As the shouting died down, the Teppo’s smoke cleared eventually from the light breeze. Two forces had clashed. One crushing the other. The carnage was readily apparent. Other than a few weak men moaning for mothers or for mercy nothing could be heard across the battlefield.
A stunned silence. Generals were on their knees, heads bowed. Retainers physically shook.
One man was seated upon his field camp stool. His normally impassive face mottled with rage. His eyes focussed not on the field of death in front of him. Nor the dead horse flesh, bloodied men dismembered bodies, and broken shafts. He cared little for the loss.
His eyes watched the retreating force, march in good order back up wearily but proudly to Odani Castle. They had lost half their men but inflicted casualties on a disproportionate scale. The Oda clan today had been shamed. The Oda army had been beaten by monkeys.
His voice rarely was raised. Despite the quiet he stood and spoke in a fierce tone to all around him and the remnants of his army. Morale had broken, lax leadership and a poor response to this surprise attack had struck fear into the fearless. “What has become of you?” He declared. Stabbing each Ashiguari and Samurai in the eyes with his glare as he spoke.
” I rule you. I rule you to protect the Shogun. You have all failed today. The Honor of Oda must be avenged. Akai must cease to exist. ” In his peripheral vision he saw lone archer loose the arrow. He waited.
He shifted his weight effortlessly onto the ball of his left foot and rotated thru his hips drawing his Katana at the same time. It flashed through the air where his body had been. The arrow dropped to the ground at his feet. Split asunder. Men all around sprang to his defense.
“No he roared. NO….. Now you desire to fight? 100’s against a lone cowardly assassin. General is that your wish?” Said Nobunaga. His voice now a raging torrent. Spittle flew with each word. Nobunaga’s face was the bloody color of lacquered armor.
The General, sighed. “No”
“Then take yourself to the field and erase your dishonor”
The General bowed his head in respect and fare well, stood and marched down the hill. Thinking that this day could have ended in crucifixion, was little solace, but he chuckled nevertheless.
Nobunaga sat to watch. Once the ritual was complete he turned and order his forces to leave and collect reinforcements. They would return in the fall.