Adrian Vandiir, also known as "Drusus Rolfe", was an Iskirran sorcerer and alchemist. A child of the Iskirran new nobility, he attended the Iskirran Magic Academy and was apprenticed under Blaise the Magus.
Once the chief adviser of King Luther Arimanes, he was accused of murdering his employer and forced to flee Melekess. Eventually he wound up in Amarna, where he served as the Temple's Grand Inquisitor. His fellow Inquisitor and love interest Anne Hoole vowed revenge upon him for this deception.
Due to a deal he made with the Magician, he was able to shapeshift at will. Other dealings with spirits granted him various magical gifts, including the ability to read minds, erase memories, create illusions and hallucinations, and drain the life of others in order to sustain his unnaturally long lifespan.
He was stripped of his powers by Watchman Dimiter Yen and fled. His current whereabouts are unknown.
Though his ability to shapeshift meant that his appearance varied widely, Adrian's typical look was that of an idealized version of himself as a young man: pale-skinned with black hair, handsome features (with eerily perfect symmetry), and dark blue eyes. He spent a great deal of time on his appearance, always looking impeccably groomed and wearing bespoke suits. He was rarely seen without his familiar, a ferret named Nyx whom he would introduce to people as his pet.
Adrian was considered sociable and charming, but he could also be incredibly cold and calculating. He was willing to betray absolutely anyone if there was something to be gained by it, and displayed a disregard for anyone outside his immediate circle of family and friends. The few people who managed to earn his respect and admiration did so because they shared in his selfish, narcissistic, arrogant behavior.
Adrian was also a coward, likely to run away from an opponent who was able to match him, let alone outclass him. This was due to his overwhelming fear of death; he sought to prolong his own demise for as long as possible. He saw power as a means to an end, a tool to be used, and did not believe in the sentiment "absolute power corrupts absolutely".
Despite his ruthlessness and selfishness, he desired to make the world a better place, in his own way. He envisioned a utopia in which mindless minions spawned from magic did the dying and the unpleasant work, while sentient uber-refined socialites studied the mysteries of the universe in decadent luxury. This was the perfection he longed to make reality, and while he knew it was unattainable, the pursuit was most of the fun. A desire to see his dream realized motivated his quest to find eternal life. His greatest vulnerability was his legacy.
Though he has worked for clergymen and other proponents of organized religion, Adrian himself has a fairly low opinion of faith and religious adherents. Initially an atheist who believed only in magic, which he saw as a tool, his later experiences with the divine and the supernatural meant that he could no longer be skeptical. He lamented this, as he considered atheism or even agnosticism a much more relaxing and positive view than the nerve-wracking certainty of a deity.
- Paranoia and fear of death
- Sluttiness caused by Adrian’s shallowness
- Adrian is a man driven by his desires
- He wants perfection but he’ll never have it
- That’s ok though, most of the fun is in the pursuit
- Desires to make the world a better place, in his own way
- Doesn’t believe in a god, puts little to no stock in prophecies
- Spends a lot of time networking but doesn’t embark on big plans/projects with others
- Not that hard to convince, Inanna just went about it the wrong way; he’s slept with plenty of women, he won’t be impressed by one more.
- Emotional vulnerability: his legacy
- Bit of a yes-man himself
- Didn’t have the spine to criticize the Empire’s warmongering until he was in a position of power on the Council
- Doesn’t speak out due to fear (of death?)
- To cope with this cowardice, he convinces himself that it is all “necessary”, somehow
- Hated what happened to Kynaston during the war, particularly the loss of the Great Library: loss of vast stores of knowledge
- Not fully convinced of the Empire’s cause, but sunk-cost fallacy (he’s in too deep)
- Everyone else would oppose his research
- In his mind, Knowledge = Good
- Hates Empire's propaganda, particularly when it comes to indoctrinating children
- Values giving his creations free will, regrets having used POWs to create the first Changelings
- Was deeply bothered by the scene in which a Changeling killed himself to avoid him: is this what his legacy will amount to?
- Spoils his apprentice and his lover, doesn’t want to have to deal with the anger and frustration of others?
- “Adrian has a hard time understanding that desires can be careful, since his are so materialistic and constantly indulged.”
- He envisioned a utopia where mindless minions do the dying and unpleasant work, while sentient uber-refined socialites study the mysteries of the galaxy in decadent luxury.
