Written By: Tim Hedrick
Directed By: Lauren Macmullan
Storyboard By: Lauren Macmullan, Ethan Spaulding, Dean Kelly, Jerry Langford
Animation By: JM Animation Co, Ltd
(Opening shot of the forest floor. It seems to be late afternoon. A split second later, Momo appears. He looks around, and then jumps out of the frame. In the background, a blurry shadow scurries among the trees. Cut to a long shot of Momo flying through the forest canopy. The view pans down as he flies and comes to rest on a circular notice board. Appa and the kids are there inspecting it. Cut to a side view of Katara walking up to read the notice board, Sokka in the background emptying a food bag right into his mouth.)
Katara: This should give us a good idea of what's around here.
Sokka (finishing with the empty bag): See if you can find a menu, I'm starving.
(Aang rushes into the frame from the right and points at a colorful flyer on the board.)
Aang: I bet we'll find something to eat here! (Cut to a frontal shot of the flyer). The Fire Days Festival. (Reading the flyer.) Fire Nation cultural exhibits...jugglers, benders, magicians. This'd be a great place for me to study some real firebenders!
Sokka (from other side of the board): You might wanna rethink that. Look at this.
(Cut to a shot of the side of the board Sokka is looking at. The color flyer on top is a wanted poster of Aang. On the lower right is a wanted poster for the Blue Spirit. On the right is a wanted poster for a white haired man.)
Aang: Hey, a poster of me!
Sokka: A wanted poster. This is bad.
(Aang takes the poster off the board as Katara comes and looks at it as well.)
Katara: I think we better keep moving.
Aang: I have to learn firebending at some point, and this could be my only chance to watch a master up close.
Katara (looking at the ground, unsure): I guess we could check it out.
Sokka: What!? You want to walk into a Fire Nation town where they're all fired up with all their, you know, fire?
Katara: We'll wear disguises and if it looks like trouble, we'll leave.
(Katara and Aang walk over to Appa.)
Sokka (to no one): Yeh, because we always leave before we get into trouble.
(Sokka turns and walks toward the others while the camera zooms up to the wanted poster for the white haired man. Cut to an overhead shot of the kids and Appa coming out of the forest on a slight hill. In the distance, the walled Fire Nation town can be seen. It is now dusk. Cut to Aang looking backwards to speak to Appa and Momo.)
Aang: You guys stay out of sight here while we go to the festival.
(Cut to a frontal shot of Appa, Momo perched on his neck. Momo then flies up and then drops down into a small bush nearby. Appa follows and tries to hide behind the bush, which is about a foot tall. Cut back to Aang, who turns to speak to his friends.)
Aang: Ready disguises!
(Cut to Sokka, who pulls down the hood of a black cloak over his head, then cut to Katara who does the same thing. Finally, cut to Aang, who has pulled his red hood up over the top of his head in a completely ineffective attempt to change his appearance. He sees his friends and grins in some embarrassment. Cut to Sokka, hands folded, with Katara laughing to his right.)
Sokka (sarcastically): It's like you're a whole different person.
Aang: Let's go.
(Cut to shot of them walking down the hill towards the town, then cut to a brief shot of a masked man, the shadow from earlier, watching them go to the town. Scene shifts to an overhead shot of the Fire Nation town and its main square, which is full of people. Overhead, the sky is filled with colorful fireworks. Cut to a frontal shot of the three entering the main square. Around them children frolic, revelers run by in ornate costumes, including several people almost completely concealed in a Chinese dragon outfit, and all participants are wearing colorful masks.)
Katara: I think we need some new disguises.
Sokka (skeptical and annoyed): Where are we gonna get masks like that?
(Shot expands to show a stall selling masks on their right.)
Mask Merchant: Get your genu-ine Fire Festival masks here!
Sokka (as Aang and Katara rush over): That was surprisingly easy.
(Cut to three turning away from the stall, each now wearing a mask. At first Sokka is wearing a happy mask and Aang a sad one. Katara switches them, revealing Sokka's sour puss face and Aang's wide smile. The masks now match the temperament of the owner. They walk into the square.)
