The Warrior's Mentality
The Warrior's Mentality
Fri Mar 19, 2010 10:29 pm
The Warriors Mentality
Prologue: The Effects of War
A cloud of haze swept over a sea of red and gray and black. The waves of the sea smashed into each other, the colors segregated. The roar of the sea was the only thing that could be heard on that day, peace was fleeting. The sea consisted of the flesh of human beings, and the roar was of their screams. This "ocean" was a battle. The battle was fought over land, wealth, and personal ambition. Anyone could see that the sea was turbulent, nothing new for that period of time.
This small isolated world which bore this living, breathing, and violent sea, was none other than Japan. It was Spring of the year 1575, and this time was formally known as the Sengoku Era... the Warring States. On one side of this ocean, clad in red were warriors, named Samurai (which meant "to serve") who served under a Lord Katsuyori Takeda. Lord Takeda was a Daimyo (Provincial / Feudal Lord) who sought to take power, just as many others. The Samurai clad in blues and grays were the warriors under the command of a united force of two Daimyo: Nobunaga Oda and Ieyasu Tokugawa. This battle would later earn the name of The Battle of Nagashino.
In the small village by the outskirts of Nagashino Castle, civilians ran to their homes to hunker down, or fled from the village altogether and made their way toward Tokugawa controlled Mikawa. A lone family sat in their home, frightened to leave. The man of the house, a father of two girls and one boy, stood firmly by the front entrance to their home, a pitchfork in hand. They were peasants as most were who lived in the village. The son of that man, a skinny, dark haired, and green eyed boy stood by the window of the home, looking out to see the raging battle just outside the village. His curious eyes shifted left and right, viewing both sides of the battlefield. His mother and two sisters sat huddled together in a corner of the home, expressions shone of fear.
The battle diverted, splitting the forces of tens of thousands into large fractions. Two headed into the village, where soon a vicious melee would ensue. The boy's father ran into the house and closed the door, still gripping onto his pitchfork with white knuckled hands. His eyes were wide open in fear and possibly excitement. The clash of blades, and a sound that none had heard before roared just outside. That sound... that sound was new, like a blast of something, it hurt ones ears. The boy covered his ears and cowered below the window. Suddenly however, the sounds just stopped. The boy slowly uncovered his ears with his two small hands and slowly rose to look out the window again. Just as he gazed, a hideous sound broke loose. Three sets of screams pierced the air before the boy looked to his right and was struck with a fear greater than anything he had ever experienced. A long curved blade was impaled through the thin door to their home... and through his father's chest as well. A pool of blood formed on the floor below his father's quaking feet. He collapsed to the floor limply and dead.
The boy fell to his knees and moved toward his mother and sisters. A overpowering feeling, a feeling of survival at all costs, seemed to force itself into his mind. He slowly stood in front of his mother and sisters, both arms out before him, shielding them. A Samurai in red armor slowly walked into the home, wiping his crimson blade with a white cloth. Behind him, he could hear the frightened whimpering of his sisters, and the begging pleas of his mother. His heart seemed to race at ten beats a second, time was ticking slowly. The boys eyes, a rare color of green, were wide open.. just as his father's were before his death moments ago. The Samurai in red slowly brought his sword up, a look of indifference clouded over his dark eyes behind a mask of fearlessness. The blade, a gleaming force of destruction, aimed for the boy's skull. However, the blade would never meet the flesh it so wanted to taste, as another blade took on that responsibility. A Samurai in gray appeared behind the red, blade poised for a kill by running through. The red Samurai fell to the ground in shock as a blade protruded out from his chest, dripping dark blood all over the stained tatami (Straw Mats) floor.
The burial of the boy's father was an occasion of sorrow and regret. The family of the courageous man felt sorrow for the fact that they lost someone they loved dearly. The villagers who left or decided to stay during the war, felt regret for not standing with him against their common foe. This would not only be hard on the family in terms of emotional distress, but now, the family would have to work even more in the rice fields in order to put food on the table. Although they were peasants, they still needed to live.
The Samurai who saved the boy and his mother and sisters was a mighty general under the command of Lord Tokugawa. His name was Tadakatsu Honda, a rather tall and large man with a reputation of being a fierce warrior. Surprisingly, General Honda attended the burial and payed his respects. After all was done, he decided to look after the family for a while. It was curious of course, as most Samurai payed no heed to mere Peasants. The boy watched the Samurai day and night, who stood outside their home, a long Yari (Spear) in one hand, and two Katana by his side. However, as the days went on, and the Samurai still stood on guard, his opinion of General Honda changed.
