|Reviews for Dominion|
| Guest chapter 1 . 3/11
Oh the feels hit me everytime whenever Azula uses Zuko's nickname Zuzu as a mean to mock him yet the bitter irony is that the nickname itself was once used by a little sister that loves her big brother long ago when they were actual siblings. Perhaps Zuko was the first to sever their bond as a child due to envy and the pressure of his dad. This story has so many elements, pun not intended, that give me these feels every single time I read it. Good job! I'm so glad I stumbled on this fanfic.
| Guest chapter 1 . 3/10
You better continue using that talent of yours and deliver the next part of this astounding masterpiece or I'll swear to agni I will find you and I will thank you. Thank you for your work that is. It is such a lovable story. I can't help but think that this is the actual story. It deserves that much. Because to me, thanks to you, it is now part of ATLA, no joke. I enjoyed (and still enjoy) every single bit of this fine work. I have faith in your abilities and proof of your talent and effort. I, your egoistic fan, look forward to the next chapter for I became an addict, thank you very much. Take as much time as you want or need. I can take it. You already gave us so much after all. Flameo!
| WiseAbsol chapter 8 . 12/25/2017
Picking up where I left off, Azula is now trying to escape Ember Island. I love that the sands are “ashy.” It’s a small detail, but it nicely ties into the setting and the state of the relationship between Azula and Zuko.
“/If you just thought to look there first [for clothes], he might never have found you./ And Azula chided herself for considering it. She was not /Zuko/, to dwell on such pointless regrets.”—Given what happened between them, I feel like it’s perfectly natural for Azula to be thinking “What if I had done things differently?” Though this is also very sad, because it suggests that she blames herself for giving Zuko the “opportunity” to hurt her, rather than just blaming him for taking advantage of her.
“The house still loomed behind her, a silent spectator to her failure. She couldn’t stay here, she knew. It wasn’t safe”—I’m not really sure that it was /your/ failure, Azula. Though yes, you probably want to start running. Zuko’s not the only one who will be looking for you.
“Given how terrible Zuko was at keeping secrets, that was the assumption she’d have to go with.”—This is a little ironic given that, as of the latest chapter and four months passing, Zuko’s secret is still unknown to Iroh and the Gaang. Buuuuut plenty of other people have figured it out, so yeah, his poker face is terrible. He’s way too open with his emotions.
“Besides, he had that traitor Mai with him. Probably right here on the island, if his reaction to her misleading threat was any indication.”—So Azula didn’t mean it, but Zuko, believing the worst in his sister, bought the lie.
“She was aware, if only to a limited extent, of the network of allies and economy of favors the crown princess enjoyed at the height of her power.”—This is such a great line. It really touches on the political side of Azula well.
“No, that wasn’t true. There was one person she could trust. But how to get to her?”—Awww, I love that Ty Lee and Azula’s friendship is so stable in this. I’ve said it before, but Azula needs a friend she can count on, and I’m glad that Ty Lee is it.
So Azula is trying to figure out how to reach a ship that can carry her away from the Fire Nation, and thinks back to a memory from her childhood, when she learned what smugglers were.
“Lu Ten trained in the courtyard, and didn’t like to be watched by little girls he had no time for.”—Even though Azula would have been his wife in time. (Sighs.) I’m looking forward to getting more characterization from him in “The Road,” and seeing how much of Iroh’s sexism was passed down to him.
“She couldn’t remember whether she’d been put in time-out for [knocking down Zuko’s sand castle] or not. Sometimes Ursa just didn’t bother anymore.”—Not only does this suggest that Azula is going to tear Zuko’s kingdom down (after a fashion; her escape is the catalyst for long-coming collapse), it’s also an example of Ursa’s /great/ parenting skills. (Sarcasm.)
“So when Azula slunk behind black rocks that crept nearly to the water’s edge, and didn’t hear her mother demand she come back”—You totally did hear your mother, Azula, but I don’t blame you for ignoring her when she ignored you first.
“But she went home instead, afraid she might have been missed by now. She hadn’t.”—Ursa, Ozai, and Iroh? You’re all horrible caretakers. Azula has to be pretty young at this point, but none of you went looking for her? Seriously? Ursa could have gotten up and followed her while sending Zuko to his uncle, but she didn’t. Ozai might even be more at fault here, because he knew there were smugglers in the area. Just because he has an agreement with them doesn’t mean that a member of their crew wouldn’t take advantage of taking a princess hostage, or of mistreating a girl whose caretakers are nowhere in sight. Plus the sea is /right there/. She could have been killed and thrown into it and all of them would have thought she’d drowned. And they would have no one to blame for that but themselves, because none of them went after her.
