Long ago, before the Avatar, the spirit portals were open and allowed easy travel between the physical and spiritual worlds. At this time, humans were fewer in number and reliant on lion turtles for protection against angry spirits. With the exception of the ancient Air Nomads, most humans were afraid of spirits and tried to avoid contact with them.
During the Harmonic Convergence, the first Avatar, Avatar Wan, chose to close the portals to stop the growing violence between spirits and humans. A few spirits, such as Tui and La, stayed in the physical world. For the next 10,000 years, humans and spirits rarely came into contact with one another. Without spirits around, humans left the safety of the lion turtles and expanded all over the world, eventually bringing the four nations into existence.
The portals were later reopened by Wan’s successor, Avatar Korra, during the next Harmonic Convergence. She felt that humans and spirits were meant to live together in harmony, not to exist separately. Her idea of existing together peacefully, however, proved to be more complicated than she thought. Just as humans and spirits struggled to get along 10,000 years ago, they again struggle to adapt to each other and find peace. And after the accidental creation of a third spirit portal in Republic City, many spirits fear humans will take advantage of and ruin the spirit world with their greed.
In Genji’s Time
It has been 30+ years since Avatar Korra reopened the spirit portals, but humans are still struggling to adapt to spirits in the physical world. People don’t know how to interact with these supernatural beings, and spirits are realizing how much humanity has changed since they left. Many spirits expected to have free access to locations they visited before, but now factories, farms, and cities have taken their place. Spirits have little understanding of private property and regularly clash with humans over these spaces. Many human-spirit conflict cases have resulted in spirits possessing humans, leaving them disfigured and healers unable to help them. These cases have inspired fear, anger, and resentment towards the spirits and their return to the world.
However, some humans have welcomed spirits into their homes and lands, honoring age-old traditions. Some people even consider more minor spirits to be something like a pet or companion. Airbenders live harmoniously with spirits, and the Air Nation works to improve spirit-human relations. Unfortunately, the process is slow going thanks to issues like environmental pollution and human stubbornness.
Another source of anger for the spirits is that some humans are experimenting with spirit vines to produce energy. And rumors are going around that, despite laws forbidding it, spirit energy is still being used to create dangerous weapons and other strange new technologies…
The Legend of Genji is a volunteer fan-project focused on creating a new Avatar webcomic. This is an unofficial project and we are not affiliated with the original creators, Nickelodeon, or Viacom. Original content from Avatar The Last Airbender and the Legend of Korra belong to the original creators. Any and all creations from the show belong to the creators.