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. 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 bend the elements from the help of the Gods themselves? And how did the mortals then defended evil that wanted to take over the world? What happened to Aang’s friends before the War, after he disappeared? How is Zuko related to Avatar Ruko and Kuzon? Is Ursa still alive or she is dead? How did Iroh became a member of the Order of the White Lotus? What really happened to Iroh’s son Lu Ten? What really became the airbenders 100 years before? Ever wondered what became the other characters in the story after we never see them again?
What secrets would be discovered? And what is the cost to know them?
Chapter Twenty One
There was utter silence in below deck.
The Fire Nation and the Watertribe eyed each other with unease, even when two of them knew each other for a long time.
Kemen, his son Bato, Iroh and surprisingly Zhao sat together at a round table. Hotaru, now accustomed to following the former General, was fetching tea for the group.
The four men sat tensely waiting for Hotaru return. Zhao found himself missing the female sun warrior's company, which confused him to no end. He would never admit it to Iroh though. Sitting with two 'former' enemies was also very awkward, a feeling that he wasn't accustomed too.
"This is ridiculous." Zhao muttered under his breath, folding his arms across his chest. He glared at the watertribe men in front of him with no small amount of loathing. He slightly remembered fighting against them at one time or another, but couldn't put a name on either of their faces.
Iroh laughed, turning to Zhao. "Lighten up, Zhao!" he said cheerfully. "We are all friends here."
Zhao turned to the Dragon Master, his golden eyes glaring at him. Iroh just smiled cheekily back at him, not even flinching at the heated glare he was receiving. "That is what you think, Iroh." Zhao hissed turning away, not wanting to look into the older man's eyes.
The two watertribe men gave each other a look. Kemen was amused at what he was witnessing. Zhao, the former right hand of the Fire Lord was being scored like a child. Bato on the other hand, eyed the former Commander nervously waiting for him to attack. What had happened to the proud firebender that he had fought against not but a few weeks before?
"It has been years, Iroh." Kemen said, turning towards the other firebender. "What has happened since the last time we've spoken?"
The door opened silently as Hotaru came back into the room, carrying a tray with a large pot of tea and five cups. The men watched as the woman sat the tray on the table, before picking up two mugs and filling them serving first the watertribe men, then Iroh and lastly Zhao.
Kemen knew enough of the Fire Nation customs to know that it was polite to serve guests first. Only Iroh had ever given him such treatment before and having another, much less a woman covered in paint wearing hardly anything at all serving him and his son as if royalty was unusual to say the least.
Iroh leaned toward his friend, thanking Hotaru as she give him his cup. He sipped the steaming liquid, letting the hot fluid slip down his throat before speaking. "Many things my friend, terrible things." Iroh told his friend with immense sorrow. He looked up at Hotaru nodded at her to sit down, as she filled her own cup. She sat beside Zhao, not saying a word for true to the Fire Nation way.
Another Fire Nation custom? Kemen wondered to himself looking at the Sun Warrior with curiosity. The Fire Nation and the Watertribes where total opposites in their customs, for instance the Northern Watertribe didn't allow their women to bend only to heal. he had never see one woman from the Fire Nation that was able to bend, apparently not allowed to control their element. Both genders in the Fire Nation where able to fight in combat, but only a handful of women either Watertribes could only if they taught themselves or one of the males taught them.
Kemen didn't know what to say to Iroh's statement of the terrible things that had happened. Many terrible things had happened in those ten years they had not seen each other. Was this what happened to him? Did something cause his friend to loose that fire in his soul? "Is it ill news of your son that you spoke of long ago?" Kemen asked him kindly, not wanting to tread on forbidden grounds. Angering a firebender was never a good idea.
Iroh nodded sadly. "My only son died in battle ten years ago; the first of the family to be killed in this War."
Kemen didn't know if Iroh spoke the truth or not. The first of the Royal family to be killed in war? Was the Fire Nation truly that strong? Kemen remembered Iroh telling him about his son, the great joy and proudest in his voice told him that Iroh loved his son very dearly. Especially after his wife took ill and died.
"And your nephew, what has happened to him?" Kemen feared the worse. Kemen knew that after Iroh own son, his nephew Zuko he also loved almost like a son. Iroh told him about the boy little over ten years ago when the he was only a few years old.
