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 Post subject: Fire Lord Zuko
PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 2:30 pm 
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Fire Nation
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Joined: Sun Dec 20, 2009 6:35 pm
Posts: 685
Location: San Diego, CA
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"HELLO, ZUKO HERE."


NICKNAMES
Zuzu, Sifu Hotman, Giggles |:
AGE
17, almost 18
GENDER
Male
ORIENTATION
Heterosexual
BENDER?
Firebender

"BUT I GUESS YOU PROBABLY ALREADY KNOW ME...SORT OF..."


PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION
Tall and well built, Zuko has light skin and golden eyes. His black hair, when not pulled back into a topknot, is shaggy and tends to fall into his eyes. The thing that people tend to notice first about Zuko is the horrible scar covering his left eye and a good portion of his cheek, stretching onto his temple and shriveling up his ear. As a result, he can't open that eye all the way, even when his other eye is wide open; he is always squinting out of it. His left eyebrow was also burned off and no hair grows where he was burned. There is another burn on his chest from where Azula struck him with lightning.

How he dresses depends on where he is. While in the palace, he tends to wear his hair pulled up into a topknot and dresses in the finest noble garb. Beyond the palace when he's not on official business (such as when he's helping in his uncle's tea shop), he's more laid back, wearing his hair down and dressing in simple Fire Nation clothing.

PERSONALITY
If there's any one word that could sum Zuko up, it's "passionate"--even though on the outside he may come across as stiff, humorless, and moody. However, he is driven (and stubborn) and once he sets his mind on something he will pursue it to the point of obsession. He is hard on himself and unforgiving of his own mistakes, expecting the most of himself and growing frustrated when he doesn't meet his own expectations--even while believing his failures and suffering makes him stronger for it. He also projects this onto others; inaction bothers him, as does apathy, and he drives others as hard as he drives himself, encouraging them (in his own unique way, which can be scary) to better themselves.

Generally, though, this just comes across as less helpful and more domineering--which he is. Growing up a prince with servants at his beck and call and quite comfortable with ordering people around, this often bleeds into his interpersonal relationships.

He has mellowed out a little since his time among the GAang, becoming more tolerant, less bitter, and less entitled. (Though he still has self-centered tendencies; however, he's able to own up to it when he's called on it, now.) He has grown more patient and, while still hotheaded and quick to anger and irritate, he now makes a conscious effort to control his temper, resulting in fewer outbursts. Zuko is trying to be a good person, but as Iroh told him he has a dual nature and that has never come easy.

While Zuko is intelligent, his emotions often cloud his judgment. He thinks with his heart first--and he can be manipulated because of that. While good at coming up with plans on the spot, he is also impulsive, ruled by his emotions, and has a one-track mind; he has a tendency to rush into a situation without thinking it through, taking on an "I'll figure it out when I get there," approach--which often lands him and his friends in trouble (though in his opinion, doing something and getting in trouble is better than doing nothing at all).

Zuko also has a bad relationship with cause and effect, but is making a better effort to accept responsibility for his actions. He may not always see how he's at fault at first, but he does tend to try and make it better once he realizes he's in the wrong.

Having grown up in a dysfunctional family, and having been a bit of a socially withdrawn child that suffered from bullying, Zuko is (unsurprisingly) horribly socially inept and a little gullible, thanks to the emotional abuse his sister put him through. He has difficulty acting his age and trouble interacting with other teens, feeling far more comfortable talking with adults. Games? He hates them because he doesn't get them...and sucks at them. Teasing? Ticks him off. Letting loose and acting goofy and silly? Beyond him. He never had much of a childhood and was forced to grow up early, in a family that valued discipline and order, and so the usual childish antics are bizarre to him. Part of him wants to be able to do the normal teenage things, though, and he does try when talked (or pushed) into it--but that doesn't stop him from being horribly awkward and uncomfortable the entire time, because he simply doesn't know how to act in those situations.

He's also painfully shy, but hides this under an aggressive "get them before they get you" philosophy which puts him on the defensive and results in him acting like an insensitive jerk. Because of his upbringing, and because growing up he has always been the underdog constantly competing for approval, attention and love, he has an inferiority complex. He gets jealous easily and always feels like he needs to prove himself, though he tends to fixate on individuals whose acceptance he decides he needs (for whatever reason) while ignoring what everyone else thinks in the meantime. For those people, he will do anything to impress them and prove himself; his need for acceptance oftentimes overrides his sense of self-preservation and morality. He does have a moral compass--it's just that it sometimes...malfunctions. For example, aiding Katara in a plot to murder the man that killed her parents in order to get her to forgive him.

On that vein, because of how socially inept he is and because of how much he values the opinions of others, when he does flip out it tends to be in interpersonal situations--because he often doesn't know how to handle them and that frustrates him. A battle he can face head-on with calm focus and certainty. An argument with a friend? He panics--and thus lashes out.

