|By Hiroakira Fengxian||Part of thecontinuity.|
|Weapon of choice||
Bao Tai (deceased), Tai-Hoi Wang
|Chronological and political information|
The Governor of the Fubai Dushi colony, Tao Shui Wang epitomizes the archetype of the corrupt politician. Arrogant, greedy, obese, repulsive, and uncaring of both the welfare of the common man and the Fire Nation, Tao lives to gain power and wealth to indulge himself in luxury. A Fire Nation noble descended from a branch of the illustrious Fengxian family, Tao is the closest living blood relative of the late Yuan FengXian, and he is determined to get his pudgy hands on the immense Fengxian fortune, even if it means wiping out Yuan's adopted son and sole heir, the young Hiroakira.
Tao Shui Wang is middle-aged, balding, and immensely fat. His chubby face sports a long unruly beard, and squinty gleaming eyes shine out from under thick bushy eyebrows. Tao likes to flaunt his wealth and power, and dresses in very fine (and extra-plus size) clothes. He waddles around using a jewel-encrusted cane to support his weight, and he wears a fancy politician's hat to cover his receding hairline. Even with all the trappings, Tao appears physically repulsive.
Tao Shui Wang is an altogether unpleasant man. His personality flaws are many, and his positive virtues are about as rare as a penguin on Ember Island. Tao is characterized by his greed, his lust, his gluttony, and his hedonism. He's more than willing to bleed funds and recourses from Fubai Dushi's war industries to achieve this end, as he shows almost no sincere loyalty to the Fire Nation, and especially not it's current Firelord. He cares little for the Fire Nation's War save for what money it can bring him, and has defrauded the homeland in multiple fortunes over the years through tax evasion and embezzlement. More of a gang leader than a governor, and sporting the haughtiness, arrogance, and megalomaniacal sense of superiority typical of one born into nobility, he cares little for the troubles or rights of others and is openly disgusted by "the filth of the lower classes". He considers most others beneath him, and he speaks in an arrogant and pompous tone. Tao believes himself above the law, and lives to indulge himself in as much wealth and luxury as he can get his greedy little trotters on. He loves to show off his wealth and power, and organizes public events to flaunt his riches.
He is always seeking to improve his fortune, and often doesn't care who he flattens in order to get it. He has grown bloated (both figuratively and literally) off of kickbacks, slush funds, and outright black hand tactics, and many of the city's services, businesses, and factories have suffered or have fallen into disrepair. Colonial Force Squads 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, & 12 are in his pocket, and he essentially uses them as a gang to help him maintain his pudgy grip on power. Tao is crafty however, and knows how to suck up to (and bribe) those who have a clear political advantage over him, such as high-ranking military officers and imperial inspectors. Tao is also meticulous, and feels the need to keep track of how much money he has. To this end, he keeps secret records detailing how much he's supposed to get, when he's supposed get it, from whom, for what reason, and which people working under him are supposed to get their fair share.
"Governor Tao" abuses his power almost constantly, living in opulence and wealth while the city of Fubai Dushi is taxed into poverty. His corrupt administration has turned the once-thriving industrious metropolis into a dingy, crime-riddled hellhole that is becoming a black hole in the economy. Due to his craftiness and the rampant corruption at all levels of city government, it is nearly impossible to pin any wrongdoing on him, and he always knows just what to pay in order to send imperial inspectors away with a clean report.
Although he no longer voices it publicly out of fear of reprisal, Tao hates Firelord Ozai, stemming from a bitter rivalry from when they were young. A great deal of his secrecy, caution and paranoia in recent years has stemmed from Ozai's appointment as Firelord, and lives in fear of Ozai finding an excuse to have Tao stripped of power.
Governor Tao is apparently devoid of a conscience or morals, and will mercilessly dispose of those in his way, be they man, woman or child. But for all his boasting and seeming self-assurance in his own power, Tao is a coward at heart, so he relies on others to fight for him, and is fearful of anyone who can stand up to him. Tao is obsessed with gaining his hands on the Fengxian fortune, and is determined to end the life of the one person in his way: Hrioakira Fengxian. His repeated failure to kill the boy has made Tao even more paranoid, and he has constantly beefed up the security at his opulent palace.
Tao's greed has wound up alienating him from several major and minor criminal gangs in the city, who wind up supporting those he opposes.
