AN: Ok quick note. First off I am stopping one of my current stories called, "The Notebook" for now and will come back to it later. Now for this story. The other day I had this dream and I know I know the plot is way overused but I enjoy the harem stories. But mine will have a spin off. And before you ask, this is a Zutara fic, not anything else. Other pairings will include, Sukka, Taang, some Maiko and thats about it. So enjoy and let me say...this is a really really rough beginning, I am kind of ashamed. Anyways enjoy and please review. Let me know if I should run with it, leave it or watever.
"Take her!" the rugged, withered general said as he pointed at her.
Two guards came, forcing her off the ground and took the liberty of tying an extra band of rope round her already bound hands. It had been three weeks since she had seen daylight. It had been three long, agonizing weeks since she had seen her family and she knew that one day soon she would see them again. Even if it meant waiting an entire year in this La forsaken land.
As she was forced up from the ground she could feel their digits digging deeper and deeper into the flesh of her forearms, no doubt leaving their searing fingerprints behind. She had hated the fact that even though she complied to everything these bastards had commanded, she was still punished like a rouge criminal. No matter, once things were as they should be, she would get her revenge. Standing there, she was totally oblivious to the fact that a tall, rather thin man whose face was gaunt with dark bags under his eyes approached her. His eyes roamed over her torn body and he made what sounded to her like a snort and it was at that moment that she realized someone stood before her.
"Tell me girl," he asked as he circled both her and the guard that held her, "your name, age, race and if you are a bender or not." There was not much in his tone except irritation.
Her eyes made contact with his and for a moment he seized up. Was it such a rare occurrence for a man to look a woman in the eye here? Or was it the fact that her eyes beheld not molten liquid pools of gold ember, but that they were as dark and dangerous as the overbearing seas. But it only lasted a brief moment before he crossed his arms, waiting for her reply.
"My name is," she paused, should she tell them the truth or should she simply lie about it? And what about being a bender? Wouldn't they surly kill her for being a bender of the opposite element? Not that she wasn't sure they wouldn't kill her just for being from the Water Nation, but what would they do if they knew she was a bender?
"My name is Katara, I am from the Southern Water Tribe, I am not a bender and I am 18 years of age," she paused seeing his brow raised as if he waited for something, "sir," she grumbled as her eyes narrowed dangerously. He smirked as he once again circled her.
"She will do, take her to the palace immediately. There she will meet with the Prince and Princess and then be presented to the Fire Lord," the man stated and before she knew it she was being thrown into a carriage and being carted off to the Royal Palace.
The ride was long and boring, but she was fortunate enough not being the only one on their way there. Six other girls all around her age were sitting in the carriage with her. Few were from the Earth Kingdom, that she knew by the color of their eyes and the torn rags they wore, but the others, the others were from the Fire Nation. Each girl had a different style kimono, their hair all in up dues and their faces wore simple smirks as they cold eyes scanned the other girls that were riding with them. Clearly they were not being forced to go to the palace, but were rather chosen or volunteered. Katara wasn't sure, but she knew that whatever was about to happen to them didn't phase them in the least.
"I hear that the Fire Lord's son and daughter are looking for several new concubines for their father's harem. Apparently three of the previous concubines either died or ran away or their services were no longer needed," one girl sneered. Katara's eyes darted over to the one speaking, her eyes held nothing but horror.
'Concubines? Surely we are not going there to be concubines!' she thought to herself.
"I know! And I am so excited! I heard that they are already selecting girls for Prince Zuko's harem and that he needs at least four other girls," the three giggled at the thought, "he is so handsome!"
"Oh I know!" the other interjected.
"I hope that we serve him and not his father," one whispered, but Katara could still hear them, "I hear that he beats his women and honestly I think I am far too young for his taste," she muttered.
"He is into the exotic women," one winked. She noticed Katara starring at them and listening to their private conversation so she decided to give her a little heart stopper.
The other three girls from the Earth Kingdom and Katara all stared at the others at their last statement. Exotic? What did they mean by exotic?
