Changes from Avatar
- Aang was in the iceberg for 1000 years.
- The world is extremely futuristic and high-tech.
- Kallik's adventure takes place at the same time as A|F Aang's adventure.
The Air Nomads
The Air Nomads were the most spiritual of the Four Nations, and the Avatar Cycle began with them; additionally, all members of the nation were airbenders. Also the most advanced, they were comprised of two distinct parts - the monks and the nomads.
The entire civilization of the Air Nomads was based on the great energy source, located in each temple, that powered all of their technology, with the exception of the staffs. Each Air Nomad carried with him or her a staff that was capable of emitting different light/energy beams; this staff also doubled as a glider. Each staff was unique and could be rewired for different purposes, depending on the nomad. One of the rites of passage of the airbenders was the creation of one's own staff; this not only ensured the uniqueness of each one, but also taught the airbender the way of creating and repairing the technology.
The nomads were nomadic shepherds, following herds of sky bison as they migrated from spring breeding grounds to autumn mating grounds, from their summer homes to their winter homes. Although the nomads had to follow a selection of the monk rules, the overall culture was very relaxed.
Each nomad family had to sent the firstborn son or daughter to the appropriate Air Temple. The rest of the children were allowed to grow up to become nomads. At sixteen, the monks and nuns took the monk vows that bond them to the rules for life; other than the golden rules the nomadic shepherds followed and the vows of celibacy, before sixteen, the other rules still had to be strictly followed, but there was far less punishment if they were disobeyed.
The monks and nuns were the spiritual protectors and leaders of the Air Nomads. Each Air Temple was headed by a Council of Five, and the Air Nomads were headed by the Grand Council of Five, which was comprised of the head of each lower Council, as well as the current leader of the nomads themselves.
Each monk was trained in a unique gift, whether that was the gift was creating LEMURs - the small biological robots that were used in the Air Temples - or something as simple as music. While the nomadic shepherd provided a monthly tithe to the Air Temples and covered the finances of the Air Nomad culture, the monks and nuns were the musicians, doctors, scientists, artists, etc. In addition, the monks had an emphasis on airbending training, as well as the arts of flower arrangement, botany, and the like.
In order to become an airbending Master and receive the appropriate tattoos, the monk had to prove himself or herself a capable of all thirty-six levels of mastery.
All monks and nuns received a sky bison companion for life; LEMURs, on the other hand, were not owned by any one monk but by the community as a whole. Within the nomadic shepherds, it was the LEMURs who were owned by different people, whereas the sky bison were common property.
Genocide and Beyond
The Air Nomads had never been attacked before; because they owned no land except for the Air Temples, which were on high mountains that the other nations could not access, they had signed a truce with the other three nations. The Water Tribe, Earth Kingdoms, and Fire Nation could all fight and war with each other . . . but the Air Nomads were not to be touched. Because the Air Nomads were also the keepers of the Avatar Relics, as well as the wisest and most peaceful of nations, they provided their services of medicine, literature, and the like to the others. Many students from other nations came to study at the Air Temples, and overall, it seemed as if the Air Nomads were the only truly sacred thing in warfare.
Because of this, the Air Nomads were wholly unprepared when the Fire Nation attacked. It was during the time of the yearly Avatar Festival, when all Four Nations gathered for a day of peace and prosperity, even those who were fighting, and the Air Nomads ferried many to the Air Temples, where much of the Festival would take place. Other than the nomadic shepherds, who always arrived on their sky bison, each year, the order changed, and on that particular year, the Fire Nation participants were to be ferried up first due to the fact that that day was also the arrival of Sozin's Comet, a powerful comet that swept past the earth once every thousand years; it was named after an ancient Fire Nation philosopher who was the first to note its empowering effects on firebending. When they arrived, however, it became clear that these were not the usual civilians - but were trained military soldiers. Using dragons, they destroyed the great energy source, leaving much of the temple without power, and began the massacre. The few survivors who escaped on sky bison were children who had neither received the proper tech training nor had staffs. Not even the nomadic shepherds were spared in the assault.
The Air Nomads, in an attempt to keep the technology out of Fire Nation hands, destroyed or hid the schematics, as well as everything that ran on a separate energy source, such as the LEMURs. The staffs, which could not be used for offensive purposes, were not destroyed as the Air Nomads simply ran out of time before the remainder were killed.
