A/N: Hey all you party people. Here is a small work I plan on adding to every so often, intended to be set a few generations before Avatar Kyoshi, timeline wise. hope you enjoy this little opener and please roast me for any grammar mistakes, I need to improve!

Keo Hidashi took a deep breath, taking in the three figures beginning to circle him. to the untrained eye, the three attackers were all the same, and they all moved in unison. there! a small hand gesture from the one on the left, a signal, and the one on the right leapt forward, fire sprouting from his outstretched leg, a thin stream of red lashing out like an angry tongue. Keo spun around the flame, punching out with his right hand and sending a fireball where the aggressor was about to land. his eyes widened and a quick downward blast of fire extinguished the flame in a soft puff. three screaming bolts of fire came rushing from the center, the bender who sent them following close behind. with quick, deft swipes, Keo slapped them out of the way, stepping forward through the bright flashes, nearly crashing into the stunned attacker. To his credit, he managed to snap out a palm, flame coming to life, forcing Keo to duck... and was met with a knee, which snapped up into his forehead. Keo reeled back, a wall of flame sweeping out from his hands to cover his retreat, gasping. the attacker on the left followed up, however, sweeping kicks sending out wave after wave of bright fire, drawing closer with each wide step. the other two attackers drew closer together, and dashed forward under the cover, and Keo felt some of the hairs on his beard singe as a flame-knife came close to his face. thrusting a shoulder into the one who had managed to reach him first, he heard a satisfying oof as he was thrown off balance, then with his left hand, Keo followed up with a hollow blast of flame to his chest, sending him a small ways back across the clearing. the third, who was close behind, dodged the flailing body, ducking under Keo's outstretched arm, sending a dangerous uppercut towards his jaw. Keo tipped backwards, seeing the third attacker about to close as well. as he let his head fall back, he kicked out with his left foot, the lightning-fast bolt of flame catching the third attacker on the shoulder, while simultaneously launching himself awkwardly with his right foot, away from the last attacker, who followed close behind, punches swinging wildly across his field of vision. even though his head was pounding, Keo dodged each one, until his attacker over stepped on a right hook, coming across Keo's left side. side-stepping, Keo landed a punch on his attackers ribs, sending him bellowing sideways, hitting the dirt in a small tuft of dust and sand.

Breathing heavily, Keo couldn't help but feel pleased.

"You are getting better boys, staggering your attacks like that kept me moving backwards, nicely done! Ari, great move there with the knee, but I would suggest waiting to advance like that after you tire your opponent out more. Beiji, great support work, but be more aggressive! if you had moved in with your brothers a little sooner, you might have gotten me! and Nijan, control your punches. it is a quick fluid motion, from hip to shoulder to fist, precise and calculated." the three attackers, triplets, came together in front of him, all breathing heavy massaging their wounds. Beiji smiled up at him with a sheepish glint in his eye, tapping his forehead. Keo sighed, and felt his face, noticing the large bump, sensitive to the touch. He winced, but nodded.

"You're right, a deal is a deal... Ari scored a hit. what is this favor you boys needed help with?" the three brothers all grinned, their eyes glinting in that mischievous way only theirs could. as Ari and Nijan began to explain, Keo's eyes got wider, and wider, then he burst out laughing.

Gi Min-ha sat across from his mother, frustration building up inside of him. they had been sitting here for almost an hour! he opened his eyes, glancing around, sighing. he repositioned himself, and with a reluctant huff, tried again. Jeha's eye opened slightly, and she relaxed her posture.

"My son, please, try and relax. tell me, what is bothering you?" Jeha let her hands rest in her lap, smiling down at her son. Gi let out another sigh, and looked away.

"This just seems to come so naturally to you, and I can hardly sit still... I can hardly airbend, and everything just... doesn't work!" Jeha's eyes softened, and she stood fluidly to walk the few paces over to Gi, kneeling at his side, placing her hands on his shoulders.

"Gi, I had to go through years of training to get where I am. it is difficult building up your focus, it takes time. as for your bending, the more you practice, the more it will begin to naturally manifest within you. why don't we try one more breathing exercise, then go through that bending set again?" Gi rolled his eyes, but nodded.

"Why do I have to do the breathing exercise first, mom?" Gi asked as they settled back into their postures, this time Jeha sitting next to him.

"I may not know a lot about air bending, Gi, but I do know that Air is not an element that responds kindly to anger. You are still frustrated, try to calm down, release the tension in your muscles, let your emotions lay gently upon your heart. Now remember, breathe deeply and evenly, focus on the air flowing around you, how it cools your skin, how it ruffles the leaves, how it whispers to you. let's begin."

Gi took in what his mom told him, tossing around the words in his head. He tried, breathing slowly, methodically, counting until he fell into a rhythm. He tried to listen, but he couldn't quite pin the things his mother told him to. He noticed how the wind tugged at his hair, how it rolled twigs across their small courtyard, tiny noises scuffing the ground. He noticed how it snapped at the rack of clothes hanging tightly across the wire, and his frustration grew. Why couldn't he focus? The wind seemed to pick up, a small howl growing in his ears, but he tried to shut it out. The more he denied the wind the more it grew, the more he heard the small noises, the more he got annoyed with it. His breathing turned ragged, and at the back of his perception, he felt his mothers hand upon his shoulder.

