The second-born of a respected couple in his coastal village, Valen’s parents quickly learned he was different from anyone else in the village (including themselves). He was slightly thinner than the children born of the same time, and much more agile than anyone they had ever known. He was also able to learn things quickly and retain that knowledge. At the age of five his parents sent him for training known only to the upper nobility, and very few others. They simply knew he was destined for something greater. Once the training started, his mentors were surprised with the ease and vigor that Valen learned so they “assigned” him to an elder mentor. Valen became more skilled and much quicker at this style of martial artistry than this mentor had ever seen. He also developed a fascination with slashing weapons…. particularly the bastard sword, a fascination that some would say bordered obsession. To him, it simply felt as if the blade was as much of his physical body as his arm, or leg…or even an eye. After several decades of vigorous and advanced training (during which Valen developed a deep-rooted love and respect for nature), the elder mentor decided that he simply could not instruct Valen further. As a symbol of status (and gratitude), Valen was given a sword hand-picked by his mentor (something he had done only for one other during his 400 years as a trainer). After the annual festival, Valen was to be sent to the King as a highly recommended candidate for an elite task force.