|"And for the past ten thousand years, I have kept darkness under control and the world in balance."|
|— Raava to Wan regarding her position as protector of the world.|
Before the era of Raava, Vaatu broke through the barriers that separated the mortal and spiritual worlds. With no boundary keeping the two worlds apart, spirits freely passed from their world through the spirit portals located at the poles and began residing in the physical world, resulting in almost all the lands of the world becoming the Spirit Wilds. Humans, who once lived together, split apart to seek shelter and protection on the backs of lion turtles. Over time, most accounts of this era were lost in history and many humans forgot that other communities of people existed other than those that shared their lion turtle.
When humans sought food, they left the protection of their settlements and ventured into the Spirit Wilds. For protection, they were granted control over the element their lion turtle was affiliated with, with the power being theirs to keep until they returned to the cities.
Tension with the Spirits
Spirits and man did not warmly welcome each other. With the exception of the predecessors of the Air Nomads, humans would attack spirits and hunt animals for food. Likewise, spirits would possess and disfigure humans, and even kill them if they inhabited their bodies long enough. The humans' only refuges were the lion turtles, of whom the spirits were wary or even respectful.
During a trip to the Spirit Wilds from the fire lion turtle, a young man named Wan stole the art of fire from the lion turtle in order to use the power to steal food from the rich and give to the poor. He was eventually captured by the Chou brothers and sent to the fire lion turtle to be stripped of the sacred art. The fire lion turtle relented and allowed Wan to keep the art in order to defend himself in the Spirit Wilds, where he was perpetually banished for his actions.
Wan arrived at a spirit oasis, which was guarded by the aye-aye spirit, but was refused entry due to the spirit's dislike of humans. After witnessing Wan rescue Mula from human hunters, however, the aye-aye spirit agreed to let Wan drink from his oasis, dubbing him "Stinky".
During his search for the other lion turtle cities, Wan encountered two ancient spirits battling one another. Unaware of the nature of their conflict, Wan was tricked by Vaatu, the spirit of chaos and darkness, into helping him escape from Raava, the spirit of light and peace. To compensate for his mistake, Wan teamed up with Raava in an attempt to defeat Vaatu, as the dark spirit grew stronger due to spreading chaos, whereas Raava became weaker. Under Raava's tutelage, Wan mastered the four elements before the Harmonic Convergence. Right before the Harmonic Convergence happened, Wan challenged Vaatu in Raava's name. The dark spirit proved to be too powerful for him, and in an attempt to turn the tide, Wan called upon Raava to merge with him. However, Raava's presence in Wan's body put him under a lot of strain, enabling Vaatu to pin him down. When the planets aligned, signaling the moment of the Harmonic Convergence, Wan permanently merged with Raava's spirit, creating the Avatar Spirit. With his new power, he managed to imprison Vaatu in the Tree of Time and, after directing all of the spirits back to their world, close the spirit portals so no human would be able to physically enter the Spirit World again and free Vaatu.
With the creation of the Avatar Spirit, the era of Raava came to an end and the era of the Avatar began. In acknowledgment of this new beginning, the lion turtles renounced their duty as mankind's protectors, stating they would no longer grant humans bending.
- The inhabitants of air-bestowing lion turtle cities had similar tattoos as the later Air Nomads, only different in the fact that they did not end with arrows, but in a "t"-shape with a small blue dot.
- During the era of Raava, the term "bending" was not yet used to refer to the ability to manipulate the elements; those who lived during the era merely referred to it as "power".
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer) & Heck, Colin (director). (October 18, 2013). "Beginnings, Part 1". The Legend of Korra. Book Two: Spirits. Episode 7. Nickelodeon.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 Hedrick, Tim (writer) & Graham, Ian (director). (October 18, 2013). "Beginnings, Part 2". The Legend of Korra. Book Two: Spirits. Episode 8. Nickelodeon.