The Crossroads of Destiny
Written By: Aaron Ehasz
Directed By: Michael Dante DiMartino
Storyboard By: Michael Dante DiMartino, Giancarlo Volpe, Miyuki Hoshikawa, Ian Graham, Chris Graham, Kenji Ono, Dean Kelly, Oreste Canestrelli, Tomihiro Yamaguchi, Michael Chang, Joaquim Dos Santos
Animation By: JM Animation Co, Ltd
Transcribers: Avatar_Mom, Psycho Silver
["Previously on Avatar" sequence includes clips from "The Guru".]
(The scene opens with an ostrich horse drinking from a small creek. The outer wall of Ba Sing Se can be seen in the distance. The ostrich horse looks up as Appa flies overhead towards the city.)
Sokka: So, what kind of trouble is Katara in?
Aang: (worried) I don't know. In my vision, I just knew she needed help.
Sokka: It would be nice if your Avatar powers could be just a little more specific from time to time.
(A rumbling noise is heard and Sokka points to the ground.)
Sokka: What is that?!
(Down below, Toph is racing over the hills, leaving a large trail of dust. Aang brings Appa down to her level.)
Sokka: Need a ride?
(Toph is startled by Sokka and loses her concentration. The mounds she is earth skating on fall apart and Toph tumbles to the ground. Aang and Sokka watch painfully.)
Aang and Sokka: Oooo!
(Cut to a very large, dark hallway underground. On both sides of it are enormous, ancient statues. In the middle are many Dai Li agents, all lined up in rows. Azula, accompanied by Mai and Ty Lee in their disguises, stands on a statue's pedestal and addresses the Dai Li.)
Azula: The Earth King and The Council of Five do not trust the Dai Li. They imprisoned your leader, Long Feng. Soon they will turn on all of you, and eliminate you. Seizing power today is a matter of life and death. (Cut to a close up of a Dai Li lowering his head in anxiety. Azula steps down from the pedestal and comes closer to the agents.) The coup must be swift and decisive. The Earth King, and each of the five generals, must be taken out simultaneously. Long Feng has placed you in me command while we overthrow the government. (Azula walks toward a Dai Li agent with a scar on his cheek and look him in the eyes.) If I sense any disloyalty, any hesitation, any weakness at all, I will snuff it out. That is all.
(The agent watches Azula nervously as she walks away. The Dai Li turn and all begin walking away. Azula climbs back up the steps as Ty Lee pours her a cup of tea.)
Ty Lee: Nice speech Azula. It was pretty and poetic, but also scary in a good way.
Mai: Yeah, I thought you were gonna make that one guy pee his pants.
Azula: There are still a few loose ends. The Avatar, and my brother and Uncle.
(The scene fades to a shot of Zuko and Iroh standing in front of a carriage just outside the royal palace. Iroh is holding a white, ornate box containing his tea set. They both make their way towards the entrance.)
Iroh: Many times, I imagined myself here, at the threshold of the palace. But I always thought I would be here as a conqueror...instead, we are the Earth Kings personal guests, here to serve him tea. Destiny is a funny thing.
Zuko: (cheerfully) It sure is Uncle.
(Fade to Appa, Aang, Sokka and Toph flying over the outer wall.)
Toph: So how did it go with the Guru? Did you master the Avatar State?
(Aang groans nervously. Flash back to "The Guru.")
Guru Pathik: If you leave now, you won't be able to go into the Avatar State at all!
(End of flash back.)
Sokka: Aang, are you ok?
Aang: (smiling sheepishly) I'm great. It went great with the Guru. I completely mastered the Avatar State. Heh heh...heh. Yeah.
(Fade to a large, decorated house on the palace grounds, surrounded by shrubbery. Zuko and Iroh are inside, sitting patiently at a table. Before them is a small throne set on a raised platform. Iroh pours a cup of tea as they wait for the Earth King to arrive.)
Zuko: What's taking so long?
Iroh: Maybe the Earth King overslept.
(Several Dai Li agents walk into the room from the right and form a circle around the two tea servers.)
Zuko: Something's not right.
(The camera zooms out from a shot of Zuko and Iroh as Azula enters the room.)
Azula: (mockingly) It's tea time.
Zuko: (standing to his feet) Azula!
Azula: Have you met the Dai Li? They're Earthbenders, but they have a killer instinct that is so Firebender, I just love it!
(Iroh takes the cup he poured and stands up beside Zuko.)
Iroh: Did I ever tell you how I got the nickname the "Dragon of the West"?
Azula: (examining her nails and speaking in a bored tone) I'm not interested in a lengthy anecdote, Uncle.
Iroh: It's more of a demonstration really.
