A Daughter's Surprise

"Sylwanin, wake up my 'ite."

The young Na'vi moaned as she slowly woke from her deep slumber. Opening her amber eyes, Sylwanin blinked at the bright morning sunlight and met her mother's loving gaze.

"Oel N-ngati Kameie, Mommy," she yawned as she stretched her long, lean, limbs. Carefully, Sylwanin scanned her surroundings. To her surprise, she and her mother were the only ones in their family cot.

"Where are Daddy and Thomas?" Sylwanin wasn't able to keep her growing alarm out of her voice as she continued to study her village. Children ran about, chasing each other's tails as the adults cleaned up from the morning meal and started their duties in the clan. Sylwanin had overslept!

Neytiri couldn't help but to smile at her daughter's confused expression. She and Jake loved their children more than life itself, but it was still a rare treat to be able to spoil them. Life in the forest rarely gave them an opportunity.

"Mawey, my Sylwanin. Your father and brother ate early and went out to practice with their bow and arrow." Her daughter caught the fruit she tossed her and Neytiri watched as Sylwanin's eyes widened in a smile at the taste of her favorite sweet. "You have a big day today," Neytiri added, looking proud. "Some extra sleep should do you good."

Eyes widening this time in shock, Sylwanin turned to her mother with her mouth opened in a 'o'. "Oh I nearly forgot…! Daddy still doesn't know, right?"

Chuckling a little, Neytiri shook her head, "No, it's still a surprise gift."


"Now," Neytiri ran her hand through her daughter's messy morning hair. "Either you go and comb you hair, or allow me to braid it for this evening!"

Moaning, Sylwanin almost told her mother to leave her hair alone until she realized that she did want to look nice for the evening. After all, it was the Celebration of the ending of the Great Sorrows, and it was the celebration of Eywa's warriors, Toruk Makto. And Sylwanin was to play a key role… or at least, a very important and honorable role. So biting back her sighs, she crawled into her mother's lap. Closed her eyes and felt the steady rhythm of her mother's gentle tugs at her hair.

"Here, 'ite; keep this safe and out of the way," Neytiri separated Sylwanin's queue from the rest of her thick, dark hair and placed it gently over the young Na'vi's shoulder. Sylwanin cupped it in her hands and started idly stroking the delicate braid. She had heard far too many horror stories of Na'vi not protecting their precious link to the land, to Eywa. One of which was of her own father being held by his queue as he fought the scarred man in the Great Sky War. She shivered, not being able to fathom the thought of someone she loved very much in so much pain. Quickly changing her thoughts, Sylwanin smiled. Her Father.

"Daddy is going to be proud, isn't he, Mommy?"

"Yes," Sylwanin could hear the smile in her mother's voice. "Your father is going to be very proud and very touched at your gift. Though do not be offended if he is reluctant to come, or even embarrassed throughout the ceremony. You know how he is mortified of getting so much attention and praise."

"He is Toruk Makto and Olo'eytkan; he should be getting used to it," muttered Sylwanin, rolling her eyes but gave a knowing grin. "Oh, and I am meeting Ky'ut later… he said that he had a gift for me."

"Oh? And what may this gift be?" asked Neytiri, trying to hold back a grin. Ky'ut was one of Sylwanin's close friends, though judging by the young man's expressions and Sylwanin's contagious laughter around one another Neytiri suspected a budding crush; neither one of the two youth had quite caught on to it yet.

"Mother…" there was a hint of purple in Sylwanin's cheeks. "We're friends; he's probably going to give me some sort of good luck charm or something for tonight! And besides," she added more quietly, "we don't even have our ikrans yet."

"Don't worry, that day will come," Neytiri said softly. "But even now, Ky'ut is good for you. He balances your strong, reckless spirit. It is nice to know my daughter has a voice of reason in her life."

"You and Daddy don't count as voices of reason?"

"Oh we count!" Neytiri said sternly. "But honestly daughter, do you tell us everything?"

Sheepishly, Sylwanin muttered, "No."

"And doesn't Ky'ut hear what you are not willing to tell us?"

