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Zuko's Diary: Book Two

This all started in the comment section of Mark Watches Avatar: The Last Airbender in the Book Two episode "Bitter Work." I said that I'd give anything to read Zuko's diary, and imagined the following entry: "Dear Diary, another terrible, horrible, no-good very bad day. Azula tried to kill me again, and then I fell down. Can't find Avatar, but stepped in sky bison poop, so maybe he's around. Nobody understands my pain. No progress re: my honor. Now Uncle is snoring, so can't even sleep. Guess I'll just brood in the dark. - Zuko." Then I started writing one diary entry for every episode Zuko appeared in, and some episodes without him. Due to popular demand, I've gone back and written entries from the beginning of Book Two, and I'll start working on Book One as well.

Zuko's Diary - Book Two: Earth

The Avatar State

Dear Diary,
Azula always lies -- so what she said about Father wanting me back, that was a lie, but when she said Father considers me a miserable failure, was that a lie? What if she lied about lying about that? We're fugitives now. I mean, we were kind of fugitives before, but I had a ship and soldiers. I have to cut myself off from the Father Nation Fire Nation for now, but once I bring back the Avatar, I'll regain everything I've lost. My tortured soul yearns for acceptance, ever on the brink of eternal heartbreak. Also, my scalp is itchy where the hair is growing in.

Cave of Two Lovers

Dear Diary,
She didn't know what I've been through, not really. What does she know about my suffering? Her father might have been taken away, but my father threw me away. And I'm not sorry I took the ostrich-horse. Anyway, Uncle insisted that we send them a thank you note at the next village. I told him that fugitives don't send thank you notes, but he says that good manners are for everybody.

The Swamp

Dear Diary,
Begging for copper coins like common commoners. My humiliation knows no depths. Thank hotman that my hat comes down over my rolling eyes. There's a reason why nobody liked Music Night when Uncle sang. And it wasn't just because his version of "Firelilies Over Fung Shu Wen" is 42 minutes long. He wanted to know why I spent that gold piece on a Blue Spirit mask, but I told him to mind his own business. I have plans for that mask.

Avatar Day

Dear Diary,
Every time I came back after a successful haul, Uncle would just sigh heavily and talk about the virtues of poverty. Well, if he's content to grub along in the dirt like a peasant for the rest of his life, that's fine. But I'm destined for greater things, and if Uncle can't support me in that, I'm better off alone. Now trying to come up with a better bandit name than the Blue Spirit. Maybe the Ferocious Inferno. Or the Ennobled Enigma!

Blind Bandit

Dear Diary,
Apparently "the Ennobled Enigma" isn't as impressive a bandit name as I could have hoped. I had to repeat myself several times, and I still don't think that merchant understood what I was saying. Anyway, pickings were slim. And I'm getting hungry. Uncle always did the cooking. But I don't need him. I don't need anybody!

Zuko Alone

Dear Diary,
Mother said never to forget who I am. And if I'm not Crown Prince Zuko of the Fire Nation, who am I? My tormented soul will never know the transcendent power of a mother's love again. My heart has been flung into the unending void of desert night. My fragile emotions are crushed beneath the black waves of despair like those weird little jellyfish that wash up on the beach. Have decided to name the ostrich-horse Lord Feather-Withers.

The Chase

Dear Diary,
Azula tried to kill me, and then I fell down. Then all of a sudden I was fighting against Azula alongside Uncle, the Avatar and his friends, and she still got away -- though not before she almost killed Uncle. That water tribe girl pretended that she could help him, but I don't trust any of them. I can help Uncle myself, I don't need help from anyone! He keeps moaning, "More tea!" but when I give him the tea I made he coughs and makes a weird face. Maybe you crush up the leaves really fine before you boil them in the kettle; I bet that's the ticket.

Bitter Work

Dear Diary,
The very universe is against me! I cry unto the heavens, yet they will not part. One little lightning strike, that's all I asked for, but even that is to be denied me. Uncle reckons that I should have held up a long metal pole. As if that would have changed the universe's mind. No, it's just one in a long line of tragic disappointments inflicted on me by fate. I bet Azula gets hit by lightning all the time. She probably does it twice before breakfast.

