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Kyoshi was the Earth Kingdom-born Avatar immediately succeeding Avatar Kuruk of the Northern Water Tribe, and preceding Avatar Roku of the Fire Nation. She died at the age of 230, making her the oldest confirmed human,[7] and was also an exceptionally tall woman, towering over most people.[8] Kyoshi was born to two criminals: Jesa, a renegade Air Nomad nun, and Hark, a thief from an impoverished family of Earth Kingdom actors. She inherited her later signature outfit from her parents, adopting her mother's golden headdress and metal war fans and her father's face paint.

Kyoshi had a difficult early life. Abandoned by her parents, she barely survived as a homeless orphan until being rescued by Kelsang who became her de facto adoptive father. She was also not recognized as Avatar until she was sixteen; instead, her friend Yun was declared the Avatar. When the truth about her identity was revealed, Kyoshi's world was thrown into chaos. Yun was sacrificed to a monstrous spirit, and Kelsang was murdered as he attempted to defend her from Jianzhu, Yun's former master and the Earth Kingdom's de facto ruler. Fearful and desperate for revenge against Jianzhu, Kyoshi fled with her other friend, Rangi, and joined her parents' old criminal gang, the Flying Opera Company. With these unlikely allies, Kyoshi consequently traveled the Earth Kingdom and became involved in the criminal underworld while being chased by Jianzhu. After a series of tribulations and personal losses, Kyoshi forged a close bond with her criminal associates, entered into a romantic relationship with Rangi, and helped to eliminate Jianzhu.

In the following years, Kyoshi struggled to find popular acceptance as Avatar and keep the Earth Kingdom stable as Jianzhu's death resulted in tensions and a leadership vacuum. Kyoshi saw the end of the Camellia-Peony War in the Fire Nation, and later dealt with her friend Yun, who had been corrupted by his desire for vengeance against everyone who had lied about his Avatarhood.

These experiences greatly shaped her world view and approach to her role as Avatar. Unlike her successors, Roku and Aang, Kyoshi was determined that only true justice could bring peace and had fewer qualms about killing enemies to achieve this goal if necessary. Employing these methods, she was a generally effective Avatar. She prevented the resurgence of the disastrous Yellow Neck uprising, stopped Fire Lord Zoryu from massacring the disgraced Saowon clan, defeated an attempted armed takeover of the Earth Kingdom by Chin the Conqueror, and founded Kyoshi Island and the Kyoshi Warriors to keep her adopted homeland safe. However, some of her actions also caused long-term problems for the Earth Kingdom: the deaths of Jianzhu, as well as Chin and her foundation of the Dai Li, would lead to the decline, corruption, and fall of her home country in the centuries following her lifetime. Because of this, Kyoshi came to deeply regret the creation of the Dai Li.[9]

History

Early life

Kyoshi was born in the year 312 BG[4] somewhere in the Earth Kingdom. Her exact birthplace was unknown even to her.[10] At the time of her birth, the country was destabilized by the Yellow Neck uprising and marauding bandit groups known as daofei.[11] One of the most powerful crime networks, the Flying Opera Company, was led by Kyoshi's parents, Jesa and Hark. Her parenthood was unusual, as her mother Jesa was a renegade Air Nomad nun, whereas her father Hark descended from a distinguished but impoverished line of Earth Kingdom actors.[10][12] Following Kyoshi's birth, her parents opted to lay low and mostly refrained from participating in criminal activities. Along with their daughter, they traveled all across the Earth Kingdom in a wagon, never staying in one place for a long time.[10]

When Kyoshi was five or six, however, her parents decided to leave her in the care of a villager at Yokoya Port,[10] an impoverished community of farmers and fishers located on a peninsula at the Whaletail Strait in the southwestern Earth Kingdom.[11] They left her a chest with Jesa's signature metal fans, as well as a journal that contained information about the daofei and their customs. When her parents had departed, the villager immediately reneged on the deal, casting Kyoshi out onto the streets.[10] As they were mostly poor themselves, the people of Yokoya had little sympathy for her and would have left her to die of hunger.[2] Homeless and reduced to starvation, Kyoshi survived by eating garbage, making her even more of an outcast among the Yokoyans.[12] Kyoshi later blamed her parents for her misfortune, and came to hate them as well as all criminals in general.[10] Nevertheless, she grew extraordinarily tall, and was already taller than many teenagers at age seven.[11]

By chance, Yokoya was visited by Jianzhu and Kelsang in 305 BG. The two masters had been traveling the Earth Kingdom for seven years to find the Avatar. They presented the children of Yokoya with a test that included toys that had belonged to past Air Nomad Avatars, but all failed. Kyoshi spied on the event, and Kelsang invited her to pick the toys despite Jianzhu's objection that she was probably too old to be the Avatar. Though mistrustful, she took a clay turtle that had belonged to a past Avatar. When Kelsang told her that she could take three more toys to confirm whether she was the Avatar, Kyoshi believed this to be a lie or trick, not used to kindness, and inherently regarding promises of fortune as dangerous. As a result, the young girl fled with the clay turtle instead of partaking in the test. The two masters let her go,[11] and went on to falsely identify an Earth Kingdom boy named Yun as the Avatar.[2]

Life as a servant

Kyoshi without makeup

Kyoshi in her teenage years without her later iconic makeup.

Having realized that none of the Yokoyans were helping Kyoshi, Kelsang sought out her hiding place in the village and took her into his care. Used to being mistreated, the young girl was initially reluctant to trust the Air Nomad monk, but when she understood that he was honest, Kyoshi was overwhelmed by the Air Nomad's kindness, and came to see him as her adoptive father.[13] Kelsang always provided for Kyoshi when he was in Yokoya, but often had to leave the village for long periods of time, during which he provided money to various farming families to look after her until he returned.[5] Once, he returned to find she had lost weight and had not been taken care of properly, he promised Kyoshi that he would never leave her for such a long period of time again, which is when he got Jianzhu to grant her a position of work in the Avatar mansion that was being built to accommodate Yun's trainers and entourage. While the construction of the Avatar mansion was still ongoing, Kyoshi met Rangi, a firebender who had been appointed Yun's bodyguard, and who soon started to regularly yell at Kyoshi and order her around. After a few weeks, Kyoshi realized that the firebender expressed some emotions in a particular way; yelling at people meant that she liked them. The two subsequently became good friends.[2]

As a result of Kyoshi's desire for organization and cleanliness, the staff eventually decided that her talents would best be put to use cleaning up after Yun as his servant, as he tended to leave quite a mess wherever he went.[14] She also would help out in the kitchen and sort through gifts sent to the Avatar from time to time.[5][14] Enjoying her life at the mansion, Kyoshi fully adopted it as her home. Though she always remained somewhat apart from the rest of the staff due to her background and friendship with Rangi (who treated the other servants with open disdain),[5] Kyoshi cared for the other staff members and had a good working relationship with several of them.[5][15][16] Despite her greatly improved livelihood and overall situation, Kyoshi continued to face occasional harassment by local youngsters, most prominently by Aoma, the daughter of Yokoya's village captain, who along with her companions was jealous of Kyoshi's comparably better life as well as her proximity to the Avatar, despite being an orphan and outsider, while they had to toil on their parents' fields and fishing boats. Despite this, Kyoshi preferred to adhere to neutral jing and endure the bullying rather than strike back, although she was physically strong enough to do so. She also held almost no grudges against the Yokoyans who ill-treated her as a child and teenager. Once, when Rangi plotted to aid her in getting revenge on Aoma, Kyoshi even cautioned against it.[2] Her rejection of violence included the use of her own earthbending abilities. She was only able to bend very large pieces of earth without any precision; regarding these abilities as useless for her servant job, Kyoshi rejected Kelsang's urgings to get training and generally refrained from using her bending at all.

Kyoshi, Rangi, and Yun

Kyoshi, Yun, and Rangi were best friends during their time at the Avatar mansion near Yokoya Port.

