The Spirit World (Winter Solstice Part 1)
Written By: Aaron Ehasz
Directed By: Lauren MacMullen
Storyboard By: x
Animation By: DR Movie
(Wide shot of the open sky over a lush river valley. It is a beautiful day with lazy, puffy white clouds and sunshine. Cut to an overhead view of the valley floor, clouds moving below. A red bird moves into view, soon engulfed in an Appa shaped shadow. Cut to a long shot of Appa moving slowly through the clouds, replaced quickly by a pan left showing Aang in Appa's driving seat, leaning back, enjoying himself with a reed in his mouth. As the camera pans left, Katara stretches out on her stomach looking over Appa's side, while Sokka whittles.)
Katara (from o.c. at first): Those clouds look so soft, don't they? Like you could just jump down and you'd land in a big, soft cottony heap.
Sokka: Maybe you should give it a try.
Katara: You're hilarious.
(Cut to Aang, whose head pops towards the camera, almost smashing into it, a wide grin on his face.)
Aang: I'll try it! Yehhhh!
(He jumps right off Appa's side, laughing and hurtling down through the clouds with his staff. Sokka and Katara look over the side of Appa as he plunges through a cloud. A moment later Aang lands next to them with his glider. He is soaking wet.)
Aang: Turns out clouds are made of water!
(He airbends himself dry. Sokka and Katara eye him strangely. Suddenly, Katara turns and looks ahead.)
Katara: Hey, what is that?
(Cut to a forward view. Up ahead, the floor of the valley below around the river is black instead of vegetation green.)
Sokka: It's like a scar.
(Cut to a scene on the floor of the valley in the damaged area. Burnt tree stumps dot the barren landscape. The three have dismounted Appa and are walking around. Aang is in the foreground, Katara on his left back near Appa and Sokka to his right.)
Sokka: Listen, it's so quiet. There's no life anywhere.
Katara: Aang, are you ok?
(Cut to a view of footprints on the burnt ground. Sokka is examining them.)
Sokka: Fire Nation! Those evil savages make me sick! They have no respect for –
Sokka (whispering): What? I'm not allowed to be angry?
(Katara points ahead. Cut to Aang, standing ahead, clearly upset. He sinks to his knees in the dust and sighs. Cut to a frontal shot of Aang, who begins to run his hands through the burnt earth.)
Aang: Why would anyone do this? How could I let this happen?
Katara: Aang, you didn't let this happen. It has nothing to do with you.
Aang: Yes it does. It's the Avatar's job to protect nature. But, I don't know how to do my job.
Katara: That's why we're going to the North Pole to find you a teacher.
Aang: Yeh, a waterbending teacher, but there's no one who can teach me how to be the Avatar. Monk Gyatso said that Avatar Roku would help me.
Sokka: The Avatar before you? He died over a hundred years ago, how are you supposed to talk to him?
Aang: I don't know.
(Momo jumps into his lap and begins to chitter. Aang pets his back. Fade to a scene of Prince Zuko emerging from tall reads into a clearing.)
Zuko (yelling): Uncle! It's time to leave! Where are you? Uncle Iroh!
(The camera pans left to follow Zuko. A fire soldier uniform becomes visible hanging from the low branches of a tree as the screen pans. Cut to Iroh in a hot bath, the tub made out of rock and it is fed by a stream coming out of the rocks behind it.)
Iroh (happily)>: Over here.
Zuko: Uncle? We need to move on, we're closing in on the Avatar's trail and I don't want to lose him!
Iroh: You look tired, Prince Zuko. Why don't you join me in these hot springs and soak away your troubles.
Zuko (angry): My troubles cannot be soaked away. It's time to go!
Iroh: You should take your teacher's advice and relax a little. The temperature's just right. I heated it myself.
(Iroh shifts position slightly, puts his hands together and breathes steam from his nostrils. Cut to Zuko, obscured by steam, who swats it away.)
