Captain Rumfire gazed over the the ship's rail. The water shimmered blankly in the dull sun of the evening. As the moments passed by The Dreadstrike cut through the water beneath his stare and crushed it underprow. The water would soon lose the shine. The sun would disappear beneath the sea and the night would come. Rumfire didn't like the night.
The night was the ninja's domain.
He turned and headed below deck to his right-hand man, Dante. He was a rather short man, whom refused to wear a shirt. This showed his tattooed chest, depicting various maps and nautical information. Rumfire knew this was unnecesary. The pirate knew the every last thing about the seas, and every member of the crew knew that. Rumfire already knew the answer when he asked Dante, "You're certain this is the best route we can take?"
"Aye, cap'n. If we dinnae pass by the cliff, we winnae get ta port by the time they're set to excecute Boney Jim."
"Then we must risk ninja attack."
"Very well. I shall tell the men to be ready for battle before the cover of night. The ninjas shall not claim another victim in Jim."
Hunched below the edge of the cliff, Ryu Sato and his squad waited. He looked down again at their target. Captain Rumfire. Not his real name. A title he'd earned from his practice of lighting his ship's booze and using it as a weapon. That trick had killed Ryu's father.
The Captains beard was woven into one braid, as thick as rope. He appeared in the picture in his battle regalie. A crimson coat and a scarlet shirt. He made an easy target of himself.
Ryu looked back at his men. They were masked and dressed, black as the night sky. Their arms were concealed and their hang-gliders were camoflaged likewise.
The sun was setting. The Dreadstrike came into view. Ryu unsheathed his sword and pointed it to ship. The signal was given. Darkness had set. The ninja grasped their hang-gliders and ran off the cliff. They soared through the black sheet of the sky.
The ship approached.
Ryu dropped first. He landed perfectly behind a deckhand, and promptly removed his trachea in a sudden silent strike. In moments a half dozen shadows landed upon the deck of The Dreadstrike and moved to their targets. Nearly every pirate above deck was slaughtered covertly. However, this did not escape the notice of the two waiting in the sails. Ropes had been set up, all tied to torches circling the deck. The ropes were lit, and the fire ran to the torches. There were no longer shadows for the ninja to hide in. They were exposed.
"They're here!" Came the cry of the watchmen.
From all entrances to the deck came crewmen of Rumfire. From one side Dante led them, two cutlasses in his hands. On the other, Captain Rumfire himself, firey clothes as well.
Rumfire lifted his revolver and fired.
In a heartbeat the katana was torn from it's sheath and whipped into position. The bullet struck the flat of the blade and flew back into the crowd of pirates behind Rumfire. It whizzed through his throat and he slumped to the ground.
Rumfire gave an annoyed grunt.
At once, the Ryu's ninjas drew their weapons. Staves, nunchaku, tonfas and katanas. Ryu himself flourished a pair of kusarigama.
"Attack." He uttered.
The squadron of shinobi whirled into action. A pirate was wiped aside by a tonfa, and then the one behind him as the ninja ripped through their ranks. Pistols begand firing wildly, the ninjas blocking and dodging the bullets with amazing speed. In return, shurikens were thrown into the crowds, knocking the guns from the sea-devil's hands. Shurikens ran out and guns were knocked aside. Both sides were reduced to fighting up close.
Dante leapt up to the sails of the ship before pushing himself back down, landing between two of Ryu's ninja. Their reactions were lightning quick, a sai and a nunchuk both raced towards him, but he reacted in turn. He placed a sword between the sai blades and one in the chain of the nunchuk, before ripping it back and robbing the ninja of one of his weapons.
He turned to the partially disarmed ninja, striking the other one away. He struck him with his elbow before burying one of his cutlasses in his abdomen. He planted a foot on his chest and pushed him away, reclaiming his sword from the victim's chest. He threw the mortally wounded assassin to the seas.
Moments later he found a weight on his back as the previous ninja lept at him. He aimed a sai for his neck, but was struck in the shoulder by a bullet. A pirate across deck had reclaimed a pistol. Ryu immediatley dropped beside the pirate and disarmed him, throwing first the gun then the gunman to the ocean below before rejoining the fight.
