“I’m ready, Master, I’m ready to begin my training,” Mako bowed to the High Counsel, silently praying that they would agree. The Grand Master looked at him, and very evenly said,
“But, why?” Mako burst, “I’m 13 years old, Master. I’m the only Bearer not to have started training, and with the Varick Hoards attacking more and more, I need to know how to control my Fire! You’ve never even let me into the training temple. I’m ready!” The Counsel was not amused by his outburst.
“SILANCE! Mako, the other Bearers are older then you! We have talked about this many times. Fire is the hardest of the Elements to control, and with your temper it would not be safe to let you train. You will never learn until you can prove that you can handle the heat, that you can keep your temper, and not lose control.”
“But, Master…” He stuttered
“This is not up for discussion. Go back to the temple and meditate.” The tone of the Grand Master’s voice told Mako that he meant it. With his plea denied, he stormed out of the room.
“What are we going to do with that boy, Hamakii,” breathed Master Lyn.
“I just don’t know, he’s right, we will need him, but he’s not disciplined like the other Bearers. When we first trained Suki, she was full of joy, and peace, she was in harmony with the Air, and Huan and May meditated for hours every day.” Replied the Grand Master.
“Fire has always been the hardest Element to teach. Don’t forget about when we trained Tay, he nearly burned down the entire forest! He will come around when his time appears, Master,” said the youngest Master, Yua.
“For all or our sakes, I hope your right.”
“You’re not ready, Mako. You’re to young, Mako. You’re a disappointment, Mako. I’ll show them, if they won’t teach me, I’ll teach myself!” Mako raged as he ran up the temple steps. He ran through the door, past the kitchen, past the bed rooms, past the lounge, and to the meditation room. But he didn’t stop there. He ran out the back door and up the hill, jumped over the stream, and all the way to the training temple.
“I’ll show them all. They’ll beg for my forgiveness, they’ll beg for me to train with them, but I don’t need them, I’ll be the best Bearer there ever was. I’ll burn through May’s Earth, evaporate Huan’s Water, and Suki’s Air will only make my flames stronger. They’ll all want to play with me, then. I’ll never eat alone, spend my nights playing by the myself, or be left out of any secretes, they’ll love me. I’ll be awesome. Just wait.” He ranted.
The training temple was breathtaking. It was full of different weapons, training dummies, and obstacles designed to help the Bearers use their Elements. The Fire training course was covered in a thin layer of dust. It had been may years since the last Fire Bearer had been trained here. Mako decided to start at the very beginning. He walked over the scroll library and pulled out a scroll on Fire.
‘Breath in, breath out. Feel the heat in the pit of your stomach, feel the energy in your hands, feel the warmth of the fire. Concentrate, and let the fire spark in your palm. You are in control,’ said the first line of the scroll.
Mako breathed. He could feel the heat, the energy, he imagined the warmth. A tinny tiny flame sprouted from his hand.
“YES!” He proclaimed. His breathing sped up, and the flame grew. He stood up from his seat, and made the flame even larger. It was now the size of a small watermelon. Mako tossed it from hand to hand. He made it grow bigger, then smaller. He turned towards a training dummy and took his fighting stance. Back on his left foot, his right straight out in front of him, low to the ground, just as he had seen in the pictures of Fire Bearer Tay, the Bearer before him.
“Hello, Lord Dummy, are you prepared to meet your doom?”
May looked up from her lotus garden. There was an odd smell in the air, it smelled like something was burning, she hoped it wasn’t dinner.
“May, look!” Yelped Huan, “SMOAK! It’s coming from the training temple!”
“Quick, Suki, go get the Masters. Huan, come with me!” Directed May. Suki sprinted to find the Masters, May and Huan ran in the other direction, to the training temple.
When they got there the temple was in flames. The two Bearers jumped into action. May jumped deep into a horse stance, and punched her hands into the air, shooting walls of dirt from the earth up around the temple, stopping the flame from spreading. Huan danced on his toes, spiraling water from the stream and around his body onto the flames.
When Suki and the Masters arrived, they saw the blackened temple still steaming, Huan and May still putting out the smaller flames. Mako sat to the side, head low, small burns of his arms and legs. When he saw Grand Master Hamakii he jumped up and into a deep bow.
“Master! I can explain!”
“Save it, boy. You disobeyed direct orders. There will be consequences for your actions. Master Yua, please escort Mako back to his chambers, where he will stay without dinner for the night.
