AN: If anyone is by any chance reading this for the second time, there was a small but very significant typo in the first conversation between the Azula and Ty Lee. It has not been corrected.
This was originally done for the order of the white lotus fic exchange
They called it the Airbender's Revenge.
It was at the fortress of Han Tui. Sozin was attempting a breakthrough, but the siege was not going well. Earth Kingdom reinforcements had already arrived at the fort and his commanders begged Sozin to abandon the siege. But Sozin was proud, and he had a plan. His enemies were downwind and it was a drought, so he ordered his troops to set fire to the grass. It looked like Sozin would snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
And then the winds shifted.
Soon we learned the first lesson of our defeat. To decapitate the dragon, strike at its head.
The captain of the guard shuffled nervously as he watched the proceedings. Objectively there was nothing to be worried about, his position was largely ceremonial; to bring a sense of decorum and army presence as the new governor took office. They were in the middle of the ocean and the ceremony was taking place on the flagship of the fleet while surrounded by battleships. No one could get through.
But the captain was no fool. Unlike the nobles and hanger-on's he remembered why they were having this ceremony on the flagship. He remembered what had happened to the previous captain. When the explosion finally came it was almost a relief.
Almost, because when he recognized the figure flying towards the ship. The clothing alone was a dead giveaway, thoroughly covering enough of her body preventing anyone from know her true identity (they weren't even completely certain it was a "her"), but light to allow free movement. But even without the clothes, the twin jets of blue flame propelling her towards them were unmistakable. It was the Blue Spirit.
The captain shouted. Even in the midst of the crisis, he couldn't help but be proud of his men. Those nearest the ceremony immediately herded the noble's below deck, forcing even the haughtiest of them to move. The rest, non-benders, rushed forward to form a semi-circle around the intruder. They raised heavy metal shields to protect themselves from the fire. Behind them, earthbenders prepared throwing rocks from pre-placed piles of stone while waterbenders bent up seawater.
For a second the captain hoped they might have finally caught her. But, as ever, the Blue Spirit was a prepared for the defenders as they were for her. Another fire enchanted jump and she was behind the line of soldiers. The heavy metal shields and tight formation made it difficult for them to turn around. Flames spewed forth into the unprotected backside of the formation, burning them alive. But with the intruder no longer surrounded by friendly troops, the earthbenders were free to open fire.
The Blue Spirit raced across the decks. Dodging earth and water and countering with fire. The Captain didn't waste his time by yelling ridiculous phrases like "get her". His troops knew what to do and, on a personal level, it would only draw attention to him; the blue spirit loved to target officers. Instead he turned to his second-in-command. "Take the nearest men and head down into the ship. Lock all the entrances."
This was a time game. The token guard force here was only intended for show, no one was supposed to get this far. He hadn't really expected them to be able to take her out. But the other ships had already been signaled and were coming around. Once they got here, it was all over. Some people whispered that the Blue Spirit was invincible. The captain was not so stupid. No one was invincible.
Then again, the Blue Spirit was not stupid. She had to know the same thing he did. This was an assassination attempt, taking out the old and new governors at once. But they were safely below beck, and the entrances were sealed and guarded. This time, perhaps, the Blue Spirit had overestimated herself and already missed her chance. The captain turned back to the battle. The Blue Spirit was favoring the waterbenders, likely because out here their ability to draw on the sea made them more dangerous.
Once the final waterbender went down, the Blue Spirit raced for the doors, and hurled something. A second later an explosion rocked the ship. Blasting-gel, the good stuff, small enough to be carried, powerful enough to blast the metal doors apart. She wanted to enter? Let her. The squad below was well trained, and the narrow passageways would prevent her from using her agility to its full advantage. Once she was in they could trap her.
The Blue Spirit sent a stream of fire past the door. The captain remained calm; the shields his troops carried were designed to take a firebender's attack. Then, she did something unexpected; running to the edge of the deck. Retreating already? Why was she-?
