Story Adapted by & Screenplay by : Jameal Jordon & Sharome Jordon
FLASH BACK TO 7 YEARS AGO
INT. THE NOH STAGE – NIGHT
On an enclosed deep red, hardwood Noh Stage, [*fight sequence*] a young Rikimaru fights a young woman with shocking white hair & draped in virgin white dress. She fights with a single wakizashi. A man draped in red & black with a mask on the mask of a red sparrow stands behind her & watches. Rikimaru delivers the final blow to her. She falls & crawls back to the man in the mask.
WOMAN (YUKIHOTARU) : My love!!!! (claws at him, trying to touch him) Hold me, I am dying.
The masked man stabs her in the neck with his sword.
WOMAN (YUKIHOTARU) : My love!! How could you do this?? I thought you loved meeeeee!! (dies)
MASKED MAN/ SUZAKU/ ONIKAGE : I love no one I love power!!! Heh,heh,heh!!!! (pushes the sword in deeper, then pulls it out, then he pulls off his mask & laughs more)
The scene fades to another flashback later on.
EXT. THE FIRE DEMON – NIGHT
Rikimaru strikes Suzaku for the final time. Suzaku falls, the ship begins to burn. The young Rikimaru takes one last look at his bleeding body. He believes Suzaku is dead.
FLASH FORWARD TO PRESENT
EXT. MANJI CULT SHRINE – NIGHT
RIKIMARU : All those years, I thought I left you for dead, Onikage Suzaku.
ONIKAGE : So now you finally know You were so weak back then, I wonder have you gotten any stronger?? I am Onikage Suzaku, master ninja I will have my vengeance on you from so long ago, NOW!!! (charges towards Rikimaru)
[*fight sequence*][*Onikage battle music played*] Onikage is at a range disadvantage for he fights unarmed, & Rikimaru uses ‘Izayoi’, but then sheathes it to finish him off with unarmed martial arts. Onikage gets in some good kicks, but Rikimaru’s final blow to Onikage is a spin kick that sends him flying into a building. Onikage is impressed.
(wiping the blood from his mouth) : Hmm..I underestimated you Next time You die!!!
Onikage leaps inhumanly high as Rikimaru uses Izayoi to strike the final blow trying to kill him. Onikage stands high on the roof. Ai suddenly appears out of nowhere, Rikimaru sees her blonde locks of hair.
ONIKAGE : I am Onikage Suzaku, the red sparrow. The last living member of the Burning Dawn!!! I will be the one to end you’re life Rikimaru, it is only fair, you ended mine..Hahahahahaha!!! And tell Ayame, I soon shall send her to her precious Tatsumaru!!!! (leaps away & disappears into the night, Ai follows)
Rikimaru feels strange.
RIKIMARU : Hmm An old enemy. That has seemingly risen from the grave. (sheathes ‘Izayoi’ Some people just can’t stay dead (runs off into the night)
Meanwhile as Rikimaru head back towards the castle. Ayame & Setsuro become much closer.
INT. GOHDA CASTLE/ SETSURO’S ROOM – NIGHT
It is late. Ayame tends to Setsuro’s wounds rather attentively. Setsuro & Ayame have learned to tolerate each other sooner than anyone would have thought.
SETSURO (bandaged around his chest) : Ouch..
AYAME : (pours heal potion from a heal bottle onto other minor wounds) (sarcastically) Poor baby
SETSURO : Thanks Ayame..That does feel a lot better (looks over to his armor, slashed, cut, half-broken, & seemingly irreparable) My armor Its cut to shreds, damn
AYAME : You might want to worry more about your wounds than your armor.
SETSURO : Maybe (falls asleep)
Setsuro awakens to find Ayame gone & he gets up. He dresses in some samurai fashions of an older age. He is now draped in white & black. He arms himself, He has his katana, wakizashi, & his kurikama. Setsuro now looks like a samurai. He exits his room & walks down the hall to find the boy once more.
BOY : Hey, ashigaru. Nice suit!
SETSURO : Er Thanks. Hey where is Ayame??
BOY : Well…after it stopped snowing, she went outside towards the cherry tree grove. You can’t miss it, its outside & she’s probably over by the biggest tree.
SETSURO : Thanks.
