A/N: Thank you for your patience. I hope it's worth it: this is the FINAL chapter of this story. Enjoy! :)
Chapter 27 - A Fire Will Rise
It all happens so fast.
Suddenly and without warning, the arena swarms with Elites. Two grab hold of Pakku and one slams him to the ground, pinning his arms behind him; Hama falls lifelessly to the ground.
A scream tears out of my throat. "No!"
Behind me, the doors to our box burst open. I barely notice the scrambling or the frantic voices, or my name being shouted. I'm too focused on what's happening below. Someone grabs me—I think it's more than one person. I try to fight them off but they're too strong and there's a throbbing in my head and in my chest. I get a good hit in before I'm knocked to my knees.
I'm yanked from our box. The last thing I see is Pakku being dragged from the arena and Hama, lying lifeless and forgotten on the ground.
I'm half dragged through the corridors and lashed at by fire when I don't cooperate. I don't know where I'm being taken or how long we walk but it feels like a long time before we stop.
A gate is lifted and suddenly there's so much cheering and noise and flashing of light that I can't think or see straight. I just follow the arm pulling me blindly. Where are you? I demand myself to answer. Focus, focus, focus.
My feet hit something hard and dimly I realize it's stairs. I'm lead straight up them. Whoever is gripping my elbow is saying something but suddenly everything slows down and I can't hear anymore. I'm too consumed by what I see in front of me.
No, not Hama. Her body is gone and all that's left is a pool of inky blood. There is a sudden, violent pounding in my ears. The absence of her hurts more than seeing her lifeless, and the agony seems to have crept up on me. It's like being cold in the dead winter at home. At first, you don't notice it. It isn't until you're half frozen do you really feel the pain and at that point, it's too late to stop it.
I force myself to look away from the blood and blink rapidly. Everything is blurry and I don't know if it's because there are tears in my eyes or I'm just zoning out. Voices finally break through the barrier and I hear them all at once.
"Katara, what is your plan for the final round?"
"What would your father think of your performance as a mentor?"
"How many sponsors do you have?"
"What is your relationship with Prince Zuko for him to wear your token?"
This question jerks me from my distant haze and color finally comes back into the world.
I look around, blinking, finally seeing and not just looking. I'm still in the arena, deep under the prison, but I'm on the ground level in the actual battlefield. I'm standing on a stage in the very center, and I'm not alone. Behind me there are about six Elites and a few Guards. The Fire Lord still sits in his box, watching me with a deep void that could mean a thousand different things.
The arena is still filled with citizens of the Capital, waving their banners and flags. Below the podium are about two dozen reporters and Guards with Watchers. I see my face—looking lost and numb—in the large screen hanging across the arena. This must be live, then. My dad is probably watching.
Directly in front of me is a wooden podium with an amplifier. I don't realize until now that I've been gripping it with all my strength, using it to keep me standing. The reporters are still rattling off questions, making it nearly impossible for me to think, let alone answer.
"What is your biggest advantage?"
"Did you plan to bend the rules?"
"I didn't—" I try to say.
"How does it feel to lose your first tribute?"
How does it feel to lose your first tribute?
The question echoes in my head, rattles around and bangs against my skull. I grip the podium harder, squeezing my eyes shut once. The questions keep coming, keep demanding an answer from me, and the flashes never stop.
When a reporter says, "Could your brother have done a better job?" I realize I've never wanted to be rescued more in my entire life, and that's saying something. Even when I fought to survive in the arena, I wasn't as alone as I am now.
I close my eyes and count to ten.
Calm down. Breathe. Just breathe.
You have faced worse things. You're a Victor.
Dad is watching. Be strong for him—be strong for yourself.
You're too tough to give up now.
They're just people asking questions. Questions can't creep up on you when you're sleeping and hurt you.
Think of home, of the crisp air and powdery snow, of sea prunes by the fire. Think of Dad, of the White House, of Yue, of shades of blue.
You're going home soon. You're going home soon.
The Capital expects you to fail. That's why they gave you no warning and left Hama's blood for you to see. They want to unhinge you and watch you break. Don't let them beat you.
Don't let them win.
I open my eyes and reach out to grip the amplifier. "Yes," I say into it. The reporters fall silent immediately. "Yes, my brother probably could have done a better job. He had a way with people. He made you want to listen to what he had to say, even if it was ridiculous. He could make you laugh even if you were angry or sad. And he was smart. His mind worked in strategies and theories, and he always had a plan. He would have been a great mentor. But he was an even better brother." I pause and swallow hard. "He was my best friend."
