|"The Fire Sages keep the secret history in the Dragonbone Catacombs."|
|— Zuko reads a secret message directed at him.|
The Dragonbone Catacombs are a series of chambers underneath the High Temple that primarily serve as the burial grounds of all past Fire Lords. It also features a series of murals depicting the history, myths, and legends of the Fire Nation, along with an archive of historical scrolls that pertain to specific points of the nation's past.
The Dragonbone Catacombs were constructed underneath the High Temple sometime after the unification of the Fire Islands. It was created to serve as the burial grounds for all of the Fire Lords in the nation's history, including the first Fire Lord who assumed power following the fall of the warlord regime in the disaggregated Fire Islands. The catacombs were periodically expanded to accommodate crypts for each successive Fire Lord, and the walls were painted with an ever-growing mural depicting the nation's history, including its myths and legends.
Following the outbreak of the Hundred Year War, Fire Lord Sozin ordered the closure of the passages leading to the crypts of the rulers who preceded him, as to give the impression that the history of the Fire Nation began with his regime. The catacombs were also named after the skulls of dead dragons that lined the main hallway shortly after Sozin popularized hunting dragons for status.}}
In 100 AG, Crown Prince Zuko followed a Fire Sage to the catacombs in order to learn about the history of the Fire Nation. To this end, he familiarized himself with Sozin's final testament, learning about the Fire Lord's friendship with Avatar Roku and his failure in searching for the next reincarnation of the Avatar.
After ascending the Fire Nation throne, Zuko visited the catacombs from time to time in order to read historical scrolls and familiarize himself with the nation's past. He returned in 102 AG with Avatar Aang, Mai, and Kei Lo in an attempt to find any pertinent information about the Kemurikage, who were believed to be responsible for Tom-Tom's abduction from the Fire Nation Capital. They gained access past the sealed corridor after Kei Lo and Mai unlocked the mechanisms inside the metal dragon heads that adorned the gates and eventually stumbled upon a mural depicting the Kemurikage.
Mai found a scroll nearby that accompanied the illustration and proceeded to read the origin of the Kemurikage, causing a wisp of smoke to appear from the wall. Intrigued, the group followed the smoke and were led to a wall with a metal dragon head, which Kei Lo promptly examined for a lock. After unlocking the mechanism, he accompanied Aang down a set of stairs to a crypt, leaving Mai and Zuko behind to discuss their failed relationship. After entering the chamber, the wisp of smoke morphed into one of the original Kemurikage and revealed the tomb to be the resting site of the first Fire Lord. She recounted that the leader brought warlords to justice and unified the Fire Islands, which allowed the spirits' sadness to recede. Because of this, the Kemurikage claimed that they stopped haunting mankind, prompting Aang to conclude that the attacks in the capital were from impostors.
The catacombs are located underneath the High Temple and are accessed by opening an ornate metal circle with firebending. They feature numerous dark, twisting hallways that lead to different chambers dedicated to the reigns of past Fire Lords, as well as to different aspects of Fire Nation history. The main hallway is lined with the skulls of dragons and lit on either side by a series of torches, while the rest of the corridors feature elaborate wall murals and remain sparsely lit.
The main hallway leads to chambers that depict history following Sozin's reign and culminates to the Fire Lord's tomb, which is located behind an ornate metal door bearing his figure. This door can only be opened with firebending. The tomb itself is a round room, lined with large funerary urns. On either side of the door are statues of dragons rearing back on their hind legs. The room is centered on an enormous coiled stone dragon, which is wrapped protectively around a small urn. In front of this is a wooden table on which the five volumes of Fire Lord Sozin's final testament are placed.
Another corridor leads to a large ornate metal door, which seals the sections of the catacombs that depict history prior to Sozin's reign. The door bears the Fire Nation insignia and is adorned by four large dragon heads, each of which contain an intricate locking mechanism. The simultaneous release of these mechanisms causes the gate to open, leading to a long corridor featuring tapestries of past Fire Lords and elaborate murals depicting the nation's history, myths, and legends. Wooden mounts are positioned near certain parts of the mural and contain scrolls that pertain to a given section of the Fire Nation's past.
Near the end of the corridor is a mural depicting the legend of the Kemurikage and the unification of the Fire Islands. The hallway continues further and leads to a large stone door with a metal dragon, in which another intricate locking mechanism is present. Behind the door is a flight of stairs leading to the crypt of the first Fire Lord.
Known Fire Lords buried in the Catacombs
- Aang is the only known individual from outside of the Fire Nation to have visited the catacombs.
- The Dragonbone Catacombs are the only known repository of scrolls detailing Fire Nation history, since the entire wing of Wan Shi Tong's Library dedicated to the Fire Nation was destroyed by Zhao.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Ehasz, Elizabeth Welch (writer) & Spaulding, Ethan (director). (October 26, 2007). "The Avatar and the Fire Lord". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 6. Nickelodeon.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 DiMartino, Michael Dante; Konietzko, Bryan; Yang, Gene Luen (writer), Sasaki of Gurihiru (penciling, inking), Kawano of Gurihiru (colorist), Heisler, Michael; Comicraft (letterer). Smoke and Shadow Part Two (December 16, 2015), Dark Horse Comics.
- ↑ O'Bryan, John (writer) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (July 15, 2008). "The Firebending Masters". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 13. Nickelodeon.
- ↑ O'Bryan, John (writer) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (July 14, 2006). "The Library". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 10. Nickelodeon.