei said. “Meet the Avatar.” She fiddled with the small loops on her braid while she smiled nervously at Avatara.

    “Hi, I’m Avatara.”

    Isu glanced back-and-forth between her granddaughter and the foreigner. “Welcome to our village, Avatara. I’m sure you must be very busy with all your Avatar duties, so don’t let us hold you here on our account.”

    “Grandma!” Katerei pouted. “This might be my only chance to learn waterbending from a true master!”

    Isu’s cheeks flushed in anger. “No! I forbid it! The Avatar is far too busy to look after a little girl! He has a hundred years worth of work to catch up on!” At the latter, she glared at Avatara.

    “Well, um, I could leave her in the care of a master at the Northern Water Tribe,” he suggested. “I’m headed north anyway, so it wouldn’t be too much trouble, and that certainly wouldn’t keep me from my…Avatar duties.”

    “That would be amazing!” Katerei’s eyes shone with delight.

    “No!” Isu stamped her foot down.

    “Grandma. Either you let me leave with the Avatar now, or you have to put up with me sneaking out to join him tonight.”

    Isu stared a long moment at her granddaughter, then let out a deep sigh. “Very well. But only if you take your brother.”

    “Hey!” Fendul dropped the stack of logs he was carrying. “Why do I have to go?”

    “Because your father put you in charge of looking after your sister. Now get packed!”

    Fendul muttered a few curses under his breath and stormed back into the house.

    “Don’t worry. I’ll take good care of your granddaughter,” Avatara said.

    Isu glared at Avatara. “That’s what I’m afraid of.”


    “Are we there yet?”

    “Quiet, Fen. We only left an hour ago!” Katerei shushed her brother. She hadn’t realized how large the ice field around the south pole was until they were soaring four thousand feet above the ground.

    “We’ll be there in a few minutes,” Avatara said. He didn’t turn, instead focusing intently on navigating Selax through the thick clouds. Though in reality, Selax could have figured out the way himself, it looked cooler if he was the one pretending to guide them.

    “Wait, really?” Fendul sat up. “I always figured the north pole would be further away.”

    “We’re not going there just yet. I promised Selax we’d make a quick stop while we’re still down here.”

    Before anybody could question him further, the clouds parted and they found themselves facing a steep mountain. Rising almost out of nowhere, the solitary mountain was dark and craggy on the slopes, but as they rose higher they could make out signs of civilization on the summit. Selax swooped towards one of the lower structures and landed on a large, open platform ringed by a dozen tall columns.

    “Welcome to the Southern Air Temple,” Avatara said as he helped them off of Selax.

    “What’s here?” Katerei asked, shouldering her tent and sleeping roll. “This place looks abandoned.”

    “Home,” Selax said, transforming back into his human form. Without waiting, he turned and started walking towards one of the cracking structures nearby.

    The two siblings stared after him in stunned silence. “What’s gotten into him?” Fendul asked.

    “This place holds many memories for him. He used to spend a lot of time here with his family,” Avatara said. He began to slowly follow Selax, staying a respectful distance behind.

    “What happened?”

    “The fire nation attacked. Most of his kind are either dead or enslaved.”

    “Wait a minute.” Fendul stopped and pointed at Avatara. “What about you? Isn’t the current Avatar supposed to be an airbender? Where’s your tattoo?”

    “I figured it prudent not to walk around with a giant arrow signaling my presence. My hair covers my true identity.” Avatara raised an eyebrow. “And there are four air temples. Selax may come from the south, but I do not.” He ducked under a crumbling arch and turned down a hallway. At the end, in the last room on the right, he found Selax.

    “I’m sorry about your cats,” Avatara said, staying by the door.

    Selax remained kneeling over a small, broken bed. “Few people understand the importance of a feline companion. Once bonded, they are irreplaceable.”

    “You know I wasn’t responsible for the raid.”

    “Your family is.” After a moment, Selax relented. “But I know you disagree with their methods.” He stood and swung an arm around the room. “All of this happened long ago and I have come to accept that.”

    “The seal?” Avatara pointed at the blue crystal around Selax’s neck.

