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Sakura
The Battle of Anegawa

By S. Share

The year is 1568. It is the time period known as Sengoku Jidai- the era of the warring states. A new force is coming to power in the land of the Rising Sun. That force is Oda Nobunaga. Nobunaga has a dream, an ambition, that no one can stop him from accomplishing. That dream is of a unified Japan; a land where he rules all, and all obey none other than himself. This goal was one of peace. However, an endless age of violence and death would be required to accomplish it. Nothing could stop the great Oda Nobunaga.

Nobunaga turned back in his saddle, and looked out over his troops. He had a rather small sized army: about 1200 fresh Samurai yearning for battle. He took a breath of the crisp, cool autumn air, and for the first time in years, relaxed.

His position was fixed, and he was on the rise. No clan, no daimyo could stop him now. Nobunaga had his adopted daughter married off to Takeda Katsuyori, the predecessor of the great Takeda Shingen. Katsuyori was an honorable ally in his conquest. Takeda’s men were fierce fighters, and owed honor to Nobunaga.

Nobunaga also now held the province of Kyoto. Kyoto was his main area of operations, where his plans were devised and armies organized. There, he had established the puppet Ashikaga Yoshiaki as Shogun. This placed incredible imperial power in Nobunaga’s hands. He could pull the Shogun’s strings any way that he liked. The Shogunate was practically already ruled by the Oda clan, if not directly.

He had his sister, the legendarily beautiful Oichi, married to Asai Nagamasa. Nagamasa was an honorable man, and now an indefinite ally of the Oda clan. In fact, about 700 Asai Samurai were marching with him now, on the way to Ichijo-go-tani, the Asakura capital.

The Asakura was now the only clan suppressing Nobunaga to the south. The Daimyo Asakura Yoshikage held the Echizen territory north of Kyoto, blocking Nobunaga from Northern Japan.

Nobunaga had once summoned Yoshikage to Kyoto to form a peaceful agreement. However, he had refused to come. This dishonorable act could not go unpunished! Nobunaga took action, and marched north toward Asakura territory. He had taken one Asakura fortress, and now he was going for the ultimate blow. He was going to take out the Asakura capital, and open the gate to the north. His superior numbers would crush the Asakura clan! No one could stand in the way of his musketeers from the western barbarians.

Oda observed a beautiful cherry blossom, one Sakura, flutter in the wind and lay to rest on the ground in front of him. How beautiful a cherry blossom was; like the life of a samurai. Brief, yet beautiful.

The hoof of his horse crushed the blossom as he trotted along.

Nobunaga grinned as he bobbed up and down in his saddle. The realm was his, and nothing, no one, could stand in his way.

Now that was a reason for relaxation.

Asai Nagamasa squirmed uncomfortably. He was sitting towards the back of Nobunaga’s army, and deep in contemplation. Nagamasa was in so deep a dilemma, he didn’t think he could ever solve it. The Asai were life-long friends and allies of the Asakura, who he was now about to help annihilate. He was also an ally of the Oda clan, who had commanded him to do so.

This was a conundrum indeed. Should he betray the Oda and save the Asakura, or stay loyal to the more powerful clan? This was a choice of honor or power.

He sighed and leaned back in his saddle, patting his horse on the neck.

“What do you think, boy”? He asked the animal.

He got a rough grunt in return.

Another sigh.

He marched on to the monotonous pace toward Ichijo-go-tani, the capital of his best friends clan.

He reared his horse back, and let out the coded command:

“Asai!”

A few hundred samurai turned their heads in anticipation.

“Sakura! Sakura!”

The samurai looked at each other for a few seconds, and then reared their horses around and galloped to the back, around him.

“Asai! Wedge formation!”

The Samurai quickly carried out the command.

“Hold!”

All was silent. Not a single katana was drawn, not a single arrow fired.

It was stalemate. With 700 of the Oda’s men abandoned and ready for siege at the rear, Nobunaga would have no choice but to retreat.

So a decision was reached. The Asai clan had abandoned the almighty Oda clan, and held ready for the attack at their rear. This moment would go down in history.

Nobunaga, still riding at the front and basking in his glory, was deep in conversation with his main ally, Tokugawa Ieyasu.

