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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,[6] and was also an exceptionally tall woman, towering over most people.[7] 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 early adulthood; 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 desparate 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 travelled 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.

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 no qualms about killing enemies to achieve this goal. Employing these methods, she was a generally effective Avatar. She prevented the resurgence of the disastrous Yellow Neck uprising, 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 death of Jianzhu and Chin, and her foundation of the Dai Li would lead to the decline, corruption, and fall of her home country. Because of this, Kyoshi later came to deeply regret the creation of the Dai Li.[8]

History

Early life

Kyoshi was born in the year 312 BG[3] somewhere in the Earth Kingdom. Her exact birth place was unknown even to her.[9] At the time of her birth, the country was destabilized by the Yellow Neck uprising and marauding bandit groups known as daofei.[10] 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.[9][11] 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 at one place for a long time.[9]

When Kyoshi was five or six however, her parents decided to leave her in the care of a villager at Yokoya Port,[9] an impoverished community of farmers and fishers located on a peninsula at the Whaletail Strait in the southwestern Earth Kingdom.[10] They left her a chest with Jesa's signature metal fans, as well as a journal which contained information about the daofei and their customs. When her parents had departed, the villager immediately renegaded on the deal, casting Kyoshi out onto the streets.[9] 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.[11] Kyoshi later blamed her parents for her misfortune, and came to hate them as well as all criminals in general.[9] Nevertheless, she grew extraordinarily tall, and was already taller than many teenagers at age seven.[10]

By chance, Yokoya was visited by Jianzhu and Kelsang in 305 BG. The two masters had been travelling the Earth Kingdom for seven years to find the Avatar. They presented the children of Yokoya with a test which included toys which 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 which 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,[10] and went on to falsely identify an Earth Kingdom boy named Yun as the Avatar.[2]

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.[12] 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.[4] 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's 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.[13] She also would help out in the kitchen and sort through gifts sent to the Avatar from time to time.[4][13] 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),[4] Kyoshi cared for the other staff members and had a good working relationship with several of them.[4][14][15] 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 refained from using her bending at all.

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.[13] 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.[14]

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.[4] 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 wasn't able to bend any elements other than his native element of earth, and while Kyoshi hadn't shown any such indication herself, Kelsang also knew that she had chosen one of the Avatar relics from amongst the toys when she was younger. Kelsang and Kyoshi decided to keep this revelation to themselves as they didn't 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.[16]

When Yun was leaving to sign the treaty, he asked Kyoshi to join him and she agreed.[17] She would later be given a set of green battle armor that would become part of her iconic look 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 ravaged the Earth Kingdom's coastline and had recently taken some citizens hostage. Yun was captured and his group scattered in an ambush on the 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 and managed to lift parts of the seafloor to destroy much of Tagaka's fleet in a surprising, Avatar-powered feat of bending. This action marked the turning point of the battle, as Yun's other companions rallied and launched a counter-attack against the remaining pirate forces.[18] 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. Many were left injured after this incident, including Kelsang and Kyoshi herself.

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, 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 bended any element other than 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. Kelsang then appeared, having flown to where they were despite his painful injuries from the encounter with Tagaka, after becoming suspicious of Jianzhu, Kyoshi and Yun's unexplained absences. When he found out what had happened from Kyoshi, Kelsang declared that Jianzhu was no longer fit to serve the Avatar, and that he would take Kyoshi away from him. This angered Jianzhu, who declared that there was nowhere Kelsang could hide Kyoshi from him. Kelsang urged Kyoshi to run before attacking Jianzhu, but was easily killed due to his injuries. Kelsang's death prompted Kyoshi to enter the Avatar State for the first time and destroy the small village, but not before Jianzhu hid beneath the ground. Before he could re-emerge, Kyoshi fled back to the Avatar estate.

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, 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 hadn't thought to pack such as food and blankets. Rangi left with her, telling Kyoshi that she "won't last an hour without help."[17]

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, now reduced to a handful of members in a single village; 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, believing 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 is an infamous assassin, to train her to kill someone.

Rangi openly disapproved of Kyoshi's decision to associate with criminals. When the group visited a secret daofei village, Rangi surprised Kyoshi and the others by participating in a lei tai, a fight which 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 wouldn't 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 didn't know what else to do. Rangi told Kyoshi that although the Avatar can be reborn, Kyoshi couldn't 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 shouldn't 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. 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 didn't 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.[17]

Kyoshi and Lao Ge then 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.

