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|Recalling the Old Days|
11 January 2015
We all know of Jeong Jeong the Deserter, the first firebending teacher of Avatar Aang. He became a legend for being the first man to desert the Fire Nation military and live. But what was it that caused him to become disillusioned with his country? What drove him to leave the Fire Navy? This is the story of Jeong Jeong.
Recalling the Old Days
Ba Sing Se, 100 AG
Iroh was brewing tea for his nephew and his friends, members of Team Avatar. His brother, "Phoenix King" Ozai, was recently defeated by the Avatar at Wulong Forest. A trio of Aang's friends destroyed Ozai's airship fleet, while the Order of the White Lotus had liberated Ba Sing Se from the Fire Nation Army. Iroh smiled at the irony. Several firebenders of the order were former Army officers themselves. The Dragon of the West was included among them, of course. Now, here they were, sitting in the Jasmine Dragon, enjoying themselves before they would have to go their separate ways to help rebuild the world from the war.
Iroh entered the main room of the store and placed the cups of tea on one of the tables. The Avatar and his friends already had their tea, and mostly ignored this gesture. But the tea was not meant for them anyway. The former general was expecting his old friend to come and join him. The White Lotus was now helping with restoring order in the Earth Kingdom capitol, as the Fire Army pulled out and left. Iroh promised to join in the effort after spending some time with his nephew and his friends. One of the former Crown Prince's old friends in the Order—who helped him liberate Ba Sing Se—promised to come to the shop as well, and talk with him. He should be here any minute.
Finally, Iroh heard footsteps by the entrance of the shop, and looked up. The white-haired man, wearing his blue and white Order of the White Lotus robes walked into the shop, looking around for his old friend.
"Jeong Jeong, old friend! Come, have some tea." Iroh gestured to the cups on the table.
The commotion got the attention of the rest of Team Avatar. Aang walked up to his first firebending instructor. "Hello, Master Jeong Jeong."
"Please, just call me Jeong Jeong. I have not been your teacher for a long while. I see you found another one," he replied.
Zuko, Sokka, Suki, and Katara likewise exchanged their hellos with the former admiral, as they were the three who have met him.
As they were finishing up, Toph interrupted them. "You are the Jeong Jeong that Aang mentioned to me earlier?"
"I would assume so, unless the Avatar happened to also run into another man named Jeong Jeong," the firebending master replied.
"Well, I'm Toph, the best earthbender alive and Aang's earthbending instructor."
"I see. I was the Avatar's firebending master a while back."
Following his little conversation with members of Team Avatar, Jeong Jeong sat down with Iroh. He drank a cup of the tea that the former Crown Prince made. Aang sat down with them, also wanting to talk to his first firebending instructor. Toph joined the trio as well, still interested in knowing who he was.
Iroh smiled. "Well, what do you know. The Dragon of the West and the Deserter talking together again."
The former admiral laughed a bit. "I must say, this is the best tea I've ever had."
Iroh smiled. "Thank you." Then, he suddenly changed his expression and tone to a more serious one. "So, the transition is proceeding smoothly?"
Jeong Jeong nodded. "The Council of Five has been released from prison and has taken over the governance of the city. The police and military are helping with maintaining order. A search is underway for the Earth King."
The trio nodded in response, and a moment of silence occurred before Aang decided to speak up.
"Though our first encounter did not go well, I still feel like I should thank you for willing to be my first teacher in firebending."
"I must admit, it was a bit rough, and I was quite reluctant," remembered Jeong Jeong. "But it was an honor nonetheless."
Iroh stopped drinking his tea. "You taught him firebending?"
"Oh, yes, we met once in the northwestern Earth Kingdom," the former admiral recalled.
Aang nodded. "We ran into Jeong Jeong living with an isolated tribe in the jungle there."
"So that was before I joined you guys," Toph said to no one in particular.
Iroh looked thoughtful. "Well, you did tell me about living there for a bit, but I was wondering how you ended up living there in the first place."
Jeong Jeong looked at his old friend. "You know how the story began, but, basically, I—"
"Wait! I don't," Aang interrupted. "All I know is that you were a former Fire Navy officer."
Toph agreed. "And I don't know anything about you, really."
Iroh smiled. "Well, we do have quite a bit of time before we have to leave."
The former admiral of the Fire Nation Navy looked at his comrades. "Yes, perhaps I should start at the beginning."
- This short prologue was written as a second thought, an idea to give a background to the story being told. Originally I planned to just go right into Jeong Jeong's story, but decided to give this background piece first. It will be used in the epilogue as well.
|Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Jeong Jeong|
— — — TBA
— Hong Tzu — Chey — Yon Rha — Iroh — Zhao — Ozai
Fire Nation coup d'état attempt
For the collective works of the author, go here.