Master Varyn Quickblade of
House Aerin or simply "the Quickblade", as his students call him, was born in
1615. He is an Erpheronian known
far and wide within Santharia as the
founder of one of the most prestigious fencing schools in the Kingdom, and he is
also credited as the founder of the dueling fad that has recently taken
New-Santhala by storm. It is rumoured
that Varyn has participated (and won!) no less than twenty-seven duels, settling
matters as trivial as a nasty glance, and as consequential as the absorption of
all of House Javrith's property into the Aerin Estate.
The man's fencing school is Quickblade's Academy of Dueling Arts. Here, the techniques of wrestling, fencing, and boxing are taught, with a particular emphasis on armed dueling, of which Master Varyn himself is so famous for.
Appearance. Varyn's appearance is best described as rakish. His face, when it is not bearing a scowl at a disappointing student or a soon-dead duelist, is cast with an arrogant smirk. His short, by now steel-grey hair is cropped in a style meant to convey power and readiness, mainly by mimicking the styles soldiers must wear, while still epitomizing the style described as dashing. He also wears a short beard and mustache, further accentuating his gallant appearance. Recently, his beard has become quite grizzled and grey. Somehow, though, Varyn has not lost his sharp looks, or his cavalier attitude.
Picture description. Legendary fencing instructor Master Varyn Quickblade posing for the artist. Image drawn by Bard Judith.
While most Proudmen dress to
impress and conform, Varyn skimps on the conforming bit. Instead, he dresses
flamboyantly, in the style of a romanticized pirate. His high leather boots, red
sash and wide brimmed hat all were bought from southern merchants, and designed
in the style preferred by those who like the idea of pyrats, but loathe the idea
of sea-borne thugs. In other words, those who have never seen a true Sea-Wolf,
in all their blood-soaked “glory”.The rest of Varyn's clothing retains the
flamboyant theme, but it also is meant for practicality. His tight trousers and
loose cotton shirt both allow for style and maximum movement. This is ideal when
he needs to both fight and intimidate. Indeed, it is ideal nearly every day of
Varyn's life. One may question this statement - after all: shouldn’t the
Quickblade be sluggish now that he's past his prime? Quite contrary. Varyn’s
lifestyle of excitement and activity has given us a man of over fifty who looks
thirty, and moves like he’s twenty.
Personality. Varyn has two sides to him - both of them dangerous. As a peer, he is sarcastic, arrogant, and hot-tempered. Varyn has been known to threaten duels to those who offend him in the slightest manner, even during a formal dinner. His cavalier, no-holds-barred attitude has driven away many a fast friend, though it seems to have attracted quite a few ladies. Varyn is notorious for his many conquests, ranging from the buskin barmaids in the dingy dens of the rough side of New-Santhala, to the droves of women he still beds, though he is nearly seven decades old!
As a teacher, Varyn is still sarcastic and arrogant, completed by a cruel streak a cael wide. He is perhaps the best fencing instructor in all Santharia, but he cannot be described as understanding. Meet his expectations, or suffer the consequences. This has brought much opposition among the parents of the pampered youth quickly broken by Quickblade, but no one can argue with his results. Even the clumsiest have become confident duelists under the watchful eye of the Quickblade.
Biography. 1615 - Birth. Varyn was born in the city of New-Santhala to a minor noble, by the name of Captain Vaeron Strongarm Aeris and his wife, Amalinn the Kind. Both were Marcogg natives with Erpheronian roots, though they had moved to New-Santhala after a lifetime of saving, always thirsting for the historic capitol of Santharia. Legend about the man states that he was born with his characteristic scowl, though this is, of course, unsubstantiated.
1630 - Childhood. As a child, Varyn was ruthlessly trained by his father, a cruel and overbearing man who would not allow any imperfection in his household. Vaeron was also a fencer, and essentially forced his son to be as well. In one talk with the famous Quickblade, he related thusly:
“My father was not a kind man. Apple not far from the tree, eh?” This was followed by a smirk, grunted laugh, and a characteristic arch of the eyebrow. “I remember growing up - I was more of a reader than a fighter, really. I loved the old elven myths, especially. My mother had a wonderful library, chock-full of amazing tomes. Vaeron, my father, didn’t like me in there. So whenever he found me, late at night, candle burning, reading the adventures of elves and dwarves, he’d take me to his own little practice ring. And here, here’s where I learned to fence. See, my first practices were at quarter to midnight, just after, maybe. So of course I was tired. But I’d be fighting on no sleep, ready to drop. I never did. The old bastard came at me with such a fury, such an anger, that I couldn’t. The swords weren’t practice blades either. He’d almost always stop, or just swipe me with the side of his blade, leaving scratches, never scars. Like he was punishing me for reading. For reading! That son of Coór was probably jealous, is all. I don't think he cracked the spine of a book once." Again, Varyn pauses. "But, one night, he did this.” Varyn stops, lifts up his shirt, revealing a perfectly circular scar, just below and to the left of his stomach. “I wasn’t always lucky, and my blade wasn’t always quick.”
The above quote was taken down when the author of this entry had
the pleasure of meeting with the Quickblade himself. No, no duels were
This "kill-or-be-killed" environment forced Varyn into a prodigious fighter, much to his father's pride and envy. At the age of 16, Vaeron's conflicting emotions found common ground, and Varyn was sent to live at a fencing academy. This decision was made to the dismay of his mother - from all accounts, a sweet, beautiful woman who loved nothing more than to dote upon her son, and hated nothing more than her ruthless husband.
