The Siege of the North, Part 1
Written By: John O'Bryan
Directed By: Lauren Macmullan
Storyboard By: Lauren Macmullan, Ethan Spaulding, Dean Kelly, Oreste Canestrelli
Animation By: DR Movie
(Opening scene begins with an underwater shot in one of the Water Tribe City canals. The camera pans up above the water line to reveal the canal and the surrounding buildings. Cut to the plaza at the foot of the citadel steps where Katara faced off with Master Pakku in "The Waterbending Master." The segmented ice columns that Katara toppled during the duel have been repaired. It is morning and two waterbending students face off against each other. Cut to the student on the left, a nervous looking teenage boy whose left eye twitches slightly in anxiety. Cut to a close up of the boy's opponent – Katara. She looks very confident, a slight smile on her face. Cut back to a longer shot of the boy who raises up a ball of water, turns it to ice, and throws it at his opponent. Katara bends the ice around her, liquefies it, and sends a huge stream of water back at the boy who is washed up and backwards. As he is washed away, the water turns to ice, imprisoning him about ten feet of the ground. Cut back to Katara who relinquishes her waterbending stance while Pakku approached from over her shoulder.)
Master Pakku: Nice try, Pupil Sangok. A couple of more years and you might be ready to fight a sea sponge.
(Pupil Sangok continues to struggle against his bonds. Master Pakku turns away, makes a motion with his left hand, and the ice prison melts, dropping the hapless student to the ground. Cut to a wide that pans right over the rest of the students who are sitting slumped on the ground. These all appear to teenage boys.)
Master Pakku: Would anyone care for a rematch with Katara?
(They all shake their heads.)
Master Pakku: Katara, you have advanced more quickly than any student I have ever trained. You have proven that with fierce determination, passion and hard work you can accomplish anything. (Turning to look o.c.) Raw talent alone is not enough.
(Cut to Aang lying on the ground, floating Momo around on an airball, a lazy smile on his face.)
Master Pakku (voice over): Pupil Aang!
(Momo's airball dissipates and Momo falls on Aang's head.)
Aang: Yes, Master Pakku?
Master Pakku: Care to step into the sparring circle? I figure since you've found time to play with house pets you must have already mastered waterbending.
(Aang airbends himself to his feet.)
Aang: I wouldn't say "mastered", but check this out!
(Aang spins around, collecting snow around him as he goes. When he is done, he has made himself into a snowman. Momo pounces on him and knocks him down. Cut to Pakku and Katara who wear similar expressions of disdain. Master Pakku shakes his head in disgust.
Fade to a frontal view of the city, then cut to a scene above one of the city's many canals. The shot pans down to reveal another bridge. Princess Yue begins to speak from o.c. as she and Sokka enter the frame from the left, Sokka walking on top of the bridge's guard rail. In the background, the song Iroh sung in "The Waterbending Master" plays slowly in the background.)
Princess Yue: So they don't have palaces in the Southern Tribe?
Sokka (stopping and sitting down on the rail): Are you kidding? I grew up in a block of ice. It's not exactly a cultural hub.
(Yue laughs with a warm smile, and puts her hand on Sokka's shoulder. After a moment she pulls back and looks at him seriously.)
Princess Yue: Sokka, this is wrong.
Sokka: What's wrong? We're taking a walk!
Princess Yue: I'm engaged. It just... feels...
(Sokka's smile wanes as she begins to walk away, but the smile returns as he gets an idea.)
Sokka: I know what you need! (He hops off the rail to stand by her side.) You need to meet my good friend Appa!
Princess Yue: Who?
(Cut to an overhead shot of Sokka and Yue entering Appa's pen. He is eating from an enormous pile of greenery in front of him. Cut to a side view of Sokka opening his arms to Appa, who is o.c. in front of him.)
Sokka: Appa and I go way back. Don't we boy?
(The thunder of Appa's shifting bulk is heard and Sokka's features turn to surprise. Appa enters from the left and pins him down with his forepaws).
Sokka: Ahh! Easy!
(Appa licks him from bottom to top – twice.)
Sokka: Down boy! Ahh! No! Up!
