Kunoichi Akumu

Written by Amy Ehrman

Just a few notes first this was written in script format, for the purposes that a comic has been designed based on the following story. I highly recommend that you read the comic if you enjoy the story it can be found here. The beautiful illustrations were done by Raya Hayashi, so all of the drawing credit goes to her. She did an amazing job, so I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. I hope you enjoy!

The Betrayal

(It is dark, and we see an overview scene of an Asian village. A person can be seen slinking in the shadows, hurrying through the streets with an empty sack tossed over one shoulder. His face is concealed underneath a veil of fabric, and he moves nervously through the night. Before long the stranger approaches Godha castle, and creeps past the sleeping guards. We see him entering the castle through a secret entrance, one that would only be known to a friend of the family with intimate knowledge of the castle’s layout. He sneaks down several dim hallways, and enters Godha’s safe room. He fills his bag with several antique pieces, and quite a few handfuls of coins. Suddenly, the door opens and we see Godha himself standing in the doorway clad in his robe.)

Godha: (sleepily, rubbing eyes)

“Who’s there?”

Okizuna: (takes one look at Godha and flees)

Godha:

“Get back here, thief! Stop! Guards!”

(Godha quickly retrieves his sword from a rack on the wall and draws it from the scabbard, preparing to chase after the thief)

(We see a chase begin through the castle, Okizuna trying to make his escape with Godha on his heels, occasionally yelling for him to stop. Okizuna runs past the guards and tries to lose his opponents by weaving through the streets of the city. As he runs, Okizuna is plagued by flashbacks running through his head)

FLASH

(First we see Okizuna laughing and having fun practicing swordfighting with his friend, Lord Godha. We can tell he is a very noble samurai, and the two share a deep friendship.)

Godha: (slightly tears Okizuna’s clothing with the tip of his blade, and laughs)

“Is that the best you can do, Okizuna?”

Okizuna: (laughs along good-naturedly)

“I’m letting you win, my friend. You should know better than to be so overconfident!”

(blocks Godha’s next attack and succeeds in tearing his mentor’s robe as well).

FLASH

(We see Okizuna crying at the foot of his wife’s bed. We can see she has clearly passed on, and his daughter, Akumu, sits sobbing in the corner.)

FLASH

(Lastly, we see Okizuna holding his daughter on his lap in the bedroom.)

Akumu:

“What’s gonna happen to us, daddy? I’m so hungry “

(tears begin to fall)

Okizuna: (cradles his daughter gently)

“Don’t you worry, honey. Daddy will figure something out “

(As the last flashback ends, several guards jump in front of Okizuna armed with katanas and yari. Okizuna sets his package to the ground and grasps his own blade from beneath the yards of fabric he has swathed himself in in an attempt of a disguise. He pulls the weapon out, which gathers several chuckles from the sentries. It appears to be a harmless bokken, which would be no use against steel blades. While the soldiers are caught up in their merriment, Okizuna draws the real blade from its intricate wooden scabbard. We can see it is a Shirasaya.)

Sentry:

“What does he expect to do with that?”

(more laughter)

(We see a flash of motion, and Okizuna has silenced the first sentry with a surprise attack from his weapon. The three remaining guards get caught up in a long, violent swordfight with Okizuna, exchanging clashes with furious power. It is obvious Okizuna is beginning to weaken, and gets caught in a lock of blades with one of the guards. As they struggle against one another to free their weapons, the guard raises his foot and kicks Okizuna to the ground. He hits the earth solidly, and we see Godha has arrived on the scene behind him. Godha lowers his blade to Okizuna’s throat and neatly slices his mask away.)

CLOSE UP TO GODHA’S EYES, WIDE WITH SURPRISE AS OKIZUNA’S FACE IS EXPOSED

Godha: (seething with rage)

“Okizuna! My friend! How dare you betray me!”

Okizuna:

“Please, my Lord, this is not what it seems. You’ve got to understand “

Godha:

“Understand? I understand perfectly! My most skillful samurai and trusted friend has abandoned me to steal from my family!”

