Xiu keeps a slingshot she's had since she was a child with her with which she uses small metal balls as ammo and coins whenever she runs out of metal balls.
Xiu’s physical build is less than stellar, her height and weight falling at an average 5’4” and a light 108 lbs. There isn’t very much muscle on her petite form considering that she spends most of her time with books and other types of desk-work but she doesn’t really need muscle in the first place. She does her best to keep herself clean and presentable, thus she always ensures that her skin is smooth and flawless, her long black hair is well taken care of, and that her makeup is never in excess. Her eyes are typical earthbender green and her teeth are a pearly white.
Since learning to sew, Xiu has created formal and elegant outfits for herself from inexpensive materials (read: knock-offs) so she often dresses nicely. She'll wear these outfits everywhere without worry of getting them too dirty or torn because if she does, she can simply make more (although she isn’t going to run around with a dirty, torn outfit). Typically she can be seen wearing ornately decorated dresses with the green-and-yellow earth color scheme. While she owns a variety of dress styles for different occasions, she prefers to opt for the more formal look.
Xiu has always been very precocious, thinking and worrying about things a person her age shouldn’t. She was always questioning the “what” and “why” of things. Why does it rain? What is the nature of morality? Why are some people born benders and others not? While more noticeable as a young child, she is still considered “wise for her years” by those around her. Due to this, Xiu rarely spends time on fun or hanging out with friends and can often be found studying, learning new skills (such as drawing, writing, sewing, and operating telegraphs, among others), or reading, the latter not entirely being for leisure but also for educational purposes such as increasing her vocabulary and further developing her own ideas. She likes reading philosophical works in particular and often compares the ideas of authors to each other or even her own. Any free time not spent buried in books or dealing with others she often just uses to think and reflect about pretty much anything that comes to mind.
When interacting other people, Xiu makes an effort to maintain a bright and positive image that is charismatic and liked by most. She'll approach with smiles and handshakes, her words full of enthusiasm. For the most part this is a front, though. A specific face worn to fit the situation. In reality she finds it difficult to care about other people’s lives and sympathize with them. While there are several people who would whole-heartedly call her their friend, there isn’t a single person who Xiu would honestly consider hers. It’s not exactly that she dislikes people, she just doesn’t really see point to it. Her views on things would be called cynical by most people, but she prefers to think of herself as a realist.
Xiu looks out at the world and observes. She'll analyze and evaluate, find whatever information she can, but this isn’t as a means to an end rather she just loves to learn new things. She believes that curiosity is a vital part of what it is to be human. When she observes people Xiu judges them based on what she sees. She may be having a friendly conversation with someone while her mind is processing things like “he doesn’t know about X”, or “he is evidently biased towards Y”.
Concerning fights, Xiu avoids them whenever she can. She has little to no combat skills and instead prefers to use her words and charisma to prevent fights from having a reason to break out in the first place. If she is drawn into one with no way out, however, she will use all the tools at her disposal, the most important of them her intellect, to escape. She isn’t interested in winning any fights. To her, brawlers and thugs could be doing much better things with their lives. She didn’t have any particular taste for pro-bending either, but she understood that the players were earning good money through what they did.
Xiu was born in the mainland of the United Republic of Nations in a small farming village with her parents. The pregnancy was very rough on Mrs. Ning Lim so the couple decided not to have any more children besides Xiu, making her an only child. Much of her early years was spent helping around the farm in the day and reading the few books her parents had managed to scrounge up for her at night. Learning how to read at such an early age helped ease her sadness of not having any siblings to play with, but eventually she liked it so much that she didn’t even really want to play with other children living nearby anymore.
When she turned age 5, Xiu was excited to soon begin attending a schoolhouse that was only a few miles away. However, things would not go as planned for her when her home was soon visited by the Order of the White Lotus. They convinced her parents to let her be taken to the rigorous Avatar training camp because she was a prime candidate as a possible Avatar. At the camp, children were trained to become skilled in their bending arts in the hopes that they would unlock their potential and demonstrate the ability to bend other elements. Many of the children learned to manipulate their chosen element with an impressive amount of skill, some even being proven to be prodigies. Xiu, however, achieved neither of these. When she was asked to move metal boxes and the like, she proved incapable, only being able to move small quantities of metal. She fell behind and was a failure at much of the testing and especially the sparring practices. It was clear she had little initial aptitude for bending.
She cried much as a small child, but Xiu’s parents taught her to not cry in front of others. That was why when the yelling by the adults and the ridicule by the children grew to be too much, she would wait until she was back in her room to burst into tears. She was also torn between wanting to go home because of how much she hated the camp and wanting to stay and be the avatar for her parents’ sake. The one thing that brought her solace amidst the tears was reading, and fortunately there was a library at the training camp. Upon finishing “The Legend of Korra”, Xiu found a book called “The Last Airbender” and started reading through that. She made several connections with it such as how Avatar Aang didn’t want to be the Avatar at first but eventually found the resolve to do so as well as how Iroh found understanding of his firebending by studying the other forms of bending as well. That was when Xiu began researching the other elements in the hopes that it would improve her metalbending. She resolved to practice every night night trying to move the metal in her room more effectively by trying out different bending forms.
Xiu’s self-training helped her improve much in the testing, but one day she was given a fierce instructor whose standards were far too high after hearing of her quick improvement. His words were sharp and unyielding and this time Xiu didn’t make it to her room before she could handle it no more. The instructor further scolded her for “being such a baby”, and at that moment she snapped and yelled at him about how much she hated this camp and wanted to go home and how she never wanted to be the Avatar in the first place. Unfortunately for her, the shouting sent the instructor flying back as it had been powered by airbending.
