Appa's Lost Days
Written By: Elizabeth Welch Ehasz
Directed By: Giancarlo Volpe
Storyboard By: Oreste Canestrelli, Ian Graham, Bobby Rubio, Giancarlo Volpe, Tomihiro Yamaguchi
Animation By: JM Animation Co, Ltd
Transcribers: Avatar_Mom, Isidorios
["Previously on Avatar" sequence includes clips from "The Serpent's Pass", "The Desert", "City of Walls and Secrets".]
Four weeks ago (The scene opens to a flashback of the open desert, as Wan Shi Tong's library sinks into the sands. In a closer shot, we see Toph struggling to prevent the tower from submerging entirely.)
Toph: (straining) No, stop sinking!
(Cuts to Appa, surrounded by sandbenders who have him ensnared with a number of ropes. The cowled desert nomads are desperately holding on to the ropes in an attempt to control a snarling Appa. With a powerful toss of his head, Appa sends one of his assailants flying over his head to tumble into the sand. Two more of the Sandbenders narrowly avoid being crushed by the bison's powerful tail slap. Appa sends yet another nomad flying overhead, and strains mightily against the ropes of the remaining attackers. The view pans over to show Toph , hands pressed against the tower in an attempt to halt its descent with earthbending.)
Toph: Don't make me put this down!
(Turning from the tower, she tries to launch an earthbending attack at the sandbenders, but it misses them harmlessly. Behind her, the building containing her friends begins to sink rapidly, and Toph quickly turns and braces against it, straining her powers to slow its descent. Behind her, the sandbenders continue struggling with the sky-bison.)
Gashuin: Put a muzzle on him!
(One of the raiders loops a rope around Appa's jaws, which he promptly snaps. Appa lunges forward at him, and he falls backward to avoid the bison's massive jaws. Another rope, weighted with a pouch of sand, loops over Appa's right horn, and all of the raiders pull downward in an attempt to subdue him. A powerful head butt sends one of the sandbenders hurtling into the air, and Appa launches himself skyward. Yet another nomad snares one of the sky-bison's legs, and he uses sandbending to anchor himself into the sand. Even as this bender is drug forward, a further rope is looped around another leg, until Appa, hovering above the heads of the anchored nomads, is finally brought crashing down to the ground. From above we see eight of the sandbenders holding a splayed Appa against the ground with ropes, while a sand-skiff glides close. Two of the vessels, propelled by sandbenders, begin dragging the subdued bison away from the library tower. We cut to a shot of Toph, still holding the tower.)
Toph: I'm sorry Appa. (she is grief-stricken, and closes her eyes sorrowfully)
(Behind her, we see Appa growing distant, and cut to a shot of him closing wearing a look of mournful resignation. Cut to a shot of the sun shining above the desert sands, as the sand-skiffs slide by, hauling Appa behind them. The young leader of the sandbender lowers his facemask, and signals for the three skiffs to come to a halt in an open stretch of desert.)
Gashuin: (dropping to the ground) Ransack his saddle. Who knows what treasures are stashed in there? (two nomads rush towards the bound Appa)
(Appa roars menacingly, and the two nomads stop short of him looking back to their leader)
Gashuin: He's tied up good, he can't hurt you.
(The two sandbenders leap up onto Appa's saddle, kicking up a cloud of dust in his face that causes him to snuffle and let loose a tremendous sneeze.
The blast of air impacts against the center skiff, sending it rocketing through the air to wreck against a sand dune.)
Sandbender: (turning to Gashuin) What's your father going to do when he finds out we lost a sand sailor?
Gashuin: Nothing. (thumbs back to the wreck) It's the one we stole from the Hammi tribe. (turns back to Appa) Did you empty the saddle? (walks up to the pile of gear) That's it! Nothing but garbage! (Frustrated, he kicks away a pair of items) Ahh! It doesn't matter. We'll still make a profit from selling him to those beetle-headed merchants! (his companion picks up a parasol and opens it up, shading himself)
(The scene fades into a shot of the remaining two skiffs dragging Appa to a trio of large tents grouped out in the open desert. He is drug into the camp past a group of three well dressed men. Once the skiffs stop, the men walk around to the front of Appa stopping to his head to appraise him.)
First Beetle Merchant: How's his temper?
