The Bell Tolls - TBT Act 1 - Knocking On Kyokugen's Door

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Description: While instructing at the Kyokugen Dojo, Ryo Sakazaki suddenly gets word from one of his students. A numbers of cars have pulled up before the dojo, all filled with tattooed men in black suits. The dojo had received visits before from similar men, all 'friends' of Lee Chaolan. But it becomes quickly apparent that these men are far different, as Duke himself strides forward. It seems that the Syndicate has their eye on Lee Chaolan, and with the foppish ex-CEO mysteriously 'out' that day, Ryo needs to deal with Duke and his men the best he can.

It's a quiet day for once around the Kyokugen Dojo. An exceedingly rare thing, as the dojo is currently riding on a wave created by two of it's premier members participating in the World Warrior Tournament. But today, the students have been tasked, under the care of Marco, to go on an extreme training day, hiking in some wooded mountains just outside of South Town. It would do the students good to get out of this city for a bit, as it seems that South Town can never get a day off of violence anymore. But, it also serves to give Ryo Sakazaki, Kyokugen's Invincible Dragon and Mister Karate II, some time to decompress, meditate, and tend to his home.

Right now, he's doing that last. It may be an odd sight, if not a humbling one, seeing the near legendary fighter as he is now. For as muscular and tone as Ryo Sakazaki is, he doesn't even reach six feet in height. When the man is dressed in casual clothing, such as the plain white t-shirt and sky blue shorts that he's wearing now, he looks rather small and unassuming. That illusion of humility is only added to by the very fact that he's simply moving along the deck that surrounded the dojo, sweeping it clear of dirt and dust with a broom, while humming a song to himself behind closed lips.

The arrival of the cars would begin with an open face slap.

Insults to the Kyokugen way were a way of life with the Southtown Syndicate. Three cars; black and imported, pull up onto the grass of the dojo grounds, well within Ryo's sight. There was a parking area clearly ignored, and the tearing up the turf... it was like seeing money and time ripped up before them. As they fall into parking, the door open. A dozen gangsters file into the dojo grounds, dressed in suits, seemingly unarmed at the time as they spread out, crossing the grass towards the deck. An attack? Ryo could use the exercise.

But it's clear who is the leader here.

The thundering steps of Duke Burkoff runs through the dojo, even before he steps up on the deck. Dressed in a suit of black and crimson, it was one of his good suits; the dark skinned crime boss bringing the inescapable pressure around him as he strides on. The gangster fall silent, avoiding their gaze as Duke finally steps across the deck.

Tracking in mud across it.

"Ryo Sakazaki." Duke rumbles with the casual air, as if they were old friends. He taps the tip of his shoe on the wooden boards, letting the clumps of grass and mud drop off. He pulls out the cigar, tapping some ash off. "I'm looking for one of your.... students." There is a short round of chuckling from the gangsters. Duke gives one glare, and it falls silent. The crime boss's yellow eyes burn at Ryo, as he gives another step towards the man. "And it would be in your interest that you hand him over. No trouble, no... accidents." Duke furrows his brow, as a flash of fire courses over his form.

"Where is Lee Chaolan, Ryo."

The rumbling of the cars as they roll in prompts Ryo to halt his busywork, looking up from sweeping as he props the broom up and rests his hand on the top of it. Piercing eyes of steel blue, like overcast skies, squint against the sunlight overhead as Ryo gazes at the small convoy that decides to give him a yard job. At this point, Ryo doesn't even bat an eyelash at such behavior. He just watches with a casual disinterest as the entourage disembarks from the vehicles and start spreading out.

"If you kids are here about the warehouse... you really, really should go get a few more cars worth of guys. I'd say... nine more. That should probably make things about even," the Kyokugen Dragon calls out, his voice a deep, brusque thing that issues forth seemingly from the pit of his stomach more than the depths of his throat. Still, he puts a cocky, lopsided grin on his ruggedly handsome features, and lifts his fingers to brush through the wild mop of blonde hair that caps his skull, pushing it away from his face, and wiping the sweat from his brow.

And then there's a Duke.

As the mountain of a man climbs the stairs, spreading mud across the freshly swept deck as if his very presence is just mired in filth and corruption, Ryo just remains silent, watching him approach. One of his thick, dark brows ticks upwards ever so slightly when Duke "greets" him, but Sakazaki doesn't seem to wilt, or rile at any of it. His lips remain tugged up at one corner, and there's a hint of an amused glint to the gunmetal stare that doesn't once shy away from the jaundice gaze of the crime boss.

