Avatar: The Spirits Rebirth discussion

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message 1: by Jacob (last edited Nov 19, 2013 07:03AM) (new)

Jacob Hott (jacobhottlifesucksthenwedie) | 217 comments Mod
The Creation and Harmony of the Avatar

"The Avatar must be compassionate towards all people, and the only way to do that is to live with them. The Avatar must experience sadness, anger, joy, and happiness. By feeling all these emotions, it helps you understand how precious human life is, so you will do anything to protect it."
— Avatar Yangchen to Avatar Aang


The Avatar is the only physical being with the ability to learn all four bending disciplines. It is considered the Avatar's duty to master the four elements and use such power to keep balance among the four nations of the world, as well as between mankind and spirits. With the death of the Avatar, the spirit is reborn into the following nation, dictated by the cyclic order; fire, air, water, earth. Mirroring the order in which the first Avatar, Wan, learned the elements, this is also the traditional order in which any one Avatar is to master the elements, beginning with the element aligned to their birth nation. The reincarnation cycle can only be broken if the Avatar Spirit is mortally attacked, either while the Avatar is using the Avatar State, or directly from a spiritual infection.
As part spirit, the Avatar possesses an innate connection to the Spirit World and uses it to be the bridge between the two worlds, to reconcile them and ensure harmony. The Avatar is also capable of using this ability to connect with their memories of their past lives. Throughout the ages, countless incarnations of the Avatar have served to maintain harmony in the world.

Each nation has a method of recognizing the new Avatar. Among the Air Nomads, this involved presenting all infants with a selection of toys to play with and watching for a child that selected four specific toys that had belonged to past Avatars, called the four Avatar relics. Traditionally, the child is told of his identity as the Avatar on his sixteenth birthday. However, Avatar Aang was told much earlier than this because of Fire Nation aggression, and Korra was discovered as the Avatar when she was still a little girl when she exhibited bending abilities beyond her native waterbending without formal training.

The Avatar also possesses the ability to bend energy itself, though very few Avatars have learned this technique, and even fewer have used it. Avatar Aang learned this technique from the last living lion turtle and used it to remove Phoenix King Ozai's firebending, thereby ending the Hundred Year War, and again to end Yakone's reign of terror in Republic City by stripping him of his waterbending.

Korra was also taught this ability after being able to contact Aang when she lost her bending. Aang used this ability to restore her bending and she likewise did the same for Lin Beifong.

When the Avatar masters control of the Avatar State, they are commonly referred to as a "Fully Realized Avatar".

Since the Avatar was created from the merger of Raava and a human, forming an embodiment of light and peace, the same is true if Vaatu, Raava's counterpart, merges with a human. Their merger forms the Dark Avatar, an embodiment of darkness and chaos.


message 2: by Jacob (new)

Jacob Hott (jacobhottlifesucksthenwedie) | 217 comments Mod
"We are bonded forever."
―Raava to Avatar Wan upon their merger and creation of the Avatar State.


Before Wan became the first Avatar, he was banished into the Spirit Wilds from the fire-bestowing lion turtle city after he stole the power of firebending. However, for two years since his banishment, Wan had befriended the spirits, honed his firebending skills, and decided to travel the world to find the other lion turtle cities. During his journey, Wan encountered Raava, the spirit of light, fighting against Vaatu, the spirit of darkness. Unaware of Vaatu's identity at the time, the dark spirit tricked Wan into separating him from Raava, which in the process, releasing chaos into the world. Wishing to fix his mistake, Wan went on with Raava to search of other lion turtles for the purpose of gaining the elements of air, water, and earth, and learning how to master them. A year later, during their fight against Vaatu at the time of the Harmonic Convergence, Wan merged permanently with Raava, becoming the first Avatar and gaining the ability to bend all four elements at once. After he sealed away the dark spirit, Wan subsequently oversaw the departure of the spirits to their own world, before closing the portals to the Spirit World, ensuring no human would be able to physically travel there and risk Vaatu's escape. Wan took on the task of being the bridge between the two worlds, maintaining balance and peace. Years later, Raava assured a dying elderly Wan that they will always be together, heralding the Avatar Cycle and ensuring the continuation of the Avatar's role as peacekeeper of both worlds.

