|“|| The emancipated ward of Lord Ironhawk and elder brother of Althea, Balthan is a precocious magician whose talent and ambition are both much larger than the Second Circle mysteries into which he has been initiated. He makes enemies more easily than friends, but none so powerful as the nightmare wraiths who haunted and hunted him across Britannia. In desperation, he sealed himself in a tiny, isolated cave behind a curtain of magic. He'd hoped to be rescued by the Avatar; he got his sister and her friends instead.|
- from Dramatis Personae (Ultima Saga: The Temper of Wisdom)
Balthan and his sister Althea were children of a Virtue Peer known as Simon the Wanderer. When he became disillusioned of the Virtues, Simon became a drunkard and eventually signed on as a common seaman on an merchant-explorer sailing east, which never returned. Lord Erwald Ironhawk took the children in as wards, raising them alongside his own children and those of the villa.
Jordan Hawson never got along with Balthan; any time the two of them were in contact, it usually ended in a fight. This did not make them friends, but they did come to know each other well.
The Forge of Virtue
The plot of the novel is for Althea, Jordan, Drumon and Squirt to rescue Balthan from the prison of his own devising. Disguised as the Avatar, the Shadowlords had come to Balthan and convinced him to combine scrolls of magecraft with his own spells, creating complex and difficult to control magical traps. His sister and her friends were able to bypass them, but at the expense of Jordan's eyesight.
The Temper of Wisdom