Welcome to The Avatar RP !

13 October 2018 — As the leaves fade to crisp reds and yellows in Fall of 172 AG, the RCPD is no closer to finding the party responsible for the death of the Reformist activist. Is the RCPD taking sides? It seems only a matter of time before the city is in open turmoil … Read More.

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Republic City Census

There are 003 Firebenders, 003 Earthbenders, 004 Waterbenders, 002 Airbenders, 002 Nonbenders, and 003 Plot NPCs living in Republic City.
Of these citizens, there are 006 Reformists and 008 Traditionalists.

Devil's Advocate

With a sigh, Charumati tucked a stray strand of her long brown hair behind her ear. Summer was her least favourite time of year, and being cooped up in the Times building with a bunch of other people only made the heat worse. The only saving grace was lunchtime; the cafeteria always provided heat-friendly food like cold soba noodles and chilled fruits to help beat the heat.

Normally, she ate alone. Not everyone at the Times knew she was the voice behind Dear Rohana, and it was far simpler to avoid them than have to navigate a sea of so-what-do-you-do-here's. Plus, she knew a lot of people found her intimidating. with her quiet manner and serious face, and they behaved in some of the most bizarre ways she just had no patience for.

Today was different, however. After grabbing a tray of mul-naengmyeon and a side of chilled papaya, she made a beeline for the table where a particular waterbender was sitting.

"Hello, Akane," she said in her quiet way, offering the smallest upturn of a smile. "Mind if I sit here? I was wondering if we could have a little chat."
Akane had been hard at work, perfecting a piece for the upcoming edition before submitting it to her editor. She remembered a time not that long ago when she had been the one delivering the articles for submission, not writing them. While Probending was her passion, this was a great day job - and a good way to secure her future once her Probending days were over. After all, no one could be a professional athlete forever. She was really enjoying this position, and hope that she could continue to make her mark. She was glad for a break, though, and hurried to the lunch room as soon as it was time. She grabbed her food, not even looking to see what it was before she found an empty spot in the back of the room, and sat down. She sat there, staring at the table, her mind winding down from the day when she heard a voice speaking to her.

Akane looked up to see another writer, Charumati, speaking to her. It wasn't that they hadn't ever spoken before, because that wasn't true, though she would never say she knew the woman. Sharing a few words here and there did not really mean anything. Of course, she knew who she was - she had been a secretary before, after all. However, it was very, very odd for her to come up and ask to sit down. Even more odd for her to say that she wanted to speak to her. She paused for a second, in shock more than anything else, before speaking. "Oh, of course, please, sit," she said, gesturing to the seat across from her. "I'm not sure how I can help you, but I'll do what I can. What did you want to ask?" She wasn't sure what they had in common at all, but she wasn't going to reject someone when they asked politely, especially when she had no reason to. Charumati had never been rude to her anything, not that she could recall.
With an incline of her head, Charumati accepted the invitation to be seated.

"I apologise for approaching you so suddenly," she said, busying herself with arranging her dishes. "I know we are not particularly close, so I hope you will forgive my presumptive behaviour."

After a pause, she looked up from her tray without a trace of a smile, her hands folded primly on the table. "I read your article in the latest publication, and I couldn't help but notice you published some commentary in line with the Traditionalist platform." Charu kept her tone casual, unwilling to alienate Akane; not only was it far too early in the conversation to put the woman on edge, but Charu had no desire to upset a co-worker and make the workplace an awkward environment.

"Would you mind if we discussed those beliefs? I must admit, I found your ideas ..." Charumati thought for a moment, trying to find the right word. "... thought provoking, at the very least. I will be forward and say I don't follow that line of belief myself, but I would be curious as to your rationale behind agreeing with the Traditionalists, especially in the current atmosphere."

Charu grabbed a pair of metal chopsticks from the chopstick holder at the centre of every table, then splashed some fish sauce into her mul-naegmyeon and tossed in a few leaves of kimchi. The heat of the kimchi and of the summer day were relieved by the coolness of her noodle, giving a little involuntary sigh of contentment as she waited for Akane to reply.
Akane shook her head, a small smile crossing her lips. "Oh, no, it's fine," she said. "I was just a bit surprised, that's all." She was a bit surprised that Charumati had read her article. She hadn't thought she was a Probending fan at all, or at least she assumed she wasn't. After all, her column was very pro-Reformist - she had found out who she wrote under when working as a secretary, though she wasn't sure how many people were privy to that information, as well. She gathered very little, outside of those few at the paper who dealt in that information. "Sure, I'd be happy to discuss them with you." She wasn't sure what she had expected when the older woman sat down, but this actually made some sense. This was something very important to her, she gathered. Akane had no problem discussing her opinions.

