Performing: Wu Ao-Shi has been performing with her brother for as long as she can remember, funding their near-constant traveling with acrobatic displays. She is particularly gifted with the bo staff (in a choreographed sense) and dancing.
Fighting: A life on the road means that reasonable minded individuals must expect a certain amount of danger, and Wu Ao-Shi does fancy herself reasonable. Learning how to handle herself in a fight - both martially and with her bending - was vital to keeping her and her brother safe.
Calming: Personal matters aside, Wu Ao-Shi hates the sight of an upset or disgruntled stranger. Perhaps it goes hand in hand with the desire to please that comes along with entertaining - she has a knack for soothing people, whether by word or deed.
Wu Ao-Shi relies utterly on her brother - not necessarily simply in a survival sense, but in an emotional sense as well. He is her rock, the reason she has chosen to keep moving forward rather than wallowing in the loss of their parents. It is his presence that allows her to be level-headed and compassionate, and it is with him that she is at her most comfortable, matching wits as easily as they trade mock blows in a performance. If she is ever uncertain that he is hale and safe, she becomes a bundle of nervous energy, worrying incessantly until she is once again assured of his well being - she has long grown comfortable with the term "mother hen."
Life on the road has made her cautious, perhaps even a little mistrustful, but she is nevertheless fond of people, and settling down in Republic City has eased her uneasiness (except in very large crowds, which continue to intimidate her). She is eager to make friends, and holds onto the few that she has fiercely, and like her brother, she considers them to be the better part of her.
Her bending is her most precious gift, but it is not without its drawbacks. She was never formerly trained in its use, and so her abilities are mediocre at best. Her skills vary wildly based on her emotions, which has made her careful to the point of excess. She has a great admiration for benders who use their skills confidently and competently, and at times she even finds herself feeling marginally jealous of them.
Heart pumping so hard she could feel it in her throat, a sheen of sweat slick and cool on her head, her fingers frozen painfully into the same position they'd been in for the last half hour . . .
She smiled, heaving a breath as she stepped away from the circle of people, taking refuge in the shaded alley between the tea house and the fabric shop next door. The stone was a blessed cold on her back. All in all, a performance well done.
Bei Tian's voice was audible through the chattering crowd, low and steady and oh so persuasive. Spare a coin, my lady? Did you enjoy the show? I'm glad. And you sir, a coin from you. Thank you, that's very generous. Sometimes Wu Ao-Shi thought that they wouldn't make half the money they usually did if it weren't for Bei Tian and his smooth talking. His money wrangling should be a thing of legend, the way he charmed coin from the pockets of their audiences time and again. He wasn't even particularly charming the rest of the time. That thought just made her smile even more.
The staff had left blisters along the ridge of her palm, and she shifted her weight against the wall, leaning forward slightly to carefully undo the cap on her water skin. She would have to do this carefully now, carefully . . . Her tongue worried at her lip in concentration as the water floated itself out of its resting place, working its way around her hands like gloves, and several moments later, she could feel the stiffness and pain abating. The relief lifted a sigh involuntarily from her chest, and the water snaked back into the skin. Like the performance, that had gone particularly well. Healing was not one of her finer skills - give her a fan dance or bo staff any day.
By now there were only a few curious children remaining, peppering her brother with fanciful questions as he gathered up their meager props. Just like that, Bei Tian the hawker was gone, and her subdued brother was back, explaining the various uses of each fan, staff, and scarf to the children with a patient smile. She watched from the alley, her hands crossed behind her back and resting on the cool stone for further relief.
It was kind of the proprietor of the teahouse to let them perform outside on the weekend, along with giving them room and board the rest of the time. In the end, it was probably just a good deal for the old woman more than it was charity - the crowd they drew often made its way into the tea shop after watching her and her brother dance and mock-fight all afternoon - but she was a kindly landlady on top of it, so that was something. If nothing else, it was more generosity than Wu Ao-Shi had ever expected to find in this big, impersonal city.
A mother's shrill voice cut through the milling crowd, and the little girl bothering Bei Tian with her questions started and then scrambled away, leaving her brother chuckling to himself in her wake. With the last of the crowd finally gone, she saw his eyes turn towards her, the very same color as her own, and she smiled back, finally pushing away from the wall to help him finish cleaning up.
- Wu Ao-Shi's mother hailed from the Southern Water Tribe but was a frequent wanderer, her inability to keep in one place for long sending her from town to town in her youth. While traveling through the Earth Kingdom, she met a man and fell in love with him, and, finally, she settled down. She gave birth to a son, and then to a daughter, and decided that staying in one place wasn't so bad if it was with people you loved.
- Wu Ao Shi was always utterly devoted to her brother, who wasn't even an entire year older than her, but the attachment grew even stronger after their mother passed. When their father died and all she had left was Bei Tian, she became utterly inseparable from him.
- She doesn't often get angry - she much prefer so talk through conflict - but when she does, she usually gets over it very quickly.
- She and Bei Tian live in a small apartment over a shop in Republic City now that they've settled there, making their money by performing in the street and helping out in the shop whenever they have the time.
- She has a soft-spot for animals, and turtle-ducks especially.
- Her brother Bei Tian [link]