fire nation court

atla linguistics headcanons
  • being the Avatar basically gives you All-Speak, so Aang would sound a little antiquated but still perfectly understandable
  • as the chief’s kids, Katara and Sokka would have learned a few basic trade dialects/the one universal one, which pretty much everyone would be able to understand
  • Toph grew up in a high-profile family so she probably had formal language tutoring/lessons, likely in formal Earth Kingdom, common trade languages, and maybe even some Fire Nation for practicality
  • fighting in the Earth Rumbles would have taught her Earth Kingdom swears 
  • Zuko would have learned High Court Fire Nation as a prince as well as formal Earth Kingdom, probably
  • post-exile, he would have learned the trade language as well as several regional dialects, but could get by with speaking low Fire Nation when traveling through Fire Nation-occupied parts of the Earth Kingdom
  • most of the Fire Nation soldiers are passably bilingual at this point, and between them and the townspeople they’ve probably evolved a whole new kind of language (in the same way that Yiddish evolved from German and Slavic influences along with Hebrew). 
  • Suki and the Kyoshi Warriors would speak a really, really mutated form of archaic Earth Kingdom, since they sort of noped off of the mainland several hundred years back and have been doing the whole isolationism thing for an indeterminate period of time
  • the Northern and Southern Water Tribe probably shares some vague basal similarities, but differ as wildly as European French and Louisiana Creole
  • The southern tribe at this point probably has more similarity to the Earth Kingdom trade dialect in which they most frequently communicate than it does with the Northern tribe’s language. They’re still close enough to be mutually understandable, but different enough to essentially be two different languages. 
Zutara week Entry: Day One: Fire Lady

The morning of the wedding is one of the most beautiful Katara has ever seen.

Warm golden sun rays stream through the windows of her chambers, past the drapes that clothed them, heavy, a deep scarlet. The sun beams bounce off the walls, also red, soaking her room in a delicious, almost other worldly, incandescent glow. Beyond the heavy hues of the bedroom walls, she can hear the hustle and bustle of movement: the voices of servants, many of whom she’s come to know by name, hushed but hurried, the dull thump-thump, thump-thump, of frenzied footsteps and the sharp ringing of bells piercing the lazy morning air. The tell-tale sign of a nobleman or foreign dignitary in need of a servant’s assistance. In the several months that she’d been residing in the Fire Nation, Katara had almost gotten used to the sound: a crisp tinkling that went off at hourly intervals. It was perhaps one of the most outstanding features of the fire palace’s west wing, which traditionally housed a select few fire nation court nobles and more recently, the occasional international diplomat and personal guests of the Fire Lord himself.

And future fire ladies apparently, Katara reminds herself, an overwhelming and unnameable emotion suddenly coursing through her. She stands up, suddenly desperate and determined to take a stroll.  

The scene that greets her outside the room is everything she expected it to be, and yet she is every bit taken off guard by the sheer number of people running around the once nearly desolate hallways. People of all different backgrounds, although if she’s being more accurate, they are mostly from the fire nation and earth kingdom, clad in long, flowy emerald coloured robes and ruby red garments, pepper her vision. She hears the splash of liquid spray onto her attire before she feels it, at almost the same time she sees the young man carrying the now empty pitcher squeak like a cornered gerbil-mouse, his whole face blanching as he stutters out a panicked, barely coherent, apology.

“Master Katara…Ambassador…My Lady…” Each title is punctuated by the boy’s frantic genuflecting, and Katara immediately puts a stop to it with a gentle hand on his shoulder.

“That’s quite all right, no need for all that, see…” she makes the slightest of gestures, the flick of a single wrist, really, and her drenched sapphire robes and dark hair are completely dry, the water re-occupying its rightful place in the pitcher once again. “There, no harm done…um”

“Jiro.” He supplies looking monumentally grateful and smiling shyly.

“Jiro.” She grins back, “Although, you might want to change that water.” She suggests kindly.

He nods enthusiastically and rushes off with a moderately loud, “Yes, my Lady. Excuse me, my Lady. Thank you, my Lady.”

And Katara resists the urge to cringe, I don’t think I could ever get used to that, she thinks. Just as she’s forced herself to think for the past few weeks…

Her feet propel her forward on her stroll of their own accord.  

