Friday, 24 February 2023

On Rary of Ket, Part 1


“My story is of such marvel that if it were written with a needle on the corner of an eye, it would yet serve as a lesson to those who seek wisdom.”
― The Arabian Nights

Rary of Ket
Rary of Ket: He’s a bit of a conundrum, the proverbial elephant in the room. He was a valued member of the Circle of Eight, wise, reserved, patient. Respected. A sage.
Rary has major sage abilities, and he still devours knowledge and learning. He is ever eager to find and buy, or trade for, books and other items which convey knowledge of the history of the peoples of Oerth. He is quiet, dignified, and a skilled mediator and peacemaker. [CoG:FFF – 25]
Rary (N) [CoG:FFF – 25]
And then, for whatever reason, he (inexplicably) betrayed everything, and everyone, he held dear.
[B]rooding upon his decades of ceaseless toil and frustration and his lack of success in the path of neutrality, Rary finally and irrevocably fell under evil's sway. [WGR3 Rary the Traitor – 7]
Rary (NE) [WGR3 – 12]
Why, I wonder? I suppose this is the focus of this piece, to see if I can cast any light on that very question.

Who is/was Rary? Rary was Brian Blum’s character – one of many, I presume. I suspect Rary was not particularly near or dear to Brian’s heart; if fact, I know so. How could he be? Rary was little more than a conceived pun. A joke.
“That PC was one that Brian Blume created early in the D&D cycle, a magic-user that Brian wanted to work up to 3rd level so as to introduce him as "Medium Rary."  When he gained that level Brian quit playing that PC, pretty much dropped out of regularly playing D&D in fact.”
We’ve all heard the story behind Rary’s origin. It’s not what one would call auspicious. Or inspiring.
What’s more inspiring is Douglas Niles’ treatment of the figures who populated Gary Gygax’s world of Greyhawk after Gygax’s exit, Rary among them. Niles’ future history of those early Player Characters might be fictitious – indeed, the original Circle of Eight, as written, had little resemblance to what we know – but one imagines that archmagi might aspire to more than merely plundering ancient tombs, for ever more. One imagines that they might want to make their mark on the world, to wield “real” power on the political stage, as it were. There’s love it Niles’ work, the City of Greyhawk Boxed Set, no matter whether you agree with his decisions or not.
I question Anthony Prior’s motives, though, considering what became of the elderly sage in Rary the Traitor in 1992. Might Blume’s “betrayal” of Gary Gygax have inspired Rary of Ket’s eventual betrayal of Mordenkainen, fiction mirroring fact? Maybe. Who’s to say? Aside from Rary being a tad terse with a hotheaded Otiluke, who could have possibly predicted what was to come from Niles’ boxed set? Rary was quite an interesting character, before the fall. He’s pretty interesting afterwards, too, truth be told.

511 CY
Rary is born in Ket.
Rary 71 years old [CoG:FFF – 25]
Rary is of mixed Baklunish-Suloise stock [.] [CoG:FFF – 25]
This is a reasonable assumption, he being from Ket. Early on, we have little ethnic mention of the “far” west, but we do of Bissel.
Bissel: OSB [Dragon #55 – 18]
Later clarified: Ket: Human 96% (Bos) [LGG – 66]
Ket has long been the crossroads between east and west, resulting in a mixture of peoples and traditions, but it is the Baklunish heritage that has remained dominant. [LGG – 67]
He has one younger sibling, Arkalan Sammal [CoG:FFF – 25] Arkalan is Rary’s intellectual equal, a sage of some renown.
Lopollo
We might presume, then, Rary to be of metropolitan origin. Where then, exactly? Thornward, honestly, would make the most sense, it being on the Ket-Bissel border and presumably of equally mixed Baklunish/Suloise/Oeridian descent, but Thornword is not in Ket, is it. Lopollo, then? Maybe, but Lopollo a little too far removed from the somewhat Suloise dominant Sheldomar Valley for his  partial Suloise descent to be common. We might surmise then that his family was either engaged with, or was embroiled in, the caravan trade betwixt the Baklunish West and the Eastern markets in Verbobonc.
The Baklunish merchant clans are currently most influential in Ket. [LGG – 67]
How else could he have developed such understanding and close ties with the Paynim?
Rary […] is a living legend within Ket. His sage and archmage talents are legendary, but his strange affinity with the marauding Paynim is as well-known and causes Ket folk to shake their heads in wonder. [CoG:FFF – 25]

Mid-500s CY
Young Rary
If Rary was reared on the caravan route, his early education would have been less formal than most. Indeed, it would have been far more casual, his tutelage in the oral tradition, conducted on the hoof, and at the knee of elder wise men relating mythic lore, epic sagas, and lyric poetry sang and spoken before a crackling firepit.
Rary knows the history and beliefs of the Paynim in great detail, and has spent many days talking with Paynim shamans and wise men, bringing back to the wild men long-lost echoes of their ancestors, legends, and past. The Paynim thus hold him in the greatest respect, and the frequency of their raids into Ket has greatly diminished in recent years. [CoG:FFF – 25]
Cha 16 (18 to Paynim) [CoG:FFF – 25]
Always on the move, Rary would learn patience, and diplomacy, and the customs of those his caravan crossed with regularity. He might have learned to wield a sword; he might have found faith in higher powers; but it was Arcane lore that piqued his interest. And it was the arcane that he would eventually master.
In the event that Rary should meet with real hot-heads, he uses his rod of beguiling and similar magic to subdue, eschewing offensive spells. Rary’s own personalized spells reflect his preference for “mental magic” over what he disparagingly refers to as blood and thunder stuff.” He also prefers defensive magic for self-protection, and has been able to create a pair of bracers of defense unequaled in their protection. [CoG:FFF – 25]

