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Dec 9th 2014 at 3:06:34 AM •••

Now that Headscratchers has a different purpose than It Just Bugs Me, shouldn't a lot of the debate be cut?

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Nov 16th 2017 at 6:27:43 PM •••

...I really wish there was some way to make Vathara acknowledge this — — it's mind-boggling to realize that Japan's wartime "honor culture" was invented in 1905. Around the time the militants began building their power base. It would be a gas if most of the ATLA Fire Nation was transcribed from fairy tales by Sozin.

Just in case of "glass houses" arguments, the Pledge of Allegiance wasn't spoken until 1892, Thanksgiving wasn't celebrated until 1863 — and it didn't get a precise date until 1941.

Edited by Kalaong
Jan 18th 2014 at 5:19:26 PM •••

Aww, it's over? I'm sad, but also elated because there might be more. Aang, you have a long way to go, but you're working on it! Zuko, yes. You're getting a small cousin and your sister might actually be working her way back to sanity, but that's still a rough relationship. I wonder how he'll deal with meeting Ursa again? (If we get to see it)

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Jan 18th 2014 at 5:22:48 PM •••

Hopefully whatever Vathara does next will be Zuko-free, because I got sick of her interpretation of him about sixty chapters ago. Maybe she'll go back to that Buffy/Kenshin crossover, and explain why she likes Zuko/Kenshin-type characters but hates Angel.

And I really hope that these interpretations don't catch on like Zen's "The Bitter End" Ranma-verse.

I'm gonna go get my DVDs and watch the entire original series in one long marathon to get the Zuko-Sue out of my mouth.

Edited by
Jan 18th 2014 at 6:42:50 PM •••

Perhaps because Angel's a creepy, stalker-ish ages-old vampire who's only held in control by that soul and because he's basically a cradle-robber? I dislike him. Love Spike, though. And quit with the hate or just walk away.

Jan 18th 2014 at 7:20:27 PM •••

I would've thought you'd be overjoyed, kalaong. After all, There's nothing more that you apparently HAVE TO READ.

Jan 18th 2014 at 7:55:03 PM •••

That was great. Wasn't it great, guys?

My thoughts exactly, Mcnickel. Kalaong, now you don't need to read anymore of Embers so we don't need to hear you whine. I thought you'd be ecstatic that your favorite couple is still intact here. There are plenty of Aang-centric/G Aang-centric fanfics out there that are more palatable to a sensitive soul like yourself.

Wheeee! Kuei and Eshe are betrothed! And I was right about Shirong and Teruko. Hehehehe. I guess Teruko's not going to be his teacher anymore, huh?

Jan 18th 2014 at 8:10:20 PM •••

Well that was a pretty good end, everything tied up nice enough to suggest a sequel but nothing truly demanding one. Which really is the best way to end things IMO.

Jan 18th 2014 at 8:23:17 PM •••

And the implied Toko/Zoph! I love it! By the time Toph's old enough, Zuko should be old enough to be ready to settle down. Cute, world-destroying cublets.

Jan 18th 2014 at 8:54:52 PM •••

Hehehe, I love the open ending on everything. Zuko/Toph, Aang/Katara, and Shirong/Teruko implied, the official couples are: Iroh/Amaya, Sokka/Suki (hurrah!), the Wens, and Kuei/Eshe (KYAAAHHH! I WANNA SEE THE WEDDING TO THIS IN A SEQUEL!!!). Am I missing anyone?

Jan 19th 2014 at 4:36:21 PM •••

Yes, go and enjoy your little Aangy-Sue, Kalaong.

Jan 19th 2014 at 6:09:29 PM •••

Legend of korra coming from this instead of canon. Somebody get to it.

Jan 20th 2014 at 1:27:33 AM •••

I've asked Vathara before if I could do a fanfic of her fanfic. She said no, sadly, but other people might have more luck.

Jan 20th 2014 at 11:10:12 AM •••

Don't worry, Moon Howler. We might see a sequel someday. Didn't someone say that Vathara was going to make a sequel for Scarlet and Black? Plus, that Stargate/ATLA crossover mentioned in the A/N of the last chapter.

Jan 21st 2014 at 3:20:56 PM •••

I just finished my marathon re-watch of the series, and now I'm wondering why Vathara started writing in this fandom in the first place.

Avatar: The Last Airbender is a hyper-idealistic Wuxia adventure.

Vathara wrote a Hobbesian Romance of the Three Kingdoms-style Supernatural Conspiracy Thriller, with Realpolitik and Deliberate Values Dissonance invoked at every turn.

Why didn't she just say, from the first page, that, "I'm re-writing Avatar In the Style of... Game of Thrones", to keep the main fandom from freaking out when their kung-fu Indiana Jones flick turned into "A bunch of deluded boopholes croaking each other."

I'm serious. All my fond memories of the characters are from the canon series. No-one did anything genuinely heroic. Every action either had an ulterior motive(advance the purposes of their faction) or was just plain stupid and counterproductive(benefiting no-one at all, except maybe the guy trying to wipe out humanity) - and the perpetrator gets chewed out for trying to be a "hero".

And here's the big thing; the Fire Nation WON THE WAR. Everyone else got torn to shreds, but the Fire Nation balkanized peacefully, so there's no-one to pay reparations and no civil war to reduce their power base and prevent further abuses. It's like a heist flick - they got in, got out, divvied up the loot and ran in separate directions so there is no-one to catch.

The Water Tribes? The South is still decimated(did Pakku lead support South or not?), the North got Blitzed as badly as London did during World War 2. They're each one good plague away from going the way of the Air Nomads. Foggy Swamp is all right, but they're allies of the Fire Nations.

The Earth Kingdoms are still crammed to the gills with colonies of various types, from forced-multicultural Yu Dao-types to ethnically-cleansed mining villages - and there are massive units of troops who no longer have a Fire Lord to give them orders. A lot of which are prone to Rape, Pillage, and Burn.

And the Air Nomads? Refugees, all of them. And Aang is not permitted to visit either the Northern Temple or the hidden ones in Byakko. And the desert ones still remember Aang freaking out because he lost his bison and aren't exactly rushing to talk to him.

Oh, there's one non-Fire Nation faction that came out ahead; Dragon's Wings. They have the best farmland in the world, a perfect harbor, a huge population base that thinks their Lord walks on water, and a perfect deterrent in that if their leader dies without an heir the entire world will follow.

And Aang is the one who is supposed to stabilize this clusterfsck while the most powerful faction - the one that hurt everyone else the most and profited the most - hates his guts.

The people who have caused the most pain and spilled the most blood have prospered the most in the end.

...Holy Fucking Shit. In typing that last sentence, I realized the answer; turn on the news. Vathara turned the Realism dial all the way Up to Eleven. Because that's how it works in reality. Some people believe in karma, I believe Nixon died in bed. This fic needs a Snicket Warning Label. Several hundred of them.

And if no-one is planning to click on Romance of the Three Kingdoms? Here's a trope quote;

Liu Bei's infant son, Liu Chan, was lost at Chang Ban, so Zhao Yun made a selfless charge into enemy lines to bring the kid back. So what does Liu Bei do? He throws his kid to the ground, pissed that he nearly lost a great general. The kid later grows up and loses the kingdom, and is considered by most readers to be completely useless. Probably because he was dropped on his head as a kid. In a major example of Values Dissonance, no one in the story calls Liu Bei out on this. Then again, he's the one who quoted lore as saying that "[b]rothers are as hands and feet; wives and children are as clothing. You may mend your torn dress, but who can reattach a lost limb?"

Toph Bei Fong? Sokka, Heir of Shu Jing? What goes around, comes around!

Edited by
Jan 21st 2014 at 5:52:19 PM •••

Kalaong the series ends days after Ozai dies and Koh is sent to his room. There hasn't been time for repercussions to start happening yet. And with it ending not with a conquest of the enemies capital but with the death of the leaders while other were ready to step and fill the gap right away? The command structure won't break down preventing some of the worse stuff that happens. Soldiers aren't going to be going rogue, as shown by Ba Sing Se where an orderly retreat is happening. Might not be true everywhere but if it's true out of the enemies capital it's true for most places.

The Airbenders aren't refugees the NAT, Byakko, and the Desert are those respective tribes homes, and the desert ones have recently got their main home back with the banishing of Wan Shi Tong. And while the NAT is debatable (it's probably not actually part of Dragon's Wings) nothing stops him from going to Byakko or the Desert Tribes. You remember going to see the Byakko airbenders was in fact a plan Shiddan was part of right?

On Dragon's Wings, no where is their farmland is said to be the best, it's one a Volcano so it will probably be good but no the best. Their harbour is not perfect it's a mishmash of styles to see which ones works the best, but more importantly it's one fire constantly and in a volcano both those things prevent it from being perfect. Their population isn't huge it's less than 3000. The final one is an alright point but many other high up leaders have similar deterrents if the heir dies.

Edited by
Jan 21st 2014 at 7:30:23 PM •••

also, aang will be allowed at the NAT, just not yet.

Jan 21st 2014 at 7:31:59 PM •••

also, what the hell does that iduom even mean, Nixon died in bed?

Jan 21st 2014 at 8:56:00 PM •••


Just to stay in the Small Reference Pools, Nixon's career went from HUAC to Watergate. Perhaps the single most obviously corrupt President the US ever had got to die peacefully.

Heh. Troping Nixon coughed up these lines from the film.

Young Student: You don't want the war, we don't want the war, the Vietnamese don't want the war, so why does it go on?
(Nixon hesitates. Haldeman whispers "We should be going" to him.)
Young Student: You can't stop it, can you? Even if you wanted to. Because it's not you, it's the system. The system won't let you stop it.
Richard M. Nixon: There's... there's more at stake here than what you want, or what I want.
Young Student: Then what's the point? What's the point of being President? You're powerless!
Richard M. Nixon: No. No, I'm not powerless. Because, because I understand the system, I believe I can, uh, I can control it. Maybe not control it totally, but tame it enough to make it do some good.
Young Student: Sounds like you're talking about a wild animal.
Richard M. Nixon: Yeah, maybe I am.

Richard M. Nixon: She got it, Bob. 19-year-old college kid.
H. R. Haldeman: What? Who?
Richard M. Nixon: She understood something it's taken me 25 years in politics to understand. The CIA, the Mafia, those Wall Street bastards...
H. R. Haldeman: Sir?
Richard M. Nixon: The Beast. 19-year-old kid. She called it a wild animal.

The thing is? In canon, the war was ended by people who were explicitly outside of the system. One Sole Survivor of a dead people. Two "barbarians". A renegade daughter of a rich family. An exiled prince. (okay, Suki was essentially a National Guard commander, but outside of her hometown, she was a security guard.) They waded in, tore the entire mess to pieces with youthful idealism, and rebuilt things the way that they thought things should be.

And Vathara forced them all to surrender to the system in order to end the war. The next century is likely to be worse than the previous one.

Edited by
Jan 22nd 2014 at 11:17:56 AM •••

I've been resisting the urge to post something like this for a while, but with the story ending, I'm just going to go ahead and get it out of my system.

First, to establish where I'm comming from, I think Embers was deeply flawed, but that the positives outweighed the negatives to make it a worthwhile read. I laid out what I see as the flaws in a post near the bottom of this page if anyone cares at this point.

Kalaong, as someone who sees those flaws, I sometimes think you have a semi-valid point. Unfortunately, your arguments intended to support those points tend to be incoherent, rambling, and overpopulated with tangents and irrelevant links to the point that you are usually undermining yourself rather than building your case.

Much of the time, I don't understand your position at all. I don't understand how you reach your conclusions or how anyone could reach that conclusion. It's like you are reading a different draft of the story than the rest of us.

So we end up in a cycle where nobody knows what you are talking about and everyone else's arguments just seem to go right over your head and there's no actual comunication going on. People call you stupid or crazy, you break out the all-caps-large-font and call people psychotic monsters and the author a bitch. (I saw that post before you edited it)

And then you keep coming back to do it again, continuing to drive yourself into a frenzy and agravating others without accomplishing anything.


Jan 22nd 2014 at 2:44:45 PM •••

does he have anything better to do? I certainly don't

Jan 22nd 2014 at 7:59:28 PM •••

Deadpan29, I respect your valiant effort in attempting to understand Kalaong.

So, what should we talk about now that Embers has ended?

Jan 23rd 2014 at 10:26:02 AM •••

OOH! how about Web Animation/RWBY? Its got plenty of things for kalaong to nitpick, its enjoyable to watch, and it originates from something good (Rooster teeth, as compared to embers coming from ATLA)!

Jan 23rd 2014 at 10:26:36 AM •••

shit, potholes always get me. uh.... [[Web Animation/RWBY]]

Feb 10th 2014 at 9:39:29 AM •••

I was reading Fragmentation by Kickaha on when I realized it had amazing relevance to Embers. I wish I'd noticed it sooner. Might have heavily influenced the story.

Ever heard of Williams-Beuren Syndrome? Williams syndrome (WS or WBS; also Williams–Beuren syndrome or WBS) is a rare neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by a distinctive, "elfin" facial appearance, along with a low nasal bridge, an unusually cheerful demeanor and ease with strangers; developmental delay coupled with strong language skills; and cardiovascular problems, such as supravalvular aortic stenosis and transient hypercalcaemia.

It's almost a 180 degree inversion of the better known disorder of autism. People with Williams-Beuren Syndrome lack almost all social fear. They'll approach total strangers and try to strike up conversations at random. Instead of retreating into shyness and social inversion, they'll charge in fearlessly. They literally feel little to no social awkwardness.

Sound familiar? That is Aang in a nutshell. And despite Vathara's mutilation of her character, IT DESCRIBES KATARA JUST AS WELL! Don't you dare say otherwise. She was all over Aang from the get-go, long before she learned he was the Avatar.

And its opposite? Doesn't have a name simply because it is as common as scars. "I trust only my family and blood kinfolk." "Strangers equal enemies." "It's not up to me to fix the big broken things, that's the King's job!"

Who does that describe? PRETTY MUCH EVERY OTHER PERSON IN EMBERS. And it's fairly common in canon, too. Sokka hated Aang until he realized that Katara had more or less started planning the wedding despite knowing him for only two days. Suki wasn't interested in Sokka until she noticed his strength and intelligence were desirable. Toph had absolutely no interest in helping until it was in her interest.

My guess? WBS was almost endemic among Air Nomads. And it's perhaps evidence that Katara, through her mother, has Air Nomad ancestry - if you're in the mood to blow a sucking chest wound in Kataang, this is where Vathara should drive the stake. What did Byakko do to WBS individuals among their "rescued" Air Nomads, especially as a large number of them were interbred with Fire Nation sociopathic pack mentality?

Just fodder for follow-up stories. And if you want to see where I got the idea, it's in chapter five.

But before you call this trait a mental defect, please note this;

In 1800 CE, a European author named Alex de Touqueville complained about this in his book, Democracy in America. Americans, he said, unlike any other society he'd studied, formed voluntary random social alliances. That's important. Voluntary random social alliances.

Without WBS, America would not exist. If that is something you think is desirable, please tell me so I can avoid ever listening to any of you ever again.

Edited by
Feb 10th 2014 at 10:36:03 AM •••

damn kalaong, usually i ignore you, but this makes a LOT of sense...

Feb 11th 2014 at 8:30:15 PM •••

Literally what.


Are you guys serious?!

Wow, OK. There really is no limit to human ridiculousness, is there?

Feb 12th 2014 at 7:41:01 PM •••

Oh wow, this page is still going!

Kalaong, Embers is done. Finished. What the hell are you doing still ranting to us on these forums if you don't want to hear our opinions of you?

Hey Mcnickel, Aoife Moran! Nice to see some of the old gang here.

Feb 12th 2014 at 10:54:05 PM •••

hey leave kalaong alone. he obviously has nothing better to do, and it is a pretty cool theory.

Mar 16th 2016 at 9:26:51 AM •••

Oh, and I finally found a good summation of why the Fire Nation is inherently guilty - all of them - especially in Vathara's Embers-verse; it's from Mad Max: Fury Road.

As Movie Bob's review( ) says; "’s stern father-figure patriarchs like Immorten Joe that got the world into this mess while Furiosa’s Amazon naturalists represent hope and progress."
Nux: He is the one who grabbed the sun!
Toast: Look how slick he’s fooled you, War Boy.
Capable: He’s a lying old man.
Nux: By his hand, we’ll be lifted up!
Splendid: That’s why we have his logo seared on our backs! “Breeding stock!” “Battle fodder!”
Nux: No, I am awaited!
Capable: You’re an old man’s battle fodder! Killing everyone and everything!
Nux: We’re not to blame!
Splendid: Then who killed the world?

Nux was raised in Immortan Joe's warrior cult, and would have been an infant at most and probably not born yet when the world came to an end, so you might say it comes across as a rather inane and senseless accusation. You'd be wrong. Nux may not have been one of the mindless cannon fodder that burned the world, and Immortan Joe may not have been one of the generals who ordered the world burned, but how is he and Joe any different from those who did?

Throughout Embers, people repeatedly accused Zuko-Sue of the evil the Fire Nation does, and he repeatedly states, "I didn't do this." "I'm not to blame."

They know Zuko-Sue didn't do it. They're asking if he approves, if he'd do it if he had been the one in power.

And I never see any evidence that Zuko-Sue wouldn't do it.

After getting seven colors of shit kicked out of him - and recognizing that Ozai is going to get lots and lots of Fire Nationals killed - Zuko-Sue finally admits that Ozai is a brutal son-of-a-bitch who he shouldn't be taking orders from. But he never says it out loud to anyone he's hurt, and his solution is to become a "Great Name" himself, with battle fodder of his very own.

Zuko-Sue condemns Ozai - but not the system that Ozai champions; of rulers and ruled, conquerors and conquered, predators and prey. Zuko-Sue says that Ozai is a bad tyrant, but he NEVER says that tyranny is bad. Zuko-Sue condemns Yon Rha as an incompetent killer, but he refuses to condemn institutionalized killing. He says that Ozai does bad things. He never says he won't do bad things himself - in fact, he's actually saying that Ozai does good things in a bad way.

So, who killed the world, Zuko-Sue?

Edited by Kalaong
Mar 18th 2016 at 8:44:06 AM •••


Edited by Mcnickel
Dec 24th 2013 at 7:41:43 PM •••

Hot holy DAMN! The latest chapter is great!

Aang once again gets a Crowning Moment Of Awesome for his speech to Koh! Fucking yes, Koh, go to your frosted ROOM!!!

Wow, Iroh. You finally have figured a few things out, after all. Poor Chief Arnook, though that was kind of mean, about not wanting Aang around. I can only imagine how many others feel the same way.

Go Azula and Zuko. Ozai is dead. But how long will there be a Dragon Throne now that Aang has declared Kyoshi's decree null and void?

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Dec 24th 2013 at 8:42:54 PM •••

I agree completely! And Langxue at the end there, He gets the final blow against Makoto (at least I hope, wasn't a completely definitive end there and Vathara is great at twists)

Dec 25th 2013 at 4:57:19 AM •••

While there might not be a Dragon Throne now that Aang has stated that Kyoshi's decree void, I do believe that the Caldera will remain intact as a DOMAIN, allowing Azula a throne, though likely not the one she was anticipating. Which means the alliances and forms of control she was considering prior will still be useful.

It was WONDERFUL seeing Aang save the world in every sense of the world (Koh's issues have been addressed, aired, and stated to be finished. The decree is voided. While there is much CLEANING needed, the world is saved and the cycle of Koh's vengance is broken.

Dec 25th 2013 at 11:49:55 AM •••

Mehehehehe, I'm still starry-eyed over the "GO TO YOUR ROOM" part. Ahh, that was great.

I guess the next chapter will be the epilogue? This chapter was a great Christmas present.

Dec 25th 2013 at 12:33:31 PM •••

What I find interesting is that Ursa felt Ozai's death. I know she was still bound to him as a Fire National. And poor Sokka. He really does need to have a talk with Hakoda. Though those soldiers in the North Pole were smart to surrender when they saw Piandao coming. Heh.

Dec 25th 2013 at 1:07:05 PM •••

Hmm, do you guys think that maybe Gyatso may have ever told Aang to "go to your room"?

Dec 25th 2013 at 1:15:00 PM •••

Maybe. Though do you think Kyoshi's decree might be over now? Or does it take something more formal?

Dec 25th 2013 at 1:41:20 PM •••

Aang's declaration ought to have ended Kyoshi's decree. We'll find out next chapter. I feel kind of bad for Azula, though, as she probably thinks that she gets to have all the Fire Nation's loyalty at her feet. Ah well. She has the people most important to her with her now. I think the Fire Sages may just come and call her "Great Name of the Caldera" instead of "Fire Lord", shocking Azula and her court. The Order of the Fire Sages will be restored, then.

Dec 25th 2013 at 8:24:45 PM •••

But with Ursa around, at least Azula should be getting more hugs, right?

Dec 25th 2013 at 10:38:55 PM •••

Oh yeah. Definitely a lot more hugs. Azula will be getting some much needed quality time with Ursa.

Dec 26th 2013 at 12:50:25 AM •••

I am a firm believer in the idea that some people just were not hugged enough as children. Zuko and Azula are two of them, and Kuei's a borderline case. At least Zuko had Iroh and now Amaya to help.

Dec 26th 2013 at 12:28:40 PM •••

I'm pretty sure Ozai had Azula jumping through hoops before ever patting her on the head. No hugs from him, of course. I think Long Feng may have just sent Amaya to play nursemaid/nanny/mother-figure, or some other matronly figure. Then again, Long Feng wasn't all bad back when Kuei was crowned King at four years old. Long Feng must have been something of a father-figure for Kuei to love him so much.

Dec 26th 2013 at 2:55:34 PM •••

Can't Zuko just fix it like everything else?

Dec 26th 2013 at 3:02:23 PM •••

But for Kuei to be that socially awkward, he didn't have enough actual human interaction. His best friend is a bear, for Agni's sake.

Dec 26th 2013 at 5:15:39 PM •••


If I may, I am uncertain what you are suggesting Zuko to fix? HE managed to convince the volcano not to blow, and Dragon's Wings appears to have outlasted the Fire Nation Attack (although there is uncertainty when it comes to the undead).

Meanwhile, Aang has pulled off a rather fantastic victory and sent Koh 'to his room'. The Northern Water Tribe held off/defeated the Fire Nation Attack that arrived at their borders.

Sokka killed Ozai, and Katara defeated the evil water spirit (in a rather well done fight).

May I ask which you are referring to in need of fixing? I simply am not certain what you are referring to and would like to know.

Dec 26th 2013 at 7:00:55 PM •••


well remember, the earth kings are just like the dai li, in that they feel "off" to normal folks. he probably scared any real companions he could have off. and the dai li were off doing their jobs.

Dec 26th 2013 at 7:14:58 PM •••

But not on purpose, yeah? It's not his fault he's more 'spiritually active' than most people. I still feel sorry for him.

Dec 26th 2013 at 7:20:05 PM •••

Mcnickel, you bring up an interesting revelation. I never thought that Kuei gave off an "off" aura. Add to that, Kuei is royalty, and therefore, wouldn't have any others that were his equals. Too bad Long Feng kept the Earth King walled off from the Dai Li, who were meant to be the Earth King's friends.

