"Hold your foolish tongue! I am the Guiding Hand! Their lives are MINE to spend!"
—Azura scolding Jorrin (Book 3 Chapter 15).Azura, a character in the The Crown & The Flame series, is the empress of the Iron Empire and the primary antagonist of Book 3. She is first seen in Book 3, Chapter 1.
Azura was born in the Stormlands, a land in the southern part of the continent of Ducitora over a thousand years before the events of The Crown and The Flame. The inhabitants of Stormlands wielded electrical abilities (similar to how the inhabitants of the Blackspine Mountains wielded the power of fire). Azura, however, was highly ambitious. She learned Ancient Irithi, the language of most spell books and studied magic. This amplified her electrical abilities tenfold and gave her new abilities like conjuring a protective shield, superhuman strength, and siphoning the life force of other living beings to prolong her life and preserve her youth.
She went to the Kingdom of Marossi, the most important of the Ancient Kingdoms of Ducitora. She challenged the highly unpopular King of Marossi to a riddle contest; if she won, the king must step down and give her the throne. If she lost, she will marry him. She won the contest, making her the Queen of Marossi. Due to the king's unpopularity, the people of Marossi welcomed the change of regime. She then proceeded to challenge the rulers of the other Ancient Kingdoms; with each victory, her dominion expanded even more until all of the Kingdoms of Ducitora was under her rule. With this, she changed the former Kingdom of Marossi, her seat of power, into the Empire of Ducitora with Marossi as its capital. She was crowned its first Empress. Later in the book, however, Lia, her daughter, implies that this is not true and that Azura took power dishonestly by murdering the King of Marossi.
According to Lia's story to Raydan, the other inhabitants of the Stormlands began mysteriously dying off until Azura was the only remaining person in the world who wielded electrical abilities (until Lia's birth). Although the exact reason is not stated, it can be safely assumed that Azura slowly killed off her own tribe to prevent the emergence of another powerful wielder of electrical powers that could potentially rise up and challenge her authority.
Some point later, Azura approached the fire-wielding inhabitants of the Backspine Mountains to ask for their surrender. Her action was predictably met with resistance, with the villagers attacking her and her soldiers and eventually forcing them to flee back to Ducitora. Fifty years before the start of the story, she offered each of the rulers of the Five Kingdoms a share of Ducitora's wealth if they pledged allegiance to her. Under her terms, the rulers would still be allowed to rule their kingdoms as long as they stayed loyal to her. Naturally, they refused, with King Hector Nevrakis catalyzing the war against her that serves as the backdrop of the series began.
Azura has long, white hair, blue eyes and eyelashes, and fair skin. She wears a white gown with four-layered silver shoulder pads, a silver crown with blue stones, and a similarly-colored necklace. When using her magic powers, she gains an intense electrical aura around her body and face that seems to emanate from her eyes. She is described as being slender.
Azura seems at first to be calm and even-tempered, showing few and short bursts of frustration from which she easily recovers, reverting back to a cheerful state. She is shown to care about appearances, as she curtsies to Kenna (if the premium outfit is chosen for their introduction), something Raydan noted Azura doesn't do quite often.
Hidden under the facade of a thoughtful, caring, and well-intentioned ruler is a ruthless and arrogant dictator with no regard for the value of mortal life. A cunning ruler, she kills the champion of her yearly tournaments disguised as tradition, which ensures that the strongest fighters in the Empire never rise against her. Because she is so popular among her people, her actions are viewed as sacred tradition in Ducitora and most do not object to it.
She is shown to be extremely power-hungry and narcissistic: she believes she is the only one who has a right to rule and has even declared to King Hector Nevrakis and Blackspine villagers that she is a god.
In general, Azura has electrokinesis, the power to control electricity in several degrees of lethality and for several purposes. Her lightning magic is the sole reason for her uninterrupted reign for a millennium in Ducitora.
For offense, Azura can generate lightning either from her body or by forming it remotely, and can direct it expertly at her targets. The amperage varies from being weak enough to stun Jorrin harmlessly for a few seconds, to being strong enough to hurt Sei in her dragon form. She can also use the lightning to amplify her strength, for instance, to hurl heavy objects at her opponents, as when she tossed her throne at Kenna in Book 3 Chapter 3. She can also use this to create a thunderstorm that travels with her. She can also manipulate lightning remotely, displayed when she produced a distant bolt that shattered the glass windows in Stormholt Castle while fighting Kenna.
