Yo everybody! I know I should be working on one of my other stories, but I've had these Avatar: the Last Airbender/Warhammer crossover ideas for quite some time, so I finally broke down and wrote a one-shot. I may do a couple of additional one-shots if I feel and/or this is well-received.
Disclaimer: I do not own Avatar: the Last Airbender or Warhammer Fantasy. Merely the few OCs in this story.
"You have bested every trial the Gods have tasked you with," Morax said as they walked through the camp. "You survived the journey across the Howling Sea alone. You gathered warriors to you, assembling a warband that will one day become a mighty army. You braved the ravenous beasts of Troll Country. You battled and slew dozens of other champions, adding their warriors to your own. But now, you face your greatest trial."
Azula said nothing as they walked. It had been over two years since the events of Sozin's Comet and her break down. And few months short of two years since she escaped from that wretched asylum. Azula remembered well what she had been like back then, how broken and pathetic she was. But as she languished in that place of empty souls and madness, they found her. The Chaos Gods. They whispered to her, putting back together the broken pieces of her mind, and promising her a chance to extract vengeance against those who had betrayed her and forced her into the asylum. When she escaped and stole a small merchant ship, they guided her across the unsailable Howling Sea, into forgotten lands, the Lands of the Hung, the Norse and the Kurgan.
The Lands of Chaos.
These lands were unlike where she came from. They had no nations here, merely dozens upon dozens of scattered tribes and roaming warbands, each lead by the strongest individual of the group. Even they even physically different from the people of her lands. They were taller, larger and stronger, born from countless generations of fighting every day just for survival against the numerous threats and dangers of these lands. They were a truly strong people.
By the end of her first day, Azula had learned just how brutal these lands were. With her firebending gone, all she had were knives and old swords that were aboard the ship. It took every ounce of her cunning and skill to survive. It was then that she realized just how weak and feeble the people of the Four Nations were. If someone threw them to wilds, the true wilds, few would stand a chance of surviving. The so-called civilizations of the Fire Nation, the Earth Kingdom, the lost Air Nomads, and to a lesser extent, the Water Tribes, bred weakness into their people. How else could an entire civilization, an entire people, slaughtered to a single child? It was the Air Nomads' own weak stance of pacifism that ensured their extinction. Just as the weaknesses of the other Nations would ensure their destruction.
Since then, Morax taught her much. He told her of the great wars between the armies of the Four Nations and the Chaos Hordes from centuries ago. Wars that her people-her former people had chosen to forget because of how close they had come to being wiped out and the sheer horrors of what had been inflicted on them despite their ultimate triumphs. He taught of the tribes and the greatest of their chieftains and warlords, of their battles and their conquests, of their glories and legends. But above all else, he taught her of the Gods. They were beings far older than anything else, and for a time, they had been trapped in their own realm, until one day, thousands of years ago, in the heart of one of the two great continents, they tore through the barrier that separated their realm from the mortal world, starting the First Great War of Chaos. Legions of daemons flooded into the world, overwhelming the lands of mortals and spirits. For years and years they clashed, tearing apart the world beneath their feet as the endless daemon legions slowly ground down the armies of mortals and spirits. But in the end, the greatest of the spirits devised a plan to end the war. They sacrificed themselves, using their powerful essences to seal the opening, for the daemons were beings of pure energy, sustained by the raw energies from the rift. With their act of sacrifice completed and the rift contained, many daemons were instantly thrown back into their realm while the others were thrown into complete disarray, leaving them vulnerable to the armies of the mortals and spirits. The Legions of Chaos were beaten, but not destroyed. The rift remained, contained but unsealed, for it was beyond the ability of anyone to completely seal, allowing their energies to slowly seep into the world, rendering the lands around it as well as the mortals living there, open to their influence. And over the years following the war, the mortal beings of these lands had become servants of the Gods, one way or another. However, the Gods rewarded their servants well, provided that they did not endure too many failures.
Something Azula understood quite well.
For months, Azula trained and fought, tested constantly to determine if she was even worth what the Gods had done to bring her here. As she endured these trials and became stronger, word of her accomplishments spread, drawing warriors and a few small tribes to her, forging an army. But creating rivals and enemies as well. There were countless others who sought the favor of the Gods and only a few, the strongest few, would gain their greatest favor.
Azula was going to be one of those few.
She could feel it.
Azula and Morax stopped at the edge of the camp, staring out at the temple. It had been built into a mountain of pure black rock, but warped and shaped like it had been made in a fit of rage by a powerful earthbender. At the base of the mountain was the only part of the temple exterior that was made by man, a massive stone gate, the star of Chaos emblazoned on the twin doors.
"This is an ancient temple of the Gods," Morax said. "Countless champions have entered these doors, only a few have ever emerged. But they emerged with the favor of the Gods. It is here, Azula of the East, that you will meet your destiny."
She turned to Morax, her sorcerer and advisor. The hunched over man stood on a few inches taller than her. His body had been warped and mutated by the powers he wielded, but the worst was concealed by his long black robes. There were a pair of horns emerged from the top of his hood, though whether they were coming from his head or merely a part of his robe, Azula didn't know, for he never took off his hood. His skin was an unnaturally pale color. He held a wooden staff with a number of bones and skulls tied around the top in his left hand. It was impossible for him to hold it in his right hand because his fingers on that hand had become tentacles that seemed to move.