Did the caravan venture into the East? It must have; mayhap only as far as Thornward; but the dizzying menagerie that was Bissel, a crossroads far more metropolitan than Lopollo, would surely have sparked Rary’s imagination to wonder what lay beyond its cacophony.
Rary eventually wandered into Verbobonc, having heard tales of that celebrated city from others who themselves craved adventure and wondered what lay beyond the furthest hills of their own experience. Verbobonc would only have been the beginning. All roads lead to the Free City of Greyhawk, as they say.
Arkalan soon followed him there.
The Free City
Rary travels to the City of Greyhawk upon occasion to visit his brother, Arkalan Sammal, who is a sage in residence.
[CoG:FFF – 25]
Arkalan Sammal of Ket [LN hm zero level; hp 2; Int 19, Wis 181, the younger brother of Rary the Archmage. [TAB – 97] He has a teaching position at Grey College [.] [TAB - 97]
It was there, in the Free City, that Rary first encountered Mordenkainen. And those in Mordenkainen’s circle. Most were of like mind with Rary.
Robilar began his career as an adventurer, seeking his fortune in the company of such Greyhawk luminaries as Mordenkainen, Bigby, Serten, and from time to time, Rary the Mage. [WGR3 – 11]
Mordenkainen (N), Bigby (N) [Rogues Gallery 1e – 44,40], Yrag (N) [WG5 Mordenkainen’s Fantastic Adventure - 31], Rary (N) [CoG:FFF – 25]
There were one or two in Mordenkainen’s company, though, that “kept the Balance.”
Robilar (LE), Serten (LG) [Rogues Gallery 1e – 46]
Riggby (NG) [Rogues Gallery 1e - 46]/ (N) [WG5 – 32]
Yrag […], a lord of Greyhawk and friend of Mordenkainen, Bigby, and other luminaries. It is not commonly known that Yrag is much older than he looks, much of his aging delayed by magical means. He is believed to be about 205 years old. [TAB – 114]
It was with these future luminaries that Rary first delved into the depths of dungeons, and with them that he acquired his first items of interest: parchments and potions and wands.

Mid-550s
Rary was not the only one who had an interest in acquiring trophies and esoteric knowledge.
The Citadel houses Mordenkainen’s unequaled library which is said to contain spellbooks of every known spell (except those designed by individual wizards), intelligence reports across the continent, and a detailed and continuously updated history of the Flanaess. Only Bigby and Tenser know of his home’s precise location. [PGtG – 22]
Mordenkainen lives in the Obsidian Citadel, a symmetrical complex of towers and walled defenses in the Yatil Mountains. [COG:FFF – 21]
Rary had little interest in meddling in affairs of state then. He was a nomad, always curious what lay beyond the horizon. His adventuring companions did not share his disinterest, it would seem.
In the mid-500s, a Wild Coast wizard named Mordenkainen quietly began to confer with several sorcerers in the Greyhawk area about the possibility of forming a group dedicated to the preservation of the Flanaess from external threats. This group became known as the Circle of Eight, an outgrowth of an earlier group of eight powerful individuals formed by Mordenkainen known as the Citadel of Eight, said to be headquartered in the Yatil Mountains at Mordenkainen’s retreat. [TAB – 60]

560 CY
Mordenkainen
Did Mordenkainen try to recruit Rary to his cause? Perhaps. Quite a few of his adventuring companions found their way into Mordenkainen’s fold, after all.
Within months, Mordenkainen had brought the renowned warrior Robilar to his cause, as well as the cleric Riggby, and his zealous assistant, Yrag. From the shores of the Nyr Dyv, Mordenkainen recruited the righteous Tenser, who in turn introduced the dim-witted though well-meaning Serten to the assembly. Finally, the young woodsman, Otis, rounded out the group. [LGJ#0 – 5]
[Otis is] a ranger knight (Level 10), an agent of the King of Furyondy, a Knight Bachelor of Veluna [.] [T1-4 The Temple of Elemental Evil – 34]
But I suspect that Rary had little interest in risking his skin achieving others’ ambitions.
[T]he Citadel of Eight, was a known opponent of darkness in its many guises. Its members stood, and fell, protecting the balance and defending Oerth from the influence of malign beings and, rarely, benevolent interlopers, as well. [LGJ#0 – 4]
In the years of their companionship, both Robilar and Yrag were ennobled by Greyhawk, and Riggby was promoted speedily within the church of Boccob in Verbobonc. Tenser, Bigby, and Mordenkainen likewise advanced in their own wizardly ways, gaining arcane knowledge and power. [LGJ#0 – 5]

Where the members of the Citadel fought evil, and sometimes fell in that pursuit, Rary had no desire to meddle in what he believed others’ business; instead, he pursued greater knowledge, and ever greater arcane power. On his own terms.
Rary is very much the reserved, patient, and wise old wizard of bards’ songs. He holds in his head a great store of knowledge on all subjects and is always interested in learning more. He is an expert on Paynim lore as well as a respected figure among the tribesmen. With his disdain for crude, damage-causing magic in favor of more complex and subtle spells, Rary has both impressed and alienated many of the wizard community. [WGA4 Vecna Lives! – 88]

He most certainly kept his ear to the ground concerning those tomes of esoteric knowledge that came to light.
Murq’s Magica
Murderous Murq
The infamous wizard known simply as Murq first appeared in the public eye circa 560 CY, in the City of Greyhawk. History tells us that this was a particularly dark time for the city, for it was then that the noble caste suffered numerous disappearances among their youth. […]
In time, the diligent use of magic and conventional investigation techniques determined that Murq was behind the kidnappings. But when the guardsmen arrived to apprehend the malign wizard, they found that he had already fled for parts unknown.
Amid a pile of otherwise worthless books and scrolls in Murq’s abandoned library, the guardsmen discovered Murq’s Magica. […]
[I]t was decided that the book would be sold via public auction, thus allowing the government to acquire revenue, yet guarantee that the tome would end up with an "appropriate" owner, as it was deemed unlikely that anyone could outbid the Wizards' Guild or die nobles. But to everyone's surprise, someone did.
Almost as soon as the bidding began, an unnamed Triage stepped forward, a small chest floating behind him. Upon lifting its lid, those present were awestruck, for the chest was nearly overflowing with precious stones of all shapes, sizes, and varieties. In the stunned silence that followed, the mage, knowing his bid could not be matched, snatched up Murq’s Magica and with a word and gesture, vanished in a cluster of twinkling lights. [Dragon #269 – 65]
Rary would most certainly be intrigued by such a tale, curious what spells and secrets this Magica might contain. The tale also informed the middling mage that wealth and power made their own rules. And destiny.
Rary is 49 years young, only then tasting true power.

564 CY
Rary followed fate of the Magica with interest.
Murq’s Magica
Murq’s Magica remained out of sight until 564 CY, when it turned up in Ket, in the possession of a Baklunish merchant named Rahim El’Azat. When asked how became to own the book, Rahim grinned sheepishly and replied, "I tripped over it while obeying Nature's Call."
Whether or not Rahim's account bears any truth, he did not hold it long having passed it on a few months later to an Ekbirinn sheik in exchange for a pair of breeding camels. Not surprisingly, when the tome passed into the mysterious west, its precise whereabouts evaded historical records in the east. [Dragon #269 – 65]
Rary would have taken note that a great many magi coveted this esoteric time. He is 53.

