Disclaimer: I do not own Legend of Korra and its characters.
Premise: To regain her bending, Korra must make a choice, go back to the past and either kill a teenage Noatak, or save him. But things are never as simple as they appear to be.
Chapter 3: The Waking
In the night following the arrival of the nameless girl, Kaya dug out an old unused journal she'd saved during the year of cheap imported Earth Kingdom hemp paper and opened it with an entry.
Day one, she wrote with her charcoal tipped pen, then stopped, momentarily at a loss at what to write. Under the flickering light of her seal oil lamp, she peered at the nameless girl, unconscious on her stretcher, draped under old furs with a barely functioning heat lamp beside her. The parlor of her skin had lost some of its paleness, slowly but surely gaining back a healthy undertone, which only spoke of Noatak's skill at waterbending. Still, Kaya could already see the signs of the early onset of hypothermia showing (which reminded her she needed to get a better heat lamp or risk lung inflammation due to hypothermia complications on the girl). Noatak may have been good, but preventing temperature shock, which would have killed the girl out right, was already a feat in and of itself. They'll just have to deal with the hypothermia as it came.
The stretcher the girl lay on made for a bad bed, she noted, which would undoubtedly give her a case of muscle sores in the morning and atrophy within a week or so. It had only served as an emergency medical table so far, and not at all appropriate for prolonged use of any sorts. Kaya would need to get a proper bed if she was going to have this nameless patient in her house for the long run… and it was looking more and more to be the case.
Day One. She went back to her journal. Patient… unknown. Young female. Age sixteen to nineteen. Appear to be of Water Tribe descent. Heavy injuries…
"By Asherat!" She cursed and stopped again. It had been a very long time since the last time she'd ever made a journal like this. "Why do I even bother?" It wasn't like Kaya needed words down on paper to remember how many bones were broken in her body and just where exactly she would need to apply salve to in the morning. It wasn't like Kaya had patients so seriously injured this frequently anyway. The last case had been an old hunter who had slipped down from the caribou track on the side of the mountain and broke a leg and an arm. There were also the usual illnesses and such from the elders of Emeq and its sister villages along the coast. But other than that, nothing special, nothing extraordinary, nothing that could contend with this girl for Kaya's attention.
Kaya turned back, her nerves all jittery. With some reluctance, she extended her waterbending sense, enveloping the girl in her healer's awareness. Stable. Her sense told her. Over all bad shape but the critical state had passed. In the silence of her tent, Kaya listened to the wet rasp of the nameless girl's erratic breath. They had healed the punctures in her lungs, but only barely, only so that she would survive the night under Kaya's vigil. And in the morning there would be Noatak and his prodigious waterbending, Noatak who had covered for Kaya since the day he figured out the bones in her closet, her big secret.
The moisture in the air sang so sweetly to her, its voice that of an old friend. Her fingers itched. If only she would extend more of her, the water in the air told her, if only she would bend, she could erase the injuries on this girl in the blink of an eye. Noatak may have been a prodigy, but he was a child still, and his newly budding talent paled in the light of her decades of experience. If only she would bend…
Kaya looked away from the girl and into the darkness of her tent, willing the lamp light to burn her blind, willing the silence to swallow her whole. When she came to, she found she had broken the pen in her grip. She released the pen with a sigh, took out a replacement from the drawer of her work table and started over.
Day One –
1. Her Bending is gone. This is not an assumption on my part. It is fact. It does not matter how many times I touch upon her chi, that place is empty.
2. It does not feel like a normal emptiness. This girl was born a bender, one of rare power. I daresay she might even be on par with Noatak in term of raw power. There's no telling who's the more skilful though. The girl looks to be older than Noatak, perhaps by a few years, so she should be the one with more experience… but he wasn't called a prodigy for nothing. I wonder…
3. Who is she?
4. There is a mark on her chest. The old mark noble lines put on their virgin daughters to warn off potential violation. The virgin's vermillion. So she's not only from a wealthy family but also of noble lines… or the promised wife of a noble line. But what noble would let his daughter go gallivanting off to this part of the North Pole? What kind of noble would even teach his daughter combat bending in the first place?
5. I don't know what to think. Fell down from the skies? I would have thought Noatak was Aurora-blinded if I had not seen for myself the degree of her injuries. The only thing I know that could get a human up that high is the Fire Nation airships… but even that only brings more questions… and gives no answer.
