Set after episode, the Firebending Masters. There are many secrets that mortals in the past have long forgotten. Ever wondered how the War started? How the mortals in the Avatar world learned to be...
Dragons of the West
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?
The former king of Omashu stood there looking down on them, a crooked grin painted across his face. He jumped off the cliff and landed gracefully in front of the small group below.
"Bumi!" Aang cried as the two friends embraced.
"Is that King Bumi?" Haru whispered. Toph huffed in annoyance; of course it was him for Spirit's sakes!
"The very same." Katara murmured softly attempting to ignore the loud reunion taking place behind her. "He was one of Aang's best friends before the war."
Haru knew that Aang had lived over one hundred years ago, but seeing the two together the old man and his young friend made the fact even more real.
"What are you doing here, Bumi?" Aang asked him, as the two finally let go of each other.
The earthbending king snorted a crisp laugh. "I felt the Call." He answered plainly. "Much like the others around the world."
Aang nodded eyes down cast, of course he should have known.
"Is there something wrong Aang?" Bumi asked him.
"Half of our group was captured by the Fire Nation." Katara spoke up, stepping forward.
Bumi nodded slowly. "The only Fire Nation 'round here are the one controlling my kingdom." He laughed. "And they are busy at the moment." He chuckled.
The Gaang decided that didn't want to know what he meant by that.
“Bumi! We need your help to save Sokka, Duke, Teo, and Zuko!" Aang yelped "They could be dead already and we're just sitting here!"
"Zuko?" Bumi asked an eyebrow rose in amusement. "The Fire Prince?"
Aang nodded. "The very same. Please Bumi—"
Bumi smiled. "They are not dead Aang and if the rumors are true, they're feasting with the Lord of the Archers as we speak." He snorted.
"What?" Toph said. "Are you saying that while we're pulling our hair out worrying they're feasting?"
Bumi snorted again nodding. "You could say that yes."
"I'm gonna kill them." Toph muttered.
"I don't understand. The Fire Nation is evil how…?" Katara started before Bumi cut her off.
Bumi just shook his head and gave them all a crooked grin his head, as he patted Katara on her head. "All in good time." He said mysteriously before turning to the Avatar.
"The Yu Yan Archers have been in these lands for hundreds of years Aang. My forefathers gave them the right to live in these lands and to live by their own laws. Knowing this I'd say they have the right to capture anyone who trespasses into their lands."
Aang stared at his friend in disbelief. "What?"
Bumi didn't answer. Instead, he simply straightened his back and flashed them all another grin. "Come Aang. Let us meet your friends." the group stared after the mad king for a moment before deciding to follow.
They could only hope that Bumi was right.
(Before on Chapter 18)
"Zuko said something to them. Because of which they are friendlier than before. That Archer over there," Teo told Sokka, "but then Zuko yelled something, or more like growled, and then he and everyone started acting weirder."
"What did you say to them?" Sokka asked Zuko.
Zuko didn't want to the tell them. "Just told them of what my mother told me before she disappeared. She said many times that it would save my life someday."
"Zuko, I thought you were dead." The Duke said to him, clearly not listening to the conversation going on over his head.
"I'm not dead, see I'm right here. If the Archers had wanted me dead, they would have killed me by now." He told the child who slowly nodded to his logic.
"Zuko…" Teo said looking ahead of him. Zuko, Sokka and the Duke followed Teo's eyes. Their eyes soon resented on the Archer walking towards them, the one that had almost attacked Zuko.
"Time to go, grandson of Kuzon." The Archer said.
(Now on Chapter 20)
The misplaced part of the Gaang looked to each other before looking back at the Archer.
"Just whatever he says." Zuko murmured painfully as he hoisted himself off the ground. The group behind him looked at each other for a moment before getting up and following him. Sokka sighed before picking Teo up and setting him upon his back, seeing as his wheelchair had disappeared.
"Oh yeah and that good advice." Sokka mutter sarcastically, making sure Teo was secure. "Do whatever he says, the firebender says. Mind explaining how when he speaks only bird and wolf?"
Teo and the Duke snickered at the veiled joke. Zuko however turned around and glared at him for a moment before resuming his trek forward.
"What?" Sokka said grinning like a fool.
"You are a moron." Zuko murmured nonchalantly.
