>Hmm. I have to take some issue with this description of Ozai, really.
>I mean, maybe he's changed since becoming a demon, but Ozai was
>neither bull-necked nor square-jawed.
That's usually true? But for some odd reason, he is in the last scene he and Azula are in together. He's very Dave Ryder in that scene.
>Worth noting; Azula would probably be aware that the Fire Nation has
>loyal earthbenders available from the colonial populations who would
>consider themselves to be proper paid-up Fire Nationals no matter what
>element they happen to bend. I mean, yes, I do know that this is
>actual an army of the dishonored dead, not an actual Fire Nation
>military cadre. Still. :)
Worth noting: The whole point of the prep Ozai's people did for this scene was that she wouldn't be aware of anything outside the very narrow window of things they needed her to be aware of.
>You know, Ben, you've gone to awful lot of trouble to make a guy who
>spends half his time being all "you could have done this better" about
>your writing feel very damn welcome around here.
Yeah, well... pretty sure I've said it before, you can be a pain in the ass, but at least you're paying attention. :)
>I haven't read the next installment of this very closely, so I don't
>know if it's spoken to one way or the other, but I would be utterly
>unsurprised if the voice on the other end of that commbud were
That's not addressed, but it's entirely possible that that's the case. Upon finding their way into the mix, the Phoenix Queen's crew's first priority would have been to find out a) if the homeworld their captain occasionally talked about was in fact real and b) if there was anyone from there around. Under the circumstances, that would have led them more or less straight to Katara.
>Genuine question: why "cleverer" as opposed to "more clever?" It kind
>of messes up the cadence you had going there, in my opinion.
Hell, I don't know. You think about these things more than I do, I guess.
>>On the other hand, he couldn't just discard her, as he
>>had her brother; she was the only heir he had left, Ursa was lost to
>>him, and there was far too little time for him to find another wife
>>(even if any other would have done) and start again.
>Interesting. This implies a certain respect on Ozai's part for Ursa,
>or at least Ursa's bloodline.
The latter, one expects. Roku only had the one granddaughter, after all.
>It also implies he didn't expect to have the sort of lifepsan of his
>antecedents did. :)
... well, or it implies that when he thought of it, Comet Day was in like a week, and he wasn't considering the matter much beyond that point.
>Aang probably still thinks it was
>the merciful, humane choice. I don't imagine Zuko and Katara, who
>understand this kind of thing better than Aang does, ever disabused
>him of that notion. Katara probably thought of him in that tower from
>time and time and it brought a smile to her face, tho.
I suspect that, on certain levels, Zuko has long understood Katara... rather better than Aang does. I don't wish to imply anything hinky about that - certainly not during Aang's lifetime - but I think there are a number of things they're on the same wavelength about that Aang just doesn't get at all, and that's most likely one of them.
All of which reminds me of a musing I had while working on this and the piece after it: One of the things people have to adjust to when they get to Valhalla is that, if they're part of a tight-knit peer group in which some members outlived others by a considerable time, once they're all back together again it takes a while for the group dynamics to re-sort. Aang died relatively young, Katara didn't, and Zuko really didn't. That probably made for a reasonably confused status quo once they all got to the far side of the Bifröst. It's long since shaken out by the time we see them in Tyrants - they're all obviously quite comfortable with each other - but one expects the Team Avatar org chart was a bit jumbled for a while there. :)
>I also like to imagine that Aang spoke at Ozai's funeral, and his
>words were full of mercy and common humanity. Ozai would have totally
"Thank you for your kind remarks, honored Avatar. And now for the countervailing viewpoint: You were a vicious bastard, Ozai, and I'm glad you're dead. WHO'S WITH ME?"
- excerpt from the definitive biography of the man, the myth, the legend, Ty Lee's Master Sokka, You're Drunk!
(Not really. Katara would still be strangling him 150 years later if he had done that, even though she agrees with him.)
>And this brings me to the one serious problem I have with this
>installment; I feel that, structurally, the Azula cycle doesn't flow
>smoothly from Agreement into Nothing, and it makes the
>ending of agreement seem contrived and weak.
It's not supposed to flow smoothly. Azula's consciousness doesn't flow smoothly, why should a story that's mainly looking over her shoulder? How utterly pointless would the cold open you were so fond of a minute ago be if you knew how she got there? Pretty pointless, I should think.
>The most direct parallel I can think of is the transition between
>episodes 10 and 12 of the first season of Legend of Korra.
Well, now you're just trolling me. I don't have to dignify that.
>At the very least, it feels like maybe you should
>have ended Agreement with Beria actually winning.
>Or, well, if not Beria directly (because lets be honest, watching him
>take one in the head was pretty satisfying) then ending on an
>uncertain note; fading to black with Azula leaving his office to see
>if she's good enough to run the gauntlet he'd set up for her in the
>hotel. That would still preserve the sense of confusion I think you're
>trying to set up with the very beginning of the next part without
>sacrificing overall structural needs.
I'll accept this as a viable way of setting it up - certainly a better idea than just giving it all away beforehand, which, it seems to me, is exactly the sort of Excessive Directness you were so backhandedly complimenting me for not indulging-in-as-is-my-custom not long ago. On the other hand, though, the very fact that they could arrange for her to wake up where she is at the start of this piece after she'd completely outmaneuvered Beria and his forces at the end of the previous one could be seen as an example of something that's not foreshadowed for the readers to replicate the sensation of complete unexpectedness the character experiences. That, at least, was the intent.
>"You owe me fifty caps, Arcade."
>"I hate you so much, Boone."
Heh, it hasn't come up, but Arcade isn't actually with them. He stayed on Mojave - figured he could do more good there.
>Hmm. You know, this was funny and all, but... well, I mean, Surtur is
>Surtur. It feels like even Azula would have to respect and fear
>what he embodies, especially when confronted with his unmediated
After the day she's had, it's entirely possible that it simply hasn't registered yet when she speaks. One reaches a sort of saturation point on days like that, beyond which the recording surface is so work-hardened no new stimulus can make an impression right away. :)
Benjamin D. Hutchins, Co-Founder, Editor-in-Chief, & Forum Mod
Eyrie Productions, Unlimited http://www.eyrie-productions.com/
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