The Book of Water


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    (Part 1)

    Avatara slowly guided Selax down through the clouds, heading towards the small island jutting out of the ocean.

    “That’s odd. I always figured the North Pole would have more ice,” Fendul commented, leaning out over the side.

    “We’re not there yet,” Avatara replied. “Selax is tired, so we’re going to let him rest and graze around a bit.”

    “I should just dump all of you into the ocean,” Selax muttered.

    As they skimmed over the water, the four of them could see large schools of fish swimming under the surface. The waves smoothed out as they glided into a bay and Selax swooped to a stop upon a large, sandy beach. He didn’t bother waiting for them to disembark before shifting forms.

    “This place seems kind of nice,” Katerei remarked, picking up her bag and brushing loose sand off of it. “I wish I brought my swimsuit.”

    “Who needs a suit?” Fendul said, stripping off his shirt.

    While the two siblings were distracted, Avatara pulled Selax aside. The two of them disappeared into the trees lining the beach.

    “I presume it is no coincidence we landed here,” Selax said.

    “Right. I uh…need your help, actually.”

    Selax lifted an eyebrow. He subconsciously lifted a finger to touch the amulet around his neck.

    “I want to communicate with the previous Avatar,” Avatara said.

    Selax stared thoughtfully at his hands. “It might be possible. But it will not be easy. The Avatar is the one meant to be the bridge between our world and the spirit realm.”

    “I know, but I think you’re capable of bridging it anyway. Please. We’ll need his wisdom to defeat the comet.”

    Selax bowed his head. “Very well,” he said. “Follow me.”

    A sudden commotion from the beach drew them up short. It sounded like a bunch of people shouting.

    “Should we–“ Selax began.

    “Nah, I’m sure they’ll be fine,” Avatara interrupted. “Let’s go.”


    “Can I at least grab my pants?” Fendul asked, shivering in the sudden chill. The women pointing spears at him had appeared out of nowhere, and their leader was standing in front of him, arms crossed underneath her breasts. Despite her scowl, he thought she looked kind of cute, with her auburn hair pinned up in a bun.

    “What gives you the right to come to our island and prance around like that ,” the redhead demanded.

    Katerei couldn’t stop a giggle from escaping. The redhead glanced at her…and winked.

    “I…uh…you see,” Fendul fumbled about, struggling to explain while still unable to move his arms. “We’re from the Southern Water Tribe and the Avatar brought us here on his kinaru…”

    “Uh huh, the Avatar did it, I’m sure. Too bad nobody has seen the Avatar in a hundred years.”

    “But it’s true! He…uh…where is he?” Fendul looked around, realizing Avatara and Selax had vanished. The redhead shifted her hands to her hips and waited, tapping her foot. “Fine!” Fendul said, raising his arms into a fighting position. “If you won’t let us go, then I’ll challenge you to a duel for our freedom!’

    “A duel, really?” she arched an eyebrow. Fendul blushed as he saw the woman’s eyes glance down. “The Tokoda Warriors have trained in the martial arts for generation after generation over the last three hundred years. What makes you think you can defeat me, water boy?”

    “I’ll have you know the men in my tribe are fierce warriors too! We’ve been fighting off Fire Nation raids since the war started.”

    “Very well. Meet me at the dojo on the hill in thirty minutes. Then we’ll see just how much of a man you are.” She turned and the warriors with her lowered their spears. One of them tossed him his discarded pants.

    “Wait!” Fendul called out. “At least tell me your name!”

    The redhead paused, but did not look back. “Iannah. My name is Iannah.”


    “Concentrate,” Selax said, sitting cross-legged across from Avatara. “Entering the spirit world will not be easy. You must first let go of your worldly burdens.”

    The sound of something hitting the ground caused Selax to lift a closed eyelid. “And stop taking me so literally,” he chided.

    They sat in silence around a stick of burning incense. Not even nature interrupted the still silence in the stone prayer ring. Still, Avatara couldn’t help but fidget as the sun beat down overhead.

    “I’m not sure this is going to work,” Selax said.

    “It has to work! We don’t have an alternative!” Avatara snapped back.

    “What has to work?” A man’s voice interrupted.

    Both men shot to their feet and stared at the newcomer. He was old, sporting close-cropped white hair and a long red and black robe full of many loops and pouches.

    “Avatar Rapierian?” Selax bowed and formed the ancient Fire Nation gesture of greeting. One fist held over the other, middle finger extended out forming the shape of a flame.

    “You’re the previous Avatar?” Avatara frowned.

    “The last one actually,” Rapierian said. “The cycle has been broken.”

    “What? Why?”

    “It was too much of a bother. I had better things to do than play around with the other elements. So, I quit.”

    “But we came to ask for your help!” Avatara protested. “Sage’s Comet arrives next year and if we can’t stop it, it’s going to wipe out everything!”

    “Yes yes, such a bother.” Rapierian yawned. “This is precisely why I left in the first place, you know. I’m not really a people person. Although…” he stroked his chin with his right hand. “The company seems more pleasant now. I wouldn’t mind spending some time with that young waterbender of yours.”

    “Like anybody would ship that!” Avatara rolled his eyes.

    “Avatar Rapierian,” Selax interrupted. “You are linked to the knowledge of all previous Avatars. Surely one of them might have the knowledge that can help us.”

    Rapierian sighed. “I suppose so. Fine, I’ll answer one question, but make it quick! I have somewhere I want to be.”

    “Since we can’t enlist the aid of the Avatar,” Avatara said, glaring at Rapierian. “I intend to use a master bender from each element to stop the comet. Will that be enough?”

    Rapierian yawned. “Only one way to find out. Well, looks like it’s time for me to get back to being dead.” He pulled out a glass vial and threw it on the ground, sending up a cloud of smoke. “See ya, suckers!”

