Disclaimers: Insert the usual legal mumbo jumbo here. I do not own the Teen Titans or any of its characters. The original concept for this story was inspired by the artwork of Sergio Quijada (of .cl). Though inspired by historical events, this story does not represent the events and individuals of the Sengoku Era of Japan's history.
Author notes: Please bear in mind this is an alternate universe fiction based in ancient Japan. All Titan characters have been renamed and redesigned so good luck figuring out who's who.
Prologue: The History of Chaos
It was the Sengoku period, more commonly known as the Warring States period. Nearing the middle of the sixteenth century, decades of political instability, internal strife, and the diminishing influence of the Ashikaga shogunate has led to a fractured Japan on the verge of total war. Regional lords, or daimyo, arose in the midst of ever-growing political vacuums. Chaos spread throughout the land as dreams of conquest filled the minds of many daimyo. Already powerful clans, such as the powerful Andero clan of the Kai province, expanded their sphere of influence in all directions. Other lords, who had remained unknown in the centuries before, would have their opportunity to rise into power.
In 1559, the unknown son of an insignificant daimyo had completed seizing control of the Owari province. With his newly secured power and wealth, the ambitious daimyo sought to expand his status and make his name known throughout Japan. In the following year, though with only a small detachment of soldiers at his disposal, the daimyo targeted a surprise attack on one of the most powerful daimyo of Eastern Japan – Yoshimoto Imagawa. Though outnumbered almost ten-to-one, the young daimyo was able to charge into the Imagawa base camp and slew the feudal lord. With the head sliced off, the body of the Imagawa army began to wither and the clan's control over other daimyo began to waver. It was in this moment of confusion that the young daimyo was able to forge an alliance with another young and promising daimyo – known simply as Chinou. Intelligent, dedicated, infinitely patient, and ambitious as well, Lord Chinou commanded the loyalty of a strong army and several powerful retainers including Shiruba-ura, the samurai worth a thousand, and Fujin Niiro, a ninja without equal.
With an army strong enough to hold up the daimyo's ruthless reputation, the alliance set forth to continue expanding their territory and power. Through it, they began to attract the attention of many powerful warriors and daimyo also wishing to make a name for themselves – the resourceful Brother Ketsueki; Katarou, the Tiger of Owari; Jumon, Chang, and Kei, warriors known for their magical prowess; and the shadowy Ru-Batten, a renowned fighter in service of the Mori clan. The young daimyo set his sights upon the vast armies of the Andero clan and their legendary cavalry.
Surely this daimyo was mad, thought most of his retainers. While their armies were more numerous than the Andero, the Andero cavalry alone could handle more than five times their number in infantry. With Chinou's assistance, though, a plan was formed – a plan that would forever shape the course of Japan's history and bury the Andero cavalry into the annals of history. The ways of old would clash with the new age.
In the late sixteenth century, the armies of Owari marched forward towards the Kai province and the Andero clan. It wasn't long before the scouts came rushing into Andero castle with only four dreadful words in his lungs.
"Lord Keikoku is coming."
And so a story begins where heroes are born and legends are made and the fate of a nation is shaped by the few. Seven young souls are about to embark on one of the greatest adventures known to Japan. A zealous ninja, a princess thrown into war, a ronin with a heavy curse, a miko with a dark past, a wanderer from across the sea, a battle-hardened maiden, and a samurai with unconquerable spirit. This is the life and death of the Seven Titans.
Our tale begins in the morning of the battle of Nagashino…
Chapter One: When New Meets Old
Andero Base Camp, near Nagashino
The soft breeze of the spring air carried the scent of war across the landscape. Campfires, forges, hundreds of horses, and thousand upon thousands of men packed into small clearings created a musky odour that was all too familiar for the veterans. The sun was just beginning to climb over the horizon but the world was already stirring. Across the small clearing where the base camp had been set up, soldiers, engineers, and humble servants milled about gathering all they would need in the coming hours. There was an anxious, yet excited, air about them. Battle was on its way but morale was still low from the ill-timed passing of their great leader only a few years ago. Leadership of the clan had been passed down to the oldest Andero son, though unfortunately the youngest of three children. Ryu Andero was young and brash and still inexperienced in the ways of warfare. Compared to the eldest sister, he still had much to learn. Unfortunately, in a perfect world Ryu would have the chance to learn from the best but with an army marching upon your province, the only training Ryu would get his real-world experience. To help their lord through this hardship, much responsibility has fallen to the leading generals of the Andero army, two of whom weere the elder sisters to young Ryu.