“And that was how, after Ozai snapped at her to stop crying, Azula first learned what a smuggler was.”—So Ozai was training her to repress her emotions—specifically, her tears—from a young age. Ozai is the worst.
Back in the present, Azula shows off her problem-solving skills. She decides to swim rather than walk along the beach, despite how much she hates swimming. Also, while I can see why she might hate it (though I do not agree with her hatred; swimming is fun!), given her affinity for fire, she lives on an /island/! Ozai was right to insist that she know how to swim. Especially because the Fire Nation is volcanic, so earthquakes and tsunamis probably occur with some frequency. Swimming is a good skill to have during the resulting flooding.
After she sees that there’s a smuggling ship in the cove, she gets caught in a riptide. I don’t know if I would have been able to keep my head about me and remember that riptides are narrow in that situation, but I’m impressed with her being able to do so.
“And she was cold. /Actually/ cold. That shouldn’t happen, unless she pushed herself too far.”—That’s interesting. It makes sense, given her element, but it’s still a neat detail.
“And it occurred to her this was as good a time as any to test something she’d always wondered….”—And what is she testing? Seeing if she can propel herself through water with jets from her hands, similar to how she reached the cliff in the show. It works, too. “Her fire burned underwater. [ . . . ] ‘Still got it,’ Azula whispered.”—God, she’s so cool! Her future love interest better be good enough for her or I will riot.
“A Fire Nation boom, one of her great-great-grandfather’s ships from the last Age of Exploration. He authored this particular design himself. That it was still sea-worthy two centuries later was testament to the quality of Fire Nation craftsmanship.”—This is really cool worldbuilding. I love the idea that there was an Age of Exploration in this world. Given our own history, it follows that such an age would lead to the Fire Nation attempting to colonize other lands. That imperialism isn’t something I can approve of, of course, even if Azula believes that the Fire Nation had the right to conquer others in that manner. But this still fleshes out the history of her world, which I appreciate.
“Older sailors insisted no fish moved that fast, and it was a sea monster. /Only half right,/ Azula thought bitterly.”—Honey. Please don’t think about yourself that way. This is something her therapist should have helped her with (though she wasn’t receptive to him, so there was only so much he could have done). As it is, she needs to hear her family members disagree with her on this point. It would mean more to her coming from them, since they were the ones that led her to believe this about herself in the first place.
She makes it onto the boom and into the interior of the ship, though she’s in rough shape. “Or maybe that was just the violence of her shivering. She couldn’t seem to stop….”—Between the cold and the trauma she’d been through, I am not surprised at how she’s shaking.
She finds a good hiding place and sits down to rest. “Her fingers closed carefully over the hand-shaped burn”—Why would you put pressure on it, Azula? That has to hurt!
“Concentrating intently, Azula exhaled blue flame from her mouth to warm herself. The first time, it cast an eerie light on the hard edges of the crates packed loosely around her. And the second. The third time, it fell on white skin and crimson robes.”—This is such a vivid sequence of images. It’s one of those moments that stands out to me during each reread of “Dominion,” and there’s a part of me that wishes we could have a visual adaptation of this fic, just so we could see this.
Azula is hallucinating Ursa again, and we get this horrifying detail a paragraph or so later, when she’s worrying that Ursa will comment on what happened between her and Zuko. “It always seemed to know things she shouldn’t, because they happened after she left.” Does this mean that at some point in the last four years, hallucination!Ursa commented on the sexual abuse Azula endured at Ozai’s hands, but blamed Azula for it, because Azula can’t imagine Ursa ever siding with her about anything? I hope that’s not the case, but given how Azula later thinks that Ursa will blame Azula instead of Zuko for the rape, I’m not optimistic.
“Would it cease the false kindness, be as hateful as she’d been in life? Azula didn’t know if she could take that, after everything….”—This suggests that the above possibility never happened, or that if it did, Azula doesn’t remember it. Given how muddled her memories of the past four years are, though, I wouldn’t completely discount the possibility. This is also very sad in general. Azula has just about reached her limit of what she can endure.
“She would find her real mother, and these visions would stop. They had to.”—What if you’re wrong, Azula? What if they don’t disappear? What would you do then?
“Its soft arms closed around her shoulders, with none of the tension Azula always felt in the real Ursa, when she was obligated to either hug her daughter, or admit she didn’t want to.”—You’re a horrible mother, Ursa.
“‘Happy birthday,’ it whispered. And Azula started to cry.”—Ugh, rip my heart out why don’t you? Worst birthday ever!
