I had been taken when I was twelve years old. I was born in the Southern Water Tribe. I had a brother named Sokka, and father named Hakado, a mother, and my Gran Gran: Kana. They loved me and I loved them back.

Our village was raided by the Fire Nation. They killed my mother, father, and Gran Gran. Sokka had gone on a fishing trip. I still don't know where he is. It must have been horrible for him. I like to think of him sometimes…

I always imagine that he comes back with one little fishie on his spear, still proud of his small catch. He would yell out "Who's going to cook my dinner!" just like he always did. Then he wouldn't get a reply. He would go into the village. Maybe the other tribe members were still alive. I was taken at the beginnig of the raid.

He would wander, alone. If the others were there, maybe he had gotten married. But if the others were gone too, I would like to think he went to the Northern Water Tribe. Or the Earth Kingdom. Either way, he should have married a nice girl.

Maybe I even have neices and nephews. But I don't know.

They took me to be a slave in the Fire Lord's court. I was small and gangly. I still hadn't lost my baby fat. My hair was frizzy and maybe that's what kept me from being raped. Maybe they don't do that in the Fire Nation. But it didn't happen to me. No one ever touched me.

I was to be a handmaiden to the crown prince, a boy named Zuko. He was fourteen when they brought me to him.

They had sent me off with a few women in Fire Nation robes. They had taken me to a large bath where all the servant girls were bathing. They had stipped off my Water Tribe clothes. They poured buckets of steaming water on me and scrubbed me pink.

They washed my hair and cut it short. I wanted to cry. In the Water Tribe, a woman's hair is a gift. Longer hair symbolizes that you are a woman. I wasn't quite a woman. Far from, it, actually.

After cutting off half my hair, they pulled it up into a Fire Nation bun. They dressed me up like a Fire Nation girl. I wore boots that went up to my knees and that were pointed at the end. Light red, almost pink, baggy pants were tucked into the boots. A dark red sarong was wrapped around my chest and tucked into a belt. The rest of the cloth reached my knees.

"What's your name?" they had asked me.

"I'm Katara," I had whispered, still frightened of all these people.

"You are Katara no more. Now, you are Erza."

Katara of the Water Tribe was no more.


After bathing, dressing, and renaming me, I was taken to him. I was led there by a smily girl in pink accompanied with a scowling girl in dark red and black. The angry girl was called Mai and the pink girl was Ty Lee.

"You'll be a handmaiden to Crown Prince Zuko," she said to me cheerfully.

"I can't believe we ended up doing this," Mai said in a slow unhappy voice. "We're best friends with Princess Azula, yet we end up with this ... dreary job." She sighed. "Who knew? Life … is boring."

I was extremely nervous. They knocked on a door and a boy came out. He was pretty tall, handsome. He had black hair that was long. It was pulled into a ponytail.

"What do you want?" he asked grouchily.

"We're just delivering your new handmaiden, Erza, a present from your Uncle Iroh."

I had heard of Iroh, the Dragon of the West. Who hadn't?

He blinked at looked at me.

"I'll send for you if I need anything." Then he slammed the door in my face.

"What … is his problem?" I asked, the first words to come out of my mouth.

"He has lots of them. It would take a while to explain them all," Ty Lee said cheerfully.

"He does NOT have problems!" Mai said.

"You're just saying that because you looove him!" Ty Lee squealed.

"You are just… ugh!" Mai snapped.

I hadn't realized that we were still walking. They stopped in front of a door.

"This is your room. That bell, see it?" A gold tassle hung from the wall, dissapearing into the ceiling. "Crown Prince Zuko will ring it when he wants you. You better answer him quick."

"What if I get lost?" I panicked.

"You're one of the lucky ones. Go down the hall, pass through the gate, take a left turn, and it's the last room on the hall."


After Mai and Ty Lee left, I explored the room. I had a small cot to sleep on. The covers were red with gold trim. The Fire Nation colors. The walls were the same color. The floor was made of wood and had no carpet.

There was a small trunk for my possessions. If I had any, which I didn't.

I sat on the bed and the dam burst. I started bawling like a little baby.


I was lying on my bed. I had stopped crying hours ago. I was just laying down, thinking about what would happen to me. The bell rang. I sat up.

Zuko was calling me. What had that girl said? Down the hall, through the gate, left turn, last room on the hall. I hoped that was right. I rushed off.

I didn't know whether to knock, or just go in. I went with knocking.

He opened the door. "Come in."

I went nervously in. He had an enormous room with a huge bed bigger than the tent I had lived in back home. He sat at a table and motioned for me to sit down. I did.

"I have no one to talk to. I'm bored. Talk to me."

I blinked. I had expected tea, a bath, something for me to do.

"Can you speak?"


"Then answer my questions. Who are you?"

"My name is … Erza."

"What was your name before you came here?"


"You were from the Water Tribe."


"What was it like there?"


He asked me questions on everything. What we ate in the Water Tribe, how we dressed, where we lived, he wanted to know everything.

"I have a question for you now, Crown Prince."

"Just call me Zuko."