Zuko: Enough! We need to leave now! Get out of the water!
Iroh (rising): Very well.
(Cut to view from behind Zuko, where Zuko has put his hand up to strategically block the view of Iroh. Cut to view from Iroh's p.o.v.)
Zuko: On second thought, why don't you take another few minutes, but be back at the ship in half an hour or I'm leaving without you.
Iroh (leaning back, happily): Ahhhh!
(Cut back to an overhead shot of Aang still kneeling in the wasteland. Katara approaches him from behind.)
Katara: Hey Aang, are you ready to be cheered up?
(An acorn flys by from o.c., hitting Aang on the side of the head.)
(Cut to a wider shot of Aang looking at Katara, now in the foreground bouncing another acorn up and down in her right hand.)
Aang: Hey, how was that cheering me up?
Sokka: Hehe, cheered me up.
(Cut to Sokka, who promptly gets whacked by an acorn from Katara on this side of his head.)
Sokka: Ow! Yeh, I probably deserved that.
Katara: These acorns are everywhere, Aang. That means the forest will grow back. Every one of these will be a tall oak tree someday, and all the birds and animals that lived here will come back.
(In the background Momo digs furiously in the scorched earth, emerging with a double handful of acorns. Katara places an acorn in the palm of Aang's hands and closes it.)
Aang (smiling): Thanks, Katara.
(Katara smiles and then makes a startled sound, looking o.c. Cut to a shot of an old man in green using a walking stick approaching the group, then cut back to the group as the old man enters the screen from the right and walks up to Aang.)
Sokka: Hey, who are you?
Old Man: When I saw the flying bison, I thought it was impossible, but those markings... are you the Avatar child?
(Aang turns to Katara, who nods her head. He turns back to the old man and nods his head in turn.)
Old Man: My village desperately needs your help.
(Cut to a late afternoon shot of the sun about to go down beneath hills in the distance. The bottom of the screen shows the upper part of the walls of an Earth Kingdom village. Cut to an overhead shot of the group following the old man into the village. Much of it has been burned out and destrioyed. Sad music plays. They enter one of the buildings where some villagers are gathered. As the Old Man introduces Aang to the people, a man, probably the village chief walks over.)
Old Man: This young person is the Avatar.
Chief: So the rumors of your return are true. (He bows.) It is the greatest honor of a lifetime to be in your presence.
Aang (bows): Nice to meet you too. (Pause). So...is there something I can help you with?
Chief (looking o.c. with a pained expression): I'm not sure...
Old Man: Our village is in crisis, he's our only hope. For the last few days at sunset a spirit monster comes and attacks our village. He is Hei-Bai, the black and white spirit.
Sokka: Why is it attacking you?
Chief (moving to the threshold of the doorway that the group just entered, looking at the setting sun): We do not know, but each of the last three nights he has abducted one of our own. We are especially fearful because the winter solstice draws near.
Katara: What happens then?
Old Man: As the solstice approaches, the natural world and the spirit world grow closer and closer until the line between them is blurred completely.
Chief: Hei-Bai is already causing devastation and destruction. Once the solstice is here there is no telling what will happen.
Aang: So, what do you want me to do exactly?
Old Man: Who better to resolve a crisis between our world and the spirit world than the Avatar himself? You are the great bridge between man and spirits.
Aang (clearly lacking confidence): Right...that's me.
Katara: Hey, ‘great bridge guy', can I talk to you over here for a second?
(Katara walks over to a nearby window. Aang and then a bit later Sokka enter screen from the right. They can now talk privately.)
Katara: Aang, you seem a little unsure about all this.
Aang: Yeh, that might be because I don't know anything at all about the spirit world. (Exasperated) It's not like there's someone to teach me this stuff!
Katara: So, can you help these people?
Aang: I have to try, don't I? Maybe whatever I have to do will just... come to me.
