Written By: Elizabeth Welch Ehasz
Directed By: Lauren Macmullan
Storyboard By: Lauren Macmullan, Chris Graham, Kenji Ono, Dean Kelly
Animation By: JM Animation Co, Ltd
Transcribers: Acastus, Psycho Silver
["Previously on Avatar" sequence, including clips from "The Storm", "Avatar Day", "The Siege of the North, Part 2", and "The Avatar State".]
(The episode opens with a shot of a partly cloudy sky. A dead tree dominates the right side of the screen. The camera tilts down to show a figure in the distance riding an ostrich horse. He wears a round, coolie type hat. Cut to a close up of the figure. It is Zuko. He looks sullen.
He rides the ostrich horse over a rope suspension bridge. The ostrich horse puts a foot through one of the planks and almost loses its balance. Zuko acts quickly to right the animal and continue crossing the bridge.
Later, Zuko stops his mount mid stride as he smells something. He looks o.c. Cut to a zoom in shot of two people in Earth Kingdom clothing around a campfire. Zuko sees food cooking and clutches his stomach. Cut to a close up of his hand holding his middle. He moves his hand to the hilt of his two broadswords, then cut to a closer shot of the two people by the campfire. A man approaches his pregnant wife who reclines against a tree. He rubs her belly and smiles at her.
Cut back to the close up shot of Zuko's hand on his swords. He releases his grip as the camera tilts up to show his face. He lowers eyes in resignation and moves forward on his mount.
Shift to a profile shot of Zuko riding across a field. He is almost asleep in the saddle. Cut to a closer shot as he tries to take a drink from a water skin. It is empty. Cut to a shot from behind the banished Prince as he rides to the horizon. The landscape is a grassy field strewn with huge, circular shaped stones with squares cut from the middle. Many are embedded in the earth.
Cut to a profile close up of Zuko's eyes. They have grown heavy and he fights back asleep. Cut to a shot from his p.o.v. His eyesight is blurry. He fights back asleep, jerking himself awake a few times. He has a momentary vision of a beautiful woman with dark hair wearing barely visible Fire Nation clothing, but he wakes with a start.
Shift to a shot of the sun. The camera tilts down to show Zuko on his mount looking at a village in the distance, then cut to an overhead shot of the village and some of its busy streets. Shift again to several Earth Kingdom soldiers, backs to the camera, playing some type of game. One of the soldier's is shaking a pair of dice to throw in front of them.)
Soldier: Come on, spider snake eyes...
(Cut to a frontal shot of the soldiers. Three squat on the ground at around camera level. Another, Gow, stands behind them wearing a slightly different uniform than the others. The soldier in the middle is shaking the dice. He throws them and rolls two fives. The man with the different uniform scowls, as the roller puts his hands over his head in triumph.)
(His two compatriots squatting next to him begin to hit him.
Cut to a shot of Zuko entering the village on his mount. He rides up to a stall near the men. Cut to a shot of the soldier standing up; his eyes follow the sound of the arriving ostrich horse and he turns slightly towards the camera to look at the newcomer o.c.
Cut to a shot of frontal shot of Zuko offering a merchant in the stall a few coins.)
Zuko: Could I get some water, a bag of feed, and something hot to eat?
Merchant: Not enough here for a hot meal. I can get you two bags of feed.
(Zuko looks down in despair, the gambling soldiers looking at him from the background. The soldiers turn back to their game as Zuko looks to the side o.c. at the sound of some laughter. A few kids peek from around the corner of the stall.
Cut to a wider shot of Zuko standing in front of the stall. At the side, a kids hands his friend an egg, who throws it at the gambling soldiers. It hits a soldier on the head and the kids run off. The soldiers get up and look over and see Zuko's back to them. The street is otherwise empty.)
Gow: Hey! (he and his friends approach Zuko from behind) You throwing eggs at us, stranger?
Gow: You see who did throw it?
Zuko: (turning around and putting his hand on his sword hilt) No.
Soldier: That's your favorite word, no?
Gow: Egg had to come from somewhere.
Zuko: (turning back to the merchant) Maybe a chicken flew over.
