NAME: Mai NICKNAMES: None, and don't try to come up with any. AGE: 15 years old NATION: The Fire Nation
Height: 5'9'' Build: Tall, lanky, trim. Hair: Long, typically worn half up in a pair of buns, half down with two pigtails. Eyes: Clear amber Distinguishing Features: Constantly frowning, appears to be bored, wears billowy outfits in order to hide weaponry below.
Mother and Father - In spite of her parents being rather overbearing, Mai has a pervasive sense of filial piety. She is extremely dutiful towards her parents, most likely a result of being practically birthed into a culture of political child-rearing.
Tom Tom - Her baby brother, Mai's relief to no longer be the only child is only outweighed by the fact that Tom Tom is a boy, and as such, is more likely to take the mantle of her father's more political aspirations. During her travels with the girls, she often finds a moment to steal away to find some sort of trinket or toy to send back to her baby brother to assure him (and her parents) that she's alright.
Azula - The self-proclaimed brains behind the operation, Mai relies on Azula to know 'what's next.' Mai acknowledges Azula's strategic finesse, and frankly, has no intentions of getting in Azula's way. In fact, Mai encourages Azula to go about her merry little way doing what it is she does - after all, if Azula does it, that means that Mai doesn't have to. It's not like Ty Lee could lead them out of a bathtub.
Ty Lee - Probably the closest thing Mai has to an actual 'friend,' Ty Lee is a little bit of a ditz at time, but fortunately, she's simple, and easy to read. She wears her emotions on her sleeve - which is against everything Mai's been taught, but convenient for the sake of trust. Ty Lee does infuriate Mai on occasion, due to her gullibility and being taken advantage of, but Mai typically keeps it to herself.
Zuko - As much as Mai tries to avoid 'complication,' everyone has some sort of complicated relationship in all this, and with Mai, it's her relationship with Zuko. Mai bristles at any mention of her long-time crush. As Azula's friend, she's supposed to carry some sort of disdain towards the exiled Prince. Whenever Azula brings him up, Mai abstains from commenting. Her relationship with Zuko started at a young age - though it wasn't so much of a relationship as much as it was watching from a distance. Mai kept everyone at arm's length, and Zuko was no exception. It was clear, though, that his pure intentions, free of convoluted courtesan norms, caught her attention, and perhaps even a bit of admiration. Any healthy sense of development between the two of them was thwarted on a regular basis by Azula's meddling - though whether it was done out of malice or amusement has never really been made clear.
Now that Zuko has been exiled, though, Mai isn't really sure when or if she'll be seeing him again, though she has hope that alongside Azula, it's only a matter of time before their paths cross.
OCCUPATION: Noblewoman of the Fire Nation, Governor's Daughter, Shuriken expert.
SEXUAL ORIENTATION: Mostly straight, but hasn't given it much thought, really...(as a player, I'm open to anything, though I like playing canon when possible)
HOW DO THEY FEEL ABOUT THE IMPENDING WAR?: As Mai sees it, war is inevitable. Politicians will be politicians, and as long as there are brutes and blowhards that are willing to cause trouble for the sake of some well-conceived cause, war will eventually happen. The important thing in war isn't to try to stop it, it's to try to come out of it alive with as much of yourself intact as possible. Don't try to be a hero, don't try to rebel against the status-quo, just keep your head low and preserve as much of your former life as possible.
PERSONALITY: Mai was raised in a life of privilege, having been constantly doted upon by servants and her parents in a solid attempt to be the 'perfect family' that every politician relies on. She was sent to the Royal Fire Academy for Girls, where she was taught that children (especially ladies) are to be seen, and not heard. She was frequently a witness to the rebellious ways of other children in attendance, and saw the consequence of their ill-fated attempts. Early on, Mai learned that speaking up (or sticking out) just wasn't worth it, and she concentrates all her efforts to being a quiet, unassuming (albeit brooding) wallflower. As a result, Mai typically comes across as disengaged, bored, surly, and dry.
Mai tends to avoid conflict in most things, finding the result rarely outweighs the effort. She'll typically follow along on whatever the more dominating personality declares as the plan, and will only speak out when things cross over into the realm of ridiculousness or short-sightedness. She does have a temper that, while initially quiet, has the ability to boil when relentlessly provoked.
While she values her relationship with Ty Lee and Azula, her best friends since childhood, she rarely shows affection towards them, or even acknowledges their bond. Instead, she tends to test their loyalties by constantly remarking on their more superficial personality differences, be it Azula's fanatical tendencies, or Ty Lee's airheadedness. Some might perceive it as cruel, even unbecoming of someone in a friendship, but it was Mai's own way of showing that she cared - in provoking them towards ownership of themselves, flaws and all. Her parents would do the same towards her throughout life, so that she would never let an outsider question her, thus revealing a crack in her finely-honed facade.
The only person with whom this isn't the case is with that of her friend's brother, Zuko. Unlike Ty Lee and Azula's broad ambitions and goals, Zuko always had a deliberate manner, a focus that brought about a sense of admiration from Mai. He didn't worry about perceptions or propriety - and his stubbornness, while always a source of ridicule from Azula, was one of the only things pure in Mai's life, and one of the only things that could bring Mai both to smile and to tears.
