Welcome to Kuro, my second Avatar fanfiction. It is a kind of prequel to the show itself. It starts off a bit slow, but trust me, it picks up. Please review- constructive criticism is great. (:

Chapter 1: Amber Eyes

You may have heard about me, but most of what is told about me is nothing but lies. Here is the truth: I am Princess Kuro, daughter of Sozin and of a mere concubine, born fifteen years before the start of the war. My little brother is indeed Azulon, though he was just a baby when I left the palace. But no, I never supported the war, nor did I pay much attention to the warning signs. The fact that I helped bring it about will never cease to haunt me.

This story, my story, begins a year and a half before the comet arrived and war broke out, courtesy of my father. It is not just a story of war and hate, but a story of love, growing up, and trying to avoid those "small" mistakes that can all but destroy your life...

The moment Kuro's personal maid, Ai, was out of sight, Kuro pulled the crown off her head and released her hair from a tightly wound bun. "Much better," she said, grinning and running her fingers through her hair. She pushed back the curtains from her window and stepped outside with one quick look behind her. When her feet hit the ground, she began running, free from the duties of being a princess.

Her day had been occupied with formal dance classes and calligraphy lessons, and after all that focusing on pointless tasks she was ready to throw her head back and laugh- which probably was not the best idea, considering she was now running through the forest west of the palace, an area covered with trees and other vegetation. But it wasn't anything like that that caused her to fall; rather, it was a large hole that was probably dug by one of the palace's komodo rhinos, into which she tumbled headfirst.

"Dang it," Kuro groaned, sitting up and dusting herself off. She continued grumbling about her misfortune and how Ai was going to kill her when she saw how dirty she was until she heard another sound: a laugh, coming from one of the trees around her. A boy jumped down from a branch with an infuriating grin on his face. He was deeply tanned, clearly a peasant, with messy chocolate-brown hair. He was perhaps a year older than her. And he won't live to be any older if he keeps grinning like that, Kuro thought and briefly wondered if the palace executioner could be bribed.

He leaned over the hole and offered his hand. "I'm sorry for laughing, I just wasn't expecting anyone to gleefully run straight into a hole today."

"Whatever," Kuro muttered, ignoring his hand, though now she was more embarrassed than angry. She pulled herself out of the hole, stood up, and walked away from the boy. He was not to be deterred; he followed after her. "I'm Dai."

"Congratulations."

"And what might your name be, Amber Eyes?"

Kuro turned around at that. "You really don't know?" she asked curiously.

He squinted at her. "Can't say that I do."

She rolled her eyes. "I'm Kuro. Go look it up."

He paused. "Kuro... That does ring a bill." He suddenly smirked. "Wait, are you trying to tell me I've been laughing at the Fire Nation's princess?"

"Go away."

Dai bowed slightly. "As you wish, Amber Eyes."

As he left, Kuro tried to decide what had made her uncharacteristically angry. Was it because she'd been laughed at, or because he hadn't recognized her?

Looking back, it was probably the fact he hadn't recognized me immediately. It was my first glimpse into life outside the palace, into a world where maybe I was less important than I'd always been told. Oddly enough, the person who made me see this soon became the central figure in my own life.