Destinies Rewritten: Book I, Water

Prologue: Divergent Courses

Destiny is a funny thing.

At first glance, history would seem to be already written, unchanging and immutable. After all, what's past is past- why should it have been anything else but what it is? All we have to do is live with it and learn from it. And yet it is also true that in the end, great things are made up of small things, and that all of history can turn on individual events, so that if they are altered slightly, fate itself will run in a different course.

Imagine, if you will, a world where Prince Iroh of the Fire Nation did not lose his son at the climax of the Siege of Ba Sing Se. The loss of his beloved Lu Ten was the one thing that prevented him from keeping the siege up and taking the city; without that one death, the great capital of the Earth Kingdom falls. The Fire Nation moves in to occupy, and the city's people who survive the conquest are forced to live under its tyranny, their own culture slowly eroded to be replaced with that of their conquerors. The legendary city of the Earth King is now a jewel in the Fire Lord's crown.

With the passing of Fire Lord Azulon a year later, it is Iroh who takes the throne of his ancestors; having been given no reason to question the policies of his predecessors, he continues them, with an eye towards bringing the rest of the world under his rule and building an empire that will endure for a thousand years. Only two great enemies remain- the Northern Water Tribe and Omashu, first and last city of the Earth Kingdom, whose mad but brilliant King Bumi is now Earth King in all but name.

Hakoda of the Southern Water Tribe still goes to war to avenge the murder of his wife and many others of his people, but with Ba Sing Se gone and Omashu landlocked he finds few allies in the Earth Kingdom. Instead he sails to the far North, and for the first time in centuries the two Water Tribes are joined together once more. With Southern ships and warriors backed by Northern waterbenders, he wages a guerilla war along the Fire Nation's coasts, and while he does damage, he also rouses the Fire Lord's anger.

In the Fire Nation Capital, unrest stirs. A new army is being marshaled under the command of Prince Lu Ten, its target unknown. Prince Ozai, the Fire Lord's younger brother, has been consumed by bitterness and ambition, and though he professes loyalty, all know that he truly desires the throne for himself. He has dispatched his two children, Zuko and Azula, on a mission of utmost secrecy which he believes can, if successful, bring him the glory he needs to successfully usurp Iroh.

And in the icy waters of the South, two teenagers move closer to a discovery that will shake the world- but with the Fire Nation's victory all but certain, can even the long-vanished Avatar bring victory to those who would live free?

Destiny is a funny thing, and in the end, no one but the great spirits themselves can see all the twists and turns it might, or might not, take.