Born the second son of a noble family residing in Fubai Dushi, Tao Shui Wang liked to throw his weight around even as a child, and was known as something of a bully and an extortionist. He and his older brother Yao were sent to the Capital to attend the Royal Fire Academy, where he'd later meet and develop a rivalry with the younger Prince Ozai. Although Tao became an expert at finding loopholes in the rules to avoid getting punished, he was envious of the Prince's status and privilege. As an adult, he joined politics with his brother as a city administrator instead of joining the military, using his family's influence to avoid the draft. Even early in his career, Tao proved to be corrupt, gladly accepting bribes from the growing gangs in return for political favors. Eventually, when Yao was appointed Governor of Fubai Dushi, Tao was appointed Vise-Governor by his brother. Eventually, even this power proved insufficient for the ambitious Tao, who later engineered Yao's death and seized the Governorship for himself. Once he solidified his power and crushed resistance to his authority, Governor Tao began to bleed Fubai Dushi like a tick. Becoming bloated on slush funds, budget alterations, embezzlements, and numerous other frauds, the once crown jewel of the Fire Nation Colonies was reduced to a grim and slum-filled kleptocracy.
He still desired even greater riches, and once he heard that his distant cousin Yuan Fengxian was on his deathbed, Tao realized that he had a chance to make himself the wealthiest non-royal citizen in the Fire Nation. The only thing in his way was the 9-year-old Hiroakira, Yuan's adopted stepson and sole heir. Scheming even before Yuan was officially dead, Tao used his contacts to firmly establish himself as Yuan's next-of-kin, thereby making himself Hiro's legal guardian in the eyes of the law. Hiro was sent to Fubai Dushi (albeit reluctantly) to live with Tao after Yuan's death until he become old enough to gain his (rather substantial) inheritance. Ozai had been keeping an eye on the boy's progress and had tried to adopt him in the past, and Tao was more than happy to rob Ozai of a valuable "pawn".
Tao looked down on Hiro as mere vermin, and treated him as such. In truth, Tao was trying to secretly engineer the boy's death so that Tao would gain Hiro's inheritance as next of kin. These attempts ranged from hired assassins to attempting to provoke the boy into committing some capital offence. When the first few attempts failed, Tao had Hiro enlisted into the 9th Division of the local Domestic Force, under the command of Captain Bao Tai, a sadistic and corrupt officer in Tao Shui Wang's pocket. The governor had ordered Bao Tai to be especially harsh to Hiro, with orders to either work the boy to death or provoke him to retaliate in such a way that he could be legally executed. Unfortunately for Tao, Hiro proved to be made of much sterner stuff. When Hiro killed Bao Tai in an Agni Kai and assumed the captaincy of Squad 9, Tao was terrified that he'd be next on Hiro's hit list. He revised the law so that those of lower classes and officers could not challenge those in a higher office to Agni Kai within the city. Tao also used his connection to have Hiro's applications to adopt Haruka Rong Yan rejected time and again, mostly to ensure that there were no additional next-of kin keeping him from the Fengxian fortune.
Tao plotted to simply have the other Squads have Hiro killed, but around that time Ozai unexpectedly became the new Firelord. Tao knew that Ozai was still bitter at him, and that Hiro's death now would provoke an official inquiry, which might give Ozai the evidence needed to terminate his rival. Still determined to end the boy's life, Tao instead had Hiro and Squad 9 sent abroad to aid in suppressing the numerous and increasingly dangerous uprisings in the annexed colonies. Squad 9 was given little funds, supplies, support or logistical information, meaning that these were intended to be suicide missions, as it was Tao's hope that Hiro would wind up K.I.A. When Hiro began returning not only alive but victorious, an increasingly frustrated Tao began hiring assassins and Earth Kingdom mercenaries to insure Hiro's death, all to no avail.
Hiro was fully aware of this; however, due to Tao's law reforms he couldn't do much about it except fight off the endless waves of assassins-of-the-week. Even the assassin who would eventually become known as Combustion Man was hired to do the job, but his failure cost him both his arm and his voice. Embittered, Tao did what he could to tarnish Hiro's reputation, now simply out of spite.
When Princess Azula decided to do away with Governor Tao, she compiled a rather long list of various charges (both factual and just plain exaggerated) in order to have him executed on the spot without having to bother with a show trial. Some of the crimes include:
Treason; petty treason; sedition; Lèse majesté (making rather derogatory comments about the Royal Family, Ozai in particular); corruption; malfeasance in office; perverting the course of justice; anticipatory repudiation; cover; obstruction of justice; abuse of process; embracery; misprision of felony; compounding a felony; misprision of treason; compounding of treason; solicitation; first degree murder; second degree murder; fratricide; attempted murder; attempted contract murder; conspiracy to commit murder; conspiracy to conceal evidence; falsification of evidence; perjury; obstruction of justice; Tortuous interference; false imprisonment; harassment; defamation of character; malicious prosecution; misappropriation of state funds; misappropriation of military funds; tax evasion; war profiteering; larceny; conspiracy; bribery; embezzlement; extortion; graft; money laundering; fraud; counterfeiting; smuggling; false pretenses; receipt of stolen property; restraint of trade; ultra hazardous activity; adulteration; product liability; conversion; unjust enrichment; assault and battery; disorderly conduct; public intoxication; littering and poor fashion sense.
For the collective works of the author, go here.