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The Saowon clan was one of the noble houses of the Fire Nation. Descended from the warlords before the nation's unification, the clan retained the right to govern its home island of Ma'inka, and the retention of household troops.[2] The clan's family crest is a stone camellia.[1]

A certain character, pronounced zo or so, is traditionally used in the names of members of the Saowon.[3]


Early history[]

Like many of the most powerful clans of the Fire Nation, the lineage of the Saowon clan dates to the period before the nation's political unification. Over time, the main Saowon clan came to be the overlord of several branch houses under its rule. The Saowon cultivated a strong relationship between their clan and the Fire Sages.[4]

In course of the Fire Nation civil wars during the reign of Fire Lord Yosor, Avatar Szeto skillfully managed the Saowon and their rival noble houses during a time of deep crisis, tempering ancient feuds into a lasting peace.[4]

Promises with the spirits of Ma'inka and temporary disgrace[]

The Saowon clan asked Avatar Yangchen for help dealing with unseen forces causing damage along the edges of their villages, one of her first missions as a fully-realized Avatar. She worked with Duke Zolian and his heir, Lohi, and told them that the spiritual activity would stop if the Saowon and the branch houses under their rule kept more than three li away from the cenotes across the island that were home to phoenix-eel spirits.[4][5]

Yangchen's original agreement with the Saowon worked for a small amount of time, but was soon violated after the inhabitants of Ma'inka violated the boundary, with the most clear example being a blunt-force mechanism being used to smash away at the earth with an iron bit to mine deeply buried material. As a result, the phoenix-eels cursed the Saowon children not to wake from their slumber, which would make them eventually waste away. Desperate for help, the Saowon cut off their top-knots to show their dishonor, and asked Yangchen for help again. Once she arrived, she was furious at the Saowon for violating the terms of their agreement, especially as she had been busy dealing with the crisis of the Unanimity project in the shang cities, and came to the conclusion that the Saowon believed they could ignore the decisions of a young and inexperienced Avatar.[4][5]

When she returned from meeting with the spirits once more, she informed the Saowon that the children would be released from their illness if new conditions were met, including the Saowon not regrowing their hair for five hundred moons, as well as many other inconveniences, hits to their finances, and quirks that would exclude them from rituals and celebrations of power. Lohi was appalled that the Saowon would be disgraced for a generation, but Yangchen warned him of the danger of a twice-betrayed spirit, and reminded him of a saying of Szeto that one should hold on to the sesame after losing the melon, encouraging them to regain their political position after many years.[4][5] Just as Yangchen had assumed, the punishment caused the Saowon to become ostracized and politically weakened.[6]

Around six months after the spirit incident, the Saowon were refortifying their old strongholds around Ma'inka. They bought Earth Kingdom granite from Zongdu Iwashi of Taku to use in construction, as they were still afraid of quarrying their home island. Using the imported goods,[6] the clan was gradually turning Ma'inka Island into a bastion.[1] Observers generally assumed that these efforts were the Saowon's response to having been locked out of the highest level of Fire Nation politics: Instead of peacefully accepting their reduced status, they prepared far ahead and planned for a possible war to retake power through violence. When Yangchen learned of this, she was furious. The Avatar believed that any militant action by the Saowon was doomed to end in the clan's destruction, meaning that her efforts at saving them had been futile. Frustrated, Yangchen wondered why the clan had to keep seeking advantages instead of simply living.[6]

Rise to prominence[]

The Saowon clan was still considered weak in the youth of Fire Lord Chaeryu. For this reason, he was encouraged to end his relationship with his Saowon mistress, Lady Huazo, and marry Lady Sulan of the Keohso clan, the traditional rivals of the Saowon.[3] However, soon after the relationship ended, Huazo revealed that she was pregnant. Her son, Chaejin, would be excluded from the royal family and sent to the Fire Sages.[1] Chaeryu had a legitimate son with Sulan, named Zoryu. His name caused offense to the Saowon, as it made use of their traditional zo character.[3]

Huazo rose to become clan leader, and considered herself to be one of the best clan leaders in history.[3] The clan was transformed from one considered weak to the most populous and influential in the Fire Nation. Their home territory of Ma'inka Island was known as the most wealthy and heavily fortified region outside the Fire Nation Capital itself.[1] They also renewed their traditional religious influence by tampering with the selection process of the Fire Sages, promoting Huazo's uncle to become High Sage ahead of the expected successor, Nyahitha of the Bhanti. One young member of the clan, Koulin, attended the Royal Fire Academy for Girls, where she became a fierce rival of Rangi of the Sei'naka clan.[7]

