Born in southern Alberta, Canada in 1900, a young, half-Mohawk boy lost his parents and was sent to an orphanage. He dreamed once he was a raven, flying at night to feed on the dead in hell, which his grandfather interpreted to mean his way would be twisted between contrary worlds, and that his Spirit Raven totem was saying that he would have no place to roost, his life filled magic and danger. Eventually the boys uncle in New England took him in. The boy eventually grew into a tall, lanky man with a twisted grin, pale skin and jet black hair; an idealist, he was obsessed with making the world a better place. After his best friend Bill Hershey enlisted in 1915, he soon signed up, too. Other soldiers quickly learned not to mess with the boy; though slender, the half-Mohawk soldier was a vicious combatant, undaunted by odds, who would not stop fighting while he could stand. After two years in boot camp, waiting impatiently for the US to enter the war, the friends were sent to the Belgian frontlines. At Ypres, the boy's idealism withered amidst the horror of rats, mud and half-buried bodies. After Bill saved him from drowning in corpse-filled trench mud, the shell-shocked youth was shipped home, spending sometime in a New England asylum.