Princess Yue (laughingly): Looks like you haven't been giving Appa enough attention.
(Sokka struggles to try and free himself from Appa's embrace. Cut to Sokka and Yue in Appa's saddle.)
Princess Yue: So how does this work?
Sokka: You hangin' on tight?
Princess Yue: Mmm hmm.
Sokka: Yip... (Cut to a close up of Sokka's face) ...yip!
(Appa soars into the nearly cloudless sky.)
Princess Yue: Oh...my...goodness!
(Cut to an overhead shot of the city and the waters outside the main city gate. Appa flies effortlessly through the frame.)
Princess Yue: Wow! (Blushing slightly) I can't believe you do this every day!
Sokka (stretching): Yeh, we pretty much live up here.
Princess Yue (hugging herself): Is it always this cold in the sky?
(She snuggles up against Sokka.)
Sokka: Not when you're with someone.
(Cut to a close of Yue looking at Sokka, her cheeks blushing.)
Princess Yue: It's beautiful up here.
(Pause while they look at each other with adoration. They come close to kissing before they break off. The camera zooms out.)
Sokka: Whoo! Yeh! Good times! Good times!
(Around them, what looks like snowflakes begin to fall.)
Sokka (pointing down): Hey, look!
(Cut to a side view of Appa as he flies into a squall of these "snowflakes". Strangely, most of these "snowflakes" are black.)
Princess Yue: What's happening?
Sokka (looking ahead o.c.): Oh no.
(The music becomes foreboding as the scene cuts to an overhead shot of the city, where the black snow is now falling everywhere. Cut a view from inside the city as citizens pause to regard the ash falling from the sky. Cut to Aang laughing as he rolls around in a circle in the snow. Momo is nearby. Within a few seconds ash starts to fall around him, but he doesn't notice. Momo sticks out his tongue, catches some ash and eats it. He spits it out as Aang rolls back into the frame. Aang notices the ash and looks up, Katara now visible in the background doing the same. Cut to a view of Master Pakku and a few other city dwellers near a fountain looking up at the ash. Scene shift again to a close up of a hand picking up some of the ash on the ground.)
Sokka (voice over): Soot.
(Cut to a wide shot of Sokka kneeling on the ground, the ash and snow still in his hand, Yue and Appa in the background.)
Princess Yue: What?
Sokka: I've seen it before. Right before my village was attacked. It's soot mixed with snow.
Princess Yue: But why?
Sokka: It's the Fire Nation. They've closed in on the North Pole. And from the looks of the stuff...
(Cut to a wide shot of Sokka and Yue looking over the ocean horizon, which is darkened by a dense grey cloud.)
Sokka: ...I'd say there's a lot of them.
(Cut to a shot of the prows of three Fire Navy vessels cutting through the waves.)
Zhao (voice over): This will truly be one for the history books, General Iroh.
(Cut to Iroh and Zhao on the bridge of Zhao's flagship.)
Zhao: Just think, centuries from now, people will study the great Admiral Zhao who destroyed the last of the Water Tribe civilization. You're lucky you're here to see it.
Iroh: Be careful what you wish for, Admiral. History is not always kind to its subjects.
Zhao: I suppose you speak from experience? But rest assured, this will be nothing like your legendary failure at Ba-Sing-Se.
Iroh: I hope not, for your sake.
Zhao: Tell the Captains to prepare for first strike.
(Iroh turns and walks away. Cut to a quick shot of the ornate prow of Zhao's ship cutting through the icy waters, then cut back to Iroh and Zuko, still in his guard disguise, in a hallway on Zhao's ship.)
Iroh (whispering): We'll be landing soon. Do you have a plan?
Zuko (removing his mask): I'm working on it, Uncle.
(Zuko replaces his mask and they split up. Cut to a shot within the Water City, as the feet of Water Tribe warriors run across the screen, then cut to a shot of two Water Tribe men striking a gong with alternating strokes on top of one of the city's buildings. The gong has symbols representing both the moon and the ocean on it. The scene shifts rapidly to show many city dwellers running up the steps of the citadel, including (briefly) Master Pakku and Sokka, Yue in tow. The Princess stops, bringing Sokka to a halt along with her.)