    When the smoke cleared, Avatara and Selax found themselves alone.

    “Well, that was a waste of time,” Avatara muttered.

    “To think such a selfish, lazy, useless creature could be the Avatar! What kind of twisted mind could come up with such a character?” Selax complained.

    “Would it help to summon Avatar Tokoda? If half the stories about her are true, she didn’t shirk away from her responsibilities.”

    “Don’t bother. She won’t take too kindly to foreigners on her island.”

    “Then our work here is done.”


    “I’m ready for your challenge!” Fendul said, slamming the door open.

    Iannah looked up from the conversation she was having with her five female colleagues. All of them stood adorned in the same green, black, and gold armor they wore at the beach, bearing the official colors of Tokoda island. The dojo floor had been cleared out in preparation, leaving nothing but a polished wooden surface for the duel.

    “Well then, let’s see what you’ve got, water boy!” Iannah said, grinning, while her companions scattered out of the way.

    Fendul drew his sword and charged forward with a loud yell. He made it about seven feet before he slipped on the waxed floor and fell on his back in front of his opponent.

    Iannah yawned and tipped her spear down, pinning him in place. “Wow, you have me trembling in my boots,” she mocked him.

    Fendul held up his hands in surrender. “Okay, okay, I give up! This was a lot harder than the stories make it out to be.”

    “Stories?” Iannah frowned. “You tried to learn how to fight from stories?”

    “Yeah, well, there wasn’t exactly anyone else around to teach me. Everybody who can fight left to fight in the war.”

    “Oh.” Iannah withdrew her spear. She shot a glance at one of the other Tokoda Warriors who nodded in encouragement. “Well, I can teach you how to fight.” She nodded at the discarded blade on the ground. “Even if you do prefer to wield a sword.”

    “Really? You’d do that for me?” Fendul’s eyes lit up.

    “Of course!” Iannah grinned mischievously. “Get up, water boy! Your lessons will begin now!”


    Katerei was finishing the final touches on her carving when she heard Avatara emerge from the forest. Even in the dim light, she could tell he wasn’t happy. His mood made her pause, but when Selax didn’t emerge behind him, she decided to make her move.

    “I made you this,” she said, meeting him before he could reach the fire so he wouldn’t see her blush.

    “A kinaru carving?” Avatara said, holding it up. “No, a whistle. Wow, this is really well made.”

    “I was thinking about what you said earlier. How it’s fun to torment Selax from time to time and figured what better way than to make a whistle only he can hear?”

    “I’m sure we’ll have ample opportunity to use this,” he said, smiling. “Thank you.” He raised the whistle to his lips.

    “Ahhh, maybe we shouldn’t blow it just yet!” She waved her hands, trying to stop him. This was the first time the two of them were alone together and she didn’t want to risk something improbable like Selax swooping down to carry Avatara away forever out of revenge.

    Avatara lowered the whistle, then put it in his pocket. “You’re right. We’ve all had a long day. I’m going to get some sleep.” He walked over to his sleeping roll, carefully laid out by Katerei in his absence. Realizing they were alone, he stopped and asked her, “Where’s your brother?”

    “Oh, the island girls kidnapped him. I’m sure he’s fine.”

    “I see. Well, you should get some rest. We’re leaving early tomorrow.”

    Once he was satisfied his roll was clear of sand, Avatara lay down and closed his eyes, trying to calm his thoughts so he could sleep. Sounds of movement and a body lying down next to him made him open his eyes again. Katerei was less than a foot away.

    “Um, Kat? What are you doing?”

    “Oh, um. My roll got soaked in the…rain, so I was hoping to have some place warm and dry to sleep.”

    “Rain?” Avatara peeked over her at the roll set out across the camp. It hadn’t rained all day.

    Katerei followed his gaze, and within seconds a large bubble of water floated in from the ocean and burst over the bag, drenching it instantly. “See? Rain! It’s thoroughly soaked!” she smiled innocently. She wasn’t worried about the salt water ruining anything. It was actually Fendul’s bag and he wouldn’t notice until they were well under way tomorrow.

    “Oh, okay then,” he shrugged and Katerei snuggled up to him in victory.


    “Rise and shine! We’ve got a long day ahead of us!” Avatara called out as he slid open the door to the dojo. To his surprise, Fendul jumped up from underneath a blanket with a red-haired girl. “Um, am I interrupting something?”

    “No! We were just…training,” Fendul said, his face darkening to match the girl’s hair.

    “Yeah, we were training all right,” Iannah said smugly. “I was showing him how to properly wield his sword.”

    “I see,” Avatara said, averting his gaze. “Well, we’re leaving, so if your ‘training session’ is done, meet us on the beach.”

    “Sure thing!” Fendul said, picking up his sword and rushing to join Avatara.

    “Hey, water boy! Don’t forget your pants!” Iannah called out after him.

    “Um, right. Let me just take a minute–“

    Avatara slammed the door shut.


    It was late afternoon when they started spotting ice floating on the water beneath.

    “Wow, reaching the North Pole was a lot faster than I thought it would be,” Katerei remarked.

    “That’s what happens when you don’t stop for unnecessary breaks and distractions,” Avatara said.

    “Aww. But I’ve always wanted to ride a Lion Turtle!” Fendul complained.

    “You can take all the time you want after you save the world. Now, time is short and your sister needs a waterbending teacher.”

    “Wait,” Katerei frowned. “Don’t you need a waterbending teacher too?”

    “I’ll have you teach me later. While we’re up north, there’s something else I want to do. It’ll save us time if we’re both focusing on our goals simultaneously.”

