Orwan Ulera was one of the many mages who teached at the University of Hulwar. During his time he was in a relationship with another teacher - Iliria of the Languages - and planned on retiring in a decade, to get settled near the University for a small little family and a lab.
But it was coming different, times being how they were.
Orwan teached Rituals & Incantations mostly, but was a substitute teacher for Spells (the overarching topic) as well, which helped him in the final battle.
He was a slow teaching scholar. That doesn't mean he was slow-thinking or explaining slowly, but he was teaching all the ropes and sticks and stones. The 150 original runes of the Arcana Basica are dangerous enough when each one was used alone, but in combination it could... well, a lot of things could happen and nearly everything of it was much uglier than a few burns on the arm. So Orwan teached slow, covering all topics every rune touched on its own and what will happen when they interact with each other.
For the slower students he had a lot of exercises and for the faster or more advanced students he had at least three other projects where they could hone their skills. That and his father-like, but severe, teaching method made him a favourite amongst the students.
He made it very clear that everytime someone was not careful with their use of magic, it could end very bad for the user. Not only because one might misspell a rune and set oneself on fire, but also when one uses magic, they draw energy from beyond the veil. And with every use of magic there is a portal, an opening, a crack. Something wants to come through and when - if - it does, it ends very, very ugly for the magic-wielder. So he teached them not only offensive spells and shields, but also mind-blocking incantations and protective bannisters. Both were not on the syllabus, but they were good invested time and energy.
"You see, Jasper" Orwan cleared his throat "was one of my brighter students back in the day. Not the brightest, but one of them. He learned the 150 runes in a few days - which was a miracle, if you ask me - and started to train on his own. Without supervision. He was good, he learned the ropes with my help and a bit of self-learning.
One day he went into the library and thought it would be a good idea to learn the Spell of Binding. Which is not that hard if you know what you are doing. And Jasper did know what he was doing. So he ventured out and thought it was a good idea to bind the air around him to the air in his lungs so he never had to breathe again. Replacing the reflex, you know?
Well, what is happening if you do that? Right, you can't move the air of the entire world. So he couldn't break the binding and because of that he drew more and more power to overload the ritual. Which is basically the best thing you can do, but Jasper didn't pay attention. He opened a portal to the dimension behind the Veil and a thing came out. It was small, dark, glowing blue eyes, a lot of teeth and claws. It spoke with Jasper who wasn't able to draw breath. It jumped and ripped his torso up before my spell hit it.
Let Jasper be a lesson for everyone of you: go in my pace or in your own, but do not go over your head. Ask me, if you have doubts."
Personality & Character
As said, he had the deep, calm character of a strict father. Never loud, never angry, compassionate, understanding, with the wandering mind and deep relaxation of an underwater lake. His grading system was hung up behind his desk in his office and in his (main) classroom, so everyone was clear how he would grade their projects, exams and themselves.
While he was at his office he had no office hours as other teachers. The students could came in whenever he was in his office until nightfall. He tried to help them all and had at least a good advice for them when he couldn't help.
He cared for his soon-to-be-wife Iliria and took classes in the Builders workshops to smith an engagement ring. And he casted a Spell of Secrets over them so they wouldn't spill the secret to Iliria, but that was... well, better than just hoping they wouldn't talk. And they didn't, but everything went another direction.
Orwan liked to stay in the café just on the other side of the river. He could look at the University, see his tower, hear the mumbling voice of the slowly running river before he turned his mind to class. Sometimes he teached at the café, sometimes out in the open fields and close to the river.
"Incantations and rituals are slow. As this part of the river. Spells are fast as the rapids down south. The difference between incantations , rituals and spells?
Spells are fast. You can speak them fast and their effect is basically seen the moment you speak out or cast the last rune. Like fireballs or lightning out of your hands. Don't shoot lightning out of your hands, you hear me? You might scramble your nerves.
Rituals are slow. You have to prepare them. You need the right cirumstances, the right ingredients, the right factors. They also work slow. Slower than spells or incantations. Depending on the ritual you might feel the first effects right after. But the real effects can take a lot longer. I could cast the Growing Ritual on this tree over there or the fields of magnolia. You wouldn't see the effects this month or this year. But in the winter they might bloom as bright as they are blooming now. Or next year? Who knows?
And the last ones are incantations. They sit between rituals and spells. Technically they are accelerated rituals, but with much lesser factors and ingredients and sometimes with even lesser security measures. They work faster and more... direct. The Incantation of Ur works in minutes and the La'ha'Bra'Della can level an entire army, but it takes days and a lot of magic and effort. Yes, that is an elvish one and don't get too excited, I won't teach you that in the next two years. To work an incantation - and there is the difference to a ritual - is repetition until it is done. And the more people incantate, the greater the effect. Mostly. There is always an exception to every rule and I can tell you, there are more exceptions than you might think."
