Yo everybody! I know, I know, I'm starting yet another story. To be honest, I had no intention of writing an Avatar story until earlier this summer, when I found a one-shot called 'Risks' by Chibi Renamon. After reading that one-shot, I found myself drawn to the idea behind it. It was so different and found myself wishing that it wasn't a one-shot, but a full story. In the end, I found myself working on this first chapter for the last month and a half.
Disclaimer: I do not own Avatar: the Last Airbender.
Chapter One: A New Avatar
The South Pole
"Search the ship. We cannot let her escape." a Fire Nation officer ordered as his men rushed towards the abandoned Fire Navy ship trapped in the ice.
If they could not find her, the Fire Lord would not be pleased. And if the Fire Lord was displeased, then they were not long for this world. The men scoured the old ship, searching every nook and cranny of the vessel. After almost half an hour of fruitless searching, the soldiers gathered atop the deck of the ship. "She's not here sir. She must have escaped from the ship. What shall we do now sir?" one soldier said.
The officer growled in frustration. The Fire Lord was not going to be pleased. "She could be anywhere by now." he sighed. "We're heading back. Let's hope she dies out here in this frozen wasteland."
The soldiers proceed to climb down the robes they had used to board the derelict ship. As they left, a panel on the wall next to the door to the deck slid open. Azula climbed out of the wall she had been hiding in. She shivered as she rubbed her hands together. Spending half an hour surrounded by frozen metal had nearly froze her to death. But it was better than being caught. She created a fire in her hands to warm herself. She needed to figure out a way to get off this giant glacier and head back north.
She stared into the blue flames. But then what? Her own father had just ordered her arrest. Undoubtedly, word would soon spread across the entire Fire Nation. From the capital to the furthest colony would know that she was now a criminal. More than that, she was now the most wanted criminal of the Fire Nation. Azula knew she couldn't return to the Fire Nation.
Her mind went back to that moment. The moment that had changed everything. The moment everything was taken from her.
Earlier That Day
Azula stared out at the horizon from the deck of her father's personal ship. They were returning from inspecting elements of Southern Fire Navy Fleets off the southern coast of the Earth Nation, when Fire Lord Ozai had decided to take a brief detour to perform a slave run on the Southern Water Tribes. There were no more waterbenders in the Southern Tribes and most of their pathetic warriors were fighting their forces elsewhere. Any attack would only further demonstrate the superiority of the Fire Nation. As a result, her father had dismissed the four ships traveling with them.
It didn't matter anyway. This would be little more than a short, dull distraction.
Sokka, clad in his warrior attire and facepaint, stood on the snow wall of their village, watching as the massive Fire Nation ship approached the village. He had never seen a ship like it. Though his though his knowledge of the Fire Nation's Navy was fairly limited. The ship was huge, even for a Fire Nation ship, and looked far more elegant than any warship he ever seen. It's black bow was trimmed with gold, as has the roof of the ship's tower. Which looked more like a Fire Nation-style building rather than a warship's bridge tower.
As the ship approached, it tore through the ice, sending tremors through the village.
The bow of the ship dropped, crushing the village wall, sending Sokka crashing into the snow. A group of Fire Nation soldiers walked down the bow's ramp and took up positions at the foot of the ramp. Then another group descend the ramp. A pair of soldiers, wearing red armor and helmets that Sokka had never seen before, followed by a man clad in elegant heavy cloak with a five-pronged headpiece shaped like a fire and at his side, there was a young, dark-haired girl with a similar cloak. Behind them were more warriors in red armor and normal soldiers.
Sokka lunged at one of the soldiers, roaring as he swung his club down. The Fire Nation warrior effortlessly sidestepped the swing and backhanded the Water Tribe teen. Sending him to the ground. "Water Tribe dog. You dare threaten Fire Lord Ozai. You shall burn for your insolence." the soldier said, raising a hand.
Ozai raised his hand, stopping the man. "Hold. We'll take him. There's nothing more amusing than breaking in a defiant slave."
The soldier nodded his head, dropping his stance. "Yes my lord."
The soldier and one of his comrades grabbed Sokka. The teen fought and struggled as they slapped shackles on his wrists and ankles. A fist slammed into his stomach just before they let him go. Sokka doubled over, clutching his chest.