Sokka: What's wrong? (Pointing up to the citadel) We have to go!
Princess Yue (releasing his grip on her hand): No, Sokka, wait. I can't see you anymore. Not at all.
Sokka (turning in surprise): What? We're just friends.
Princess Yue: I wish we could just be friends, but I like you too much and it's too confusing to be around you. I'm marrying someone else.
Sokka: You don't love him, do you? You don't even seem to like him.
Princess Yue: But I do love my people.
Sokka: You're not marrying them.
Princess Yue: You don't understand. I have duties to my father, to my tribe. (Running off screen, basrely holding back tears) I have to do this, goodbye!
(Cut to a close up of Sokka, looking distraught at Yue's sudden departure. The scene then shifts to a front shot of Chief Arnook beginning a speech to a group of Water Tribe warriors. His voice echoes through the great hall as he speaks. Behind him sit Princess Yue and Master Pakku. On the floor, their backs to a nearby wall, sit Aang, Katara and Sokka.)
Chief Arnook: The day we have feared for so long has arrived. The Fire Nation is on our doorstep. It is with great sadness I call my family here before me, knowing well that some of these faces are about to vanish from our tribe. But they will never vanish from our hearts. Now, as we approach the battle for our existence, (he raises his arms up to the heavens in supplication) I call upon the great spirits! Spirit of the Ocean! Spirit of the Moon! Be with us! (Lowering his arms and continuing his address) I'm going to need volunteers for a dangerous mission.
Sokka (standing up): Count me in.
(Many other men stand up in the crowd with him.)
Chief Arnook: Be warned. Many of you will not return. Come forward to receive my mark if you accept the task.
(The men form a line in front of the Chief to receive his mark. It is three red lines on the forehead, made from some paint or ink that the Chief holds in a bowl in front of him. Sokka is the second in line. As Sokka leaves, he turns and makes eye contact with Yue before he turns again and walks away. Yue begins to cry silently as the string instrumental from General Iroh's song plays softly.
Fade to a shot of Aang sitting on one of the pylons at the top of the citadel steps. He is looking out over the city walls to the ocean horizon in the distance. Behind him the Chief approaches.)
Chief Arnook: The stillness before battle is unbearable. (Katara walks up behind Aang to his left) Such a quite dread.
Aang: I wasn't there when the Fire Nation attacked my people. (Cut to a close up of Aang, a fierce expression on his face.) I'm gonna make a difference this time.
(Cut to shot from behind Aang. He stands up on top of the pylon, Katara to his left and the Chief to his right. The camera zooms up towards and into the corona of the sun.
Shift to a frontal shot of the city from the water. All looks calm and quiet on a beautiful sunny day. Cut to a slanted shot of a row of Water Tribe warriors who line the top of the city wall, their faces painted for war. The shot cuts to pan left across the wall, revealing a solid line of warriors, with Aang atop Appa in the center. Katara and Sokka stand to Appa's left. Cut to a profile shot of Sokka, Katara and Aang in the background, all looking out to sea with expressions of fierce determination. In the distance a single ship is seen. It launches a fireball which hurtles directly at the center of the city wall. It strikes the water symbol in the center of wall and blows a massive hole through it. Many defenders are blown backwards into the city by the concussion, along with huge chunks of ice and debris. Cut to commercial break.)
(The shows returns to a shot of another fireball once flying through the air towards the city. It lands in a canal with an explosion of smoke, water and fire. Cut to a shot of the Fire Nation crew launching another fireball from the trebuchet on the approaching ship's foredeck. It strikes the right side of the city wall, shattering a piece of it. Appa recoils and roars as the smoke and exploding ice create havoc around him.)
Aang: Yip! Yip!
(Appa and Aang launch off the wall towards the Fire Navy ship while the defenders on the wall try to reorganize. Cut to Sokka searching among the wreckage of the ruined wall.)
(He walks behind a large mound of snow which begins to move. A large chunk of the snow mound blows out of the screen as Katara waterbends it away to release herself. Sokka helps her to her feet just in time to see two more fireballs come over the city wall.
