Korra hadn't slept in days. Every time she closed her eyes Amon's masked face jumped out at her. What the mysterious man had done at the Revelation shouldn't have been possible. But yet, it was. Anytime someone asked how she was, she dismissed them with a wave. They didn't need to worry. She was the Avatar, she could handle herself.
She didn't mention the reoccurring nightmares or the doubts that seemed to sneak up on her from the darkest corners of her mind. Naga was the only witness to her jolting up in her bed, sweat covering her skin, heart racing uncontrollably. They didn't need to know.
But of course they guessed something was up. She hated feeling so weak under their pitying stares. She wasn't weak! She was the Avatar for Spirit's sake! She could handle this all on her own….
**** Korra fluidly moved through the Gates; moving as if she were a leaf being tossed and carried by the wind. She was almost through to the other side when one wrong step made one of the Gates smack her in the shoulder. She tried to recover but it was if she was back to her first day of training and was sent flying out of the Gates and unceremoniously landed on her side. The two Airbending family members stared in shock at the step backwards.
"Korra, what happened?" Tenzin asked. "You've been doing so well." Korra huffed in frustration as Jinora helped her up.
"I just lost focus for a second. It's not that big of a deal. Minor mistake," Korra defended, dismissing the older man's worries.
"Are you sure you're feeling okay, Korra?" Jinora asked, her brown eyes studying the teenager.
Korra stretched her arms over her head, getting ready to go back through the Gates. "I'm fine. Like I said; minor mistake." There was a hidden edge in the Waterbender's tone that both Jinora and Tenzin picked up on. "Just let me try again."
And she did try again, and this time she made it all the way through, her movements graceful and smooth. The child applauded and Tenzin nodded his head in approval. "Well done, Korra. You recovered nicely."
"Thanks." The Avatar replied curtly. "Can I go now? I have practice with the guys in half an hour." The Avatar's short tone caught the older man off guard.
"Um, I suppose so." Korra nodded and started to walk toward the pier. Naga noticing her master's departure started to follow. Korra noticed and held her hand out toward her best friend.
"Stay, Naga." The polar-bear dog stopped mid step, giving Korra a confused look. Korra patted the white beast on the head before walking away, leaving the polar-bear dog to sit on her haunches and whimper; watching as her person left her on the island. Tenzin frowned.
"Something doesn't feel right," Jinora said. Tenzin nodded in agreement.
"Something is definitely wrong."
**** "Again." The Waterbender groaned as Mako ordered for another round.
"Sure thing, Team Captain," she muttered. The Firebender looked over at his brother.
"You ready, Bro?"
"Born that way," came Bolin's chirpy reply. Korra got into her ready stance and prepared for the onslaught. Without warning, the Earthbender sent one of the discs flying toward the Avatar, who dodged it at the last second and sent a flying water whip at the two brothers on the opposite side of the gym. The Fabulous Bending Brothers dodged the attack, sending fire and clay back at the girl. Korra bobbed and weaved, using her Airbending training to get out of the way.
Korra jumped up into the air and kicked out her leg, adding a little flair into her attack. Mako noticed. "Don't get too showy," he instructed. "You get too caught up with that and it'll only slow you down, make you and easy target."
Korra gritted her teeth and sent a powerful burst of water at the Firebender, not noticing the clay disc that had been sent her way. Mako dodged. Korra didn't get the chance. She was sent flying back as the clay weapon slammed into her armored chest. She slid past the line that stood for zone two and rolled onto her side, before quickly getting up and dodging the burst of fire.
"Just like that," Bolin agreed. After that it stayed pretty even for a while. But Korra, who'd done most of the attacking, was tiring quickly. This is when the brothers took advantage and ganged up their attacks, sending the Avatar flying over zone three and into the back wall. Hard.
She hit the mat and coughed, the impact had knocked the wind right out of her. Bolin was immediately by her side, Mako following behind him leisurely. Korra slammed her fist against the ground, irritated and frustrated, causing the room to shake slightly.
"Hey, don't beat yourself up. You did a lot better this time, you even held out longer!" Bolin pointed out. He sent his brother a pointed look.
"Yeah, you didn't do too badly. A little more practice wouldn't hurt though." Korra got to her feet, not looking the least bit at ease. "Maybe you're exhausted," he continued. "You look horrible."
"Gee thanks," Korra muttered in reply.