Gashuin: Uhhhh, pretty good.
(Appa abruptly roars ferociously, causing the merchants to jump back in fear, then falls silent again)
Gashuin: (sheepishly) Uh, most of the time.
Second Beetle Merchant: (turning to the first merchant) I bet someone will pay a fortune for him in Ba Sing Se.
First Beetle Merchant: All right. You've got a deal.
(Gashuin, flanked by two of his fellows, accepts a small ornate chest. He opens it and looks into it smiling before closing it and walking away. Cut to a giant green stag beetle ridden by one of the camp followers. It strains at a series of lines attached to its saddle, and drags a bound Appa onto a large sled. Six wooden arms lever over from the sides of the sled, caging the bison. A final shot shows the beetle harnessed to the sled, as the merchants look on.
Cut to an aerial scene showing Aang riding his glider low across the waves of sand.)
Aang: (shouting) Appa! Appa!
(A close-up of Aang's angry face, as he begins to blow furiously on the bison whistle. We cut to a shot of Appa's face as his eyes snap open upon hearing the ultrasonic note. We see the stag beetle, the array of ropes and a pair of merchants from Appa's point-of-view. Appa starts moaning and struggling, rocking the entire sled back and forth. A view of the Sandbender skiffs shows them preparing to depart.)
Gashuin: (calling back) He's your problem now. Ha ha ha! (the two skiffs slide away into the distance)
Second Beetle Merchant: What!?
(He and a fellow merchant turn back to the sled, which is now rocking side to side dangerously. Appa's tail breaks the rope holding it down, and with a powerful tail slap he launches himself, sled and all, into the air and over the stag beetle. He fillips over the beetle, and begins dragging it through the camp, destroying a tent in the process.)
First Beetle Merchant: (shouting) We need the shirshu spit darts!
Second Beetle Merchant: (whips out a blowgun) Got'em! Ok big fella, you're gonna take a nice little snoozle. (he loads the blowgun and brings it to his lips as he says this)
(He fires the blowgun up at Appa, piercing his foot with three small blowgun needles. Instantly, Appa's eyes begin to droop, and he comes to a sliding crash back onto the desert floor.
Cut to Aang, swooping down to a landing upon a sand dune.)
Aang: (yelling) Appa! (he looks out over a seemingly endless expanse of empty desert, lowers his face sadly) No... NOOOO!
(With this final cry of outrage, Aang leaps forward and sends an incredible blast of air down into the desert sand. Viewed from afar, we see a towering mushroom cloud of sand and dust explode into the sky. Switching again to Appa's point-of-view, we can see the cloud far, far in the distance. The two merchants step into view as the groaning bison's vision begins to blur and darken.)
First Beetle Merchant: We've gotta get rid of this one! He's too much trouble.
Second Beetle Merchant: We could sell him for parts.
(Fade to black. After a moment, we begin to hear a new voice in the darkness. Appa's vision begins to recover, and we see through his eyes the bars of a cage, with a man in fire nation garb regarding him from the other
side with arms crossed.)
Circus Trainer: (softly) Oh. I understand you've had a rather hard time lately. That's too bad. You probably felt you had no choice but to behave outrageously. Like a wild animal. (walks up and strokes Appa's forehead through the bars) But don't worry, you won't anymore. (in a sinister voice) Because I am going to break you.
(From above, we see that Appa is enclosed in a circus wagon, and a number of other creatures lie in cages nearby. From the outside, pennants wave in the wind on the enormous red tent of the Fire nation circus.
Returning to the inside of the animal tent, we see the Trainer pushing a cart of cabbages past a reclining platypus-bear. He tosses one of the cabbages back to the bear, who catches it in his bill and munches on it. He pushes it past Appa's cage, and the bison rises slowly, his attention on the cart. As he gains his feet, he finds that he has been chained and manacled. Rumbling with displeasure, he begins gnawing at the manacle on his forepaw. The Trainer walks past to the cage containing a vulture-griffon, who cries out in anticipation. As he feeds the beast, he turns to address Appa, who is watching him and drooling.
Circus Trainers: Hungry? Don't worry, I'm going to feed you too. (holds cabbage out to Appa) But not yet. First I am going to show you how you'll earn it.
