Peony of His Heart
Our regiment has been victorious on the banks of Tamagawa. I see before me the Jewel River rippling still with footsteps of fleeing enemies, cleansing already the remains of their bloody invasion. Our standards rise once again, and the sounds of gongs are being carried by the wild wind. Spring is on the way, and with it, peace.
You recall our youthful days in the village I believe. Sneaking over into the orchards, chasing butterflies and relishing in the stories of our invention as we stared together at the shape-shifting clouds.
Your letters had given me strength amidst the trials of my training, your kindness and wisdom had always been a shining light of hope.
On the day of your wedding, you were truly beautiful. Briefly, when our gazes met, I knew our hearts were connected, even if fate wouldn’t grant us what we so dearly wished. For me being able to serve you, and see you from afar, was enough. In another lifetime, perhaps we can be together.
Forgive me the insolence my princess, but I need you to know.
You have been and shall always be,
The peony of my heart.
A lone samurai staggered, holding a rolled-up scroll close to his heart. Piles of snow crunched under his feet as drops of dark crimson trickled down, leaving a trail on a snowy path of what used to be a battleground. Echoes of the harrowing memories remained, yet the rustling of leaves and trickling of water had begun to chase them away. He came to rest by a tree, soon sliding to sit against it on the cool soil.
The samurai noticed a comrade approaching him, a younger man he’d mentored in certain disciplines. His concerned rapid words were muffled, incoherent, so the warrior realized he was slowly being lulled to peaceful sleep. With the remainder of his strength, he gripped the younger’s shoulder, bringing him close enough to hear a whispered plea.
The scroll exchanged hands. And with a smile on his lips, whilst help was being called for, the samurai closed his eyes.