Master of Elements, Mistress of Flames
A/N: I wasn't planning on writing another Azula/Aang but after the response I got from Captor and Captive, I decided to give it a shot. I still had some ideas after that story that have been plaguing me.
A/N2: Takes place five years after the Day of Black Sun.
Disclaimer: Avatar is not my property and will never be my property.
Chapter 1: Cold Fire Azula
She knelt before the two old crones. They were the advisors and teachers her father had given her as a child. Two women who had once been beautiful and now were the relics of an age long forgotten
She could laugh at what they once had been and what they now were. Two beautiful women known for their poise, grace and cunning who by time had been reduced to two wrinkled hags that had never known a man.
"You have grown Azula. It has been five years since you have last seen the capital."
How could she forget the five years she had spent training? Her father had demanded that his daughter improve her skills.
Azula was strong but she lacked. The Avatar would be stronger than her after the fire training he would receive from not only her brother but her uncle.
She had objected. It was her mission to bring in the Avatar along with her treacherous relatives.
"You gave me this mission father surely—"
The dark eyes flashed with flames. "Dare you disobey me Azula? Dare you question me?"
The danger was eminent and she was still no match for her father. He would not succeed. She alone could stop the Avatar.
"As you wish my lord father."
"It is time Princess Azula," the crones spoke in unison, "It is time for you to return to your mission. Bring your father the Avatar and he will raise you up higher than any other in this kingdom. Bring him the Avatar and crush the resistance."
Azula bowed her head her smirk unnoticeable to the crones.
"You summoned us, Princess Azula."
Azula barely glanced at her childhood friends. Both were round and expecting children judging by the size of their bellies.
She had heard the rumors that Ty Lee and Mai had returned to their families. Their marriages however had not been important to her. Both were married to older high ranking military officers.
"What right do you have to stand before me?" she snapped, "Get on your knees."
The two pregnant women glanced at each other. It was hard enough to walk with their large bellies and now—
"Do it now. Do not test my patience."
The cold fire of Azula's order made the girls obey without a second thought.
"Now I wish to hear the news of the city."
Ty Lee only turned to look at Mai who sighed. She had not wanted to be the one to speak to Azula.
"The city will be celebrating the festival of fire in three days," Mai said her voice droning through the corridor. "It is in celebration of our victory over the other nations. With the exception of the area occupied by the resistance, the Fire nation has control of the remainder of the four nations."
"How large is the restience?" Azula asked.
"No one knows. They change locations every few months. All that is known is that the Avatar is with them."
"He challenged father before the comet?"
"Yes, but—Oh Azula no one knows what exactly happened. Neither one won that battle," Ty Lee interjected her voice still innocent.
"What of my brother and uncle?" Azula said trying to ignore the Ty Lee's informality.
"They are with the Avatar. That's the rumor," Mai replied.
The information was so common knowledge that Azula could have gotten from a person off the street. Still she might find some use for her former friends.
"Tell about yourselves. I see you are both expecting. Is your first?"
Azula could care less but she needed them to slip information.
"This is Mai's fifth. Her husband is a member of the army," Ty Lee said grinning.
"He's a general and I'm his second wife. His first wife was barren so he got rid of her. Ty Lee's on her second."
"My husband's an admiral in the navy," Ty Lee said smiling.
Hmmmm….a general and an admiral, she had known her friends were desirable on the marriage market but this was a stroke of luck.
"Introduce me to them."
Azula watched in quiet interest as her friends obeyed her every order. Ty Lee and Mai had not only hurried to send messengers to their husbands but had brought their children as well. Her father had found her request for a dinner with her two friends and their families startling.
"I'm leaving for mission in three days father and it has been five years since I last saw them. Surely you can grant me some time with my friends."
"This mission is of the utmost importance Azula. There is no time for you to waste on pointless gatherings."
"My dear lord father have I ever done anything without a reason?"
"Princess Azula may I present my husband General Ryu Lee?" Mai said her voice emotionless as usually.
General Lee was an older man. His dark hair was beginning to streak with white and his eyes were a hard brown. "Princess Azula my family is honored by your attention and hospitability," he said bowing.
"Nonsense general, your wife was one of my closest friends a child. As for my hospitality it is only deserving for my oldest friends."
Azula's golden eyes flickered to the children following Mai. Mai's marriage had been rushed after her parents were assured that she had remained untouched while in a relationship with Zuko. Azula had never doubted that Mai was pure. Zuko was too honorable and Mai too much of a cold fish to entice the fire prince.
But by the number of children, it was obvious that Mai's parents had wanted her out of the way as soon as possible. Five years of marriage and already on her fifth child? It was inconceivable.
Her golden eyes again flickered towards her friend who was biting her lips. General Lee's hands were caressing the bludgeoning belly. Surely, this would not be the last of the children Mai would carry. Already Azula could see that Mai had become weaker due to her inability to train during her pregnancies. What a fitting fate to for her friend.
Mai's face unconsciously stiffened more when she saw Azula's predatory smile. "My what lovely children you have."
The four little ones, the oldest a four year old boy followed by his three sisters, glanced at her in amazement. Her smile deepened as the children got on their knees and bowed.
"Such obedient little ones. You may rise. My maid will show you to the table while I greet Ty Lee and her family."