Dec 26th 2013 at 7:36:00 PM •••

i think he did, at least. was part of the reason he needed a spiritually strong woman, IIRC. and besides, even if im wrong, there is still the matter of long feng and his douchery. did he keep the king isolated?

Dec 26th 2013 at 8:09:16 PM •••

Plus I remember someone talking to Sokka about strong rulers typically having Fire Nation blood in them, which, if true, would explain some of Kuei's 'otherness'.

Dec 26th 2013 at 9:11:59 PM •••

Moon Howler, you think Kuei has Fire Nation blood in him? I thought it was because he descended from powerful Earth shamans.

Dec 26th 2013 at 9:15:32 PM •••

Not recent blood, but I think there's a chance, yes.

Dec 26th 2013 at 10:13:22 PM •••

moon, i was considering his innate spiritual strength and comparnig it to the "spirit-touched" state of the dai li. I honestly have no clue other than that.

Dec 27th 2013 at 10:04:44 AM •••

Something I am still trying to figure out after my second reading: When Aang says, "Katara? Go get 'em," is he somehow lending aid to the people at Dragon's Wings, or just expressing his faith in them? Giving Koh a verbal smackdown, ending Kyoshi's decree, and sending the Face Stealer to his room is definately a moment of awesome all by itself, but I can't tell if Aang was somehow involved in the physical battle or not.

Dec 27th 2013 at 2:34:54 PM •••

Personally, the feeling I got from that scene was that, since Aang was in the Spirit World and 'everything's connected' he was lending spiritual support and strength to Katara and Dragon's Wings.

Dec 29th 2013 at 3:33:39 AM •••

I agree (with original post), and I think that Aang actually finding a non-violent way to deal with Koh was as epic as the way he did it. That scene ruled, as did Katara with the glacier.

I've had my reservations about Embers, but I think that this last chapter makes up for a lot of them. The combination of seriousness and humour definitely echoes At LA canon there.

Edited by
Dec 31st 2013 at 10:55:46 AM •••


Ozai was always going to be a heel because he scarred Zuko. Remember the story is Zuko-moralcentric to the point it came to criticize Iroh once it got to the point he'd get in the way of Zuko's star shining all the brighter.

The entire story has been a kinda weird therapeutic porn about Zuko being awesome and owing no one anything where his enemies are the best enemies and his tormentors the worst people. Ozai was always going to be evil and crazy (and even kinda lame) because that makes Zuko look all the better to make him the real true hero. Ozai having a point would come close to indicating Zuko being bad.

I miss you on Spacebattles what you up to lately... pm me there, we can get into a carthatic bitchfest about the story

Dec 31st 2013 at 1:37:05 PM •••


Found a DAMNED fine post( ).

In the Ranma fandom there was a fic called The Bitter End, which "explained" Akane's actions as Rage disorder, which in turn caused most fics written after it to write Akane as a character who was little more than a violent sociopath which is nothing like her canon personality. I fully expect Embers to fall into the same problem with people honestly believing Vathra's Bullshit as canon and writing fics in which Katara's a repressed rageaholic, Aang's an idiot, and Zuko's always right about everything.

Edited by
Dec 31st 2013 at 1:57:09 PM •••

@kalaong, if you hate this fic so much, why are you still reading it?

Dec 31st 2013 at 2:58:44 PM •••


Because the rest of Vathara's stuff is great, and perhaps there is something coming up that could give a point to all of this besides, "PROUD SOLDIER NATION(S) GOOD, TRIBALS MONKS AND MONEYLENDERS BAD".

Edited by
Dec 31st 2013 at 3:48:16 PM •••

well regarding your last post, i think aangs dropped the idiot ball at least a little, what with his finally figuring out the koh situation, would you agree?

Dec 31st 2013 at 4:01:36 PM •••

Yeah, Vathara FINALLY let Aang see the author's notes. He, along with all other non-Zukos, have been denied the real knowledge of How The World Works up to this point, and now Aang's first unmitigated good act in the entire series is to DO EXACTLY WHAT HE IS TOLD.

...Vathara is nuts.

Edited by
Jan 1st 2014 at 11:18:27 PM •••

Kalaong, if you're not going to post anything of value, then at least do us the favor of shutting up already.

Jan 2nd 2014 at 1:40:59 PM •••

Shouldn't... all of this Discussion be in the Forums, not the Discussion page? That's precisely what they're there for. The Discussion page is for discussing tropes.

Jan 2nd 2014 at 6:29:46 PM •••

Happy New Year, everyone!

I feel kind of sad now that the fic is near its ending.

As opposed to canon, how do you guys think the fic will end?

Jan 2nd 2014 at 7:14:55 PM •••

inb4 kalaong goes on a rant again

Honestly though? I have no clue. But I get the feeling it will be satisfying.

Jan 2nd 2014 at 7:22:28 PM •••

I hope that Zuko gets to see his mom before the fic ends. Other than that, I don't care, unless Zuko or Shirong die.

Jan 2nd 2014 at 8:17:48 PM •••

I think I can see Aang asking Katara if it's alright that he wants to stay by her side. His way of asking her out directly. I don't think he'll be turned down.

I want to see Kuei and Ba Sing Se's side of things. If he ever gets to meet the Fire Nation sergeant who took care of his city. It'd be most appropriate to offer him an invitation to the Earth King's wedding.

Jan 3rd 2014 at 12:12:09 PM •••

yeah, kueis been out of the spotlight for a while.

Jan 3rd 2014 at 12:16:09 PM •••

would kinda like to see him return to the palace and begin calming the spirits or something.

Like he walks up to that one spirit that haunts empty castles and is all "Do not despair, loyal one. I am here." Or something like that.

Jan 9th 2014 at 9:47:13 PM •••

@Mcnickel: I was thinking of Kuei calming the unruly spirits harassing Fire Nation soldiers and whoever with a few simple gestures, making them kneel to him in awe and fear as the Earth King reclaims his throne.

Jan 10th 2014 at 6:58:41 AM •••

man. I hope that happens, that sounds fucking badass.

Nov 15th 2013 at 7:27:21 AM •••

Holy - Vathara gave SOKKA the big fat kill? And dumped Ozai in the bay full of drowned zombies?

I was getting ready for some story of "Ozai is Necessarily Evil performing a blood sacrifice to Koh", but that kicked ass!

Hide/Show Replies
Nov 15th 2013 at 12:25:42 PM •••

;;laughing hysterically;; That. Was. BEAUTIFUL! Only, I'm a little confused. Makoto basically lost her shit when she felt Ozai die, but she's blaming it on Koh. How exactly did Ozai die? There's basically three ways. Either: A.) He died when he got hit by Boomerang, and thus got his neck broken(and the Call-Back slash Book-Ends to the pilot was genius), B.) He died when he hit the water, since at the height they fell from there's no way he hit at anything less than terminal velocity, or C.) He managed to survive both of those and got torn apart by the drowned.

I seriously can't see option C.) as how he died, as A.) or B.) is a lot more likely, so how exactly is Koh a liar because Ozai died?

Edited by
Nov 15th 2013 at 12:43:52 PM •••

@blackflamerose I think Makoto is saying that Koh took Ozia's spirit instead of letting him go to the spirit world.

Nov 15th 2013 at 12:58:02 PM •••

Sokka, this is your moment, my man.

Ozai died ignominiously. Good. Though, I felt that was too easy. A part of me still hopes he's alive so he can face more punishment.

Oh, Aang. I hope you know what you're doing down there with Koh.

Nov 15th 2013 at 1:04:08 PM •••

I'm betting that he landed, died, and then the drowned took him. And Koh lied because he promised that all those she actually valued would be taken care of. And Ozai died because he underestimated Sokka, which is generally a bad idea, but especially so when you don't even know how motivated he is. And Zuko, you poor thing. You better fight damn hard or you're going to turn into a crispy critter.

Nov 15th 2013 at 2:21:18 PM •••

So awesome. But seriously; wasn't anyone besides me expecting Ozai to have some kind of karmic justification like every single other bad guy in the fic to date?

...Does that mean he's not dead, because he didn't get the chance to expound on his own horrific, unfair, spiritually-justified retconned backstory? Meaning he'll be back to give it before daring the heroes to kill him anyway?

Edited by
Nov 15th 2013 at 4:27:04 PM •••

@Kalaong Makoto felt his fire go out, he's dead Jim.

Nov 15th 2013 at 4:52:10 PM •••

If the drowned took Ozai, then...does that mean that he'll turn into one of them?

Becoming an undead corpse, fired by his hatred towards his treacherous son and his mixed band of ragtag villagers...wouldn't this be a good opportunity for Ozai to end up haunting Dragons' Wings?

Nov 15th 2013 at 5:09:31 PM •••

Except that Zuko, if backed by Asagitatsu, could summarily force him into the Spirit World. Which would be a Crowning Moment of Awesome, and likely also an Awesome Moment of Crowning.

Nov 15th 2013 at 6:00:13 PM •••

@Kalaong: no, you were the only one expecting that, because, as has been said before you haven't been paying attention.

Nov 16th 2013 at 4:41:53 AM •••

Will someone please rebuke these before they delete them?

  • Black Hole Sue: As of chapter 86, Zuko is a Fire-healer, a yaoren, a reincarnate, a dragon-child, a master diplomat, the Thief of Asagitatsu, the Lord of Dragon's Wings, a tactical genius and a Kanaloa-spooker. To quote the trope entry;
    The very laws of the universe bend to accommodate (him). If there's only one in a million chance (he) could succeed at something, (he)'ll accomplish it with flying colors. If the logical outcome of the story would end in (his) failure, a Deus ex Machina will ensure (his) victory. Nothing is too implausible for (him) to accomplish, whether it be going from Rags to Royalty(hated exile to beloved ruler of the world's only openly multi-ethnic community), killing an Eldritch Abomination(or at least staring down a centipede-spirit that lives in a boiling lake), or bringing about world peace(technically he hasn't done this yet, but it's repeatedly implied that Dragon's Wings is the world's Last Best Hope For Peace).

  • (Near)Omniscient Morality License: Zuko has encyclopedic knowledge of this Alternate Universe's history, politics, sciences and metaphysics, half gained from his highly dangerous childhood in the Fire Lord's court, and half from his previous life as a secret conspirator against that court. The only things that have surprised Zuko to date are a very well-planned booby trap involving an Eldritch Abomination and his uncle praying for assistance Zuko didn't want. All of his actions, no matter how cruel or destructive, thus have a reason that is fully justified in-story, meaning everyone who does not do exactly what he says the instant he says it is screwing up the world even worse. Yes, even capturing Aang and delivering him to Ozai for the Evil Overlord to do as he would with him would have been better than the Gaang fighting him... because that would have prevented Karma Houdini Azula from becoming Fire Lord in Chapter 88.

Nov 16th 2013 at 5:55:34 AM •••


1) Fire-Healer, the very basic change before Vathara realized she was going full AU.

2) Yaoren, A position that he doesn't want but uses because, in this AU, he is practical enough to see the advantages of two elements.

3) Reincarnate, The thing he remembers with the most clarity is him dieing, everything else is like a washed out painting or dream. You consider this a good thing?

4) dragon-child, I don't know why you thinks this is a plus and I will show you why it is not, A) In this AU, because he is a dragon-child, Zuko cannot lie with out it hurting him, he has stated plainly that he "doesn't understand people, I try and I try but I don't", he has also said that he is insane because he has to much dragon blood to be healthy. There are other reason that being a dragon child is not all sunshine and roses but I just got up ten minutes ago.

5) Master Diplomat, are you not reading the story or do you not know what diplomacy is? Diplomacy is the art of compromise, and because Zuko is a dragon-child, crazy, and does not understand people he is very bad at diplomacy. What Zuko is good at, that you seem to confuse with diplomacy, is giving and taking orders.

6)Thief of Asagitatsu; he is the Thief of Asagitatsu because he stole the fires of Asagitatsu from Makoto and gave them back to the volcano spirit.

7)The Lord of Dragon's Wings, Zuko is an Exile and the Thief of Asagitatsu; The first circumvents a loophole in this AU and the second won him respect from the Spirit in the Volcano they live in.

8) Tactical Genius; This is mainly extrapolation on Zuko's genetics, Zuko is the direct descendent of Sozin, the man able to attack the four corners of the world at the same time. His uncle is the Dragon of the West and his teacher for the last three years, and finally his sister is Azula, the person able to conquer Ba Sing Se from the inside. Remember that Zuko only got to be a "Tactical Genius" after he has got most of his problems sorted out.

9)Kanaloa-spooker; This is what it means to be a Yaoren. Also remember that at the time Zuko is a fire and water bender so he and that Kanaloa have the same "powers". Also remember that Zuko had the Kanaloa in a position of weakness and that after it went back to being just the water he still thought it could and would kill him and everyone else.

10) encyclopedic knowledge; Zuko was a prince, in a land was going through an industrial age, until he was thirteen. After that he was mentored by the Grand Master of the White Lotus for three years. After all this he got some information from his past life as I pointed out above.

11) Surprised Zuko, I do not know what you mean by this? Do you mean only the Big Things that happen in this story or thing that just surprised him? I will assume that you mean anything that surprised him in the story. I may have forgot some of the things that surprised so can someone help me in this latter? Zuko was surprised;

a) that he could heal and that he was better at it than his Uncle.

b) He was surprised and sadden that he had to give up Asahi to get into Ba Sing Se.

c)That he was a water bender, etc.

These are all in the first ten-fifteen chapters

12) All of his actions...; I do not see where you get this at all so I will try to break it down a little. a)cruel or destructive; when was Zuko cruel in this story? b)...does not do exactly...; where do you get this? I am series please tell me where you got this. Zuko does not have all the answers and he knows that. c) Zuko stopped trying to capture Aang when he realized that, because he was able to water bend, that he was "tainted" in the eye's of the Fire Nation. This also does not hold any water at all because; guess what?, Ozai is dead! The thing about Azula is simple; that's life, sometimes the bad guys win in life because they are the bad guys. There is a small difference though; Azula was legally insane when she did all those bad things, and in America insanity is a valid defense and now she is on "medication"(the waterbent wall in her mind).

766 words in Office Word, holy shit

Edited by
Nov 16th 2013 at 6:36:59 AM •••

Reincarnate: LOADS of inside knowledge on elements and politics and so on and so forth. He has Patton and Churchill in his head. So he remembers dying - it's still loads of power.

Dragon-child: Power, Power, POWER!!! Freakin' Tim Taylor here...

Master Diplomat: He got Kuei to voluntarily give up part of his domain to a member of the family that conquered all of it. Master.

Thief of Asagitatsu/Lord of Dragon's Wings: HE HAS HIS OWN COUNTRY!

Count them off. EMBERS!ZUKO HAS MORE POWER AND SKILL THAN ALL THE NON-FIRE NATIONALS COMBINED. And the Fire Nation has the same edge on the rest of the world. If he/the Fire Nation had all this power and skill, why didn't he/they capture Aang/conquer the world in Book One?
Surprised Zuko: those are the only two times his ignorance of something has even slowed him down, instead of an author trick to make him a woobie.
Bad Things Zuko Did That Are Completely Good By Vathara's Standards;

Invading the Southern Water Tribe = Just Following Orders(and precognitive spirit-help to get Aang moving), obviously no one would be stupid enough to leave village undefended so Kanna is super-villain, he should be ready to kill her.

Burning Kyoshi Island = Just Following Orders(and precognitive spirit-help to keep Aang moving), Aang's fault for using fans, Zuko just started a few tiny fires, and the Avatar is the Fire Nation's enemy like the Fire Lord is the Earth Kingdom's enemy, no one would hesitate to bomb Coventry flat to get either.

Kidnapping Aang = Just Following Orders.(and precognitive spirit-help to keep Aang away from Zhao)

Just Following Orders/Capturing Aang is Good For The Fire Nation And Good For The World = giving Aang to his father for him to torture/eat would keep crazybitch Azula from becoming Fire Lord.

Gah. When most people just write smutty fanfic about Edward Cullen, they admit it. I've been sitting through ninety chapters of Zuko-fondling because the rest of her stuff isn't so biased.

Nov 16th 2013 at 6:55:17 AM •••

I give up; you see what you want to see and you put you fingers in your ears and go "LALALA I can't hear you". You asked someone to explain why you are wrong, I sited things in the fic and all you can do back is CAPS LOCK talk.

Nov 16th 2013 at 7:05:58 AM •••

I am talking about the tropes Black Hole Sue and Omniscient Morality License. The means that he acquired those tropes are irrelevant - the point is that there is significant evidence that he has them, yet someone deleted them from the page.

Edited by
Nov 16th 2013 at 9:46:25 AM •••

And jwagne51 gave conclusive evidence as to why those two tropes don't fit, but as they stated, you ignore them and just keep spouting the same, disproven theories you cribbed from someone else. And that is the absolute LAST time I engage with such an obvious troll.

Nov 16th 2013 at 10:17:31 AM •••

Oh geez, Kalaong, put a sock in it already. What part of Asagitatsu's lands do you understand was never Earth Kingdom to begin with? When was being a reincarnate of someone else ever a good thing? Being torn apart by two different elements vying for expression in a body that is physically human?

Alright, let's do something else, everyone. What kind of cracked argument technique is Kalaong shooting for? Quick, before our discussion page gets deleted again!

Nov 16th 2013 at 10:39:11 AM •••

;;frantically waves hand in air;; Oooh, ooh, pick me! I'll make a pretty good case for the Strawman Fallacy. And definitely Ad Hominem whenever Zuko or anyone of Fire ancestry is involved.

Nov 16th 2013 at 10:43:00 AM •••

Black Hole Sue and Omniscient Morality License are explicitly about the sheer number and magnitude of a character's abilities. And Zuko individually has more and greater abilities than most cheap sentai groups have combined. Demonstrate how these statements are not true;

The very laws of the universe bend to accommodate (him). If there's only one in a million chance (he) could succeed at something, (he)'ll accomplish it with flying colors. If the logical outcome of the story would end in (his) failure, a Deus ex Machina will ensure (his) victory. Nothing is too implausible for (him) to accomplish, whether it be going from Rags to Royalty(hated exile to beloved ruler of the world's only openly multi-ethnic community), killing an Eldritch Abomination(or at least staring down a centipede-spirit that lives in a boiling lake), or bringing about world peace(technically he hasn't done this yet, but it's repeatedly implied that Dragon's Wings is the world's Last Best Hope For Peace). If she is so inclined, she may do all that before sitting down to a breakfast consisting of the original story.

This is fairly blatant author favoritism in effect, with the author using his or her effective position as God of the story to carry the character through by her hands. In the rare cases when Sue fails, it will usually be a temporary setback that will either prove advantageous in the end or else just serve to hammer in the point of how special the character is. These failures can often involve just as much Deus ex Machina as her successes, setting up events in which she logically shouldn't fail.

Because of this, the character just ends up rather boring to witness. Heroes might be naturally predisposed to winning and some villains might never seem to be taken care of, but Black Hole Sue does away with anything resembling logic to prop up the characters. It stops being a story and just becomes more like a fictionalized resume of improbably fantastic deeds.

A character with an Omniscient Morality License is usually one of the Powers That Be or very close to it. They can do anything to the hero(like repeatedly attempt to capture and present them to a genocidal evil overlord) and still be considered one of the good guys because they know it will turn out okay, regardless of the seeming randomness of chance and choices made. Sometimes this is attributed to supernatural rules (like the Balance Between Good and Evil{supernatural empowerment}) or Time Travel(knowledge gained through reincarnation).

If the heroes were to attempt anything resembling these actions, they would be called on it by their manipulated "friends"(like giving away the entire plan for an all-or-nothing invasion) and punished by the plot for their arrogance. This trope is defied (their license revoked) when the heroes rebel against them for playing God.

Can you dispute the following four words? Zuko Is Always Right.

That is what makes him a Black Hole Sue with an Omniscient Morality License.

Nov 16th 2013 at 11:16:23 AM •••

So, I leave to go to bed and the page explodes. I, too, will ignore the troll who has to result to capslock and the bold button. Seriously, dude, get a grip. Blackflamerose, please do! I do feel kind of sorry for Zuko, though. He's getting a first-hand lesson in what it feels like to lose a family member's flame. I wonder what Azula's going through? And did Iroh feel it? I doubt Ursa did.

Edited by
Nov 16th 2013 at 11:26:43 AM •••

Okay, lesson learned. Zuko Is Always Right. If I ever meet him IRL, I will set entire cities on fire for him. Goodbye.

Nov 16th 2013 at 11:37:09 AM •••

Thank you, Kalaong, for being such a shining example of ignorance and willful stupidity; you are the Fan Dumb. Good Day, Sir/Madam.

Nov 16th 2013 at 11:57:18 AM •••

scrolls through Neo Shiraku's link of cracked internet argument techniques
: I see number #4 and #6 in play again. I think there's also a bit of #9 in Kalaong's last post.

But seriously, Kalaong. Could you display your shameful ignorance even further for us? Reincarnation is NOT Time travel. Time travel is NOT reincarnation. Since you're too lazy to look up the meaning in the dictionary, I will point some good ones from 1) the Hindu or Buddhist doctrine that person may be reborn successively into one of five classes of living beings (god or human or animal or hungry ghost or denizen of hell) depending on the person's own actions; 2) a second or new birth; 3) embodiment in a new form (especially the reappearance or a person in another form).

Example: the Avatar.

Moon Howler and Neo Shiraku, feel free to guess which cracked argument Kalaong is using this time.

Nov 16th 2013 at 12:46:35 PM •••

I think ze's trying to pull a bit of #1, #4, and #6. So, what do you guys think is happening with Azula, Iroh, and Ursa? And will S Hidan be happy that Ozai's dead, or ticked that he wasn't the one to kill him?

EDIT: I'm reading the Fan Dumb page, and I believe I've found at least a couple that I think describe Kalaong- Culture Alien, Anarchist, Loyalist Complainer, Purist, Unpleasable Fan, and a version of Willfully Blind.

Edited by
Nov 16th 2013 at 1:29:29 PM •••

And the funniest part of all this? All the qualities that supposedly make Zuko a Black Hole Sue with an Omniscient Morality License actually describe a protagonist in a High Fantasy setting. Specifically, that's a pretty dead on description of Rand al'Thor! Would they consider ROBERT JORDAN an apologist hack if he were writing this fic?

Nov 16th 2013 at 1:48:57 PM •••

Azula has the Caldera in the bag...for a while, anyways. Depending on if Zuko and Aang can defeat their respective enemies, then the position of Fire Lord will be no more. I'm sure Byakko will be celebrating, but I think Ursa may mourn privately. Azula and Zuko? Azula may actually express some genuine grief, but will be too busy lapping up the people's applause as Great Name of the Caldera. Zuko may just do what his mother will do, and Iroh...well, I don't think he'll need a token expression of grief.

Rest in Peace, Robert Jordan. Your successor has gotten all your books on the shelf, and I loved them all as if they were my own children. blackflamerose, leave Rand alone. It's not his fault everyone wants a piece of the Dragon. Lews Therin really screwed up, and Rand had to pick up the pieces. Don't think I blame Kuzon though.