The Battle of Nagashino had finally ended a month later due to the modern weapons on the field of battle. The boy would soon find out that the loud sound he heard was a shot from a Arquebusier (Type of early musket) Ashigaru (Japanese Samurai Rifleman), and it would not be the last time either. General Honda, by the end of the month, spoke to the small family as they tended the rice paddy on the edge of a hill by the village. He decided from that day forth, that he and his master, Ieyasu Tokugawa would make the family Samurai... nobility. He was moved by the young boys courage a month ago on that day when he stood up to the Red Samurai. This of course meant that the boys mother and sisters would follow suit and be moved to a larger estate in Mikawa, and the boy himself would learn the art of Bushido (Warriors Code).
Before leaving the small village at the edge of Nagashino, Tadakatsu Honda asked the boy a simple question, yet would be so profound in the future. The boy of course answered the General's question, and they took off eastward toward Mikawa. A new life, and a new beginning would start there.
"Boy, what is your name?"
- Posts : 974
Join date : 2010-01-07
Age : 29
Re: The Warrior's Mentality
Sat Mar 20, 2010 11:09 am
I'm interested, mainly because Samurai are awesome. Make a new chapter soon!
Re: The Warrior's Mentality
Sat Mar 20, 2010 1:12 pm
Chapter I: Journey of Hope
It would take many days to get to Mikawa Province in south-eastern Tokaido. The journey would be long and arduous, going through bush, bramble, and bamboo forests. However, they did have the protection of Tadakatsu Honda and his five elite Samurai guards. They walked with pride and serenity through the landscapes, fearless of any dangers. Asuma, the young boy that he was, viewed these men as idols. He wanted to be like them, and late at night, as the others slept from the long journey, Asuma would find a long stick and wave it about as if he knew kendo(style of swordsmanship).
In the mornings, from sunrise to sunset, the ten journeyers would travel the distance they could. All the while, the small family being guarded would admire the surroundings. Large twisted Banzai Trees lined glistening rivers of blue. Mossy rocks lined the riverbed and swallows walked in the shallow areas, catching carp in their mouths. The grass was green and damp from the due of the morning, and the sun shone brightly above their heads. In the distance, lone houses, picturesque, dotted the hill sides, which were leveled with rice paddies. It was the picture worth a thousand words indeed.
But the most breathtaking scene that Asuma and his family would encounter in the middle of their journey, was an entire forest of Sakura (Cherry) trees. The pink and white blossoms littered the ground, or flew gracefully through the air. Even the hardened warrior Samurai were in awe of its beauty. They walked slowly through this serene forest, admiring the perfection. That night came quickly it seemed, as they reached the edge of the forest of pink. The warriors chose the spot for camp, which was under the last of the Sakura trees. It seemed larger than the others, and almost none of the petals had fallen loose from the greedy branches. Asuma touched it's smooth bark and smiled. That tree for him signified something so much more than beauty or perfection... it signified hope.
The next few days consisted of the last legs to their journey. They had stayed by the winding Nagara river which led into the Pacific Ocean. Their fires would be made by the river, in case of spreading. Their camp would be made by the river for drinking water, as their waters were quite clean. It also provided a source of food for the journeyers. The fish that swam through the river were not only wholesome, but tasted great over the fire. The nights, after supper, were spent for Asuma, learning some of the art of ken-jutsu, or swordsmanship. Tadakatsu had created a shinai (bamboo training sword) for Asuma for the journey, and every night, he would teach Asuma the ways of the swordsman.
By the middle of their journey, and passing through the forest of Sakura, Asuma had bruises all over his body. Training was tough, and he had a long long way to go before completely getting the hang of the art of ken-jutsu, but he personally felt that he was stronger. A month had passed by the midpoint of their journey, and it would be one more until they reached Mikawa. One night, at the campfire, Asuma felt his arms and legs. He was no longer the thin peasant boy that could only eat a bowl of rice a day. He was stronger than he had ever been in his entire life, he was lean but no longer sickly thin, and his skin was no longer pale, but tanned.
