Book nerd turned Cyran soldier looking to survive by his sword and wits with his elite squad of misfits.
Nerd Rage- Age 10 After being teased for being a bookworm by a group of local bullies, Arden impulsively punches one of the boys in the face. He will never forget the noise of that boy’s nose breaking beneath his knuckles. The sound of true resolved power. The other boys subsequently be the ever living shit out of him, but that one audible crack was worth it. Since he found an almost equal love for skirmishing, simply for its own sake, as much as he had for book learning. Never turning to the tactics of a bully, he simple became all to eager to oblige anyone looking for a fight.
Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out- Age 18 2 years after entering the Cyrian Academy of Arcane Studies, he found himself completely engaged in his studies, yet restless from an undefined boredom. He had made a reputation for himself with his peers of being reckless with his experimentations; never really applying common sense to spellcasting. He learned the hard way why you don’t mix Shadow and Radiant magics. His anxiety got the better of him one day whilst in the quad watching an anti-war demonstration. The city guards stood by with a hire brute squad to insure the peace was kept. The peace was interrupted when a show of prestidigitation creeped too close to a city guard who lashed out and struck the offending mage. Arden, almost thrilled, confronted the guardsman. The stand-off lasted moments before the guard took a swing at him. Smiling, Arden broke the guard’s arm for his trouble. What resulted was a riot, students of arcane energies versus the oppressive thugs of the ruling government. Once the dust settled, the Academy found Arden responsible for the resulting chaos and dismissed him. No longer a student, he was soon conscripted into the Cyran Army.
The Smell of Hellfire in the Morning- Age 19 One of his compatriots once said “War is hell”. Fucker was a pussy; maybe a farmer, most likely a merchant’s brat. There was no going home for the likes of him. If someone like that managed to survive, they’d never be right in the head again. For Arden, on the other hand, war was home. Soldiering during the day, studying at night, he let himself become fully immersed in the experience. He acted as his squadron’s spellcaster, however unorthodoxly: flinging bolts of electricity and balls of fire from the front lines instead from the safety of distance. He reveled in every minute of it. They even promoted him to the rank of Sergeant if for no other reason than for his uncanny ability for survival after his superiors hadn’t.
New Boss, Same as the Old Boss- Age 22 After a failed campaign resulting in heavy losses, Arden’s company was disbanded. The high command demoted him, pointed referring to Arden’s complete disregard for the battle beyond his own personal skirmishes. He soon found himself under command of one Honest Ja’wn, a conniving yet efficient tactician. Under him, Egnarac, a surly Dragonborn as his 2nd in command. It became clear the two had history together, dripping with bad blood, but they acted as professional soldiers. Arden expected to fall back into his spellcaster slot, only to find the spaced filled by the construct, ARC-248. The idea of being replaced with a robot stung at first, but he soon found it liberating. No longer in a support or leadership role, he was free to move about the battlefield to meet any and every challenge that faced him.
A Girl Named Boy – Age 25 His new squadron acted more independently from the rest of the company, serving as recon and scouts. Working closely with the few compatriots side by side, Arden came to rely on them as much as they on him. While Honest still may have difficulty keeping Arden leashed, they worked efficiently enough to earn themselves a reputation on both sides of the battlelines. They only had one more inclusion to the squad. During a routine scout mission, a young girl, Kiri, was found under attack. After dispatching the assailants, the girl became a ward of the squad, only to discover she had her own talents to bring to the battlefield.
Can’t Go Home, and Can’t Stay Here – Age 26 Cyre blew up. The war ended. No one left to fight, no home to go back to. The squad, with no where to go, maintains their surrogate family. Distrusted by most, feared by others, surviving becomes a monotone groan of hunger replacing the roar of battle. Jobs are taken, sometimes at the expense of some higher morality. Arden’s first shakedown task left him furious and obstinate, which was soon quelled by the croaking in his stomach. The chain of command is essentially broken. Honest and Egnarac bicker more and more often to which Arden tries his best to mediate. Unity becomes the only necessity, survival the only rule. The only constant, keep moving…
End of Act I As before however, the squad has managed to build a reputation throughout the 5 kingdoms. The jobs soon come to them. Food becomes less scarce, although gold is still fickle and mainly absent. Arden’s mates continue to find him intolerably battle-hungry, although differently from before. Instead of the excitement and look of life in his eyes when clashing swords, now many agree it has been replaced with a subtle hint of suicidal nihilism masked with a thick facade of pride. It may be something Arden himself has not realized, but the loss of Cyre and home may have affected him more deeply than first thought.