- "He will be nailed to a cross and die, and he will be buried. But he will rise again in more perfect flesh. We will eat of that flesh in holy communion and be healed of our physical sins. And we shall inherit this broken earth."
- ―Laird Byron
Laird Byron is an antagonist in Outlast 2. He is a deformed dwarf mounted atop of Nick Tremblay. He is the leader of a group of diseased outcasts who were originally part of the Testament of the New Ezekiel, known as the Scalled. Despite being cast out, he appears to remain loyal to Sullivan Knoth.
In Blake Langermann's horrific journey to save his wife from the Testament of the New Ezekiel, he ends up in the forest surrounding the Temple Gate - the Scalled's residence. He first sees Laird and Nick in a haze after falling off a bridge, shooting down one of his own in a fit of rage. Exploring the forest further, Blake is attacked by Laird and his minions, until Laird's twisted imagination recognizes Blake as the prophet sent by God to die for their sins. While Laird has Nick drag Blake over to a cross, he asks where Blake's gospel is in order to learn from his "guidance". Laird then has Blake painfully nailed to a cross and crucified, hoping he will reenact the resurrection of Jesus Christ so the Scalled can feast on his flesh and drink his blood and finally be relieved of their deformities and welcomed back into Temple Gate. He then notices and steals Blake's Camcorder, believing it to be Blake's form of gospel, declaring that he will use it to "study his lessons" and apologizes to God for his doubt.
Blake painfully detaches himself from the cross and is again hunted throughout the woods by Laird, Nick, and the Scalled, narrowly dodging Laird's flaming arrow fire. Blake slides down a cliff and is caught up in a gate of barbed wire, saved by Laird and Nick and buried alive to complete his "resurrection". Blake again escapes and encounters the duo one last time in his getaway from the forest, where he tries to slide down a rope onto the docks below from the open floor hatch of a shed. Laird and Nick catch Blake, but two of their minions, presumably fed up with Laird's constant abuse of them, push the two out of the shed which sends the entire party plummeting into the docks, killing both Laird and Nick.
Cast out from "paradise" because of his physical sickness, Laird is considerably more devout, delusional and insane in his beliefs than the rest of the Scalled and the Testament of the New Ezekiel as he is determined to be sheltered from the coming Armageddon of the Antichrist. He is loyal to Knoth and his faith as Laird recites his words constantly despite being cast out by Sullivan, but his own beliefs seem to deviate from Knoth's own, as he believes a messiah will come to the Scalled which they shall crucify, bury and revive then eat his flesh so he can be cured and welcomed back to Temple Gate in open arms. Byron never understood the nature of the sickness that ravaged him.
However, his deformities, sickness and desire to be cured as well as his own stature has made Laird impatient and aggressive over the years. Aside from how short he is compared to the rest of the Scalled, this is very evident from his ill-tempered and abusive attitude towards his followers, lashing out at them with remarks such as "you halfwit dog's cunt" and even takes out his anger on them by hunting them down and killing them, even if non-believers doubt Laird's beliefs in the slightest. He also treats his rider, Nick like a pet, with a few implications that he beats him often (although he does seem to pet him affectionately and even feed him dried crickets sent to him by Knoth because they're his favorite delicacy).
When Blake escapes his clutches, Laird becomes even more enraged that they allowed their Saviour to escape yelling obscenities at them like "you whore's miscarriage" and "wasted salvation". It's this abuse and desire to kill Blake that caused the Scalled to kill Laird and Nick when they had the chance.
Laird appears as a small, hairless, middle-aged man suffering from dwarfism, so much so that he almost looks infant-like in terms of facial features. Like the rest of the Scalled, his body is covered in heavily infected, pus-filled rashes presumably caused by sexually transmitted diseases like syphilis and gonorrhea. Laird appears to be shirtless, except with several areas of his upper body bandaged up, and appears to wear brown shorts and a form of belt which keeps him strapped onto Nick's saddle. It also appears that both of Laird's legs are amputated, hence why he is always seen riding on Nick's back.
- The "Heaven's Gate Subjects" document lists Byron as one of Temple Gate's founders.
- Vocal concepts for the scene where Laird and Nick died were redesigned several times, one where both Laird and Nick presumably fell, leading to Nick dying instantly, and Laird became trapped beneath him, slowly being crushed to death, wheezing in pain, and apologizing for something.
- It would also appear that there was a concept where the two met their demise at the hands of an angry mob of the Scalled, hopelessly overwhelmed.
- Another such ending included a scene where the two presumably fell, landing side by side, Laird wishing his companion farewell, and shedding a tear at the realization that their "messiah" made it so they wouldn't be sick anymore.