|By Manzai||Part of thecontinuity.|
|This article has multiple quality issues.|
|"Wu can send all the assassins he likes. I'll train until I'm unbeatable."|
|— Ban Zhengyi in "The Godfather"|
15 (during the events of)
728 BG (aged 112)
Ayatsu (as Avatar)
|Weapon of choice||
The elements, kukri
, , ,
|Chronological and political information|
Ban Zhengyi was an Earth Kingdom Avatar born approximately 955 years prior to Aang's awakening. He was the Earth Kingdom Avatar prior to Kyoshi and the sixth Avatar prior to Aang. Zhengyi's family, the , were a leading crime family in the at the time of his birth, and afterward, when control of the Ban clan was usurped by . He is sometimes called "Ba Sing Se's Avatar" because he was born there and the most dramatic events of his career took place there. Even today, police and criminals hoping to go straight will pray to him to intercede to the spirits on their behalf.
Birth and Early Life
Ban Zhengyi was born around 855 BG toand an unknown woman, to whom Ti Xi was not married. At that time, Ti Xi was head of the Ban clan, a very powerful clan in the . Because leadership of clans was usually passed down hereditary lines, Zhengyi was next in line to take over all Ban operations after Ti Xi.
Several months after he was born, Zhengyi was identified as the Avatar. It was then that One-Eyed Wu, one of Ti Xi's top lieutenants, hatched a plan to control the young Avatar. Wu revealed the secret location of the Ban compound to a rival Hei Chaoliu clan, the Du clan. The Du attacked the compound, and though they were repulsed by the Ban fighters, Wu and a few handpicked henchmen managed to kill Ti Xi and his most loyal followers in their sleep and frame the Du for the murders. This left Wu as the highest-ranking member of the clan, thereby usurping control of it. Another of Ti Xi's top lieutenants, , realized what Wu had done, but Wu threatened to kill Zhengyi if his plot was revealed. Ti Xi's last command to Ying Su had been for her to look after Zhengyi, and her emotional attachment to her old boss through his son was too great for Su to do anything but acquiesce to Wu's demands.
For the next 15 years, Wu raised Zhengyi as though the boy were his own son. Zhengyi was told the same lie as virtually all the other clan members: his father and Wu had been best friends, and when the Du killed Ti Xi, the former boss charged Wu to look after his own son with his final breath. Wu left much of Zhengyi's day-to-day care in the hands of Ying Su, who became the boy's de facto nursemaid, though he maintained an active role in the young Avatar's life and upbringing. Wu cultivated a tough, "gangster" mentality in the boy. All Hei Chaoliu members were encouraged to think of their clan as a second family, and though it was realistically very untrue, these sentiments were widely embraced by members of all clans. Zhengyi, having no biological family, clung to this "second family" ideal as much as anyone. He grew up idolizing Wu and the criminals who surrounded him, though he learned a modicum of correct morals from Ying Su. Zhengyi believed the Hei Chaoliu were the pinnacle of strength, brotherhood, and masculinity, and that they were justified in their criminal activities because their ranks were composed of poor people who had no better way of coming up in the world. His greatest ambition at that time was to honor his father and fulfill what he believed to be his destiny by taking over the Ban clan from Wu when he was old enough, and helping it become even more powerful. Wu never seriously mistreated Zhengyi, and if anything, Wu spoiled the boy, since he relied upon Zhengyi's Avatar powers to win fights with other clans.
Wu provided for Zhengyi's bending training, employing mercenaries or his own clan members to train him in the various bending disciplines. Wu told Zhengyi that he was the Avatar as soon as the boy was old enough to understand, though Wu made sure Zhengyi had a poor idea of what being the Avatar meant and no desire to undergo "backbreaking training just so [he could] help strangers for no reward," to quote Wu. Wu started Zhengyi's earthbending training as soon as he could walk. Zhengyi then moved on to fire and water after a few years. He soon became proficient at all three, though he never learned airbending until later in life, since Wu could not find an Air Nomad who would stoop to working with criminals. Zhengyi only learned rather basic versions of each bending style, however. In many cases his teachers were not the best. Furthermore, Wu realized that it was inevitable that Zhengyi would one day learn the truth about what happened to his father. As a precaution, Wu secretly paid Zhengyi's trainers to leave certain minor flaws or gaps in the boy's technique, which could only be exploited be someone who knew of their presence ahead of time. Wu then secretly learned the techniques to exploit these flaws, as well as chi blocking.
As the Avatar, Zhengyi was a naturally gifted bender, and so Wu was able to use him to help win fights with other clans over or territory. Though Wu strongly encouraged Zhengyi to become comfortable with the idea of taking life, Zhengyi would not and Wu had no choice but to accommodate the boy's wishes. Ironically, Zhengyi felt guilty for not eliminating the clan's enemies, because it made Wu disappointed with him. Because of Zhengyi's assistance, the clan became the most powerful clan in the city by a wide margin, and Wu became the richest man in the Earth Kingdom other than the Earth King. Wu completely eliminated several other clans during his rise to power.