(He pulls the cabbage back away from Appa's outstretched tongue, walks back to the Vulture-Griffon and feeds it the cabbage. He opens it's cage, and the griffon flies out and up hovers overhead. Summoning a whip of fire, the Trainer cracks it at the griffon then rushes forward to guide its performance. As he steps away, Appa uses his air bending skills and sucks in a stream of air that pulls the cart full of cabbages closer to him. He successfully lifts one from the pile and devours it. We see the vulture-griffon performing aerial acrobatics involving a series of hoops, tossing one to the Trainer.)
Circus Trainer: Or course, when you perform, the hoops will be flaming. (Appa vacuums another cabbage) And if you are careful, you won't get burned.
(Appa releases an loud belch from behind him)
Circus Trainer: (wheeling around angrily) You're about to be sorry.
(Summoning his fire whip, the Trainer creates a blaze in front of Appa's cage. Appa rears back and groans and roars in distress. The Trainer approaches his cage, heedless of the flames between them.)
Circus Trainer: It's obvious that whoever your previous owner was, he had no idea how to handle you properly. (Appa ,cowed by the flames, glares at the Trainer)
(Cut to the outside of the Main Circus Tent. Lit against the nighttime sky, a large crowd has gathered outside the entrance. Circus style music can be heard playing. We cut to a fire nation boy about Aang's age, who walks past an open tent flap. He quickly reappears, eyes wide in amazement. He sees the caged Appa inside the tent, trying to pull a bale of hay towards himself with his wind breath. His attempts to bring it to him come to nothing. Turning, Appa exchanges looks with the amazed lad, and makes a licking gesture with his tongue. The boy smiles, and seem ready to enter, when a hulking adult shows up behind him abruptly.)
Fire Nation Man: I am gonna get a bag of sizzle-crisps. (points commandingly) Stay here and stay away from that monster. Behave yourself, or you'll regret it.
(The boy watches him walk off with a meek look, then turns back to the tent opening. Rushing inside, he starts rolling the bale toward Appa, who gives him a friendly lick before chowing down on the hay bail. Hearing someone approaching, the boy quickly dashes back outside.)
Circus Trainer: (approaching from the other direction) He's a difficult creature, stubborn and willful. I need more time with him. It's too risky right now. (he and the ringmaster step fully into view)
Ring Master: (angrily) Too Risky? What are you talking about? (gestures dramatically) This is the circus, home of fear and danger. I want the Wind Buffalo to perform tonight. (he stalks off-scene)
Circus Trainer: (turns to glare at Appa) If you don't behave yourself, you'll regret it.
(Stepping forward, he creates a large torch of flame before Appa's face, who shrinks back in his cage and growls in fear and anger. He stomps off, and we see that the small boy has watched the entire scene from the edge of the tent flap. He looks sad, then exchanges another friendly look with Appa. The large man comes up behind him and starts guiding him away.)
Fire Nation Man: Let's go!
Fire Nation Boy: (waving) See ya later buddy.
(As the boy's waving hand disappears, Appa turns and settles down in his cage with a deep sorrowful sigh. A quick cut to the outside of the Main Tent, then inside where we find the circus underway. Two women are spinning plates on top of long sticks, two platypus-bears in costume balance on large balls, and a group of men stand three high in a pyramid. We see the cheering crowd, seated on bleachers. The young boy from earlier reaches for a sizzle-crisp, but the man snatches them away selfishly.)
Ring Master: (voice-over) Ladies and gentleman, now for something truly special. (we cut to him as he creates a pair of flames from his palms) A noble beast so magnificent and rare, it hasn't been seen by human eyes in generations. (gesturing, he creates a fiery flash to his left) I give you the Wind Buffalo!
(We pan to a curtain, which drops to reveal a rather dejected looking Appa, looking ridiculous in an outlandish circus get-up, his face painted in clown fashion. Appa paws unhappily at his fake beard. The crowd begins laughing as the young boy looks on unhappily. Appa enters the center ring, where he is joined by the Circus Trainer.)
Circus Trainer: Up.
(Appa shakes his head and turnscompletely around, to the crowds amusement)
Circus Trainer: (looks back from crowd angrily) Up, you insolent cow!
(He creates a fire whip and cracks it at Appa, who roars at him in defiance. In the audience, the boy jumps up from his seat.)
