Author's Note: You may notice that scenes from the show will start playing into this tale. Believe me, it will all make sense. I thank the wonderful people of AvatarSpirit for having the transcripts to "The Northern Air Temple."
The Northern Air Temple
Aang clutched Appa's reins tightly in his hands, barely able to contain his excitement. With every cloud that passed, his smile grew wider and his heart raced faster. He would see airbenders again. He wasn't the last.
"Hey, we're almost at the Northern Air Temple! This is where they had the championships for sky bison polo." He called back to Sokka and Katara, who were engaged in a heated argument about lying and optimism.
Aang pointed to the mountain looming before them. "Hey guys! Look at this!"
The temple suddenly appeared through the clouds, its tall towers and green roofs stretching into the sky. The castle-like structure, nearly identical to the southern temple was perched almost perilously on the top of the mountain, and yet it appeared strong and stable. Gliders soared all around it. Aang leaned forward, grinning from ear to ear.
But something was wrong. He could tell immediately from the way the gliders were moving. The young Avatar's smile faded and his expression became almost pained.
"Hey! They really are airbenders!" Katara's excited voice came from behind him.
Aang leaned back against Appa dejectedly, his arms folded across his chest. Sadness etched on his face. "No, they're not."
Monk Gyatso regarded the young woman kneeling before him with interest. Not because she was young and rather pretty, his age and years of living without such thoughts about women had rendered those things immaterial in his mind. He was interested because of the tone of urgency in her voice and the obvious reverence she was showing him.
They were alone in the dining area together. Mrs. Kayito and Ima had offered to take little Aang for a walk so he could enjoy the sunshine and Liyan had readily accepted their offer, knowing that she'd be able to talk to the airbender with more ease if she wasn't worried about the baby.
"You are from an air nomad family?"
The girl nodded. The respect she was showing him made sense now. Only those of the air nation would kneel before a monk. The elderly man motioned for her to sit in the chair across from him at the table.
"Tell me, child, why do you wish to speak with me?"
"Sir, my brother Luta is a monk in the Northen Air temple. I need to see him. I…I…" The tears began flowing and the stress of her plight was now taking a hold of her. "I escaped from a vicious man who beat me and…and…well I won't go into the details. But I need Luta to help me. I need protection."
Gyatso looked at her with sympathy. "I wish that I could. But you know that women are forbidden in the Northern and Southern Air temples."
Liyan nodded. She had been expecting that answer. "But there is more. My son Aang is a bender. I need to get him the temple, to Luta. He'll be safe. He could be trained. Trust me, if the man I escaped from knew that his son had bending talent…I can't even think about that."
The monk stared thoughtfully at her for a moment. She said the boy was a bender. But surely she was mistaken. No child with talent showed any skills until around two to three years of age.
"How can you be sure he is an airbender?"
"I've seen him air lift himself out of his crib and he's shot up into the air when he's sneezed. Mrs. Kayito says that it's a sign he's a bender. Please you have to take us to Luta. I can't get there without you and I worried that the man I've been running from will catch up to me."
Gyatso sighed heavily at the description of the boy's powers. He had a feeling that this was the child the world was waiting for and that would mean his return to the southern temple would have to be postponed. The monk stood, smiling at the young mother.
"It appears the winds are taking me back to my brothers at the Northern Air Temple."
Liyan's face broke into a dazzling smile and she threw her arms around the older man, forgetting that he was a revered monk. Gyatso was startled for a moment, it had been a long time since he had seen and been the recipient of such a display of emotion.
"We have located her last whereabouts, sir."
'At last.' A calculating smile crossed over Gin Li's features. "Where is she?"
"Seisho. A bounty hunter named Siu confirmed it. She's at an inn there." The messenger said, handing Gin Li a piece of parchment. "It contains more information about her location."
The nomad folded the parchment and tucked it into his tunic. "Time to retrieve what is mine."
Liyan sat on the flying bison, the wind whipping through her hair. She missed the feeling of flying, earthbound travel just couldn't compare. The baby in her arms was squealing with delight, obviously not afraid of flight. Gyatso smiled at mother and son, glad to see that the boy seemed at home in the air even at his young age.
The young mother pointed her index finger out at the clouds and hugged onto the baby tighter. "Look Aang! The temple! See, angel, you are going to meet your uncle soon."
The Northern Air Temple's elegant towers suddenly came into view, green painted roofs glistening in the sunlight. Liyan smiled. Never had she imagined the temple would be that magnificent. Like a palace in a children's story.
The bison glided down effortlessly onto the temple's landing area, all six feet touching softly to the ground. Liyan looked around, suddenly self-conscious. Gyatso patted her hand reassuringly and with little effort, helped her and the baby off of the bison.
Monks and initiates stared at her with a mix of curiosity and in the case of the older monks, what appeared to be annoyance.
"What is the meaning of this, Gyatso?" A tall monk with a pure white beard and orange robes similar to Gyatso's came rushing up to them. He looked angry. "You know the rules…"
"Yes." The monk said. "If you will gather the council and Monk Luta, Giyon, I will be happy to explain everything."
Monk Giyon threw an irritated look at the young woman and marched back into the temple. Gyatso led the Liyan and her son in through the temple's main doorway to a large main room. Murals depicting monks were painted all over the walls and soft rugs covered the stone floor. Five small platforms were at one end of the large council room and sunlight streamed in through the large windows. Fountains shaped like the graceful lotus flower softly trickled water, a sound that was usually soothing to Liyan. But instead the girl paced the room nervously, holding little Aang tightly against her.
The young mother turned and she smiled. "Luta!"