Fire Nation Capital
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This city is one of the larger cities of the four nations. It has a distinct layout, consisting of a harbor surrounded by a dock and the Royal Plaza, an industrial harbor city behind the plaza, buildings and homes scattered around the surrounding hills, and finally, another neighborhood in the crater of a dormant volcano known as Caldera, where Fire Nation elite live around the Royal Palace. The city has an extensive defense mechanism and is, alongside Ba Sing Se, the most heavily fortified city in the World of Avatar.
The Fire Nation Capital largely stayed out of the Hundred Year War, due to the prowess of the Fire Nation Navy. However, it came under attack on at least one occasion, during the failed Invasion of the Fire Nation on the Day of Black Sun.
The powerful Fire Nation Navy had prevented the Earth Kingdom and Water Tribes from assaulting the Fire Nation Capital until the latter stages of the war in 100 AG, when a small invasion force managed to slip through their defenses on the Day of Black Sun. Chief Hakoda of the Southern Water Tribe and his son Sokka led a small force drawn from the Southern Water Tribe, the Foggy Swamp Tribe, and the Earth Kingdom in an attempt to defeat the Fire Nation, while the Avatar, Aang, attempted to locate Fire Lord Ozai and defeat him. The capital remained under Fire Nation control after the invasion ultimately failed, with almost all of the invading troops captured.
A few weeks later, the capital was the site of the Comet-Enhanced Agni Kai between Zuko and Azula, who both wanted the position of Fire Lord. Azula was eventually defeated by an intervening Katara, who used her waterbending to imprison Azula. Victorious, Zuko was crowned Fire Lord at the Coronation Plaza.
As the capital of the Fire Nation, the city is home to the administration of the nation and its colonies. This relatively small administration is under the direct control of the Fire Lord and includes members such as the War Minister. The Fire Nation Capital is also home to the religious authority of the Fire Nation, the Fire Sages.
Layout and description
The capital can be divided into several districts: the Royal Plaza, the Harbor City, and Royal Caldera City in the crater on the mountain's summit. Maps of the Capital also indicate two large urban neighborhoods in the hills north and south of the Harbor City.
The Capital Harbor is large enough and has enough docks to hold twelve Empire-Class Fire Nation warships, or numerous smaller ships at a time. The entrance to the Harbor is closed off by a massive sea wall, whose gate is flanked by two large ballista towers. Each tower is armed with ballistae powerful enough to fire a harpoon bolt through reinforced steel armor, and each harpoon is attached to a motorized chain winch powerful enough to lift a multi-ton submarine clear out of the water. There is a weakness in the wall however, in the form of several large underwater tidal culverts, each protected only by a rusty steel grate. The sheer stone walls of the harbor ensure that once inside, there are only two directions to go: back out through the sea gate, or through the gauntlet known as the Royal Plaza.
- Main article: Royal Plaza
Located in the harbor, just below the Capital's Harbor City, the Royal Plaza is an impressive structure where Fire Nation Royalty hold inspiring rallies for the people of the Fire Nation. It is also the only way in or out of the city from the sea. If invaders should somehow manage to get past the Fire Navy blockade, the Great Gates of Azulon, and the Harbor's Sea Wall, they would have to contend with the defenses of the Royal Plaza. This plaza is a powerful setting that represents the dominance of the Fire Nation, and as a natural choke point it is the main line of defense for the Capital. Lined with numerous battlements with clear line of sight and varied weapons, the Royal Plaza is one of the most heavily guarded places in the Fire Nation, if not the world. The plaza is lined with facilities that hold possibly hundreds of tundra tanks for defense against invaders. It is also home to a battle tower where speeches are held before the armies. The base of the main tower has a significantly large garrison of elite Domestic Force troops and features a narrow passageway through the walls that is the only means of access between the Royal Plaza and the rest of the Capital. Because of its importance, it is here that Ozai crowned himself Phoenix King.
Located between the mountain and the harbor, this area supplies refined metal to build tanks, warships, weapons, and numerous trade shops to maintain the city's defense works. The industrial area is also home to many criminals and lowlifes. Zuko hired an assassin here.
Royal Caldera City
Located in a crater at the summit of a dormant volcano, this elite area is home to many of the Fire Nation's wealthiest and most important nobles, and many who do not actually live in the Capital full-time still maintain households here; Mai's father had a home here in which he resided until he was promoted to Governor of New Ozai. This area also houses the Fire Lord's Palace, the central Fire Sage Temple, villas for member's of the Fire Lord's extended family, numerous lush gardens and ceremonial plazas. Fire Nation commoners are not allowed to enter Caldera, except by invitation of the Fire Lord, which rarely happens. Due to the limited space in the crater, many of the upper-class residences here are not as large as those in other parts of the Fire Nation; indeed, many nobles who keep a residence in Caldera often have much larger and more spacious estates elsewhere. As a result, many of the mansions in Caldera tend toward more vertical architecture, attempting to get the maximum floorspace out of every inch of land possible, and in the competition to have a place on the mountaintop, an increasing number of nobles are building homes further up the spiky peaks lining the crater.
Fire Lord Sozin designed the road to the volcano's summit; by creating a series of switchbacks in the narrow pathway, which forces any approaching party to travel in single column, and heavily fortifying it with watchtowers and battlements every hundred yards, he created one of the most secure roads in the world. Additionally, the slope allows the domestic forces to retreat to higher ground from where they have a more desirable vantage point to rain fire and projectiles on their enemy.