"Lee? Oh, unfortunately, Lee's stepped out for a bit. He's on a training pilgrimage right now."

Carefully, Ryo takes the broom, leaning it against the wall so that it is propped up. With that out of the way, the smaller karateka interlaces his thick, calloused digits, flexing them together so that his overbuilt, knobby knuckles crackle and pop.

"So. I guess if you have business with him, I'll just have to stand in his stead. As his sensei and all, it is my responsibility. I'm assuming I'm going to have to smash your teeth in..."

A pause, as Ryo's grin grows more broad.


Duke could almost let it brush off.

The gangsters were trying hard to not look nervous around Ryo. There was a reason why Duke had come. If they came without him? How many would they need; a hundred men? That's not even considering the lesser Kyokugen experts... or the master himself, Takuma. Duke, at least, was a rock solid foundation. He could break through at least Ryo. Right? And Duke's glower was keeping the morale intact. Duke actually smirks as Ryo continues to arrogantly stand up to the crime boss, nearly immune to his wry comments.

IT's the 'again' that triggers Duke.

The crime boss hurls away the cigar, and -slams- a foot down on the deck, shaking it to the very foundation. The gangsters clear away from the deck, as the insult cuts deep enough that they feel it. Duke thunders, closing in dangerously so at Ryo, his presence overwhelming. And yet, Ryo was clearly not going to be intimidated. "You are going to be telling me where he's on pilgrimage." Duke threatens, as he continues his stride towards Ryo, no guard, no defense open, but ever so much as threatening. "And it's up to you if you want to tell me with your arms and legs still intact or not. This isn't a tournament this time, Ryo." And Duke cracks his knuckles, one by one.

"This is business."

COMBATSYS: Duke has started a fight here.

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Duke             0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Ryo has joined the fight here.

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Duke             0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0              Ryo

Ryo figured that it would be that again that would get Duke's blood boiling. The truth is, Ryo's got the same feeling. The urge to fight is heavy in his chest, making his lungs feel like they're on fire. He can taste it, like acidic bile in the back of his throat. Duke's little "war" has created more chaos and turbulence on the streets of South town, at a time when it really, truly needs peace and time to rebuild. Instead, there is another wave of terror. Of innocent blood being spilled in the crossfire of parties that have no interest in the common man. Having Duke come right here to his dojo? It is like it's being handed to him on a silver platter.

"I'm not going to do that, Duke. You know it. I know it. Let's save the posturing for after I smear your bloodied face in the mud you tracked on my deck."

No sooner than he finishes the sentence, Ryo snaps into action. His fists, clenched so tightly that his knuckles are bleached bone, cross over his chest, as he drops into a wide legged, low stance. He thrusts his lead arm out before him, his palm out turned towards Duke as if to tell him to halt.

Meanwhile, his other hand drops down near his hip, clutched into a Tiger Claw posture. Veins of golden light trail down his arm, glowing from under the skin, and spreading around his hand like a golden cloud. Condensing, that misty chi seems to erupt, becoming a burning sphere of energy held in the palm of his hand.


The shout resounds, booming like thunder as Ryo unleashes the blast of chi with a thrust of his arm. It trails off of his taloned fingertips, searing as it burns through the air, hurtling at Duke like an RPG. And if he's not fast, it punches with damn near the same force as one, as well.

COMBATSYS: Duke dodges Ryo's Ko'oh Ken.

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Duke             0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0              Ryo

The very same move that defeated him in the World Warrior.

The widening of Duke's yellow eyes is all that is needed. Duke remembers that flash of power, before he was forced to yield in the World Warrior. This was the move that shamed him, that humilated him. This was the same move that ultimately lead to this very gang war. Duke knew it well.

And this time, Duke was not making the same mistake.

The crime boss turns, in tandem with the cry, the burst of chi roaring forward. Grazing is subjective here; the smoldering and smoking of his suit jacket was obvious. Duke's heavy steps are strong and quick, as he slips around the full force of the blast. The blast trails off, off, off.... into one of the gangsters cars, which takes the hit about as well as an RPG. The explosion comes, as the cry of one of the gangsters bursts out. But Duke's eyes were dead focused, as smoke trails off his suit jacket.

"Not this time, Ryo." Duke rumbles, drawing back a leg.

Duke -hammers- another stomp, this time with far more force than before. Violet-red flame floods around the heel of his foot as the seismic force -runs- straight down and out. This, unfortunately, rips apart the deck like a storm of splinters and flame. The shockwave rolls through the deck, as Duke falls down into the broken wreckage underfoot. Ryo would be facing the main wave of energy. But Duke? He would need to pull himself from the wreckage of this part of the deck. This was the real danger of Duke: as long as he was fighting near the dojo?

