Dorien Cassavich, of Kiev
Dorien Cassavich is the only child of Petyr and Linny Cassavich, a farming family of North Umbria, Kiev. When seven months old renegades from South Umbria invaded Dorien’s small farming town. Petyr took up arms with the other men from town and led in the defense effort, losing an arm and all of his crops, but saving the town in the end. For his efforts and loss Magistrate Clavicus Navinghime took Petyr and his family into service at his keep, promising to always have a home for them in penance for his tardy arrival to the town. For five years the Cassavich’s lived and served within the keep, until a great pestilence swept North Umbria, claiming Petyr and Linny in its wake. Magistrate Navinghime, being faithfully married to an unfertile wife, Adelle, and having no children of his own, took Dorien in as his ward.
The next few years of Dorien’s life were charmed, especially for that of a peasant. Dorien was taught history, mathematics, politics and court procedures by some of the greatest tutors in the land as if he were noble-born himself. Included in his teachings was time spent in the training yard with squires and knights learning military strategy, battle prowess, and arms training in a multitude of weaponry. It was in the yard that Dorien first met Baeric “The Bear” Polinsky, the Magistrate’s one armed blacksmith. It was said that Baeric was so good at his craft that the gods had to take one of his arms just so other blacksmiths could keep up. But no other blacksmith could keep up. Baeric had a way of shaping metal that was more than proficient…it was magical. Baeric took a liking to Dorien right away, having had a few conversations with, and much respect for, Petyr before the sickness took him. Dorien took a liking to Baeric right away as well, looking to him as an instructor, a leader, and a father figure. Although kind beyond belief towards him, Magistrate Navinghime never showed much prowess at being a father to Dorien. Between the renegades from South Umbria causing an uprising and threatening a civil war, and the warring officials debating where tax moneys should be best spent and invested, Clavicus had little time to spend with his ward. Baeric was all too happy to fill in that role. When Dorien wasn’t spending time with his studies and duties in the keep, he was in Baeric’s forge intently listening to Baeric’s stories of war and love, and learning the craft that the smith did so masterfully. Life was perfect.
Baeric Polinsky wasn’t the only person Dorien met on that field. It was there that he was introduced to Tiev Navinghime, the nephew of the Magistrate and only other living male member of the Navinghime line. At fifteen Tiev had most of the handsome, stout features that his uncle had. However, Dorien noted, Tiev’s eyes held a certain cruelty behind their icy blue gleam. Shortly after his birth, Tiev’s father, Nicolai, died at the same battle that Baeric lost his arm and most of his armor in. Baeric once told Dorien that Nicolai was a tyrannical and cruel man whose own men left him to die and that field wounded, and routed with another troop. Although always polite and courteous to him, Dorien knew that Tiev despised him. Baeric knew this as well.
At sixteen Dorien’s life was met with more pain. Clavicus’ unfertile wife took ill with the rot from within, and passed away after a few weeks of sickness. After three months of mourning Clavicus decided that is was time to find a new wife. People tended to abide by married men more in politics then single men or widowers. Tiev heard of his uncles plans to look for a new bride to be, and was filled with equal parts rage and fear. He knew he wouldn’t have to wait too many more years for his uncle to pass, then, being the only surviving male member of the bloodline, would take over office as Magistrate. However if his uncle found a new fertile bride, all that could be ruined! After careful planning and collaborating with several of the Magistrates most trusted and greedy councilors, a plan was formed.
One day, at Tiev’s suggestion, Magistrate Navinghime took his nephew and some trusted advisors on a hunt. Although invited, Dorien spent the day at Baeric’s forge working on higher level smithing recipes then most other apprentice smiths could handle. Tiev had Dorien saddle his Uncles horse, a gift Dorien himself had made for Clavicus on his 50th birthday, and shoe his horse. Hours later Tiev and his party came galloping full stride into town crying murder! The story, as it was told, is that while on the hunt, Magistrate Navinghime brought his destrier to a gallop in pursuit of their game. The horse bucked from a problem with its shoe, a protruding nail, and sent the Magistrate flying from the reigns. Apparently the Magistrates saddle hadn’t been properly fastened to the steed. All fingers pointed to Dorien, claiming that the teen had hated the Magistrate for wanting to remarry so quickly, and blamed him for the death of Adelle. Although ludicrous sounding to some, most couldn’t deny that the Magistrates own nephew, and his most trusted advisors who raised and taught Dorien, were accusing the boy. Without trial Dorien was convicted and sentenced for the death of the Magistrate.