"Sokka!" Katara shouted, rushing to her brother's side.
But a soldier intercepted her, slapping her to the ground. Sokka screamed out his sister's name and tried to reach her. Only to be knocked to the ground by another warrior, who put it his foot on the teen's back. Katara climbed to her knees, her eyes locked on the Fire Lord. "Please. We're just a simple people. We meant no disrespect Fire Lord." Katara pleaded, her eyes watering. "We just wish to peacefully. Please. I...I'll go with you if you let everyone else go."
"Katara! Don't!" Sokka shouted as he struggled to free himself from underneath the soldier's boot.
Ozai approached the girl, until he was looming over her kneeing form. "You would sacrifice your own freedom to save all these people?"
Katara nodded. "Yes. Please spare them."
"Shackle her." Ozai ordered, turning away from her. "And everyone else of a suitable age. If anyone resists, kill them."
Katara's eyes widened in horror. "No! Please! Don't!" she begged, grabbing the hem of Ozai's cloak.
"You dare to touch the Fire Lord, peasant." a furious Ozai growled.
A second later, Katara screamed in agony as a fire whip lashed across her back, followed by another. Sokka frantically fought to get to his feet, to help his sister. But he was effectively pinned underneath the Fire warrior's foot. "You and your people will be properly taught to respect your betters. If you submit, you will not suffer much. Should you resist, such pain will only be the beginning." the Fire Lord said, the heat from his whips melting some of the snow around them.
Ozai extinguished his whips and started to walk away from her as his soldiers entered the village. Katara could hear the screams and cries of the women and children of her village as they were torn apart. She looked up, staring at the Fire Lord. Katara hated him. More she had hated anyone in her life. It was because of the Fire Nation raids that her mother was dead. Her father was gone, leaving them to fight against the Fire Nation. Now she had offered herself in exchange for sparing Sokka and the rest of the village, only to have him throw it in her face and tear apart her village.
Acting on anger and instinct, Katara drew the water from the melted snow into her hands and quickly formed a pair of ice daggers in her hand. No one noticed as most them focused on her village. In one motion and ignoring the pain from her burns, Katara stood up and threw the daggers with all of her might. Ozai caught her sudden movement in the corner of his eye and turned. But it was too late. There wasn't enough time for him to mount any kind of defense or for anyone to come to his aid...
But they didn't hit.
To everyone's surprise, the daggers were floating an inch away from Ozai's chest. Though none as surprised as Azula, who stood near her father, her hands reaching out as though to grab the ice. Slowly, everyone turned their attention from Ozai and the ice daggers to Azula. A few seconds later, the daggers fell to the ground.
Azula staggered back like she had been by a rock blast, completely transfixed on her hands. Her normal cold and controlled demeanor was broken. She couldn't believe what had just happened. What she had just done. It was impossible. She stopped those ice daggers, but not with firebending. Not even with her bare hands. She had just stopped them. But she was a firebender. There was no way a firebender could have stopped ice like that. Only a waterbender could have. The only firebender that could have used waterbending was... Her eyes widened as her mind came to a possible conclusion. The only possible conclusion. "No... It can't be... It's impossible..." Azula said, shaking her head, desperately trying to deny it.
"Arrest her! She's the Avatar!" Ozai shouted, his face barely containing his rage, already having realized what she just had.
"No... You're wrong father. I'm not the Avatar. I can't be." Azula desperately said, trying to convince her father as well as herself.
Ozai shook his head. "No. You are the Avatar. Hidden under our noses all this time. It seems I've banished the wrong child." He turned to one of his guards. "I want her taken alive."
"My lord, what about the villagers?"
"Leave them! Arresting Azula is infinitely more important than them!"
The guards advanced on her, several holding chains that hand been intended to be used on the slaves they had planned to take. "Stay back." Azula ordered, sliding back into her normal demeanor and taking a fighting stance.
They ignored her. Given a choice between obeying her and obeying her father, they would choose him every time. But they truly didn't concern her. Though her father's bodyguards were expert firebenders, Azula was quite certain that she could take them and the normal soldiers in a fight. Her father, however, was a different story. She knew she wouldn't stand chance against him.
"Surrender. We outnumber you. You cannot hope to defeat us all." the captain said.
"I don't need to defeat all of you." Azula replied, firing a jet of blue fire at the captain.
