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closed Avatar: Roots

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OOC: Private RP between myself and Kyo.


 

AVATAR
ROOTS

 

It has been 40 years since Avatar Korra vanished into the spirit realm, never to be seen again. While Republic City has remained a hub for the four nations of Earth, Water, Air and Fire, it is not as it once was. Spirits roam our world freely, and after the horrors of war touched the hearts of the people, there has been a strong outcry for the destruction of all unnecessary technology. Cars, radios, and many other technologies considered luxuries were thrown into the streets and destroyed by the vast majority. The world has moved on, and many have forgotten the role of the Avatar in our world in spite of the greater number of benders. It is a time of peace amongst nations, and an uneasy peace between humanity and the spirits. However, twelve years ago a new Avatar was discovered, a young girl from the Earth Nation called Kiyoko. As she sets out to experience the world and master her powers in a time where few care about her role in the world, a new force is rising. Insane rumours of a long-dead master of bending, risen from the dead, and consuming the power of those he fights. Together with her friends, Kiyoko will need to learn where she fits into the world left to her by her predecessor, and how she will make her mark, for better or worse...

 

A trio of footsteps rapidly crossed the stone courtyard. Their pace was quick, because it was set by the Mayor of Republic City, Bo Lam. His pace was quick, because he had been informed only hours before that the Order of the White Lotus - the society that finds and trains new Avatars - had found Korra's heir. However, he had also been informed that they had found her more than ten years ago, and had been training her in secret due to what one of the Order had called, 'an unstable climate'. Unstable indeed, Bo thought, huffing. He came to the far end of the courtyard and turned up a path, dotted with steps. The path seemed to stretch on forever ahead of him, and he was already out of breath. He was in his forties and he had to admit now, not in the best of shape. By the time he reached the top of the winding path, he was speechless. In part, because of the beautiful vista he saw before him. The Order of the White Lotus had their headquarters at the highest-most point of Republic City. Even he didn't have views like this, and he was the bloody mayor! But he was mostly out of breath because he always stopped for a sweet roll at the local stand, because they always gave him one for free. Excuses, excuses, he mouthed to himself, wiping his brow.
"So, where is she?" Bo asked, looking around the stone courtyard, and the ornate classical building at the far end. There were guards around, no doubt for her protection, but little else. There was no sign of this 'Kiyoko' at all. This was probably some elaborate joke, no doubt orchestrated by his staff. 

Suddenly, there was a loud crash, and Bo was pulled from his irritable thought train. "What was that?!" He growled in surprise, his eyes scanning for activity. Moments later, the doors to the building ahead of them were torn from their hinges and flew out, crashing into the middle of the courtyard. A dust storm exploded outwards, and something was riding inside it. It was a young woman! Bo watched as a panicked instructor came running out of the building, chasing after the girl who couldn't have been older than seventeen. 
"Wait, Kiyoko!" The man yelped breathlessly, "I just--"
"Yoko!" The girl chided her elder, and rode the dust storm across the courtyard, destroying it in the process as she rode the earth like a surfer might a wave. Then she spotted the new arrival and she leapt off the short earth pillar and the dust storm came to a halt. "Hey, who's the old guy?!" She asked over her shoulder. The woman was of medium height, slim with tan skin and brilliant white hair which came down to her chest but was shaved on one side.
"'Old guy'?" Bo raised an eyebrow as he looked to the instructor. The man was clearly way out of his depth. He caught up to the girl and was saying something to her hurriedly before collapsing onto his backside and resuming his wheezing fit in silence. "Well are you the Avatar, or aren't you?!" 

