Chapter 18: Meanwhile
Not even a day after Aang and his friends escaped the Fire Temple, Aang became quite restless. The Fire Sage Shyu enabled them all to escape from the temple. But what was worst for him was the fact that Aang couldn’t like Shyu said talk to Avatar Roku. Avatar Roku did not show up, and that’s what Aang bothers right now.
Sokka says from Appa's saddle, “Sit down at last. You will fall off the saddle if you keep fidgeting."
Aang says tense, “I can't do anything else. Roku didn't appear to me and now I don't know what to do."
Katara says, while directing Appa, "Maybe you should take Shyu's advice and start learning the elements." Katara continues to look forward until a thought occurs to her, "How about I try to teach you waterbending? I'm not a master, but I could at least teach you what I know."
Aang was thrilled and accepted Katara's offer. They ended up at the next lake, where Katara started teaching Aang, but no matter what Aang did, he couldn't even create a small wave. After what felt like the thousandth attempt, Aang gave up and let himself fall to the ground.
Aang shouts in frustration, "No matter what I do, I can't bend the water!"
Katara kneels next to Aang, she says supportively “It's okay. It takes a long time to learn an element. Look at me I'm born as a Waterbender and can hardly bend it either."
Aang sat up, "Yes, you are probably right."
The rest of the day ended with Katara stealing a Waterbender scroll from pirates. But the next morning they had to flee from both the pirates and the Fire Nation soldiers.
The days passed in a flash. They were traveling from one place to another and there was always an incident.
They almost helped a vengeance-driven rebel flood an entire village. Technically, it was flooded, but none of the villagers were killed or injured. They left the rebel frozen to a tree.
They helped two warring clans to cross a canyon.
Katara and Sokka almost broke up with Aang because Aang hid the letter from Bato. But in the end they stayed together after escaping from Zuko and a mercenary.
Aang and his friends came to a fire festival. Aang figured that maybe he should start with the Fire Element, thinking that playing with Fire could be fun. One thing led to another until they had to be rescued from the festival. After being rescued from the Fire Fest, they met the deserter Jeong Jeong, who was the first Firebender to oppose the Fire Nation. Jeong Jeong refused to become Aang's Firebender Master, but after many endless and annoying begs from Aang, he decided to teach him. After endless attempts, Aang still couldn't Firebending. Aang became so frustrated that he punched a strong gust of wind against a campfire, sending sparks and flames flying in Katara's direction, burning her hands. Aang wanted to apologize, but was attacked by Sokka when he witnessed this. Meanwhile, Katara ran away, crying, to the next pond, where she put her hands in the water. So she found out that she has healing powers. The rest of the stay ended with them escaping Admiral Zhao and his soldiers.
They met people in the northern Air Temple. Aang was initially not thrilled that people had settled in the abandoned temple, but at the end of the day, after they defeated the Fire Nation intruders, it was okay for him that the peoples stay in the temple.
They were now at the North Pole, they met the Waterbender Master Pakku. He has agreed to teach Aang, but not Katara. Katara was not pleased and challenges Pakku to a fight. After the fight, they learned that Pakku was the former fiance of their grandmother. One thing led to another, in the end Pakku agreed to teach Katara.
It turns out that with the right instructions, Katara is a quick learner. She managed to beat Pakku's best students within a week, and was declared as a Waterbender Master herself. Aang, however, couldn't even bend water with the instructions of a Waterbender Master. With every Waterbender fight with one of the students, Aang always landed face first in the snow.
Sokka, in contrast to his sister and Aang, has come closer to the northern Water Tribe Princess Yue. Although she is engaged to someone else, she likes to be friends with the chaotic Sokka. The evening before her wedding, she met Sokka one last time on the bridge and kissed him on the full moon night. Because they both know that it will not be possible for them to see each other any longer. The next day she pulled through the wedding to make her father and her Tribe proud. Sokka stayed and watched in silence.
It was another week before the group decided to leave the North Pole. Several ships accompanied them, as the residents of the North Pole felt it was time to help their sister Tribe. During the departure, Sokka looked with sad eyes at the ever-shrinking North Pole to at least try to see his beloved Yue, who said goodbye to him from the harbor, but unfortunately he could no longer see her due to the distance.
