A former Mirimoto duelist, Chow responded very poorly to a dueling defeat and was cast out of the Dragon clan. From there he traveled the empire as ronin, ending up in Ryoko Owari.
Somehow along the way he became aware that he was tainted. The fact that he had Snake Clan blood in him suddenly became relevant and he became obsessed with the idea of traveling to Shiro Chuda to commit suicide.
When he does commit suicide, his blood starts a cascade of events that he could not have predicted.