Learning
(Jeongdao Week Prompt: Swordplay)

Admiral Jeong Jeong wasn't known for snooping around the smithy. Rather, he wasn't known to because he had never been caught. He would often wait until the area had cleared out for the evening, laborers departing for the mess hall and bed after a long day of hot work. That was when he would saunter in and admire at the newly made swords glimmering in the fading light of day. If he was feeling particularly adventurous, he would carefully remove one of the weapons from the sword rack and study it in awe. It was one of those days.

The sword he selected wasn't especially stunning- not compared to some of the needless swords he had seen strapped some of the officers around camp that only served as superfluous decoration-, oh no. The hilt was simple, onyx colored with a trail of silver spiraling down the grip from the equally silver pommel to the guard. No designs were etched into design; it was very plain. But Jeong Jeong felt that that was all that was needed. It was simple; it was beautiful.

He turned away from the rack, sword still in hand, and shifted his feet into what he thought was a proper sword fighting pose. Slowly, he raised his arm, sword held above his head, and began to slash through imaginary enemies.

"What do you think you're doing"

The admiral jumped slightly at the intrusion, barely regaining his composure in time to keep the sword from clattering awkwardly to the floor. His mind reeled as he tried to think of some excuse for why he was in the smithy so late in the evening as he turned to face the intruder.

The man was younger than him, by several years at least, face strikingly handsome yet entirely plain at the same time, much like the weapon in his hand. The stranger's lips quirked up into a teasing smile, "Your form is horrible. If you went into battle like that, you would be killed easily by any halfwit novice with a blade in his hands."

Jeong Jeong, though relieved the young sword maker was not alarmed by someone messing around in the smithy, shot him an incredulous look. He had been sure that his form was just fine; it was one that he used quite often with his short-range fire bending attacks.

"I'll show you." He crossed the room with such grace that was uncommon amongst fire nation citizens, maneuvering behind Jeong Jeong until his chest was pressed to the fire bending master's back. He raised his arm, hand trailing down Jeong Jeong's forearm only to clamp around the wrist, "Holding the sword like this leaves your lower body wide open to attack." He guided the admiral's arm down, "Here, you can attack and defend at the same time."

Jeong Jeong nodded, despite his discomfort at their close proximity.

"And those wild slashes" Very ineffectual. Scattered and widespread attacks may work for fire bending, but such chaos disrupts the balanced style of sword fighting. You have to think of the sword as an extension of your arm, of your soul."

Cool air chilled his spine as the swordsman backed away, palm sliding back up his arm briefly before the contact was lost. He turned his head to stare at the taller man.

"My name is Piandao." He offered, fist-in-palm as he bowed slightly at the waist in customary greeting. "Perhaps I could give you a few lessons if you were interested..." He trailed off, giving his new 'pupil' a chance to offer his name.

"Admiral Jeong Jeong." His reply was curt, but the admiral wasn't known for his conversational skills either. Piandao's eyes widened marginally, most likely shocked that it was the Admiral Jeong Jeong he had been giving pointers to. And perhaps a bit nervous, afraid of being reprimanded for acting so casually with a such a high ranking officer. Piandao's expression softened when the bender continued, "It would be an honor to learn from you."