When the Earth Kingdoms and the Water Tribes heard about this destruction, they did not respond immediately, instead assuming that "well, it was just them, not us". This proved to be a fatal flaw in their thinking.
The Air Temples were scoured and ravaged, and every piece of technology able was taken for study. The Fire Nation scientists reverse-engineered much of it, but without the power source, it was entirely useless, and because the staffs were spiritually linked to the creator, these artifacts, too, proved nonfunctional. After many years, the Fire Nation finally discovered that the technology, albeit in a modified form, could be powered with fossil fuels, such as coal, and fire instead of light and air.
Over the next thousand years, all airbenders were prosecuted beyond belief, and many of them interbred; they slowly lost both the genetics and the spirituality required for it. Now, only a small, select group of "purebred" Air Nomad descendants still exist, but these cannot airbend due to the spirituality issue; in fact, the remaining descendants of the Air Nomads are now guerrilla warriors hiding in the mountains and trying to sabotage the Fire Nation effort, led by the bloodthirsty Wings. However, airbending will be possible for them if the spirituality can be restored.
As the frozen tundra held few resources and the territory was awkward in terms of distance from everything else, the Water Tribes were always the most reclusive of the Four Nations, mostly residing in the North and South Poles. While the Air Nomads raced ahead and the Fire Nation and Earth Kingdoms tried desperately to catch up, the extremely traditional Water Tribes were more than happy to simply remain where they were. Unlike the other three nations, the Water Tribe never invested in any sort of technology or interactions with others - with few exceptions, such as limited trading - but they remained highly spiritual.
The Northern Water Tribe was very splendid, and most of the Northerners lived in the great city of Kori, named after the mother of the founder of the Tribe. Led by a chief whose position was passed down by blood and/or marriage, the Northerners were extremely rigid: The male waterbenders learned to waterbend offensively, and all males served as hunters and in the military. On the other hand, female waterbenders became healers, and all females were treated as more or less property. Successful males would often take on multiple wives, while unsuccessful ones didn't marry at all.
Each family had a symbol or crest, and there were extremely strict rules concerning these. The symbol of a family would relay not only a brief history but also the current standing within the pecking order of the Water Tribes.
At the age of thirteen, males of the Tribes underwent a rite of passage called ice dodging. In this rite of passage, three males, including two waterbenders, all of whom had worked and fought together as bond brothers, along with a mentor, would take a warrior's vessel and float out towards the icy sea. There, they would allow the Spirits of the Ocean and Moon to guide them through the ice. They would then be given the Marks of the Trusted, Brave, or Wise, and this would direct them to the proper role for the remainder of their adult lives.
When a female turned sixteen, she was obligated to marry, because if she were not married at sixteen, she would become a spinster and be more or less cast out by all of the social circles. For a male to propose to a female, a betrothal necklace was required; the betrothal necklace consisted of two parts: The band and the pendant. The band was woven from the fur of a buffalo yak, and because a pure black buffalo yak was extremely rare, regular fur could have been used, though it would have to have been dyed black. The pendant was crafted from the tusk of an elephant walrus; the elephant walrus, of course, was to be killed. The betrothal necklace would then be decorated with the symbols of the male's family upon the pendant and that of the female's upon the band. As the buffalo yak was native to the North and the elephant walrus to the South, both Tribes would have to be visited to create the necklace.
The Southern Water Tribe was slightly more relaxed, and instead of living in one major city, the Southerners were spread out over several smaller villages that regularly interacted and traded with one another. Each village had a chieftain, and all of the villages paid homage to the Chief of the Southern Water Tribe, who was elected from amongst the chieftains. Every new chief and chieftain had to prove himself in combat and warfare before that male could be selected. Other than this, the Northern Water Tribe traditions also held true for the South.
Twice a year, during the New Moon Festival, members of each Tribe would meet. During the summer for the North, they would meet in the North, and during the winter, in the South - as it would be summer in the South. Intertribal marriages would result in the female migrating to the Tribe of the male, and if a male chose to leave his current Tribe, all of his wives would be forced to follow.
Following the Genocide of the Air Nomads, the Water Tribes became conflicted. The Southern Water Tribe wished to immediately mount an attack upon the Fire Nation, but the Northern Water Tribe realized that they would be entirely outmatched; therefore, the Northern Water Tribe instead turned Kori into a defensive fortress, creating the Ice Citadel of the present time, and forced all of the Northerners who lived outside of the Ice Citadel to move within its protective walls.
