Set after episode, the Firebending Masters. It was dinner time after Zuko and Aang arrived back from the Sun Warriors’ community. Aang, Sokka, Katara, Toph, Haru, the Duke & Teo, wait for the arr...
Summary: Set after episode, the Firebending Masters. It was dinner time after Zuko and Aang arrived back from the Sun Warriors’ community. Aang, Sokka, Katara, Toph, Haru, the Duke & Teo, wait for the arrival of their newest member to come from his room. Everyone is still uneasy around the fire bender. Soon they have to leave the Air Temple. Ever wondered what the Fire Nation value the most? Find out. What other secrets would be discovered?
At last they finally landed on the main land in which that was Earth Kingdom territory. They were about fifteen miles south from New Ozai (Omashu). Of which even still they didn’t bring their guard down. For you would never know when an enemy strikes. The place of where they stopped had many cliffs above them. They are thankful for the shade, as the summer heat beat down onto their backs.
“Land!” Toph muttered under her breath, as she jumped off Appa and landed safely on the ground rolling in it.
Everyone smiled at the childish act that Toph so keen of doing each time when they do long trips. Zuko shook his head of the foreign childish acts that his group seem to do 24-7, following the rest off Appa. In habit, the four friends started making camp, as Haru, Teo, the Duke and Zuko followed suit, slightly feeling out of place, helping the four friends of what they were doing.
Katara who’s job seemed to make a fire and supper, sat a pot felled with water and vegetables, after she finished making a fireplace. “Zuko, can you light the fire please? I seemed that I can’t find my flint….” everyone stopped at what they were doing, slightly wide eyed that Katara asked Zuko to do something without hatred or sarcasm in her voice.
Zuko shrugged, lit the fire from his fingertips. Within minutes by using his firebending, the pot was boiling nicely. Katara smiled, pleased that Zuko is good for something other then teaching Aang firebending.
Within the half an hour, Katara was boiling eggs over the fire as the stew of sorts was finished, as Aang and Teo came back to camp with an armful of fruit that they found a forest nearby.
Sokka and Haru came back into camp, as if appeared that it was Sokka’s job was to see if they are any enemies about and scanning around themselves. Toph on the other hand only sat around doing nothing, unless it was to unload stuff from Appa and sat them around the fire. The Duke was sitting next to Zuko, a big smile on his face, holding his bow close to himself. Very soon, Zuko will finish the arrows and the firebender would teach him to use it.
“Why don’t you put meat in it?” Zuko dared to ask Katara, staring at the soup in a frown. To his country, meat is the top of their list to eat above all else.
Katara glared at him, not liking the way he looked at her food. “Aang doesn’t eat meat.” She said flatly. She then handed each person a bowl as they sat down in the same place around the fire, and as usual, Zuko was the last to be handed his share of the meal.
As Zuko was about to eat his first bite from the stew, he heard something above his head; harsh whispering voice.
“Chieftain, we got them surround.”
Zuko then stop of what he was doing, whipping his head around himself, standing up as he pulled out his twin swords. As he did this, his bowl of soup dropped all over the floor.
Where is the voices coming from? He wondered.
The group looked up at the firebender wondering what is he doing and why he throw his soup all over the ground. Katara shook her head in disapproval, the soup isn’t that hot surely! Using her waterbending, she bended the soup back into the bowl not caring if dirt and other particles went with it from the dirty floor. The firebender can easily take them out with his spoon.
“Ah, Katara, can I have some more?” Aang asked her, ignoring his firebending teacher who seemed to be little paranoid of something, giving his now empty bowl to her.
“Sure Aang.” she said, taking the bowl from him. As they hands slightly touch each other, both suddenly blushed. Toph who sat on the opposite side of the camp rolled her eyes, knowing full well what was going on. As the Avatar and water tribe girl looked at each other awkwardly, Toph suddenly felt livid, which she couldn’t figure out why.
Zuko shook his head, ignoring everyone else around him. The whispering stop. Cursed that Avatar of talking when he could’ve found out where it was coming from!