The Avatar Cycle continued for ten thousand years, until the next Harmonic Convergence. At that time, Avatar Korra battled Unalaq, who attempted to create a new world under Vaatu's influence by fusing with the spirit to create a Dark Avatar. With his potential, Vaatu was able to rip Raava out of Korra's body and subsequently destroy her, severing Korra's connection to her past lives in the process. As a means of connecting with the cosmic energy of the universe, Korra meditated in the Tree of Time, and was able to bend her own energy to summon an astral projection of herself to battle Unalaq and Vaatu. With help from Jinora, Korra managed to defeat Unalaq and speed Raava's growth from within Vaatu, weakening the dark spirit and allowing Korra to defeat him. Returning to the Spirit World, Korra and Raava used the spiritual energy from the overlap of the spirit portals to fuse once more, before the end of Harmonic Convergence. This effectively recreated the Avatar Spirit, but began a new cycle in the process, with Korra as the first Avatar of the new age.


message 3: by Jacob (new)

Jacob Hott (jacobhottlifesucksthenwedie) | 217 comments Mod
"Don't worry. We will be together for all of your lifetimes, and we will never give up."
―Raava heralding the start of the Avatar Cycle to Wan upon his death.


The reincarnation of the Avatar is controlled by the Avatar Cycle of the elements: air, water, earth, fire. The cycle is based on the passage of the four seasons (air is autumn, water is winter, earth is spring, and fire is summer).
When an Avatar dies, the next Avatar will be born into the next nation in the Avatar Cycle; for example, Avatar Yangchen from the Air Nomads was followed by Avatar Kuruk from the Northern Water Tribe, who was followed by Avatar Kyoshi from the Earth Kingdom, who was followed by Avatar Roku from the Fire Nation, who was followed by Avatar Aang from the Air Nomads, who was followed by Avatar Korra from the Southern Water Tribe.

The Avatar Cycle also determines the order in which each Avatar must learn the four bending disciplines. The Avatar begins by mastery of his native element, so when the Avatar is born into the Water Tribe, they would first learn waterbending, before moving on to learn the three remaining bending disciplines in the order of the cycle; earthbending, firebending, and finally airbending. Due to his unique situation, however, Avatar Aang tried to learn fire as his second element under the tutelage of Jeong Jeong, who originally objected because of the cycle. Aang did learn to manifest fire, but he did not have the spiritual maturity to control it, and realizing this, he ended his training with Jeong Jeong. He eventually learnt firebending with Zuko as his teacher, after mastering the other elements in their proper sequence.

Each Avatar has a particular element to which they have a low affinity, dictated by their personality. This element can be difficult for them to learn, sometimes proving impossible to even control until they face a situation in which they are forced to reach inside themselves and manifest the power. Although it is often the opposing element to the one into which they are born, this is not always the case. Avatar Roku found mastering waterbending particularly difficult, and earthbending was difficult for Avatar Aang due his predisposition to choose a different angle of attack if confronted, rather than facing problems directly. Although both of these Avatars faced issues with their opposing element, it was airbending, not firebending, that Avatar Korra had difficulty mastering, due to her brash and direct nature, contrary to airbending's philosophy of contemplation, measured action, and avoidance of attacks.


message 4: by Jacob (last edited Nov 19, 2013 07:36AM) (new)

Jacob Hott (jacobhottlifesucksthenwedie) | 217 comments Mod
Known Avatars of the First Age

The known Avatars in the order of current to oldest are:

Korra (Water Tribe, Southern Water Tribe)
153 ASC - 171 ASC (End of the First Avatar Age)

Aang (Air Nomads, Southern Air Temple)
12 BSC - 153 ASC

Roku (Fire Nation, Roku's island)
82 BSC - 12 BSC

Kyoshi (Earth Kingdom, now Kyoshi Island)
312 BSC - 82 BSC

Kuruk (Water Tribe, Northern Water Tribe)
c. 345 - 312 BSC

Yangchen (Air Nomads, Western Air Temple)
Unknown - c. 345 BSC

Unnamed fire Avatar (Fire Nation)
Years unknown

Wan (Fire lion turtle)
c.9,829 BSC (Beginning of the First Avatar Age)

