Summer and Winter are caught in an eternal struggle against one another, giving us the four seasons. The island of the ancients, which is impossible to find, is the place where Summer and Winter go to become young every year and renew their struggle. The ancients discovered four stones that allowed the control over one of four elements, and they were forged into ancient artifacts, the earring of air, the bracelet of earth, the ring of water, and the pendant of fire. The people that lived on this island were broken up into four tribes, one for each element. These tribes are each ruled by a chieftain, and each chieftain has a champion that wields one of the four artifacts. There is an emperor who rules over all of the tribes chosen by a tournament of the champions.
The battle field for the tournament is a large square stone stage surrounded by stadium seats with enough room for everyone to come and see the new emperor decided. Stretching over the stadium there is a large stone pillar with large circular holes in it to show the progression of the tournament. A man steps forward and says, “Thank you all for coming to see the one hundred and fifty seventh emperor’s tournament. I am you announcer, Thomas Macramee here to go over the rules and then get this tournament started for you all. First of all there are no weapons allowed inside the arena except for their artifacts. There is to be no exterior help at all during the match and healing will be provided in between fights for all contestants. Each fighter should know what moves are off limits for them, and with that let’s get this tournament started. Francis, if you will please?” His voice boomed throughout the stadium, clearly being heard by the people sitting farthest away.
Another man started to turn the handle attached to a metal cylinder and the sound of stone balls rolling around could be heard until finally one rolled out of a hole on the side and came to rest in a metal tray. Thomas picked it up and revealed that a flame had been expertly chiseled into the ball. “In the first match we will have Mason representing the Fire chief Myron!”
Mason stood up from his seat next to the Fire chief at the front of the Fire tribe section of the stadium. “If luck favors us this day, father my opponent will be the buffoon from the Earth tribe and finish up the last round with the water tribe’s champion. Consider yourself the new emperor father.”
His father replied harshly. “Focus on the fight you fool. This is our only chance and I will not have you messing it up because you are overconfident. Now get into that ring and make me proud.” Mason shot flames from his hands and propeled himself into the air and landed in the middle of the stadium. The crowd weld wild. Four men pushed a large circular rock into the first slot in the pillar that had a flame chiseled into it.
Francis began to turn the handle once more and another stone with swirls chiseled into it drops out into the tray. Thomas picked it up and held it above his head. “And the second fighter has been decided. Mason will be facing Tauzin of the Air tribe!” A man in a hooded cloak stood up from beside the Air chief.
Tauzin grabbed Simon by his right forearm, and Simon grabbed his right forearm back. “I will repay your kindness this day Chief Simon.” Tauzin released his hold on Chief Simon and jumped into the stadium from his seat and landed lightly on his feet on a cushion of air. He grabbed his cloak and pulled it off in one swift motion, and cast it above his head. He caused a draft to blow it into the stands and land on his unoccupied seat. The wind blew through the stadium, shifted his long black hair and caused the ends of the headband he tied over his eyes to ripple, and revealed a tattoo of a rune on his cheek. A trail of runes lead from his face and spiral around his neck and down his arm finally stopping on the palm of his hand. He is bare chested and is wearing shorts.
Mason turned and addressed the crowd. “There must be some sort of a mistake, I don’t want to fight a blind man, just give him a forfeit. Apparently the Air tribe doesn’t care if their chief becomes emperor or not.”
Tauzin balanced on one foot and held his arms out wide in a fighters stance and calmly replied, “I am here to fight and I suggest that you not underestimate me. I will be the one winning this tournament.”
Thomas shrugged. “If he doesn’t want to forfeit then I can’t force him to. If you don’t want to fight a blind man you could always forfeit.”
Mason snorted. “Forget it, I’ll just end this quickly so he won’t suffer too much.”
Thomas shouted, “Alright, then let the battle begin!” He turned and quickly ran up the only staircase that led into the stands and took a seat. Mason brought his right foot and fist forward, a large sphere of fire formed on his fist and flew across the stadium toward Tauzin. Tauzin clapped his hands together and thrust them in front of him and then apart, creating an air current around his body that met the fire, causing it to flow around his body leaving him unharmed.
