Scales of War
Baron was born Stephan Brandale, the second son of the noted arcane scholar and historian Ivan Brandale. Following the death of his wife while Stephan was still a small child, Ivan left his established position at the university and travelled extensively with Stephan and his elder son, Marcus, conducting extensive research into the early history of the [[Elsir Vale#Kingdom_of_Rhestilor|Kingdom of Rhestilor]]. When funds began to run short, Stephan supplemented his income by tutoring the children of the nobility and taking the opportunity to further his research in the private records of the landed classes that such patronage provided.
Marcus, more like his father in temperament, adapted well to the change of circumstance and contributed to his father’s work wherever possible. Stephan, being several years younger and less inclined towards study, found himself thrust into a world where the boys his own age were frequently the boisterous sons of his father’s patrons, themselves given over more to physical pursuits than study. Alternately the victim of ridicule or worse, or, as he grew, its instigator, Stephan found little value in hours of long study, preferring to lead a more active life. As long as Ivan was distracted by his research and the increasing achievements of his eldest son, Stephan was free to spend much of his time as he wished.
When the time came for Marcus to return to the university to pursue his own studies, Stephan found himself the chief object of his father’s attention. Suddenly aware of the extent to which he had neglected his second son’s education, Ivan began to tutor Stephan extensively, speaking often of his dream that Stephan would soon follow his brother into the world of academia. Realising that this would be his best chance to escape from his father’s control, Stephan gave every appearance of attending to his studies, and in fairness came to a greater appreciation of many fields of study, including history and the arcane arts.
Resolved to study magic further, as Marcus had set out to do several years before, Stephan left for the university. Yet once out of his father’s control, Stephan’s older habits reasserted themselves. He fell in with a louder, rougher and far less studious crowd than his brother had done. Still holding an interest in things magical, especially as he heard tales and occasionally even witnessed his brother’s achievements, Stephan, mockingly called “Baron” Brandale by his new friends in reference to the manners and contacts he had acquired through his father, sought ways to further his power without investing the necessary time and effort of study.
At night he researched darker and more primitive arts – less refined magic but no less potent. In a short time his efforts were uncovered and he was forced to leave the university with only the desire of some of the tutors to preserve the good reputation of his father, and the growing reputation of his brother, sufficing to keep the truths of his research hidden from the general student body. Finding himself with no position, lacking any desire for honest work and unwilling to return to his father, Baron adopted his new name in earnest and set out to make a new reputation for himself. Whether he wishes to be feared or loved is something he has yet to decide, the one thing he knows is that he craves power and respect and is equally happy to play hero or villain to achieve it.