Tales of the Past Book I: Forgotten Flames

I never really knew my mother. My father never talks about her. All I know is that she died while giving birth to me. As a firebender, I lived my life under constant training under my father; a once high ranking officer of army. Ever since I first laid eyes on the world around me, I was taught how to defend myself.
I was taught how to press on, to fight, to kill.

I am the son of Kozu and San-ji. My name is Kairo and this is my story.

PAGE I: The Burning Grass

There was heat all around me. The fire was everywhere; it was my first Agni Kai. Every single day, there was this kid at school who kept picking on me. He took my money, my food and disgraced my family especially my father. He belonged to the school's top firebenders, that's why he acted that way and bossed people around.

He mocked me everyday; saying that my father was a traitor to his country. He says that by leaving the army, he betrayed the Fire Nation and its people. One day, he went too far. This time he crossed the line. I had to do something – I loved my father. I never had a choice; I needed to set my foot down. I was tired of all the things he said right at my face. I wasn't going to just stand there and let some stranger talk about my father like that. I had to do it. I challenged him to an Agni Kai.

I was no firebending master. I wasn't even part of the school's toplists! I admit, challenging a well-trained bender wasn't one of my greatest choices but it had to be done. At the peak of my anger, I released everything I had inside of me. Every minute and every second he put my father's name to shame in the past, I brought out upon him in the form of my breath of fire. Suddenly, I felt a shiver up my spine. My opponent was on his knees. I had never felt so alive, so vibrant and so free! I was victorious. Unfortunately the moment did not last. He fell to the ground with smoke coming out of his burnt chest. He was dead. Although I hated him to his very soul, I never meant to take away his life. At that moment, I had mixed emotions. I killed my opponent. I killed a human being.

PAGE II: Stowing Away

My father and I had to leave town after that whole ordeal. We were shunned for being "traitors" and "firebending monsters." We left everything behind us. My father did not utter a single word about that unfortunate event; we just continued on to look for a new home. Since then, we lived as nomads. My father, even though after what I did to cause all of this, continued on to train me in firebending. I don't quite understand his goals or his plans towards me but I do know is he still loves me even after what I had done. He understood my actions and he knows the truth.

Years passed like leaves flowing in a stream. My father quietly passed away in his sleep. I knew it was only a matter of time; he was becoming old and frail. It was tragic and I never felt so lonely and so alone in my life. I was already eighteen years old and I was sick of having to travel from different places. With everything packed, I laid the lifeless body of my father on a raft and paid my respects. I had to move on; he would have wanted me to.

I stowed away in a cargo ship headed for the lands of the Earth Kingdom. I hid myself behind crates of fruits and stayed there for a few days until the ship finally ported. I tried to escape unnoticed but unfortunately, the crew found out about my presence. They thought I was a thief and tried to capture me. In hot pursuit, I found myself standing at the edge of a cliff. Judging by the looks of their eyes, I knew they weren't willing to listen to my explanation. I couldn't find them all. Just before one of their firebenders could send out a bolt of lightning towards me, I jumped. I avoided the sharp rocks and landed on water. I bumped my head as the waves pushed me towards the shore. I was knocked out unconscious, I didn't know if I would still live to see another day.

After several weeks, I opened my eyes to see myself inside a small hut. An old lady took me in and tended to my injuries. I could still feel the pain but it was bearable. I went out the door and was astounded to where I ended up. I was in a quiet farming community located on the plains of the western Earth Kingdom. I could breathe fresh air. A cold breeze flowed along my face; I knew the place was perfect for me to escape my past and start anew.

The people of the village were friendly towards me and welcomed me as their own. I decided to stay and live the rest of my life here. I built and lived in a small hut just beside a fresh flowing river. I became the village carpenter; fixing houses and fences for my new neighbors. I lived my younger years as part of an unwanted family but now I felt as though I was finally part of a community. This village became my new home. It was time to leave my past behind me. This was the start of my new life.

PAGE III: The Western Shores

Word got out that there was a war brewing between the Fire Nation and the Earth Kingdom. I was horrified about the news. Even though the village trusts me and adopted me, an outsider, as their neighbor, I kept a secret from them; they did not know my true identity. They didn't know I was a firebender.