Over time, Yun, Rangi, and Kyoshi grew increasingly close, the presumed Avatar and the servant girl in particular spending much time together. One of Kyoshi's duties would be to help Yun sort through the many gifts sent to him by officials and sages from around the Earth Kingdom.[14] One night while sorting through them, Yun placed his head in her lap as the two joked around. The two of them nearly kissed but stopped themselves before it happened, believing that a relationship would be impossible due to their different social stations and duties. Neither of them mentioned this incident again, but whenever Yun saw fire lilies he would look back and forth between them and Kyoshi until she smiled and blushed.[15]

One day in 296 BG, when Kyoshi and Kelsang were helping out in the kitchens, Kelsang got the rest of the workers reciting improvised poetry to the tune of a sailor's song. Kyoshi decided to take a turn and just started saying whatever first came to her mind, but unknowingly repeated a love poem Avatar Kuruk had written years ago. After she finished, Kelsang demanded to know where she had learned the song, but she insisted that she just made it up.[5] Kelsang took her out of the kitchens so that no one would hear them and revealed to Kyoshi the truth about the song. This caused Kelsang to question whether or not Yun actually was the Avatar, as he still was not able to bend any elements other than his native element of earth, and while Kyoshi had not shown any such indication herself, Kelsang also knew that she had chosen one of the Avatar relics from among the toys when she was younger. Kelsang and Kyoshi decided to keep this revelation to themselves as they did not want to invalidate Yun as the Avatar right when a treaty was about to be signed with the ruthless band of pirates known as the Fifth Nation.[17]

When Yun was leaving to sign the treaty, he asked Kyoshi to join him and she agreed.[18] At his disciple's urgings, Jianzhu allowed Kyoshi join the party. He provided her with an impressive green, armored kimono. Jianzhu hoped that this outfit as well as Kyoshi's impressive height would allow her to become an intimidating presence so that Kyoshi would be at least a bit useful during their meeting with the pirates. Although Kyoshi was not used to such high-quality clothing and wondered where the sage had obtained it, the kimono fit her perfectly. It would later become part of her iconic look as the Avatar.[19]

Life as the Avatar

Confrontation with Tagaka and identification as Avatar

At the South Pole, their group confronted the leader of the Fifth Nation, a pirate queen and slaver, Tagaka whose large fleet had ravaged the Earth Kingdom's coastline and had recently taken some citizens hostage. Yun was captured and his group scattered in an ambush at sea, leaving Kyoshi to confront Tagaka. The situation seemed hopeless as Kyoshi had no apparent access to earth to battle the pirate queen and her followers. Tagaka offered Kyoshi to join her, but she angrily refused.[19] She felt losing control and the past Avatars leading her actions, which led Kyoshi to use a combination of raw power and the Avatar State,[20] to lift parts of the seafloor with earthbending, a surprising feat even a master earthbender cannot perform. Kyoshi destroyed much of Tagaka's fleet while Yun's other companions rallied and launched a counterattack against the remaining pirate forces.[19] Many were left injured after this incident, including Kelsang and Kyoshi herself. Despite having saved her allies and friends, Kyoshi's impressive display of bending cast doubts on her identity as a regular earthbender, and Yun's identity as the Avatar.

With the identity of the Avatar being called into question, Jianzhu relieved Kyoshi of her duties as a servant in order to evaluate her bending abilities. After an unsuccessful attempt to get her to firebend with Hei-Ran, the firebending master in charge of training Yun, he took Kyoshi and Yun to a remote and unoccupied village. Initially, Kyoshi and Yun thought he intended to trigger the Avatar State, but he told them he merely wanted them to meditate and commune with a suffering spirit. However, when they meditated in preparation to meet the spirit, Jianzhu lit some incense that rendered Kyoshi and Yun mostly immobile, but Kyoshi was able to open her eyes and see what was happening. She saw Jianzhu speaking with a spirit he called "Father Glowworm," asking which of the teenagers was the Avatar. The spirit requested blood from each of them to tell, but when it reached for Kyoshi, Yun regained control of his body and pushed her away. Despite their efforts, the spirit took blood from them and declared Kyoshi the Avatar, prompting Jianzhu to sever the spirit's hold on Kyoshi and drag her away, leaving Yun behind due to Jianzhu feeling that he was no longer of use. Angered, the spirit dragged Yun into a cave as payment for the attack, and Jianzhu sealed the cave with his bending, trapping both the spirit and Yun. Kyoshi screamed in anguish over losing her friend, and fire came out of her mouth; the first time she had bent any element besides earth.

Kyoshi tried to fight Jianzhu, but he overpowered her and forced her into submission, earthbending a gag that nearly caused her to suffocate before he removed it, while trying to justify his actions as necessary for the good of the world. At that moment, Kelsang appeared, as he had flown there despite his injuries sustained during the encounter with Tagaka after becoming suspicious of Jianzhu, Kyoshi, and Yun's unexplained absences. Kyoshi instantly brought him up to speed, causing him to declare that Jianzhu was no longer fit to serve the Avatar and that he would take Kyoshi away from him. This angered Jianzhu, who countered that there was nowhere Kelsang could hide Kyoshi from him. Kyoshi was urged by Kelsang to run before he attacked Jianzhu to buy her time. However, Jianzhu easily got the upper hand and killed the injured Kelsang, which prompted Kyoshi to enter the Avatar State and destroy the small village, but not before Jianzhu hid beneath the ground. Before he could reemerge, Kyoshi fled back to the Avatar mansion.

After arriving at the estate, Kyoshi found Rangi waiting for her at the door, wondering where she had been. Kyoshi told her what happened and that she had to leave, before hastily packing her few things, including the chest and journal her parents left with her when they left her in Yokoya, and the clay turtle she picked from the toys used to determine the Avatar years ago. She broke the chest open to retrieve the metal war fans, a matching headdress, and a set of makeup which, along with her armor, would later attribute to her iconic look as the Avatar. She then went to make her escape on Kelsang's flying bison Pengpeng, where she found Rangi packing the bison with supplies she had not thought to pack such as food and blankets. Rangi left with her, telling Kyoshi that she "will not last an hour without help."[18]

Fleeing from Jianzhu and Avatar training

The two traveled into the chaotic and lawless inner provinces of the Earth Kingdom. Unable to trust anyone who might be an ally of Jianzhu's, the pair used Kyoshi's journal to find allies in the Flying Opera Company, which was now reduced to a handful of members in Port Chameleon Bay; the waterbender Kirima, and the earthbenders Lao Ge, Flitting Sparrowkeet Wong and Bullet Lek. Tensions quickly brewed between Kyoshi and Lek, who had been taken in by Hark and Jesa after they left Kyoshi behind; Lek was angry at Kyoshi's loathing of Hark and Jesa, while Kyoshi resented Lek for being raised by her parents in her place.

Kyoshi took an oath to the group to secure their trust, swearing to remain loyal to them and to live by their code and against the law. Having realized that she was the Avatar, Kyoshi attempted to train in secret while Jianzhu searched for her to bring her back. She also wished to train so that she can bring Jianzhu to justice by exacting revenge on him for killing Kelsang and Yun, whom she felt guilty about for taking away his Avatar identity, due to believing that he would have done a better job than her. To achieve this, she asked a member of the group Lao Ge, whom she has figured out was an infamous assassin, to train her to kill someone.

Rangi openly disapproved of Kyoshi's decision to associate with criminals. When the group visited Hujiang, Rangi surprised Kyoshi and the others by participating in a lei tai, a fight that often ended in death or near-death. While managing to do well against the champion, Rangi took a blow that knocked her out after looking into Kyoshi's eyes, leaving Kyoshi feeling helpless as she watched her friend nearly get killed. However, Rangi woke up in time and broke the man's leg, establishing herself as the new champion. Later on, the Flying Opera Company was called in on a job by the Autumn Bloom, another daofei group that rose to power after the fall of the Yellow Necks, to whom the Flying Opera Company were indebted after they saved Lek's life. The job was to free a prisoner from the house of an Earth Kingdom governor named Te. Mok, the leader of the Autumn Bloom, told the Flying Opera Company they would be free of their debt to his group once the job was complete.

Later in the night, Kyoshi confronted Rangi about taking such a risk and making her feel helpless in the lei tai. Rangi got angry at her and told Kyoshi that she had been doing the same thing to her ever since they ran away from Yokoya, revealing that she had only entered the lei tai so that Kyoshi would feel that same helplessness. They acknowledged that they would not be able to stop taking risks now that they were on the run. Kyoshi also revealed that she wanted to kill Jianzhu not only to bring him to justice but because she was scared of him and did not know what else to do. Rangi told Kyoshi that although the Avatar can be reborn, Kyoshi could not and that she deserved happiness; that she deserved to feel loved, not afraid. Kyoshi told her she did feel loved before kissing her. Kyoshi was afraid when Rangi pushed her away, only to feel relieved when Rangi told her to kiss somewhere else because that part of her face had been injured in the fight earlier in the night. With that, the two of them became a couple.

Kyoshi and Rangi had agreed to keep her Avatar identity a secret from the bandit group, but when a shirshu sent by Jianzhu tracked them down, the group deduced she must be important, so she revealed her identity. When the group assumed she would leave them, as they believed the Avatar should not associate with criminals like them, Kyoshi surprised them by deciding to stay with them. The members then took it upon themselves to train her to bend the four elements; Wong and Lek training her in earthbending, Kirima training her in waterbending, and Rangi training her in firebending. Lao Ge taught her what it took to kill someone, but Kyoshi battled with herself over whether she should resort to such methods. Lacking an airbending teacher, Rangi taught her some airbender techniques in the hope that she would be able to airbend on her own.