A few days later they returned to the city of Omashu, which was overrun by the Fire Nation. However, they helped the townspeople to escape the city. They almost managed to free King Bumi by accidentally kidnapping the governor's one-year-old son.
When they were handed over, however, they were lured into a trap by a black-haired girl named Mai. Aang jumped behind Bumi, which ended up getting them both onto a slide, they were followed by all Fire Nation guards. Sokka ran away with the baby to get Appa. Katara, however, stayed behind to fight Mai alone.
Mai threw knife after knife in Katara's direction, but Katara blocked every knife with her newly learned waterbending techniques.
As she throws three more knives, Mai says, "Just so you know, you're not the first Waterbender girl I throw knives at."
Katara parried all knives. Her come back was "Let me guess, she kicked you in the butt."
Mai smiles sadistically as she thinks back from Korra’s suffering "No, I trowed a knife in her shoulder." Katara was shocked to hear that. She was so shocked that she almost got brushed by a knife. Mai added "Her screams of pain and tears were the best part."
Katara got angry, she always hated that people from her tribe are treated worse than others, but hearing that made her angrier than she usually is.
Instead of continuing to evade, Katara attacked. She fires water bullet after the other at May. The water bullets flew so quickly towards May that she could hardly avoid them. Instead of firing more water bullets, Katara fires ice spears at Mai.
Mai‘s eyes widen as the ice spears approach her. There was no way she could evade it. She closed her eyes as the ice spears draw closer. The ice spears penetrate her clothes and the wall behind her. Mai expected the worst when she slowly opens her eyes, but not that she is hanging on the wall because of the ice spears.
Katara is slowly approaching Mai. She stood a step in front of her. Katara says very calmly “You are a pathetic figure. Risking a baby's life only to trap us. I hope for you that the governor doesn't want your head for it."
Mai smiles slyly "Why should he want the head of his own daughter?"
Katara took a step back in shock. "You risked your baby brother's life?! How can you be so cruel?"
Mai laughs slightly crazy. “I've already done a lot worse things in my life.” She smiles darkly as she says “For example, years ago when I was just nine years old, I threw knives at an eight-year-old girl. And that was one of the persons of your tribe, and when she was patched together I gave her a good beating." While Katara looked at Mai in shock, Mai said, looking a little closer at Katara, "If I think about it now, she looked almost exactly like you." Mai shrugged "But it's probably because you all look the same to me."
Katara was angry and speechless, she clenched her fists and teeth’s. In a voice suppressed by anger, she asks "How can you be so cruel?"
Mai shrugged "I was probably bored at the time."
Katara's fists shake slightly. In her life she has met a lot of mad people, like the one rebel. But she has never seen anyone knowingly and without scruples torment a child. While Katara falls into a tumult, Mai laughs like a madman.
While Mai continues to laugh, Sokka and Aang come back to Katara. The two boys don't know what's going on. They exchange a look until Sokka says to Katara "I think you broke her."
Katara shakes her head slightly. She says in a calm voice “No, I didn't broke her.” Katara stares at Mai, who has stopped laughing. Without warning, Katara sucker punched Mai‘s right cheek. She hit her so hard that Mai was knocked out immediately. Although her body went limp, she is still hanging on the wall. Katara turns to the boys and says "Now I've broken her." She angrily passed the boys.
Aang and Sokka exchange a look. They don't know what just happened when they were gone, or what the girl told Katara to make her angry. They shrugged and followed her.
Late in the evening, Aang broke into the governor's house to deliver his baby son and disappeared before anyone could see him.
While the governor and his wife hugged their son again, they didn’t notice that their daughter was packing some stuffs. She planned to hunt down the Avatar, even if it was the last what she was doing.
They fell over a swamp, through a storm that caused the friends to separate.
Katara walked through the swamp alone to look for her friends. Katara was starting to get frustrated that she hadn't even found Appa, even though he's so huge.
Katara stopped abruptly, she saw something far away. As she got closer she noticed that it was a woman with a strange leaf outfit. She shouts, “Sorry ma'am, I think I'm lost here. Could you maybe help me?"
The woman in front of her slowly turns to Katara. When Katara saw her face, she couldn't believe her eyes. She had tears of joy on her face as she ran like a lightning bolt to the woman, she tackled her with a hug and screamed “Mom! You are alive!"
