Under the canopy of trees, her voice made little, soft echoes from the density of her bawls. As she was leaning over, her fetal cage marked an absence of happiness that could only be denoted from afar.
Through the trees and bushes, he observed her and watched, empathetic to this young friend of his. Eschewing his hesitation, he stood and said, "I know what it's like. I've been here, before."
Keeping his presence of stillness, he remained behind the bushes, allowing her the chance to come to him. Her head not turning around, she remained to cry, saying, "Aang… I know it's you. It's okay. I'm fine."
However, Aang still stood behind and said, "Korra, it's going to be okay. Uri will be fine."
She kept in her huddle, saying, "I'm scared… What if Uri can't be fine?"
Meanwhile, back at the temple, Katara and Leng sat and pondered. Outside, Appa was lowing through the thick bowl of night that sat overhead, yet peaceful. However, the reflections of these two indoors were all but solemn. The absence of clarity that was brought on marked Uri's existence, as well as his absence for the time being.
Looking to Leng, she asked, "I don't get it, though… How was Haran able to reincarnate?"
With handsome, summoning eyes, he replied, "As with everyone has that potential… Haran had a free ticket to it. Reincarnation is a cycle where apart from the Avatar, it is very rare for someone to reincarnate.
"The spirits created you with a special existence, so there won't be a girl later who claims to have your memories and be 'Katara.' However, sometimes, those little reincarnations can break through the wheel of life. If he's a dark spirit in the same step as Haran, who has powers based off the nature of existence… It comes naturally, I'm afraid."
Katara, stunned, asked Leng, "But… How could Vashti's son be corrupted? She was an Avatar!"
"You have to understand… Before the Air Reformation, the Airbenders were a corrupt people and would only allow Avatars of their league to venture outside on certain grounds. Vashti had broken a code that was corrupt and chauvinistic in its precept. Thus, there was no denying that they had waged a very personal war with the spirits in limiting the necessity of their medium."
Katara asked, "But was it really necessary to badger Aang like that?"
Leng stood up and, walking around the table, replied, "Katara… You have to understand. Haran is a spirit of unspeakable powers. Even if Vashti was no longer the Avatar by the spiritual designation of bending, she was still very much in the Avatar cycle, whereas Zenryu was grafted in. This has only ever been done once, but she is still Aang's emotional predecessor by designation of her role."
"But Aang would never do anything that… Evil."
Leng, whose back stood turned, said, "I know… But what is evil to one may not be evil to another. For example, why run away from the Air Temple when the war was in its beginning stages? It could've been seen as shirking his duties to another monk in his time. Pure laziness!"
Even as this didn't prove a voice of criticism, it still stood repugnant to her; Katara's eyes titled with slight anger, forcing her to speak, "He was scared!"
"Master Leng, please be careful of what you're saying," a sudden voice entreated. From the timbre of how it was delivered, it was clear that Uri was standing before them.
"I know what it feels like, Korra, but you have to trust me."
Aang looked at Korra as she knelt on the ground, sobbing with understanding. Fresh with tears, her sit embraced the ground with discomfort as she wept. Aang stood behind a set of branches that was only partially obscuring him, however seeming destined to create a hole to be seen through. Without the semblance of miracle in her eyes, she continually cried, saying, "But… He doesn't deserve to suffer… He shouldn't have to hurt like this! I love him!"
Aang decided to comfortably stand behind, allowing Korra to assess her thoughts with the brief passing of seconds. He stated, "I know."
However, she was wiping through the set of personal longings that she felt; for Uri's peace, for his freedom. The realization sat upon her in what was love too briefly placed before fire.
Suddenly, Aang's mind blinked with reason, his eyes glinting purely. He started to say, "You know, I think it's funny."
Wiping her arm beneath her eyes, Korra asked, "What?
Aang smiled and started to add, "Haran was born of Vashti, but the funny thing is, Haran picked the wrong person to be his reincarnation."
"What was Uri's girlfriend's name, again?"
Korra replied, "Demri."
"Yes. However, she was the reincarnation of Vashti, not Uri. Uri is somehow a counterfeit Avatar, if what Leng says is true… However, to be the Avatar, you must be reincarnated from the Avatar. That means that Haran will do anything to hurt Uri, because he's a good guy."
