The Waterbending Master
Written By: Michael Dante Dimartino
Directed By: Giancarlo Volpe
Storyboard By: Giancarlo Volpe, Bobby Rubio, Chris Graham, Kenji Ono
Animation By: JM Animation Co, Ltd
(Opening shot of some open water. Almost instantly a koala otter backstrokes into view. He looks up as a shadow passes over him. He ducks beneath the waves as Appa passes just overhead. Cut to Sokka leaning over Appa's saddle, looking backwards over his beaver like tail in the direction they came from.)
Sokka (petulantly): I'm not one to complain, but can't Appa fly any higher?
(Cut to a side view of Appa flying across an ice field in the open ocean. He is clearly tired. He glides lower, his feet brushes the water. Cut to a view atop Appa looking forward to Aang in Appa's driver's seat, Katara in the foreground behind him in the saddle, who turns around and answers Sokka angrily.)
Aang: I have an idea, why don't we all get on your back and you can fly us to the North Pole?
Sokka: I'd love to! Climb on everyone (he wiggles his butt at everyone), Sokka's ready for takeoff!
(Momo jump up on Sokka in response to his invitation.)
Katara: Look, we're all just a little tired and cranky because we've been flying for two days straight.
Sokka: And for what? We can't even find the Northern Water Tribe. There's nothing up here.
(Suddenly a noise is heard up ahead. Ice is moving rapidly towards Appa. Cut to Aang who screams and pulls Appa's reigns to starboard. Appa banks right and avoids the ice, but almost tips his passengers off the saddle, who hang on for dear life. Appa then banks left as another jet of ice erupts out of the waves, but this one slams into Appa's underside, who drops in an uncontrolled spin into the water. Out of the icebergs several ornate wooden skiffs come to surround Appa. They are manned by people in water tribe garb.)
Katara: They're waterbenders! We found the Water Tribe!
(Cut to a wide shot of Appa trapped in ice, surrounded by Water Tribe ships, then cut to a Fire Navy port. Ships line the harbor in the background. In the foreground is a tent surrounded by guards. Cut to Admiral Zhao, looking at a map of the world, back to the camera.)
Zhao: He's heading north. The Northern Water Tribe. The Avatar needs to master waterbending. He's looking for a teacher.
(Zhao has turned around to address the others in the room. His officers sit cross legged on the floor.)
Captain Li: Then what are we waiting for? Let's go get him!
Zhao: Patience, Captain Li. This isn't some little Earth village we can just march into. The Water Tribe is a great nation. There's a reason they've survived a hundred years of war. The frozen tundra is treacherous. The landscape itself is an icy fortress. We'll need a massive invasion force.
(Cut back to Appa swimming in formation with the Water Tribe boats. Aang gets up and points ahead.)
Aang: There it is!
(Cut to a view of an ice wall with towers and turrets.)
Katara (from o.c. with wonder): The Northern Water Tribe...
Sokka: We're finally here...
(Cut to a view of one of the water tribe skiffs, where the waterbender crew waterbends in unison. Cut to a view of the city wall, where the waterbenders have removed a semi-circular opening to reveal a tunnel that leads into the city. Cut back to Appa and the kids, one of the waterbenders on the skiff in the foreground. He motions them forward and Appa swims in. Cut to a view inside the tunnel as Appa swims in, then cut to the lock where the tunnel opens into. Switch to an overhead view showing that the lock is square and that the waterbenders line the tops of the lock's four walls. The three sides of the lock not adjacent to the main wall have water behind them almost to the height of the city wall. The waterbenders open sluice gates along the three walls of the lock to raise the water level. The wall opposite the main city wall begins to lower itself, ultimately to free a path for Appa to continue. Cut to a closer view of Aang and Katara.)
Katara: I can't believe how many waterbenders live up here!
Aang: We'll find a master to teach us, no problem!
(Cut to a long shot of the lock wall dropping beneath the water line, with a few boats waiting in the channel beyond as Appa swims out. Cut to a frontal shot of the kids on Appa, smiling and looking around them in wonder. Shift to long, overhead panorama shot of the city. It is made of ice and is breathtakingly beautiful. It also has three interior walls in addition to the main city walls. All the way in the back is apparently some sort of citadel or temple. Cut to an overhead shot of the roof of one of the buildings in the city. An older man and a young boy watch as Appa follows a Water Tribe skiff through the canals. Soon more people join them. In fact, as they go, small crowds of people begin to gawk at them from houses and foot bridges. Aang waves at them as they pass. The city is loaded with beautiful streams, waterfalls and fountains. They pass another boat with a waterbender and a beautiful young Water Tribe woman with white, elaborately styled hair and a slightly purplish coat rather than the normal blue. Sokka focuses on her, blushes and tried to follow her by running down Appa's tail.)
