Name: Dokukaeru Clan
Philosophy: The Dokukaeru can be most quickly described as frog monks. They are very minimalistic, brought up to need only what is essential for survival in the deep rainforests of the Moonlit Grove, which means knowledge of the local flora and fauna is viewed as invaluable while electricity and indoor plumbing are unnecessary and unable to be found in their small village.
Whatever a living being needs, nature provides. Nature provides food, water, shelter and many other resources to craft such things as clothing and medicinal recipes. Nature has also gifted the Dokukaeru Clan with the knowledge to make use of what nature provides, and out of respect they only take what is needed and nothing more.
This leads into the core aspect of the Dokukearu’s belief system, which is achieving and maintaining balance in all things. If you uproot an herb for use, replant one in its stead. If something is overabundant in unhealthy excess, curb it as required. However, they also know that nature is self-sustaining, so they must also abstain when needed. For example, not overhunting a certain species and allowing nature to replenish them or allowing nature to correct itself after fires or heavy storms.
This strive for balance is also applied to the individual. Children in the Dokukaeru clan are taught from a young age how to meditate and are taught morals through parables as well as encouraging self-reflection. Whereas some parents may shout and deliver punishments, parents in the Dokukaeru Clan take the opportunity to make it clear what wrong was done and how their children can better themselves, thus helping them maintain balance.
Being so isolated and extremely peaceful, members of the Dokukaeru Clan tend to stray from conflict. They do not instigate violence and their diet consists mostly of plant life, bugs, fish and the occasional small mammal, which leads to little violence via hunting. This does not mean that they cannot defend themselves when attacked however, as they do train themselves in various arts of redirection and self-defense, however they prefer to leave without any lasting damage being done to either party rather than be declared a victor. They will only ever use their dangerous secretions when in mortal danger.
Despite having all they need to be plentiful, the Dokukearu Clan isn’t as big and prosperous as it could be. This is also due to their ideology, in which they do not birth children at certain times that they deem themselves being near overabundance, with children often being birthed as elders are nearing their final years.
In spite of all of this, the Dokukaeru are not judgemental of those who live more complex lives. Though they get few visitors, those they do get are welcomed and offered food and drink, and the Dokukaeru are always happy to offer advice to those struggling. This has lead to those seeking personal or spiritual guidance to frequenting the village more often in recent years and spreading the knowledge of the Dokukaeru Clan to a small few within Gekkousato: word has start to spread that if you are having issues and feel like you need someone to talk to, that the frog monks will sort you out free of charge. Many would make a business out of this opportunity, but the Dokukaeru have no need for money nor most possessions and are eager to help others achieve balance, so all you need is your presence and time.
Although the majority of Dokukaeru members cast significant doubt about the ye old tale on how their clan began due to a lack of re-discovery of the Valley of Frogs, it is an age-old tradition for each member to have a secondary name, what most people would refer to as a nickname. This nickname is created by combining the prefix ‘Kero’ with another word or partial that references an important aspect of that clan member, be it a personality trait or physical trait. Each member will often have more than one of these ‘nicknames’ and these can change with time as traits change or more important ones appear. Members within the Dokukaeru will often refer to one another by this name instead of their birth name, giving it a feel of tribal importance and familial bonding, although it’s common for immediate family members to refer to one another by birth name.
Most members of the Dokukaeru never stray far from the village in which they all live atop the small lake southwest of Lake Biwan. However, on rare occasions, members in their adolescence find that maintaining their balance has them seeking out something beyond the limits of their small village. There is no objection to their departure and they are always welcomed to return should their striving for balance lead them to return. Currently, no Dokukaeru has achieved much more than sharing knowledge and guidance with others during their travels, but this may yet change…
Location: Moonlit Grove
History: Little is known about the founding and legacy of the Dokukaeru, but they do have a tale that they share with children by firelight every so often.
There was once a man, untalented and unremarkable. He lived an average life as a farmer, but in the wake of the wars of the past he lost his farm, his home, and his family. He was left alone with nothing but the clothes on his back and a small amount of currency in his pockets. Lost, broken and abandoned, he wandered far in search of a way to rebuild what was lost.
In his travels, the man was met with many opportunities. Opportunities of money, of fame, of love...ways to hide the pain, mask the pain, dull the pain...but it did little to heal what was broken within him. Eventually, the man simply wandered aimlessly, as he knew nothing else. The years of pain and all his failed ventures to mend himself had taken its toll, and he believed that there was nothing left to be done but to wander until he inevitably ceased to be.
