The scene opens. In the palace courtyard, shrouded by the darkness of night, stand Aang, Zuko, Ty Lee, and Suki, all four of them in defensive positions. They face a lone figure cloaked in black, its hands, second and third fingers extended out of sight of the group before it, crackle with restrained electric energy, which casts a haunting bluish glow on the figure. On the rooftop far above them, two more figures, cloaked in the same manner as the lightning-wielder, watch the confrontation. Zuko, the one closest to the figure, speaks, his arms raised.
Zuko I know that's you, Azula! Tell your friends to let Kiyi go!
Unyielding, the cloaked Kemurikage unleashes a blast of lightning, aimed directly at Zuko; he catches it with his own fingertips, sending back at his attacker.
Zuko You know I can redirect anything you -- ?!
The figure has caught Zuko's return blast; Zuko, shocked, lets his guard down as the energy dances around the fingers of the cloaked figure. The figure turns the lightning loose on Zuko again; this time, it hits him squarely in the chest, hurling him backward as he yells in pain.

Gene Luen Yang - Uncle Iroh trained Zuko to redirect lightning in "Bitter Work." He later used his new skill against both Ozai and Azula. In both the animated series and the comics, lightning redirection was used to show Zuko's power, his mastery of firebending. In this scene, we're using it in the same way, only for Azula.

Aang Zuko!
Aang airbends Zuko out of the stream of electricity; Zuko hits a stone wall, thudding to a stop with a groan and sliding to the ground. As he gets to his feet, the attacker turns and flees. Ty Lee and Suki give pursuit.
Zuko [Looking in the direction of the escaping Kemurikage as Aang rushes to his side.] I'm okay ... she's gotten strong again ...
Suki is the first to reach the attacker, who prepares to lash out with lightning again.
Suki Oh, no you don't!
As the figure rounds on Suki, she ducks under the figure's outstretched arm, tackling the figure to the ground before striking at it with a golden fan. The figure rolls out of Suki's reach and lands a spinning kick on Suki, throwing her backward. Ty Lee advances on the figure from behind, attempting to land a chi-blocking attack, but the figure deftly ducks out of the way and slaps Ty Lee in the face, who is staggered by the blow.
Ty Lee Ow!
Having bought itself a free moment, the figure shoots into the air with a blast of smoke. Zuko and Aang give chase, running toward Ty Lee and Suki, but they are too late.
Zuko No ... no ...
The figure lands on the rooftop with its compatriots, one of whom holds the still-sleeping Kiyi. They all vanish in a cloud of smoke.
Zuko [Reaching out, as if to restrain them.] No!
Behind Zuko, Ursa and Noren run toward the group; Zuko turns around in disbelief to face them.
Ursa They took her, didn't they? They took my baby.
Zuko [Head bowed in sadness.] I'm sorry.
Ursa and Noren embrace, sobbing. Aang, Zuko, Ty Lee, and Suki simply stand in place, silent and motionless, their heads hanging.

The scene cuts to the next morning. A shot of the palace and its walled courtyard cuts to the interior of the still-dark throne room. Aang stands on the floor before the throne, while General Mak kneels before Zuko, seated on the throne.

Mak There were four more kidnappings last night, including Kiyi. That makes a total of thirteen. Our citizens are so frightened that many are planning to leave the city before sundown.
Zuko I don't blame them.
As Mak stands, Mai, Kei Lo, Suki, and Ty Lee enter.
Mai Zuko. I heard.
Zuko Mai!
He rises from the throne and moves to the floor; Mai and Zuko embrace tightly. The frame cuts to Kei Lo for a brief moment, showing a twinge of forlorn sadness crossing his face.
Zuko I'm so worried.
Mai I know. But we'll find them. We'll find all of them.
Aang We have a clue as to who the Kemurikage are, at least.
Zuko [Letting go of Mai and turning toward Aang.] Yeah, but that's why I'm worried.
Mai You know for sure they're not spirits?
Suki [Serious.] Last night, one of them shot lightning at us.
Mai [Comprehending and defensive.] No, it can't be! Lightning bending is rare, but it isn't that rare! That doesn't necessarily mean --
Ty Lee [Reluctant.] It wasn't just the lightning, Mai. It was how she fought. How she moved.
Zuko It was definitely Azula.
Mai But why would Azula want to kidnap all those kids? And her own sister?
Aang [An eyebrow raised.] I'm not sure.
Zuko She's Azula. That's reason enough.
Mai I need to tell you something, Zuko. [Bows her head.] Last time we were here, you asked if my father was involved with the New Ozai Society. I told you I didn't know. I lied. Not only is Ukano involved -- he's their leader.
Mai's words catch the rest of the group by surprise; they stare at her, incredulous.
Aang So Ukano's the leader of the New Ozai Society and the Safe Nation Society? That guy's really into societies!

Gene - Ukano's affinity for secret societies mirrors China's in the early 1900s.

Suki Either that, or the two organizations are actually one and the same.
Zuko [Shocked and upset.] Why would you keep that from me?!
Mai [Yelling back.] He's my dad, Zuko! No matter how evil he is, I still don't like the idea of betraying him! You of all people should understand that!
Zuko [Calmed.] You're right. I'm sorry.
Mai There's more. When we saw him in the streets last night, I could tell that he was trying to hide something. I think he already knew the Kemurikage weren't spirits. He may have even known about Azula.
Zuko So you think he's working with Azula? That he has something to do with the kidnappings?
Mai I don't know. Maybe. Every time he's talked to me about Tom-Tom, I've gotten this weird feeling ... like his worry is for my benefit.
Zuko [Glancing over his shoulder.] General Mak, we need to bring Ukano and his allies in for questioning. Find out exactly what they know. Seal off the Capital City. Until this situation is resolved, no one gets in or out. [Turning to face Mak, gesturing outward with his right arm.] Then send your soldiers to Ukano's home to arrest him. If he isn't there -- and I'm willing to bet he isn't -- search people's homes for him or anyone else who may have been a part of the Safe Nation Society.
Mak Yes, Fire Lord!

Gene - General Mak first showed up in The Promise.