Tadakatsu watched Asuma view himself and smiled slightly. He prodded the fire with a twig and chomped down into a cooked salmon. Leaning back onto a large bolder behind him, he looked up at the clear night sky. The heavens shone bright with stars and a crescent moon. wisps of gray clouds drifted slowly across the sky.
"Asuma, you have truly grown stronger. You are a different boy than the one I had to protect back at Nagashino. I am proud." Tadakatsu said with a slight grin.
Asuma was taken by surprise. His mouth was open, as he looked upon Honda. His eyes glimmered slightly in the fire, giving off a spectacular greenish hue.
"Really, is that the truth?!" Asuma asked excitedly, a wide smile overtaking his face.
"It's true Asuma, but you have a long way to go. I will make you into a strong Samurai... I will expect you to surpass myself one day. Asuma... you are like a son to me, I know that sounds cliche, but it is true." Tadakatsu stated as he prodded the fire again.
Asuma's mother smiled at this and bowed, thanking the General many times over for his kind words. He waved the words of thanks away, but in turn thanked them. For what, they hadn't a clue, but that day marked a turning point in their lives. Their family was whole again, or almost whole. The gap that their lost father had made would never truly be filled, but with Tadakatsu, it seemed that most had been. Once again, the mother felt happy, and her daughters and boy felt happy once again. The fracture in their family was not fully healed, but it was mended by kind and caring hands. The world no longer felt so dismal anymore.
The next month crawled by, ripe with kendo training, fishing, kindling, and admiring. The nights were pleasant, aside from a couple with sporadic rainfall and gusty winds. Asuma, his mother Yuuichi, and his sisters Hina and Okuni were happy once again. The trip was not as arduous as they thought, although parts were difficult. During that two month long trip, Asuma celebrated his birthday, turning thirteen. That day was spent in one place, under another small forest of Sakura. A dinner of local rice, sake, and carp was fixed by Yuuichi and Tadakatsu who wished to help. Altogether, it was a celebration that Asuma would never forget.
They reached the Province of Mikawa, a city consisting of many domains. They headed toward the domain of Okazaki, ruled by Tadakatsu himself. It was a small fishing village but boasted a happy population, loyal to their Daimyo and local ruler. As they returned, the people stood on the street and bowed low before their Samurai. Asuma was proud to be alongside one of such prestige. This would be a new life he would have to get used to.
- Posts : 626
Join date : 2009-09-28
Age : 29
Location : Canada
Re: The Warrior's Mentality
Sat Mar 20, 2010 10:49 pm
Very interesting thus far; I especially like the historical setting.
Keep it up.
Keep it up.
Re: The Warrior's Mentality
Sun Mar 21, 2010 1:00 am
Chapter II: The Hand That Feeds
Life in Okazaki had started almost three months ago. It was relatively tough at first, as Asuma and his family were not used to the higher lifestyle that came with being Samurai. They were some of the first in history to break the hierarchical ladder, going from peasant to noble was indeed a great feat. Tadakatsu had become the de facto father of the family, even though he was not married to Yuuichi. He was always around their new home; a two floored house in the traditional Japanese make, a stone fence bordering the outside and a zen garden in the back.
The entire back of the home faced toward the ocean just beyond. Short cut green grass went off and then transitioned into white sand. A pole stood outside the home with a fluttering flag bearing the emblem of the Tokugawa Clan. On the beach stood one long dock and close by, a harbor. Many small fishing boats would move in and out of the port all day long until sunset when the catch would be brought in. The town of Okazaki was prosperous but not rich.
Every day since arrival, Asuma spent with Tadakatsu in training. They would meditate every day, and he would be taught ken-justu afterward for a few hours. He was to learn an old style of swordsmanship, called the Muso Shinden-Ryu which focused on a specific style called iaijutsu which is the art of sword-drawing. They both practiced all day, as well as with jujutsu (hand to hand combat).
After the two months, Asuma was visibly stronger and he also was starting to clearly become better at his technique. He was becoming agile, his endurance for how long he could train per day steadily increased, and his temperament was starting to become calm and collected, as all other Samurai were. The guards that accompanied them in the journey to Mikawa had also become close friends and would many times watch their progress.
Many times, as Asume lay down to sleep at night, he would think about his journey to the town. He now considered it to be his home, much more so than that dismal place in Nagashino was at least. He no longer went hungry, nor had to work for twelve hours at a time. His father never left his mind either, of the blade that stabbed him. Although those times were long gone, they would stay with him forever. He wondered if this accursed war would ever end.
