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| Zuko, something happened to The Chong Sheng Trilogy in the last hundred years.
This fanon has been discontinued, but is still available to read for your enjoyment.
The Chong Sheng Trilogy is a fanon story created by. It is set after the second season episode "Appa's Lost Days," and breaks off from there into its own storyline.
The story takes influence from many classic and modern action/adventure movies, including National Treasure, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Star Wars, Willow, and Lord of the Rings. It is also noted for taking a more realistic depiction of war than was allowed in the original canon, with characters killing as well as dying, and for delving further into the psyche of the fighter characters.
This story was conceived as a dovetail to the end of second season, pushing the characters to their mental -- and occasionally physical -- limits in ways that the TV series would never have gotten away with. While there are many incidents in the story that echo elements of the show's third season, these are purely coincidence, as these events were imagined long before the second season even ended.
The first book was begun in the summer of 2007, and completed in April of the next year. The second book began in May of 2008, and is currently half finished. In the interests of avoiding spoilers for unwritten material, full synopses of each book will be added to this article only when that book is completed.
The story features four prominent original characters among many once-seens, though none of them could be classified as "main" as they are only prominent in their own sub-plots. The first one introduced is, a renegade Fire Nation infantry captain who aids Aang in finding Appa and preparing to defend against the Fire Nation's attack on Ba Sing Se.
The second is Lao, the longtime friend of Shen Lei, who starts out as a sideline character but becomes very significant in the third book.
The third is Zha, a Fire Nation wall guard captain stationed at Omashu. Introduced in the second book, he is intentionally similar to Zuko in his first season -- angry, brash, and bitter -- but for entirely different reasons. He has a moderately significant role in the second book, but becomes far more important in the third.
The fourth is Chiang, a Fire Nation general in charge of Omashu's occupation. Cunning and cruel, he is also introduced in the second book, but only becomes an important character in the third.
The fan soundtrack (FST) for Book I uses David Arkenstone's Return of the Guardians album, and insert songs from artists such as Savatage and Masterplan. It is posted on the story's LiveJournal account.
Book I: War
Taking off after "Tales of Ba Sing Se," Katara does some investigating of her own after dismissal from the Dai Li police because she doesn't trust the replacement Joo Dee, and ends up at the tea house Zuko and Iroh are working in.
Surprised to find them here of all places, she corners Zuko out back and asks what he's doing there. He's curt and evasive as usual, claiming that whatever he's doing is none of her concern. She tells him that that this place isn't going to be safe forever, and that war isn't something you can ignore to make it go away like everyone in Ba Sing Se is trying to do. That the Fire Nation is merely using him, and that running away from reality when it's ugly is not going to solve anything, and just makes him pathetic. This, of course, sets Zuko off yelling at her that she should kindly keep her mouth shut about matters of which she has no knowledge.
In the meantime, Azula finishes up her fight with Suki in a draw, baiting her by mentioning an "attack of such power as the world has never seen" before retreating. Suki tells the other Kyoshi Warriors that they must go to Ba Sing Se to warn the Avatar, while Azula overhears. She follows them, disguising herself, Mai, and Ty Lee as refugees. They split up to search for their targets, Azula instructing them to track the Avatar and get her word of his whereabouts as soon as possible, but not to attack him under any circumstances because he is her target (his friends are fair game, though). Azula soon spots Katara heading for the tea shop and follows her, assuming the Avatar can't be too far off.
A battle ensues as Azula finds a very surprised Zuko and Iroh instead. Zuko is forced to Firebend to save the citizens around him, and his mastery of the technique learned in "Bitter Work" is put to the test. He passes with flying colors, saving himself and Katara -- who admittedly is doing rather well for herself -- from Azula's wrath. He tells her to run while he holds his sister off, and takes the fight outside so as not to place the bystanders in the shop in anymore danger than need be. Azula burns down the shop's facade, which traps Zuko under a metal support pole. She's about to electrocute him when Katara returns to help.
She takes on Azula once again, and is winning pretty hard when the Dai Li show up. Azula escapes in the confusion, leaving the Dai Li to fight Zuko and Katara (under Feng's orders for disturbing the peace once again). Katara manages to defend herself and Zuko with an ice shield, and holds off the police while telling him to run. He grudgingly obeys, seeing no other choice, and helplessly watches as the Dai Li arrest Katara.
Hiding in the backstreet behind the shop, he realizes neither he nor Iroh can stay in Ba Sing Se now that their cover has been blown. Zuko thinks back to Katara's words and how she's just sacrificed her freedom to spare him execution, and thinks maybe she doesn't have to know the details in order to be right.
Meanwhile, Sokka, Toph, and Momo discovered Appa's whereabouts, and were on their way to tell Aang when they find him being pursued by Ty Lee and Mai (who disobeyed Azula's orders). After engaging in a short skirmish, they're all arrested by the Dai Li for disturbing the peace, allowing Mai and Ty Lee to escape.
Back at the tea shop, Iroh finds Zuko, who tells him to go on and wait for him while he stays behind for a minute. Zuko tells him that living as fugitives until the war is over won't solve anything. Iroh asks what he intends to do, then. Zuko answers with a simple "the right thing."