What was that all about anyway? Listening for a few minutes in still silence, beside his somewhat noisy friends, he put back his sword into his belt and sat down, eating his tasteless soup, but still listening if the voices was to speck once again. After the first bite, he looked down in it, pulling out a rock that found its way in the bowl. He grabbed it and throw it over the Avatar’s head.
“Hey watch of where you are throwing that!” snapped Aang. Zuko shrugged it off, he wasn’t aiming at him, so what’s the big deal?
“Yeah Zuko want to put some dirt in your soup?” the Duke asked him suddenly, bouncing towards him after talking to Teo who was now looking at his soup with a funny look. “It gives the soup a nice a kick to it!”
Zuko covered his bowl with his hand, slightly growling at him. The Duke stopped and stared at him wide eyed. “No thank you.” Zuko snarled at him.
Zuko stopped abruptly at himself. What the heck was that all about? The Duke was only asking him a question. And having dirt in his bland soup will not add any favor to it only making it more tasteless. Besides, his soup already tastes like dirt and shit. If only that water wench would put meat in it.
He didn’t really need to growl at the poor kid, freaking him out like that. What was he thinking? What came over him? Did he really just growled and… whistled at the kid?
He looked around and saw that everyone too was looking at him strangely. “Yep, what did I tell you? Firebenders are crazy.” Sokka muttered shaking his head. Everyone agreed.
“Zuko are you okay?” Aang asked him slightly worrying if he was sick or not. First the firebender jumped up as if seeing ghosts, throwing rocks over peoples heads and now growling like an animal? What is wrong with his new friend?
“Yeah…” Zuko said slowly, making sure he didn’t speck weirdly again.
“He specks like us.” the whispering started up again.
Zuko groaned. He was loosing it. First the voices and now he growls like a wolf towards children. What’s next? Momo or Appa starts talking like a human beings? Oh spirits, he hope’s not.
“Is he one of us?” asked another. “He does have a bow on his back. Do you think that runt is his child?”
“Nah, he’s far to young to have a child that age. Maybe an apprentice?” said one.
“The sword-wielder specks like the word-speakers. He is not one of us? How can he be? And who cares about his runt? We can easily kill it.”
“Zuko stop being so tensed.” Katara hissed at him, breaking Zuko’s concentration towards the unknown voices above. “We are far from Omashu. There is no danger here. So stop growling at people and put away your freaky swords from the table--”
“Ah Katara, we don’t got a table.” Haru said, but stop as Katara glared at him with daggers in her fierce eyes. Haru kept on smiling at her, he loves it when she’s pissed, making her look cute for some reason.
Zuko could not get rid of the feeling that the voices were watching them and that he is not going crazy. “I think I‘m hearing voices…” he said slowly, knowing full well what the others would think.
“You’re hearing voices?” Sokka asked grinning, giggling to himself. “We always thought you were crazy Zuko. You don’t have to tell us that.”
Everyone laughed at the little joke. Zuko wasn’t pleasant. He is not going crazy! The voices are real!
“Teo, after this do you want to have a race?” Haru asked his friend.
“Yeah! Don’t you dare use your earth bending this time!” Teo said, making his wheel chair to face Haru.
“Give me a break! You didn’t say, ‘no earth bending’ allowed.” Haru said grinning.
“Filth-dweller.” Teo teased at him.
“Crippled.” Haru said, smiling at the game.
“Firebender want to be.”
The two went on and on.
“Should we kill them?” asked a voice. Zuko’s eyes widen.
“No. I want them alive…” bellowed one.
“Why? They are trespassing on our lands…”
“Be silent, Hinata (1) , the sword-wielder is on to us.”
‘We have to leave now!’ Zuko thought. He can’t be imaging these voices! Why couldn’t the others hear them? Is he really losing it? He looked around himself, trying to glance at the cause of the voices. “Toph can you sense anyone around us?” he turned towards her.
“What?” she asked him.
“Can you sense anyone here? Surrounding us?” Zuko asked her again.
