Posted: January 23, 2015 in Short Stories
Tags: , , , ,

The blue moonlight provides the only light in the dark night. A gentle breeze, the only movement. As if grown among the grass and trees, two warriors stand at opposite ends of the forest, ever still. The warrior in black, kimono tucked tightly into his hakama, matched the dense darkness save the blood orange sun pattern on his back. The warrior in crimson, his custom gakuran (high school uniform) accentuated by the same blood orange symbol on his back, was almost as inconspicuous in the stillness. Their minds conference with their hearts to rationalize what they must do. Only one can see the next sunrise. However, despite their murderous intent, there is no malice here. Their souls are as pure as the light that barely pierces the darkness of the trees.They are only here to do what must be done.

And so they charge. Racing through the trees with blades drawn ready to cut a path to destiny. The black warrior with his sword held high leads with his left foot, his Hidari Jodan no Kamae. The crimson swordsman leads with is right and his blade low, his Migi Gedan no Kamae. Years of training, the preparation for this single moment, etched into their very muscles. Through sound and much less sight, they track each other, noticing every blade of grass bend under foot, every flap of clothing in the air and even the sound of the breeze bending around their moving forms in the dark. Until they reach the light of the moon. A single clearing left unshadowed as if the universe created this arena for them.

Without hesitation, their swords clash for the first time. As their opposite styles finally collide, a dazzling light show takes place as sparks fly. They acknowledge the fire and sadness in each other’s eyes for but a moment, then continue to attack. A symphony plays to a disinterested audience of flora and fauna as steel clangs, cuts, swipes and slashes through the air, skin and clothes. A ballet takes place as their footwork, learned through decades of discipline, makes the two warriors appear to glide above the forest floor as if on ice. No man will ever know their efforts and no man ever need know but them. There is not a trick used between the two. Nothing more than the skills their training has granted them. There is nothing here but a difference in the placement of a foot and the height of ones blade. No fame to be won, no woman waiting at home, no cash prize to claim. In this clearing within this moonlit arena, there is only the pureness of form and disciple.

And just as quickly as it began, their show ended. A curtain called after a single misstep made on the stage. The samurai in black won the most bitter of triumphs. And with that, the victor kneeled to hear the final words of the fallen: my brother, the clan is yours and I couldn’t be more proud.


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