Age: 34. Born 137 IR.
Height: 5’8″, narrow build.
Origin: Fort Endry, Trivestes.
Spouse: Irsa Vorena te’Vastrein-Sarovy (separated/estranged).
Affiliation: Risen Phoenix Empire.
Organization: Crimson Claw Army.
Religion: Imperial Light.
Notable Traits or Possessions: Winged Light pendant, Sarovingian heirloom blade (15th wielder).
History: Like all male Trivesteans, Firkad Sarovy was set on the path to military service from the moment of his birth. Born to the respected Sarovingian lineage — known for its historical role as bodyguards to the Eagle Kings and Emperors of Ruen Wyn — he was raised for his first seven years in Fort Endry, near the Garnet Mountain Territory border and under the command of his father Faressa (Fortress Commander — equivalent to an Imperial Colonel) Virkus Sarovy and his mother, Faressa-Aayan (Fortress Commander-Auxiliary) Kathry Sarovy. At age eight, he and his age-mates of both genders were transferred to the Trivestean Youth Corps training base in the capital of Essendun, where he was educated, tested and drilled for a further seven years before graduating into the Sapphire Eye Army’s archery corps with a respectable entry-rank of Sekiisa-Nerin (Captain’s Aide — equivalent to a lieutenant) or Senes.
Then as now, the Sapphire Eye Army was made up of a minority of Trivestean officers commanding a majority of Riddish troops — one of the Risen Phoenix Emperor’s many ham-handed attempts to forge peace between Riddian and Trivestes, which had been at war since time immemorial. Unlike most of the Emperor’s efforts, the Sapphire Army actually worked well; though they hated each other, the domineering but meritocratic Trivesteans could often win the fractious, clannish, vindictive Riddishfolk’s respect, and Trivestean officers learned to greatly appreciate Riddish loyalty in contrast to the constant battle of wills they fought with each other. Though never comfortable, both Imperial provinces accepted that the situation was workable, as it allowed them to turn most of their energy toward the Empire’s enemies in Krovichanka and the Garnet Mountain Territory.
Sarovy’s Sapphire service was spent entirely on the GMT front, initially as an archer-lieutenant but then as a lieutenant-ranked mapmaker-scout due to a discovered aptitude for art and a keen eye for dimension and detail. From the age of sixteen to eighteen, he went on continual forays up-mountain with just a few soldiers as backup — and sometimes solo — in order to find the best vantages on the forest- and cave-dwelling beastfolk and illustrate the terrain, hazards and enemy formations for his superiors. In the process, he weathered multiple assaults by beastfolk and two betrayals by his own escorts — Riddishfolk with previously unknown affiliation to the wolf-skinchangers of the GMT.
The captured correspondence and maps he brought back after escaping the second betrayal were integral to weeding out skinchanger-conspirators in his division and to pushing back the beastfolk from a vital wedge of territory. Sarovy was awarded a captaincy-equivalent for it, but because of injuries could not immediately return to his scout duties. Instead, he petitioned to be allowed into the division strategy meetings, emphasizing his keen knowledge of the area and experience with its hazards and peoples. Initially rebuffed, he kept up the petitions until finally one was granted — perhaps from his superior’s hope that he would fumble in his lack of tactical experience and thus open himself to demotion or dismissal.
No such thing happened. Sarovy’s experience in observing the beastfolk unnoticed — and in handling the Riddish who had betrayed him — had given him certain cultural insights (into his own people as well as the enemy) that most hidebound Trivesteans staunchly refused to accept. His recommendations and analyses helped firm up control of the area and drive back the beastfolk with less than the usual fuss, and when the outpost of Fort Vaden was raised to hold the area two years later, he was promoted to Deieksa — outpost leader, equivalent to a Major — to command it.
Also, likely, to get him out of his superiors’ hair with his wild ideas about how to better handle their Riddish troops.