"Very well, Zuko. The question is: Why do you want to know this?"

"Well, I'm going to rule this nation someday. Shouldn't I start learning as much as I can now?"

"But why would you learn about the Water Tribe?"

"I can see you're not a fool. There is a war going on. We might win," he lowered his voice, "and though I don't like to think about it, we may even lose. I want to understand all the nations. Well, I can't understand the Air Nomads. I wish they weren't all dead."

"Why did you have to kill them all? Couldn't you have just found the Avatar and mph!" He had clamped a hand over my mouth.

"The walls have ears here. You cannot mention… him." He let me go. "You should leave now."


Two years passed this way. We became friends. We had much to talk about. I was curious about the history and schooling and knowledge I couldn't have in the South Pole.

He wanted to know about the Water Tribe. He was saddened by my story. He felt bad that my family was murdered and I was kidnapped and made a slave just for him.

"I do miss my family. But this… isn't so bad."

And it wasn't. I may have been young and naïve, but I knew what was happening to me. I liked Zuko. More than I should have. I didn't know if he liked me too, I didn't think so. We were just friends. But I felt a twinge of happiness every time the bell in my room rang. And I had always thought he was handsome.

I would never say it was love I felt. I was only fourteen. I knew nothing of love. I just liked him.


It all changed that day he went into the War Chamber. He was sixteen, still young and foolish. He had insulted a general and spoken out against his plans. He was in terrible trouble. Zuko had to do an Agni Kai.

I didn't want to be there. But as his servant, I had to be there. I'll never forget that day.

I felt like crying as Fire Lord Ozai spoke against his only son begging for mercy.

"You will learn respect. And suffering will be your teacher."

I closed my eyes. I could still hear him scream. It echoed around the room, piercing into what felt like my very soul.


Zuko was carried to his room. He had passed out in the throes of the pain of being burned.

I went to him. The doctor bandaged him, but there was nothing else he could do. Zuko had been banished. He would be expelled from the palace the next day.

I slipped into his room.

He was lying on his bed. A tear occasionally would roll from his eyes. Then he would wince. The salty tears must have been painful on the burn.

I sat down on his bed. It would look completely scandolous had someone found us. Be we were uninterupted.

I pulled his head into my lap.

"Katara," he groaned.

"Shhh, you'll be okay," I whispered to him. He closed his eyes and I concentrated on stroking his hair. Having him so close to me was intoxicating. Every touch sent shivers down my spine. I felt like my skin was crackling with lightning.

One of my fingers strayed lower and brushed against the burn. He gasped.

I winced and let go of him.

"I'm sorry," I whispered.

"Don't stop."

I gulped. I started combing my fingers through his hair. He relaxed and he even smiled a little. I was so close to him I could hardly breathe. My hands strayed lower, rubbing the right side of his face. I could feel him start to sweat with nervousness.

I pressed lower, rubbing his neck and shoulders. He lifted one hand to mine. I clasped his hand in mine and lifted it up to my lips. I pressed his hand against my lips and then brought his hand to his mouth.


"Shh, don't try to speak."

"Katara…I love you."

"You..you love me?"

"I love you."

"I…don't know what to say."

"Say that you love me."

"I do love you."

I put my arms around his waist and we sat quietly for a few minutes. Zuko struggled to get up.

"Go to my closet."

I did.

"Open it."

I opened it and saw several clothes and two sets or armour.

"Take my spare armour. I want you to…I want you to stow away on my ship tommorrow. And as soon…as soon as we're clear of the Fire Nation, I want…I want you to leave. I want you to go home to your family. I know…I know you miss them. I love you, and I want you with me… but now that I'm banished…I want you to be happy, Katara."

I could feel tears sting at my eyes and they threatened to roll down my face.

"Please, Katara. Do it."

I nodded.

"I will.


The next day, I shipped out with Zukp in disguise. As soon as we were out to sea and night had fallen, I went to Zuko's room, like he had asked. He gave me a bundle of clothes.

"It's Water Tribe clothing," he told me.


When we first made port in an Earth Kingdom town, I slipped out. Hiding behinda building, I shed the armoura dn quickly put on the Water Tribe clothes. I tied my hair into a Water Tribe braid. I threw the armour into a lake.

I slipped back to the docks. I went to every ship, asking if I could have passage to the South Pole. Everyone laughed at me and sent me away.

I went to the beach, wandering aimlessly down the beach when I saw it. A Water Tribe boat, lying on the beach.

I ran to it, hardly able to contain my excitement. But the boat was desserted. I burst into tears and collasped into the sand. I curled up next to the abandoned boat and fell asleep.


"KATARA!" I heard a scream. I woke up instantly.

A group of people was approaching me while one young man was running to me. It looked like every man from out tribe! And they were wearing Water Tribe clothes. They were accompanied with a twelve-year-old bald boy with an arrow tattooed on his head. He wore yellow and red.

But was caught my attenting was the man who had started to cry and was hugging me.

"Katara, is it really you?"

It was…


"SOKKA!" I screamed before my arms around my brother and hugging him back.