“Yes, Tokugawa, but what if I were to take my troops over to the left flank while you remained in the center?”

“Ahhh, yes…”

Tokugawa was a man who enjoyed conversation. He had always wanted to be a poet, but could never find the time.

Anyway, what better position could a man be in than an ally of Nobunaga? The man was the most powerful warlord in all of Japan. Tokugawa had never seen anything like him. Oda was a tactical genius, and a master warrior himself. On the field of battle, his troops were in genius formation and were commanded with amazing organization. He was a man who gave no mercy, and left none alive.

“Ieyasu, the fall of Ichijo-go-tani is absolutely essential to open the gate to the north. Asakura Yoshikage holds the line to the north of Kyoto. And no one refuses to answer my call to Kyoto.”

Nobunaga drew his katana, his long sword. It glinted in the sun, and Oda squinted as he gazed at the beautifully crafted blade.

“The Asakura have refused to negotiate for terms of peace. It looks like this is the only way to negotiate now.”

“My Lord! My Lord!”

A horse galloped at full speed up to Oda and Ieyasu.

“My Lord!”

It was Koichiro, Nobunaga’s unctuous reporter. Though the man admired himself more than any woman, Koichiro was a man of some honor. He was intelligent, at least, but would not halt to importune Oda until he gave orders to suit his own will.

“Koichiro! What has happened?” grunted Nobunaga. He could tell something was wrong. The man was normally groomed to perfection, but now was sweaty and panting with dirt about his face.

“The Asai! The Asai clan has deserted!”

Oda’s eyes widened.

“Deserted?”

“Yes my Lord! The entire force! About 700 men are now ready to assault us from behind!”

“Who organized this travesty!?”

Koichiro drew a deep breath. He winced at the thought of the explosion from Nobunaga that he was about to experience.

“It was Nagamasa, sir.”

“Nagamasa! Oichi has been dishonored! Her own husband has betrayed me! No one shall dishonor my sister!” Nobunaga’s eyes grew hot with rage.

“My Lord, what Nagamasa did is not necessarily a dishonorable act”, Koichiro explained uneasily in his unusually nasally, high-pitched voice. “You must understand, my Lord, that the Asai have long been allies of the Asakura clan. Nagamasa does not want to make war against his greatest ally. It is dishonorable!”

“It is also dishonorable to disobey your master! Where is Nagamasa?” Nobunaga was now shouting with all of his voice.

“Follow me, Lord Oda!”

Nobunaga and Koichiro rode off together.

Seven hundred Samurai were arranged in a triangular attack pattern. A column of yari spearmen was in the front, backed by 100 archers. Swordsmen took up each flank. Nagamasa’s position was now secured. There was nothing to do but wait.

But he didn’t have to wait for very long. As expected, two Oda generals rode down from further up the ranks.

Nagamasa rode up to meet them. The Sun was now setting over Japan, creating a beautiful purple color over the treetops.

Once close enough to see the generals, Nagamasa gasped. It was Nobunaga himself! Had he come to declare open war? He couldn’t!

He slowed to a trot.

“Nobunaga!” He shouted.

He got no reply. Nagamasa did not recognize the man riding next to Oda. Perhaps he was a hatamoto of some sort.

Nobunaga and the other character stopped and waited until Nagamasa came to them. Nobunaga answers to no one except the emperor himself! And what power does the emperor have?

Nagamasa slowly trotted up to them.

“Hello, Asai Nagamasa”, said Nobunaga calmly. “This is my head reporter, Kenshin Koichiro.” He gestured toward the character on the horse to his left.

“Konnichi wa, Koichiro.”

Nagamasa bowed deeply, but he showed no real respect toward these brutal monsters. A mere facade of respect would do for now.

“Are you familiar with Bushido, Nagamasa?” Nobunaga asked patronizingly.

An insulting question!

“Hai.”

“Are you aware that Bushido demands total respect toward your master, Nagamasa?”

“I am.”

“And who is your master?”

Nobunaga continued to patronize Nagamasa.

“You are, Nobunaga.”

“And why are you not showing total respect toward me? Here you threaten your Lord with an army of samurai! There is no honor in this act! Why did you do this?”

“Because Bushido also commands to stay loyal to your allies. I know my morals, Oda! I am no monster! I do not betray my greatest ally!”

