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Author Topic: Khaius Onderfaust ~ Thalambathian Arcanist  (Read 11300 times)
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Fox
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« Reply #15 on: 13 September 2010, 07:03:22 »

That was exactly the point in me putting an Enclave of both in each other's cities. Oh they might have 'close' ties, but they're constantly watching over each other's shoulder. The Thalambathians doesn't trust the Ximaxians, and the Ximaxians don't trust the Thalambathians... but both want to know what the other is up to, so they pretend to like each other.

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« Reply #16 on: 15 September 2010, 23:38:42 »

Edits finished, colored Yellow. I went and revised everything according to Athviaro's comments (much better thanks!) and also revised some sections for Fox.

Another Aura for both of you for taking the time to help!  :D

This was a fun entry. I cross referenced my imp entry and proposed that the Ximaxians learned imp summoning by stealing secrets from Thalambath...kinda leads in the direction that Ximax is not so superior after all, eh?  ;)
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No, I would not want to live in a world without dragons, as I would not want to live in a world without magic, for that is a world without mystery, and that is a world without faith. And that, I fear, for any reasoning, conscious being, would be the cruelest trick of all.
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« Reply #17 on: 16 September 2010, 13:15:45 »

Gets a thumbs up from me now. thumbup


*Edit*

Actually, one other thing...

Quote
(1) The tome known as "Twisted Enslavement of the Soul" is a book currently not found anywhere in Thalambath. When asked about the veracity of this book, the wizards claimed no knowledge of it with one even threatening death to me after asking about it. One single source revealed to me that the tome is kept hidden in a vault deep under the Temple of the Arcane.

Thalambathians are political demons and wouldn't just claim it doesn't exist. That is an easy answer which doesn't actually convince anyone, because rumor and legend becomes reality to the common man, and makes such a thing seem even more powerful and desirable than it really is. Rumors breed and fester, especially when they have been given veracity by being significant enough to be included in a Compendium entry like this one. They would be more likely to say that it does exist, but that its teachings have since become interwoven within other, more contemporary tomes. They would likely say that the original tome is old, in a poor condition, and out-dated, and not available to the common researcher or Arcanist due to fear of damaging it.

They're more likely to use half-truths and misleading statements than to outright lie, as these give a sense of truth to them without revealing everything. They would say it is kept within the vaults, but would not be specific about where.

Of course, they would not publically bring the existence of the book up, but if a researcher happened to ask about it, they wouldn't be adverse to giving them the half-truth. In fact, if pressed, they might even be willing to show a few choice pages and heavily edited copies of the book that so happen to have left the more dangerous elements out.

In Thalambath, they believe in the idea that "people aren't stupid"... they know when you're lying to them. Give them what they want to hear, and you satisfy their curiosity... hold it from them, and they become desperate and fanatic. When given what you want to hear, you walk away, happy as a clam, thinking you got your answer, while they grin at each other behind your back.

Quote
(2) The "Darkness Unchained" tome is said to be kept in Onderfausts' tomb under the Norong'sorno. The tomb today cannot be found as it has been the desire of many a graverobber over the centuries to try to steal the supposed treasures of the great wizard rumored to be hidden there. Legend says that the tomb is hidden by powerful magics that only archwizards know the true location.

The original copy might be in the tomb, but other copies would have been made, because the Thalam are practicalists. The existence of these would not be broadcast publically, but would be known by those who have taken the time to ask around the Arcanists. These copies would not be available to the average Arcanist or researcher, being available solely to the Archwizards and the Seven due to being highly dangerous to the initiated.

This is more an OOC note than something you need to change, as, ICly (As these articles are written), the legend might be that there is only the original, which makes this 'Compendiumist's Note' accurate to the common belief.
« Last Edit: 16 September 2010, 13:53:19 by Fox » Logged
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« Reply #18 on: 18 September 2010, 23:29:49 »

Let me know if this is completely finished now, Azhira, or still are adjusting something, so that I know if I can take it in the update!
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« Reply #19 on: 19 September 2010, 00:25:01 »

I have just edited the compendiumist's notes according to Fox's comments.