569 CY
Mordenkainen’s Citadel of Eight did not last long. Some of its members were not as dedicated to their cause as others. Nevertheless, some were noble and true.
Robilar
Hommlet, Nulb, the Temple—all are vital parts of Greyhawk. […] Many veterans […], as well as many newcomers, began adventuring in and around Hommlet about ten years ago. From these […] rose Burne and Rufus, Jaroo, Terjon, Otis, Y'dey, and the rest. After clearing out all of the Temple's agents in the Hommlet area, various characters banded together to assault the Temple itself.
  [T1-4 – 28]
Others not.
Robilar's ravages were followed by the army of enraged Good folk, led by Tenser and associates—including Otis, Burne, Rufus, et al. [T1-4 – 28]
Robilar never quite bought into Mordenkainen’s philosophy, and he and Tenser often bickered over matters of morality. Serten, though seen as useful, was never truly respected and Otis, tired of underground excursions and forays into urban territories, left the group, decrying his friends as cave-delvers and treasure seekers blind to the real problems of the world. [LGJ#0 – 5]
Alas, the Citadel disbanded at just the time the Flanaess needed their vigilance the most.
Battle of Emridy Meadows
Nearly a decade after the Citadel's formation, Otis' critical words took on the air of prophecy. In 569 CY, when the first arrow flew at Emridy Meadows, the Citadel was noticeably absent. Whether investigating magical secrets far to the west or unearthing lost passages in Urnst's Maure Castle, these self-absorbed celebrities were too preoccupied to influence one of the century's most critical battles. All were absent save Serten, who fought valiantly at the side of Prince Thrommel against the hordes of Elemental Evil. When Serten fell, none of his friends stood at his side. [LGJ#0 – 5]
Tenser blamed Mordenkainen for the death of his friend, and retired inward to his castle. Terik and Yrag vanished, some said to the anonymity of the Bandit Kingdoms. Even the loyal Bigby left the side of his one-time master and returned to Oldridge, where he adventured for a time with a band of boyhood friends. Mordenkainen, the man who had brought the Citadel together, simply shrugged and returned, with cold eyes, to his studies. [LGJ#0 – 5]
Rary is 58.

570 CY
Rary counted his blessings. He too might have shared Serten’s fate, were he inclined to meddle, that is.
The chaos surrounding the return to power of the demigod, luz, in CY 570 prompted Mordenkainen to consider a new paradigm. Though the Old One worked to check the growing power of the Horned Society, and kept Furyondy's eyes on its northern borders, Mordenkainen knew well that the situation would not last. The dissolution of the Citadel left Mordenkainen without a tool to shape events as he would and though he hardly admitted it to himself, he longed return to a life of adventure.
The Citadel's primary failure, he surmised, had been its inclusive philosophy. As its founding concept had been arcane, he had been foolish to assume that men like Robilar or Riggby would rally to his cause without subtly working against it for reasons personal, spiritual or political. Men of intellect and sorcerous skill, whose primary interests were more than material, would replace them. Thus was born the Circle of Eight. [LGJ#0 – 6]
Look what meddling got them? Serten dead, Iuz freed and venting vengeance. Mordenkainen seemingly guilt-ridden despite his cold fa├žade, venturing upon a personal crusade against come what may.
Mordenkainen the archmage […] formed the Circle of Eight as a tool to manipulate political factions of the Flanaess, preserving the delicate balance of power in hopes of maintaining stability and sanity in the region. Mordenkainen's view of "enforced neutrality" is not tit-for-tat equality, but rather a detailed theoretical philosophy derived from decades of arcane research. He has fought ardently for the forces of Good, most recently during the Greyhawk Wars, but just as often has worked on darker plots to achieve his ends. In all things, the Circle of Eight prefers to work behind the scenes, subtly manipulating events to ensure that no one faction gains the upper hand. [LGG – 156]
Mordenkainen's view of "enforced neutrality" is not tit-for-tat equality, but rather a detailed theoretical philosophy derived from decades of arcane research. He has fought ardently for the forces of Good, most recently during the Greyhawk Wars, but just as often has worked on darker plots to achieve his ends. [LGG – 156]
Mordenkainen invited some of the most prominent magi in the Flanaess to join him. [LGJ#0 – 6]
The first were Bigby, Yrag, Rigby, Felnorith, Zigby, Vram & Vin, but these first came and went, never committing.

It took years to collect the mages he thought worthy. Was Rary in his sights? He surely was. Rary was an archmage by then, after all.
Certainly, the wild raiders from the plains have great respect for “The Rider,” as they simply call him.
This is only partly attributable to Rary’s specially enchanted stone destrier, an animal which can travel tirelessly at a gallop across all terrains, and also across the Astral plane, rendering its rider astral also. […] [CoG:FFF – 25]

571 CY
Rary, of the Circle of Eight
Despite Rary’s concern, he did join Mordenkainen’s cadre eventually.
Over the next year, Mordenkainen invited some of the most prominent magi in the Flanaess to join him. By the first month of 571 CY, he had gathered eight mages to his cause, among them Bigby, Otto, Rary, Nystul, Drawmij, and the affable Bucknard. [LGJ#0 – 6]
But why? Perhaps Rary believed membership would aid him in the discovery of ever more
 powerful magic. Perhaps he thought Mordenkainen’s new pursuit of Balance more in tune with his philosophy than the Citadel’s prior crusade.
Through most of the fifth century CY, Ket was at peace with her neighbors, though border disputes with Bissel and skirmishing with the Paynims was not uncommon. [LGG – 67]
He understood how ambition might destabilise a nation.
The rising power of the archmage Iggwilv in the region caused the mullahs great concern, and the Ketites forged an alliance with the mountain dwarves of the lower Yatils in an effort to restrain her influence. The alliance proved successful, and even after Iggwilv's demise there was considerable goodwill between the dwarves and the peoples of Ket. [LGG – 67]