(Momo jumps onto Aang's shoulder and chitters. Aang is surprised, but then smiles. Cut to Katara, the open window behind her, smiling serenely.)
Katara: I think you can do it, Aang.
(Camera pans right from Katara to Sokka, who is also looking at Aang, smiling serenely.)
Sokka: Yehhh, we're all gonna get eaten by a spirit monster.
(Fade back to Iroh soaking in his outdoor hot spring bath. An overhead that is slowly zooming in is quickly replaced by a close up of Iroh snoring peacefully in the bath. A noise startles Iroh into wakefulness.)
Iroh: Uh? Who's there?
(Switch to Iroh's p.o.v., his head clearly scanning back and forth over the forest in front of him. A small rodent jumps onto the lip of the bath. He lets it jumps onto his outstretched hand.)
Iroh: A meadow vole! I should have known. You startled me, little one. (Lets vole go and leans back in the bath and puts his hands behind his head.) Ehh, seems I've dozed off and missed my nephew's deadline, but it was a very sweet nap.
(The vole starts hopping up and down on the lip of the bath and making chittering noises. Suddenly it stops, the ground starts shaking from deeper in the forest. It flips around to see dust clouds rising from the forest and then hops away. Switch to a panning shot from the forest's p.o.v. The camera pans up as the ground disturbance or tremor moves. Soon it reaches Iroh's bath and we see that two other shock waves have approached the bath from Iroh's left and right. The old general has been caught by surprise and when the shockwaves reach his tub he is quickly held fast by three triangular stones that have been pushed into the tub. A second later, three earthbenders appear next to the tub behind each of the three stone projectiles that are holding Iroh imprisoned. Cut to an Earth Kingdom soldier taking Iroh's uniform off the tree, screen pans right to show an officer walking up to the bath.)
Soldier: He's a Fire Nation soldier.
Captain: He's no ordinary soldier. This is the Fire Lord's brother, the Dragon of the West, the once great General Iroh, but now, he's our prisoner.
(Cut back to Iroh, squinting unhappily at his ignominious capture. Cut to an overhead shot of the forest outside of the Earth Kingdom village. The sun has nearly set. The screen pans down and fades to Aang exiting the meetinghouse building where he had met the chief. The doors close behind him. Aang begins to walk through the village, hands defensively wrapped around his staff.)
Aang: Hello? Spirit, can you hear me? This is the Avatar speaking. I'm... here to try to help stuff.
(Cut to a view of Aang about to exit the village gate. The shot zooms out to show Sokka and Katara, backs to the audience, watching Aang from the window of the meeting house. The sun has almost set.)
Sokka: This isn't right. We can't sit here and cower while Aang waits for some monster to show up.
(Cut to a frontal view of the window. The old man stands behind the siblings. Part way through the ensuing conversation, switch to a side view, showing that much of the village waits in fear in the meetinghouse with the Old Man, Katara and Sokka.)
Old Man: If anyone can save us, he can.
Sokka: He still shouldn't have to face this alone.
(Outside, the sun sets. The world darkens. Cut to Aang, standing at the village gate, like a gunslinger.)
Aang (shouting): The sun has set. Where are you, Hei-Bai? Well, spirit, uh, I hereby ask you to please leave this village in peace!
(He twirls his staff like a marching baton and then plants it in the ground like a flag. His expression is resolute. Cut to a longshot view from behind of Aang standing at the gate.)
Aang: Okay. Well, I guess that's settled then.
(Aang turns and begins to walk back to the village. Cut to a shot of Aang from behind, who quickly turns to exit the screen to the right, leaving a view of the dark woods. Spirit whispers begin to be heard. Suddenly a massive shape emerges from the forest, its huge feet making large thudding sounds each time they hit the ground. Cut to commercial break.)
(When the show returns, Aang is still walking placidly up the village street, unaware that Hei-Bai is following right behind him. Hei-Bai is as big as a house, with six legs and black and white orca-like markings all over his body. He is vaguely mammalian and has razor sharp teeth. Aang realizes something is amiss and stops. He turns, looks up at the monster, and smiles.)