Morax had been the first person Azula had encountered after arriving. He claimed that the Chaos Gods had told him that she was coming and that he was to help prepare her for what was to come. To prepare her for this moment.
"Do you know what lies in there?" Azula asked.
"Whatever the Gods feel will challenge you," Morax answered. "Not knowing is part of the challenge. But I do know that you will encounter a challenge from each of the Gods. Should you past the trials, the Gods will demand that you choose a single patron to dedicate yourself to."
"Must I only choose one?"
"Perhaps if you prove yourself truly great. But the Gods are rivals and they seldom like to share the greatest of champions dedicated to Chaos."
Azula nodded her head but didn't say anything as she turned back to the temple. "Vulric!" she called out.
A large, scarred man rose from a nearby fire and approached them. Her second, Vulric the Bloody Axe, was the Chieftain of the Black Fist Tribe and a formidable warrior and leader. He wore simple cloth pants with leather boots and armor plates on his shins. Around his waist was chain attached to a round iron plate with the eight-sided star of Chaos. There was no armor on his scarred chest, revealing layers of thick muscle. The only thing on his chest was a pair of crossing leather belts, reaching from his shoulders down his waist. Resting on shoulders was a pelt of brown fur. He wore a pair of metal braces on his forearms while his right hand was painted entirely black, in the tradition of his tribe. Hanging from his belt were two axes, his famed weapons. He had long black hair that was beginning to gray along with a matching beard that had several braids running through it. His left eye was gone, lost to the claws of beast years ago while his remaining good eye was focused on her.
"I will be entering the temple," Azula said to him. "Watch the camp until I return. No one else is to enter the temple."
"Yes, my lady," he replied, bowing his head. They both knew that Morgar Felblade and his warband were still scouring the region, searching for her, fuming over his defeat at her hands weeks earlier in the Eastern Steppes. And they knew that his warband outnumbered them three to one. "No one will enter the temple."
Azula nodded before walking off to the temple. The temple doors as though sensing her approach, slowly slid open, revealing a darkened passage, lit only by torch.
She stopped at the threshold of the temple, taking a moment to mentally prepare herself for what was to come. When was ready, Azula stepped forward, entering the temple and heading towards her destiny.
The halls of the temple were dark and ancient, built numerous years before she arrived. There were bones on the walls as well as various crudely painted images and runes. But was more concerning to Azula was the shadows that ran along the hall. She encountered dangerous creatures that hid in the shadows, waiting to ambush a passing traveler. Azula drew her two swords from their sheaths at her waist. She wore leather armor over her body, which would provide with some protection while not hindering her speed. But Azula had seen plenty of creatures with claws that could slice through chainmail like it was little more than wheat. Her speed was her greatest asset if she was to survive.
Suddenly, a heavy wheezing breathing sound crept up behind her. It was fast, but Azula was faster. As a clawed hand swung down on her head, Azula spun around, a blade slicing through its wrist while her second sword was thrust into its neck. The scrawny ghoulish creature let out a loud, wet gurgling sound as flailed its good arm around, blood coming out of its mouth. Within seconds, it was dead and Azula was kicking it off her sword. It was a vile ghoul. Once it had been a man, but years of cannibalism had warped him into a blood-crazed beast.
At that moment, feral howls and shouts filled the hall. Azula could see shadowy shapes approaching her. She raised up her swords, ready to fight them, she was not going to die at the hands of some degenerate beasts.
Azula entered into the chamber at the end of the hallway, blood dripping from her swords. The ghouls had been little more than a nuisance for her. A long time ago, they would have been a serious threat, but not anymore.
She took a moment to study her surroundings. It was a simple room, octagonal in shape with a closed gate directly in front of her. The six other walls had murals on them, depicting Champions of Gods standing victorious over conquered foes. The gate ahead of her was stained with dripping blood…no, the very gate itself was bleeding. The only other thing on the doors, were eight brass alcoves, each with a skull resting in it.
Without looking back, without hesitating, Azula moved forward, pushing the gate open, entering the next chamber.
The chamber was not manmade, but rather a natural cavern, filled with far too many stalagmites and stalactites to be natural. Nor could the endless dripping blood that was pooling underneath them be considered natural. She had only taken a few steps into the room when the gate slammed shut. Azula glanced back, just in case there was someone or something there waiting to ambush her. As she looked back for a second, the blood on the floor began to move, gathering at the far end of the cavern. Azula watched as the blood pooled together, ready for whatever was coming.
A blood covered figure atop a large, equally blood covered beast emerged. The blood poured down from the pair, revealing them. The rider was a horned, red-skinned daemon holding a sword. It was a double-edged sword, a sword made not of metal but of black flesh. The edge of the blade was not straight like a sword, but made of razor sharp teeth. And where the blade met the hilt was a yellow unblinking eye. Its mount was a beast akin to a Komodo Rhino, but made of brass and burning blood rather flesh and blood. It was a Champion Bloodletter of Khrone, wielding a daemonsword and riding a Juggernaut.