Mid 570’s CY
It would seem that Mordenkainen’s new paradigm was successful in its pursuit.
The Circle in those early days worked to check the power of influential beings in Eastern Oerik. When they could not directly intervene, they sponsored groups of adventurers, as in the sacking of Iggwilv's former haunt at the Tsojcanth Caverns in the mid-570's. Whether or not those agents always knew who set them upon their quests is a matter of some debate.
Privately, members of the Circle explored fantastic corners of Oerth, including the strange and foreboding City of the Gods, near Blackmoor, further depths of Castle Greyhawk, and even the manifold layers of the infernal Abyss. More importantly, through their own adventures and the exploits of those related to them, the Circle began to formulate what soon would become one of the most impressive networks of informers and agents the Flanaess has ever known. [LGJ#0 – 6]
The archmages Rary and Mordenkainen were said to have sponsored rival adventuring parties to the valley [of the Mage]—both suffering high casualties. [LGG – 128]

574 CY
The membership of the Circle changed little in the years between its inception and 574 CY, when Tenser, still bitter over the dissolution of the Citadel, sought membership. After one of the founding mages of the group abandoned Oerth to explore other planes of existence, the petition was granted, and Tenser brought his unique, if less-than-subtle, ambition to the ideology of the group. [LGJ#0 – 6]

576 CY
Two years later, with the addition of the mage Otiluke, the Circle solidified its reputation as a political power in the Central Flanaess. [LGJ#0 – 6]
Each of the original Circle appears to have a sphere of responsibility, with the exception of Mordenkainen.
  1. Otiluke, an Oligarch of the Free City, presided over the City of Greyhawk (and its environs, presumable)
  2. Nystul appears to be concerned with Tenh and the northeast
  3. Otto worked tirelessly to defend and then later to free Almor (the western Great Kingdom)
  4. Bigby, being from the Great Kingdom, later settled in Scant, would appear to focus on Onnwal and the southeast
  5. Drawmij from Keoland, appears to preside over the Sheldomar Valley and Azure Sea
  6. Tenser is from the Wild Coast (Fax, presumably), and would seem to be concerned with the Wooly Bay and lands surrounding the Nyr Dyv
  7. Rary is from Ket. I presume his sphere was the northwest, west of the Yatils
  8. This leaves Bucknard. What is left? The northwest, east of the Yatils?
 Rary never tired in his interest in the esoteric arcane, or in its practitioners, lest they rise up and disrupt the delicate “Balance” of his world.
Murq’s Magica
[A]stute historians know that, in 576 CY, Murq the magician came out of hiding with the intent to take his revenge on the City of Greyhawk and its magistrate, just as his simulacrum had promised 15 years previously. To this end, it is known that Murq, from the safety of his hidden abode in the Cold Marshes, invaded the magistrate's dreams via magical means and transformed those sleep images into nightmares that spoke of doom and destruction. [Dragon #269 – 66]

580 CY
Rary is by far one of the most powerful of Oerik’s arcane. He may even rival Mordenkainen in power, surely surpassing the others of the Circle.
Rary
Rary
23rd-Level Mage
Neutral
Str 7 Int 19 Dex 11 Wis 19 Con 12 Cha 16 (18 to Paynim)
Rary’s Traveling Spell Book*: (spells/day)

1st Level (5): Affect normal fires, burning hands, cantrip, change self, color spray, comprehend languages, dancing lights, detect magic, enlarge, friends, gaze reflection, grease, hold portal, light, magic missile, phantasmal force, protection from evil, Rary’s emphatic perception*, read magic, shield, shocking grasp, sleep, ventriloquism, wall of fog
2nd Level (5): Alter self, darkness 15’ r., detect evil, detect invisibility, ESP, fog cloud, hypnotic pattern, improved phantasmal force, invisibility, knock, know alignment, levitate, locate object, mirror image, pyrotechnics, scare, spectral hand, stinking cloud, summon swarm, web
3rd Level (5): Blink, dispel magic, fireball, flay, gust of wind, haste, hold person, infravision, invisibility 10’ r., lightning bolt, monster summoning I, protection from normal missiles, slow, suggestion, tongues, water breathing, wraithform
4th Level (5): Charm monster, emotion, fear, ice storm, improved invisibility, minor globe of invulnerability, polymorph other, polymorph self Rary’s memory alteration*, Rary’s mind scan*, Rary’s mnemonic enhancer, Rary’s spell enhancer*, remove curse, wall of ice, wizard eye
5th Level (5): Cone of cold, conjure elemental, domination, feeblemind, hold monster, passwall, Rary’s mind shield*, Rary’s superior spell enhancer*, Rary’s telepathic bond*, stone shape, teleport, wall of force, wall of iron
6th Level (5): Chain lightning, death fog, death spell, disintegrate, globe of invulnerability, mass suggestion, mislead, part water, Rary’s urgent utterance*,stone to flesh, true seeing
7th Level (5): Charm plants, duo-dimension, finger of death, limited wish, power word stun, prismatic spray, shadow walk, teleport without error, vanish
8th Level (5): Antipathy-sympathy, glassteel, mass charm, maze, mind blank, monster summoning VI, polymorph any object, prismatic walk, sink
9th Level (3): Energy drain, meteor swarm, monster summoning V11, power word kill, shape change, time stop, weird, wish
[WGA4 – 88] 

Magical Items: Bracers of defence AC0, ring of protection +5, staff of the magi, gem of seeing, helm of brilliance, ring of animal control, ring of mind-shielding, robe of stars, rod of beguiling, stone destrier, and wand of paralyzation [CoG:FFF – 25]

Rary is 71 [in 581 CY], 6’0” tall, 170 lbs., with thinning auburn hair and green eyes, and a tanned complexion. Rary dresses in a tan-colored robe with highly intricate gold patterning of Baklunish origin. He is growing old, but he is still sprightly, and the glittering green eyes in his handsome face are not watery or dimmed with age. […] [CoG:FFF – 25]
But was he ever an energetically active member of the Circle, still only a decade young?
One wonders. I think not. He was certainly concerned with what might befall his beloved Ket, but he was never seemingly ambitious in the pursuit of “Balance” east of the Nyr Dyv. Although he did keep his hand in.
Rary is Archmage of Ket, and largely retired from the Circle of Eight, living in his tower in Lopolla. He still attends meetings when there is peril in the land, however, and his advice and judgements are often sought by the others. His gentleness, and his duties as Archmage, prevent him from leading the Circle of Eight, but he has never sought this position. He would, in any event, have found it hard to deal with the aggression of Otiluke, and regularly expresses irritation at the younger mage’s intemperance. [CoG:FFF – 25]
He was concerned as to the fate of the Free City, insofar as his brother is concerned.
Rary travels to the City of Greyhawk upon occasion to visit his brother, Arkalan Sammal, who is a sage in residence. Rary sometimes grows tired with his duties in Ket and regards a few weeks with his brother as relaxation. Those who have attended their ferocious learned conversations, which stretch well into the early hours, come away from them exhausted and with a deep sense on intellectual inferiority. [CoG:FFF – 25]

One wonders if Rary, now 69/70 years old, had lost patience with the younger members of the Circle, one specifically.
Otiluke has been a member of the Circle of Eight for only some five years, and some within the Circle were unsure of the value of the impulsive, aggressive wizard. [CoG:FFF – 25,27]
[Rary {70 years old}] would, in any event, have found it hard to deal with the aggression of Otiluke, and regularly expresses irritation at the younger mage’s intemperance. [CoG:FFF – 25]
Lopolla would seem a sanctuary, by contrast. If not for Arkalan, he might never return, unless urgent matters called.