After Chief Kassook of the Southern Water Tribe's second son was murdered in the genocides - for he had left home to study abroad the arts of politics and the like - the Southerners finally lost patience with the North, broke their ties, and prepared to fight. Fortunately, the current chief was replaced with a much more peaceful one, and, for now, the Southern Water Tribe would stay out of the War. This, however, was a terrible error; modern historians believe that, if the Southerners had launched the attack immediately, before the Fire Nation gained access to the technology of the Air Nomads, they would not have won - indeed, the Southern Water Tribe would have been slaughtered - but the attack would likely have crippled the Fire Nation enough to end the War perhaps nine hundred years earlier.
For some time after the Genocide, there was no movement from the Fire Nation, and the Water Tribes, though now broken away, believed that everything was over; in the meantime, they had their own issues to deal with. The Southern Water Tribe was plagued with an epidemic that killed as much as four-fifths of the population, especially targeting waterbenders, and it took hundreds of years to return to the old splendor; due to a heavy amount of in-breeding, few children lived to see even their first birthdays. In addition, the Spirits of the Moon and the Ocean forsake the Southern Water Tribe for breaking away from the North, and so the number of waterbenders became less and less over the years, and so the few waterbenders that remained set up a separate village, which was named La Tui in an attempt to receive the blessing of the spirits once more. Without the healing and fishing services usually provided by the waterbenders, the Southern Water Tribe fell further apart, and the villages eventually lost contact with one another and degenerated into a much more tribal setting. The Southern Water Tribe would not achieve its former glory for thousands of years.
In the North, a suffrage movement was well under way, inspired by successful similar movements in parts of the Earth Kingdoms. However, after years of resistance from the males, who simply beat and abused the females into compliance, a select group of suffragettes, who had trained secretly in the art of combat, kidnapped several of the men and rowed out to sea. Unfortunately, they were unprepared, and the Northerners easily caught them and forced them back; it was not until fifty years later that the suffragettes tried again, and this time, they were able to successfully evade capture and make their way to the Earth Kingdoms. Once they arrived at Ba Sing Se, the group split apart into two factions - those happy to live within the Great Wall and those who wanted to continue. Most of the females, including waterbenders, who stayed were killed during the Lao Ming Revolts, but those who left were forced to travel across the Earth Kingdoms for years before coming to an uninhabited area known as the Foggy Swamp, a massive wetland swamp in the southeastern Earth Kingdoms. These females suffered great losses during the first few years of existence in the Foggy Swamp as the warm climate and subsequent illness took toll. When they were about to die, they were finally accepted into the local native population of warrior women, which had been all but killed by eager settlers. After the waterbenders beat back the colonists, they became a vital part of the Foggy Swamp Tribe. The resulting children had a mix of traits from both Water Tribe and Foggy Swamp, and many of them became waterbenders, developing a style unique to the swamp; because the warrior women culture only allowed women, they reproduced by kidnapping men. As well, they became extensive worshipers of the moon, Tui, as opposed to the ocean, La, whom they considered to be Tui's unimportant consort.
Just as the Genocide was passing out of living memory - though not out of memory, of course - the Fire Nation suddenly flared up again, displaying its powerful new technologies reverse-engineered from the Air Nomads - though ninety-nine percent of the technology was unusable - and attacked the broken Southern Water Tribe. Decimating and razing the land, the Fire Nation captured the remaining waterbenders and left few survivors. These last vestiges of the Southern Water Tribe carried within them the waterbending genes, but whatever waterbenders were born were quickly snuffed up by a specialty corp known as the Southern Raiders, who were charge of keeping the Southern Water Tribe in check. In fact, a man named Yon Rha supposedly killed the very last of the waterbending line, thus ending all possible waterbenders in the future of the Southern Water Tribe.
The Northern Water Tribe was more or less left alone during the bulk of the War, and this caused them to become even more reclusive. Thus, when the Industrial Revolution swept both Fire Nation and Earth Kingdoms, they wanted none of it, nor did they aid the War effort whatsoever.
As the War dragged on, the Southern Water Tribe began to frown more and more upon polygamy, eventually making it illegal.
During the greatest lull in the War, the Southerners managed to grow a more or less sizable population. Several years before the start of Avatar|Future, the remaining men of the Southern Water Tribe, whose villages were in some very small contact, left to assist the Earth Kingdoms in the fighting.