Mason stood staring at Tauzin shocked for a second, and then a cocky smile crossed his face. “What a lucky guess, but let’s see how you handle this!” He flung his arms out to either side of him and brought them together in front of him, two fireballs flew out this time and arced to hit Tauzin on his right and left sides. Tauzin flung his arms out to his sides and then brought them back in front of him, so that his palms faced each other with a gap in between them before he thrusted them forward so that the base of his hands meet and his palms are faced Mason. The two fireballs swirl in an air current and flew directly back at Mason and hit him in the chest, sending him sliding back two feet.
Tauzin didn’t wait for Mason to go back on the offensive and formed a tornado around his body that lifted him up into the air. He drew back his hand and then swung it down in a karate chop, causing a razor sharp blast of air to fly forward toward Mason. Mason dove to the right and rolled across the floor of the stadium and sprung back up onto his feet, and punched toward the base of Tauzin’s tornado, sending a stream of fire sizzling across the stadium. The flames swept up the air funnel and engulfed Tauzin in flame. Tauzin’s tornado dissipated as he let out a yelp and he fell to the ground and landed on his back. His world slowly faded to black. Mason leapt into the air and began to perform a flaming drop kick onto Tauzin.
A voice floated through Tauzin’s mind, “Remember why you fight!” An image of a young boy wrapped in a blanket and a headband tied around his eyes sitting with his back to the side of a building on the corner of a street, a hat with some coins and a few pieces of food in it next to him. He sat there, unmoving, seemingly lifeless. The child had lost hope for life and the will to live A man in blue robes robes approached him and crouched down in front of him. “Are you Tauzin?”
The boy signed and then responded in a voice that sounded as if he had said this many times before. “I didn’t steal anything if that’s what you think, all of this was given to me.”
“I know it was. That’s not why I’m here. I am Simon, chief of the Air tribe, and I have come to ask you to be my champion when we have the next emperor’s tournament.”
“Is this some kind of joke? I’m a little, blind, homeless boy, what could I possibly do to make you emperor?”
“That’s what I said as well, but the oracle was insistent that you were the one that I was to choose. Are you willing to at least give it chance? It’ll be a better life than the one that you have now. I know you are blind, but it is said that those who use this artifact are given a second sight, so for you I think that this is a way for you to see the world.” Simon held out an earring with three metal bars hanging from it like a wind chime.
Tauzin stretched out his hand and Simon gave him the earring. Tauzin’s gasped in surpise, suddenly aware of blurry shapes all around him. “I… I can see! It’s really fuzzy, but I can see!”
“I have been told that as you train more with the earring, the images become clearer. Are you willing to become my champion now?” a large smile crossed Simon’s face.
Tauzin knelt down before Simon with his face to the ground. “In return for you giving me the gift of sight, I promise to dedicate my life to making you the next emperor.”
Tauzin snapped back to reality and saw Mason’s flaming kick coming down at him. Tauzin kicked his legs up into the air, a flow of air to wrapped around Mason’s leg, and Tauzin sprang up and landed on his feet, at the same time the flow of air slammed Mason into the ground.
Mason’s mind drifted back to his childhood.
His memory started out with him kneeling in front of his father’s throne. His father leaned forward and said harshly, “Mason, my son, you will dedicate yourself to making me the next emperor as our champion, as I did for my father, and he did for his father before him. The pampered life you know is now over, and your training begins!” Mason’s days were filled with his father yelling at him and countless hours of training. An image of his father appeared before him, his face livid. “If you don’t make me into the next emperor then you will be dead to me!”
Mason leapt up to his feet and stared at Tauzin. “I will make my father the next emperor and then he will love me!”
“Forgive me, but I cannot allow that,” Tauzin whispered as he charged up to Mason with a tornado swirling about his fist. He punched Mason in his stomach. “Hurricane fist!” Mason’s body doubled over as it flew away from Tauzin and crashed into the wall of the stadium and then crumpling down to the ground in a heap. Tauzin looked at Thomas in the stands. “Call it.”
Thomas looked at the crumpled body of Mason on the ground and then walked down the stairs and into the stadium. “The winner of the first match: Tauzin of the Air tribe!” The crowd erupted in a roar of cheering and two men ran out with a stretcher and loaded Mason onto it and carried him to one of the rooms on the side of the arena.
