Year 1823: Maximilian was born to very strict traditionalist parents who did their best to live up to the high ideals of Wysterian culture. They were very proud of who they were and dismayed by how many of their fellow Wysterians touted similar ideals but rarely lived up to them. This level of personal accountability was passed on to Maximilian and is one of the things he has clung to throughout his upbringing. The Valkenraths had been renowned smiths & weaponsmiths in the region for generations and Maximilian took to the family trade with great interest. He had a knack for finding ways to improve on designs and introduced a number of interesting innovations to his family weapon lines as he grew into manhood.
Year 1841: When he turned 18, Maximilian decided to serve his country and enlisted in the Wysterian Army.
He served with distinction, showing that he not only could craft weapons but utilized them quite well. He rose through the ranks to Captain (and was granted a Lordship for distinction of service). He was also commissioned to lead a regiment of Wysterian Riflemen. Maximilian not only joined his troops on the field of battle, he was also known to dine with them as well. He never saw himself as better than his fellow servicemen simply because he held a title. This made him well respected among his men.
During these years, when he had time to go home between fighting seasons, he met and fell in love with the woman who would become his wife, Isabell. Their romance and courtship moved quickly and Maximilian insisted they go through the arduous process of a Traditional Wysterian marriage. Isabell agreed and they were married “the right way”.
Year 1843: Artur is born.
Year 1846: Lotte is born.
Year 1851: Reinhardt is born.
Year 1858: One particular day, not unlike any other, Maximilian decided to bring little Reinhardt to the barracks to show him around (because the child was so curious). That was the day Mateal and its hideous metallic minions arose. The devastation was widespread and the only thing that save the two that day was being among Maximilian’s unit of war-hardened veterans. When the dust & ash settled, Maximilian tried to get back home only to learn much of the entire area was turned to slag. His wife, his parents and all his other children….gone. Reinhardt was all he had left in this world. There was no counterstrike ordered by the Wysterian King, only an order of evacuation. And with that, they were refugees.
The remaining Wysterians made their way to the lands of Aether, who grudgingly took them in. Maximilian traded, bartered and scrounged to eke out a living for him and his son until finally, about a year after they lost everything, he managed to build a modest smithy in the Market quarter in the hopes to continue the Valkenrath family name. It isn’t easy, though, given the regular harassment from the local Aetherian authorities and the extortion attempts from the criminal syndicates that pepper the Market District. It makes him more resentful and bitter as time goes on and more desirous for a Wysterian homeland again. If only that no good “king” would get off his ass and do something for his people. We’ll see...