Up high on one of the hills overlooking the forests, creeks, and lowlands of Nagashino, a lone figure was silhouetted by the glow of the rising sun. Long locks of red hair flowed down her neck and over the armour plates over her shoulders. The light purple-painted plates of shingled conformed closer to her chest and arms, ending at the four sheets of shingled plates that wrapped around her waist overtop of black cloth pants. Her vibrant green eyes stared up to the sky that was painted in majestic shades of purple, red, and orange – her favourite colours. The sight made her smile softly in delight; if this were to be her last day, at least she would have the satisfaction of this sight to start that day.
Her name was Kori Andero, a warrior princess of the Andero clan and the second child of her generation. Known more for bright-eyed naivety and optimism than her combat prowess, her hopes are high that this coming battle will be her chance to redeem her father's name. Widening her stance and lowering her body, Kori gripped her sheathed katana firmly and drew it out with a wide, seamless sweep. The morning light shimmered off her curved blade as it danced through the air in an eloquent and deadly dance. Her unbound hair trailed behind the motions of her body as she weaved around the blades and foes in her mind. The tip of blade glided through the blades of grass at her feet, sending the grass tips fluttering into the air in the updraft her movements created.
She came to a rest in a semi-crouching position with her blade position defensively in a horizontal position in front of her face. Her eyes drifted shut, listening to the air of her surroundings. In the distance, she could faintly hear the footsteps of her people as they prepared for battle. One sound rose above the others though; they were heavier and faster footsteps that were rapidly growing louder and closer. At first she thought it might've just been a messenger until she heard the distinct noise of another blade being drawn. Immediately, her eyes widened and she ducked into a roll just as another blade sliced the air that she once occupied. Holding the blade was another warrior, clad in similar armour except darker in colour and consisting of more sheets of armour on other vital points and wearing a kabuto helmet with a facemask that bore demonic fangs.
"Prepare yourself!" The distinctly feminine voice of the assailant called out as she held up her blade. Not even giving Kori a chance to brace herself, the warrior charged and their blades clashed in a flurry of strikes. The stronger, more precise blows of her adversary were quickly pushing Kori back to the edges of the hill's plateau. In desperation, Kori thrust her sword, only to watch her opponent sidestep it and then take hold of her forearm in order to pull Kori across the field and off-balance. Stumbling to regain her balance, Kori managed to straighten up in time to receive a swift kick to the chest, knocking her off her feet. Growing more desperate, Kori swung her sword wildly at her adversary while still on the ground. "Come on! Stop guarding and fight back!"
Kori tried to heed the taunts as she slowly scrambled back to her feet. This time, she didn't give her opponent time to press the attack and went on the offensive instead. Her blade struck with strength and precision now in a series of thrust and slashes. Alas, after effortlessly parrying the sudden offensive, the masked fighter struck Kori's hand with the hilt of her sword and sent Kori's blade tumbling into the air. She froze on the spot, breathing delicately as her opponent's blade pressed lightly upon her neck.
"That was pathetic," her opponent scorned.
"You did not give me time to prepare Komi," Kori replied as her assailant removed the blade from her throat. "I was trying to relax."
"This is relaxing," Komi remarked before letting out a hearty chuckle, shortly followed by Kori. "I don't understand why you insist on being here dear sister, fighting has never come as naturally for you and I won't be able to assist you if you find yourself surrounded," she continued, sheathing her blade and removing her facemask. The dark-eyed and more matured face of Kori's older sister was smiling confidently as always; she was one of the few in the base camp who's morale was sky-rocketing at the prospect of battle.
