Name :: Oswyn Vael
Aliases :: Vael, Commander Vael, (Leader of the Rose Company), Skid
Gender :: Male
Age :: 35
Appearance :: Vael has never been one to posses an imposing stature. He’s relatively short for a human male and has a very lean build. This isn’t to say he isn’t strong nor muscular, but his body is built more for speed and agility than feats of strength.
As for the face, well he likes to think it’s quite handsome. Vael has very angular features, sharp cheekbones,a strong chin, and full lips which he frames with very diligently maintained facial hair. Every morning he combs back a mess of dirty blonde hair into something a bit more presentable and trims his goatee. Green eyes sit perched under a strong brow and a thick scar that runs from the outside tip of his left eyebrow to his left ear.
Vael, being more than a bit vain, prides himself on his appearance. He takes good care to make sure that his clothing, armor, and gear are all well cleaned and polished. He’s never liked poor hygiene on him, and even while traveling will take every available opportunity to bathe.
Abilities :: Most of Vael’s strength comes from his quick, strategic thinking and his wealth of knowledge on military strategy. As a young child his father taught him the basics of using a bow, which he has continued to practice and has become a pretty decent shot, no master by any means but a decent shot. In hand to hand combat however he opts unarmed combat and very occasionally he may use a small dagger. His love and knowledge of military strategy, however, comes from his guide to Hyanda; a young man named Miclis.
Personality :: Some have described Vael as being apathetic, though that’s not entirely accurate. It’s not that he doesn’t care about what you are saying or what you are doing, he’s just easily bored. He may not have been around all that long but he’s been through a lot; frankly, he’s just tired. His interest is hard to peak at this point. When you do peak his interest however, he can be voraciously curious. Once he focuses in on something he can have trouble concentrating on anything else and will do his best to learn everything he can about that thing. It’s a part of what makes him such a brilliant military strategist. You want an expert on flanking techniques? Give him a day or so and you may not have your expert, but you’ll get something pretty damn close.
This perceived indifference may come from Vael’s naturally snarky and sarcastic sense of humor. Life is too short (at least for humans) to take things too seriously. His comrades have learned not to take his jokes too seriously any more, though strangers can often find his wit a bit…acerbic.
Backstory :: Vael was born into a small farming community, barely a blip on the map. His father was a blacksmith, and his mother’s family worked a small farm on the edge of town. Everyday Vael would travel between his father’s workshop and his grandparents home to do odds and ends chores. Being the fifth child of seven siblings, there wasn’t a lot of work for him to do. His father taught him the basics of shooting a bow and wielding a sword (though with the later it really was barely the basics). The day after Vael’s twelfth birthday he decided that he had had enough of the trifles of country life. He wanted to learn, he wanted to feel, he wanted to experience life to the fullest; he felt trapped. As many of us do at a young age, he ran away. Unlike many of us however, he never turned back.
Cold and alone he found his way to Hyanda. He was immediately intoxicated by the smells, the sounds, the sights of the city. There were creatures of more races than he had even heard of. He wandered around with wide eyes for what felt like days. It was unlike anything he had ever seen; there seemed to be people crammed into every available space wherever he looked! It was a lot for a lone twelve year old boy to take in. He quickly learned that the handful of jaden he had brought with him was not nearly as much has he had thought, and just as quickly learned the realities of sickness and starvation.
Vael is nothing if not determined though, and he was determined to make it in Hyanda. He found a semi-sheltered rooftop and made himself a little makeshift home. He begged for and stole what he needed. There were days where he got nothing at all, days when his hands weren’t fast enough at lifting bread from a merchant’s stall and was thoroughly walloped for it, and days when he’d come back to his home to find it drenched, blown away, robbed, or some combination of the three. This went on for about six months, until the fighter’s festival.
It was, as most things in Hyanda were, a completely new experience for him. He soaked the festivities in, never having been a part of something so big before. It was also his first introduction to gambling, which he soon realized could be potentially very lucrative (especially the illegal kind). He had an idea; he would fight in the tournaments. Of course, he wouldn’t win, not at first anyway. But he wouldn’t be betting on himself, at first.