That night the other three Bearers were called away to fight Lord Varick. It was sooner than expected, but he was gaining power every day, and their inevitable battle couldn’t be avoided any longer. Mako snuck out an hour later. He had heard them talking about where they were going, and had decided to follow them. He could control the Fire, now, the only problem had been his limited space. In a real fight, he wouldn’t have to focus on keeping the flame so small. The Masters would have no choice to train him after he saved the day.
“I don’t know what he was thinking, he could’ve hurt himself, or someone else,” said Suki. The clouds were covering the moon, so the Bearers had decided to set up camp for the night. Little did they know, Mako was listening from the cover of the surrounding bushes, waiting for the right moment to revealed himself, but when he heard this, he shrank farther into his hiding place.
“He just wants to learn, Suki, he wants to be like us. From the day we were each born, this is what we’ve been raised for. He just has the disadvantage of being born a half decade later.” Replied Huan, calmly, “We were all just as eager when we started, his Element has a bit more spice then the others, so it makes since that his personality matches it.” Mako smiled, Huan was always nice to him, he was, like his Element, easy going and gentle most of the time, but when he was mad, Mako made a point to stay out of his way.
Suddenly, the companions heard a rustling coming from the bushes.
“Hello, who’s there? We’re armed,” called May. No response, everything was still and silent. Then, without warning, a dozen masked men sprang from the foliage. Not even having time to get to their feet, May, Huan, and Suki were knocked out and bound at their hands and feet. The masked men were members of the Varick Hoard, and they all chuckled as they dragged the Bearers away into the night. Mako watched in horror.
‘How did I not see any of them?’ He wondered, ‘Better yet, how did they not see me? What do I do now… I need to go tell the Masters.’ He started to turn back towards home, then paused. Something inside him was trying to pull him after the men.
‘No, if the three real Bearers were taken down so easily, I don’t stand a chance. What was I thinking? Me, the best of them all. No, I need help.’ He turned again, but again stopped.
‘FINE! I’m going after them! But when I die fighting the Varick Hoard, the next Fire Bearer had better be better than me!’ He thought, and trotted after the villains.
Lord Varick’s fortress was massive, with a thick guard wall surrounding a dark, ominous castile. The walls were slick metal, and guards were posted everywhere, standing atop battlements with catapults and spears.
“This is going to be harder than I thought…” sighed Mako. Just then, someone grabbed his shoulder.
“WOAH!” He yelped. He spun around, ready for the fight of his life.
“WOAH yourself, Brother. You can’t be so jumpy; it makes you stressed. You gotta relax, be chill, My Dude.” Said a tall, shaggy man, his hand still on Mako.
“Who are you?” Gasped Mako.
“Ahh, the big question, who are any of us?” Sighed the odd looking man. His tunic was full of color, with flowers and feathers everywhere. Behind the man were three more people, a short, chubby man, a tall, slender woman, and a pretty girl a who looked Mako’s age. All of them wore bright, flowery cloths, and were carrying musical instruments.
“No, I mean what are you doing here, what’s your name?” Asked Mako with exasperation.
“Well, why didn’t you start with that? We’re the Merry Band of Singing Nomads, of course! I’m the one they call Sam,”
“Well, we’re not quite as merry as usual, you see. Jim Bill decided to stay in the last town,” Sam leaned in close to Mako’s ear, “He met a lady!” He whispered.
“Oh, I’m sorry?” stuttered Mako.
‘This man’s insane,’ he thought.
“I’ve got it! You can fill if for Jim Bill! All you gotta do is sing, Brother,” proclaimed Sam.
“Wait, you mean go in there…” Mako pointed at the ominous castile to his right.
‘Well, that was easier than I thought,” thought Mako.
Through the iron gate, into the castile, down a hall and into the great dining hall. Mako looked around, a stage at the front of the room, tables set up in lines, with a great table at back. Next to the great table was a horrifying sight. Suki, Huan and May tied to wooden stakes, barely conscious.
“Whatcha looking at, Brother?” Sam poked his head over Mako’s shoulder.
“N-nothing, just first performance jitters, I guess.” Mako took another look the Bearers, then turned away, not wanting to look suspicious. How was he going to save them with all these thugs watching him sing? He looked at the Hoard with a gulp, every one of those brutes looked like they could snap him in half with their fingers!
“Sam, what song am I singing, anyway?” Asked Mako.
“What song? Ha, we don’t sing someone else’s tale, Brother, you just sing what comes to mind!” Laughed Sam, “You know what, Brother, I don’t know your name! Isn’t that funny!”
Mako slapped his face in exasperation.