Known Avatars of the Second Age
The known Avatars in the order of current to oldest are:

Terran Damek (Earth Kingdom, Earth Kingdom Village)
241 ASC - Present Day

Korra (Water Tribe, Southern Water Tribe)
171 ASC - 241 ASC (Beginning of the Second Avatar Age)


message 5: by Jacob (new)

Jacob Hott (jacobhottlifesucksthenwedie) | 217 comments Mod
Simultaneous bending

The Avatar is capable of bending more than one element at the same time. Avatar Aang first demonstrated this ability while stranded in the desert, when he bent water from a cloud into Katara's water pouch while flying with airbending at the same time, and again in Ba Sing Se when he used his earthbending to recreate a zoo while traveling on the air scooter made by his airbending.

During his battle with Ozai, Aang used all four elements while in the Avatar State to make himself nearly invincible and used the elements in a highly destructive attack. He first used his airbending to create a spherical shield around himself, before utilizing the other bending arts to surround himself with elemental rings of rotating flames, rocks, and water. The compression of the elements provided Aang with materials for bending all four elements without sacrificing too much agility and speed, thus making this an extremely dangerous attack both defensively and offensively.

Avatar manifestation

A previous incarnation of the Avatar can manifest itself through the current Avatar. There are two ways of doing this.
Full manifestation
Full manifestation is when a past Avatar possesses the body of the current incarnation. It can happen by force of another Avatar, or when the current Avatar calls upon one of its past lives. The past Avatar being summoned will temporarily replace the appearance and abilities of the current incarnation with theirs.

Partial manifestation
This type of manifestation allows an Avatar to call another Avatar's spirit out of their body for communication purposes, revealing an apparition of the previous incarnation being called for.

Avatar State

"The Avatar State is a defense mechanism, designed to empower you with the skills and knowledge of all the past Avatars. The glow is the combination of all your past lives, focusing their energy through your body. In the Avatar State, you are at your most powerful, but you are also at your most vulnerable. If you are killed in the Avatar State, the reincarnation cycle will be broken and the Avatar will cease to exist."
―Roku to Aang

The strongest and most powerful ability that the Avatar can invoke is the Avatar State. It was created when Wan permanently bonded with Raava by touching the energy coming through the spirit portal during the Harmonic Convergence in 9,829 BSC. It allows the Avatar to channel vast cosmic energies and the knowledge of previous Avatars, enabling them to perform especially powerful and extraordinary bending feats. The Avatar may unconsciously enter the state in response to perception of mortal danger, utilizing the state as a defense mechanism, or emotional distress. While in the state, the Avatar has access to bending techniques they themselves may not have yet learnt, but have no conscious control over their actions and can cause great collateral damage. An Avatar with full mastery of the Avatar State has conscious control over the state and can enter and exit it at will. For an Avatar with complete mastery, their eyes will glow momentarily, not continuously. It was by entering the Avatar State reflexively that Aang was able to freeze himself and Appa inside an iceberg for a hundred years by using a combination of airbending and waterbending. He did not physically age at all during the century, as he was in suspended animation, but it took a great physical toll on his body after being in the Avatar State for such an extended period of time.

While in the Avatar State, the Avatar's eyes glow, as do any markings following chi paths along the body, such as Air Nomad tattoos; however, if the body has received an injury deeper than the tattoos, that specific area will not glow in the state. The glow is the combination of all the Avatar's past lives, focusing their energy through a single body. When Aang spoke in the Avatar State, his voice encompassed a combination of several different voices at once.