(One of the soldiers starts laughing, but a look from Gow silences him. Cut to a profile shot of Zuko at the merchant's counter. The merchant appears and drops two bags of feed on the counter. Gow swoops in and grabs them and throws to one of his men.)
Gow: Thanks for your contribution. The army appreciates your support. You better leave town. Penalty for staying is a lot steeper than you can afford, stranger.
(Cut to a side shot of Gow from the chest down as he taps the war hammer hanging from his belt.)
Gow: Trust me.
(Gow and his men walk away, then cut back to Zuko, the merchant standing behind him at his stall.)
Merchant: Those soldiers are supposed to protect us from the fire nation, but they're just a bunch of thugs.
(Zuko walks back over to his mount. A bright eyed boy appears on the other side of the ostrich horse as he is about to hop up.)
Lee: Thanks for not ratting me out.
(Zuko gets on and starts riding away. The boy looks non-plussed, then a smile spreads on his face and he follows. Cut to Zuko riding, then the camera zooms backward instantly to show Lee holding the ostrich horse's bridle.)
Lee: I'll take you to my house and feed your ostrich horse for you. Come on, I owe you.
(Cut to a profile shot as Lee lead's the banished Prince away. As the leave, Zuko grabs his grumbling tummy.
Shift to a wide shot of the road leading up to a farm. A variety of pigs oink and make noise all around them. The noise picks up as the pass the animals.)
Lee: No one can ever sneak up on us.
Zuko: No kidding.
(Lee leads the ostrich horse o.c. and Zuko looks to his right. A rooster sheep stops atop a fence pole to his left. It crows at him. A man enters the frame, only his back is visible at first.)
Gansu: You a friend of (cut to a shot of Gansu's face) Lee's?
(Cut to a wide shot. At this question Lee runs out of the barn near them and addresses his father in an excited tone.)
Lee: This guy just stood up to the soldiers! By the end, he practically had them running away.
(A woman enters from the right of the frame. She is dressed in simple green, as are her husband and son.)
Sela: (in a friendly manner) Does this guy have a name?
Zuko: I'm, uh...
Gansu: He doesn't have to say who he is if he doesn't want to, Sela. Anyone who can hold his own against those bully 'soldiers' is welcome here. (cut to a shot of Gansu with his arms around his wife and son) Those men should be ashamed to wear Kingdom uniforms.
Sela: The real soldiers are off fighting the war, like Lee's big brother Sen Su. Supper's going to be ready soon. Would you like to stay?
Zuko: I can't. I should be moving on.
Sela: Gansu could use some help on the barn. Why don't you two work for a while, and then we'll eat.
(Zuko nods his assent at Sela's suggestion, then fade to a shot sometime later that pans left across the farm, then cut to Zuko and Gansu atop the barn. They are nailing roof shingles to the frame. Near them Lee stands at the top of the ladder used to access the barn's roof. He watches his father and the nameless stranger working. This is followed by a frontal shot of Zuko on his knees using both hands to hammer in a nail. Lee's upper body is visible behind him poking up over the edge of the roof.)
Lee: You don't seem like you're from around here.
Lee: Where are you from then?
Zuko: Far away.
Lee: Oh. Where're you going?
Gansu: Lee, give it a rest. Stop asking the man personal questions, got it?
Lee: (sighs dejectedly) Yes. (then brightly) So, how did you get that scar?
(Zuko slams the hammer into his thumb at this and stifles a cry of pain through gritted teeth.)
Gansu: It's not nice to bother people about things they might not want to talk about. A man's past is his business.
(Cut to Zuko, who looks up, lost in a memory. He begins to hammer once again, a look of fierce determination on his face. As he drops the hammer for the third time, a white flash fills the screen, and a flashback begins. The flashback is hazy and the colors in the animation are somewhat washed out so that the characters and the scenery look slightly faded.
The flashback begins with a pool of water. A hand with long fingernails enters the frame and touches the surface of the pool. A Fire Nation red robe adorns the arm to which it is attached. The person pulls her hand out of the water and opens her palm to reveal some small bits of food. A baby turtle duck enters the frame and squawks. It is fuzzy except where it is covered by its shell. It eats the offered food.