    The airbender nodded. “I have lived a dozen generations. Each time I die, thinking this time might finally be the last. But then I am born again, albeit weaker than before. When I reach adulthood, the memories come back to me and I see into all of my past lives. See how I have faded.” He lifted a finger to trace the cool metal of the amulet. “Perhaps this time will be the last.”

    “The crystal has drained that much?”

    “No.” Selax looked almost sad for a moment. “There is simply no one else left capable of continuing the line.”

    For once in his life, Avatara couldn’t think of anything to say.

    “Come,” Selax said, his voice lightening. “I know you didn’t come here purely for my benefit. Let us go visit the Inner Sanctum.”

    “You know, it wasn’t so bad being trapped in the ice with you for a hundred years,” Avatara quipped as he followed Selax out.

    “It was only three days.” Then under his breath, Selax muttered, “Though it certainly felt like a hundred years.”

    Avatara stopped. “Why do you do it?” When Selax turned in confusion, he continued. “I know the Seal gives me some level of compulsion over you, but you could be resisting a lot more than you have been. Why?”

    “Perhaps I wanted an adventure.”

    Avatara narrowed his eyes. “The real reason.”

    Selax’s face grew solemn. “Come, and I will show you.”


    “Well, my young waterlings,” Avatara swept his hands towards the ornate stone door. “Welcome to the Inner Sanctum!” he said, his booming voice echoing throughout the temple.

    “Metal pipes? What for?” Fendul frowned.

    “It’s…an airbending seal! Only an airbender can open the door,” Katerei said.

    “That’s right!” Avatara rolled up his sleeves. He held his arms out in poise. “It’s time for some airbending!”

    Nothing happened.

    Avatara cleared his throat and shot an irritated glance at Selax. Selax rolled his eyes, but a gust of wind blew forth into the metal pipes. A brass rumbling echoed throughout the hall as the wind raced through the tubes, pushing all of the valves closed. Once all three seals were locked, the wind faded and the door swung open.

    Hundreds of tall, stone statues greeted them, arranged in a large spiral with the center left open. At the end of the spiral rested a small pedestal, the top plate shaped in a twelve-pointed star. Fendul and Katerei entered first, looking around in wonder. Avatara held back with Selax, hoping that wasn’t perspiration he was seeing on the airbender.

    “Are you all right?” Avatara whispered.

    “As I said before, I have grown weak. That took much out of me.” Selax turned his head aside. “More than I expected.”

    “I didn’t realize–“

    “No. It was necessary. This you must see.” Selax drew himself upright and strode into the chamber, heading straight for the pedestal.

    “Hey, this looks like the sun,” Fendul said, tracing one of the circles that lined the device.

    “It is a calendar, built by my people long ago to study the stars. These are the celestial bodies that surround our world. By turning this, you can see how the sky has changed over time.” Selax twisted a few knobs and they watched as the sun and moon sped around.

    “What’s that red one over there?” Katerei asked, pointing at a small red teardrop that spun around in a slow oval.

    “That is Sage’s Comet.” A few more cranks of the knob and the teardrop passed close to the glowing blue orb in the center. “You might remember that a hundred years ago, the Fire Nation used the power from this comet to start the war. The burning trail it leaves behind gives firebenders unparalleled strength.” Selax sped up the device and the red teardrop raced away, continuing along its path. Several times it swung back around, passing by the blue orb before moving on.

    “Hey, is it just me, or is that comet getting closer each time?” Fendul frowned.

    “You are astute,” Selax said, continuing to work the device. The red teardrop swung past once more before arcing out. One of the dials on the outer edge of the platform had been spinning around, ticking off ever larger numbers, but it was almost back to the starting position. A few more cranks and the comet turned back, only to come crashing into the center orb. Everyone gasped as the blue light winked out and the device stopped moving.

    “What happened?” Katerei asked.

    “This is the fate of the world, should the comet be allowed to continue on its course.” Selax pointed at the dim orb in the center. “The resulting firestorm will be so great, all life will be extinguished.”

    “But, there’s nothing to worry about, right? I mean, you just showed us hundreds, if not thousands of years,” Fendul said. “Who knows when this might happen?”

    Avatara frowned, tracing the numbers on the outer ring. “If my knowledge of ancient languages is correct, this is either a 2012 or…” He looked up at Selax, puzzled. “The end of next summer.”