After Fire Lord Chaeryu's death, Zoryu ascended to the throne. The bountiful harvests and plentiful fisheries of his father's rule came to an end, although the poor fortunes of the rest of the nation did not reach Ma'inka Island. Chaejin returned to court as a liaison for the High Temple, while Lady Huazo purchased land and properties across the Fire Islands to amass further power and wealth for her clan.[1][7]

The Camellia-Peony War[]

In 295 BG, Avatar Kyoshi mistook Chaejin for Zoryu at a royal garden party, which was greatly opportune for the Saowon. Yun attacked the palace the same night, which enraged many of the nobility, who believed Zoryu to be weak.[8] At the same time, Huazo bought a new property in North Chung-Ling, where she planned to celebrate the Festival of Szeto. By spending time in a Keohso stronghold, she hoped to goad them into attacking the Saowon, who would thus have a just cause to start war and put Chaejin on the throne.[7]

Although Kyoshi and her companions prevented a small altercation between the two clans, a fight ensued the following day, after a message appeared in North Chung-Ling's melonyam fields, supporting Chaejin as Fire Lord. The inflammatory message provoked many Keohso warriors. While Kyoshi tried to prevent a fight, a scuffle began after Rangi punched Koulin across the face after the Saowon woman insulted Hei-Ran. Due to the restriction on Agni Kais during a holiday, the scuffle was fought without bending and blades, both sides only using fisticuffs.[9]

Kyoshi and Hei-Ran assumed that the Saowon were working with Yun, explaining the message in the melonyam fields and the embarrassing attack on the palace. Kyoshi attempted to have Huazo confess, and kidnapped her at North Chung-Ling's docks, bringing her to a safehouse on Capital Island.[3] She proceeded to take Chaejin to the location, repeatedly asking them about Yun and threatening to kill both mother and son. However, Kyoshi realized they truly had nothing to do with Yun, and let them go free.[10]

In spite of the Saowon's innocence, Zoryu faked a confession by having a double of Yun confess to treason and working with the Saowon clan. An immediate purge of the clan began in the Fire Nation Capital, bringing the succession conflict to a swift end. The Fire Lord intended to execute them all, but Kyoshi demanded clemency for the clan if she brought the real Yun to justice.[11][12]

As Zoryu had Huazo and Chaejin kept under house arrest as hostages, their relatives in Ma'inka could not act without risking their lives. Although he intended to renege on his promise and execute the Saowon, Lao Ge intimidated him into sticking by his promise. The threat that the Saowon posed led to Zoryu's intention to render the clans irrelevant and greatly centralize the Fire Nation's government.[13] Soon after the Camellia-Peony War, the surviving members of the clan felt the extent of their fall from grace, and some asked others to conduct business on their behalf, as in some situations their clan name presented a problem. With Huazo and Chaejin held under house arrest, their relatives began to consider leadership of the clan passing to someone else if they could not be freed.[14] One day, Huazo managed to escape, causing the Keohso clan to task a group of people with helping to track her down and bring her back, offering cash in return. The Saowon clan, in turn, also began to search for the fugitive.[15]

Family tree[]

High Sage


  • Duke Zolian's manor had a construction similar to Fire Sage temples, which architect was influenced by the close relations between the Saowon and the Sages.[4]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 21, 2020). Chapter Eight, "Ancient History". The Shadow of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  2. Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 21, 2020). Chapter Five, "Cultural Diplomacy". The Shadow of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 21, 2020). Chapter Nineteen, "The Companion". The Shadow of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Yee, F. C. (author). (July 19, 2022). Chapter Twenty-One, "Legitimate Business". The Dawn of Yangchen. Amulet Books.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Yee, F. C. (author). (July 19, 2022). Chapter Twenty-Two, "The Dispute". The Dawn of Yangchen. Amulet Books.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Yee, F. C. (author). (July 18, 2023). Chapter Eighteen, "Hooked". The Legacy of Yangchen. Amulet Books.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 21, 2020). Chapter Twelve, "The Fire Sage". The Shadow of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  8. Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 21, 2020). Chapter Ten, "Aftermath". The Shadow of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  9. Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 21, 2020). Chapter Sixteen, "Resignation". The Shadow of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  10. Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 21, 2020). Chapter Twenty, "The Edge". The Shadow of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  11. Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 21, 2020). Chapter Twenty-One, "Shapes of Life and Death". The Shadow of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  12. Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 21, 2020). Chapter Twenty-Two, "Housecleaning". The Shadow of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  13. Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 21, 2020). Epilogue. The Shadow of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  14. Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game. Core Book, Version 1.0, 2022, p. 39.
  15. Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game. Core Book, Version 1.0, 2022, p. 264.