Disclaimer: Don't own Avatar.

Prologue

AN: I love to start stories. I just wonder what it would be like to finish one. Anyone reading this know?

Fate is an old man with shaky fingers. In a secluded, dusty room he sits, trying to paint a masterpiece. He struggles to shape the colors into the perfect image he sees so clearly in his head, but fails even to be the master of his own hand. The paints run away from him, resisting his control. His hand spasms and a blue line smears down the parchment.

The storm loomed ominously overhead, angry clouds folding eternally in on each other. Aang gripped Oppa's reigns and slowed, caught in a moment of indecision. The storm clouds looked a little bit fierce to be flying in. On the other hand, land was an hour or so back the way he'd come and it would mean another night before he reached his destination. It had been years since he'd left his home at the Southern Air Temple to train in air bending. Now, sixteen and a master at air bending Aang was allowed a couple days to stop off at his old village before he traveled north to learn water bending. He was anxious to see his old caretaker and hated the thought that their reunion would be delayed by bad weather.

Lightning lanced through the sky nearby making up Aang's mind for him. Wheeling Oppa about Aang fled before the clouds.

"Come on buddy." Aang patted his familiar's side urging his companion to greater speeds.

Time seemed to stop. In a moment of crisp clarity, Aang was fully aware of the world. The air passing through his clothes. The water passing far beneath his feet. Behind him, the angry storm clouds billowed gaining ground, reaching toward him. Ahead, a comet streaked across the horizon silent and distant, yet inexplicably reverberating through Aang like the tolling of a bell. He held his breath.

The world was breaking.

The storm seized him. Winds flung him offhandedly about and he lost directional sense of up and down.

It was quick when the lightning hit him, yet oddly he understood clearly what had happened to him. He blacked in and out several times before he hit the water and sank. Deep with in his mind he reached for the Avatar state.

He failed. He was too weakened. He was going to die.

Awareness came momentarily flooding back with that thought and Aang made one final attempt to awaken the power lying dormant in him.

Fate studied the blue blemish, weighing his options. He could reform the painting with the blue as it's center. It would be difficult but not impossible… Fate shook his head. No, he would stick with the image that yet remained in his head. Taking up a cloth, the trembling hand dabbed up as much off the blue as possible, and began painting over it in white. It was time for a new Avatar.

Aang actually felt his connection to the other Avatar's sever as the Avatar spirit left him in search of it's next host. Not an abandonment. Aang's own spirit would merge with it's collective soon, when he passed over.

Floating endlessly downward, Aang waited to die.

And that was where Bright Flame found him. A former Avatar host now severed from his past lives and slowly dying.

Bright Flame merged with him, sealed him away in a shell, and brought breath back into his lungs. His vessel… no, his other half… safe, Bright Flame slipped them both into stasis.

The Bright Flame Cycle had begun.