Aang: You must be the Hei-Bai spirit. (He bows his head.) My name is...
(He is cut off by a blast of air and blue energy from the mouth of the creature, Aang does not move but his staff is blown to the ground. The spirit rears itslef itself up on its hind-most legs and bellows, releasing another jet of blue energy from its mouth. It gets back on all six legs and then charges into the village, ignoring Aang and leaving him behind. Aang turns to address the monster as it moves in.)
Aang: My name is Aang! I'm the Avatar and I would like to help! Hey, wait up!
(The spirit destroys in rapid succession two houses and a watchtower using its brute strength and blue energy. The monster continues to destroy building off screen as Aang follows it around trying to get its attention.)
(Cut to a frontal view of the meetinghouse window, where Katara and Sokka look out. Sokka looks poised to jump out the window to join the fray. The village chief is behind them.)
Chief: The Avatar's methods are... (they duck as flying debris hits the window) unusual.
Sokka: It doesn't seem too interested in what he's saying. Maybe we should go help him?
Old Man: No, only the Avatar stands a chance against the Hei-Bai.
Katara: Aang will figure out the right thing to do, Sokka.
(Momo appears to Sokka's right in the window, his eyes blinking widely. Cut to a side view shot of a building. Just beyond, a huge pile of debris gets blown above the building. Hei-Bai enters from the right as the screen pans down to reveal Aang running to the building between he and the monster.)
Aang: Please, would you stop destroying things and listen?
(He jumps on top of the building between them. He sees Hei-Bai pounding a building into the ground with his fists.)
Aang: I'm just trying to do my job as spirit bridge. Excuse me, would you please turn around? I command you to turn around now!
(At this the monster does indeed turn around, swatting Aang backward off the top of the building. Aang flys through the air and hits a nearby roof. He slides off and collapses on the ground. Cut back to the meetinghouse window.)
Sokka: That's it! He needs help! (He exits to his left.)
Katara: Sokka wait!
(The doors of the meetinghouse open and Sokka runs out. Katara follows, but is stopped by the old man.)
Old Man: It's not safe!
(Cut to the monster standing over Aang in the foreground, while in the background we see Sokka, hefting his boomering, having just emerged from the meeting house. Cut to close of Sokka, ready to shoot.)
Sokka: Hei-Bai! Over here!
(He lets loose the boomerang. Switch to a view of the creature from behind. The boomerang rotates into view, hits the creature's butt, and bounces off with a sound effect indicating its harmless impact. It falls on the ground. Cut back to Sokka, who runs up to Aang.)
Aang: Sokka, go back!
Sokka: We'll fight him together, Aang.
Aang: I don't wanna fight him unless I – huh!
(Hei-Bai comes on screen in a flash from the left and takes Sokka. Both disappear in an instant, cutting Aang off in mid-sentence. Aang opens his staff into glider mode and takes off. Cut to the monster loping back into the forest, Aang gliding in pursuit. Katara runs into the picture from o.c., but stops at the village gate, clearly unable to catch up.)
(Cut to frontal shot of Katara, who looks down in sadness, sympathetic villagers coming up behind her. Cut to a shot of Zuko lowering a tree branch from eye-level so he can move forward, a Fire Nation soldier behind him. He barges into the clearing with the ruined hot tub.)
Zuko: Uncle! Uncle, where are you?
Soldier: Sir, maybe he thought you left without him?
Zuko: Something's not right here. (He examines the hot tub, now with the stone projectiles embedded in it.) That pile of rocks...
Soldier: It looks like there's been a landslide, sir.
Zuko: Land doesn't slide uphill. Those rocks didn't move naturally. My uncle's been captured by earthbenders!
