As the story began, the three heroes were soldiers belonging to the 5th Squad, 3rd Army, the Bridgeburners. Jerekiah Arkentaal, a mage haunted by the murder of his parents, Laal, a mute paladin, and Xander, a ranger from the coastal forests, were a trio unlikely to have met had the war not pressed them together. Trapped beneath the decks of a landing barge, they were taking place in the amphibious assault on the city of Sogena. The carefully laid plans of their commanders were quickly dashed, as the artillery detachment assigned to support the landing was delayed by an ambush. The decision was made to land without support, and the heroes were instrumental in securing the docks. Several hours into the siege, as the Bridgeburners encountered fierce resistance, the artillery arrived on the opposite bank of the river Sogen, and began a hellish bombardment that plunged the city into a firestorm. In the ensuing chaos of blood and fire, Xander became separated from the others, and has not been seen since. The remaining pair pressed on without their comrade, and took place in the storming of the City Hall.