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Tagaka, the self-appointed "Marquess of the Eastern Sea", "Pirate Queen of the Southern Ocean", and "Waterborne Guardian of the South Pole", was a pirate queen, slaver, and waterbender who led an ethnically mixed people of pirates known as the Fifth Nation that ravaged the Earth Kingdom's coast during the early life of Avatar Kyoshi. She led her people to dominance of the Eastern and South Seas, wiped out the Earth Kingdom's navy, and became the mightiest pirate leader in history. However, Tagaka eventually met her downfall in a confrontation with Kyoshi, and was subsequently imprisoned by the Earth Kingdom.

History[]

Rise to power[]

Tagaka was born to Tulok, the leader of the Fifth Nation, a people of pirates.[3] Her family partially descended from Southern Water Tribesmen, but when her ancestors became pirates, the tribe disowned her entire family tree.[1] Tagaka's ancestors served as leaders of the Fifth Nation for generations. Growing up, she became her father's lieutenant,[3] though intentionally feigned to be a weak bender. At the time, she was not in the direct line of succession for leadership of the Fifth Nation, as her father had several older brothers.[1] At one point, Tagaka witnessed the launching of a new ship owned by one of her uncles; the ship sank almost immediately, and she considered her uncle's anger over the incident extremely amusing.[4] Eventually, Tagaka was present when Jianzhu, a former companion of Avatar Kuruk, met Tulok and asked him to honor a treaty his grandfather had forged generations ago with Avatar Yangchen.[3]

Soon after the meeting with Jianzhu, Tagaka's grandfather decided to launch a large-scale raid into the western seas. Tagaka and most of her family took part in this operation, leading a Fifth Nation splinter fleet. After rounding the Earth Kingdom's southern tip, however, the pirates encountered the Air Nomad Kelsang, who summoned a storm to stop their raid. The storm turned into a catastrophic typhoon which destroyed the splinter fleet, drowning most of Tagaka's clan including her grandfather and all her uncles. As the storm raged on, Tagaka's ship was destroyed and a sword-seized piece of timber was rammed into her thigh; she was then thrown into the sea, barely surviving as thirty-foot waves crashed onto her. Despite all this, she managed to get to safety.[1]

After the storm, with most of their clan dead, Tulok became the uncontested leader of the Fifth Nation, with Tagaka as the acknowledged heir. Although the memory of Kelsang's deed was a traumatic one, Tagaka still refused to budge in terror as her father did, staying in the Eastern Sea for the rest of his life out fear of the Air Nomad.[1]

Expanding the Fifth Nation and hatching a plan[]

After her father's death, Tagaka took over control of the Fifth Nation. Determined to lead the Fifth Nation to new greatness and build a lasting future for the pirate nation, she greatly diverged from her father's passive course. Tagaka began to hunt down rival pirate groups such as the Fade-Red Devils, factually bringing all of the Eastern Sea's criminals under her rule. Afterward, she began to raid more aggressively, and became notorious for her activities, including practicing slavery. The Earth Kingdom attempted to stop her rise by sending its navy to hunt down the Fifth Nation. Instead, Tagaka defeated and almost completely destroyed the Earth Kingdom Navy in battle; in the midst of the clash, she killed the the last admiral of Ba Sing Se in a duel which made her a legend. Tagaka subsequently took the admiral's jian sword for herself. As an exceptionally successful pirate, Tagaka became infamous as the "Bloody Flail of the Eastern Sea", though she styled herself the "Marquess of the Eastern Sea".[1]

Despite her growth in power, one major problem remained for Tagaka: a severe lack of woods and experienced workers to repair and expand the Fifth Nation fleets. In an attempt to solve this issue, Tagaka organized a massive raid on the Earth Kingdom's Zeizhou Province, depopulating its southern coastline and taking all the prisoners as slaves.[1] To her disappointment, none of the captives were capable carpenters, making the entire raid mostly useless. However, the raid caused considerable disquiet in the Earth Kingdom and caught the attention of Jianzhu and Yun, believed to be the current Avatar.[1][5] The pirate queen decided to exploit this to her advantage, and devised a plan to lure Yun as well as his comrades into a trap which would allow her to not just capture the Avatar, but also open up the Earth Kingdom's southern woodlands for her attacks. Ultimately, she aimed at capturing Yun's base at Yokoya as new center for the Fifth Nation, as she had recognized its strategic location as a potential naval base.[1]

To achieve her goals, Tagaka contacted Jianzhu's emissaries in 296 BG after spurning them for several years. She told them that she was willing to sign a new treaty, based on the one of her great-grandfather. Tagaka hinted at being willing to stop raiding in several areas for mostly minor concessions. To make this turn of events believable, she falsely claimed that she had only now been informed that Yun had been proven to be the Avatar and that he was very powerful.[5] The deception worked, and a meeting to sign the treaty was agreed upon.[1][5]

