(( TW // Death, funeral ))
The breeze blew through the big archway of the temple, carried away some white chrysanthemum petals along the way. Inside the hall, people wore white clothes, sat quietly in the hallways. Some people looked at an image placed on the altar - A monk, who smiles peacefully as if nothing bad had happened.
The funeral would start soon.
Across the room, a man was making his way through the crowd. He stood next to the casket while facing the people. Everyone was looking at him. He stood there, quiet for a moment before speak.
“I am Sokka of the Southern Water Tribe, his friend and also his brother in law.” The man began. He turned his head to the casket, nodded sightly. “Avatar Aang, you were a great friend and one of the great Avatar.”
“I remember the first time when we met him, he was freezing himself in the iceberg in the middle of the icy ocean. How did he do that is beyond my knowledge.” Sokka chuckled sightly, “and right after we took him to our tribe, this kid, he quickly fell into a trap that was told specifically to stay away. On the first day, and he already sent a signal to the enemy.”
Sokka caught a familiar gaze across the room. A man with a burnt scar on his face. They exchanged a smile as they shared an old memory.
“He was banished from the tribe for a moment. But he was a good friend… Yeah, he’s a good friend and he came back...”
The last words echoed like Sokka was talking to himself. He turned back to the crowd.
“The Hundred Years War," He said carefully as if the names had some terrible power in it. "You may have witnessed it or heard it from the story. It was a challenging era. Years of suffering. Years of war.”
He scanned through the crowds, searching for his friends’ eyes again. They were all been there, in the battle, the horror, and the joy of victory. It was funny to think that it was fifty-four years ago, and now the war only existed in a historical book. The young generations now only knew it through stories.
“…when the Avatar returned, the world was full of hope again. The Avatar fulfilled his destiny and stopped the war." His eyes glittered. The Avatar was destined to defeat the Firelord Ozai to stopped the war, but he couldn't end a person's life. "And even though the world told him to do the right thing, the only single ultimate thing that would break his belief, his way of life, and there would be no other ways. Somehow, somehow, that kid, he still managed to pull out one more trick under his sleeve." Sokka blinked as he remembered the Firelord lying helplessly, with his Firebending being taken away forever.
“And you know what?” Sokka glanced over his shoulder, where the casket placed, “It worked, buddy. It worked. You saved the world and is still able to be who you are. You are a true genius.”
There was another silence. He inhaled before continuous.
“He didn't just stop there. Uh no. He got this weird idea of building a place for people of all nations come and live together. That man, he took part in building Republic city, and the foundation of the Air Temple Island, the place we are all standing today.”
“He had never stopped working. He'd never rested. Sometimes things went up, and sometimes things went down.” He dropped his gazed at his sister, who returned him with a sad look. Sokka could see the other three people next to her - his nephews and niece, but none of them met his gaze. He wasn't even sure if they listened to him. Their minds seemed to trail somewhere else. His heart was heavy as he went on.
“Of course, he was not a perfect man.” He went on, “But I could proudly say that he has never abandoned his duty as the Avatar until the very end.” Sokka said, changed his attention back to the crowd, “I guessed he thought he had to carry the world alone. It was always his duty, and it will always be.”
“The cycle will continue, and a new Avatar will rebirth. The world keeps moving on, even though he will not be here with us anymore.” His voice was heavy, “...but at this moment, we gather here today to grief for a loss of a friend, a family member, and the Avatar. At his final moment, he has passed away in his sleep, just like his nature, a peaceful death.”
Sokka turned to look at the casket. He exhaled, raising his voice.
“Avatar Aang, the Airbender of Southern Air Temple. You were our hero in the Hundred Year War, contributor of Republish city and Air temple island. You were the father of Bumi, father of Kya, father of Tenzin, husband of Katara, now passed.”
He closed his eyes, pictured an old friend who was no longer here.
“We’re thank you for your service. Rest in peace, my friend.”
4 years later.
In the Southern Water Tribe, children were playing snowball fight on the playground. One of the biggest kids, hiding behind a rock, moving his hands, the snow beneath his feet circled him before launched into the air and knocked the other kids by surprise. The boy burst into laughter when seeing the kids struggled to regain their feet.
“You’re cheating Tolrar! You’re using waterbending!” the little girl squealed. She was too young to be in the groups. There were some murmurs of agreement, but they kept their voice low like they were afraid to be heard.
Tolrar faced the little girl. He was as twice as her. His crooked teeth and the ragged oversize parka made him looks like an angry polar reindeer leopard. There was an uncertainty flashed in the little girl's eyes, but she stayed put.
"How is it cheating? I can use waterbending wherever I like!" Tolrar growled.
"But we are not waterbenders!"
"So I'm not allowed to do anything that you losers cannot do it?" Tolrar pushed the girl. She yelped as she fell into the snow.
“Don’t hurt her,” one of the kids growled, she sounded more annoy than concern, “I don’t want to have trouble with her parents.” The little girl recognised the voice of her neighbourhood friend, Penon, the one that convinced her to play with her cool friends.
“Too bad, I’m not the one who took the babysitting job,” Tolrar laughed, “Don’t worry, I’m not going to hurt her. I’ll just teach her how to show respect when talking to older people.”
Before the little girl had a chance to run, he grabbed her parka and shoved her into the snow.
“That what you get when you speak out of turn!”
The girl tried to struggle for freedom, but his hand shoved even deeper into the snow. He heard Tolrar laughing before her ears were blocked by the cold. She felt heavy as snow fell on her. Then she couldn't breathe. Her heart pounded rapidly, and terror struck her. She swung back her fist, trying to hit the boy, but the only thing she hit was hot air.
Suddenly, she heard a scream.
He let go of her. The little girl stumbled, trying to get away from him as fast as she could. She saw the kids were staring at her.
The little girl realised it was Tolrar’s voice. He was the one who screamed. She looked at the bully, now covered one of his ears. She saw his ear turned red and swollen between his fingers.
Penon grabbed her arm. “You burnt him you little brat!”
“What’s going on?”
A voice was coming from behind. The kids turned to see an old woman was looking at them from across the playground. Her gaze stopped at Tolrar, and then she frowned as she understood the situation.
The woman walked toward Tolrar, reassuring him with a calm voice. “I’m a healer. Let me have a look at your ear.”
Tolrar was reluctant, but he let the woman had a look at his burnt. The children saw the lady bending water around the boy's swollen ear. The water started to glow, and his face seemed to relax. The skin came back to it suppose natural colour. She moved water back into the waterskin that was hanging from the waist.
“You should all go back home.” She told them.
The children did not object. They ran away, but the little girl froze in her place. The woman noticed her and then looked around the field like she was searching for someone.
“Where are your parents? You look too young to be on yourself.”
“I didn’t mean to!” Words came out of the little girl as she burst into tears.
The woman looked puzzled before she realised what the girl meant. She came toward the little girl, kneeled, and patting her head gently.
“It’s alright. It was an accident. Just remember to be careful about your firebending next time.”
The little girl sobbed. She tried to say something, but no words came out of her mouth. The woman patted her head again, comforting her. She had never met this woman before, but there was something about her made she felt familiar and safe. Like everything would be alright. She stopped crying, weeping her tears away.
“Do you know where your parents?” She asked again.
The little girl shook her head.
“Do you want me to help you find your parents?”
She nodded. The old lady smiled and stood up.
“What is your name?”
“Korra? What’s a nice name. Nice to meet you, Korra. I’m Katara.”
Comments (1)See all