As the group prepared for their raid on Te's estate, Lao Ge told Kyoshi that she should help him kill Governor Te as practice for when she killed Jianzhu, justifying this on the basis that Te was a corrupt leader.[18] At the same time, Kyoshi worried that Mok would take more lives than necessary during the raid, and devised a plan with Kirima and Rangi that would minimize deaths while also achieving their goals, but would revolve around her bending water as well as earth. As the raid began and the others went to save the prisoner, Lao Ge and Kyoshi broke off to find Governor Te, who turned out to be a 15-year-old who had been imitating his father's leadership style because he did not know any better. Instead of killing him, Kyoshi blasted Lao Ge with airbending and fled with Governor Te, sending him away to save his life despite the fact that he saw her bend two elements, while also warning him to be a better ruler.[21]

Afterward, Kyoshi and Lao Ge returned to the rest of the group to find that they had successfully freed the prisoner. They returned him to Mok and the Autumn Blooms, only to find out that the prisoner was Xu Ping An, the thought-dead leader of the Yellow Necks. The Autumn Blooms promptly revealed that they had been the remnants of the Yellow Necks the entire time, functioning under a false name to avoid detection. With their leader free, the group declared themselves restored.[21]

Duel with Xu Ping An

Kyoshi and her comrades were shocked about this revelation as Xu and his Yellow Neck rebels were infamous because of their fanaticism and the atrocities they had committed during their past rebellion. Though Kyoshi and the other Flying Opera Company members were treated cordially by Xu, who appeared thankful for their help, the Avatar immediately recognized that Xu's friendly demeanor thinly veiled an underlying madness. Having absolved themselves of their debt to the Autumn Bloom Society, the friends thus excused themselves and retreated from the Yellow Necks' camp. Afterward, however, discussions erupted about what to do next; on the one side, they did not want an insane mass murderer like Xu to go free, but at the same time they could not defeat him and the rest of his small army in an open battle. Eventually, Kyoshi decided that they should monitor the Yellow Necks before intervening. Just as they had feared, however, Xu immediately ordered his followers to resume their rampage, attacking a nearby civilian family. Fearing for the family's safety, Kyoshi decided on a whim to challenge Xu to a duel per the daofei code of conduct, to halt his reign of terror before it could truly begin anew.[22]

Kyoshi shrouded

When Kyoshi killed Xu Ping An, her imposing presence terrified most of the Yellow Necks into fleeing from her.

Though unsure about the strength of Xu, Kyoshi believed that she could beat him in a duel, assuming that he was a regular earthbender due to the Autumn Blooms/Yellow Necks being an Earth Kingdom group. To her shock, Xu - in reality, a firebender - struck her with lightning at the start of their fight, incapacitating her in seconds.[22] The young Avatar fell unconscious for a short moment, and Xu continued to fire several more blasts of lightning at her seemingly lifeless body while accusing her of ungratefulness. In truth, Kyoshi awoke, and though in immense pain, was grounding the lightning thanks to the armor under her clothing. After waiting for a few moments, Kyoshi entered the Avatar State, but this time with full control of her powers. Her glowing eyes and the bending of multiple elements terrified both Xu Ping An and his followers, who started to flee the scene. Meanwhile, Kyoshi lifted Xu high into the air, and for a short moment thought about what to do with him. When she realized that his shock had changed into hateful dismay without regret, she realized that he would never change his ways. In response, Kyoshi let him fall to his death, and then returned to the ground. She greeted her anxious friends, assuring them that she was still the same before addressing the remaining Yellow Necks. Unlike those who had fled, these bandits regarded her with reverence and only left when she ordered them to. Having done so, her grievous injuries finally resulted in her falling unconscious for three days.[23]

Confrontation with Jianzhu

The Avatar was brought by her comrades to a nearby village where an Earth Kingdom healer and Kirima attended to her; nevertheless, horrible scars remained on her hands due to the burns she had received from Xu's lightning attacks. When Kyoshi eventually awakened, Lek was in her room, and the two talked about their pasts and Kyoshi's parents, Lek suggesting that they had left her in Yokoya to spare their daughter the dangers of the daofei lifestyle and that they had taken him in because he could be replaced far more easily than their own flesh and blood. Kyoshi told Lek that she was glad he was the one raised by her parents if it could not have been her. Having fully overcome their past differences, the Avatar was very happy when Lek addressed her as "sister" for the first time.[24]

Kyoshi presents her fans

After the duel with Xu Ping An, Kyoshi's iconic look was complete: The green, armored kimono by Jianzhu,[19] the headdress and fans of her mother, the face paint of her father as well as the Flying Opera Company,[25] and the military gloves by Zigan Village's leatherworker.[26]

Thereafter, Kyoshi, Lek, and Rangi went to buy gloves for the wounded Avatar. On the way to a local leather shop, Kyoshi was annoyed to learn that most locals were terrified of her because some of Xu's followers had spread rumors about her being some kind of demon, and also that she had become the de facto head of the remaining Yellow Necks by killing Xu. To her pleasant surprise, the leatherworker had understood that she was the Avatar and saved them from the resurgence of Xu; he thus gifted her a fine pair of military gloves for her burnt hands.[26]

As they went back to the healer's house, the group was ambushed and shot with shirshu-spit darts that rendered them paralyzed. Rangi was dragged away, and to her horror, Kyoshi saw how Lek allergically reacted to the poison, slowly dying without her being able to do anything. After regaining control, the devastated Avatar took Lek's corpse to the healer's house, informing Wong, Kirima, and Lao Ge of what had happened. They also found a letter with Rangi's hair attached to it, telling her to meet Jianzhu in Qinchao Village near Yokoya unless she wanted Rangi dead.[26] Full of hatred, Kyoshi swore that she would finally kill the sage once and for all. The group proceeded to bury Lek, before hatching a plan according to which the Avatar would confront Jianzhu while her friends saved Rangi.

Kyoshi met Jianzhu in a stone teahouse in Qinchao, home to the Chin clan. There, the old master threatened to collapse the building on everyone inside if she refused to become his disciple. Disgusted at his methods, Kyoshi told him that he truly honored his nickname among daofei: the "Butcher of Zhulu Pass". Amused, Jianzhu finally told her the full story of what had happened at Zhulu Pass, all while relishing his act of mass murder, and affirming that his methods might be cruel, but that they also worked. Kyoshi once again rejected him as her teacher, whereupon the angered master began to earthbend the building down. Kyoshi responded by countering his bending with her own, and the two struggled on equal terms before noticing a new presence in the teahouse. To the horror of both, the presence was a believed-dead Yun. Though externally unchanged, Kyoshi sensed that something was horribly wrong about her old friend, and was shocked when he effortlessly killed Jianzhu before leaving without a word. Kyoshi continued to hold the building up until all civilians got out, and then left the village as the local law enforcement attempted to apprehend her. She made her way to the Avatar estate in Yokoya, meeting Kirima, Wong, and Lao Ge on the road with a rescued Rangi and her sick mother Hei-Ran, who had been poisoned as part of Jianzhu's schemes.[27]

Revealing herself to the world

Kyoshi told the Flying Opera Company what had happened and they subsequently decided to part ways, as the Avatar wanted her friends out of harm's way when she revealed her identity to the world. Kirima and Wong opted to lay low, while Rangi and her mother traveled to the Northern Water Tribe to seek out healers. Lao Ge went off on his own; before his departure the old man told Kyoshi that she was now among his potential targets. Kyoshi found that somewhat amusing. Soon after, the Avatar covertly joined a group of pilgrims who were journeying to the Southern Air Temple. There, she revealed herself as the Avatar to the Air Nomads through a displaying of her bending powers, though she nearly burned down a sacred tree in the process, which served as a reminder to rely on her fans for a bit longer. She consequently rested at the air temple, preparing herself for further training. Kyoshi also affirmed her decision to follow the code of the daofei for the rest of her life and pursue her own style of Avatarhood regardless of what posterity would think of her. The Air Nomads consequently began to convey the news from around the Earth Kingdom to her; in this way, she learned that Jianzhu had bequeathed all his wealth and lands to her in his testament. Amused, she noted how he continued to try to influence her and the world even after his death.[16]

While meditating at the Southern Air Temple, Kuruk appeared to Kyoshi in a vision, pleading for her help.[16] Kyoshi did not fully connect with him, however, leaving the content of his request vague.[28] Over the course of the next months, Kyoshi began to assume her Avatar duties. Before she left the Southern Air Temple, Jinpa was assigned to the Avatar as her personal secretary by the Council of Elders.[29] He subsequently became her confidant and friend, although their working relationship was often strained due to Kyoshi's unwillingness to do what was expected of her: namely, to aid and work with the four nations' elites, despite many of them being corrupt as well as self-serving.[29][28] Kyoshi found it difficult to be an approachable or diplomatic Avatar and failed to hide her disgust at the Earth Kingdom's rampant corruption. As she could not solve issues by talking, Kyoshi tended to resort to force and manipulation to carry out justice. She could do so, as her abilities as bender and strategist grew steadily, also thanks due to her studying the writings of her old nemesis Jianzhu.[3][29]