Fire Nation Boy: (shouting and gesturing) Run away! Get away from him. (the large man pulls him back into his seat)
(The Circus trainer, whip ablaze, coaxes Appa into rising upward to the amazement of the crowd. The spectators clap and cheer as the small boy looks heartbroken. We see Appa begin a series of aerial acrobatics through flaming hoops. His costume catches fire as he passes through the second hoop, and he tail-slaps the third one, sending it hurtling to smash into the Circus trainer.)
Circus Trainer: Augh! Oof. (he crashes senseless to the ground)
(In another Appa point-of-view shot, we see the assembled crowd laughing in the bleachers. Appa focuses in on the young boy, and we flash back to a similar sepia-toned scene of Aang laughing in a similar pose. Appa, growling in frustration, begins shaking off his beard as the crowd continues to laugh merrily.)
Fire Nation Boy: Go. You can do it.
(Appa starts to rise into the air, only to be intercepted by a blast of fire from below that sends him in the other direction.)
Circus Trainer: (furious) Get back here, you stupid beast!
(The Trainer, now recovered, again creates his fire whip as Appa swoops down at him. He cracks it just as Appa strikes him with an upward tail lash, sending him hurtling up and out though the roof of the tent, sailing in a high arc. Appa crashes through an opening in the tent's roof, shedding the rest of his costume as he does so. The smiling young boy looks upward at the dangling remains of the freed bison's costume. Appa soars away into the night, the lights of the circus fading away below him.)
(The scene opens to Appa soaring above the desert in the early dawn, as he comes upon the crater left by the disappearing Library. We flash back to his remembrance of the tower, and he lands in the crater and starts pawing at the sand. With a great bellow of despair he collapses onto his belly in the center of the crater. Cuts again to the shackled bison flying above the desert floor, his stomachs rumbling with hunger. Spying a large egg lying on the desert floor, Appa lands heavily next to it. But just before he can lap up the egg with his tongue a small bipedal lizard rushes up, snatches it and flees into the rocks with the egg held high. Appa spots a Jackelope standing next to a small cactus in the distance, and swoops over, frightening off the small creature. He bites off the entire cactus, then spits it out, roaring in pain and wagging his hurt tongue. We cut again to a tired looking Appa flying low over the midday desert, and he suddenly begins sniffing the air with interest.
He flies toward a large stone mesa, and descends into one of the many openings in the gigantic mud hive built atop it. Moments later, Appa zooms back out, hotly pursued by an angry swarm of buzzard-wasps. Wheeling about in the air, he sends them crashing to the desert floor with a great wind-gust sweep of his tail. Stunned, the buzzard-wasps rise and fly slowly back to their hive. Gasping and panting, Appa lands dripping of honey. Rolling onto his side, he hungrily laps the honey from his fur, collapsing with a satisfied, exhausted sigh. Cut to sunset, as Appa flies over greener, less desolate lands. Looking tired and bedraggled, he flies in to land on a farm, entering a large domed barn. He devours a pile of hay, then flops down and immediately lapses into a deep slumber.
A Sepia-tone dream sequence shows us the Eastern Air Temple built high upon three mist shrouded peaks. We see an adorable Air bison calf swoop into view, joined by four others and an adult bison. The cooing calves fly in a circle around the adult, then pause to nuzzle it before flying downward, the adult in tow. Below, a group of small boys in airbender garb, take apples from a large bowl held by an airbender nun. We see that one of them is a young Aang, at age 6 or so.)
Air Nomad Woman: Chose well. A sky bison is a companion for life.
(The bison land on the terrace in front of the boys, and Aang approaches what is certainly a young Appa. Aang holds out the apple, which the calf sniffs before opening his mouth and letting Aang toss it in. Young Aang spreads his arms affectionately over the calf's head, who responds by knocking him to the ground and licking his face affectionately.)
Aang: (lying on his back) Ugh! I guess this mean we'll always be together. (he laughs as the calf begins licking him again)
(The scene changes to the night camp upon the Serpent's Pass, where a dreaming Aang mimics the scene we just observed laughing as the dream calf licks him. Aang rolls to his side upon his bedroll with a blissful look on his face.)
Aang: (smiling in his sleep) Always.
(Cut back to Appa, slumbering inside the barn. He is roused by a human cry of terror.)
Farmer: AAhhh! It's some kind of monster!
