_ Chapter 1 _
Libyan forest, 1554 BC
A drip of water fell from a leaf, probably cause of the recent rain storm last night, a stillness filled the air, as if a fog of sleep surrounded the forest life on the ground level; up higher in the trees, a massive war ensued over the loudest of the tree frogs.
And then in an instance the fog is broken by the sound of two pieces of wood meeting each other in battle, one in the shape of a staff the other a sword. A battle had begun between two men, they were standing in the center of a sandy hallow of the forest clearing. Their tunics flowed in the breeze. One of them was small and lanky but strong, he was five nine with fine black hair and strong arms but had a look of power to him that spoke of unknown skills tattoos of tiger stripes lined his body, and the other man was strong and powerful he had muscles that seemed as if they were built to case damage. He was six five with mahogany brown hair and a rugged beard he was also quite muscular a long scar over his eye and another by his shoulder suggest he has been in many fights. As the two men fought, neither gained the advantage but neither willing to give up until they did.
A break in the fighting winds itself through causing a sudden unnatural silence, as the fighters find themselves standing across a small open area of the forest. The Smaller of the two made the first move bringing his sword above his head he charged at the man with the staff, and just before he could land a powerful enough blow to knock the man out, the stronger looking man raised his staff and Dodged the hit as if it was an art form...
But the smaller fighter wouldn't let him get the edge as he went for a strike to the back of his neck. The other man wise to his tricks dodged and rolled away and stood up only to find himself, now backed against a tree. He could only laugh as the smaller man pinned him with no moves as he held the small boys sword at bay, "there are many options which you cannot see, especially when you put a man in a corner Tiger." The younger of the two shook his head "You have no other moves, I have won this fight master." "Oh but I do..." and with that the one called master swept his pupils feet out from under him knocking him to the forest floor.
"Tiger you must open your eyes to all the possibilities, no one fighter will always fight the same and you have no way of knowing what they are thinking, you need to work on reading your opponent, you should have known I had something up my sleeve when I started laughing..."
"I suppose you're correct I do have much to learn, but I don't think I need to learn it today master Edgeclaw"
"And why would you say that?" Edgeclaw inquired
"Because you were too busy with your monologue; to notice that I had this fight planned out five steps in advance..." Tiger said as he brushed off his pants now covered in dirt.
Edgeclaw smiled, "see that's the Tiger I know; I honestly didn't think for a moment you would allow me to beat you so easily."
"Alright then let's see your brilliant plan..." Edgeclaw looked at Tiger his face clearly pointing out that the finesse of a plan was lacking...
"You're standing in it." Tiger chuckled.
His master looked down to find himself standing in a thick type of mud no deeper than a hand length down.
"Well there goes all my traction; maybe some congrats is in order." Edgeclaw looked to Tiger. "A good play my friend a good play."
"Ha-ha how simple do you think I am even I know that there is water over there, and you're just going to attack me again..." Edgeclaw takes his staff and swings interrupting Tigers sentence in an effort to catch him off guard but Tiger was ready blocking it easily. Edgeclaw looks approving when he says "I use to be able to pull that one on you all the time Tiger."
Tiger replies his eyes alert for any sort of trick his master might pull
"Every single time master." Edgeclaw grows serious"
"OK now take a defensive approach."
Tiger and Edgeclaw ensue in a violent battle no thought but action and reaction. Then Tiger spins his sword and knocks Edgeclaw's staff away. Tiger uses his sword to help him flip and kick Edgeclaw in the jaw, but Edgeclaw simply grabs Tigers foot just before it connects, and pushes him so he goes in to a back flip. Tiger lands on his feet, fists raise ready to continue the fight. Edgeclaw then walks forward and puts his hand on Tigers shoulder
"I think it's time Tiger" he says softly "I will go ask the fates your name."
Tiger looks up into his masters eyes
"But I could not defeat you master"
Edgeclaw answers his voice full of wisdom
"It not about wining Tiger it's about never giving in even when all seems lost.
"You will encounter this someday and my job is to prepare you for it. May you be ready when the fates call you into their service. Now, I want you to meditate while I consult with the elders"
Tiger bows to his master and replies
Tiger walks to the glade of life and sits on a stump in the center of the clearing he lets himself become one with the forest the birds call to him the butterflies land on his arms the animals gather around. Tiger focuses on nothing, letting his mind enter a state of tranquility and there he stays.