Ryuen had feared the sword at first. It represents his quest, which he is unready for, and its weight, heavy in his hands matches the burden of his responsibility; to find the person worthy of wielding the blade. He thinks he should hate it, but instead, it fascinates him.
He unwraps it from the cloth which binds it, concealing it from bandits' eyes, and he grips the hilt tightly. Closing his eyes, he tugs on it, imagining for an instant that it will draw free from its sheath, that it will choose him, but it remains as firmly in place as ever. He opens his eyes and sighs.
His gaze travels along the hilt and his fingers trace its length. Its shape reminds him of a tree, aged and gnarled, twisted and beaten by harsh weather, but he is certain that it is not made of wood. It is almost warm to the touch and though it is hard, it seems to yield in his palm. Gripping the hilt in both hands, he presses the end to his lips, and he is sure he is imagining it, but it seems to him as though, deep within the sword there is a pulse, slow but strong.
His tongue slips between his lips as he pushes the hilt into his mouth. It tastes of sweat and of blood and Ryuen knows that should repel him. He moans faintly, as though in protest, but he cannot stop himself. He licks from the guard to the pommel and one hand slides along the sheathed blade. This is wrong, it is far beyond the innocent curiosity that had first driven him, but it is as though a force within him compells him, he doesn't understand the need suddenly burning inside, only that he must sate it, that the sword desires it.
He touches himself, tentatively at first, through his clothing, but soon that isn't enough. He feels his skin flush as his fingers hesitate, easing under his waistband, the tips pressing against his taut stomach. He is ashamed. He has been taught that this is a sin, but how he wants it, and the sword is throbbing maddeningly against his tongue.
Tears pricking the corners of his eyes, he shoves his hand down, inside his clothing. He is inexperienced but he quickly learns what feels good and the sword in his mouth can barely muffle the sounds of his pleasure. Its pulse becomes stronger, insistent and Ryuen knows what it wants and he cannot fight it.
He struggles free of his clothes from the waist down and lies on the ground. It is cold and dirty but he barely notices. He draws the hilt from his mouth, slick with saliva, and he guides it down, between his thighs.
The burning pain is unexpected and Ryuen cries out, but he cannot stop. His heels scrape at the dirt as he thrusts upward into his hand, then his hips sink back as he pushes the sword in deeper. It throbs inside him and he bites his lip. He is torn between heaven and hell. His breath shuddering, his back arching, he no longer cares which. This is divine, he thinks, no, it is sin, and then there are no more thoughts as the sensation within him reaches crescendo and his whole world explodes.
Shaking, he draws the hilt out and rolls onto his side, hugging the sword to his chest. For a long moment he lies there, lost in blissful nothingness. Then, slowly, the chill of the ground begins to permeate his skin bringing back full awareness. Suddenly realising the vulnerability of his current situation, Ryuen quickly dresses. He cleans the sword then wraps it once again in its cloth.
As he holds it, he shakes his head as though trying to clear it after a vivid dream. In the cooling evening air and grim forest surroundings it seems to him that what he has just done was simply that. A dream. One that is best forgotten for the sake of his sanctity.
He checks the position of the sun, getting his bearings, but before continuing on his way, he unwraps the hilt of the sword.
Closing his hand around it, he pulls gently. He still cannot draw it. The sword has not chosen him. He bows his head. Perhaps this is a lesson in humility. Binding the sword once again, he begins to walk. He is not the master of the sword. He is its slave.