Aang (pointing ahead, o.c.): Hey, there's some food.
Sokka (running ahead): Finally! (To food merchant): What do you have?
Food Merchant: Flaming fire flakes! Best in town.
(Cut to a little steaming bag in the merchants hand. Sokka grabs them.)
Sokka: I'll take'em!
(He stuffs them in his mouth, then starts screaming and blowing steam from his mouth. He partially removes his mask to cool his tongue.)
Sokka: Aaahhh! Hot! Hot!
Katara (Crossing her arms): "Flaming fire flakes" hot? What do you know.
Aang (looking o.c. to his right): Hey, look at this.
(Cut to the three walking up to a Punch & Judy show that is about to begin. The audience is full of children. The curtain of the puppet stage draws open and a puppet of the Fire Lord appears. The audience cheers, then cut to a close up of the puppet.)
Puppet Fire Lord: Don't worry loyal citizens! No one can surprise the Fire Lord!
(Behind him an earthbender puppet has risen up, with a rock at the ready to strike the Fire Lord Puppet. Cut to the children in the audience who start to cry out warnings. The Fire Lord puppet turns suddenly and torches the earthbender puppet with a huge gout of flame. The audience cheers. Cut to an overhead shot where the three turn away from the puppet show and head back towards another stage with a large crowd. On this stage there is a single performer.)
Katara: Aang, hold on! Where are we going?
Aang: I don't know, but there's a big crowd so it must be good.
Sokka: Knowing the Fire Nation, it's probably an execution.
(Cut to a closer shot of the stage, which has four thin pillars with fire basins at their tops. The performer is a firebender who is manipulating fire for the crowd's delight. He concludes by extinguishing his fire and producing a small flock of white birds who fly off the stage. Cut to the three, with Aang partially removing his mask to follow the flight of the birds. He looks ahead, a big smile on his face.)
Aang: I gotta learn that trick!
Performer (to the crowd): Thank you! For my next trick I need a volunteer from the audience!
Aang (raising his hand and waving it about): Oh! Oh! Me! Me!
Sokka: What do you think you're doing?
Aang: I want to get a closer look.
Katara: It's better that we don't attract any attention to ourselves.
Performer (pointing at Katara): How about you, little lady?
Katara (backing away and shaking her head): Uh
Performer: Awww, she's shy. Leeet's give her some encouragement, folks!
(Someone from the audience pushes Katara over to the edge of the stage where the Performer grabs her and hauls her up.)
Aang: Awww! That could'a been me.
(View zooms into the crowd to show that the masked figure from earlier has penetrated the edges of the audience. Cut back to a long shot of the stage. The performer, carrying a chair, ushers Katara to the center of the stage. Once there he seats her on the chair.)
Performer: This next trick is called "Taming the Dragon." (To Katara) You will be my captured princess!
(He ties her up with a maroon ribbon and begins to firebend a huge fire comet from the fires at the top of each pillar. He loops it close to Katara and back out. He seems to control it by a flame rope that connects its head to the Performer's hand.)
Performer: Don't worry, young maiden! I will tame this fiery beast! (He plays with the fire comet for a bit more, then continues) It's too strong, I can't hold it!
Aang: We gotta help her!
Sokka: No, we don't want to make a scene!
Performer: The rope, it's breaking!
(The rope breaks and the comet charges right for Katara, who cringes and cries out. Shift to Aang airbending himself up and out of the frame, both Sokka and the masked man just failing to restrain him. Cut to a frontal shot of Katara in the chair. Aang drops in from the sky, turns and creates a whirlwind that dissipates the comet in with a shower of confetti.)
Performer (from the stage floor where he'd fallen): Hey, you tryin' to upstage me, kid?
(Cut to Aang, watching the confetti rain down on him. Zoom back to reveal the crowd which starts to 'boo' him. Aang tries to amuse them with a lame dance while Sokka unties Katara in the background. Suddenly, someone speaks up.)
Audience Member: Hey! That kid's the Avatar!
