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Earth Rumble

Uncle says, "When the earth moves, you must move with it."

My next stop after leaving Kyoshi Island, was the town of GoaLing, where Toph grew up. I was announced properly at the BeiFong estate, and dined with Toph and her family. Her parents weren't that different than Mai's, noble and dignified, and completely clueless about their daughter.

I realized then, that those of us who'd come to surround the Avatar had something in common: a disconnect with our parents. Sokka and Katara had been allowed to reconnect with Hakoda, and now Toph is working to reconnect with her parents. It makes me yearn to find my mother all the more.

After the meal, Toph insisted on dragging her parents and me to Earth Rumble, where she'd reclaim her title (apparently Aang had accidentally taken it away from her during the last one). I was surprised there was a Fire Nation fighter amongst the brawlers, but sadly, he was defeated far too easily.


Uncle says, "The man who people follow easily is the man who isn't quick to foam at the mouth."

I used to think Sokka was a little scatter brained, until revisiting Kyoshi Island. There, I met the man that lives there that Sokka refers to as "Foamy." Next to him, Sokka is a rock.

Especially after this last week.

There was a large earthquake while I was practicing in the Dojo with Suki. Earthquakes are quite common in the Fire Nation, but this one was exceptional in its strength. Suki and the other warriors wasted no time in helping the villagers higher up the hills. Sokka took charge of the elderly, while TyLee ushered the small children. We watched as a wall of water rose up from the bay, and crashed down on the small village.

I was in awe. In the Fire Nation, the biggest worry after an earthquake isn't from the water, but from lava spewed from the volcanoes.

When the waters receded, a large elephant-koi flopped around in the center of town, its tail doing more damage than the quake or wave had. But Sokka didn't even skip a beat. Quickly, he organized the men in chaining together fishing nets to corral the monstrous fish and help it back into the bay.

"Be glad it wasn't the Unagi," he mused to me from the soggy shoreline. "Fish I can do, giant sea monsters, not so much."

Once again, I offered to Oyaji to help the town rebuild, to which, this time, he accepted. Sokka was once again my teacher, as he showed me a few tricks to avoid smashing my thumb with a hammer.

Maybe I should go back and visit Lee's family soon.

Please Help Japan

So I'm OOC for this post, but it's important to me.

I lived in Japan for a year, specifically in Sendai, and frequently visited Natori, which was one of the hardest hit communities.

Japan has a rich culture, and what a lot of people may not realize is that Sendai and it's neighboring towns (like Natori) had a population of only about a million, smaller than Seattle. It wasn't the bustling chaos of Tokyo or Osaka that foreigners usually think of Japan being. It was a quiet, close-knit community, with a rich history.
Sendai's patron was Masamune Date, commonly known as the One-Eyed-Dragon, the Samurai lord with the eyepatch and large crescent on his helmet. You may have even seen depictions of him in anime. Just north of Sendai is Matsushima bay, one of Japan's most beautiful natural landmarks. So beautiful that haiku master Matsuo Basho was so awestruck his poem was simply "Matsushima ah, Matsushima aaah, Matsushima ah."
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Fanning the Flames

Uncle says, "Even the slightest of smiles can do much to fan the flames in a young girl's heart."

After spending so much time at the South Pole that I worried I'd never have feeling back in my toes, Sokka and I left for Kyoshi Island. We were eagerly greeted by Suki and TyLee, who didn't even wait until we'd docked to leap aboard our ship. Sokka, too, was overjoyed to see them.

I'd already apologized on Boiling Rock to Suki, but I made a formal apology to Oyaji and the rest of the islanders for having burned so many of their buildings. I offered to help them rebuild, but they had already done so themselves. Instead, Suki and Sokka had another idea.

Wearing the warrior's kimono wasn't as humiliating for me as Sokka had hoped - Fire Nation formal robes are close enough to dresses already - but the make-up accomplished that goal. I think TyLee had far too much fun applying it. It's probably a good thing my hair hasn't grown too long, or I know she would have had more fun.

TyLee had once told me that amongst her sisters, she felt like a faceless doll. Yet here amongst the Kyoshi Warriors, she seems the happiest that I've seen her in a long time. Suki tells me that part of it may have been due to a recent visit from Haru. I think it's more to do with not being under the oppressive influence of my sister. Yet, I know TyLee still cares about Azula, and she was comforted when I told her Azula had been making good progress towards finding peace.

Ice Dodging

Pakku says, "If you're going to smell like something, smell like water."

I'm not really sure what that even means, but the rest of the Watertribe seems to agree. They're all very hard working, even the games of the children are based on busy activities of the adults. Hakoda's been especially busy, along with Sokka and Pakku, organizing the work.

Watching Hakoda interact with Sokka, I see how similar the two are. Kanna tells me that Katara was very much like her mother. It makes me wonder how much like our parents Azula and I really are.

Hakoda's friend, Bato, suggested that for the Watertribe to view me as a man, and be worthy of being a political diplomat, that I'd have to go ice dodging. I was given a team of two boys half my age, while Hakoda sat in the boat and observed. I would have rather had Sokka, but they explained that for it to be a proper test, I couldn't receive help from anyone who'd previously proven themselves.

Hakoda gave me the Mark of the Determined after we'd finished, and I apologized for the scars I'd put on his boat. Afterward, they "treated" me to a bowl of sea prunes.

Snow Towers

Uncle says, "When living like the fragile drop of dew on a leaf, it is best to not boast of beheading a demon."

With Sozin's War finally over, it's still not behind us. The Fire Nation will have to hang its pride to make up for past sins. I've regained my honor in my own heart, but I must prove it to everyone else. I've set out on a new journey, to make amends for wrongs caused in my pursuit of Aang.

My first stop has been the South Pole, Katara and Sokka's home.

Master Pakku and the waterbenders from the north have been working on rebuilding the city that had been whittled down by repeated raids. People of the Water Tribe that had abandoned the hub have started returning, as well as the survivors of Hakoda's warriors. What I remembered as being nothing but a few shambled dwellings has swelled into a bustling town in what seems like over night.

Despite having master benders available to shape the snow into impressive buildings, Sokka insisted on teaching me to build a tower from the snow by hand. My fingers felt as if they would nearly fall off, and in the end the tower stood a little crooked, but I think I understood the value of what Sokka was trying to show me.

Hi, Zuko here...

Uncle says I should keep a record of things - of whatever I feel is important to me.
So, um. Hi.
I'm Zuko.

It used to be tradition to say who one's father was when giving proper introductions, but instead, I'll tell you that I am Avatar Roku's great-grandson, and friend of Avatar Aang.
I'm the Firelord. Not that it's a title I think I'm ready to carry, but Uncle says that will come in time. Well, actually, he says "If you follow the ground, Nephew, you'll eventually go over the mountain," which I think means the same thing.

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April 2011


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