Friday, February 21, 2014

Teaser: His Third Attack

Not going anywhere for awhile?
Choose a good kaishakunin!

Teaser from my upcoming release The Second Cut.  Enjoy!

Not content with giving himself the one necessary cut, he slashed himself thrice horizontally and twice vertically. Then he stabbed himself in the throat until the knife protruded on the other side, with its sharp edge to the front; setting his teeth in one supreme effort, he drove the knife forward with both hands through his throat, and fell dead.
Algernon Bertram Freeman-Mitford
Tales of Old Japan

His third attack was lightning quick, a series of strikes that forced Tomoe to take a small step away.  Her wounded leg gave her a warning shot of pain and her knee began to buckle.  She swayed backwards and felt the sword pass through where her stomach and chest had been.  When she brought herself up, her naginata Autumn Dance licked out again, a feint to the right that urged him to move left, which he did.  The haft spun in her hands, dipped high and came up, to draw a line down his left arm and drew an audible gasp.  This time, she didn’t wait for him to recover.  She pulled back and struck out again, drawing a matching line down his right arm.  A quick twist of her wrists and the blade flicked up to the other side of his neck.  He now had four matching wounds in the space of moments.

She didn’t smile at what she’d wrought.  Hirotsuna had dishonored her, both as a woman and as samurai.  It was bushido that demanded he be repaid in kind, which could only mean death at her hands.  She didn’t regret the loss of life.  His karma had brought him to this point.  As ronin his honor was already suspect.  However, she could turn his life, at least the end of it, into meaning for her and her duty and the other men with him.

Hirotsuna was flagging.  The cuts had taken their toll both mentally and physically.  Fear and anger filled his gaze, but Tomoe could now see resignation.  He was a competent swordsman, and he must have thought himself twice the match for any woman.  He now knew that was not the case.  He danced back several paces from her last cut, took a firm hold on the hilt of his sword, two hands placed side by side close to the tsoba guard, and set his feet.

“Kai!” he screamed, rage and brutal fury filled his voice.  He ran forward, his sword swung down in a dynamic arc of power and destruction.  Every instinct in her screamed that she should move, that she couldn’t stand and meet such an attack, but she knew her leg would betray and kill her.

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