An entry for Royal Family Week, Day 1

The scent of coiled incense hung thickly in the air as whisps of smoke rose to the ceiling, keeping the air of the temple hall pure in the presence of the new Fire Lord.  Seated atop his ornate, ceremonial throne, Iroh took a moment to rest his eyes; after days of fasting and ritual, the time had come to receive the crown his mother left him, and he needed a moment to collect his strength.
The rolling crash of the Fire Sage’s gong dismissed the spirit who had come, like so many ministers and nobles and sages and dignitaries to pay homage to the new sovereign; a new addition this time, after Korra opened the way between the human and spiritual realms.

Never an idle man, Iroh rose from his throne once the spirit dissipated into the flood of sunlight pouring in between the temple’s pillars, to find another guest had slipped in while he rested his eyelids.

“My good Hotman.  Oh, Fire Lord Hotman,” Korra teased, smirking at the outdated slang leftover from her last incarnation as she leaned back against the entrance to the Hall of Sacred Fire like it was the door to her favorite noodle place back in Republic City.  “How’s the big enthronement thing going?” she asked, the curious tilt of her head exaggerating her crooked grin.

“Well, it took twice as long as my mother’s, thanks to you,” he ribbed back, glad to be able to speak casually with someone on such an important day, otherwise crammed full of speeches and prayers and chants and memorials and edicts and homages and so on.  “And spirits without arms and legs have a hard time kowtowing,” he added.  Tense shoulders eased at the playful ribbing between the two most powerful figures on earth.  

“Oh no!” she gasped in mock horror, the crowd waiting outside for the Avatar and the Fire Lord the furthest thing from her mind.  “I’m starting to think I shouldn’t have saved the world from ten thousand years of darkness.”

“Maybe not.  I already owed you my life once from almost drowning, and then twice when you defeated Vaatu,” he jested, though his voice glowed with admiration for the young, but matchlessly powerful Avatar.  “The Red Lotus would have come for me too if you didn’t put them down, and I wasn’t looking forward to sitting in one of Kuvira’s prisoner of war camps…” he mused, trailing off at the thought of how much he owed Korra.

Smiling sweet and reassuringly, the waterbender rested a hand on the taller man’s shoulder.  “Don’t sweat it, Iroh; we’re in this together.  The Avatar and the Fire Lord, back at it again,” she boasted, her grin returning before nearly crushing the new sovereign in her bared arms.  “So, you ready to get this over with?” she asked, turning towards the gate out to the plaza.

“It’s just beginning.”

A deep breath.

“I’m ready.”

Fire Nation Royal Family Day 2: Traditions

There was no defined role for a Crown Princess.  Especially since the major role previous crown princes had (being in the army and winning battles) was no longer an option Zuko wasn’t really sure what role his daughter would play.  

He did know this:  Izumi was going to be happy.  When she was almost two and would cry every time Zuko wasn’t with her he took her to council meetings and had toys in his office for her (she’d done the same thing with Mai months earlier).  When she was five and wanted to be a dragon Zuko explained to her that wasn’t possible but maybe she could learn the breath of fire from Grandpa Iroh.

Zuko held his breath when she was thirteen but the only thing she complained about was how unfair her parents were and how she didn’t want to see ‘Love Amongst the Dragons’ any more, no matter how much Grandma loved it.  At fifteen Izumi had no idea what she wanted to do so Zuko had her spend the summer working at the Jasmine Dragon.

On her twentieth birthday Izumi asked if she could sit with Zuko during his council meeting.  He watched her handle even the most aggressive councilmen with ease and could easily recite facts at a moments notice.

“You did good,” he said as they left.

She smiled.  “Thanks Dad.”

“Can I ask how?”  As far as he knew she’d never been in a meeting.

Izumi shrugged in such a way that reminded him of Mai.  “I snuck into a few meetings before to see what they were like.  And I asked Grandpa about them while I was working for him and he said as long as I kept my emotions from my face I’d be fine.  Mom helped me with that part.”

“You’re going to be an amazing Fire Lord, turtleduck.”

“Not for awhile, promise?”  She asked.

Zuko smiled.  “Promise.  Maybe we can find something you want to take charge of.”

“Did you have anything you were put in charge of when you were Crown Prince?”

Zuko laughed.  “Nothing at all.  Unless you count a ship and having to track down the Avatar.”

“Yeah, I guess I can’t do that.  Auntie Katara still yells at you about that.”