Toph sat her own bowl down. She closed her eyes concentrating. “No,” she said slowly. “Beside some chipping and growling sounds above us. I never heard of those sounds before...”
“Growling?” Zuko asked, pulling out his twin swords. By the spirits he was stupid, maybe the most stupidest of the stupid. Even his sister would figure this out long before. Why didn’t he thought of them before?
“Zuko! What are you doing--” Toph became to say, she stop as she felt his heart went fast within a spilt second, something she never felt anyone doing before. Zuko unlatch his swords as he got up back from the ground, as if he spotted an unknown enemy.
“Fire!” bellowed a voice. It was too late.
“We need to get out of here! We are under--” Zuko began to yell but was cut short, as an arrow shot from no where on his left side of his face, hitting him on the opposite side of his chest.
“Zuko!” call out someone within the group.
Zuko fell onto his knees, holding the arrow steady as blood started pore through his fingers, as his sword fell from his grasp. He haven’t felt this type of pain since the time his father blinded and deafen him when he was only thirteen years old and the time when he fought against an Earthbender when he was separated from his Uncle and met a boy named Lee.
Within seconds later, more arrows shot from nowhere, pinning everyone down to the ground, but unlike him they didn’t puncture their skin, which was odd that he wasn’t killed, as Yu Yan Archers never miss. They needed him alive, but wounded.
Looking at his wound, as black residue was mix with his rich crimson blood, he knew the arrow was poison. His eye sight started to cloud, the world around him was spinning, turning black. He looked around as he say dark figures around them.
There was too many of them, for they could not escape.
“Only spirits! Yu Yan Arches! I been attack by them before! We have to get out of here!” Aang called out, as three arrows pinned his pants onto the ground.
Katara grabbed Zuko by the sleeve, half dragging him off the ground. Painfully, Zuko grabbed his swords and hesitated. He knew it was pointless to run from Yu Yan Arches, specially if wounded. If his teachings was correct, the poison they given me will any minute now will effect him, enough that he will pass out, and will not wake until hours later, depending of how much poison was in his bloodstream.
But he and the others had no choice. It was better to run then let them be captured or worse.
The group ran into the forest. Behind them they heard Appa growl and flew off with Momo.
Zuko cursed at himself. Why didn’t he thought about jumping onto Appa and take off?
“Come on Zuko, run faster you clumsy idiot! Don’t you dare leave us!” he distantly heard Katara yell at him, gripping his left arm tighter, half dragging him. “ZUKO!” she suddenly shirked at his suddenly went limped.
Zuko’s eyes rolled backwards, and as he fall face down and knew no more.
Katara eyes widen in shock. Was he poisoned? Is he dead? It would explain why he fainted. Or was it the lost of blood?
She turned behind her saw paint faced creatures coming towards her. There was too many of them, jumping tree to tree, as others that ran like wild animals running towards her. It is pointless to fight them.
“Come on Katara! We have to leave him!” Aang grabbed her by the arms.
With one last look at their fallen friend. Aang and Katara ran for their lives.
A young boy ran down the Fire Nation palace. He had long hair up in a ponytail and wore the traditional Fire Nation royalty clothes. The young prince ran out from the corridors into the gardens meeting his mother and younger sister.
His mother, Ursa, was a very beautiful woman. She had long dark hair and sad golden eyes that seemed to stare right through your very soul. She wore a plain Fire Nation robe, and wore jewelry that really didn’t fit her clothes, but even if she wanted to, she will never take them off. It was the only thing that she had from her previous life before she married her husband.
His sister, Azula, on the other hand, wore stylish clothes, her hair up in a ponytail verses their mother long hair that hang down her back. Azula was like their father, Prince Ozai, in both appearance and attitude. She leaned on a nearby tree, her arms folded in front of her chest, looking behind their mother in a scowl. She didn’t really understand why their mother made them meet next to the pond for their lessons, at all places. She rather be practicing her firebending then to be here.
Ursa smiled at the young prince running towards them, as she opened her arms.
Smiling, Zuko ran into his mother’s embrace.
