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While visiting the Harbor town Erica relives memories of her childhood and how she was forced to flee the Fire Nation.
Fire. Air. Earth. Water. Long ago, the Phoenix was created to help keep balance among the four nations by making sure the Avatar would not neglect his duties. However, almost a hundred years ago, the Fire Nation started the war and the Avatar disappeared along with the Phoenix. Now, as the Fire Nation comes ever closer to victory the Phoenix has reappeared and I truly believe that she can help restore the world to its formal self.
Erica was riding on Natsu, as the eelhound swam across a river. After crossing the river, a town became visible in the horizon.
"That must be the Harbor Town Shyu told me about," said Erica pointing as she pulled out her world map. "Alright, it seems we have enough supplies to make it to the next village, so we could pass by this one without stopping."
Natsu gave a sigh of relief and turned to go around the village.
"But," said Erica thinking, "we should stop in the village, just to make sure there aren't any Fire Nation camps in the area."
Natsu shook his head and growled in protest to the idea.
"Oh come on," said Erica. "What can go wrong?"
Natsu hung his head and sighed.
"Now who to ask about the Fire Nation?" Erica wondered aloud.
They were standing by the docks of the town and people were walking all around carrying crates to boats and people buying supplies from stands. Unlike the Seedy Merchants Port, this place had a quaint, friendly sort of atmosphere.
Erica spotted a fruit stand with a short lady managing it and headed over.
"Excuse me." Erica asked, "Is there anywhere where in the area where I can find out if there are any Fire Nation Camps near here?"
The lady looked at Erica suspiciously before responding.
"Try Jae he knows about those kinds of things," said the woman. "He lives a little ways into the village, he has a blue house you can't miss it."
"Thank you," said Erica bowing.
Natsu and Erica headed down the direction the woman had indicated. Jae's house indeed stood out. It was two stories high and had a deep blue that stood out from the yellow color of all the other houses. As Erica stood outside admiring the house, she saw noticed a Dragon Hawk fly through the window with a scroll attached to its back.
Erica entered the house wondering why a Dragon Hawk would be delivering a message to an Earth Kingdom citizen. When she entered the room, she saw whom she assumed was Jae sitting on the floor feeding the Dragon Hawk some food.
"Hello," said Jae. "May I help you with something?"
"Umm yes a woman told me that if I wanted to know about Fire Nation Camps in the area I should talk to you," said Erica.
"Why yes indeed where are you heading to?" said Jae standing up and walking over to a counter.
"The North Pole," said Erica, staring at the Dragon Hawk.
"Ahh yes I should probably explain that," said Jae, seeing that Erica was watching the bird. "You see I deliver information to the Earth Kingdom defenses. I do that by bribing the messenger hawks. I give them food and while they eat I get a sneak peak at their letters."
"That's brilliant!" said Erica amazed
"Well it certainly gets the job done," he said and he walked back over to the Dragon Hawk and removed the letter from the container on its back. "Now let's see what we have here. Oh my.."
"What is it?" Erica asked
"It seems the Fire Lord doesn't care for family much," said Jae looking at the letter.
"What do you mean?" Erica asked confused
"It seems," said Jae, taking down notes on another sheet of paper "That the Fire Lord has banished his son."
Erica's face paled and her eyes grew wide.
"No..." said Erica quietly.
"Yes, it seems the young prince disrespected the Fire Lord or something, so now he is...hey where are you going?" said Jae
Erica had run out of the shop, down the street, and back to the pier. As she stood gazing at the ocean Natsu walked up to her and nudged her side with his head.
A seven-year-old Erica was sitting in a bedroom, on the floor hugging her knees to her chest, as she stared at a wall. Then there was a knock on her door and Erica looked at the door for a second then looked back at the wall, without saying anything.
The door opened and a beautiful older woman with long black hair entered into the room along with a young boy.
"But I don't wanna she is weird," said the boy quietly to his mother.
"Zuko she is just scared, now go and say hello," said Ursa, giving Zuko a little push.
Erica heard them but acted as if she didn't. Zuko walked over to Erica; he looked back toward his mother who motioned him foreword.
"Hi," said Zuko tentatively
Erica turned and looked at him.
"You aren't aligned," she said after a moment.
"What?" Zuko asked confused
"You have a lot of turmoil inside yourself. You better resolve it quickly or you will probably go insane." Erica said seriously.
Zuko looked back at his mother with a 'she's crazy' expression on his face. Ursa gave a small shrug before saying:
"Why don't I let you two get to know each other better."
Zuko gave her a 'don't leave me alone' look but Ursa gave a small encouraging smile and then walked out.
"There is no way!" said Zuko with a laugh.
"It is true," said Erica, smiling. "That is how you do it."
"I never thought to try it like that," said Zuko.
There was a knock on the door and Ursa entered the room.
"Well it seems you two are getting along," she said with a smile.
"Ya, she knows a lot about Firebending, she said she can teach me some new moves," said Zuko excited.
"Oh really," said Ursa.
"Well I don't know much but I can show him what I know," said Erica.
"We are going to be best friend's forever," said Zuko, throwing an arm over Erica's shoulders.
"Really?" Erica asked looking into the young prince's face.
"Ya, I mean were family now aren't we?" said Zuko
The smile that emerged on Erica's face was the biggest she had ever worn.
Erica's hands clenched into fists and anger seemed to radiate from her. She began taking deep breaths trying to calm down. Finally not being able to contain herself she tilted her head to the sky, opened her mouth, and release a large jet of flame.
