Chapter Seventeen: The Northern Air Temple

Avatar: The Last Airbender

Chapter Seventeen: The Northern Air Temple By Avatar: The Last Airbender

Act I

Storyteller : So travelers, the next time you think you hear a strange large bird talking, take a closer look, it might not be a giant parrot, but a flying man! A member of a secret group of air walkers who laugh at gravity and laugh at those bound to the earth by it!

Aang: Aren’t airbender stories the best?
Katara: Was it realistic? Was that how it was back then?
Aang: I laugh at gravity all the time. Haha! Gravity.

Storyteller: Jingle, jingle!

Sokka: Sorry!
Storyteller: Aww. Cheapskates!

Aang: Hey thanks for the story!
Storyteller : Tell it to the cap, boy!

Storyteller: Aw, much obliged little bat thing!
Aang : It means a lot to hear airbender stories. It must have been hundred years ago your great grandpa met them.
Storyteller: What are you prattling about child? Great grand-pappy saw the air walkers last week!

Great Grand-Pappy: Heya!

Aang: Hey, we’re almost at the Northern Air Temple! This is where they had the championships for sky bison polo.
Katara : Do you think we’ll really find airbenders?
Sokka : You want me to be like you, or totally honest?
Katara : Are you saying I’m a liar?
Sokka: I’m saying you’re an optimist. Same thing basically.

Aang: Hey guys, look at this!

Katara: Huh! They really are airbenders!
Aang : No, they’re not.
Sokka : What do you mean they’re not? Those guys are flying!
Aang : Gliding maybe, but not flying. You can tell by the way they move. They’re not airbending. Those people have no spirit.

Katara : I don’t know, Aang. That kid seems pretty spirited!

Sokka: We better find some solid ground before it finds us!

Audience Member: Go Teo! Show that bald kid how it’s done!

Teo: Hey there! You’re pretty good.
Aang: Yeh, I know. But I can do more than fancy gliding!

Teo: Wow! I don’t think I can do that! But here’s a good one…

Teo: What do you think?
Aang : It’s great.

Teo: Hey! You’re a REAL airbender! You must be the Avatar! That’s amazing! I, I, I’ve heard stories about you.
Aang : Thanks.
Sokka: Wow! This glider chair is incredible!

Teo: If you think this is good, wait until you see the other stuff my Dad designed.

is seen in a recessed portico in the wall, but it too seems dirty and befouled as does the rest of the room. Shafts of sunlight do filter in, but the steam and dust make it look shadowy.)

Sokka : Wow!
Teo : Yeh, my Dad is the mastermind behind this whole place! Everything’s powered by hot air. It even pumps hot air currents outside to give us a lift when we’re gliding.

Aang: This place is unbelievable.
Teo: Yeh, it’s great isn’t it?
Aang: No, just unbelievable.

Katara: Aang used to come here a long time ago. I think he’s a little shocked it’s so… different.
Sokka: So better!

Aang : This is supposed to be the history of my people.

Aang : Ugh!
Katara: I’m sure some parts of the temple are still the same.

Aang: It’s nice to see even one part of the temple that isn’t ruined.

Voice: Look out!

The Mechanist: What the doodle! Don’t you know enough to stay away from construction sites? We have to make room for the bathhouse!
Aang : Do you know what you did? You just destroyed something sacred! For a stupid bathhouse!
The Mechanist : Well, people around here are starting to stink.
Aang : This whole place stinks!

Act II

Aang: This is a sacred temple! You can’t treat it this way. I’ve seen it when the monks were here. I know what it’s supposed to be like.
The Mechanist: The monks? But you’re 12!
Teo: Dad, he’s the Avatar. He used to come here a hundred years ago.
Aang : What are you doing? Who said you could be here?
The Mechanist : Hmmm… doing here… A long time ago, but not a hundred years, my people became refugees after a terrible flood . My infant son, Teo, was badly hurt and lost his mother. I needed somewhere to rebuild and I stumbled across this place. Couldn’t believe it! Everywhere pictures of flying people. But empty! Nobody home! Then I came across these fan like contraptions!

Aang: Our gliders.
The Mechanist: Yes, little light flying machines. They gave me an idea. Build a new life for my son, in the air! Then everyone would be on equal ground, so to speak! We’re just in the process of improving upon what’s already here and after all, isn’t that what nature does?

Aang: Nature knows where to stop.
The Mechanist : I suppose that’s true. Unfortunately, progress has a way of getting away from us. Look at the time!

The Mechanist: Come the pulley system must be oiled before dark.
Sokka : Wait, how can you tell the time from that thing? The notches all look the same.
The Mechanist: The candle will tell us. Watch.

