Shards of the Elements @kelseyalicia
Let it blow II

Let it blow II

The North winds wail in a gathering gale

Not a shelter to be found

All my life, I've fought and struggled

To keep my feet on the ground

The wind is howling like this hurricane inside

I couldn't hold it in. Heaven knows I tried.

Air Nomads are not ones to routinely announce a state of emergency. Seldom has one of its kind gone rogue. The rare few who'd gone rogue were extremely far and in-between. The last known one had been Avatar Kyoshi's mother, Jesa.

However, it remained unmistakable that Anil had gone renegade. The fact he dematerialized into thin air after the Equinox? They'd depleted themselves for a fortnight, grappling with tracking him down only to strikeout.

The elders eventually concluded he'd gone rogue. Which without a doubt meant that both Aang and Zephyr were in equal danger from him. The fact that Anil had assaulted both proved that point all too well.

That led to the teens being escorted to the Eastern Air Temple by Gyasto. Once Aang's mother caught wind of the fact her son's life was in peril? She sent word immediately she desired him under her protection. Monk Gyasto remained the sole individual knowledgeable of Aang's heritage. He'd pledged to deliver Aang and Zephyr to Akanke immediately.

Luckily, Zephyr swiftly improved from the wounds that Anil inflicted upon her. Zephyr may've been black-and-blue while he was male. The minute he woke up, however? Zephyr had become female. Furthermore stayed that way for the last two weeks. Aang knew immediately that Zephyr swapped genders. The rest of the temple? They hadn't caught on with discerning Zephyr's current gender. Even Zephyr's instructor hadn't figured it out as Aang had.

Either way, they'd been traveling full-speed for the last week to the Eastern Air Temple. Zephyr genuinely relished her first adventure away from the Southern Air Temple. Continually demanding Aang to elucidate everything they witnessed. Aang got confused when she'd called a group of ram-bucks saber-tooth moose lions at one point in their journey.

Zephyr annoyingly explained that the sign for 'moose" and 'deer' was identical. For the next three hours, Zephyr described which signs had two meanings. Subsequently, Aang took a snooze while Zephyr played Cat's cradle.

Keep your head down and stay inline

Hold your breath and hope that you'll be fine

Don't let it out, don't let them know

Well, now they know!

The small group was currently passing over a vast chasm when Zephyr felt something compelling. This call came somewhere within the gorge. Without thinking twice, she unfolded her customized glider and jumped off Appa.

Monk Gyasto nearly missed his charge's abrupt take-off. Cursing softly under his breath, he'd Appa change course to retrieve the runaway teen. Appa's abrupt dive instantly woke up Aang, who'd no idea what was going on. He immediately noticed Zephyr wasn't anywhere to be seen. Plus, they're diving into a pitch-black chasm at break-neck speed. Aang then got bucked off his own bison.

Thankfully he had his glider to save him from falling to his death. Some unknown instinct told him where to locate Zephyr. That same intuition advised him to hurry up because of the grave danger fast approching.

Gliding around for a quarter of an hour, he unearthed Zephyr at the decaying remnants of an ancient shrine. To his amazement, a talisman crafted from Mangano calcite was cupped in her left hand. On top of being deaf and genderfluid, Zephyr remained the only person Aang identified to be left-handed. However, it wasn't just this bizarre amulet that piqued his interest.

It was the fact, Zephyr's eyes and tattoos were burning cerulean. For a second, he thought Zephyr could be the Avatar. Except his gut told him that wasn't the case. When one is in the Avatar State, their eyes become solid white, not blue. Also, it's said those who've witnessed the Avatar State? They'd felt the unmistakable energy of all the avatar's past lives.

Aang felt only the presence of one unknown individual. Bending down to take a closer look at the remains of the shrine. At first, nothing, in particular, stood out. Then, suddenly unearthing a diminutive figurine buried deep within the rocky soil.

Cradling the delicate figurine in his hands, he all of a sudden felt awe-struck. The figure was a petite dancer with long flowing hair. A luxurious feather tucked behind her right ear. Clothed in a two-piece plus barefooted.

Every Airbender knew what their previously patron spirit, Aella looked like. Her nickname had been the Winddancer. This site must have once been her place of worship. All the young children were told about the tale of the death of Aella.