The banner of the Tokugawas also become a mark of pride for Asuma. He had learned much of Ieyasu Tokugawa from Tadakatsu, who happened to serve as his most advised General. He was a man of many virtues and a grand ambition. The unification of Japan... something no ruler had ever been able to accomplish. What this meant for Asuma and all others who strode under that man's crest was a very big deal: The end to the wars.
Five Years Pass
The young boy that once traveled from Nagashino to Mikawa was now five years older at the age of eighteen. He was taller, quite strong, and had grown a short beard. His ebony hair was tied in the back in a short ponytail. He had, since those days long ago, become a full fledged Samurai. He wore gray and black robes bearing the Tokugawa crest and carried two Katana at his side. Habitually, he carried one in his hand when not in battle. In his home, now alongside the original one he shared with his family, he housed a set of gray Samurai armor.
His mother died two years before this current from tuberculosis. Her grave was upon a tall hill overlooking the sea. Asuma was only sixteen at the time, and of course the entire experience traumatized him for a great while. In the time after, Tadakatsu cared for Asuma, Okuni, and Hina. Asuma, being the oldest before his two sisters, felt protective now that their mother was gone. The next years would prove to be difficult to get used to, but in the end everything seemed to work out.
At the age of seventeen, Asuma met a girl his age in the middle of Okazaki. Her name was Yui. She was a new neighbor it seemed, as she just recently moved into the domain, fleeing from the war that raged just outside the Mikawa borders. After continuing to meet each other afterward, Asuma ended up befriending her and they soon started to begin a relationship. After a year, they had fallen in love and six months after turning eighteen, Asuma proposed to her, and she immediately accepted.
Almost three months later, their wedding day came and was celebrated in Okazaki on a high hill overlooking the bay and town. Tadakatsu and a few friends served as best men. Altogether, the event was joyous and spent with good friends and family. A home was built for the two next to the original house which was still lived in by Okuni and Hina. A simple rock wall divided the two properties, however a gate served as an entrance to both.
A month after the wedding, Asuma received his Katana and robes from Tadakatsu. He was now considered a veteran of Muso Shinden-Ryu and its teachings. Tadakatsu admitted that he had nothing left to teach Asuma. Tadakatsu, later that month, would be called back into active duty for his Daimyo and was sent to war.
Asuma's life had taken another turn then. He was married and had a loving wife and home to himself. He was now a Samurai under the leadership of the Tokugawa. He had many more responsibilities than he ever had before, however was proud of his accomplishments leading up to them. Even after Tadakatsu left, he continued to hone his skills with the blade.
The days of peace and quiet would end soon, and that war that once raged beyond the borders would find its way inward and strike at the heart of serenity. Asuma would find himself in the thick of battle, wondering where that quiet went. The year of 1581 would begin with a piercing cry of battle.
Re: The Warrior's Mentality
Sun Mar 21, 2010 11:10 pm
Chapter III: The Second Siege of Takatenjin - The Beginning
The year was March 1st, 1581. Asuma and Yui sat in the back yard meditating together that peaceful late winter day. The sun was out, the distant song of sparrow chirping, and the sound of the waves hitting the beach added to the already serene atmosphere of Okazaki. News had come to the town two months ago that a distant Daimyo, currently allied to Tokugawa, the ever notorious Nobunaga Oda, had started another siege at Takatenjin Fortress in Totomi Province.
Tokugawa forces were tense, as Nobunaga winning or losing that battle would have quite a profound affect of their own standing in the country. Asuma himself felt a bit stressed, fearing that battle might come their way. He, even though an official Samurai, had never taken another persons blood. He found the entire prospect to be both frightening and exciting. As he left his meditative state, he bent over and gave Yui a peck on the cheek and stood up, stretching his body in the sun.
"It is a beautiful day out today, is it not?" Asuma asked as he shielded his eyes against the sun.
"Indeed it is, Asuma" Yui said playfully, looking up with keen eyes at her husbands face.
"I think I shall patrol the town for a bit, will you prepare some tea for us?" Asuma asked as he grabbed his swords from their spot leaning against the wall. He slid one into his obi, while the other he held.
"Of course, I will await your return." Yui responded bowed a bit and walked gracefully into the house.