When things couldn't get any worse, the village received an alarming message from a neighboring city. A fleet of Fire Navy ships was on its way to the western shores of the Earth Kingdom. They were on our way to us. I knew it was only a matter of time before they reached our villages. My neighbors were farmers, fishermen and merchants; they weren't soldiers. They weren't trained to fight; none of them were even benders. Knowing the destructive power of firebending firsthand, the demise of this peaceful village was inevitable.

Even though the people of this village was inexperienced, they tried their very best to prepare for the Fire Nation's arrival. The sight was terrible; I knew these people had no chance fighting armies and yet you can see determination and pride in their eyes. They were willing to die for their families, for this village, for their land.

As a Fire Nation citizen living in an Earth Kingdom territory, I didn't know what to do. Even though I try to forget my past, I just couldn't. All I could do was think of my father and what he would have wanted me to do in this situation. The days filled with waiting were unbearable. The thought that some of the people around me might not survive these times of war was daunting. Finally, in the horizon, a band of Fire Nation soldiers has arrived.

PAGE IV: At the Break of Dawn

The Fire Nation soldiers were willing to negotiate. If we were to give them our food, and water, they would not harm the village otherwise they would burn it to the ground. The people of the village weren't threatened and were willing to fight for their resources. The tensions between the two sides were stirring. I knew that the Fire Nation soldiers wouldn't leave until they get what they want. At the brink of conflict, I went and acted as their diplomat.

I told them who I was and what I was. I warned the villagers about the destructive power of the Fire Nation soldiers and that they had no chance facing them; the village would just be burnt to the ground either way. I managed to propose an agreement. The Fire Nation soldiers were to only have a partial amount of the village's resources under the circumstance that they would not harm the peaceful village or its residents. The soldiers, knowing that I was the son of the famous Commander Kozu, added that I would have to join their forces for this agreement to be fulfilled. I had no choice; I didn't want my new home to be destroyed. Both sides, including me, agreed to the terms of the agreement.

The night after, the Fire Nation forces set up camp near the river. I went to visit the village to explain to the people why I kept my true identity from them. They understood my problems but they had mixed feelings about me being a firebender; about me being the enemy.

I accepted my fate and went back to the camp to prepare for tomorrow as part of the Fire Nation army. I couldn't sleep, it was like everything me and my father experienced many years ago was happening all over again. Our past repeated itself. I went out of my tent; a long walk would do me good. Before leaving camp, I overheard some of the soldiers discussing about a meeting that occurred earlier today. What I heard was terrible. The soldiers were ordered to move out towards the Earth Kingdom city of Ba Sing Se tomorrow to support a planned siege. The village was no longer of use. They soldiers were ordered to ransack the village of needed resources and slay the residents at the break of dawn.

PAGE V: No Regrets

The sun was rising and time was running out. Even though the village shunned me for being what I am, it was my new home. Even though my father wanted me to restore my family's honor by helping out my country, I'm sure he didn't want his son to aid the murder of innocent people.

I did what was needed in order to save my new home. Even though I knew I could never stay in the village after what I did but I owe the people my gratitude for accepting me to their community in the past. Just before daybreak, I set fire to the tent containing blasting jelly. There was a huge explosion and the camp was in flames.

After what I have done, I fled the scene and tried to get as far away as I can. I lived as a fugitive; back as a nomad. Earth Kingdom towns were being colonized by the Fire Nation. I had nowhere to run and it was only a matter of time before I got caught. For the murder of a Fire Nation Captain and several soldiers, I was sent to a high security prison situated in the middle of a lake on a volcano. I was to be executed after two years of incarceration which is already tomorrow afternoon. I hope that my story reaches the hearts of my fellow firebenders and my beloved village. To you who have read my story, I hope you understand that I did what I had to do to help the people I love. I hope you understand that as a firebender and a Fire Nation citizen, I do not support the horrible things currently being done to win this war. As I write my last words on this piece of paper; I hope you are proud of me, father.

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