That night while the others slept I decided to Meditate. I was confused by what I had seen when Hei Bai had taken me. I wanted to believe that all it was, was a vision created from my memories, or maybe even a vision of the future, but something told me it wasn't that simple. It had felt so real. I needed answers. And there was only one person who I knew that could possibly have them.
I had found a secluded spot at the edge of the village, behind some buildings so no one would interrupt me, or try to eavesdrop. Most likely none besides a Jedi, or Aang would even be able to see who I was going to talk to. They would just see me talking to myself, and that would only make me look crazy.
"Master Qui-Gon? Are you there?" I sat there for several minutes. Everyone once in awhile I would call out again. I was about to give up when I was finally answered.
"I am here young one. What is it you seek." Qui-Gon finally responded.
"What happened?" I asked bluntly. "When I was taken, it was almost like a vision, but it felt like more than that. What is it I saw?" Confusion was evident in my voice as I spoke.
"What you saw, was in part a vision. But that was not all it was." He answered vaguely.
"What do you mean? What was it?" I asked again. "What is it you're hiding from me?" I was starting to get slightly annoyed. I was confused. He was supposed to be my guide, yet Qui-Gon refused to help me understand what it was that had happened. What had I seen?
"That is not something I can answer. You must discover this on your own." He answered, apparently refusing to give me more. "But do not fear, all will become clear, sooner than you think." With that Qui-Gon left, leaving me more confused than ever.
What did he mean? Am I actually going to see Callista again? I reached out into the force to try and find our bond again. The bond was there, it felt almost like it had since I arrived, though something was off. It was almost as if she was closer than before, which was encouraging, but she was still blocked, which still left me saddened.
After I checked the bond again, my thoughts then went to a darker subject. A'Sharad Hett. Was I to see him as well? And would he be like he was in my vision, so lost in the dark side? Something told me, if I did see him, he would be. And he would probably be much tougher than he was in the vision. Then he almost seemed like he was just as powerful as he was before. But he must have improved some since then. Especially since his fall to the dark side. He would have gained new powers.
I shook my head trying to clear my panicked thoughts. Right now this was getting me no where fast. I would think on this more when the time comes.
Deciding it was no longer doing me any good to hide behind these buildings, I stood, and walked out from behind the buildings, into the village square. I looked up into the sky, and saw that it must have been around four in the morning. I must have been meditating for longer than I thought.
I heard some grunting, from what sounded like Aang. I looked over to see him tugging on Appa's reins.
"Ugh, let's go Appa! Come on boy." He pleaded as he continued to struggle. But it was apparent Appa, was not going to listen. Whatever Aang planned on doing, Appa didn't want him to leave with out the rest of us. I quickly and quietly came up behind him, without him noticing.
"Look, i'm sorry, but Jon, Katara, and Sokka aren't coming to the firenation with us." He said looking down sadly. "If they got hurt, i'd never forgive myself." He then got serious again, and went back to trying to drag Appa. "So get your big butt of the ground and let's go!" He shouted as he continued to struggle.
As he struggled and I decided, I should probably intervene, I saw that Katara, and Sokka as well as some of the other villagers, had heard the commotion to. They stood off to the side behind Appa, watching with worry.
Sokka intervened before I could. "I think his big butt is trying to tell ya something."
"Please don't go, Aang." Katara added in. "The world can't afford to lose you to the fire nation. Neither can I." She pleaded.
I chose this time to jump in. "Plus, it would be quite foolish to go to the fire nation. Especially by yourself. You would be captured for sure."
He then got up determined. "But I have to talk to Avatar Roku to find out what my vision means. I need to get to the fire temple before the sun sets on the solstice, and that's today." He said as he jumped onto Appa's head using airbending.
As he lead Appa away, me Katara and Sokka all ran into his path. There was only one way we could help Aang, whether he liked it or not. "Were not letting you go into the fire nation Aang." Katara said. Aang looked confused for a second.
"At Least not without your friends." Sokka added in. "We got your back." Momo than chose to land on Aang's shoulder, causing him to smile. Then Appa licked Sokka covering him with saliva. "Eww!" He exclaimed causing me, and Katara to laugh.
The villager leader then walked up to Aang, carrying a pack of supplies. "It is a long journey to the crescent Island." He said as he handed the pack to Aang who took it. "You'll have to fly fast to have any chance of making it before sundown. Good luck."
"Thank you for your-" Aang began but was cut off.
"Go!" The leader exclaimed with urgency.
