|This page contains spoilers for:
|Gaunt's Ghosts (Novel Series)
Dalin was born Dalin Kolea, a citizen of Vervunhive on Verghast to parents Livy and Gol Kolea. Dalin was ten years old at the time of the Zoican invasion in which his mother Livy was killed.[1a] Tona Criid, a Vervunhive gang-girl, took Dalin and his younger sister Yoncy under her wing and protected them during the Vervunhive siege.[1b] The trio lived rough in the ruins of the hive as the siege dragged on, stealing supplies from Imperial Guard regiments to survive. Dalin's small size made him able to steal from the Tanith 1st without being caught until the thefts were noticed by Trooper Dermon Caffran who discovered the trio and, overcoming their initial mistrust, started helping Tona keep the children safe.[1c]
After the defeat of Heritor Asphodel and the end of the siege Tona signed up to join the Tanith 1st as a Guardsman, and she and Caffran found Dalin and Yoncy a place amongst the hordes of regimental hangers-on. They grew up following the regiment from world to world with Tona and Caffran as their adoptive parents. Unbeknownst to either of them their biological father, Gol Kolea, survived the siege of Vervunhive and after leading a scrap-company in its defence signed up as a Sergeant of the Tanith 1st. Gol was conflicted over whether or not to reveal his survival to his children but decided against it, knowing that Caffran and Tona were good foster-parents and not wanting to cause any emotional confusion in his children's lives. He was eventually talked around into meeting them but received a bad head-wound on Phantine which destroyed his memory and personality before he could.
When Dalin came of age at 18 he decided to join the Tanith 1st as a Guardsman. By this point he was aware that Gol Kolea was alive, Kolea having apparently told him so after his miraculous recovery at the hands of Saint Sabbat, but still considered Caffran his father. Dalin underwent training in a RIP squad (Retraining, Indoctrination, Punishment) where he was victimized by its Sergeant, Kexie. There he befriended Rhen Merrt who was in the squad as punishment for getting into gambling debt. Merrt stuck up for Dalin when Kexie punished him unfairly for doing well in a marksmanship drill. Dalin saw his first action on the Chaos-held world of Gereon during its liberation, where to his crushing disappointment he and the rest of the RIP detail where assigned as battlefield regulars instead of joining/rejoining their prospective regiments. Dalin fought bravely in the battle he was thrown into, showing great courage and initiative despite the overwhelming senselessness and brutality of the situation. During the fight he and Merrt saved each other's lives more than once and both came through alive, though Dalin was forever scarred by his initiation into war. Dalin and Merrt joined/rejoined the Tanith 1st after the liberation, where Dalin was stunned to discover his foster-father Caffran had been tragically killed by a frightened civilian child.
Dalin's first campaign as a Tanith trooper occurred on Jago where he was placed in Flyn Meryn's E company to take the spot left vacant by Caffran. He was frustrated by the special treatment he received as the foster-son of two famous Sergeants, wishing to be treated just like the rest of the troopers. After Captain Meryn's adjutant Fargher was killed by Blood Pact troopers Meryn made Dalin his adjutant, partly because of his parents but also because of his initiative and skill with maps. Encountering Gol Kolea on Jago Dalin seemed unaware that Kolea was his father in what is likely a continuity error by Gaunt's Ghosts (Novel Series) author Dan Abnett.
Towards the end of the siege of the Hinzerhaus by Blood Pact forces E company was tasked with defending L company as they secured vital munitions being airlifted in. After the destruction of the transport E company took heavy losses defending a secondary gate into the Hinzerhaus. Dalin and Captain Meryn were among the few survivors, heroically fighting off the Blood Pact until they were relieved by Ban Daur's G company.