No Name for a Sword, Ch 5

No Name for a Sword

Chapter Five

Ronin Writing

29 January 2017

“No Name for a Sword” is an Asian-inspired epic fantasy told through haiku and posted in weekly installments. Follow the journey of the swordsman Noh as he wanders a country filled with beauty, tradition, and war on a quest to find out his true name… and his purpose.

Read the Whole Series:

Chapter OneChapter TwoChapter ThreeChapter Four

The songs grew louder

With each step they made into

The darkening vale.


Noh and Suzu reached

Their destination by dusk.

The red sun was low.


The cave before them

Yawned. A warm, damp breath escaped.

It stank of death.


“How could you stand this?”

Noh asked, covering his face

With a handkerchief.


“Easy. I was dead.”

Suzu sniffed the air and gagged.

“The stink’s new to me.”


Demon lairs seldom

Were pleasant places. And this

One was no surprise.


Noh had to wonder

If he’d ever go somewhere

Charming. No time soon.


“They’ll know we are here,”

Suzu said. “There’s no use in

Trying to be soft.”


Noh agreed. “We should

Retrieve the bells before the

Night fully takes hold.”


“A good plan, unless

You want flesh-hungry demons

Chasing after you.”


Noh scoffed. “I do not

Intend to spend my night in

Flee, my new cohort.”


Suzu flashed a smile.

“Stay close and keep your blade swift.”

Noh nodded. “Always.”


With that, they both went

Through the opening of the

Cave. Into the dark.


They moved with haste through

Dripping tunnels, all tighter

Than the ones before.


Gods’ voices echoed

Off of mossy rocks, bringing

A shudder of spines.


Noh couldn’t see there,

Guided only by Suzu’s

Steps and shallow breaths.


Everything was

Pitch black—a suffocating

Kind of deep darkness.


Finally, the two

Emerged into a chamber,

Large and round. Even lit.


A small fire glowed

In the center of the place,

Lighting three figures.


The demons munched on

The carcass of some unknown

Beast—perhaps a deer.


The flesh wasn’t cooked.

Blood dribbled from their gnashing

Teeth and their sharp claws.


Old bones were splayed out

About the floor. The stench of

Rot made the air sick.


Far into the cave,

A burlap sack shimmered bright.

The bells were inside.


Noh placed a hand on

Suzu’s shoulder, nodded in

Thanks, and leapt to war.


The demons were quick,

But very slow to react.

One of them fell soon.


Two left, they circled,

Snarling and growling at him,

Feigning steps forward.


The fight was not long.

Noh made quick work of the beasts.

His strikes were brush strokes.


Three fresh bodies lay

Still on the wet cavern floor,

Their souls evermore damned.


Noh caught his breath and

Sheathed his sword, looking back

To wave Suzu in.


Just then, a shadow

Flicked from an unseen place and

Collided with him.


A hidden demon.

The two tumbled briefly, Noh

Trapped under the thing.


Sharp teeth sank into

His neck. A jolt of pain leapt

Through his whole body.


His vision went black.

Yells—his and others—flooded

The cave in thick waves.


When his muscles eased

Up and his vision returned,

He found Suzu’s gaze.


The man was frightened,

Shakily dabbing a cloth

Against Noh’s new wound.


Noh’s flesh regained life.

Feeling returned to his skin.

Warm blood. A deep ache.


The sneaky demon

Lay near, its head crushed, a stone

Lodged within its skull.


“The venom,” Suzu

Stammered, his hands deft but scared.

“You’ll be going in—”


Tremors seized Noh’s frame.

His body convulsed against

His will. Pain. Such pain.


“The bells!” he managed

Through gritted teeth. All his strength

Vanished. His sight left.


The last thing he heard

Was the soft harmony of

Gods singing his death.

Thank you for reading! I hope you’ve enjoyed the story so far! Please leave likes, comments, and shares to support my work. Remember to come back next week for a brand new installment!

— R.


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