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Fan Fic / Traitor's Face

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Um, Aang, you might want to turn around...
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Aang awakes from his century-long hibernation to look up into Fire Nation eyes, and Mai finds that her trip to the South Pole has taken a turn for the exciting. In this Alternate Universe, the only thing more powerful than love is the call of betrayal.

Traitor's Face is an ongoing epic by Loopy777, a prolific author of Avatar: The Last Airbender fanfiction. It's a For Want of a Nail Alternate Timeline that gives Aang a new adventure when he emerges from his iceberg, as well as a new cast of allies. The story is a HARD aversion of The Stations of the Canon, with the various "episodes" sharing at most a title and a setting with equivalent events from the original versions.

The story is broken up into separate acts that cover a major subplot. They roughly correspond with the Water, Earth, and Fire themes from the original cartoon, but instead of being focused on the type of Bending Aang learns, they mix the adventure and intrigue with showcases of the culture of the various nations. Spirituality and superstition are a bigger focus here than in the cartoon, and the Fire Nation is less unified in its leadership, leading to more stories with horror elements and political intrigue. The state of the war is also vastly different, leading to different backstories and contexts for the characters.

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Due to the storyline drastically differing from the cartoon past a certain point, spoilers aren’t viable, as most of the pages would be hidden. As such, all spoilers up to the end of Act 2 are not hidden.

Traitor's Face can be found here, here, or here.

The traitorous tropes in this story include

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Kei Lo's crush on Mai. In this timeline, Kei Lo is an apprentice non-Firebender sage who shaves his head and plays drums in spiritual ceremonies. He's more eager and worshipful than his canon counterpart, putting Mai off.
  • Action Prologue: Kuruk confronting Koh.
  • Affably Evil: Some of the Weapons. They were conscripted for their fighting abilities, not for their enthusiasm for Fire Nation conquest.
  • After the End: The story doesn't begin, and Aang doesn't thaw from his iceberg, until after the return of Sozin's Comet and the end of the war.
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  • Agent Provocateur: Jet's agenda against Mai as the Blue Spirit.
  • All Just a Dream: Zuko's journey through the ashland. Or was it?
  • Always Someone Better: Jet to Mai, and then Azula to Jet.
  • Ambiguously Evil: Ozai and Iroh.
  • Androcles' Lion: After helping to save the pixiu, it gives a "gift" of coins to Mai... by puking them up on her from the supply it ate.
  • Anti-Hero: Jet, one of the rebels operating as the Blue Spirit.
  • Apocalypse Wow: The volcano, the Ba Sing Se ash monster, the Fire Nation Civil War
  • Archer Archetype: Mai learns archery from Longshot.
  • Arranged Marriage: Mai had one planned with Lu Ten (for when she reached an appropriate age), and one of the ongoing mysteries is why Iroh broke it off before it could happen.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • Mai goes from being one of Azula's Co-Dragons to one of the main characters.
    • Suki is a much more important character, with her own subplots, and even a full episode backstory flashback.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: How Toph became the Earth King after the destruction of Ba Sing Se- she beat up the Earth Sages and other such until they declared her king.
  • Author Appeal: The story includes enough details to make clear how encrypted fire nation telegram works, even though it's not really relevant to the story. Also, Mai being elevated to a main character; most of the author's past works focus on her.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The platinum knife that Mai is given as a token of welcome by Commander Zhao... at least until the special properties of platinum are revealed.
  • Back for the Dead: Kirai in Act 3.
  • Badass Bookworm: Sokka worked in a Fire Nation laboratory in this AU, so he's more educated, especially on matters of metallurgy.
  • Badass Grandpa: The various old Masters, as in the original cartoon... but in this AU, they're not necessarily on the same side!
  • Balance of Power: When the Fire Nation's internal balance of power fell apart, war erupted in the Capital.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Mai dresses this way to ask Kei Lo for help near the end of Act 3, but prefers clothes that let her hide weapons.
  • Bash Brothers: Mai and Ty Lee, as well as Ty Lee's sisters. The latter all wield tonfa and have been training to try to reach the level of a Weapon of the Fire Nation.
  • Becoming the Mask: Mai, during her infiltration of the Aang's quest.
  • Beta Couple: Zuko and Suki seem to be going this way. People have also noticed something between Katara and Ty Lee.
  • Big Bad Friend: What Mai is ordered to become to Aang. She's supposed to be operating as Azula's agent even while pretending to be a rebel joining the Avatar's cause.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Sokka saves Mai from the zombies in the Southern Air Temple, wielding an arm from a statue of a past Avatar.