(Iroh takes a sip of his tea. Shift to a close up of Zuko as he looks at his uncle and smirks. Suddenly, Zuko ducks behind Iroh just before the ex general enters a firebending stance, opens his mouth and breathes a powerful torrent of fire at the Dai Li, like a dragon. The agents lower their heads and lift their gloved hands to shield themselves.
Cut to an empty hallway inside the house. Zuko bursts through the wall with a fire blast and runs down the hall, towards the camera. Iroh quickly follows after, still breathing fire at the Dai Li before catching up. Two Dai Li agents come through the hole in the wall and begin firing the small, finger pieces of their rock gloves like bullets with swift thrusts of their hands. The stone bullets barely miss Zuko and Iroh, becoming embedded in the wall.
Cut to a shot of a wall on the outside, second story of the house. A bolt of lightning breaks through the wall, and a moment after, Iroh jumps out, giving a small shout as he falls on top of a hedge bush in the shape of a bear, destroying it. Iroh grunts in pain and puts a hand to his head before looking up and calling to Zuko.)
Iroh: Come on. You'll be fine.
Zuko: No. I'm tired of running. It's time I faced Azula!
(Zuko turns around and walks back towards the Dai Li and Azula. Iroh slaps his head in frustration and makes his escape. Cut to Zuko, who is cornered by Azula and the Dai Li.)
Azula: You're so dramatic. What, are you going to do, challenge me to an Agni Kai?
Zuko: (angry and determined) Yes! I challenge you!
Azula: (smiling mockingly) No thanks.
(Zuko raises both hands, summoning a large ball of flame, leans forward and pushes it at his sister. Azula watches calmly as two Dai Li step between her and the attack and raise a large, rectangular tile from the floor, blocking the fire blast. Both agents fling their stone gloves at Zuko's feet, trapping him to the floor. Zuko stumbles and places a hand on the floor, which is pinned down by another glove. Zuko struggles in vain to pull himself free. Cut to a shot of Azula as she turns her back and walks away. Two more Dai Li agents step forward and shoot their gloves toward the camera.
The scene cuts to Appa flying towards the Earth King's palace. Cut to Aang, Sokka, and Toph in the throne room speaking to the Earth King. Bosco is resting next to the Earth King.)
Earth King: Katara's fine. You have nothing to worry about.
Aang: But, in my vision. I felt so sure that she was in trouble.
Earth King: Well, she met with the Council of Generals to plan the invasion. And since then she's been off with your friends, the Kyoshi Warriors.
Sokka: See Aang? She's with Suki. They're probably back at our apartment right now, talking about make up or something.
Aang: Ok, maybe you're right.
Earth King: Believe me, if there was any danger at all, Bosco's animal instinct would sense it.
(Bosco raises his head, blinking and grunting inquisitively.
Cut to Katara pacing around a cave lit by glowing green crystals. She here's a rumbling noise and looks up towards the steep tunnel leading outside. The stone blocking the entrance is slid away by a Dai Li agent. Another agent appears holding Zuko.)
Dai Li Agent: You've got company.
(The agent throws pushes Zuko forward and he tumbles to the bottom near Katara.)
Katara: (surprised) Zuko!
(Katara's expression quickly turns from amazement to loathing. Zuko gets to his knees and stares back at Katara as the Dai Li seal the entrance.
Shift scenes to the house in the upper ring Aang and his friends have been staying in. The wall that Toph had destroyed is being reconstructed. Appa lands in front of the house and Aang, Sokka and Toph run inside. Upon entry, Momo greets them by chattering excitedly and climbing on Aang's shoulders.)
(The camera pans across the living room. Katara is nowhere to be seen.)
Toph: There's no one else here.
Aang: Katara is in trouble! I knew it!
Sokka: Oh no.
Toph: Wait, someone's at the door. (points back at the door. A moment later, someone knocks on it.) Actually, I know who it is. It's an old friend of mine. (Toph walks to the door and slides it open to reveal Iroh.) Glad to see you're okay.
Iroh: I need your help.
Aang and Sokka: Huh uh !
(Aang, Sokka and Momo go into a state of panic and shock at the sight of their old enemy. Toph smiles and gives Iroh a friendly wave of the hand. The scene cuts to black for a commercial break.)
(The scene returns to Aang and Sokka gawking at Iroh. Aang points a finger at Iroh.)
Aang: (shocked) You guys know each other!
Toph: I met him in the woods once and knocked him down. Then he gave me tea and very good advice.
Iroh: May I come in? (Toph nods to him and he enters the room.) Princess Azula is here in Ba Sing Se.
Aang: She must have Katara.
Iroh: She has captured my nephew as well.
Aang: Then we'll work together to fight Azula, and save Katara and Zuko.
Sokka: Woah there. You lost me at, "Zuko".
Iroh: I know how you must feel about my nephew. But believe me when I tell you there is good inside him. (places his hands on Sokka's shoulders in a pleading way)
Sokka: Good inside of him isn't enough. Why don't you come back when it's outside him too, okay?