“But you betray your master?”

“Who has shown greater honor? Who has respected me more? Who will support my clan and help it grow, and who will use it as a pawn in national conquest? I am no piece on a game board! No one shall manipulate me! I am my own master now!”

“Very well, then.” Nobunaga remained a calm air of arrogance. “To prevent a massacre, you leave me no choice but to retreat. May we meet again. But next time, it will be you begging to prevent a massacre. Koichiro!”

Nagamasa swelled with rage as Oda and this Koichiro road away, loudly barking orders. Well, at least he had had the courage to stand up against Nobunaga. The Asakura were now saved. However, his own clan was now in dire danger. An army of massive proportions would have to be created. Nobunaga did not lie; he would return.

3 weeks later, Kyoto

Oda grimaced at Ieyasu.

“700 men, Tokugawa?”

“Yes sir. Approximately.”

“Ha! Does Nagamasa think he has dealt me a blow? 700 Samurai! This can be rebuilt quickly. Now I can take care of the Asai and Asakura at once!”

Nobunaga and Tokugawa sat in the Oda castle. It was a monstrous structure, suitable for a man of such monstrous power. They sat in Nobunaga’s private quarters, with the doors tightly closed. After all, anyone overhearing this would have to be disposed of.

“Lord Oda, I propose we move back Echizen to attack the Asakura capital again. If the Asai stand in our way, we will crush them as well with our superior numbers.”

“No. Now, we strike at the Asai. Nagamasa has shamed my sister and my clan. An act of such dishonor must be punished. We will assemble an army of 20000 men. We shall make for Odani castle. “

“Sir! You cannot make war against your own brother-in-law! He is the one your sister loves, man! This is surely not honorable.”

“It is surely dishonorable to allow your sister to love a traitor!”

“Sir-“

“Odani castle will fall!”

5 weeks later

The man dressed in black slipped along the corridor, not making the slightest noise. He must pass unnoticed tonight; his failure could mean the annihilation of his entire people.

He continued walking down the hall, tiptoe steps undetectable by the human ear. It was pitch black outside, the darkest night of the month, the darkest hour. He slipped into an open door, and heard the snoring of a man asleep. His eyes flew to the window across the room. He had to reach the roof! He could sense a major event occurring outside.

This room had to do. He could not waste any more time. Slowly and quietly, he glided over to the sleeping man.

Hopefully he was someone significant.

He drew a needle from his belt, and scraped it on the man’s exposed neck. He would not live to see the light of day.

The man in black showed no expression as he soundlessly opened the window and slipped out.

He scaled the wall slowly and carefully. All of his training had come down to this; if he failed, he would be so dishonored that he would have to take his own life.

After a few minutes, he had reached the roof of Odani Castle. He had made it completely undetected through the castle of the most powerful warlord in Japan. One noise, and his life and his people would be over.

The man dropped down onto his belly, and made his way to the north side of the roof. After a few minutes of agonizingly slow crawling, he began to hear a man speaking very loudly.

“Tomorrow, you shall prove yourself to your Daimyo!”

There was a massive cheer. An entire army h ad gathered outside the castle! The Oda were going to attack!

“Who will show his honor by presenting Nobunaga with the most Bundori!”

Another massive cheer.

“Sleep well, tonight, brave bushi! For tomorrow night, we march on Odani castle!”

Odani castle. The capital of his own people’s territory. The Oda would destroy it! The man in black crawled quietly away, and slipped back down off of the roof.

Jurozaemon’s jaw dropped as the man in black entered his quarters. Him and his son, Makara, had no thoughts of war or conflict while safely inside the walls of their Asakura castle. But that was about to change.

The man in black took a few steps forward.

“The Oda move on Odani castle tonight” he spit out, almost too fast to comprehend.

Then he collapsed on the floor.

“After I h-heard of the O-Oda’s plan to attack, I knew I could not make it a-all the way b-back to my people. S-so, I came h-here. S-sir, the Asai will f-fall unless you s-send help! Y-you must go!” The man in black spoke uneasily after waking up. He had passed out from exhaustion, and remained unconscious for a few hours. Now he was comfortably tucked into a hospitality bed.

Makara, heir to the Asakura throne and son of Jurozaemon, frowned.

