What if there was an undiscovered Air Nomad group that the Fire Nation never found?
We were a small people. We lived in the mountains, although we moved around quite often. There were only about thirty of us in the beginning, and my parents were the last two to stay, once we ran out of people. It had been a hundred years since the Fire Nation destroyed our temples. We were unsure whether or not Aang survived, and we lost hope. We prayed every day, as we always did, and I got my air bending mastery tattoos when I was twelve; four years ago. My parents were old when they had me; my mom was just about too old to have kids. They died though, when fever overcame them. I was fourteen.
Once I was the last one, I decided to move on. There was nothing left for me here, and if I wanted to, I could always come back to visit the temple. I took with me only a few things; my glider, upon which I had drawn intricate, swirling clouds was one of them. I also took various colors and styles of clothing, so that I could change essentially my identity as I moved from nation to nation. I took a few spices, as well as a bedroll and a few packs of dried meat and fruit.
Around my neck I wore my prayer beads beneath my shirt, and I covered my tattoos with a bandanna over my head, and grey fingerless gloves. My hair had grown out in the time after my parents died, so I now had a thin layer of black hair covering the front of my head. It felt strange, having it hang in my eyes like it did, so I shaved it again, the smooth skin revealing the arrow on my forehead.
I braided my hair beneath the bandanna, the queue descending to my elbows. I scoffed at it in the mirror, thinking, 'how troublesome.' And it was. My hair was heavy enough that it gave me headaches, and it took forever to wash and brush.
A normal, high ponytail was out of the question, because the weight of my hair would pull it right out. The only ways I could possibly wear it were in a braid, a low ponytail, or down. I also brought along my pet, a little brown and white flying lemur that I called Chica. She often flew alongside me, but more than that she clung to me and let me fly for the both of us. I put on a burnt-orange cloak over my red and yellow outfit before I set out, my bag on my back and Chica on my stomach as I walked to the high cliff near my parents' graves, my glider at my back before I leapt over the edge, letting out a whoop at the sheer ecstasy that flying brought me. I twisted and turned, manipulating the air currents to my liking and propelling myself south.
Soon enough, the air turned icy cold, and snow began blocking my vision. My parents always told me I had excellent stamina when it came to bending, which I assume was the reason I wasn't passed out from exhaustion. As it was, I was a little fatigued, and I gently lowered myself down. I flew into a thick cloud bank, and once I emerged, I was over what looked like a fleet of dark metal ships, their forms violent-looking and formidable. There were little bursts of flame every so often on the decks of those ships, and I nearly froze then and there, my inner peace disrupted enough that the wind behind me faltered. 'Fire Nation ships!' I thought, before lifting myself ever-higher in an attempt to hide myself from their view. I came across a village then, alighting on a cliff nearby to rest, changing into the blue and white furry clothing that had 'Water Nation' written all over them (figuratively of course). I hid my black hair down the back of the dress-like parka, and pulled the fur-lined hood low over my forehead. The bandanna resisted the movement however, and I needed to adjust it so that it didn't fall off.
"What do you think Chica?" I asked, twirling around in my new outfit, "Could I pass as a water tribes girl?" I grinned cheekily as the lemur began clutching her stomach in mock-laugher, falling off on my pack that she had been perched on.
"I know, I'm way too light-skinned to pass as a Water tribe girl." I said, sighing heavily. I sat cross-legged in the snow, pulling out a strip of dried meat to chew on.
Chica was looking at me now, her eyes unusually large and sparkly, her lower lip pouted out and wobbly.
"Fine. But that's all you're getting." I tossed her a piece and laughed as her expression went completely normal and she began wolfing down the treat.
After about five minutes, I decided to unfurl my bedroll, taking no notice of the village or the four-flippered penguins. Only a few minutes later though, I was woken up by a huge crashing noise, and a bright light.
I struggled to open up my eyes, wiping the sleep out only to wipe them again when I saw a white beam of light shooting into the sky. "Woah!" I said, grinning, "Let's go check it out!" I said to Chica, swiftly packing up and taking out my glider.
I flew to the light, and once it disappeared, I squinted, trying to make out exactly where it came from. It wasn't that difficult, seeing as there was still an ethereal glow around the area. I started circling, my form hidden in the thin clouds above the spot. Two people were standing there, it looked like, and another, glowing person was making their way out of a bowl-like chunk of ice. 'what's inside there, I wonder?'
Indeed there was something within the bowl-like ice chunk. It was massive, and it reminded me of- "No way!" I said giddily, the wind whipping my hair around, the hood of the parka having long forsaken my face.
I descended as the glowing person slipped down the side, although I stayed far enough away that they didn't see me.
Soon enough, the figure awoke and stood up. It was a boy, and upon closer inspection, I realized he was wearing Air Nomad clothes.
