Earth. Fire. Air. Water.
The Legend of Avatar Aang was known across the world, for the heroic acts of him and his friends as they put an end to the Fire Nation's century-long war. While much of the damage to the world was irreversible, some of the Fire Nation's marks were not all negative. Guided by the wise and powerful Avatar, the world returned to balance once again, and for a short time, there was peace.
Sadly, like all things, Avatar Aang went the way of the world, and the search for the Avatar begun anew, with people of all walks scouring the two Water Tribes for the next incarnation of the Avatar. For four years they had no success until a fateful day in the Southern Water Tribe where the identity of the Avatar suddenly became very clear…
The Southern Water Tribe was generally a quiet place that saw little action, and had been that way since the 100-Year War. Boredom was certainly much more preferable than fighting foreign invaders, however, and so the locals certainly would not complain.
And yet four years ago with the passing of Avatar Aang, there had been a stir in both the Southern Water Tribe and its Northern sister. Water was the next element in the Avatar Cycle, which meant that one of the children born around the time of Aang's death was the next Avatar. And thus the hunt for this new incarnation began, even if most people expected it to be fruitless for at least another 12-16 years. In many cases the Avatar did not even realize his or her identity until it was revealed by sages or other wise men and women of the nation in question. However, the next Avatar was nothing like her past brethren in this regard. The search for "The Avatar After Aang" was much shorter than anyone in the world suggested, and unlike many fraudsters and other devious claimants, the proof of her identity was impossible to deny...
"Momma! Daddy!" a 4-year-old Korra ran through the Water Tribe hut excitedly, "lookie! Lookie! I can bend now!"
It was always an exciting revelation for an element bender to be born in a household, especially since both Tonraq and Senna were waterbenders themselves. However, the little display that their daughter gave them was not what either of them expected.
"Hiyaa!" Korra showed off once she noticed her parents watching her. Instead of moving any water, she shot a little puff of flame from her hand.
"...Firebending?" Tonraq raised his eyebrow at Senna in a mock-suspicious way.
"Not now," Senna muttered out of the corner of her mouth, before turning to Korra. "That's…" she wanted to congratulate the youngster, but the implications of birthing a firebender put Senna on the spot in a very unfortunate way. "That's amazing, sweetie. But you should be careful—we don't want you setting the house on fire."
"I'll go outside then," Korra lowered her head as her lower lip stuck out in a pout.
"Oh, don't be so dramatic," Senna ruffled the youngster's hair, "if you set the hut on fire, you won't have a hut to go outside of."
Reasoning with toddlers was always tricky, and Senna knew little Korra well enough that her tricks wouldn't work anymore. Korra pouted again and stomped dramatically away, before Senna cast her eyes back up at Tonraq.
"I know what you're thinking," she began, "and I swear to the Avatar himself that I did no such thing, and would never do such a thing."
"I want to believe that," Tonraq nodded, "I want to believe it's some sort of divine prank... But two waterbenders producing a firebender just doesn't add up."
"Well even if it was the case," Senna retorted, "how many firebenders live in the south pole anyways? This isn't the 100-year War where Fire Nation soldiers are having their way with the tribespeople at their every whim. And before you mention her, Nakkoa is a woman. The odds of her being the cause of Korra's firebending are just as likely as her being the one who carried her to term, thank you very much."
"Don't get defensive," Tonraq raised his voice slightly, "especially since I'm not trying to accuse you. Admit it though—it's confusing and awkward, and not just to me."
"Of course it's confusing!" Senna rebuked, "No one ever asks 'who is the mother' when a bastard child shows up, for the most obvious reasons; and the idea that I would betray you is just…" Senna's fists clenched as if she was trying to hold back feelings, "It's an affront to me, it's an affront to you, and it's an affront to our little girl! I still remember the first time we met, love. It's been nearly a decade, and do you really think I'd throw that all away?"
"Once again," Tonraq reaffirmed, "I'm not trying to accuse you, and I sure as hell don't WANT to accuse you. I believe you and you know it; but odds are the rest of the world isn't going to see it the same way—and I don't want my wife's name tainted with an act she did not commit, any more than I want my daughter to be inappropriately labelled as a bastard child."
"Then we need an explanation, and we need it n—" Senna was cut off as a large hole appeared in the side of the hut, and little Korra was standing there with a dumbfounded expression, her little hands on her hips and her stance really pushing her abdomen outwards. How the child had a pot-belly at her age was something of a mystery, especially because most of her baby fat was long gone at this age, and she was otherwise a fairly small and skinny tyke. Her face, however, almost turned Tonraq and Senna's frowns upside-down on the spot.
"Momma!" she demanded, her lower lip sticking out in a comically commanding expression, "why are you and daddy fighting!?"
Senna and Tonraq both suddenly had expressions that looked even more dumbfounded than the one their little daughter was giving them.
"Korra…" Senna's eyes narrowed, as an ornamental shield slipped from the nail it hung on, "did you just break a hole in the wall?"
"Oh…" Korra looked down at her feet before turning around and looking at the hole. "I can make it better, momma!"
She spun around and raised her little fists, causing the stonework of the hut to seal up the hole. The work was shoddy, but it was suddenly clear that their little girl wasn't a firebender. Senna cracked a smirk as she put two and two together.
"I think we just saved the world a dozen years of witch-hunting." She turned to Tonraq, who grinned and then also sighed with relief.
"Korra," Tonraq extended one of his massive hands towards his little girl, where she wrapped one of her tiny hands around his finger. "We need to talk."