(Sokka removes Iroh's hands and shoves him away.)
Aang: Katara is in trouble. All of Ba Sing Se is in trouble. Working together is our best chance.
(Sokka closes his eyes and nods grudgingly. Aang smiles at Sokka's resolve.)
Iroh: I brought someone along who might be able to help us.
(Iroh heads back outside and the others follow. A bound and gagged Dai Li agent is sitting on the porch. Toph lifts him up by earthbending two stone slabs on either side of him. Iroh pulls down the cloth over his face, showing him to be the same scared agent with the scar at Azula's briefing.)
Scared Dai Li Agent: Azula and Long Feng are plotting a coup. They're going to overthrow the Earth King.
Sokka: (angrily) My sister! Where are they keeping Katara? (points his machete at the Dai Li agent)
Scared Dai Li Agent: In the crystal catacombs of old Ba Sing Se, deep beneath the palace.
(Iroh, Aang, Toph and Sokka quickly depart for the palace. The scene fades to the metal prison cells. Long Feng is meditating in his cell, his eyes closed, while conversing with a Dai Li agent outside.)
Dai Li Agent: The movements of all the generals and the Earth King have been plotted out step by step.
Long Feng: Good. And the Fire Nation Princess is cooperating?
Dai Li Agent: Oh yes! More than cooperating, she's really taken charge. She's terrifying and inspirational all at the same time. It's hard to explain.
(The agent leaves. Long Feng opens his eyes for a moment, full of suspicion. The scene changes to a close up of Zuko sitting in the crystal cave. The camera pans past him and shows Katara pacing behind him.)
Katara: (accusingly) Why did they throw you in here? Oh wait. Let me guess. It's a trap. So when Aang shows up to rescue me, you can finally have him in your little Fire Nation clutches.
(Katara shapes her hands into claws Zuko turns to look at her for a second before turning back and saying nothing.)
Katara: You're a terrible person, you know that? Always following us, hunting the Avatar, trying to capture the world's last hope for peace! But what do you care? You're the Fire Lord's son. Spreading war and violence and hatred is in your blood.
Zuko: You don't know what you're talking about.
Katara: (growing angrier) I don't?! How dare you! You have no idea what this war has put me through. Me personally (turns her back to Zuko and crouches down). The Fire Nation took my mother away from me.
(Katara places a hand on her necklace as tears roll down her cheek and drip off her chin. Zuko turns his head further and looks sadly at her. Katara begins sobbing, holding her head to her chest and burying her head in her knees.)
Zuko: I'm sorry. That's something we have in common.
(Zuko makes a full turn towards Katara, who stops her crying for a moment. She wipes a tear from her face and looks at Zuko, genuinely surprised. The scene cuts to a close up of Toph's hand placed on the ground. The camera turns up to Toph's face.)
Toph: Well whaddya know. There is an ancient city down there, but it's deep.
(Change to a shot of Appa, Aang, Iroh, Momo, Sokka and Toph standing just outside the palace walls. Toph waves her fists outward, earthbending a small crater in the ground.)
Sokka: We should split up. Aang, you go with Iroh to look for Katara and the angry jerk...no offense.
Iroh: None taken.
Sokka: And I'll go with Toph to warn the Earth King about Azula's coup.
(Momo jumps on Sokka's shoulder before the scene fades to Aang and Iroh deep underground. Aang is tunneling down using his earthbending and Iroh is lighting the way with a flame cupped in his hand. There is a moment of uncomfortable silence between the two until Aang decides to break the ice.)
Aang: So, Toph thinks you give pretty good advice. And great tea.
Iroh: The key to both is proper aging. What's on your mind?
(Aang pauses for a second to deepen the tunnel with an earthbending movement before continuing.)
Aang: Well, I met with this Guru who was supposed to help me master the Avatar State, and control this great power. But to do it, I had to let go of someone I love, and I just couldn't.
Iroh: Perfection and power are overrated. I think you were very wise to choose happiness and love.
(They stop again and Aang pushes back the earth with a wave of his arms.)
Aang: What happens if we can't save everyone and beat Azula? Without the Avatar State, what if I am not powerful enough?
Iroh: I don't know the answer. Sometimes life is like this dark tunnel. You can't always see the light at the end of the tunnel, but if you just keep moving...
(They come to one last wall of rocks. Aang pushes both arms forward, earthbending the rocks out of the way. A green light shines through. Cut to a close up of Iroh. He smiles as the flame in his hand extinguishes and the green light washes over him. Aang and Iroh walk forward and enter the crystal catacombs.)
Iroh: You will come to a better place.
(The catacombs are full of glowing green crystals, stalagmites and stalactites. In the back of the area is a waterfall pouring into a channel forming two rectangles around several thick, jagged columns. Change scenes to the palace. Sokka, Toph and Momo are climbing the steep steps towards the entrance.)
