| ||He doesn't know, Erik! Nobody told him. They told me, a foreigner, but not him. How very inconsiderate. I'm sure you'd rather hear it under different circumstances and from someone else, boy, but beggars can't be choosers.|| |
|- Sir Istvan Toth to Henry|
In 1403, shortly before the attack on Silver Skalitz by Sigismund, Sir Istvan met with the local Lord, Sir Radzig Kobyla, where they admired a particularly fine sword that had just been made by Martin, the local blacksmith, and Henry, his son, during Unexpected Visit. Sir Istvan departed the village almost immediately after, managing to get out before the Attack on Skalitz began.
As Henry would later discover in The Die is Cast, this was not just luck, but a calculated maneuver. Istvan knew that the attack was coming, although he intentionally didn’t warn Radzig. After the army moved on, Istvan sent Runt, another one of his trusty man, and his gang, to loot anything that remained in the village. There, Runt and the others came upon Henry. He had returned to Skalitz to find his parents, who had been killed in the attack, and to bury them. Runt beats and almost kills the young man, but is chased off by the timely arrival of the Talmberg guards, but not before stealing the sword he still carried, leaving him for dead. He would later give the sword to Istvan.
Unknown to Istvan, Henry was saved by Theresa, who nursed him back to health. To Henry, the loss of the sword represented the loss of his home and family, and the shame he felt for not being able to save them, making him determined to retrieve it. To achieve this, he became Sir Radzig's squire, and as part of his training, was able to assist many of the local Lords and peasants with their problems, getting closer each day to finding the truth about Istvan.
In Baptism of Fire, Istvan can be seen from behind, surveying the carnage of the battle, and swears revenge. He tells his attendant it is time to put the next part of their plan into action. During The Die is Cast, Henry manages to successfully infiltrate the bandit camp of Vranik, where he finds Istvan meeting with Erik, the bandit commander, still carrying the magnificent sword.
Istvan's lackey Udo knocks Henry out and ties him up, where Istvan finally reveals what he's been up to. Together with Sigismund, they have been working to undermine the local lords - Divish, Hanush and Radzig - and terrify the local people in order to bring the region to its knees. Then, once Sigismund was undisputed King of Bohemia, he would give Istvan all of Sasau in gratitude.
Istvan then reveals that he knows something about Henry that everyone has kept from him - his father is not Martin the blacksmith, as he'd always believed. In truth, Henry is the illegitimate bastard son of Sir Radzig Kobyla. Istvan then departs, leaving Udo to beat Henry senseless, confident that Radzig will pay a handsome fee to secure his son's safety. Unfortunately for Istvan, a bandit by the name of Zbyshek, tired of the bandit life, helps Henry to escape, and the young man flees to Rattay, where Radzig and Hanush decide to launch an immediate attack, together with Divish.
However, once they have stormed the camp in The Die is Cast and wiped out the bandits, they realize that neither Istvan nor Erik are there, and that they have been led into a trap - Istvan has taken the majority of his men to capture Talmberg. Sure enough, the wily traitor manages to gain entry by telling Lady Stephanie that his men are injured, and murdering her guards when she lets them in to treat their wounds.
By the next morning, Divish and the other Lords have arrived and begin to attack Isvan's men, but Istvan drags Lady Stephanie out with a knife to her throat to make them back down. Having also captured Sir Radzig, and shot Sir Divish, Istvan retreats into the castle, ordering his men to fire burning arrows and set the outer bailey of Talmberg ablaze.
Little is known about Istvan's life before moving in Bohemia. His parents were both killed by Turks, leaving him an orphan. He then met Erik, another orphan, who became one of his most trustworthy man, and probably even his lover. Later, King Sigismund of Luxembourg made Istvan a nobleman and welcomed in his court.
- It is hinted at that Istvan was a homosexual and that his partner was Erik, his right hand man.