Note: These came about from a challenge on LiveJournal where I had to choose one of five tables, each with 50 words, and write one sentence for each. All of mine were, of course, for my favorite SAMURAI 7 couple – some spoilers for later in the series, other spoilers for later in the story, some of what might be, others of what might have been. And it was HARD! In the end, though, even I was surprised at what came out of it. And I enjoyed it so much I immediately went back and did it again with another table!
This batch is from the Alpha set of 50 words, presented here as a series of images and words from my own unique version of the world of SAMURAI 7, in which a man and woman are torn between love and duty, between the rules of society and the desires of their hearts, and between their greatest hopes and darkest fears.
IMAGES AND WORDS
#01 – Comfort
For a moment, there is no war, no enemy, no death… there is only the warmth of his arms around her even as their ship plunges from the sky and his tears fall onto her cheek.
#02 – Kiss
Even as he left Rikichi's house, she reached out to clutch the back of his robes, and as he turned, he suddenly found her mouth on his, saying goodbye with a kiss instead of the words she could not speak.
#03 – Soft
His hair gently curls around her fingers as she brushes the long brown tresses back from his eyes, her touch as soft as a caress from a moth's wings.
#04 – Pain
Kambei could only watch in horror as the Benigumo's blade came crashing down, sending Nasami flying backward to land in a crumpled heap on the ground, biting back a cry of agony.
#05 – Potatoes
"They're called potatoes," Kambei whispered to her, grinning at the face she made as she tried them, but Nasami shook her head and pushed the plate away from herself with a muttered, "They're yams that forgot they were yams."
#06 – Rain
The Nobuseri had been defeated, but as the rain fell, Kambei and Nasami knew that no amount of rainfall would ever truly wash away the scent of the battlefield.
#07 – Chocolate
He stood beside Rikichi's bed, and saw how the young farmer's chocolate-brown eyes stared longingly at his wife's comb… and tried to imagine how it would feel to lose Nasami.
#08 – Happiness
Together they stood atop the waterfall, arms around one another, the spring breeze on their faces, and offered silent prayers to the kami in gratitude for this single perfect moment of happiness.
#09 – Telephone
As she crept through the Nobuseri ship searching for Kambei and the others, Nasami nearly jumped at a strange sound, as jarringly abrupt as a telephone's ringing, and whirled around when she realized it was an intrusion alarm… that she had just set off by mistake.
#10 – Ears
"Great samurai, you're beautiful, so beautiful I'm in love," Nasami whispered in a husky murmur filled with laughter, and Kambei blushed until even his ears turned red.
#11 – Name
"Sasuraitsuru… a name I've not heard since the Great War," Kambei said thoughtfully, his eyes resting on Nasami's white hair, "but I wonder what brings the Wandering Crane to Kougakyo?"
#12 – Sensual
Together they moved in silent harmony, their blades rising and falling in unison as they moved through the ancient kata, savoring each movement, each breath, and the perfect stillness of satori.
#13 – Death
"Your life… I've stolen it," she heard Kambei whisper to Gorobei, while Nasami's tears were lost in the rain.
#14 – Sex
"You would take a ronin outcast as a lover?" he asked, staring into her dark blue eyes, but she shook her head and drew him close to whisper, "I am taking a samurai…"
#15 – Touch
In the dying firelight, she took one of his hands in her own to trace the tattoo beneath her fingers, then she brushed her lips gently against the back of his hand.
#16 – Weakness
"It's nothing," he tried to tell her as she saw the blood on his right arm, but her sharp eyes caught how his sword hand trembled from the weight of holding his katana.
#17 – Tears
"I am ronin, Nasami," he hissed, ignoring her tears as he held her at arm's length, "and you are samurai… you cannot come with us any farther."
#18 – Speed
Together they charged the enemy, their katanas flashing faster than the peasants could follow as wave after wave of Yakan soldiers died beneath their swords.
#19 – Wind
The sandstorm howled around him as he crossed the desert toward the capital, but in his mind, the only thing he could hear was her sobbing as he had left her behind.
#20 – Freedom
"At last, there is no fear in Kanna Village," he murmured to her while they watched the peasants singing in the fields, gathering the first harvest they could truly call their own.
#21 – Life
"For cowards, there is no life," Nasami whispered, standing beside Kambei and tightening her grip on her katana as five Raiden approached, "but for samurai, there is no death."
#22 – Jealousy
She watched Kirara approach him, saw how the younger girl's eyes sparkled as she smiled up at the samurai, and turned away before he would notice the bitterness in her gaze.
#23 – Hands
"I know you better than that," Kambei said, his voice harsh, reaching out to seize her left hand, forcing her fingers to open to reveal the scar there.
#24 – Taste
She quietly beside Kambei and ate her rice, but as she remembered Heihachi, the sweetness of the rice was mixed with the saltiness of her tears.
#25 – Devotion
"You forget, ronin have no loyalties," Kambei said bitterly, "not to anyone… or from anyone."
