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The Aftermath, 121-153 AG
After getting Katara back, the redeemed Avatar and his esteemed wife rejoined their companions at the edge of the mountain of the Cave of the Ancients. In the midst of the tearful reunion greetings the brilliant waterbender received as a wife, mother, sister and friend, Aang told Katara exactly what her legacy to the four nations was, and a rare smug smile spread across her face. "Guiding light of the world? I like that."
Soon, however, it was down to business once again. Avatar Aang reentered the Cave of the Ancients and came upon the remaining members of the Sages Bane, who were still fatigued from being a part of the Necra State.
"Since you all like energybending so much, I have a special treat for you today," Aang said to them with his trademark cheesy grin that he had been known to make ever since he was a child. "You will all receive the last energybending this world will ever see." He then approached the first of them, and proceeded to remove his abilities.
However, what Aang had said was not exactly true. It was not energybending he used on them, but bloodbending. As an unexpected consequence of having his own bending gone, Avatar Aang grew closer to each of his past lives through seeing what he could do with each of their help in the Avatar State. The Avatar had expected to have more difficulty adapting to his new condition, but this had made it all the more easier. Avatar Kuruk knew of a way to use bloodbending to disable a person's bending by blocking a pair of the most essential centers of chi in their body. Aang detested bloodbending, but it was a safe substitute for energybending in taking away bending ability. It would not be the last time he used such technique, which effected the physical side of bending, not spiritual side as was the case with energybending.
Once his work was done, virtually all of the surviving Sages Bane members spent the rest of their years in either an insane asylum, prison or both. After spending so much time in search of what they wanted and having tasted the gifts of energybending for a brief period, it was unlikely that any of them would ever make progress in any other direction.
In the years after Aang's experiences with energybending, the world was rebuilt once again. The Avatar returned to the Southern Water Tribe where he enjoyed a peaceful life with Katara and the children. He let Trinley teach Tenzin and Vameira the rest of the way to becoming airbending masters, as he himself no longer airbent on a regular basis. Aang did, however, take it upon himself to bring Tenzin back to the lost island to get him a sky bison of his own.
Although he scarcely went there any more, Avatar Aang sought to rebuild and renovate the Southern Air Temple. Years later it would have undergo even more work and revisions by a brand new organization. With the help of Trinley, Aang established the Air Acolytes, a new successor group to the Old Air Nomads. Unlike with the New Air Nomads, Avatar Aang knew that all those who came to join the Air Acolytes harbored genuine interest in the culture, and that they were not merely drawn to bending power, since there was none involved. Even though none of the new initiates were airbenders, Aang felt more close to his people than ever. There would be no one like Icarus or Nola among them. Thus, the Avatar ensured that the Air Nomad legacy would not be lost to the world, even if it had been tarnished by recent events.
When Aang was not at home with his family or teaching Air Nomad culture to the Air Acolytes, he could often be found in Republic City, which he and his closest friends built together, as a vestige of the new world that they had pledged their lives to creating. After Hope and Tom-Tom married, they moved there with their adopted daughter Pema. Hope became one of the city's most renowned entertainers and Tom-Tom got a job as the Fire Nation ambassador to Republic City, a much more time-consuming position than his former one in Ba Sing Se. Eventually, the new metropolis grew larger than Ba Sing Se, and was led by a council of five members. Migo served as the first Chairman as the Council, before leaving his position to focus on more specialized pursuits in the area. The position of Chairman then passed on to Sokka of the Southern Water Tribe. Each member of the council represented a nation. Trinley represented air in the early years.
Despite his earlier discussion of retirement, The Mechanist went back to making inventions for the world once again. Along with his son Teo, he moved to the South Pole and joined the Hinko Foundation for Technological Development, which had been founded by Chief Sokka. When Sokka left the Southern Water Tribe to serve on the council in Republic City, he resigned as chief and was succeeded by Bato of the Water Tribe. Then, when Sokka and Suki's son Oyaji was old enough, he became the chief.
In 122 AG, the Avatar and all his old companions traveled to the Omashu Royal Palace to attend the wedding of Toph and Migo. The ceremony was extravagant and attended by many citizens of Omashu and Earth Kingdom residents from the surrounding countryside. And so they began a fulfilling relationship, spending the rest of their long and fruitful lives together. They eventually had three children. For the early days, however, they were often physically far apart from one another, with Migo making frequent trips back and forth to Republic City and Toph continuing to attend to her duties as ruler of Omashu. Shortly after the birth of their daughter Lin in 124 AG, Toph began spending more time in Republic City, just like Migo.