Aang [Deeply offended by Zuko's orders; voice raised.] Zuko, this isn't the way! Please, let me find Ukano! I'll sit him down and talk to him. No soldiers!
Zuko [Turning to face Aang and bowing his head.] Avatar Aang, thank you for your assistance up to this point. You know how much I value your wisdom and friendship.
Aang Why are you talking to me like that, all adult and stuff?!
Zuko [Raising his head again, dropping the formality.] We already tried things your way, and it didn't work out! It's time for a different approach. If you're not willing to support me, then you need to leave.
Aang But you can't treat everybody in the city like criminals! Such drastic actions will only cause more mistrust!
Mai Drastic situations call for drastic actions, Aang.
Zuko Suki, Ty Lee, please escort the Avatar out.
Aang [As the Kyoshi Warriors each take one of his arms, leading him toward the exit; angry.] I'm going, I'm going!
Walking through the drapery separating the throne room from the outside, Suki and Ty Lee let go of Aang, simply walking next to him.
Aang [Still upset.] Zuko's one of my best friends and everything, but sometimes --
Ty Lee [Placing a hand on Aang's shoulder.] -- Sometimes, he makes you so frustrated, your aura feels like it's all twisted up in knots.
Aang [Smiling a little.] Yeah ... something like that. [Back to his anger, somewhat lessened.] There's so much more we can do! I mean, we didn't even check Kiyi's room for evidence! If Sokka were here --
Suki [Smiling.] If Sokka were here, he'd sneak off to investigate on his own.
Having said this, Suki jogs off down a corridor, calling over her shoulder to Ty Lee and Aang.
Suki Come on!
The scene changes to the cave in which the kidnapped children are being kept, each of them passing the time in one of several ways. Two of the kids sit on the lower bunk of a bed, reading a book together; another two, both girls, play with dolls, while still two more play a game of Go. Away from the others, Guri and the friendly girl who comforted him when he arrived play with small models of a Fire Nation tank, a Fire Navy ship, and a komodo rhino. Guri holds the tank in the air, imitating its sound.
Guri [Smiling.] Chugga! Chugga! Chugga!
Friendly girl See, Guri, it's not so bad here.
As she finishes speaking, the steel door opens; all the kids turn their heads to see Ukano, accompanied by a member of the Kemurikage, who holds a sleeping child.
Ukano Good news, children! We've brought more friends.
Guri drops his toy tank in shock; all the kids huddle together in fear on the far side of the room, save for Tom-Tom, who runs happily to meet his father. The Kemurikage crosses the room and lays the child down on one of the beds.
Tom-Tom [Smiling, as Ukano greets him with open arms and a smile.] Daddy!
Guri It's those scary ladies! Tell me when they're gone!
Friendly girl [Hugging Guri as he hides his face.] I will.
Tom-Tom Are we going home yet?
Ukano [A hand on his son's head.] Not yet.
Behind Ukano, sharply contrasting against his calm facade, another Kemurikage brings in Kiyi; she is awake and angrily fighting to get free from her captor, to no avail.
Kiyi [Flailing her arms.] Let go of me! Let go of me!
Zirin The sedative wore off early on this one. [Putting Kiyi down, who whirls around to face her captor.] You'll stay put if you know what's good for you!
Kiyi I feel sorry for you!
Zirin Oh, yeah? And why's that?
Kiyi [As the frame zooms on her face, rebellious and confident.] Because my big brother is Fire Lord Zuko. When he finds you, he's gonna beat you to a pulp!
Zirin Why, you little --!
Outraged, the cloaked figure reaches for Kiyi, but another Kemurikage at the door speaks.
Azula Don't waste your time.
Relenting, the figure straightens and walks from the room. As the door closes, Kiyi stares menacingly through the gap between the door and the wall at the two figures.
Azula That one's got fight in her. It's in her blood.
The door now shut, the girl named Zirin crosses to a table in the center of the room, around which a number of cloaked girls stand, unmasked and watching Azula. As both Azula and Zirin remove their masks and lower their hoods, Zirin speaks, irked.
Zirin How much longer are we gonna have to do this?! I didn't sign up to run a daycare, Azula!
Azula [Smoothly.] Patience, Zirin. I broke you out of that horrible institution, remember? Watching over a few brats is the least you can do for me. [To the whole group.] Ladies, can you give me a moment with Ukano? He and I need to discuss next steps.

Gene - Azula met most of these ladies during her time in the mental institution.

Gurihiru - We were happy to have Azula back. She seems to be much more calm and not like the irrational person she used to be.

As they leave, Ukano speaks.
Ukano Azula, Zirin is right. We can't sustain this for much longer!
Azula [Shrugging off his claim.] How much do you love the Fire Nation, Ukano?
Ukano [Frame focuses briefly on his face; as he speaks, tears start to form in his eyes.] You know my commitment! I emptied my bank account to build this headquarters for you! I subjected my family to horrors beyond imagining! I'm willing to do anything for the sake of my nation! [Wipes his tears away.] But every time I see Tom-Tom in that dank little room ... it breaks my heart.
Azula Oh, get ahold of yourself! Just do one last thing for me. [Her eyes fill with a crazed excitement.] I want the Safe Nation Society to lead a protest in the city streets.
Ukano B-but we just did that last night!
Azula Yes, but this time, grow the protest into a riot!
Ukano A riot?! But why? The city's citizens are already turning against Zuko! It'll only be a matter of time before they demand he step down!
In response to his objections, Azula advances on him, pushing her face close to Ukano's; he leans away in fear as she softly berates him.
Azula Ukano, Ukano, Ukano. Don't you get it? For you to get what you want, I need to get what I want. And I want a riot.
As Azula backs off, a dissatisfied Ukano walks toward the door, speaking over his shoulder at the victorious Azula.
Ukano Fine. But I still don't see how this will get Ozai back on the throne.
Azula [Quietly, to herself.] Idiot. Ozai was never part of the plan.
The scene changes; in Kiyi's room, Aang and Suki search for any evidence of the Kemurikage. Aang is lifting a bed with airbending, looking underneath it, while Suki examines a dresser. She turns to Aang.
Suki Anything?
Aang Nope. Not a trace. [Sets the bed back down as Suki walks over to him.] Gotta admit, Azula and her buddies have their "dark spirit" act down cold.
Ty Lee [Suddenly appearing in the open window behind Aang.] Guys, guys! Come look!
As she leaves, running across the rooftop, Aang and Suki follow; Ty Lee yells to them as they run.
Ty Lee There was something about the spot where the Kemurikage disappeared last night ... something fuzzy and hard to remember ... but then I finally did! [Arriving at a wall of stone blocks, she stops and rests her hand on an oddly sized block, continuing with her explanation.] When Azula, Mai, and I used to play hide-and-go-seek as kids, Azula would disappear for hours. Mai and I could never find her! It got really, really not fun -- until we figured out her secret!
Ty Lee pushes down on the odd block, which gives way, sliding backward into the wall. A low grinding noise grows into a loud, rumbling crescendo as the wall to Ty Lee's left slides back, forming a rectangular hole with steps leading into the darkness within. All three of them gaze into the secret entrance in wonder.
Aang Whoa.