The reporters and the audience are hanging on every word. It's so quiet that my heart pounds in my ears. Taking a deep breath, I force myself to plunge on.
"Sokka isn't here anymore, but I take comfort in knowing he's in a better place now. He would have been proud of Province 9 today. Love is stronger than any nightmare or fear or game you might face. And if that doesn't give you hope our humanity isn't completely lost I don't know what will."
I turn and head toward the Guards at the back of the stage. I'm relieved I don't have to tell them the interview is over. Six flank my side and lead me out of the arena, one keeping a sturdy grip on my elbow once again. I can hardly believe it, but when I step through the gate, I can hear the crowd cheering.
The Guards ignore my demands to go see Pakku. As a mentor I have the right to see him, I had said. It doesn't matter. They are given strict orders—no doubt by whom—to take me straight to my cell until they receive further instruction. I wonder if the Fire Lord is busy choosing a new cell for me to call home for the rest of my life.
I half expect the Guards to linger at my door, but they leave me completely. I pound my fists into the iron bars and demand for them to come back, but they're either too far away to hear or they're ignoring me. No one from my team returns either.
I pace back and forth, like a caged animal, for what seems like an eternity. My hands are swollen from banging on the bars. Finally, finally, there is movement in the corridor and three Guards approach from the shadows.
"I want to see my tribute," I demand.
"I don't care what you want," she says, unlocking the door and swinging it open. She's tall for a woman, much taller than me and maybe even Sen. "We're taking you to the infirmary because we were ordered to."
I follow the Guards silently and am relieved I'm not being dragged this time or threatened with fire. I rub the inside of my wrists, still feeling the sting. There will be scars if I don't have them healed.
When we finally reach the infirmary, it's all I can do not to sprint to the doors and fling them open. Instead I stay calm, not wanting to be taken away when I'm so close to seeing Pakku, and let the Guards open the doors. But when I get inside, it isn't Pakku waiting for me. It's Joo Dee and a handful of Elites. They're circled around a bed and even when I see the flash of white hair, it still takes me a minute to comprehend what's going on.
I can't move.
"Come in, Katara," says Joo Dee, beckoning with a hand. She looks sad, the usual light in her eyes faded.
"What are you doing?" I ask, a little hysterically. I can't seem to force myself to look at Hama, lying motionless in one of the beds.
"You must…identify her and sign here," she says, holding out a scroll. "As mentor, you are responsible for the delivery of fallen tributes to their province."
I wish someone had told me sooner so I could have prepared myself. How could I though? How can you prepare for looking at someone you love who is dead? I don't know why I never considered this before. I guess part of me believed Joo Dee or the Capital would take care of it. Shakily, I give her a nod and after several painful seconds, I force myself to look at Hama.
I'm relieved to see she's been cleaned up, with fresh clothes and the blood gone. She's lying on her back with her hands placed gently on her stomach. Her silvery white hair has been smoothed around her pale face. She looks at peace, but seeing her so still, her chest flat and unmoving, claws at my throat and makes me want to scream. When I touch her hands, I think no one should ever feel so cold.
"Yes, of course it's her," I whisper, pulling my hand back. A tear slips down my cheek as I sign the scroll with an inked brush. "What will happen to her things?" I ask Joo Dee.
"They will pass to her family, unless…" Joo Dee's voice trails off.
Unless she has no family. The terrible part is that I don't think she does.
"And if she doesn't?" I ask.
"Then all her possessions will belong to the Capital."
"They can't do that!" I shout, and I don't even care that the Elites hear me. "We can't just—"
"They can and they will," Joo Dee insists. She grabs my wrists, shakes me into looking at her, and brings her lips closer to my ear. "Katara, listen to me. If you want to live, you must let this go."
"How…is this living? How?" I demand.
She looks away and says nothing. I pull away and move closer to the bed. My hand shakes, but I lower it to touch Hama's shoulder. "Thank you for everything," I say quietly. "Someday we will see each other again."
I walk away after that, leaving part of my heart behind. With every loss I feel another piece tear away. Soon I'll have nothing left but an empty, cold hole in my chest.
The Guards outside the infirmary allow me to visit Pakku without much fuss. They lead me through the chilly corridors. It's beyond disconcerting to realize I don't really need them to. I know how to get from the infirmary to the tribute cells. Still, I follow their lead and keep my head held high, even though I feel like screaming. I just wish I can erase the image of Hama's still and cold body.
