Shogun Hiroshi Takamoto is the leader of the Akai Tora who opposes demons in Northern Yamato. Once a loyal servant of Shogun Masamori Hyuga in the Yamato Empire, his world was shattered when the demons invaded his homeland in the Cataclysm, but he does what he can to make Yamato rise again and drive the demons out of his homeland. He was kidnapped after the Second Battle of Vulpengaard Keep and taken to the Temple of Hephaestus where he was found by Marcus Sarillius and Oscar Locke.
A boy was born to the Takamoto household in Oreinashi in Yamato. He was named after the legendary hero Hiroshi Hayabusa whom the family held in high esteem. Young Hiroshi befriended various people from other clans such as Yasunori Amano at this time. He wasn't happy to join the army but had to when his parents threatened to disown him if he didn't carry out the clan's ancient tradition of serving the higher-ups. Hiroshi was bitter about this but obeyed his parents.
Serving the EmpireEdit
Shogun Masamori Hyuga took over Yamato and assassinated Emperor Takeshi Ofuchi in 1000 AE. Hiroshi joined the Shogun's army by the time the Unification of Yamato began and befriended the elven captain Varalia Earthhaven during a lengthy voyage to a nearby island in the Yamatian archipelago.
Hiroshi was impressed by Varalia's skills and found out that the two had a lot in common. The two began bonding at this time and spent many weeks together on campaigns to first unite Yamato and later fight with the army in the years of the Yamatian Invasion when other countries fell under Yamato's power.
It was around this time that the Shogun became ill and his close ally Distreyd Thanadar XII became the de facto leader of Yamato. Hiroshi wasn't happy about working with Distreyd and the Clergy of Mardük but he begrudgingly did his best as he honestly believed he was helping the motherland.
Varalia had to stay behind as one of the Shogun's assistants in Kageshima, but Hiroshi was sent to invade Aison with a large army led by the dark mage Zarnagon. The First Battle of Myridia was over soon because the Yamatian invaders had caught Aisonians completely by surprise, and Zarnagon became the Steward of Aison as his army conquered the few pockets of resistance in Aison except for Tel'Elee and the Magestar.
Hiroshi was happy to find out that the Shogun had personally sent Varalia as his representative to Myridia to keep an eye on Zarnagon's activities. The friendship deepened between Hiroshi and Varalia, but Hiroshi was afraid to express his true feelings to the elfess whom he greatly admired.
Times were becoming more chaotic in 1003 AE, however, as news of the rebellion in Remon led by Marcus Sarillius's so-called Grand Alliance spread. A group of heroes had gathered an army and were preparing to drive Yamatian invaders away, waging what they called the Great War. This piece of news troubled Hiroshi but he soon had other things to worry about as he and Varalia discovered that Zarnagon was apparently getting drunk with power and was acting more erratically every day.
Varalia and like-minded Yamatian officers discussed the possibility to get rid of Zarnagon and take Myridia for themselves. They couldn't let Zarnagon oppress the people any longer especially now that Zarnagon was getting paranoid. However, Zarnagon soon discovered the attempt at a coup and reacted accordingly. Many co-conspirators were killed, and he separated the surviving ones such as sending Hiroshi with Samachi Nomura to get back a seemingly pointless talisman which the Dwarven Triad had stolen from Myridia.
Hiroshi and Samachi were successful and returned to Myridia only to find out that the Grand Alliance had gotten there first. The Second Battle of Myridia took place, and despite heavy resistance Myridia fell into the hands of the heroes. Hiroshi tried to search for Varalia but in vain and he returned to Yamato to prepare its defences against the Alliance's inevitable assault. He assumed that Varalia had fallen in battle and his anger grew as he assumed the heroes had been behind her death.
Hiroshi's prediction turned out to be correct as the Alliance quickly scored many decisive victories. The Shogun was in no condition to lead and Distreyd XII had mysteriously died in Vulpengaard Keep, and the Yamatian forces were in disarray. Despite these grim facts Hiroshi and Samachi participated in the Second Battle of Kageshima in a desperate bid to keep the Alliance away from the Yamatian capital.
The appearance of the dark god Mardük surprised the Yamatians and the Alliance, and things turned even more dreamlike when Mardük released a countless number of demons onto the Yamatian soil through the Gate of Darkness to fight against the Alliance and the god Cardia who had come to the Alliance's aid. Just when it looked like the tide of the battle might turn in Yamato's and the clergy's favour, a new being which would be known as the Godslayer appeared and devoured the gods Cardia and Mardük. The now leaderless demons ran amok and attacked both the Alliance and the Yamatians.
The Cataclysm had begun.
Joining the Akai ToraEdit
Hiroshi lost many of his men on that dreadful day but he, Samachi and a small group of elite soldiers survived and fled to Northern Yamato while fending off attacking demons. They eventually met a few other survivors, including members from a group known as the Akai Tora.
The Alliance was already fleeing from Yamato, but the Akai Tora weren't ready to leave Yamatians behind to die. Hiroshi took over the then-leaderless Akai Tora with Samachi's help, convincing them that their past animosities meant nothing now that Yamato was facing total annihilation in the hands of the demonic invaders. They began a guerrilla campaign against the demons, particularly the Northern Horde, and even managed to save some people from the demons' bloodthirsty fangs.
Hiroshi recruited like-minded warriors, and the Akai Tora grew to be one of the biggest rebel forces opposing the demons in Yamato in the years since the Cataclysm. Samachi, having played a crucial role in the rebirth of the Akai Tora, gladly took the position as Hiroshi's right-hand man as he admired Hiroshi's determination and vision to restore Yamato to its former glory. However, the demons' regenerative abilities and the Akai Tora's lack of supplies didn't help matters and often Hiroshi, Samachi and the rest of the Akai Tora barely lived on in harsh conditions while hiding in the wilderness.
