Otochitomono-kane

The Ryukyu Kingdom's renegade princess, hungry for conquest and retribution

Description:

Otochitomono-kane (Oto-kane for short) is a willowy, frail-looking beauty of eighteen years, standing slightly above average height. Her pale, milky complexion betrays a lifetime without stress, worry, labor, or direct sunlight. Long, flowing, obsidian hair falls to the middle of her bottom, framing in her face a pair of indignant, defiant amethyst eyes. Her hands have long, delicate, artful digits, which would be excellent for playing instruments if she had even an iota of musical talent. Everything about her is meticulously maintained, and if she wears makeup, it is perfectly applied.

The Princess wears clothing unusual in Japan, though clearly absurdly luxurious; it’s a one-of-a-kind gown, tailored exactly to her body, inspired by fashions in the Forbidden City and those brought to Ryukyu’s ports by European traders and missionaries. Above this, she wears jewelry so extravagant it superficially resembles armor; perfectly ornamented silver “spaulders”, bangles, and a bejeweled circlet that only leaves her head while she sleeps. This ornamentation always shimmers, as judicious application of Nobility magic keeps them perfectly maintained and polished.

Her voice is a frosty dulcet, sugar and ice that rarely becomes shrill even when brought to anger. Her speaking is metronomic and methodical, always in possession of a sort of amused confidence that poorly conceals an earnest curiosity about the world around her.

Bio:

The details of the Battle of Dan-no-ura, which led to the ultimate demise of the Taira Clan at the end of the Genpei War, are not widely regarded by Japanese scholars as a matter of significant contention. The evidence that the young Emperor Antoku drowned in the Straits of Shimonoseki, completing the Minamoto Clan’s rise to supremacy, is considered irrefutable. The only notable objection to this recounting of history has come to light only very recently, by an unlikely challenger; Otochitomono-kane II, a foreign princess from the Ryukyu Kingdom.

As she tells it, Emperor Antoku’s death at the end of the Genpei War was actually a well-executed bit of sophistry by the desperate Taira Clan; the flagship of the Taira fleet was loaded up with the treasures of the Imperial Family, and a handmaiden and her young son boarded the ship disguised as the Emperor Antoku and his widowed mother. Via the “treachery” of a supposedly opportunistic Taira general, the Emperor’s ship was targeted by the Minamoto Navy and those on board had no choice but to hurl themselves into the water, perpetuating the fiction that the Taira leadership had been defeated. In reality, the true Emperor and his mother escaped Japan by way of Kyushu, with a small contingent of bodyguards, where they sailed west for a short time before finally establishing a hermitage on the quiet, misty and forgotten island of Izena, north of Okinawa, where Antoku lived a full, though humble, life, fathering several children before passing away at an old age. Each generation of his descendants lived a quiet agricultural life, aware of their royal lineage but lacking the ambition or the resources to reclaim any vestige of their former nobility. This went on for almost four hundred years, with the islanders’ heritage increasingly lost to the ages, until an ambitious peasant farmer named Taira Kanamaru traveled to Okinawa and became a favored member of the court of King Sho Toku. Within nine years, Kanamaru’s latent political genius enabled him to seize control of the Ryukyu Kingdom from the old royal family. He established the Second Sho Dynasty, changing his name to Sho Ei to maintain the illusion of status quo, and finally restored his family to their rightful position as monarchs (though, admittedly, weaker than before, and now beholden to the monarchies of China and Japan.)

Otochitomono-kane (音智殿茂金) {おとチとのモかね} is the oldest daughter of the current king, Sho Gen, who was legitimized by the Ming Court and presides over a robust maritime economy. Otochitomono-kane is named after a great-aunt who became the High Priestess of the Ryukyu Kingdom (a prestigious and politically powerful position, monopolized by daughters of the royal family) under the expectation that she would follow in her footsteps; even in infancy, she had obvious mystic and psychic potential. She also proved to be exceedingly brilliant, and stunningly beautiful; her incredible popularity with the Ryukyuan people made her brother, Sho Ei, nervous. He was concerned with the political power she would hold as High Priestess, believing she would be a threat to his power. None of his attempts to neutralize her influence were successful, but one day an opportunity dropped right into his lap.

When the Shimazu Clan of Kyushu began to send emissaries to Shuri Castle, attempting to intimidate the King into establishing the Ryukyu Kingdom as a tributary of Satsuma Province, the King was troubled as to how he could pacify the Shimazus while peacefully retaining his authority. It was Sho Ei who suggested that Otochitomono-kane be offered to the Shimazus as a bride for one of the daimyo’s sons, to keep them satisfied until the islands could be suitably prepared to resist an invasion. Though this was an obvious squandering of his daughter’s abilities, the King reluctantly agreed to the plan, as he feared the military might of the Shimazu.

Without giving her a chance to protest, Otochitomono-kane was snatched from the castle and squirreled away to Satsuma province, where she was quickly married to what was literally the most disgusting, loathsome man she had ever seen in her life. The man was obese, smelled like a corpse, and openly lecherous. On the night of their wedding, the Shimazu advanced on her lustfully, his eyes hungry, and she was not able to force herself to allow this atrocity to proceed any further. In an act of heedless spontaneity, the Princess used the jagged edge of her hairpin to slit his throat, and he died a gurgling mess on the floor of his quarters.
Realizing what she’d done, she flew into a panic, realizing that the Shimazus would never let her live once they discovered her crime. Otochitomono-kane wished to flee back to the Ryukyu Islands, but she’d already seen that the western ports were controlled by Shimazu officers, and she feared that, out in the ocean, she’d be a sitting duck for Shimazu vessels to chase down. She instead fled west, through Tachibana territory, where she crossed the Straits of Shimonoseki where her ancestors were believed to have died, into the completely unfamiliar land of Honshu. It didn’t take long for the Shimazu to discover her trail and send a squad of men in pursuit, eager to exact vengeance upon her.

The Princess ran for days, going through as many horses as she could steal, resting only where she was certain she would be safe. The Shimazu, diligent to a fault, were always a short distance behind her. She kept running. Days became months. Winter gave way to Spring. She still kept running, hiding, running, hiding. Finally, she experienced a stroke of luck near Odawara Castle, when a Good Samaritan engaged her pursuers in battle and effortlessly slaughtered them. Though ultimately her savior proved to be abhorrent in manner, she was ultimately granted asylum with his clan, the Nakamura Clan, where she agreed to use her overwhelming power to assist them in their conquest of Japan, in hopes that someday their strength might grow that she could obliterate the Shimazu Clan forever.

None of this, however, is verifiable. As the sole known representative of the Ryukyu Kingdom in the Kanto region, a place where her claimed homeland is scarcely known to anybody, there is no efficient way to prove that any of her claims are truthful or accurate. She could just as easily be a deluded fool, or a charlatan, or a rogue power-seeker, or something yet more sinister. Nobody can know for sure unless the Nakamura Army reaches Satsuma province. One thing that cannot be denied, however, is her noble bearing, her unparalleled beauty, her overwhelming intelligence, and her formidable power.

Sadly, her adventures came to an end when Nakamura Eiichi slew her over a dispute about living quarters. Her considerable magic and psychic abilities were effortlessly dispelled by the Samurai’s weapon, and Eiichi finished her by hurling her off the fifth-story balcony of the castle. Her body was returned to the Ryukyu Kingdom, to be interred in the royal mausoleum, Tamaudun.

Otochitomono-kane

Rise of the Nakamura Gamble_Kuma Sighing