"Sure am," She replied, straightening out a simple dark green kimono designed for ease of movement, "Yoko, Avatar, nice t'meet ya," A grin spread across her face as she approached him, and Bo noticed she had a dozen or so small scars on her face. Little nicks and cuts here and there, with a particularly noticeable vertical scar running through the left side of her lips. Despite her wounds, she was an attractive young woman, who carried herself with a swagger. "So you're the Mayor of Republic City? Why haven't you been up to see me before?" She asked.
"This is the first i'm hearing about you, if i'm to be honest, and--" 
"Riiiight, right..." Yoko muttered, looking him up and down, "Well I guess I was busy anyway, these jokers--" She thumbed over her shoulder to her instructor, "Have me training day-in, day-out, and it's not like i'm even allowed out. I can't even use my powers outside of the grounds, can you believe that?!" 
"It's delicate, I know--"
"I know, right?! It's so unfair..." Yoko muttered, cutting the Mayor off.

"Enough!" The instructor finally growled out, catching his breath. He stood up and brushed off his crimson robes before pulling a small clipboard from within it's folds and a little pencil, "Now then, you're supposed to finish your exam, can we do so without further interruption!?" The instructor asked, exasperated.
"Yeah, but i've only got the combat portion left, and that's kind of my speciality, right? I mean, I am the Avatar... that's gotta be good for somethin'..." She chuckled but lost her smile when she saw her instructor's pleading eyes, "Oh fine, right, right... come on then..." She muttered, walking back into the centre of the courtyard. 
"You will demonstrate your ability with the four elements, and must succeed in at least three categories." Her instructor took a step back and nodded towards the building. Yoko turned and looked back, to see several people dressed in black, all holding clipboards and studying the broken doors. As one, they began scribbling on their pads. For a moment, the colour drained from Yoko's face. 

"Alright, come on then!" She clapped her hands together and made fists, assuming a combat stance. Four members of the Order of the White Lotus stepped forwards, surrounding her. As they did, a woman stepped up to stand beside the Mayor. Bo turned and gave her a casual sideways glance and muttered, "Why didn't that tire you out...?" As if it would anyone, it should have been her. The White Lotus guards charged as one. Yoko stomped a foot down onto the stone and she was thrown high into the air by a pillar of earth below her, which followed her up into the air as a large cylinder. She whirled around in the air, and smashed her fists into the pillar, and the solid cylinder split into a dozen enormous discs of stone that whirled like boomerangs around the courtyard and clobbered two of the White Lotus. As she landed she deftly dodged to one side, missing her opponent's attacks, "Earth!" She cried with victory, and as she rolled out of the way, the roll turned into a leaping twirl that ended in a vicious kick wreathed in flame. Her foot came down on the man's shoulder and he collapsed to the floor while one of the other guards who had been hit pulled himself to his feet. There were still two standing. "Fire..." She added, then ran at the nearest guard. "Water!" She cried, and drew from the ground water of the morning's rainfall. The water leapt up, rolled around her arm and she directed it straight into the guard's face. But instead of collapsing the guard jumped in surprise as he was splashed with as much force as the drink in the face he'd received the night before from that girl at the party. He recovered quickly, and went on the offensive, and Yoko found herself trying to block his attacks while being mindful of the man behind her who ran towards her.

But she was faster, at the last second, she turned and yelled, "Air!" At the top of her lungs, and thrust her fists forwards. She did so with such conviction that the guard actually recoiled, assuming the worst. But nothing happened. "Air!!" Yoko yelled again, thrusting her fists forwards, but again, not so much as a light breeze. Then the guard's foot connected with her back, and she went tumbling across the ground until she connected with one of her fallen discs and finally came to a stop. The fight was over in a matter of seconds. There was neither cheers, nor boos. Just a deadly silence filled the gap, as she picked herself back up. 
"That's so stupid... air is rubbish, look it's just air," And she blew out of her mouth to demonstrate, "Earth is better." She added, then kicked one of the discs into the air, and roundhouse kicked it so hard that it flew across the courtyard and crashed into a display vase. The instructor's face turned ashen white. "Whoops..." Yoko grinned sheepishly. "Well... three outta four ain't bad, right?" She asked nervously, scratching the side of her shaved head.

