Tome of Dorgoth

Bathaniel of Zhai

Bathaniel of Zhai (503 LC - 599 LC) was a Dorgothian sage and member of the Order of the Source. He is best known for his invention of the reverse Thallix, his reflections on the origins of knowledge and his contributions to the Keeper-Seeker debate within Dorgothian orthodoxy.

Apprentice years

Bathaniel entered the Dorgothian monastery of Sage Island in 518 LC, where he served as an apprentice to the Order of the Source. Initially interested in astronomy, Bathaniel studied orbital movements and examined the accuracy of the Thallix System, the predictions of which were used by diviners across Laeryll. His idea to build a reversed version of the Thallix and match it to historical data was received well by the order. He was allowed to enter the trials to become a full member in 525 LC.

The Trials of the Order of the Source

To become a full member of the Order of the Source, an apprentice has to enter the Trials, which consist of:

  • growing the body of knowledge to an extent deemed satisfactory by seven senior members of the order
  • giving a lecture on this knowledge at at least three Dorgothian temples
  • offering a persuasive negation of a commonly held conviction in a negation theater

The Thallix controversy

Bathaniel's interest in studying the Thallix System was initially welcomed by diviners, who thought studying the system could lead to improvements in foretelling. However, many diviners saw the attempt to “predict the past” using a Thallix as an affront to their skill. Divination using the Thallix, they argued, is only possible by taking a variety of omens into account. In the words of Pharius the Seer, simply looking at the predictive power of astronomical events like planet alignment was “the mental mating of arrogance and ignorance”. As a consequence, Bathaniel could not count on the aid of Dorgothian libraries where diviners had much clout.

The Negation Trial