    “If you say so,” Katerei grumbled. There went her dreams of taking the class together. She slumped forward and focused on her fading visions of staring at him while the instructor droned on. She had even packed a shirt that turned transparent when wet, in case she ‘accidentally’ got hit by Avatara during practice. Now it all just seemed like a waste of effort.

    “Cheer up, sis,” Fendul said, patting her on the back. “Before you know it, you’ll actually be useful for something!”

    Before she had the chance to shove her brother overboard, Selax announced, “We’re here.”

    “I wonder how many igloos they have. Ten?” Fendul mused as he raced to the edge of Selax so he could look down.

    “The Northern Tribe has never been directly assaulted. I bet they have two dozen,” Katerei said as she joined him.

    Both of them were wrong.

    “This place is like a fortress!” Fendul gaped.

    “It is a fortress,” Selax corrected.

    In a curved valley between two colossal walls of ice stood a massive city, broken into seven concentric rings. At the far end was a tall waterfall that flowed into a network of canals that ultimately drained out of five outflows carved out of the outer wall.

    “There must be a thousand people down there!” Fendul said.

    “Is this the North Pole, or did we find our way into a Lord of the Rings novel?” Katerei said, eyes wide with amazement.

    “Eh, it’s smaller than Ba Sing Se, but it’s too cold up here for the Fire Nation to bother,” Avatara said, shrugging off the sight below. “Besides, even if the Fire Nation captured the city, I hear the north is full of sticklers.”

    “There is a long standing tradition among northerners to spell words differently for no benefit,” Selax agreed. He slowed his pace as they approached. A cry from below indicated they had been spotted by the sentries.

    “Well, let’s have some dinner and see if we can sign Kat up for some waterbending lessons,” Avatara said.


    Fendul wandered through the streets of the Northern Water Tribe, basking in the warm light of the morning sun. The architecture was fairly sophisticated, whole buildings of ice that were multiple stories. Artfully crafted bridges curved over the canals, leaving plenty of space for gondolas to pass underneath. Elegant ice statues ten feet tall were carved with painstaking detail in every plaza.

    People of all ages, men and women, strode through the city, carrying out their lives without fear of starvation or attack. He thought back to the village of children back home and wondered what else his tribe was missing out on.

    His thoughts were momentarily interrupted as a young lady with silver hair and a pale pearl dress passed in front of him. Blinking in surprise, he looked around, but she was the only one with silver hair, yet she strode unperturbed at her difference, carrying herself with a noble grace.

    Before he knew it, he was leaping in front of her. “Um, excuse me,” he said, blushing with the sudden realization that she was now staring at him. “Hi, I just uh…wanted you to know that…um, you have some very lovely eyes.”

    She looked at him with her ocean blue eyes, inspecting him top to bottom. Fendul flushed a deeper shade of red, causing her to giggle. “The better to ogle you with,” she said with a wink and a smile.

    “Hi, I’m Fendul. I’m from the–“ he hesitated, suddenly feeling ashamed of the primitive lifestyle of his people in the south. “I’m here with the Avatar. May I have the pleasure of learning your name?”

    The silver woman brushed her hair back, causing her tiny crystal earrings to jingle. “My name is Moonshadow.”

    “A lovely name for a woman that looks like she could be the soul of the moon itself,” Fendul said, sweeping a deep bow. As he straightened he thought he caught a glimpse of her looking panicked but she quickly covered it up with a smile.

    “My father will be pleased to hear that. He’s the leader of the Northern Tribe. My mom tells me he came up with the name for me.”

    “Ah yes, we met Chief Slayer at the banquet last night.” The northerners had sent an armed squad to meet them when the landed, but quickly lightened when they heard the Avatar was visiting. “So uh, I was wondering…” He nervously gripped his hands together and took a deep breath to calm down. Everything had gone fine with Iannah. He could do this. He was a professional romantic now. “So uh, would you like to do an activity together?”

    Moonshadow giggled again. “I would like that. What did you have in mind?”

    “We could look into each others’ eyes and recite sappy poetry?” he said, jumping at the first thing that came into his head.

    The silver princess raised an eyebrow. “Well then, how about you go first?”

    “Sure,” he said, nervously reaching out to touch her hand. “When I look into your eyes, I see a–“

    “–Rotten, good-for-nothing, lousy, sexist old man!” Katerei sputtered as she came stomping up to them.

    “Kat! You’re ruining the moment!” At her glare, he quickly changed the subject. “Your class is over so soon? I thought it just started half an hour ago.”

    “It didn’t start at all!” Katerei muttered. “Master Behadul won’t teach me. Says it’s because I’m a girl from the Southern Tribe.”

    “You’re from the Southern Tribe?” Moonshadow asked.

    “Well, uh, she is,” Fendul said. That earned him another arched eyebrow from the princess and a glare from his sister. He cleared his throat. “I’m sure Avatara can talk to him and clear things up.”

    “He’s busy ‘communing with the spirits’, remember?” Katerei’s expression grew more sour. Was he intentionally avoiding her? Had she overstepped when she curled up against him back at the beach?

    “Ah, maybe I can be of assistance,” Moonshadow said.

    “Yes, please,” Fendul said, hoping it meant his sister would be out of their hair that much quicker.

    “You see, long ago Master Behadul married a girl from the Southern Water Tribe. But just after their daughter was born, his wife moved back to the south, taking their only child with her. She broke his heart and he never saw either of them again.”

    “That’s so sad,” Katerei said softly. “So he hates me because I’m a girl from the South?”

    “I think he’s still heartbroken over his Isu. Seeing you probably reminds him of that.”

    “Wait, did you say–“ Fendul frowned.

    “Isu? Our grandmother?” Katerei exclaimed.

