Leopold was born from two lower-class parents in the heart of the industrial districts of Miroslavl'. His education poor at best, owning both from low financial means as well as the fact that the country had barely just arisen from the ashes of that collapsing Communist empire. As a child, he mostly stayed close to his house, as he was bullied by the other kids for having a vaguely Russian sounding last name. He spent his past time reading and drawing, hoping one day to become some sort of writer or artist, though his father put a stop to that once he heard of it.
"You'll work in the factories as I did, and my father before me. I'll not have a drain in the household because my son fancies arts." From then on Leopold's life took a turn for the worse. His father forced him outside and he mostly spent his teenage years slaving away at some plant or another, when he wasn't trying to hide from it all, leading to him becoming quite the social recluse. His father, at a loss, declared that upon turning 18 he'd be sent to join the military.
Then the war started.
Stories of the Chedaki and what was happening in South Zagoria always spread to Leopold second hand. He'd actually tried to join up, just to get away from his father, but was turned down because of his age. The hate against him and his family grew due to their perceived Russian ancestry and twice Leopold was beaten senseless by the other youths. Complaining to his father had gotten him a knife and a stern: deal with it as a man would.
Leopold badly wished to have the courage his father demanded of him, to stand up for himself, but he couldn't, and twice more he was beaten by the other boys. After one such occasion, someone had shoved a gun in his face, it was a pistol, and barely one at that, held together by grit and tape, but he begged for his life nonetheless. The youth with the gun demanded all the money he had on him for his life, and as Leopold frantically emptied his pockets, he pulled out his knife.
The Gunman panicked and pulled the trigger, but the ramshackle pistol failed to fire. For a split second, something in Leopold snapped. He had always chosen flight or fright as a response to beatings and bullying, but in the heat of the moment where it was life or death, only one choice was clear to his panicked mind. He attacked.
The following morning, the newspapers told of a grisly murder in the backstreets of the proud city. Leopold breathed a sigh of relief as no suspect had been declared. He had covered his tracks as best he could, and none of those who tormented him could ever speak again.
After the war, he'd taken up work as an orderly for the local hospital, learning rudimentary first aid as well as how to navigate the bureaucracy. Finally, when he turned 18, he opted to cave to his father's demands, and join the CDF.
He was trained as a clerk and mostly spent his days doing office work at the local barracks. He got relatively good at the job, though he found he wasn't a terrible shot when the Sergeants finally stopped yelling at him. He came out of his shell a bit during his basic training, learning to mask his panic and unease with a cool, collected exterior. He eventually was chosen for a cushy desk job at the local Miroslavl' CDF HQ.
During the initial outbreak, Leopold was dragooned into a rifle battalion to help secure as much of the city as possible. He barely survived on some occasions, owing both to his cowardice as well as his ability to fake confidence. After the barriers were secured and the specialized staff was returned to their units, where he rose to the rank of Desátník (Corporal), mainly because so many other staff had died in the fighting.
One afternoon, while trying to make his way home from work, he got caught up in an argument between two staff officers. As he tried to sneak past them and out the door one of them called out to him.
"You, come here now!" Leopold hesitated for a split second then complied, figuring that he could get out of this mess faster if he just obeyed. His first mistake.
"What are you doing right now, soldier!?" The strange looking officer questioned with an accusatory finger. Taken aback, Leopold responded quickly.
"Nothing, I-" He was going to say go home, but was instantly cut off. Second mistake.
"See, exactly my point! What's your name soldier?" Confused, Leopold answered without thinking. Third mistake.
The officer smiled, "let's find you something to do..."