Chapter 0: Fog on Kawanakajima
My name was Yamamoto Kansuke but I was known as Douki. (Kanji read: Way-Devil) I was born in Mikawa Province at Ushikubo as a foot soldier (Ashigaru). After having been driven from my birthplace because of my overbearing personality, I joined the Hill-Men of Shinano serving Sanada Yukitaka as a shinobi and somehow managed to eke out an existence. Having lost the use of a leg and an eye, I no longer wished to serve as shinobi or spearman, so I travelled where he would as an itinerant tactician.
I was a master of fortification—especially of mountain castles, but despite this, I never reached prominence. Because the heavenly host can predict human destiny, I had my fortune told by a Sukyou astrologer. Because of my low birth, tyrannical disposition, and my physical appearance, for a long time I suffered a string of misfortunes, so that it seemed I would end his life as a nomad.
However, meeting a noble by chance, this noble discovered the ‘Devilish Schemer’, and from henceforth, I served as tactician under the strongest, most noble, war-like Takeda Shingen. But this noble’s fate led to an empty future.
At that time, the Fourth Battle of Kawanakjima was joined.
In North Shinano, the Kawakajima plain spread south of Zenrouji.
Bearing the banner of the war-god Bishamon [Bi], the forces led by UesugiKenshin and those serving the lord, Takeda Shingen, clashed for the fourth time.
The Autumn wind blew a fog across the Plains of Kawakajima, sapping the morale of the troops.
Year after year, the armies fought continuously, until both officers and men were thoroughly fatigued.
Our Lord had wanted to go by sea to secure the harbor, her dearest wish was to march on the capital, Kyoto, still unfulfilled. But the Invincible Kenshin who had established control over the eight Kanto provinces restoring law and order, would not allow this to come to pass.
These were the two most famous war hime of the Warring-States period. Their ambitions would now collide and vanish without a trace.
For Eichigo, Kai, and Hinomoto Provinces, this will spell disaster.
This was because the lord and Uesugi Kenshin engaged each other over and over at Kawakajima in North Shinano
Exiling her father, invading Suruga, plundering all of Kai Province, drilling her cavalry and retainers to excellence, her ambition and ingenuity carrying her beyond the invasion of Suruga, she poured all herstrength into battle—the unmatched noble commander, Takeda Shingen.
The first commander of Echigo to have led her troops, having never lost a battle in the field. She was feared as the incarnation of the war-god Bishamon and was called the invincible god of war, Uesugi Kenshin.
The whole world feared the lord as the ‘Greatest commander, chained by selfishness and greed while her rival, Uesugi Kenshin, was worshipped as the ‘Righteous Commander’. Their reputations were as opposite as heaven and earth, Yamamto Kansuke pondered this.
The lord—my student, Takeda Shingen’s ill-repute, was a lie meant to be carried to foreign countries in order to gain a military advantage. It was a lie the lord herself had spread, but all of you didn’t know the real person behind it. Takeda Shingen and Uesugi Kenshin. Why were these two commanders so fixated on Kawakajima, disregarding the world and Kanto for thisbattle? The reason no one knew.
These two could have been the closest of friends.
The two of them, hungry, thirsty for their father’s affection, fought fate wanting to find meaning in their lives. This is the thing they should be most proud of. So, when they chanced to meet, they would be attracted to each other.
But although they sought for the same things, they followed different paths.
To build the ‘City of God’ in Shinano, she would annihilate one ‘god’ after another, and the countless shrines within the Takeda family lands, replacing them with a unified ‘Human Country’.
On the other side, Uesugi Kenshin, Guardian of the North, Bishamon incarnate, the messenger of the gods, in order to restore the ideal of ‘righteousness’ in these troubled times to everyone, fought a selfless war and gained victory.
In short, the lord sought to open up a new Human Age, and so end the troubled times, while Uesugi Kenshin advocated a return to the Age of the Gods as the correct path for humanity to follow. The lord and Uesugi Kenshin.
Both believed their path would lead to stability—both were just.
As a Takeda Family tactician, my own strategies and ambitions had played a part in shaping and guiding that person, and those two who kept circling each other must come to a conclusion. Even if they were actual demons and fell into hell…
“My Lord. How long will you play this game of tag with Kenshin, until you end things? This one has devised an all-or-nothing plan ‘Woodpecker’ that is sure to win. If you do not win, and your forces suffer enormous casualties… If Kawakajima is stained with blood, then at that time, let this head fall from its shoulders.”
My Lord, while chewing her lip, responded with the single word— ‘Understood’. Although it was a timid and tearful princess I first met, through all the daily fighting, she had grown up into a more beautiful and stronger young lady that anyone else. The tiger of Kai. Unrivalled. Wise and Courageous. The commander of the invincible Takeda Cavalry. I had forged her until she was worthy to carry Sun Tzu’s Fuurinkazan (NOTE: Refers to the famous line in The Art of War that says: As swift as wind, as silent as forest, as fierce as fire, as unshakable as mountain.) banner.
But the Echigo Dragon that stood in the lord’s way— Bishamon’s avatar, who displayed an intellect on the battlefield that was beyond human, a superhuman.
Shinano was the land of the gods. The god(s) of Tokagushi. The god(s) of Iizuna. The god(s) of Suwa.
The girl who forsook her own father and willing go to any length to challenge the Shinano gods, wanting to live as a human, and the girl who for her own father, and then the men living in those troubled times, wanting to heal their spirits with Justice and Compassion became a goddess herself, so that the first time they met they were attracted to each other and then were caught up in a fate to fight each other furiously.
The story does not begin at their first meeting, and I should begin with how her exiled father plotted to disinherit her and take away her guardianship of Kai Province, but so that you might heed the flow of events, I would speak of the birth of Uesugi Kenshin.
Uesugi Kenshin, pure white like a snow sprite with white skin and hair, that small girl indeed followed an unfortunate fate. Adopted daughter of Uesugi Norimasa whose family controlled Kanto and succeeded to that position, her former name being Nagao Kagetora. The Nagao Family served the protectors of Echigo Uesugi Family and were of the pedigree of vice-protectors—