- This article is about the city. For other similar uses, see Omashu (disambiguation).
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The tall mountain peak on which Omashu was founded is located in the Kolau Mountains in the southwestern Earth Kingdom. It rises high out of a deep chasm and was created several centuries ago by earthbenders. Being built on this mountain provides the city with one of its best defenses; the only way to reach the gates of Omashu is across a long narrow bridge of stone that spans the sheer gorge.
Previously ruled by King Bumi, Omashu was conquered by the Fire Nation during the War and renamed New Ozai. However, during the Day of Black Sun, the powerless firebenders were expelled from the city, and it was once again reclaimed by the Earth Kingdom.
An ancient legend states that a man named Shu and a woman named Oma, each from one of two warring towns, met atop a mountain that divided their peoples and fell deeply in love. Although their relationship was forbidden and it was dangerous for them to continue meeting, the couple found a way to continue seeing each other in secrecy. By observing the badgermoles, the couple became the first earthbenders. Using their new powers, they created a great labyrinth which only they could navigate. This allowed them to meet secretly, while anyone else who tried to follow them would become lost forever in the ever shifting tunnels.
One day Shu did not come to meet Oma, nor would he ever again. Shu had been slain in the war between their two villages. Oma, stricken with grief and sorrow, performed a terrifying display of earthbending power that could have easily destroyed both villages. Instead, she declared the conflict over and demanded that the two villages live in peace. The warring villages joined together and built a new city to honor the couple's love. This city eventually grew into Omashu, the name being derived from the combination of their two names. The short epitaph found on the lovers tombs deep within the cave reads only "Love is brightest in the dark".
During the conquests of Chin the Conqueror, almost the entirety of the Earth Kingdom, Omashu being no exception, fell into the hands of this tyrannical warlord. The city remained under his rule until Avatar Kyoshi refused to allow Chin to conquer the peninsula she called home. Chin fell to his demise in the sea below when he stubbornly refused to move as the rocks underneath his feet crumbled into the sea. His death signaled the end of the war. Later, during the time of Avatar Aang, the city was ruled by King Bumi.
Omashu's main industry was producing weapons and supplies for the war effort; civilians had developed a complex and efficient mail system used to transport goods throughout the city that employed earthbending and gravity using extensive ramps and chutes. Bumi and Avatar Aang used the ramps as slides in their childhood, something the latter invited Sokka and Katara to try one hundred years later.
Fire Nation rule
- Main article: Capture of Omashu
Sometime after Aang, Katara, and Sokka's first visit to the city during the War, Omashu was seized by Fire Nation forces. King Bumi, always pragmatic and enigmatic, surrendered the city to the Fire Nation forces without a fight. The city was rechristened "New Ozai" in honor of Fire Lord Ozai by his daughter, Princess Azula, during the following spring.
The entire city underwent massive reconstruction to better suit the needs of the Fire Nation. The construction of a massive statue of Fire Lord Ozai at the city's peak began, and the palace was completely leveled and replaced with the metal palace architecture favored by the Fire Nation. This may have been in part due to the fact that the old palace was designed specifically for earthbenders and as such most rooms could only be accessed through the use of earthbending. This would make entrance and exit into some of these rooms impossible for non-earthbenders. Many of the ordinary buildings were commandeered by the Fire Nation and turned into factories with chimneys protruding the top.
Mai's father became the Governor of New Ozai, replacing the deposed King Bumi, who was taken into custody after surrendering the city. However, many citizens and soldiers were able to escape and form an underground resistance group.
During the Day of Black Sun, the imprisoned Bumi saw that the time to liberate the city and release himself from imprisonment had come. Following that, he proceeded to defeat the powerless firebenders and single-handedly reclaim his city from the Fire Nation; he even went as far as defiling and destroying the recently completed statue of Ozai, destroying the New Ozai palace, while laughing maniacally and eating jennamite. This was vital to the eventual liberation of the Earth Kingdom from the Fire Nation.
The city of Omashu is ruled by a king who exercises absolute control over his subjects. During the time in which Omashu was conquered by the Fire Nation, a governor was appointed by Fire Lord Ozai himself. This governor exercised both civilian and military control in the name of the Fire Nation central government, as demonstrated in his blunt ordering of all the citizens to be evacuated. He was answerable only to the Fire Lord or the Royal Family.