Day Two –
1. The morning came so slow.
2. I bought the bed… and the extra blankets. The lamp will have to wait though. I'm too short on money now. Kyneoa is not happy with me. Well the man can go suck on a… If he weren't the owner of the only general store this side of the North Pole… and Tarrlok's father, bless his sweet little rascal heart, I would have tried and see how big of an ice pole I can stick down his…
3. Good thing Innana is such a sweetheart. Good thing that her sons take after her rather than their father.
4. I need to board down my windows because I swear this is the last time I'm forced to throw Heiwa and her gossiping daughters outta my tent. I know this village doesn't have much in terms of news but this is just too much. My windows are already collapsing from all the peeking and sneaking around! Don't these people understand that sick people need to rest in peace?!
Day Four –
1. She still hasn't woken up. I am not surprised though this is worrying none the less. There are marks of a fight going on even before her fall. Combat between benders are nothing to scoff at, and combat between benders strong enough to leave imprints of their bending on her chi even less so. Noatak is worried. He has never had to heal anyone so extensively before, and it shows. I've never seen his bending waver like that before. Or at least… I hope that was because he was unused to such prolonged procedure… I do not like to discuss the going-ons of other families, Asherat knows I hide my own, but there are times…
When he saw Kaya pushing apart the flaps of his tent and walked in from the blizzard, bits of ice and the smell of a windy North Pole day in her hair, Hassuq grimaced.
"Here for her soup?" He asked and was replied with a curt nod from Kaya. He padded to the back, then returned with a clay pot wrapped in tattered pieces of leather. The soup Kaya wanted, smoking hot and breathing puffs of steam from its lid. Kaya took a good long whiff. A smile broke out on her face and unwound the wrinkles at the corners of her eyes. All of a sudden she looked twenty years younger, just like a day long in the past when she'd stood just like this at the parlor of Hassuq's hut, dripping from her coats and making a mess on his floor, crying her heart out and making a mess of Hassuq's insides.
He harrumphed, breaking that too inappropriate-for-his-age thought.
"I don't see why grilled Koi or fresh Tiger Seal ain't good enough for that girl. Raw and fresh off the sea cures all your ills. That's what my mam always says." He said as he handed the pot to Kaya.
"Unconscious people can't chew, chief. I'm too busy for anything other than dried jerky. You are free all the times and you're the only one in the village who hasn't enough teeth for a normal Water Tribe dinner. It works out for everyone. We all win." She parried, taking the pot from him and leaving payment in his hand. A pot of salve for bone ache.
"Wait a minute! This is not what we agreed on, woman. It was supposed to be iceberry wine. It was supposed to be that iceberry wine vintage you keep under your hut! What do you want me to do with this, woman? My bones ain't got no ache! I'm still young!"
"Too young it seems…" She speared him with a stern look usually reserved for the naughtiest of her student. "… to behave as a village chief should. How should I know what you ought to do with it? Use it for your skull. With the rate you knock down the village iceberry wine with, your skull ought to ache something awful. One more bottle chief, and we'll be putting you in your own boat for a one way trip to Asherat of the Sea. Perhaps then you'd finally listen to the village's Angakuit, huh?" Then walked out the door before Hassuq could so much as close his wide-open mouth.
2. She is growing thin. Our little sleeping girl. I had Noatak use his waterbending to keep her hydrated (I think he's embarrassed. Probably never had to do it before. How cute.)… but it doesn't help much. The human body needs quite a bit more than water to heal this kind of wounds. Hassuq's clam chowder soup should help. At any rate, it's the only thing I can put down her throat without her choking to death. I can see the musculature of her arms and legs losing definition. For all intents and purpose, she should be awake already. I suspect her injuries from the bending battle went far deeper than I thought. I will need to examine her again.
… I do not enjoy going to that place inside her… the emptiness… it kills the soul. I've gone to that place inside non-benders before, and it has never felt so terrible as the place inside this girl. Still, I am a healer, and healers do not flinch from their patients.
Day Five –
1. There is something wrong with this girl's bending. I don't… I'm not sure. I must be going daft in my old age, but I could have sworn there is something wrong there. The emptiness is wrong.
