Life was never easy in the Forest of Flames. Farmers and foresters eked out a meager living from the land, barely making enough to feed their families once the Emperor’s tax collectors had taken their due.
Fai’s mother, Min, spoke of a better time, when Volcai and Dracai would walk the roads of Volcor hand in hand, ruling the empire as equals. Fai didn’t listen. He was too busy playing minion to his sister’s mastermind. While Dromai drew the eye with monsters and wonders of ash and soot, Fai applied his swift hands and feet to the delights of petty larceny. No trove of childish treats was safe from this devious duo. Of course, she would scold him when he gave half their haul away to the poorest children of the village. But what else could he do? Min had taught him that life was never fair by nature, only by practice.
Then the Dracai brought his soldiers and burned their village, forcing Fai and Min to flee into the forest with their kith and kin. They lost many good people that day, his sister among them. Apparently, life really wasn’t fair.
From that day forth, Fai paid heed to his mother’s words. He vowed to forge her dreams with fire and steel. He trained to breaking point. He fought until he bled. The flames of his past became the beacons of his future. Loss made him listen. A fair life was a right, not a privilege. He would rise from the ashes of his childhood and brand that lesson upon the soft and pampered skin of all Dracai.
With blade in hand, Fai would make sure the Volcai never suffered again.
Stories written by Edwin McRae and Rachel Rees.
Directed by Robbie. Illus. by Sam Yang, Nikolay Moskvin.