Feeling unable to properly influence the Earth Kingdom's elites, Kyoshi eventually launched a one-person crusade against the Earth Kingdom's worst daofei groups, destroying several.[3][29] She also searched for Yun, but found no trace of him. Overall, her demeanor and opinions alienated many members of the country's elite, while the common people came to fear her.[29][28] To Kyoshi's own unease, she increasingly employed tactics similar to those of Jianzhu, and began to feel deeply conflicted about her way to do things as the Avatar.[29]

The Festival of Szeto

By 296 BG, Kyoshi was in Ba Sing Se when she learned of Mok's reemergence as the leader of the Triad of the Golden Wing and easily defeated the criminal group. To her annoyance, however, she realized that both the triad and the city's police were used by a corrupt minister, Wo, who intended to take control of the critical city block of Loongkau for a profitable building project. In hopes of combating the injustice, Kyoshi not just apprehended the triad's members but also prevented the eviction of Loongkau's residents and exposed the police's corrupt connections.[3] When she returned to Jinpa, she learned that Fire Lord Zoryu had invited her to the Fire Nation Capital to celebrate the Festival of Szeto, an invitation she accepted after learning that Rangi and Hei-Ran had returned to the Fire Nation.[29]

Kyoshi and Jinpa journeyed to the Fire Nation on the latter's flying bison, Yingyong. During the voyage, they flew over the ruins of an island in the Mo Ce Sea, where Kuruk's voice rang out to her. She was seized by a bolt of pain, falling off the bison into the cold seawater. As Kuruk began to materialize, Jinpa attempted to drag her to the surface. Kuruk dissipated, and Kyoshi bent them to the surface. She revealed a series of failures to contact her predecessor over the past year and his plea for help, snapping out to her secretary when he reminded her of the great importance of visions from one's past lives. After she apologized, they proceeded to the Fire Nation Capital.[28] When the pair reached the city, they landed at the main gate to the Fire Nation Royal Palace, where Rangi stood there waiting for her, greeting the Avatar with a passionate kiss.[30]

Kyoshi was greeted by Chancellor Dairin, who told her that the Fire Lord would not be able to meet with her until the evening. She was given a tour of the palace, starting with the Royal Gallery, where she learned about the life and accomplishments of Avatar Szeto. The Avatar inspected the portrait of the late Fire Lord Chaeryu and asked about the flower arrangement beneath his portrait. Dairin paled and informed the Avatar not to mention it to anyone, bringing an abrupt end to the tour. She was shown to her accommodations, where Rangi and Jinpa disciplined her about her poor eating and sleeping habits over the past year. After Jinpa left, the couple talked about the search for Yun, and Kyoshi voiced her determination to find him. Rangi proposed cheering her up, and began to run her fingers across Kyoshi's tunic, only to disappoint her by having the Avatar practice her stance training.[31]

Hours later, the pair began to prepare for the garden party, with Rangi disapproving of Kyoshi wearing her regular fighting clothes and armor. She was told not to wear her iconic makeup, disappointing the Avatar, but Rangi reminded her that it was for daofei missions, not mingling with abiders. As Rangi began to explain the rules of decorum, Jinpa informed them both that the party was beginning. The pair was surprised to find that five hundred guests were in attendance instead of the expected twenty to thirty, aggravating Kyoshi. After the group watched a short musical performance, Dairin told her to mingle in the direction of the Fire Lord, and Rangi explained who she was expected to talk to according to rank. The Earth Kingdom delegation approached Governor Shing angry at Kyoshi's decision to tell his indentured servants that they were free after she defeated daofei in the province. Kyoshi humiliated him by asking him for a bill for her hard work in Shing's territories, departing with Lu Beifong.[32]

Hei-Ran approached at that moment, meeting Kyoshi again for the first time in a year. Kyoshi was glad to see the former headmistress in better health and resolved to find who was responsible for the poisoning. Hei-Ran responded that it was Jianzhu, and Kyoshi took a moment to consider the long-lasting effects of the earthbending master's decisions. She apologized for not being able to firebend the day Hei-Ran tested her in Yokoya, but Hei-Ran declared that she was the one who needed to apologize. Kyoshi told her that her recovery was a good start to atoning for her mistakes. After Rangi departed to leave the pair alone, Hei-Ran clarified that she would have killed Jianzhu if she knew what he did, and Kyoshi affirmed that she also would have done so. Hei-Ran told Kyoshi that no matter what, Rangi was kind at heart and that the Avatar would have to go to moral lengths that Rangi never could. Atuat arrived on the scene shortly after, and Kyoshi appreciated the skill of the renowned healer. Hei-Ran left to see to Atuat's antics, leaving Rangi and Kyoshi alone once more. Believing that she had finally reached the Fire Lord, Kyoshi introduced herself to Chaejin, who confused her with his regal attire and resemblance to Chaeryu. Beginning to compliment the supposed Fire Lord and wish him a glorious reign, she was kicked by Rangi in shock, who informed her that the man was not Zoryu.[33] The crowd froze in shock, and Chaejin introduced himself as Zoryu's half-brother. Zoryu arrived on the scene, and Chaejin began to talk at length about the poor harvests that the Fire Nation suffered. Kyoshi resolved to fix the nation's problems and asked Chaejin to leave. The man was shocked but left seemingly overjoyed instead of humiliated.

Hei-Ran took everyone to a side, wishing to stop a diplomatic catastrophe from escalating. Kyoshi apologized for insulting Chaejin, but Rangi told her that she had insulted the Fire Lord by making him appear weak, and attempting to use the right of dismissal in his presence. Rangi told her that she had no self-control, but Zoryu apologized for having organized a larger reception. Hei-Ran began to chide the Fire Lord for making himself seem weaker still, and blame Rangi for not doing something to avert the situation. Zoryu began to explain the situation, that Chaejin had been embittered by his years away at the Fire Sages, and was backed at court by the Saowon clan of his maternal heritage. Kyoshi noted that Chaejin could not claim the laws of succession, but Zoryu explained that he appeared cursed thanks to the poor fortunes of the country. Hei-Ran, Atuat, and Jinpa left when the firebending master felt unwell, leaving the youths alone. Zoryu began to reminisce about Yun's aptitude for court politics, and Kyoshi informed Zoryu about the addition to Chaeryu's portrait in the Royal Gallery. Zoryu began to bemoan the fierce devotion of the Keohso clan to him, and that he could not even consider abdicating. The pair began to adopt a more informal tone, Kyoshi bonding with Zoryu in spite of her blunder. Rangi told them both to start behaving as they headed back to the party, but the trio was shocked to see nobles held hostage in the palace grounds by Yun.[34]

Yun began to give a speech about the compliant nature of Fire Nationals, and Rangi shot Kyoshi a look, telling her to take Yun down. Her body froze, but she managed to chase after Yun, trying to hit him with her war fans but missed. Yun gleefully reminded Kyoshi about Jianzhu's death, telling her that he would take down everyone who lied to him. He told Kyoshi he was going after an old sifu and tunneled down, Kyoshi frantically rushing to Rangi and telling her that Hei-Ran was in danger. They rushed to Hei-Ran's chambers, but no one there had seen Yun. The other earthbender never arrived, however, and she made her way to a portrait gallery after hearing a scream, finding Yun holding Lu Beifong's corpse. She told Yun to stop, and Dairin and his men arrived on the scene. Yun was told to stand down but instead bent the earth-based paint in the Fire Avatars' portraits, launching shards at Kyoshi and the others.[35] The chancellor was already dead when Atuat arrived on the scene, and the healer shoved her a water skin, letting Kyoshi treat minor injuries.