580s CY
In the early 580s, the Circle of Eight included Bigby, Drawmij, Jallarzi Sallavarian, Nystul, Otiluke, Otto, Rary of Ket and the archmage Tenser. [PGtG – 21]
While Mordenkainen might be the “leader” of this group, it is not a hierarchy, but a close group of wizards with similar concerns. [CoG:GotF – 21]

581 CY
Indeed, the young must tire the elderly statesman, by this time. They are always poking in holes, stirring up trouble, eager for fame and fortune, with a callous disregard for his and his colleagues’ labours to keep the pot from boiling over.
A group seeking the Rod might also find some forces of Good arrayed against them. Some members of the Circle of Eight, especially Rary, might question the party’s motives in seeking to recover the Rod and might try to keep the Rod from them or to manipulate the PCs after they get it. [Dragon #233 – 92,93]

Indeed, the Circle was getting younger by the year. Were these newer, younger future members as rash of the irascible Otiluke the Circle would never have a moment’s rest, Rary realised. He endeavoured to guide its future membership, ensuring a calmer, more reasoned council. A word in the right ear could help turn the tide, in that regard. He turned to Tenser.
[Mordenkainen:] “Tenser, she’s a woman!”
[Tenser:] “Yes, and very charming, and a lot younger than most of us. It’s about time, in my opinion. Sometimes, Mordenkainen, this place gets like an old coot’s drinking club.”
[Mordenkainen:] “I don’t like this. I know that Rary says she is wise and knowledgeable, and Otilike likes and approves of her and says it will make it easier on him. I am not convinced.”[Tenser:] “Well, then, probation? A trial period?”
[CoG:FFF – 27]
In 581 CY Jalarzi Sallavarian replaced the powerful wizard Bucknard, who vanished in 579 CY while exploring an unknown demiplane. His fate is not known. Bucknard was fairly young when he disappeared but he was rumored to have become an archmage and was well-known in royal courts from Keoland to Nyrond. [PGtG – 23]

The decision had to be made, regardless. They needed of their number at full strength: The Circle sensed a great danger afoot, but somehow their divinations were blocked. When magic failed to root out the source, they then relied on older, more traditional intel to inform them what that danger might be. They went to the library, where Rary probed these tomes:

The Beasts of Humanity
Language – Old Oeridian
This work is a rambling encyclopedia of the horrid perversions of man. Described therein are many fascinating monsters, all once human but now twisted, some accidentally, some purposefully, by powerful magic. The lineage of […] The practices of secret cults are outlined. Among these is a mention of the Eye and the Hand. They are identified as “important tools of an unknown cult, symbolically associated with the founder of the religion.” A rough sketch of the powers of each is also given. [WGA4 – 21,22]

The Dragon-Scale Tome
Language – Old Oeridian
[T]he book is a compilation from other histories, legends, and spells. This, it is a mixture of fact and fiction.
In it, [is] a section on the Eye and hand of Vecna. […]
The last entry for the Eye and the hand concerns Halmadar the Cruel. The account tells of his evil rule and subsequent internment. [WGA4 – 22]

All evidence pointed to the Cult of Vecna, whatever their intent. Mordenkainen sent the others of the Circle to investigate.
Alerted to a rising evil in the Flanaess, the Circle hastily gathered for a nearly unprecedented field operation in 581 CY. A new power sought to join Oerth’s vast pantheon, and its efforts threatened to corrupt the magical order of the known world. [LGJ#0 – 6]
Their quest did not turn out as planned.
The Circle traveled to the hills south of Verbobonc, where they investigated the tomb of a long-dead Oeridian tyrant who was thought to have possessed the awesome artifacts known as the Hand and Eye of Vecna. Finding the tyrant alive, after a fashion, and completely controlled by the Whispered One, the ill-prepared Circle of Eight panicked, and was defeated. [LGJ#0 – 6]
They failed. And were laid low by the Whispered One.
An important though seldom noticed event took place in 581 CY, when an agent of Vecna, the Whispered One of ancient Flan legend, struck down the entire Circle of Eight […]. The Circle had acted subtly as a balancing agent for years, preventing any one power from dominating too much of the Flanaess. [LGG – 15]
Rary was dead. Indeed, the whole of the Circle of Eight, with the except of Mordenkainen, was dead, laid low in their pursuit of Balance.
The recent deaths of the members of the Circle of Eight was the prelude to an attempt by the evil Vecna to overthrow the entire pantheon of Greyhawk’s deities and install himself as absolute ruler of the gods. [WGR2 Treasures of Greyhawk – 32]

582 CY
Vecna destroyed the entire Circle, save Mordenkainen, who had elected to remain in Greyhawk as a safeguard against just such an occurrence. When news reached the archmage, he mobilized the Circle's allies, and a small cadre of apprentice wizards, former companions, and long-time confidantes embarked on a nearly hopeless bid to thwart Vecna's apotheosis [.] [LGJ#0 – 6]
Only the bravery and fortitude of a brave handful of adventurers was able to thwart Vecna’s machinations and put an end to his plans. [WGR2 – 32]
Torik Red-Axesson
Rary was not without friends and allies. One of his oldest was determined to avenge the old sage:
Torik Red-Axesson of HighfoIk
Male Half-Elf
12th Level Priest of Ehlonna
Neutral Good
Str 8 Int 9 Dex 10 Wis 12 Con 15 Cha 18
[WGA4 – 93]
Five foot seven, dressed in green robes and topped with a mop of curly red-blonde hair, Torik is as charming and handsome a priest as you’re likely to meet. The son of a poor woodcutter and an elven maid, Torik was sent to the temple school in Highvale, mostly to keep him from the arms of milkmaids. There he took to his education and, while not brilliant, has managed to rise through diligence and luck. In the pulpit, he is a mesmerizing speaker, what with his natural charisma and good looks. Still, he is not the quickest wit in Highvale and he works best from a prepared sermon. He believes in the values set out by Ehlonna – harmony with nature, the cycle of life, mercy, and compassion.
Torik is a companion to the venerable mage Rary. Rary often stops by for news of the Vesve Forest or shares what he knows of events in the Yatil Mountains or Ket. More than once Torik has gone adventuring on some special mission for the old mage. [WGA4 – 94]

