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Air Nomads

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Air Nomads

Post by CJWatso on June 28th 2009, 11:47 am

The Air Nomads were a nation of wandering Airbenders. They were a monastic order of men and women who practiced Airbending, the mystical art of aerokinesis. They did not have great cities and towns like the other nations, but instead built four Air Temples, one at each corner of the globe, hidden away atop mountain ranges in the northern Earth Kingdom and on three remote islands.

A century before the time of the series, the Air Nomads were the victims of genocide at the hands of the Fire Nation. The Air Nomads are now considered an extinct civilization, the only survivor being the Avatar (Aang) himself. It is unknown what will happen when the Avatar cycle returns to Air.


Culture
The Air Nomads wore orange, saffron yellow, and brown clothing. Aang and other young Airbenders wear orange shawls over long-sleeved yellow shirts, a brown belt, yellow pants with brown on the back, and brown boots that reach the knees. Senior monks wear longer robes in shades of yellow, orange, and brown. Air Nomads who completed their training and became Masters of Airbending were given blue arrow tattoos on their head, back, arms and legs, similar to the ones on flying bison. Many of the monks had beards and mustaches, and many also wore amulets or necklaces engraved with the Air Symbol.

The Air Symbol is made of three counterclockwise spirals on top of a brown circle. In addition to being worn on necklaces, the Air Symbol was also often found at Air Temples. It was based on a Tibetan Origin symbol.[4]

The Air Nomads were a peaceful society that dwelled at high altitudes in temples and traveled the world atop their flying bison. They were based on Chinese Shaolin monks and Tibetan Buddhists. Pious and forthright, Airbenders preferred to use their Airbending, which all Air Nomads could use, strictly for defensive purposes, striving to live in harmony with nature.[5] Meditation was an important part of the Airbenders' daily routines; it helped them to focus their energies and understand the potency of their element.[5] The arrow on a Master Airbender's head is an emulation of the natural arrows on the heads of the revered Flying Bison who can naturally Airbend and were the inspiration for the first Airbenders. In order to receive the tattoos as well as the title of master, an Airbender needed to pass the thirty-six levels of Airbending and engineer a new technique.[6]

The Air Nomads were an environmentally friendly nation. Because they attempted not to leave an ecological footprint, they powered naturally all industries, including farming.[7] They also produced their own food, with their diet mainly consisting of fruits and vegetables due to their vegetarian lifestyle.[5]

Air Temples
The Southern Air Temple was inhabited only by male Monks, and is located on an island close to the Southern Water Tribe.[8][9] An "Air Ball" court and "Pai Sho" room were used for recreation. Before the Firebender attack, a multitude of trees and plants adorned the temple. In the middle of the Temple, accessible to only to Master Airbenders or the Avatar lay a sanctuary of statues of past Avatars. Aang and his mentor Monk Gyatso once lived here.

The Northern Air Temple closely resembles the Southern Air Temple and was also home to only male Airbenders. The temple's location is near the Northern Water Tribe. Bison Polo tournaments were once held there. This temple is currently inhabited by refugees, who are led by The Mechanist and his son. The refugees live similar life to the monks, but have altered the structure to provide for living space that the monks did not need.

The Eastern Air Temple was inhabited solely by female Airbenders, and is located very close to Ba Sing Se. The Eastern and Western temples were built on three mountains, unlike the Northern and Southern Air temples, which were built on only one mountain. The template has a wheel-like feeding table in the middle of the temple for young Sky Bison. A waterfall, connecting ponds, flowers and vines grow in and around the temple. Guru Pathik currently lives at the temple. The Eastern Air Temple is the temple where Aang first met Appa.

The Western Air Temple was also inhabited solely by female Airbenders, and is located close to the Fire Nation capital. The design is very different than the other Air temples; The structure is built underneath a canyon wall and is upside-down. This temple contains a fountain, the world's largest Pai Sho table, an echo chamber, and a hall of statues. The temple came under attack during Book 3 by Combustion Man and Azula, and was partially destroyed.


Airbending

Aang projects a dome of focused air to protect himself and deflect arrowsAirbenders learned their bending art from the Sky Bison who Airbend using their tail and mouth.[10][11] The light blue full body tattoos seen on Aang and other Airbenders are derived from the Sky Bison's natural markings, and symbolize a person's mastery of the Airbending discipline.[12]

Airbending is based on the Ba Gua style of martial arts.[13] Ba Gua is known for its constantly circular movements, which makes it difficult for opponents to attack directly. The practitioner uses his own momentum as a weapon, constantly building up inertia for explosive counterattacks that evoke the unpredictable nature and explosive force of the wind. It is undoubtedly, the most dynamic of the four bending arts.

Airbenders have the ability to enhance their movements during battle. They can take giant leaps into the air, move at high speeds, run on water and vertical surfaces, glide on air currents to slow their descent and even spin around like a tornado to move quicker and confuse opponents. They can also create cushions of air to soften and blunt the falls of heavy objects. Airbenders can project powerful gusts of wind from their mouths.[14] Master Airbenders can create vortices to disorient opponents[15] and tornadoes to attack opponents.[16] An Avatar in the Avatar State can generate the mighty winds of a hurricane that can affect entire landscapes and sustain flight by surrounding themselves in spheres of air.[17][18] Airbenders are also capable of projecting solidified constructs of air to knock an opponent off balance or to provide defense from projectile weapons.

Specialized techniques
Flight - Highly skilled Airbenders can fly with a tornado-like structure below them. Most Airbenders, however, used less dramatic Airbending in conjunction with their glider-staves to fly. Unlike Firebenders, who can also fly, Airbenders can sustain their flight indefinitely.
Super Speed - Airbenders can use air bending to make them run much faster than any other race. Aang can easily walk up walls using this ability.
Air Scooter - A spherical "ball" of air that can be ridden by balancing on it like a top. This technique was invented by Aang himself as a form of ground transportation. The Air Scooter usually provides quick bursts of speed as well as overcoming vertical surfaces.[20]

Airbender Genocide
A century before the series began, the Airbenders were the victims of genocide at the hands of the Fire Nation. All Airbenders were slaughtered in an effort to break the Avatar's cycle of reincarnation and ensure the Fire Nation's victory in their imperialist war. The Airbenders were unable to defend themselves against the Fire Nation, who were empowered by a comet that would be named Sozin's Comet, that granted them great power. The only known survivor of the massacre was the very person the Fire Nation sought to kill the most, the twelve-year-old Avatar, Aang, who had run away from home shortly before the war began in earnest and became trapped in suspended animation. The last known vestiges of Airbender culture include one surviving Flying Bison, Appa, one winged lemur, Momo, both of whom are Aang's pets, and furry hermit crab-like creatures, which live at the Northern Air Temple.

Because Aang is the only living Airbender, it is unknown what will happen when the Avatar cycle returns to Air.

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Fire of the Dragon, Water of the Naiad, Air of the Pegasus, Earth of the Minotaur, Light of the Sun, Shadow of the Moon

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Take my hand child... Let me guide you in the way of the shadows...
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CJWatso
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