2. It is not like I haven't seen people losing their bending before. Of course everyone has heard of the legend of Avatar Aang and Fire Lord Ozai. I would be living under a rock if I didn't know that. But I would be an ignorant if I were to think that was the only way for a person to lose their bending. There are records of war time, when bender soldiers came back without pieces of their bodies, when they came back with minds too broken, when the injuries were too much and their chi paths destroyed. All waterbender healers know that bending is as much an art of the soul as it is an art of the body. If there is damage enough to one, the mind or the body, and the healing process does not begin, the bending wanes… and eventually ceases. I have heard of tales of brutal times during the Hundred Year War where Fire Nation soldiers cut off the arms of Water Tribe prisoners as a precaution in the case that they missed a waterbender among them. Such savagery, yet it worked… as we have seen from the Northern Capital Angakuit's records.
Yet… I detected no such savagery in the ruins of the girl's chi paths. There's no question that someone has tampered with her, ripped her bending from her, but the echoes I found were… elegant… for lack of a better word. This is no crude method employed in times of war, but the fingerprints of a genius, of refined technique executed flawlessly… the scalpel of a surgeon and not the club of a brute. It feels almost…
… like waterbending… the highest order of waterbending… such as I've never seen before…
… I'm not sure what to think of that…
Day Seven –
1. Noatak is early today. It appears Kyneoa will be away on a trading trip soon. It probably is unbecoming for a woman my age to say this… but I can't wait till he's gone. Innana's cooking is legendary and there's only too many lonely evenings an old woman can take before she has to go pay her tribute to Asherat!
2. I caught Tarrlok trying to sneak in for a peek today. Caught him red-handed just as he was about to lift the furs and saw for himself the girl who sent the whole village on a tizzy this last week. And he lied to my face! Said he was trying to help. Said he thought the blankets were choking her, the poor sis!
That little lying devil should have a fine future as a politician if he ever decides to move out of this backwater village. I just hope it won't be in the North Pole. Just what am I going to do when he start passing out laws legalizing sweet-talking women five times older than him and lifting the blankets off my patients?! I hope he goes somewhere else when he finally makes it big. Republic City maybe. Heard it's a big place. If it's as big as they say, it should be able to deal with a politician like a grown-up Tarrlok.
Day Nine –
The girl is awake.
The process of waking was like putting together a puzzle. In the darkness, Korra connected pieces of lights and colors and sounds, until suddenly she was awake, but only barely.
The first time she woke, the puzzle showed a blurry picture of mixed-up colors and sounds so unclear it felt like she was listening to someone talking through three layers of wall.
"… hear me… hear… can…?" That and a blurry blob of brown, purple and white were all she got before the pounding headache dragged her under.
The second time she woke was somewhat better. She could make out the ceiling of a tent and the smell of something cooking. She tried to sit up. Pain lanced through her and blossomed white flowers in her vision. Distantly, she heard herself groaning.
"Easy, easy now…" A hand appeared under her neck, another on her chest, five fingers splayed in a classic waterbending healer's pose Katara had taught her since her first few lessons. The pain didn't lessen.
"Kaya…" The voice of a boy floated in the air, into her ears and ricocheted all over in her head. She heard the scrapings of things moving on a wood floor. She looked up. The face that blotted out her vision was that of a sixty-something woman, brown and wizened and looking intently at her. A blue blob moved in the corner of her not yet up-to-par vision.
"Sleep." The woman said, drawing Korra's attention back to her. "You are not ready yet. Sleep."
The blue blob moved and this time she felt the familiar sensation of a waterbender working on her body. Sleep came easily this time, soft, and sweet, and swallowing all the pain in its wake.
Korra slept for a long time, floating in the darkness beneath her consciousness. The third time she woke up, it was morning. Sunlight painted an array of glorious red, yellow, and honey on the ceiling and in the air. She sat up, looked around. The room she was in was classic Water Tribe hut… or at least, classic as far as its bare bones were concerned. It was small, and crammed tight with… stuffs… all kinds of stuffs… Korra eyed the wall of the hut, which could barely be seen under a veritable fortress of home-made shelves and bookcases, running from the opening flap at the front of the hut to the back flap in the opposite wall. All kinds of books, scrolls, pots, bottles, and a hundred strange and colorful knickknacks covered the shelves. Cooking pans, clay jars, bowls, basins, kettles and jugs of all types dotted the floor of the hut, which, in a strange turn of events, was made of wood laminate instead of the usual Water-Tribe traditional fur-covered dirt ground. A red thermo sat on a side-table next to her bed, still wet on the outside. Korra's bed itself barely deserved its name. It was more of a fur nest of some sort, with the same outrageous cheap homemade flare spotted on the other furniture, as if someone hadn't had enough money and had instead heaped together a small hill of old leather pieces, animal wools, and furs and christened it a bed. She supposed it was still better than sleeping on the floor.