Two men ran out to Tauzin.“If you will come with me Mr. Tauzin, we’ll get you healed up for your next fight.” Tauzin looked up into the stadium at Simon and smiled before walking into the medical area under some of the stadium seating.
“In the next fight we’ll be having Samson of the Earth tribe!” Thomas shouted out. At that, a muscular man stood up in the front of the Earth tribe section and looked at nervous looking man seated next to him clothed in brown robes.
Samson smiled and laid his hand on Mashron’s shoulder. “Relax Mashron, this is what I was born to do.” Samson crossed his arms before the ground opened up under him and he fell down before popping up in the middle of the arena.
“And Mira from the Water tribe!” A woman stood up from the front of the water tribe section of stadium.
The man seated next to Mira blew a puff of smoke before pulling his pipe out of his mouth. “Remember Mira, if you win this fight for me, we’ll tell you who killed your parents.”
“I’ve been hearing that my entire life, Terry. I’m done being lead around by that carrot, but don’t worry, I’m still going to win this fight. That way I can have the pleasure of assassinating the emperor and bringing about the next tournament sooner.” Mira said. Terry frowned at her, and that caused Mira to smile. The blue stone set into the ring on her right finger glowed and water came spilling out of it, lifting her up out of the stadium and depositing her in the middle of the arena.
Samson bowed to Miral “You drew the short straw little girl.”
Mira returned the bow with a smirk on her face. “Strange, big guys like you usually let your muscles do all the talking.”
Thomas shouted out, “Second match start!” before turning and running back up the stairs.
Mira shouted “Tsunami slam!” She thrust her fist forward and large stream of water shot out and slammed into Samson. Just before the wave slammed into Samson, rocks fold over his feet bracing him in place. The waves buffeted his body, and he stood there, unaffected. Samson back flipped into the air kicking one foot forward and then another, making the rocks attached to his feet shoot off towards Mira. Mira raised her hands up, and thin blades of water rose up from the ground, sliced through the rocks and pushed them so that they passed on either side of her head.
Mira closed both of her hands into fists and all the water that lay on the field around Samson turned into ice spikes that rapidly grew toward him. A smile of certain victory crossed Mira’s face as her mind drifted back to her childhood.
When she was five years old she awoke in the middle of the night because of a nightmare and ran into her parent’s bedroom and found both of their throats slashed open. She cried and cried over their bodies until a guard showed up and pried her off her parent’s bodies, covered in blood and tears. Guards were taking care of Mira outside of her home when she was approached by a man wearing a blue robe with a golden belt.
The man waved at the guards and they backed off. He crouched down so he was at eye level with Mira and patted her head. “It’s a terrible thing that happened to your parents little Mira, but what would you do if I told you I knew who it was that killed them?”
Mira sniffled before replying. “I would do my best to do to them what they have done to my parents. Now, who did it?”
“Patience my child, if I told you that you would only get yourself killed. If you will become my champion and my assassin, I will tell you who killed your parents, and I promise that when you are told you will have the tools and abilities to take your revenge. What do you say, Mira?”
Mira peered curiously at the man. “Who are you?”
“My name is Terry, and I am chief of the Water tribe, and as I promised here is the tool that you will need to avenge your family.” Terry held out a ring of silver with a blue stone set into it.
Mira reached out and accepted the ring before saying, “I will come with you Terry, and you will tell me someday who killed my parents.” Years pass by of difficult training before Mira was sent out on her first assassination attempt. The anger that smolders inside of her and her desire for revenge had hammered her into the perfect assassin: silent, deadly, and remorseless.
The ice spikes rammed into Samson’s body and the tips shattered. An unconcerned smile crossed his face. “As I said before, you drew the short straw. My body has been pounded and hammered to the point where my skin is as hard as steel and I no longer understand the concept of pain. Maybe you would demonstrate it for me?” Samson then punched the ground with both of his fists, both fists disappeared into the ground. A pair of stone arms shot out of the ground next to Mira and grabbed onto her arms. Samson stood up, pulling his arms out of the ground and the stone arms were pulled back into the ground, trapping Mira’s hands underground.
