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The Avatar mansion was a compound built by Jianzhu near Yokoya Port in order to house Yun, falsely identified as the Avatar at the time, and his entourage, which included Kyoshi, working as a servant, and Rangi, serving as his bodyguard.[1] After Jianzhu's death, his testament named Kyoshi as the inheritor of the estate.[2]

History

In 298 BG, Jianzhu bought a piece of land near Yokoya Port since, as he explained to the village elders, it was an ideal spot to settle down and educate the Avatar. He claimed that it was a quiet and safe place far away from the daofei-ravaged lands deeper in the Earth Kingdom and close enough to both the Southern Air Temple and Southern Water Tribe. Although the villagers were happy enough to take his gold, they started to complain after the manor was erected, grumbling that it was an eyesore, an alien creature that "had sprouted overnight from the native soil". The building's purpose was to house Yun, who was believed to be the Avatar at the time, as well as his trainers and entourage.[1]

While the estate was still under construction, Kelsang, an Air Nomad monk, got Jianzhu to hire a young Kyoshi as a servant. It was in this capacity that she met Rangi, a Fire Nation soldier appointed as the Avatar's bodyguard, with whom she would eventually become friends. Unlike most Yokoyans, Kyoshi saw the mansion as the most beautiful sight she could imagine and soon regarded it as her home.[1] Not long after taking her in, the senior staff discovered Kyoshi's strong, compulsive need for order, which led them to put her on Avatar-containment duty, cleaning up after Yun.[3] In the mansion, Yun, Rangi, and Kyoshi grew increasingly close over time. When the Avatar was required to sign a treaty with the Fifth Nation, the three friends left the estate and headed toward the South Pole.[4]

One morning, a conclave of Earth Kingdom sages gathered at the mansion to discuss the future of the Avatar's guardianship. The group consisted of Jianzhu and several sages outside of his sphere of influence that Hui had managed to assemble. The chamberlain brought them to the estate unannounced in a blatant attempt to ambush Jianzhu before he could prepare a statement of truth. The staff was aflutter as they had received no warning that guests were coming, forcing Jianzhu to enter the kitchen and personally oversee the preparations, and he told the servants that there was no need to pull out their finest work as there was not enough time. Therefore, Auntie Mui organized the staff to focus on the tea selection.

Hei-Ran, Hui, and the sages seated themselves across three sides of the grand reception hall, behind the rows of long tables. The servants soon joined the room, bringing steaming trays of tea. Jianzhu made sure each guest had a cup placed before them before he took the first sip of his blended oolong. During the conclave, Hui revealed his knowledge of a daofei settlement in the Taihua Mountains and inferred that the Avatar was either captured or dead, accusing Jianzhu of negligence, claiming that there was a minimum number of members present needed to strip him of his duties. As he called for the vote, Jianzhu, Hui, and the rest of the guests began showing signs of poisoning. The entire conclave succumbed to the poison Jianzhu had placed in their tea, which also included himself, Hei-Ran, and some of the household staff.[5] A good number of servants died that day, the ones who had used the leftover boiled water Jianzhu dosed for their own cups.[6]

In 296 BG, a few weeks before the confrontation at Qinchao, Jianzhu changed his testament to anticipate the possibility that he might fail to force Kyoshi to submit to him. In his will, the Earth sage named Kyoshi the inheritor of his entire estate as a final attempt to influence her and the world according to his ideals. After Jianzhu was killed by Yun, Kyoshi was informed of the testament. Although she believed the bequest could raise suspicions over the politician's violent death, considering many people from the town where he was killed were not convinced of her innocence, and she seemingly had the most to gain with his demise, she accepted nonetheless and became the new owner of the mansion.[2]

While Kyoshi faced Jianzhu in Qinchao, the estate was raided by the Flying Opera Company on a mission to rescue a kidnapped Rangi. The mansion got looted, and several guards were severely beaten by a vengeful Wong, who wanted to question them.[6]

After Kyoshi left the mansion, it was no longer the vibrant, bustling place it was during her servant days. Much of the staff quit right after the Earth King's investigators closed the poisoning case, although some of them stayed to support the Avatar, Auntie Mui included. As the new master of the estate, Kyoshi did not replace them, not wanting to manage a large household, which left most of the halls empty and the gardens untended. The villagers avoided the hollowed-out manor and called it an unlucky place.[7]