The man fired off his own fireball. But the crimson fireball was consumed by the azure one as it streaked towards him. The captain screamed as the fireball engulfed him. The other firebenders attacked, jets of fire raced towards the Fire Nation Princess. Azula thrust her hands downward, firing two streams of blue fire into the ground. Propelling her into air, evading the fireballs. As Azula started to fall downwards, she lashed out the soldiers with a pair of fire whips. Striking down several.
Unfortunately for her, more soldiers were disembarking from the ship, intending to overwhelm her with their numbers rather than but skill. Though Azula knew many, many firebending techniques, including how create lighting, (though she had yet to master the technique and wasn't about to use it here) she knew that she had only a few options left. She swung her arm, creating a small wall of blue fire in front of her. Azula quickly turned and ran, using her fire to propel herself forward faster than the guards could run. It was unlikely that the soldiers knew this technique. Her father's bodyguards probably knew it, but they weren't about to leave her father's side.
As the soldiers chased after Azula, Katara rushed over to her brother. She pulled him up, the shackles on his wrist clanging together as he rose. "Come on, we have to get out of here." Katara said, keeping her voice low as she pulled him away. At the same time, the women and children of their village fled as well.
Azula raced across the tundra. Her father's soldiers were not far behind. She needed a place to hide until they gave up. That's when she spotted it. An old derelict Fire Nation vessel. The perfect place to hide. She quickly reached the hull of the old vessel and leaped up, using her firebending to enhance her leap, allowing her to reach the deck of the ship in a single leap.
'Now to find a place to hide.'
The soldiers returned to Ozai and his bodyguards. Without his wayward daughter. "Where is she?" he demanded.
"My lord, our humblest of apologies. We have lost her." an officer explained. "But my lord, it's unlikely that she will survive out here for-AAAAAAAGH!!"
Flames engulfed the man, burning him alive. No one made any effort to help the man. "We're leaving." Ozai said to the remaining soldiers.
"What of the village and the girl that tried to kill you, my lord?" one of them asked.
The Fire Lord glanced at the now empty village. The feeble peasants had fled during the commotion their battle and chase with the Avatar. "They are of no importance." he said. "Send every messenger hawk out. Spread the word that Azula is no longer Princess of the Fire Nation. She is the Avatar and an enemy of the Fire Nation. She is to be arrested on sight."
"Yes my lord."
"Sokka, that girl was the Avatar." Katara said as they watched the Fire Lord's ship withdraw from their hiding place behind a snow drift.
"So what? That girl is Fire Nation. Not only that, she's the daughter of the Fire Lord!" Sokka said, trying to break his chains on his ankles with his club. He had just managed to break the chains on his wrists. "Even if she is the Avatar, do you think she's going to stop the Fire Nation?"
Katara couldn't deny that it was possible that she could side with the Fire Nation and help them win the war. But considering what just happened, she could fight against the Fire Nation and bring peace to the world. "That doesn't matter." she argued as she stood, wincing from the burns on her back. "If we don't help her, she'll freeze to death out there! Regardless of who she is, she doesn't deserve that. Are you coming?"
Sokka grumbled, finally breaking the chains on his ankles. but stood up as well. "Fine. But we're getting those burns treated first."
Katara nodded. "Okay. There should be some bandages and ointments in the village."
Azula slammed her fist on a wall in anger. The Spirits were mocking her. She was Azula. Daughter of Fire Lord Ozai. The next in line for the throne. Her destiny was to rule the Fire Nation one day. Not... Not this! Not the Avatar!!
Azula let a scream of frustration, a stream of blue fire surged down a corridor of the ship. She cursed herself for that pointless outburst. She was a Princess of the Fire Nation, such an outburst was beneath her. All she needed to do was to come up with a way to turn this all around. Yes... She could turn this around. She just needed to figure out how.
But first and foremost, she needed to find a place to stay as well as food and water. After that, she would need a means to leave the South Pole and head north. This ship would provide adequate shelter. Likely there was still coal in the boiler room that she could burn for heat. And she would be able 'acquire' food from any of the several nearby villages. But means to escape the South Pole would be more difficult. While there undoubtedly would be fishing boats in some of the villages, she doubted that they would be large enough to travel across the ocean safely. Worse, if they did have a large enough ship, it would probably be too large for her to operate by herself.