He would be a human wrecking ball upon the building.

COMBATSYS: Duke successfully hits Ryo with Seismic Impact ES.

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Duke             0/-------/-----==|====---\-------\0              Ryo

His Ko'oh Ken evaded, Ryo only snarls, his nose crinkling up, and his upper lip curling to reveal gritting teeth. Alright. If it's going to be that way, Ryo isn't afraid to get in close and hammer away on the big man with his bare fists. It might even be cathartic.

Just as Ryo is preparing to dash in close, hoping to use the explosion as a brief distraction to gain an advantage, Duke has to go and play Cool Guy, because Cool Guys Don't Look At Explosions. Dammit! Ryo sees the stomp, and he knows very well what it means. He raises up his fists to defend himself against the incoming wave, but it's not the way that really does him in so much as it is the wood of the deck exploding under foot and sending him flying. He crashes in to the corner pillar, cracking it all the way through, and leaving it a splintered, jagged mess.

Pushing himself up, Ryo's shirt gets caught and tears off, a few of those sharp slivers of wood having pierced his flesh. The well muscled karateka has bandages wound around his body, bloodstained over one shoulder, and across his body and back, as Ryo turns so that he offers up only his side to Duke, and raises his fists defensively.

Without a warning, Ryo bursts forth explosively, shattering the wood of the deck under his feet as he launches himself headlong at his opponent, like a bullet. The air itself seems to become a haze, as he twists around with a violent fury, and into a lunging, flying side kick aimed directly at Duke's face.

Unless Duke manages to avoid this, as well, the moment that Ryo's kick collides with flesh, he uses it to push himself off just to sweep around in mid-air with a snapping front kick into an overhead axe kick combo, completing the Kyokugen dojo's famous:

"Hien Shippuu Kyaku!"

Let the dojo get torn up. Win or lose this fight, Ryo is going to be spending a lot of time being a thorn in Duke's side. He'll make sure to recoup whatever damages he incurs from the money he finds at Syndicate holdings he busts up. If it's a war of finances Duke wants, the crimelord has a LOT more to lose than the humble karate family.

COMBATSYS: Duke interrupts Hien Shippuu Kyaku from Ryo with Swivel Gun EX.

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Duke             1/-----==/=======|=======\=------\1              Ryo

Duke was dead serious on the business.

As he readies his feet, The first kick comes, and drives -hard- into Duke's chest, electing an audible grunt. The moment it connects, however, it is like stepping on a tripwire. There is an audible sharpness as chi floods Duke's leg. Sweeping it upwards, the crime boss moves to intercept the hammering assault the martial artist was pouring on. Ryo might remember this attack in their final duel in the World Warrior; the cutter kick rising up as Ryo brings in his second kick.

And like last time, the attack completes.

The rising kick comes to connect just as the second front kick snaps in. Driving -hard- up Ryo's chest, it slices chi right into his torso, carrying both of the fighters up. Splintered wood rains around them both as Duke's glare burns straight at Ryo. A second kick comes across, tearing right into Ryo's chest, before the axe kick comes from Ryo, fully interrupting the assault to launch Ryo away. "Do you even know why we are looking for him, Ryo?" Duke asks smugly as he lands, stumbling on impact, badly off balanced. He kicks aside a splinted board in smoldering rage.

"Do you even know who he works for?"

Ryo, being airborne, hasn't much of a chance to defend himself against that rising kick. It catches him as he's turning about with that flying roundhouse, and stops his own assault dead in its tracks. Ryo's chin snaps back with a spray of blood and spittle. The second kick punches deep into the flesh of his stomach, just under his chest, collapsing the muscle and deforming the man's body as it crumples around the toe of his foot. Ryo is sent flying away, and lands somewhere off the deck, in the grassy field that surrounds it.

Laying on the ground, looking up at the sky, Ryo grunts. Everything hurts, and he's certain that he's ripped the staples in the wounds he had sustained from the monster he had come across in one of Duke's warehouses. He really shouldn't have picked this fight when he's still recovering.

"I don't know. I don't care. Lee... is a shady bastard. But he's a shady bastard who can learn. He can change. He just needs Kyokugen to give him guidance. A way to follow."

Ryo pushes himself up to a seated position, sucking in huge gulps of air. There's a slight wheeze to his breathing. He can feel ribs grinding against one another. Wiping the blood from his face, the Kyokugen heir rises up to his feet.