A woman behind Erica screamed and, suddenly remembering where she was, turned around and saw a large crowd of people staring at her, fear etched on their faces.
"Oops," she said.
After they had fled the town, Erica lay down that night, looked up at the stars, and remembered.
An Erica, who was the same age as the present day one, was sitting in a stable with Natsu; she was causing a small flame to dance around in the sky above the two. Just then, a servant boy ran into the stable, quickly bowed, and began speaking.
"Lady Erica your presence is requested in the Agni Kai Chamber," said the servant.
"Oh fun, watching two Firebenders trying to kill each other, my favorite pastime," said Erica sarcastically as she got up. "Thanks, and please don't call me lady. See you later Natsu."
Erica grudgingly headed to the Agni Kai Chamber in the Fire Nation Palace, where she saw a large group of nobles and high-ranking army officials standing outside. Erica walked through the men until she saw a familiar face.
"Iroh." she called toward the General, "Iroh who is supposed to fight?"
"Erica, I fear I have made a grave mistake." Iroh said looking worried
"What are you talking about?" Erica asked
"It's Zuko." Iroh said
"What! Don't tell me Zuko is supposed to fight?" Erica asked alarmed
"It's my fault, he wanted to go into the meeting, I should have said no," said Iroh more to himself than to Erica.
"You're not making any sense," said Erica.
"I let Zuko into the War Meeting, and he spoke out of turn and now he has to fight an Agni Kai," said Iroh, looking distraught.
"Because he spoke out of turn!?" said Erica alarmed
"Well, it looks like Zuzu finally did it," said a taunting female voice.
Erica turned around and saw a twelve year old Azula walking toward them.
"It's worse than I thought," said Erica, looking at the approaching princess, her eyes narrowing.
"Now, now Erica better be a little nicer to me. If Zuzu dies I will be next in line for the throne."
Just then, the doors opened to the Agni Kai Chamber and everyone began filling in, and stood behind barriers on either side of a stage; Erica stood next to Iroh, Azula, and a Captain named Zhao. She saw Zuko kneeling at one end of the stage, then she looked to see who his opponent was and her stomach dropped.
It was Fire Lord Ozai, Zuko's father.
'How can Zuko be so calm?' Erica wondered as she observed her friend
However, as soon as Zuko stood and faced Ozai, Erica realized that Zuko had not realized whom he was fighting. When Zuko saw Ozai, his face filled with fear and he fell to his knees.
"Please, Father. I only had the Fire Nation's best interest at heart. I'm sorry I spoke out of turn!" said Zuko pleading.
"You will fight for your honor," said Ozai menacingly.
"I meant you no disrespect. I am your loyal son!" said Zuko his face to the ground.
"You will learn respect, and suffering will be your teacher," said Ozai.
Zuko looked up into his father's face.
Erica held her breath.
Next to her Iroh looked away.
Ozai made a punching motion, a flame shot out of his fist, and the flame hit Zuko in the face.
Zuko screamed and fell backward clutching the left side of his face.
As Ozai began to shoot another flame at Zuko, a rage she had never felt before came over her and Erica jumped out of the stands and landed in the space that separated the two men. Erica deflected the flame Ozai shot and sent it toward the roof where it left a large hole.
"Leave him alone you monster!" said Erica angrily to Ozai
"Monster?" said Ozai "For teaching respect to my ungrateful son! Now you, I took you in, you were just a poor girl who worked for father in the circus, a father who felt the entirety of your life was worth two bags of gold. Now how do you repay me, by calling me a monster?"
"Took me in?" said Erica with a laugh "You bought me from my father because you knew I was the Phoenix. All you care about is power, you manipulated your father, stole the throne from Iroh, and now you attack your only son. You Are A Monster."
"Apparently Zuko is not the only one who needs to learn respect," said Ozai and he shot a flame toward Erica.
Erica parted the flame and then shot a large jet of fire at Ozai. The force of it knocked Ozai to the ground. Erica stood over him a look of disgust on her face.
"You think you are so mighty Ozai but I am telling you now, you won't win, not so long as I am alive," said Erica.
Fury was written on every inch of his face.
"GUARDS SEIZE HER!!!" Ozai screamed
Erica jumped up and shot flames from her hands propelling her upward through the hole she made in the roof earlier. She got onto the roof and looked through the hole one last time only to see Zuko looking at her with one eye while his hands covered the other one. Then she ran across the roof and stopped when she was at the edge.
"Natsu!" she called out as loud as she could. After a few seconds, the eelhound was at the base of the palace.
Erica agilely jumped down the palace wall, ran across the ground, and onto Natsu's back.
"Alright Natsu, let's see just how fast you can run," said Erica.
Natsu howled and took off running.
"Ozai." Erica said, "You will pay."
She then turned onto her side and fell asleep.
|Avatar: The Legend of the Phoenix|
|Book One: Water 水|
|The Beginning ♦ Heading Out ♦ Remembering ♦ Past Mistakes ♦ A Friend ♦ An Enemy ♦ The Ship at Sea ♦ Karoton ♦ Welcome to the Northern Water Tribe ♦ Waterbending ♦ Pets and Orders ♦ Blast From the Past: Part One ♦ Blast From the Past: Part Two|
|Book 2: Spirit 精神|
|The Living, The Dead, and the In-Between ♦ The Face Stealer ♦ The Crocodile Hunter ♦ The Elephant in the Room ♦ The Library|
|Avatar: The Legend of the Phoenix Characters|
|Roku •• • • • •|
|Palik • Zuko • Iroh • Shyu • General Hazma • Yue|
For the collective works of the author, go here.