|"Colonel Mongke and the Rough Rhinos are legendary – each one is a different kind of weapon specialist. They are also a very capable singing group."|
|— Iroh describing the Rough Rhinos.|
The Rough Rhinos were an elite group of Fire Nation komodo rhino cavalry who worked on a freelance basis, claiming their loyalty to the Fire Lord during the Hundred Year War. After the war's end, they became full mercenaries, and by 102 AG, they were hired as the security detail of the Earthen Fire Refinery.
The group originally consisted of five members, each of whom specialized in a different type of weapon or fighting style, though their preferred weapons were not well adapted for close-combat. After the Rough Rhinos became mercenaries, they allowed former members of the army to join them.
Hundred Year War
The Rough Rhinos were initially formed as a squad within the Fire Army. They served under Crown Prince Iroh's command at the frontlines. Around 91 AG, the Rough Rhinos attacked the village where Jet was living and killed his parents, which ignited Jet's lifelong hatred of the Fire Nation. In 95 AG, Prince Iroh gave up his command after the failure of the Siege of Ba Sing Se; Mongke and his unit consequently broke away from the regular army and became freelancers, although they remained loyal to the Fire Nation. Their home country's military consequently often hired them to destroy dissident villages in the Earth Kingdom.
At some point between 95 and 99 AG, Fire Lord Ozai hired the group to track down and kill or capture Onomu, a former Fire army general who had defected to the Earth Kingdom and stolen secret war plans. Ozai believed the group to be best suited to the task, as they were not just loyal, brutal, and effective, but also knew how to deal with Onomu without raising too much attention among Fire Nation citizens.
In 100 AG, the Rough Rhinos first encountered Team Avatar, ambushing them in a forest near Chin Village. The three friends did, however, manage to escape on Appa. The Rough Rhinos later invaded Chin Village during Aang's trial for the murder of the village's great leader, Chin the Great. They claimed the village in the name of the Fire Lord and had commenced their destruction of the village before eventually being defeated by Team Avatar.
Later that year, the Rough Rhinos confronted Team Avatar once more in a small Earth Kingdom village. They captured Sokka, mistakenly believing him to be the Avatar, but were soon bested by Aang, Katara, and Toph.
Sometime later, the team of soldiers surrounded Iroh and Zuko while the two fugitives of the Fire Nation were traveling through the Earth Kingdom, near the great Si Wong Desert. After a brief battle, the warriors were bested by the two firebenders, who were able to escape in the chaos ensuing an explosion.
Guards of the Earthen Fire Refinery
After the war, the Rough Rhinos left the service of the Fire Lord, recruited three new members, and offered themselves for hire as mercenaries, eventually winding up as the personal security detail of the owners of the Earthen Fire Refinery, Lao Beifong and Loban. In this capacity, they were tasked by Lao to escort Team Avatar off the factory's premises. A fight between the two groups broke out, though, one that ended in the favor of Team Avatar.
Two of the group's members, Vachir and Kahchi, were trapped with several others in an underground iron mine following a cave-in. After they were rescued, Loban, having discovered an iron mask in the ground, ordered the two to mount their rhinos and help him take it to the shore for transport to the Fire Nation. Upon reaching the shore, stormy weather took hold while Sokka and Satoru confronted them and resoundingly defeated Vachir and Kahchi, respectively. The animals, meanwhile, refused to continue assisting in the transport and ran off.
The Rough Rhinos' leader, Colonel Mongke, was a talented firebender, although Zuko managed to overpower him without significant effort. He had once served under Iroh in the Fire Nation military. Ogodei and Kahchi preferred melee weaponry: Ogodei carried chains or "bolas" and Kahchi a Guan Dao. Yeh-Lu specialized in explosives and wore armor that masked his face, never exposing it in any known encounters. Vachir wielded a bow and frequently used flaming arrows, making him the third member to fight with fire. He was originally a member of the renowned Yuyan Archers, as indicated by his facial tattoos. At the end of the Hundred Year War, the Rough Rhinos recruited new members into their ranks; among them was Utor, a former Fire Nation soldier, Seijir, and Junho.
Avatar: The Last Airbender
Book Two: Earth (土)
Book Two: Earth (土)
- Iss. #8. "Sokka the Avatar"
- The Rift trilogy
- Even though the old Nickelodeon Avatar: The Last Airbender website claimed that Mongke was the only firebender among the Rough Rhinos, Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game later confirmed that Vachir was also capable of firebending, although he mainly fought with bow and arrows.
- According to Iroh, the Rough Rhinos were also known to be a talented singing group.
- All of the original riders' names resemble various Mongolians associated with Genghis Khan, and other nomadic warriors.
- Their name bears strong resemblance to the Rough Riders, an American cavalry unit once led by Colonel, and eventual United States President, Theodore Roosevelt.
- In the Rough Rhinos' second encounter with Team Avatar, Yeh-Lu was inexplicably absent.
- Each original rider seemed to be related to a different part of the Fire Nation military; Mongke was a firebender, Ogodei was an engineer, Yeh-Lu was a bombardier, Kahchi was a regular infantry soldier, and Vachir was a Yuyan Archer.
- Although a supposedly fearsome and successful organization, they were fairly unsuccessful during their appearances in the series.