(raises sword in anticipation of a damaging blow)

Okizuna:

“Wait! Let me explain myself. It’s my daughter “

Godha: (has second thoughts and once more lowers blade. His face softens at the mention of Okizuna’s daughter, that he has a special attachment to)

“Akumu? What does she have to do with this?”

Okizuna:

“My daughter needs “

Sentry:

“Enough with this nonsense! Let us kill the traitor!”

(the sentry leaps forward and drives his sword into Okizuna’s chest, not waiting for an answer from his lord. Okizuna’s eyes widen with horror, and a last breath escapes his chest before he closes his eyes and dies)

Godha: (screams with rage)

“You fool! You do not take action unless I request it! Get out of my sight!”

(turns to other guards)

“Take this imbecile away!”

(Guards scramble to restrain their offending colleague and drag him off back to the castle. Godha crumples next to Okizuna’s body and cries softly, mourning for his friend and extremely confused about the whole issue.)

CUT

(The scene is replaced with Akumu at her home, waking up in the morning to find her father had still not returned. Instead of him sitting at the foot of her bed, she finds a young woman perched upon the rail.)

Akumu: (clutches blankets in fear)

“Wh-who are you?”

(The young woman smiles softly. She is dressed in the clothes of a ninja, complete with a small bit of armor and kunais. She is very pretty and an aura of confidence surrounds her.)

Megumi:

“Do not fear, little one. My name is Megumi. I’ve come to take you away with me, now that your father is gone.”

Akumu: (becomes angry)

“What are you talking about? My daddy isn’t gone! I don’t want to go with you!”

Megumi: (smile fades, and her face darkens)

“I’m so sorry, little Akumu, but it is true. Your father did not return home last night.”

Akumu:

“Where is he?!?”

Megumi:

“Your father was brutally murdered by his friend, Lord Godha.”

(Megumi’s face tightens, and a look of anger forms on her countenance.)

“The very same man who your father pledged his life to killed him in cold blood!”

Akumu: (face crumples, and she begins to cry uncontrollably)

Megumi:

“Don’t cry, Akumu. Your father made sure you’d be well taken care of if anything where to happen to him.”

(Determination is set upon her face)

“Cheer up; you’re coming to live with the Shiroi Kage ninja!”

Chapter 2

(We see an elegantly dressed man sitting in a lushly decorated throne room. He is bent over, holding his head in his hands. The door at the opposite end of the room opens, and he looks up. His face is slightly red and tear-stained. We see Akumu, grown up as an adult ninja, walk into the room.)

Akumu: (kneels before him)

“You wanted to see me, my Lord?”

Lord Kurayami: (sighs)

“Yes, Akumu. I’m afraid I have someÖunpleasant news for you.”

Akumu: (worried look passes over her face)

“What is it, Lord Kurayami?”

Lord Kurayami:

“I’ve just received an official report from one of my troops at the war camp I visited last night. It seems that the Azuma Ninja discovered I’d be making a trip to the location, and Lord Gohda ordered one of his ninja to assassinate me.”

Akumu: (looks confused)

“I don’t see the problem, my Lord. You seem to have escaped unharmed.”

Lord Kurayami:

“Yes, my dear, but his ninja still reached the camp. AkumuÖMegumi was escorting me as a bodyguard, and she was stationed at the camp’s entrance to ward off potential attackers. This young ninja became engaged in battle with Megumi, andÖthis is hard for me to sayÖ(gulps) but Megumi was killed in the conflict.”

Akumu: (Her face trembles, and tears pour down from her eyes. She sobs for several minutes before wiping them away with the back of her hand and composing herself.)

“Forgive me, my Lord. Megumi was like a sister to me; she taught me all I know, and saved me from a worse fate after my father was murdered.”

Lord Kurayami:

“I know, Akumu. I have some kinder news for you too: I feel it’s appropriate for you to take her place as the leader of your clan.”

(Akumu, who has been staring at her hands in her lap, looks into Lord Kurayami’s eyes.)

