Year 1855: Zaye is born from the hidden recognition between Calliope, a baker, and Odin Emlen, a noble. By the time he is born, Odin has brought his new mistress into his family and forced the two groups to become one - like it or not.
While Camellia and Baron are never cruel to him, he always feels like there is a wall when he's around them - possibly the result of Odin's constant adoration of him. As a result, Zayne grows up realizing just how much power he has over his father (and other adults once he starts testing his excuses and lies) and the value of being unseen by the rest. He begins to break rules and escape his home to find places more fun to be.
The only time he is truly well behaved is with his mother. In fact, he always makes sure to be home in time to cook dinner with her, as that is a ritual they do together each night. He has heard the stories from his mother about how she was once a noble too - until someone more powerful inherited and cast her out. It began to feed him fears that Baron would one day do the same to him.
Year 1859: He is enrolled in Legacy Institute. There he meets a fellow trouble maker, Lydia. At first he thinks he can make her his pawn in a few games but she quickly proves smart enough to see though him and they become genuine pals. It isn't long after that they accidentally included Destan in their mischeif and learned just how fun the seeming stick in the mud really was. The trio has become inseperable since.