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On her way to Hai-Riyo Peak to return an injured dragon bird spirit to its nest, Korra came across three dark guardian spirits. Although they were initially hostile to Korra, the guardian spirits became friendly once balance was restored and guided Korra to the summit, where they witnessed the young Avatar complete her task.
The guardian spirits followed Korra and the dragon bird spirit to the Tree of Time, where they turned dark yet again due to negative energy surrounding Unalaq. Following the reopening of the Northern spirit portal, one of the dark guardian spirits stood on its hind legs and growled, overwhelmed at the massive release of spiritual energy. The guardian spirits began to attack Korra once she tried to rescue Jinora and bit her down to allow Unalaq to subdue her with waterbending. They watched as Korra was rescued by the dragon bird spirit and chased the creature before it eventually took flight.
When balanced, the guardian spirit is almost entirely blue in coloration, with lighter patches of fur around its paws and facial features, and white fur covering its mouth and eyes. A pink strip of fur runs along its nose and around the outline of its mouth, which features a set of sharp teeth and a purple tongue. A conical feature juts from atop the creature's head, which is purple in coloration and trimmed in red.
When dark, the guardian spirit becomes entirely dark blue in coloration, with its facial contours outlined by a lighter shade of blue. Surrounded by yellow, the guardian spirit's eyes become red, much like the outline of its mouth. The creature's teeth turn yellow upon transformation, and are considerably sharper when compared to the spirit's teeth when it is in its pacified form. In general, the guardian spirit's fur also appears sharper, and its entire body is surrounded by a purple glow.
In its pacified state, the guardian spirit is a friendly creature, readily showing affection to individuals to whom it takes a liking, as well as serving as a capable guide and a useful mount. It is also capable of teleportation, readily disappearing into a wisp of blue light and reappearing once it reaches its new destination. The guardian spirit becomes aggressive and hostile when dark, growling threateningly at those who approach its territory. In this form, it is capable of leaping in order to subdue its prey, which it immobilizes by crushing the creature with its jaws.
The guardian spirit bears similarities to Chinese guardian lions, known as "Shi" () in Chinese, which translates literally to "lion" or "Foo Dogs" in the West. They are most commonly seen depicted as pairs of statues adorning the entrances of several temples, as they are believed to be protective entities representing many dualities that arise from the yin-yang philosophy.
- Reference images of pitbulls were used to design guardian spirits.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Hedrick, Tim (writer) & Graham, Ian (director). (November 8, 2013). "A New Spiritual Age". The Legend of Korra. Season 1. Episode 22. Nickelodeon.
- ↑ Legend of Korra: Top 10 Coolest Spirits. Nickelodeon (July 11, 2014). Retrieved on July 11, 2014.
- ↑ Bryan Konietzko on the DVD commentary for "A New Spiritual Age".