Gritting his teeth, he pressed on, forcing his mind to pick out one thing... but what! All he heard now was the wind screaming in his ears, flowing around him like an angry spirit. Anger welled up, and with a frustrated growl, he jumped to his feet, throwing his hands down towards the ground.

"Be quiet!" Gi roared at the wind, and suddenly, he was flying through the air, past the wide eyes of his mother, over the small mud house they stayed in, past the stunned figure of his father picking vegetables in their garden, and into what passed as the main street for their tiny community. Dazed, Gi laid there for some time, his vision swimming, and then suddenly three faces were standing over him, blurring together. A sudden cool, a brief wave of calm, and his vision focused. His mother's worried gaze drew his attention first, then the smiling face of Kana, then his fathers bemused expression. Seeing the recognition in his eyes, His father extended his hand and pulled him to his feet, clapping him on the shoulder.

"Some flight there son!" Ijho Min-ha teased,

"Ijho! Gi, are you alright?" his mother interjected, giving her husband a soft slap on the arm, but Gi wasn't really listening. He brushed away his father's arm, feeling his face flush, and he stormed off.

"Gi!" His mother called after him, concern undercut by a sudden sternness. Gi paused, sighing, and turned back.

"Thank you Mrs. Kana for helping me. I'd like to be alone for a while now please." Gi kept his gaze on the ground, and he turned back, walking quickly out of their tiny village, leaving the three adults to stare after him.

"Yes, thank you Kana, I don't know what happened!" Jeha turned to the other woman, the gentle healer smiled at her, and shrugged.

"Always happy to help, Jeha. I take it training isn't going too well?" Kana placed a hand upon her arm, patting her gently. The older woman meant well, but Jeha couldn't help but sigh.

"No... He is just not being very patient with himself... and I can't do a whole lot more to help." The wrinkled healer nodded, staying silent. Ijho sighed, looking out as his son walked away.

"Dear, if you wouldn't mind finishing the prep for dinner, I'll try and go talk to him." Ijho set off after Gi, catching his wife's eyes as he passed. She needed a little break from acting as mentor, the stress was going to start turning her beautiful hair grey... not that that was bad either, but Ijho thought he knew what might help. Hopefully.

Gi had picked up his pace and was steadily heading east, out of their little camp, presumably towards the pond-creeks, as their little community called them. Ijho followed as best he could, jogging to catch up. There wasn't a whole lot of danger out here, but, the thought of his son being out alone this close to sunset had him thinking. His guess had been correct, Gi was sitting at the waters edge, digging in the mud with a stick.

"Mind if I join you?" Ijho called, slowing down to a walk as he drew closer. Gi didn't respond, continuing to draw in the mud.

"You know son, Air bending is... tough. It may not seem as ferocious as fire, it may not seem as strong as earth, and it may not have the healing abilities of water, but it is unique. The way I see it, there are two sides to Air bending. There is the free, open-air side, and the solid side." Ijho frowned at his own words, did that make sense?

"What do you mean, solid side?" Gi asked, confused. Ijho rubbed his chin. Then an idea came. Lifting up a small pillar of mud, he solidified it, motioning for Gi to stand.

"What would happen if you tried to move this slab of earth?" Ijho gestured to the small pillar, and Gi half heartedly put an arm against it.

"It wont budge. It is still connected to the ground." Gi mumbled, eyes looking elsewhere.

"Right. It is still grounded. Now, what if I blow on it? What will happen?"

"The air will hit the rock. Go around it. Or bounce back at you."

"Right again! Now, what if we give it a passage, a way through that provides some direction?" a pause.

"It goes through? what are you getting at?"

"I'm saying, son, that you are trying to pull the open air and keep it open air. You need to give it a direction, give it a semblance of form, a path to follow, make it solid. Somewhat." Ijho trailed off awkwardly, leaning on the pillar of rock.

"I... think I get it?" Gi offered, then shrugged.

"I hope so, I lost myself there a bit... come on son, I think dinner will be ready by the time we get back." Gi nodded reluctantly, and the two set off back towards camp, both men thinking about the words had been said. Whatever they may have meant.

Onrak walked through the shallows, pants hitched up to his knees. He felt at home here, walking among the reeds and mud of the streams. He searched the riverbank, or streambank, rather, with his eyes as he padded along, idly trailing thin streams of water from his hands. There! His eyes alighted on what he was looking for, a patch of Carimee flowers, a mix of red and orange petals atop dark green stems. They gave off a most wonderful smell, like warm honey and a hint of smoke from fruit-tree bark. They also made a lovely tea when the petals had shriveled, losing their scent but yielding a similar sweet-smokey flavor when subject to boiling water. They also happened to be Jetta's favorite flowers... So far, all of his attempts to uproot and plant some for her himself had all ended in failure, but along the waterside, they seemed to thrive. He couldn't quite figure out why, he had taken soil and dirt form the area, and watered them well, but within a few days they had always lost their color almost entirely and shriveled, a mystery to even the Min-ha family, who had quite the green thumb. He was determined this time to figure out what he was missing.