“He is lying! He is an imposter send by the Oda! If we leave, Nobunaga will destroy our people!” He spat in the face of the man in black. “Remove his head in dishonor, father!”

“No, my son.” Jurozaemon spoke wisely. “You must remember what the Asai did for us. Abandoning the most powerful warlord in existence is not an easy decision to make. And it was made for continued existence of our people!”

“How can we trust this man, father? How do you know he is not lying?”

“Y-you must believe me!”

Jurozaemon gazed at the strange man who had entered their palace.

“If he is lying, and we leave, our people may be attacked. But if he is not, the lives of our most trusted allies and friends will be in dire jeopardy. And we would not send any samurai in aid. We must go!”

The man in black listened intently as the argument developed, swinging his head back and forth to watch the father and son debate on what to do.

“Father, no! The Asai may have saved us in the past, but we cannot sacrifice our clan to help them. Even if we go, Nobunaga will still crush the Asai. You have heard the stories of him in battle. He is invincible!”

“No Daimyo is invincible, my son. If we fight bravely, we will win.”

“If we fight bravely, we shall still die! Father, you cannot do this!”

“We will send 5000 samurai. Enough will remain here to protect our people, if the Oda should come.”

“The Oda will come, no matter what we do! This is all a trick to weaken our forces and expose our castle. I can sense it.”

“My son, we shall leave with the army as soon as we can. Inform the men. We shall move by noon.”

10 hours later

Lord Nagamasa of the Asai was fast asleep. His wife and Nobunaga’s sister, Oichi, slept beside him. He was sleeping with the sister of his greatest enemy; he knew from the moment he married her this would cause conflict. And now it was.

As he snored contently in his rooms, a great army was gathering outside. Not an army of enemies though.

“Lord Asai! Wake up! Wake up!”

Nagamasa slowly rose from his bed.

“What is it, Yoshi? What is the matter? And why are you waking me at this forsaken hour!?”

Oichi sat up next to him.

“Nagamasa! What’s happening?”

“Nothing important, my love. Go back to sleep”

Oichi frowned.

“My lord!” Said Yoshi. “You must follow me!”

Yoshi had run out the door before Nagamasa had time to get properly dressed. He sprinted out the door and down the hall after him.

“Yoshi! What has happened?” Nagamasa yelled as he pulled his shirt on over his head.

“The Asakura, my lord! They are here!”

“The Asakura? Why?”

“They have terrible news, my lord!”

The two looked quite odd as they sprinted down the hall. One was half naked and just out of bed, and the other crazed with anxiety to the point of bloodshot eyes and spittle flying form his mouth.

“Outside, my lord!”

Yoshi and Nagamasa stepped outside the castle to face an entire army, prepared for battle.

Jurozaemon stepped forward.

“Asai Nagamasa. It is good to see you again.”

“Konnichi wa, Jurozaemon. It is nice to see you again too.”

The two warlords embraced. They had been through much together, never breaking their alliance. Not even for the great Oda Nobunaga.

“I apologize, but we have no time for such talk now.” Jurozaemon was suddenly very serious.

“Hai.”

“An Asai spy has come to me. Do you recognize this man?”

The man dressed in black was pushed forward to Nagamasa.

“Hai. He is Ryu Sengoku. My most honorable ninja. I sent him to Kyoto, to spy on Nobunaga. I gave him up for dead many weeks ago.”

“His mission was a success. However, he came to me in urgency instead of you. He reports that the Oda forces are coming here! To Odani castle!”

“That explains your army. You will provide great aid, Jurozaemon. Thank you. I shall gather my men. I already expected such an act from Nobunaga. It was only a matter of time until he attacked. We shall march by morning.”

“Hai.”

The Oda troops had made it to the south bank of the Anegawa River when the enemy forces came into sight.

Nobunaga had placed a screen around the Asai fortress, Yokoyama. It was on the way to Odani castle; another blow for the Asai.

Nobunaga grinned when he saw the Asai approaching. He knew they would learn of this campaign sooner or later. He stood in front of the fortress, gazing over the bank of the river at the forces. It was a good size army. To his eye, the enemy numbered about 20000 or so.

“Koichiro!” Nobunaga shouted for his oily first hand man.

