Spark: Chapter 2: Learn SummaryEdit
Zuko learns about his abilities
He is five when he first learns his green eyes are a curse. The palace servants mumble about “wrath of providence” and father won’t look at him. Mother warns him whenever there out in the royal gardens. “Don’t draw attention”, she whispers; her voice low and tight with what he now understands is fear. He gradually learns to block out the voices, the whisper-crackle of the growing sakura trees, and the burble-laughter of the fertilized seeds.
In the second tier he finds an earthbender healer willing to train him. He comes back to the apartment exhausted, his body ached with fatigue. He’s happy though, finally he doesn’t need to hide himself. His connection to the life flow becomes stronger, richer. He learns how to push the life flow to heal. Healing comes naturally, almost easily to him. A feeling of pride wells up in him, not even Azula could do this.
Uncle comments on his improved abilities, especially how the small potted plants are flourishing. His training is tested when their neighbor’s catowl becomes sick. He quickly establishes the link between his inner fire and the catowl’s flickering flame. The link is thin at first; slowly he encourages more and more chi into it, making the small flame burn brighter. He barely breathes, as fragile seconds become minutes, and then color returns.
The young man smiles and laughs in joy. The little girl is smiling and crying for happiness, her words becoming a mishmash of happy thanks that reminds him of a certain hyperactive girl that he once knew. The girl’s family insists on providing dinner as thanks, he and Uncle eat well on roast duck with peanut sauce. He licks his fingers, relishing the sweet meat that tastes like ambrosia, after suffering near starvation, and rotten food for the past three months. He smiles and laughs, and for a time he can truly believe that he’s happy and the spirits aren’t out to get him.
In the ensuing months he learns how to prepare a healing salve, and is even allowed to stitch a mildly deep wound brought on by a careless farmer. His teacher is stingy with praise, but gives a small nod at his accomplishments. The days run together, and he is too busy to even think about his honor. He comes in during the early hours of night, only able to catch a few precious hours of sleep before sunrise. Sometimes he’s even too tired to awaken to that primal inner call. During those days his Uncle quietly prepares breakfast and a stimulating tea, smirking with a smile that is secretive and contemplates his nephew’s future. Uncle makes it a point that his nephew is happy, no matter how much the boy denies that path.