(Aang freezes, a look of horror on this face. Cut to three Fire Nation guards who turn to face the camera at the mention of his name. They begin muscling through the crowd to the stage. Cut back to the three who have now removed their masks.)
Sokka: I think it's time to go.
Chey (from o.c.): Follow me! I can git ya outta here!
(Camera pans right to reveal a broken wall at the back of the stage. The masked man waves to them through it, prompting them to follow.)
Guard: There they are!
(They run through the broken wall just as the guards burst onstage. The masked man throws a smoke bomb at the guards feet, obscuring the view. Cut to a few shots of the kids and the masked man running through squares and alleys.)
Guard #2 (pointing at them as they pass): Over there!
Aang: I'm calling Appa!
(Groups of pursing guards link up behind them as Aang produces his bison whistle and blows.)
Sokka: I hope he can really hear that bison whistle!
Chey (turning into an alley): This way! (It's a dead end.) Okay! Not this way!
(They turn, but the exit is blocked by guards. The masked man throws another exploding smoke bomb and then run past them into another alley. This one is a dead too. It ends in a high wall. On the other side is a huge supply dump of fireworks. Cut to an overhead shot that reveals Appa has arrived just in time.)
Aang: Appa! Down here!
(Appa lands between the kids and the guards, with his tail facing the guards. Appa flaps his beaver like tail on the ground and the gale that results blows the guards out of the alley to land in a confused heap some distance away. As the guards run back into the alley, Appa can be seen already airborne. Cut to the masked man on Appa's back. He bites the top off a some kind of bomb like object, whose fuse is now lit. He throws it at the fireworks supply and it blows up in an awesome display of colors and sounds. Cut to the masked man removing his hood as they cruise away, watching the town and the fireworks from afar.)
Aang: Nice touch setting off the fireworks.
Sokka: You seem to really know your explosives.
Chey (turning to them): I'm familiar.
Sokka (surprised): You're a Fire Nation soldier!
Chey: Was. My name's Chey.
(Cut to a night scene with Appa and the others around a camp fire. Appa is dozing.)
Chey: I serve a man. More than a man really, he's a myth, but he's real, a living legend, Jeong Jeong the Deserter. He was a Fire Nation general, or wait, was he an admiral?
Sokka: He was very highly ranked, we get it.
Chey: Yeh! Way up there! But he couldn't take the madness any more. He's the first person ever to leave the army - and live. I'm the second, but you don't get to be a legend for that. That's okay though. Jeong Jeong's a firebending genius. Some say he's mad - but he's not! He's enlightened.
Aang: You mean there's a firebender out here who's not with the Fire Lord? (Standing up) We've gotta go see him! He can train me!
Sokka: We're not gonna go find some crazy firebender!
Chey (standing up): He's not crazy! He's a genius! And he's the perfect person to train the Avatar! That's why I followed you into the festival.
Sokka (standing up): Look, thanks for the help, but we're leaving for the north pole in the morning.
Aang (hurt): Sokka, this could be my only chance to meet a firebending master who would actually be willing to teach me.
Katara (standing up as well): It can't hurt just to talk to him.
Sokka: That's what you said about going to the festival! Why doesn't anyone ever listen to me!?
(As Sokka turns to stalk away from the group, he almost runs right into a spear. In a flash, they are surrounded by men wearing straw hats and armor and wielding spears.)
Lin Yi: Don't move!
(When the show returns, the kids and Appa are being led through the forest at night by the rebels.)
Lin Yi: Jeong Jeong told you not to look for Avatar!
Sokka: Hold on, you know these guys!?
Chey: Oh yeh! Lin Yi's an old buddy! Right Lin Yi?
Lin Yi (lowering spear at Chey): Shut up! Keep moving.
(They continue waling, fade to the same scene, but apparently some time later. It is still night. Down the hill, though, there is a little lean to shack.)
Lin Yi: Go on. He sees you only.
Chey: Oh that's okay, we can chat later.
Aang: Is that where Jeong Jeong is? I need to talk to him right away.