“My lord?” Koichiro jumped at Oda’s command.

“Burn it. Raze it to the ground. Leave none alive.”

“My lord! There are women and children alive within the walls-“

“Burn it to the ground and throw the ashes in the river. Then we will see if these Asai will fight.”

Koichiro slowly backed away. He stared at Nobunaga with intense eyes. How could the man command this? But… he should listen to Nobunaga. The man was a genius. This must be some sort of intimidation strategy!

“Men!” he shouted. “Burn it to the ground! We will show those Asai dogs who is in charge here!”

Nobunaga grinned. “We will camp here tonight, Koichiro. Send two ninjas. Have one go west, and one go east. Tell them to have Tokugawa come with his men.”

“Yes, my lord”.

“There is going to be a great battle here.”

Tokugawa arrived next morning. The two armies were each camped at opposite ends of the river; now it was just a matter of who dared attack first. He who did would suffer the disadvantage of wading across the river to get there.

“Tokugawa!” Nobunaga addressed his head general. “How many do you number?”

“I have 8000 men with me now, my lord.”

“Good. This battle can be won quickly and easily, but only if you follow my command. My ninjas have reported another enemy army. It seems the Asakura want in on this skirmish as well. They are located about 1 mile to the west, on the north bank of the river. You are to ride out and send your men across the river at precisely dawn. AS soon as the sun rises over the horizon, you attack. I will take care of the Asai. When you crush the Asakura samurai, move back over here. We will finish off the Asai together.”

“An ingenious plan, my lord.”

“And I expect it to be carried out well.”

“It will be, my lord. Have no fear.”

Nobunaga’s plan was carried out precisely as he asked. At 4 A.M, Tokugawa’s samurai began to wade into the river.

“Go across slowly, until you reach the deepest point. Then, you shall run.” Tokugawa commanded his men. He shouted, standing on a rock. There were 8000 men who needed to hear him. “We need the advantage. We cannot get stuck in the deep part of the river. Go, men! Fight bravely! You are Samurai!”

The samurai took off at a jog into the waters of the Anegawa. They were dressed in red and black armor, with generals bearing the banner of Ieyasu on their backs. If anyone wanted to challenge a general, they would have no trouble finding him.

It was an intimidating sight indeed, seeing the mist rise over the 8000 samurai as they waded across the river. A great wind blew through the trees along the bank of the river, and Sakura fluttered over the men, as if taunting them with their beauty. Every single samurai stopped for a moment to observe the beauty of the cherry blossoms.

But there was no time for such trifling business. The men continued to wade; the water was now up to their waists.

After another minute or so of peaceful and silent gliding through the Anegawa, the samurai were up to their armored necks in water. This was the deepest point of the river; it was now time to speed up.

The men pumped their powerful leg muscles at the command of general Honda, and began to sprint. Unexpectedly, a great cry rose from the north bank of the river.

“FOR HONOR! FOR OUR LORD! ASAKURA! ASAKURA!”

The boom of thousands of voices pounded over the unsuspecting Ieyasu men. The purple armored Asakura began to sprint into the river too.

The two armies collided in water up to their necks.

The first death of the great battle of Anegawa was a gruesome one indeed. The fastest and foremost Asakura suddenly leaped several feet out of the water, drew his katana in midair, and swung it at an Ieyasu samurai. The red armored Ieyasu man swiftly sidestepped out of the way, causing the airborne samurai to plunge under the water. He jabbed his katana into the river; the Asakura man would not get back up.

It was now complete pandemonium. A line of Samurai extended a half of a mile downriver, vicious men drowning and stabbing each other. These men had sworn complete fealty to their masters, and the only way to show their honor was on the battlefield.

The sound of clashing metal rang out over the countryside. Men were sword fighting in water up to their necks. The men would only fight against samurai of equal rank, and it was a task to find them in this water.

Two generals clashed in a vicious battle. General Honda of the Ieyasu dragged general Kenshi under the water, only to have his foot sliced open. He yelped, and Kenshi got back up. Honda took a slice at his neck with his katana, but his blade was deflected. He was knocked back into the water, and dodged a downward stab from Kenshi.

In the fleeting second while Kenshi was drawing up his sword, Honda drew his bow, nocked an arrow, and shot Kenshi from point blank in the eyehole of his mask.

