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Thriller Dragon Warriors: Bloodlines

Discussion in 'Role Playing Forum' started by greyjedi125, Mar 29, 2009.

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  1. greyjedi125 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 29, 2002
    star 4
    Ambrose, Hikari, May-Ling, Kamiko, Raven, Teresa
    Private Jet en route to Wuhan

    "So....How many of you guys found this little jaunt as a bit of a surprise?" May-Ling asked everyone on the plane. It was a general enough question which invited anyone to join in the conversation already in progress.

    Master Lu Chan smiled and simply nodded to himself, enjoying the moment. He'd also acknowledge Hikari with a welcoming smile and a solid nod, which was meant to put the young man at ease.

    "Oh, it's been a great surprise if you ask me." Dean put in quickly and enthusiastically as he took the opening as an opportunity to come over and join in with Hikari and May-Ling. Of course, he did not forget his manners, though he almost did, and gave Master Lu Chan a respectful bow. "Master..." he intoned respectfully as he waited to be acknowledged before turning back to his friends. Thankfully, Master Lu Chan did not make him wait too long as he nodded back.

    "Man, I just can't wait to see what the Tournament is going to be like, my mind is going crazy with speculation." Dean said to Hikari and May-Ling. "I'll admit I feel a bit out of place since I'm not competing, but you can bet I'm gonna ramp-up my training once we get back!"

    Dean could not contain his unabashed enthusiasm as he smiled at his friends, then took a quick look back to see if anyone else felt the same.

    Saito took the new tone in the passangers cabin as a good sign and moved out of sight for the moment. There were a few things he needed to take care of before they landed.

    Generally speaking, the flight proceeded without incident and in good spirits. Time seemed to go faster as a few more folks interacted with each other. Less than an hour later, Saito returned to the passengers cabin.

    "We are now cruising above Wuhan City in central china, which is the capital of Hubei province and quite a modern metropolis. The large river you see below us is the famous Yangtze river, which is the world's third longest river."

    Saito paused and gave a small smile before continuing. "We will be making our landing approach in a few minutes, so please return to your seats and fasten your belts. It is my hope that you've enjoyed your time with us and that you've had a pleasant trip. Once we land, your rides will be waiting for you. Any questions?"

    No doubt there would be a few and Saito would do his very best to answer them.

    As previously noted, the skies were clear and the landing was a smooth one. The Jet plane taxied towards three grey SUVs on the field where drivers and baggage handlers awaited. Movement was allowed on board once again and Saito came over to Dean and Hikari to inform them that Grand Master Hibiki was well and said that they should not worry and wished them good luck.

    To the rest of the passengers he said:

    "Due to an unforeseen delay, a contestant is running about forty minutes behind schedule. We are instructed to wait before proceeding to our next destination.We apologize if this causes any inconvenience and will endeavor to make your waiting-time as painless as possible."

    Judy suddenly appears beside Saito just as he finishes speaking and walks out with a tray of refreshments and treats.

    "If there's anything you would like, do not hesitate to ask for it."

    Wearing her smile like a badge of honor, Judy begins to make her way to the guests.


    Tag: Ameteth, Ktala, Mitth, Spacey, Teeg, Xany. (almost there, just a lil' bit further) ;)

    OOG: Post #250!! Woo hoo! thank you everyone! Let's keep it going! [face_dancing]
  2. The Great No One Game Winner

    Game Winner
    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 2005
    star 8
    OOC: erhm... i has no tag?[face_worried]
  3. greyjedi125 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 29, 2002
    star 4
    OOC: Here you go my friend, sorry for the wait. ;)

    *********************************
    Fiona, White Lotus
    Domestic Flight to Wuhan

    "Umm... Sorry to bother you but... Uhh... What're we getting ourselves into White Lotus?"

    The High Priestess regarded Fiona with a calm, yet unreadable face for a long moment. Her dark eyes fix upon the gymnastics prodigy. It seemed as if she meant to read her soul.

    After what seemed like an eternity, White Lotus finally spoke. Her tone was calm and engaging, betraying nothing of what she really thought.

    "The obvious answer Fiona, is that you're going to compete in the World Martial Arts Tournament, which is seen as a great honor in the world of martial arts."

    White Lotus paused, just to make sure that much was understood.

    "Somehow I think there's something else you really want to ask me, but are not quite sure how to exactly phrase it. Once you have grasped the true nature of the question you wish to ask, and understood it, then perhaps I will know what I should answer....however, I would venture to say, that this question sounds more like something you should be asking yourself."

    Fiona now White Lotus' undivided attention.

    The High Priestess held Fiona's gave in hers, gauging and studying as she patiently waited for a response.


    Tag: Trimaj (there ya go, buddy) ;) :-B
  4. Ktala Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 7, 2002
    star 6
    May-Ling Parker
    Private Jet en route to Wuhan

    "So....How many of you guys found this little jaunt as a bit of a surprise?" May-Ling asked everyone on the plane. She winked when
    Master Lu Chan smiled and simply nodded to himself.

    "Oh, it's been a great surprise if you ask me." Dean put in quickly and enthusiastically as he took the opening as an opportunity to come over and join in with Hikari and May-Ling. "Man, I just can't wait to see what the Tournament is going to be like, my mind is going crazy with speculation." Dean said to Hikari and May-Ling. "I'll admit I feel a bit out of place since I'm not competing, but you can bet I'm gonna ramp-up my training once we get back!"

    May-Ling laughed softly. But it was noted that this group was not too chatty. Too bad. She was hoping from some stories. A few folks spoke up, but they were for the most party rather quiet. So May-Ling spent her time talking to Hikari and Dean, and working on her computer.

    Less than an hour later, Saito returned to the passengers cabin. "We are now cruising above Wuhan City in central china, which is the capital of Hubei province and quite a modern metropolis. The large river you see below us is the famous Yangtze river, which is the world's third longest river." May-Ling looked out of a window, curious. It was quite beautiful from above. She hoped that it still looked that way, once they landed.

    Saito paused and gave a small smile before continuing. "We will be making our landing approach in a few minutes, so please return to your seats and fasten your belts. It is my hope that you've enjoyed your time with us and that you've had a pleasant trip. Once we land, your rides will be waiting for you. Any questions?"

    May-Ling spoke up then. "Are we going to a hotel from here? Or is there any other scheduled stops?" she asked. She hoped that they were going to get at least an orientation, or some rest, or something.

