The Last Samurai: Souls and Memories

Memories can be forgotten, but the past is set in stone.

Tamashi Takahashi, a 12 year old boy robbed of his family and village by the tyrannical Emperor Kuno Satsugai, sets out to avenge his people. Along the way he is reunited with an old friend and warrior, Kenji Kotai.
Life is put on the line as they venture to-and-fro, meeting new friends and enemies along the way, and strive to bring justice upon the oppressors, and liberation to the oppressed


14. Lukas Graymark

Tamashi sighed as he sat at a table with Kenji in the tavern, the tavern was filled with many soldiers and citizens overall. They were mostly all drunk and one of the group's of citizens were having a drunken brawl. 
“You're lucky your leg isn't broken, it's a bit bruised and cut up. If there was more weight on that leg when that pillar fell it would've fractured or even worse, snapped.” Kenji spoke, taking a drink of his sake from a canteen. 
“The general, when he first found me he said something about a prophecy. Do you know anything about this?” Tamashi asked. 
“Not that I know of, I guess I could look into it.” He said, closing one eye, “ But from now on I'm not letting you out of my sight, I refuse to let you die.”
“Alright, fine.” Tamashi muttered, rolling his blue eyes. 
Tamashi turned to look at the tavern fight, giving a sigh. He watched a large man punching a guard. 
Kenji drank some more sake vigorously, chuckling quietly and standing up, soon going over and tapping the burly opponent on the shoulder.
“Evening.” He said, giving a savage grin.
“Scram, rat.” The man said.
Kenji sighed, stretching, then suddenly slamming the bottom of his fist on top of the man’s head, shooting him into the floorboards.
“Have fun being an earthworm.” Kenji said, the drunken patrons laughing wildly as he grinned. 
Tamashi stood up and limped out of the tavern, he leaned on the wall of the tavern and looked up at the night sky. 
He heard a voice coming from the forest, he gave a curious look before he began to make his way towards the forest. His curiosity was getting the best of him, he knew he had to stay with Kenji but he felt he needed to know what that voice was. 
As he entered the forest all he could hear were the sounds of the frogs, crickets, and owls. 
The voice returned, beginning to sound like a man’s voice. The voice was humming a tune he had not heard of before. He followed the sound of the voice, soon coming towards a lake, he saw a light and heard the crackles of a fire going. 
Tamashi came towards the fire and looked over to see a man with emerald green hair, that looked about the age of fifteen. He had brown eyes with a black cotton shirt, brown pants, and brown fur that went around his neck and connected to straps that went from his left shoulder down to his right hip that connected into a belt. He wore brown fingerless gloves and had a battle axe attached to his back.
The man stopped humming gave a sigh, cooking his food over the fire with a yawn. He took out a satchel from the equipment he had and opened it up, there was a priceless crown from a prince. 
Tamashi tried to sneak over to a more hidden place, he tripped over a log and caught himself from falling. Before he knew it he felt something grab hold of his leg and pull him into the air, he looked up and saw a rope that had tightened around his ankle, pulling him up, it was a trap. 
He dangled in the air with a mumbled curse, looking over to his sword in its sheathe. He grabbed it and unsheathed it. But ended up dropping it during the process. 
The man heard the commotion and then walked over to Tamashi with crossed arms. 
“What's a kid like you doing in my camp?” Asked the man. 
“Don't call me kid.” Muttered Tamashi in an annoyed tone. 
“Well, you don't have to act so rude, I was going to help you down. But I guess not.” He spoke with a shrug, turning to walk away. 
“Wait!” Tamashi spoke, the man stopping and looking back over to Tamashi. 
“I'm sorry if I seem rude, I didn't mean it. Please get me down.” 
“Alright, fine.” The man replied, grabbing out a dagger and cutting a rope. Once the rope snapped the Tamashi came down with the trap, pulling off the rope from his ankle. 
“So, what's your name kid?” The man spoke, looking down at him.
“Don't call me kid, and it's Tamashi. Tamashi Takahashi, and you are?” He asked, grabbing his fallen sword and placing it back into its sheathe. 