The woman in Katara's arms no longer understands the world. When Katara got off the woman, the woman narrowed her eyes to get a better look at Katara.
The woman inspects the girl in front of her and hesitantly asks "K-Korra is that you?"
Katara raised a brow, she didn't understand what was going on. She says "No mom, it's me Katara."
The woman repeats "Ka... Katara?" Katara nodded. The woman thinks, 'The name, the eyes, can it really be her?' The woman asks, “Do you have a brother named Sokka? And is your father's name Hakoda?” The woman knows it's too far-fetched, but she has to test her theory.
Katara beamed. She smiles but keeps crying "Yes mom, these are their names."
After she has the confirmation, the woman finds it very difficult to burst the girl's soap bubble. With a heavy heart she says "I'm sorry, but I'm not your mother."
Katara didn't understand why the woman in front of her should say something like that, after all she looks exactly like her mother and she knows the names of her brother and father.
Before Katara could say anything, the woman took Katara's hands and said "My name is Senna and I am not your mother Kya."
Katara sobbed, she got almost no sound. Through all the sadness she is feeling, she asks, barely understandable, "B-but ... i-if ... you're not ... my m-mother, who a-are you? And h-how ... is it ... p-possible, t-that you k-know all our ... names?"
Senna smiles softly that Katara strongly reminds of her mother's smile. She says in a calm tone, "I know all your names because I am your mother's sister." Katara's eyes widen. Senna closed her eyes and smiled "I'm your aunt Senna."
Katara got up, she doesn't know whether to trust the woman in front of her or not. On the one hand she bears a strong resemblance to her mother and knows all their names, on the other hand she discovered the woman in a swamp.
Katara asks as Senna straightens up "If you really are my aunt, what are you doing here in a swamp?"
Senna sighs, she was expecting this question, but she was uncomfortable talking about it. She answered Katara's question with a counter-question "Do you know that the Waterbenders from the South Pole were kidnapped from time to time by the Fire Nation?" Katara nodded sadly. Senna continued “I'm one of those Waterbenders who have been kidnapped and enslaved. To be precise, I was kidnapped on the day you were born."
Tears came out of Katara's eyes even faster. She knows that the Fire Nation kidnapped a lot of people from her tribe, but she never would have thought that they kidnapped her own aunt too, especially not on the day she was born.
Senna notices the restlessness in Katara's body. Senna approaches Katara and took her in a motherly hug. Katara lost herself in the embrace.
After what felt like an eternity, they released the hug. Senna asks as she wipes away the tears from Kataras eyes with her thumbs "Are you feeling better?"
Katara felt a lot better from the hug, but since she didn't trust her own voice she just nodded.
Senna took out a flask and hands it to Katara, she says "Drink, then you'll feel much better."
Katara doesn't really know what's inside, but she drank the liquid. She immediately notices that it is water, but not normal water, it had a slightly sweet note. When Katara took a sip, she felt really good. She asks “I feel like I was reborn. What was in there?"
Senna says when she got her flask back “This is water that is secreted from the spirit tree. The water from the tree has special properties."
Katara nodded, she immediately believes Senna's statement, after all, she was feeling much better as she drank it.
Senna says “You told me earlier that you were lost. Where do you want to go?"
When she remembered, Katara says, “I'm looking for my brother Sokka, our friend Aang, and our animals Appa and Momo. Have you maybe seen them?"
Senna shook her head. “I haven't seen them, but I know some people’s who could help us. Follow me.” said Senna as she started to walk a passt Katara. Katara follows her.
While they were walking Katara wanted to know one more question "Can you answer another question for me?" Senna nodded while they continued "You called me earlier Ko..."
But before Katara could finish her question, she heard a loud scream that Katara recognized immediately. She screams as she runs in the direction of the scream "That was Sokka! We have to help him!"
Senna ran after her without asking.
It didn't take long for Katara to get to a large clearing. There was also Aang who was trying to free Sokka from an algae monster.
Katara wasted no time and attacked the monster with a water whip.
The monster was hit in the head, but didn't seem to mind.
Aang turns to Katara, he asks surprised "Where have you been?"
Katara says "It's a long story." She turns to the monster. "Let's free Sokka first."
Before the Monster or Aang and Katara could do anything, huge ice spikes appeared between the two parties.
The three turn to the person who is blocking their way.