“Hello, little dragonet.” his mother purred at him. She turned towards her daughter. “Azula, come along child.” She motion her daughter towards her. Azula slowly followed her mother and older brother deeper into the gardens.
They sat under one of the most eldest trees near the pond. It was their special place, where no one could find them or see them from afar. “Now, time for your lessons, beast-speck.” Ursa told her children. The siblings groan inwardly.
“But Mother, why can’t we practice our archery lesson first? Or what about the theory of evanui in incendiary (2) ” Zuko asked her.
“Of course he is, mother.” Azula repealed rudely, before Zuko could answer. “But I really don’t see the point of this type of lesson either. We are not beasts.”
“Shut up ‘Ula.” snapped Zuko.
“Zuko, language. Now apologize to your sister.” Ursa told him.
“Yes mother.” Zuko said. The young firebender turned to his sister “I’m sorry Azula of telling you to shut up.”
“Apology excepted, Zuzu.” Azula scold at him. The two siblings turned back to their mother, who was now sitting on her legs in front of them.
Azula rolled her eyes at her idiotic brother.
Ursa smiled. “It is the language of your heritage. Aren’t you proud of it?” she asked her son.
“Now children,” she howled them. “What did we learn yesterday?”
Instantly, Azula raised her hand into the air. Zuko rolled his eyes. ‘Know it all freak.’ he thought to himself.
“Yes Azula?” Ursa asked.
“You taught us how to speck numbers, and writing.” Azula said in a matter of fact voice. Even though she view these lessons as a waste of time, she pride herself to be better then her brother.
“That is correct, daughter.” Ursa said smiling. “Today I will teach you how to identify yourself if you ever come across another beast-speaker, other then ourselves--”
“Like that will ever happen,” Zuko muttered under his breath.
“Sorry mother. Go on.”
“As I was saying. If you ever come across to another beast-speaker you must, and remember this my children, you must identify yourself so that they will not kill you at sight. For many beast-speakers, they despise word-speakers with passion. More so to those of the other Nations.”
This got Azula’s full attention.
Ursa notice this. ‘So much like her father.’ she thought sadly. “For you Zuko, you must say ‘I, Zuko, son of Ursa, grandson of Dragon Master Kuzon, from the Phoenix Tribe. I am not foe. We are kin.’”
“Wow, mother that is such a mouth full.” Azula said snottily, rolling her eyes. She thought to ‘identify’ herself was going to be more interesting, not something that is such a mouth full and so idiotic. What kind of people speck like common, dirty beasts? Not her, she plan on never going into this lesson, ever again.
Ursa glanced at her daughter, and ignored her comment.
“For you my daughter, you must say ‘I, Azula, daughter of Ursa, granddaughter of Dragons Master Kuzon, from the Phoenix Tribe. I am not foe. We are kin.’”
“Mother this is stupid! This is boring. I‘m going!” Azula said rolling her eyes, as she stood up and walk away.
“Azula get back here!” Ursa called after her daughter.
“I don’t care about the beast-speech mother! Who in the sprits name are we going to met that specks it? I’m going to do more important things!”
For that she left without looking back.Ursa turned towards her son, who sat of where he stayed, looking at her with curious eyes. Both son and mother, sat staring at one another. ‘Just like his own father.’ she thought fondly.
“Mother, when will I ever met others like you?” the young prince asked his mother, pulling out some grass, somewhat blushing under her curious gaze.
“What do you mean, dragonet?” Ursa asked.
“Like you mother! You’re the only one that I know that can shot an arrow over a building and hitting the bulls-eye blind folded! You can speck to the animals!” Zuko said excitedly.
Ursa smiled at her young son.
“I was taught from my mother and my father, your grandparents.” she told him.
Zuko cock his head on the side. It was one of the few times he ever heard his mother speck of her mother and father so freely. He had never met them, not even seen a picture of them in his life, only hearing his grandfather’s name few times, such as this lesson. He knew that he is Dragon Master, a very powerful firebender but nothing else.
“Will I ever met them?” Zuko asked his mother with hopeful eyes.
