---

It's an honor to be chosen.

Ursa is wise, beautiful, and a promising young Firebender. She will make a fitting princess.

She bows politely before the royal family, thanks them each in turn: the harsh Azulon and his wife; the Crown Prince Iroh, his wife, and their young son, Lu Ten; and Ozai, the man she will marry.

---

Ursa walks around her family's home, small but spacious with high ceilings and well-kept gardens. She will miss this place. She grew up here, as did her mother. She hadn't intended to leave so soon.

She still feels like a child, really. Unexperienced, young, not ready to be a wife or mother. She was going to travel. She was going to fall in love, and bring the man back home to marry.

She is full of romantic ideas, but she supposes none of them are practical.

---

Her peers don't seem to understand. Ursa thinks they're jealous.

Didn't you always want to be a princess?

No. I'd rather be in love.

---

Her mother helps her choose wedding robes. They are long, flowing, with wide shoulders. The dress underneath is light and fitted so that even with the long robes over it, Ursa doesn't feel covered.

The tailor frets over every detail, and insists on calling Ursa Princess.

---

Ursa steps into the garden behind her family's home, warm in the bright sunlight. The flowers are in full bloom in this lovely spring month. They spread their petals in delight. Like Firebenders, they rely on the sun.

Ursa moves slowly through the garden, stopping often to admire the plants. She decides to ask Ozai for her own garden at the palace. It's a small favor in exchange for her hand in mirrage, she hopes.

---

Ursa and her family are invited to dinner with Ozai and his parents. They bow before the Fire Lord, then Ursa reluctantly takes her place beside her future husband.

Royal servants surround the table, ready with more food, and to carry out each of their inane demands.

Conversation is awkward.

Ursa doesn't think she'll ever get used to this.

---

I don't love him, Mother.

You don't have to.

---

Ursa's mother sends her down the isle with a tearful kiss and a bouquet of Narcissus. She keeps her head bowed until she reaches Ozai, her Prince. She tries not to think about all the people staring at her.

Bells ring, cutting through the warm spring air. Ozai looks at his bride, says the appropriate words, and kisses Ursa politely. She smiles as she's told she should. This is her wedding day, after all.

---

Ozai commissions a fountain to be built in the East courtyard. He allows Ursa to choose whatever flowers she likes, and hires gardeners to help her plant and care for her new garden.

Grateful, she bows and thanks him. He asks for a kiss instead, and she obliges.

---

It's several days before Ozai shares a bed with Ursa. He is more gentle than she expects. He is not usually a soft man.

Afterwards, she forces herself to say the words she's been avoiding:

I love you, Ozai.

You don't have to lie to me.

---