About Xantria Aldori
Xantria Aldori (formerly Belacos)
Angel-Blooded Aasimar Fighter (Aldori Swordlord) 3 NG
HP 29 / 29 Speed 30 ft Init 3
AC 17 Fort 4 Ref 4 Will 1
CMB +5 BAB 3
Aldori dueling sword +8 (1d8+2, 19-20 x2)
Longbow +6 (1d8, x3)
Str 14 (2) Dex 16 (3) Con 13 (1) Wis 10 (0) Int 14 (2) Cha 12 (1)
Xantria Aldori (formerly Belacos)
Female Angel-Blooded Aasimar Fighter (Aldori Swordlord) 1
NG Medium native outsider (aasimar)
Init +3, Senses Perception +1
AC 16, touch 13, flat-footed 13 (+3 armour, +3 Dex)
hp 11 ((1d10)+1)
Fort +3, Ref +3, Will +0
Resistances acid resistance 5, cold resistance 5, electricity resistance 5
Sword Scion: You have lived all your life in and around the city of Restov, growing up on tales of Baron Sirian Aldori and the exploits of your home city’s heroic and legendary swordlords. Perhaps one of your family members was an Aldori swordlord, you have a contact among their members, or you have dreamed since childhood of joining. Regardless, you idolize the heroes, styles, and philosophies of the Aldori and have sought to mimic their vaunted art. Before you can petition to join their ranks, however, you feel that you must test your mettle. Joining an expedition into the Stolen Lands seems like a perfect way to improve your skills and begin a legend comparable to that of Baron Aldori. You begin play with a longsword or Aldori dueling sword and gain a +1 trait bonus on all attacks and combat maneuvers made with such weapons.
Fencer: You trained with blades for long hours as a youth, either taking lessons in the genteel art of fencing from tutors paid for by your parents or being taken under the wing of a disenfranchised fencer who may have turned to a life of crime. You gain a +1 trait bonus on attack of opportunity attack rolls made with daggers, swords, and similar bladed weapons.
Standing at about 5'8", Xantria is a sturdily-built young woman of 20 with a series of red tattoos running across her shoulders, face, arms and stomach. Her long white hair is often kept tied back to keep it out of the way while the wraps around her upper body conceal thin layers of chain. The exposed skin is more to lure an opponent's strikes towards them, or at least make them underestimate her - thinking she's foolish enough to buy into the whole 'distracted by cleavage' thing. Her eyes are perhaps her more striking feature, though - while the left is a dark grey, the right is a brilliant gold, a clear sign of her celestial heritage.
A very laid-back young woman, Xantria is a very easy-going person most of the time but becomes very business-like when necessary. However, when annoyed she tends to become quite snarky and sarcastic. She also tends to over-estimate her own abilities sometimes and hates being ordered around by people she feels don't have the right to. This last one was the main cause for her leaving Mendev.
Born in Mendev's capital city of Nerosyan, Xantria's celestial heritage instantly made people believe she would join the clergy or one of the numerous paladin orders that kept a presence in the city and would go on to help fight the demonic hordes of the Worldwound. Of course; batter this expectation over a child's head practically from the day she's born and don't be surprised when that becomes the last thing they want to do. She received some sword-training from her father - one of the conventional soldiers who fought in the crusades but was discharged for injury. Hard to fight as effectively with only one arm. Xan went with it, though more for the simple practicality of it and to stay in shape than from any desire to join the crusades or become a paladin.
After an off-hand remark about how she was being taught more to fight with one arm than with both, her father got her a book about the Aldori Swordlords of Restov - supremely skilled swordsmen who's techniques primarily relied on using the Aldori duelling sword with just one hand. The book was meant just to show Xan that there were no inherent flaws in fighting with just one arm, provided one learnt other techniques to support it, but the young aasimar ended up taking something very different from it - a burning desire to become a Swordlord herself.
Every coin she got off her parents almost instantly went into purchasing books containing stories of the Swordlords and could soon recite the legend of Sirian Aldori by heart. Apparently, her parents never noticed the growing obsession until, on her 18th birthday, she announced that she would travel to Brevoy and train to become a Swordlord. It seems that her parents had taken her joining a paladin order as a given and were naturally shocked by the change. While they reluctantly agreed to let her go, Xan is sure that they still harbour some belief that she would join an order when she returned and put the Aldori training to use alongside whatever training the paladin orders gave.
