Hide and Seek

Eek okay, first Avatar story, first story told with almost an entirely one person cast, first story that deals with some nasty child treatment that made me feel a bit ick writing it. But the thought came to me and it just exploded out over a few days. So here it is, please let me know what you think and how I can improve!

Warnings: Child torture/abuse, mild blood and gore, Zuko is very, very unhappy

“You will learn to firebend, Prince Zuko,” Ozai said with a smile. “Your life depends on it.”

Zuko knew today was going to be a good day.

It started with Father asking them if they would play a game with him. Father never spent time with them, never showed any desire to see them unless necessary. Azula saw him more than he did since Father was currently supervising her firebending training while they looked for another teacher. She’d run off the last one and the one before that. Zuko thinks she’s doing it on purpose, because she enjoys hurting people, because it makes their father proud, maybe both. Since Zuko wasn’t firebending yet, Father never wants to see him. It seems every time he does, Father spends all his time glaring at him, as if that would make him any less worthless. Seven was a little late for someone to start bending but it wasn’t impossible because he had to be a bender, Father and Grandfather said so.

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The Fire Nation has spent too much of its history fighting nonsense wars

Fire Lord Izumi, TLoK S2E22

This is what Fire Lord Izumi tells President Raiko when he suggests that the United Forces attack the expanding Earth Empire.

A pretty poor choice of words. To call the Hundred Year War “nonsense” is to not only do a great disservice to all of those who fought in it, but to also display a flippant attitude towards the atrocities of genocide.The Fire Nation had every right to exercise extreme caution when it came to instigating conflict (given the nation’s past), but Izumi displayed a distinct lack of humanity. 

Unfortunately for Izumi, her line sounds even worse when placed in the context of my history for the Hundred Year War. The Fire Nation experienced major technological and political developments under Fire Lord Azulon, and Fire Lord Ozai flipped all of this on its head. The Southern Water Tribe nearly faced the same fate as the Air Nomads. The Earth Kingdom’s slavery and class based society was eradicated by the war. The oppressive rule of the Dai Li was created and abolished. The seeds for a global society were sown. The world saw incredible changes across all fronts. 

The consequences of the Hundred Year War is what made the world that Izumi inhabited, yet she had the nerve to call it “nonsense”. What nonsense.

Crankiness AND ruthlessness 😂

Remember when Sozin wipe out the whole Air bending culture in one day just because he was after the Avatar. And Fire Lord Azulon wipe out all Water benders because he suspected the Avatar might be there and prevent them from fighting. And Fire Lord Ozai wanted to wipe out the whole Earth Kingdom to subjugated them to his power and face the Avatar, I won’t talk about General Iroh too, lol. What fucking cranky ruthless old men. At least when Azula conquered Ba Sing Se, she just killed who’s necessary to be killed; the “Avatar”. And spared the whole city’s lives.