Huan’s eyes flew open. He had heard something, what was it?
“Mako? That’s an odd name, Brother. You must have really fun parents!” Yipped one of the performers from across the room. Huan looked closer, and sure enough, there was Mako, with a flower lei around his neck.
‘Mako? Here? That little fool must have fallowed us! He’s going to get himself killed!’ Huan thought.
At that moment, Lord Varick himself waltzed into the room.
“Attention, Scoundrels!” He boomed, “I have a special treat for me today. As some of you may know, I am very close to taking over the world, and as of this morning, the only thing standing in my way were the pesky Element Bearers,” he pointed to Huan, Suki, and May, and a roar of jeering came from the crowd.
“But as you can now see, they will no longer be a problem! I know what you’re thinking, But, Lord Varick, there are only three! I can assure you all, the Fire Bearer will not be a problem, I’ve heard that he hasn’t even started basic training, yet!” Another jeer from the crowd, Huan shuttered. “Pathetic. But now, my men, tonight, as a celebration, we have the Merry Band of Singing Nomads here to give us a show! Now PLAY!”
Sam gave Mako a friendly push out onto the stage,
“Go on Brother, just sing,”
“GULP,” Mako took a deep breath, he needed a plan, “ok, uhhh, jour-journey? I’m on a journey to save the world,” he started, “But it aint that easy, you see, cause these people, they chasing me?”
“Good, keeping going!” Whispered Sam.
“Chasing me, and I cry a plea, a plea, don’t hurt me, yea yea yea.” Lord Varick wasn’t impressed.
“Maybe you should sing, Sam, and I’ll just dance in the background?” Squeaked Mako,
“Okay, Brother, if that’s what makes you feel chill,” Sam started into a nomad song about losing your favorite lei, and Mako started to dance.
Huan watched as Mako danced, at first he looked tense, and unbalanced, but then something changed.
“May, Suki, are you seeing this?!” He whispered.
They all three watched in amazement as Mako sank low, he bobbed and weaved, swaying rhythmically from stance to stance. He was intent, concentrated, and calm. As the entire crowd watched, he started moving his hands in and out, pulsing, breathing, then, out of thin air, a trail of fire ignited in his palms. But he was still calm, and collected.
“The boy! SEEZE HIM!” Yelled Varick. Five huge man came thundering towards the Fire Bearer, but Mako dodged each punch, countering with a swift, fiery strike. More came, and again Mako masterfully knocked them to the ground. The other Bearers and the Nomads watched in amazement as Mako took out the entire dining room. When he was done, he took a deep breath, and extinguished his flames. Then he turned to Lord Varick.
“WHAT?! But I thought you were just a child!” Gasped Varick.
“I was, and I am, but that doesn’t matter. If you mess with the Fire, you’re going to get burned. Now, I think you have some of my friends.” Mako relit his flame, and Varick turned to run, but before he could, he was hit in the back of the head with a guitar.
“Take that, you evil Brother!” Exclaimed an exhilarated Sam, “Mako, My Dude, peace, we’re headed out. Thanks for filling in tonight. Pleasure meeting you nice people up on those sticks,” he bowed his head to May, Suki, and Huan, and headed out the front door, followed by the other Nomads.
“Well, that works, I guess,” said Mako with a shrug. He untied the other Bearers, and embraced them all in a big hug. “I’m sorry! I’m sorry for burning the training temple, I’m sorry for running away from the Masters, I’m sorry for not being any good! I just want to go home now.”
May took his dirty face in her hands,
“You don’t have to be sorry, Mako, we know you meant well. We’re the ones who should be sorry, we should’ve treated you more like the valuable team member that you are, can you forgive us?”
“R-r-really? You mean it?” Asked Mako.
“Absolutely, now, let’s take Lord Varick, and go home.” May smiled, and the four Bearers headed home.
Back at the temple, with Varick locked away, it was time for Mako to face the Masters.
“Mako,” boomed Grand Master Hamakii, “You went against my will, and behind my back. This is not acceptable behavior from someone with as many responsibilities as you are to have in the world. Do you understand?”
“Yes, Master,” Mako prepared himself for the worst, whatever that might be.
“You are, under no circumstance, to go anywhere without Master Yua escorting you from now on. You will also be the sole dishwasher, laundry folder, and bathroom cleaner for the remainder of the year,”
“Now I want you to go get a bath, and a good night’s sleep, your training starts when the sun rises.”
“Yes, Master, thank you!” Mako turned to leave the Council, this time with a smile on his face, and Master Yua at his heals.