Sorry for the delay, things have been a bit busy and time just got away from me. A longer chapter and a very interesting one, I think. I very much like how Book 3 starts off and where it leads too. Let us see what will happen.
Before dawn, I roused from my tortuous thoughts. I went over and sat in the window. I fingered the arm bracelet Dhanu had given me, a habit I had formed. A lemur was asleep in my window. It woke up and looked at me expecting me to scratch his head; I obliged.
Normally, being greeted by lemurs in the morning brought me happiness, but I couldnât feel happiness. I could only feel anger and despair.
I stayed in my room as the sun rose, and over an hour passed. There was a knock at the door. I gave no answer. It creaked open slightly, and Dhanu peeked his head in.
âLamara, oh, youâre awake. You didnât come down, so I brought you some breakfast.â He revealed a tray with honey buns and green tea.
I gave a grunt in thanks. Talking was something I didnât know how to do anymore. No words would come out: just inaudible screams that always ended in tears.
He walked over and sat in the window with me. He offered me a bun; I took it. âIt was a beautiful sunrise, donât you think?â He said softly. I gave a slight nod. âI can see why you like this place so much. I like it, too. It reminds me of my home in the Senlin Forest. Itâs so calm and quiet. I could get used to it.â I gave no indication that I heard him. I just quietly ate the honey bathed bread. I knew Dhanu understood. It wasnât an insult to him; I just didnât trust myself to speak. I had been mute since my outburst after we woke up when Hyriu was gone. They all tried to get me to speak, to no avail. Then they just accepted the silence. They didnât understand it, but they accepted it. Dhanu understood though. He knew, and for that, I was grateful.
âSo Arnook is going to call us in for us to give our accounts of the battle. What are you going to do?â He asked, taking a swig of tea.
I pointed to my desk where the outline was.
âAh, I see. Were you honest with everything?â He questioned further.
âWhat if he asks you a question?â He continued. I motioned to the spare parchment and ink. âI see- just making sure you are prepared.â He smiled.
I gave a slight nod in thanks. We continued to talk, or rather, he continued to talk to me for another hour. At that time, there was another knock at the door. Sonam came in.
âGood to see you Dhanu. Lamara, Chief Arnook has summoned you,â he said.
I nodded. I grabbed my supplies and put them into a bag. Dhanu walked me to the Gambing Palace. He waited outside the doors to the courtroom.
âIâll be right here waiting for you.â He managed a small smile.
I walked into the Royal Courtroom. It was empty except for Arnook. My footsteps echoed loudly in the silent hall. I reached the dais where the court members would sit at. I inclined my head slightly.
âLamara, thank you for coming. Come, sit with me will you?â He motioned to a chair next to him. I was surprised. He was always professional, but never had I seen him be friendly before. I sat down next to him. He spoke in a kind and soft tone, âNow, I understand how hard this must be for you. A lot happened in that attack, and people were lost and hurt. I also know you are currently mute soâŚâ he began. I pulled out my outline and handed it to him. âOh, I see. Well thank you for thinking ahead.â It took him several minutes to read my description. I could tell he reread certain parts and compared others. It was obvious he was piecing the battle together in his head from the knowledge he already had.
After he finished, he asked me a few questions. He would have me describe something more in depth, how long certain parts lasted, and things of that sort. He seemed very interested in Linaâs parts. I knew I would gain nothing from lying, so I wrote the truth. He just asked what Lina did in the battle, nothing about whether she was trained or not.
At the end of the meeting, he said, âI would like to thank you again, Lamara. I know retelling these events was not easy. I also wanted to thank you for being cooperative. It makes things so much easier when people tell the truth, believe me. Farewell.â
I gave a nod and walked out.
âSo, how did it go?â Dhanu asked; I nodded meaning good.
We walked back through the palace. A thought occurred to me. I tugged on Dhanuâs sleeve and motioned for him to follow me. I briskly moved through the echoing halls.
âLamara, where are weâŚ oh,â Dhanu whispered.
We had gone down a long hallway to a grand door with an oak tree and an owl on it. I opened the door slowly and peeked in. There was scaffolding everywhere and men working to repair the damage Avon dealt.
âShould we be in here?â Dhanu whispered.
I motioned for him to be quiet. We snuck in the Gambing Library and silently closed the door. We ran behind bookshelves and statues. I wanted to study up in a particular section.
âWhat are we doing in here?â Dhanu asked yet another question.