Akane wasn't sure if thought-provoking was good or bad. She ate a bit of her food before responding, as it gave her time to figure out how to form these words properly. "I have no love of violence," she said, "for the record. I don't think the way non-benders are treated is right. My mother and sister are both non-benders, but... bending is special. Not everyone can do it, and it takes many years to Master. Most never do. Being an Avatar is an extremely high honor, and very few are truly capable of doing it - at least in my opinion. That doesn't mean that the status quo still doesn't need to be changed, because it does. But it doesn't change the fact that, at least for me, bending is a gift." She had a feeling that this would turn out to be a very interesting conversation.
Reaching for another piece of kimchi, Charumati shrugged as nonchalantly as she could. "Not everyone can draw, or do a backflip, either, even with special training," she murmured. "What makes bending in particular such an important gift?"

She waved her chopsticks in Akane's general direction and continued. "Let's say for argument's sake that one day you woke up and were no longer in possession of your... gift." Charumati spoke the word as if it were a particularly foul piece of food. "Should you suddenly lose your jobs? Your recognition and acclaim? Should you be forced to live in poverty then? Your gift no longer exists, and by your logic, you no longer deserve the things you worked for."

"And on that note," she added, "there are many things that it takes years to master. I for one, have very poor calligraphy skills. Why are calligraphists not lauded as benders are? Or other nonbenders dedicated to honing their bodies and minds to master the art of the sword, or other martial arts? Why specifically those given the ability to manipulate an element?"

It was a legitimate question; she had more skill and more training than a majority of the benders in the city. She suspected that she could easily handle Akane in a one-on-one brawl, her seniority balancing out Akane's advantage of youth. But there was no recognition for her mastery of chi-blocking, no recognition for the fact she could crush a watermelon between her thighs, or wield a glaive taller than her single-handedly. She was viewed as dangerous — or would be, were she not careful about keeping her skills hidden.
Akane had to admit that she considered that has a point and might see where she was coming from. From her perspective, it might seem any different. It was still different... She wasn't sure how she could explain it, though. For a moment, the brunette sat there as she ate, mulling over her thoughts a bit. How was Probending different? It felt different... was that just because she was looking at the situation from a benders point of view? She had always prided herself on being open and accepting, but she couldn't help but feel that benders were just... different. How could drawing or calligraphy compare to bending, and it's many forms and uses? But could she explain that to someone who wasn't a bender and might not understand no matter what she said?

Charumati's next question through her for an even bigger loop. No, of course, she shouldn't lose everything. Nor should anyone else be turned down for jobs that they could do just as well as a bender - but that didn't mean that bending still wasn't special. "Bending is different. Anyone can take a pen to paper and try to draw or do calligraphy," Akane said. "You may not be good at it, but you can do it. Those who cannot bend are physically incapable of doing it - you can't even do a bad or poor form of... Waterbending for example. Your body is not capable of doing it, and short of a disability - anyone can do bad calligraphy." She hoped she had explained herself well enough, at least on that point of discussion.

"As to your next question, no - I should not. Nor should anyone lose housing or jobs because they can do a job just as well as a bender," Akane explained. "Or get paid lower for doing the same job just as well, I should also add. "I also think that nonbenders possibly need their own sport, too. There are plenty of things I would think, sports which aren't recognized by the government but probably should be. That doesn't mean that bending still isn't a gift. It doesn't make us superior to those of you who don't." The Waterbender gave a shrug of her shoulders as she ate a bit more of her food.
A wry smile played on Charumati's lips. "But," she countered. "You can be a poor bender. I've definitely met plenty in my time." Charu chuckled. "And yet, poorly trained benders still get more recognition in most areas than a highly skilled nonbender."

She waved away the explanation about probending. "And of course we should have our own sport, I disagree that nonbenders should be allowed into a sport that we literally cannot participate in. The problem is logistics: in order to put together a sport you need an audience. You need a venue. You need money to fund teams, uniforms, concessions, medics. Those things don't come for free, obviously. How do you suggest nonbenders — who, as I'm sure you know, are statistically the poorest in the city — gather enough money to even put together their teams? Surely you can sympathise, Akane, it can't have been easy to put together your team all things considered, and you have a decent paying job to supplement your income as a professional sportsperson."