Layout and description
The city of Omashu sits within the Kolau Mountain Range, surrounded on all sides by steep canyons and an enormous gorge. The city's three gates are composed of massive blocks of stone, each five feet thick and over thirty feet tall. As a result, the gates can only be opened by skilled earthbenders who guard its only entrance. The city itself is built on a number of hills. The palace sits on the tallest hill, which is centered behind some other hills. The city has thousands of houses for ordinary citizens and nobles as well as hundreds of shops, restaurants and pottery workshops. Most types of businesses in Ba Sing Se would be present in Omashu as well. The city also has a complex mail system, in which packages are transported using earthbending and gravity. Buildings in Omashu are generally built from stone, unlike most buildings in the Earth Kingdom, and have green tiled roofs.
During the Fire Nation occupation of the city, the stone was in the process of being paved over and replaced by steel; scaffoldings were a common sight. The city produced pollution as a result of the Fire Nation's technology, which produced a large amount of fumes. A massive statue of Fire Lord Ozai was constructed in the center of the city. Soldiers also patrolled the city, enforcing the new laws on the citizens. A banner depicting the Fire Nation emblem hung over the gateway leading to the city's entrance. In addition, the original earthen gate was replaced by a metal one, enabling non-earthbenders to grant access to the city.
- Main article: Omashu Royal Palace
The Omashu Royal Palace was home to the city's king prior to the city's annexation by the Fire Nation and was located at the top of the Omashu's central mountain peak. It was a palace consisting entirely of earthbending-operated doors and would be impossible for anyone, with the exception of an earthbender, to navigate it.
Omashu sewer system
The Omashu sewer system is a series of interconnected tunnels underneath the city of Omashu, used to transport water and sewage out of the city. The sewage system is a very dark and dank place full of all sorts of filth and unusual critters including the leech-a-pillar and purple pentapus. The sewer system ends at the bottom of the gorge and is one of the only ways to sneak in and out of Omashu. Aang knew about these secret passages from past experiences playing there with Bumi. Aang navigated the system accompanied by Katara and Sokka when they wanted to enter the city during its occupation by the Fire Nation.
New Ozai Royal Palace
After the Fire Nation seized control the city, the former royal palace was replaced with a new one constructed to house the governor and his family. It was situated at a lower elevation and exhibited a grand display of traditional Fire Nation architectural features. The building was three stories tall and had a tiered structure mimicking that of a temple, the uppermost tier being the smallest. Shingles covered the roof, which was red in coloration and lined by a yellow trimming along the edges. Off to the palace's sides were mail delivery lines, and the entire structure was elevated above the ground.
The palace featured many spacious balconies, which were made from yellow stone and had numerous golden ornaments that lined the railing. Ash-colored pillars supported the balcony on the second floor, and behind these pillars was a similarly toned wall bearing the building's main entrance. The second story also had a dressing room, where the palace's many cushions and baby toys were kept, though often scattered along the floor. At least two stuffed animals were stored in the room, one being a teddy bear. At the room's center lay a table where a bowl of assorted fruits would be left for the palace's residents to eat, and beside it was a brown cabinet.
- Main article: Omashu delivery system
The Omashu mail system is a linking slide that continues for miles in the city. Earthbenders move the packages around to a different slide which can travel to any place in the city. Aang and Bumi used it as a "super slide" just before the start of the War. One hundred years later, Aang used the system as a slide with Katara and Sokka, although this time, he was a bit wild, using airbending to increase their speed. Aang utilized the chutes again when trying to recover the captured King Bumi from Azula.
- † indicates deceased.
- Based on the ancient writing in "The Cave of Two Lovers", the Traditional Chinese way to write Omashu is . means "mysterious carnelian", while is a Chinese surname meaning "relax". In Simplified Chinese, Omashu is .
- Omashu was built in a similar way the air temples were built, both being carved out of a mountain.
- Since Oma and Shu were the first human earthbenders, they lived in the era of Raava; therefore, Omashu could even be older than the first Avatar.
- The shape of Omashu is similar to that of the Chinese pictograph character for "mountain" ( ).
- Omashu also resembles the pyramids at Giza.
- There are no "take-backsies" in this kingdom.
- It is implied that Omashu's social system is structured to provide equal opportunity for all of its inhabitants, as everyone can go anywhere, unlike Ba Sing Se. This is further evidenced when King Bumi went on the mail system without anyone protesting him being there as a king.
- The origin of Omashu's name is similar to that of the Polish capital, Warsaw. According to legend, a fisherman named Wars fell in love with a mermaid named Sawa who lived in the Vistula River, and together they founded a town which was later named Warszawa (Warsaw).