Sokka: There's General How!
(Sokka notices the Dai Li agents clinging to the columns supporting the roof, lying in wait as General How walks closer. Sokka grabs Toph and they hide behind one of the columns. As General How draws closer, one of the other agents drops down and slings a shackle at him, attacking to his wrist. Another agent shackles his other wrist. The general growls as they pull the chains, immobilizing his arms. One more Dai Li agent drops in front of General How.)
General How: Arghh! What's going on here?!
Dai Li Agent:You're under house arrest.
(Sokka witnesses General How's capture from behind the pillar. Momo is clinging to Toph's bun.)
Sokka: The coup is happening right now! We've got to warn the Earth King!
(Sokka grabs Toph and they run towards the throne room. Cut to a wood grating with trails of steam rising through it. One of the council of five is strolling down the street. When the general walks over the grating, several chains shoot out from underneath him, ensnaring him and pulling him to the ground. He looks through the grating and sees the Dai Li. Cut to General Sung, who is also taking a walk through the city. Two chains fly out from a dark alley, grab Sung and pull him into the shadows. Cut to two of the council of five studying the large map in the war room. Three Dai Li agents crawl along the ceiling above them. Without being noticed, the agents drop their chains and shackle the generals' ankles. The generals both give a shout as they are swiftly pulled upside down and into the air.
Shift scenes to the Earth King's throne room. The Earth King is sitting in his throne with Bosco by his side. Mai and Ty Lee and there with him, still in their disguises.)
Sokka: Thank goodness we're in time!
The Earth King: In time for what?
Ty Lee: Yeah, what are you in time for... (somersaults forward and lands in front of Sokka, putting her face close to his) cutie?
Sokka: (sweating) Uh, I'm kinda involved with Suki.
Ty Lee: Who?
(Toph earthbends a rock underneath Ty Lee. She gives a small shout as she is hurled into the air. Ty Lee flips backward and lands on top of the badger mole statue in the back of the room.
Toph: They're not the real Kyoshi Warriors!
(The Earth King gasps in shock and the camera pans down to Mai.)
Mai: Sorry to disappoint you.
(Mai flings three double bladed daggers at Toph. Toph earthbends a slab of rock in front of her and blocks the projectiles. She then kicks the slab, sending it flying at Mai, who jumps over it. A moment after she lands, Toph uses her earthbending to pop a stone up from underneath Mai, knocking her away. Toph grins victoriously. Cut to Sokka watching the fight. Ty Lee sneaks up next to him, giggling and with a big, happy grin on her face. Sokka is startled and steps back. Ty Lee proceeds to try to attack Sokka's pressure points in order to disable him, but the Water Tribe warrior is too quick. Every time Ty Lee tries to hit a joint or spot on his body, Sokka ducks, leans, and shifts out of the way, often ending up in an awkward position.)
Ty Lee: Ooo, it's like we're dancing together.
(Cut to Azula standing behind the Earth King and holding him by the shoulder. The frightened king stares at the blue flame Azula holds close to his head.)
Azula:This fight... is over.
(Sokka and Toph raise their hands in surrender. Ty Lee jumps between them and disables them both with a series of strikes. Momo soars through the air and tries to escape, but a Dai Li agent that had entered the throne room with Azula throws his stone gloves at Momo. They wrap around the lemur, and Ty Lee watches as Momo falls next to her. Azula roughly shoves the Earth King away.)
Azula: Get them all out of my sight.
(Mai and Ty Lee drag Toph out of the room, while a Dai Li agent drags Sokka out by the arm and another agent leads the Earth King, who has Bosco on a leash. The bear moans sadly. Cut to a close up of Azula. She smiles evilly before focuses on Long Feng who has just entered the throne room, followed by a troop of the Dai Li, all lined in rows. They all stand before Azula.)
Long Feng: Now comes the part where I double-cross you. Dai Li, arrest the Fire Nation Princess. (The Dai Li do not respond. Long Feng turns to them, frowning, and points at Azula) I said, arrest her. (looks back and forth at the agents and loses his patience) What is wrong with you?!
Azula: It's because they haven't made up their minds. They're waiting to see how this is going to end.
Long Feng: What are you talking about?
Azula: I can see your whole history in your eyes. You were born with nothing. So you had to struggle and connive and claw your way to power. But true power...the divine right to rule...is something you're born with. The fact is, they don't know which one of us is going to be sitting on that throne and which one is going to be bowing down. But I know. And you know. (Long Feng begins to sweat. His face is full of hesitation and uncertainty. Azula sits on the Earth King's throne and crosses her legs.) Well?
(Long Feng is now truly frightened. Beads of sweat roll down his face as his mouth hangs open, speechless. Azula stares at him cold and intently. Long Feng closes his eyes and drops his head, realizing that he has lost. Long Feng steps forward and bows before Azula.)