Duel with Xu Ping An

Kyoshi and her comrades were shocked about this revelation: 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.

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. 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, and 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 her into falling unconscious for three days.

Confrontation with Jianzhu

The Avatar was brought by her comrades to a nearby village where a 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 couldn't have been her. Having fully overcome their past differences, the Avatar was very happy when Lek addressed her as "sister" for the first time.

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.

As they went back to the healer's house, the group was ambushed and shot with shirshu-spit darts that rendered them motionless. Rangi was dragged away, and to her horror, Kyoshi saw how Lek allergically reacted to the poison, slowing 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 the Qinchao village near Yokoya unless she wanted Rangi dead. 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, "Butcher of Zhulu Pass". Amused, Jianzhu finally told her the full story of what had happened at Zhulu Pass, 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.

Revealing herself to the world

Kyoshi told the group 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, Lao Ge went off on his own, and Rangi and her mother traveled to the Northern Water Tribe for the best chance at healing her mother. Meanwhile, Kyoshi 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. 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 the 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 learnt 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.[15]

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 all four elements and the Avatar State, becoming feared and effective while restoring order in the world.[18] 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.[19] Kyoshi eventually returned to Yokoya, fully adopting it as her home. When Kyoshi visited the ports of her 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 Kyoshi Warriors.[20]

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. His death ushered the world into a great era of peace.

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.[7]

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 with ease 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.[8]

Death

Kyoshi died in the year 82 BG at the age of 230, making her the oldest confirmed Avatar and human in history,[3] though some other individuals were rumored to have lived even longer.[21] It is possible that Kyoshi learned the secret of immortality from her spiritual teacher, Lao Ge.[9] Her daughter Koko succeeded her as the leader of Kyoshi Island,[5] and she reincarnated as Fire Nation noble, Roku.

Legacy

Wooden statues of Avatar Kyoshi are erected in every village in Kyoshi Island and in Suki's village, a shrine was dedicated to Kyoshi, which displayed the late Avatar's outfit and war fans.[7] In course of the next centuries, several details of Kyoshi's life faded out of public memory. Most notably, one of her successors, Avatar Aang, falsely believed that she had been born in the area that later became Kyoshi Island.[22]

The Kyoshi Medal of Freedom, regarded as the highest recognition conferred upon exemplary military personnel in the Earth Kingdom,[23] and Kyoshi Bridge in Republic City both share her name.

Appearances in Aang's life

Kyoshi appears

Kyoshi manifested through Aang to inform the inhabitants of Chin Village of her encounter with Chin.

During his trip to Kyoshi Island, Aang observed the statue erected in her honor.[24] 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.[25] 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.[7]

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 being 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.[8]

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 said 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.[26]

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.[27]

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.[28]

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.[29]

Abilities

Bending

Kyoshi's fans

Avatar Kyoshi used a pair of fans to enhance her bending.

As the Avatar, Kyoshi was able to bend all four elements and enter the Avatar State at will. 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.[7] This is one of the two known instances in which Kyoshi used the noncontinuous Avatar State, the other being when she levitated two massive badgermole statues.[25]

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. She was also known to use these weapons to augment her bending, as demonstrated when she separated Kyoshi peninsula from the mainland.[7][8] Kyoshi was exceptionally strong, and able to lift a grown man with one hand as a teenager.[30]

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 novel trilogies

The Legend of Korra

Book One: Air (气)

  • 112. "Endgame(vision, no lines)

Book Two: Spirits (神靈)

Book Four: Balance (平衡)

Graphic novel trilogies

Novels

Trivia

  • Despite being an earthbending master, Kyoshi uses fans to generate something similar to airbending, as it was when she formed the Kyoshi Island.
  • 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.[7]
  • 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;[7] 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.[31]
  • 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.[5]
  • 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.
  • Kyoshi has never been seen without her signature makeup in the shows and comics, though she is described without it in The Rise of Kyoshi.
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 known person to have been alive for three passings of Sozin's Comet.
  • Kyoshi is rumored to have taken down a shark squid with one hand.[32]
  • Kyoshi is the only known female capable of lavabending.
  • Known to have had romantic relationships with both men and women,[19] Kyoshi is, along with Aiwei,[33] Asami, Korra, Kya and Rangi one of the few known LGBTQ+ individuals in the Avatar universe. She was also the first known LGBTQ+ Avatar, with Korra being the second.[19]
  • Kyoshi is the only known Avatar to be born to parents of different ethnicities.[17]
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