Azula scowled, gritting her teeth together. Any plans that she could make were all dependent one key part, being able to leave the South Pole. If she couldn't leave, it wouldn't matter what she planned, she'd be trapped in this wasteland for the rest of her life.
"Come on Katara!" a voice called out, disrupting her thoughts. "I don't see any sign of her here. She could be anywhere by now."
"We've only just gotten here. Let's at least search the inside of the ship first." a second voice replied. "Okay?"
"Fine." the first voice grunted, becoming louder as Azula could hear the sounds of faint footsteps drawing closer.
Azula moved into a darkened room, hiding behind the edge of the door frame, really to ambush them. Their footsteps drew closer and their voices grew louder. "Come on. The girl's Fire Nation. Even if we do find her, she'll probably fry us anyway."
"You don't know that Sokka. You saw what happened. She's the Avatar. The one who will defeat the Fire Nation and end the war."
Azula mentally laughed at that. Maybe if she was some Water Tribe or Earth Kingdom peasant. No, She was Fire Nation Royalty. Azula had no desire to defeat her own nation. It was their right to rule the world.
"Do really think she'd actually do that? You heard what they said, she's the daughter of the Fire Lord!"
"So? You saw what happened. The Fire Lord tried to have her, his own daughter, arrested when he learned that she was the Avatar."
Azula scowled again. Her father had clearly overreacted when...when that happened. She wasn't the Avatar. It was impossible. And even if by some bizarre twist of fate she was the Avatar, her father would have known that she wouldn't try to stop her own nation from winning the war. Clearly, he had been overwhelmed by the shock of what had happened and reacted without thinking things through.
"Sokka, you go that way, I'll go this way."
"Fine. But can we please hurry this up and back home."
The sound of the footsteps split apart, heading two different directions. One was coming closer. Azlua smirked. After what had happened earlier today, she needed to blow off some steam. And whoever was heading towards her would help her with that.
"Hello!" the voice, a girl's, called out as they entered the hallway. "Hello! Is there anyone there?"
The instant the girl passed the room she was hiding in, Azula struck, emerging from her hiding place. "Well peasant, you certainly made a big mistake by coming here." she said, ready to attack the girl. "Turn around."
The girl complied, turning to face Azula.
"You!!" Azula said, her eyes locked on the Water Tribe peasant that had caused all of this.
Sokka found himself wondering how he got himself into this mess as he searched the ship. Why did he let Katara drag him into this? He was the older sibling. He should be the one dragging Katara into messes like this. Not the other way around.
Besides, there was no way that girl was the Avatar. She was the daughter of Fire Lord. Why would the next Avatar be her of all people? Then there was the whole freaky blue fire she used. Regular fire was bad enough, but blue fire? He didn't even know there was such a thing as blue fire.
He walked down a flight of stairs, entering a cargo hold. There was a large tear in the hull, revealing the outside and illuminating the hold. There wasn't much there. Mostly just stacks of old, frozen barrels and crates. But then something caught Sokka's eyes. A locked chest lying near some crates at the far end of the hold. Sokka's eyes widened. It looked like the crew had left behind something. Something valuable no doubt.
Sokka walked into the hold, pausing only when he spotted a tripwire running along the ground. He carefully stepped over it and continuing towards the chest. The chest was of a fair size, but small enough for one person to carry. Sokka carefully lifted up chest, making sure that it wasn't a trap.
Satisfied that it was safe, Sokka headed back towards the doorway. But he forgotten about the tripwire. Until he stepped on it. A rumbling sound filled the hold. "Uh oh..." Sokka said, bracing himself for the trap that was about to hit him.
But a moment later, the rumbling stop and not thing else happened. Sokka let out a laugh. The ship had been out here for so long, what ever trap they had set up had long since fallen apart. Suddenly, there was an explosion, shaking the old ship. "Katara..." he whispered before he ran into the ship, still holding the chest.
It didn't take long before Sokka could hear the sounds of shouting and fighting. When he reached the corridor that he and Katara had split up in, he discovered scorch marks across the walls. He then heard someone scream, "It's all your fault!" coming from the deck.
Sokka rushed out onto the deck. The Fire Nation Princess was angry. No...she was furious. Throwing blue fireballs at his sister. Katara barely managed to dive out of the path of the attacks in time. "You tried to kill my father! You caused all of this!" the firebender shouted, continuing her attacks.
