Far different from Loral Torateir is the second acclaimed as peerless among warriors. Born in a small village in the north of Fúmókorá, the northernmost of the six primary islands of Kanatai, Kadí:ú of House Shótará – or, to give his name in the traditional manner of Kanatai, Shótará Kadí:ú – was a lordling of the House, which at the time of his childhood was a allied family to House Amilá, whose genarch in turn was one of the warlords contending to rule all Kanatai, having already established rule over the northern two-thirds of the island.
In his youth, Shótará Kadí:ú was educated as a gentleman of Kanatai and as befitted an aspirant heir to the Shótará. However, it is recorded that he proved a trial to his father and genarch both with his determination to master the arts of the blade over and above any other skill, and spent much time avoiding his other studies in favor of spending time in training with the ashigaru and shikari of the House, and in sparring with any visiting swordsmen who might have anything to teach him. It was at this time that men first began calling him Kadí:ú the Duelist.
The path of his life was set, however, at a contest held to honor the visit of the House’s Amilá allies. It is recorded in the annals of the House that Kadí:ú returned early and unexpectedly from transacting family business in Kyo Shimana to find the contest beginning, and so competed wearing the dusty ashigaru armor he had worn for the road. It was after defeating all challengers before their eyes and all the worlds’ that the Shótará acknowledged Kadí:ú’s true calling, and that his genarch presented him with the weapon – already an heirloom of House Shótará, although little before recorded – that was to define much of his later career, the Sword That Cuts All Without Distinction.
In the hands of a lesser man, the Sword might have – and did – defined its wielder by the slaughter they could so easily inflict. In those of Shótará Kadí:ú, however, the Sword served a different purpose. While he bore the naked blade of the Sword¹ with him all his days, he made use of it on only a few occasions throughout his life.
For Kadí:ú was a man dedicated to the art of the blade, rather than the thrill of battle. As such, he declined to use the Sword in duel or war, believing that its use made for no true challenge of skill, and while honor-bound to use no lesser blade, he rose to this challenge by becoming the greatest single-blade combatant in the history of Kanatai.
In this way he fought with the smaller blade alone even as his name grew, from Kadí:ú the Duelist to Kadí:ú of the One-Hundred and Forty-Four Duels², and as he was named a general in the service of the Amilá warlord, and as that warlord’s realm spread by his efforts across Fúmókorá, and across Airíshú, and the isles around. Such was his reputation that many of his later battles were resolved by challenges, rather than meleé, and such were his honor and his gentlemanly ways that many of those who surrendered to him in his master’s name found themselves becoming his strongest supporters, and attaching themselves to his legend.
Said legend, alas, was cut short when Kadí:ú crossed paths with a legend to be, Morotai Marála, later acknowledged as the greatest master of the two-sword style. A friendly spar between the two ended in tragedy when a dyanail practice blade shattered during their bout and a long shard struck Kadí:ú in the eye, to fatal effect.
It is a matter of record that after Kadí:ú’s death and without the weight of his name, the Amilá proto-empire collapsed. However, while it took centuries, the line of Shótará Kadí:ú rose in prominence to become the first of those to stand second to the apex in the newly-unified Kanatai Imperial Shogunate.
– Legends of the Time-Before
1. The Sword That Cuts All Without Distinction was, naturally, unamenable to being sheathed. When not being worn or hung from its unique stand, wielders of the Sword would often simply drive the blade into a convenient boulder or even the ground, into which it would promptly sink up to its guard. Despite this, it could be drawn forth as easily as if it merely rested within water.
2. This epithet reflects only the lethal duels of his career; counting the others, Kadí:ú fought several thousand over the course of his life.