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 work affected his personality later in life whereas he shunned other human contact in favour 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 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.
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 favourite 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 coloured trim and inlaid with a host of multi-coloured 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 which is quite typical of the Thalam Wizards. Onderfaust enjoyed the intimidating impression his tattoos made on the common folk. 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 rumoured 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 grey colour 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 energies such as those used in summoning. For example, select pieces of ancient dark elven lore reveal 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 henchmen 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 rumoured 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 rumour 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 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, Khaius Onderfaust was born to the world 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 are not entirely forgotten.
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.
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 were 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 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 deceased loved ones. 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 "cár'áll"). 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" 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 high demon known as a mystran.
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 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". This tome is believed to be kept in a well guarded tomb deep under the Norong'sorno volcano. In it, the rumours 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 infamous cruelty of many Thalambathian archmages, as well as their famed understanding of magic, could only have come from the servant of Coór, so says many a sage. 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, 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 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.
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. He is also credited for furthering relations with Ximaxian magi; as since his days Thalam wizards have followed his example by maintaining regular contact 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.
 The tome known as "Twisted Enslavement of the Soul" is a book kept only within the Temple of the Arcane and not available to the common folk. When asked whether the book still exists (or ever existed), most wizards will reply that it is old, rare and very outdated. No wizard will outright admit the origins of the book, with the only explanation that it is but one tome among many kept securely by the archwizards. [Back]
 The "Darkness Unchained" tome is said to be kept in Onderfausts' tomb under the Norong'sorno. The tomb has not been found to this day, even though it has been the desire of many a graverobber over the centuries to try to steal the supposed treasures of the great wizard whispered to be hidden there. Legend says that the tomb is protected by powerful spells that only archwizards know the true location. Rumours have persisted for centuries that the book was copied and that the Temple keeps them securely out of reach of the common researcher. [Back]
 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. [Back]