Shining White Ooze
Light filtered through the trees. Strange light that seemed to be rather dark—what a head scratcher.
Azula stood up and walked over to the tree…or trees. Azula really didn't know if the word should be plural as one tree seemed to grow right in and out of its companion. The tree seemed to twist around the other and then completely fuse with it near the middle. All the trees were like that.
She ran a hand over them, wondering if they were real. The bark felt as it should but upon examination was composed of billions of tiny other worldly onyx-like gems. She abruptly pulled her hand back, the jewels had left her skin sparkling where it had contacted the gems.
Azula turned her head and backed away. Only to slam into an overlarge spirit mushroom.
"Well excuse you." The pompous mushroom whined.
Every ounce of Azula wanted to either kick the thing over or set it a flame, but the flutterbat that sailed by had caught her attention. A moth and a bat all in one; pink and blue in color and with a smiling face painted white by nature onto its wings.
Another flew after it, this one brushing against Azula's exposed forearm as it passed.
Azula did her best to keep up with it, following the flutterbat into the shadowed area of the forest where the trees grew closer together. Closer and closer until even Azula couldn't squeeze her slim frame through them.
She tried anyhow—she'd managed to get her head, neck, and right shoulder through. But that was about as far as she could get.
And so the flutterbat got away.
Looking through the little gaps between the trees Azula felt a sense of being trapped…caged.
A slight breeze worked its way into the forest, prickling goosebumps over Azula's body.
She shivered slightly.
And without a second thought she retreated back into less dense part of the forest.
And then came another realization; she was trapped. The thought hadn't actually occurred to her until that moment—she hadn't seen Aang since she got here. And she had no clue how to get back to her physical body. The avatar was supposed to tell her how. Maybe that's what he'd been trying to explain before she started to tune him out…
Azula brushed a hand through her hair as she tried to think—an action that lead to her undoing her hair from its fixed position. Her initial plan was to tie use the lace that held her hair up as a way to mark this spot. She'd tie it to a tree branch.
But what was the point in that? The spirit mushroom would was enough of a landmark. So she tied it around her wrist instead, may as well save it for something important.
She tried calling to Xin.
Apparently it doesn't work like that in the Spirit World.
"Move out of the way. You are blocking the half-light." The spirit mushroom complained.
Azula's urge to kick the damn thing resurfaced. And she was about to do so before a howl-wail hybrid cut through the silence.
It seemed to come from the dense part of the forest. Azula wasn't going to stick around to find out what had emitted the noise. Without giving the spirit mushroom a second thought she dashed in the opposite direction.
And so Azula found that, again, the further she ran, the closer the trees stood together. However, going in this direction there was a way through…
If Azula was willing to go for a 'leisurely' swim.
Perhaps she'd take a few steps in Chan's shoes and just burn the whole forest down. But something told her that, that wasn't such a smart idea.
Instead the firebender took a few slow steps toward the pond. To her surprise, it looked rather clean.
Clean enough so that she could see her reflection. Which was a surprise to her for a few reasons.
One of which had her thanking the higher powers that Aang was not with her. How Azula hadn't realized that she was completely naked was beyond her. No wonder the breeze had been such a chilly bother.
Once Azula got past that, the pond revealed something that chilled her veins even more. Her entire body was a mural of black markings like the one on her wrist; down her left leg, a single large flame. On her right, what looked to be waves—circling her ankle—and a spray of water twisting up to her thigh.
Working her eye upward over her reflection revealed that her belly had been covered in a completely random slur of symbols; one being a crescent moon outlining her belly button and an obscured constellation arching off of it—scattering outward over her entire stomach.
Amid the constellation, to the right was a face like the one on the flutterbat. Only this one looked much grimmer. And to the left three horizontal lines…above those a platypusbare paw print. Azula didn't have time to point out each and every symbol infesting her belly, so she decided to follow a jagged looking mark that lead down to her waist.
Her finger traced over a bolt of lightning twisting up from her waist to her sides and probably reaching her back.
Naturally the finger doing the tracing had a mark of its own; a perfect sketch of the bone that lie beneath. The rest of her hand outlined the same way—and her other hand a perfect match. Of course, on that hand, room was left for the original marking—which now spiraled all the way up that arm. The other was splotched in random geometric patterns.
Her neck was branded with spider webs…a spider dangling off of it and covering her collar bone.
Just below, atop her right breast was a dragonwasp—it's wings spread out, tail spiraling down ward. It was breathing a small puff of fire.
And atop her left breast a large X followed by a string of letters. Letters familiar and readable to the spirits, but ugly nonsense to the woman who bore them.
Azula was hesitant to view the markings on her face.
A row of three dots starting at the outer corners of her eyes, getting smaller as they fell down her face. At her right temple more spirit letters. By the corners of her mouth two little diamonds on each side. And on her bottom eyelids two more tiny circles (of the same size and diameter).
But above all, an eye. In the middle of her forehead. An eye with an image of the Spirit World reflected in the pupil.
And suddenly diving into that pond had gained a certain appeal. Anything to wash off these horrendous markings. Anything to make her feel like less of a freak. At this point her whole body seemed to tremble.
She let herself fall into the water head first and began scrubbing furiously at the marks on her skin. It didn't come as a surprise when all she got was pink irritated skin. But she kept rubbing anyhow, until the spot began to bleed.
She let out an angry cry before slapping the water.
It was then that she realized how odd the water itself was.
She welcomed the distraction.
The water felt thick like slime and seemed to ooze and slide off her hand when she pulled it (palm up) out of the liquid. It was a shimmery white color with hints of pink and mint green when the sunlight hit it correctly.
Azula jumped out. Just what the hell was she swimming in?!
In that time Azula could only guess that the thing she was running from had utilized the time to catch up with her.
The howl-wail sounded again.
This time right next to her ear.
A thick grey smoke curled around Azula's body.