In one corner, a cauldron bubbled merrily above the burning hearth, funneling the smell of fish chowder into the air. In the center of the room was a … Korra supposed someone would call it a work table… it did kind of look like a work table, one covered under a small mountain of scrolls, straying paper sheets and books opened halfway. Behind the 'table', a screen divider stood in for a board with pieces of paper stuck to its tiger seal skin front. The biggest one had a dark red line on top. TO DO LIST. It read, in bold, italics, and underlined three times.
1. Clean my hut
2. Clean my table
3. Clean the shelves
4. Cook (at which point Korra noticed the yarn string hanging across the room and the half a dozen dried fishes and caribou jerky on it. They smelt like they might have been made sometimes last year… or perhaps the year before that. She wasn't sure. The funky smell of a hundred pots and bottles on the shelves as well as the cooking cauldron was messing with her head quite a bit)
5. Write the new year's curriculum
6. Wash the girl. She is starting to smell.
7. Get Hassuq to cook for me.
8. Think of a name for the girl. One that doesn't have the word 'girl' in it. Calling her 'the girl' or 'nameless girl' all the times is tiring... even in my head.
9. Get Tarrlok to return my book. Eleven year-olds should not read that kind of book, damn it. (at which point, Korra's mind hadn't recovered enough to recognize the oddly familiar sounding name and let it pass by under the buzzing in her head.)
10. Mix up a new batch of 'Begone, monthly evil!' for Heiwa.
11. Clean my hut
12. Clean my hut
13. Clean my hut
14. Do my to do list
15. Do the laundry
Korra sat there for a while, dazed and confused, and not a clue in her head about where she was. Her body was aching something awful and her mind was a yardful of messed-up yarns. Little thoughts of 'I'm so going to hand it to Kyoshi once I'm back in the Avatar State' swam alongside 'Am I in a witch's hut?' and 'My head hurts. Did a polar bear dog walk over me?' in her head, contending for her attention under the din of her recovering brain. She glared at the To Do List on the screen divider, willing it to answer her questions.
It was at that exact moment that the door flap parted open with a fwissh and in walked a woman. Correction. The woman.
"Oh…" She stopped at the door once she saw Korra. "… you're awake?" Then grimaced. "That was cliché. Of course you are awake, silly me."
"I know you." Korra leaned forward, taking a good long look at the woman. She stood in the doorway, looking back at Korra. The towering columns of piled-up books and cases framing the door made her willowy six-feet-one-and-not-an-inch-of-fat looked short and demure. The veritable forest of pots, pans, flasks, vials, and bric-a-bracs casted a rainbow of shadows on her traditional mud-smeared Water Tribe clothe, making it looked more exotic than it really was. The hair on her head had big white streaks running along her black working-woman single-braid-and-side-loopies do. The tired blue eyes underneath was eyeing Korra with something that flickered back and forth between curiosity and concern. "You were there when I…"
"When you woke up the first time…" The woman cut in. "…and the second time too. That would be because you're in my home." In three long strides, she crossed the distance between the door and the bed, weaving figure S over the jugs and jars to stand before Korra, her bare feet standing out on top a background of bone white wooden floorboard. "Call me Kaya. I'm the acting healer and the Angakuit of this village… or something like that anyway. We aren't very traditional… in the traditional sort of way here." She extended a hand, covered in thin woolen gloves, and touched Korra's forehead.
"Korra." Said Korra, still so drowsy that her name came out sounding more like 'Kowwa'. "Are you a bender?" She followed up suit with a question. Kaya's hand on her forehead, behind a layer of thin wool, didn't look like it was doing at all a good job at feeling up Korra's temperature, but she had heard of waterbender healers doing this before. Or at least, Katara had told her so. One hand on the patient's head to feel the chi flow and all that. It was supposedly an old Northern technique that had fallen into obscurity after Katara fashioned her own far more modern style.
Northern technique… The words pierced the gauze in Korra's head in one swift pinprick. Her memories came back in a flash. She was in the Northern Water Tribe… twenty-six years in the past! The thought alone froze Korra in her track.
Kaya shrugged, non-committal, all the while missing the flickers of shock and disbelief under a layer of exhaustion on Korra's face. "How are you feeling?"