In the olden days, the Earth Kingdoms were a series of extremely diverse, extremely volatile smaller fiefdoms, each competing for resources; indeed, modern historians believe that as much as one-fourth of the present-day Earth Kingdoms was controlled by waterbenders and another one-third by firebenders, leaving less than half in control of actual earthbenders. However, this changed with the rise of Chin the Conqueror, who believed that he was the incarnation of Tu, Spirit of Earth, and had been sent to the mortal world to finally spread earthbending throughout the continent. His warriors marched over the entire landmass, exterminating firebenders and waterbenders as they went, though the diseases they spread killed anywhere from five to fifteen as many people as the armies did; whenever they lay siege, they could use catapults to throw diseased bodies, plague-infested viper rats, and even mutilated fetuses.
In those days, the Emperor of Ba Sing Se had erected a Great Wall that spread across much of the continent, but the gatekeepers were paid very little, and, therefore, Chin's armies needed only to throw over a pair of fine sandals - which were worth more than the gatekeepers would make in a year - and suddenly the wall would be rendered ineffective. Once on the other side, of course, they would kill the gatekeeper, because who wishes to lose a good pair of sandals?
After Ba Sing Se was completely overrun, however, most of the firebenders wisely began to pull out; indeed, by the time the waterbenders were completely slaughtered and Chin's warriors had arrived in firebender territory, said benders had beat a hasty retreat. It was this great loss for the waterbenders that would doom them and ultimately cause them to become reclusive savages.
When Chin the Conqueror had almost managed to unite the Earth Kingdoms under one banner, however, there was one thing upon which he did not count - namely, the young Avatar Kyoshi, who had just been informed that she was the next Avatar. Terrified beyond belief, she did not even have the time to master all the elements before she, in the Avatar State, brutally murdered Chin and separated Yiy Sok Island, which would later become known as Kyoshi Island, from the main land.
Due to the laws of the Chin Dynasty, the entire army of Chin the Conqueror was forced to return to Chin's home village to crown the next leader of his armies, and Avatar Kyoshi was able to once again use the Avatar State to raze the country to the ground in a series of horrifyingly violent assaults that killed thousands, if not millions. Following this fearsome display of her power, the slaves staged a massive revolt that ultimately brought the downfall of Chin's warriors. The Earth Kingdoms were indeed united under earthbending, but they were now back to being a series of separated fiefdoms. After several initial false starts, such as the Synod of Confederation, an Earth King was finally installed to bring an end to the feudalism.
Avatar Kyoshi retired to the newly renamed Kyoshi Island and lived there for the bulk of the remainder of her life. Unfortunately, her troubles were not yet over. With the rise of the Earth King, the people of Ba Sing Se, who had previously been left alone to deal with their own affairs, started a vicious uprising, and she was called to put an end to it. When she arrived, morale among the rebels weakened, as everyone knew what she had accomplished during the Chin Conflict, and she managed to end the revolution without killing too many lives - though she killed as many as she could. Resolved to never allow a rebellion like this to happen again - and indeed, it wouldn't for hundreds of years - she trained a corp of elite earthbenders to become the cultural protectors of the city.
Following Avatar Kyoshi's death, the Earth Kingdoms went into a state of peace for almost a hundred years; they traded with the Fire Nation and Air Nomads - and, to a far lesser extent, the Water Tribes - and the peasants rejoiced. The Earth Kings of those days were wise to listen to their advisers, who told them to impose a food tax wherein a certain percentage of crops would be taken from each farm. Though this was initially frowned upon, when the first drought hit and the Earth King doled out the surplus victuals gathered in times of prosperity, the peasants began to love the king and cultivated a strong sense of nationalism, even going so far as to announce that they would die for their Earth King.
Gears of War
When the Genocide occurred, the Earth Kingdoms did not take action immediately, but the Earth King did order for the military to be increased tenfold. Because of the high level of nationalism, the citizens of the Earth Kingdoms initially welcomed the change, but when the next famine hit and the stores of foodstuffs had been used on the military instead, the peasants felt betrayed, yet what could possibly be done? This, however, set up the stage for the Lao Ming Revolts, whose effects would last for hundreds of years.
