Eyre deeply inhales then astutely says: “Macai, in life, things will not always go how you want them to. Challenges are inevitable and pain is a part of it. Some people let their pain cripple and destroy them. But you must let your’s empower you.”
Eyre paces around, maintaining eye contact with his son. Eyre: “Look deep at your ambitions, at your struggle, and fight with every fiber in your being. Life is a constant fight and if you are persistent and make adjustments then you will prevail.”
Macai interjects: “But, my teacher said the strong survive. So doesn’t that mean that stronger warriors will also beat weaker warriors despite willpower?”
Eyre clinches his right fist, “The strong, DO survive. But, being strong has several meanings. Some are strong because they are intelligent, patient, and can outwit their opponents. This is an underrated aspect of strength within the Fire Nation. Another part of strength is willing to do what it takes to win, a strong warrior with weak will can be overtaken by a more motivated lesser opponent.”
Macai: “And teamwork is a way to beat stronger foes.”
Eyre: “Yes, but a great warrior doesn’t need to rely on others to be powerful. And teamwork also comes with the danger of betrayal.”
Macai: “How can I avoid the danger of betrayal?”
Eyre: “You cannot perfectly prepare for or avoid it. Nor can you perfectly prepare for or avoid anything. But you must do everything in your power to reduce it and be able to respond level-headedly if it does happen. The best way to minimize betrayal is to never fully trust anyone. Not your friends, not your future wife, nor anyone else.”
Macai: “What about you and mom?”
Eyre: “You don’t have much of a choice now. You would never beat me in any physical or mental contest. But you are my son, I would want you to do well because your success reflects my success as a father. The same with your mother and you are an only child.”
Macai: “But how can I lead if no one fully trusts me?”
Eyre: “Though there is no trust, you still should respect and reward your soldiers when they complete their objectives. When someone steps out of line, you must punish them so severely that no one else will want to challenge you. You must have a couple of loyal confidants who are less likely to betray you, I say a couple because one may reveal another’s betrayal.”
Macai: “So I can have close companions? But that requires trust”
Eyre: “There are levels to trust. People can steadily go from no trust to some trust if they have proven that they have supported you in the past when it was not convenient. However, you must remember that trust only goes so far. When pressed against ‘other interests’ it will run dry. Always keep track of what your allies are doing in a discreet way.”
Macai: “What are these other interests?”
Eyre: “That is enough lecturing for now. Think about all that I have told you. Now we train, let me see your battle stance.”
Macai immediately positions himself. Eyre: “Good, now attack me.”
Macai does not hesitate, being completely obedient to his father. Macai thrusts his right fist at his father’s chest launching an orange flame out of his fist then shifts his body left and fires a second flame from his left fist.
Eyre quickly breaks out of his casual stance and thrusts his arms from side to side blocking both attacks then rotates his body and kicks a powerful rod of fire at his son’s neck. Macai dives left, narrowly avoiding the attack. The flame hits, the back of Eyre’s house, which is fireproof.
A 1-meter black stain can be seen on the wall before it slowly fades away. Macai immediately leaps back on his feet as his father pumps his right hand down and throws a whip of fire at his son’s right arm. Macai flips left avoiding the attack and rapidly fires a volley of 4 flames at his Father’s chest and stomach.
Macai moves his fists so fast that white smoke emits from them. Eyre leaps forward and right of the attack then gracefully lands just three feet away from his son. In an instant, Eyre tilts his arms back and thrusts them forward. Firing a 10-inch wide block of fire at his son.
The flame is so fast, that Macai doesn’t even try to dodge it. He simply switches to his defensive mode and holds his arms up to block the attack. The fire hits his arms, but it is so strong that it explodes on impact. Macai’s body is sent tumbling 5 feet backward. His body is covered in mud.
Macai gets up, dusting himself off and Yosari runs outside. A furious Yosari shouts: “He has class in twenty minutes! Now he needs a bath!”
Eyre crosses his arms and says: “That is fine, he can bathe and get dressed within 10. He is fast enough to make it there in 10. He has been conditioned well.” Then Eyre shifts his head at Macai and commands: “Well done Macai, you have fought excellently. Get cleaned up, put on another uniform, and head to class.”
As Macai sprints back in the house Yosari looks at Eyre in disappointment. Eyre calmly comments: “I am making him into the strong warrior he needs to be.”
Yosari: “Don’t you think you are moving a bit fast?! He’s only six.”
Eyre: “MY FATHER, started training me in combat at five!”
Yosari: “You started training Macai at that age as well.”
Eyre: “Exactly and this is the first time I sparred him. Look how well he did. He has tremendous potential.”
Yosari: “Why do you feel a need to do it now? You know he likes to walk to school with Rosh and talk before class.”
Eyre chuckles: “You think I care about such trivial things? Rosh is spoiled. His parents don’t push him enough. He will never be a great warrior like Macai.”
Yosari: “Why is everything a contest with you? He is a nice and smart boy. An excellent friend.”
Eyre changes the subject, “I wasn’t planning on sparring him until sunset, but he is learning so fast. I needed to switch it up on him. Sunset training will be more about conditioning as usual. He is going to be a phenomenal warrior, perhaps better than me. I can see him being a great officer as well, but I must not stop the pace now or he will get soft.”
Yosari takes a deep breath and hugs her husband. Then she says: “Now I’M the one who has to clean up this mess. As always. At least try to think a little about me, I have enough to do today.”
Yosari starts cleaning and Eyre goes back in. The run begins to rise and the sky turns light blue. Few clouds obstruct the sky and it is a busy day with many people walking through the city streets. After Macai is clean and dressed he quickly sprints out of the house with his backpack running past many adults.
Macai notices an old man who is buying some cabbages directly in front of him and jumps over the man landing between two teenagers. One male teen has long straight hair and a thin frame. The other has short wavy hair and an average frame. The long-haired teen shouts: “Hey, watch it, kid!”
Macai ignores them and sprints onwards. Macai continues to leap right to left as he runs forward through packs of people. Barely noticing his surroundings and slides past several adults to reach his destination. He knows just how long to run and when to stop because he has walked the route so many times.
Macai passes the nearby park where he met Azula and stops when he is finally in front of the school. Macai estimates that he has about 2 minutes left. Macai charges into the Royal Boy’s academy, heads to his locker (quickly taking the books he needs for his first class), and then sprints to Mr. Booman’s class.
Macai quickly enters the class. The floor is light grey, the walls are brown, with several paintings across the left and right walls, and the back wall has a portrait of Firelord Azulon.
The teacher has a red, black, and grey fire nation uniform. Like all the other teachers. Booman is in his mid-forties, has light grey hair, a flat nose, light skin, a moderate frame, brown eyes that are far apart, and medium lips. He stands five feet and ten inches tall.
All the boys are getting settled in their seats and Macai sits in his favorite spot beside his best friend Rosh. Rosh has dark brown hair, deep brown slanted eyes, light skin, and a small nose. Rosh tilts his head when he notices Macai and grins.