Nov 16th 2013 at 2:01:00 PM •••

@cetraskies: Heh heh, not picking on Rand, just pointing out that when reality LITERALLY reshapes itself around you as a plot point, Black Hole Sue may have some merit. Zuko is nowhere near Dragon Reborn levels. And again, High Fantasy setting. Overpowered protags are kinda expected.

Nov 16th 2013 at 2:04:43 PM •••

There's a reason why Zuko is the protagonist for Embers. Heck, any character that is the central focus of any plot or story may very well be the Black Hole Sue. But you are right. Zuko is nowhere near Rand's level.

Though, would you think that Zuko is at least Kuzon's level before his time of death? What do you all think?

Nov 16th 2013 at 2:09:56 PM •••

It depends on what you mean-if you're talking sword-skill, then no, not really. That improves greatly with much practice and Zuko hasn't gotten nearly as much as Kuzon. Element skill? Hell yeah. Plus, on swords, Kuzon's actually trying to screw Zuko over-if he pulls on Kuzon's memory, his center of balance and reach are off because Kuzon was taller.

Nov 16th 2013 at 2:39:46 PM •••

Curious. For those who read The Wheel of Time books, you'll know about Rand and Lews Therin.

blackflamerose, do you think that Zuko and Kuzon's special connection is anything at all like Rand's and Lews Therin's?

Nov 16th 2013 at 3:10:37 PM •••

Kalaong, this has been bugging me for ages, but I'll just ask straight out:


Seriously, I'm reading along, "La-di-da... cetraskies said this, Moon Howler said that, now this person down here... Kah-long? Kah-lah-ong? Kah-lay-ong? カラアング?" Sorry, I just don't get it...

Edited by
Nov 16th 2013 at 6:17:32 PM •••

@Pujurak Kah-lah-ong. It's a town in Mindanao.

Nov 16th 2013 at 8:05:41 PM •••

I noticed you haven't actually answered any of the rebuttals to your "points" Kalaong, dear. I know you won't, you're a gutless sack of crap, but I just wanted to let you know that I noticed; we all did.

Nov 17th 2013 at 10:11:01 AM •••

@Neo Shiraku Hey now; no need to be crude. Argumentative little children are reading.

A person's misinterpretation is our interpretation of our opinions getting twisted into an alternate opinion that we do not personally agree with and/or understand. Perhaps you have heard the phrase that "Everyone is entitled to their own wrong opinion"? While this is most commonly used as a way to insult a person by saying that "this person is obviously wrong, but that's their problem and not ours", I'd like to think of it in a less demeaning way. Instead, I prefer this interpretation better: "Whether you are wrong or right doesn't matter. There will always be someone out there waiting to disagree with you, and to tell you that your views of these matters are wrong, regardless of the fact that they may or may not be able to back up their arguments with logic or another old recycled point. That really is their problem. Whether or not their arguments are valid and worth debating, that is for you to decide."

You can't really pry a person's lips open and drag the words you want to hear from out of them. Once you accept the fact that you have not the power to force them to accept your judgement, than what's the point of name-calling? It won't help. I doubt it will really make anyone feel better. If anything, it'll just make things worse. Which, if that is your intended plan of action, makes you no better than those people who keep on with what they're doing just for the sake of arguing their case.

Pujurak has spoken.

Edited by
Nov 17th 2013 at 11:49:12 AM •••

The facts have been plainly laid out for Kalaong, again and again; you're new here, so I know you wouldn't understand how annoying it is to try to educate someone who's being so willfully ignorant and stupid, but we've long since lost our patience for their continued gutless evasion tactics.

Opinions don't change in-story facts; opinions are and have always been subjective things, facts are what you want to have when building an argument.

Nov 17th 2013 at 12:45:55 PM •••

Just wait for Kalaong to start in on another one of its tiresome tirades, Pururak. I once was as innocent and green as you were, coming to the fanfic and this page, and you'll see just how Kalaong likes to present its arguments. Try not to be disappointed as you dismantle point for point.

Neo Shiraku, you really said it. I've been wondering this for a while now...does the lowliest demagogue have more credibility than our resident troll? What do you all think? Is it fair for me to even think it?

Nov 17th 2013 at 1:39:00 PM •••

I think it's perfectly fair; at least they have the courage of their convictions.

Nov 17th 2013 at 2:42:10 PM •••

If the demagogue is willing to listen to explanations and pay attention to facts, then sure!

Nov 17th 2013 at 7:17:53 PM •••

That's a good point, too. Kalaong is somewhere on the level of those brainless fundamentalists when it comes to having reality slap them in the face and then proceeding to ignore it.

Nov 17th 2013 at 9:22:05 PM •••

So harsh, but true, Neo Shiraku. But shouldn't we be discussing more important things?

Like how Aang vs. Koh is going to go. Obviously, this little chat between the vessel of the World-Spirit and said spirit's first child isn't going to end well. Zuko may end up fighting alongside Aang. Langxue too, come to that. Shirong may have to dive in as well.

One of the reviewers has reminded me that Zuko is invisible to spirits. Does that mean Koh can't see Zuko? From Zuko's point of view, since he has memories of being Kuzon in a past life, Koh may know about Zuko. But does he?

Nov 17th 2013 at 11:45:10 PM •••

Well, given how Aang is already having to work to control his emotional reactions, I think that if he somehow finds out about Zuko being Kuzon reincarnated, it might get more of a reaction out of him than would be healthy for anyone.

Nov 18th 2013 at 7:43:45 AM •••

Oh, I have a question! Remember when Roku said that if Aang is killed in the Avatar State, which he is currently in, the Avatar will cease to exist? Does that mean the Avatar Spirit dies, or just stops reincarnating? Because that could be an important distinction for Koh to make.

Nov 18th 2013 at 9:48:39 AM •••

Zuko tends to overestimate his enemies...but with Koh, it could be different. Will Koh recognize Zuko, who knows who he was before? Zuko, who is invisible to spirits? Or will Koh see not the former Prince of the Fire Nation, but Kuzon?

Ah, maybe that's it. Koh won't recognize Zuko, but Kuzon. Koh may even call Zuko "Kuzon", taunting both Zuko and Aang, causing the Avatar to make one facial expression (shock, horror), and that's the moment when Koh will get Aang.

Moon Howler, I think Koh wants the Avatar Spirit to himself, meaning he wants the World-Spirit alive, er, existing. Perhaps Koh knows how to stop the World-Spirit from finding another human host.

Nov 18th 2013 at 10:30:09 AM •••

@Neo Shiraku: So... why keep trying to add fuel to the fire if you're sick of all the flames? @Cetraskies: Right. I'm new and don't know any better. Maybe that's true. But why bother trying to educate someone who clearly isn't listening to you, point after point? Wouldn't it be better to just step out of firing range? This isn't like a face-to-face argument. You guys have time here to choose carefully what you do and do not say. I'd think it'd be far easier to step away and start ignoring rather than to keep going in circles on the chess board of logic - or the utter lack of.

Look, I'm not trying to come off as a know-it-all idiot. I'm just tired of watching you people trying to hold up your banners of fact to someone who obviously isn't looking at them, and then getting into a hissy fit with them whenever they reappear. I'm sure it's annoying to have your beloved fanfic twisted around in the instigating way the trolls present it, but this has been going on for a while now. If y'all have stopped being surprised, why not stop engaging? Otherwise, you're just doing what they want.

@Moon Howler: Aang is not in the Avatar State when he's in the Spirit World - Avatar State is going glowy. Presently, Aang's not glowy. But I'm kind of thinking that he can't go into the Avatar State when he's in the spirit world. He can't bend there, right? And even if he could, he hasn't mastered the Avatar State yet in the story, so the only way he'd be going glowy was if he was having some sort of major emotional outburst, in which case Koh would steal his face long before Aang started tossing elements.

Nov 18th 2013 at 11:09:52 AM •••

But to get into the Spirit World he has to go glowy! He sits down, meditates, and glows! And I thought Zuko was going after Makoto, not Koh.

Nov 18th 2013 at 12:10:23 PM •••

Oh yeah; sorry, I forgot about that! :0 Zuko IS going after Makoto.

"Makoto," Zuko gripped Teruko's arm, hoping she heard him. Hoping anybody heard him. "She's going for Asagitatsu's heart. We've got to stop her!"
The marine's voice was distant, washed over by screams like waves on the shore. "Sir, dragon... out there... no chance to get to the island..."
"No." Zuko swallowed, throat dry. "Not in this world."

Who said he was going after Koh? And also I wonder if Zuko has yet realized that Ozai is dead.

Like a shooting star, a fire in her heart flared and vanished.
No warmth. No comforting force of a will to power twinned with Makoto's own, a will that had faced neglect and indifference and burned all the stronger, conquering, ready to take what his elder brother would never give.
Emptiness. Her clan was gone. All of her blood who willed the human's destruction were gone.
... Heart a blaze of cinders, Makoto spat fire.
But he'd seen a flash of sky-blue wings, washed to gray by the comet's light. Felt the fires roar up in the harbor - and then everything had blurred.

Makoto felt it right away, whereas it was only after she caused the harbor fires to flare that Zuko got double vision, probably having gotten knocked back from the force of it. So... I personally don't think that he knows yet. And if he really doesn't now, who wants to bet that Makoto's gonna be the one to break it to him... while she's doing her utmost best to break him?

Edited by
Nov 18th 2013 at 1:39:41 PM •••

From what I got, Zuko felt something screwy, the fires flared, and then he got double vision, screwing with him even more. He might not realize what's happened, but he knows something's wrong.

Nov 18th 2013 at 1:46:27 PM •••

Pujurak, your concern is noted, but as you can see in my last post, my mind is on more relevant things.

Like Aang getting his face ripped off by Koh, who wants its Daddy (or Mommy? meh, whatever) back. If Zuko, Langxue and Shirong (possibly, if he's too busy helping on the surface of the physical world with the others keeping Asagitatsu tame) can stop Makoto in time...wait.

Makoto is angry at Koh. Is she going to go after him now, since he lied to her about not harming Ozai, her darling grandson? If so, then Aang will be facing two BigBads. Zuko and his yaoren allies will be coming after Makoto. Maybe the scales will be balanced then, if it's the Avatar plus the yaoren vs. Koh and Makoto...or even the Avatar + yaoren vs. Koh vs. Makoto.

Nov 18th 2013 at 2:39:05 PM •••

Wait, in those circumstances, Makoto would be trying to destroy Koh, not help him. Right now she's gone basically incandescent. This is going to be an interesting next chapter.

Nov 18th 2013 at 5:57:55 PM •••

Will all you dragon-worshipers jump on me if I want to add this to Ozai's entry?

Demoted to Dragon: of a Dragon. In canon, it took a fully-realized Avatar Aang with an 11th-Hour Superpower to beat him. In chapter 89, he receives a Disney Villain Death from Sokka's Precision-Guided Boomerang - in pretty much the same way Sokka nailed Zuko in the second canon episode... Which is just a footnote of the battle for Dragon's Wings. His grandmother Makoto is a far greater threat, and her threat potential was raised only due to several centuries working for Koh.

Edited by
Nov 18th 2013 at 9:22:44 PM •••

Even when you want to make sense, you still just can't resist spewing bullshit, can you Kalaong dear? It was cute, at first, but it's become tiresome.

Nov 18th 2013 at 10:13:47 PM •••

Come along now, Neo Shiraku. Let us put our heads together for some actual brainstorming.

If Makoto is angry at Koh for lying to her about not hurting Ozai, then she'll be likely to throw her weight against not just her treacherous blood (Zuko and Iroh), but the Avatar and Koh. Instead of Aang having to fight Koh, maybe he'll get lucky and not be seen, as Makoto will bring all her rage against Koh. Then again, that is hoping for a bit much, right?

But as a predator, a dragon, Makoto won't be able to resist fleeing prey. If Aang is smart, he won't move until Koh and Makoto are too engrossed in fighting one another.

Nov 18th 2013 at 10:21:39 PM •••

If Aang is smart, he'll cower behind Zuko until the fight's over. At least Zuko has the force of will to not be pushed around by Makoto's fire. Aang doesn't really.

Nov 18th 2013 at 10:46:21 PM •••

I have a feeling that won't be so, Moon Howler.

Aang is the typical idealistic, optimistic, caring Shounen hero who takes it upon himself to help anyone in need. Even if its one such as Koh. Knowing who Koh is, Aang will want to convert Koh into his line of thinking, hoping it will change Koh into stopping what he's doing. Which we all know won't happen, but for dreamers like Aang, it's possible. Stepping headlong into danger is what Aang does, remember how he jumped between Dragons' Wings and Fong's Earth Army?

Zuko will absolutely LOVE that. I can see it now: Makoto vs. Koh, Aang moving to stop them, and Zuko having to sit on Aang and dragging him away from the spiritual carnage.

Nov 18th 2013 at 10:51:39 PM •••

And probably slapping him upside the head every time he feels the need to punctuate the lecture. In my considered opinion, helped along by having younger cousins like Aang, they need a firm hand when they're being stupid and/or completely ridiculous. I would not be surprised if it involves Zuko's dragon-nails being clamped onto Aang's ear and pulling.

Nov 18th 2013 at 11:06:38 PM •••

Then Koh and Makoto will notice that the Avatar isn't alone. Seeing Zuko (or he'll think Kuzon) drag away the vessel of his parent away, Koh will go after Zuko and Aang. Makoto will give chase.

Huh. Can a dragon duke it out with a powerful spirit such as Koh, the World-Spirit's first child?

Nov 18th 2013 at 11:22:28 PM •••

I'm willing to bet that Makoto has a better than even chance, out of sheer old-aged meanness. Besides, dragon's are Agni's children. Doesn't that make them kind of spirits?

Nov 18th 2013 at 11:47:49 PM •••

That is an excellent question, Moon Howler. Maybe Makoto does have some clout, if Koh decided to make an alliance with her.

Nov 19th 2013 at 10:12:20 AM •••

Um, I read the Demoted to Dragon page. Can anyone give me a good reason as to why that wouldn't apply to Ozai in this fic?

Edited by
Nov 19th 2013 at 11:40:38 AM •••

Sure. Because he wasn't demoted-he made the logical error anyone would if they've never encountered a boomerang-he didn't think that it could come back. Also, he was still a badass and, as a dragon-child, even a dark dragon-child, who died abruptly with stuff he still needs to do, unless his spirit was ripped apart by the drowned, he's probably coming back as a ghost, which, as Temul has proven, can still be a pretty dangerous thing.

Nov 19th 2013 at 12:18:17 PM •••

And potentially a Ghost back up directly by Koh at that.

Nov 19th 2013 at 12:20:57 PM •••

Actually, Demoted to Dragon has nothing to do with lowering their ability, just Moving the Goalposts. Originally, Ozai was the Big Bad. Now he's two steps below the real Big Bad. In theory, he's not any weaker. In practice, his relative threat level is two steps below "Primary Threat." Hence demotion. It doesn't have to mean your owner tearing symbols off your uniform, it can just mean him saying, "You take orders from this woman instead of me, now. And she takes orders from that guy. Et cetera..."

Nov 20th 2013 at 12:24:27 AM •••

The trope you're looking for would be Bigger Bad; Ozai hadn't been demoted to anything before he was killed, the full scope of the threat(s) simply hadn't been revealed yet.

Nov 20th 2013 at 2:53:12 AM •••

Or, on further consideration, the trope you'd be looking for is The Man Behind the Man.

Nov 20th 2013 at 12:18:08 PM •••

Yeah doesn't work as demoted to dragon happen when a new villain comes along, but Koh's been the Big bad from the beginning and we've known this for a while. This is an AU remember?

In many ways I think this was a better defeat of Ozai than the cartoon. No everybody for this totally human threat you don't need a supernatural entity, yes in every battle the difference between victory and defeat can be luck, and yes Ozai needed to die.

The middle one is important I think, chance is very important in battle and it was nice to see that played with just a bit.

Nov 20th 2013 at 7:02:06 PM •••

Either way you put it, it sounds more like Sokka Took a Level In Badass, which is accurate.

Nov 20th 2013 at 8:22:20 PM •••

Sokka is finally shown for his true character. He's always been cool to me, though.

I wonder if we'll ever get to see the other two Deaths. Byakko and Asagitatsu are accounted for, but we've only heard of Suzaku (Akitori) and Genbu (Kurokame) are only referenced in passing.

I'm thinking there has to be some more dragons there...maybe even more hidden Airbenders.

Nov 20th 2013 at 8:32:13 PM •••

Actually I think Sokka's the same level of badass he was in canon he just gets to show it more.

Cetra IIRC it's mentioned yes the other two Volcano's are guarded by Dragons, but it was also said that they are too far away for people to reach.

Nov 20th 2013 at 10:07:17 PM •••

Also the fact that they take a very long time to erupt; roughly every 2000 and 4000 years.

Edited by
Nov 20th 2013 at 10:09:48 PM •••

I do think that, since the beginning of the fic, most of the cast have taken multiple levels in badass. Maybe not Iroh-he's taken multiple levels in Stupid and Asshole.

Nov 20th 2013 at 10:28:35 PM •••

Every character has their greatest qualities well as their dark sides and great flaws. Iroh is a good man, a great man even. Great men do make great mistakes.

Nov 20th 2013 at 11:59:18 PM •••

I would venture to say that the quantity of Iroh's mistakes, plus his unwillingness to accepts facts, explanations, and changes removes the 'great' from his list of titles.

Nov 21st 2013 at 4:22:37 PM •••

Iroh is an old General during the First World War. The tactics he used to great effect in the past no longer work and he hasn't realized that yet. Until he does, or until a younger officer takes control from him he's just going to get people killed.

Nov 21st 2013 at 5:59:57 PM •••

You guys are merciless. It's not like Iroh's general of anything anymore. The White Lotus will decide what to do with Iroh, since he's been told he has no authority in Dragon's Wings.

Nov 22nd 2013 at 3:53:54 PM •••

Iroh has had some epic moments of awesome throughout this fic, but mostly in the beginning and middle. I think that other then just plot (get Iroh to the North Pole and leave Zuko at Dragon's Wings) Vathara might be using the situation with Zuko for some character development for him. After all Iroh started off as epic badass, he has to fall first before he can regain that, with hopefully some additions.

Nov 26th 2013 at 12:04:26 AM •••

Well, I think it's been said that the most crucial lessons are the ones that are most difficult to learn.

Nov 30th 2013 at 10:07:14 AM •••

I personally see the situation with Iroh as that of a man so caught up in his genius that he fails to see what is going on around him. As True Metis put it, he is used to strategies and technologies that are now outdated, and it will be difficult for him to adjust accordingly. I don't think, however, that this ought invalidate his past greatness, just make him less helpful an advisor/strategician in the present. Also, I don't really think, as Lady Shinigami suggested, that after these mistakes, Iroh will own up to them, step up and take a level or two in badass.

Embers is something of a coming-of-age story, after all, and what better way to have Zuko, the G Aang, and all the younger characters step up to the plate than by showing that the old guard is unable to deal as effectively with these more modern threats...

Nov 30th 2013 at 8:23:33 PM •••

The following is transcribed from Fridge/FanFic, and was originally suggested by Tombcannon.

  • Embers originally had me quite annoyed. It was loaded Fire Nation apologetics, used to paint literally the whole Fire Nation - every single one of them, even Sozin, as innocent victims of a ruthless Avatar Kyoshi off on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge. At the same time, Katara and Aang were mysteriously transmogrified into Idiot Ball carriers with one-dimensional, mind-numbingly ridiculous takes on life that were completely contrary to the personalities established over Season One's canon (which the fanfic claimed to be adhering to). Throw in Dragon!Zuko the fire-water dual-wielding reincarnation of Kuzon, erase every single bad decision he made in canon and make him a self-flagellating noble hero who can do no wrong, add awesome into everything Zuko does and have the multitudes of Original Characters taking his side, reminding the reader in stylized "monologues" of exactly how fantastic Zuko is, hide behind a variety of excuses ranging from everyone being an Unreliable Narrator to "There are no excuses, only reasons" (suspending this rule if your name is Zuko or Iroh or you're Fire Nation)... this is officially the most brilliant satire/trollfic of all the hundreds of less well-presented fanfics with similar plotlines. Realizing all that, then going back and reading Embers from the start... Vathara is a genius. A genius..

Edited by
Nov 30th 2013 at 10:09:33 PM •••

Except that this is patently incorrect. Zouge's early death was the result of whiplashing loyalty ties, and so Sozin consciously chose to avoid all ties of loyalty...

However, dearest Kalaong, arguing with you is about as productive as arguing with my kindergarteners, so I simply shan't waste neither my time nor breath on it.

If you are American, or if you celebrated it for whatever reason, I hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving, though, and this sentiment is not strictly limited to Kalaong.

Dec 1st 2013 at 8:56:29 AM •••

@Kalaong. Something I simply do not understand is this. Embers is a fanfiction, one that is explicitly stated on the first page, indeed the first paragraph, to be Zuko centric... If you dislike, and indeed seem to hate, this story so much... Why do you read it? I mean you no offense, my apologies if I do offend... I simply do not understand why you continue to read something that you so obviously dislike when there is so much other (G Aang centric) fanfiction on and other sites. I hope the day finds you, and other readers here, well.

Dec 1st 2013 at 9:47:16 AM •••

Hunter_Rialla: Good question, and one we've asked before, though no helpful answer has yet been provided...

Edited by
Dec 1st 2013 at 11:25:26 AM •••

Kalaong is the voice of the Fan Dumb; this really no longer surprises me. I'm just happy that I don't have to deal with this kind of bullshit in the FMA fandom; Edward Elric has the same views on killing as Aang does, and the narrative never coddled him.

Dec 1st 2013 at 4:37:40 PM •••

@Hunter_Rialla Because all her other fics are great - why is this one so unapologetically insane?

Edited by
Dec 1st 2013 at 6:48:22 PM •••

@Kalaong. I must admit (my apologies) that I still do not understand. There have been authors whom I've read where I strongly enjoy, indeed adore, most of his or her work... but there are some works I despise. I... simply do not read said works and wait for a work that I do enjoy to be put out. But perhaps it is also a case that you are hoping that the author, who's other works you enjoy so much, will perhaps happen upon this and see that not everyone agrees with her view points and... if not sway her path at least have her explain herself in a way that makes sense to you and bridges the gulf between? I do know that, at least in earlier chapters, Vanthara made references to the TV Tropes page and discussions. As always, I strive to offend none, should I do so, my apologies. I simply wish to understand both sides of the conversation. I myself overall enjoy Embers, but that is because I know much of the culture Vanthara is pulling from and thus have seen some of the plot points, or twists, coming. ...I honestly wish I could have a discussion with her about char loam and how the inter-tribal warfare works in the southern tribes, if any are still present save what we saw (which is really not enough a gene pool for short term (50 people) or long term (500) survival. But then again, I am an odd duck who was reading college level books like 'The Other Sapient Race' in Middle School^^

Dec 1st 2013 at 8:17:22 PM •••

Char loam? Sounds interesting; do share!

Dec 1st 2013 at 9:15:27 PM •••

Oh lord, save us from the Fan Dumb.

I hope you had a good Thanksgiving, too, Aoife Moran.