    Afterwards, she gave Hikari a nod. "Thanks. Hopefully, I'll catch you laters." She gave him a wink, and returned to her own seat. The landing was a smooth one. The Jet plane taxied towards three gray SUVs on the field where drivers and baggage handlers awaited.
    To the rest of the passengers he said:

    "Due to an unforeseen delay, a contestant is running about forty minutes behind schedule. We are instructed to wait before proceeding to our next destination.We apologize if this causes any inconvenience and will endeavor to make your waiting-time as painless as possible." Judy suddenly appears beside Saito just as he finishes speaking and walks out with a tray of refreshments and treats.

    "If there's anything you would like, do not hesitate to ask for it."

    May-Ling had enough snacks. She had spent time on her computer, and even had read some of the book her old Master had given her. Now, she simply wanted to stretch abit, and put her mind to something else. She looked around them, where the SUV's were sitting. She closed her eyes, and began a light meditation routine, clearing her center, as she waited along with the others.



    Tag: Ameteth, Mitth, Spacey, Teeg, Xany.
  5. DarthXan318 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2002
    star 6
    IC: Teresa Starkos
    Private Jet

    Teresa was feeling much calmer. She had decided against the movie, electing instead to read the news - she had not kept up-to-date over the last few days, having been travelling on planes far less luxurious than this one, and about an hour of reading articles reassured her that the world had not, in fact, gone and changed on her while she wasn't looking. Normalcy was still out there.

    Not that this was entirely unpleasant. She had a very comfortable seat, a computer, and a good supply of snacks and drinks throughout the flight, and was starting to feel quite like this was the only way to travel. That'll be something to remember, Teresa thought wryly, curling up like a well-fed cat. The next time the hospital sends me on a conference, I'm demanding a private jet. It's the only way to fly.

    Just as they landed, though, the man - Saito? - stood up to address them once more. Most of what he said was normal stuff, delays and things, but then he said the word contestant and Teresa's nerves, soothed by the luxury of the flight, shattered once again. Oh. Right. She was on her way to a martial arts tournament ... where she would have to fight ... and her opponents were people like the ones in the jet, who looked uniformly confident and excited to be here ...

    What on earth had she been thinking, coming here? She was completely out of her depth. It was as absurd as if she had signed up to present at an astrophysics convention - in fact, she'd probably have better luck with astrophysics, having once dated someone in that field -

    Teresa shook off that tangential train of thought, annoyed. That was not the issue here. The issue was, now that she was here, what was she going to do about it?

    She came to a quick decision as Judy came by her seat with her tray of refreshments. Teresa took a small piece of chocolate, smiled politely in thanks, and once Judy had passed, stood up and approached Saito.

    "Mr. Saito," she began cautiously, "this is perhaps not the best time -" yes, the best time would have been before you got on the plane, her conscience pointed out "- but I, er, am not entirely certain why I'm here. I have an invitation," she hurried on, "but to be entirely honest, I've never even participated in a local competition, let alone a world tournament like this one. What - ah - exactly is expected ...?" she trailed off awkwardly, not entirely sure how to phrase her query.

    TAG: Grey :p
  6. greyjedi125 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 29, 2002
    star 4
    May-Ling & Teresa
    Aboard private jet plane, Wuhan Airport

    Everyone aboard the jet seemed to be in a relaxed mood, and Judy went about the business of keeping it that way. Meanwhile, Saito took the opportunity to answer the question posed to him by May-Ling.

    "Are we going to a hotel from here? Or is there any other scheduled stops?" she asked.

    Saito immediately understood the deeper meaning behind her question and smiled before answering.

    "All of you will be taken to the village which hosts and accommodates all Tournament guests. There are no luxuries there, so if you wish for any modern comforts, now is the best time to acquire them."

    After overhearing what was said, Dean gave Hikari a questioning look.

    Besides May-Ling, Master Lu Chan coughed softly into his fist.

    Saito glanced past May-Ling and noticed Teresa approaching as he continued.

    "If there's any thing else, please don't hesitate to ask." He said, then gave May-Ling a short nod before turning his attention to Teresa.

    "Mr. Saito," she began cautiously, "this is perhaps not the best time, but I, er, am not entirely certain why I'm here. I have an invitation," Saito simply smiled and let her continue, "...but to be entirely honest, I've never even participated in a local competition, let alone a world tournament like this one. What - ah - exactly is expected ...?" Teresa trailed off awkwardly, not entirely sure how to phrase her query.

    Saito began by giving her a respectful nod.

    "Well, I'll begin by saying, that not all Martial Arts is about fighting. As I understand it, your true skills lie elsewhere. Do you know that there have been healers who've gone on to become truly exceptional martial artists? There is a powerful connection between the two. I suspect that perhaps, you might even know of one such individual..."

    Saito gave Teresa a knowing smile, but said nothing more for the moment. He waited for the non-combative young lady to think about what was said and see what she had to offer in response, all the while keeping alert in case any other guest needed to get his attention.


    Tag: Ktala, Xany, Ameteth, anyone else.
  7. Ktala Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 7, 2002
    star 6
    May-Ling Parker
    Aboard private jet plane, Wuhan Airport

    May-Ling. asked Saito. "Are we going to a hotel from here? Or is there any other scheduled stops?" she asked.

    Saito immediately understood the deeper meaning behind her question and smiled before answering.

    "All of you will be taken to the village which hosts and accommodates all Tournament guests. There are no luxuries there, so if you wish for any modern comforts, now is the best time to acquire them."

    Say-Ling saw that Dean gave Hikari a questioning look. Besides her, Master Lu Chan coughed softly into his fist. She nodded her thanks to Saito, and then turned to look at Master Lu Chan.

    "Yes Master?" she asked, her eyes holding a small gleem of mischief. She spoke softly. "And what is it, do you think we need, before we leave? And just how ... primitive, are we going here?" she asked, as she made a soft laugh. This was sounding more strange by the moment. She saw that Saito was busy with another person, so she waited for Master Lu Chan to respond to her question.


    Tag: Ameteth, anyone else.
  8. Mitth_Fisto Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 6
    Ambrose Charles Ambrose
    Private Jet en route to Wuhan

    Pulling up a file he slowly relaxed as the computer pulled up a random irish drinking song, Whiskey in the Jar. It was enough to allow him to lean back and wait, for that was all he really could do now without being too nosy in other people's business.

    About the time of the third verse of The Lakes of Pontchartrain, their hostess offered them whatever they wanted, and at about this point nothing quiet sounded better than a Mayo-Harvartti cheese sandwich on Rye bread with a tall class of goats milk, or cows if they didn't have it. Once that would come back with a couple of odd looks he was sure he was quiet happy to listen to the newer pub music that was being played at home these days.