It is possible for an Avatar to control the Avatar State, as Aang, Roku, Kyoshi, Kuruk, Yangchen, and the unnamed Fire Nation Avatar have demonstrated in numerous flashbacks, but this requires great spiritual discipline and concentration. Guru Pathik attempted to teach Aang to control the Avatar State by helping him clear his chakras, but Aang could not let go of Katara in exchange for cosmic power, and Fire Sage Kaja informed Roku to clear his mind, but Roku found emptying his mind of thoughts to be quite challenging and was initially unable to do so. More often, the Avatar State is activated by danger or emotional turmoil. Aang inadvertently entered the Avatar State when he discovered that his friend and teacher, Monk Gyatso, was killed by comet-enhanced Fire Nation soldiers. Aang entered the Avatar State when General Fong placed Katara in danger by sinking her into the ground with earthbending. When an Avatar is in complete control of the Avatar State, their eyes glow momentarily, not continuously. It is possible for an Avatar to channel a specific previous incarnation while in the Avatar State. When this happens, the Avatar briefly takes on the appearance and voice of that previous incarnation. Aang did this on several occasions, channeling Roku twice, and Kyoshi once. The appearance of these incarnations seems to vary as Roku always appeared as an old man while all the other Avatar incarnations appeared youthful and in their prime. It is unlikely the age of the Avatar's death is the deciding factor in their appearance since Avatar Kyoshi lived for 230 years and would not have kept a young appearance at that time. It is possible that those in the Spirit World manifest visually as they see themselves and not as they currently are. Aang saw himself garbed in Air Nomad attire and with a shaved head within the Spirit World, even when he was wearing different clothes in the physical world and had hair. It appears that the Avatar State is capable of nullifying the effects of bloodbending, as Aang dispelled Yakone's bloodbending by entering the state.


message 6: by Jacob (new)

Jacob Hott (jacobhottlifesucksthenwedie) | 217 comments Mod
Ways the Avatar State works
There seems to be two distinct ways to how the Avatar State works:
Continuous
When the State works continuously, the Avatar's eyes, and tattoos in the case of an Air Nomad Avatar, glow white constantly, and the spirits of the past Avatars actively channel their energy, skills, and knowledge through the body of the current Avatar, granting him or her great amounts of strength and power.
The State works this way almost exclusively when it is triggered as an instinctive, unconscious reaction, a 'defense mechanism' for when an Avatar is confronted with a threat beyond what they can deal with, or when their emotions, specifically rage and sorrow, reach a breaking point. So it may perhaps be more accurate to describe the State being used this way as 'reflexively' rather than 'continuously'. When the State is triggered this way the combined spirits of the past Avatars seem to take control of the Avatar's body and voice, thus the current Avatar has little to no control over the performed actions and may retain little to no memory of what happened, though this is not always the case.

Aang appeared to use the State this way against Fire Lord Ozai after the scar on his back was forced against a rock unlocking his final chakra. Just as Guru Pathik had said, this event led to Aang being able to control the State himself, and unlike previous times where he entered the State, he was not physically exhausted.

Non-continuous
When the State is used non-continuously, the Avatar's eyes, and tattoos in the case of an Air Nomad Avatar, glow only for a second, and during that time the current Avatar stores the knowledge and energy needed so that it can be released once exiting the State, taking only the power needed for a specific task. This reduces the danger of being killed in the Avatar State and enables a more willful, controlled use of the Avatar State's power. This can only be done by an Avatar who has mastered the State as it is a conscious use rather than an instinctual response. Mastery of this technique is part of what distinguishes an Avatar as "fully realized".

Spiritual link-up
The Avatar State also allows an Avatar to join with certain spirits. This was demonstrated when Aang entered the Avatar State in order to aid the frantic Ocean Spirit. Both Aang in his Avatar State and the Ocean Spirit combined their abilities to defend the Northern Water Tribe after all waterbenders were rendered defenseless.


message 7: by Jacob (new)

Jacob Hott (jacobhottlifesucksthenwedie) | 217 comments Mod
Weaknesses

While the Avatar is all but invincible in the Avatar State, having access to the bending experiences of all those that have come before them, there is one grave weakness - while in effect, every Avatar is present in the physical world while the current Avatar is in the Avatar State. If the Avatar were to be killed while in the Avatar State, the cycle would permanently break and the Avatar would cease to exist.

Aang was fatally wounded by a lightning strike from Azula while entering the Avatar State. As a result, his connection with the Avatar Spirit was jeopardized, resulting in the Avatar Spirit's fall from the plane of existence. Katara was able to use the spirit water she received from Pakku to heal Aang, reviving Aang and consequently the Avatar Spirit.

