Moss-covered Monk

Moss-covered Monk


Friday, March 1, 2013

Sakura - Chapter II

Sakura- Chapter II

"Another few days and we will arrive in the capital. We must not rest; Yoshitoyo's men cannot be far behind." Hiro said, his growing unease causing paranoia to spread amongst the rest of the men. Takamastu kept his hand on his scabbard; he did not wish to be caught unaware, as he had been in Hitachi.

The defeat began to take its toil as we passed through Suruga, Totomi, Mikawa, and Owari. The last trip to the capital, we had made our way in ceremonial fashion, with palanquin and full retinue. Now, we were forced to move as bandits. The men had once been honored retainers of a Daimyo; now they were considered ronin, outcasts. Some of the men wished to turn back, to face certain death as a means of regaining what they had lost. Even Hiro was susceptible to this line of thinking, in spite of his obligation to his fallen lord.

"What could I have done?" Hiro muttered.

"Not a damn thing." I answered. Hiro seemed taken aback,, by my forthright answer as well as its vulgarity.

"That is not how a lady should speak-"

"I am a lady no more. I am now the reagent of the rightful house of Satomi. Until my brother is old enough to rule, our destiny rests in my hands. Father died, but we live. Should we cower in Kyoto, in fear of our lives, or should we fight? If we do, his life will not be spent in vain."

"What would you do? You have no army, and no gold with which to buy one. Your father's dying wish was for you to be safe; I will accomplish that before I leave this world to reunite with him."

"You will do no such thing. Your promise to my father is not fulfilled until Sanjuro and I are secure. Yoshitoyo will not stop his conquests at the borders of Hitachi. So long as we remain alive, we will live under the threat of assassination. I forbid you from even considering such an act until the rightful head of the Satomi clan is returned to Shida."

"An old retainer of your father's, from his time as a deputy in Kyoto, lives nearby. If we hope to make it to the capital without starving, we will need to stop and find supplies. We may need to trade some of our heirlooms; our stomachs cannot be filled with sentiment. Are we agreed?" Hiro's tone softened, the hardness of my voice had given him resolve. He may not have believed in a better to day to come for himself, but he began to see a better one for Sanjuro and I.

Sacrifices would be made. Honor would be put aside. Vengeance drove me on, hatred ran through veins that were once pure. For the disease I was stricken with, revenge would prove the only cure.