Cut to Appa roaring in the sky, Aang at his reigns, a stern look on his face. As Aang and Appa approach the Fire Navy ship it fires a few more fireballs at them. The last Aang bats out of the with his staff. The blow changes the trajectory of the fireball and it goes wild, harmlessly striking the ice cliff way to the left of the city.
Cut back to Aang.)
Aang: I'll take it from here, boy!
(Appa begins to invert himself allowing Aang to just fall of the saddle into a free fall. Appa exits the frame as Aang continues his drop. After a few seconds he opens his glider and closes in on the ship. Dodging several more fireballs Aang arrives on the foredeck, breaking the rest of his fall by using his staff as a helicopter blade. Once he lands, he whips up a gale that blows much of the deck crew off the screen. Aang then hops up onto the arm of the loaded trebuchet and begins to walk down it. A huge Fire Nation soldier blocks his way, however, and he is forced back up the arm. Two more soldiers have climbed the trebuchet, however, and appear behind Aang. They all swing mighty hammers at him and miss, damaging the trebuchet. Finally, Aang jets into the air and with a mighty blow blasts the trebuchet into a dozen pieces.
Aang runs over to the other trebuchet on the deck. He breaks the chain the stops the trebuchet arm from overextending and then fires the trebuchet. The arm overextends and the weapon shoot its fireball into the deck, straight through the forepeak and into the water below. Aang runs back up the deck to two more trebuchet, Fire Nation guards in tow. He ties the chains of two trebuchets together in a bow knot. He then runs over to one of the machines firing mechanisms and kicks it into operation. The activated trebuchet draws the one it is tied to across the deck towards itself. When the one strikes the other they disintegrate into a pile of useless junk.
Aang grins widely as he runs over to another trebuchet and is observed by a large Fire Nation warrior. He about to strike the firing mechanism with a hammer when he sees the warrior approach. Aang drops the hammer in fear, narrowly avoiding multiple hammers attached to chains that attempt to strike him from o.c. Cut to the warrior wielding the chained hammers as weapons. Hiding behind one of the trebuchet's girders, Aang is quickly ensnared by two chains which rap around him. Cut to the warrior controlling the chains. Appa's feet suddenly swoop into the frame, breaking the chain and sweeping the warrior out of the picture. Aang frees himself from his now loose chains.)
(Cut to Appa peering over the side of a ship. He ejects the chain warrior overboard with a grunt and a shove of his paw. Aang runs over and jumps onto Appa's forehead, bear hugging him.)
Aang: Thanks for the rescue, buddy!
(Suddenly the ship starts to vibrate violently. A huge spear of ice breaks through the foredeck straight into the sky. Cut to a view of the port side hull which is now encased in rapidly expanding ice. The Fire Navy ship has been surrounded by Water Tribe skiffs full of waterbenders. Together they the Fire Navy ship out of the water on a bed of ice. Appa and Aang take off the now heavily listing deck. As Aang and Appa rise above the now wrecked ship, Aang's expression turns to horror and surprise as he looks in front of him. Cut to a view from behind Appa and Aang. The horizon is full of Fire Navy ships as far as the eye can see.)
Aang: You have got to be kidding me.
(Cut to a quick shot of Water Tribe warriors walking up stairs, then to a headshot of Chief Arnook once again addressing a group of soldiers.)
Chief Arnook: Men, you'll be infiltrating the Fire Nation navy. That means you'll all need one of these uniforms...
(Cut to a shot of someone walking into an empty frame from the waist down wearing what appears to be a Fire Navy uniform. The screen pans up to reveal Hahn, an arrogant looking, dark haired young man. The uniform he wears, while clearly of the Fire Nation, is not current standard issue. In particular, the shoulder armor has wings that curve upward. Laughter from o.c. is heard, then switch to a wide shot of the assembly to reveal that it is Sokka who is laughing. He puts his hand over his mouth. The other warriors turn to look at him.)
Hahn: What's your problem?
Sokka (pointing at him): Fire Navy uniforms don't look like that.
Hahn: Of course they do. These are real uniforms captured from actual Fire Navy soldiers.
Sokka: When, like a hundred years ago?
Chief Arnook: Eighty five.