Long Feng: You've beaten me at my own game.
Azula:Don't flatter yourself. You were never even a player.
(Cut to Katara and Zuko in their underground cell. Katara brings her feet together and looks down shamefully.)
Katara: I'm sorry I yelled at you before.
Zuko: It doesn't matter.
Katara: It's just that for so long now, whenever I would imagine the face of the enemy, it was your face.
Zuko: My face. I see (turns away and places a hand to his scar).
Katara:(regretfully) No, no, that's not what I meant.
Zuko: It's ok. I used to think this scar marked me. The mark of the banished prince, cursed to chase the Avatar forever. But lately, I've realized I'm free to determine my own destiny, even if I'll never be free of my mark.
Katara: Maybe you could be free of it.
(A glimmer of hope flashes in Zuko's eyes as he turns back to Katara.)
Katara: I have healing abilities.
Zuko: It's a scar. It can't be healed.
(Katara reaches under her shirt and holds up the water from the spirit oasis at the North Pole, given to her by Master Pakku.)
Katara: This is water from the Spirit Oasis at the North Pole. It has special properties, so I have be saving it forsomething important. (walks up to Zukoand faces him) I don't know if it would work, but...
(Zuko stares at her for a moment before closing his eyes and silently accepting Katara's offer.
Katara places her hand on Zuko's scar and examines it. Before she does anything else, Aang bursts into the tunnel with Iroh.)
(Aang stares at Zuko and Katara, confused by how close they are, before Katara runs up to him and they embrace in a warm hug. Aang glares at Zuko while still holding Katara. Iroh runs up to Zuko and hugs him around the shoulders. Zuko glares back at the Avatar. Cut to a shot of them all in the crystal cave. The camera zooms out before cutting to black for a commercial break.)
(We return to Zuko, Katara, Aang and Iroh in the cave. Katara places her hands on Aang's shoulders and gives him another hug.)
Katara: Aang, I knew you would come.
Zuko: (upset) Uncle, I don't understand. What are you doing with the Avatar!! (points a finger at Aang)
Aang: Saving you, that's what.
(Zuko snarls at Aang and tries to lunge at him, but Iroh grabs him, preventing him from causing a fight.)
Iroh: Zuko, it's time we talked. (turns to Aang and Katara) Go help your other friends. We'll catch up with you.
(Aang clasps his hands and bows respectfully to Iroh before running back through the hole in the cave. Katara slowly follows after him. She turns her head and takes one last sad glimpse at a sullen Zuko before exiting. Zuko turns his head away from Iroh.)
Zuko: (hurt) Why Uncle?
Iroh: You are not the man you used to be, Zuko. You are stronger and wiser and freer than you have ever been. And now you have come to the crossroads of your destiny. It's time for you to choose. It's time for you to choose good!
(Zuko shuts his eyes, absorbing his uncle's words. Before he can process this wisdom, Zuko is startled by a violent quake. A trail of crystals shoots out of the ground until they reach Iroh, trapping him. Zuko readies himself for an attack. Azula and two Dai Li agents slide down from the tunnel Zuko had entered through. Azula advances towards Zuko until his is directly between his uncle and his sister.)
Azula: I expected this kind of treachery from Uncle, but Zuko, Prince Zuko...you're a lot of things, but you're not a traitor, are you?
Zuko: Release him immediately!
Azula:It's not too late for you Zuko. You can still redeem yourself.
Iroh:The kind of redemption she offers is not for you.
Azula: Why don't you let him decide, Uncle? I need you Zuko. I've plotted every move of this day. This glorious day in Fire Nation history. And the only way we win is together. At the end of this day, you will have your honor back. You will have your father's love. You will have everything you want.
Iroh: Zuko, I am begging you, look into your heart and see what it is that you truly want.
(Zuko looks back at Iroh. He is unsure of whom to listen to. He shuts his eyes and hangs his head, trying to come to a decision.)
Azula: You are free to choose.
(Azula waves a hand to the Dai Li agents, signaling them to leave. Both earthbend a stone cube under their feet and slide back up the ramp. Azula departs through the tunnel Aang and Katara had gone through. Cut to a shot of the unscarred side of Zuko's face, then to a shot of the scarred side, before finally settling on a shot of Zuko from behind. His mind is in turmoil over what actions he should make in his critical moment. Cut to Aang and Katara running through the main part of the catacombs where the waterfall is.)
Katara: We've got to find Sokka and Toph.