    Moonshadow’s eyes widened in shock. “Are you saying–“

    “This changes everything!” Katerei said, determination setting in.

    “It does?” Moonshadow looked puzzled.

    “It does?” Fendul looked just as confused. Though, if it got her out of his hair…

    “Yes. Grandma Isu never could stand in my way for long. If Master Behadul is my grandfather, then I won’t give him a choice either. Sorry Fen, looks like I still have class after all!” Katerei smacked her fist against her palm and stomped off back the way she came.

    “Your sister is kind of cute,” Moonshadow said, watching her leave.

    “Yeah uh, anyway. Back to your eyes…”


    “Next time, can we ‘commune with the spirits’ in a place that is a little warmer?” Selax complained.

    Avatara lifted his cup of wine and took a long drink. “You know as well as I do that we’re going to need help for this. Still, I wasn’t expecting this. Giant fortress city. Zero books. It’s like they don’t care about history at all!”

    “We could try communicating with the Avatar spirits again,” Selax suggested, still holding his cup of wine in his lap. “Or ask Slayer for a history lesson. As chief, he is responsible for preserving the history of his tribe.”

    “Slayer seemed like a courteous enough host,” Avatara admitted. “But I don’t really want to put my life in the hands of someone named Slayer. It just doesn’t feel…safe.” He sipped at the wine again, squeezing his eyes closed against the cold liquid. “Besides, the longer I allow him to question me, the greater the risk he’ll discover I’m not actually the Avatar.”

    “This façade is your doing, not mine.”

    “I can’t help it if people assume things they want to believe.” Avatara shrugged.

    “The least you could do is start a fire to warm up this cave. I think my fingers are getting frostbite.” Selax glared at the rocky opening that led to the frozen snowfields above the city.

    “No. No firebending. The risk of being discovered is too great.”

    “Then let us fly around for a bit so I can move my extremities.”

    Avatara glanced up at Selax. “Very well, if you don’t like my cramped little cave, then let us go have a look around.”


    Fendul paced back and forth across the bridge nervously. Now that night had fallen, the full moon was rising in the east, visible just above the icy walls surrounding the city. Most of the streets were deserted, save for an occasional straggler. But one cloaked figure was approaching him.

    “There you are!” he said, louder than he intended. “Have you heard the news? A Fire Nation armada was spotted heading this way!”

    “Fendul, look – I came to tell you something,” Moonshadow said, pulling her hood forward.

    “Don’t worry. I’ll protect you.” Fendul gently grabbed her hands and pulled them to his sides. Then he cupped the back of her head and kissed her. Her eyes widened in shock and her hood fell open, spilling her silver hair over her cloak where it sparkled and shimmered in the moonlight.

    Moonshadow pushed him away, blushing.

    “What’s wrong?” he asked her. “I have feelings for you, and from the way you acted all day today, I think you have them for me too.”

    “I…I do.” She looked up at him, tears forming in her eyes. “But we can’t see each other anymore.”

    “Why not? There are all sorts of activities we could enjoy together!”

    “Because I’m engaged!” she said, sobbing. When he stepped forward to comfort her, she pushed him away again and ran off down the street.

    “I don’t get it,” Fendul sighed, resting on the guardrail. “We were so perfect for each other.”

    “Euhh, I like you Fen, but I wouldn’t say we’re perfect for each other,” Katerei’s voice said from behind him.

    “What? When did you get there?” He jumped back in shock.

    “I just got here. Why?” Katerei narrowed her eyes. “Are you doing something you shouldn’t be?”

    “No, no. Remember? I’ve always been the mature and responsible one.”

    A sly grin crept onto Katerei’s face. “Does Iannah know you’re being ‘responsible’ with the princess of the Northern Water Tribe?”

    “How did your lessons go with grandfather?” he asked, quickly changing the subject.

    “Great! Master Behadul says I’ve graduated already! He even gave me this neat little certificate!” She held up a small piece of paper.

    “Ah, there you two are!” The siblings turned to see Chief Slayer striding towards them, a young man following behind. “I have a favor to ask of you.”

    “Yes, Chief?” Fendul said, attempting to size up Slayer’s companion. In the dim light, he could make out short blond hair and what appeared to be two blades strapped to his back.

    “This is my future son-in-law, Flynn O’Connor,” Slayer said, introducing the swordsman. “He and a small group of his friends are going to infiltrate the Fire Nation fleet and capture their commander in hopes we can random him off to prevent this siege.”

    “You’re going to marry Moonshadow?” Fendul asked, unable to hide the disdain from his voice.

    “You’re going to marry Moonshadow?” Katerei asked, staring at him in awe, putting on her best smile.

    “Yep, sure am,” Flynn said. “I can’t wait to get my hands on that silky smooth skin!”

    “In the meantime,” Slayer cleared his throat. “I would like you two to watch over my daughter and protect her. Undoubtedly the Fire Nation will attempt to infiltrate this city and harm her.” He reached out and placed a hand on Fendul’s shoulder. “I feel like I can trust you. I picked you over my fellow tribesmen because I need someone who won’t try and seduce her behind my back.”

    “Uh, sure thing. I’d be happy to help!” Fendul said, swallowing the lump in his throat.

    “Good,” Slayer said. He handed Fendul a key. “This will get you inside her private chambers. Keep close watch over her. I wouldn’t put it past those flaming scum to start their assault tonight.”

    “Take good care of her for me,” Flynn said as he turned to leave with Slayer. “I want her in one piece when I get back.”

    “I will…” Fendul sighed deeply as the two northerners disappeared into the night.

    “Wow, this is going to be so cool! Not only can I show off my new waterbending skills, but we get to hang out with that pretty princess girlfriend of yours!” Katerei said.

