Eclipse

BY : Agora
Category: Avatar - The Last Airbender > AU/AR - Alternate Universe/Alternate Reality
Dragon prints: 884
Disclaimer: Disclaimer: I own nothing of Avatar the Last Airbender and make no revenue from this.

Lightning zapped through the air with a powerful sound. Something akin to an explosion and then the unmistakable screech of electric energy sizzling its way through the air. The bright light from the intense beam nearly blinded the young prince who realised far too late that he had been tricked into staying longer than he should have. The eclipse was over and the deadly energy escaping from the Firelord's hands was now bearing down on him with deadly intent. A vision of his uncle came to him in the split second that existed between the lightning's generation and its promised deadly contact with the prince. His uncle was teaching him how to redirect lightning, how to save himself from this very situation. Feeling confidence that had been mostly alien to him since his banishment he allowed his instincts to take over. Zuko shot his hand forward to meet the bolt of energy surging toward him. When the energy met his outstretched fingers it did so with a force that knocked the prince back a little, robbing him of his breath for a moment. His uncle's words replaying in his head:

"You do not control lightning, you are its humble guide" taking the advice he does not seek to change its direction completely. He merely nudges the energy slightly to his left so that it does not make contact with his torso. He allows the electricity to lead him as he manipulates it into a vaguely circular motion, pulling on it only slightly so as to use its own momentum to point it back towards whence it came. Only when the lighting was pointed back, only when of its own fruition it wanted to surge out of him and towards his father did let go of it. He felt the energy leave him in a swift motion, pulling him slightly forward with it as he felt the raw power of nature's furry fire back towards his foe. His farther's face took on many emotions in those few seconds as he stirred his attack back towards the man who had been the cause of so much of his pain. Gleeful triumph, confusion, furry, realisation and for the briefest moment before the lighting made contact with his body Zuko swore he saw fear. The lightning sent him flying backwards like a rag doll. His limbs began to straighten and move in unnatural and jagged motions as if they were obeying the lighting instead of his brain. Then, after the sounds of electricity dissipated from the room, Zuko was left alone. What was once his farther now immobile on the floor. 

Zuko wasn't sure how long he spent staring at the corps before him. Time seemed to still to the point that he could not differentiate hours from minutes. At some point the praetorian guard renter the chamber to look upon the sight which so captivated the young Zuko. There were some shocked gasps, some shouting and some of the guards looked nervously between the body and the prince. Zuko realised the position he was in and very quickly retook a fighting stance as he waited for the guard to attack him, to avenge his father's death. Yet nothing happened. 

Zuko let the confusion settle on his face, unfortunately, the praetorian guard wore masks that gave something away of their composition. After a tense moment, one of them lowered himself to one knee bowing his head toward the prince.

"Hail, Firelord Zuko" he stated, it was a bit unsure and just barely loud enough for the prince to hear. Suddenly as if awoken to the realisation the other guards joined him in bowing with desperate haste which reminded Zuko of children who had forgotten their manners and were quickly attempting to right themselves in order to avoid the punishment of their parents.

"Hail, Firelord Zuko" this time they said it more sternly and in unison. Taking time to process the situation Zuko stood staring at the guard. They began to shift nervously under his gaze as he allows the silence in the room to fester. Realising that he was supposed to relieve the tension in the room Zuko begins to come back to his senses. 

"Take the body away then your dismissed" he orders, his voice sounds more nervous and unsure than authoritative and he mentally kicks himself for it. There is no movement for a moment but then two of the guards get up and quickly pick up his father's lifeless corpse from the floor. After no time at all Zuko is left alone in the Firelord's bunker. His bunker. 

---

Katara silently cursed herself as she began to become surrounded by fire benders. They had come out of nowhere right when the eclipse ended and were attempting to encircle the invading force.

"Go on I will hold them off get the men back to the beach"  she had yelled to Bato. He had protested and so had her father but she was having none of it. After giving him her injured father she began to place herself in between the new onslaught and the retreating army. She was the only master bender on the field, she had reasoned, she could hold them off. She realised now that she had been cocky. Surrounded on all sides a relentless torrent of fire came from every direction. She bent the water around her into a shield wall defending herself but the attacks were too relentless to give her time to go on the defensive. The fire pinning her down and slowly turning her defence into vapour.

"Shit" she cursed aloud. At some point as the water wall became thinner and she became more and more fatigued she failed to block an attack which struck her left side. The burning sensation was excruciatingly painful as she practically felt the skin underneath the blast zone melt away from her flesh. The pain was mercifully short-lived as the same shot sent her falling to the ground with a thud that knocked her out cold. 