Otherwise, this entry is finished! The mods have not had a chance to look this over yet, and I would like to give them the courtesy before it goes up, so perhaps wait a bit longer? I'll bell ring them now.
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« Reply #20 on: 19 September 2010, 01:56:38 »

Thanks for alerting me, Azhira. I did skim this entry the other day, and thought I'd noticed a few things that may be worth changing. I'll try to have a thorough look tonight.
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« Reply #21 on: 19 September 2010, 05:56:04 »

Well, here we go. It’s a fascinating biography, this! And with two excellent commenters coming before me, the work of the moderator is made relatively easy. Nonetheless, I’ve found a few things. Corrections in yellow, formulation suggestions and questions in orange.

One general issue: I believe the compendium insists on British spelling. Although I myself would argue for the acceptance of American spelling (on Earth, spelling wasn’t standardised until long after the Middle Ages), I shall submit to the agreed rule. I’ve found the following American spellings: favor -> favour; color -> colour; colored -> coloured; favorite -> favourite;  rumored -> rumoured; rumor -> rumour; enamored -> enamoured .

I haven’t marked them in the text. Best get a text editor programme to “find and replace” (but take your colour codings out first, as these must be written with the American spelling, ‘color’!)


Overview

The Thalambathian Arcanist Khaius Onderfaust is considered by many Truban historians to be one of the most important figures in Thalambath's ancient magi culture. Onderfaust was born in 855 a.S. in the city of Thalambath to Kaizranian noble parentage and was an only child. His rather harsh upbringing in a strict home left him with few friends as a child. Some sages say that this affected his personality later in life whereas he shunned other human contact in favor of his various summoned creatures. Among his most famous works is the book "Notes on Impish Phylogeny" [which is a study of the mysterious imp creature. In addition, Onderfaust is infamous in scholarly magic circles for having claimed to have re-discovered one of the most complex rituals known to Thalam magic: the summoning of the dreaded Mystran (<- mystran) from the Netherworld. At the time, Onderfaust's peers believed that he was too powerful for his own good and traditional Truban lore states that he met his end as the prisoner of his own creations.

Appearance

There is not known to be an image anywhere in Thalambath of Onderfaust unadorned in the splendid regalia of the Thalam Wizards. In fact, many stories of the great summoner say that he was literally dressed in the wizardly robes right from birth! This favorite story reveals much of Onderfaust's infamy as a member Thalambath's wizardly order since there is little recorded of his life before he entered the Temple of the Arcane. One picture in the Tome of the Red Circle (yet another book of rituals he wrote) shows Onderfaust wearing brilliant orange robes with golden colored trim and inlaid with a host multi-colored brilliant jewels. This of course is probably an exaggerated account, even given the penchant of Thalam nobility for fine accoutrement. Nevertheless, it is known from Onderfaust's many writings that he thought quite highly of himself and likely approved (or ordered) the many images of himself looking more splendid than he really was.

Of his physical features, the great wizard was by all accounts a handsome man with noted Kaizranian features such as dusky skin and sharp bone structure. His bald head was decorated in exquisite looking tattoos that was (<- , which were) (Grammar: ‘Tattoos’ is plural, but ‘was’ is singular.) not quite typical of the Thalam Wizards. This practice was at first frowned upon by his peers, but Onderfaust found it to be intimidating to others. (formulation suggestion: “but Onderfaust enjoyed the intimidating impression his tattoos made on his contemporaries”) The designs were done by a local artisan that Onderfaust himself chose. It was later believed that this artist also designed the great mural that decorated the walls of the wizard's enclave, with much of this art still intact today. The actual designs of both the wizard's head and his walls consisted of complex lines, shapes and symbols never before seen at that time. Onderfaust never revealed the meaning of his tattoos, but many sages at that time (repetition of ‘at that time’; I suggest to delete here) rumored that they were ritual markings used in his summoning magic. It is unknown exactly how much of Onderfaust's body, other than his head, was decorated in these unique designs. One of the wizard's last apprentices later wrote that Onderfaust's hands were also covered in tattoos but since the great summoner's body was never seen at death, no one can really say for certain.