Kyoshi was led to Zoryu's war room, finding the Fire Lord in shock at why Yun would commit such an act. Kyoshi told him that he was seeking revenge on everyone who wronged him, and Chaejin began to bemoan the effects of Yun's attacks, noting that some even wanted war with the Earth Kingdom. Kyoshi asked to speak with Chaejin alone and proposed that Chaejin take the throne. She asked him what he would do, and he responded that the natural order of things would be restored once he was on the throne. He asked if he was being played, but Kyoshi told him she was forming an opinion. Chaejin departed, noting that not even the Avatar could fight history.[36]

The following morning, Kyoshi took breakfast with Rangi and Hei-Ran. Hei-Ran noted that Kyoshi believed that Father Glowworm had possessed Yun in some manner. Hei-Ran noted that she had never heard of the name, and Kyoshi should as Kuruk knew about it. Kyoshi responded that she could not commune with her past lives yet, but Hei-Ran proposed meeting with Nyahitha in North Chung-Ling so Kyoshi could commune with the Avatar. Kyoshi was determined to go to the city, but Rangi grew angry at them going away just after the palace was attacked. Rangi could not figure out why Yun killed people so methodically, but Hei-Ran explained Yun's assassination lessons. Rangi told Hei-Ran she was responsible for turning Yun into a monster, threw a table over the balcony, and stormed off. Kyoshi found Rangi in the stables, upset that she did not try to use her bending against Yun the previous night, and expressing worry that Yun would hurt Kyoshi. They laughed about Rangi's serious breach of manners, the firebender kissing the Avatar's scarred knuckles. Zoryu arrived on the scene, apologizing for the prior night, but explained he was also there for Hei-Ran's ceremony of acknowledging her dishonor. The firebending master ritualistically cut off her top-knot, noting that, among other failings, she had not recognized the true Avatar. Afterward, they began making preparations to go to North Chung-Ling. Hei-Ran explained privately to Kyoshi that she was coming along to act as bait, and that Kyoshi would not have a good chance at capturing Yun without a sacrifice. She told Kyoshi that her death even might put an end to the succession crisis. Kyoshi did not object to the plan, and Hei-Ran took her silence as acceptance.[37]

Traveling to North Chung-Ling

Kyoshi arrived in North Chung-Ling on Yingyong with her companions, scouting ahead with Rangi while the firebender bickered with her mother. She picked Rangi up by the waist and whirled her around, embarrassing the other woman. The group made their way into town, Rangi disapproving of the nascent poverty and the city's black reputation as a gambling den. She asked Rangi about her own clan, the Sei'naka, and promised to visit her girlfriend's home island someday. As Jinpa and Atuat distracted the locals, Kyoshi, Rangi, and Hei-Ran entered Nyahitha's tent. Hei-Ran explained Kyoshi's predicament, and Rangi disapproved of having Kyoshi work with a scam artist. Nyahitha warned of the curse of all who learned of Father Glowworm's name, to the skepticism of Rangi. Angry when the adults began to make excuses for Kuruk, Kyoshi pled with Nyahitha for help, who tried to discern what could be wrong with Yun. He told her he had little knowledge of wrathful spirits but could help her commune with Kuruk that evening.

Outside, a commotion began as members of the Saowon arrived in the city. The group observed an altercation between Lady Huazo and Sanshur Keohso, intervening as soon as a member of Huazo's van spat on the ground, causing the Keohso to throw rocks at her. Kyoshi earthbent the rocks away, while Hei-Ran distracted the noblewoman. Huazo patted Hei-Ran on the head, considered a grave insult, before introducing herself to the Avatar. Rangi embraced a Saowon woman, who Huazo introduced as Koulin, Rangi's friend from the academy. Before departing, Kyoshi warned the Keohso from instigating a fight, though they stated that as loyalists, they should not be disciplined. They returned to the stalls, and Rangi explained that she had in fact been miserable at the academy. Before Kyoshi set out to meet Nyahitha, her group encountered a Keohso merchant who had been beaten bloody by his relatives for doing business with the Saowon, and hauled the offenders to the town jail.[38]

Kyoshi and Nyahitha reached a bluff in the hills of North Chung-Ling, the sage growing disgruntled after learning that they had not made use of Yingyong. She asked if she could commune with Yangchen instead of Kuruk, but Nyahitha told her that he believed she had to reach her immediate predecessor before the other Avatars. Kyoshi began to disparage Kuruk, but Nyahitha told her they were more alike than they thought, both being stubborn, idolizing Yangchen, and having little emotional control. Focusing on Nyahitha's flame as she meditated, Kyoshi experienced an extended vision of Kuruk's life from his discovery as Avatar up to his first experience meditating to the Spirit World. She told Nyahitha that the memories were not those she was looking for, and Nyahitha cautioned her from her resentments toward Kuruk. As the pair looked down on the city, they were shocked to find a large message supporting Chaejin as Fire Lord.[39][40]

Kyoshi and Nyahitha rushed to the village square, where Saowon and Keohso clansmen had lined up to fight. She asked the sage to find her friends, and a smug Huazo asked her to decipher the supposedly spiritual message. Kyoshi ordered the fighters to stand down, but Sanshur asked the foreigner to keep out of their business, as such insults had to be answered. Rangi arrived on the scene, telling the clansmen to listen to Kyoshi, as she had the final authority on spiritual matters. However, the fight truly began after Rangi punched Koulin across the jaw after she viciously insulted Hei-Ran. The Saowon guard was beaten bloody, and a shocked Kyoshi ordered her to be brought to Atuat. At that moment, she realized the entire fight was a diversion and rushed to Hei-Ran's inn just as the firebending master was stabbed through the throat with a ceramic spike by Yun.[41] Hei-Ran managed to burn Yun's torso with a fireball, but the earthbender escaped, and Kyoshi decided to prioritize Hei-Ran's life over capturing Yun, holding her sleeves to the former headmistress's throat to stop the bleeding and dragging her across the city to be healed by Atuat.[42]

As Nyahitha and Jinpa discussed the escalating tensions, Atuat informed Kyoshi that both Rangi and Hei-Ran were livid with her. Rangi was furious to have learned of Hei-Ran's plan and angrily stormed off, declaring that she would have nothing to do with Kyoshi after she had used her mother as bait. Kyoshi began to panic, but Hei-Ran, knowing her daughter better, told Kyoshi that Rangi would soon show the Avatar that she still cared. Kyoshi let Hei-Ran know that she still could not find Yun, to which she noted that Kyoshi had missed her opportunity and that the clans would use their fight in the town square to justify war. Kyoshi proposed that Yun and the Saowon were working together, as every move he made had benefitted the clan. Hei-Ran noted that such evidence would disgrace the Saowon for good, as none of the other clans wanted to be associated with those that had invited a foreign attack on the nation. At that moment, Rangi arrived with noodles cooked with her own firebending to show she still cared for Kyoshi, and Hei-Ran told her to eat up, as the Avatar needed her strength. She told Kyoshi that since her daughter loved her, she considered her to also be her own daughter.[42]

Kyoshi confirmed that the crops in the town's melonyam fields had been poisoned with salt, remembering that Huazo had recently purchased a salt-making operation. Hei-Ran believed Kyoshi but told her that the current evidence was circumstantial. Noting that they needed a confession from the Saowon, Hei-Ran, Kyoshi, Jinpa, and Atuat began to formulate a plan to kidnap Huazo and Chaejin and make them confess. Kyoshi confronted Huazo at the docks, asking her where Yun was. When the noblewoman denied any connection with him, Kyoshi intimidated her by bending her ferry in the air with a giant wave, which she proceeded to freeze. Still not complying, Kyoshi told Huazo to come with her on a visit to Capital Island. Huazo gleefully agreed, believing that Kyoshi was making a colossal mistake, and asked her guards to send word to the other clans. Returning to the inn for takeoff, she asked Hei-Ran if her honor would be tarnished, but the woman responded that honor had to sometimes be laid down for the sake of others. At that moment, Rangi unexpectedly arrived, shocked at what Kyoshi was doing. Kyoshi gently bent Rangi into the ground to immobilize her and gave her a kiss on the forehead, apologizing before she took off on Yingyong.[43]

End of the Camellia-Peony War

Jinpa and Kyoshi flew to Capital Island with Huazo, the noblewoman complaining about her hunger. On the way, Huazo explained the history of her relationship with Chaeryu, and her political motivations to see her son on the throne. Kyoshi realized that under different circumstances, Huazo would have been a brilliant Fire Lady and mentor, but was still determined to bring her to justice. She confused Huazo by bringing her to a safe house near the capital instead of the palace itself. She and Jinpa had a brief discussion about why he never encouraged the path of nonviolence before she took off and informed Zoryu of the situation.[44] The Fire Lord was shocked, but Kyoshi told him that they had to take a risk to prevent war, and he allowed her to kidnap Chaejin.