Katara (from o.c.): This place is beautiful.
Sokka (looking dreamily at the girl as he boat moves away): Yeh, she is.
(Cut to a view of the rapidly waning, almost new moon. The view pans down to reveal Prince Zuko's ship at dock. The sound of a stringed instrument can be heard playing a simple staccato tune. Cut to a close up of the instrument and the hand playing it. The view pans up to reveal the musician to be Lieutenant Jee. The tune is then accompanied by drums. Cut to a wider shot that reveal four men around a camp fire on the main deck of the ship. One of them is Lieutenant Jee, another is General Iroh.)
Iroh (singing slightly out of tune): Winter, spring, summer and fall. Wi/bnter and spring, summer and fall. Four seasons, four loves. Four seasons, four loves.
(During the song, two crewmen dance in front of the fire. Then a group of masked Fire Nation soldiers board the ship including Admiral Zhao. The music stops as the intruders are noted. Iroh and the others turn to look at the newcomers.
Cut back to a view of the Northern Water Tribe city which is quickly replaced by a shot of three Water Tribe men playing huge kettle drums in unison. Cut to a wide shot of a plaza near the main citadel. A huge fountain dominates the rear of the plaza. On either side huge pews made out of ice provide seating for many onlookers. The closest side of the plaza shows the backs of the city's rulers as well as the guests of honor, Aang and his friends. Cut to a frontal shot of the city dignitaries table. Sokka is on the far side and down below Appa can be seen. A couple of attendants bring him a huge pallet of food. He roars and then and they run screaming, with Sokka smiling at this in the foreground. Appa begins to eat. Cut back to a view of the center of the plaza, where four attendants lower some sort of huge steaming platter of food or something onto a stage in front of them.)
Chief Arnook (standing to address the crowd): Tonight, we celebrate the arrival of our brother and sister from the Southern Tribe, and they have brought with them someone very special, someone whom many of us believed disappeared from the world until now. (Indicating Aang) The Avatar! (The crowd cheers.) We also celebrate my daughter's 16th birthday. (He backs up out of the frame to reveal the beautiful girl with the white hair, flanked by two attendants, walking up to the table. They all bow, smiling.) Princess Yue is now of marrying age.
(Sokka looks at her with wide eyes.)
Princess Yue: Thank you, father. May the great Ocean and Moon Spirits watch over us during these troubled times.
Chief Arnook: Now, Master Pakku and his students will perform!
(The Chief motions towards three men who now stand on the dais in front of the fountain opposite the dignitaries' table. The center man is clearly the eldest with a bald head, but long white hair on the sides of his head and down his back. The begin waterbending water from three enormous amphorae in front of them. The crowd begins to cheer. Cut to Aang and Katara who look at each in utter delight while they clap. As the waterbending show continues, cut to Sokka stuffing his face full of food. A figure walks behind him and sits down next to him. It is Princess Yue. He gulps his mouthful and tries to strike a cool pose next to her.)
Sokka (in a cheesy voice): Hi, there. Sokka, Southern Water Tribe.
Princess Yue (smiling and bowing slightly): Very nice to meet you.
Sokka (after a brief pause, trying desperately to strike up a conversation): So... uh... you're a Princess! (She nods and smiles) You know, back in my tribe, I'm kinda like a Prince myself!
(Shot pans left to reveal Katara.)
Katara: Ha! Prince of what?
Sokka (angry): A lot of things! Uh, do you mind? I'm trying to have a conversation here!
Katara (with a mock bow): My apologies, Prince Sokka.
Sokka (turning back to Yue and trying to recover): So it looks like I'm gonna be in town for awhile. I'm thinking maybe we could...(then lamely) do an activity together?
Princess Yue: Do an “activity”?
(Sokka, sweating, pauses then stuffs his mouth with some stuff on the table. Screens widens to the left to show Katara clearly enjoying her brother's lame attempt at courting.)
Katara: Very smooth.