Adrian Vandiir was born into Iskirran new nobility, an economically elite class which arose due to the increasing prosperity of the Iskirran Empire. His paternal grandfather was a sulfur baron and his mother a fantastically wealthy merchant's daughter. He was taught from an early age that he was destined for great things, and learned to consider himself above the common rabble.
Starting in childhood, he was fascinated by magic. He began avidly collecting books on the subject, and the more he immersed himself in it, the more he wanted to try sorcery himself. He successfully summoned his first demon at the age of fourteen, but before he could make a bargain with them, he was discovered by his grandfather. It was decided that he should attend the Academy in order to learn the proper use of magic.
At the Academy, Adrian excelled. He was a teacher's pet and was able to use his charms to avoid being bullied or "offed" by other students. He was primarily interested in the subject of alchemy, and participated in numerous unethical experiments conducted on criminals and POWs. While he felt nothing with regards to the criminals, he felt some guilt over the treatment of the POWs, particularly those whose only crime it was to be a member of a certain group or tribe which had been conquered. It wasn't long before Adrian became the apprentice of Blaise, a famous magus. But before Adrian could complete his training, Blaise disappeared without a trace while conducting experiments in chronomancy - the manipulation of time using magic. While Adrian was permitted to undergo the final ceremony and graduate, many of his fellow mages believed his training was incomplete, much to his annoyance.
For his first assignment as a newly ordained sorcerer, Adrian was sent to the city of Melekess in the province of Sarovar to investigate reports of an ancient grimoire recently resurfaced at an art auction. On the train ride there, he briefly encountered Errik Nimdok, recognizing him as a famous historian. In Melekess Adrian met up with Thetis Suzerain, who was sent by the Academy to serve as his chaperone; the two then went to the auction house where the grimoire had been purchased by a nobleman, Count Astapov. Their questioning of the witnesses drew the attention of the late Count's son, Ivan. After Ivan challenged them, they took him hostage and Adrian was able to influence Ivan's mind to tell them where the grimoire was.
The chase led them to the Summer Palace, one of the Count's private residences and the site of his suicide. On the way there they were attacked by Bithia, Nimdok's wife. While she and Thetis battled in the snow, Adrian took Ivan and ran to the house. They were met by guards; Adrian successfully convinced them he was Ivan's friend, and so was let inside. Sensing the magical aura emanating from the grimoire, Adrian detected it up on the roof. He climbed up the side of the house, and to his shock came face to face with Nimdok. The professor apologized before pushing him off the roof.
Adrian survived the fall by using magic to ensure he landed safely on a thick snow drift. By that time Thetis had arrived, having killed Bithia. They learned from interrogating Anesha Astapov, the Count's daughter, that Nimdok had escaped via a secret tunnel underneath the house. Searching for him was deemed pointless and they returned to Iskirra empty-handed, much to Adrian's chagrin.
Not long afterwards, Adrian was contacted by Selca Dukani, a master sorcerer and mysterious hermit. Selca expressed an interest in Nimdok and the incident at Melekess. Adrian never responded to the letter, as he was consumed by other business. The Emperor summoned him for a private audience, at which point Adrian was asked to fulfill his duty to the Empire not as a sorcerer but as a noble by agreeing to an arranged marriage with the foreign Princess Zainab Cohilas. The union would necessitate Adrian moving to the desert kingdom of Melekess, a prospect which he loathed, but he was too cowardly to openly refuse the Emperor's request.
Later, ___ made a hasty appointment with Adrian. She told him that Selca Dukani had kidnapped the daughter of her "friend" and conducted strange experiments on her. They were able to rescue the child, but Inanna still sought justice against the one responsible, Selca Dukani. Based on the details of her story, Adrian was able to deduce that her "friend" was none other than Nimdok, and that the abduction of his daughter was likely done as revenge for the theft of the grimoire. Without admitting what he knew, Adrian advised her to forget about the matter.
Though his cowardice kept him from acting on his anger, Adrian was disgusted by the revelation that Selca had experimented on a child, doubly so when a covert investigation by his spies revealed evidence that Selca had performed similar experiments on other children. His spies also kept watch on ___, whom he learned was trying to find a master in hopes of defeating Selca. She was picked up by Vanessa Molyneux, a sorceress notorious for her abusive and controlling treatment of her students. Reluctantly and more out of a desire to humiliate Vanessa, Adrian decided to intervene; he paid a surprise visit to Vanessa's fortress with the express intention of seeing ___. He gave her the option of becoming his apprentice, and she agreed. Upon learning of their plans, Vanessa attacked them. With Adrian's assistance, ___ killed her former master.