Honda then went on through the melee. Men of lesser rank surrounded him, fighting their own battles. He could walk untouched through the chaos. No one would challenge him. He searched for an Asakura banner, and when he found one, screamed and ran at it.

Honda came at the bannered warrior from behind and stabbed him in the back. He drew his sword back out, and threw a dagger into the stomach of a samurai charging at him with sword raised.

When he went to get his dagger back from the dead man, a samurai from behind sliced his head clean off.

It was alright. He had died an honorable death.

One mile to the east, an almost separate battle was going on. The Oda forces had met the Asai in the shallow waters of the north bank.

The Samurai fought with their legendary ferocity. One Oda man ran screaming into Asai territory, throwing daggers as he pushed for the north bank. He was eventually brought down.

But more were there to take his place. Using the path he had created, 5 samurai held out their swords to their side and ran into enemy territory. They cut down men as they ran, but they to were all killed.

There was death everywhere. All of the fighting was occurring in one line of samurai, with thousands more pushing to get to the action.

Amidst this terrible scene, the peaceful wind still blew Sakura all down the river.

The samurai were fighting relentlessly. One Oda man had his left arm cut off by the Katana of a general. He continued to fight, swinging his heavy sword, until his left leg was cut off. Then, as the general walked away, he used all of his strength to throw his katana into his back.

As the archers continued to fire, the Oda began losing ground. They were being pushed back toward the south. “Come on!” shouted Nobunaga from the south bank. “Push, men! Push them back!”

The Oda samurai began leaping over the enemy, throwing daggers and swinging their swords before they landed. These men would stop at nothing to impress their master.

Tokugawa, down river to the west, had sent a troop of men into the right flank of the Asakura. With lack of organization, the Asakura had broke and were now fleeing out of the river. The battle was won!

“I am Makara Jurozaemon!” One voice rang out above the rest of the shouting. The men quieted down for a minute. Who was this Asakura dog? Why was he not running like the rest of them?

“Me and my son shall challenge every general in single combat!”

What was this man thinking? Was he trying to cover the retreat? No!

“Ignore him, men!” shouted Tokugawa. “It is a trick! He is covering the retreat!”

But the Samurai would not let this chance for glory go.

The man, Jurozaemon, and his son stepped forward.

“Who shall die first?”

Nobunaga was fighting a losing battle. His men were pushed back almost completely to the south bank. He himself entered the fray, not only to encourage his men but also to help push back the Asai.

He rode into the Asai on his horse top speed, trampling men like weeds. He was wielding a Naginata, a long pole with a scythe-like blade on the end. He swung to his left, killing 2 or 3 men. He swung to his right, killing a few more. Blood and dirt flew up all around him. He grimaced, and continued to shout orders and cut his way through the Asai.

One man jumped up onto Nobunaga’s horse. Who dare challenge him? The brave samurai latched on to Nobunaga’s back. He had a tight grip, until Nobunaga’s horse reared up. The brave samurai flew into the sea of men.

Nobunaga roared as he took of the head of an Asai general with his Naginata. He could not lose!

Jurozaemon of the Asakura was a fierce warrior indeed. Him and his son had managed to kill two of Tokugawa’s most high ranking generals, and Jurozaemon was currently battling another. Ieyasu looked on with interest.

Jurozaemon deflected a blow from general Oroku. They were battling with katana, and seemed to be equally matched.

“Kill him, father!” shouted Jurozaemon’s son. “For honor!”

Jurozaemon struck him in the face with a gloved fist. An ocean of men looked on in interest. None of them even thought of helping their general. They would not dishonor him!

While Oroku was staggering back from Jurozaemon’s blow, his stomach was neatly sliced open. He fell on his knees, eyes glazed, and collapsed onto the ground.

Jurozaemon breathed heavily. “Who shall fight next?”

“Let me fight now, father! For honor!”

“No, my son. These men are too skilled!”

“No! I shall fight for you!”

“Stay, my son. Please.”

Jurosaburo frowned. “Yes father.” He sat down on the inside of the ring that the men had created.

“Who shall die next?” Jurozaemon was panting. “Who?”