The Library

Dear Diary,
Sometimes I feel like nothing I do even matters. Everyone's always so impressed with the Avatar, and I get ignored. When I regain my honor and my throne, they'll be sorry. They'll ALL be sorry! The flames will burn with an unquenchable -- brb, Uncle wants me to pet a turtleduck. No one understands my pain.

The Desert

Dear Diary,
If Azula ever finds out I hid in a flowerpot, I will kill myself to save my honor. If Father ever gives it back to me, that is. Which he will! The flowers will bloom once more in the melancholy dirt that is my soul! And the flowerpot represents my shattered dreams! Only not shattered, because the pot wasn't shattered. But my dreams are! I'm writing an epic ballad about it for Music Night.

The Secret of the Fire Nation

Dear Diary,
Refugees. Lost. Cast out. Borne across the waters of despair to land like flotsam on the sands of hopelessness! Ferry was filthy, got grime all over scabbard. Jet tried to recruit me, but I'm a lone wolf-mongoose, doomed to lonely loneliness, etc. Until honor is restored, will suffer in painful solitude. Got to go, Uncle making me learn pai sho. He'd better teach me the lotus tile trick.

City of Walls and Secrets

Dear Diary,
I wish Azula could have seen me kicking ass in that swordfight. Maybe I could write a letter about it and send it to Spoiled Brat, Father's Right Hand, 1 Central Palace Way, Fire Nation. I'll have to ask Uncle for a stamp later, because he cried himself to sleep after I told him that my pain was too deep for tea to heal.

Tales of Ba Sing Se

Dear Diary,
It wasn't really a date, it was just two people doing activities in a coordinated fashion in the same area. But even though it totally wasn't a date, Uncle insisted on telling me about the antelope-birds and the mocking-bees while he did my hair. It all sounds pretty undignified. I think he must be mistaken. Mother and Father wouldn't have done that. And I'm pretty sure that Azula sprang fully formed from the depths of a subterranean vent in hell.

Lake Laogai

Dear Diary,
My soul swarms with dark, moody confusion. I may have given up my one chance to regain my honor. But Uncle was yelling and I got so confused! (Btw, Uncle was wrong, I totally could have gotten out of that ice cave. Totally. I'd have come up with a solution any minute.) Also, can't stop sneezing, bet I'm allergic to that flying bison. Damn you, Avatar! Life is bleak.

The Earth King

Dear Diary,
Uncle says this is a metamorphosis, but it feels more like the stomach flu. The fiery tumult coursing through my soul! The conflict which has rent the fabric of my very being! I can see nothing in front of me but dishonor and pain. But when I told him that, he patted my head and said something about me being a very sulky little butterfly. Just for that I threw up on his sandals.

The Guru

Dear Diary,
There's this feeling inside my chest, like it's warm or something. And my lips keep twitching upward. I think - I think I may be happy. Is this how everyone else feels all the time? Maybe my destiny isn't to be the Fire Lord. Maybe I'm supposed to be the best tea boy in the entire Earth Kingdom. Uncle taught me how to sweep the floor correctly, and I hardly ever drop scalding tea in someone's lap anymore. And tomorrow we serve the Earth King at the palace. I have a really good feeling about this! Today is the first day of the rest of my life!

The Crossroads of Destiny

Dear Diary,
Sure, Azula had me seized and thrown in a dungeon. But this time she's totally changed! Why can't Uncle see that? Being an Earth Kingdom tea boy is one thing, but how can I ally myself with the Avatar against Father and the Fire Nation? I can't turn my back on the destiny that has been laid out for me from the day I was born, can I? Uncle's not a traitor, he's just confused, and once I explain it to him, he'll see I had no choice. Won't he? Everything is going to be fine, as soon as Father restores my honor to me. Fine. Just fine. Completely fine.


Zuko's Diary: Book Three

The Awakening

Dear Diary,
Does getting my honor back still count if it was based on a lie? I am consumed with dread that Azula's falsehood will be uncovered. The Avatar always ruins everything. It would be unbearable if not for my soulmate. When I told Mai that I would immolate my soul on the flaming altar of our love, she rolled her eyes at me and told me my poetry was puerile. I'm not sure what that means, but it must be good, right?