For the last two years, she has trained under a rather blunt (and somewhat alcoholic) Swordlord who explained that the aasimar would never really be accepted as one until she did something to prove herself worthy of the title. Or as he put it: "You're gonna have to beat the crap outta some real badasses if you ever wanna be called a Swordlord instead of a stupid foreign kid in way over her head!" It wasn't the most eloquent way of putting it, but Xan got the point. So when the call came for people willing to help expand into the Stolen Lands, Xan saw it as the perfect way to gain the renown she needed to be seen as a true Swordlord.
The Practice Duel
"You took your time," I said as Ureste arrived. I'd chosen a quiet corner of a local park for this and he was already ten minutes late.
"I'm sorry, really, you'd be surprised at how many of the street merchants out today decided to indulge in a little 'hard sell'," he explained calmly, as though this was just a couple of friends hanging out, "you can't just walk away after all."
"Save it Ureste, you know why I asked you to come here."
"I apologise for all that - some of my subordinates have been getting a little rowdy-"
"They used my friend as a hostage and you call that 'a little rowdy'?! Even before that, they've been beating the crap out of people who don't deserve it. You need to stop all this, it's pointless."
"Pointless?" he said, something about his demeanour shifted, became colder. "And what about it is pointless? Every fight makes us stronger and we're getting criminals off the streets."
"And into medical care they shouldn't need. I'm not going to talk this out with you, though, because I know you won't listen." I walked back over to where I'd left my cloak and sword, picking up a pair of objects and tossing one to Ureste. A curved length of wood, roughly the same shape, size and balance of an Aldori duelling sword.
"Ureste Kantrel, on your honour as a disciple of the Aldori Swordlords of Restov, I challenge you to a practice duel and name the disbandment of your gang as my prize."
Ureste paused for a moment, looking me over. I swear to Cayden; if he decides I'm his prize in any way, I'm just gonna grab my real sword and kill him. Finally, he spoke as he picked up the practice blade I'd thrown him. "Your right gauntlet."
I hesitated for a moment. We'd never sparred before, but from what I heard Ureste was at least my equal. Odds were that he was better than me. But I was the one who'd issued the challenge and I couldn't just back out now. Not when the prizes (to an outside party at least) seemed to be in my favour.
"Fine, I accept your named prize." I said, readying my blade. My acceptance also doubled as the signal for the fight to begin. One of the first lessons I'd learnt from Master Larek was that whoever landed the first blow was typically the victor. I rushed forward, swinging my blade in a horizontal swing from my right. It clattered against Ureste's own as he parried my strike up so it would harmlessly pass over his head. A common parry when one couldn't get one's body out of reach of an attack and I was ready, letting him guide my blade up as I turned the strike into a downward blow towards his head. Realising what I was doing, he leapt back, thought I felt my blade graze him.
As he readied his stance again, I saw Ureste touch his face where a faint red scratch ran from just above his eyebrow and down to his cheek. If I'd been using a real blade, that injury would take that eye out of the fight altogether whether the actual organ was damaged or not - all the blood from the top part of the cut would flow down, forcing it shut. Sadly, this wasn't a real fight and all I'd done was scratch him. I did see a faint smile on his face, though - perhaps he'd underestimated me and was glad to be proven wrong.
Whatever it was, I pressed the attack, bringing a two-handed swing from my left this time which he simply blocked, using his off-hand against the back of his sword's 'blade' to help absorb some of the force. Except that the blow never landed as I relaxed my wrist just before impact, shifting my blade past his in a feint that turned into a stab towards his chest. He was quick, though, bringing his sword across his body to parry the stab away. He'd turned too quickly, though, and left his back exposed. I used some of the momentum from his parry to quickly spin myself around and swing from my left once more. This time, his block did work.
He quickly pushed my blade away and retaliated with his own faster than I could follow. I felt the heavy wood hit my left shoulder as it exploded in pain. It was the first time my shoulder had been dislocated like that and all I could experience was pain.
"Don't worry; a good physician should have that arm back in its socket and good as new, provided you don't strain it too much here." I heard Ureste say. I felt some of my pain subside and be replaced with anger at what I knew his next suggestion was going to be. "I'd suggest yielding now, otherwise you might never become a Swordlord."