Once again, Adrian was contacted by Selca, this time in the form of an invitation to his home. There, Adrian saw Selca's "Children" - individuals whom Selca had taken for experimentation, turning them into loyal, lobotomized minions devoid of willpower, or to serve as sacrifices to sustain Selca's magic and prolonged lifespan. Selca made Adrian an offer he couldn't resist: the secret of eternal life. In exchange, Selca demanded that Adrian stop ___, whether by killing her or using his mental powers to cause her to forget all about Selca and what he had done.
Adrian made his choice and attempted to erase ___'s memories of Selca. But during the painful process, she fought back violently, ultimately choosing to end her own life rather than give up part of her identity and experience. Adrian returned to Selca with ___'s body. After receiving his reward - the secret to eternal life required that he offer regular sacrifices to a demon - Adrian killed Selca, an act which forced him to go on the run to escape prosecution for the murders of Vanessa, ___, and Selca.
In 164, he turned up in Amarna, where he was hired by Guardian Balthasar Krezt to investigate Dagda Vormund's cult on behalf of the Temple. Using the false identity of "Drusus Rolfe", a northern ranger, Adrian set about infiltrating the cult, taking pleasure in fooling everyone and playacting the role. Drusus' lone wolf nature was meant to keep Adrian away from the influence of the Exekian Kemet, whose mere presence could short out Adrian's magic.
"Drusus" corresponded with Balthasar regularly in the form of coded secret letters, which he then burned. Despite his reports on the apparent authenticity of the Mandorlin and its heretical contents, Balthsar didn't issue any further orders until Vormund and several of his followers returned to Hiberia, at which point Adrian's mission was changed to sabotaging the cult "by any means necessary", so long as he covered his tracks.
Adrian attempted to drive Vormund mad by putting the powerful hallucinogenic darjeel into his food. However, Vormund's son Ethan wound up ingesting it instead. After undergoing a feverish trance, he appeared to recover. Adrian's plans were seemingly foiled, but he didn't give up yet. He followed the cult as they attempted to flee to Tyr. Along the way, Ethan gradually went mad and killed Sophie Montag. "Drusus" then took the role of the righteous man, insisting they needed to either kill Ethan or turn him over to the police for his crime. When Vormund refused on the grounds that it would endanger them all, "Drusus" convinced Anna Hoole, who had been friends with Sophie and harbored romantic feelings for him, to help him report her murder to the proper authorities. Sure enough, the police, already informed of the cult's status as fugitives, brutalized and arrested them all, save Anna, "Drusus", and Vincent.
The trio made their way to Tyr, where they met up with Gavin Zosimus, another cult member. "Drusus" monitored Gavin and Leonard's attempts to save Vormund, Ethan, and the others, reporting his findings to Balthasar. A heresy trial was arranged for Vormund under the Temple's jurisdiction, which Balthasar personally oversaw using written testimony provided by Adrian. During the court proceedings, Vormund made specific references to Adrian's past, including his role in ___'s death and Luther's disappearance, before revealing his true identity to the others.
Adrian denied what Vormund said, but was ultimately forced to abandon the charade. After revealing his true identity to Gavin and Anna, he threatened them into submission. (??? or would it be better to have him hold out on revealing his true identity and motives until they reach the caves?)
Vormund died in prison before the trial could be concluded. Balthasar ordered Adrian to locate the coveted original Mandorlin document which Vormund had used as the basis for his translation. Disguising himself as Gavin's manservant Faulkner, he followed Gavin and Anna to Arza Kell, where Gavin hoped to recover his daughter Laura. Anna began to suspect Adrian was following them, so she snuck away from their camp in the middle of the night in order to warn Kemet and Clara. She returned carrying Laura, gave the child to Gavin, then attacked "Faulkner". Adrian retaliated by burning her with witchfire. To save Anna's life, Gavin agreed to bring Adrian to the manuscript, which was still buried in the caves. Adrian actually refused to carry out his orders from Balthasar, which were to destroy the manuscript. Instead, he made a deal with Gavin to make everyone believe he had destroyed it, including the unconscious Anna and Balthasar, while they actually reburied it in a different spot of the caverns. When enough time had passed, Gavin would be able to dig it up again, thereby preserving the ancient knowledge by keeping it safe and hidden.