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|By Musictaco||Part of the Eye to Eye continuity.|
|"I know I really don't have a reason to care. I'm not Water Tribe and I'm not affected by anything so who am I to talk, but still - people need to be able to forgive."|
|— Masao expressing his beliefs in 'The Four Fishermen.'|
Jang Hui, Fire Nation
Tall and lean
|Weapon of choice||
Kiyi, Ziyang, Kenzo, Jeong, Jinora, Ikki, Unalaq
|Chronological and political information|
The Four Fishermen
Masao is a young, but poor greenhorn living in the still impoverished town of Jang Hui. Despite the circumstances, he loves the accomplished feeling that comes with his job and would not trade it to be the richest man in the world.
Masao was from an upper-middle-class family in the Fire Nation mainland, which was where he grew up and received an education, including mastery of firebending. However, his firebending instructor, Lei, was a poor teacher because he advanced students based on their parents' 'donations' rather than their own merit. Because of the favor given to the more wealthy students, Masao was unable to tolerate the injustice, despite being among the better treated, and pointed out Lei's actions. Lei sent his student to the headmaster who issued a parent conference. When Masao's parents seemed more angry at his own actions rather than his instructor's, he simply decided to ditch his firebending lessons. He never mastered firebending in school, but excelled in all of his other subjects including history, mathematics, literature, music, and etiquette.
Before he even finished his mandatory education, his parents began pressing him to think about his future as a politician, lawyer, or successor to the family's business, but Masao felt he, nor anyone else, deserved to be given their life on a silver platter. His parents were confused at their son's harsh reaction, but Masao explained that he had the option to be whoever he wanted to simply because he was born into a well off family. When his parents asked him what was wrong with that, he told them his easy life was boring and sometimes too ridiculous to live. He wanted to really live - go out on adventures and look for a much simpler life. That following night, he told his parents that he loved them and waited until the early hours of the morning to sneak out.
With only a small bag containing mostly money and a couple changes of clothes, at the age of 16, Masao left home without a word to his parents. He just started walking through the Fire Nation, working small jobs until he grew bored and decided to move on. A place Masao thought of fondly was Hira'a, the one place he stayed at longer than a month before settling into Jang Hui. He met an elderly woman named Kiyi and her family, staying with them while he became an actor in the local theatre. He insisted paying rent despite Kiyi protesting that he didn't have to.
He fell into a routine in Hira'a for almost a year, even going so far as to have a brief relationship with a fellow actress. After the breakup, Masao felt himself grow restless, and shortly after, he left the small village and continued walking towards the northern part of the country. He would bum a place to sleep and only stay for a night or two in one place as he slowly depleted away his saved money and earned money from Hira'a.
Frustrated that he arrived at Ember Island, a place where the most wealthy vacation only to show how rich they are, Masao debates on leaving but when he passes out from hunger and is taken to a local hospital, he decides to again bum on the island for a few days, at least while he recovers. Regardless of the fact he was irritated at the commercial resort town, he attended two plays by the Ember Island Players while on the island, reminiscing on his acting days back at Hira'a and happily noting that plays are still being made in such a modern place despite the popular silent mover. The people on the island took pity on Masao and sent him off with a food supply and money; he didn't want to accept the items, but remembering how he almost died days earlier, he takes half of each and moves on, tramping from place to place for another seven months before finding the place he knew he would want to call home.
Eighteen year old Masao fell in love with the small, fishing town as soon as he canoed into the area. He sought out work and met a blunt fisherman named Jeong who told him to get a job in the most common industry in town: fishing. Masao immediately accepted the job and was met by a gruff and somewhat eccentric captain, Ziyang, and Kenzo, a quiet deckhand who rarely said anything at all. He was excited for the work, but at the same time, he had a hard time tolerating the gore for a few days. His crewmates thought him too weak stomached and wanted to fire him, but took pity on him when Jeong spotted Masao sleeping in the canoe he was in when he arrived. Not having the heart to fire him, since he did appear to be trying, Ziyang instead told the new greenhorn to suck it up or quit.
Once he grew his sea legs and his initial squeamishness passed, he quickly gained his crewmates' favor, especially when he stopped minding when they (mostly Jeong) threw bait at him for kicks. The others on the boat thought Masao to be friendly and witty once they got to know him, and once Masao learned that Ziyang was a father of four and a grandfather of two, Kenzo was a member of the Order of the White Lotus, and Jeong was newly married, he developed a hobby of telling them fantastical stories about their lives. Oftentimes, he would sleep on Ziyang's fishing boat with the others and not step foot on land for days, as their crew was the largest source for fish in the entire town.
When Masao's first fishing season was over, he decided he wanted to try to master firebending again, and asked Ziyang if he was a firebender or knew any good ones. Ziyang laughed at his greenhorn and immediately agreed to teach him.
The Dark Avatar
Masao had settled into his life in Jang Hui excellently and had bought a small house for himself by the time he was 21. It was summer, which meant fishing season, so he was on Ziyang's boat when Kenzo spotted a person and a glider falling straight for them. The person, a female airbender, landed metres from the boat while her glider landed in the boat. Kenzo recognized the woman as Jinora and immediately pulled her on board.
Ziyang used a rare firebending technique and determined that Jinora was still alive. However, they were in the middle of their season, hundreds of miles away from town, so she would have to recover on the boat. Masao was ordered by Ziyang to practice the energy reading on her, but the greenhorn declined, fearing he wasn't good enough and he would hurt her. As the crew turned in for the night, Kenzo revealed his history with Jinora, as they were both members of the order, Masao found the courage to attempt bending to feel Jinora's life energy. He thought only waterbenders could perform any type of bending-aided healing.
Two days later, another airbender and a waterbender on a bison arrived, asking for Jinora. Masao led them to her, knowing the second airbender must have been Jinora's only sister, Ikki and the waterbender was Unalaq, the former chief of the Water Tribes. He told the pair that he had been monitoring her energy ever since she arrived and was surprised about learning that Jinora was the Dark Avatar. Masao felt undermined as he witnessed Unalaq revive Jinora with waterbending. He left the trio, but not before Ikki got a chance to thank him, an act that would begin his attraction to the airbender.
Once the three re-emerged on the deck, Masao invited Ikki, Unalaq, and Jinora to stay for the next meal, since Kenzo was the best chef around, and the three agreed. At dinner, the three guests explained their presence, and Masao acknowledged to Unalaq that his past wasn't great, but that people need to move on. He praised Jinora for making the sacrifice she did, and also that she should let those around her help her. After the meal, he noticed Ikki by herself and took his chances. When he learned that the younger airbender felt she was pushed aside for her sister, as always, Masao reminded Ikki that she shouldn't care about living in anyone's shadow or not, because she really doesn't know what the other person is going through. He suggested she focus on her own accomplishments and focus on those because she could never be somebody else - only herself.
Masao is a master firebender with excellent agility, but is unaccustomed to actual fighting and can be easily overpowered by a few, powerful hits. Thanks to Ziyang, he is among the handful of firebenders in the world that know the nearly extinct firebending technique of energy reading.
Because he was a bum for nearly two years, he learned how to deal with hunger pains and a lack of sleep, giving him a huge endurance boost in any time of distress.
He is an excellent storyteller, remembering his history lessons in school and doing the research to know about current events. While researching for stories, he ended up becoming extremely well-informed about the world and informing everyone in Jang Hui about it also. Because of this, people often tell him he should open the town's first school and be a teacher.
For the collective works of the author, go here.