from Dragon Sword and Wind Child
In order of introduction, more or less
Kanji: 豊葦原水穂国 (Toyoashihara no Mizuho no Kuni)
Meaning: Land Where Abundant Rice Shoots Ripen Beautifully
The setting for the Magatama trilogy. An earthen vessel formed by the Goddess of Darkness and the God of Light. Toyoashihara was another name for Japan in ancient times.
Meaning: lit. hooked jade
The amulet of the Water Maiden finds its way to each reincarnation of the Princess of Darkness. This sacred blue jade, also known as the Quelling Stone, is used to appease the myriad gods of the earth.
Meaning: Saya was so named for the rustling grass surrounding her when she was found as an abandoned infant. Saya is also the Japanese word for “scabbard”.
A 15-year-old girl from the village of Hashiba, Saya is the reincarnation of the Water Maiden, princess of the followers of the Goddess of Darkness, and the Priestess of the Dragon Sword. Raised by foster parents to worship the God of Light and taken by the Prince of Light to serve as a handmaiden at the Palace, Saya uncovers a terrible secret that turns her world upside-down.
Meaning: lit. bird elegance
A boy who keeps crows (two of them, in fact, named Big Black and Little Black). A member of the strange band of traveling musicians who visit Hashiba on the night of the Kagai festival. He appears to be a child, but his actual age is unknown. Reckless and loyal, Torihiko follows Saya to the Palace of Light at great risk of his own life.
Meaning: lit. stone lady (one of noble birth)
A small, ancient woman who plays the koto and leads the band of traveling musicians. Lady Iwa has lived during previous incarnations of the Water Maiden and knows the prophecy of the Dragon Sword and Wind Child. Old, wise, and caring, she provides Saya with faith and support.
THE DRAGON SWORD
Kanji: 大蛇の剣 (Orochi no Tsurugi)
Meaning: lit. great serpent sword
Forged eons ago by the God of Light, this terrible weapon was used to slay the god of fire, whose vengeful spirit possesses the blade to this day. The Dragon Sword has the power to destroy gods. None may touch it without dying, save the Water Maiden who alone may appease its flame. As the Priestess of the Sword, it is Saya’s duty to keep it for the mysterious Wind Child of prophecy, whose destiny it is to wield the sword in the final battle between Light and Darkness.
Meaning: lit. moon generation
The son of the God of Light, and the younger of the Immortal twins, Tsukishiro and his sister Teruhi rule the land from the Palace of Light in Mahoroba, waging a millenia-old war on the followers of the Goddess of Darkness. He represents the moon and his weapon of choice is the longbow. Tsukishiro is also a musician and an appreciator of fine art.
MAHOROBA AND THE PALACE OF LIGHT
Kanji: まほろば・輝の宮 (Mahoroba, Teru no Miya)
Meaning: an ancient Japanese word describing a utopia in the Kojiki. Nowadays, the word is only written using hiragana.
Legend has it that this long valley in the center of the land was formed by the foot of the God of Light when he returned to the heavens. Within this valley are the extensive buildings of the Palace of Light, which are designed like a Chinese palace compound. The Nakase River runs past the West Gate.
Meaning: lit. shining sun
Eldest of the God of the Light’s children. Warlike and vibrant, Tsukishiro’s sister represents the sun. She believes in scourging Toyoashihara of the people of Darkness and lives only to serve her celestial father. Her weapon of choice is the longsword.
Meaning: lit. youth feather arrow
An innocently amoral dreamer hidden in the Palace of Light. Chihaya has the ability to possess wild animals by dreaming, and has a strange fascination with death and Mitsuha, the Goddess of Darkness. Also able to touch and still the wrath of the Dragon Sword…but how can this be? Who is Chihaya, really…?
Meaning: lit. dark capital (city)
The charismatic leader of the rebels who worship the Goddess of Darkness, his distinguishing qualities are his regal bearing and his eyepatch. Lord Akitsu’s remaining eye is shrewd and observant. He has a castle stronghold in the sea cliffs called Eagle Manor. Lord Akitsu likes to hunt.
Meaning: lit. to puff or boast
A big man with a big heart, Lord Ibuki is both a skilled swordsman and an expert with medicinal herbs. A close friend of Lord Akitsu’s and a respected general of the forces of Darkness.
Meaning: lit. (as far as I know, his name doesn’t translate?)
Lean, serious, and battle-honed, Shinado gives Saya the impression of being much older than the young man he really is. His parents were murdered by Teruhi’s troops when he was a child, and so he bears a deep and bitter hatred for the Light. He and Saya frequently quarrel, though he secretly harbours feelings for her. Lord Shinado is a master of military strategem.
Meaning: lit. endure ford
A servant who becomes close friends with Saya after she arrives at Lord Ibuki’s castle. Natsume is a spirited young woman, faithful to her mistress and her people. She goes to war while with child in order to be with her husband and to look after Saya.
MITSUHA THE GODDESS OF DARKNESS
The exiled wife of the God of Light. Disfigured by burns from her last child, the god of fire, Mitsuha fled from her husband into the underworld. There, she discarded her body. Followers of the Goddess are reborn after each lifetime.
THE GOD OF LIGHT
…dwells in the heavens and rules the land through his immortal children.