|Age in 1556||41|
Ernst Hildebrand is a notorious Dalkhrovan "archaeologist" – read "tomb robber" – who has looted his way across Dalkhrova, the Kaspari Empire, and the Tismidan Jungles. In 1551, he tried to upstage his rival, Doctor Marvin Pike of Coffstown College, by beating him to a rumored temple deep in the Tismidan. Pike's expedition got there before Hildebrand's collection of thieves and mercenaries, but by the time the Dalkhrovan arrived, Pike's party was dead – bodies sliced apart, pieces missing.
Hildebrand looted the corpses and found the golden orb, which he hid on his person. He also found Pike's diary – a blood-spattered mess that spoke of the temple, the box they found there, and the traps that claimed half of Pike's remaining party. However, it couldn't tell Hildebrand where the temple was, and his near-mutinous party didn't want to go on further. So Hildebrand shot his "partners" and sold what he could.
He kept the diary, though, planning to study it for another trip back. Unfortunately, Hildebrand was involved in an airship crash and suffered terrible injuries. He lost an eye, a hand, and the ability to speak, and he had to wear a mask over his face to keep people from screaming. His savings kept him alive, but he was a broken shell of a man until he was contacted by Ruhford Köhl, a wealthy collector of artifcats and a Dalkhrovan unificationist and supremacist. Köhl's contacts gave Hildebrand the information he needed to find the temple his rival had located, and he discovered something amazing inside of it. Now he strives to make that ancient relic work again for the glory of the Fatherland.
Hildebrand is a twisted fanatic bent on serving Köhl at any cost. He rationalizes everything so as to move forward, and not backward, and will gladly sacrifice anyone and anything. Even after the considerable shock the night of the murders, he’s still fixated on getting the orb to the temple in the Tismidan.