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. 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?
Azula knew that something wasn’t right. She just couldn’t put her finger on it.
Azula walked down the Fire Palace corridors, as she walked towards Mai’s room. She knocked on the door, expecting her friend to answer, but didn’t. Opening the door, Azula walked inside the room, slightly surprised that the room was still and colder then usual and Mai wasn’t in sight.
“Ty Lee! Get over here now!” Azula bellowed. Short time later, Ty Lee bounced into Mai’s room, looking confused of why Azula was standing alone in a dark room.
“Hi, Azula! Did you have a great sleep? I did! I dreamed of fireflies in a meadow of fire! They were so pretty!” Ty Lee told her, smiling. Azula knew that Ty Lee was hiding something, her smile wasn‘t so cheerful. What Ty Lee was hiding she didn’t know, and seeing that Mai wasn’t in her room, it had to be something about Mai.
“Ty Lee, I don’t care about your opportune dreams! Where is Mai?” Azula demanded, folding her arms.Ty Lee usual smile suddenly turned into a frown in confusion. She so wanted to tell Azula the truth, but her honor and the promise she made with Mai, she couldn’t.
“What do you mean, Azula?” she asked her.Azula looked at her childhood friend, her doubts proven. Ty Lee is hiding something from her.
“Have you seen Mai lately?” Azula asked her.
“The last time I saw her was two days ago,” Ty Lee lied. “During dinner I think.”
Azula nodded. ‘She is lying. Why is she lying to me? Did Mai put her up to this?’ Azula thought to herself.
Just then a middle aged servant approached them. The servant stood there, bowing to her.“I am sorry to disturb you my Lady. But your father, Fire Lord Ozai wishes to speak with to you.” Azula nodded.
“Tell my father that I will be there shortly. You are dismissed.” she told the servant. The servant bowed respectfully and left.
“We will talk later, Ty Lee.” Azula told her.
Ty Lee nodded. Azula left.
Azula hesitated before she opened the door into the throne room of where she had been told her father was waiting for her. With her head high, disbanding any fear and dread she felt as she slowly, but steadily marched towards her father, who sat silently surround by fire on his throne.
Just as she was at the bottom of the stairs, Azula dropped to her knees, bowing to her father.
She didn’t know how long she was on her knees, waiting for her father to speck. At last he finally did.
“Your brother is now traitor to the Fire Nation. He must be tilt with.” Fire Lord Ozai said, suddenly.
Azula looked up, still on her knees she said, “Father, I--”
“He also told me that you had lied to me about him killing the Avatar in Ba Sing Se. When will you going to tell me that the Avatar was alive?” Fire Lord Ozai demanded.
Fear again, slipped into her mind. "I-I-I am sorry, father, I-” Azula stuttered, bewildered that Zuko would tell their father this. Where was Zuko? Why was he traitor? Surely he wasn’t involved of freeing Uncle from that prison.
“SILENCE!” Fire Lord Ozai roared as he stood up, the fire surrounding them roared up brighter and larger then Azula ever seen. She had never seen her father this angry before.
Azula stood up from the ground. “Father, I only lied because-”
“Because you thought you could cover your tracks. You thought if the Avatar was alive, Zuko will be left to blame. How can you do that when your brother has left you?” Fire Lord Ozai asked with venom in his voice. Azula slightly shook ever so slightly under his gaze.
“I-I, yes father, I did lie to you but-” Azula confused but then stopped as her father slapped her. The piercing pain on the side of her check filled her with stinging shock, for her father had never stuck her, ever since she was a small child. She always made sure she was the favorite child, making sure that her father was pleased with her. Is this the feeling that Zuko always felt under their father’s gaze?
She let out a small hiss, but didn’t betray any emotion r show her in pain, nor did she touch her now bruised cheek. She would not show weakness especially in front of her father.
“And because of your brother‘s treachery of joining the Avatar, I have no choice but to disown him, making you the heir.” Fire Lord Ozai continued, not caring or knowledge that just a short moment before he had struck his daughter.
Azula‘s eyes widen. Zuko joined the Avatar? How could Zuko do that? How could Zuko leave her? And what about Mai? All she knew Mai left her too to find Zuko or worse, to kill herself of grief….
“However, your lying to me about the Avatar being dead and lying to me about Zuko not being a traitor, and the fact that your brother is not here to protect you nor of your pathetic mother, you will also be punished by not just your punishment, but also of your brother‘s deeds.” Fire Lord Ozai told her.