Gene - We also showed secret passageways in the Fire Nation Royal Palace in The Search.

The scene jumps to the gates of the Capital City, where Mak's men have set up a barricade; they stand in front of a carriage, two brandishing a guandao, while the third holds a spear. The soldier in charge speaks, not only to the man in the carriage, but also to the crowd of waylaid travelers behind him.
Soldier Until further notice, no one is allowed to leave the Capital City! Fire Lord's orders!
Man in carriage [Upset.] You've gotta be kidding! Our kids are sitting turtle-ducks for those dark spirits!
In another spot elsewhere in the city, Mak rides down a street on ostrich horseback, addressing the people as his soldiers question them.
Mak Forgive the intrusion, citizens, but your safety is of the utmost importance to the Fire Lord!
Cut to a view of a soldier entering a house, over the protests of an old woman.
Old woman What is the meaning of this?!
Soldier [Without looking at the woman.] Just trying to keep you safe, ma'am.
Old woman [Stepping in front of the soldier, pointing to two other soldiers examining the house.] By breaking into our homes?!
Soldier We have reason to believe that Ukano and the Safe Nation Society have information about the missing children! We're looking for anyone or anything connected to them!
Old woman That's preposterous! The Safe Nation society are heroes! And besides, why search people's homes for a group that operates in broad daylight?!
The woman gestures to the windows, and the soldier looks out to see the Safe Nation Society, led by Ukano, marching through the streets; the frame follows them as they march.
Safe Nation Society members A strong nation is a safe nation! A strong nation is a safe nation! A strong nation is a safe nation! A strong nation is a safe nation!
Mak and his soldiers cut off Ukano and his men, standing in the road before them.
Mak Stop! Safe Nation Society, by order of the Fire Lord, you are all under arrest!
This order does not sit well with the crowd around them; the people turn on Mak and his men, hurling stones and food at them and yelling from the road and the balconies.
Man on balcony Boo! Boo!
Man throwing rock Leave the heroes alone!
Man throwing food Why don't you go attack the dark spirits instead of your own people?!
Frame cuts briefly to Ukano's eyes as a bead of sweat rolls down his face.
Ukano [Thinking to himself.] This is going to be easier than I thought. [He turns to his men.] Can you believe this, Safe Nation Society?! We are fighting to protect our children, and instead of thanking us, Fire Lord Zuko treats us like common criminals! Will we stand for this injustice?!
Safe Nation Society members [Unanimously.] NO!
Ukano [Pointing at the soldiers.] Resist, Safe Nation Society! Resist the impostor's forces at all costs!
Ukano's men whirl around; yelling, they attack the soldiers any way they can. The next few shots appear in quick succession: a firebending Society member, wielding a ball of flame at his foot, sends a kick at two soldiers at close range as they try to avoid it; two Society members throw pottery at two more soldiers, who dodge out of the way as the projectiles crash through a window behind them; two Society members find themselves cornered by three soldiers, who corral them with firebending. The shot jumps briefly to Ukano, who has escaped the riot and hides as the soldiers capture his men one by one.

The scene cuts to Kei Lo, who stands in Mura's flower shop talking to Mura.

Mura I'm sorry, Kei Lo. Mai didn't say where she was going.
Kei Lo I have an idea. Thanks, Mura.
Without warning, a large earthen vase crashes through the shop's front window. As broken glass flies in every direction, Kei Lo throws himself between the window and Mura, who screams in fear. When the dust settles, Kei Lo walks onto the porch, where the riot continues: two Society members run down the street, while a soldier apprehends one of the rioters.
Kei Lo What's going on out here?! [A rioter brushes past him, colliding with him; angrily.] Watch it!
As he regards the person who bumped into him, he is surprised to recognize the person.
Kei Lo Hing?
Hing [Panicked.] Kei Lo, run! They're arresting anyone connected to Ukano!
Kei Lo But I'm not anymore!
Hing Try telling them that!
During their conversation, they have been surrounded by Fire Nation soldiers, all of whom wield blazing tongues of fire at their hands.
Soldier You two! Hands where we can see 'em!
The scene changes, showing a Fire Nation airship floating above the harbor of the Capital City. Cut to the airship's bridge, where a smiling Iroh, looking down at the ground below, is addressed by the captain.
Captain We're approaching the coast of the main island, General Iroh.
Iroh Thank you, Captain.
Pilot [Standing at the wheel; when he speaks, Iroh turns to look at him.] What brings you back to the Fire Nation?
Iroh [Raising the teacup in his hand.] National Tea Appreciation Day will soon be upon us! We must begin preparations!

Gene - Uncle Iroh instituted the first National Tea Appreciation Day while he was interim Fire Lord.

