Chapter 36: Letters Home

To Fire Lord Ozai, c/o Princess Azula, from Your Loyal Son Prince Zuko:

—died of his wounds. The letters we found in his room were really good forgeries; please take extra care to confirm future orders with your officers, Father. It would be really bad if people thought you were the one ordering things like full-scale attacks at the worst possible strategical time and killing the Moon. We'll turn the evidence over to the Fire Sages for analysis as soon as possible. In the meantime please do not worry about your fleet, the acting commander is a loyal Fire Nation citizen who has sworn his officers to double-check all suspicious commands. When in doubt they show things to me as a 'courtesy', so I can figure out if you really sent something and help stop any orders you clearly didn't mean—


To Uncle, c/o Princess Azula, from The Worst Nephew:

—made you worry. I left you a note but apparently Zhao blew it up. He's dead now, my fiancee stabbed him. Sorry I didn't tell you directly, but I know how loyal you are to Father. This is my mission, not yours, and I didn't want to put you in a position where you would have to choose between us, and besides you seemed to really be enjoying your retirement.

I met your pai sho pen pal up in the Northern Water Tribe. He's even grumpier than Lieutenant Jee but talks in more flower proverbs—


To Princess Azula, from Dum-Dum:

—had to wait until our hawks were back in range because the Northern Tribe is super stingy with theirs and lemurs are terrible messengers. I know you'll be really angry that I can't control the weather or the temperatures Fire Nation hawks are adapted to fly at, so I'll be in the colonies where you can't get me. Unless you hire an assassin, but I have a really good track record with not dying, so probably you'd just be wasting your money.

I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do now that I'm not hunting the Avatar. I guess I could have asked Father for new orders, but I think he likes it better when I take the initiative—


To Dum-Dum, from Her Highness Crown Princess Azula, Superior Heir to the Dragon Throne, Still The Youngest Wielder of the Cold Fire But Good Effort:

—You've been unbanished. Father found it tasteless to keep insulting a corpse. However, do not bother coming home; I have the royal headpiece and I'm not giving it back. You will have to pry it from my hair, and I believe we both know who is the superior hair-pulling duelist. You also owe me several hours of my life back, as sitting through your funeral was somehow even worse than grandfather's.

If you'd like a list of those courtiers who fake-cried, please do settle down in the colonies. Perhaps leave a door unlocked, while you're at it. I'll send an extra-special messenger just for you.

If you don't desire a more intimate perspective on your own funeral, perhaps it would be wise for you to keep moving—


From Objectively Best Uncdad, to Passably Huggable Nephson:

—In conclusion I love you, and Katara loves you, and Aang loves you but has some mixed feelings right now which I'm pretty sure you understand, what with the mutual trying to kill each other without fully understanding the situation thing. But people who love each other (and are no longer possessed by vengeful spirits) find ways past things that.

So no pressure if you're doing actual important prince things in that fleet of yours, like stopping them from casually genociding along the coast. But if you're just sulking then I hereby insist you stop that immediately and come meet us in the Earth Kingdom. We're catching a ride down with my dad to some guy named General Fong to find Aang an earthbending teacher. And hopefully work out some kinks in the whole Avatar State Murder-Mode. It sounds like we'll be there for a while, you could meet us there.

Please don't bring your entire fleet.

Also please don't steal this owl-hawk for future correspondence, that would be totally awful and I definitely haven't accidentally included possibly-state-secret-instructions on how to get him to fly where you want (see page three).

Also also Hawky is fat and lazy and refuses to fly to you no matter how much I poke her even though we're far south enough. And you owe me about a million new shirts, she keeps tearing mine into teenie-tiny strips. I hope lemur-sitting involves less wanton wardrobe destruction than hawk-sitting.

PS: Katara told Yue about writing to your sister that one time. I'm not saying that your fiancee and your evil sister are going to be penpals. But I am saying this is a really good time to seek safety with your friends and/or adopted family—


End Book One: Spirit Blessings (Some Restrictions Apply)


AN: One interlude coming up, then we'll launch on into Book Two: Appa's Colors (With Narration for the Blind).

Toph is READY.

Jet is unprepared, but good at improv.