Council Intelligence on Okami Morohei, Lord Stillwaters
Stillwaters is a serene province in an already serene realm. It runs north along the High Mountains and then widens eastward at the Sengoku Crest, the last highlands before the Wild Valley, making it the second northernmost province of the Kakani Prefecture. This puts its northernmost lands at only barely subtropical, bordering on tropical.
For the last several thousand years, local time, the province has been ruled by the Okami (wolf spirit) family. Both the lords and their people are considered highly spiritual in a realm already populated by spirits (from their perspective). The lords live a rather austere life compared to other nobility, though the term ‘spartan’ is the best translation on multiple levels.
Because of this, the peasants have lower taxes and a slightly higher standard of living than would be indicated by their highly rural lifestyle. Stillwaters has few exports, given the Okami ban on most mining, though the region has a much of a tourist industry as is possible in the highly structured realm of Yoshugoku. The vast number of limpid pools, lakes and rivers are reputed to have healing properties, strengthening the denizens. The pilgrims are often more well-endowed merchant families or other nobles, who typically make large donations at each of the temples they visit.
The other thing Stillwaters is known for is the quality of its warriors. There are two types, the yamabushi and the sohei. The yamabushi are what we would consider to be special forces guerillas, while the sohei are spiritual warrior-monks, with powers we would normally equate with psychics dedicated to warfare. There are no ordinary soldiers in the province, compared to other provinces, and Stillwaters has never, in their history of many thousands years, called for a peasant levy to fill their warrior ranks. The lords of Stillwaters have traditionally avoided hiring out their soldiers as mercenaries, but often lend a score of sohei or a hundred yamabushi to other provinces involved in what Stillwaters believes to be a just war. While not as feared as the Emperor’s Elite Dragon Guard, many battles have reportedly been ended without bloodshed simply by the presence.
The current Daimyo of Stillwaters is Okami Morohei, originally trained as a sohei and preparing to take traditional monk vows before the unexpected death of his brother in duel against a lion spirit, Tora Hijiko, over a matter of honor in the Celestial Court. The motto of their family is “Stone keeps its secrets, water breaks them”. Lord Stillwaters’ heir is his eldest daughter, considered to be brash and impetuous. In contrast, Okami Morohei appears almost lazy, exerting only the barest minimum effort to achieve his goals. While we would consider this efficient, Yosh culture places a value on apparent effort almost as highly as results, so Stillwaters’ enemies typically hold him in little respect, and his allies (often weaker regions) consistently appreciate him less than is his value. To Yosh culture, if a task can be accomplished with a minimum of fuss, it’s worth doing as loudly as possible to make sure everyone knows how hard you’re trying. Lord Stillwaters breaks tradition with his attitudes.
Lord Stillwaters volunteered as the warleader of the Yosh expedition, an unexpected move for a lord, let alone a Daimyo, who rarely leaves his own lands. The rarity of the event is compounded by his assuming a subservient position to Neko Mitsurugi, Lord of Waiving Grain, the cat spirit leading the expedition.
Lord Stillwaters has visited the Clave on three previous diplomatic visits in the last sixty years, always an assistant dignitary to the diplomat in charge. Our research indicates they are also the only three times Lord Stillwaters has left his lands, indicating he was likely ordered to go. His demeanor on Earth could only charitably called ‘pleasantly amused’. On his last visit, a minor staffer trying to engage the distant lord in small talk asked his opinion on the defensive quality of the Wall, and his response was not taken well by the Council at the time (15 years ago). “It is the nature of fragile things to strive hardest against adversity, for they have the most to lose where another would simply endure.”
Lord Stillwaters is considered an expert tactician, a highly accomplished swordsman, and nearly invincible in the bare-handed style taught by the warrior-monks of his province. In addition to his purely martial skills, he is known to have mastered several kiho, the equivalent of psychic powers in our realm. Either we’re the victims of traditional Yosh exaggeration of the leader’s abilities, or it’s a really, really bad thing that he was captured alive. This suggests either overwhelming force, something capable of beating thirty Yosh in a stand-up fight, or someone capable of tricking them in some other fashion.