My Promise to a Fallen Samurai

September 24, 2007
I sat on a tree stump in the back courtyard, watching my father and brother. Lee, my brother, was training to follow in my father’s footsteps and become a samurai. I always sat and watched, learning everything I could without actually doing anything.
When I was a little girl, I used to try to play samurai with Lee, but I couldn’t stand being hit. Once he hit me on my leg with a stick and I started to bleed a little. I couldn’t stand the sight of it and started to cry. Lee pulled out some ointment from his pocket and the bleeding subsided. He told me that I could not evade pain and blood, since I would see it a lot if I wanted to become a samurai. Father told me that I couldn’t become one because of my strong dislike of pain and blood, but that only made me even more determined to conquer that fear.
Since then my fear of pain and blood has vanished, and each day I practice to improve my swords skills. “Risa, do you want to try?” Father asked, handing me the dull sword. “Sure!” I smiled. Lee and I stared at each other for a second. “Just because you’re my sister doesn’t mean I’ll go easy on you.” Lee laughed. I thrashed my sword at him and a battle began. We blocked and attacked each other until he finally won.
“You will make a fine samurai, Lee. I know you will.” I surrendered. “Thanks. You’re not so bad yourself!” he said as he helped me up.

Suddenly, someone screamed in the village as though being injured, and a man ran into our courtyard. “Chang-san, we are under attack!” My father, Chang, leaped up and ordered Lee to follow him. They ran out of the courtyard, leaving me alone. My heart raced as I ran into the house. What will happen to the village? Will we live?
My mother was in a locked room, protecting herself. I knocked on the door. “Mother it is I, Risa.”
Mother peeked out of the door. “Risa!” She opened the door and pulled me in. “What is happening?” I asked. “Intruders have invaded, and they are raiding our village, killing everyone!” Mother explained. I found a sword that was in the dark room and started to leave. “What are you doing, Risa?”
“I must protect my home!” I said, leaving. My hands shook and my heart beat so fast I could hear it in my ears.

I ran into the village and found the intruders raiding the homes and hitting the villagers. Some of the villagers fought back in vain and the samurai of our village protected most of the people. It was like a little war going on right in front of me. “Risa!” I heard Lee call. I saw him fighting off two men. I ran over and killed them for him. We fought off ten others and ran to father. “Father, Risa has come to fight!” Lee said fighting two men. I saw a man try to charge Father, so I sliced through them with my sword. “Thank you, Risa. Just stay on your guard, this isn’t like training with your brother,” Father yelled over the screams of the battle. I fought by their side for what seemed like forever, taking down anyone who didn’t live in the village.
Lee always helped me and protected me no matter whom or what was hurting me. When I was little, a group of teenaged boys were hitting and kicking me, and Lee saw them. He ran over and threw himself in front of me to protect me from their attacks. The continued to hit Lee, and yet he stood in front of me to protect me. Then he fought back once he had had enough of their cruelty. He dealt with all five of them single handedly. After wards he turned to me and just asked if I was okay. He had taken a far worst beating than me, and yet he put me before himself!
Suddenly, I saw Lee fall down out of the corner of my eye. An enemy had stabbed him in the chest. “LEE!!“ I cried as I looked at him on the ground. I wielded my sword and swung it around, killing the man who had murdered my brother. I ran to my fallen brother’s side and held his hand. “Lee, you’ll be ok,” I sobbed, letting my tears dampen his shirt.
“Risa, I must admit you are a wonderful samurai,” he gasped in between struggling breaths.
“Lee, don’t go. You mustn’t leave me. Father and Mother, what will we all do without you?” I cried, watching as his eyes fluttered, trying to keep open.
“You must train to be the best samurai, Risa. Never forget that I’ll be watching you. I’ll miss all of you! I love this village and everyone in it.” Lee smiled. He gave my hand a gentle squeeze. I felt endless tears flood my face as I watched my brother face death. “Protecting this village is my life, Risa. I wanted to protect it, Mother, Father, and you. Risa, please defend it from the invaders,” Lee begged.

Father was fending off anyone who tried to hurt us nearby. I looked back down at Lee. “I will, Lee. I’ll avenge you, protect the village, and then I’ll train even harder and become even stronger,” I promised. Lee smiled at me. “Thank you, Risa,” he whispered. He took a last breath and smiled.
“Lee? Lee!” I cried laying my head on his chest. “Protect the village.” I heard his voice in my head. I got up, ran toward the intruders who were still tormenting our village. I saw my father protecting a child from one of the men so I ran over and helped him. Tears started to sting my eyes as I took down the last few people with the help of the other samurai. When the last person fell, so did I. Tears once again stained the ground underneath me.
“Risa you’re ok, good. He fought well and died with a smile.” Father said as he ran over to me. After all the bodies were taken care of, I went to Mother and Father. “I must leave. Father has taught me much about the samurai way, but I must learn more. I will be gone for three moons, maybe more. But I will return and I will be stronger.” Mother started to cry and Father stared at me. I got up and grabbed my sword. “Risa, you cannot leave. I will not allow it!” Father commanded. I turned and looked at him. “I must go. I promised Lee I would, and I will not break that promise.” I walked out, and my journey to become the best samurai started.

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