We switch back to Zuko, who is still alive. Yay. “He slept past sunrise?”—Yeah, the fight and having sex with your sister three times must have tuckered you out, Zuko. He remembers that after reading her note, which she nailed down to the nightstand with his dagger. I can understand why she didn’t stab him, though I also wouldn’t convict her if she did. Besides him being her brother and there being some lingering attachment there, he also has the power to give her what she wants: Ozai. If he dies, the political situation in the Fire Nation would be thrown into chaos, so she might not get what she wants. It’s better to keep him alive, at least for now.
Speaking of the sex, it happened in their mother’s room. That somehow makes it even more icky to me. In any case, the rest of Azula’s discarded notes say the same thing, though Zuko hopes one of them says something different. Something like, “It’s not your fault”—even though it is, “You imagined it”—which should still be concerning to you, Zuko—“Just one more of her lies”—because it’s easier for him to blame her than to take responsibility for his own actions.
“Four characters that communicated so much more than their surface meaning. That she wanted nothing to do with him. That he had violated what little trust remained between them. That she was still crazy, and he just made her worse.”—Can you blame her, Zuko? And yes, recovering your relationship with her from this is going to be really hard, and may not even be what’s best for the two of you.
“He had never once felt so alone. Azula could not have achieved a more perfect revenge if she’s planned it. He knew she blamed him for the loss of her friends at the Boiling Rock, Mom’s rejection. And with this one act, she had effectively isolated him.”—Oh fuck you, Zuko! You /raped/ her! She may have “started it,” but you could have pushed her away. Instead you went along with it, even when it was clear that she was in distress. I am not about to feel pity for you here. You did this to yourself.
“And she had left him wounded and forsaken.”—Huh, like you did to her after Sozin’s Comet, Zuko?
“She still had something left to say to him, even if it was only to goad him, to tease him, to lie to him”—This is so gross after listening to him blame her for what happened. I mean, yes, he’s feeling guilty here, but he’s not giving his own actions a hard look and asking himself how he could have done what he did. The “tease him” part brings back to mind that ugly line about her being “such a tease” from the last chapter, too.
“Oh Agni. Would she ever be his sister again?”—I’m thinking not, Zuko. Though arguably, she never was a sister to you psychologically, given the poisonous rivalry between you two and the inappropriate desires that aroused in you.
He goes to look for her afterwards, and we have this /precious/ line from him when he gets to the beach. “She didn’t even bother trying to cover her progress, perhaps remembering what a competent tracker he was.” For one thing, she wasn’t really thinking about his tracking at the time. For another, while I know he tracked an air bison across the world, which does take some skill, Azula did that as well. So I’m not sure I believe that he’s any better at tracking than she is, which his comment seems to suggest.
“Even if she hated swimming, she was as good at it as she was at anything else.”—Zuko, has it occurred to you that maybe she just worked really, really hard to make it look effortless?
He goes back to the public area of the island and sees that Mai has devoted all of their guards to the search. He thinks something that strikes me as sexist: “It was the instinct of a wife and mother, to want to keep her family safe.” I’m pretty sure a husband and father would want the same things, Zuko, so the gendering here is telling.
The guards come up to him and there is a brief exchange, during which Zuko starts to finally wonder why he slept with his sister. “Oh Agni, he did a terrible thing. He was a terrible person. [Mai] deserved better. She deserved so much better—” While I agree, Zuko, Azula also deserved much better from you.
He is taken to the inn, where the guards are being less than subtle. “And Zuko felt a glimmer of annoyance at their lack of foresight. [ . . . ] It did not seem to occur to any of them that they were practically marking a path straight to his family.” I talked before about how precarious the royal family’s position is right now, due to having only a handful of members. If Azula had been capable and inclined to make good on her threat, this could have turned out very badly for Mai and Lu Ten. Which Zuko then reflects upon, and realizes that Azula was only threatening his family to distract him. And it worked, though not in the way that Azula had hoped it would.
“And to let her fear any longer for someone as undeserving as him would be almost as cruel as what he’d already done. Even if the husband Mai thought she knew would never truly come back to her.”—Ouch, poor Mai!
“Such naked relief flashed across her usually impassive face as cut him to the core”—Mai has a heart, but give it a few minutes and it’s going to harden towards you, Zuko.
“Oh Agni, he missed her in his arms already. He didn’t know how much longer he would have this.”—This is sad, but I’m not inclined to sympathize with Zuko. Mai will be justified in turning against him, given that he raped someone.