Since Shogun Masamori Hyuga had perished in the aftermath of the Cataclysm, Hiroshi made himself the new Shogun to honour his old leader's memory. It was an unofficial title but no one came to challenge him for it. He also joined forces with Alathor and the Forgotten, a sect that had broken away from the Clergy of Mardük, even though some of his men viewed the clerics with suspicion after how the clerics of Mardük had deceived the Hyuga in the last war. The knowledge and magic of the Forgotten turned out to be useful in fighting against demons, however, so their alliance continued.
Years passed, and the once idealistic Hiroshi slowly grew more and more jaded as he began to understand how fighting against the superior demons was a futile struggle. He remained stubborn and cautiously hopeful despite all of this, however, and refused to give up. Samachi stood by his side all those years, and they recruited several Yamatian slaves they had managed to save and turned them into the new Akai Tora with the common goal of driving out the demon invaders from their homeland.
- "They are killing us out there, and all you do here is plan. Plans that nearly get us wiped out! Have you no soul, no mind, no thought on anyone but yourself?"
- —Damian Resta to Hiroshi
Hiroshi was having a strategic meeting as usual in the hideout of the Akai Tora when one of his subordinates, Damian Resta, arrived and told him that a squad of men had fallen in battle. Hiroshi's calm attitude enraged Damian who thought that Hiroshi only viewed his men as pawns. This in turn made Hiroshi angry because he considered himself an honourable person. He decided to send Damian back to the battlefield because he realized that Damian's bitterness was the result of losing a friend, Nebal, in battle.
However, Damian's words still echoed in Hiroshi's mind. He began contemplating if the war he was fighting would be meaningless and he was only pushing the inevitable total defeat of Yamato back for a year or two. Hiroshi also wondered if he was fit to rule the Akai Tora but he resolved to keep on fighting for the sake of his homeland.
A new chapter began for the Akai Tora when their scouts captured a group of outlanders heading deeper into Yamato. This group turned out to be the Fellowship of Maar Sul led by King Khasra III and Prince Leon Alcibiates. Although many in the Akai Tora recognized Leon and believed him to be an enemy due to his Alliance having abandoned Yamato to demons, Alathor convinced Hiroshi to view the fellowship as allies while also subtly coercing the fellowship to aid them in assaulting Vulpengaard Keep deeper south in Yamato in exchange for assisting the fellowship in its mission.
The fellowship reluctantly agreed because refusing the offer could lead to imprisonment or worse now that they had seen the Akai Tora's hideout and assisted the Akai Tora and the Forgotten in the Second Battle of Vulpengaard Keep during which they reclaimed Vulpengaard from the Northern Horde after Khasra's spiritual quest to Xar Daeon helped weaken the demons significantly at a pivotal moment in the battle. The rebellion had won its first major victory over demons, thus renewing hope that their struggle for freedom could have a happy ending after all.
Lost in the DarkEdit
More info later.
Aliases and NicknamesEdit
- Used affectionately by Varalia Earthhaven.
- An honorary title given to Hiroshi by the Akai Tora.
Hiroshi is a handsome Yamatian man with the pale skin and dark hair. He is quite muscular because of his training and is taller than most Yamatians which gives him an air of authority. He wears the traditional armor of Yamatian officers which has a mix of red, blue and white.
Personality and TraitsEdit
Hiroshi respects honour and bravery above anything else. He holds the values of the old Yamato Empire in his heart, although he knows that he has to adapt those values so that he can fit into the World of Ruin. He does not kill unless he has to, and he always tries to use diplomacy to solve problems if possible. There is a sense of romanticism in him, although it has gradually disappeared as he has had to live on in the brutal world after the Cataclysm.
Powers and AbilitiesEdit
Hiroshi is a very skilled in swordplay but does not possess any magical abilities. He is a good strategist and has led his outnumbered forces to victory on many occasions.
Although Damian respected Hiroshi, the loss of his friend made him rather angry at Hiroshi. The two never managed to make things up because Damian was killed in battle.
Hiroshi and Zarnagon hardly got along. By the time Zarnagon tried to make Hiroshi switch sides, whatever respect he had for Zarnagon vanished, which infuriated Zarnagon. The two remained at a distance while Zarnagon did his best to keep Hiroshi from interfering with his matters. Zarnagon's disappearance after the Great War came as a relief to Hiroshi who isn't yet aware that he's greatly underestimated Zarnagon's resourcefulness.
Hiroshi respected Shogun Masamori above anyone else, staying unflinchingly loyal to him even when Zarnagon tried to persuade him to abandon the Shogun's ideals. When Masamori vanished after the Great War, Hiroshi was grief-stricken but chose to continue the work that Masamori had begun and do his best to keep Yamato safe from invaders.
Samachi and Hiroshi grew to respect each other, and once Hiroshi became the new, self-appointed Shogun of the Akai Tora, Samachi became his right-hand man.
Hiroshi was the first and only man Varalia had ever truly cared for. He was rather awkward around her but was willing to learn, and Varalia appreciated his earnestness and vitality. Both of them were fond of the Yamatian cause, although Hiroshi showed loyalty while Varalia remained more sceptic. The two eventually had an affair which ended up quickly as Zarnagon separated them in the aftermath of the purge of Myridia. Varalia and Hiroshi did not see each other again as the Great War soon entered Aison and Yamato.