Katara awoke sometime later in a bed, she found it surprisingly comfortable as her weight seemed to sink into the soft mattress giving her the feeling of weightlessness. The sheets above her were softer than anything she had ever felt and yet so light that she could have been sleeping without them. Behind her head was an array of soft pillows of varying shapes and positions, each one was something between bright pink and crimson red. The room around her stuck with the theme, the walls were painted with a crimson red interrupted by a golden pattern which decorated the room in wavy lines. The floor was made of a dark spruce wood lacquered so that it shone in the light of the sun which was currently pouring through one of the windows behind the bed. 

Katara made a move to get up but instantly regretted the move. The room spun around her and her left side protested with a powerful stinging pain. She fell back on the soft bed with a groan feeling very content to remain in her comfortable surroundings and ignore the obvious injury as long as possible. At that moment she heard a voice, one which addressed her and filled her instantly with dread and no small amount of fear. 

"So your finally awake are you?" Azula's voice rung in her ears like a bad dream, sending a shiver down her spine and causing her breath to become caught in her throat with an awful sound. Katara remained silent until she heard the fire princess's steady footsteps take her into Katara's view. "You should learn to answer me when I speak to you peasant" being called a peasant suddenly awoke some defiance in her. Thankful for the sensation she latched onto it momentarily losing her fear for the fire bender above her. 

"Oh, I'm sorry. How am I supposed to address you? Your royal highness? Your majesty perhaps?" Her defiant tone did not sit well with the princes as she saw a blue flame rise from one of her fists for a split second. Her face portraying a powerfully nasty scowl. Fearing the worst Katara closed her eyes waiting for the feel of flames to burn her flesh but the pain never came. When she dared open them again she found the princess breathing heavily with closed eyes as she tried to regain her composure. After a moment she looks her dead in the eye with her sinister yellow eyes.

"In that bowl next to your bed is some water, use it to heal yourself then put it back." Katara looked sceptical. Why on earth would Azula give her water? "Don't try anything, if you do you'll regret it." her warning was a serious threat and again fear crept into her chest. She found it difficult to go toe to toe with Azula on the best of days but with her now at Azula's mercy, on the bed injured, it would be useless to try and escape. After a brief moment of hesitation, she moves to coax the water out of the bowl next to her bed. The movement again ignites the powerful pain in her left side. Taking that as encouragement she moves the water over her burn and allows the water to begin healing her. The cool of it is soothing as she feels the flesh knit itself back together under the bright glow of the water. Azula's eyes remain on alert the whole time she does this. When she is finished she moves the water back into the bowl as she is instructed. She attempted again to get up. She groans to have left the comfort of the bed and from remaining lightheadedness but the pain from her side disappeared making it bearable to stand. Azula noticing her ability to do so took her hand and dragged her toward a small door in the corner of the room.

"What are you doing?" Katara begins to complain but is cut off when she is practically shoved into the room. Waiting for her is the chi-blocker that fought with Azula when she had hunted them across the Earth Kingdom. Three jabs came down on her with wicked speed before she could react properly. She was not robbed of her mobility but she could feel her chi struggling to flow in her being.

"She won't be able to bend for the rest of the day but I will need to see her again at sunset if you want to keep her bending away." She spoke to Azula in her usual upbeat, girly tone.

"Good job Ty-Lee." The cheerful, energetic girl makes a little curtsy in her bright pink outfit before skipping her way out of the room and out of sight. After she is out of earshot Azula turns to her. "This..." she gestures to the tiled room which they now both found themselves in "is your bathroom. A bathroom is where civilised people bathe, get dressed, apply some makeup and relieve themselves. I know this must be a difficult concept for a barbarian like yourself but do try to keep up." Her dismissive tone gets on Katara's nerves but she decides to bite her tongue and allow her to finish. "You will have a bath, clean out all the dirt and filth you have rolled yourself in all your life and make yourself presentable for your audience with the Firelord, which will be taking place in three hours time. The clothes you are to dress in are on the table in the corner." With that Azula seemed to be done with her and made for the exit. Ordinarily, Katara would have been outraged by the insults that she was forced to listen to, yet her mind was now distracted by Azula's revelation.

"The Firelord wants to see me..." she whispered under her breath as if she was talking to herself, her eyes making contact with the far wall as she processed the information. Despite her saying so under her breath and to no one, in particular, Azula heard her and she was never one to pass up an opportunity for mischief. 

"Oh yes, the Firelord demanded an audience with you personally. He was quite concerned when he heard you had been captured and ordered you to be moved to this room in the palace for...save keeping." A poison infected her tone as she emphasised those last two words causing the young water bender great discomfort. 

"Why does the Firelord want to see me?" Katara demanded the information from Azula with a rushed, high pitched tone that gave away her anxiety at the whole situation. 

"I don't know, perhaps he wants to thank you personally for leading that little invasion" her venomous tone began to lower to a whisper as she lent into her ear "...or perhaps, he wants something else from you. Even I have to admit, for a peasant, you do have some nice curves on you." With that Katara's heart sank, fear infecting her entire being and sending a chill down her spine. Satisfied with her work Azula exits the room leaving Katara alone with her frightful imagination. 



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