Cut briefly to a wide, long shot of the garden in which the pool is located. It is a sheltered compound and very beautiful two figures sit by the pool, though their features are difficult to see at this distance. One is a woman, the other a little boy of perhaps eight or ten.
Cut to a profile shot of the boy, a young Prince Zuko, and his mother, Ursa. In front of them in the pond hover four baby turtle ducks, hoping for more food. Zuko holds a stone in his hand.)
Zuko: Hey mom, want to see how Azula feeds turtle ducks?
(He throws the rocks at one of the baby turtle ducks, which disappears beneath the surface of the pool.)
Ursa: (shocked) Zuko! (cut to a frontal shot of Zuko, Ursa continues o.c.) Why would you do that?
(Cut back to the surface of the pond. The baby turtle duck bobs back up to the surface unhurt; his shell protected him from the rock. The baby blinks and shakes his head as its mother swims into the frame to make sure the baby is okay. Once sure of this, she swerves and attacks Zuko loudly. She jumps out of the pond and bites Zuko's foot. The young Prince yells in pain. Ursa removes the angry turtle duck and drops her back into the pond. She swims away with one final squawk of protest, her babies in tow.)
Zuko: Stupid turtle duck, why'd she do that?
(Zuko hugs his knees and looks sullen. His mother sits next to him.)
Ursa: Zuko, that's what moms are like. (putting her arms around her son) If you mess with their babies, (she makes a biting sound for effect) they'll bite you back.
(She hugs Zuko and he laughs.
Fade to an overhead shot of another courtyard in the palace. This is quickly replaced by a shot of a young Azula and Ty Lee. Azula sets up for a cartwheel. She makes several successful flips but falls at the end. Ty Lee executes the move flawlessly and with incredible grace. She lands on her feet, but Azula knocks her over and laughs, pointing at the fallen girl.)
Ty Lee: (sans malice) Azula!
(Cut to a shot of a young Mai sitting with her back to a tree. She looks to her left to see Zuko and his mother walking down the path across the courtyard. She looks away, her cheeks blushing red and a small smile stealing across her face. Azula notices.)
Azula: (whispers to Ty Lee) Watch this.
(She runs over to catch her mother and brother as Ty Lee laughs quietly.)
Azula: Mom, can you make Zuko play with us? We need equal teams to play a game.
Zuko: (emphatically) I am not cart wheeling.
Azula: You won't have to. Cart wheeling's not a game, (under her breath) dumb dumb.
Zuko: I don't care. I don't want to play with you.
Azula: We are brother and sister. (her voice becoming sickly sweet) It's important for us to spend time together. Don't you think so, mom?
Ursa: Yes darling, (to Zuko) I think it's a good idea to play with your sister. Go on now, (she fluffs Zuko's head a few times) just for a little while.
(Ursa walks off, leaving Zuko. Cut to a shot of an apple hanging from a tree. Azula's hands picks it as she begins to speak in voice over.)
Azula: (voice over) Here's the way it goes.
(Cut back to Azula and the others. Mai's back is to the camera in the foreground, Zuko and Ty Lee visible behind. Azula places the apple on Mai's head.)
Azula: Now what you do is try to knock the apple off the other person's head. Like this.
(Cut to a close up of the apple atop Mai's head. The camera tilts down to show Mai's face. She looks unhappy. Azula fires a blast at the apple, whose stem catches on fire. Mai looks surprised, then cut to Zuko, Azula and Ty Lee. Zuko instantly springs to action to save the girl he thinks is in danger. Azula looks on smugly.
Zuko stampedes over to Mai. He jumps her, knocking the burning apple off her head, but also knocking them both into the pool.)
Azula: (to Ty Lee) See, I told you it would work.
Ty Lee: Aw, they're so cute together.
Mai: (getting up as Zuko walks off) You two are such... ugh!
(Cut to Ursa coming out of one of the buildings. Zuko enters the screen, dripping water, as she begins to speak.)
Ursa: I was just coming to get you. Uncle Iroh sent us a letter from the war front. (to Zuko) You're soaking wet.