"Like somebody dropkicked me from fifty thousand feet up the air." She deadpanned. A certain someone named Kyoshi from Earth Kingdom who Korra promised to visit retribution upon come the appropriate opportunity.
"As a matter of fact, you did. A boy from the village saw you… falling from the skies…" The look on Kaya's face was one big question mark, and underneath that, suspicion, clear and bright as day.
"I did?" Korra feigned. One month ago, if someone had pitched this same line to her, she would have, no doubt, openly declared herself from the future, sent here by the ghosts of past Avatars, and the Avatar of the future herself. She would have said all that, and would have crossed her arms, proud and expectant. Now though, now… she knew better. Her latest run-in with the Equallists, particularly that time when she had thought yelling Amon's dirty little secret at the top of her lung at an Equallist rally was a good idea, had taught her that even the words of the Avatar were taken with a grain of salt by most people, especially an Avatar-in-training who hadn't exactly been on her best behavior since day one, fresh off the boat and on Republic City land for the first time in her life. In retrospect, it was embarrassing, how she had been so naïve to actually think that would work. People naturally didn't want to hear what they didn't like, what they didn't believe in. Following the same vein of logic, spouting lines like 'Oh you see, I'm from the future. The Avatars of the past sent me here. Don't ask me why they did that. I have no clue either. Avatar's business, you know. All mysterious and illogical and all that mumbo-jumbo spiritual stuff. And by the way, I'm an Avatar too… from the future… from twenty-six years in the future. Capiche?'
That sounded bad even to her ears. That sounded like it had a whopping chance of landing her in a mental institute, bound and gagged and escorted by an entourage of no less than half a dozen orderlies, and an itty-bitty chance of procuring her help from the locals of this time.
Kaya arched an eyebrow, clearly not buying her weak hedge. "I… don't really remember." She tried again, putting on her Ikki-wants-something face. "Everything is… a bit hazy right now."
That did it. She had no idea whether her second try was simply better or Kaya's healer instinct came knocking at the face of a sick person, but the woman relented. She sat down on the floor, right next to her, picked up the red thermo and a bone cup and started pouring. "You look horrible. Drink this." Korra took the cup from her. The liquid inside was honey-colored and steaming hot.
"Honey and ginger. That should help you feel better."
She took a sip, and almost purred as a warm sweetness coated her tongue, slipped down her throat to her belly and heated up everything from the tip of her toe to the top of her head, inflating her like a balloon filled with cee-suddenly-giddy-oh-two. Kaya was putting her wool-covered hands on her throat and her chest, feeling things up in strictly healer's fashion. She didn't mind. The honey ginger had blown a cannon-hole in her wariness wall toward this complete stranger. She hadn't even noticed how bad she was feeling before Kaya and her honey ginger juice made it all better.
"I don't know much… but I know that you fell down from somewhere high. Very high. You could have died. The boy who saw you… if he weren't a bender, you wouldn't be here right now. Asherat, if he weren't half as good as he was, you wouldn't be here right now. He brought you to me. And here you are, finally awake after more than a week playing sleeping beauty in my hut. You owe him your life." Kaya narated as she went on examining her.
"That's nice of him. I'll make sure to thank him properly." Korra hummed absentmindedly to the healer's chatter, her focus on the little cup of liquid feel-good in her hands. Of course it was a bender who saved her. Bending was the awesomest thing in the world, so who else could it be but a fellow water bender?
… except he wasn't exactly a fellow water bender any more, was he? Just like that, her drink-induced good mood took a nose dive. He wasn't her fellow water bender… cause she was a water bender no more. She was a defunct Avatar… and an airbender now, one that couldn't even prevent her own plummet to near death in the Arctic Sea.
She went quiet and still, gripping her honey ginger juice cup in two hands. Kaya's chatter dimmed in her ears, and suddenly she was sitting by herself in a stranger's hut, alone in a strange land, adrift in a strange time. Lost, and confused in a place that wasn't hers.
She had lost her bending for… exactly two days now, that she can remember, yet it was still so hard to believe… so hard to get it through. Privately, she still felt as though if she just stamped her feet long enough, the earth would raise to her command, punched the air strong enough and fire would sprout from her knuckles. And water, her home element, her first element… water that used to dance with her since she was a little snot-nosed three years old and rained icy wrath on the village kids who thought taking the teddy wolf-bear from the village's budding waterbender three-years-old-and-zero-self-control little miss spitfire was a good idea.