Sokka: You put spark powder in the candle!
The Mechanist: Four flashes, so it’s exactly four hours past midday, or, as I call it, four o’candle!

The Mechanist: If you like that, wait till you see my finger safe knife sharpener! Only took me three tries to get it right!
Sokka : Aaahhh!
The Mechanist: Follow me!

Teo: Hey Aang, I want to show you something.

Aang: I just can’t get over it. There’s not a single thing that’s the same.
Teo : I don’t know about that. The Temple might be different, but the creatures that live here are probably direct descendents of the ones that lived here a long time ago.
Katara: You’re right. They’re kind of keepers of the temples origins.

Teo : Besides, there’s one part of the temple that hasn’t changed at all.

Katara: Hey! It’s just like the one in the other Air Temple.
Teo: Only an airbender can open it – so inside it’s completely untouched, just the way the monks left it. I’ve always wondered what it was like in there.
Katara: Aang?
Aang : I’m sorry, this is the last part of temple that the same as it was. I want it to stay that way.
Teo: I completely understand. I just wanted you to know it was here.
Aang: Thanks.

Sokka: These lanterns are terrible! I can’t see.

Sokka: Why would you want to use fireflies for light?
The Mechanist: Hey! Close that up! They’ll get loose. Fireflies are a non-flammable light source.

The Mechanist: Cover your nose and hold your breath.

Sokka: Okay, so you brought me all the way down here to see an empty room.
The Mechanist: Wrong.

The Mechanist: It’s filled to the brim with natural gas. Came across it my first time here. Unfortunately, I was carrying a torch at the time. Nearly blew myself and the whole place even more sky high. Thought my eyebrows would never grow back! Anyway, there’s a vital problem that needs solving. From time to time we have gas leaks and they’re nearly impossible to find.
Sokka : So this place is an explosion waiting to happen?
The Mechanist: Yes, until I figure out how to locate something I can’t see, hear, smell or touch.

Teo : The wind will carry you. It supports something inside you – something even lighter than air, and that something takes over when you fly.

Katara : I’ve changed my mind. I think I was born without that something.
Teo : Impossible! Everybody has it.
Aang : Spirit.

Teo: What?
Aang: That’s the something you’re talking about.
Teo: Yeh, I suppose it is.

Teo: Are you ready?
Katara: No!

Katara: I can’t believe I’m flying!
Aang: Just make sure to keep your mouth closed so you don’t swallow a bug!

Katara: Teo was right about the air! All I had to do was trust it. Let it carry me.
Aang: Even though Teo’s not an airbender, he really does have the spirit of one.

Aang: I’ve been thinking. If you wanna see what’s in that room, I’d be happy to open the door for you.
Teo: Great!
Katara : Wait! How do I land this thing? What if I land – eh! Blech! Yech! Bug! Bug! That was a bug!

The Mechanist: I said don’t touch anything! Oh, don’t worry, that experiments old and that egg was just part of last week’s lunch.
Sokka : Ugh! Week old egg smell!
The Mechanist: Quick! Find that egg!

Teo: I can’t believe I’m finally going to see what’s inside.

Sokka: How could something that’s so small you can’t even see it make such a big stink!
The Mechanist : That’s the solution to our problem!
Sokka: Yeh!

Sokka: If we put a whole mess of rotten eggs in the cellar where the gas seeps up…
The Mechanist: The gas will mix with the smell of rotten eggs…
Sokka: Then, if there’s a leak…
The Mechanist: You smell rotten eggs! Then you just follow your nose to the place where the smell is coming from…
Sokka: And plug up the hole where the gas is escaping!
Both: You’re a genius!

The Mechanist : Something’s wrong I’ve got to go.

Aang: This is a nightmare.
The Mechanist : You don’t understand.
Aang : You’re making weapons for the Fire Nation!


Sokka : You make weapons for the Fire Nation!?

Teo: Explain all this! Now!
The Mechanist: It was about a year after we moved here. Fire Nation soldiers found our settlement. You were too young to remember this tale. They were going to destroy everything, burn it to the ground. I pleaded with them, I begged them to spare us. They asked what I had to offer. I offered… my services. You must understand, I did this for you!

Aang: When are they coming?
The Mechanist: Soon. Very soon.
Aang: You can’t give them more weapons.
The Mechanist: If I don’t give them what they want they will destroy this place.

Teo: How can I be proud of you when your inventions are being used for murder?
The Mechanist: I need some time to think. You need to leave! Go!
Teo: We’re not leaving!
The Mechanist : Then hide, quickly!

