Fire Nation Capital

The last I would see of the beautiful Fire Nation

Unexpected Journey
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The Forgotten Warrior





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Wild Flower

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Expectations, Among Other Things

My nerves were racked; I had never been so excited in my entire life. The moment the Fire Lord and Rhea left I jumped up and down with adrenaline coursing through my veins.

Now I stood frozen in front of the curtain that led to the Fire Lord's throne room. I practiced this moment a million times in my head, why was I so worried? Obviously, the Fire Lord was impressed with my performance in World Domination; it was very unlikely that he would hurt me, physically or mentally. Yet here I was, petrified of what might lie inside those curtains.

This is ridiculous, I told myself, just do it. Shaking my head at how unrealistic I was acting I pushed through the curtains and began the long walk to the Fire Lord. My hands were shaking; I took a deep breath to help calm myself. Without realizing it, I pulled energy from the low-lying wall of Flame near Ozai, making the Flames quiver; my body pulled strength for my nerve racked body.

About fifteen feet from the Fire Lord's throne I knelt in the customary Fire Nation bow. My leg had been bandaged last night, but it still protested every time I strained it. "Kyza, I was beginning to wonder when you were going to get around to seeing me." The Fire Lord's deep and sonorous voice sent a chill down my spine as I sat upright.

"I meant no delay, Fire Lord," I apologized with the most confident voice I could muster.

"Oh, well," he said dismissing the delay with a wave of his hand, "today there are more important things to discuss than promptness. As I said yesterday, I have a top priority task for you." The Fire Lord rose from his Fiery throne and stepped down from his elevated level to the floor I was now kneeling on.

"You are familiar with the banishment of my son, Crown Prince Zuko?" Ozai began to circle me slowly as he spoke.

"Yes, he was banished to search for the Avatar," I answered briskly, banished Zuko was always spoken about in hushed tones, so I decided not to go into detail.

"Correct," the Fire Lord affirmed with a trace of, regret? "I received a messenger hawk two days ago, from one of the crew members on Zuko's ship, confirming that the Avatar has been rediscovered."

Curiosity was sparked at this significant piece of news, "If I may ask, Fire Lord, what does this have to do with me?" I questioned, getting excited about where this conversation was going.

"Patience Wild Flower," Ozai silenced my excitement by reminding me where I was, "I, above all, wish for my son's return to the Fire Nation. But I cannot keep news of the Avatar under my thumb forever. Sooner or later the world will find out and the chances of Zuko being the one to capture him will decrease a great deal." The Fire Lord circled around to my face and looked me dead in the eye, "I am sending you, clearly a capable and fierce warrior, to help my son capture the Avatar and bring him to me."

My mind raced; had luck been on my side? Was it destiny? Fate? Why had I been handed such a thrilling opportunity to prove my worth? I calmed my darting thoughts with the reassurance that I would think about it later. "I would be honored to take on such a noble task," I said courteously.

"I thought you might say that," Ozai replied smiling mischievously. I smiled back confirming my eagerness.

I am Kyza, Wild Flower of the Fire Nation, and I have a Destiny.

When I told Rhea, she smiled and said she was proud of me, but a gleam in her eyes told me she had had a part in me getting the mission. Part of me wanted to ask Rhea what in the world she had done, but another part of me knew she would never tell me.

Telling my Master, Regis, was an entirely different matter. He looked disappointed for a moment, but quickly covered it up with pride and happiness that I couldn't be sure was real. I told him I left for the South Pole in a few days, I swore that I saw his eyes glisten with what could have been tears, but like his disappointment he quickly blinked his eyes clear before I could be sure.

In the end, Regis pulled me in for a hug; usually I would have found this extremely awkward, but today I embraced my Firebending Master who had become a dear friend over the last few years. Regis kind of filled the role as my father because I never had one. I knew that it would be a long time before I would see him again, and I found that I would miss the kind wisdom that Regis always provided when I messed up.. But I knew I had to do this, this was my destiny, my fate. It was all or nothing. I would come back stronger, and Regis, yes, Regis would be proud.

I walked along a narrow road leading to the harbors. It was a small alleyway, unimportant, but it would be the last I would see of the beautiful Fire Nation capitol for a long time. I had a small pack strung across my back, and, of course, my bow and quiver. I had packed my few belongings, clothes, maps, and a couple of herbs in case I was injured. Not much, but plenty for me.

The towering buildings began to fade into small harbor merchants' shops. The humble little structures, looked like shacks compared to the ornate buildings I had just beheld. I walked among the shops until all that opposed me was the vast salty ocean. I looked up and down the harbor, all was quiet. I listened until I heard the faint sound of machinery up the harbor. I followed the distant sounds and soon were joined with the shouts of men and the rumbling of the ship's heart.

