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Author Topic: AlternateFuture: Ozai's Triumph? (PG-13) {Chapter 19- 11/26}  (Read 39449 times)
FireLordIroh
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The True Fire Lord will rise up!


« on: Aug 07, 2008 03:32 pm »

This will the be the first of hopefully many interesting "what if" stories.  That is, what if one detail in history was different?  Take, for example, what if Ozai had defeated Aang?  This story is told from Ozai's perspective (and a narrator's at points).  The underlined part is my change to history.  Everything after is also naturally different.

1-Cometfall
2-Rebuilding
3-Endings and Beginnings
4-Reflections
5-Breakout
6-Confrontation
7-The Journey North
8-The Second Siege of the North
9-Father Figures
10-Saving Princess Azula (Part I)
11-Saving Princess Azula (Part II)
12-Our Children
13-Loss
14-Loyalty
15-The Stage is Set

16-Benders
17-The Party
18-Order 76946
19-Koh

Characters (mentioned or implied or present)
Canon
-Aang
-Appa
-Arnook
-Azula
-Bato
-Bumi
-Chan
-Admiral Chan
-Combustion Man
-Dock
-Earth King Kuei
-Fong
-Fung
-Gran Gran
-Gyatso
-Hakoda
-Hama
-Ham Ghao
-Haru
-Hawky
-Hei Bai
-How
-Hue
-Iroh
-Jeong Jeong
-Jet
-Katara
-Koh
-Kuruk
-Kya
-Kyoshi
-Admiral Liang
-Long Feng
-Longshot
-Mai
-Momo
-On Ji
-Oyaji
-Ozai
-Pakku
-Piandao
-Qin (War Minister)
-Qin Lee (communications)
-Qin Lee (Sozin's Comet birthday)
-Shinu
-Shoji
-Sokka
-Suki
-Sung
-Sun Warrior Chief
-Toph
-Ummi
-Unagi
-Ursa
-Yangchen
-Yue
-Yugoda
-Zhao
-Zuko

-Dreamwalker

OCs
-Arnook's wife
-Ba
-Chit Seng
-Gan
-Dr. Kraz
-midwife
-Sansen
-Shila
-Xing
-Captain Zhou
-Senshi (EmilCrane)
-Tarak (Lucky Chaos; name only)

-Anana, 12, fans, (beautiful), twin daughter of Chief Sokka and Suki
-Aput, 12, waterbending, (snow), twin daughter of Chief Sokka and Suki
-Prince Asha, 13, firebending, (hope), 1st son of Zuko and Mai  *(co-creation of Tokogawa)
-Prince Kei, 11, firebending, (strong), 2nd son of Zuko and Mai
-Jigme, 11, earthbending,  (fearless), son of General Haru and Ty Lee
-Kimiko, 11, knives and chi-blocking, (Empress girl), daughter of Senshi and Azula
-Avatar Tusti, 16, 4 elements, (peace and happiness) daughter of Chief Arnook
« Last Edit: Nov 26, 2010 05:39 pm by FireLordIroh » Logged

FireLordIroh
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The True Fire Lord will rise up!


« Reply #1 on: Aug 07, 2008 03:43 pm »

CHAPTER 1- Cometfall

My name is Phoenix King Ozai.  I left my mantle of Fire Lord to my daughter so I could conquer the world.  All that is standing between me and that goal now is a twelve-year-old boy.  And I am triumphant.  How could this boy, even the Avatar, possibly stand against me?  I laugh as I land on a column of stone across from him.  "After generations of Fire Lords fail to find you, now the universe delivers you to me as an act of providence."  I feel the power of Sozin's Comet now more than ever.  The boy speaks.  "Please listen to me.  We don't have to fight.  You have the power to end it here stop what you are doing."
I naturally ignore this.  Yes, I'm going opt for peace instead of control of the world.  "You are right.  I do have the power.  I have all the power in the world!"  I emphasize my point with three giant jets of fire.  To the boy's credit, he doesn't look scared.  Only resolved.  I smash the pillar beneath me and release a ring of fire.  The boy dodges and shoots a mound of earth at me.  Our showdown has begun.

*     *     *
The midwife entered the Chief Temple.  Chief Arnook sat there silently next to his wife.  The women had been pregnant for around 8 and a half months, so the midwife decided it would be better to be safe than sorry.  "Don't worry, my chief," the midwife said soothingly.  "It's probably just another false alarm..."

*     *     *
Several minutes later I was still feeling confident.  The Avatar has tried every form of bending against me, but all to no effect.  I am getting slightly annoyed with all his running and dodging, though.  I know I have to get back with the fleet and finish off the Earth Kingdom.  I decide to try lightning and finish this fight quickly.  As I flew from one pillar to another, I charge my lightning, almost green in the strange light of Sozin's Comet.  I fire, and the boy barely dodges using a tornado of air.  As I continue to chase him, I notice something was off in the Avatar's fighting.  While he could probably not defeat me, he seemed to be holding back.  Still, his ability to dodge was both impressive and annoying.
As he began to jump from one pillar to another, I land and begin charging lightning immediately, and fire it before the boy lands.  I knew before it hit him it would be a direct hit.  To my surprise, the boy absorbs the lightning.  Electricity flares around his chest, and he cries out in agony, but pulls the lightning through his body and out his other arm.  His arm is pointing directly at me.  This firebending reminded me of the time a captured waterbender fought my brother was I was still just a teenager.  There is no time to consider this though.  I see my life flashing before my eyes in the lightning wielded by the Avatar.  In my horror I realize I have failed.  But when I look into the boy's eyes I am surprised.  I do not see the grim resolve of before, but doubts and regrets.  At the last second he turns his arm aside and fires the lightning to my left, staggering as he releases the energy.
Then I understand.  The peace-loving Avatar will not kill me.  I respond with a blast of fire as a thank-you.  The boy blocks with a wall of rock, but falls off the pillar and into the water.  Eagerly I pursue him.