Kemen had heard rumors about the boy, as the Fire Lord had burned and disowned him from the family, rumors of him killing the Avatar, more of him joining the Avatar and so on.
Iroh smiled, looking up at them with pride clear in his eyes. "He is teaching the Avatar firebending. Just a few days ago I met with him. Asking him to bring the Avatar and the rest of the group to meet us on the Island."
Kemen's eyes brightened with hope. The Avatar was safe and learning firebending? Finally the War would come to and end.
Bato straightened when he heard what the firebender had told his father. The Fire Prince teaching Aang, that small boy to firebend? How could this be? Bato remembered how the Avatar was just a young boy, full of life was he okay near the Fire Lord's son? Sokka and Katara also traveled with him, and they hate Fire Nation. Did they trust him?
"Even though I despise that weakling, Zuko is a good firebender; a worthy teacher to the Avatar." Zhao said, breaking the silence between them, gripping his mug from the table taking a drink. When Zhao voiced his thought it sounded like it pained him to admit it. Kemen looked at the former Commander, was this guy serious? Banished or no, the boy is still his prince.
Hotaru sat a hand on Zhao's arm calming him. The look the young woman gave him melted his heart. His face told a different story, but his eyes showed the emotions just as well. Both Iroh and Kemen saw this but choose not to comment.
"You hate him because he defeated you in an Agni Kai." Iroh answered back to him, his eyes twinkling with amusement at the memory.
"A what?" Bato asked, what was an Agni Kai?
"It is what the Fire Nation called a Fire Duel, son." Kemen told his son. Bato didn't know how his father knew. He guessed Iroh had told him. Long ago But how long had they been friends?
"Sir!" a voice called out disturbing the meeting.
Everyone around the table stood, as a young man in full White Lotus armor (1) came rushing in.
"What is it?" Iroh asked the young man.
"The ship—" The man panted, as he sat his hands on his knees to catch his breath. "The other ship—is here. They made it—here safely. We and they—weren't followed."
Iroh nodded. He turned to the others. "I expect you wish to see your Chief? He is on the other ship." He told the two watertribe men.
"Hakoda? He's here? He's okay?" Bato cried in surprised. The Order too went to the Boiling Rock? It was said impossible to break out or in! How?
Iroh nodded at the young man.
Without a word, Bato ran up the stairs up to the upper deck; he wished to see his friend, his brother to see if he was safe.
Kemen walked up to Iroh. They both grasp each other's arm in a warrior's grasp. "I thank you again, my friend." Kemen praised him.
Iroh smiled and nodded. "It is I who needs to thank you." He said to him. "Without you I would've been died long ago. Think this as a payment for exchange of saving my life."
"There is no payment between friends Iroh." Kemen told him, smirking shaking his head. The Fire Nation are strange beings.
Iroh nodded in an agreement. "I will meet you up there."
Kemen nodded, side glancing at Zhao and Hotaru that stood side by side. "Don't take to long." He said.
Iroh watch as his friend headed out the same way his son had before. Iroh turned towards Hotaru, as they heard the door slam shut.
Hotaru bowed a formal Fire Nation bow, knowing that Iroh wanted to speak with Zhao alone and too walked off. As she walked up the stairs towards the exit she glanced back to Zhao. She waved at him and closed the door behind her.
Iroh and Zhao where now alone.
Zhao glanced at Iroh wondering why he wanted to talk to him alone. Surely he wanted to see the others above.
"Zhao have a favor to ask of you." Iroh spoke to him after.
Zhao nodded, wondering what favor Iroh wanted from him. Behind him, his formed a fire ball above his left hand ready to strike Iroh if he attacked him.
Iroh saw this, but didn't comment. "When the Avatar arrives at the Island with my nephew, I need you escort them to the Dragons of the West. For we will be waiting for them to begin the Trails." He told him.
Zhao gasped loosing control with his bending causing the fire to blink out. Iroh expected him of all people to do that? The Avatar would remember him; he killed the Moon Spirit after all. The Fire Prince would attack him the moment he laid eyes on him. What is Iroh playing at? Is this a test or some sort or a death sentence?
"You're kidding right?" Zhao asked him. Looking at the serious face Iroh had given him, Zhao knew that he wasn't. "How could I do that? The Avatar hates me and me to him. They will kill me at the spot."