It was during this period of wandering that the man eventually collapsed in a deserted, barren wasteland, having accepted that life was no longer worth living and that he would die in the middle of nowhere all alone. He sighed with regret and closed his eyes in acceptance, ready for the darkness to take him...and it did.
However, it would seem the darkness would only take him temporarily as opposed to permanently, and that there was more to be done with him, as he awoke very much alive and somewhat recovered. Looking around to gather in his surroundings, there was no more barren wasteland: it had instead been replaced with an area lush with green grass and tender moss, boasting lakes both great and small with crystal clear water, and a breeze that was both just gentle enough and just strong enough to provide relief without being a hindrance. The sun was bright but not overbearing, it’s light made the lakes sparkle and the great trees all around emmenated a heavenly aura.
Shocked and stunned, the man began to rise, and he immediately noticed that his strength that had been fading what felt like moments before had begun to be restored to him. It was at this moment of pushing himself up just enough to rest while sitting that he encountered a very mysterious individual.
By all accounts, they were a frog, yellow with black spots. However, this frog stood and walked upright on its hind legs and wore minimal clothing, though the most shocking was when it spoke to him in human language.
The man soon learned that he was speaking with one of the residents of a wonderful place known as Meisō Glen, a place filled with these sort of residents, a place that provides all of one’s needs and is free of conflict. Intrigued and somewhat leery, when the walking and talking frog known as Kerokiro insisted that he needed to speak with the village elder.
Kerochie was the elder’s name, and as it turned out the man had been brought here on the elder’s request. Beyond a veil in the forest miles away from where he had given up all hope lay the Meisō Glen, and the elder had sensed the man’s great desire to restore what was lost. Kerochie was very knowledgeable about the trials and tribulations of mankind beyond the veil, however it was not in the nature of The Frogs of Meisō Glen to leave their veil and assist in violence. However, Kerochie also knew that something must be done, and thus he offered to teach the man their ways of self-reflection, meditation and the art of forever hungering for balance in all things in life.
Now the man did find this to be quite odd at first, but nothing else he had tried to use to fill the void within him had worked, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. He accepted.
It was a difficult journey: learning to sustain himself from only what nature provided him instead of what man could conjure, clearing one’s mind of all thought to achieve stillness instead of constantly being busy, learning more about chakra on a fundamental level and learning to reflect within to resolve issues when it would seem to make more sense to lash out and blame others were all difficult in their own right...but the most difficult was learning to truly accept his loss and the trauma instead of coating it in self-pity and that letting go of this loss was truly the answer as opposed to hanging onto it and trying to smother it with various means of dulling the pain.
It took a number of months before the man was truly able to adopt and practice this way of life, but the moment he truly accepted his pain and truly let go of it, the man had never felt such a weight being lifted off his soul before in his life. This, in turn, made the man desperate to learn more and adopt whatever knowledge the frogs could offer him, and the frogs gladly accepted.
The man stayed for many months more. He learned more traditions, deeper meditation, more about the culture of the frogs, the art of self-defense, herbal remedies, and he was even beginning to learn their natural language. However, he wasn’t meant to stay: his time spent in the Meisō Glen had a lasting effect on his body, slowly conforming him into one of the frogs. Kerochie, in all his vast knowledge and wisdom, had never encountered such an event before due to the lack of human visitors. However, he could deduce that the transformation would not stop as long as he remained, and there was no guarantee that his intelligence would survive the transformation.
It was with great sorrow that the man left what would be known from then on by humans as the Valley of Frogs, but his desire for balance and well as his newfound desire to share what he had learned with his own kind set him out on the path beyond the veil.
When he returned beyond the veil, the world had changed. He had unknowingly spent years with the frogs, but one thing that hadn’t changed was the human condition of pain and suffering, of a lack of true direction and understanding. His attempts to spread the teachings he had learned were mostly ignored: it wasn’t a time for peace but a time for war and bloodshed, and a man who had clearly been struck by disease or cursed by the gods who spoke nonsense was best to be ignored.
The man became somewhat discouraged, but never did he give up attempting to spread the teachings to his people. It is through this determination that he met with a lovely young woman who detested violence and wished to accept herself. After weeks of teachings, the two fell for one another, and together they moved deep within the lush forests and had a family with two daughters and one son, with whom they shared their teachings.
It is from this lineage that the Dokukaeru Clan descends from, or so the tale is told. No one has been able to once again discover the Valley of Frogs, and the name of the realm itself has faded into myth. But, it is an interesting tale to tell, is it not?