(Cut back to Aang gliding at breakneck speed through the forest in pursuit of Hei-Bai, then to Sokka in the grip of the monster, making scared noises. Cut to a side view of the monster where it is clear that Aang has pulled even with it and is beginning to pass, but he hits a branch and slows down.)
Sokka: Aang, over here!
(Cut to an overhead shot where Aang is playing catch up again. Hei Bai enters the wasteland from the beginning of the episode, Aang close behind. Switch to a close up of Sokka in the grip of the monster.)
Aang: Hang on, Sokka!
(Aang glides in closer, stretching his hand to Sokka, who is able to grab it. Just as Aang begins to pull Sokka free, however, both he and the monster vanish. Aang falls out of the sky in surprise. Cut to Aang laid out at the base of the stone statue of a bear. Fade to black. The scene returns with Aang sitting up, with a crescent moon overhead. Aang seems bathed in moonlight.)
Aang: Sokka! (He looks around and the view zooms out a bit.) I failed.
(Fade to another night scene of treetops. The screen pans down and then a cut to soldiers on war ostriches, a lantern hanging off the point soldier's mount. The screen pans left to show four mounts total, one of them bearing a basically naked and chained General Iroh.)
Iroh: Where are you taking me?
Captain: We're taking you to face justice.
Iroh: Right. But where, specifically?
Captain: A place you're quite familiar with, actually. You once laid siege to it for 600 days, but it would not yield to you.
Iroh (whistfully): Ah! The great city of Ba-Sing-Se.
Captain: It was greater than you were, apparently.
Iroh (defensively): I acknowledged my defeat at Ba-Sing-Se! After 600 days away from home, my men were tired and I was tired, (yawns, puts face in the back of the soldier he is riding with) and I'm still tired.
(Iroh falls off the ostrich and the soldier stops to look. Cut to Iroh lying on the road, chained up tight, but a smile on his face. The put a light on him and pick him up. After they exit the screen, the camera pans down and zooms to show the sandal that Iroh has left behind. Cut back to Iroh, who smiles. Shift to view to Katara sitting at the village gate, looking into the forest. The old man comes up behind her while the noises of the night fill the air.)
Old Man: I'm sure they'll be back.
Katara: I know.
Old Man (putting a cover over Katara's back): You should get some rest.
Katara (holding Sokka's boomerang and trying to sound hopeful): Everything's gonna be okay.
Old Man: Your brother is in good hands. I would be shocked if the Avatar returned without him.
(In the midst of the Old Man's comforting words, Aang appears along the forest trail leading up to the gate. In this light it is clear now that he is not just illuminated by the moon. He is in fact colored a light blue, as if he is glowing slightly in some surreal fashion. In the foreground we can see Katara's downcast face on the left of the screen as Aang begins to speak.)
Aang: Katara, Katara I lost him.
(Neither she nor the old man react to Aang's voice. As Aang comes closer, the sun rises behind her and the old man.)
Old Man: The sun is rising. Perhaps he will return soon.
Aang: What? No, I'm right here! Grrr!!!
(He puts his hands in front of the old man's face, but to no effect. Cut to Aang's p.o.v., with the rising disk of the sun in front of him. He looks at his hands glowing blue. Switch to a frontal view of Aang which zooms up to his face.)
Aang: I'm in the spirit world!
(Fade to white. Scene returns to a daytime shot of the sandal that Iroh left behind. Zuko picks up the sandal and sniffs it, a look of disgust spreading over his face.)
Zuko: Yup, that's Uncle Iroh.
(Cut to wide shot of Zuko standing next to his war rhinoceros, the cut to Katara standing dejectedly next to the gate post. The shot widens to show Aang sitting next to her.)
Aang (smiling): I'll figure this out, Katara, I promise. Like they said, I'm the bridge between the worlds, right? All I have to do is... figure out what I have to do. But once I do that, no problem!
(Aang looks to his right, then cut to Appa moving along the outside of the wall towards Katara and Aang. He grunts and puts his nose up to her.)