While the Fire Nation steamrolled over the Southern Water Tribe, an Earth Kingdoms engineer managed to create a brand-new invention - a primitive steam engine - and spirited it away to Ba Sing Se, where it was deconstructed and examined. By adding their own technologies to it, the Earth King's Royal Society created a working steam engine that would later become the basis for the Earth Kingdoms' Industrial Revolution.
When the Fire Nation finally attacked the western coast of the Earth Kingdoms, the defenders were prepared, and the invading army was pushed back relatively easily due to the fact that the Fire Nation had poor generals and little to no technology in the original attack. After news spread that a battalion of females pretending to be males had won a decisive victory, a great suffrage movement began to sweep the Earth Kingdoms. Everywhere, females went on riots, refused to marry, and generally ceased to function as females until, after several years of boycotts, protests, and the more or less utter breakdown of normal society, the Earth King finally caved in and passed new laws that allowed for the females to join the military, vote, etc. This proved to be extremely unpopular with most of the males, and coupled with the extraordinarily large military spending that was causing steadily rising taxes - many peasants complained of overtaxing - as well as the overall unpopularity of the current Earth King, it caused great turmoil within the Earth Kingdoms. What could they do? Rebel, of course. The thing that Avatar Kyoshi feared would happen did in the form of the Lao Ming Revolts, and not even the Dai Li could stop it; in fact, they encouraged it, though not publicly, of course.
During the Lao Ming Revolts, which began in Lao Ming Square, many protesters from all over Ba Sing Se gathered, and they refused to move until the Earth King's Imperial Guard opened rock-fire. As the news spread to the rest of the world, the protesters marched on the Earth King's palace, but this time, there was no Avatar to stop the War. The Order of the White Lotus thankfully intervened, showing itself for the first time, and they attempted to aid the Earth Kingdoms, but the citizens would have none of it, preferring to instate their own ideals. Therefore, the peoples of the Earth Kingdoms created a constitutional monarchy with an elected Great Secretariat at the helm; this Grand Secretariat was to be elected every six years, though the Secretariat could run as many times as he or she would like. The Earth King would remain as a figurehead.
However, following this restructuring of the rules, it was discovered that many undercover Fire Nation spies had been working for the Earth King, and when these traitors were found, a wave of xenophobia spread throughout the city, and hundreds, if not thousands, of innocents - including refugees from the Northern Water Tribe and the Fire Nation - were mass-murdered in a series of acts of terrorism. Naturally, the Imperial Guard tried to mediate the situation, but the Guard was destroyed and disbanded by the people. It would not be several hundred years until the Imperial Guard was recreated, albeit in a slightly modified form.
After this, the original low pre-War taxes were restored, and grains were again taken for the famines. An Industrial Revolution swept the land, causing an increase in both steam and clockwork technology and giving rise to small contraptions known as gearoids.
Suddenly, the Fire Nation struck once more, this time with a fiery vengeance. Now with an organized army - and with the Earth Kingdoms still reeling from their swift revolution - the firebenders, armed with fossil fueled technologies reverse-engineered from the Air Nomads' remains, carved a path into the very heart of the Earth Kingdoms. They seemed bent on a course directly into Ba Sing Se, a course that would ensure either an immediate hostile takeover or none at all. At first, the Fire Nation was unstoppable, but the military juggernaut was delayed at Omashu, whose cunning leader was able to rig one of their machines with a bomb that destroyed a good deal of the forces. After Omashu was taken, a feat which took several months and thousands of soldiers instead of the two-day invasion originally planned, the residents of the former Earth Kingdoms stronghold retreated to the nearby hills and proceeded to fight a noble brigade against the Fire Nation using guerilla tactics. Instead of a launching point for the final push to Ba Sing Se, the city that came to be known as Azulon's Folly became a constant headache for the Fire Nation officials as they struggled to keep the constantly revolting slaves and the bandits in the hills under control. Meanwhile, Ba Sing Se's forces had arrived at the Fire Nation supply lines along the western coast, and General Shu realized he was swiftly running out of time. Taking whatever military he had at the moment, he raced towards Ba Sing Se, but the local population was prepared. With the supply lines destroyed, his troops' rations dangerously low, and the entire Royal Army marching back, Shu left his second-in-command in charge and mysteriously disappeared. Legends claim that he and a select team of his closest allies set out through the Si Wong Desert to escape certain death and eventually starved in the unrelenting heat of the shifting sands. A few locals, retelling stories passed down from ancestors, still believe that General Shu made it back to civilization alone, babbling madly about a lost library, and sent a collection of empty packages to a "high friend" located somewhere in the eastern Earth Kingdoms.
