|By Manzai||Part of thecontinuity.|
| I'm not from the Fire Nation. I'm from the Southern Water Tribe.
Warning! This page contains spoilers for.
"I may not be able to fight, but I can play dominoes like nobody's business."
|Chronological and political information|
Associate, Avataric Companion, Gambler
Heung Chu was a traveling companion and friend to Avatar Zhengyi. Chu was an uninitiated or "associate" member of the Tong clan of the until he joined Zhengyi on his Avatar journey. He first befriended Zhengyi, , and when they infiltrated the Tong clan in order to steal a passport. When their identities were exposed, Chu helped them escape. Because he was often beaten and scorned by the other clan members and had a poor relationship with his father, his only known relative, Chu asked to accompany Zhengyi in order to leave Ba Sing Se and make a fresh start. Though Su and Fung quickly warmed to him, Zhengyi at first treated him little better than the thugs in the Tong clan, thinking he was weak because he didn't know how to fight. However, over time he became close friends with Zhengyi. Zhengyi came to respect Chu greatly after Chu proved the value of his ability to do math was a valuable asset. Chu saved Zhengyi and the rest of his friends many times with his intelligence and problem-solving skills.
Heung Chu's father was Heung Sai, who worked as a bookkeeper for the Tong clan in Ba Sing Se. Chu lived with him at the Tong clan headquarters in the Lower Ring. Although Sai raised Chu alone after Chu's mother left him, Sai had a gambling addiction which caused him to be somewhat neglectful of his son and often short of money. Chu had few other friends. He was timid and uninterested in learning to fight or working for the clan, and so the other young members of the Tong clan picked on him and sometimes beat him up. Although he was sometimes described as a Tong member, this was true only in the loosest sense. Although he lived at the clan headquarters and was privy to some of the goings-on there, neither he nor most members of the clan considered him a member, and he had never been sworn in.
The Tong clan specialized in gambling and their headquarters was also a gambling house. Children of clan members, or very young members, usually did not have enough money to play at the tables, so they conducted their own informal pick-up games. Chu found these his only opportunity to socialize, even though it was often with the same boys who beat him up. He also began developing an interest in mathematics and read what he could find on the subject. Only a modest amount of material was available to him, so he began exploring the subject himself through the mathematical aspects of games or by inventing theoretical problems to solve.
Meeting the Avatar
Chu met Avatar Zhengyi and his friends in 840 BSC, when they disguised themselves as Tong clan initiates in order to steal the clan's passport so they could get past the guarded walls of Ba Sing Se. Chu met first, while she was working in the kitchen of the Tong clan headquarters. Attempting to gain information about the clan, she spoke to Chu because he seemed approachable. He taught her how to play bing jiu, the most popular game played in the Tong gambling house. Later he met Zhengyi and Fung when he was invited to eat with them in dining room of the gambling house. When Fung was taken prisoner by the Tong for failing to obey an order, Ying Su and Zhengyi recruited Chu to help rescue her. He accompanied them to where she was being held prisoner, but later hid when Tong fighters arrived. However, when his new friends were taken before Tong Suei Sing and about to be executed, Chu intervened. He challenged Suei Sing to a game of bing jiu, on the condition that his friends be freed if he won. Although Chu did win, and expose Suei Sing as a cheater in the process, it made no difference to any of the Tong members and they attacked Chu, his father, and the three captives anyway. They were forced to fight their way out, and Zhengyi stole a passport off Suei Sing's person. Chu and his father were forced to flee with Zhengyi and the others. Once they left the city, Chu's father reprimanded him for endangering their livelihood. Chu rebuked his father for his uncaring ways and decided to join his new friends while his father went his own way. Zhengyi was at first ambivalent about taking the Chu with them. He believed Chu was weak because he couldn't fight and math was his only discernible skill. However, Su advocated for him and Zhengyi ultimately agreed to let Chu accompany him.
Between his father's inattention and being picked on by the other kids his age, Chu largely shut himself off from other people. His only friends at this time were several of the same people who beat him up. This made him timid and self-effacing. It also made him yearn for good friends. He quickly attached himself to Su, Fung, and Zhengyi--almost too quickly given how tenuous his connection to them was, because they were the first people who had treated him nicely in a long time. Chu tended to be kind and had great concern for his friends. He had a tendency to want everyone to get along, whereas Zhengyi often fought with Fung and Su. However, Chu was also timid and lacked confidence, which caused him to be easily led. He tended to do whatever Su or Zhengyi asked of him, even if it went against his own judgement.
Heung Chu was smallish and scrawny. His hair was black and his eyes were brown. As a young man traveling with the Avatar, he usually wore a dark brown sleeveless kuzhe with dark yellow trim, which could be removed in warm weather, over an off-white yi. The sleeves of the yi were a little too long and sometimes fell past his hands. He wore his bangs curtained and the rest of his hair pulled back into a small Earth Kingdom-style bun with the metal band.
Chu was a non-bender, had basically no combat training, and was very timid. This led Zhengyi to initially discount his value and consider him dead weight to their group. However, Chu had excellent mathematical abilities. Chu could do complex arithmetic and probabilistic calculations in his head. He also had an exceptional understanding of mathematics in general. His ability to perform complex mathematical reasoning proved very valuable to Team Avatar on multiple occasions. It allowed him to solve puzzles and theoretical problems, and gave him an edge in any game with a mathematical component.
Heung Chu's name is Chinese for "incense master," which is a title in the Hong Kong Triads for an officer who oversees logistical and personnel matters for the Triad leader. Like Xin Fung, his name is a Triad title. This name was given to the character because he becomes part of Zhengyi's group of friends and is the one who is less combat-focused and more of a helper and planner.
Heung Chu's mathematical abilities are based on same real-life people who have similar abilities. They are sometimes called mental calculators.
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