Aang: Appa! Hey buddy, I'm right here. But, I guess you can't see me either.
(Appa keeps grunting at her until she looks up at him.)
Katara: It's ok, Appa. I'm sure they're on their way back. I bet they even found you a bunch of moon peaches for a treat.
(She walks back into the village, Appa in tow. Cut to a frontal shot of Aang turning to look back down the forest path.)
Aang: What am I supposed to do?
(The shot expands to show much of the forest.)
Aang (shouting): Avatar Roku, how can I talk to you?
(He gets no response at first and looks down in despair. Then, he notices something and looks back down the path, his face showing elation.)
(A light shines from down the path. The camera zooms up to it to reveal a blue spirit dragon flying toward him. Cut back to Aang who sees this with alarm.)
Aang: That's definitely not Sokka!
(He opens his glider and takes flight back into the village, but he hits the ground again a few feet away. He gets up and tries to airbend the glider off the ground, but nothing happens. Aang looks down at his hands in disbelief.)
Aang: What? I can't airbend in the spirit world!
(Cut to the blue spirit dragon bearing down on Aang, then cut to commercial break.)
(When the show returns we once again see the blue dragon, wreathed in radioactive blue fire, bearing down on Aang. Cut to the clearing in front of the gate where Aang stands. Suddenly the dragon is upon him and Aang cowers beneath it, fear framing his young face.)
Aang: You don't know where Sokka is, do you?
(In response, the dragon bends its head down and touches Aang's head with one of its whiskers. Aang's eyes glow with a blue fire when touched. A flashback begins of an old man riding the dragon the way Aang rides Appa. They approach the camera; in life the dragon was red and brown. The flashback ends as the blue dragon breaks its touch.)
Aang: You're Avatar Roku's animal guide! Like Appa is to me. I need to save my friend and I don't know how. Is there some way for me to talk to Roku?
(The dragon bends its neck and Aang jumps on.)
Aang: I'll be back Katara. (To the dragon) Take me to Roku!
(Aang and the dragon take off. Cut to Katara stroking Appa sadly, with Aang and the dragon visible of her left shoulder as they depart. Fade to an overhead shot of a winding mountain path. The four war ostriches plod along it. Cut to Iroh and his captor. He looks up and is startled to see the blue dragon and Aang whiz by overhead. They pass right over the heads of the procession, but it is clear that only Iroh has seen anything.)
Captain: What's the problem?
Iroh: Nothing. Actually, there is a bit of a problem. My old joints are feeling sore and achy and these shackles are too loose.
Captain: Too loose?
Iroh: That's right. The cuffs are loose and they jangle around and bump my wrists. It would help me if you would tighten them so they wouldn't shake around so much.
Captain: Very well. Corporal, tighten the prisoner's hand cuffs.
(Cut to a shot of the sky over the path which pans down to reveal the ostriches parked on the ground. The corporal gets off and he touches Iroh's handcuffs, Iroh breathes on them. They become red hot and Iroh grabs the corporal's hand and puts them on the hot iron. The corporal screams in pain and Iroh hops off the ostrich. He launches himself into the air and fires a blast of flame from his feet at the other soldier's on their ostriches. He rolls off the path and down the hill during the ensuing uproar. Cut to a view from Aang's p.o.v. on the dragon as they swiftly approach a volcanic island. It has a beautiful Fire Temple on it, which they enter and fly straight towards the ceiling.)
Aang: Hey, what are you doing!? Ahhhh!!!
(They rapidly approach the ceiling, which they pass through harmlessly. The dragon alights on the floor of a secret chamber at the top of the temple. It is empty except for the statue of an old man in the background. Aang dismounts and walks toward the statue.)
Aang: I don't understand. This is just a statue of Roku.
(Aang looks back at the dragon, which touches him on the temple once again. Aang's eyes light up blue, and this time the vision is of a huge, flaming comet rocketing through the sky. The vision ends as the dragon breaks contact.)