*     *     *
Arnook's wife's cries got louder.  The midwife sighed and looked at the Chief.  "I think this is the time."  Arnook did not look surprised.  "I talked with a spirit, and she gave me a vision of my new daughter- a powerful waterbender to be born on a day most tragic."  The widwife is confused.  "Tragic?  How?"  Arnook did not answer immediately.  "Tragic as in someone is going to lose part of themselves.  The vision wasn't clear, but unspeakable power will be unleashed, and only one involved in this power will survive."  Arnook's wife's cries got louder.

*     *     *
Several minutes later, I know I have won.  After chasing the boy across some water, he has hidden himself in a ball of solid stone and taken away his one advantage: agility.  As I bombard his shell with flame after flame, I laugh.  "Come on out Avatar!  You can't hide in there forever!"   I increase the heat of my flames and walk up the stone and apply all my might until the rock is red-hot.  With one more blast I shatter the Avatar's last hope of security.  He flies backward into the rubble.  I see a slight flash in his eyes but I don't really care anymore.  Confidently I stride up to the rocks covering the boy.
"Come on out, little boy.  You're about to be--"  I am cut off as someone dares to grab my beard.  I look at the Avatar's face.  It is glowing from his arrow tattoos and eyes.  I try to hit him with a blast of fire, but he casually knocks it aside and hits with a blast of air so powerful I had not imagined such power existed.  As I hit the pillar behind me with a loud thud, I realize with horror what I am facing now.  Not just one Avatar, but all of them.  The Avatar state.  I stagger as I try to see through hurricane winds.  The boy is controlling all four elements at once.  And he is coming for me.  He rams me with his sphere of elements, launching me high into the sky.  Just before he rams me again I manage to resume flight.  He fires rocks at me, licking my heels with inches to spare.  I desperately weave through the pillars, but to no avail.  A blast of water knocks me to the ground, and a split-second dodge spares me from being crushed by the Avatar's sphere.  I try switching to the offensive, launching massive blasts of fire, all to be stopped by earth or water.  After another massive blast of air, a water whip catches my heel and flings me flat on a pillar.  Stone bands hold my limbs.  The Avatar hovers before me.  He speaks.  "Fire Lord Ozai.  You and your forefathers have devastated the balance of this world.  Now, you shall pay the ultimate price."
I realize while the boy may spare my life, his past lives will not.  The four elements emerge from his sphere for an awe-striking blow.  The Avatar swings his hand, and the four elements come crashing toward me in blinding fury.  I close my eyes, knowing that this is the end.  The next thing I know, water hits me.  Not devastating water, but like water falling from the sky.  Rocks fall harmlessly about me.  I look up and see the boy's glowing has vanished.  He lands beside me, banishing his elemental sphere and my bonds.  His next words are very quiet.  "No.  I'm not going to end it like this."
Suddenly I am outraged.  The boy is showing me mercy.  The Phoenix King does not need mercy.  "Even with all the power in the world, you are still weak!"  Somehow the boy sees it coming and binds my arms.  Again I am helpless.  He pushes towards me after some strange bending and puts his hands on my forehand and chest.  The boy's entire body turns blue.  I am still panicking when my entire vision goes orange.  I feel like rage.  I detect a second presence, calm and smooth.  I push against it.  This must be some Avatar trickery.  I hear a voice in his mind.  "Your own spirit must be unbendable, or you will be corrupted, and destroyed."  I definitely don't want to be destroyed, so I push harder into the Avatar's mind.
I see memories of a city high atop of a mountain, the North and South Poles, what I expect are New Ozai and Ba Sing Se, and my own Capital City, among a thousand other places.  I see people as well.  Monks, my children, my brother, several others, but predominantly a young water tribe girl.  I push these irrelevant things aside.  Only a little of the Avatar's willpower is left.  He is pushing with all his might to be unmovable, and I  am using my might to overcome it.  "So this is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object," I thought.
My will hardens.  I will not let it end here for me.  I don't know what the Avatar is doing to me, but I'm not going to find out.  I can feel him panicking.  With one last push, I overwhelm his mind.
I stagger backwards as the connection ends abruptly.  I stand up and happen to glance over at the Avatar.  He is lying on the pillar, bodying rolling with massive amounts of energy circling closer and closer.  I shoot an experimental fireball into the air to make sure I am not weakened by my encounter.  This is too much and I black out.

*     *     *
Aang laid on the pillar silently.  As he felt his life force slowly leaving him, he glanced over at the Phoenix King.  Ozai shot a fireball into the air and fell over, unconscious.  Another wave of energy left the Avatar, leaving him gasping for breath.  As he continued to fade, he glanced up at the sky, then at Ozai, and smiled.  Aang may have lost, but he still succeeded.  He smiled and breathed his last.

*     *     *
The midwife smiled and looked up at Chief Arnook.  "It's a girl."

*     *     *
As the airship got closer, Sokka saw Aang stagger and fall.  He felt like tearing the Phoenix King limb from limb, but for all he knew the Phoenix King was dead.  Still, he wasn't leaving without Aang.  When the ship landed on a nearby pillar, Toph saw what happened.  Silently, with tears streaming down her cheeks, she seperated the part of the pillar Aang was on and brought it over.  Suki walked over to Sokka, still silent.  "Where will we take him?"
Sokka looked around at the landscape before saying anything.  "We'll take him back to Southern Air Temple.  Toph, go find and tell the others."  Toph nodded, still not saying anything.  Sokka and Suki reboarded the airship, and Toph began making her way to Ba Sing Se.