582 CY
Though the Circle's leader, Mordenkainen, returned his colleagues to life using powerful magic, the group was in disarray when war again erupted in the distant north in 582. [LGG – 14]
Rary realised that he was not invincible. Nor was he omniscient. He had been taken by surprise and died because he had been unprepared. He could not, it seemed, control his fate and destiny.
For the first time in decades he felt fear, and vulnerable.
Evil had bested him!
The entire Circle of Eight was slain by an agent of Vecna, and so would fear and hate this cult greatly. [TAB – 3]

582 – 584 CY
Mordenkainen addressed this absence by recovering what was left of his fallen comrades and cloning them. This endeavor consumed time that otherwise might have seen him addressing the reports of the Circle's allies in the North, who warned of alarming developments in Stonefist and the Barbarian Lands. When those events spiraled into the first conflicts of the Greyhawk Wars, the Circle's clones remained undeveloped and half-aware. By the time the clones reached full maturation, the Circle of Eight had been forced to take a reactive stance to the tumultuous events unfolding before them. [LGJ#0 – 6]
Though the Circle never acted concertedly during the Greyhawk Wars, certain "hotspots" received a good deal of their attention. Mordenkainen Bigby and Otto fought against the Old One's army at the infamous Battle of Critwall Bridge, and Drawmij was instrumental in organizing the flood of refugees from the Lost Lands to fastnesses in the Good Hills. Nystul worked primarily alone in besieged Tenh, while Otto and Bigby left Mordenkainen in the Vesve Forest to do what they could for the Iron League. [LGJ#0 – 6]
Citing pressing personal needs, Rary retreated to his tower in Lopolla and refused to come to the aid of his companions. [LGJ#0 – 6]
His companions were not pleased, to say the least. Some even felt betrayed by him.
Why would Rary abandon his friends and colleagues? Were his loyalties divided?
The decades preceding the Greyhawk Wars were prosperous ones for Ket, but early in that conflict the beygraf allowed his armies to be drawn into the fighting in the central Flanaess. [LGG – 67]
Seeing an opportunity to gain control of his nation's historic rivals in Bissel, Beygraf Zoltan went so far as to ally himself with Iuz the Old. [LGG – 67]
Or was there a deeper, internal conflict brewing within him? Was he afraid? Did he believe that they would fail? That they were ultimately doomed?

583 CY
Rary
Mordenkainen and the Circle can be forgiven for not noticing what was transpiring while they were occupied during this trying time.
Rary’s admiration of Iuz and the Brotherhood grew during the war. As other members of the Circle worked frantically behind the scenes to head off the conflict and preserve what civilization remained in Greyhawk, Rary’s mind turned more and more to thoughts of evil. [WGR3 – 6]
Was Evil stronger than Good? Was Balance a fool’s notion?
He researched long-forbidden spells, studied the histories of ancient conquerors, and learned more from his Payim friends as corruption and wickedness slowly crept into his heart. [WGR3 – 6]

No one noticed the change in Rary. He was as irascible as Otiluke, and as those two were ever at odds, it came to no surprise that their dislike of one another swelled to breaking.
During a particularly unproductive session of the Circle, Rary quietly withdrew in the face of Otiluke's bluster and returned to his tower in Ket. There, brooding upon his decades of ceaseless toil and frustration and his lack of success in the path of neutrality, Rary finally and irrevocably fell under evil's sway. Returning to Greyhawk, Rary enlisted the aid of Lord Robilar, a powerful if somewhat unstable nobleman with a substantial household guard, and together the two formulated a plan to put themselves into a position of power in the Flanaess. [WGR3 – 7]
Rary (NE) [WGR3 – 12]
I wonder? Have I painted an accurate possible rationalisation from the featured text? Brooding and frustration don’t invariably lead to evil intent. Why should a noted peacemaker suddenly turn to aggression and violence when that was never his chosen path, prior? Would the perception of Evil’s overwhelming strength and his failure in the face of Vecna’s return have swayed Rary? Would fear? I don’t know. The others did not collapse in fear, they did not retreat from the theater of war, nor succumb to the lure of Evil. I’m not the only one bemused, either. In game, there are those who refuse to believe that Rary is evil. Some think an external force must have taken control of him. [Living Greyhawk Ket Gazetteer – 25]

Might that be? Might Rary’s curiosity have gotten the better of him?
Murq’s Magica
Murq’s Magica is known to consist of two distinct sections, one containing spells, the other involving magical theory. […]
The second section consists of an indepth study of oneiromancy, the rare magical art involving dreams, sleep, and related topics. [Dragon #269 – 66]

But Rary was not in possession of the Magica, you say… He was not; not then, anyway.
Murq’s Magica remained in Baklunish lands for nearly a decade until making its way to Ket in 583 CY.
Sela Starglimmer
This time, however, the book was in possession of an easterner, on Sela Starglimmer, an elven sorceress from the Verve.
[Dragon #269 – 65]
Or was he?
[L]ate in the Greyhawk Wars, [the lady mage] Sela was found dead in the backyard of her country home, her body a heap of smouldering ruin, her assailant unknown.
It was only later that investigators discovered that [the grimoire] Murq’s Magica was missing from Sela’s library, apparently stolen by her murderer. [Dragon #269 – 65]
I am not suggesting that an evil Rary murdered Sela and then took possession of the book; I’m preposing that Sela might have consulted Rary about the book and Rary’s greater ancient and arcane lore allowed the book to subvert the powerful sage, seducing him, possessing him.
Rary may have turned evil on his own, through tampering with an evil artifact, or he may be possessed by fiends, a clone of the original, charmed, and so on. [TAB – 38]
One wonders; could that be the case? Might Rary’s obsession with secret lore and obtaining artifacts and relics have undone him? It may have; nevertheless, however Rary might have turned to evil, Rary began to scheme against those he had once toiled beside, hand in hand.
Rary is 72.