    • Zuko and Mai lead reinforcements to Ba Sing Se to save Aang from Leng Feng
    • At the end of Act 3, Katara and Ty Lee save Mai from Kei Lo, and the Ty Sisters save Sokka from Combustion Man.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: The Fire Royals, even more than in the cartoon!
  • Bi the Way: People have noticed that Katara and Ty Lee get along really well, including sparring together in their swimsuits, despite also being attracted to men.
  • Blindfolded Vision: Lady Caldera Yu Gerel, the oldest Weapon of the Fire Nation and one of the rare Firebenders to be called a 'Dragon.'
  • Bloody Horror: At the end of the first arct of Act 3, Toph feels Heiyaoshi bleed out at the end of their confrontation.
  • Bodyguard Crush: Hinted with Suki and Zuko.
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: Mai's reputation at the beginning of the story.
  • Break the Cutie: Mai's betrayal for Aang. It not only sends him into the Avatar State, but links him up with an active volcano!
  • Broken Pedestal: Aang for Mai after her betrayal.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Zuko's main mission during the Fire Nation arc in Act 3.
  • Came Back Wrong: The bodies of the Air Nomads were revived as something akin to zombies.
  • Canon Foreigner: Some of the Weapons of the Fire Nation, as well as Suki's sister, Kirai.
  • Carrying the Antidote: In Act 3, averted for Azula after she poisons Kirai, as she herself points out. Sokka concedes that she's smart enough to know better.
  • Character Development: Mai and Aang are the main focus of the story, and their dynamic reflects their growing maturity and the shades of gray they see in the world.
  • Cheerful Child: The Water Tribe mutts who live with Sokka and Gran-Gran.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Koh’s off of a favor for the Avatar is established in the prologue, but Koh has yet to appear in the story itself.
    • It is heavily implied that Gyatso reincarnated into Momo, and that the latter possesses all of the former’s memories.
  • Chekhov's Volcano: At the end of Book 1, the gAang infiltrate a Waterbender prison inside an active volcano. Aang's Avatar State sets it off, and the escape becomes a lot more complicated.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Kirai. Full stop, almost the point of being a Dirty Coward. She'll trade allegiances at the drop of a pebble to whomever she believes to have the upper-hand at that particular time. That said, few of the characters are fooled, or even resignedly expect it from her and rarely give her a second chance. Those that do... don't give her a third.
  • Children Forced to Kill: Suki's origin- she and her sister were part of a Kyoshi Island gang made up children who lethally defended their neighborhood from careless Fire Nation colonists.
  • City Mouse: Mai, when she first starts roughing it on Appa's back with Aang and Sokka. She freaks out over using bushes and bathrooms and bathing in "wild water."
  • Come with Me If You Want to Live: Suki to Sokka at the first meeting, while the Fire Nation is trying to capture them.
  • Conflicting Loyalty: Mai becomes split between Aang, who she's getting to know, and Zuko, who she wants to save from his banishment. Likewise, Suki is frequently divided between friends and family on both sides of the war.
  • Corpse Land: Southern Air Temple
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Aang versus the Air Nomad zombies, with the help of the Avatar State.
  • Daddy's Girl: Azula, of course. As in canon, this is the root of her downfall.
  • Damage-Sponge Boss: Combustion Man when the Ty Sisters attack him.
  • Dark Action Girl: Mai and Heiyaoshi, who both wear dark colors and favor bladed-weapons. Heiyaoshi takes this to such an extreme, even using black volcano-glass blades, that Mai is disgusted.
  • Darker and Edgier (* Bloodier and Gorier)
  • Death In The Limelight: In Act 3, Jet.
  • Defector from Decadence: Mai, eventually.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Ozai's actions against anyone who puts Zuko in danger. Or looks like they might be putting Zuko in danger sometime in the future.
  • Double Reverse Quadruple Agent: Suki ends up this way, to her increasuing stress.
  • Dragon with an Agenda: Azula gets this way as she perceives that Ozai doesn't trust her.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: The Kyoshi Island break-in.
  • Due to the Dead: This AU plays up the idea that all the dead from the war have made for dangerous, haunted landscapes. Proper funerals are a practical safety measure.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Mai, of course, and also Heiyaoshi.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: The Fire Nation has an entire powered stronghold in a massive sinkhole.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Ba Sing Se ash monster, the accumulated debris of the city's burning given life and formed into a single kaiju.