*     *     *
Finally I wake up.
The Avatar is no where in sight.  Presumably his friends came to bury him and assumed me to be the same.  But I am more than alive.  I still have the strength of a hundred suns.  I look up at the sky and see Sozin's Comet fade into the distance.  "No... No.... NO!"  And I realize the Avatar did win.
« Last Edit: Aug 10, 2008 11:04 am by FireLordIroh » Logged

NeeNee
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« Reply #2 on: Aug 07, 2008 05:40 pm »

*gulp* whoa, heavy stuff. Sad

I would have hated it ending like that, but it's beautifully written.

nice find with Arnook, too.
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Magus1108
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« Reply #3 on: Aug 07, 2008 07:49 pm »

This was pretty good. Can't wait for more.
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FireLordIroh
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The True Fire Lord will rise up!


« Reply #4 on: Aug 07, 2008 10:20 pm »

NOTE:  If you want to be notified when a new chapter comes out, PM me and I'll add you to a list of people I'm telling.  I'm hoping for a chapter a week (or less if I get good ideas).  (NeeNee and Magus are already on the list).
« Last Edit: Aug 08, 2008 08:51 am by FireLordIroh » Logged

FireLordIroh
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The True Fire Lord will rise up!


« Reply #5 on: Aug 08, 2008 10:09 am »

Chapter 2- Rebuilding
I walk away from the remains of Wulong Forest, which still blazes brilliantly.  However, it reminds me of the Avatar's taunting successful failure.  Behind me walk the survivors of my lead airship.  As we reach the shore, more men are swimming ashore- enough men to crew an airship.  Most seem fine, although one royal guard is blathering something about a lying captain and hotcakes.

I turn to my second in command, Sansen.  His birthday is today, on the day of the Comet.  "Status?"  As usual, Sansen is quick and efficient.  "Exactly 243--"  He pauses as one of the men who barely made the swim to shore slumps over.  "--242 men survived including ourselves.  Between all the damaged airships, we could rebuild about 3 functional airships.  Not battle-worthy, but enough to get us to anywhere on the globe so long as we are not engaged."

"Very good, Captain.  Organize the men to form a defensive perimeter and to begin rebuilding at least one airship.  Then, go celebrate your birthday."  Sansen gives me a stiff salute.  He pauses before the blathering guard, then says, "Okay Qin Lee, you can celebrate too."  The blathering guard, apparently named Qin Lee, happily joins the Captain.
Watching how easily Sansen interacts with the men makes me realize that he is a better leader of soldiers than me.  He is efficient, but cares about his men and the greater good.  I sit down a rock to digest this, among many other things.  No doubt Azula retains her throne.  My son and maybe some of his friends tried to dethrone her, but no one could defeat my daughter, unless...

Iroh...

My hatred for my brother quickly overwhelms that sadness I fell that my son is probably dead.  Zuko was a weak fool, but it is natural to feel a little pain for losing a son.  I shrug it off, just like I did Ursa.  This time, it's easier.  I summon one of the men and have them write a messenger hawk to the Capital to find out our status.  As I watch it fly away, I can't shake the feeling my life is still going to be tough...

*    *    *
Katara stood happily at the landing platform at the Capital, next to Zuko.  She knew her heroes were coming home, and that everything would be alright again.  She realized after her close encounter with death that life was too short to live without loving.  She knew Aang loved her and it was time to let him be truly happy.  Fire Lord Zuko stood next to Katara.  He had been disappointed that the Avatar and most of his friends had not been there for his coronation.  Still, he was ready to see Aang and to begin rebuilding the world together.  Iroh stood more to the back of the platform, eyes closed and huming a tune.  Iroh had been gracious enough to make the ceremony, but was soon returning to his Earth Kingdom Tea Shop, the Jasmine Dragon.  All of the sudden, he slumped with an audible groan.

The Fire Lord and Katara ran over and helped him stand up.  Iroh stood uneasily, eyes close but mouth agape.  Zuko had seen this once before, when Iroh had visions from the Spirit World.  After a moment, Iroh said, "No.... No..."

*   *   *
Several hours later I approach Sansen.  "Captain, we need to talk."  "Of course, my liege," comes the stiff reply.  We walk away from the group.  "How do you handle yourself so easily with the men?  If I try to relate to any of them, they seem to just find an excuse to go do something?"

Sansen, as usual, has the answer.  "Honestly, sir, it's your newest policy.  Most of our man have your same burning patriotism, and are willing to die for you against the enemy.  However, trying to wipe out an entire culture is giving large punches to our morale.  Give it time and try to honestly care, maybe even help with our reconstruction."  I frown.  I am not a big fan of manual labor.  Still, I may be stuck here for awhile, so the more my men are willing to do the better.  "Sansen, when we get out of this, remind me to give you a promotion."    Sansen smiles, a rare commodity for anyone in my presence.  "Yes sir."

*   *   *
Iroh stood, uneasily now.  Katara looked worried, Zuko expectant.  "What can I say?", he thought.  "How can I just tell them that the world's last hope is gone?"  Looking up to the sky and seeing the descending airship, Iroh realized he doesn't have to.  He simply gestured to the descending airship.  A moment later Zuko saw a lone tear fall from his uncle's cheek.
Katara did not notice any of this.  She just wanted to see Aang.  The airship came to a slow, grinding halt.  The door opened, and for a moment no one came out.  Then Suki went through the door.  Katara ran up and gave her a big hug then stopped, feeling her shoulders shaking.  Sokka still had not come out.  When Suki pulled back, tears were streaming down her cheeks.
Sokka came out of the airship door, holding Aang in his arms.  It felt as if all the world layed on his back.  This was odd, for carrying someone so light.  Katara eyes darkened in recognition.  Zuko's eyes widened in shock.

