...I suck, I admit it. I am SOOOO sorry for not keeping up with this and leaving you hanging. I am a college student, after all, and real life does kick in sometimes...but I haven't abandoned this fic, and to prove it to you, I have finally brought you an update. Please enjoy!
The Earth Clerics recoiled at the girl's filthy appearance. Roku watched as the young Kyoshi's expression changed from curiosity to annoyance, and the girl simply crossed her arms and waited for them to compose themselves. Avatar Kyoshi looked down at Roku and smirked. "They were more surprised than I was when they told me that I was the Avatar. I'm sure you had your doubts when you were first told, right?"
Roku nodded…he was certain that there had been some mistake. He questioned the Fire Sages over and over again before he quietly accepted his fate. But as he looked at the strong young girl and the bumbling clerics, he knew…in Kyoshi's case, the roles had been reversed. "That's right," Avatar Kyoshi said, reading his mind. "This time, they were the ones that thought it was a mistake."
The two laughed together as their surroundings melted away again. It did not startle Roku as much as the first time, but he still felt uneasy as he found himself standing on air once again. He turned to Kyoshi. "Where are we going now?"
"We are going forward several years, to my first obstacle as the Avatar. I was sent away like you were…I had to spend many years away from home as I mastered the elements, as well as the Avatar State." Roku flinched slightly at the mention of the Avatar State. Kyoshi noticed but said nothing to him, instead continuing her narrative. "When I finally returned to the Earth Kingdom, the clerics informed me that a conqueror had been at work while I was away."
Another scene came into view. Two figures stood in a field, facing each other. One was Avatar Kyoshi, matured and strengthened by her years of training. Her face paint was much neater now, having been applied with a brush instead of with dirty hands. She had chosen to regularly apply the face paint as a way of intimidating her enemies, and it worked…if only because of the frightening nature of the woman behind the paint.
The man that faced her had a large army behind him, but he faced Kyoshi alone. He was dressed like a lord; his clothing and armor were elaborately decorated. He would have looked quite fearsome if it hadn't been for his small stature…especially when compared to the giant Kyoshi. He appeared to be even shorter than Roku; Kyoshi easily towered over the diminutive man. If Kyoshi had not looked so grim, Roku might have laughed at the situation. "What's going on?" he asked.
Avatar Kyoshi watched the scene with dark eyes. "His name was Chin. While I was away training, he took over much of the Earth Kingdom. Nobody told me of my homeland's plight…they wanted me to concentrate on my training instead."
"What? How could they just keep you ignorant while your people suffered?"
Kyoshi nodded. "That's what I thought at first. In the end, however, I think it was for the best. I shudder to think of what might have happened if I had faced Chin too early…when I had not matured as an Avatar."
Her eyes returned to the scene, and Roku watched as well, swallowing his questions for the moment. Chin the conqueror clearly threatened her, boldly taking a fighting stance. Roku balked at the man's nerve…challenging a fully-realized Avatar?! He must have been so full of himself, Roku thought. His army seemed to think the same thing; many soldiers paled in fear at the sight of Kyoshi.
Kyoshi stood her ground, not even flinching in the face of the conqueror. With a flick of her metal fans, she blew away Chin's elaborate clothing. Roku couldn't help it; he snickered at the sight of the would-be challenger as he stood there in his underwear. Avatar Kyoshi looked down at him and smiled. "Though I matured through my training, the prankster side of me never quite died away."
Roku turned back to the scene. The Kyoshi of the past still stood grimly…there was no laughter in her eyes, even after Chin's humiliation. She closed her eyes, meditating. Roku gasped when her eyes opened; they were glowing white for a moment, but the glow faded quickly. The Avatar State?
With swift, powerful movements, she began earthbending. She created a deep chasm in the earth between herself and Chin. It stretched to the distant ocean, and with a burst of strength, Kyoshi stomped the ground and widened the gap. Summoning the power of her past lives, she whipped both fans forward, creating blasts of air that widened the gap even more. Soon, water began to fill the gap as the ocean surged into the crack. Roku balked. She's creating an island?!
The distance between the new island and the mainland gradually grew. Chin's army fled from the awesome show of power, but Chin stubbornly remained rooted to the ground. He shouted in anger and frustration as the unconquered land slipped away from him.
Roku turned to Kyoshi. "He's angry over that little bit of land? Even though he's already taken over the rest of the Earth Kingdom?"
Kyoshi shook her head. "It wasn't enough for him. As is the case with many conquerors, a large portion was not enough. He wanted the whole thing." The cliff that Chin was standing on suddenly crumbled underneath his feet, dumping him into the sea. His cries echoed off the cliffs until he disappeared from sight. "Foolish man…"
Standing on the beach of the newly formed island, the Kyoshi of the past stopped airbending and fell to the ground, weak with exhaustion from the effort. "So this," Roku asked, "is how Kyoshi Island came to be?"
"Yes. My town was so grateful for saving them from the conqueror that they named the island after me. Life on the new island was hard for the first few years; they were now cut off from the mainland, so they had to rely on resources on the island alone. The town that I grew up in slowly disbanded into smaller villages scattered throughout the island. It made life easier for everybody."
"I still can't believe you created your own island," Roku said, still amazed. "So that's what a fully realized Avatar is capable of…"
"Yes, Roku," Kyoshi said, turning to him. She placed both hands on his shoulders and looked into his eyes. "I know that you had a terrifying experience with the Avatar State. You must have felt so helpless and out of control."
Roku nodded, remembering the incident. "I was aware of what I was doing, but there was nothing I could do. It was like some other force was controlling me. I hated that feeling…especially after…" He stopped, cringing as he remembered Gyatso falling to the ground, his back scorched.
Kyoshi patted his shoulder. "I understand. The Avatar State is truly frightening. But the Avatar State helped me defend my homeland, and it helped to destroy an evil. Once you have control over it, you will do incredible things."
Roku understood. He looked up at Kyoshi, still apprehensive. "I admit that I'm still scared of it…but I will do my best to master it," he said with new resolve.
She smiled at him, reassuring him. "No one ever said that defending the world would be easy, but you do not have to do it alone." Roku smiled…Gyatso had once told him the exact same thing. He watched as Kyoshi stepped back, still facing him. Their surroundings began to melt away one last time as Kyoshi continued talking. "You have your friends, and you have your past lives. We're all looking out for you, Roku."
Everything faded away, and soon Roku found himself back in the Air Temple Sanctuary, staring at Avatar Kyoshi's statue. He gazed at it, wondering for a moment if it had all been a dream.
"Welcome back, Avatar Roku." Roku jumped at the voice and turned to see Monk Nashi. "You've been gone for several hours. Did you learn a lot?"
Roku didn't answer. He turned back to the statue, and for a fleeting moment, he saw a mischievous gleam in Avatar Kyoshi's eyes. He turned back to Nashi and smiled. Nashi smiled back and nodded, understanding.
No words were needed. The head monk and the Avatar left the sanctuary together, leaving the statues in silence and darkness. But as Roku turned back to glance at the statues one last time, there was no mistaking it…the formerly cold room now had a certain warmth about it.
Author's note: I hope that was worth the two-month wait. Finals are next week, and then I'll be moving into a new apartment, so it will be a while before the next update (yes, I'm warning you ahead of time this time) but once everything is settled, I PROMISE that I will do my best to keep this thing updated.