"Kyah!" I whooped, descending quickly. Chica had left to fly on her own, and I didn't worry much, she always found her way back to me in the end.
I landed just as the bison sneezed, coating the water boy with green snot.
"Hey, you!" I called, landing with a closing flick of my glider.
The three people whipped around to face me. They were all a bit younger than myself, I couldn't be more than a few years older than the water nation boy; he looked about fifteen.
"who are you? I've never seen you around here. Were you in the iceberg too?" asked the girl, while her brother just asked how in the world she had snuck up on them.
"Aang?" I asked, stepping closer to him. He was still only twelve, the same age he was when he went missing.
"Yeah? Who're you?" he asked, scratching the back of his head.
"I'm Akalen, daughter of Rasena and Aaron." I said somewhat giddily.
"Hey how come you gave a glider if you're a Waterbender?" he asked, his eyebrows furrowed.
"Oh I'm not a Waterbender. I'm an Air master," I grinned and unwrapped my bandanna, ignoring the weird looks the Water people gave me due to my half-shaved head.
"Me too! What temple were you trained in?" he asked, giving me a welcoming hug.
"My parents trained me near the Western temple." I said, aware that he would find this highly unnatural.
"Your parents? What? And why not in the temple?" he looked severely confused, and I couldn't blame him. In his time, there were still enough airbenders to populate the temples, and to raise the numerous Air children.
"We'll cross that bridge when we come to it," I said, a frown line surely taking up residence on my forehead.
Aang sneezed, flying up into the air and coming to a shaky halt in the same position as before, courtesy of the ice.
"Woah! You just sneezed, and flew ten feet into the air!" said the Water Tribe boy, looking surprised.
"Really? It felt higher than that." said Aang, sniffling.
The girl gasped, pointing at Aang. "You're an Airbender!"
"Sure am." said Aang, and I grinned at his peacefulness. "Me too!" I said with a grin, causing everyone except Aang's gaze to swivel to me.
"Giant light beams, flying bison, Airbenders, I'm getting tired of all this madness. I'm going home to where stuff makes sense." said the Water-boy, walking to the edge of the ice before realizing he had no means of transportation.
"Well if you guys are stuck, Appa and I can give you a lift." said Aang, airbending himself into the pilot position on Appa's head.
"We'd love a ride, thanks!" smiled the girl, running to the side of Appa to be helped up, while I shot myself into the air and settled onto the platform-like saddle.
"Oh no, I'm not getting onto that fluffy snot monster." said the boy, before the girl wittily replied, "What are you hoping some other kind of monster will come and give you a ride home? You know, before you freeze to death?"
I snickered as the boy opened his mouth, trying to think of a reply before sighing and pouting as he got up into the saddle.
"Okay first-time flyers hold on tight! Appa, yip-yip!" Aang declared, and we shot up into the air, before plopping down heavily into the chilled water.
"Wow, that was really amazing." the Water boy said, rolling his eyes. I squinted, using the air to pick up some water and splash it onto his face. "Hey!" he accused as Aang responded. "Appa's just tired. A little rest and he'll go soaring through the sky. You'll see." he said, smiling widely at the Water girl.
"why are you smiling at me like that?" she asked, a little weirded out.
"Oh. I'm smiling?" Aang said, causing me to grin and lounge back into the side of the saddle, the curves of it reminding me of Aaria, my own bison. I had left her at home, since she would be far too noticeable in the outside world.
"So, what are your names Water-people?" I asked, looking between the two of them as Aang propped his feet up and lounged.
"Oh I'm Katara. The paranoid one over there is my brother Sokka." the girl said, and I smiled. "Akalen, pleasure to meet you." following Aang's example and lounging tiredly, my arm dangling over the side of the saddle and grasping the bison's soft fur.
"Hey Aang?" said Katara, leaning over the front of the saddle to look at Aang.
"Hey Katara, watcha thinking about?" he asked, his arms folded behind his head and holding onto what I presumed was his glider. My pack sat beside me, and my own glider was safely propped up under one thigh and over the other, held to my chest by my folded arms as I sat in a semi-meditating position.
"Since you're an Airbender and all, I was wondering if you know what happened to the Avatar." she said, her head slightly tilted. I opened up one grey-green eye, looking at Aang through the circular hole in the surrounding banister on the saddle.
"Uh nope. I knew he was an Airbender but I never met him. I don't know what happened to him," he said, a falsely calm face covering his emotions. Katara went back to staring at the sky, and I threw a small pebble at Aang. It hit his forehead, and he looked at me.
I crossed my arms, giving him an 'are you serious' look, while gazing back and forth between him and the oblivious Katara. His guilty look intensified, and I rolled my eyes before leaning back. The saddle was quite soft, and I had no problem clutching my glider to my chest and snoozing for a while.