So, Iroh was a general who was deemed worthy by the birth givers of fire bending itself and blessed with knowledge of powerful bending and then claimed to have slain the last dragon to save the last two. The dragon of the west laid siege to Ba Sing Se (the impenetrable city) breaking through the outer wall as no one had ever done before and then before being able to reach the inner ring lost his only son Lu Ten on the front lines. He was so hurt by his grief that he immediately abandoned this legendary siege, this moment in military history, and fell back and then quit as a general overall. He was so changed by Lu Ten’s death, which I would guess he felt guilt for since he was the general of the siege that his son was killed in, that he didn’t even fight when Fire Lord Azulon chose Ozai to succeed him even though he wasn’t firstborn. And then, when Fire Lord Ozai burned and banished HIS son, Iroh just went with Zuko without question. He just took it on himself to take care of Zuko, his nephew as if he were his son. And he taught him and cared for him and guided him and didn’t force him to make any right decisions or try to meld him even when he could see the wrong decisions Zuko was making and could see Zuko’s heart better than he could. His brother took his right as Fire Lord and when he banished the Prince of the fire nation, Iroh looked after him as a father when Ozai was nothing. And he was there with Zuko in Ba Sing Se years later as an /immigrant tea maker/! In the city that he very nearly conquered and where he lost his beloved son! He made a life there with Zuko and was there to help him make the right choice when he was struggling with himself and his destiny. And Iroh never forced him and always left it up to him and was even there for him when he made the wrong decision. And then when Zuko betrayed him, betrayed the bond that they had made so naturally as if Iroh was his own father, Iroh’s reaction was so real. Like… He didn’t say anything or yell or anything when Zuko came to him in that cell. This was his nephew who he had sided with. He has seen Zuko be challenged to a duel at thirteen years old, against his father who is a fully fledged fire bender. He was there when he was banished by his father, as a child who did not know why this was happening to him, and he trained this kid and knew him inside and out and knew this prince who was brainwashed by ideas of honor and who wanted so badly to have the love of his father and nation. He knows him and his inner struggle and I bet he knew everything going on in Zuko when he came to him and acted like a crazy person. He went from blaming Iroh for his own imprisonment to telling he could rot for all he cares to bringing him food and asking for help. And Iroh knows him so well and he cried when he listened to Zuko press at the bars of his cell and beg for his help. When he listens to him say he was right and that he got everything he wanted and that nothing was what it should be. And that he was so confused and when he asked him for help, something Iroh has been giving for years. And he didn’t say anything at all, and when Zuko he shed tears for him. And I bet it was a hard feeling to forsake Zuko (as Zuko had forsaken him) and leave him on his own to decide his heart and to figure out how to guide his own destiny as the rightful lord of an entire nation. And that’s so powerful. To see him be silent when he knows Zuko’s baggage, knows all of the knots in his self and the guilt and knows the good in his heart too. And yet he still?! Gives Zuko the knowledge of his grandfather, Avatar Roku. And then, when Zuko comes back to him after having found the true heart in himself that Iroh had always seen, he listened to Zuko voicing the heavy guilt over betraying him and the want for Iroh’s acceptance and Iroh just accepted him. He just put aside every divergence from good Zuko had made in his desperate search for right and just accepted him for who he was. It’s amazing… Zuko may have never become the Fire Lord he was born to be if it weren’t for him. It’s amazing, and I just thought about all of this because I was thinking about Iroh taking in his brother’s son as if his own. I got sidetracked by this amazing character who just wants to be a tea maker.

ultrasanaposts  asked:

Hi, big fan of your posts. I just saw a documentary or video of the English Royal family and Princess Diana and when it was remarked that Diana was like a brood mare and married more for the fact her blood was more royal than the Windsors I thought of Princess Ursa and then I felt down because"The Search" Ursa was not what I imagined. It made me think it would have been better to have Ursa be discovered dead and have everything read like a mystery of what happened that night, and the conspiracy-

of how Ozai stole the throne from Iroh, the true heir to the throne, and why nobody did anything about it. I mean Diana and Ursa’s situations are so similar, aside from the two-timing husband. Both lived in fear of their spouse and didn’t love him, or their spouse’s family, they were also loving mothers who tried to shelter their children from court politics. I personally do think Ozai loved Ursa in a way, but he loved power more. Would he set up his wife’s death? Idk. I wish for a stronger Ursa, a “People’s Princess”… Sorry for ranting in your ask. Watching the documentary about Princess Diana brought bitter feelings about the Ursa arc due to the similar circumstances…   

What is your opinion about how Ursa was portrayed in ‘The Search’? I find it hard to believe that the woman who said ‘you mess with their babies and they’ll bite you back’ would do something as stupid as claim Zuko’s father wasn’t Ozai just so she could find out if he was reading her letters.

Thank you! <3

These are very good questions, and I have wanted to talk about Ursa’s portrayal in The Search for a while. I have never thought about it, but she is indeed very similar to Princess Diana. My mom used to LOVE Diana, and I have read her biography which was very fascinating. The Search retconned a lot of Ursa’s history and sensationalized everything. I didn’t really like her portrayal in the comics because of this.

This was Ursa’s description from the old Nick website back when Avatar was still airing. I used to love reading all of the descriptions. She was born to the Fire Nation Royal Family as part of her original backstory. She was not a peasant, nor was she related to Avatar Roku.