Emissary: You know better than to keep me waiting. Give me what you owe us so I can be on my way. Well? Is there a problem?
The Mechanist : No, right this way.

Aang: The deal’s off!
Emissary: The Avatar!
The Mechanist: Aang, don’t get involved!
Emissary : If I don’t get what I came for the Fire Nation will burn this place to rubble!
Aang : Get out of here! You’re leaving empty handed!
Emissary : Then the destruction of this temple will be on your head.

Sokka: This is bad! Very bad!
Katara: Aang, what are we gonna do? How can we possibly keep them all away?
Aang: I’ll tell ya how. We have something they don’t. Air power! We control the sky. That’ something the Fire Nation can’t do. We can win!
The Mechanist : I want to help.
Aang : Good, we’ll need it.

The Mechanist : We finally got the war balloon working, thanks to Sokka.

The Mechanist: This boy’s a genius!
Sokka: Thank you. You’re a genius!
The Mechanist: Thank you!

Sokka: See, the problem with the old war balloon was you could get it airborne, but once you did, it just kept going. You could put a hole in the top, but then all the hot air would escape. So the question became, how do you keep a lid on hot air?
Katara : Ugh, if only we knew.

Sokka: A lid is actually the answer. If you control the hot air, you control the war balloon.
Katara: Hmm. That’s actually pretty smart.
Sokka: Okay, we’ve got four kinds of bombs. Smoke, slime, fire and…
The Mechanist: …stink. Never underestimate the power of stink!

Little Girl: They’re coming!
Teo: Are we ready?
Katara: Yes, but where’s Sokka with the war balloon?
Aang : We’ll have to start without him.

Officer: Take them out of the sky, now!

Aang: We’ve got’em on the run! We need more slime!

(Cut to Appa floating motionless above the cloud deck. Katara hands bombs to gliders who pop up over Appa and then disappear back into the combat zone. Suddenly, several huge spikes shoot up through the clouds, narrowly missing Appa. The spikes are attached to chains that disappear, taught, into the clouds. The spikes embed themselves deep into the rock near the Temple. Cut to Appa flying hard to avoid the grappling hooks being thrown up all over the place.
The camera follows the chain back down the sheer mountain face. As it pans down, the squeaky wheels of tracked vehicles can be heard. Then, Fire Nation tanks roar onto the screen. With two, huge spiked wheels at each end, these heavily armored vehicles are using the grappling hooks to allow them to scale the cliff face. The gliders drops bombs on them, but they have little effect.

Aang flies up to the cliff face, sticks his glider staff into the naked rock, and pulls out one of the grappling hooks. The tank it was attached to begins to drop like a rock, but it fires another grappling hook straight up, narrowly missing Aang. It catches on the rock above, yanks taught, and the tank slams back into the mountain face and begins its climb once again.

The tanks climb the cliff face and gain the small plateau area at the base of the Temple. The firebenders in the turrets begin to fire blasts of flame, which the gliders avoid. They drop more bombs, but they are ineffective against the Fire Nation armor. One firebender gets slimed right as Aang drops into the center of an advancing platoon of tanks. Aang literally blows them away with blasts of air, but their central cabins of the tanks just flip over and they begin advancing again. The shoot more fire blasts at Aang, who avoids them. Cut to Katara on Appa flying next to Teo, all surveying the battlefield.)

Katara: Those things are unstoppable!
Teo: I think I know how they work. I remember my Dad tinkering with the counterbalancing system. Something to do with water. Works great, huh?
Katara: Water? Can you get me close to one?
Teo: No problem!

Teo: We’re out of bombs!
Katara: Come on, Sokka, where’s that war balloon?

Sokka: Hey, why aren’t they shooting at us?
The Mechanist : The insignia! They think we’re on their side!
Sokka : Then I guess they won’t see this coming.
The Mechanist: Bomb away!

Sokka: Oh no! That was the last one!
The Mechanist: Wait a second, you smell that?
Sokka: Rotten eggs!

Sokka: There! That’s where the gas is escaping!

The Mechanist: What are you doing!? That’s our fuel source!
Sokka: It’s the only bomb we’ve got!

Aang: Look! They’re retreating!
All: Yeh!!!

Sokka: We’re going down!
Katara: No! Sokka! Hold on!

Sokka: Get ready!

Aang: You know what? I’m really glad you guys all live here now. It’s like the hermit crab , maybe you weren’t born here, but you found this empty shell and made it your home. And now you protect each other.
Teo: That means a lot coming from you.
Sokka: Aang, you were right about air power. As long as we’ve got the skies we’ll have the Fire Nation on the run!

Commander: This defeat is the gateway to many victories.

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