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| Zuko, something happened to Esteemed in the last hundred years.
This fanon has been discontinued, but is still available to read for your enjoyment.
PG-13 (13 and above)
5+ (still running)
The main goal of Esteemed is to tell a more mature story that portrays Toph Beifong as a human being dealing with human problems beneath the fantasy world setting. It explores Toph as a being with heart beneath her 'healthy coat of earth,' someone who struggles to learn how to become a mother for a child she never wanted while serving a city she never planned on being part of. The intent is to write a story appropriate for teen and up audiences that depicts different phases of life and the difficulties that come with them through the lens of both Toph and Lin Beifong.
Esteemed is a written fanon project accompanied by a growing, collaborative art gallery, all of which will explore the experiences of Toph Beifong over a theoretical lifetime, taking into account events and details known to be canonical when possible. It focuses primarily on Toph's adjustment to life in Republic City, specifically the stresses of her job as founder of the Metalbending Police Force and taking on the position of Chief of Police. Perhaps most importantly, however, Esteemed is also about Toph's connection to her daughter, Lin Beifong, whom certain parts of the story will be focused upon -- the uniting thread between the two being not only their biological relation but also their shared experience as police officers in the same town. Despite their lofty positions, metalbending prowess, and high regard, Toph and Lin have complex, imperfect personal lives and some familial conflict. The title and logo of the series is intended to invite irony regarding the idea of idolizing and worshiping Toph Beifong, in particular, as it explores a character who is deeply flawed but manages to hide it well for the sake of her reputation.
The format of the story involves one-shot styled chapters that approach different events and themes within the same chronology and narrative, with certain chapters taking place around or in between events during Avatar: The Last Airbender, The Legend of Korra, and the comics that happen between the two series. Different chapters jump across time in non-chronological order, skipping around from Toph's childhood all the way to Lin's adult life during the events of The Legend of Korra.
The story's planned plot includes exploring ideas such as: Toph's difficult relationship with Lin Beifong, Toph's complicated feelings for Sokka, her friendships with Katara and Avatar Aang (amongst other characters from the series), interpersonal conflicts in Toph and Lin's lives, Toph's history with Yakone, how Yakone broke out of prison and escaped Republic City, Toph growing and changing over the course of her lifetime (especially in regards to motherhood), Lin grappling with the difficulties of living in her famous mother's shadows, how the Beifong Metalbending Academy was formed and cultivated, how the Metalbending Police Force was formed, how Toph became Chief of Police, how Lin ended up following her mother's footsteps, where Lin's scars came from, and other various concepts.
Due to a complicated romantic relationship eventually working out over time, Sokka becomes a stepfather to Lin during the course of Lin's childhood. However, he is not Lin's biological father and for years of Lin's childhood, she is raised by Toph as a single mother. This should be made clear as the intent is to explore a complex social dynamic, not endorse incestuous activity, as Lin would not be biologically related to Sokka or Tenzin in any way.
The story will have a generally darker tone than most of the canonical series and explore some more adult-oriented themes but in a manner which would be suitable for a PG-13 audience. One concept in specific that is more adult-oriented is the idea that Toph did not want to bear a child in the first place and does not even know with certainty the biological identity of Lin's father -- consequently, Toph takes a long time to fully grasp being a nurturing mother, and as a result, her relationship with Lin has various troubles, especially during Lin's teenage years.
Since the biological identity of Lin's father is currently unknown to fans (and perhaps even the creators), the story will be structured in such a way as to incorporate this into its narrative. Sokka will eventually become Lin's stepfather during the chronology, but Lin's biological father will remain a non-factor in Lin's life. This is both an imperfect, messy family dynamic and an expression of the author's reality of living through similar circumstances.
Since Esteemed is a character study of sorts, the most pronounced character is Toph Beifong, seen across different points of her life. This means that some scenes will feature an interpretation of Toph as portrayed in canon, during or in between events established within the canonical Avatar story, while most scenes will portray various visions of the character at different ages, from childhood through old age.
The story will occasionally feature chapters from the perspective of Toph's daughter, Lin Beifong, who will be a prominent secondary character in the overall narrative. Sokka will be Toph's primary romantic interest, though the nature of their relationship will have a difficult and muddy history over time. Katara and Avatar Aang will join Sokka as Toph's primary support group and the main supporting cast, with other prominent faces like Fire Lord Zuko and Iroh making occasional appearances. Certain characters from Legend of Korra will also make appearances depending on the time frame of a given chapter.
- Yakone's Trial, stunned at how she was easily overpowered. | Toph awakens after the events of
- | After Katara realizes her friend may be pregnant, she pays Toph a visit to discuss the matter.
- Avatar Korra arriving in Republic City and speaks with Pema and Korra about the Avatar's duty and Tarrlok's task force. | Lin attends a gala in honor of
- Beifong Metalbending Academy to help Toph train her students. The very method of space-rock vibration that led Toph to find her students shows itself to be sensitive to her interactions with Sokka. | Sokka visits
- | The day after Yakone's Trial, Toph is still exhausted and plagued with doubts. Taking a day off of work to recuperate, Toph tries to find solace in the company of her growing daughter, whose safety seems threatened when one of Yakone's followers sends a message to the Chief directly.
The Esteemed art gallery is primarily hosted at DeviantArt, and currently includes roughly 30 pieces of artwork produced specifically to portray scenes and ideas for the story. There are also currently four multi-panel comic strips such as Daily Grind. More artwork is planned to be commissioned and collaborated on over time, and the ideas artists incorporate into the pieces sometimes inspire new ideas for the story.
For the collective works of the author, go here.