Thursday, November 14, 2013

Living By A Blinded Sword

There would always be a wound from the unexpected knife that slipped between her shoulder blades. The feeling was stronger than any grief she could imagine. She belonged to a mighty group of hunters who were raised without any parents to teach them right or wrong. They had to decide what the noble and best path to walk on was. Three of them were skilled with a spirit weapon; only one was not and decided he would not follow his siblings’ path. The middle child, Hantori, became a normal baker, working within the run-down city of souls to try and feed the hungry. The rest continued on the "righteous" path of bloodshed. His soft, short, brown hair and deep, blue eyes were made to never see death; or at least, some people thought.
Out of this group of three warriors were the biggest brother, the littlest brother, and the fiery sister. The eldest, Nakemi, was the first to join the Knight’s Circle. In his teen-age years, he had reached the status that the captains were on. The charming male with long, brown hair and soft, brown eyes knew how to pull his way through the system. The boy made the connections, and by the time his other siblings arrived at Knight’s Circle, he was one of the three captains.
The littlest brother was the next to follow after him. The blonde-haired and blue-eyed boy, named Tamori, got lucky and didn’t even need to lift a finger to get pulled into a squad. Nakemi put him in high regards and got him placed within his elder brother’s troops. He didn’t reach any high status, or anything like that; just another disposable soldier.
The passionate sister was the last one to get into the Knight’s Circle. Tokutei was always very competitive. Growing up with the tough love of three brothers, probably didn’t help. She had to be strong and fierce so her brothers wouldn’t gang up on her. The Academy was a different way to show her worth to her brothers. Even though they were the ones to first teach her how to love and care for others, she couldn’t help but feel useless.  How could she return the love they gave her? She needed to do something wonderful.
Not only did she feel the need to pay back the favor of taking care of her, but there was another reason for her drive. Nakemi never gave her any credit for the work she did.  He never really gave her compliments to her sword fighting. She never craved someone’s brotherly love and affection like she did for his. She didn’t understand what she did wrong, or what she needed to do to get his attention. She decided that if she could make herself a captain, one day, her brother would be able to say he was proud.
During the female’s time at the academy, there was one man who filled her heart with anger. The long, red-haired boy was named Raidyn. Tokutei claimed that the brown-eyed male was the demon. It all started on the day she was sparring with some forgettable woman. She swung the sword wide and accidently hit him over the head. The boy’s lip twitched as a bump formed above his right eye brow. Tokutei tried to apologize again and again, but the male would not accept it.
“I’ll get you back for this,” he warned her.
Raidyn’s warning was not forgotten, and soon turned into a curse. Everything she did, he would butt into her, or be a pest. Tokutei, in return, became the same annoyance that she couldn’t stand. Every day was full of vicious competition. She even forgot her real reason she was there. Every single sun rise to sun set, she would train with her wooden sword. Tokutei practiced and practiced until her hands bled. The girl remembered to even practice her magic. Her goal was to defeat him. When he joined the Knight’s Circle, she followed soon after. He wasn’t getting off that easily.
Her very first captain was a mighty and strong man. He was built like an ox, with mighty shoulders and rippling muscles.  The man loved to fight and craved to battle every single day. From that day on, she was forced into training with her spirit sword, every day. Day by day, she grew stronger by her captain’s side. Her and her elder got attached, challenging and pushing each other to their limits. Her senior was impressed with her, as she grew into a true warrior in front of his eyes. She did as he told her to, twisting and rearranging her body and mind to fit into the style of a disciplined killer. He taught her meditations to increase her power within her spirit's sword.
Through her intense training, and fiercely concentrated breathing, she got to know her first and only spirit sword’s name. Panissha was the weapon's female name; a blade of punishment and torture. The male spirit within the sword was Kiba; the hilt of obeisance and strength. The two together, dominant master and faithful lap-dog, were built to fit Tokutei. Panissha was unmerciful and dangerous. She represented the fighter within the fiery sister. Kiba was the longing to please those held dear. Tokutei took it to mean to have the right to rip apart the man named Raidyn. Knowing the sword's names gave her ten times more power.