First meeting with the "Avatar"[]

The pirate queen offered an iceberg near the South Pole as neutral area for the meeting. Officially, most of her fleet would stay away, as to showcase Tagaka's sincerity. However, her forces used waterbending to hide most of the Fifth Nation ships in nearby icebergs, lying in wait for an ambush. At the same time, Tagaka and her bodyguards set up tents on the main iceberg, waiting for the Avatar.[1]

When Yun's party arrived in a single ship and on a flying bison, Tagaka personally greeted them escorted by two bodyguards. She noted that Jianzhu had taken a significant number of heavily armed "muscle" with him, paying special attention to Yun's servant Kyoshi due to her height. She proceeded to formally introduce herself to Yun, who responded by praising her recent victory over the Fade-Red Devils. This attention to detail and eloquence seemingly impressed the pirate who invited the delegation to her camp. Later that evening, Tagaka arranged a feast at her yurt for the most important members of Yun's group, granting the Avatar a seat of honor. She cheered on Yun's ability to consume several trays of raw blubber, and his subsequent display of Pai Sho skills against some of her crew.

After Yun defeated his last opponent, Tagaka cheerily drank some wine and inquired whether the Avatar was enjoying himself. She then nonchalantly commented that it seemed like the Avatar had planned to kill her, instantly turning the mood sober and tense. After a few moments of silence, Yun assured her that he had not meant to threaten her through the number of his guards. The pirate queen waved his response off, arguing that the guardsmen were no real threat. Instead, she regarded the presence of Jianzhu, Hei-Ran, and Kelsang as a form of hostility. Seeing the confusion of Yun as well as several other delegation members', she laid out how these three were widely known as brutal killers among criminals. Most importantly, she elaborately retold how Kelsang's storm had almost caused her own death. Yun responded that based on reputations, he would be equally threatened by the pirate queen. Judging him, she confirmed that she was indeed a threat, before seemingly backing down. Claiming that she felt the need to ritually purify herself after coming into contact with the "stain of so much death" hanging over Yun's comrades, she then retired from the yurt.[1]

Downfall[]

Yun and Tagaka check the treaty

Tagaka and Yun studied and discussed the treaty in detail before the pirate leader exposed her plan.

On the next day, Tagaka and Yun met at the iceberg's peak to sign the agreed treaty. While Yun was accompanied by his teachers, bodyguard Rangi, and servant Kyoshi, the pirate queen was seemingly escorted by just two corsairs as well as a slave. After greeting Yun, Tagaka explained that she wanted a "traditional setting" for the agreement, and acted as if she had difficulties in lifting a small ice table out of the ground. While excusing her fake weakness, the pirate noticed that one of Yun's companions, Amak, was a disguised waterbender, though continued her act until she and Yun were seated. The two then began to carefully check their respective copies of the treaty, and discussed possible edits. Yun objected to Tagaka being described as "Waterborne Guardian of the South Pole", with the pirate arguing that her fleet was protecting the Southern Water Tribe despite the latter's disdain for her family. However, she agreed to a more acceptable "Self-Appointed Guardian of the South Pole". After both had finished checking the treaty, Yun raised an additional demand - that the Fifth Nation release all recently captured slaves for the agreement to come into effect. To everyone's surprise, Tagaka nonchalantly agreed, explaining that they were useless anyway. She then outlined her plan to expand the Fifth Nation by sizing a base with access to woods and carpenters. When Yun realized that she was aiming at Yokoya, the pirates sprung their trap.

Amak's death

Tagaka easily killed Amak.

At first, Tagaka launched a surprise attack at Amak, easily killing him, while other pirate waterbenders emerged from the ground to strike at Yun's party. The corsair leader then used her jian sword to attack Yun who defended himself with an inkstone. As the two were locked in combat, Tagaka waterbent with her free hand, releasing the Fifth Nation's warships from the other icebergs surrounding them. She then encased Yun in ice, outlining that she had pretended to be weak for so long that she had felt like doing something "overdramatic". As Kelsang took off with his airbender staff in an attempt to stop the fleet, Tagaka reacted quickly, attacking and downing him with icicles. She then took the frozen Yun with her, retreating to her camp, while the Avatar's companions were still locked in combat with other Fifth Nation members.