    After all, what was the use of worrying about something when that wouldn't change it? Best to just lean back, relax, and enjoy the ride. As they came in to their destination with vehicles waiting to transport them out he listened idly about the common anemities, which merely brought a shrug from him. More than likely what they thought was roughing it was more like upscale resort compared to being stranded in a jungle with very nearly a litteral nothing beyond a shovel and jammed gun.

    "I'm fine." was his only reply as he sinched his backpack straps for a better fit.

    TAG: Anyone
  9. DarthXan318 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2002
    star 6
    IC: Teresa Starkos
    Private Jet

    "Ah," Teresa said cautiously. "I'm a doctor, if that's what you mean, but I'm not quite sure..."

    It was not that she disagreed with Saito's words, exactly - she just found them a little confusing. If martial arts was not about fighting, then what was this tournament about? She had never heard of someone healing their way through a tournament (while she supposed there were sports doctors in attendance at these things, as far as she knew they didn't participate). And that knowing smile - Old Jackie had known her name without being told, and now Saito knew she was a doctor - how had he known? Had the mysterious organisers of the tournament been watching her?

    Why on earth would they be watching her?

    Besides, she didn't have any mystical 'healing powers' or anything like that. Patients died on her watch, just like anyone else; that was the reality of the ER. Not every patient could be saved -

    She did lose fewer patients than the other doctors, though. Not very much fewer - but noticeably fewer.

    Stop it, she told herself roughly. Now you're getting delusions of grandeur.

    Yet her father had tried to stop her from coming. Had been quite adamant about it, in fact. He'dve barred her from leaving London at all if he could, but one of the perks of being an independently successful adult was not having to ask her father for permission to do anything.

    "I realise it's a strange question," Teresa said slowly, "but you wouldn't happen to know my father, would you? Antoni Starkos - he runs a store in London."

    TAG: Grey :D
  10. The Great No One Game Winner

    Game Winner
    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 2005
    star 8
    OOC: sorry about the wait grey. got busy the past couple days. also sorry it's so short, just not sure what else to say right now.

    IC: Fiona "Flex" O'Hara/ Nicole/ Flying/ China
    Beside a window/ En route to Wuhan


    Being stared at by someone who could kill you as easily as stepping on a bug is very unnerving. It was all that Fiona could do not to squirm under the scrutiny, but she managed until the very end of it where she shifted and ended up looking away from White Lotus for a moment. The answer that Fiona received after that was not what she'd been looking for, and prompted a very soft sigh. One that she hoped would remain unheard by the Asian priestess.

    Nicole glanced at Fiona, and seemed to hear the sigh with the wry smile that she graced her friend with. The second part of her answer wasn't precisely the revelation it might have been. It was a question she had been asking since the airport.

    Looking back at White Lotus the young gymnast asked a slightly different question. "How far am I in over my head? Will there be people like..." She waved her hand back at the airport, which was presumably behind them. What she really wanted to ask was if she was going to die, but it wasn't something she was willing to even ask herself yet.


    TAG: GREY
  11. Ameteth Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 28, 2009
    Hikari Oda
    Private Jet en route to Wuhan


    The rest of the flight proceeded smoothly and in great comfort. Back at his seat, Hikari contemplated this adventure and all that had transpired so far. It seemed that there was a rhythm of calm and excitement happening in tandem and with increasing intensity. The more comfortable they were, the following wave of excitement seemed to be more intense.
    The flight to Wuhan had been so comfortable and luxurious that Hikari was afraid to think what might happen next, especially after what had taken place at the airport right before take-off.

    He had noticed that after May-Ling?s ice breaker much was still the same. Not surprising since it was likely that most everyone wanted to keep a healthy distance from their possible contenders. A few passengers responded with cordial nods, but no real conversation ensued. Still, some of the ?strangeness? was lifted by the act itself.

    Saito had been good enough to forewarn them about the type of accommodations that would serve as their housing once they reached their destination,?There are no luxuries there?? said the man. Now Hikari was working on an ever-fluctuating list of things that he may need, or may bring or may not. He had almost chuckled out loud when he overheard May-Ling?s words, ?And just how ... primitive, are we going here??, she had queried of Master Lu Chan.

    Saito had again shown great consideration by appraising him and Dean of Grand Sensei Hibiki?s well being. Hikari was glad for the news and was going to send a quick mention of the incident to his father.

    ?Hey Dean, do you want to get anything before we get to the Tournament Village? I have no idea what to bring, I?m sure they have toothbrushes??
    ? I think I?m actually having trouble making a list, hehehe!?
    Then whispering to his friend, he says, ?Do you think that the contestant running late might be one of those future bad-guys? You know like in the movies, they always make a special entrance??

    As they waited for the next phase to begin, Hikari looked at all the other contestants to see what they were doing and maybe learn something from them, he even wondered how powerful Judy might be, in his experience it was always the quiet ones that had some super secret skill.


    Tag: Greyjedi, Ktala, Mitth_Fisto, DarthXan, Spacelady, Jedi_Teegirloo

  12. Ktala Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 7, 2002
    star 6
    May-Ling Parker
    Wuhan Airport

    May-Ling looked around at the area surrounding the airport, as they waited for both the other 'contestant' to arrive, and for other folks in the party to respond with their own questions. She looked at the others, who barely had spoken on the place trip there, watching their body movements and how they reacted to the person they had brought with them. After a moment, she began to do a light stretch. Being on the plane once more, have given her little chance to stretch out her legs. What she REALLY wanted to do however, she would not near these other strangers.

    The area around the airport also proved to be a bit interesting. She thought about the flash she had seen when they had left the other airport. So, was someone trying to stop the matches? Why? She looked at the other contestants. Some did not even look as if they had taken martial arts...she had heard one girl mention the fact. So was WAS the true test of the matches? Obviously, more than just physical skill. So, if that was the case, than perhaps this entire tournament, was something more than simple fighting. Then, why were THEY chosen? May-Ling looked back over at her old Master, a curious grin on her face, as she waited for her previous question to be answered.

    'A dragon in the clouds...'

    She looked up to the skies for a moment, before relaxing once more into an attentive state, staying aware until they were moving once more.


    TAG:Greyjedi, anyone else who wants to talk
  13. greyjedi125 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 29, 2002
    star 4
    MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS!! :D [face_dancing]

    I shall be posting the long awaited update on Sat. 26th! I apologize for the delay, but it's been insane on my side. *sigh*

    Anywho, I wish everyone a joyous holiday and some quality time with family and loved ones. See you all very soon.