A gentle giggling broke the silence. A woman dressed in a red and golden robe was sat cross-legged, and had been watching the trial. A crimson cape was draped over her shoulders, it's length covering her entire body like a blanket, with her red-sandalled feet crossed in front of her. She was an older woman in her 50's, but she looked thin, healthy and graceful apart from some minor wrinkles around her hazel eyes. Her dark brown hair was straight and cut straight at her shoulders, and a straight, fitted, golden collar went the length of her neck. Perhaps most notable was the blue arrow tattoos that came out of her robe on the back of each hand, and a larger arrow that pointed downwards on her forehead from beneath her hair.
"What're you laughin' at, Grandma?!" Yoko huffed, crossing her arms and switching her attention to the newcomer.
"You, obviously." The woman replied without skipping a beat. "You're quite amusing. Do you have a problem with that?"
Yoko opened her mouth as she raised her forefinger in protest, but slowly closed it after a moment, "Well you do better then, go on, airbender, bend some fire..." She started walking up to the woman. "No better yet, how about some earth? Or some water? Yeah, water. Start with that." She nodded and waited expectedly.

"I can bend fire, earth and water no more than you can bend air, Avatar." The woman said with a faint, patient smile. "I never will, no matter how hard I try. However, you cannot bend air, and yet you should be capable of doing so. Do you think that your ability to bend all the elements makes you superior? Hm?"
"I think it will when I figure out air..." She growled, and turned her back on the woman, muttering quietly, "... and water..." She cleared her throat and started back into the middle of the courtyard. 
"Uuuh..." Mayor Bo shook his head and then turned to face the woman, "Sorry, who are you?"
"The Avatar's new mentor, of course." The woman said with a smile as she looked at the Mayor. "Clearly she lacks even the most basic comprehension of air bending, so it seems I have arrived just in time."
"We're doing what we can with what we've got!" The instructor piped up, "She's been through two water instructors and four air instructors in the past year alone, in all the history of our order, we've never known of anyone as... as..." 
"Rebellious." Yoko muttered off a suggestion, which was clearly the word the instructor was looking for. 
"Rebellious! None as rebellious as, well..." 
"Avatar Aang." Yoko sighed, "But you never trained Aang! You're so full of it..." 
"No, we never trained Aang, but he told my grandfather a great many stories about his youth and sometimes I think about how Avatar Aang turned out and it's really the only thing that gets me through the day, I mean if I didn't have that, i'd probably..." He trailed off as one of the guards took his shoulder and gently led him away.

"Your grandfather was a lucky man to have met Avatar Aang." The woman said with a nod. "I never met him, but I learned of his life from my father..." The woman paused for a moment and stood up. "...Tenzin. You may remember him. Avatar Aang's eldest son, and the mentor of Avatar Korra."
"Touchy man." The woman said, shaking her head before standing up. She addressed the Mayor. "Mayor Bo, I mean no disrespect to Kiyoko's tutors. I mean only to provide my services where they are needed. I have personally trained three generations of Air Nomads, and I have...endured the annoyances of youth. I am the oldest of four, after all. At least Avatar Kiyoko doesn't employ flatulence as a form of martial arts... or at least I hope not."
"--Yoko." She corrected the woman, "--Yoko!" She did so again, getting annoyed, "... I ain't trainin' under you, Grandma." 

"Nobody asked you, Kiyoko." The woman said sternly. "The fact of the matter is, I will train you, regardless of who objects. It is a promise that I made to you a long time ago, when you were just a small child. Fortunately you couldn't speak back then, it was decidedly more pleasant."
"I must'a smudged you from my memory..." Yoko muttered, "Promises get broken every day, lady." Yoko waved her hand dismissively at her, "See ya 'round."
"A wager then." The woman said with a smirk. "Since air bending is so useless, it should be no problem for you to accomplish this task. Use all your bending to strike me just once within one minute, and I will leave you be. Fail and you will train under me. How does that sound?"
"What part of 'no' don't ya get?" Yoko shook her head with a smirk, turning back to face the woman, "I'm already walkin' away, I can't win a wager I already won. All i've got is to lose. You don't bet much, huh?" She muttered, looking the woman up and down, "What else ya got?" She turned her head, curiosity sneaking into her voice though her eyes were as narrow and sceptical as ever. 