Hunter_Rialla, I myself would like to know how a desert tribe made up of two different benders (Nations, even) were able to survive UNDERGROUND for centuries without losing their culture as some do when forced to move. The Touzaikaze simply fascinate me, and as the fic looks like it will end in several chapters, most likely dealing with the different battles with the G Aang, Zuko's group, and Azula, I would have liked to know what kind of sword style the only known airbending healer (Eshe) practices. The fact that she even has one makes me wonder how in the world her tribe was able to have such a treasure, when swords are hard to make.

Dec 1st 2013 at 11:00:57 PM •••

@Aoife Moran My assumption with charloam is that the concept began on the studies of the old 'slash and burn' practices used in areas with deciduous forests (doesn't work as well in rainforests or evergreen forests, soil is often too poor)... although it might instead be based on the oddly light soil that results from the natural yearly forest fires you see in places like the Florida Everglades, where the LACK of fires has actually caused many problems with plant growth, dying and fires that are now raging out of control. But I can not be certain.

@certraskies Ah yes, I do agree with that! My thought on the swords was that, since the desert tribes seemed to be heavily based off the Egyptian cultures (given their naming trends) they simply stayed underground at night or through the heavy storms and travel above during the day. For swords, Egyptians were metal craftsman (I keep hoping we'll see a khopesh in use, it is my favorite sword^^) The blending of the two nations could explain the sudden culture of the Nile, rather than the Tibetian or Chinese cultures they initial hailed from, mayhaps.

Dec 1st 2013 at 11:26:47 PM •••

Hunter_Rialla, swords are heavy. I suppose that's how the Touzaikaze stay fit, eh? Carrying swords on their backs, trekking across the desert...I would like to see the Khopesh in use as well (maybe the men of the Touzaikaze use it?). And Eshe herself said to Kuei in chapter 52 that heavy storms are something that only a fool, like one particular airbender, would go through.

I believe I may be stereotyping the Sandbenders within the Touzaikaze. While really Earthbenders, maybe the sandbenders don't think of themselves as part of a "Nation". Well, maybe the early sandbenders who came in contact with the Touzaikaze. The sandbenders we see in canon seem more to be the pirate-raiders of the desert, a lot more free-spirited than the regular earthbender in Ba Sing Se or from whatever city in the Earth Kingdom. Perhaps the Touzaikaze and the sandbenders saw each other as kindred spirits then, and the sandbenders decided to help the airbending tribe out some.

Dec 2nd 2013 at 3:30:34 AM •••

Cetraskies, I'm not sure I follow the point you're trying to make. As i understood it, the Touzaikaze are a people composed of air AND earth, and possibly more than just those (see the bit where we learn that "ancestress Kamut left us more than just water's gift," which seems to suggest they have waterbenders too). So to refer to the sandbenders as a distinct group, to me, makes no sense. The Touzaikaze are a nomadic, mixed-element (predominantly earth, I think, as its implied the airbenders are products of long-ago rapes by the White Wind?) group, and contain within them canon's sandbenders, who do not see themselves as distinct from the Touzaikaze.

Dec 2nd 2013 at 11:30:54 AM •••

@Moon Howler I honest hope that Aang and Zuko do a Back to Back badass scene.

Dec 2nd 2013 at 1:29:21 PM •••

Aoife Moran, the Touzaikaze are (were) an Air Nomad tribe. Captain Lu-Shan of Ba Sing Se sees the rare color of her eyes, thinking she's blind, and Fire Sergeant Yakume thinks she may be an offspring by an ancestral product of rape by some long ago Air Nomad tribe (because that's what those of the Fire Nation would think). When Eshe told Kuei about her tribe a bit (and from what she said, they have been around for as long as the White Wind), I started to think that if some of the tribes died out, then how did manage to stay alive and preserve their culture? The raids of the White Wind (possibly Xiangchen's disciples as well), Wan Shi Tong...they would have been decimated. Enter the sandbenders and a whole bunch of deals, generations of cooperation, friendship, marriage, and we have the current Touzaikaze mentioned in the story. Also, Eshe told Kuei that the Touzaikaze hid underground, so the White Wind did not find them.

Edited by
Dec 9th 2013 at 11:46:39 PM •••

Hmmm... a though, if I may. Perhaps we are looking at the Touzaikaze/Sandbenders the wrong way. Perhaps this odd culture, which is SO different from the Earth Kingdom norm was not always like this. After all, the Sandbender bending style in canon incorporates a LOT of airbending motions... perhaps what we are seeing is an end result of a blending of cultures. One of the Air Nomad tribes who settled out on the desert and intermarried/mingled with a small group of Earth Kingdom natives. The cultures and bending styles, etc, blurred and melded over the years, especially after they found the cave system with it's underwater river with the end result being the Touzaikaze/Sandbenders of the 'modern' era. Indeed it's quite possible that many of the 'sand benders' we saw were in fact airbenders themselves. The earthbenders move the wind by controlling the sand. The airbenders move the sand by controlling the wind. The motions and final effect are almost identical and thus, just as Katara was able to fake being an earthbender, these peoples also 'pass muster'... it'd also explain part of why they are so hostile to outsiders... there are secrets to keep. If this subject was brought up prior, my apologies, I must have missed or misunderstood it.

Dec 10th 2013 at 10:23:12 AM •••

Keep talking, Hunter_Rialla.

I may have brought up the subject before, but there's no reason why we shouldn't revisit it. As it is, you've already looked into something I never really thought about.

The first time we see the Sandbenders in canon, they are indeed quite hostile. I agree with you, Hunter, that the Sandbenders have secrets. I think they've been keeping the Touzaikaze's secrets for a long, long, LONG time. Though seeing Toph learn to bend sand in canon (it took her a while to get used to it, but she did it), I don't believe the sandbenders were airbenders moving the sand. They probably did incorporate some of the original Touzaikaze's bending moves with their own, though. I imagine many earthbenders may have had difficulty moving sand, so looking and learning and cooperating with the Air Nomad tribe for generations and centuries taught them what they needed to know.

I have to say that I think that the sandbenders that took Appa could have been Touzaikaze. If not, they were just some local group of sandbenders who decided to take a rare Sky Bison to the Touzaikaze as a gift...maybe even to impress some girl.

Dec 10th 2013 at 5:31:41 PM •••

Well, the first thing that comes to my mind is a very, VERY old saying... Egyptian, if I remember correctly, although (it's been more than a decade since I last did serious research on said subject area) I may be misremembering. 'Does the wind shape the sand dunes, or do the sand dunes shape the wind?' The meaning behind this saying is, of course, referring to the manner in which the wind in deserts pushes and carries the sand to form the ever changing dunes... it also refers to the manner in which the shape of the dunes directs the wind, creating lees or areas where the wind is funneled, etc. This is what I was thinking of with my thought that in Vanthara Verse at least some of the sandbenders may be air benders. Indeed, recall if you will the 'drill' of fire and water that pulled air along as an unwilling prisoner in the escape from the bay. Also, Zuko's trick with the burning leaves to direct/control the wind (also how he moved heated water or sand). The concept behind it remains the same and sand's loose composition would be idle for air bending 'fakery'... Even in the canon show we see an example of this, as the canon sandbenders bent the sand to generate the dust devils to create wind with which they pushed their sandgliders. Again, this point is moot as it is impossible to gather further information until we see/interact with our (admittedly limited) database of Touzaikaze in the series further... which I strongly support as it would mean more time with the Earth King! How can you go wrong with the Earth King!?

I sadly find myself disagreeing on the capture of Appa for Vanthara Verse (my apologies), as even in this AU, the benders in question immediately sold Appa to the 'beetle' merchants; and given that should this particular group be the Touzaikaze or affiliated with them, they would be aware of the strong connection sky bison have with their riders... which means that to steal one would result in the owner chasing their bison to the ends of the earth and beyond (which admittedly is a very good reason to sell him off as quickly as possible and DOES actually provide some further evidence of 'knowledge of air nomads or at least bison riders - they knew how to capture him, and they knew to sell him FAST and to people who would cart him even further away at some speed)

as an aside THERE is a culture I wish we could further examine!! Giant. Bugs. Can you imagine what the oxygen content of the air in this universe must be to support those on insect like 'lungs'!? Even during the era OF giant bugs the size peaked out at that of a VERY small car (millipede like) or a very large eagle (dragonfly like). NOTHING to the scale of which we see, with beetles the size of indian elephants... Are these an example of hybridization with unknown variables? Do they have the segmented limbs and exoskeleton armor of insects while also possessing mammal or perhaps avian lungs and (given the size, this would be necessary) also possess an internal skeleton to support their massive weight?

A random aside, to go further afield (because I am old and evil^^)... Bosco is not the first time we have seen references to non-blended animals in canon Avatarverse... Wolves. The Water tribes refer to their warpaint as 'wolf paint', their helmets are shaped into wolf heads, the distinctive half-pony tail is called a 'warrior's wolftail', Bato references 'wolves' when we hear a wolfhowl, there is the giant wolf-like spirit seen strolling in the background as Aang first approaches Koh's tree. So thus I put this forward: Why are they referred to as 'wolves', why no hybridization? Why does every reference point we are provided with, in canon, indicate that these wolves are the same as the wolves of our world? Were only the colors used red or reddish brown we would be able to pull on the fantastic Inuit (and related peoples) legends of the Amarok! ...Sadly all color association is black, silver and white, not the distinctly referenced 'red fur' of the Amarok legend (darn).

Dec 10th 2013 at 9:47:11 PM •••

Kuei is my favorite character of this story, along with Toph and Mai. I'd love to see more of Ba Sing Se's side of things, too. Now that Ozai is dead, I wonder if the Fire citizens that sided with the Earth King can feel it. I want to see the Earth King take back his throne - after all, he's the only one who can calm the unruly spirits of the city. And like Zuko said before, I want to see Kuei kick Wan Shi Tong's ass. Oh yes, and I want to see Kuei and Eshe get married!

Interesting point with Bosco and wolves. How did the Earth King chance upon a creature that is not some crossbred animal like everything else in the Avatarverse? Since Ba Sing Se was said to have sprung up overnight, a fully formed city, I think that the Earth King's ancestors may have come bearing strange abilities (the Lion-Turtle in canon said that humans bent the energy within themselves rather than the elements), perhaps they brought some of their animals. Think Noah's ark, only more sci-fi.

Dec 10th 2013 at 11:33:27 PM •••

Agreed on Kuei... and on Eshe and... well EVERYONE really.

I don't think Kuei happened upon Bosco though, I forget if it were Embers or canon but isn't it stated that Bosco is the end result of a breeding program between the various 'something' bears to gain Bosco as an end result? Basically an attempt to get a 'bear' that was the net sum of bear parts seen in various critters? (Note: this would explain how docile Bosco is. Any breeding program of this degree is going to have a domesticated animal as the end result, much as what happened with wolves, foxes and moose (Russia is WEIRD, they have domesticated moose for MILK production). Bosco being domesticated explains his cub like actions, apparent lower intellect and other 'odd' behaviorisms)

...I still want to know about wolves and why the Water Tribe never refer to them in hybrid terms^^

Dec 13th 2013 at 7:55:26 PM •••

I don't know about bears, but if we're thinking about a ark scenario with humans coming from a different planet then perhaps the wolves are descendents of dogs that reverted to a more feral state? Though then we'd expect to see actual cows, pigs, chickens, and horses rather than the local hybrid looking things we do see. There are dogs though...

Dec 14th 2013 at 2:48:34 AM •••

Also, cats. Perhaps this is a case of the reason there are hybrids is a 'dark ark' scenario? Where the newcomers purposefully mied traits to achieve final results that they wanted? Some of the animals (like ostrich horses and sky bison) are native to this world and thus are a more... even... blend if you will, only recieving the hybrid name as the new comers tried to label/name the new species. Others, such as the many 'pigBLANKS' were purpsofeul hybrids created to give the settlers animals that provided milk, eggs and wool on a pigs diet of scraps as well as providing pig meat as a end result. Some, like the bear varients, were the settlers experimenting and trying to find animals that could survive in their harsh new enviorment. ...some like the catowl were just straight up experimentation to see if it could be done. ... Hmmm, has anyone ever read the Pern series? Of any of Anne Mac Caffery's other works?

Dec 16th 2013 at 12:59:38 PM •••

Without extreme meddling by a spirit, I can't see purposeful hybridization happening like that. It would take an advanced knowledge of genetics not displayed in-verse, especially because each of the species in the hybrids has vastly different gestational times, litter sizes, young development, and, in some cases, changes in how they give birth! I just don't see it happening naturally.

Dec 16th 2013 at 3:41:12 PM •••

I remember reading a book a while back. I can't recall the name but the premise was about colonists from earth landing on a new planet. The nature of this planet was so different from earth that people could unconsciously effect it based on what they expected to see due to the energies of that planet. This even changed the evolutionary path of many species, including a sentient cat-like people who over thousands of year became even more cat-like to fit the colonists expectations. Even if they didn't realize it was happening for the most part.

Since Humans in the embersverse are able to effect spirits perhaps a similar effect is playing out here.

Dec 17th 2013 at 6:33:51 PM •••

Erm, no True Metis I am afraid that is not the Pern series... it sounds familiar but I can not place it. (my apologies, I should have been more clear in my initial statement/query)

In the Pern series, a group of colonists landed on a 'earth like' planet with native hexapoda/six limbed species... one of which was about the size of house cats and resembled the earth legends of dragons. This species displayed empathic abilities (the ability to transmit it's emotions to others) and could 'teleport' via technobabble.

A decade or two down the line, a threat came along with a moon sized planet on an elliptical orbit (The Red Star/Planet) via a voracious organism that the planet pulled along with it from the system's oort cloud - this organism, called Thread, was capable of consuming any and all organic material. The only way to destroy it was heavy chemicals that dissolved it but also damaged the ground and surrounding environment.

Cue those little native teleporters who, if they consumed a native rock type (implied to be limestone with a brimstone and platinum content which, when mixed with the 'fire lizards' stomach acid produced hydrogen which would ignite upon exiting the mouth due to the trace amounts of platinum) could 'breath' fire.

The only problem was the size and low intelligence levels of these 'pets'.

Cue advanced technology. REALLY advanced. Advanced enough that the colonists were hybridizing their animals (brought from earth as embryos/eggs/dna codes) for best use during those 2 decades or so of peace. So they genetically created 'dragons' large enough to be ridden by a human rider (to provide the needed intelligence levels for controlled patterns of burn in the upper atmosphere, etc). The colonists knew that with each 'Thread Fall' they would loose more and more of their technology so they purposefully planned for a self-replicating solution to what would be an ongoing problem.

Jump forward at least 1,000 years (I forget the exact time frame, but it is somewhere between 1,000 and 2,000 years). The humans on planet have forgotten their origins, largely because most of the tech brought with them ceased working centuries back due to lack of fuel and as the tech that made the support structure/parts for the rest of the tech was lost, the 'higher' tech was similarly lost... which means all those records stored on computer files were similarly GONE. The thread falls in cycles, of course. 100 years of 'peace' followed by 50 years of thread fall. To survive things became streamlined... and more and more was lost...

Another example would be Piper's 'Little Fuzzy' or 'The other human race (Fuzzy Sapiens)' series. Specifically Fuzzy Bones, in which we discover that the sapient race discovered on Zarathustra was once a space-faring species who crash landed on Zarathustra 4-5 thousand years ago and, with their ship dead and the tech fried in the crash, had fallen to a 'stone age' life style simply due to skills and history lost due to survival rates, etc.

And so I find myself wondering if perhaps the 'newcomers' we see in Embers are a case in point. They had the advanced tech and we did not see it, perhaps what it could do angered the spirits and to survive, the humans cast it aside a'purpose. Who knows. It's fun to wonder about, no matter what. ^^ As mentioned, this was simply me wondering about why wolves (and cats) seem to be non hybrids, and why so many other animals were distinct hybrids in-universe (the 'real world' explanation is easy, of course^^)

Edited by
Dec 17th 2013 at 10:01:34 PM •••

And another thing-creating stable hybrids that breed true is technically impossible, as was already discussed in an Author's Note. It just doesn't happen. In any pairing of two genetically-similar creatures with two sets of traits like this, 25% will have most, in not all of one trait, 25% will have most, if not all of the other trait, and 50% will be (mostly) evenly-mixed hybrids. This is the first thing you learn is Genetics. It's called a Punnit square, and this is its simplest form.

Dec 18th 2013 at 9:39:03 AM •••

Well for breeding, yes, true hybrids can not happen. I was referring to near Star Trek level tech picking and choosing the traits desired however. Which would result in stable final result hybrids who bred true there-after. Comparable: Dogs. Breeders specifically pick and choose traits by only breeding those who display the desired 'hybrid' traits. The end result is a stable 'breed' with true-breed, reliably re-occuring traits. It's far more advanced that the Punnit Square (I could talk for hours simply about the merle gene and dominant color reintroduction) yet it can be reliably worked out. Advance the tech to the point where you can actually muck about with DNA and imagine what you could create. ^^

-shrugs- in any case, looking forward to a new chapter. While I do have issues with this fanficion, I do find enjoyment in the plot and I adore learning more about the various cultures and seeing the research Vanthara's put into it.

Edited by
Dec 24th 2013 at 8:01:23 PM •••

Hunter_Rialla No I wasn't thinking of the Pern Series. Technology never really played a role in the book I'm thinking of. It was sacrificed to give some measure of control over the weird magicishness of the planet. Which changed things to the point even guns wouldn't work cause you couldn't be sure if the gun would fire, not fire, or just explode.

Oct 24th 2013 at 9:47:49 PM •••

Awesome! Someone finally ripped off enough of Iroh's hide that he'll listen. And Ursa! We actually get to see her! Yay! But that last bit...I think Zuko was right to want to torch that skull. Bets that Makoto woke the kadzait spirit?

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Oct 24th 2013 at 10:20:56 PM •••

By the names of the Great Spirits...


Wow, Aang. Another Crowning Moment of Awesome goes to you, hero-boy. Not bad for a boy who has yet to actually start training in Fire.

Finally, we get Fire Lord Ozai's POV. What a ruthless son of a bitch. He really doesn't give a damn about family.

Makoto has made her move. I have a feeling Katara just jinxed her and everyone else. Makoto is sending up her army of watery minions against them.

Oct 24th 2013 at 10:40:05 PM •••

The entire Gaang is good that the whole 'jinxing' thing. At least Zuko's people-minus Iroh- are world-weary enough to realize what things they should not utter.

Oct 24th 2013 at 10:50:48 PM •••

I wonder where Ursa has been hiding this entire time. She has weapons on her person. Even if she did abandon her two kids, she's still a mother, and she's ready to go Mama Bear on anyone who dares to harm her daughter.

Iroh and Ozai...these two have not really understood each other very well, have they? They both expected to see the other, and look. They're in different places.

Moon Howler, Katara thought 'Someone just tossed water in the wrong places. Sorry about any scrolls left in there, but - as long as its not the drowned, it's not a problem'. Right afterward, a spirit just inhabited the bones of the kadzhait.

Oct 25th 2013 at 1:20:34 PM •••

Yeah, Katara jinxed them. And the Gaang in general is good at jinxing things is what I meant, because they still have a bit of that pesky idealism. And I wonder where Shidan's going to show up?

Oct 25th 2013 at 6:07:40 PM •••

Shidan is most likely in Byakko, helping Kotone defend Shirotora. I wouldn't trust Ozai or Makoto to leave well enough alone, busy as they are.

Huh, I just thought of something. You think Ursa is there with company? I mean, if Azula has her little entourage ready to fight for Azula's claim to the Dragon Throne, then what are the chances that Ursa came alone?

From what we heard from Shidan, Ursa had been spiritually wounded by Ozai. Now she's up and ready to fight, paired dao at her side? Who healed her? Is she accompanied by her own group of Air Nomads from Byakko, the Yamabushi? I was wondering if we'd ever see Hitomi again. This would be good intel to send back to Byakko - telling the Yamabushi of their cousins standing side by side with the Fire Princess.

Oct 25th 2013 at 7:42:53 PM •••

While it is likely that she is, how do we know for sure that Ursa is healed, though? After all, when Shidan spoke of her wounds, he never mentioned them being healed...

As well, if I recall correctly, those who are spiritually wounded (like yaoren, for example) are only really in danger when they bend (Zuko's bending hurt him, Langxue's spirit wound was leeching away at his spirit when he bent, etc.) Thus, I think the detail that Ursa brought dao could potentially suggest that she cannot rely on her bending, implying the injury remains unhealed.

Oct 25th 2013 at 8:25:43 PM •••

Damn that Ozai. I hope he gets what's coming to him.

That explained, aoifemoran, what do you think? If Ursa is alone or not. Besides Yamabushi, maybe Ursa has some Yu-Yan with her somewhere. It'd be cool if Ursa had some of her little sister's waterbending kin with her, then Ursa's group would have fire (though Ursa can't bend, maybe she'd have some in her group from Byakko who came), air and water. Azula has fire, air and earth with her at the moment.

Oct 25th 2013 at 8:35:59 PM •••

That would be really cool. And Ozai needs to face a Water Tribe death.

Oct 27th 2013 at 8:11:47 AM •••

What do you think of the theory that Ozai is the one who changed the Southern Raiders' directive from capture to execution?

I think that Vathara would love to make Katara a killer, but on the other hand, it makes Zuko look really bad, sending an enemy to kill his father when he refuses to do the job himself - or even that Zuko wanted to get Katara to kill herself by throwing herself at the Fire Lord's power, experience and spiritual support.

Oct 27th 2013 at 11:07:36 AM •••

@Kalaong; the first part of your post I find blatantly obvious so I agree with it. The second part does not make sense to me because Sokka and Suki are battling Ozai right now. Zuko is using the fact that Katara is a powerful water bender to keep his people's morale up, besides the fact that she is on the ground.

Oct 27th 2013 at 12:35:23 PM •••

@Kalaong...I would think the directive being changed from capture to execution as a pretty logical response to Hama's escape.

Oct 27th 2013 at 3:12:20 PM •••

Ozai is both psychotic and pragmatic, so it really doesn't matter what his intentions behind the change in the order were.

In either case, what about the obvious corollary that Zuko knowingly sent Katara to kill his father? There are only two possible views of that. Either;

  • Zuko thinks that Katara is strong enough to kill Ozai, and sent her to do what he was unable and/or unwilling to do.
  • Zuko thinks that Katara isn't strong enough to kill Ozai, and sent her to commit Suicide by Cop.

The latter looks particularly likely, as he didn't say that his father was almost certainly the one who changed the orders from capture to execution.

