Story Adapted by & Screenplay by : Jameal Jordon & Sharome Jordon
EXT. AZUMA FOREST -DAY(AFTERNOON)
[*the intro music here is played from the first game Tenchu: Stealth Assassins*]
Rikimaru glides like a shadow phasing in & out as he runs across the forest at top speed. On the other hand Setsuro’s horse galloping is slowed to a mere trot as the forest becomes much thicker as he goes deeper inside, he cannot tell where Rikimaru went. He stops as he hears rustling behind him & sees Ayame run right past him & his horse. He orders the horse to gallop after her, the horse reluctantly does so & Setsuro follows Ayame. Up ahead, Rikimaru moves like a shadow, he dips & dashes around trees & other things inside the forest he looks like a moving body of wind. Ayame catches up to him & Setsuro becomes desperate to keep up with the 2 fast ninjas. Rikimaru & Ayame come to a halt at a forest clearing.
EXT. FOREST CLEARING/ GOHDA REGIMENT ENCAMPMENT- DAY(AFTERNOON)
They look on to see a brigade of Gohda’s army encamped here annihilated by unknown forces, they are usually waiting here to go to battle whenever they are needed, for the the battle has been lost. Setsuro comes from behind & dismounts from his horse. He stands beside the 2 ninja. A look of pure surprise & awe comes over Ayame’s face, Rikimaru has an emotionless expression upon his grimace, Setsuro raises an eyebrow to the scene that folds out before them. The brigade looks decimated they all look to the horror that lay dead out in the field. Swords & limbs lay in the fresh dirt. The familiar stench of death fills the air but is partially taken away by a strong dust of wind. Gohda’s soldiers lay dead, dismembered body parts lie on the soft soil, some limbs almost float in small red pools of blood. The trio pace slowly across into the field of death, Setsuro pulls his horse by his reigns. Tents lay burning in a pile of smoke & fire, the look of death & regret upon face after face as they walk slowly past bodies & limbs. Ayame looks in horror, as she gasps some, but holds her composure. Rikimaru holds a dead-pan look as if he was walking thru a field of flowers. Once again countless shuriken embedded in the flesh of many, precision strikes to vital organs, & the footprints of soft-soled boots are all around. Setsuro comes across a familiar looking, low-grade armor, it is his superiors. They lay torn apart like the rest of Gohda’s men. Setsuro vomits again, trying to hold it in but he can’t & he spews even more this time than the first. Ayame looks to Setsuro & gets a disgusted look upon her face, then turns away from him. Rikimaru doesn’t even look at Setsuro as he walks past him not even looking at the dead anymore. The two ninja stand beside each other & look over the barren field, over all who sleep in death forever. Setsuro finally stops vomiting & kneels down in a small blood pool & to look upon his superiors faces & bodies one last time. Suddenly something catches the eye of Rikimaru. He notices closer to the end of the field, many weapons are sheathed, necks, & limbs cut off, grenades used, an abundance of extra clothing, molded rice balls, it seems to him that Gohda’s regiment were caught off guard by shadow walkers. Rikimaru gets closer & he examines the body (the back to be specific) the soldier was riddled with the 8 way shuriken.
RIKIMARU :Hmm very strange indeed. These weapons are still sheathed & many shuriken are abundant here (begins to look at all that have been affected like this, but his concentration is soon interrupted by Setsuro’s ranting not too far away)
SETSURO :Who could have done such a thing?? Whoever did this ..(pause) cannot be men, but are demons!!!! Dressed in the fashions of men!! (puts his hands over the eyes of both first & second ashigaru, & then closes their eyes for the last time. Setsuro takes a deep breath, then looks directly at second sashimono.) We really don’t know when death finally comes for our souls & steals them away like a thief in the night. We are all bamboo stalks waiting to be cut down, without warning, without notice.(gets up & walks away from his now late superiors) Death is an archer that never misses its target .
EXT. GOHDA FOREST – DUSK / NIGHT
The trio wades thru the field & press on to another forest that leads directly to Gohda Castle. As they move thru this forest, sundown passes & night finally falls & the new moon can be seen. They enter another clearing & they look & the massive Gohda Castle can be seen, looking, staring down at the town outside of Gohda Castle.
ANGLE ON: THIS IS GOHDA’S MAIN CASTLE & HOME. IT IS A LARGE CASTLE, ANOTHER SMALLER CASTLE & TOWER CAN BE SEEN OFF IN THE DISTANCE AWAYS FROM THIS MAIN CASTLE BUT IN THE SAME TERRITORY, FAR AWAY. AN ENCIRCLEMENT OF FORESTS SURROUND THIS PICTURESUE SCENERY.