There are no words for this moment.  None.  No apologies can be made, no promises for the future.  Only regrets.

For a long while Katara says nothing, tears streaming down her cheeks.  "The Phoenix King?"  Sokka gave a humorless smile.  "Aang succeeded.  He gave his final gift so this war could end.  He ended the Loser Lord."

Zuko turned to Iroh, who nodded.  Zuko, barely composing himself, called up the royal guard.  Zuko, Iroh, and 5 guards stood on the south edge of the platform.  Zuko tried to give the command but found he couldn't.  Iroh put a hand on his shoulder and spoke.  "Ready... Fire!"

7 Fireballs arched through the sky.

"Ready... Fire!"  Seven more fireballs.  Sokka turned away, resting Aang gently in Suki's arms while he hugged his sister.  There are no words.  Only regrets.

"Fire!"  The last 7 fireballs of tribute arched through the sky, one narrowly missing a messenger hawk.  It alighted on Zuko's shoulder.  Zuko took the scroll.  "It's addressed to the Fire Lord..."

*   *   *
Several hours after I talk to Sansen, I lower myself into the soldiers' work.  The men seemed surprised at first, but seem to appreciate my gesture.  Okay, so I almost hit a soldier with a fireball when he gave me a command to do something correctly, but other than that it went well.  I pause for a break on a rock when I see my messenger hawk approaching.  It lands, and I eagerly use firebending to burn off the message cap.
I am thrown back by an explosion, covering my right arm in unbearable agony.
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KataraFan11
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« Reply #6 on: Aug 08, 2008 04:05 pm »

I like  it. honestly it is very well written! But might I suggest not going off the true storyline so much and if you do have away for it to melt back in with what really happened.
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Magus1108
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« Reply #7 on: Aug 08, 2008 10:52 pm »

Great chapter. Good, so Ozai possibly loses his arm. He deserves that. Can't wait for more.
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SparkyLord
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« Reply #8 on: Aug 09, 2008 12:58 pm »

Awsome story. keep it up
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tokogawa
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« Reply #9 on: Aug 09, 2008 03:58 pm »

The story's interesting, moving from Ozai's POV to those of other characters was a good touch and gave one a countdown to the inevitable tragedy and a veiw of the outside world. I like how the only drastic change is during the spirit bending and the event, which brings Ozai so close to death, has changed the belief in his own omnipotence. Some of the character's reactions were percise and very well made, but Sokka's last joke seemed to fall straight on its face. I wait for the next chapter and a better explaination of the explosion.
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FireLordIroh
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« Reply #10 on: Aug 10, 2008 12:04 pm »

Author's Note:  I made one small change to chapter 1.  It was supposed to say southern air temple but I typed Northern.  That is fixed now.

But might I suggest not going off the true storyline so much and if you do have away for it to melt back in with what really happened.
This is hard to do because a)The TV series was pretty much over at this point.  b)Aang's fate in my story (which is far from over by the way) completly changes the story

Thanks to all my supporters, silent and vocal.


Chapter 3- Endings and Beginnings

I slowly drift back into consciousness.  I am in some kind of tent.  Medical, perhaps?  I hear a voice talking.  "It's a miracle there wasn't more damage.  I'm surprised the message wasn't incinerated as well.  I've stopped the bleeding and sealed the wound."  I try to sit up and groan softly.  Using my legs, I push myself against the back of the bed to a sitting position.  I see the medic and Sansen, both looking at me without saying anything.  Finally, I have the courage to speak.  "What happened?"

Sansen looks grim.  "Blasting jelly beneath the cap of the message.  A small enough explosion not to kill you, but enough to..."  He trails off and glances at my right arm.  To my horror, the lower half of it gone.  Sansen continues.  "The jelly was set to explode upward, not harming the message beneath."  I notice the unopened scroll on a table next to me.  I struggle to untie the string, not easy with one hand.  After a moment of struggle I succeed in opening the scroll and begin to read.

Father,
Our family has once again destroyed the balance of this world.  Twice we have tried to wipe out entire cultures, and twice we have killed the Avatar.  I will no longer stand aside and watch the world fall to your tyranny.  You have wiped out what seemed to be the world's last hope:  Avatar Aang- a friend and a hero.  He had the courage to stand up to you and died trying to liberate our world from you.  Now I shall take his place.  I will be the world's new hope.  The Fire Nation shall bring peace to the world and restore balance- even if I have to end you to do it.  It does not matter where you hide or fight, flee or attack, I will complete what my friend started.

Fire Lord Zuko


The last words bore themselves into my brain.  Fire Lord Zuko.  Zuko.  This is too much and I slump into unconsciousness.

*     *     *
Zuko, Katara, Sokka, Suki, and Toph rode Appa in silence.  As they approached the Southern Air Temple, Suki turned to Zuko.  "Are you ready?"  Zuko shrugged.  "As I'll ever be."  Appa landed next to half a dozen airships.  Momo had been missing since the arrival of the Comet.  Appa had not seen his master for days and was coming to the realization he never would.  The dignitaries were all seated in chairs brought to the occasion.  The girls went to their seats, Zuko and Sokka to the back of the temple.  Longshot, Jeong Jeong, Iroh, and Hakoda were waiting.  Sokka and Zuko took the back corners of the casket.  With a heave much too large for an object so small, the six men carried the box into the main hall.