Korra started to hold herself from her trapped, hunched back with the thoughts implied. Here, Aang started to smile and kept Korra's attention, even if she was still in a desperate whimper. He said, "Uri doesn't want to be controlled by Haran, which means he's not Haran. He's Uri."
"Still, what does that mean for him?! He could be stuck this way!"
Aang smiled and, continuing behind the bushes, "I'm stuck 100 years later. That probably means all my friends back in time are wondering where I am, right now."
Only briefly could Korra start to free her mouth from the trap of her shriveling lips, saying, "And you're the Avatar; you've gotta deal with it."
With this, the two of them started to smile, cracking a couple of laughs. Suddenly, the pair acknowledged the presence of humor in what was being traded. As the moments happened, they seemed to reel Korra through the thickness of air holding her by the weight of her sadness. She turned around and walked over to Aang with tears still in her eyes, but she looked at him. Her laughter was sealed by the heartfelt look that sat before her in Aang's face; she looked and after his closed, laughing eyes opened, he started to say, "When we hit our lowest point, that is when we are open to the greatest change."
Back at the temple, Uri, Leng, and Katara sat at the table with hard impressions. Uri looked on at the two of them and said, "I'm sorry for luring you here to try and fight you, Katara."
Katara replied, "No hard feelings; you have a good spirit."
Leng, with a fatherly look, started saying, "Uri… You have a good spirit."
Uri's doleful look already fell lower, his face staring toward the table with a marked sadness. He could only state, "I wish it was my spirit."
Standing up and walking over, Leng curiously allowed himself over to where Uri was and put his hands on his back. Uri looked up at him, as he said, "I could invoke Haran's name to pull the sadness out of you. However, I must advise 'Uri' to cheer up!"
Handsomely smiling down to him, Leng made sure that he was giving due kindness to the young man he held near. Continuing to speak, Leng said, "Uri… Long ago, Haran had developed a means of escaping the spirits and keeping a part of himself incarnated, while he would stand trial before them. The spirits of fire, air, water, and earth collectively judged him, but he was able to siphon off a portion of his spirit. There, he created 'the White Palace.'"
Reflectively, Uri looked down to the table and said, "The White Palace… That's the realm that I brought Aang to, when I was fighting him!"
"Exactly. However, the White Palace Order was created as a means of protecting the legacy of the boy who was Haran's prisoner. The same man who created it was…"
Keen in his listen, Uri breathed, "… Avatar Leng… The one who sealed me away, along with my brother…"
Leng finished, saying, "… My grandfather. I am Leng the Fifth. Uri, we have found that boy!"
The profundity of such a paternal speech amazed Katara from where she sat, while Uri was caught looking in boyish innocence. Such a mark of brotherhood was shared, even as Leng was only several years older than Uri. Uri was yet a young man, while Leng was easily twenty-five; nonetheless, they were no more than being like father and son.
Meanwhile, miles away in a Fire Nation town, Commander Sokka was looking to the bright sun above him. Although the wind was taut for the quiet of the day, he could focus in on the thoughts that were channeled. All of a sudden, he heard the creaking and cackling of a foreign presence nearby.
Flying over was a winged creature that harvested his mind to focus, himself verbally thinking, "Is that who I think it is?"
Running down the stone steps nearby, he looked and saw the white, pretty animal, saying, "Momo!"
Around Momo's neck, however, was a collar that held with it a sheet of parchment as he flew into Sokka's arms. Pulling the sheet out from the collar, Sokka looked and read it before him. Making sure of the inscription, he said, "This is from… Katara."
A few moments later, it was implicit through his discernment that he had captured someone. The letter was brief, but did well to explain that an Avatar doppelganger indeed existed. Enough could be surmised in the statements on the paper, himself looking up from it and thinking on its contents. He thought for a few more seconds, thinking, "Didn't that kid say his brother's name was Uri?"
On the next episode of Avatar Z… Joni and Sokka run into an operation of Ozai Settlers. However, a surprise guest joins them for the fight! Meanwhile, Aang, Katara, and Korra are trying to help Uri, but his ugly temper starts to snap! Finally, who is Toph's new boyfriend? All this and more, on Avatar Z!