"Well not all of us have as much time to sharpen their blades as you," the younger sister retorted. Pulling her blade out of the earth and sheathing it promptly, young Kori couldn't help but wonder if her older sister might've been true with her words. While her sister might've bolstered a powerful reputation, Kori had yet to seriously make a name for herself on the battlefield. "I am here because I want to be. I have yet to participate in a battle of this scale."
"I completely forgot about that," Kori's sister remarked with a great deal of enthusiasm. "Which means you've yet to choose a nickname."
"I think it is a bit earlier for that. It would be wiser to wait to see if I am worthy of one."
"Nonsense!" Komi scoffed as she patted her sister firmly upon the back. "No sister of mine is going to fight by my side without a proper battlefield name."
"I…cannot think of any though," Kori shrugged, a little embarrassed. Most people knew of Kori's sister by her battlefield name, leaving Kori feeling a bit over-shadowed.
"Then let's think for a second," Komi immediately pounced upon the opportunity to suggest some prospects. "Well, you're always staring up the stars at night and we have to go with the usual family theme. How about…Sutaakaki? It's a pretty good combination when you throw it alongside Kurokaki."
"Sutaakaki huh?" Kori mused, stroking her chin thoughtfully. "The sisters Sutaakaki and Kurokaki. Oh Komi, I think it is a wonderful name. Thank you so much for suggesting it!" Sutaakaki translated roughly to 'Starfire', while her sister's nickname, Kurokaki, meant 'Blackfire'.
"Good – now come on before we're late for the war council," Komi switched the subject back to the serious matter at hand. She took hold of her sister by the arm and proceeded to drag her little sister back to main camp. "We're going to show Keikoku and his men how stupid they are for thinking they can mess with us. So help me, I'm going to bring one of his general's head back to base upon the end of my spear!"
"Just leave some for me, okay?" The siblings shared a hearty laugh on their way down the hill. The army's morale might be waning but the two sisters were as hopeful as ever about the upcoming battle.
By the time the two sisters arrived at the base camp, the sky was beginning to turn blue, the air was beginning to warm in the sunlight, and the war council was just beginning to start. Shaded beneath a large canvas tent, a wooden table and a dozen seats had been set up. Upon the table was a map of the region with numerous red and blue T's to represent the regiments of each army. With the exception of two seats, the other generals of the Andero army was already sitting and waiting for the young sisters to finally show up.
"My apologies if we're late but I had to teach my sister a few things so she'll be able to get out of this fight alive," Kurokaki promptly explained. If there was one thing that her little sister was good for, it was getting out of trouble. Every general would bend over backwards for Kori. "I assume there won't be many last minute changes to the battle plan?" The other generals nodded accordingly, including their younger brother who sat at the end of the table, adorned in very ornate armour of gold and blue paints.
"We were just about to decide who will lead the charge," another general spoke up, the one who happened to be sitting next to Kurokaki. His name was Fureasei and he was the one who normally had the honour of commanding the Andero cavalry. Much like Kori and Komi, he wore a full suit of samurai armour, except his was painted green with a large red star upon his chest. His kabuto helmet also bore a red crescent, which framed his strong, squared face that smiled pleasantly to the sisters.
"Am I to believe that the almighty Fureasei is willing to give up the honour of first blood to another? What prompted this generosity?" Kurokaki mused, though her words carried a rhetorical undertone to them. "This doesn't have to do with Keikoku's formations and his scores of arquebusiers?"
"Nonsense. There is nothing in Keikoku's army that frightens me. Anything they throw against us shall be plowed down by the might of our cavalry," Fureasei promptly denied, eliciting a small chuckle from the table. "I believe it would be a morale-boost to see a member of the Andero family leading our troops into battle. I had suggested that you, Komi, would be an ideal choice."
There was a round of nods and murmured agreements from the other generals and while Komi felt flattered, she had a much better idea. "While I would be honoured, I think it would be a bigger boost if Kori had the honour of leading our forces." While there was a quiet agreement to the suggestion of Komi, there was an even greater one for when Kori was nominated. There was no denying the fact that the common soldier was far more favourable to Kori than anyone else.
"I…I would be honoured…if that is acceptable to our lord." Kori's words were followed by a sudden silence with every turning to Lord Ryu Andero – he nodded his acceptance.