The captain turned back towards the main deck. Why was smoke still pouring out of the doorway?
"It was sabotage, sir. She was originally on the Invincible, which had less security than the flagship. She then used her flames to jump ships. The fire itself spread out of control thank to more sabotage."
"We think one of the servants was a rebel."
"But they all died." The captain paused as he realized what this meant. "Damn fanatics."
The trooper saluted. "Yes, sir."
The captain put his face in his hands. How were you supposed to fight an enemy that was willing to burn themselves alive? "How did they smuggle it onboard? I thought we checked everything."
"We couldn't prevent everything flammable. Wine, olive oil, lamp oil. All of those were needed for the party. In the confusion of the initial attack, it was probably easy to spread it around."
The captain waved his fist in anger. "That's impossible! There wasn't enough time for the fire to spread throughout the entire ship."
"They didn't need to prepare the entire ship. Governor Lao brought numerous possessions from his estate." The captain groaned, remembering the rugs, chair and other knick knacks that had littered the lower decks. "They spread a large amount of the incendiary around the entrance the Blue Sprit attacked, and after that they simply made a path for the fire to follow…."
The captain didn't respond. He had ordered the other doors sealed, trapping the people inside. The Blue Spirit had counted on him doing that. And he… "How bad is it?"
"The boiler exploded, if it wasn't one of the few metalship, it would have been completely destroyed, as is the main superstructure's intact but it's going to need month to repair. Anything inside is a total loss but-"
"Not that!" The captain roared. "I mean, were there any survivors?"
"Just one, a young girl we round floating on a piece of driftwood."
The captain stared in horror, the changing of the governors for the capital itself had been the biggest event in years. Every governor and lieutenant governor in the province was to attend. He wasn't sure anyone was left.
With our leadership gone, the Earth Kingdom struck back, pushing us on all fronts. Soon we were driven back to the coasts, but there our unsinkable fleets allowed us to hold on. Though we didn't know it at the time, our second lesson was already being prepared. The Earth Kingdom had convinced both the Water Tribes into the war.
And soon our second lesson would be apparent. One cannot slay the dragon alone.
Ty Lee crouched down on the branch, counting six guards, including the driver. She waited for the wagon to pass beneath her. Three. Two. One.
She jumped down, using the first guard to break her fall. Before any of them could recover she hit the next one with two quick strikes to the shoulders, paralyzing his arms. The others began to respond. Ty Lee moved towards the two unarmed men. Personally, Ty Lee liked earthbenders. Sure, they had range, and a few could be really annoying if they shifted the ground properly or made walls, but they all had one weakness. Mess with even one of their legs and their balance would shift so much they could bend even a pebble. Plus, they didn't wear heavy armor.
With only two left, the fifth man went down as easily as the other four. But the last one was going to be tricky. Unlike the others, he was decked out in full armor. Ty Lee jumped away from the heavy axe and tried to look for some point of weakness. Somewhere she could strike-
The world flashed white. The man screamed.
Most people would have frozen. But Ty Lee had far too much experience for that. Freezing at the unexpected was death. Instead she jumped behind the caravan, trying to figure out what had happened.
A cloaked figure came out from the woods, heading toward the wagon. Ty Lee watched as they proceeded to calmly climb onto the driver's seat. As if they were unaware, or unafraid, of her. Any doubt about which one was answered a few moments later when they motioned for her to come aboard. "Who are you?" she asked, their only answer was to hold out a hand, conjuring blue flames.
Ty Lee climbed aboard, and the Blue Spirit cracked the reigns, urging the oxen-boars forward. They proceeded in silence, after a few moments, the Blue Spirit removed her mask and began to talk. "I must say, you're as hard to find as the legends say. Well… not quite that hard, but still." The girl was much younger than Ty Lee expected. They looked practically the same age. Then again, Ty Lee herself was a legend as well, but she hadn't exactly done it all on her own.
