Swords. Spears. Staves. Pikes. Strange weapons...they all swing and strike the air with metallic singing as The Warrior engages five dark foes. Perched on a catwalk connecting two very tall towers (the architecture is called Modern Tech-Art) in the city's Asian district, the wind whistles and only further increases the danger.
These men, incredibly skilled mixed martial artists, are not new to The Warrior; he has tangled with them several times recently. Their only goal seems to be to kill The Warrior; no murders, no robberies or anything of the kind are committed by them. They call themselves the "Five Rings" (a reference to Miyamoto Musashi's revered martial arts manual from the seventeenth century <i>The Book of Five Rings</i>) and seemingly little will dissuade them from their attempts at murdering him. Thus, he fights.
After the first two attacks, The Warrior devoted weeks (minus time spent stopping evildoers caught in the act) to researching the Five Rings and the history of each man. They all seemed to have come from martial arts backgrounds, and some of them even from different nations (The Warrior is beginning to think a frequent flyer mile plan might be a good idea). However, the gangs origin, their explicit connections to each other, and the exact motivation behind their pledge to kill The Warrior is still unclear.
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About this creation
Gang name: Ryu (Dragon) Original name: Unknown Nationality: Japan (?) Profile: The leader of the Five Rings, Ryu (Japanese for "dragon") is one mysterious fellow. Shrouded in underworld myth, little of it being of any factual value, the few things that are established with any degree of possibility are his nationality (likely Japanese) and his criminal history (Ryu may have been a head member, perhaps even founder, of an elite assassination gang used by other crime lords, and at times even government officials). The Warrior's own analysis of Ryu martial arts leads him to conclude that he is well-trained in the traditional arts (such as Karate), particularly Okinawan styles. The aging yet agile leader also seems to have practical knowledge of other common Asian arts such as Kung Fu, Tae Kwon Do, etc. interspersed with a deadly knack for combat applications. Besides all of this their is evidence that the "dragon" may subscribe to a strange form of Eastern martial arts philosophy, the leads on which point to a dangerous and much more violent edge than usual Eastern religions. Perhaps of no consequence, Ryu's weapon of choice appears to be a half-swastika.
Gang name: Unknown Original name: Rabang Tabangin Nationality: The Phillipines Profile: Born several miles outside of Kalibo, on Panay island, Tabangin grows up in a poor neighborhood and is worked hard by his struggling parents. After his parents sold two of his sisters into prostitution and his little brother died, Tabangin fled from home and made his way to the Quezon City, then Manila, living a life of petty thievery along the way. After a successful bout of self-defense witnessed by a prominent Arnis instructor, he is taken in and trained in the ways of the Philippine arts. Tabangin goes on to study other forms (Kali, Eskrima), including those from other cultures, such as Dim Mak and Muay Thai. Tabangin eventually had the opportunity to go to the UK as an instructor, and it was there that he became interested in the WWII combatives of Fairbairne and Sykes, and, more importantly, the medieval fighting arts. It was here that Tabangin practiced with weapons such as swords, axes, spears and pikes, and he also became something of a hoplologist. However, Tabangin abandons these scholarly pursuits, possibly due to some old crime ties rearing their ugly heads, and last that was known was that he had escaped to America through Canada. He may have met Ryu in this time period, as Tabangin's next appearance was with the Five Rings; his identity is close to certain.
Gang name: Yokorosha (Night Slayer) Original name: Imagawa Kagashige (?) Nationality: Japan (?) Profile: Around thirty years of age, Imagawa Kagashige was born in Kobe, Japan, the big city and the martial arts culture that he was attracted to influencing him at a young age. He spent years practicing Karate, Kendo, and Japanese Jiu-Jitsu, but eventually found the fulfillment of his desires in ninjutsu. After a ten year career as an unsuccessful businessman for a corrupt, mobbed-up company in the plastics industry, Kagashige disappeared soon after his company began being investigated. Rumored to be involved in some of the company's yakuza dealings (in particular, with the Sumiyoshi-kai gang), the family of Kagashige (a wife, one toddler, and a baby) was possibly under threat. The next news that was heard was a police release telling of the discovery of the bodies of several top Sumiyoshi-kai bosses and their men. Beaten, bloodied, and apparently killed with traditional Japanese swords (katana and wakizashi), the bodies numbered nearly a dozen. However, Kagashige and his family were never seen again. The Warrior believes that Yokorosha, which in Japanese translates to "Night Slayer," is really Kagashige, but this is as-of-yet unproven.
Gang name: Unknown Original name: Unknown Nationality: Unknown Profile: Information on this masked member of the group is entirely lacking. No single fact is known about this strange character, which may in itself indicate deep ties to government spy agencies, perhaps even those of the US.
Gang name: Alano (Bulldog) Original name: Marco Oliveira Nationality: Brazil Profile: Born in Brazil only nineteen years ago, Oliveira's single mother moved to the United States when he was a baby. Struggling to embrace his own nationality in Los Angeles as a troubled young man, Oliveira discovered Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and soon excelled in the art. He apparently moved on to engage in MMA fights (legal and illegal) where he earned the nickname "Bulldog," but little else is known about Oliveira. A possible lead indicates that the teen crossed paths with the Five Rings leader, Ryu, and was swept away in youthful awe. It is fairly safe to assume that some sort of criminal ties with big-ticket traffickers back in Brazil caught up with him; a visit to the country when he was eighteen, with the purpose of discovering the whereabouts of his biological father (whom he has never known), may have been the beginning of this underworld connection.