As Kyoshi flew to the safehouse with the Fire Lord's half-brother, he gleefully believed that his kidnapping would only strengthen the glory of his future reign. As they reached the house, she revealed Huazo was inside, ripping away the foundations of the hut with earthbending to reveal Chaejin's shocked mother. She asked her where Yun was and rumbled the foundations of the building to intimidate them. Chaejin cried that they had never dealt with Yun, and she grabbed the man by the throat and dangled him over Yingyong's saddle, threatening to drop Chaejin and his mother both. When she finally asked where Yun was, Kuruk's voice rang out, reminding her that taking intimidation this far was not who she was. She realized that they truly did not know, and put Chaejin on the platform and raised it up, letting them go free. She was in shock at her own actions and did not know how she would explain the situation to the court.[45]

When they arrived at the palace, Kyoshi attended Zoryu's assembly in the Fire Lord's private theater. Zoryu announced that the traitor had been found, and "Yun" confessed to conspiring with the Saowon. At once, the clans all turned on the Saowon in the room, and an immediate purge began. Kyoshi chased after the Fire Lord's prisoner and managed to take down the guards, revealing that the Yun was actually a decoy, ready to die to clear his debt.[46] She reached Zoryu in the war room, who confirmed that the Saowon clan was to die. She pointed out that the ruse would be exposed if the real Yun showed up, and Zoryu agreed, telling her that he had bought the Avatar more time to bring Yun to justice. Kyoshi demanded clemency for the Saowon and the false Yun if the real one was to be dealt with, although her intimidation did not faze the Fire Lord. Zoryu advised Kyoshi that Yun truly hated them, and was driven by his revenge for his stolen Avatarhood. He told her to accept the truth, before dismissing her to plan the future of his country.[47] She departed the capital on a small royal pleasure craft, Sulan's Smile.[43]

Connecting with Kuruk

When the ship reached the ruins of Yangchen's island, Kyoshi plunged into the water. Almost drowning in the seawater, Kyoshi managed to cross over to a beautiful green field in the Spirit World. Kuruk told her that he could help guide her to Yun and Father Glowworm, but he needed her help to do so. Kyoshi asked where the spirits were, and Kuruk told her that they avoided him, as he used to hunt spirits. Kyoshi grew disgusted upon learning about this fact and angrily told him that his name belonged in the gutter with hers. The Spirit World responded to her emotional state, the ground cracking beneath her. She screamed at Kuruk, threatening to fall into an abyss, and Kuruk told her she had every right to hate him. At that moment, the crumbling paused as Kyoshi reminded herself of her obligation to the world, and to be more than the sum of her grievances. The Spirit World reconstructed itself, and Kuruk motioned to touch Kyoshi. She received an extensive vision of his life after he first crossed over to the Spirit World up to his battle with Father Glowworm.[48]

When she stepped away from Kuruk's memories, Kyoshi had a newfound respect for her predecessor. She asked about the rest of his memories, but Kuruk dourly told her there was little else to see. Kyoshi expressed her gratitude for reaching him, but he showed her another area of the Spirit World: a drained, dead swamp that had been formed out of Yun's anger. Kuruk told her that spirits could not possess people's thoughts, and Kyoshi realized that Yun had been acting freely the entire time during his quest for vengeance. When the meeting came to an end, Captain Joonho dragged her out of the water, saving her life.[49]

Final confrontation with Yun

After spending a month learning advanced healing arts from Atuat, Kyoshi managed to make her way to Yokoya. She found a message leading Kyoshi to the mansion, where Mui was serving a plate of food for Yun, overjoyed to see both of the youths for the first time in over a year. The pair found an excuse to dismiss Mui and began to confront one another. Kyoshi resolved to put Yun away, stating that if he resurfaced, the Fire Nation would fall into chaos again. Yun responded that he did not care about the state of the world, and was determined to kill all the liars who had sought his favor while he was believed to be the Avatar. Not wishing to be locked up by Kyoshi, he told her he was not being given much of a choice to fight her or not, and Kyoshi responded that she was not giving him a choice.

Yun bent up a stone pillar between him and Kyoshi, providing ample bendable earth for the two of them. The two benders started punching bullets and fist-sized rocks at each other from the monolith, both sides managing to avoid attack until Kyoshi shoved the entire pillar at Yun, ripping up the dining room. Yun escaped from the area, earthbending spikes at Kyoshi from the central part of the estate while not letting himself be seen, the Avatar scouting the main hall of the mansion. As Yun emerged from an alcove, Kyoshi asked him to let go of his pain, which he refused.

Kyoshi was caught off guard when Yun managed to liquefy the stone floor without heat, bringing it up to trap and encase Kyoshi. He explained that he never intended to hurt her, as she was the only one innocent in the entire affair. Pointing out her heavy armor, he believed that she had been cursed by her newfound Avatar duties. Kyoshi proudly responded that she wore her makeup and armor because she chose to, and she had much truer friends than Yun, as the Flying Opera Company arrived on the scene.

Kirima's attacks allowed enough time for Wong to successfully earthbend Kyoshi out of Yun's trap. Caught off-guard by Kyoshi's friends, he asked if Rangi was here, which the firebender confirmed, as Jinpa circled above the mansion. Kyoshi tried to drag Yun down with earthbending, but he easily escaped from the ground. Rangi stepped forward with a ferocious fire attack that startled everyone present. In response, Yun violently shook the earth, sending Kyoshi and Rangi flying. As he liquified the very foundations of the mansion, Wong and Kirima were forced from the roof, while Jinpa finally came in from above to rescue the combatants. Yun launched a hedge of stone spears, launching them at the airbender and managing to run him through the shoulder, pinning him to his bison's saddle horn. Kirima and Wong rushed to Yun, trying to attack him from a blind spot, but he created large pitfalls that broke their legs.

Yun hurled broken earth discs at Kyoshi and Rangi, now attempting to chastise them instead of truly wound them. The pair then crudely put on a substitution of their signature makeup with blood, and began to jet-step with firebending, propelling them forward to Yun without touching the earth. Kyoshi shot a huge fireball in Yun's direction but he dodged it, while Rangi managed to redirect the flame's course and hurled it back around, causing Yun's earthen barrier to explode. Yun tunneled down and made his way up to Rangi, stabbing her through the back with an earthen spike.

Yun warned Kyoshi that situations would keep occurring if she tried to stop him. Kyoshi began to apologize for stealing Yun's Avatarhood, bringing a hand to his chest to seemingly comfort him. Finally, she used an advanced healing technique to drastically lower his body temperature, freezing his heart and lungs solid and killing him. She moved her other hand to Rangi to heal her, using the Avatar State to lift up a sliver of water to treat her grievous injury.

She brought her friends to the mansion's standing infirmary, constantly healing Rangi, and managing to give Jinpa some medicine for the pain. She informed them that Atuat would be arriving soon, as well as Hei-Ran. When Rangi asked if it was truly over with Yun, Kyoshi confirmed that it was, and the couple cried for their friend.[50]

Kyoshi buried Yun on a hill above Yokoya, personally engraving his name on the stone marker. Kyoshi and Rangi were the last to linger by Yun's grave after a small funeral, and the Avatar asked her lover if she was right to kill her friend because she could not save him. Rangi said she did not know, but she would always be there by Kyoshi's side. At that moment, a fox appeared from a nearby bush, guiding Kyoshi to a spring in a nearby forest.

Kyoshi saw a stone tablet, and began to meditate on the spiritual grounds. She saw Yangchen, and gasped in shock, believing her to be Jesa's ghost. Once she got over her surprise, she said how thankful she was to reach the Air Avatar. Kyoshi voiced her doubts about Kuruk being a good mentor, but Yangchen explained that the spirits turned dark in his lifetime because of her own agreements with the humans. With Kyoshi confused, Yangchen explained that she must forgo the easy answers, as even if she spent a thousand years talking to the past Avatar, only she could make the right decision. Before dissipating, Yangchen advised her to replace the clay turtle relic she had broken after she escaped Jianzhu's mansion and tried to practice earthbending with it. When she came to her senses, the fox was still there, and guided her back to her friends, later becoming her animal guide.[51]

Following her battle with Yun, she sent Lao Ge to intimidate Zoryu into keeping his promise to spare the Saowon and the false Yun.[52]

Establishing the Kyoshi Warriors

Kyoshi and her warriors

Kyoshi trained the first Kyoshi Warriors to help the women of her adopted homeland to defend themselves as well as their homes.

Eventually, Kyoshi mastered the Avatar State, becoming feared and effective while restoring order in the world.[53] She also did not hide her bisexuality and attempted to effect greater tolerance for non-heterosexual people in the notoriously conservative Earth Kingdom. Nevertheless, these efforts had little impact.[54] When she visited the ports of her adopted homeland peninsula, she constantly had to put carousing men in their place after they caused trouble to the female villagers. Eventually, she decided to train the women in defensive combat so that they could defend themselves. These women later formed the first band of the Kyoshi Warriors.[55]

Stopping Chin the Conqueror

Kyoshi and Chin

Avatar Kyoshi confronted Chin the Conqueror and created Kyoshi Island in 270 BG.

