The kids have joined together at last and are now on the run from the entire world as the army grows and war alliances are formed. They must now gather together a band of benders from around the globe and stand together against the enemies around them as the Spirits finally take action on the benders. But Mizu's past will have drastic consequences on this battle and she must discover who she is before the world disappates into chaos.


AVATAR: THE FIRST BENDER

Book 2: ICE

CHAPTER 1:

MOVING ON

Winter had arrived. Mizu jumped down a small rock as the group prepared to move away from the mountain as snow began to fall. "Make sure that the food isn't bruised for the trip down." Bakiko said to Kizu as he handed him the heavy sack of food they had harvested from their small garden.

"I used to be a messenger; I think I can handle a bag of vegetables." Kizu said.

"Really?" Bakiko said surprised. "How efficient were you?"

Kizu stopped in his tracks. He blushed and then continued with his walk down to where Ran-Fo and Jip were helping secure the packs in a pile and checking to make sure there were no rips.

Ran-fo lifted one up and showed it to Jip. It was Aer's. Jip grabbed it and looked it over. "Aer, your pack has a rip in it!" Jip shouted up to Aer. Aer walked over and took the pack.

"Thank you." Aer took her pack and laid it on the ground. She shifted through the contents and laid out her clothes and mat and pulled her blanket out. The blanket unfurled and tossed a small crystal onto the ground in front of her. She gave a small gasp and moved to touch it.

She picked up the crystal in her hands and looked at it lovingly. She still had it. She clutched it to her chest and made sure everything was secured in her pack. She took some thread and quickly fixed the small tear the crystal had made. Aer rose and handed her pack back to Jip.

"Thanks, Aer." Jip said as she added it to the pile. Ran-fo seized it up and looked it over again. He gave her the thumbs up and placed it back in the pile. Mizu gave a small laugh at the kids' organization skills and returned to searching for any military forces below them.

"Where are you going, Aer?" Bakiko asked as Aer began walking away.

"I'll be right back. I just have to say good-bye." Aer said solemnly. Bakiko only nodded. He knew what she meant. Aer lowered her head and held the crystal out in front of her.

The basin had a nice layer of snow on the ground. She walked into the middle and looked down at the stone Kizu had raised for him.

Long-hin

No one knew what to put on it that would have captured his soul. No one wanted to handle the process of thinking of some phrase to sum Long-hin up. Aer bent down and laid the crystal on the headstone. "Long-hin, I miss you."

Aer bent her head in mourning. He had been gone for a week, but it didn't feel that way. It felt like it had been an eternity. Aer got up and kissed the grave.

"Are you done with the sob stuff?"

Aer turned to see Kan, decked out with a large cloak draped around his shoulders.

"What do you want?" Aer asked as she composed herself and tried to wipe the tear from her eye.

"We're leaving, aren't we?" Kan asked.

"Yes, we are." Aer said.

"Well then, let's go!" Kan gestured to the path back up to the mountain's top. Aer walked past him. As she passed him, Kan slipped his arm around her shoulders and held her tight.

"Let me go, Kan." Aer said as she tried to push him off.

"Why? You're always like this."

"Well, you know where I stand on you just using me when you feel…"

"You haven't even said a word to me since he died!" Kan said as he turned Aer back to face him.

"Yes I have!" Aer pushed him backwards into the snow with a blast of airbending. "Now, you said it yourself, it is time to leave."

"You loved him, didn't you?" Kan shouted to Aer's back. Aer stopped in her tracks, her eyes flitting about for something to take him off the subject. Mizu, Jip, and Kizu's heads poked over the edge to see the two in the basin.

"He was a close friend that I will never see again. Of course I'm sad that he is dead." Aer said in response.

"I didn't ask if you were sad that he's gone. I asked if you loved him."

"I…" Aer turned to face Kan and then quickly let her face fall. Kan had taken the mask off.

"What? Go on!" Kan urged her.

"Get back to work." Bakiko hissed at Jip and Kizu. "Give them their space. We need to make up time for losing that sky bison."

Jip and Ran-fo quickly laid the packs out in a line and handed them to each of the travelers. Mizu had hers on and Kizu slipped his on and tied the food sack to it. Aer's and Kan's were still laid out.

"I don' want to talk about it right now." Aer said as she once again turned away from him.

"It's this isn't it?" Kan shouted as he gestured to his right side. He held the mask of ice he had made in his hands. "It's hideous, isn't it?"

"No, Kan. I don't mind that." Aer said as she turned back to him.

"Yeah, just as I'm sure you don't mind this!" Kan flashed his bony hand to her. Aer flinched as the rotting flesh mixed with the cold snow. Kan shook his head and slipped it back into the glove he had stolen from Zhong.

"That's what I thought." Kan made a gust of wind carry him to the top of the mountain where he placed his ice mask back on his scarred face and thrust the pack onto his shoulder. "Are we going or not?" Kan shouted.

"Of course." Bakiko stated as they followed Kan's cloak down the steep path towards the base of the mountain.

Mizu gave a look at Aer, who had returned to Long-hin's grave and had taken the crystal back and put the chain around her neck. Aer tucked it into her overcoat and departed, leaping into the air and landing next to her pack in a moment. She heaved it over her shoulders and walked down behind the group.

Mizu said nothing.

They reached the shore some time later. "Okay, so now what?" Bakiko asked them.