“You.” The largest man Jurozaemon had ever seen stepped forward. On his helmet were the horns of a bull, creating a formidable appearance. The man must have weighed 400 pounds!

“Step forward.”

Jurozaemon did. The two men bowed, and the battle began.

The huge samurai drew a Tachi, the only sword longer than a katana.

Jurozaemon’s eyes widened. The huge Tachi was swung at a blazing speed, right at his neck. He ducked with superhuman reflexes, and sliced open the huge mans ankle. There was a disapproving cry from the men watching.

The samurai let out a monstrous roar. He swung his huge weapon at Jurozaemon again. The blow was deflected, but the force of the swing knocked Jurozaemon onto his backside.

“Father, get up! He will kill you!”

Lying down, Jurozaemon dodged a blow from the huge weapon. The over sized samurai roared in frustration. Jurozaemon knew that his only advantage now was speed. He did a back flip to his feet while avoiding another downward Tachi blow. He held his sword in middle position, poised for that attack.

As the giant samurai rushed at him, Jurozaemon ran at him too. The two samurai sprinted at each other. Both men raised their weapons above their heads, intending to kill. Just as the huge man brought his weapon down, Jurozaemon leaped into the air. Using the fat samurai’s head as a vault, he leaped right over him. The huge man stumbled. While on his descent, Jurozaemon shoved his katana between his legs and into his huge opponents back.

“ROOOAA!!” The largest samurai Jurozaemon had ever seen slowly staggered to the ground, and lay limp.

Jurozaemon walked over to his corpse, bowed, and pulled his sword out of the dead man’s back.

“Now who! I will kill you all!” Jurozaemon’s eyes were wild with rage. “I will kill all of you sick monsters! Send me your strongest man! I will kill everyone!”

Jurozaemon, in his fit of rage, did not notice the giant samurai slowly standing back up.

“Father! Turn around! Look out!” cried the frightened Jurosaburo. But his father would not listen to him.

“Quiet my son! I-“ the giant man sliced his back open. Jurozaemon staggered, and fell to the ground.

“No! Father! NOOOO!” Jurosaburo wept and ran over to his father’s corpse. He held his father for a moment, and stared into his eyes. He wept as the beautiful cherry blossoms blew all around him.

“Father…” he cried. “You have died an honorable death”. He wept more. “But now I must do what is honorable.”

The surrounding crowd of men was suddenly silenced as the boy drew a dagger from his belt.

“I must do what is honorable too. Father, I will miss you!!!” The young samurai plunged the dagger into his stomach. His eyes bulged, and he spit blood and vomited. He handed his katana to the nearest enemy soldier. He would know what to do.

He kneeled down behind the enemy samurai, blood flowing out of his wound.

“Young bushi”, the samurai with the katana said. “Honor is yours.”

He swung the sword down at Jurosaburo’s neck, and his pain was quickly ended.

The wind died down over the Anegawa River, and one cherry blossom landed on the young boy’s body.

He had done what was honorable.

A half an hour later, with the Asakura gone, Tokugawa led his troops back to Nobunaga. He was surprised to see the Oda samurai pushed all the way to the south bank.

It was a furious battle over here, with men leaping over each other to try and push the enemy back. He had to help Nobunaga, and crush this pathetic enemy once and for all.

“Charge! For honor and glory!” His army had about 6000 men left, but their being outnumbered would not stop them from fighting with all of their remaining strength. They let out a monstrous roar as they threw themselves into the left flank of the Asai.

The Asai were completely crushed within the hour. They were totally overpowered with the arrival of Tokugawa’s samurai. They stood no chance.

Nobunaga’s army was now camped on the north bank of the river. They would head for Odani Castle in 3 days, after they gathered their strength.

Oda Nobunaga stepped out of his tent. It was dawn, July 23, and the great battle of Anegawa was over. He took a great whiff of the clean autumn air, and for the first time in a long time, relaxed. He was Nobunaga, and nothing, no one, could stand in his way. More enemies would come, more clans would abandon and oppose him, but they would all be crushed.

He looked out over the River, now flowing red and filled to the brim with bodies. What was another enemy defeated, another people gone, to him?

He stood and stared for several hours at the river. The Sakura fluttered beautifully down, down to the death and the suffering.

Then he sighed, and went back inside.