Katara sees Senna slowly walking towards the monster.
Katara panicked and shouted “Aunt Senna! Stay away from the monster!"
However, Senna did not listen to Katara and was now standing directly in front of the monster. She puts her hands on her hips. She glared at the monster and says "Huu you will let my nephew down immediately."
Aang, Katara and Sokka, from his position, were speechless.
The monster makes a gesture as if to say, ’but he started it‘.
Senna narrowed her eyes on the monster “Don't make me pull your ears. You know I would do that."
After Senna's threat, the monster immediately let go of Sokka, whereupon Sokka fell roughly in the swamp water. Sokka got some swamp water in his mouth, he spits it out with disgust. He stumbled as he ran to his sister and Aang.
Sokka asks startled "Who is the lady?!"
Aang stares at the woman in amazement as she continues to discipline the monster. He says in admiration, "I have no idea."
Katara was amazed how easy it is for Senna to appease a monster.
The monster huddles a little when Senna tells him "What are you waiting for, Huu?Take off your stupid algae disguise."
As if on command, all the algae fell off the Monster. The three were surprised that the monster is not a monster, but a half-naked man.
Senna grabbed the man's ear a little too harsh and dragged him after her to the three. The man had the whole way, a pained expression on his face. She stopped in front of them, still with her hand on the man's ear. As she pulls his ear down, she says, "I'm really sorry, but Huu here hates it when someone disrespects the swamp." She turns to Huu, "What do you say when you scare someone to death?"
Huu says, with a painful expression, "I'm very sorry."
Senna let go of his ear and smiles at the group.
Sokka was the first to ask "Who are you?"
Katara smiles as she happily announces "Aang, Sokka, may I introduce you, this is Senna, our aunt."
At the shocked expressions on Aang and Sokka's faces, Senna says to Katara "Maybe we should explain everything to them when we are at our camp."
Katara nodded and goes after Senna. Aang and Sokka were stiff for a few seconds but ran after Katara and Senna.
A few minutes later they arrived at the camp.
During their walk through the swamp, Senna and Katara told the two boys everything that Katara had been through with Senna earlier. Then Huu explained to them how it works in the swamp, something like don’t mess with the nature.
When they arrived at the camp they arrived at the same time as a group of hunters led by Senna's husband Tonraq and it looks like they made a huge catch.
Aangs, Kataras and Sokka's eyes widen at the catch. The catches are Appa and Momo.
After making it clear, Tonraq and his hunters released the animals.
In the evening the three and the tribe gathered around a campfire and ate that evening.
Sokka was just about to tell how he saw Yue in the swamp, what can’t be possible, there she is currently in the North Pole and married to another man.
After Sokka was through with his story, Aang told the story of his strange encounter in the swamp. Aang says “I saw a girl in the swamp. At first I thought it was Katara, but the girl was much taller and was accompanied by a huge, glowing kite being."
Huu explains: "In the swamp, we see visions of people we've loved folks we think are gone. But the swamp tells us they're not. We're still connected to them. Time is an illusion and so is death."
Aang says "But I never meet the girl."
Senna says “Probably then it is someone you will meet soon. After all, time is an illusion, according to the swamp."
Sokka says “Another topic. If I got it right, you are part of the Tribe from the South Pole. What I would like to know is how did you end up in this swamp.“
Tonraq relates "About a month or more ago, we were all prisoners in a slave compound ..."
Before Tonraq went on, Katara interrupted, shocked, "YOU WERE SLAVES?!"
Senna puts a hand on Katara's shoulder to calm her down. She says in a gentle tone, “It's behind us. We're trying to forget it and look forward."
Katara calms down slightly. She asks barely audibly "How did you all escape."
Senna smiles "Believe it or not, but part of us was initially freed from both the director's daughter and some Firebenders."
Sokka asks unbelievable "You were saved by the Firebenders?"
Tonraq nodded “Yes, but initially only part of us. The rest were released a month ago."
Katara wants to know more and asks "How?"
Senna smiles and replies so that her nephew and niece have a reason to celebrate "We were saved by your sister's plan."
Katara and Sokka raised their brows, they just don't understand what their aunt means by that, so Katara asks to be on the safe side, “What do you mean by sister? We don't have a sister. Or do we?"
