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The Fifth Nation was an ethnically diverse group of pirates who roamed the seas south and east of the Earth Kingdom for generations. They consisted of waterbenders, firebenders, and nonbenders, and claimed to transcend ethnic and social boundaries. Though dominated by people of Water Tribe origin, the Fifth Nation had a distinct culture and customs. At the peak of its power under Tagaka, the Fifth Nation was the most powerful pirate group in the world.

History

Early history and Tulok's command

The Fifth Nation was a long-standing pirate group. Traditionally based in the Eastern Sea, it existed for such a long time that it transcended being just a crime group and became a distinct group of people with its own culture, although many of them hailed from the Southern Tribe.[1] At some point, leadership of the pirates passed to a family of Southern Water Tribe origin that would provide its commanders for several generations. Avatar Yangchen signed a treaty with one of these pirate lords, securing that the corsairs would stay in the Eastern Sea and not attack the coastline of the southern Earth Kingdom. The Fifth Nation honored the treaty for three generations, but when Avatar Kuruk died in 312 BG and no new Avatar was found for seven years, pirates around the world grew bolder in their raids.[2] One of the Fifth Nation's commanders,[1] Tulok, consequently began to raid the southern Earth Kingdom in defiance to the treaty his grandfather had signed. One of Kuruk's friends, Jianzhu, met with Tulok to convince him to end his attacks and honor his ancestor's promise, but the pirate lord instead derided him.[2]

Soon after, the Fifth Nation's overall commander, Tulok's father, decided to launch an expedition into the western seas. He took his entire family and a large splinter fleet with him. As the pirates rounded the Earth Kingdom's southern tip, they encountered the airbending master Kelsang, who summoned a storm to stop them. The storm became a horrible typhoon and destroyed much of splinter fleet, killing Tulok's father and brothers as well as grievously wounding his daughter Tagaka. As a result, Tulok became the undisputed leader of the Fifth Nation, but he and the other older Fifth Nation pirates remained terrified of Kelsang; thereafter, they never again dared to leave the Eastern Sea. When Tulok died, leadership of the Fifth Nation passed to his daughter Tagaka unopposed, as all potential rivals from her clan had died in Kelsang's storm.[1]

Rise to power under Tagaka

In contrast to her father, Tagaka was determined to lead her people to new greatness. At first, she attempted to expand her fleet and assure the Fifth Nation's dominance over the Eastern Sea. Under her command, the pirate group defeated numerous rival pirate fleets, such as the Fade-Red Devils, and defeated the Earth Kingdom's navy in battle. The Fifth Nation became the most successful pirate fleet in the world. Nevertheless, the pirates initially stayed in the Eastern Sea despite it being a less profitable hunting ground than the western seas out of fear of incurring Kelsang's wrath. They did, however, expand their operations around the South Pole.

In 296 BG, Tagaka decided to launch a large-scale raid against Zeizhou Province in hopes of capturing carpenters to expand the Fifth Nation's fleet. The operation was successful insofar as they enslaved over a thousand people, depopulating an entire stretch of the shore,[1][3] though none of these captives proved to be a capable carpenter.[1]

In response to these bold attacks, the corsairs were targeted by Yun and his followers. At the time, Yun was believed to be the Avatar, and Tagaka lured him into a trap on an iceberg near the South Pole. While it seemed like she had brought only a few pirates as bodyguards, the entire Fifth Nation fleet was hidden inside several nearby, smaller icebergs. In a surprise attack, Tagaka and her followers managed to capture Yun, incapacitated most of his companions, and launched their ships to attack Yokoya Port, where Yun was based at the moment. Unknown to the pirates, however, Yun was not really the Avatar, but one of his friends, Kyoshi was. The latter confronted Tagaka and used her Avatar-powered earthbending to lift parts of the seafloor, destroying much of the Fifth Nation fleet. Many pirates were crushed or drowned, but some ships were able to avoid the upcoming crags of basalt. Some waterbenders on the sinking ships rallied as well, and a fierce battle ensued. Yun's companions prevailed and destroyed some more ships, forcing most of the surviving pirates into surrender.[1]

Some pirates managed to escape thanks to the Fifth Nation's waterbenders, who used their abilities to speed away with their ships' wreckage and surviving nonbenders who held onto the broken remains of the vessels. The majority of the Fifth Nation was destroyed, however, and many of the corsairs were captured. Tagaka was subsequently transported to the Earth Kingdom prisons of Lake Laogai. The Fire Navy consequently raided the Fifth Nation's remaining bases and freed civilians who had been held captive there. As a result, it was believed that the remaining elements of the Fifth Nation would not be able to rebuild their strength and that the pirate people as a whole was effectively eliminated.[4]

Despite this, remnants of the Fifth Nation continued to roam the seas, and attempted to reorganize between late 296 BG and early 295 BG. These splinter fleets were targeted by Kyoshi during one of her first official missions as the Avatar. Jinpa later noted that the attack on the Fifth Nation's remnants had been "brutal business".[5]

Culture

The Fifth Nation's members regarded themselves as an egalitarian people who had overcome the differences between the four nations and would treat all recruits who joined them equally regardless of their ethnic origin. Despite this, the majority of Fifth Nation people were of Water Tribe origin, and their culture was strongly influenced by Water Tribe customs. This included the use of typical Water Tribe dwellings and furniture, as well as a similar cuisine. Nevertheless, their culture had unique elements due to their nature as pirates, with looted items from all nations in their possession. Furthermore, The Fifth Nation enslaved their captives.[1]

Appearances

Kyoshi novels

Trivia

  • The Fifth Nation was loosely based on the 18th-century pirate fleet of Ching Shih, as well as taking inspiration from pirate history in general.[6]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 16, 2019). Chapter Seven, "The Iceberg". The Rise of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 16, 2019). Chapter One, "The Test". The Rise of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  3. Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 16, 2019). Chapter Three, "The Boy From Makapu". The Rise of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  4. Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 16, 2019). Chapter Eight, "The Fracture". The Rise of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  5. Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 21, 2020). Chapter Nineteen, "The Companion". The Shadow of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  6. Andrew Dyce (July 13, 2019). Avatar: The Last Airbender Prequel Novel Tells 'The Rise of Kyoshi'. Screenrant. Retrieved on July 16, 2019.
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