(Cut to a long shot of the plaza fountain. In front of it stand the Chief, Master Pakku and Aang.)
Chief Arnook: Master Pakku, meet your newest student, the Avatar.
Master Pakku: Just because you're destined to save the world, don't expect any special treatment.
Aang (trying to ignore this): My friend and I can't wait to start training with you – after we relax for a couple days.
Master Pakku: If you want to relax, then I suggest visiting a tropical island. If not, I'll see you both at sunrise. Good night.
(Master Pakku walks away, Chief Arnook shrugs. Cut to a shot of Prince Zuko in a dark cabin on his ship. His arms are folded across his chest. The door at the far end of the cabin opens and Iroh leans in. Zuko does not look at him.)
Zuko: For the last time, I'm not playing the sumki horn.
Iroh: No, it's about our plans. There's a bit of a problem.
(Zhao enters the room behind Iroh.)
Zhao: I'm taking your crew.
Zuko (turning to face Zhao): What!?
Zhao: I've recruited them for a little expedition to the North Pole.
Zhao: Uncle, is that true?
Iroh: I'm afraid so. He's taking everyone. (Putting his arm over his face in woe) Even the cook!
Zhao: Sorry you won't be there to watch me capture the Avatar. But I can't have you getting in my way again.
(Zuko charges him in anger, but Iroh prevents him from tackling Zhao, who walks over to inspect the curved broadswords on the wall used – the same used by the Blue Spirit to free the Avatar. Cut to a close up of Zhao's face, swollen in anger as he recognizes the blades. Cut to a series of flashbacks as he remembers the Blue Spirit wielding the blades during the escape. He takes one off the wall, then cut to Zuko's face, his eyes wide and mouth open, clearly recognizing the danger he is in. Iroh, visible over Zuko's shoulder, does not. Cut back to Zuko, who begins practicing with the sword he has removed from the wall.)
Zhao: I didn't know you were skilled with broadswords, Prince Zuko.
Zuko: I'm not. They're antiques. Just decorative.
Zhao: Have you heard of the Blue Spirit, General Iroh?
Iroh: Just rumors. I don't think he is real.
Zhao: He's real all right. He's a criminal, an enemy of the Fire Nation. (He hands the broad sword to Iroh) But I have a feeling that justice will catch up with him soon. (Zhao moves to exit the cabin) General Iroh, the offer to join my mission still stands if you change your mind.
(Zhao closes the door behind him. Cut back to a morning shot back in the Northern Water Tribe City. Katara and Aang are walking towards a huge ice staircase up to the citadel.)
Katara: I've waited for this day my whole life! I finally get to learn from a real waterbending master!
(Cut to a shot of Master Pakku manipulating a blob of water. The screen pans right to reveal Aang and Katara behind him.)
Aang: Good morning, Master Pakku!
Master Pakku (dropping the water blob with a grimace): No, please, march right in, I'm not concentrating or anything.
Aang: Uhh... this is my friend, Katara, the one I told you about?
(Katara bows while Aang introduces her. Master Pakku looks over at her as if she were a bug.)
Master Pakku (creating an ice chair for him to sit down in): I'm sorry. I think there's been a misunderstanding. You didn't tell me your friend was a girl. In our tribe, it is forbidden for women to learn waterbending.
(Cut to a shot panning up Katara's body, her face clearly reflecting the anger she feels. Cut to commercial break.)
(When the show returns, cut back to long, overhead shot of the Northern Water Tribe city, looking back from the main wall back to the citadel. Cut back to a close up of Katara.)
Katara: What do you mean you won't teach me? (Walking up to Pakku) I didn't travel across the entire world so you could tell me “no”!
Master Pakku: No.
Katara (hands on her hips): But there must be other female waterbenders in your tribe!
Master Pakku: Here the women learn from Yugoda to use their waterbending to heal. I'm sure she would be happy to take you as her student despite your bad attitude.
Katara: I don't want to heal, I want to fight!
Master Pakku: I can see that. But our tribe has customs, rules.
Katara: Well your rules stink!
(Aang enters the frame behind her in the background.)
Aang: Yeh! They're not fair. If you won't teach Katara, then –
Master Pakku (standing up): Then what?
Aang: Then I won't learn from you!
(Aang turns and begins to walk away.)
Master Pakku: Well have fun teaching yourself. I'm sure you'll do a great job.