"Hey!" Sokka snapped. "Well excuse me angry jerk your the only one of us that can talk to animals which includes these freaks. Hey!" Sokka's eyes widened in realization. "Does that make you one as well?" he smiled again as the other two laughed.
Zuko just rolled his eyes, ignoring Sokka's lame attempts to lighten the mood and get answers. He turned towards the Duke. It was oblivious the boy was tired and if he stumbled during the no doubt long trek ahead of them the Archers would be displeased to say the least. They would see the boy as a hindrance, dead weight that was only good for making them fall behind. Rolling his eyes in fond exasperation he picked the Duke up and sat him on his back as well.
The Duke smiled happily at this turn of events. He was tired, his eyes saddened though as his thought turned again to Pipsqueak, and he wondered if he was okay. He shook his head abruptly not wanting to think about it. So instead he wrapped his short arms around the firebender's neck, sitting his head on Zuko's right shoulder.
Zuko's head snapped up at a light cough. Confused he looked up at the Archer watching him with his arms folded across his chest.
"That boy is worthless with those legs of his." The Archer murmured to him as Zuko and the group passed, eying Teo with slight disapproving glare. As the Archer spoke the others shivered at the sound of his voice. "He is lucky he wasn't born at the Fire Islands. He would've been discarded at birth as is the tradition."
Zuko knew that Archer spoke truth, but decided not to comment on it face slightly grave. He didn't know if Teo was born without the use of his legs or if it had been an accident of some sort. But to him it didn't matter who cared that Teo wasn't born in the Fire Nation?
"Zuko," Sokka whispered. His voice shaking slightly as the Archers surrounded them to making sure they couldn't escape. He looked around nervously as they made their way up the trail into the unknown wilderness. "What did he say to you?"
"Nothing important." Zuko murmured, not wanting them to panic further.
Sokka stared at Zuko's back with anxiety he knew that Zuko was lying. But the real question was, why?
An hour or so later, the Archers finally stopped. The leader of the group waved for them to follow. They walked up to the base of a mountain side. They watched as the firebender used his firebending to reveal a door, in a way much like the Fire Sage at Ruko's Island did. The entrance opened swung open.
"Come." The Archer spoke. Nodding reluctantly, the group did so. Jumping slightly as the door behind them shut by itself.
They followed the Archer through the dark tunnel and after what felt like ages they came upon a city made of mountain stone.
Their eyes widened. They had never known that there was a hidden Fire Nation city so close to Omashu. Why was it here? Why was Fire Nation city hidden in the middle of the Earth Kingdom much less a city that looked as if it was carved by hand?
As they traveled throughout the city, they could see that the building had been carved from the mountain itself and the architecture told them that the city itself was ancient. What bothered them the most however was even though they saw no one else; they knew that city was filled with people lurking in the shadows watching them silently.
Where was this Archer taking them?
"Where are you taking us?" Zuko demanded of the Yu-Yan. The Archer however would not acknowledge that Zuko had spoken.
"Give it up Zuko; he doesn't want to talk to us, not that I mind much." Teo murmured. Zuko turned to the boy on Sokka's back.
"For all we know this could be a trap." Zuko muttered darkly under his breath. He hoped his mother's advice would pay off. If it didn't, well, at least he would see her soon in the afterlife.
"I don't think it's a trap, Zuko." Sokka told him, looking around curiously. "If it was, then why show us the hidden city?"
Well, Zuko mused, Sokka did have a point.
The Archer stopped abruptly, making the others come to a hasty halt. Before them was a small house at the end of the path. The stone house had neither windows, nor doors and no light could be seen from inside.
"Why are we stopping, Zuko?" the Duke whispered into Zuko's ear.
"Shh." Zuko hushed him, as he sat the child on the ground. The Duke stayed close to the firebender, he really didn't like it here in this ghost town like city and those Archers very much.
At last the Archer turned to look at them grinning, showing his yellowed teeth. He's golden eyes flickered with amusement. "They are expecting you." The Archer murmured to Zuko. He walked away from the group and the solid stone house and with a sharp twist of his wrist the Archer disappeared in a circle of fire.
The others, minus Zuko, yelped in surprise. "I will never get used to that." Zuko heard Sokka mutter to Teo.
"Come on. They're expecting us." Zuko spoke cautiously walking through the darkened doorway, followed closely by the Duke.