HISTORY: Mai was the first-born (and up until recently, only child) of a Fire Nation nobleman (now governor of New Ozai) and his wife. Mai's life was for the most part uneventful and drab. She was typically well-behaved, as her parents and caregivers would usually bribe her into submission by giving her whatever she wanted in exchange for keeping up appearances. Her parents were usually hands-off, unless there was a social event she had to attend, in which case, she would be promised whatever she wanted in exchange for her silence and impeccable behavior. After a few instances of acting out of line, and experiencing first-hand how strict and unyielding her parents were in regards to their political aspirations, Mai resolved to never draw undue attention to herself, and found serenity in silence.
For a young child, though, this led to inevitable boredom. For excitement, Mai began to sneak kitchen knives into her bedroom. At first she used them to cut the hair of countless dolls she had accumulated from bribes and gifts from strangers attempting to finagle their way in to her parents' good graces. Once that sufficiently terrified her maidservants, she graduated to throwing knives on the wall - first aimlessly, then in patterns and rhythms. Her parents never intruded on Mai's new-found hobby, assessing that since it was restricted to the confines of her private quarters, Mai was free to 'express herself' in whatever way she wanted, as long as it didn't draw attention from outsiders. As a result, any servants charged with caring for Mai were sworn to a pact of secrecy. The last thing the family needed were rumors circulating throughout society that their only child was some sort of psychotic maniac.
Once she was of the appropriate age, Mai began attending the Royal Fire Academy for Girls. While she met Ty Lee and Azula before, it was there that they began to bond and form a friendship that would carry over outside of the school grounds, much to the anti-social Mai's chagrin. Azula and Ty Lee were the more outgoing and active of the three, and Mai didn't mind. She would often sit back and watch the other girls get in and out of messy situations, and when opportunity presented itself, Mai would hide behind them whenever eyes turned their direction. Ty Lee and Azula didn't seem to mind the extra attention, and that suited Mai perfectly.
It was Azula that noticed Mai's prolific skills with knives, and encouraged Mai to not take her hobby lightly. At the time, Mai thought Azula was taking a charitable interest in Mai's life and development, and rather than shrugging off Azula's suggestions, began to delve further into the art of shuriken-jutsu. In retrospect, Mai realizes that Azula saw means to profit from Mai's ability, but she wouldn't admit to falling victim to Azula's cunning.
Throughout their mutual childhoods, the girls spent a great deal of time at the Fire Lord's palace, 'playing' with each other and, if they were feeling gracious, letting Zuko tag along at times. Mai had minimal encounters with boys of any sort, being without brothers and having attended an all-girl's school, so her behavior around Zuko was stiff and awkward most of the time. She didn't know how to act around him, and any attempts he made to socialize with her were exciting, but definitely odd. (Looking back on it now, Mai would roll her eyes and insist that he was most likely doing it out of social obligation.) She liked him though, and his presence brought a strange novelty that made her visits to the Fire Lord's palace and gardens something she looked forward to more than just about anything.
As they matured, so did their relationships. Azula's 'spunk' evolved into ruthlessness, Ty Lee's youthful vigor remained, and was now called "perkiness," (ugh.) and Zuko...Zuko was having trouble at home, and Mai didn't really know what to do about it. She was told by her classmates that boys were stubborn and dense, so at first Mai didn't really think much of it. Azula would tell the girls stories about her brother butting heads with everyone with a tinge of humor, so Mai wasn't exactly sure what to think when news came of Zuko's Agni-Kai and inevitable banishment. She knew Zuko was close-minded, and, admittedly, not as smart as his sister, but such blatant disregard for societal norms and propriety left a bitter taste in Mai's mouth. The fluttery feelings that once filled Mai's chest had now changed to that of resentment whenever Azula would bring him up - and it was somewhat overwhelming.
While most teenagers would be devastated to move away from friends, Mai was relieved when her father was charged with the duty of governing the newly-conquered city-state of Omashu. She immediately recognized the opportunity to get away from all the drama pulsing through the capital city, and looked forward to a change of scenery.
Not surprisingly, Mai was sorely disappointed. Omashu couldn't be more different from the elite refinement of the Fire Nation capital. Add the pressure of having an obnoxious baby brother into the mix, and Mai quickly found herself longing for the 'good old days' back at the Fire Lord's Palace, sitting bored in the background with her friends.
Rather than going back to the 'excitement' of the Fire Nation, the Fire Nation's Princess Azula opted to bring the capital's excitement to Mai in Omashu. Mai would never admit it, but she was taken by surprise when Azula and Ty Lee arrive on her front doorstep to bring her along for some sort of new mission. Seizing the opportunity to free herself of miserable Omashu, Mai promptly follows with little more than the clothes on her back and the daggers beneath. Ever the opportunist, Azula doesn't flee the scene without using Mai's noble family to her advantage, and pawns baby brother Tom Tom off in a hostage situation.
Once Azula was done with her scheming, and Mai has assured that her baby brother is safe, the girls finally have a moment to reunite, and Mai, after her desperate decision to leave Omashu has caught up with her, confirms that their special mission is to bring Zuko back home to the capital. Azula, never one to have simple ambitions, also has her sights set on apprehending the Avatar. Whether successful or not, Mai can't deny her morbid curiosity towards what will happen when the royal brother and sister re-unite. With luck, maybe she'll get a few choice words in, too.
more to come...
QUOTE: "There really is no fathoming the depths of my hatred for this place."