    With sincerity and good cheer,

    greyjedi125 [face_peace]
  14. greyjedi125 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 29, 2002
    star 4
    The wait is over. If you are still interested in this RP, please read the whole update before responding to your tag and write 'still interested' at the very end of your tag. Those who are not may just say so via PM. I thank you all for your past, present and continued patronage.

    _ grey


    ***************************************************
    Fiona, Nicole & White Lotus
    Domestic Flight to Wuhan

    It seemed that the original question was not quite what Fiona meant to ask White Lotus. After a short moment of contemplation while looking out the airplane window and out into an endless blanket of passing clouds, the young gymnast asked a slightly different question.

    "How far am I in over my head? Will there be people like..."

    She waved her hand back in the direction of the airport they had come from. What she really wanted to ask was if she was going to die, but it wasn't something she was willing to even ask herself yet.

    Gleaning what Fiona really meant, more by her facial expression, tone of voice, body posture and shifting aura, White Lotus gave a slightly amused chuckle.

    "Seriously Fiona, do you really think the Tournament sponsors would pit combatants of such different levels against each other? The World Martial Arts Tournament is not a blood sport." White Lotus asserted as she tried to allay the young woman's concerns.

    "Granted, it is a contact sport, so there are injuries and the like, but that comes with the territory. It's a test of skill, not a slaughter."

    White Lotus smiled at Fiona then and placed a reassuring hand on her shoulder.

    "If you rather not compete and just spectate, this is a good time to say so."

    In her mind, White Lotus did not think Fiona would take that option, not after all she'd gone through to get this far in the first place.

    "However.." she intoned graciously as she continued. "The ones you will likely face will be challenging, even at your level.Think of it like competing in your gymnastics tournament for the very first time. Again."

    White Lotus graced Fiona with a small bow of her head and looked over towards Nicole and smiled at the gymnast's faithful friend. She too had sacrificed a great deal just to be at her friend's side as she traveled far away into a foreign land. A most noble and commendable feat of friendship.

    "We're likely to be landing soon and I must meditate. Please excuse me for the moment."

    The High Priestess smiled again before leaning back into her seat and closing her eyes. She looked so at peace, sitting there...as if she too belonged amongst the clouds.

    Time passed. For some it dragged on, making the flight seem like and endless journey. For others, it was over all too quickly. In either event, the announcement was made, that the airplane would soon be landing in Wuhan Airport.


    Tag: Trimaj (continued below)

    *****************************
    Ambrose Charles Ambrose, Hikari Oda, May-Ling Parker, Teresa Starkos, Kamiko Takahashi, Raven Topeni
    Private Jet, Wohan Airport

    As the group waited aboard the Private Jet, the time was well used for small conversation, and to get somewhat acquainted with each other, that, and some of the finer details surrounding the Tournament. For the comfort of the passengers, the boarding ramp was lowered, granting easy access to the ground level and the vehicles that could take them back and forth to the airport and its areas of commerce.

    Stretching ones legs was simply a must when in these traveling situations.

    A moment ago, Saito had mentioned rudimentary Tournament accommodations, and that alone had sparked much speculation amongst its newly minted participants.

    "Master...?" May-Ling asked Master Lu Chan, that is, after sharing a questioning look with Dean and Hikari; her eyes now holding a small gleam of mischief. She spoke softly. "And what is it, do you think we need, before we leave? And just how ... primitive, are we going here?" she asked, as she gave
  15. Ktala Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 7, 2002
    star 6
    May-Ling Parker
    Private Jet, Wohan Airport

    As the group waited aboard the Private Jet, the time was well used for small conversation, not that this was a chatty group, that was for sure. May-Ling was happy to note that the boarding ramp had been lowered, granting easy access to the ground level and the vehicles that could take them back and forth to the airport and its areas of commerce.

    Good. Getting cooped up within the plane would be a bit ... hard on ones nerves. And a good stretch, and to see what was around them would be nice.

    "Master...?" May-Ling asked Master Lu Chan, that is, after sharing a questioning look with Dean and Hikari; her eyes now holding a small gleam of mischief. She spoke softly. "And what is it, do you think we need, before we leave? And just how ... primitive, are we going here?" she asked, as she gave a soft laugh.

    "Believe me when I tell you that you won't be residing in a cave, if that's what you're asking..." Master Lu Chan answered with a small amused laugh of his own. May-Ling grinned. She doubted it would be THAT bare. "They do have lights, running water and electricity, so don't look so worried..."

    "Oh..I'M not worried one bit, Master Chan. You know how much I love the outdoors..." she responded with a wry wink.

    Master Lu Chan couldn't help but to laugh then.

    Mayli did hear Dean, as he wrinkled his nose and leaned back on his chair, arms folded over his chest. "Man, they'd better have internet and cellphone service there, that's all I'm saying."

    May-Ling grinned.

    "Hey Dean, do you want to get anything before we get to the Tournament Village? I have no idea what to bring, I?m sure they have toothbrushes?"

    May-Ling didnt think that they needed anything. She had rather prepared herself mentally for a 'trip', so she had brought what she thought would be necessary. And that included a few things she considered necessary for roughing it. No, for this, she felt prepared.

    She thought about the possible match to come, her eyes half closed, as she watched the interactions on the plane around her. Yes, she wondered what the dragon that had brought her here had in store next.

    Soon, Saito came out of the pilots cabin, an excited look etched on his face.

    "Thank you everyone for your patience. Our last guests are about to arrive and we can begin to board the vehicles for departure. Feel free to begin the process." Saito bowed and gave a huge smile before going down the ramp. Judy stepped forth, taking his place and offering her assistance to any who should need it.

    Dean looked at Hikari and over to May-Ling, then back to Teresa. "Well, he's certainly in a rush..." he said, with some excitement of his own as he turned to look out the window.

    May-Ling nodded, as she exited the plane, taking in a deep breath as she felt the air outside, glad to be off the plane finally. Outside, Saito was already in position when the airport taxi arrived. BOY, these guys were quick!The SUV drivers and even the bag handlers were standing at attention. In a moment, three women got out of the cab. Two were obviously westerners. One with auburn hair color and the other a blonde. They stood together and seemed acquainted, judging by their interaction. But the third, was a regal looking asian female dressed in all white. What May-Ling noticed however, was how Saito bowed deeply and deferentially to her. And so did everyone else. A very important woman indeed, she must be.

    Eventually everyone was introduced to High Priestess White Lotus of Wudang. And try as hard as he might, Dean could not help but to act starstruck. More introductions were made as the the two women in the company of the High Priestess were also introduced, the first as Fiona, who would be entering the World Martial Arts Tournament, and her blonde traveling companion, Nicole.