Senna was dumbfounded, she asks “Did your parents never tell you about your sister?” Senna was absolutely certain that her sister and brother-in-law would have mentioned Korra at least once.
Katara and Sokka shake their heads slightly shocked.
Senna stares sadly at the fire. She has now realized that their parents did the same thing that she and Tonraq did with Korra. Senna sighs, since it's already out, she can tell them the rest right away. “Your sister was kidnapped together with me.” At the pale expressions on Katara and Sokka's faces, she says with a heavy heart “She was only a few months old.” The siblings pupils shrink from shock. Senna continued “She grew up as a slave just like most of the children’s here, but she has definitely been through more than any of us as she was the directors favorite victim. When she was eight years old, she was given as a gift to the daughter of the Fire Lord. Where she lived as a slave until recently."
Since Katara and Sokka couldn't get a word out of their grief, Aang asks for them "If she lived in the palace of the Fire Lord, how did she escape?"
Senna had a proud smile, she says "She just walked out of the palace with the Fire Lord's daughter."
Sokka beamed "She took the Fire Lord's daughter as a hostage?!"
Senna and Tonraq laughed at the naivete of their nephews. Senna says when she stops laughing, “No, she made friends with his daughter at an early age. At some point, his daughter decided to stand against her father and her own Nation. They came to the slave compound over a month ago to free all slaves. That's when they joined the director's daughter. Your sister had an ingenious plan with which we could free all the Waterbenders and lock up the director and his men’s. Your sister, the Fire Lord's daughter, and the Director's daughter have worked with the Waterbenders and Firebernders to carry out their plan. On the day we came out of the compound we traveled with all the freed waterbenders to this swamp to live in peace. At least until after the war, as most of us want to go back to the South Pole as soon as the war is over."
Katara and Sokka had tears in their eyes, but they couldn't tell whether they were tears of joy or not. Even Aang came to tears after hearing this incredible story.
Sokka says, wiping away his tears, "It looks like the courage is in our family inherited."
Tonraq laughs "You have no idea!"
Sokka turns to Aang and says "After all, we now know now that not everyone in the Fire Lord's family is a crazy madman."
Senna says with a slight smile "Yes, your sister has always had a talent for making friends with almost everyone."
Although Katara has tears in her eyes, she smiles. “I would like to meet our sister. Where is she? Is she here?“ Asks Katara while looking at the whole camp.
Senna smiles gently. She shakes her head slightly. "Your sister, along with the Fire Nations Princess and the daughter of the director, set off to find a way to somehow end the war."
Katara stares sadly into the fire. Sokka, on the other hand, really wanted to know one thing, he asks with sadness in his eyes "What's her name?"
Senna smiles happily. "Her name is Korra."
Katara's eyes widened when she realized something. She asks her aunt "Korra is the name you called me, when we met."
Senna nodded “Yes, that's right. You look almost like your sister. You have the same eyes. Apart from the fact that she is a little bigger than you.” Sokka giggled, when he heard the word “bigger”. Katara narrowed her eyes, she punched her brother on the shoulder. Senna smiles at the behavior and says to her nephew, "By the way, she is bigger than you too." Sokka gaped at this fact while Katara laughs at him.
Katara stares at the floor with a gentle smile, she says "Hopefully we'll get to know her someday." Sokka puts a supportive hand on his sister's shoulder. They both smile at each other. They were then taken into a family hug by their aunt and uncle without warning. Katara and Sokka feel safe in their arms.
Aang could not have a say in this conversation between his friends and their aunt and uncle because he did not want to interrupt them. But one thing went through his head throughout the story, 'Is it possible that I saw her in the swamp? And if it is her, what was this glowing kite being?‘
The next morning, just before the group was about to leave, Katara got a full flask of water from the spirit tree from her aunt. And an ampoule with a gel that is used for healing. Katara gratefully accepted the gifts.
Katara and Sokka were hugged one more time by their aunt and uncle.
As they flew away, leaving the swamp, Katara and Sokka stare with sadness in their eyes at the ever-shrinking swamp.
Aang says from Appa's head “We can turn back if you want to be with your family.” He takes a deep breath and says with a heavy heart “If you want to stay with them, I will travel on alone.”