"With the decided, let us go over our strategy one more time," Fureasei announced as he rose from his seat. With a simple wooden stick to act as a point, he directed the people's attention to the map and its layout. "Keikoku and Chinou's army have set up camp upon this hill. Their major infantry forces are deployed along the slope of the hill and Keikoku's arquebusiers will likely form a protective barrier in a shallow arc in front of them. Due to the landscape, the cavalry will only be able to charge through the center against the arquebusiers.
"Umm…what exactly is an arquebusier?" Kori shyly peeped up. While most of the table looked to her as though she was still a bit ignorant of the world, Fureasei humbly answered the question with the same level politeness.
"An arquebus is a kind of hand-held cannon. It is uses a lit match to ignite black powder within the barrel to launch a small metal bullet forward," Fureasei explained.
"It's crude, inaccurate, smoky, and slow," Kurokaki then interrupted. "If this map is to scale, our cavalry have only a short distance to travel after we leave the cover of the forest. It shouldn't take very long to clear that distance, at which point Keikoku's armies will scatter like leaves in the wind." Her confidence was bustling even more so at the sight of this battle plan. In her mind, the arquebusiers would be able to get a volley or two off before the cavalry overwhelmed them.
"If our archers provide the advancing cavalry with a few volleys of arrows to thin out their numbers, there will be little left for our cavalry to worry about," Fureasei continued. "Once the cavalry has scattered the front lines, the remaining forces will flood through the gap and Keikoku's base camp will crumble in seconds." Once again, there was a number of nods and murmurs of agreement. Perhaps morale did not need to be high off the bat. Once their soldiers witness the cavalry smash through Keikoku's front lines, morale would skyrocket and the new leader of the Andero clan would make a name for themselves. With a unanimous decision upon the plan, the generals at the table were all dismissed and began to make the final preparations for battle. As Komi prepared to leave, the sight of her sister still sitting at the table, looking over the map, stopped her.
"What are you still doing here?" Komi asked. "You have a charge to prepare for."
"I have a bad feeling about this sister. This plans seems too…obvious. I do not believe Keikoku will be caught unprepared by our charge."
"And what the hell is he going to do to stop it? If he knew it was coming, he would've surrender immediately. Besides, we have one more advantage…" Her sister's voice trailed off as Komi motioned for her to look skyward. Dark clouds could be seen gathering in the distance and were approaching quickly. "Rain is coming sister and arquebuses need to stay dry in order to work. I will be amazed if they could even get one volley off properly."
"Perhaps…you are correct. I am certainly worrying too much about this."
"I could've told you that," Komi muttered indignantly as she pulled her sister out of her seat. "Now less worrying and more preparing…before I take your place in the lead of the charge."
"Yes sister," Kori humbly heeded as she headed out to organize her troops. Still, though, Kori worried about the transparency of their strategy…and even worse about that stream she saw on the map that separated the last quarter of the charge.
By mid-morning, the rain was steadily pouring upon the landscape. The forest provided some canopy for the advancing Andero armies, much to the relief of the sisters. Accompanied by Fureasei and all on horseback, the trio was calm surprisingly despite the prospect of battle so close to them now. The edge of the forest was still some distance away but already the three could hear the sounds of combat in the distance.
"It sounds like our forward guard has encountered some scouting parties," Kurokaki mused as she listened to the sounds. Sutaakaki was the only one who wasn't smiling at that moment. With their spears in hand, Kurokaki took the lead as her horse trotted casually ahead of the advancing line.
"Why has brother not sent the orders to commence the attack?" Sutaakaki pondered. Though her naivety was a bit amusing, Fureasei and Kurokaki both knew that Lord Andero was also young and inexperienced – he might be reluctant to give the order. Kurokaki, though, was still counting on their father's reputation to prompt Lord Andero to give all his effort into this battle. Now was not the time to second-guess one's abilities.
"Be patient young Sutaakaki. Um…where is your helmet anyways?"
