- "This is the ancestral sword, Izayoi, the spirit of the Azuma Ninja."
- Azuma Shiunsai
Izayoi (十六夜) is the sword of the Azuma Ninja Master, a sign of the office and a deeply important historical artifact of the clan. It was also a powerful weapon in its own right, certainly deadly in the right hands and possessed magical powers.
History and UsersEdit
Izayoi seems to have been wielded by the Azuma Ninja for countless generations; by the time of the war with the Burning Dawn, it is treated with great reverence by all the Azuma Ninja. Though it belonged to Azuma Shiunsai while he was Master Ninja, in his advanced age he had taken to using a cane-sword instead. The Azuma-lineage and Izayoi was passed down to Tatsumaru when he inhereted the rank of Master Ninja. "Today you replace me.... as Master Ninja. May honor guide your hand." -Azuma Shiunsai in Tenchu 2.
Tatsumaru, who preferred Azuma taijutsu, wore Izayoi across the back of his hips, usually only drawing it to deliver a stealth kill to an unsuspecting enemy. When drawn into a duel with a powerful foe, however (such as Azuma Shiunsai and Ayame), he would draw the weapon and use it either conventionally or with an unorthodox reverse grip.
When Tatsumaru and Lady Kagami fell into the sea after their duel, he was presumed lost and the clan sword with him. Upon his return to the Azuma Ninja Village as Seiryu (the Blue Dragon, one of the four lords of the Burning Dawn), Tatsumaru used the sword of the Izayoi to slay his former master, Azuma Shiunsai, with a thrust to the chest. Shortly thereafter, he struck Rikimaru across his right eye with Izayoi; thus the sword had slain its former master and scarred its future master.
Dying , Azuma Shiunsai ordered Rikimaru to recover the sword. This was completed at the Battle of Gohda Harbor, in which Tatsumaru himself died at the point of Izayoi. Rikimaru took possession of the sword and used it to slay Lady Kagami.
Izayoi would remain in Rikimaru's possession for the rest of its known history, with a single exception of one year. While rescuing Princess Kiku from Lord Mei-Oh, Rikimaru, Ayame and the princess became trapped by a cave-in. Passing the sword to Ayame, Rikimaru lifted the boulder blocking their path, sacrificing himself to save the others. Outside the ruins of the cave, Ayame, now the last of the Azuma, stuck Izayoi in the snow, as a monument to her clan brother.
When he returned a year later, Rikimaru recovered Izayoi and returned to using it as his primary weapon.
Izayoi is a straight-bladed ninjato, slightly longer than the average ninja sword depicted in the Tenchu series. The blade has a pronounced hamon, a square hand guard and a decorated hilt and grip. It originally had a gold-inlaid blue sheath, but this may have been lost with Tatsumaru and the Fire Demon, as neither Rikimaru nor Ayame are shown taking the sheath with them.
Izayoi is magical, as it was displayed in the "Lime Stone Caverns" in Tenchu 3 (when Izayoi fell from the sky and was embedded into the ground, at that point began supernaturally vibrating before being struck by lightning releasing Rikimaru from the portal). On the one hand, the Azuma Ninja are known to use supernatural items and powers, so the idea that their clan weapon would have powers of its own is not unrealistic. On the other, such powers are rarely displayed and the sword is even broken at one point (though it is quickly repaired, and this is the only time is it known to have been damaged).
Izayoi, for all that it is an enemy of the Azuma's enemies, also has a tragic history relating to its masters. Two of its wielders, Azuma Shiunsai and Tatsumaru, died from thrusts of Izayoi to the chest and Rikimaru acquired his distinctive eye scar from a slash of Izayoi.