Waudrin Ghortz, a
self-declared specialist in demonology and the phenomenon known as the
"watchers phantasms", is a
gnome who was born in a village on the
northern side of the Istarin Forest on 29
Changing Winds, year 1568. He is
noted for his research with supernatural phenomena such as
watchers phantasms. However, his research is often
cited by more reputable scholars as dubious or unreliable.
Appearance. Waudrin Ghortz is a middle aged gnome, although it is said that he appears much younger than his 100 years at the day of writing this entry. He keeps a full head of thick black hair, neatly combed to the side over a large head. He is a portly gnome, known for his penchant for throwing fanciful banquets and parties at his residence in Ximax. He has a thick face, with low hanging jowls that wriggle when he speaks. His eyes are a dark green colour and his smile is wide showing full, white teeth.
|Image description. The excentric self-declared specialist in demonology, the notorious Waudrin Ghortz. Picture drawn by Bard Judith.|
He has a fondness for nobleman's tunics in bright colours, red and orange being
his favourites. He is never known to be in public without being dressed in
expensive clothing and with his cadre of apprentices in tow. He walks with a
black coloured cane with golden coloured trim that he rarely lets go of yet he
doesn't appear to need any assistance walking.
One of his former students once said of Ghortz: "Mister Waudrin is as a jolly, noisy walking rainbow. Full of anecdotes and sagely wisdom rolled into a waddling ball of bright streaming colours. Truly a sight to behold!"
Personality. Ghortz enjoys the company of others and is rarely without a retinue of friends, associates and business partners. He is flamboyant and is socially gifted. He has the remarkable ability to find conversation in just about anything, and projects himself as an expert on whatever topic he happens to be speaking about. Rarely is he at a loss for words, and nothing much surprises him anymore.
Ghortz spends probably more time associating with the nobles and wealthy than he does any other class of citizen. He flaunts his wealth and makes no secret of his knowledge of demonology. He often tells tales of his many adventures around Caelereth in pursuit of his research. Although he speaks of many places and people he has seen and met, there are many skeptics who believe that Ghortz is simply showing off and believe he embellishes his stories. Some, in fact believe that Ghortz has never set foot beyond the borders of Ximax and his knowledge of far off lands simply comes from books he has read.
When Ghortz is researching or writing, he is known to lock himself in a room for many days, accepting only close friends and associates. He takes food from servants and closes himself away from society. Ghortz claims he must find time to himself in order to find inspiration. During these times, according to some of his servants, the gnome becomes irritable and annoyed at the smallest of things. When disturbed, Ghortz easily gets enraged and destructive, crashing tables and chairs. His servants cannot explain this behaviour, but when he returns to his socializing, he is as friendly and accomodating as ever.
Biography. Birth (1568 a.S.). Waudrin Ghortz was born in a village on the northern side of the Istarin Forest on 29 Changing Winds, year 1568. His mother, Ruella, was a brewer of fine Gnorian drink, owning a small tavern in the village. Ghortz's father, Fildor, was a respected and talented healer and alchemist, a maker of medicines and salves. Ghortz's parents began their family later in life, when his mother was close to 140 years of age and his father nearing 150. The couple were healthy and his mother suffered no ill effects from having a child so late in life. However, one baby was enough for the aging couple so Ghortz was an only child.
Childhood (1573 a.S.-1588 a.S.). Waudrin Ghortz's father was not only a respected doctor in the Gnorian village but also a healer who worked part time in the human cities of Sarvonia. When Ghortz was five cycles of age, his father took him on his first expedition to the city of Elsreth where Fildor operated a small healer's home there. Ghortz was fascinated with the human city and his young mind was filled with all sorts of wondrous sights, sounds and smells. When his father was busy treating some sick half-elves from the south, Ghortz wandered off and became lost in the center of the city. It was here he saw a mage for the first time, performing flashy tricks using fire. The mage caused flame to burst from his fingers and tossed balls of flame into the air. Ghortz stared at the performer in awe for several minutes before being found by his worried father and summarily punished, for wandering away. However, the experience watching the fire mage never left his memory. Ghortz continued to aid his father as he grew up and learned the language of Tharian and rudimentary medicinal skills from his travels with his father.
Adolescence (1588 a.S.-1608 a.S.). When Ghortz was twenty cycles of age, in the year 1588 a.S., his father took him aside and gave him instructions. Fildor was now an old man, having retired as a healer, and had some last words for his only son. Ghortz listened as his father bade him to continue to help his mother's brewery business and to continue the family tradition of becoming a doctor.
Ghortz, although he enjoyed learning from his father, had no intention of ever becoming a healer, or a brewer. Instead, he wanted to be a fire mage and study at Ximax. Although disappointed, his father agreed, having always allowed his son freedom to do whatever he wanted. When his father died in 1660 a.S., Ghortz received a hefty inheritance of property and coin. With his mother's blessing, Ghortz left his village for Ximax hiring caravans and merchants to take him on the long journey west.