Zuko: (with a gesture of frustration) Girls are crazy!
(The screen flashes white again. When the image returns the scene has changed to a night shot of an enormous stone wall. It has been breached and smoke rises from the piles of rubble. The shot pans down to reveal rows of Fire Nation soldiers at the base of the breached wall. On a stone parapet below is Iroh's headquarter tent. He begins to narrate the letter from o.c.)
Iroh: (voice over) If the city is as magnificent as its wall, Ba Sing Se must be something to behold. (cut to a younger Iroh sitting at a desk, flanked by two guards, writing the letter) I hope you all may see it someday, if we don't burn it to the ground first.
(He laughs at this, then cut back to a frontal shot of Ursa, the letter scroll spread open in the foreground, with Zuko and Azula on either side. They laugh with Iroh at this comment.)
Ursa: (reading the letter) "Until then, enjoy these gifts. For Zuko, (cut to Zuko running over and picking up a dagger offered by a servant on some sort of tray) a pearl dagger from the general who surrendered when we broke through the outer wall. Note the inscription (Zuko unsheathes the dagger) and the superior craftsmanship."
Zuko: (reading the inscription) "Never give up without a fight."
(The shot pans right to show Azula standing in front of another servant. He offers her something on a tray.)
Ursa: "And for Azula, a new friend. She wears the latest fashion for Earth Kingdom girls."
(As Ursa speaks, Azula picks up a doll wearing Earth Kingdom green. The Princess makes a face of disgust.)
Azula: If Uncle doesn't make it back from war, then dad would be next in line to be Fire Lord, wouldn't he?
(In the background, Zuko runs around practicing with his new dagger.)
Ursa: (disappointed) Azula, we don't speak that way. It would be awful if Uncle Iroh didn't return. And besides, Fire Lord Azulon is a picture of health.
Zuko: How would you like it if cousin Lu Ten wanted dad to die?
Azula: I still think our dad would make a much better Fire Lord than (looking at the doll with disdain) his royal tea loving kookiness.
(She holds out the doll and makes its head burst into flame. The screen flashes white and the flashback ends.
When the image returns, Zuko is asleep on some hay in the barn. It is night. The barn door opens and Lee enters. He sneaks in trying to be quiet and takes Zuko's broadswords. Zuko detects this and awakens.
Cut to a shot of Lee practicing with the swords in a field. The boy falls backward in surprise as Zuko speaks from o.c.)
Zuko: (voice over) You're holding them all wrong.
(Lee gets up, a sunflower decorating his head. He looks ashamed and offers the swords back to Zuko. Instead of taking them, he puts his hands over the boy's.)
Zuko: Keep in mind, these are dual swords. (he takes the swords and begins to demonstrate moves for the boy) Two halves of a single weapon. Don't think of them as separate, because they're not. They're just two different parts of the same whole.
(He gives the swords back to Lee. The boy practices a bit, then looks back Zuko. His arms are folded and he has an uncharacteristic smile on his face. The boy laughs, then cut to a shot of them walking down a path, their backs to the camera. A full moon hangs overhead.)
Lee: I think you'd really like my brother Sen Su. He used to show me stuff like this all the time.
(Fade to a day shot of the farm and some of the animals. Shift to a wide shot of Zuko getting on his mount. The family is there to see him off. Sela offers him a package.)
Sela: Here. This ought to get you through a few meals.
(A sound is heard in the distance. They look up to see dust rising down the road. Cut to a frontal shot of Gow and his men riding hard toward them.)
Gansu: What do you think they want?
(Cut to black for commercial break.)
(The show returns to show Zuko and the family looking ahead o.c., then a quick shot follows of Gow and his men riding hard. The sheep pigs begin to make noise as the approach. The stop just in front of Zuko and the family.)
Gansu: What do you want, Gow?
Gow: Just thought someone ought to tell you, your son's battalion got captured. (cut to Gansu, whose expression turns to horror) You boys hear what the Fire Nation did with their last group of Earth Kingdom prisoners?
Soldier: Dressed them up in Fire Nation uniforms and put them on the frontline unarmed, way I heard it. (he spits) Then they just watched.
