Silence - broken by a child's cry, followed by
a faint hum. From inside the mansion came a loud chanting for
the ritual sacrifice of the innocent - a baby. A man cloaked in
reddish-brown robes held the bundled infant up, as if offering
it to a god, and chanted, louder and louder. A woman briskly circled
both, humming. The man gently lowered the bundle down to an altar
as the woman revealed a bright silver dagger at her belt. Everything
fell silent as she approached the child, the gleaming dagger raised
in the air . . . .
Suddenly, a thunderous
boom broke the silence. It came from behind a big wooden door
leading outside. Now people could be heard yelling and shouting,
demanding to be let in. It was the townspeople, who had found
out what ways the two cultists practiced. The man stepped towards
the woman. They both stepped back from the altar, back into the
shadows. When the door finally broke, people rushed in from what
seemed to be everywhere. None of them would have believed what
they would find inside. They stood in awe of big statues and the
altar. A man whom seemed to be the leader of the townspeople saw
the two cowering in the corner. He rushed in and attacked. Many
followed. These two would pay for their strange ways.
Unseen by the townspeople,
a boy was overlooking this twisted event, hidden high above everyone
in a window archway. He could hardly stay quiet, as right before
him his own parents were being beaten to death, and there was
nothing he could he do to stop it. A tear was forming in his eye;
he turned, still able to hear the pounding and the screams from
his parents below. When he could bear it no longer, he jumped
down into the hallway and jaunted to a nearby bookcase. He pushed
the heavy bookcase aside with all his might and entered a passageway
leading outside. The boy turned to look back, only able to hear
the townspeople's shouting. He ran outside -- ahead of him was
a path that looked like it went on forever. He swore he would
be back to reclaim his mansion, and avenge the murder of his parents.
* * * * *
After living on the
outskirts of the town in total seclusion for many years, the boy
had grown into a powerful man. During this time, he created many
fighting styles, as well as a dangerous weapon known as the Maxre.
Spending so long without any form of contact with others, the
man's mental skills also developed well beyond normal comprehension.
His mental power was so strong he found he could actually control
the minds of animals. With this ability, he could not only reclaim
his mansion, but he could take control over the entire town. The
self-proclaimed Mind Master now had a mission -- one of death
and destruction. He sensed only a few challenges in the town,
both physically and mentally. The Mind Master knew, though, if
he could take over the most powerful fighters and have them fight
at his side, he could control everything. It was his time. With
his powers at their peak, he was ready to exact his revenge. He
returned to the dirt road that led him to his destiny so many
years ago. He stared down the road and there began his journey.
After a short time,
Mind Master knew he was no longer alone in the wooded area. He
noticed some bushes rustling. It could not be an animal -- it
was too big. Whoever it was would be the first, the first of many
whom would feel his mental powers. His eyes began to glow a bright
white. He felt it and knew his power was as great as he had thought.
The bushes stopped moving. Suddenly, a high pitch scream tore
through the Mind Master's head. The bushes began shaking violently,
and then seemed to spit out a girl. The girl tumbled and landed
in front of the Mind Master. She gazed up at him in awe. She was
beautiful. Why was she had been stalking the Mind Master did not
matter. He had no time for her now, for his vengeance was at hand.
He only stared coldly back at her. Mind Master knew he could take
over her mind, but how much power did he have? He closed his eyes,
and put all his energy into a single thought. Immediately her
eyes turned as white as his own. He continued, thinking only of
her destruction. She fell to the ground and began thrashing around.
Suddenly, she stopped -- her breathing now her only movement.
Mind Master felt weak, his energy was drained. He had no idea
as to what had happened. With a kick, he rolled the girl over
onto her back. Mind Master stumbled back, taken by surprise at
what he saw. The girl was now disfigured, to the point where she
didn't even look human anymore. Mind Master now had knowledge
of his power. He need not go to extremes to take over someone's
mind or destroy them. He left the girl in the middle of the road,
and continued slowly. He would need a little time to regain his
* * * * *
After a final roundhouse,
the fighter fell to the ground. Wilson had won yet another fight
with little effort. He taunted his opponent, daring him to stand.
