Sebastian Olmstead (who much prefers the nickname Baz) was born in 1986 to parents who almost had more salt water and ink in their veins than blood. His father's ancestors, the Olmsteads and the Tillinghasts, came from a long line of scientists and scholars in and around Providence, Rhode Island, many of whom studied marine science; while his mother's ancestral families, the Gilmans and the Marshes, had long been seafarers and fishermen along the North Shore. The pair met during their graduate studies at Northeastern University, where they were both pursuing advanced degree in marine biology. Raised around beaches, coves, inlets and seas -- practically raised in the sea, at some points, and spending months at a stretch on expeditions with his parents -- Baz could swim before he could run, and learned basic seamanship at a very young age; when his sister Elaine came along, she was raised in much the same way.
A few days after Baz's sixth birthday, his mother, Ruth, vanished at sea along with Joseph Gilman, her brother. Their small ship was found adrift some days later, with only superficial damage. The Coast Guard never found either body, and if there were any substantial clues, they were never released to the public or shared with the Olmsteads. Baz's maternal grandmother, Agatha Gilman, suffered a nervous breakdown and began raving about demons taking her children, forcing her to be hospitalized for several months. His paternal grandmother, Dolores Olmstead, moved in with her son and grandchildren in the meantime to help raise them until her death in 1995. For his part, Larry Olmstead gave up much of his time at sea, limiting himself only to short expeditions once in a great while, and took up teaching and laboratory work so he could spend more time with his kids.
Baz swiftly developed into an excellent student, doing particularly well in biology, social studies, and foreign languages. He also became something of an athlete -- taking martial arts in middle school to help defend himself from bullies (and soon developing a strong preference for the Greek-based arts), and showing a natural talent as a swimmer. He made the Somerville High varsity team as a sophomore, and went on to break several school and regional records.
When he was barely sixteen, ten years to the day after his mother's disappearance, Baz began to dream of her, strange dreams in which he met her, transformed into a sort of mermaid, somewhere beneath the ocean. She showed him unusual creatures and vast undersea cities, where it was implied that he could join her someday. He kept the dreams to himself, and while they transformed into recurring experiences, they had no effect on his waking life and were fairly easy to set aside...at least at first.
During Baz's senior year of high school, Agatha Gilman -- long since recovered from her breakdown -- was diagnosed with a brain tumor that proved particularly difficult to remove, and given two or three years to live. Larry graciously invited her into his home, so she could spend her remaining months with her grandchildren and gradually get her affairs in order while she underwent what treatment the doctors could provide. This closer contact with his ailing grandmother drove Baz to expand his knowledge of medicine, and encouraged him to take a closer look at his family history.
Baz graduated from Somerville High School in the spring of 2004, and was accepted to Greyson University, which offered him generous academic and athletic scholarships and quickly became his top choice. Meanwhile, he split the summer after graduation between helping his father with his current research on dolphins and pursuing his independent genealogical studies. It was the latter project that led him to the things that Dolores Olmstead had left in their attic, and ultimately to the greater truth of her life. While Dolores' involvement in certain occult circles had been no secret, her private diaries revealed to him that she had been an actual spellcaster; not merely an adherent of Wicca or some esoteric order, but a genuinely powerful witch. As a scientist's son and aspiring scholar in his own right, Baz was skeptical at first, but he uncovered a couple of Dolores' spellbooks and attempted some of the incantations and rituals found within. When they worked (or, in some cases, backfired spectacularly) and he began to discover that he had some sort of telekinetic ability to boot, he was convinced, and has been studying magic obsessively ever since. Since some of his failed spells resulted in nosebleeds, physical injuries and horrible nightmares, he's been proceeding with caution, but is nevertheless insatiably curious about the whole thing. Baz has begun to view his choice to go to Greyson as especially fortuitious, since its unique academic programs will allow him to study parapsychology and the occult in earnest.
Baz is highly intelligent and inquisitive, but somewhat socially awkward, and flusters easily around women he finds attractive -- so much so that he really only had one girlfriend (Nancy Clausson, captain of the girls' swim team) in high school, in the last few months of his senior year. He actually lost his virginity to Nancy at their senior prom, but she grew bored and dumped him at the end of the year; nevertheless, her physical type -- tall, blonde, slender but strong -- is still the one he likes the best. Baz finds it somewhat difficult to trust and open up to new people overall, but when someone does gain his trust, he is a fiercely loyal friend. He's fairly open about his family and his own past, except that he rarely talks about his mother, and is very reluctant to reveal that Nana was a witch.
Despite his experiments with magic, Baz tends to remain somewhat skeptical and questions much of what he encounters, seeking to understand things more fully than most witches and occultists do; of course, this may also be a result of his bright mind and keen sense of curiosity. Raised with a strong sense of morality and some background as a Methodist, Baz currently considers himself an agnostic. While he studies religion, it's out of intellectual interest only, and he has no desire to convert. Nevertheless, he informally accepts the Wiccan Rede (An it harm none, do as ye wilt) as a decent basis for morality and a good match to his particular sensibilities.