Hello! My goodness it's been a long time hasn't it? I bet you thought I'd never get around to this again! Well the joke's on you! I did remember! And man oh man, was this a polarizing choice. When I first set up that poll, the two candidates that quickly rose to the head of the pack were Aang and Vash. First Aang would get the lead, then Vash. Whenever one got the lead over the other, I'd start to write their chapter, only for things to switch again. For those of you that really wanted Vash, I'm sorry. Take comfort in the knowledge that the next time the Indigo Ring comes up, he'll be first in line to get one. And now, without further ado, let's jump right in to the next part of the Lantern Chronicles:
Aang grunted as he was slammed against the rocky pillar, his bubble of air diverting the river of fire away from him and keeping his flesh from burning. That said, he was still red in the face from the heat, and sweat was rolling down his face from the sheer intensity of the flames.
Overhead, Sozin's comet trailed lazily across the sky, while below a madman used the enhancements given to him by said comet to try and enact a genocide. Fire Lord Ozai was determined to finish what his ancestors started, and make sure that the Fire Benders reigned supreme, even at the cost of killing all others.
Aang had been fighting him for hours; his mastery of three of the elements (and minor knowledge of the fourth) being put to the test. He had yet to use the avatar state, his greatest weapon though, for fear of what he might do with it. He knew that if he allowed his past lives to take control of the battle, they would no doubt kill Ozai. And while that might indeed end the battle; the act of killing itself was so against Aang's nature that he simply couldn't bare it. It went against everything the monks had taught him as a boy. And now those teachings, it seemed, would be the end of him.
With a simple movement, he surrounded himself in stone to form a bubble barrier to keep the nearly white hot fire away. Ozai laughed insanely with triumph, roasting the sphere at near point blank range. He had known he was superior to the avatar, but to overcome the boy so easily was… was… glorious.
Inside the bubble, Aang still struggled with what to do. Would he really need to compromise his masters teachings to end this war? Was that what it would come down to? Was there no other way?
And then he felt it. Like a candle in the darkness on the edge of his vision, he felt it. A dot of power, growing stronger and brighter by the second was coming nearer. It wasn't moving like the comet that was empowering the fire-benders, this felt… calmer. As though it was traveling with purpose and a set destination in mind.
Outside the bubble Ozai became distracted when from the corner of his eye he spotted a blinding purplish glow that was falling from the sky towards him. What trickery was this? Was this some new weapon forged by his enemies without his knowledge? He smirked, if it was then he would give them credit for keeping such a secret. But it would not work! He was the new Lord of this planet, and he would not be beaten so easily!
Raising his hands, he launched a fireball at the approaching light, confident it would destroy whatever it was. Thus, he was all the more surprised when the fire passed over it like a knife through water. Before he could further comprehend it, the light shot past him, and broke through the avatar's shield.
Aang was startled when, with a bang, his barrier was destroyed. Opening his eyes, he saw he was surrounded in a magnificent Indigo barrier. It must have been very strong, because he could see Ozai trying to burn him from the outside, to no effect.
"Aang the Avatar" Aang was broken from his thoughts by a small, feminine voice emanating from the center of the light. Looking closer, he saw it was in fact a ring that was giving off the light.
"Um… yes?" he answered, not sure what to do. His interactions with the spirit world hadn't really prepared him for this.
"You have the ability to feel great compassion." The ring said "Welcome to the Indigo Tribe." it finished, with a tone that clearly told Aang he should take this as an honor.
Before he could speak up, the ring slid itself onto his finger, and with a flash of light an old style lantern appeared before him. Aang felt his hand move against his will to press against the lantern face, while his other hand found, in an accompanying flash of light, a tall Indigo staff in it. Aang opened to his mouth to question what was going on, but he needn't have bothered. Thoughts flowed into his head, ideas and knowledge of untold value making its way into his brain and filling him in on just what he had become a part of.
And as it did, he began to speak…
"Tor lorek san, bor nakka mur,"
As Aang spoke, the light traveled up his arm, turning his blue arrow tattoos Indigo, as well as leaving several other strange markings on his skin.
"Natromo faan tornek wot ur."
The light spread over his tattered cloths, mending them, and transforming them into a more suitable attire for his coming mission. He was now wearing what resembled a traditional monk's robe, but was colored Indigo and bore the symbol of the Indigo Tribe.
"Ter Lantern ker lo Abin Sur,"
Aang felt the light slide over his head, and he strangely felt some of his past lives struggle, as though they didn't want to be a part of this. But he, and enough of his other selves, all approved of the light to let it fully manifest in him.
"Taan lek lek nok-Formorrow Sur!"
With an explosive final yell, the light from his eyes turned from blue to Indigo, and compassion filled him to the brim. He could feel every emotion around him, from will to love to rage. All at the same time. It was almost maddening. Almost, but not quite. After all, he had a job to do, and he couldn't really afford to go insane right now.
