Way Of The Warrior – Sincerity


Chapter IV of Way Of The Warrior.

 (previous chapters can be found at the dedicated page of the blog, here)

{The following chapter, written in Six Sentence form, is from Kaze‘s pov, the black horse gifted from Lady Haruko to Naoki.}





Standing by a creek under the shadow of a weeping willow tree, Horse and Man rest from a hard day’s ride; Kaze looks at Naoki, whinnies and nudge’s him with her nose signaling she has rested sufficiently, now willing to ride on, but her “words” are lost on Naoki who appears wandering in thoughts far from the creek and willow tree.

Leaving him to his thoughts, Kaze remembers a time Naoki and Haruko were children, playing – one day, Naoki spent all day carefully watching the preparations for Haruko’s ride, the saddling and in particular, the bitted bridle and upon Haruko’s return, he made a strange request: Please, pull the reins as you would do with your horse; he placed the metal rod (the bit) in his mouth…Haruko was confused but Naoki insisted…the moment she pulled on the reins, tears from the pain streamed from his eyes leaving him no option but try to escape the tortuous pain… by any means possible.

Naoki and Haruko never talked about that day…but Kaze recalls spotting Naoki sneak into the stables, trying to invent a different method of communication between rider and horse; Kaze patiently entertained all his failed attempts, until one day he found a way without the bit.

In the ancient memory of her soul, Kaze keeps the residue of a time when the relationship between Horse and Human was not one based on punishment and reward, the trust between them had not been breached; here she is now, sharing a bond with Naoki, one sealed by his promise, years ago, that if he ever has a horse of his own, he will not coax obedience through pain…and so, his promise is kept…

Naoki can sense Kaze’s eagerness, for which he is always grateful; they always communicate without words or commands, as if they share one body, one mind, each knowing organically what the other thinks, requires, a fluidity provided only by a true, sincere partnership.

He is aware the note, recovered from the body of one of the samurai he encountered earlier, is possibly a diversion to lure him away from entering the grounds of the Snake Shrine, a place where Nobunaga would be vulnerable; yet, he knows he will not be able to live with himself if, hellbent on avenging Lord Shigenobu, he fails to honor his last decree of protecting Lady Haruko at all costs…as Naoki mounts, Kaze is already turning eastbound towards the Zen Ryū castle.




[Some personal thoughts, which inform not only the choice of POV but also details of this chapter.
Years ago I became aware of an anatomical/biomechanical study of the effect a bit has to the horse’s head.
Needless to say that I needed not to be already professionally familiar with the cause/effect chain between external forces and (human) anatomy, to understand the magnitude of the effect a bit has: intense pain and deep tissue damage.
Since that moment I have refused to even watch a show with horses and humans communicating with a bitted bridle.
here are alternatives; I encourage you, especially if you are engaged in equestrian activities, to research them.
As for me… I hope to be able one day to sit at a beach, as the one in the following video… and just be around free horses…] 


By The Company Of Warriors I Keep
Spira / Nick © March 2023



About Spira

A Renaissance human. Part healer, part B/W photographer, part artist, part sigh of a writer, part explorer of guitar & piano landscapes, always in love with music..."Music is the fabric that clothes our lives" as Denise Farley once wrote. All done with the dedication, intensity & passion of an imperfect speck of cosmic debris.

16 responses »

  1. Forgive me if I do not spend too much time discussing your story, which was evocative and beautifully written. Today I want to say something about animals.

    When I was a child, my parents would take us every year to the Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey Circus. It was a huge event in our lives and we delighted seeing the animals. At the time we did not know how inhumanely the animals were being treated just to learn a few tricks.

    We also would frequent the Bronx Zoo several times each year. All the animals were in cages, pens or some sort of enclosed area. Most of the larger animals had very little space to move around. People would “ooh and ah” at the animals, never giving a thought to how they felt behind those bars and cages. They are just animals, after all.

    Just the other day I learned that Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey has revamped the circus; there will no longer be any animals in the shows. Instead the audience will be treated to acrobats, clowns, jugglers and other acts. Also, in recent years, the Bronx Zoo has spent an incredible amount of money and research on creating a safe environment for people and animals in which the animals are no longer in cages or penned in. There are fences to keep the visitors safe and even some of the animals are allowed to walk among the people, animals such as peacocks, goats and deer … certainly not lions or bears.

    What is my point? That should be obvious. The disgusting, abhorrent mistreatment of animals is become a thing of the past … something that should have happened long ago. This is just the tip of the iceberg; there is much left to do.

    Thank you for your most eloquent story and for opening our eyes to the pain and suffering of animal abuse. 🌹

    Liked by 2 people

    • Nothing to forgive, cara.
      On the contrary, your comment is one prime example why I value so highly the honest interaction happening, among other places, at my humble comments section.

      Yes, I believe most of us followed the path you have described.
      Where the branching begins is the point when we are made aware of the abuse.
      Some continue as if it’s irrelevant.
      Others, readjust their ways and then there are few who go above and beyond the call of duty and they become trailblazers of a new era.

      One thing remains beyond any doubt though, in my humble opinion:
      To understand, is to transform what is.

      Nancy, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on a subject that deserves more education, attention and action.