The Blue Spirit had made herself more infamous in two years than she was after nearly ten. Operating in the heart of the occupation rather than the countryside. Even out here Ty Lee had heard about the death of the new and old governor's a week ago. And the Blue Spirit had done that by herself. If she was recruiting…. "I'm sorry, but no."
The Blue Spirit turned. "No? I haven't even said what I want."
"This is about the comet, isn't it? You want to start off a revolution? Right? That's the only thing big enough you'd need be for. I'm sorry, I'm not a revolutionary."
The Blue Spirit laughed. "Not a revolutionary? Then what is this?"
"I just want to help people," Ty Lee protested.
"And you don't think it will help them? Our people break their backs, our lands are devastated, and our factories toil day and night. But for what? To feed the greed of the other kingdoms. Reparations for a war that ended over fifty years ago. By now even there are people with grandfathers who weren't alive during the war. You want to help them by waylaying a few trinkets? If this succeeds then they would never have to pay another reparation tax."
"If it succeeds. You think we can win? Even if the comet is everything people say it will be, then what? They'll just come back."
"With what? All their armor, their fireproof shields, the grand fleet? All made by our hands," the blue spirit answered bitterly. "We build our own chains, and with every second we wait those chains grow tighter!"
Ty Lee shook her head. "I'm sorry." The Fire Nation had had all the factories the last time, and still they had lost. With the other kingdoms already supplied this time, there was no chance.
"I'm sorry to hear that." The Blue Spirit was silent for a long time. "So, I assume you had a destination for these goods?"
"Xiao-sheng. It's a small fishing village along the coast."
"And reparations can only be paid in gold or processed goods." The Blue Spirit paused. "You don't mind if I talk, do you? It's a long trip."
When Ty Lee didn't respond, the Blue Spirit continued on as if she had said yes. "The Gray-Eyed-Bandit. The Jumping Thief. Lee. All names given, but no one knows your real one. Still, people do know a lot about you. You have grey eyes, an acrobat's costume, a long ponytail and you're a girl on the verge of womenhood. You steal from the occupiers and give to the downtrodden. You're quick and fast and no one can catch you. Your victims are paralyzed. The occupiers have tried to kill you hundreds of times, but you always slip out."
The other girl paused and took a deep breath, as if savoring the air. "But no one really knows about you. When you ask most people, they can't even comprehend the question. You're simply the perfect thief, that's all. A few say you're a myth, though obviously that isn't right. Some say you're a rebel Earth or Water, and that's how you always know how to slip away and find the patrols. I even heard one man say you were an Air Nomad."
Ty Lee blinked.
"Or not an Air Nomad, but the spirit of one. It was actually a pretty good theory. You could paralyze people and always survive because you were a spirit. And you never kill. I asked why they would help us and the man I was talking to argued that the Air Nomad's were never a vengeful people. The only person alive who remembers the Air Nomads, the mad earthbender, claims the occupation should end. To punish the great-grandchildren of the guilty, he said the Air Nomads wouldn't have wanted that."
Ty Lee turned away. She could tell when someone was trying to appeal to her emotions. "He was wrong, of course. It's easy to see that your paralysis is a fighting style, and you are flesh and blood. But if you look at the facts, patterns emerge. Everyone knows you don't kill, except when you do. Sometimes you paralyze people and slit their throats, and sometimes you just leave them. And these periods aren't random; you'll have the same choice, kill or live, for years before switching. Occasionally you'll stop fighting maybe for a year, maybe for a month. That's when you might switch."
The Blue Spirit smirked. "What do people really know about you? The costume and ponytail, easy to replicate. And if you look carefully, the stories of the costume don't appear until about seven years ago. Before that no one makes a mention of it. Or the powers, I can tell that was just training. Otherwise, there's really no evidence at all that you're the same person… except the grey eyes, of course."
Ty Lee hunched over, shocked at the accuracy of the guess. "Family, I had six older sisters. They got all six of them. I'm the last one."
