Amidst the screams of dying men and a wall of steel, a loyal vassal
clutches her child lord and makes good her escape, leaving her comrades to
hold off would be assassins.
She and her lord happen upon a house on the outskirts of a village and
enter. Seeing a sleeping samurai, she decides to do away with him before he
wakes and can harm her lord. She suddenly finds herself on the floor with
the supposedly sleeping samurai in an advantageous position.
The child-lord begs the samurai to spare his retainer. The samurai
explains that he wishes to hurt neither of them. They explain themselves and
introductions are made. The woman retainer is Tomoe Ame, and her master is
Lord Noriyuki. The samurai introduces himself as Miyamoto Usagi. Tomoe
Explains that they are being hunted by those loyal to Lord Hikiji - The
daimyo that had his own lord's family assassinated.
They are disturbed by voices outside, who demand that Lord Noriyuki be
turned over to them. Usagi appears, telling them he is less than
impressed. They rush him, and soon lay dead at his feet. Those that rushed
past him are dispatched by the blade of Tomoe Ame.
Usagi travels on with Lord Noriyuki, who takes him on as a yojimbo,
and they travel until late in the evening. A storm brews and against
Usagi's council, the find shelter in an inn. While there, Tomoe and
Usagi formally introduce themselves, Usagi explaining where he learned
his fighting style, and of his own lord, killed by the forces of
When morning dawns, they continue on. The storm having since moved on,
has left in its wake a swollen river which the travellers must cross. As
they approach the ferry, they are attacked from behind by more Hikiji
loyalists. Usagi holds them off while Tomoe makes for the ferry.
Carrying her lord, she shouts at the ferryman to hasten in casting off.
Instead, he pulls a blade and swipes at her, knocking her into the foaming
river and leaving Lord Noriyuki helpless on the jetty.
Not far away, Usagi has slain the would be assassins to find the
'ferryman' standing over Lord Noriyuki. He arrives on the scene in time,
decapitating the ferryman before he has the chance to finish the child.
With the immediate threat over, they can find no immediate sign of
Tomoe. After scouring the banks for several hours, they find her body face
down and unmoving, washed up against the rocks of the riverbank.
Lord Noriyuki fears the worst - Tomoe is dead.