The bone cup went cold and clammy in her hands. Something stirred in the floorboard and in the ceiling and it killed the morning sunlight with a kiss. Korra's monster rose from the floor soundlessly, looking her in the face with its deep dark eyes and a smile. She flipped a switch in her head and made everything go dark, then she retreated to a corner, trying to hold the cold at bay and praying that it wouldn't find her.
"Are you listening to what I'm saying?" Kaya said irately, her face an inch from Korra.
"Oh… uh…" She blinked, and the room was sunny and wacky and crammed tight with Kaya's stuff again. That dark hidden place in her head had retreated.
"I said… that he's going to be here any minute now and you should get something decent on yourself." Kaya repeated, eyeing her fur-clad body.
"The boy. The one who saved you."
"Right. Sorry. I guess I wasn't as up as I thought I was. My brain still feels like melting butter." She looked down, found that all she had on her was a beaten-up shift dress with long billowy sleeves. She drew her legs out from underneath the furs and saw that the dress was fraying at its end. A draft blowing pass her bare calves and between her legs drew notice to the fact that she had absolutely nothing else on… not even her favorite Sporty Girl-Bender, Water-Tribe edition Sarashi.
"Where are my clothes?" She looked around, hoping to see them lying somewhere in the mini mine yard that was Kaya's hut.
"They are ruined." Said Kaya, matter-of-factly. "When we brought you in, you were little more than meat and broken bones. We had to get your clothes off to start working on you, and the only way to do that without breaking anything further was to cut them to pieces and pull them off one by one." She stood up, went to a closet sandwiched between a chemical case and a five-feet tall vase with huge rust-colored feathers sticking out its opening, opened it up, rummaged for maybe a minute or so before turning back with a set of Sarashi and a simple sheath dress with an open collar, unsurprisingly in white, blue, and purple. "I still keep the pieces, but they aren't much good right now." She said as she handed them to Korra. "You can wear this for now."
With some hesitation, Korra took them from Kaya, who went off to look for something that could work as a coat over that flimsy ensemble. The sheath dress was almost as beaten-up as the one she had on. It was only narrowly saved by its vivid but predictable dye job. And the Sarashi… eewww… second-hands… Korra scrunched up her nose as she fingered the material, wool, and old, but at least it wasn't fraying as the shift dress and there was no stain visible. Seeing as there was no other alternatives except for going starker under the dress, which might be a-okay in Republic City but a big no-duh in the winter lands that were the Water Tribes, she pulled the lower part on over her legs gingerly, slipped out of the shift dress, shivering somewhat at the cold morning air, then put on the upper part. They fit snuggly around her, comfortable as several-years-worn things tended to be.
Kaya was buzzing around the room, hopping over pots and pushing cases aside to find more layers and laying them on her lap. She left the old woman to her busy bee routine.
What was that all about? She thought as she opened the sheath dress. The episode just before Kaya yanked her back to reality. She hadn't felt like that for… a long time. Small, and weak, and insignificant, a husk emptied off strength and soul.
Someone was pounding on the door, and dimly she registered Kaya yelling for whoever was at her front door to hold their sea-horses and give a lady her time. Her thoughts had her full attention.
She couldn't bend. The idea sat like a lump of ice in her belly and for one moment she thought the room was going to go dark again. She held it at bay this time. If there was anything Korra hated more than appearing weak, it was being weak itself. Growing up as the only daughter of a wolf-warrior father and a waterbender mother, both of whom had made their lives with their own two hands from bare ground up, and discovered as the Avatar since four years old, for much of her life, she had rarely ever allowed herself to be weak. Avatars weren't weak. Aang wasn't weak, despite what a lot of war-mongering lords and kings had whispered behind his back. And she, Korra you-gotta-deal-with-it Avatar, sure as hell wasn't weak.
She was in the past. That was the thing that mattered now, not the fact that she still hadn't regained her bending. She was in the past, and she wasn't going to think of nothing else. Korra told herself as she pulled the dress over her head, let it settle around her knees. She turned and gave Kaya the go to open the door.
She was in the past. Aang and Kyoshi had sent her to the past, for whatever reason. She looked down, smoothed out a wrinkle in her dress. Which meant that there must be a way for her to regain her bending. There must be, because the thought of otherwise frightened her, scared her to death. If there weren't, they wouldn't have bothered in the first place. If there weren't, she was sure she wouldn't even see them on that cliff twenty-six years in the future. Yes, there was a way. And that was the thought she was going to focus on now, the only thought she was focusing on.