Katara: Wait! (To Pakku) Aang didn't mean that.
(Katara runs over to Aang's retreating figure and grabs him by the shoulder to stop him.)
Katara: You can't risk your training for me. You have to learn from Master Pakku. Even if he is a big jerk.
(Aang nods his head glumly, and swings his body around lazily to face his new master. Cut to a close up of Pakku's smug face.)
Master Pakku: Why don't we get started then.
(Master Pakku waterbends a huge rush of water at Aang, washing him out of the frame. Cut to Sokka running over a footbridge that spans one of the city's many canals. Beneath the bridge, Princess Yue's boat slowly moves along.)
Sokka: Princess Yue! Good morning! (Coming up beside her boat on the sidewalk along the side of the canal and walking with her boat as it floats down the canal.) Hey, how about that picnic last night? Boy, your Dad sure knows how to throw a party.
Princess Yue: I'm happy you enjoyed yourself.
Sokka: Well, it wasn't as much fun after you left.
(Princess Yue looks away, blushing. Cut back to Sokka, a huge, toothy smile on his face. He blushes too.)
Sokka: So, I'm still hoping we can see more of each other.
Princess Yue: Do an “activity”, you mean?
Sokka (eyes wide, clearly excited): Yes! At... a place! For... some time!
Princess Yue: I'd love to! (She points ahead, cut to a shot of a bridge in front of them, she continues from o.c.) I'll meet you on that bridge tonight.
Sokka: Great! I'll see you – aahh!
(Sokka drops out of sight. The sidewalk has ended, but the was to busy gawking at Yue to realize it. Yue laughs and waves goodbye to him as he hauls himself out of the water.)
Princess Yue: Sorry!
Sokka (to himself, as he falls over backwards to lie flat on the sidewalk): That's okay, it was worth it. (Shot zooms out and rotates) See you tonight.
(Cut back to the Fire Navy port from earlier in the episode. Zhao begins to speak from o.c.)
Zhao: I'm very impressed.
(Cut to Zhao seated at his desk, a small chest and a lamp in front of him. Two men face him – pirates last seen in “The Waterbending Scroll.”)
Zhao: You all seem highly qualified for the mission I have in mind.
(A pair of hands reaches for the chest and pulls it towards him. Cut a view from Zhao's p.o.v. to show the entire pirate gang, including the Captain (complete with his green, reptilian parrot), who has opened the chest to reveal glowing riches inside. The Pirate Salesmen removes a gold piece and bites it.)
Pirate Barker: That's some tasty gold!
(The Captain grabs it and puts it back in the chest. He leans forward and looks skeptically into the camera.)
Pirate Captain: What do you need us to do?
Zhao (smiling): I believe you're acquainted with Prince Zuko?
(Cut to a brief shot of the outside of a building in the Northern Water Tribe city, then cut to a view from inside the building. Inside, a man sized dummy lies flat on a stone bed in the middle of the main chamber. The dummy has pathways or channels etched all over its surface. A hand bends water through the pathways which flow white the same way Katara's hands did when she healed herself in “The Deserter.” Cut to a wide shot of the room. Around the stone bed sit half a dozen students while the teacher, an old woman, demonstrates. Katara has entered the room on her left.)
Katara: Um, hi. Are you Yagoda?
Yugoda: Are you here for the healing lesson?
(Katara surveys the room. The students are all girls who look younger than she. Katara looks at the ground glumly.)
Katara (walking forward and sitting down): I guess I am.
Yugoda: Welcome! Welcome!
(Cut to Aang moving around a blob of water while Master Pakku, sitting cross-legged with a bowl of steaming soup in front him, gives instruction. Aang looks unhappy and sullen.)
Master Pakku: You're moving the water around, but you're not feeling the push and pull.
Aang (through gritted teeth): I'm trying!
Master Pakku (lifting the soup and sucking out some food from it): Maybe that move is too advanced for you. Why don't you try an easier one?
(Aang throws the water to the ground in frustration. Cut back to an exterior shot of the healer's building, then cut to the inner chamber. The young girls are taking the dummy out on its stretcher, leaving Katara and Yugoda. Katara walks over to her teacher.)
Katara: Thanks for the lesson.
Yugoda: So, who's the lucky boy?
Yugoda (pointing at her neck): Your betrothal necklace. You're getting married, right?
Katara (smiling): No, I don't think I'm ready for that yet. My grandmother gave my mother this necklace, and my mother passed it down to me.