    Ahh. Very nice. That this lady was bringing them must have some significance. May-Ling bowed when they were introduced, giving her more to think about.

    Soon after the introductions were completed, the newly for
  16. DarthXan318 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2002
    star 6
    Of course I'm still interested. :D


    IC: Teresa Starkos
    Wuhan

    Teresa watched Saito go with a puzzled expression. Her grandfather...? Her grandfather the surgeon, the one who had inspired her to be a doctor? What did he have to do with this? (Her maternal grandfather was, as far as she knew, also a perfectly ordinary man. He had died when she was very young.)

    However, there was nothing to do but nod, return to her seat, and await further instructions. Teresa did so and fidgeted quietly until Saito reemerged from the cockpit, this time with an excited look on his face. Curious now, Teresa followed him out ...

    ... into the waiting SUVs, where they were driven down a long road that changed gradually into a dirt path winding through trees, out of the SUVs into what looked like an abandoned picnic ground ("We don't have a lot of daylight hours left to spend inside a forest.." one of the boys - Dean? - whispered to their group upon hearing they were to enter the forest. Teresa gave him an understanding grimace and a shrug; yes, but what could they do?), down another dirt path, and finally to the gates of a village where a welcoming procession awaited.

    "Welcome to Shang-Yang Village," an older monk greeted. He was dressed in stereotypical monk clothes reminiscent of those seen in Wuxia movies. Teresa stared. "I am Master Shen Woo, and I hope that you find our humble village adequate to your needs while you visit us during the World Martial Arts Tournament."

    That seemed to require a response, but Teresa had no idea what the right one would be. Happily, Saito and the others replied with their thanks and elegant bows - Teresa bobbed her head in an awkward (but nonetheless earnest) mimicry a heartbeat after.

    The assembled monks then led them to the guest quarters. They looked no worse (and indeed a little better) than the hospital dorms Teresa had lived in during her training - a standard row of doors, each with an ornate dragon carving on the front. But - Teresa frowned and looked again - there were no handles. Only a little slot.

    Teresa glanced back at the monks. They were just looking. She suppressed a sigh and turned back.

    But not all the contestants were as stumped. Beside her, Teresa noticed May-Ling taking out the little dragon invitation and inserting it into the slot. Of course - they must be like keycards - Teresa followed her lead and did the same with her own dragon, hoping it would open the door.

    TAG: Everyone!
  17. Ameteth Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 28, 2009
    Hikari Oda
    Shang-Yang Village, Wudang Mountains, China


    There was a harmonious stillness in the moment that Hikari was experiencing, or like his mother liked to say, ?inhabiting?.
    There he stood before the wooden door that was the gateway to the rest of his life. The ornate carving of the Dragon seemed to breathe and move about slowly about the lacquered surface, welcoming him, its details glinting in the soft lighting of the lanterns.
    Fixing his attention on the slot on the side of the door, it was almost self evident that only the invitation that he had received from Master Hanzo would gain him entrance. As he pulled out his invite, he couldn?t help but notice how light and delicate and beautiful the invite really was, and more importantly, how potent an item it truly was.
    He took a second or two to savor this pivotal moment, one of many more to come, but as important as any. His mind provided him with the obligatory flashback of all the events that had led to this moment.

    Hikari couldn?t help but to feel amazed at the new dynamic that this new adventure was creating between him and his best friend Dean .
    It was almost as if Dean could read his mind and would say a few words or take and action in his own unique and amusing way, that would somehow take the edge out of a situation.

    So it was when it when the last contestant in their group arrived.
    Saito wasn?t exactly hiding his excitement when he had gone to receive the arriving party, and Dean had vocalized his curiosity almost as if speaking their minds.
    It took Hikari a lot of will power not to ?out-geek? Dean in acting star struck, it just seemed that they were meeting almost all the legends one by one. He gave an almost ceremonial bow at the introduction of High Priestess White Lotus of Wudang .
    ?Mom will never believe this?well, yea, she will.? This was ?THE? White Lotus. Hikari?s mom had spoken about the White Lotus many times and always with deep reverence and admiration.
    She said that a priestess has traditionally held the title, and that it wasn?t verifiable if the present White Lotus was a descendant in a lineage, a new bearer of the title or a long-lived holder.
    The one thing that was clear about the White Lotus was that she was a source of wisdom and power.
    In his opinion, the White Lotus that stood before them wore her power like a crown, with grace and regal bearing.

    The last contestant certainly didn?t strike Hikari like a nascent world-beater as he and Dean had joked about earlier. She definitely fit the athletic part of what a World Martial Arts Tournament contestant might look like. Yet there was something amiss about her, it was in her body language, but he couldn?t guess exactly what.
    On the other hand, her traveling companion was the very picture of support, their familiarity and closeness easily read throughout her being and giving Hikari a warm feeling at seeing that kind of caring in others.
    Fiona and Nicole were their names. He started to wonder about the circumstances that might have led the young ladies to be escorted by the White Lotus and if they had seen any of the fight at the departing airport.
    He was definitely going to have to inquire with Saito again about that incident and the story behind it.

    After reaching the forest, Dean decided to assume the role of the ?near-hysterical? new comer and saved everyone the embarrassment of having to voice any concerns.
    Being in a totally different part of the world, in a forest, in near zero visibility could be a little unnerving. But Hikari felt perfectly safe in the company of so many masters. Yet, there was no reason to throw caution to the wind having witnessed that the opposition was not without skillful, if not intimidating agents.

    The fog that had engulfed them had a disorienting effect, and sticking close to one another was one of the only things keeping Hikari from feeling lost. He instinctively used his skills to gain a keener bearing on his surroundings.
    The rippling sensation of warm energ
  18. greyjedi125 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 29, 2002
    star 4
    Ambrose, Fiona, Hikari, Kamiko, May-Ling, Raven, Teresa
    Shang-Yang Village, Wudang Mountains, China

    The winds of destiny seemed to be blowing as each contestant held their invitations in hand. Slowly, the realization that their invitations doubled as keys dawned on them, either due to personal intuition or simply by emulating the contestant next to them, but one by one, each one of them followed suit by inserting their dragon invitation-keys into the side door slot and were dutifully rewarded by an audible click that repeated itself seven times as each one unlocked their respective doors.

    A sigh of relief could almost be heard, and behind them some monks nodded as others simply smiled.