(A stream of blue fire rockets towards Aang and Katara from behind. Aang quickly turns around and earthbends a wall of stone to protect them. The fire hits the wall with great force, knocking Aang back. The camera zooms in on Azula, her fingertips still smoking from the attack. Katara runs around the smoldering wall and bends the water in the channel. She charges at Azula and brings the water crashing down on her. Azula deflects the attack with a short blast of fire. Katara keeps her momentum and spins the water around her, smashing it into the floor and creating a large wave. Azula stomps the ground and flings her hands out, making a wall of fire that evaporates the wave coming at her. The resulting steam hides Azula from view. Aang and Katara look left and right, preparing for a sneak attack.
A moment later, Azula jumps out of the steam from one of the larger crystals high above. She attacks with two blue fire balls which Aang and Katara extinguish by bending the water from the channel into a shield. Azula lands on a piece of rock jutting out from one of the large columns. Aang shoots his fists forward and brings his palms down, sending a shockwave through the ground and into the column, destroying it. Azula gasps and drops down between Aang and Azula, pointing her fingers at both of them. Azula looks back and forth between the two of them nervously, waiting for their next move.
Suddenly, a blast of red fire lands between Aang and Azula. They shield themselves from it and turn towards the new opponent, Zuko. He is wearing a simple brown shirt and brown pants, having shed his outer robes. Zuko draws closer to them, poised in his firebending stance. He looks to Azula, who gazes back at him harshly. Zuko then looks to Aang. The airbender gasps just before Zuko punches forward, shooting a fire ball at him. Aang reacts just in time and protects himself by airbending a spiral of wind around his body. He jumps back to gain distance as the flame is dispersed. The camera pans to Azula. She smiles at Zuko's decision and attacks Katara, waving her arm in an arc and throwing a jet of fire at the waterbender with an underhand toss. Katara bends the water from her flask and extinguishes the fire. Cut to a close up of Zuko, furiously sending fireballs at Aang with a series of punches.
Cut to Sokka looking through the small, barred window of a metallic holding cell. He, Toph, the Earth King and Momo are in the same prison that Long Feng had been put in. Sokka's eyes shift from side to side, on the look out.)
Toph: See any Dai Li agents near by?
Sokka: Nope. All clear.
(Toph cracks her knuckles and walks to the door, placing both hands on the metal surface. Cut to the outside hall of the prison. With a screech, the metal door collapses inward, dents forming all over it. The door bursts forward, bouncing off the walls several times. Toph runs out, followed by Momo. Sokka grabs the Earth King by the hand and they make their escape.)
Sokka: Let's go!
Earth King: I'm not leaving without Bosco!
(Shift scenes back to the fight in the crystal catacombs. Zuko assaults Aang with a rapid barrage of fire balls. Aang quickly runs around in a circle at high speed, creating a whirlwind that blocks the attacks. With his momentum built up, Aang comes to a halt and throws his chest out, sending forth a gust of air in the shape of his body. Zuko gasps just as the gust hits him, blowing him back several feet and knocking him to the ground. Aang leaps forward and attempts to attack Zuko with a blast of wind, but Zuko rolls out of the way and counters with a blast of fire to Aang's legs. Aang jumps high into the air and lands on a column. Zuko springs to his feet and shoots more fireballs in Aang's direction. Aang hopsout of the way and lands on the tip of a large, pointy crystal sticking out of the stone wall high above. Zuko lowers his stance and coils his body, gathering energy, and launches a mighty blast of fire at the Avatar. Aang lifts his arms, earthbending the crystals below him to rise up and block the attack. The fire blast is too strong and explodes on contact, shattering the crystals. The scene goes into slow motion and cuts to a close up of Aang as he is blown back. The scene goes back to normal speed and cuts to Zuko. Zuko pulls back his still flaming fist and brings both fists down to his sides, creating two large, thick flames. Waving his arms, Zuko turns the flames into long, searing whips of fire. Aang recovers and readies himself for this new attack, crouching on top of a cluster of crystals. Zuko swings both whips at Aang, who jumps away as the fire whips slice through the crystals. Aang lands at the stop of a cliff, but has no time to relax as Zuko follows up the attack. Aang jumps over the burning whips and on to a nearby column. Zuko slings the fire around and continues his relentless attack.
Cut to Azula as she lands feet first on the floor, a puddle of water beneath her. She and Katara run towards each other. Katara stops and bends the puddle, lifting it up with one arm and thrusting it at Azula with the other. The scene goes into slow motion again and cuts to a close up of Azula as she steps out of the way. She watches the water pass just inches by her face and cut a few hairs from her bangs.
Shift back to Zuko, who is spinning his fire whips over his head. He swings the burning tendrils at Aang, who is clinging to a stalactite. Aang jumps away to another stalactite and the fire whips cut through the one he was just on. Aang pushes off the stalactite with his legs and kicks another one, causing its tip to break and fall off. Aang grabs the upper part still attached to the ceiling, swings down under it and kicks off, hurling himself down. Aang turns himself right side up and slams his fists down into the falling stalactite, plunging it downward. The stone hits the floor, kicking up dust and creating a crater. Zuko is blown back by the shock wave and his body hits a crystal cluster.