Let it blow, let it blow.

What's the danger in a breeze?

Let it blow, let it blow.

My power comes to me with ease. I am free,

I won't be restrained

Let the winds rage on

I've never been afraid of a hurricane

Zephyr, however, was living it. Once she'd answered the call to the forgotten house of worship and discovered the talisman ready and waiting for her? The second she'd picked it up, her soul was immediately transported centuries into the past.

For some reason, Zephyr discovered herself inside Aella's body. To her horror, she immediately realized this was the day the Air Spirit bit the dust. Desperate to escape the ghastliness approaching, the terrified teen attempted to separate herself from Aella.

It did no good. She remained enchained within Aella's body. Leaving her no choice but to relive the final hours of the patron spirit of the air. Aella/Zephyr was gallivanting within the twilight skies. Using their extraordinary feather to paint the heavens into a masterful piece of art. Oddly the spirit was also left-handed.

"Hmm, I need a dash of violet and a speckle of fuchsia to the north," she mused to herself as she scribbled with her otherworldly feather. Then, after a few minutes, she drifted backward, satisfied with her work.

She drank in the majesty of her living artistic creation. Filling her lungs with the sweet, crisp, clean mountain air throughout her earthly home. Letting out a sigh of rapture as she did a series of backflips.

"Ah, there is nothing like the beauty of nature to revitalizes one spirit! I do hope my friends appreciate my handiwork. I can't wait to hear Agnimitra flattering me for tonight's masterpiece!" she sang in her musical voice.

The tranquil evening then erupted with an earsplitting boom. The blaring sound caused her to tumble from the heavens. However, she managed to break her fall at the last minute.

Clutching her susceptible ears, Aella/Zephyr tried to get their bearings. Except the deafening racket made it impossible. How could anyone know their weakness was loud sounds? Only a few close friends in the Spirit World knew how highly sensitive her hearing was. Thus the question remained? Who was seeking to slaughter them with that atrocious noise?

Their silver eyes darted left and right, striving to figure out where the auditory assault was coming from. Aella/Zephyr's breathing was getting more laborious from the sheer amount of distress they were in. Finally, it became so intense their ears literally bleed from the torture. Suddenly a grotesque mob of people showed up. Surrounding the crippled young spirit.

Aella/ Zephyr knew none of them, not having any idea where they came from. As far as they knew, no settlement was within five miles of her place of worship. The only time her house of prayer received visitors was when communities offered up tributes to her.

Seeing as she was the spirit of air, her capabilities gave her command over the atmospheric conditions. Thus people offered up their tributes to her to guarantee the weather conditions were in their favor.

A disfigured savage kicked Aella/Zephyr in the abdomen repeatedly. Finally, she laid helplessly on the terrain. Not use to this magnitude of pain. "Why?" she cried out through her agonizing tears. "Why are you attacking me? What have I done to you?" she whimpered pitifully.

The leader of the mob screamed vulgar obscenities at her. Words no one should even know. Let alone even be uttered aloud. He yanked her up by her neck, "We give you tribute so you may bless us with fair days. Yet, despite twice the amount of tributes this year? You disgusting hag cursed us with a derecho! (I'll explain what that is at the end of the chapter)

Aella/Zephyr shook their heads as best they could. Pleading with the enraged mob to listen to them. "Nay! I would never send such a storm upon any human! Let alone devastate this majestic domain in such a heinous manner!

Please! I did not send a derecho across the land! You must believe me!" gasping for air as they spoke. They could feel their breath leaving their body as their life was quickly slipping away.

"You damn spirits are unnatural! You think you're superior to humans! Why should we believe you?" spat the barbarian, squeezing her neck tighter. Her airway constricted more.

"Please!" gasping as her periwinkle skin gradually became a darker shade of blue, "I swear on my life and honor, I did no such thing! Please spare me!"

For a split second, the male who held her chocolate-brown eyes turned into golden feline eyes. Then, in that same instance, a brand-new voice escapes the man's lips. "You desire mercy? I think not! We shall not grant you leniency, for you showed us no mercy!" and then the rest of the mob brutally assaulted her shrine.

