Written by Jason E. Turner
Ayame was cold. She felt the icy chill of the night on her back.
she muttered under her breath.
“The night air will finish me off first before these thugs with sword do.”
With an alert eye, she spied the glint of an enemy’s helmet nearby. Cautiously, she crept up to his side. A slice, a moan, and a thud later, she swiftly dragged the corpse of the enemy away behind a tangled mess of reeds.
She moved ahead, just off the beaten path, to a clearing, looked around then moved to a large structure. It was a shrine.
Guarded by honor-less samurai, the shrine was the site of Rikimaru’s grave. His body, unrecoverable was not resting in the peaceful chilled earth.
Although it had been 3 years since his demise, Ayame still mourned him. A salty tear arose in eye, she remembered the days when they trained in their master’s dojo. She knew then, as well as now, that he was a formidable opponent.
“Such a waste…”
Arriving at his grave, she noticed a peculiar site.
Written by Jason A. Turner
The head stone had been sliced. Ayame gasped. Who would dare to disturb his grave? She looked for footprints but found none. Could this be the work of thieves looking for valubles? She discarded the idea as she looked for signs of digging. There were none.
“Whoever vandalized this grave knew that his body was not here.”
A pause and a sigh. She left the grave sight. As she left, there feeling of eyes moving over her.
She turned around, drawing her keen sharp weapons for the worn sheaths.
Several moments passed. No answer.
She shrugged and place her blades back in their sheaths. A movement so practiced, among others, she realized her sense of searching. Searching for one person. Rikimaru. She must find him. To give him a proper burial.
She left. But she still felt a presence. Then it was gone.
Gohda Castle was rebuilt. After several raids and defenses, there was a kind of tangible peace felt over the population. Lord Gohda himself had become comfortable. He still maintained a practice of drills.
Robbery. Assault form newborn clans. Drifters looking for shelter. All were possibilities for Gohda and his subjects.
Ayame reported the split head stone of Rikimaru. Gohda sighed.
“A troubled grave. In my small amount of wisdom, this means that are rivals have unfinished business with our clan.”
“Yes, my lord. I request permission to investigate this matter.”
As if in answer, a gong sounded. It was the sound of trouble for the castle. Gohda stood up.
“Yes lord. Take Princess Kiku to the shelter. I will defend the castle along with your troops.”
“Thank you, Ayame. And be careful, as usual.”
With that, Lord Gohda pulled a concealed lever and vanished from the room.
Ayame soon found herself face to face with with four warriors. Dressed in grey, she knew that they were from a new clan. One stepped forward with a staff in combat stance.
“I am Hanzou, of the Grey Dragon Clan. We are ronin warriors who wish took take control of your castle. Resist us and you will perish in a gruesome manner.”
Ayame drew her blades.
“I will resist mo matter what sweet promises you make.”
“Amusing, but foolish.”
Within seconds, three samurai rushed Ayame. She easily defended and dispatched the attackers.
Hanzou grinned. His armor shone like his yellow smile.
“Your skill is impressive. This may be a true challenge.”
Suddenly the roof crashed. A figure in black sliced Hanzou in the back and then leaped away. Hanzou cursed and ran out.
“Another time, ninja.”
Ayame knew that slash.