Asuma watched happily, as the slender, long black-haired and gray eyed girl walked into the home. She wore a kimono of baby blue and a woman's green obi with a large bow at the back. He left the zen garden as soon as he could no longer smell her scent of fresh cut flowers. Walking through the front gate, Asuma walked through the town proper, greeting the various passersby and receiving respectful bows all the while, something he never quite got used to. He always tended to slightly bow right back, much to the humor of the townsfolk.
He started to daydream back to when he and Yui fist married. He remembered when he met her only days after she arrived in Okazaki. He knew she was the one for him when he saw her smile. It was shy, yet held an unimaginable beauty for him. She seemed like an angel at first sight, he would insist to family friends. Her personality seemed to match her brilliant design, as she had a sense of humor [quite rare among the women of Japan it seemed], an easy-going disposition, and a common shyness around others.
She was indeed the one for him, and in all reality, besides her love, he earned a best friend. It seemed, that another hole in his heart had been filled, the first by Tadakatsu, and the second by Yui.
Asuma made his way up a long hill toward the edge of the walled town. Samurai, under the leadership of the Honda Clan and the Tokugawa patrolled the barricades and battlements day and night. The guard was small at Okazaki, but for such a small town, a large one was really not needed. The guards at the top, all mostly holding Yari, bowed to Asuma, as he did back.
"Any news from Takatenjin.. or Mikawa Province?" Asuma asked a close friend named Sano who was also on duty. The Samurai responded in a friendly but gruff voice.
"Ahh, not yet my friend. I am sure that some news will be heading to Okazaki sooner or later however.
"Alright, thank you. I suppose I should just continue my rounds then." Asuma said.
Suddenly, just as he was turning around to walk down the hill and back toward the center of town, a yell came from outside the open gates. A single Samurai ran toward them. He wore the colors of the Tokugawa and bore a sealed message in one hand. He stopped at the gates to catch his breath.
"Toshiyori-san?!.. are you Asuma Toshiyori-san?"The Samurai asked, still trying to catch his breath.
"Y-yes... what is this about?" Asuma asked, a bit puzzled.
"The gong has been tolled, you and the rest of the Samurai here are to report to Takatenjin for close support of the Oda Clan."
Re: The Warrior's Mentality
Tue Mar 23, 2010 8:48 pm
Chapter III: The Second Siege of Takatenjin - To Face Annihilation
Asuma was surprised, but nonetheless accepted as it was his duty. He ran down the hill back toward the town along with the other Samurai who were to accompany him to battle. As he neared his home, he already saw Yui outside waiting for him. As soon as she saw him running toward the house, she knew something was wrong and stood up from the small mat she set up with the tea. Asuma knew right away that she was worried about him. He strode into the yard and faced Yui with a solemn look.
"Yui.. I have been called to duty. I fear that I shall be off to Takatenjin to aid the forces of the Oda Clan." Asuma said as he put his hands onto his wife's shoulders.
She stood rigid, but her appearance changed. She suddenly embraced him and kissed him on the cheek. With bright hopeful eyes, she looked into his. Asuma, puzzled by her sudden change in character lifted an eyebrow. Yui gave a short laugh and explained:
"A Samurai must remain loyal to their Lord... even if their wives worry. Do not worry about me, Asuma darling, I shall await your return." Yui said again with another peck on his cheek.
Asuma smiled inwardly and embraced Yui back, kissing her. He soon left her and went inside to don his armor. The suit stood on a stand in a room all to itself. Slowly and ceremoniously, Asuma fitted the plated armor to himself and stood by a mirror to see his reflection. The armor was gray and black plated, consisting of the breast-plate and hip - thigh plates, the pauldrons, arm and leg braces, and finally wrist guards and leather boots with a metal tip. On the front and back of the armor, with golden ornament, was engraved the emblem of the Tokugawa.
Asuma slipped his two Katana, Ryuken and Getsuei-monji into his long obi sash. Under his arm, he carried a Samurai helmet with a crescent moon like horn design in the front. A optional Hannya mask was stuffed hastily into a bag that he shouldered as he walked back outside to say a last farewell to Yui. He hugged her tightly, not wishing to let go, however he found himself loosening his embrace. They kissed once more under the shade of the Sakura in the yard. He turned and left the premises hastily, never looking back for the pain he felt, would kill him before any foes blade would.