She told her captain of the wonderful news. Her sword and her bond grew stronger. With that in mind, he dismissed her after a final spar between student and sensei.
“It seems that you will be going to a different captain. Captain Ryoa is waiting for you,” he announced after mopping the floor with the tired girl.
It was an extreme switch for her. Not just for the fact that it was a whole new team, but her captain was so fun and loud. Captain Ryoa was...well…dull and scary. Not only was there a new captain, but the lieutenant was the one and only, Raidyn.
Once Raidyn and Tokutei were forced into the same group, Captain Ryoa was not expecting it be the worst decision of his life. All the two did was argue and fight. Everything they did was a contest. Things went by fast, but the responsibilities given to them turned out to be sloppy, and done for just the sake of getting it done. It was a nightmare to the young ones when Captain Ryoa, who wasn’t much older than themselves, brought them into his office and stuck them with paperwork.  That was what their life was filled with after that; paperwork and training.
Missions made up what the stubborn two looked forward to while working with their Captain. War was always breaking out between cities and clans. They were always sent out together to work on something Ryoa needed them to do. From assassinations to defending villages, they became an unstoppable team.
As the two worked together, it slowly became less violent and mean. Their fighting was playful and fun.
“When did Raidyn become my friend?” She once asked Ryoa.
“The day I thought it was a good idea to pair you guys up together,” he simply responded. His lips tugged into a half smirk. Tokutei stared out the window. He had planned this, but she couldn’t help but smile at the thought of Raidyn.
It took a few years, but the two young adults were finally falling in love.  They were always being competitive, but there was something so hauntingly fresh and sweet to them. The two wouldn’t admit to the affection they shared until the day Raidyn got injured. Tokutei visited him the first day, bringing him some flowers and paperwork to do, so he didn’t sit there bored. His side was deeply cut, but he was living and still kicking.
“You have to be more careful,” Tokutei had warned him as she sat next to the bed.
“I know. You want to know something, though?” he asked. Tokutei just hummed in reply. “I learned that we will never know when we are going to die. I’m going to take a chance with this but… I think I’m in love with you," he proclaimed that day. His cheeks were heated, and his eyes were tightly shut.
“You know what? I love you, too,” Tokutei chuckled and locked her lips to his. He kissed back without a second thought. Some things in life were never meant to be, though.
Months later, Tokutei showed up her little brother multiple times. The last fight she had with her little brother finally got her the attention of her eldest brother. He took her out to the pub.
“I was wrong,” he told her. “A woman does have a place within the battle field. I have been wrong to look down on you because you were a female. I have never been good at the affection thing, but I never meant any harm by it." Tokutei’s eyes let the waterfalls stream down her face.
“Your approval was all I was after,” she choked on her tears. All she ever wanted was to know was that he saw her and valued her. She never expected him to apologize to her. She thought nothing could ruin the gratitude she felt.
They headed down the road to get back to the barracks. While passing through the silent and abandoned town square a figure stood in the middle, with a group of dead soldiers at his feet. Nakemi noticed and placed an arm out to his sister. The male raised his index finger to his lips and approached to get a better look. They quietly approached the male and were shocked to find that it was the mid-child, Hantori, covered in the warrior’s blood.
“Hantori..?” Tokutei voice cracked at the terrifying sight. He looked up at her with dull eyes before pointing up. The female went to look up, but her eldest brother pushed her out of the way and drew his spirit sword, Kira. The black blade absorbed the impact of another sword clashing down from out of nowhere. It was the youngest brother, Tamori.  Tokutei was so confused. Why had their little brothers attacked them?
“What is the meaning of this!?” Nakemi demanded of his two brothers. The youngest child jumped away and landed next to Hantori. The eldest glanced at Hantori, eyeing his blood-stained, red blade. “I thought your spirit sword never appeared to you?” he added with a glare at Tamori.
“You’re not the only two with the talent,” the mid-child’s voice said dully. He sounded nearly apathetic. The lone sister never remembered him being like that. She wondered if he was like this because they left him in the village. It was his decision.