The Blue Spirit smiled. "Really? I think you're lying."
"What?" Ty Lee raised her hands, ready to strike.
The Blue Sprit held up her hands. "Calm down. I'm not here to fight. In fact, most of your statement is true. You do have - had - six sisters. And six Grey-Eyed-Bandits have died. But I must dispute the last part of your statement." The Blue Spirit reached into her clothing, and pulled out a paper. "It's a report. Family couldn't pay their taxes, and the father was killed in the dispute. Let behind a pregnant wife and six kids."
Ty Lee was really getting to not like that smile. "You know the early exploits Grey-Eyed-Bandit weren't like the others. She stole, but you don't really hear about her giving any of it to others. And it's not until even later that the legend cements her as being a young girl. Almost as if the first one wasn't a sister, but -"
A lot of people thought of Ty Lee as stupid. It was actually one of her big advantages; people would underestimate her. But even someone as stupid as she pretended to be could see where this conversation was going. "Don't you touch her!"
She laughed again. "Don't worry. I promise not to lay a hand on her. But I'm a people person. So I'm going to make a few more guesses, about you and her. You're going to die, and you know it. All who came before you did. Sooner or later, it is inevitable. You know it, and are prepared. I couldn't possible threaten you." Ty Lee readied her hands, three seconds away from attacking her.
"But have you thought about what happens after you die." Ty Lee frowned, apparently the Blue Spirit was no better as seeing past appearances than anyone else. Of course she had. "Do you really think it will just end?" Ty Lee didn't ask how the Blue Spirit knew it would end.
"Oh I know, you've kept her from it. Never shown her the moves and never let her come along." The Blue spirit didn't even have to clarify the 'who'. "Told her never to follow in your footsteps. It too dangerous." The mocking tone made Ty Lee hands shape themselves into a jab stance. It was too dangerous, and Rui knew that. She was the only one left.
" But then you older sister told you to as well, didn't she?" The sentence struck at her like an arrow.
"And her older sister told her. And maybe you struggled, maybe you thought about quitting, but in the end you couldn't bring yourself to." The Blue spirits steady voice tone cut through Ty Lee's defenses like a well sharpened blade. She remembered Xue shouting, demanding she don't follow. Refusing to show her anything, even the move. And how she would steal away at night to watch her … but she had been careful, made sure Rui had no chance of even seeing her work. She wouldn't-
"And once you die, do you really think she'll stay and do nothing?" No, the way Rui's eyes lit up every time she came home. The way she carefully maintained her sister's graves. She'd tried to pretend it was just love for her sisters. But confronted with it so directly, so openly. She couldn't deny it, it was as much worship for the gray-eyed-bandit as it was family love. At this point Ty Lee spoken warnings conflicted with what Rui saw as the unspoken approval of her mother and five sisters. Approval that the dead would never be able to take back.
"What I'm offering isn't just the revolution, it's the end of the need for the bandit."
Ty Lee hesitated, but finally she spoke. There was no other option. And maybe, just maybe what she said was true."What's the plan?"
Chong-Shui was the largest port we had in the Earth Kingdom. One of the few capable of handling our great ships, and that had the facilities to properly unload the troops, supplies and siege engines we needed. So when an Earth Kingdom army was headed it. High Command responded immediately, ordering the fleet to provide cover.
Little did the fools realize that Chong-Shui was never the goal. Rather, it was the next lesson.
If the dragon cannot be beaten head on, then one must find another way. It is a high irony that even the Earth Kingdom learned this lesson before us.
Mai woke up. Where was she? She remembered going out and….
"Ah, I see our guest is awake. I wouldn't advise screaming, or I'll have to kill you, and that would be such a... waste."
Mai's mind jolted. She'd been… drugged? Knocked unconscious? She couldn't remember. Either way, nothing good. Worse, she couldn't move. It didn't feel like she was tied up, just…. Couldn't move. Her arms, legs. About the only thing she could was her mouth and neck. She looked up. In front of her was a girl about her age. "What do you want?"