"Blood for the Blood God! Skulls for the Skull Throne! Souls for the Soul Eater!" it roared, urging its mount forward, charging at Azula.
At the last possible second, Azula dove out of its path and the Juggernaut slammed into the gate with the force of a landslide. But whatever magics and enchantments that were at work here in the temple prevented the gate from shattering. The Bloodletter turned its beast around. While the gate hadn't been damaged in the slightest, the Juggernaut wasn't so lucky. Its horn had been broken it off and their cracks and rents on its brass skull.
The beast and rider roared, barreling once more towards Azula, who was standing amid the stalagmites and stalactites. The Juggernaut tore through the stone spikes, smashing them with its body as it drew closer to Azula.
But to their surprise, when they tore through the stalagmite she was hiding behind, there was no sign of her. "Coward!" the Bloodletter screamed. "Fight-"
At that moment Azula appeared, leaping off a stalactite hanging next to the daemons. She slammed into the Bloodletter, throwing it off the Juggernaut. As the two landed on the ground, the Juggernaut let out a furious roar and spun around, facing the pair. With its rider no longer atop it to maintain control over it, the raging beast was now free to do as it pleased. The beast stomped its foot upon the ground. Azula and the Bloodletter climbed back up to their feet. They glanced at each other for a moment before turning their complete attention to the Juggernaut. The beast let out another deafening roar before charging at the two. Azula leapt right while the daemon leapt left, thrusting their swords into the creature's belly as it passed. Azula's sword sparked as it scraped across the brass skin, leaving a long rent across its side. The Bloodletter's daemonsword cut through the creature's belly smoother than Azula's sword, opening up a greater wound. However, while the daemonsword was undamaged by the brass skin and burning blood of the Juggernaut, Azula's blade wasn't so lucky. The tip had been broken off and the burning blood of the Juggernaut had lit the blade on fire. Azula threw away the weapon and gasped her remaining sword with both hands.
Blood from the Juggernaut poured onto the ground, burning like lit lamp oil. The brass beast staggered as it lost more and more blood. But the dying beast wasn't quite done yet. It roared and ran headlong at the closest target, the Bloodletter. The daemon roared back as its former mount raced towards it. The Bloodletter swung its sword in horizontal arc, slicing into the Juggernaut's head, killing it instantly. Its body collapsed, sliding across the ground before coming to a stop.
With the beast dead, the Bloodletter turned its attention and its fury upon Azula. "Blood for the Blood God!" it shouted. "Skulls for the Skull Throne!"
"Yes. You will make a suitable offering for the Lord of Battles," Azula replied, twirling her sword in her hand.
The daemon snarled and leapt forward, closing the distance between the two. The Bloodletter swung its weapon down upon its shorter opponent. But Azula was faster, narrowly sidestepping the daemonblade before thrusting her sword into its chest. It howled, more in annoyance rather than pain. The Bloodletter swiped at Azula's face with its clawed hand. This time, Azula wasn't fast enough. A trio of cuts opened up on her left cheek. Azula grimaced, hissing in pain as she stumbled back. The daemon didn't let up, furiously attacking Azula, who barely managed to pull her sword up to defend herself in time. However, her sword was a simple manmade weapon of steel while the Bloodletter held a daemonsword, a weapon empowered by the daemon imprisoned within it. The blade of daemon's weapon caused cracks and chips within her sword every time they met. It wouldn't be long before the sword shattered under the daemon's blows.
Which happened much sooner than she expected.
With a single powerful blow, Azula's sword shattered into two large pieces and dozens of smaller fragments.
The Bloodletter smirked in triumph as Azula staggered back, staring at her broken weapon. "Blood for the Blood God!" it shouted, preparing to seal its victory. "Skulls for the Skull-"
Suddenly, Azula stabbed her broken weapon into its left shoulder. The Bloodletter howl at Azula just before backhanding her. Azula was thrown back by the strong blow, crashing on the ground several feet away. The Khornate daemon tore the broken sword from its shoulder as it approached her. Azula looked up at it as the daemon loomed over her, raising its weapon up. "Do you know what you biggest mistake was?" she calmly asked.
Before the daemon could strike, Azula swung her left arm up, her hand clenched around her other sword, with the Juggernaut's burning blood still on it. The burning weapon tore into the daemon's chest, lodging itself there. The Bloodletter screamed and howled, dropping its weapon as it tried to remove the weapon. Azula grabbed the daemonsword, lifting the surprisingly light weapon up. With a single swing, Azula sliced its neck, severing its head.
However, the instant the daemon's head hit the ground; spikes erupted out of the daemonsword's handle, stabbing into Azula's flesh. But that wasn't all. Azula let out a pained groan as she clutched her head with her left hand. The daemon within the sword was trying to take over her body. She fought back, throwing every ounce of her will against the daemon. "I...will…not…let…you…win…" Azula grunted. "I…will not fall here! It is not my destiny to die here!"
The daemon snarled, clawing at her mind, screaming for blood and battle. "Serve me and I will give you what you crave. Fight me and I will make sure that you never ever taste blood again," she said, staring directly into the eye of the blade as she began to push the daemon back.
The daemon let out snarl in her mind, but relented, retracting the spikes, submitting to her. Azula lifted the sword to her face, a smile on her face. "Yes, Gorrumalxa. I will be leaving this place for greater battles and glories. Serve me well and you will get your share of the blood."
