Kelmar's father was head of the palace guards at a minor baron's keep. It was a good living, steady and reliable, and he was determined that his son would follow in his footsteps. Kelmar had other plans.
His father trained him for years in the simple, reliable style of swordplay he knew best. Kelmar hated it. Whenever adventurers passed through, he begged them to show off their weapon skills for him, and he tried to replicate their stunts in practice bouts with his father, who had little patience for flashy tricks and easily countered his son's clumsy efforts. When Kelmar was 14, he stopped using these showy moves against his father, and seemed to settle down into the same steady, reliable, boring style his father believed in. Secretly, though, he was practicing every trick and maneuver he'd seen, at first with a simple stick, and then with an old rusty rapier he snuck out of the baron's armory.
On his sixteenth birthday, his father presented him with his first sword, in front of the baron: a simple, plain, heavy guard's sword. Kelmar made an audacious wager with the baron: if he could beat his father four bouts out of five, with the sword of his choice from the armory, he could keep it. He chose the baron's finest rapier, and proceeded to disarm his father six times in a row, in six different ways. The baron laughed until tears ran down his cheeks, and honored the wager. He offered Kelmar a position in his personal guard, and Kelmar didn't exactly refuse, but asked to travel first and see a bit of the world before taking up his post.
His first few adventures taught him two things. First, that real life was much more frightening and much more dangerous than he had ever realized. Second, that with a bold heart and a sense of flair, nobody could see that he was afraid—in fact, after his first couple of fights, he didn't even realize it himself.