(Aang begins to move forward, but it stopped by a spear shaft across his path.)
Lin Yi: No! You wait there. (Pushing Chey forward roughly) Go now!
Chey: Don't worry! Everything'll be fine. He's a great man, great man!
(Chey walks toward Jeong Jeong's, the cut back to the Fire Nation town the kids just visited. Shift to the now deserted central square of the town where some local guards are being interrogated by Admiral Zhao who is flanked by a few guards.)
Zhao: So, the Avatar was here and you let slip away?
Officer: Yes, sir, but other than that the festival went off without a hitch! (A huge piece of burning walls falls in the background with a massive crash.) No fights. Theft was way down.
Zhao: I don't care about your local crime rates! Which way did they go?
Officer (pointing): They headed into the forest, up the river I suspect.
Zhao (to his guards, who turn to obey): Ready the river boats. We're going after the Avatar.
(Cut back to Chey exiting Jeong Jeong's hut. He arrives back where Aang and the others are sleeping. Aang wakes up instantly as Chey approaches.)
Aang: What happened? Can I see Jeong Jeong now?
Chey (sitting down glumly): He won't see you. He's very angry that I brought you here. He wants you to leave immediately.
Sokka (getting up on his elbows): Finally! Let's hit the road. (He stretches back out again.)
Aang: Why won't he see me?
Chey: He says you're not ready. Says you haven't mastered waterbending and earthbending yet.
Aang: Wait, how does he know that?
Chey: He saw the way you walked into camp. He can tell.
Aang: I'm going in anyway!
(Aang walks over to the entrance to Jeong Jeong's hut. He takes a deep breath, parts the curtain, and walks into the darkness. Cut to a dark figure seated cross legged amidst a semicircle of candles, his back to Aang.)
Jeong Jeong: Get out.
Aang: Master, I need to learn firebending.
Jeong Jeong: Only a fool seeks his own destruction.
Aang (sitting down): I'm the Avatar. It's my destiny to...
Jeong Jeong: Destiny? What would a boy know of destiny? If a fish lives its whole life in this river, does he know the river's destiny? No! Only that it runs on and on out of his control! He may follow where it flows, but he cannot see the end. He cannot imagine the ocean.
Aang: Ookay, but it's the Avatar's duty to master all of the bending disciplines.
Jeong Jeong: To master the bending disciplines, you must first master discipline itself. But you have no interest in this, so I have no interest in you! Now, get out.
Aang: Please, I have to learn. This could be my only chance.
Jeong Jeong (turning around to face Aang in anger): Are you deaf! How can I teach you if you refuse to listen? Before learning firebending you must learn water and earth. Water is cool and soothing, earth is steady and stable, but fire, fire is alive! It breathes, it grows, without a bender, a rock will not throw itself! But fire will spread and destroy everything in its path if one does not have the will to control it! That is its destiny! You are not ready! You are too weak!
(At this final pronouncement the candles flame up around Jeong Jeong to illuminate the entire tent. When the flames go out, the screen is black. Then, a vision for Jeong Jeong begins, as one candle is seen lit in front of Jeong Jeong. The other candles have disappeared. Instead of the tent, a tree is in the background behind the Deserter. In front of him, stands Avatar Roku.)
Avatar Roku: You think I am weak?
Jeong Jeong: Avatar Roku! No! No! (inclining his head in respect) I did not mean that!
Avatar Roku: I have mastered the elements a thousand times in a thousand lifetimes. Now, I must do it once again. You will teach the Avatar firebending.
(At this final statement, cut to a wide shot of the two. Roku raises his left hand and the tree behind Jeong Jeong bursts into flame. Cut to a close of Jeong Jeong as the vision ends.)
Jeong Jeong (coming out of his trance): Yes, yes, I will teach you.
Aang: Really? That's great!
Jeong Jeong (looking at Aang's enormous, cheesy smile): Ughhhhh.
