Disclaimer: I do not own the intellectual properties depicted herein. I do not own the characters portrayed. I make no claim to own any part of 'Avatar: The Last Airbender'. All intellectual properties depicted herein belong to the creators of 'Avatar: The Last Airbender.' and Nickelodeon.
Tales from the Fire Nation
Sometime before World Tour…
Azula snorted at her perceived notion of Katara's peasant ignorance, "Yes. That's why we're in a theatre, Wet-Fish." The waterbender snarled right back in the haughty princess' smug face.
Azula uncrossed and crossed her legs, steepling her fingers. At that moment, the stage lights and shadows hit her just right. For a second, Katara could swear she saw the old Azula smiling menacingly in the dark.
"Are you two comfortable?"
Both women looked in the direction of the warm, kindly voice.
"Yes, Lady Ursa."
Lady Dowager Ursa chuckled, "Katara, how many times do I have to tell you? It's just Ursa." Azula mumbled from the side, "Or mom."
"Did you say something dear?"
"No. Not a peep." The princess looked around for her dumkopff brother, "Where's Zuzu with my fireflakes?" her answer was having said greasy bag of snacks dropped in her lap,
"Hey watch it dumb dumb!" She snapped as Zuko took his seat between his mother and Katara, "There. Fresh fireflakes." He monotoned. The concession line was murder. That was one experience he'd rather not go through again.
Azula wrinkled her nose at her older brother and started on her crunchy repast, "Wet-Fish, I can't reach my brother. Be a dear and thank him for me."
"Usually, I'd zap him." Azula held up two fingers with an electrical charge, similar to that found in modern day tazers, "But you can just kiss him. Same effect I suppose."
Ursa patted Katara's shaking hands in a motherly fashion, "Don't tease her Azzie." Azula bristled at the mention of her mother's chosen nick name for her.
"Zuko and I are just good friends." Said Katara. Given the way she replied, it was forced and out of place. Azula sniggered, while Ursa kept up her mother's understanding. Zuko had kept mercifully quiet, for his own sake. Right then in the Royal Box, the odds were three to one against. The prince may have made some boner mistakes in the past, but even he wasn't that suicidal.
"I'm sure you are dear." Said Ursa trying out a new fangled device brought over from the Earth Kingdom. An ingenious set up of glass lenses that magnified distant objects. It was just like the telescopes used by most mariners but for both eyes.
Azula shushed them all the moment the curtains parted,
"It's starting." Katara goggled at the princess' uncharacteristic enthusiasm for a simple play. Azula wasn't what you would call a connoisseur of fine arts. Unless slamming an arrested suspect's head through a table was considered the epitome of royal culture and refinement. Then again given the family's mental history…
As if to answer Katara's unspoken question, the princess of flames merely smirked,
"Oh, I heard this one's a real cracker."
"Nope. But I'm sure you and Zuzu would enjoy it."
This time, it was Ursa who quieted them down. The play was titled, 'Love Will Find A Way.'
It opened with an actor, the kind girls would fantasize about having babies with or dripping oil over…whatever floats their boats, simply called 'The Prince'. The fact that said underwear model bore an uncanny appearance to Zuko, minus the scar, bothered Katara…a lot. Zuko, of course, did not notice.
'The Prince' was soon joined by another actor portraying his best friend, a warrior from the south. This one Zuko did notice and despite the narrator titling the new character as simply, 'The Warrior', he just had to point it out to Katara,
"I think he's got your brother down pat. He's even got the vacant stare and mindless drooling right."
The story continued with the 'Prince' lamenting his life. That despite being the second most powerful being in existence, the first being the evil Lighting Sorceress, and having untold riches his heart was still empty for he had never known true love. The 'Warrior' suggested that the 'Prince' look beyond the daughters of nobles, for they were hollow and soulless, only concerned with what they could take from him and in one particularly odd case, as many fruit tarts as she could carry. This burst of wisdom from the play's comedic character was soon played for laughs when asked by the 'Prince' on where the 'Warrior' gained such insight.
To which the 'Warrior' replied that peasant women are more…fun. The men in the audience chanced a quick chortle before being glared into silence by their wives, lovers, girlfriends and in some sad cases their mothers.
And so, the 'Prince', with hope in his otherwise empty husk of a heart, set out into the country side to find his bride. Naturally, the crass idiot came along as well. Days turned into weeks and weeks into months. All of which were visualized by smooth, flawless backdrop transitions. Azula whispered that the special effects budget must have been a bomb. Her whispers became quiet sniggers when she watched Katara's eyes widen at the next scene.
After months of fruitless searching, well…fruitless for the 'Prince' in any case. The 'Warrior' had women throwing themselves at him, the duo stopped by a river. One said to be cursed by the evil Water Spirit that dwelled in its waters. The 'Prince' dismissed such claims as rumors spread by the weak of will and heart and proceeded to disrobe to bathe in its crystal clear waters.
Every hot blooded woman in the audience, plus a few men, swooned as the 'Prince', in a manner that some would later call shamelessly servicing the fans, flaunted his well chiseled body. Of course, being a semi-family play, the actor stopped before taking his pants off. Zuko was shocked when he heard Katara moan indignantly when the actor toyed with the drawstring of his pants but did not seal the deal. The waterbender quickly turned her face away to hide her embarrassment at being caught ogling.
