Some early background for the character. Comments are welcome.
Claus was born to a family of miners in the Vosges Mountains in Upper Loraine. His family was one of forty to fifty families forming a group of wandering miners. The group would establish themselves for a time at the location of a suitably rich vein of silver, exploit it for a few years in exchange for paying taxes to the local lord, then move on when the vein became depleted. It was hard work, in an environment that was often unhealthy, but this was the life they had chosen. It had its rewards, for the families had access to more wealth than simple peasants did and were not bound to a single piece of land. And if the demands of the local lord became excessive, as they occasionally did, then they would simply pack up and move on.
The boy was never very strong, but he still worked along his father and family at the mines, by carrying water and supplies at first, then sorting and washing raw ore to extract silver nuggets from it, as well as eventually working the narrower tunnels and putting up the shoring in new tunnels. Claus had a talent for inspiring the boys his age to work together, a natural leader within the mines. Claus’ life changed dramatically at age eleven. That winter, sickness came to the families, perhaps brought by a stranger passing through or perhaps the work of the devil. Many became sick, and most of those died within a week. Claus was different, for while he was one of the first ones to fall sick, he survived even though fever and pain continued for almost a month. Despair filled him as he saw his family become sick and die, one after the other.
Those families that were spared by the sickness were scared by so much death. Even though it was the middle of winter, they decided to abandon the mine and move on, leaving the dying behind. So it was that when the men of the local lord came by to investigate why shipment of silver had stopped, all they found was an abandoned village with a few frozen bodies. And Claus. They looked at him with suspicion, thinking that perhaps the boy had been touched by the devil. Thankfully for the boy, word of the tragedy and of its lone survivor came to a magus of the Order who was travelling through. Upon examining the boy, he soon established that the boy had the Gift. A well-placed bribe made it easy for him to take custody of the boy.
Thus did Claus become the apprentice of Severus of House Flambeau. He brought the boy back to the Greater Alps to begin his training at the covenant he was residing in, although he moved several times to a new covenant during the fifteen years of Claus’ apprenticeship. Sometimes it was only for a short visit to one of Severus’ filii, Procurus and Iustus, who contributed to Claus’ training. In these travels, the young man learned to be self-reliant, studying and practicing on his own as much as learning directly from his master.
Being a practitioner of the school of Apromor, Severus shaped the youth’s Gift to allow him great capabilities in the Art of Perdo, but also taught him to be flexible in his use of magic. Severus was also a believer in leadership, loyalty and discipline, instilling those precepts to the young Claus.
After succeeding at his Gauntlet, his pater gave him the name Lucius. The honorable name also means ‘pike’ in Latin, something that Severus found appropriate for his former apprentice, whose name often sounded like ‘claws’ in English, his native language.