During the wizard's early career in the Temple of the Arcane, Onderfaust was a lively, energetic soul with the appearance of a man full of energy. Over the years, his smooth, dusky complexion changed as a result of his tampering with the dark magics that he was known for. Just before the summoner's disappearance, his skin had become a mottled gray color with eyes turned from a rich brown to a sickly yellowish hue. While this image may have been greatly disturbing during his time, it has now been confirmed that such a physical change is the result of exposure to chaotic, Netherworldy (netherworldy … it’s an adjective here, so I think it should be spelled with a small ‘n’) energies such as those used in summoning. For example, select pieces of ancient dark elven lore reveals (<- reveal … referring to ‘pieces’) that the Netherworld "taints" living things on the Caelereth side of the Disk. The dreaded Mists of Osthemangar are also known to taint living beings by whithering them into empty husks devoid of positive life. Likely this is what Onderfaust suffered as a result of his summoning practices, according to his biographers.

Personality

Like many of the Thalam Arcanists of his day, Onderfaust was a powerful and influential man who was accustomed to living above the commoners' laws and customs. He occupied an office that gave him much levity to practice his magic however he saw fit. Of course, this often meant that the wizard dabbled in the dark intrigues of the city without repercussion. It was said that he commanded a fair number of henchman (<- henchmen; ‘a number of’ must be followed by a plural word) that he hired (or threatened) to seek out bits of lore and information around the city and elsewhere. He commanded respect and led through fear with his peers giving him a wide berth. There were no open discussions into Onderfaust's dealings, nor did anyone question him. According to some of his later apprentices, Onderfaust became a man to be feared, who was rumored to have orchestrated the sudden disappearances of his rivals.

Onderfaust was a cunning man whose political maneuvering was done with the utmost care and deliberation. He was not a man of chaos nor did he possess impulsive tendencies. The wizard rose to the highest levels of power by removing his rivals, influencing the leaders of the Tower of the Arcane, and rumor had it, by buying the confidence of those he needed. By manipulating the system in such a way, he was able to attain the needed support for his work.

The wizard's later years became a life of paranoia and disdain for company. As his studies into summoning became more indepth (Formulation suggestion: “As his studies into summoning explored ever greater depths …”), Onderfaust largely kept to himself in his personal enclave rarely taking guests. It was later said that he was so enamored with the creatures he was working to bring forth from the unknown planes that life outside of the walls of his domain did not exist in his mind anymore. Some of his apprentices saw this as a dangerous direction and with Onderfaust distracted, more than a few tried to underhandedly usurp their masters' position in the Arcane Tower. However, no matter how much maneuvering went on behind his back, Onderfaust had a way of knowing and dealt with the situation harshly - typically by making the troublemakers disappear.

Biography

Born in the shadow of the great Norong'sorno volcano,(Talia pointed out that on a literal level, the volcano’s shadow will never fall on Thalambath; is it a conscious decision to retain the metaphor nonetheless?) Khaius Onderfaust was introduced to the world (say ‘born’ here; sometimes simpler is better) on or around the year 855 a.S. Little is known of his early life, only that his family is assumed to have been high ranking nobles of pure Kazrainian blood. Contemporary sages have suggested that his father was perhaps a Thalam Wizard who sired more than a few offspring from various noble maidens. Others have suggested that Onderfaust was the child of a Viseur of the Templum of the Seven. Still, other less talked about rumors have been written that the wizard was not even a human at all but a dark product of a summoning ritual. These same conspirators offer the idea that the reason Onderfaust could have gained so much power during his lifetime was that he was in fact a demon in a human guise casting magics upon hapless minds to do his bidding. Most reputable scholars have dismissed this idea as preposterous, but even today those demon-in-disguise stories still abound, not entirely forgotten. (I think this is an internal contradiction: If the stories ‘abound’, they are frequently told; if they are ‘not entirely forgotten’, they are occasionally or rarely told. Delete one or the other, I’d say.)

