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Story A Hundred Reflections of the Elements-UDC IX(Avatar: The Last Airbender)

Discussion in 'Non Star Wars Fan Fiction' started by devilinthedetails, Aug 15, 2020.

  1. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Jun 19, 2019
    Title: A Hundred Reflections of the Elements

    Fandom: Avatar: The Last Airbender

    Author: devilinthedetails

    Genre: A variety.

    Characters: An ensemble cast.

    Author's Note: A series of one hundred drabbles written in twenty sets of five for the Ultimate Drabble Challenge. An index of entries with post numbers will be provided below for ease of navigation.

    An Index of Entries:

    Burning Memory. Zuko/Mai; Ozai; Iroh. Angst, Hurt/Comfort, and Romance. Post #2.

    Snatched Times. Mai; Ty Lee; Azula. General; Friendship. Post #3.

    Bitter Incarnations. Zuko; Iroh; Ozai. General; Angst; Family. Post #5.

    Golden Memories. Zuko; Mai. Romance; Family; Drama. Post #6.

    Place of Peace. Dang; Monk Gyatso. General; Friendship. Post #8.
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2020
    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha likes this.
  2. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Jun 19, 2019
    Title: Burning Memory

    Characters: Zuko/Mai; Ozai; Iroh.

    Genre: Angst; Hurt/Comfort; Romance.

    Summary: Zuko shares his memories of being burned by his father with Mai.

    Burning Memory

    Adamant Virtue

    “The scar on my face is my fault.” Zuko’s lips shaped the syllables of shame and self-blame it was hard for him to leave behind even with his father in prison and himself the Fire Lord. “I was too adamant. Too adamant when I insisted to the guards and my uncle that I should be allowed in the Fire Lord’s war room.”

    “Adamance is a virtue in the Fire Nation,” murmured Mai.

    “Not when it’s arguing with a general that raw recruits shouldn’t be used as fresh meat for a bait.” Zuko shook his head. “Then it’s intolerable disrespect.”

    Abide Disrespect

    “My father never could abide disrespect,” Zuko continued, the words scorching his throat and tongue. “That’s why he forced me to fight an agni kai.”

    That was what a part of Zuko still wanted to believe anyway. That his father had burned him for disrespect, not for the softness—the compassion—of advocating for common soldiers and then refusing to fight his own flesh and blood in an agni kai.

    Echoing the words still seared into his memory by his father’s blazing hand, he finished, “That’s why he said suffering would be my teacher. Why he burned and banished me.”

    Roamed Far Afield

    When he lost the agni kai, Zuko’s honor went up in choking smoke and flames. The only way to bring his honor rising from the cinders was to complete the task his father had set him. The task that could restore his honor and his position as Crown Prince. The task that could end his banishment. Finding the Avatar that had eluded generations of his determined family would be his only path home, his father decreed. That was why Zuko had roamed far afield in his unrelenting quest to capture the Avatar, always hoping it would lead him home again.

    Aghast at Abuse

    “Your father was cruel—the suffering he inflicted on you disproportionate to your offense.” Mai’s fingers tenderly traced the scar surrounding Zuko’s eye. “Everyone in the room that day was aghast at the abuse he hurled at you that day. That’s why except for your Uncle Iroh, we were all too stunned—too horrified— to look away.”

    “Azula wasn’t horrified.” Zuko remembered the elation in his sister’s expression before his father’s flaming palm struck. “She was delighted to see me suffer.”

    “Azula always loved to see people suffer.” Mai’s gentle touch contrasted the roughness of her remark. “It’s nothing personal.”

    Advised Aforetime

    “The worst thing about that moment was that it could have been avoided if I’d only listened to my uncle’s advice.” Zuko closed his eyes, still feeling trapped in his memory. “Before he took me into the Fire Lord’s war room with him, he advised me aforetime to not speak because the proud old generals would be easily offended. I didn’t heed his guidance, I made an argument out of turn in the war room, and I got burned for it.”

    “It was a loyal argument.” Mai curled against him.

    “Loyalty burns then.” Zuko tugged her tighter to his chest.
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2020
  3. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Jun 19, 2019
    Title: Snatched Times

    Characters: Mai; Ty Lee; Azula.

    Genre: General; Friendship.

    Summary: Mai, Ty Lee, Azula, and moments snatched growing up.

    Snatched Times

    Raiding Ambitions

    In the dust and ash of the sparring grounds of the Royal Fire Academy for Girls, Mai sat sandwiched between Ty Lee and Azula. She tried to listen attentively as the tactics instructor droned on about techniques that were particularly effective against earthbenders. However, her focus was all too often captured by Azula drawing battle plans in the red dust.