Fire Mage Apprentice (1608 a.S.-1615 a.S.). Ghortz applied to the Ximaxian Academy of Magic using his newfound inheritance money. Ghortz applied to be a mage of the fire element and began his studies in earnest.
His studies, unfortunately, were not as successful as he had hoped. He struggled for two years, never quite mastering the most basic of concepts of fire magic. The first spell he tried to cast, Flame Control, ended up burning half the study as the flame grew out of control and caused him terrible burns on his hands and arms. He was healed, of course, but never got over that failure.
After two years, Ghortz accepted that his place was not among the other fire mage apprentices and he had resigned himself that he should probably become a doctor as his father had hoped. He was preparing to leave the Academy when one of his instructors, an archmage, happened by and gave Ghortz a parting gift - a book about demons by the famous scholar Torek Ozzot. Asked why such a fascinating, yet dark, gift would be given to a failed mage apprentice, the archmage shrugged and said "Because I have no use for it. Perhaps you'll find this more interesting than I did."
Amateur Scholar (1615 a.S.-1645 a.S.). Ghortz accepted the book and never saw the archmage again. However, the archmage was correct. Once Ghortz started reading Ozzot's work on demons, the gnome couldn't rest until he learned more. He decided to stay in Ximax and pursue more studies of demonology. He soon discovered that his real skill was in speaking, communication and he had a superb memory for facts and figures. He loved to read, write and enjoyed the company of others. He was soon accepted as a junior scholar in the Ximaxian libraries and worked cataloging books, scrolls and papers. He did research projects for archmages and he soon found a place among the Academy again, although not as a student, but as an employee.
Waudrin Ghortz learned much working in the Ximaxian libraries, vaults and laboratories as a junior researcher and part time scholar. He questioned everyone he could find about demons and the Netherworlds. He read, read and read some more. He was told to seek out and speak with the foremost authorities on demonology in all of Santharia - Torek Ozzot and Koldar Mondrakken. Waudrin sent several letters to the offices of the two famous scholars but received no reply. Waudrin had many theories and wanted to discuss them, but failed to find the two men. No one in Ximax knew of their whereabouts, but Ghortz did hear whisperings that the two scholars had left to far off lands in search of long forgotten lore. Presumably, they were not coming back anytime soon.
Myth Buster (1645 a.S.). An Erpheronian trader came to Ghortz's residence one afternoon with a fantastic story. A creature known as a tam-rek demon was rumored to live in the Auturian Woods in the southeast of Santharia. They were supposed to be large creatures with horned heads and hooved feet. They preyed on travelers and drank blood and partook in dastardly rituals of torture and mayhem. A journal existed by an eyewitness who died at the hands of these demons.
Ghortz scoffed at the story, but looked into the tale anyway. After some months of searching, he happened upon the journal of the man who supposedly witnessed these tam-rek demon. Ghortz was intrigued and he decided to journey to these woods to see the creatures for himself. Of course, he never believed they were demons anyway and expected to find nothing but rumour and tall tales, so what harm would it be to make the journey?
Ghortz hired a group of men led by the Erpheronian trader and using some of Ghortz's wealth, they hired caravans to take them to the Auturian Woods. When they got there, Ghortz interviewed several other traders and adventurers asking about this tam-rek demon. No one could say they had heard of such a monster.
However, there was a single Tethinrhim elf that they encountered who claimed that such creatures did exist. Ghortz offered the elf a reward if they led him to the demon's grounds. The elf refused to lead them too deep into the woods but agreed to lead them to the outskirts of the western edge of the woods where tracks could be found.
The party went and there were indeed tracks left in the mud. They resembled hooves, and Ghortz knew enough that they were not hooves of normal fauna. These hooves belonged to a two legged creature. However, Ghortz wasn't about to give up. After another day of searching, they found no other evidence to confirm or deny the existence of the tam-rek demon.
"Orcs!" Ghortz said of the tracks and stories later. "The tales of the tam-rek are simply orc and elf pairings... perhaps with a subtle magical influence. I found no evidence of a demon at all. It is simply the whisperings of fearful superstitious natives. Perhaps a tribe of ugly, barbaric people who don't want to be found and who spread tales of their wanton evil for the purposes of keeping the curious meddler away from their secluded home."
"Where are the Demons?" (1650 a.S.). Using this very dubious conclusion as a basis, Waudrin published his own theories on demons in a book titled "Where are the Demons?" in 1620 a.S. In this book, Waudrin asks that if demons are so prevalent and dangerous, why hasn't anyone seen one? Or summoned one, if such a thing can be done? When asked this question to the Ximax's archmages, they reply that summoning demons is dangerous and is prohibited at the Academy. The book responds asking who, then, has actual eyewitness reports of demons? Who has the power to summon them?
