Short and slight compared to the native Grayhawkians, Hokaru has a calm, almost expressionless face with slanted eyes of the darkest brown set in a tanned brown face. His hair, so brown as to be almost black, is pulled back into the traditional queue of a Darklander.
His kimono and sash are a striking black and red, the colours of evil and blood, but these reflect his calling, not his nature.
He carries a light crossbow, and prefers to engage in combat with missiles if possible; but his father's sword, Ishikawa, the Grey Changer, rides his hip, and he knows how to use it.
Hokaru's father Nihanato Temochi, was well-born but poor, a wearer of the Daisho but unable to feed his family when they arrive in Kulland. He could have sold his swords - his single remaining possession of worth - but the dishonour was more than he could face. Though unexceptional, they were Named-Blades, Ishikawa and Hikuma, Grey Changer and Black Breaker. Instead, Nihanato turned to the plundering of lost and abandoned Kullish tombs to support his family.
Several years of success and solvency followed, When his youngest son - unlike his warrior father a student of the arcane arts - was old enough, Nihanato recruited him into the family business. Young Hokaru disliked graverobbing, but understood his father's reasons.
All went wrong one sultry Jultar night in a catacomb under Aldegarde. The pair were attacked by the bodies of dead men, violated and animated as puppets of the will of an evil necromancer. Hokanu's embryonic sorcery saved him that day, for the spell he cast prevented the undead from touching him, but there was nothing he could do to help his father except watch as he was slain, and then - most horrible of all - raised again as an undead monster. Unable to touch the warded Hokaru, the undead finally retreated, leaving him free to escape. His father's body had taken Hikuma Black Breaker, but in its' mindlessness abandoned Ishikawa Grey Changer where it fell. Hokaru grabbed it and fled.
Unable to face his family in the knowledge that he had lived, watched his father die, and done nothing, he carried on fleeing, finally taking ship for the ends of the earth.
Aboard that ship was also the mesmerist Zashir the Mind. Zashir's techniques allowed Hokaru to find an inner peace which enabled him to face and come to terms with his loss. His guilt and mourning distilled and crystallized into a burning drive to root out and exterminate the undead wherever they were found.
Even less the warrior than Hokaru, Zashir required occasional protection when his hypnotic arts failed him, and the pair came to rely on each other.
Both now intended to return to Grayhawk, but fate took a hand and they were wrecked on the east coast of Nyrn. Making their way inland in search of civilization, they reached Malakor, where they stayed for a while - but the growing darkness of Malakar's influence was not to either's taste and they resolved to leave.
This meant travelling to a port. However, one day out from Malakor, they met three fellow Grayhawkian travellers 'morphed to eagles, and fell in with them.
At first, while travelling with them, Hokaru remained true to his objective of exterminating the undead. However, encounters first with Malakar, and then even more so with Illeum Runesabre (through the katana Devilsbane and the Necras ring, both given to him by Morikand Bitchpiss) warped and altered his outlook, leading him to embrace the powers of a necromancer more fully. He put these powers to good use during the continuing southward journey, and was the first to strike a blow in the battle that banished the Sage avatar of Malakar in Murtagh's Tower.
Finally, however, Lord Dread, King of the Dalt'enn, hit him with a Lightning Bolt on the Lost Isle and he was killed.