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Ehasz, Aaron (writer) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (July 19, 2008). "Sozin's Comet, Part 2: The Old Masters". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 19. Nickelodeon.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 16, 2019). Chapter Two, "Nine Years Later". The Rise of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Welcome to Republic City. Nickelodeon (April 6, 2012). Retrieved on April 7, 2012.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 16, 2019). Chapter Four, "Honest Work". The Rise of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Avatar Extras for "The Warriors of Kyoshi" on Nicktoons Network.
  6. Escape from the Spirit World: Avatar Kyoshi Online Comic Book (fun fact).
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 O'Bryan, John (writer) & MacMullan, Lauren (director). (April 28, 2006). "Avatar Day". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 5. Nickelodeon.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Escape from the Spirit World: Avatar Kyoshi Online Comic Book.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 16, 2019). Chapter Fourteen, "The Introduction". The Rise of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 16, 2019). Chapter One, "The Test". The Rise of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 16, 2019). Chapter Sixteen, "The Agreement". The Rise of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  12. Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 16, 2019). Chapter Twenty, "The Avatar's Masters". The Rise of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 16, 2019). Chapter Six, "Promises". The Rise of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 16, 2019). Chapter Nine, "Desperate Measures". The Rise of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  15. 15.0 15.1 Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 16, 2019). Chapter Thirty-Two, "Hauntings". The Rise of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  16. Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 16, 2019). Chapter Five, "Revelations". The Rise of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 16, 2019). The Rise of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  18. 18.0 18.1 A Budding Badass Finds Her Footing in This Excerpt From Avatar, The Last Airbender: The Rise of Kyoshi. Gizmodo (9 May 2019). Retrieved on May 21, 2019.
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer), Koh, Irene (artist), Piekos, Nate; Blambot (letterer), Campbell, Heather; Bak, Jane (cover), Ng, Vivian (colorist). Turf Wars Part One (July 26, 2016), Dark Horse Comics.
  20. Yang, Gene Luen (writer), Hicks, Faith Erin (artist), Peter, Cris (colorist), Heisler, Michael (letterer). "Shells" (May 3, 2014), Dark Horse Comics.
  21. Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 16, 2019). Chapter Twenty-One, "Preparations". The Rise of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  22. Avatar: The Last Airbender: Legacy, p. 29.
  23. Hedrick, Tim (writer) & Zwyer, Melchior (director). (October 17, 2014). "The Coronation". The Legend of Korra. Season 2. Episode 16. Nick.com.
  24. Malis, Nick (writer) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (March 4, 2005). "The Warriors of Kyoshi". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 4. Nickelodeon.
  25. 25.0 25.1 Ehasz, Aaron, Ehasz, Elizabeth Welch, Hedrick, Tim, O'Bryan, John (writers) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (March 17, 2006). "The Avatar State". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 1. Nickelodeon.
  26. DiMartino, Michael Dante; Konietzko, Bryan; Yang, Gene Luen (writer), Sasaki of Gurihiru (penciling, inking), Kawano of Gurihiru (colorist), Heisler, Michael; Comicraft (letterer). The Rift Part Three (November 5, 2014), Dark Horse Comics.
  27. DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Dos Santos, Joaquim, Ryu, Ki Hyun (directors). (June 23, 2012). "Endgame". The Legend of Korra. Season 1. Episode 12. Nickelodeon.
  28. DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer) & Heck, Colin (director). (October 18, 2013). "Beginnings, Part 1". The Legend of Korra. Season 1. Episode 19. Nickelodeon.
  29. Hamilton, Joshua (writer) & Heck, Colin (director). (November 22, 2013). "Darkness Falls". The Legend of Korra. Season 1. Episode 25. Nickelodeon.
  30. Yee, F.C. (June 22, 2019). Tweet: Countdown to AVATAR #RISEOFKYOSHI 4. Twitter. Retrieved on June 26, 2019.
  31. Wilgus, Alison (writer), Spaulding, Ethan (artist), Dzioba, Wes (colorist), Comicraft (letterer). "Gym Time" (September 18, 2007), Nick Mag Presents: Avatar: The Last Airbender.
  32. DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer) & Graham, Ian (director). (October 10, 2014). "Korra Alone". The Legend of Korra. Season 2. Episode 15. Nick.com.
  33. LGBT characters. Gayerthanthefourthofjuly on Tumblr (March 22, 2015). Retrieved on March 22, 2015.

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