Sunday, September 26, 2010

And Just Like That, It Ends.

1525 AD, Japan:

The field's yellowed grass was aflame with the orange glow of the sunset. The lone samurai's jet black hair flew in the gentle breeze, and his sword blazed with a dazzling light. He looked at the three warriors, all astride majestic brown horses, that surrounded him. Two of them had their arrows drawn on their wooden bows, the third sat regally, looking down at him, with his hand on the hilt of his sword.

"Takeda," said the man with the sword, "don't make this unnecessarily difficult."

"I didn't do anything wrong," said the lone samurai on the ground. "I've been falsely accused."

"Then let me take you and we'll sort it out."

"We both know that's not how it works, Sadayo. If they wanted a trial, the bounty would've been for me alive."

"I gave you a chance," Sadayo said.

He nodded his head slightly and the other two let go of their bowstrings. Takeda dropped to the ground as the arrows whizzed narrowly over his back. He spun and cut both horses's legs out, sending the archers crashing to the ground. Takeda dove at the first. He swiftly and painlessly sliced the man's neck, and with his free hand picked up one of his dropped arrows. He whirled and around and let go of the projectile, which landed with a sickening "thuck" in the second archer's throat. Takeda turned and faced Sadayo.

"Must this be so difficult?" Sadayo sighed.

He slid weightlessly off of the horse's back onto the soft grass. His sword seemed to just appear in his hand, his draw was so fast. It gleamed in the sun as it were on fire.

Sadayo dashed at Takeda, who side-stepped and cracked Sadayo in the back of the head with his hilt. Sadayo stumbled but recovered to parry Takeda's wide sing. Sadayo jabbed but Takeda dodged it again, and this time sliced a deep blow across Sadayo's abdomen, and drawing heavy first blood.

Hunched over in pain, Sadayo grasped his wound with one hand. He looked up with rage filled eyes and staggered at his opponent, swinging recklessly. Each blow glanced effortlessly off of Takeda's blade.  The sound clanging and clashing blades rang out across the plains. Finally, Takeda landed a second, and final blow across Sadayo's neck, decapitating him.

He bent over calmly and took the belt and sheath off of the body. He removed Sadayo's sword from his lifeless hands, and but it in the sheath. He walked calmly over to the horse-- who was fidgeting nervously-- and slung the belt over the saddle, sword and all. Then, taking the flat of his own blade, Takeda smacked the hindquarters of the horse, startling it. The horse galloped off across the fields, and Takeda stood amongst the bodies, watching it fade out of sight.

After it was gone he turned and looked at the head on the ground, its eyes empty.

"I didn't kill anyone," Takeda whispered.

He walked into the middle of the ring of bodies, the two horses, the two archers, and Sadayo, and fell to his knees, tears cascading down his cheeks. He wiped his blade clean, and then, grasping the handle with both hands, he stretched out his arms, so the tip of the blade hovered centimeters from his chest.

"But I have now."

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