Title: 10 Secrets the Fire Nation Royal Family Doesn't Want You To Know
Word Count: 846
Pairings: Only if you believe in foreshadowing and squint at it a bit (might see some zutara if you do)
Rating: T for mentions of assassins and blood and stuff.
A/N: Please note that some of these characters do not belong to me. The Avataress in number 2 belongs to VickiSo and her fanfic trilogy. Go read it if you haven't!
Also, Rei and Toji belong to the wonderful Isaia. I asked her a while ago if I could borrow them for a different fic, but while writing this I felt compelled to use them in this as well. I tried to get in contact with Isaia to make sure this was okay, but to no avail. So, if you are reading this Isaia and you don't want me to use your characters, just say so and I'll take it down immediately.
1. For as long as Zuko could remember, there was a blue oni mask and twin dao swords hanging in his room as a decoration. When he asked his mother about them, she told Zuko that he had been named after the man who originally wore the mask, a rebel and hero who went by the alias of the Blue Spirit.
Many years later, Zuko learned that the Blue Spirit was less of a hero, and more of an assassin. A distant cousin to the royal family, the original Zuko killed off every other member of the royal family, hidden under the mask of a Water Tribe demon, until he became the Fire Lord. His dynasty, the Lan Huo, is still in power to this day,
Zuko wasn't quite so proud of his namesake after that.
2. Even though not many within the Fire Nation know of how the current royal family came to power, even less know that, soon after Zuko the First became Fire Lord, he was lost at sea, leaving behind a wife and newborn daughter. The Gods, furious at Zuko's arrogance, forced him to land on a near-deserted island as the only survivor of a terrible shipwreck, leaving him in the care of the waterbending Avataress who lived there. Perhaps as a cruel joke by fate, the new Fire Lord fell in love with the Avataress, and was content to live the rest of his life with her on the island, never to return to the throne he had so vainly fought for.
3. Zuko's wife, Daiyu, never remarried, even though many expected her to after her husband's disappearance. Instead, she ruled over the Fire Nation in her husband's stead, becoming the first Fire Lady to have complete control over the Golden Throne. An advocate for women's rights, Daiyu strived to improve the lives and stature of Fire Nation women.
4. Zuko and Daiyu's daughter, Fire Lady Meilin, continued her mother's fight for women's rights and equality. Refusing to marry until her late thirties, it is said that, once Meilin learned she was with child and therefore had a suitable heir to the throne, she killed her husband in his sleep, refusing to share her power with anyone.
5. Meilin's grandson, Fire Lord Aiguo, is said to have overcome almost three hundred assassination attempts, either through blackmail, double-crossings, or actually catching them in the act of trying to kill him. Legend states that his wife was an assassin who was trying to kill him and take his throne for himself. After several 'amusing' assassination attempts, he eventually took her as his wife, sharing his power equally with her, and hoping that their child would be twice as strong.
6. Legend goes even further to say that she did eventually kill him, though lovingly, after they were married and their third son was almost grown.
7. In Katzu, a relatively small Fire Nation city, there lived a girl name Rei who was the daughter of a powerful general. Fearing for his daughter's life in the midst of a war, he sent her to live with a friend of his in the South Pole. There, she met Toji, a young waterbender who she fell instantly in love with. However, romance between people of different nations was strictly taboo, and so Toji was put to death. In a fit of rage over her lover's body, Rei supposedly made a grave prophecy to punish all those who were there and watched and did nothing as Toji died. In her prophecy, she stated that, not only would those who were there suffer great pain and trial, but so would their people and their descendents until they learned acceptance and balance among the four elements.
8. There were five people who heard Rei's prophecy: the chief of the Southern Water Tribe, the Prince of the Fire Nation, an Air Nomad Elder from the Southern Air Temple, a (supposedly blind) Earth Kingdom Princess, and Avatar Kyoshi herself.
9. Rei herself never really got over her lover's death, and was reluctantly married off a Fire Nation Prince.
Her grandson's name was Sozin.
10. Say what you will about the Lan Huo dynasty, but they do know how to outwit, out-connive, and out-backstab anyone who tries to take their throne. That's been a common trait in the family for every generation in power. Not in any single generation has there been a peaceful transition from one Lord to the next without someone being killed, conned, or blackmailed out of their throne. As a result, the oldest child is not always guaranteed to be named the heir: in most cases, the Fire Lord waits until his children are older, perhaps even full-grown, before naming an heir, and they usually pick who they believe to be the strongest. For Sozin, he chose his son Kuzon over Azulon. In turn, Azulon chose Iroh over Ozai. And Ozai chose Azula over Zuko.
All of them chose wrong.
Lan Huo is Chinese for "Blue Fire"