He finally managed, but stated he was a lesser fighter and that
he was no match. He opened the door to leave just as Trenton;
Wilson's twin brother was walking in. Just as he entered, Wilson
started to try to get Trenton to spar. Wilson was a phenomenal
fighter who had never lost a fight - except to Trenton. Despite
all his years of diligent training, he had never been able to
beat Trenton. They studied together years before, but Trenton
had given up training altogether long ago. That was the thing
that made Wilson so upset. Why couldn't he beat him?
Wilson told Trenton
that the man leaving was fighting for a karate championship next
week and that he beat him in a matter of moments. Trenton did
not seem impressed; he just waved Wilson off, and turned to walk
away. This lack of acknowledgment infuriated Wilson. He grabbed
a sword from the wall and charged Trenton. Trenton heard the sword
being pulled on him and quickly drew the sword from the sheath
on his arm as he turned around. He deflected the attack gracefully,
and followed with a kick that landed square on Wilson's back,
sending him crashing into a wall. Wilson retaliated with a flurry.
Every punch was blocked effortlessly, as if Trenton knew his every
move. He begged for Wilson to stop, but Wilson had to win -- he
could let this go no longer; he had to beat him. He advanced again.
Trenton, getting very angry, parried the attack and threw his
brother to the ground. Wilson hit the wood floor hard and his
sword slid out of his hand. It was over.
Shaking his head and
breathing very hard, Wilson got into his dragon kneeling position,
vowing to beat him and stating that Trenton was dishonorable.
Trenton stood over Wilson in disgust. How could he have said that?
With a quick movement, Trenton slashed down and then up Wilson's
checks. Wilson flipped backwards. In a state of disbelief, Wilson
arose, cupping his face as the blood ran through his fingers.
He looked at his brother standing there with his sword. Then he
quickly got up and ran out the door. Trenton stood motionless,
suddenly full of remorse. Why did this happen? He put his sword
away and thought about possible ways to correct what he had done
to his own twin. He never wanted to hurt him, never in his life.
They weren't just brothers but best friends, except when the subject
of fighting came around. He had to make his peace with Wilson.
Trenton sensed something wrong was happening, something bad. Was
it just because of the incident with Wilson, or was there something
more happening in the town? He didn't know what to expect, but
knew he would have to be ready for anything.
reached his destination on the rooftops. He would go there to
think things through - alone. The bleeding had stopped -- the
cuts from the sword were not deep, but the cuts from Trenton's
action were as deep as a canyon. Wilson wanted revenge. It was
impossible for him to live with the fact that a less dedicated
fighter was better than he was. Although in deep in thought, Wilson
heard a faint noise. He drew his knives, and demanded to know
who was there and warned them that they had better leave, now.
From the darkness stepped the Mind Master.
"You can beat him,
you know. You have a level of unpredictability he can't match.
And I can help you."
Wilson was baffled
by how this man knew what he did. "I don't need your help," said
"Yes, you do. I know
exactly what you're going through. Let me help." He pulled a blade
from behind his back, and threw it down at Wilson's feet. It was
a gauntlet with a blade going off the back. "Try it on," said
the Mind Master. Wilson picked it up. "And what do I have to do
"Just let go," said
the Mind Master, as his eyes began to glow. The Mind Master was
going to take over Wilson's mind. Wilson fell to the ground, shaking.
As he pulled his hands down across his face, two black marks were
left on his face from a black spill of some sort. Mind Master
knew there was no way Trenton could be taken over, and if he had
Wilson fight him to the death, would he actually kill his own
brother? Either way, at least one if not two great fighters would
be out of the way, and the Mind Masterís quest for domination
turned white -- the Mind Master had him. Suddenly he started thrashing
around. Mind Master did not know what was happening. With a scream,
Wilson snapped to attention, then ran to the ledge and pounced
off. He had totally lost his mind. He was consumed with rage and
was uncontrollable. Wilson landed in front of two men just walking
down the street below. One of the men asked what was going on.
Wilson reared back and punched him in the face, sending him into
a brick wall. The other man threw a low kick, which Wilson blocked
with a kick of his own and followed it with a kick to the head
that sent the second man flying as well. Wilson then ran off,
in search of his brother, and anyone else who may confront him.
