The Burning Dawn (陽炎座 Kagerō-za?) is a movement begun by Lady Kagami, the head of the Nyogetsu Ninja, the ninja clan which had served the House of Toda. Frustrated with a life of service to samurai, living and dying at the whim of overlords who cared nothing for them, Kagami and her ninja aimed to create a world ruled by ninja.
The Burning Dawn was led by Lady Kagami, who was assisted by four captains, each with the title of "Lord of the Burning Dawn". The five leaders supervised an army of hundreds, if not thousands, of ninja.
The initial Four Lords (四天王) were:
After Seiryu was killed by Tatsumaru, Tatsumaru himself took on the identity of Seiryu and became the new Blue Dragon, as well as Kagami's second-in-command.
Appearance suggests that Kagami had been planning the Burning Dawn for a long time before it actually came to light. Whether she recruited every member of the Nyogetsu Ninja is unknown, but the vast majority seem to have been swayed to her cause. She seems not to have recruited from outside her own clan, with the possible (but unclear) exception of Suzaku.
Kagami and several of her ninja participated in Gohda Motohide's attack on Gohda Castle, dispatching several samurai. Most of those who were present were killed by Azuma Ninja Tatsumaru and Ayame. Tatsumaru ascended to the peak of the castle and confronted Kagami. She escaped, leaving her comrade Seiryu, the Blue Dragon to fight Tatsumaru. Tatsumaru killed Seiryu, knocking him off the roof with a slash from Izayoi, and pursued Kagami.
When Lord Toda invaded Gohda's province during Motohide's rebellion, he took his retinue of ninja with him. After Toda was defeated in battle by Tatsumaru, Kagami took advantage of her lord's injuries and decapitated him. Stepping to a precipice overlooking the army's camp, she set fire to his head in a prearranged signal. Below, the watching Nyogetsu Ninja fell on Toda's samurai, slaughtering the entire army in simultaneous attacks. Tatsumaru and Kagami dueled, but their fight was interrupted when the cliff they were battling on collapsed into the sea, taking both combatants with it.
Both warriors survived the fall, and Kagami carried Tatsumaru to shore when they washed up near the Kansen Caverns. Inside, the Burning Dawn ninja had been constructing a massive warship, the Fire Demon, with enough weaponry and armor to challenge the samurai. Tatsumaru was made the newest Lord of the Burning Dawn, replacing and taking on the identity of Seiryu.
The Burning Dawn's construction of the Fire Demon was behind schedule, and in order to speed things up, Kagami sent her Lords to kidnap villagers from Gohda's province. The kidnapped villagers served as slaves in the construction. Other Burning Dawn operatives, such as Kamadoma on Demon Mountain, ran their own kidnapping operation. Kagami also hired the Chinese Baolisung Gang to kidnap even more villagers.
The kidnapping activites came to light after a short time, and the Azuma Ninja were dispatched to stop them. Rikimaru killed Kamadoma and the other Burning Dawn Ninja on Demon Mountain, then discovered Kagami's Secret Harbor, at which she had been transporting slaves, and wiped out the Chinese pirates there. Ayame followed the Burning Dawn's trail to Kubon Island and killed off the rest of the Baliosung Gang.
Incensed, Kagami planned to kill the occupants of the Azuma Ninja Village as a warning to others who might oppose her. However, to avoid her ninja having to fight Rikimaru and Ayame, she sent Suzaku to attack a temple, while she and Tatsumaru assailed Gohda's secret Quarantine Village. Rikimaru eliminated the Burning Dawn ninja in the temple and Ayame saved the village, but in their absence, Kagami and Tatsumaru attacked the Azuma Village.
The Burning Dawn ninja cut down all the occupants of the Azuma Village, ninja and civilian alike, with considerable ease. Tatsumaru himself injured Lord Gohda and killed the Azuma leader, Shiunsai. Rikimaru arrived back first, killing off the Burning Dawn ninja in the village before facing Tatsumaru. He got the upper hand on his former comrade, but found himself unable to take Tatsumaru's advice, and was injured by Tatsumaru and disarmed by Kagami. The Burning Dawn leaders escaped past Ayame, fleeing back to the Kansen Caverns.
When the Azuma Ninja tracked Tatsumaru to the caverns, Kagami realized she had been discovered and launched the completed Fire Demon. She targeted Gohda Castle, firing several shots from the harbor and damaging the castle badly. Gohda's forces counterattacked, led by Tachibana Jubei and assisted by Rikimaru. Ayame, who had stowed aboard the Fire Demon, killed the ninja inside the ship, while Rikimaru and the samurai killed those outside.
The Battle of Gohda Harbor saw the final defeat of the Burning Dawn. After its leaders and most of its forces were killed inside the Fire Demon, Gohda ordered his archers to set fire to the ship. The powder magazine caught fire, and the ship exploded, sinking beneath the waves and taking the Burning Dawn with it.
Fate of the Leaders
- The original Seiryu, the Blue Dragon, was killed by Tatsumaru at Gohda Castle before the Burning Dawn was officially "born" at Toda's war camp.
- Byakko, the White Tiger, was the second Lord of the Burning Dawn to die. He was killed by Rikimaru, while his white tiger, Chiro, was killed by Ayame and Semimaru.
- Suzaku, the Red Sparrow, was defeated by Rikimaru as he boarded the Fire Demon. It is unclear whether Rikimaru simply left Suzaku for dead, or actually killed him and he was later resurrected.
- Genbu, the Green Titan, was killed in battle with Ayame inside the hold of the Fire Demon.
- Tatsumaru (as the second Seiryu, the Blue Dragon) was disarmed by Ayame. As she held Izayoi aimed at him, he seized the blade and impaled himself on it.
- Kagami was mortally wounded by Rikimaru. Dying, she crawled to Tatsumaru's body, rested her head on his chest, and expired.