Way Of The Warrior – Loyalty

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{ Denise gracefully hosts Six Sentence Stories, where writers unleash their magic under one simple rule: in no more or no less than 6 sentences.
The prompt word is : BOOKMARK }

[The following story unfolds at Japan during the late 1600’s of the Edo period. References and terms are used from various eras of Japan’s history… before any purists out there cut me to pieces…please, keep in mind:
this is a work of fiction…of a brain floating in cosmic debris.

 – calligraphy made and katana owned, by Spira –

Arigato gozaimasu ]

 

//\\//\\

WAY OF THE WARRIOR

I

LOYALTY

 

No words…no birds flying frightened from their bamboo trees, no cries of agony… a leather chest plate cut open, a head released from the neck it was resting upon; but not a single word, only the falling of two lifeless bodies like a sigh from the last page of a book marking the end of a story, as the sun through the leaves reflects on a naked blade.

He can hear almost every sound surrounding him – the reluctant farewell of a leaf to its tree, the drop of blood falling from the edge of his katana1; from the moment he released Kodoku2 from its saya3 with an imperceivable move of his left thumb, as he gently pushed the tsuba4 forward, to unsheathing his katana & striking in one continuous, fluid movement5, the victims of that move had only time to blink.

Yet, in his mind, everything was seen before he even touched his katana, in a hypnotic sequence that foretold his actions; breathing slowly, the samurai known by the name of Naoki performs a chiburuito clean the blood from his katana, followed – in absolute contrast with what has just happened – by a slow sheathing of the sword back in its scabbard.

Kodoku & Osuru7 are united once more; every samurai names his katana in hope of infusing the sword with his warrior spirit – Naoki is, as far as he knows, the only one who has named the saya as well; Solitude2 is Embraced7 in one undividable being with their samurai.

It seems much longer than 7 days since Naoki began to walk on this path to avenge the assassination of his lord Shigenobu8 , the noble head of the Zen Ryȗ9 clan, the kind protector who took him under his wing despite not being of noble bloodline, who forged him into the samurai he is; yet he wasn’t by his lord’s side when he was killed as it was Shigenobu’s decision to leave his most trusted samurai behind…the cherry blossom of secret joy upon hearing that decree has now been reduced to a willow’s lament.

You will be her shadow, at all times – Naoki, during my absence you will serve & protect my sister with the same dedication you have shown to me”…Naoki bowed deeply, with the only words a samurai can utter to his lord: “Hai, wakarimashita 10 ; as his forehead touched the ground, one name filled every chamber of his soul…Haruko11.

 

\\//\\//

Notes

1 katana: a Japanese sword used by samurai warriors, with a blade that is curved with a cutting edge.

2 kodoku: solitude; the name of Naoki’s katana

3 saya: a scabbard

4 tsuba: the round or square guard of a Japanese blade weapon

5 Naoki performs what is known as Iaido – a Japanese martial art that emphasizes being aware and capable of quickly drawing the sword and responding to sudden attacks.
* Iaido consists of four main components: the smooth, controlled movements of drawing the katana from its scabbard (or saya), striking or cutting an opponent, shaking blood from the blade, and replacing the katana in the scabbard.

The metaphysical aspects of Iaido have been influenced by several philosophical and religious currents. Iaido blends the ethics of Confucianism, methods of Zen, philosophical Taoism, the purifying rites of Shintoism and aspects of Bushido.

The primary emphasis is in ‘iai‘ , the psychological state of being present. Iaido is a reflection of the morals of the classical warrior and to build a spiritually harmonious person possessed of high intellect, sensitivity, and resolute will. *(from Wikipedia)

6 chiburui: the move by which one symbolically removes blood from a katana blade

7 osuru: embrace, require; the name of Naoki’s scabbard

8 Lord Shigenobu: head of the Zen Ryȗ clan

Ryȗ: dragon / also school

10 Yes, I understand  (polite)

11 Lady Haruko: sister of Lord Shigenobu

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26 responses »

  1. Hello Spira, thanks so much for writing this as I learnt something new. I was aware that Katana were named but I didn’t know that the scabbard was also given a name. I may have to add scabbards to my 3D Katana models in future!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey FT. I hope you are keeping well.

      To be honest, they were not. I have named mine. So, naturally my main character does too.