I'm calm when I reach the tribute corridor. Once I see Pakku though, barking orders at a healer inside his cell, looking ashen and cold in the face and utterly alone, I can't help myself—I run to him.
And suddenly the door has been opened and I'm in his arms, crying.
"I'm so sorry," I sob into his shoulder. "I'm sorry we couldn't save her."
"You cannot save people from themselves, Katara," he says. His arms are a little stiff around me, but he doesn't let go.
"I know," I say sadly. "But I would still try."
"You are a foolish girl," he says gruffly, and I feel him shake his head.
"You said I was brave, too. Foolish and brave."
"So I did," he grumbles.
"They made me identify her."
My throat goes dry. I think of my brother, and all the other tributes Pakku and Hama had to send home, their last memory being the image of their dead corpses.
No. I refuse to let that be my last memory of Hama. She might have died, but she lived in her final moments. She died on her terms, not the Capital's.
I pull back and look Pakku over. I don't see any damage, but his movements are strained as he walks to his bed. "Are you hurt?" I ask. "I was afraid the Guards were going to torture you."
"No," he says, but he still makes a face when he sits down.
"Yes, you are! Should I get that healer to come back?"
"No!" he snaps at me. "In case you haven't noticed, I am old. I'm sore and tired. Now let me be."
"Fine, be stubborn. No more secrets though," I say sternly. "I don't want to be in the dark anymore. We're a team and we have to stick together. We…we're all that's left."
He looks up at my broken voice. His eyes soften and his lips twitch into a small, sad smile.
"What are we going to do?" I don't want to ask, don't want to even think about it, but I have to. "Next round you have to…"
"I will not fight him."
I stare at Pakku, not daring to blink. "What?"
"You know our duty," he says. "If I am to die, then it is fulfilling my vows."
"Would you care about his life if you were not ordered to?" I say flatly, failing to keep the bitter resentment out of my voice.
"I am not ordered to care. I am ordered to protect," he clarifies. "There is a tremendous difference."
"Yeah, and the difference means everything."
Pakku shakes his head, looking tired, older, and worn beyond his years. "I am not going to argue with you right now."
I decide to let it go for the moment, a more pressing issue at stake. "If you forfeit, the crowd will vote," I say quietly.
And if they vote for his death, Zuko will have to kill him.
The thought is unbearable. I can't even allow myself to consider that option. No, we will have to find another way. An idea suddenly occurs to me. Maybe my speech can do more help than damage after all.
I haven't heard from you in a while. Are you getting my letters? I hope so. At least I'll be home in a few weeks and we won't have to bother with letters at all. Today is another round. One more after this and I'm coming home.
This week was horribly slow. There are only three tributes left and I'm all alone in my room now. I don't have much to do other than wait, which feels like a painful torture. It's so cold here. I miss the sun and the warmth it brings.
I'm scared, Dad. I don't want to lose either of them.
I hope I'm doing the right thing.
I love you,
I had sealed the letter and gave it to Joo Dee at breakfast. She promised to make sure it's sent out this morning. All I can do is hope; though I have a horrible feeling my dad hasn't been getting them lately.
I had wanted to visit Zuko, but I couldn't seem to muster up the courage. I don't know how I'll face him afterwards though if he has to kill Pakku. I just hope the crowd votes against it. They have to.
And they will have that chance any moment.
"Stop worrying. It's going to be fine," June says, for what feels like the tenth time. My artists have been at my side since the moment they arrived, stroking my hair and filling my ears with reassurance.
"No one wants to see either of them die," says Cho.
"Not after last week's memorable routine!" says Cho excitedly. "Didn't you hear? Black and white is the new red!"
I didn't, and I hardly care. If all the audience took away from Pakku and Hama's performance was their outfits, then they completely missed the message.
My heart races in my chest as the gates are finally lifted. Pakku and Zuko step out from shadow, the crowd's cheers echoing in the arena. The prince, like usual, has the support from the majority of the audience. I see red banners with the "One" etched into it, I can hear his name being chanted, and I even see a little boy wearing a mask on one side of his face, shaped like a scar. I can't decide if shock or horror is my overriding emotion.
Zuko and Pakku shed their shirts—of course there's a chorus of wooing from the females in the audience—and walk to their starting points. My heart flutters briefly before a jolt of pain goes through me when I see my necklace tied to his wrist.
