Location: Savanna, Georgia
Team: The Angels of Mercy
Strength: superior (rank 2)
Agility: superior (rank 2)
Mind: standard (rank 1)
Body: superior (rank 2)
Spirit: (rank )
Charisma: (rank )
Fame Points: 325
Personal Wins: 13
Personal Losses: 8
Team Wins: 0
Team Losses: 0
Tourney Wins: 0
Tourney Losses: 0
I walked down the city streets, breathing in the southern air. I liked it here. I liked the quiet. And the barbecue.
I shivered to a cold breeze in the night. My thin clothes did nothing to protect me. Even in Georgia, the cold air of November reached out. Guess I should have gone all the way to Florida. I pulled the thick lion's mane collar closer to my shoulders with little effect. I should have brought a change of clothes. My current attire consisted of steel toe boots, tight pants, and a black sleeveless vest with a large, fake, lion's mane collar. Simple decorations were best, I believed. Even though my size of nearly seven feet, thick muscular body, and long dirty blonde hair make me recognizable in any environment, I chose a particular decoration for the audience to remember me by when the announcer calls "The Lion" onstage.
I could still hear the crowd cheering as I walked down that street. The bruises didn't hurt nearly as much as my ego. My opponent that night was nearly a match for me in terms of size, strength, and speed. Nearly. The Ringmaster announced him as "Apollo." He walked in wearing gold boots, black and gold pants, and a matching mask. A tattoo of a black horse's head with a mane of fire covered his left shoulder. He bounced around on the balls of his feet, never staying on solid ground for more than a second. He looked me in the eyes and in his I saw the love of violence. Beneath the mask I saw a grin. He believed himself to be my better, but I am the best. I am "The Lion", the King of the Ring. And as the bell rang for the match to commence, he charged, swinging in with a heavy punch that blurred through the air. His fist stopped dead against my forearm, and my return uppercut launched him off his feet. I raised my hands and listened to the roar of the crowds, drinking in the glory and applause. I would have enjoyed it longer had I realized it would be my last fight in the ring. I would have even let my opponent get a free shot at me, but instead, I turned to face him as he got up. My foot cut through the air, designed to shatter his ribs. Instead, I hear the crack of flesh as he catches my leg in his palm, spinning to divert some force and avoid breaking his hand. His elbow slams into my stomach and forces me back. Years of fighting in the cage tell me what is coming next.
I lean away from a right hook as his fist barely misses my jaw. I can feel the air brush my chin as the strike passes. I grab his arm and use my strength to bend it over and behind him. He follows my lead and bends over, rather than letting his arm be dislocated. With my opponent at my mercy, I decide to toy with him. I bring my knee up to his ribs. Again, and he cries out in pain. A third time, and I feel the ribs cave under the pressure. His knees weaken and he collapses. I wrap my mighty fist around his throat, lifting him into air. Oxygen cut off, he kicks weakly at my shins while trying to pry my fingers apart. A mighty roar for the crowds, and I swing "Apollo" around. His limbs flailing uselessly behind him. I slam him hard into the padded floor of the ring. The referee comes over and begins the long count to ten.
After my final victory in the cage, I was called into the Ringmaster's office. A short, chubby man, the Ringmaster thought his money could protect him from the fighters he managed. "I told you to throw that match!" he yelled at me. "I can't make any money off you if you win all your matches!"
"Don't give me that," I shouted back. "'The Lion' brings in plenty of crowds for your fights. I can't help that you don't have any good challengers."
"The novelty wore off. Now the crowds want the King of the Ring to be dethroned," he said, waving his hands in a mock grandeur.
"No one here can beat me." I turned to walk out of the room.
"Then I'm cutting back your fights. From now on, it's once a month." The Ringmaster went back to his books, looking over his profits and trying to find ways to make more. Clearly, he thought that would be the last word, but no one talks to me that way.
"What?" I whispered just loud enough for him to hear me. I turned around, "You can't just cut me out."
"Yes I can, but I won't because the audience likes you. So you're going to take a nice little break. Then, on December 21st, the Holiday Fight, you're going to come back and fight the champion of the month." He gave me a sly smile. He had me and he knew it. "Unless you intentionally lose tomorrow night."