During Kyoshi's life, the 46th Earth King's rule was unpopular among the populace of the Earth Kingdom. Using this to his advantage, a warlord named Chin launched a war to conquer the continent. He was successful until he reached the peninsula where Kyoshi lived, finding the Avatar waiting for him. Standing before his army, Chin demanded their immediate surrender, and Kyoshi warned him that she would not sit idly by as he took her home. When he refused to back down and assumed a challenging earthbending stance, she unfurled one of her fans and fired a powerful air blast at him, leaving the humiliated warlord down to his underwear. Kyoshi subsequently entered the Avatar State and separated the peninsula from the mainland by using a combination of earthbending, lavabending, and airbending, forming Kyoshi Island and thereby protecting her homeland from subsequent threats. An indignant Chin was left standing on the edge of the newly-formed cliff, which began to crumble beneath his feet and, as he refused to budge from his unstable position, caused him to fall into the sea and drown, ending his campaign and ushering the world into a great era of peace. Though Kyoshi was only tangentially responsible for Chin's death, she herself saw little difference between causing the circumstances of his death and actually striking him down, and would claim to have personally killed him for generations afterward.

Because of Kyoshi's act, the people of Chin Village on the mainland founded Avatar Day to vilify Kyoshi, and all succeeding Avatars, for the death of their leader. The people of Kyoshi Island, meanwhile, founded "Kyoshi Day" on the same day as Avatar Day, to honor her creation of the island and the restoration of peace to their village. They also erected a large totem, topped with a statue of Kyoshi in her memory.[8]

History with the 46th Earth King

Kyoshi defeats Earth King's guards

Kyoshi defeated the Earth King's guards upon being attacked by them.

Sometime after her final confrontation with Chin, Kyoshi was summoned to Ba Sing Se upon the request of the Earth King, since his unpopular rule had led to a peasant uprising in the city. By the time Kyoshi reached the city, the peasants had already destroyed everything that represented the "old government", including ancient and valuable artifacts that held historical and cultural importance. The King demanded that she stop the uprising by whatever means necessary. However, Kyoshi staunchly refused, stating that it would not be right for her to do so. Incensed by her defiance, the Earth King ordered his guards to arrest her. However, the King was left cowering on his throne as Kyoshi dispatched his guards in a single move and admonished him in turn for daring to defy the Avatar. Held at the point of Kyoshi's war fan, the quivering monarch agreed to a compromise: the Earth King would give the peasants a voice in his ruling, while Kyoshi, in turn, agreed to protect Ba Sing Se's cultural heritage from further desecration. She proceeded to train an elite platoon of earthbenders called the Dai Li, though their subsequent corruption weighed heavily on Kyoshi in her afterlife.[9]

Death

Kyoshi died in the year 82 BG at the age of 230, making her the oldest confirmed Avatar and human in history,[4] though some other individuals were rumored to have lived even longer.[56] It is possible that Kyoshi learned the secret of immortality from her spiritual teacher, Lao Ge.[10] Her daughter Koko succeeded her as the leader of Kyoshi Island,[6] and she reincarnated as the Fire Nation noble, Roku.

Legacy

Avatar Kyoshi statue

Wooden statues of Avatar Kyoshi could be found across Kyoshi Island.

Following her death, Kyoshi became a legend and was considered one of the greatest Avatars.[57] The devotion to her memory was strongest in her adopted homeland, as wooden statues of Avatar Kyoshi were erected in every village of Kyoshi Island,[58] and a shrine dedicated to her was erected in Suki's village, displaying the late Avatar's outfit and war fans.[8] The Kyoshi Medal of Freedom, regarded as the highest recognition conferred upon exemplary military personnel in the Earth Kingdom,[59] and Kyoshi Bridge in Republic City both share her name.[60]

In the centuries after her death, several details of Kyoshi's life faded out of public memory. Most notably, it became a point of pride for Kyoshi Islanders to attribute her birthplace to the locality,[61] and one of her successors, Avatar Aang, also falsely believed that she had been born in the area that later became Kyoshi Island.[62]

Kyoshi's attraction to both men and women was known to some people centuries after her death, including Kya, who relayed the Avatar's preferences as well as her failure to establish lasting change and tolerance toward such relationships in her home nation to Avatar Korra and her girlfriend, Asami Sato.[54]

Appearances in Aang's life

Kyoshi appears

Kyoshi manifested herself through Aang during his trial for Chin's death.

During his trip to Kyoshi Island, Aang observed the statue erected in her honor.[61]She thereafter appeared in a vision as the most recent Earth Kingdom Avatar when Avatar Roku was explaining the nature of the Avatar State to Aang.[63] Kyoshi later manifested herself through Aang to testify in a trial proving the Avatar's innocence, though she confessed to killing Chin while doing so.[8]

When helping Aang to reconnect with her and his other predecessors after being shot down by Azula's lightning, she apologized to him for the wrongful murder charge in Chin Village and explained that after Chin's demise, she helped the world live in balance; she accomplished a lot of good but also made mistakes, one of which was the creation of the Dai Li, as she could never have foreseen how corrupt and cruel they would become. Kyoshi imparted Aang with the wisdom that all their action have consequences, even if they do not manifest in their own lifetime, and sent him to find her predecessor.[9]

Before the arrival of Sozin's Comet, Aang summoned Kyoshi's spirit, seeking advice on how to defeat Phoenix King Ozai without killing him. Kyoshi reminded him that her forceful ending of Chin the Conqueror's war for dominance brought a great era of peace. Aang pointed out that she was not directly responsible for Chin's death, arguing that it was a result of his own arrogance. Kyoshi replied that she saw no difference in this, and told him that she would have done anything to stop Chin. She left Aang, telling him that only justice would bring peace. Aang regretted consulting Kyoshi on this complex matter after hearing her advice.[1]

While Aang was trying to establish contact with Avatar Yangchen for a solution to the situation with General Old Iron, Kyoshi appeared in a vision which represented Aang's restored connection to his past lives after restoring his link with Roku. Despite his displeasure with her advice to kill Ozai, Aang nonetheless greeted her cheerfully before moving on.[64]

Appearance in Korra's life

Avatars

Kyoshi was present, along with all the other Avatars, as Korra's bending was restored.

Kyoshi, alongside many other past Avatars, appeared to Korra after she had lost her bending to Amon. This appearance was representative of Korra's ability to establish a connection with her spiritual side and for the purpose of having her bending restored.[65]

After Korra had lost her memory, Kyoshi appeared before her, taking over from Avatar Roku, and informed the young Avatar that if she did not reconnect with her Avatar Spirit, darkness would engulf the world and she would die, ending the era of the Avatar.[66]

While Unalaq was attacking Raava, Korra envisioned Kyoshi as part of the Avatar lineup, which she had seen prior to regaining her bending; however, the latter's connection to Korra was severed due to Unalaq's assault on and subsequent destruction of the light spirit.[67]

Personality

Kyoshi's life and personality were marked by her struggle with herself and as the Avatar. She was naturally empathic, considerate, trusting, level-headed, and hard-working.[2][5][14][3][68] As result of her difficult early life, she suffered from low self-esteem in puberty[69] and continued to constantly doubt her capabilities and goodness as a person after announcing her position as Avatar.[3][29] Inclined to endure hardship with stoicism instead of fighting back[2] and having been raised with few positive social contacts, Kyoshi often struggled to manage situations proactively and failed to properly read people.[68] As such, she tended to use force to solve problems,[52] despite her low opinion of violence.[29] Overall, she had a very strong sense of justice,[1][3] influenced by her early life, and little patience for those who caused suffering just to benefit themselves.[52][68]

Kyoshi usually hid her self-doubts and compassion behind an image of righteous fierceness to fulfill her duties as the Avatar, showing her loving and friendly side only to those with whom she was close. In fact, she could become easily flustered and was the more passive part in her relationship with Rangi.[68] In addition, Kyoshi had a strong affinity for order and cleanliness due to her background, as she had to live in dirt and amid garbage as a child.[5][14]

Kyoshi threatens the 46th Earth King

Kyoshi had little respect for much of the world's ruling elites and, accordingly, was willing to threaten them.

Faced with the world's harsh realities and after being repeatedly disappointed by political elites, Kyoshi gradually became more determined and grim when dealing with opponents.[29][28] When truly convinced that someone was utterly corrupt or evil, she had few qualms about ending their lives to save those of others.[23][26][27] Although she never became completely ruthless, her way of doing things as the Avatar was strongly influenced by Jianzhu as well as Lao Ge.[26][29][68] Kyoshi thus had few qualms about using her powers and enforce her will, openly threatening powerful people like Fire Lord Zoryu or the 46th Earth King.[52][68][7] By her forties, she would no longer "take any BS from anyone".[69] In general, Kyoshi gave her most threatening opponents one chance to change their course,[8][9][23][52] and if they wasted it, she did not hesitate to end them.[21][52] Despite that hard stance, she generally preferred to not kill anyone and was known to be more forgiving toward less dangerous foes.[3][29]

Abilities

Bending

Kyoshi's fans

Avatar Kyoshi used a pair of golden war fans, which provided her greater comfort while bending tiny earth objects.