  • Empathic Environment: It seems to be a side-effect of the Avatar State in some places, like the volcano and the South Pole.
  • Enemy Civil War: In Act 3, the Fire Nation Capital's political games deteriorate into a small civil war.
  • Evil Counterpart: Some of the Weapons of the Fire Nation for the gAang:
    • Lady Gerel for Toph
    • Heiyaoshi for Mai
    • Kei Lo for Mai
  • Evil Mentor: Pakku for Katara, in a world where the North Pole has been conquered and colonized by the Fire Nation.
  • Evil Old Folks: Iroh and Pakku
  • Evil Power Vacuum: What would result from Fire Lord Azulon's death, as feared by his military leadership
  • Eye-Obscuring Hat: Katara wears one to cope with her agoraphobia.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Zuko wears one to cover his missing eye.
  • Eye Scream: Zuko lost his eye to an infection of the burn on his face in this AU, and the incident itself is seen in the ashland flashback.
  • Faking the Dead: Sokka pretends to be killed by Fire Nation soldiers (actually Kyoshi rebels in disguise) to get into the Kyoshi base.
  • Fall Guy: Azula uses a fall-guy to take the heat for the arrangements she made for Mai's esacpe from the South Pole
  • False Friend: Mai in Act 1.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: In Act 3, Weapons Heiyaoshi, Lady Gerel, and Kei Lo die as they live: violently and bloodily.
  • Fantastic Ghetto: The Southern Water Tribe colony, where all of the local tribes are forced to live together as a labor supply for the local mine. They are paid in tokens that have to be exchanged for food supplied by the Fire Nation.
  • Fantastic Slurs: The Fire Nation calls individusal from the Water Tribes, "Tribals." Sokka calls out that while the word itself isn't bad, it's the way it's used that's the problem.
  • First-Episode Spoiler: Aang comes back a year later than in the cartoon, and the Fire Nation has already won the war.
  • Foreshadowing: The Koh prologue.
  • For Want of a Nail: The main branching point of this universe is apparently that Iroh decided to become an Admiral in the Navy instead of a General in the Army.
  • From Bad to Worse: Breaking into the sinkhole base: first the cave collapses, then Sokka gets captured, then the power station explodes, then Mai gets captured, then Long Feng shows up, then Aang attacks Ty Lee...
  • Gambit Pileup: What leads to the Fire Nation civil war.
  • Genius Loci: The Everstorm and the Crescent Island Volcano, at least when Aang is in the Avatar State.
  • Glory Hound: Zhao, of course!
  • Going Native: Mai in Act 2. She starts wearing green and even stops tying up her hair.
  • Good Feels Good: What gets Mai to start regretting her service to the Fire Nation. Unfortunately, it comes too late to stop her from betraying Aang.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Zuko's scar (over which he sometimes wears an eyepatch), and Mai gets a fireball-scar on her side that she usually covers.
  • Heel–Face Turn: The entire thrust of Mai's first arc in Act 1.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Mai, at the end of Act 1.
  • Heroic BSoD: Mai has one after she draws her sword on Sokka in anger, the culmination of her self-loathing throughout Act 2.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Mai and Sokka attempt this several times. Their friends won't let it stick. Also, Jet does this.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Katara thinks Jet betrays her one last time before dying, but it turned out to be a feint to allow her to get away with the information on Iroh.
  • Hidden Agenda Villain: Iroh and Ozai may both be Ambiguously Evil, but it is really not clear what it is that they are up to.
  • Hidden Elf Village: The Earthbender village. More sympathetic than usual because Earthbending is outlawed by the Fire Nation conquerers.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: In Act 3, Heiyaoshi's volcano-glass knives are used to kill her by Toph.
  • Hope Spot: In the sinkhole base, when Mai and Sokka find that Ty Lee is alive.
  • Human Weapon: The Weapons of the Fire Nation. They were all conscripted, and while they are rewarded for their service, they don't have any personal rights.
  • I Have Your Wife: Suki's sister is used against her multiple times.
  • Imperfect Ritual: Long Feng's attempt to restore Ba Sing Se.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Mai, of course!
  • Improbable Weapon User: Mai saves Sokka and Aang at the Kyoshi Market by throwing the carved novelty soaps she'd been looking at, including red skulls.
  • Improvised Weapon: Sokka uses a statue arm against the air nomad zombies.
  • Insistent Terminology: Sokka doesn't like being called a 'Tribal,' and the pirate working for Pakku insisted he was a privateer.