I calmed myself as I knelt and set my blade on the ground. "I'm not going to surrender," I said as I used my good arm to grab my opposite wrist and bring the hand to my belt. I couldn't move the arm, but I still had control of the hand, which gripped my belt so that it would stay out of the way and wouldn't fly about while I continued fighting. I'd heard stories of one Swordlord who continued by gripping the sleeve of his useless arm in his teeth. I'd have done the same if my top even had sleeves. Picking up my blade and standing again, I faced Ureste. "So bring it - you want to beat me, you're gonna have to do more than a little smack on the shoulder."
I punctuated the remark with a series of rapid strikes aimed at numerous parts of his body - a stab to the chest, a swing at his head, a slash at a knee, an overhand swing at his shoulder then going for his stomach on the backswing. None of them even grazed his clothing. Whatever trouble he'd had blocking and parrying my attacks before was now gone - he somehow knew exactly how I was going to strike and used the bare minimum of movement to protect himself. When he parried hard enough to push my blade well out of position, he struck my right thigh from the side and once more my world consisted of nothing but pain. He'd broken my leg.
As my vision cleared, I found myself lying on my back as Ureste knelt down beside me. "I have to admit, you surprised me," he said, "but I still won so I'll take my prize." I felt him lift my right arm and start to unbuckle the gauntlet. I tried to pull my arm away from him, but it was like my muscles had forgotten how strong they really were. I clenched my hand into a fist to stop him taking it off, which worked for a time. Until he stood and put his foot down on the break in my leg. By the time the gauntlet was off, I was unconscious.
I came to in my room at Master Larek's place. Panicking for a moment, I checked my arm and leg, finding both perfectly fine.
"Hope you're happy, kid," a gruff voice said from the doorway, "had to call in a favour from a healer. Was hopin' to save that for somethin' important." Master Larek was a giant of a man - something all the more surprising when you realised he was a half-elf - and was leaning in the doorway to my room, a bottle of ale in-hand.
"Let me guess," I said, "you followed me?" Larek choked a bit on a mouthful of ale as I spoke.
Pushing the mental image of where Ureste had put his hands aside, I read the note.
I know it sounds strange, like it's something every fighter has, but comparing that basic awareness to the Seikuken is like comparing a newly-hatched dragon to an ancient wyrm. I don't know if this is enough for you to learn the Seikuken yourself, but if you ever do manage to master it, I'll be happy to give you a rematch and a chance to win back your gauntlet.
The diagram he provided was basically a person demonstrating the reach of their weapon, with a circle drawn around them to highlight it. I understood the principle but how this 'Seikuken' differed from the basics I had no idea. And yet, whatever difference there was was enough to leave me broken on the ground in just two blows and barely dealing a scratch in return. Whatever gap was between me and Ureste, it wasn't going to be closed with just normal training - I needed real combat experience.
Xantria was annoyed. It turns out that Larek had lied to her about how much gear she would need for her excursion to the south. She'd gotten enough to last her to a trading post just beyond the border, but would need to restock there.
She was not far outside Restov and muttering to herself about Larek's frequent forgetfulness and near-total uselessness when working out what supplies she needed when she noticed a group of people ahead of her. All were of various races but were roughly her age (or the racial equivalent), armed, and glaring right at her. The human in the front was clearly the leader and Xan recognised him from that long white coat he always wore and the thick goggles on his face.
"The hell do you want, Draven?" Xan asked the goggled man, "Your boss settled things with me three days ago, or did the spectacled git not mention that?" Draven was one of Ureste's top lieutenants and a formidable fighter on his own, save that he did so through very underhanded tactics.
"Oh he told us," Draven said, idly tapping the large club he held against his shoulder, "but this is for my own benefit - your master isn't here to butt in this time."
"You also don't have a hostage, either." She replied, surveying the group. Ten of them, mostly thugs who didn't know how to properly fight but Xan wouldn't be surprised if Draven slipped a few skilled ones in there to prey on that initial assumption. What concerned her were the surprising number of genuine blades among the group - Draven himself had a short sword on his belt while several of the thugs carried daggers in-hand. "Get out of here, Draven - I won't be using a wooden training sword this time," she placed a hand around the hilt of her duelling sword as she dropped her backpack to the ground, allowing the wind to catch her cloak and hakama, "you and your goons attack me with lethal weapons then some of them will die."