We then quickly took off on Appa. I decided this was a good opportunity to take a nap. Today was going to be a long day. I could sense that much. And I would need to be at my best. Although in Appa's saddle was not the best place to sleep. Especially when flying, there were also worse places to sleep. I layed my head back, and closed my eyes. Falling into a deep sleep.
Fog surrounded me. I couldn't see anything, though I could make out certain shapes in hiding. I felt a dark presence. It had malicious intent, and weighed down on me.
But there was light to. Something that could make me feel lighter. Feel happy, and free. Something I would want to hold close.
"You should have joined me." A voice said a little to my right. I looked, and when I did, the fog cleared allowing me to see A'Sharad Hett. He was so much different than even in my vision from the night before. His skin was pale, his hair grey, his eyes a sickly yellow. Indications of his immersion in the dark side. He had fallen so far. I was saddened, and angered at the same time.
"I won't serve the dark side!" I replied sternly.
"There is darkness already in you." He said in almost a calm, friendly, fatherly voice. But it was anything but. His words were black and oily. "Release your anger. It will give you power beyond your wildest dreams. Power to save your friends, and loved ones."
"No! I won't fall for your manipulations. You can't tempt me!" I almost shouted.
"No." He was smirking, he walked over to my left side, where the fog there cleared as well revealing Callista. "Not even for this."
"Callista!" I shouted. She was in rough shape. She was down on her knees, tied up by a rope. Her usual robes were tattered, and worn. She had cuts, and was bleeding in several places on her body. She had also been gagged, and her eyes which were still open, were foggy. Tear stains marked her cheeks. It broke my heart to see her like this. It also infuriated me to no end to see her this way. I tried to move forward toward her, but I was stopped by a blinding pain.
Electricity coursed through my body, and I fell to my knees. I looked up at A'Sharad to see him smiling maliciously at me. "Give into your anger, and you will have the power to save her." He cooed.
I struggled for a moment, but even with this, I couldn't. If I did, I would end up just like Anakin, betraying my friends, in the end. "I can't." I said weakly.
A'Sharad frowned. "Shame." He said with mock disappointment. He fired electricity at me again, more intense this time then before. It lasted for a couple seconds, but it felt like hours. When it finally stopped I curled into a ball, trying to hide from the pain my entire body was in. I heard laughing, and I weakly looked back up from my place on the floor. A'Sharad had moved behind Callista who was still kneeling weakly on the floor.
He kneeled down behind her. I knew immediately what he was about to do. I rushed to my feet, but stumbled a bit. I tried to reach her but I was to slow. A red blade extended through Callista's chest. She gasped in pain.
"NOOOO!" As I screamed, I fell to my knees, my arm outstretched. I barely noticed, as the fog, and everything else around me began to clear, and was blinded by a white light.
It was a couple hours later that I awoke suddenly. I breathed heavily, trying to clear my mind of the dream that had just gone by. Even now it haunted me, and all I wanted to do was lay there and cry. But I had to be strong.
There was no time for that as i felt a pang of danger in the force. I looked to the sky and saw that it was around mid day now. I must have slept for a good 9 hours, That was surprising, in and of itself. I usually wasn't able to get that much when I slept in a nice warm bed. I was never a deep sleeper. Especially since the war had started.
"Aang we got trouble." Katara suddenly said looking back behind us.
"Yeah, and it's gaining fast!" Sokka added. I looked back where they were looking to see a familiar sight. The ship that had been chasing us ever since the south pole. The ship owned by the boy, Prince Zuko. Even from on Appa, I could sense his determination. He would stop at nothing to catch Aang.
As I looked at the ship I saw a hatch open up, and a platform lift up to the top deck, with what looked to be a catapult. Well, it appears the enemy has technology far more advanced than the rest of the world. I thought to myself. One of the soldiers than lit the whatever it was that had been sitting in the catapult.
As they prepared to fire, I prepared to redirect the attack. I sat in a meditative position, and reached out, feeling the soldiers below. I also sensed them launch the first projectile.
"Fireball!" Katara shouted confirming what I had sensed. Before the others could react, I reached out and pushed it back. The ball stopped sailing at us, and fell back down into the water, harmlessly. I felt the others shock, and amazement. I opened my eyes to see them staring at me.
"That was amazing Jon!" Katara exclaimed coming out her shock first.
I brushed off her praise. "Well it's not like that was the first time i've done something like that."
"Guys." Aang said from his place on Appa's head. "I think we might have another problem." He pointed out in front of us, and I immediately saw what he was referring to.