Azula stood before the next gate, studying it. The gate was old, ancient, made of wood and iron. But the wood was rotting and the iron holding it together was rusted and corroded. There were also seven gaping holes in the doors, with flies crawling in and out.
With Gorrumalxa in hand, pushed the doors open, entering the next chamber. It was another cavern, filled with putrid water. Under the water, she could see a narrow land bridge stretching out from the small ledge at the entrance to the end of the cavern. But the rest of the water was deep, beyond what Azula could see.
"Nurgle," Azula said to herself, staring into the water. It was clear that the last trial was from Khorne. This was clearly from the Lord of Decay.
Azula stepped into the cold, dark water, suppressing a shiver as she began walking. Aside from her movements through water, the cavern was deathly silent. Azula didn't like it.
Suddenly, a rotting corpse shot up from the water on her left side. Before Azula could react, the corpse bit into her shoulder, its black teeth tearing through her leather armor. Azula growled in pain and fury, thrusting her daemonsword into the corpse's chest, the blade tip erupting out of the back of its neck. She shoved the rotting body off of her, sending it back into the water. But the damage was already done. She could feel an infection rapidly flooding her body. And at that very moment, more shambling corpses rose from the murky waters. Former warriors who had failed this trial and were now a part of it. Raising rusted weapons, they crept towards her.
Nurgle's test had begun.
Azula shivered, feeling the beginnings of a fever emerge within her body. She would not let this disease or these shambling corpses stop her. One of the corpses lunged at her with a rusted axe. With a roar, Azula swung her sword, slicing through from shoulder to waist, severing the dead man in two. But as it fell into the water, two more rose up from beneath the waters.
Another moving corpse struck, swinging a broadsword in a horizontal arc. But Azula was faster, ducking under the blade and slashing at the corpse's legs, causing it fall. Azula spun and sliced through a third before pausing, letting out a hacking cough. Once she stopped coughing, she looked up. Many more corpses had risen up, creeping towards her. Worse, the disease was starting to affect her more adversely. Despite standing in freezing water, she was burning up. Her joints were beginning to throb and she was finding it harder to maintain her sense of balance as her sinuses filled with mucus and fluid.
She had to finish this trial before the disease overwhelmed her.
Ignoring the slow moving dead creatures, Azula ran forward, hacking and slashing through the few that were directly ahead of her. More emerged ahead of her as she let out a series of loud, hoarse coughs, forcing her to stop.
Suddenly, a legless corpse leaped up onto her back, trying to force her down into the water. A hand shot out, grabbing her right ankle, joined by another grabbing her left wrist. Azula fought back, trying to break free from their grasp. But the disease that was afflicting her was sapping her strength, making her easier prey for the rotting warriors.
It didn't matter though; she didn't stop fighting, even as more and more corpses approached her. Where once there had been a handful, now there were dozens upon dozens of dead warriors, eager to drag her down into their underwater tomb.
Everything seemed hopeless. If she managed to break free from their grasp, she still had to contend with the numerous walking corpses, and if she managed to best them, there was still the disease she was fighting. In the end, one would get her; it was only a matter of time.
"NO!" she screamed, her voice dry and raspy, refusing to accept it. Blocking out the afflictions of the disease with sheer willpower, she pulled her left arm close to her body as she swung Gorrumalxa down, cutting through the arm holding her. And as her sword went down, she turned her arm, ending her arc by slicing through the wrist of the other arm. Then she grabbed the left arm of the corpse on her back, pulling its head over to left shoulder and jabbed her blade into its head, tearing the head off. The body went limp, falling off of her.
With the rotting head still on her sword, she lashed out at pair of dead warriors ahead of her, cutting through their bodies like they were little more than rotten pumpkins, before Azula continued running across the narrow strip of land.
She was no fool. These corpses were relentless, unending beings, powered by the magics of the Plague God himself. They would not until she either died or completed the trial.
A rotting warrior, armed with a rusted spear, rose up behind her. Without pausing, it threw the spear. The weapon flew through the air, stabbing through Azula's back. She yelled out in pain, falling to her knees.
It hurt horribly, but Azula knew she couldn't let it slow her down. Using every last shred of willpower, she got up to her unsteady feet. But at that very moment, another dead warrior emerged at her side, a pair of old daggers in its hands, stabbing them into Azula's left shoulder and side, before sliding back into the water. Azula howled in pain, falling to her hands and knees. She pulled her head up, staring at the end of her path.
She was close… so very close… Only mere feet from the gate at the end of the room.
As though sensing her presence, the gates slowly started to open. All she had to do was get there and the trial would be over.
Azula violently coughed, hacking up blood into the water, joining the blood flowing from her wounds. Her injuries or the disease, either way, she wouldn't last much longer if she stayed. Using every last ounce of physical and mental strength she had, Azula crawled forward, inching towards the gate. Her inflamed joints groaning, her vision blurring, her wounds screaming out, but she didn't stop. She couldn't.
She pulled herself onto the small ledge the gate stood on, dragging herself across it. Finally, she crossed the threshold of the gate before collapsing, gasping for breath. Azula managed to turn her head, looking back at the cavern. The corpses stopped, frozen, before falling down one by one like a puppet with its cut. With the threat gone, Azula slumped down, breathing still heavy.