The Fire Lord told me that this ship was bringing its periodical supplies to Whale Tail Island, it would take me there. From Whale Tail Island, I would be given an eel hound that would take me to Zuko's ship. The trip would only take about a week.

As I approached the ship I looked for the captain, usually spotted by looking for whoever was giving the men orders. There! A bulky man, the sun shined off of his bald head, but his lack of hair was compensated by his thick black beard. He had beady eyes that oversaw his crew. He wore Fire Nation Military uniform; obviously the ship was a minor navy ship that was used to distribute provisions to the colonies or military bases.

I walked up the wooden bridge that was covered with men loading up the ship. They looked like ants bringing food to their queen. I felt invisible none of the men acknowledged my presence they just worked intently on their work. Maybe they didn't want to worry themselves with a little Fire Nation girl.

I made my way to the Captain who was still barking orders to his crew, as I drew near his attention was turned to me, "Kyza, sir," I said bowing and handing him the scroll that Ozai gave me. A giant hand grabbed the end of the scroll, my eyes widened at its enormity.

He read the scroll through narrow eyes, I watched his expression intently. He briskly closed the scroll and handed it back to me, "Wild Flower, huh?" he asked as I reached for it.

I grabbed it confused, I hadn't read the scroll, but I wasn't aware that Ozai had, in some form, addressed me as Wild Flower. I looked up from the closed scroll to see if the Captain was waiting for an answer, but he was already addressing another issue.

"Zito!" he yelled for one of the crew. A young man of twenty-five appeared at attention. "Please escort the young lady to her quarters," he ordered. The young man nodded, "Yes, sir." Satisfied the Captain walked away to further observe loading.

My gaze turned to the young man, "I'm Kyza," I introduced myself. If I was going to be on this ship I might as well be on good terms with the crew.

The young man bowed slightly, "Zito," he replied, "Please if you will follow me."

I followed Zito below deck, and down several hallways. I tried to pay attention to where everything was, knowing that I would have to find my way places in the future. The ship's interior was cooler than on deck. My feet rumbled with the gentle hum of the ship's center.

Finally, Zito turned to a doorway. I stopped behind him and he opened the door, by turning a wheel. With a clank of metal the door slowly swung open, Zito moved for me to enter. I stepped into my temporary home. There was a mattress in the corner with tightly fitted sheets, a tapestry with the Fire Nation insignia, a few metal cabinets, but other than that the room was bare. "Tha—" I turned around, but found that Zito had already left.

Dinner was buns and bread, and Komodo sausage. I waited in line for what seemed like hours. Once I had finally reached the food, only the worst of the bread and buns were left, at least a freshly cooked Komodo sausage was put out. I left the line and searched the dining room for an empty table. Once I found one, I made my way to it, I dodged chairs, flaying arms, and feet that were placed in my path. I weaved my way through the maze and finally fell, relieved, into my chair.

I immediately dug into my Komodo sausage; it was delicious, fatty juices seeped onto my tongue and into my taste buds. I devoured my entire serving in what seemed like seconds. I savored the sausage for a moment longer before looking at my bread distastefully. The bread seemed to glare back; challenging how many teeth I would chip trying to consume it.

I knew if I wanted to stay lean and fit, I couldn't live on fatty Komodo sausage. I sighed and reached for the bread. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the Captain stand from his place. Conversation died down and I gratefully placed my bread back on my place, glad to delay eating it for a while. No need to be disrespectful, I assured myself.

"Crew!" he welcomed, "Fire Nation Warriors! Friends! This morning we set sail for Whale Tail Island! To bring our brothers provisions and supplies! But!" he paused, as if there might be bad tidings. "But we carry an honorable guest! Kyza! Please stand!" I stood politely.

"Kyza is on a task for our Fire Lord, Ozai. He has given her the noble title of 'Wild Flower'," I felt my cheeks flush with embarrassment. Only Rhea had ever called me Wild Flower, and that was only when I had pleased her to great lengths. I was shocked the Fire Lord would just give me the title that I always aimed to achieve when I was with Rhea.

A snicker sounded from the middle of the room, in between the Captain's table at the head of the room, and mine that was near the side. A figure stood from his table, a man in a casual tunic colored with reds, grays, and blacks.

"I apologize, Captain, but it just amuses me that such a ridiculous title would be given to a girl. Sir, you know I've never been one to sugarcoat things, or keep my opinions to myself so I'll say it plainly: I think that it's preposterous to give a little girl, who probably can't fight for herself, the absurd title of Wild Flower. I mean when did that title come about? Just tell us the truth, that she's a spoiled brat who gets ever—" but he got no further. I threw my rock hard bread right at the back of his head; it landed true to its mark and stopped the pompous fool mid-sentence.