"A blockade." I said with an even tone. There were hundreds of ships, moving in a way that left very little room in between, blockading any ships from entering their territory. That's not good.
"If we fly north, we can go around the fire nation ships, and avoid the blockade." Aang said trying to come up with a new plan. "It's the only way."
"There's no time." Katara pointed out.
Aang turned back to us. "This is exactly why I didn't want you to come. It's to dangerous."
"And that's exactly why we're here." She pointed out.
I then looked to Aang coming up with my own plan on the fly. "Continue to fly, i'll try to redirect as many projectiles as I can, but make sure you watch out i'm not going to be able to stop all of them. " Aang nodded in understanding. I then turned to the others. "I would grab onto something. This is going to be a bumpy ride." They both immediately grabbed on the sides of the saddle.
I then immersed myself in the force. I would need as much focus as I could get.
"Let's run this blockade." Sokka said with confidence.
"Appa yip yip." Aang said, and I felt us go faster. But I ignored this. I could not allow outside forces to distract me. Our lives depended on me.
After a few moments, I felt it. Every ship in view of us, fired more flaming projectiles at us. The shots were wild though, they clearly didn't care if they hit Zuko's ship, which was odd, and sad. Who ever was commanding these forces must not like him very much.
I pushed these thoughts aside, and focused on the task at hand. I focused on the shots I knew for sure would hit us. I pushed them, with everything I had, and caused them all to miss us but just barely. It was difficult, and pushed me to about the limits, but I was successful.
The others panicked slightly at so much fire, but quickly let out some of the tension when they saw none of the shots would hit us.
I could sense frustration from one of the ships in front of us. As well as hate, and malice. Someone wasn't to happy.
"Aang!" I shouted. "Fly us above the cloud layer, they will have a harder time hitting us from up there."
"But what about you.?" He asked. "You won't be able to see them coming." He said worriedly.
"Don't be concerned. I do not need my eyes, to see them." I responded. This confused him slightly. But he complied and flew us above the cloud layer.
Just as we got above the clouds I sensed them launch another vollie of fireballs at us. I again used the force to redirect the attacks. Again it was difficult. Perhaps more difficult than before. But by trusting in the force implicitly I managed to push the flaming projectiles away.
Again the projectiles flew by us, some getting pretty close, but none hitting us. My friends again were filled with, shock and awe. Though I had to remember to not let this go to my head. Don't want my ego getting as big as Sokka's. I thought jokingly to myself.
They quickly shot a fourth volley at us, though it was more erratic than before. Possibly because they could no longer see us up above the clouds, and as such the third wave was much easier to deter. Though after such deep concentration sweet was now coating my brow. It had been difficult but thankfully after the third wave they stopped firing, and we quickly flew by.
After I could sense we were far enough away, that we were out of range, I told Aang, we could come back down. "Ok Aang, we should be safe now." We then lowered to see that the blockade was far behind us.
We all relaxed, and I finally opened my eyes. The others were all staring at me in awe.
"How did you do that?" Aang asked amazed. "You didn't even have to see them coming. It was almost like you knew where they were before they were there."
"Through the force, I can sometimes sense danger, before it appears. I could sense where the projectiles would come from, and acted accordingly. I allowed the force to guide me. It showed me the way, and all I had to do, was trust it." I explained.
"From the way you describe it, it's almost like this force can think for itself." Katara said.
"Yeah." Sokka added in. "It's not some kind of spirit is it? I thought you said the force was some kind of energy field or whatever."
"It is. But the force has a will. It works in mysterious ways. I as a Jedi, am a humble servant of the force. It whispers to us, calls to us. Not all completely understand it. But it is there to guide us." This explanation just seemed to confuse the others. I sighed. "It's hard to explain, especially to one's who are not as connected to it, as I. And I have never been a very good teacher. But in a way, it can think for itself."
"So is it a spirit then?" Sokka asked still confused.
"I suppose one could look at it that way. But it isn't like any you or anyone else from this world would be familiar with. It is far beyond that. The force spans the entirety of the universe. And it is connected to every living being. From the largest, to the smallest. From the dumbest to the smartest. The force is there. And it always shall be." The others still looked perplexed, and they all fell silent, as they tried to digest my words.
"Well," Aang finally said, breaking the silence. "Whatever the force is, it sure helped. We made it." The others looked slightly disturbed and nervous.
"Yeah, we made it into the fire nation. Great." Sokka said.
We continued to fly in silence. The day slowly passed us by, and the sun began to fall into the west. As we all rested, becoming tired of flying, Aang suddenly perked up. "There it is!" He exclaimed. "The island where Roku's dragon took me."
