would u ever write fire nation tetsukis interaction with zuko? or maybe the gaang? im so intrested in this verse

It’s a fun ‘verse isn’t it, anon? I think I like it better than the “original flavor” 😛

So let’s see… for the first, I’m gonna say yes–and give you a ficlet in a bit–because FN!Tetsuki meeting Zuko has a sort of drama that is entirely different from original Iron Will. But the second I’m going to say… hm… maybe…

It’s partially no mostly because the first meeting Tetsuki would have with the Gaang, regardless of FN version or original version, would be as part of the Freedom Fighters, so not much difference there. And then every subsequent meeting after that–as far as the Gaang are concerned–she’s just one more Fire Nation girl who is trying to kill them. Not much difference than what their brief interactions with Mai and Ty Lee are, then.

But it’s also partially yes because… well… FN!Tetsuki really is a lot more fun than the original flavor Iron Will and so if I ever properly write Iron Will I may just go the FN!Tetsuki route completely. Like with (En)Closure, a lot of the ficlets on here are me throwing stuff at the wall and seeing what sticks, and the fact that Tetsuki being Azula’s bodyguard is so compelling is, frankly, sticking really well.

So maybe on the Gaang, which for all intents and purposes of this ask box event means no. But maybe one day I’ll get to writing Iron Will in a coherent, consistent manner. (HAHAHAHAHA, uh, my poor series, what have they done to deserve me as a writer)

Anyway, here’s that FN!Tetsuki meets Zuko ficlet:

The first time you come to court is as Azula’s–friend, follower, servant, plaything, you’re not sure, you don’t much care–you try not to gawk at the sheer opulence like the absolute hoyden you are.

Your origins were humble, for all that your bloodline says otherwise, your early years were spent in forest camps and rough villages with barely enough people to be considered such. Your father worked best on the frontier, amongst people who would never know or care about what kings and lords got up to so long as they could take care of their basic needs.

In another life, you might have been much the same.

But even going from that to your grandparents’ holdings–their mansion only one in comparison  to the utterly tiny buildings in the town around it–is nothing like the adjustments required here.

“You’re making a scene,” Mai sighs, informing but uncaring. Hypocrite. Her family is better off than yours, but they’re nouveau riche–the court is an entirely different sort of splendor than she’s used to as well.

“Who needs ceilings that high?” You respond rather than feel chastened. You’re not the one making a scene, you are insignificant in the trail of Azula as it should be. “How do people even get up there? The servants must, there would be cobwebs otherwise.”

“Who cares what the servants do?” Mai says, a droll sort of thing meant to shame you once more. She is not Azula, her words have no bite.

Ty Lee giggles, “Maybe they stack on top of each other to reach the ceilings.”

You consider the thought, smile at the image, “I doubt it,” you disagree, but temper it with flattery, “I don’t think any servants are as skilled as you are.”

“Obviously,” Mai says–less in agreement to the compliment and more out of disparaging those inferior–but it still makes Ty Lee grin brightly.

“Quiet,” Azula says, not even turning around to address you to your faces. It gets the job done anyway. “I don’t have to remind you to be on your best behavior, do I?”

It is threat more than question, but plausibly deniable permission on top of that.

Then Azula turns around, a small, sideways smile on her lips. “Let’s show the court exactly what we learned at the Academy.”

Nothing catches on fire–both surprising and not in a hall full of benders–but Ty Lee does manage to get up to the ceiling by way of hanging banners and three tactless young officers end up with stab wounds.

Only one of them was your fault.

Bizarrely enough, you meet the Dragon of the West before the Fire Nation prince. Or perhaps it is not so odd given the way the boy avoids his younger sister.

It is incidental when you meet him, the Dragon of the West, the would-have-been Fire Lord were it not for his lost son.

You wonder, briefly, what it must be like to have a father who would ruin himself at losing you. But, of course, you would have no idea where to begin.

It is as you are wandering the halls–not lost, merely… exploring–that you happen upon each other.

“Your eyes,” says the Dragon of the West, surprised, and you look away quickly, flushing, self-conscious. Your eyes are grey and green and nothing at all like flames.

“Please excuse me, your highness,” you murmur before scuttling away.

You get even more lost before a maid happens upon you and is kind enough to guide you back. As befitting your borrowed status, she does not look you in the eyes.