Fureasei's comments brought Sutaakaki's attention to the lack of a metal helm upon her head. She flustered brightly in embarrassment as she tried not to draw too much attention to her forgetfulness, though her older sister was already well aware. "I swear your head is everywhere except where it needs to be," Kurokaki scorned. In a surprising act though, Kurokaki leaned forward and pulled her helmet off and held it out to her sister. "Can't have you going into battle not properly dressed."
"I think your helmet might be a bit big for me," Sutaakaki answered, though accepted the helmet from her sister due to how correct she was.
"Then grab a sash or something and wrap it around your head." Heeding her sister's advice, Sutaakaki quickly found a length of cloth she didn't need and proceeded to wrap it around her head. She was still feeling grossly embarrassed over the whole ordeal but Sutaakaki tried not to let it show to her friend and sister, who were both containing their laughter.
A loud galloping caught their attention as they looked to a rider coming in from the direction of their base camp. It was just a messenger runner, which meant that their lord had finally given an order. "Lady Andero!" The runner called out.
"Which one?" Fureasei replied.
"Umm…the one leading the charge," the runner answered as his came slowed to a stop next to the three warriors. Kurokaki and Fureasei immediately pointed over to Sutaakaki, who was still trying to get her helmet on with one hand. "The Lord Andero has ordered that you take your cavalry and crush the forward enemy parties at our frontlines. Once they have broken ranks you are to continue your charge to the enemy frontlines and scatter their soldiers."
"You heard the man, get a move on sis," Kurokaki insisted while giving her sister's horse a slap on the behind, prompting it to start trotting towards the frontlines. "Our little girl goes out a princess and will come back a warrior."
"I pray that you are correct Komi," Fureasei replied softly, watching the princess hurry to the front. "We should move our cavalry into position; we will be expected to join the offensive on your sister's flanks. Would you care for the left or the right flank?"
"My people are already on the right flank. There's more open ground to cover but with those arquebuses soaked from the rain, it won't really matter which side I'm advancing from. I just hope I get a chance to meet some of those famous samurai under Keikoku and Chinou's command. I don't suppose you've heard the rumors about them?" The two began a steady trot to the frontlines
"I have heard numerous rumors but I don't pay attention to them unless something piques my interest. Which specifically are you referring to – the giant, the rock, or the devil?"
"Devil? Haven't heard that one."
"Supposedly one of Chinou's retainers is an actual devil with skin that burns like hot coals, giant horns sprouting from his head, and can spit searing flames from his lips. I hope for a chance to see if the rumors have any roots in reality."
"Great," Kurokaki sighed as she rolled her eyes. "First an undefeatable samurai, then a samurai made of rock, and now a fire-breathing devil. If anything, these rumours have at least given me something to look forward to in battle. Fighting those idiots from Echigo has gotten to be a bit repetitive after all these years. Speaking of which, haven't really heard much from them in a while."
"Well, ever since your father died, they have lost interest in us. There's also word that the threat from Keikoku's army has focused his attention to the possibility of invasion from him." The two came to a stop near the frontline, where they would need to part ways in order to meet with their respective troops. Fureasei paused with that contemplative look that Kurokaki was all too familiar with. "Do you believe that Keikoku might have the right idea though?"
"Everything…" Fureasei's last words left an air of confusion between the two but Kurokaki had learned long ago not to question her friend's contemplative remarks. She simply shrugged her shoulders and directed her horse to continue on to the right, forward flank.
"They're falling back!" The voices of her fellow warriors rang out through the entire forest. Sutaakaki's steed trotted slowly to the edge of the woods while she stared out to the black-armoured foot soldiers of Keikoku's army beat a hasty retreat back to their frontlines. Sutaakaki had arrived too late at the front for her spear to taste blood but there was still the main offensive ahead and its prospect of bloody combat to sate any bloodlust she might have. To her rear, the archers of the Andero army were already launching volleys of arrows at the enemy frontlines in order to thin their ranks and instill panic and fear amongst them.
"All units fall in!" Sutaakaki shouted as she raised her spear into the air. From the edge of the forests, more than a thousand horseback warriors emerged from the woods and form a line at its boundary. The rain was pelting down hard now but few even noticed the weather at this point. The open field lay before her…only a couple hundred meters of open field lay between her and her adversaries with only a small stream potentially impeding their charge. However, that was when her eyes fell upon the enemy frontlines for the first time that day.
