Shi Bara ("The Dead Rose") 死バラ
The faint smell of the blooming Spring flowers was carried by the tranquil, northbound winds as the loud clatter of folded bamboo echoed throughout the valley. A young man armed with a wooden training bokken struck outwards, the end of the the wooden sword clacking firmly against the edge of another wooden sword. Like every morning, Miharu Shimazu, retainer to the Shimazu Clan of the Satsuma domain, was spending his waking moments of the morning sparring against his younger brother. The Shimazu Clan was renowned across Japan for their art with a blade, and Miharu was absolutely no exception to their stellar reputation as established sword masters. Miharu, the ambitious, young samurai of the Shimazu Clan was a prodigy with the Daishō Katana and like all members of his family, the Shimazu Clan protected their peaceful domain by always being prepared for war. A master of the art of Iaijutsu, the art of drawing the sword, Miharu cut outwards once more with his bokken, the wooden blade pressing firmly against the waist of his younger cousin, Yaito.
Miharu and Yaito Shimazu were an interesting pair, many confusing them for brothers, despite their varying appearances. The two boys were very close to one another, and sparred every morning to constantly hone their art with a blade, as expected of them as members of the Shimazu Clan. Although cousins, the two of them were raised in the same household with the same parents. Miharu Shimazu was actually the true heir to the Shimazu Clan and was to inherit the capital city of Satsuma when he came of age, however, the boy was soon disowned by his family when the boy lost his right eye in an assassination attempt on his life and was thus cast aside by his family as he was believed unfit to rule a head of the Shimazu Clan. Miharu and Yaito became very close to one another, and while Yaito wasn't nearly the intellectual and physical prodigy of his cousin, Miharu always shared a special bond with his younger cousin. "You're being too indecisive, Yaito," Miharu noted as he retraced the wooden sword from his cousin's waist, "You're spending too much time thinking about whether or not you wish to strike or defend," Miharu continued, "Indecisiveness-"
"-Only leads to failure, and failure leads to death." Yaito interrupted, rolling his eyes in an unfavorable fashion.
Miharu smiled, giving off a short laugh, "Hah. I guess I'm starting to sound like your old man, huh?"
Yaito shrugged, "You know he's your old man too, I mean, he's always raised you like a son."
"He's not my old man, because if he was, I'd have to be even more closely related to the likes of you." Miharu joked, grabbing his cousin in a short headlock, the both of them laughing at one another.
As the two of them playfully bantered and wrestled with one another, Saraba Shimazu, Yaito's mother and Miharu's guardian gracefully emerged from the nearby building, a smile drawn across her face. Although an older woman, Saraba held a very illustrious, mature beauty and was essentially the perfect paradigm of a mother for the two boys. "Boys," Saraba muttered to herself as she tentatively crossed her arms behind her back. "Miharu!" Saraba beckoned after watching the two tackle each other to the ground, a few moments passed before Miharu turned towards his guardian. "You have a visitor, you best not keep her waiting." Before Miharu could respond, Saraba turned around and walked back inside the building, probably to go offer their visitor tea as usual. Yaito sighed and rolled onto his back, seemingly unhappy with the announcement of their visitor. Miharu chuckled, ruffling his younger cousin's hair as he stood up and followed Saraba inside the building.