The young Na'vi squirmed, "Most of the time he hears."

Nodding, her mother placed one last bead in her hair. "There you are ready. Come back for midday meal, and I will show you your clothes and paint your face for the evening afterwards."

Sylwanin turned to embrace her mother, and Neytiri returned the affection, enjoying it while it lasted. Her youngest was growing up.

"Thank you, Mommy… Oel ngati kameie."

"Oel ngati Kameie, my Sylwanin."

Laughter echoed from the lush, green canopy as Sylwanin hopped from branch to branch trying to evade her swift friend. Spotting a good hiding place among the tree's vines, the young Na'vi slipped soundlessly behind them and faded with the leaves. Soon after, a young man ran past the area, his bright large amber eyes twinkled with amusement.

"I have my eyes wide open, Sylwanin!" Ky'ut yelled, his voice cracking a little from his growth spurt. The Na'vi had grown a good head taller than her over the past season…and Sylwanin planned to use her small size to her advantage. Waiting until his back was turned for the briefest second, Sylwanin raced out of her hiding space, kept her body in his blind spot, and kept herself low. Gently she yanked on her friend's tail, proclaiming, "Gotcha!"

Ky'ut swirled around in surprise, quickly grabbing on to a branch above him for support. "HEY!"

"I win," Sylwanin stated simply, grinning triumphantly.

"Umph," snorted Ky'ut, though he too was giving a small grin. The two youths balanced themselves on the thick branch on which they stood on and faced each other, silent for a moment. It wasn't uncomfortable; it was quite peaceful, getting their thoughts and words together in their minds. "So," Ky'ut started, "are you excited about this evening?"

"Very, it is a great honor and it's my gift to my father…"

"Yet, you are nervous," Ky'ut said. It wasn't a question, but fact. Sylwanin looked up at her friend in surprise, wondering how he could read into her emotions so easily. Yes, she was nervous. Very, very nervous.

"I'm singing for the clan, it is my own composition," Sylwanin's eyes were wide with thought. "What if I make a skxawng of myself? I am not the best singer in the upcoming choir, Syu'lan is. I am the daughter of the Olo'eytkan and the sixth toruk makto, hero of the Sky War. It is his story I will sing; what if he doesn't like it? I have already been told that it is only because of my parentage that I am allowed to be in this part of the ceremony…"

"You are a fine singer," interrupted Ky'ut. "True, Syu'lan is probably the best of all of the singers taking part of the ceremony. But she is Aunt Ni'nat's daughter…" he shrugged as though that explained everything. "… but Syu'lan sings for a distant toruk makto. He may be a hero to the clans, but he had united the clans before the birth of our grandfather's grandfather. You however sing for a toruk makto who we know as flesh and blood. Your parentage does allow you to sing in this ceremony, but only because you can give Jakesully the true honor he deserves. You can truly add the love and admiration of the People have for him into your song for besides your mother you are the closest to him in the clan… you can See him the clearest. And that will make your gift the greatest of all in the ceremony."

Sylwanin blinked. She hadn't thought of it that way before. "You really mean that?"

"Would I say it if I didn't?" Ky'ut asked with a smirk.

Sylwanin returned the grin, though it was small, "No you would not."

Nodding, Ky'ut took out his little sack and opened it. Looking through it, he finally took out a dull arrowhead and handed it to her. Brilliant red, orange and yellow paint glowed on it, with one single sky blue streak going diagonally across it from the point to the bottom.

"I was out one day with your father, learning how to aim my bow. At the end of the day, he had been impressed with my progress so he gave me this, a toruk's tooth which very few arrowheads are made of. It has been dulled from use, but…" Ky'ut shrugged, "I figured I'd paint it and give it to you as a reminder for whom you sing…."

Ky'ut was startled into silence as Sylwanin looked away from the arrowhead in her hand into his eyes. "Irayo," she softly said as she hugged him. Not quite sure what to do, Ky'ut returned the embrace, his face turning into a light shade of purple.

"Sing well, and no matter what, Olo'eytkan will be proud… you're such a Daddy's girl anyway…ouch!"