Samson punched his right arm into the ground again and a fist shot out of the ground toward Mira’s face. Streams of water shot out of the ground, the stone fist was cut and the ground surrounding her arm broke, and her arms were released. Large amounts of water shot out of the ring on Mira’s finger and covered the ground and quickly froze, a layer of ice forming over Mira’s feet as well. Mira propelled herself toward Samson, and formed an ice blade on her hand.
Samson stood up to face Mira’s charge, but his feet slipped out from underneath him and he fell over backwards on the ice. His mind traveled back to his childhood.
“Samson, your family has been bred and trained to be the champions of the Earth tribe, this means that your life is forfeit and you will be going through hell to turn our chief into the next emperor. The first part of your training is to forget what pain is.” Samson looked up at his father, tears in his eyes. Samson’s father pulled back a switch and swung it forward with all of his force.
Samson’s mind flashed forward to his tenth birthday. His father and brothers awoke him at dawn by pelting him with stones. Samson stretched and yawned, a contented smile upon his face for he had grown immune to physical harm. Samson’s body was calloused from head to toe. He had been beaten, stabbed, slashed, shot with arrows, poisoned, burned, and boiled regularly. “You make me proud, Samson. You grew immune to pain four years before I did, growing up. That means you are ready for this.” Samson’s father pulled the arm band off of his arm and held it out to Samson.
Samson smiled and put the armband on. “This is definitely better than the birthday when you boiled me.” Samson stroked the armband. “Does this mean that you will be training me in how to use this today?”
“That’s right Samson, but I think you need a beating first for looking so happy. I’m going to train you to become the strongest one of our family ever.”
Samson’s eyes sprang open and a stone pillar sprang through the ice and pushed Samson up onto his feet. Samson reached behind him, touching the pillar, and it formed itself into a spear in his hand. Samson stomped on the ice and rocks folded over his feet and he propelled himself toward Mira. Mira thrust the ice blade at Samson’s heart and Samson swung his spear down shattering the ice blade and then swung his spear up, catching Mira’s cheek and leaving a long gash. Mira raised her hand and a strong stream of water pushed Samson backward.
Samson slid along the ice for several feet. After Samson finally stopped sliding, he jumped up into the air, driving the earth down, and the earth rippled out away from him as if a stone had been dropped in a pond. The ice shattered as it rippled away. Mira was knocked to the ground and Samson charged Mira and leapt into the air, getting ready to slam the spear down in-between Mira’s breasts. Mira swung her hand upward and flung a drop of water into Samson’s mouth. Mira closed her fist, and ice spikes erupted out of Samson’s body. He fell to the ground unmoving.
Thomas ran down into the arena waving his arms. “Get medical crews down here now; try to save him if you can. Fatalities are a fact of war. So, once Mira gets healed up, we can start the final match of this tournament!” Medical crews rushed down into the arena, some picking up Samson’s body and rushing it into the medical area under the stadiums and one of them led Mira under the stadium seats. Two men climbed up onto the pillar spanning the arena and moved the large stone with the water symbol up next to the stone with the air symbol on it.
Tauzin walked into the arena and began stretching in preparation for the next match. After a few minutes Mira walked out from under the stadium and shook a little. “I will never get over how creepy healing feels. Get a good look at what I did to my last opponent Tauzin?”
Tauzin waved his hand in front of his face several times and said, “Yeah, I saw the whole thing.”
“It would appear that our two competitors are ready, so let’s get the final fight underway, this is the one that will determine who the emperor is! Fighters, begin!” Thomas then fled the stadium. The final match had begun.
Tauzin performed a sweep kick, sending a wave of air at Mira’s legs. The ring on Mira’s hand glowed and water shot out of it and froze, forming a wall of ice in front of her. The air hit the ice wall and flowed around it, leaving Mira unharmed.
Mira caused the ice wall to explode, which sent shards of ice at Tauzin. Tauzin pounded his fist into his palm, and formed a sphere of rapidly moving wind around his body, the ice shards met the wind and were deflected into the ground around Tauzin’s body.