Yugoda (looking closely at the necklace): I recognize this carving! I don't know why I didn't realize sooner! You're the spitting image of Kana!
Katara (starting backwards in surprise): Wait, how do you know my Gran-Gran's name?
Yugoda: When I was about your age I was friends with Kana. She was born here, in the Northern Tribe.
Katara (looking away): She never told me.
Yugoda: Your grandmother had an arranged marriage with a young waterbender. He carved that necklace for her.
Katara: If Gran-Gran was engaged, why did she leave?
Yugoda: I don't know. That's always been a mystery to me. She left without saying goodbye.
(Cut back to a night shot of Prince Zuko's ship at the dock. The crew stand outside the ship and one of them yells “good luck!”, then cut to a shot of Prince Zuko lying in bed in the foreground of his cabin. The door opens and Iroh sticks his head in.)
Iroh: The crew wanted me to wish you safe travels.
Zuko: Good riddance to those traitors.
Iroh: It's a lovely night for a walk. Why don't you join me? It would clear your head. (Iroh's smiles falls away as Zuko refuses to respond.) Or, just stay in your room and sit in the dark. Whatever makes you happy.
(Iroh leaves, closing the door behind him. Cut to an exterior view of the ship from the prow looking aft. Iroh's silhouette can be seen walking down the gang plank to the dock. He is humming the song he was singing earlier. As he passes by the Pirate Captain's green parrot flies by. Cut to a long shot of the ship. Some time evidently passes by before the next shot, but it is still the same night. Cut to a view of the main deck where the pirates are climbing aboard. The Pirate Barker goes over the opposite railing of the ship and lowers down some ropes with hooks at end. Below in a small skiff are two other pirates with barrels of explosives. They attach the hooks to the barrels which are then hoisted up. One of the pirates on the deck almost drops the barrel, but recovers.)
Pirate Barker (whispering): Careful with the blasting jelly!
(Cut to the Pirate Barker turning one of the door latches. It makes a much larger noise then he thought, then cut to Zuko who sit straight up in bed, alarmed.)
Zuko (getting up): Uncle? (Opening his door to look out into the corridor) Uncle, is that you?
(He jumps out into the hallway in a fighting stance. Warily, he advances to the bridge, ready for instant combat around every corner. Cut to the main deck where the pirates light a trail of gunpowder and then run off the ship. Cut back and forth between Zuko walking around the bridge and the lit trail of gunpowder. At last, Zuko turns and looks out one of the bridge windows to see the Pirate Captain's green parrot. It croaks at him and then takes off. Cut to a close of Zuko's eyes as the realization of what the bird's appearance means strikes him. It is too late. Cut to the lit gunpowder reaching the barrels of blasting jelly. The bridge deck and main deck explode, blasting Zuko out the bridge window. This explosion is repeated several times from different angles, the last being a long, wide shot. Another explosion rips the vessel completely open mid ship. Cut to Iroh walking down a dirt road, the explosion in full bloom behind him. He has turned to look. Cut to a frontal view, his face contorted with surprise and fear.)
(He begins to run back to the ship. Cut back to the burning ship. Iroh's reaches the dock, burning debris falling all around him. Cut to a wider shot from some distance behind him. He is dwarfed by the massive fireball that was Zuko's ship. Cut back to Iroh's face, well lit by the conflagration.)
Iroh (lowering his face in sadness): Zuko...
(Cut to a long shot of the remnants of the burning ship. Fade to a shot panning down of a canal in the Northern Water City. It is night. Cut to Sokka running up the winding staircase attached to the bridge where Yue waits to meet him. He sidles up to her. She looks disturbed.)
Sokka: Hi, Princess Yue. (Offering her something) I made you something. I carved it myself.
(Cut to a shot of Sokka's hand. In it rests a rudely carved wooden object.)
Princess Yue: It's a bear.
Sokka: Actually, it's a fish (he turns it sideways), see it has a fin.
Princess Yue: Oh. (Beginning to break down.) I'm sorry! I made a mistake. (She turns away from him) I shouldn't have asked you to come here!
(Yue runs away, out of the frame. Cut back to a stunned and hurt Sokka. He throws the carving into the canal in anger. Fade to an exterior shot of a small house in the Water City, apparently where the kids are staying. Cut to the inside where Sokka, Katara, Momo and Aang sit on a huge rug.)