We all looked, and saw it. It was a volcanic island, in the shape of a crescent. From here we could see the volcano was still quite active. Shooting molten rock into the air, as more slid down the side into the water.
We quickly found a place to land were Appa would be out of sight.
"You did it buddy. Nice flying." Aang said as he patted the bison's nose. Appa then rolled over on his side, and Katara rubbed his underside.
"Oh, you must be tired." Though for some reason when she said this, Sokka must've thought she meant him, for whatever reason.
"No, i'm good." He said as he stretched. "Refreshed and ready to fight some firebenders."
"I was talking to Appa."
Sokka then became embarrassed. "Well, I was talking to Momo." I shook my head in disbelief at his poor attempt at a cover up.
After we were ready we found a path that had been carved into the stone that lead to the temple, that stood off the side of the Volcano. As we got closer we noticed, the place seemed to be very lacking in security or any people at all for that matter.
"I don't see any guards." Sokka said, voicing my own thoughts.
"The fire nation must have abandoned the temple when Avatar Roku died." Katara replied. This was wishful thinking at best.
"I doubt they would just leave this place unguarded. More likely whoever is still here is staying hidden. We should all be on guard." I said. I had a very bad feeling about this, but it was for Aang. He needed this.
"It's almost sundown, we better hurry." Aang said. In response we all jumped out from where we were hiding, and quickly but carefully made our way to the temple.
As we got closer to the temple, I could feel something. The temple was filled with darkness, but there was a room, near the top. In this room there was something different. A power, but of what kind, I could not tell. It was locked behind a gate. I knew immediately this must be the where Aang would need to go.
"There is something near the top of the temple. I believe it is there that we must go." I informed the others.
"Realy? How can you be so sure?" Sokka asked.
"I have felt it." I replied simply.
"Great, more spiritual nonsense."
As soon as we entered, we came into a main room connected to hallways on all sides of the room. I also felt several presences. And they did not feel friendly. I turned back to see five old men in red robes have gathered behind us. I could tell immediately that they were firebenders. "We've got company." The others stopped at my words, and turned.
"We are the fire sages, guardians of the temple of the Avatar." The lead one said.
"Great, I am the Avatar." Aang replied innocently. He did not realize these men were not here to help us.
"We know." He said before he attempted to blast us, along with the other fire sages. I quickly raised my hands and used Tutaminis to absorb the flames. Then sent a large force wave, knocking them all flat.
"Come on, let's go." I said as we turned and ran down the nearest hallway.
"Come on, follow me." Aang said as he took off.
"Do you know where you're going?" Sokka asked.
"Nope." Was all he replied. He was about to turn a corner, when I sensed another presence in front of us.
"Wait Aang." I yelled. But he kept going anyway, only to come back at us.
"Wrong way." He yelled as he ran back past us. Another fire sage came around the corner. The others ran, and I was about to when I sensed his mind. He was not like the others. He did not have the same darkness inside. I followed my friends, although I knew this guy wasn't going to try and hurt us like the others.
"Come back!" He exclaimed.
"Guys, I don't think this guy is like the others." I tried to tell them as we ran.
Before they could reply, we ended up running down a dead end. We turned back to the lone fire sage, that had been following us.
"I don't want to fight you." He pleaded. "I am a friend." And I could tell immediately he was being honest.
"Fire benders aren't our friends." Sokka said immediately as the others prepared to attack.
"No, Sokka this guy is telling us the truth." I tried to explain. "He is different than the others. And I can sense his honesty."
"You can tell when people are lying?" Katara asked.
"Yes, I can sense that he is being honest. He does not have any foul intentions about him." I explained.
The fire sage then walked up to us, and got down onto his hands and knees in a show of respect, and subservience to Aang. "I know why you are here, Avatar." The others were shocked as they came out of their ready stances.
"You do?" Aang asked.
"Yes." He said as he got to his feet. "You wish to speak to Avatar Roku. I can take you to him."
"How?" Aang asked skeptically. The fire sage then removed one of the many red lanterns on the wall, revealing a hole in the wall. He put his hand to it, and then released a burst of fire into it. When he did this a secret passage revealed itself. Opening so we could enter into it.
"This way." He said. Though the others still didn't seem to completely trust him.
"Find him." A voice said from down a couple of corridors.
"Guys come on, we can trust this guy, and it's our only option." I said.
"Time is running out!" He said a little frantic. "Quickly!"
