chapter • eight

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THEY HADN'Tseen Daiyin since the dinner at which she almost died.

Korra tried pleading with the guards, but they were relentless. Nobody but the guards was allowed in her chambers and Daiyin had been locked up. No one had seen even a glimpse of her.

But today would be the day for her to be released from her rooms. It was Daiyin's eighteenth birthday and therefore also her coronation day.

The past few weeks Korra hadn't left the palace either, but through the windows she observed the preparations for the feast. The people were none the wiser about what had occured in the palace. Perhaps it was for the better. An assassination attempt so shortly before the ascension of the Crown Princess could bring chaos.

Lady Azina had been obnoxious at times, but most of her time was spent in the guest wing with other guests or the servants of her own household. It was better she didn't try to interfere with the Royal Family more than she did. It would only cause arguments and fights.

Korra missed her friend quite a bit. She often found herself staring out of a window, worrying if her trusted advisor and firebending teacher was safe. Mako, Bolin and Asami tried to help her keep her mind off it, but they were also concerned. 

On the morning of Daiyin's eighteenth birthday all of the castle prepared for the festivities, which would take place late in the afternoon. The coronation itself would be at noon when the sun, which strenghtens all firebending, would be at its highest.

Korra was getting dressed in water tribe fashion after taking a relaxing salt water bath. Pema was so kind to help her with her hair. When she was ready she left her guest room to join the brothers and Asami. They too were finished dolling themselves up for the occasion. Slowly but surely the sun was rising, indicating that it was time to gather on the stairs of the palace.

When they walked through the front doors they saw a mass of people at the bottom of the stairs. They covered every inch of street that there was. Not only citizens of the capital city were there; from far and beyond the people of the Fire Nation had come to see this moment. 

Inside the palace a group of seamstresses was busy dressing their future Fire Lord in her ceremonial robe. As Daiyin looked at herself through the giant golden mirrors she couldn't help but wonder if her grandfather had felt the same way as she was feeling when he was getting prepared for his ceremony.

Her underdress was bloodred. The servants help her into an overlaying skirt with golden seams. The next layer was a black apron of sorts, keeping the skirt in its place. One of the ladies begins lacing up the back of the skirt while two others lift the next layer over her head. When looking in the mirror all she could think of was how much she looked like her grandfather and great-grandfather during their rule as Fire Lord.

Daiyin's hands were shaking, which she attempted to hide by folding her hands together. The sleeves of her gown were so long and wide that her hands completely disappeared behind the red fabric. Even if one of the servants noticed, none would say a word about her trembling.

The eldest of the flock of maids hesitantly tries to get the attention of the princess, whose thoughts seemed to be far away. She rests a wrinkling hand on the lady's lower arm. "Your Highness, would you be so kind to sit down so we can do your hair?"

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