The rulers of the Earth Kingdom and the Fire Nation returned to their respective capitals. Kuei created a new constitution as a means of avoiding further unrest in Ba Sing Se. Fire Lord Zuko and Fire Lady Mai commissioned for a new palace to be built where their old one had stood. Once everything was in order once more, Zuko began bringing Princess Neinei to meetings in the War Room, in preparation for when she would one day take his place. After she turned sixteen and reached the age of majority, she would oftentimes serve as an acting regent while her father was out of the country – usually to go to the United Republic of Nations, where Republic City was.
The United Republic soon became the center of advancement and modernity in the changing world. Two previously rare bending techniques became much more common: lightning generation and metalbending. They were brought to prominent use in Republic City by Azula and Toph, respectively. Some time after leaving the Fire Nation, Azula found herself in Republic City and found a new way to put her talents as the "perfect firebender" to use by teaching scores of other firebenders how to generate and control lightning. It was a dangerous subset of firebending to practice – not for the faint of heart. This made Azula an appropriate teacher, since no one who willingly took instruction from her could be faint of heart. Azula and her students powered the city with enough electricity to run all day and night.
As Toph taught more and more earthbenders how to metalbend, she formed a law enforcement organization to keep the populated Republic City safe. When Migo resigned as Chairman of the Council, he assisted her in building the organization. Likewise, Toph abdicated as Queen of Omashu and their entire family moved to Republic City full-time, except for Migo and Toph's son Wei who stayed behind in Omashu and became the next king. Toph led the Metalbender Cops at the top, while Migo ran one of the several local units scattered throughout the town. All new recruits reported directly to Toph for training, and got their own assignments later. Both Toph and Azula had proven valuable assets to the construction of the new nation. In bringing their teaching abilities to help in such innovative ways, it seemed that both women had found their calling. Or at least, Toph had. Even though Azula appeared in every way like she was right at home, she insisted that she was not, and that she was merely biding her time with lightning generation instruction, holding out for "something better." The Avatar sighed at such statements. No matter how helpful she was and how friendly things seemed, he would never be able to safely turn his back toward her. Azula would always be Azula.
However, lighting and metalbending were not the only rare bending techniques that were seen in Republic City in the early post-war decades. When Katara learned there were other users of bloodbending besides Hama, the one she had learned the art from herself, she had the practice banned in the United Republic of Nations. But they had not seen the last of bloodbending. A man by the name of Yakone, originally hailing from the Northern Water Tribe, migrated down to the newly-constructed Republic City as a young man.
Within a few years, Yakone was running one of the city's largest criminal syndicates. Presumably, he had built his empire through extortion, intimidation and other crimes he committed as a bloodbender. Pressure mounted on the Avatar and the council to finish Yakone – or at least expel him from the city. However, the new nation had a fair judicial system in place and it took Aang and his friends several tries to catch him in the act. After a violent confrontation in a courtroom, Aang entered the Avatar State and used Kuruk's bloodbending move to take away Yakone's ability to bend.
But Yakone escaped prison within a few years, with the help of his former lackeys; Avatar Aang sent word out to the members of the Avatar Legion scattered across the globe that the dangerous criminal was on the loose, but Yakone was ultimately unable to be found. After a few more years of wondering, Aang decided that finding him was no longer a priority, since he appeared to be intent on hiding rather than making a comeback, and with his bending gone he was far less of a worry.
Gitsu followed Suki's advice and became one of the first Metalbender Cops in Republic City. At the same time, he began a romantic relationship with Ty Lee, who often came to Republic City to visit. And so began a casual relationship which never became too serious and which broke off after six months. Ty Lee later married a farmer from the Earth Kingdom and had two children. As for Gitsu, he left the Metalbender Cops in 123 AG, having grown bored of listening to Toph. He left Republic City that same year. Since he did not keep in touch with anyone else from Team Avatar after that, his whereabouts became unknown.