It felt like she'd been stabbed in the heart repeatedly as her spiritual anchor was decimated in seconds. The man threw her to the ground as she gasped for air. Air that would never enter her lungs again. The man bent down, hissing into her susceptible ears, "You'll make a lovely prize, Aella. One spirit down? So many more to go. I'll relish getting to play with you in my torture chamber shortly."

"Anto?" she whispered back, and the smirk on the man's lips told her the truth instantaneously. Anto had sent that derecho. He needed to stir up sufficient negative emotions to enter the physical world before taken possession of someone as a temporary vessel. A spirit's demise would increase his power by twenty-fold!

It also left the Air Shard unguarded with her demise. As she slipped into oblivion, her final thoughts were that somehow she must complete her duty. To protect the Air Shard."

It's funny how a windstorm.

It can make my heart so light

And the magic I once feared

It Will help me to take a flight

Zephyr suddenly took a big inhale of air as she snapped back to her own body. She gasped for air as if she'd been the one asphyxiate and tortured to death. Her panic attack didn't subside until Aang managed to get her attention. Too terrified even to sign what she'd witnessed, Aang immediately explained his side of the event.

Zephyr's heterochromia eyes locked squarely onto Aang's hidden locket. Suddenly she perceived within a shard of shining fluorite! Which is yet another gemstone consider a gem of air.

Fluorite absorbs and neutralizes negative energy and stress—an excellent learning aid. Likewise increases powers of concentration and self-confidence. Moreover, it helps in decision-making. So encouraging positivity balances the energies. Plus improves balance and coordination. Both physically and mentally.

Straightaway, Zephyr knew that Aella called upon her to keep that shard safe. Or was it something more? Did she channel Aella's soul? Or was she, in fact, the reincarnation of Aella?

However, neither adolescent got the resolution they sought. Something made god-awful cry. Instantly Aang looked up, followed by Zephyr. What they witnessed froze the blood in their veins. A jet-black raven the size of a griffin and riding it was Anil!

It's time to see what I can do

To let the wind carry me through

I pay no mind to gravity; I'm free!

The monstrosity locked its dead gold-colored eyes on the juveniles. In turn, they screamed bloody murder. Zephyr, of course, couldn't hear their own scream. Nor had they ever once tried to use their voice.

However, the agony ravaging their bodies, right now? It felt as if someone was twisting their internal organs with their bare hands. The most sadistic torture that anyone could perform. The teens were shrieking uproariously. Both mentally and physically, to MAKE IT STOP! MAKE IT STOP!

Anil smirked, seeing his rival and that freak in utter anguish. Then, gracefully jumping off Anto's back, he free felled for a few moments before employing his glider to complete his dive. Chortling maniacally as the two souls before him contorted in utter agony.

"That's where you belong, Aang. Under my feet, begging for mercy. It's good you finally know your place," as he raised a dagger over the incapacitated young boy. Aang sought to defend himself, but Anil, consumed by rage, quickly got the upper hand. Anto had gone after Monk Gyasto and Appa to make sure no one interfered.

Anil succeeded in stabbing Aang twice. Missing both the jugular vein and carotid artery by a millimeter. However, he wasn't aiming to kill, at least not yet. He desired to play with his food. Draw out the punishment as long as possible.

Let it blow, let it blow.

Now I soar into the sky.

Let it blow, let it blow.

I am weightless as I fly.

I won't let my feet touch the ground

Let the winds rage on...

While Anil endeavors at assassinating his hated rival along with that disgusting spawn, Anto, on the other hand? He relished his rough-and-tumble with that senile kook Monk Gyasto. His mouth salivated with the thought of adding the decrepit monk's soul to his collection.

The raven circled the pair continually before screaming the sound of death as he dived straight at them. He racked at Appa's pelt whilst striving to peck his eyes out. Anto maintained his unrelenting onslaught. Doing everything he could to cause them physical trauma. Plus, knock them out of the sky.

For the moment, each assailant was too caught up in the passion of the moment. They completely forgot Zephyr was even there. The deaf teen hid behind their former shrine's ruins. "I've to do something! It's my responsibility to protect the Air Shard! At this rate, Aang will be executed! Then nothing will prevent Anil from obtaining the Shard. I've to do something, but what?" she thought to herself.