For a few rounds he would watch the fighters. Then he would fight them, after betting on them, and lose the fight. Then he would take his small winnings, and as there were tournaments being held all over town, he would fight them again and bet on himself. He wasn’t a fighter, but he was fast, and he was smart. Most of these guys were slow and stupid. Almost all of them would make the same, predictable moves, and Vael would maneuver around them, most of the time. Like I said, he wasn’t a fighter. He would then collect his tidy sum and move on to the next victim.
This didn't go unnoticed however. A large hulking mass of meat known as Goderich, had not taken his defeat to an emaciated wisp of a boy like Vael well. He, and some of his cronies, cornered Vael and demanded he hand over his winnings.
“You're no warrior,” he growled, “you ain't nothing more than a skid mark on the underthings of society.” Vael could hear chuckling from the shadows.
“Creator’s breath, Goderich. I had no idea you were such a poet.” A young man, barely into his adult years, emerged from the shadows. His pale skin was coated in dirt and grime, but his red hair was neatly styled and brushed. His clothes were very obviously dirty, but his collar was starched and his trousers pressed. It was a very odd combination for he was both tidy and disheveled. Vael would later come to know the man as Miclis Breyln. This little encounter would also birth Miclis’ nickname for Vael: Skid.
Miclis became a sort of big brother figure for Vael. He taught him the dynamics of the city’s underground. He taught him not just how to pick pockets better, but where and when to do it, how to get the most out of kitchen scraps, and how to appear at least marginally cleaner than you really were. Most importantly however, he taught the boy how to fight, and passed on his love of military strategy. The abandoned house that Miclis and his gang, who called themselves the White Skulls, made their base of operations was lined wall to wall with bookcases. Their shelves were stuffed full with books and articles on military strategy, fighting manuals, history books, and surprisingly a few cookbooks. Vael and Miclis would spend hours pouring over the tomes. For street children they became surprisingly well read.
Vael would begin to mature into a young man in the company of the White Skulls. As time went on, they moved their operations from petty thievery and Vael’s little gambling scheme, to more sophisticated mercenary work. Occasionally others would join their ranks, but they never seemed to last very long. It always came down to the same six members; Miclis, Vael, “The Twins” Faelar and Virion Wrankas, Crazy Eyed Alstone (who was named for the one eye that never seemed to be able to catch up with the other) and Four Fingered Cara. Four Fingered Cara, Miclis explained, was a bit of a misnomer. She actually had six fingers, the other four had been chopped of by a merchant whose bread she’d been nicking, but six fingers isn’t alliterative. When Vael was 14, things would change. He witnessed the company, his friends, get chopped down before his eyes
After such a traumatic experience, Vael returned to his old life of lonesome thievery. He still had the abandoned house, but it felt empty without the others to share it with. There were no amount of books in the world that could have filled their absences. As he got older, he sold his services as a fighter, personal guard, thief, and “companion”. This was mostly to support his crippling alcoholism.
For eight years he wandered Felnova, from the northern tip of Vystriana to the Hallow Ridge Mountains in the Myrlands. He even had a brief excursion to Felidae in Nimravus. He drank, fought and f-...consensual-y adult funned, his way around Felnova. It wasn’t until he met Zandro and Farod and formed the Rose Company that he really found any sense of direction.
As Vael, Zandro and Farod began to recruit members of the Rose Company, all other couples, doubt of Vael’s loyalty and validity as a leader began to rise to the surface. No one doubted Vael’s strategic abilities, but how could a single man lead a company based on the power of a couple’s bond? Who was to say he wouldn’t turn tail and run if the going got rough? So to stem the tide of dissent, Vael began the search for a partner.
Looking for love on a tight schedule is an awkward thing. As such, the relationship that Nevareth and Vael have is based more out of careful planning and necessity than the romantic whirlwind romances of their comrades; it functions more like an arranged marriage. That’s not to say they’re not happy together though. They care for each other very deeply. From the outside this is obvious, as they must keep up appearances for the group. Alone, however, they are not particularly affectionate. It is a complicated, almost platonic love.
Nevareth was barely a man when they met, but proved to possess an intelligence beyond his years. Where Vael is cool and collected, Nevareth is hot headed and brash. Vael doesn’t like to take things too seriously, whereas Nevareth tends to take them a little too seriously. How they can stand each other remains a mystery to many.
With the others satiated, Vael was able to build his career as leader of the Rose Company quite successfully. They became renowned for their efficiency and proficiency at stealth operations. The name Rose Company now holds a sense of pride shared, and well earned, by all its members.