(Cut to a frontal shot of Gansu who points at the camera, his wife and son visible behind him.)
Gansu: You watch your mouth!
(Gow moves his ostrich horse forward, but Zuko rides forward and blocks him.)
Gow: Why bother rooting around in the mud with these pigs?
(Gow and his men turn and go. Another flashback begins as the dust swirls from the departure of the bullies.
It is a scene in the garden of the Fire Nation palace once again. Zuko and Azula run by laughing as a servant approaches Ursa who sits by the pond. He gives her a scroll. She opens it and stands up. A tear rolls down her face. Zuko approaches her.)
Ursa: Iroh has lost his son. Your cousin Lu Ten did not survive the battle.
(The screen flashes back to the present. Zuko looks o.c. to where Gow and his men have retreated. Gansu and Sela hug in the background. Lee stands next to them.)
Lee: What's going to happen to my brother?
Gansu: (to Sela) I'm going to the front. I'm going to find Sen Su and bring him back.
(Cut to a wide shot of the farm as Gansu and Sela walk back to their home.
Lee begins to cry and runs to Zuko.)
Lee: When my dad goes, will you stay?
Zuko: No. I need to move on. Here. (offers him his dagger) I want you to have this. Read the inscription.
(Lee takes the dagger and unsheathes it.)
Lee: "Made in the Earth Kingdom."
Zuko: The other one.
Lee: "Never give up without a fight."
(The sound of heavy footsteps are heard o.c. as Zuko puts his ostrich horse into a gallop. Cut to a shot from behind Zuko as he recedes into the distance. Lee runs after him for a few steps, a pig in tow.
The screen flashes white and we return to another of Zuko's memories. He is in a room in the palace, wielding the knife he has just given away. He fakes death and falls over, revealing young Azula behind him seated on a chair.)
Azula: You waste all your time playing with knives. You're not even good.
Zuko: (getting up, his cheeks flaming) Put an apple on your head and we'll find out how good I am!
Azula: (getting up and walking over to him) By the way, Uncle's coming home.
Zuko: Does that mean we won the war?
Azula: No. It mean's Uncle's a quitter and a loser.
Zuko: What are you talking about? Uncle's not a quitter.
Azula: Oh yes, he is. He found out his son died and he just fell apart. (leaning against a nearby pillar) A real general would stay and burn Ba Sing Se to the ground, not lose the battle and come home crying.
Zuko: (angry) How do you know what he should do? (looking down, sadly) He's probably just sad his only kid is gone... forever.
(Cut to an overhead shot. A shadow approaches the entrance to the chamber the kids were playing in. It is their mother.)
Ursa: Your father has requested an audience with Fire Lord Azulon. Best clothes, hurry up.
Azula: (mocking) Fire Lord Azulon. Can't you just call him "Grandfather"? He's not exactly the powerful Fire Lord he used to be. Someone will probably end up talking his place soon.
Ursa: (crossly) Young lady! Not, another, word. (Azula runs past) What is wrong with that child?
(Quick fade to a long, wide shot of the Fire Lord's throne room. The chamber is filled with dark, ornate pillars holding up the roof. The center aisle leading up to the dais is clear. The Fire Lord sits on his thrown up the dais, which is separated from the rest of the hall by a trench of fire.
A quick shot of Fire Lord Azulon is replaced by a profile shot of the kids and Ursa seated on the floor. Between Ursa and Zuko sits Ozai, though his face cannot be seen.)
Ozai: And how was it Great Grandfather Sozin managed to win the battle of Han Tui?
Zuko: Great Grandfather won, because... (struggling)
Azula: Because even though his army was outnumbered, he cleverly calculated his advantages. The enemy was downwind and there was a drought. Their defenses burned to a crisp in minutes.
Ozai: Correct my dear. Now, won't you show Grandfather the new moves you demonstrated to me?
(Azula stands and performs a series of firebending moves. A shot of Ozai's lower face shows his stony countenance turn to a slight smile at his daughter's performance. Zuko looks on, an uncertain expression on his face.)
Ozai: She's a true prodigy. Just like her Grandfather for whom she's named.