Aang: Is that what Roku wants to talk to me about? A comet? When can I talk to him?
(The dragon lowers its head in response. Cut to a wider shot where it now revealed that the sun shines through a tiny window high up in the ceiling. The shaft of light, previously blocked by the dragon, now hits the wall near Roku's right shoulder. The dragon touches Aang again and a vision of time passing at the Fire Temple begins. Cut to an exterior shot of the temple sitting on its volcanic promontory. Clouds fly by at incredible speed overhead and the sun rounds its daily course in a matter of seconds. Three days pass in this fashion before a fade to show the floor of the statue's chamber. Two Asian written characters are shown before cutting to a shot of the little window where the sunlight enters. Days pass in rapid succession there as well. Shift to a long shot of the statue from the back of the room, where it is clear with each day the spot where the shaft of sunlight hits the back wall gets closer to hitting the statue's face as each day passes. The vision ends.)
Aang: It's a calendar, and the light will reach Roku on the solstice! (Turning to dragon) So, that's when I'll be able to speak to Roku? (The dragon grunts.) But I can't wait that long. I need to save Sokka now.
(Cut to a long, overhead shot of Aang and the dragon departing the volcanic and terrific speed, then cut to Iroh rolling down the hillside, still chained. The earthebender soldiers watch him from over the lip, earthbend a torrent of dirt and rock after him and then slide down the hillside in pursuit. When they catch up to him, Iroh is almost buried.)
Soldier: He is too dangerous, Captain. We can't just carry him to the capital. We have to do something now.
Captain: I agree. He must be dealt with immediately and severely.
(Cut to a close up of Iroh's face. He spits out a stone and looks with disdain upon his captors. Cut to Appa and Katara flying reconnaissance over the forest.)
Katara: It's no use, Appa. I don't see them anywhere. Our best hope is to go back to the village and wait.
(Cut to wide shot as she turns Appa to fly back to the village. Shift to a huge reptilian foot slamming into the ground where a clear trail of the war ostriches can be seen. Cut to Zuko atop his war rhinoceros, who looks over his shoulder to see Appa flying in the distance.)
Zuko: The Avatar!
(He yanks the reigns to turn the beast back, but then he looks down the trail that leads to his captured uncle. He looks back again in the direction he saw Appa, indecision marking his face. Cut to Aang and the dragon flying through the wasteland at the edge of the forest. Up ahead the bear stature can be seen, rapidly growing larger. His body sits crossed legged atop it. Aang braces himself for impact, but he rejoins his own body as the dragon disappears into the statue. He wakes up, now back in the material world. He jumps down off the statue and turns to stare in wonder at it. After a close up of the face of the bear statue, Aang opens his glider and flies back toward the village. Cut to a view of the setting sun from the village where Katara looks downcast. She is standing on the porch of the meetinghouse. Out of the sunset Aang comes into view and lands near her. She rushes to hug him and Momo flies to perch on his master's shoulder.)
Katara: You're back! Where's Sokka?
Aang (downcast): I'm not sure.
(The sun sets and both look over their shoulders to the forest. Fade to Iroh and his captors in an earthen pit. Iroh is stretched over a large rock in the center of the pit, his hands spread before him.)
Captain: These dangerous hands must be crushed.
(The captain cries aloud as he raises a huge boulder from the ground and moves it to hover over Iroh's hands. He drops it. A moment before it crushed Iroh's hands and arms, Zuko enters the screen from the left and kicks it out of the way. He lands and breaks the chains holding Iroh's hands bound with a kick. Iroh rises with a smile.)
Iroh: Excellent form, Prince Zuko.
Zuko: You taught me well.
Captain: Surrender yourselves, it's five against two. You're clearly outnumbered.
(Cut to Iroh and Zuko, back to back, surrounded by their would be captors.)
Iroh: Uh, that's true, but you are clearly outmatched!