The spectacle of mourners was a sight to behold.  All three nations were represented in force.  The majority of the royal guard was present, a girl named On Ji and and her friend Shoji, Dock, as well as some mysteriously-dressed firebenders only Zuko and Iroh seemed to know.  Kings Bumi and Kuei were present, as well as Fong and the Council of Five.  Hakoda, Hue, and Arnook were there, all three surprisingly well-dressed.  Hue even had pants.  Arnook looked strangely nervous to be there.  The girls all sat in a row.  Mai looked gloomy but for different reasons than usual.  Suki sat silently, saying little, but waiting for Sokka to sit and comfort her.  Toph seemed to have taken a vow of silence as a sort of tribute to Aang.  Katara wore all black.

After the casket was set down, Fire Lord Zuko approached the podium.  With a deep breath, he began his speech.

"A few days ago we lost a great friend.  For a long time I knew him only as the Avatar, my enemy.  Only recently was I blessed to know him as Aang, my friend.  Aang had a special impact on my life.  Not because he was the Avatar or even that he was an airbender- he was my friend.  Aang did what so few of us are willing to do- he did what he had to do.  He had known for nearly a year he was going to face my father.  He was afraid, like any sensible person would be.  But he overcame his fear.  He fought the most powerful man alive at the peak of his powers to defend the Earth Kingdom.
As many of you may now be aware my father survived their encounter.  However, I do not believe Aang failed for two reasons.  First, he delayed my father long enough to prevent him for using the Comet's power.  Second, he left heirs to his dream.  Now, more than ever, I want to bring peace to this world and stop my father.  Intelligence indicates many firebenders even in the Fire Nation are loyal to him and will soon defect.  I hope the other nations will join me in ending his threat.  I am continuing what Aang wanted- peace and balance.
In summary, Aang would not want this day to be a day of sorrow.  He would want it to be a day of hope.  I'm sure that he knew that this end would be a new beginning, the beginning to what will lead to an era of peace.  Thank you."

*     *     *
I resume consciousness once more.  Sansen and the medic are gone, no doubt to give me some peace.  I mull over the facts.  Zuko took the throne, meaning Azula is either dead or defeated.  Many but not all of my soldiers are loyal to me now.  The nations will no doubt unite against me.  Once again I realize my mortality.

I call Sansen in and have him summon all the surviving ship captains.  "Gentlemen, based on the note I received from my traitorous son, we are no longer the Fire Nation.  Our once-strong country has crumbled to the illusions of peace and contentment."  I stand, adding emphasis to my speech.  "But we, the legacy of the Fire Nation shall not fall to these same illusions.  We will continue the war of my grandfather and conquer this world under the pure element of fire.  When we control the world will it only be in true balance.  Gentlemen, you are now the founders of the Fire Empire!"

For a moment no one speaks.  Then one captain begins to applaud, followed by another, until all present are clapping.  I wait for them to finish, then turn to Sansen.  "General, I believe you should go check on your forces."  Sansen is unable to keep the surprise off his face, but salutes and walks out briskly.  I turn back the the remaining captains.  "Send a messenger hawk to Admiral Chan.  Admiral Liang will side with the Fire Lord, but Chan knows where his loyalties should lie.  Also send notes to all the generals and War Minister Qin."  The captains nod and I watch with satisfaction the beginnings of my empire.

*     *     *
Iroh walked up slowly to take Zuko's spot.  It had not been easy to find all the burial rites he had wanted to find, but ancient records had procured the information.  "As Aang was of all 4 elements, so too was he of all 4 nations.  Therefore, we are giving him all 4 burial rites.  He began with water.  "May the flowing of your soul and purity of heart carry you onto the ocean of resting peace."  Master Pakku made water slowly drizzle on the casket.  When the rain subsided, Iroh continued.  "May the solidness of your strength and the courage of your heart lead you well in the next life of what is not earth."  Bumi silently made a hole in the ground and earthbent the box into it.  Iroh continued with the words he had said to his troops for far too many funerals outside Ba Sing Se.  "May the flames of your spirit and the fire of your passion and love burn in your heart and ours forever!"  Most of Aang's friends looked away, but Iroh noticed Katara still looked straight at Iroh, tears streaming down her cheeks.  Flames sprung up in a blaze to illuminate the hole in the ground and Iroh.  Finally Iroh recited the rite of the ancient text he found.  "May your spirit fly as high as the birds and grant you eternal rest."  To everyone's surprise including Iroh, Momo flew in and landed on Iroh's shoulder.  By some coincidence, the flames were doused by a strong wind.

After the ceremony, Chief Arnook pulled Katara, Sokka, Iroh, and Zuko aside and explained the birth of his daughter approximately three days ago, roughly around when Aang faced Ozai.  Zuko reacted instantly.  "There'll be a dozen royal guards there within a day."  Sokka shook his head.  "No offense Zuko, but we don't know who is loyal to your father.  A dozen waterbenders will do I expect.  We must protect the world's other new hope."  Iroh turned to Zuko.  "Until the new Avatar is ready, you must be the world's beacon of hope."  Zuko nodded, smiling bitterly at the irony.  A boy one year ago trying to subjugate the world is now trying to liberate it.

Silently, the spirits of Aang and Roku watched the end of the ceremony.  "So is this the end?"  Aang asked.  Roku smiled, remembering asking Kyoshi the same question over a century ago.  "No, just a new beginning.  You must be ready to do what is necessary to bring balance.  Even if this next life, your purpose is not yet done."

*     *     *
Several days later, I am satisfied.  All of Admiral Chan's fleet is here, and Liang's is predictably not.  Over half of the Fire Nation army is making its way to Wulong Coast, with the remainder arriving within the month.  Only General Shinu and Admiral Liang dared to stand with the weak Fire Lord.  I realize, although I am human, my dreams to conquer the world are not yet gone.  Just a little more challenging.