No comment on the Black Hole Sue thing? Here are some good comments on it.
Lavanya Six: While I essentially agree with this piece, especially with regards to how TV Tropes went overboard with the Sue sub-categorization, consensus isn't much of a driver of conversation. So lemme play devil's advocate...
Show me just one really well-written story in any medium that has a genuine hateable Mary Sue. I'm not talking about a character that just has so-called Mary Sue traits, but one that ruins the enjoyment of the story, whose terrible behavior neither the author nor any of the "good" characters ever calls out, who distorts the reality field of the story for the cause of his/her awesomeness.
Embers by Vathara. Well, at least for the first twenty-ish chapters. Then the whole story hops on the express train to Crazytown.
I very much enjoyed the style and worldbuilding of Embers, early on. Yet even before all the past lives, dual benders, "moral ambiguity," and dragonblood nonsense moved center-stage, I couldn't shake a growing sense that, chapter by chapter, the author was stacking the deck. It really hit me at the point that Toph secretly links up with Zuko to infiltrate Lake Laogai: Toph reflects how her other teammates never bother to learn new, non-combats aspects to their bending, and eventually how utterly naive they are about how grim and harsh reality is.
That was when I realized that the story was absolutely going to have its morality centered around Zuko and Iroh, and Toph was going to get a "badass pass" because the author liked her. And at that point, my enjoyment of "Embers" began to take a nosedive. If Zuko is now a hyper-competent badass who Toph feels a kinship for because they both know how the world *really* works, then no amount of cool worldbuilding and scene setting or action is going to make me ignore the turd smell of that warped characterization.
Embers' characterization got derailed in the same way as some other "gritty" Avatar fics. It centers its morality on the cool characters and lets them get away with murder. You almost never find fanfics that bash Toph. Or Sokka and Zuko, for that matter. People in general like snarky and/or badass characters, and fics that center on them can easily run overboard with indulging their positive qualities. And if a fic is going to emphasis how awesome such characters are, then what naturally follows in many fics is that the non-badass characters get turned into punching bags.
Embers is just a particularly extreme example because, at least for the first 20~25 chapters, it's a solid AU with expansive worldbuilding that gets slowly poisoned by bad characterization. (And then the whole story overloads with spirit antics, staggering retcons, and the most laughable apologism for the Fire Nation.) Which is why I think it's such a divisive fic. If you really like Zuko and Toph, then naturally you're going to be inclined to enjoy an otherwise well-written story that hoist them up as paragons. If you're inclined more towards the likes of Aang and Katara, then you're going to be inclined to get pissed off at the author for using them to make Zuko look good with every argument they lose.

Edited by
Oct 27th 2013 at 5:54:32 PM •••

When did Zuko send Katara to kill his father again, Kalaong?

Oct 27th 2013 at 6:13:59 PM •••

That's what you focus on. I was saying that it's painfully obvious in hindsight that Katara's vendetta is ultimately against Ozai. If Zuko's so spirits-damned awesome, shouldn't he realize that? And know that it's pretty much the single worse thing he could possibly do to her?

Also, any comment on Lavanya Six's comment?

Oct 27th 2013 at 7:02:45 PM •••

The Zuko sending Katara to kill his dad thing is, in and of itself, your most laughable idea to date. Zuko specifically sent Katara with vendetta papers against the Southern Raider who killed her mother. And, despite your insistence upon hating this fic, you continue reading it. Now, either you're a troll or a masochist; I don't really care which, because in this case both are equally annoying. Now, to address Lavanya's comment, Vathara specifically mentioned that this is an AU. Now, there are no guidelines about what constitutes an AU, nor should there be. Continuing on, the author continues to worldbuild for her AU. And, despite what you and your friend might think, all of the characters are being given a bit of time. At what point does Vathara say that the Fire Nation was in the right? She doesn't. And, fairly early on, Sokka was getting a lot of good moments. Katara and Aang were, in the original cartoon, for me the least-believable characters because that kind of starry-eyed idealism doesn't survive well in a war. And, considering that the war is shown much more realistically in Embers, because it isn't a show for children, her dealings with Aang and Katara are very much justified.

Oct 27th 2013 at 7:24:49 PM •••

"Zuko specifically sent Katara with vendetta papers against the Southern Raider who killed her mother."

...Then he is every bit as good at fucking with people as his sister is, given how blatantly disobeying orders - "killing" instead of "capturing" is pretty fucking blatant - would have broken that Raider's "loyalty". Either he sent her to kill a soldier who was Just Following Orders(which justifies EVERYTHING in the Fire Nation - back in Ba Sing Se, he himself told Katara that he had his orders to capture Aang and fully intended to carry them out if he still had the ability), or he sent her to kill a dead man. Or he sent her to kill his commanding officer.

And Azulon started the prison. And only Ozai could have changed the orders from "fill the prison" to "kill all the waterbenders."


The only question is what he expected to happen.

And given how Ozai is currently burning all of his fan club and Zuko still doesn't want to kill him? It looks a whole lot like he hoped that Ozai would kill Katara for him. There's even a stated reason in Chapter 25 why Zuko would consider this a desirable action.

Iroh: Katara will stop at nothing to fill (Aang's) ears with hatred of (the Fire Nation). And the airbender listens to her, before all others.

And if he did the job himself, Aang would tear the planet a new supervolcano. So I support Suicide by Cop.

Edited by
Oct 27th 2013 at 7:43:18 PM •••

That was the reason that Zuko could send Katara with vendetta papers-Yon Rha killed the wrong person, a noncombatant civilian, who did not fit the description of who he was sent to kill. That also bothered me about the cartoon-it should have been obvious that Kya wasn't the waterbender because they were only just finding out about her. Yon Rha did disobey hid orders, but he didn't know it was the wrong person so his loyalty didn't tear him apart.

Oct 27th 2013 at 7:48:56 PM •••

And that precise screw-up is what created the pissed-off waterbending master who refuses to give Zuko Cullen any breaks. If Yon Rha had done his job properly, Aang would still be in his iceberg and the Fire Nation would win by default.

Are you saying that a screw-up on that level - "it should have been obvious that Kya wasn't the waterbender because they were only just finding out about her" - would not have broken Yon Rha's loyalty?

Oct 27th 2013 at 8:02:33 PM •••

Kalaong, remember that Zuko broke Aang out from under Zhao's nose and he did not break his loyalty.

I believe that the person breaking their ties to their element must know that they are breaking it, i.e when Ty Lee did not stop breathing until after she said that her Way was based on a Lie. Zuko did not get loyalty sick until after he blatantly turned traitor.

Edited by
Oct 27th 2013 at 8:03:18 PM •••

I'm saying that, if he had, in fact, known that she was not the last waterbender and yet killed her anyway, it wouldn't have broken his loyalty, but if he has known that Katara was the waterbender and he didn't kill her, it should have dropped him flat with loyalty sickness. And, given that most mountain-style firebenders are pretty insane, it doesn't really surprise me that he wasn't very capable of analytic thought.

Oct 27th 2013 at 8:13:49 PM •••

...So, combined with my former thoughts on how family members have no recourse if someone comes-a-callin' with a vendetta contract, Zuko sent Katara after Yon Rha not because he was a murderous sociopath(he deeply loves his murderous sociopath sister and father) - but because he was a screw-up?

And on top of that, the orders themselves - to hunt down and capture/kill waterbenders - are not themselves worthy of a vendetta contract?

If that is the case, then I am glad that none of this is real. And if that is the case, I fully agree with Jet that all firebenders need to die.

Oct 27th 2013 at 8:21:09 PM •••

Yes, actually. Zuko loves competence. And because previously the waterbenders were captured, not killed, vendetta doesn't apply. And, if someone screwed up that badly and left a dangerous enemy out there, one who's capable of turning pretty much two tribes of warriors against you and your family, because the Water Tribes don't stop when they start revenge killing? I can completely understand why warrior societies killed people who failed that badly. It forces their successors to think about their actions and actually plan them through. Hell, I still don't understand why, in canon, Yon Rha was left alone even after Katara had shown up and started busting heads. Even in canon, that kind of incompetence should have been punished. And Zuko loves his family because they're his clan and family-they tie both of his elements.

Oct 27th 2013 at 8:31:58 PM •••

...I don't buy it. That's like saying that cops and their superiors aren't responsible for killing innocent people in "wrong house" raids - on protestors. It all lands on one screw-up and none on the chain of command? Especially with orders like that?

Michailo Sczerbiak: ...nothing, no matter how horrible, ever really happens without the approval of the government. Over there, and here. The problem isn't the doing. It's the people in power having to admit that they knew. The prisoners are tortured at Abu Ghraib, and only the underlings go to jail. Their bosses knew. We know their bosses knew. But you don't say it.

Oct 27th 2013 at 8:42:21 PM •••

Cetraskies: I find your suggestion that Ursa will have waterbenders with her highly implausible for several reasons. First, Azula believes she is acting in the best interests of her country, trying to prevent a civil war with heavy casualties. This, and the fact that aside from the traditional domains like Byakko, currently, the majority of the Fire Nation views fire as the superior element, means that houses who wish to support her will do nothing to risk upsetting potential allies. Shidan and Kotone are not stupid. They will not send non-Fire Nation people to intervene in a conflict that is an internal issue, unless they are willing for other domains to either turn on them for this willful miscegenation with "lesser" elements, or assume the presence of such allies to mean Azula acts with the Avatar's authority - the authority of the being that essentially condemned their nation to a cruel fate with no thought for the consequences.

Kalaong: it is logical for the capture directive to be changed to a kill order in the wake of Hama's escape, as the Fire Nation must now act as though ALL waterbenders have the capacity for bloodbending. However, I find I disagree with your assertion that "Vathara would love to make Katara a killer" for a number of reasons. I can think of no scenes where Katara has demonstrated killing intent, for example, except the scene in which she mentions having frozen Zuko in a wave, which MIGHT be lethal, though she then notes that he melted it and knocked her unconscious. Couple that with the fact that Katara only really advocates violence when it concerns individuals whom her CULTURE condemns as evil, and I don't see Vathara making her a killer.

Is it possible, even likely, that she might have to fight back with lethal force during this attack on Dragon's Wings? Yes. Would doing so make her a killer? I submit that should she be defending herself from the invasion, or Makoto, even if it be by pre-emptively attacking, that would no more make Katara a killer than this defense of her would make me a lawyer.

Oct 27th 2013 at 9:52:55 PM •••

I feel like I came late to a party. Kalaong's points remain as insipid and repetitive as usual. I quite don't understand how Kalaong can run on such a tangent (i.e. Zuko sending Katara to kill Ozai). Shouldn't Aang be celebrated for telling off the White Lotus? It's his latest achievement, you know.

Aoife Moran, your points are entirely valid. The rest of the Fire Nation aren't as open-minded or progressive as Byakko is. Ursa could very well be alone. But if not waterbenders, then maybe some of Shidan's contacts. They could be amongst the crowd even as Azula speaks, without the Onmitsu being aware of them.

Oct 27th 2013 at 10:54:09 PM •••

And the yamabushi are held in pretty high regard by the rest of the Fire Nation, from what I've gathered. Having some mountain sages show up in support of the new Fire Lady-for as long as that lasts-would probably be a huge deal.

Oct 28th 2013 at 12:01:31 AM •••

Kalaong, I know you post at Space Battles, I've seen you around in various topics. So, I will put this concisely: you sound like Chatoyance.

Oct 28th 2013 at 6:00:39 AM •••

I'll be honest with everyone; one of the reasons I read Embers is because it's not a freaking romance story like most Zuko centric stories I see.

Oct 28th 2013 at 8:06:42 AM •••

Moon Howler, cetraskies: concerning the mountain sages, I think it is likely that some will be needed at Byakko to calm Shirotora; however, a noblewoman like Ursa travelling alone is highly unusual, so she certainly must have some attendants with her.

Also, in considering who likely arrived with Ursa, I realised something nobody had yet considered: Azula was concerned about Ozai beginning to search for a new wife, possibly to have a new heir, as Ursa's banishment renders her essentially legally dead. Enter Ursa stage left. What are the odds that one of Shidan's... merchants... found out about Azula trying to sniff out this information, and Byakko felt it prudent to remind the rest of the Fire Nation that one of their daughters, a one-time Princess of the Fire Nation, still lives?

But just to reiterate, before someone accuses me of wanting Ursa isolated and helpless, or some other wild misconstruing of my words: I doubt Ursa has arrived alone; however, it is unlikely she will be attended by benders of other elements. Non-benders of non-fire descent, however, are definitely fair game, in my opinion.

jwagne51: at the risk of starting a conversation best avoided, YMMV if Vathara is setting Embers up to end with a Zuko/Toph romance.

Oct 28th 2013 at 10:21:04 AM •••

Aoife Moran: I know and honestly hope for Toko, but what I mean is that romance is not a driving factor of the story.

The reason I stated that fact earlier is because I just realized that the Arthur of The Undying Fire is a Zutara writer, so the likely hood that some romance will popup in that story shot through the roof.

Oct 28th 2013 at 11:44:11 AM •••

Mehehehe, now you're talking, Aoife Moran. Since Zuko is Ursa's son, it would be most prudent for her to have put together a group of her own while on her days of banishment. Maybe a Yamabushi and even a Yu-Yan archer could be hiding somewhere in the crowd.

As for romance, the only Official pairs I see are Iroh/Amaya, Min/Mai, and the Wen couple. Oh yeah, Aang/Katara implied.

I think the author may end up having the fic be open-ended, with a sort-of-maybe Zuko/Toph potential.

Oct 28th 2013 at 2:55:04 PM •••

And remember when Temul -I think it was her- was talking about why Sozin didn't wipe out Byakko? One of her blood can ask her, and she answers, but it would take several Fire Sages and if any of them slipped she'd blow? I'm betting that Shidan, as a dragon of her bloodline, can hold her with just a few yamabushi, leaving the rest to wreak havoc on the capitol with their beloved child.

Oct 28th 2013 at 7:53:59 PM •••

jwagne51: I fail to see what bearing "The Undying Fire" has on "Embers"... If you would be so kind as to clarify?

cetraskies: speaking of the Yu-Yan, does Zuko still have the archers at Dragon's Wings? I may just not have paid terribly close attention to the last chapter and missed their being mentioned...

Also, concerning the shipping, you missed Sokka/Suki and Kuei/one of the Touzaikaze. (Fingers crossed for Eshe, and just in general another mention of Ba Seng Se soon!!)

Moon Howler: Pardon, but I am not entirely understanding what you're trying to say, I think. Is your point that Shidan, being one of Byakko's blood, one of Byakko's dragons, as Zuko is Asagigatsu's, can thus singlehandedly tame the volcano? Because if so, recall please that when Shidan talks about Byakko and the eclipse he does not speak of the people taming the mountain in the first-person singular, but rather, uses the pronoun "we," which suggests that it is more than just him who is in charge of taming the mountain.

And during Sozin's Comet, which calls to and augments Fire's strength, what are the odds that a volcano beguiled into dormancy will struggle against its bindings and wish to erupt?

[Also, apologies to everyone ever for my inability to be concise...]

Oct 28th 2013 at 8:52:22 PM •••

No, no. I meant that with Shidan there, it'll be easier to keep Asagitatsu calm, so there are probably a few yamabushi to spare. Sorry, I was unclear.

Edited by
Oct 28th 2013 at 10:43:12 PM •••

@Aoife Moran: That fic just updated and after taking a look out the author's page I realized how much I'm glad that Embers is not Romance centric and that Vathara is not a romance author.

@Moon Howler; Shidan is in his domain to keep the White Tiger calm. Besides that, The Blue Dragon is calmed by Makoto's blood not Shidans.

Edited by
Oct 28th 2013 at 11:05:37 PM •••

Aoife Moran, I recall a Yu-Yan archer named Kojiro at Dragon's Wings. There are probably several more. How could I forget about Sokka x Suki and Kuei x Eshe? I wish we could see more of Ba Sing Se, too.

Edited by
Oct 29th 2013 at 10:49:23 AM •••

Yeah, I know. I typed that at a horrible hour of the night after a day of classes and work. My brain malfunctioned. I meant Shirotora. And I hope that the Yu Yan are mentioned in the next chapter.

Oct 30th 2013 at 9:38:18 AM •••

My phone is refusing to display this page properly, so I apologise for my inability to specify to whom I am directing which reply.

As far as I am aware, Shidan cannot calm Asagigatsu, and has since returned to his domain. However, I am wondering if the Yu-Yan he "lent" Zuko are there to stay, and if so, for how long. And as I saw no mention of them in chapter 88, I felt it necessary to confirm they were still a resource Zuko had avaiilable.

Oct 31st 2013 at 1:36:49 PM •••

Kalaong had edited part of the stuff under Blue and Orage Morality to reflect his recent comments on Zuko's reasons for giving Katara's vendetta some legal support. I find Kalaong's reasoning on this to be questionable. I don't want to get into a post-it-delete-it back and forth on this. Is there an adjudication process for this sort of thing?

Oct 31st 2013 at 3:43:36 PM •••

Yeah, you can ask a mod to move it to YMMV, or change it and also get it put in YMMV.

Oct 31st 2013 at 8:29:37 PM •••

Kalaong deserves to have its own special discussion page.

Now, can we move onto something more intellectually stimulating.

Rereading the latest chapter, Sokka and Suki are on the airship where Ozai is in. What are the chances Ozai chooses to blast them off the ship? Maybe he'll have one of his firebenders on board do it instead, since he'll want to focus on murdering his traitorous son.

So Azula may just keep the Dragon Throne...for now. Until Zuko and Aang deal with Ozai and Koh respectively, Kyoshi's decree won't go down for several hours, yes? Ursa may support Azula, but once Aang takes down Kyoshi's decree, there will be no Dragon Throne. What will happen to Azula then? Byakko won't need to vest their interests of survival in a throne with no power. The other domains will seek to put in their own candidates for Great Name of the Caldera.

Oct 31st 2013 at 8:51:52 PM •••

Well, since Azula's the only child of Sozin's clan, who are the Great Names of the Caldera-remember waaay back when Jee weeded out the mutineers kinda instictively and it was mentioned that Sadao was from Sozin's domain? I think that means Azula's it. And I'm betting that Ozai's going to try to smash Sokka and Suki now, as opposed to later, but I do get the feeling that he's at least a little bit proud of Zuko for using Low War. And what did he mean, 'Infamous black blade'? So far as I know, Sokka hasn't really used it much so far.

Oct 31st 2013 at 9:10:48 PM •••

Oh ho, I believe that Kalaong wasn't looking hard enough at whom Zuko was using to get rid of Ozai.

Ozai notices the make of Sokka's sword, which I'm guessing that the Fire Lord knows to be one of Piandao's blades. Maybe the Fire Lord got a report on the gAang that one of them received a sword from the former Major Piandao. I mean, if Piandao knew about the gAang, one of the Fire Lord's spies may have, too.

Oct 31st 2013 at 10:12:14 PM •••

But, Sokka's sword was still made from the meteorite. How many blades like that do you think there are? I wonder if there's a historical meteorite sword and Ozai thinks that Sokka found it. Maybe a remnant from the Demon of Taku, or someone like him?

Oct 31st 2013 at 10:54:30 PM •••

Oooh, an interesting idea, Moon Howler. If Shih is based off of Kenshin, then the sword of the infamous Demon of Taku has to be of a unique sort of material.

Ozai's perceptions on the world and its people are quite skewed. Zuko wouldn't send Sokka and Suki, two of his ragtag allies, against a superior fighter/warrior/bender. It's clear at this point that Zuko is meant to fight against Ozai, and Sokka and Suki are providing a nice little distraction for Ozai's crew.

Oct 31st 2013 at 11:31:53 PM •••

Yeah, but Ozai doesn't know that Zuko wouldn't send an ally on a suicide mission. He thinks that they're there to assassinate him, but I got the feeling that they blundered into his stateroom by accident. Zuko knows that they're there to cause the maximum amount of chaos they can and still escape intact. Ozai's...admittedly crazy. And he doesn't really understand the concept of 'ally'. Also, Piandao, being a legendary sword master could probably be safely assumed to have historical, legendary swords in his possession.

Nov 1st 2013 at 3:34:34 AM •••

A bit of a tangent, but... Zuko self-admittedly killed Sokka and Suki's ride. How're they getting back down, then? Because it's not a suicide run, so they need to return...

Nov 1st 2013 at 7:45:52 AM •••

That is a very good question, especially since neither of them are benders. Sabotage the airship so it heads down, then bail off when it's a bit safer, maybe?

Oh, random thought-Ozai's also a dragon child, albeit a dark one. If they can provoke him enough to make him go word-lost, I wonder what will happen?

Edited by
Nov 1st 2013 at 3:34:40 PM •••

Do dark dragons even get word-lost? Their whole thing seems to be that their rage isn't explosive, like a regular dragon-child's, but rather, that it makes them colder and more calculating. After all, neither Azula nor Makoto get word-lost...

Nov 1st 2013 at 6:55:20 PM •••

Do you think Teo and one of his new airbending buddies can give Sokka and Suki a lift?

Good lord. Did you all see the latest "analysis" put up by Kalaong? Once again, Kalaong bares its naked ignorance by showing yet another person's analysis.

Edited by
Nov 1st 2013 at 7:44:27 PM •••

Kami-sama and Megumi-dono. He really is stretching, isn't he? That's just pitiful. And I dunno, Aiofe Moran. I think so, because they're still dragon children, but I'm not sure. It's possible that Teo or his buddies could grab them, but are their gliders strong enough to carry the weight of two people, one of whom's in armor? Remember, Aang, who's a master, had issues trying to carry two people.

Nov 1st 2013 at 8:00:31 PM •••

Mehehehe, it's rather amusing that Kalaong is trying to provoke us into getting wrapped up in its wildly off-the-mark assertions of an AU fanfic. I hope you're not insulted that Kalaong quoted me when addressing you, Moon Howler.

I think Sokka and Suki will make it somehow. If not Teo and his buddies, then they'll think on something of their own.

Nov 1st 2013 at 8:04:25 PM •••

Yes; it's one of the more pathetic things I've noticed: they've never made their real opinions known, and as soon as they start getting their little arguments rightfully picked apart, they run off again.

I swear, I can almost hear them whining "Mommy, the smart kids are being mean again!"

Nov 1st 2013 at 8:29:40 PM •••

Nah, it's pretty hard to offend me except by gross ignorance, which is what ze's doing. You've been nice and logical, so you've got a lot of points in my book. And what irritates me the most is that they're not even bothering to do analyses of the fic-they're borrowing poorly-thought, poorly-written ones from other people. And yes, ze's acting kind of like Dudley Dursley.

Nov 1st 2013 at 9:08:11 PM •••

Neo Shiraku, don't you mean "Mommy, the mean kids are being smart again! MAKE THEM STOP!!"?

Hey, I've got a good topic to discuss. Since Kalaong is whining incessantly about the cruel treatment of its pets, Aang and Katara, why don't we talk about the children.

Need I remind you all that this fanfic is a deconstruction on the trope "Kids Saving the Entire World". There have been many a television show and manga/anime series that have commanded many modern TV viewers such as ourselves. I remember being in college when I told one of my professors to check out A:TLA. While he was interested, he told me that his kids were too young to watch it.

The kids in the world of Embers!ATLA have been shown to act, think and behave in certain ways according to the values of their culture. As the characters of A:TLA are based off the cultures of the Inuit, Ancient Chinese, Imperial Japanese and Tibetan Buddhist monks and nuns (and now Ancient Egyptians, which the Touzaikaze are based on), the author has the gAang act in such a way as children of these cultures would in the real world.

