Born in Sandpoint, Grau fled an alcoholic and abusive father at an early age—he wound up here in Korvosa where, after a failed pickpocketing attempt, he was taken in by one of Korvosa’s most talented swordfighters, a man named Vencarlo Orisini. Orisini got the boy an apprenticeship with a good-natured smith, and when he wasn’t working, tutored Grau free of charge in the art of swordplay. But ill fate intervened. Grau was not Orisini’s only star pupil. A young woman named Sabina Merrin caught Vencarlo’s interest as well. Though he willed himself against it, Vencarlo found himself wildly attracted to beautiful Sabina—as did Grau. The fact that Sabina herself was more interested in women complicated matters even further, eventually resulting in a three-way confrontation of frustration and misunderstandings, with Grau successfully engineering a duel between Orisini and Sabina, a duel that resulted in the loss of two of Orisini’s fingers and a scar on Sabina’s cheek.
Sabina left the school, and when Orisini discovered Grau’s hand in the events, expelled him in a rare rage. The loss of his teacher and the end of his unrequited love was too much for Grau, and he increasingly took to drink. Yet for a time, his skill at swordplay remained and he swiftly found a place among the Korvosan Guard, rising quickly through the ranks to Watch Sergeant. With the advent of the king’s death and the following riots, Grau abandoned even these responsibilities, and now spends all his waking hours drunk and despondent.
Grau was a lean man, with packets of steely muscle on his well-honed physique. He was always clean shaven, with bright piercing green eyes. Now, he’s a mess—he hasn’t changed his uniform in weeks and reeks of stale sweat and ale.