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Story Through a Monster's Broken Gaze (An Azula Pentathlon)

Discussion in 'Non Star Wars Fan Fiction' started by devilinthedetails , Aug 8, 2021.

  1. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Fiendish Fanfic & SWTV Manager, Interim Tech Admin star 6 Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 19, 2019
    Title: Through a Monster's Broken Gaze

    Author: devilinthedetails

    Fandom: Avatar: The Last Airbender

    Genre: A variety of genres

    Characters: Azula; Ozai; Ursa; Iroh; Zuko; Mai; Ty Lee.

    Summary: An anthology of stories written for my Azula Pentathlon.

    General Note on My Perception of Azula and Her Relationship with Ozai: Since Azula and her relationship with Ozai will be major parts of this collection of stories, I have decided to do something I rarely do. Write an author's note describing my perception of a character and her relationship with another character. My view of Azula is that while she does display sociopathic and psychopathic traits from a young age, I also believe that she is in large part a product of her environment. She is who she is raised to be by her father and by the Fire Nation as a whole. She is a reflection not just of her own values, but of her father's values and the values of the Fire Nation as a whole. To the extent that Azula is a monster, she is a monster of her father's creation and the Fire Nation's creation.

    I will also say that while I believe that Azula is Ozai's favored child (not only because she is a fire bending prodigy, but because she is the ambitious second born like him--he sees in her a reflection of himself, I think), it is not uncommon for an abusive parent like Ozai to have a golden child put on a pedestal which they are always at risk of falling off as Azula is. I am likewise convinced that Ozai enjoyed pitting Azula and Zuko against each other, encouraging a rivalry between them. I also think that she would still fear his displeasure and be afraid to defy him (see the scene where he tells her she won't be accompanying him on his journey to wipe out the Earth Kingdom).

    So, those perceptions of Azula and her relationship with Ozai will very much shape how I write her and Ozai in this pentathlon. As such, I wanted to make readers aware of my views from the outset since Azula is such a hotly debated character.

    Index of Entries:

    Firebending Prodigy. 110 Word Hurdle. Azula; Ozai. Post #2.

    Jealous Siblings.
    400 Word Cross Country. Azula; Zuko; Ozai. Post #3.

    Monster. Single Sentence Shotput. Azula; Ursa; Iroh; Zuko. Post #4.

    Palanquin. 100 Word Sprint. Azula; Ozai; Ty Lee; Mai. Post #5.

    Heir and Disappointment. 200 Word Freestyle. Azula; Ozai; Zuko. Post #6.

    Pentathlon finished 8/14/2021. Thread still open for reading and commenting as always!
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2021
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  2. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Fiendish Fanfic & SWTV Manager, Interim Tech Admin star 6 Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 19, 2019
    Title: Firebending Prodigy

    Genre: Family; General.

    Characters: Azula; Ozai.

    Event: 110 Word Hurdle

    Summary: Azula is a firebending prodigy named in honor of her grandfather.

    Firebending Prodigy (110 Word Hurdle)

    “You were named in your grandfather’s honor.” Her father’s voice rang across the courtyard where she practiced her advanced forms as the sun set. He often watched her training but seldom bothered to do the same for her elder brother. A sign that she was the favored child. “He was a firebending prodigy just like you are.”

    “Was?” Her question had a cutting, cruel edge.

    “That does not need to be repeated to anyone else, daughter.” Her father chuckled, pleased by her sharpness. Her cunning.

    “No, Father.” She bowed her head in agreement. “It does not.”

    “We understand each other perfectly, daughter.” Her father’s smile was a slicing knife blade.
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  3. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Fiendish Fanfic & SWTV Manager, Interim Tech Admin star 6 Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 19, 2019
    Title: Jealous Siblings

    Genre: Family; Drama; General.

    Characters: Azula; Zuko; Ozai.

    Event: 400 Word Cross Country

    Summary: Ozai gives Azula advice on jealous siblings she never forgets.

    Jealous Siblings(400 Word Cross Country)

    Azula’s older brother Zuko was a pathetic firebender, struggling with forms she had mastered years ago. He lacked the barely-controlled, seething fury that marked and motivated a true firebender.

    “You have to be angry when you firebend,” she told or taunted him. Repeating what her tutors had emphasized in so many dawn and dusk training sessions. “Firebending comes from your rage. Is rooted in your rage.”

    “I know that!” snarled Zuko. He was angry now. Appeared as if he might breathe fire like the hunted-to-extinction dragons, but the flames fanning from his fingers were weak.

    “It doesn’t look as if you do.” Azula smirked.

    Zuko opened his mouth to retort but was cut off by their father.

    “Azula.” Father’s voice was ice-bath cold. He rose to his full, imperious height. “Walk with me.”

    Azula felt a strange twisting of fear and ire whirling like a cyclone inside her. She was her father’s favorite and hadn’t expected to be the one targeted for her father’s reprimand.

    She obeyed him without argument. Of course she did. She would never have dared to defy him. To risk provoking his wrath further when he was already mad at her.

    Knees numb but not shaking, she trailed him onto a balcony overlooking a courtyard decorated with statues whose shadows were long and menacing in the flickering string of red lanterns lit every night at sundown by a legion of servants. Servants who would be beaten if they failed to have the lanterns aglow at the appointed hour. Discipline--for servants, for soldiers, for royal children--was strict, swift, and severe in the Fire Nation palace.

    “I will say this only once.” Father rested his crossed arms on the bamboo balustrade. He stared out at the black-and-blue bruised evening sky, not sparing her so much as a glance over his shoulder. “It is not worth your energy and effort to try to teach your brother firebending. He is not a natural like you. It’s a waste of your time and will only make him more jealous of you.”