"Think of it as a good will service towards someone that you once in the past wronged." Iroh told him.
Zhao shook his head in disbelief. Does Iroh really expect him to obey? Just because Iroh holds his life, doesn't mean he will willing let Iroh kill him in such a dishonorable way.
"I will not do it." Zhao told him. "And you can not make me."
Iroh sighed. "You have to do it Zhao. And it is final."
"But why me?" Zhao demanded him. "Why not have some other idiots like those earthbenders do it?"
"Why not you?" Iroh asked him before turning and leaving an angry Zhao behind. Zhao watched as Iroh left him and cringed slightly as the door slammed shut.
"Meddling old fool!" Zhao muttered under his breath, his eyes burning in hatred at the door above him. "Why do I have the feeling he's going to be the death of me?"
Hakoda stood at the deck of the ship wrapped around a thick blanket as he looked ahead of himself as he saw an almost identical ship coming towards them.
He was told his friends where their in the ship waiting to see him. It has been weeks since he had seen everyone who had helped him and his army against the Fire Nation during the eclipse.
Soon he would see Bato, his childhood friend. Was he alright?
The ship stopped to theirs, and the Order members threw ropes towards the other ship, making it safer to climb aboard.
Hakoda smiled as he discarded the blanket and walked up to the deck. It was time to be united with his troops.
Agurne watched as the tall old man met the group of children that she had been following. They spoke to one another for a time and then started off towards the Yu Yan Archer settlement.
Agurne followed the group closely, making sure the female earthbender didn't know she was there; she had caught her once and she will never allow her to do so again. Luckily she wasn't spotted as another earthbender joined the group. The group must have believed that was what the young earthbender felt. But no it was her, she was there first. Is this the group that her Master had spoken of? Studying the small group, she noticed that half of them were missing; more specifically the two souls that her Masters wanted. Where were they?
She hopes they weren't dead, but then again if they were she would know. Her Master would very displease and would punish her for her failure.
The only person that interested her other then the younger earthbender male was the bald boy with arrows as tattoos. He puzzled her for moment until a long lost memory over came her. He was the Avatar, an airbender; just like her.
But He looked so familiar, as if she knew him from somewhere, but where?
She shook her head at her nonsense. Her mission was doing her Masters bidding, not dallying having painful thoughts of the past!
'But he does look kind of cute.' She thought to herself smirking.
"You perverted evil Spirit!" the young girl cried within her. "He's still a child for Spirit's sake! Don't you dare hurt him!"
"Shut up, human." Agurne snapped at her. Weakened the young girl faded far into her control. "I can do want ever I want." She stopped looking at the Avatar and the other boy, the one that is Master wanted. Both of them are very attractive men. She stopped as she remembered other memories of her past.
When she was alive, she once lived in the Western Air Temple; however she was born in a small island where the non bending Air nomads once lived. Everyone there at the Temple, even the Masters there were female, no men. It was a custom for airbenders to live in the temples to be monks when they first show signs of bending and lived there until they mastered the art of airbending. Unless they didn't have anywhere else to go, such as her. The only family she had was her mother that lived with her and a brother that had lived in the Southern Air Temple; he died a year before the Fire Nation attacked over a hundred years ago. For which she was thankful, for he died a free airbender unlike her, their mother and their people.
She had never once kissed a boy in her life; living or dead. Not even Lu Ten who is like an older brother to her. She never seen a naked person of the opposite sex; she died a virgin one of the reasons her Master was so pleased when he collected her soul. It was much easier to break her because of her 'innocence'.
Oh how she wished to know the feeling of a naked boy pressed against her own naked body, the feeling of him kissing along her mouth and neck.
Agurne shrived at the thought. It been years since she had dreams like that.
Agurne watched as the Avatar's group walked through the woods. She followed them, making sure she wasn't spotted.
Soon she would appear to them.
But not now; she will wait.
Lu Ten didn't know what to do.
Should he follow his Master's orders or would he warn his family of what was to come?
To the living it was oblivious. But to the dead it is not.
His Master owned his very soul, without him he would not exist; he would be nothing. Disobeying was almost unheard of. The living where unimportant to the dead, they are nothing to the dead. Why save the living where they are nothing but a foreign memory of the past?
