The second of five siblings born to Aelfred and Astrid Byreclove in the Lesser Kingdoms, Azel endured an impoverished and famished upbringing in a crowded home to become a sunny and self-starting young woman with a passion for learning. After spending much of her youth in close contact with the sick and destitute, Azel decided to become an alchemist and healer, despite having no formal education in the subject or means to obtain one. Instead, she embarked on a series of goodwill missions around the countryside to learn by experience throughout her teenage years. At 22, Azel faced a greater challenge: to locate her missing elder sister, Bridget.
Bridget and Azel were followed by twin brothers Dolphe and Yorick, and a third sister, Gilda, with nearly 15 years between the first and last child. The family lived on a small plot and relied on subsistence farming, sometimes selling the excess (or sometimes even the majority) of the food at market. Highly underprivileged, Azel busied herself with independent study as she was unable to attend school, and, with the help of a local priest, was able to learn to read.
From a young age, Azel was exposed to the social and physical consequences of poverty. She witnessed elderly beggars slowly wither away, and plague victims be expelled from overwhelmed chapels, only to be beaten to death for resorting to burglary. Despite soul-crushing conditions, the Byreclove family remained stalwart and close-knit, with the siblings showing great enthusiasm for life and powerful imaginations. Aelfred sought to inspire them with a desire to better the world, and constantly reminded them that hard work and perseverance, and not money, was the key to achieving great things.
Azel was quick to take her father's lessons to heart, and at the age of 15, departed on a goodwill mission around the local countryside, speaking to the homeless about their conditions and finding ways to help. She accepted only small donations for her work in order to remain a non-profit, and to her family's great surprise, returned three weeks later with a gift of salt-cured ham for her entire family, a thank-you message from a nearby village's butcher, who was captivated by her selflessness, even if her methods were ineffective. Azel informed her father that she wanted to become an alchemist so that she could heal the sick with "real medicines," which her father enthusiastically endorsed. Unfortunately, this did not mean that Azel would obtain an education in the subject. Instead, she would depart on longer and more intense missions throughout her teenage years, slowly learning how and when to mix particular ingredients, learning recipes, and helping the needy, even if she sometimes harmed them through experimentation.
With all seven members of the house held in a dwelling with only three beds and not enough food to go around, it came as no surprise that Bridget, the oldest and most capable, departed at her very first convenience, having grown into a brooding and reclusive figure. Azel, two years younger and unaccustomed to taking care of her brothers and sisters, was devastated by Bridget's leaving and immediately ceased her adventuring. Still, she remained close with Bridget, corresponding by mail until a mysteriously-worded letter invited her to a bonfire in the woods nearby her sister's village. Azel wished to attend, but a sudden illness overtook her parents and forced her to stay home on the night she was due to see her sister for the first time in years. The following day, both parents had perished, leaving Azel shocked and helpless.
The service for her mother and father was humble, like all things in their life, but Azel was further stunned that Bridget failed to attend the funeral. Additional letters were sent, but the couriers returned with word that the dwelling where Bridget had resided was nothing more than a charred husk. Finally, Azel left her twin brothers in charge of the family farm and traveled to her sister's home, only to find it as it had been described. Utterly heartbroken, Azel's spirits were finally lifted when locals informed her that her sister had not been present during the night of the fire, but was actually missing. Azel excitedly put together her travelling gear and prepared to set out once again, determined to understand why her family had been marred by illness and dark mystery so suddenly.