Charumati took a few bites of her food, savouring the soft burn of the kimchi and cooling sensation of the chilled noodles against her tongue. She had to remember to send a card of gratitude to the kitchen staff; they always made such delicious lunches, and box dinners if you were working late. 

"Bending is a gift, I agree, just as a knack for calligraphy or other martial arts." She gave a little half-shrug, as if Akane's points weren't very convincing. "You say you agree that benders aren't inherently better than nonbenders, but that's the angle most people are pushing for. That they deserve better treatment by virtue of having a spirits-given ability."

The temptation to invite Akane to spar with her was strong, but she didn't know the woman well and wasn't sure she could trust her to keep her mouth shut about her abilities — especially the ones that would immediately mark her as former Equalist. After a moment, Charu decided to take a chance, and just ... leave out that particular skill set for another time.

"In any case, Akane," she said. "I appreciate you taking the time to let me know what you think. I definitely cannot agree, though. I daresay that you'd find me a much tougher customer than most of the people you spar against, but I would never receive recognition for it."

She knew that her words would probably sound odd; she was very aware her outfit looked nothing like an outfit someone skilled in combat-ready fighting would wear. Her long hair framed her face in delicate, orchestrated waves, falling in a cascade down her pale cream blouse with a delicate rounded collar; her skirt was a sedate pleated navy blue matched with dainty cream-and-navy pumps.

Charu took another bite of her noodles, letting the implied challenge hang in the air between them.
Akane smiled. “Yes, you can be, but that wasn’t my point,” she said. “It’s still an ability that you literally have to be born with – while you can be a bad bender, no amount of classes or teaching will do anything for a nonbender. Even a bad bender can do some very basic things, albeit poorly. A nonbender could never do that. It doesn’t make us superior. It is just a simple fact.” She knew that this was a pointless conversation, which the two of them would never agree on the core issue, but she had agreed to this. Besides, at the very least, it was turning out to be an interesting conversation.

Akane nodded at her words. “Yes, you are correct – it would take a lot of time without government support, and probably even with it,” she said. “Possibly with a couple of rich sponsors, but even then who knows… If the government supported the idea, it might be a bit easier, though, but they don’t seem to care.” They should acknowledge the issue, but perhaps they were making the situation worse. “I can sympathize. It wasn’t hard, and we had to work full-time jobs to support our Probending career, and that was with all three of us working for it.”

Akane didn’t agree – bending was not calligraphy or martial arts, something that anyone could take a class for. It was not the same thing, but they were never going to agree. Of course, a nonbender would not see that it was not the same thing and that it could be a gift more special than that without being superior. It certainly seemed to her that they wanted to say it wasn’t special at all – it was. But that didn’t mean that nonbenders didn’t deserve equal treatment. It made her think of her mother, her sister – both non-benders.

“Happy to discuss it anytime.” A smirk crossed Akane’s lips. “I’m sure I would find you a better match, although except for in a Probending match, I haven’t sparred against anyone else in years.” She shrugged her shoulders. “My father tried to teach me more classical ways as a child, but I was never really interested, so I always went off and practiced more Probending moves on the side. “Perhaps you should receive recognition for it. I have no doubt that you could teach me a thing or two. You have years on me, how many I’m not sure, but I do know you’re older than me. It might be interesting nonetheless.”
It was clear that the two of them were at an impasse, so Charumati let it go with a nonchalant shrug of one shoulder. Of course, she had never thought she'd be able to change Akane's mind — her intent was truly to understand how the moderates of the Traditionalist party thought, and it was interesting insight indeed... insight that reaffirmed to her that having Traditionalists in power over the city would lead only to further corruption and disenfranchisement.

Even moderates like Akane — who Charumati did not dislike — were prone to the sort of thinking of inherent superiority, even if they only believed it was something worthy of note. Bending was still a genetic abnormality and completely uncontrollable, anymore than one's skin or hair colour.

A genuine smile stretched across Charu's face as Akane rose to the bait, grinning at her with an I-know-what-you're-up-to smile. "It would be interesting, indeed," she echoed, setting aside her empty noodle bowl and reaching for her fruit. "There's a gym in the Dragon Flats district called Geum's Gym. Perhaps I'll see you around one of these weekend evenings, hm?"

Something inside her hummed with anticipation. Sparring with a dummy and punching bag had nothing on the thrill of sparring against another person, even if the stakes weren't life or death. She chewed on her papaya in happy silence. Sometimes the simplest things in life — good food, an interesting conversation, and the promise of a brawl were enough to lift a lady's spirits.