The author may have been focusing on the whole "Fire is Life" theme and how Zuko never EVER gives up, which is a wonderful thing, but the fic puts into question some really heavy issues. What is the appropriate age for a child to learn about respect? When is a child old enough to be handed "duties", "expectations" and "responsibilities"? How can one tell when someone is doing something horribly wrong? Is this person making a mistake, and if so, how to correct them?

Nov 1st 2013 at 9:18:31 PM •••

I think that a kid is old enough to start getting duties when they exhibit a certain maturity level, depending on the duty, which is why some kids are never responsible enough to be given important things to do. Respect is something that should be taught by example for the entire life of a child-you can't demand respect without giving it yourself. And horribly wrong does vary by culture-there are some cultures where cannibalism is still practiced, and it's considered normal, but in most modern cultures it's not such a good thing. In the Mosuo culture in China, women never get married, and they only have their own room in the house for their reproductivly-viable years, and during that time they can invite any man they want into their bed and carry his child, and the child will be loved and welcomed. In many societies, that's a bad thing. And, imo, mistakes, unless they'll very damaging or fatal, should be brought to the person's attention so they can have a chance to correct it. If they don't, even when offered help, they do need to be punished with something appropriate, again depending on the mistake.

Nov 1st 2013 at 9:39:23 PM •••

Forgot to add in that certain cultures have social hierarchies and certain roles for men and women as well as children. Toph, for example, is the daughter of a wealthy noble Earth Kingdom family. Despite being born into a family of such wealth, Toph has a disability that is considered crippling according to her parents and her culture. Because of that, her parents hid her from the world, and went on to live their lives - leaving Toph overprotected and sheltered. However, Toph is able to see via Earthbending, which ought to be considered a gift. Knowing her parents, Toph hid this and went underground - pun intended - to live the life she has always wanted, where she could be recognized for her real worth.

In Embers, Toph has knowledge and understanding that is something quite odd for a blind, overprotected, noble daughter who was shut out of her father's world of business. Zuko and Sokka (later) appreciate these things, while Aang and Katara find it at times disagreeable to their own perspectives and values.

Some of us, like me, tend to lean towards Toph because mainly, her circumstances are understandable, and because of her extensive knowledge and sage understanding make my savvy mind say "Finally, someone who speaks my language!" As is the case also, with Earth King Kuei, for me. They are both characters who have the same appreciation for certain subjects I have.

Although I have never lived the life that Zuko or Aang have, I feel bad that they have such crappy lives and luck.

Nov 1st 2013 at 9:55:32 PM •••

A:TLA reminds me a lot of the Animorphs series; except that while Animorphs went heavier on the deconstruction as time went on, up to and including exploring each characters' slowly-degenerating mental state, A:TLA could never quite manage to get that far. Which is probably due both to the format - books as opposed to animation - and the fact that it was on Nickelodeon.

Embers reminds me even more of Animorphs; both because the format is a lot closer, and because the actions that the characters take have real consequences.

Nov 1st 2013 at 10:00:08 PM •••

Yeah, which I think is Kalaong's main issue with the fic- ze doesn't understand that consequences are a real-world thing. And perspective is a big thing-I get the feeling that Kalaong was really sheltered and maybe grew up in a place that was not culturally diverse.

Nov 1st 2013 at 10:32:05 PM •••

I loved the Animorphs series. Never got to finish it, though.

Kalaong is attuned more to Aang, which is why it favors him and Katara so much. Although Aang's case is bad, it's not as if the other characters haven't suffered as much. Growing up is hard to do - and Aang is finally, FINALLY seeing that truth is HARD. It is not everywhere "in the air" as he thought. People hear what they want to hear and the truth may not coincide with what they want. Sometimes, you may have to compromise your own values for the sake of something - or someone - else. Sacrifices have to be made when necessary.

Of course, all depends on the choices one makes. What is the most worthy? I forget how it goes, but there is something about being offered the choice of going to Heaven where you'll get all the good stuff and rewards for having a good life, and going to Hell, where there happens to be all your loved ones.

Nov 1st 2013 at 11:17:28 PM •••

Kalaong- your theory requires ignoring the explicit explanation Vathara gave that following orders wasn't an excuse, even if you didn't think you were doing something wrong. (ie, "kill all waterbenders" was OK, but mistaking who is a waterbender through no fault of your own isn't)

So, once again, your desire to defend Aang from...growing up? Criticism? Not being fluffy-Sue of the Saturday morning five year old cartoon?... requires ignoring something that has already been explained.

Nov 1st 2013 at 11:28:43 PM •••

Aoife Moran- word-lost dragon children I believe Azula has been pretty dang close at times, but— like Zuko— it's disguised by the whole "lose your temper" thing.

The accidental killing (possible killing, given the low level flight of the ship?) of Sokka and Suki's escape seemed like a tension-builder; possibly a Moment Of Awesome for the airbenders?

Nov 2nd 2013 at 12:25:38 AM •••

"Requires ignoring the explicit explanation Vathara gave" Yeah, I've noticed that pretty much all of Kalaong's "theories" are like that.

Nov 2nd 2013 at 10:50:20 AM •••

Kalaong's whole deal seems to be ignoring Vathara's explanations and inserting zir own, which are not based on facts, where least applicable.

However, someone said something along the lines of "Kalaong never states their OWN opinions, merely posting those of others," which was interesting. I propose the following (crack) theory: Kalaong is Vathara, poorly criticizing Embers to either disguise the fact, get their ego stroked, or guide us into discussing the interesting bits of the work.


Foxfier: I don't recall any such moments, with Azula, which is why I will remain skeptical until I either find or am shown proof. Please do not take it personally.

However, consider the following: when Katara fights Azula, she tries to anger her like she would Zuko, and Azula comments internally that unlike Zuko, she doesn't have a hair-trigger temper. And, while she references "a pit in her head" or something like that, which is "constantly hungry" prior to Amaya's healing, we never once saw, nor see, her lose her temper so badly that she loses her words.

Further, dark dragons can lie, which regular dragons can not. Consequently, I'd argue they would take to words easier than dragons would, as words make lying all that much easier. Lastly, Azula and Zuko are children of dragon-children. As Vathara explained, their DNA is fucked. Up. Royally. (No pun intended.) They may have certain traits that are all dragon, and lack others. Right now, it seems to me that the "word-lost" gene has skipped Azula. She really was born lucky, huh?

Edited by
Nov 2nd 2013 at 12:15:12 PM •••

I'm inclined to disagree with your crack theory, just because I've actually interacted with Vathara via PM's and ze's actually a pretty nice person, but firm is zir's beliefs and positions. And yeah, that's true. Azula does have a bit easier time with words and her temper. Maybe she can get word lost, maybe she can't. Either way, it should be interesting.

Nov 2nd 2013 at 1:04:05 PM •••

Pity. I quite liked my theory.

But yes, it ought to be interesting either way, what happens to Azula.

Also, a thought. One of Makoto's thoughts - "[Ozai is] a Fire Lord with the loyalty of all the Fire Nation behind him", or something similar - seemed to imply that a Lord derives his strength from those who give him loyalty. Consequently, will Azula claiming the caldera as her domain, and the Dragon Throne for herself, not weaken Ozai?

Nov 2nd 2013 at 2:01:26 PM •••

Not unless the people transfer their loyalty to her-loyalty is given or stolen, and that hasn't happened except for Byakko, which I doubt was ever truly loyal to the Dragon Throne.

Nov 2nd 2013 at 4:02:25 PM •••

Right, but Azula said that those who wished to remain loyal to Ozai should do so by returning to their domains and preparing for war. That suggests that if she claims the Dragon Throne, she claims the lords' loyalty, or steals it...

Nov 2nd 2013 at 4:10:35 PM •••

Yeah, but she's giving them the choice, so he might still have the loyalty of some clans.

Nov 2nd 2013 at 7:45:19 PM •••

Definitely not contesting that. Just saying that Ozai's liable to lose some modicum of power if Azula's plan succeeds.

And remember, Azula had been going around making lists of hostages and domains and stuff... She's definitely got a Plan.

Nov 2nd 2013 at 7:52:00 PM •••

And Azula with a Plan is a very dangerous creature. And this could be a very interesting power struggle.

Nov 2nd 2013 at 8:32:49 PM •••

Imagine if Azula With Plan meets Kuei... Unlikely, ofc, but still...

Nov 2nd 2013 at 9:52:28 PM •••

Or the two coming up with a Plan together.

Nov 2nd 2013 at 9:52:28 PM •••

Or the two coming up with a Plan together.

Nov 2nd 2013 at 10:10:34 PM •••

Oh hell no. Kuei can kick out Wan Shi Tong from his country. Azula strikes fear into the hearts of mortals. I've decided to change my opinion.

They should never, ever meet. Ever.

That much awesome, in one room? Could break something.

Nov 2nd 2013 at 10:29:55 PM •••

But if they became penpals! That could be both awesome and terrifying.

Nov 3rd 2013 at 2:19:35 AM •••

It seems a minor thing but I'm pretty sure Toph is a merchants daughter not a Nobles daughter. Depending on local culture this might be the same basic thing or it might be vvery different.

Nov 3rd 2013 at 5:56:35 AM •••

True Metis: given the Earth Kingdom is all about deals, and Kuei/the Dai Li mentioned her being a possible prospective bride, I should think merchants are highly regarded. As well, Toph mentions that people come to her father for advice, so clearly he fulfills a chieftain-like role within the Gaoling/merchant community.

This isn't, I think, a Confucian system where merchants are the lowest caste.

Moon Howler: what if Azula marries Kuei (if things don't work out with the Touzai. Or as a second wife. Not that Azula would ever stand for being second best. So maybe she'd be first wife, and Eshe second? [Vathara if you're reading this, choose the harem ending!]) /a Dai Li?

Nov 3rd 2013 at 8:45:03 AM •••

Are Gibbs' Rules at all relevant to the fic?

Particularly Rule #6: Never apologize — It's a sign of weakness.

Nov 3rd 2013 at 12:17:37 PM •••

Moon Howler, do remember that the Earth King has a throne to reclaim. I don't think that he'll be considering the Princess of the Fire Nation, an enemy, as a potential bride when he's been given two of the best candidates in his Kingdom. No way Kuei would insult the Touzaikaze that way, even if he doesn't think that personal arrangements are necessary. Anyways, the Earth King has already chosen his future wife in Eshe. While clearly awkward and clumsy around her, it's obvious these two have a bond already.

Aoife Moran, I would think that the idea of Azula marrying the Earth King is the only acceptable way for her to really stake a claim on Ba Sing Se. Not that she's ever considered it, of course, but if the Dai Li with her tell her, she'd go "Ewww, no way!" There's also the spirits of the palace to consider. The palace specter had threw a fit when Kuei wasn't in the palace - Azula was unconscious, but she was not accepted as the true ruler of Ba Sing Se. While certainly strong-willed and ambitious, it is uncertain as to whether Azula has the spiritual strength necessary to face the spirits of Ba Sing Se. If she were to go to Ba Sing Se now to try to claim the throne, she'd be thrown out and laughed at.

Eshe's abilities have already been made known to Kuei. If she's been sent as a potential wife to the Earth King, chances are, she's more than good enough for him, by both her tribe's standards and Kuei, who was practically falling all over his books in his fangasm of her. Despite how the Touzaikaze have been pressing for Amisi (the earthbender of the two women), Kuei is drawn to Eshe. The endgame is practically written. While Chinese Emperors in real life were known to have concubines, I don't think Kuei will want any extra wives.

Nov 3rd 2013 at 2:33:02 PM •••

Wait, I said penpals and Planning together, not marrying. Where did you get that? I know they wouldn't be a very good match. It would still be cool if, once the world settles down a bit, if they started correspondence.

Nov 3rd 2013 at 7:46:30 PM •••

Kuei would have some serious manning up to do, in Azula's eyes, before she would see him as anytthing more than a toy, though. After all, right now, he's only slightly better than the average sheltered Earth Kingdom noble...

Nov 3rd 2013 at 9:59:37 PM •••

If Azula were to ever seriously consider him. Mai has other ideas for the Fire Princess' consort, though. Anyways, the Earth King is too big to take on, and Azula would have to compete with Eshe, who already sees Kuei for the great man he's becoming.

Hey everyone, what if Mai were to find a boy their age that was just as strong a fighter, powerful a bender, manipulative and magnificent a bastard as the Fire Princess...only to find that said boy happens to be on the Good Guys' side? It would be just Azula's luck to find that her equal would be very interested in screwing around with her and her team just for the heck of it.

Nov 4th 2013 at 7:26:37 PM •••

The thing is, to prevent any increased chance of really messed up kids, Mai's either gonna find Azula a pure-blood dragon (unlikely, but really cool if this happens... After all, as Shidan said, what clan wouldn't want to steal Makoto's strength and cunning?) Or, Mai's gonna find a pure human.

The most likely place for that kind of consort to hail from? Not the Fire Nation.

Nov 4th 2013 at 8:43:00 PM •••

Exactly! What if said potential consort was from somewhere in the Water Tribe or even in some remote village in the Earth Kingdom? I'm thinking of an Expy from Yu-Gi-Oh! like Priest Seth, or even Thief King Bakura, though I thought it'd be best for an expy of Bakura to be something more like Aang's new next enemy.

Nov 5th 2013 at 3:26:53 AM •••

Right, but Mai's not just going to pick some random bender. Whoever this bloke is, he needs to be able to go toe-to-toe with Azula, and occasionally win. Plus, he can't be a political nobody, 'cause he's marrying the fucking Fire Princess, yknow?

Mai's gonna resort to husband stealing, isn't she...

Nov 5th 2013 at 9:59:08 AM •••

Yeah, probably. Either wway, her husband's gonna be an epic person.

Nov 5th 2013 at 12:19:48 PM •••

It would be ironic if this guy happened to be Azula's match in bending prowess, strength and personality...only for him to be in love with someone else.

Nov 5th 2013 at 12:45:56 PM •••

Yeah, it would. Hey, what if he wasn't even a bender?

Nov 5th 2013 at 5:05:58 PM •••

If he's not a bender, he'll have to be the Demon of Taku come again, or similarly dangerous.

And I doubt Vathara's going to introduce any new character to be Azula's hubby - that kind of character needs a long history of being a solid badass, not a badass ex machina, right? [Then again, Eshe and Amisi came out of nowhere, so I may be wrong on this...]

So... Existing male characters deadly enough to go toe to toe with Azula and live, who aren't related to her?

Nov 5th 2013 at 5:39:41 PM •••

Aoife Moran True, but Hokada talks about Nobles getting military rank just for being Nobles, so there are some differences. I'm sure it's not a big deal but making sure we're clear now would be a good idea in case of later confusion.

Especially for a point I forgot to make in my last post. "Toph has knowledge and understanding that is something quite odd for a blind, overprotected, noble daughter who was shut out of her father's world of business. Zuko and Sokka (later) appreciate these things, while Aang and Katara find it at times disagreeable to their own perspectives and values. "

While for a Nobles daughter this might be odd knowledge, especially if the Earth Kingdom Nobility is as intertwined with the Military as Hakoda suggests. Blindness would then be considered a much more debilitating thing. For a merchants daughter though? Blindness while unfortunate wouldn't effect her ability in this area as much as it would in others. and with Toph's father willing to let her learn at least basic earth bending it's likely that she had tutors in most subjects a merchant would need.

Nov 5th 2013 at 8:51:42 PM •••

I'm betting that any pairing for Azula will be in the next book, if there is one, when there'll be plenty of time for badass world-building. And I'm betting that Old Man Beifong only let Toph get training because untrained benders are dangerous-see, Katara destroying the giant iceberg.

Nov 5th 2013 at 9:55:50 PM •••

Mehehehe, Aoife Moran. Remember that the author has a penchant for using characters from TV shows, anime and/or manga and making Expies. I think that Eshe or Amisi may be an Expy of Isis from Yu-Gi-Oh! fame, but then, I may be wrong. Maybe for once, they are OCs that the author made up on the fly.

Moon Howler has a point, True Metis. Lao wouldn't want to end up with an unexplainable earthbending accident, and then having to explain to the neighbors in the area why they have a huge trench when they don't have a badger-mole.

Though Moon Howler, I never even thought about a non-bender for Azula's potential consort. Could work...if said male non-bender can fight. Will Azula be able to tolerate any guy that doesn't have the strength to fight? No way.

Nov 6th 2013 at 9:01:38 AM •••

I'm not suggesting Vathara's idea for a proper match for Azula won't be an Expy, in line with Vathara's method of character creation. Rather, I'm saying it's unlikely that ze will choose to introduce yet another character to the already expansive cast, especially so late in the fic. Perhaps in a follow-up/sequel (if there will be one. I may be wrong but didn't Vathara say that zir next project will be a continuation of the Scarlet and Black AU?)...

Nov 10th 2013 at 8:56:19 AM •••

Is this the final verdict on Zuko Cullen?

(Near)Omniscient Morality License: Zuko has encyclopedic knowledge of this Alternate Universe's history, politics, sciences and metaphysics, half gained from his highly dangerous childhood in the Fire Lord's court, and half from his previous life as a secret conspirator against that court. The only two things that have surprised Zuko to date are a very well-planned booby trap involving an Eldritch Abomination and his uncle praying for assistance Zuko didn't want. All of his actions, no matter how cruel or destructive, thus have a reason that is fully justified in-story, meaning everyone who does not do exactly what he says the instant he says it is screwing up the world even worse. Yes, even capturing Aang and delivering him to Ozai for the Evil Overlord to do as he would with him would have been better than the Gaang fighting him... because that would have prevented Karma Houdini Azula from becoming Fire Lord in Chapter 88.

Nov 11th 2013 at 10:12:28 AM •••

Kalaong, are you really that bored that you need to refer to Twilight to have a semblance of relevance?

Nov 11th 2013 at 5:53:01 PM •••

Refer to the earlier posts about deliberate ignorance and willful stupidity; this is a perfect example of both.

Nov 12th 2013 at 3:33:18 AM •••

Awww, don't y'all get mad at Kalaong... I think cetraskies is right - ze must just be bored and itching for a lively discussion. Is it hir fault that ze doesn't know how to properly start one?

Edited by
Nov 12th 2013 at 10:41:44 AM •••

Mehehehe, you flatter me, Aoife Moran.

Why don't we talk about something more worthy of our attention.

One of our members on Moon Howler's Embers LJ community brought up some topics that I find you will all find interesting.

Remember how Shidan and Kuzon's uncle, Kuroyama of Byakko, were in contact before the War? If Byakko was hiding airbenders even before the War, then that means that the airbenders there were pretty knowledgeable about security. Being survivors, the Air Nomads had to be very good at moving quickly and hiding and keeping secrets. Kuroyama knew some people in the White Lotus, so it could be possible that maybe uncle Kuro was able to get some of his Air people affiliates into the White Lotus.

The White Lotus may not be the only secretive organization around. They've been infiltrated.

Nov 12th 2013 at 3:19:09 PM •••

"The way to find the cause of an event is to understand who had the most to gain from it."

Nov 12th 2013 at 5:42:40 PM •••

But wasn't Kuroyama in on the whole take-Aang-from-Gyatso thing? I seem to recall that being part of one of Zuko's flashbacks.

Nov 12th 2013 at 9:38:02 PM •••

How cute. Kalaong's trying to sound proverbial.

Kuroyama and Gyatso were working together. What Kuroyama and Gyatso were planning was to show Aang his "cousins" - the Yamabushi, to reveal to him that the Temples did not have the entire truth.

Edited by
Nov 14th 2013 at 12:56:56 PM •••

Looks like they're going for #6, here: [ ] probably with some #4, and possibly #2.

That's what I took from those chapters, too. Really looking forward to the next chapter, I just wonder who it's going to focus on the most.

Nov 14th 2013 at 7:01:32 PM •••

Nice link, Neo Shiraku. I can see where Kalaong takes its rhetoric. Though, I think argument #1 is something Kalaong partakes of as well.

By the way, what do you think about Air Nomads and their security-and-survival strategies?

Edited by
Nov 15th 2013 at 8:27:27 AM •••

Depends on who you're talking about; I don't much approve of the Temple Monks, but the neo-Airbenders from the Earth Kingdom are really starting to grow on me, I have to admit.

Oct 6th 2013 at 12:15:35 PM •••

I removed this example as the title was renamed in TRS.

  • White-Haired Pretty Boy - Langxue has some of his hair turn white where Yue touched him. This is specifically described as meant to be scary: "La is ticked," and the character is An Ice Person and meant to be the rival/counterargument to Aang's portrayal of airbenders as inherent pacifists who wouldn't hurt a fly.

I can't tell just from the write-up if he fits White Hair, Black Heart. I think it might be also an example of Skunk Stripe.

Edited by Hide/Show Replies
Oct 6th 2013 at 4:10:16 PM •••

I think these discussion pages are actually orriginally intended to be used in discussing changes to the page. YMMV is for tropes that are subjective in nature. Discussion of the story is supposed to go in WMG, headscratchers, analysis, and occasionally a forum page set asside just for that purpose.

I think...

Of course, what Tropers actually do with these pages tends to vary widely from these guidlines as can be seen here.

This may be why all the built up discussion in this page got erased.

Oct 16th 2013 at 1:06:26 AM •••

This just popped into my head; Under Fire Nation "honor", which states that "a man does not live under the same sky as his father's murderer, nor a woman her mother's", doesn't that mean that if you pursue a vendetta you have to kill your target's children? Or be prepared to have them come after you?

Also, does it just stop there? If you kill someone's lover or sibling for revenge, are they supposed to just take it? Or can they pursue vendettas in turn? It sounds like a vendetta is actually more like third world ethnic cleansing - someone wrongs you, so you go in and kill them, along with everyone who shares blood or loyalty with them. Miss even one, and they'll attempt to do the same to you once your guard drops and they've gotten some training or advantage.

A constant state of fear and death. In the old Fire Nation, you could be killed at any time for something any of your family did, simply because they know you'd fight for them. All that keeps you alive is a lord strong enough to kill vendetta-seekers first, hopefully one who won't sacrifice you in pursuit of his own vendettas. It makes me wonder why anyone would want to associate with Fire Nationals in any way, shape or form. Hell yes, people would joke about, "The hurricane getting the rest of them."

Maybe that was Fire Lord Zouge's original plan when he became Fire Lord - LIHOP or MIHOP the murder of Kiyoshi's son(perhaps with Koh whispering in his ear), then as a "loyal" Fire Sage, suggest the creation of the Fire Lord. Then exterminate every clan that ever wronged his.

Only afterward, he was stuck with control over a hundred or so other clans that had their own vendettas to carry out. Clans that he was bound by "loyalty" to tend to.

The tropes I'm proposing are Cycle of Revenge and Be Careful What You Wish For.

Edited by
Oct 17th 2013 at 11:39:57 PM •••

Actually Kalaong it means the exact opposite of that, children are not culpable for their parents crimes. And on the flipside of that if you are carrying out a lawful vendetta the family of your target has no recourse.

Oct 18th 2013 at 3:59:23 PM •••

But what about Chapter 73? Where Zuko says they have plays about the lone survivors of purges waiting years to retaliate in force?

I'd quote the chapter, but doesn't allow copy/pasting anymore.

