The Encounter

by Kirk Bushell, Mark Chamberlain 11th March 2021 4 : 01
This article is narrated by Mark Chamberlain, and is available only to subscribers. Subscriptions are currently managed via the FaB DB Patreon page. You must purchase Supporter+, Majestic+ or Legendary+ to get access to The Rathe Times' Pro Series content.

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lore

Katsu is the head of the Mugenshi clan, and as such is responsible for their happiness and wellbeing.

The jungle was quiet. Too quiet.

He had been wandering for days, seeking a woman that supposedly lived in these parts, whom he had been informed possessed an expertise in procuring particular potions and elixirs. He felt that this stranger could help him address a recurring dream he had been having of late. One of a grim future. And darkness.

"Katsu!" came the pained cry from within the dream. "KATSU!!"

Katsu awoke numerous times as the dream appeared to have no end. He had to find out what it meant.

Worse still, Katsu was hungry, tired. He was done with this quest - if you could call it that. Yet the dream carried a profound meaning that had to be resolved, lest it become true. His eyes darted to one side, his ears open... Why couldn’t he hear any birds?

A branch snapped to Katsu’s right, bringing his attention into full focus, like the narrowing of a tunnel with a light ahead, his right hand moving to the sheathed Kodachi beneath his cloak. A tall, brutish creature came crashing out of the jungle, a small creature wriggling within its grasp, as a flock of birds flew up from the undergrowth.

The brute was at least seven feet tall, dark and olive in colour. It didn’t seem to notice Katsu as it snapped the neck of its prey between its giant hands and threw its head back, throwing in the poor creature and swallowing it whole. The brute closed its eyes, as though enjoying the aftertaste of a fine beverage, before opening them again with a slight amusement as it first recognised the being standing to its left.

"Man lost?" it appeared to ask, grinning.

Katsu, surprised at the creature's ability to form words with such a bestial visage, regained his composure.

"I seek another."

The brute, still grinning, reached for the weapon at its side, a ghastly, crude weapon made from what appeared to be a branch and several dead animal specimens from within the jungle. A club of sorts. It looked like a torture device, and Katsu did not intend on becoming a victim of the brutality that it would inflict at the hands of such a muscle-bound creature.

"I do not wish for combat, friend. I am here only to find one within your lands", Katsu calmly explained.

"No choice, fight NOW!"

The brute took 3 giant steps toward Katsu, swinging its right hand faster than he gave the creature credit for, nearly taking his head clean off. He ducked just in time, darting forward with his Kodachi in hand, and grazed the right leg of the frenzied animal, before turning to face the creature once again. "Who are you?"

The brute stopped in its tracks and looked down, seeing the open cut and the blood leaking from his body. Enraged, it took two massive fingers and touched the wound, before licking its own blood from its fingers.

"I Rhinar", the creature explained. Before Katsu had time to react and without rhyme or reason, Rhinar once again launched at Katsu, this time with the club held high overhead. The club came crashing down with so much power that Katsu had barely enough time to escape not just the impact of the weapon, but the small explosion that resulted in a small crater around the impact site. The blast itself knocked him back and winded him. He had dropped his Kodachi.

"How on Rathe..."

Katsu realised this creature was far more powerful than he and that he would need more than pure strength to defeat it. He would need to call upon the Zen State to which he had been trained.

While the dust still settled between Rhinar and himself, Katsu closed his eyes and immediately felt the energy around him condense, surrounding him in a protective barrier that may help him should the worst occur. Opening his eyes again Katsu decided to waste no more time and take a more proactive approach.

"I've heard of you, Rhinar. But none of the stories told me of your strength."

Rhinar chuckled, "You seen nothing".

Planting his left leg behind him and passing the club to his left hand, Rhinar beat his chest with his right fist and let out a deep bellow that awakened the jungle, creatures of all kind fleeing their places of safety, or returning to them as fast as they could.

Katsu could hardly believe it, it was as though Rhinar grew an extra foot in height. He couldn't waste any time. He assumed a stance that provided more power to his legs and as he did so, launched forward toward Rhinar, picking up the dropped Kodachi as he approached the hulking beast. Rhinar tried to swat him away like an annoying fly, only to have Katsu launch into the air as though aided by a springboard, somersaulting over Rhinar and lodging a Kodachi into his upper back, before rolling back into a defensive stance.

Rhinar gasped in pain, reaching for the Kodachi in his back and pulling it free. Enraged and beyond reason, Rhinar charged toward Katsu, rapidly beating the club through the air and into the ground, but hitting nothing of value. Before he let up he once again switched his club to his right hand and with Katsu expecting a club strike, backhanded Katsu straight across his left cheek with his left hand.

The blow sent Katsu roiling backwards, his barrier slowly fizzling out of existence.

Rhinar looked notably confused. That should have knocked the ninja clean out.

"Yes, that worked well, didn't it?" asked Katsu, breathing heavily.

Rhinar grunted as Katsu adopted a defensive stance, grabbing his club with two hands.

"Let's see that again."

Kirk Bushell

Kirk is the sole developer of both FaB DB and The Rathe Times, proving an obsession with the game of Flesh & Blood and supporting its communities. Additionally, he loves writing articles, the game, and the general hobby of collecting cards.

Mark Chamberlain

Our narrator, Mark Chamberlain, is a long-time card game player-- but they're all sitting on the shelf while he practices Guardian in Flesh and Blood. Mark is based out of Colorado Springs, USA.