Antoine was born in 1202 in Dijon, France; the second son of a local goldsmith, Pierre Danot. His mother having died giving birth to Antoine, he was taken to his father's shop-cum-workshop from an early age. At first, he helped in the front of the shop, and quickly developed excellent bargaining skills in order to offset the way no-one ever seemed to trust him. Soon, however, he was lending a hand in the workshop.
The tradition obviously being that the elder son (by some 3 years), Nicolas, should inherit the business, there was no little consternation in the family when it was discovered that little Antoine was better at the craft than his brother. Indeed, the way he was able to work metal often seemed to defy logic, as if he could form it with his fingers alone. At the age of 8, having produced his journeyman pieces, Antoine was inducted into the Goldsmiths' Guild. At 9, he was able to attend a grand meeting of many of the guilds from across Europe in his home city, and forged many useful connections.
Among those links was a Master craftsman from Hungary, Imre Eszes (apparently, Hungarian names of the era would be a given name and a descriptive; this is "Imre, the wise"), who took a particular interest in young Antoine. In the year 1212, he petitioned Pierre for the chance to take Antoine as his own apprentice; an opportunity Pierre accepted gratefully, as it both came with a not-inconsiderable stipend and solved the brewing sibling rivalry at a stroke. Antoine duly left for Hungary with Imre, but soon found that his new master was a magus of house Verditius, who had recognised the signs of the Gift in Antoine.
Antoine's apprenticeship was smooth, excepting that his talents seemingly lay away from the traditional Verditius lines and more with Imaginem and Mentem. He still possessed all the skills necessary to make a fine artificer, and passed his gauntlet with ease. Upon completing it, he presented his master with a token of his appreciation - a small golden brooch, enchanted with a constant-effect Purity before the Noble's Court. He remained in Hungary, pursuing his own researches and assisting Imre.
Initially, Antoine spent the years after his gauntlet improving his abilities as a Verditius crafter. Ever a resourceful soul, he also chose to seek out an initiation into the mystery of Reforging broken or unwanted items. During this time, he also heard of the history of the Valdarian cult. Antoine was struck to the heart with a sense of loss that an entire lineage of masterful craftsmen should have schismed from house Veriditus and be looked upon as heretics and black sheep; and resolved to do what he could to bring the lineage back into the main house.
In 1232, Imre mentioned that Antoine really should consider taking an apprentice of his own. Antoine was ambivalent; but did start shoring up his knowledge in his less-favoured arts, so as to be able to open those of an Apprentice as and when he took one.
In the autumn of 1232, Imre and Antoine attended a grand convocation of Hungary's Goldsmiths' Guilds. It was there that Antoine was introduced to the 16-year-old daughter of a local Guildmaster. Antoine was smitten by her beauty; she by his gentle nature and stumbling Hungarian. That season, Antoine did little but call upon Isolde, and their relationship strengthened. At the point Antoine starts being "on-screen", they have been courting for nearly two years; Antoine is now certain that Isolde is the only woman for him, and he means to propose. It is at this point that he hears of Vocis' visit to the area, and the Valdarian armour he is wearing; he is prepared to seize his chance of meeting a Valdarian, and beginning on his grand task of reconciliation.
Antoine marries Isolde at the beginning of 1237.
In Autumn 1237, their first child is born: A daughter, whom they name Bella