I'll share my application if it helps anybody. If accepted, I'm open to character background ties, even if it's just meeting up on the road on the way in.Jude Talonius
From her early years, Jude learned humilty. Her grandmother, sole guardian of the girl, told her that this was first-- that she had learned, the hard way, that humility and caution were the most valuable of virtues, and she had a history to prove it-- many times, she heard tales of how her mother had fought alongside heroes during the war, and had learned the hard way the limitations of her own mortality. She showed her her granddaughter her own scars, and tell her the tale of how her mother, while Jude was too young to speak, had wielded magic to defend their city until she had been cut down by roving, disbanded demons from the wars.
Jude was terrified of everything. She saw her grandmother's scars in her dreams, imagined all manners of hellish suffering for her lost mother-- and she knew nothing of her father, so she could only imagine horrors for his fate as well. She was afraid to climb trees, afraid to swim, afraid of the dark, afraid that every noise outside her windows were demons, returned since the rift, to slaughter her and her grandmother. Helping her grandmother keep shop, she was afraid of every customer-- until, one day, a retired soldier saw her fear, spoke to her grandmother, and came back-- again and again-- to meet with her.
His name was Marellus, and he had been a corporal before arthritis had crippled his ability to march, ride a horse, or fight effectively. Something about the girl fascinated her, and he trained her in the art of swordplay, and in scholarship of monstrous dungeons-- these things terrified her, at first, and she was afraid of being hurt by the heavy wooden practice swords, or of being stranded in one of the labyrinths he described and illustrated for her. But after a year of tutoring, which her grandmother accepted begrudgingly, something changed in Jude. She began to learn that fear was for others-- that if you could harness that fear and turn it to courage, you would have mastery over your world. Left in the woods at night, she survived and found her way home. Given a real blade, she could wield it and survive the nicks and cuts she earned with it. She could stand, face to face, with the village boys and fight for her own survival. And she did-- she focused on her training and became a competent fighter.
Until one day, entirely by accident, she almost killed a boy-- some three years her senior-- while fighting him on a dare from her teasing peers. One moment she was reeling behind his more powerful, longer-armed swipes-- the next, she had emitted electricity that knocked the boy unconscious... he would have died had the village's healer not been summoned to aid him.
Finally, after urging from Marellus, her grandmother admitted that her daughter's magic may have passed its way to Jude, and that her father-- Gaius Talonius-- might one day call on her.
Jude was apprenticed to an eastern sword-sage to learn to harness, and summon, both her innate power and other abilities that could be garnered through the study of magic. The move was an unorthodox one; the only sword-sage that Marellus could find with the proper abilities and experience to tutor the young Magus was a n Akkaalian Court-Blade-- a guild rumored to be everything from dark magic practitioners at best to murderous, assassin prostitutes at worst. Akkaali was far from home, both in geography and in ideology, and many practices among the foreign culture would be considered morally taboo by her own country. Through the training she received for the next few years, she excelled in her control and in the arts of swordplay not taught to soldiers, but to the duelists and bodyguards of a culture that practiced polygamy, culturally accepted prostitution, and integrated open sexuality into its religious practices.
It was a formative time for her, and she was never able to fully reconcile her identity as being one of her home nation or one of the foreign culture. On her eighteenth birthday she answered the summons to join with the children of Talonius far from her home. She remembers enough of her youth to blend in among the structured culture of these warring houses, but she has never truly learned to be part of that culture inside, and her confusion risks offense in the wrong circumstances.