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June 4, 2010
"Wait? You're a Fire Nation Princess?" Cheng exclaims.
"Yes, I was. It's nice to see how well far you've come." Ursa replies. She turns from Cheng to Zuko, starring at the boy she hadn't seen in many years.
The Fire Lord is in tears. He runs towards his mother, hugging her for the first time in far too many years. "Mom..." is all he is able to whisper. Ursa's tears flow as well.
"I missed you. And I am so proud of you. You freed the world from a hundred years of tyranny." She finally manages to let go of her son, turning to the remainder of the team and bowing. "Thank you all as well. You reunited me with the side of my son I most wanted to see. Especially you, Avatar Aang."
"Mom" Zuko interrupts, "Where have you been these past years?"
"It's a long story, but I will tell you all. As a matter of fact, these kids were there a while ago. Come with me, I think your uncle's tea shop should be quiet enough for now." Everyone follows her to the Jasmine Dragon of the West, sitting down in chairs circled around her.
"Your father, Fire Lord Ozai, always had a hunger for power. When we first were married, he was a loving man, always making sure I was comfortable, until Fire Lord Azulon's health began failing. He began seeing an opening for power, and he decided to seize it for himself. He decided to use Azula's bending prowess to gain a favorable image in Azulon's sight, as a viable bloodline. Azulon's loyalty would not falter though, never giving up Iroh's birthright. Azulon ordered Ozai to kill you, Zuko. I confronted your father about this, and Ozai had every intention of following through. Fearing for your life, I proposed a plan, and it lead to Ozai killing Azulon quietly, and my own banishment. It was well worth it, as saving you was my one concern." She turns her head towards Zuko as a tear flows down her cheek.
"You ended up saving the entire world by saving Zuko. Thank you, Princess Ursa" Aang says, standing up and bowing. "He taught me to Firebend, allowing me to stop Ozai a year ago. Your actions helped create our peace."
"Where did you go?" Zuko asks his mother, ignoring Aang's comment.
"I was given little time to pack my material possessions; I was forced to leave immediately. As the only one who knew about Azulon's death, I was a liability to your father. As I was leaving, Iroh was returning from his siege of Ba Sing Se. I gave him the headpiece belonging to my grandfather, Avatar Roku. I've heard it was useful." Ursa glances quickly at Iroh, who slightly smiles. "I traveled with an escort to the Earth Kingdom shores, leaving the ship as little more than a beggar. I knew where I had to go; the residence of the descendents of my grandfather's Earthbending master, his lifelong friend Sud. Unfortunately, the Bei Fong Family lived very far away from where I was dropped off."
Toph's eyes open very wide as her mouth drops open. The rest with only the exception of Ursa look at Toph with glances of astonishment. "Wait? You were staying at my house?" Toph exclaims, shocked.
"No, I stayed with the Bei Fongs, on of the richest and most powerful families in the Earth Kingdom. I don't know where you are from." Ursa says, confused.
"My name is Toph Bei Fong! How did you stay with us? I never heard anything about a guest!"
"Well, I asked your father if he could keep my residence there a secret, and I guess he took it to heart. He never mentioned a daughter, strange."
"He didn't even mention me?" Toph exclaims, having a tear well up in her blind eyes.
"Well, when I went into town, I guess he didn't want me to be able to say anything." Ursa replied. "It was protecting what he had already done."
"WHY? What's so bad about me? I don't get it!" Toph screams, creating a tremor that begins shaking the entire city of Omashu.
"Maybe he wasn't hiding you." Ursa began. "I think that he was protecting you from them. During my trips into the city, I saw many thieves, robbers, and other criminals. You, his little daughter, would be devastated to leave your perfect world to find a shattered world like this one."
"But I'm perfectly fine with this world! At least I am now." Toph replies.
"He never knew that. I'm sure he only wanted to protect you, nothing more. I know I would do anything to protect my children." She glances at Zuko, whose face lit up slightly. "What happened to Azula?" Ursa asks, looking at the Team for an answer.
"Well, she became a Firebending master, was sent to capture Uncle and I while we were struggling in the Earth Kingdom, almost killed Aang, then almost became Fire Lord. I fought her in an Agni Kai, and won." Zuko explains, holding the site of his most recent scar as he remembers the Agni Kai.
"You killed her?" Ursa exclaims out of fear for her own daughter's life.
"No, after Mai and Ty Lee betrayed her, she started mentally slipping. When I fought her, she was delusional. She almost killed me, until Katara intervened. Anyway, Azula is still alive, just completely insane by now. I have the top doctors in the world helping her, but they think it's a lost cause."
"That's horrible to hear. When I return, I will see her. She needs my help." She pauses for a slight moment, her eyes showing a look of contemplation. "I'm leaving now. Zuko, Iroh already has a ship ready for me to go home. I will be leaving tomorrow.
"Mai should be waiting for you." Zuko replies. "She'll make sure that you get situated in the palace."
Ursa knew exactly what Zuko meant. "I missed your coronation and wedding?"
A rumble in the earth behind the wall causes the team to spin to face the source. A Dai Li agent sends a rock glove at the most vulnerable person in the room, Ursa. The entire team springs to protect her, Toph created an earth wall in front of her while Aang shot an air blast at the glove, disintegrating it. Katara used a water whip to pull Ursa out of harms way and Zuko, upon realizing his mother was safe, launched a massive offensive against the agent. Zuko's fire tore through all the earth barriers and projectiles the agent could muster.
Zuko eventually caught the agent off guard and hit him in the chest with a fire ball. The agent is thrown off his feet and into the wall, causing him to slump to the ground. Zuko charges the agent, only to have his feet caught in the earth that encased his feet. The agent retreats quickly before anyone else could attack. Toph quickly frees him from his bonds and Zuko runs towards the area where the agent left from.
No one will hurt my mother... Zuko quietly mutters to himself before turning to his mother and friends.
The Bos came up with an idea down the line in Avatar: Guardian involving Ursa. He liked the idea, so he realized that he would need a way to reintroduce Ursa into the series, something he did by having Iroh locate her. The Bos also took liberties with Roku's line in "The Avatar and the Fire Lord", saying that friendships could transcend lifetimes. Toph fit the same mold as Sud, being stubborn, blunt, yet an excellent friend, so The Bos pursued the idea. The Bos continued with the idea, expanding on the fame that could be gained by teaching the Avatar to explain the Bei Fong's affluence.
Reviews for Ursa's Story have been highly positive. PiEman descended into "fanboyish gibberish" over the chapter while Windsword7 gave the chapter "*****". Evatar114 praised The Bos for the manor in which he added Sud to the chapter, as did Dudewaldo4. Themuffinrox added that although she enjoyed the entire chapter, she found that Zuko's reaction "feels a little corny to me". The Bos had enough faith to nominate Ursa's Story for Featured Article for July of 2010. Vaznock even left a review of the chapter in blog form, praising it's backstory for Ursa as well as Toph's reaction to the news while giving the chapter an A+ rating. While looking back on old chapters, The Bos also noticed that Waterkai predicted that Ursa would be mentioned in the series and the opening of an Ursa plot before any of the information about Ursa's Story was released.
References to the Original Series
- Ursa references her lineage from Avatar Roku in this chapter, which was revealed by Iroh to Zuko in The Avatar and the Fire Lord
- Zuko recounts his experiences with Azula from Books 2 and 3
- Cheng met a woman while trying to find Bumi in The King and the Peasant, and is revealed to be Ursa.
- Ursa reveals that Ozai killed Azulon, something Iroh confirms in The Sons of Azulon Pt. 2 - The Wisdom of Iroh.
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