Drip, drip, drip goes the dirty droplets hanging off of her messy, wet hair. Her once beautiful locks of ebony and silk are now transformed into a ratty bird’s nest. Her clothes were now a muddy white and her face was covered with a metallic muzzle with four air holes for breathing.
She had another episode when the nurses came in to change her bedding. The guards came in to restrain her from marking her face and spitting her signature blue flames toward the frightened staff women. One of them brought in the hose and sprayed her with that damnable water and the once proud warrior princess froze up as the water viciously pushed her against the concrete wall of her cell.
When the guard noticed the patient cease in movement, he signaled to the others to grab the specially made iron muzzle sent in by the famous Toph Bei Fong from the Earth Kingdom. After they secured the buckle and all of the staff left her room once they finished their duties, one of the last of the nurses turned toward the shivering noble and sneered,
‘Tch, you going to die in here acting the way you do! No wonder your family threw you away, you’re a useless piece of shit. Ptooi,’ The guards spat on the floor in disgust over her disposition and the others laughed at how far she has fallen. Azula, Crown Princess of the Fire Nation, Wielder of the Blue Flame, and Master of Lightening was reduced to a poor, haggard looking girl of 15 in the maximized prison/asylum built by her brother, Fire Lord Zuko.
‘Father, are you proud of me now? I did everything that was asked of me…yet, why did they win? I did everything! EVERYTHING! How could my weakling of a brother defeat me?’ the dirty brunette despaired while climbing on top of her clean bedding, her feet, once pristine and hygienic, dirtied the white sheets brought in by the asylum’s staff.
Azula leaned back to feel the coldness of her grey walls and steadily gazed toward the metal, fireproof and soundproof door. That door, another craft of the infamous heroine, Toph Bei Fong, was one of the obstacles that kept the former princess from feeling the sun and freedom; the only time light shined through was when the metal slit at the top is pushed open by one of the guards to check on her status or when they come in to give her food and clothes. She continued to hug herself in order to beat the chill, but her body continued to quake uncontrollably.
‘Azula, my daughter if only you would let them help you,’ softly spoke her imaginary mother, ‘Your brother still loves you and all he wants is for you to come home and face your crimes.’
Azula rolled her eyes at the sentimental crap her hallucination spewed to her. “Virtues, mother, was never my strong suite and besides, the only way I stay out of trouble is to continue my ‘madness’,” she boringly declared while her eyes glanced to the left side of her cell. On the left side of her ‘room’ consisted of a grayish wall covered in nail marks; she made these scores as her version of how much time she has spent in her little grayish-white, wet ‘room’.
The tally marks counted an even number of 360…360 days of disgusting food, therapy sessions, and ‘damage control’… 52 weeks of her brother and former friends visiting her stinking cell to talk her into confessing her crimes…12 months of therapy shock and mental breakdowns at the core of her mind…1 year that has passed from her father’s, Phoenix King’s, defeat at the hands of a child Avatar; 8765 hours since her defeat at the hands of her pathetic brother and that water bending bitch of the Avatar.
‘Azula, your brother is not weak and your friends and even your enemies are sad to see how far you have fallen. Please, let them help you so that we can be together again,’ sadly sighed her whimsical mother while gazing at her from the doorway.
“Mother, shut up and don’t act like you care now. You said that I’m a monster and as a monster I feel no remorse for the lives taken. No remorse for your banishment and I will feel nothing when I get out of here and Kill Your Son!”
Azula slowly stood on her bed and ran her fingers through her bird’s nest of hair then moved toward her metal-covered mouth. She didn’t pull on it or try to unsnap the difficult buckles, Azula merely felt the cool iron that encompassed her nose and mouth while at the same time restricted her fire breath. Suddenly, she heard the door’s lock click and quickly sat back down to watch the door cautiously open to reveal her number one enemy: Avatar Aang of the Air Nomads and hero of the Hundred Year War.
He calmly walked in and without looking at the guards the Avatar told the guards to wait outside. ‘But your Eminence, she could try something and we just couldn’t let you go in alone! It’s not standard proce-‘the guards stopped their stammering when the Avatar raised one of his hands to silence them and then said,
“She is muzzled and dripping wet, right now the only thing she is doing is glaring at us,” then the Avatar innocently turned toward the 12 guards and said, “Besides, if anything a little bit of my bending and she’ll be out cold!”
The guards silently agreed with the Avatar’s request and left him inside with the warrior patient. The brunette calmly took in his features and noticed his height has made him quite tall, but the training he is still receiving has toned him out considerably. He is still bald and his arrows are still the same as the first time she fought against him in Ba Sing Se.
“How dare you speak to me as we are of the same nobility!” the fiery child spat.
