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Sun Warriors' ancient city

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Fire Nation emblem

The Sun Warriors' ancient city is a large, historic settlement located on an island north of the Fire Nation mainland. It was thought to be uninhabited, but Aang and Zuko discovered that the Sun Warrior civilization still existed in the city. Much of this stone metropolis is now covered in vines and sits unused, as the tribe is much smaller than it used to be. Some of the architecture of this ancient city is mirrored in modern day Fire Nation architecture, most specifically the Fire Sages' temples.[1]

The city is heavily laden with booby traps. The sunstone, an important relic to Sun Warrior culture, is hidden in a room which supposedly only opens during the solstice. Once opened, it is accessed by two people performing the Dancing Dragon, an ancient firebending form that involves placing their feet in a synchronized fashion on specifically located push-tiles. If the sunstone is removed from its pedestal, a booby trap is activated, which causes the room to fill with a powerful glue.[2]

Locations

Lair of the firebending masters

Ran and Shaw's cave

The lair of Ran and Shaw comprises two mountains that face one another.

Two caves located atop large rocks overlooking the ocean just beyond the Sun Warriors' city make up the lair of Ran and Shaw, the firebending masters. A large, elevated, man-made platform is located in the middle of the two caves, and extending from it is a long bridge that connects each cave to the platform. It is here where those who seek enlightenment in the art of firebending offer the masters a piece of the Eternal Flame and subsequently receive judgment from them. The dragons circle the suppliant, and to prove their worth, each must execute the Dancing Dragon form in synchronization with their corresponding dragon. Aang was able to deduce this when he and Zuko met the masters, and performed the Dancing Dragon with Zuko to receive enlightenment.[2]

Sunstone chamber

Dancing Dragon statues

The sunstone chamber also contains statues of the forms of the Dancing Dragon.

The sunstone chamber is a protected room only accessible when the celestial calendar directly outside the chamber refracts light on the door's gemstone at just the right angle. As the only known days the door would open were during a solstice, Zuko had no choice but to "speed up time" by using his broadswords as a way to manipulate the light. Inside the chamber are twenty statues that show steps to the Dancing Dragon form. When two visitors mimic the moves simultaneously, they trigger foot-pads that eventually raise a pedestal holding the sacred sunstone. To prevent burglars from stealing the relic, a slime geyser releases a powerful glue-like substance upon the removal of the stone from its pedestal.[2]

Dragon mural

Origin of firebending mural

The mural about the origin of firebending depicts Ran and Shaw.

Located mid-way to the top of the city's primary ziggurat is a mural of two dragons sharing their knowledge of firebending to a Sun Warrior. Aang and Zuko initially mistook the painting as a sign that the dragons were particularly violent upon contact with humans.[2] The mural exhibits multiple fractures and signs of erosion from the centuries it has remained in a state of disrepair. Zuko and Aang later discovered the true concept behind the mural, when they were deemed worthy and granted the chance to learn the original ways of firebending.[2]

Eternal Flame

Main article: Eternal Flame

The Eternal Flame is the first flame ever given to man by the dragons. It rests in a protective chamber atop an ancient pyramid. Those who wish to learn from the masters must bring a piece of the Eternal Flame to their lair. The flame must be kept at a constant temperature, as a small flame will go out, whereas a large flame will spiral out of control.

Celestial calendar

Celestial calendar

The celestial calendar controls entry to the sunstone chamber.

Located in the center of the courtyard at the Sun Warriors' city is a large red gem that refracts slivers of light onto a calendar on the ground. This gem is part of a celestial locking system that protects a sacred room that can only be opened on specific days, like the summer solstice.[1] The celestial calendar bears a striking resemblance to the Fire Temple sanctuary once located on Crescent Island.

Connection

The Sun Warriors' ancient city is based on the architecture of ancient Mesopotamia, taking special influence from the civilization's ziggurats, or "tiered pyramids".[3]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 From older Avatar: The Last Airbender official site, originally on Nick.com (link). No longer updated.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 O'Bryan, John (writer) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (July 15, 2008). "The Firebending Masters". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 13. Nickelodeon.
  3. Miller, Evan (2009-01-31). Elsa Garagarza. The Gallery. AnimeNewsNetwork.com. Retrieved on August 1, 2013.

See also

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