Characters: Burning Tiger
Real name: Tian Ziyi
Identity: Unknown to the public
Legal Status: Citizen of The People's Republic of China with no criminal record
Place of Birth: China
Known relatives: None
Group Affiliation: The People's Invincible Heroes (China's national super human force), T.A.S.K.
Powers and Abilities: Burning Tiger is the Master of Dauntless Tiger; the world's deadliest and most powerful martial art. She is a virtually unparalleled hand to hand combatant who is capable of defeating super powered opponents or dozens of armed assailants. The training she received from the last Dauntless Tiger Master resulted in her strength, speed, stamina, durability, agility, reflexes and senses being enhanced to extraordinary levels. The final part of Dauntless Tiger training transformed and strengthened her body considerably and she can accomplish physical feats that are beyond those of even physically superior humans. Burning Tiger can perform feats such as 20 ft. vertical leaps, dodging gunfire from multiple attackers and throwing strikes that rival the force of a 9mm handgun.
Burning Tiger possesses and can control and manipulate an unnaturally high level of chi (natural energy). This chi has slowed her aging considerably as she appears to be a woman in her late 20's even though she is over 100 years old. She can also use her chi to heal herself and others.
Brief Personal History: Born into poverty in late 19th century China and left on the doorstep of an orphanage, Tian Ziyi (as she was named by the nuns who ran the home) would become an orphanage favorite. Even though she was doted over as a child, her pre-teen years brought the onset of uncontrollable rage and rebellious behavior. It was during this time that Tian partnered with another orphan girl and the two would sneak out to commit petty crimes in and around the city. They became master pickpockets and thieves and fought rival street urchins for territory.
One night the girls cornered an elderly man in a dark alley intending to violently part the man from his possessions. Unfortunately for them, their prospective victim was Xuan Chang -- the then Master of the Dauntless Tiger combat system. When the girls regained consciousness they found themselves in a small shack, miles outside of the city, with the old man standing above them brandishing a sword. The elder told the terrified girls that he was Xuan Chang, the master of a martial art that was older and more secret than any other, and he had chosen them to be his apprentices. He had seen the rage in their hearts and rage was the fuel that would help them to master his teachings -- but they had to choose. This was a choice of life or death.
They chose life.
Xuan honed the girls' bodies through extremely strenuous exercise, diet, meditation and ceaseless repetitions of Dauntless Tiger's forms. He also honed their minds through the study of art, music, history, and mathematics. Everything the girls learned had a connection to Dauntless Tiger. Every note would connect to a movement, every event to a philosophy, every equation to a series of movements; a thrust, a parry, a leap, a strike. The diet and training they received slowed the girls aging, leaving them to wonder just how old their teacher really was. Master Xuan also encouraged the girls to attempt to injure him at any point in time. Their failure to accomplish that feat, coupled with the beatings and mockery that would follow, kept his students enraged. This pleased Master Xuan as Dauntless Tiger was a style suited to those with fury in their hearts.
The girls thrived under Xuan's training and competed for his favor. A decade into their training, Tian's friend snuck off to a nearby village to steal from a government office -- thinking this would impress Xuan. Her robbery was successful but she needlessly killed two guards. When she returned to the shack she found Master Xuan was awake and furious. She had used her skills to murder innocents and had brought dishonor to Dauntless Tiger -- she was no longer his student, or welcome in his house. The student's last act of defiance was to attack Xuan one final time. However her attack was blocked by her former partner Tian and she was thrashed by the Master. She left the shack, swearing revenge on Master Xuan and her former classmate.
Years later she would go on to become the superhuman criminal known as Kaolin.
Tian became Master Xuan's sole student and trained under him for another 10 years as he gradually grew older and weaker. As she neared the end of her training Xuan told her that she was ready for the final ritual; the "Breaking of the Cub." On the day of the ceremony he presented her with a special meal and when Tian finished the feast Xuan attacked her and the two fought as never before. This was no training exercise, this was a life or death fight; a fight that went on for over an hour even in Xuan's weakened and aged state…a fight that Tian would have won had she not been poisoned. Now weakened, Tian was pummeled by blows that shattered bones and tore ligaments and muscles all over her body – she fell, defeated. The last thing she heard before blacking out was Xuan saying "Now that the cub has been broken, she can be remade."
For the next five months Master Xuan sat at Tian's side, rebuilding her broken body. This was the true secret of Dauntless Tiger. The poison Tian had consumed was the first step of a regenerative elixir and now it and the old Master were hard at work; mending bones, re-knitting tissue and strengthening her body with a combination of potions, acupuncture and meditative energy transference. Tian's bones were being made harder and her muscles stronger. Master Xuan was also transferring some of his waning life energy to his student. This was why Dauntless Tiger only passed from one Master to one student. When Tian was finally able to lift herself from her bed, Master Xuan had passed. She was now the Master of Dauntless Tiger.
When Tian left her Master's home she found herself a combatant in China's battle against invading Japan. She was a rallying force in The Battle of Shanghai and aided the pilots of the Doolittle Raid after the United States declared war on Japan. It was during the rescue of Doolittle's pilots that she dubbed herself "the Burning Tiger." As Burning Tiger she became notorious as a saboteur and guerilla fighter and the Japanese grew to fear her berserker rage and unbeatable attacks. It was also during this period that she became acquainted with a man named The General; who claimed to be the undying spirit of China and its people. She briefly became a member of John Henry's mercenary strike team and took part in several Pacific missions, although she would leave to concentrate on the fight against the Japanese in her homeland.
When World War II ended Tian planned to go back to a life a relative obscurity; however Fuerrgott and Blackfrost's attack on the U.N. and John Henry's subsequent reveal changed that. Burning Tiger became The General's first recruit for The People's Invincible Heroes; China's national superhuman force. Additionally, as China had been granted a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council, she was ordered to agree to John Henry's request that she become China's first T.A.S.K. member. Over the years she has defended her nation and the world many times over and is one of T.A.S.K.'s most respected members. Even though she has a tendency to succumb to her rage and enjoy the thrill of combat more than others believe she should, she is still China's most popular super hero and has now embarked on training the nation's next generation of heroes.
She shares a friendly rivalry with Meridian as he is one of the few fighters in the world who is remotely close to being her equal.
Written by Damion Gonzales
Character design by Sean Isaakse