The girl clapped. "Oh I like. Direct, straight to the point. Not a trace of fear. I'm really impressed."
"I doubt you're going to be so impressed once my parents come looking for me," Mai threatened.
"Oh, and just what are they going to do?"
A glimmer of hope appeared. If this was just a random kidnapping... "Do you know who I am?"
"Oh, of course I know who you are, Mai. Who wouldn't recognize the daughter of the assistant native overseer and his wife, only the two most famous collaborators in the Fire Nation." The girl held up her hand, a blue flame dancing in the center. Shit. "But I ask again, just what are they going to do?"
There went that hope. "They'll have troops searching every inch of whatever rat-hole you're hiding me in."
The other girl laughed mockingly. "Oh you really believe that. You really think they can order them, don't you? But enough about that, we have business to discuss."
"The silent treatment. Well, that works for me. The point is I need your help. I need access to the palace, and since I doubt your escapades are approved by your parents, that means you can get in and out unseen."
"Why would I help you?"
"Hmm. That's a good question. Riches maybe? I can offer you a lot you know. Or maybe knowing this means your family won't be the first on the live pyre when it comes, heck, play it right and they might never end up. Or maybe just the warm feeling of doing the right thing."
"No? Oh I'm so disappointed." She certainly didn't sound disappointed. "Well then I will take my leave. If you decide otherwise, feel free to come back. The paralysis should wear off in another minute or two."
The Blue Spirit was right about the paralysis. Once she was able to move again, Mai exited the room, carefully checking that her weapons hadn't been removed. Turned out the Blue Spirit had simply rented a room in one of the inns at the city to hold their little "meeting". If one wanted to be even more specific
Mai quickly slipped back into governor's palace. Once she was inside, she went to find her father. "Dad-"
Her mother cut her off. "Mai, not now. Your father's talking to the provincial governor."
Mai looked at the provincial governor. She didn't recognize the man… no, wait he was from one of the outlying countryside districts of the capital province. Not even the head of province, if she remembered right. And here he was, the governor, anyone higher ranking had already been killed in the attack.
"Make sure to keep order in the lower quarters, especially the docks. Check the inns and the harlot houses."
Mai frowned. The man was an idiot, the docks were a risk, but not an internal one. Most of the sailors weren't even Fire Nation. And the prostitutes knew exactly what would happen to those who serviced foreign sailors if the revolutionaries won. Already their had been reports of foreign sailors who went too far off the beaten path going missing. Harassing those groups was a complete waste.
Her father bowed. "Yes, oh honored one."
"And make sure production is kept up. The last govenor's allowance of sabotage was simply unacceptable. I won't let these attacks interfere with the factories."
Mai kept silent. Rushing production now would only give the rebels more opportunities because security would have to be sacrificed for output. He cared more about looking good than realizing what was actually needed to keep himself alive.
"Yes, oh righteous master."
"And remind the people why they deserve this. Hold a pronouncement about the adversary of the Air Nomad genocide."
And remind them of the comet that was coming? Even she knew more about the realities of the city than he did.
"Oh course, I like to serve," her father answered.
Mai headed to her room. She would talk to him later.
With all the panic in the palace, they never had a chance to talk. A day later, Mai couldn't stand it, and headed out onto the streets of the capital.
Mai could hear the whispers; someone recognized her. Let them, she was long past caring. Her stoic nature may have first came from her parents insuring she didn't embarrass them before the governors and other officials they served, but it was the rest of the Fire Nation that perfected it. Even in the palace, people needed someone to look down upon. To say "at least I'm not them" and for everyone else, that was her family. An entire clan of collaborators and traitors, and on the streets, it just got that much worse. But Mai had learned long ago to ignore it.
"You traitor scum. Think you can come down here? You mother probably shacked up with one of them." Of course, sometimes it was impossible to ignore them. And for those times, she had her dozens of concealed knifes. The man ran forward, trying to knife her. She easily dodged the blow, and sent one of her knifes straight into his throat.