Some teachers or scholars at the University had some duties beside teaching and learning. Orwans duty was to make sure that none of the bannisters weakened or break. What bannisters? The ones in the ruins of the old University, the ones in the Underground. A lot of rooms are sealed off for whatever reason - wild magic is one of them - but there are always some students who ventured down there to learn a thing or two. Or make out because they are too ashamed to do it in their dorm.
The problem with the Underground was, that it held and still holds a lot of rooms, hallways and entire halls. Not every room is dangerous, some are just old and crumbling, but it was his duty to protect the university. His bannisters were so beautifully and specifically handcrafted, that no student could break them to get what was behind them. And the beings from the other side... well, they were really angry. Some rooms were sealed off because behind the door a stable portal opened up. Remnants from the past. And Orwan was good with keeping these things at bay.
In his free time Orwan read a lot of books from around the continent and wrote letters to authors and friends. When he wasn't preparing lectures he ventured through the woods or the library to learn new spells, incantations and rituals. Sometimes he even tried them out himself. Which was a problem because he came in contact with the beings behind the veil. But instead of getting corrupted he just... watched them curiously.
"What the hell are you...?"
He tried to spent a lot of time with Iliria who teached him two different languages at the time. They tried to work out his really, really bad handwriting and sometimes they just cuddled up in his or her tower and watched the stars glow. He had a knack for expensive chocolate and quills, his glass cabinet in his office held thirty different quills and sixty different inkwells, all filled with a different colour of ink.
Also his cabinet - and his desk drawer - helds an emergency block of chocolate for him or his students. Magic can be exhausting and the best thing after a good drink or the person you love to boost your serotonin level is a good chunk of chocolate. In various states of aggregation of course.
Get sucked into it
Being the one constantly in contact with the beings from the other side, Orwan felt something going on. In his bones, so to say. The way you feel a thunderstorm coming.
At first it was the restlessness of the beings. Down in the Underground. One broke out of one of the rooms and Orwan not only had to kill it but sealed the entire section off with a huge ensemble of his bannisters. Well, that were only four rooms, but more than enough for him being concerned.
The next thing was that one of his students tried a relative harmless spell and she gutted herself. Something intervened with the runes from outside and everyone felt it, like a headache or a slap on the head. Poor lass.
And before everything was going down the drain he noticed a certain strain on performing magic on his own like something was sucking up energy from his spells. The next thing was that he saw pain from headaches and a lack of concentration in Iliria and his collegues. But not in the headmaster...
Going off with a Boom
The history of the University states that the headmaster had to battle a dark sorcerer who was corrupted by a staff. But that is only half of the truth. Orwan was the one who battled the dark sorcerer and... well, the sorcerer was the headmaster.
The staff was an old one, buried deep inside the guts of the University, sealed off because of a nearly unblocked connection to the things behind the veil. Probably a remnant from the Dragon Sun Empire or even older sorceres.
Orwan found out. After weeks of investigation, thinking, planning and a few lucky circumstances he discovered what the headmaster was doing and confronted him. Iliria was afraid and tried to get all of the teachers together, but Orwan made his move first. He feared that she could die and that was one thing he couldn't allow.
"His plan was good, but he didn't thought this through, right?"
"No." She sniffles, wiped away her tears. "He was the best of us. He couldn't bear my death, but how shall I bear his?"
So the old mage stepped into the office of the headmaster. The office was a mess. The staff was drawing out power of the other dimension, the headmaster reciting an incantation. It was so powerful that he spat blood, apparently it was ripping his throat to pieces. And Orwan did what he could best: sealed the room with his strongest bannister, tried to speak to the headmaster, to calm him down and let go of the staff.
But the headmaster shook his head and started to fire spells in Orwans direction. Whatever Orwan did, could ended both. And he didn't hesitate, he fired away all spells he could come up with in the short time he had. The result was the destruction of the tower, of the staff and the death of both. Their charred bodies were found in the ruins of the tower.
Tears & Praise
People were devastated. How could a beloved headmaster get corrupted? How did Orwan find out? But the person who was really devastated was Iliria. She wept for weeks nonstop which was understandable since she found the engagement ring in his pockets.
The body of Orwan was buried at the foot of the tower of Rituals & Incantations, a statue was placed above the entrance door. People from all over the University are still praying to him. For guidance, for his soul, to thank him. And they use him as a warning what happens when a beloved friend is being drawn to the dark side of magic.
And Iliria? She lives. She teaches. And we will see her again. But this is a story for another time.
Circumstances of Death
died in the process of stopping the actual leader of the University to went full demonic
long, curly, black