      But most of all, thank you for sitting at the table of this dim-lit place and engage in conversation.
      Now please, sit back and enjoy your drink…Wild Horses by The Rolling Stones playin’ 🌹

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Am in total agreement with S. Storyteller.

    I will add a minor note of recognition to your postscript, “…have refused to even watch…


    Condoning certain action and behavior extends, imo, beyond the simple objective reality of being in the presence of objectionable actions or behaviors.

    I applaud your taking this step that frankly a large proportion of the people in the world, (again, imo) are not inclined to take.

    There’s a thing, a portion of a common phrase found at the Doctrine that hints at the value of your taking issue with abuse beyond the ‘in my presence’ level:
    “…the world around us and the people who make it up.”

    This installment of your story is also entrancing.

    (I may have used a version of the following at one of this week’s Six Sentence Story ‘hop, to the effect that the sign of a good story lies in how rich (and varied) the Comments of Readers are… this chapter of ‘The Way of the Warrior’ is very much that.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Let me start with a big, loaded, Thank you.

      You say Bravo…but, with exception numbers similar to half of the fingers of an one hand pirate, I am the wierdo for doing so. The same with not visiting a zoo ( the traditional type, as Nancy described it; sanctuaries are light years different from that).

      Far from me any hint of praise for my self or stance…but as you may have noticed, if I do not stand by what I now know and understand, then I am in direct conflict with who I am…hence, as you are thinking with a hidden smile, the path of the Outsider.

      Geez, man…good thing it’s night time here and I can have a dram of malt ( so I will be able to claim that whisky is responsible for increased blood on my cheeks)

      I am also glad you have more than approved the unorthodox pov of this chapter.

      From a clark to another…Thanks, Clark.


  3. Befriending animals is much better than making them slaves.

    When i was a child, everyone declawed their cats, it was what you did to keep them from ripping the furniture. Now that i know better, i wouldn’t do that to my worst enemy.

    If i am ever given the opportunity to ride a horse again, i will make certain no bit is involved. It will be worth learning a new technique, if necessary, to communicate with the horse, as they are majestic animals.

    Liked by 2 people

    • When we manage to leave behind the hubris of superiority amongst Creation then there is no room for extracting obedience through pain.

      Like what you described with cats…we cannot escape what is common practice around us…but we can choose to be open to a different perspective and as we grow to see things under a new light. To know. Better.

      And isn’t it a huge gift and responsibility to expose the young ones to the light the older ones have found? Present it to them and then let them grow and make their choices.

      Your last two sentences, Mimi, melted my heart… because this is exactly what I mean, hope, strive for, when I say:
      To understand is to transform what is.

      Majestic is as accurate as it can be.
      Thank you, Mimi.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I echo Clark’s comment when I say one of the things that can (and often does) occur at any given Six – conversations. The by product of engagement. On that count, Nick, your Six is engaging and more.
    Imo, the relationship between human and animal is extraordinary and unique. It has the potential to be one of the strongest and, if there is perfection in anything, perfect.
    Enjoyable chapter.

    P.S. I have been on the beach where the wild horses roam at Assateague Island (MD side). So beautiful to watch them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Intention, Attention, Engagement … a kind of magic, yet not.

      You echo towards my “echoes from a voice yet to be heard”…and every time each one of you does that, brings me closer to the point where I will say My voice is heard…and change my blog’s tagline.
      Thank you is only a part of what this means to me, Denise.

      “…is extraordinary and unique…if there is perfection in anything, perfect”…you said it all.

      PS: I looked it up… you were at Maryland/northern part…(my father was stationed for a year, a lifetime ago, at a naval base of the area.)

      It is exactly what I am dreaming of…what a beautiful, majestic, place and experience this must have been!

      Denise, you are one lucky and blessed woman.
      May the spirit of the wild horses by the ocean, (you were in the presence both of free Horses and Ocean), guide you and protect you.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I enjoyed the POV of the horse, Kaze (hao, kola – both to you and your author, Nick). The sentiment brought to mind Anna Sewell’s bestselling ‘Black Beauty’ novel, and its power to make us consider animal cruelty and the bond between horse and human. The last time I rode with a horse (about 12 years ago) it was bit-free I’m happy to say. My friend at work has horses and they are also bit-free.

    Nick, I also thought of Manowar’s song ‘Dark Avenger’ with narration by Orson Welles no less, and featuring one of the protagonists ‘Black Death’ – a ‘grim steed’ sent from the underworld. And how about Jonathan Swift’s ‘Gulliver’s Travels’… and the Houyhnhnms!

    Hao, kola indeed, my friends!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mate, you just hit the jackpot with the Lacota greeting!
      (And of course, you are aware that the Lakota people did not use the word kola lightly)

      How much poorer our world is after the genocide of American Indian tribes.

      I have never ridden one…unless you count the ones of my motorcycle 😁
      Big hug for you doing so the way you did and huge respect for your friend!

      The associations this chapter evoked in you are just humbling for me, Ford.
      Thank you, brother.🐎

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you, brother. The greeting was one I came across many years ago, and has somehow always stuck.

        You no been upon a horse? Me, I have never ridden a motorcycle, or even a scooter… only the humble bicycle. Maybe one day we will all ‘catch up’ on these missing experiences of movement 😊

        Liked by 1 person

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