Sokka (walking forward): The Fire Nation doesn't wear shoulder spikes anymore. The newer uniforms are more streamlined.
(Sokka bends the tip of one of the shoulder spikes back with the tip of his finger and lets get out. It bounces back to its original shape with a little comic sound effect.)
Hahn (to Arnook): How do we know we can trust this guy? (To Sokka, leaning into him with a threatening expression) Such bold talk for a new recruit.
Chief Arnook: Sokka is from our sister tribe, Hahn, he is a capable warrior and I value his input.
(The camera zooms backward from Arnook to show Sokka looking smugly at Hahn, who is none too pleased. Cut to a profile shot of the assembly as Arnook turns back to finish his address.)
Chief Arnook: Now, our first objective is to determine the identity of their commanding officer.
Sokka: His name is Zhao. Middle-aged. Big sideburns. Bigger temper.
Chief Arnook: Sokka, I want you to tell everything you know to Hahn, he is leading this mission. Hahn, show Sokka your respect. I expect nothing less from my future son-in-law.
(Arnook exits left as Hahn pushes his hair back over his ears. The screen pans right to reveal that Sokka's jaw has dropped in shock at the Chief's last pronouncement. He recovers and points an accusing finger at hahn.)
Sokka: Princess Yue's marrying you?
Hahn: Yeh, what of it?
Sokka (turning away): Nothing, congratulations.
(Cut to a late afternoon or sunset shot of the advancing ranks of Fire Navy ships firing volleys of fireballs towards the city. Some land inside the city and some hit the outer wall. Cut to Master Pakku in front of a group of waterbenders.)
Master Pakku: Stop those fireballs!
(As a fireball bears down on them, they collectively raise up a barrier of water and freeze as the fireball impacts. It is extinguished. Cut to a view of Zhao's back as he watches the bombardment from the bridge of his flagship. Iroh enters the frame.)
Iroh: It's almost twilight, Admiral. As your military consultant I must advise you to halt your attack. The waterbenders draw their power from the moon and it is nearly full tonight. You should wait and resume the attack at daybreak.
Zhao: Oh, I'm well aware of the moon problem and I am working on a solution. But for now, daybreak it is.
(Cut to a shot of the front rank of Fire Navy ships dropping anchors for the night, then to an overhead of the fleet parked outside the Water City's main wall. Zhao's ship is in the second line of ships and looks double the size of the others. Shift to a shot from behind Katara and Yue, who are standing in front of the citadel looking out over the city and its walls to the line of threatening Fire Navy ships. Plumes of smoke rise over several sections of the city that have been bombed.)
Princess Yue: They've stopped firing.
(Appa swoops into the frame.)
Katara (pointing at them): Aang!
(Appa lands on the plaza at the base of the Citadel steps. Yue and Katara run down to them. As Appa lands he lies down on his belly, his feet too tired to keep him up. Aang looks small and dejected in the saddle. He slides off and comes to rest next to Appa's left forepaw.)
Aang: I can't do it. (Putting his hands to his head.) I can't do it.
Katara: What happened?
Aang: I must have taken out a dozen Fire Navy ships, but there's just too many of them. I can't fight them all.
Princess Yue: But, you have to! You're the Avatar!
Aang: I'm just one kid.
(He buries his head in his arms in despair as Katara sits down to comfort him.
Cut to a shot of the nearly full moon as the screen pans down to reveal Zhao's command ship, then cut again to Zuko, now out of uniform entirely dressed instead in plain grey clothes, preparing a canoe to be lowered into the water. Behind him a door opens to reveal Iroh entering. He shuts the door behind him.)
Iroh: If you're fishing for an octopus, my nephew, you need a tightly woven net or he will squeeze through the tiniest hole and escape.
Zuko: I don't need your wisdom right now, Uncle.
Iroh: I'm sorry, I just nag you because, well, ever since I lost my son...
(Iroh looks away, pain evident on his face. The camera focuses on Zuko in the foreground, whose image had been fuzzy as Iroh spoke.)
Zuko: Uncle, you don't have to say it.
Iroh: I think of you as my own.
(Zuko turns to him, a genuine look of concern and understanding on his face.)
