Half-Cromner and half-Meritian, Kalen Zagger inherited his mother's Cromner look — tall, strong, fairly pale, with blonde hair and dark blue-grey eyes. He wears his hair closely shaven in accordance with the uniform standards of the Royal Guard. Long years of training in the Guard have given him a muscular frame and soldier's bearing. He is most often seen wearing the standard uniform of a Royal Guard (outside of state ceremonies) — black trousers, black tall boots, double-breasted black jacket with a silver shield symbol embroidered on both sleeves, and a black paragon hat.
Zagger is devoted to Tarik, more than he is to the Cavnish monarchy. By nature he has a strong moral code and a firm sense of duty, with little tolerance for self-serving and lazy people. Growing up entirely in the Guard, he has impeccable self-discipline, unwavering respect for authority, and an ingrained willingness to sacrifice everything for those he has vowed to protect.
His calm and methodical temperament and self-control make him a lethal fighter. He is observant and always vigilant, perfectly content to stay in the background as long as he knows he has the freedom to act if necessary. He talks little and listens carefully. With so much of his life focused on his mission, Zagger is actually fairly shy when it comes to interacting on a personal level with people he has no acquaintance with. When thrust out of his normal sphere of activity, he gravitates to the state of being closest to what he has always been accustomed to.
Born to a Meritian father and a Cromner mother — an illegal union in both countries, Zagger's life was in jeopardy from the moment it began. When his family's house in Cromis was burned down as part of a state execution, the infant Kalen was the only survivor, rescued from the conflagration by his uncle, a brilliant young scientist named Destri Alokin.
Alokin sought asylum for both himself and his infant nephew from a number of countries. Ultimately he decided to take Kalen to Cavnal when the King, then King Geyn, promised to raise the child in the Royal Guard in exchange for Alokin dedicating his scientific work to the service of Cavnal.
Zagger was raised within the academy system dedicated to the training of the Royal Guard. Traditionally this schooling begins at age seven, but special allowance was made for Kalen, whom Alokin was unsuited to raising given his eccentricity and odd work habits. Kalen was raised first by a nanny in the royal nursery, provided by the Crown until he was five, then given his initial education with private tutors until he turned seven.
At that point he entered the Guard Academy, where he was educated in statesmanship, leadership, history, psychology, basic medic corpsman training, military drill and ceremony, police investigation tactics, and political philosophy. He also trained from the age of seven on in the brutal martial art called Cashina, in which he excelled, as well as shooting, protection, contact and cover, and tactical driving — originally on state carriages, and, much later, with the newly invented motorcars.