    “Yeah, this is going to be just great,” he muttered.


    “Aren’t you going to help with the defenses?” Katerei asked Avatara, having spotted him saddling up Selax. They could already hear the sound of flaming rocks crashing into the icy fortress walls below.

    “I am,” Avatara said. He pointed out over the bay where dozens of columns of black smoke rose up into the night. “But I’m going to help from out there. Defense alone will not break this siege.”

    “Then I’m coming with you!” She started climbing on top of the kinaru.

    “Weren’t you given an assignment back here?” he asked, picking her up and setting her back on the ground.

    She didn’t reply, choosing to sulk at being left behind. Still, she was more upset at her brother for being drafted into this. Being with the princess wasn’t as glamorous as she had imagined.

    “I’ll be back as soon as I can,” Avatara said, hopping on top of Selax and taking hold of the reins. “Yip yip!”

    There was a rush of air as Selax flapped his wings twice before launching into the sky. Katerei watched him soar over the city, out to the bay where it was too dark to see him anymore, wishing she could be up there too. Her sides still burned with warmth from his hands. With a sad sigh, she turned and headed back towards the shrine.

    Moonshadow hadn’t been thrilled about letting them see her room, so instead she had brought them both to the sacred water shrine at the furthest point inland. Water roared down from the cliffs above, crashing into a large pool before splitting into two flows around an island and continuing on into the city. Fendul and the princess were sitting at the edge of a small pond in the middle of the island, a sacred pond dedicated to the ocean spirits.

    Katerei tried to ignore them, but she couldn’t help overhearing snippets of their conversation. Moonshadow kept going on about how she was engaged to Flynn and it was going to be a wonderful marriage, but it was obvious that her heart didn’t agree. Fendul seemed to want to comfort her, but kept protesting how they needed to keep their distance.

    “Why don’t you two just shut up and kiss already?” Katerei said. “You’re both obviously smitten with one another, but you keep talking in circles. Why can’t you just enjoy what you have?” Seriously, the only thing worse than knowing her brother beat her to a relationship was the fact that he was being so coy about it.

    The two lovebirds stopped talking and stared at Katerei.

    “Oh come on! You know I’m right!” she snapped at them.

    Fendul looked at Moonshadow, but before he could say anything, she grabbed his head and pulled him into a deep kiss.

    Katerei turned away in disgust. Why didn’t she get to enjoy those feelings? Her eyes sought out the full moon nearly overhead, seeking answers. More kissing sounds came from behind her causing her to roll her eyes.

    It was going to be a long night.


    Dozens of dark shapes loomed beneath, interrupting the moonlit waves like a swarm of black leeches. Avatara held his sleeve over his mouth, trying to ward off the thick smoke from burning coal while they looped overhead, searching.

    “I see him,” Selax said, changing his angle and swooping towards one of the ships near the rear.

    “After you drop me off, head back to the city and help them out.”

    “Is that wise? You are banished. They might imprison you.”

    “No, my uncle likes me too much. I’ll be fine, but the kids we brought with us won’t. Keep them safe,” Avatara said, then added, “Please.”

    As they approached the deck of the ship, they could see only one man up top, holding the rails and staring towards the city. Even in the dim light, it was obvious the man’s hair had turned gray with age. Selax tilted back to slow his speed just enough for Avatara to leap onto the deck, then beat his wings and took off.

    “Ah, I thought I might find you here,” Wizard said, turning away from the railing.

    “Uncle.” Avatara stepped forward and surprised Wizard with a hug. “It has been a while.”

    “Three long years. I meant to write, but I seem to have lost track of the time. Have you found a wife and settled down yet?”

    “Maybe. Actually, I came to talk to you about that. I need you to break off the siege and turn the fleet around.”

    “What on earth for? Wait…” Wizard eyed Avatara suspiciously. “Is this to appease your girlfriend?”

    “Sort of.” He started to explain about the comet, but then stopped himself. Wizard had a soft spot for sappy stories. “Um, yes actually. You could say these people are her extended family.”

    “Ah, good for you boy!” Wizard said, giving Avatara another hug and clapping him on the back. “I always knew you would find someone some day.” He drew back and his face turned solemn. “I would be happy to help you, but there is something you should know. Your sister is here. She is the one leading the invasion.”

    “Figures,” Avatara said, his expression darkening. “Where is she now?”

    Wizard pointed towards the city. “Over there. She intends to kill the moon spirit while everyone is distracted by the siege.”

    “Then I must find a way to stop her. Thank you, Uncle.”

    “You!” A shout startled them both. Avatara turned to see a young man with short blond hair in the doorway. “I’m here to put an end to you, old man!” Flynn drew both of his swords and charged towards Wizard. “Feel the wrath of the Water Triiiiiii–“

    Wizard waited until the last moment, then stepped aside and tripped Flynn, sending him over the railing.

    “–iiiiiiiiiii–“ Flynn’s cry faded until it was cut off by the sound of splashing water.

    “There is a dinghy on the port side. You can use that to rescue your girl,” Wizard said, unperturbed by the interruption. “If you take care of your sister, I will see what I can do about these ships.”

    “Thanks again Uncle. I won’t forget this,” Avatara said, leaving to find the boat.

    “See you again soon, my boy.” Wizard turned back to watch smoke billow from the icy fortress. “And good luck.”


    Even from his vantage point, Selax could see the battle was not going well for the Northern Water Tribe. Fire Nation soldiers had breached four of the outer rings and were fighting their way up towards the palace, slowed down only by the desperation of the waterbenders who used the city itself to fend off their foes. Still, if something didn’t turn the tide soon, there might not be any waterbenders left in the morning.

