Beings of Tash Kalar
Together with the Axeman, this was one of the first beings created for the game. These beings were meant to be "regulars", i.e., line soldiers, and that's why they appear in a straight line of your pieces. The theme shifted a bit during development, but this remained.
I always imagined the Swordmaster appearing with her sword held in both hands in front of herself (similar to the pose on the card's reverse) and then lunging and swinging diagonally backwards, surprising an opponent there. If she succeeds, she gets promoted. We tried to capture this with the picture, but you know, it is just a picture. :) I hope to show you more soon...
The Swordmaster can be very useful during the initial phase of the game. Opponents should watch for its pattern to avoid the situation described in the Guidebook. :) Later in the game, the Swordmaster is a rather weaker card, and if there is no situation to use its effect fully, do not wait – just summon it without effect to draw a stronger card.
The history of the Swordmaster is highly tied with the Axeman. They started in the original deck, and their effect was just to kill a diagonally/orthogonally adjacent common piece. When the original deck split into Empire and Highland, their ways parted, but the effects remained similar. I just added an option to move to the destroyed piece's square to both cards, to strengthen them a bit. And later, their effects were altered to strengthen the theme and distinguish the schools. This became final also because the Swordmaster was such a good example for explaining the game. :)
Btw: I have a weird feeling whenever I see the Swordmaster's picture, because I was personally a model for it. :) I did this pose for David to explain how I imagine the Swordmaster killing the diagonally adjacent piece, and he said, "Stay like that for a moment," and made a draft. I have to say, it is not a comfortable pose. My legs and arm were hurting a bit before he was done.