(Azula sits back down next to Zuko.)
Azula: (whispering to Zuko) You'll never catch up.
(Stung, Zuko gets up and addresses the Fire Lord.)
Zuko: I'd like to demonstrate what I've been learning.
(Cut back to Ozai's face, which turns rapidly to a frown. Zuko tries to run through some of the same moves as Azula but with evidently less skill. After a few moments, he chokes on the routine and falls on his backside. He recovers and finishes the routine as his mother looks on in concern. Azula looks on her brother's failure with glee. Ursa rushes over to him.)
Zuko: (dejected) I failed.
Ursa: No, I loved watching you. That's who you are Zuko. (cut to Zuko looking up at his mother with wide eyes) Someone who keeps fighting even though it's hard.
(Cut to a shot from behind Azulon's head looking out over his son and his family.)
Azulon: (frustrated and angry) Prince Ozai, why are you wasting my time with this pomp? Just tell me what you want. (with a dismissive wave of him hand) Everyone else go.
(As they are about to exit the chamber, Azula grabs Zuko by the hand and takes him behind some curtains.)
Zuko: What are you...?
(They run behind the curtains and then peak out near where Ozai now addresses his father o.c.)
Ozai: Father, you must have realized, as I have, that with Lu Ten gone Iroh's bloodline has ended. After his son's death, my brother abandoned the siege at Ba Sing Se, and who knows when he will return home? But I am here, father, and my children are alive.
Azulon: Say what it is you want.
Ozai: Father, revoke Iroh's birthright. I am your humble servant, here to serve you and our nation. Use me.
Azulon: (leaning forward and pointing a finger at Ozai, who now kneels before him) You dare suggest I betray Iroh? My first born? (the fire in the trenches rises up into the frame from below, mirroring the Fire Lord's anger) Directly after the demise of his only beloved son? I think Iroh has suffered enough. But you, your punishment has scarcely begun!
(Cut back to the kids spying from behind the curtain. Scared, Zuko breaks and runs away. Azula turns back to the spectacle, a cruel smile on her face.
Shift to Zuko asleep in his bed. The door opens and Zuko awakes. Azula leans against the doorway.)
Azula: (in a sing-song voice) Dad's going to kill you. (normal voice) Really, (turning to look at him with a leer) he is.
Zuko: (sarcastically) Ha-ha, Azula. Nice try.
Azula: Fine, don't believe me, but I heard everything. Grandfather said dad's punishment should fit his crime. (imitating Azulon) "You must know the pain of losing a first born son, by sacrificing your own!"
Azula: (coming and sitting on his bed) I'm only telling you for your own good. I know, maybe you could find a nice Earth Kingdom family to adopt you.
Zuko: Stop it, you're lying! (holding his blanket for security) Dad would never do that to me.
Ursa: (voice over) Your father would never do what to you? (cut to Ursa entering the room) What is going on here?
Azula: (innocently) I don't know.
Ursa: (grabbing Azula) It's time for a talk.
(Ursa leads her out of the room.)
Zuko: (almost chanting) Azula always lies... Azula always lies...
(The flashback ends once again. In the present, Zuko is asleep on the ground, but chants along with his younger self just seen in the flashback.)
Zuko: Azula always lies...
(Zuko awakes at the sound of a wagon approaching. It is Sela. She is distraught.)
Sela: You have to help. It's Lee. (getting off the wagon and approaching Zuko) The thugs from town came back as soon as Gansu left. When they ordered us to give them food, Lee pulled a knife on them. I don't even know where he got a knife! Then they took him away. They told me if he's old enough to fight, he's old enough to join the army. I know we barely know you, but...
(She begins to cry. The screen zooms back in an instant to reveal that Zuko is now standing.)
Zuko: I'll get your son back.
(Cut to a slow pan right shot of Zuko's face. Cut to black for commercial break.)
(The show returns to a shot of Zuko riding into the village. The sun is setting and it casts a golden hue over the scene. He rides under a tall paifang gate that looks like it could be straight from a western.
Cut to a shot of Lee tied to a post. His head snaps up at the sound of Zuko's approach. He smiles.)
