DISCLAIMER: I don't own a thing.
The house of Gohda had seen its share of betrayals, murders, and treason. The peaceful land of Gohda was soon pulled into a power struggle between Gohda Motohide and Gohda Matsunoshin. In the midst of that, a clan of ninja called the Azuma would lose their master and a clan brother, dwindling the already small clan to only two members. And that was only the beginning.
Master Shiunsai had handed down his position as master ninja to his only senior pupil, Tatsumaru. Gohda Castle was under attack by his own uncle, Gohda Motohide. They were to soon find out that he was merely a puppet in the play, and that the real threat would soon show herself. Ayame and Rikimaru, the other two pupils, were young and inexperienced at the time, having only just been inducted into the Azuma Ninja clan as full fledged ninja. Soon after acquiring the master ninja title and also the legendary ancestral sword Izayoi, Tatsumaru was involved in a traumatic incident with Lady Kagami which rendered him amnesiac. Adding to the trouble, Tatsumaru was now confused about his true identity, and was given a new name by his new master. Lady Kagami made Seiryu the Blue Dragon, formerly known as Tatsumaru, a lord of the Burning Dawn. Together, they wreaked havoc along the borders of Gohda territory, and finally crossed inside. There was the massacre of the Azuma Ninja Village which Tatsumaru helped to lead. He struck down many of the people who trusted him, who cared about him. Master Shiunsai was the last defense. Tatsumaru struck down his own master cold bloodedly; his last thought being, as he stared at his slowly dying father figure, only something along the lines of feeling as if he knew the old man.
The two young Azuma ninja struggled to do their duty nonetheless. Ayame, who was very much infatuated with Tatsumaru, was only fourteen years old at the time and she fought to separate her duty and her heart. Rikimaru, stone-faced as ever, had tried to kill Tatsumaru and carry out Master Shiunsai's last wish- to kill Tatsumaru, clear the Azuma ninja name, and retrieve Izayoi, but it ended with Rikimaru staring hesitantly down at his clan brother, sword raised. Tatsumaru escaped with Kagami, slicing Rikimaru's eye after his hesitation and giving him the scar that would remain for as long as he lived, reminding him of how he had let his emotions get in the way at the time when he had needed to set them aside the most.
The trial ended and Tatsumaru took his own life, his final words being, "The traitor must die." Ayame had snuck aboard the Fire Demon, the war ship that Kagami's ninja had secretly been building. She was to use it to take over Japan, its first assignment being to blow Gohda Castle to pieces. Ayame was to find and kill Tatsumaru on the massive ship. Rikimaru was to start at the ship's dock and then swim to the boat, and eventually boarding it and going the long stretch to get to Kagami.
Tatsumaru's memory had returned and he chose to stay and fight to the death with the woman he loved. Too much blood had been spilt already, and there would be no honor in going back to the clan. To atone for his crimes against the clan, he wearily took his life after the fight with Ayame. Rikimaru had come soon after to recover the sword from Ayame, and he left to put an end to Kagami and her blood drenched dreams.
Ayame stayed on the boat for a time, and eventually threw herself into the ocean. The only thing that stopped her from giving up completely was the promise she had made to the little daughter of Lord Gohda, princess Kiku, who was quickly becoming like a little sister to her. Ayame had promised that she would always be there to protect her, and that promise alone was enough to pull herself out of her self-destructive notions.
Rikimaru was successful in the fight against Kagami. Lord Gohda's army burned and sank the Fire Demon, showering the ship with flaming arrows. There was no sign of Ayame, but Rikimaru later found her paying tribute to Tatsumaru's grave in the aftermath.
Gohda Castle was rebuilt, having suffered from only one blow from the Fire Demon. The land of Gohda was returned back to its quiet tranquility.
After a long rest, there came stirrings of a darker evil. Villages were pillaged, and temples were taken over. Rumors spread through the rice fields that the Lord of Hell had risen, Lord Mei-Oh, and his demon minion named Onikage. Havoc clouded the land of Gohda and of Japan as a whole. It was only a short time when Lord Mei-Oh kidnapped the beloved daughter of Lord Gohda, princess Kiku, and held her hostage. Lord Gohda had no choice but to send his two ninja, Rikimaru and Ayame, to get her back. Rikimaru and Ayame succeeded in defeating Lord Mei-Oh and Onikage and saving the princess, but not without yet another loss. Lord Mei-Oh's temple began to crumble, and a large boulder had blocked the only exit from the ruins right as the three were to pass through it. Rikimaru sacrificed himself by lifting the boulder with the last ounce of strength he had left and allowed the princess and his partner to get through. The boulder fell, and Rikimaru was nowhere to be seen.
The princess was safe and sound in the castle. Lord Gohda and Ayame, now the solitary member of the Azuma Ninja, mourned the loss of the clan's leader. Ayame still did her duty as she was supposed to, and she quickly was swept into the vengeful mayhem of Rin, a young assassin and her burned village of Hagakure. A year later, Ayame returned home to more news of growing evil. Onikage was back again, resurrected by a powerful wizard by the name of Tenrai. Onikage was not the only Lord of Darkness, there were others who made up Tenrai's army. Ayame prepared to take on the challenges in order to protect her lord and all of Japan with just herself and Lord Gohda's militia. But there was one person that surprised them all. Rikimaru had returned. There wasn't much time for rest as he was quickly kept busy by Onikage. Rikimaru and Ayame successfully eradicated Tenrai's Lords of Darkness, and successfully put an end to Tenrai's reign as well.
And so, their story begins...