Mai starts yelling at him for going after Azula, and reminds him that he’s a father now and can’t take these kinds of risks. I’m reminded of how he didn’t think about her or Lu Ten until Azula brought them up.
“And she didn’t know just how sorry he was.”—That might take a while, kiddo.
“What did she do to you?”—(Sigh.) You too, Mai? Are you going to blame her too?
“And he remembered, to his shame, that her nails had left marks like this once or twice before, when their lovemaking got a little out of hand. Like after that first attempt on Zuko’s life, just weeks after his coronation. Or their wedding night.”—There’s the first bit of evidence that Mai gets confronted with when she undresses him to look at his injuries.
“But the look on his face told her everything she needed to know.”—And there’s the confirmation.
“Mai slapped his swiftly across his scar. Hard enough that even his damaged nerves registered the blow.”—So she really hit him hard here. I understand what provoked her into doing so, but even so, it’s an awful and abusive thing for her to do. Pushing him away would have sufficed here, though I’m not sure she would have had that kind of restraint, given the situation and her own temperament.
Mai starts crying after this, and I do genuinely feel bad for her. She doesn’t deserve this or to have gotten caught up with such a toxic family. Although: “She had not let herself care about anyone or anything, until him. Until she let him in.”—I’m not sure that’s true, Zuko. She certainly cared for Azula and Ty Lee at one point. She cares about honing her skills with her knives. Romantically, though, you’re probably right. I think there’s more to her life than just you and Lu Ten, though.
He doesn’t go after her, and he’s probably right that it wouldn’t have helped. But I wonder if the gesture of trying would have made Mai feel less abandoned here.
We switch back to Azula, who wakes up in the hold to hear one of the crewmen approaching her. We get this depressing detail in the process: “Her movements had been so restricted [in the asylum], that she had not seen the sun since it rose on the day of Sozin’s Comet. Even now that she was free, she still hadn’t.” She hasn’t seen the sun in four years. FOUR YEARS. That is /horrifying/! Not only would that cause severe Vitamin D deficiency, but that’s inhumane. Especially given that she’s a firebender and has a semi-physical, semi-spiritual connection to it. That deprivation may not have been enough to kill her, but I can’t imagine that hasn’t done some damage over the years.
“She didn’t know why she was so tired all the time, unless the sedatives still hadn’t left her system.”—I’m not sure her pregnancy symptoms would start this early, so I almost think this is from the injuries she sustained, the stress she’s been under, and from the lack of sunlight.
It’s curious to me that Rai’s apron is black, rather than white. “[Azula] couldn’t guess who else would waste time chasing down runaway onions.” Oh Azula. I’m sure you would if you were hungry.
“Azula fleetingly considered there was something familiar about her, but dismissed the thought as so much unnecessary distraction.”—Yeah, you do know her, and the how is interesting.
“Azula didn’t mind waiting. She could be patient, when her goals demanded it. What she /did/ mind was being limited only to react. It was a weakness, leaving her vulnerable to the tangled motives and flawed decisions of small minds. And even if she was a people person”—Are you?—“Azula could admit, if only grudgingly at last, that her anticipation was not perfect.”—Such as when she was with Ozai, but more relevantly and recently, when she was with Zuko. I doubt she could have foreseen him responding to her the way he did.
“She never had enough information anymore. It grated.”—That’s definitely not a good thing, given the bounty that will soon be on her head.
“‘That was either very kind of you, or very /stupid/,’ Azula said at last, her voice low and deadly. ‘Though in my experience, the two often coincide.’”—Point in case, Zuko.
“[Rai] clearly had no idea who she was dealing with.”—Oh the irony.
“The mark of violent hands upon her, the mark of her shame. And Azula realized. That look was pity. Pity for something she thought they shared in common.”—Other people call that empathy, Azula, which you could use more of in your life.
“The instinct to use it to her advantage warred with the desire to burn this peasant for presuming it. Pragmatism won out. Barely.”—I doubt Zuko would have been this restrained. I also have my doubts that Azula would burn someone just because she was angry with them. That’s more Ozai’s style than hers. Azula even flips the blade so she won’t risk slicing Rai’s throat open.
Rai offers Azula two choices: she could kill Rai, but then Azula would have to attempt to subdue the rest of the crew when they realized she was there, which Azula knows she couldn’t do successfully. “She had to sleep sometime” poses one problem; her injuries, another. The other choice is to trust Rai, which Azula probably isn’t inclined to do, but….