Mai watched as he fell to the ground. Even as he choked on his own blood, Mai could see the hatred in his eyes. Mai stopped, considering him. She could afford to; there would be no trial. The man attacked her first, and even if he hadn't, it wouldn't matter. She was the daughter of the Assistant Native Overseer, she could literally get away with killing any Fire Nation citizen.
She could get away with killing any Fire Nation citizen. But ultimately even a lowly district manager of the occupiers was higher than her father. For all that her family had served, they were Fire Nation and would never be anything else. If even a single solider decided to kill her, would she end up like this? Dead and bleeding, without even a word of protest.
She wondered if even her father would care, or if he would go on kowtowing.
"I didn't know there was a passage here." Mai commented as the wall dropped down.
"There are a lot of passages the occupiers never found out about." The Blue Spirit commented as she lit a fire in her hand to light the way.
"And you know about because… what? You're the secret second child of Azulon?"
"Of course not, I'm far too young. That was my father."
The Grey-Eyed-Bandit gave a gasp. "Really?"
Mai was considerably more cynical. "That's your angle? That the leader of your revolutionary cell is the rumored second child that was carried away in the middle of the night when the Fire Nation surrender? What's next, you want to sell me the wall of Ba-Sing-Se?"
"Yes, that is my 'angle' and it happens to be true. Unfortunately, your skepticism is shared by many people in the Fire Nation. Hence our mission here. The revolution needs a leader, it needs a symbol. And Fire Lord Iroh is imprisoned in the catacombs below. Now which way to where he would be imprisoned?"
The Blue Spirit shook her head. "No, you need to head back up stairs."
Mai turned back towards them. "What?"
The Blue Spirit laughed. "You're far too valuable where you are to risk exposing yourself."
"…Wow, even turning traitor is boring."
"Oh don't worry, when the time comes, there will be plenty of excitement."
Chong-Shui was located on a long peninsula. You couldn't ask for better place to defend. The Earth Kingdom army was camped out on the peninsula, and our navy could bombard them at will. The High Command was delighted. The Earth Kingdom had acted too rashly, neglecting to bring proper siege equipment. Furthermore, these were the elite troops of their armies. If we could break them here, the campaign could be turned around.
We received reports that the Water Tribe were coming to help. But it was a mere army of canoes, not even longships! The High Command laughed it off. Such tiny, amusing little vessels.
They forgot the most basic lesson of warfare. If something seems too easy, it probably is.
Ty Lee crawled on the ceiling, waiting for the second patrol to leave. Once it was down to two guards, she jumped. A quick strike to the back of the necks knocked both out before they even knew what happened, much less had a chance to call for help. Silently, she motioned for the Blue Spirit (or Azula, discovered she was called) to follow.
The two quickly ran down the corridor. They didn't have much time before the first patrol was discovered. However Ty Lee's experiences as the Gray-Eyed-Bandit meant she had gotten really good at sensing danger. And even at a full run she could stay aware of her surroundings. A fact that saved her life as an earth spike shot up next to them.
Azula didn't even hesitate, pouring fire in front of them. The earthbender responded with a rock wall. Ty Lee jumped up and began crawling on the ceiling, where they wouldn't be able to spot her.
She barely had time to jump away as the ceiling collapsed around her. "Nice try, spider-girl. But you can't hide from me. If you leave now I won't even have to crush you, I'm not interested in you," the earthbender said before turning her attention back to Azula. "Your fire's strong. Stronger than any other firebender I've face, though that might have just been them holding back. Are you the Blue Spirit?"
Ty Lee frowned. The Blue Spirit's fire was one of the most distinctive things about her, how could anyone be unsure. It didn't matter. She needed to concentrate on the fight. Ty Lee leaped forward, landing next to the earthbender and sent a quick jab to the legs.