On her aimless walk, she gazes out of the seemingly never ending rows of windows that line the corridors, stopping briefly to admire the view. The sky is a relentless blue, cloudless, the air cool and refreshing; a welcome reprieve from the infamous fire nation heat and humidity. It’s almost as if the weather itself was joining them in jubilation, a gift from even the spirits themselves to commemorate this historic, unprecedented union of cultures and nations; a triumph of love and forgiveness over hatred and war.

Subconsciously, Katara’s gaze leaves the manicured hedges of the central courtyard and lingers some distance beyond, attaching itself to the fire lord’s private gardens.

The waterbender smiles to herself, remembering late afternoon discussions about inconsequential things by the turtle-duck pond, watching the sunset by the fire-lily beds, sitting in comfortable silences, simply enjoying one another’s company; and, after dark, having bending battles to let off some steam. She grins smugly, the memory of vermillion flames flashing across her vision, the crackling of ozone as static burst around her, the feeling of being indescribably lost in her element, the flow of water, the flow of power thrumming through her veins. All the pressure and stress of politics and dealing with the minutia of their daily routines vaporising in the air between them, wafts of steam created by the clashing of their elements.

They never hold back. Not with each other.  

Katara gulps, blue eyes darting to the highest window of the east wing. The fire lord’s chambers. Images of their other, more… clandestine, more incandescent, rendezvous flash behind her eyelids unbidden. Memories of warm hands on her cool skin, of rough, marred skin beneath her fingertips, of soft lips: an impossible all-consuming heat, the taste of electricity…

She blinks, hard, and continues walking.

Finally, she stops, her legs stiff and trembling, like she’s been on a long journey, a trek on foot. Her brain catching up with her eyes at the sight of her destination. The young woman almost laughs. Of course, she thinks, the voice in her head an exasperated drawl, despite the thunderous pounding of her heart in her chest.

She enters the small space with only the slightest trepidation but immediately relaxes when her suspicions are confirmed.

She can’t help the fond smile that spreads across her face. In his five years of rule and reign, some, the hopeful and optimistic, have described him as the greatest fire lord to grace the country in a century. Others, his most vocal opponents, whom, despite the greatest of efforts, still carry lingering resentment at how they were denied their ‘glorious victory’ at the end of Sozin’s hundred year war, have called him a traitor, a treasonous failure unworthy of the title of Agni’s scion and the dragon throne.

But right now, in this tiny, storage closet hidden from view, he’s a grown man struggling to wear his pants. And Katara thinks she likes him best this way. He grunts in frustration under his breath, looking like he wouldn’t hesitate to incinerate every item of clothing on his person in righteous retribution. She clears her throat attracting his attention. He swears, a string of rather un-regal profanities leaving his lips as he whirls around in surprise. His whole body visibly relaxes once he sees that it’s her.

“Katara,” The unconcealed, unabashed joy in his voice makes her heart clutch. “What are you doing?”

“I think that’s my line, Zuko.” She says with a teasing, playfulness she doesn’t quite feel.  

He immediately looks at a point somewhere beyond her shoulder, like it’s suddenly the most fascinating thing in the world, while his fair skin, suddenly turns scarlet at the cheeks and she absently notes how he matches the rest of his attire now.

“Right, well,” He makes a vague gesture towards his clothing, a conglomeration of dark reds and bright yellows, of fabrics and metals. She would say he looks powerful, majestic even, if it hadn’t been for the complete state of disarray that his raven locks currently remained in, and the ridiculous angle his topknot rested in, loose and deflated, like it had been drained of all life and simply wanted to fade into oblivion. “I didn’t care much for the tailor’s ‘last minute additions’”, he jabs his thumb at his metal clad chest, ah, the armour “I just felt it wasn’t necessary…with the occasion and all that.” He says the word ‘occasion’, delicately, experimentally, as if she might spontaneously combust if he were to even utter the word wedding.

“Right, of course. Fire nation armour at the wedding of the century, plus foreign politicians making up a huge chunk of the guest list does not equal a good idea.” She hopes her tone is free of any inflections of bitterness, when she says the phrase ‘wedding of the century’. If the fire lord notices anything, he doesn’t say it.

“Math humour,” He chuckles, the sound a siren call. “You’ve been hanging around your brother too much.”

She shrugs, her smile not quite reaching her eyes. “So what exactly is the problem?”

“I-can’t-seem-to-get-it-off.” The sentence is one short, tumbled rush.

“What?” She laughs softly. Incredulous.