EXT. GOHDA FOREST/ CLEARING/ MAIN CASTLE – NIGHT
With Setsuro on horseback, Ayame & Rikimaru nod to each other & with that pull out grappling hooks that allow them to swing over to a side window & enter Gohda Castle without going thru the castle entrance.
AYAME : See you inside, (lowers her voice tone) ashigaru ( launches the grappling hook & zips over to a Castle window & enters)
RIKIMARU :I will make sure you are able to enter this castle at this late hour with minimum fuss. Good day, ashigaru. (launches his grappling hook & zips right thru the window behind Ayame)
SETSURO (looks on at Rikimaru & Ayame) : Hey!! My name is Setsuro!!!! (begins to gallop to a road that leads to the castle, & rides to the checkpoint, 2 hours pass[time is indicated on screen])
INT. GOHDA MAIN CASTLE/ HALL – NIGHT
Setsuro is escorted into the throne area by 4 armed honor guards. They are almost pushing him along, inside the throne room where Lord Gohda, his lieutenant Sekiya Naotada, & other noble advisors of the house of Gohda stand & talk about the situation at hand. Lord Gohda (29-32) a refined samurai, powerful man, humble lord. Gohda has a mustache & goatee, he is usually dressed in fine fashions of this era that only the rich lords & daimyos can afford. Rikimaru is kneeling before Lord Gohda, explaining some of the details of what Setsuro has already told him while Ayame is talking & slightly playing with Princess Kiku teaching her some kata. Many posted sword happy guards are here. Sekiya looks up & sees Setsuro being escorted in.Sekiya an elderly lieutenant late 50’s to 70’s) & patriarch to the Gohda family, his family has served Gohda’s family for many generations. He has been & still is a loyal servant & to Lord Gohda’s father & a mentor to Matsunoshin. Princess Kiku, Lord Gohda’s beautiful 12 yr old daughter. She is the essence of beauty & royal perfection. Though she is still a child she is developing into a gorgeous young woman who could stop a young man’s heart with her shattering beauty. Kiku is almost a splitting image of her mother the late Lady Kei who was killed at the hands of Lord Gohda’s uncle Motohide who wanted to rule the house of Gohda & was killed at the hands of the late Azuma ninja Tatsumaru about 7 years earlier.
SEKIYA (gets angry) : Why are you bringing him in here? Trials & executions are not `til next week.
SETSURO (Pulling away from the guards) : I am not a criminal, I am Setsuro, an ashigaru for Lord Gohda!! I have evidence of what has happened at the Zankuro compound. (Pulls out the evidence from under his armor) I wish to speak to him personally, it is imperative that I do.
SEKIYA (sarcastically): That is not necessary, ashigaru. I will examine & give this so-called evidence to Lord Gohda personally .
SETSURO (curses under his breath) : Here we go with that again (loudly) I will see my lord now, whether you like it or not, old man. I discovered this matter & I will personally bring it to his attention. (rushes past Sekiya)
SEKIYA (angry):Insolent youth!!!! Guards!!!
(*fight sequence*) Setsuro pulls out his kurikama, & then swings the chain weight to hit the guards behind him. Rickmaru, Ayame, Kiku, Sekiya & Lord Gohda watches in amazement as the guards fighting abilities don’t even come close to Setsuro’s. After dealing with them Setsuro walks past Sekiya snapping his fingers in his face & rushes over to Lord Gohda. He kneels & presents his evidence to him. Guards pull Setsuro away from Lord Gohda. A concerned Lord Gohda looks at the humble Setsuro & then at the evidence. He takes it reading it, & studying it. The fallen guards get up, Setsuro turns his head sideways to look at Rikimaru, Rikimaru nods then he turns his eyes to look upon Ayame. Kiku sees Setsuro & giggles while Ayame scoffs. Lord Gohda sees Setsuro’s sincerity & waves off the guards pulling Setsuro away & Setsuro once again kneels before Lord Gohda.
LORD GOHDA : This (pauses to study the scroll even more) This is alarming news, ashigaru. Why didn’t your superiors report this to me immediately.
SETSURO (still kneeling & bowing his head): My superiors are dead .Just like the brigade of your men, that was where I found their bodies cut to shreds my lord. A horrid sight to see (pause) & whoever killed Zankuro did not want this report to make it back to your castle. I believe sire that whoever killed Zankuro & your soldiers are one in the same.