Once you get around all the rough edges and issues, though, Zuko is at his core a compassionate and empathetic person. He doesn't go out of his way to hurt people; even when he was pursuing the Avatar as an enemy, he always tried to prevent unnecessary casualties and even attempted to save his enemies (such as Zhao) from death. Even in battle he doesn't use more force than necessary and tends to incapacitate rather than try to seriously hurt his opponent. That doesn't mean he doesn't hurt people, though; he does. He gets reckless when his emotions are running high and he makes mistakes; many of the injuries he causes are genuine accidents.

He easily relates to other people and has a relatively easy time finding common ground between them, and this often leads to moments of surprising selflessness and openness. He also has a bit of a big brother complex that comes out around younger kids--and a drive to defend those less fortunate/weaker than him. Honor is a big deal to him.

And no, even after a year he still can't tell a joke to save his life. Doesn't stop him from trying, though. When he isn't trying, his natural sense of humor tends to border on the dry, sardonic, and mocking side and his amusement tends to come at the expense of others. (Though he does not take it well when the same applies to himself.)

And at the heart of it all? He's still just a teen with a long way to go, a lot to learn, and an entire nation resting on his shoulders. No pressure, right?

ABILITIES
Zuko is an excellent Firebender (though nowhere near the caliber of his father or sister) with a fluid style unlike the more rigid, militaristic style of many other Firebenders--something he learned from the Dragons. He is capable of powerful fire blasts, sheets of fire, and even whip-like tendrils of flame, but also of more subtle manipulation, such as fire daggers and even breathing fire. While his style, like other Firebenders, is largely confrontational, aggressive, and offensive, he has learned how to use his bending to deflect some blows. It's not perfect, but it works.

While Zuko cannot create lightning of his own, he can redirect it. It requires concentration, though, as he well learned from his Agni Kai with Azula, which nearly killed him. It's unlikely that he'll never be able to achieve the calm, quiet state of mind required to generate lightning--and not only that, but he's earned a healthy respect, and fear, for it. Whereas fire is life, lightning is death; one wrong move and it's over.

Zuko does not need to Firebend to hold his own, though, and is trained in sword fighting, his favorite being dual Dao swords. He is also quite skilled at stealth, infiltration, and tracking. Hey, all those years pursuing the Avatar have got to be good for something, eh?

AND LASTLY!

...He's a gifted tsungi horn player. But hates it.

RELATIONSHIPS
    Family
  • Avatar Roku (great-grandfather on mother's side; deceased)
  • Sozin (great-grandfather on father's side; deceased)
  • Azulon (grandfather on father's side; deceased)
  • Ilah (grandmother on father's side; deceased)
  • Ursa (mother; missing)
  • Ozai (estranged father)
  • Azula (sister)
  • Iroh (uncle, surrogate father)
  • Lu Ten (cousin; deceased)
    Friends
  • Aang
  • Sokka
  • Katara
  • Toph
  • Suki
  • Ty Lee
  • Kazue
    Love Interest
  • Mai
    Rivalries
    None yet!

HISTORY
Canon History
Zuko was the first-born son of Prince Ozai and Princess Ursa. For a time, life as Zuko remembers it was happy and they were a family.

Then Azula was born.

Even then, they were a family, but then things began to change: Azula was a born prodigy. Maybe that was the reason his father first started dismissing him, because he was spending more time with her instead of him, since she was special. Maybe it had to do with his own desire for the throne, and the fact that Ozai was himself a second-born child and was, in a sense, projecting his jealousy onto Zuko. Whatever it was, something changed and their happy family shifted into toward power dynamics instead.

While Zuko was his mother's favorite, his father's dismissal stung. Azula was always better than him, in every way: a prodigal firebender with the sharp mind of a skilled tactician and manipulator, even from a young age. Even though Zuko was two years older than her, Zuko was always floundering to keep up--and yet always found himself falling farther behind. Gullible and far too trusting, always told to play nice with her because she was his little sister, he spent his childhood as the butt of her jokes--including some rather cruel pranks.

But despite it all, his mother was always there for him, protecting him, encouraging them to get along, and breaking up disputes. And despite his father's ignoring him, it was a little easier to cope with it because she was there for him.

At the age of 10, that all changed.

It was a pivotal day for him, the same day that he learned about his Uncle Iroh's failure at Ba Sing Se and his cousin Lu Ten's death (Iroh's first born and only son), the very day that he failed at impressing his grandfather Azulon. Earlier that day, Ozai had tried to use Iroh's failure as a means of convincing Azulon, the current Fire Lord, that Iroh was a failure and that his birthright should be revoked in favor of Ozai. That angered Azulon and so he instead ordered Ozai to kill his own first born son to understand the pain Iroh was going through. Azula had witnessed the exchange and visited Zuko that night to gleefully inform him that their father was going to kill him--though their mother walked in and broke up the confrontation. Zuko believed his sister was only trying to scare him like she usually did; his father would never actually hurt him.

