In Ashen’s own words:
“I was born on the outskirts of Ustalav and to escape whatever influence my paternal side had, my mother fled north towards the Crown of the World. A few months into the journey she became severely ill, and frostbitten. By chance we were found by a caravan traveling from Tian Xia. Unfortunately their healers were unable to save her and before her final breath one of the alchemists vowed to watch over me.
When one of the clerics tried to revive her, the energy from it hurt me and I snarled. Almost immediately they tried to kill me for what I was, but the Alchemist intervened, he promised he would do it himself if it became necessary but he did not want to break his vow. Begrudgingly they allowed it.
Over my childhood I traveled with the group. Due to my light sensitivity I stayed indoors most of the day. When I would go out, usually hiding under a large brimmed hat, the other people in the caravan would whisper about how pale I was, often referring to me as ‘Ashen Grimace.’ Which I adopted as my name.
Most of my days were spent reading books and learning chemistry from my adoptive father. From his travels he had learned a lot about black powder and was constantly experimenting with it. He fashioned me a crude pistol, which we would tinker with and go hunting with. After many failed attempts it became somewhat reliable, but only he or I could use it properly.
While I didn’t know exactly where I was from, we were able to gather that it was somewhat near the crown of the world, and whenever we would travel in those regions I would go out and try to investigate anything I could about my history. On one of those trips, I came across a wagon in the middle of an ambush. The coach drivers and horses were dead, and a couple highwaymen were approaching the passengers huddled behind the wreckage. I leapt forward, rolled behind a barrel and shot one right between the eyes. From the bang and the sudden death of one of their companions the highway men fled. When they knew it was safe one of the passengers came forward to thank me, immediately I could tell he knew what I was but he didn’t say anything, he just said that his name was Professor Lorrimor and that he was in my debt. He went back to gather up his things and before he could turn around I was gone.
A few months later, my mentor/father got really ill. Afraid he was going to die and I wouldn’t have his protection anymore he told me to run. I gathered the few belongings I had and left. I started picking up odd jobs, and constantly moving around the region.
I don’t know how he was able to get it to me, or how he even knew my name, but somehow I received a letter about Lorrimer’s death."