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|By Twilitlink||Part of thecontinuity.|
Tengu was originally from the small mining town of Guzheng. The town was somewhat off the grid, so The War missed it for 80 years. However, the nearby coal mine was eventually found by Fire Nation intelligence, so they quickly moved to colonize the town. Tengu was only six.
Tengu's older brother was drafted into the mining crew by the new Fire Nation government. He was 15 at the time. His father was a policeman, so he had been imprisoned upon the occupation. He pledged obedience to the new government so he could enroll as a mine security guard, wanting to be closer to his son, as well as securing a means to provide for his family. His mother was a seamstress, but her income alone would not provide for all four children (Tengu had two older sisters, 12 and 8).
Tengu's family was the object of constant harassment and humiliation. Tengu's brother was assaulted on his way home from the mine twice.
When Tengu turned seven. His father gave him a sansetsukon and began training him to use it. His father would not teach him to Earthbend, as it was forbidden outside of mine work. However, he needed to give Tengu a means to defend himself.
One day Tengu's brother was sitting outside of the mine having lunch by himself when a boulder fell from the mountainside. He didn't even see it coming. He died on the spot. He was 19.
That night the Fire Nation guards raided his house and arrested his father for treason. Some of the slaves had used the distraction created by his brother's murder to escape. As the mining site's head of security, his father was deemed responsible. His mothers and sisters pleaded with the guards. They were all arrested for obstruction of justice and assaulting a Fire Nation officer. Tengu, still in shock, was motionless and speechless. An unusually compassionate guard hid him from the captain.
Tengu's entire family were publicly executed by lightning as a lesson to the rest of the mining townspeople. Tengu, hidden in a nearby mountain, witnessed the execution. His mother and father would have turned 40 that fall. His sisters were 16 and 12. Tengu was 10 years old.
Childhood in Gaoling
Tengu fled across the mountains to Gaoling. Tengu asked the local tailor for work in exchange for food and shelter. He surprised the old man with his knowledge of threads, materials, and fabrics – all learned from his mother. He proved himself to be a valuable employee. People would give him candy and tips for his good service.
With age came sickness for the old tailor. Fall came and the old tailor passed away. Shortly after the funeral, the tailor's son began drinking and neglecting the business. The weight of the shop shifted to young Tengu, who was finding it harder to take care of business. A few months later, the tailor's son tried to molest Tengu. With one swift move, he brought it out and looped it around the man's neck. He coiled his legs under the man's torso and pushed him off. The man fell noisily. Tengu ran out of the room, looked for his hidden money bag, his hat and ran off into the night. Tengu spent the night hidden at the shipyards, but was arrested trying to get away in a ship carrying mining tools.
His ex-patron accused Tengu of assault and theft. The townspeople were in shock at the little orphan's ingratitude. He was tried that very afternoon. The tailor's son told them how he had caught Tengu red-handed, stealing from him and how, when confronted, Tengu attacked him. The judge thought Tengu's money bag pretty much attested to the tailor's son's testimony. Furthermore, the weapon served to show Tengu's vicious character.
The judge sentenced Tengu to a five-year sentence in the Gaoling Penitentiary. He was 12 years old.
Time in Prison
After hearing his ex-patron's lies at the courthouse, he made himself a vow: no one would hurt him without getting hurt. No one would be able to tease him, laugh at him, step on him, or scorn him anymore. He would take things to a new level. He would show people the true meaning of confidence and power. He would turn his body into a weapon, and his mind into a trap.
Tengu devoted his time in prison to exercising and reading in the library. However, he reacted violently when picked upon. He was punished with solitary confinement in numerous occasions throughout his five-year sentence, without so much as making a dent in his attitude.
Eventually people learned to stay out of his way. His resilience and toughness was admired by the older crime lords, so they began befriending the boy. He eventually became untouchable when Kyung Ji took him under his wing. Under the old crime lord's tutelage, Tengu learned to play Pai Sho. He learned, not only the game, but its real-life parallels of strategic thinking. In their long conversations, he learned about hustling, tricks, signals, innuendos, threats, bluffing...you name it. Tengu became a scholar of everything strategic, military, criminal, governmental, and even religious. The kingpin baptized Tengu with a new name: The Demon Bird. Tengu liked it, so he had the prison tattoo artist make an evil-looking Sparrow Hawk in his right leg.