I woke up to Sokka kicking my side lightly with the toe of his boot.
"Hey, hurry up and get up. The village wants to meet you," he said lazily. I response, I slowly inched my hand to grasp my staff, before bolting into a sitting position and sweeping his feet from under him.
"Don't you know the saying? 'Let sleeping dogs lie, lest you be bitten.' it goes the same for sleeping cats like myself," I said, yawning and stretching one arm high while holding the blanket to my chest with the other. Somehow, I had gotten undressed, and was now in my tan-colored undergarments. My chest was covered with a loosely wrapped strip of cloth, the seemingly mile-long piece barely being long enough to cover my womanly attributes. For my lower undergarments, they looked like a pair of pants, save for the fact that they had no leg coverings on them, shielding only what was absolutely necessary.
I wrapped the blanket around myself before standing and physically kicking Sokka from the tent, yawning lightly behind my hand as I did so.
He landed on his backend outside the tent, a frown on his face as I fastened the tent-flaps closed, prompting a smirk from me.
My pack was at the foot of the pallet that I slept on, and I walked over, dropping the blanket in the process.
I extended my arm to grasp the pack, pulling it towards me as I plopped into a sitting position. The blue tattoos spiraled their way down my chi paths, and they rippled as my arm moved. A brief flashback consumes me as I remember the (only) four nuns shaving my head as I stood completely bare before them, shivering with cold and anticipation, ready to get my mastery tattoos.
I remember the pricks that came with the needles, the sky blue becoming permanently embedded in my skin.
It took years for my hair to grow back to it's current length, and during that time I had to keep remembering to not let my hair cover my forehead, as I was constantly reminded by my mother.
Snapping back to the present, I got dressed into my airbending clothing, the orange, red and yellow comforting me. Over that though, I put my warm water tribe clothes, still thinking about the value of camouflage. 'If those Fire ships I saw earlier come here, it's best to be able to blend in.'
I tied the bandanna backwards around my neck, ready to pull it up and over my tattoos at any time, as well as pulling on the fingerless gloves and waterbending boots.
I stepped out of the tent with my staff, the grey-brown wood standing a few feet taller than myself.
"Oh, Akalen, you're ready! Here. Aang's ready too." said Katara, bounding up to me with Aang at her side.
"Akalen, Aang, meet the entire village. Entire village, Akalen and Aang." said Katara, her arm sweeping out to show us about a dozen adult women, each with one or two little kids. There were a few elderly women as well.
"Uh, why are they all looking at us like that? Did Appa sneeze on me or something?" said Aang, checking himself for bison snot before one old woman in a lavender-purple outfit stepped forward.
"Well no one has seen an Airbender in 100 years. We though they were extinct, until my granddaughter and grandson found you two." she said, her tired blue eyes observing Aang before switching to me.
"extinct?" Aang said to himself, a surprised , worried, and slightly sick look overtaking his face.
"This is my grandmother." said Katara, smiling.
"Call me Gran-Gran." the old woman corrected, before Sokka walked up behind Aang and I and snatched our gliders.
"What are these? Weapons? You can't stab anything with them." he said, poking at them.
"It's not for stabbing, it's for airbending," Aang said as he and I used the air to snatch back our gliders.
We popped them open, mine's golden yellow clouds contrasting with Aang's orange color.
"Magic trick! Do it again!" said one of the little girls.
"It's not magic, it's airbending," I said, smiling as Aang continued explaining it.
"It lets us control the air currents around our gliders and fly," he said, while I nodded.
"You know, last time I checked, humans can't fly." Sokka said moodily, looking accusingly at Aang and myself.
"Check again!" I said, nodding to Aang. We both mounted our gliders and shot from the ground, doing flips and twirls in the air. I went much higher than Aang did though, and I watched as he crashed into a snow tower, causing a bit of snow to fall down.
I laughed at him before going into a steep dive, leveling out and landing before I collided with the snow-covered ground. I landed next to Aang as Katara helped him up, looking between the two of us.
"That was amazing!" She said, as the children gathered around us.
"Great. You two are Airbenders, Katara's a Waterbender, now you three can waste time all day." said Sokka, digging himself from the snow that fell from the tower.
"You're a Waterbender?" asked Aang, intrigued.
"Well sort of; not yet." she said, looking down at the ground in mild embarrassment at her lack of training.
"Alright Katara that's enough playing. You have chores to do." Gran-Gran came up and towed Katara away.
I sat down, fiddling with a loose string in the fabric of my glider, weaving it back into place as Aang went off to the bathroom or something.
A while later, Aang and I had set up Appa's tail as a slide, entertaining the little kids as the laughed and slid down the bison's tail into the snow bank.
"What are you doing! We don't have time for fun and games with a war going on!" said Sokka, snatching his spear from it's position holding up Appa's tail.
