Daddy, no: or, Azula's Scar
Princess Azula ran down the ornate halls of the Fire Nation Royal Palace, eager to demonstrate her newly discovered talent to her father. When she failed to find him in his throne room, she ran off for his private study. She threw the door open, and there he was, stoically reading over some ancient scroll. He glared up sharply at the intruder, but his gaze softened when he saw it was his daughter.
“Azula, you know you are not to enter any of my private chambers unannounced,” he reprimanded her gently. Azula genuflected before him in absolution.
“I’m sorry Daddy, but it’s just that, I need to show you this!” she gasped excitedly.
“Show me what?” Ozai asked curiously, as she clearly didn’t have anything with her. Azula stood up straight, cupped her hands together, and conjured a ball of blue fire hovering above her palms. Ozai took a step back in astonishment. His daughter, not even ten years old, had already mastered conventional Firebending and could now produce blue fire. Azula was grinning from ear to ear, and her big, beautiful golden eyes were sparkling with joy. Ozai stepped forward cautiously, slowly waving his hand over his daughter’s flame.
“It’s so hot,” he said softly.
“I know, it’s so much more powerful than normal fire, but I can control it!” Azula assured him. The flame expanded and then shrunk in her hands several times to demonstrate her control. She threw her hands open and the fireball burst into many smaller fires, all spinning rapidly before they eventually sizzled out. Ozai stared at her in amazement.
“Azula, this is unprecedented. No one as young as you has ever produced blue fire,” he said. “You are truly a marvel,”
“Thank-you Daddy,” Azula said graciously. She cherished her father’s praise. Her mother was gone now, but even when she was around it seemed that the only reason she had ever spoken with Azula was to scold her. She turned to her father for the validation she craved. Madman that he was, Ozai nurtured all of Azula’s darkest traits; her narcissism, her megalomania, her ruthlessness and cunning; everything that reminded him of himself.
“Daddy, do you think that one day I could learn to shoot lightning, like you and Uncle Iroh?” Azula asked. Ozai smiled with pride.
“I have no doubt Azula. In fact, I shall teach you myself,” he informed her. Azula’s eyes brightened with excitement. “But first we must discuss the full consequences of your new abilities. Do you understand Azula that you are already more powerful than most other Firebenders, and that your power will only grow?” Azula nodded proudly. “But power alone is not sufficient to achieve your goals. You must also possess the unwavering will to use it, no matter what. Take your Uncle Iroh. He is no less adept at Firebending than I, and he was the rightful heir to the throne. He should have been the Fire Lord. But when his son died he fell apart, abandoning the siege at Ba Sing Se, ending his military career in disgrace. When your grandfather died, I usurped Iroh’s throne, and he did nothing! He could have fought me for his throne, but instead he spends his days drinking tea, playing Pai Sho, and pining over his lost son. In spite of his powers, he’s pathetic.” Azula nodded in agreement.
“I understand Daddy. Iroh’s a quitter and a loser,” she said. “He doesn’t even want your throne. Zuko told me that Uncle’s dream is to own his own teashop. He could be the ruler of the world and all he wants to do is make tea.” Ozai shook his head in disgust.
“Honestly, he must be the laziest man in the Fire Nation,” he said. “You said Zuko told you that?” Azula nodded.
“He and Iroh have been spending a lot of time together since he abandoned Ba Sing Se. He’s always trying to cheer him up, make him feel better.”
“Zuko’s just like your Uncle,” Ozai hissed venomously. “Weak, lazy, worthless! But you; you, my daughter, are like me.” He softly caressed her face with the back of his right hand.
“I’m strong like you Daddy,” Azula said. “ I promise, I won’t be like Iroh. I’ll never give up, not until I’m the Fire Lord.”
“Do you realize what you would have to do to become Fire Lord?” Ozai asked curiously.
“Yes Daddy. I would kill Zuko, if I had to,” she said with complete conviction.
“And what about me?” Ozai asked. Azula faltered.
“What about you?” she asked.
“Would you kill me, to become Fire Lord?” he asked.
“Kill you? Daddy, no. I, I love you,” she said softly.
“How do you intend to become Fire Lord with me still living?” Ozai demanded.
“I meant, when you died on your own, I could…” Azula began.
“And what if I live to be a hundred?” Ozai asked. “Do you plan to do nothing for the next sixty years, just waiting for me to expire? If so you would be an unworthy successor. I rule the Fire Nation because I’m the strongest. When you become stronger than me will you dethrone me to take what you want, or will you let your love for me prevent you from taking what is yours, like Iroh?”
“Daddy I, I could never hurt you,” Azula said sincerely. Ozai sighed.
