Title: Its Wide Foundations
Author: Tiamat's Child
Word Count: 500
Warning: None
Summary: Everyone in Omashu is crazy.
Notes: Written for challenge #85: "Divergence" at theavatar100 at LiveJournal.

Its Wide Foundations

In Omashu Fire Nation troops stand on the street corners.

In Omashu the people in brown and green flow around them, steady, steady, one two three, and no one pays the troops any mind except to say hello how are you are you coming to dinner we missed you last night how is your family?

In Omashu Mai wakes and her brother is screaming down the hall and below, below, below, down the dizzying height of the wall – earthbenders can do anything, earthbenders don't care about gravity, earthbenders arch the walls and they slant inward and grow up and up and buildings in Omashu are tall and cool and green and brown – someone is calling cabbages cabbages get your fresh juicy cabbages best there are.

In Omashu Mai's father paces, paces, her father paces, her father who is so still and stately paces and says they just won't listen, it's like they don't even know we're not visitors we're rulers we won.

In Omashu Mai says make a few examples and in Omashu her father does, but in Omashu the people in brown and green flow like the earth, like the flying crates that scurry day in and day out and always ruin the groceries, and the prisoners vanish and the prison is how it always was, earth and stone and no sign of forced entry but a thin line like a butter knife where a bender turned the wall aside.

In Omashu the postmaster comes and he is very polite and he takes tea with her mother and tea with her father and the baby is quiet for once. And the postmaster explains that visitors do not have the right to order executions perhaps if you have a complaint you should take it up with King Bumi? He's very fair. Mostly.

...But he's our prisoner, her father says, so loud, so unexpectedly loud, that it hurts Mai's ears because her father never shouts and she does not know how to understand a place where he does. He's not in power anymore, her father says, we are! We won!

And the postmaster blinks and the postmaster says only the king or queen has authority over disputes, it's in the city charter. Can't go against the city charter, where would we be if we just did what we wanted? Well – I suppose we'd be King Bumi but we can't all be King Bumi!

In Omashu the people in green and brown walk and laugh and don't seem to care at all, and in Omashu the gates opened and the city was busy and bustling and the troops walked right in and no one did anything and Bumi was waiting and smiled and did nothing nothing nothing and the people in Omashu do nothing nothing but that's just the problem how do you rule?

In Omashu Mai leans out the window out of the cool dark green brown into the bright sun and hears her brother crying and half wishes for Azula.