Few figures in Telara’s history are as controversial as Orphiel Farwind. Though a full account of his life and times is all but impossible to convey due to spotty records and Orphiel’s own silence, the following documents may shed some light.
Excerpt of a letter from Theo Catari, Royal Advisor in Matters Magical, to Jostir Mathos, King of Mathosia
As regards this Orphiel Farwind, I admit I have heard of him. Of Ethian stock, I think, self-taught, and a prodigy. We have had occasion to correspond, and his thoughts on sourcestone theory and planar dynamics are revolutionary. Note my deliberate word choice. If you are looking for a tutor for your princes, to ground them in sound magical theory and ancient lore, you can do better than Orphiel Farwind by choosing randomly from any graduating class at Quicksilver College. As my daughter Asha currently resides in your palace, I hope for her sake that you do not expose these impressionable young minds to Farwind’s radical notions.
From the diary of Asha Catari, age 12
Master Orphiel today told us about the ancient Eth—like me!—who tamed half the world and created a golden age of magic and learning. Oh how grand to have miniature cities made of crystal where mice are enchanted to walk upright and put on plays, or to ride to war on a mechanical horse powered by lightning. He says that the technology is like a pearl hidden under the sea-bed. You can find it if you dig hard enough, and then everything will glitter. You just have to use it more carefully than the old Eth did, so nothing goes out of control. I was so rapt I forgot to take notes, but Aedraxis offered to let me copy his. Zareph just sat and scowled the whole time.
Overheard discussion between King Aedraxis and Orphiel Farwind, visiting the palace at royal request
“So you say the ancient Eth built war machines?” asked Aedraxis, sipping his velvet-purple wine.
“At first, yes. Sourcestone-fueled wonders that were especially effective against the dragons. This pales in comparison to the engines of prosperity they developed based on these early inventions.”
“War so often is the father of progress,” said the king.
“A shame for progress, then, that Mathosia has known such a long peace,” Orphiel said with an ironic smile.
Aedraxis sighed, his broad shoulders sloping. “It will not last, my teacher. I fear certain citizens who’ve grown too rich in ambition. Like the noble Eth of old, I would have machines to bring a merciful end to my enemies.”
Orphiel leaned forward intently. “I could build you such devices, Highness, given the promise that once war is over, we explore the technology’s peacetime applications.”
Aedraxis nodded sagely, and said, “Only under those conditions would I agree.”
Raj Tahleed, Dean of Planar Studies in Meridian, giving a lecture on the renaissance of Eth technology
Of course one cannot blame Orphiel for Aedraxis’s crimes. Yes, he used Orphiel’s machines to break the Ward, but there is no way Orphiel could have known. Yes, perhaps Aedraxis did turn progressively more obviously sinister as the war ground on, but Farwind had been his teacher when the king was just a lad. It is hard to see wickedness in those you love. Besides, the great mind was never present for Aedraxis’s deadlier tantrums, isolating himself with his work. And it was Orphiel, after all, who rallied the Eth and the Bahmi to march to Port Scion and support Prince Zareph against the rifts. He was the first Defiant, and let no man forget!
Kip Bayne, graverobber, current member of the Unseen, in his cups
I brought the man a fragment of bone from a fresh grave like he asked, and watched as he lay it on his fancy slab. Took a whole lot of sourcestone (must’ve cost a king’s fortune) and built a figure of a woman. He pulled the lever and there was a flash, brighter than anything I ever thought I’d see. For a while, nothing happened. The man kept tugging nervously at his dozen collars. Then, a voice came, a pretty woman’s voice: “Orphiel?”
She formed around the sourcestone frame: bone, then meat, then skin, and then these bright tattoos blazed to life on her dusky flesh. I knew that girl. Asha Catari, she was. She sat up and stared at Orphiel, who just laughed and laughed and laughed.
Activity transcript from Rusty, primary automaton assistant to Orphiel Farwind
REPORT: Currently operating at 98% exertion at the master’s bidding.
REPORT: Attempts to complete alternative Ascension Process 0% successful.
REPORT: Have inquired of the master why such steps are necessary, as Sylver Valis and other Defiant have perfected the process already. Master claimed that alternative means would make Ascended far more common and allow Defiant to overwhelm Guardians and riftspawn. Not having to rely strictly on temporal travel, according to the master, is also highly desirable.
REPORT: Instance of visitors to the master’s study has lessened by 65% since the first Ascension. Most visitors now seek council of Asha Catari and other Ascended.
REPORT: The Master stands at his tower window for hours at a time. Mutterings included the following: “I must perfect Ascension. Could I even assign it to a living mortal? Test it on myself, of course