History of the Takahashi clan of Otawara

During the dark years of the Danatsu no Seiso, the tangled forests of what is now Otawara were a refuge for those who could escape the Oppressors who banded together in small secluded villages where they learned to live off the bounty of the forest. During these many generations the people also learned the arts of secrecy and of moving unseen through their forest home.

During the Gokai Taisan the inhabitants of Otawara carried out a campaign of harassment and hit and run attacks against the Oppressors, never venturing far from the sanctuary of their forests. The Takahashi first appear in the histories late in the great war, in the person of one Takahashi Kuboto, who it is said, could render himself unseen. There are many tales of his adventures, most of which involve him outsmarting and humiliating his opponents rather than the usual tales of slaughter and martial prowess. He gained the name Takahashi (which means “high bridge”) from his most famous deed, the destruction of the so called high bridge over the Yanagawa, so named because it was elevated well above the water in a single high arch so it was above the flood levels, while one of the commanders of the Oppressors was crossing it.

Once the Oppressors were driven out the forest people returned to their old ways, and the region remained divided among many petty lordlings who played little role in the great events of the early and middle historical periods. The region was claimed by first one lord then another though the locals paid little heed to whichever outsider claimed suzerainty. During these years the Takahashi were simply one of the many small clans and, like the others, its focus was on the internecine struggles and squabbles that occupied the forest clans.

This was how things remained for many generations until the Year the Land Divided (738), when Takahashi Ren united the forest clans and led them in support of the Oshiro in their overthrow of the Abe. As a reward, they were granted the lordship of Otawara.

Thereafter, the Takahashi once again turned their attention inward and paid little attention to the doings of the wider land, being fully occupied trying to rule over their fractious subject clans, many of which resented the Takahashi ruling over them.

Eventually the Takahashi and their allies, the Sakamoto and Takada clans, managed to suppress the remaining opposition clans and Otawara entered into something of a golden age, with extensive development, including the first road ever to traverse the region. This period of peace lasted for some 63 years, at which time Takahashi Masao, with Watanabe backing, murdered his elder brother Takahashi Sora and seized the throne. During the confusion of the coup, Takahashi Taiga, the youngest brother managed to spirit away the murdered lord’s two young daughters and hide them among his wife’s servants.

They bided their time, building their strength for four years until the Year of the Flaming Skies (945 - named for a particularly brilliant aurora) when together with Takada Yamato and Sakamoto Hikari they launched a counter coup, killing the usurper. When the people of Kochi were assembled, expecting Takahashi Taiga to declare himself lord, he brought forth his 21-year old niece, Takahashi Rin, the eldest of Takahashi Sora’s daughters, and knelt, along with the rest of the rebel commanders, before her and acclaimed her the rightful heir and asked her to choose a husband to rule her patrimony. However, citing the precedent of the Ishii clan of Masaki, she declared she would rule in her own right as Lord-Lady. The populace approved of her actions but many of the leading men resented her break with tradition. The coup leaders were at first reluctant to accept her decision, but they were swayed by Sakamoto Hisao and with the guidance of her elders, the young maid has secured her hold over all of Otawara with a minimum of bloodshed. The Lord-Lady enjoys widespread public support and has proven herself to be an able student of statecraft and a beguiling diplomat, and while somewhat plain in appearance, she is generally considered the most eligible maid in all of Zaidan, with a steady stream suitors vying for her hand.

Original by Maggie