I have noticed that many of you would like to know about my past.
I will not tell you everything, but you deserve to know the basics.
My family…. It is hard to remember them clearly now, but I believe they were… beautiful.
They were the bravest, strongest people I have ever known.
((Warning: This is long.))
I looked rather average. It is hard to remember my former face. It was a long time ago, and we only had one mirror.
I was old enough to understand what had happened to me.
My first “mask” was the bandages I wore to cover my wounds. I replaced them daily, clinging to the vain hope that I could heal, coating them with an herbal paste of my own invention.
I never healed, of course.
People were unwilling to associate with one as wretched and disfigured as I, and I had no place in that village anymore. That firebender burned took my family, my farm, my future, and my face in an hour. People could barely speak to me. Our family’s friends avoided me. Some thought I was cursed. Some felt guilty. Some were afraid of the firebender. I could not stand to stay there.
I replaced the bandages with cloth. Black, white, rough, smooth— whatever I could get. I left my village to find a new life. A new identity required a new name. I chose “Amon.” One of its meanings is “peace.” At the time it was both a sarcastic joke and a statement of purpose. If I could find inner peace, I thought I could be happy.
I travelled everywhere I could. I sought only spiritual teachers at first, but soon I found that a weak, nameless nonbender was easy prey. Soon, I found fighting teachers as well. I rarely spent much time in one place, and bought necessities with the meager wages of a laborer or bodyguard.
Much to my dismay, most spirituality was and still is funneled through benders. While I hated benders and what they do to people even then, I still approached them, believing that one does not need to bend to learn the lessons of the elements. Unfortunately, bending masters did not share that opinion.
I was refused by every bending teacher I approached. I learned much about the spirits and the tactics of our foes by crouching outside windows and doors.
I happened on chiblocking teachers by chance. Chi-blocking is a secret, ancient art, and I will not reveal my teachers. I spent much time with them.
However, my most valuable teaching came from another group entirely. Forgive me— I would like to keep its identity secret. I stayed with those people for a long time and grew enormously, both spiritually and physically. But the more time I spent with them, the more contradictions and prejudice I saw in their teachings. I left, disillusioned and disgusted.
I saw suffering everywhere. Throughout my travels, I met victims of war, victims of prejudice, victims of exclusion and scorn— victims of bending, those who had suffered as I had.
I saw the damage left by the 100 Year War— villages struggling after the Fire Nation took away their infrastructure, cities burned to the ground, governments struggling to start again. I was denied employment, attacked, and belittled for being a non-bender.
Every time I revealed my story or spoke about the oppression I saw, the response was always the same:
“You just have to deal with it. What can you do about it?”
I wrote an Equalist manifesto in the back of my head, then in cheap notebooks from cheap stores. Every time I saw someone suffering at the hands of benders, it grew.
I planned the Equalists, both its philosophy and organization, though I believed I did not have the strength to form them. However, I soon found out that I did.
I had wanted to visit the spirit world for a long time, but I got there without intending to while meditating under an ancient tree.
To enter the spirit world, you must know spiritual teachings, and know yourself. Once you do that, and the spirits deem you worthy, you may enter.
No spirit gave me the ability to remove bending. They unlocked the potential I already had.
The spirits revealed my true potential, and gave me my mission. The spirits saw what benders have been doing to the world and all the suffering they have caused, and they could stand it no more. At once, they showed me all of the pain bending has wrought and gave me the ancient, lost power to purify the impure.
Just before I returned to the physical world they told me something else: “Amon” has another meaning.
It means Equality.
I was ignited with divine purpose. I knew what I had to do. I moved to Republic City, a beacon of both hope and disaster for non-benders. My ratty notebooks would finally be put to good use.
Before the Equalists could exist, I had to make myself into a leader— a symbol. I needed a proper mask. Something better than rags and old clothes.
I found it, dirty, plain and white, in the trash at the back of a theatre. I do not know who made it. The mask thrown out by the theatre, and me, the man cast aside by bending society— we were both considered trash.
I sketched out countless possible designs, drawing from masks of all cultures, from the makeup of wolf warriors and Kyoshi warriors, from whatever seemed appropriate.
Eventually, I settled on the design I wear now. The red of the blood we have spilt, the emphasis on the Chakra, and the curves reminiscent of spirits and change— it felt right. As I painted it, it felt like the spirits were guiding my hand.
We met in a run-down hideout for revolutionaries. He was good with technology, and told me how he could harness new discoveries to power the revolution. The rods he wields are his own invention, and that technology was later folded into our newer weapons.
He was my first follower, and offered the compassion and understanding I had been deprived of for so long. He was also my first friend in a long time.
I did all of those things. First I made speeches on street corners, and soon I made fliers to go with them. When the police came after me, I moved to underground bars, then underground theatres, then warehouses. I started self-defense classes. I begged for donations. Soon, more and more people united behind me. We grew so big that I no longer had time to handle those day-to-day affairs. We are growing still.
I suppose I would still be a farmer. It is hard to think of going back to that life.
I will never entrust my body to a waterbender, but even if a nonbender offered miracle surgery, I would still turn them away. I may have accepted when I was still living in that tiny village, but I am not a young, scared boy anymore.
My scars are a part of me. They remind me of my purpose and shape my soul. If I regained my face, I would lose myself.
As you can see, I have changed. The pain of my own loss will never leave me, but I now know of the pain others go through. There are many who have lost everything to a bender’s whim, and many more who live under oppression every day. Even the spirits are furious at what the world has become. No person who upholds this kind of society is “innocent.” If you cannot understand this, you must open your eyes.
As for the other Equalists, do not treat them like mindless slaves. They share my vision, and have sacrificed so much to see it through. They know what the risks are, and they know what the benefits could be.
I have no guilt for leading our people into a brighter future. I am doing what must be done. All of my life— all of history— has led to this moment. I will not let the world down.
((A different format today!))
((This is both my speculation and propaganda. Whether or not this is “right” nor not, this is the sort of thing Amon might tell his closest followers. If this was longer, he would talk about how he saved all the orphans of the world and turned water into wine and so forth forever. Because of this, please take all inconsistencies and lies in this as Amon lying to you. That said, most of this is also my headcanon, and I could see Amon having a backstory something like this.))
((This was made before episode 8.))
((I could revise this a hundred times and annotate every panel, but I should probably let it go now, haha.))
((Textures from lostandtaken.com. Questions reopen on Saturday.))
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