直江信綱, Yoshiaki Tachibana
TACHIBANA Yoshiaki usually called by his old name NAOE comes into Takayas life as a mysterious rescuer and soon becomes his close helper in carrying on the lonely and hardfought 400 year old battle to exorcise warring ghosts. He protects Takaya trying to make him again into a powerful proud leader. However he seems to have many dark secrets and a lot of guilt from their previous lives together which Takaya does not remember. In this life Naoe was born into a Buddhist monks family and is now a tall wellgroomed handsome man in his late 20s. On the surface Naoe is calm reserved and competent albeit too secretive and a reliable right hand man to Takaya Kagetora. In a few volumes however we discover his true nature his boundless passion and obsession with Takaya Kagetora and his strong attraction to and burning envy of Takayas superiority. The intense painful love hate relationship between the two protagonists is a driving force of the whole series. Naoe loves Takaya and devotes himself entirely to him but he resents Takayas superior strength power and independence in the relationship. Naoe cares for Takaya calms him when needed and would die for him but also nurses a devouring desire for and resentment towards him. It is suggested that Naoe did something brutal and unforgivable 30 years ago to Kagetoras then female lover Minako and the tragedy caused Takayas loss of memory in this lifetime.