Thirteen Facts (for thirteen gods)

1. Yomigami ages with the changing of the year, and on the last day he turns his brush on himself, painting over the wrinkles that line his face, the pouches of fat that roll off his belly, the tremor in his clawed hands. When the ink fades, the milky film is gone from his eyes and his scales shine like the stars, and by the time he puts his brush away, no traces of the old man he will become remain. At the same time, “revival” is a misleading term: he can only fix objects that have been broken, and lives — human, demon, or god — are forbidden to him as to all others.

2. No enemy has ever taunted Tachigami’s size and lived to tell the tale. Even Kabegami gives him a wide berth.

3. Truth be told, he’s awful fond of Nuregami, and not just ’cause the brats like her too — she’s always real patient with ’em, even when they’re climbin’ all over her and gettin’ her pretty white kimono covered in prints. They like her ’cause she’s good to ’em, like the mother they never had. Bakugami, though, likes how water’s always drippin’ from her clothes, and always provides a convinient snuff for the fuse of his bombs when he’s not lookin’ to blow things up.

4. They don’t think of themselves as three separate beings, they three Hanagami, even with their individual names. Even when separate they’re the same, so when one is returned to Amaterasu-okami’s side, really, they all have been.

5. Nuregami dislikes fighting more than anything else; she would much rather diffuse and distract than actually fight. Not even for her mother will she compromise that, and it is her shameful relief that she has never been called in that capacity.

6. Originally Yumigami served honored Amaterasu’s brother, and came to Takamagahara with those of the moon tribe who fled their homeland, to be their envoy and their guardian, and part of him still expects to someday be recalled home. He’s still not sure what he will answer, when — if — that day comes.

7. Kazegami takes a very fierce pride in her speed, faster than the wind that is her name. The only one who has ever outdistanced her is Mother Amaterasu herself, and for that, and for the gracious win, she accepts the bridle and follows as obedient daughter.

8. In her pipe there is a single lit ember that never goes out — no matter the weather, it burns, ready to flare to life with a single breath. It’s a piece of herself, and as long as it remains — as long as the sun makes her way across the sky — Moegami knows she will never die.

9. Kasugami knows what each of her brothers and sisters is like as a drunk and will tell stories in lurid detail if asked. She also knows how Mother Amaterasu is in her cups, and that is a secret she’ll never tell.

10. Of all the brush-gods, Kabegami is the only one not born directly of Amaterasu. She was adopted in when her parents threw her away, and loves fiercely for that: not the strongest or smartest of fighters is Kabegami, but she is the most loyal, and thus treated with respect.

11. If pushed — and he, Gekigami, doesn’t like to admit it, because favoritism is an unseemly thing for one whose heart follows the path of the bow — he will admit his favorites are Tachigami and Kabegami. Something about the way those two are put together — so very tiny compared to him — makes his heart flutter.

12. Even on the hottest days, Itegami’s breath comes in misty ice crystals; he can often (if asked very nicely) be convinced to cool drinks for his siblings, or to stand guard against the heat as his mother sleeps trustingly in his shadow. He does not mind: it is an honor to serve.

13. As a mother, she loves all her children equally; as a protector, she will turn none away; as a goddess, she acknowledges responsbility for all.

But as herself, when she sleeps in the long cool grasses of Takamagahara, she finds the most comfort in the sound of a flute, playing old brief melodies from the tribes of the moon.

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