Sylwanin had given him a light slap on the shoulder. "For one who can be wise beyond his years, you sure know how to ruin the moment," she snorted.

"Come," Neytiri pulled gently but firmly on her mate's arm as they approached the gathering for the evening. Jake sighed and shook his head.

"I already hear the stories about me; must I hear speeches and songs praising me as well?"

"I can name three reasons why you must come: one, you are Olo'eytkan, therefore you must be at all the clan's ceremonies. Two, you are toruk makto, and the People will be very upset if the guest of honor doesn't show. Three…."

Thomas rolled his eyes at the familiar scene. He knew that his parents' love ran deep and true, but there were times that it seemed that all they did was bicker at one another. His father was a mighty warrior and a great leader, yet at any sign of open praise and honor he would act like a child and not want to accept it. Uncle Norm and Uncle Max called this 'modest'; Thomas, Sylwanin, and his mother called it silly and childish.

"… You will be sorely disappointed if you miss this," he heard his mother finish. "Now come."

That was right, Sylwanin was singing in the ceremony. Grinning, Thomas gave his father a gentle push in the back. "Sa'nu is right, Sempul. There is a big surprise for you."

"Ooorah, why isn't Sylwanin joining us; she loves the historical gatherings... and surprises."

"You'll see," was all Thomas said, and Neytiri just gave a teasing grin. Jake saw that he would be overruled as normal… and it wasn't all that bad; after all there were five toruk makto to honor before his name would be even mentioned…

Sylwanin peered out from behind the vine doorway of Hometree, scrunching up her nose as she tried not to itch her newly painted face. Adjusted her bright fiery robe and straightened out her necklace of feathers. There hadn't been toruk makto since her father, therefore she would be the last one to sing. She paced from one end of the archway to the other, only hearing bits and parts of the beginning of the ceremony. Normally, she would be enticed by the singers and storytellers as they painted her People's past tales, but tonight she was too focused on her own part of history. She hummed the melody, chanted the lyrics. Rolled the dulled toruk tooth in her hand. It was the year of Walking Dreams

"… Fifth toruk makto, we honor you."

Syu'lan ended her song, blinking once in acknowledgement to her audience, accepting their warm smiles and sparkling eyes. Jake gave the young woman a nod, grinning. Unconscientiously, the singer gave a nod back and took her seat among the clan next to her mother, patiently waiting for the next singer to lift up her voice in honor of the final toruk makto. Jake fidgeted, obviously wanting to get up and out, but Neytiri placed a light hand on his, giving him a mysterious grin. Turning to his son, Jake raised an eyebrow in question. Eyes sparkling, Thomas understood his father's unspoken question and nodded. The surprise was coming up and Sylwanin still hadn't showed up.

The clan fell into silence as a fiery colored robed figured took the floor. Despite of himself, Jake found that he was paying close attention. It was rare that an individual singer would be robed; often times they just wore traditional clan clothing for comfort. The singer spread out her arms wide, making the cloth unfold into the representation of soaring wings. There was a beat of the drum. Turning to face the audience, the singer's arms effortlessly glided down to her sides and allowed her hood to fall. The drum beat steadily faster, until Jake found himself swaying to the rhythm. It still had the tone of a Na'vi song of rejoicing, but there was a slight edge that Jake found was almost human like. He finally blinked to take a good look at the singer herself…


Except his daughter appeared to be older, taller. Bright orange- yellow stripes raced alongside dark blue ones on her checks, forehead, and chin. Bright lines of yellow and orange swirled down her arms, her sides. Bright amber eyes with sky blue specks shone with a familiar spirit, strong and true. Her straight and tall stance spoke of strong self confidence. That was his little girl… except she was no longer so little. Somehow, she had been growing up faster than he could keep up.

And now, Jake knew something else. Many in the clan said that Sylwanin looked extremely like her mother yet had his spirit. He had always seen where they could comment about her looks, but never could he clearly see where they had gotten that she had his spirit. Yes, Sylwanin had a wonderful spirit; pure, loving and strong. But now as he saw his daughter give a wide smile and open her mouth to sing he could see what the others had seen: Sylwanin was ready to face the world head on and pass any test thrown at her.