BOY : Hey Rikimaru is back too He’s somewhere around here see you later, ashigaru.
SETSURO : Heh. Young love .
The boy soon spots Kiku off in the distance He runs off to meet her.
Setsuro goes outside of the castle.
EXT. GOHDA FOREST- NIGHT
It’s nighttime & he takes a horse to the cherry tree grove. He gallops for a few minutes or so, finally seeing a lone figure by the tree. It is Ayame She is alone. He dismounts & begins to walk up to her softly. She is startled as he walks over crunching some snow.
EXT. CHERRY TREE GROVE -NIGHT
SETSURO : Ayame!
AYAME : Well well you sure don’t look like a ashigaru now.
SETSURO : One day I may be a samurai .
Ayame smiles & walks over to Setsuro. She pulls out her kuni, & holds it at his crotch. Setsuro is stunned & shocked.
AYAME : Now!!!! You’re going to tell me everything I want to know ashgaru. Because even I know that is not what you are. You caught my shuriken, you repelled Kataoka’s arrows, you move with stealth or at least you give it a good try. You cut that guard in the cave like a ninja.You move like we do!!!
SETSURO : ACK!!!! Uh!!!! I’m just a son of a farmer!!!
AYAME : Liar!!! I’m going to cut your testicles & feed them to the dogs!!
SETSURO : Hmm I didn’t know Lord Gohda has dogs
AYAME (ad libs a response & begins to cut into his pants near his crotch): …
SETSURO : Ok, ok, ok!!! But I am the son of a farmer!!!! My kama I used that as a kid to farm with, to cut weeds down with!! But (pauses)
AYAME : YES????
SETSURO : My mother my mother, she was a ninja. Like you swift, beautiful, strong willed. In secret she taught me everything to my older sister & me. I left home along time ago. My father died & my mother went back to her lord to teach others to be like her. I never saw her again, but my sister she was a true ninja, she was so irregular, she was a real beauty, with soft skin & golden hair .
AYAME : Golden hair?? That is irregular
SETSURO : That’s the only way I would know her if I saw her. I was a child of maybe 12 or so when I left home to be a samurai. A great samurai, but I see you a woman with strength & skill, & I was impressed Ayame I am in love with you.
AYAME : What???
SETSURO : I knew that I would have to find a woman of grace, skill & beauty. You are that woman Ayame, I don’t know how else to tell you, but I am in love with you, I had to tell you somehow, this was that moment!!
Ayame rests her blade & Setsuro moves closer. He tries to kiss Ayame, she goes in for the kiss too, but stops herself. She quickly then takes one of her kuni & aims it at his throat before his lips touch hers.
AYAME : No I can’t !! It’s not right!!!! I will not dishonor him!! (backing away) You cannot love me!! I am, I am, in love with someone else. I will always love the man I promised myself too…forever
Ayame then throws a smoke bomb to the ground & in the uprising of the smoke she disappears into the night.
SETSURO (talking to himself): What went wrong??? She didn’t hit me, I know I know she wanted this as much as I did & probably in secret more. Who is this man?? Where is he now??Why doesn’t someone tell me of these things????
Almost immediately Rikimaru drops seemingly from the sky to Setsuro’s side. Rikimaru pulls down his mask & looks at Setsuro.
RIKIMARU : Setsuro I think there is something you should know. Ayame is in love with someone else
SETSURO : Oh!! I’m sorry Rik, is it you???
RIKIMARU : Much to my comfort No it isn’t. It was my old friend, Tatsumaru, the last Azuma master that held ‘Izayoi’ before me.
SETSURO : You say was What happened to him? Did he retire?? Did he leave Ayame?
RIKIMARU : No, but I wish he had He lost his memory & joined another shinobi clan The Burning Dawn lead by a sadistic dreamer. Lady Kagami she dreamed of uniting all ninja & killing all of the lords & masters so the ninja would rule. I thought we killed all of the Burning Dawn lords, but even tonight I found that I did not kill someone I left for dead
SETSURO : Who??
RIKIMARU : Onikage Onikage Suzaku, the red sparrow, the last living lord of the Burning Dawn. I left him for dead the night I received ‘Izayoi’
SETSURO : That’s nice & everything to know the kicking psycho & you have a colorful past & everything but what does that have to do with Ayame & me?