    “Together we’ll lead a raid on the Earth Kingdom.” Azula’s hissed promise sounded like a threat to her friends as much as to the Earth Kingdom. “We’ll succeed where a thousand generals failed and bring that rebellious nation to heel.”

    Pirated Essay

    The endless rows of tomes in the Royal Fire Academy’s library vaulted over Mai’s head as she hunched over the detailed analysis on the evolution of the haiku form she was composing for her poetry teacher. As she paused at the conclusion of a paragraph and puzzled over what to add next, she noticed Azula leaning toward her and copying every word Mai wrote onto her own scroll.

    “Are you pirating my essay word for word?” Mai scowled.

    “Not word for word,” Azula chirped, innocent as a bird. “I’m changing some of them so Master Akira won’t suspect a thing.”

    Smuggled Sizzle-Crisps and Rice Candy

    “Rice candy and sizzle-crisps aren’t permitted on the Royal Fire Academy’s premises,” Mai warned in her flattest tone as Azula finished paying for handfuls of snacks from a vendor in a bustling Capital City marketplace. “It’s in the rulebook. You’ll have to smuggle them in.”

    Mai knew that because her mother had made her memorize the rulebook before attending the academy to minimize her chances of disgracing the family with some forbidden behavior.

    “I’m the daughter of the Fire Lord. I can’t risk getting caught.” Azula thrust the treats into Mai’s hands. “You’ll have to smuggle them in instead.”

    Marauding Mochi Cakes

    “I didn’t have nearly enough mochi at dinner,” Azula grumbled. She was sprawled on her bed while Mai and Ty Lee reclined on their own silk pillows. “There must be some left over in the kitchens, hidden away by the stingy chefs.”

    “We could sneak down to the kitchens and steal some,” suggested the ever-flexible Ty Lee.

    “We could become mochi marauders.” Azula’s eyes gleamed with cunning excitement.

    As Azula and Ty Lee rose with shining faces, Mai felt she had to follow rather than explain her mother’s stricture about ladies never eating more food than they were offered.

    Stolen Necklace

    “You stole my necklace.” Mai’s eyes narrowed as they fixed on the golden jewelry embedded with rubies hanging from Azula’s throat. If the necklace was not the gift her father had bought to celebrate her admittance into the Fire Nation’s most exclusive school for girls, she would not have dared to confront Azula about the blatant thievery.

    “I only borrowed it.” Azula’s tone was indifferent.

    “Borrowed without permission.” Mai’s lips were numb. Permission didn’t matter to a Fire Nation princess.

    “Surely, friends and Fire Lords daughters don’t need to ask permission, Mai?” Azula pouted petulantly, and Mai surrendered in silence.
  4. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Aug 31, 2004
    Wonderful confiding and assurances in set 1. Great mischief and contrast of personalities in set 2. Azula is one of those persons who think their position gives them free rein to do whatever they want, even to their friends. :rolleyes:
    devilinthedetails likes this.
  5. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Jun 19, 2019
    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Thank you so much for commenting!:)I'm so happy that you found the confiding and assurances in set 1 wonderful. I really wanted to show Zuko being able to find some comfort in Mai after all the abuse he experienced from his father because to me he really deserves that comfort after experiencing so much physical, mental, and emotional abuse from Ozai. My idea of Zuko/Mai is that they are two people who have been broken and abused in different ways and now they are trying to heal each other and make each other whole in a way. So, that was part of the reason why my next installment ended up focusing on how manipulative and abusive of her friends Azula is. Especially re-watching Season 2 lately, it struck me just how cruel Azula can be to those she considers her friends. In the second set, it was very interesting to explore the contrast of personalities that Ty Lee, Mai, and Azula display from even a young age and to have a little fun picturing some of the mischief they might have gotten into as children even while showing just how horrible Azula was to her friends. Which is why it was so cathartic to see those friends finally turn on her.

    Title: Bitter Incarnations

    Characters: Zuko; Iroh; Ozai

    Genre: General; Angst; Family

    Summary: Zuko and his struggles with bitterness.

    Bitter Incarnations

    A Professor or (Retired) General Reading

    “What are you reading?” Zuko scowled as he discovered the older man’s nose buried in crumbling parchment.

    “Something to help you locate the Avatar.” Uncle Iroh’s serenity was blood-boiling. “An account of the Avatar’s past lives.”

    “We don’t need to find the Avatar in his past lives.” Zuko’s scowl swelled into a glower. “We need to find him in his present life.”

    “Broaden your mind.” Uncle Iroh’s gaze remained on his scroll. “The past has clues into the present.”

    “Are you a professor or a general?” snapped Zuko.

    “A retired general reading.” Uncle Iroh was unperturbed by Zuko’s rudeness.

    Schooled in the Basics

    “Focus on your breathing, Zuko.” Uncle Iroh’s voice was calm as he guided Zuko through a breathing exercise in his shipboard cabin. “Your lungs are bellows, creating the breath that fans and controls your fire. Your breath is how the flames inside you blaze outside of you.”