You will never know this, but it was not the color of your eyes that surprised the Dragon of the West but rather their age.

He would have said they were old eyes in a young face.

He would have been right.

The first time you meet Zuko it is from two steps behind Azula as is your place. He barely even notices you–which internally you sneer as a lack of situational awareness, but you know has more to do with the way he practically flinches away from his younger sister.

This? This is supposed to be the future Fire Lord?

Pathetic.

Unfortunately, it’s not so much about him as a person as it is him as a symbol–there is no argument that Azula is the better heir, more talented, more compelling, the kind of leader that would bring greatness to the nation. But there will still be traditionalists and opportunists who prefer him over her. Those who cling foolishly to birth order and sex, those who would rather have an easily manipulated Fire Lord.

His mere existence is a threat to Azula’s reign.

The second time you meet Zuko, you actually exchange words.

In plain clothes and a houndsnake coiled loosely around your shoulders, you look nothing like a royal attendant.

He recognizes you anyway, if belatedly, apparently not so unobservant as you thought.

“Fire Nation Prince Zuko,” you say to the Freedom Fighters, most of them too thrilled at capturing their prey to pay any attention to his face or yours.

“Let me go,” he says. He struggles with the ropes. Futilely tries to burn them away.

“I wouldn’t bother,” you say, “they’re enforced with wire. You’d only end up burning yourself.”

Jet laughs at the irony and, after a beat, so do the others. He takes over at this point, as is his wont. He still thinks he’s in charge. It’s useful, so she’ll let him. “Listen up, Fire Nation scum,” he starts on his spiel, “we are the children of those you killed, those you oppressed. We’re what happens when–”

“Did Azula put you up to this?” Zuko asks, interrupting Jet, and if there is anything bitter in his tone, resigned and expectant, then it is too mild for you to hear.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” you say, because why would you ever give up your cover at his behest, “I’m just an Earth Kingdom orphan trying to strike back against Fire Nation tyranny.”

In another life, you wouldn’t be lying at all.

~

A/N: Check out the Ask Box Would You Ever!

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Landsailor (feat. Glen Phillips) by Vienna Teng

Landsailor
Landsailor, sail on time
Rain or shine, I know you can
Cloudraker
Cloudraker, share your finds
All your wonders at my demand

Lightbringer
Tamer of night
Blossom of hours unleashed
Make me a lawbender
All equalized
Saved from the chill and heat
Your power flows through me transformed
Here’s where I was born

Landsailor
Deepwinter strawberry
Endless summer, ever spring
A vast preserve
Aisle after aisle in reach
Every commoner made a king

Earthbreaker
Noble and prized
Feed me beyond my means
Hello worldmaker
Never denied
Build all my wildest dreams
But there’s a storm outside your door
And I’m a child no more

Headless and faceless
Tireless and seamless behind these walls
This is my progress
When you don’t notice my lines at all
I split the world open
Delve ever deeper in my alchemic arts
I crack the ciphers to free up your mind, your life, your heart

Oh landsailor I’m your landsailor
In the bed that we’ve made in the bed that we’ve made
May every nail be shown may every nail be shown
Great lifebringer great lifebringer
The price that we pay the price that we pay
Time that you made it known time that you made it known
I want to be your bride in full oh be my bride in full
Shield my eyes no more shield your eyes no more
Oh I am altered now for good altered now for good
Shield these eyes no more shield these eyes no more

@to-someplace-else: listen to “Landsailor” by Vienna Teng, A:tLA verse.

~

Hm… this one is difficult. Don’t get me wrong, I love Vienna Teng and this song, but as a prompt this seems kind of… too on the nose. Like. This seems like it would be more suited to a… what’s it called when artists do a soundboard-y kind of music video? Almost like an anime opening sequence but not really? Well, whatever that is called. And then it’s just a matter of assigning different “titles” to each of the Gaang and doing little vignettes on them as related to their little bit of verse.

And while I love sticking Tetsuki into pretty much anything, I don’t think even an abstract of this would work so well for an Iron Will ficlet. Like, she doesn’t know she’s out of place and she’s way too anti-social to be working behind the scenes for the Gaang in the way that this song expresses during bridge. Maybe a different SI!OC–one who knows what’s at stake and is keeping an eye on the Gaang to make sure they succeed?

