Thursday, November 26, 2015

Swords

Imagine this: you walk into a room. The door swings shut behind you, blocking out the last rays of unfiltered sunlight. The only illumination now comes from flickering candles and sunlight, reflected and refracted through thousands of crystals set intricately together to form the domed roof high above your head. The light from the candelabra and through the crystals reflects off the blades of the thousands of swords that ring the room diffusing until the entire area is dimly illuminated.

Your attention is drawn to these swords. Inumerable at a glance; they surround the room, each one with its blade thrust into the floor. Each one different from all the others. Swords from every conceivable place and time. They seem to be thrown together with no discernible system; a katana is set next to a machete, a wakizashi and dirk sandwich a falx. Here a bastard sword, there a kopis. From size they stretch from a claymore to mere daggers and everything in between. Sabers, scimitars and shamshirs. Kukris and Katanas. Nodachis, Wakizashis and Tantos. Great swords, broadswords, long swords and short swords. Two handed swords (there a zhanmadao), single handed swords (there a rapier) and hand-and-a-half swords. Hook swords, butterfly swords, daos from small to large. Is that a hachiwara next to the jutte? And look, a jiang. Every imaginable type of machete: panabas, parang, bolo, panga, borang and more. Zweihanders and cutlasses. Swords you’ve never seen or heard of. Swords known only to a few obscure craftsmen, be they sword makers or sword wielders.; known to them only from experience, whether theirs or their masters none could say. Nameless swords designed only to kill. For here every sword is a tool and every tool a weapon, from the kris to the basket hilt directly opposite you.


You are torn from your reverie. A man stands behind you. How did he get there? It’s unimportant. For you know that he is the warrior. The artist who wields these swords as brushes and the paint is blood. With people as his canvas, he paints death. A falchion in his hand, a gim in yours. Only one of you will leave this place.