Katara: How's warrior training going?
(In response Sokka kicks a bag on the floor in anger, falls to his knees, and then flops on the bag, using it as a pillow.)
Aang: That bad?
Sokka: No, it's Princess Yue. I don't get it. One minute she wants to go out with me and the next she's telling me to get lost! (Pause.) So how's waterbending training?
(Katara flops onto her sleeping bag, depressed. Her hood flops over her head.)
Aang: Master Poophead won't teach her because she's a girl.
Sokka: Why don't you just teach her, Aang?
Katara (raising her head with a smile): Why didn't I think of that? (Getting up.) At night, you can teach whatever moves you learned from Master Pakku. That way you have someone to practice with and I get to learn waterbending. Everyone's happy!
Sokka: I'm not happy.
Katara: But you're never happy. Come on, Aang.
(She leaves, Aang in tow. Sokka remains lying down, a sour expression on his face. Momo chitters at him, then cut to an overhead shot of Katara and Aang at a canal. They are on some sort of ledge or small plaza that ends with steps that go down into the canal water. The camera pans down as Aang raises a whip of water out of the canal.)
Aang: Master Pakku said this move is all about sinking and floating.
(He sends the water over to Katara who starts to bend it.)
Katara: I got it!
(The water begins to whip around her very fast, then up and out of the frame entirely. Cut to Aang, holding the sides of his head in excitement.)
Aang: That was amazing!
Katara: That wasn't me.
(Camera pans rapidly up and to the right to reveal Master Pakku standing on the bridge above him. He has the water Katara had been bending. He freezes it and breaks into pieces in a shower of icicles that embed themselves in the bridge before him.)
Aang: I... I was just showing Katara a few moves.
Master Pakku: You have disrespected me, my teachings, and my entire culture.
Aang: I'm sorry, I –
Master Pakku: You are no longer welcome as my student.
(He turns and walks away, leaving an astonished Aang and Katara. Cut to commercial break.)
(When the show returns, the opening shot is of the plaza where the feast was held. The shot pans down a bit to reveal a long shot of Katara, Sokka and Aang in front of the Chief, Princess Yue, Master Pakku, and what looks to be the tribe's council who all sit on a dais.)
Chief Arnook: What do you want me to do? Force Master Pakku to take Aang back as his student?
Katara: Yes – please!
Chief Arnook: I suspect he might change his mind if you swallow your pride and apologize to him.
(Cut to Katara with Aang in the background. The idea is hateful to her and it shows. Her eyes moves to Aang and she turns to look at him. She turns, back, clearly unhappy.)
(Cut back to Master Pakku, who smiles smugly.)
Master Pakku: I'm waiting, little girl.
(Cut to Katara's hand, which balls up instantly to a fist at this insult, then shift to a view of her from Master Pakku's p.o.v.)
Katara: No! No way am I apologizing to a sour old man like you!
(A she speaks, cracks open in the floor beneath her as her waterbending abilities begin to get out of control. She ends up by pointing directly at Master Pakku, her finger almost in his face. At the conclusion of her statement, the massive water pots at either end of the dais.)
Aang: Uh, Katara...
(Cut to a close of Katara.)
Katara (a look of challenge on her face): I'll be outside – if you're man enough to fight me!
(Princess Yue draws breath in surprise as the men stiffen. Cut to a long shot of the room with Katara in the foreground leaving the building. The others stand frozen. Cut back to Aang and Sokka.)
Aang: I'm sure she didn't mean that.
Sokka: Yeh, I think she did.
(Cut to a close up someone pouring tea. The red background suggests we have moved to a Fire Nation scene. We have. Cut to a wider shot of Iroh and Zhao having tea opposite each other at a low table. A map of the world hanging on the wall occupies much of the shot behind them.)
Zhao: I'm devastated to hear about Prince Zuko. (Cheesily) Just devastated.
(Cut to a close up Iroh's pained face, his eyes closed.)
Iroh (opening his eyes): The Fire Lord will not be pleased he learns who was responsible.
Zhao (suspicious, frowning): You know who... was behind the attack?
Iroh: Yes... (slamming table with his fist) pirates! We had a run in with them awhile back.
(Cut to a close of Zhao's mouth as his frown turns to a smile.)
Iroh: They wanted revenge.
Zhao (after taking a sip of tea): So, have you reconsidered my offer?