“You heard me.” He mumbles, seemingly irritated, but clearly embarrassed.

“Yeah, I did. I just can’t believe it. Actually, yes I can.”

She closes the door behind her, ignoring the alarm bells going off in her mind.

“Turn around,” She mock sighs. “Let’s see what we can do.”

He grumbles yet again but obediently does as she requested. After a few minutes of teasing banter on both ends, a tug here and a pull here, the offending armour is down away with. And Katara’s hands find themselves in Zuko’s hair, repairing the damage his previous attempts at armour removal had left behind. She fights to keep her breathing steady and calm her traitorous pounding heart. It’s just hair, her voice growls within her mind. But her senses rebel and attack her with memories of the two of them in a similar situation, in this same room, actually, which they had often used for private…err… ‘discussions’, with her hands lost in his silky locks for very different reasons, then his hands in her hair, tugging at fistfuls to expose her neck to his mouth, hot and hungry and…and…

“Okay, all done.” She suddenly exclaims. Cracking the peaceful silence like a komodo-rhino egg.

“Thank you.” He says.

She’s about to respond when she realises how, at some point during her fixing of his hair, she wound up facing him yet again. They stand now, face to face, tantalisingly close in the limited space surrounding them. Zuko’s looking at her. Really looking at her. His golden gaze takes in her appearance, her traditional water tribe robes, delicate blues, and furs, white. Her hair, wild brown curls, barely tamed by braids and blue beads. Then, finally, amber eyes meet blue. She wonders what he’s thinking. She doesn’t have to wait long for an answer though.

“You look so…” He sounds awestruck, clearly struggling to put it into words, “Nice.”

“Whoa, ‘nice’? Let’s not go overboard with the praise, there.” But she’s blushing in spite of her teasing. “Thank you, Zuko. I think you look really nice t—”

“Are you okay?” He seems to blurt out. Katara has no doubt that if he could glare at his own mouth, he would.

The question hangs in the air for a beat too long. She knows what he means of course, when two people know each other inside and out the way they do, there’s no room for ambiguity. She contemplates lying, shrugging off his question and forcing a comforting smile onto her visage. But then she remembers who she’s talking to.

They never hold back. Not with each other.  

“You’re marrying someone else, Zuko.” She says. Her words are ice cold, meant to cut deep and visceral. Her ire isn’t necessarily directed at him, well, not completely. She’d be lying if she said she didn’t feel upset with him. Part of anger may even have been directed at fate or destiny or whatever was in charge of throwing obstacle after never ending obstacle, between herself and the one person in this life who made her feel so…complete. However most of it was at herself. She had been reckless, allowed herself to be vulnerable, spilled out all that she was, and wanted to be, into his waiting arms and did the same for him. And she thought, what? That loving him was going to be enough to fill in the gaps, nay, the chasms that stood between them and reality. Well, it wasn’t, she thinks bitterly. “How can I possibly be okay?”

He nods. He understands her disappointment and pain and frustration. Of course he does.

“I’m so sorry. I wish things could’ve been different.” There’s a pause. He seems to be choking back some kind of emotion. But in the limited lighting she isn’t too sure.  “But I want you to know that I don’t regret any of it. These past few months with you have been…” he pauses searching yet again for the right words, twirling his wrist around as if the simple act could conjure them out of thin air.

She doesn’t know exactly when it started. She can remember every detail and day of their first kiss and many other gradual intimacies they shared over time. But her feelings for Zuko, their feelings for each other, are another matter entirely. Perhaps they began to make themselves known after he and Mai broke up for the last time, a final clean break, an understanding that they had different goals in life. Zuko wanted to usher in a new era of peace into the world through his regency, and Mai couldn’t stand the politics of it all. “It just wasn’t her.” He’d told her one evening by the pond, after he had detailed how he and Mai had dissected their relationship, exposing the ugliness beneath it all, and ultimately deciding to go their separate ways. Last Katara had heard, Mai was being initiated into the order of the white lotus, as part of the first wave of the secret organisations first female members.

Zuko had poured himself into his work after their break up, trying to fill his former lover’s now empty space with knowledge and possibility. Katara, equally as eager to secure her position as the water tribe’s emissary to the fire nation, did likewise. Soon comparing notes, sharing studying techniques and anecdotes about their day turned into something more. But now, on the precipice of losing that something, Katara can’t help but wonder if there was possibly more even before that.

