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The Azulon

The Prologue

She is suffocating, the pungent odor of a thousand tons of fresh earth boring down on the air surrounding her. She can hear wood creaking. Spreading out her arms, she feels the extent of her confines. Crumbling wood and splinters meet her probing. Shuddering, she places her palms right in front of her. As if under the weight of a hundred platypus-bears, the planks had been reduced to a creaking mess. Fine strands of damp earth start flowing from the places where her nails scratched the rotting wood.

She wonders how she had ended up here. All her attempts at remembering are met with hazy emptiness with oily edges. It is as if she were staring down a void in a bid for answers.

The void stares quietly back at her.

She's losing consciousness now, her lungs screaming out for air. Her hands scrabble at the rotting wood as she screams incoherent profanities, brown liquid streams down the sides of her face and she whimpers, inhaling what little air is left, along with the centuries-old dust that is now thick in the turbulent air. She draws a long raking breath and lays still, her face going limp and her limbs falling to her sides.

The wood cracks and gives way. The earth crushes and swallows her like a Leviathan deep beneath the Fire Nation waters.

Princess Azula dies alone. Buried under the earth of a century of war, and swept aside by the winds of time.

Somewhere deep in the void a reedy voice laughs. The burgeoning sound imposes itself on the emptiness of the abyss... and then becomes it.