Abel ‘Morde’ Mordecai Wolff was born on January 15th, 1992 in Seattle, Washington. He is the product of extramarital sex between his mother, Marlee Evans, and her high school sweetheart, Steven Fisher, but was adopted at birth by Marlee’s husband, Natan Wolff, who has never divulged to him the circumstances of his conception. When Morde’s parents divorced in 1998, Natan was granted full custody of him and his maternal half-brother, Eliya.
Morde was six years old when Marlee left him and Eliya in Natan’s care, and because he was too young to understand her lack of maternal instinct, he was devastated. Though he grew up with minimal contact from her, Morde remained hopeful that Marlee would return well into his childhood, anxiously awaiting her rare phone calls and birthday cards. This caused a rift between him and Eliya, who condemned Marlee and her actions out of loyalty to Natan and grew resentful of Morde for being so naive. Unable to connect with his brother or the man he believed to be his father, Morde became withdrawn, immersing himself in his studies and other solitary activities.
Gifted with a high capacity for learning, Morde excelled in academics from an early age. He was an articulate child, eager to satisfy his appetite for knowledge by devouring every book he could get his hands on and independently researching topics that interested him. Quietly inquisitive and respectful, he was often a favorite among his teachers, which made him an easy target for ridicule by other children. His classmates didn’t hesitate to write him off as a teacher’s pet, and because he was too shy to stand up for himself, he had difficulty socializing unless his father forced interaction between him and his peers. When these efforts were unsuccessful, Natan signed Morde up for extracurricular activities in the hope that it would help coax him out of his shell. Having unknowingly inherited a natural inclination from Steven, Morde took an immediate interest in music, joining his school’s marching band as a percussionist and pursuing both guitar and piano lessons outside of the classroom.
On his first day of high school, Morde met Luke Parker and Andrea Egan, who soon became his closest friends. Unlike Eliya, Luke was both accepting and appreciative of Morde’s independent, studious nature despite being more outgoing himself, and over time, the two formed a brotherly bond. Throughout their teenage years, Luke provided Morde with motivation to be more sociable and self-confident, and was his biggest supporter when he decided he wanted to move to New York City after graduation to attend Columbia University. Morde, in turn, did what he could to help Luke make smart decisions and get him out of trouble when he needed it. Despite their personality differences, Morde and Luke rarely fought, but when Luke totaled Morde’s car after driving drunk during their senior year, they had a falling out. Before they could mend fences with one another, Luke attended a party without Morde and overdosed. He was pronounced dead in the early hours of the morning on April 12th, 2010, leaving Morde and Egan to navigate their futures alone.
In the weeks following Luke’s death, Morde fell into a deep depression. Despite being the salutatorian of his graduating class, he chose not to attend his commencement ceremony, instead confining himself to his bedroom and shutting both his family and Egan out. When he started contemplating suicide, he mustered up enough courage to ask Natan for help, and it was during a 72-hour stint in the psych ward that he was diagnosed with Bipolar II Disorder. Having experienced instances of depression and hypomania prior to his hospitalization, Morde was not as surprised by his diagnosis as he could have been, especially given that Marlee was a sufferer of the disorder and he was genetically predisposed. After being released from the hospital, Morde met with a psychiatrist and was put on medication, but he refused further therapeutic treatment, convinced that he could manage his mood changes on his own.
In the fall of 2010, Morde deferred his enrollment at Columbia in favor of attending the University of Washington, which allowed him to stay close to home as he recovered from his first major depressive episode and coped with the loss of his friend. More interested in numbing his pain than he was in studying, he spent most of his time smoking weed in his dorm room, rarely attending his classes and destroying his cumulative grade point average as a result. By the end of his freshman year, Morde was put on academic probation, making him ineligible to transfer to Columbia as he had initially planned. Consequently, he decided to stay at UW, coasting through the remainder of his time there by exerting minimal effort. As a sophomore, he declared a major in music, dedicating his few sober hours to composing and playing, scraping by due to innate musical talent as opposed to any kind of ambition. In the spring of 2014, Morde graduated with a 2.5 GPA, marking his complete fall from grace as an academic.
Some weeks after his college graduation, Morde met Alessa Haines
, a 25-year-old tattoo artist who not only shared his taste in music, but seemed to have a greater understanding of him than most of his family and friends did. He fell in love with her all but immediately, and after less than four months of dating, he asked her to marry him. The two eloped and were wed at a Las Vegas chapel, much to the surprise of their loved ones, and even though they faced disapproval from some, Morde was firm in his belief that their relationship could withstand anything. Unfortunately, a combination of stress and improper management of his medication led to his second major depressive episode, which served as a catalyst for further hospitalization and, in part, the dissolution of his marriage to Alessa.
Though she put in daily effort to recover him from the darkness he had fallen into, Alessa was ultimately unable to handle the pressure of being married to someone with BD, leaving Morde at the apartment they shared when his condition worsened and there was no end in sight to his suffering. From there, Natan brought him back to his childhood home, where his family kept a close eye on him until he showed signs of suicidal intent. On Morde’s twenty-third birthday, Natan and Eliya brought him to the hospital. He was admitted into the psych ward and underwent highly supervised medical treatment for two weeks before being entered into an outpatient program. While in recovery, he tried to rekindle his relationship with Alessa, but because she had abandoned him in his time of need and betrayed him by sleeping with other people, he found himself incapable of forgiving her and reluctantly started divorce proceedings.
Morde worked diligently to maintain his mental health, accepting a job as an administrative assistant in the office where Eliya worked, attending therapy twice a week, and monitoring his medication closely. He entered a short-lived relationship with Egan with the intention of starting anew, but soon discovered that his feelings for Alessa remained strong and unresolved, leading to their break-up.