She stops him. Zuko was never particularly exceptional at talking about or even out right displaying his romantic feelings. So she spares him. One last time.

“Zuko. I may not be okay right now, and I probably won’t be for some time. But I will be.” She steels herself, not wanting to say the next words but knowing she has to. “She’s a good person, Zuko. The people love her.” The words ‘and I’m sure you will too’ remain unspoken. The next words feel like shards of ice on her tongue, but she manages to say them anyway.

“She’ll make a great fire lady.”

“And you’ll make an incredible fire lord, Zuko. I believe in you.” And she means it. She really does. She can honestly say she’s never met anyone who has his determination and drive and who only wants redemption, peace and prosperity for his nation. And for the world. The world couldn’t have asked for a better fire lord. She does know however, that he isn’t perfect. His recurring moments of self-doubt and blind devotion to his people’s redemption being examples. But she’s come to care about him even with his flaws. Just as he does with hers.  

At those last four words something flashes in Zuko’s eyes.

“And you’ll be okay too Katara. You’re the strongest person I’ve ever known. You helped your father and brother to rebuild the Southern Water Tribe, taught waterbending as a world renowned master and left your home to come here and represent them. You’re amazing. And being with you was amazing.”

“Zuko…” Katara breathes not sure how to respond to his praise. The irony of their role reversal is not lost on her.

“No, Katara. I need to say this and you need to hear this.” His tone is firm but his smile is gentle, if a little pained. “I love you.”

The waterbending master is speechless. Which, she is aware, isn’t the best time to be so. It’s not as if Zuko hasn’t told her so before. He has. Though his declarations were few and far between initially. There’s just something about him saying it now, the finality of it all. And for the first time in what feels like a long time, Katara is suddenly very aware that she is in a closed, dimly lit room with a soon-to-be-married man.

And she is struck by the very real, very sudden urge to kiss him with everything that she is. To leave her mark on his heart. To ensure that he’ll never forget their time together. Never forget her.

But her face has been made up with all sorts of heavy and expensive paints and powders. And she already knows his heart just as he knows hers. And she knows he will never forget her.

So she reaches for him instead, her hand a gentle touch across the marred skin of his scar, along his jaw, down the lines of his neck, before he draws her to him. They stay like that for some time. Foreheads touching, the sound of their joint breathing the only sound. Until finally she pulls away with a strangled, barely audible, “I love you too.”

It is enough.

It has to be.

Her name is Himiko.

A young woman born to a middle class family in the fire nation who migrated to the colonies in the earth kingdom when she was merely an infant. She like a few others of fire nation citizenship, were of airbender descent and had dormant airbending genes within them. She proved to be an excellent student under Aang’s tutelage, one of the best, actually. A master airbender born into the fire nation, who spent all her life living amongst the people of the Earth Kingdom. One couldn’t imagine a better candidate for the role of a queen consort, who is to rule by the side of a progressive monarch in a post-war economy and atmosphere, if they tried. The fire nation nobles, who would’ve greatly preferred someone of a ‘higher station’ begrudgingly support the union. The Earth Kingdom aristocracy has mixed feelings about a ‘product of fire nation imperialism with knowledge of the their land’ on the throne of their former century long enemy and the newly formed air nomad council of elders is not completely on board with the arrangement either, as it doesn’t really keep in with their slowly reviving traditions, as marriage isn’t an institution recognised by airnomad customs. But the message of their marriage is one that’s so profound, no one can really stand against the poetry of it all: the fire nation nearly wiped out the entire airbending race, if these two people could find love, unite their two peoples, and rule together towards a better world, then the world really is a changed place. A place where anything could be possible…

Katara smiles. She smiles at her friends and takes the time to interact with every single one of them. Suki wants to know if she’s okay, Sokka and her father tell her it’s okay if she ever wants to come home, Toph probably can tell she’s lying but to her credit doesn’t say so. Aang seems to blame himself somehow for how things turned out. She is his student, and one of his people. He wishes he could do something, says he should have fought against it harder. And for second she is reminded of when they were children, and how he had had a crush on her, long gone now, it was a simpler time, she thinks. She smiles at him. At all of them. She dances and drinks, moderately, and claps at the end of every speech.

Until even she almost believes it’s genuine.

She even gives her congratulations to the fire lord and his lovely, new bride.