As the Avatar, Kyoshi was able to bend all four elements and enter the Avatar State at will. At the age of 16, she momentarily entered the State for the first time,[20] albeit involuntarily, while fighting Tagaka, having been activated as an instinctive defense mechanism. Later that same year, Kyoshi was able to remain fully aware of her heightened powers while in the Avatar State when she consciously dueled and killed Xu Ping An.[23] Her most spectacular known feat was using the Avatar State to separate her home peninsula from the Earth Kingdom mainland and push it far out to sea to create Kyoshi Island. To do so, she first cut down to the earth's mantle with earth and lavabending to sever the landmasses, followed by airbending to push the island out to sea.[8]

Earthbending

Kyoshi lavabends

Kyoshi was capable of lavabending.

During her youth, Kyoshi struggled to manipulate small amounts of earth and lacked precision with her bending. However, over time, she was able to overcome this handicap and manipulate tiny shards of glass with ease. During her training with the Flying Opera Company, she improved her control over earth. During her last fight with Jianzhu, she was able to match his power, holding up a stone tea shop. Eventually, she learned the signature ability of the Flying Opera Company: dust stepping, by which she could rise into the air by summoning dust and dirt to temporarily support her weight.

Firebending and airbending

She was a natural talent with firebending and was particularly capable of the breath of fire. Similarly, she was naturally talented with airbending. During the attack on Te's compound, she summoned a powerful gust of wind that knocked back Tieguai the Immortal. During her fight with Xu Ping An, she entered the Avatar State, while retaining her control. She rose into the air in a vortex of air and created a lasso of fire around the Yellow Neck criminals, and then proceeded to drop Xu, allowing him to plummet to his death.

Waterbending

She displayed her raw strength for waterbending when she summoned a great wave to lift Lady Huazo's ship and freeze it in ice in her attempts to intimidate the noblewoman. In addition, she was able to heal using water, becoming capable of an advanced and unique healing technique that can slow every process of a body down, including death, a technique that requires great raw power. Kyoshi was capable of using this in combat, freezing the heart and lungs of her enemies, instantly killing them. She was capable of standard healing as well, using it to tend to the wounds of Rangi after her fight with Yun. Following the fight, she was able to tap into the Avatar State to draw water from underneath the ruins of the Avatar Mansion, in order to heal Rangi.

Avatar Spirit

Under Nyahitha, the spiritual guide of her predecessor, Avatar Kuruk, Kyoshi learned various methods by which she could commune with her past lives. The first was to simply have a vision of him, a method that would work best in locations of meaning to the past Avatar in question. The second method consisted of the past life taking over her body to speak to another on her behalf rather than direct communication. The final and most difficult was to meditate into the Spirit World, where she could talk to the Avatar face to face. Kyoshi showed an extraordinary level of aptitude with the last method. During her very first session, she successfully projected herself into Kuruk's early memories as an observer, looking at stages of his life.[39]

Other skills

Apart from the elements, Kyoshi was a skilled warrior and well-versed in the art of tessenjutsu, wielding a pair of golden metallic war fans with great skill and dexterity.[8][9] Kyoshi was exceptionally strong and able to lift a grown man with one hand as a teenager.[19][70]

Before the invasion of the Te compound, Lao Ge conferred upon Avatar Kyoshi the secret of immortality. As aging was the result of the body deteriorating on "the smallest, most invisible levels" without repairing this damage, Lao Ge taught her that one could stop this process by keeping an inventory of one's parts and putting all things which had fallen out of order back into their places. Doing so would allow Kyoshi to reconstruct her body over and over again, allowing her to retain one particular appearance for centuries.

Relatives

Hark
   
   
Jesa
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Kyoshi
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Koko
   
   

Appearances

Avatar: The Last Airbender

Book Two: Earth (土)

Escape from the Spirit World

Book Three: Fire (火)

Avatar comics

Other comics

Graphic novels

The Legend of Korra

Book One: Air (气)

  • 112. "Endgame(vision, no lines)

Book Two: Spirits (神靈)

Book Four: Balance (平衡)

Graphic novels

Kyoshi novels

The Rise of Kyoshi

The Shadow of Kyoshi

Trivia

  • On the golden button on the right arm guard of the Kyoshi Warriors and on the fan that the statue of Avatar Kyoshi held to her face is the word 京. On the other fan, the one on her outstretched arm is the word 士. In Japanese, 京士 is pronounced kyōshi and translated as "capital samurai". However, on the mural in her shrine, her name appeared as 虛子, a proper Japanese name which is pronounced kyoshi, a near-homophone with 京士 but with a shorter 'o' sound.[8]
  • In the episode "The Southern Air Temple", Kyoshi was seen to the right on the painting in the Earth Kingdom's Avatar Temple. However, the statue that preceded Roku's statue in the Southern Air Temple is not Kyoshi's.
    • In a concept piece for the episode, however, an early depiction of Kyoshi does stand after Kuruk.
  • Kyoshi also had the largest feet of any Avatar, and was the largest known Avatar in terms of physicality;[8] when seen confronting Chin the Conqueror in "Avatar Day", and the time she faced the 46th Earth King's guards, she clearly appears several heads taller than them.
  • In a chibi comic, Kyoshi was portrayed as a gym teacher. This can be a reference to the meaning of her name, "teacher", and the fact that she began two different factions of warriors, training them in two different fighting styles.[71]
  • Kyoshi is the first known Avatar to have had descendants. Kyoshi's only known child and daughter, Koko, succeeded her as governor of Kyoshi Island and eventually became famous in her own right, having had children named after her over three hundred years later.[6]
  • Avatar Kyoshi's legacy and work as Avatar has started two groups: the Kyoshi Warriors and the Dai Li, both of which Azula made use of to conquer Ba Sing Se.
  • Kyoshi, Roku, Aang, and Korra are all known to have defied the leaders of their respective nations: Kyoshi, at first, refused to aid the 46th Earth King when he asked her to intervene in the peasant uprising in Ba Sing Se; Roku nearly killed Fire Lord Sozin in an attempt to put a stop to his imperialistic endeavors; Aang did not move to the Eastern Air Temple as he was instructed and instead ran away, and Korra started a civil war against Chief Unalaq.
Opening Kyoshi earthbending

Kyoshi is the earthbender in the opening sequence of The Legend of Korra.

  • Kyoshi is shown as the earthbender in the opening sequence of The Legend of Korra, making her the first person to be seen in the series.
  • Kyoshi was the first Avatar to create a new landmass via her bending when she separated her peninsula from the mainland, creating Kyoshi Island.
  • Kyoshi is the only named Earth Avatar, being the only element to have only one named Avatar.
  • Kyoshi is one of the only five known persons to have been alive for multiple passings of Sozin's Comet, with three. The others being Aang, Bumi, and Pathik, with two, and Lao Ge, with an unclear number.
  • Kyoshi is rumored to have taken down a shark squid with one hand.[72]
  • Kyoshi is the only known female capable of lavabending.
  • Known to have had romantic relationships with both men and women,[54] Kyoshi is, along with Aiwei,[73] Asami, Korra, Kya, Rangi, Zenko, and his husband[74] one of the few known LGBTQ+ individuals in the Avatar universe. She was also the first known LGBTQ+ Avatar, with Korra being the second.[54] In a 2019 interview, Michael Dante DiMartino stated that "in the back of our minds we always thought Kyoshi was probably bisexual" and eventually decided to make it canon in the Korra comics.[69]
  • Kyoshi is the only known Avatar to be born to parents of different ethnicities.[18]
  • Despite loathing her birth parents for their criminal activities, Kyoshi nonetheless kept their memory alive partially by using her father's theater make-up and her mother's war fans as part of her Avatar look.
  • Kyoshi is the only Avatar known to have had difficulty mastering her birth element.
  • During her time as a maid at the Avatar mansion, Kyoshi kept a gold-dye tassel, a few beads, a coin she stole from the village donation box yet felt too guilty to spend, and the clay turtle she stole from Kelsang and Jianzhu on a tiny shelf in her quarters.[17]
  • Kyoshi's chainmail she wore under her robes was inspired by kusari gusoku, chainmail armor that was worn by the samurai.[75]
Preceded by
Kuruk
Avatar
312 - 82 BG
Succeeded by
Roku


Preceded by
Position established
Head of the Dai Li
Unknown - before 82 BG
Succeeded by
Unknown, eventually Long Feng


Preceded by
Position established
Governor of Kyoshi Island
Unknown - before 82 BG
Succeeded by
Koko


Preceded by
Position etablished
Leader of the Kyoshi Warriors
Unknown - before 82 BG
Succeeded by
Unknown, eventually Suki

References

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  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 16, 2019). Chapter Two, "Nine Years Later". The Rise of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
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