I ignored him. We climbed some stairs and went to a dark section of the library. When a fireball had crashed through the dome ceiling, many books were destroyed or damaged, but this section was still intact. I began searching through the scrolls and books for one that would help me.
Dhanu read something aloud, ââThe Ten Highest Security Prisons in the Four Nations.â Youâre – youâre looking for Hyriu. Well, at least where he could be.â
I glanced back at him before continuing my search. I took the scroll Dhanu had read aloud along with several others and stashed them in my bag. We snuck out of the library and left the palace. I hated walking through Hydronia. Seeing the destroyed houses brought back the pain and tears. I sped up the Mountain Pass.
When we got to the top Dhanu asked, âYou going to see L. E.?â
âYou want me to go with you?â He put his hand on my shoulder.
I shook my head and smiled, showing I was alright.
âOkay, see you tonight,â he said and walked in the temple.
I took a different route. I took one of the side passageways. I got to a curtain, which I gingerly opened. Inside was the infirmary. It was warm, damp, and dimly lit. L. E. was hard at work, along with Hana and Hushi, another Healer from Hydronia. L. E. had to heal the snapper victims here, where she could grow the herbs she needed. They decided to move all the wounded to one place, so if there was an emergency, L. E. wouldnât have to abandon her patients. Moving the patients had been a long and tedious project. We also decided it would be best to have two healers always with L. E. I had made a habit of visiting them everyday.
âOh, Lamara, good to see you. Youâre a little late today. May I ask what delayed you?â L. E. said happily. She always spoke in a cheery voice in an effort to lift our spirits and make things less dark and sad.
I tapped my gold arm band meaning Dhanu.
She nodded. âJust the usual routine today. No changes. We have avoided misfortune, but we are also not getting any good fortune either.â
I nodded and went over to Kanshin. I helped her sit up. I began to change her bandages.
âHey, Lamara, Iâm doing a lot better today,â she smiled.
Her sword injury was almost completely closed up. I grabbed a bucket and a rag. I began to clean her wound. I applied more paste and rebandaged her. I helped her drink some water.
âThank you,â she murmured; I nodded.
âIf you keep it up at this pace, youâll be out of here by tomorrow,â L. E. said as she wiped her hands with a rag.
I cared for several other patients before sitting down next to Shan and Tekton. Shan was somewhat responsive. L. E. crouched down between them. She held one hand over Shan and the other over Tekton. She closed her eyes and chanted strange words under her breath. A slight glow emanated from her hands. She did that for two and a half hours. Even though I wasnât needed there, I wanted to be there just incase they woke up. They remained unconscious, though Shan stirred slightly.
âShan lost a lot of blood; it will take him a while to regain his full strength. Though Iâve been studying some ancient magic, I think I found a way to speed up the process, though it will take several more hours of magic. Why donât you go, and Iâll send for you if I need you,â she smiled.
I nodded and walked out. I headed toward the airbender library. Many Monks and young airbenders were there. It was a circular tower with no floors or stairs. It was about ten stories high. The idea was the better you were at airbending, the higher up you could fly. The walls were just bookshelves, the difficulty rising with the altitude. I saw one of my friends, Ostria, and her little brother, Yamal. They walked up to me.
âLamara, hey, how are you doing?â Ostria asked. She was a bit taller than me. She had long curly brown hair and had just turned sixteen. She was also a bit of a loose cannon because she was very rebellious. The monks used to say that all airbenders had a spark of mischievousness in them, but Ostria had a roaring fire.
I gave a nod to show I was fine. I smiled at her brother. He was the opposite of his sister. He was aspiring to be the perfect Air Nomad, and he looked the part. He had a shaven head, and his robes were in perfect shape.
âCome to practice more airbending forms?â Ostria joked. I nodded. âUgh, I swear Yamal is having a bad influence on you.â
âHey!â he protested. âBesides, I would have a good influence. If anyone would have bad influence, it would be you, Ostria.â
âWhat? Me, a bad influence?â She put her hand on her chest in mock shock. âPreposterous. Run along now, dear little brother. Why donât you go train with Deepika and Kaci, oh, and donât forget about Ranlon.â Ostria said looking at the dreamy sixteen year old boy.
âOf course, who would want to forget him,â Yamal snorted sarcastically. He walked over to the older airbenders. He was good enough to keep up with all of them.
âOh, hey, Ranlon, Deepika, and Kaci!â Ostria called over to them.
