After spending the previous several years at the Ironblood Adventurer’s Academy (known as “The Academy” for short regionally), the exceptional group had emerged with some of the highest marks in the academy’s 400 year history. The path to get to those marks was not always an easy one, however. It had always seemed that trouble followed this group around, and indeed they found each other both out of necessity as well as a shared place as strange outsiders in the human and dwarf dominated Academy.
Azrec Derune‘s infernal heritage constantly drew suspicious sidelong glances and even openly hateful stares from classmates, an effect that was compounded by his brash confidence and ambition. A senior instructor once told him that the twin gift of swagger and magical ability would both make him a powerful summoner as well as be his undoing. His exceptional innate talents with magic made him the envy of his arcane classmates, who constantly muttered slurs and curses under their breath just within the realm of earshot. In the last few years at The Academy, as the school’s students grew in power and means, the schemes began to evolve from pranks and simple name-calling to traps and even hiring assailants from the School of the Sword. On several occasions when Azrec was cornered by a group of hired swords, for reasons unknown, the mysterious Pesmerga always seemed to be nearby. Sometimes the darkness-tinged aura and gaze of the warrior alone were enough to drive back a group of top swordsmen.
Across his tenure at the academy, Pesmerga remained a conundrum to all; demonstrating loyalty to his circle of friends and an intolerance for evil, while fighting with a mysterious one handed sword, no shield style seemingly steeped in dark magic. When allowed to use divination magic to look into Pesmerga’s soul, Aesther had once said that his heart would forever be on the edge of rage, always seeking the next great evil to extinguish. To be honest, not much was known about Pesmerga’s powers by his peers or his instructors. While he attended training at both the School of the Sword and School of Spells, he mostly kept to himself, his powers developing out of a dark ether present inside himself. One thing is certain, however; while many feared the darkness surrounding the Black Swordsman, he remained vigilantly watchful, protective, and loyal to his companions, whom many observed help keep the evils within him at bay and perhaps provide some sort of atonement for his dark past.
Perhaps no one contributed to this more than the devout Aesther. Implausibly the fraternal twin of the Nine Hells-tinged Azrec, it has been said that the pair are two sides of the same coin. While Azrec’s devil-may-care attitude and flippant display of his immense talents drew the envy and ire of other students, Aesther’s persona was one of gentle determination. Like the thick grey clouds of a ‘once in a millenia’ storm, ominously gathering on the edge of the horizon, Aesther’s entire being seemed to be teeming with barely-contained divine energy. Over his years of study at the School of the Divine, his latent talent drew many jealous rivals. Seeing these petty jealousies and self-centered motivations of even the most devout of men, Aesther swore to himself to never stray from his own path. As proof of his dedication he pledged to his god to never attack a helpless or wounded creature, and to avoid wrathful conflict.
… was a particularly talented and charismatic paladin in the School of the Divine named Toran Ironarm.
[continue with Toran, then transition to Jaffey]…
While their tenure was always filled with conflict and challenges (most of the friends had spent at least one day in the campus’ jail), they had a reputation for sticking together and triumphing over whatever obstacle was in their path, no matter how long the odds.