The 'sky' turned dark and water churned, once again the special effects budget limit was placed in the spotlight, seeing as real waterbenders were hired to bend the waters of the river to their will. The narrator ominously introduced a new character, The 'Water Spirit'. The actress playing the 'Spirit' was gorgeous. With a face as fair as the moon and a body whose curves flowed like the tide, the 'Water Spirit' was a knockout. Both Spirit and Prince locked eyes and while the Prince was instantly smitten, the Spirit had less than amorous intentions. She took offense at the Prince for defiling her river, the sacred waters that made her body, and cursed him with a mark so that he may never find true love. Which was very unreasonable since the 'Warrior' was also taking a bath in the background and looked like he was relieving the contents of his bladder, if the actor's expression was anything to go by.
Azula hissed viciously when a splash of red dyed water was bent by the special effects team to indicate the scarring of the 'Prince',
"Yes! You make him your bit…" Azula never got to finish her sentence as Ursa put her finger to her lips and shushed her.
The Spirit then cast the Prince out of her river but the Prince was smitten and would not leave. The 'Spirit' tried every trick in her book to drive the 'Prince' away. Curses, physical harm, magical spells, everything save for killing him.
Days turned into weeks and weeks into months. Over time, the 'Spirit' gave up and seemed to grow accustomed to the duo but she still would not return the affections of the 'Prince' though she harbored a tiny inkling of respect towards the young monarch for enduring her wrath. Not many beings would make such a boast of standing against her and live to tell the tale.
Respect that became friendship when the 'Prince' stopped a band of farmers from fouling the river with the wastes of their cattle. Friendship slowly became love after many nights of whispered confessions and loving embraces. But the Spirit knew that they could not be for she was of the immortal and he was just a man.
The 'Warrior' took the spotlight for a brief few scenes with his befriending of a local 'Earth Troll' that lived near the river. Katara could not help but be reminded of her dusty earthbending 'little sister'; probably driving her straight laced parents mad.
The narrator went on to tell of the 'Earth Troll's' sad tale. That she was actually a beautiful princess who was trapped there by an evil sorceress. Over time, the princess began to take less care in her appearance and eventually became the disheveled mess as she was now. Zuko squinted, trying to make out whether the person playing the Troll was male or female, even with the binoculars he couldn't tell.
Like every other woman the Warrior encountered, the Troll quickly fell head over heels in love with him, in hope that the Warrior would be the one to free her from her curse. With a new companion in tow, the Warrior made his way back to the lovers of the play only to bear witness to the dramatic scene where the villain or villainess as was the case, of the play was introduced by the narrator.
The Evil Sorceress, portrayed by a woman one could only describe as venomously beautiful, had watched the love between the Prince and the Water Spirit for a long time and grew jealous that she had never and might never experience such tenderness and unconditional love. The vile creature snatched the spirit from her lover's arms and disappeared into the night.
Hoping to cement her place with the Warrior, the Earth troll made tell of a Forest Witch that dwelled nearby. Said witch would know how to combat the sorceress. But the best laid plans…
It was now the Warrior's turn to be struck by love's arrow. The Forest Witch was unlike any other woman he'd been with. For one thing she wasn't fawning over him, in fact she held him in contempt and disdain. Also her beauty being of almost otherworldly nature played a part.
The Witch agreed to help as the Water Spirit was a dear friend. The Prince took her advice and set off to free his love, leaving the Warrior and the Earth Troll behind for the Witch had made it clear that this was his journey alone to make. The next scene told of the Earth Troll's heartbreak when she stumbled across the Warrior's confession of love for the Witch. It seemed that love was not for one such as her. There was no love for the dusty, muddy child of the earth.
Zuko thought he heard a few sniffles and noses being blown as the audience shared in the Troll's lament. In fact, a few of those sniffles came directly from his left.
"Katara? Are…are you crying?"
"She's so sad and lonely." She said wiping her eyes with a handkerchief, given to her by Azula of all people. "I can relate." Said the Princess, though she showed no signs of tearing up like the rest of the audience.
There was a scene change and they were back to the Prince confronting the Sorceress for the life of his love. In a battle that blew other plays out of the water, the Prince was forced to his knees while the Sorceress cackled.
"Her's is an evil laugh." Said Katara venomously. Azula shrugged, "I think she's got it down perfect."
In an attempt to cause the Prince even more suffering, the Sorceress made an attempt on the Water Spirit's life with a power lighting strike, made possible by using light focused through multiple lenses for effect. The Prince leapt in front of the fatal attack to shield his love. Though successful, he was mortally wounded and no amount of healing from his beloved Water Spirit could change that. In revenge, the waters rose and crashed down on the Sorceress seemingly killing her.
Eyes welled up with tears as the Water Spirit put forth her best acting. Breaking the hearts of the audience as she wailed the loss of her heart. Even Zuko couldn't help himself.
"Are you crying?" Asked Katara dabbing her own eyes. "No. No. I've just got a migraine. It's the lighting, it makes my head hurt." He retorted trying to hide the hitch in his voice as he feigned rubbing the bridge of his nose.
Finally to reiterate the title of the play, love did find a way. For if the Water Spirit could not become of flesh and blood to be with the Prince, with his death he could now be with her forever as a spirit.
Katara gasped when the lovers shared a searing kiss on stage, never parting as the curtain dropped slowly to signify the end. Her head was still in Romance mode as she gazed wistfully at the lovers on stage,
"I wish my love life was like that."
Zuko cleared his throat, "Yeah right. This is all fictional. Like something you find in a cheap tacky romance novel."
Azula chuckled, "Oh yeah. You'd know about those wouldn't you Zuzu? By the way, I want my cheap tacky novels back. And don't get the pages dirty this time."
Ripped from the deleted chapter 10 of World Tour. Thought I'd collect all the Fire Nation related scenes into a series of World Tour tie-in oneshots.
Also a cookie for guessing where the title of this bit comes from. And no it's not because there's a theatrical play in it.