RIKIMARU : My lord, it is imperative that I must search outside these borders to find whoever did this. I feel they make strike again soon, even before you are able to prepare your reserve forces.
SEKIYA (finally turning around): Lord Gohda already knows this, ashigaru.
SETSURO (still kneeling but looks back at Sekiya): But I’ve figured out something, something very startling that even you might have not deduced.
SEKIYA : And what could that possibly be, ashigaru???
SETSURO : That in the field of our lord’s standing regiment. There were NO bodies of our unknown enemies. Not even one, not a limb, or even a flag to give us insight to whoever committed this atrocity.
LORD GOHDA: Is this true, ashigaru???
SETSURO :Unfortunately it is my lord. I am sorry to say only your men lay upon the field.To be truthful my lord they were either tired, drunk, or did not possess the skill to even kill one of the enemy soldiers.
RIKIMARU (never looking up & interrupts Setsuro): Neither .
LORD GOHDA: Rikimaru what do you mean? (looks down to Rikimaru)
RIKIMARU :I do not feel one of the options given was the case in your regiments defeat.
LORD GOHDA :Explain further .
RIKIMARU : Whoever defeated your men simply had an overwhelming amount of soldiers, from the way they were killed, If you wish, I will now hypothesize my lord.
LORD GOHDA :Go on Rikimaru (the hall becomes silent)
RIKIMARU :From the weapons used on the field I am positive that your regiment was attacked by ninja & soldiers, they were ambushed, sire. They did not stand a chance, & how many there were is also unknown as well.
Suddenly an unarmored guard by a window is struck by an arrow in the back . The arrow has a scroll wrapped tight around it. This action breaks the harsh mood inside the hall. Guards & Sekiya surround with weapons drawn to protect Lord Gohda. Rikimaru & Setsuro dash over to the window pulling the injured guard from the window. Ayame protects Princess Kiku in the midst of all this. Setsuro notices the scroll is the similar like the one found inside Lord Zankuro’s Castle. He rushes over to give it to Lord Gohda. Rikimaru looks out the window to see who was the archer but finds once again the cover of darkness is ever concealing.
LORD GOHDA (looks at the new scroll): We must determine the numbers of our enemies if we plan to stand a chance.
SEKIYA ( sheathes his sword & turns around to Lord Gohda): My lord as I have been telling you we must eliminate all the enemies that will prosper from your death! If not, it pains me to consider what will happen if we don’t, they will hurt you & the precious Princess Kiku. I know we do not want a repeat of what happened 7 years ago, sire. There are many men out there even more vicious than Motohide.
LORD GOHDA (looks to his daughter, then to Sekiya. He becomes instantly angry after hearing that name Motohide): DO NOT SPEAK OF HIS NAME IN MY CASTLE EVER AGAIN!!
SEKIYA (cowers some & walks a slight distance from Lord Gohda): I am sorry, my lord. I almost forgot what happened that night
LORD GOHDA : Sekiya. You know what must be done. Send whatever men must be used to eliminate my foes & those that have abuse their power in my province. All must answer the law of this land. (Walks towards his study)
SEKIYA (walking back over to Lord Gohda, he helps him walk to his private study. He shows him the list of the offenders, Lord Gohda then hands it back to Sekiya): Yes, my lord. Over the months I have compiled a list of many offenders that have the capital & possible interests in profiting even more in the event of your death. They have violated many laws here, & are above the usual means of justice, I know what must be done.
LORD GOHDA (softly talks to Sekiya): Then carry out what must be done. I’m doing this only for my precious Kiku, Sekiya. I cannot lose her, I have already lost Kiku’s mother, my only wife Lady Kei I cannot lose my only daughter. Do what you must, I’m retiring for the night now to spend time with Kiku. Pray that this does not fail or backfire, patriarch. One day we shall answer to a higher power for our crimes old friend.(looks over to his daughter) Kiku! It’s late, time to retire for the night.
KIKU (looking to Ayame, then she gives her a huge hug): Bye, Ayame Come over more often!! (She runs & gives Lord Gohda a big hug. A guard by the door opens it to the private study)
Lord Gohda & Kiku enter the study together. Rikimaru, Ayame & Setsuro look on as they enter & then walk over slowly & stand before Sekiya.
SEKIYA :Tonight many of Lord Gohda’s enemies shall fall to your silent blade, Rikimaru. Ayame you shall punish a criminal who has bought his way out of justice, once too many times. (gives Ayame a map to her destination) Ayame you shall punish the merchant Echigoya. (paces around as he speaks not directly looking at the trio) Echigoya was once an honorable merchant, but over the last few years his competitors have begun falling one by one. His wealth grows vast, at last report from a government spy he was involved heavily into just more than goods. He is now heavily into crooked gambling, prostitution, protection & many other unspeakable things.