What Onderfaust's early life lacks, his joining to the Temple of the Arcane and subsequent rise to the highest levels of power in the Temple are well documented. According to one of the mage's early biographers, Onderfaust demonstrated a sharp wit and keen intelligence at an early age. Due to his high parentage and family ties (details of such still largely unknown as mentioned already) young Khaius joined the lesser ranks of Thalambath's magocracy. He was a fierce competitor and early on found ways to manipulate his fellow wizards. His shrewd tactics enabled him to procure dark and forbidden texts using methods some say was nothing short of magical mind manipulation. ( I find it a bit odd that you mention Khaius’ harsh upbringing and friendless childhood in the Overview, but never refer to it in the biography. I think if it’s in the Overview, it’s important and deserves elaboration. If it’s not important enough to be mentioned in the Biography, it doesn’t deserve to be in the Overview.)

It has also been suggested that Onderfaust gained some of his knowledge from the Ximaxian enclave located in Thalambath. Although the Ximaxians were given permission to work within the city, they were largely seen by the Thalam Arcanists as beneath the level of knowledge known to the lowliest of Thalam apprentices. The foreign magics of the Ximaxian enclave was ( <-were ; plural referring to ‘magics’) tolerated at best and watched closely. Onderfaust was wise enough, so his admirers say, to have befriended the Ximaxians and inquired of their methods and ways (or so he gave the illusion to). Khaius knew that Thalam's rivals deserved some measure of respect or at least someone had to know just to what extent the Ximaxians knew of Thalam magic. Also, Onderfaust was not above stealing Ximaxian secrets to use in his own experiments.

The foreign enclave proved to be far more trusting than Onderfaust had anticipated. The wizard learned much of the ways of elemental magic in a few short years and according to some scholars, he amazed the Ximaxians so much so ( <- delete the second ‘so’) that they offered him a position to lecture at Ximax's Tower of Foreign Magics. No doubt Onderfaust took up this offer, thus allowing him to learn even more of the Ximaxian lore and to visit Xaramon personally. Onderfaust rarely spoke of these inter-cultural exchanges but some of the wizard's apprentices have said that the fusion of Thalam and Ximaxian knowledge was key to unlocking some of the higher complexities of Onderfausts' summoning magic.

Thus begins Onderfausts' real path to power: summoning magic. It was perhaps the year 884 a.S., according to some biographers, that the wizard began his foray into the dangerous rituals of bringing forth fantastic and otherworldly creatures into Caelereth. The Thalam magic system is considered highly complex with advancements in the summoning system being made perhaps once every few centuries or so. To call forth new and powerful creatures from realms unknown was not something done quickly, or easily. What made Khaius' work so remarkable, is that he claimed to have discovered yet another secret to Netherworld summoning that was believed to have been long forgotten since the War of the Chosen. While many scholars have suggested that Khaius was a demon-summoner, a small group have offered that perhaps the wizard was looking to bring back lost Netherworld souls who have lost their way, including Khaius' own loved ones. Formulation suggestion: “… Khaius’ own deceased loved ones” – just to emphasize that he is trying to meet the dead While such an act would give the wizard a definite "human" compassion, that suggestion is little believed by the majority of Thalam's sages.

The well known "Notes on Impish Phylogeny" is an Onderfaust work on imps that he completed in 900 a.S. He was the first researcher credited with successfully summoning the imp creature to the Sarvonian continent. He believed that the imp was a magical creature that fed on the aura of living beings (the Ximaxian terminology would be "car'all"). When first summoned, the imp was weak and near death. Onderfaust wrote that when approached, the imp became lively and exhibited behavior akin to a starving child given his first meal in weeks. Just the presence of a living aura gave the imp energy. From that point on, Khaius kept and trained the imp as his personal familiar. It is said that the imp lived for a great many years after Onderfausts' death having joined to several other high ranking wizards of the Temple over the next 400 years.

