Charlotte Samurai Shodown
Fan Fiction
--The website dedicated to all Samurai Spirits fans--~ver5.0~
Thunder and Redness
by Irene Trent
Homepage: Save the Sugar

Chapter 1

        It was another day at the seaside, and Charlotte and I were perched upon our "special rock," a promontory that beetled out into the vast Sea of Japan. It seemed so high, and the ocean hissed below. We thought we could see the whole world from there. Of course, to a six year old, it appeared so. I remember we'd take quite a climb to reach the top, and I held Charlotte's hand so she wouldn't trip over her mounds of dresses. How her mother scolded her for climbing in them. . . 
        We would always climb at sunrise, when our parents hadn't woken up, and bring some food. Charlotte always smuggled some delicious French pastries from her mother's pantry, and I usually brought rice cakes and tea. I never understood why my people couldn't get along with the Europeans; I did. They would always talk about doom and stuff. Of course, I had to be very careful with her, for her parents didn't trust the Japanese.
         Her father, Serge Cordeau, was a Catholic missionary, and he had come to Gairyu Isle due to a special request from the radical Christian daimyo, Shiro Tosikada Amakusa. The Tokugawa shogun banned foreigners from Japan, but that loathed Amakusa hired European missionaries behind Shogun's back. Amakusa purely despised my father, undoubtedly one of the most honorable Samurai Japan had ever seen, after he successfully impeded his Christian rebel armies. Father told me he would have been executed, but the Shogun at the time was foolish. He allowed that man to become daimyo over southern Kyushu, where the Christian rebels were, if Amakusa could force Shintoism on the backward peasants. Of course, he gladly took that position and pretended to rule as a true daimyo. He had his own force of Samurai and Ninja. But he was tricky, smuggling missionaries and erecting secret churches. Amakusa endowed Serge with gold and fortune for his efforts and had him purposely stationed right next to my father. Oh, how Father hated that pious man! I hated him too. Serge came to our home on Sundays and forced us to read the Bible. We refused the strict doctrines of Christianity for the more emotional Shintoism. He accused my father of countless sins, and was convinced my mother was a concubine. He always thought we were devils, and I would ask Father why, and Father would just tell me that a dishonorable man such as Serge could never look beyond the devil inside himself. I didn't understand what that meant. 
         I met and befriended Charlotte despite the conflict between our parents. I first met her in my garden, across a small red bridge. She had golden hair and big, blue eyes. She skipped over and asked me to play, and I ran home to my mother, frightened. I had never seen something like her. Mother smiled at her and told me she was a nice girl, and she always watched us play near the sea shore. It was so innocent, for we had no clue about what was around us. But I noticed that when she watched us, she had this sad look on her face, and I wondered why she would watch something so sad. Charlotte and I had our own happy world in the clouds, surrounded by a bubble that nothing could break but time. . .and Amakusa. The memories of the grotesque deaths of my parents flash before me like white lightning. 

