"Small" writing challenges for my small writing talent. Hotel note pads are the only space allowed. Let's see if I can strip it down and tighten it up to learn something. Improving my skill of weird fiction.
The Warlord’s anger grew unlimited, raining down harsh punishment for any detractors of authority. A ruling by fear was his only understanding. One small village dared claim his rule too violent and disrespectful. He declared them enemies and sent two-hundred soldiers to kill all of them and burn it down. An example to everyone in his territory. The news deliberately spread among the travelers, sending the terror far and wide. The Warlord fulfilled his requirements providing food and service tenfold over expectations. The ruling Shogunate turned a blind eye to how.
To the north of the razed village, once a home of cherry blossom trees and some of the finest rice, lay a pool. It continuously fills from a fresh mountain spring, the waters glowing with orange light cast by a setting sun. The pool is sacred. For the last few centuries the protecting samurai would gather and drink of it’s fresh water before battle. One man knelt at the edge of these spiritual waters, having returned from a journey only to learn that the village he had heard so much about was his. The single surviving Samurai of the scorched land was now Ronin. Master-less.
The trained Samurai, each swearing protection to their lord and the village, had been equally slaughtered at the entrance. Shells of their armor smoldering with remains. Spears and their own swords sticking through into the ground, like warning flags. All seventeen had fought well, taking two or three for every loss. The numbers against them many. With their duty failed, their souls were left unfulfilled and restless.
The single remaining samurai covered himself with the black ashes of the burned village. Smeared across the plates of his armor. Rubbed upon his face. He wore his home, his village, the energy of his family and friends. His next duty burned through him. His prayers would come true.
Three foxes appeared opposite the pool’s edge. They sat, eying the ash-blackened samurai. His sword lowered into the pool. Everything shimmered orange, and then, just the blade. Strength flowed through all the way to the grip. The orange glow vanished as it dried. The pool reflected nothing. With centuries of sworn duty within, he slotted the blade into it’s saya on his hip. Three pieces of meat from a pouch were produced, one for each fox. They ate their food as he spoke through black lips, “We have agreed. You know what I need to do. Now, go and do for me.”
Finishing their food, the three foxes humanly nodded to the samurai. The promise of care and food was a bond. Turning away and disappearing, invisible, they would complete their task. Three Kitsune spirits would never be seen entering the Warlord’s walls. The ashen-black samurai, driven by centuries old spirit of warriors, village families and the shape changing dark talents of the kitsune, began his great journey. One that would be victorious. Tonight, the death of the Warlord.
(Author’s notes) September 21st, 2015: Louisville, KY (under 500 words)
I watched a movie. Related of course, about the end of Japanese feudalism and the battles during. It started with an old man in a doctors office recognising a picture. It was of someone who forty years earlier was a great rival and also ally durinng the battles. The movie was basicly a few big flashbacks between the two men. I thought, a standard Japanese revenge story would be fun if I could mix in some sort of super-natural work. Enjoy. I hope I ticked the correct boxes.