"Please! Calm down!" Katara pleaded as she fought to avoid the fireballs. "I'm sorry! I just want to talk!"
"So you can stab me in the heart with an ice dagger? No." the Princess said, approaching Katara. "I'm not going to give you the chance."
But what neither girl had noticed was that the heat from the fireballs was heating up the frozen metal of the deck. Creating cracks and fractures in the old metal until...
Azula took two steps when the deck collapsed underneath her. The Fire Nation Princess fell, but barely managed grab onto the edge of the deck, cutting the palms of her hands on the cold metal. Azula tried to pull herself up, but there was nothing grab onto to pull herself up. The metal groaned and started ti bend. Either the metal was going to give or she was going to lose her grip. Azula glanced down. Below her was the main hold. A fall from here would break bones at the very least.
"Here, take my hand." the Water Tribe girl said, extending her hand to Azula.
Given the situation, Azula wasn't about to refuse her help. She grabbed the girl's hand. Suddenly, the deck started to give again, Katara lost her balance and started to fall forward, when a hand reached out and grabbed her. "I told you we shouldn't have come here." Sokka said, pulling her back.
"Just give me a hand here." Katara replied.
Sokka pulled his sister back and then the siblings together managed to pull Azula out of the hole and onto a more stable part of the deck. "Why did you do that?" Azula asked, eying both of them with suspicion. "Why did you help me?"
"Hey! We just saved your life. You could at least-"
"We saved you because you were going to fall." Katara explained, cutting her brother off. "We came here looking for you, to be honest."
"So you can kill me."
"No!" Katara replied, victoriously shaking her head. "We came here to help you. Even if you weren't the Avatar, we-"
"I'm not the Avatar." Azula shot back, her eyes indicating that there was no room for argument on that.
Katara cleared her throat. "As I was saying, we came here to help you. A person could easily die out here if they don't know how to survive out here. It will be getting dark in a few hours, so why don't you come back to our village with us. You can get your hands treated there as well."
Azula glared at her. "Er...by the way, I'm Katara and this is my brother Sokka."
"Princess Azula." she replied, her tone cold. "Let's go."
Azula was no fool. She knew that her odds of survival would increase if she took refuge in a local village. So she would accept their offer to ensure her survival. If she was lucky, they would be able to tell her where she could find a ship to take her north.
As Katara and Azula walked towards the side of the ship, Sokka returned to the chest he had found and picked it up. "Where did you get that?" his sister asked.
"I found it in the hold." Sokka replied.
"In other words, you stole it." Azula said, staring at the chest.
"Hey! They left it here." Sokka said, defending himself. "Besides, they could have stolen it from someone else."
"Boy, was there any kind of wire on ground in the hold or attached to the chest?" she asked, her eyes never leaving the chest for an instant..
"Er...yeah... I kinda stepped on it as I was leaving." an embarrassed Sokka answered. "But nothing happened. The trap must have been broken."
"Actually, that wire could have been attached to a flare. Meaning that chest is probably filled with junk as bait for greedy thief back when there were more of our ships in the South Pole." Azula explained.
"What?! No way! There's got to be something in here."
"Break the lock and see for yourself. There's nothing in there."
Sokka put the chest on the ground and pulled out his club. "There's something valuable in here, you'll see." he said, striking the lock with his club.
Azula shook her head and turned way from the Water Tribe boy. After a few hits, the lock shattered and Sokka opened the chest. Inside was something wrapped in purple cloth. Sokka pulled back the cloth, revealing a large, pale gold egg. "Ha! See! There's a solid gold egg in here!" Sokka said, pulling the egg out of the chest.
Both girls turned back to him, staring at the egg that Sokka was holding triumphantly in the air. "No way... Is that real gold?" a wide-eyed Katara asked.
"Yeah." a very smug Sokka replied as he turned to Azula. "I guess you were wrong, Little Miss Fire Princess."
"Give me that." was all Azula said.
"No. This is mine. I found it fair and square."
"Give it to me or I'll burn off that ridiculous thing on your head."
One of Sokka's hands grabbed his wolf tail. "You wouldn't."