RIKIMARU : The night I received ‘Izayoi’. She killed Tatsumaru, because he had regained his memory & fell for Lady Kagami.
SETSURO : Umm (rubs his head violently) Well doesn’t that mean I’m in the clear to love Ayame???
RIKIMARU : You still don’t get it Ayame was set to marry Tatsumaru ever since she was 7 years old. She had to kill Tatsumaru because he killed my master, & he did this (pointing to his scar). Ayame did what she had to do, it was deemed as such, by Master Azuma Shiunsai Unforgivable crimes must be punished The traitor..my friend & a brother Tatsumaru had to die. Ayame lost everything to her, the father, my father, her lover, & fiancee’. You’re standing on the very spot she confronted him on, from that moment on she knew she lost her true love.
A 10 yr.old Ayame & a 17 yr.old Tatsumaru run hugging & embrace under the huge cherry tree, he twirls her around. Flashing forward 4 years, a 14 yr.old Ayame & a 21 yr.old Tatsumaru are seen kissing innocently under the huge cherry tree. Then forward a few months, Ayame walks over & tries to embrace Tatsumaru, he strikes with ‘Izayoi’ she rolls & defnds with her kuni.
TATSUMARU : Things can never be the same again, Ayame. I am Seiryu, the blue dragon, lord of the Burning Dawn.
EXT. THE FIRE DEMON – NIGHT
Flash Forward – the younger Ayame & Tatsumaru face off, Ayame strikes with her kuni, Tatsumaru falls. She picks up ‘Izayoi’ holding it at him, near his chest, he pulls the blade into him.
AYAME : Why??? Why Tatsumaru???!!!
TATSUMARU : Unforgivable crimes (coughs) must be punished the traitor must die ..
FLASH FORWARD TO THE PRESENT
EXT. CHERRY TREE GROVE – NIGHT
SETSURO : I can’t believe it Ayame is rather defensive & rude. But I see, she uses it to hide her pain. But I love Ayame
RIKIMARU : Then do what you must..(shrugs his shoulders, pulls up his mask & then uses his grappling hook to zip away)
SETSURO : I can’t believe this still I’m losing a girl to a guy who’s dead!!!! Why me??
EXT. CHERRY HILL – NIGHT
Ayame is at the base of the hill, sitting upon a log. Setsuro riding on the horse finally finds Ayame at the bottom of the hill, crying.
SETSURO : I am sorry Ayame what can I do??
AYAME (crying) : Just go away!!!! I don’t need you, ashigaru!!!
SETSURO : Hey!! I helped you before!!! I saved your life! I want to help you again!!! But I know the truth about you as well I looked past it I thought you could be someone special to me
AYAME : (crying harder & sobbing) What are you talking about??? You’re just a two-bit farmer.. you know nothing about my life!!! My love is dead!!!
SETSURO : Two-bit??? (angry) I’m not the one living in the past!!! I think I have wasted my time yet again trying to love someone that does not need to be loved!! You’re true love he’s dead but so are you. You’re just walking dead, like you victims past, present & future the ones that you kill, the ones you inject your cold steel blades into. Father was right you can never love a ninja, no matter how hard you try!!!!!! (rides off)
Ayame stops to watch but starts to cry once more as Setsuro disappears into the night. Setsuro rides to the port town area below. Rikimaru from the darkness seemingly drops down from the sky to perch on the log Ayame is sitting on. He squats down lower, closer to Ayame.
(watching Setsuro gallop into the night) : Ayame? Maybe its time.
AYAME (wiping away her tears & yelling) : Time?! TIME FOR WHAT???!
RIKIMARU : It has been years now since I have let go of the memory of the only father & brother that I have ever known, maybe its time for you to do the same. Let go of Tatsumaru, he is dead.
AYAME : And you think you have room to speak?! You have failed Rikimaru & you cannot help me. Look at you. How can you tell me about love, about comfort & about life? For all these years , you’re the coldest, bloodless, most compassionless person I have ever known. How could you above all people understand? You’re colder than the harshest winter & as compassionate as a sharpened sword. I doubt you could ever understand.
