Gereon was found by Auric Whitehorse during his last assignment as a soldier after sacking a savage Gray Orc encampment. Auric found Gereon alone in a hut, sleeping but with no sign of any parents. Taking pity on the baby whose parents must certainly be dead on the nearby battlefield, Auric took it home with him and raised it as his own son.
Growing up, Gereon was raised with other 'civilized' children and never knew life in Orc society. He realized early that his looks set him quite apart from the other children and used this to his advantage when making friends and staying out of trouble.
At home, Gereon would help with the chores - mostly of the lifting and moving type, as he found he was quite strong and developed his strength through to adulthood. However, his mother Gwendolyn insisted that no son of hers would grow up not knowing how to take care of himself. As a result, Gereon learned to sew, cook and clean; and discovered a talent for cooking that saw him preparing the family supper twice or thrice a week.
As a teenager, Gereon was brought into the ancestral business by his father: raising and training horses for battle. He was taught every aspect of the job - from how to pick mates from the stock to better the herd and how raise horses that would keep their heads in combat and protect their riders; to how to train the colts and how to conduct business with kings, generals, mercenary captains and even the occasional adventuring party.
As the Ranch had been handed down and around the family for generations, so to had the family's reverence of Andor - with many of the family second sons and spinster daughters becoming clergy over the generations. Gereon was raised on stories of death, rebirth and the great heroes of Andor and took the God's teachings to heart.
At 15, Gereon was hunting dinner in the woods, when he heard a loud crack from behind him. Turning, he barely managed to dodge the ancient Yew tree as it fell towards him. Even so, the branch scored a line down his left arm that would leave a scar for the rest of his life. Walking back into town, holding his bleeding arm steady with the good one, Gereon alerted the town to the find, which could supply the town's wood needs for a few months at least. He was awarded a slice from the base of the trunk, which he carved over a period of months into a Wheel of Andor in appreciation of his not being felled by the tree.
At 18 and the urgings of his father, Gereon joined the militia to learn to fight and defend himself and, peripherally, to better understand the environment the mounts the family sold worked in. He brought his Andor teachings with him, and even wound up inspiring an interest in a couple of his squad-mates.
It was at this time, meeting other Orcs who had been raised in Orc society, that Gereon first felt out of place. He had never known anything outside his upbringing and often found himself and his lack of cultural knowledge the target of other orcs' jokes. As a result, he spent less time socializing with the orcs themselves, instead throwing himself into his large network of human friends while at the same time, a mounting curiosity led him to research Orc culture in his free time.
During his training and his stint, Gereon learned much about fighting from his mentor, Jaydenn. Gereon came to look on Jaydenn as a second father and when home on his first leave, Gereon found that Jaydenn and Auric had actually served together long ago. Gereon revealed this to Jaydenn and invited him to drop by on his next leave. Jaydenn accepted, and was soon spending every other leave or so with Gereon and his family.
It was on the most recent leave, while Jaydenn was visiting, when disaster struck. Gereon was 22 and had returned from seeing his first real battle. Auric, Gereon and Jaydenn were all celebrating his victory with a hearty Orc alcohol Gereon and Auric had brewed (Gereon supplies the recipe and procedure, gleaned from his research; while Auric gathered the materials and did the actual brewing in time for Gereon's return) and generally having a good time of it. Even Gwen joined in on the celebration, serving the traditional Orc dish for celebrating the first victory and in general, a fine time was had.
The next morning, Gereon woke - groggy, stiff and hungover. A startled pair of gasps penetrated his hazy mind about the same time as the pain began to register. Opening his eyes, he was blinded for a moment and when he tried to raise his arm to block out the sunlight, he grunted in pain and noticed that it was broken and non-responsive.
Eventually, Gereon found that he was on the very edge of town; naked, covered in blood - not entirely his own - and with a broken arm. A healer was let through the small crowd to treat the wounds which to the healer's surprise proved resistant to his magic. It would take weeks of recovery for the bones to heal and for Gereon to recover the use of his sword-arm.
In that time, Gereon received more bad news. His home was a smoldering ruin, everything unrecoverable save for the contents of a single chest that had been stored in the cellar. It had been spelled specifically to protect its contents - and had, even though doing so through this conflagration seemed to have drained every last drop of deowmer from its enchantment.
Inside the chest was the title deed to the house, ranch and storefront; a bag of gold coins that was the family's savings; and a bracer Auric had retained from his wilder days and wove many a tall tale around during Gereon's own youth.