    Selax nodded. “Now you understand. Only the Avatar with his mastery of all four elements can save us from Sage’s Comet.”

    All of them stared in silence at the device.

    “Well then,” Avatara said, clapping his hands and startling them into action. “I guess we had better find a master for all of the four elements by the end of next summer!”

    “Can I go home now?” Fendul asked, raising his hand.

    The two water tribe kids didn’t see it, but Selax caught Avatara’s gaze and smiled.

    Avatara shuddered. Seeing Selax smile was the scariest thing of all.



  • @avatara_bot, on 08 September 2015 - 02:00 AM, said in The Book of Air:

    The man looked at Katerei, saw the adoration shining in her eyes. “Um, yes. I’m the Avatar–” He coughed. “–a. And this here is my flying companion.”

    “Flying companion?” Fendul turned to stare at the gray-eyed man. “I don’t believe it.”

    “It’s true. Selax can turn into a kinaru and fly.”

    I'm not sure what I expected, but I didn't expect Avatara to be in the iceberg, and I definitely didn't expect Selax to be Appa. O_o

    Quote

    Avatara’s grin grew wider. “I guess I’ll just have to show you.” He turned to face Selax. “Yip yip.”

    Favourite part. :D

    Quote

    Four little blonde girls ran over to Avatara. The eldest one spoke up first, “Can you let us play with your flying bird?”

    Took me a moment to figure out why they were all blonde...

    Quote

    “Don’t worry. I’ll take good care of your granddaughter,” Avatara said.

    Isu glared at Avatara. “That’s what I’m afraid of.”

    :heythere:

    Quote

    “I’m sorry about your cats,” Avatara said, staying by the door.

    Selax remained kneeling over a small, broken bed. “Few people understand the importance of a feline companion. Once bonded, they are irreplaceable.”

    Aw, I actually feel bad for Selax now.

    Quote

    “No.” Selax looked almost sad for a moment. “There is simply no one else left capable of continuing the line.”

    Awww!

    Quote

    The two water tribe kids didn’t see it, but Selax caught Avatara’s gaze and smiled.

    Avatara shuddered. Seeing Selax smile was the scariest thing of all.

    cue dramatic music

    It's over too soon, I wanted to keep reading. :(

    I know you expressed concern over Fendul being out of character, but it's not that implausible. Even Fendul was probably a bit immature when he was fifteen, and Sokka was probably best able to keep his emotions in check of the three kids.



  • This is great! ^_ __^ You know, I actually believed you when you said part 1 would be short @_@ Never again!

    I hope you decide to finish this series, it rocks so far ^_ __^ I especially like Selax's role in the story : _D I think you do a good job of fitting the characters in their Avatar roles ^ __^

    Quote

    Took me a moment to figure out why they were all blonde...

    My reaction was more like "I should have known my kids would have cameos." :x

    Quote

    Aw, I actually feel bad for Selax now.

    Me too! : __( Even Selaxes have someone they care about </3

    Anyway, I actually feel a bit inspired to work on my own Avatar/DM/Sail crossover (doesn't mean I'll actually get around to it, but it's something!). Although your character cast so far is quite similar to my cast (especially if you're going where I think you're going with the Seal of Thera thing, though for all I know you're just throwing us off some big reveal), I already know you made some awesome cast choices for Part 2 that will be totally different from mine. And most importantly, I don't have the awesome kinaru-animagus-Selax! : _D Also, you're following the Avatar storyline way more closely than I am (I pretty-much changed everything), so the stories won't be all that similar ^ __^



  • Well...that was...interesting.

    I have to say that if the world is depending on Selax and Avatara working together to save it, then the world is probably doomed.

    @breadworldmercy453_bot, on 08 September 2015 - 03:38 PM, said in The Book of Air:

    My reaction was more like "I should have known my kids would have cameos." :x

    It could be worse. They could appear in a chron proclaiming their love of wikilinks.

    @breadworldmercy453_bot, on 08 September 2015 - 03:38 PM, said in The Book of Air:

    Me too! : __( Even Selaxes have someone they care about </3

    Rest in peace, Miss Kitty :( .


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