While the Mind Master was somewhat concerned about the idea of
a psychopath running about town, his first priority was to reclaim
When he arrived at
the mansion, it was still as he remembered it. There were lights
on, inside. Who dared to move into the Mind Master's mansion?
This would have to be corrected immediately. He entered the mansion.
The inside had new furnishings and was quite different. Pictures
now lined the mantle that used to hold incense burners. One of
the pictures looked very old and faded. It was of a man and a
little girl. The man looked familiar to the Mind Master, but he
couldn't place him. Most of the other pictures were of a man and
a beautiful woman. If these were the new occupants, the man would
have to leave -- but the woman could stay, stay and help him rule
the town. He looked more closely at the picture. There was an
inscription that read " To Ravona -- Love, V." Then a voice interrupted
his gazing. It was the man from the picture, demanding to know
what he was doing in his mansion. As the man approached, the Mind
Master's eyes began to glow again. In almost an instant, the man'
s eyes went white. Mind Master had him drop to his knees. He was
going to force him to kill himself. He handed him a dagger.
Just then, a familiar
woman walked out to the banister above. It was Ravona. She had
heard the commotion. She saw then, her friend knelt down, drawing
back the knife. "Vamphyrial -- NO!" she cried out. Both Vamphyrial
and the Mind Master looked up. Ravona started down the stairs.
Mind Master turned back and kicked Vamphyrial in the face.
"No need for you to
see this, Ravona" said the Mind Master as his eyes began to glow.
Ravona's mind was no longer her own. Mind Master filled her with
hate for Vamphyrial, and commanded her to destroy anything that
reminded her of him. Vamphyrial, still lying on the floor, heard
what was being said and struggled under the weight of Mind Master's
power. Ravona, no longer in control of her actions, grabbed a
nearby pole. She swung it at the mantle, breaking all the pictures,
and then started going around the room smashing everything that
brought a memory of Vamphyrial. She approached Vamphyrial himself,
and took the dagger from his hand. She raised it up. The Mind
Master grabbed her arm. "He is to kill himself! We have more important
things to do in town," he growled. She dropped the blade. Vamphyrial
picked it up and got into a kneeling position. "As I said before
Ravona, you don't need to see this, you have me now. Letís go
to town," said the Mind Master. The door slammed, and Vamphyrial
drew the blade back, his hands shaking. He couldn't let his true
love go -- he had to save her. His hands were shaking violently,
but slowly, his eyes began to fade in. Vamphyrial seemed to be
fighting off the Mind Masterís spell. He saw the smashed pictures
and all the memories of them together, ruined. It was too much
- he dropped the knife and fell to the floor, gasping for air.
It had taken his all to be victorious, but he quickly realized
this was just the beginning of the battle. He had to save Ravona,
but how? He knew she would try to kill him on sight. Vamphyrial's
thoughts were running rampant. What was he going to do? He returned
to a kneeling position, still breathing hard. He looked around
the mansion for a weapon, something to aid him. He gazed up the
long staircase. Right in the center was an old suit of light armor
with a scythe. It was perfect -- it would conceal his identity
from Ravona until he killed the Mind Master. Then she would be
free. He stumbled up the stairs and put the armor on. He was still
very weak from fighting the Mind Master's immense power. He would
need a brief time to recover and acquaint himself with the weapon.
Then he would set out to end the Mind Master's life for hurting
the one he loves the most in life.
and Ravona made their way to the business district of the town.
A commotion could be heard. Mind Master prepared himself. Out
of a dark alleyway jumped a man in a leather jacket that read
"CYCLONES" on the back. He was a small man with blond hair, and
did not appear to be particularly strong. He charged the Mind
Master, who simply kicked him to the ground with no effort. Mind
Master looked down at the fallen Cyclone, thinking about killing
him for his actions, when two more "Cyclones" sprang out of the
shadows. They each pulled out chains. Mind Master looked at the
two. They looked the same, as well as the one on the ground before
him. Four more landed before him, having jumped down from the
roof. They all looked identical. Groups of "Cyclones" started
pouring out from all over. There must have been over fifty altogether.