Pilot Really? I thought National Tea Appreciation Day was a one-time thing.
Iroh Oh, no! It's been woven into the fabric of Fire Nation culture!
Pilot Neat. So Fire Lord Zuko called for a planning meeting?
Iroh [Still smiling, looking down at his teacup; he pauses for a moment before answering.] Not exactly.
Pilot [As the frame shows the airship's exterior.] He doesn't really even know what National Tea Appreciation Day is, does he?
Iroh No. But he will!
The scene changes. In the courtyard of the Capital City Prison, Mak talks to Zuko, who is accompanied by Mai and two soldiers.
Mak We don't have complete control of the situation yet, but it's settled down considerably. It's no longer a riot.
Zuko [Stunned.] There was a riot?!
Mai [To Mak.] Was my father there?
Mak Yes, but he slipped away before we were able to get to him.
Mai [Looking away from Mak.] Figures.
Zuko We'll find him, Mai.
As Zuko takes Mai's hand, Mak continues.
Mak My troops were able to apprehend most of the Safe Nation Society. Speaking of which --
Mak gestures to the gate behind him, where a large mobile prison cell pulled by two komodo rhinos is entering the courtyard. When it rolls to a stop, the prisoners begin filing off.
Zuko [To Mak.] Ready the interrogation rooms.
Kei Lo and Hing step out of the cell in turn, following the flow of prisoners into the prison. Mai does not fail to notice his appearance.
Mai Kei Lo?!
As he hears Mai's shocked voice, Kei Lo turns around, looking at her, but he does not stop walking. Mai turns to Zuko, their hands separating.
Mai Zuko, this is obviously a mistake! Get him out of those cuffs!
Zuko [Quietly, more to himself than to Mai.] I'm not so sure ...
As Mai follows, Zuko catches up to Kei Lo and pulls him aside. Hing stops as well.
Zuko [Serious.] What were you doing with the Safe Nation Society, Kei Lo?
Kei Lo They bumped into me! Literally!
Hing [Subdued.] Sorry.
Zuko [His tone raised; accusing.] You've betrayed your allies before! Who's to say you aren't acting as a double agent now?
Kei Lo [Outraged.] You're kidding me, right? Don't you remember who saved your hide out in the forest?
Mai Zuko! Stop being ridiculous!
A long, heated moment passes, in which Zuko and Kei Lo, both infuriated with the other, glare viciously at each other, while Mai stares at Zuko. Zuko turns away from Kei Lo, fists clenched and head bowed.
Zuko Release him, General Mak.
Mak [Removing Kei Lo's handcuffs.] As you wish.
As Kei Lo rubs his wrists, he walks behind Zuko toward Mai, speaking to Zuko as he does.
Kei Lo Don't think I don't know what this is really about, Fire Lord. You just gotta accept that she's with me now. Life will be easier for everybody.
Having said this, Kei Lo walks to Mai and embraces her. Upset and defeated, Zuko closes his eyes but is quickly distracted by Aang's voice calling him.
Aang Zuko! [As Zuko turns to see Aang, Ty Lee, and Suki behind him.] We've been looking all over for you!
Zuko Aang? I thought you left.
Aang [His expression pointed, his tone not cordial.] Well, you thought wrong, buddy! Suki, Ty Lee, and I found something you gotta see! Come on!
Mak [Behind Zuko, he speaks, prompting Zuko to look at him instead.] Fire Lord, the sun will set before we know it. We need a plan or our people will rise up again.
Zuko [Walking away from both Aang and Mak.] I'm sorry, Aang, but General Mak is right. Like I told you, I need to handle this my way.
Aang Even if your way is stupid?!
Zuko does not answer. In response, Aang begins airbending, forming a whirling air scooter between his hands while sticking his tongue out of the corner of his mouth.
Aang [To Suki and Ty Lee.] Stand back.
Suki What are you doing?
Aang Getting the Fire Lord's attention.
Without warning, Aang launches the ball of whirling air at Zuko. He turns around in time to see it racing at him but is unable to evade it. The airball knocks him off his feet, and Aang uses it to catch Zuko before speeding from the courtyard on his own air scooter, guiding Zuko, who floats on his back on his airscooter just ahead of Aang, in the direction of the city.
Zuko What the -- Aang! Put me down immediately!
Aang I will -- as soon as you take a look at what we found!
As the two speed toward the city, the frame cuts to Ty Lee, Suki, Mai, and Kei Lo as they run from the prison, giving chase.
Kei Lo What's' going on?
Mai I don't know, but I'm gonna find out.
Moments later, Aang and Zuko arrive on the rooftop, next to the passage entrance. Aang stops airbending, dropping Zuko on his back on the hard surface, and pushes the key brick, opening the passage.
Zuko Oof! [After catching his breath.] Don't ever do that again!
Aang [Half-listening.] Okay, okay, but look!
Shocked by seeing the passage, Zuko drops his protest. The other four join them on the roof as he talks.
Zuko A secret passageway! So you think this is how Azula and the other Kemurikage escaped? How did you figure this out?
Ty Lee I remembered it from when we were little. You really should've come exploring with us more, Zuko.
Zuko I really should've. [A short pause.] Kiyi could be on the other side.
Mai Tom-Tom, too. I'm coming along.
Kei Lo We're coming along.
Zuko Suki, Ty Lee, please stay to keep guard over the royal palace.
Ty Lee You got it, Zuko!
Zuko and Aang bend small tongues of flame with their hands and lead the way down the tunnel as Mai and Kei Lo follow.

The scene changes. Having escaped the riot, Ukano sits at the table in the cave, talking to Azula. His demeanor is downcast.

Ukano It took Zuko's forces several hours to quell the riot. My followers -- all those young people who put their faith in me -- have been arrested. The city's more agitated than ever. [Turns to look at Azula, who stands over him, smiling.] I did everything you asked. Now, please, let Tom-Tom go. Let all the children go.
Azula Oh, yes! Right away! A deal's a deal, after all!
Ukano [Hands clasped in relief as Azula walks to the steel door, inserting the key into the lock.] Thank you, thank you, Azula!
Azula But wait.
Removing the key from the lock, Azula turns to Ukano, whose face has again fallen into fear and despair.
Azula [Eyes closed in mock thoughtfulness.] Let's think this through ... What would happen if we were to release all the little darlings? [Disdainfully, as the frame focuses on her face.] They'd go scampering back to their parents, no doubt. [She approaches Ukano, a hint of insanity visible in her face.] And a few of them would even talk about us, maybe even lead the Fire Lord's forces here.
Ukano [Thoroughly unsettled.] N-no! N-not necessarily! They might --
Azula They would expose my sisters and me before we're ready. [Moving her face close to his.] Is that really what you want, Ukano?!
Ukano Of course not! B-but --
Azula [Turning away from him.] So we are in agreement, then. We will keep our young guests here until the time is right. Good talk, Ukano. Good talk.
As Azula leaves, Ukano stands behind her, his expression as desperate as before; his arm is raised in her direction, as if to stop her. The frame switches to the other side of the door, where Tom-Tom stares at it. Behind him, Guri and another boy in gray play with their action figures.
Friendly girl Come play, Tom-Tom.
Tom-Tom But there was that clicking noise. My dad always comes in after that clicking noise.
Boy in gray [To Guri.] How come Tom-Tom's dad visits him? What about our moms and dads?
Guri Tom-Tom's dad is here 'cause he's a bad guy, just like the scary ladies.
Tom-Tom, hearing Guri insult Ukano, runs at Guri and hits him from behind.
Tom-Tom That's not true! You take that back!
Guri Make me!
As they fight, Kiyi silences them with an annoyed yell; she stands between them and the door, facing toward the latter. Her eyes are closed as she goes through the motions of a firebending form.
Kiyi Will you boys be quiet?! I'm trying to concentrate here!
Friendly girl What're you doing, Kiyi!
Kiyi Practicing.
Friendly girl Practicing what?
Kiyi I'm not sure ... but this one time, when Zuko didn't know I was looking, I watched him do this in the courtyard. I think it's what makes him so brave.
Meanwhile, in the tunnel, Aang turns to Mai and Kei Lo as they climb a flight of stone steps in the semi-darkness.
Aang Watch your step here, guys.
Kei Lo Don't worry, Aang. [Takes Mai's hand.] We got it.
Reaching the top of the staircase, the four come across a stone wall blocking the passage.
Zuko This must be it. Behind this door could be Kiyi and Tom-Tom.
Aang And Azula.
The two brace themselves against the wall, and light begins to appear around its edges.
Zuko You ready?
Aang Yeah.
As they push against the wall, it slowly rotates open with a prolonged creak, and the four step out of the tunnel into daylight. A fine mist suffuses the air around them. They stand in a large, quiet garden filled with carved rock monoliths, all of which betray their old age through the patchy moss and vines creeping over them, and the cracks and chips in the stone.

