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31 January 2007 @ 06:49 pm
[Active Thread] Loyalties [Zuka, Azulon, Ira(?)]  
Zuka stood stiffly by her brother's throne, eyes skimming around the room. First time she had been in here, she had been with Ira, eagerly awaiting the Earth Queen's arrival. What fools they had been, thinking they would really be able to start over. Make a new life.

She shook away her thoughts and gazed blankly at the great doors that had not opened all day. A prickling of foreboding crawled up her spine and Zuka fought to keep her expression completely neutral. It was odd... normally advisors and various government officials would be streaming in and out of the room, all of them trying to get into Azulon's good graces. The room seemed unnaturally empty and quiet.

She wondered if it would be stupid to hope that it would not mean anything.
Current Location: ba sing se, throne room
fireasura on February 5th, 2007 11:04 pm (UTC)
The doors banged open with a thunderous boom. Azulon walked briskly through, his only herald the fire that roared to life in the grate, heating the already stifling room a few more degrees to nigh unbearable.

He had cast aside the greens and yellows of the Earth Kingdom and had donned again the rich reds of his home, the glint of gold fire resting in his usual topknot. He watched his sister scramble gracelessly to her feet, her posture stiff, back straight. The fire made shadows play over the scar on her left eye.

Azulon sat down in the throne, and the doors swung shut with another boom. This room was the very same one in which Zuka and Ira were supposed to serve tea to the Earth Queen. Very appropriate, Azulon mused. He leaned back in his seat, looking for all the world like it really was his, and motioned with one hand at the table, a smile on his face that did not meet his eyes. "Please, Zuka. Sit."

[I am SOOOOO sorry this took me so long! X_x I had a draft up at one point, and my browser crashed, and I lost it. Which was discouraging. Then I got sidetracked.]
exiled_fire on February 5th, 2007 11:20 pm (UTC)
Zuka was proud of herself for managing not to flinch at the loud noise as doors swung open and closed. She rose to meet him, watching him squarely.

She still didn't trust Azulon completely. Zuka didn't know what to make of Azulon anymore. While he was still very much her cold, manipulative brother, Zuka felt like the little she once knew about him no longer applied.

At his request, she sat, watching him a bit warily. "What is it, Azulon?" Zuka asked, though she wasn't sure she really wanted to know.

[It's okay! :3]
fireasura on February 6th, 2007 03:20 am (UTC)
"We haven't had much of a chance to talk since our victory, Zuka," Azulon said. He motioned to the right, and a pair of servants appeared from the shadows with food. "Perhaps we can eat while we speak?"
exiled_fire on February 6th, 2007 02:59 pm (UTC)
Zuka nodded mutely and continued to sit stiffly as a servant placed a tray of food in front of her. She didn't touch the food and kept her eyes on Azulon. "What would you like to talk about?"
fireasura on February 12th, 2007 09:06 pm (UTC)
Azulon's lips curled into a thin smile, and he watched his sister quiety until she began to eat. "I don't believe we've yet been able to talk about the past two years you have been away from home. Oh, we have the reports of your crewmen, of course--your lieutenant's travel log; and of other soldiers--the late Admiral Zhao's reports are quite detailed. But I'd like to hear them from your point-of-view. Please don't leave anything out; I'd love to hear all the details of even your past months as a refugee."
exiled_fire on February 17th, 2007 10:55 pm (UTC)
Zuka chewed a bite of food slowly, her eyes downcast, not meeting Azulon's eyes. She swallowed and raised her eyes to meet her brother's almost reluctantly. "There's not much to tell beyond what you probably already know." she said quietly, "Unless you want to know something specific?"
fireasura on February 21st, 2007 03:38 am (UTC)
"I'm curious as to a number of things," Azulon conceded. "How you got into the city, for example. Your apparent investigation by the Dai Li." He paused. "Hearing about the loss at the North Pole from your perspective would be enlightening, as well."
exiled_fire on February 28th, 2007 02:01 am (UTC)
Zuka frowned down at her food. "I don't see how any of this concerns you," she stated, "You know what happened. You know where I go, where I've gone and where I am. Do you really need to know anything more?"
fireasura on February 28th, 2007 04:13 am (UTC)
Hostility edged Azulon's voice. "Anything that goes on in Ba Sing Se concerns me. Anything that goes on in the Fire Nation concerns me. I am Mother's eyes and ears while I am abroad. I am her fist and her foot, and an extension of her will. You would do well to remember that I make decisions with her authority."

He leaned forward, propping his elbows on his knees and resting his chin on his steepled fingers. "Since you seem to be so adamant about side-stepping conversation, perhaps we should move on with why I brought you here.

