Vekarn Kha’mal, (1617 a.S. – present) also rarely referenced as Vekarn Tak’mal in some scholarly documents, is best known for his studies of the Mists of Osthemangar in Northern Sarvonia, the beasts and demons that reside there, and the mysterious will’o’wisp. Though this Volkek-Oshra orc originally began his studies as a fire mage at the Academy of Ximax, Kha’mal’s unorthodox interest in the field of demonology drove him out of Xaramon. The publication of his research on demons and spirits in his three treatises, “Book of Ineffable Madness,” “Guiding Light: The Myth of the Wisp” and “Discussions on the North,” brought Vekarn Kha’mal great fame in the academic world as one of the premier experts in the field. Interestingly enough, the mage has never dared to venture into the Mists himself, instead drawing his evidence from the journals of explorers whose expeditions he finances.
As a member of the Volkek-Oshra
tribe of orcs, Kha’mal once stood at
approximately two peds in
height. Now permanently hunched as a result of decades spent pouring over the
texts housed in the New Santhalan Library, the mage’s height has shrunk by a
quite notable amount. What he has lost in length, however, he has more than
gained in girth, as evidenced by the manner in which his rotund belly strains
against his dark red robes.
By all accounts, Vekarn appears exactly as one would expect a distinguished and dedicated scholar. Though always unequivocally well groomed, as evidenced by his perfectly trimmed, graying beard, black ink spots seem to plague his hands and robes like a case of mysterious pox. Never truly focused on that directly in front of him as he scurries about his daily routine, his pensive brown eyes seem to be perpetually staring off into the distance, as if analyzing something no one else can see.
Although he commands considerable wealth, Vekarn shows no interest in extravagant attire. Dressed in robes of simple cloth, Kha’mal carries only a few accessories. Most noticeable is the golden, flame-etched medallion awarded to all members of the Volkek-Oshra tribe enrolled in the Red Tower of Ximax that the mage continues to carry around his neck.
Personality. Though he is an excellent writer and quite skilled at defending his theories in debate, holding a casual conversation with Kha’mal is always a bit of a struggle. Whether the result of his parents’ aloofness or his preference for solitude, the researcher never seems fully engaged in the present, but rather appears distracted and sometimes even annoyed to be bothered. This trait has made him few friends in New-Santhalan (and in life in general); a fact which he hardly seems bothered by.
What is admired by his peers, however, is his diligence and intense attention to detail. Most often found poring over treatises, journals and tomes in the Great Library, Kha’mal has an impressive knack for both compiling large amounts of information and evidence and for spotting details previously unnoticed. It is the result of these two traits that the orc’s theories and treatises have won such wide acclaim.
Biography. Birth and Early Childhood (1617 a.S.). Vekarn Kha’mal was born to a Volkek-Oshra couple in the city of Ximax in 1617 a.S. Like most members of their tribe, the two orcs were Magi of the Red Tower. Neither, however, possessed any considerable talent and thus were unable to rise particularly far within the Tower’s hierarchy.
That being said, the couple was far from poor. Since they were each independently employed in the service of Ximax, both Vekarn’s mother and father earned a salary. These dual sources of regular income allowed the couple to amass more wealth than the average Santharian family and provide their only son with a comfortable childhood.
This unique economic situation did not come without its side effects, however. Beginning at the young age of six, Vekarn was left to his own devices for most of the day. It is believed that this lack of basic social interaction was one of the primary factors contributing to the boy’s preference for solitude. Furthermore, it has also been suggested that it was during this lonely time that the orc’s interest in demons was first piqued.
Enrollment in Ximax and Study at the Magic Academy (1631 a.S.). Like most other adolescents of the Volkek-Oshra tribe, Kha’mal was enrolled in the Red Tower as an Initiate Fire Mage at the age of fourteen. His sharpness allowed him to progress quite rapidly through his studies at the Tower and after only twenty four years of study graduated with a mastery of both Sphere I and Sphere II.
While enrolled at the Magical Academy, the orc remained aloof from his peers and professors, instead choosing to dedicated himself to his studies. In addition to practicing the prescribed curriculum, Vekarn also created one of his own. By making use of the Library Tower’s vast collection of books and treatises, the young mage provided himself with a diverse survey of knowledge.
Perhaps the single best known moment from Vekarn’s study at Ximax is his encounter with a Will’o’Wisp in the catacombs running beneath the city. Despite the fact that he was warned both by the magi of the Red Tower and his Volkek-Oshra brethren against his mission, the curious researcher undertook an expedition into this dangerous territory and soon became dizzyingly lost. But, just as his torch ran out, a group of will’o’wisps appeared to him and led him to safety. It is said that this encounter provided the inspiration for his first book, “Guiding Light: The Myth of the Wisp,” which he published soon after leaving the Academy.
It was also during his tenure at Ximax that Kha’mal first became acquainted with the Mists and began dabbling in the arts of demonology, even to the extent of illegal experiments. Since the practice of demonology was strictly forbidden by the Magical Academy, upon graduating, Vekarn decided to relocate himself to a more hospitable environment in which he could continue his studies.
It is also rumouredthat during his time at Ximax Kha'mal's fascination with the darker side of the element of Fire led him join the Everbright Cult. Though the researcher refuses to confirm or deny this statement, his relocation to New-Santhala and general preference for solitude suggests that he most likely is not an overly active member.
Departure from Ximax and Arrival in New-Santhala (1655 a.S.) – In 1655, Vekarn left Ximax in the province of Xaramon and traveled to the capital of the Santharian Kingdom, New-Santhala, in hopes of gaining access to the city’s famous library. Bringing with him his now-deceased-parents’ wealth, Kha’mal established himself in the city upon gaining access to the library as a fully fledged Ximaxian mage, and has remained there ever since. During his time in New-Santhala, Vekarn has both been exposed to the works that influenced him most and written his most influential treatises.