Gene - The dome-shaped tombs in this graveyard were inspired by ancient Asian graveyards. In China's Fujian Province and in Japan's Ryukyu Islands, tombs were sometimes made to look like tortoiseshells. People smarter than me speculate that this was done to put the deceased under the care of the Black Tortoise, one of the Four Celestial Beings in Asian folklore. Incidentally, I used the Four Celestial Beings in The Shadow Hero, a graphic novel I did with my friend Sonny Liew.

Gurihiru - We used the tomb we saw on our trip to China as reference.

Zuko [Looking around.] I've been here before. This is the royal family graveyard.
Aang I thought that's what the Dragonbone Catacombs were for.
Zuko No, the Catacombs are only for the Fire Lords. This place is for everyone else. It's called the Garden of Tranquil Souls.
Aang [Looking around, skeptical.] Really? Well, I hate to break it to you, Zuko, but the souls here don't seem all that tranquil!
The frame zooms out, revealing that four Kemurikage have surrounded the group, who take up defensive positions, ready for a fight.

The scene returns to the palace; Iroh wanders the empty corridors, bewildered by the lack of people.

Iroh [Looking around, calling out.] Hello? Hello! Where is everyone?
Coming upon a large, seemingly vacant room, Iroh is surprised to find Ursa kneeling in its center. Saying nothing, he walks to her and sees that she holds a small, homemade doll. Seeing this, Iroh's expression shifts from curiosity to that of deep sorrow. He kneels next to Ursa on the stone floor, maintaining his silence.

The scene moves to Ukano; in the cave, he kneels before the steel door, his head pressed against it.

Ukano All I wanted was for us to be safe. Our family, our nation, everybody. Safe. And in my zeal, I delivered you into the hands of a madwoman, to be locked away in a dingy underground prison! [Tears begin to roll down his face.] I'm sorry, Tom-Tom. All of you in there ... I'm sorry. There's no punishment severe enough for the likes of me.
As Ukano begins to weep openly, the shot moves to the other side of the door, where Tom-Tom, Guri, the friendly girl, the boy in gray, and another, smaller girl have noticed the sound of Ukano's sobs through the steel. They stare at the door.
Friendly girl What was that?!
Guri This one time my mom stepped on our frog-dog's tail by accident and he made a sound just like that!
Another sob is heard through the door.
Small girl [Clinging to the friendly girl in fear.] There's a frog-dog out there? I hate frog-dogs!
Tom-Tom That's not a frog-dog -- that's my dad! I think he's crying.
Guri That's stupid! Adults don't cry! It's a frog-dog!
Tom-Tom [Rounding on Guri.] You just call my dad a frog-dog?! Why, you --!

Gurihiru - We actually laughed at the children's reactions when we drew this. Sorry, Ukano! You are looking so sad.

Kiyi [Still practicing the firebending form, interrupting Tom-Tom as he grabs Guri.] Boys, be quiet! And move! I think I figured something out!
The frame switches back to Ukano, now sitting with his back leaned against the door; looking away from the door itself, he does not see the brilliant golden light pouring through the rectangular viewing slot above him.
Ukano I'm sorry ... so sorry ...
He suddenly pulls his head away from the door, turning around to look at it; the steel where his head was, has begun to melt, and a small column of smoke rises from its surface.
Ukano [Baffled.] Wha --?
The door continues to melt as Ukano backs away from it; molten steel begins to drip downward toward the floor. As the hole continues to widen, it suddenly stops, and the smoke clears to reveal Kiyi on the other side, a smoking fist outstretched toward the door. Her companions, standing behind her, wear expressions ranging from amazement to pure terror.

Gene - We discussed whether or not Kiyi should be a Firebender. You can see our conclusion on this page.

Ukano Hang on, children! I'll go get a bucket!
Moments later, two emptied buckets lie on the floor near the door, and the children stand on the other side of the door, celebrating their liberation. Tom-Tom runs to his father, who embraces him in relief.
Ukano Tom-Tom!
Tom-Tom Daddy!
Children [Celebrating.] Hooray for Kiyi! Hooray for Kiyi!
Guri [Gazing at Kiyi, his eyes replaced by hearts.] Marry me!
Kiyi [Nonchalantly walking past him.] No thanks.
Ukano [His expression deadening as he speaks.] Listen, children! A terrible, terrible crime has been committed against you! The perpetrators must go to prison ... and that includes me.
Tom-Tom What do you mean, Daddy?
Ukano [As the frame switches to show a few of the children.] But before that, we need to get you back to your parents!
Children [Ecstatic; loudly.] Yay!
Ukano And before that, you must keep your voices down so we won't get caught by the scary ladies!
The children clasp their hands to the mouths, falling silent, their expressions morphed from jubilation to wide-eyed fear. Ukano stands and leads them from the room, pointing ahead of him.

Gene - In panels 3 and 4 on this page, Gurihiru perfectly capture the goofy expressions children make.

Ukano Now follow me!
The scene returns to the graveyard, where the Kemurikage fight Aang, Zuko, Mai, and Kei Lo, each of whom is engaged with a single opponent. Aang earthbends at a figure flying over him, while Zuko firebends at another figure above him. Mai combats her opponent with knives, while opposite her, Kei Lo slashes at the last figure with a knife. The action focuses on Mai, whose opponent deftly evades her knives and goes on the offensive, planting a foot in her stomach, sending her tumbling backward with a grunt of pain. As her attacker jumps in front of her, Mai suddenly launches another knife; the blade cuts its way through the fabric of the figure's hood, barely missing its neck. Mai rises to her feet as the figure nonchalantly lowers its hood and removes its mask.
Azula Nice throw, Mai! You've been practicing!
Mai Azula! Where are you hiding those kids?!
Azula [Lashing out with lightning, which Mai easily dodges.] Tsk, tsk. Manners, manners! Is that any way to greet an old friend? I really ought to thank you, you know! [Her fingers crackle with electricity, but her arms are lowered as she talks.] Remember that one time you, me, and Ty Lee had a sleepover at your place?