Azula looked up at her father in horror. “I understand father.” She said, holding back tears that were threatening to flown from her eyes. She hated herself of showing such weakness.
“Do not father me, Bitch!” Fire Lord Ozai roared, suddenly grabbing Azula by the hair, again smacking her across her face, making her to fall down the stairs.
“I am sorry my Lord.” Azula said, biting her lips as she tried to get up but failed.Fire Lord Ozai sneered.
“Get out of my sight.” he hissed, kicking her.Azula yelped in pain. Satisfied, Fire Lord Ozai turned and left his daughter in the throne room without looking back.
Azula watched her father left. Slowly she tried to get up, but as she did this hot firing pain shot through her. She cried as she collapsed back onto the floor.
She then rolled into fatal procession, and wept.
No one spoke to Zuko after breakfast.
As always, Zuko and Aang went out to practice Firebending, Sokka kept up with his sword practice, Katara either cleaned up breakfast or practiced waterbending by herself, Toph either lazed on a rock or “watched” Zuko and Aang, and Haru, Teo and the Duke explored the Air Temple ruins.
Up on the surface from the Air Temple ruins, Zuko paced back and forth in front of Aang who was squatting, his eyes closed, his hands in a Fire Nation hand procession keeping his breathing under control. Zuko knew Aang hated this exercise, whining about how his former firebending teacher made him do this for hours at a time./ (“You’re not going to make me do breathing exercise for hours like Jeong Jeong are you Zuko?”)/
“You’re breathing too heavily, Aang. The breath comes from your stomach, not from your lungs.” Zuko said, stopping in front of the young avatar.
Aang again sigh in frustration. He now envied Kuzon and every firebender in the world. How can Zuko and all the other firebenders, this hard labor without dyeing? Aang opened his eyes. “What wrong, Zuko?” he asked his teacher, seeing the worry look in Zuko’s eyes.
“Want are you talking about, Aang?” Zuko asked him, not letting the young air nomad get to him.
“Are you worried about your Uncle?” Aang asked, standing up straight.
Zuko eyed him for long moment before he spoke. “Sometimes.” Zuko said, turning away from him.Aang bit his lip nervously.
“Zuko, how can we know when it’s time to go to that place with the Holy Counsel?” he asked.
Zuko sighed. “Of what I can remember Aang, of what my Uncle told me, you will know.”
“I understand that, but how?”
Zuko shrugged. “Some Legends say that if a person from the Water Nation Calls the Counsel those who heard its Call with feel a cold unearthly feeling in your soul. A person from the Earth Nation, you would feel an unearthly feeling that feels as if your soul was being buried alive. If a person from the Air Nation calls the Call, you would feel as if you soul was flying away from your body.”
Aang nodded. “What about the Fire Nation?”
“You would feel as if you are in fire.”
Aang froze. “But those are just Legends right?” hearing no answer, Aang asked again, “Right Zuko?”
“Don’t know.” Zuko said shrugging. “We would know in time.”Aang nodded nervously.“Come on, Aang, enough chit chat. Let us mediate.”
That early afternoon, Aang’s lesson on Firebending ended. Zuko was found sitting next to the fountain, bending the long stick that he brought that morning, lighting it on fire to make it stiff. He applied sticky white subside all over the bow, making it smooth by the touch.
At times he would sit next to the unfinished bow, going back into his memories of what his mother taught him about making a bow.Looking at it now, he knew it was poorly made, but it will do. Just then, the Duke popped his head next to his face. Zuko sighed. “What do you want the Duke?” he asked.
“What are you doing?” the Duke asked him.
Zuko glared at the child. “Making a bow.” he said.The Duke’s eyes show in awe at the bow. To him, it was a work of masterpiece.
“Can I hold it? I promise I won’t break it!” he said.Zuko nodded and hand it over to the Duke. The Duke held the bow in his shaking hands. “I never seen this type of bow before.” he said. “Why is it not straight?”
Zuko smiled, taking the bow from him. “It’s called a Composite bow.” Zuko explains. “It’s not straight because it having this angle, it gives the arrows more power.”“Oh.” the Duke said in awe.
“Can you teach me how to use one?”Zuko didn’t know what to say. “Sure.” Zuko said not wanting to hurt the Duke’s feelings. At these words, the Duke leaped for joy. “We need to make you a starter bow.” he said getting up from the ground.
“Okay!” the Duke smiled following the firebender down the corridor.
Making a starting bow is easier then making his own bow, Zuko decided a few hours later. Mostly because a starting bow isn’t made for combat, but only for practice. After finishing the starting bow, the Duke’s emotions were brighter then ever before, for some reason he didn’t know.