The only good news that came to Gereon was that there was not a single trace of Auric, Gwen or Jaydenn in the ashes; nor was there a trace of the two Whitehorse mounts Jaydenn and Gereon had rode home the night before. And while the mounts returned to town the next day rider-less; they were wearing the tack Gereon and Jaydenn had removed before tying them outside the house.
The last notable occurrence was the odd effect the house had on magic following the fire. Spell effects on the ground where the house had stood were muted, if they managed to be cast at all.
The effect this disaster had on Gereon was terrible. For a month, he was despondent and withdrawn, despite working fully with the healer to regain the use of his arm. After that, he threw himself into the business, struggling to change gears from Grunt to Merchant.
Even so, the effect on Gereon's standing in the community was worse. There was no evidence linking Gereon to the disaster, except for his being the only one still present, so no charges were pressed in the case. But, because of the strange circumstances surrounding the disaster, the community avoided Gereon as much as he avoided them. The business suffered, as it became more and more difficult to procure supplies for the horses and buyers for the stock locally.
One night, months later, Gereon had a dream. He was with his family; it was the last night they had been together. The men were deep in their cups when Gwen screamed. There was a blur of motion as a force materialized in the room and moved menacingly towards Gwen. Auric and Jaydenn leapt to her defense unarmed, while Gereon stopped just long enough to grab a poker from the fireplace.
Auric and Jaydenn took turns grappling with the thing, a black haze that seemed not to have a defined shape, as it would struggle for a moment before tossing one aside to be met with the other jumping back into the fray. Auric yelled to Gwen to get the horses ready and she dodged around the thing as Gereon slammed the poker against its 'back' to distract it. The thing whipped an 'arm' around, impacting Gereon's arm with a sickening, wet crunch and throwing him against the wall. The shelf above him collapsed, the objects displayed on it and hanging above it either hitting him on the head or falling around him.
Jaydenn motioned to Auric while Gereon shook his head to clear the ringing and his left hand closed around one of the objects that had fallen next to him. Gereon watched his two adoptive fathers as they fought the thing, slowly backing towards the door as he pressed himself backwards to slide slowly up the wall until he was standing.
Gereon heard Gwen call from out front that the horses were ready, and Auric yelled back acknowledgement. Jaydenn ordered Gereon to leave out the back and they'd ride around to pick him up, and then told Auric to go mount up with Gwen and lead the free horse past him to jump on. Gereon blinked down at the object in his hand - the Wheel of Andor he had carved as a boy - and he shook his head at Jaydenn.
Gereon, punch drunk but still dangerous, launched himself at the Thing; yelling at his elders to go and cracked the Wheel down on the back of the Thing's 'head'. It emitted a scream like a steam whistle and spun on Gereon where he stood, arm limp at his side, Wheel held tightly in his off-hand, smirking like a cat with yellow feathers in its teeth.
Jaydenn grinned at Gereon's stance and pulled Auric outside, reminding Gereon once more that they'd ride around back to pick him up. Gereon traded blows with the Thing, whose attacks seemed slow, weak and inaccurate compared to before Gereon's blow, using the Wheel alternately as an improvised shield and club.
Gereon fought slowly backwards, hearing the calls of his father and mother from behind him. He heard the door open and reflexively turned to look before he could stop himself. He saw his commander's face, shocked and dismayed, before the world tilted and his vision faded.
Gereon woke in a sweat, sitting straight up in his cot. It had been nearly a year since the disaster, and in all that time, Gereon had never remembered any of the night. Now the memory was as fresh as if it had happened yesterday. It was not quite light out, but Gereon rose from his bed to begin the day, disturbed and confused.
That night he had difficulty falling asleep. Even so, as the moon rose late into the night, he slipped into a fitful sleep.
As clear as last night's dream had been, tonight's was hazy. Half-formed images and muffled sounds bombarded him. He saw two white horses galloping across a broken, monochromatic plain as though the hounds of hell pursued them. He saw three figures running past and around him in odd, confusing patterns. Then 5 Knights swung into view, each in different armor, charging 5 shadows that were charging back. The Wheel of Andor was rolling down a path with Gereon jogging in place atop it, madly trying to keep up. Lastly, he saw a man, clad for battle, dancing wildly in the middle of a crossroads.
Waking again in a sweat, the visions danced in his memory and he felt a drive to find their meaning. He packed his things and sent word to his Uncle, his father's younger brother, to come watch the ranch and take over the business as he would be leaving. He waited the two days it took his Uncle to teleport and ride in, reimbursed him for the teleport from the coffers, then set out to find this dancing warrior in a crossroads.
A few days' research and travel later finds Gereon sitting in the Dancing Warrior Wayhouse in the town of Crossroads, sipping an ale and sweeping an analytic gaze repeatedly around the room.