Prompt #2 — The Fire Princess

7 Oct

I chose Azula from Avatar: The Last Airbender as my villain. I didn’t get to finish, so I left my little outline. Also, this theoretically takes place before and during “The Promise” comic, when Zuko comes to ask for her help and let her out, but I haven’t actually read that, so I’m just winging it.

 

Character: Azula

 

Sketch: Azula is in the fire nation mental hospital. She overhears the guards/orderlies conversations and begins to identify with one of them because of some psychological thing. Pressure maybe? When Zuko comes to free her for to help search for their mother, she does something nice for the guard in question. As she’s leaving, Ursa appears in the reflection on the metal walls and tells Azula she’s proud of her. Azula hangs her head and replies “Look how far I’ve fallen.” Ursa: “Look how far you’ve come.”

 

The same dull metal walls surround everything. They say they’re to keep us safe, keep us from hurting ourselves or burning the place to the ground. But they aren’t forced to look at their dull distorted reflections for hours every day. They don’t have to see the wreckage of their former greatness bound up in white sleeves and course canvas straps.

And white was never my color.

“How are you feeling today Azula?” asks one of the orderlies, a plump little fire nation brat who couldn’t tough it at University so she wound up as one of my many babysitters.

I don’t dignify her with a reply.

“Azula?” she asks again in a soothing little chirp that tears on my nerves every day.

I whip my head toward her. “Princess! I have told you a million times that I will respond only to my proper title.”

“The doctor believes putting you in a less formal setting away from the pressures of the high court will aid in your recovery.”

“I don’t care what he thinks! I am Princess Azula, daughter of Firelord Ozai and proper heir to the Fire Nations’s throne.”

The flames reach high in their torches as I scream. The flames flicker against the brushed metal walls, licking them with the brilliant glow of fire. That’s something else they don’t see. There metal wall, they’re supposed to keep us calm, help us reflect on what got us thrown in this miserable hole. But all I see is fire. The torches dance against the wall and when my chair is positioned just to I can see it, see the flames shooting from my bound hands, feel the glorious touch of fire in my veins. It’s torture, but it’s better than no sense of bending at all. For a while they tried using that crazy old Mechanist’s fireflies as an alternative lighting source. Imported all the way from the Norther Air Temple no less. Unfortunately, those little insects do not far well in the heat.

“That’s enough time in the common area today,” says the orderly and she briskly wheels me back to my cell. I’m sorry, my “luxuriously furnished chamber.”

With my time of “freedom” cut short, I resort to wiggling closer to one of the cold riveted walls. It is so unbecoming. But one of the other advantages of metal walls: they carry sound. And from here, I can listen in on the gossip in the break room on down the hall. Not that these beetleflies are worth a second of my time, but I’ve been reduced to having no other choice.

My orderly from this morning is harping on about some tedious drivel. Footsteps. Another woman’s voice. It’s Konya, one of the other orderlies. I like her. She’s terrible. She’s joined by more, heavier footfalls and a deep gruff voice. Morasai. Also terrible.

“Please! I’ll take all of your night-shifts!” May-Lin, my orderly from this morning pleaded. “I’ll take your sessions with Azula.” She is not one of my favorites.

The other’s laughed. “Like you could even handle that.”

“The Princess scares you like a turtleduck every time you’re in the room with her.” Konya added in a lower voice, “she scares us all.”

I smile. My day has not been a complete waste after all.”

“What are you even after May-Lin?”

“You’re after our shifts, our overtime. Why could you possibly need that money more than we do?”

“My mother, she’s  not well. She was a Captain in the Army; she served training the homeland forces. She was injured in the evacuation of the Imperial city and now that the war is over she’s . . . different. She used to love to travel, loved to paint. Her favorite thing in the world to go to see the fire lily bloom is Sorin Valley each year.”

I roll my eyes so forcefully I hope May-Lin can feel the effects down the hall. Maybe that will stop this horrid little sob story. I’m tempted to give up on eavesdropping

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