 @zutaraweek

anonymous asked:

Jealous zukaang headcanons?

oh boy oh bOY

  • zuko gets jealous a LOT at the start of their relationship due to insecurity related reasons. even though he’s gotten over most of his self-hating tendencies, he has some doubts as to why aang would want to be with him and these are only solidified by the fact that aang literally sleeps on piles of gifts from rich fire nation admirers trying to court him on a daily basis 
  • similarly, zuko gets hella grumpy and possessive whenever anyone looks at aang in a way that’s even remotely warm, curls his fingers around aang’s neck at parties, kisses him quick and hard when one of his soldiers leer a little too long, slides up behind aang when he catches a pretty girl with a hand around his bicep so that he can wind around him and glower at her over aang’s shoulder. aang just smiles and leans into him bc a) he’s super into zuko and b) he doesn’t realize that everyone wants some avatar action bc he’s a muffin baby
  • at one point, zuko growls at sokka before realizing why the fuck would he be jealous of sokka’s bro-lationship w aang. sokka, in turn, is not impressed by this development
  • sokka then trying to have a serious conversation w zuko about him being kinda weird about aang until he sees AANG in action, the way he sets his jaw when anyone lingers too long in zuko’s space, settles in zuko’s lap when someone tries to talk to him during their more casual meetings, wears zuko’s clothing around like a badge of honor. basically they’re sickening and only have eyes for each other except they can’t get it through their thick skulls that they’re both in this for life
  • both aang and zuko have gotten into fights with drunk ppl trying to steal their respective partner bc while they are well aware that the other person can handle themself, it BUGS them okay. also impressive feats of bending never fail to turn them on. this is something they’re trying to work on due to several mishaps (”You can’t get horny every time you see Aang go into the Avatar State, Zuko, Spirits, we’re trying to save the world here!” [cue some pretty heroic making out in the background]) 
  • everyone is really grossed out at how pda-heavy / codependent zuko and aang are once they quit dancing around each other and eventually it gets so extra that people stop hitting on them bc they are connected at the hip and the mouth (also, ppl are tired of being lit on fire by zuko lmao) 

Your hand should have been holding mine
Pairing: Jet/Zuko, one sided Katara/Zuko
Rating: T
A/N: because jetko endgame is the best endgame

She should have known a long time ago.

Rationally, that’s how she sees it now—based on the way Zuko had always acted around her, based on the way he only ever held her eyes for seconds and the way he hesitated to touch her—she should have known. But he did look at her once in a while, and he did touch her, sometimes—her arm, maybe her shoulder, to pull her back from something or to give her quiet, reserved advice. But that was it. That was all he ever did for her.

Still, she convinced herself that he loved her. 

Keep reading

archiveofourown.org
Sacred Water, Holy Fire
An Archive of Our Own, a project of the Organization for Transformative Works
By Organization for Transformative Works

So, someone did a thing. From the summery:

Avatar: The Last Airbender re imagined with thematically similar cultures of the Ancient Near East. Ancient Egypt is Water, Sumeria is Earth, Ancient Zoroastrian Iran is Fire, and the Air Nomads are Hittite priests.

Apparently, the original author is @valarhalla, and it appears they are a student studying the Ancient Near East, which explains why this fic is so mind blowingly awesome. and detailed. I mean, I’ve had similar ideas, but there’s no way I could ever do it justice. 

I’m not sure if they intend to write more, but I’d love to see the Fire Nation court and shit. 

Anyway, give it a read. It’s really awesome and well written. 

i have all these thoughts and feels about Zutara futures where Katara has to navigate the complex politics of the Fire Nation imperial court all while she’s surrounded by a people and culture whom she’s feared and mistrusted all her life and who fear and mistrust and revile her in turn, and she loves Zuko but he doesn’t understand sometimes how isolated she feels and how different and complicated and foreign the machinations of the Fire Nation are to her and how sometimes she still feels that old hatred and loathing seep up inside her and she has to remind herself that Zuko is part of the Fire Nation too and things are never easy but there are little flickers of hope that keep her going, and i desperately want to fic it because so few zutara fics do justice to this issue from a WOC-perspective

then i realize that it’s too fucking real because being married to a MOC who grew up in a white family in one of the whitest parts of the US, i really do feel like Katara living in the Fire Nation sometimes, and all those cross-cultural complications are just my daily life, and i can’t write it without dredging up emotional mess, and i like fanfic to be escapist and this would definitely not be escapist

sigh