“Pipsqueak and Jet always taught me stuff like this.” the Duke said, handing the arrows to Zuko who was making sure that the newly made arrows were okay to use.
Haring a familiar name, Zuko’s head shot up. “Jet?”
The Duke nodded. “Yeah. He was our leader, before the Freedom Fighters broke up into three parts. I don’t know where he is though. Me and Pipsqueak had been searching for him, before we joined Aang and the others in the Invasion.”
“I met him once, when I was on the run.” Zuko said.The Duke looked up smiling. “Really? When? Where?” he asked.
“I don’t know when.” Zuko said. How can you keep track of time when you are in the run of the Fire Nation? “I met him during my stay at Ba Sing Se.”
“No wonder we couldn’t find him!” the Duke said.“We haven’t checked there yet.”
Zuko didn’t have the heart to tell the Duke that Jet could not be alive. He heard, from his sister, that the Dai Li fought against three kids, one that was injured before they took them, leaving one behind for dead. Of the description that Azula told him, the injured kid was Jet.
“I miss Longshot and Smellerbee.” the Duke went on. “I know Longshot wasn’t much of a taker and Smellerbee was a bully, but any tomboy would be, huh?”
Zuko didn’t say anything, as the Duke went on and on telling him about his adopted family that once was called the Freedom Fighters.
At last, the ship hit ground at the Island of Peace. At first everyone was too cautious to step out of the ship. Slowly, with his head on high, Iroh stepped out of the ship, followed by Chief Haruki and two of his closest subjects; Serik (1) and Hotaru (2).
The Island was tropical tundra, with ancient temples far older then the Sun Warrior’s temples were surrounded them. Symbols of all of the Nations were shown grave in stone, long forgotten statues was also seen scattered around.
It surprised them all that temples were still intact, it was as if the temples was abandoned not long ago and was never touched, not even plants grew on the stone temples, like many other abandoned places. It was as if the plants refused to grow in the area. The air also surrounding them felt dark and cold, as some evil that once dwelled here. Haruki walked to the nearest graved wall.
“I recognized some of these symbols.” he said, touching the symbols with his finger. As his skin touched the stone, he stepped back as if the wall itself bite him.
“Haruki?” Iroh asked in concern.
“Nothing.” Haruki said in a faraway voice.
A young water tribesman, by the name Shui (3) who followed the four Fire Nation, stepped way from the small group. “This place is curse.” he said in fearful voice, stepping back towards the ship. “This place smells of death.” he said. He turned to Iroh. “We must leave.”
“Perhaps.” Iroh said thoughtfully, slightly disapproving of the water warrior‘s weakness. “This places is ancient, it has seen both good and evil throughout history. The souls that dwell here may either died or rest here after they died.” Slowly the others from the Ship started to come ashore.
“Where do you think the main temple is?” Serik said his Chief.
Haruki then pointed north. Everyone looked towards of where he was pointing at. In the center of the island, stood the largest temple that everyone ever seen, that by looking at it was made of not just stone, but gold.
“Come, let us go.” Iroh said, not talking to anyone in particular, as he headed towards the golden temple. Everyone followed. At last they got to the main threshold of the main temples. The stone floors were so perfectly in line, that to must’ve took many man years to build it.
The statues of many leaders stood, their nation’s symbols, reviling their loyalties.Iroh walked up to the nearest one, which had a fire symbol engraved on its chest. He looked down on the feet, words description. It was hard to read as the words itself was slightly fated.
Here lies Fire Lord Suresha Amrit (4) (5)
Son of Fire Spirit Haru (6)
Conqueror of the Lands of Torment
Ruler of the Islands of Fire
May he live in peace in the afterlife…
There was more writing but he couldn’t make them out.
“The first Fire Lord,” he whispered in awe. He looked up to the face of the statue. It was weird to see his ancient ancestor face to face for there were no written recordings of him, only legends.
“So that’s the name of the first Fire Lord of our people.” Haruki said, walking up to Iroh behind him. He too was awe of the statue, which stood there with his weapons, his face of a warrior. Iroh in agreement in amazement.
“Argh!” many screams broke out suddenly, followed by other cries.
“Oh my spirits!”
“Someone come quick!”Everyone looked up and ran to the noise and then stopped in horror.
