Should you wish to join or if you have any questions, you can PM me through the SL2 Discord server. My name is Zeke. Or you can PM me on the forums here with your Discord name and I will add you.
From a young age, the boy had always felt that he was different. His father did not permit him to leave the home and walk the streets of Chaturanga without covering his face, neck and shoulders. Nothing must be visible, but most important were the eyes - yes the Karatynn who frequented the city were capable of stealing away years from a person's life merely through eye contact. No pain would be felt, no shortness of breath, no indication at all that one had been robbed. At least, this is what the boy's father had told him. Despite his skepticism and strongly assertive personality, the boy held a deep admiration for the man, and did not challenge him on this issue.
At the age of 16, five years following the disappearance of his father, the Chataran boy had entered adulthood. The vices and opportunities of his homeland were now open to him; his name day was celebrated with copious amounts of alcohol, to which he now had legal access. With flushed and elated faces, his family and friends congratulated the young man on his success. With acrid breath and booming voices, they expressed their curiosity about what would lie in his future. Would he be a smith? A tanner? An engineer? Would he pursue the prestigious and honorable path of serving as a sworn knight to Emperor Erachial?
But to this, the young man felt only revulsion. What had he done to warrant congratulation? Was this really adulthood? Were his people content to waste their lives earning meager wages, and ruin their bodies through drink? Had they lost ambition, resigning their city to the servitude of a man whose empire occupies what was once Chataran land? No, there had to be greater meaning in life. This was a rotten existence.
At the outbreak of the Oniga-Sigrogana War only several months later, a spark ignited in the young man. The same Empire which had once conquered Chataran land was now itself the target of conquest by Oniga. Like his own people, Onigans were known for their loyalty and honor; it was destiny that Chaturanga should join forces with Oniga and reclaim their land and their greatness. But his peers were complacent, and most were happy to fight on the side of the Empire in exchange for wealth. Was Chaturanga, its people and its culture really worth less to them than payment from the Emperor? Did their dreams extend only as far as lining their pockets with blue paper, so that they might fund their intoxication and ecstasy?
Disgusted again by the apathy of his people, he set out to pursue what they would not. Joining him in this endeavor were six of his closest childhood friends, upon whom he had made a strong impression even from a young age. As he marched with his friends, the Chataran thought back to the last time he had ever seen his father, covered head to toe in plate armor and billowing black garb. Whatever the purpose for his departure, it clearly would have involved combat. Would his father have approved the support of the Onigan war effort? Was he even alive to learn about it? These questions did not matter, however; the young Chataran was off to cut his teeth in the throes of battle. He would sweat and bleed for it. He would pour his soul into his sword. He would be the strongest.. And he would kill fellow Chatarans of the Empire's employ if necessary. Their lives had become those of dogs, after all.
Following the assassination of Tennou Myoga and the eventual capitulation of his successor, the Chataran wanted answers. Returning alone from the battleground, his dream yet unfulfilled, he journeyed to Karaten to investigate the rumors of the involvement by mages in the Tennou's death. Unable to uncover any useful information, the young man realized that it did not matter. His people were not the Onigans, and his lord was neither Myoga nor Ang. His destiny was not predicated on the success or failure of Oniga, but rather on his own hard work. The path to realizing his ambitions became clear: "I must reach new heights."
Given that Karaten was famed for its technological and magical innovation, the Chataran sought anyone in the city who might somehow enhance his body, and give him the strength to bear the burden of his people's rightful destiny. After a good deal of searching, aided by his ability to provide threats and bribery, he eventually came to the home of a pair of mages, strikingly similar in appearance; their wide grins and long pink hair are the only details still clear in his mind. He shared with the mages his desire for strength, and for the cunning to utilize that strength. He expressed his dream to see Kysei once again have a foothold on Sigrogana. He passionately expressed both his love for Chaturanga and his distaste for the way its people now waste their lives.
Moved by the Chataran's speech, the smiling twins agreed to perform an augmentation on the Chataran - all it would cost was the remaining murai he had earned while fighting for Oniga. With malice behind their grinning faces, they instructed the young man to lie across a thick wood table and remove everything from his person. Heavy plate armor dropped from the table to the floor, each piece shaking the framework of the mages' modest home. Recalling his father's words about the twisted inclinations of mages who peer into one's eyes, he slowly removed the last bit of armor: his visored great helm.
For the first time in his life, the young man had revealed his face outside the home. He now looked upon the mage twins, completely bare, and watched their mischievous smiles melt simultaneously into expressions that could only be described as seriousness and curiosity. The pair took a quick glance at one another before issuing their warning in tandem.
"We do not possess the power to create; for something to be gained, something of equal value must be lost. You will receive the strength and cunning you desire to achieve your ambitions, but remember this. Great men are brought into this world, and they are taken out of it. All cities that rise are destined to crumble. All empires that grow are destined to dissolve. You, your family, your comrades and lovers, will all die. The only thing that truly lasts is the bond of your spirit with the spirits of those you cherish. But all other things in this world are just so.. Ephemeral."
This is the last that the Chataran can remember. He awoke in the dead of night, fully clad in his clothing and armor, his satchel still heavy with money. The encounter with the pair of smiling mages changed the man; he had lost something vital which exists within all people. He is unable to taste food, and has lost the small pleasure that once came with eating. He is no longer moved to tears by the disappearance of his father or the deaths of his six loyal friends on the field of battle. He cannot remember their names. He cannot remember his name. His body does not seem to tire, and his ambition exists in his head more clearly than it ever did before. The final words given by the mages are burned deeply into his mind. Strength, planning, success, and the bonds formed with cherished comrades.. These are what matter most to the man who traded part of himself for the strength to lead his people.
But all men need names, and he will never remember his. The Chataran man whose resolve does not soften, whose vision does not falter, and whose body does not tire. He has given himself a new name. He is known only as Grind Knight.