But before anyone could ask questions, the carriage came to a halt. They had made it to the palace and for the first time in a long time Katara felt her heart drop to the pit of her stomach.
"Alright you! Get out of the carriage!" the guards yelled as they ripped open the door that Katara leaned against. She and an Earth Kingdom girl who had gawked out the window both fell onto the earth beneath them, groaning in pain.
"Get up!" both rose silently, whipping the dust from their already nasty clothes and stood in line next to one another.
"Oh have you ever seen anything more grand Kiara!" one of the fire nation concubines to be stated in awe as she gazed at the massive building before them.
"No I dare say I have not Mika, I dare say I have not."
So that's what their names were, Mika, Kiara and…and the last girl she didn't know, but she would find out soon enough, that she was sure of.
Once everyone was out of the carriage, the girls who had been bound by the wrists were cut loose as they were escorted into the palace. There they were met by three people. Two youths, perhaps the Prince and Princess and an older gentleman who did not seem like the legendary Fire Lord Ozai.
"General Iroh, Prince Zuko, Princess Azula," the guards that had escorted them in all bowed, along with the three girls who were clearly from the Fire Nation. Katara and the three Earth Kingdom girls however did not bow, they saw no reason for it. They were not here by choice, they were prisoners and as prisoners they would not bow to their masters. But as always there was someone who would ensure that they would abide by the laws of the Fire Nation and they were forced from behind to bow.
"Here are the seven women that you requested. Three of which are from the smaller surrounding cities of the Fire Nation, two are from Ba Sing Se, one from Omashu and the last one is from the Southern Water Tribe," the general sneered. Katara really loathed that man.
The elder, known as General Iroh stepped forward, the two young royals following him slowly as he examined each and every girl. Apparently the approval was up to him.
Silently Katara prayed that she was not their taste and hoped that she would be stuck in the servants quarters, scrubbing floors, tending to her enemies needs, just not any personal needs.
"State your name, age and your race to General Iroh when asked!" the other general snapped and all the girls nodded, but four glared holes through him as they did.
"I am Mika, 19 years of age and I am from the Fire Nation," Mika stated politely. Her eyes never leaving the prince's face. She seemed to be interested in him more than she was in serving the Fire Lord and Katara could definitely understand. She didn't understand how anyone could bare being in the same room with that, that monster.
"I am Kiara, 18 years of age and I am from the Fire Nation," Kiara smirked as she glanced between eh siblings then her eyes darted to the general. This girl did not seem as confident as the first, nor did she seem like she was even sure that she was worthy of being here. Then finally that last girl from the Fire Nation spoke, allowing Katara to finally know her identity.
"Lady Mai, daughter of the Govner of New Ozai, I am 19 years of age and I am from the Fire Nation," this Mai character was someone important, someone with a title and apparently it was her family that came to power of Omashu after Bumi was taken prisoner. Katara did not like this girl and her heart suddenly sank when she remembered that one of her comrades from the Earth Kingdom was from Omashu. How terrible it must be to be forced from your home, let alone know that it has fallen to a ruthless enemy.
"Next," General Iroh stated softly. It was her turn, Katara let out a breath she didn't even realize she was holding and closed her eyes for some sort of comfort and peace before proceeding.
"I am Princess Katara of the joined Water Nation, I am 18 years of age and obviously," she smirked as her eyes narrowed, "I am from the Water Nation." She crossed her arms as she glared at the two generals, the guards and the two royals before her. Apparently they didn't know who she was when they had forced her onto the damn boat in the first place.
General Iroh glanced up at her, then looked over her body and knew that if Ozai saw this girl, let alone found out who she was, he would take her and make her his own. He sighed, knowing that it was not up to him, but up to his niece and nephew and he knew what they were both thinking.
"Next," he mumbled out, his eyes still focused on Katara.
"I am Arora, I am 20 years of age and I am from Ba Sing Se," she stated with pride.
Iroh nodded his head for the other to continue.
"I am Jin, I am 18 years of age and I am from Ba Sing Se," she too matched her companions pride filled voice.
