“I have dedicated my entire life to knowledge. Nothing shall ever stray me from that path.”
- - Valdemar
Among the humans of the Empire of Man, magic is considered to be a foul art and is viewed with great distrust, and as such few sorcerers serve the Grand Monarch. Valdemar Mistwood is one of this rare kin, an alumnus of the first and only Imperial Mage Academy in Thalapolis and among the most gifted of his people in the Source. Bearing the rank of Sigilite, Valdemar is an arcane researcher of the Empire, studying how magic can be controlled and harnessed and developing new spells that other sorcerers could use. This quest for knowledge has on multiple occasions driven Valdemar to places outside his homeland, although most of his discoveries are made in the Academy itself.
What bothers the Sigilite more, however, is his past. Valdemar has a secret, a secret that he keeps from all but his closest friends: he is not completely human. The crystalline disfigurements on his face that he claims are the results of a magical mishap are in fact signs of his heritage - what heritage, he does not know. But he is eager to find out: that is a mystery that he shall one day unravel.
Valdemar was born among the Saphronian Hetmanate's noble classes in the town of Mistwood on the north of the Frontier. The only son of High Enchantress Freya Mistwood, one of the most influential Source users in the Empire, and gifted with sorcerous talent since his childhood, Valdemar was groomed from his very youth to become a mage, and as such lived apart from Saphronia's high society, prepared by his mother for a promising career in the Imperial Academy. In a sense, the young sorcerer was more than happy to be separated from his peers; born with a disfigured, partially crystallised face, he was often a subject of mockery in the rare cases he interacted with his fellow noble children - who often accused him of being an aliquam - and preferred the company of books and ancient scrolls.
Because of his own outcast status, Valdemar found kin among the lower classes of Saphronian society that other nobles tended to ignore or despise, particularily the Drevichi, the wild human tribes that had inhabited the Frontier before the Empire. During his teenage years when Valdemar studied in the Academy, he met one of such tribal humans, a young archer girl named Sefarina Brightwing; although the aristocratic mage was at first dismissive of the uncouth "wild woman", their shared curiosity for the world eventually grew into a friendship: the two had remained close - although never too close - ever since. Indeed, it was Valdemar who had taught Sefarina how to use wind magic, a talent that she had then cultivated - and mastered.
As Valdemar grew older, though, his studies of the arcane became to take more time and he was forced to forsake his friendship with Sefarina and her people. Eventually, the young mage left Mistwood permamently and moved to Thalapolis, the capital of the Saphronian Hetmanate where the Imperial Academy was located. There, his final test commenced: he was to devise a spell of his own making, one that had never been used before. Valdemar presented a cantrap that was inspired by the karmic beliefs of Sefarina's people: the Speculum, a spell that would reflect and replicate magic directed at the caster himself like a sorcerous mirror. The Magisters found the young mage's creation adequate and bestowed upon him the title of Sigilite; Valdemar was now in charge of developing new magic for the Empire.
For the following years, Valdemar continued to study, devising new incantations and cantraps of various schools, from elemental to psychic, in some cases ever delving into darker aspects of magic like necromancy. Certain spells he created were perfected versions of older mages' creations; others were of nonhuman origin, borrowed by him during his journeys to lands outside the Empire. When the mysterious cataclysm known as the Scarring destroyed half of the Frontier, including the Academy, Valdemar (who had barely escaped the devastation) was heartbroken - not only because his home was no more, but also because vast amounts of magical lore, including some of his own, were lost.
While the rest of Imperial sorcerers decided to leave the devastated Thalopolid and rebuild the Academy elsewhere, Valdemar remained determined to reclaim it. Finally, when a strange girl appeared to him with a message from Sefarina, the young mage decided to act...
Being a scholar who has spent most of his life studying, Valdemar is not in great physical shape. Pale-skinned, somewhat tall (but not extremely tall) and lanky, he looks somewhat sickly, often stumbles as he walks and is not used to long trips. This weak exterior however belies a brilliant magical mind: Valdemar's eyes, deep purple in colour, gleam with intelligence, always hungering for knowledge. This strong longing for information, along with his facial features is what gives the otherwise friendly Saphronian an unnerving, even threatening aura that makes even his closest friends stay away from him. Unusually for a human from the Frontier, Valdemar's hair is fairly short and dark, of a chestnut tinge.