The Rose Company and the White Skulls
The Rose Company was not Vael’s first mercenary enterprise. His first company, the White Skulls, was naught more than a bunch of restless kids who attempted to loot, cheat, and gamble their meal tickets. Vael wasn’t the leader of this gang, far from it. He was barely more than a glorified boot black. But during his time there he noticed something that would be key to the creation of the Rose Company.
Two of the members of the White Skulls, Miclis Brelyn and Four Fingered Cara, (or just Cara, for short) were lovers. Vael had noticed that the ferocity with which they each fought intensified immensely whenever the other was in danger. This was true of all the company members of course, but moreso for these two. What was more, they seemed to be so in sync with each other. As if knowing the most vulnerable and intimate sides of each other allowed them to move together in combat. Even the Twins, who were blood relatives, did not seem to fight with such loyalty and synchronicity.
Eventually the White Skulls would see its end. They had taken a job from a minor Hyandian noble, convinced him to pay half up front (after gouging the price of course), and immediately spent it all on gambling and whoring. They did this, of course, while completely ignoring the task they had promised to complete. The noble did not care much for this and in turn hired yet another group of sellswords to have the White Skulls slaughtered.
In some hole in the wall of a brothel, and drunk, distracted and otherwise incapacitated, the White Skulls were in no position to defend themselves from their invaders. Crazy Eyed Alstone was first. They barely had a moment to act before enemy mercs flooded through the door, and in the same breath slit Alstone’s throat. The Twins were next. They dragged Faelar out of the building by her hair. For a minute all Vael could hear was her swearing and thrashing; the next, only silence. Virion had attempted to run up the stairs for cover but quickly found a crossbow bolt embedded in his spleen.
His friends were slain one by one. Miclis had been quick to his blade, and even faster to defend Cara. Vael had never seen a man, nor woman, fight so ferociously in his life. When it looked as if Cara was surely done for, Miclis threw all rationality out the window and dove in, swinging wildly. Watching him was like watching a rabid dog in distress. A tall, broadly built man of the opposing mercs pushed Miclis to the ground, and Cara lept into to action. This cycle repeated until Miclis, and Cara had cut down a significant portion of the enemy’s forces single handedly. They were bathed in blood, both their own and not. Vael had watched, too terrified and high to do much more than hide in the hearth- still warm from the ashes of a fire long gone.
He couldn’t hear Miclis or Cara anymore. The remaining mercenaries left. Vael wept.
For the next eight years Vael would continue to sell his services as a fighter and honing his combat skills. He would continue to gamble, steal, and cheat his way to the next meal, but he also used some of what Miclis had taught him about selling his talent for battle. Along the way he would continue to pick up military strategy and found he had a talent for stealth operations.
He, and two others; an elf named Zandro Darfaren and an orc called Farod, had found themselves all hired to sneak into the house of a wealthy merchant and “acquire” a large gold and jewel encrusted necklace. The necklace, crafted to resemble a large wreath of roses, proved harder to obtain than anticipated. They succeeded, of course, but not without leaving a trail of bloody corpses behind. As they were fighting Vael noticed the same tenacity and ferocity in their fighting that he had in Miclis and Cara’s. This gave him an idea.
Vael concluded that lovers were far more loyal in battle than any other bond he previously observed. He could use this. He proposed this idea to the two men, who at first needed some convincing, but ultimately agreed. Thus the Rose Company was born; a specialised stealth squad made up entirely of lovers. (Stealth may be what they are best at, but they’ll take any job that pays well.)
With the territory of lovers comes the dilemma of children. As such, the Rose Company’s members are predominantly made up of same sex couples. Members are permitted to reproduce so long as it does not impact their ability to fight, nor can it be with someone who is not their partner. If someone should bear/father a child with someone who is not their recognized partner they, and their partner, must leave the company. This isn’t to say that the Rose Company’s members must remain monogamous. You can conduct your relationship however you choose, provided that there is no mixing of couples within the group- this is simply to prevent infighting.
Unfortunately the very nature of mercenary work is dangerous, and as a result many will fall in combat. It is not always a result of their skill, but of fate. Should your partner find death in battle, the Company will make sure that all the proper funerary arrangements are made, and you are given a generous monetary reimbursement for your, and your lover’s service. Without a partner however, you cannot serve as a member of the Rose Company.
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