I’d say this is an Uncle Iroh song, but that seems almost too unbalanced. Is it a Mai who can see the future and knows that her friend will fail–must fail, for the good of the world–but wants to make sure she’s not so utterly destroyed in the process? Is this a Lu Ten lives but must pretend to be dead in order to ensure his father isn’t assassinated by his uncle and the Gaang succeed!AU?

Actually, that last one sounds pretty fun. And, like, can you imagine Lu Ten partnering up with June who is initially annoyed by him and then it turns into reluctantly fond? And how cool would that be in the Iron Will ‘verse, too? An entire B-sides to that series… which would make it the C-sides of the Gaang’s adventures? I dunno.

And while he is also a (self-)exiled Fire Nation prince, Lu Ten’s story would be different. He doesn’t have Iroh to guide him, no ship and navy crew to ferry him where he wants to go. But maybe he’s not entirely alone after the attempted assassination cover up (because headcanon that Ozai had Lu Ten killed and had it covered up because he was in battle and thus plausibly deniable as KIA): 

Maybe one or two of his squad mates also go MIA because even though Lu Ten’s a poncy prince, he’s still their friend. And maybe an enemy earth bender who sees the Fire Nation crown prince and thinks this is a premium opportunity to take him hostage and ransom back except then Lu Ten’s “death” is made official even though “what the hell, there’s no body” and earth bender realizes that Fire Nation internal politics is ~awful~. And then they stumble into June who’s originally on the weirdly well-paying hunt for “unnamed Fire Nation army defectors” and she’s just like, “you’re incompetent and obvious, I guess I’ll stick around because if you’re really the prince then you can pay me more and if you can’t then at least I’ll be on hand to collect the bounty instead of some other hunter.” Do they eventually get a swamp bender? Maybe.

Basically, Lu Ten builds his own crew of outsiders to help fight against FIre Nation tyranny.

 And in the end, even if he does get reunited with his father, he decides not to officially “come back to life” because he enjoys traveling around and having adventures with his friends than staying at home and being Fire Lord. Maybe he and his friends are the first officers of the United Forces?

Sorry, to-someplace-else, I think I’ve managed to turn this beautiful, uplifting song into “Lu Ten and Friends’ Adventures”

(Also, Ask Box Advent Calendar is on!)

Just for fun: “Reforged”. Pairings optional. Tetsuki is reborn in the LoK era, years after her execution.

This is definitely an Iron Will!AU (or, maybe, I’ll steal the title Reforged as the actual run of Iron Will like how Trailblazers used to be named something else, because this title is SO AMAZING) and because of that I kind of want to do a lot of different reborn!AUs.

Like… in one she’s born to Fire Nation parents which is… okay? She’s okay. Definitely. Hell, she worked alongside the Fire Lord (Zuko, that is) she can handle a pair of normal civilians that just happen to be Fire Nation.

Her parents don’t understand why she shivers in their presence, constantly, even in the summer heat. Why she flinches away from too much red fabric and glances longingly, but not too often, at their kitchen knives.

It’s not entirely fear, though. A lot of it is guilt.

She’s about eight when she stops trying and failing to pretend to be normal and tries to get a meeting with retired Fire Lord Zuko.

Needless to say, the royal guards do not find this child’s requests particularly compelling.

Eventually, though, some guard takes pity on her–or gets fed up–and passes on her bizarre message: Tetsuki wants Jet’s hook-swords back.

And it eventually ends up with Tetsuki as Iroh II’s equally (if not MORE) reckless subordinate in the United Forces (she hates the uniform with a passion).

Every so often, she’ll send a letter watering down her adventures to her parents who–while they still don’t quite understand her–are very proud and love her.

Then there would be her being born to Air parents which means… Tenzin?

Hrm… that’s rather too close, isn’t it? Maybe Bumi, but considering he’s also part of the United Forces that’d be running a little close to the previous, wouldn’t it? Then again, that’s just a small similarity. Perhaps she is biologically Bumi’s daughter but raised by a single mother.

Also, I should clarify, Tetsuki isn’t a bender in any of these–even after the Harmonic Convergence.

And so the story is about Tetsuki as a lost link in the chain that is Aang and Katara’s descendants because Bumi had a ~casual encounter~ several years ago. I’m not sure if Bumi knows about her existence, but she definitely knows about his.