"I thought you had an idea." Kizu exclaimed.

"Well, why should I be the leader all the time?" Bakiko said. Kan shoved past him.

"I'll do it then." Kan said as he threw his hand up and gave an outward push, exhaling a stream of ice as he did. The snowflakes that fell were drawn to the ocean as if a magnet had caught them. They froze together and formed what could only be described as a shallow skiff. It had a small, narrow bow and a low stern that was positioned low to the ocean's surface. Kan stepped onto it easily and it began to rock, some icy water spilling into the already cold boat.

"Well, you wanted a solution. What are you waiting for?" Kan asked. Aer was the next to shove past them and stepped onto the boat. She sat on the opposite side of Kan, avoiding his gaze as Kan removed his mask.

The others filed on and it was Kizu who took up turning the tides to help the small vessel move through the water towards the clouded mainland.

"Looks to be a cold night." Bakiko said as he looked to the darkening sky. "We should bundle up."

"I thought you weren't the leader." Kizu snapped at him as he wrapped his blanket around him tighter.

"Yeah, and it's really nice that we're on a boat of ice!" Mizu commented as she looked at Kan. He snarled and turned further into his cloak and avoided contact with other beings for the rest of the silent trip. Aer looked out to the black sea and shook her head.

"Hey, is that…" Before Aer could finish a harpoon had launched itself at the side of the boat and cracked it in half. Kan hopped onto the bow as Aer, Ran-fo, Jip, and Kizu fell into the water. Mizu and Bakiko whipped their hands down and spun, causing the boat to repair itself and drag the passengers from the frozen depths. It also froze the harpoon into the side of the boat.

It gave a large tug and began to reel the boat in. There was a massive fleet of ships sitting in the water, torches burning to give the soldiers light to see by. "Um, I don't think these guys are friendly." Bakiko said pessimistically.

"Gee, what was your first guess?" Mizu asked as she tossed her hand and the rope undid itself. She pulled and the rope slid into her hands, dragging the boat over as it went. Kan summoned the harpoon to his hand and took aim.

"I bet I can sink them in one shot." Kan bragged as he threw it into the air and sent it on its way with airbending. It shot clean through two ships and toppled the mast of a third ship.

"Yeah, I think you lost your bet." Kizu said as he stared over the side of the ship. The sky lit up as balls of fire rained down upon them.

"What, was there a 'let's kill some kids' day?" Bakiko sighed as Aer and Jip summoned an air shield over them to keep the balls from smashing the boat again. Bakiko was swinging his hands around him, causing the current to speed up as they sped towards land. Another harpoon barely missed their side.

Then, they felt strange. It felt as if a gag had been placed over their mouths and a long chain was tightening around them. They tried to gasp for air but found the invisible chain tighten and compress their chests. They got cramps in their legs and Ran-fo and Mizu fell to the ground trying to find air. Just as they felt all air leave them forever, they struck land and the chains were broken.

"Come on! Get air later." Aer shouted to them as she quickly moved them all off with a small platform of air beneath them. Kan pushed the boat out to sea, where it melted and merged once again with the ocean. Angry shouts could be heard from the soldiers on the ship.

"What just…"Kizu began. Jip pulled him to his feet and helped him run along with them as they sprinted into the forest. They ran for some time, Bakiko bending trees into new patterns to hide their trail. They stopped for breath near a small pond.

"I think we lost them." Jip breathed as she bent down and made sure her pack was still secure.

"What was that back there?" Bakiko asked as he felt his lungs take in the sweetest air he had ever breathed.

"Yeah, we were all tight and couldn't breathe and…" Mizu began.

"It was pigment bending." Aer finished. "It is a small side effect but still has effective results."

"Pigment what?" Kizu asked.

"It's an airbending technique that allows me to manipulate pigments in the air and change the color or appearance of other things. Such as making us invisible for example."

"We were invisible?" Kizu said astonished.

"Yes. We needed some cover and what's better cover than invisibility?" Aer asked as she smiled a little and set her pack down.

"You know, airbending doesn't sound too bad now. I mean you can make shields and platforms and fly and manipulate sounds and now you can even become invisible." Bakiko said to himself.

"Yeah, too bad you can't fight." Kan shot. "No, you're all too nice and gentle and peaceful for that," he sneered. He set down his mat furiously and went to bed. "If you really want there to be peace, you can think of a way to make these guys get off our backs."

"I agree with Kan." Mizu said. "If we want peace at last, we've got to have a plan for survival."

"There are a lot more of us now." Jip said. "It will be a lot harder to hide now."

"Yeah, but we also don't have a big sky bison to attract attention." Bakiko stated.

"And that means more blisters on your feet." Aer reminded him. "We'll have to walk from now on."

"Or use a boat to cross water." Jip stated. "Besides the small confrontation, that went pretty well."

"Yeah, besides the 'small confrontation'." Kizu said. "We'll defiantly need some plan."

They sat in silence and began to set up their sleeping arrangements. It was Kan who would awake in the night with an idea. He rolled over in his sleep and shot straight up.

"I know exactly what we'll do." Kan said triumphantly. He got up as others began to stir and turn to him.

"So, what is it?" Aer asked. "It isn't violent, is it?"

"Not in a direct sense." Kan answered. "No one would think twice of going against an entire army of benders."

"What?" Mizu said sleepily.

"We're going to make a city only for benders and create a new nation that we can live in

An all bender city!"