“Torosan, the Kai ride from the north. The men, they show fear.”
Toro cut the sweet fruit with a small knife, chewing vigorously as his watched the men scramble in the mud. The roofs drummed to the beat of a thousand raindrops. At least it would deter the archers from using fire.
Akio glanced to his cohort, knee bent in the mud, as he wanted for his commander to make a decision. To show any sort of reaction. He was called raging stone by those who considered him enemy or ally alike.
“Take down the defences. Open the gates.”
A samurai from one of the western villages lifted his face to protest, a mixture of anger and astonishment written across it, as if he were facing a senile old goat. Akio hissed a warning for him to show respect and the boy sank back to his place.
“By your command, Torosan.”
“Take rest from the angry skies. Make sure every man is out of sight.”
Now it was Akio’s turn to face his master. He had fought beside the commander for a score of years, in the tallest mountains and wettest lands. And never had he seen his friend behave in this manner. He felt his hand tremble upon the pommel of his tachi. Had the stone finally cracked in the storms?
“Torosan, maybe if the Kai saw the fierceness of our fight…”
Toro spat out the seeds of the fruit, watching them float upon the surface of the puddles before the eddies and currents carried them out of sight. They were but a few, the remainders of a once proud force for their Shogun. And now the Kai were coming.
“Do as I say.” Toro turned to face his most loyal warriors. “It is written.”
Natsuko brought his mount to a stop, its hooves churning the ground to mud. His army followed suit, a hundred men resplendent in their finest armour. Before them lay the town their spies had told of, the last bastion of this lands warriors. Natsuko sneered, digging his heels into his horse and trotting forwards without a fear in the world.
As they approached the gates, the muttering began. There was no sliding of doors, nor hurrying women with their baskets. Before them sat the mighty Torosan, the gilded edges of his ebony helmet glinting in the dying sunlight. He sat, like a stone, upon the edges of the village’s well. Across his lap lay his two swords, neither drawn nor cradled as if ready for battle.
A joke, surely.
The only way that old fool would lounge about in such a disrespectful manner was if he had a thousand men, perched within the gates, ready to rip the tongue from every one of Natsuko’s men. A trap. One the fool had unwittingly given away.
No worries. Let Torosan wait this day in the rain. He was a stone. Sooner or later, Natsuko would crack him.
Prompt originally posted by Luna_LoveWell on reddit and received 5 upvotes.