Lee: Hey! There he is! I told you he'd come.
(Gow and his men emerge from the shadows. Still silhouetted by the light from the sunset, Zuko dismounts and takes off his hat. Zuko and Gow face off, the latter backed by his men.)
Zuko: (in a threatening tone) Let the kid go.
Gow: (laughing, then in an equally threatening tone) Who do you think you are? Telling us what to do?
(Cut to an overhead shot of the face off, panning down. Zuko and his mount cast a long shadow due to the angle of the sun.)
Zuko: It doesn't matter who I am, but I know who you are. You're not soldiers. (cut to a shot of Zuko's face) You're bullies. Freeloaders, abusing your power. Mostly over women and kids. You don't want Lee in your army. You're sick cowards messing with a family who's already lost one son to the war.
(Cut to a wide, profile shot of Zuko and his antagonists.)
Gow: (to his men after a pause) Are you going to let this stranger stand there and insult you like this?
(The soldier to Gow's left brandishes his spear and walks forward. Zuko pulls back as the soldier lunges, then draws the handle of his swords right into the stomach of the charging thug. The soldier is knocked backwards, gets up and runs off.
Another solider runs at Zuko with his spear, but Zuko blocks and then brings him to the ground with a palm blow to the forehead. This thug gets up and runs away as well.
The last pawn charges Zuko with his spear, but Zuko breaks it in half with a blow. The thug drops the remains and runs. Cut to Lee, who laughs with delight. Cut to a shot of the crowd that has gathered, Sela is among them. She is amazed at what she has seen.
Gow, made of sterner stuff than his men, draws his two war hammers and adopts a bending stance. Zuko in turns draws his broadswords. Gow slams the ground with one hammer, raises a rock and hits it with the other hammer. It flies at Zuko, who shatters it with his blades. Gow repeats the move twice in rapid succession. Zuko destroys one rock, but is hit in the gut by the other. He recovers at runs at Gow with his blades.
Cut to the crowd.)
Old Man: Give him a left! A left!
Old Woman: It's not a fist fight.
Old Man: He's got a left sword, don't he?
(Zuko continues rushing his opponents. He chops several more rock, but is again thrown backwards by one that gets through. He staggers.
Cut back to the crowd.)
Old Man: Look out!
Lee: Behind you!
(Switch back to Zuko who is being steadily driven back by Gow. The thug leader alternates hammers as he smacks the ground, each time raising rocks and hurling them at the banished prince. Finally, with a mighty blow to the ground, Gow raises up a shock wave of earth and rock that travels along the ground between him and his opponent. A huge rock erupts from the ground as the shock wave nears Zuko, striking him in the chest and throwing him to the ground. The crowd gasps as Zuko falls in the dust, an expression of pain on his face.
The screen flashes white as the flashback resumes. Young Zuko is again asleep in his bed.)
Zuko: (sleepily) Mom?
(Cut to Zuko sitting up, his mother silhouetted in the dark near him.)
Ursa: Zuko, please, my love, listen to me. Everything I've done, (she hugs him) I've done to protect you. Remember this, Zuko. No matter how things may seem to change, never forget who you are.
(She lets him go and walks down the dark hall out of his room.
Cut back to the present with a quick shot of his face, then a wide overhead shot that show's Zuko laid out flat on the ground. The dust from his fall is still settling. Gow approaches. Cut to Lee, still tied up.)
Lee: (whispers desperately) Get up.
(Switch to a close shot of Zuko. He opens his eyes and screams in fury. He spins as he gets up, firebending a circle of fire around him. Gow draws back, dropping his hammers. Zuko fires a blast at Gow that hits him full in the stomach. The thug is shot back and falls to the ground.
Cut to Zuko who finishes getting up. He is wreathed in fire and his expression is angry. Lee looks in surprise.
Gow recovers and gets back up. He assumes a bending stance. Zuko charges him, sending many bolts of fire from his blade in Gow's direction. One hits and the thyg is thrown back into the wall of a nearby building. Part of it collapses on him after he impacts.)
Gow: (weakly) Who, who are you?
(Cut to a shot from Gow's p.o.v., looking up at the wrathful Fire Prince.)
