Disclaimer: Avatar: The Last Airbender is the creation of Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, and is owned by Nickelodeon.
Author's note: I can't believe we're at the epilogue! I've had a blast writing this, and I'm glad that you all have enjoyed it!
A gigantic thank you and lots of virtual hugs go out to all my reviewers, especially those who have been there since the beginning! hg-always, I certainly enjoyed your weekly messages reminding me it's Friday. InItToWinIT, I love your always thoughtful reviews! temariXshikamaruluva, it's been fun simultaneously writing Zutara deliciousness! Much love! :-) Katey123 and AnnaAza, thanks for all your encouraging reviews! Anyone who I didn't mention, you're awesome too!
Thank you to last week's reviewers: hg-always, AnnaAza, badonyx , TigerStorm, XxSparklesxxBrightlyxX, TashaLyn13, temariXshikamaruluva, meggie-moo s, InItToWinIT, secretsofadarkangel, Thegoldenlock, Katey123, a5h13y 101, and darkpassion89. Lightdark-raveness, you win the prize for the umm…weirdest review?
Okay, now I'll shut up and get on with it!
Epilogue: Arduous Peace
Peace is not only better than war, but infinitely more arduous.
-George Bernard Shaw
Fire Lord Zuko went down in history as one of the most successful rulers of the Fire Nation. He was known as the man who brought peace to the world after more than one hundred years of war. Of course, the scrolls that would be passed down through time bent the truth a little. History tended to do that – stories were passed down through time, and became slightly warped as the generations passed.
The history scrolls tended to ignore the difficult first few years of keeping the peace, and skipped to the glorious peace that came much further along in time. As expected, the Water Tribe and Earth Kingdom demanded war reparations, which were fully deserved. Fire Lord Zuko still put his own people first, however, and refused to give the other nations everything they wanted, which essentially would have bankrupted the Fire Nation.
The Fire Lord negotiated with the other nations, and eventually came to a satisfactory compromise after several months. This was merely the beginning. Throughout the years, various uprisings occurred. Not everyone was prepared for the war to end. Various groups of every nationality stirred up trouble every now and then. There were Fire Nation groups who thought that Zuko was weak for ending the war, and rallied for its continuation. Water Tribe and Earth Kingdom groups could not let go of the wrongs that had been committed against them by the Fire Nation, and attacked outlying towns. These uprisings were dealt with as peacefully as possible, but sometimes bloodshed was necessary.
Perhaps the largest step toward peace was the marriage of Fire Lord Zuko to Katara of the Southern Water Tribe soon after the initial peace talks. The nuptials caused a stir among both nations, and there were protests, but this did not deter the young couple. They were finally bound in marriage with the full blessing of both the Fire Council and the Ruling Council of the Water Tribe. The event was grand indeed. People of all nations were invited to witness the celebration. For the first time in recorded history, the Fire Nation had a waterbender as its Fire Lady.
Of course, not everyone was pleased with the arrangement, and over the years, there were various unsuccessful assassination attempts on both the Fire Lord and Lady. These were the only times that the world saw Fire Lord Zuko's truly frightening side return. He personally tracked down the responsible parties with success. The assassination attempts eventually stopped after the world witnessed the examples the Fire Lord made of the guilty factions.
As the years passed, the world adjusted to the idea of a peaceful coexistence. The Fire Lord and Lady were overjoyed with the birth of their first child. The boy, Sokka-named for the Fire Lady's deceased brother-grew into a handsome child with jet black hair and eyes as blue as the sky. The child began exhibiting firebending abilities at the age of three. His sister, Kysa, was born a few years later. It was said that tears came to the Fire Lady's eyes when the young girl pushed and pulled water for the first time. The couple had one more child, Mizuki, a girl who was the spitting image of her father. She inherited her father's bending skills.
Eight years after the formal peace documents were signed, a young girl from the newly-repopulated South Pole made a startling discovery. A young boy – an airbender – was found encased in an iceberg. The twelve year-old boy was the missing Avatar. The world celebrated his reappearance. He was already proficient at airbending, but he needed to learn to master all the elements to become a fully-realized Avatar. He spent time in the Fire Nation palace with the Fire Lady, who was one of the world's most respected waterbending masters.
After his time in the Fire Nation, where he had ironically learned waterbending, he traveled to the city of Gaoling in the Earth Kingdom. There, he studied earthbending under the guidance of Toph Bei Fong, the greatest earthbender in the world (a fact she never let anyone forget).
The Fire Nation palace welcomed the Avatar back once more to learn the final element – fire. The young man was taught by none other than the Fire Lord himself. The world rejoiced to once more have a fully-realized Avatar, for he was still needed to keep the fragile peace.
As the years passed, the world began to forget the Hundred Year War – not that it had happened, but the prejudices and fighting that came with it. Even the glaring absence of the Air Nomads had started to heal with the discovery of a young boy who could bend air in a southern province of the Earth Kingdom. The world rejoiced at the prospect of another airbender. Soon, more and more reports of airbending children started to surface. It seemed the world was restoring itself to balance, and the peace that started with a firebender and a waterbender prevailed.
One more note: There you have it, peeps. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed the entire ride as much as I have. A few notes about upcoming stories…
I wrote a oneshot that takes place in this universe a few years down the line. A little something about visiting the South Pole. I'll probably post in a couple of weeks.
As for my next fic, I've got a couple chapters written. It's a post-war (canon) mystery/drama/Zutara epic…at least that's what it is in my head. Question for you all: Do you want me to post as I write (and possibly never see the end, which I hate), or not post until it's finished (which could be a while) and have regular updates like this one? Let me know if you're interested, and if so, which you would prefer!