The Mind Master drew the Maxre, as Ravona readied her staff. "What
are ya doin' on Cyclone turf?" boomed a strange voice. Mind Master
did not answer. A group of the leather-clad Cyclones started stepping
aside, parting way for a Cyclone that did not look like the others.
He was bigger, mean looking, and had a giant axe with a skull
in the center. "I'm Titan, leader of the Cyclones, what's your
business here?" The Mind Master remained silent. Titan looked
at the skull on his axe, and turned it to the Mind Master. He
began moving the mouth, saying, "Fine, die see if we care", in
a shrill voice, as if the skull was talking. Titan lowered his
arm and the first barrage of Cyclones charged in. With a single
swipe of the Maxre, three Cyclones fell dead to the ground. Titan's
mouth dropped. One of the Cyclones approached Titan. "Why don't
you fight this guy, he seems out of our league," he said. Titan
lifted his axe and brutally lowered it down on one of his own,
killing him. "Why don't you let us decide what to do?" said Titan.
Mind Master nodded to Ravona to stay ready for another attack.
He then approached Titan. As he pulled back his Maxre, Titan began
talking, telling how much help he could give the Mind Master if
he spared his life. It was a big town, he could find out all the
goings on for him, and he was already feared in town -- he could
be an asset! Mind Master didn't agree to that, but there was something
about Titan that appealed to him. "I will let you live until I
see fit to change things," stated the Mind Master. Titan disbanded
the Cyclones. "I am at your every command," said Titan. "You still
must prove yourself to me, Titan. Go impress me -- take over that
convenient store." Titan scurried away, and crashed through the
closed glass door. There was a woman standing in line right where
Titan stopped. She had a chain with a jewel in the center of it.
It immediately caught Titan's eye, he swung the skull of the axe
at her. The woman tried to defend herself but the axe had so much
force behind it she went crashing down to the floor, unconscious.
"What are you doing?" the clerk shouted out. Titan glared at him.
"Oh, my word," said the clerk as he went behind the counter. Titan
reached down and tore the jewel from around the woman's neck.
Titan raised his axe above his head and yelled "I claim this area
for the Mind Master!" ". . . And myself," he said quietly.
Titan then stepped
back and launched himself through a window, just as a big man
wrapped in chains came through the door. It was Kin Kade, a bounty
hunter for Distant Empire. He rushed over to the woman.
are you all right?" he asked, embracing her. Kyla came to and
pushed Kin Kade away. "What are you doing here?" she demanded.
ďKin Kade, I told you to stay the hell away from me. You can't
right the past with me." Once Kin Kade's partner, Kyla retired
after a misjudgment by him almost cost her her life. She now wanted
no part of Kin Kade or Distant Empire. "They said there was trouble
in town," said Kin Kade. "And you were they only one they could
send? I doubt it, why don't you just..." just then, Kyla realized
that her jewel was gone. "My jewel!" Kyla looked out the shattered
window to see the trio fleeing the scene. "I must get it back!"
The jewel was from Kyla's first bounty. It had a lot of meaning
to her. It was the only thing she had from when she was with Distant
Empire and times were good. She tried to push Kin Kade out of
her way but because of his size he barely moved. She walked out
the door with out saying another word.
to her residence to get her gear. She had not fought in a serious
fight for almost a year, but that didn't matter now. She pulled
a chest off a top shelf, covered in thick dust. She opened it,
revealing her weaponry from when she was with Distant Empire.
This was it - she was going to get her jewel back and than leave
the town forever. She pulled out a pair of boots, each with a
long blade attached to the knee. As she slipped her right boot
on she felt something in it. She pulled out a picture of her and
Kin Kade, taken shortly before the incident. "I don't care, everyone
had better stay out of my way until I get my jewel back, even
you Kin Kade," she said as she crumpled up the picture and threw
it in the corner.
Kin Kade returned
to the Distant Empire building. Everyone in town thought that
the Distant Empire building was just an old, run down factory.