RIKIMARU : (stands, looking to the night sky) Do not end up as I have. You have a heart, Ayame. Use it for love, now. Before you use it to hate, as I have. (unsheates ‘Izayoi’ & holds it to the night sky) This is all I know. Deliverer of the powerful, justifier of evil, defender of the weak .Euphiemisms. I am a killer. Though I wasn’t born one, I shall die one & burn in hell for eternity for my crimes against humanity. I can never know love, compassion or pain. That is the underlying truth to being a ninja. (looks to Ayame) I hope you will finally be able to realize the truth, Ayame.
AYAME : And what truth is that?!!
RIKIMARU : That Tatsumaru is dead. He died along time ago & I now realize tonight much of yourself was lost or killed in the wake of his death. Find yourself, master your emotions, then you shall be an Azuma master & not before. (resheathes ‘Izayoi’ & then folds his arms looking to the night sky)
EXT. PORT TOWN – NIGHT
Setsuro slowly gallops on horseback over a bridge into the port harbor town. At night limited activity is taking place here, the local bar. The harbor has a few workers still unloading ships out on the piers. Setsuro dismounts from his horse as he reaches the local bar. Several guards & harbor workers are drinking many rounds of drinks, possibly a drinking contest. After taking a look around he walks down the street seeing many people’s homes closed for the night. He walks down to the harbor, seeing a man order around other men lifting heavy materials & supplies. Setsuro walks over to the man.
EXT. PORT TOWN HARBOR – NIGHT
MAN (HARBOR MASTER) : What are you doing here?
SETSURO : Enjoying the view, how about you?
MAN (HARBOR MASTER) : Why you insolent youth!
SETSURO (waves him off with his hands, walking past him) : …
MAN (HARBOR MASTER) (walking after him) : I could have your head for this! This is a private area!
SETSURO (looks out to the water, seeing 2 dark colored boats coming in slow & silent. Setsuro points to the boats) : Tell them that.
MAN (HARBOR MASTER) : Nothing’s scheduled to come in tonight, especially this late. I’m the harbor master, if anything was supposed to come in, I should know about it!!!!!
SETSURO (turning towards the harbor master) : Oh yeah (thumbing towards the boats) What do you call them?
Suddenly a cannon from the silent boats fire, it hits the roof somewhere inside the village town. The explosion rocks the harbor. Setsuro & the harbor master run away from the harbor. As they run towards the local bar the harbor master gives Setsuro the answer.
HARBOR MASTER (yelling & running) : I call them, PIRATES!!!
Meanwhile back at the log Rikimaru & Ayame look to the cannon fire. From their distance the pirates are firing more rapidly & constantly. Rikimaru & Ayame exchange glances & take off on foot running towards the town. They sprint into the night towards the port town below.
Panic has now spread all over the port town. The pirates have already docked & have entered the town. Riflemen, longshoremen & anchormen have stormed the town & begin to kill anyone & everyone. Peasants shot down, women pulled into dark alleys, & children maimed by the spaniards. The drunken guards, the harbor master & Setsuro are now pinned in place near the bridge entering the town. Some of the guards hide behind boxes, while other hide behind the bridge. They are pinned down by gunfire from several riflemen.
RIFLEMEN (as they fire) : SE MATO!!! SE MATO!!!!
Out on the harbor, 2 ships are anchored on the water. 2 hulking Spanish men can be seen standing tall on the biggest ship. The largest man about 30, balding & missing his left hand, in place a large thick hook. In his right hand holding a long, curved sword. The other, is a lean man about 27, holding a curved bailing hook in his left hand & holding a sword in this right. They look to the carnage before them & smirk a bit.
CAPTAIN SABRE BALMA (speaking in Spanish) : Soon this port will be ours. I have already planned to stage many raids to the other more guarded ports from here, little brother. Everything & everyone here is for the taking, for there is nothing we cannot possess. (holds his sword high) To the conquest.
LT. KLAW BALMA : Do not underestimate them, brother. I feel something strange here.(turning to his brother) I do not like this. It was almost too easy.
CAPTAIN SABRE BALMA : You overestimate their forces. With our rifles, we are invincible.
LT. KLAW BALMA : We shall see.
Riflemen can be heard off in the distance near & far from the harbor. Firing their rifles, shouting as they pull the trigger.