“Lukas Graymark.” he replied, holding his hand out. 
Tamashi hesitated, but shook his hand.
Meanwhile, Kenji was currently partaking in a bar fight. He grabbed a brawler by the collar and hurled him into the ceiling, causing his head to poke out of the roof. 
“Kanpai! Haha!” He yelled out with a jubilant malice. 
Sober men gave jeers, while others cheered about the fight. They were quite interested about the large fight, which was filled with drunk, or even sober brawlers. 
Kenji stopped fighting, slowly becoming sober. He stepped away from the large outbursts of fighting, examining the tavern. There was one person he did not see, Tamashi. 
“TAMASHI!” He bellowed out, walking out of the tavern. 
Tamashi gave a sigh as he walked to the little camp Lukas had set up and sat down by the fire on a log, not daring to look at the flames. 
“So, why are you out here in the forest anyways Lukas?”
“I'm just running from the king’s army. Since I stole this crown and tried to assassinate the king.” Lukas spoke with a chuckle, showing him the jeweled crown. 
“You could sell it for a pretty good amount of schillings.” Tamashi replied, chuckling. 
“Indeed.” Lukas replied with a laugh.
Tamashi heard a rustling in the bushes, he fell silent and sat there alert. His heart began to pound in fear, biting his lip from the sound. 
“Kid...Where do you think you’re running off to?” Kenji said, slowly emerging from the bushes, his right eye ignited in irritation.
“You scared the living day lights out of me, I thought you were a Bitāzu or a soldier from the king’s army.” Tamashi replied, his right hand shaking.
“If I were a Bitāzu, I’d have brought many more men with me, as well as being quiet, much, much more quiet.” Kenji said, stretching and sighing.
Tamashi muttered a curse under his breath, looking over to Kenji. “I forgot to mention, what happened to those mercenaries at the old camp?” Tamashi asked.
“Tamashi, I’m only a prophet when I’m drunk, remember that.” Kenji said, slightly grinning.
“Yeah, but what happened to them?” Tamashi asked again.
“They probably decided to scram, a kid ain’t not gonna pay much coin, y’know?” Kenji replied.
Tamashi rolled his eyes in annoyance. “I kill for money, know that. Especially when it comes to nobles.” 
Kenji’s grin turned blank, slowly curling into a slight scowl, “I know Kid...I know.”
“It's the only decent job where I can get the schillings I need.” He spoke with a yawn. 
Lukas looked over to Kenji in utter silence, he'd rather not join in the conversation and just let them be. Kenji’s glowing orange eyes slowly turned to Lukas, slightly narrowing.
“Who’s the boy?” Kenji said, suspicious.
“Uh, his name is Lukas.” Tamashi replied. 
Lukas, grabbed one of his supplies which held the stolen crown and moved it closer to him with his foot. Kenji’s eyes followed his every movement precisely, almost inhumanely. 
“You got something you don’t want me seeing, Lukas?” Kenji said, eyeing the bag.
“It's nothin-”
“It's a crown!” Tamashi blurted out. 
Lukas muttered a curse under his breath, eyeing Tamashi with a small scowl. Kenji’s face slowly shifted, his eyes widening and a massive smile crossing his face as he burst out laughing, his cacophony echoing through the forest.
“Kid, you can be so damn funny sometimes.” Kenji said, wiping tears of laughter away.
“But it's true!” Tamashi replied.
Kenji howled with laughter, leaning against a tree and banging his fist against it, coughing and sputtering for air.
    “Tam, I know!” He laughed, “You gave him away so badly!” He said, coughing again.
Lukas gave a sigh, remaining quiet. Tamashi looked rather confused towards Kenji, not understanding what was so funny.
    “I’ll explain it to you later, okay?” Kenji said, finally beginning to stop laughing.
“Okay.” Tamashi spoke, falling silent once more when he heard another rustle in the bushes.
Kenji turned, suddenly becoming alert. He put one hand on Deception, the other on Tamashi’s shoulder. 
Suddenly an arrow shot past Kenji, towards Tam. Tamashi flinched, closing his eyes in fear. Kenji drew Deception in the blink of an eye, slicing the arrow down the middle, the two halves of the arrowhead smacking into two tall trees, the wind from the speed blowing Tamashi’s hair back. 
“Mind coming out, you filthy rat?” Kenji said, his eyes glowing with anger.