Oct 22nd 2013 at 9:20:05 AM •••

Kalaong, the remark in question pertains to the sworn warriors of a Great Name, and not their families. As well, in context, Zuko was speaking to Toph about his concerns over what would have happened had Azula gone after Aang. That wouldn't have been a case of vendetta, but rather, an attack on Aang, a leader in his own right, and in that way, sort of a Great Name, and his sworn warriors (aka the rest of the G Aang). Consequently, Zuko's statement there has no bearing on the subject of vendetta.

Oct 24th 2013 at 7:53:17 PM •••

You mean, this quote?

Where Zuko says this: "If she targeted Aang, all of you would have tried to stop her," Zuko got out, weary to the bone. "That's what sworn warriors of a great name do. And if any of them, especially a sworn bender, escapes an ambush that kills their lord - a sworn warrior doesn't surrender. He hides out, maybe for years, gets together a raiding party, and comes back. Hell, Toph, we have plays about it. The only way to take out a great name and have peace is to take out all their sworn with him. And you're a master bender. You trained this Avatar. Azula would be stupid to leave you alive to get stronger and train the next Avatar. My sister is crazy. Not stupid."

And this? He gripped his cuff, and swiped at prickling eyes. "Forget strategy. Forget spirits. Forget all the good reasons. If Azula tried to kill Aang she was going to go through you to do it. And if she did that, one of you, maybe both of you... you're my friend, and she's still my sister..."

Oct 24th 2013 at 9:03:13 PM •••

Yes that, think of them like Samurai. Vendetta is a lawful act were you get vengence on someone who committed a recognized wrong on you or your family. Taking out the sworn warriors of a great name is something you do during war, regardless of the reasons for the fight.

Oct 4th 2013 at 11:39:42 AM •••

So, somewhere it's mentioned [I think by Shidan] that all the nations have grey eyes mixed in with them - even the water tribes, although they're pretty tight-lipped about it. Seeing how we've seen that there is air in earth [Touzaikaze], fire [omnitsu, yamabushi, possibly various others] and Aang [even though he's the Avatar, his first and main element is air]. I wonder if we'll ever hear mention - or even get to see evidence of - water tribe airbenders. ... Not including Lanxue, considering he's from Kyoshi Island which is mainly earth, and air was given to him so that he could become a yaoren.

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Oct 4th 2013 at 12:32:50 PM •••

Actually, I heard it from Sergeant Yakume in chapter 45 when the Touzaikaze are introduced. I bet there are a few more Air groups that have yet to be revealed. Possibly in a sequel, though, since the Comet signals the beginning of the end of this story.

Oct 4th 2013 at 3:06:50 PM •••

There's an interesting comment in Chapter 79:

Amak: The way we've always been, since our ancestors left the North. We didn't want to be ruled by the Northern Chief or the waterbenders; we didn't want to be ruled by anybody. And we weren't. Which worked just fine. Until it didn't. Until someone who actually wanted to do us harm came for us, and wouldn't stop coming.

Philosophically, I think pretty much the entire Southern Water Tribe is heavily mixed with Air. It's also a fairly grimdark point made by Vathara - in her Avatarverse, if you're not someone's slave by choice, you're going to end up one by force. So choose one who won't whip you too much - be a house slave or end up a field slave.

Which reminds me of a Straczynski comment in Supreme Power #15;

Kyle Richmond(Nighthawk): A long time ago, my dad heard Malcolm X speak at a church in Memphis. He said that during slave days, you had the house Negro, and the field Negro. The house Negro lived in the master's house, ate the same food as the master, lived in a warm room, usually in the basement. If the master got a cold, he was right there to help out, all cheerful and friendly because he wanted his own life to be good, and that meant making the master happy. The field Negro ate whatever scraps the dogs didn't eat, lived out in a cold shack, was beaten and kicked — and when the master got sick, he prayed every day the master would die. Didn't matter if the master was technically a nice guy or not. The master represented the system, and it was the system he hated.

Edited by
Oct 3rd 2013 at 8:28:38 PM •••

Ahh. Hell. Iroh, you just screwed up. And now, I'm betting that Zuko's going to have to draw on Asagitatsu for help. If she doesn't fry Ozai just for daring to cross her rim. And if Makoto doesn't show up, because I'm getting the feeling that she might consider Byakko and Shirotora a bit much when backed by the yamabushi, some Yu Yan, a fair amount of dragon children wave firebenders, and Shidan himself. Plus whatever other backup he managed to pull out of the woodwork.

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Oct 4th 2013 at 1:37:41 AM •••

Unfortunately I think it's more likely that Asagitatsu will either not care about Ozai or even welcome him as another of Makoto's blood. At least until it's to late. After all humans aren't individuals to spirits. So I think either Ozai will be seen as not hers because he is opposition to her lord (and thus Zuko's to deal with) or he might be seen as one of hers as she sees Zuko and Iroh. Could go either way.

Oct 4th 2013 at 5:34:09 AM •••

She maybe able to realize that Oazi is like Makoto in that he will try to chain her up and make her sleep so she may help out of self preservation.

Edited by
Oct 4th 2013 at 7:43:29 AM •••

But does she think of Iroh as hers? After all, she's shown up when Zuko needed to tear hide off of Aang, and she listens to Zuko. And she got ticked when it looked like Zuko might leave, and killing Zuko would remove him unless he came back as a ghost-seems pretty likely, but a ghost can't be the lord of a domain. Zuko can always ask for help. If he can lean on her strength, with the power of the Comet, he may have a fighting chance.

Oct 4th 2013 at 11:00:17 AM •••

Wow, that was a quick update. The chapter was short, but damn...

Iroh, you old fool. If this doesn't prove how much you don't know your own family, that Pakku and all the others who told you were right and you were WRONG, I don't know what will.

So it's Zuko vs. Ozai. No, more Zuko and Asagitatsu plus who ever in Dragon's Wings is combat-ready against Ozai and his Comet-powered fleet. You guys think it possible that there are orders for some of the Fire fleet to go to the North Pole to take care of the waterbenders there? Oh no wait...Koh's got that. Right.

What are the Avatar and the White Lotus going to do in the mean time?

Oct 4th 2013 at 11:32:26 AM •••

It sounds like Aang wants to try to talk to Koh, and if that fails deal with him using firebending during the comet. That's what I got out of that conversation.

Oct 4th 2013 at 11:55:17 AM •••

This probably sounds stupid, but... Does anyone else think that maybe the comet coming will have some sort of effect on the Drowned?

Oct 4th 2013 at 12:38:07 PM •••

Pujurak, I never thought about that. A very interesting idea, though. If Zuko could take advantage of that, and if Aang can use it against Koh should the Face-Stealer not agree to peace talks...

Oct 4th 2013 at 1:17:27 PM •••

But the Drowned are Fire. This could be very bad.

Oct 4th 2013 at 3:53:19 PM •••

But then again, Agni's children feel their element within their chi, right? I don't know if walking waterlogged corpses would have chi, but even if they did, it would be in the hands of Koh the Face-Stealer who is a Water spirit. Plus, the fires on the harbor are what's keeping them down for the time being. What are the chances that those fires would go 'Out' when Ozai's army, maybe Makoto, and the comet of fiery death arrives?

Oct 4th 2013 at 5:22:51 PM •••

Pretty good, unless that's where Asagitatsu throws her might. All it would take is the invasion fleet snuffing out the flames to make life much, much worse.

Oct 4th 2013 at 7:18:23 PM •••

Why would they? For one thing, aforementioned invasion fleet is way up in their airships. Would they even realize that there are Drowned waiting to crawl to the surface should the harbor fires go out? And if they don't, what would their reason be for putting out fire that's on the water? They'd be too busy fighting. Also, we don't know whether or not if Asagitatsu is intending to help at all, referencing back to comments #'s:2+3. Plus, it was mentioned way back when that the spirits were confused with whom to side with, because conquering the whole world would bring about an imbalance, but because of Avatar Kyoshi's decree, [most of] the Fire Nation is following the will of the Fire Lord, whom was appointed his position by the Spirit of the World, so therefore everyone's following the will of the Avatar. On the other hand, however: Asagitatsu would very much rather have the Avatar ala hot sauce. I really do wonder what she'll do, if anything at all....

Oct 4th 2013 at 7:22:23 PM •••

Again: "But then again", if Makoto shows up - she who is working WITH the Face-Stealer in his evil scheme to wipe out humanity - than that would be another story.

Oct 4th 2013 at 7:27:35 PM •••

...I totally just contradicted myself in mentioning Makoto. What I meant the First time was that she'd probably be mad at having Asagitatsu stolen from her - as mentioned be cetraskies in the conversation below - so would be throwing around a lot of fire to burn her enemies with. But, if letting the Drowned out of their underwater confinement would make for a much more horrifying scene for those humans that she probably views as the equivalent to parasites, well. I don't think I need to finish that thought.

Edited by
Oct 5th 2013 at 1:55:12 AM •••

When it comes to Ozai, Makoto, and Koh, it's best to assume the worst.

Oct 6th 2013 at 9:22:07 PM •••

Exactly as Moon Howler said.

That being so, I say that the final battles will be set as thus: Aang + White Lotus vs. Koh; Zuko vs. Ozai (as well as Sokka, Katara and Toph against the rest of the Fire Nation fleet); Azula, Mai and Ty Lee (as well as the Onmitsu and Dai Li with Azula) vs. Makoto and the rest of her evil watery spirits.

Sep 18th 2013 at 9:30:10 PM •••

So, I'm pretty sure that whoever started our previous discussion deleted it, but ah well. Who do you guys think Saoluan will end up with? I'm honestly hoping for Jee or Kyo.

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Sep 18th 2013 at 10:24:00 PM •••

Saoluan? old is she again?

I was thinking one of Zuko's Fire Marine guys.

Sep 19th 2013 at 12:44:44 AM •••

Not sure. I started a discussion once and it's gone to but oh well.

And Saoluan... Maybe Shirong? Her little brother is yaoren why not a boyfriend? And they would be a matching set if Langxue really did get together with Suyin. Personally I don't think Jee will end up with anyonehe has enough on his plate looking out for Dragons wings and he doesn't seem interested in starting a new relationship in addition to being a widower with grown kids.

Teruko now there is someone I'm wondering who she will get with.

Sep 19th 2013 at 10:12:14 AM •••

Oooh, Teruko. Is it bad that I'm hoping we get at least one femslash pairing in this story? And cetraskies, Kyo is the head Fire Marine guy.

Sep 19th 2013 at 10:26:55 AM •••

Tsk tsk. I believe Shirong has a better chance of getting together with Teruko, his firebending instructor.

Sep 19th 2013 at 11:45:50 AM •••

But didn't someone bring up the point that teacher-student romances are bad idea? Once the teaching is done or if they can find another teacher for Shirong, then yeah, I can see that happen. But honestly I'm hopping for Saoluan and Teruko to get together.

Sep 19th 2013 at 6:41:55 PM •••

For young'uns like Aang and Katara, yeah, Moon Howler. But Shirong and Teruko are adults, and they would know better how to conduct themselves in a relationship.

Sep 19th 2013 at 8:28:33 PM •••

True. It's just my slash fangirl coming out

Sep 19th 2013 at 9:11:01 PM •••

You have a lot of heart, Moon Howler. Don't give up hope.

Now for some serious topics. Aang has come to an informed decision regarding the root problem of the war. What do you think he's going to do? Talk to Tui and La? I'm curious as to the shamans of the North Pole. What are their views on the upcoming Comet and the Fire Lord? Do they revere the Avatar as much as Aang's supporters do? Pakku is the only one who doesn't kiss the Avatar's ass on the North Pole. We all know that Aang is going to take down Kyoshi's decree. Is he going to have to go through another quest to the Spirit World?

Sep 19th 2013 at 9:54:08 PM •••

I'm betting the NWT shamans are a little less reverent of the Avatar than other people, considering Kesuk. But I think he, with his airbender idealism, is going to go confront Koh, and then screw up Zuko's plans, but hopefully not before Zuko deals with Ozai/makes Iroh deal with Ozai.

Sep 19th 2013 at 10:22:16 PM •••

Umm, Kesuk was many centuries ago, though. Do you think they remember that far back? I would think that they would remember only up to Kuruk, and he wasn't a bad Avatar, as far as decisions went. Thanks to him, the Northern Water Tribe has lots of healers.

Facing Koh already? Speaking to Tui and La would be a lot simpler and less life-threatening. For Aang's sake, he'd better know what he's doing. I still recall the first time we saw Koh, and in canon, Aang barely got out of there with his face in tact. He needs to get out of the Spirit World in time to kick Ozai out of the air and away from Asagitatsu is what he needs to do.

...ah. Wait. I nearly forgot about the giant elephant in the room. Koh is one enemy; his ally Makoto is another. We haven't seen her around since the failed Invasion on the Caldera. Will she be there on the day of the Comet? Will she be with Ozai's fleet, or with Koh around Asagitatsu? Where in the world could Makoto be?

Sep 19th 2013 at 11:08:02 PM •••

...I'm betting she's coming back to Asagitatsu, or maybe Byakko, since she knows she's older and (probably) stronger than Shidan, especially since he's currently human. And wasn't it said somewhere that the NWT wrote down its history instead of using story-songs, so not everyone knows the old stories? And, since in the Southern Air Temple episode a temple at the NWT lit up, so I'm betting they have records of the Avatar. Plus, since Pakku's a member of the White Lotus, he probably would have told at least the senior shaman about past Avatars, right? Hopefully? Since he seems more sane that Iroh?

Sep 19th 2013 at 11:55:37 PM •••

Oh, Spirits.

Not only does Zuko have to deal with keeping Asagitatsu temperate, but Ozai AND Makoto?

Iroh, I hope you can make it up to Zuko by taking on Ozai should he happen to cross the North Pole first. You should have words with your little brother.

Pakku...who knows how much he's read about the past Avatars. Not everyone reads that far back into history. The shamans...hmm. If they find reading old scrolls not unworthy of their time than tending to the spirits, maybe they could remember. If the histories they have aren't inaccurate about Kesuk, anyways. Amaya had said that Avatar Kesuk had ordered the sea serpents away, when Langxue disillusioned her by telling her what a terrible human being Kesuk was and tried to take over the world.

Sep 20th 2013 at 10:57:44 AM •••

See, Makoto hates Shidan. Now, I'm guessing she'll go after him, seeing it as an easy way to get rid of an obstacle. And yes, Iroh needs to deal with his brother. And this is true. I hope the NWT shamans don't revere Aang. I actually think that's a major part of his problem-everyone holds the Avatar on a pedestal. And is it just my computer or did the entire previous sets of comments that used to be below this get deleted?

Sep 20th 2013 at 11:13:32 AM •••

Your computer's fine if you can get your post on this page. Is someone cleaning up house or something? I wonder if there's any way to check who deleted past discussions...

Iroh has the backing of the White Lotus, meaning he has Pakku, Bumi, Jeong-Jeong, and Piandao with him. Even with all of them, does Iroh have what it takes to stop Ozai from heading over to Asagitatsu? Can Iroh defeat Ozai?

Makoto could go after Shidan. But she probably hates Zuko more now that he's stolen Asagitatsu from her. With the Comet due to arrive soon, she'll definitely be at peak strength to take back her clan's home.

Thinking back to Book 1, if the shamans did not come out to see the Avatar when he first came to their home, maybe they could be wary of Aang. Especially after merging with Ocean...but then, the Avatar pushed back the Fire Navy, which is a great victory for the Northern Water Tribe. I don't know whether to chalk this up to shyness on their part, or if they don't care to see the Avatar at all. Jeong-Jeong was a hermit, after all, and only agreed to teach Aang (for a short time) when faced with Avatar Roku.

Sep 20th 2013 at 12:21:19 PM •••

Umm. Wow... What happened to the discussion page? Does anyone know why all the topics (as far as I can tell via my computer) have been deleted?

Sep 20th 2013 at 1:03:45 PM •••

Hunter, it's this way for all of us. And no, I have no idea. Maybe someone deleted their account and it caused a backwash? And's tough to call where she's going. Does she officially know that Zuko's stolen Asagitatsu?

EDIT: And now FFN's taking to long to load and is timing out. Is this happening for anyone else?

Edited by
Sep 20th 2013 at 7:45:45 PM •••

I would have thought that after Zuko fended her off the first time, Makoto would have felt Asagitatsu choose Zuko over her. Maybe she'll challenge Zuko for Asagitatsu?

Sep 20th 2013 at 8:21:26 PM •••

She might; I dunno. It could be interesting to find out.

Sep 21st 2013 at 10:49:15 AM •••

Clockworkchaos's three-part-review about everything wrong with Embers.

Book one: Water

Book two: Earth

Book Three: Fire

At this point, maybe Vathara should just say that she's making the fanfic version of Hero; "Despotism and brutal military conquest of your neighbors is acceptable if it's done in the name of unity and peace."

Sep 21st 2013 at 12:17:12 PM •••

I would be a lot more willing to accept this if first, it didn't start with Book 1, which isn't even in the fic, and if the writer could actually be bothered to hit the 'spell-check' button. Seriously? You couldn't even be bothered to do your own? You borrow someone else's rambling thing?

Sep 21st 2013 at 12:38:57 PM •••

;;sigh;; Moon Howler, if Kalaong actually bothered to post something up in the Analysis section, it would end up being dissected and probably even picked apart faster than vultures can feed on a dead lion's carcass. The other tropers here are just too good at that sort of thing.

Sep 21st 2013 at 12:43:27 PM •••

Yeah, I know, and if I had an account on that website I could have torn the analysis to shreds, but I'm not creating an account just for that.

Sep 21st 2013 at 1:04:24 PM •••

We have too much to discuss anyways.

Like how Aang is going to talk to the Northern Water Tribe shamans, and how he's going to enter the Spirit Oasis again. The last time Aang was there, he had Katara and Yue. Only Yue is now the Moon. It would be interesting to see the shamans enter with Aang and communicate with Yue, themselves.

I just had a thought. What if the shamans were to go with Aang to the Spirit world? They could help him deal with Koh, even. Or, they could just guard the Avatar and keep him anchored so that nothing evil from the Spirit world comes out...

Sep 21st 2013 at 1:13:52 PM •••

Are they even allowed to cross the boundary? I know they're shamans, but I thought it said somewhere that the Avatar's the only one who can actually cross, instead of just walk the boundary. And Yue's probably pretty ticked at Aang right now. Not only is he the reason she's now the moon, but he's also almost killed someone she chose to help the world.

Sep 21st 2013 at 1:37:30 PM •••

I doubt that Yue is angry since her champion is still alive and fighting. Her brother might be mad at the Avatar, but the Moon is still on the Avatar's side, I would think. Besides, it was Yue's decision to give her life to La.

Huh. Well then I guess the shamans can just watch the Avatar's back in the mean time. Someone needs to shake Aang out of it once Ozai makes it over to the North Pole, too.

Sep 21st 2013 at 5:04:16 PM •••

Either way, the next couple chapters are going to be interesting.

Sep 21st 2013 at 6:11:44 PM •••

That community? I've seen a few of their analyses; they're not very good.

Sep 21st 2013 at 6:45:36 PM •••

If you're talking about the links posted, yeah they suck. If you're talking about the Tv Tropes analysis pages, they're pretty good.

Sep 21st 2013 at 7:55:29 PM •••

Sorry; was a bit unclear. The HMS STFU is pretty much the lowest form of criticism.

Sep 21st 2013 at 8:23:30 PM •••

And the spell-check button exists for a reason. I'm disinclined to trust anyone who post multiple badly written things. But back to the fic- I really want to see what Shidan is up to!

Sep 21st 2013 at 8:37:26 PM •••

Shidan...I hope he's ok. Ozai may have decided to go deal with the Northern Water Tribe and later to the Earth Kingdom, but he may have set up some form of punishment for Byakko's treachery. Makoto might go wreak havoc on Shidan, but I think she's more inclined to taking back Asagitatsu. I can imagine she could send a whole tsunami of water-spirits against Byakko, that, and whatever Koh may be willing to spare her (if he does).

Would Ozai even send any of his firebending forces to Byakko to deal with their treachery? He's so focused on killing the Avatar, wiping out the Northern Water Tribe, and burning the whole Earth Kingdom to ashes that we haven't heard anything about him on dealing with Shidan and his little volcanic island.

Sep 21st 2013 at 9:07:02 PM •••

Well, if he sent some of his people to Byakko, he'd run the very real risk of rousing Shirotora. I don't think even he's quite cocky - or nuts - enough to think someone else can handle that. He'd probably want to take care of them personally.

Sep 21st 2013 at 9:12:47 PM •••

Ozai is cocky enough to ride the high-wind road over to the North Pole to finish off the waterbenders, then move swiftly over to Dragon's Wings to take care of his traitor of a son (maybe he'll even deal with his treacherous elder brother beforehand), and arrive just in time to cook Ba Sing Se to a crisp with the power of the Comet. He thinks that Makoto is his ally, but she has her own agenda, and could easily go behind his back and deal with Shiratora herself.

Sep 21st 2013 at 10:37:12 PM •••

And it would suit Makoto to let Shirotora erupt, destroying part of the world. Heck, the eruption and residual tremors could even spark off Asagitatsu.

Sep 21st 2013 at 11:08:51 PM •••

It would be nice if we could see the Earth King and how things are going in Ba Sing Se. Dragons' Wings isn't part of the Earth Kingdom, yet, I wonder if Kuei or even some of the Touzaikaze with him would be able to sense any disturbances in the earth or air to tell that something is wrong. Should Asagitatsu erupt, the consequences will be great.

Sep 23rd 2013 at 7:43:25 AM •••

He might be able to feel a reverberation through Shirong, but yes, this is a good idea!

Sep 23rd 2013 at 6:31:08 PM •••

But didn't Shirong realize that after becoming a Fire-yaoren that Kuei isn't really his king? Then again, Shirong is still Dai Li, and still an earthbender, so...

The Earth King made the deal to "give up" that land that is Asagitatsu over to Zuko. I remember when the Touzaikaze were introduced that they have shamans who sensed the alliance between Fire and Earth. If Makoto were to rear her ugly head again...I wonder if the shamans or Kuei would sense another strong in Fire disturbing the peace of the alliance.

Sep 23rd 2013 at 9:20:39 PM •••

But bear in mind that Shirong's Fire and Earth. The Fire in his soul chose Zuko, but the Earth is still bound to Kuei, especially because Kuei sent him with Zuko.

Sep 25th 2013 at 11:21:46 PM •••

Not necessarily Kuei. He is Loyal to Zuko and his fire ups that. His Earth has a Deal with (I'm guessing) protecting those he sees as his people. I could be wrong but I don't think it's the city Ba Sing Se, as he didn't have to deal with the backlash like Quin. And I don't think it was Kuei specifically either. I might just be reading it wrong but he never seemed as fixated on either the King, Long Feng or the city compared to the other Dai Lee.

Sep 26th 2013 at 8:25:23 AM •••

Buffy: I was just kind of wondering if anyone else thought that Jonathan is... kind of... too perfect?
Xander: No, he's not! He's just perfect enough! He crushed the bones of The Master, he blew up a big snake made out of mayor, and he coached the U.S. Women's Soccer team to a stunning World Cup victory!
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, "Superstar"

Let's say you're reading through your favorite fanfiction website and one day, you decide to read some stories set in your favorite fandom. New student joins the school, ho hum... wait, did the main villain just step down after one snippy remark by her? That's not right... hey, I thought he already had a girlfriend! Wait a second, did the evil miners all turn themselves in to the police after she had a talk with their leader? Who is this character and why is the whole world bending to her will?

