Lone survivor of the lost race of Nasnoi. A ninja haunted by a taint drawing the Oni to his every footstep.
Art by Mike Scott (that’s me)
Garou was a member of the nigh-extinct species, the Nasnoi. He washed ashore as a child on the Western coast of the Shidi isle of Garou. The Elder of Kaoru, a serene fishing village near the beaches where Garou was found, took the child into his home. The child was very young, barely two years old, and did not remember his name or where he came from. Noticing that in place of hair on his head were fine, feather-like plumes the color of Garou blossoms, the elder decided to name the child after the island, and raise young Garou as his son.
Before long, Garou’s legacy as the last of the Nasnoi race would invade his innocent life. For some reason, Garou seemed to bear some sort of an unexplainable, invisible ‘mark’ that branded him an irresistible target for any demons who happened nearby. When Garou was barely ten years old, an Oni demon named Kawanodoro (Skin of Mud) burst into Kaoru on a rampage, sniffing out a bloody, destructive path straight to the Elder’s hut, where Garou lay sleeping. The Elder defended Garou as the village warriors drove the Oni away, but Garou’s adoptive mother, Kusabana, was killed in the attack. Fearing that the dark taint Garou bore would draw more Oni into Kaoru, the villagers demanded that Garou be sent away. With a heavy heart, the Elder sent Garou to live in the Shidi temple of Gonza far in the North.
Seven years later, Garou was the finest ninja the Temple of Gonza had ever produced. However, during the ceremony commemorating his honor as the master ninja of the temple, Garou’s demon mark once again brought chaos and death to all those near him. A horde of demonic Oni flooded into the Temple unexpectedly. Garou prevailed, but few of his friends of the past seven years survived. The young daughter of the high priest, Kasai, was taken hostage by the Oni as they escaped into the Zaruba Forest in the South, bait for an obvious trap they had set for Garou. Nonetheless, Garou strode into the Oni lair, rescued Kasai, and destroyed all the fiends. However, Kasai had been the victim of a horrible demonic rite in which demon’s blood was used to mark her skin. Now, much as Garou, the youthful Kasai Ogatsu was cursed to be hunted by demons. Together, the two decided never to return to the Temple of Gonza, and further, to leave Shidi Ma all together.
Five years after that fateful day, Garou and Kasai were the leaders of a small band of roaming warriors, bounty hunters, and mercenaries. Unable to stay in any place for too long, the two surrounded themselves only with people they trusted, could depend upon, and who understood the risks such proximity carried. Together with the intelligent Blink-Dog, Caenus and the aged Idrahaali gladiator Provectus Graymane, Garou and Kasai crossed the world seeking just enough work to get them by, moving on before the demons could hone in on them and bring their havoc and death to whatever city, town, or village they happened to be in. However, the past year had been especially hectic. It seemed as if the demons were getting more organized in their pursuit of Garou, as if some powerful demon out there had an agenda for him beyond the dark mark that had haunted him since childhood. Garou, Kasai, Provectus, and Caenus were traveling West from the frontier town of Sandusk and had just crossed the Wyrmtear River when they happened upon a caravan beset by a pack of gnoll-kin. The smell of demons was upon these gnoll-kin, and Garou decided to intervene on behalf of the doomed caravan. It was a decision that would alter the course of Garou’s life and the lives of his friends forever.