The man turned around fury written plainly on his face, "Name?" I asked obviously irked by his outburst.

"Izo," he growled.

"Izo," I addressed him directly, "do you know exactly who I am?" When no answer came I continued, "I am Kyza of the Fire Nation. I have trained for as long as I can remember, with Master Regis and Former Yu Yan Archer Rhea. I have beaten opponents of every surviving nation, multiple times. The Fire Lord himself testified that I was better than his own daughter, Princess Azula. I earned the title of Wild Flower. If you doubt my honor for receiving this title, then see for yourself. I challenge you to an Agni Kai. It should be easy since obviously I can't 'fight for myself.'"

I had surprised myself at how quickly I changed from being embarrassed by my title to defending it to the point of fighting for it. But either way Izo was still furious, and hungered for revenge of being shamed in front of his fellow crew members. He gladly seized the opportunity of putting me back in my place.

"I accept," Izo agreed darkly.

"After dinner, on the deck," It was a time and place. Izo would either be there or forfeit.

The dining room immediately burst with the buzzing of the excited crew. Some would be choosing sides, others would place bets on who would win. This was definitely the most exciting thing that had happened on this ship for a long time.

The Captain didn't address anything else on the matter. He had heard the rumors of the girl who practiced Firebending and Archery in a lethal combination. He knew I would win, there he had no doubt. If I hadn't spoken up, Izo would have been punished in private. This way he would be humiliated in front of the entire ship, the Captain knew there was no greater punishment.

I knelt on one knee, palms on the ground, and the other knee pushed against my chest. At the same time, Izo and I rose to face each other. It was customary for any male opponents to be shirtless, obviously to show off their muscles. Izo, however, had a slight gut. But other than that, hauling supplies on and off the ship had proved to his advantage.

The crew had crowded around the marked arena. Izo had already proved his confidence, he walked back and forth, flexing his biceps proving his strength to his friends. I heard the cheers rear up for Izo. I wished with all my heart that Izo had come from one of the colonies, because he was the most disrespectful Firebender I had ever met.

Despite how irritating Izo was, I used it to my advantage. I tried to look as timid as I could. Find a flaw in your opponent before you even begin to battle that's what Regis had said. Izo had clearly stated his weakness, overconfidence.

I would act timid, nervous, scared, and Izo wouldn't suspect a thing. He would be sloppy and put a lot of show into his moves. Whereas once the fighting began, I would be quick and coordinated.

Once Izo quit gloating, he took his fighting position. He tried to look serious, but ended up smiling to his audience instead. Laughter filled the air.

The Captain put his hands in the air, demanding silence.

"Let it begin," the Captain announced.

I started to fake my nervousness by trembling slightly. A few snickers sounded behind me. I put on a determined face and took a deep breath. I thrust my arm in front of me attempting the first attack, but at the last moment I dimmed my flame to a small puff of smoke.

The crowd burst out laughing, Izo looked at his fan section and gestured to me as if to say, what did I tell you?

Izo sighed and let his shoulder's slump dramatically, "you ready girl? 'Cause this is how a real Firebender attacks."

My eyes widened with fabricated terror. Izo ran at me short Flames trailing out of his enclosed fists. I took another deep breath and frantically tried to make Fire come out of my extended limbs.

Izo was approaching fast and in what seemed a last feeble attempt to defend myself I threw my arms in front of my face. I timed my attempt with deadly precision, when Izo was mid-leap I uncovered my face with fatal speed. Long streams of Flame trailed behind my hands.

Izo's face looked shocked, and he awkwardly shielded my Flame. He landed right were I had been standing. But I was no longer there; I took a step to the side. Izo stumbled a few steps and waved his arms trying to regain balance. I smiled to myself knowing that soon the battle would be over and victory would be mine. I loosed a stream of fire in Izo's direction and he ducked to the ground. I used this advantage to shower him with a volley of heated punches and kicks.

Izo made several weak attempts to block my attacks, but with a yelp he fell backward to the cold metal ground. I was standing next to him in an instant and dared him to rise.

"Surrender," it was a command not a suggestion.

Izo nodded, the battle was over.

I stuck out a hand to help him up, never before had I done this, but I was in too good a mood. Izo took my hand and I surprised him with my strength. I had taught the crew a lesson today, I knew there would be no more outbursts, I would be treated with respect.

The crowd was silent, I could've heard a pin drop. They were shocked at what I had just pulled off, I had just defeated one of their crew mates by having him play into my hands. Off to the side I heard someone clapping, it was Zito. I saw gazes turn to him, no one moved, and no one joined him. I smiled at him weakly, grateful. Grateful that I wasn't alone. I turned and walked to the door leading to below deck.

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