Beginning the Avatar Journey
Zhengyi's life took a dramatic turn one night when he was 15. In a dream he had a vision of an unknown woman, who he later discovered had been Avatar Maiara, the previous Avatar. The vision urged him to wake up. Letting his pet pygmy puma out of his room, Zhengyi followed the cat into the main dining room of the compound. Wu was playing cards with his inner circle of lieutenants there, and it just so happened that at that moment Wu began bragging about what a good idea it had been to kill Ti Xi. Overhearing this, Zhengyi flew into a rage and attacked Wu. However, Wu's secret preparations for this moment paid off, and he handily beat the boy. Zhengyi was only saved because intervened, helping him to escape. Wu told the clan that Zhengyi had tried to kill him in order to gain control of the clan before Wu voluntarily handed it down to him, and sent his men to hunt him down under this pretext.
Su and Zhengyi fled down the road to an abbey where the sister and daughter of Xin Kao, one of Ti Xi's other associates, lived. Zhengyi had a few hours of recuperation there, but soon Wu's men attacked. The nuns, who studied martial arts as a form of meditation, were able to hold off the gangsters while Kao's daughter Ba Sing Se. Zhengyi decided he would need to retrain to correct the flaws in his technique and learn ancillary styles like sandbending, lightning, and magnetism, as well as airbending, so that he could return and defeat Wu in order to take back the Ban clan for his family. He subsequently left the city on a journey that would take him all over the world. However, Ying Su informed him that Wu's wealth and influence among the ruling class of Ba Sing Se increased daily, so the young Avatar would only have a limited time to complete this retraining.lead them out of the abbey and into a secret tunnel that lead under the inner wall of
Service in the Tong clan and Flight from Ba Sing Se
After the escape from the civil war going on at the time, transportation papers were needed in order for anyone to enter or leave the city. The only people who had such papers were top government administrators, the very wealthy nobles, and the clan heads, who forged them or bought them with bribes in order to smuggle their into the city. Ying Su reasoned that he best course of action was to hide in plain sight by serving with the Ban clan's rivals, the clan. It was the last place Wu was likely to look for them. She believed in just a few weeks Zhengyi's fighting prowess would get him assigned to a smuggling team and he would then be able to safely conduct his friends out of Ba Sing Se.clan, realized Zhengyi would not be safe within Ba Sing Se. However, due to the
Zhengyi and his companions carried out the plan, disguising their Ban tattoos and adopting a cover story, since the Tongs would assume they were spies and kill them if they discovered Zhengyi and his friends were Ban clan members. They found a contact within the Tong clan, a man named Tsi to provide an introduction to the Tong Mountain Master, Tong Suei Sing. Tong Suei Sing formally swore them in and conducted a test of their fighting abilities. Since Zhengyi and Fung passed they were assigned to a group of Tongs, lead by a man named Guxi, which collected the gambling debts owed to the clan. Su failed the test and was assigned to be a cook in the kitchen of the Tong gambling house, where she met a young man of about Zhengyi's age named , the son of the clan's bookkeeper Heung Sai.
Zhengyi's time with the Tongs lasted only a few days. He nearly killed a group of rival Lui clan members, but was prevented by Fung. Su introduced him to Heung Chu during this time. Chu would go on to accompany Zhengyi throughout his Avatar journey. But it was not long before the Tong clan ordered Fung to do something she didn't agree with, namely kidnapping a debtor's daughter as collateral. Fung tried to let the daughter escape, despite the fact that disobeying the clan meant her life. Zhengyi initially abandoned Fung to the clan and followed his orders from Guxi to capture the daughter. Both girls were imprisoned by the clan, and Zhengyi implored Ying Su to leave Fung and escape while they could. Su reminded him of how Fung had helped him escape the Ban clan and Zhengyi relented.
During the escape attempt, Zhengyi, Su, Fung, and the debtor's daughter Xiang Mu were all captured and brought before Tong Suei Sing. Suei Sing figured out that Zhengyi and his friends were from the ban clan and sentenced them to death as spies, but before the sentence could be carried out, knowing that Sing was a compulsive gambler, challenged the Mountain Master to a game of bing jiu, where the stakes were the lives of Zhengyi, his friends, Chu himself, and Chu's father. Chu, as it turned out, was a mathematical genius and master gambler, able to perform complex probability calculations in his head. Though Chu beat Suei Sing and exposed him as a cheater, he failed to realize that Suei Sing's cheating was known and accepted by his retainers. Suei Sing ordered his men to kill them all anyway. In the ensuing fight, Zhengyi managed to pin Suei Sing to the wall with spikes of earth and remove the passport from his person. Zhengyi knocked out Guxi and Tsi in the escape, though not before Tsi injured Fung. Xiang Mu, Heung Sai, and Heung Chu escaped with them.
