Epilogue 2: A Letter Found Among the Childhood Belongings of the Late Prince Lu Ten

To my dear brother-in-law,

I pray that I have judged you rightly, and that you will discover this letter shortly after arriving home. By now you must have been told—or guessed—all that has happened, and why I could not be there to greet you in person. Please forgive me my absence; I swear to you that, were circumstances not so dire, nothing could have kept me from your side in this hour of your need. My heart breaks for you, Iroh, and it is all the worse to know that not only I cannot be there to comfort you now, but we may in fact never meet again.

It is because of this grim possibility that I must sorrowfully add to your burdens with a mother's desperate request. As I have acted to save Zuko's life at the cost of my presence in it, so I must ask that you watch over him and guide him in my place. Be to him everything that I cannot now be, and that his father will not be. One young life in our family has been destroyed; I entreat you not to let another follow. I will entrust such an endeavor to no one else, and I also hope that in time, my dear little son can help to ease the pain of your loss.

Please also, if you can find it within yourself to do so, provide whatever guidance you can for Azula. I have done all I can think of to reach her, and I fear she may be unreachable…but if I am wrong, surely you will succeed where I have failed.

This brings me to the matter of my husband, your brother, who will have had himself crowned Fire Lord by the time you read these words. You have my sincere apology on his behalf for this grievous injustice to you. I would gladly have bowed to you, Iroh; I cannot say the same of what I fear Ozai has become. I must warn you: for the sake of your own safety as well as that of my children, do not give him any reason to believe that you seek to reclaim your birthright! And yet I hold out hope that there remains in him some vestige of goodness and honor, which you might be able to encourage. I fully trust your wisdom and tact in this matter.

With that I must close, for I have little time left. Again, you have my most heartfelt apologies for all that has happened. May the spirits be kinder to you in the future than they have in the recent past, and may they will it that, after all, our paths shall cross again.

Your loving sister-in-law,


A/N: It may seem strange that Ursa managed to write a letter to Iroh when she wasn't able to write anything more in her diary. The explanation is that this—making some desperate last-minute arrangements for her children's welfare—was important enough to take a few minutes to do, while writing in her diary was not.

And now, on a completely different note…

Whew! What a long, strange, fun journey this has been. When I first started posting this thing, almost a year and a half ago, I never imagined that it would keep going this long, or take some of the turns it did in the process. Some of the major milestones were planned well in advance, as I have noted, but others surprised me. The best parts where when something I wrote just because it felt right at the time turned out to be excellent foreshadowing for something that happened later on…not to mention the times when the series itself has seemed to support my notions!

But more than anything else, I'm glad to have gotten so many devoted readers, coming back chapter after chapter to leave reviews and let me know that my efforts haven't been in vain. I write fanfiction primarily for my own satisfaction, of course, but I wouldn't post it if I weren't hoping to entertain others as well. Checking my e-mail the day after posting a new chapter and seeing the review alerts always gives a magnificent boost to my anemic ego. Thanks so much to all of you!

As for future projects…well, I don't have any planned at the moment. Not for Avatar, anyway. Too much of my mental energy is tied up in wondering why Nickelodeon is taking so bloody long to continue airing the canon story to leave much left over for inventing adjuncts to it. In any case, I very much doubt I'll attempt something this ginormous again, though. When the inspiration bug starts biting again, expect things more along the lines of "Lucky to Be Born" or "Opposites Eventually Attract"—speculative one-shots that fill in the blanks of what we've been shown.

Once again, many thanks to everyone who has taken the time to read and review!