Three On Two

(Clan Crane)

    It's raining.  The light drizzle falls upon the fields of the Asahina.  The heavy clouds blanket the afternoon sky.  On a long, winding road, traverse two men.  Both are samurai.  Both are Crane.  One is a Kakita, scorned & laughed at for carrying three swords. The other is a Daidoji, ostracized for his gaijin lineage and the dishonorable act his mother committed.  The two seek the same destination, but through different paths. 

    The two men encounter the other upon the path.  Each stops; each bow.  The Kakita greets, "Konnichiwa."

    The Daidoji nods and answers the unspoken question.

    "Sagatsu of the Daidoji."  The first speaker responds,

    "Kakita Koshin."  Moments pass.  In a blur, blades are drawn.  Koshin wields two katana, one held held in front of him lowered, another behind him held high in the air.  Sagatsu holds his katana before him in a thrust stance, pointed low.  Koshin speaks, "Two swords, one strike."  Sagatsu retorts, "Hai.  Two swords; Honor and steel." The two smile.  Koshin does a quick thrust with the sword that was held in front of him.  It is batted away, and Koshin follows with a horizontal slash which is ducked under.  The two break away, continuing their previous stances.  Sagatsu feints and does a quick thrust.  Koshin tries to knock it aside, but Sagatsu lowers it out of the way at the moment before the strike, and slashes a wide arc at Koshin's chest threatening to leave a scar from arm to arm.  Koshin backs up at the last second.

    The exchange continues for what seems to be an enternity.  During the duel, Sagatsu receives a cut on one of his hands, but still was able to fight as if unharmed.  Koshin's body itself is untouched, but his kimono is cut in some places.  Then suddenly, each man stands normal and sheaths their swords.  "Well done.",
Sagatsu compliments.  "Indeed." Koshin replies.  "But you either lie or do not know, Koshin-san.  Today, you fought with three swords, as I fought with two; as all kenshinzen of the Crane do.  And because of that, if you would have it, I offer my eternal friendship.",

    Sagatsu comments and smiles.  "Arigato, Sagatsu-san.

    I will remember this, and I am honored."  Both bow and continue the path in which they choose to travel.

    "Until again, Koshin-san."