  • Island Base: Crescent Island has been made into a prison for Waterbenders.
  • Jerkass Façade: Mai uses this to both cover her inner vulnerability, and also her lack of enthusiasm for her allies' cause while working for the enemy. (Although she's also a real jerk._
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Mai, eventually.
  • King on His Deathbed: Azulon. Everyone in the Fire Nation is making contingencies for it.
  • Knife Nut: Mai and Heiyaoshi.
  • Kryptonite Factor: Platinum appears to be this for spirits.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: The current spirit plagues? The Ashlands and the ghosts within them and at the locations of other massacres haunting everyone? The countless non-human problems that are arising worldwide, requiring even more troop movements and platinum just to keep them in check? All pretty much entirely the Fire Nation’s fault.
  • Lava Adds Awesome: Did anyone think that a volcano prison wouldn't be exploding at any point?
  • Les Collaborateurs: Sokka works for the Fire Nation in one of their labs, when the story starts. The South Pole has been conquered, so it's either that or slave-labor in the mines.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: Azula's lightning bolt somehow interacted with the platinum spear to kill the Ba Sing Se monster.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: So many that the gAang has a rotating membership!
  • Love at First Sight: Aang with Mai, as it turns out.
  • Love-Interest Traitor: Aang and Mai.
  • Lured into a Trap: The whole point behind Mai infiltrating the gAang. She wants Zuko to be waiting to spring a trip so that he can capture the Avatar and end his banishment.
  • Mama Bear: Ursa, even more so than in canon.
  • May–December Romance: Mai is a year older in this fic than she was in the cartoon (making her abou sixteen), but Aang is still twelve years old. Also, Mai's engagement to Lu Ten when she was a child.
  • Meaningful Funeral: The Guru, in the beginning of Act 2.
  • Mentor Archetype: The Guru is moreso here than in the cartoon.
  • Military Coup: In Act 3, attempted against Ozai after Azukon and Li & Lo all die within a day of him assuming power.
  • Mind Rape: Long Feng against Mai and Sokka, as he does.
  • Moral Dilemma: A central focus amidst all the action and intrigue.
  • Mordor: The Ashlands, the holdouts in the Earth Kingdom where the Fire Nation unleashed the full power of Sozin's Comet and left nothing but deserts made of ash.
  • Myth Arc: Aang trying to restore balance to the world. Unlike the cartoon, this isn't a simple matter of winning the war.
  • Necromantic: Long Feng for Ba Sing Se, as far as the gAang's perspective goes.
  • Neighbourhood-Friendly Gangsters: The gang Suki and Kirai ran with as kids protected the neighborhood from the Fire Nation oppressors.
  • Never Found the Body: Ty Lee, because she died in what would become an Ashland.
  • Night of the Living Mooks: The Air Nomad zombies.
  • Non-Action Guy: Sokka, as he got no warrior training in this AU, and only knows what he's been able to pick up from his friends during their downtime.
  • Noodle Incident: Suki says, "Remember, only one or two at a time, and wash off your paint first. Nagori, that goes double for you. I don’t want a repeat of the Noodle Stand Incident."
  • Not Afraid of You Anymore: Mai, after Azula's BSOD
  • Not a Morning Person: Mai and Sokka. Aang is relieved when Katara joins the group and there's another morning person around.
  • Not Quite Dead: Ty Lee, as many predicted.
  • Origins Episode: Zuko and Suki each get one, via flashbacks.
  • Our Nudity Is Different: The Fire Nation are less tolerant of going shirtless than Air Nomads or Water Tribes, as Mai discovers when Sokka and Aang start stripping to put on disguises on Kyoshi Island.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Specifically, the Air Nomad 'zombies' are based on real-life legends of Di Fu Ling and other Chinese monsters.
  • Party Scattering: Act 2 and 3 both make use of this.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: The idea behind the Weapons of the Fire Nation; each one is considered as effective as an army, in the right circumstances.
  • Poison-and-Cure Gambit: In Act 3, Azula demands Zuko's return in exchange for the antidote to Kirai's poisoning.
  • Poor Communication Kills: In A Ct 3, Appa is shot out of the sky over the Fire Nation Capital because Ozai didn't remember to say to let the Avatar in.
  • Posthumous Character: Ozai, as it turns out. Ursa replaced him with a magic mask before the story begins.
  • Post-Victory Collapse: After surviving the Blue Spirit's attack, Mai vomits. She did take a pretty hard hit to the stomach.
