The katana came down, whistling through the air, and finally connecting with the target. A beheaded body crumpled to the rocky soil, blood spewing from the severed jugular giving the air an eerie red mist. Blood covered Kazusanosuke Takeshi’s mask, but he paid no attention as he wiped off his katana and replaced it in its sheathe. Takeshi feared nothing, and thought little about death. Turning his back on the dead man he mounted his jet black horse. The rest of the samurai army mounted and paid their respects to the dead. The army rode off towards the rising sun, the beams of the dawn creating their silhouettes on the newly defined horizon, a fresh coat of splattered burgundy on their armor, and no expression behind their ghastly masks. Sweat streamed down Takeshi’s face, Watashi wa futatabi tatakau tame ni ikiru, I live to fight again.
“Sorera wa subete shinde iru? They are all dead?” Takeshi’s daimyo asked. Takeshi solemnly nodded and brought out the enemy commanders head. The eyes were lifeless and blood splattered the face. Most of the blood had coagulated after the long ride back to the barracks, but the image was still a grim reminder as to what might happen to Takeshi someday, being the commander of his daimyo’s army. The head would be tacked to the wall, an example to any enemies who dare fight against him. After getting permission to leave, Takeshi slowly walked out of the room. “Take wa, ma~tsu te. Sugu ni futatabi tatakawanakereba naranai toki ga kuru. Watashi o shippai shinaide kudas. Takeshi, wait. Soon comes the time when you must fight again. Do not fail me or you now what must happen.” The daimyo’s soft, gravelly voice called out. Takeshi nodded and pulled off his helmet.
The wakizashi is lethally sharp – 18 inches of pure killing power. Takeshi swung it down with blinding speed into the straw target, slicing it cleanly in half. If the target was a person, it would have sliced clean through the armor, skin, and deep through the flesh- an instant kill. He sheathed the blade with ease and turned to the other target, this time tearing out the katana and burying deep into the straw. He ripped the blade out then sliced five more times in mere seconds. Insutantokiru. Instant kill. “Takeshi sensei, Sore wa jikandes. Takeshi sir, it’s time.” Takeshi nodded to the man and pulled on his helmet, while sheathing the deadly 23 inches of razor sharp iron. He pulled the quiver over his head and picked up his bow and naginata. He walked outside and breathed in the brisk air. A few birds called, and shouts of training samurai could be heard in the distance, but otherwise all was quiet. Thin clouds with no describable shape coasted across the sky in the cool Japanese wind. He momentarily looked to his side and found a spider weaving its gossamer strings of death. “Anata wa sore o migi no jikandesu. You are right, it is time.” Takeshi’s breath rasped through his mask as he mounted the muscled steed.
The black horse galloped through the brutal scene. Takeshi had no hands on the horse and paid no attention to the men dying all around him. Katanas, Naginatas, and Wakizashis shimmered in the occasional sunlight that broke through the shapeless clouds. Screams of falling men and the clang of sword on sword echoed around the battlefield. The smell of blood enveloped the air, but Takeshi rode on, the string of his bow taught and loaded with an arrow. His visibility through the small eyeholes of his helmet was poor, but his aim was true. His fingers itched to let go, Matte, matte, matte. Wait, wait, wait. Genzai! Now! He let go but felt the enemy naginata, as its blade penetrated his layered leather armor. Blood spurted from his wound and he fell from the horse. The enemy samurai pulled the blood coated naginata out and began dragging Takeshi. “Imaimashī, iya, onegaishimasu! Damn, please, no!” Takeshi shouted. Takeshi tasted blood. “Imaimashī, chōdo watashi o koros! Damn, just kill me!” Takeshi swore again. The enemy samurai continued dragging him, deaf to his protests.
“Shine, die!” Takeshi screamed.
The wakizashi, glinted for a second before sinking into the other samurai. Takeshi stood, again oblivious to his pain and the blood spraying him. All he saw was what had happened. A majority of his men had died, and only a handful still fought. Takeshi staggered to his remaining men. “Taikyaku, Koko de watashitachi no jikan wa shūryō shimashita, retreat, our time here has ended.” Takeshi never feared anything, but what he knew must happen scared him. “TAIKYAKU! RETREAT!” Takeshi screamed.
Sweat trickled down Takeshi’s face. He wore a clean white kimono, and his wound was healed. The daimyo’s eyes penetrated through him and seven other men dressed like Takeshi sat behind him. The small knife in front of him, a tantō, would soon be in him. “Anata ga shippai shimashita. Ni susumimasu. You failed. Go on.” Takeshi’s daimyo softly said, a hint of disappointment and disgust present. A droplet of sweat slowly eased down the curve of his nose. Seppuku, it was called- a punishment for failure, sin, or shame. Takeshi picked up the tantō and his hands quivered for a second in his hesitation before he plunged it into his abdomen. Blood exploded from his stomach and Takeshi gasped in shock and pain. His hands became slippery and warm, and a thin stream of crimson ran from his lips as his body doubled over. Takeshi’s best friend loomed over with the katana.
The katana came down, whistling through the air, and finally connecting with the target. A beheaded body crumpled to the rocky soil, blood spewing from the severed jugular giving the air an eerie red mist.
Kazusanosuke Takeshi thought little about death.