There was a young man, in his late 20s it looked like, that set off a booty trap, making him and few others trip into a hole with many thick stakes. The other two men who fell with the young man, was already dead. One with a stack through his head and two others through his chest and right leg. The other had a stack through his heart area and one near his hip. However one was still alive, one went through the opposite of his heart as the other through his abdomen. Iroh expect the young man was named, Mahlah, as his sister or wife (he didn’t know which for sure) was shrieking madly, yelling out his name, grabbing his bloody hand from the pit.
“Someone stop her before she jumps into the pit!” someone yelled, as several hands stopped the young woman from doing the unthinkable.
“No! Let go of me, please! We can save him! Let go of me! Mahlah! Mahlah!” the young woman shriek, trying to free herself.
“He’s dead, Sisko (8)! There is no hope for him!” yelled a woman who held Sisko from the corpses of her brother and the two men.
Iroh sighed. They should’ve known that there were booty traps around here. Only those who sat up traps would only set them up if they are hiding something. The Sun Warriors sat up traps to protect the dragons that seek refuge to the place, the Sun Stone and many other treasures. What else is hidden in these temples? Treasures? Written History? People that seek refuge from the war? People who hide away from the World just like the Sun Warriors for all these 1,000s years?
“What should you think do with the corpses, Iroh?” Haruki asked. Like many others, this death of the three men wasn’t a lost. The Fire Nation seen death before, to them it wasn’t right that they died so, dishonorably, but it wasn’t their fault that they were foolish to fall into a trap.
“Leave them for now. We can not help them. We will give them a proper burial after we call the Counsel.” Haruki nodded in agreement.Just then Shui, the same water tribesman that told them to leave walked up.
“See of what I told you, Iroh? This place is cursed.” he said.Iroh shook his head. “This place is not cursed, Shui. The people here before us are hiding something.” Shui disagreed, but kept his mouth shut. He can feel the place is haunted somehow. The only reason he was here was that his father was member of the Order and his father sent him. His father isn’t here with him, but at the Headquarters. His father trusted these Fire Nation, who is against the Fire Lord. Therefore, he too will trust them, but not trusting with them like his father.
“Come let us go, we are loosing day break.” Iroh said. Everyone agreed and followed. Everyone was now more cautious more then ever before. None of them wanted to be the next victims of the booby traps.
Mai suddenly woke up with a start. Looking around herself, she saw the mare to thrashing around madly, moving back and forth as if sensing something amiss. She got up quickly, grabbing her bag that she used as pillow and her cloak, putting her belongings back on horse-tiger; her cloak around herself and untiring the rope that she tied to a rock.
“Shh. It’s alright, girl. Be quiet. Its okay.” she whispered to the creature. Surprisingly the mare listened to her, not thrashing around madly anymore, but yet the horse-tiger‘s eyes was still restless, telling her that something or someone was coming. “Good girl.” Mai praised the creature.
Slowly, Mai led the mare at the exit of the cave, looking around. She can sense something is near, but she couldn’t see anything.
“What is girl?” she asked the horse-tiger, as she leapt onto the mare. Suddenly she heard a branch broke “Let go, girl!” she said. The mare didn’t have to be told twice, as the mare sped out heading east, just like the map that Zuko given her said to go.
There was yelling of men behind her. Mai looked back. She saw five men, riding on ostrich-horses, wearing earth kingdom clothing and armor. They held bows and swords as the sped closer and closer towards her.
Mai then wondered why they were chasing her, for she didn‘t do anything to these people, recently, but then again, only the Fire Nation has horse-tigers, therefore, she is and forever will the enemy.
“Come on, girl, go faster! They are gaining on us!” She egged the mare to go faster. The mare went faster. An arrow shot passed her. “Shit!” she cursed. Now they were firing at her? Mai turned around, shooting a knife at them, hitting her mark at one of the men’s neck, who fell off his ostrich-horse with a large thump.This angered the men more.
“STOP!” one yelled. “You are under arrest!”
“GO TO HELL!” Mai yelled back. Then unexpectedly, she felt pain shot from her back hip. She yelped in pain, as an arrow hit her. “You mother fucking—” she cursed as she suddenly stop the mare, turning around to face the remaining four men.
Of those strange, unintentional acts, the four men stopped abruptly, one falling head first from his ostrich-horse. Without knowing what hit them, Mai attack them with her flying knives, hitting three men, who fell dead. The man who fell from his ostrich-horse, cursing at himself, stood up.
His eyes widen, seeing that his companies are dead. He looked up, again surprised. They had thought they were chasing a man, not a woman!
How can a woman kill four men without make a sweat, with an arrow in her?
