This is the account of the genocide of the Air Nomads. It has taken me quite some time to gather all of this information. I questioned my father for every bit of information while he was alive. I tracked down the Fire Sages, asking them for any knowledge they might have. I researched Fire Nation history to see the actual accounts of firebenders who commenced the attack. I even questioned elders of various cities hoping that some of the legends might lead to clues, though alas, most were dead ends. After these many years, I believe I can finally give an accurate and authoritative account, though this might be subject to change.
Even before Sozin's Comet, the other nations were growing wary of the Fire Nation's massive stockpiling of weapons. However, Avatar Roku actively worked to prevent further build-up, calming the nations. This changed when Roku was betrayed by Sozin, though the other nations did not know this at the time. The Air Nomads, increasingly suspicious of the Fire Nation, identified Aang as the Avatar at the early age of twelve. They did not do this out of fear for themselves, but fear for the other nations. After all, they said, they were a peaceful group with very little in the ways of economy. What possible gain could the Fire Nation gain from them? They did not take into account that Sozin knew the next Avatar would be an Air Nomad, nor did they realize the full potency the Great Comet would give firebenders.
Sozin waited until the Great Comet, later named Sozin's Comet in his honor. He knew his task would be a difficult one, for it was not easy to kill a race of nomads. As fate would have it, the day of the Great Comet was also the greatest Air Nomad holiday, 'the Beginning', which celebrated the first Avatar, Yoshi. As such, Air Nomads traveled from miles around to come to the temples, creating the perfect storm. What was worse, Sozin was informed of this by Afiko, an Air Nomad traitor who became jealous of Aang as the Avatar. Afiko also gave the Fire Nation the precise locations of the temple as well as a detailed layout of the Southern Air Temple. Sozin knew that this was a once in a lfetime opportunity, and struck.
Sozin attacked the Air Temples at the peak of their celebrations, taking them by near complete surprise. Sozin scaled the mountains by placing his armies on large metal sheets, which were propelled up the mountains by firebenders powered by the Comet. What followed was a one-sided massacre, for the peaceful Nomads were no match for the ruthless firebenders. The only airbenders who survived for any length of time were those few who had not attended the celebrations and the Xiang warriors, a sect who had abandoned the peaceful, spiritual ways of the monks, favoring to utilize the more destructive power of air. This sect was small, and even they could not defeat the firebenders. Precious few airbenders escaped, traveling to the Earth Kingdom and Water tribe, who had declared war on the Fire Nation as a result of this atrocity.
Sozin knew he had not killed the Avatar, and he also knew that some Airbenders had escaped. With Sozin's Comet having passed, the Fire Lord resorted to deception. He used relics from the temples to set up false refugee camps in the mountains. He then used spies to spread rumors of these cities, and the few remaining airbenders came to them, hoping to find other survivors. They were subsequently slaughtered. Afiko became a close adviser of Sozin, even going so far as to help him against the Earth Kingdom. In spite of his loyalty, Afiko was executed five years later for treason, though the exact details of his treason are a mystery. One of the few remnants of the Air Nomads were the Sky Bison. Though the domesticated ones were killed during Sozin's Comet, there were still a select few wild herds roaming the mountain tops. Sozin had no need to kill them, and he couldn't aford to spare the manpower during the war.
Ironically, the one Air Nomad who survived was the very one Sozin was hunting, Avatar Aang. Aang had not wanted to be the Avatar, and fled the Southern Air Temple, but he was caught in a storm and trapped in an iceberg for one hundred years. He was found by my mother, Katara, as well as my uncle, Sokka. With the help of some friends, Aang was able to defeat the Fire Nation and restore balance to the nations. Sadly, the Air Nomads were extinct, save him. Now, that is changed. I am the sole airbending child of Aang, but I also have three children, all airbenders, with a fourth on the way. My hope is that in a few generations, air nomads will once agian populate the world.
Councilman Tenzin, Airbending Master