I do not own Avatar: The Last Airbender. I would love to see them continue the series. I want to know if Zuko sees his mother!
Now knowing that Azula was after them, Iroh and Zuko had to go into hiding. Zuko wondered if he would ever see home again. Would it even matter if he had found the Avatar? Iroh and Zuko traveled to the east of the Earth Kingdom and found themselves in a misty swamp.
"Uncle, I don't like this place," muttered Zuko as he surveyed the bog around them. "Let's go back."
"Not yet Zuko," said Iroh. "I feel as if something is….calling me."
Zuko was used to his uncle's sayings, but this had left him confused. "What?"
"Let's press on," Iroh told him.
The uncle and nephew pair continued through the swamp with them continuously swatting mosquitoes. When it got dark, they stopped to make camp.
"This place is creepy," Zuko muttered, scooting closer to the fire.
"This doesn't feel like a usual swamp," Iroh agreed. "It's like it's alive."
be surprised. I know that Azula's dad's favorite. I was stupid to believe her."
"Don't blame yourself, Prince Zuko," Iroh said softly. "You've been away from home for a long time. Your sister knows you want to return."
"Thank you, Uncle," said Zuko. "And I'm sorry, for what I said earlier, when Azula came. I didn't mean those things."
"Apology accepted, said Iroh.
There was a loud screech. Startled, Zuko jumped up and sent a blast of fire in the direction of the noise.
"What was that?" Zuko questioned, turning to his uncle.
"I don't know," Iroh answered. He also looked little disturbed. "Try and get some rest."
Iroh was able to drift off with no trouble. Zuko however didn't sleep well. He was having nightmares of the day he spoke out of turn in his father's war room. If only had listened to his uncle; he had warned him about speaking out! And he should have known it would be his father he would be doing, not the general. Zuko could remember how he trained before the Agni Kai. He came up with techniques to win against the general, but he knew he could not use those moves against his father. He felt the searing pain on his face. It was agony, but the worst pain came when his father exiled him. He'd never forget the smug look on Azula's face when their father banished him. It was no secret he loved her more.
The pain…it was always with him. It hurt even now. Burning, burning pain.
Zuko shot up, feeling his face. He had fallen asleep a little too close to the fire. He groaned and get up. He left his uncle to go exploring. There had to be something to this swamp other than water, mosquitoes and loud, unexplainable noises. Perhaps he'd find something to eat. He made a small flame appear in his hand to form as a light source as he looked around. He jumped from the ground, landing into the river and continued to walk onward. He listened closely to his surroundings. He was in a strange place and he didn't want to end up as some wild animals' dinner. At the same time, he knew this wasn't an ordinary swamp. The swamp seemed alive.
He heard a female's voice humming. Cautiously, he approached the voice. He put the flame out of his hand. He had to be careful about fire bending in Earth Kingdom territory. If he was found out, he'd be killed, or handed over to his twisted sister, Azula.
"Hello?" said Zuko softly. "Hello, my Uncle and I are lost. Can you help us?"
As he came closer, he found a woman dressed in red walking to the river. Her dark brown hair had a topknot with a gold flame.
"Mom?" Zuko said and the woman paused to look at him. It was his mother's face. "Mom!"
Zuko ran to her mother she backed up, looking confused. He opened his arms and as he was about to embrace her, she splashed him in the face with water.
Zuko choked and shook the swamp water out of his face. "Mom, why'd you do that?"
"I'm not your mother," said a voice, clearly not his mother's. It had an unusual twang. Zuko squinted, an in the place where he thought he saw his mother was a teenage girl dressed in a top and shirt made out of giant leaves.
"Sorry," she said. "You frightened me."
"My mother, where'd she go?" said Zuko. "The woman that was just here; where is she?" He grabbed the woman's arm.
"There is no other woman," said the girl softly. "The swamp just showed her to you; and you thought she was me."
The girl broke Zuko's grip. "The foggy swamp is mysterious. It shows people we have lost and people we have loved. You must've been thinking about your mother, and the swamp showed her to you."
"It's some kind of trick?" Zuko asked.
"No," said the girl, turning back to the water. "The swamp is alive. It shows us things we need to know. It's thousands of years old and my people have been year for generations, and we still do not understand it. If you want to find out more about this swamp you might want to meet Huu. You can usually find him sitting at the banyan grove tree in the middle of the swamp."
The girl stepped into the water and circled her arms. A bubble of water with a fish inside came out of the river. Zuko gasped.
"You're a waterbender?" Zuko asked. "I thought there were only water benders in the south and north poles?"
"Really?" said the girl. "Didn't know there were other water benders except here. They got swamps over there?"
"No," answered Zuko, raising an eyebrow. This girl probably never left the swamp. "Theyr'e covered in ice and snow."
"Snow?" The girl shivered, losing her concentration on her bending and she dropped her fish and it excaped. "Oh, bugtrot!"
Zuko laughed. The girl splashed him for laughing at her. He narrowed his eyes.
She attempted to try again and was successful. "You aren't from around here, are you? We'll be having breakfast soon and you can join us."
"Thank you," said Zuko. "But I…"
Zuko's stomach growled and he realized he couldn't turn down the offer.
"Need to find my uncle. We came to this place and I took a walk to explore."
"Okay," said the girl as she dropped the fish into her basket. "You can go get him."
Zuko glanced around and sighed. "I forgot where I left him."
It was the swmap girl's turn to laugh. "I'll help you find him. By the way, I'm Sue."
"I'm Zu-," Zuko began and he shut his mouth. He couldn't give out his name. He was a fugitive from the fire nation. "I'm…Lee."
Iroh panicked when he noticed Zuko gone and he went to look for him. "Zuko, where are you?" he called.
Iroh searched on and found a man in a fire nation battle raiment, with a topknot.
"Lu Ten," murmured Iroh. "My son."
A tear slid down Iroh's cheek and he reached out with open arms. He walked closer to embrace him and as he did so, he did not feel the warmth of his son's boedy. Instead it was a tree trunk in the middle of the water. Discovering that it was a hallucination, Iroh cursed himself for being misled. He was old and wise, even having an experience in the sprit world. He should have known what was real and what wasn't.
"Uncle, are you all right?"
There were splashes coming up to Iroh and Zuko put Iroh's arm around his neck. "Come on Uncle. I found someone that can give us some food."
Zuko led his uncle to the river bank and quickly introduced him to Sue.
"Who did you see?" she asked him.
"What?" Iroh murmured.
"This is a mystic swamp," Zuko explained. "It shows up people. I saw Mom. My guess is that you saw Lu Ten?"
"Lu Ten?" said Sue.
"My cousins," said Zuko. "Uncle lost him…several years ago."
"I'm sorry," said Sue. "The swamp does not mean to play on your emotions of sorrow. It only means to remind you that those you have lost are still with you. Everything in the world is connected."
"I believe that," said Iroh and he followed the swamp girl to her camp.
"Hey Sue, how you've been?" called Due.
"Waterbending," she answered, "fishing…oh and I made some friendes too! Zuko, Iroh, this is Due, my father."
"Wow," said Due, looking Zuko over. "You've found yourself a boy!"
"Dad…" she groaned. "Never mind him…" she whispered to Zuko. "He's trying to get me married off."
They sat at the campfire and the swamp tribe explained the mysteries fo the swamp and its life. When Zuko and Iroh left the swamp, they left with an understanding of themselves, the people they loved and their home. They were still connected, and death and exile could not change that.