Unsure where I’m going with this particular version of Reforged, but that’s the only thing I can think of for Air.

Water would be… well I have two very different ideas for this. One is the more dramatic and difficult to pull off daughter-and-secret-shame-of-Tarrlok. Secret shame because she isn’t a bender, that is. Because that puts a really weird twist on the “his brother was pretending to be a nonbender but his daughter is actually a nonbender and he created/passed a lot of discriminatory laws against nonbenders”

Like all politicians, Tarrlok is a giant hypocrite.

The second is less dramatic but not entirely devoid of it, because in this Tetsuki would be Tahno’s nonbender sister. Who is largely unimpressed by his arrogance and, later, his lack of arrogance due to his lack of bending.

In either, her name would still be Tetsuki but instead of Iron Will it’d be Hand of the Moon.

And lastly Earth… again.

I guess if I went with the dramatic Tarrlok-daughter for Water I could do a similar thing as the Tahno’s sister except instead use his teammate Ming. And, well, he does have black hair and gray eyes. LIKE TETSUKI.

I’ll be honest, I stopped watching LoK before Kuvira appeared, so while I know of some of the other Earth bending characters later in the series, I don’t know them enough to feel like I’d want to put Tetsuki in their vicinity.

I suppose I could do another sort of dramatic Earth equivalent of the Water ones and have her be the daughter of a Metalbending Police officer. But instead of an evil one, maybe just a highly stressed one–like Saikhan?

‘Bend and Break’ for Iron Will (or other Avatar stuff if you want)

Ooh, Iron Will prompts, yay! Thanks, anon!

Hm, let’s see…

The title you’ve given me is very much opposite of Iron Will. Or, rather, an AU!Iron Will in which Tetsuki’s strength of character… isn’t all that strong?

Which would harken to the Fire Nation!Tetsuki AU, but just saying Bend and Break is the title of the Fire Nation!Tetsuki AU is a hug cop out.

So a specific story within the FN!Tetsuki AU… like… outside POVs of FN!Tetsuki while she’s on her travels.

I have two in mind, but I think for a full fic three or more would be better.

So the first one would be Jet’s POV. Because, like in Iron Will canon, Tetsuki does stumble upon the Freedom Fighters, if a bit later, and with her own agenda in mind.

She’s not one of the “founding members,” but she did learn manipulation in the Fire Nation court at Azula’s side, so when she joins them she gains the same amount of influence fairly easily. She doesn’t tell them not to attack Fire Nation settlements/soldiers–frankly, if they can’t handle themselves against a bunch of unruly Earth Kingdom children, they don’t deserve to be part of Azula’s future empire–but she does whisper in their ears ambitions of grandeur. After all, the Fire Nation can easily wipe away tales of fallen squadrons and failed colonies–the Freedom Fighters won’t make a mark like that.

But if they went after the Fire Nation prince? Well… there’s only one of those… and he HAS been traveling around the world on a fool’s errand. Strike the Fire Nation where they’re most vulnerable, she says, end the monarchy before it can solidify their hold over the entire world.

Jet isn’t immune to the idea.

Instead of like in Iron Will canon, where the Freedom Fighters grow and become unwieldy, in this AU, they slim down, become more ruthless. They’re on the hunt for a Fire Nation prince–they don’t have time for kindness among their members, can’t afford to be weighed down by kids who can’t contribute, can’t fight–and soon they’ve been whittled down to a small group. The core members, as it were. Leaner and more effective, which means far fewer people to be betrayed when the truth of Tetsuki’s heritage comes around (of course Zuko recognizes one of his sister’s friends, even if she is wearing Earth Kingdom colors and surrounded by Earth Kingdom teens)

She’s ruined the Freedom Fighters by giving them exactly what they want…

… but before that would be the other POV I have in mind–and I’m not sure why I didn’t say that first, but the Jet/Freedom Fighter POV just had a very nice dramatic reveal to it that it came to mind first. Specifically, the bounty hunter June, aka ZhuEn, Tetsuki’s older sister.

And unlike in Iron Will canon, in which Tetsuki doesn’t reunite with her sister until the last few episodes of the series (or post canon, even) the two of them meet pretty early on in AU!Tetsuki’s travels… mostly because Tetsuki actively seeks her out in the beginning.