A few of the thugs seemed to pale slightly at the remark but Draven just laughed. "Like you have the guts to kill."
Draven must have figured that his sudden silence would make him seem weak. "What are you waiting for?" he shouted at his men. "Get her!" The small mob charged towards her as she drew her blade though most held back, clearly still worried about her skill. The more enthusiastic among them reached her first, one swinging a crude mace down towards her head. It was a clumsy swing that had been telegraphed so obviously it might as well have been a fireworks display. Her single swing looked as though she'd missed the parry, until one registered that the hand holding the club was no longer attached to its owner.
The mob stopped. They stared at their friend as he collapsed and clutched at the bleeding stump of his wrist. She was disgusted by these thugs - acting so tough as though they were invincible despite not knowing the first thing about how to fight, it made it clear that they'd only ever fought people who couldn't fight back. Gutless bullies, the lot of them. As much as she hated her heritage, the righteous wrath of an angel could still course through her veins and it all but screamed at her to punish these thugs for preying on people who didn't deserve such violence.
"Leave. Now." she said forcefully, not dropping her stance and staring Draven square in his goggle-covered eyes, her own golden eye seeming to glow for a moment. Now he too paled. He'd realised that Xan was far more skilled with a real sword than she ever was with a training blade, if only because it allowed her to disable an opponent with a single strike rather than the several it usually took with a blunt piece of wood. If Draven pressed the attack, all of his men would be injured or killed and who knew what would happen to him.
"This isn't over; come on." He ordered his men, who were more than eager to comply if it meant not facing the aasimar's blade. Two approaching cautiously as Xantria sheathed her sword to help their friend up and get him away to medical aid. "Take him to Father Zanthus, he owes me a favour and can seal the wound," she told the two as they helped their friend away, one applying pressure to the stump to try and staunch the bleeding, "but come after me again and it won't just be a hand one of you loses. And make sure Ureste hears about this." She knew Ureste's gang had a clear pecking order and that the Ustalavic youth would be far from happy to hear about Draven's attempt at revenge.
Tattoos: The tattoos were originally a dual purpose. Firstly, to cover a birthmark on her left shoulder that resembled a religious icon, but nobody her parents talked to could identify it. The second reason was because her parents believed that Paladins and Clerics couldn't have tattoos. Xantria knew better and just wanted to annoy her parents. Said annoyance lasted about a fortnight before a family friend pointed out that the orders weren't that picky and that Xan already knew that.
However, she liked the look of them and was soon getting ideas on how to expand the design across most of her upper body. Naturally; the fact that the tattoo artist was a woman helped with the ones on her chest.
While passing through Numeria on her way to Restov, she splurged on getting a set of what the locals called "Cyberart" - high-tech tattoos that could glow and even be animated. She had them applied over portions of her existing tattoos but forwent the animated option (though they still end up moving slightly, but it's hard to really tell).
Ureste Kantrel: A young Ustalavic man Xantria met not long after arriving in Restov who is also training to be a Swordlord. Unbeknownst to her for nearly two years was that Ureste was running a vigilante gang - with the term 'vigilante' being used in a very loose sense; more as an excuse for the gang to beat the tar out of people. Ureste's natural charisma helped him establish a solid hierarchy and inspire loyalty in his men. He is also quite good at reading people and predicting how they will act given certain stimuli or situations.
While ethnically Taldan, his violet eyes and the widow's peak of his jet-black hair suggest strong Azlanti descent. Strong enough that Ureste considers himself to be Azlanti (though has too much respect for Aroden's memory to claim he is a pureblooded one). However, between misunderstandings and gaps in historical knowledge of Azlant, the long, deep-green sleeveless coat he wears looks more Thassilonian than anything else.
Master Larek Aldori: Perhaps the least politically active of the Swordlords, many see the towering half-elf as an alcoholic layabout. Several of the older Swordlords, however, remember that he is one of the most skilled Swordlords in all of Brevoy but has little cause to use that skill.
His only concerns regarding the growing hostilities between Issia and Rostland are how a civil war would affect his friends and those he cares about. He would never admit such, however. Another thing he would never admit is his affection for Xantria. As much as he pushes the young aasimar, he sees her like a little sister and cares about her a great deal. Both of these are quite easy to deduce, however, as the man seems to be completely incapable of telling a convincing lie.