"They? Who are they?" Sokka yelped after Zuko. Seeing that Zuko and the Duke had gone into the stone house and thus could not hear him. He glanced at Teo who still gripped his neck and muttered out and irritated "Let’s go Teo."
The stone house was bigger than it had looked from the outside. It was a plain, Spartan home with very little in the ways of furniture or decoration. There where only a few pieces of furniture and furs covering the walls with matching furs over the furniture. Candles of all sizes where safely scattered here and there in the odd little home, giving the large room a dim almost foreboding lighting.
Being a firebender and half blind, Zuko could see as clearly with his good eye in the room as if it where daylight, unlike his other less fortunate companions who where having a hard time seeing clearly in this light. Zuko was on his hands and knees in the middle of the room, eye turn tour the ground before him. The Duke who was the first to see what the firebender was doing, copied him awkwardly, as he had never been shown the proper way to bow to Fire Nation authority.
When Sokka and Teo finally entered the house, it took them a moment or two to see that Zuko and the Duke where bowing. It was then for the first time they noticed a powerful looking man and heavily pregnant woman sitting cross legged side by side on another on a pile of furs looking at them from across that room.
Knowing that the man and woman were Fire Nation, that and the fact that Zuko was bowing to them both, made them quickly and awkwardly bow as well. It was then that the man finally spoke.
"Welcome to our city Zuko son of Ursa, Sokka of the Watertribe, Teo of the Air Temple and the Duke of the Freedom Fighters."
It was then Zuko and the rest sat up, all them however looked at Zuko strangely as he stayed on his knees. Zuko and the others were surprised that the man could speak something other then the Archer language. The woman, whom, Zuko guessed was either this man's wife or sister, was silent.
"How do you know our names?" Sokka asked him, wishing that he still hand his boomerang just in case the man attacked.
The unknown man smiled. "It is hard not to know," the man answered. "The former Prince of the Fire Islands, joining the Avatar." He looked at the others. "And those two are known for helping the Avatar."
Sokka was surprised. Does everyone know who he was?
The man laughed. "It is our job as the Warriors of the Children of Fire to know these things with the help of the Proctors of course."
"You know our names, it is logical for us to also know yours." Zuko said, using what Sokka liked to call his 'Prince Authority voice'.
The man turned to look at the Prince. "You uncle has taught you well." He said causing Zuko to stare at him in shock.
'How does he know Uncle?' Zuko wondered silently.
"I am called Nurzhan (1) son of Chetan (2) Leader of the Dragon Tribe of the Yu Yan Archers." The man said standing up from his chair. He motions them up from the stone ground. "This is my wife, Miyako (3)." He said nodded lovingly towards his pregnant wife. The woman smiled at the four children before her, her eyes brightened with motherly love. Something that all of them yearned for, for they hadn't seen their mothers in a long time.
They rose or in Teo's case helped up with Zuko and Sokka at either side.
"I'm sure you all hungry?" Miyako asked softly while she too stood with the help of her husband.
They all nodded slowly.
"Then come, children." She said walking up to them. "Any friends of kin are allies to us." she said glancing at Zuko with a smile.
The woman led them out.
"What does she mean 'friends of kin', Zuko?" Sokka asked him.
"Huh? Oh..." Zuko said not knowing what to tell them. "I'll tell you later."
"You better Zuko." Sokka snapped. "No more secrets."
Zuko knew that it would be long night.
Azula sat alone on her bed; surrounded by darkness with the only hint of light coming from within her fingertips as she concentrated hard on regaining the use of her firebending.
Ever since she had come back from the prison at Boiling Rock, she had been training her firebending in secret. For a normal bender it would take a month to get it back after taking that drug. She would show her father that she was not weak like many other benders that took it before her. She regains her control or dies trying.
She growled in frustration as her element died within her palm.
She sighed. She would do it again and this time she would not fail like her weak brother.
She took a deep breath and conjured up her element once again. A small flicker of fire appeared above her cupped palm. The fire grew ever so slightly to the size of a small bird. It turned blue as her frustration grew and just as fast as it was created, it died.
Azula growled angrily, stood, and grabbed the closest thing within her reach, a brush from her bedside table and threw it across the room, it breaking in two as it smashed into the stone wall on the other side of her bedchamber.