The crowd is so anxious they can hardly stand it as Zuko and Pakku bow to the Fire Lord. He nods once, and Pakku straightens. Before the gong rings, he takes a step forward and says, loudly and clearly, "Your Grace, I am afraid I cannot fight this fight."
The crowd doesn't seem to absorb it right away. They have to whisper to each other, hear it from someone else, re-confirm what they've heard, before it sinks in. Their voices have reached high pitched whispers and the Fire Lord has to hold up a hand to silence them. Even though I can only see Zuko's back, his head swivels back and forth between his father and Pakku, confusion clear in his movements.
The Fire Lord chooses his words carefully and when he speaks, his voice is harsh and cold, silencing all murmurs. "You are refusing to fight, Victor?"
"I am forfeiting," says Pakku, also carefully. "It would be dishonorable to fight my prince, the heir to the throne, and future Fire Lord. I would rather forfeit my place than harm him in any way."
I wish I was close enough to see Ozai's face, to see his eyes flash, to see his mouth curve in sure to be fury. The crowd, who was so hesitant and confused, bursts into wild applause like I've never heard before. Everyone is on their feet in full support. I can't help a grin of my own. This is exactly the reaction I wanted.
The Fire Lord finally reigns in the crowd once again with a raised hand. "Is that your final choice?"
"It is, Your Grace," answers Pakku.
"You were warned of your last forfeit, Victor. This time, you shall forfeit your place in the tournament and your life," says Ozai, and then his voice rises over the protests of the crowd. "Prince Zuko, I command you to carry out the death of Pakku of Province 9."
"You can't do that!" I scream, but my voice is lost in the storm of moaning, protesting, and angry citizens.
"Silence!" shouts Ozai, and his voice rings with sharp clarity. With a swoop of his hand, he sends a giant ring of fire out into the arena. Heads duck, many scream, and a heavy silence falls. There is no clapping, no applause, only terror and trembling. "You will do as commanded, Prince Zuko."
I can't breathe. Can't keep from shaking. Pakku was warned for his last forfeit…why don't I know this? I didn't see that round—that was when Lu Ten found me. Pakku knew though. He should have told me he was warned after his forfeit. Why didn't he tell me? Why didn't he tell me this might happen?
I notice, only now, that Zuko has not attacked Pakku.
"Father," the prince begins hesitantly, "it does not seem fair to not allow the people to vote."
"Fairness!" Ozai laughs. "Is this your weak heart speaking? This newfound adoration for Province 9?"
"No," Zuko says tightly. He straightens. "I won't do it, Father. Not like this."
"You will obey me or this defiant breath will be your last," says Ozai, so quietly, that it sends chills down my spine.
Zuko says nothing. The crowd is so deathly silent and terrified that all I can hear is my own shaking breath.
"You have learned nothing!" Ozai shouts, leaping forward. He moves so quickly and suddenly, curling around his body and snapping and hissing is hot white lightning. His hands twist and shoot forward—
A loud explosion rocks the arena, knocking me to the ground. Bits of rock rain down on me, and when I look up, I see the dome ceiling has a huge opening. Another explosion goes off, this one louder than before, causing fire and sparks to explode. The noise is so loud that it rings in my ears, and suddenly I can't hear and everything is blurry. I stagger to my feet, using my hip against the railing to keep steady. My hands fly to my ears as the arena shakes under a bellowing roar.
I know that sound before I see it. In front of me, a huge, monstrous dragon is rising from the smoke. I've never seen one so large, so beautifully terrifying. His body is covered in red scales; his leathery wings a darker red, almost black, with a long, coiled tail. With each flap of it's wings the cool air hits my face, ruffling my hair. And there, sitting in the center of it's back and holding the reigns, is a figure wearing a white mask with a red dot in the center. A mask I've seen before in a wanted poster.
The mask of Amun Ra.
I stare, transfixed and frozen, as the people scramble and scream around me. I can hardly believe what I'm seeing. I barely notice an aircraft come through the ceiling, dark masked figures hanging onto rope and being lowered into the arena, a huge metal claw descending. One of them is holding something that creates blue sparks in their hand. Is it fire or lightning? More explosions go off and the arena is swarmed with smoke and fire.
Someone is yanking me away from the railing. My mind is still moving slow, my vision and hearing foggy. I hear my name as if from far away. I blink and suddenly standing in front of me is Bowen. He grips my face with his hands, forcing me to focus on him.