Lu Ten sighed as he run at top speed through the trees, not bothering to notice that the way he was heading wasn't where Agurne was going. To any mortal, he would be nothing but a mere shadow that dash passes them, to most think of nothing of it.
He jumped into the air landed on all fours on a tree branch, looking around. It was high noon, the feeling of the sun's energy hitting him felt so good. He'd almost forgotten the feeling of the sun.
What is he going to do? He can't let his Master take Zuko's soul and help Ozai take over the world. He would not Ozai win. He could not! He would do anything to make sure Zuko was spared from the life that he now lives. To do that, he must disobey his Master. To do so, he will have to appear to the mortals, an act of disobeying his Master.
He knew of doing this was suicide.
He jumped off the branch landing safely on the ground. He was almost to the Island. Soon he would have to swim. 'That would be interesting.' He thought to himself.
Lu Ten would save his cousin. Or die trying.
Back to the Spirit World, Jathibiyya, Lady of the Lands and Enchantments stood there pleased as she waved her hand in front of her as a mirror of sorts showed her an image of the Mortal World.
The female demon watched as Lu Ten traveled to the Place of Where it is Balanced. Standing beside her was Gyatso, Avatar Aang's mentor from hundred years ago.
Jathibiyya watched as her son, as she found herself preferring to the lost soul as thus, as the young soul debated himself wondering if he could disobey his Master.
Seeing that the young soul had not yet lost itself forever in the darkness brought hope that Angra Mainyu and his plans would be finally be defeated.
She turned to Gyatso.
"I see why you want to me to go back." The mortal spirit said turning the Lady.
"I know I expect a lot from you, my good son." Jathibiyya said. "The mortals can not know that it possible to bring people back from dead, which is why you will go as a younger version of yourself, as you former change would recognize you instantly. I need you to make sure Angra's plans do not unfold. You must help Aang realize his destiny; help Lu Ten achieve his goal. Are you willing to do so, my son?"
Gyatso nodded. "I will go and wait for Aang at the island."
Jathibiyya nodded as she twirled her hands in front of the spirit. There was blinding light, as where the spirit had once been was a younger version Gyatso a decade younger than when Aang saw Avatar Ruko's memories showing him about his friendship with him.
Gyatso looked at himself, seeing that he was wearing not in the traditional clothes of the Air nomad wore long ago, but the clothes of Order of the White Lotus. He touched his chest and saw that he was solid and he felt his heart beat beneath his hand.
He was alive once again.
He turned back to Jathibiyya who eyed him with a smile. "I thought it would be good for you to wear your Order of the White Lotus armor seeing that it was the Order who called the Call for the meeting of nations. No one will suspect you of being the former Air Master Gyatso."
Gyatso nodded. "I see your wisdom my Lady." He said. “Though it feels strange of being alive and in a younger body."
Jathibiyya nodded. "You will get used to it in due time."
"My lady, would I—"
Jathibiyya shook her head. "It is unsafe for you to use you airbending."
Gyatso sighed in sadness. He was looking forward to bend his element again in Above World.
"However," Jathibiyya went on. "You may use it only if you need to save yourself or another."
Gyatso nodded happily. "It is good thing that I know how to use a sword." He commented.
Jathibiyya walked up a table. Gyatso watch as Jathibiyya waved her hand and a sword appeared in blinding light. She took it into her hand and handed it to Gyatso.
Gyatso stared at the beautiful sword that was in his hands. The sword was the perfect length, the perfect weight; it was as if it was made just for him and him alone.
"Take it." Jathibiyya told him. "And use it well. Good luck."
Gyatso put the sword into his belt.
He was ready.
(End of Chapter)
(1) White Lotus armor: is an armor that is blue and grey with a symbol on the front of a White Lotus.
Author’s Notes: LOL! I know I know I’m really mean. But guess what? The reunion of Bato and Hakoda is in two chapters (when the next time we see them). I know it been a long wait for it, but very soon the Gaang and the rest will be at the Island. Arugen will meet the group, would they trust her, and would there be love bloom with her and someone else? And no it not Lu Ten or Zuko! I think Mai took his heart already. Hehe! So many questions that soon be answered, the plot thicken!
Read and Review!