    Ambrose, Fiona, Hikari, Kamiko, May-Ling, Raven and Teresa each stepped into their respective rooms, which were already dimly lit by lamps that only grew brighter as they entered, almost as if their quarters were welcoming them. As expected, the rooms were for single occupancy, as there was only a single bed, a good size desk and chair, ample closet space complete with vanity mirrors and their competition outfit. This consisted of a loose fitting button down long sleeved shirt and pants of light blue color and a yellow sash. Trimmings, buttons and cuffs were white, as was the embroidered dragon on the back of the shirt. Wearing the outfit to the tournament was not obligatory however.

    And for those who would undoubtedly look for this, there was a connection for computers near the desk.

    All in all, it was a simple and charming room. The colors were light and neutral earth tones, varying in hues. Not surprising, was the dragon motif found in the lampshades, furniture and other parts of the room. Last but not least, there was an intercom on the right hand side of the door. There were about two rows of buttons, all empty except for the one saying front desk.

    As the new contestants got themselves settled-in and the monks waited for them outside, similarly, their non-combatant companions were ushered to a guest house further up the hill. The three story guest house overlooked a beautiful garden and shrine, complete with babbling brook. Dean, Master Lu Chan, Ming, Nicole, and Sensei Aalok Topeni were led by a single monk to the guest house where they were assigned comfortable rooms, and once settled, were invited to have dinner with everyone. Both Dean and Sensei Aalok seemed to liven up at the mention of food, which caused Master Lu Chan to chuckle in amusement. Ming, however, remained silent and observant for the moment and offered no comment and minimal interaction.

    Less than an hour later, it was time for dinner and everyone was brought to a medium size hall were several tables were lined up in banquet hall fashion. The smell of food was mouth watering as everyone managed to find their corresponding seats and party members. Dean finally saw Hikari and made his way towards him and Teresa. Sensei Aalok rejoined with Raven and Ambrose, and so it went.

    Among those present, were a few other contestant that were recognizable only to those who followed current events in the world of Martial Arts.

    The former North American Fighting Champion, Dan Hibiki was holding a lively conversation with a few monks, who merely smiled and nodded while he did all the talking.Not too far away, was the current North American Fighting Champion, Spartus Maximus. He seemed busy studying the wall scrolls depicting fighting monks and their various stances. Their present manner was somewhat telling of their character, as was their clothing. While Dan wore the Hibiki dojo competition gi, Spartus had donned the traditional clothing worn by tournament competitors.

    Of course, there were other faces gathered here as well, which were not recognizable, but certainly looked like other competitors. Several overly muscled types could be seen as well. It was all very interesting and exciting, which was something that Dean did not fail to mention.

    At that point, White Lotus and Master Shen Woo[/
  19. The Great No One Game Winner

    Game Winner
    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 2005
    star 8
    OOC: computer issues. got a virus, and it's being a royal pain. will post when i can.
  20. Ktala Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 7, 2002
    star 6
    May-Ling Parker
    Shang-Yang Village, Wudang Mountains, China

    May-Ling was rewarded by an audible click that repeated itself seven times as each one unlocked their respective doors. She grinned, and then walked into her room, looking about expectantly. The rooms, which were already dimly lit by lamps that only grew brighter as they entered. Nice. The rooms were for single occupancy, as there was only a single bed, a good size desk and chair, ample closet space complete with vanity mirrors and their competition outfit. Outfit?? She walked over, and took a look. This consisted of a loose fitting button down long sleeved shirt and pants of light blue color and a yellow sash. Interesting. There was a connection for computers near the desk.

    All in all, it was a simple and charming room. She quickly noticed that the dragon motif found in the lampshades, furniture and other parts of the room. Last but not least, there was an intercom on the right hand side of the door. There were about two rows of buttons, all empty except for the one saying front desk. Maybe they lead to the other rooms? She would have to figure out which one was Hikari's.

    But, she was rather sad to see that she would have to be in the room alone. Then again, they might not spend much time in the rooms. And she had a new Master to locate as well, eventually. May-Ling sighed at that thought.

    First things first. May-Ling changed her clothing, and then set up on a series of meaningful stretches. She had been cooped up for far too long!! They had been invited to dinner, so Mayli knew she didnt have much time. She sat on the floor, and went into meditation, something she had wanted to do every since they had gotten to China. Her 'light' meditations helped her to feel grounded within the area. After 30 minutes, she felt much better, and prepared for dinner.

    Less than an hour later, it was time for dinner and everyone was brought to a medium size hall were several tables were lined up in banquet hall fashion. The smell of food was mouth watering as everyone managed to find their corresponding seats and party members. May-Ling smiled as she saw Hikari and Dean, and gave them a smile, before taking her seat.

    Among those present, were a few other contestant that were recognizable only to those who followed current events in the world of Martial Arts.

    The former North American Fighting Champion, Dan Hibiki was holding a lively conversation with a few monks, who merely smiled and nodded while he did all the talking. Not too far away, was the current North American Fighting Champion, Spartus Maximus. He seemed busy studying the wall scrolls depicting fighting monks and their various stances. Their present manner was somewhat telling of their character, as was their clothing. While Dan wore the Hibiki dojo competition gi, Spartus had donned the traditional clothing worn by tournament competitors. THESE guys were here? My, my..this gets stranger with every moment. Well, it cant be said, that it will be boring, that is for sure, Mayli thought to herself.

    There were other faces gathered here as well, which she did not recognize. They certainly looked like other competitors. Several overly muscled types could be seen as well. At that point, White Lotus and Master Shen Woo entered the hall and headed towards a podium. The sounds of conversation began to die down as servers began to take their place and folks were quietly sitting down.

    Hmmm. Looked like they were finally about to perhaps tell them something interesting. She certainly hoped so. The suspense was driving her mad.


    Tag: All
  21. Ameteth Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 28, 2009
    Hikari Oda
    Shang-Yang Village, Wudang Mountains, China



    It was classic poetry, the sound of the doors unlocking, signaling the start of The World Martial Arts Tournament .

    Hikari stepped into the room, which was dimly lit by lamps and stood in the middle of it for a moment. He reached out with his senses to get a ?feel? for this space, which was going to serve as his new home and retreat.
    As the lights became brighter, Hikari gave bow as a ceremonial gesture of acknowledgement to the benevolent forces that might dwell in the room, it was at that moment that he consciously came to realize just how comfortable and at ease he was with all that was happening. A feeling of welcome and well being filled him and he felt invigorated by it.