Cut to a view of the fight from up above. The camera pans from the dazes Zuko to Azula and Katara across the channel of water. Katara bends puddle on the ground and lobs it at Azula, knocking her to her knees. As Azula starts to get back to her feet, Katara bends the water all around her body. The waterbender creates two long tentacles of water where her arms are and lifts them high into the air. Azula leans forward and thrusts out her fists, releasing a blast of fire, but it is quickly extinguished as one of the water tentacles wraps around Azula's outstretched arm. Katara controls the water, swirling it around with her hand, and swings the other water tentacle down at Azula. Azula tries to counter with a straight thrust kick, but the blue flame shot out is also extinguished and the tentacle wraps around her leg. Katara raises her arms and Azula is lifted into the air, shouting in fright. Just when it seems Azula is finished, Zuko performs a leaping overhead kick, punching downward to gather energy before hopping into the air and bringing his leg up, creating a large arc of flame. Zuko lands and brings his foot down, hurling the flame forward. The arc of fire passes over the channel and slices through the water tentacles, freeing Azula. Azula smiles at her brother before turning her attention to Aang as he crawls out of the crater, still dizzied by his last attack. Azula sets her eyes on the airbender and lunges after him. Cut to Zuko and Katara. Zuko throws two lances of fire at Katara, which she extinguishes with her water tentacles.)
Katara: I thought you had changed!
(Katara swings her water down at Zuko. Cut to an overhead shot of Zuko's tendrils of fire and Katara's tentacles of water clash together over the channel, both equal in strength. Cut to a close up of Zuko.)
Zuko: I have changed.
(Zuko brings his hand up and chops horizontally, sending out another blast of fire. Cut to Azula and Aang facing off. Azula smiles confidently while Aang looks determined to win. Azula brings her hands up and pushes them back while stepping forward, creating two large burning balls of blue fire. She shifts her feet and jets off fire shoot from her soles, the small explosions causing her to rocket forward. Aang raises his arms and earthbends the crystals around him, covering his body with them and creating suit of glistening green armor. He puts both arms forward and slides over the ground, coming at Azula head on. Cut to a close up of Azula rocketing forward, then to a close up of Aang in his armor. Both look like they are about to collide, until Azula hops and slides her foot forward, flinging all of the built up fire at Aang. Aang crosses his arms and tries to defend himself, but the powerful attack shatters the crystal armor and sends Aang crashing into a wall on a cliff up above. Change scenes to the Earth King's throne room. Mai and Ty Lee are there with Bosco. The Fire Nation girls have changed into clothes similar to Azula's. Mai is sitting on the steps that lead up the throne and Ty Lee is playing with Bosco.)
Ty Lee: Come on, it's easy. You just walk on your front paws instead of your rear ones. Like this.
(Ty Lee does a hand stand and begins walking forward on her palms. Suddenly, the floor beneath her surrounds Ty Lee's arms, catching her by surprise. She falls forward and the
stone wraps around her feet as well, leaving her bent backward with her belly sticking up. Bosco growls and claps his paws happily at Ty Lee's awkward position. Cut to Toph, Sokka and the Earth King standing in front of the large doorway.)
Toph: That is a nice trick.
(Sokka pulls out his boomerang and Toph stomps the ground, lifting a large stone block. Zoom in on Mai, who lethargically waves a hand at them.)
Mai: (apathetically) Just take the bear.
(The Earth King runs up to Bosco and hugs him around the head.)
Earth King: Bosco!
(Bosco growls happily as the Earth King buries his face into the bear's fur and snuggles him. The scene cuts and shifts to the fight in the catacombs. Zuko chops downward, flinging one of his fiery whips at Katara, who deflects it with her water tentacle. As Katara counter attacks, Azula leaps from the top of a crystal cluster and shoots a blast of fire down at her. Katara deflects the attack and another blast of fire from Zuko by bending her water into a wall. Zuko swings an arc of fire and Azula shoots a blue fire ball. The fire ball makes a direct hit and Katara is blown back, colliding with a cluster of crystals. She falls to the ground, unconscious. Katara's hair has come undone and flows freely. Azula and Zuko turn their heads towards a rumbling noise. Aang launches dozens of feet into the air, kicking up and enormous dust cloud. Aang slams his body into the floor, cracking the stone ground, and a moment later comes charging at the firebenders by riding on a rolling mound of rock. Zuko and Azula ready themselves for the attack. Aang is furious and determined, but just as he gets close, a Dai Li agent jumps in front of him and lifts his arms, destroying the mound with his earthbending and sending Aang to the floor. Aang wearily picks himself up and looks around. Many Dai Li agents jump down from the cliffs above, forming long rows behind Azula and Zuko. Katara gains consciousness just as the Dai Li surround her. Katara bends the water from the channel and forms a ring of water around her. The water sprouts eight tentacles as she enters the octopus stance. Aang enters his fighting stance and prepares to face his many opponents. He then looks to Katara, who is desperately fighting off the Dai Li agents.)
