Legend of Perfectly Defensive Samurai: “Typical Wuxia Lovers”

In this world there are six TERRIBLE TECHNIQUES of martial arts.

They are beyond ordinary people.

Ordinary people are divided against themselves. They are constantly acting against the motivations that drive them.

A martial artist cannot afford such things.

This is STATIONARY DEFENSIVE SAMURAI—

KON.

Kon lives in a white temple on the far side of a cliff. He chose the location of his temple poorly. Erosion ate away the ground. Now his temple hangs over the sea.

It does not fall.

He is a stationary defensive samurai.

Kon wears a white kimono with a pattern of blue flowers. Now and then a student searches him out. Most he discards immediately as unworthy.

Not Tomo.

Tomo has the potential, he thinks, to be a perfectly defensive samurai.

They’re sparring in his temple. He kicks two lit braziers into the air and punches them into her. She reflects them off the edge of her sword. It’s pretty good.

He fills his lungs with the stationary Chi of the temple.

He coughs.

He turns blue.

Then, with a great effort, he does an internal-external conversion and blows a great gout of raw power at her.

She sights the “secret center” of the wind.

She lifts her sword.

She cuts.

There is a riot of waveforms and a great fluttering of tapestries. Then Kon gestures with his hand.

All goes still.

“You are good,” he says.

“O?” Tomo says. She looks pleased.

“Yet—“

He hesitates.

“O?”

“You cannot master one of the TERRIBLE TECHNIQUES,” says Kon, “if you act against the motivations that drive you. So you must tell me, Tomo—what drives you?”

Tomo does not have to think.

The secret of her existence spills forth as a shaken bottle, once opened, will bulge with its weight of heavy foam.

I’M IN UR FIGHT
BLOCKING UR ATTACKS.

“Huh,” says Kon.

He’s been prepping to explain to her the kinds of situations where an enemy might twist that motivation against her.

And hoping to let her down slowly if it were something like, say, “sex up the mentor.”

But instead he just stands there and feels the subtle hand of destiny, and he says, “That’s pretty good.”

[LEGEND OF PERFECTLY DEFENSIVE SAMURAI]

It is far away.

These are TYPICAL WUXIA LOVERS—

MEG and

CHO!

Atop a hill at night, under the falling blossoms, Meg and Cho fight.

Cho stumbles.

For a moment, Meg has the advantage. She lifts her sword. She says a silent prayer in her heart:

Gods of kung fu save him; may I die instead.

The gods of kung fu are kind.

There are too many cherry blossoms in the air. They foul her vision. The blow does not strike true. Cho twists and catches it in his side and not his heart.

Meg dances back, quickly, but not quickly enough.

Cho is on his feet. Cho is surging forward. He is as inevitable as the stone wall that divides their families. He is as powerful as the sea.

He says a silent prayer in his heart:

Gods of kung fu save her; may I die instead.

But he knows it cannot be.

They will die together, in the final clash.

That is the way of things for TYPICAL WUXIA LOVERS.

And indeed, he can see it.

She is using the hidden palm iron blossom sake sword. He can see it before his eyes like a long white slash.

He breathes: Ah.

He resigns himself to fate.

I’M IN UR FIGHT,
BLOCKING UR ATTACKS

There is a flare of light.

Between them stands Tomo. She is blocking Cho’s sword with her sword and the hidden palm iron blossom sake sword with the palm of her free hand.

A flower petal lands, awkwardly, at the very top of her head.

“What?” says Cho, startled.

“I am Tomo,” she says, clippedly. “I am the PERFECTLY DEFENSIVE SAMURAI.”

“How dare you?” he says.

And Meg is already swirling around, moving to cut off Tomo’s head with her razor-edge sleeve—but

LIGHT

And Meg stumbles back.

Cho takes the viper step. It’s the kung fu step a viper would take, if a viper knew kung fu

and had legs

and for a moment he imagined that he’d succeeded; that his sword had sunk into her side; but

LIGHT

And he realizes in that light something that he did not realize before.

Tomo’s face is burning with absolute joy.

