Iroh was alone in his chambers on the ship when he got Pakku’s letter, luckily as he didn’t want to raise suspicions in his nephew as to who he was corresponding with. The honest answer would have labeled him a traitor and any lie would still make it difficult for Zuko to trust him from then on. And Iroh simply couldn’t bare hurting his nephew, the only true family he felt like he had left, basically his son at this point. Well, Iroh only knew he was a better father to the young man than his brother, Firelord Ozaii, would ever be. Not that Zuko had realised that yet but… In time perhaps.
The letter was from Master Pakku of the Northern Water Tribe, a bitter but good man, who was a fellow member of the White Lotus, and had also been at the last meeting of all the masters 4 years ago. Every 4 years the masters tried to meet up on neutral ground and usually they only had one topic of discussion: the avatar. Ever since Iroh joined he’d been constantly updated about the search for the mysterious, possibly dead, person who could bend all the elements but no one, even his determined nephew, had any idea of where to look. Not even what nation the avatar would be in; they could be a very old airbender, one that managed to escape the massacre of their people and stay secret for 100 years, or possibly a pretty old waterbender, perhaps a middle aged earthbender, or even, the worst case scenario, a young firebender. The problem was no one knew, there were rumours and gossip but it was impossible to determine, especially with the avatar relics having been destroyed along with the Air Nomads.
The firebender took a break from his tired musings to open the letter, clearly from Pakku due to the dried out water tribe paper and the man’s distinguished handwriting. It read:
Your last update was most concerning. After 3 years of ruthless searching you and your nephew have found nothing. All I know is that none of my waterbenders here are the avatar, though that doesn’t rule out the possibility of it being a waterbender from somewhere else, perhaps the swamps or, unlikely due to the raids, it could be a Southern waterbender. Stay in contact but at this point I would guess our search is futile, but if you do find the avatar please reign in your nephew, the young prince is rash and you put too much faith in the boy.
Yours sincerely, Sifu Pakku.
Iroh sighed sadly at his fellow master’s mistrust of Zuko, it was not misplaced but still upsetting. Yet Iroh still got the feeling that Zuko, confused as he may be, would help greatly in the avatar’s quest to bring balance to the world, when the time came...