    Looking around the room, it was evident that only one person was meant to occupy it, there was only a single bed, a good size desk and chair, ample closet space complete with vanity mirrors. This brought a wry smile to his face as he wondered if he would feel differently about such things by the end of the Tournament.
    He was glad to see that the event planners were thoughtful enough to provide them with competition outfits, even though he had brought his own fighting gi, it was his intention to wear his dojo outfit during ?important matches?.
    ?Hmmm?I wonder what these fit?? the curious thought came as he studied the garments, which consisted of a loose fitting button down long sleeved shirt and pants of light blue color and a yellow sash. Trimmings, buttons and cuffs were white, as was the embroidered dragon on the back of the shirt.
    Was this a One Size, or did they get measurements for the Reiken Arena data banks. He let curiosity turn into flight of fancy.

    While putting away his items, Hikari took notice of the computer connection near the desk; it looked like a universal plug, which could support advanced machines. He reflexively took out his PET and checked on the operational status icons, which thankfully showed the all systems green ?happy face?. And speaking of happy faces, it was not hard to imaging that at the very least Dean , May-Ling and Teresa would be positively overjoyed to see that they had computer access. ? My goodness, we are a bunch of Kung-Fu cyber techies?? he says out loud jokingly.
    Consequently, Hikari?s thoughts turn to his friends. Where would Dean, Master Lu Chan and the other non-participants be residing? He wondered if May-Ling was in an adjacent room, but that seemed unlikely since he would have noticed if she were at a door next to him when they were outside their rooms.
    One last thing did catch his eye as curious; the intercom with its two rows of buttons and only one standing out, for it was labeled ?Front Desk?.
    ? Looks like this place can get crowded.?

    Nearly and hour later it was time for dinner. Everyone was brought to a medium size hall were several tables were lined up in banquet hall fashion. The smell of food was mouth watering as everyone managed to find their corresponding seats and party members.
    Hikari decided to wear his tournament outfit to dinner as a show of enthusiasm and alacrity. His also thought that a conservative slick back might be the way to go with his hair, it just looked all kinds of wrong and conceited no matter how he styled it.
    He had casually taken a place close to Teresa probably because she seemed to be the friendliest of the rest of their group. He offered some conversation since it appeared that she was alone.
    ?Yummm, food smells delicious, I bet it?s going to be tasty and good for you too,? he said with a smile. ? I don?t believe that we have officially met?I?m Hikari?Hikari Oda.? ?Oh there?s my friend Dean??
    Dean had just walked in and he discreetly waved him over.
    After a quick introduction, he cranked his neck to and fro and finally saw May-Ling sitting with Master Lu Chan and gave her a big smile.

    The room was filling up as the other contestants made their way to the tables, and among them were some faces that were a bit more than j
  22. Mitth_Fisto Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 6
    IC: Ambrose Charles Ambrose
    Shang-Yang Village, Wudang Mountains, China

    It was becoming more like a struggle to follow, his mind racing as much backwards as it was forwards. Images formed to overlay the things around him, depicting the scenes of a war he left behind those many years ago. Yet, here he was setting off due to a man and a criptic answers to wondering questions.

    How had he come to this so quickly? The plane was over the cars were taking them after a brief introduction to a White Lotus, and her words that began this journey...drive then walk for hours.

    The exertion would not bother him and indeed it did not when it came to pass, although that did not stop others from complaining through voice or actions. To him though, it was like a nightmare to once more be lost in a thick wood...actually a jungle but these strange trees were close enough for his mind to make that connection. By the time a lantern finally led them out he was more tired and drenched in sweat than any exertion or mists could account as he carried his trenchcoat drapped over his backpack.

    Once inside he could feel his nerves calming somewhat, the place reminded him of an upscale model of some local villages that lived in the mountains of South America, with obvious oriental flare of course. A safe haven if but for a couple of nights before leaving an unconnected safe zone of confusion to trek through danger once more.

    Following the other's leads he had opened his door with the curious Jade bookmark of the dragon in the clouds. Perhaps that is what this village associates itself with, with all the mist they see themselves as dragons in the clouds.

    Once in his room he quietly changed into the tournament cloths that were present as he laid out his own to dry spread about the room. Against his chest he bore the gift of the last people that had taken him in, and shown him that path that would lead here...he hoped they alright.

    Like an old homage they all "came one come all to the 'dining' hall". Around about were people that were obvious fighters, and some seemed of some note as they had their hangers on, but to him it was all one and the same. He was just a Irish lad of the waters dropped somehow by an unbidden show to wonderlust that promised protecting what he cared about. Knowing what some ole' sea-dogs would say about his actions certainly didn't help, but he hoped, as the crowd began to quiet, that some answers beyond go would soon be revealed.

    TAG: All

    OOC: Sorry for the delay, I'm still here.
  23. DarthXan318 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2002
    star 6
    IC: Teresa Starkos
    Wuhan

    Teresa entered the room with a cautiously optimistic air. It was certainly more comfortable than any of the hospital dorm rooms she had lived in - the furnishings were elegantly designed and well-maintained, the bed was comfortable, and the amenities were on par with any hotel room. There was even space for a computer.

    If not for the dragon motifs and competition uniform hung unobtrusively in the closet, Teresa might have temporarily forgotten she was here for a tournament.

    A fighting tournament.

    Teresa sighed and decided to wash up.

    An hour later, it was time for dinner. Freshly scrubbed and changed - Teresa had, though not without some trepidation, put on the tournament getup - she made her way down to a medium-sized banquet hall and sat down, trying not to pick at the threads and dwell on how ridiculous she must look. No matter what the Master had said, surely someone would take a look at her and see that she was no fighter -

    A young man plopped down next to her. ?Yummm, food smells delicious, I bet it?s going to be tasty and good for you too,? he said with a smile. ?I don?t believe that we have officially met?I?m Hikari?Hikari Oda.?

    "Pleasure to meet you," Teresa said with a small, though genuine, smile. He seemed nice enough... and also dressed in the blue-and-dragon tournament garb. Would they be fighting? She hoped not. "I'm Teresa Starkos."

    ?Oh there?s my friend Dean?? He raised a hand and gave a quick, discreet wave.

    Teresa introduced herself to Dean too. She remembered both of them from the journey - if she remembered correctly from snatches of overheard conversation, this Dean would not be competing? Must be. She recalled vaguely that only one of these two young men was in the tournament.

    At that point, White Lotus and Master Shen Woo entered the hall and headed towards a podium. The hall quieted into an expectant hush. Teresa sat up straight, unconsciously smoothing down the front of her getup. The Masters were about to speak.