Iroh (bowing): Yes, I accept. It will be an honor to serve as your general. (Raising his glass in a toast) To the Fire Nation!
Zhao (raising his glass): To victory!
(Camera pans up and fades to an outside view of the naval base and the Fire Nation flag fluttering in the wind. Cut back to the Northern Water Tribe city where the three kids are walking down the long steps of the citadel.)
Sokka: Are you crazy, Katara? You're not gonna win this fight!
Katara (taking off her coat and throwing it at Sokka, hitting him in the face): I know! I don't care!
Aang: You don't have to do this for me. I can find another teacher.
Katara: I'm not doing it for you! Someone needs to slap some sense into that guy!
(They reach the bottom of the steps as Master Pakku appears at the top. Katara turns and sees him.)
Katara: So, you decided to show up? (He walks past her.) Aren't you gonna fight?
Master Pakku (without turning): Go back to the healing huts with the other women where you belong.
(Insanely angry, Katara draws a water whip out of the ground and whips Pakku on the back on the neck. He stops.)
Master Pakku (turning to face her): Fine. You want to learn to fight so bad, study closely!
(Cut to a wide shot from the view of someone standing on the steps of the citadel. On either side of the plaza at the bottom of the steps there are two huge pools. Master Pakku grabs most of the water in each and bends it around himself. Katara runs at him, but she is flung backwards when she is hit by the water. She stands, now perhaps ten feet from Pakku. He bends the water in a wall around both of them. It spins faster and faster creating a whirlpool effect.)
Master Pakku (mockingly): Don't worry, I'm not going to hurt you!
(The whirlpool constricts, but before Katara is knocked back down she swings her arm, almost as if she were swinging a baseball bat, deflecting the wall of water off on a different trajectory. Cut to a shot of the spectators, including Aang and Sokka. The errant wall of water hits Sokka and blows him out of them frame with an exclamation of “OW!” Cut to a view from behind Master Pakku as Katara runs at him with a water whip. He raises a ramp of ice in front of her which she slides up and then back flips off, landing neatly on the guardrail of the citadel steps behind him. Pakku liquefies the ramp and throws it at her while catching her feet in ice. The wave breaks around Katara, however, as she bends it out of the way.)
Katara: You can't knock me down!
(The crowd behind her cheers.)
Aang: Go Katara!
(Cut to a shot from Pakku's p.o.v. A very angry and determined Katara is bearing down on him. Shift to a side view as Pakku raises a sheet of ice between him and the raging girl. Katara liquefies the ice as she reaches it and throws several blows at Pakku, one of which narrowly misses his face, before he washes her out of his way and into one of the pools with a wave of water. Cut to a head shot of Pakku, who smiles with satisfaction. She breaks the surface of the water and the crowd cheers. Katara then raises a circular pedestal of ice out of the fountain pool and begins to shoot slivers of the top of the pedestal at Pakku. Cut to Pakku who breaks them as they arrive with swift Tai Chi movements. The last one however narrowly passes to the left side of his face. The frame rates slows down noticeable with a sound effect for further accent. Pakku can see his own reflection in the passing sheet of ice – it is both surprised and dismayed. The frame rate speeds up again as it passes out of the shot. When it is gone, he turns back to Katara with a bewildered and, perhaps, somewhat impressed look on his face. Cut back to Katara who is bending a stream of water around her which she throws at Pakku, who catches it and begins to twirl it around him. Katara runs at him again, but he washes her backwards and onto her behind when he releases the stream of water. Cut to a close of Aang and Sokka, who await in stunned anticipation of the outcome. Cut back to a side close of Katara's face, her hair disheveled, breathing heavily. Then shift to a front view of Katara as she jumps back up in a bending stance. She makes a motion and the segmented pillars of ice behind Pakku collapse, narrowly missing him.)
Master Pakku: Well, I'm impressed. You are an excellent waterbender.
Katara: But you still won't teach me, will you?
Master Pakku: No.
