Chronicles of Aehrtara
A prodigy swordsman who ponders the philosophical and practical implications of his skills.
Crichton Rei was born into a family whose sole duty in life was the protection and propagation of Ravenheim’s precious archives and library. How the lad grew to become the youngest person known to have achieved the status of Kensai Master is something of an interesting tale.
As a very young child, Crichton’s early education was originally intended to groom him for a life of quiet contemplation and record keeping. While Crichton’s mind was certainly sharp enough for such pursuits, an innately restless nature kept the youth from being able to truly focus on the task of learning his family’s profession properly. Around the time Crichton turned seven years old, however, he was observed by Kensai Jinn Radagast watching and mimicking the older Kensai students practicing at the training grounds. Curious, the Kensai Master asked the boy to take up a practice weapon and show him what he could do. Crichton seemed born to hold a sword in his hands – the Kensai Master immediately saw that the boy had the makings of a true prodigy. Kensai Radagast approached Crichton’s parents later that night about entering the boy into Kensai training at the unheard of age of 7. Feeling that the training might instill in the boy the discipline necessary in his future profession as an archivist, Crichton’s parents agreed.
Crichton took to the training as though it was what he was made to do. He devoured the forms, the exercises, the philosophy, and anything else he could get access to in regards to furthering his training in the sword. Once he had exhausted all of the usual avenues of training, he delved into the library – seeking books on painting, dancing, anatomy, psychology, sociology and many other esoteric topics. Each of these topics would help inform and shape the boy’s view on swordplay and go on to form the basis for the unique sword style he would begin to develop later on in his training. Crichton was like a demon – burning through his training in pursuit of some unattainable goal of perfect swordsmanship. But, yet, he was still constrained by the fact that he would, one day, have to take up the mantle of archivist or librarian.
It was, about this time, that Master Nathan returned from one of his many forays into the forest with a troubling find. He had encountered twin girls, very young, lost and alone in the forest – their family apparently dead. Unable to identify which tribe they belonged to, Nathan brought them back to Ravenheim to see if any of the townsfolk would take them in. When Master Nathan brought the twins before the leaders of the town, including Marcus Rei, a chance encounter between the girls and Crichton (in attendance at the meeting to take notes and improve his penmanship) settled the matter of which family would take the twins in. The twins, Bella Rei and Mandy Rei, took an immediate liking to the serious older boy and more-or-less refused to be separated from him once they laid eyes on him. Why they liked Crichton so much is anyone’s guess, but the boy also became quite fond of the twins in short order. The twins also seemed to take to the profession of the Rei family with gusto – much more so than Crichton ever had. With the twins in a position to take up the family trade, Crichton was allowed to focus on his true passion full time and was, eventually, taken on by Master Radagast as one of the only full time apprentices of the Kensai.
Crichton’s development as a Kensai continued but the boy had relatively few friends. The Lord’s son, Rothis Ravenheim had, for a long time, taken to challenging the younger Crichton to impromptu duels. Crichton refused these duels for the longest time but was, eventually, won over by Rothis’s sheer persistence and cheery demeanor – bestowing upon the Ravenheim the thrashing he had been asking for. Crichton was also fairly close to Sondra Farthing, Rose Farthing‘s sister and an older Kensai student. Sondra was the only Kensai Student who could keep up with, and even beat, the talented Crichton. The accident which took Sondra’s ability to walk (and use a sword) from her was devastating all around – not only for Sondra and her family, but also for Crichton. Though Crichton was far too serious to ever realize it, he had a sort of school boy crush on the older student and her loss as a rival weighed heavily on him.
Though Crichton had always been a fairly serious lad, in his later years he began to display a markedly more bitter attitude as the weight of years and regrets began to pull at him. Though he loved the sword and the Kensai discipline, he had begun to question the need for such deadly abilities in a society where peace reigned. What good was being the best swordsman if a sword was only good for dealing death? The lad took to long periods of solitude and intense philosophical debates with some of the town’s leaders – including Bishop Archus Farthing. Crichton’s long absences became commonplace and many around the town came to overlook his existence as a result – until he, suddenly and unexpectedly, petitioned Kensai Radagast for permission to take the Kensai Graduation Examination early – at the unheard of age of 17.
Crichton never did explain his reasoning behind asking to take the examination early – though some did ask him. His skill wasn’t in doubt in the eyes of those who had seen him fight, but many thought he had grown full of himself and jumped the gun. Kensai Radagast and Kensai Vormav granted Crichton’s request however, and he had one month in which to prepare himself to take the examination. Rothis Ravenheim was, incidentally, taking his examination at this time (being some four years Crichton’s elder). Crichton secluded himself for that month, undergoing intense mental and physical preparations.
The Kensai examination that year had been hyped up to a degree unheard of in past events – due, in large part, to the fact that Crichton had petitioned early to take the exam. The other Student Kensai had seen Crichton at work and had gone home and told their families about it. Word spreads quickly through an isolated community. By the time the event itself rolled around, most of the town waited with bated breath for the examination. When Crichton emerged from training to take the exam, he was met by a much more enthusiastic crowd of spectators than he had expected. Crichton, for his part, did nothing to disappoint them. Pushing his skills to their limit and beyond, Crichton fought and defeated both of the Kensai Masters of the town in a two-on-one battle which shocked and awed onlookers. Crichton Rei became the youngest Kensai Master in the town’s history that year.
Crichton’s time since then has been spent in contemplation of his next move in life. He became a Kensai Master to prove to himself that he could do it – and for more or less no other reason. Now he’s adrift in a sea of indecision as he ponders his options and wonders at what he has left in life. His is an occupation which demands strife in order to be of use. Crichton also has some dark secrets on his mind and regrets to go along with them…and a powerful desire to see his sins atoned for…