The leader of the Defiants, Orphiel Farwind is one of the most enigmatic public figures in current Telaran Lore. For someone in such a prominent position he is rarely seen or heard from, avoiding leadership in favour of sitting in his observatory in Meridian watching the movement of the planes. In fact during the Defiant starting zone, twenty years in the future he is not even present at all having disappeared mysteriously many years ago. So who is this man, where did he come from and what does the future possibly hold for him?
The earliest records on Orphiel show that he was a professor at Quicksilver College in Silverwood. He had many famous pupils including Prince Aedraxis, Asha Calari and Alsbeth Rothman. Orphiel was considered to be brilliant but known to be somewhat unorthodox and revolutionary when it came to his ideas on magical theory. Even during these early days he had a somewhat romantic fascination with ancient Eth machines . He was entirely convinced, and very much still is, that technology is the key to solving all of Telara’s problems.
When civil war broke out between King Aedraxis and his brother, Prince Zareph, Orphiel was approached by Aedraxis about potentially re-constructing some ancient Eth technology in order to bring a “merciful end” to the rebels and any other enemies that may arise. Orphiel, partly blinded by his friendship with his former student and partly tempted to delve into a world of technological wonder he could only dream of before, accepted the corrupt king’s offer under the condition that when the war was over peacetime application for source technology would be researched. Unknowingly, Orphiel helped build the machine that would puncture the ward and bring the rifts to Telara and cause the deaths of thousands of Telarans including another former student, Asha Calari.
Finally seeing the King for what he was and distraught with the death of Asha, Orphiel sought refuge with Zareph’s rebels in Port Scion. At first he was denied entry to the city along with the rest of the Eth and Bahmi that were also seeking refuge but eventually Prince Zareph himself intervened and allow them access. There was peace for a while, Orphiel and his followers constructed a protective barrier over Port Scion and under Zareph’s guidance it seemed like the races of Telara could unite and fight back against the Shade. However any hopes of this happening were lost when Alsbeth betrayed the Guardians and used Ethian technology to bring down the magic protecting the city, ushering in a massive death rift. The Guardians blamed Orphiel and his machines for the disaster and likewise Orphiel and his followers blamed the Guardians. The two sides went their separate ways and Orphiel officially formed the Defiants.
The Defiant numbers had been decimated during the civil war. Having no ascended of their own they were vulnerable on all sides from attacks not only from the planes but from the Guardians. Desperate for a solution Orphiel once again looked to Ethian technology and began to work on machine-born ascension. Eventually he stumbled upon the solution, bringing Asha Catari back from the dead and renewing hope for the Defiant cause. However everyone else Orphiel brought back ended up being mere mortals, only Asha had special gifts and these were gained during a meeting with Regulos in the River of Souls. Orphiel still pushes forward to this day trying to discover the key to true ascension, a path that may eventually be his undoing.
Orphiel’s fascination with ascension has recently been spurred on by the switching on of the failsafe device and the flood of Defiant ascended that followed. Although their message of the future was bleak, Orphiel is confident that he will find the asnwers he is looking for eventually and sees these time travellers as proof. In fact the arrival of the ascended may even have unforseen circumstances in making Orphiel a little too confident in his work and there have been murmerings of ideas for wild experiments: “I must perfect Ascension. Could I even assign it to a living mortal? Test it on myself, of course…”
So what does the future hold for Orphiel? His mysterious absence from Terminus raises a lot of questions. Is it possible that one of Orphiel’s experiments finally got the better of him or did he leave for other reasons? I can’t help but get the feeling that there is a slightly sinister side to the man, and it’s more than him staring through a giant telescope at Telara’s neighbours all day long. All of the events in recent lore seem to tie directly to him, three of his most prominent students were targeted by Regulos, two of which almost brought Telara back to the days of the Bloodstorm. Some might think that Orphiel has been an unfortunate and unwitting puppet in Regulos’ master plan but I’d like to think that Orphiel is a little smarter than that… perhaps Orphiel has been orchestrating the downfall of the ward since the beginning and merely playing innocent behind his naive love of tech. Perhaps the real reason he was not in Terminus is that he had finally taken his position by his master’s side, ready to watch the world be devoured.
Of course we won’t know the whole story till we see it play out for ourselves. Perhaps Orphiel and his machines will be the saviour of Telara. Either way I think that Orphiel is one of the more interesting characters that inhabit Telara and there is definitely more to come from him. When his role in the grand scheme of things is revealed I am certain that it will affect everyone on Telara, Guardian and Defiant alike. So what do you think? Hero or villain? Puppet or puppeteer? Post your theories below.