Congratulations, you've just met Black Hole Sue.

Her gravity is so great, she draws all the attention and causes other characters (and, often, reality itself) to bend and contort in order to accommodate her. Characters don't act naturally around her. They instead serve as plot enablers for her, with dialogue that only acts as set-ups for her response. She dominates every scene she is in, with most scenes without her serving only to give the characters a chance to "talk freely" about her. Most people don't oppose her and anybody who does will either realize their fault in doing so or just prove easy to overcome.

The very laws of the universe bend to accommodate her. If there's only one in a million chance she could succeed at something, she'll accomplish it with flying colors. If the logical outcome of the story would end in her failure, a Deus ex Machina will ensure her victory. Nothing is too implausible for her to accomplish, whether it be going from Rags to Royalty, killing an Eldritch Abomination, or bringing about world peace. If she is so inclined, she may do all that before sitting down to a breakfast consisting of the original story.

This is fairly blatant author favoritism in effect, with the author using his or her effective position as God of the story to carry the character through by her hands. In the rare cases when Sue fails, it will usually be a temporary setback that will either prove advantageous in the end or else just serve to hammer in the point of how special the character is. These failures can often involve just as much Deus ex Machina as her successes, setting up events in which she logically shouldn't fail.

Because of this, the character just ends up rather boring to witness. Heroes might be naturally predisposed to winning and some villains might never seem to be taken care of, but Black Hole Sue does away with anything resembling logic to prop up the characters. It stops being a story and just becomes more like a fictionalized resume of improbably fantastic deeds.

Fire-Healer. Yaoren. Reincarnate. Dragon-child. Master Diplomat. Thief of Asagitatsu. Lord of Dragon's Wings. Tactical genius. Kanaloa-spooker.

And I probably missed a few...

Edited by
Sep 26th 2013 at 9:57:20 AM •••

To repost some general comments:

This is a story with some great ideas and very good writing but with two major flaws that spawn various lesser flaws.

1) Inconsistent AU

Vathara started this story because she was iritated by the characters not showing the values and beliefs seen in the real-world counterparts of their respective nations. This eventually grew to include how cultures with animistic belief systems view spirits and some of the historical background surrounding real-world campaigns of genocide.

This has produced some impresive world building, but it also means the characters in this story aren't the canon characters. They are based on detailed psycological profiles Vathara worked up based on her cultural profiles and what she sees as realistic in the way of attitudes and hang-ups for someone of a given social status in her devised culture with the noteworthy events of the canon character's backstory.

This isn't an inherently bad approach, provided it is used consistently and explained well. In an AU such as this we should either see the characters change over time or they are different from the very start with an adequate explanation of why they are different. Instead, Vathara picks up in Book 2 so all the bits of character establishment and development from Book 1 are canon for this story. Beyond that, most of the events for Book 2 for Team Avatar, at least the ones that don't directly involve Zuko, are also story canon.

Because of this, the Team Avatar characters should be the series canon characters when they get to Ba Sing Se because they have established themselves to be those characters in the story, even if it was left mostly off screen in this story. But they aren't becase they are Vathara's profile-characters from that point onward.

Vathara has somewhat admitted to this, but isn't going to go back for a rewrite.

Also, the story has gone on so long that Vathara sometimes loses track of her own canon and contradicts herself.

2) Zuko Love

Kalaong has a point above, though cut-and-pasting the entire trope entry was a terrible way to make that point. Vathara is facinated with Zuko as a character and has admitted that Aang's pacifism is incomprehensible to her, even more so than Azula's form of crazy.

As a result, Zuko now has all sorts of things piled onto him to make him extra-special. Most of them are interesting ideas that haven't been explored to their full potential in this story becasue they are competing with each other and the plot for screen time. Some of them, like Zuko's past life, have become pretty much irrelevent along the way.

Beyond that, whenever an argument about honor, ethics, morals, or cross-cultural values comes up, Zuko or whoever is arguing on Zuko's behalf is right. Having the main character be the one with the most trustworthy moral compass and insighful understanding of others isn't that unusual, but this is a story supposedly about grey-on-grey morality and how everyone is partially in the wrong. Except for Zuko apparently.

Edited by
Sep 26th 2013 at 4:10:43 PM •••

And I'm still trying to describe how Black Hole Sues tend to draw their awesomeness from all the other awesome characters - either by making them sycophantic or outright hostile. Because Zuko has overwhelmed. Every. SINGLE. Character. That got into a moral debate with him, usually by exploiting plot elements that those characters refuse to take into account.

Ur-Example: Iroh, Zuko's biggest supporter, who's plugged Zuko's awesomeness since day one, the one who brought them all to that supervolcano, yet is suddenly the one who wants them to leave and let it erupt to do... whatever. Zuko points out that he's not strong enough to tip the balance in either direction; Iroh still wants him to leave.

Even other original characters, created solely for the sake of the story, fall to Zuko's gravity. Saoluan and Langxue, a Kiyoshi Warrior and a bystander from Kyoshi Island - y'know, the town he set on fire? - give into him after he says he was Just Following Orders. And then he compares a pacifist to his genocidal dictator father, "If you knew Fire Lord Ozai was in a neutral town, would you hold back or would you nuke the place?" (Coincidentally, that's stupid even for Zuko. He infiltrated the North Pole to kidnap Aang. That is what Saoluan should have said she'd have done if Ozai showed up wherever.)

And because Zuko is proud Fire Nation, even after they've conquered and/or decimated most of the world, that means the Fire Nation has to steal fire from everyone else; the reason the War started was because every other Nation else had less awesome than them, made huge mistakes, and allowed themselves to get caught up in a millennia-old conspiracy. Every other nation was given deep flaws stretching back into antiquity, but pre-Kyoshi, there was apparently almost NOTHING wrong with the Fire Nation.

Repeat that.

Every other nation was given deep flaws stretching back into antiquity, but pre-Kyoshi, there was apparently almost NOTHING wrong with the Fire Nation.

Except for a lot of terrifying things that are completely justified(every Fire National being soul-bonded to the local PTB, lethal duels in the street, autistic adrenaline-crazed human/dragon hybrids with superpowers). There were a few mean lords, but the other lords used fire-healing to gradually steal their populations and leave them to rot.

Sep 26th 2013 at 9:48:22 PM •••

Deadpan29 I agree that there are some inconsistencies in Embers but as this is something for entertainment that Vathara makes no money off of, I think we can forgive that. I highly doubt anyone wants Vathara to take Embers down to rewrite some small scenes.

On the Zuko love thing, I disagree. The main reason being we are reading this fic through biased narrators. Embers focuses around Zuko, has from chapter 1. Most of the pov's are Zuko's or an ally/friend of his. Of course those who are Zuko's allies/friends will see him in the right. And about the whole grey morality thing, Zuko has gotten his mostly figured out, it's not much of an issue fro him anymore. He knows what he will or will not do. He will care for his people, he will not care for the entire world (as just a small example)

Not to mention the fact that Zuko IS the main character of Embers. Almost every kind of fiction book you come across or anime or comic what have you, they Want you to like the main character. Very rarely do they not because if you don't like the Main character, you won't read/watch the story.

Now because having those two points continuously brought up is annoying does anyone think Koh won't make a move while Aang's in the oasis?

Sep 26th 2013 at 10:14:33 PM •••

  • Roll's dice for will save to resist arguing against Kalaong inane argument again. Success!

Lady Shinigami, That would be interesting, maybe the spirit oasis is like the Sunwell from Warcraft and can be used to summon spirits.

Edited by
Sep 26th 2013 at 10:15:14 PM •••

I definitely think he will, if not against Aang then against one of his other targets. Or, maybe he'll try to help Makoto with something. The two of them are allies, though I don't think we've seen them working together in-story.

Sep 26th 2013 at 10:17:37 PM •••

Well reasoned, Lady Shinigami.

I brought up a guess from my previous post about Koh possibly interfering with Aang as he gets into the Spirit World from the Spirit Oasis at the North Pole. Since Aang has figured out how to undo the mess of Koh's devious web, why wouldn't Koh stop him? Or better yet, send some other spirit against the vessel of the Avatar Spirit?

It would be in very bad taste for Koh not to greet the Avatar himself. After all, why should Zuko be the only one to face his parent on the day of the Comet? I'm sure Koh and the Avatar (Spirit) have much to talk about, don't you think so?

Sep 27th 2013 at 7:44:17 AM •••

Especially since Koh's already tried and failed to steal Aang's face once. You know, a very good way for Koh to get Aang to show emotion would be fore him to reveal the Kuzon thing.

Sep 27th 2013 at 10:12:29 AM •••

What a dastardly, devious deed to do, that Koh! But I can imagine him doing that. Since the Avatar Spirit is Koh's parent in this story, it makes a LOT of sense that Koh wants to rip off Aang's face so that he can have the Avatar Spirit to himself. With the human disguise stripped away, the Avatar Spirit will be free... least, is that what Koh would think?

Sep 27th 2013 at 10:58:27 AM •••

Well, since to access the Spirit World Aang seems to need to be in the Avatar State, and stealing a face has been implied to kill a person, doing it to Aang would kill him, and, as said by Roku, if he's killed in the Avatar State the Avatar will cease to exist.

Oct 4th 2013 at 4:02:13 AM •••

Personal opinion:

  • Embers contains excellent writing, an interesting plot, and adapts a lot of real-world mythological and cultural traits to the A:tLA universe in a fascinating way. The story is rich and detailed, and invites speculation on where it's going — always a good thing.

  • That said, sometimes psychological traits are applied to characters in an uneven way, and while Vathara does provide justification for that, the end result is that some characters are hard to recognize from the show. Since 1) those characters were generally well-liked, 2) the world itself is compelling and well-written, and 3) in other cases (notably Zuko and Azula) the characters are enhanced by the use of real-world psychological traits, the cases where characters are handled more clumsily are extremely grating and can drag the reader out of the story.

On to the latest chapter... I think it's very likely Koh will make a move, but I am interested in seeing how he does it. Consider that the last time they met, Aang kept his face straight, and since then he's had a lot more experience dealing with crises and spirits. I don't know if Koh will go for a straight-out face-steal — he might well try to trick Aang some other way.

Edited by
Feb 3rd 2015 at 10:30:29 AM •••

Um. Wow, you people, Just wow. I know I'm late to the party, but wow.

I've only skimmed this thread and obviously have no other context to judge things by, but so far it looks like you've repeatedly mocked and insulted Kalaong for having the opinion that Zuko is a Black Hole Sue, among other things. And you've apparently redefined "trolling" as "repeatedly presenting an opinion other people don't agree with". You go, guys. You go.

I'll tell you what: I've been following the fic since the most recent chapter was number 45, then around chapter 70 I took a break from it for a while, and now when I remembered about it, I went back and finished it. I wanted to know how it ended, and I liked the worldbuilding, and I liked the way Katara's and Aang's black and white and often immature worldviews in particular are challenged, I liked the way the mostly black and white depiction of war in canon is challenged. And I really like Zuko, too.

But Embers likes Zuko too much. I fully agree with the assessment of him being a Black Hole Sue. It's sad, but to me it's true. It got bad enough that I could've made a drinking game out of every time a separate character talked about Zuko or how scary it was or how hard it must be to be him or what a miracle it is that he's survived. And that is without getting into the fact that the narrative just so coincides to pile special power after special power after him, to the point where even utterly inane qualities like him getting lost for words when he's angry are glorified and elevated to the status of having something to do with his dragon origins. My dad goes silent in arguments. A lot of people do. Does that make him a dragonchild too?

And I find the arguments presented against it so far - "it's normal for a high fantasy character to be like this, it's normal for a MAIN character to be like this, it's normal because most of the POV characters are Zuko or people who like Zuko" - to be entirely unconvincing and invalid. No, no it's not. If you think 1 and 2, you need to read more. And 3 is irrelevant given that we have no indication that we have unreliable narrators in the story. Their narratives can be warped by their biases, yes, but they're not outright knowingly lying about what's happening, and at any rate it's an unconvincing argument when the sum of it still adds up to "Zuko is right, he's scary!!! also it was an accident but Aang almost killed him, have you heard, if you've heard don't worry, you're about to hear every single character reference this at length and think on Zuko's behalf how horrible that must have been for him even if they have no reason to be emotionally invested in him".

I've seen people reference 'the author's explanations', too. Bogus. Of course the author is going to be able to defend her choice of writing things the way she did; if she wasn't, she wouldn't have writtten it in the first place. And just because she has explanations doesn't mean the issue is settled. In one of the chapter notes, I've seen Vathara respond to the criticism of Zuko allegedly never making mistakes, by claiming that fighting Katara in the sea serpent possession bit was a mistake he nearly died from. That is bogus. A mistake it may have been, but a) not one character commented on it, never mind chewed Zuko out on it at length, for chapters and chapters on end, b) the scene turned into a chapters-long Zuko Apologia in which any hint of (justified!) resentment the Gaang might have had for him was drowned out by being forced to feel sorry and guilty, being told by others to feel sorry and guilty, Zuko using an AIR NOMAD thing on Aang despite not being an Air Nomad, and a RANDOM spirit that barely appears intelligent going after the Gaang because Aang "offended Fire", quite literally as a way of the cosmos punishing him for daring to hurt Zuko. And then their guilt and shame is further mixed with now gratitude as Zuko shows up to rescue them and shout the spirit into submission. Long story short, the fact that Zuko fighting Katara was a mistake is made completely irrelevant by the way the narrative used that mistake, which was to further universal sympathy for Zuko, not to make him more complex and realistically flawed.

The narrative spins completely out of control, which events upon events piling up to generate new ways of forcing characters to empathise with Zuko or reasons to feel sorry for him or, failing that, reasons Zuko is suddenly important, like Asagitatsu or the loyalty thing.

This doesn't mean Vathara is a bad author. Many authors fall into the trap of 'Author's favourite', and it's particularly drastic when it happens to a main character. I admire Vathara greatly for the complexity of the story and the discipline it took to write it and finish it, but I do see legitimate flaws. A lot of them, were this a published story, could have been solved by a good editor, so since it's not a published story, we have to evaluate it accordingly. Vathara published a chapter every three weeks, that's a long time to take for a chapter, long enough to forget the nuances of the one before it. A lot of the annoyances as the story goes on become more obvious when reading through it in one or several sittings. As a writer and more recently a roleplayer myself, I can understand it, I've often gone editing compiled RP threads only to be horrified at stylistic or plot repetitions within pages of each other that I hadn't been aware of at the time because we'd written the story at the rate of several paragraphs a day.

I'm not a hater of the fic, or of the author. I'm here because I got hooked on it and plowed through all of it, but toward the end it DID get difficult to even make it through the chapters. I sincerely hope you don't judge me relegated to "troll" status because of this, but if you do, it's certainly no skin off my nose even if I feel a little sorry for you.

Also, what Deadpan29 said above: ''"As a result, Zuko now has all sorts of things piled onto him to make him extra-special. Most of them are interesting ideas that haven't been explored to their full potential in this story becasue they are competing with each other and the plot for screen time. Some of them, like Zuko's past life, have become pretty much irrelevent along the way.

Beyond that, whenever an argument about honor, ethics, morals, or cross-cultural values comes up, Zuko or whoever is arguing on Zuko's behalf is right. Having the main character be the one with the most trustworthy moral compass and insighful understanding of others isn't that unusual, but this is a story supposedly about grey-on-grey morality and how everyone is partially in the wrong. Except for Zuko apparently. " ''

This, yes. I feel like I should also direct you guys to the page of Cursed with Awesome to reread it a bit, because 99% of the alterations Zuko as a character experiences in this fic are the very picture of it. He's a yaoren because he got drowned and it's soul-rending and horrible and he's caught between the human and spirit world, but it also means he can bend two elements (in a world where, in canon, literally one person at any given time could ever bend more than one element), combine their bending in all sorts of improvisational ways, and dip into the spirit world in the heat of battle with more speed and ease than Aang and then face down a dragon there. He's a dragonchild and this means he's cursed and somehow crazy and can't lie (made irrelevant by the fact that the Fire Nation is adept at political talk and white lies anyway, for example, his lack of promise to Hakoda regarding not punishing Aang), but he's also RIDICULOUSLY hard to kill, has granite-hard nails, has the support of a relative who's a literal dragon, is, again, very spiritual, to the point where he's so important that it is seriously argued at one point that he probably isn't dead, because if he died, everyone would know it. And him being the reincarnation of Kuzon started out interesting but became an excuse for him to have better insight into history and politics and *Air Nomads* than any other character, to the point of, again, feeling like he has the right to apply a culture-specific Banishing ritual to Aang.

There is so so much that started out promising and kept me reading, but in the end it was just skewed and pushed out of balance. Now excuse me, I need to go rewatch some ATLA eps with a friend as a palate cleanser and a reminder that Zuko is actually dorky and genuinely rude and petty and stupid at times and complex as a result of his choices and not the templates slapped on him.

Edited by Hekateras
Oct 6th 2015 at 7:21:46 AM •••

Sublime. Especially since everything that you say about Zuko could also apply to the Fire Nation as a whole; everyone was given weird spirit-related traits related to their elements, but only the Fire Nation has things that make them inherently more awesome. Water is made provincial and prejudicial and controlled through psychic peer pressure. Air is made flighty and short-sighted and ruled by mind-controlling baby thieves. Earth gets a pass from the tar-brush; they are considered to be slick salesmen and negotiators(I imagine that waterbenders and airbenders alike were both astonished and annoyed by their materialism; "Why are the badgermoles obsessed with hoarding wealth? You can't take it with you when you move or die...") but no real change from canon.

But the Fire Nation... Whew! Inherently better fighters. They've cross-bred with dragons. They have an intuitive understanding of the secret nature of the world, and secretly protect their thankless neighbors from volcanic eruptions. They never disobey their leaders, and to them, lying is a sign of mental illness! One thing on top of another thing on top of another thing - oh! And the war isn't really their fault, it's the Avatar's fault for being disgusted with their ultra-violent culture and being unable to accept a couple hundred dismissals as to the death of her firstborn son. In short, the only thing wrong with the Fire Nation in Embers is that they're forced to live on the same planet as people recognizable as human beings.

Their canon problem - that Sozin tried to do something good and progressive in an incredibly stupid way - is far more interesting than that.

Edited by Kalaong
May 24th 2017 at 6:34:44 PM •••

I just wanted to preserve a few reviews( );

Ruka4life chapter 81 . May 20, 2013 Ah yes another stellar chapter of "The adventures of god winning Zuko sue and the Perfect/Superior/Always right in everything they do Fire Nation"

...but sarcasm aside, come on Vathara I know your a better writer than this. 81 chapters of Zuko sue( I simply say sue because he has shades of all types of sues) being the best at everything and the Fire Nation getting set up for a karma Houdini/easily forgiven pass from 100 years of war. It's just that it seems like everything Zuko and the fire nation do is played up as being justified and the right thing so they are excused from being hated while Aang and everyone on his side who has a legit beef with the fire nation and have every right to want to stop them are considered idiots who should sympathize with a culture that has ravaged the world.

I like the story despite the Moral dissonance and double standards that have been rampant throughout, it but my god... I have never "head-desk'd" so much from reading a story lol.

Hekateras chapter 81 . Jan 31, 2015 Nghhh. I love this story for the worldbuilding and the much more indepth handling of morality - or rather, the *realistic* handling of morality as opposed to the children's show that straight up pretends that as long as no x_x face is visible, the random soldier's still alive. I've followed this fic for a while (though I took a break from reading it for a time, and now came back to finish it), I've recommended your fic to a friend, I really enjoy the focus on spirits (which was lacking in the show imho) and the essence of bending, Teo and the others becoming airbenders was a great and logical touch. I liked Aang's way of going about things being challenged and Katara's extremely black and white morality being addressed. I enjoy the idea of yaoren even though it's a little out there, at least initially I did. Did I mention I love the worldbuilding? Your research and the insight into different cultures and technologies and how geography and trade and realities of location and resources have shaped culture and customs and history are nothing short of fascinating.

Buuuut here come the buts. All good things are good in moderation. Canon's dorky and takes-himself-too-seriously Zuko who was also at times genuinely badass and scary determinator Zuko? That's what millions of viewers fell in love with, and for good reason: he's appealing, well-written, and the writing was balanced. And I truly feel that the balance was present earlier on in this fic, but gets hopelessly lost later on. Taken separately, none of the incidents that bother me are noteworthy, but it's what happens when they get added together. It's simply that so many worldbuilding elements and reimagining of canon events and introduction of OCs and their personalities have coincided to create a Zuko who's supposedly not powerful or lucky but has everyone from other characters to literal dragons and their entire extended clans to ghosts to the entire spirit world care way, way too much about his wellbeing and obsess over him, to the point where events keep just happening to line up in such a way that when Aang wrongs Zuko, like when he was fighting mindbent-Katara, it is milked for the maximum possible drama and shame value for them and rubbed in their faces by every possible character and even a random boiling lake spirit until Zuko graciously shows up to save them despite them nearly killing him. It's just... uncomfortable, because it sets the relationship between them up as Aang basically owing Zuko a thousand apologies and favours and never being able to hope to make it right no matter what he does, while Zuko can do no wrong.

Gah, I clicked send before I meant to, but continuing: The unbalance being set up between them isn't appealing, and destroys much of Zuko's initial appeal as the underdog with the world against him. Plus, if I had to choose a drinking game theme for this fic, it would be "take a drink every time someone comments in their thoughts or aloud about how scary/hard to kill Zuko is or how impressive it is that he's survived", and "take a drink every time Zuko does a shouty lecture at Aang about something Aang doesn't get that goes on for several paragraphs". By the way, in keeping with the theme of the fic, I should think that Zuko wasn't in the right to shun Aang like that, since Zuko isn't of Air, and that there should be consequences for that. Maybe you do introduce them later on, but I've only got ten chapters more to go and it's been getting harder and harder to get through them. The revelation of Zuko being a waterbender was kind of wasted, imho - a major appeal of it early on was blurring the lines between nations and serving to illustrate a point of being Not That Different, and that could've helped knock through the black and white morality of some characters, but what's the point of Katara finding out about it when she *already* feels bad for nearly killing him by mistake and is already questioning her motives?

I'm going to finish this fic because I've been reading since you were only on chapter 45, but the approaching climax is shaping up to be nowhere as fun as I'd hoped it to be. At this point I'm reading to see how you'll tie it all up, and for less central characters like Azula. Most of the more central characters are just a little too quick to empathise with Zuko despite little to no emotional investment in him, and it's been getting more and more grating to the point where the chapters are a chore to make it through. Suki trying to be the voice of reason but Sokka cutting her off was kind of sadly ironic. Aang's mistakes are milked for what they're worth, even ones that weren't even an issue in canon, like him breaking his promise to be a prisoner way back at the beginning, but Zuko's mistakes and the things he's done aren't treated with the same kind of moral complexity.

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