"Kat, listen to me!" he says urgently. "They're here for us. It's our only chance. We have to go!"
I remember the note I received over a week ago, with the symbol of the White Lotus and one word written there: Soon. Is this their doing? I should have known "soon" meant to expect something. I just didn't expect this.
"Zuko—Pakku," I choke out.
"They're getting them," he reassures me. "Look." And sure enough, through the smoke I can make out the dragon ascending toward the ceiling, the prince slumped over it's back in front of Amun Ra. The Guards shoot fire at it, Elites use rocks from the fallen ceiling, but the dragon is too powerful, it's skin to tough. It roars, swinging it's tail and shattering each piece of earth that comes toward it. It's fire is gold-white, so hot I can feel it from here, no match for the Firebenders. The dragon flies out, knocking into more of the rock ceiling as it forces it's way through.
The claw begins to ascend from the aircraft, two masked figures standing on the top of it. And inside, dangling lifelessly in it's metal clasps, is Pakku. Like the prince, I can't tell if he's alive. I just know that if I get to them, I can heal them.
"Come with me," says Bowen, snapping my attention back to him. "Come with us!"
If I had more time, I would think about it. I would consider where I was going, who was going to be there, and what would happen next. I would think about my dad, of what this means for him and what he would do. I would think of Province 9, of the fact that I might never see it again.
But I don't have time to think, so I don't. I just react.
I grab Bowen's hand and he pulls me toward the door of our box. June is there, slamming the door into a Guard; he slumps to the ground. She wrenches the door open and waves us forward. Only then do I see the three Elites, Joo Dee, Sen, and my artists on the ground. Jeong Jeong is no where to be found.
"The others," I say, as Bowen turns a corner and we're flying down the corridor.
"They'll live," is all he says.
My heart tightens at the thought of Joo Dee, lying unconsciously on the ground. I want to turn back around and help her, to bring her with me, but instinct tells me there is no going back now.
We skid to a stop as three Guards turn the corner and send a wave of fire at us. June and I duck just in time. Bowen kicks out and the left side of the wall smashes the Guards into the other side. As we keep running toward them, he pulls the wall back and we jump over their unconscious bodies.
The corridor finally connects to the main ones and they're swarmed with screaming citizens. Bowen pushes through, keeping hold of me while I hang on to June with my other hand. It's complete chaos as everyone rushes toward safety. The Guards are forcing their way through to get to the arena where the threat is heavy, but the corridors are narrow and many people get knocked to the ground.
Bowen gets frustrated and finally makes his own path, breaking open walls so we can find our way out.
"Give me your whistle!" he shouts at me.
"Your bison whistle, now!"
I yank it off my belt and hand it to him as we run, my heart racing too quickly to worry about questions. Bowen blows into it, but of course no sound comes out.
We keep running and he punches through one last wall and finally we're out in the open air, and the sun is so welcoming and wonderful that I don't notice two dozen Guards waiting. Without hesitation, they run at us, brandishing their fire whips. Several shoot fire at us, and it's all we can do to dodge out of the way.
"Get out of here," June says, pulling something small and round out from her tunic. In her other hand, she yields a long, thick whip. "I'll hold them off."
"No," I protest. "We're not leaving you!"
"You don't have a choice and there's no time to argue," she says, brushing dark hair from her eyes. "There's too many. You have to run. Go!"
Bowen grabs my hand and sends a wave of rocks over his shoulder, taking out three Guards. We run, dodging fire and leaping over broken rubble as we go. I can hear June fighting, hear the sound of her whip slashing at the Guards. "If I'm going to burn than so are you!" she shouts.
I stop and look back. The Guards have her surrounded, and only a few break from their formation to run after us. My eyes lock with hers. Pain is there, only a second, as she lets the thing in her hand drop.
"Make them pay, my friend," she says to me. She smiles just as the explosion goes off and her body—and all of the Guards, including the four that were pursing us—are engulfed in flames and smoke.
The explosion throws me and Bowen backward, into hard jagged rocks, and I hit my head hard. I feel myself screaming, inside and out. My face burns, the fire from the explosion had licked it's flames against my skin. I can't stop coughing. Bowen must manage to get up because suddenly he's lifting me into his arms. He struggles at first but finally regains his balance, and he runs. I scream, thrash against him, cry out, claw at his back, but he keeps going.
My head throbs and stars dance behind my eyes. I can feel blood dripping down the side of my face, mingling with the tears, stinging the burn on my cheek. I taste rust and salt in my mouth.