Aang gripped his new staff and took a step forward, his now (indigo) glowing eyes locking on Ozai. As soon as he did, this seemed to snap the Fire Lord out of his stupor, and immediately the mad man launched a concentrated burst of fire that would have turned an ordinary man to ash in the wind.
However, Aang was protected from this by a wall of earth that had sprung up before him. However, instead of a normal wall created from average earth bending, this wall was enhanced with the light of Compassion.
Aang pointed his staff at Ozai, and the wall exploded outwards and knocking the fire bender back. Before he could recover his hands and feet were bound in Indigo chains that lead back to Aang's staff. Ozai struggled, but found his strength was being sapped away.
Aang wasted no time, and spun on his heel, tugging Ozai into the air and slamming him into a nearby cliff. Ozai grunted, but did not cry as he felt some of his bones break under the strain. He felt himself move again as the chains were sucked back into the staff, the Avatar getting closer by the second. Before he knew it the boy was in his face, burying his ring fist into the older man's stomach.
Before Ozai could mount a defense, he found himself frozen as his body was coated in energy which held him fast. Ozai found himself moving against his will, until he found himself kneeling before the Avatar. The light wrapped around him, forcing his hands to cross behind his back, preventing anymore fire-bending. He tried to melt the child's face off, but a strip of Indigo steel slapped itself across his lips as soon as he took a deep breath.
Aang sighed, nervous about being able to do this. He was reassured by the warm Indigo light, and felt his resolve strengthen. Placing his head on the Fire Lord's head, Aang made his first and only attempt at energy-bending.
He felt the fire in Ozai roar with anger at his presence, and felt it try to move into him to consume him with fire from within. But he still had the advantage. The light of compassion shot from Aang to Ozai, encasing his fire and holding it still, before branching off to the rest of Ozai's mind. Aang was able to quickly snuff out the internal fire that was Ozai's power, leaving him without his bending. As he slowly pulled back on his power, he noted that some of the Indigo Light stayed behind, and when he removed his hand, Ozai had the same mark upon his forehead that Aang had on his ring.
Since Ozai was basically out for the count, Aang figured it was time to make sure this never happened again. Looking up, he saw that Sozin's comet was still burning in the sky. But not for long. Pushing off the ground with his air-bending, Aang took the sky, using his new powers to shield him as he got higher up. Soon, even the mountains were small, and he could make out the tiny grey dots that he knew were the Fire Lord's air ships. He'd see about doing something about those later. Right now, it was time to focus.
Soon, he was hovering of Sozin's comet as it burned over the land. Even now, he could feel the fire within him burning ever brighter, like his insides contained a star, instead of blood… it was wonderful…
Shame he had to destroy it.
Raising his new staff above his head, Aang brought it down like an executioner's axe, slamming it into the comet. The whole rock rumbled as the indigo energy raced across it from the point of impact, tearing huge chunks out of the stone as it went. Aang twisted the staff, and placed his ring on the surface of the burning rock, completely unaffected by the heat it was putting off. With a thought, the energy thrashing the comet turned inward, and burrowed to the center of the celestial object. Closing his eyes, Aang clenched his fist, before leaping away as Sozin's comet exploded into a million tiny shards, doomed to burn up in the atmosphere.
Down below, the effect was immediate, as all the fire-benders found their powers drastically weakened, and the allied forces quickly began to overpower them. Not to mention the effect of seeing the comet disappear from the sky in a burst of purplish energy had on morale. To the allies, it was a symbol of victory. To the fire-benders, it was the death toll on their ambition.
And to one crazy fire princess, it was one more blow to her fragile psyche. She was already having trouble fighting her brother and the water tribe whore, but now, with this additional loss of power, she didn't know how she was going to win.
Zuko and Katara though, found the disappearance of the comet as a sign that the war was nearly over. They picked up the effort, which was needed to combat the now insane Azula. Zuko grunted as a blue fireball came close to scaring the other half of his face, before taking a few shots of his own. Even with Katara backing him up, fighting his sister was no easy task.
"What's a matter Zuzu?" Azula called out mockingly, charging her brother and engaging him fist to fist, sparks flying every which way from the point of impact. "You couldn't beat me even with the comet enhancing your fire-bending; do you really think you can beat me now?" she snarled, kicking him in the stomach and sending him back. Before she could burn him on the spot, a wall of water intercepted, and was quickly turned to steam. "You're pathetic!" she screamed "Both of you!" She fired a bolt of lightning from both hands at the pair of them. Katara dodged, but Zuko managed to catch the lightning and throw it back at her. The pain of the electricity coursing through her was the greatest physical pain she'd had in a while.