Pain shot through her hands as fingers hit hard metal. A second later she was force to jump back from a flung rock. Armor underneath the clothes. That was impossible. She was moving too freely to have armor.
"Like it? I call it metal bending. You can thank your friend for it. I learned it a few weeks ago." Another spike appeared where Ty Lee had been standing a second ago. "Never tried it before, but when the only way out is burning, well, you get desperate enough."
"You were on the ship?" Ty Lee couldn't help but ask.
"Yeah. But I guess neither of you would have heard of me. My parents never did like the world to know about their daughter. An embarrassing weak, little blind girl. My name is Toph Bei Fong, you burned my parents alive. So let me return the favor, earthbending style."
Ty Lee watched as Azula barely managed to avoid a large part of the tunnel collapsing. At least they wouldn't have to worry about reinforcements.
"Her feet!" Azula shouted. "She's sensing our movement through the earth. Stay light on your feet."
Ty Lee nodded. She couldn't attack because of the metal covering the body, but maybe there was one place it wasn't armored. She waited until the two benders had each other's full attention, and then leapt up onto the ceiling. Before Toph could respond, Ty Lee leapt feet first onto the earthbender, knocking her to the ground. A quick look at Toph's feet confirmed her guess, and two quick pokes disabled her.
"Azula! I got her!" Ty Lee shouted. Then out of the corner of her eye, she saw the child earthbender reaching up, grasping. There wasn't enough time to move as the cavern collapsed, burying them both.
Iroh listened outside his cell. There was some sort of commotion. A second later the earthen door was broken apart by a massive blast of fire, and then someone stepped in.
"Who are you?" he asked.
"A friend of the Fire Nation." She was young… or at least looked it. Down here it was hard to tell. And Iroh hadn't seen the surface in such a long time. Maybe this was the normal age of the revolutionaries. "Come on, we don't have much time."
The two emerged from another hidden passageway. Iroh blinked in the at the sunlight, which he hadn't seen for such a long time. Then, with a start he observed the other lights in the sky. The impossibly bright orb was merely the moon. The girl pointed. "Keep going this way. You should find friends in the city."
"What about you?"
"Someone has to create a distraction."
Such tiny vessels the Water Tribe had, and so hard to see on a foggy, dark night, even with the full moon. The navy found them much less funny when hundreds appeared out of nowhere. When the waterbenders froze the sea around our ships so they couldn't move, they began to feel fear. And when the grappling hooks of the warriors latched onto the sides of ships they knew doom was upon them. By morning, the ships were under Water Tribe control, and the catapults were turned on the harbor they had once defended.
Thus, the final lesson. The lesson that all others stemmed from: arrogance. Sozin arrogantly burned the grasslands. We arrogantly tried to take on the entire world alone. High Command arrogantly assumed our ships were invincible.
But the wheel has turned. Now it is they who lord it over us, who enjoy luxury as our expense. But they have grown soft, and stupid. Letting the ships the captured in the war dwindle down to a tiny few, and keeping the close to shore, easily capture if one can fly.
They do not see the flames coming, and each day more control slips away, more fuel is added. Now only a spark is needed….
Azula slipped away quietly. She hadn't lied, someone did have to create a distraction, but it wouldn't be her. The revolution needed a leader, but it could not be Iroh. Iroh had been imprisoned for fifty years. He had no grasp of the realities of the revolution, of the state of the current Fire Nation. He could only lead them to ruin.
But as a symbol... that he could do.
The attacks had made people nervous, and nervous people react harsher. They now had standing order to kill, not capture, any rebels they found. And when they saw Iroh, the grunts wouldn't think to reevaluate their orders. The image of the Earth Kingdom killing the son of the Fire Lord in the middle of the capital city as he attempted escape... that was a symbol people could rally around.
On the day of the comet her father would reveal himself, the hidden son of Fire Lord Azulon, with the artifacts to prove it. He would declare his rage at the murder of his brother by the arrogant oppressors. And everything they had worked for would come to pass.