Zuko: (with confidence) My name is Zuko. Son of Ursa and Fire Lord Ozai. (sheathing his swords) Prince of the Fire Nation and heir to the throne.
(Cut to a wide, overhead shot as the crowds begins to chatter, then cut to Lee, who's shocked expression remains. Switch back to the crowd.)
Old Man: (pointing) Liar! I heard of you. You're not a prince, you're an outcast! His own father burned and disowned him.
(Zuko turns away from the old man, ignoring the comment. Instead, he walks over to Gow, who cowers at the Fire Prince's approach. He bends down and takes the dagger back that the thug had apparently taken from Lee. He walks over to where Sela is untying Lee. After this is done, she moves in front of Lee as Zuko approaches, shielding him.)
Sela: Not a step closer.
(Kneeling down and offering the dagger to Lee, who looks out from behind his mother.)
Zuko: It's yours. You should have it.
Lee: No, I hate you!
(He turns and walks away with his mother. Zuko kneels behind them, still silhouetted by the sun. The crowd stands still behind him.
The screen flashes white and the flashback begins anew.
Young Zuko get's up out of bed and runs down the hall as he calls for his mother.)
Zuko: Mom? Mom, mom!
(Cut to young Azula who leans against a pillar somewhere in the palace, playing with Zuko's knife. She steps out from behind the pillar as Zuko passes.)
Zuko: (slightly panicked) Where's mom?
Azula: No one knows. Oh, and last night, Grandpa passed away.
Zuko: Not funny, Azula. You're sick. And I want my knife back, now.
(He grabs for the knife, but she dodges and holds the knife out in front of her, taunting him.)
Azula: Who's going to make me? Mom?
(He grabs the knife and runs out of the room. He runs into the garden where Ozai looks out over the pond.)
Zuko: Where is she?
(His father does not reply. Zuko looks down in despair.
Fade to a shot of larger pool. The screen tilts up to reveal a ceremonial plaza somewhere in the palace. It is packed with people. As the Fire Sage speaks, the camera shows various shots of the funeral audience. On the dais stands the gold sarcophagus and the Fire Sage presiding over the ceremony. Around the sarcophagus stand members of the royal family, including Ozai, Azula and Zuko, all dressed in white.)
Fire Sage: (voice over at first) Azulon, Fire Lord to our nation for 23 years. You were our fearless (cut to a shot tilting up showing the Fire Sage with Azulon's gold sarcophagus behind him) leader in the battle of Gar Sai. Our matchless conqueror of the Hu Sin provinces. You were father of Iroh. Father of Ozai. Husband of Ila, now passed. Grandfather of Lu Ten, now passed. Grandfather of Zuko and Azula.
(The Fire Sage turns and approached the sarcophagus. He reaches in and takes the Fire Lord's diadem. In the foreground, Ozai walks forward, his back to the camera.)
Fire Sage: We lay you to rest.
(The Fire Sage holds the diadem above his head as two firebenders on the left and right light fire to the sarcophagus. With the fire of the funeral pyre burning behind him, the Fire Sage crowns the new Fire Lord.)
Fire Sage: As was your dying wish, you are now succeeded by your second son. (he puts the diadem on Ozai's head, whose face is still not shown, and exits the frame to the right) Hail Fire Lord Ozai!
(Cut to a wide, long shot of the dais from down below where the audience stands. As Ozai stands up from being crowned, the audience bows low. Switch to a shot from behind Ozai looking out over the enormous field below, filled with his subjects. Cut to a profile shot of Azula and Zuko, wearing white, bowing to their father. Azula has her customary cruel grin. Zuko looks over at his sister in fear, then looks ahead.
The flashback ends. Returning to the present we see a close up of Zuko. He is riding away from the village on his ostrich horse, his round hat back on his head. Cut to a wide shot of Zuko riding out of the village with either side of the street lined with villagers. An Earth Kingdom flag flies in the breeze on the left of the frame. Switch to a shot of some villagers, including Lee, as Zuko leaves. They look upon him with dull hatred.
Zuko rides into the sunset. Fade to white.)
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