Then, because of his new rank and unmarried status — and perhaps because of his odd ideas about the Riddish — he was tapped for the Emperor’s current clever plan to arrange marriages between Trivestean officers and Riddish noble clans. The wife selected for him was Irsa Vorena te’Vastrein, and they got on … interestingly, which was more than many such arranged marriages could report.
It was also at this time that his father Virkus turned over the Sarovingian heirloom blade to him.
Sarovy held Fort Vaden for two years, against occasional assaults from the beastfolk and more regular diplomatic and internal-army conflicts, until he was abruptly summoned to the Imperial Palace. He left Irsa — now Deieksa-Aayan — to command in his place, not realizing that he would not return.
He does not remember what happened in the Palace, only that charges were brought against him for gross insubordination and that he was found guilty and sentenced to exile from the Imperial Heartlands. The details of the trial — including his specific crime — were mindwashed from him; all he knows is that he accepted the Emperor’s judgment.
That was twelve years ago. He has not heard from his wife or his family since.
As one of the terms of his exile, Sarovy accepted a transfer to the Crimson Claw Army, which was stationed at the time in Low Country Kerrindryr on the western side of the Rift. Stripped of all rank and honors, he started again as an archer, first in the wars against the Kerrindrixi high cults (where he won a promotion to corporal) and then against the Gejarans after the breaking of the Treaty of the Pinch (where he won promotion to sergeant). When General Kelturin Aradysson took over the Crimson and reinstated the treaty with Gejara, though, the army turned its attention to the plains of Jernizan, which Sarovy found exceedingly uninspiring. He had risen in rank again despite the stain on his record because he was exceptional at planning and carrying out operations that required the powerful but short-range forest bow, specifically in rugged terrain; distance-shooting with a canyon bow bored him to tears.
Fortunately, the Jernizen wars brought a new option: horses. The Heartlands had none, and so the Empire had never fielded a cavalry until they started clashing with Jernizan’s own light horsemen and horse-bow archers. Though dubious about the horses, Sarovy volunteered, but was unsurprised to be passed over several times; too few of the Imperials who dared ride were any good with a bow, so there was no horse-archer company to apply to, only the Lancers.
When he finally was given permission to transfer, it was to a mostly-Wyndish Lancer company with a hostile captain, Terrant, who immediately demoted him back to rankless. Sarovy chose to take that as a challenge, and over the next five years he worked his way back up to sergeant despite constant pressure to quit and return to the archers. In fact, he earned corporal — or ‘acting corporal’, as Terrant insisted on calling him for months — after only his second skirmish, when the official corporal was thrown and badly injured and Sarovy immediately moved in to fill the gap. Terrant continually refused him a lieutenancy, though — until the aftermath of the riots at Fellen, when one of Terrant’s actual lieutenants came to Sarovy for support for a mutiny against Terrant because the captain planned to punish the lieutenant and several others for crimes against the citizenry.
Sarovy allowed the lieutenant to believe that he also disliked Terrant enough to overthrow him, then knifed the man in front of Terrant in the midst of his declaration of mutiny. This broke the nerve of the mutineers long enough for loyal lancers to rush to Terrant’s defense, and in the aftermath, no other lancer would stand against Sarovy in competition for the vacant lieutenancy.
Thus it was that, a year later, Lieutenant Firkad Sarovy rode out at the head of a half-platoon in pursuit of the fugitive Cobrin son of Dernyel, with the scout Darilan Trevere at his side.
Chain of command, circa Book 1:
Risen Phoenix Imperial Army Group — Field Marshal Argus Rackmar
Crimson Claw Third Army — General Kelturin Aradysson
Illanic Corps (Second Camp) — Corps General Cor Ivraith
Free Division — Division Commander Raes Gensaras
Free First Brigade — Colonel Talvus Wreth
Ninth Combat Battalion — Major Dain Bentram
Second Lance Company — Captain Kinven Terrant
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