The others looked to each other and nodded, then entered into the passage. Unlike the halls of the main temple, this area was completely made of rock, with small rivers of molten rock, running down small channels at the sides of the path. It was very warm in here, but that is to be expected. We were in a volcano after all.
"Avatar Roku once called this temple his home." The fire sage began. "He formed these passages out of the magma." Impressive.
"Did you know Avatar Roku?" Aang asked. I highly doubt that. This guy can't be older than 60.
"No, but my grandfather knew him. Many generations of fire sages guarded this temple long before me. We all have a strong spiritual connection to this place."
"Is that how you knew I was coming?" Aang asked.
"A few weeks ago, an amazing thing occurred. The statue of Avatar Roku…..it's eyes began to glow." He said his voice filled with awe still over the event.
"That's when we were at the air temple." Katara added. "Avatar Roku's eyes were glowing there, too."
"At that moment, we knew you had returned to the world." The sage finished. So the statues glowed when he went to the avatar state, back at the air temple. There must be other places like this. And they must all be connected spiritually to the Avatar. Fascinating. Though it does ruin any attempt at secrecy we may have had.
"If this is the Avatar's temple, why did the sages attack me?" Aang asked.
"Things have changed." The sage said sadly. "In the past, the sages were loyal only to the Avatar. When Roku died, the sages eagerly awaited for the next Avatar to return, but he never came."
"They were waiting for me." Aang realised.
"Don't worry Aang, it wasn't your fault.
"Yeah, don't feel bad." Sokka said, putting a hand on Aang's shoulder. "You're only a hundred years late." He said sarcastically.
I jabbed him in the ribs with my elbow. "Sokka, not helping." That earned me a dirty look from Sokka, but I ignored it.
"They lost hope the Avatar would ever return." He continued to explain. "When Fire Lord Sozin began the war, my grandfather, and the other sages were forced to follow him." He then got a sad expression. "I never wanted to serve the Fire Lord. When I learned you were coming, I knew I would have to betray the other sages. "
"Thank you for helping me." At Aang's thanks, the sage gave a small smile.
"It takes much courage to go against what those around you believe. It is not an easy thing, but you have done the right thing, and we thank you for it." I added. He nodded to me.
We then came upon a large set of stairs. From what I could tell, they led all the way to the top.
"We'll follow these stair to the sanctuary. Once you're inside. Wait for the light to hit Avatar Roku's statue. Only then will you be able to speak with him."
It was a long flight of stairs, that circled all the way up to the top of the temple. After several minutes we eventually reached the top, where the sage, who introduced himself as Shyu, opened another secret door, that led up to a large room. All around the room were large pillars, with what strange reptilian beasts holding the room up, carved into them. I was not aware of their kind, but I assumed they were just more native creatures to this world.
On the back wall, facing where we just came from there was a large door, with five different holes in it. The holes were in the shapes of different reptilian creatures, with their fanged mouths being the openings. On the other side of the door, I could sense the strange energy that I had sensed when we had first entered the temple. This is where Aang needs to go.
"No!" Shyu exclaimed.
"Shyu, what's wrong?" Aang asked.
"The sanctuary doors…..there closed." He said dejected.
"Can't you just open them with firebending, like you opened that other door?" Katara asked.
"No, only a fully realised Avatar is powerful enough to open this door alone. Otherwise, the sages must open the doors together, with five simultaneous fire blasts." Shyu explained.
"I could cut the doors open with my lightsaber." I mentioned, and ignited my the blue blade.
Shyu looked surprised, than shocked, and then in awe at the blade. "What is this? Are you firebending?" He asked.
"No, not firebending. I myself am not creating the blade. I would love to explain it, but we do not have the time." I explained.
He then got back to the matter at hand. "Yes, well. If it is the only way, then you may. But I would hate to ruin such a sacred place." He said regretfully.
"Wait." Sokka said suddenly. "I think i've got an idea." We all looked to him, slightly surprised, but ready to hear whatever he had to say. "Ok, i'm going to need you guys to get some things for me first."
And so we all went and got the supplies he requested, which happened to be the oil from the lamps around the room, animal skin bags, and some twine. I was pretty sure I knew what Sokka had in mind, and I wasn't sure how successful it would be. But I would just have to wait and see.
When he had what he needed, filled the bags with the lamp oil, and then tied them shut, having twine sticking out the end as a fuse. He explained that he had learned this from his father, that after you fill the animal skin casings with the oil, you light the fuse, which he had soaked in some oil, and it would produce fake firebending.
"You've really outdone yourself this time, Sokka." Katara compimented.