    Using the smoke billowing out of the city as a cover, Selax swooped down onto the palace balcony and slipped into Moonshadow’s room.

    Pink lace was everywhere. Frilly sheets adorned with colorful ponies, furniture painted pink and built with soft huggable curves, walls adorned with white and red lily wallpaper. Above the desk hung a drawing of what appeared to be a firebending elf carrying a princess in a wedding dress. The desk itself was covered in all kinds of books and drawings, so many that they spilled onto the floor as well. In the corner of the room stood a small stone statue of a fairy creature next to a white owl plushie.

    The one thing Selax couldn’t find in the room was Moonshadow herself. Were those foolish kids still outdoors? He had just opened the door when he heard a muffled thump outside.

    Using air to lift his feet off the ground, he crept soundlessly out into the hall. Two palace guards lay crumpled at one end of the hall, with no sign of a struggle. Quickly looking the other way, Selax was just in time to see the other two guards slump to the ground. A short woman stood over them wearing a red crop top and short shorts. She flicked her long brown braid over her shoulder and smiled innocently at Selax.

    “Hello Nili,” Selax said, stepping carefully towards her, trying to watch all around him. Nili wasn’t the type to do this alone. If she was here, then so was–

    “Well, well, well. If it isn’t the last airbender,” a sly voice came from behind him. “Is my traitorous brother not with you? Or have you left the worthless fool behind?”

    “Princess Retsinikuma, I wish I could say it was a pleasure to see you again,” Selax replied dryly. He turned so his back was against the wall and attempted to watch both girls moving towards him.

    “Now, now. There’s no need to be so formal. Why don’t you call me Retsy like you used to?” Retsy bared her teeth in a somewhat creepy but cute smile. She had just the slightest gap between her two front teeth.

    “Hi Sely, it’s been soooo boring without you around,” Nili giggled. The two of them were only a dozen paces away now.

    “Is that so?” Selax asked. “Well, good. How about you leave now before we start having fun?”

    “Aww, but I liked it when we would…play together!” Resty said, narrowing her eyes.

    Without warning, Selax raised his left hand and slammed a gust of wind into Nili. She let out a yelp and flew back twenty feet, landing on top of the unconscious guards. He brought his right hand up but was forced to spin away from the wall, lest he be incinerated by Retsy’s counter-assault.

    “The moon princess is mine! No one is going to stop me! Not even you!” Retsy said as she leapt in for another attack.

    Selax parried her blow with his forearm and brought his other hand around to grab her free wrist, holding her in place. “I have lived for a thousand years, witnessed countless battles. There is nothing you could possibly do to surprise–“

    Retsy leaned forward and kissed him on the lips.

    Eyes wide, Selax staggered back, stunned. He could still feel the warmth on his skin where they had touched. In a panic, he frantically wiped his mouth, hoping he wouldn’t catch rabies. Four jabs into his back and his arms fell limp to his sides. Two more jabs and he collapsed to his knees, unable to move.

    “Sorry Sely, we’ll have to play more later,” Retsy said, blowing him a kiss.

    “No!” his voice was but a whisper. He promised.

    “Don’t feel too bad,” Nili said, laying him on his side. She leaned in close to whisper in his ear, “I bet that was her first too.”

    “Leave him, Nili!” Retsy commanded, turning away. “We’ve got a princess to kill!”


    “I’m just saying, maybe we should wait before we decide on the name of our third child. We don’t even know if it’ll be a girl yet!” Fendul said.

    Katerei buried her head in her hands, hoping the two of them would lose their voice any minute now. She would rather sit through ten Isu lectures than put up with more of this drivel.

    “I don’t know,” Moonshadow said as she pretended to suck on her index finger in thought. “I still think ‘Katerei’ would make a pretty name. After all, it was your sister who got us to see past our differences.”

    “Yeah, but wouldn’t it be weird calling my sister’s name when it’s time to change a diaper?”

    “Think of it this way.” Moonshadow grinned. “You’d get to boss ‘her’ around all the time!”

    “That does sound quite enticing,” Fendul admitted.

    Katerei ground her teeth until she thought they would crack. She couldn’t take this anymore! Rising to her feet in a fury, she turned around and faced the two lovebirds. “That’s it! I’ve had it with–“

    A shadowy figure was approaching Fendul from behind. On reflex, Katerei swung her hand down and forward, sending a torrent of water over the startled princess. The water collided with the figure and a brown-haired girl flew backwards into a prayer stone with a startled shriek.

    “Hey, I like where you’re going with this wet dress idea. Good thinking!” Fendul said as he checked on Moonshadow to see if she was okay.

    “No, you idiot! We’re under attack!” Katerei screamed at him.

    “Indeed you are,” a short girl with dark hair said from right behind her.

    Katerei spun around to confront her challenger. “I’ll only warn you once. I am a master waterbender, trained by the great Behadul himself! See? He even gave me a certificate!”

    Retsy shoved her and she fell backwards into the frigid pond with a yelp. Fendul jumped to his feet but before he could draw his weapon, a wave of fire made him jump backwards, separating him from the princess. Nili rushed forward to pin his arms and legs behind his back.

    Suddenly alone, Moonshadow scooted backwards until she reached the water’s edge. The waterfall rumbled from a hundred paces behind her. The moon shone directly overhead, illuminating the firebender as she calmly approached. With no place to run, the princess steeled her face and in a calm voice warned, “If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.”

    “Yeah, yeah. Look, I’m sorry about all this. I do think you’re quite pretty, but I’m going to have to kill you anyway. Spirits belong in the spirit world.” Retsy pulled out a dagger and stabbed Moonshadow in the heart. “No hard feelings, right?”

    “MOONSHADOW! NO!” Fendul cried out, managing to break free from Nili. She let him go as he rushed to Moonshadow’s side and cradled her dying body.

