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The primary headquarters of the Fire Sages is the Capital Temple, located in the Fire Nation Capital. Below this building are the Dragonbone Catacombs, which store the history of the Fire Nation and its Fire Lords. Prior to its destruction in the later months of the Hundred Year War, the Fire Sages hosted a temple located on the remote Crescent Island.
Thousands of years prior to the Hundred Year War, the Fire Nation was ruled by a council of sages who led the nation with a strong sense of spirituality, similar to the Air Nomads. The leader of these sages was called the "Fire Lord" because of his high level of firebending and his "deep spiritual connection to fire." Over time, the Fire Lord took political and governmental structures into his own hands, severing ties with the Fire Sages and creating an imperial system that he himself would lead. This resulted in the loss of the sages' political power. Over time, their loyalty turned from the Fire Lord to the Avatar, and their goal became to aid him or her in their journey to become a fully realized Avatar.
In 66 BG, during Roku and Sozin's birthday party, the Fire Sages announced the identity of the then next Avatar, who was revealed to be Roku. Fire Sage Kaja later assisted Avatar Roku in his mastering of the Avatar State, training with him for five months which lead to Roku eventually forcing himself into the Avatar State by using the summer solstice sun. Roku became stuck in the Avatar State and ended up destroying the upper half of the Fire Temple and causing the nearby volcano to erupt, but Kaja was able to help Roku out of the Avatar State in the same way that Roku had triggered it. After Avatar Roku died, Fire Lord Sozin began the Hundred Year War with an attack on the Air Nomads. The Fire Lord set forth a decree that anyone who helped the Avatar would be considered a traitor to the Fire Nation and dealt with accordingly. Because of this, the Fire Sages were ordered to switch their allegiance to the Fire Lord. Some, such as Shyu's father, resisted and were executed for continuing to profess loyalty to the Avatar.
Over time, as the Avatar failed to reappear, most sages lost faith that the Avatar would return and gradually fell completely under the control of the imperial government. By the time of Fire Lord Azulon's reign, the sages had become little more than aging remnants of a time where spirituality was placed before military might. Nonetheless, Azulon maintained a little spirituality, thus allowing the Fire Sages to continue to perform their religious services. Besides regular activities like presiding over weddings, the sages sometimes even advised the Fire Lord in spiritual affairs and the arranging of the Fire Princes' marriages. Their prediction that pairing the Avatar's granddaughter with Azulon's son would yield a powerful bloodline even led to the marriage of Prince Ozai and Ursa. However, when Zuko was born to the Fire Prince, they were not sure if he was a bender at all, as he lacked the "spark in [his] eyes". Subsequently, Ozai planned to cast his firstborn over the palace wall, and the infant was only saved because the sages and Ursa came to his rescue.
Fire Lord Ozai's reign
Eventually, the Fire Sages officiated the funeral Fire Lord Azulon in 95 AG, and afterwards the High Sage crowned Fire Lord Ozai. Unfortunately for the sages, Ozai was only interested in power, and unlike his father, he was not in the least spiritual. Following his coronation, they lost all their remaining power and influence.
By the time of Aang's reemergence from the iceberg, the Fire Sages had turned completely away from their original purpose. When they learned of the Avatar's return when Aang's triggering of the Avatar State in the Southern Air Temple caused various statues and murals within Avatar Temples around the world to become supernaturally illuminated, they immediately relayed the news to Fire Lord Ozai.
Later, when Aang and his friends tried to enter the shrine on Crescent Island, the five sages there confronted Aang and attempted to prevent him from speaking with Avatar Roku, chasing the three around the entire temple. However, one sage, Shyu, had remained loyal to the Avatar. He betrayed his associates and helped the three trick the four other sages into opening the doors of the sanctuary that held Roku's statue. Once inside, Aang met with Avatar Roku and together, they destroyed the temple for the sages' betrayal of the previous Avatar. Afterwards, all five sages were blamed by Commander Zhao for the upsetting failure and all were arrested.
The capital Fire Sages were not purged, however, and continued to serve their functions for the Royal Family. They were about to coronate Azula as the next Fire Lord when Zuko and Katara arrived. Instead of finishing the coronation, they watched as Azula and Zuko fought an Agni Kai for the crown. Afterward, the sages conducted Zuko's coronation as Fire Lord.
After the Hundred Year War
Helping Avatar Korra
Following the conclusion of the Hundred Year War, the Fire Sages returned to their original purpose, which is to serve the Avatar. In 171 AG, after Avatar Korra was attacked by a dark spirit on her way to the Fire Nation from Republic City, a group of Fire Sages found the unconscious Avatar washed up on their island. When they gathered around her, she briefly regained consciousness and panicked, using her airbending to push them back. Karu attempted to calm her down, stating that they were there to help her. However, when he addressed her as "Avatar Korra", she confusedly asked who they were referring to. Alarmed, he inquired what happened to her, though she did not know and subsequently lost consciousness once again.
In order to help her, the three sages took her back with them to the Bhanti Village Temple, where the head sage, an elderly woman, examined her. Through the use of her firebending, she deduced that Korra had been infected by a dark spirit, which threatened to destroy her Avatar Spirit. In an attempt to cure her, they lowered Korra in a well of healing water, hoping it would help her cleanse the darkness plaguing her spirit. They oversaw the process to ensure that the restoration of her Avatar Spirit was complete.
After Korra met the original Avatar, Wan, and learned his story, she was raised out of the water. The shaman led her outside, where she revealed to Korra that the Fire Sages had maintained a herd of flying bison since the Hundred Year War. The old woman warned Korra that Harmonic Convergence was nearing in just a few weeks and offered her a sky bison to return to the Water Tribes with in order to close the Southern spirit portal.
- At least for the sages on Crescent Island, some of their jobs are to watch over the sanctuary, protect it from invaders, and gather what knowledge they can about the Avatar.
- Prior to the end of the Hundred Year War, the Fire Sages shown were all male.
- During funerals, at least some Fire Sages wear white clothes instead of the usual red ones.
|Head of the Fire Nation government|
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