After a few moments, Azula managed to regain a fraction of her strength, sitting herself up. She gripped the dagger in her shoulder and screamed, pulling it out in a single, painful pull. To her amazement, the wound closed itself up, leaving no trace of it. And it was at that moment, she realized that the disease that had been afflicting her body was gone. Clearly, Nurgle was pleased with her and was making sure that she was fit for the remaining trials.
She turned her attention to the dagger in her side. Crying out again, she yanked out the second dagger, breathing heavily from the pain as the wound healed itself. Finally, she turned her attention to the spear still in her body. Gripping the shaft sticking out from her back, she pulled, screaming as she slowly pulled it out. After several strong pulls, she managed to remove the spear and wound closed up. Azula slumped forward, panting as she recovered.
Grabbing Gorrumalxa, Azula pulled herself up and continued forward.
There was a heady aroma filling the air and Azula's nostrils. The scent was strong, but not overwhelming, like a hundred of greatest perfumes interwoven together perfectly. As she breathed it in, Azula felt good…no, great. A smile spread across her face as she came to a marble gate. She pushed it open, paying no heed to the six leering faces that had been carved into the marble.
The gate opened up to a balcony on the Palace of the Fire Lord. An ornate throne and a pair of servant girls were waiting there for her. "Welcome back, my Lord," one girl said as they bowed before her. "Your subjects are eagerly awaiting you."
Azula walked over to the edge of the balcony, staring down on the hundreds, thousands of her loyal subjects. The instant they saw her, they began to cheer and praise her, their perfect, glorious ruler. The smile on Azula's face grew wider. Everything was perfect.
She sat down on her throne, content to listen to the praise of her subjects as her servants began pampering her.
"It's a lie…" a voice whispered.
Azula ignored it as her servant began cleaning her face while the other removed the leather gloves she was wearing.
"These aren't your people...not anymore…" the voice insisted. "They turned their backs on you…they chose that traitor over you…"
A slight frown crossed Azula's lips as one servant began giving her a manicure as the other began applying makeup. "No they wouldn't," she said.
"Yes, they did. Remember!" the voice…her voice replied. "They left you locked up in that damned asylum!"
The sky darkened and the cheers grew quiet. Azula's frown deepened. Asylum? She hadn't been in an asylum…hadn't she? Her head began to ache. The heavenly aroma seemed to increase, taking away her worries.
It didn't matter if she had been in an asylum. The skies began to lighten as the cheers grew again.
But the voice didn't quit. "This isn't real! It's nothing more than a trick! A part of the trial!"
"A trick?" she mumbled.
It didn't seem right. Everything was too real to be a trick… It was just too impossible.
"Remember the Flesh Sirens," her voice demanded. "When we encountered them, they had already ensnared four tribes in their vile sorcery-illusions. They almost had us in this very illusion as they tried to sacrifice us to the Dark Prince of Pleasure!"
Once more the crowds became silent as black clouds blocked out the sun. Only the two servants continued their work. She remembered that cult of witches and how they ensnared her and her men with mind-numbing illusions of everything they ever desired as they prepared to sacrifice them to Slaanesh.
Azula turned to the servant manicuring her hand. "Tell me, servant, what is the name of this city?"
"It is the Capital City, my Lord," the girl replied as more and more of the aroma filled the air.
"Yes, but what is its name?" she demanded, ignoring the aroma.
The girl hesitated, as though unsure of what to say. But before she could say anything, Azula grabbed Gorrumalxa and sliced her head off, causing her fellow servant to back away in shock.
However, the head and body that hit the ground was not human. It was another daemon. This one a pale, hermaphroditic creature of Slaanesh.
The illusion was shattered. The balcony was gone, replaced with a chamber. The walls were covered in purple and pink silk cloth, while numerous incense burners hung from the ceiling. The throne Azula was sitting on was made of human bones stacked and arranged together into a throne, with flayed and tanned human skin stretched over the back and seat of the throne.
And the other servant girl was another daemon of the Dark Prince.
It snarled, raising its crab-like pincer clawed hands. Azula leapt from the throne, swinging her daemonsword down on the daemon. But it was fast, catching the blade with its claws. "Fast little bitch, aren't you?" Azula commented.
The daemon hissed, kicking her with a clawed foot, leaving a shallow cut in her armor, following up with a lightning fast slash at Azula's head. But Azula was fast enough to block it with her daemonsword. Had it been a normal blade of steel, she doubted it would have withstood the attack.
"Ugly too," Azula added.
Furious at her insult, the daemon howled and lunged at Azula, who barely managed to sidestep the creature's attack, causing it to tear into the throne. At that instant, both spun around, slicing at the other.
A shallow gash opened up across Azula's extended arms, causing her to grimace and hiss in pain. But her blade struck true, bisecting the daemon. For a moment, it stood there, dark purple blood pouring from its abdomen before its top fell, joined quickly by its lower half. It laid there for a moment, its shape blurring as it faded away, returning to the Realm of Chaos.
"Slaanesh, Nurgle and Khorne," Azula said out loud, turning to the exit of the chamber. "Only Tzeentch's trial remains."
