Written by Jason E. Turner
<In our last chapter, Ayame met and was humiliated by the Black Dragon, a skillful sword master. He instructed her to meet at the small shrine the next day.>
Ayame awoke at first light. She was eager to fight the young warrior who could have very easily killed her. More importantly, he knew her name and clan. She bounded to the top of Gohda Castle after leaving a note for her Lord. She wrote that she was investigating the lone warrior who had bested Hanzou, a new threat to the Order of Gohda. With a launch of her grappling hook, she darted through the forest with feminine grace. Moments later, she arrived at the small shrine. She gazed around at the trees surrounding the shrine. Earthly smells pleased her keen nose. She waited.
And waited. After 2 hours, she grew bored.
“I can’t believe I had the nerve to come here”.
Just then, The Black Dragon landed behind her. He placed both hands around her face. She froze with muffled curses. The Dragon’s arms were steel, but had remarkable control. He released her. Furious, she screeched.
“DAMN YOU! STOP TOYING WITH ME AND FIGHT!!!”
The Dragon answered coolly.
“I arrived a moment before you did. The entire time I was watching. The first lesson I learned was know the enemy. Study them as long as you can, before the moment of chance has passed. I could have snapped your neck.”
“YOU BASTARD!!! I COULD HAVE ESCAPED!”
Ayame lunged with blades ready. The Dragon had less than a second to dodge the attack.
“Ayame, the second lesson I learned was to control anger. Anger, when tapped with focus, is very powerful. Had I not been ready, you would have cut my torso.”
He drew his ornate blade, and stood at fighting stance.
Ayame looked at his stance for weakness. There was none. She attacked again, but this time back flipped into launch a kick to his chest.
The Dragon took his pommel and poked her stomach. Diamond, the handle to his blade must be black diamond, she thought as her abdomen bruised.
The blow knocked the wind out of her.
“Go…to.. hell..” She gasped for air.
The Dragon held his blade at stiking distance to her neck.
“The third lesson, I learned was to respect my opponent. With respect, you can fight with honor. Those without honor are weak. But you have honor, Ayame. You are strong.”
After thinking about his words, she held out her hand.
“It would be my pleasure to be your student.”
Without warning, he pulled a dagger. She recoiled with fright but he lunged and carved into her shoulder.
“I have marked you. This scar will bring you luck, those who see it fear it.”
As she felt her shoulder bleeding, she noticed a shiny black powder in his hand. He rubbed it on her arm,
It was a stinging antiseptic.
“Wash this wound in a hour, and I shall see you again this evening. It would be my pleasure to be your opponent.”
He leaped out of sight and was gone.
Later, that afternoon she cleaned her wound. It was a tattoo. The antiseptic powder was also a black ink.
A Black Dragon.