(Cut to a morning scene outside of Jeong Jeong's hut. Sokka is sitting on a boulder by the river, fishing. The screen pans up the river where Katara is practicing waterbending and then to Aang and Jeong Jeong in front of the hut. Aang stands, bandy legged, on a flat stone in the river. Jeong Jeong stands a foot or two away on the bank in front of his hut.)
Jeong Jeong: Widen your stance. (Aang complies.) Wider! Bend your knees. Now, concentrate. (Aang takes on an expression of concentration.) Good, good!
Aang (as Jeong Jeong begins to walk away): Wait! What do I do now?
Jeong Jeong (whipping around, Katara and Sokka visible in the background): Silence! Talking is not concentrating! Look at your friend, is she talking? (Then, pointing to Sokka) Even that oaf knows to concentrate on what he's doing!
Sokka (from afar): Hey!
Aang: But what am I concentrating on?
Jeong Jeong: Feel the heat of the sun. It is the greatest source of fire. Yet, it is in complete balance with nature!
Aang (looking at the sun then turning back to Jeong Jeong, a large smile on his face): So when do I get to make some fire?
Jeong Jeong: Concentrate!
(Aang breathes deeply, and then flushes in embarrassment as he hears his friends laughing at him from behind. He turns to look at them, but they stop instantly, trying in vain to look innocent. Cut to a long shot of the figures in the distance climbing the slope of a mountain. Cut to a close up shot of Aang and his master walking up the path to the mountain's summit.)
Aang: Are we coming up here so I don't burn anything with my fire blasts?
Jeong Jeong: No fire yet.
Aang (clearly disappointed and impatient): What?
(Cut to both of them standing atop the mountain, the shot zooming backward to show the surrounding countryside.)
Jeong Jeong: Power in firebending comes from the breath. That is why you must master proper breath control.
Aang: You brought me up here to breathe?
Jeong Jeong: Assume your stance.
(Jeong Jeong turns away from him to look o.c. as Aang complies.)
Jeong Jeong: Wider.
Aang: You're not even look...
Jeong Jeong: Wider! Now, inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth - without talking. (Aang obeys.) Good. Keep going.
(The firebending master walks down the path and out of the frame as Aang continues to practice, a look of fierce concentration on his face. Then cut to a view of Aang's lower body as he parts the curtain into Jeong Jeong's candle lit hut and enters.)
Jeong Jeong (from o.c.): What are you doing here!? I did not tell you to stop!
Aang: I've been breathing for hours.
Jeong Jeong: You want to stop breathing?
Aang (angrily throwing his hands wide in a gesture of frustration): I want you to stop wasting my time! I already know how to squat and breathe and feel the sun. (Here he makes semi-disrespectful gestures mimicking each of the activities that Jeong Jeong has insisted he practice.) I want to know how to shoot fire out of my fingertips!
Jeong Jeong (lowering his head): Ughhhh. I had a pupil once who had no interest in learning discipline. He was only concerned with the power of fire - how he could use it to destroy his opponents and wipe out the obstacles in his path., but fire is a horrible burden to bear. Its nature is to consume and without control it destroys everything around it.
(During Jeong Jeong's monologue, the view cuts to a shot sequence of Zhao and his men moving up the river on their boats. They are attacked by some of Jeong Jeong's rebels, but Zhao wipes them out with a wall of flame and a cruel smile. As the boat travel upstream, the forest fire that Zhao has just started rages freely in the background. It is clear that Zhao was Jeong Jeong's undisciplined former student. Fade back to Jeong Jeong pouring himself some tea.)
Jeong Jeong: Learn restraint, or risk destroying yourself and everything you love.
(Aang exits the tent. Fade to sometime later, where Jeong Jeong exits his hut to stand in front of Aang, whose head is lowered. The Avatar sits in repose on the stone near the river bank in front of the hut. Leaves fall around them.)
Aang: I thought about what you said. I promise I'll be more patient.
Jeong Jeong: We're going to work with fire now.
Aang: Oh yeh!
(Aang immediately explodes in excitement and happy music plays. He airbends himself in a few quick loops in the air, then freezes, remembering his promise. He lands back on the stone, puts his hands behind his back and assumes a serious expression.)