SETSURO (interrupts): Why not arrest him if he has committed all these crimes?
SEKIYA :Foolish boy! Do not interrupt me!!! Echigoya has more wealth than three average Daiymos! But he lusts for the power & the honor that comes with being a samurai. But everyone knows being a merchant is far below the honor bestowed upon samurai. Merchant cannot become samurai, & we believe that he may soon mount attacks upon neighboring lords with an army he plans to buy. Ashigaru, mercenaries & ronin attacking without warning. He may try with his lust for power & honor to topple the government with his forces. Ayame you’re job is to punish Echigoya before he goes too far, TONIGHT!!!! (walks over to Ayame giving her a key). This is the key to the Azuma special weapons room inside this castle. Shiunsai himself gave this to me incase you 2 needed something special. Use what you need inside the room.
Ayame looks teary eyed for a second or so hearing that name but regains her composure & runs off with the key towards a locked room at the far end of the throne room, marked with a sign in Japanese ‘Azuma Shinobi-Ryu’ & hurriedly enters the room filled with weapons. [the room is a re-creation from the American ‘Activision’ playstation hits opening where Rikimaru can be seen holding a bone & also it’s the weapon choosing room before you enter missions from the first game Tenchu: Stealth Assassins] She chooses, some specific items, she chooses a set of ‘Hensin’ chameleon clothing, a bottle of ‘Nemurigusuri’ sleeping potion, a “Rikimarukochan’ shadow decoy ninja, a couple of smoke bombs, a grenade, & some shuriken then she exits the room & gives the key to Rikimaru. She runs off leaving the castle with the secret Azuma items.
SETSURO (folding his arms over his chest): Alright What about us?
SEKIYA :Rikimaru, & you ashigaru. Are going to look for possible enemy encampment outside of our territory & then infiltrate them to bring back a copy of their plans to us. Rikimaru stealth & non-detection is necessary for this mission to be successful. Annihilate all those who stand in your way, the fate of our lives depends on your success. And unfortunately we regretfully send someone of your caliber because we cannot afford to lose anymore good soldiers or scouts. I have faith in your abilities, Rikimaru, go now, choose anything you need from the secret room. (looking hard at Setsuro) Hmm you ashigaru shall assist Rikimaru to make sure his mission is a success. Do not fail, or next week you will be tried & executed for incompetence, heh,heh,heh
Rikimaru goes into the secret room & chooses his arsenal much different in comparison to what Ayame has chosen. He picks up a ‘Shinsoku’ light foot scroll, 2 sets of ‘Happou’ super shuriken, a set of ‘Makibisi’ calthrops, & a slew of grenades, & smoke bombs, & one ‘Dokudango’ poison rice ball. He walks out & locks the door, giving the key back to Sekiya.
SETSURO (looking puzzled & swallows air a bit): Hey didn’t you say you’ve already lost enough good people?!
SEKIYA :I didn’t mean you, ashigaru. You’re expendable.
RIKIMARU (puts the items into a secret pouch): I am ready, Sekiya.
Sekiya escorts Rikimaru & Setsuro out of the throne.
EXT. GOHDA COMPOUND/CASTLE – NIGHT
Rikimaru & Setsuro are now outside & are given fresh horses to roam the countryside with speed. They see Ayame mounting a horse & she rides off into the night to her destination with great haste. Setsuro waves to Ayame, she throws a shuriken at him, Setsuro dodges it in time & smiles to her. They take off in opposites directions into the night. The long night begins for them. As a lone ninja watches from the forest off in the distance & then she runs off into the night to an undisclosed destination. In the gloaming distance a second castle can be seen far off, it stands tall over forest area like its older & larger counterpart.
EXT. UNDISCLOSED MOUNTAIN AREA/ ECHIGOYA’S STRONGHOLD COMPOUND – NIGHT
Ayame ties her horse up to a tree off in the distance. She sneaks off to find the border to Echigoya’s compound. A wall surrounds the entire place. She bounces off the wall to a tree then she flips over the wall onto a supply hut & then drops down into a dark spot not lighted by not too distant fire torches that around the stronghold. She pulls out her kuni daggers & stands ready for any attack. Her dark clothing helps in keeping her hidden from untrained & sleepy eyes, ever so common in the night.