Azula smiled as Mei's face paled at recognition. The maid, one of the former Kyoshi warriors, led the family to the table.
Ty Lee was hugging her and Azula fought the urge to push her off.
"I apologize for my wife, Princess Azula. She get's excited."
"I have known Ty Lee for a long time and she has always been this way," Azula replied shrugging off the man's apology.
He was a young man, early thirties or late twenties by Azula's guess. Behind them slightly was a three year old girl.
"Azula, I forgot to introduce them. Oh….this is my husband Admiral Zu Chan. He is the oldest son the great Admiral Chan and this is my daughter, Ty Lin."
It took Azula a mere second to deduce that this man must be the brother of that boy she had met on Ember Island. That boy who had rejected her.
"How is your brother?" she asked.
Lee frowned as she remembered the vacation. Azula was known for her
grudges and the younger Chan had insulted her.
The admiral's eyes widened. "He is of good health your highness. Currently he is serving in the Fire Nation navy as a captain."
"Indeed? What is his ship?"
"The Fire Rose, milady."
The Fire Rose was among the fastest ships in the fleet. So the young Chan was not a fool. He had obviously used his father's connections. Still he was only a captain and that could only mean one thing. The boy had no talent as a warrior.
"Inform him that he has an I a summoning from me to be at the palace tomorrow."
The admiral nodded.
Sukki remained impassive. Her mistress had ordered her to bring the young man to her the moment he arrived.
The once leader of the Kyoshi warriors was now not only Azula's maid but also her body guard. Years in prison had hardened the young woman and made her crack under the pressure. There had been countless torture and worse still was the Dai Li.
The Dai Li now Azula's loyal servants had been responsible for the Kyoshi warriors' treatment but Sukki had been Azula's special project.
Her face was neutral as she saw the young man.
"Princess Azula does not take kindly to those she summons arriving late."
"The message was given to me only an hour ago and I was aboard my vessel," the young man replied.
The morning had been uneventful for Chan. The night before he had ordered his men to bring ten of the city's best geisha. The women had entertained him for hours on and by the time they left the men had brought him his nightly requirement of prostitutes.
Each woman had tempted his flesh and made his heart beat fast. Each had been filled with seed and drenched with sweat.
Unfortunately, his brother had arrived late that night during his festivities to deliver the princesses message.
"Ty Lee said to warn you that Princess Azula will not take kindly to any disrespect from you," his older brother Zu said.
"Like a care what Princess Azula thinks."
"The fate of our family rests on you behaving yourself. Father will surely disown you if he hears of you disrespecting the pruincess."
"You worry too much brother. The princess is a woman and you know how good I am with women."
When he recognized the woman on the throne he realized that his mission would be easy.
"You should have told me that you were Princess Azula that night at the party," he said smiling at her. "You have grown more beautiful since princess."
Surely she would be eating out of the palm of his hand.
"How dare you speak before I address you," she said. "Kneel and wait for me to speak."
He smiled. So that she was playing hard to get.
"We are old friends Azula. We did after all share that kiss. I wish to speak to you as an equal. Besides you sent for me because you wanted me."
Chan barely ducked as the fireball came at him.
"Insolent fool! I called you here because of a descripancy in your naval record."
"My record is perfect! Even ask my father!"
Azula walked towards the now kneeling man. "I'm sorry to say that your father has put in for his retirement as of this morning. Your brother is now the head admiral and seeing as how illegal activities were occurring on your ship he has been forced to suspend you. Besides you're military record is abysmal. Continously you have brought your ship in for major repairs because of your inability to manage her."
It had been one time that he had crashed into the shore! One time that he had rammed into another Fire Navy ship! One time that he had forgotten to have the ship inspected for termites! And she was making it sound like it was multiple incidents!
"You're just doing this to get me back for not wanting you. You were nuts! A complete lunatic! What type of guy wants a girl like that?" he demanded.
Azula's eyes flashed. What a little fool she had been when she was younger. Sure he had a pretty face but behind that there was no brain or power.
"Your new assignment," she said impassively handing him the orders dismissing him.
She smiled as she heard his cry of outrage.
Maybe being a cabin boy on the Graceful Turtle, the Fire Navy's slowest ship, would teach him some restraint.
Information gathering was a difficult process. But at last now she knew enough to leave in the morning.
For five years she had been surrounded by the walls of a Fire Nation Academy training to become not only better than the Avatar but also better than her father.
For five years the walls of her room and the constant pressure of the Fire Sages was all she knew. They who knew the deepest secrets of firebending had become her teachers. For five years she had to content herself by controlling the Dai Li and the Kyoshi warriors. Now she could have her power.
"Why is it power you always crave? In every lifetime it is the same."
She could see no one in her room but the voice had been close.
"Why in every lifetime do you separate us?"
She moved closer. The voice she could swear it was next to her.
"What do you mean? Who are you?"
"This lifetime will be the same as the others if you do not stop. This time I will go again."
Her eyes narrowed. "Are you threatening me?"
"It was you who drove me to them. You who made still celibate for lifetimes. You who led me to love others. And soon you will loose me again. Goodbye Li An."
Azula felt the fire burn brighter in her until the internal flames seared at her insides.
In the northern air temple Aang snapped out his trance.
"Go back to sleep Katara I'm fine."
He dared not look at her in the dark for he knew she was not Li An.
To be continued….