(All five earthbenders launch stones at the pair. Iroh swings his chains and breaks them into pieces mid-flight, while Zuko blasts the two nearest him with fire. Cut to a frontal view of Zuko where it is clear that the two soldiers behind him have just shot two large rocks at him. Zuko is about to be hit when the stones are wrapped in Iroh's chains. He swings them around his body and releases them back at their captors. They are hit in the stomach and are both knocked out. The Captain launches several rocks at Zuko, who dodges them and returns fire. The fire blast is blocked when the Captain lowers his head and the fire breaks harmlessly over his onion shaped helmet. The Captain raise two huge sheets of rock and Zuko looks afraid, but then chains wrap around the Captain's feet and his is pulled to the ground by Iroh. The rocks land on top of him. Cut to the Earth Kingdom soldiers groaning and buried in dirt, Iroh and Zuko standing over them. They look at each other and smile, Zuko putting his hand on his uncle's shoulder. Cut to an overhead shot of the pit.)
Zuko: Now would you please put on some clothes!
(Fade to Aang standing at the village gate once again. It is still night. Cut to the chief, Momo and Katara looking out of the meetinghouse window towards Aang, then cut to Aang standing at the gate again, the wind blowing dead leaves past him. Some time has evidently passed, and Aang's begins to walk back into the village. As he approaches a building with a wind chime that is sounding in the wind, the monster appears. Cut to the monster breaking through the roof of the building with the wind chime. It roars in triumph, releasing blue energy from its mouth. Cut to Aang who cries out and begins to make an energy shell similar to the one he created in “The Southern Air Temple.” Cut to Katara looking out the window.)
Katara: Aang, what are you doing? Run!
(The creature roars and runs toward another building, but Aang runs underneath its legs and then jumps up onto its forehead. His hand glows light blue, and Aang sues a panda bear superimposed over the monster. Aang jumps back to the porch of a nearby building.)
Aang: You're the spirit of this forest. Now I understand. You're upset and angry because your home was burned down. When I saw the forest had burned I was sad and upset. But my friend gave me hope that the forest would grow back.
(The spirit stands still while Aang speaks. When he is finished, he shows Hei-Bai the acorn that Katara gave him. The spirit smiles and Aang places the acorn on the porch. The monster picks up the acorn and transforms into a panda, who turns and walks away from the village. Cut to Aang standing on the porch. The shot widens to show Katara and the other villagers coming up behind him. The scene then shifts to the panda exiting the gate. Behind him a thicket of bamboo grows to man height in seconds. A moment later, Sokka and a few villagers exit the thicket looking confused.)
(She runs to hug him, as other villagers hug their loved ones.)
Sokka: What happened?
Katara: You were trapped in the Spirit world for 24 hours. How are you feeling?
Sokka (looking pained): Like I seriously need to use the bathroom!
(Cut to the chief flanked by two villagers on each side. It is sometime later that night.)
Chief: Thank you, Avatar. If there only were a way to repay you for what you've done.
Sokka: You could give us some supplies and some money.
Katara (angrily elbowing her brother): Sokka!
Sokka: What? We need stuff.
Chief (bowing): It would be an honor to help you prepare for your journey. (He exits.)
Katara: I'm so proud of you, Aang. You figured out what to do all on your own.
Aang: Actually, I did have a little help. And there's something else.
(Aang looks downcast, cut to a flashback of the comet vision.)
Sokka: What is it?
Aang: I need to talk to Roku and I think I've found a way to contact his spirit.
Katara: That's great!
Sokka: Creepy, but great.
Aang: There's a temple on a crescent shaped island, and if I go there on the solstice I'll be able to speak with him.
Katara: But, the solstice is tomorrow.
Aang: Yeh, and there's one more problem. The island is in the Fire Nation.
(Music gets dramatic and cut to the terrified faces of Sokka and Katara. Camera pans up to the moon over the hills.)
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