Her body passively generates electricity, as anyone making physical contact with her will feel a tingling sensation upon his/her skin; prolonged exposure can exhaust whomever she touches, akin to touching a live wire.
For defense, Azura can manipulate her lightning to form a protective shield around her, where she can lower portions of it on one side so she can attack while at the same time maintaining the shield from the other side to fend off attacks. The shield can be broken down with enough force, but when reinforced with newly harvested life energy, it is powerful enough to sustain twenty thousand pounds of mass and defend against successive fire streams from two dragons from all angles.
Life Energy Transfer
Using her electrokinesis, she can transfer life energy: either from herself to a corpse, proven when she was able to resurrect a dead wolf pup (which left her exhausted); or from a living being to herself, which kills such target on the spot but rejuvenates her in the process. Furthermore she can still suck out the life energy of another even when she is at full power, and can siphon life energy from multiple targets at once to amplify her attacks and defenses. This process is relatively quick, as she was able to absorb several soldiers' lives by the time it took Dom and Sei in their dragon forms to inhale. This regular intake of life energy is also the cause for her biological immortality for a millennium, shown in Book 3 Chapter 11.
Azura has also shown the ability to levitate, perhaps by using her electrokinesis to move herself.
Although Azura is very powerful, she can be overwhelmed by magic users, like Sei who drained her of all her energy with a large torrent of flame while in her dragon form, or like Kenna who after wearing an anti-magic artifact defeated her by bypassing her shield. Her lightning shield can also give in to strong enough physical attacks, as when Kenna smashed it with Leon's Mace. It can thus be concluded that Azura can be taken down with a sufficiently powerful attack, or a nullification of her power, so long as it is not reinforced with more power from absorbed life energy.
In Book 3, Chapter 6, thanks to Raydan and Aurynn's research in the Library of Fydoria, they learned that Azura's magic is not innate and she isn't as invincible as once thought. She can be dominated with the conjunction of the Protection Amulet and spells in Ancient Irithi: vin hama rusa to activate the anti-magic shield and sekakto to bypass her protective shield.
Despite having legendary powers, Azura is nevertheless mortal and is as frail as an ordinary human being when injured, as she bled and died immediately after being stabbed by Kenna's sword through the stomach.
Clover Hapley is her handmaiden. She is completely devoted to the Empress and has accepted her fate of being used one day as a charger for Azura's power.
Lia is her daughter. She bears a resemblance to her mother from her white hair and blue eyes. Azura has a loose hand towards Lia, expressing indifference when she works with and joins the Stormholt forces in helping to take her mother down. She also does not seem to care very much for her daughter, even spitting at her in Book 3, Chapter 16. Lia succeeds Azura in becoming the Iron Empire's next Empress after her death at the end of Chapter 16.
In Book 3, Chapter 10, it is hinted that Azura possibly has a thing for Raydan, as she flirts with him and invites him to have lunch with her in the gardens of Fydoria, even though he is her prisoner. Should the player decide to spend diamonds to unlock the lunch scene, the player can choose to turn the interaction into a romantic rendezvous. Raydan can also share a kiss with Azura. In Chapter 11, Azura kisses Raydan to thank him for saving her daughter.
- The name "Azura" means "sky-blue" as in the color. This is a nod to Azura's skin, hair, eyes, lightning, and jewelry.
- She's fascinated by Fydorian culture.
- She is somewhat similar to the villainess Azula in Avatar: the Last Airbender. Azula was likewise extremely powerful, power-hungry, arrogant, manipulative, self-centered, and publicly calm and collected but secretly mentally unstable; had a strained mother-daughter relationship; could generate blue lightning; and was abandoned by her allies near the end.
- Another possible inspiration is Empress Azshara from Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft Universe.
- Both have white/silver hair and are known to be exceptional users of sorcery.
- Both have titles that reference light. In Azshara's case, they include Light of Lights, Light Beneath The Tides, and Light of a Thousand Moons. They even have similar names.
- Both are overly ambitious to the point that they would willingly and viciously sacrifice loyal subjects to attain greater power.
- Both have annexed territories into their dominions, with their acts of conquest building an empire that is so advanced they are almost considered utopian societies.
- Both empresses are also blindly admired and loved by their people to the point that they are worshipped.