Perhaps the most surprising fate of all was that of Chan. He wound up going back to work for the Fire Nation Royal Family – though not as War Minister. Rather, he was assigned to a low-level customs position. Every time goods were exported from the great port at the Fire Nation Capital, the crates and containers needed an official seal representing the Fire Lord to be stamped on them. Since this excruciatingly repetitive job was the ideal occupation for someone without a functioning soul, Zuko and Mai were in agreement that Chan was the perfect candidate. Neinei, on the other hand, was outraged, and voiced her adamant objection. She demanded that Chan be executed after he almost murdered her family. However, Neinei eventually realized that it was near-impossible to stay that angry at someone in his state. He no longer had any understanding or recollection of himself as Chan – let alone as Brother Zhang Sang.
As the years went on, Katara and Aang saw their three children having romantic relationships of their own. In 146 AG, Tenzin – long over Neinei – started dating Toph's daughter Lin when he and his parents were in Republic City on a trip. Tenzin had decided to see all the local hot spots, such as the power plant, the automobile factory and the metalbending academy. After catching up with Lin, he invited her out to dinner and they went on many dates over the next several months. Their relationship was becoming quite serious by the time Tenzin ran into Pema for the first time in years. Pema and Tenzin became close friends for a time before Pema professed her love for him. They married in 152 AG, much to Lin's distress.
Avatar Aang's health was already declining when he attended Tenzin and Pema's wedding on Air Temple Island. This was a result of having spent over a century in the Avatar State within a block of ice – and supplemented by the fact that he went into the Avatar State whenever he bent at all after 121 AG. By the time of his passing, his mind was clear. The locked door in the center of his body that he had accessed with his delving into energybending was locked for good – and the Avatar Spirit seemed at peace. He had no regrets at the end of his days, having kept the world safe from many threats in the past several years, including Yakone, other criminals in Republic City and a handful of smaller skirmishes in the four nations.
The Avatar now had great relationships with all his friends and family, including Sokka. His three children in particular, were fond of him – and continued to be into adulthood. Tenzin, Kaddo and Vameira hardly ever talked of energybending or their fight with the Sages Bane, which was not as flattering an adventure for Avatar Aang as his other exploits. Whenever someone brought up the taking or giving of bending abilities, Tenzin even went so far as to say he knew of no one but the Avatar whom had ever possessed that skill. However, there was no denying that it happened. All those who had been in the Cave of the Ancients on that fateful day – with the exception of Aang and Katara – bore a permanent scar across their right arm, as an everlasting reminder of what they went through.
At the funeral, Avatar Aang's life was richly celebrated, as he had saved the world from firebenders and energybenders. "What about the Anti-benders?" the now ex-chief Sokka asked his sister. "They could still come back and be a threat. The last few years have seen a rise in bender envy sentiment in the United Republic region."
Katara had not stopped shedding tears yet. "I think that's not for us to do anything about," she said, deep in thought. Sokka was surprised to hear this from his sister, who claimed to never, ever turn her back on people who might need her. "I think that will be something for the next Avatar to deal with," she added. "It's time for a new generation to step in."
Sokka opened his mouth, but then closed it upon catching his wife's eye. Then he spoke up again. "The next Avatar will be born into one of the Water Tribes. If it happens to be the Southern Tribe, I'll make sure that he gets the-"
"Or she," interrupted Suki. "The next Avatar could be female, you know."
"Or she," Sokka conceded. "I'll make sure he or she gets the best waterbending instructor available."
"Are you going to be alright, Katara?" asked Suki, the ex-Kyoshi Warrior tenderly wrapping her arm about her sister-in-law's shoulder.
Katara swept her right hand across her face, shedding the tears that had been creeping down her cheeks. "Don't worry about me, Suki. I'll be fine. He'll never leave me; he'll never leave any of us...not really."
And she was right. Back in the Southern Water Tribe at the moment of her husband's passing, a baby girl named Korra was born – and the Avatar Cycle began anew.
- The final wordcount of Energy Saga comes out to 292,218. More than half of the length was in Book Three: Atonement.
- When production on Energy Saga began, it was known that Katara and Aang had at least one son, who was named Tenzin, but scarcely anything was known about the children of the other members of Team Avatar. Therefore, the story ended up in the awkward place of having Tenzin as a teenager, but Toph – whose daughter had almost dated Tenzin – not being married. The author felt that the time when Tenzin was 38, Pema was 28 and Lin was 22 was about the least awkward age time for the relationship dynamics to take place.
For the collective works of the author, go here.