    He did turn to face her now, amber eyes agleam in the light of a thousand lanterns. “Weaker older brothers will always be envious of their stronger, more ambitious, younger siblings. It is the way of the world. You must understand this and seek to cement your own status. Establish your place in the pecking order of life and family.”
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2021
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  4. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Fiendish Fanfic & SWTV Manager, Interim Tech Admin star 6 Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 19, 2019
    Title: Monster

    Genre: Family; Drama.

    Characters: Azula; Ursa; Iroh; Zuko.

    Event: Single Sentence Shotput

    Summary: Azula overhears her mother calling her a monster.

    Monster (Single Sentence Shotput)

    “She’s a monster, not like you or Zuko,” Mother murmured to Uncle Iroh when she thought Azula couldn’t overhear, but Azula did hear and know the monster her mother spoke of was her.
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  5. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Fiendish Fanfic & SWTV Manager, Interim Tech Admin star 6 Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 19, 2019
    Title: Palanquin

    Genre: Family; Drama; Friendship.

    Characters: Azula; Ozai; Mai; Ty Lee.

    Event: 100 Word Sprint

    Summary: Azula would prefer not to ride in a palanquin.

    Palanquin (100 Word Sprint)

    “Why do I have to ride a palanquin?” Azula scowled. She would’ve preferred strengthening her legs for firebending.

    “Because you are a princess of the Fire Nation.” Father frowned as he did whenever anyone dared question him. “You must always behave in a manner befitting your rank, or you will confuse those dealing with you. Make them think you’re weaker than you are.”

    “May I at least have Ty Lee and Mai ride with me?” Her friends would at least ensure the trip was less boring.

    “A princess may be accompanied by companions of high birth.” Father allowed that much.
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  6. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Fiendish Fanfic & SWTV Manager, Interim Tech Admin star 6 Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 19, 2019
    Title: Heir and Disappointment

    Genre: Family; Drama.

    Characters: Azula; Ozai; Zuko.

    Event: 200 Word Freestyle.

    Summary: With her brother banished, Azula is her father's heir.

    Heir and Disappointment (200 Freestyle)

    “In the Water Tribes, daughters are only good for cooking and cleaning.” Father’s tone was soft as silk.

    “The people of the Water Tribes are barbarians.” Azula’s lip curled. “Primitives fighting steamships with spears.”

    “In the Earth Kingdom, daughters are valued only for the marriage alliances they can make and the heirs they can produce for other families,” Father continued, ignoring Azula’s words. “They are not allowed to be warriors or heirs in their own right.”

    “No wonder the Earth Kingdom is losing the war,” Azula commented coolly. “They disregard and fail to cultivate the talents of half their population.”

    “Now your brother is exiled, I will name you my heir.” Her father folded his fingers together. “I expect you to become the warrior and the leader he never could because he lacked ruthlessness and ambition.”

    “It is an honor to be your heir.” Azula knelt, pressing her forehead against the crimson-carpeted floor.

    “Do not disappoint me.” Her father’s eyes were blazing amber-gold embers.

    “I will not.” Azula’s forehead dipped to the carpet again.

    Hovering heavy as a storm-cloud between them was the knowledge that if she did disappoint him, he could burn and banish her as he had Zuko.
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  7. gizkaspice

    gizkaspice Force Ghost star 4

    Nov 27, 2013
    This is a great take on Azula! (Biased because she's one of my favourite characters from Avatar and because I generally like villains/antagonist characters :p). I also agree on your perception of her--I think she's largely a product of her environment, everything from trying to please her father to her father obviously grooming her from a young age to take after his corrupted values. Of course, this doesn't excuse her actions in any way but it gives us a sense why she is that way and one of the the results of her ultimate breakdown that happens.

    I think you established this relationship nicely in your installments and congrats for completing the pentathlon!
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2021
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  8. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Fiendish Fanfic & SWTV Manager, Interim Tech Admin star 6 Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 19, 2019
    @gizkaspice Thank you so much for reading and commenting on my Azula Pentathlon!:)I'm so happy to hear that you thought this was a great take on Azula since this Pentathlon was the first time I ever wrote anything from her perspective so I was hoping I could do the complexities of her character justice, and the fact that she is one of your favorite Avatar characters makes me feel even happier.

    I'm also so glad that you agree on my perception of Azula because I think she can be a very polarizing character, but for me, it is possible to view as both as a cunning villain in her own right and as a victim of her father's manipulations and a culture that glorified violence, absolute authority, rule through fear, and imperialism. I think sometimes it is easy for people to just label Azula as a "monster" and not ask why she became a monster. It doesn't excuse her actions as you say, but it does explain them at least to some degree and in my opinion makes her a character more worthy of exploring in my own writing.

    Azula's relationship with Ozai was in many ways at the heart of this Pentathlon, so I'm happy to here that you felt I established their relationship nicely.

    Thank you again for reading and commenting! I really appreciate it, and your kind words might give me more courage to write more about Azula in the future!
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  9. gizkaspice

    gizkaspice Force Ghost star 4

    Nov 27, 2013
    I think this is why Azula is just such a great villain (the fact she is cunning and has awesome firebending abilities and fight scenes makes you kind of love her, but she's such a bitch that you absolutely hate her at the same time). But honestly, I'd be surprised if she wasn't messed up being raised by someone like Ozai surrounding by a culture that glorifies violence. She was basically raised to be a pawn and in a way she's kind of tragic, actually. Like, maybe if she had better guidance she would have changed her ways or something or would have turned out more like Zuko. Complicated, well-developed villains are pretty interesting to think/write about!

    If you do write more about her, I'd be here :D
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