Mostly because, while she did have some bounty hunting and survival lessons from their father before their grandparents took her for their own, she didn’t have nearly enough to be effective. And there’s some emotional drama, maybe, because June is just like: my lost little sister has found her way to me but all she wants is to learn bounty hunting and she doesn’t care at all that our father died but I haven’t seen her in years, etc. etc.

Whereas Tetsuki is like: our father made it perfectly clear how much he valued me when he gave me to our grandparents, so I don’t see why I should care about what happened to him, but I just wanted to see if you’d be willing to teach me, I have some foundation, I can pay you if that’s the problem just consider it a strictly business relationship, after all it’s not like you argued much if at all for father to keep me.

And then it’s like, “I was just a teenager, Tetsuki, what could I have done then?” and Tetsuki’s like, “And I was a child–your sister!–you should have fought for me!”

And, really, I don’t think there’s much in the way of resolving it. Maybe June, knowing this is the closest she will ever get to her sister after everything that’s happened, does agree to take her on as an apprentice for a year–which is how Tetsuki gets her training in the AU–or maybe she doesn’t because that’d hurt more, and so Tetsuki leaves immediately because if June won’t teach her then what’s the point of staying, which June immediately regrets?

I dunno. Emotional drama.

I’m unsure who the other outside POVs of FN!Tetsuki would be, anon, but those two in particular fit the “Bend and Break” title best.

~

Ask Box Event Still Open!

Iron Will (2017-08-17)

A/N: More of that Fire Nation!Tetsuki AU

Perhaps, if it was just the three of them, it wouldn’t have worked. Azula’s abrasiveness and Mai’s negativity and Ty Lee’s desperate, failing attempts to hold them together dissolving with every passing snide and dark remark.

But you are there.

And you are not quite sure what you bring to the group, what missing component it is that you intrinsically have and contribute that makes it work so beautifully, but it does.

And instead of just drifting apart, only coming together when the Fire Lord sends Azula on her mission, bonds long frayed and ready to snap, leaving is deliberate. Is a choice. Is just the first step in a plan to make sure that when the time comes, the four of you will be stronger than ever.

///

For a while, you serve in the court as Azula’s attendant. Which seems like basically a glorified servant, but which your grandparents are ecstatic about–what an honor, they exclaim, their halfbreed heiress getting so close to royalty.

It works, for a while. You learn some things: what games are played amongst high society, political dealings and tangled schemes, and the power of below the stairs rumors, the lifeblood of the court.

But it’s not enough.

“I’ll become useless to you,” you say to Azula one night, after you’ve reported the most important secrets to her. You’ve seen her use even the most innocuous misconduct to bust a would be captain down to helmsman.

Your reports help, but they’re not vital.

“As useless as a pampered, pedigree catowl,” you finish, because this has been on your mind for a while and better to admit it now while you still have the self-awareness to do so than to have it thrown in your face months later.

“I’ve never know you to be a coward,” Azula responds, pausing mid brush and staring down your reflection, “If you want to leave me, you can just say so.”

I’m not leaving you, you don’t say. I could never leave you, you definitely don’t say.

“You don’t need me here,” you say, instead, because that is safer, “But one day you will and I need to know that I won’t be the anchor dragging you down when that happens.”

One month, she demands, doesn’t ask, and you are both relieved and disappointed; still, you take the time you are given and prepare.

Azula’s enemies are not here. Or, at least, not any that are a real threat to her, they’re out traveling the the world.

You need to do the same.

///

Zuko was always going to be a problem.

You knew this even before you noticed Mai’s persistent crush on him, the blatant way the Dragon of the West preferred him over Azula.

Before the Agni Kai.

“He’s incompetent,” Azula scoffs, dismissing the notion, “and soft.”

And normally that would be enough to convince you, but this is for Azula and for her, you are tenacious.

“It doesn’t matter that he’s not as skilled or smart or even if he wanted to be a tea server in Ba Sing Se! He is still the firstborn, and male at that, there will always be members of the court who would rather see him succeed your father than you.”

There are still whispers of discontent, after all, thinking Iroh ought to be restored to his rightful place over Ozai.

You will not have the same happen to Azula.

///

When you leave, Azula gifts you with a houndsnake. Its black and green diamond patterned fur is beautiful, of course, but you appreciate its sharp fangs and paralytic venom sacs far more.