584 CY
Meanwhile, back in the Free City, the Circle had no idea that Rary was no longer an ally. Otto certainly did not….
Coldeven
I think that the Baklunish held at least one orb, but I have as yet found no evidence of this; perhaps our resident Kettite, Rary, will investigate and enlighten us! Despite the slight renaming of some of the orbs in late-empire records, I believe the missing original orbs to have been the Orb of the Wyrmkin, the Orb of the Great Serpent, and the most powerful of them all, the Orb of the Eternal Grand Dragon.
[Excerpt from letter from Otto to his friend and ally, Johanna. Sunset, 8th of Coldeven, 58[4] CY (the letter is dated 585, but as Rary betrayed the Circle in 584, this is in error).]
[Dragon #230 – 12]

The War wound down, the combatants exhausted, as one would expect after prolonged bloodshed. Troops were spent, munitions depleted, coffers empty. The victors would wish to consolidate their gains, the others had need to shore up their defenses and prepare for what they knew was sure to resume.
There was a rumour of peace. Before long, those rumours became fact.
For almost three long years, as 584 CY drew to a close, the nations of the Flanaess had schemed, murdered, and warred against each other until nearly all sides lay bloody and beaten. [FtAA – 9]
Nations fell as new empires were born. Demons and devils from the Outer Planes were summoned en masse by Iuz and Ivid V, and hundreds of thousands of mortals died. Finally, the battle-weary combatants gathered in Greyhawk to declare peace. Harvester 584 CY was to see the signing of the Pact of Greyhawk, fixing borders and mandating an end to hostilities. [LGG – 16]
Proposals for a great peace treaty gained rapid acceptance in many quarters, aided by the persuasive whisperings of the agents of the Scarlet Brotherhood. In the month of Harvester, 584 CY, in the untouched Free City of Greyhawk, countless ambassadors assembled to inscribe their names on the treaty at the Day of the Great Signing. [FtAA – 9]
The final act of the immense drama of war occurred on the Day of the Great Signing. A pact had been resolved and nearly all the nations had agreed to sign it. As this solemn ceremony began, however, a tumultuous event occurred.  [Wars – 24]

9 Goodmonth
No one could have foreseen what was to happen. Perhaps someone might have, if they had looked for the signs. But none did.
Autumn of 584 CY saw the signing of the Pact of Greyhawk, an event that would close various hostilities plaguing the continent. [WGG 3e – 4]
When the political rumblings that signaled the end to the conflict reached the Free City of Greyhawk, the entire Circle was on hand to ensure a favorable outcome to the peace process. Their network of agents researched the backgrounds of key diplomats and participants in the proceedings, and magical divinations were conducted to unmask any would-be saboteurs. Never did the view of those scrying crystals turn inward, however, toward the plans of the single individual who could do the most harm to the delegates' cause. [LGJ#0 – 6,7]
Diplomats and high officials from all across the continent would soon arrive in Greyhawk for the Great Signing. Using his access to the Great Hall. Rary planned a series of magical traps which would destroy everyone in the building, including diplomats, nobles, the Lord Mayor and his staff, several guildmasters, at least half of the Circle of Eight, and the detested Otiluke. That done, Rary would assume control of the Circle. As an emergency measure, Rary would dispatch agents to those countries whose diplomats had been slain. These diplomats would gain the confidence of kings and chieftains, eventually giving Rary access to and control over numerous nations. The killings themselves would be conveniently blamed on the Scarlet Brotherhood, which had made itself unpopular during the war. [WGR3 – 7]
Would their plan have worked? Only if they were undetected, only if they were perceived to have swept in in the wake of the chaos, to save the day. And only if they killed Mordenkainen, as well. But it was not to be….
Unfortunately for Rary and Robilar, as Rary finished setting his magical traps, several members of the Circle entered the hall for a last-minute inspection of the site before the signing. [WGR3 – 7]
[Rary] set off the still-incomplete magical traps. Tenser fell first, caught by surprise. Otiluke struck back savagely, wounding Rary and forcing him back. [WGR3 – 7]

Rary the Traitor
Caught red-handed, Rary first attempted to flee. Forced at last into open conflict, he attacked with a fury born of years of pent-up anger.
[WGR3 – 7]
Rary’s Vicious Missiles
A particularly nasty variant of magic missile, this spell is believed largely responsible for laying low Otiluke (if not also Tenser) in that fateful battle in the Great Hall. Rary jokes badly with Lord Robilar about renaming this spell “Otiluke’s last tickle.” [Dragon #249 – 92]

Instead of counter-attacking Otiluke directly, Rary set off several more traps, injuring Bigby, who had just joined the fight. […] [WGR3 – 7]
Abruptly all the remaining traps went off, plunging the hall into noise, fire, smoke, and the lambent glow of magic. As the smoke cleared, amid the crash of falling masonry and the tinkle of broken glass, Bigby, himself badly wounded, crawled over to see to his friends, only to find both of them slain beyond hope of resurrection, and Rary had vanished without a trace. [WGR3 – 7]

The treaty to end the war was to be ratified in the Grand Hall of Greyhawk, but brief moments before the signing ceremony, an explosion destroyed the area [.] [Rot8 – 3]
A blazing explosion destroyed a good part of the Grand Hall only minutes before the ambassadors assembled for the day. A fierce magical battle immediately ensued, spreading havoc through much of the old city. [Wars – 24]

When the fire and dust cleared, constables discovered smoldering robes belonging to two powerful members of the mysterious Circle of Eight—Otiluke and Tenser. The murderer of these wizards, undeniably a powerful mage [.] [Wars – 24]
Nothing was left of their bodies to allow revival by clone, resurrection or any other spell. [Rot8 – 2]
According to [rumour], Bigby the wizard is dead. He is not dead. (The reports of his death were greatly exaggerated.) [Dragon #191 – 67]
A badly wounded third, Bigby of Scant, claimed that their assailant had been their one-time ally, Rary, member of the Circle of Eight. [LGG – 38]
The murderer of these wizards, undeniably a powerful mage, was Rary, a third member of the Circle of Eight. [WGR3 – 4]