Gene - The flashback here is inspired by a story my parents used to tell me when I was a kid. Whenever I misbehaved, they would threaten to call an old witch who lived in the hills. Sometimes, for extra drama, they would even pick up the phone and begin to dial. Supposedly, the witch would come down and drag disobedient children back up to her house by their earlobes. My parents told me you could tell which children were bad by how long their earlobes were.

Don't worry. I'm all better now.

Mai The time you made me steal mochi from my mom? I remember.
Azula "Made you"? Please. You give me too much credit, Mai. I merely suggested it. You're the one who insisted on going through with it.
The frame switches to a flashback, a sepia-toned shot of the three girls sitting around a half-empty container of mochi, which Azula is eating.
Azula Afterward, you wouldn't touch the mochi at all. Ty Lee was worried about negative energies or whatever, so I had to eat it all by my lonesome.
Cut back to the present; Mai brandishes more knives while responding to Azula, her face unpleasant.
Mai My mom had made that mochi for my grandmother's seventieth birthday. She told us specifically not to touch it.
Azula Oh, your mother may have said something like that. It's hard to recall. It was so long ago --
Back in the flashback, a shot of Azula, wide awake while Ty Lee and Mai sleep; the princess stares, wide-eyed, at Mai, who is muttering quietly.
Azula All I know is, you were horribly annoying that night, tossing and turning and mumbling over and over ...
Mai [In flashback.] Kemurikage ... Kemurikage are gonna get me ... Kemurikage ...
Back in the present, Azula's eyes are wild as she holds her hands to her head in mock thought.
Azula I've wondered ever since: What could possibly flap my most unflappable friend? [Abruptly calm, more collected than before.] Recently, I found out. The Kemurikage are dark spirits of legend, born of fear and anger and revenge. My kind of ladies.
Mai [Flinging the knives at Azula.] Shut up already!
Easily dodging Mai's knives, Azula shoots lightning at Mai, knocking her off her feet. Standing over her, Azula casually examines her black-and-purple robes.
Azula My new friends and I took our inspiration from your little nightmare. What do you think? Not a bad rendition, hm?
While Azula talks, Kei Lo runs up behind her, seen only by Mai.
Mai Eh. [Kei Lo collides with Azula, staggering her as Mai rises to her feet again.] Purple isn't really your color, Azula.

Gene - I disagree with Mai. I think Azula looks great in purple.

Azula [Rounding on Kei Lo; infuriated, she strikes him with lightning.] Who is this imbecile?!
Kei Lo [Falling to the ground with a scream.] Ack!
Mai Kei Lo!
Swooping down on Kei Lo, Azula grabs him by his collar, raising him off the ground and glaring wildly into his wincing face, brandishing a threatening blue flame in her free hand.
Azula Please tell me this isn't your new boyfriend, Mai! Zuzu wasn't all that great a catch, but, dear, you're really slumming it!
Mai Azula, please! Leave him alone!
The sound of Zuko's voice distracts Azula from Kei Lo; she turns her head to see him brandishing flames of his own.
Zuko Listen to her. Leave him alone.
Azula [Her initial surprise replaced by a casual air.] Zuzu! Trying to win back your ex-girlfriend by defending her new boyfriend? That's just sad.
Throwing Kei Lo aside, Azula unleashes her fire on Zuko as he does the same. Where their flames meet, they explode outward in a clashing blast of blue and yellow, leading Mai and Kei Lo to shield their faces with their arms. As the blast dissipates, Azula turns and runs from Zuko, shrouding herself with smoke. Zuko immediately gives chase.

Gene - This is a nod to Zuko and Azula's final confrontation in the series finale, one of the most beautifully rendered martial arts fights ever, in my opinion.

Zuko Azula! Stop! [Stopping for a moment in front of Mai, he tries to talk.] Mai --?
Mai [Pointing in Azula's direction.] Don't worry about me! Go after that nutcase!
As Zuko disappears into the graveyard, Mai tends to Kei Lo, who holds his shoulder.
Mai [Concerned.] You okay?
Kei Lo Yeah. But I have to tell you, before we started dating, I never used to get injured this often.
Mai You know what they say. Love hurts.
Kei Lo I guess it does.
The scene switches to Ukano, leading the group of children up a torch-lit stone staircase.
Ukano [Pointing ahead, while smiling at the group behind him.] Come along, children! Stay together and stay quiet! The exit is right around the -- [As he turns back toward the top of the stairs, his eyes widen in terror.] -- corner.
The frame zooms out, revealing not only Ukano and the children, but also two Kemurikage-imposters standing at the top of the staircase, right in front of them. As Tom-Tom grips his father's arm tightly and Kiyi, behind them, puts a protective hand in front of a terrified Guri, the two cloaked figures silently spin around, their gazes coming to rest on the group of would-be escapees.

The scene returns to the quiet room in the palace, in which Ursa and Iroh kneel on the floor next to each other. Ursa continues to look at the small doll in her hands. As she breaks the silence, Iroh opens an eye to look at her.

Ursa [Smiling halfheartedly.] I made this doll with my own hands. You can tell from the terrible stitching. It was her birthday present last year. Kiyi carried it with her everywhere she went ... [Her expression sinks back into sadness, and she closes her eyes.] ... until the night my face changed back. Now she won't touch it. Now she won't touch me. [Raising her eyes toward the ceiling.] What if this is how it will always be from now on? What if I never get the chance to --
Iroh [Smiling softly.] We have no reason to lose hope, Ursa.
Ursa [Turning her head, looking at Iroh.] Can I ask you something, Iroh? Something terribly personal?
Iroh Of course. Anything.
Ursa How did you get over the death of your son?
Iroh [Still smiling.] I'm not over it. I will never be over it. [Dropping his gaze to the floor, the smile fading into seriousness.] As parents, we want nothing more than for our children to be safe. Unfortunately, this world is an inherently unsafe place. So many dangers, so much to fear. No matter how hard we try, we can never keep our children completely safe. [He looks back at Ursa, who clutches the doll tightly.] Better to teach them -- and ourselves -- to see the fear with unclouded eyes.

Gene - Iroh's words here echo a parental pep talk a friend gave me.

