An Ocean Sized Love by harronhermy
Chapter I: Prologue/Leaving Home
Some years ago...
The stone palace was eerily quiet. The moon shone through the massive windows in the hall, shadowing the elegant window panes and the tall, skinny cherry blossom trees that lined the courtyard. A lone mouse stood in the middle of the hall, sniffing around for something tasty to take back into its nest. The mouse skittered across the expensive rug when it heard a sound – the first sound to cause it to prick up its tiny ears in hours – this was the sound of slippers quickly and quietly clacking on the stone floor about a room away. The mouse froze to the spot, trying to decide whether or not this noise meant danger.
As if out of nowhere, a small figure appeared in the hall, sending the mouse scurrying back into its hole. The figure moved its head slowly from side to side and then proceeded to cross the room quickly, staying hidden in the shadows as it went. Once on the other side of the room, the figure stepped into the bright moonlight, listening: A nervous, older looking woman stood under the largest window in the room, a scrap of parchment clutched in her fist.
After checking her surroundings once more, the woman backed into the wall and walked briskly through a set of stone arches and into the next room.
She moved as silently as she knew how. If she were to be caught outside of her quarters at this time of night, she would surely be punished. To her, the task at hand was worth any amount of whippings, though. Her simple life wasn't worth as much as those she was trying to protect.
She noticed how the plan had gone without fail so far, and prayed to the spirits to keep it that way. The one she was supposed to meet was pacing in the corner, exactly where she'd been told to meet him. Wordlessly, the piece of paper passed from her hands to his. They parted with a nod of aknowledgement and went their seperate ways-each for their own purpose. Still silent, though now out of breath, the woman retreated back into her quarters. Only then, did she get her breath back. It was done. Now, she'd just have to see if the risk was worth it.
Sixteen years later...
A soft knock at the door pulled my wandering mind back into reality. I quickly pretended to read the thick book that lay in front of me, just in case the knock were to be my mother or father.
"You may come in." I called, my voice cracking from disuse. I cleared my throat quietly.
The two large doors opened with a soft creak and a male servant with long, dark hair stood in the doorway, bowing to me.
"Good day, my Lady," he greeted, smiling softly. "Her Ladyship requests your presence in the dining hall. She claims that it is urgent."
I nodded and smiled back, closing the book.
"Her Ladyship" was my mother, so I had no choice but to do as she wished. With another flourished bow, the dark-haired servant backed out of the room and closed the doors. I sighed, pushing myself away from the desk where I spent most of my time studying at the will of my father.
I pushed in the chair and made my way down the stone staircase and into the hall where my parents sat.
My mother greeted me with a warm smile, her amber eyes sparkling. She sat on the left hand side of my father, who was seated at the head of the table, a large jeweled goblet of wine in his hand.
"Kiyah, your father and I have some news for you." my mother said with a slight bit of excitement in her voice. "You're -"
"Pack your things," my father said, cutting her off and leaving her with a disappointed look on her pretty face. I opened my mouth in shock, ready to argue, but my mother interjected.
"Osamu, dear, she needs to at least know where she is going." my mother urged. My father nodded, sipping his wine.
My mother turned her gaze to me, her smile back. "Kiyah, darling, a wonderful opportunity has presented itself. Lady Musaki has written to your father, and with her husband and children gone, she has invited you to come and live in the Capitol with her!" she nearly squealed, having to control the tone and volume of her voice.
"Lady Musaki? Who's that?" I asked, confused.
"How can you not know of Musaki, you idiot girl?" my father asked, his tone sharp. "She is a very well-off, loved woman in the Capitol, and she will be preparing your for marriage."
"Marriage? Father, I'm barely sixteen! I don't want to be married." I argued, balling my fists at my side.
My father dismissed my words with a wave of his hand. "Silence! The legal age is sixteen, which you are now. You will be married as soon as we can find you an eligible suitor. But no respectable man will take a lady who doesn't act like one." he insulted, glaring at me and making himself look dangerous.
I bit my tongue to keep myself from talking back to him. I found out at a young age that it was not wise to anger my father in the least bit.
"And besides," my father smirked, "what do you really expect to do around here? You're virtually useless. You needn't cook or clean, we have plenty of servants for that. You're a terrible hostess, and your fighting skills are mediocre at best. You must come to terms with the awful truth that all you could ever be good for, is to produce an heir to either a royal or noble family."
Tears filled my eyes. Is that all that I could really be used for? Breeding? My father was right.
That was how, two weeks later, I was left staring out of the large window in my bedroom. I'd been awake for hours, contemplating the change before me that was about to take place. A tiny amount of early morning light shone through the large evergreens that lined the snowy mountain that my family's estate perched upon. It was early winter here in the Southern Earth Kingdom, where the colony we lived in was, with the first snows lining bits of the ground.
I sighed loudly, startling Maki, the servant who was elegantly braiding my long auburn hair.