        That morning, Charlotte and I planned to meet on our rock. It never occurred to me as we splashed our tiny feet in the ocean that it would be the last day like this. I would never see her innocence again. Her eyes were so innocent, and her fair beauty seemed such a rarity. Of course, she was the only foreigner I had come in contact with. Her lemon locks nearly blinded me at first sight. She was such a radiant child, so full of life. . . 
        We peered down onto Gairyu Isle below. It was so still. Not a soul had moved, not a candle was lit. As she lay her head onto my shoulder, I listened to a lone seagull cry above the sea, waiting for the perfect fish. Other than that, the tranquil hissing of the ocean was the only sound. I watched her delicately bite into a pastry with the most refined manner and wipe the flaky crumbs from her lips. She offered me a piece, and I declined. For some reason I wasn't hungry that morning, although I had no foreboding of what would come in only minutes. 
        But soon he came. It started with a light rumbling, and a blazing yellow light in the far distance. It looked so mystical the way the radiance blended with the indigo morning sky, making a magical purple color. All at once, a cherry tree exploded with scurrying black birds. 
        "Look!" Charlotte exclaimed. "The sunrise is early this morning!" 
        I shook my head with skepticism. After all, the bright light came from the southern direction. Then I began to get a bad feeling, and the food I ate felt like rocks in my stomach. I felt this rumbling, which started slowly at first, like the thunderstorms I was so scared of. 
        The rumbling became more violent, and our rock began to tremor. I looked in awe as tiny shards plopped into the rippling waters below. It was too dangerous on this cliff; we had to get down. At first, I guessed that a volcano was nearing, although I couldn't recall an active mountain. Yes, any minute, lava would spew from the ground, and its fiery spit would destroy everything in sight. Oh, even a volcano would have been better! 
        The yellow flames spread rapidly across Gairyu Isle, and then I heard the screams, followed by a parade of black horses, mounted by samurai in durable, metal armor shooting flamed arrow points at the homes with bows. It was no volcano. 
        I looked at the grisly scene in horror. One by one, the wooden homes with their paper walls crumbled beneath the flames and dissolved into black nothingness. Children ran frantically around, searching for their mothers; some were trampled to death under the hooves of the black horses. And their screaming ended. One little girl in a pink kimono-who was a couple years older-wailed, holding a small white kitten. I heard a loud pop from the distance, and that girl crumpled to the ground; the kitten scampered away, it's snowy fur tainted with blood. Those who had escaped their burning homes only ran into the arms of merciless Samurai who hacked them into bloody pulps with their swords. I saw mothers guard their children with their faces in anguish. Their husbands who tried to stop the armies were decapitated, and then I heard more loud pops, and more men and women and children crumpled to the ground. The places where the coast was level with the water were stained with blood, as the waves lapped up the carcasses from the shore. I immediately searched the ground for my father, for he would have stopped this! I expected him at anytime to rise and defeat those bad men! But he never came. 
        The men on black horses came closer, and I could see that they had bows and were shooting flaming arrows all around until nearly the whole coast was ablaze. I could hear them screaming over the flame and cries of the people, waving flags and banners of crosses and goblets and a man with a beard; I couldn't understand why such kind-looking man would be on the flags of devils. 
        I heard what they were saying: "Remember Shimabara!" They cried over and over again. 
        "Come on, we have to get out of here!" I cried, grabbing her dainty hand, but she wouldn't budge. She just stood there, frozen in awe. The army of black horses was advancing near our homes, aimlessly hurling torches at them. 
        "M-mama," she cried, tears swelling in her eyes. She clung to me and looked longingly at me, as if I could stop this massacre. 
        "Come, Charlotte, we've got to get out of here!" I kept telling her, but she seemed deaf to my words. I could have left her, for the fire was closing in on our rock, and the ground trembled below from the stampede. However, I had remember my father's words: I was to never leave the side of my friend, so I stayed with her and pleaded for her to move. 
        "Come on!" I kept crying, but it didn't sink in. How I wanted to curse her for being so stupid! 
        All of a sudden, a torch had crashed right on our rock. Charlotte jumped in fear. Her tiny foot entangled in the lace of her petticoat, and she slipped over the cliff, releasing the most deafening scream. 
        "Charlotte!" I cried, looking out into the ocean. 
        I thought I had lost her, until I looked below, and there she was, hanging from a piece of rock that jutted from the edge. Tears streamed down her porcelain face. "Haohmaru, help me!" she squealed, kicking her feet in terror. Her dress had torn. 
