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Ace in the Oasis

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Yeah, school's started... 


I apolagize for any resulting infrequency. I have it all drafted and treated, I just need to get it relayed onto a page!

So, for now, here's the beginning of the true Iroh/Zhao conflict, and a massive rewrite and relocation of an earlier scene. I realize the flow of this is a bit skewed now, so just rest assured that in the soon to be revised workflow, this scene will FOLLOW Tui and La's introduction, not precede.

I attempted to solve the problem of why Iroh doesn't try to stop Zhao's plan, something which always bugged me in both the show and the original film.

The Legend of Aang: Ace in the Oasis

INT. ZHAO’S SHIP – DAY

IROH is lead aboard along with many other members of ZUKO’s crew, before being greeted by ZHAO.

ZHAO

Welcome aboard, General.

The two shake hands, ZHAO soon turning to JEE.

ZHAO (CONT’D)

Commander, your presence is requested on the bridge.

(to IROH)

Iroh, come with me.

JEE and the remainder of the group start one way, while ZHAO and IROH start down the hallway.

ZHAO

You seem awed, General.

IROH

I did not realize the numbers that were amassing.

ZHAO

This is not a skirmish, my friend. We need all the assistance we might muster.

IROH

It still won’t be enough.

ZHAO turns his head to IROH.

IROH (CONT’D)

You would be lucky if you lasted one night with these forces. You may penetrate the city’s walls, take prisoners of their armies, but you may never fully take their city, no matter how much brute strength you attack with.

ZHAO

I understand what you mean, General, but I assure you, I shall. I have my own methods.

The two stop, and IROH looks to ZHAO, a new, disturbed look in his eyes.

ZHAO

I am about to confide in you, my friend, with information that no other on this ship has had word of.

ZHAO then pulls open a door, motioning IROH in.

IROH cautiously steps into the room, taking a seat at a table. ZHAO sprawls out a scroll on the table.

IROH

What is this?

ZHAO

Read it.

IROH begins to look over it. The imagery is that of an icy plain, with bits of text scattered about it.

IROH is beginning to take quite an interest.

ZHAO

Your affinity for classic literature is famous. I thought you might take a liking to this.

ZHAO sits by, anticipating the outcome.

IROH reads the text, examining the calligraphy.

IROH

This is certainly a much older form… I’d place this…

IROH pauses and examines the text closer. ZHAO leans over, obviously in high suspense. IROH reads for a brief time, ZHAO soon growing impatient.

ZHAO

You’d place it where, General?

IROH

From the early first age…

ZHAO chuckles.

ZHAO

Almost ten thousand years ago…

IROH

An impressive item for any collection… My own library has one from about this time-

ZHAO

(quickly)

Yes, of course. Can you read it all right?

IROH

I’m not fluent in it by any means, but I can comprehend it.

ZHAO

Do you wish to know my insurance for victory?

(points to corner of map)

What does this say?

IROH squints his eyes, leaning forward.

IROH

Take great careand confidence with any who read this… For it is in this spot of the holy tundra that dwell…

IROH widens his eyes.

IROH

That dwell the spirits Tui and La, masters of the flowing water.

ZHAO smiles maliciously.

ZHAO

The spirits of the ocean and the moon. The very key to the enduring strength of the water tribes. Without them, they are spear-brandishing barbarians.

IROH’S expression has darkened, as he stares at ZHAO cautiously.

IROH

Where did you get this?

ZHAO

I once served under Shinu, and while we were laying siege to the colony of Shamo, we happened upon something of great significance… Wan Shi Tong’s Library. I discovered this among the more interesting of the scriptures.

IROH

You cannot mean you stole this from the great Wan Shi Tong!

ZHAO

It is a library, is it not?

IROH

A library whose knowledge is not to be used in such a perverted sense as this, Zhao! Do not think I don’t know your plan.

ZHAO

What do you presume to know?

IROH

That Tui and La have been condemned to their mortal forms.

ZHAO

And that they may fall as if they were any of us.

IROH is appalled, ZHAO sneering at him.

ZHAO

Oh, don’t pretend to be so above us! Would you have not done the same to fell the walls of Ba Sing Se?

IROH

No. There are some things not meant to be tampered with by mortal men, Zhao.

ZHAO

What use have we for gods?

ZHAO attempts to roll up the scroll, but IROH stops him.

IROH

Lay siege to the city if you will, but I will not let you use this as your strategy.

ZHAO scowls and shoves IROH away, rolling the scroll back up.

IROH

Zhao!

ZHAO whips around, preparing to tuck the scroll into his shirt.

IROH

Give it to me!

ZHAO begins to put the scroll in hisshirt pocket, tantalizingly slow.

IROH

On superior authority, I demand you give me that scroll!

ZHAO stops cold.

IROH extends his hand, beckoning.

IROH

I will go to any extreme to acquire it, Zhao, but I should hope that won’t be necessary. Give me the scroll.

ZHAO capitulates.

ZHAO

Of course… General.

IROH tucks the scroll into his shirt pocket and leaves through the door.

ZHAO turns to the GUARD in the room.

ZHAO

It would appear our worst fears have been realized. General Iroh is no longer with us.

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