Shyu looked hopeful as he added. "This might actually work." I was still skeptical, but I kept that to myself. It might work, but I didn't know.
Sokka then put the pouches inside the five holes with the twine sticking out so Shyu could light the fuses, simultaneously.
"The sages will hear the explosion, so as soon as they go off, you rush in." He said turning to face Aang. We all got into cover behind some of the large columns.
"It's almost sunset, are you ready?" Katara asked Aang.
Shyu, who was still standing next to the door, shot a small burst of fire, that lit all of the fuses, so they would go off at the same time. Shyu then quickly also got behind a pillar for cover, and we all waited in anticipation.
The pouches exploded, and Aang ran forward, but to everyone's dismay, the doors had remained shut. "They're still locked!" Aang exclaimed as he pulled on the door handles, trying in desperation to get them open. After failing again he fell to his knees in dejection.
"It didn't work." Shyu said disappointed.
Aang, now got back up off the ground and started blasting the doors in anger. "Why. Won't. It. Open!" Aang exclaimed.
Katara pulled Aang back from blasting futily at the door anymore. "Aang, stop!" She commanded. "There's nothing else we can do."
"I'm sorry I put you all through this for nothing." He said dejected.
I was preparing to ask to try my lightsaber now when Sokka walked over to the doors, to inspect them. There was some pretty big scorch marks from the blast, but ultimately, it did not fool the mechanism inside the lock. "I don't get. That blast looked as strong as any firebending i've seen."
Katara then got a funny look on her face. "Sokka, you're a genius!" She exclaimed. I had no idea what she was talking about, and apparently neither did Aang.
"Wait. How is Sokka a genius?" Aang asked confused. "His plan didn't even work."
"Come on Aang." Sokka said smugly as he leaned against the door. "Let her dream."
"Your right, Sokka's plan didn't work. But it looks like it did." Katara explained. I was starting to catch on to what she was saying.
"Did the definition of genius change in the last hundred years?" Aang asked still confused.
Katara's plan turned out to be quite simple, but at the same time, ingenious. While we all hid, Shyu would go get the other sages. Once up here, he would show them the scorch marks, and then the shadow of Momo, who we had crawl through the pipes into the room. They would then use firebending to open the doors, allowing Aang to enter, as we ambushed the other sages.
It was risky, but if it worked, then it should give Aang the opportunity to do what he needed to do.
We watched from our hiding spots, as Shyu led the other sages into the room, and showed them the 'evidence' of Aang being inside. Suddenly, I felt a pang of warning in the force. I reached out, and felt several presences approaching. One was much closer than the others, which were following a ways behind the first.
The other presences I didn't recognise, the only thing I knew was that they were mostly firebenders, and that they weren't friendly. But the one closer to us. I recognised. It was Zuko. He must have continued to follow us. I could feel his determination. He wasn't going to let anything get in his way.
I would have to keep my knowledge of him a secret for now. Once we made our move, then I would stop Zuko.
A blast was heard, and I turn back to the door to see that the the sages have just shot fire at the door, and it is opening. To their dismay they see that it is not in fact the Avatar, but only Momo.
"It's the Avatar's lemur." The lead one said. "He must have crawled through the pipes. We've been tricked!" Momo then jumped at him and started clawing at his face, while Sokka, Katara, and Shyu incapacitate the others. As they are doing this, I turned just as Zuko was about to reach Aang.
I reach out with the force, and push him back against the far wall, and pinned him there. I turned to Aang with my arm still extended to see him looking at me with surprise. "Go Aang. Don't worry about us. Just what you have to do." I told him.
He nodded, and then quickly ran inside. Just as he got inside, I used the force to close the doors. As soon as they were closed, a bright light shone through the door. As the light stopped shining, I felt another pang of warning in the force.
Just as I turned back to Zuko, he shot fire at me from the mouth, forcing me to dodge out of the way, and drop him back to the floor.
I heard shouts, and turned to see the sages had gotten the upper hand on my friends, and are now restraining them. Before I can do anything. The lead one held two fingers to Katara's throat, and a second one was doing the same to Sokka. Silently threatening to firebend, and kill my friends if I don't surrender.
I regretfully held my hands up in surrender, not wanting them to hurt my friends. Another of the sages comes over and restrained me, while Zuko took my lightsaber from my belt. Without anyone noticing, I used the force to flip an internal switch with in the hilt. This would stop anyone from turning on the blade without flipping the switch back, which was impossible to do without the force, or opening it up to do so.