Yui watched him leave the home, proudly and stoutly in full armor and dress. She wiped a single tear from her cheek and sat down on her mat, taking a short sip of her tea. Every day that her love was away at war, she would pray to Buddha for his safe return. Each week she would leave a note at the Wishing Tree, tying the small piece of paper to a branch, then kneel and pray to a Shinto Kami (God / Goddess) for his health and well-being. She was not alone, as Asuma's sisters joined her when they could, as well as every other family to a Samurai was in Okazaki.
Four Days Later
Asuma had journeyed by horseback for four days straight excluding short breaks and camp at the end of each day. Takatenjin drew closer, only seen by the traveling Samurai through half burnt homes and fields, the dead who lay by the road, weapons without their masters; usually sticking out from the ground ominously. The day was not sunny, and had not been since the day of departure from Okazaki; they were filled with gloom, fog, the stench of death, and the never-ending gnawing anticipations that welled up from every soldiers mind.
The Samurai would sit silently on their horses, listening to the soft patter of the rain on the dirt roads, the breeze through the forest of spruce, or the clop of their steeds hooves on the muddy road. Even the usual energetic and proud disposition of the flag bearer had been distilled into an enigmatic perpetual funk that seemed to infect everyone. Their flags were held halfway between standing or dragging on the ground.
Asuma himself even felt the dismal effects hit him. The only thing that seemed to keep him going on the track was the thoughts of returning to Okazaki and Yui. Sometimes he found himself daydreaming with a half smile on his face when he thought of her. It had only been four days and he felt as though he hadn't seen her in ages. Homesickness was the one disease that pervaded the camp at night, as the only thing that the young Samurai could talk about was their families and lives back home.
By the end of the fourth day, Takatenjin approached. The bleak scene from a day ago was incomparable to the horrors that were made present in the very town of the conflict. Dead bodies of women, children, and Samurai alike littered the streets at every corner. Buildings still mysteriously burned even with a stead rainfall during the days. It seemed not even heavens gift of water could quench the bowels of hell.
Asuma and his team of Samurai, without any leader decided to pick among themselves. The Samurai looked up to Asuma, whether due to his close relationship with Tadakatsu, or because of his notoriety back at Okazaki; therefore obviously Asuma was picked as the battalion leader. A total of fifty Samurai from Okazaki had responded to the call, leaving around forty back at Okazaki as the town guard. The levels of stress seemed to multiply for Asuma as he stared dumbly at the others.
"A-are you sure about this.. I have no combat experience. I have never taken ones life before." Asuma pleaded.
To his astonishment, none acknowledged such as a weakness at all. They insisted to Asuma that he was more than ready for such an endeavor and was more skilled in warfare than any of them, even those who were veterans of war. Asuma gave in and told his new battalion, soon to be dubbed The Raiengumi which literally meant "The Support Group", to advance. The battalion moved onward through the burning city, slowly drawing weapons just as Asuma himself drew Ryuken from its sheath.
The sounds of a battle soon reached their ears, and as they turned a corner, the great Fortress of Takatenjin stood before them in plain view. The banners of the Takeda Clan still hung on the castle walls, and arrows still shot from her battlements. Below on the ground, obviously Tokugawa's besieging ally, marched forward into hell bearing the Oda Clan's emblem. Asuma swallowed hard his nervousness, and aimed his Katana directly at the fortress. He started to yell his orders out to his Raiengumi.
"Raiengumi, stand hard. We shall be invading the Fortress of Takatenjin this day and claiming victory for the Tokugawa Clan! I want my first group to link up along with myself, with the Oda Clan. The last group will flank in a cavalry charge once the fortress gates are opened. This will be a long arduous battle, and may take many days, but we must not fall, for this battle means the pride of Okazaki and the Honda and the Tokugawa. Raise your arms, heft your spears, raise our proud emblem! CHARRRRGE!" Asuma yelled, kicking the horse with his heels.
The fifty horses of the Raiengumi charged forward, the beating of the hooves blending into the chaos around them. The allies down field cheered as they saw the much needed reinforcements, no matter how small, arrive. Nobunaga himself was said to have breathed a sigh of relief upon seeing his competitions banner charging down field.