“I’m sick of you guys getting all the glory! Being all successful while I am still just a lowly soldier. If you are dead Nakemi, than I can take your place as Captain! I can bring Hantori in without needing to go through that whole academy crap,” Tamori announced. The jealousy of his older siblings ran so deep that he had forgotten their first real love and bonds. Tokutei shook her head at the thought. How could that happen? Had she been so stuck on gaining approval and beating everyone that she forgot the most important thing to her; her family?
“Brother… please stop this madness,” she spoke softly, and gently. She never wanted it to be like this. Why had she been so blind? Love… the different kinds she had experienced in her life… had certain loves blinded her from others?
“Madness!? The day you abandoned me, and didn’t even come see me again! That is madness,” Hantori snapped. Tokutei winced at his words.
“Enough talking! Sister, draw your weapon!” Tamori smirked. “Or, die without honor.”
She shook her head but Nakemi grabbed her sheath pulling her sword out for her. “I can’t…” she started, but he interrupted her.
“They plan on killing us. They are like any other strangers, and they will be without remorse,” he warned her. “We are knights; we are prepared to fight anything.” How could he say things like that about their own flesh and blood? She gripped onto her sword and closed her eyes. What should she do?
“Fight!” Two voices rang in her head. Panissha and Kiba were telling her to fight. She opened her eyes. Couldn’t there be another way?
“Here we come!” Tamori laughed and ran towards Nakemi. Hantori ran towards Tokutei.
The best she could do was block the attacks that came at her. She stumbled back as she refused to fight back against him. He kept coming at her. Nakemi was right. They were not going to let up, or go easy on them. She felt nausea at the thought of dueling her brothers to the death. She heard the clashing of blades, and the sounds of magic exploding against each other. She bit her lip, looking over at her elder brother for only a moment, until pain raged through her shoulder. Hantori slashed upon her shoulder and cut her deeply. She fell back with a hand to the wound, shakily breathing from the raw agony of the open flesh.
“Why aren’t you taking this seriously?” Hantori kneeled next to her and tilted his head, just slightly. “What will it take to make you take me serious?” With that he left her and rushed into the battle with the eldest brother. Nakemi barely avoided Hantori’s sword, dodging both of his brothers. They were relentless, though. The two boys kept at him like two rabid dogs. Tokutei watched from the ground while her blood gushed out of the wound. She couldn’t do it; she just couldn’t. This thought continued until Nakemi was overwhelmed. A sword sank into his gut quickly. Tokutei's eyes were as big as the full moon.
“NO!” She screamed and forced herself up. She held onto her blade and slammed the hilt into Hantori. She held her hand out toward Tamori, chanting a few words as a red ball of energy blasted him into a house made of stone. She dropped to her knees beside her brother’s side. “Nakemi!” She held her hand to his wound to stop the bleeding, but it was no use.
“It’s too late,” he breathed as blood rolled out his mouth. “Run, Tokutei… they won’t get away with this. You don’t need to fight or revenge me. The courts will tear them apart for you, so run. Be the witness of this foul act,” he gasped. The woman moved her other hand to his cheek. Her tears rained over his chest.
“I won’t leave you,” she simply told him. She stabbed Panissha into the ground and placed her body over her elder brother’s. “You die here, then I’ll die with you.” She thought about the rest of her friends… her old captain, Captain Ryoa, and handsome Raidyn. She loved them all, in different senses. Then she remembered her roots.  She remembered the first family love she had ever felt; the first real human connections. “I can’t kill them, but I can’t abandon you, either,” she told Nakemi. “May they do their worst,” she said through gritted teeth, as Hantori’s sword stabbed into her back and out Nakemi’s back.
Both coughed up blood. Tamori stabbed his sword through them, as well. Nakemi died first, while Tokutei held onto life tightly. She knew this was it. Deep down, she felt it fit. You live by the sword, you die by the sword. It would be atonement for letting other loves distract the first and most important love of all; family. No other love could be truer than this woman’s love for her brothers. No matter what was to happen to her, even in her dying breath, she never turned her sword to them. Even though they let greed and envy take over their minds, she still loved them until her last breath.

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