Leaning over a dish of rice, wooden sticks lifting slowly, he eats. Grip tiny fragments of food. The droplets of pure rice met dried lips and disappear into the cavern of his mouth. Chewing deliberately to extract all the energy of each square inch of food. Rough hands, with cracks, scars, dry patches, and bumps grip the wooden sticks strictly. Holding sticks, a brush, or a sword all had its form, its way. More food leaves the earthen brown clay bowl and vanishes to be chewed.
An ambiguous and fantastical rod straightens the back of the eating man. Poised powerfully over the makeshift counter the hands raise and lower in rhythm, full of digestive pauses. At the dust covered counter of a street side restaurant he sits, a dark black hood of a sweatshirt covers his face. Indistinguishable face only shows a mouth that devours rice. Below the right angle waist of this man are faded, worn, and thinning gray pants hang loosely some sizes too large. Following down the pants are feet stuffed into hanging sandals. With each bite toes bounce the sandals up and down the feet, nearly losing their covering each time.
Rice drops from the wooden sticks and fall to the floor. A thick hand rests on solid shoulders hidden under black hooded sweatshirt. "You are the one. The Softly Rising Sun," it is the owner of the disturbing hand.
From beyond shadows and shade, eyes the color of steel look onto into the street. Half the hood still covers his facial expressions, but those eyes speak. The owner of the hand has found the Rising Sun. Slowly the hood nods up and down in acceptance of his recognition. One hand continues to feed the unspoken mouth; the other lowers and reveals his namesake.
Lifting the extra large black fabric of the sweatshirt, the hand reveals a handle. This piece of the sword called the tsuka was of burned black wood. Without checking to see if the disturbing man had seen the wooden handle, the hand hides it once more under the dark covering.
"So it is true. The Softly Rising Sun wields the wood of the earth. Its worth is fabled, and so too its owner. Burn me Rising Sun. Let loose the wood of the earth," and so the disturber challenged a man eating his rice.
Moments passed. The rice of the bowl almost empty, emptied in silence. The rhythm of eating continued with pauses. When there was no more droplets of white to be had, no more energy to consume, to convert, to store the wood was abandoned. The sticks were laid gently against the edge of the clay bowl. Reaching into the deep pockets of the hooded sweatshirt the man produced the exchange and a little more. It was placed beside the bowl; the chef only nodded with a hint of a bow and disappeared with bowl and money.
With one movement the man in the hood was off his stool and in the open street. The disturber struggled to the street caught off guard at the others sudden movement. At this point the Rising Sun saw the challenger.
Red short hair blazed brightly like the smile upon his pale white face. Glowing green eyes matched the enthusiasm of the smile and hair. Flapping in the breeze of the slightly crowded street the young man's shirt rippled slightly, exposing a dirty white shirt stuck to skin by sweat. At the blazing short red haired man's waist was tucked a sword. Under a belt that cracked and frayed, a tsuka, appeared that too had leather that matched the condition of the belt. Encircling the handle the tsuba sat rusted and dull. The plate of this hand guard had lost the hard edges of precision cuts and had word down to a circled shape. Beyond the tsuba, was hidden the rest of the sword inside a metal scabbard, a solid black and chipped saya. Brown trousers slid back into stance, and tan colored boots rustled up clouds of dirt.
Satisfied with the view the man, who had been claimed as The Softly Rising Sun, lowered his cowl. The hand that ate with wooden sticks brushed back the hood and traveled through short black hair. Eyes that had contained the liquid steel were closed and solemn. Large containers covered the ears of the naked head. Soon these headphones were lowered to his shoulders, with the sounds of crashing, trashing, and violent music faded. While the face became revealed, so too was the wooden sword. The other hand had found the tsuba of the burnt wood. That hand gripped the belt and with thumb it rested just under the guard of the tsuba.
Sandals slide across the dirt street of the small town. Clouds of dust flew into the air and danced around his legs that now stood in stance. As his right foot slid back from his body, his hips lowering, his left knee bending, the hand that had eaten and took away the hood reached down and met the other hand. This hand rested upon the handle of the wooden sword, than turned the handle sharply letting the edge face away from his body.
A soft voice spoke from the dark haired man. "Let the sun gently rise upon the horizon," and storm steel colored eyes opened and looked into the glowing green eyes of the young man.
It only took moments. Passer bys coughed from a storm of dirt that rose from the couple. The dance that erupted was swift. Metal had escaped from its hiding place. Burnt wood pounced liquid like from its place. There were no sounds of battle, only more clouds of dust. Dirt swirled everywhere. No-thing is the sound of true struggle. Wood pushed and led the dance. It embraced the metal and consumed its sound. No clanging, no crashing, or sounds of slashing just swirls of dust rising and moving. Than it settled.
Red lines cracked through the white surrounding now dull grass green eyes. Pale white of heritage went phantom white. Breathing was quick and shallow. White undershirt was dark brown with sweat and filth of the dust. Button down shirt that flapped before the battle, rested against the rising chest. A scabbard held not a sword. The hands of this man held not a sword. Shattered by the earth a sword lay in pieces feet from the form on the ground. Above the beaten man there was a gentle sunrise.
"You have been consumed by the fires of the rising sun. You are dead. Rise a new man with confidence that has been defeated."
Under the dark fabric of the oversized sweatshirt the burnt wooden sword disappeared. With the other hand was held nothing, but offered. Opened hand to the man dead man, offering rebirth.
Hand in hand the dead man accepted the new life. It was a life free of the sword that had held him to this world. With a firm grip and solid pull the dead man rose to his feet. "Thank you," was spilled from his lips and he shuffled away into the city.
Turning his back the Rising Sun pulled the headphones and hood back up. The shadows covered his face and kept him safe. There he was safe. The rising sun does not rise in darkness. He could be away there. So he left that city. Too soon others like that red haired man would be drawn. Striding softly with no trails of dust he left. Over the horizon he dissipated into the distance, the rising sun setting on the horizon.