What they didn't know was that inside was hidden an elite congregation
of bounty hunters. Kin Kade had quickly made a name for himself
since his enrollment at the Empire. He had only the one blemish
on his record, the one involving Kyla, and he desperately wished
he could correct it. Suddenly over the intercom a voice squawked
out "Kin Kade - report to the Leader - immediately." He walked
up a long corridor to a big closed door. As he approached, it
automatically swung open. "Welcome, Kin Kade. Have I got a bounty
for you", said a voice from behind a chair. It was Leader. "It
appears there is a menace in town, and I sense him to be a big
problem. He is slowly assembling a band of fighters. He must be
stopped for the good of the town."
"Why don't you send
your #1 in if it's so major?Ē asked Kin Kade. "I could," said
Leader as the door closed behind Kin Kade, "but I figured you
may want the chance, since Kyla is going to be involved."
"I have no reason
to care if Kyla is involved or not," growled Kin Kade. Leader
could tell he was lying. With a press of a button, the door opened
again. "Go, think it over."
Kin Kade turned
and left. He went to his locker area and opened the door. Inside
was the bounty information on Titan and the Mind Master. "If I
can stop these two," Kin Kade thought to himself, "I could get
Kyla back her jewel, haul in the biggest bounty ever and possibly
move up in Distant Empire. Maybe it would even prove to Kyla that
I can be counted on . . . and maybe she would forgive me. Yes,
I can do it, I will prove myself to Kyla."
The Mind Master was
en route to return to his mansion when he felt the presence of
another challenge. The trio set a new course and ended up at a
dojo, on the outskirts of town. Titan knew that the dojo belonged
to Vincent Cron, a world-renowned martial artist. If Mind Master
could control him, he would not even have to worry about Trenton
or anyone again. Mind Master sensed a very strong mental level
with Cron, whom he could now see training, through a side window.
He would have to distract him if he was going to get control.
He sent in Ravona
to seduce him. She entered quietly. Sensing her presence, Vincent
stopped training and turned around. He approached and asked her
to leave. He escorted her back to the door, and turned to go train
more. Ravona pulled a knife and advanced towards Vincent. He saw
her with his peripheral vision, and with a spin kick managed to
knock the knife out of her hand. A fight was imminent, right there
in his dojo. Then Mind Master stepped into the doorway, and his
eyes started to glow. Vincent turned towards the Mind Master,
knowing he was a much bigger threat than Ravona. It was now or
never. Cron dashed towards him, but was suddenly halted by the
Mind Master's power. He struggled to fight him. Mind Master could
not keep it at this level very much longer -- he would have to
try to finish the job in one last ditch effort and put all his
power in one thought. Cron's knee buckled in, but he didn't touch
the floor - his power was incredible. Suddenly, Vincent clutched
his face, his eyes rolled back in his head, and a tear of blood
rolled out of each eye. Then another tear, and another, until
his eyes were bleeding badly. Finally Cron collapsed to the floor,
as Mind Master took a step back himself. Neither could continue
to fight. "I can't see!" cried the fallen warrior, flailing about
blindly. Mind Master shook his head in disgust as he fixed his
garment. He had ruined this near perfect fighter, a pity. He was
no longer a threat to anyone. They would leave him, out of respect
for his efforts. Cron tried wiping the blood off his face. He
wanted to yell for help but there was no one around. He had abandoned
all his friends long ago to make himself a perfect fighter. Vincent
then stood, and out of habit began practicing. He still had all
his skills. Though Vincent Cron the fighter was dead, he would
now go buy the name Veil. He walked over to a wall that held many
belts, awards, medals, and weapons. He had spent so many hours
in his dojo, he knew it like the back of his hand. He pulled a
Wu-shu Blade off the wall. An outline of dust remained in its
place. He took down belts and ceremonial scarves to make a mask,
so no one would know this was the once perfect Vincent Cron. He
knew this was going to be his biggest fight, and one he had to
win to avenge himself -- it had to be.
had had contact with most of the concerns in town, it was only
a matter of time before they started weeding out the weak, themselves.
All was going according to plan. He would have one fight and then
the townspeople would be shown no mercy for what had been done
to him and his family so long ago.