The strain of the revival caused Aang to slip into a coma for several weeks, and during that time, he managed to secure his connection to the Avatar State by meeting with the four Avatar incarnations before him. However, it took longer for his connection to his past lives to be completely restored.

Another downside to the Avatar State is the considerable mental strain it can cause to less experienced Avatars. Prior to his tutelage under Guru Pathik, Aang would often leave the Avatar State feeling horrified at what he had done under its influence. Furthermore, use of the state, at least in extraordinary circumstances, can place such a large physical strain on an Avatar's body such that their life span can be affected; thus, Aang's one hundred-year time in the iceberg contributed greatly to his eventual death at sixty-six years of age biologically, and 166 years chronologically.

Known incidents of use
Wan
About ten thousand years before Korra's time, Wan created the Avatar State by bonding with Raava when he touched the geyser of energy from the Southern spirit portal during the Harmonic Convergence. He used this newfound power to defeat Vaatu and restore balance to the world.

Kyoshi
Kyoshi entered the Avatar State in her battle with Chin the Conqueror. Masterfully, she used the non-continuous Avatar State to split her homeland from the mainland; by using her earthbending to break apart the peninsula, firebending to summon lava from the Earth's crust, and airbending to push the mass of land out to sea, she created Kyoshi Island.

Roku
Roku entered the Avatar State on three known occasions. The first was during the winter solstice at the Fire Temple; while learning how to enter the state, he became trapped in it, consequently destroying the temple. This was his only known continuous use. The second time was non-continuous in a brief fight with Fire Lord Sozin, and the last known time was in an attempt to stop a volcanic eruption that threatened to destroy his home island.

Aang
Before 99 ASC
Aang entered the Avatar State to save himself and Appa from their fall into the ocean. Both were sealed into an ice encrusted air pocket that eventually froze into an iceberg. Aang would remain in the State until he was released from the iceberg around one hundred years later, hinting at the incredible power available to the Avatar.

Winter 99 ASC
Aang entered the Avatar State to escape another fall into the ocean and to stop Zuko. He waterbent a water spout in the form of a twister.

Aang later entered the Avatar State after witnessing the skeleton of his former mentor Monk Gyatso. In his anguished-induced state, he generated hurricane-force winds. In this event, it is shown that depictions of previous Avatars (such as sculptures or murals) may react to the Avatar state, even when far away, glowing in the same manner that the Avatar in the image would.

When Aang met Avatar Roku in the fire temple, Roku helped him and friends escape by directly taking over Aang's body and activating the volcano underneath the temple.

Aang almost entered the Avatar State while telling Katara that Monk Gyatso and he were to be separated.

Aang entered the state after saving Sokka and a fisherman, rounding up everyone that fell into the ocean and pulling them out of the water into the calmness of the storm's eye.

During the Siege of the North, Aang combined the Avatar State's power with the spirit of the Ocean, La, after all waterbenders were rendered powerless, and proceeded to lay waste to the Fire Nation fleet besieging the city.

Spring 100 ASC
Aang entered the Avatar State when General Fong used earthbending to bury Katara underground to force Aang into the Avatar State. He used airbending to knock the general to the floor, rose into the air on a tornado, and crashed down to the earth, releasing a powerful earthbending attack on the general, his guards, and his fortress. A small air sphere surrounded Aang before the spirit of Avatar Roku took him to the Spirit World to explain to him about the true nature of the Avatar State. In several flashbacks, Avatar Kyoshi, Avatar Kuruk, Avatar Yangchen, and an unnamed fire Avatar were seen in the Avatar State.

Aang entered the Avatar State when infuriated at a group of sandbenders for kidnapping Appa. A large air sphere surrounded him, lifting him up into the air, but was brought down by Katara, who grabbed his arm and embraced him.

While battling in Ba Sing Se, Aang finally was willing to give up Katara to open the last chakra and willingly enter the Avatar State, but he was soon struck by lightning from Azula.

Summer 100 ASC
Aang suffered a blow to the back while fighting Phoenix King Ozai in the same spot where Azula struck him with lightning, reopening his chakra and enabling him to effectively use the Avatar State. He collected all four elements and compressed them in a sphere around him, moving at incredible speed, plowing straight through obstacles whereas Ozai had to dodge said obstacles. The sphere could be used both for offense and defense. Since the sphere contained all four elements, it allowed Aang to earthbend and waterbend while away from a source. After the fight was over, Aang used it once again; pulling in the ocean to put out the fire at Wulong Forest, before lowering the tide back again, this time entering a momentary glow with realized control.