ALL RIFLEMEN (firing) : SE MATO!!! SE MATO!!!!
Setsuro looks on to the riflemen & then looks to the river. He dives in going under the bridge in the cold water. He begins swimming towards the harbor. As soon as he is out of sight Rikimaru & Ayame finally enter the town.
[*Level 7 music played here*]
The town is quiet. Many villagers & guards slain or shot, lay in the streets. Many of the pirates are on patrol in the streets, waiting to attack anyone who has not experienced their power. Ayame & Rikimaru cross the bridge, finding a few guards who have not been killed hiding out behind boxes or around corners. As they get closer they find pirates on the rooftops armed with rifles & pirate patrolling the ground armed with swords or large anchors. Rikimaru & Ayame head for the rooftops to stop the snipers that await.
Meanwhile Setsuro out in the harbor swims along until he reaches the main sea. He sees the ships & then upon a closer look sees a pirate armed with a rifle. Setsuro reaches for his kurikama. The guard gets closer to Setsuro hearing a bit of noise as he splashes around a bit, getting his weapon ready.
FIRST RIFLEMAN : HUH?
Setsuro then goes underwater & awaits. The pirate looks over, only to find nothing. But then the pirate decides to take a closer look for he sure he heard something. A chain flies out of the water, wrapping around the neck & head of the pirate, & pulls him in underwater. The sound of a moderate splash fills the air. Blood can be seen, filling the dark waves that crash against the shoreline. Another pirate armed with a sword runs by hearing the splash, he too looks into the murky deep of the sound.
SWORD PIRATE (in Spanish) : What was that???!
The tip of a rifle extends from the water at point blank range & fires at the sword-bearing pirate.
SWORD PIRATE (in Spanish) : What?
The sword pirate falls into the water with a splash. Setsuro leaps from the water onto the shore. Meanwhile Rikimaru & Ayame are dealing with the other riflemen.
PORT TOWN ROOFTOPS- NIGHT
Rikimaru cuts the rifle & then cuts the pirate with a single mortal slash to his chest. Ayame leaps over to stab a reloading rifleman. Rikimaru’s attention is divided to throw 5 shuriken at a sword-wielding pirate. Many more pirates fall that night. Rikimaru & Ayame jump from one end of the town to the other end, which is the harbor, killing all of the riflemen as they move further along. Soon the pinned guards can now move & slowly begin to retake their town. The pirates begin to fall & lose ground as they are being pushed back towards the harbor. Setsuro takes notices of a man (Klaw Balma) pulling a young teenage girl onto the smaller ship. Setsuro follows behind them. Setsuro boards the ship.
SECOND PIRATE SHIP/HARBOR- NIGHT
Setsuro slowly walks onto the deck of the ship. He sees the Spaniard pawing & kissing on the young girl. He is pulling off her clothes & his own as well. Setsuro sees that the pirate’s weapon is a good distance away from his grasp. Setsuro then takes this time to make his presence known.
SETSURO (yelling) : Mongrel!!!
LT. KLAW BALMA : (in Spanish) : Well. (holding the girl’s face) Look my pretty. We seem to have a visitor. But I have a feeling that you don’t want to join in on feasting this young thing’s flesh. What a pity.
SETSURO (grasping his kurikama tightly) : Let her go. I will not ask you twice.
LT. KLAW BALMA (in Spanish) : Hmm. Even after a time, raiding in your country. I still do not understand your language. But I believe it is a fight you are looking for. I will cast my pretty prize aside for now. (throws her to the side, then points to Setsuro) I will dispatch you & take her later.
SETSURO (readies his kurikama, spinning the chain weight & charges towards the pirate)
Meanwhile Rikimaru looks on as the port town guards can now take back the harbor. Guards & pirates can be seen fighting in the streets. Peasants & harbor workers fighting & killing the invaders. Rikimaru then turns his view to the largest ship. He sees the cannons aiming. His view then turns to Ayame, who was anxious to board the ship. But she holds position as riflemen take aim & fire at her. Rikimaru puts his hand into the secret pouch & pulls out the ‘Shinsoku’ lightfoot scroll. He takes a few steps backwards, reads the scroll & then runs off the roof, his speed now enhanced by the lightfoot scroll. Rikimaru flips forward at an incredible rate & reaches the ship, hanging on to the front of it for dear life.
