|By Saphira1001||Part of thecontinuity.|
|"We are going to be best friend's forever."|
|— Zuko to Rememberingin|
Zuko was the first-born (83 AG) of Fire Lord Ozai and Princess Ursa. From an early age, he was disdained by his father and the object of his sister Azula's manipulation, ridicule and deception. His mother, however, loved and favored him over her.
When Zuko was seven his family went to the circus in the Fire Nation colonies, it was there that he first met Erica. Ozai saw her, recognized her as the Phoenix, and brought her back to the Fire Nation with them. At first he was creeped out by Erica but, after his mothers urging, he got to know her and they became best friends.
When Zuko was about eleven years old, his cousin, Lu Ten, died while away at war. General Iroh, devastated by the loss of his only child, abandoned his 600-day siege of the Earth Kingdom capital city, Ba Sing Se. During an audience with Fire Lord Azulon, Ozai showed off Azula's prodigious Firebending skill and knowledge of military strategy, both outstripping Zuko's. Azulon was unimpressed by these exercises and demanded Ursa and her children leave and Ozai be frank about his reasons for wanting the audience. Azula and Zuko eavesdropped on their conversation as Ozai voiced his desire to be made heir in Iroh's place, justifying this course of action by pointing out that Iroh's overwhelming grief and subsequent erratic behavior made the date of his return from war uncertain and he had no remaining heirs to carry on his line. Azulon, however, was outraged and declared angrily that Iroh had suffered enough, but Ozai's suffering had just begun.
Frightened, Zuko ran away; Azula stayed to watch. Later, he was in his room trying to sleep when she came in and mockingly told him that Azulon's punishment for Ozai is that he must kill Zuko, as he wanted him to know what it felt like to lose a child. Ursa, hearing the commotion, came in and took Azula away, declaring it was time that they talked. Zuko, left behind, chanted quietly to himself, "Azula always lies." Later, he was awakened again, but this time by his mother. She told her sleepy son everything that she had done, she did for him, and instructed him not to forget who he was no matter how much things may change. The next morning, he immediately remembered what transpired the night before and ran frantically through the halls searching for his mother. He found Azula, who blithely told him Azulon died the previous night and their mother was missing. As she played with his pearl dagger (a gift from his Uncle Iroh), she mocked him and noted their mother was not there to make her give it back. Eventually, he found Ozai in the gardens of the palace and demanded to know where Ursa was. Ozai did not answer and he hung his head in sorrow. At Azulon's funeral, the sage conducting the ceremony named Ozai the new Fire Lord upon Azulon's dying request.
Years later, Iroh allowed a persistent, thirteen-year-old Zuko into a war council with Ozai and some of his generals. He ignored Iroh's instructions not to speak during the meeting when one general outlined a plan to sacrifice an entire division of new recruits in a diversionary maneuver. He fiercely disagreed with this, seeing it as a betrayal of the recruits' patriotism. The insubordinate outburst was seen as a grave insult and Ozai demanded that he participate in an Agni Kai. He agreed, unaware he would face his father, not the general he insulted. Upon turning to face his opponent, he was immediately penitent and knelt, refusing to fight, and tearfully begged for his father's forgiveness. Ozai declared his refusal a sign of cowardice and another display of disrespect, and told him "[he] will learn respect, and suffering will be [his] teacher."
Ozai then burned him and, outraged Erica jumped onto the platform before Zuko could be harmed more. She knocked Ozai to the ground then fled the Fire Nation. After this Ozai stripped him of his birthright, and exiled him from his beloved homeland, declaring that he could only return if he was able to find and capture the Avatar, who disappeared one hundred years before. A fool's errand by all accounts (because if the Avatar had disappeared, there would be no point in searching for him), but one Zuko clung onto desperately as his only hope of regaining his honor, and everything he had lost.
|Avatar: The Legend of the Phoenix|
|Book One: Water 水|
|The Beginning ♦ Heading Out ♦ Remembering ♦ Past Mistakes ♦ A Friend ♦ An Enemy ♦ The Ship at Sea ♦ Karoton ♦ Welcome to the Northern Water Tribe ♦ Waterbending ♦ Pets and Orders ♦ Blast From the Past: Part One ♦ Blast From the Past: Part Two|
|Book 2: Spirit 精神|
|The Living, The Dead, and the In-Between ♦ The Face Stealer ♦ The Crocodile Hunter ♦ The Elephant in the Room ♦ The Library|
|Avatar: The Legend of the Phoenix Characters|
|Roku •• • • • •|
|Palik • Zuko • Iroh • Shyu • General Hazma • Yue|
For the collective works of the author, go here.