[By 1836 Japan had lived under a single government for over two hundred years. During this time the government rotted from within, seizing lands and power on the flimsiest of excuses at the continual expense of the outlying clans, leaving thousands of wandering samurai with no place to go. Isolated and secluded from the rest of the world, Japan detached from reality, its only direction perpetually inward. This caused a time warp in the land, accelerating into the future.
Souls came into existence never before seen in this incarnation of Earth. Souls distilled from a boiling planet yet to face the consequences its own treachery. Souls terrorized and made devoid at having faced the truth of an inhabited world - and having found in it no future.
In thirty years time, the seclusion would end vaulting Japan back into conjunction with the world in a furious phase of re-entry that eventually ends with the explosions of two atomic bombs. But Mankind has yet to commit the worst of its deeds.]
I saw three swordsmen in the darkening evening rain.
I saw three swordsmen and knew the world is doomed.
The drenching forest rain was menacing, inviolate from Man. The cold steeped my bones into submission. The wind howled in my ears telling me civilization had long disappeared. But these men stood still and sturdy, one with the elements.
Swords drawn held out to the side, ready to take what they could take. Doubt had been wrung from them ages ago. Resolute. Resistant. Removed. Words do not exist to sway them off their course. They had moved beyond.
Living in nameless conviction, they roam the silenced land. Their focused steel is not their greatest weapon: but the strength of knowing what they know. Peasants instinctively avoid them like black priests of the night. No one speaks of them after they leave, passing invisibly by as evil within.
They do not contemplate after taking a life anymore than a child stepping on an insect. Nature has spoken, that is all. They carry the rage of spurned lovers. Once samurai of the castle, they answer to no man ever again. Survival a day's business. Life an endless pursuit. Their sentence of death freed them of worldly delusion.
Words rarely leave their lips. To whom could they speak who could understand? Of what they know can not be explained. To attempt to speak of it only proves one's self-deception. Their pained eyes see through images we create.
In paralyzed moments I stood staring at them as if in a spell. Could have been seconds or an hour before I returned to consciousness. I remember a great feeling of compulsion to ask them to divulge the secret of what drove them. It was more than revenge or bitterness. A spirit wind - a kamikaze - pushed them onward. I began to doubt my eyes.
I have known these woods all my life. I did not know them that day. They belonged to the three swordsmen. I shall never cross these passes again in the same way having seen this dream of darkness. I thought we had a chance. I thought we had hope. I'll carry this coldness in me evermore.
My name is Kuzuryu, of the Gifu prefecture. It is said I'm a person of vision but to what end I do not know. I write this as witness to what I saw. I feel this is more important than anything I've ever come across in my life. I do not know what - if anything - will come of this writing. But I feel compelled to do it. May the gods have mercy upon us!