AU. A mysterious ninja stalks the forest, killing all who cross his path. What can drive a man to such madness? And why is he so familiar . . .
Who was he who cut his opponents down with ease? Who was silent as the earth but led a trail of death in stark red paint? This enigma attracted many ambitious warriors to his side of the forest (of which he was the unofficial king) in search of a battle. Most did not return breathing, but laid upon the backs of heavy-shouldered search parties days later. The village became a site for Hokage wishfuls to test their skills on the local talent. His record was unbeatable, his skill unmatchable. He looked at you as if you were nothing, and you became nothing. A single look could paralyze every cell in your body, and you'd still feel his laborous breath upon you as the world became everything, then nothing. This body of rage seemed to wear a crown of bones crafted from the skeleton of the Reaper himself, a heavy crown he wore with the greatest of ease.
Only one man ever survived. With almost all of his bones twisted or shattered, he came back to what should have been a permanent bed in the village hospital. To anxious villagers, the Survivor told of a darkness that seemed to wrap you up and choke the air out of your lungs as soon as you stepped foot into His Forest. At first, the Survivor could not see him. The sound of every step he took seem magnified, sounding like like splitting bone. The Survivior reached a darkened clearing . . . and a rush of air knocked him back, and it was only later he saw the knives lodged in his abdomen. A dark veil began crawling over his vision, and before he fell unconscious the Survivor saw a single red eye; its pupil seemed to be . . . spinning, my God, spinning like some sort of demonic pinwheel. He fell silent, and said no more. The village masters became worried and called a meeting, but no conclusion was reached. Fear had consumed the highest order of local government. What was to be done?
The next morning, the Survivor had vanished, perhaps to fight him again. This was the most widely believed of all rumors until the Survivor was seen once more - dead, killed at least an hour after they had last seen him, stuffed in a washtub behind a bath house. The kanji for 'demon' was written on the lid in red. And then, silence.
Years later, someone would venture to His forest and find a bundle of torn, blood-stained clothes, clothes that looked as if worn by a crazed, feral ninja who lived to kill. There would also be a bent piece of metal with strings at each end where a bandana would have been worn. The teachers studying this artifact could barely make out the leaf symbol imprinted in black through the giant crease.
Many speculations were made. Some were hopeful - that he was dead and lying naked in a field somewhere far away. Others were more casual - he is gone, so why fuss? But talk in the tea house always circulated around the discovery of the clothes, and the head geisha would say he had become fully feral, a pure beast with only the thoughts of revenge in his brain, re-connected with the demons and monsters of the world. The men laughed, but the Geisha believed it to be true. 'After all', she thought, as a blonde man with a fox-like face brushed strands of pink hair out of her face, 'After so many years together, wouldn't you know a guy?'
She could feel it, in the structure of the wind and the texture of the dirt, the cries of the lone spirit, screaming for his justice. And he would die on a rainy night, lying on the dirt in the middle of a overgrown forest, his dirty face streaked in clean lines by tears, with the sharigen lodged deep into his back, and he would receive no justice but pain. The man with half his face hidden would just shake his head and sigh as he left the dead boy behind.