Vasily was born the son of a reasonably well-to-do weaponsmith in Caliphas. His childhood was marked by the usual amounts of precocious childhood streetplay, time spent learning his father’s craft, and the not-as-usual fascination with books and educational materials on certain arcane subjects.
Vasily’s father Fyedka was able to send his son to one of the more prestigious academies in Caliphas, (in part with his own savings and in part from the scholarship that Vasily landed). At school, it became clear that Vasily’s areas of interest (1. Magic, 2. Swordplay) were not particularly broad but ran very deep. He would approach projects with an almost worrisome level of focus, spending days on end in his room or in the training ground, eschewing social contact and trivial matters such as eating and bathing until his work was complete.
He attended numerous lectures on the nature of the arcane. One such lecture was taught by Professor Lorrimor, who was struck by Vasily’s insightful (if frustratingly relentless) questions on the subject. During the few months in which Professor Lorrimor taught in residency at the academy, he and Vasily would spend hours debating and exploring arcane matters. It was the Professor who first suggested to Vasily that perhaps his two passions – one intellectual and one physical – could be viewed as complimentary rather than contradictory.
Shortly after Vasily truly came of age, his father passed away (his mother having died earlier), and he returned to run the smithy. For a while, he managed the shop reasonably well; what he lacked in experience he made up for in slavish devotion to a given task, and the quality of his work was acceptable. Then, about half a year ago, he woke one night with a sudden idea for a new rapier design.
For the next few months, he pursued this design with the same unhealthy degree of focus as his school projects. It took him numerous tries, massive costs in materials, and pretty much bankrupted the shop, but in the end Vasily had created a sword that felt perfect in his hand. It was exactly as he had envisioned it, with one odd side-effect; the blade, even polished, was black.
So that’s where we find Vasily today: practically destitute, having spent his entire earnings on the development of an idea he couldn’t let go of. The family shop has been claimed by the creditors, his clothes are threadbare, he’s not entirely sure whether he’ll be able to afford food in a week’s time. But suddenly he receives a letter that might be his salvation; apparently the good Professor has passed on, and his beloved student Vasily has been invited to the reading of the will…