Definitions of Honor
This desperate peasant tried to rob Shiba Tetsujin-no Sodona on the Emperor’s Road between Shiro Shiba and Twin Souls Temple, with a makeshift yari, and a crying baby strapped to his back. When Tetsujin did not immediately cut him down, the hinin gave a tragic tale of how he had been forced to borrow money to provide medicine for his dying wife. Now, she is passed away, and the money lenders are seeking to collect. He doesn’t have the money, and he knows that they will take his baby daughter, so he is part on the run, part hoping he will get the money, part trying to commit ‘suicide by samurai’.
To Eiji’s great surprise, instead of killing him, Tetsujin puts the peasant on his horse and asks Eiji to guide him to his village, a few hours away.
Upon sight of the village, Tetsujin re-mounts, and readies his spear, forcing Eiji to lead the way.
Tetsujin finds that the ‘village’ is a small collection of huts, in the hills south of the roadway. From the looks of things, the little place has not seen a tax collector in years. At the sight of the approaching samurai, the villagers run for the safety of their homes gathering children as they seek refuge. Tetsujin is greeted in the middle of the collection of hovels by an elderly man prostrating himself on the ground. He confirms that there are ‘merchants’ visiting the village and staying in his home. The ‘merchants’ are called for, and three rough looking heimin come out and stand on the porch, anxiously handling tonfa and home-made clubs.
The ‘merchants’ confirm that they have loaned Eiji money, with his daughter as collateral. He has had the loan out for two years now, and is well past due with interest having almost doubled the loan. The merchants are here to collect as agreed. A disgusted Tetsujin agrees that if Eiji had so little value for the life of his daughter, than Tetsujin will not save him now. He commands Eiji to hand his daughter over to the collectors, and turns his horse back toward the road, leaving the peasant weeping and rolling in the dirt.