Walking up to the patch of plants, he studied it closely, one hand on his chin. It was maybe three paces from the water's edge, so it seemed to need a lot of water. The soil didn't have anything drastically different than the dirt by their community, according to the Min-ha's, and he trusted their assessment pretty well... what was he missing? He took a quick look at the plants around it, just basic shrubs and wetland grasses... surely that wouldn't affect the plant too much, would it?

A few voices reached his ears, ones he didn't recognize. They came from upstream, further down the direction he had been walking in. He was too far to distinguish words, but it was clear they were arguing. He crept up the stream, using his bending to mask the noise of his movements, parting the water instead of forcing his way through.

He found a party of five near the waters edge, two men arguing near the stream, two others holding the fifth man between them, who was bleeding from his nose and hunched over.

"I told you, the man spoke lies! There is no magic mineral here. What did we think we would find? Some glowing rock? Now we are lost in the middle of nowhere with no food and an Air-nomad who speaks in riddles!" One of the men near the water was angrily going on a tirade, gesturing wildly to the stream and the man who was bleeding. An Air-nomad? What were these people doing? Magic mineral?

The air nomad stirred, eyes glossy.

"I have said it once, the mineral of life lives where the water is born, the water carries it, and the mineral feeds the earth."

"Enough of you!" the man who had spoken first spat, walking over to slap the air nomad. Anger boiled inside of Onrak. Who were these men to treat him like that?

Balling his fist, Onrack stepped back into the deepest part of the stream, gathering water around him.

"Hey!" His shout had all five men snap their attention to the water, then to him. "Let him go!" with a thrust of his fists, two streams of water shot out of the stream, catching the two brigands holding the air nomad in the chest, throwing them back with a yell. The air nomad dropped, throwing his hands out, a blast of dust throwing the other two off their feet. not just any air nomad, an air bender!

The man from before snarled, twirling on the ground and throwing himself up, fire blossoming to life around him. Onrak shot another stream of water at him, but he danced around it, a jet of fire shooting from his hand towards the airbender. The man seemed to fly, leaping over the wall of flame, foot outstretched and aimed for the fire-benders forehead. The gust of wind that rushed towards him threw the man back into the water, and Onrak quickly grabbed him, using the water to keep his hands covered. The last man regained his feet, and ran back up the bank towards the wetlands, gathering the other two as he stumbled into the wilderness. The fire bender was spitting curses and threats, wiggling in the watery grasp as Onrak approached.

"You have my thanks, friend." The airbender nodded to Onrak as he approached as well, stepping into the water to come face to face with the firebender. "And you, best join your fellows." With a forceful punch, the man was torn out of Onraks watery grasp, flying through the air with a yell, landing on his fleeing comrades with a puff of dust.

The two watched the group flee off into the wilderness, a slight grin upon Onrak's face. The airbender turned to him, extending his hand.

"What is your name?" The man had dark gray eyes, though they were gentle. Onrak shook hands with him, meeting his gaze.

"Onrak, sir. What is yours?"

"You can call me Sparrow. Again, I thank you for the help. Have you a place to go to? You seem a little young to be out here by yourself."

"Home isn't too terribly far from here, I've walked this stream many times. What were they looking for?" The airbender rolled his eyes, looking back towards where they had run off.

"A myth, nothing more. A magic rock that gave off vitality, according to legend. Because I had heard a few stories I must obviously know where the thing is, they caught me off guard and drug me out here. but I must be going, I will follow them a ways, make sure they don't cause any more trouble. You take care of yourself, young Onrak!" The man waved fair-well as he trudged through the water up to the dry earth, following the group of brigands at a slow, relaxed pace. Onrak watched him go with a sigh. What a strange man... A glint of metal caught his eye, just as he turned to go. Did that man have... a knife? odd.

Jetta, Isla, and Komi all looked at the unconscious man on the side of the road, not sure what to do. He had appeared out of nowhere, coming off the side of the road trying to talk to them, but in doing so he had startled Komi, who had promptly sent a rock flying towards his head. the man either wasn't very well versed in combat, or was not prepared, but it had taken him just above his left eye, dropping him cold.

"What now?" Isla, the youngest of the trio asked. Jetta knelt next to the man, frowning as she took in his features. he was older, and had obviously been traveling quite a while, a small money bag at his hip, as well as a few other small pouches at his belt. laying beneath him, Jetta thought she saw the pommel of a knife.

"I guess we take him to camp, have the adults take care of it?" Komi offered, but Jetta shook her head.

"We know nothing about him, we can't just take him to the camp, what if he is dangerous?" Jetta objected, and Isla looked to Komi.

"We can't just leave him here, can we?" Komi stared down at the man, frowning.

"I say we just head back and tell the adults. Hanat and Kana always know what to do." Isla took a step closer to Jetta, and Komi sighed.

"Alright, let's go. Hopefully he wakes up and goes on his way." The trio headed off back towards home, Komi glancing behind them every few paces.