Tamashi looked up, fixing his mask. Aarmux came out of the shadows, Tamashi’s eyes widening. 
“You…” Kenji said slowly, the fire in his eyes beginning to glow with an intense malice and fury, the trees and surrounding landscape around Kenji beginning to slowly char.
Tamashi took a deep breath, he stood up straight with narrowed eyes and began to walk towards Aarmux. Kenji stood silently, almost apart from the world, his right hand tightening around Deception’s handle.
“If it isn't our little friends, midnight blue ape and the crimson baboon.” Aarmux said slowly, a sneer crossing his face.
“You talk big for a fool who’s missing an arm, you damned rat.” Kenji said, his eyes turned towards the floor, his voice quieter.
“I suggest you keep your mouth shut, or I might just pull out your tongue if I feel like it.” Aarmux growled.
“Kenji. I'll handle this.” Tamashi spoke, his blue eyes narrowing in utmost hatred.
“Tamashi, I have a score to settle with this snot-noses, yellow-bellied, rat’s ass bastard…” Kenji said, looking up, the fire in his eyes slowly turning crimson.
“And you don't think I don't?” Tamashi sneered, looking up at Aarmux. 
Kenji shook lightly for a moment, coming back to reality, “Heh, sorry Kid. Anyhow, I got one favor I want to ask you.”
“And that is?” Tamashi asked.
“Sever his head from his wretched shoulders…” Kenji said, grinning
“I'll make sure of it.” Tamashi replied, slowly drawing his Tsurugi.
“You, boy?” Aarmux laughed. “You would be crippled by a mere mole, should it emerge from its burrow, who knows, maybe it's in your parents’ rotting corpses.” He said, cackling in humor.
Tamashi’s eyes narrowed, anger welling up inside of him. He felt a surge of energy, appearing by Aarmux suddenly in a flash and slashing his cheek with tremendous force, causing him to stumble. Blood spattered from a bewildered Aarmux’s face, who turned around and roared with anger. Tamashi however, gave a smirk towards him mockingly. 
“An eye for an eye.” Tamashi spoke, pulling down his mask to show the large scar on his cheek. Before pulling his mask back up.
“An eye? This is a scratch, insolent child. You couldn't kill me even if you tried.” Aarmux said, spitting and rushing at Tamashi full-force, spin slashing at his legs.
Tamashi quickly jumped back, dodging the slash. He appeared behind him again and slashed at his back. Aarmux put his sword behind his back, reverse blocking the strike.
“I have you now, Takahashi…” Said Aarmux, wildly grinning, “Now perish like that filthy mother of yours!” Aarmux roared, slashing upwards at Tamashi’s throat.
Tamashi’s eyes widened, moving back only allowing him to slice his face upwards. His mask tearing off in the process, he flipped up into the air, dropping his sword in the process. He blinked, startled, then suddenly punched Aarmux in midair, electricity striking him with a deadly malice. Aarmux’s head hit the floor like a rock, causing him to bounce back up, landing on his hands. His skull was bleeding profusely.
“I ought to strangle you with your own innards you swine!” Aarmux roared, grabbing his scimitar and dashing at Tamashi like a mad bull.
Tamashi quickly tried to jump back to get his sword but wasn't fast enough, attempting to use his arms as a shield. Aarmux swung directly at Tamashi’s abdomen, roaring in a blind fury.
A hideous crack resounded, the sound of Aarmux shouting with rage dissipating into the distance. Kenji had hurled a tree which Lukas had been leaning on directly at Aarmux, pelting him towards the castle.
“Sorry Kid, that kinda stuff hurts a lot. Can’t let you die on me.” Kenji said, stretching, a bewildered Lukas unlatching himself from Kenji’s back and falling to the ground.
“Thanks.” Tamashi replied, grabbing his Tsurugi and carefully sheathing it, walking over to a patch of grass and grabbing his torn mask off of the ground. He sat on a log, noticing the sun beginning to rise. Kenji hoisted Lukas up, patting him on the back and sitting him next to Tamashi. Kenji yawned, walking around the log and plopping down on the grass, watching the sun’s rays slowly cross the forest.
“You still want to hear about that joke?” Kenji said, turning to Tamashi.
“Yeah, of course!” Tamashi said excitedly.
“Well, let's get started then.” Kenji said, “I found that utterly hilarious because…”

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