Keke Palmer as #Sasha
CHAPTER 1...BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATERS
As I said before, Sasha should have been the Enforcer; she is far more worthy of it, with even more talent to warrant the position. Yet, she refused it and never told me or anyone else why.
She came here when she was just a child, in the Fleshworld her parents were missionaries in Japan. They were murdered only a few months after arriving because of their beliefs. She was orphaned, utterly alone, a hopeless situation but we are so narrow in our understanding of hope.
Of how the world works in general!
An old man in the village found and saved her. He lived alone, a total recluse, existing among the shadows, invisible to the remaining population of the small town. He was dismissed and ignored as a simple hermit with a mysteriously concealed past. Little did they know what an impressively epic life he had lived. But he was a ghost by choice.
Why, you might ask.
To hide his true identity so he might find some small morsel of peace while living out his remaining days. He was a hunted man, hunted for what he was, what he had done, and the unimaginable skills he possessed,the last of the Samurai, the mightiest and noblest of warriors. He was a hero of the past, reduced to a vague memory with no sense of home or family. She was weak, starving, isolated, destined to die and be forgotten. He existed only as a legend, one that no one told anymore. She needed a savior. He needed a purpose. They found each other and hope was able to maintain its credibility, at least for the moment.
She was only eight when he came across her digging for scraps among the trash, paper thin, shivering uncontrollably. Compassion immediately possessed his soul and he rescued her from the cold invisibility of her predicament. He took her into his home, nursed her back to health. It took months to salvage her strength and spirit. Her sorrow surrounded her like a wet wool coat, weighing her down, steadily crushing any resolve.
He tried everything to soothe her tortured soul, but the damage and sadness ran too deep. She was drowning in it and he couldn’t cast a lifeline that she would trust. It all seemed such a tragic lost cause.
Yet, another unbearably harsh punch line to Fate’s ensemble of cruel and callous jokes.
Then one day, while aimlessly roaming the dark halls of his home, as she often did, she came to a room that had never been opened to her before. She peered in with what little curiosity was left to drive her. There she saw a strange man, strong and immense, moving gracefully through the air, movements that looked more like art than mere calisthenics. His aged and wrinkled hands flowed poetically in perfect unity with his legs and torso, demonstrating perfect balance with each sway, stance, and joust. He performed perfectly choreographed, masterfully complex, routines effortlessly yet with pure prowess. She was frozen in awe, terrified that if she moved, just an inch, she would miss something.
He then retrieved a blade from its wall mount and began majestically slicing through the air with such deadly simplicity; it was if it was a natural appendage instead of shimmering katana. Each gesture was more inspired than the next. Time stopped, and so did her heart. He relinquished the blade back to its cherry wood housing surrounded by all manner of ancient armaments. There were staffs adorned with a rainbow of splendidly colored flags, javelins with sharp, biting tips whose dramatic points could be felt just by the mere sight of them. Ornate, intricately crafted bows and arrows, peculiar axes on long staffs, and many more weapons that simply baffled her as to what their purpose or use might be.
She was truly entranced, so much so, she did not realize when he noticed her shadow as it slowly inched across the wooden floor into the large room painting the bamboo wall behind him. He stopped immediately and cautiously approached her.
“Who are you?” She whispered still mesmerized by his presence.
At first, he stood in silence. No longer did his age define him. All of the scars of time faded away in an instant, and now, standing before her was the man he used to be. He was once again an undeniable truth defining a legend, untainted and brutally sincere. He filled the room with his presence, owning every inch of it. Staring deep into her innocent eyes he bore witness to something that had abandoned him long ago. It was admiration, the unmistakable evidence of respect. He paused and breathed deeply as he carefully crafted the delicate answer to her question.
“I am Hiroyuki,” he solemnly began, “the last of the Samurai.”
Puzzled, she gently asked, “What is a Samurai?”
“They were the noble warriors of Japan, meant to protect those who could not protect themselves,” he soberly explained. “We were justice in places that justice did not dare tread before. We were the bushi, living by a code that defines all that is chivalry and honor.”
“You said you were the last,” she carefully continued. “What happened to all of the rest?”
It is in the eyes of this foreign child, an alien in a world she will never
understand, that he sees his final purpose. It is a stark and bitter revelation that invades every facet of his essence. Her questions ravage his heart, and the tears, held hostage for so many years, begin to escape without reservation or obstacle.
“They are all gone, kodomo,” he lamented. “They have become the spirits that give the stars their dominance and brilliance in the oceans of the sky. I have been tasked as the final keeper of their flame.”