Netherworld summoning was a ritual entirely removed from the "safe" magics of imps. Onderfaust's apprentices were forbidden from speaking of these rituals, so details of the procedure remains a mystery. Later accounts say that the wizard had summoned netherbeasts to his enclave where he kept them as pets. These creatures are well documented in scholarly lore as being mindless, savage beasts devoid of reasonable intelligence. They only live to kill and spread their disease upon the living. It was considered one of Onderfausts' greatest achievements at that time as netherbeast summoning was thought to have been a lost practice since the days of the ancient dark elven clerics. The secrets of these rituals was written in a tome called "Twisted Enslavement of the Soul"(1) (add full stop) But the wizard was not content to control mere lapdogs of the Netherworld. He wanted to go further; he wanted one of the masters of chaos itself: the mystran. (I would appreciate a short definition of ‘mystran’ – one sentence. Most readers won’t know what it is.)

It was perhaps at this stage in his life, around 905 a.S., that he became very secretive of his dealings and his health grew visibly worse. It is likely that the wizard cut himself off from his peers in order to cease inquiries into his business. He continued to develop rituals little known and study (Formulation suggestion: “ … continued to develop rituals little known, and studied …) every tome and text concerning summoning that Thalambath had (and even some that belonged to the Ximaxians). The driving force behind this was perhaps revenge upon those who punished him. Or, as previously suggested, to find a way to bring back lost souls wandering the Netherworld. This latter practice bordered on necromancy which was not uncommon in the magocracy. In fact, it is believed Onderfaust became a skilled necromancer while practicing Nether-summoning but that was not his chief field of interest.

After the netherbeast summoning breakthrough, the last published major work by Onderfaust concerned the summoning of the dreaded mystran. The tome was called by varying names, with the true title not known because it was hidden for many centuries. The most well-known name among magi lorekeepers is the "Darkness Unchained".(2) This tome is believed to be kept in a well guarded tomb deep under the Norong'sorno volcano. In it, the rumors say, is the long lost knowledge to Netherworld summoning known only to the ancient dark elven clerics of old. A popular Truban legend states that Khaius used this knowledge to bring forth a mystran as a slave. In the wizard's arrogance, Onderfaust thought to make the powerful demon serve him alone. However, such is not the way of chaos to lawfully abide by rules and commands. The mystran is believed to have taken Khaius' mind and enslave him thereby giving the creature a powerful shell with which to sow destruction and disorder.

Of course, not even a mystran can keep the body of a wizened old man alive for long, and after the death of Onderfaust, the legend says that the demon moved from one mind to another, inhabiting the hierarchy of archwizards through the centuries even to this day. The cruelty and deep understanding of magic could only have come from the servant of Coor himself, so says many a sage. (I don’t understand this sentence. Whose cruelty and deep understanding of magic could only have come from the servant of Coor himself? Maybe say: “The infamous cruelty (heartlessness?) of many Thalambathian archmages, as well as their famed understanding of magic, could only have come …”) This legend has never died, and is perhaps kept alive by the wizards themselves today as a means of giving them an ominous reputation over the common folk. After all, who would dare cross a wizard supposedly controlled by a demon? Even the Ximaxians have come to believe such a legend, probably because they are also well familiar with mystrans and, more generally, the risks of summoning, and so do not regard such a tale as being as far-fetched as others might.

Given that Darkness Unchained was a powerful tome, common knowledge today is that it was buried with Onderfausts’ body in a sealed tomb under the Norong-sorno. Few sages believe this story, however, as the book would have been entirely too valuable to simply lock away forever. Through the years, the Thalam Wizards have been accused of secretly holding onto the book in order to unlock the secrets Onderfaust wrote about. Even the Ximaxians believed this as according to one incident (”according to one incident” doesn’t work, I think; you can’t accord something to an incident. Maybe say: “Even the Ximaxians believed this, and still today Ximaxians can sometimes be heard to discuss an infamous incident that took place in the year 1166 a.S. Apparently, the archmage of the Wind School …”) that took place in the year 1166 a.S., the archmage of the wind school (<- Wind School, I think. It's a proper name, no?) herself was caught leading a small group of elemental magi into the Temple of the Arcane in order to secretly steal the book away to Ximax. This incident greatly strained the relationship between the two enclaves with the Ximaxians having been expelled entirely from Thalambath for over 200 years afterwards.(3)
 