Zuko: I know, Uncle. (He bows and salutes him with his arm over chest.) We'll meet again...
(Iroh rushes forward and gives him a bear hug.)
Zuko (releasing his Uncle and walking over to the canoe): ...after I have the Avatar.
(He gets into the canoe and begins to lower it to the water.)
Iroh: Remember your Breathe of Fire! It could save your life out there!
Zuko: I will.
Iroh: And put your hood up, keep your ears warm!
Zuko (now far below his uncle): I'll be fine.
(Cut to a shot of Iroh looking worried as he watches his nephew depart, then a wide shot of the city and the line of Fire Navy ships between Zuko and his goal.
This scene is replaced by a shot of a close up of Sokka's hands sharpening an axe blade on a rotating wheel. It is clear he is applying too much pressure to the blade for some reason causing speaks to fly off the blade. Cut to a wider shot of Sokka and Hahn performing the same task side by side. No sparks fly from Hahn's blade. Sokka's expression is clearly unhappy.)
Hahn (mispronouncing Sokka's name): Let me tell ya, Soka, I've courted a lot of girls, but Yue is the finest – and she comes with the most perks.
Sokka (his eyes bulging in anger): Perks!? What does that mean?
Hahn: I mean, Yue's nice and everything, but the points I'll get with the Chief aren't bad either.
Sokka: Princess Yue is wasted on a self absorbed weasel like you!
Hahn: Whoa. Hang on. What do you care? You're just a simple rube from the Southern Tribe. What would you know of the political complexities of our life? No offense.
(Sokka yells in anger and tackles Hahn to the ground. Sokka ends up on top and punches Hahn in the face.)
Sokka: You're just a jerk without a soul! No offense!
(They roll around a bit more before Chief Arnook's hands appear in the frame to break them up.)
Chief Arnook: That's enough! Sokka, you're off the mission.
(The Chief exits again as Sokka looks away, humiliated.)
Hahn (to the assembled soldiers): All right, fall in men! Everybody listen to what I say and we'll take out this Admiral Jo in no time.
Sokka (to the backs of Hahn and his departing soldiers): It's Admiral Zhao!
(Cut to a night shot of Zuko navigating his canoe through the ice flows near the City. He is wrapped up in his grey garb. Nearby, turtle seals can be heard making noise. He floats silently near the damaged city wall, unseen by the sentries patrolling atop the damaged barrier. He beaches the craft on the ice near the wall and spies several turtle seals disappearing into a hole in the ice.)
Zuko: Where are they going? They're coming up for air somewhere...
(He takes off his veil, takes a deep breath and plunges into the icy water.
Cut to a view of the nearly full moon.)
Princess Yue (voice over): The legends say the moon was the first waterbender. (The camera view zooms backward to reveal Katara, Aang and Yue looking at the moon over the city from a room in the citadel. Aang's holds his head low.) Our ancestors saw how it pushed and pulled the tides and learned how to do it themselves.
Katara: I've always noticed my waterbending is stronger at night.
Princess Yue: Our strength comes from the Spirit of the Moon, our life comes from the Spirit of the Ocean. They work together to keep balance.
Aang (his eyes opening wide as he gets an idea): The Spirits! Maybe I can find them and get their help!
Princess Yue: How can you do that?
Katara: The Avatar is the bridge between our world and the Spirit World. Aang can talk to them!
Princess Yue (smiling hopefully): Maybe they'll give you the wisdom to win this battle!
Aang (spreading his arms wide): Or, maybe they'll unleash a crazy amazing spirit attack on the Fire Nation!
(Cut to a wide shot of the three, as Yue and Katara regard Aang steadily. Aang puts his arms behind his back and smiles.)
Aang: Or wisdom. That's good too.
Katara: The only problem is, last time you got to the Spirit World by accident. How are you going to get there this time?
Princess Yue: I have an idea, follow me.
(Princess Yue walks into the camera. Cut to a view of the three walking through a courtyard behind the citadel. Yue stops in front of a wooden half height door.)
Aang: So is this the way to the Spirit World?
Princess Yue (laughing): No, you'll have to get there on your own. (Opening the door) But I can take you to the most spiritual place in the entire North Pole.