[*boss battle scene music*] Setsuro & Lt. Balma fight. In a impressive display of Spanish versus Japanese fighting skill. Sometime during the fight Lt. Balma knocks the young girl into the water. Setsuro gets the better of Lt. Balma killing him during the battle. Setsuro pulls the young woman out of the water with help from his kurikama as she holds onto the chain, & he pulls her up.
YOUNG GIRL (pulls Setsuro to her) : Thank you!!!! (kisses him long & deep, Setsuro pulls away from the kiss after a few seconds)
Meanwhile Rikimaru & Ayame are pinned down form rifle fire. Setsuro takes this opportunity to throw his kurikama so he can lasso over to the larger boat. He climbs up & strikes a rifle-armed pirate, taking his gun & then knocking him into the water. Setsuro then shoots another pirate. Rikimaru & Ayame are no longer pinned & board the ship quickly.
AYAME : I wonder where the captain went?
SETSURO : I think I already dealt with him.
From the crow’s nest of the ship, Captain Balma jumps down to greet the trio.
SETSURO : Then again.. Maybe not.
CAPTAIN SABRE BALMA (In Spanish): So you wish to be killed? Die!
AYAME : Whatever he said my feelings exactly fishmonger!
RIKIMARU (unsheathing ‘Izayoi’) : Expect no mercy. You’re life is over!
[*fight sequence*][*boss battle music played here*]
Balma knocks Setsuro down with a quick tackle & a backhand attack from his hook. Setsuro is down & out. Rikimaru battles the strong captain using his quick reactions with ‘Izayoi’ to cut him down to size & finally kills him.
CAPTAIN SABRE BALMA (in Spanish) (falls to the ground bleeding) : Oh dear god!!!
Setsuro awakes after the fight & looks to the defeated Balma. Ayame holds out her hand to help up Setsuro. Setsuro stares at her & then to her hand. And gets up silently on his own. He leaves the ship. Ayame follows a good distance behind him. Rikimaru looks to Balma.
RIKIMARU : It must be sad to die so far from home. (walks off the ship)
THREE DAYS LATER
EXT. GOHDA CASTLE – DAY
The day of Princess Kiku’s 13th birthday has come. A lavished party has been thrown in her honor. Royals, members of the government, nobles, honored samurai, generals, daimyo, gather around the castle to honor & attempt to court favor with Lord Gohda & Kiku. Entering the castle grounds is a suspicious looking man & a golden haired Japanese woman on his arm. Meanwhile on the roof.
GOHDA CASTLE ROOFTOPS – DAY
Rikimaru & Setsuro keep watch for approaching forces that would take this opportunity to attack the castle. Rikimaru faces away from the sun looking out while Setsuro can be seen chopping the roof tile with his kama)
RIKIMARU (arms folded looking to the horizon) : I don’t see how destroying Lord Gohda’s tile will make up for Sekiya assigning you here.
SETSURO : That old goat He gets to me!!! After all the things we’ve done for him & this is the thanks we get. I should be down there mingling with the crowd. Making sure that there are no spies or assassins about.
RIKIMARU : I will give this to you straight. We are the workhorse, we eat, sleep, & breathe for Lord Gohda. That is what we are here to do, that is our job. There are things in this world we do not like to do, but we do them because it is our job.
SETSURO : You know, Rik. For once in my life I’m going to agree with you. And since I have to eat, sleep & breathe for our lord. I’ll do it in style. (throws his kurikama to wrap around a nearby extension he then tugs on it to check if it holds)
RIKIMARU (looking to Setsuro) : Wait, Setsuro. That’s not what I meant.
SETSURO (jumps off the roof & swings around & down to a lower level of the castle) : Yeah, I know what you meant. (as he lands) So far I’ve done things my way & that’s why my head is still on my shoulders. (enters the castle)
INT. PRINCESS KIKU’S ROOM – DAY
Princess Kiku, Ayame & Kiku’s governess, are getting Kiku ready for the party. The governess combs & strokes the princess’s hair.
GOVERNESS : If only your mother was here to see you today. Ayame looks to a green bell she is clutching softly.