After nightfall, Zuko infiltrates the prison disguised as a Dai Li, where he proceeds to break a very surprised Aang & Co. out. He leads them to freedom with some very unexpected help from Jin, who guides them all through a network of tunnels beneath the city, plus gives them food and money for their journey. Toph promises for Zuko that he'll repay her someday. Zuko then leads them to the cave where Iroh has set up camp.
With everyone gathered, Zuko finally reveals his plan: to become the Fire Lord himself, and end the war for good.
As expected, pretty much everyone thinks he's lost his mind -- except for Iroh. Zuko states that "certain events" have convinced him that it's not his old life he wants back, but a new one undefined by violence, intrigue, and betrayal. That all of them really are on the same side of this war, and that standing up to the Fire Nation is impossible for anyone to do alone. It's obvious this is not an easy decision, but that he realizes he doesn't have much of a choice anymore.
Sokka, predictably, doesn't trust him completely, but goes along with the others in giving him and Iroh a fair shot. The plan is made to head back into Ba Sing Se via the tunnel network, and try to locate Appa. Iroh suggests they all get some sleep, since tomorrow is a long and early day.
In the morning, as they're heading for the tunnel, Suki shows up to warn them of the attack Azula mentioned. Zuko is quick to point out that his sister is a notorious liar, but agrees with Iroh that they can't risk ignoring the tip if she's telling the truth this time. The group splits into two teams: Zuko, Iroh, Katara, and Sokka on one and Aang, Suki, Momo, and Toph on the other. Aang's team heads into the tunnels to find Appa, while Katara's team heads out to investigate Azula's claim.
Team Aang seeks out Jin's guidance once again to guide them through the tunnels. While not finding Appa just yet, they make an even more important discovery: a small band of bedraggled Fire Nation troops, who reveal that they are deserters from Iroh's defeat, and have been living in the tunnels ever since for fear of the Dai Li and the Fire Nation. It's obvious that their captain, Shen Lei, is hiding something, but the team decides now is not a good time to pester him.
Meanwhile, Team Katara heads north, Iroh surmising that the Northern Air Temple would likely be the source of such an attack, due to the military facilities installed there. After capturing a Fire Navy vessel, they discover a blockade around the temple, indicating it's been conquered. Katara helps them run it by bending a gigantic rogue wave, during which Zuko risks his own safety to save Sokka from being washed overboard. As a result, Sokka learns to trust him. Upon arriving on land, they infiltrate the temple to find that the Fire Nation's new project is a fleet of war balloons, headed for Ba Sing Se.
They know they need to warn Aang and fast. Iroh tells them that the quickest way to get word to the Avatar is through the Spirit World. Zuko doesn't like the idea, but has learned so far to trust his uncle's judgment. While Iroh's spirit is traveling, the team is discovered by the temple's new occupants. Katara stays behind to protect Iroh while insisting the boys run back to the ship and head to Ba Sing Se. They argue, but soon realize she's right. Iroh returns to his body in time to defend Katara, who's outnumbered three to one, and the two of them rejoin Sokka and Zuko.
Shen Lei leads Team Aang to Appa, and reveals that both he and Jin are members of the White Lotus, working on a secret project to map the tunnel network for the society's use. Soon after, Aang receives the warning about the balloon fleet through a spirit connection with Iroh, and tells the others. Shen, Jin, and the battalion agree to head to the surface and round up everyone who will listen to them into the underground tunnels while Aang formulates a counteroffensive with Ba Sing Se's defenses. Jin gets the attention of Smellerbee and Longshot, who run off to locate Jet, who has been released from custody and brainwashed by the Dai Li. They finally convince him, despite the mind control, to accompany them to safety.
Meanwhile, as Team Katara travels back at Ba Sing Se ahead of the fleet, Sokka builds makeshift gliders for himself, Katara, and Zuko, despite knowing they're likely not going to win.
As the battle starts at the outermost wall of Ba Sing Se, it quickly becomes evident that their efforts are hopeless against the vast fleet of balloons. Aang flies off to meet the force head-on, and is soon joined by Sokka, Zuko, and Katara. The final stand rages and the defenders lose more and more ground, but Sokka, feeling guilty because the weapons were his invention, stubbornly sticks it out until his glider is shot down. Aang saves him from falling, and they all retreat into the tunnels when it's clear they have no other choice.
Once safe underground, Sokka completely loses it out of frustration and guilt, yelling at them all that it's his fault this happened since he let the balloons fall into Fire Nation hands. That the fall of Ba Sing Se and the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people are all on his head. Backed by the sounds of the city being carpet-bombed to rubble above, he breaks down into angry tears against the tunnel wall.
Somewhat of a "sleeper hit" within the Avatar fanon community at large, the story has received lots of praise, with readers noting the quality of the action scenes as well as the quality characterizations of not only the canon characters, but the original ones as well. It has a small following on the Fanfiction.net archive, but that following has been fiercely loyal and continues to be so, even when updates run scant due to the author's personal life.
For the collective works of the author, go here.