She took a deep long breath, told herself – Here I come, wacky freaky era of the past – and looked up.
Light flooded the hut from the opened door. Kaya stood to a side to make way and in came a boy spotting a two-tail hairdo and a cow-lick on his forehead.
"Don't run in my house, Tarrlok!" Kaya snapped at him.
This time, very much different to barely half an hour ago, Korra's mind was up and running, and the name itself hammered in her heart. She had a split second to form one word in her head – 'That…' – before the doorway darkened one more time, sunlight from outside blocked by the tall frame of the second visitor.
"Come in, Noatak." Kaya said to the second comer, beckoning him inside.
Korra sat ramrod straight in her bed, staring forward, the weight of the second name ricocheting in her heart like stray bullets. The boy – Noatak - stood in the door way, looking her in the eye. Her ears bubbled as she listened to the one word that came rolling out from his mouth.
"Hi." He said, slightly breathy from the cold and wind outside, rubbing his red nose, and smiled.
End Chapter 3
1/ If you have questions regarding the updating pace and schedule of this fic, please take a look at my profile. If that still doesn't answer your questions, please read the note below this.
2/ I realize that my updating pace has a lot to desire. The last time I updated Book Air was almost a month ago, and for an average of five to six k words per chapter, that isn't fast at all. If anything, it's sedate, especially compared to other Amora fics. That's something I'd like to fix… if I were actually able to… but please understand that unlike a lot of LoK fan authors, I am a working adult. Moreover, I work as a journalist. What I write is usually paid by the article and chockfull of stress and credibility. I came to the fanfiction world as a way to unwind and to let my imagination run free. Please understand that despite what we all want, the fact is that Book Air and other fanfics of mine are unlikely to get top priority in my writing schedule and their pace will probably not pick up by much… unless I'm on a roll or something… or my boss editor releases me from my slave-labor contract… which isn't likely to happen in the next decade or so… so there. If this still doesn't answer your questions, then you are welcomed to leave them in a review. I'd be happy to keep you up-to-date on the word and progress-count of new unpublished chapters.
3/ Sorry for possible typos and grammar mistake. English isn't my native language. It's not even my second language, more like third or fourth or something.
4/ Gee… there's this Noarra scene I want to write: an Eskimo kiss. I have it in my head. This messy accidental but not quite accidental Eskimo kiss… incident… where Korra, not wanting to look like a cultural ignorant, proceeded to show Kaya, Tarrlok, and Noatak that she so knew how to say hello Northern Water Tribe style on Noatak (completed with little mental remarks on how teenage-Amon smells funny in Korra's head and the cultural aftershock following that hello kiss on all parties present). In the first draft of Book Air, that Eskimo kiss scene was going to be in the chapter four, right after this chapter. But on second revision, it doesn't really follow the logic of the story and the information we have so far on Korra's extended family. There's such a little chance of Korra not actually knowing something as basic as the greeting protocol of her sister village in canon, that trying to explain it in this story seems forced and awkward. So I had to scrap that scene. I still want to write it so badly though. Maybe I'll just write it as an omake and leave it as a your-millage-may-vary thing. You can either take it as a part of the story or not. I think that would be a good alternative.
5/ Plot bunny ensues. I have the plots of… three more Amorra fics in my head. One is a wacky, semi-serious romantic comedy (bare bone premise here le-feline . tumblr post / 29010998025 / foxgoddess-le-feline-meet-me-at-aang ), one is an AU story where a short conversation with Katara right before leaving South Pole changed the way Korra approached her problems in Republic City and consequently everything else, leading to her understanding a lot more about the man she had, at first, feared so much. The last one is an AU of season one ending, in which Aang doesn't appear, Korra commits suicide for real but fails as she accidentally activates the Avatar State in self-defense and finds herself stuck in an island in the middle of nowhere upon waking up. Several days later, an icicle bearing a frozen Amon washes onshore said island. I am contemplating if I can actually fit one more fic in my schedule… but which one among the three? I'm kinda leaning toward the first romantic comedy one, but I want to hear other opinions too. What do you think about it? Which one do you want to read most? Please tell me if you can.
6/ Lastly, my Amorra gallery le-feline . deviantart gallery / 37865252