As a university town, Humboldt, California brought in people from all walks of life, so Braden was exposed to great variety very early on. He was raised by his mother, Dana Ivers, but never knew his father. Though he fantasized early on that he was the result of some forbidden romance, and that's why his mother wouldn't speak of his father, by his teen years he realized that it was likely nothing more than a one-night stand. The revelation stung, and left Braden feeling adrift and searching for some deeper meaning to his life.
Braden had always seen things. Glimpses of something indescribable out of the corner of his eye while he walked the northern Californian woods. Even flashes of insight about events yet to come. For most of his life, he never really questioned this apparent sensitivity. But as he started questing for purpose, it occurred to him that others did not see the things he saw. He began delving into the occult and neo-pagan interests, and found a circle of friends that were involved in the same. They dabbled in everything from modern day Wicca and druidism, to seances and amateur parapsychology, to an unhealthy fixation on Anne Rice novels and techno-trance music. It was mostly harmless, and gave the friends something to bond over. But in time, Braden realized that even these people didn't see what he saw. Was he uniquely attuned to the spiritual world? Or was he just losing his mind?
His questions went without answers for several years. It wouldn't be until his sixteenth birthday that things would start to make sense...and become all the more confusing.
Braden and his friends were celebrating his birthday in their own peculiar fashion. They had a favorite haunt out in the woods, a secluded glen containing the hollowed out stump of a redwood that fell ages ago. They swore that it was a place of power, where they could commune with faeries and nature spirits. Not that any of them ever successfully did so...at least not until Braden.
They weren't wrong about the glen. Little did they realize that the tree stump marked a dormant trod to a faerie freehold. Nor could they have possibly known that the forgotten place had recently been remembered. In the aftermath of their revelry, an inebriated Braden was losing his virginity upon that very trod. The intensity of emotion, likely coupled with the latent power of the place, filled him with something that night under the crescent moon above. Something...Wyld. The last thing he firmly remembers is hearing his girlfriend scream, and seeing her snatching up her clothes and fleeing into the woods. He wanted to give chase. Every instinct in his body told him to go after her, to follow her scent and...
But the arrival of a stranger interrupted him. Tall, beautiful, and otherworldly, the woman exuded a power that quelled the wildness in him, calming his heart and making him cow before her. Though the experience remains like a hazy dream, her worlds to him echo clearly in his memory. His blood had awakened that night, she explained, in more ways than one. He would soon learn about half of his heritage, but there was more that he wasn't yet ready for. She told him that he would also begin to see into her world, but that he must stay the urge to share all that he knew with the wolves. To help ensure that he would remain an ally to the Fae, the sidhe enchantress placed a geas upon him -- something he now understands could have been much crueler.
Still not entirely certain what had happened to him, but knowing full well that he had experienced something far beyond the trite rituals he had been a part of thus far, Braden left. His mother was shockingly understanding, as if she had expected this would happen. She gave him some money, some final parenting advice, and made him promise to call her before putting him on a bus. He made it as far as Portland before he met his father.
Clad in leather, covered in tattoos, and wearing a nose exactly like Braden's, a stranger knocked on his motel room door one night, and introduced himself with a bold, "Hello, boy. I'm yer Da." Braden had been through enough strangeness recently that he was willing to at least entertain the notion. He let the man in, and heard him out. Conn McGuinness, as he called himself, told Braden a story. He talked about Gaia and shapeshifters, about wolves and faeries, and a sacred duty to nurture and protect the world from true corruption. It was incredible, unbelievable...and exactly what Braden wanted to hear. He was special, after all. It explained all of the strange feelings he'd had throughout his life.
Conn traveled with Braden for a time, teaching him to understand and control the Change. In time, he brought him to a sept in Washington, where he was able to learn more about being a Theurge and eventually go through his Rite of Passage. Like his father, he became affiliated with the Fianna camp known as the Tuatha de Fionn. He learned that his line had traces of faerie blood, which accounted for his sensitivity to certain things.
Finding His Path
Since his Rite of Passage, Braden remained in Washington for a few years, but at his father's urging, he eventually struck out to find his own path. He wandered from sept to sept, looking for a pack he belongs in, and constantly searching for the fae in both the Umbra and the Tellurian. He works odd jobs here and there to get by, but has lived homeless on more than one occasion (being able to hunt in lupus form has its benefits).
As the sidhe woman had promised, he saw things; often things that convinced him he was going mad. People with two faces, imaginary creatures that were all too real, even though everyone else couldn't see or touch them. He learned all he could about this remarkable dream-world, both via his own research, and now and then by speaking with those that fully inhabited it. But he remembered the sidhe woman's words. Though his geas didn't strictly ban him from speaking of the fae and the Dreaming, he was very selective about how much he shared with other Garou, knowing that he might indirectly bring harm to his more distant kin.