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“There he is.”
“He actually came…”
The murmuring in the grand hall quickly hushed as the tall, imposing form of Fire Lord Zuko swept past, black and crimson robes gliding atop the polished floor. They only began again when he was safely out of earshot, en route to take his oft empty spot at the large, ornate council table.
The Fire Lord was a sight scarcely seen these days—always walled up in his palace in the Fire Nation where he worked day and night to keep his country from scattering to the wind like the Northern Water Tribe and the city of Omashu before it. With men and women dropping like flies in great numbers across the globe, it was no great wonder why a man as important and influential as the Fire Lord was kept hidden away in his palace where the Creeping Decay had a far harder time reaching. Many of the more pessimistic folks had taken to whispering that he’d already succumbed to the disease as a reason for his absence from the public eye.
Today, he was proving his skeptics wrong as he nodded to the other world leaders gathered and took his place as naturally as if he’d never been truant. The fact that several of the seats were filled by new faces was an inevitability and one he was prepared for.