Join Date: Jan 2008
The sky was overcast and shadows played across the pier. Oroko Shadou was nearly invisible as he stood silently waiting on his former pupil to arrive. A figure dropped off of a container ship, its cape flapping behind. It was followed by another, almost identical but smaller form. Their eyes glowed an eerie green as they approached where Shadou stood motionless. Oroko nodded in satisfaction as only one well trained in the ninja arts could have picked him out of the shadows.
Shadow Hawk and Raptor approached Sensei Shadou. Shadow Hawk bowed and placed his right fist over his heart pledging his allegiance to his former master. Raptor did the same. Shadou wondered but a moment as to who this other person was. But he brushed it out of his mind for now. It seemed in his absence John Dark had taken his own apprentice.
The trio moved away from the water and disappeared down a side ally that led to a rusty iron door. Oroko Shadou pushed it open and motioned them inside. He had taken refuge here while waiting on his allies to arrive. Shadow Hawk appraised the older man up and down confirming to his master’s identity to himself. He was still wary of some sort of trick. But he had to admit it this were a trap someone had done their homework. Finally satisfied he pushed back his cowl to present his own face to Oroko.
“John my boy, who is this you have brought with you?”
Raptor stepped forward and removed her own mask as John introduced them “Sensei this is my wife and partner, Alicia.”
Oroko Shadou smiled like a proud father would smile to see his son happy. In a way John Dark was like the son he never had. Not only was he one of his finest students but also a trusted friend “it is good to see you both. Let me tell you what I know then you can fill me in on what I don’t.”
The Shadow Master explained his recon over the last few days, told them of his waking up in his own grave and digging himself out. Alicia seemed amazed by his miraculous recovery and John simply seemed shocked. After Oroko finished his tail John cleared his throat loud enough that it echoed in the cavernous warehouse.
“I don’t know how to tell you this” he began “but Ryu Kamakura is the one who killed you. He took up the Sword of Leadership and ran you through with it. Then he banished me from the clan. I tried to fight him at first but he had found a source of power that I had never seen before. That is when he began calling himself Shinobi Blade. He was much too powerful for me alone and he had the clan behind him.”
John paused for a moment to let that sink in “I went back to America and trained others to help me clean up my own city. I am ashamed to say that I left the problems here forgotten. For without you I did not think it was my place to intervene. I have crossed paths with Shinobi Blade since. We have fought against each other several times and even on occasion together briefly when our interests coincided. I had no idea that things here had gotten so out of hand. It is surprising to me that he is raising an army. I thought all he wanted was leadership of the Taka.”
Oroko’s heart was crestfallen as he chewed over what he had been told “Ryu betrayed me, betrayed the clan? And still they support him? You should have been chosen as my successor not that vile snake. He should have been excommunicated” the old master said this as he turned away “well now that I have returned I will rectify that at least.”
“But Sensei how is it you returned?” John asked
“I am not entirely sure but I feel it has something to do with the shadow power. It has taken years but I believe it has mended my body and made it whole once more. But being dead has left my mind fragmented. I do not remember all the knowledge that I once knew. I am sure of that.”
“If we reveal you to the Taka Clan will they accept you as their rightful leader?” Alicia asked hoping it was as simple as that.
Oroko Shadou shook his head negatively “clan politics are more intricate than that. Ryu possessing the Sword is enough for him to be their leader. I will have to defeat him in combat to reclaim the title. I am not sure that I can do that. I think John would have a better shot of beating him than I would.”
“Wasn’t the Sword of Leadership lost?” Alicia asked John “the Rook had told us that Shinobi Blade had joined the Templar briefly and that the sword he had brought with him was destroyed along with all the other Archangel Blades.”
“That is true” John replied “what happens if Kamakura is no longer in possession of the Sword of Leadership?”
“If the clan knew this they would have to exile him and chose a new leader from amongst their greatest warriors. Then a new talisman would have to be found to replace the sword.”
“So you think Ryu has hidden the fact that he no longer has the Sword?” John asked.
“It is the only explanation. That may be our way in. I will demand to see the Sword of Leadership and he will be honor bound to comply” Oroko Shadou replied “but I still don’t believe he will step down peacefully.”
“Then we will need a backup plan” John decided with a look of determination in his eyes.