    Moonshadow looked up at him, blood dribbling out of her mouth. She smiled and lifted a hand to his face. “Do not fear, my love. I am like the moon itself. I will always be with you, watching over you. Always watching you.” Her hand dropped to her side and she breathed her last.

    “No! Moonshadow! Don’t go! I’m sorry!” Fendul burst into tears, holding her lifeless body. “I should have done more to protect you! I’m sorry!”

    “Well, now that that is taken care of, how about we grab a snack?” Retsy said, turning to Nili. “We passed what smelled like a great bakery in the sixth ring.”

    “You! Fire Nation bitch!” Katerei said, dripping water from the pond. She pushed her hands forward and then pulled them back to her sides as if giving an invisible tug.

    “Well, that was as useless as your handwritten scrap of paper,” Retsy said, placing her hands on her hips and staring mockingly at Katerei. “Do you even know how to control water?”

    A large boom followed by several loud cracks were her answer. Turning in confusion, Retsy saw the wall around the waterfall start to crumble.

    “Sorry to rain on your little parade,” Katerei said, “but it’s past time we washed the filth out of our city.”

    “Um, Retsy. Shouldn’t we be running?” Nili asked nervously, grabbing hold of Retsy’s hand. Retsy started to say something but a sudden gust of wind blew the two of them back into the pool.

    “Come on, we need to get out of here!” Avatara said, bringing Selax low to the ground. The cracks in the wall above were growing at an alarming rate and large chunks of rock and water were already splashing down all around them.

    “Fendul! Leave her!” Katerei said, grabbing hold of the saddle.

    Seeing her brother still sitting down on the grass, Avatara leaped off Selax and ran over. “Fendul, she’s gone, we have to go. Now!” When Fendul didn’t reply, Avatara lifted him off the ground and carried the numb boy back to Selax.

    Icy boulders broke free as the wall finally gave way. A massive torrent of ice and water rushed forward, slamming into the ground, burying the shrine and hurtling towards the city. Selax leaped into the air, missing the wave by inches. He beat his wings furiously, struggling to gain altitude ahead of the avalanche. Just when it seemed they were all about to be crushed, he lurched one last time and they soared above the wave of destruction. They circled around, gaining altitude, watching in silence as the wave of rocks and ice flooded the city.

    “Well, on the bright side, looks like the siege is broken,” Selax said.

    “Aren’t we going down to help them?” Katerei asked as Selax turned them away, heading east.

    “I’m sure they’ll be fine, but we don’t have time,” Avatara replied. “We need to make our way to the Earth Kingdom and find a master if we want to stop the comet. Besides, I’m not sure they’ll be too happy to see us right now.”

    Katerei hung her head in shame.

    “I failed! I’m so sorry!” Fendul burst into sobs again. He looked up at the moon. “I swear, I’m going to hunt down and kill every last one of those Fire Nation bastards!”

    They flew in silence, white clouds quickly covering up the scene at the North Pole. It was cold this high up at night and they hadn’t had time to pack extra blankets. Katerei used the cold as an excuse to sit next to Avatara and rest her hand lightly on his forearm.

    “She ruined my training certificate,” she said, holding the crumpled and stained piece of paper sadly.

    Avatara gently took it out of her hands and tossed it into the air. When she looked at him to protest, he cut her off. “It is not the paper that makes a master.” He placed a hand flat on her back, warm against the night chill. “It is what is inside you that determines who we are.”

    She snuggled closer under his grip, leaning her head on his shoulder. At the sound of more sniffling behind them, she turned and smiled.

    “If it’s any consolation brother, I can name my third son after you.”


    A dripping, shivering, and very grumpy Retsy glared at the old man sipping tea in front of her. “Who gave you the right to turn the fleet around?” she demanded.

    Wizard took a moment to savor the warm flavor of freshly brewed tea leaves. He ignored the girl clenching her fists together and looked at the brunette ringing her hair out. “There are extra blankets in the cabin, if you want something warm, my dear,” he said.

    “Thanks!” Nili smiled. She gave her head a shake, sending water droplets flying everywhere, then bounded inside, leaving the other two alone.

    “Well? Was this my brother’s doing? Are you in league with him, Uncle?”

    “Take a look around you. Your men are tired. The water tribe now lives closer to water than they wanted. The moon spirit has been defeated. What more can you ask for?” Wizard replied.

    “I can ask for a commander that I trust!” Retsy snapped. “By the power bestowed in me by Father, I strip you of your title and banish you from the Fire Nation! You are no longer welcome in my sight! At the first port we reach, I want you off this ship! Spend the last of your waning days in exile with the earthbenders!”

    “I’m sorry that the waterbender got you wet so easily, but I hope you reconsider the path you have set for yourself before it is too late,” Wizard said. He gathered up his teapot and the empty cup and headed inside to pack. He paused to linger briefly on the doorstep. “Though you have to admit, you did have it coming.”


    “Thank you all for coming, friends,” a very wet Flynn addressed the six people gathered around him. They were huddled around a campfire in a damp cave, not far from the city.

    “We promised long ago we would help each other,” Trinias said, adjusting his bow. “Now, what troubles you?”

    “Moonshadow is dead, slain in cold blood.” Flynn grit his teeth while the rest of them gasped. “I want your help finding the one responsible and bringing him to justice!”

    “Who would do such a terrible thing?” Leandra asked, seated next to her husband.

    “The same person that destroyed our city.” Flynn looked at each of their faces, met all six of their gazes. Kwon Chen, Trinias, Wolmark, Leandra, Sasha, and even the brutish Ulf stared back in solemn agreement.

    “Ronin, I need your help hunting down Fendul of the Southern Water Tribe.”