“But you are not of the nobility anymore Azula. Your brother and uncle are nobles and you are not due to your actions.”
“If you just came down here to lecture me, Avatar, you’re a bit too late on that one. Almost everyone I know is determined for me to know my crimes.”
“It’s just Aang and no I am not here to lecture you. I’m here to give you a choice.”
“Aha ha ha, so has my brother finally decided to execute me? It is better that way, and then there will be no competition for the throne.”
“Your brother is not as heartless as you, but he did come up with this choice as a way for you to regain your honor and pay back society.”
“I am not as honor bound as Zuzu seems to be, but what is this ‘decision’ that takes the Great Avatar to come down to my humble abode?”
Aang watched as the former lightning princess froze over the choice she would undoubtly make. When his friend asked him to come and deliver the message to the spoiled noble, he almost declined to help. Every day, the scar on his back continues to sting him from his slumber and to see the same woman that almost caused him to die did not help the situation at all; but, Aang will never forget those haunting words Zuko spoke that night.
“Aang, she is my sister and I cannot stand to see her this way. As a child of Agni, my sister is like fire and like our element when it has no oxygen or light that fire will burn out. I already have reports of her starving herself and self-mutilation while she continues to breathe weak fires from her charred mouth. “
“Zuko, it just seems as though she needs to stay longer in that asylum. She needs medical help and if she comes here, she will try to kill you!”
“Avatar, take a look around! My nation is on the verge of civil war ever since we deposed my father and sister. Half want to start afresh while the other is still set in the mindset of superiority. When I took the throne, I knew I would face this kind of opposition but not at this scale.” Zuko despaired while putting his forefingers at the bridge of his nose.
“Zuko, it’ll be alright…”
“Aang, I just found out that all of the political systems of commerce, trade, and military service were all run by my sister for the past 6 years and they brought in a substantial amount of income for our nation while at the same time crushing rebellions and troublemakers within my nation.
“It was probably all run through fear and superstition of the Fire Nation royalty,” ruefully negated Aang.
“Actually through bribes and careful positioning of people,” sadly admitted the Fire Lord, “Aang, I need help and even though, Agni forgive me, I have Mai to help she’s not enough. Azula was a genius in this field as well as in battle and in order to stop another outbreak of war from happening I need her help.”
“Sigh, Zuko what if she isn’t there to help you?”
Zuko and Aang both sat down on the cushions of the royal room and both were tired and dejected throughout the conversation. On the table were a sea of scrolls and papered reports of more uprisings in the colonies and in the capital of the Fire Nation. One report stated the removal of Fire Lord Zuko and the return of Fire Lord Ozai or Iroh; however, General Iroh was in the Earth Kingdom selling tea and helping reform the war torn cities of Omashu and Ba Sing Se after Azula’s siege.
“Zuko, you know I will help you in any way I can. And if you need me to go to your sister and bring her to the palace, then I guess I have no choice.”
“Aang, you always have a choice to say ‘no’ to me. Heh, you’re the Avatar, but she will have an ultimatum: Be my advisor or lose her fire bending.”
“Zuko, you don’t mean that! You want me to remove her fire bending? That’s like splitting her soul apart and she’s already unstable as it is!” Aang gasped while his face paled at the thought of another energy bending crisis.
The mind is a dark and dangerous place for those who do not know their own thoughts; anger and death are powerful tools to manipulate the strong and the weak. Azula knows this and even in her own madness, she recognizes the signs and does nothing to stop them.
“My country, my family, my allies have abandoned me…and now they make use of my intelligence because their ‘brave new world’ is in jeopardy of collapse. Heh, well what did you expect them to do, Zuzu just roll over and take the fact that all of their sacrifices and the deaths of kin were all dishonorable and in vain?’
‘Azula, please help your brother! He needs your guidance. You two are the last of our family to bring order back into our country; it’s in your blood. You have the blood of Avatar Roku in your veins, you have the power to bring order within our nation,’ pleaded her mother’s ghost.
“I don’t give a damn whose Avatar’s blood runs through my veins, I am a child of Agni and I will decide what my future will be and I don’t need anyone to tell me otherwise.”
Her glazed golden eyes remained shielded under her ebony foliage of hair as the choice she has already made goes through her system of pros and cons. When she notices a flicker of movement from the Avatar, Azula’s eyes blaze in anger and futility at the options presented to her and the unsure future she will create in this age of ‘peace and tranquility’; finally she makes her decision.
Author: I have yet to give up on this pairing! I want to see more of these two and I will continue this fic. I just wanted to try my hand in the ATLA world. To all of you, who have seen my current stories, just know my style is in this and I am dealing with an even bigger bad villainess! I’m so excited! Until next time!