Tall and lean, Tae-Val's pale skin and white-blonde hair make her Suloise heritage obvious at a glance. Her blue eyes are cold and hard, and she dresses in clothes of gray and black. A red silk ribbon holding her holy symbol - an onyx carving of a flame-limned skull - is the only splash of color she allows herself.
Calder the Cursed:
“You see that fellow in the corner, the dark-haired one with the black shield but no sword-belt? That’s Calder the Cursed, used to be called just Calder Halvarsun. What do you mean you’ve never heard of him? Well, buy me a mug and I’ll tell you the tale.”
“Calder there was once the sworn sword of Sven Scale-Splitter, a raider lord who pillaged the Lost Coast from Riddleport to Magnimar. Calder was one of his favorites, not just a huscarl but one of the ulfwerener, the warriors who drink the blood-draught and take on the masks of beasts in battle.”
“Of course, old Sven might not have loved him so well if he knew the kinds of games Calder was playing with Sven’s daughter when the nights grew cold. Ingrid, she was called, and well named, blessed with beauty and the favor of the goddess Desna.”
“Well, Sven and his following were wintering in a holdfast near Jol. Calder was supposed to be watching at the wall, but he’d snuck off to find a warm hayloft with Ingrid when raiders - assassin’s sent by Opir Eightfingers, most say - came clambering over the palisade. They had old Sven stitched to his bedroom wall with his lungs pulled out his back before anyone raised the alarm.”
“Ingrid was inconsolable, blaming herself and Calder for her father’s death. She called down a curse, vowing never to look upon Calder again. With her eyes gone milky-white and blind, she hexed Calder, too, swearing any sword or axe he held would turn against him.”
“Calder didn’t believe it, at first. When Ingrid’s brother tried to claim a blood price against him, he grabbed up his sword and went on the attack. But he didn’t take two steps before he tripped on an old bone and sliced his own leg open to the bone.”
“Ingrid didn’t let them kill him, though, angry as she was. She exiled him, instead, sending him out with his armor and shield, old Sven’s sigil painted over in black. They say he’s been wandering since, trying to make amends. Killed a troll a fortnight ago with nothing but the sharp edge of his shield and some of that flaming oil the southerners make.”[/spoiler
Calder Halvarsun, Calder the Cursed
Curn Blackhand, Kellid slayer:
Curn was 12 years old when the demons came, tearing through the refugee camp like a summer storm through wheat. Curn's father was among the first to die, caught between the broken walls of the old town and the canvas tents of the new. His mother died next, trying to keep the screaming horrors away from her daughters and son. Curn picked up her sword when it fell, but had no chance to use it before the demon plunged its bloody claws into his chest. Like icy spikes, the nails grasped his beating heart. Then the demon disappeared in a blinding flash of light that washed over the wounded boy like a soft caress.
The paladins that saved him left Curn and his sisters at an orphanage in Kenabres, but he didn't stay long, sneaking over the walls to head into the countryside, searching for any that might remain from his clan - or sign of their demonic killers. Every few weeks brought him back to the city, often in the custody of crusaders unwilling to leave the wild boy alone in the demon-infested lands.
Years passed and the boy grew into a hardened scout, prized by the other crusaders for his ability to track the demonic hordes that roam the ruined kingdom. Wielding cast-off weapons, he learned to slay the fiends and their mortal allies by watching the more seasoned warriors, cobbling together a fighting style fusing Ulfen shieldwork, Taldan swordwork and close-range thrusts.
Curn is tall and heavily-muscled, his hands and arms covered in intricate tattoos that curl around his back and chest. Armed with weapons and armor scavenged from failed crusaders, he has made a habit of collecting small fetishes and holy symbols from those he meets and using them to adorn his equipment. Superstitious by nature, he is convinced that the spirits summoned by the dead Sarkorian god-callers have been imprisoned in the Worldwound. Seeing little difference between those spirits and the gods of the southern lands, he promises the crusaders he meets that he'll try to find their gods, as well.
Slim and fine-boned, Cathran's elven heritage is evident in her graceful movements even when her dark locks cover the slight points of her ears. A fine scar runs the length of one cheek but does little to mar her delicate features.[/spoiler
Dodging Panache (Ex) At 1st level, when an opponent attempts a melee attack against the swashbuckler, the swashbuckler can as an immediate action spend 1 panache point to move 5 feet; doing so grants the swashbuckler a dodge bonus to AC equal to her Charisma modifier (minimum 0) against the triggering attack. This movement doesn't negate the attack, which is still resolved as if the swashbuckler had not moved from the original square. This movement is not a 5-foot step; it provokes attacks of opportunity from creatures other than the one who triggered this deed. The swashbuckler can only perform this deed while wearing light or no armor, and while carrying no heavier than a light load.
Opportune Parry and Riposte (Ex) At 1st level, when an opponent makes a melee attack against the swashbuckler, she can spend 1 panache point and expend a use of an attack of opportunity to attempt to parry that attack. The swashbuckler makes an attack roll as if she were making an attack of opportunity; for each size category the attacking creature is larger than the swashbuckler, the swashbuckler takes a –2 penalty on this roll. If her result is greater than the attacking creature's result, the creature's attack automatically misses. The swashbuckler must declare the use of this ability after the creature's attack is announced, but before its attack roll is made. Upon performing a successful parry and if she has at least 1 panache point, the swashbuckler can as an immediate action make an attack against the creature whose attack she parried, provided that creature is within her reach.[/spoiler