|By Dennis Fielder||Genre||Rating||Reviews||Updates|
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Avatar: The Rise and Fall of Fire Lord Ozai
Towards the end of Iroh's 600 Day Siege of Ba Sing Se, Ozai received a letter that informed him that Lu Ten had died saving Admiral Kuzon, and that Iroh had retreated. How could Iroh be so foolish? That's how it always was! Iroh had always been ruled by his heart! It was time he talked to his father. He asked for a meeting between his father and his family.
Ozai's family was sitting down a few yards away from Azulon.
"And how did Great Grandfather Sozin win the Battle of Han Tui?" Ozai asked.
"Great Grandfather won because..." Zuko began, but Ozai knew he was terrible with recalling specific information.
"Because," Azula interrupted. "Even though his army was outnumbered, he cleverly calculated his advantages. The enemy was down wind, and there was a drought. Their defenses burned to a crisp in minutes."
"Correct my dear." Ozai said. She had a perfect memory. "Now, won't you show Grandfather the new moves you demonstrated to me?"
Azula displayed fantastic Firebending skills. Ozai smiled, this was sure to impress his father.
"A true prodigy." Ozai said with pride. "Just like her grandfather, for whom she is named."
Azula stopped and returned to her seat. A minute later Zuko stood up.
"I'd like to demonstrate what I've been learning." Zuko declared.
Ozai frowned. He knew that Zuko's Firebending was sub-standard for a member of the royal family, though still better than a normal person; this was exactly what could put Azulon in a bad mood. Zuko's display wasn't horrible, but definitely mediocre. His form was almost completely off. Finally, Zuko fell to the ground while trying to perform a kick. Ursa ran to him.
"I've failed." Zuko said in a defeated voice.
"No," Ursa said in a comforting voice. "I enjoyed watching you. That's who you are Zuko. Someone who keeps fighting even though it's hard."
Ozai's frown slackened since Ursa did have a point. Determination was one of Zuko's greatest strengths, and he knew that Azulon admired that virtue.
"Prince Ozai, why are you wasting my time with this pomp?" Azulon said impatiently. "Just tell me what you want. Everyone else go."
As Ursa, Zuko, and Azula left, Ozai noted how the years had aged Azulon, how his hair had perfectly silvered, how he had developed a few wrinkles, some liver spots, and his hands had become clawed. These fitted Azulon, as it made him all the more imposing.
"Father," Ozai began treading carefully. "You must have realized as I have, that with Lu Ten gone, Iroh's bloodline has ended. After his death, my brother abandoned the siege at Ba Sing Se. And who knows when he'll return home? But I am here father, and my children are alive."
"Say what it is you want!" Azulon demanded.
"Father," Ozai responded, dripping with respect. "Revoke Iroh's birthright. I am your humble servant. Here to serve you and our nation! Use me."
"You dare suggest I betray Iroh?" Azulon said in the same voice he used at the Agni Kai. "My first born? Directly after the demise of his only beloved son? I think Iroh has suffered enough, but you. Your punishment has scarcely begun!"
Ozai recognized the tone in his father's voice. He was in trouble.
"You must know the pain of losing a first born son!" Azulon said, his voice now reaching a tone that even he had never heard before!
"What?" Ozai asked. Azulon wouldn't. He couldn't.
"You shall kill Zuko as punishment!" Azulon declared.
As Ozai left the room, he contemplated his order. How could his father want him to kill Zuko, his grandson! But he had to do it. He couldn't defy his father. As he approached Zuko's room, Ursa stopped him.
"Ozai," Ursa pleaded. "You can't!"
"I must." Ozai said.
"Ozai," Ursa asked quickly. "Listen to me. What if you could be the Fire Lord, and Zuko could still live?"
"Keep talking." Ozai said in a soft voice.
It could work. They could make it work. They were outside Azulon's chambers. Ursa went in, and Ozai followed. Azulon gasped his dying breath as Ursa used a Fire Dagger to pierce his heart. Ozai quickly feigned a letter in Azulon's hand saying that Azulon wished that Ozai succeeded him. He then turned to Ursa.
"I'm sorry Ursa," Ozai said in the same soft voice. "But killing the Fire Lord is an extremely treacherous thing to do."
"But-" Ursa began, but Ozai interrupted her.
"I'm afraid you'll have to be banished. You can have five minutes to say good-bye to Zuko."
The next morning, Ozai was at a turtle-duck pond that Ursa and Zuko used to sit at on summer afternoons.
What have I done? Ozai thought. At almost the same moment, he answered himself. I have secured the future of my country! If Iroh became the Fire Lord, he would have ended the War to avoid any future conflict! But, Ursa was my only friend. Did I do the right thing? Of course I did! It was for the Fire Nation!
Zuko ran up holding a sheathed knife Iroh gave him.
"Where is she?" Zuko demanded.
Ozai stood immobile. Should he tell Zuko? No, in the first place, it was none of his business, and in the second place, he didn't even know where Ursa would be by now.
Azulon's funeral was held the next day, and, as usual, was presided over by a Fire Sage.
"Azulon," The Fire Sage began. "Fire Lord of our nation for 75 years. You were our fearless leader in the Battle of Garsai. Our matchless conqueror of the Hu Xin Provinces. You were father of Iroh, father of Ozai, husband of Illah (now passed), grandfather of Lu Ten (now passed), grandfather of Zuko and Azula."
The Fire Sage moved to the crypt and removed Azulon's crown, as Ozai walked up to the upper center of the funeral area.
"We lay you to rest." The Fire Sage continued.
Two Firebenders created a fire to cremate Azulon's body.
"As was your dying wish," the Fire Sage concluded. "You are now succeeded by your second son."
As Ozai knelt down, the Fire Sage placed the crown behind his top knot.
"All hail Fire Lord Ozai!" the sage declared.
As Ozai stood up, he kept his face serious, but inside, he was smiling with pride. His greatest dream had come true. He was the Fire Lord! And he would see the entire world fall under his rule!
Ozai's descent to darkness is completed, as demonstrated by his inner monologue at the pond.
This chapter tells the story of the flashbacks from the flashbacks of Zuko Alone from Ozai's Point of view.
- Fire Lord Azulon's fate, hinted at in The Day of Black Sun Part 2: The Eclipse, is stated in this chapter.
For the collective works of the author, go here.