Mira raised her hands, a fine mist spread around her body and just hung in the air. A smile crossed her face. “Now I can see everything around my body just like you, I leveled the playing field a little. “ Mira raised her hands up in rapid succession, razor sharp streams of water shooting out of her ring and flying at Tauzin. Tauzin thrust his fist to his right, a stream of air pushed him sideways and out of harm’s way.
Tauzin pulled his arm back and swung it forward in a whip-like motion, a whip of air struck out at Mira but the mist near Mira’s right cheek condensed and froze to block Tauzin’s attack.
Tauzin sighed and started running forward, moving side to side, dodging the icicle spears that Mira was launched at him.
Tauzin’s mind drifted back to when he was thirteen and he began his training in Mai Su, the ancient and sacred martial art of the Air tribe. Tauzin held out his hand and the grand master took his wrist in his hand and began tattooing the rune of the initiate onto Tauzin’s hand. Tauzin’s face contorted in pain, but he refused to cry.
Once the tattooing was done, the grand master said, “Tauzin, today we will begin your training. The first part will focus on training your body to master the art of Mai Su, and then we will help you to integrate your mastery of air with your Mai Su training into one perfect art. Now let’s begin.” Tauzin dedicated his next fifteen years to discipline and molding his body into a weapon. He still remembered the day when the final rune to the tattoo winding up his arm to his face was placed onto his cheek, marking him as a master.
Tauzin ducked more icicle spears and whispered, “Those years were not wasted.” He made his way through the fog to Mira’s side, and he punched at Mira’s midsection, large gusts of wind propelling his fist forward. The mist around Mira formed into a small barrier of ice between her and Tauzin’s fist, but due to the thrust from the wind, Tauzin shattered the barrier and pounded into Mira’s body. Mira gasped in pain and raised her hand, spikes of ice forming out of the mist and stabbing at Tauzin. Tauzin danced back and forth, dodging and deflecting all the spikes. Tauzin dropped down and did a sweep kick at Mira’s legs, knocking them out from under her. On her way down to the ground, she formed an ice blade on her hand and she swung out, cutting off the ear his earring was on.
Tauzin’s world disappeared into blackness once again, and he started to panic. He dropped to the ground and started to feel around for his ear.
Mira smiled and walked over to where Tauzin was and kicked him in his midsection. “I won’t say that it brings me pleasure to beat up a blind man, but I do appreciate an easy win. If you surrender now, I promise not to beat you up too bad.” Mira pulled back her leg to kick again, and when she swung forward again, Tauzin grabbed it with one arm and thrust his open palm into Mira’s face. Mira’s head swung back, and Tauzin grabbed her leg and stood up, causing Mira to lose her balance. Tauzin swung his foot up over Mira’s body and thrust it to the ground, driving the air out of her body.
“Your first mistake was assuming that I was helpless without my earring. I spent years of training in Mai Su so that I could survive if I ever lost it.” Tauzin drove one more punch into Mira’s face. Mira lay unmoving on the ground and Tauzin picked up his ear and stood up.
Thomas walked down into the arena and looked at Mira. “Our winner is Tauzin of the Air tribe, which means that Simon is our new emperor. While Tauzin has a brief healing session, will Simon please come down into the arena!” Tauzin walked under the stadium and a green glow emanated from under the stadium as Simon walked down the stairs into the stadium. After a few moments, Tauzin walked out from under the stadium with his ear reattached and joined Simon with the crowd going wild. Tauzin formed a small vacuum barrier around him and Simon so they could talk without being heard.
Tauzin dropped down to one knee and bowed his head. “I fulfilled my promise to you Simon, I have dedicated the life that you gave back to me to making you emperor.”
Simon smiled at Tauzin and place a hand on his shoulder. “Please, my friend, you don’t have to bow down to me, you have earned this as much as I have. Now if you don’t mind, I have to make a speech to my empire.” Tauzin rose up and dropped the shield around them. A deafening roar greeted Simon’s ears and he motioned for silence. “Thank you all for your cheers and your acceptance. I promise to be a good emperor, and have no intention of bringing forth retribution for any wrongs any of the emperors from other tribes has made my tribe suffer. I promise to lead us into a new era, one of peace and prosperity. My first command as emperor is to have a huge feast to honor this occasion!” The crowd cheered even louder than before.
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