|By Manzai||Part of thecontinuity.|
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|"If we take it over we'll get the income from all those renters, and just by charging a fair price we'll have their loyalty too. They'll pay the Ban Clan, and be glad to do it."|
|— Ban Ti Xi in "The Mountain Master's Son"|
Ban Ti Xi is best known as the father of Avatar Zhengyi. He was also a powerful and well-respected clan leader in the . Unfortunately, most of the other details of his life have been lost to history. It was said that he possessed great earthbending abilities, appropriate for the father of an Avatar.
Ban Ti Xi was born around 885 BG as the heir to a smallclan, the . In those days the Ban were not a particularly rich clan, although Ti Xi's father was able to provide his son a fairly comfortable life, since he was the scion of the clan. Ti Xi began learning Earthbending at an early age, most likely from his father and other clan retainers. His father also groomed him to become Mountain Master of the Ban clan, as he inevitably would. Ti Xi would have been exposed to the violent lifestyle of the Hei Chaoliu from a young age, and taught basic business and leadership skills. Ti Xi's father taught his son the value of respecting the people who lived in the clan's territory, because they were the clan's customers and potential retainers.
At age 10 or 11, Ti Xi met befriended an urchin named Er Shi Wu. Because Wu was his son's friend, Ti Xi's father and the clan fed and sheltered Wu in exchange for Wu's help with errands and odd jobs for the Ban clan. This was the beginning Wu's career with the Hei Chaoliu. Wu and Ti Xi became good friends, almost brothers. They trained together, showing equal excellence at both Earthbending and their duties for the Ban clan. Legend has it that it was Ti Xi's father who gave Wu the nickname "One-Eyed" Wu.
Career in the Hei Chaoliu
The son of a Mountain Master, Ti Xi never had any choice in what his career would be, but by all accounts he took great pride in his clan and ran it well when the time came. Wu and Ti Xi advanced through the ranks together, with equal speed. When his father was assassinated by the rivalclan, Ti Xi became Mountain Master and made Wu his "General," the top combat officer in the clan and third-highest rank overall. Xin Kao remained as the Mountain Master's deputy, the position he had held under Ti Xi's father.
Ti Xi expanded upon his father's policy of treating the civilians the clan dealt with fairness and respect. While leaders of other clans treated their territory as veritable dictatorships, Ti Xi saw his relationship with the common people as more of a mutual business arrangement, which needed their support an goodwill to succeed. For this reason, Ti Xi was well respected and the Ban clan grew a great deal in terms of membership and territory under his leadership. It soon became one of the largest in the city.
A few years later Ti Xi brought a woman named Omashu as part of a project to expand the Ban clan to that city., who had once been indentured under the , into the as a strategist. He installed her in one of the top positions in the clan, a rank equal in esteem to Wu's. Ti Xi did this despite Ying Su's outsider status, which rankled many Ban retainers, including Wu. Su proved herself by helping Ti Xi expand the clan using her brilliant tactician's mind to help Ti Xi make combat and business decisions that won money and power for the Ban, but she still never fully won the respect of many of Ti Xi's other retainers. However, only a short while after she joined the clan, Su was sent by Ti Xi to
Birth of Avatar Zhengyi and Death
Only a few months later, Ti Xi had a son by an unknown woman to whom he was not married. There was no stigma attached to illegitimate children among the outlaws of the, and it was important that the Mountain Master produce an heir, so the illegitimacy of the child was generally considered a non-issue.
Ti Xi's lieutenant Xin Kao brought the child to Ti Xi from the Ba Sing Se suburb where his mother had gone to give birth. Ti Xi named the child Zhengyi and raised him at the Ban clan compound for six months, during which time Ying Su returned from her trip. Zhengyi had been born at almost precisely the same time as the death of the previous Avatar, of the Southern Water Tribe, so by the age of six months he was old enough to be tested to see if he was the next Avatar. As it turned out, he was. Ti Xi, , Xin Kao and his baby daughter , , one or two other retainers and the spiritualist Kei Guan were the only witnesses to the test.
Unknown to anyone else, Wu had apparently concocted a plan to usurp the Ban clan at some point before or during Zhengyi's Avatar test. Wu realized that Zhengyi could be the ultimate weapon for the Ban clan, and give them the power to decimate the other clans and control the entire Ba Sing Se underworld and beyond. Wu intended to raise Zhengyi as a godson and train him to be he perfect enforcer. Wu knew Ti Xi was too soft to allow his son to be exploited that way, and only trusted himself to control such power.
That night, Wu--in disguise--revealed the's secret location to their longtime rivals, the . In the confusion of the ensuing attack, Wu and a handful of his most loyal henchmen murdered Ti Xi by cutting his throat and made it look as though the Du clan had done it. Wu also killed Xin Kao and the few other clan members intelligent enough to possibly figure out what he had done. Although Ying Su did figure out that Wu was guilty, he allowed her to live because he needed her strategic expertise. However, since Zhengyi was obviously too young to take over the clan, Wu was the ranking officer and therefore became the leader. Wu knew he had to play off the clan's loyalty to Ti Xi in order to solidify his control and make hem loyal to him. Even 15 years later, when Zhengyi discovered the truth about his father, Wu resolutely denied it to the rest of the clan, knowing how powerful his victim and former friend's legacy was.
Ti Xi was a Mountain Master first, and was willing to do what it took to handle his business. He was reluctant to hurt or kill people, even enemies if he could help it, but the violent lifestyle of theforced him to murder more than a few people in his lifetime. He was a strong fighter and had a great talent for leading others. If he had not been born into the Hei Chaoliu he would have made a fine politician or military officer.
Ti Xi also believed in "honor amongst thieves" and tried to run his clan with a modicum of respect and fairness for the civilians who lived in his territory, who were both his customers and potential retainers. This strategy paid off for Ti Xi and his clan, leading some to speculate that Ti Xi's "more-flies-with-honey" strategy was purely a business tactic. Others defended him and claimed he genuinely cared about the people in his territory. In any case, he certainly cared for his son and took pride in his legacy.
Ti Xi habitually chewed betel nuts, which some people purported to be addictive. The nuts were common in Ba Sing Se and sometimes caused oral cancer after many decades of use, but were known to ease tension and enhance alertness in the user.
Ti Xi was also a heavy sleeper, and often slept away from his bed, wherever he was when he felt tired. It was said that he once fell asleep in a tree while staking out the Du clan for a raid.
Ti Xi looked much like his son did as an adult. He had a strong, muscular build, befitting an earthbender of his stature, though he was somewhat short. He shaved his head and wore a doorknocker beard and mustache. He usually wore a green and black pao with dark pants and boots.
Behind the Scenes
Ti Xi is the name of one of the alleged founders of a Chinese secret society called the Tiandihui, meaning "Heaven and Earth Society." The Tiandihui, organized in China's Fujian province somewhere around 1760, was a rebel group that was dedicated to remove the then-ruling Manchurian Qing (Ching) Dynasty and restore the Han Chinese Ming Dynasty. By some accounts, this group either grew into or was related to the criminal groups that eventually became the Triads. This is where the character's name comes from.
The Chinese characters in Ban Ti Xi's name mean, respectively, "boss", "exalted/magnanimous", and "past/former". All together they state how he is seen by Zhengyi and most of the clan retainers: "Exalted Former Boss".
Ti Xi's Father
|Mountain Master of the clan|
c.862 BG - c.855 BG
| Succeeded by|
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