They all looked over. Deepika and Kaci waved back. Ranlon glanced over, smiled awkwardly and lifted his hand halfway in half-hearted wave.
âOh my gosh, he looked at me,â Ostria whispered out of the corner of her mouth to me. âAnd I know what youâd say. Air Nomads donât get married, but that does not mean I canât appreciate his natural attractiveness.â
I actually managed a small smile. Ostria was always like this, and being around her always put anyone in a good mood. Even if it was caused by laughing at inappropriate jokes. Before I left with Hyriu, Ostria was one of my best friends. We would sit around by the temple. Sheâd blow peopleâs robes up at the most embarrassing moments. Though with the guys, she always managed to get them shirtless with just a small gust. âItâs a talent,â sheâd say. The best time was when she did it to Ranlon, a normally very awkward guy. But when she blew off his top robe showing off his lean body, he just shrugged and kept on walking. But not before smirking at Ostriaâs dropped jaw. Since Iâd been back, sheâd been trying to get me to laugh however possible, but she hadnât been successful.
âSo, Master Lamara, what are we learning today?â she asked in a jokingly serious voice.
I gave no response. I created a funnel of air and rose up on it. I had no trouble rising to the fifth story, but after that I was a bit wobbly. I stopped at the eighth level, I could go higher but I wanted to finish reading all the scrolls on this level before I moved on. I searched for the next scroll to read. I found one and floated back to the floor where Ostria was waiting.
âWhich one did you pick?â She looked at the scroll. âOoo, should be fun to watch.â
We left the temple and walked to an open practice area. It was at the foot of the mountain the temple was built on, but most importantly, no one else was there. There was a place for air ball or balance practice as well as a circular area filled with spinning rectangular gates.
The scroll I had picked was about creating a controlled tornado, with wind currents only effecting areas of your approval. I walked to the center of the maze of gates; Ostria sat on a rock and began playing with a squirrel. I started by swirling the wind and trying to narrow its force. I was trying to only let one ring of gates spin while the others remained still. However, four rings spun in the wind and the other two turned slightly. I tried it a few more times before rereading the scroll. I didnât seem to be doing anything wrong, so I tried again. There was no difference. I carefully reread each word and closely studied the illustrations. As I studied, Ostria walked over, glanced at the scroll, and went to the center of the gates.
âLamara, watch me,â she instructed. She swirled around the air and created a tornado that moved all the gates. The strength of the tornado whipped my hair around my face and buffeted the surrounding brush. Ostria was an incredibly powerful airbender, she was just too lazy to finish all the training levels and get her tattoos. The tornado was short, and all the wind was blowing outward. âThat is what you were doing. You tried to compress the tornado to control it, but that is wrong. You cannot compress air and control it. Air is the element of freedom, so you must free the air and guide it. Like this,â she said and began creating another tornado. Only this time she moved her arms in an upward swirling motion so the tornado was tall and skinny. Only one ring of gates spun, the others around it were as still as statues. âPush the air up and away from the spots you donât want to effect.â I nodded and retook my place in the center of the gates. âI know what youâd say,â Ostria continued. âI would make a good master and teacher… blah blah blah. I know. I just donât want to. I only teach when I want to, and that is only when I want to help my friends. And I only show my prowess when someone makes me mad, or if I want to scare a twelve year old. The first hardly ever happens, the latter, well, I do it more than I should.â she laughed; I managed a small smile.
I began to swirl my arms slowly and moved upward. The gates began to spin. I pulled at the air currents at the base of the tornado and guided them skyward. I was able to shrink the tornado so it only moved three rings of gates. I kept at it for over an hour. The slow powerful motions were taxing; soon, beads of sweat streaked down my face, and my arms longed to relax. Finally when I was about ready to drop, only one ring of gates moved.
Ostria clapped, âCongratulations, my talented pupil. It has been an honor teaching you-ooo.â She drew out the âoâ in âyouâ as she looked toward the sky.
I followed her gaze. Someone on a glider approached; it was Ava. She landed with a cloud of dust.
âLamara! Lamara!â She cried as she ran over. âShan woke up!â
I nodded. Ostria waved goodbye and gave me a nod, which I returned. Ava opened her glider, and I jumped on the top. We flew up to the temple and rushed into the medic. Everyone was already there.