“Then you’ve failed to understand,” he claimed. He casually walked over to the study’s ornate door. Sliding it shut, he locked it, and slipped the key into his pocket.
“What are you doing?” Azula asked.
“Azula, the strong take what they want. If you are not willing to use your power to defend yourself then you are destined to be a victim, like Iroh,” Ozai claimed. “I won’t allow that. I’m going to show you what happens when you won’t defend yourself. Take off your clothes.”
“What? Why?” Azula asked confused. Plumes of flame shot out of Ozai’s fists.
“Do it!” he demanded.
“Daddy, no,” Azula said fearfully. Ozai snarled, and then lunged at her. Azula shrieked as her father pinned her down. He started tearing off her clothes. “Daddy no! No!” She struggled and kicked as furiously as her little legs could, but to no avail. Her father was too strong for her. Once her clothes were torn off Ozai held her down with his knee as he began disrobing himself. With her hands free Azula threw an arc of blue fire at him. Ozai dissipated the fire with barely a flick of his hand. With his robes cast aside, and his leggings around his ankles, Azula could see her father’s organ, fully erect, and ready to violate her.
“Daddy, please! No, no!” she begged. He wouldn’t listen. He mercilessly forced his organ into Azula, breaking her hymen and robbing her of her virginity. As she was only a girl, she was still too small for him, and the pain was excruciating. Azula could feel hot blood pouring out of her. She began weeping.
“Daddy please stop! Please, please stop!” she wailed.
“Don’t cry!” Ozai shouted. “Zuko cries! You don’t! You’re stronger than he is, and you will bear this! You will learn what happens to the weak!” His powerful arms kept her pinned to the ground, making all her desperate struggling useless. He held her hands against her body so that any fire she produced could only shoot at her. She shot waves of flames outwards from her feet, but that accomplished nothing. She tried breathing fire at him, but he extinguished it with barely a snort from his nose. Ozai drove himself into her tiny body, over and over again, tearing her fragile virgin lips, and she was helpless. Her Firebending couldn’t help her, and that was all she had. She lay as still as she could, whimpering, waiting for the nightmare to end.
When Ozai had finished with her, he pushed himself up, shoving her aside carelessly. Azula leapt to her feet in a fury, unleashing a barrage of fire upon him. Ozai stood his ground, deflecting the blue flames. When she stopped he breathed a river of fire at her. It took all of Azula’s strength to protect herself from the intense flames, and she realized she couldn’t beat him. When he stopped she dropped to her knees and wept bitterly. Ozai began to dress.
“Why? Why!” she cried.
“Because success has come so easily to you, that you have no real fear of failure,” He replied. “You need to know the consequences of failure firsthand. Iroh as a mere example is not sufficient. You need to know the humiliation, the helplessness.”
“How could you do that to me, you’re my father! You, you betrayed me!” she sobbed.
“Yes! That too is a lesson Azula. I’m your father, and I betrayed you. Anyone can betray you Azula, so you must trust no one, not even those you love. I rule unchallenged because I am feared by all, because I’m the strongest and I never hesitate to use my powers to get what I want, even against my own family. I betrayed my father, I betrayed Iroh, and I betrayed you. The strong take what they want from the weak, and if you don’t want to be a victim again you must always be the strongest. Never show weakness, never show compassion or mercy, even for your own family. If you’re not the Hunter Azula, you’re the hunted.
“You keep practicing your Firebending little one, you keep getting better. One day when you think you’re ready, you come make me pay for what I did to you tonight, and if you’re strong enough you’ll kill me, and no one will ever be able to hurt you again.” Azula looked up at him, her golden eyes blurred with tears.
“Daddy, I… love you,” she said pitifully. Ozai rolled his eyes.
“Just like Zuko,” he muttered as he left the study.
Azula bowed her head as she wept alone. For as long as she could remember, she had loved and admired her father; and she had thought he loved her too. Her brother was jealous of her, her mother had thought she was a monster. If her father didn’t love her, then no one did. That was not a thought she could bear. Rage and hatred seethed inside of Azula, but she couldn’t bring herself to direct those feelings at her father, so she turned them upon herself. She was disgusted with herself for allowing the rape to happen, for being too weak to defend herself. It was her fault, for not being good enough, for not being strong enough, but most of all for being foolish enough to think that her father was incapable of ever hurting her. That was her father’s lesson to her. No one could be trusted, she could only rely on strength and terror to control others. Trust would only end in betrayal. The only way to ensure she was never betrayed again was to become the strongest and the most feared, like her father was. Her father was very wise, and his lesson had been very effective. He had done what he had done to teach her this, because he loved her and wanted her to understand. He had done it out of love. He had to love her. He had too.
This is what Azula told herself as she sobbed inconsolably: abandoned, alone, and betrayed.