Kazuhira grew up a street urchin in the city of Shio, Uikku’s coastal capital. The bustling city of towers and temples was as good a place as any for an orphan to live – plenty of aristocrats were happy to empty their change in his bowl, and seaside markets became any easy place to scrounge up food when the day was done – provided you didn’t mind eating day old fish. Kaz had vague memories of his parents, though he still vividly remembers the day they abandoned him outside the shrine of Yomikage no Jinja, telling his five-year-old self that the Serpents would watch over him while they went to the market.
They never returned, and Kaz stood by in the shrine, waiting for days until eventually the keeper offered him housing. This only lasted for a short time, as soon after the keeper was called to fight in the Second Exile War and his wife shooed young Kaz out their house in her husband’s absence. So Kaz was left to fend for himself on the streets at only six years old, but quickly adapted to this new life, learning through much trial and error and close encounters. Though the life of an urchin is not a healthy one, and eating the spoiled leftovers of the fish markets are a quick way to an early grave.
When Kazuhira was thirteen it seemed he had met this fate: he fell ill soon after a meal and began heaving up bile and blood regularly for days. His strength quickly faded and he knew he was soon to die. He thought that if he were to die, he would do it at the gate of the underworld so his spirit might not have far to walk, and so Yamarochi might walk him there himself. His death did not come, instead as he closed his eyes he found his face met with their steel gaze of eight serpents looking upon him. They told him that though his parents and ancestors had abandoned him, they would not – he had paid great respect to the shrine in his youth, even when the family of the keeper had unjustly cast him to the streets. He was given the chance to renew, coming back as the champion of the serpents, as a Spirit Samurai.
So Kazuhira returned to the world of the living, eternally grateful to his guardian for his new chance at life at service to a greater cause. But always he felt shameful of where he had come from before, especially in the way he had almost perished. It was mundane and pitiful compared to his companions, so he always kept the manner a secret, and was vague anytime he was asked of his past. In his mind, all their pasts were unimportant, for now they served the spirits, and that was a much better fate than the painful deaths that awaited them. Now he enjoys each day as if its his last, making sure he doesn’t sweat the small stuff, doing his best to share his philosophy with his companions as well.