âHow are you feeling, Shan?â L. E. was saying when we came in. âCan you speak?â
He was still lying in bed and was blinking his eyes. He groaned, âY-Yeah, I canâŚ speak.â His words were slurred. âWh-What happened?â
âYou were in the land-raft when it blew up,â L. E. said softly. âDo you remember?â
He nodded slowly looking around. âI- I remember uh ummâŚthirsty, water?â
âLamara?â L. E. said; I was already getting some. I handed L. E. the cup. âHere you go, Shan.â
He drank the cold water. L. E. handed me the empty cup, and I refilled it. As Shan drank the second cup, he suddenly tried to sit up.
âShan, you need to lay down,â L. E. pressed a hand gently on his shoulder.
He ignored her, âWe were being attacked. Avon was in Hydronia! Da-Xia, he-he saved me. Silver Mask was there-â
âCalm down. The attack is over, they are gone now. And Iâm afraid Da-Xia did not survive his injuries,â L. E. spoke in a soothing voice.
Shan laid back down with tears in his eyes, âSo if they left, did we win?â When no one answered him, he said, âWe didnât win, did we? Where are we? Is this some kind of secret hideout?â
âNo, no this is the Shui Air Temple. We didnât loseâŚâ L. E. trailed off.
âYes, we did.â Koluk spoke up bitterly. âAvon came here for one thing, and he got it.â
âWait, how long have I been out of it?â Shan asked in a panic.
âA little over a week,â L. E. said quietly.
âOver a week!â he exclaimed. âWell, if I was out that long, why isnât Hyriu here? I know it sounds selfish but if Iâve been unconscious for a week, and all of you are hereâŚâ he got quiet toward the end. He saw the looks on everyoneâs face. âWait, is he hurt too? Is that why heâs not here?â
âWe- we donât know where he is,â Lina managed softly.
âWhat do you mean? How can you not know where he is?â Shan questioned.
âUh,â Lina stammered on the verge of tears.
âAvon took him,â Koluk said darkly.
âWhat?â Shanâs voice was a quiet whisper.
âAvon took Hyriu. He knocked us out so we couldnât stop him. They were long gone by the time we woke up,â Koluk bitterly explained.
Shan looked around at all of us. When he spoke, his voice sounded desperate, âWell – we have to go get him.â There was an awkward silence. âRight?!â He screamed accusingly.
L. E. was the first to speak up, âWell, at first we didnât know what to do,â she began. âWith Hyriu gone and LamaraâŚâ everyone glanced at me. âWell, um, you were dying along with so many others. Our top priority became to search for survivors and heal the wounded. And thatâs what weâve been doing. Arnook got here a few days ago, and weâre slowly starting to rebuild. Heâs just been collecting intelligence on the battle, trying to put everything together.â
At that moment, Chief Arnookâs messenger came into the room. âLina Zhanshi, Chief Arnook has summoned you.â
âAgain? Well, um, alright,â she said and walked out; Ava accompanied her.
âSo now that I am awake, when are we going to get Hyriu?â Shan sat up.
âItâs not that simple-â L. E. began.
âHow is it not? Iâm awake, and Arnook has his information. What else do we need?â He challenged.
âWell, we canât just up and leave. Youâre still weak. And I have to stay here healing and caring for my patients. We would have to prepare supplies and plan carefully. And we wouldnât even know where to begin. Where would we go? There are countless prisons in the Fire Nation. Hyriu could be in any one of them.â L. E.âs happy voice was replaced with hopeless despair.
I nudged Dhanu and pointed to the scrolls in my bag from the Gambing Library.
âActually,â Dhanu interrupted. âIt looks like Lamara may have found something. We got these scrolls from the Gambing Library; they are about Fire Nation prisons. Apparently, early in the war, the Water Tribe raided an Intelligence Tower and gleaned some information. The Fire nation raided the Southern Tribe multiple times. They captured all of the waterbenders and took them to a specialized prison. The prison was constructed to counteract the abilities of a waterbender. They call it, âThe Desert.’ Itâs in the Northern Fire Nation Isles.â
Everyone was silent at the sudden revelation.
âWe can do this,â Koluk said firmly. âHyriu needs us. We can get him back.â
Hope was ignited in everyoneâs eyes. Just then, Ava charged into the room out of breath, âGuys, itâs Lina. Arnook just accused her of high treason!â
Ah things are already happening. I did say Book 3 wastes no time for set up, now the story will really get going.
Chapter 3: Trial of Anger will go up Sunday.