Sokka, Katara, and I then were chained to one of the columns, while they held Shyu off to the side, in the middle of the room with his hands tied behind his back. Zuko, using his free hand, along with the other sages, tried to firebend to unlock the door again. But nothing happened.
"Why isn't it working?" Zuko cried. "It's sealed shut."
"It must have been the light. Avatar Roku doesn't want us inside." Explained the lead sage.
I could sense from the other room another presence. It was strong, powerful, and had the feel of one of the presences from the southern air temple. Avatar Roku had finally come.
Zuko then looked to my lightsaber that was still in his hand. Then looked at me and demanded. "How do you use this?"
I gave him a sly smile. "Well I don't know. Why don't you tell me?" This just earned me a furious glare from him, as he tried to figure it out. He tried many things, firebending, shaking it, hitting it, he even got the idea to hit the activation switch. Luckily I had already made turning it on impossible.
Frustrated, he hung it on his belt, and went over with the other sages to interrogate Shyu. "Why did you help the Avatar?"
Shyu looked down. "Because it was once the sages duty. It is still our duty."
Clapping was then heard from the other side of the room, looking over I saw several fire nation soldiers, being lead by a man with strange looking facial hair. He also had his hair in a topknot, and a sash going over his top armor.
The leader was the one who was clapping. These were the others I had felt earlier. It was clear that this man had no good intentions in his heart what so ever. Both from his presence and the evil glint in his eye.
"What a moving and heartfelt performance." He said. "I'm sure the fire lord will understand when you explain why you betrayed him." He said almost mockingly.
The other sages bowed to the man, as the lead one said "Commander Zhao." Zuko looked utterly shocked, to see this man. And I could tell neither of them liked each other one bit.
"And, prince Zuko," Zhao continued. "It was a noble effort, but your little smoke screen didn't work." Zuko was tense, and from what I could sense he was furious, that this man had followed him.
"Two traitors in one day." He said as one of the soldiers came from behind to restrain him. "The fire lord will be pleased."
As the soldier restrained him Zuko struggled and shouted. "You're too late, Zhao. The Avatar's inside, and the doors are sealed." Why is he arresting Zuko? Aren't these guys on the same team?
"No matter. Sooner or later, he has to come out." As the soldiers that had Zuko were leading him to another column to be chained to Zhao spotted my lightsaber. He stepped in their path, and then grabbed the hilt from his belt, and eyed it.
"What's this?" He asked mockingly. "A new toy."
"Why don't you ask him?" Zuko said gesturing towards where me, Sokka, and Katara who were still chained to the pole. Zhao got an evil smirk on his face.
He then walked over to us, still eyeing me. He stopped in front of me still smirking, and asked. "So who are you then...boy?" He thought he would try to tick me off. Well, I would throw it back in his face.
"Wouldn't you like to know?" I said with a mischievous smirk.
He lost his grin for a moment. "A smart mouth eyy?" The smirk returned then as he smacked me across the face, causing Sokka, and Katara to protest with concern.
I turned back to him again, still smirking mischievously. "I'm sorry, did I upset you?" He smacked me again, across the other cheek this time. "Guess so." I said as I looked back to him again. He looked about ready to go at it again. But then he stopped. He then turned back, and walked a few feet away. I looked over to notice, that the soldiers had tied Shyu to our column.
"So what is this anyway?" He asked, as he turned on his heel looking back at me, holding up the hilt of my blade. "I've heard rumors about a boy traveling with the Avatar, with a 'sword of flame'. And I'm assuming this is it."
I smirked even more than. "Yup, you want to see how it works?" As soon as I said this I flipped the switch again, and activated the the blade using the force. It just barely missed hitting Zhao in his ugly face. Just singing his mutton chops. I then pulled the blade to me, and used it to cut our chains. As soon as we were free, I sent a large force wave at them, sending them all flying.
I turned back to my friends, who were looking bewildered at the sudden turn of events. "Stay behind me." I told them. "We need to hold this door way until Aang is done." Before they could respond, I turned back to fire nation soldiers. Most of them were still in a daze, but Zhao, and some of the soldiers were on there feet.
Zhao did not look pleased. Not in the slightest. "You're going to pay for that you little smart mouth." I raised my lightsaber. Zhao started launching a flurry of fireballs in my direction.
Shyu, was at my side prepared to help me. He helped fend of some of the fire the soldiers, and the sages sent our way, but he could only fight so many at once.
Thankfully for him though, it appeared my friends were not going to listen to me as they went to help him. I shook my head at their recklessness. Though who wasn't to say I wouldn't do the same in their position.
