After exchanging a series of powerful blows, the mysterious warrior reveals herself to be Mei Feng of the Crimson Rose clan. Though she produced a powerful display of her combat skills, they seemed to pale to the anomaly that was Beren. Their fight was cut short when the supposedly owner of the building stepped forward and proclaimed that they both cease, what awaits them in the morrow? Find out! 

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The moonlight danced along the night sky, passing into the wild and cloudy darkness above. After the brief altercation, the mountaintop returned to a deep silence only broken by the passing wind. Mei walked up the stone steps of the large building at the center of the stone-wall courtyard, previously there were dozens of cloth-clad warriors poised to strike but now there was not a trace of anyone. Other than the two warriors, Beren and odd feline creature. Both of them tailed behind Mei Feng and were generally jovial about the entire experience which left a sour taste in her mouth.

Mei turned to look at the pair, Beren was rather relaxed and even cracked a wide smile. The feline creature approached Mei with a silent step and modest bow.

“That was an excellent technique, artistically graceful and well executed.” The feline creature expressed. “Oh, pardon my manners, my name is Verro, a tabaxi from a jungle island within the Burianos Archipelago but many simply refer to me as Jade Tiger here.”

Mei bowed at Jade Tiger. “Mei Feng of the Crimson Phoenix clan.”

Verro and Mei straightened themselves, Mei relaxed a bit more than previously though she still looked over at Beren with contempt. Beren had his arms wrapped over his head, still with a cheerful smile, like a child after a round of games.

Mei glances over to Verro and nods toward Beren. “What’s his deal?”

Verro looks over at Beren, a smile forms and he even chuckles. “Beren is simply a man who enjoys the thrill of combat and a good fight. He probably perceived you to be strong and fierce, especially since you dispatched those warriors as your induction into this establishment. No doubt to test your mettle for the upcoming events.”

“You forgot that she was beautiful, too.” Beren added.

Verro was speechless on any sort of counter, not even a retort from the tabaxi. His black furred tail curled into a short ball, an occasional eye twitch and turn of his head as if trying to gain any sense to the human warrior’s comment. A being who seemingly was always full of words or at the very least portray that characteristic was defeated by an unpredictable ploy. Beren was already laughing hysterically and as Verro went to check on Mei Feng, a blinding flash of silver whisked past him and headed straight for the man. One of Mei’s blade was unsheathed and pointed at Beren’s face. Another fall of silence, the three stood silent though Beren did his best to resist the growing desire to laugh at the present situation. Mei Feng was not pleased and continued to scowl at him. After a few moments had passed, she lowered her blade and placed it back in its sheath. Mei ascended up the stairs and into the large stone and wood structure, fading from view.

“You sure know how to live dangerously, my friend.” Verro observed.

“What can I say? I’m being honest with myself here.” Beren grinned.

“Her skills are quite impressive, I was surprised you were able to land a blow on her,” Verro continued.

Beren stood silently for a moment, deep in thought before answering back. “She was preoccupied about something, her focus was distracted for that moment. I can tell she has much more potential, but something is holding her true strength back.”

Verro raised an eyebrow at Beren, “how can you be sure?”

Beren shrugged. “It’s just a feeling, really.”

“I see, well I would suggest you keep your feelings to yourself. Unless you wish a blade pierced through your skull in your future.”

“Hah! She won’t do that. She may act tough, but she definitely has a decent heart to her.” Beren laughed.

Verro let out a sigh and decided to walk up to the large structure ahead of them. “Come then, let us retire inside the monastery tonight.”

“More will come, won’t they?” Beren asked calmly.

Verro knew that Beren simply being rhetorical but felt inclined to respond, “yes, they all will come sooner or later. The tournament will start soon, and the fate of the clans will rest on that uncertain future.” The tabaxi turned to the young human with a stern and serious look, Beren returned a similar gaze as the two warriors squared off in silence for a moment.

Beren grinned and eventually returned back to his jovial demeanor, “I look forward to our fight.”

Verro could not help but chuckle in response, perhaps the feline warrior thought the human was being irrational and delusional. But there was an odd air that surrounded Beren and he could not find any contempt, instead anticipation continued to brew within him.

“I remember when you first appeared on these steps a month ago, you were such an oddity then. You continue to surprise me at every turn, Beren. I, too, look forward to our contest. But don’t forget, there will be many more strong foes ahead. It would be unfortunate to have you lose before our fight.” Verro remarked, giving off a sly grin before turning and heading back into the monastery.

Beren watched the tabaxi disappear from view, leaving the human warrior alone along the steps of the monastery with nothing but the clouds and moonlight. In a few short days, a grand tournament would be held, and the fate of the all the clans and the future rests on the shoulders of the victors. The Chromatic Lords were about to descend, and many warriors will come to test their mettle and prove their worth before these grand warriors and sages. There were five of these lords, each ruling over multiple clans that hone and train future warriors and sages in long forgotten arts from the Second Age. A great wind of change had come, and to what the future held, none but the gods knew.

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