Indeed the arquebusiers made the bulk of the frontline soldiers…but they took shelter behind massive wooden stockades that formed a staggered line across the length of their front. The number of arrows embedded into the wooden structures meant that the volleys were proving ineffective against the infantry's protection. Spears and rifle barrels extended from the openings in the stockades, creating a massive defensive front.
Her orders were to charge though…and charge she would.
"Andero cavalry…charge!" Her orders were echoed across the entire line as the thunderous roar of thousands of hooves began to beat upon the earth. The Andero cavalry swept across the open fields, mowing down the few stragglers of the retreating forces, yet there was no sign of the enemy formations breaking rank. Larger armies had scattered at the mere sight of a cavalry charge and yet the common foot soldier was managing to keep formation. Perhaps the gravity of the situation had yet to set in for the soldiers…
Or maybe they had no reason to fear the cavalry.
The rain was heavy; the arquebusiers were supposedly incapable of operating under such conditions. Whoever said that was dead wrong.
A terrifying crackle echoed through the entire frontline of the opposing army accompanied by thick clouds of smoke billowing from the wooden stockades. Cries and grunts of agony began to sound from the Andero ranks as the barrage of bullets struck down dozens upon dozens of warriors and their horses. The initial volley felled almost a hundred – acceptable loses by any warlord's standards. Now Sutaakaki had been told that even a good soldier took around fifteen to twenty seconds to reload their arquebus, which meant that the surviving cavalry would be able to span the remaining distance before many more volleys could be fired. Surely the enemy formations would scatter once the cavalry fell to within a few dozen meters of the frontlines. The order held – "Keep charging. Break their ranks before they can reload."
But the enemy lines didn't falter; nor did it take even half the time she was told for a second volley to be fired. A second wave of crackles and smoke came from the enemy stockades and once more dozens of her cavalry were shot down from their steeds. The second volley was even more devastating than the last due to the shorter range. By then, the remaining cavalry forces from the forest began their charge, joining the fight as Sutaakaki pressed on. Everyone on the frontlines began to wonder how the enemies could fire so quickly; little did they know the enemy arquebusiers had arranged themselves into three firing lines. When one fired, the other two were given time to reload. While each volley was less powerful, it allowed even the slow-firing arquebus to give a steady stream of gunfire on advancing troops. The stream only slowed the cavalry even further and left them exposed at an almost ideal range for the arquebusiers to deal maximum damage against them. Sutaakaki was only halfway across the stream when the third volley was fired and a tremendous force struck her in the head.
Her head snapped back, followed by the rest of her body as the momentum carried her off her horse and falling straight into the stream where her head smashed painfully against an exposed rock.
Only thanks to her helmet was she able to stay conscious after the fall, though incredibly dazed. Though her vision blurred and dazed, Sutaakaki could see her fellow warriors continuing to try and press forward. Every volley fired resulted in more of her comrades falling to the ground. Those that made it to the blockade were overwhelmed by the spearmen that awaited them as they were funneled into the openings between stockades. After almost a dozen volleys, confusion and panic began to set into the Andero ranks. Nobody was making it through…nobody. The last thing Sutaakaki saw her own sister calling for a general retreat and then darkness overtook her senses.
As the Andero cavalry began retreating back to their lines, the armies of Keikoku and Chinou began to pursue. Their cavalry was the first to charge out into the field, followed by thousands of infantry shortly afterwards. Across the entire field, the once invincible cavalry of the Andero clan lay in ruins. A whole generation of training and workmanship was destroyed by only ten minutes of gunfire.
"This can't be happening!" Kurokaki shouted in anger as she allowed her steed to come to a halt in the shelter of the forest. All around her, her comrades were fleeing back into the denser parts of the woods where the cavalry would have trouble catching up to them. Kurokaki had been forced to leave her spear on the field as she tried to hold into the horse's rein with one hand while the other applied pressure to an open wound in her shoulder.