Azula stumbled, and water rose up to encircle her legs "No…" she muttered channeling fire from her hands to melt the ice that was encroaching on her "I will not be beaten by you…. you… peasants!" she screamed, fire spewing from her lips. "I will not give up! I will never surrender! I will raise the Fire Nation to glory! Me!"
"Azula, it is time to stop" A deep authoritative voice rang out. Before anyone could move, Azula found herself wrapped in light purple chains and yanked off her feet. She was thrown against a nearby pillar, which cracked from the force of the throw. Then, before everyone's eyes, a figure floated down from the sky.
"A-Aang?" Katara asked, not sure if the airbender was himself, or locked in the Avatar State. And where had he gotten that staff?
To her relief, Aang offered her a kind smile "It's alright Katara. Everything is going to be fine." he said. He could see blue hope energy flickering around her, as well as some violet light… Zuko was green, with just a touch of yellow, which he supposed was natural. As for a Azula, she was as red as the fire she commanded. And yet, there, buried beneath the surface, were flecks of pure fear.
Aang shook his head to bring himself back to the present. His new 'emotion vision' was very distracting. He floated towards Azula, ignoring Katara and Zuko's protests. Azula breathed a gout of fire at him, but it rolled off his indigo covered skin like rain drops on a roof. The fire only ceased when he laid his ring hand on her head. From there, he easily pierced her mind, the light of compassion aiding him once again. He quickly found the inner fire that gave her her bending, and snuffed it out; then withdrew. Again, as he did, traces of the Indigo energy were left behind, the only trace being the marking on her forehead that matched the insignia on his ring.
Aang stepped back, and released the deranged princess. Azula dropped like a stone, her mind entering the first peaceful sleep she'd had in a long time.
"What did you do?" Zuko asked, not sure what to make of what he'd just seen. Aang was his friend, but that didn't mean he wanted his sister's brain barbecued.
"She will be fine" Aang said, noting how Zuko flinched when he looked into his new, pupil-less glowing eyes. "If anything, this'll be an improvement."
"What do you-" Zuko started to ask, but was interrupted by several explosions in the distance. The war was still going on, it seemed.
"I must go" Aang said, rising towards the sky again.
"Aang wait! Where are you going!" Katara asked, worried, despite all evidence, for him. "What are you gonna do?"
"I'm going to end this. Once and for all." Aang said, his voice going quiet at the end. It was time for the hundred year war to end, one way or another.
Aang looked down on the fleet of airships that were bombarding the landscape. Despite the defeat of both their leader and his daughter, the fire-benders fought on.
Aang closed his eyes, allowing the combination of his Avatar State's spiritual awareness and newfound powers to find… there! Aang's eyes locked on one of the few airships that was going down. He watched as something caused it to crash into the ship next to it, causing a domino effect that surprisingly leveled almost a quarter of the fleet.
But that wasn't what mattered. With a thought, Aang staff released a bolt of energy that shaped itself into a large hand that soared over the plains, catching the eye of all it pasted. A moment later, it returned, his friends safe in his new power's grasp. They seemed to have fainted from all of the excitement, except for Toph, who looked unsure of what was going on, as she was unable to get a proper fix on her location.
"Am I dead?" she asked out loud.
"No Toph, you're gonna be just fine" Aang assured her.
"Twinkle Toes?" Toph asked in disbelief. Then, her eyes rolled backwards, and the earth-bender fainted dead away.
Aang chuckled, before setting his sight on the rest of of the plains. Closing his eyes, he focused his power, and hoped it would work.
With a flash, each of the remaining airships were surrounded by a bubble of indigo light. Aang reached out, and made as though he was grabbing a ball, before slowly dragging his hand down. As he moved his hand, each of the airships was drawn forcibly towards the earth. He did it slowly so that those who were smart enough to realize what was going on could engage the landing gear. Those who weren't…. well, their landing wasn't quite as pleasant.
With all the airships now grounded, that just left the burning landscape. That, however, was easy to solve with his new mastery over bending. With a wave of his hand, the fire shrank to nothing, and the smoke was quickly blown away…
Late that same night:
Aang walked slowly through the palace hallways, looking up at the night sky. The celebrations had died down and rebuilding was set to start tomorrow. His friends had gone off, either to bed or to perform various tasks. He would miss his friends.
Entering the main courtyard, Aang stared up at the stars, tears trickling down his cheeks. He didn't want to leave, but it was the responsibility he had accepted when he'd taken this power… how often that seemed to be the case.
The Avatar turned, his eyes widening as he saw Katara and all his friends there: Sokka, Toph, and even Appa hovering over them stood by Katara. Behind them, his newer friends; Suki, Zuko, Mai, Ty Lee, and Iroh looked at him with curious eyes.
"Guys, what are you doing out so late?" Aang asked, unable to hide his nervousness.
"We could ask you the same thing." Mai said, raising a single eyebrow.