"Yes I would. And don't worry, I'm a very good shot. You should only receive minor burns to your scalp. Unless you don't move your hand." Azula calmly answered.
Sokka gulped and quickly handed the egg to the firebender. Azula examined the egg for moment. Unlike these peasants, she knew gold. How it looked and how it weighted. It was too light and lacked the luster of real gold. This egg wasn't made of gold. But she had seen some like this during her days at the Royal Fire Academy for Girls. This was a... Well, if she was right, it was more valuable than gold. "This isn't gold." she said.
"What?! How do you know?" Sokka asked, not believing her for a second.
"I'm royalty. I know gold. And this is not gold. But I'm keeping it anyway." she said, tucking the egg under her arm.
"Hey! That's my egg!" Sokka said, trying to grab it from Azula.
"Please! Stop fighting!" Katara yelled, trying to stop any further fighting.
Azula and Sokka stared each down for moment. "Fine." Sokka grumbled. "But I don't care who Katara thinks you are, cause I don't believe it for a second. I'll be keeping an eye on you, Princess."
"It seems you aren't quite as dumb as I first thought." Azula commented, turning away from the boy.
An Hour Later
Azula sat alone in the hut, stroking the egg with her bandaged hands, heating it with her bending as she thought. Though far below her normal standards, Azula had to admit, sleeping in a hut would be quite a bit better than sleeping in that old ship. Of course, their arrival had been less than welcoming. Many of the women had wanted to throw her out of the village. Azula had been ready to silence those women one way or the other, when peasant girl, Katara, spoke up for her. Claiming the she was the Avatar, the one to defeat the Fire Nation and restore balance to the world, (it took a great of deal of Azula's mental control not to laugh at that) and if she hadn't revealed herself to be the Avatar, all of them would have been enslaved by the Fire Nation right now. The least they could do was to provide her with food and shelter for the night. In the end, they more or less agreed to provide her with food and shelter for one night, but most wanted her gone the next day. That was fine with Azula. Tomorrow, she would set off a larger fishing village, where she find a ship to leave this miserable iceberg for a warmer and more civilized part of the world.
After that, all she had to do was straighten things with father and everything would be forgotten. A month from now, this whole thing would be just a distant memory.
At that moment, Katara entered the hut and sat down across from her. "How are your hands?"
"Fine." Azula replied, keeping the annoyance she felt at the intrusion out of her voice. For the time being, the girl was useful to her. Insulting the girl would make it more difficult for her to use the peasant. So she would be polite to the peasant for the time being. Even if this was the girl that tried to kill her father. Maybe she'd bring the girl with her as a present to her father.
"So, what is that thing if it's not a golden egg?" Katara asked, eying the egg.
"Just what it looks like, an egg."
"But that ship has been there for years, long before I was even born." Katara said. "There's no way anything in that egg could still be alive."
"Perhaps. Perhaps not." Azula replied, still heating the egg. "There are species in the Fire Nation, whose eggs require a great deal of heat to hatch. Without it, the creature inside will lay dormant until they receive it. They could survive for years like this."
"How do you know that?" Katara asked, clearly impressed by her intelligence.
"Simple. Because I went to the best academy in the Fire Nation." Azula proudly answered.
"What's in the egg then?"
Azula smirked. "If it is what I think it is, then this egg is far more valuable than gold."
"Then my brother was right about it."
"Yes. But it would have been wasted on him. The egg itself is worthless. It's what's inside that's valuable. Something he wouldn't have known." Azula said. "He probably would have thrown it out by now."
"So... What are you going to do tomorrow?" Katara asked.
"Leave this place and find a village with some proper boats, so I can head north."
"Then you're going master the other three elements."
Azula's expression hardened. "I'm not the Avatar."
"Then how do explain what happened with the ice?"
"I don't know. You must have stopped the ice yourself at the last second."
"No. I may be a waterbender, but I'm only a novice. I doubt that I could stop moving ice like that." Katara explained. "But you were reaching out for the ice. You stopped the ice."
"No I didn't." Azula said, struggling to keep her anger and frustration in check. "I am the daughter of Fire Lord Ozai. I cannot be the Avatar."
"What does your family have to do with being the Avatar? Anyone could be the Avatar, regardless of their family." Katara commented.
Azula shook her head. "But the last Avatar was a firebender. I'm a firebender. The next Avatar would have been an airbender. Not another firebender."