    TAG: Alls!
  24. greyjedi125 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 29, 2002
    star 4
    Ambrose, Fiona, Hikari, Kamiko, May-Ling, Raven, Teresa
    Shang-Yang Village, Wudang Mountains, China

    Dean thought he would explode from both excitement and anticipation as the dining hall became so quiet, you could almost hear a pin drop. He was sitting next to his best friend Hikari and two rather lovely young ladies; Teresa and May-Ling, the latter who was accompanied by her 'former' Mentor, Master Lu Chan.

    Being here and now seemed almost like a dream to him.

    Although he was not competing in the World Martial Arts Tournament, Dean could not help but feel that he was in a very special and privileged place in the world.

    Two Masters, the high priestess White Lotus and their apparent host, Master Shen Woo, calmly regarded their audience. If one of the Masters did not say something soon, Dean was literally going to burst.

    Wait! Was that a hint of a smile he was seeing in both of the Masters??

    Without further ado, Master Shen Woo stepped forth and began to address those gathered. Dean felt himself transported to another world.

    "Welcome one and all to Shang-Yang Village, here in the Wudang Mountains, to this, the 144th quadrennial World Martial Arts Tournament!"

    The round of applause was completely expected, but Dean's jaw had fallen clean to the floor. He was trying to do the math in his head, but was too stunned by the implications that came to mind. Master Shen Woo continued on.

    "You have all trained so very long and hard for this unique opportunity, and finally, your efforts have been noticed. Because you all have fulfilled a certain criteria, you've been found worthy to participate in this elite invitational. Here, you will know what it means to perform at the very peak of your ability and beyond. Only here, will you have the unique opportunity to vie for the number one ranked fighter post in the entire world...and learn exactly what it means to be at the very top. You will also learn that there's so much more to the World Martial Arts Tournament besides its ranking system."

    The Master smiled knowingly, then ceded center stage to the high priestess, who bowed respectfully before speaking. An intense and penetrating gaze coupled with a gentle smile adorned the face of the priestess.

    "Before me, I see nothing more than potential for greatness. All of you possess this quality. In some way or another, you have all pursued excellence, and from what I see, you all can achieve it. Tomorrow morning, your journey towards that goal will begin as you ascend the Stairs of Destiny, which lead up toward the tournament grounds. You will face many obstacles and encounter opposition as you progress, but none that you cannot surpass. Remember, remain focused and always keep your goal in sight. Choose wisely, then act."

    White Lotus bowed gracefully, then took a step back as Master Shen Woo once again took his place.

    "For those of you not participating in the tournament, but who are here to support invited contestants, you shall be taken to the tournament grounds through a different path. Once there, you will be led to your designated seats. For now, All of you, please enjoy this meal that we've prepared for you. It is our hope that it is to your palate and that you find the provided accommodations equally agreeable. Do keep in mind that your journey begins tomorrow morning..."

    "And if you have any questions..."White Lotus gracefully interjected,"Please, do not hesitate to ask them. The opportunity may not present itself again until much later."

    "...May honor guide your path." they said in unison.

    With that, both Masters bowed to their captive audience, signaling the end of their discourse. A moment later, festive music came on and the servers began to bring about the delicious platters that were mentioned earlier.

    At the sight of the feast, Dean grinned widely and forgot exactly what they had been talking about a moment earlier.

    Something about fighting sometime tomorrow...


    Tag: All!! (get ready to RRRRUMMMBLE!!) :D [
  25. Ktala Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 7, 2002
    star 6
    May-Ling Parker
    Shang-Yang Village, Wudang Mountains, China

    May-Ling was so excited, she had almost forgotten why she was here. If felt as if she had stepped into some mysterious martial arts movie. Looking at White Lotus and Master Shen Woo moving to step to front to speak to them, she had to will herself to be still. It was all so ... she had no words. She felt as if she had been waiting for this moment her entire life. She saw the cute boy, Hikari, and spared hima smile as they waited to learn exactally what was going on.

    Two Masters, the high priestess White Lotus and Master Shen Woo, calmly regarded their audience. Then it was Master Shen Woo who stepped forth and began to address those gathered.

    "Welcome one and all to Shang-Yang Village, here in the Wudang Mountains, to this, the 144th quadrennial World Martial Arts Tournament!"

    Quadrennial? May would have to look that one up later on, but she felt it was quite a long while. She continued to listen with interest.

    "You have all trained so very long and hard for this unique opportunity, and finally, your efforts have been noticed. Because you all have fulfilled a certain criteria, you've been found worthy to participate in this elite invitational. Here, you will know what it means to perform at the very peak of your ability and beyond. Only here, will you have the unique opportunity to vie for the number one ranked fighter post in the entire world...and learn exactly what it means to be at the very top. You will also learn that there's so much more to the World Martial Arts Tournament besides its ranking system."

    More?! What else was there, she wondered. Then again, while she knew the competition had to do mostly with fighting, not all of the people here looked like fighters. Heck, she was not into hard core compititions herself....so this would be interesting indeed.

    The high priestess White Lotus bowed respectfully before speaking. An intense and penetrating gaze coupled with a gentle smile adorned the face of the priestess.

    "Before me, I see nothing more than potential for greatness. All of you possess this quality. In some way or another, you have all pursued excellence, and from what I see, you all can achieve it. Tomorrow morning, your journey towards that goal will begin as you ascend the Stairs of Destiny, which lead up toward the tournament grounds. You will face many obstacles and encounter opposition as you progress, but none that you cannot surpass. Remember, remain focused and always keep your goal in sight. Choose wisely, then act."

    White Lotus bowed gracefully, then took a step back as Master Shen Woo once again took his place.

    Obstacles? Just to get up the stairs. May-Ling did not mind giving her old master a very quizical look, as she looked at him, and then around to the others she had ridden on the plane with. The Stairs of Destiny? Oh boy, as much pomp as circumstance that this event was being given, she could not help but feel like she had been plucked right in the middle of one of the latest Choy yun Fat movies... A test, before the test? Wonderful..

    "For those of you not participating in the tournament, but who are here to support invited contestants, you shall be taken to the tournament grounds through a different path. Once there, you will be led to your designated seats. For now, All of you, please enjoy this meal that we've prepared for you. It is our hope that it is to your palate and that you find the provided accommodations equally agreeable. Do keep in mind that your journey begins tomorrow morning..." There was a slight pause..

    "And if you have any questions..." White Lotus gracefully interjected,"Please, do not hesitate to ask them. The opportunity may not present itself again until much later."

    Well. May-Ling slipped backwards into her seat, now there was an understatement. She had so many questions, she didnt know WHAT to think of first.

    "...May honor guide your path." White Lotus and Master Shen Woo uttered in unison. With that, both Masters bowed towards them, and momen
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