Re: The Warrior's Mentality
Sat Mar 27, 2010 10:54 am
Chapter IV: The Art of Bushido - Kill or be Killed
Twenty days had passed since Asuma charged down field and into the raging battle below Takatenjin Castle. Thin threads of smoke rose from the castle now, telltale signs of burning flesh, mortar, and wood. All the flags bearing the Takeda Clan emblem lay on the ground in tatters or burned alongside homes within the castle. The Raiengumi had amazingly only lost a single man during the twenty day battle. The Oda however, had sustained heavy casualties. The dead lay everywhere, fresh or not... the battle only ended hours ago with the final push into the castle.
Nobunaga stood with his remaining men outside the castle, watching thousands of others run back in to quell the inferno. The Oda took no prisoners, believing that such a thing would only show dishonor to the already proud Takeda Clan, who would want it no other way. A line of Takeda survivors knelt in a long line, Oda Samurai behind with Katana above their heads. With a yell from a Oda general, their blades swept down, beheading each and every one in one slash.
Asuma himself stood upon a small hill in the middle of the now desolate battlefield. One hand still held Ryuken, and the other Getsuei-Monji. Their blades dripped scarlet blood. His face held a new expression, defined by most as silent horror... but a new sense of duty. His old idea of never thinking that he could kill another human being had shattered before his eyes as soon as he charged into battle twenty days ago. He saw death before him now, as clear as day. It did not fill him with the same horror that he felt when his father died.. or his mother. It was a different feeling altogether. The horror stemmed from the idea that he actually was capable of doing such an act. However... even with this scare, he knew now that it was his duty, so decided to take on a sense of indifference toward the enemy, and strong compassion toward the ally.
Even with his new ideology, he still held firm the belief that he would never kill anyone who he deemed unable to fight, unless they begged for their own death by his hands. He knew that to those who did not beg for it if they were indeed weak, he would blemish their honor, which was held as a worse fate than death itself. Deep in the depths of his heart he knew that he would have to crush this idea as well, and become completely indifferent toward killing an enemy, no matter how weak they were.
So there Asuma stood, swords in hand, and a glazed look over his eyes. But as he thought of these things, and put the matter to rest, his normal expression came back. With a white cloth, he wiped down the blade edge of his swords, then sheathed them. He made his way to the group of Raiengumi, who cheered his name as he approached. They had permanently become veterans of war.
The Raiengumi made preparations for departure back to Okazaki. They wondered how the village was doing, especially after learning that a detachment of the Takeda moved inland toward Mikawa for a final and desperate attack on the Tokugawa. Nobunaga met with them as they headed back toward Mikawa by horseback. The convoy stopped, and Asuma bowed low to the Daimyo.
"Greetings Oda-Sama, is there something you need?" Asuma asked.
"No, but rather is there something you need, Toshiyori-san?" Nobunaga asked. After seeing Asuma's puzzled expression, he continued. "Would you like a squad of Oda Samurai to accompany you back to Okazaki in case the Takeda did move there?"
"Ahh, it would be an honor, Oda-Sama." Asuma said, bowing even lower.
At that, a squad of Elite Samurai moved forward from Nobunaga's convoy and joined with Asuma's. Nobunaga bid them farewell after ordering his detachment to follow Asuma's command. They bowed and Nobunaga waved them off.
They took off at a gallop back toward Mikawa then. It would be a couple of days before they reached their home, they just hoped that the enemy did not make it there before them. Asuma and his Raiengumi made comrades of the Oda Samurai who came with them, all becoming good friends. Those ten Elites would soon join the Raiengumi with Nobunaga's permission, thus becoming Tokugawa's men afterward, which was more or less a last payment for his help at Takatenjin. Tokugawa therefore, made the Raiengumi a special force under Asuma's command a bit later.
After a couple of days journey, they made it back into the Province of Mikawa. As they rode over a hill that went down into Okazaki, they suddenly stopped at the top. The city burned below, and the flags of the Takeda stood before the ruined gates. Battle was already underway. Asuma's eyes grew wide as he frantically looked around the city, half of which was in flames. The sector where his own home was along with his sisters' was so far untouched. Asuma turned to his men and drew his Katana. The others did the same in haste, he pointed to their city.
"SAVE OKAZAKI, THAT IS MY ONLY ORDER." Asuma yelled as he kicked his heels into his steed and took off down the hill.
The others were more than happy to follow suit, brandishing their weapons and charging into the city to purge the enemy.
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