"You made the right decision down in the catacombs, Zuka. But I can tell that you are still conflicted; naturally, you would be, after being away from home and any good influences for the past two years. So I want to know: will you continue to make the right choice? When you are again presented with conflicting decisions, will you choose what you should? Will you choose the Fire Nation?"
exiled_fire on March 1st, 2007 12:37 am (UTC)
Zuka had been resoutely staring at a point behind Azulon's head, her jaw clenched to keep from speaking out of turn. Her teeth clenched together even more tightly at his comment about "no good influences" and carefully kept from thinking too much about her aunt. She had made her choice already; it would do no good to dwell on it too much.

Her eyebrows drew together at his last words, and Zuka frowned at her brother, unhappy that he didn't think that she was trustworthy enough yet - she had betrayed the only family she'd known for years and threw away any chance of a new life for the Fire Nation. How could he even ask?

"I would choose the Fire Nation, of course," Zuka said, completely sure of herself and of the words she spoke, "I know where my loyalties lie." What, she wondered, could possibly make her choose anything above her duty to her family and her home?
fireasura on March 1st, 2007 09:17 pm (UTC)
The grin that split Azulon's face was truly malicious as he made a motion towards the doors, and two previously unseen guards stepped out from behind the massive stone pylons holding up the ceiling and went to pull the doors open.

"Naturally, as children of Fire Lady Ozan and grand-children of Fire Lady Azula, the both of us were raised to be suspicious, wary, and, above all, exceedingly cautious. So you will forgive me for, figuratively, taking an antitode before my dinner instead of risking poison and asking you to allay any doubts I may have now.

"To be frank, I have a task for you. It is nothing overtly grand; I'm not going to make you bow down and swear alleigance to me in front of every warlord I can muster. Simply put, I have a prisoner in my possession, and you will be the executioner."
exiled_fire on March 2nd, 2007 10:22 pm (UTC)
Zuka nearly bit through her tongue when Azulon's face contorted into a vague semblence of what she supposed could pass as a smile. But it was too... too something to be a smile. Besides, Zuka was certain that a smile was not supposed to inspire fear.

"A prisoner?" she questioned, searching through her memories for who he could be talking about. The avatar and his friends were gone, along with the Earth King, she knew. And the officials that had refused to bow down to Azulon had already been... subdued So who did that leave? Nobody, Zuka was pretty sure. Unless...

Her eyes widened, and she looked up at her brother, trying not to show her horror. He couldn't- he wouldn't- Azulon wasn't that heartless, was he?
jasmine_dragon on March 18th, 2007 05:42 am (UTC)
Ira was starting to feel her age. Once the proud Dragon of the West, she was now reduced to just another prisoner of the Fire Nation. It was funny, really, how things worked out. The spirits had odd ways of maintaining the balance on the mortal plane...

Her hands bound behind her back, she was roughly led into the throne room by a pair of guards. She was feeling groggy; she was sure it was something they had fed her. But although the world around her was hazy, two figures stood out against the blur. Ira now understood what was taking place.

fireasura on March 25th, 2007 09:37 pm (UTC)
The smile that didn't quite reach Azulon's eyes vanished from his face as Ira entered the room. He stood atop the dais, hands clasped behind his back, as the guards roughly jerked the old firebender to a halt at the bottom of the steps.

"Welcome, Aunt. I'm sure you are curious as to why you have been removed from the comfort of your cell," he said, his voice cold. "Something must be done about you. You're a meddler and a traitor, but all the same, I'd rather not have you publicly executed when your death has so much more use in a private setting.

"The use, of course, is very simple. Quite honestly, I don't trust my sister yet. I'm not stupid--she's been with you for four years; who knows what sorts of ideas you've put into her head? So, Zuka, here it is--your chance, once and for all, to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt your loyalty to the Fire Nation, Mother, and me."
exiled_fire on March 25th, 2007 09:50 pm (UTC)
All the color drained from Zuka's face, and made the scar on her face stick out even more than it usually did as the skin around it turned stark white. Something clattered to the floor and she realized numbly that her eating utensil had fallen from her lifeless fingers.

"What..." she managed to choke out in her shock. "I-" she cut herself off and simply gaped like a fish at Ira, her eyes wide and her hands shaking.

How could she choose between the woman who had stood by her all those years and her mother -- her nation?
jasmine_dragon on March 26th, 2007 05:53 am (UTC)
Perhaps what hurt the most was that Zuka was actually conflicted over this. Certainly Zuka would not hesitate to side with her? After all, she had stood by Zuka when Ozan exiled her. Zuka couldn't possibly think that killing her would make things right.

Ira just wanted the best for Zuka. But perhaps she had been to overprotective, too caring. Perhaps Zuka needed to face her demons on her own.

Ira returned Zuka's stare, but unlike her niece, there was no emotion in her eyes. Please choose wisely, Zuka.