Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Are You Worthy - Dark Warrior's Katana

As I made my way
Down from the temple,
I touched the new tattoo,
Curious as to where
My next battle will be.

Nothing happened,
No vision as clear as day,
Not even a glimmer.

"You are not ready
To see the next battle ground."

Beside me stood
The little boy,
His face a mask
Of authority.

"Your body needs time
To heal and your mind
Has shifted out of a plane
Of total confidence,"
He said, starting to walk.

"Besides you barely won
In your fight with Kure-ji-ichi
Do you really think you
Can win in the next battle
The way you are now?"

We walked in silence.
He was right,
The battle at the temple
Was harder than
The one with the samurai.
The next battle,
Without a doubt, will
Be much harder.

"You need a katana,"
The boy said at last.
"Fighting with a different
Katana on the higher levels
Will lead to your defeat.
You need a katana that
Is as much a part of you
As your arm or leg."

I stopped walking,
Looking at him skeptically,
"Let me guess,
You know where
I can get one."

A large grin spread
Across the little boy's face.

"I know someone,
Come, I will take
You to him."

The journey through
The little town
Went by in a blur
As we walked quickly.

Our destination was
A little shop on a side street,
The inside was dark and dusty
And I wondered if anyone
Ever came in to buy anything.

"Old man!
Old man, I have a warrior
Looking for a katana!"
The little boy's voice echoed
Through the store.

"Hmph, why do you yell?
I'm not deaf,"
A little, old man
Shuffled from a room
To the back.

His posture stooped
And his weight was
Propped on a beautifully
Carved cane.

"Warrior, you say?
So you've won the temple
Battle, Dark Warrior?"
He spoke to me as
Though I was his student.

"Yes, and I've come
To purchase a katana,"
I said, bowing to the man.

"Ha, purchase a katana!
I don't sell katanas."

I looked at the little boy
In confusion, but he was
Busy looking through
An ancient book.

"Young warrior,
You can not buy a katana
From me, you will find it
With my help. You already
Have it, but I will help
You be able to access it
When you need it,"
The old man said.
"Come with me."

I looked at the boy,
Once more and he nodded.
"You've come this far,
Why turn back now?"

I followed the old man
Through the back of the store.
As I walked out the back door,
I expected to find
A dusty courtyard,
Instead I walked into
A forest clearing
Which was a perfect circle.

"Who made this?"
I asked in awe.

"No man made this,
But their actions did.
Many battles were fought here
And now the plants and trees
Dare not to enter the circle
Less they lose a limb or two,"
Responded the old man.

When I turned back to him,
I noticed he had
Two wooden sticks that
Were shaped into katanas.

He tossed one to me,
Then went to the far end
Of the clearing and propped
His cane against a tree.

He turned back to me,
He now stood taller,
He stretched and I heard
Bones cracking.
For an old man,
He was well built.

He returned to the
Center of the circle
And took a stance,
"Shall we begin?"

I had barely nodded my head
When the old man attacked
With a speed I had not expected,
I had barely enough time to
Evade his first blow.

The first half hour was spent
Evading the old man's attacks.
Instead of waning,
His strength,
His speed,
His intensity
Was growing.

"Do you even know
How to fight, young one?"
The old man asked, stepping back.
"How did you win against
The samurai and Kure-ji-ichi
If all you do is evade?"

"Yes, I know how to fight,
Old man," I spat back,
Wiping sweat away from my brow.

"Then show me that
You are worthy of
A katana of your own,"
The old man dared me.

Without warning,
He attacked and this time
I countered his attack,
Then attacked him.

With each blow,
I tossed away my vices.

With the blow to his side,
I released my fear.

With the blow to his shoulder,
Self pity melted away.

Soon, all that was left
Was confidence, resolution
And power.

Although I had gotten
The upper hand, the old man
Was able to knock
The wooden katana
From my hands.

He held his to my chest,
I should have felt fear,
I should have felt defeat,
Instead I felt unstoppable.

A warm sensation emanated
from my right shoulder,
Snaking its way down my arm.
When it reached my hand,
I felt something solid.

I looked down
To see the end of
A mini tornado dying away.

In my hand
Was a black katana.
I looked up at the old man,
And on his face was
A knowing smile.
Then he was gone.

He flipped and somersaulted
To the far end of the clearing
Where he picked up his cane.
With a click,
He unsheathed a katana
From the cane.

"Your katana finds you worthy,
But are you worthy enough
To leave this clearing with it?"
The old man attacked.

Sparks flew,
Blood was spilled,
Sweat gleamed on our bodies,
And we fought,
Never stopping even though
Our bodies ached and
Begged for mercy.

Hours passed and still
They felt like minutes.

Then the old man
Walked away,
Returning to the far end
Of the clearing to retrieve
His katana's casing.

As he assembled his cane,
He turned back to me,
"You are worthy, you one,
You are worthy of that
Katana and you are worthy
Enough to leave this place.

As he spoke,
I felt the black katana
Vibrate as though
It was agreeing with
The old man.

"It's getting late and
The last train to Tokyo
Leaves in an hour,"
The old man said,
Walking to the door
Leading back into the store.

Like before,
I followed him through the store.
When we reached the front,
I noticed that the old man
Was shuffling, depending on his cane
And his body and clothing
Showed no signs of our battle.

I looked down,
And the same was true for me.
Not a cut, bruise or tear in my
Clothing could be found.
The only proof I had
That there was even a battle
Was the black katana
In my hand.

I looked up to find
The old man and the boy
Looking at me as though
They were proud parents.

"You are ready to continue
To the next level, but
You must rest a few days
To be able to fight
At your best,"
The little boy said
With authority.

"What is that written
On your katana?"
He asked.

The script was old Japanese
And the only characters
I could recognize was
"Dark Warrior".

I turned to the old man,
"Can you read this?"

Without looking at the katana,
His eyes staring intently
Into mine, he told me.

"The Dark Warrior is prepared
For battle, be forewarned!"

To be continued.......

I must be honest, I feel this poem is the first draft. I don't feel incredibly confident so I'll let it sit for a while and come back to it. Thanks Glen for the pic of the katana.


Robert Gibson said...

Go back to it if you must ... but let me say this. You have me gripped... this is a classical epic poem Homer's "Iliad" comes to mind.

PLEASE put this altogether when it is done so I can read it from beginning to end. I WOULD buy this.

Olsfred James said...

i love the feel of this series... not to rush the genius but... am waiting on the next one!