oos: Everyone, please note that this is my first original story EVER. I accept constructive criticism, but flames will be used to cook hotdogs and make smores! ^_^

This first chapter is a little bit of a teaser. Lol- R&R and enjoy.

Key:

"....." = speaking

*....* = thinking

**FLASH** = flashback

Tales of a Traveling Samurai: Katana

A brown-haired woman walked leisurely down the dusty track that entered the town of Kudkalgata. She wore a blue kimono and mud-caked, wooden clogs.

Hulna, a shop owner's wife, was sweeping the sidewalk in front of her husband's store as the young woman passed by. Hulna estimated her to be about five feet tall, 120 pounds, and 17 years old in a first glance. In the second peek, she caught sight of hazel eyes peering out from behind the woman's extrordinarily long hair, which was tied into an elaborate braid.

Hulna regarded the woman as unremarkable in every way other than her small stature and long hair. She rushed off to tell her friend anyway.

The 'unremarkable' woman paused by a restaurant, hesitating for a moment, before entering. She bowed to the waitress that looked up at her expectantly.

"Hello," the woman greeted in a pleasent voice. "Could I please have a table?"

"Of- of course!" the waitress stuttered; she had noticed something that was nearly hidden within the bushy folds of the kimino: a sword. And not just a wooden sword, but a metal one. Metal swords were forbidden in this age.

"R-right this way!" she pointed with a trembling hand to a clean table near the back of the establishment. "I'll be w-with you in a m-moment."

"Very well," the woman replied calmly and bowed in thanks. She strode gracefully across the room and took of her sandals before sitting on a mat next to the low table.

The waitress rushed over to the woman and bowed. "What would you like, Miss- ah-"

The woman smiled. "Katana. My name is Katana. And I would like a bowl of rice, please."

The waitress bowed. "Certainly, Miss Katana. It will be a few minutes, but I assure you it is well worth the wait."

Katana nodded her head absently - her mind was already on other things. While she waited, she watched two girls, hand in hand, go skipping past the restaurant, singing a made-up song.

**FLASH**

Katana skipped with her little sister, swinging their interlaced fingers back and forth as she sang a song their mother taught them.

Her younger sibling was laughing and attempting to sing along as the sun bathed them in early summer's warmth.

Their father stuck his head out of the house and called, "Katana! Lena! Lunchtime!"

Lena.

**FLASH**

"Miss?" ventured the waitress once more, seeing the blank look vanish from Katana's face.

"I'm sorry, thank you very much!" Katana said hurridly, accepting the bowl of rice. She ate eagerly and was soon finished with the small meal.

She rose from her seat and slipped on her clogs. Katana walked to the door of the restaurant and smiled appreciatively to the waitress on her way out. She was intent on camping out in the woods outside the town and set a fast pace to reach it before nightfall.

She was halfway through the town when screams and yells in an alley attracted her attention. Katana immediately broke into a run around the corner of the building to see what was wrong.

Four large boys, looking to be about 14 years old, were gathered threateningly around a smaller boy, who Katana guessed to be about 8.

"Just give us the money already!" One of the bullies demanded of the younger boy. "If you do now, I promise not to pummel you or your sister."

Silence.

"If you really want it that way...." he slowly smiled and geustured to the other boys. The four began closing in casually on their prey, who cringed.

Katana couldn't take it anymore. "Stop this!" her voice rang out in the tense atmosphere of the alley like bells pealing on a cool, spring morning.

The boys froze, looking down in surprise at the small women bristling before them.

"Have you no shame?!?" she lectured, seeming to grow in size with her intensity. "Have you no honor?!? How dare you think you have the right to beat this little boy!"

"It's none of your damn business, woman." growled one of the older boys, slamming his clenched fist into his other cupped hand.

"What did you call me?" Katana said in a tone that must have seemed calm to the boys, for their courage grew.

"You're just a scrawny, ugly, little woman." The boy spat at her feet, and Katana was forced to hop awkwardly to the side to avoid it.

The boys began cheering and forgot about the little boy. Instead, they began circling around her, jeering and making rude noises.

Katana had had enough. Quick as lightning, she ducked under one of the brute's outstretched arms and placed herself in front of the little boy.

"You are starting to anger me...." she said, her voice still flat. "But I will make you an offer. If you can get past me, you may torture this boy behind me as long as you want." The boy in question whimpered.

"Fine!" answer the loudest and largest of the boys. "To make it a little easier for you, I promise that we will attack one at a time." He snickered at this.

"Do as you like," her cold voice cut through the laugh like a knife through butter.

The boy grinned. "Aldalk! Go! Teach this scrawny maiden why she shouldn't have messed with us!" he commanded.

The boy named Aldalk nodded and approached Katana warily. *She must be a good fighter to challenge us* he reasoned. *I must be careful-* Even so, he aimed a punch at her lighter than he would at a boy.

Katana easily dodged this and struck out three quick jabs to Aldalk's stomach, chin, and face. He fell over, unconcious and down for the count.

The other three boys backed away, surprised; they had not expected such strength from a woman of Katana's small size.

Perhaps this would be a harder fight than they anticipated.....

oos: So? What do you think? Please tell me in reviews!