Hailing from prestigious backgrounds was oh so tedious. The abundance of expectations was one thing, so was the constant rule to show a good example and yada yada yada..
Naya was the daughter of a rich couple, few of the most well known members of the Northern Water Tribe. She ran away because she felt like an animal stuck in a cage. She wanted to be free like those birds she sees flying across the Northern skies everyday. There was something beautiful about the way the birds spread their colorful wings and soared through the clear sky like no one was watching. Naya envied them. The day finally came when she hit 18. Naya took an open opportunity and ran away from her controlling father, using independence as a reason to escape the abyss of despair that was her former home.
She moved around, lived freely, got drunk and had multiple flings with different men and sometimes, women. She became a form of a rebellious young adult. Because of this, pregnancy became a shock to her. One of the men she slept with had impregnated her, but she only realised it weeks later, when the symptoms hit her system painfully. Well, she definitely can't go home anymore. Nine months of torture later and Kenai was born, pink-cheeked and healthy. He was a cute kid. Naya could barely take care of the child without the help of a nanny or an occasional friend.
Growing up was tough. Naya was no particular help whatsoever and Kenai was left on his own whims. The boy was expected by Naya to be a waterbender. He surprised her when he showed the symptoms of those airhead monks from the mountains by the time he turned six. That surprise turned into anger, for not exceeding her expectations of him. She took it out on him, playing the role of abusive mother. Pulling ears, loud slurs, verbal pain, his vision was black and blue.. Kenai's skin wasn't the healthy tan it was supposed to be. Yet, no one knew. Naya hid all the evidence with her bending. The cycle was clear cut: pain, cure, pain, cure. Hide.
Despite what went on inside home, even with his mother's obvious hatred, he was still the bread maker of the family.... by illegal methods. Kenai had been stealing and pickpocketing since he was an eight year old. A teenage vigilante who hailed from the wastes had taught him the basics and rules already when they first met, all he had to do was act. Using his bending, he extracted out whatever he could from the pockets of strangers with the wind, no matter how valuable it was on range. He was rarely spotted doing so, due to his lithe size. When he has been spotted, his speed made him hard to capture. Another method was stealing from shops and vulnerable homes. At first, he didn't feel anything besides responsibility while committing these acts.. however over time, it became a safe haven. He enjoyed it, because he was free to do whatever he wanted.
Kenai returned home one day to find no one. His mother was not there drinking by the table nor passed out on the chair; in fact, any trace of her was just missing. Kenai assumed she just had something to do, and thus waited, and waited, and waited. Hours turned to days, days turned to weeks before Kenai finally realized: his mother was never coming back. He'd been left alone one last time.
Kenai didn't understand his feelings, he was confused. He didn't know if he should have hated his mother or loved her. But the attachment he felt for the woman who gave him life was there. Maybe that's what was causing his tears. Either way, Kenai lived with it.. even though it turned him worse than before. He was twelve when he was truly left with his own meek abilities. He got by with stealing, pickpocketing and a few lucky bets. Food was always scarce because he was poor and sometimes penniless. He turned to drinking and stealing rare gold for comfort. He felt nothing but satisfaction.
He was found by a traveling air nomad who'd stop by his tribal village when he was sixteen. The monk was Aniq. He's seen Kenai in action whenever he walked down the streets Kenai was familiar with. They met, coincidentally, when the problematic teenager tried to pickpocket Aniq. It ended pretty intensely; Aniq judo flipped the boy, leaving him shocked. Kenai tried running away, but was eventually cornered by the senior male. A weird sight it was, in an alleyway. A bald old man with an arrow tattooed over his head sitting on a block of ice with his arms crossed as a scruffy teenager looked sour as they communicated.
Aniq had convinced Kenai to travel with him around the world. Learn a thing or two. Kenai, whose inner child wanted to see the world like his Aniq explained it. The next day when Aniq left, Kenai followed. Whatever that was left of Kenai and his mother's home was an empty hut.. except a picture on the wall; a young mother flashing a rare smile as she carried her beaming two year old son. Travelling consisted of walking, and walking.. and walking. The number of times Kenai asked, "Are we there yet?" was amusing.
"You do realise there is no 'there', no?"
The travels were fruitful however. While the South had long since perished, it was beautiful. Kenai witnessed original Agni Kai in the Fire Nation, the Earth Republic offered so much food and treasure; paradise. It was a pickpocket's paradise, but Aniq was strict. Then there were the temples, they'd North, then South, then East, and finally West. Kenai trained in the Western Temple for about two years as before Aniq had called him to continue their journey. Kenai was 19 by then; he had become more handsome and stronger than his past self.
The bond between the senior monk and younger adult strengthened greatly. In a sense, Kenai was Aniq's apprentice. They stuck together for years before Aniq's demise. Bandits in the Earth Republic. Aniq took a hit for his younger one; a hit aimed for the heart. As he collapsed, Kenai felt the earth crumbling. He lost the only person who seemed like family. Then he saw grey. His vision cleared after time... each of the bandits lay on the ground, unmoving.
Kenai continued traveling. The memory of Aniq was fresh in his mind for the longest time. Having sates his revenge.. it didn't help for some reason. He wasn't satisfied. He tried pickpocketing, but Aniq's face would appear and he'd stop midway. His frustration led him haywire, and he found himself in the Northern Water Tribe again. Cue a pretty young woman by the name of Rika, Rikawho changed him greatly. At first she was a distraction from his inner turmoil, but over time Kenai knew he was falling. He didn't say a word. Until that day he almost claimed her his, of course. Her parents had excellent timing. He never saw her again since, adding to his initial frustration.
For another year he was a nomad, moving from place to place, yet never forgetting the princess he met at home. He was 21 when word got around that Rika had moved out and into a little village; Yu Dao. While the possibility was low, Kenai's determination got the better of him. He moved to Yu Dao with the money he collected from his travels, settled into a nice place and secured a job; he was now a member of Lan Shen Investigations. Why? He supposed he wanted a change of tables. He didn't want to get money the dirty way, although, he still found himself looking at pockets on the street.
The main goal, however, was to find his damsel again.