While awaiting hanging on the morrow, sixteen year old Dorien Cassavich was visited in his cell by his chief accuser, Tiev Navinghime. Being a cliché and arrogant evil man, Tiev disclosed his whole scheme to Dorien, with a bitter smile on his face. He finished by saying, “Tough luck my peasant friend, but there really is no place for your kind in civilized society.” Dorien felt the blood drip down his palms from the nails on his fingers piercing his flesh as he made fists tighter then a politician’s pockets. Dorien swore on the faces of his fathers that he would get his revenge on Tiev. One of his fathers, Baeric, must of heard this oath because in the wee hours of the evening, when the moon was at its highest, Baeric snuck into the jails he helped build and maintain, and sprung his young apprentice from confinement. The getting out was easy enough, but the road ahead was going to be the real challenge. Dorien fled with Baeric from North Umbria using trails that Dorien had never even known to have existed. Despite being close to sixty, Baeric traversed the land with unnatural speed and cunning, almost dragging Dorien through one series of similar looking trees and bushes after the other. After two days of the hardest pace travel Dorien had ever experienced, Baeric stopped, looked around, and plopped down of a log and started building a small cooking fire. It was during this much needed rest that Baeric explained to Dorien what their plan had to be, and where the path would lead them.
Dorien and Baeric traveled through many moons and lands until they wound up at their destination, the tribal Fae village of Astricaar. Baeric had once fought alongside with the tribal Chief, Tattura, in the great wars of his past. Tattura welcomed Baeric into the village with open arms, having no love for human politics after seeing for himself the wars started over greed and power. Dorien, however, had to pass a series of trials to be allowed in the village and no longer be considered an outsider. Baeric simply smiled at this request and told Dorien, “You’re on your own kid.” The first trial was that of intellect, which Dorien breezed through having had some of the best tutors in the land. The second was a trial of craft. Again Dorien made the challenge seem simple by forging a shield for Tattura out of a metal was alien to Dorien. The metal “spoke” to him though, and he “spoke” back as Baeric had taught him. And out of that conversation, a shield was formed. The third trial was to be of combat; Deadly combat. Dorien’s opponent, Farius, seemed no older than him. Not that Dorien even knew how to judge the age of a Fae. The trial was fierce, but swift. Dorien felled his opponent after parrying just a few blows. As he stood above the fallen Farius, Tattura spoke. “You must end his existence, as you must give your life to protect the village and its people.” Dorien looked between Tattura and Baeric, rapidly glancing back and forth between the sets of eyes. In the end Dorien through down his sword and said, “I did not escape captivity to shed the blood of an innocent warrior. I escaped captivity to shed the blood of my enemies and the enemies of my family.” With that he held out his hand and helped Farius to his feet. Tattura smiled. “Good…you have passed.” Reflecting upon it later, Dorien would remember seeing the archers in the trees with arrows pointed at his heart. Had he gone to strike down Farius, Dorien thinks that arrows would’ve been loosed…and he would’ve failed. No matter, he passed and now he and Baeric had a place to call home.
On his twenty-first birthday Dorien received the greatest gift ever from his third father, Baeric. Baeric’s lost arm wasn’t the only injury he sustained on the battlefield. In fact, almost all of his armor had been scattered about on one battlefield or the next, and only a few small pieces remained. But even small pieces of armor from a large man contain a lot of metal. Baeric melted down his remaining armor and forged a sword of shield of the greatest craftsmanship. He presented his gift, which he called “Bear and Claw”, to Dorien on his birthday and told him he could give them proper names once the pieces had earned a name. Dorien, thinking back on his night in the keeps prison, that it wouldn’t be long before the pieces had proper names. Five years later Baeric passed away in his sleep, with a smile on his face. Dorien always imagined that was because the old man had finally found peace.
Bear and Claw weren’t the only things that Baeric had left behind for his “son”. He left Dorien his war journal, which accounted for almost twenty years on the battlefield, his blacksmiths apron and hammer, and his Master Craftsman recipe book. The hammer always amazed Dorien. It was as large as a war hammer, yet weighed as much as a dagger. The recipe book was something of a mystery to Dorien. Most of the recipes he had memorized, some he had even improved on the process for, but others had runes and glyphs within their instructions that were alien to him. One day they might make sense to him. Tattura knew that with Baeric gone, Dorien would leave the village. As much as he loved it here, Dorien didn’t exactly feel like he belonged. A feeling he would have almost anywhere he went. After a farewell feast Dorien bid farewell to Tattura and started down his path to his unknown destiny. Not knowing what he was seeking, not knowing where he was going, and hearing the guidance of all of his fathers, Dorien put one foot in front of other and traveled forward. Not east, not west or north or south…forward.