"And you?" Iroh asked the girl at the very end, her head bowed down as her hands clenched into fists, "I am Ma Lyn, I am 20 years of age and I am from Omashu," she stated, her head still bowed.
Iroh nodded and it was then that he turned to the two royals behind him and they conversed together. A few times there were fingers pointed to certain girls and small chuckles escaped the lips of the princess as her eyes darted between them. Katara's heart tightened in her chest as she and the other girls awaited for the final decision. Finally they decided. The three then turned back around to face the girls and Iroh began to speak.
"The four ladies that shall be serving my nephew Prince Zuko are," he paused, before announcing their names, "Lady Mai, Lady Kiara, Lady Jin and Lady Arora."
The girl that Katara now knew as Kiara was smirking like a devil as she was announced to be one to serve the prince, Lady Mai on the other hand seemed passive as if she truly didn't care and the two Earth Kingdom girls that were chosen, their eyes beheld rage and anger.
"As for the three of you, you have been chosen to serve my brother, Fire Lord Ozai. Lady Mika, Lady Katara and Lady Ma Lyn congratulations young ladies, there are hundreds of girls who would kill to be where you are now."
With that the young Prince and Princess left them, allowing General Iroh to escort them wherever it is that they had to go to next.
"Now if you will follow me, I shall escort you to your appropriate harems and that is where you shall be prepared for your new masters," Iroh stated calmly as he turned, signaling them to follow.
As they made their way through the massive halls and corridors of the palace, Katara was amazed at the beauty it held. Never did she think that a place filled with such hatred and violence could be so wonderfully beautiful. She watched as the four chosen for the prince were escorted off and into a chamber by women with painted faces and rose lips, with weird hairstyles and glorious dresses.
Soon she found herself along with Ma Lyn and Mika being rushed into a room by the same type of mysterious women and knew that it was time.
Several hours passed of preparing and glamoring, but the one thing she noticed was that she and the other two were not given the face paint, nor the bright red lip paint. But instead were given natural toned paint, that brought out their features. Their dresses were donned in the color of the virgin, white silken dresses that flowed around their bodies loosely.
After they had been pampered the girls were lead from the harem to the Fire Lord's council chamber where they would meet the ruthless ruler of this nation and their new forced lover.
The massive double doors parted and the three walked in gracefully, Katara taking up the rear. She was nervous beyond all words. Her heart raced with such speed that she thought at any given moment it would burst from her chest. The room was completely empty of any guards or council men, the only person in this room with them was the Fire Lord who at the moment resided behind a thick wall of flames.
Katara watched carefully as the Mika slowly bowed, followed by Ma Lyn and soon herself. They were down on all fours which made Katara feel like an Arctic Seal Turtle. Her eyes never left the ground for she was too fearful to look up. Footsteps were heard and Katara knew that he was approaching them.
"Now what do we have here?" his voice was thick and velvety and Katara could not help but wonder how such an angelic voice could come from such a demon.
Mika was instructed by the head concubine to announce them as gifts from his children and brother, but Katara begged inside that she wouldn't. It was only fools prayers but she didn't know what else to do at the moment.
"We are gifts my lord, from your children, Prince Zuko and Princess Azula and your brother, General Iroh, Dragon of the West," Mika stated softly, her head never leaving the ground.
Katara pressed her forehead deeper and deeper into the cool marble floor beneath her, hoping that he would over look her, hoping that he would be disgusted with her, how did they put it to her again, 'barbaric appearance.'
"Rise, please," he commanded, "allow me to better admire my gifts," he watched as the three girls rose from their bowing positions only to stand with their heads bowed, and hands clasped tightly in front of them, "do not hide your faces from me girls," he stated as he lifted Ma Lyn's chin with his forefinger.
His features were perfect, they reminded Katara much of the Prince that she had seen earlier in the day. Keeping her eyes forward she waited until he came to her and stood there firmly as he looked her over, apparently being quite pleased with what he saw.
"Remind me," he said as he reached for Katara, turning her head to face him, "to thank my children and brother for their gracious gift," he cooed as he moved in, capturing Katara's cool and inviting lips with his hot searing kiss.