"I offer you my tutelage, if you do not see it's value then that is no fault of mine." The woman replied. "You act confident but you are afraid to prove yourself. If you truly think so little of me then you should not fear my challenge. Air bending is rubbish, right? Prove it."
Yoko's face moved through a number of expressions ranging from anger to confusion, back to anger, indignation, further confusion and then finally serenity as she fell upon her response, "I ain't a coward, and I ain't afraid of your stupid test, I just don't fancy hurtin' some old lady..." She let out a short huff through flared nostrils. 
"Hurt me?" The woman giggled again. "You won't be able to touch me, Kiyoko." The woman stood expectantly as she watched the young girl bubble with anger. She raised one eyebrow expectantly. "Well?"
"Tch!" Yoko snuffed the old woman's words and faced the woman head on, "Have it your way..." She raised her arms, forming fists. Yoko waited for a few seconds, but when the woman didn't move, she charged. Running straight on for her target. At the last second, she darted away, then whirled back, slid across the ground and tried to swipe the old lady's legs out from under her. She was over feeling any guilt now. She just wanted to teach the old bag a lesson.

The woman stepped off the ground with the lightest touch, spinning gracefully as her robes swirled around her. Air carried her upwards, effortlessly avoiding Yoko's reckless attack, and as the young girl slid under her and away, she landed back on the spot where she had stood before. "You strike without consideration of your opponent. My youngest students could have avoided that."
"Give it a rest, wrinkles!" Yoko barked, flipping up onto her feet. She circled the old woman for a few seconds then ran forwards, kicking forwards to raise an enormous rectangular block of stone from the ground, then she kicked it forwards. Meanwhile, as the wall rushed up to meet the woman, Yoko used the wall to hide her second attack, and pulled a second stone rectangle from the ground behind the old woman, and then quickly ran forwards and pressed them together, intending to crush the woman between the two walls. 

Rolling her eyes the woman rose up in another graceful swirl as the stone blocks crashed into one another beneath her. With a push from her palms she blasted air towards the ground and moved her body backwards across the sky, before landing on the ground again. "Diversion, good." She said approvingly. "However, an air bender is not limited to one axis. Strike me from left, right, back or forwards, as long as no ceiling is above me you will not succeed with such tactics."
"I'll give you no ceiling..." Yoko muttered, pacing back and forth. Her anger was getting the better of her. But she'd decided on her next tactic. But she knew she was running out of time. She quickly ran towards the old woman, intending to strike from within melee range. But at the last second Yoko rose a slab of stone up from behind the old woman, pressing her into a wall. A second slab was already waiting overhead, as the shadow loomed, then suddenly Yoko whirled around, slamming her hands and feet down on the ground, and the final three walls rushed into place, trapping Yoko inside. Yoko surged forwards, she had only fleeting moments left. She brought her arm back and smashed her fist through the stone without effort, and grabbed, clutching onto something. Success! She felt cloth in her hand. "Are we done?!" Yoko yelled from outside the stone prison. There was a sudden blast of air that shattered the wall and sent Kiyoko flying backwards across the dirt, along with the red cape that the woman had been draped in. The woman herself emerged from inside the earth trap, dressed only in a red and gold outfit fitted tight to her body, with lengths of fabric attached in the space between her wrists and legs, appearing like the wing-like membranes of flying lemurs. "Your tactics are good. You assessed my actions and adapted your offensive, however, you think only one move ahead. In future you should always consider what to do if your attack fails." The woman put her hands on her hips. "Also your time is up." Yoko nodded quietly, and bundled up the red cape before throwing it back towards the woman. However, before it could reach her hands, a blast of fire scorched it to ashes and once the smoke cleared Yoko was already disappearing into the large building at the back of the courtyard. 