I tried to comfort myself with the fact that at least I would be away from here-away from cruel big brothers, and a father who didn't care about anything at all. Agni, I would miss my mother, though.
"Begging your pardon, mistress," Maki said, as she tucked the last pieces of hair into my braid, "but what exactly is this 'lady training' going to do? Agni knows you're a stubborn one. It'd take a mighty strong man to hold you down."
I was surprised at Maki's straightforward words. But she had a very strong point.
I breathed out in irritance, the air heated slightly. I was a firebender, like my mother, father, and brothers, though my training wasn't nearly as advanced as the men in my family. I only knew the basics -enough to control myself and not start a fire by accident - but I hadn't been trained much in combat.
My mother had been raised in an old-fashioned family that believed women didn't fight, bending abilities or not. Even though she begged and begged my father for me to learn to use my bending, he did not give in. I didn't know whether to be irritated or grateful. I didn't have to endure the long, hard hours of relentless training my brothers went through, but on the other hand, I could just barely defend myself, more out of luck than anything.
My brothers had often used this - as well as my kind-hearted nature, my "weakness" they all called it - against me. We all fought often, with me mostly on the losing end. Thankfully, as we grew older, my brothers spent less time around the estate, and more in the military.
Maki interrupted my thoughts. "Look up", she says. I do so as she applies a thick coating of black liner to my eyes. I try not to grimace. If it were up to me, I wouldn't wear make-up, but my father always demanded it. A "lady" couldn't go without it.
After a bit more pinching, prodding, and brushing, Maki declared me fit to go. Why on earth I needed to look so fine when I'd just be traveling, I didn't know, and I made sure to voice my displeasure all throughout the process.
Maki laughed. "My lady, you must make a good impression on your hosts. A friend of your father's is to escort you. You'll want to look nice for him."
I grumbled, telling her that she was probably right, even though I didn't like it. She laughed again and took my face in her hands, lowering my head so that she could kiss the top of it.
"Sixteen years I've looked after you, my lady. I am truly sad to see you go, but happy to know that your life will be a much happier one once you leave here. I wish you good luck." she said, bringing a smile to my face and tears to my eyes.
"I'll miss you, Maki." I sniffed, pulling the older woman into a hug.
I made my way down the stairs; fur-lined cloak wrapped about my shoulders, while to servants came behind me, bearing my trunk of belongings. I was only taking what I would need for the journey, and my parents were shipping the rest after me.
My parents waited by the massive double doors in the foyer. My mother was dabbing her eyes with a handkerchief and upon seeing me, she nearly ran to me, throwing her arms around my neck. We whispered our goodbyes and "I love yous", and she made her way into the next room, not wanting to see me go.
I walked up to my father.
"Goodbye, daughter." his voice was stiff, like the words were a vile bit of food stuck in his throat that he couldn't swallow.
I nodded to him, then gave a quick curtsey, not wanting to look entirely disrespectful, though I greatly desired to knee him hard in the balls and walk off. I smirked at the thought.
I felt strangely alone when I realized that if I wanted something done from now on, I had to do it myself. I only hoped that Lady Musaki was a nice woman.
Two of the palace's servants escorted me down the rocky mountain path and to the humongous metal vessel below. I thanked them, and they bowed before starting their long walk back up the path. Four Fire Nation soldiers were there at the base of the ship. All wearing metal suits, but no helmets. They too, bowed to me. One of them took my bag, and they all took me aboard the ship. There was hardly a thing on the wooden deck; just barrels, rope, and some chains.
A familiar looking man in high-ranking armor walked briskly toward me, his amber eyes flashing.
"Lady Kiyah," he greeted, bowing deeply, "It is an honor to have you on board with us. I am Commander Zhao, an old friend of your father's." he explained. This man intimidated me slightly, but I didn't let it show.
"Thank you," I smiled, curtseying. "I look forward to travelling with you." I lied.
"You've grown so much," he commented, looking from my head to my boot clad feet. The smile faded from my face.
"I'm sorry, Commander, have we met before?" I asked politely.
"Only once, but that was at your thirteenth birthday ball. I was passing through the area and your father invited me for a drink. We met briefly." he explained, a snakelike smile on his face.
"I'm sorry," I repeated, "I don't recall."
"That's all right," he said softly, almost seductively. I cringed.
"Could you show me to where I'll be sleeping? I'm feeling a bit light headed." I piped up, surprised at the tone of his voice. He nodded and motioned for a solider to come forward.
"Lady Kiyah would like to be shown to her room," he explained, the creepy smile still on his face. The soldier replied "yes, sir", and began walking in the opposite direction. I immediately followed.
"I'll send for you at dinner!" Commander Zhao called after my retreating form.
Author's Note: This is an updated and revised version of An Ocean Sized Love, and I really hope that all of you readers enjoy it! More will be coming as soon as I can get it out, and I hope that you'll leave reviews!
I would like to thank Darkdaysofsummer for all of her help in writing this fanfic, because I couldn't have done it without her. I am pleased to call her my co-author and editor!