"In one t'ousand years, a Meikyou s'all beget a Meikyou. In a world of two Aet'ers, a series of events will be set in motion, and 'allum s'all not be left t'e same."
-Schambregella Siare, 978 AP
"I said, 'I knew what I was from the start. "Why did Lady Schambregella adopt me," I would ask myself. I still do not know why, but I learned long ago to accept that simple fact. The only one privy to your thoughts is Dai Gratu, is it not?'
Schambregella turned towards me and responded in her soft whisper of a voice, 'Far from it, my dear. I 'ave anot'er pawn or two w'o know my plots. True it is t'at Dai Gratu knows about my sc'emes, but is 'e not our omnipotent Director? Fate is Dai Gratu in action. Many people live ordinary lives, but sometimes a select few are c'oosen by Dai Gratu to act out one long epic--a piece of beauty t'at s'all not end for anot'er t'ree 'undred years.'"
-Cherub Gabriel, Memoirs of Two Lives; recalled event from 1736.
CHAPTER 1: Meikyou XIV
"Welcome, everyone, to the greatest event of the new decade!!" A load, jubilant voice echoed through the fair grounds. Half a million were gathered for this event, people from all over the free world. Stalls of food and worthless trinkets lined the pathways, and five stadiums stretched across the four corners of the fair grounds, with the fifth and largest in the dead center. The magnificent place from above looked like a dice that landed with the five dots on top. The spectacle hardly gave rise to the historical value of this place. The stadium in the northwest quadrant was different from all the rest. Though well maintained, if not by this point merely a replica, the stadium had stood its ground for four millenniums. The ancient home of warriors, Gramtio, had evolved into an international festival of martial arts. In one hour, the true festivities would begin.
"Charlie," another voice in the intercom system spoke, correcting his co-host, "This is not the start of a new decade." The second man spoke in a dryer fashion. Clearly some higher ups felt that the festival's main announcers should be part of a straight man and wise guy routine.
"...You can't do math?!" Charlie explained, shocked and dismayed at his co-host's apparently stupidity.
The co-host, Dr. William, chuckled slightly and clarified, "My good man, there was no year 0. We went from -1 to 1 AP. Thus, the first decade would be 1 AP to 10 AP. Thus, 1980 AP is the final year of the 1970s."
For about thirty seconds, no other voice was heard on the intercom. Finally, Dr. William spoke up again, "Again, welcome folks to the International Gramtio Fair Grounds. On behalf of our sponsors, we are pleased to see such a fine turn out. Today is the day for the true festivities to begin. After a rigorous elimination process, we have determined brackets of the 395th World Championship Tournament. The grand ceremony will begin in the Rockwell Bowl in one hour. From there, please proceed to one of the four stadiums as indicated by your admissions ticket--"
"And don't think on trying to change stadiums! You will be caught and regret it!!"
"Speaking from experience, Charlie?" Charlie once more went silent, but this time Dr. William quickly resumed his introduction speech. "Again, the ceremony will begin at noon at the Rockwell Bowl. Finalists, please report to the Check-In Office at the Rockwell Bowl as soon as possible."
And thus for some, the festival resumed, unchanged by the silly commentary. A few began to line up for their seats in the central stadium, but nearly everyone continued to wander about, some trying to grab a bite to eat--the overpriced foods on the festival grounds were cheaper than the notorious bites served at the stadiums. For twenty people, however, the festival had really begun.
"Which way is it?" A young woman in a fairly revealing, though sporting outfit asked an older woman dressed in purple and indigo.
A bitter reply came, "Just shut up and follow me. I know where I'm going."
The two women arrived at the Check-In Office, where about a dozen people had already gathered.
"Welcome, names please," ordered a small man with large spectacle glasses, holding a small order form on a clip-board.
"Farida Satpathy," answered the older woman.
"Luna Satpathy," answered the younger woman.
The little man smiled, "So many families competing this year. What a nice way to bond." He pointed over to his left, where some of the other competitors were already gathered. "Please take a seat over there. Or stand."
The eleven already gathered were quite a bizarre bunch. Two were easily recognizable, due to their fame. The older of the two was the C.E.O. of Raiken Corp. and the winner of the 1950, 1955, and 1960 World Championships. Accompanying her was her equally infamous daughter, winner of the 1975 World Championship. The young daughter saw the new arrivals and waved.
"Hello!! Welcome! A lot of new faces this year," she remarked.
Her mother saw Farida and asked, "Ms. Satpathy? You've finally decided to come out of hiding? This will be a tournament to remember. I was wise to come out of retirement for this tournament. I fear this may be my last time here. And you, you must be little Luna. ...Well, you were little last time I saw you. 19?"
"In two months," the teenage responded.
"Right, right... Hikage 17... Awful day that was... I am glad to see you in good health. Good luck in the tournament. If we are in the same division, I promise to play nice for my cute little godchild."
Luna did not smirk or even show much warmth towards her godmother's words. "If we must battle, do not hold back."
Pinyana, the daughter, interrupted. "We've got to battle! I can't wait! I hear you've been trained for years; boy this will be fun. Show me what you've learn, girlfriend!"
Luna stared at the slightly older woman with an uncertain discontent. "...Sure."
Farida cut in, "Aunt Marie, who all is in attendance so far?"
The business woman turned around and began to point out the other nine contestants from right to left. "That's Mr. Vandort, a Gratian private detective. Next we have a husband and wife couple, the Thanos family. The wife is a chef, and the husband is a police officer. Both work in Rockwell. The man in leather undressing everyone from behind his shades goes by the name Eycopefield. Keep away from that pervert. Farther off is Mr. Comech."
"Right, I recognized him from the past tournaments," Farida remarked.
"The gaudy man making poses is Riley. I hear he's big in Rolandd and Autumne. The young girl is from Zotta. I'm sorry, but I actually have forgotten her name. The two werewolves conversing are Mr. Hunt and Nina."
"...So she's back?"
Marie sighed, "I am afraid she caught wind that I was coming out of retirement, so she joined the tournament at the last minute. Unfortunately the restraining order doesn't apply during the tournament."
((Welcome to the final installment of Hallum! I want to spend a few posts introducing all the different characters. If I didn't mention your character being present, just have them show up. You are welcome to use the registration NPC. Converse and what not. We should begin the actually fighting tomorrow or Fri.))