A captain approaches me.  "Sir, back during the attack on the Western Air Temple, my ship did some reconnaissance of the area after the battle.  At the bottom of the Temple's chasm, I found something unique.  I was going to give it to my son as a souvenir, but given the circumstances, I had it fitted for you."  Now I am curious and gesture with my good arm to show me what his behind his back.  From behind his back he takes out a metal hand.  "This was found among the debris of an exploded spire of the Temple.  Given your handicap, I thought it would be nice."  Ignoring the insult of the word handicap, I slip the arm on.  In the adjusted fitting the metalworker made, it fits pretty well.  I remember seeing this arm somewhere, but I can't place it.  "Thank you, Captain.  It seems my arm and our Fire Empire also have new beginnings."
« Last Edit: Aug 18, 2008 03:00 pm by FireLordIroh » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: Aug 10, 2008 01:29 pm »

Yet another awsome chapter. Oh but poor Aang :'( Zuko taking his place though was a fantasic idea though, great work!
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« Reply #12 on: Aug 10, 2008 02:13 pm »

Another great chapter. I sure hope the Gaang can beat Ozai. Will Azula be escaping in this fic and attempt to join her father?
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« Reply #13 on: Aug 10, 2008 03:35 pm »

Really nice, I hope to see some epic battles coming up. And don't let Azula die!!!!
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« Reply #14 on: Aug 10, 2008 04:46 pm »

The chapter is both interesting and compelling in your vision. I may not be the one to talk, but it seemed to move in many directions in a short amount of time. Zuko's planting of the bomb feels a little Blue spirit and almost uncharacteristically ruthless. The Avatar's funeral was a good mix of things, but the last part, which by all opinion can be the most fantastic, seems more abrupt than it should be. As in such a tragedy as this, I cannot blame one for taking so many paths. It can probably be the best thing to do. However, I hope you will take this slowly for the time being and spread it out like a new series, an alternate ending.
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« Reply #15 on: Aug 10, 2008 06:53 pm »

A very good twist if this had happend.
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« Reply #16 on: Aug 10, 2008 08:58 pm »

exellent work. im impressed on the research you obviously did on backround characters. names like war minister Qin from season 2, Shinu(colonel in season 2 then general in season 3) and admiral chan. correct me if i am wrong but was admiral chan not the owner of the house zuko smashed in the beach?
but anyways very good i can't wait for more Smiley
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« Reply #17 on: Aug 10, 2008 09:18 pm »

exellent work. im impressed on the research you obviously did on backround characters. names like war minister Qin from season 2, Shinu(colonel in season 2 then general in season 3) and admiral chan. correct me if i am wrong but was admiral chan not the owner of the house zuko smashed in the beach?
but anyways very good i can't wait for more Smiley

yep that was him
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« Reply #18 on: Aug 12, 2008 12:36 pm »

AUTHOR's NOTES:
Oh but poor Aang :'(
Don't count Aang out just yet, he'll be in the story in some form (still debating various plot twists).

Will Azula be escaping in this fic and attempt to join her father?
Azula will appear in chapter 5.

Also, thanks for all the support (pm and posts).  More constructive criticism as well please!

NOTE: This chapter does not feature Ozai.  Each member of the Gaang (and Iroh) reflect on recent events in the first person.

Chapter 4- Reflections

This story takes place about a year after the events of Sozin's Comet.


Sokka
My name is Sokka of the Southern Water Tribe.

Life is pretty good right now, aside from the obvious.  I now have my igloo in the home tribe, Katara and I have a home in the North for visiting, and Oyaji gave me a guest house of Kyoshi Island when I'm visiting, where I am now.  My father seems to be beginning to train me to be the new Chief.  I've even led a few raids against Ozai's Fire Empire ships.  I hope that I can live up to the legacy of my father.  I'm not entirely sure I'm ready to lead.  Things like having Pakku around with Gran Gran are a little creepy.

As I look at the buildings of Kyoshi and their still-fading scars of Zuko's attack almost two years ago, I instinctively flash back to when we first came here.  It seemed ages ago.  He, Katara, and I had first met Suki.  My world had been turned upside-down, and has remained that way ever since.  It's weird, but I like it that way.  I love Suki, and she loves me.  That's all I need to know.

Aang's death naturally grieves me, but I've dealt with death before.  My grandfather, Mom, Yue, Jet, and now Aang.  I've learned the best way to handle these losses is to laugh and try to forget about the pain and rage that accompanies it.  Shortly after the funeral I visited Piandao, who told me something about grief.  At the time I had been planning to fight Ozai single-handedly and take all my rage into taking him down.  I had the plan all laid out before he interrupted me.

"I know the rage that drives you. That impossible anger strangling the grief, until the memory of your loved one is just poison in your veins. And one day, you catch yourself wishing the person you loved had never existed so you'd be spared your pain."

After thinking about his words, my rage has dwindled.  Rage will not bring Aang back, nor revenge.  I've settled into contentment.  I will never forget Aang, but he would not want me to live my life for him or his memory.  He would want him to live it for me.  I've tried to point this out to Katara, but she can't seem to hear me.  That is the one point in my life I know I never can change.  My sister has become a shell of who she used to be.  That, even more than Aang's death, keeps me awake at night, praying that something will come and spare her this misery.

Suki walks up to me.  We are at the top of a mountain overlooking Kyoshi Bay.  I see what I think is the Unagi swim by.  More memories flash by, searing themselves into my consciousness, but I force them away.  I live for myself now.  Myself and others.