I ran towards the wall opposite the door, either avoiding hits, or using Tutaminis to block them. It was difficult, especially since I was still new to Tutaminis, and there was more than one person shooting fire in my direction. But luckily fire wasn't one of the harder things to block, or redirect using the ability.
The more shots I blocked or that missed, the angrier it seemed Zhao got, and the angrier he got, the more he lost his self control, and the wilder his shots became. Luckily for him though, he had back up. The other soldiers had gotten up, and were now firing at me to, which didn't help. And they were slowly advancing. It was also difficult to get close with so much fire being shot my way, especially to deal a blow with my weapon so i improvised.
I threw my lightsaber, guiding it with the force. It managed to hit several troops, slicing right through their armor, like a hot knife through warm butter. This left the sages to fight Shyu, and only two soldiers, and Zhao to fight me. I tried to called my lightsaber back to my hand, but was distracted when the remaining troops, and Zhao concentrated all of their firepower at me with one concentrated blast.
They cornered me. I was forced to use Tutaminis to protect myself, but the concentrated fire made it more difficult. Sweet trickled down my brow slightly from the effort.
I felt a searing pain from my left side, and I hissed in pain. I looked to see some of the fire had gotten through, I quickly redoubled my efforts to keep more from getting in. Though this was looking hopeless. I couldn't just sit here, eventually my concentration would break, and then I would be toast.
Suddenly though the fire stopped. I looked up slightly confused, only to see they had rushed over to the door to the room Aang had entered. It was slowly opening. Inside the only thing besides the darkness were a pair of white glowing eyes. It had to have been Aang, and he had gone into the Avatar state.
"Fire!" Zhao shouted.
"No!" Katara screamed as the few that were left fired into the doorway. But it didn't hit the target. It wrapped into a ball. And when it cleared, it showed an old man, slightly glowing, and appearing to be in the Avatar state.
"Avatar Roku." Shyu stated in awe. Roku then shot the fire back, knocking the fire nation soldiers flat, and melting the chains still around Zuko. He immediately bolted. As did the other fire nation soldiers, and sages.
"Avatar Roku is going to destroy the temple." Shyu told us. After we gathered near one of the pillars. "We have to get out of here!"
"Not without Aang." Katara said back.
I looked back to Roku. He bent a rift in the floor using magma from the passages below. The whole building was shaking due to the thermal activity being caused by Roku. In the commotion Shyu disappeared. He must have run out of fear for his life.
More lava shot up out of the floor in random spots around the room. Luckily none of it hit us. Suddenly it stopped. There was a strong gust of wind, and when I turned back again, all that was there was Aang, who had collapsed on the floor.
Me, Sokka, and Katara ran over to support him.
"We got your back." Sokka said.
"Thanks." Aang replied weakly. "Wears Shyu?"
"He ran in fear. The building is collapsing. So we better leave to." I said.
When we got to the staircase, but to our horror it had been completely filled with lava. The only way out was a massive hole in the wall. But it was quite high up. Not to mention the ground was covered in molten rock.
"Oh dear." I commented. We then heard a familiar groan. We turned to see Momo flying towards us followed closely by Appa. When he got near we quickly slipped down onto Appa, and he flew away from the collapsing building.
As soon as we were away, flying back east away from the setting sun I looked back. The building had now completely collapsed, and was melting in the lava that was pouring out all over. Just off shore, I could see the ship that Zhao had most likely come in. There was no sign of Zuko though.
"That was to close." I commented as I look back at the others.
"I'll say." Sokka replied. "I hope whatever it was we came for was worth it."
"It was." Aang replied. "I spoke to Roku." He looked down sadly.
"What happened?" I asked concerned. "What is it he told you?"
"There's going to be a comet that comes by the end of next summer, and that comet is going to give the firebenders unbelievable strength. They would be unstoppable. Roku said I have to master all four elements and defeat the firelord by then." He said. He looked almost hopeless when he said this, and there was good reason. Mastery of anything was difficult, especially to do in less than one year. But to master three different bending disciplines in that time could be nearly impossible.
"That will take unbelievable determination, and commitment." I said. Aang looked sad. He didn't believe he could do it. "But that does not make it impossible." I added trying to help him believe in himself.
"You can do this Aang." Katara added. "We'll be with you all the way."
"Really?" He asked.
"You've got that right buddy." Sokka said, adding his own support, as he wrapped his arm around Aang's shoulders. He got a determined, smile as we flew off toward the rising moon.