07. Velibor Azetina
Birthplace: Zetina's Grace, Bozja
Velibor is a knight, and second cousin to Blaz. And, like Blaz, he is a direct descendant of the founders of the Verdant Path, an illustrious martial school famous for teaching everything from unarmed combat to swordplay to spear techniques.
This prestigious institution has existed for over two hundred years, and its adherents rose up in strength to defend the city-state of Bozja against the Garlean Empire's incursion. As the invasion rolled on, however, Basch van Gabranth, then legatus of the IVth Legion, grew reluctant at the slaughter of so much promising martial talent. He promised the Verdant Path amnesty and protection, if it would but swear fealty to the Empire. The schoolmaster accepted, and by surrendering himself to the invaders' justice were his disciples spared further bloodshed.
It was Velibor's grandmother who inherited the schoolmaster's mantle, and she upheld Gabranth's pact with unflinching rigidity─tempers would flare and groups would form to rebel against the occupying forces, but any student she caught joining these uprisings was immediately expelled. Thus did the Verdant Path endure. It was on her deathbed, however, that she muttered these words to her successor, Velibor's father: “I have honored our promise to Gabranth, as my husband wished. His sacrifice was an act of love, to ensure that we survived. But you, my son, are not beholden to this oath. A new age is upon us...”
Blaz arrived to find the Verdant Path now aligned with his own purpose, and Velibor discovered in his second cousin a kindred spirit. He remembers their first meeting, and the sense that a missing part of his soul had returned. Indeed, Velibor felt his distant relative more a brother in truth. Within a short while, they were engaged in friendly rivalry, their mutual encouragement leading to the invention of new martial techniques.
Even as their companionship blossomed, the school took steps to formalize its allegiance to the Bozjan Resistance, and Velibor, along with some few dear comrades, was invited to join the vaunted Gunnhildr's Blades. This day, as on every other, is his greatsword poised to fall upon the oppressors of his people.