Samurai... Thing. I guess. Critique very much wanted oh god pleeeeeeaaaaaaase.
I'm not sure whether this warrants its own thread, but I might as well pitch the idea/premise.
The world is changing. Everything's changing.
Once, a man was counted on to fight for his lord first and foremost. His family might be a close second, but he would be expected to sacrifice any and everything for the greater good of the empire.
Now, there are more and more ronin, men who fight for the highest bidder, and won't hesitate to betray someone for material gain.
Once, a man was his own weapon. His sword was an extension of himself, perhaps, but he survived only on his own merit. The skilled, the experienced, the pious... All would find greater things in their future, for only they can be trusted with the future.
Now, any farmer's son could join the military, could find glory through the use of firearms and other such devices - honourless, unskilled practises that destroy the natural order of things.
Once, a man could expect an honourable death. A man could hope to die in glorious battle, leading a great charge into overwhelming odds, or sacrificing his life to serve his lord's goals, no matter how fruitlessly. He could be sure that his sons would be honoured, and that his family name would live on with or without him.
Now, you were more likely to die in an ambush, or be killed from afar by a coward's weapon. Your deeds would go unnoticed, for who should care about your singular sacrifice, when entire armies clash more often than not.
Katai Shingi remembers those times. An old man in a new age, every day brings the same old battle. Both within and without, he must fight the change, retain his worth in the face of becoming obsolete. In a world where any man can with the press of a button, what use is there for a skilled warrior? In a world where you could be shot from a hundred paces, where might a sword have a use?
As his lord sees more and more opportunity in adapting to the times, Katai must strive to obey, and to agree even as his heart says otherwise.
Hatashiai has no master. He barely has a name. A swordhand for hire, the young man seeks to prove his worth, even as he tries to outrun the changing tides of time. A skilled fighter, and an even better duelist, in the eighteen years he's lived, he's fought at the side of many famous - and more importantly dead - men. With one cut, he felled a tyrant. With two he started a rebellion. And yet, this is not enough for him. He seeks to have his name paraded throughout time immemorial, to live heroically and die spectacularly - no matter the cost.
Katai has been tasked to hunt down a ronin. Perhaps the only man trusted enough not to abandon his path, his destiny brings him into conflict with the infamous upstart.
The overall theme is, of course, inevitability. Time brings change, and no matter what, one cannot outrun it forever. Regardless of whether it's good or bad, change is necessary, for without change, there is stagnation.
I hope for this to deal with change, not only from the personal point of view, through the eyes of the two main characters, but also through the state of the realm as the story progresses. The new generation will inevitably eradicate the old, and that's what I wish to present.
Secondly, the nature of necessity. Is it worth doing something bad to achieve a greater goal? Is it worth dirtying your very soul for the greater good? In this new world, Kattai will have to come to terms with this belief, corrupting himself eternally, in order to serve his lord. Bribery, intimidation, thievery, torture, and cold-blooded murder have never been the purview of one such as him... and yet, if he is to survive, if he is to complete his task, he may have to stoop as low as he may.
Similarly, and yet a lot more selfishly, is glory worth horrbile deeds? Is it better to go down in history as a tyrant, as a disgusting human being, or is it better simply to never be remembered at all? Hatashiai knows he would do almost anything to be remembered... What he doesn't know is how far he will go or what his limits are.
What Can You Expect?
Talking. A lot of talking.
Combat will be rare, quick, brutal and usually completely one-sided. It will also be incedibly lethal - so much so, that one will fall, and even the victor will come out of it worse for wear. We're talking Akira Kurosawa, not Musashi Kishimoto.
The names are shit. Like, really. I went on freedict and typed in a bunch of things. Kattai's name translates to something like 'steadfast loyalty' and Hatashiai mean 'duel'. I know they're ot real names, and if anyone can help me out, I'd be very grateful.
Also, I realise that Japan (and Asian culture in general) is usually sensationalised, and doing anything to do with it usually gets accusations of 'weaboo' and ting. The reasons for choosing a Japanese society is because I needed a setting with a rigid social order that's being rapidly chipped away with the introduction of foreigners. I need a society where only the priviliged may have rank, and only they may carry a eapon. I need a society where death is considered honourable, so long as you die usefully.
Basically, I need Japan. Sorry guys. :)
Anyway, I'd love any thoughts, any advice, any criticism and, well, any insults you think are necessary, too. :)