During the finale, a ferocious Agni Kai was fought between Azula and Zuko to determine who would claim the title of Fire Lord. The battle left much of the city in ruins due to the firestorms caused during the duel. Following Zuko's victory, he was crowned as Fire Lord in front of friends and people from all over the world, ushering in a new era of peace.
The Royal Palace
- Main article: Fire Nation Royal Palace
In the heart of the Fire Nation, at the very center of Royal Caldera City, lies the Fire Lord's Royal Palace. It is here where the Fire Lord and the Royal Family reside and stands as the most recognizable structure in the Fire Nation. The palace is situated on a vast hill of rocky, barren scorched earth, walled off from the remainder of the city and defended by the elite Royal Procession. Outside of the palace walls are several gardens and villas for use by the Royal Family, including the mansion Ozai and his family resided in before the death of Fire Lord Azulon. That particular villa featured a beautiful and lush garden, including an elaborate fountain and a pond frequently inhabited by turtle-ducks.
Inside, the palace is comprised of enormous halls and retains an intricate array of wings and chambers. Large tapestries line the walls and elaborate fire-themed images and moldings are laid out all throughout the numerous sections of the structure.
The Throne Room is where the Fire Lord rules, with his ornate throne seated on an elevated platform high above ground level. The chamber also serves as the war planning room, where the Fire Lord sits with his generals to privately discuss confidential battle operations and tactics. The imposing architecture of the Throne Room is designed to intimidate all who enter the presence of the Fire Lord.
Another chamber in the upper floors of the palace holds a partly indoor Agni Kai arena complete with seating for large audience, used to settle disputes of the palace. It is here that Zuko refused to fight his father, Fire Lord Ozai, which resulted in him being scarred and banished.
- Main article: Royal Gallery
The Royal Gallery of the palace is a hallway which contains tall, ornate family portraits of past Fire Lords, including those of Ozai, Azulon and Sozin, as well as two unnamed previous Fire Lords. There are bedrooms, guest rooms and even servants' quarters inside the enormous palace.
- Main article: Royal spa
The royal spa is the Royal Family's own private spa. It was a favorite of Azula's, she could often be found here getting her hair washed and nails manicured.
Located in a villa southwest from the actual palace, this was a beautiful place of relaxation and recreation for the Royal Family and their friends. The scenic gardens have many bushes and trees and are dominated by a large pond in the center, fed by a huge stone dragon fountain. The pond is frequented by Turtle ducks. When they were young, Prince Sozin and Avatar Roku used to practice firebending in the gardens. Princess Ursa frequently brought her children to play here, although her daughter Azula would often throw rocks at turtle ducklings. The adjoining villa was inhabited by Ozai and his family prior to the death of Azulon.
Coronation Temple and Plaza
The Coronation Temple and Plaza dates back hundreds of years. Located southeast of the palace near a lake, it is the ceremonial spot where the funerals of previous Fire Lords are held and where the new Fire Lord is crowned. Therefore, it is symbolically significant that Zuko and Azula's Agni Kai took place here. This was the location of Zuko's coronation following the Hundred Year War, where Zuko proclaimed before a large crowd of the world's citizens that he would dedicate his rule toward rebuilding the war-torn world.
Prison Tower Crater
- Main article: Capital City Prison
A large, fortified stone tower located inside a hollow volcanic crater northwest of the capital. It is here where the Fire Nation keeps its most highly prioritized criminals. Iroh was one of the few prisoners held within the penitentiary, until he managed to break himself out.
After the failed invasion of the Fire Nation on the Day of Black Sun, the prison was used to house most of the captured invaders. Warden Poon was the man in charge of the Prison Tower.
Ozai was incarcerated here following his defeat. Azula, on the other hand, was sent to a mental health facility overseas due to the poor state of her mental health.
Fire Sages Temple
- Main article: Fire Sages Capital Temple
A temple run by the Fire Sages, much like the one in Crescent Island. Normally, it is here that the Avatar is taken to before traveling around the world when he or she is born in the Fire Nation. The Dragonbone Catacombs lie beneath it.
- Main article: Dragonbone Catacombs
The Dragonbone Catacombs are a series of chambers underneath the Fire Sages Capital Temple that primarily serve as the burial grounds of all past Fire Lords. It also features a series of murals depicting the history, myths, and legends of the Fire Nation, along with historical scrolls that pertain to specific points of the nation's past.
Deep within the Royal Crater, a series of naturally-formed tunnels wind beneath the Royal Palace. These tunnels lead to several secret, man-made bunkers, constructed during Fire Lord Sozin's reign. Lava pools and rivers provide natural obstacles to anyone brave and clever enough to enter the labyrinthine lair.
Fire Lord's bunker
Built by Fire Lord Sozin early in the Hundred Year War, this and the other underground bunkers were designed to protect the Fire Lord during any attack on the Capital. The rooms are extremely isolated and hidden, and most are made of metal to prevent earthbenders from being able to penetrate them. In a hundred years of war, no enemy had ever discovered these secret bunkers. However, through the use of metalbending, Toph was able to find the location of the bunker with relative ease. There are more than one, with many serving as decoys in case of an emergency. During such emergencies, only members of the Royal Family are allowed to know which bunker the Fire Lord is hiding in, and the Fire Lord's cabinet and guards are given conflicting information so as to mislead and stall invaders.
- Caldera means "boiler" in Spanish, which fits the Fire Nation's tropical temperatures.