#26 – Forever
Kambei sat beside the fire, morosely sipping at his sake, when the words of a haiku spontaneously came to his mind – "the ronin's stillness / a different enlightenment / forever empty."
#27 – Blood
Nasami stopped beside a fallen peasant, her eyes cold with anger, then she touched her fingers to his blood and drew it like a mask over her eyes before turning on the Nobuseri once more.
#28 – Sickness
Kambei knelt beside Nasami's pallet, feeling the fever that scorched its way through her blood, and hearing every rasping breath and wondering if it would be her last.
#29 – Melody
For a moment, they cast aside their responsibilities, set aside all proprieties and rules, and danced together to the music of Shichiroji's shamisen.
#30 – Star
"The Weaver and the Shepherd," Nasami mused as she stared up at the sky, as Kambei lightly rubbed her shoulders, "a love set among the stars… I wonder if ours will be the same…"
#31 – Home
"Once the bandits have been dealt with, fallen homes can be rebuilt," Kambei said to Manzo, but as he glanced up and saw Nasami standing near the trees, his fingers tightened on the peasant's shoulder, and he rasped, "but heed this warning – if you betray us again, I will kill you myself."
#32 – Confusion
"Please, Lady Sun, I beseech you… show me that this love has your blessing," Nasami pleaded as she knelt before a small shrine, "for my heart is torn between my duty and my desire."
#33 – Fear
"Courage is not about not being afraid," Kambei remarked as the preparations for the defense of Kanna continued, "it is about being afraid, and doing what must be done anyway."
#34 - Lightning/Thunder
"I will return home at last," Nasami murmured, resting her head against Kambei's chest while the peasants sang in the fields, "to Kyuden Shiden'issen by the sea, and with you by my side."
#35 – Bonds
It has long been a tradition among certain Clans to tattoo their samurai with the mon of the school, so that samurai would forever carry a symbol of their loyalty to their sensei.
#36 – Market
The shopkeeper bowed deeply to Kambei, who smiled, nodded to the shopkeeper politely, picked up his package and left, imagining Nasami's pleasure at the small gift he carried.
#37 – Technology
"Technology is all well and good," Nasami shouted, laughter in her voice as she cut down another Raiden, "but I will take old-fashioned steel any day!"
#38 – Gift
Nasami's eyes were wide as she stared at the small alabaster crane that Kambei had given her, and while she had no words to thank him, the delight in her eyes was more than enough for him.
#39 – Smile
Watching her as she slept was one of his favorite pastimes, seeing her without all the cares and worries burdening her, a faint smile curving her mouth as he enjoyed pleasant dreams.
#40 – Innocence
"It still amazes me," Kambei mused to Shichiroji as he watched Nasami laughing with some of the children of Kanna, "how a samuraiko can still find such joy in the simplest things in life."
#41 – Completion
Kambei lightly touched the kanji that had been meticulously inked into Nasami's arms just above her tattoos, and smiled, for he recognized that KANSEI meant many things, one of which was 'completion.'
#42 – Clouds
Nasami lifted her gaze to the skies, where the first stirrings of a storm could be seen darkening the horizon, and Kambei was chilled to see the turbulent clouds reflected in her troubled eyes.
#43 – Sky
Kambei grinned at Yukino's challenge for a poem, picked up a cup of sake, and with a glance over at Nasami, recited softly, "Evening twilight eyes / whisper to me songs of love / that are ours alone."
#44 – Heaven
Nasami blushed at the compliment, then picked up her own cup of sake, and studied Kambei over the edge of the cup before murmuring, "No longer alone / we walk the samurai path / blessed by heaven."
#45 – Hell
"I am merely an empty shell, a hollow remnant that has lived long beyond its purpose," Kambei said bitterly to Nasami, clutching his hands, "and every day since the war has been hell for me."
#46 – Sun
He searched for Nasami on the battlefield, afraid that the samuraiko had fallen, but then a loud, ringing shout to Amaterasu echoed across Kanna Village, and Kambei smiled to himself.
#47 – Moon
She sat beside the river, watching the silvery patterns on the water as it glistened in the moonlight, and felt rather than heard him approach her from behind, and his gentle touch on her hair.
#48 – Waves
"Like ripples from a stone thrown into a pond," Kambei sighed, taking a seat beside her, "so are the consequences of a single action, spreading and overlapping in unforeseen ways."
#49 – Hair
Nasami brushed her fingers against the tsuba of her katana, through which she had woven the locks of hair she had won from Kambei during their duel.
#50 – Supernova
For almost thirty years she had waited, hardly daring to dream that wishes ever came true, but as Kambei claimed her at last as his wife, Nasami closed her eyes and felt a gratitude so powerful, it was as though she held all the powers of the heavens in her heart.
Shiden'issen, translated as either "the flash of lightning" or "the flash of a sword," is the name of Nasami's family holdings.