After the Hundred Year War
During a confrontation with Fire Lord Zuko over Yu Dao, Aang entered the Avatar State with intent to fulfill his promise to kill the Fire Lord if he became like Ozai, though was brought out of it by Katara.

During the Battle for Yu Dao, Aang entered the Avatar State once more to stop the Earth King and Fire Lord's armies from reaching Yu Dao by creating a massive chasm around it. When he did this, he made a sphere with all four elements reminiscent of his fight with Ozai.

Aang entered the Avatar State twice non-continuously to defeat Yakone and used his energybending to take the criminal's bending away.


message 8: by Jacob (new)

Jacob Hott (jacobhottlifesucksthenwedie) | 217 comments Mod
Korra

Autumn 170 ASC

Korra entered the Avatar State after having her bending abilities unlocked by the spirit of Avatar Aang when "she was at her lowest point". She formed an air spout to lift herself into the air, and released air, fire and earth rings around her before forming a large wave from the ocean below her and sending it crashing against the cliff.

Korra entered the Avatar State again while using energybending to restore Lin Beifong's earthbending abilities.

Spring 171 ASC
Korra entered the Avatar State to win an air scooter race against Tenzin's children, though Tenzin admonished her for abusing her power.

Korra entered the Avatar State while encountering a dark spirit in the Southern Water Tribe.

Korra entered the Avatar State in a desperate attempt to break free from dark spirits while trying to open a dormant spirit portal in the South Pole.

Korra entered the Avatar State to make an opening in the Northern Water Tribe blockade at the Southern Water Tribe.

Korra entered the Avatar State after encountering a dark spirit while traveling to the Fire Nation by speedboat.

She entered the Avatar State briefly when she woke up from "connecting with her deepest Avatar memories" at the Bhanti Village Temple.

Korra entered the Avatar State when she successfully traveled to the Spirit World alongside Jinora.

Korra entered the Avatar State while in the Spirit World to open the Northern spirit portal.

Korra entered the Avatar State while in the Spirit World again to engage Vaatu during Harmonic Convergence to prevent Vaatu from fusing with Unalaq and to re-imprison him into the Tree of Time.

Korra again entered the Avatar State in both realms to engage the newly created Dark Avatar who was in his own unique Avatar State to decide the fate of the world.

Korra entered the Avatar State again in the Spirit World after being reunited with Raava shortly before the end of Harmonic Convergence.


message 9: by Jacob (new)

Jacob Hott (jacobhottlifesucksthenwedie) | 217 comments Mod
Unalaq

Unalaq entered a Dark Avatar State while in the Spirit World to enhance his waterbending to try and overpower Korra.

Unalaq entered the state to remove Raava from Korra.

Unalaq entered it again to become a giant spirit and destroy Republic City.


message 10: by Jacob (new)

Jacob Hott (jacobhottlifesucksthenwedie) | 217 comments Mod
Meditation

Aang did not enter the Avatar State during meditation and harmony with the spirits around him, but his tattoos and eyes glow in the same way. In this method, he visited the Spirit World with his own spirit, leaving his body a defenseless shell in the real world. An example of this was seen at the North Pole.


Known occurrences of meditation:

Roku meditated in the temple on Crescent Island to enter his Avatar State.

Aang meditated into the Spirit World to find a way to save the North Pole.

Aang meditated on Avatar Roku's home island to meet him in the Spirit World. Curiously, when Aang was shown from a non-Spiritual World perspective after crossing over, his tattoos were not glowing, which differed from previous occasions when his tattoos remained glowing.

Aang meditated on the lion turtle to gain wisdom from his past lives on what he should do when facing Fire Lord Ozai.

Aang meditated before meeting Zuko in Yu Dao to ask Roku for some advice when he sees Zuko.

Korra meditated while kidnapped by Tarrlok to find out more about Aang and Yakone.

Korra meditated when trying to reconnect with Raava.


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