Having returned to her camp, Tagaka intended to keep Yun as hostage, loading him onto her cutter sailing ship. Before her crew was able to get going, however, Yun's servant Kyoshi stormed after her. Upon noticing the girl, some of the Fifth Nation pirates took their weapons, but Tagaka waved them off, wanting to hear what Kyoshi would say. When the servant demanded Yun's release, Tagaka responded with mockery before informing her that she had judged the "Avatar", deeming him useless except as hostage. On the other side, she had taken an interest in Kyoshi from their first meeting, considering whether to kill or recruit her. Impressed by Kyoshi's resolve, Tagaka decided to offer the Earth Kingdom native a place in the Fifth Nation. The servant refused and insulted Tagaka, whereupon she clamly and slowly drew her sword to emphasize that this response would result in death. As Kyoshi continued to demand Yun's release and threatened to take her down, Tagaka spread her arms and asked "With what?"[1]

Tagaka vs

Before Tagaka could cut down Kyoshi, the latter was saved by her companions.

At that moment, Kyoshi momentarily entered the Avatar State for the first time,[6] lifting parts of the seafloor to destroy much of Tagaka's fleet. As chaos erupted and the pirate forces were decimated, Tagaka initially reacted with shock and confusion before quickly rallying and trying to kill the weakened Kyoshi. Before she could do so, Yun's remaining party counter-attacked, with his firebending companions Hei-Ran and Rangi intervening to save Kyoshi and Yun. Perfectly coordinated, they began dueling Tagaka who was forced into the defense. Her elite waterbender guards noticed this, and rushed to aid the pirate queen.[1] However, the two firebenders managed to free Yun and, between the three of them, managed to subdue Tagaka. She was subsequently sent to the prisons beneath Lake Laogai.[7]

While imprisoned under the lake, Tagaka received an unexpected visit from a group of people who wanted to get information from her about the location of a person she had once enslaved.[8]

Personality[]

Tagaka was intelligent, ruthless, and devious. She relished the freedom and power the life as a pirate granted her, and despised those who preferred a more meek and honest lifestyle. In contrast, she respected strength and determination. Indifferent to the suffering she caused,[1] Tagaka was described as unnerving by Jianzhu, who noted that she had a "soulless gaze" like some kind of predator.[3] The slaves of the Fifth Nation were terrified of her wrath.[2] She took enjoyment in unnerving others, and liked the thrill of combat. In general, however, Tagaka reacted calculated in most situations, easily faking various emotions, and was skilled in manipulating her opponents. Even when surprised, she was able to quickly rally her thoughts such as when she almost immediately attempted to kill Kyoshi when the latter demonstrated extreme bending abilities.[1] Throughout her life, Tagaka faced numerous challenges and obstacles, but she never let them define her or limit her potential.[9] She disdained chauvinism, and once murdered a Northern Water Tribe man who had belittled her due to her gender.[4]

Tagaka maintained a certain fondness for the Southern Water Tribe, wearing hair loopies, keeping her family's Water Tribe heirlooms, and enjoying traditional Water Tribe cuisine. She even considered herself the "Guardian of the South Pole" despite knowing full well that most Southerners despised her.[1]

Abilities[]

See also: Blade of Tagaka
Blade of Tagaka

Tagaka famously wielded the sword of the last admiral of Ba Sing Se.

For much of her life, Tagaka pretended to be a weak waterbender, though she was in fact extremely powerful,[1] strategically concealing her assets and carefully selecting when and where to strike.[9] Just like her father and grandfather, she was a bending master. Her prowess was demonstrated by her being able to simultaneously bend parts of several icebergs and by being able to fend off the attacks of two highly skilled firebenders, Heir-Ran and Rangi,[1] until the intervention of a powerful earthbender, Yun.[7]

Tagaka was also a capable swordswoman[1] and a master tactician.[9]

Relatives[]

Appearances[]

Chronicles of the Avatar[]

The Rise of Kyoshi[]

Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game[]

Avatar games[]

Preceded by
Tulok
Leader of the Fifth Nation
Unknown — 296 BG
Succeeded by
Unclear

References[]

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 16, 2019). Chapter Seven, "The Iceberg". The Rise of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Polar Refuge", Avatar: Generations. Navigator Games & Square Enix Mobile London (April 18, 2023). Square Enix.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 16, 2019). Chapter One, "The Test". The Rise of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Heroes quotes, Avatar: Generations. Navigator Games & Square Enix Mobile London (August 11, 2022). Square Enix.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 16, 2019). Chapter Three, "The Boy From Makapu". The Rise of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  6. Yee, F.C. (March 15, 2020). combination of both honestly. Twitter. Retrieved on August 23, 2020.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 16, 2019). Chapter Eight, "The Fracture". The Rise of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  8. Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game. Core Book, Version 1.0, 2022, p. 264.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Character spotlights, Avatar: Generations. Navigator Games & Square Enix Mobile London (August 11, 2022). Square Enix.
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