Daniel Zuse was born around 134 AYZ in the remote northern village of Audel. He was the only child of Andrew and Maude Zuse, a hardscrabble mining family struggling to make end's meet. The young Daniel was expected to follow in the footsteps of his father, becoming a miner and marrying one of the local village girls. His parents were too busy to pay much attention to him.
Sometime in his youth, Daniel led a girl wearing a black velvet band in her hair into a field. He then "blacked out" and when he awoke, he found he had strangled her with her braid. Panicking, he fled the scene. The body was discovered the next morning, but no one guessed the identity of the killer.
Daniel left home when he came of age, telling his family he needed to find his way in the world. He is documented as having worked odd jobs as a laborer on various farms and ranches, and even in mills and factories. No one knew much about him. Over time, the frequency of his blackouts gradually increased, as did the reports of murders.
On one occasion where circumstantial evidence cast suspicion on him, Daniel fled into the wilderness. The isolation further deteriorated his sanity.
By the time he encountered Vormund, he had descended into a bestial state, living naked and filthy in the wilderness. He was "cured" of his madness by Vormund's presence, which proved comforting to him. Taking on the name Ethan, he began following Vormund and refused to leave his side, afraid he would once again return to the abyss.
The First Disciple
Early in their travels together, Vormund and Ethan were tracked down by Drusus Rolfe, a ranger assigned to hunt down Daniel Zuse. Recognizing Ethan as the notorious murderer, he arrested him at once. Vormund refused to leave him, and over the course of a single night he convinced Drusus that Ethan was a changed man. Drusus agreed to let him go on the grounds he could follow them and make sure Ethan never killed anyone.
Ethan was with Vormund when he first traveled to Hiberia. As part of a scheme to free Clara Richter from prostitution, he dressed as a wealthy client and led her out of the brothel.
Vormund always introduced him as his "adopted son", and the two became inseparable. The prophet's other followers considered him to be quiet, introverted, and rather strange, but weren't suspicious of him. He no longer experienced blackouts as long as he remained with Vormund.
During a second trip to Hiberia, Ethan received a large dose of the hallucinogenic drug darjeel. He was never the same after the experience. Not long after, Sophie Rolfe died under mysterious circumstances, and Drusus was quick to blame Ethan. He fled the scene of the crime and sought refuge with Vormund, who acknowledged he no longer had any power to save Ethan from himself. When Drusus attempted to kill Ethan, Vormund stood in his way and talked him down, promising they would take him to the police in Tyr.
Leon Gorrister reported Vormund, Drusus, and Ethan to the police. The three were arrested, thrown in a Tyran prison, and kept in separate cells. A special grant from the king allowed the families of Ethan's victims to conduct a "trail by lashes" - Ethan was tortured and eventually killed by them.