And he raises his fists.

COMBATSYS: Ryo gains composure.

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Duke             1/-----==/=======|=======\-------\1              Ryo

Duke strides out into the field, steadily.

"He's with the Scarlet Dahlia, Ryo." Duke rumbles, as he continues his advance. "In other words, a gangster. A criminal. And the moment someone's on his trail? He's gone, leaving a dojo to slow down his pursuers. He's using you, Ryo, like a coward. I almost could just walk away from this, knowing you are just an innocent victim of a con man."

"But why miss the excuse for a little revenge?"

Duke reaches Ryo, but holds off just a moment, to let him at the very least raise his guard. There, Duke circles around Ryo a bit. "I might have to take a little collateral, to make sure he comes out of hiding. Maybe get you to find him, and serve his head on a silver platter." Duke cracks his neck, as he draws back a foot. He lunges in a heavy kick, a staggering straight kick, to drive his leg squarely into the Kyokugen master's gut. But his words almost burn around him, thick and heavy like smog.

"You have a sister, don't you Ryo?"

COMBATSYS: Ryo fails to interrupt Medium Kick from Duke with Koho.

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Duke             1/---====/=======|=======\=------\1              Ryo

"Of course he's using me, Duke. You think I'm too stupid to know that? I knew, from the moment he accepted becoming my disciple, that he was just using me. I know exactly the kind of man he is," Ryo replies as Duke stalks forward at him. As much as he might try, Ryo cannot bring himself to blocking out the pain, or the exhaustion of his extensive wounds from the battle he had fought previously, much less the ones that Duke is dishing out. "I might not have known that he was working with the Dahlia, but I'll deal with that in my own way. I'm still not going to turn him over to the likes of you."

As Duke circles him, Ryo turns, sweeping his arm down and chambering it for an uppercut that never comes as he's slammed back yet again from another of Duke's mighty kicks. The karateka falls onto his back again, but rolls onto his side and over to rise back up to his feet.

"I do have a sister. Yuri. Go ahead and go after her. That's far more of a threat to you than it is for either me or her. You go after Yuri? You'll have my father to contend with."

"I do think you are that stupid." Duke rumbles arrogantly.

The crime boss draws back his leg, as his gangsters watches. Duke adjust the cuffs of his suit. "You think I am afraid of Kyokugen, Ryo? You think I am afraid of your father? I could take him. I could take every single one of your Kyokugen family, and make them part of our little Syndicate family."

"You think your family is so innocent?"

Duke cracks his knuckles, circling around Ryo more and more. "So as far as I'm concerned, you are either in our way, or part of us. And if you want to be a puppet of Dahlia? You will be gone, or our puppet. Brushing off his hands, he reaches down to snatch Ryo by his neck. Should he get a grip?

He would -hurl- him across the green, at the burnt out remains of the car.

How were they going to get home?

COMBATSYS: Ryo fails to interrupt Medium Throw from Duke with Tenchi Haoh Ken.
- Power fail! -
# Disabling hit! #

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Duke             1/-======/=======|===----\-------\0              Ryo

"Duke..." Ryo starts, his voice dropping both in volume and in octave, conveying both the seriousness and the sincerity of his following words. "I took you in the World Warrior tournament. I did. The only thing you have going for you right now is the fact that I'm fighting with serious wounds from fighting some monster with a sword. That... that isn't to excuse myself for winning. I wouldn't have bothered fighting if that were the case. I'll accept the outcome of this fight, regardless. But, you need to remember that. I took you. And my father? He makes me look like a chump. If Mr. Karate gets serious... All of you should run. Run as fast and as far as you can. He will burn everything you have down to the ground, and only then will he tear you apart piece by piece."

A pause.

"So no. I don't think my family is so innocent."

In the end, while the words Ryo says are very much a threat, in and of themselves, Ryo's tone, despite all of his anger and rage at this man for what has happened recently, is not threatening. He's imploring to Duke's logic. Ryo know Duke is a brute, and that his pride is paramount, but he is also a clever man. One doesn't rise to his position just by being a brute.

As Duke reaches out, Ryo takes a step back, drawing up his lead hand before his face in a defensive gesture. His other fist draws back, tucking in against his hip. Anyone who watches the exploits of the Kyokugen heir knows well what this pose is. It's the dreaded, hard hitting single punch killing art of the Tenchi Haoh Ken. A devastating and lightning fast attack that promises to end most matches with a single blow. One of Ryo's favorite and most deadly skills. A perfect punch.