I could kill him, and I knew it. The thought crossed my mind, but he had a gun under the desk. I could surprise him before he gets it, but security is armed just outside. I can't stop him from screaming. They come in and I'm screwed. "See you in December," I decided. I walked out of his office head held high, but my pride was wounded. Time to get a job like the other losers I ruled over.
So I was walking down that street in Georgia, unsure of what I was going to do. The larger part of me wanted to just skip out like I had done so many times before. Find a new town and a new arena. The competition had gotten stale, anyway. But some part of me clung to this town. I had spent the last two years here, longer than I've spent anywhere in a long time. I hadn't gotten caught up in one of those scandals fight organizers love to stick on the their champions, like the one I had run from back in DC.
The Pitboss in the nation's capital was the greediest man I had ever had the misfortune to work under, and after living in Washington, I've seen a lot of greed. He used his ring as a means to smuggle drugs to high paying customers. He told the senators and secretaries which horse to bet on, then fix the fight. He put the drugs in with the winnings. Three months after I began fighting for him, he came to me. Told me to throw the fight. He had a lot riding on my failure that night, but I never could go down. He later pinned his drug operation on me, and the government controlled hero Black Star picked up my trail. Getting out was touch and go. I had to abandon my new Ford Taurus and get out of the city via back alleys and a small wooded area on the southwestern side. I managed to get south with the last of my cash. Here in Savannah, my money ran out. Here in Savannah, I've avoided trouble in the Underground Rings. I've fixed up the apartment on Rock Street. I don't want to move again.
A sigh escaped my throat. I could bite the bullet. A supervisor couldn't possibly be worse than the Ringmaster, I thought. Something wrapped around my leg. Instict jerked my foot back. A piece of newspaper slipped off and caught a lightpost. After pulling it off the metal pole, I looked over the paper. It was a piece from today. Normally, I would throw it away, but I focused on a specific notice: a hostage notice. There was a picture of a girl, around the age of seven, and the man who supposedly abducted her. I recognized him immediately. He was a man I fought several times, called the White Knight. Also, there was a reward in the paper for the girl's safe return. Memories of Black Star returned. The reward would get me through the week. To be honest, if I hadn't found that paper, I would have never fought crime, and the urge to be challenged would have driven me crazy. From that moment, "The Lion" became this town's guardian. Not silent, but quiet nonetheless. Not faceless, I hate masks. Just shy, alienated. At heart, in love with the wild life. I'll find a stable income later.
King of the Ring
Martial Arts: standard (rank 1)
After I blocked the flurry of fists, I lunged in, attempting to wrap my powerful arms around his waist, but Apollo grabbed my wrists and forced me away. I swung wildly and bounced uselessly against his raised arm. A kick flies under my outstretched arm. I felt my ribs press against my lungs and force the air out. I'm seeing stars after a left jab. I hit the ground after a right hook. The referee forces the towering warrior to back off while I right my senses. He begins the slow count to ten; it's nine more seconds than I need, but I take an extra three to design my prey's defeat. I slowly stand, watching him closely. Bouncing away on the balls of his feet, he grinned watching me rise. Laughter bellowed from my throat before I realized I was having fun, a mighty roar from the heart of war. I charge and throw a punch backed by a train. He leans away from my own powerful attack, but he moves too far. Apollo's eyes widen as he slightly loses balance. A front kicks blows him off his feet. He tumbles back, rolls over, and stands back up like nothing happened. I stay close and slam my fist into his abdomen. He doubles over and I bring both fists down on his back. He hits the ground. His fall echoes through the cheers of the audience. Apollo gets to his feet on the count of five. He stares me down, and anger has crept into his eyes.
"What's wrong?" I taunt. "If you can't laugh off a bruise, get out of the ring."
The simple goading lights the fuse of Apollo's fury. A snarl as a knife hand sings through the air, seeking my throat. I grab the hand, pressing the bones together. A grimace gives away his pain. My head boils as I sense the end. To calm it, I slam my forehead into Apollo's nose. The crunch of cartilage and drizzle of blood stays my hunger. I hear my opponent cry out in pain. A final hammerfist to the skull silences him. I leave the ring in triumph. I don't see him get up.
Reaction Speed: standard (rank 1)
My first night as a vigilante instead of an underground cage fighter was strange. The first problem was: How the hell am I going to get to White Knight's shack? Headlights raced down the street. I stepped into it. A screeching cry as the car halts before me. The driver gets out of the car and immediately begins yelling, " Are you insane?"
