Deep in the bowels of the Grove, there lies a room. Its location and existence is known only to a few. Fewer still dare to approach it. The hall is almost Spartan in appearance; a few wooden floor mats adorn the floors and support a single table in the corner. The monochromatic walls are painted in a drab grey, unadorned and blank.
The room is by no means welcoming, just as its creator intended. Most who had ever set foot into the lair seemed deeply disturbed by the monolithic walls. Its cavernous emptiness unsettled them, their minds were unable to remain at ease within the vast nothingness of the hall.
From the room emanated a noise. A low scratching. The noise is continuous and repeats, seemingly in a never-ending loop. The untrained ear would dismiss it as the whirring of mechanics gone wrong or a solitary insect. Only a master would recognize the sound: the sound of a moistened whetstone on a blade.
The figure sat in the centre of the hall, his back erect and position unwavering as he methodically rubs the stone against the katana.
Stroke after Stroke the impossibly blade is honed to perfection.
His ancient fingers are no longer as precise as they were in his youth and his hands ache, but the code of Bushido dictates utter discipline: an infallible dedication to one’s art.
His frame has started to wear away against the test of time, his limbs creak and his mind’s keen edge is no longer as sharp as the days of his youth, but revenge is all he can think of. He meticulously sharpens his blade, careful to go with the direction of the ‘HADA’. He stares down the end of the cutting edge, testing the KISSAKI with his ancient digits.
His mind recounts to events of decades past: to spending hours in cramped rooms in front of an antediluvian VHS player and a tiny television; to age old drills on the green of the Stade Louis II. The memory sours: The ignominy of his first sacking. It leaves a bitter taste in his mouth, the old warrior is unused to defeats, and even more intolerant of dishonour being heaped upon his doorstep.
In many ways, it was a good thing that he had left the cesspool of AS Monaco for the shores of his philosophical home: the land of the Rising Sun.
The shame of being thrust out of Europe had given him time to reflect, rethink, regroup and plan his return. The old soldier had travelled back to the shores of Europe and forged an empire anew: stronger, deadlier and far more devastatingly powerful than he had ever imagined at Monaco. But now it was time for revenge, the Bushido demanded it. His honour had been slighted and his enemies prone corpse would be only way to restore face and close old wounds. Blood would be spilled.
Tune into Arsenal v. AS Monaco on 26th February, 2015 @ 1:15 AM.
The post is a tribute to “Seven Samurai” by Akira Kurosawa & Arsene Wenger.