        I reached out my arm, beckoning her to reach it. Looking back, the fire from the torch had expanded, devouring everything in sight. If I didn't get her out of there fast, it would char our skins. 
        "Grab my hand!" I called to her. 
        She made small efforts to try and reach me, but she was far too low for my reach. Looking into her eyes, I saw dire fear; looking at her delicate hands slipping from the crag, I was nearly determined to save her from a watery grave. If I were to let her die, then I could never face anyone again. It would dishonor my father. I would have jumped off the cliff myself if she had fallen. 
        The fire was gaining on us; it's crackling and hissing and roaring approached with great speed, engulfing everything around it. I could fell its heat sear my skin, and sweat dripped into my eyes, blurring my vision. Charlotte was losing her breath, and her screams turned into rasps of pure terror. I attempted to grab a nearby stick, but the fire voraciously devoured it before I touched it. All hope plummeted. . . 
        Until a large figure appeared through the flames. I looked behind me, and the tall figure of Charlotte's father stood before me like an ominous mountain. The man hated my father; he hated me, and before rushing to his daughter's rescue, he gave me an irate glare. 
        "Charlotte!" he cried, with his rich, French accent. 
        "Papa!" she rasped, kicking her feet. 
        He peered over the edge of the cliff, and saw his precious daughter on the brink of death: "Oh, sacre bleu! Charlotte!" 
        He reached out his hand and grasped her arm; he was large enough. Serge hefted his daughter up and over the crag to safety. "Oh, Charlotte, my dear. . ." he cooed, tightly embracing her. She shook in his arms, still in shock from the incident. Her cries were stifled by her profound breathing, and she hyperventilated from the smoke. "Come, let's get out of here before the fire burns us." 
        He carried her out of the flames, and I tentatively followed. Observing them, I began to think of my own father, and wishing his arms could have comforted me. . .but he was somewhere else. 
        She let go of her father and looked at me, her hair limp and ashen, and her dress soiled. Breaking into fresh peels of sobs, she ran towards me, but she was suddenly restrained. Her father had grabbed her by the collar. Our small bodies stood in the shadow of his wrath, and to make it worse, Charlotte's spiteful brother Jean approached me. He folded his arms and sneered, backing up his father. Serge protectively grasped Charlotte's arm and glared at me. 
        "You. . ." he rasped, swelling with anger, "look at what you have done, you spawn of the Devil! Child of Satan, you are!" 
        I trembled, for he seemed so large in comparison. He continued his ranting, comparing me to Christian demons: "Damn you! Damn you to Hell, you little serpent! You fiend! Because of your father, our home has been burned down, and you tried to murder my daughter. The light of God had shone upon me since she had not fallen. . ." 
        "But she slipped!" I protested. "I would never try--" 
        "Silence, boy!" he boomed. "You are a disgraceful child, and you and your father and your whorish mother have done nothing but raise havoc!" 
        "Look at what you've done, yellow filth!" Jean spat. "Look at what you've done!" 
        Their words stung my heart, and the words of dishonor to my father, my most revered idol, and degrading my mother, made me cry. I knew, even at that age, that my parents had done nothing wrong. They were good citizens, and Father was one of the Shogun's most well-respected warriors. And, listening to those petty Frenchmen made me cower and whimper like a battered puppy. I wanted to run home to my father and away from their reeking bodies, but when I attempted to run, Serge thwacked me on the back with his cane. The pain shot through my body like a searing knife. I fell to the ground, sobbing. 
        "Before you run home to that fiendish father of yours, you must confess your sins to the Lord!" 
        The pious man thrust his hand into the smoky air, then pointed to the ground. I would never conform to that religion. My father wouldn't; my father would resist until a bitter death. He was a devout Shintoist, who prayed daily to the kami and lived harmoniously with nature. I knew he wanted me to the same. I had to be brave; I had to stand up to them. There was no Lord! 
        I firmly shook my head. 
        "Confess, yellow boy!" 
        I didn't move. "No!" I declared. 
        He hit me again, this time in the leg. Oh, the pain was pulsing, and it hurt so! In remembering my father, I knew I still had to stand my ground. 
        "Confess to Our Father, the Lord!!" he cried over the crackling of the dying fire. 
        "No! The Lord is not my father!" 
        He hit me again. 
        "How dare you insult the Almighty Father. In the name of the Lord, confess or be damned, demon!" 
        In the name of my father, let me be damned! 
        I shook my head in refusal. 
        His eyes narrowed, and he gritted his teeth. His body shook with rage. "You little SNAKE!" he bellowed, and thwacked me again on the head. 
        Everything around me disappeared in a black void: the fire, Serge, the ocean, Charlotte, who was sobbing all the while. It encircled me, until I fell into a deep, dreamless sleep. I crumbled to the ground.