    Zuko didn’t need to be reminded how to breathe.

    “You don’t have to school me in the basics, uncle,” he snarled. “I’m ready for more advanced lessons.”

    “The basics are foundations for more advanced lessons.” Uncle Iroh shook his head and continued his breathing lesson as if Zuko had never lodged a complaint.

    Not Gifted

    Zuko wasn’t gifted in firebending like Azula. He would’ve noticed even if his father hadn’t pointed it out at every opportunity.

    He remembered practicing a form Azula had mastered years ago, knowing he was being compared to his sister and found wanting in his father’s burning eyes.

    “You aren’t gifted like Azula.” His father’s words seared Zuko with shame. “Your firebending is clumsy and weak. Azula should’ve been my firstborn, not you.”

    Zuko’s mouth went drought-dry. Before he could stutter out a promise to to make his father proud, his father had walked away, leaving Zuko in the dust.

    Bitter Karma

    “You shouldn’t be so bitter,” Uncle Iroh advised Zuko as the ocean rocked the low table where he drank a steaming cup of jasmine tea. “Bitterness builds bad karma.”

    “Karma?” Zuko thought this sounded like the rambling of a crazy old man.

    “The cosmic energy that follows us from one incarnation to the next.” His uncle continued to sip his tea. “It can be positive or negative.”

    “Only the Avatar gets reincarnated,” growled Zuko, frustrated at his uncle’s forgetfulness.

    “Perhaps.” His uncle’s hands folded over his belly. “Or perhaps the Avatar is the only one who remembers his past incarnations.”

    Sandal Gambit

    “I’m glad my sandal gambit succeeded and you were able to track me by it.” Uncle Iroh smiled at Zuko’s demand that he finally put on some clothes.

    “Your strong scent would’ve allowed me to find you even if your sandal gambit had failed.” Zuko snorted.

    “However you found me, I’m grateful you did.” Uncle Iroh chuckled, not offended by Zuko’s snide remark.

    “I saw the Avatar’s flying bison as I tracked you.” Zuko didn’t know what made him tell his uncle this. “I had the choice between capturing the Avatar and rescuing you, and I chose to rescue you.”
    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha likes this.
  6. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Jun 19, 2019
    Title: Golden Memories

    Characters: Mai; Zuko

    Genre: Romance; Drama; Family.

    Summary: Zuko, Mai, and their golden memories through the years.

    Author's Note: Mai's father being arrested is an idea borrowed from the "Smoke and Shadow" comics. I like to imagine Zuko and Mai getting together again after the events in those comics.

    Golden Memories


    Mai wept quietly beneath the soothing shade of a paulownia tree after Azula had reduced her new doll to cinders.

    “Why are you crying?” Zuko’s voice was the first warning she had of his presence, and she was annoyed at her own sobs for drowning out the sound of his feet on the pebbled path.

    “I’m not crying.” Mai swiped at her red-rimmed eyes. “Ladies don’t cry, my mother says. My eyes only got misty.”

    “My mother says everyone cries, and tears were made to wash our hurt away.” Zuko sat beside her, more comforting than the paulownia tree.

    Lonely Letter

    Mai’s eyes were so misty she couldn’t read her father’s letter from prison.

    “Do you think he’s lonely in prison?” Mai hated the words as soon as she’d spoken them to Zuko.

    “Prison is lonely.” Zuko’s jaw tightened. “I could grant him clemency if you wish.”

    “No.” Mai shook her head. “He deserves to rot in prison for kidnapping all those children, among them his own son.”

    “I just wonder what I’m doing, Mai.” Zuko tore at his hair. “Destroying our families.”

    “Our fathers destroyed our families, not you.” Fiercely, Mai ripped the letter and burned it on a brazier.

    Spark of Life

    “The flames reflected in your eyes mirror your fiery temperament perfectly.” Mai, watching flames dance in her boyfriend’s gaze, felt inspired to poetry.

    “When people say someone has a fiery temperament, they’re referring to a hot temper, a blazing hatred, or an all-consuming passion.” Zuko frowned as if she’d offered him an insult instead of a compliment. “It’s a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of fire. Fire isn’t about destruction. It’s about creation—the spark of life.”

    “That’s what I meant.” Mai responded to his brooding in a teasing tone. “I see the spark of life in your eyes.”

    Golden Accents

    As the golden sun set, Zuko knelt before Mai. He extended a ring golden as the dying sun to her, asking the most beautiful question: “Will you marry me, Mai?”

    Mai’s heart fluttered in her chest. An eternity later, she found the breath to reply, “Yes.”

    He slid the ring around her finger, slipped his arms around her waist, and spun her around in ecstasy.

