Legend of the Crystals
Commander of liberation army's northern division
A blacksmith by trade, Richard grew up in a family of tradesmen. He was never afraid of hard work and loved working with his hands. Forging metal, making something out of raw materials and his imagination, was always a passion of his. It turned out, however, he had another talent, and that was the talent of public speak. A man of high morals, Richard was always looking out for the little guy. It didn’t take long before his talents were recognized and he became the leader of the Westwall trade union. When the empire changed the law, making private trade unions illegal and forcing his union to do as the emperor wished (mostly devoting resources such as labour and materials from civilian to military purposes, as well as fixing labour costs well below what he believed acceptable), he publicly defied the emperor. He was arrested and was to be beheaded publicly to discourage this sort of behaviour. The executioner, however felt sympathetic for his cause. There was a guard behind the executioner to prevent any sort of mistake, and more guards in a circle around them. Surely an escape seemed impossible, but the executioner said “forgive me, for doing what I must” which he thought meant killing him, but then he whispered very low “don’t let his death be for naught” and he caught his meaning. The executioner lifted his heavy executioner’s axe and brought it down until it touched the back of his neck. He brought it up and began to swing down with all of its strength, but about half way down he spun, his powerful muscles diverting the momentum of the swing sideways, he cleaved the guard in half at the waist, killing him. As soon as he heard the impact Richard rolled off the chopping block, an imperial crossbow bolt missing his head by an inch as it hit the block where his had had been. He sprang to his feet and ran as fast as he could, another bolt missed him, and another, and then one hit the executioner in the side of the head, killing him instantly. Richard thought he would surely be next, but as he ran towards the armed guards, wondering how on earth he was to defeat them unarmed, unarmed, and with his hands tied, the most amazing thing happened: the guards spread out and let him pass. As soon as he was passed, they formed a protective wall around him, blocking crossbow bolts with their shields. He ran with those four guards, mounted horses and headed fled the capital. Two of the guards died in the retreat, the other two became his trusted officers.
They called their group the liberation army, because they literally liberated political prisoners, often from certain death. The scope of the group changed when many gathered to discuss not only political prisoners but also the unacceptable state of the empire itself. Many talked about overthrowing the emperor. Over time word spread throughout the empire and many groups met to discuss these things. Unfortunately, Richard could not be everywhere at once, and without his guidance, most of these gatherings accomplished very little.
It all changed one day when he met a man from the south who talked about a real resistance, backed by the resources of a wealthy family and the will of the common man to stop the empire. Hopeful, he journeyed south to see the group in operation. Impressed by the scale, organization, and resources of the southern liberation army, and by the sincerity and honesty of Sebastian, he agreed to merge the two groups under Sebastian’s command.