"Am I in trouble?" Korra's lower lip stuck out and her eyes widened into the most heart-melting puppy-eyes this side of the spirit world.
"No," Tonraq smiled to reassure her, the tyke's expression pulling on all his heartstrings in all the right ways, "but it's time we told you a little story of a powerful someone called the Avatar…"
=Three Days Later…=
"It's 4 in the goddamn morning, dear." Senna groaned into her pillow three nights later as they heard their rambunctious 4-year-old smashing rocks and chanting "I'm the Avatar! I'm the Avatar!" endlessly. "As much as I love our kid… please for the love of Aang do something to make her shut up and go back to bed."
"I did it last time," Tonraq replied with an equally exhausted groan.
"You were the one who worked up the legend of the Avatar to be this great and amazing thing," Senna riposted, "and while true, I need more than 4 hours of sleep a day, beauty sleep be damned. When momma ain't happy, ain't no one happy."
The door suddenly flew off its hinges for the fourth time in the last 48 hours.
"I'M THE AVATAR!" Korra shouted, "AND MOMMA AND DADDY GOTTA DEAL WITH IT!"
"That's it." Tonraq groaned as he pulled himself up, "I'll deal with it again…"
Senna buried her face into her pillow again and so only heard parts of the ensuing banter, although with the adamant way Korra was yelling "DEAL WITH IT!" over and over, it was clear that Tonraq's battle was a formidable one. It was nearly half an hour later before he returned, and for the moment there was glorious quiet.
"I love that little shit to death," He grunted as he climbed back into bed with his wife, "but so help me, she's a handful."
"And you don't even have to deal with her all day," Senna riposted, "guess who does, while you're out hunting and fishing?"
"Touché," Tonraq mumbled. "You win this time."
The wild misadventures of the 4-year-old Avatar were far from over though. Not more than a week and a half later, the house was unnaturally silent, and little Korra was nowhere to be found. Thus, despite the quiet night, neither Tonraq nor Senna slept much that night as they led an endless search party that evening with no success in finding their wayward daughter. It was only the morning after that Tonraq finally found the little munchkin, who, to his utmost relief, was safe and snug in a ramshackle igloo that she had likely 'built' from her own waterbending. An effortless wave of his hand to dismantle the roof later, and he found his little daughter curled up with, of all things, a polar bear-dog.
"Huh boy… story time." he mentally sighed as he nudged his little girl awake.
To cut a long story short, Korra made a pretty stern argument for a 4-year-old as to why she wanted to keep the little cub, whom she had christened "Naga". The pup followed her, and Korra kept close to it in return, leading Tonraq to believe the youngster's claim that "we both saved each other!" may have actually been the complete truth. Of course, he'd still have to break this news to Senna, and so he was not in any real hurry to get home too soon.
"Huh boy… story time." Senna's mental thought process upon seeing the trio return to the hut was almost exactly identical to what Tonraq's had been upon finding Korra and Naga. However, Tonraq managed to smooth things over, and Korra managed to build her new companion a rough little shelter from the snow and wind just outside the hut, proudly showing off her little waterbending and earthbending tricks.
"It'll be a good opportunity to teach her responsibility," Tonraq reasoned later that evening after Korra had amazingly gone quietly to bed, "and maybe I'm a softie, but I'm not just gonna let that cub wander off and die."
"I'd hope not," Senna riposted, "what do you take me for; some kind of monster?"
"When momma ain't happy, ain't no one happy," Tonraq repeated, earning himself a punch in the arm from his wife.
"Touché," Senna riposted.
Neither one was overly surprised to find that Naga had joined Korra in her bed the next morning, although whether it was the cub who snuck in and found Korra, or whether it was Korra sneaking her into her room, was a mystery until Senna noticed a crudely patched hole in the wall near the door. There was never a dull moment with this child; that much was certain.
And the trend of a distinct absence of dull moments would continue. Hardly 2 weeks after the revelation of Korra being the Avatar came to light, an envoy from the Order of the White Lotus arrived at their doorstep, speaking to them about an inquiry regarding the Avatar.
"Welcome." Senna invited the two men and the woman inside.
"The White Lotus has honoured my family by coming," Tonraq added, "Thank you."
"We have investigated many claims, both here and in the Northern Water Tribe." the leader of the three spoke, "All have turned out to be false."
"Well then," Senna beamed, "you should be happy to know your search has come to an end."
"How can you be so certain that she is… the one…?" the tall man narrowed his eyes as he all but stared Senna right down.
"Korra?" Senna called without losing an ounce of slightly smug confidence, "be a dear and come here a moment, please?"
Not 4 seconds later, the wall behind them flew apart as rock shards went everywhere, with a majority of the stone slab flying right past the three White Lotus Members. Tonraq and Senna seemed so utterly unfazed by this by now that the contrast was almost comical. Regardless, all five of them cocked their heads towards the source of the ruckus. Standing in the newfound little hole was a barefooted pot-bellied toddler wearing blue clothes and a commanding expression.
"OOHHHH YEEAAAAHHHHH!" she howled triumphantly, swinging her arms to slide the stone fragments to one side. "I'M THE AVATAR! AND YOU GOTTA DEAL WITH IT!"
Whether it was just a vulgar display of power or if she actually knew that people were coming to verify her claims of being the Avatar, she began slinging the water that was formerly tracked in on the floor out in every direction. The household had long since been cleared of most pottery and other fragile objects, although there were still cracks in the walls from all the times Korra had smashed through them. After her little demonstrations of earth and water, she raced towards the three White Lotus strangers, slinging little fireballs at them. There was no denying it now: Korra was the Avatar—and the world had to deal with it.