  • Proper Lady: Mai, whenever she can manage. And is in the mood.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: Zhao's initial motivation. He hates being posted at the South Pole and chases the Avatar on a flimsy pretext in hopes of getting promoted or reassigned.
  • Reformed, but Rejected: Mai after her betrayal of Aang.
  • Rogue Agent: In Act 2, Jet after he discovers that Iroh leads the White Lotus and Blue Spirits.
  • Satisfied Street Rat: Suki as a street rat considers herself no worse off than anyone else suffering under the Fire Nation, and it gave her access to valuable allies and skills.
  • Save the Princess: The overall plot of the first Act is the search for Katara.
  • Sibling Team: The Ty Sisters, all trained to fight together with tonfa. Ty Lee is the odd one out for rejecting the weapon, being more of a pacifist.
  • Street Urchin: Suki's backstory in this AU.
  • Succession Crisis: What everyone fears, considering that Iroh is Azulon's heir but he hasn't returned to the Fire Nation after conquering the North Pole.
  • Supporting Leader: Toph, the new Earth King.
  • Tailor-Made Prison: The Southern waterbenders are all kept inside a volcano, where the dry air keeps them from having any water to bend.
  • Taking the Heat: Azula's fall guy for routing supplies to Mai's deep-cover assignment, whose family is paid off after he 'confesses' and kills himself.
  • The Alcatraz: The gAang infiltrates several prisons, each crazier than the last.
  • The Atoner: Mai, after the first Act.
  • The Bus Came Back: In Act 3, Kirai.
  • The Caper: The infiltration of the Kyoshi Island base and the sinkhole fortress.
  • The Clan: The Fire Nation has forsaken its old clan system, in favor of a city-centered system that puts more prestige on proximity to the capital.
  • The Fagin: In Suki's backstory, Oyaji runs the local urchin gang that gives trouble for the Fire Nation.
  • The Mutiny: At the end of Act 1, Jet seizes 'The Tub' to make sure it's available to support Aang at the expense of his allies.
  • The Psycho Rangers: The Weapons of the Fire Nation, a group of Fire Nation warriors conscripted as lifelong servants of the throne for their fighting abilities.
  • The Ghost:
    • Yue. She’s been mentioned a handful of times by other characters, but has yet to really appear.
    • Lu Ten. Justified – according to Iroh, he’s been driven insane by the spirits.
  • The Starscream: Zhao. It backfires and he winds up having to work for Iroh. Not that he stops looking for opportunities...
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Sandwich: Yon Rha's grilled eel dinner is served just before he hears that the Unagi is attacking his base.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Mai tries not to kill Fire Nation soldiers while operating as a mole. Azula gave her permission to do so, though.
  • Tunnel Network: The old smuggler tunnels used by the Kyoshi rebels.
  • Uncanny Atmosphere: The Ashlands, caused by the imbalance of so many violent deaths.
  • Uniqueness Decay: After Mai is introduced as a Weapon of the Fire Nation, two Acts go by before the story brings in the others.
  • Villain Episode: Whenever Zuko's crew gets the focus in the first two Acts.
  • Villainous BSoD: Azula, after the truth about Ozai is revealed.
  • Volcano Lair: The Waterbender prison on Cresent Island. The Fire Nation created what Sokka calls a 'dryness engine' that uses conduction to superheat the whole place and dry it of all moisture.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Mai after the fight with the Blue Spirt. She took a hard hit to the stomach and then had a bad flight with Aang.
  • Weasel Co-Worker: Zhao to Yan Rha.
  • Welcome Back, Traitor: When Mai is allowed to return to the gAang.
  • Wham Episode: The 'sinkhole Fortress' arc in Act 2 where Sokka and Mai are captured, Ty Lee is found to be alive, and new Airbenders are found. Also, the Fire Nation Civil War at the end of Act 3 where 'Ozai' is revealed to be Ursa.
  • Won the War, Lost the Peace: What happens to the Fire Nation. Of course, the Avatar doesn't return until after the war in this AU.
  • Would Not Shoot a Good Guy: Mai tries not to kill Fire Nation people. By the end of the Fire Nation Civil War, she's purposefully going for kill shots against her fellow Weapons.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: When Aang visits the Southern Air Temple in this AU, not only does he find more corpses than in the cartoon, but the spiritual imbalance in the place raises the corpses as something like zombie monsters that eat people's souls! Defeating the monsters and saving his friends does not feel like a victory to Aang.
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