"Lady Komi!" A familiar voice called out – it was Fureasei. He stopped just ahead of her and while he might have had a concerned look on his face, he was just as frustrated as Kurokaki was. "You cannot stop here. We must continue to pull back and form a rearguard for our lord's retreat."
"I can't keep riding with a wound like this," Kurokaki growled bitterly. Sighing reluctantly, Fureasei pulled up alongside his friend and with a quick motion, pulled her onto the back of his steed.
"Do you…know of your sister's whereabouts?"
"I…saw her fall on the field," Kurokaki reluctantly answered. "Along with most of our forward line."
Without the strength of their cavalry, the remaining soldiers of the Andero clan were vastly outnumbered and outmatched by Keikoku's army. Those that could fight would be charged with providing a rearguard while the generals and Lord Andero retreated from the field. Alas, those that try to stand their ground would surely be slaughtered without any chance of defending themselves.
When mid-afternoon rolled around, the rain had finally stopped and the sun was shining once more. The once noisy battlefields of Nagashino had fallen silent in favour of Keikoku's army. The fields, once green with plant life, were stained red with the blood of nearly five hundred horsemen. The only movement, aside from a gentle breeze, was that of the black-armoured soldiers of Keikoku's army that were scouring the field in search of survivors and the bodies of high-ranking officers.
In the midst of black-armoured figures, a single samurai dressed in blood red armour stood near the stream looking down at the unconscious Sutaakaki that lay half-submerged in the water. Horns protruded from his helmet and white tufts of hair were visible around his face, which bore skin that was as red as his armour and eyes as yellow as the sun. "Lord Shiruba-ura," he called out to another individual on the field. The man who answered was a hefty and stocky figure who had hair brimming from beneath his armour and helmet and an angered glare almost permanently etched onto his visage. The sunlight glistened off his silver-metallic shingled plating that contrasted with the dark garments worn underneath. He was certainly a massive figure, almost a whole head taller than the red-armoured samurai and almost twice as thick. If it weren't for the fact that he always looked angry, one might think he was irked by the request.
"What is it?" he asked in a deep, baritone voice.
"Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think the Andero use women in their cavalry," he remarked as he pointed to Sutaakaki. Shiruba-ura pondered audibly as he gazed upon the young woman, finally realizing whom it must've been.
"That must be Komi Andero – the one they called Kurokaki."
"Kurokaki? Odd name for somebody with nothing black on them."
"This coming from the person nicknamed 'Oni-kun' even though they aren't a child anymore?"
"Good point. Is she still alive?"
Shiruba-ura crouched and checked to see if she was still breathing. Despite the large bullet hole in her helmet, she appeared to be relatively unharmed. Though confusing at first, after pulling off the helmet and seeing the huge tear in the cloth wrapped around her head, it was obvious why the bullet failed to kill her and instead only left a grazing wound along her forehead. "She is merely unconscious," Shiruba-ura answered as he picked the girl up. "Lord Chinou will be pleased to have such a notorious figure as his prisoner."
"Yeah…but he's just going to give her over to Keikoku. He can be a bit of a suck-up at times…" the young red samurai muttered, much to Shiruba-ura's distaste.
"If it weren't for Keikoku, the Andero cavalry would've torn through our ranks like they were nothing. Our lord knows that Keikoku is not one to be opposed, so you will understand if our lord wishes to remain on good terms with him. Now continue searching while I deliver the prisoner."
"Oh no you don't! I'm the one who found her, I'm not letting you take all the credit," the red samurai promptly answered as he kept pace with Shiruba-ura en route to the base camp. They day had been won for the Keikoku army. Soon word would spread of this victory across the land and people would realize that this army was something to be feared. Even the once mighty armies of the previous decade were no match for him.
Every lord in the land would feel a little bit less secure after today.
History behind the Story:
The real Battle of Nagashino took place in 1575 between the Takeda and Oda-Tokugawa armies. Oda's new tactics using the arquebuses decimated the old tactics of the Takeda cavalry. Almost two-thirds of the Takeda army was destroyed in the battle, dealing them a crippling blow they never recovered from. The battle was considered a major turning point in the way war was fought at the time and established the arquebus as an effective, though problematic, weapon of war.