Suki is giving me a questioning look.  Silently, I drop to a knee.  Suki is shocked, hands over her mouth.  I pull a necklace I made from my pocket.  It is light blue, much like the necklace my sister still wears.  I say three little words and offer her the necklace.  She takes it and stares at it dumbly, as though she cannot believe it is real.  I look up and say four more words.  For a moment she is silent, then says the one word I've always wanted to hear her say.  She says it again, then again and again.  There are too many words to describe emotions like these, and yet too few.  As we kiss, now betrothed, I realize I am doing what Aang wanted me to do.  I am living for myself and others.


Suki
My name is Suki of the Kyoshi Warriors.

I am engaged.  As I watch Sokka's silly pet Hawky flying away to tell his father, sister, and all our friends, I feel emotions unlike any I've ever experienced.  They are beyond elation.  Beyond confusion.  Beyond sadness.

I am engaged.  My only regret is Aang will not be here to see these coming happy days.  Such a happy-go-lucky kid would've loved the preparations, the party, the joy.  It sickens me that even someone who could scar his son could still kill a child as innocent as Aang, even in combat.  And now he still has the "courage" to continue his dream to subjugate the world.  The Fire Lord claims he can continue the Avatar's mission for peace.  I hope, for the sake of the future, he succeeds.

My name is Suki, and I am engaged.  I sometimes regret not feeling as sad as Sokka and Katara about Aang's death, but I keep myself in check.  I hardly knew the kid.  I mourned and I cried, but no gaping hole was left in my heart.  Sadness was, naturally, but it is so easily washed away.  Washed away, say, by engagement.  Aang would not want my future to be bleak by his passing, so I will not be.

My name is Suki, and I am engaged.


Toph Bei Fong
My name is Toph Bei Fong of the Earth Kingdom.

I stand silently in front of my new student, frustrated at his lack of comprehension.  We are atop a stone building in Omashu.  He's much, much older than me, so I figured teaching to someone so wise would be easy.  But as I watch him laugh and chew his rock candy, I realize this might not be so simple.  King Bumi is known for his surprising tactics, so I hope that he can learn metalbending.  It's hard to teach when you refuse to speak.

This is my tribute to Aang.  It's not like I'm denying that he's gone, or that in the silence he'll speak to me.  No, it is more of respect.  Due respect.  Respect born of the sacrifice he was willing to make.  So, I have taken a vow of silence.  I turn to Bumi and instruct through motions.  By now he understands seeing vibrations is the first step too seeing the impurities of metal.  Something I was teaching Aang too.

I bear my grief.  I always do.  I realize compared to Sokka and especially Katara, my grief is nothing.  What I feel is the tremor of pain.  Sokka feels the quake.  But Katara, Katara, she is the one who has fallen in the crevasse of that earthquake.  For all my earthbending, I don't know if I can get her out.  I smile slightly as I cause a stone behind Bumi to hurtle toward his head.  Without flinching he ducks and the stone flies into my hand.  Bumi opens his eyes and I smile my approval.

I will be like the very earth I bend.  Rigid and unchanging.  While I will never forget my friend, I must be as unmovable, unflinching in my work.


Fire Lord Zuko
My name is Fire Lord Zuko.

As I stride down the hallway to my private chambers in the royal palace, my legs begin to feel heavier than lead.  My head droops, but my mind is active, frantic.  I collapse into a chair as soon as I am out of sight of my servants.  I think about what I said in the note to my father and regret adding the blasting jelly.  I remember something Aang said to me once about revenge, when Katara and I were going to kill her mother's murderer.  "This is about getting closure and justice," I had said.  "I don't think so.  It's about getting revenge."  he had replied.  I claim to be the idealist heir to Aang's dream, but at the first chance I blemish his memory with senseless revenge.  I had imagined it was justice to Aang, but all I did was made the wound worse.

Honor.  It all comes down to honor.  How can I act to bring peace without honor?  Without honor I am just a man killing my own people to bring balance.  But at what price?  I would be little better than my father.  A small smile creeps to my face.  Okay, I can't sink much lower than my father, but the point remains the same.

Aang always struck me as the unbeatable, happy-go-lucky kid.  He seemed invincible.  We all did.  Tragedy bring life into blindingly sharp focus called reality.  As I continue to think about our attack on Yon Rha, I remember commenting to Aang that he was right, violence wasn't the answer.  "It never is," he had said.  I then had posed the question what would he do when he faced my father.  I realize now that Aang's answer may not have been right.

But which is the right?  Failure to finish my father killed Aang.  Success in killing him brings no closure, only more problems.  Which is right?  Are both answers right?  Or are both answers wrong?  Which is right?  As night falls on the Palace, I realize that I will spend many nights struggling with this answer.  I am more confused than ever.

As the darkness falls I let myself cry.  Fire is about passion, or reacting to all emotions.  Sadness and grief are emotions, so I let myself experience them fully.  I am sad to have lost a student, comrade, fellow idealist, Avatar, but most of all, a friend.  I never got to tell Aang he and I were friends.  More tears wet my pillow as I vainly search for sleep.


Iroh
My name is Iroh.

My life is a low simmer of rage, and of regret.  As I look back now as a crewman takes up his instrument, I realize how many times I could've prevented what happened.  When my brother stole the throne, I could've fought him for the right and killed him.  At any point during Zuko's banishment, I could've spoken against the outrage and slain my brother.  After I freed myself from prison, I could've killed my brother while he was powerless.  And regardless of what I told Zuko, I could've killed my brother during Sozin's Comet.

But I failed.  Because of my unwillingness to act and do what was needed, a precious life is gone.  Granted, a new Avatar still warrants hope for an end to this war.  Still, I wonder what held me back from fighting my brother.  The White Lotus could've easily taken Ba Sing Se without my help.  Was it fear?  Stupidity?  A false sense of honor?  Or maybe mercy?  With a snort, I realize I will probably never know.

