I actually have another project going, but I'm quite ahead of schedule at the moment. I want a light break, shall I say. If you have time and enjoy this piece, feel free to check it out! This type of writing is very different to my usual style. In said story, I include the tale of The Blue Spirit and The Painted Lady. It is in chapter seven. And very sad. :(
I know this isn't how Zuko and Katara would ACTUALLY speak.
DISCLAIMER: I don't own Avatar or any of these characters, they belong to Nickelodeon and Viacom. I only own the writing itself.
It was a dark, twinkling night and ecstasy was in the air. A ball was being held at the Fire Nation palace and the theme was masquerade.
Yes, people were wearing fine satin dresses and dashing tuxedos. It was fairly normal attire, apart from their faces.
Faces of all colours and expressions. Some vibrant orange, amalgamated with splashes of yellow and red, a fiery waltz on a pale mask. Some melancholy expressions, adorned with dim colours that could only make the onlooker wonder of the story behind the mask.
But, our story follows that of a young Fire Prince.
He was unlike any Prince that the Fire Nation had seen before; but not in a way that he would have wished for. A bitter disappointment to all he had encountered. Alas, the Prince sought the night as a night unlike any other that had been before, so assumed his circumstances would be slightly different.
He had no idea how right he was.
The Fire Prince chose a solemn mask, the mask of a doomed spirit who had once lost the woman that he had loved. The mask had a story, and he certainly had a name. The Blue Spirit.
Only with a heavy heart the Prince wore this mask, for, the Prince himself had lost the woman that he loved. Before you misunderstand, my friends, the woman that he had lost was his mother.
The Fire Prince had a duty to his Nation to attend the ball, but he took advantage of the masquerade ball and his chosen mask hid his entire face, including his tell-tale scar.
The Prince arrived at the ball and searched for his maiden. The Blue Spirit's tale was a popular one in the Fire Nation, and henceforth there was bound to be at least one girl wearing the disguise of his lover.
His eyes scoured the extravagant hall, merely glazing over the fine silk red ribbons zigzagging the ceiling, and the glowing sconces creating shadows that danced on the walls. The Prince was utterly dismayed when he could not find a single lady at the dance in her apparel.
With a heavy sigh, the Fire Prince left the hall of laughter and half-hearted conversation to stroll in the gardens.
He rose his face to the sky, admiring the glittering stars and the great moon. It shone with an elegance that the Prince just couldn't compare. He approached the sloshing fountain and watched the moonlight in the water, appreciating his ability to see with both eyes. It was a luxury that was luckily salvaged from his wound.
'Hello,' a beautiful melodious voice said. The Fire Prince turned to face the voice, and came eye to eye with his lady. Yes, that was her.
A maiden with a flowing white gown and a thickly brimmed hat with satin hanging over its straw sides. Red swirls painted her dark skin and a crescent moon perched on her forehead.
'My lady,' the Fire Prince spoke, bowing his head low. He studied her face and saw two blue, oceanic eyes gazing at him from under the hat.
'May I ask what you're doing out here, when the party is inside?' She asked, taking a seat next to him. He smiled under his mask.
'I could ask you the same thing, my lady,' the Prince replied humbly.
'I like the moonlight.'
The Prince looked to the sky once more and stared at the moon.
'I do too, I suppose.'
'May I ask your name?' She asked, hiding her eyes with the brim of her hat. It casted a dark shadow over the half of her face. It sufficed for a mask rather well.
The lady spoke with slight hesitation, as if she were expecting a harsh blow from the slightest of remarks. The Prince could not help but judge her behaviour, the slight inch away from him whenever he spoke, the way she clung to the side of the fountain with her fingertips and hovered by the water like a cat clinging stoically to the shadows because it could not bear to be seen. It thrived in the dark and withered in the sunlight. She was a waterbender.
'No,' he replied. He knew that she wouldn't complain. She seemed passive. 'Unless you tell me yours, first.'
A grin appeared under the patchwork of straw.
'Why, The Painted Lady, of course.'
'Well I know that,' the Prince said agitatedly.
'Then why did you ask?'
'I'm The Blue Spirit,' the Prince interjected. She seemed amused by his irritation. It baffled the Prince; he reconsidered his formal judgement of her.
'I know that,' she replied soundly, dipping slender fingers in the water.
'Then why did you ask?'
'Hm,' she smiled, shuffling closer to him. He felt his cheeks heat. 'Well, I know that you're not my angry ex-boyfriend, so you're not an old memory that would rather be forgotten. Rather, you're the future,' the girl paused, pursing her lips. 'Or at least, you could be. If fate is kind tonight.'
'You wouldn't like me if you knew who I am,' the Prince said sadly, turning away from her kind words.
'Come with me,' the Prince heard the lady say. She held and outstretched hand to him, and a small smile on her lips. The Prince took her hand and was pulled to his feet and yanked into a run.
The sound of her laughter caught on the wind and echoed through the fields of the royal garden. The Prince quickly found himself enveloped in it, and his own laughs followed, swaying in the air.
She took the Prince to a shadowy clearing with only the moonlight illuminating its soft grass. The lady released his hand and sat in the middle of the clearing, her white robes pooling around her body. The Prince sat beside her and stretched his legs before him. Thousands of questions hung in the air, clouding the Fire Prince's mind.
They sat in silence for a while, the Prince ran the grass through his fingertips, twirling the strands and yanking them from the soil.
'You're not like all the other boys, are you?' The beautiful voice asked, soft, inquisitive. The Prince stopped his actions to give her his undivided attention.
'Not really,' he admitted. The Prince wished he could be like all the other boys.
'Would you like to dance, my lady?' The Prince asked, picking himself from the floor. The Painted Lady nodded her head reverently, accepting his offer to help her up.
The Fire Prince carefully took one hand in his own, and placed the other on her waist. She planted her free hand on his shoulder. The lady suddenly looked horribly disappointed.
'But wait! There is no music!' She exclaimed. The Fire Prince frowned.
'Quite right, there is not.'
'Then what are we to do?' She whispered.
'I suppose… We'll have to pretend,' the Prince replied with a smile in his voice. The Painted Lady smirked.
'You are a strange boy, aren't you?' The lady teased, following his slow, unusually rhythmic step.
'Stranger than you know.'
The lady paused, and stopped moving with him. She slowly moved her hands to his mask, and curled her fingers around its edges. The Prince quickly grabbed her wrists with two strong hands and she flinched away from him.
'Will I ever know whose face is behind this wretched mask?' She asked in a quivering voice.
'No,' the Prince said resolutely, releasing her wrists.
The Fire Prince opened his mouth to retort, but found that no words came from his lips. He quite simply, did not have an answer for her.
'The Blue Spirit and I have a lot more in common than you may believe,' he said simply, not willing to disclose more than that. The lady sighed softly, and slipped her hand into his.
'For that I am sorry for you,' she said. 'If I can't lift your mask, can you trust me to just do one thing?'
The Fire Prince turned to face her, and despite his fears, he nodded. The lady tentatively rose his mask ever so slightly up his face to reveal a pair of strong, frowning lips. She held the mask in place and pushed herself on tiptoes to place her lips upon his.