"Alzim, now that's a name! Leader of the Alten Mercenary Corps, master tactician, ex-general of the Cadmury Kingdom's forces, slayer of entire brigades, or perhaps most notable is he is a master Weilder. Sadly many of the young do not remember him."
Old man at the local pub
Draw the party together as debtors to the local lord, king, head of the thieves guild, or mercenary clan, who is forcing them to work together to pay off their debts.