The wounded ninja stumbled away from Dante, but found himself immediately on the floor. Dante's foot struck him in the back of the leg. The ninja turned his torso around and blocked the descending swords of Dante with his sais. Ryu rushed to the ninja's aid, and the ball of his right kusarigama descended on Dante's shoulder. The left swiped across his face. Ryu pushed Dante back, then dug the blade of his right hand weapon into his chest. The seas of his maps ran red.
Meanwhile the two small armies continued their swift, bloody battle. Cutlasses clashed against weapons of the orient. The reflexes and mastery of the shinobi soon struck down the waves of seafaring bandits, but the pirate's numbers allowed them to keep assaulting the ninjas, affording them no break. Little by little the ninjas were worn down and a bo staff was misplaced by an inch, allowing a cutlass to slip past and drive through a ninja's chest.
The pirates that had previously watched from above descended to deck by the injured ninja. For the two of them, it was a simple matter to surround and kill the wounded warrior. They soon met their end from Ryu's Kusarigama, the flails making hard, calculated strikes.
Another light source cast itself over the carnage.
Ryu turned his head to the major conflict. At it's helm stood Rumfire, brandishing a bottle, a lit rag in it's neck. In a flash three of the remaining ninja were alight, running from deck to the water around them. They unfortunately did not make it there alive, swords eagerly jamming into them as they panicked.
The last ninja under Ryu's command flew into a rage. His katana ripped through pirate after pirate, shedding blood across the deck. Abdomens torn through, necks cut and one pirate split in twain, the sword that had claimed so many found itself caught inside a sailor's skull. The few remaining pirates leapt at their chance. Three cutlasses were shoved into the ninja's chest.
"Rumfire!" Ryu's shadow was outlined by the torch from the deck above and loomed over the four pirates left on the ship.
"Yes?" The Captain's response was only slightly interested.
"My name is Ryu Sato. You killed my father."
"I kill plenty of people, some of them fathers. The sons don't usually put this much devotion into revenge. Normally they just take the inheritance and leave me on my way."
Ryu leapt down to be face to face with Rumfire. He was a little taller than Ryu, and his frame was larger. "I will fight you honourably. Man to man."
"Fair enough." Rumfire unsheathed his cutlass. It was a little longer than the average, and slightly wider. "Boys, remember this is between me and the ninja. Don't step in unless he's winning."
Ryu flew into action, flailing the ball of his kusarigama towards Rumfire's arm. The Captain raised his blade to block in just in time, and stepped just out of the way of the second kusarigama's blade. Rumfire made a stab for Ryu, but his blade met the chains of both his kusarigama. The sword was ripped from his hand and thrown across the ship.
"Boys, weapon!" A pirate picked up a staff from a fallen ninja and handed it to his Captain. He weilded it inexpertly, but it provided him defence from a blade descending fast on his head.
He swung the staff, but Ryu ducked under the blow. He kicked out his leg and pulled Rumfire's feet towards him, bringing him to the deck with a thud. Suddenly, a storm formed around them, rain and lightning emerging from the clouds.
Ryu rose up over the downed pirate Captain and flourished his weapons. "Prepare to die."
"Boys!" Rumfire barked. The three pirates that had looked on now charged at the ninja. The first took him by surprised and managed to knock the kusarigama from his left hand. The one in his right sliced into the pirate's neck, before being yanked out of the corpse. The second pirate was greeted with an elbow fiercely jabbed into his neck and a flail in his temple.
Ryu made a leap from standing into the shadows, the pouring rain diluting the flames and providing cover.
From several sources at once, the pirate heard the voice of the ninja through the thunder and the downpour, "Run." Obliging, the terrified pirate sprinted off deck into the water, hoping the tossing seas would provide safety from the assassin.
Rumfire got to his feet. He couldn't see his adversary. From a crate nearby he pulled out a bottle of rum. He snapped his fingers. His gloves contained flint. The flint sparked a few times. The torches went out one by one. Just as the last torch darkened, he lit the rag in the rum.
The ninja was in front of him.
Ryu jabbed him in the gut with the butt of his kusarigama and as he doubled over, plucked the spirits from the air.
"You have earned your title, Rumfire." He dropped the makeshift explosive at the Captain's feet, leaping back before the flames licked the soles of his shoes. Thunder cracked as the pirate burned, drowning his screams. The wet boat provided no fuel for the fire. Ryu cracked his knuckles.
He punched Captain Rumfire in his flaming chest, knocking him off the deck off the boat and into the water below.