    “When I’m the Fire Lord’s wife”—Mai punctuated each word with a kiss on his lips that tasted like sunlight—“I’ll have to wear clothes with golden accents. This means an upheaval for my wardrobe.”

    Undying Avatar

    “I’m sorry Aang is dead.” Mai stroked her husband’s shaking back.“It seems so impossible that he is gone. Even when I was trying to kill the Avatar with Azula, I never truly believed that he would die. Somehow he seemed undying to me.”

    “The Avatar has died and been reborn a thousand times.” Tears shone in Zuko’s eyes. “In that sense, I suppose he is undying but he won’t be the same in his next incarnation.”

    By the same, Mai understood that he meant the next Avatar would not be the elusive enemy who had become a trusted friend.
  7. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Aug 31, 2004
    Wonderful moments of consolation and confiding between Mai and Zuko.

    Above all else, you can sense the genuine caring and affection between them as friends, even apart from the romance, which is scrumptiously detailed in "Golden Accents".


    Last edited: Aug 19, 2020
    devilinthedetails likes this.
  8. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Jun 19, 2019
    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Thank you so much for commenting!:) I'm so glad that you found these to be wonderful moments of consolation and confiding between Mai and Zuko because I really enjoyed being able to explore all these times Mai and Zuko could have comforted one another throughout the many years of their relationship. I wanted to capture that feeling of genuine caring and affection rooted in a childhood friendship even apart from all the romance between them, so I'm so happy you felt that I achieve that and that you found the romance in "Golden Accents" so scrumptious. It was so nice to be able to write Mai and Zuko in love like that[face_love]

    Title: Place of Peace

    Characters: Aang; Monk Gyatso

    Genre: General; Friendship

    Summary: Through Monk Gyatso's guidance, Aang finds a place of peace.

    Place of Peace

    Air Temples

    Aang was five when he asked Monk Gyatso why they built temples high in the clouds instead of on the ground like the temples he saw when visiting Bumi in Omashu or Kuzon in the Fire Nation.

    Monk Gyatso smiled as they stood on a terrace staring out over a sapphire sky studded with cotton clouds.“The mountain air is clean and crisp, allowing our thoughts to be pure. Up here, we feel every gust of wind and become in tune with its music. We become free as the wind, detached from the world because we’re so far above it.”

    Soul Sanctuary

    “Contemplate the idea of sanctuary,” Monk Gyatso instructed Aang as they sat cross-legged on meditation mats. “What does sanctuary mean?”

    “A place of peace.” Aang’s eyes were closed but he was envisioning the Southern Air Temple as he answered. “A place where nobody can attack us.”

    “Are you picturing a physical place?” asked Monk Gyatso.

    “Yes.” Aang nodded even if he knew his teacher couldn’t see the gesture through shut eyes.

    “You should transcend that thought.” Monk Gyatso’s voice was gentle as wind chimes swaying in a breeze. “Picture peace inside you, sanctuary of the soul, not the body.”

    Yangchen’s Shrine

    The first time Aang visited the Western Air Temple on air bison back, he found himself drawn to a shrine dedicated to a statue of a woman with a face somehow familiar to him. Glancing at the plinth beneath the statue, he saw she had died three-hundred-thirty-three years before his birth. A shiver snaked down his spine as he wondered why she should seem so familiar to him.

    “That’s Avatar Yangchen, the last incarnation of the Avatar to be born an airbender.” Monk Gyatso came up behind him in a whisper of robes. “She was raised here.”

    Best in the Monastery

    “I’m the best in the monastery at creating a ball of air and rolling around on it,” Aang boasted to Monk Gyatso after an afternoon watching his friends fail to build air balls capable of carrying them.

    “You might be the only one in the monastery able to create a ball of air and roll around on it.” Chuckling, Monk Gyatso stirred up a breeze that lifted Aang’s robe so it hid his eyes. “Don’t let that make you too proud, however. Pride can blind our vision, and I can always humble you by kicking your butt at pai sho.”

    Pilgrims of the Sky

    “We’re called Air Nomads, but perhaps we should be referred to as Pilgrims of the Sky instead,” Monk Gyatso remarked to Aang as sunset bathed the Patola Mountain Range on which the Southern Air Temple stood in purple and mauve. “Whenever we travel, it’s a pilgrimage, Aang. All the people we meet and places we see are sacred in their own way. Remember that on all your journeys.”

    Years later, emerging from an iceberg into a cold world where Monk Gyatso dead and the Air Temples were destroyed, Aang remembered this, becoming a Pilgrim of the Sky with newfound friends.
  9. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Aug 31, 2004
    Monk Gyatso is a warm and wise mentor. Aang is a receptive pupil. The surroundings for the Air Temple sound exquisite.
    devilinthedetails likes this.