Katara shakes her head slightly as she turns away from the swamp. "That won't be necessary. You heard our aunt, they all want to come back home as soon as the war is over. Besides, you heard her, we have a sister who we might even meet somewhere on our journey.“ Katara leans against the saddle. She imagines what it would be like to meet her sister.
The group was now in a village full of peoples that hate the Avatar with all their hearts. Aang didn't want to let it sit on him and raised his voice against the village, whereupon he went straight to the court. Katara and Sokka did everything in their power to help Aang, but unfortunately without success. At the judgment, Aang should be boiled in simmering oil. Fortunately, the village was attacked by a gang that calls themselves the Komodo Rhinos, whereupon Aang's judgment was changed to "Social Service". After Aang and his friends saved the village, they were hailed as heroes and given unbaked cake batter. They ate it in disgust.
They arrived in a town called Gaoling, where they are looking for an earthbending teacher for Aang. He went to a school that didn't really help him. , but Katara squeezed out two eartbending students, for the whereabouts of where an earthbending competition was taking place. They didn't really find a suitable teacher at the competition, at least Sokka had a good time there.
At the Misty Palm Oasis, the three met a professor who was looking for a huge desert library. They joined in his search to find information in the library on how Aang could learn the elements and how best to end the war. Sokka found a way to bring the Fire Nation to its knees, but it also triggered the wrath of the owl, who made the whole library sink into the sand out of anger. The three narrowly escaped the library, but without the professor, as he wanted to go under with the library for some reason. When they escaped from the library, they realized that Appa was gone.
After doing some research, Sokka realized that Appa was kidnapped by the Sandbenders. That made Aang very angry. So much so that he left his friends behind to look for him with his glider. While Aang was gone, Sokka and Momo got very foggy after drinking some cactus juice. Katara tries to keep her head clear, which is very difficult when one of her friends only feels anger while her brother and Lemur dance around drunken.
When Aang came back, they walked the desert for hours, but to them it feels like they are spinning in circles. It was already evening and Katara wanted to persuade her friends to go on until, out of nowhere, a sand-sailor lands in front of them from the sky. They asked no questions and immediately pulled the sand-sailor out of the sand and sailed with it through the desert.
They arrived in the morning at a huge rock where they had to defend themselves from huge insects. Afterwards Sandbenders appeared, who as it turned out, kidnapped Appa. Aang got so angry that he destroyed one sand-sailor after the other. He almost caused a hurricane if Katara hadn't calmed him down.
The Sandbenders brought the three safely through the desert, whereupon they relax at a water hole. They then went with a small family to take a ferry to Ba Sing Se. They met Suki again at the drop-off point. They all planned to sail with the ferry together, but none of them had an ID and the IDs of the small family were stolen. So they all had to go through the serpent pass.
By the time they got to the serpent pass, Katara had formed an ice bridge to get everyone across safely. However, when they were only halfway through, they were attacked by a giant sea serpent. While Katara and Aang battled the sea serpent, the rest of their group had to swim the rest of the waterway. Suki had to help the pregnant woman to swim over.
When Katara and Aang got to the shore, the woman went into labor. Katara was quick to respond and gave orders on how best to help her bring the baby into the world. With Katara's help, the woman managed to bring the baby into the world unscathed. At the sight of the baby her parents named her Hope, Aang suddenly changed his whole bad mood.
Suki left the group to go back to her Kyoshi Warriors while the rest of the group continued towards Ba Sing Se.
Once in the City, Aang Katara, Sokka and Momo were immediately picked up by a female tour guide named Joo Dee. She explained to them how it works in the city. She took the group to their new home, which would easily accommodate twenty people. Since the group didn't want to rest yet, they wanted to look for Appa in the City. Joo Dee has agreed to lead them. At the end of the day, they weren't a bit smarter, and with Joo Dee on their heels, they couldn't really question the peoples either.
At the end of the day, while they were in Ba Sing Se, they decided to do the best and take a closer look at the city.
On their second day in Ba Sing Se, the three disguised themselves as waiters to infiltrate a party for the Kings pet bear. Before they could speak to the King they were forcefully lead by the Dai Li‘s to the Kings advisor, who was hitting slightly on Katara, what angered both Aang and Sokka and disgusted Katara. The advisor Long Fend spoke to them, as if there were no war outside the walls.
Lastly were lead back to their house by a new Joo Dee. In their all of them had just one question “Who can help them in this city?“