        When I awoke, I noticed a group of people standing around me. They were talking about something, and their voices sounded muffled from the ringing in my ears. My head throbbed with pain, and my vision was blurred. I placed my hand to my head, and felt something warm and wet. When I looked, it was covered in blood. The cane had made a gash on the right side of my head, The world seemed to spin about me, and the familiar shapes of the people and the mountains and the clouds were distorted images. They expanded and contracted before me. It began to make me nauseous, and I vomited on what I thought was a shoe. 
        "Oh, you despicable animal!" Jean quickly drew back his foot. "He just retched on my fine Italian boot!" 
        Then I realized where I was. The people standing around me was Charlotte's family. They were discussing something. With time, I could make out their voices. 
        "Serge, we must leave here now!" I heard Charlotte's mother demanded. "Look what this man you worked for has done to our home!" 
        "Well, Josephine, this man has provided us with a decent living. He has made us wealthy. Why, when we return home, we will be as rich as the nobility!" 
        "But. . .but look at what he's done! He has ruined this town, our home, and murdered Haohmaru's parents! Our daughter was nearly killed!" 
        "It wasn't Amakusa, it was. . .that ghastly child! And besides, if it wasn't for Amakusa, we would be mere peasants! And you won't be able to by that expensive tea set from Africa you've always wanted if we quit Japan now!" 
        "I'm not staying here any longer with that diabolical man! Our family is too important! I'm taking the children and going back to France!" 
        "Fine, you go back an indebted country with a selfish king who leeches our money to buy for himself! I'm staying here!" 
        "Mama, he's awake!" Charlotte cried. 
        I sat up, rubbing my sore head. She ran over to me and gave me a hug. 
        "Haohmaru, are you okay?" she asked. 
        "My. . .my head hurts. . ." I whispered. 
        "I'm sorry, Haohmaru. . .I'm so sorry." 
        "Where's-where's my father?" I whimpered. "I want to go home." 
        She looked at me, and that look I never forgot. Her face turned pale, and her blue eyes glossed over in tears. I saw her white lips tremble as she whispered those cold words. "Haohmaru, your-your parents are dead." 
        She broke into tears; I, however, was in shock. I couldn't believe it at first; it seemed so unreal. 
        "Are they. . .really?" I asked her. 
        She slowly nodded her head. 
        All of a sudden, I felt the most utter loneliness I'd ever felt in my entire life. The world seemed empty and barren, without any reason to live. I fell to the cold ground in despair and howled at the sky with anguish, feeling like I was falling into a deep, black pit of nothingness that I could never escape. I wanted to scream as loudly as I could I wanted to pound my fist into the ground. The despair took over, and I wanted to do something beyond humane. The familiar shapes of the seaside whizzed by me into an orange blur swallowing me up I was falling, falling into the blackness and redness swirled around me and I had to get out I had to!. It made me want to do something insane! The confusion and anguish flustered me! I had to escape from it! Even when I held my head in my dirty hands for a sense of stability, thinking that would make the world stand still and become clear to me, I felt like I wanted to run somewhere. 
        I saw the redness for the very first time in my life. 
        Josephine ran over to me, choking me with her plump arms. She mashed my face into her large bosom, repressing my sobs. I broke free from her arms and ran towards that cliff, trying to escape the chaos around me I had to get away from there before it swallowed me please don't let it swallow me up like it did my father I have to get out someway somehow so I ran and I ran and ran towards the cliff I had to get away I had to get away and end it all I had to break through that tangled chaotic world and I wanted to run, run, run and jump over the cliff the very cliff that Charlotte nearly fell from. 
        Charlotte and her mother quickly pursued me, as if they knew what I was about to do. They couldn't stop me! They couldn't! I had to do what I had to! Living in this world had no meaning without my father. Quicker and quicker I ran towards the edge. The hissing ocean beckoned from below, a choppy bed of spikes. 
        "Haohmaru, don't do it!" Charlotte cried, dashing towards me. 
        "Sacre bleu, child, you mustn't!" her mother called, just behind her daughter. She was obese and out of shape. Her face was already red and beaded with sweat. 
        I had reached the edge. This was it. I prepared myself for my final leap. 
        "Haohmaru, stop!" Charlotte cried. 
        "There's nothing you can do," I told her. 
        But just as I was about to jump, she said something that brought my inhibitions back. 
        "But you are invited to live in France with us!" she smiled. 
        I turned around and looked at her. She appeared so full of hope. 
        I suddenly felt shameful for what I was about to do. I could imagine my father standing over me, scolding me. It would have not been something he wanted me to do. Then I remembered the vow I had made to him: that I would become a legendary Samurai as he was. No way could I fulfill that in France, a country that would scorn me anyway. 
        I slowly walked away from the edge and towards her. 
        "Charlotte. . .I can't live with you in France. I made a promise to my father. . .to become a Samurai, and I won't break it." 
        She glared at me, and stomped her foot. "I hate you, Haohmaru!" she cried, and ran off. 
        I froze in awe. How could she have said such a thing?! 
        I sputtered, trying to curse her, but I was so enraged at the series of calamities that I choked on my words. Instead I hurled a rock in her direction, but she had walked out of its range, and I missed. 
        It was at that time that I just wanted to break my bonds with all people. It seemed that each person I loved turned away from me. The rest of my family had died from tuberculosis or fish poisoning, and my parents were all I had left, and then they were gone. I loved Charlotte, but she spat on me for declining her offer. So, in protecting myself from hurt, I made all efforts to avoid people. People were trouble; wherever there was people, there was hurt. 
        I decided to set out on a journey. Gairyu Isle was unlivable. It lay in ashes. . . all except for my home. I figured that before I left, I needed some resources; however, knowing that my dead parents lie in that house, I was reluctant to enter. The sun was rising higher into the sky, and tiny rays peeked through the smoke. I didn't think the sun would ever shine on this town again. On my way to the house, I tripped upon an charred corpse. I yelped when I saw its empty whites of his eyes sunken deeply into his skull (assuming it was a man). 
        My home just didn't seem the same; it was just merely a house. It looked the same as always, but it wasn't home to me. It was more like a cemetery. All had become silent; the breeze ceased its blowing, the gulls stopped their raucous caws, and not a voice was heard. I felt as I were the only living thing in the world. 
        I stepped inside and removed my shoes. It was dark. I walked very slowly towards my room until I stepped on something damp. I withdrew my foot, which was covered in blood. My heart let into my throat. That was the blood of my mother and father. I sobbed more, and fell into the puddle of blood, which covered my right cheek. It was still warm. Feeling that blood filled me with rage, all directed at Amakusa. 
        "Damn you!" I cried, shaking my fist in the air. "Damn you to the Christian Hell!" 
        The blood trickled from my parents' bedroom. I slowly followed it. The shoji screen was nearly closed. I slid it open, closing my eyes at first but then opening them to the most detestable sight I'd ever seen. 
        My mother had been stripped of all her clothing, which lay at a heap beside her. There were slashes on her breasts and on the insides of her thighs. She was probably raped. My father lay on his back, with a knife plowed into his back. Both their bodies were cold and stiff. They lay next to the low table they had in their room, and there was a taper. Smoke still spiraled from the wick, as if it had died just as they. I saw shards of porcelain scattered across the floor, and a greenish liquid spotted the tatami mats. They had been having their morning tea. At first, the sight of them was shocking and grotesque, so horrible for a young six-year-old to see. I figured that they'd been murdered by Amakusa's Ninja; they struck fear in the hearts of all that weren't Christian. But then, I felt I had to avenge them, and they had no right to die. Just looking at them angered me, and I wished that it was Amakusa lying dead with the knife in his back. 
        On the knife that lay in my father's back, there was a piece of paper tied to it. I slowly unraveled it, and read the scrawled note:

Therefore, as the tongue of fire devours the stubble, and as dry grass sinks down into the flame, so their root will be as rottenness, and their blossom go up like dust; for they have rejected the law of the Lord of hosts, and have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.
Isaiah 5:24

        I didn't quite understand what the note meant, but I knew it's message was mean. 'Fire' and 'rottenness' and 'dust' were bad words. Oh, I would stop that bastard! I would stop him for sure! I would find him and kill him! I crumpled up the note and hurled it against the wall. I would put an end to that evil Christianity. 
        Then I noticed another note, right next to my father's limp hand. I picked it up and read it:

Fulfill your destiny, Haohmaru. . .

        My eyes filled with tears. 
        "Yes, Father. . ." I said aloud. 
        The end of the note had one long, stray ink mark that cascaded down the page. There were a few spots of his blood at the bottom. I put it in my pocket to treasure it forever. I still have that note. 
        And I said I would fulfill my destiny. I decided to leave this place. I couldn't be reminded of this and I didn't want to face any people. I found a large, brown sack, and stuffed all of my father's clothing into it, as well as many books, money, and his diary (for encouragement). All the stuff I had accumulated had made it quite heavy. Then I looked in the corner of the room, and saw his legendary Fugu blade leaning against the wall. 
        It was the most beautiful katana I had ever seen, and Father was going to give it to me when I turned fifteen, but he was gone now. I picked it up very carefully. The sheath was made from black lacquer, and it refracted the light perfectly with its smooth finish. It got its name from Fugu, a delicacy of raw puffer-fish. The puffer-fish contained toxins in their glands, and if not extracted well, these toxins could kill quickly. And with his blade, my father killed his enemies as quick as the Fugu killed those who ate it. It felt so heavy in my frail arms. When I looked at my distorted reflection in the black lacquer, I could have sworn I saw my father staring back at me. 
        After mustering all my essentials for travel, I set out on the journey. All alone. 
        I didn't look back. 

Chapter 2

"Samurai Shodown Forever" is a non-profit fan site. Samurai Shodown, Samurai Showdown, Samurai Spirits are Copyrights of SNK. Most of the images here are taken from SNK homepage. No part of this webpage may be reproduced in any form or by any means, without permission from C.K. Gan. This page is best view with I.E. 5 or Netscape 4 at 800*600