I'll pass any test a man can pass…

And he had… and now he saw that same determination and strength in his daughter. Surprise…

What a wonderful surprise it was too. Jake smiled listening to Sylwanin sing. Time had flown by too fast, but even though he wasn't ready, it didn't mean Sylwanin wasn't. She had his spirit to guide her now and forever…

It was the year of Walking Dreams

And two worlds collide at the stream

You, a dreamwalker would learn to Love, to See

And you would become Na'vi…

(Oel ngati kameie)

For you, Eywa had a plan

Though part of the Sky Clan, you would find Love among the Na'vi

You would then learn to live as part of the People

You would give your Hope, your Love, your Life to them

And from the oppression of the Sky Clan, you'd set Her People free…

Yet, the Sky War leader held you in deceit

He'd use you to accomplish his dark deed

Of destroying the People you now called family

The strong, sturdy Hometree fell to smoke and flame…

(Oel ngati kameie)

For you, Eywa had a plan

Though part of the Sky Clan, you would find Love among the Na'vi

You would then learn to live as part of the People

You would give your Hope, your Love, your Life to them

And from the oppression of the Sky Clan, you'd set Her People free…

Eywa blessed you and Toruk you flew high

And as you returned to your new family

Because you could See you gave the People sight

You returned to fight, to die, to love, to live…

(Oel ngati kameie)

For you, Eywa had a plan

Though part of the Sky Clan, you would find Love among the Na'vi

You would then learn to live as part of the People

You would give your Hope, your Love, your Life to them

And from the oppression of the Sky Clan, you'd set Her People free…

The battle raged, Eywa sent in her troops

Of Ikrans, Angtsìk, and Nantang

Your Love would save you from death's grip

As you struggled with the Sky war leader hand to hand…

(Oel ngati kameie)

The chorus of the song now faded into the background of the choir as Sylwanin smiled her radiant, excited smile. Jake couldn't help but grin, knowing exactly which parts of the tale his daughter had made sure to add in her composition. They were, she often told him, her favorite parts to his story.

You would then lose your breath

Your Love saw that she could not rest

Heart pounding she found you once more

And gave you, toruk makto air again…

(Oel ngati kameie, Oel ngati kameie)

You offered your life as a sacrifice

You would pass through Eywa's eyes

Though an old life has ended

Your spirit would live anew among the People forevermore…

(Oel ngati kameie, Oel ngati kameie...)

Oh Jakesully, Oel ngati kameie...

Jake clapped. He completely forgot that the concept was foreign to the clan he led. He just clapped, not quite sure what to say or do. He was touched, beyond touched. Sylwanin wasn't shy, but she wasn't the most outgoing youth in the clan either. The very fact that she had gone out of her normal comfort zone for him, and told the tale how he'd tell it - and the very last line…

Oh Jakesully, Oel ngati kameie...

That was big – huge. Most who spoke to him stillcalled him Olo'eytkan or Toruk Makto. It was nice to hear his name in place of that… made him less of a figure and more of a person, which Jake preferred. And of course, Sylwanin would have known that.

By now the rest of the clan had joined in the applause, used to their leader's unusual ways and took them in with ease. Sylwanin's face turned a deep purple, but her huge, toothy grin and bright eyes shone with happiness. Stepping out of the center, Sylwanin sat with her family and prepared for the other storytellers who would fill the night with laughter and tears of memories of both victims and survivors of the Great Sorrow. And she knew that her father would be speaking soon. This she looked forward to, for even though he was wary of all the attention, Jakesully could still fill his stories with a lot of emotion and action. Still grinning she squeezed in between her parents and rested her head on her father's should, whispering in his ear, "Surprise."

AN: The song could have been a lot better. I might go back when I have the time and actually try to fit in a melody and mess around with it. I just wanted a Father/ Daughter moment with Jake and Sylwanin and to show other relationships that the young Na'vi girl has. As always tell me what you think!