In the final confrontation between Kyoshi and Yun, almost all the mansion was destroyed. The dining hall was split in two when Kyoshi made a great stone pillar crash through the roof, and Yun began to liquify the foundations of the mansion. One of the few remaining locations was the mansion's infirmary, where Kyoshi provided rudimentary healing to her companions.[8]

Layout

Jianzhu designed the compound in the image of a miniature city. A high wall ran in a perfect square around the grounds, with a division in the middle to separate the austere training grounds from the vibrant living quarters. Each section had its own imposing, south-facing gatehouse that was larger than the Yokoya meeting hall. The massive iron-studded doors of the residential gate provided access to the elaborate topiary inside.

Foreign elements were carefully integrated into the design of the complex: gilded dragons chased carved polar orcas around the edges of the walls, the placement of the Earth Kingdom–style roof tiles matched Air Nomad numerology principles, and authentic dyes and paints were imported from around the world to ensure that the colors of all four nations were on full, equitable display.[1] Expensive works of calligraphy hung on the walls, and translucent vases held the day's flowers cut from the garden.[9] There was a ballroom that was similar to the one's of wealthy nobles like the Beifong family[10] There was an array of miniature trees that dotted the garden that was groomed and maintained frequently.[11]

The servants' dormitory, however, was plain and poorly lit. Kyoshi's wooden quarters, particularly, were small but with enough space for her to keep a heavily locked trunk that she stowed in a corner and, on top, a leather-bound journal.[9] The service entry consisted of a tunnel that smelled of sawdust and wet loam through the plaster, which exposed how hastily the complex had been constructed. The hallway led to a hall destined to drying and splitting the firewood needed to fuel the stoves before reaching the mansion's kitchen.[12]

The mansion also held great libraries full of books containing useful information for the Avatar, such as extensive tomes about the medical uses of waterbending,[13], as well as nautical chartbooks and a map collection of the known world posted on the walls behind crystal panes.[14]

Known staff

Teachers

  • Amak — Waterbending teacher of the Avatar (formerly)
  • Hei-Ran — Firebending teacher of the Avatar (formerly)
  • Jianzhu — Earthbending teacher of the Avatar (formerly)
  • Kelsang — Airbending teacher of the Avatar (formerly)

Household staff

  • Kyoshi — Servant (formerly)
  • Lee — Line cook
  • Mui — Head of the kitchen staff
  • Rin — Waitress

Soldiers

  • Rangi — Bodyguard to the Avatar
  • Saiful — Guard (formerly)

Trivia

  • Sages and dignitaries from far-off lands constantly flowed in and out of the estate, and many of them enjoyed conducting their business among the flowers and fruit trees.[12]
  • The estate was protected by Jianzhu's men, two of them being veterans of the Earth King's army, who wore the earthbender's personal shade of green instead of the regular Earth Kingdom green. Kyoshi was not sure if this was legal or not.[12]
  • A herd of goat dogs was kept on the grounds of the mansion, where they grazed the lawn and kept the grass at an even length.[1]
  • Auntie Mui liked to enforce high culture on her workers in the mansion's kitchen, making them participate in activities such as reciting poetry during working hours.[12]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 16, 2019). Chapter Two, "Nine Years Later". The Rise of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 16, 2019). Chapter Thirty-Two, "Hauntings". The Rise of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  3. Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 16, 2019). Chapter Six, "Promises". The Rise of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  4. Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 16, 2019). The Rise of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  5. Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 16, 2019). Chapter Twenty-Nine, "The Ambush". The Rise of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 16, 2019). Chapter Thirty-One, "The Return". The Rise of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  7. Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 21, 2020). Chapter Five, "Cultural Diplomacy". The Shadow of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  8. Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 21, 2020). Chapter Twenty-Six, "Home Again". The Shadow of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 16, 2019). Chapter Five, "Revelations". The Rise of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  10. Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 21, 2020). Chapter One, "Unfinished Business". The Shadow of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  11. Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 16, 2019). Chapter Three, "The Boy From Makapu". The Rise of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 16, 2019). Chapter Four, "Honest Work". The Rise of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  13. Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 21, 2020). Chapter Two, "The Invitation". The Shadow of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  14. Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 16, 2019). Chapter Seventeen, "Obligations". The Rise of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
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