(From Appa's point of view we see a wide-eyed Earth peasant waving a pitchfork in his face. Appa rises angrily to his feet, his manacles rattling, and growls a warning to the farmer. The farmer's wife comes to the barn entrance, carrying a bright torch. Seeing the blazing torch, Appa rears onto his hind legs in panic, sending the couple running and screaming. In a full panic Appa crashes up through the roof of the barn, sending up a rush of wind that extinguishes the torch carried by the couple, who lie sprawled in the dirt.
Cut to a scene of Appa flying over the Serpent's Pass, passing in the pre-dawn air over an Earth Kingdom vessel. From the deck, a shocked Iroh watches the forlorn bison pass overhead and away.)
Zuko: (roused from sleep) Uncle? What are you looking at? Is there something out there?
Iroh: (nervously) Uh, it's nothing. Go back to sleep. (he sighs in relief as Zuko falls asleep again)
(Appa descends towards forested bluffs, and crashes groggily near a tree-capped mine entrance. He begins to nibble some grass, before being roused by a loud squealing echoing from the mine entrance. He turns just as an enraged porcupine-boar charges out of the mine, crashing into him and sending them both rolling down the hillside. Both of them crash to a halt below, and we see that Appa already has a number of large quills sticking out from his side. Appa and his opponent both roar a challenge, and they begin to circle one another. Suddenly the porcupine-boar charges Appa's flank, plowing the bison into a tree that snaps in two from the impact. Seizing the tree in his mouth, Appa tosses it at the boar driving him backwards into a line of trees. Squealing in rage, the porcupine boar leaps over the tree, charging headlong towards the sky-bison.
Rearing onto his hind legs, Appa catches the charging boar and hurls him deep into the forest, where the beast finally loses heart and flees into the night. Panting heavily from exertion, Appa plucks one of the quills from his hide with his teeth, the ground trembling from his roar of agony. He half flies half stumbles up the hill to the mine entrance, and collapses inside, utterly spent.
Cut to the following morning, where Appa lies unconscious inside the mine. The day passes again into night, as it begins to rains steadily outside.
Another morning, and we see the Kyoshi warriors gathering red berries from a group of bushes. One of the warriors notices clumps of white fur hanging from the branches of a bush.)
Kyoshi Warrior: (plucking a mass of fur) Must have been some fight.
Suki: Wait. Let me see that. (takes the clump of fur) No. It couldn't be.
(We follow her gaze up the side of the hill, a devastated scene of broken trees and stripped earth. She follows the path of destruction, climbing up the bluff and finally pulling herself up to the top. She discovers the ragged bison lying in the shadow of the mine entrance.)
Suki: Huh? Appa? Oh no.
(Roused by her voice, Appa cowers back into the mine growling. As Suki approaches, she sees his chains as well as the various injuries he has sustained. Kneeling near the entrance she lays down a double handful of berries and fruit.)
Suki: (reassuringly) It's gonna be ok Appa. I have to leave, but I am gonna be back soon with help.
(She turns and hurries back down the bluff. Appa emerges and cautiously sniffs at the fruit. Later we see Suki leading the other Kyoshi warriors carefully up the side of the bluff, as Appa lies back inside the mine entrance.)
Suki: (addressing the others) No sudden movements. He's been lost for awhile, and he looks like he's hurt. He's shy around people and scared. Stay low, and stay quiet.
Kyoshi Warrior: I can't believe you found the Avatar's bison. Didn't you just see the Avatar a few days ago?
Suki: Yes, so he can't be too far from here. It's our responsibility to get Appa back to him safely. This could be our most important mission yet.
(Turning, she leads the other girls up the rest of the way, pausing at the top of the hill. Appa notices them, and rises to his feet roaring an angry warning.)
Suki: Give him some space! (they back up apace, as Suki edges closer) Appa, it's me, Suki. I'm a friend. (walks toward Appa,who moans warily) I want to help you. You're hurt. We can help you feel better. And we can help you find Aang. (she cautiously places her hand on his nose, and he lays down and closes his eyes in acceptance)
(Cut to a scene showing the manacles and quills lying in the grass, while further off, a better-better looking Appa sits among the girl warriors licking the face of one with his great tongue. Suddenly his ears twitch to approaching danger, and as he turns about, a bolt of blue lightning fells a nearby tree. Azula, Mai and Ty Lee ride out of the hills on the backs of mongoose dragons, reigning to a halt before the Kyoshi warriors.)