The time that followed that fateful day went by fast. The other children were sent home and her parents were notified of what had happened. She was allowed to go and say goodbye before she was taken to live in a White Lotus compound to train in the elements. First was Earth, but while she proved incapable in actual earthbending, she managed to make significant progress in her metalbending. Next, she trained in airbending at air temple island as it was the second element she was able to bend. She grasped it fairly quickly before moving on to waterbending which also came easily to her. Finally came firebending. No matter how hard she tried, how well she memorized the forms and researched its history, she proved unable to make a measly little blast of fire.
As she trained she frequently thought about the world around her, her ironic circumstances, and pretty much everything. She came upon several conclusions about the universe and changed into who she is now; a cold, analytical girl hiding behind the persona of the popular, outgoing, and cheerful girl.
Today, she decided that perhaps researching the pro-bending styles would help her in her efforts since it didn’t seem like anything she was already doing was helping, so she apprehensively made her way to the pro-bending arena to watch a match.
A man and a woman sat at a table across from a trio of uniformed men, discussing a little girl who they were unaware was peering at them from the gap created from a door just barely cracked open. As far as the couple was concerned, it was far too late for the girl to still be awake and she was safe in dreamland. They planned to spend the entire night thinking of how to tell the girl before sending her off with the strangers because this wasn’t something they could really say no to in the first place.
Xiu had decided she would sleep late that night, secretly reading a book with a flashlight under her blanket. When she heard the creaky front door open, she was curious and decided to investigate. The moment she saw the uniforms of the men, she dropped her book, a book titled “The Legend of Korra”. These men were the White Lotus, just like in the book. If they were here, then that meant... She remembered the Avatar cycle as it had been described in the book. Earth, Fire, Air, Water. Then Earth again. She wasn’t an earthbender, though. She could move a coin around, but that was metal and metal wasn’t in the cycle. Also, her mom and dad said they lived in the United Republic of Nations, not the Earth Kingdom. Xiu was very confused, but she figured that if she kept watching then she would learn more.
“We understand that you’ve seen your child metalbending recently, correct?” asked a bearded lotus who was met with nods by the couple. “An earth heritage is a good sign, but because of the United Republic of Nations and its melting pot of ethnicities, if the Avatar were to be born here then they could be a bender of any of the four elements, not necessarily earth.”
Another lotus spoke out. “Your daughter will be in good hands, Mr. and Mrs. Lim. We want the children to be happy and healthy at the training camp so you needn’t worry. It shouldn’t take long for the Avatar to be discovered so you can be prepared to either celebrate her return or her selection as the Avatar.”
Mr. Lim turned to his wife and gave a reassuring smile, but it was clearly forced. “They need to do this, Ning. And besides, if Xiu is chosen as the Avatar, then we might finally have a way to get her off this dirty little farm.”
Her husband’s words appeared to do little to help Mrs.Lim as tears continued to stream down her face, but after a few moments she wiped them away and gave her own shaky smile. “Yes, she'll be able to have a better future. This is what’s best for her, right?”
The third lotus finally spoke. “It is what’s best for all of us if it turns out to truly be her.”
The sudden sound of a door swinging open drew everyone’s attention so that all eyes were on the newcomer. Xiu stood there, staring at the figures gathered around the table with her eyes wide in shock. “I…” she began, struggling to get the words out. “I don’t wanna be the Avatar!” Her outburst left complete silence in its wake. “The books say that the Avatar is always fighting bad guys, but I don’t like fighting!”
The tears that had been on Mrs.Lim’s face returned even stronger than before. She covered her mouth with a hand as she wept and was unsure of what to say to her daughter’s outburst. Mr.Lim embraced his wife in a futile attempt to comfort her. It was the bearded lotus who stood to respond. “Xiu, do you like to read?” Xiu did indeed enjoy it so she nodded her head in response. “That’s good. An avid reader will find it easier to gain knowledge and learn discipline. Being the Avatar isn’t all fighting and bending, you know.”
“But I don’t wanna be the Avatar! Why does it have to be me?”
Xiu didn’t know what to do. She looked over to her parents pleadingly and saw that her mother had finally recovered from her latest crying fit. She looked her in the eyes and said, “Xiu, we love you. That’s why if there’s even a chance for you to have a better future then we have to take it. Maybe we’ll never be able to buy you a great big library filled with books or even be able to send you to a good school, but at least we can do this.“
Mr.Lim took over the lecture, saying, “My precious little girl, we want you to go with them because we care about you. Everything we do is for that reason. I know you might not understand it now, but someday you will.”
Xiu looked down at her feet and didn’t say anything for a few seconds. When she finally spoke, she looked straight at them. “I understand, mama, papa. I’ll go.” The smiles they gave her then had a touch of sadness in them. She then turned to the White Lotus members. “Can I bring my books and toys?” The lotus nodded but told her she could only bring one toy and a few books. So Xiu decided she would bring her trusty slingshot and the “Legend of Korra” book along with another book about the many types of bears.
The next morning, the Lotus members returned to take Xiu away to Avatar training camp after a tearful goodbye from her parents. She knew how important the Avatar was and that her parents really wanted her to be the Avatar, but Xiu didn’t want that, Although the idea of making her parents sad by not being the Avatar put a lump in her throat that didn’t go away until she finally made it to the rigorous camp where she would spend the next portion of her life.