"Mako might be right. You look like you haven't slept in days." Concern had laced its way into the younger brother's tone. Korra hated that tone.
"I'm fine guys," she assured. But the physical evidence told a different story. Korra had deep dark circles under her blue eyes and the hollowness in her cheeks. Had she been eating?
"No, you're not," Mako stated. Korra turned her glare on him. He stared evenly back, which only seemed to irritate the Avatar even more. Bolin decided this was the perfect time to step in and brake up the fight before it started.
"Maybe we should call it a day, huh? We have the first match of the tournament in a few days." After a moment Mako nodded his head.
"Bolin's right. We should stop for today. You know, go home and rest up." The last sentence was directed at the girl member of their team.
"Fine." The Avatar turned on her heel and headed out the door. Bolin and Mako watched her go, both with varying levels of concern.
"What do you thinks' up?" Mako shrugged, eyes still on the door.
**** Each hit reverberated off the darkened walls of Air Temple Island's training hall. Its lone occupant never ceasing in her movements. Kick. Punch. Roundhouse kick. Duck as one of the spinning mechanisms on the training dummy came round then back flip away and come back with a kick to the dummy's head.
Korra ground her teeth together as each hit sent a tremor through to her bones. She probably should have been sleeping. But sleep meant nightmares. Sleep obviously wasn't an option. Besides, she was the Avatar. A few sleepless nights shouldn't have done much damage. Right?
Korra was so lost in thought, she didn't notice the spinning mechanism on the dummy come forward. It knocked her backwards. Korra snapped.
With a growl of frustration, Korra Firebended at the dummy, the fire immediately engulfed the dummy, the flames licked upward. Korra stared at what she had done; tired and irritated.
"No restraint…" Korra tensed. "How are you the one that's standing in my way?"
"How did you get on the island?" Korra cringed at the panic in her own voice. Her eyes scanned the room, taking time to examine the shadows, but her search came up empty. A dark chuckle emanated nearby.
"You didn't actually think those White Lotus imbeciles could keep me away, did you? You should not underestimate my abilities Avatar." His voice seemed to get closer, which renewed the sense of panic Korra felt. "What's wrong, Avatar? You seem a bit on edge." The amusement in his voice was almost tangible.
"Show yourself, coward!" This response provoked a laugh from the revolutionary.
"You haven't been sleeping well, have you? Scared I'll come in and take away your precious bending?" He said the word with such disgust. As if it actually was the bane of his very existence.
"I'm not scared of anyone!" But the shaking in her voice betrayed her.
"And do you honestly believe that Airbending fool can protect you?" He scoffed. "When I'm done, none of them will ever be able to Airbend again. Those little children especially. It'll be easier if they learn quickly that Bending will no longer be tolerated."
"You won't touch them!"
"Oh, how wrong you are."
"Leave me alone!"
"Korra?" The Avatar turned to see Jinora standing at the doorway. "Who are you talking to?"
"I…" Korra shook her head. "Nobody. I, uh, just got a little caught up in my training." She glanced regretfully at the charred dummy, the fire having extinguished itself. How could she have let her temper get the better of her? Again.
Jinora studied the Avatar with critical brown eyes, having noticed the dummy upon her arrival. "Are you sure you're okay?" The younger girl was surprised when she saw the Waterbender's eyes harden at the question. Did no one understand how sick and tired she was of that question.
"I'm fine." Jinora was taken aback by the cold edge in the older girl's tone. Korra never talked to her like that. Something was indeed very wrong. Jinora had come to think of Korra like an older sister. A companion. And as she took in her disheveled appearance and the newly forming bruises that coated her arms, she couldn't help but feel renewed worry for her sister.
"Its late. You should be in bed." Jinora stared back at the girl.
"So should you," the Airbender replied meekly. "You have a tournament match coming up." Korra didn't respond but nodded slowly. "Well, goodnight," she called unsurely over her shoulder as she exited the room. Korra watched her go, feeling regret.
"Night…" But she knew that the girl was already out of hearing range. Korra felt something shift in the room and turned to examine it once more.
...And still nothing...
****** Hey guys! So...whatcha think? Yeah, my first Legend of Korra story...hope I can do these characters justice...phew. I'd like to note that the image being used as the cover for this story does not belong to me. It belongs to adshardcore...And if I do say so myself, they're pretty good huh? LOL Once again, I do NOT own artwork!
Im out! Peace!