Time As an Assassin
Tengu was a rare bird in the Black Lotus clan. He was not a powerful bender like most of them were. However, if sheer destructive power could be removed from the equation, he was head and shoulders above the rest. He was cool, level headed, methodical, precise, and incredibly smart. If the job required finesse and complete untraceability, he was Lu Ming's "go-to" man. As a professional, he was respected by most of his peers. However, he was also a loner - an outsider who kept mostly to himself, and worked almost always alone. In addition, most other assassins in the organization boasted about their missions, showing a near-sadistic pleasure in their killings. He did not. He was efficient, lethal – even brutal, if needed – but he never showed either pleasure or displeasure regarding his missions. He was just as impersonal as he was ruthless. "It's just a job." he used to say.
It was precisely this attitude that allowed Lu Ming to keep making business in the Fire Nation. Most assassins had qualms about doing work for the Fire Nation. Tengu did not care whether it was work done for the Fire Nation, the Earth Kingdom, or the Water Tribes – it was just work. Consequently, he spent the better part of two years doing various missions for a series of high profile Fire Nation aristocrats. The rich were willing to pay handsomely to have their dirty work done for them and Lu Ming was more than happy to oblige.
Tengu had managed to secure a small, unassuming apartment in Fire Fountain City. He worked from there, often visiting the Fire Nation Capital, where most of the gigs were. He had bought a messenger hawk he used for corresponding with Lu Ming. Each message brought forth a meeting with yet another customer who wanted to shift the balance of power in their favor. This is probably why Tengu thought this new assignment would be no different.
But he was wrong – very wrong...
Change of Heart
He received a message that he was to meet with a gentleman outside the wall of the Royal Palace. They met on a secret underground bunker outside the city walls. The man handed Tengu an envelope containing two pictures. One was of a distinguished man in his 40s, the other one of a strapping young lad, probably around his age, but sporting a truly regal look. Both men were dressed in uniform. The customer turned out to be Fire Prince Ozai, who contracted Tengu to finish off his brother and nephew during the siege of Ba Sing Se.
During the course of the two-year-long mission, he found himself becoming emotionally attached to his targets. Lu Ten's tragic death, in fact happened when he pushed Tengu out of a boulder's way just outside the inner wall. When it came to The General, Tengu respected him too much and felt too sorry for his loss to do the job.
Fast on the heels' of Lu Ten's untimely demise at Ba Sing Se, Ozai approached his father, Fire Lord Azulon, to ask him to revoke Iroh's birth right to the throne. Azulon was appalled by Ozai's disloyal and dishonorable request. Therefore, he sentenced Ozai to lose his oldest son, Zuko. Tengu had returned from the front lines, unable to dispose of Iroh as per their earlier agreement, so Ozai decided that Tengu would dispose of Zuko to square off his debt. The deal was nearly concluded, when Ursa stormed into the room, harshly reproaching Ozai for his greed and cowardice. Ozai then offered a barter for Zuko's life: he would desist of killing her son if she helped Tengu dispose of the Fire Lord.
At night, Tengu and Ursa broke into the Fire Lord's room and slew him using poisoned daggers, then they fled the palace running away from the guards. They had been promised safe exile once the task had been completed, but Ozai broke his word. Ursa was devastated to lose contact with her children, although she showed no remorse for killing the Fire Lord.
Becoming an Airbender
Training with Aang
Fighting in the War
Uncovering Gin's Betrayal
Journey to Team Avatar
- Tengu is named after a type of Japanese bird demons.
- This is also where he gets his brutal fighting tactics.
- Interestingly enough Tengu has gone through a cycle not unsimilar to the Avatar Cycle.
- He was born an earthbender of the Earth Kingdom.
- He served in the Fire Nation military.
- He joined the Air Nomads and became an airbender.
- After protecting Katara and Sora from a snow leopard, he was made an honorary member of the Water Tribes.
For the collective works of the author, go here.
Fanon Award for Best Main Character (Male)
|Nero (2009) - (2010) - (2011) - Yuhan (2012) - (2013) - (2015)|