- This article is about the Great Sage following the end of the Hundred Year War. For the head of the Fire Temple, see Great Sage.
|"It was once the sages' duty. It is still our duty."|
|— Shyu explaining why he helped the Avatar.|
Shyu was the Great Sage of the High Temple, appointed after the Hundred Year War. The last of his proud lineage who did not follow the Fire Lord during the war, Shyu defied the Fire Nation authorities and his fellow Fire Sages by remaining loyal to the Avatar. He firmly believed that once Avatar Roku returned to the sanctuary, all the sages would pay a price for serving Fire Lord Ozai, who had set forth a decree stating that anyone who aided the Avatar would be branded a traitor by the Fire Nation and handled accordingly. Serving, at age sixty, as the youngest of the five Fire Sages of Crescent Island, he helped Aang communicate with Roku's spirit during the winter solstice in 99 AG, an action which led to his imprisonment as traitor by the Fire Nation. However, after the fall of the old regime and Fire Lord Zuko's rise to power, Shyu was released and became the new Great Sage as well as the leader of the Fire Nation Capital's sages.
Shyu came from a proud lineage of Fire Sages. His grandfather, Kaja, was Avatar Roku's master during his Avatar training and was later the first person to deny that the Avatar had been killed during the first assault on the Air Nomads. He passed this conviction on to Shyu's father, who became an outspoken critic of the Fire Lord's ambitions, and whose support for the Avatar was branded by the Fire Nation as sedition. After Shyu's father was executed for continuing to profess his loyalty to the Avatar, Shyu was left an orphan. He was taken in and raised by the Fire Sages, though he never felt close to any of them. Despite firsthand knowledge of the penalty faced by defying the Fire Lord's orders, Shyu remained loyal to the Avatar.[nb 1]
Helping the Avatar
Several weeks before Aang's arrival at Roku's temple, the eyes of the statue of Avatar Roku began to glow at the same time Aang entered the Avatar State in the Southern Air Temple, informing the Fire Sages of the Avatar's return. Unlike his colleagues, who obeyed the Fire Lord's will, Shyu chose to help the Avatar.
When the Sages attempted to capture Aang, Shyu assisted him by leading him through a secret passage that led to Roku's sanctuary. After a failed effort to open the locked chamber containing Avatar Roku's statue, Shyu aided Aang by tricking the other Sages into believing Aang had already opened the chamber. The Sages opened the door and Aang was able to enter before they could catch him; the chamber was sealed shut by a white light and would not open up until Roku let it. Shyu was consequently labeled a traitor for upholding the sages' original duty to protect the Avatar rather than remaining loyal to Ozai. When Aang emerged again, with Roku manifesting himself through his body, Shyu ordered Katara and Sokka to leave before Roku's spirit destroyed the temple.
After the temple's destruction and their escape, Shyu was among the five Fire Sages captured and imprisoned by Zhao. Although he was the only one disobedient to the Fire Nation's cause, his colleagues were also branded traitors by Zhao.
Rise to Great Sage
After the Hundred Year War, Shyu was released from prison and became the new Great Sage as well as the leader of the High Temple. Over the course of the next two years, Shyu headed the reformation of the Fire Sages and revived several old traditions. He also became well acquainted with Fire Lord Zuko, who visited the temple occasionally to study scrolls and murals in the catacombs. During these visits, Shyu offered the Fire Lord a place in his meditation classes, although the latter always politely declined.
While sweeping the grounds sometime in 102 AG, Shyu was pleasantly surprised by the arrival of Zuko and Avatar Aang, who had come to visit the catacombs. After Zuko stated that he had been far too busy to visit for quite some time, Shyu responded by recounting his grandfather's remark about the importance to care for "interior life" the busier an individual became. To this end, he invited the Fire Lord to join his meditation classes, only to be turned down again. Disappointed, he lamented how Zuko only ever came for the local view or to see the scrolls though relented and opened the gate to the catacombs with his firebending.
Avatar: The Last Airbender
Book One: Water (水)
- Shyu was the first Fire Nation ally of Team Avatar.
- DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (April 15, 2005). "Winter Solstice, Part 2: Avatar Roku". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 8. Nickelodeon.
- From older Avatar: The Last Airbender official site, originally on Nick.com. Encyclopedia now broken, archived at The Lost Lore of Avatar Aang - Character: Shyu.
- DiMartino, Michael Dante; Konietzko, Bryan; Yang, Gene Luen (writer), Sasaki of Gurihiru (penciling, inking), Kawano of Gurihiru (colorist), Heisler, Michael; Comicraft (letterer). Smoke and Shadow Part Two (December 16, 2015), Dark Horse Comics.
- Avatar Extras for "Winter Solstice, Part 2: Avatar Roku" on Nicktoons Network.
- The Lost Scrolls: Fire.
- DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer) & MacMullan, Lauren (director). (February 25, 2005). "The Southern Air Temple". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 3. Nickelodeon.