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Dharwyn lived in the hamlet of Letham for the first eight years of his life, son of Estelle and Siggard. Six years after he was born, his mother gave birth to a daughter who was born with a pair of small knobby horns and a stump of a tail; Dharwyn's father departed from Letham two days later and returned alone after three weeks. His parents never spoke of the child, and acted as though Dharwyn were telling a fictional tale on the few occasions her mentioned her, leading him over time to believe that he had imagined the entire incident.

During his eighth winter, he witnessed a star falling from the skies into the mountains to the west of his home from his bedroom window; shortly after, he set out on a mission to find the star and bring a piece of it home, but what he found instead, after several days venturing up the mountain, was a jagged grey stone that hummed with energy. He hurried back to his hamlet to share his discovery, but made another far more devastating discovery instead. In his absence, the town had been obliterated by a company of blood trolls judging by the few scattered corpses he could see through the fire and the flames. Nothing, and no one, had survived.

His world burning around him, Dharwyn fled back up the mountain; in his terror and his rage, he became lost in the unpredictable landscape that tangled in on itself like a malicious knot. He struggled madly to survive alone in the wilderness for the weeks that followed, and as his desperation and his delirium grew, he began to see a strange symbol in his increasingly feverish dreams: an arc of seven stars within a circle made of jagged grey stone. And just as he reached the edge of death, he quite literally stumbled across a temple tucked into the heights of the mountains, and promptly fell unconscious on its stone steps.

Waking after what might have been only a few minutes or a few months, Dharwyn found himself in a bed in a room, half-blind with exhaustion, and when his vision cleared, the first image he saw was a crest above the door: an arc of seven stars within a circle of jagged grey stone. He had been carried inside by the stewards of the temple, and over time they healed his injuries and restored his health, but he had been so inconsolably enraged at the murder of his family and the destruction of his home that the Celestians decided that their only course of action was to remove the memory entirely, allowing Dharwyn to believe instead that he had lived his entire life at the temple.