Azula stood before the next gate, studying it. The gate was made of dark stone with nine glowing crystals arranged in a circle. Each crystal glowed a different color for a few seconds before randomly changing to another. She pushed open the gate, entering the chamber, ready for whatever trial was before her.
The chamber was bare, save for the torches on the walls and a circular platform at the end. As soon as she entered, the gates closed and eight blue fires appeared, surrounding the platform, with a larger ninth fire on the platform itself.
The fires burned for a minute or two before a figure appeared within the large fire. The figure stepped out of the fire, complete unharmed by it. Azula gasped at who it was.
Standing there was Azula herself, wearing the same armor, with the same injuries and hold Gorrumalxa.
"You're me…" Azula uttered. "I'm supposed to fight myself?"
"All who tread upon the path of Chaos must fight themselves at one point. Their greed, their hope, their fear, or their anger will threaten to overcome them," her copy replied. "Which will overcome you?"
Her doppelganger lunged forward. Daemonblade met daemonblade. They were locked their, struggling to overpower the other. But neither could, for they were evenly matched. The imposter kicked Azula in the stomach, knocking her back. She sneered. "I'm the one person you could never ever defeat, Azula."
The imposter struck, slashing at Azula, but she jumped back, narrowly avoiding the sword, only to be hit by a roundhouse kick, throwing her to the ground. "I'm you, Azula. I know you every move. I know your every strategy. You can't defeat me."
"Do you know this?" Azula shouted, throwing a fistful of dust, dirt and pebbles at the doppelganger.
The fake threw up her arm, shielding her eyes. "Yes," she said with a smirk. "Ready to admit defeat?"
Azula scowled, leaping to her feet. "Never!" she shouted, swinging her blade.
The two clashed, blocking, parrying and countering every move the other made. The imposter brought up another kick, only to have Azula catch her leg. "It cuts both ways, fake. As you know all of my moves, I know all of yours," she said.
Her doppelganger scowled, swinging her sword at her. But Azula parried the blade with her own, knocking it away and followed up with a headbutt to her face, throwing the fake to the ground.
Gripping the sword with both hands, Azula swung it down on her head, but her imposter rolled out of the way and tripped Azula. Then she flipped onto her feet, bringing her weapon down, only to have Azula twist her body out of the weapon's path. Her double didn't let up, stabbing at the ground as Azula wormed away from her. "Quit being a coward!" the fake growled in frustration, only to have Azula kick her in the stomach.
"Not cowardice, strategy," Azula replied, climbing to her feet.
"Doesn't matter," the fake said. "We'll keep fighting until you tire, Azula. Then I'll just kill you."
Azula laughed. "Do you honestly believe that this fight will last that long? I've already come up with a dozen ways to kill you."
Her doppelganger laughed back. "You don't get it, do you? I'm you! Every possible plan, every possible move, everything you can do, I know. You can't beat me, because you can't beat yourself!"
Once again, they clashed. Azula swung at her imposter, who blocked the strike, and Azula struck back with a kick, only to have it countered with a low kick to her other shin. As Azula stumbled back, her double struck Azula with her fist and then kneed her in the chest.
She laughed as Azula fell back to ground. Azula just couldn't believe it. No matter what she tried, her double seemed to know any and every move she had. Never had she faced an opponent who could so utterly counter and block her every move. She needed to come up with some kind of plan to defeat her.
Azula quickly got back up to her feet, lunging at her doppelganger, but the imposter back-flipped, the blade of Azula's sword missing her by mere inches. The second the fake landed, she lashed back, stabbing at Azula, who pivoted her body, the sword sliding past her. Suddenly, the double twisted the sword and pulled it towards her, forcing Azula to bend over backwards to avoid it.
When the sword passed her, Azula flipped onto her hands, then back onto her feet, watching her doppelganger cautiously. There had to be way to defeat her. She just had to think.
The fake struck, swinging her sword wildly at Azula, forcing her to back away, dodging her swings.
Her double claimed that she knew every move and strategy that she herself knew. If that was true, then about the only way she could win was by thinking outside the box. Which was easier said than done. No matter what she did, her copy would merely block it or dodge it or otherwise counter it, like any normal warrior would.
That's when the thought entered her mind. It was crazy, but completely unexpected for anyone to do.
Azula stopped, allowing her doppelganger's weapon to cut into her side. She cried out in pain as it bit into her flesh. The imposter was completely surprised that she allowed herself to be hit. With her left hand, Azula grabbed the blade of the daemonsword, cutting her hand but holding the weapon in place before thrusting her own weapon into her double's throat. So utterly caught off guard by Azula allowing herself to be stabbed, she didn't react in time and the blade tore into her throat. Grunting, Azula pulled out the sword from her body. "Told you."
The fake fell to her knees, gurgling blood. She stared at Azula in shock, unable to believe what had just happened. Azula just smirked as she collapsed, the last of the life leaving her body. The instant the copy died, her body and sword burst into blue flames, dying out within seconds while Azula hissed out in pain as blue fire erupted from her wound, closing it.
The trial of Tzeentch was over…
Azula was victorious.