(Aang enters as Momo jumps off his shoulder and onto Katara. Cut to Aang's p.o.v. Inside there is a long pool of water. At the back of the chamber is a waterfall coming from the glacier way above. On the sides of the pool are two ledges by which one can access the landing at the back of the chamber. The landing is filled with green foliage, another smaller pool that looks almost tropical in nature, and a small t shaped gate like structure very much akin to a Chinese paifang or perhaps a Japanese torii. The landing is connected to the ledges on the side of the chamber by two wooden foot bridges. Cut to a zoom in close up of Aang's face, filled with wonder at the nature beauty before him before cut to commercial break.)
(The show returns to a shot of Aang running over the left bridge, laughing. He lands on the soft grass in front of the little pond. He rubs it fondly.)
Aang: I never thought I'd miss grass this much!
(He flops over on his back as Yue and Katara walk onto the landing themselves.)
Katara (smiling): It's so warm here! How is that possible? (She takes off her overcoat.)
Princess Yue: It's the center of all spiritual energy in our land.
(Cut to an overhead shot of the pond where two fish circle each other in a timeless motion. One is white, the other black. Momo skitters up to the pond and begins to try and grab the fish. Yue and Katara look severely at Momo, who decides to run away.)
Aang: You're right, Yue. I can feel...something...it's so...tranquil.
(Aang sits cross legged in front of the pond. He closes his eyes, makes two fists and puts his knuckles together in an attempt to meditate. Fade to white, then cut to a dark cave filled with the sounds of turtle seals. Another water hole is seen, its surface quickly broken by an out of breath Prince Zuko. He flops onto the ice floor of the cave, his breath making clouds of water vapor in front of him. He flips over, shiver, and blows fire into his hands to warm him up. He gets up.)
Zuko (to the noisy turtles): Be quiet!
(They stop barking as he walks by, but begin once he passes. Zuko approaches a waterfall at the back of the cave. He enters the tunnel where the water is coming out. Screen fades to white as he makes headway up the tunnel. Cut to Sokka sharpening his boomerang in the same armory he had the fight with Hahn. Arnook comes up behind him.)
Chief Arnook: Is something wrong, Sokka?
Sokka: Oh no! Hahn's out there on the top secret mission while I'm here sharpening my boomerang. Everything's fine!
Chief Arnook: Listen to me. I took you off the mission for selfish reasons. I have a special task in mind for you.
Sokka (turning to the Chief in anger): What? You want me to scrub the barracks?
Chief Arnook: I want you to guard my daughter, Princess Yue.
Sokka (getting up, an look of innocence mingled with desire on his face): Er, sure. That shouldn't be too hard.
(Arnook exits, fade to white. Cut back to Zuko forcing himself up the tunnel. He slips once, but keeps on moving. Finally he exits the tunnel into the bottom of a large pool of water. He swims up and breaks the surface, gasping for air. The top of the chamber is inches above his head. He regains his breathe, then looks just underneath the water line to scan for exits. He sees one, dives and enters another tunnel. Going around one bend and then up reveals what looks like an exit into open air, but when he reaches it, it proves to be just thinner, lighter colored ice. Running out of breath, he concentrates and superheats his hands to red hot and places them on the thin ice. He burns through it and emerges into an ice tunnel within the Water Tribe City. He lies down for a moment to regain his strength.
Cut to Aang still in his meditation pose beside the pool, Katara and Yue behind him. The camera slowly zooms in on Aang.)
Princess Yue (trying to whisper): Why is he sitting like that?
Katara (also whispering): He's meditating – trying to cross over into the Spirit World. It takes all his concentration.
(Aang cracks an eye at this continued interruption.)
Princess Yue: Is there any way we can help?
(The camera zooms back out to its original position.)
Aang: How 'bout some quiet!? (Turning to look at them, Katara putting a hand over her mouth.) C'mon guys! I can hear every word you're saying!
(He resumes his pose. Cut to an overhead shot of Aang, the black and white fish circling each other in front of him. The view switches from underneath the fish. Aang stares at them. As he looks at them they blur into the Yin – Yang symbol. His eyes and then a second later the screen flashes white. When the view returns, Aang's eyes and head arrow glow white.)