Aang: I mean, let us begin.
(Cut to closer shot of Jeong Jeong who catches one of the falling leaves in his left hand. He holds it between his thumb and forefinger. He begins to burn a tiny hole in it at the point of contact.)
Jeong Jeong: Concentrate on the fire. I want you to keep this flame from reaching the edges of the leaf for as long as you can.
(The hole is spreading with the flame even as Aang assumes his stance and begins to concentrate. Suddenly the shot widens to show that a rebel guard has approached the pair.)
Rebel: Master! There is trouble.
Aang: What's going on?
Jeong Jeong (leaving with guard): Concentrate on your leaf.
(Cut to Aang's face in the foreground, Katara in the background by the river's edge nearby.)
Aang (petulantly): This is the worst firebending instruction ever. All he does is leave me alone for hours to concentrate or breathe.
Katara: I'm sure there's a good reason.
Aang: But I'm ready to do so much more.
(Suddenly Aang's face lights up with an idea. Cut to his legs, where he widens his stance, then cut to his upper body, where he begins to breathe. He still holds the leaf, which begins to smoke. Suddenly, the leaf bursts into flame and disintegrates. Aang is now holding a fireball in his hand.)
Aang: I did it! I made fire!
Katara (coming closer): Aang, that's great, but you should take it slow.
(Aang's expression gets annoyed at this comment, and the flame instantly gets bigger. He and Katara are surprised.)
(Aang retains control and reduces the flame to its former size, but not before almost falling into the river.)
Aang: Now that's firebending!
(Aang then shoots a whip of flame o.c., and then begins to juggle his ball of flame happily.)
Katara: Aang, you'll hurt yourself!
Aang (continuing to play): Wonder how that juggler did it?
(Aang loops the ball around him. It begins a complete circle around him and he pushes it outward. The shockwave of flame engulfs Katara and burns her hands which she has raised to protect her face. She cries out in pain. Cut to a shot from behind Katara who has crumpled to her knees, hands wrapped around her.)
Aang: Katara! (He hops over to her as she cries pitifully) I'm so sorry!
Sokka (rushing into the frame): Katara, what's wrong!? (To Aang, angrily) What did you do?
Aang: Iiiit was an accident! I was... Katara, I'm so -
(Sokka cuts him off as he grabs Aang and tackles him to the ground just as Aang tried to put a hand on Katara's shoulder.)
Sokka: I told you we shouldn't mess around with this! Look what you did! You burned my sister!
(Katara gets up and runs away. Cut to Aang who looks on, stunned, as she exits. Fade to commercial break.)
(Opening shot of Aang still lying on the grass of the river bank where Sokka tackled him. He looks o.c., a scared and lost look on his face. Cut to wider shot of Sokka standing over him, still very angry.)
Sokka: You burned my sister! (Shot widens more to show Jeong Jeong has returned. Then, to Jeong Jeong) This is all your fault!
Jeong Jeong: I know. Now pack your things. You must leave immediately.
Aang: I'm sorry, I didn't... (Sokka walks away) I'm sorry!
(Aang looks up at Jeong Jeong who has walked over to him. He looks implacable. He turns and walks away leaving Aang alone. Shift to a late afternoon shot of the hills, then cut to Katara crying by the river bank. She looks at her hands, they are burned. She puts them in the water. The pain intensifies, then she feels some relief. Her eyes open in surprise as she looks down. Her hands glow white underneath the water. She raises them out and they stop glowing. The burns are gone. She looks at her hands in amazement.)
Jeong Jeong (from o.c.): You have healing abilities. (She turns to see Jeong Jeong approaching from behind.) The great benders of the water tribe sometimes have this ability. (He sits next to her) I've always wished I were blessed like you - free from this burning curse.
Katara: But you're a great master. You have powers I'll never know.
Jeong Jeong: Water brings healing and life. But fire brings only destruction and pain. It forces those of us burdened with its care to walk a razor's edge between humanity and savagery. Eventually, we are torn apart.