1631-1635 - Training. Varyn was trained by the best - a former Swift Sword mercenary by the name of Dagar Goldentip. Dagar was humble, a bit overbuilt, and had loved the sword from his very first years. In other words, the antithesis of Varyn. Dagar was one of the first fencers in Santharia, guiding the art of one-handed, light-armored dueling into the fluid art of fencing we know today. However, if Dagar was the father of dueling, then Varyn is its perfector. Ever since he began training in 1616, Varyn has been giving the art of fencing new life, and inspiring hundreds in the New-Santhala area to settle their affairs the Erpheronian style - at the tip of the sword instead of the gavel.
The first known instance of a legal dispute settled by a deadly blade was indeed from Quickblade himself. After a woman (or conquest, as Varyn describes), left him but took his moneybag, Varyn tracked her down and demanded his coin purse back. Her father, a rough and ready Eyelian sailor, in New-Santhala to visit his daughter, intervened. Varyn tossed the man a sword (he is known for wearing two), and bet the man. “If you can best me with a blade, little Greyler,” he said, “You may take my money and both these blades. However, if I defeat you, I get the purse, and your daughter.” Blinded by rage, the man accepted. He was killed in less than ten blinks, with a single thrust to the neck. The woman, frozen in fear was knocked to the ground. Varyn retrieved the purse, but left her to explain the mess. However, city watchmen are sometimes known to turn a blind eye when gold is passed, and the matter was forgotten. Ever since, gold has been accepted as an unofficial “Court Avoidance Fee in the Case of Extra-Court Judgments”, and dueling has (some would say sadly) taken hold over New-Santhala, even though it is not "officially" tolerated.
Dagar perhaps saw that Varyn had a spark of destiny in him (after all, not every lad develops a new legal practice for a coin purse), and trained him in the art of “True Orc Fighting”, a martial art centered on defeating your opponent with flair and brutality. How Dagar learned the closely guarded secret is a mystery, but what is known is that it was a perfect fit for the brash young Varyn. After Dagar noted Varyn’s obvious proficiency for all things martial, he offered Varyn a teaching position on Varyn's twentieth birthday.
1636-1645 - Inheritance. Varyn obviously did not return to his father after his graduation from Goldentip's Academy. Instead, he worked with Dagar to train the next wave of students in a new, theatrical, style of fencing. Dagar's style, called Injèrá School, professed a simple, direct, style of fencing characterized by straight thrusts and wrist-flick parries. Varyn, however, developed a new style, called Silarna School. Though many preferred Injèrá School for its cool simplicity, the gaudy, energetic Silarna School caught on quickly. Soon, Varyn had more students than Dagar. And shortly after Varyn's 21st birthday, Varyn would have all the students. Dagar Goldentip passed away in 1622, leaving Varyn everything he had, including Goldentip Academy (which is now Quickblade Academy). This move would be echoed two years later by Vaeron Aerin, in his will. Though the father and son had not talked in nine years, everything was left to Varyn, as his mother had died three years prior, without Varyn's knowledge. The news came as a shock to Varyn. His wealth was doubled instantly, but the passing of his mother hit him like it had only happened that day, instead of almost 2000 days ago. He cared deeply about his mother, and would evermore have the words “Lyth ac Amalinn” or “Love to Amalinn” inscribed on his blades in respect to her.
1646-present - The House Silarna. With Houses Goldentip and Aerin both seceded to Varyn, there has recently been the formation of House Silarna, Varyn's own line. Though the legal channels were murky, and navigation nearly impossible due to bureaucracy, any of Varyn’s legal, recognized, heirs will be born under the Silarna name. How did Varyn clear up the legal muck so quickly? Simple. He challenged the bureaucrats involved to a duel. One, full of foolish bravado accepted, and upon his death, Varyn demanded that his paperwork move a bit more quickly.
Though the man is not married, it is rumored he has several sons. One young man, in fact, has been making an awful lot of noise. The son of a barmaid from the grungy “Gryph’s Nest” tavern, young Jiath Brugly insists he is the product of an affair, where his mother was bedded by Varyn, who supposedly left the next morning with not so much as a curt “goodbye”. However, Varyn has his eye on several promising students, any of which are more likely to be chosen as his heir.
Importance. First and foremost, Varyn is responsible for creating a fad out of fencing, mainly with the introduction of the Silarna School. Opposed to the Injèrá style of fencing, Silarna School is much gaudier, which suits Varyn just fine. The parries are done in wide, sweeping arcs, meant to direct the opponent's blade farther away, and the strikes are often accompanied by a shift in level. Ducking and thrusting, then, is a key move for the more dexterous members of Silarna School. Also, while only torso strikes and light parries are permitted in Injèrá School, Silarna School allows face strikes (if a face mask is worn) and chopping motions when parrying.
This style has been used countless times by Varyn in street duels, which are becoming increasingly common. Though this does worry certain dignitaries and court officials, it has so far received a blind eye, as many of New-Santhala's best duelists are high-ranking members of the nobility.
Also, in the last decade, a group of “Quickblades” has emerged, Varyn poseurs who have taken the Silarna School and applied it to many aspects of life. His “followers” dress in gaudy, flashy, clothes, and follow the “Quickblade Code”. The Quickblade code builds more off the legend of the man than the man himself. It professes the virtues of fairness in combat, kindness to ladies, and respect for masters, virtues all held by Varyn - but only when it suits him. In truth, the “Quickblades” are despised by the real one - not a single mimicker has ever passed through Varyn’s Academy, nor does he intend to accept anyone who tries to mimic him. It seems, in Varyn’s case, imitation is the least sincere form of flattery.