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After giving Yoko a short time to calm herself, the woman pushed open the door to the Avatar's room and stepped in, looking around. "You know, that garment was hand woven by temple acolytes." She said in a calm but slightly annoyed tone. "People worked hard to make it, and you destroyed it without a second thought. Is that really a quality you wish to have within yourself?"
"I dunno, it made me feel better." Yoko growled, as she shoved things into her pack.
"And why, exactly, did you need to feel better?" The woman asked, raising her eyebrow. "I did not seek to embarrass you. I wish only for you to reach your full potential, something which I thought you also wanted. Yet I have been met with opposition from you which I, frankly, cannot fathom. Why would you refuse a teacher?"
"Because I don't even know who you are." Yoko retorted, "Because I keep telling you my name, and you keep calling me 'Kiyoko', because you're a so-called teacher that said i'm worse than your worst student." Yoko shoved another garment into her now bulging pack, "Because I don't know where we're going, or what we'll do, and i've barely been outside these walls, never mind outside Republic City. The Order just keeps me here because it gives them something to do, otherwise they'd be extinct... Nobody knows what the Avatar is any more, and nobody cares. If the Avatar is bound together, then really we're the same person, Korra obviously knew something, because she left for the spirit realm and never came back. Now the world is at peace, we live in harmony wi--" Yoko trailed off as a small wisp of cloud flew through the wall to her right and coalesced into a little white orb of light which danced around her for a moment before gliding away, "... with spirits... and people sort their own problems out. Nobody wants me."

"I see..." The woman said, lowering her head in thought. "Well, I never said you were worse than my worst student. None of my students are bad, I make sure of that. Air Bending is a diverse art, but it's primary use is for pacifism and defense. Naturally, my students are skilled in avoidance. As for where we are going, and what we will do...well that all depends on you." The woman smiled. "Air Temple Island is only a short ride over the water from Republic City, you can see it off the coast. That is my home, and where we will train. However I suggest we travel further afield in time, there is much to see in this world, and the Spirit World for that matter." The woman held out her hand and the little wisp returned to her, hovering around her hand for a moment, before bobbing up and down, swirling around her, and then flitting away again. "Do you know much of your predecessors? Korra, Aang...further still there was Roku, Kyoshi, Kuruk, Yangchen...I could go on." 

"I have studied the history of our world, and of the Avatar. My father told me stories of Aang, and I have my own stories to tell of Korra." She said finally. "My name is Jinora. Aang was my grandfather, and Korra...a dear friend."
"You're Jinora?" Yoko dropped her pack and turned back to face her.
"Yes." Jinora replied with a smile. "I take it you know me?"
"You?" Yoko pointed at her in disbelief, "You're Aang's granddaughter? You were part of the stealth team diversion that helped fight Kuvira... and you're Master Tenzin's daughter, and you single-handedly defeated Warlord Lokai Wen and restored peace to the fire country... you're that Jinora?!"
"Well...I'm glad they let you read a book or two here." Jinora replied with a smile. "Yes, I am that Jinora. However, what I am most proud of is my hand in restoring my people after the Harmonic Convergence. My father, Tenzin, wanted nothing more than that and I helped him achieve it. I take no pleasure in my actions during the war with the Earth Nation, or my triumph over Lokai Wen. Korra believed that true peace came from understanding each other, not fighting. It is my hope that I can train you, so you can maintain the balance as your past lives once did."

"What balance?" Yoko laughed, "There's no war, and humans and spirits live in peace, more or less." She sat down on the edge of her bed and shook her head in disbelief, "What is there for me to do? When the last Avatar was found, she was heralded and fussed over and people cared about how she would help shape the world, and take care of it. When I was found, I was taken from my parents and kept here... I don't even remember their faces any more..." Yoko shook herself out of her melancholy, "Look, what good do you think I can do that Korra hasn't already covered? She left for a reason. The time of the Avatar is gone. I don't even know why i'm here." Jinora frowned slightly, folding her arms in front of her. 

