In Feudal Japan
, the Great Emperor's reign was vast and unchallenged. His bodyguard
, known only as "The Old Master", lived in the mountains of Edo
in relative seclusion; much like a valuable
sword is locked away in a safe place, ready to serve it's master whenever needed. The Old Master spent his days training his son, the "Young Master", keeping him sharp and learned, for the day that his great lord would call upon him.
During his training, he would be frequently visited by his three uncles. The first uncle was a master marksman, and taught the young master how to be deadly accurate with any throwing weapon. The second uncle was a great tracker; the two of them would spend many hours stalking prey, learning the arts of silence. The third uncle was a weapons master, and taught the young master proficiency with a multitude of different weapons. The young master loved his uncles dearly, as a devoted student would love his teachers.
One day, while training at the base of a waterfall, The Old Master fails to slice through one of the fish traveling upstream. agitated, he complains about his powers waning in his old age.
"But that was an impossible cut to make!" exclaimed the Young Master.
"No more nonsense! My powers are waning, and that is that. In a few days, you will be eighteen, and I will teach you the final lesson: the Secret of The Immoveable Blade."
On the Young Master's eighteenth birthday, he was unexpectedly visited by his uncles. The three uncles were very solemn, and informed the Young Master that the Great Lord had charged him with a mission. The Young Master stared at his uncles, and informed them that he knew what the paper said: that it was a test, and that his uncles were to kill him as soon as both hands were on the paper. He calmly informed his three most valued uncles that the paper was their own death warrants. With that said, he withdrew his sword, and killed his three uncles with one stroke from the draw.
As the Young Master stood over his newly slain relatives, his father walked down from their house, and congratulated the young man on his wisdom.
"However," the Old Master continued, "You were wrong about the message. It was a blank piece of paper. Very zen, yes?"
The Young Master stammered. "You mean I killed my uncles for nothing?"
"Do not underestimate the complexities of our Great Lord's mind," said the old man. "Had you touched the paper, they would have struck you down immediately."
"This second piece of paper, however, is not blank. Follow the instructions in it, then meet me at the waterfall at the base of the mountain."
Following the orders in the message to the very letter, the Young Master collected his few personal belongings, set fire to his house, and met his father at the base of the mountain. Tears
were welling up in the young man's eyes, as he attempted to bargain
with his father, as he didn't want to follow through with the rest of the letter.
"I don't want to fight you," stammered the Young Master.
"The time for talking is over," explained the Old Master, as he prepared to withdraw his sword. "Now is the time for action!"
With that, the Old Master slashed upwards at his son. The fight lasted for several minutes, and eventually the old man charged his son with his hands gripping the sword over his head.
"Now you will learn the final lesson, the Secret of The Immoveable Blade!"
Almost instinctively, the Young Master thrust his sword deep into his father's abdomen. The old man staggered backwards for two steps, looked his son in the eyes, and said,
"This is the Secret of The Immoveable Blade. No, do not try to remove your sword. My muscles hold it in place. it is quite immoveable. The lesson to be learned here is..."
The Old Master stabs his sword into the tree behind his son, three inches from his head.
"...that to know something is enough. A true master need not prove himself to anyone. My sword is now your sword. it is a Muramasa blade. it will serve you as well as it did me."
The old man sits himself, sword still embedded in his chest, on the ground in a meditative position.
"Quiet! watch," and with those words, the Old Master threw a rock into the tree, knocking an acorn loose. Unsheathing the sword embedded in his chest, the Old Master cuts cleanly through the acorn. He lay against the tree, with his son holding him in his arms.
"The wind blows and the water ebbs, but power never wanes; it just passes on."
The Young Master cremates his father's remains at the top of the mountain. He is unable to provide a proper funeral, but he'll be able to ask that of the man the Great Lord told him to see: the Great Priest Do-Shin.