(Suddenly the water is front of them is blasted with gouts of flame. Jeong Jeong rises quickly to a defensive bending stance and breaks the flames that wash over him and Katara. Cut to a frontal shot of Zhao's riverboats bearing down on them, then cut back to Katara and the firebending master.)
Jeong Jeong: Go get your friends and flee! (She complies.) Do not come back here or you will all be destroyed. Hurry!
(Jeong Jeong turns back to face the boats which are shooting fireballs at him. They land harmlessly all around him. Cut to Zhao looking ahead through a telescope from the main deck of his ship. He lowers it and smiles. Cut back to Jeong Jeong who, with a few powerful motions, produces an awesome wall of fire perhaps a hundred feet across the entire river in front of the ships. Cut to overhead shot of the ships, which turn to starboard and move to land on the nearby beach. Cut to the water in front of the beach. Zhao drops down into view.)
Zhao: Don't worry, men. My old teacher gave up fighting a long time ago.
(Cut to Jeong Jeong behind the wall of fire. Suddenly, Zhao parts the wall just enough for him to walk through.)
Zhao: Master Jeong Jeong.
(Cut to a close of Jeong Jeong's face, then a wide shot as he drops the wall of fire. Then cut to Katara running up to where Sokka is preparing Appa to leave. He turns to his sister.)
Sokka: Katara! Are you all right?
Katara: I'm fine, we've got to get out of here. Where's Aang?
(Sokka thumbs in the direction of the hut. Cut to Katara running down the hill path to Jeong Jeong's hut. It is clear now that Jeong Jeong's hut rests on a little island in the river and is approachable by a small foot bridge. Cut to Katara entering the hut through the curtain. Inside, Aang sits amidst the candles, back to the entrance.)
Aang: Jeong Jeong tried to tell me that I wasn't ready. I wouldn't listen. I'm never going to firebend again.
Katara: You'll have to eventually.
Aang: No, never again.
Katara: It's okay, Aang. I'm healed.
Aang: What? How?
Katara: I'll explain later. But right now, we have to get out here. Zhao and his soldiers are attacking!
Aang (airbending himself to his feet): Where?
Katara: By the river. They captured Jeong Jeong.
Aang (running out of the hut): I have to help him!
(Shift to an overhead shot of the beach. Zhao and his men stand against the lone Master, then cut to a closer shot.)
Zhao: Look at you. You were once so great. I can't believe my former master has become nothing more than a simple savage.
Jeong Jeong: It is you who have embraced savagery, Zhao.
Zhao: It's Admiral Zhao, now.
Jeong Jeong: That title will not help you against the Avatar. Do not try to fight him! You are no match!
Zhao (laughing): I think I can handle a child.
Jeong Jeong: I have never seen such raw power.
Aang (from o.c. ): Jeong Jeong!
Zhao: We'll see. Men! Take the deserter!
(Cut to overhead shot of Jeong Jeong surrounded by five of Jeong Jeong's spearmen. Aang tops short in horror as they close in. Jeong Jeong smiles and wraps himself in a massive bal of flame. When it dissipates, he is gone.)
Zhao (angrily): It's a trick! He's run off into the woods. Find him! (Turning to Aang.) Let's find out what my old master has taught you.
Aang: YOU were Jeong Jeong's student?
Zhao: Until I got bored.
(He launches a fireball at Aang, who dodges that and another.)
Zhao: I see he taught you how to duck and run like a coward. But I doubt he showed you what a firebender is truly capable of!
(He launches another fireball at Aang. It flies over Aang's head as the Avatar produces a flat, spinning whirlwind of air underneath him and balances himself on top of it with one finger.)
Aang: Whoa! Wild shot!
Zhao: I'll show you wild!
(He fires several more volleys which Aang either dodges or breaks with airbending. Zhao's blasts have torched much of the surrounding forest and the sky fills with smoke.)
Aang (to himself): No self control...
(Cut to Aang's p.o.v., he looks over at the boats then back at Zhao.)
Zhao: Stand and fight, Avatar!