Seizing the Circle and disrupting the Signing was not the only phase of the plan. Theft, it would seem, was part and parcel.
Glorial
On the day that Otiluke was murdered, a large squad of men in medium armor (chain mail) rode up to Otiluke's home from Marsh Street, having assembled at some point in the northern end of the River Quarter. […] The men spoke a foreign language that one onlooker, a baker, recognized as Baklunish, though they wore armor and clothing typical of the city of Greyhawk. […] The five servants (three male, two female) who worked for Otiluke at the time were all slain by the men who looted his home. They were local people, all elderly. Their bodies have long since been buried.
Glorial, his apprentice, was at home that morning. From her words to neighbors later, she had been upstairs when the men attacked. She had snatched up a dagger to defend herself, as she was magically unprepared and her spells for the day were not offensive in nature. (She was studying divination spells and had not finished learning her full range of spells for the day, as she had not planned to leave the house.) In the ensuing melee, she killed one attacker and wounded two others, driving the men from the second floor, though one man (the one she later slew) managed to throw a device into Otiluke's workroom that detonated and destroyed his workshop. [OJ#7 – 20]

Lord Robilar
It ought to be mentioned that killing an archmage is no easy feat. They have a tendency to prepare for the worst. Thus, it behooves the murderer to track down their contingency plans.
Simultaneously, Rary’s ally Robilar entered Tenser’s castle (four days’ travel away) and initiated an attack. When the battle ended, Tenser’s forces were slain, his castle was looted and all Tenser’s cloning materials were destroyed. [Rot8 – 3]
However, after the battle that killed Tenser and Otiluke, all discoverable clones of the two mages were destroyed by co-conspirators of the assassin, Rory of Ket. [PGtG – 23]
Quij was once a henchman of the notorious Lord Robilar[.] Quij took part in the sacking of the castle of the slain Archmage Tenser, but the orc became separated from his comrades after the raid. [TAB – 98]

Using secrets gained in confidence, Rary not only destroyed his two fellows, but also tracked down and destroyed every clone the pair held in preparation. [WGR3 – 4]
In the ensuing confusion and shock, Lord Robilar's own troops struck, destroying every one of the dead wizards' hidden clones, assuring the permanent death of both Tenser and Otiluke. [WGR3 – 7]
Their magical clones likewise shrivelled and perished, and their own bodies could not be resurrected. [FtAA – 9]
When Robilar's troops sacked Otiluke's and Tenser's citadels, they carried off several of the dead mages' magical items, including Otiluke's horn of blasting, which Robilar now carries. [WGR3 – 11]

Before escaping from Greyhawk, Rary also managed to steal Otiluke's celebrated green ioun stone. He uses it to artificially boost his experience level. He has since become interested in ioun stones, their nature, powers, and origin. One of his own pet theories is that the Bright Desert is a potential source of natural ioun stones, but so far his attempts to prove this theory, and gain unthinkable power for himself, have proved fruitless. [WGR3 – 12]

The Bright Desert
Alas, although successful in their thievery, Rary’s and Robilar's plan failed.
With the plot discovered, though, Rary and his co-conspirator Lord Robilar fled the city. Unable to return to Robilar’s castle, which was immediately seized by the troops of Greyhawk, the pair escaped into the Bright Desert. There they conquered the savages and established a kingdom of their own. Though small and mysterious, this growing state could someday threaten the very borders of Greyhawk. [Wars – 24]
Within hours, Greyhawk warriors had occupied Robilar's citadel and began to search for the pair, but it was too late. Faced with the collapse of their plot, Rary and Robilar fled, along with those troops loyal to them, and no one knew where. [WGR3 – 7]

A sideshow to the main event, to be sure, but one that still shook Oerth.
Despite this, the treaty was signed and the Greyhawk Wars drew to a close. The Pact of Greyhawk ensured peace—of a sort. [FtAA – 9]


“I used to advertise my loyalty and I don't believe there is a single person I loved that I didn't eventually betray.”
― Albert Camus, The Fall





One must always give credit where credit is due. This History is made possible primarily by the Imaginings of Gary Gygax and his Old Guard, Lenard Lakofka among them, and the new old guards, Carl Sargent, James Ward, Roger E. Moore. And Erik Mona, Gary Holian, Sean Reynolds, Frederick Weining. The list is interminable.
Special thanks to Jason Zavoda for his compiled index, “Greyhawkania,” an invaluable research tool.


The Art:
Rary detail, by Valerie Valusek, from WGR3 Rary the Traitor, 1992
Ket map detail, by Darlene, from the World of Greyhawk Folio, 1980
City of Greyhawk Map
Mordenkainen, by Clyde Caldwell, from WG5 Mordenkainen's Fantastic Adventure, 1984
Murq, by L.A. Williams, from Dragon #269, 2000
Robilar, by Kristoph Nolen, from Oerth Journal #29, 2019
Rary, by Andrew Hue, from Dungeon Magazine #103, 2003
Rary the Traitor, by Ben Wooten, 2011
Lord Robilar, by Ken Frank, from WGR3 Rary the Traitor, 1992
Bright Desert detail, by Rob Lazzaretti, from Dungeon Magazine #118-121, 2005


Sources:
1015 World of Greyhawk Boxed Set, 1983
1043 The City of Greyhawk Boxed Set, 1989
1064 From the Ashes Boxed Set, 1992
1068 Greyhawk Wars Boxed Set, 1991
9025 World of Greyhawk Folio, 1980
9031 The Rogues Gallery, 1980
9112 WG5 Mordenkainen’s Fantastic Adventure, 1984
9147 T1-4 Temple of Elemental Evil, 1985
9309 WGA4 Vecna Lives! 1990
9360 WGR2 Treasures of Greyhawk, 1992
9386 WGR3 Rary the Traitor, 1992
9576 Return of the Eight, 1998
9577 The Adventure Begins, 1998
9578 Player’s Guide to Greyhawk, 1998
11743 Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, 2000
Living Greyhawk Ket Gazetteer
Dragon Magazine #55, 191, 230, 233, 249,, 269
OJ Oerth Journal #7
LGJ #0
Greyhawkania, Jason Zavoda
Q&A with Gary Gygax, EnWorld

1 comment:

  1. I like this! I have always thought that Rary's turn to evil was weakly explained by WGR3.
    I thought that it was Sargent who did the City of Greyhawk boxed set, not Niles.
    I also always considered Rary's status as "Archmage of Ket" to be an official position, much like how Ghieselinn is the Royal Archmage of Nyrond (WGR4) with some of his duties taken over by the Grey Seer since he decamped. Perhaps he influenced the Beygraf of Ket into allying with Iuz against Bissel.

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