"I need a ride." But as I approached, he climbed back into his nice, little, sports car. I shoved my hand in between the door and the frame to keep it from closing. The poor man just looked up at me with tears in his eyes, mouth agape. I could feel his mental prayer. " I just need a ride," I said again. To sate the cowering middle class worker, I tossed a fifty into his lap. A dull click unlocked the back doors. Climbing in, I listed a road that went behind White Knight's isolated wood cabin. Of course, the drive was awkward and silent.
The walk through the forest was not much better. I had this feeling of being watched the whole way through, but the night covered the observers. Still, this feeling of unease remained, like death was hanging over me. I just couldn't see its face. The crack of a stick behind me echoed through the dark woods. I dove behind a massive tree as bullets cut through the air and burrowed into the trunk. The night kept getting better. I could hear two men quietly approaching the great oak. One jumped in front of me. I grasped his hands and forced the barrel away before he could get his first shot off. The bullet landed in the wood next to me. I raised his hands over his head and my knee shot into his groin. He cried in pain. I heard the second man run over to us. Spinning roundhouse knocks Goon One out, I seek shelter on the other side of the cover. The second man runs up. "I'm going to kill you, you sonofabitch!"
"No. You will quench my hunger." I pounce upon Goon Two from the shadows. He yells as my massive frame covers the dots of moonlight peeking through the trees. A train punches his windbag, cutting off the shout.
"Help," he rasps. Goon Two stumbles away, but I grab his long black hair, pulling him to his knees. My palm meets his temple. He slumps over.
Iron Will: standard (rank 1)
Quietly, I slipped into the degrading, wooden house through the broken, back door. Carefully, I prowled the house, searching for the kidnapped girl, and her shining abductor. As I drew closer to a first floor bedroom, I pressed my bulk as close as possible to the wall, listening carefully to the White Knight talk to someone. "Now after I get the ransom money, where do we go?" I couldn't hear the other person, so was it over the phone?
"No, the cops haven't found us...Yes, I hear the sirens, but they're not by the house...It's distant...It's not loud enough to be close...What?"
Footsteps run toward the door of the room. The White Knight enters the hallway in his traditional, white leather. He shouts in surprise as the back of my fist catches his mouth. Blood from his lip stains his blonde goatee. A trio of blows forces him to double over in pain. Finally, an uppercut knocks him to the filthy, wooden floor. Suddenly, chains wrap around my limbs, pulling them tight to my body. I lose balance and collapse. "Get up." The voice is young. White Knight does as he is told, rubbing ribs. The little girl appears at the doorway, brandishing a handgun. "Return the favor," she orders in a strange monotone voice, missing all joy, compassion, and genuine childhood qualites. White Knight kicks in my ribs. Again. Again. I can't tense up. The inivisible chains holding me to the floor keep me from curling up. At last, he stops. I cough and blood lands on my soft mane collar. White Knight takes the gun from the girl and points it at me. I can feel the blood boiling again. The end is near.
No, I thought. I am the King of the Ring. The Lion of the Cage. I won't be killed by a little girl and a weakling who shoots a helpless target. If he wants to fire it, he can shoot a moving target. From rumors I later heard, the roar that escaped my lips could be heard for a mile before the sounds of the city gobbled it up. I ran right at the armed Knight. A bullet pierced my right shoulder, then he was knocked aside like a doll. The girl was holding her head and wincing, but I knocked her out anyway.
Emotion Control: standard (rank 1)
Then, I turned around to face the Knight. "Put the gun down," I commanded. Shakily, White Knight aimed the barrel in my direction, but his hand wanted to shoot everything but me. The walls, the door, the floor, all of them became quickly riddled with holes. "Put it down!" The order drowned out the sound of gunfire and quenched the spray of death. The gun fell slowly from his hands. It hit the wooden floor silently.
"Now, gather your goons and turn yourselves in." I slammed him into the wall. The Knight surrended.
"You aren't going to do it yourself?" he asked.
I smiled. "I have no way to hold you save breaking all your limbs. I think you'd rather have the pigs get you willingly over your other option. If the papers don't say that you're in custody tomorrow. I'll find you, and I'll break you." I let the Knight go to his men. I strode out of the ramshackle shack to the health clinic about a mile away.