My Grandmother told me the story of how our family came to live in the Earth Kingdom several times. But, I never really paid much attention to it until now. When she told it to me again for the umpteenth time last night, I finally sat and listened, in hopes maybe she wouldn't keep telling me over and over again.
We didn't always have to hide our talents from the outside world. In fact, we used to have our own communities, and we were once a people all our own. We were the Air Nomads. I lived in the Western Air Temple most of my life with my mother and my flying bison, Eyo. I never had any idea that the winds of war were blowing our way, until it was to late. Until it was the day I had to leave my home, and never return. I was only eleven years old.
I remember waking up that spring morning, the sun was coming up. And, what a beautiful sunset it was. There was a soft wind blowing, too. However, something didn't feel right. I looked out my window, and there seemed to be nothing wrong.
Just then, my mother came in, with an expression of worry on her face. She had two bags with her, one had my clothes, and the other had food and a canteen of water.
"Mother, what's wrong? And, why are my things all packed up? Are we going somewhere?" My mother shook her head.
"You are going to the Earth Kingdom, Kiko, you and Eyo are not coming back." I was startled. Her voice was trembling. But, she was always so calm and serene, like the others sisters at the temple! Why did she say…YOU AND EYO? Why did it sound like she was not coming with us?
"Mom, I don't understand. What's happening?" She shook her head again, and stroked my soft grey hair.
"I'll explain as we get Eyo ready." I smiled and gave her a hug. Tears rolled down her face in streams. I took my glider with me out to the courtyard, where Eyo was sitting. My dear friend grumbled as I climbed onto her back. I noticed three other bison were packed and they were all ready taking off.
"Firelord Sozen is Mad. He has declared war on the other nations in hopes of conquering us all and proving Fire is the superior element. Because we are such peaceful people…he sees us as weaklings, and we are the first of his victims."
"But Mom, I have friends in the Fire Nation? How could all of them turn evil because of this one lunatic?" My mother sighed.
"He is the Firelord, and anyone who disobeys him is considered a traitor to the Fire Nation. I am sorry, my dear Kiko, but I am afraid that things are never going to be the same. The monks have decided to send of few of the children here to the Earth Kingdom, where they should be safe. You were one of the ones who was chosen."
"Why can't you come with me?"
"Kiko, this place has been my home since as far as I can remember. I feel it is my duty to stay here and defend the Western Air Temple as best I can. Most of the others will so the same. You will go to a different place then the other who are leaving. We feel of the Fire Nation will be less likely to destroy our people of they can't find us all at once."
Sometimes I regret that I left. But, then I realize things would not have been any better to stay.
"I know it doesn't make much sense right now, but perhaps when you are older, you know everything. Why this is happening, and if it will ever be resolved." I hugged my mother good-bye before she bid me off.
"I love you, mom."
"I love you, too, my little Kiko."
Suddenly, a Fireball was thrown from down below, and hit the Gazebo that was nearby. The sound of marching could be faintly heard in the distance . With a heavy heart I commanded my Bison to lift off.
As we ascended the air, another Fireball was thrown at us. Eyo managed to dodge it, but it left a light burn on he fur. Soon, we were off. I turned around to see soldiers coming up the mountain to the temple. A group of them surrounded my mother, and I could see her fighting them relentlessly.
But, as we got farther and farther away, the scene grew smaller and smaller, until my once beloved home was nowhere in sight. I looked around. The others who had fled went in different directions, just as my mother had said. I decided to go strait east.
Each day Eyo and I traveled, and each night we found rest an island somewhere to rest. Our journey was almost a week, and by the time we spotted the mainland, we were running out of food and water.
We reached the Mainland, and after another day or so traveling inland, we spotted an Earth Kingdom village named Daiyun, where I lived ever since.
I was taken in by a kindly farmer and his wife, who became my adopted family until I fell in love and married your grandfather, Mosho, and had your mother, Yumei.
But, I continued to Airbend, for it was the only thing I had left of home besides Eyo, who had passed away not to long ago.
But, I could only Airbend in the privacy of the family's twenty-acre farm, which we still live on. Out of pure blessing, your mother was also able to Airbend, and I taught her everything I knew about our people, including bending.
I was quite surprised when we learned you could Airbend as well! To think, my own granddaughter, raised in the Earth Kingdom, with a dad who's a blacksmith, could still be an Airbender! Because of it I feel truly blessed.
Now your mother and I teach you , Taneiko, the ways of the Air Nomads. Sure, we may not have arrows on our heads or still wear monk clothes, but we still have the same whimsy our people had.
You have jet-black hair, just like your mother, and the cloud-colored eyes of an Air Nomad!
I believe someday, we will no longer have to hide. That will be the day when the Avatar returns…
I toyed around with my siangham, and thought about what she had said. It gave me hope. I never liked having to hide my Airbending! I'd been like this for all of my short thirteen year old life! Maybe when this Avatar or whatever shows up, we can come clean!
I just never thought that day would come so quickly…especially when it may be already here!
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Quick Note: A Siangham is a exotic, dagger-like weapon. Thank you.