However, there was no way out of the room. "Well? Have I not passed your trials? Have I not conquered every challenge, every opponent, you've thrown before me?" she shouted. "Am I not worthy? Will you not give me the power to enact my revenge, to enact our revenge?"
At that moment, as though answering her shouts, the wall at the end of the chamber started shifting, opening up and revealing another gate, the final gate.
The doors of the final gate slowly pulled back, opening by unseen hands, revealing a large circular chamber. Azula entered the chamber, scanning the room for any threats. The stonework of this chamber was far older than anything else she had seen in the temple. Most of the stone titles that made up the ground were dull gray, but not all. A number of black stones were in floor, forming a giant eight-sided star with braziers burning at each point. Oddly, the walls were completely obscured in shadows.
Azula stepped into the center of the star. The instant she did, the gate slammed shut and disappeared into the shadows. Once it vanished, the four fires burning on the four main points of the star extinguished and four gateways appeared.
The first gateway appeared to have been shaped from green rotting flesh, with random, broken, bone-like horns jutting out. At the top of its arch was a large bulbous mass of rotting flesh and broken boney horns. At its center was a rusted circle, with three smaller circles in a triangular pattern. The rune of Nurgle, the Lord of Decay.
The gateway on its right was made of two pairs of spiked brass pillars, decorated with skulls. On top of the pillars sat a fifth bar of brass and skulls. Stacked onto that bar was an X made of the same brass and skulls with another bar running through the center of it. The very gate was a rune. The rune of Khorne, the Blood God.
Next, was a gate carved, or perhaps grown, from giant blue crystals. From the ground rose two uneven crystalline columns. Small indents had been cut into the columns, providing small holders for candles that burned with small colorful fires. The arch was a giant crown with nine jutting points; the ninth and central point was the largest. All across the entire structure were countless glowing runes and sigils that danced and wormed their around its surface. Above the ninth point was a blue fireball shaped in a crescent rune. The rune of Tzeentch, the Changer of Ways."
The final gate, like the first, had been created from flesh. But unlike that gateway, the flesh of this one was healthy, with pale pink skin. The pillars of the gate appeared to be more like slim, shapely legs, complete with talons on its feet. On top of the arch, where the legs ended, a female form from the waist up stood. The women's arms were stretched out, clasping pink fires, their faces frozen in an expression of rapturous pleasure. In between them was a third female form, her arms spread out, as though embracing someone. On her chest was a purple rune that looked like a fusion of the male and female symbols. The rune of Slaanesh, the Prince of Pleasure.
Underneath the gateway of Nurgle, a figure emerged. They wore a green tattered cloak over large green armor trimmed with bronze and resting on the breastplate was the bronze rune of Nurgle. There were numerous gashes and rents in the armor, from which oozing green liquids dripped and black flies crawled in and out while grizzly trophies hung from the armor. From their waist, on chains and ropes hung skulls and shrunken heads while other heads and skulls were tied to other part of their armor. Upon the warrior's head was a bronze colored helmet with a single horn on the helmet's forehead. Across the lower section of the helmet were series of small circle holes, with the occasional fly buzzing in and out. Above those openings were two eye slits, from which amber eyes stared out. Hanging from the warrior's side was Gorrumalxa. In the warrior's hand was a scythe that was as long as the warrior was tall, its blade covered in rust and filth while a horde of black flies buzzed around the warrior.
"Grandfather Nurgle knows your pain. How your own family either hated you or used you. How all who claimed to care abandoned you. How you languished in that cage, unloved by all," the warrior rasped in a voice Azula knew all too well. It was her own. "But Grandfather Nurgle loves all. Embrace the Lord of Decay, and never again will you be unloved. His gifts will make you strong. No more shall you feel pain. No more will you fear death. All things wither and rot. But with the blessing of Nurgle, never shall you die. Embrace your destiny. Embrace Nurgle."
Across from Nurgle's gate, a second warrior emerged from the gate of Slaanesh. This warrior was clad in black armor trimmed with pink, armor that hugged her slim form. From her leather belt, a pink cloth with the golden sigil of Slaanesh hung down between her legs. She wore no boots on her feet, for her feet were now cloven hooves. Hanging from her neck was golden talisman encrusted with glittering jewels. Stretched over the plates of her shoulder armor were flayed human skins. She wore no helmet, but rather a beautiful and alluring smiling golden mask. From the open, grinning mouth of the mask, the warrior's abnormally long tongue shot out, licking her lips underneath the mask. Her long black hair was tied up in a topknot, held in place by a small skull. In her right hand was Gorrumalxa while in her left hand was a coiled barbed whip.
"Slaanesh knows your desires. He knows of how you always strive for perfection, from yourself and from all else. He knows of how you wish to extract such exquisite vengeance on those who wronged you," she said, her voice seductive and alluring. "Come to Slaanesh. Experience pleasures far greater than any mortal can comprehend and then inflict them on the weak-minded. Witness your enemies writhing in agony before you, yet begging for more. With the Dark Prince's blessings, you'll ensnare your enemies with but a word, with but a look. Watch them bow before you, make them act like dogs; make them kill themselves just to please you. What can be more perfect than that? Come to Slaanesh and rejoice in endless pleasures.