Here is Ursa’s description from the archived avatar-info from zephyrita’s blog:

Ursa was originally written as a Fire Nation noblewoman who got along very well with Ozai when they were younger. She loved him dearly and her proper lady upbringing made her an ideal future princess. Fire Lord Azulon and the Fire Sages arranged a marriage between Ozai and Ursa due to their strong compatibility. Zuko recalls times his family was “actually happy” before Ozai became mad and abusive.

She seemed to be proper and elegant, but also has obviously been subjected to the same type of brainwashing that all the Fire Nation Royal Family members have been through. She laughed about burning Ba Sing Se to the ground. I cannot imagine a woman who was once a street urchin laughing like that about a war. Clearly she has been sheltered from many of the harsh realities of commoner life.

Zuko said that there was a time when his family was genuinely happy. That may have just been his perspective as a child, but I see no reason to doubt this. There does indeed appear to be a time when Ozai was less cold. Zuko seems to constantly long for the days when his father was more mild and even-tempered. Also from the avatar-info:

Ozai’s thirst for power and control itself probably stemmed from his feelings of inadequacy when compared to his prodigious elder brother and favored son of Azulon, Iroh.

Bryke themselves said that Ursa and Ozai had an arranged marriage and that it wasn’t so bad at first:

RM: Did Ursa and Ozai choose each other or were they an arranged marriage?

MDD: I imagine they are arranged, but we have not talked about it. We have talked in general about the Fire Nation and that arranged marriages would be more common, especially in the royalty.

BK: Also, there was a time when it probably wasn’t such a bad marriage. I think they probably started okay. Certainly better than it ended up.

She may not have been genuinely in love with him, but they were a “good match” and probably got along well in the beginning. After things got more complicated with the court politics and Ozai started getting more overbearing towards the kids, I imagine then Ursa would have started getting more unhappy. She would have tried to shelter her kids from it though, and I certainly found it crazy how she was portrayed in the comics. There is no way that she’d put Zuko in jeopardy like that by playing mind games with Ozai. She said herself that no one messes with her babies.

Zuko seemed to remember his mother as nothing but loving. He was deeply affected by her loss. Zuko obviously had a great deal of admiration for his mother’s courage and bravery. He seemed to be in denial in Zuko Alone, but he did seem to suspect that his grandfather did in fact want him to be sacrificed, causing his mother to step in. I think deep down in his heart he knew, but he didn’t want to believe it. Because of her inner strength, I think her changing her face and losing her memories was so lame. She was entirely devoted to her kids, especially Zuko. I do not believe she would ever want to forget him, no matter how much pain it caused. She may have had hope that one day she might see him again. After all, one day Ozai may be gone and Zuko would be the new Firelord, had he not gotten banished. And Zuko breaks down in tears when he hears she might be alive. I do not believe Ehasz would have wanted their reunion to involve her having a new face.

I do agree that Ozai did have actual feelings for Ursa. I do agree that he loved power more. If he truly loved her he would not have abused her or their kids, but there was something there. This is much different than in the comics. Ozai lingered at the turtleduck pond. He also said to Zuko when he confronted him during the eclipse that:

Ozai: Now I realize that banishment is far too merciful a penalty for treason.

In his own twisted way he thought he was being kind. I think that he probably would have killed her if he thought that he absolutely had to. I think he was losing himself to the power and corruption and would have rationalized his decision to himself.

I think the there were two reasons that nobody did anything after Ozai stole the throne. One is fear. After Azulon died, people had to be suspicious of Ozai, but because Azulon was poisoned with Ursa’s undetectable substance, it looked like he died naturally. No one knew what actually happened and the same might happen to them if they asked too many questions. The second has to do with Iroh. I don’ t think he wanted anything to do with the throne after everything he went through with Lu Ten. He was more concerned with becoming a better person, which is why he went with Zuko after he was banished. He just wanted to help Zuko, which he was unable to do for his own son.

Zuko had many visions during his fever experience, but the vision of his mother did have a particularly strong effect on him. He witnessed the most love and compassion from her while he was in the palace, and he was able to go to her for comfort more than anyone else during his childhood. He may resemble Ozai, but he also retained some of the more “feminine” traits from his mother. He is naturally more soft-hearted as well and this probably gotten him labelled “weak” growing up. Zhao seemed to have contempt for Zuko even before he was banished. He was smiling while Zuko was getting scarred, after all.