Ursa I try to stay positive. Honestly, I try ... but it's all just a mask. Deep down, all I feel is fear.
Iroh [As the frame returns to the far shot of the room.] Ursa, the fear will always be with you. Always, even after she returns. You must learn to see it with unclouded eyes.
The scene returns to the graveyard, where Aang battles the remaining three Kemurikage on his own. Planting his left hand on the ground, he spins on it, sending a arcing wave of air at his opponents. While one of them is hit and crashes to the ground, two of them escape the attack, and one of them soars over the blast of air and descends on Aang with a flaming foot extended downward at him. Aang throws himself out of the way with a groan as the firebending figure hits the earth with crushing force, sending fire spraying outward from the point of impact.
Aang Oof!
As the flame dissipate, Aang regains his footing and sends a pointed blast of air at the attacking figure. It catches her right in the chest and sends her tumbling away from him. Above and behind him, the other two attackers rapidly advance on him. Sensing their presence, Aang earthbends a slanted pillar between himself and them just before they reach him. The Kemurikage crash into it and fall limply to the earth, unconscious. Unopposed, Aang looks around, seeing no one.
Aang Zuko? Mai? Kei Lo? Hey! Where'd everybody go?!
From somewhere close by, Aang hears a voice.
Voice Help!
Looking in the direction of the voice, Aang realizes that it is coming from inside a stone monument built into the side of a large rock. He runs to the monument and earthbends its surface off, pushing it aside to reveal a large cave behind it. A staircase leads downward to Aang's right and on the first landing stand the two Kemurikage, who have pushed Ukano against the rock wall and threaten him with firebending while the children watch.As the entrance opens, the children turn their heads toward the exit.
Friendly girl [Pointing at Aang.] Look! It's the Avatar!
Children [Cacophonously calling out.] Hi, Avatar!
Aang [Waving.] Hi, kids! We've been looking all over for you!
Seeing Aang at the top of the stairs pulls the two Kemurikage's attention away from Ukano. They release him unceremoniously, and he drops to the floor as Tom-Tom rushes to him. In the blink of an eye, the cloaked figures, throwing their arms outward, firebend hissing whips of flame and sweep up the stairway toward a visibly shocked Aang.

The scene jumps back to Zuko chasing Azula. He follows her as she runs into a crypt shaped like a lion turtle.

Zuko Wait, Azula! I just want to talk!
Reaching the entrance to the crypt, Zuko stops running and lights a flame in his palm for light. He begins to walk down the steps cautiously.
Zuko Azula ... ?
The door to the crypt loudly slams shut behind Zuko, and he looks briefly back at it before continuing onward into the crypt's main room. Within the chamber, lit by small blue tongues of fire in sconces on the walls, he finds Azula sitting casually on the stone coffin, calmly holding a blue flame in her hand and glancing in his direction.
Azula Hello, dear brother. Any idea whose crypt we're in?
Zuko No.
Azula It belongs to the first Fire Lord's most trusted adviser. Rather fancy, isn't it?
Zuko Listen, Azula -- [Hesitating before continuing.] -- Maybe this is a weird thing to say given the circumstances, but you seem ... better.
Azula [Lighting a second fire in her other hand.] Oh, not just better --
She rises to her feet and lunges wildly at Zuko, her fire reformed into daggers.
Azula -- Stronger!
Meanwhile, in the tunnel, Aang tries to avoid the Kemurikage's fire whips, jumping out of the way as they slash at him. In the process of dodging a strike over his head, Aang inadvertently moves right into the cloud of smoke the Kemurikage have left behind and begins to choke on it.
Aang [Thinking to himself while coughing.] Monkey feathers! Took a breath at the exact wrong --
One of the figures attacks Aang while his guard is down, kicking him in the back; he tumbles down the stairs and does not move when he stops.
Kemurikage [Looking at Aang through the dissipating cloud of smoke, she speaks to her compatriot.] Who knew a little smoke in the lungs was all it took to get the better of the mighty Avatar?
At that moment, Mai and Kei Lo descend the stairs and ambush the Kemurikage in turn, assaulting them from behind; Mai punches one in the back of the head, while Kei Lo kicks the other in the upper back. Both of the cloaked figures sprawl to the stone floor, unconscious. While Kei Lo watches the motionless Kemurikage, Mai rushes to Aang's side, helping him up.
Aang Thanks!
Mai Yeah.
Tom-Tom [Running to his sister, overjoyed.] Mai!
Mai [Opening her arms and kneeling to hug him.] Tom-Tom! [As they hug each other.] I missed you so much, kid.
From below them on the stairs, Ukano watches the reuniting of his daughter and son. He smiles.

As Aang, Mai, and Kei Lo's battle ends, Zuko's is just beginning. As Azula launches herself at Zuko, he jumps backward to avoid the slash of her flaming dagger. Separated from her, he ignites two daggers of his own.

Zuko You wanna go? Let's go.
Simultaneously, the siblings launch themselves at each other.

Gene - We wanted Zuko and Azula's fight to feel grittier than any of their previous fights. Hence, fire daggers.

Zuko and Azula [Yelling.] AAAH!
They clash and, held together by their dual parry, stare intensely at each other before Azula breaks them apart, kicking Zuko in the stomach and sending him to the ground. In a heartbeat, Azula is on top of him, wielding a single dagger and wearing an insanely victorious expression.
Azula Me standing over you like this ... Why does it feel so familiar? Oh, that's right! Because this is the way it's always been!
Zuko Getting rid of me won't put you back on the throne, Azula! Just accept it. You will never be Fire Lord!
Azula Accept it? I've embraced it! [She lets go of him, standing as she dissipates the dagger.] I know I will never be Fire Lord because I'm not meant to be Fire Lord! You were right all along, Zuzu! Once I discovered my own destiny, that voice in my head finally shut up! [Closes her eyes, her tone becoming relaxed.] I've felt weightless ever since ... free. Maybe for the first time in all my life.
Zuko [Unsure, lighting a precautionary flame.] That's, uh ... That's great, Azula ... I guess ...
Azula [Opening her eyes, her expression fierce again.] My destiny, you see, is to make you into the Fire Lord I tried to be -- one who's strong, who rules through fear! Can't you see? It's already working!
The conversation is interrupted; hearing Kiyi's voice above him, Zuko raises his gaze to the ceiling.
Kiyi Zuzu? Zuzu, where are you?
Zuko [Happy.] You hear that? My friends found the children and freed them. We've won.
Azula Oh, I disagree. [Drawing close to Zuko, she stares into his eyes, unsettling him.] In the last twenty-four hours, I've shown just how ruthless you can be. Deep down inside, you're still one of us. You can deny it for a little while, but eventually, you will become just like me ... [Steps away from Zuko.] ... and then, in a sense, I'll be Fire Lord again.
As Azula finishes, smoke begins to fill the room. Zuko, unwilling to accept her ideas, yells at her through the haze.
Zuko No! You're wrong!
As the haze dissipates, Zuko looks around frantically for Azula, even as her voice echoes through the chamber.
Azula Take your own advice, Zuzu, and accept it. It's who you are.
Moments later, having ascended the stairs and found the doors open, Zuko emerges into the graveyard and finds Aang, Kei Lo, Mai, and Ukano, along with the children. Seeing him, Kiyi runs to him, and he kneels to hug her.
Kiyi Zuzu!
Zuko Kiyi! I can't tell you how worried I was about you!
Kiyi I wasn't worried at all! I knew you'd come for us!
Zuko stands, still holding Kiyi in his arms, and smiles at Mai, who is holding Tom-Tom. The two exchange happy looks of gratitude.