The sword falls from his hand.

Behind Tomo, Meg is falling to her knees.

Meg says, “Is this what it is to live with true dedication?”

Cho gulps.

He wants to say something flowery like that but he can’t even think past the sudden awareness of the beauty of it.

It is perfect, the movements of Tomo in the darkness; the joy of her face; the way that she is in their fight, blocking their attacks. It is transfiguring. It is transformative.

He faints.

Tomo stands there for a while.

She says, “No more attacks?”

“Are you a goddess?” asks Meg. “Are you here to remind us that we can find hope and happiness, if we just learn to see one another and open ourselves to risk?”

Tomo considers.

Generosity moves in her. She says, “Okay.”

Then, since the fight is over, she does the departure step and she is gone.

Next time on Legend of Perfectly Defensive Samurai– SHADOW OF TERRIBLY OFFENSIVE SHOGUN

12 thoughts on “Legend of Perfectly Defensive Samurai: “Typical Wuxia Lovers”

  1. It’s the kung fu step a viper would take, if a viper knew kung fu

    and had legs

    Heee hee hee. Setting the three-word fragment off like that worked perfectly….

  2. It sounds like Jane is still processing the events of Island of the Centipede. Preliminary metaphor: Cho = Sid, Meg = Max, Tomo = the Good. “I’M IN UR WORLD — BLOCKING UR (UNDEFINED).” A lot of the meaning of the discussion of intentions, outcomes, and so on comes down to what that currently undefined word is, doesn’t it? The presence of the good in the world certainly doesn’t block bad intentions, or bad outcomes, but it’s supposed to prevent these from becoming the final word. (Or is that too Christian-influenced?) It is defensive in that it prevents the final answer from being given; it allows space for change. Perhaps the undefined word is INTERPRETATIONS (or, of course, judgements).

    Of course, in the legend itself, Tomo is instantly overinterpreted. Her purpose is just to be in fights, blocking attacks; she’s not a goddess. But her generous impulse is going to have consequences later, I think. People tend to become like what they pretend to be, even if the pretense is fleeting.

    In any case, this is a great reuse of trash; the Internet catch-phrase of the moment repurposed.

    I see that this is apparently part of a new series. Somehow I’d guess that the days in which Hitherby could do legend after unconnected legend are gone. Too much history has already occured.

  3. I could analyze this (side note: why does analyze always look like I’ve spelled it wrong?) and place it within the greater story of Hitherby Dragons. I could interpret the symbols, link them to religions, philosophies, and sciences.

    But instead I will leave it be, and enjoy the beautiful simplicity of being in ur base, commenting on ur story.

  4. What good is a perfectly defensive samurai? If all you do is defend, how can you accomplish something?

    Ok, that answer is pretty good.

  5. Wow.

    Yes.

    I *loved* this and the legend and FINALLY seeing someone break up the stupid Wuxia lovers. Yay! Yay! Yay!

    I remember seeing Hero and going… oh, damn, why can’t it EVER work out?? *grin*

    Chinese legend patterns. Good to give ‘em just a little rip.

  6. I was all set to ask about destiny point costs and WotG mechanics, and then I read this:

    I’M IN UR FIGHT,
    BLOCKING UR ATTACKS

    The laughter was blinding and painful.

    liralen:

    I remember seeing Hero and going… oh, damn, why can’t it EVER work out?? *grin*

    Hero didn’t work out because it was, I am told, financed by the government of the PRC to serve as a propaganda piece. The essential moral of the story is that any atrocity, any personal sacrifice, any violation of the rights of the individual is justified to establish (and ergo maintain) Chinese national unity. Discovering this managed to completely ruin an absolutely gorgeous film for me.

    It’s an apologetic for authoritarian nationalism…. but it’s soooo prettty….

  7. This…

    This is about Exalted! Furthermore, this is about that thread, where people kept arguing about the Flaws of Perfection.

    This is, in short, a sequence of Hitherby entries about the Conviction flaw of Heavenly Guardian Defense, isn’t it?

    -Eric

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