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Description: Of average height for a Saldaean man, Kazeal Barada still stands a full hand taller than most Cairhienin. His ancestry is further apparent in the tilt of his almond-shaped, emerald green eyes set above high cheekbones and in the jets of raven black hair falling nearly to his shoulders. Though his face is unmarred, the few blemishes in the tan skin of his chest and arms are clearly from combat wounds, the pale and linear marks left behind by the kisses of blades. On a typical day, Kazeal may be seen wearing his long and high-necked coat in the Cairhienin fashion. Of a green so deep as to appear almost black and with crimson trim, the colors of House Aesnan are unmistakable. Beneath, he typically wears a form-fitting, black leather jerkin over a shirt of deepest red. Trousers to match the green of his coat are tucked into serviceable boots rising above his ankles. The final accessory to rarely leave his person is the long, black leather scabbard gilded in silver that rests at his hip. The polished quillons and pommel of his sword peek from the top, nearly always within easy reach.

Background: Born and raised in Saldaea, Kazeal was trained in the sword, bow, and horse from a young age. His parents maintained the family merchanting business and were able to keep them living in comfort, if not utter luxury. While his mother, Jonine, stayed behind in Mehar to manage the business's base of operations, his father, Linedo, ran caravans trading as far south as Illian and the Aryth Ocean, and as far east as the Spine of the World. At his coming of age, Kazeal began joining his father on these journeys in preparation to one day take over the business. He not only shadowed Linedo on most transactions, he also filled the role of a caravan guard and was left with ample time to train with his father and other guards.

On one particular business trip, the caravan was running a large crop of mostly ice peppers into Cairhien. Prior to the civil war, the area was relatively calm and Linedo had anticipated a moment of high market demand for his goods. Upon arriving in the city, his guesswork proved accurate and he was able to arrange a bulk sale to House Aesnan. It was at this time, while joining his father to haggle over prices, that Kazeal first laid sight on Lord Dorien. Simply put, he just could not keep his eyes off the man and it seemed the lord, too, was similarly drawn to Kazeal. With the stature of a Cairhienin, both literally and metaphorically, Dorien was ice to Kazeal?s fire. Where the one was calm, cool, and collected by nature, the other was wont to give in to temper and rashness. After the negotiations had concluded (quite in the Baradas? favor due to Lord Dorien?s apparent distraction), Linedo agreed to leave his son to arrange the final few details with the lord.

The pair bonded almost instantly, each completely fascinated by the other. Seemingly by unspoken agreement, they found reasons to delay the business transaction that night, and the next, and the night after that. The first excuse was that the Aesnan laborers had already finished work for the day. Then it was that Dorien was required to inspect each and ever individual pepper being purchased. Then it was that Kazeal needed to tour the city in order to be sure the climate of the city would not spoil the produce too quickly. Each excuse being more whimsical than the last, the pair hatched a plan after merely a few days. As Linedo moved to purchase goods to sell along the return back to Saldaea, Lord Dorien convinced his father, the High Seat of House Aesnan, that he had scouted a promising young fighter to bolster their force of dedicated guards. As a skilled player of Daes Dae?mar and sensing the coming turmoil, Dorien?s father agreed to take the matter directly to Linedo and offered a handsome sum in return for Kazeal?s commitment of service. Were it not for Kazeal also beseeching Linedo to allow him to remain in Cairhien, he surely would have refused the offer. As it were, the deal was accepted after some discussion and Kazeal moved into the guards? quarters at the Aesnan manor later that same day.

Over the next weeks and months, his skill with the blade --- in addition to the Aesnan scion?s clear desire --- led to his rapid elevation to the post of Lord Dorien?s personal atache. Soon after, strife beset the whole city as the civil war began taking its toll and chaos ruled the streets and courts of the high and low alike. Kazeal saved Dorien?s life on numerous occasions and they made it through alive. The rest of House Aesnan, however, were not all so fortunate. The High Seat and several other members of the family had perished in the fighting and the House?s force of guards had been decimated. In the aftermath of the struggle, Lord Dorien casts his lot with the Children of the Light and grasps for the now-dangling reins of power while Kazeal begins to sense deadly threats around every corner. Now Captain of the House Aesnan Guard, he can do no more than hope to live to see the next day. Duty is heavier than a mountain?.