Aang: Oh, were we fighting? I thought you were just getting warmed up.
Zhao: I was!
(He fires many more volleys, all of which miss.)
Aang: Is that all you got? Man, they'll make anyone an admiral these days!
(Zhao launches another errant fire blast with a dreadful noise of frustration. Aang airbends himself up onto one of the ships.)
Aang: Ahoy! (Sticking his butt out at the admiral and wiggling it suggestively) I'm Admiral Zhao!
(Cut to Zhao who looks angry and then makes another noise of frustration. He jump up onto the main deck and launches a blast of fire. It sets the bridge on fire, but Aang jumps off unharmed to the aft section. He jumps the aft section of the next ship.)
Aang: I don't know why, but I thought you'd be better than Zuko.
(Aang looks disappointed when he says this and hangs his arms by his sides, letting them dangle. His eyes go wide and he falls flat on the deck fast, though, as wall of fire passes over him. Cut to a view of the second ship guard railing. Zhao is visible through it on the deck of the first ship. He has just blasted a hole through the guard rail of both ships with the wall of fire Aang just avoided.)
Aang: Sloppy. Very sloppy.
(Crying in frustration, Zhao follows Aang around the boats, spreading fire to each of them in his vain effort to get Aang. Momentarily out of Zhao's sights, Aang hides behind one of the deck cabins. Zhao lands behind him, however, having jumped down from the top of the deck cabin. Aang turns to face him.)
Zhao: No wonder to run now, you little smart mouth!
(He launches a fire bolt, which Aang dodges by flipping over Zhao's head to land behind him. The bridge of the third and last ship is now on fire.)
Aang: You've lost this battle.
(Aang airbends himself into the air as Zhao sets fire to the third ship's prow.)
Zhao: Are you crazy? You haven't thrown a single blow!
Aang (motioning to his left): No, but you have.
(Zhao looks to his left and grimaces. Cut to wide, overhead shot of the three ships on fire. The first is now sinking fast into the river.)
Aang: Jeong Jeong said you had no restraint.
(Aang hops off the prow of the third ship. Cut back to Zhao who screams in frustration, the shift back wide shot of the two remaining ships which continue to burn. Cut back to a close up shot of the river. Aang breaks the surface of the water and, cupping his hand to his mouth, shouts o.c.)
Aang: Have a nice walk home!
Sokka (from o.c. : Aang, come on!
(Cut a shot from behind Aang, who is now looking at the river bank beach. Appa is there with the others on his back. Aang runs over, hops on Appa and they take off. Cut to Aang in Appa's driver's seat.)
Aang: Wait! Where's Jeong Jeong?
Sokka: He disappeared. They all did.
(Cut to sliding overhead shot of Jeong Jeong's now empty compound, then cut to Chey walking along the forest path approach to the compound.)
Chey: Hey, where did everybody go? Very funny guys!
(Camera zooms backward into a long, overhead shot of Chey, before cutting to Zhao standing waist deep in the river watching his ships burn. Cut to a close of his chagrined face before he lowers his gaze. Switch to side shot of Appa flying through the clouds around sunset. Cut to a closer shot of the kids in Appa's saddle.)
Katara: Aang, you're burned.
(He looks down in wonder to see that she is right. His sleeves are torn open and there are burn marks.)
Katara: Let me help you.
(She opens her water bottle and wraps some water around her hand. It glows white again. She places it over the burned area , breathes and concentrates. When she lets go the wound is healed.)
Aang: Wow! That's good water.
Sokka: When did you learn how to do that?
Katara (shrugging): I guess I always knew.
Sokka: Oh... well then thanks for all the first aid over the years. Like when I fell into the grease briar bramble and that time I had two fish hooks in my thumb!
Katara: He tried to get the first fish hook out with another fish hook.
(Cut to Appa flying them through the late afternoon sky. Sokka continues.)
Sokka: Oh, and the time that big snake bit me! Thanks for healing that up. That was great. Really helpful.
(Fade to white as Appa disappears into the horizon.)
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