“This woman wasn’t an idiot. Azula could apprec
| lemon-rind chapter 25 . 12/23/2017
Woah, this took a while to get through (but I loved every minute)
| Guest chapter 7 . 11/28/2017
However I look at it, the actual "sex" part was initiated by Azula, so I am not too sure if this can be called "rape" even though I know what people mean by it.
| Guest chapter 7 . 11/28/2017
you know, besides the relatively obvious signs of Oedipus complex Zuko shows here (when he notices that Azula looks like Ursa and even does her makeup like her) i think Azula herself is not free from Elextra complex. as i read the story, i sensed that under all the severe stress and prejudices Zuko was acting very similarly like Ozai would have, though in a less sophisticated manner due to his regret and guilt (which is what sets Zuko and Ozai apart). i think some of these factors might have worked into Azula at least for a little moment to instinctively see her brother as someone to lust after, in a similar fashion as Zuko did with Azula.
| Guest chapter 2 . 11/28/2017
I just remembered. I was always amused and slightly annoyed when some people would say that Azula might be gay or asexual because of her lack of interest in the other sex and pursuing a romantic/sexual relationship with another when Azula in the show is so clearly taught that any kind of bonds created not from fear is worthless by her father who is practically Azula's god. Not to mention that she never saw anyone worthy to become her lifelong partner and is not in the stage of "thinking for herself by herself" and question and explore and grow.
14 years is about the age teens get interested romance and sex but Azula is NOT an average teen. Her birth, her talents, her inborn mindsets are all far from "average," and despite her intelligence Azula is pretty much a little girl. And as I recall, little children are pretty much "asexual" in grown-ups' point of view. And they tend to hang with people of their own sex/gender.
Case in point: Azula canon-wise so far is not emotionally developed in that way for us to be able to know or assume her sexuality or romantic preferences. She's pretty much a blank slate. But depending on the viewer, she might be heterosexual by default or she might be anything kind of sexual orientation/preference.
P.S I ain't shitting the Ty lee/Azula shipping. Fan shippings are just done for fun anyways.
| Artemis chapter 25 . 11/28/2017
Although it counts for a very good reason for Azula's growth and change, I find it very intriguing and curious that she actually shows signs of wanting to keep her child. From the reader's perspective, whether the heated incident was rape or not is pretty ambiguous but from Azula's side she does think it was "rape" but yet doesn't seems that bothered that she's been impregnated by someone she thinks "raped" her...it's just very strange. Perhaps it just goes to show that she's that messed up in her mind for a company that would not ever use her, judge her, or leave her? Also it seems to me that despite what happened, Azula is still emotionally attached to Zuko, be it for positive or negative; this also seems further supported by Azula crying at the mention of her child's father(Zuko) and Ursa's detection of hopeless love on Azula.
So. Much. Tragic. Drama.
| Guest chapter 25 . 11/28/2017
JUST DON'T QUIT THIS STORY! I WILL WAIT FOREVER FOR YOU TO TELL US MORE!
| ohchrist chapter 15 . 11/27/2017
oooooooooooh the family drama here is worse than the greek gods'!
| jesuschirst chapter 13 . 11/27/2017
Wait, so is Mai correct? Did Azula have sex because she knew it would lead to Zuko finding out the messed up truth and feel sorry her? Azula did say something like "you'll be mine" and "you'll bend for me" so now it seems REAL plausible and it makes Azula like 100 times scarier and pitiful.
| ohlord chapter 12 . 11/27/2017
Oh dear...I can just see WHY Azula clung onto Ozai rather than breaking free and finding others to look up to...despite the ordeals she had to go through. He was the only one who saw her potential and didn't see her as a monster for it. Case in point: these two are sociopaths in my opinion.
| Azula's cool chapter 12 . 11/27/2017
Wow, this is real deep, complex, and well thought out. I think we finally have an Avatar fanfic that does justice to the complex and messed up relationship of the Fire Nation royal family. Please continue to write this as much as you can!
| Guest chapter 25 . 11/18/2017
I've been reading this fanfic since i was in 6th grade...Gonna be a senior soon. But you know what? i just want to let you know, should you ever read this, that this fanfiction sparked my inner creativity, it truly has. It made me start loving to write and create new worlds, and i am still doing that today, in fact i am working on writing a story at the moment. I always find myself wondering "Have they added a new chapter?" and find myself coming back, and rereading the entire thing. Sometimes when i am lost and don't know how to continue in my chapters i come here for reference, to see how you smoothly transition from one act to another. Thanks!
| PingZing chapter 25 . 9/30/2017
Just found this via TVTropes, and burned through it in a few days. Just wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed this, and hope to see it finished one day!