      That is to say, there is absolutely no reason for a galactic warrior not to name a scabbard, if he chooses so.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh ok! Well I will still add scabbards to my designs in future (and on a new design I have done I’ve also added a Hamon line which I forgot to include on my previous models)
        And you are fortunate to own a Katana , I have wanted one myself but I’m not sure they’re legal in the UK (plus they are expensive).

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Nicely researched and referenced, and beautifully written. I like how you mashed the timelines into the limits of a Six, telling an epic tale in such a short span, it works well. The Samurai mythos is appealing to most I think, and you added your own sense of poetry here by focusing on the blade and its scabbard, and with the references to Nature. Love it, dear wizard, love it 😎

    Liked by 1 person

    • Some kind of weird politics must have been involved… all knowing ceo’s that have decided they know better what audiences like or not…kinda like the executive who turned down Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.

      Glad I was able to reconnect you with fond memories, Doug.
      What more can I ask?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow! An excellent Six ripe with information. I felt that I witnessed something sacred and ancient rather than something violent.
    On another level, I realized that my insistence that we “name” every family vehicle holds an ancient worth too!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A whole epic in six sentences! Your pared-down language in the telling really suits the style of the time and place – and the haikus that follow. (My personal favourite: spectres of the past do not govern the future ‘less we grant consent.) And besides all of that, I learned a lot. Nice work, Spira.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Jenne…to receive these thoughts from you, after I was left lost for words to offer at your Appearances Six…is (fill in the blank)!

      Pared-down…yes, you are insightfully right. We often associate Japanese aesthetic with the Less is more concept.
      Yet, there is something else that encompasses that ideal : MA , the void between all things. The unfulfilled potential of emptiness. Minimalism is born out of this life concept; MA refers to much more than physical objects.
      For example, I came across, in this Six community, phrases that seemingly have nothing special – yet, their impact is extraordinary. Most of the times, what I feel is the secret to their power are the pauses between the words, the quiet turned to meaningful…MA.

      Loved that particular haiku too. My favorite: Empty handed I entered this world / barefoot I leave it.

      T h a n k y o u, Jenne.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. (I’m back, having strolled through the GigaMall of stories and ideas that the Six Sentence Story has become.)

    First of all, let me say*

    Kudos on multiple levels.

    I would still be link-clicking myself down the rabbit hole of google… “err… clark? it’s Saturday afternoon, you started on Tuesday.”

    Others have commented far more succinctly on the depth and comprehensiveness of your research.
    I smile and think, ‘Damn! such fun that most of have been! (As some of us know, it, the research process probably stopped being an effort to check accuracy of terms and became a-chronologic world-building inside the first five minutes.)

    Second compliment: ‘to play a life time of pain and triumph in 12 bars’. v cool

    “Warning! Danger!! Will Robinson!! Serial Story creature hiding behind that left-slanted rock formation! Danger! Will Robinson!… And… your sister, Judy too! I should protect her from Dr. Smith as well!!

    lol
    you have provided encouragement by example to all Sixarians faced with having stories that seem too big to contain in but Six sentences.

    good work, yo

    *borrowed set up line from Tom Cruise, in The Edge of Tomorrow (‘…outstanding presentation’**)
    ** lol only a clark would grab (or, for a more provocative line of thought, ‘remember’) a single line from a movie to act as a marker

    Liked by 2 people

    • (In no particular order…)

      You should use a recording with Arnie: I’ll be back! lol

      Edge of tomorrow…just finished setting up for a re watch of Oblivion…Mr Tom aces it in both of them, imo.
      (Yes, haha…only a clark…you have added that “quality ” at the clark page…no?… Clark, Clark…I am sorry to say but you have to keep dying until you change (this) outcome! 🤣

      Thank you. For everything known to me.
      And for what will remain unknown to me.

      Research..yes, some…I was blessed to have had the opportunity to deepen my knowledge around the way of the warrior, Bushido.
      And always had been a fan of certain concepts…therefore, research was more like refreshing and wording in a minimal form.

      Second compliment…you …you…that damn does it…never reading again anything that has your name on it before 9 pm 🤣
      What? You could take such a praise without, at least, a glass of malt and a cigar? Yes, you say. Good for you , because I cannot.
      These are the times when I celebrate in my solitude, my friend…🙏🏼

      Haha, you pressed the alarm button…let’s see if it goes off, saving Will and…his sister ! lol

      * by the company I keep.

      Liked by 1 person

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