Later that night, Zuko woke up to find his mother saying goodbye, and that everything she did, she did for him.

In the morning, his mother was gone and Azulon was dead--and Ozai was crowned the new Fire Lord.

Things only went downhill from there. Without his mother, only tolerated by his father, and with a sister that bullied him, he was truly alone--save for his Uncle Iroh, who took a shine to the boy after losing his own son. Zuko was too hurt and angry to really see it for what it was, though.

Three years later, at the age of 13, came the event that would change Zuko's life forever.

Curious over the current war meeting and determined to get in, he begged his uncle to let him watch and was allowed inside on the condition that he didn't speak. But as he watched the proceedings and learned that one general was planning on using troops s fodder, as a sacrifice, he couldn't help himself; he spoke out against it, and in doing so insulted that general. The solution to resolve it? Agni Kai. Zuko accepted the duel, but once he got into the ring he found himself facing his father instead.

By insulting the general, he had insulted his father, and so it was his father he would face.

Zuko couldn't do it. He begged for mercy, but it was only regarded as weakness. In response, his father burned his face, branded him as a failure and and embarrassment, and banished him, revoking his birthright. He would only be allowed home on one condition: that he do the impossible find the Avatar, bringing him home.

His Uncle went with him and he was allowed a small, old ship to conduct his useless quest. No one actually expected him to be able to do it. The Avatar hadn't been seen for over 100 years; it was a fool's quest and one designed merely to get Zuko out of the picture. For three years, Zuko drifted--but never gave up. He had to go home and to do that he had to find the Avatar--that was all there was to it, and he was resigned to spend his whole life searching if that's what it took. All he had to go on was hope.

At the age of 16, he finally found him.

After that, it was just catching him.

But like so many things in his life, he was always one step behind, no matter what he did or what traps he laid.

[toooo be continued...]

In-Game History
Welp, the war's finally over and peace can be had for all!

It sounded good at the time.

Unfortunately, ruling a war-torn nation isn't as easy as it had first seemed, and for the past year since its end, Zuko has had his work cut out for him. In fact, work is pretty much all he's done: meeting with important people, stamping official documents, listening to reports concerning the state of the nation, studying up on law, the usual Fire Lord things. When he has a spare moment, he escapes the palace to help his uncle in his tea shop, or get in a few moments with Mai. It's moments like these when he feels, well...normal. (At least until Mai's parents bust in to ruin the moment. What was he thinking inviting them to live at the palace?)

In fact, even after all those years spent trying to find his way home, and even after how hard he fought to overthrow his father and take his place here...well, truth be told he kind of misses how things were. No, not the war! But his old friends and the adventures they went on. After all that, sitting around the palace feels dull and claustrophobic.

And then there's the issue of his mother. Ozai's long gone now, but he gave him mixed leads and Zuko has nearly exhausted all of them.

So for now he has future in-laws to survive, wedding plans to make, a nation to rule, diplomats to meet, bandits to fight, a mother to find, and friends to reunite with.

THREADS AND WHATNOT

IN SOMEWHAT CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER...
  1. Tea Time! [finished]
    Zuko invites a family over to serve tea. What could possibly go wrong?
  2. Just shoot me.
    Mai's parents + wedding plans = headache.
  3. Wandering the Streets [finished]
    Meeting up with Toph and an assassin. =O
  4. In and Out Again. [finished]
    The GAang is reuniuted and Zuko gets yelled at a lot.
  5. Carry on my wayward...nephew.
    D'aaw, heart to heart with Iroh.
  6. The Price of Freedom [finished]
    Negotiating with June.
  7. The Hunt for the Green Earthbender
    A visit to the Kongs...
  8. Seeking Friends.
    Aang returns! 8D
  9. If I Were a Metalbender...
    Chillin' with Toph and Suki.
  10. Mo' Power Mo' Problems
    Discussing family matters with Iroh and Zongying.
  11. Lost. [finished]
    One crazy lucid dream with Ursa and Azula.
  12. Fire and Air
    Shaking Aang out of a slump. |:
  13. Push and pull.
    Hunting bandits with Katara and Zongying kinda backfires--and Katara winds up kidnapped.
  14. I can explain...
    Zuko has to break the news to everyone else. >_>;;

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_________________
Zuko - Yun Zhong - Kota - Yazuri - Jiang Xia

Thread with meh! 8D


Last bumped by Zuko on Wed Jun 06, 2012 2:30 pm.


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