To her surprise, a voice spoke in her head, "You're reborn for this moment. My mother had faith in you. Therefore help my mother, child of air. You must help your true love unleash his dormant powers. It's the only chance you've got. Help awaken the Avatar. Please."

Zephyr remained freaked out by 'hearing' a voice in her head. She prayed she hadn't lost her mind. Frantically thinking about everything she knew about the avatar. The Avatar State might save them. Yet, that only come about if the avatar's life is threatened or feeling intense emotions. However, he hadn't gone into the Avatar State, despite his life was in danger.

Perhaps he was in too much shock from the pain? Focused too much on the pain and not the fear for his life? That had to be what was happening. So Zephyr had to get her lover to feel something intensely if they'd a chance of winning this battle.

Yet, what terrified someone more than the pain of being tortured? Swallowing hard, she knew what she had to do. Only one thing would scare Aang sufficiently to trigger the dormant Avatar State. Slipping the talisman around her neck Zephyr leaped at Anil. They went tumbling further down the chasm as they fought over the knife. He managed to stab her in her right shoulder, causing blood to seep through the wound.

Once Aang witnessed the blood? Something took over him. His emotions were all over the place. Plus, a mighty need to protect the person he'd come to love. He snapped as he entered the Avatar State for the first time. The battle ceased for a few moments as everyone was in shock that the Avatar ultimately revealed himself. Anil couldn't help feeling even more fury at Aang.

Because now it explained perfectly how that damn boy cheated! How he got his tattoos before him! He was the Avatar! Well, Avatar or not, Anil would have that Shard. Moreover, a fraction of the Avatar's power with it.

My power sweeps me in a jet stream through the air

My soul is blustering in howling cyclones everywhere

When one thought swirls around me in a thermal gust

The worries of the past are blown away like dust!

Seeing how this was Aang, a thirteen-year-old boy's first time in the Avatar State, it wasn't surprising how suddenly he was exhausted from it. True he summoned sufficient power to combat Anil. Then sent him and Anto back to wherever they'd come from. However, with the intense windstorm, he created combined with how quickly he collapsed from it? Of course, no one noticed that Aang's birthday locket got ripped off his neck during that first time.

So Aang may've saved his family, but Anil and Anto still got the Air Shard in the end. And worse, no one even noticed the locket was missing or knew the Shard been stolen. This was bad, very bad.

Let it blow, let it blow.

At last, I'm standing proud.

Let it blow, let it blow.

My home is in the clouds.

Here I soar, free from all the pain

Let the winds rage on!

I've never been afraid of a hurricane.

"A derecho (pronounced similar to "deh-REY-cho" in English ... ) is a widespread, long-lived wind storm that is associated with a band of rapidly moving showers or thunderstorms. ... As a result, the term 'straight-line wind damage' sometimes is used to describe derecho damage.

A storm is classified as a derecho if wind damage swath extends more than 240 miles and has wind gusts of at least 58 mph or greater along most of the length of the storm's path.

A warm-weather phenomenon, Derechos occur mostly in summer, especially during June, July, and August in the Northern Hemisphere (or March, April, and May in the Southern Hemisphere). However, Derechos may occur at any time of the year and can occur as frequently at night as during the day.

Various studies since the 1980s have shed light on the physical processes responsible for the production of widespread damaging winds by thunderstorms.

In addition, it has become apparent that the most damaging Derechos are associated with particular types of mesoscale convective systems that are self-perpetuating.

(Meaning that the convective systems are not strongly dependent on the larger-scale meteorological processes such as those associated with blizzard-producing winter storms and strong cold fronts)

In addition, the term "derecho" sometimes is misapplied to collectively generated wind events that are not particularly well-organized or long-lasting. For these reasons, a more precise, physically-based definition of "derecho" has been introduced within the meteorological community.

One hit the Midwest last August, including my state of Illinois. To read about it, type into Google Search; (August 2020 Derecho). It's scary as hell to live through. Let me make that clear.

An Exercise in Forgiveness

Forgive yourself; whatever you did is done. Especially forgive yourself for all that you've taken responsibility for that you didn't actually do. You can't make anyone feel anything. You did the best you could. Forgive yourself and move forward.

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