A third image of herself emerged from the gateway of Khorne. Wearing plate armor that still showed off the shape of her body, colored of crimson and brass, adorned with skulls and chains, and stained with blood, she stood. Around her neck was a spiked brass collar, the rune of Khorne inscribed on it. On her back was black cape with skulls woven into it in the shape of Khorne's rune. She wore no helmet and her long black hair was wild and untamed. Upon her brow was a pair of animal-like horns. She snarled, revealing razor sharp teeth. Her armored right hand was clenched around her daemonsword. In her other hand was a wicked looking axe, inscribed with glowing red runes.
"Khorne knows your rage. You hate those who betrayed you and tore you from your throne. You want nothing more than to spill their blood, tear their bodies, cut off their heads and rip out their hearts," the third vision snarled, bloodlust radiating from her voice. "Bow to the Skull Throne. Unleash your rage and embrace the warrior within. With the power of Lord Khorne following through your veins, you'll crush your enemies, turning the rivers red with their blood, grinding their bones to dust, and offer their skulls to the Skull Throne. Smash cities into rubble, split open mountains, rend the very ground asunder, all will fear your might and power. Bow to the Skull Throne and reap the rewards of Khorne."
The fourth and final Azula appeared, stepping out from under the gate of Tzeentch. This one wore dark blue robes with gold trim and woven sigils of arcane power. She wore was a golden breastplate, trimmed with dark blue and with the glowing rune of Tzeentch upon it. Around her waist was a golden belt, from which Gorrumalxa hung. A golden talisman with a glowing crystal eye hung from her neck. Her forearms and hands were covered in matching gauntlets with glowing sapphires on the back of the hands. She held metal staff that constantly changed colors and inscribed with ever-changing runes. Atop the head of the staff was the golden crescent symbol of Tzeentch with a glowing jade in it. Her long black hair was braided into a ponytail with a number of glowing gems woven into the braid; likewise, her bangs were styled into smaller braids, ending with a pair of golden sigils. Upon her forehead was a third eye that scanned back and forth across the chamber.
"Tzeentch knows you well. You, who manipulated others into carrying out your wishes. You, who cunningly used the fears and weaknesses of your enemies against them. You, who conquered an impenetrable city from within," she said, her voice clam yet radiating great power. "Join the Changer of Ways and behold the gifts he bestows upon you. Master powerful magics, turn entire armies into lowly beasts, incinerate your enemies with twisting fire and eldritch lightning, warp and reshape the world around you to your whims. Learn to peer into the minds of others and read their thoughts like words in book. With but a thought, drive men insane; show enemies nothing but lies; topple kings from their thrones without a single weapon. Join the Changer of Ways and watch as the world becomes your plaything."
"Bah! Tzeentch is nothing but feeble coward!" the Khornate Azula growled. "There's no glory is his ways. The Sorcerer God does nothing but hide and plot. And those who serve him can find themselves little more than playthings to him, to throw away when he grows bored. Those who serve Khorne faithfully are rewarded, becoming immortal champions of the battlefield. What greater glory is there?"
"If you live that long," the Azula of Nurgle said, her contempt for the Khornate champion clear in her voice. "The path of Khorne is short and painful, ending with you falling on a bloodied field. Only Grandfather Nurgle can protect you from the inevitable rot that eats away at the world. Only he knows the secret of true immortality."
The Slaaneshi Azula snorted. "As little more than a corpse. Those who serve Maggot King are little more that bloated, fly covered, maggot ridden, unfeeling, walking corpse. Those who serve Slaanesh are rewarded with the most sublime and exquisite sensations and pleasures. It's far better to live a short existence filled pleasures than to live an unending life devoid of all feeling."
"Spoken like a true slave to excess," the Tzeentchian Azula commented. "Consumed by the need to constantly gratify one's self. Such a waste. The perfection Slaanesh offers is fleeting. Tzeentch offers the true power of Chaos. For change is the very essence of Chaos itself. What can the Prince of Excess offer compared to that?"
For a tense moment, the four images glared at each, looking ready to battle one another. But just as they looked like they were about to fight, they turned to Azula as one. "Choose now Azula!" they shouted together. "Choose your eternal patron and master!"
Azula took her time, studying each gate and the image of herself that stood before them. What each offered her was great and the means not just to her vengeance, but the means to conquer the entire world. But she could have one and only one patron. Only one would grant her great power and eventually, immortality. Azula turned to each and every one of the images. Each was eager to hear her answer. To choose their master as her patron. "I have made my decision," she finally said. "I choose…"
And at that moment, the world trembled as once more Chaos stood ready to consume it in the fires of war…
Half a world away, the Avatar, Aang, awoke from a truly horrible dream. A dream of blood and horror and death and war, lead by a terrible Champion, watched over by wicked, laughing Gods…
Little did he know just how real that dream was going become…
As I said, this was born of one of my crossover ideas between the two worlds, with Chaos aligned Azula leading a vast Chaos army against the three Nations. I think the biggest problem I have with making this into a full story is the fact that I cannot decide on which God Azula should choose. So I'm simply going to keep it a one-shot. Those I may do some other one-shots connected to it, with Azula, now having ascended into Daemonhood, and ruling the world, reshaped into twisted reflection of itself, one for each Chaos God.
As always, review!