Wednesday, February 22, 2012


The Legend of the Koru Sama Clan
By W. Steven Pendleton

Their clan had come from the Yellow Mountains and relocated to a small village in the Dragon’s Teeth mountains. This village was a place that trained assassins, originally known as the Sui Hota, or the Dark Brothers. Their purpose was to destroy the Emperor and overthrow the government. Their leader’s name was Koru Sama, a most deadly and expert assassin. He had sent out all of his ninjas to exact their work. In a few months none had returned. He then received word from a messenger that all had been captured by the Emperor and were being held and set for public execution in a week. Koru Sama feared no man and set out immediately to remedy the situation by fulfilling what the others had been sent to do, assassinate the Emperor. He arrived in the capital city and had successfully infiltrated the defense of the palace. Within the hour he was tucked away in the personal quarters of the Emperor waiting for him to retire where he could perform the assassination and avenge his brothers. The Emperor Tai Bo retired to his room and sat to rest for the day in his favorite chair; Koru Sama smiled to himself and thought of how sweet this would be.
Now the Emperor was known for his wisdom and bravery, but Koru Sama never thought he would have to experience it. “Well get on with it then, I don’t have all night to wait for you to kill me”, Tai Bo said out loud. Koru Sama was startled by the Emperor’s boldness. If he knew he was there then why did he not call for his men to come and arrest him? Or maybe he didn’t know he was there and it was just a jest. He continued to wait silently for the Emperor to retire. Tai Bo spoke out loud again, “Are you deaf or mute? Why do you ignore me assassin? Are you going to kill me or what?”
Koru Sama was unsure what to do, something he was unaccustomed to. Rashly he spoke to the Emperor, “Yes, I intend to kill you once you go to sleep.”
He stepped out of the darkness and revealed himself to the Emperor.
Tai Bo appraised him, “Are you afraid to die?” Koru Sama quickly answered, “No. I fear nothing, not even death.” The Emperor smiled and jested, “I do not believe you. Clearly you fear me, or you would have attempted to challenge me in combat, not kill me while I am helpless. You dishonor yourself by such things and you dishonor me, your adversary by not granting me the chance to die awake and fighting!”
The Emperor lunged for Koru Sama drawing a well hidden Naginata from within his robes. Equally fast the assassin countered and parried the strike, and jumped back away. “Then I grant you the honor of dying awake”, Koru Sama sneered back at the Emperor.
The battle lasted for hours neither gaining the advantage of the other. Meanwhile the Emperor’s men were attempting to break down the door to stop the fight. When they finally accomplished this they were stunned by the sight they saw. The room was destroyed and the two men were standing across from each other ready to strike. Their clothes were tattered and both showed the scrapes and cuts of well-timed blows. The intensity of the two held the guards at bay. Without looking the Emperor told them to not interfere.
Breathing heavily the Emperor began to speak to Koru Sama. “You know that you will not leave here alive assassin. There are hundreds of my men waiting to kill you once you strike me down. If you can do that at least… what an assassin you are.” The Emperor smiled confidently at the assassin. Koru Sama knew he would die this day; he reviled in that fact and replied, “I do not fear death as I said, and if I die then at least I attempted to avenge my brothers. I will die with honor then and be set apart in the Halls of Sui Naga. But, I won’t be the one who dies today.” Feigning confidence the assassin poised, falling back on the balls of his feet. The Emperor smiled and stepped back, lowering his sword. “You are wrong. The vengeance you seek in unneeded. Your brothers yet live and you seek vengeance for their death. They all one by one attempted to kill me or one of my family and were thwarted by my men and I. It is I who should be seeking vengeance for this, not you. You are wrong… wrong!”
Koru Sama was perplexed by the wisdom of the Emperor and it made him pause for thought. Distracted by his thoughts the Emperor lunged disarming Koru Sama, sweeping him to the floor and pointing his blade at his throat.
“Now, assassin Koru Sama, I offer you a way to repair you honor and do the people an even greater service.”
The assassin spit, “By dying?!”
The Emperor replied, “That would repair your honor, but be too easy. No. I offer you my blade, my heart, and a choice. You may serve the people by my side, or kill me now and die. Choose now!”
Tai Bo then pulled the assassin to his feet, reversed his blade and handed it to him. Koru Sama was stunned. What did the Emperor mean by serve the people by his side? Koru Sama looked at the Emperor and saw something he never thought he would see in his eyes; trust. Koru Sama felt something growing within him he had never felt before. He then knelt at the Emperor’s feet with his head down and made his choice.
“I choose to do what I always thought I was doing, serving the people. I beg of your forgiveness Emperor. I see that I was led to believe you are not who I thought. You are not worthy of death, but of life, and in that life I will serve you. You have my heart, blood, and blade. You may even have my death, if you so wish I will take it now. But in the end I will know that I had served the greatest of men for but a moment, and be satisfied. Do with me whatever thou will, for I am yours…”
The Emperor lifted the chin of Koru Sama and showed him his tears, tears of joy. “I know that I will never have a man such as you ever again. They say that a king is only as good as his servants; I say that I can only hope to live up to your influence. Arise and be not my servant, but my friend.”
From that day forward they were the best of friends and fought in many battles together pushing back the barbarian hordes of the north. Koru Sama’s brothers were not executed but released from prison and charged with protecting the Emperor and his family. Everyone of them followed suit once Koru Sama told the tale of their battle. The clan gets their name from him, and still to this day serve the Emperor, but in secret. Their training and recruiting is done in secret. Only the most honorable of men and women are called to the Koru Sama Clan.

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W. Steven Pendleton hasn't submitted in a few years any work, but has continued to develop his stories, expounding them during his leisurely winter months. Since his last he has added another girl to his growing family of now five children. Staring into the night sky he feels so small, but somehow believes he can make a difference in the world by hopefully inspiring some other poor sot to express himself. And the Southeast Idaho night sky is pretty big...


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