"Uh… well…" Aang stuttered, not sure how to tell his friends the ugly truth. That was why he was trying to leave before they found out… Yes it was cowardly, but he wasn't sure how to explain that he-
"You're leaving… aren't you." Katara said quietly. Tears were starting to well up in her eyes, even as everyone else looked shocked.
Aang sighed, then nodded sadly. "I have to."
"But why!" Sokka asked, along with several others.
Aang looked down at the ring on his finger, and the staff in his hand "When this ring fell from the sky… it gave me the power to defeat Ozai… but nothing is free." Aang said, looking back at them. "The reason the ring came to me in the first place is because it was looking for someone to help it."
"Help it… with what?" Zuko asked.
"We aren't the only planet that's facing a war right now." Aang said, looking to the stars "Up there, right now, there are thousands upon thousands of people suffering just as badly as this planet has. Some worse." he said, shocking everyone with the knowledge that the ring had provided him upon his initiation. "This ring was sent to find people with the right qualities to help fight back the darkness of war, and bring the light of compassion back to the galaxy." he continued as though speaking from a book. "And that is why I must go. I am the Avatar. It is my responsibility to bring balance… even if that means I must leave the Earth."
His friends were silent for a moment, processing what he'd told them. They shared looks and hushed whispers. Before finally facing him. "Then we're coming too." Katara said with conviction.
"Wh-what?" Aang blinked, that was not what he'd been expecting "But-but you can't!"
"Don't try arguing twinkle-toes." Toph said smirking "We're with you, for better or worse."
Aang shook his head "But, it'll be dangerous!"
Ty Lee tilted her head in confusion "Didn't we just fight a war?" she asked. "That was pretty dangerous too…"
"Besides" Sokka added "We're team Avatar! We have to come! Where would you be without my brilliant strategy!" he finished proudly.
Aang frowned "Guys! This is serious! Sokka, Katara, you guys can finally be with your dad!" he turned to Toph "You have the chance to reconnect with your family!" he turned to Zuko and Mai "And you two! Aren't you supposed to be helping this country rebuild?"
The group was silent for a minute, and for a moment, Aang thought he'd won.
Then Sokka and Katara stepped forward "Aang, as much as we love our dad, we've gone years without seeing him." Katara explained.
"And he would be proud to know we were fighting to help others, just like we did here." Sokka finished.
Then came Toph "Look… Aang. I know you think I should reconcile with my parents. But I know them. This little adventure of ours won't have changed anything. If I go back, it's back to a gilded cage. But if I go with you, not only can I do some good, but I can 'see' new places… with my real friends."
Zuko scratched the back of his head "I'm a bit young to really run an empire. I don't really have the experience…"
Iroh stepped forward "And I'm afraid that I'm too old for any more fighting." he cracked a smile "Besides, I doubt the rest of the universe has my brand of tea" he laughed.
Zuko picked up after his uncle "So uncle can keep track of things with the White Lotus Society while I'm gone."
"And where he goes, I go." Mai said solemnly.
"Same goes for me and mister 'master strategist' here." Suki said grabbing hold of Sokka.
Ty Lee blinked "I… don't really have a complicated backstory that needs resolving, or that would keep me from coming with you." she said, giving Aang the thumbs up.
Aang sighed "There really is no convincing you is there." he said, defeatedly.
Toph resisted a giggle "Aw you know you love us Twinkle-Toes."
It was true. He did. Glancing at Katara, he could see the violet glow of Love around her. Looking at his other friends, he could see all of them burning with Will. Maybe this wouldn't be such a bad thing after all.
The next morning, they all once again stood in the courtyard. They had packed supplies of all of them (even Appa), and were ready to make their way into the great unknown. Aang and Toph created a giant platform out of stone and raised it high into the air. Once they were high enough, Aang surrounded them with a bubble that would protect them once they got to space.
Looking down, they waved down at those they would leave behind. Aang was confident they would return, one day; when peace and balance were restored to the universe.
Ah, that's nice. It's our first one hundred percent happy ending since Orihime! I've always like the Avatar series, and lately I've been watching its squeal: Legends of Korra. Who knows, maybe she'll be nominated for a ring one day. I'm really hoping that sometime in the series run Korra has one of those Spirit Meetings with the past Avatars, and meets Aang. My only real complaint: What the hell happened with Zuko's mom? I know they found out, Katara said so! But she never expanded on it! That would have made a great TV special or movie... oh well.
Anywho, the next ring is Yellow Fear, followed by Red Rage. I already know who I want for Yellow (I considered Scarecrow, but thought that might be a bit obvious for a first round pick), so the poll I'll set up next will be for who gets the Red Ring of Rage. Like before, all choices come from suggestions made by you, the reader. Show your support for this story and vote! As always, if you liked this, please review. Suggestions are always appreciated.
Until Next Time...