Name. Takeda Yukio
--Description. Winter Wanderer.
Yukio was raised a scholarly-soldier. In his time free from battles, he attended to books, arts, and poetry. Tea ceremony was just another of these arts; but after learning the basics, he grew very interested in it alone. He experimented with tea ceremonies during his years soldiering and devoted all of his time to it after the wars settled down. This was not the pleasure of relatives who wished that the family continue fighting, as they had before. Yukio, though, remained committed to his tea arts…
--Eyes: dark violet
--Attire: olive and carnelian armour/honey-brown, olive, brownish-grey kimono, silver-white shibori haori
--Character in short: creative, courageous, devoted, wise, joyous
"My father named me Yukio, 'man of excellence.' And I was blessed with honor, opportunities, and wisdom. Along with it, though, I was given pain. Everything I worked for, all the years of study, all the days of war, waiting for a time when I could live the life of an artist and scholar...all reduced to this...a blind man wandering the cold winter fields...It stings - the pain, the thoughts. I always was the winter wanderer - cutting through the snow to find the hidden teahouse, it's walls plastered in simple off whites and black inks of ocean octopi. I was whole, then. On those snowy marches. The silver haori, the white crunching snow, the austere tearoom. And all of it reduced in order to lay forth the glories of earth, undaunted. But now I am left without anything...the snow seems colder than before...darker than before...where once its emptiness was a canvas on which to paint ceremony, it is now only void. I take the name of Yukio now, of 'man of snow.' That snow which holds memories of perfection, but now offers only pain."
Name. Takeda Akitsugu.
--Description. Autumn Flame.
Akitsugu was born at the beginning of the story during the warring years. His mother died shortly after his birth. Akitsugu’s childhood was similar to that of his father’s, though he preferred battle over arts. Mature for his age, and both respectful and respected, he proved to be a child with a strong spirit. His idealism and family name result in suffering.
--Hair: platinum blond
--Attire: Olive, copper, cream kimono, gold, carnelian haori
--Character in short: idealistic, pure, intelligent, loyal
-notes: pale and short in stature
Akitsugu sat under the roof's overhang and listened to it rain. The droplets misted his face and crested haori. It smelled of wet decay, what with the fall leaves strewn across the ground in their brown and scarlet sheet. Takeda Akitsugu watched the raindrops sprinkle onto the withered leaves, joining together with the puddles and streams which sat and stagnated and reeked of autumn.
His name, Akitsugu, contained the character for "autumn" - the symbols of tree and fire. Though the trees looked ablaze in the lights at night, during the cloudy pale days, those burning leaves were drenched and drowning. Why didn't the kanji imply that as well?
Name. Takeda Masato.
--Description. Summer Light.
Masato was Yukio’s first son by his beloved wife Keiko. Though he does not have the chance to spend much time with his father, Masato and Yukio are of the same spirit and appreciate the same beauties of creation.
--Hair: rich-dark green
--Attire: tan, forest-green, dark brown kimono, black haori
--Character in short: hardworking, respectable, positive
-notes: strong but not tall in stature, either
"Your father used this calligraphy scroll in a ceremony once for tea after you were born," the priest explained.
"And what kind of ceremony was it?"
"Well, it was held at the hidden tearoom and only a few of his closest friends attended. It was a time for celebration, but you were born in the early spring when it was still cold. Your father had a small arrangement of yellow spring flowers set on a low basin in the tokonoma and this scroll overtop it. He used the cup of simplicity. Just a small tea bowl, but fitting well into the grip of the palm and balanced with a steadfast form. It was a very joyous occasion and hope couldn’t have been expressed clearer."
Masato sat thinking, realizations almost forming, but being blocked by an invading longing to speak to his father directly. What was the path of righteousness of which his father spoke? He could see no such clear and straight path. But if anyone was to find it, he was the one left to do so. It was his goal, his name.
Name. Takeda Umeko.
--Description. Spring flower.
Yukio’s only daughter.
-Eyes: Rich violet
-Attire: Red-violets, peaches, pink/grey kimonos
-Character in short: Caring, respectful, honorable, quiet
Name. Takeda Keiko.
--Description. Season Partner.
-Hair: dark olive green
-Eyes: wine green
-Attire: kimono with motifs of cranes, eggplant, peach blossoms, iromuji of pink/grey, moss, kurotomesode with winter-bamboo motif
-Character in short: longsuffering, loving, artistic, understanding
"We should give her a name alike to yours," Yukio said.
"But my name is dull and common. Wouldn't you want to give her some complex and subtle name?" Keiko replied.
"Keiko is 'a blessing.' A word that contains only good, only hope, only joy. It is in the pure and simple where the scared is found."
"What name then? What would you choose?" Keiko asked.
Yukio didn't answer right away. "Which flower speaks of color and life in the cold spring?"
"Well, it is the early-blooming plum blossom, wouldn't you say?"
"Ume. A colorful and noble flower."
"It is good."
”It is good because it is simple. It is pure and it is true. What name could hold more meaning than that?”