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The Battle of Gohda Harbor was the final episode in the Burning Dawn Crisis, in which the Burning Dawn was destroyed by the forces of Gohda Matsunoshin. Heavy casualties on both sides marked the battle from beginning to end.

ConductEdit

PreludeEdit

After the Kansen Caverns were discovered by Rikimaru and Ayame, Kagami realized that the Azuma would discover her warship, the Fire Demon. She decided to launch immediately, ordering that Gohda Castle would be their first target. Ayame stowed aboard the Fire Demon, while Rikimaru raced back to the castle to inform Lord Gohda of the developments.

Running all day and night, Rikimaru arrived at Gohda Castle before the Fire Demon and reported the developments to his master. Gohda called a council of war, including his right hand man Sekiya Naotada and his commander, Tachibana Jubei. While the council was still in session, the Fire Demon arrived in Gohda Harbor. While alarm horns and bells rang, the ship fired an opening salvo, destroying part of the castle keep and killing two servants inside.

The Sea BattleEdit

Jubei was selected to lead the counterattack with a force of many samurai, assisted by Rikimaru. Fighting ship to ship, the samurai battled against the ninja, with Rikimaru stealthily sneaking by underwater and emerging only to snuff out another enemy. On a large galleon, he met his old foe, Suzaku. The two dueled, but Rikimaru emerged the victor and struck his enemy down.

"You lose...because the more enemies you get revenge on, the angrier and nastier you'll become, until you become as vicious and selfish as me..."
Suzaku
"I no longer seek vengeance, I merely serve a worthy master. I fight because I must."
Rikimaru

Rikimaru went on to board the Fire Demon, killing many of the ninja onboard. Jubei and his samurai boarded not long after, and successfully wiped out all the forces on deck.

Observing the progress of the battle from the forward watch tower, Kagami and Tatsumaru exchanged their final words with one another before Tatsumaru set off to fight the samurai. He revealed that his memory had returned, but he had stayed with Kagami not only because he, as a ninja, sought a place to die, but also because her dream of a world where ninja could live in the light was worth dying for. Kagami in turn confessed her love for him, wondering regretfully if things could have been different had they met at another time.

Tatsumaru descended to the deck and silently slaughtered Jubei's entire boarding party. He came across the samurai lord himself in the main courtyard of the ship, near where he had initially started. The two traded barbed insults, and then blows, but despite Jubei's heavier arms and armor, he fell to Tatsumaru.

Inside the ShipEdit

Ayame, who had hidden in the ship the whole way to the castle, observed the cannon fire from a cargo hold. Incensed at the danger Princess Kiku had been put in, she set out to kill her way to the deck and uphold her promise to kill Tatsumaru. Sneaking through the multileveled holds of the Fire Demon and its two support ships, she killed all the Burning Dawn ninja in her path and came to a grand staircase.

Just as she was about to ascend, Ayame was confronted by Genbu, who refused to let her hurt Kagami. She tried to persuade him to see Kagami's evil, but Genbu said that only Kagami had treated him as an equal, and for this she deserved his protection. Reluctantly, the two warriors clashed, and the quicker Ayame struck a death blow on Genbu.

"Nice girl, what's your name?"
Genbu
"Ayame."
Ayame
"Ayame...that's a nice name..."
Genbu (last words)

Pausing only for a moment beside the body of her foe, Ayame raced to the deck.

Final DuelsEdit

After dispatching Jubei, Tatsumaru passed along the bloodstained decks of the Fire Demon and stood on the port ship's foredeck, listening to the sounds of battle. Ayame emerged from the hold behind him and, sensing her presence, he angrily observed that he would have to kill her. The two ninja fought, moving acrobatically and wielding their blades with expert skill. In a sudden clash, both were disarmed, their weapons flicking up into the air. When Izayoi landed on the deck, Ayame took the blade, held it at Tatsumaru's throat...and hesitated. But what she could not do, he did himself, seizing the blade with both hands and impaling himself on it.

"Why, Tatsu...why..."
Ayame
"Unforgivable crimes...must be punished...the traitor must die..."
Tatsumaru (last words)

As a brokenhearted Ayame knelt beside her old friend's body, Rikimaru came across them. He said only her name, hesitantly, before she uncaringly threw Izayoi to him. Having fulfilled his oath to Azuma Shiunsai to recover the sword, Rikimaru set out to complete his final mission: killing Kagami.

He found her on a Noh stage at the far aft of the Fire Demon, practicing with her sword. Upon his arrival, her voice tinged with grief, she voiced her realization that Tatsumaru had died, for Rikimaru could not have made it to her if Tatsumaru still lived.

"Rikimaru, will you really put an end to my beautiful dream?!"
Kagami
"You killed the beauty of your dream, with the ugliness of your methods."
Rikimaru

The ninja clashed, Rikimaru wielding his clan's ancestral blade, Kagami at first toying with him and using her fan. When it became clear that Rikimaru had mastered his anger and become a terrifyingly deadly warrior, Kagami drew her katana and fought with all her skill. In the end it was not enough, and with a stroke Rikimaru cut her down.

"You think...you have destroyed my dream...by killing me...but my dream lives! You can not stop it from coming true because...we will pay any price...for freedom. Freedom! But you...only a fool follows the rules without questioning them...and fools can...never...stop...us..."
Kagami
"Hmph. I'll happily suffer the title of 'fool' if it means I can save even one life from your blood-drenched dream! Farewell, Kagami."
Rikimaru

EpilogueEdit

Despairing, her mission done, Ayame leapt off the ship soon after passing Izayoi to Rikimaru. Floating on a piece of driftwood, she planned to kill herself, until realizing that Kiku still needed her, and would be brokenhearted to lose Ayame so soon after her mother had died. Resolving to watch over her adoptive "sister", Ayame chose to live.

Rikimaru searched the ship for Ayame, but when he could not find her, he reported to Lord Gohda that the matter was concluded. Gohda ordered his archers to fire flaming arrows onto the Fire Demon.

Bleeding to death from her injury, Kagami managed to drag herself past the corpses of her enemies and her comrades until she finally found Tatsumaru's body. She clung to it as the fire arrows began to rain down, softly expressing a regret that she had never called him by his real name, and a wish that, in their next life, they would be together, and in a world where ninja could live in the light. With this, she set her head down on his chest and died.

When the fire on the ship struck the powder magazine, the Fire Demon exploded in a rush of flame, disappearing into the watery depths and taking the Burning Dawn with it.

CasualtiesEdit

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