The scene jumps to the following morning. Outside the Capital City prison, Ukano holds Tom-Tom, while Mai and a guard look on.

Tom-Tom [Sad and distressed.] But when's the next time I'm gonna see you?
Ukano I'm not sure, Tom-Tom. You take care of your mom and sister, you hear?
Giving Tom-Tom to Mai, Ukano turns to the guard, who places him in handcuffs. Tom-Tom's eyes well up with tears.
Mai Father, you deserve to go to prison for what you've done. [Her expression softens.] But in the end, you were brave. And that's how I'll choose to remember you.
Ukano [As he is led away.] That's more than I have a right to ask, my daughter.
The scene changes. Zuko, accompanied by Sung, Mak, Suki, Ty Lee, and Aang, stands facing a large crowd gathered in the palace courtyard. From the porch of the palace, the Fire Lord addresses his subjects.
Zuko My fellow citizens, thank you for gathering here on such short notice. [Close zoom on his face.] The last few days have been traumatic for all of us. [Cut to a view of the friendly girl, in the arms of her father, who stands next to his wife in the crowd.] Our children were taken -- [Cut to a view of Guri, in the arms of his mother.] -- our parents grew fearful -- [Cut to a view of Ursa, Noren, and Kiyi sitting on his shoulder.] -- and our streets descended into chaos. [Frame returns to Zuko.] And as your Fire Lord, I ... well ... I responded poorly. [Shot of Aang, listening intently.] Security and freedom exist in a delicate balance. I did not maintain that balance well. [View of Sung and Mak, as the former, without moving his head, turns his eyes on Zuko.] My recent decisions were based not on reason, not on wisdom, but on fear. [View of the old woman whose house was searched by soldiers, who watches with raised eyebrows.] For that, I ask your forgiveness. [View of a number of civilians, including the bespectacled young man and his pith-helmet-wearing grandfather.] You should never feel like prisoners in your own city, or suspects in your own homes. [Back to Zuko.] I resolve to do better. I will continue striving to be a Fire Lord worthy of you. I'm grateful for your patience. I'm grateful for your trust.

Gene - So many of our political disagreements these days can be boiled down to a tension between security and freedom, don't you think?

Just before Zuko finishes his speech, the view shifts; three Kemurikage stand looking down on the crowd and the Fire Lord from the edge of a neighboring rooftop. As the view switches to a frontal shot, the foremost of the figures is revealed to be Azula. She listens to Zuko's final words with an intense look and a small smile, holding her mask in her hand.

As Zuko finishes, the crowd below breaks into a roaring applause. Azula dons her mask.

Azula How touching.
A cloud of smoke surrounds the three, and when it clears, the rooftop is empty.

The scene changes to Mura's flower shop. Mura stands on the porch with a broom in her hand, looking over her shoulder at Mai and Kei Lo, who stand facing each other within the shop, talking. After a moment, Mai covers her face with her hands, and Kei Lo turns away from her, walking out of the shop as Mura resumes sweeping, as if nothing has happened.

Mura [Speaking amicably over her shoulder at Kei Lo, who covers his face with his arm.] Leaving so soon, Kei Lo? But you just got here!
Kei Lo I know, I ... I've got stuff to do.
Mura When will we see you again?
Kei Lo I don't know. Maybe never.
Without so much as a look behind him, Kei Lo steps off the porch and walks down the street alone, as a somewhat worried Mura looks on.

The scene moves to a darkened hallway within the Capital City prison. Iroh and Ursa stand outside a closed cell door, the latter holding a lantern.

Iroh Are you sure you're ready?
Ursa Yes.
Iroh Remember, unclouded eyes.
A look of resolve on her face, Ursa enters the room alone. The light from the corridor falls past her but does not reach the prisoner within the room, who kneels behind an iron cage which stretches from floor to ceiling and wall to wall.
Ozai Ursa. I heard you'd returned. [A dark smile breaks across his face.] That was a mistake. [As he continues, his face contorts with increasing rage.] I promised you that if I ever saw you again, I would end you and everyone you've ever loved! But I'm going to do so much more than that. By the time I'm through, you will beg for oblivion! You hear me, you wretched thing?! You. Will. Beg!
A moment passes, and the frame focuses on Ursa's eyes as she, sweating slightly, stares terror-struck at Ozai. She closes her eyes, as if focusing on something. When she opens them again, her eyes, calm and unyielding, are locked with his, holding his gaze firmly. As Ozai listens to her, the shock of hearing her words becomes evident in his expression.
Ursa You. I see you. After all these years, I finally see you, Ozai. You're just a small, small man trying with all your might to be big. Your heart is so small, you've no room for your son, or your daughter, or your brother ... or even yourself. Goodbye, Ozai.
She turns away from him and walks toward the door.
Ozai B-b-but --! [Regaining his composure, he rises to his feet, gripping the bars of his cell.] D-don't you turn your back on me! Come back and grovel before me! Do you hear me?! Come back and grovel!
Ursa ignores Ozai and walks out of the room without even a backward glance. Moments later, she stands in her family's darkened bedroom; Noren and Kiyi sleep in the bed before her. Walking to Kiyi's side of the bed, she softly places a hand on her daughter's shoulder. Drowsily, Kiyi turns her head to look at Ursa and smiles at her.
Kiyi Mommy ... you're back.
Ursa [A tear in her eye as she smiles in return.] I'm back.

Gene - It took us a long time, both in the script and in the art, to get the second-to-last panel right.

Climbing into bed, Ursa puts an arm around Kiyi. Soon, both are asleep.

Cast Edit


"Smoke and Shadow Part Two"

"Smoke and Shadow Part Three"

"North and South Part One"

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