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Or how did Sozin know the Avatar wasn't among the airbenders that were killed-off during the genocide? In his will, Sozin made clear that the Avatar, who's the last airbender, escaped from him, respectively the Fire Nation army. How did Sozin know that and how did he want to make out the Avatar among the airbenders?

The Avatar's identity is revealed at age 16, in Aang's case at age 12 but the Fire Lord didn't know that. Did Sozin prepare a trap to let him enter the Avatar state, thus recognizing him, for instance?

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    Speculation: He inferred it based on the fact that no new Waterbender Avatar had come forth. – gowenfawr Dec 18 '20 at 17:19
  • @gowenfawr The Avatar's identity is revealed at age 16 so that would be 4 years before Sozin's death. Since Sozin writes "I searched for the Avatar the rest of my life" I think he meant the entire time since the Fire Nation killed off the airbenders. – John Dec 18 '20 at 18:21
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First and foremost, a disclaimer: This theory is NOT mine. This is from the ATLA fandom (linked below), and I beg you not to either approve my anwser , and (to the community) not to upvote my answer. Without further ado, here is the theory-

The Fire Nation knew that they were looking for an air ending child with tattoos, as the Avatar would have been quick to master airbending. Because the Fire Nation never found a child like that, it was concluded that he had not killed the Avatar, and he was still out there somewhere, so Sozin spent his remaining 20 years hunting the Avatar until he died.

Fandom link - avatar.fandom.com/f/p/3386560867205270506

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