"War? What war?" asked Aang, before stiffening and pointing behind them. I looked where he was pointing, and shouted with him, "PENGUIN!"
We sped off after the four-winged creature, coming upon a colony of penguins and each of us trying to catch one.
"Hey Aang, Akalen!" we heard, and turned to Katara. Aang had hold of a penguin's tail, while I prepared to pounce on one.
"Yeah?" I said, causing my target to waddle away. I let out a swooshing breath, crossing my arms in a pout and sitting cross-legged in the snow.
"I'll make a deal with you. I'll help you catch a penguin if you teach me waterbending." she said with a grin.
"You got a deal! Just one problem though," said Aang, letting go of the penguin and standing up.
"We're Airbenders, not Waterbenders." I said, causing Aang to nod.
"Isn't there someone in your tribe who can teach you?" asked Aang, causing a sad look to come over Katara's face.
"No. You're looking at the only Waterbender in the whole South Pole." she said.
"That's just not right; a Waterbender needs to master water. What about in the North Pole? Isn't there another tribe up there?" asked Aang.
"Yeah, surely there's someone up there who'll teach you." I said, standing and dusting off my pants.
"Maybe, but we haven't had contact with our sister tribe in a long time. It's not exactly 'turn right at the second glacier'. it's on the other side of the world." she said, using little hand gestures to accent her words.
"You forget, I have a flying bison Appa and I can personally fly you to the north Pole! Katara, we're gonna find you a master!" he said, a wide grin on his face.
"That's- I mean- I don't know. I've never left home before." she said, looking a bit nervous.
"Well you have time to think about it. In the meantime, can you teach us how to catch one of these penguins?" Aang asked eagerly.
"Okay. Listen closely young people; catching penguins is an ancient art. Observe." she said, bowing as though she were a sensei and pulling out a tiny fish from her pocket.
'why does she have a fish in her pocket?' I wondered, my nose wrinkling a little.
She tossed the fish to Aang, who was soon swarmed by penguins.
We all laughed, Katara and I grabbing penguins from the edge while Aang wrangled one from the center.
A few minutes later, we shot from the top of a cliff, laughing as we penguin-sledded down the side of the icy hills, sometimes launching into the air due to little ice-ramps.
"I haven't done this since I was a kid!" Katara laughed.
"You still are a kid!" Aang responded as we entered a tunnel. I tilted my penguin to the side, going up onto the ceiling and spiraling around Katara and Aang as I laughed. 'I always wanted to try this!'
Once we exited from the tunnel and slowed to a stop, we let the penguins wander away as we looked at a wrecked ship.
"Woah, what is that?" asked Aang, ever innocent and oblivious.
"Fire nation ship. A very bad memory for my people." Katara said grimly.
I watched as the wind moved a tattered flag on the mast, wincing as I thought of how they nearly wiped out my whole race.
Aang walked forward, and Katara flung out her hand to stop him. "Aang, we're not allowed to go near it! The ship could be booby trapped!" she said fearfully.
"If you wanna be a bender, you have to let go of fear." Aang said, leading her up into the ship.
"Are you coming Akalen?" he asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Nah, I agree with Katara. I'm gonna go explore the decks though." I said, launching into the air and coming to a rest on the main deck as they disappeared into the belly of the ship.
The deck was eerie, with ice coating many of the seemingly bare spots of steel. There were broken crates here and there, and a haunting, sinister look about it. I shuddered, climbing the stairs to the upper deck, poking around and eventually flying up to look into the windows of the main cabin. I sat on the window ledge for a bit, looking in until I spotted Aang and Katara inside.
I waved to them, and they waved back, Katara looking significantly more cautious than Aang.
Once they entered the cabin, Aang tripped on an invisible something, causing a portcullis-like grate to descend from the top of the doorway, locking them in.
I gasped, loosing my concentration and sliding down the snow banks, coming to a stop at the base of the pile and the ship as a flare shot into the air.
I pulled up my bandanna on instinct as a flare shot into the air, pulling my hood up as well when I saw Aang jumping down, Katara in his arms.
"Hurry up! We need to get back to the village!" I called worriedly. We made a dash back the way we came, running as fast as humanly possible back to the snowy haven.
A mile away, the banished prince looked through his spyglass, following three figures running away from the abandoned ship.
"Wake my uncle! Tell him I've found the Avatar," he called out, before swiveling to look at wherever they were running to and finding a small, run-down looking village. "As well as his hiding place."
Hello all! Here it is! Book one:Water Chapter one:The Boy in the Iceberg; revised to my fan fiction-ey ways! :D
As a side note, Akalen is pronounced Uh-Kay-Len, just to avoid confusion ^w^
Review please? I'll upload the next chapter once I find the second episode to write along to!
Credit for the Picture goes to SpazChicken I believe; I found it on Google image search :)