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Chapter information

Of Burnt Badgermoles and Broken Dragons



Written by


Release date

5th February, 2014

Word count


Next chapter

Alone and Lonely



It was never expected that she would leave the asylum, but for some unfathomable reason, her brother—and she spits at the word—was convinced to allow her to be moved to the new city. That shining beacon of hope and harmony that made her want to rip at her eyes because she could not stand the brightness.

Azula holds little hope for her own recovery (despite her own protests that she isn't crazy), and even less for her surroundings. She wonders how much effort was put in to make it seem as though there was no effort at all.

Azula expects a dull, damp cell, surrounded by bars in which she would be gawked at like an amusement show. It surprises her that there is no pomp or fanfare. She's so used to it, after all. Now, she doubts people even know who she is. Her move was a secret; so was she.

The Fire Nation Institution for the Criminally Insane had pampered her; she was never alone. Now, she had no company but herself and the view from the small barred window. She had anticipated the drop in care, and was not disappointed, but why? Why even bother?

For days and weeks on end, she sits alone in the dark, eating whatever food the guards throw at her. They are earthbenders; hating her for crimes she never committed, simply because they can—who will report them for torturing a war criminal who deserves to die, anyway? She is no longer the famed Princess of the Fire Nation. She's nobody. She's scum, worth no more than the dirt she sleeps on. She screams out, sometimes, the anguish oftentimes too much for even her wretched soul to bear. It reminds her of the Agni Kai.

There never is any answer.

Toph visited the Fire Nation only once, refusing to take on board the Princess. She hadn't the time nor space to look after a half-deranged war criminal. She returned to her job a few days later, in time to feel the gaunt princess being pushed roughly into one of the older cells.

After an extremely angry letter to Zuko, and a night of drinking with Sokka, she conceded that perhaps it was best. Azula couldn't get better if her own brother didn't want her. But, something could make her better; they just had to find out what it was.

Azula never receives visitors. Her screams terrify other prisoners until she is gagged. The burns on her cell only cease when chi shackles are placed on her wrists, inhibiting her. So, she sits there, silent and smouldering but feeling so, so cold.

The feeling brings back memories, painful recollections of the freak, the circus clown; it extends further and further as Azula fights to ignore it. She doesn't want to remember, to know or imagine.

The only time she ever felt the need for company, and she was so removed from society that even the guards barely showed their face.

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