Chu and his father had a strained relationship, and decided to go their separate ways upon leaving the city. Chu asked to accompany Zhengyi and his friends. Zhengyi at first did not want another kid tagging along, especially since Chu couldn't even fight. Su told Zhengyi Chu's math skills might help them more than Zhengyi realized, though that did nothing to persuade the boy. He finally relented under Su's insistence and allowed Chu to accompany him on his Avatar journey.
Though no one yet knows the details of how Zhengyi continued his journey from there, it is known that over its course he came to a broader understanding of the world and decided to undertake the Avatar's proper duties. One-Eyed Wu was probably the most dangerous man in the world at that time, so he would still need to be defeated, but when Zhengyi returned to Ba Sing Se he did it to restore the peaceful balance of the world, not petty revenge. Historians are still researching Zhengyi's life, and more details are expected to come to light soon.
Zhengyi spent the remainder of his career helping to reign in the Avatar's work dutifully.clans and generally cleaning up Ba Sing Se. It is also believed that he taught earthbending to certain select pupils. Other than that, he protected the universal balance and carried out the rest of the
Growing up, One-Eyed Wu taught Zhengyi to believe that power was the ultimate virtue. Although he had some idea of right and wrong because of 's influence, Zhengyi was little more than a tough, arrogant fighter for the first 15 years of his life. He was intensely loyal to the Ban clan and proud of his position as heir. He loved bending, but only because it made him a better fighter. Zhengyi was also known to not be the brightest Avatar ever, and never had much interest in formal education. Even when he became older and wiser, he still did not consider himself a "booksmart" person, though he had come to realize the value of knowledge by then. Despite all this, Zhengyi kept a pet pygmy puma, named , who was also his animal guide. Although he did not admit it to anyone, Zhengyi had a soft spot for cute animals and treated his pet with great care and affection, possibly because he saw cute animals as the antithesis to what Wu--and Zhengyi himself--pressured him to become.
Zhengyi's personality changed dramatically after he discovered Wu actually killed his father. He became a little bitterer and developed an aloof attitude toward the problems of others. Until then, his father's death had not affected him that much, since Zhengyi had never known him to begin with. But as his Avatar journey progressed, he accepted his role as the Avatar more and more, and started helping people and doing good for its own sake. By the end of his life he was considered an enlightened individual.
AvatarRegarding Zhengyi's bending skill, at age 15 he had a lot of raw power, and he was highly advanced, almost approaching mastery, but only with a few techniques. The majority of his bending techniques were mediocre, albeit very physically powerful. His overall ability had a lot of holes however, and his pride or lack of focus could easily trip him up in a fight. One-Eyed Wu paid some corrupt water- and firebenders to train him, but he was much less advanced with these than earthbending, since renegade benders willing to work with criminals lack the spirituality to be true masters.
More spiritual aspects of his Avatar abilities, like mastery of the Avatar State and being a medium to the Spirit World, came more slowly and with greater difficulty for Zhengyi. His criminal upbringing left his chi flowing through his chakras like molasses, though he was able to master these powers as well, eventually.
Zhengyi had a short and stocky build. He only grew as tall as 5'5", and was only 5' at age 15. Back then he sometimes became embarrassed about his height. He lifted stone weights as a hobby and form of exercise, so the muscles in his arms and chest were strong and large, befitting an earthbender, but not very toned. He was moon-faced, with very short hair. In his youth he often wore an emerald green vest with black trim and black pants that came down just below the knees. He also wore black leather wrist bracers with brass studs. On the right side of his chest he had a stylized tattoo of a growling pygmy puma, the mascot of the Clan, which would glow when he entered the Avatar State.
As an older man, he wore a more formal and traditional Earth Kingdom outfit. He grew a long gray beard and grew his hair long.
Behind the Scenes
Zhengyi was created by Avatar fan fiction author Manzai as the main character for his fan fiction "." The word "Zhengyi" is Mandarin Chinese for "justice," which plays on Zhengyi's criminal past and goal of revenge. "Ban" is Mandarin for "boss," a reference to his and his father's position in the clan. The character was conceived as an Avatar who would be uniquely connected to and qualified to deal with crime, crime being one of the major global challenges besides war.
|Preceded by||Avatar in the "Heir of Ban" continuity|
c.855 BG - 700 BG
| Succeeded by|
Ayatsu (Unnamed fire Avatar)
|Preceded by||Mountain Master of the Clan|
840 BG - c.865 BG
| Succeeded by|
For the collective works of the author, go here.