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January 17, 2014
Chapter 5 Hana: Hana's Scar
I picked up my portable telephone from the desk in my room and called Taylor. He answered on the second ring. I didn't let him talk first. I probably sounded hysterical as I said, "Taylor, I can't do this. Myung Dae is freaking me out. He probably knows already." I wiped a tear from the corner of my eye. I held in a sniffle.
It had been an extremely long day for me. I attended two war meetings, where my father asked for my input. I spent an extensive amount of time lying to my father and various other generals. My father gave me pep talks and told me how special and important I was to him. All of them made me feel like a terrible daughter.
"Hana," Taylor said, "You are the best actress I know. And Myung Dae is still your dad. He's not going to hurt you. You just got to calm down and relax. It hasn't even been a week."
"Let me talk to ChoHee," I commanded.
"She's busy right now. I'll have her call you," Taylor said, sounding slightly annoyed.
"I need to talk to her now. What is she doing that's so important that she can't talk to me?" I asked, rhetorically.
"I don't know. She's just not here," Taylor answered.
"Where is she?"
"Hana, calm down. I don't know where she is. I don't watch her twenty four hours a day. I will have her call you back, I promise."
"Does she have her phone?" I asked. Taylor sighed.
"I think so."
"I'm sorry that I'm annoying you, Taylor. I just need a girl to talk to," I said.
"Let me channel my inner woman," Taylor answered, trying to be humorous.
I frowned. "You're not amusing in the slightest."
"Actually, I am. I just haven't cultivated it yet," he said, matter-of-factly. I could practically see the smug smirk on his face. "You'll see it eventually."
"I think you're extremely socially-awkward."
Taylor didn't answer. I must have hit a sensitive spot. "I'm sorry, Taylor. I didn't mean it like that. My teasing went a little too far. Take a free shot," I offered.
"It's all good, Hana," he said, with less enthusiasm than he had before. "I know I am." I could see his tiny fake smile in my head.
"Just have ChoHee call me," I said, feeling a terrible amount of remorse.
Taylor chuckled once. "Okay, Hana. Hang in there. Things will get better, I promise. You have one of the most important jobs. Go 'conquer' Republic City."
"I will, Avatar. Good night." I closed my telephone.
I sat down at my vanity and unpinned my crown from my top knot. As my hair fell down in my face, I pushed it back with my left hand so I could see.
I looked at my reflection and sighed. My scar always bothered me. My hair covered up most of it, but staring at it full on was scary. Scars from a second-degree burn were never attractive. But something looked slightly off about it...
My injury happened a week before the Winter Solstice. I remember because there were spirits at Caleb's Agni Kai and my father was on edge. He wasn't fond of the spirits, and he usually left the Fire Nation during the solstices. But he was still at the palace and he was just as angry as ever.
I wouldn't forget how I felt seeing my little brother go up against a master Firebender. I knew it was cruel, but I didn't see it that way. Until my father glared down at the little prince with hatred in his eyes.
There was more to my scar than just an accidental burn protecting Caleb. It was more than gaining my father's approval. It was more than Chi-Ji sitting not leaving my side for months on end. It was a mark of spiritual warfare; the elemental magic within me, manifesting itself on the outside. It just needed an out.
After I was burned by Chi-Ji's misfire, my mom took me to Republic City. We saw all the best healers and none of them could help me. I grew frustrated very quickly when the healers said my face would probably never heal on its own. They told my mother that her best bet would be to take me to the Spirit World to see the Mother of Faces.
So my mother took me to Forgetful Valley in the Spirit World, which is very close to Hira'a, the home of many famous Firebenders. The most beautiful and strange place I had ever been had the most hope for me, my mom had said. While we were there, we met the spirit of Avatar Akari. She had been a personal friend of my namesake –my great grandmother- Firelord Hania, and she was willing to lead us through the dangerous pass.
"Such a pretty face, Hana. I fashioned yours with great care. But I cannot restore it," The Mother of Faces had said to me. "Your scar is a reflection of a battle within you. You are in combat between heart and head. When one of them triumphs, your wound will be healed and your face will return to normal. But if the wrong side wins, you'll have more problems than just an ugly scar."
My mother asked her if he would remove the memory of the intense pain I had felt from the burn. The Mother of Faces granted me that wish. The last thing she said was, "So shall it be." It was like a spell because the next thing I knew, I was waking up in the Royal vacation home in Hira'a. I touched my face and it was still bandaged. I cried for the rest of that day.
...But my scar looked somewhat different today. The spot closest to my eye looked like it was fading. It was a dark red instead of the gruesome brown it used to be. I just kept blinking. My eyes tried to turn the spot the right color, but it didn't change back. So I just stared at it in disbelief.
Could the war within me be ceasing?
Behind the Scenes!
- The Mother of Faces is the author's favorite spirit.
- On the Solstices, the line between the Physical World and Spirit World disappears.
For the collective works of the author, go here.