The Headband

Dear Diary,
Well, I have a plan. Maybe it's not a very good plan, because Uncle wouldn't help. Why is he being so stubborn? And alright, I'm in a hole, but if I just keep digging, maybe I'll tunnel out the other side. And I tried to explain it to Uncle, but he won't even look at me. Well, I'll show him. I'll show everyone! I'm back home now, and everything's going to be all right. I just - I just need to destroy the Avatar, and everything will be fine. Plus, Azula says she'll be looking out for me, and that's good, right?

The Painted Lady

Dear Diary,
New Ideas to Win Over Uncle:
- Take him food he likes this time.
- Introduce him to Mai, and have Mai cheer him up.
- Play pai sho with him. (Will need to give him stick to push around tiles through the bars.)
- Perform my 3-hour one-man play Forever Flaming Darkness.
- Steal Azula's favorite set of thumbscrews, present them to Uncle.
- Make him white jade tea.
- Turtleducks.

Sokka's Master

Dear Diary,
Uncle hasn't returned any of my letters, but he's probably just busy. I tried to perform Forever Flaming Darkness for Mai and Ty Lee, but Mai said that I had to stop before blood came out of her ears. Ty Lee said she liked it, but that there should be a bear in the show, which is ridiculous, because how could a bear juggle fireballs on the ladder for that long? And what if the bear gets distracted by the falling black feathers that represent my eternal pain? Then the snow machine would fall off the calliope and it would be a disaster! No one understands my artistic endeavors!

The Beach

Dear Diary,
It turns out that parties are lame, but destroying them is pretty fun. More fun than what happened after destroying that admiral's house, when Azula tied me down and Ty Lee gave me a makeover. I don't care that the kohl brought out my eyes and made them look dark and broody, I can brood just fine without it. And I can't get this friendship bracelet off my wrist. Rrrrgh, it makes me SO ANGRY! Oh wait, that burst of flame just incinerated it. That's right, everything I touch just turns to ash and cinders -- like my poor battered heart.

The Avatar and the Firelord

Dear Diary,
That was the worst scavenger hunt ever! Now I find out that the bald kid is my great-grandfather? My life is so unfair! Uncle finally starts talking to me again, and it's to tell me that I am the linchpin in the battle between the forces of good and evil, destined to right the wrongs of the world and lead the Fire Nation into a new dawn? I mean, I felt like that already, but Azula laughed at me when I said it. I think Uncle's serious. I know, because when I said maybe we should take a tea break, he said there was no time for tea. What do I do now, Diary?

The Puppetmaster

Set list for Forever Flaming Darkness:

Act One:
Nothing is Beautiful and Everything Hurts
Firebender in a Waterbending World
What About My Feelings?
Rage! Part One
The Lone Wolf-Mongoose

Act Two:
Nobody Knows My Pain
Solar Eclipse of the Heart
Rage! Part Two
Cataclysmic Devastation
Dead Inside

Act Three:
One Sister in Hand, Two Stabs in the Back
Iridescent Mourning
Rage! Part Three
Soul's Fleeting Rapture Scorched
Uncles Don't Know Everything

Act Four:
Four Elements of Anguish
Does Father Love Me Now? Why Not?
My Quintessence Is Just Kindling
Honor's Conflagration
The Agony of Everything
Nothing is Beautiful and Everything Hurts (reprise)

(There will be no intermission.)

Nightmares and Daydreams

Dear Diary,
Well, I got what I said I wanted. I sat at Father's right hand - and I'm pretty sure Azula booby-trapped the cushion, because I sat on something sharp. But my soul still yearns for an extra sense of belonging. I'm starting to think - well, I'm starting to think that maybe, maybe Father's not a very nice person maybe there's something else that's wrong with me that Father's approval can't fix. I want to write more, but Mai's here and she says if I don't come now she's going to put fruit tarts on the heads of the palanquin carriers without me.

