- "There's a lot of hungry people hereabouts, and the roads are dangerous. So, you have a choice: You can give us most of your food to feed the starving, or all your money to let you pass. What’ll it be, pal?"
- —Markus Eldebrandt[1a]
Born in Taalgrad to a poor family, Markus Eldebrandt left to begin a career as a mercenary serving in the eastern provinces of the Empire and Kislev. A falling out with his captain over a dice game while in the employ of Ostland led to a fight in which the captain fell and broke his neck. Knowing this was a hanging offence, Markus fled over the Wolf's Run to Hochland, where he joined with a band of outlaws, the Red Hook Gang. A natural survivor and leader, Markus worked his way up to second in command, until the chief, Carlo, was killed during an ambush of a merchants' caravan that carried disguised Hochlander troops. The gang fled and Markus assumed command, renaming the group for himself, the "Eldebrandt Boys".[1a]
Things were going well until the invasion. When the armies of Chaos moved in, Markus and his gang fled into the woods. They tried to avoid contact, but would attack small groups of Beastmen and Greenskins when necessary. It was in the north when Markus saw first hand the misery of the refugees, that he had a minor conversion. No saint he, but he could do some good for those who had nothing left. Since the armies passed on, the Eldebrandt Boys have been robbing well-off travellers of either their food or clothes, which they leave secretly at night for impoverished refuges, or obtain gold, a portion of which they leave for the Shallyans. With the breakdown of order in Hochland, Markus sees himself and his gang as the rightful protectors of the people. Some day soon, this mission will bring him into conflict with the Count's forces.[1a]