Summer fog

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awakeneddragon
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Summer fog

The remaining bandits surrounded the kneeling man, careful not to touch the remains of their fallen comrades. And the one among their number who had abandoned his weapons.

"Hiro!" wailed the one bandit over and over, gathering together the ruins of his brother. Save for his ragged cries, and the panting, almost gagging men, there was not a sound in the wood. None that the despirate men could hear, any way.

The kneeling man, however, was neither broken, nor excited. And his ears caught the sound pooling water on the leaves, swelling with the evaporating fog. Droplets of water fell from the pines, striking through to the forest floor with clean, staccato rhythims.

So unlike the geisers of blood and bile.

"Hiro!"

The bandit lord let the fool cry. It was grating, but he did not himself dare speak. Better to not call attention to himself. It was he that had launched the attack on the lone samurai, calling for the man's sword as his prize, a fine blade well kept unlike his own, as rusted with corruption as the life he'd lead since becoming a ronin.

To the bandit lord's right, Ohira whimpered, hardly more than a dog. and confused at why they all waited.

But the bodies around them was enough to give them pause.

The samurai had slain three men before putting his lamed horse out of its misery. And now he sat, perhaps praying for his horse. His beautiful sword was cleaned and sheathed, across his lap.

The bandit lord barked a laugh, and the others looked at him. Ohira smiled hopefully. The bandit lord laughed again at the ridiculousness of the situation. What did he care how many cast aways died? What did he care what they thought?

"Get him!" the bandit lord bellowed, taking two steps forward and swinging his sword.

Ohira bounded forward as if launched from a catapult. And so he was the first to die. His blood choked his howl of glee as it turned to agony, his blood bursting from his back to flare, suspended, in midair! But, no, it spattered over fine chains that lifted Ohira off the ground, chains that stretched from the sword, now driven into the ground, and the surrounding trees.

Two other bandits were similarly skewered.

Ohira began to dance like a puppet in the hands of a novice, twitching and flailing as the samurai ran up the chain. Bandits closed on him, but their heads left their bodies, floating up and up beyond the geisers of blood spraying from their necks.

"A second sword," breathed the bandit lord before an odd stiffness stole over his throat, but then he swallowed and the rigidity became a blazaing pain, pain that he trembled against once, twice, eyes bursting with tears, mingling with snot and his own stinking sweat. But he kept his eyes on the samurai's face. But the face did not make any sense through the haze of pain.

And then the pain cleared, and he lost all sense of loathing for himself and his band of cutthroats.

His last thought, was wonder at the blind samurai, and then he saw nothing.

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