Okokawa is a bustling sprawl of many townships and cities that sprout throughout the province of Sangawa, the Three Rivers. Farmland populates the roads between cities, and it is here that Kaoru was raised, on a far off outskirt farm miles from the nearest town or city, nestled against woodland. Kaoru’s dad was a veteran of the Second Exile War, a bowman who was captured as a prisoner of war, losing his draw fingers as punishment. Kaoru at this time was raised solely by his mother who took up hunting and tanning herself after, to keep food on their table. When Kaoru’s father returned, he could no longer hunt himself, he had no way to knock or draw a bow. So his wife continued to hunt while he began tanning, but this went awry when she took a minor wound from a wolf that became infected and ultimately killed her.
Kaoru’s father was despondent for years, he now had to father a child by himself and learn to hunt without a bow. He blamed the death of his wife on himself for years, telling Kaoru that it was the choice of his ancestor’s to take her from him, and that the Wolf is the spirit of their ancestors, enacting retribution upon him for failing as a man. Even as a boy Kaoru could not live to see his father fall into such despair, so he began accompanying him on hunts as young as eight summers. Though his father urged him to use a bow, Kaoru refused, feeling it as unfair. He wished to face his hunts up close and personal, so they might have a chance to fight back or flee. At first he used spears, then katanas, training with his father and learning the trade.
Life was good for a time as the father and son grew close despite the tragedy that had befallen them. When Kaoru was fourteen he returned home from a hunt to find their cottage ransacked and his father face down in a pool of blood. Grief and rage overwhelmed him. Like a beast he trailed them, finding their camp in a clearing in the woods, drinking his father’s sake and laughing over a fireplace. Patiently, he waited on the eaves of their camp until his opportunity to pounce arose, leaping at the bandits. He was able to cut down three before they had time to run for their weapons. The few that still stood used their numbers against Kaoru and overwhelmed him, cutting him down. As blood flowed from his wounds and the life drained out his eyes, Kaoru’s final sights were that of a great Direwolf leaping upon the bandits, tearing one to shreds and sending the rest fleeing.
It grabbed Kaoru by his shirt, dragging him into the thickets of the forest where it lay him upon the ground, speaking to him. Kaoru saw its ethereal form, and it revealed itself as the spirits of his ancestors, including his father and mother. They offered him a renewed life, in service of them so that he might continue the honour of their spirit as a Seirei no Samurai, joining with others like him to maintain the balance of the spirits in a land rife with senseless death and warfare. Kaoru accepted, and found his place among the Spirit Samurai. There he gained the respect and adoration of his peers as a concise, clearcut man who always took initiative, and a skilled swordsman who could end any conflict.