Azula: (holding out a clump of white fur) My, my, you're easy to find. (tosses it aside) It's really astounding my brother hasn't captured you yet.
(The Kyoshi warriors stand ready around Appa, as the three regard them from the saddles of their mounts. Scene goes to black.)
(We return to the preceding scene, as Appa rears and growls threateningly. The warriors drop as one into combat stances, unfurling war fans and collapsible shields.)
Suki: What do you want with us?
Azula: (mockingly) Who are you, the Avatar's fan girls?
Ty Lee: (thinks for a moment, then brightens) Oh, I get it! I get it. Good one, Azula!
Suki: If you are looking for the Avatar, you're out of luck.
Mai: (sighs despondently) I knew this was a waste of time.
Azula: No Avatar huh? (shrugs) Well that's ok, any friend of the Avatar, is an enemy of mine.
(As she finishes saying this, Azula does a spinning aleap from her saddle, sending a blast of blue fire towards the warriors. They leap to form a shield wall in front of Appa, deflecting the fire blast. Mai and Ty Lee flip forward out of their saddles to engage the warriors in combat. Mai, landing on her feet, produces a brace of throwing knives from her sleeve. With a sweeping throw, she pins a startled warrior to a tree by her clothing.)
Mai: You're so colorful, it's making me nauseous.
(Mai spins and throws a barrage of throwing-arrows at a second warrior, who draws a katana and cuts them from the air. She takes a couple of swings at Ty Lee, who nimbly evades her slashes before felling her with a flurry of pressure-point strikes.)
Ty Lee: (hands on hips) You're not prettier than we are!
(Suki continues to stand between Azula and Appa, blocking her fire blasts with her shield. Azula's second more powerful blast ricochets off Suki's shield, setting fire to the tree she had felled initially. As it catches on fire, Appa cowers back from the leaping flames.)
Azula: Afraid of fire I see. That's good, you should be!
Suki: (drawing her sword) Go Appa! Fly away from here! Get out of here.
(As Appa rises to the sky, Suki charges Azula. The Fire princess performs an amazing horizontal mid-air spin, simultaneously avoiding her thrust and sending her sword flying from her hands to imbed in a tree. Suki blocks another fire blast, then Azula counters her kick and trips Suki to the ground. Pausing at the sight of Suki in danger, Appa turns and flies back to help. Ready to finish Suki, Azula dodges beneath a pair of hurled war-fans hurled at her back, and turns to launch a retaliatory attack. Suki rises to her feet, rushing to wave off the approaching sky-bison)
Suki: (waving a burning branch) Get out of here! You have to find Aang! We'll be ok!
(Clearly torn, Appa finally shies away and flies off into the sky. Smiling in relief, Suki barely reacts in time to block a blast of blue fire with her shield. Staggered backwards, she falls into a battle-stance, unfolding her war fan.)
Azula: (contemptuously) Don't you know that fans just make flames stronger?
(The two charge one another, and as they clash the scene action freezes and the scene closes. Cut to Appa above the forest, then flying along a river among a flock of white birds. We see Appa flying through dark skies in a torrential downpour, passing above a pair of Southern Water tribe ships sailing through the rains. On the deck of one of the vessels, we see Hakoda staring up at the sky-bison in wonder. Cut again to Appa flying steadily over misty peaks, until in the distance we recognize the ruins of the Eastern Air Temple Appa enters the broken, weedy ruins of the Sky-Bison stables, and in flashback we see it restored, with young bison calves frolicking through its warm hay covered halls.
Resuming his journey through the stables, Appa comes across a round metal framework, and once more in flashback we see bison calves teething at it the bars. Back in the present, Appa chomps on the ring, but the dust causes him to cough and he leaves it unsatisfied. Crossing one of the spans between the peaks Appa passes through and steps out onto a terrace. Framed against the rising sun is a bald figure sitting cross-legged at the end of the terrace. Mistaking him for Aang, he bounds forward and knocks the figure on his back, licking his face with gusto. We see that it is not Aang, however, but a bald, brown skinned old man with a long snowy beard and bushy eyebrows. The old man blinks in surprise at the sky-bison standing over him, before recovering to speak in a thick East Indian accent.)