The remainder of the Fire Nation military was duly decimated and expelled, though all of the stolen Air Nomad technologies were destroyed - a favorite method was forcing soldiers to swallow key parts and then burn the poor soldiers alive - and a few pockets of exclusively Fire Nation towns still remain. Only on the coast was the Fire Nation still a constant threat, at least until the Ba Sing Se Royal Army inexplicably withdrew into Ba Sing Se and left the figurative doors to the Earth Kingdoms wide open.
This back-and-forth game played itself out several times over the thousand-year-long War, with neither side gaining a true advantage until a new breakthrough was achieved in the former of war balloons. With the Fire Nation now having sole command of the skies - as both dragons and Air Nomads were extinct - the Earth Kingdoms, once more, was razed. General Iroh's name became synonymous with fear and pain as his quick and clever strategies allowed him to outmaneuver and outflank armies, even though he was usually outnumbered ten to one. Instead of carving a path through the west, however, this trail of carnage began in the north, where parts of previously Air Nomad territory had been temporarily taken to serve as a port of launch, and led straight to Ba Sing Se. The impenetrable city was under siege for six hundred long days, and because the Royal Army had inexplicably been left weak and decimated over the years of disuse, Ba Sing Se was close to being conquered when, by some miracle, General Iroh became sick and lost the will to live. Without their famed leader, the Fire Nation troops lost their morale and pined for home. Eventually, when a plague of deadly pentapox spread from Omashu to Ba Sing Se and from there to the Fire Nation forces, the invasion was forced to retreat to their Air Nomad base. However, a series of guerrilla attacks there - and generals wise enough to recognize the stratagems that had won Omashu all those years ago - caused the military to leave and withdraw back to the motherland.
Following a span of a few years of peace, the Fire Nation was back as swiftly as it had receded, though this time the much less ambitious Fire Lord Ozai was content with slowly taking over the masses of the southeastern Earth Kingdoms, most of which was sparsely inhabited and whose provinces did not have the necessary funds to hire soldiers or create defensive gearoids. With the Dai Li now fully in control of Ba Sing Se, the Royal Army had been reduced to the Royal Guard only, which protected solely the Earth King and other significant within the city, and the poor villagers on the outskirts of the Earth Kingdoms have been left to fend off the Fire Nation for themselves.
Gift in Flame
Unlike the history of the other nations, that of the Fire Nation is often said to have truly begun in the era before the Avatar. Certainly, all types of bending were created then, but those bending arts did not have as much of an influence on culture and society as did firebending, at least initially.
Fire was the third of the four elements to be learned, and this was perhaps due to the fact that the dragons considered the flame to be their gift to humanity. Though the old human tribes, having traveled to the remote Fire Nation - which was farther away by boat than any of the other four - by accident, had feared the dragons as monsters, the ancient Sun Warriors were the first to revere and respect them as gods. The Sun Warriors provided the dragons with tributes, built elaborate temples, and crafted many other such marvels in order to appease them, and in turn some of the dragons adopted the Sun Warriors like a community of 'pets'. Historians believe that not all of the dragons chose to aid the Sun Warriors, and indeed a good number of them decided to continue to remain rogues, but those rogues were eventually the first to be tamed and later slain. When a rival group of humans, known today as the Jackal Cats due to their frequent use of jackal cat claws and stylization of warpaint and other decorations after the canine wildcat, attacked the Sun Warriors, the noble dragons bravely fought off the rabid tribesmen and thereby cultivated the rumors of great fire-breathing demons controlled by the fearsome Sun Warriors. Because a young drake had been brutally murdered during the fighting, the Sun Warriors asked the dragons for weapons so they might protect their gods and prevent more cruelty. The dragons, filled with a love for these people, consented, and the eldest one gave the Sun Warriors the Eternal Flame, which has never gone out, though it has been banked several times during crises.
