Chapter 1

It was cold. Not surprising, it's always cold when I wake up. Even with my warm night clothes and pelts on the bed its cold. I dread opening my eyes. I take in a deep breath of the frigid air preparing myself for the shock. I hesitantly peel open my eyes. Sunlight pours into the hut, Sokka needs to remember to close the flap when he leaves. I slowly raise myself out from under my blankets and gooseflesh rises on my arms. I hurriedly close the animal skin flap that functions as our door. I subconsciously note the three empty beds. I scramble into my chest of stuff. I don't own a whole lot, no one in the village really does. I pull out my usual many layers and top it off with my well-worn parka. I struggle out of my night clothes and into my day wear. I pack away what I was just wearing and pick up my boots from beside the dying fire. I slip them on and add a log to the fire. I'm trying to warm my hands when Katara comes in.

Katara is my cousin but has always been more like a younger sister to me. I live with her, Sokka (her older brother) and her dad (my uncle) and I have for as long as I can remember.

"Practicing?" she asks, eyeing the growing fire.

"No." I say, slipping on my mittens.

"Hair?" she asks, picking up my hairbrush.

"No, I've got it." I say taking my hairbrush from her.

I stare into the ice-mirror Katara and I made. Staring back at me is the brown hair, brown eyed girl that stands out. If I lived anywhere else I probably wouldn't stand out but in our little isolated village I do. Unlike Katara and Sokka I don't have light brown hair and blue eyes but dark brown, almost black, hair with hazel eyes that change with the lighting. My skin tone is also a few shades lighter than theirs; to be honest I don't look like a girl from the water tribe at all.

I pull my hair out of the sloppy bun I slept in and brush it out. It's long and reaches about halfway down my back in its natural messy waves. I pick up the bands I just took out and start securing the top layer into a bun. When I'm finished it sits nicely on the back of my head with the lower layers falling naturally down my back. I pick up my necklace, a memento from my mother. Katara has one too but hers is a costmary betrothal necklace where mine is a metal chain with a metal heart pendant, another thing that sets me apart from my family.

"You gonna' come fishing with us today?" asks Katara.

"Hmm. weren't we planning on hunting today?" I ask

"Couldn't find any tracks." Katara says dejectedly

"Oh. I don't think I'll go fishing. I was going to go meditate today." I say. I know Katara knows that I prefer solitude sometimes.

"Alright." She says, turning her back on me and leaving the hut.

I kneel by the fire, shifting the logs so that I can pat out the embers. I stand up while deciding where to mediate today; the inlet? Maybe… Village wall? No, too noisy. Snow fort? Nope, not enough water. Snow hill? Nah, too far away. The inlet it is.

I push aside the hut flap and step out into the daylight. I take a deep breath of fresh air, much better than the smoky hut. I watch as Katara and Sokka make their way out to the canoe, hoping they catch something today. I rub my gloved hands together and head out towards the inlet.

My spot is just outside the village wall. Gran-gran doesn't like me coming out here; she says it's too open and that a passing ship could easily spot me. Honestly though, I can't remember the last time I saw a ship come past here. I like it out here because I'm so close to the ocean and it has a quite calming silence.

I find a relatively flat snowpack and sit down crossing my legs. My mind automatically starts to become clearer and I feel a little lighter (if that makes any sense…). Katara finds it weird sometimes at how much I meditate saying I should practice my bending more than meditation. I disagree with her, I've tried telling her before about how I am more in-tune with my bending after I meditate. Katara just doesn't have the patience for meditation. I close my eyes and fold my hands on my lap. I focus on my breathing and slowly clear my heads of everything but water.