Princess Yue: Is he okay?
Katara: He's crossing into the Spirit World. He'll be fine as long as we don't move his body. That's his way back to the physical world.
Princess Yue (beginning to walk away): Maybe we should get some help?
Katara: No, he's my friend. I'm perfectly capable of protecting him.
Zuko (voice over, his voice echoing slightly in the chamber): Well, aren't you a big girl now?
Katara (turning to the voice): No!
(Cut to Zuko walking over the footbridge towards them.)
Zuko: Yes! Hand him over, and I won't have to hurt you.
(Cut to Katara assuming a waterbending stance, while Yue runs off in the background. Aang, oblivious, still communes with the Spirit World in front of the pond.
Zuko launches forward, firing several blasts of fire. Katara blocks all three with water from the pond. He fires several more as he advances, but on the last one she uses enough water to not only douse his fire, but hurl him backward and lay him flat on the ground.)
Zuko (getting up): I see you've learned a new trick. But I didn't come this far to lose to you.
(He fires another blast which she blocks. Katara then launches another stream of water at him, hurling him backwards again. He barely retains his balance, but Katara freezes the water beneath him. His feet are frozen in the ice. Then, with a massive output of effort, Katara raises a churning sphere of water from the main pool behind Zuko, encases him in it, and freezes him entirely. Cut to an accent close up of Katara's face – satisfaction written all over it. Cut back to Zuko in the ice.)
Zuko (voice muffled by the ice): You little peasant. You've found a master, haven't you?
(As Zuko ends his comment, the ground begins to shake and the ice begins to glow yellow and orange. With an explosion of fire, the shell of ice shatters, releasing Zuko who promptly charges Katara. They trade shots which miss. Zuko gets behind Katara and almost grabs Aang's collar, but Katara blasts him out of the way with a jet of water. He gets blown over to the right ledge. While he tries to recover, Katara raises a huge wave of water that raises him to ten or more feet up the wall. She freezes him in place once again.
Cut to a close up of Master Pakku. The sun rises over the horizon, lighting his face. Cut to a shot from behind him and two of his waterbenders. They look out from the citadel over the city wall to the Fire Navy fleet. Cut to a shot from behind Zhao.)
Zhao: It's daybreak at last. Let's write history.
(A close up of Zhao's face is replaced by a shot of Zuko still frozen in the ice. His head droops in defeat. As the sunlight reaches him, though, his head snaps up with a look of determination. He breathes steam, melting the ice holding him in place. He slides down and charges Katara again. He fires a huge blast of fire. Katara, caught off guard while she walking back to Aang, blocks it only partially. She is thrown back into the post of the paifang gate and is knocked out. When the smoke clears, Zuko looks over her, his hand on Aang's collar, the sun shining bright in the background.)
Zuko: You rise with the moon. I rise with the sun.
(Cut to the prow of a Fire Navy ship dropping its bowsprit and using it to slice open the Water City's main wall. The bowsprit is then used as a bridge by Fire Nation troops entering the city, much as the ancient Roman corvus was used. Cut to a close up of Zhao's eyes.)
Zhao: The Water Tribe can try to resist the inevitable (cut to a wider shot of him and Iroh), but their city will fall today.
(Cut back to Katara, emerging from her involuntary nap. Here eyes open suddenly, and she gets to her knees with a start. Cut to an overhead shot of her and the pond. Aang and Zuko are gone. Momo chitters and runs across the screen.)
Katara (shouting): Aang!
(Cut to side, wide shot of the sanctuary. Appa lands, Sokka and Yue in the saddle. They move to hop down.)
Sokka: What happened? Where's Zuko?
Katara (sadly): He took Aang. He took him right out from under me.
Sokka (voice over as we see a shot of Momo looking back at them from his perch on the side of the pond): Where did they go?
(The shot pans up and out of the protected valley of the sanctuary to the surface of the massive glacier above. Up there it is snowing hard. Zuko struggles through the storm, carrying Aang, whose marking still glow white. The disappear into the snow, fade to white.)
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