Guru: Hello. I am Guru Pathik.
(realizing it's not Aang, Appa jumps away and turns to stare him down)
Guru: (leaning up) I know I am not the person you expected. And I didn't expect to be licked by a giant tongue just now. The world is full of surprises.
(Appa gives him a long menacing growl, and the old man calmly lies back down on his back closing his eyes. Later in the day, the guru raises his head to look at the waiting bison, who growls at him, causing him to lower his head and close his eyes again. Still later peeks open an eye to peer at Appa, who again issues a low growl. Once again the guru calmly closes his eyes. Night falls, and we see Appa lying on his side, snoring loudly. Opening his eyes, the lean old man nimbly rolls backwards to his feet, stands and dusts his hands in satisfaction. Rubbing his hands together he walks up to the chest of the slumbering Appa. He touches Appa's neck with two fingers, then places his hand on the bison's leathery chest plate.)
Guru: Oh, dear. You've been through so much recently. Hurt and betrayed, so twisted up inside. (he runs two fingers along Appa's underside, then places a hand on his belly) You're still full of love. (sighs) But fear has moved in where trust should be. (we pan upward to show the temple, as continues in voice-over) I've been expecting you and the young Avatar for quite a long time. I had a vision many years ago of helping him. That's why I came to the Eastern Air Temple (standing near the restless Appa's head) Ahh. Your emotions are so turbulent. Like swirling storm clouds.. (places a hand on Appa's brow) Let the clouds in your mind be gentle, peaceful ones. (as he says this Appa calms into a deep pleasant sleep)
(Appa's eyes snap open, revealing another night has passed, and he rises looking around surprised. He notices a small pile of fruit before him, and eagerly snaps it up. Turning he notices another piece of fruit, and still another, until he is eating his way back into the temple behind him. We cut to a peak reached by a stair curving around its side. The Eastern Air Temple is framed just behind it. On its top is centered a stone dais, surrounded by a rock garden and a copse of trees. Appa follows the stairs up to the base of the platform. We see Guru, sitting in a meditative pose with a bird perched on his head, surrounded by birds and small woodland creatures. he holds out a handful of seeds, and another bird lands on it.)
Guru: Someone looks very well-rested, judging by your bed head. (Appa lows at him in greeting, and shakes his fur back into place)
(Cut to a full moon-lit sky, and pans to the stone dais, where Guru sits in deep meditation, while Appa paces behind him, before finally lying next to him. The Guru then opens his eyes and turns to pat Appa's belly, gathering up a rolled and tied parchment and rising to his feet.)
Guru: I have prepared a message for Aang. May I attach it to your horn? (Appa seems to assent, and secures the message to a horn, then, standing before Appa) You and the Avatar's energies are mixed. You have an unbreakable bond. By reading your energy, (touches Appa's forehead) I can sense where Aang is. (Appa licks his face with his great tongue) Funny, what invisible strings connect us all.
(Placing his hand on Appa's brow, he closes his eyes and both seem to focus. intently. From a distance we see a pale light emit from them both, and a path of light snakes away down the side of the peak).
Guru: (speaking in voice-over, as the light focuses on Appa's head) I will see you again, great beast.
(Cut to Appa soaring down toward the city of Ba Sing Se. Silhouetted by the full moon, he passes over the inner wall, over the rooftops below. He is watched from the peak of a roof by a pair of Dai Li agents, who slide down after he passes. Appa hovers over the city, looking about for signs of Aang. Suddenly his eyes snap wide in excitement as he hears the familiar sound of the bison whistle. He descends rapidly, landing in an open square in the city's lower circle and bounding down a street.
Cut to show the bison whistle, lying unused next to a sleeping Aang and Momo. Somewhere in the city, a figure stands in the shadows blowing another whistle. As Appa turns a corner he man steps out into the light, revealing himself as Long Feng. He walks forward, lowering the whistle. Appa retreats back, leaving the footprint in the mud that is seen in the previous episode. With an earthbending gesture, Long Feng causes the entire street section to revolve like a trap door, dropping Appa into a passage beneath the city.
As the dust settles and the camera fades back, we are left with a final view of the footprint, the last trace of Appa to be seen.)
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