"But that was over a hundred years ago. Who knows what could have happened in that time."
The peasant did raise a valid point. Roku's successor could have been killed during Sozin's purges of the Air Nomads. After those purges, Sozin and her grandfather, Azulon, turned their attention to the Water Tribes, seeking to purge the waterbenders as well. After all, water was the opposing element to fire. So that Avatar could have died without anyone realizing that they were the Avatar. Then-NO! Azula stopped that train of thought immediately. She was not the Avatar.
"Well, there is one way to be certain." Katara said, standing up. "I'll be back in a minute."
The Water Tribe girl left the hut for a few minutes before returning with a small bowl of water. Katara set it down in front of the Fire Nation Princess and sat down. "We can prove right here and now. Try as hard as you can to bend the water. To move it." Katara said.
"Hmph. There's reason to." Azula replied. "I'm a firebender. I can't bend water."
"Maybe. But if you're the Avatar, than you can bend water too."
"Then you have nothing to lose by trying." Katara argued. "If you are only a firebender, then you wouldn't be able to move it. But if you are the Avatar-"
"No." Azula said, interrupting her. "There's no point, because I cannot bend water."
Katara stared at her for a moment. "Are you afraid of the possibility that you could be the Avatar?"
Azula glared at her the instant she said those words. "Leave. Now."
Looking into the firebender's eyes, Katara realized that she had just said the wrong thing. Katara had been so excited about actually meeting the Avatar, that she hadn't stopped to consider what Azula was going through right now. A couple of hours ago, Katara had nearly killed Azula's father. And then when she save him, her own father declared her a criminal and tried to have her arrested. And then of course, there was finding out that she was the Avatar. It was a lot to take in one day. Clearly, she was dealing with everything that happened by denying that she was Avatar.
Katara stood up and bowed her head. "I'm sorry." she said before leaving the hut.
Azula watched her leave the hut before turning back to the bowl. She stared into the water, her hand hovering over it for a few minutes. "What am I doing? Am I actually starting to believe this nonsense?" she said to herself, pulling her hand back and shaking her head. "I'm not the Avatar."
A small, and fairly old, Fire Nation ship sailed through the waters of the South Pole. This class of ship was outdated, having been long replaced by newer, larger and faster classes. In fact, aside from this one vessel, all of the ships of this class had either been scrapped or were only used by merchants and traders. But then, this ship was owned by the famed Dragon of the West, General Iroh. Whom had provided it to his nephew, the banished Prince Zuko, three years earlier when his quest to find the Avatar began.
As the crew preformed their duties, Zuko stood at the front of the ship, staring out at the ice and snow, his uncle standing a few feet behind him. Lieutenant Jee stepped out onto the deck, surveying his crew. A short while ago, they had spotted a Fire Nation flare in the distance. General Iroh had told them to head towards it in case their countrymen needed help.
"Sir. A messenger hawk." a crew member called out, pointing into the sky.
Jee turned to the direction the man was pointing, watching the hawk approach the ship. As the hawk neared the vessel, Jee extended his arm, allowing the well-trained bird to land. Jee removed the scroll from the bird's container and unrolled it. He read, then blink a few times. Then he read it again, before rereading it. "Ah...General Iroh, Prince Zuko, I think you're going to want to read this." he called out.
Now, I admit that I did take some things from Chibi Renamon's story, beyond just the idea of it. To be honest, the only other idea I had for this was to do it somewhere else with Ty Lee and Mai there when it happened and then eventually heading south to find a waterbender teacher or something like. But liked the idea of her being in the South Pole with Katara and Sokka to start off with, more than that one.
The one thing that I wished that Risks had, was the evolution of the Azula we knew in the canon, to the Azula in that story. But that is understandable considering that it was a one-shot. And that is more or less the driving force for me in writing this.
I'm not going to do like Chibi Renamon did, having Evil!Zuko. Zuko's personal journey throughout the series was one of my favorite parts of the whole series and I don't really want to get rid of that. As for pairings, I'm not sure at the moment. Though Zutara fans, I am quite aware of that pairing as it is the most popular pairing of Avatar fanfics, so I don't want to get three dozen reviews asking for that pairing. I may do that pairing. I may not.
Next Chapter: Siblings Clash
As always, review.