The House of Strahd
Half elf and half human, Marek grew up rather uneventfully for being in a family of noble knights. His parents, Chandler and Vaela Buckman, with their child on the way, were at an impasse as to how they should raise him. Through their deliberations, they came to the decision to split his learning between the two cultures.
His mother, an elf, kept him to study at home for his first ten years. She taught him about elven culture, the elven language, and instilling him with a sense of respect for life. He thoroughly enjoyed this time, for he was very attached to his mother.
His father, being human, wanted nothing more than for him to learn the ways of man. His father enrolled him in a public institution, where Marek spent his time learning social skills, adapting quickly to the ways of man. He found them more agreeable than the hierarchy of elven society he learned from his mother, and was happy to be around people regularly.
The human children treated him differently, often looking toward him with respect and considering him above the others. Marek learned to treat everyone the way they treated him, which left other’s feeling he was very humble, thus drawing in even more respect.
After he graduated from the public schooling at the age of 18, his parents thought it best for him to get a more practical understanding of the world, and helped him get a job as a helper in a tavern. Young and relatively inexperienced, he relished in the experience, and took the opportunity to learn all he could from travelers and the tavern master. He grew as a man, and learned very well how to communicate, and how to behave, around all manner of people. He also learned quite a lot about the history of the land, and often sat to talk about different religions as well. After a few years at the tavern, he began to feel at home around all manner of people.
The tavern, located in Elturel, had one particular visitor that captivated Marek straight from the beginning. Ontharr Frume, a human Paladin, arrived to eat and rest from some quest, and kept Marek’s attention throughout the entirety of the evening. Every opportunity he had, Marek would interact with him, constantly refilling his ale, usually accompanying it with a question about his travels or his duties. Amused, Ontharr went to bed that evening well fed and relaxed. In the morning, Marek had taken it upon himself to ready Ontharr’s belongings and horse for the road. To his surprise, Ontharr offered to bring him along, and told Marek he had already cleared it with the tavern master. Delighted, they both departed.
For the next 6 years, Marek spent his time travelling with Ontharr as his squire. Through many adventures, Marek learned everything he could about being a paladin, and even became fairly adept in battle. However, he realized through these travels that Ontharr was a different man than Marek wanted to be, but was a fine mentor nonetheless. With his conviction to protect the weak and remove the world from evil, he still sought to became a Paladin. His first assignment, to hunt and slay a pack of werewolves.
During this assignment, Marek became possessed by a young girl’s ghost, which gave him a strong sense of determination for a singular act, destruction of a monster. After fulfilling the duty, and retreating from the structure as it collapsed around him, he became remorseful for not giving the child a proper burial. Fueled by this new sensation, he swore an oath of vengeance on anything or anyone who sought to steal the lives of the innocent.