Importance

The importance of Khaius Onderfaust cannot be overstated. After his death, he was considered one of the true great archwizards of Thalambath not only for his keen intellect and shrewd manipulations (all deemed necessary to rise in the ranks of the archwizards) but also for his intrepid research into the lore of summoning rituals (with most of that knowledge having been kept hidden notwithstanding). His work especially into imp summoning has been credited by many archmagi for finally introducing a reliable and intelligent familiar for general enslavement. (I find this sentence hilarious, and if my day hadn’t been good already, this would have made it. I have to read many scientific papers in my work, and for me this is just a brilliant parody of academics’ habit of saying the most outrageous things with in the driest possible form of words. “finally introducing a reliable and intelligent familiar for general enslavement”. Yes, for far too long we have been without slaves, and especially general slaves! Splendid. These archmagi really don’t care whether they are liked or not, do they?) He is also credited for furthering relations with Ximaxian magi with some (the double ‘with’ is unfortunate. How about: “… for furthering relations with Ximaxian magi; as since his days Thalam wizards have followed his example by maintaining regular contact with the foreign enclave …”) Thalam wizards following Onderfausts’ example by maintaining relations with the foreign enclave (but not too friendly…). Ximax in turn recognizes Onderfaust by keeping a ritual room in the towers named after him. Thus, the great archwizard is forever remembered in Sarvonian magic circles as a true pioneer in magic and inter-cultural relations.

Compendiumists Notes:

(1) The tome known as "Twisted Enslavement of the Soul" is a book currently not found anywhere in Thalambath. When asked about the veracity of this book (I think it’s not really the veracity of the book you mean – ‘whether the book is true or not’, but the veracity of the stories about the book. Maybe say simply: “When asked whether the book still exists (ever existed), the wizards …”) , the wizards claimed no knowledge of it with one even threatening death to me after asking about it. One single source revealed to me that the tome is kept hidden in a vault deep under the Temple of the Arcane.

(2) The "Darkness Unchained" tome is said to be kept in Onderfausts' tomb under the Norong'sorno. The tomb today cannot be found as (“The tomb has not been found to this day, even though it has been the desire …”) it has been the desire of many a graverobber over the centuries to try to steal the supposed treasures of the great wizard rumored to be hidden there. Legend says that the tomb is hidden by powerful magics (formulation suggestion: “protected by powerful spells”) that only archwizards know the true location.

(3) According to some accounts, the means that the Ximaxians came to know the secrets of imp summoning was that the book "Vagaries of the Summoned Entity" was stolen from Thalambath during the botched theft attempt by the Ximaxians in 1166 a.S. Interestingly, one year later, in 1167 a.S., a group of magi summoned an imp that later escaped and spread fear throughout Xaramon.


(Fascinating stuff. There are many stories in there. Aura!)

Oh, and all the issues I found are small, of course. So there's no need to wait for me to blarrow. Address what you want to address, ignore what you want to ignore, and blarrow yourself when ready!

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The greatest danger in life is that you may take too many precautions.
Ding-dong!
Azhira Styralias
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« Reply #22 on: 19 September 2010, 08:11:38 »

I am happy you liked it Shab! I do enjoy writing about magi. Fox's Thalam culture is very intriguing and quite different than your typical Ximaxian fare. I may look into writing another entry down south again in the near future!  thumbup

Oh, I kept the "born in the shadow of the Norong'sorno" as a metaphor because I really like that image in my head. Not a literal shadow, mind you.

I tweaked the entry according to your comments, Shab. I did a minor bit with the overview too.

Ugh...don't get me started on Brit spellings either...I know very well the standards, but my American spellings take over and I forget every time. usually, Arti corrects them for me when he updates... grin

I know, I know...stop being lazy Azhira... buck

*Blarrowed!*
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No, I would not want to live in a world without dragons, as I would not want to live in a world without magic, for that is a world without mystery, and that is a world without faith. And that, I fear, for any reasoning, conscious being, would be the cruelest trick of all.
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