Notably for a human, Valdemar possesses a set of strange bony growths on his forehead, cheeks and chin (as well as the rest of his body) that resemble natural armour common to insectoid Theriocephali, but purple and crystalline. These strange disfigurements, which often made him a target of mockery when he was young, are claimed by him to be the result of a magical experiment of his mother gone awry; the truth, however, is that they mark the fact that he is actually not completely human. Although born to a Saphronian woman, his father belonged to a different species that Valdemar does not know; his mother has been hesitant to tell him the truth, for obvious reasons.
Valdemar usually wears a dark purple robe that indicates his position in the Academy; although silk-like on the surface, it is furred inside and offers great protection from the elements. However, the delicate materials used in its construction do not shelter one from weapons; as such, Valdemar typically relies on protective charms to defend himself in combat. In addition to his robe, Valdemar often dons a heavy black cloak when striding outside.
A person who has lived most of his life sheltered from the world, Valdemar may appear strange, awkward, or even insane to a stranger. Living in the world of arcane theories and tomes of magical lore, his only true passion in the world is knowledge; everything else barely interests him. Whereas most Imperial mages see studying the Source as the way to serve their homeland, Valdemar sees it as a goal in itself. Magic is an epitome of the power of the mind; with it, there is no difference between thought and reality, and true freedom can be attained. The Source, Valdemar believes, will one day grant humanity godhood provided that humans learn to understand it.
Behind his dreams of grandeur, however, Valdemar is little more than a bookish young man with little to no social skills. He has few friends, partially because of his disfigurements but also because of his fear of other people; he prefers keeping to himself, studying and learning away from the rest of the world. Valdemar however is greatly attached to those few people who understand him: Sefarina Brightwing, his mother, his friends from the Academy.
Unlike such Imperials as Javina Desertsun, Valdemar is not strongly prejudiced against nonhumans; he openly admires ancient civilisations such as the Sea Giants and the Cobalt Kingdom for their knowledge and also has a secret interest in the magic of the Sovereignty of Dryada, the Empire's sworn enemy. However, he still believes that it is human manifest destiny to one day become the dominant species of Koldenwelt (though not through military conquest) and feels extremely nervous and uncomfortable around nonhumans. He has a special phobia of unnatural creatures such as ghosts and undead, and usually keeps no less than five exorcism spells memorised so that he could banish one - just in case.
Abilities and Equipment
For his age and race, Valdemar is an extraordinary Source user. Well-versed in multiple schools of magic ranging from conjuration to elementalism, he is able to cast a wide range of spells that can be used both to create and to destroy; some of them are memorised by the young mage, while those incantations that are more complex and powerful are kept in a small bag of scrolls that he carries with him. Most of Valdemar's spells have rather mundane purposes, such as cleaning the dishes or lighting up candles; others however can be used to heal, to conjure objects, or to set people on fire.
When it comes to actual combat, however, Valdemar is not a fearsome opponent. He possesses little stamina and cannot concentrate amidst a fight; as such, he cannot use most of his most powerful spells in battle and is forced to rely on simpler cantrips such as fireballs and ice bolts. However, fear and combat stress often make Valdemar tap into the Source more deeply during fights, which makes his magic quite strong, if somewhat unstable.
Valdemar's trademark spell is the Speculum, an incantation that he devised during his teenage years. Manifesting as a ghostly mirror that flies around his figure, this spell allows the sigilite to reflect all magic casted at him back at the attackers, which can prove useful when fighting. Valdemar, though, values the Speculum not for its lethality but because it allows him to understand his enemies' spells more deeply and thus expand his own knowledge further.
- Sefarina Brightwing - “I will find you. Somehow!”
- Lekren-Lax - “...Klaxxa. I cannot understand them at times. Now I know how others feel around me.”
- Ryza Yazzalarn - “She is pretty. Pretty. I am attracted to her. Attracted to an elf. What kind of sick person am I?”
- Norrigan of Visonia - “You. Are a ghost. And you. Want to help me. I don't get it.”
- Marcos Ridgewood - “Another human. Yes. Feels strange having all these... aliquams around me. I'll never get used to it.”
- Vultusk Kychtdar - “What... what the hell are you?”
- Kimorgos - ...You. You!
“C'mere lad, show me how a human really shivers my timbers, mate!”
- - Ryza
“We...we actually don't know what...the hell we are.”
- - Vultusk
“Your face is crystal. Try selling it, you'll get rich!”
- - Norrigan of Visonia
“So you are disfigured as well. Unfortunate but I know how you feel.”
“What a great mage he is! I owe him a lot.”
“Get a life, you socially awkward fool. What? Hypocrisy? What hypocrisy?”