– Combat de samouraï –  Ando Hiroshige

The duelists  face one another, fresh snow at their feet The bamboo forest barren of life except for them, and no  matter how cold it is, both are sweating. The cold sweat of anticipation and desire.

both masterless the ronins can be distinguished from far thanks to their garments, one has a white kimono with a red pink emblem design and the other has a blue lotus emblem in the back of his black kimono.

Their swords drawn and pointing to each other. they pace Ever so carefully reading each movement,  predicting  the strikes in their minds and with it, it’s counter and the reversal to that as well, their bodies switching from a stand to another, strategizing the next few steps before they are performed.

The challengers wait, their fist tight around their blades each knowing they will seal their fate. Blades that have ended many lives in countless challenges. Sunlight fading, the stand off consumes time. the white  clothed opponent rushes forth; sword  up,  his black counter part ready to parry his attack and counter it, steps to the side in a a perfectly angle, allowing the white ronin to pass, and attacks in a forward  cut across.

Having expected that move by the black ronin, risking his position and his life, he steps through and lift his sword to block his counter and prepare to retaliate. Blocking the counter he directs the sword to the master-less samurai’s arm in a downwards cut, slicing it off,  pain and  agony rip the silent air, but the loss of a limb would not deter him from his task.  Trained to fight until his full demise, he re-positions  himself and still in control of his right arm and with sword in hand he attacks with slash to faster than the  eyes can see.

The white garbed swordsman moves towards him letting his opponent sword pass him  inches from his shoulder, and with a  kick to his adversary’s side he folds him and with a forthwith cut slices his enemy’s head clean from his body. Blood gushes everywhere, covering the snow in red, silence fills the air again and with the day coming to an end  he stands inexpressive passive  and unmatched.Unmoved  by his triumph he starts to walk away leaving behind the seed of death he had sown.