Helmsman

From my perch near the captain's room on the ship, I see everything that goes on. I am not a firebender like the others but my skills as a sailor granted me the position of helmsman on Prince Zuko's ship. However, I am not sure that is a blessing.

Since I have been assigned to work on this ship, the Prince's crazy obsession with the Avatar has put all our lives in danger. I remember the first time I saw the Prince. At a port in the Fire Nation. Obviously the first thing I noticed about him was his horrific scar. Even though he was just a teenager, I reasoned that anyone who had that kind of a fight was more a man than a child.

Zuko has a way of commanding the men that makes them wary and respectful. However today Lieutenant Jee became fed up with Zuko's attitude and foolishly challenged him. I had warned him earlier to be careful around Zuko for he is like uncontrollable wildfire. The Lieutenant ignored me. Thankfully the great General Iroh intervened before anything could get out of control. Then the storm started up. Of course I had known about it beforehand. The wind carried a smell of metallic electricity and though the sky was clear blue, clouds were gathering on the horizon. But even though Zuko was warned, he refused to heed his uncle's precautions. He said capturing the Avatar was more important than any one man's safety. That reminded me of the time he insisted on charging Commander Zhou's blockade. The comets of fire raining down on us. I thought for sure we were going to perish. Indeed, we got hit. I reported to Prince Zuko that the engines of the ship were damaged and we needed to stop for repairs. I can still see the panic in the Prince's eyes.

"Do not stop this ship."

At the time I thought he was crazy. I now realize that he would have been arrested if we had stopped.

And then tonight, we got caught in the worst storm I've seen in all my years as a sailor.

I was desperately trying to hold on to the railing. I felt like a flag being tossed and spun around in the wind. I heard shouts over the wailing of the wind and the thrashing of the waves. I hoped someone had seen me and was coming to help. The railing got wetter and slicker. I couldn't hold on. I let go.

I was falling, hurtling towards the hard deck below. I envisioned my body being smashed to pieces by the brutal metal. Suddenly my descent was stopped. Someone had grabbed my arm, almost yanking my arm out of its socket. I looked up. Zuko, with one hand gripping the railing and the other seizing my arm, had saved me. He gently lowered me to Lieutenant Jee. He brought me down soaked and shivering. One of the soldiers gave me a blanket and brought me inside. All I could think while I sat on a bunk, drying, was Zuko saved me. He put aside his honor and pride and even the Avatar to save someone else's life. I would understand if the person was his uncle, who the boy loves. But for him to save me, an old, shriveled, completely replaceable helmsman that is something I never thought the Prince was capable of. Maybe Prince Zuko is not the hard, heartless person I thought he was. Maybe he does have feelings, they are just kept under lock and key. Maybe he is not as bad as I thought he was.