Publication of First Treatise (1659 a.S.). Just four years after leaving the Magical Academy, Kha’mal published his first book; one which was inspired by his encounters with the will’o’wisps in the catacombs beneath Ximax. Based on tireless hours of research, the book “Guiding Light: The Myth of the Wisp,” was one of the first academic accounts published on the mysterious creatures and provided both an account of the author’s interaction with them as well as new theories about their creation.
In the tome, Vekarn Kha'mal puts forward the belief that the wisp is born from the remains of the dead and that they are in fact spirits, as opposed to previous theories which had asserted that the wisp was merely an illusion. He further asserts that the wisps actually can reproduce by joining together to create a larger wisp or even separate themselves to create several other smaller wisps. Finally, Kha'mal states that a wisp may simply be a part of one larger entity that splits and joins as needed. For what purpose the ’Master Wisp’ would behave this way, he admits, he does not yet understand.
Expeditions to the Mists (1660 a.S.). Not long after he completed his first publication did Kha’mal turn his attention to his next major subject of research, the Mists of Osthemangar. Inspired by the work of renowned Sage Artimidor Frederkiel, Kha’mal was determined to research both the trecherous lands and the savage, tainted beasts that resided there. Using the wealth he inherited from his parents, the curious orc funded a series of expeditions into the Mists of Osthemangar with the hope of studying the interior. His plan, however, encountered some major set backs as the vast majority of the explorers he hired never returned home again to recount their tales.
Publication of “Ineffable Madness” (1666 a.S.). Six years of information gathering were brought to fruition when in 1666 Kha’mal published of a comprehensive treastise on the Mists and the beasts within entitled “Ineffable Madness”. The vast scope of the material and creative theories brought its author respect among academics throughout the Santharian Kingdom and established him as the premier scholar in the field. Now, only five years later, Kha’mal’s theories are accepted universally as fact.
The first topic dicsussed in “Ineffable Madness“ are the netherbeasts of the Mists. Here, Kha’mal asserts that the netherbeast is one of the lowest demon forms existing in the Netherworld, often used as fodder and front line soldiers for more powerful beings. As evidence for his assertions, Kha’mal cites historical accounts taken from the War of the Chosen, the Third Sarvonian War, the Battle of Hegedorn and the Battle of Osthemangar, and shows how in all of these instances, the netherbeasts were forced to obey commands from a higher power without hesitation.
The book then goes on to discuss how these beasts reproduce. Based on the observations reported to him, Kah’mal proposed a theory stating the creature's saliva is tainted with the netherworldly, blighted presence that, when introduced into a living or dead host, infected it. Over time, this infection would spread, eventually turning the creature into a netherbeast itself.
The second major beast discussed in “Ineffable Madness” is the mysterious mystran. In regards to this beast, Kha’mal asserts that it must remain close to the place from which it was spawned (the Netherworld), for it is from here that the mystran draws its strength. According to Kha’mal, if the creature were ever to venture outside of the Mists, its strength would diminish and it would grow vulnerable. To support this idea, Kha’mal draws upon historical evidence from the Third Sarvonian War. Kha’mal asserts that the reason the orcen armies lost their strength as they invaded the south was because the mystran’s power, and thus the strength of their possession of the orcs, waned the farther from their home the mystrans traveled.
Publication of Treatise on Shades (1670 a.S.). Using the information of the explorers sent out by his expeditions, Kha’mal has recently compiled a treatise on another phenomenon of the Mists, the Shades. Though the observations he received were less detailed than those on the netherbeasts and mystran, the treatise, entitled “Discussions on the North,“ still establishes many key facts about these beasts. First, based on his explorers’ probing, Kha’mal is able to assert that the Shades were born neither of natural nor magical processes. Secondly, he is able to provide them with a physical form, stating that they resemble the fabled Móh'rhím. And finally, “Dicusssions on the North“ makes it clear that the creatures seem to be neither living nor dead, but rather somehow caught between our world and the Netherworld as the Mists have seeped through.
Into the Mists (1671 a.S.). In order to further his understanding of his field , Kha’mal has recently announced that he will be personally venturing into the Mists of Osthemangar to study the land and the beasts it contains. Though the expedition is still in the planning phase, he hopes to depart sometime early next year.
The researcher has made it known that he hopes to recruit famed Injerín explorer, Saryas Kelweather, to serve as his guide and as an interview subject. Having left New-Santhala last year to journey north, it is believed the orc is in the process of pleading his case to both the elf and the Kaaer’dár’shín half-orcs, whose Mist Hunters would serve as their guides. The process has taken markedly longer than anticipated as Kha’mal’s race has made the Northerners suspicious of him and his credentials.
Importance. As the leading researcher on the Mists of Osthemangar, Vekarn Kha’mal’s importance in the academic world is indisputable. Through the investment of his personal wealth, the Volkek-Oshra has accumulated one of the largest collections of first hand accounts on the Mists and its beasts throughout Caelereth. Furthermore, his meticulous and dedicated analysis of said collection has led to groundbreaking discoveries in the study of northern Caaehl'heroth. Without Kha’mal’s contributions, much of the information and theories considered by modern scholars as ‘fact’ about the beasts of the Netherworlds would not exist.
Kha’mal’s contributions to the New-Santhalan Library also extend beyond the topic of the Netherworld and the Mists. His “Guiding Light: The Myth of the Wisp” is one of the first sources published to consider the wisp outside of myth and folklore. Though it is not his main field of study, Kha’mal’s work on the wisps is groundbreaking because it is provides first-hand observations of the mysterious beings and well thought out theories on their reproduction.