But, he doesn't even get to throw it.

Duke sends Ryo flying in the other direction, hurtling like a bullet through the air in a straight line. His trajectory does start to dip lower and lower, and he collides witrh the earth, skipping off of it and rolling, until he crashes into the vehicle with a loud, earsplitting bang. There, he is partly embedded into bent steel and cracked and deformed fiberglass, practically sitting in the side panel, just behind the back door.

"I will concede to you, this is a different fight."

The faux affable tone rumbles out of the crime boss, as he hurls away the Kyokugen master. Duke was a brute, and enforcer. Compared to his peers, he was just cunning enough. No, what Duke relied on was a pure bold presence, where he would just reach out crush whoever in his way. Duke was a human wrecking ball; a brute of brutes.

And he was all too eager to demonstrate it now.

"I do not fight fair in business, Ryo. I have no intention of having you get up and recover; this is not World Warrior. As for Your father..." Duke spreads his arms apart, an open invitation?

And the fire builds upon his palms.

"Let him come, Ryo. I invite it. And when his broken body is dropped off at the Kyokugen Dojo steps? The entire Sakazaki family will learn to pick it's friends more carefully." Duke draws back his arms. "Just promise me one thing. When he finds you out here, or what's left of you?"

"Don't forget to tell him this is all because you wouldn't give up Lee."

Duke slams his arms forward. Chi flame surges out, boiling into a tsunami of roaring flame. It would roll over Ryo, over the car, over both of them into a torrent of consuming fire. The car would be utterly destroyed; to say the least, the lawn would have a nasty burn mark that would need to be reseeded. But Ryo? If Ryo didn't escape, or pull out a last minute miracle?

Then he would burn, too.

COMBATSYS: Duke knocks away Ryo with Sledgehammer.

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Duke             0/-------/-======|=======\====---\1              Ryo

"You weren't exactly holding back or fighting fair in the tournament, either, Duke. Let's not pretend otherwise. It does you greater disservice than it does me..."

Ryo's body doesn't want to respond to his commands. He's losing blood, and fast, and every bone, muscle and ligament has been taxed and aches. He has no energy left. Nothing at all in the tank. Despite that, he doesn't look defeated when he looks at Duke.

"Bring it," he says, quietly. He even puts on a wolfish grin, lopsided and cocksure, with his teeth stained pink and ringed in red. Slowly, he pushes himself out of the crater left in the side of the car, to stand on his own two feet as Duke builds up his inferno.

And when it comes, it washes over Ryo with the power of a speeding Mack Truck. The car is completely obliterated, scattering in chunks of steel and rubber and plastic. Ryo's body is set aflame, propelled back through the flying wreckage as little more than debris himself.

When he lands, it is with the weighty thud of lifeless dead weight. His body smolders, smoke and steam rising off of his flesh, from his hair. Almost nothing remains of his clothes, save for a few tattered remnants that barely preserve his modesty. The ends of each tatter are blackened and singed.

He claws at the dirt, his thick fingers gouging ruts into the scorched earth. Muscles strain, and his back arches as he starts to rise up once again. But, his last bit of will gives out, and he collapses, blissfully, into unconsciousness.

COMBATSYS: Ryo takes no action.

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Duke             0/-------/-======|

COMBATSYS: Ryo can no longer fight.

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Duke             0/-------/-======|

Duke stands amongst the field, as the specks of debris fly past his face. Slowly, he crosses his arm, staring at the blasted remains of both the Car and the Kyokugen. He waits, as he writhes in pain, in the drive to keep fighting. But Ryo goes limp. Duke could have given him the same gift he gave Dahlia; he could see that Ryo could never fight again for the rest of his life, to strike him when he is down. But this wasn't personal.

It was just business.

Duke shakes his head, as he looks to his men. They stare at Duke nervously. "ARe we... are we gonna torch the place, boss?" Duke cracks his shoulders, popping them. "No, I think they got the message. You'll come back later, to see if their memory is jogged on Lee." The gangsters stare at each other nervously, anticipation. "Sure thing, uh, what's the plan, with the car?" Duke turns back to his car. "Everybody get into the vehicle you came in. If your car's gone?"


One by one, the cars leave, as the remaining gangsters file out of the dojo grounds, trying to figure out if their bus change is gonna cut it.

COMBATSYS: Duke has ended the fight here.

Log created on 13:12:50 07/12/2018 by Duke, and last modified on 19:09:28 07/16/2018.