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"Ronin" - a term that has acquired an almost cult status in pop culture simply refers to a samurai who is no longer retained by a lord. They are depicted in pop culture as loners, be it good or evil, when in truth it was quite common for many Ronin to band together as hired mercenaries. The most famous of Ronin is arguably Miyamoto Musashi (1584-1645) who's prowess in battle saw him lend his swords to many wars.