And the way that, after a curious sniff and lick, it coils around your shoulders placid and ready to strike anyone who comes too close.

There’s one unfortunate cretin who will be spending the next week in the hospital for daring to assault the attendant of the princess–never mind that it’s her last day.

Houndsnakes are not native to the Fire Nation archipelago, nor are they a common creature in pet stores.

They are loyal and dangerous and not at all useless.

It is the nicest compliment Azula has ever given you.

Iron Will drabble (2015-09-08)

“I’m sorry,” Zuko says to you, so softly that you can barely hear it; softly so no one else can hear. It wouldn’t do to have anyone hear the Fire Lord apologize to a war criminal soon to be executed.

You say nothing in response, but you nod minutely–in acknowledgement, in forgiveness, in permission–before you are led forward in chains and forced to kneel.

For crimes against humanity; that’s what you are charged with. It’s certainly what you are guilty of, for all that they didn’t seem human at the time. The Fire Nation soldiers you killed, that is.

It was war and you were a child just trying to survive, you could argue. You never harmed civilians, you could say. And you would be telling the truth.

But it doesn’t excuse the way you crept into the homes and slit the throats of over a hundred Fire Nation soldiers. Killed them in their sleep, in the dark of the night, and left their corpses for their families to find.

Accessions must be made for peace. It does not matter that you are friends with the Fire Lord, with the Avatar; Zuko’s rule is tenuous, Aang’s authority non existant in the Fire Nation. In order for Azula and Ozai to be executed, in order to secure the throne in Zuko’s name, an Earth Kingdom criminal must be dealt the same punishment.

You know this, because you were the one to suggest it.

~

You are six the last time you see your sister, ZhuEn. She is fifteen and father has proclaimed her a skilled enough bounty hunter to begin working on her own. She leaves on the back of her shirshu, off to make a name for herself, and you dream of one day being just like her. It was a bittersweet time–happier, lighter, but the last moment of such contentment.

You are seven when Fire Nation soldiers kill your father for refusing to take a hunt. You are seven when you see him burn and you flee, more from his agonized screams than the towering armored figures. You never really forgive yourself for that.

You live for years, just wandering from forest to forest; occasional stops in towns, wreaking what damage to the Fire Nation army you can by way of murder and theft.

You try to convince yourself you are a hero, but you have always been more of a coward than a liar. There is no point in hiding the truth from yourself.

You are fourteen when you happen upon the Freedom Fighters, the group of refugee children playing at guerrilla warriors. You are not quite the same as them, but you see something in Jet’s eyes–a reflection of someone you could have been–and maybe he sees something in you, too, because he lets you stay.

Perhaps lets is the wrong word, because in a matter of months you find yourself clashing with Jet more and more often. About ideology and implementations–you are a blade where he is a bludgeon. The Freedom Fighters grow, but it also begins to split between you and him, and you are so close to just taking your faction and leaving when–

You are fifteen when you meet the Avatar.

~

A/N: An SI!OC Avatar the Last Airbender fic that won’t leave me alone. Not sure why it’s in second person, but okay… The original idea was that this would be my SI!OC’s fourth reincarnation (after our world, katekyo hitman reborn, naruto, and something else) which is why I’m tagging it with Tetsuki Kaiza. But I think I’m just going to scrap that idea… though the title won’t make much sense without the name Tetsuki…

Iron Will drabble (2015-07-24) [1]

“You’ll have to kill me, too.”

The Fire Lord does not flinch, because leaders of nations should not flinch at the truth. But Zuko does, because he is still human and one of his friends has just laid out their own death sentence.

“I’m as much a war criminal as they. You can’t be seen favoring one side over the other.”

The will of the Fire Lord–

“The Fire Lord rules at the will of the people. If you execute Azula and Ozai then you have to execute Earth Kingdom people as well.”

The prisons are strong, they have held for nearly a decade, they can continue to do so.

“Not forever.”

Nothing is forever.

~

A/N: Tiny drabble set in Avatar The Last Airbender. I dunno, maybe it’s Jet? Maybe it’s an SIOC? I dunno.

edit: I forgot about this drabble! I suppose technically, this is an Iron Will drabble with a slightly different perspective. This is the drabble that kicked off this particular Iron Will drabble