- This article is about the offshore Fire Nation prison. For other similar uses, see Prisons (disambiguation).
|"You will notice, earthbenders, that this rig is made entirely of metal. You are miles away from any rock or earth."|
|— The warden to the inmates of the prison rig.|
The prison rig was an offshore Fire Nation prison used for the internment of earthbenders during the latter stages of the Hundred Year War. Prisoners were taken captive mainly for attempting to resist Fire Nation rule in the Earth Kingdom or for bending in regions where it was disallowed. Run by an unforgiving warden, such internees were forced to build, repair, and refuel ships for the Fire Navy. Imprisonment for many was indefinite, a fact which, along with the inability to use earthbending in the metallic prison, quelled any thoughts of rebellion.
In 95 AG, Tyro was brought to this prison after revolting against Fire Nation troops in a mining village. Five years later, he was followed by his son, Haru, who was tracked down by Katara to the rig in a rescue attempt. She was shocked to see how hopeless and deprived the prisoners were, and felt compelled to give them a motivational speech. Nevertheless, the prisoners continued to sulk, quickly dismissing Katara's words.
When Aang and Sokka came to take Katara from the rig, she bluntly refused to leave, claiming the prisoners needed her help. Faced with her stubbornness, Sokka and Aang decided to sneak into the prison and assist Katara in her rescue. Aang reasoned that the prison was burning coal, a substance earthbenders could use to fight back against their captors. From this, Sokka devised a plan in which Aang would release the coal from its deposit to the prisoners' quarters using airbending, which was successfully performed.
Using the coal to support her words, Katara attempted once again to inspire the earthbenders to fight for their freedom, but to no avail. However, Haru was provoked by the warden's subsequent mockery of Katara and struck a small rock against his head using earthbending. Angered, the warden retaliated with a firebending blast, but his attack was blocked by a coal wall Tyro raised. Incited by the presence of coal, the earthbenders began to fight alongside Tyro, successfully overpowering the Fire Nation guards. The battle ended when Tyro and a few other earthbenders gathered up the guards on a bed of coal, and levitated them off the prison rig to let them fall into the ocean waters. Following the quarrel, the earthbenders commandeered a few Fire Navy ships and returned to their homeland, vouching to liberate their villages from Fire Nation jurisdiction.
The prison rig was a towering, highly secure facility located several miles off the coast of the Earth Kingdom. Its foundation was supported by multiple bars, which elevated it high above sea level. The entire facility was erected in metal, which at the time was an unbendable material. At the center of the prison was a large, tower-like structure which was several stories tall and bulged outward at the core. It had many small windows dotted across its facade, and a smokestack at the top, indicating that coal was being burned inside. Several vents led into the interior of the rig, all of which could be opened and closed as needed.
The prison was divided in two by a tremendous metal wall. From its top, guards kept watch over the building. At night, they used mounted searchlights to scan the rig and surrounding waters to watch out for trespassers. The prisoners slept and spent their time on the makeshift square on one side of the wall, while the other side accommodated the working area, where the prisoners were forced into building, repairing, and fueling Fire Navy ships.
Prisoners and cargo were transported to the facility by means of ferries; these were later used by the inmates to flee from the rig and return to their villages following their successful escape.
- Hubbard, Matthew (writer) & Filoni, Dave (director). (March 25, 2005). "Imprisoned". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 6. Nickelodeon.
- From older Avatar: The Last Airbender official site, originally on Nick.com. Encyclopedia now broken, archived at The Lost Lore of Avatar Aang - Location: Fire Nation Prison Ring.