Shadows Over Nerath
An eccentric, even by old men standards, Nikolai has the markings of true madness were it not for his pursuit of the advancement of science. He is an accomplished artificer, who spirited himself away into a remote corner of the Nentir Vale in order to work on his endeavors in peace and quiet (not to mention preventing the inevitable collateral damage he would have caused for neighbors). Unable to complete a number of his projects alone, he crafted a warforged, Heterodyne, to be his perfect lab assistent.
Update: Nikolai has been found murdered at the hands of a gnome and halfling who raided his campsite.