Day of the Black Sun

Dear Diary
I finally faced up to Father and told him what I thought of him! My soul is now unfettered by the chains of filial responsibility, free to soar higher than the largest war balloon could dare! Now all I have to do is find the Avatar, convince him to accept me, defeat Father and the Fire Nation army and introduce a new Fire Lord. Without Uncle. I - I may be feeling - feeling a little light-headed. Okay, and a little queasy. With freedom! I'm going to go lean over the side of the basket for awhile.

The Western Air Temple

Dear Diary,
Well, I burned Toph and almost fell to my death, but I think it still went about as well as could be expected. I feel pretty guilty for setting that assassin on them, so I thought about trying to win them over through song, but all the Fire Nation ones I know are about conquering things. And somehow I don't feel as much like performing Forever Flaming Darkness as I used to. I think that "Rage! Part Three" needs some work, anyway. The eighth stanza's rhyming scheme seems off. Got to go, Katara's glaring at me and Sokka keeps trying to see what I'm writing.

The Firebending Masters

Dear Diary,
First of all, I don't see how I was supposed to not pick up the golden egg. It's a golden egg that raised up from the floor after an intricate dance-maneuver lock was opened in a chamber which can only be entered at the solstice, in an ancient mystical Sun Warrior city, how can you not touch it? Although I think I still have slime in my left ear. Whatever, the point is that it could have happened to anybody. (Anybody not raised by monks and fated to save the world through the use of the four elements, that is.) I can't wait to demonstrate my new firebending techniques against my sister. But Azula must never find out about Ran and Shaw, because I'm pretty sure she'd have them made into red & blue luggage.

The Boiling Rock

Dear Diary,
Azula tried to kill me again, but I have the coolest girlfriend in the world. Sokka punched me in the shoulder when I said so, to defend Suki's honor, but it's true. Mai is my gloomy little soulmate, the flame of my heart's desire. As soon as we set down in the Western Air Temple again, I'm carving our names into a wall as a monument to our love. I thought about drawing "Mai + Zuko 4-Ever" in skywriting from Azula's war balloon, but Hakoda said we should probably just make our escape.

The Southern Raiders

Dear Diary,
Azula tried to kill me, and then I fell down. But this time she fell down too. I'm making progress! Oh, and I have two friends now, Sokka and Aang. They say good morning to me and everything, and they don't cower when they see me, which is really nice. Sokka even let me throw his boomerang once, and there was barely any blood. I am on fire! Now all I have to do is win over Katara by helping her kill somebody. Then I'll have THREE friends, which is more than Azula ever had, so there!

The Ember Island Players

Dear Diary,
My hair does not look like that. And frankly, I found the stagecraft of the play stilted and derivative. The father/daughter scene was straight from their production of On Flaming Pond. And my hair does not look like that. Oh, Uncle. You never even got to see Acts Four and Five in my play, which far surpasses that dreck. You said that Act Three was so wonderfully soothing that you had to rest your eyes, so I've heightened the suspense in Act Four. But will I ever be able to perform Forever Flaming Darkness for you? I'd give all the tea in the world to be able to see you and apologize.

Sozin's Comet, Parts 1 & 2

Dear Diary,
Uncle forgives me, and everything is going to be all right. I'm pretty sure that I know my destiny now. I've got to take down Azula and become the Fire Lord. But none of that's going to matter if Aang doesn't put an end to Father. I guess all I can do is my part. I asked Uncle how to face Azula, and he just said, "Sweep the leg, Zuko." That doesn't seem very helpful, but I'm glad to have him back.

Sozin's Comet, Parts 3 & 4

Dear Diary,
The war is over, and Father will never hurt me or Mother or anyone, ever again. Guru Pathik says that Azula has stopped trying to burn him with her eyes and that her aura is much less terrifying after her yogic training. Maybe it's the onion and banana juice that's softening her up. The Fire Nation's honor is being restored, and world is rebuilding its ties with Aang's help. My soulmate Mai is by my side -- well, most of the time; she says Fire Council meetings are too boring to bear. Oh, speaking of bear, the Earth King and Bosco have been located, but he says he's continuing his travels rather than returning to the throne. I'm on a diplomatic mission to Ba Sing Se, visiting Uncle with all my friends. Because I'm the Fire Lord now. But I'm also still the best tea boy in the Earth Kingdom.




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