Still angry, Azula wrapped herself with her red cloak walked out of her room, slamming her door on the way out. A young servant, who was in the wrong place at the wrong time, was pushed onto the floor hard as Azula removed her from her way. She marched on, not bothered by the sobs the young girl cried as she cradled her arm and shoulder, tears flowing freely from her eyes.
Where is Ty Lee? Azula wondered as she sharply turned the corner.
It didn't much time to find her as Azula had walked into the kitchens and seeing Ty Lee sitting on a long table at the far end of the large kitchen, a large bowl on her lap her attention fixed on stirring the contents within it. Her face was covered by flour, her hair tired into a ponytail.
Azula shook her head in annoyance. Even as a child, Ty Lee had, had a habit of helping the servants in the kitchen.
The servants' cowered away from their Princess as she walked toward Ty Lee. This was the first time since Lady Ursa had been alive that they had seen the Princess in the kitchen, without the company of her older brother. But that was years ago, a happier time and instance that they never thought would come again.
Azula ignored the servants, they where nothing to her. She simply approached her friend and waited putting her hands on her hips as she did so.
Ty Lee looked up at, and was greeted with a pissed off Azula.
"Hi ‘Zula!" Ty Lee chirped happily before frowning. "Wow, your aura is dark. Is there something wrong?" she asked.
Azula rolled her eyes. "Nothing is wrong." She snapped. "But, I do know for a fact that you know where Mai is."
Ty Lee lowed her head ever so slightly. "I know you feel bad for her disappearing." She said. "But I really don't know where she is at the moment." It wasn't a lie; she didn't know where Mai was at that very moment.
Azula gave her searching look. She knew that Ty Lee had a hand in Mai's disappearance she hadn't proved it yet, not yet, but she would.
"What are you making" Azula asked her, narrowing her eyes changing the subject.
"Fire bread." Ty Lee answered happily. "Do you want to taste?" she held up the bowl to her.
"No." Azula said rudely, pushing the bowl away.
Ty Lee kept on smiling, even though inside she was sad. What happened to her friend all those years ago?
She watched as Azula stormed out, slamming the door behind her.
Everyone cringed at the sound and no one spoke, fearing that she would return.
Ty Lee sighed.
She hoped that Mai was alright wherever she was.
Mai slowed Zita to a stop at the edge of the Si Wong Desert. The desert itself was a barren wasteland that stretched on for miles in all direction. Just ahead, at the very edge of the desert was the Misty Palms Oasis. She was almost there. Soon she will see Zuko...
She looked behind her and saw that the Hippies were STILL staring at her. she got off of Zita painfully, she was the wound on her hip still sore.
"Are you not coming?" Mia asked them. The nomads looked at one another. Chong looked up at the sky as if reading something the she could not.
Chong shook his head, looking back at her. "The wind is calling us else where." He said. "The wind tells us will see each other again though. It has been nice traveling with you."
He walked up to her and hugged her.
Shocked Mai just stood there as one by one, the three hippies hugged her repeatedly.
Lily smiled at her, still grasping her hand after she had hugged her. "When you meant your lover, spend time with him every minute you can. He will live forever." She told her.
Her words shook Mai's soul. What was she saying? What would happen to Zuko?
Lily hugged her for the last time. "We will see each other again." She promised as she let go.
"Good bye, Lily. May Agni protect you." Mai told her secretly admitting that she was going miss her.
Lily smiled back at her and with that the three nomads turned and began playing their instruments and singing.
Mai got back on Zita and headed towards the Misty Palms Oasis.
As she got near it, she took a deep breath as she spotted the building that Zuko had told her about in his letter.
Going into it she stopped by an old bald man sitting alone at a Pai Sho table.
"This is it, Mai." She told herself. "Don't screw it up."
(End of Chapter)
(1) Nurzhan: a male Kazakh name meaning “light soul”
(2) Chetan: चेतन a male Sanskrit name meaning “visible, conscious, soul”.
(3) Miyako: 美夜子 a Japanese female name meaning: 美(mi) "beautiful", 夜(ya) "night" and 子(ko) "child".
Author’s Notes: So here is the chapter! I know it not as good as the others that I posted. I'm trying to get the plot more quickly. The plot is really thick, so it somewhat hard to write everything. . Anyway, please Review!
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