Six months in the dungeon wearing a spiked collar around his neck and chains around his wrists left fourteen-year-old Micah physically weak when he finally emerged from the dark, damp space below the castle.

Mentally, however, he had become tougher than ever.  His father had shown him what no mercy looked like by sentencing him to the time in the dungeon.  He decided he wanted to be just like his father and trained himself to think the way his father did. 

No mercy.  Dragons are slaves.  People obey me.  I always win.  No mercy.

He repeated that mantra to himself day after day, week after week, month after month.  He let those words hijack his conscience and take over the core of his character.  So even though he could barely walk into the throne room without stumbling on his weak legs to face his father on his day of release, the power of those words gave Micah the strength to look Omri directly in the eye and say with confidence, “I learned my lesson, Father.  I’m ready to resume my Hunter training.”

“You are weak and unfit.”  Omri walked down from his throne, inspected Micah and spit in his face.  “You would make a mockery of the Dragon Hunter tradition if you even tried to lift a sword right now.”

“Perhaps.”  The spit bothered Micah, but he didn’t bother to wipe it off his face.  “I may be weak, but I understand the mindset of a Dragon Hunter.  No mercy.  Dragons are slaves.  People obey me.  I always win.  No mercy.”

Omri crossed his arms and studied Micah’s eyes.  Micah stared back, refusing to blink.

“Finally.  I have a son who understands me and the value of the Dragon Hunter Bloodline.  Guards!”  Omri clapped his hands, and the two guards who had escorted Micah up from the dungeon entered the room.  “Take him to his room.  Get him cleaned up.  Feed him well.  He resume his training in the morning.”

Then without so much as a pat on the back, Omri returned to his seat on the throne.

Micah shook it off.  He didn’t need a show of affection.  He just needed the opportunity to live out his mantra.  His father was giving him that opportunity.

As Micah poured his heart, soul and mind into his training over the next few decades, he made sure to meditate on his mantra and stay true to his values.

No mercy.  Dragons are slaves.  People obey me.  I always win.  No mercy. 45006e007400