Akumu:

“Who was it, my Lord? Who is the murderer of my teacher?”

Lord Kurayami: (sighs again)

“Her name is Ayame.”

Akumu: (furrows brows, and a look of supreme rage appears on her face)

“I shall have to teach this Ayame a lesson. No one messes with the Shiroi Kage, especially that filthy scoundrel Gohda!

(Several months have passed, and we see young Princess Kiku playing happily in her nursery. She is amusing herself with two beautiful geisha dolls, dressed in kimonos. The door opens, and a young woman enters with Akumu at her side.)

Junsui:

“Kiku-chan!”

(Kiku looks up)

Kiku:

“Yes, Junsui?”

Junsui:

“I have someone special for you to meet. This is Akumu. She is to be your new nursemaid while I am away!”

(Kiku stands up and rushes over to Akumu, wrapping her small arms around Akumu’s legs in a big hug)

Kiku:

“Hello Akumu! Would you like to play dolls with me?”

(Akumu looks very uncomfortable, since she is being hugged by her ultimate enemy’s daughter. She obviously finds the child repulsive, and has to force a smile.)

Junsui: (laughs softly)

“It seems she’s taken a liking to you! I’ll leave you two alone to get acquainted.”

(Leaves the room and closes the door behind her.)

(Akumu turns back to Kiku, and bends down to the ground to play with her. Soon it is nightfall, and time to go to sleep. Akumu tucks Kiku in and stares down upon her sleeping form.)

Akumu:

“Enjoy your last moments here, little one. Soon your life will be in my hands, and I shall determine your fate. Your father will at last feel the vengeance of our clan!”

(It is a week later, and we see Akumu sitting with Kiku on the grass under a cherry tree. The two are in Lord Gohda’s garden, complete with beautiful koi ponds and bonsai trees. The two are eating from a picnic lunch of sashimi and other varieties of Japanese cuisine.)

Akumu:

“Tell me, Kiku. What would you like to do when you grow up?”

Kiku: (looks around to make sure no one else is listening, and smiles broadly at Akumu.)

“Do you promise you won’t tell?”

Akumu:

“Of course I promise! You can trust me, remember?”

Kiku:

“OkayÖI want to be just like Ayame!”

Akumu: (Startles at hearing her enemy’s name)

“Ayame? Why?”

Kiku:

“Because I want to be a ninja!”

Akumu: (Evil smile appears on her face, proud of discovering a way to manipulate her victim.)

“That’s wonderful! Now let me tell you a secret of mine, Kiku: I’m a ninja too!”

Kiku: (Eyes widen in amazement.)

“You are? You really are?”

Akumu:

“I sure am! Let’s make a deal; how would you like it if I were to take you with me back to my training camp, so I can teach you all of my skills? Just think, when you return to the castle, you can show Ayame what you have learned! Then she’ll certainly be impressed with you, and love you all the more!”

Kiku:

ow! You really think so? Oh, I’d love to go with you Akumu! Please take me! Pretty please?”

(Tugs on Akumu’s clothing and looks into her eyes pleadingly.)

Akumu:

“All right, but you have to promise you won’t tell your daddy. We want it to be a surprise, right? We’ll have to leave after nightfall, and you need to pack your things.”

Kiku: (Squeals with joy)

“Oh, thank you Akumu! You’re the best nanny I’ve ever had! I’ll go get ready!”

(Kiku sprints across the yard, back to the entrance of the castle. Akumu smiles wickedly to herself, and chuckles softly.)

Akumu:

“Good girl, Kiku.”

(The scene fades away, and we see one last picture before it ends. The scene is of Kiku’s bedroom, with the window open and a grappling hook anchored against the window frame. The drapes are blowing in the wind, and the moon shines brightly through the opening. There, upon the stone wall, we can see a fresh blood-red painting drying. Akumu has painted the symbol of the Shiroi Kage near the window, dripping and looking quite sinister, to inform Gohda of her actions.)

To be continued …