School of Divination, Professor Emeritus Gideon Ruben Alodar
A quiet, haunted man, who, through his own ignorance at the time, was the cause of The Demon War. He would go on join The Grand Arcaneum of Vallanna, becoming a Professor of Divination; teaching for several decades before retiring to enjoy his old age surrounded by the books of the Arcaneum library. Born in 1224 AoU in the small village of Mossbell, Gideon was destined to become a farmer, joining countless previous generations of his family and the majority of the other residents of the village. Gideon found his true passion in reading, however, and would buy any second-hand books that he could get his hands on from the occasional travelling merchants that would pass through the village. He enjoyed fiction as well as non-fiction; consuming as much of the written word as he could. When Gideon was fifteen years old, in 1239 AoU, he would acquire a consignment of books from a trader, which included, unbeknownst to the trader, a battered spellbook from an unknown wizard. As he pored over the pages, it was then that Gideon's innate natural magical talent would first show itself, and he was able to decipher some of the complex writings of the wizard's spellbook. Keeping this new, wonderful power to himself, he would spend several weeks practicing simple spells; amazing himself with what he could do with this battered book. On the night of the Midsummer Festival, however, things would go horribly wrong. Unable to contain his excitement at his newfound powers, Gideon revealed the existence of the book to the daughter of a neighbour - a girl named Rose, of his own age, with whom he shared feelings of affection. Wishing to impress her, he began to perform what he believed, erroneously, to be a spell to summon a magical familiar. His untrained, amateurish translation of the runes in that section of the spellbook would be his downfall, as in the place of the intended friendly magical familiar, instead the couple were faced by a horrific creature of The Abyss - The Demon Val'Gorath. Gideon's young will unable to contain and command the Demon, Val'Gorath wasted no time in slaughtering his way through the entire populace of Mossbell; taking great pleasure in forcing Gideon to watch as a he disembowelled everyone that the young man had ever loved. His mind shattered with grief, and with the blood and bones of his loved-ones all around him, Gideon was surprised, and dismayed when the Demon spared his life. Fiercely cruel and with a burning, evil intelligence, Val'Gorath would instead force Gideon into his service, using him, through threats of violence and damnation, to build up a destructive cult of followers and worshippers, over the course of the following year. The cult would soon reveal themselves, kicking off The Demon War with a series of brutal attacks on the peoples of both The Kingdom of Vallanna and The Kingdom of Ashalla. As the war wore on, Val'Gorath would make the decision to build himself a lair deep in The Auric Wastes. Confident in the army of cultists that served him, and the lesser demons that had joined them on the Prime Material Plane, Val'Gorath would expel Gideon from his service at this point, seeing no further use for him, but tormenting Gideon one last time by letting him live with what he had done. Believing that all hope was lost for Vallanna, and in despair, weighed down by his conscience, intending to find somewhere quiet to hide from everything, while awaiting what he thought was the inevitable victory of Val'Gorath, Gideon would make his home in the village of Smallfell, in the eastern eaves of The Drakeseat Mountains. Ignored by the world at large, the village was able to avoid the worst atrocities of the war, and telling no-one of his past, Gideon was slowly able to build a life for himself there; known as a near-hermit, but harmless. As the year turned into 1247 AoU, despite his isolation in Smallfell, word would reach Gideon of a series of victories against the Cult of Val'Gorath, spearheaded by the young Crown-Prince, Aegic Enarren, and whispers of a rallying of the forces of Vallanna for the first time in years. Still weighed down by his conscience and the responsibility of what his actions had wrought upon the world, Gideon would leave Smallfell, intent on seeking out the Crown-Prince, and sharing what he knew of Val'Gorath; ready to accept any consequences of coming clean of his part in it all. Showing compassion and wisdom beyond his seventeen years, the Crown-Prince saw Gideon's story for what it was - the tragic and traumatic story of a man who was as much of a victim of Val'Gorath as any other person who had been touched by the war. He would not see Gideon punished for what had been an accident of youth, no matter what had happened since. Gideon's information would prove most valuable, also. The Prince and his followers had been searching for some time for the location of Val'Gorath, with an eye to put an end to the Arch-Demon, and Gideon's news that Val'Gorath had long since made his lair in the ruins of Auricheim, deep in The Auric Wastes, was just what they had been looking for. Following the war, Gideon once again sought out a life of solitude, and would keep the story of what happened to him and the people of Mossbell, and his subsequent enforced-servitude of Val'Gorath, a secret to all but his closest confidants. He would go on to enroll in The Grand Arcaneum of Vallanna, pursuing a renewed interest in literature and learning. During his magical education in the Arcaneum, he would avoid any subject that was anything to do with Conjuration; instead throwing himself in the study of Divination magic. Following his graduation, he would remain at the Arcaneum, taking up a teaching position that he would hold for many decades before retiring quietly to read in peace.
Taught basic reading and writing as a boy by his parents and grandmother, Gideon was originally destined to become a farmer, just as his father and grandfather had been before him. He enjoyed reading more than the other children of Mossbell, however, and would save his meagre allowance to buy second-hand books from the occasional travelling merchants who would visit the village. One such book purchase, of an old battered spellbook, would lead to the summoning of the Arch Demon Val'Gorath, the most harrowing experiences of Gideon's life, and seven years of war for the entire country. Following the war, Gideon would enroll in The Grand Arcaneum of Vallanna as an acolyte, and for the first time since Mossbell, would find his love of reading and books rekindled. Aside from his magical studies, Gideon would bury himself in the Arcaneum's expansive library, consuming all knowledge that he could. His experiences in the lead-up to, and during The Demon War had permanently scarred him though, and he would avoid any contact and teaching of Conjuration magics; haunted by the accidental conjuration that had caused so much pain. He instead would throw himself into the study of Divination, perhaps with the thought that if he could see his future, he could avoid making similar mistakes again. Following his completion of a one-on-one apprenticeship with a master-diviner, Gideon would stay on at the Arcaneum, teaching Divination for several decades to multiple generations of magical users. Now retired, he still resides in his Arcaneum quarters, keeping a low-profile, as he has done ever since The Demon War.