One more thing from the avatar-info:

Ursa was supposed to appear in Book Four but the entire season ended up being scrapped after Paramount bought the rights to create a three-season trilogy. They later decided to have her return in the Avatar finale but she was cut out at the request of Bryan Konietzko.

I wish we could have seen what Ehasz had planned for Ursa, since Zuko was supposed to look for her while Katara acted as his confidante. I think they would have been able to reunite and I think the scenario would have played out far differently under Ehasz. It is a shame that we only got Bryke’s vision for the series after the cartoon.

What Fortune Lent: Happenstance

Summary:  AU; The Southern Raiders’ mission aims true and Katara is taken to the Fire Nation as a prisoner of war. As her circumstances and the political climate change, she forms unexpected alliances and makes it her mission to restore her people and find the Avatar. Written for Zutara Week 2015.

Chapter 1:  Happenstance | ao3

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even so

zutara, altered war au.
notes:  written to celebrate one year on tumblr. (that was in june and this is august. that’s how i roll.) beta’d by the magnificent sohhng. any remaining mistakes are wholly mine.

The war has been over for nearly a century now, ever since Avatar Roku rallied Fire Nation rebels along with the Earth Kingdom and Water Tribes to defeat Fire Lord Sozin in his attempts to conquer the other nations.

Memories of raids that haunt the old mothers’ minds don’t make relations between the Southern Water Tribe and the Fire Nation easy these days, despite the years that have passed, but a tentative peace rests between the distant nations.

Katara listens to the stories with interest when she is young, huddled around fires in the lodge with her brother and the other children as their elders tell stories on long winter days that are little differentiated from winter nights in the South, and she feels a distant anger thrum in her veins, passed down and perhaps distilled to be stronger in one who has known no war, who has no resignation to its reality or its end to salve her bitterness, who has only the righteous indignation of her youth and her people’s ancient loss to feel.

When her brother and his friends play Fire Nation Attack, she always chooses to play on the Water Tribe side.

Once she learns how to waterbend, her team always wins.

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jewicer  asked:

Do you know of any Avatar/bending elements AU's? I couldn't find any, idk if you can. <333

i found

And Your Wings Will Burn by ChasingParadise (cerozeros) (3/? | 8,620 | PG13)

When Stiles woke up from the ice, he was not expecting to find two Southern Water Tribe villagers, or to be told that a hundred years had passed while he was a living popsicle.

Then Captain Jerk had to come along and make things worse (but better, in the end).

A Teen Wolf/Avatar the Last Airbender fusion, because I needed this now.

Rebellion: Rising by ArthurShmarthur (2/? | 1,788 | R)

It’s been 50 years since Fire Lord Azulon has started the Great War. The Air Temples have been seized and destroyed; any remaining Air Nomads are in hiding. The Fire Nation is days away from conquering the entire Southern Water Tribe and has begun it’s foray into the outskirts of the Earth Kingdom. All the while, the anti-bending group, the Partizans, has been assassinating benders - no matter their affiliation. The group is small, for now, but it has proven its power by taking down such dynastic bending families as the Triskele of the Fire Nation. All except for two: Derek Hale and his uncle, Peter. Beacon Hills is a coastal city located on the Chin peninsula in the southwestern part of the Earth Kingdom. It’s on the map for two reasons: It’s a popular port-calling for the four nations as it is relatively central. And the giant, stone lighthouse that Chin the Conqueror erected. What it is was of no importance to Derek, only that it was as far as he could manage to sail. It has been six years since then and Derek has adapted to a lowly life as a dock worker, hiding his firebending abilities for fear he will be persecuted. The Fire Nation’s war made everywhere a hostile environment.

playing with fire by lochnessa (1/? | 6,056 | PG13)

A Firebender that’s afraid of fire.

Derek knew the universe could be cruel, but this? This is just the universe laughing at him, saying, “Oh, you thought it was bad before? You thought your life was shit? Well it can get worse, buddy. It can always get worse.”