A Song of Ice and Fire
Some say the world will end in fire. Some say in ice. From what I’ve tasted of desire I hold with those who favor fire. But if it had to perish twice, I think I know enough of hate to say that, for destruction, ice is also great and would suffice. — Robert Frost
closed starter | @honxrable
The war was over.
It wasn’t any great feat of the nations, or even a heroic reappearance of the Avatar like she’d once dreamed— it’d been a betrayal, then a treaty. A treaty sealed by a marriage proposal, with herself caught up in the delicate print scrawling the white Fire Nation parchment.
She’d read it again and again when her father presented it, crumbled the edges between her fingers, memorized her husband-to-be’s perfect penmanship.
He was a detailed man, a wise man, sometimes a daring man, though never unreasonable— that’s what she learned in his letters, in the straight lines he made across the page. In the occasional smudges, the faint stamp made by the side of his hand smearing wet ink, she gleaned a past wrought with mistakes, regrets, a life he’d rather keep hidden… though, it likely haunted his steps.
She’d told her father she didn’t want to do it. She didn’t want this king with his secrets, with his life of fire. How could he sell her to a man they didn’t know beyond words on paper? Beyond the rumors that he’d killed his own father?
He’d told her she hardly had any choice. The Water Tribes had united under him; he was the Head Chieftain, she was his daughter. She’d marry this ruler in the West, carry out the terms of the treaty to save the world from more destruction.
On the voyage to this land, throughout the ceremony, during the reception and the Lord’s attempts at conversation that followed, she prayed for just that, for the destruction of the Fire Nation. Now… Now that she was here, married and trapped within the gilded walls, she wished they’d crumble down on top of her, melt in the infernal, relentless heat.
Or was it fear that had her skin damp and clammy?
“I’ve done this before,” her handmaiden whispered, “for the previous Lady on her wedding night. Be still. Be still and silent and breathe. He will be through quickly.”
She flinched, because the thought of what came next made her stomach twist. Barely one interaction with the man and she’d be… What? Pinned to his bed? Warned not to fight? The pair paused outside a monstrous door, the golden insignia marking her husband’s room among the many that filled the Royal Family’s suite.
“You look lovely, my Lady. He’ll be pleased.” Su Li plucked at the shoulder of her thin, pink frock. Then, “Wait in the anteroom. I have put out calming tea for you. His Highness will join you shortly.”
The doors were pulled open for her, then closed behind her, shrouding her in a cloak of flickering firelight and a masculine red.
She— Daughter of the Head Chieftain, Master Katara of the Southern Tribe, Fire Lady to Lord Zuko— waited.