Mai painfully walked up to the fall man. Not showing her weakness. “I surrender!” the man yelled, falling to his knees, his hands in the air. “Please don’t kill me!”
Mai stopped. She looked at the pathetic, weak man, shaking her head. Seeing the man, who now believed that she wasn’t going to spare him, he yelled. “PLEASE! Have mercy on me! I swear to the gods I won’t tell anyone about you! Have my sword! Here have my money!” as he said these, he throw his money pouch and his sword in front of her. Mai was surprised at this, but kept her face unemotional.
“You swear of your honor and your family’s souls, that if I spare you life, you will not speck of this incident?” she asked, with her vermin voice, making the man before her shook in fear. The man nodded. “Speak!” Mai hissed.The man shook.
“I swear.” he gulped. “I, Chao, son of Guo, swear not to speck of this incident! Please don‘t kill me!”
“Good.” she said.The man sighed in relief. “Strip.” Mia ordered him.
He did so, giving her his weapons, his money, everything that he had owned. After a few minutes later, the man stood before her in his underwear. Mai packed the extra cloak and her newly acquired inventory with her belongings, his bow and sword safely tied to the mare, and lastly tied his own ostrich-horse.
Mai decided to keep the ostrich-horse, to pack the heavy load. Her trip is a long one, therefore she need an extra pack horse. Plus if she needed to go into an earth kingdom town, she can use the ostrich-horse. Having a horse-tiger, scream ‘Fire Nation’!
Mai then turned to the half naked man. “Please ma’am,” the man said. “Take care of him.”
Mai nodded. “What is this creature’s name?” she asked with no emotion in her voice.
The man gulped. “He doesn’t have one.” he said, in a thought. Mai then looked make to the horse-tiger. She sighed. She needs to name not only just the horse-tiger, but also the ostrich-horse.
“You are may keep the others. I don’t need them, only for meat.” She said. The man gave her in weird looked, but nodded. Mai then looked back to him. “If I ever heard that you, Chao son of Guo speck of me about this incident or chase after me, I will not just kill you myself but also your family.”
The man nodded, shaking like a leaf.
Mai had left.
Mai took many deep breaths to come herself, a few hours later after the incident of the earth kingdom men. She stopped in a remote area, far from any roads or trails, making sure that no one would find her.She looked back at the mare that nests her nosed on her shoulder. The ostrich-horse stood behind.
“Thank yougirl.” Mai said to the mare. “Without you I would’ve been killed or worse, taken.” she told the mare.The mare whined at her. Looking down on the arrow that was sticking out from her hip. Mai smiled. “It looks worse then how it feels.” Mai told it.
As Mai started to take out the arrow, she looked back at the mare. “You need a name.” she said, braking one side of the arrow. She hissed. “What about… Zita (9)? It means ‘little girl’.”
Zita, the mare nodded. Mai smiled. She turned back to the other horse like creature. “I will think of name for you soon.” she told it.
She leaned back. She knew she was losing her mind.
(End of Chapter)
Words: 4,633(1) Serik: a male name in Kazakh which means "support".
This is the name that I picked out for the sun warrior that wanted Zuko and Aang to be "fed to the Masters" during the Firebending Masters episode. I couldn't find his real name from the episode, so if anyone out there knowns it PLEASE e-mail me or tell me on Review so I can change it.
(2) Hotaru: a female name in Japanese meaning "firefly".
(3) Shui: both male and female name, meaning "water" in Chinese.".
(4) Suresha: a male name meaning "ruler of the gods" from Sanskrit./ (sura)/ meaning "god", (isha) meaning "ruler, lord". This is another name of Hindu gods Indra, Shiva or Vishnu.
(5) Amrit: a male name meaning "immortal" from Sanskrit. (a) meaning "not" and/ (mrita/) meaning "dead". In Hindu legends it refers to a drink which gives immortality.
(6) Haru: Japanese masculine (male) name meaning "sun, sunlight" "Spring" or "Clear Up" Note: I use the same name for my other Avatar story for the Sun Spirit, "What is a Heartbeat?"
(7) Mahlah: both male and female name possibly means "weak" or "sick" in Hebrew. This name is used in the Old Testament as both of masculine and feminine name.
(8) Sisko: afemale name in Finnish meaning "sister"
(9) Zita: a female name meaning "little girl" in Tuscan Italian.
Author's Notes: My laptop's power supply broke a week ago and also NOW after I gota new one, the Internet doesn't work. So, I hope you all happy that I fixed this chapter. :)