Most controversially, Ghortz puts forth the theory that demons do not exist and are figments of the imagination and stories told to frighten children. As in the case of the tam-rek, Ghortz explained that the creature was a barbaric, savage orc-elf half breed who only wanted to be left alone. Ghortz actually offered a reward to anyone who can summon a real demon for him to see with his own eyes.
Controversy. Ghortz's book caused a stir among the scholarly community. Many of the religious faithful promptly denounced the work as nonsense. Demons have existed since the beginning of time, and are always a danger to the world and its peoples. Simply study the history of Caelereth, they said. Demons are real! Ghortz responded with his familiar argument:
"If they are real, then show me. Mondrakken and Ozzot, two of the most respected authorities on demons, have yet to deny my claims. They are gone. Dead for all we know. While their work is undeniably respected and well known, they are not here to defend their theories."
Ghortz's book also caused a sensation among the
Academy scholars. Some also denied the book,
calling Ghortz an amateur with no real experience or credentials. While others
praised the book, saying it was the truth that no one ever dared voice before.
Some archmages said:
Yet others have said of the book:
"'Where Are The Demons' is nothing but the work of a dreamer and trickster seeking to cause a stir among theories and evidence long grounded in true research and fact."
Ghortz was summarily dismissed from his job at the
Academy on grounds of his causing debate and
trouble. He used the remainder of his inheritance and some of the profits from
his book and built his own home and research study within the city.
On Phantasms (1660 b.S.). Waudrin Ghortz's next study was the so called watchers phantasms, or ghosts. The phantasms are phenomenon claimed to live in moors, swamps, deep ancient forests and cemeteries. Ghortz interviewed several adventurers who claimed to have seen such ghosts during their travels and began another book on the subject.
"Tricks Of The Mind" was Ghortz's second book, published in 1660 a.S., refuting another mythological claim by many people. Ghortz claimed in the book that the phantasms were figments of the imagination, a result of weary travelers or tricks of the moonlight upon the eyes. He also claimed that if one has never heard of a watchers, then they cannot encounter them. In other words, if you don't believe in them, they don't exist.
While not causing as much of a stir as his refuting demons, "Tricks of the Mind" nevertheless became a hotly debated subject as many denounced Ghortz as a trickster out to cause trouble with his silly theories. Many scholars challenged Ghortz to go to the Silver Marches himself and find evidence of his theories. To this, Ghortz responded:
"I do not believe that phantasms, nor demons for that matter, exist. Therefore, I will not be able to see them. If one believes wholeheartedly in their hearts and minds that such phenomena are real, then they will see a ghost or demon no matter that anyone tells them."
The book refuting the phantasms sold well and Ghortz soon became
a respected scholar in his own right for having the courage to deny ages old
theories and to put forth another way of thinking. Reviled and hated by many
scholars, Ghortz received many threats and hate letters, but he never allowed
the opinions of him to stop his "research".
Present Day Studies. Waudrin Ghortz continues to pursue his work refuting popular theories and myths. He has hinted at being almost completed with a third book, this one is rumored having to do with dragons or even refuting the very Gods themselves. Whatever the subject is, Ghortz is not telling. He continues to travel Sarvonia engaging in debates and special appearances. His books continue to sell and fan the flames of controversy for both sides of the debate.
Waudrin Ghortz, now approaching middle age, still lives in his home in Ximax. His wealth from his books and from his frugal savings have afforded him a comfortable lifestyle, although some claim that he is heavily in debt and is close to having his home taken away by his debtors. Nevertheless, Ghortz doesn't stop his banquets and parties and other social gatherings. He finds that the more friends he has, the more his theories can spread.
Importance. Waudrin Ghortz continues to provide lively debate and controversy wherever he goes. His research into demons and phantasms has garnered praise and hatred from all walks of society. The religious faithful denounce his work as heresy. Some scholars ridicule his dubious and far-fetched theories.
Yet others find Ghortz's work a refreshing change from the ages old demon and ghost stories told to children stemming from ancient tradition. More and more young folk join to Ghortz's side, defending their right to believe however they wish and looking for ways to break from the old traditional tales told to them as children.
As Ghortz is fond of saying: "Prove to me that demons and phantasms exist and I shall prove to you that they don't." To this day, no one has ever done so. But, because of the accusations of Ghortz's far-fetched theories and dubious research methods, his conclusions are dismissed by leading scholars as not reliable. However, no one can deny the impact that Ghort'z arguments have had on the debate. When a new theory is put forth, it is now almost customary to put it through the "Ghortz Test". Is it reliable? Is it well researched? And, most importantly, did it come from Ghortz himself?