"Korra was trained under the watch of the White Lotus just as you were. When my father refused to train her, she fled in secret from her home in the Northern Water Tribe. Korra was not always heralded by everyone, in fact there were times when she suffered their hate and fear. She struggled with her responsibility just as anyone would. She is remembered as a symbol, but please do not think that she was anything but an ordinary young woman like yourself, once. She did not have all the answers, and in the end she followed her heart. Her decision was right for the time, however..." Jinora paused, choosing her words carefully. "Aang lived a childhood of relative peace. Yet war was just on the horizon, yet he was not aware. Korra, too, began her journey from her home with only dreams of mastering her art and becoming a pro bender. Threats are always on the horizon."

"I truly hope that you do not experience the hardships of your predecessors, but there is still much you can do. We live in a time of peace, but there is always people in need, and you can help them. I do not expect you to do this right away, Korra and Aang did not do so. Come with me, train, travel and learn. When the time comes, you can decide what your path is. How does that sound?"
Yoko thought for a long while but eventually she found herself needing to ask another question, "How did you even know I was here? How did you get here so fast? Nobody uses cars any more, and I was told that the Order was only going to release information on finding and training me in the past two days."

"Well, I met you once when you were a child." Jinora explained. "But it is true that your location for the past few years has been a mystery to me. As for how I got here, well..." Jinora turned for the door. "Join me outside and you will see." And with that she left Yoko to unpack. ".... what...?" Yoko picked up her pack, took one last look around her room, and realised then that she didn't actually have anything more to bring with her. And although she might miss the familiarity of these walls, she had never made friends here, nor turned her room into a place of comfort. Somehow she always thought she'd leave one day, and here it was. It was like she'd been on hold until now. She stood, grabbed her bag, and walked out.

In the courtyard Jinora was stood next to a mountain of white fur with brown ears and brown stripes down it's back. The large Bison turned it's head as Yoko approached and let out a rumbling noise. Jinora stroked the large creature's furry head and giggled. "Yoko, I'd like you to meet Nutmeg. She's a very good friend of mine." Jinora smiled again and continued rubbing the Bison's fur. 
"Nutmeg?" Yoko queried as her eyes betrayed her astonishment at the enormous creature before her, "This... this is a flying bison..." As she spoke, Nutmeg sidled forwards, and gently butted her head into Yoko's stomach, "H-Hey!" Yoko grabbed hold of her head and held on to stop herself from falling over, but quickly realised Nutmeg was asking to be scratched.

"Correct." Jinora said with a nod. "Flying Bisons are very dear to my people. We each bond with one during our training. I bonded with Nutmeg's mother, Pepper when I was a young girl. There are more on Air Temple Island, if you'd like to meet them."
"Can I bond with one?" Yoko asked, looking over expectantly to Jinora.
"Well, that depends how seriously you take your training." Jinora replied. She extended her arms to show her tattoos. "It wasn't very common for non-air nomad Avatars to obtain the tattoos, or bond with a bison. It's less about air bending and more of a cultural thing, I suppose. But never say never." Jinora smiled brightly and climbed on to the large, circular saddle on Nutmeg's back. "Come on then, before the White Lotus decide to chase after you. They'll be welcome to stay and guard you at Air Temple Island, of course. but they'll have to catch up to us."
"Uh..." Yoko walked around to Nutmeg's side and tried a number of different ways to pull herself up, but it was all too awkward. A few seconds passed, then she leapt up into the air, propelled by quickly summoned earth pillar beneath her foot. She landed gracefully on Nutmeg's back and let out a short sigh, "Let's go then, before I change my mind."

"All right then, hold on." Jinora said as she gripped the Nutmeg's reigns. "Yip yip!" She said cheerily, and Nutmeg responded with an approving rumble, before pushing off against the ground on it's six legs, raising effortlessly into the sky with it's large, flat tail beating softly behind it. Nutmeg took them high up above the temple, before disappearing into the wild, mountainous regions, heading straight  for the Republic City far below, and onwards to the small island off the coast, Air Temple Island. 

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