Dead Yet Living

Written by Anthony Ross

Rikimaru took a deep breath and focused his straying eyes. This village seemed so new to him, though he had seen it many times before. Gohda village. His hometown, his birth place. Rikimaru had been raised here as a boy. But now, scarlet blood covered the walls and the heat of burning houses singed his skin. An attack like this had happened once before, the village having being destroyed by Kagami, Tatsumaru and the Burning Dawn. But the Burning Dawn were dead so it couldn’t have been them who caused this havoc a second time, thought Rikimaru as he remembered what had happened this night. A tear welled in his eye. Who ever had done this would pay. Ayame was dead, killed in her sleep by the unknown murderers. No corpse in her bed just a blood-covered wall and one shiny, silver, steel blade on the wooden floor. Ayame’s blade.

Rikimaru awoke with a start. It was light outside and his sweat-drenched sheets were in a heap on the floor. He had seen Ayame running, running from many huge shadows, which had been following her, hot on her tail. She screamed. It was the same piercing scream he had heard the night before. Then a blade swung out of the darkness striking Ayame down.

“Rikimaru! Help!”

She screamed desperately.
But the part that had scared Rikimaru the most was the fact he had only laughed at her as she pleaded.

“Lord Gohda, I promise you, I will find Ayame’s killers and avenge her. I will also bring back their leader’s head so you can do what you wish to the murderers responsible for the assault on Gohda village.”

Rikimaru said, kneeling before Gohda Matsunoshin.

” I do believe you will, Rikimaru. You always have lived up to your word. You may avenge Ayame and bring me the head, but never let your guard down. Other wise I will see neither your head nor the leader’s. My Emissaries have also gathered vital information for you- the murderers have made an establishment towards the southern, Japanese border. That is all. Now go! Carry out your plan!”

and with that, Rikimaru left the house of Gohda.
He dashed out the door and leapt onto a nearby roof, heading for the southern, Japanese border.

Huge, mist shrouded mountains surrounded the huge Citadel placed in the middle of a silent village. Rikimaru’s fingers felt as if they were frozen and his leg hurt from a recent injury. A ninja dressed in blue and face covered with a balaclava had sprung out a window and struck his leg with a pole on his trip to the ground. Rikimaru had then spun around and sliced the ear of the ninja from his face. He then gave another slash which proved fatal to his enemy. Now, he crept in the shadows and, occasionally, if he heard movement, he would fire his grappling hook onto a rooftop. Then, allowing it to pull him up, he would land on the roof. Finally he could see the open gates leading to the Citadel. Remembering Gohda’s words he looked through the darkness trying to notice any straying ninjas. Two men, carrying long swords and wearing dragon-like masks would walk past not noticing him every minute or so. When Rikimaru could safely creep up behind one, he somersaulted stealthily to a convenient spot and quickly grabbed his hair, elbowed him in the stomach and, grabbing the man’s neck, flicked his wrist. There was a soft “snap!”. His foe’s neck had been broken .


said the second masked man, noticing Rikimaru.
But, before his enemy could retaliate, Rikimaru’s sword was drawn. With a swift swing of the weapon- he had cleanly removed the man’s head. The decapitated body then dropped forward onto the ground.

After much climbing, grappling and scouring different parts of the building Rikimaru finally reached the roof of the heavily guarded Citadel. Feeling the hard tiles with his feet Rikimaru found no entry to the inside of the huge castle. Suddenly Rikimaru had a brain wave. He dropped to a lower roof of the castle and put his hands against the wall. Plaster! This area of wall was made of plaster! He curled his hand into a fist and knocked against it. Judging by the sound of his knock the wall was thick. He unsheathed his large, metal blade and began hacking away pieces of the wall. Eventually the hole was big enough for Rikimaru to enter through. Inside another guard greeted him, who was easily defeated – with three basic slashes to the head. He exited the room and (after more guard-killing and spilling of blood) reached the room where Ayame, alive and well, was being held captive.

“My daughter Kagami,”

a voice was saying,

“had a wish. She wished that ninjas would not have to live in the shadows. Now tell me- is there anything wrong with a wish?”

Ayame kept still.

“Hm. Not answering, eh? Well we’ll just have toÖ”

Rikimaru silently crept behind the man. “Huh?! Who are you?” he said noticing a hand curling around his neckÖ

“Lord Gohda- I have brought back Ayame, she was merely wounded, and also I have brought back something else.”

Rikimaru held up a bleeding head.