  • It took me all day to read this chapter, but it was so worth it : __D This is even better than the pilot!

    Quote

    “The company seems more pleasant now. I wouldn’t mind spending some time with that young waterbender of yours.”

    “Like anybody would ship that!” Avatara rolled his eyes.

    Hey! >:(

    Quote

    “I intend to use a master bender from each element to stop the comet. Will that be enough?”

    Rapierian yawned. “Only one way to find out."

    I love Rapierian's response, and I love that he's approximately as helpful as the past avatars always are when Aang or Korra go to them for advice ^_ __^

    Quote

    “I was thinking about what you said earlier. How it’s fun to torment Selax from time to time and figured what better way than to make a whistle only he can hear?"

    Aww, what a perfect present! <3 I feel like I'm betraying myself, but I'm shipping Avarei here :x

    Quote

    “I wonder how many igloos they have. Ten?” Fendul mused as he raced to the edge of Selax so he could look down.

    “The Northern Tribe has never been directly assaulted. I bet they have two dozen,” Katerei said as she joined him.

    Heehee : __D

    Quote

    He was a professional romantic now. “So uh, would you like to do an activity together?”

    What woman could resist such an invitation? : __D

    Quote

    “When I look into your eyes, I see a–“

    “–Rotten, good-for-nothing, lousy, sexist old man!” Katerei sputtered as she came stomping up to them.

    This cracked me up ^_ __^ (And it may actually be what Katerei sees when she looks into Moonshadow's eyes.)

    Quote

    “Feel the wrath of the Water Triiiiiii–“

    Wizard waited until the last moment, then stepped aside and tripped Flynn, sending him over the railing.

    “–iiiiiiiiiii–“ Flynn’s cry faded until it was cut off by the sound of splashing water.

    Oh no, what a brilliant defensive maneuver by Wizard!

    Quote

    Above the desk hung a drawing of what appeared to be a firebending elf carrying a princess in a wedding dress.

    <3 <3 <3

    Quote

    “Princess Retsinikuma, I wish I could say it was a pleasure to see you again,” Selax replied dryly.

    Noooooo! D __:

    Quote

    “Ronin, I need your help hunting down Fendul of the Southern Water Tribe.”

    What a dramatic ending! : __o I'm torn between being thrilled that the Ronin are in the story, and being worried about the protagonists!

    I can't wait for part 3 : __D I wonder if they'll be able to save the world?



  • @avatara_bot, on 22 September 2015 - 05:53 AM, said in The Book of Water:

    “Concentrate,” Selax said, sitting cross-legged across from Avatara. “Entering the spirit world will not be easy. You must first let go of your worldly burdens.”

    The sound of something hitting the ground caused Selax to lift a closed eyelid.

    I knew that was coming, and I would've been disappointed if it wasn't. ^_^

    Quote

    “Avatar Rapierian?” Selax bowed and formed the ancient Fire Nation gesture of greeting. One fist held over the other, middle finger extended out forming the shape of a flame.

    snrk

    Quote

    “Like anybody would ship that!” Avatara rolled his eyes.

    Yup, never gonna happen.

    Quote

    “I was thinking about what you said earlier. How it’s fun to torment Selax from time to time and figured what better way than to make a whistle only he can hear?”

    Best gift ever!

    Quote

    “Oh, okay then,” he shrugged and Katerei snuggled up to him in victory.

    :D

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    “Rise and shine! We’ve got a long day ahead of us!” Avatara called out as he slid open the door to the dojo. To his surprise, Fendul jumped up from underneath a blanket with a red-haired girl. “Um, am I interrupting something?”

    ...well, that's not exactly how I expected training to go.

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    A short woman stood over them wearing a red crop top and short shorts. She flicked her long brown braid over her shoulder and smiled innocently at Selax.

    Yup, Nili's a pretty fitting Ty Lee.

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    Retsy leaned forward and kissed him on the lips.

    I'm not surprised Retsy is Azula, but I didn't see that coming. o_O

    Quote

    Retsy pulled out a dagger and stabbed Moonshadow in the heart.

    M dies a lot, doesn't she?

    Quote

    He placed a hand flat on her back, warm against the night chill. “It is what is inside you that determines who we are.”

    She snuggled closer under his grip, leaning her head on his shoulder.

    :wub:

    Quote

    “Ronin, I need your help hunting down Fendul of the Southern Water Tribe.”

    Oh no!

    I dread look forward to the next part.


  • Global Moderator

    Well, I see that I'm going have to do something horrible to Avatara.

    That aside, I guessed two of the characters in advance (three if you count Wizard but I only realized that character would be appearing in the story a few sentences before he did appear).

    @avatara_bot, on 22 September 2015 - 05:53 AM, said in The Book of Water:

    “To think such a selfish, lazy, useless creature could be the Avatar! What kind of twisted mind could come up with such a character?” Selax complained.

    I resent that!

    Rapierian is not lazy! And he's not useless...somewhat useful or worse than useless but not useless!

    @avatara_bot, on 22 September 2015 - 05:53 AM, said in The Book of Water:

    Wizard waited until the last moment, then stepped aside and tripped Flynn, sending him over the railing.

    I admit that waiting until the last minute is in character but... Wizard...moving fast?

    Have you gone completely insane?!

    @avatara_bot, on 22 September 2015 - 05:53 AM, said in The Book of Water:

    Avatara gently took it out of her hands and tossed it into the air. When she looked at him to protest, he cut her off. “It is not the paper that makes a master.” He placed a hand flat on her back, warm against the night chill. “It is what is inside you that determines who we are.”

    Throwing away a certification as a master bender? What twisted individual would create a character with such misplaced priorities :p ?


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