Aang: There's too many.
(Aang remembers what Guru Pathik told him at the Eastern Air Temple.)
Guru Pathik: (in Aang's memory) The only way, is to let her go.
Aang: (sadly)I 'm sorry Katara.
(Aang turns around and earthbends several crystals out of the ground to form a tent over him. Aang sits down and begins meditating. We enter inside of Aang's mind, where he once again comes face to face with the avatar spirit residing inside him, high above the world and surrounded by the starry heavens. The avatar spirit surrounds Aang in a swirling orb between its hands, and Aang's arrow glows. Shift back to the physical world. Aang's arrow begins to glow here as well, illuminating the crystals that surround him. Zuko and the Dai Li are frightened but also enchanted by this light. Finally, Aang opens his eyes, which glow with great intensity. An incredible explosion of spiritual power destroys the crystals. The Dai Li agents shield themselves from the blast. Aang rises from the ground in a bright pillar of cosmic light. Katara looks up at Aang, hope returning to her. Aang levitates in the air, until suddenly, a bolt of lightning strikes his body. Cut to an extreme close up of Azula's eye where the image of Aang writhing in pain is reflected. The camera zooms out to show Azula smiling confidently as smoke rises from her extended fingers. Cut to Aang's mind. The swirling cosmic ball vanishes and the avatar spirit falls and fades away along with the path of light Aang is standing on. Aang's body plummets to the earth below. Back in the physical world, Aang's body is also falling to the ground. His clothes are charred, and there is a terrible wound on his back where he was struck, as well as a burnt spot on the sole of his foot where the lightning exited. Katara stares shocked and horrified, tears rolling down her face. She turns her body and swirls the water around her. Katara creates a large wave and rides on top of it towards Aang, arms spread behind her. The wave rolls over Zuko and the Dai Li, washing them away. Katara catches Aang and lands on the ground, the water flowing away from her. She holds Aang's unconscious body and looks up hopelessly. Zuko and Azula begin advancing on Katara and the fallen Aang when a fire blast hits the ground between in front of them. Iroh jumps down from a cliff and lands between Katara and his niece and nephew, entering his battle stance.)
Iroh: You've got to get out of here! I'll hold them off as long as I can!
(Iroh punches left and right, shooting fire blasts at any potential attackers, as Katara makes her escape with Aang. He lowers his stance and defends against the stone gloves the Dai Li agents throw at him. Iroh waves both hands forward and flings powerful blast of fire from his fingertips. Katara goes to the waterfall and bends the water. She forms a rising and twisting current that lifts her and Aang upward. Iroh ceases his attack and quietly surrenders once they are out of danger. Two Dai Li agents bend a ring of crystals around Iroh and trap him. The camera zooms in on Zuko, who stares blankly at his uncle. Iroh stares back at his nephew for a moment and turns his head down sadly, saying nothing.
Change scenes to the Earth King, Bosco, Sokka, Toph, Momo, Katara, and Aang all riding on Appa in the. It has reached nightfall and the sky is dark. Katara lays Aang down on Appa's shoulders takes out the oasis water. She removes the top of the container and bends the small amount of water out of it. Katara holds it over her palm and makes it spin in a small circle until it begins to glow with energy. The others watch as Katara lifts Aang and places the water over the wound on his back. It lowers into the wound and enters Aang's body. Katara holds Aang close and begins crying. For an instant, Aang's arrow glows, and a second later he groans from the recovery. Katara gasps and smiles joyfully, turning Aang around to look at him. Aang smiles as he looks back at Katara. Katara pulls Aang to her and holds him close, grateful that he is still alive. Cut to the Earth King's throne room. Azula is sitting in the throne while Zuko stands next to her.)
Azula: We've done it Zuko. It's taken a hundred years, but the Fire Nation has conquered Ba Sing Se.
Zuko: (regretfully) I betrayed Uncle.
Azula: No, he betrayed you. Zuko, when you return home, father will welcome you as a war hero.
Zuko: But I don't have the Avatar. What if Father doesn't restore my honor?
(Azula stands up and places a hand on Zuko's shoulder. Zuko looks at her sadly.)
Azula: He doesn't need to Zuko. Today, you restored your own honor.
(Zuko turns away from Azula and looks down pensively. Cut to a shot of Ba Sing Se as Appa flies away from the city. The Earth King looks on sadly as he leaves his home.)
Earth King: (hopelessly) The Earth Kingdom... has fallen.
(Katara holds a sleeping Aang next to her. She looks onward as Appa flies over the outer wall and into the dark, cloudy horizon.)
Back to overview