(With a cry of effort, Katara raises water near her feet, freezes it, and send it in a rolling wave along the floor to Pakku, who is raised up on a pillar of ice when the wave reaches him. He liquefies the base of the ice column and begins to flow forward on it, like an iceberg riding along a river. Katara has raised her own stream of water and knocks him off his iceberg, but Pakku grabs Katara's water and freezes it in an arc around her with he slides around. As he exits the arc he knocks her down, her necklace falling to ice near her. Cut to a close shot of Katara, breathing heavily, her long black hair now loose around her. Cut to Pakku raising a huge column of water out of one of the pools, making a whirlpool out of it in the air and then freezing it into shards the whirlpool disintegrates. Cut back to Katara now standing in front of Pakku, but the shards land closely all around her. She is trapped. She struggles in vain against her prison of ice, her hands and arms unable to move.)
Master Pakku (walking towards her): This fight is over.
Katara: Come back here! I'm not finished yet!
Master Pakku: Yes, you are.
(He stops in surprise, picking up the necklace.)
Master Pakku (in wonder): This is my necklace!
Katara: No it's not, it's mine! Give it back!
Master Pakku: I made this sixty years ago – for the love of my life. (Katara's ice prison liquefies behind him, freeing her.) For Kana.
Katara: My Gran-Gran was supposed to marry you?
(Cut to an exterior shot of the Fire Navy base. Ships line the dock. Shift to a shot of Iroh walking down a corridor in Zhao's ship toward the camera, a guard walking in the other direction. They stop when abreast of each other and begin to whisper.)
Iroh: Our plan is working perfectly. Zhao doesn't suspect a thing.
Zuko (removing his guard mask): You didn't have to do this.
Iroh: No nephew of mine is going to stow away on a ship without some backup!
Zuko: Thank you, Uncle.
Iroh (hearing a sound): Someone's coming! (Zuko replaces his mask) Stay hidden until we get to the North Pole and the Avatar will be yours! Good luck!
(They separate and exit the frame. Cut back to the Water City.)
Master Pakku (still holding the necklace, sadly): I carved this necklace for your grandmother when we got engaged. I thought we would have a long, happy life together. I loved her.
Katara: But she didn't love you, did she? It was an arranged marriage.
(Cut to a shot of Yue and Sokka. The Princess' eyes water and Katara's pronouncement.)
Katara (walking up to Pakku): Gran-Gran wouldn't let your tribe's stupid customs run her life. That's why she left. It must have taken a lot of courage.
(Cut back to Yue and Sokka. She begins to cry openly and runs away. The shot expands to show Aang and Chief Arnook next to Sokka.)
Aang: Go get her.
(Sokka runs after her. Cut to a night shot of the city. Yue stand alone on the same bridge as before. A tear streams down her face as she hears footsteps approaching.)
Princess Yue: What do you want from me?
Sokka: Nothing. I just want you to know, I think you're beautiful... and, I never thought a girl like you would even notice a guy like me.
Princess Yue: You don't understand.
Sokka: No, no, see, that's the thing. I think I do understand now. You're a princess, and I... I'm just a southern peasant.
Princess Yue: No, Sokka...
Sokka: It's okay. You don't have to say anything. (Turning to leave) I'll see ya around, okay?
(She grabs him and kisses him.)
Sokka: Okay, now I'm really confused! Happy – but confused!
(He holds her hands in his.)
Princess Yue: I do like you! A lot. But, we can't be together – and not for the reason you think. It's because... (she pulls down the collar of her coat to reveal a necklace) ...I'm engaged. I'm sorry!
(She runs away. Fade to a morning shot of the plaza at the base of the citadel. The ruined pillars of ice are visible in the background from the battle the day before between Katara and Pakku. Near the steps, several students, including Aang, stand before Master Pakku. Aang is waterbending around a ball of water. He throws the ball of water o.c. after a few motions.)
Master Pakku: Not bad! Not bad! Heheh! Keep practicing and maybe you'll get it by the time you're my age!
(Aang looks momentarily unhappy, but then turns with a smile at the sound of footsteps behind him. Cut to Katara running to the group.)
Aang: Hey Katara!
(She bows to Pakku.)
Master Pakku (icily): What do you think you're doing? It's past sunrise. (Smiling) You're late.
Aang: Good to see ya here.
Katara (smiling): You too.
(Cut to a wide shot of them practicing, then fade to a shot of the upper decks of Zhao's ship. The view pans down to reveal Iroh and Zhao on the outside walkway around the bridge.)
Zhao: My fleet is ready. Set a course for the Northern Water Tribe.
(Cut to a panning overhead shot. It reveals dozens of Fire Navy ships firing up their engines in preparation to launch the final assault on the Northern Water Tribe. Fade to white.)
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