The Sun Warriors built vast temples and pyramids in order to further please their gods, and they began to offer sacrifices as well. When the Age of the Jaguar Hawk, whose history was foretold to have been written in blood, opened with the arrival of a pair of young adventurers from the Earth Kingdom, which had in the meantime prospered due to not being constantly involved in bloody tribal wars, these explorers were hailed by some factions of the Sun Warriors to be new gods, though the more traditional Sun Warriors held that the dragons were the only gods. The two factions fought amongst themselves, and even though the dragons aided their chosen side, the adventurers brought with them a disease - pentapox - that wiped out most of the Sun Warrior population. The wrathful dragons destroyed every last foreigner, and the remaining Sun Warriors either went underground to become a hidden civilization or intermingled with the formerly repressed, more violent tribes. These tribes learned of the fabled technique of firebending, and after a massive civil war that has been heralded as the bloodiest per capita in the history of the world, one tribe stood victorious: The tribe known as the Fire People, whose leader, known as Fire Lord Tzekel Kahn, had invented lightning generation. Using this previously unheard of technique, the Fire People took over and enslaved the other tribes. After studying the architecture of the Sun Warriors, the Fire People created a much more violence-prone though similar civilization that stretched over the entire continent. The dragons protested, but even they were wary of lightning, and so they hid in their mountains homes and watched.
Years of violence passed steadily, and the Fire People continued to push firebending as far as it could go. Some historians today assert that the "original" Fire Sages were created around this time, as a select group of the Fire Lord's many heirs - as it was quite common at this time for successful males to sire many bastard children in addition to those with his ritually-ordained mate - were sent on a pilgrimage to the Sun Warriors' city in order to fast, meditate, and create new firebending techniques. It was here, in fact, that abilities such as combustion were discovered, and an elderly philosopher and astronomer noted a comet that appeared to increase firebending greatly and named it Sozin's Comet after himself. Some of the greatest technological advances, however, were made during the many slave revolts, which were usually centered about some revolutionary branch of the art, much as the Fire People themselves had taken over the island using lightning generation. Part of what would later become the Earth Kingdoms was conquered during this time.
After several centuries, a series of reformation laws brought under Fire Lord Zorin and Fire Lady Irah finally brought the renamed Fire Nation into the present day. With an Industrial Revolution well under way, a few preliminary technologies were invented, and the haughty firebending aristocracy sought to show themselves off to the other nations. When the Fire Nation encountered the Air Nomads, who had built an entire temple upside down on the underside of a cliff, they withdrew into themselves, thoroughly humbled but also harboring a deep sense of the thirst for vengeance. The original Fire People's firebending had been fueled not by life but by the more easily attained source of anger, and it was this cultivation of negative emotions that led to the Fire Nation's known violent streaks. Additionally, the conquests of Chin the Great swept through the Earth Kingdoms at this time, and the firebenders there either were murdered or fled in panic, giving the Fire Nation all the more reason to be spiteful.
Shortly after the encounter with the Air Nomads, Fire Lord Zorin pressed his sons to study at the monks' enclaves, and the other nations too caught on, thus beginning the tradition. Zorin proposed and signed a peace treaty stating never to attack the Air Nomads, and the Air Nomads, amazed that their knowledge and way of life was so protected, began to share their knowings much more readily. Indeed, the Air Nomads became known for their aiding other nations; they provided medicine and more. In the meantime, the Fire Nation glowered and continued to wish that they were the ones being worshiped, and some of the firebenders took to taming rogue dragons in secret in order to make themselves feel useful. The Industrial Revolution, previously the pride and joy of the Fire Nation, ground to a halt, and a gloom settled over the land. Famines and shortages were common, while sickness was everywhere. Air Nomad missionaries hurried to the Fire Nation and helped as best they could, further salting the wound. Finally, Zorin's oldest grandson Sozin, named for the ancient philosopher, could bear it no more, and when he became the Fire Lord, he asked his old friend, Avatar Roku, for guidance.
Avatar Roku wisely advised Fire Lord Sozin to solve the issues in his country before looking to find revenge; Sozin in turn took that to mean that he could solve the issues by destroying the Air Nomads and taking their technology, and his astronomers had plotted the course of Sozin's Comet, which would arrive within the decade. Due to an unfortunate accident, Roku died several years after stopping Sozin's initial attempts, and Fire Lord Sozin was able to harness the energy of the comet in order to massacre the Air Nomads. By observing the strategies of a previous Fire Nation general, who defeated a rival group by using a maneuver known as the Rokan Ostrich Horse, Sozin crafted a plan to utilize the Air Nomads' yearly Avatar Festivals. With a combination of dragons and viciously trained soldiers, he enacted genocide.