“Soon, Zuko. Soon. Now back to our lessons shall we? Now, repeat of what I told you.” Zuko knew that his mother was hiding something from him, but he couldn’t put his finger on it. He shrugged it off and nodded at his mother as he took a deep breath.
“I, Zuko, son of Ursa, grandson of Dragon Master Kuzon, from the Phoenix Tribe. I am not foe. We are kin.”
--End of Flashback--
“I, Zuko, son of Ursa, grandson of Dragon Master Kuzon, from the Phoenix Tribe. I am not foe. We are kin.” Zuko mouthed as the words or more like sounds never came out, as he painfully opened his eyes. He found himself lying down on a ground, tied to a tree above his head. Both his legs was tied together. He’s eyes widen in shock, as his shirt was open, as a very old looking woman, that he swear was old as dirt itself was cleaning his wound.
The old woman noticed he was now awake, guessing of how his body went rigid. She took no notice of him. She was just doing her job and nothing else.
Zuko took a deep breath. “Are you a beast-specker?” he asked the woman.
The old woman stopped of what she was doing. She turned towards him with a stoned looking face, but her eyes told a different story. She stood up and walked away towards a group of men, that Zuko didn’t realized that stood there, when he woke. They where too faraway to know what they were saying. And it didn’t help that he couldn’t read their lips.
“Zuko? You’re alive?” Teo said in amazement.
Zuko tilted his head. He then noticed that Sokka, the Duke and Teo was also tied up to the trees. Sokka and the Duke was unconscious why the looks of it. Teo sat on the ground, his wheelchair gone. Zuko watched as Teo dragged himself as close as his bonds let him.
“Are you okay?”
“What do you think they would do to us?” Teo asked him, fear in his voice.
“I don’t know yet.” Zuko answer him. Truefully, he didn’t know. If he hunch was right, their chances of survival could be in good odds. But if proven wrong… they will end up dead. “Where are the others?”
Teo shook his head. “I think they escaped.” he answered. “I was first to be captured after you fell. My wheelchair wasn’t made to go in fast speed in a forest.” he laughed in bittersweet voice.
Zuko nodded. “Are they okay?”
“Yeah I think so.”
Zuko sighed in relief. “Are you injured?”
“Beside of being hit on the head, no.”
“Do you think--”
Zuko then stopped, as dark shadow loomed overhead. Slowly he turned and come face to face with Yu Yan Archer.
“I hear that you speck in beast-speak.” the man said in beast-speech. “Where did you learn that, word-speaker?”
(End of Chapter)
(1) Hinata: A male and female name from Japanese 向日葵 "sunflower" or 陽向 "facing the sun". This name is often written ひなた using the hiragana writing system.
(2) Evanui in incendia: from Latin to English is roughly means “disappear in fire”. It is what I think the Ancients of Fire (the ancestors of the Fire Nation) called it when you do literally disappear in fire, or more like teleport, as you do not just disappear, but reappear at a different nearby place. In my Avatar story version, Jeong Jeong used the same firebending ability to teleported himself to escape Zhao and his men. Brain and Mike, the Makers of Avatar, still haven’t (in my knowledge) explained how Jeong Jeong did what he did in the only episode we seen him in. Or I can just be wrong all together, and it turns out that Jeong Jeong just killed himself and turned into ashes… lol!
I can be wrong in both accounts. I don’t know.
Author’s Notes: the reason why Ursa called Zuko “dragonet” is because like most mothers, they call their children pet names. For an example, my own mother calls me Lynner, for some odd reason. If you are wondering how this name came to be, my middle name is Lynn. In this story, a dragonet is what you call a young dragon, like a hatchling. Not a spiny flat-headed fish that is called a dragonets, that’s in the “real world”. In my story, those fish does not exist! Lol!
So overall how do you like the chapter? Freaky? Shocking? Hehe
Next chapter is what most of you been waiting for, the jail break!
Sorry about the cliff hanger. I fear that the next chapter will be somewhat delayed. But changes are it will very long, maybe longer then this chapter.