Her name echoes in my head as I slip into unconsciousness.
When I start to stir, I feel wind at my cheeks. It's cold, so cold I'm shivering, and it burns against my face. At the edge of my vision I see a dark figure. I try to say something, but my head hurts so badly I can hardly think. It takes me a few seconds to sit up and when I do, I almost scream.
I'm soaring in the clouds, flying hundreds of feet in the air. The fresh air is cold against my face but the setting sun warms my cheeks. I stare at the horizon, mesmerized by the soft oranges and golds. Distantly, I realize I'm flying on a sky bison. A real, living sky bison.
I hear a whimper and look toward the sound, noticing for the first time a small woman wrapped in a heavy shawl. She's sleeping, but it's a troubled sort of sleep.
"You need to rest." I recognize Bowen's voice and glance up. The dark figure finally comes into focus. He's sitting near the sky bison's head, guiding it with a thick set of reigns. "Reach into that bag," he says, nodding with his head, "and put a mask on, carefully. I tried to patch you up the best I could. Put one on her too."
"We're almost there."
I see it then. Out in the distance, a dark and grey skyline, like a city risen from it's ashes. "Almost where?" I ask.
A/N: I can't believe this story is finished. Words can't express how grateful I am that I got to share it with you guys. Your patience and encouragement has truly motivated me every step of the way. Thank you...I can't say it enough. Some things I want to share:
I am VERY excited to finally announce the final installment and sequel to this story: The Phoenix Queen.
I have posted an AMAZING trailer for it on my profile page. It was created by the wonderful PumpkinPie89, who is also a dear friend of mine. She did such an fantastic job and I can't stop watching it. As you might notice, the title for this chapter ties into that trailer. (The music specially as well, as it's taken from one of the Dark Knight Rises trailers.) I hope you like it!
While it's not set in stone, I'm shooting for The Phoenix Queen to be published in early February 2014. You can stay posted by checking my profile page for updates or following me on Tumblr. Thank you guys again. You're the best!
pyrokinetic maniac: "I like my romance with a little bit of action, and yours has the exact proportions of both" - Thank you! I like romance with action too. Check out The Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews. :) It has a great balance.
Firestarter: "Also, I have never liked an OC until Bowen." - Woo woo! I'm picky with OC's too, so I'm happy to hear you like him. :)
Natasha: "I know this is going back a few chapters, but I just noticed that one of the victors is like Johanna right?" - Yes, Sage was loosely based on Johanna. :)
smileyluvstwilight: "Ahhh when is there going to be another Zutara kiss?!" - Random fact of the day: I never plan the kisses. :P So I honestly don't know. I just sort of let the kisses happen as I'm writing. I find it's more natural that way. So I'm sure there WILL be more kisses, I can't say when because I don't know.
Talia: "I might try and do some TBG/TRoO fanart in the future. Do you have instagram? Since I'm not on deviant art I cannot post it on there. If you don't though I might be able to convince my friend to put it on her account." - I'd love to see your fanart! I don't have instagram, but I do have Deviantart and Tumblr. Links are on my profile page. :)
Obsidian Bluterfly: "I'm sort of curious what became of Gran Gran." - Kanna died before Katara was born, so she never knew her. In this story, Province 9 suffers a lot of illness and death due to the cold, so the elderly don't live as long.
Italia8989: "I feel like your characters are not the same ones as in "Avatar" because they are in a different world" - Yeah the inspiration was to take the characters from ATLA and adapt how I think they would be had they grown up in the world I created. I wanted them to be familiar to canon, but add some changes based on the environment they were in. :P
"You have inspired me tremendously with writing dedication since I am a rookie writer, and I just wanted to say how thankful I am for you having spent time to write this work of art. " - Aw thank you! That's honestly the greatest compliment in the world. I wish you the best of luck with your writing!
LazyLizzy: "Why Hama?" - Her death was tough. What it came down to was the fact that Hama and Pakku knew their chances of survival were not high. They weren't loved by the capital like some of the more attractive, younger and popular tributes. Even more than that though, they didn't want to fight each other. Rather than turn it into an act of rebelliousness, which yeah it kind of was, they turned it into something beautiful and memorable. It was a way to give the capital what they wanted (a death) and what Hama and Pakku wanted. One of them was going to have to kill the other, and Hama believed out of the two of them, Pakku had more to offer Katara and the White Lotus.