I begin the song.  Ironically, it relates to balance and the four seasons.  "Winter, spring, summer and fall."  How can such balance exist?  There is no autumn, no more Air Nomads.  "Winter and spring, summer and fall."  How can balance exist? Summer is engaged in a brutal, savage civil war.  I remember with a certain sadness the phrase  "Fighting Fire With Fire."

Katara appears on the deck of the ship.  As I sing the next part of the song, I wonder what Aang would've wanted me to do next.  "Four seasons, four loves."  Four loves- love of all the nations.  But does that include the Fire Empire?  It is hard to love a nation of war, but them I remember my home country.  Something lights in Katara's eyes, who is lost in her thoughts. I sing the next verse softly.  "Four seasons, four loves."  Katara and my eyes meet.  Her eyes almost say a thank you , then she walks away.

I realize too my train of thought has reached its end.  I must be humane to all the nations, even the Fire Empire.  That does not mean I will restore the four seasons if I have the chance.  I will do it without my vengeance.  I will use true firebending, not anger.  The Sun Warrior Chief would be proud.


Katara
My name is Katara of the Southern Water Tribe.

My life is a dark, gloomy void of pain, despair, and an inkling of hope.  Hope that the new Avatar will finish what my Avatar started.  I don't think of this much though;  the pain alone is enough.  I know pain.  I've known it since I lost my mother to the Raiders.  I've known pain can be conquered ever since I learned to heal.

But how does one heal the soul, the mind?  I can heal every living thing of its physical parts, but nothing that ails the mind.  As I continue to reflect, tears splash unheeded to the floor.  A boy?  man?  I taught, cared for, helped, fought with, battled alongside, and loved is gone.  Not all the power in the world can bring him back.  There are no words.  None.

As I sit listlessly in the silence of a ship at night, I hear Iroh on the deck above me above me singing a song about the four seasons.  I walk up to the deck.  As he sings, I think about what Aang would want me to do next.  His dream, as Zuko said, was of peace and balance.  I believe the only way is for the Avatar to restore balance.  Not my Avatar.  The new waterbending child must finish what Aang began.

She will need a teacher.  Perhaps I will move North and one day provide the instruction she needs to finish what Aang started.  Iroh finishes the song and looks up.  "Thank you," my eyes say.  He smiles but says nothing.  I return below deck.  While my existence is a gloomy void, it is a void with a new purpose.


Avatar Aang
My name is Aang.

It has been a year since my departure, my showdown with Ozai.  Since then, I have been in paradise.  The Spirit World is pretty nice.  As a true spirit of the realm and not just a visitor like before, I have perks.  I can't experience pain.  I have my own room at the bottom of the Tower of the Avatars, sharing a floor with Roku, Kyoshi, and Kuruk, with Yangchen on the floor above.  All the past Avatars hold monthly discussions- sometimes about our long-lost lives (or in my case, short-lost), or the state of the world.  I was surprised to learn that of my many hundreds of carnations, only about ten knew energybending and only three had used it.  Thinking back and my encounter with Ozai, it does make some sense.

I am overjoyed to know that Monk Gyatso had also obtained spirit status, along with a few other monks from the other temples.  This, more than seeing my past lives, makes me happy.  For so long my people and I were separated.  Now, my quest to find them is over.  I admit, I was curious why Gyatso carried a Pai Sho tile with him even now until he showed me General Iroh and what he led.  This news gives me hope against Ozai.  Not just an alliance against evil, but an organization that transcends all boundaries.   I find it fitting and ironic that Zuko is my spiritual successor to my dreams.  i fervently hope he will fulfill them the right way.

Hei Bai has been my teacher in materializing in the mortal world.  With practice, I sustained a one-second appearance in a sewer in Omashu.  Even though it had only been a second and I hadn't even been tangible like Hei Bai had been, I felt sweet satisfaction at conquering a new skill.  I considered using this skill to visit Katara one day, but decided against it.  It would only make her feel worse.

The real reason I am learning materialization is so I can support the new Avatar, Chief Arnook's daughter.  Roku was there for me whenever I needed him.  I will do no less.  While I do not have the wisdom of Yangchen, the passion of Kuruk, the experience of Kyoshi, or the trials of Roku, I will help however I can.  I believe that is what Roku meant when he said my destiny is not finished.

Being free of physical pain does not make me free of my emotions.  I miss all my friends dearly, especially Katara.  While eternal enlightenment has its benefits, it isn't much good if you can't be with the people you love.  After Roku and I departed on Fang from my funeral, I told him I would do whatever I could to get back.  I swear by my title as Avatar, I will get back.  Roku sighed and said nothing.

My name is Aang.
« Last Edit: Aug 16, 2008 09:53 pm by FireLordIroh » Logged

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« Reply #19 on: Aug 12, 2008 01:09 pm »

wow... this is really good, I want to read more
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« Reply #20 on: Aug 12, 2008 01:21 pm »

wow THIS IS GOOD! More please!
Poor Ozai. My arm hurts now. lol
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« Reply #21 on: Aug 12, 2008 04:07 pm »

very nicely done, FLiroh. keep up the work.
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« Reply #22 on: Aug 12, 2008 04:10 pm »

This was really good. Poor Katara. Cannot wait for more, this is turning out to be really good.
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« Reply #23 on: Aug 12, 2008 04:47 pm »

Well done, this turn out very good0:)
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« Reply #24 on: Aug 12, 2008 08:12 pm »

I had actually read this b4 I got ur PM, and I must admit, it's pretty cool. What'll happen next?
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