The Thalmgar Enigma

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Thalmgar was an enigmatic and mysterious figure who became well knowin in the early Third Age. Popular interest was re-ignited in the late Fifth Age, where he became a popular character in childrens books and young adult novels.

Very little is actually known about the creature; he did exist, he was clearly not human, and he appeared to have an indefinite lifespan.

Surviving images and eye-witness accounts describe a short humanoid of about five and a half feet (though experts disagree on exactly how he was measured). His skull was elongated and came to a point in the back, and he spoke out of a strange, scar-like gash on the side of his face. His hands held thick, ungainly fingers, like mittens, with only three fingers on his right hand and as many as seven on the left. His legs had little mobility and ended in wide, hoof-like feet. His skin was covered in a series of strange, wart-like growths, though many described their texture as like that of tree-bark. Very little scientific examination of Thalmgar was made, but it was concluded that he was definitely not human, and may have been a silicon-based life-form. Later speculation added that he most likely had artificial origins.


Thalmgar first appears on court records from A.Y. 215, which indicate that he already had a considerable criminal record that may have been lost during the Ninety-nine-years war. His age is listed as 35, and the last name given was later determined to be a deeply unpleasant profanity dating to the Golden Age. At the time of the document, he was taken into custody for theft, but while standing trial, attacked a clerk in the courthouse and was sentenced to five years in prison.

Thalmgar would spend 15 of the next 25 years in and out of jail for various petty crimes. Theft, vandalism, and assault charges were the most common, though "disorderly conduct" shows up often. In A.Y. 240, during a fight in a bar, he shoved another man hard enough that he hit his head and was killed instantly. Thalmgar received a thirty-year prison sentence for manslaughter. Due to poor behavior, that sentence was extended to 63 years.

Released in A.Y. 2103, Thalmgar enjoyed a grand total of three weeks of freedom before being arrested again for theft. More petty crimes would see him in and out of prison over the next two years, before a judge finally gave him a large, punitive sentence of five years for a minor offense. While in prison, Thalmgar committed his second murder, killing another inmate over a disagreement. The judge sentenced Thalmgar to what was thought to be a life-setnece, giving him 100 years.

Over the next century, Thalmgar killed three more inmates, extending his sentence by an additional century and a half. He served the entire time, being regrettably released in 2252. At the time, he still staunchly insisted that he was only 35 years old, despite having spent almost a quarter of a millennium behind bars.

While had had, at this point, killed four people, it was noted that each killing, aside from the one over a disagreement, had been primarily motivated by self-defense. Other inmates who spent time around him observed that he never started fights, though he seemed to enjoy them when provoked.

This time, Thalmgar spent almost an entire year as a free "man". During this time he mostly lived on the streets and made some money begging. For a brief time he was part of a traveling circus exhibit, but his unflinchingly fowl tongue and generally anti-social demeanor made the job untenable.

In A.Y. 2254, having somehow obtained a gun, Thalmgar murdered a convenience store clerk during a robbery. It is speculated that he was put up to the crime by unidentified individuals, but each time he was questioned, he gave a different statement. At the time, Alliance law had no death penalty and a moratorium on "whole life" sentences. Knowing that Thalmgar was, at this point, quite old, he was sentenced to three hundred years.

Again, in prison, he continued to kill. He had become something of an enigma at this point, and the warden and guards paid close attention. His killings were always in retaliation or self defense, always provoked. If left to his own devices, Thalmgar was perfectly harmless. He seemed to revel in routine, and when asked, claimed he enjoyed prison life. The schedule suited him, he thought. He enjoyed watching television and reading(though, when tested, he was found to be illiterate).

Each prison murder added fifty years to his sentence, and within thirty years he had commited three. He was placed in solitary confinement, but by special dispensation, the warden allowed him a private television in his cell. He spent the next 157 years that way, apparently completely content.

By A.Y. 2441, the region Thalmgar was being held in had come under the joint administration of the Alliance and the [{Gudersnipe Foundation]]. The Foundation was heavily reforming prisons at the time, and felt that 187 years probably should be enough to reform Thalmgar and released him. He spent twenty-seven hours on the outside, before being re-arrested for murder.

When interviewed, Thalmgar offered no defense, and stated that he had enjoyed his time in prison and wished to return. He harbored no resentment towards his victim, and saw the killing only as a means to an end. His victim, this time, was an eleven year old girl who had been playing alone in her yard near where the buss from the prison released Thalmgar.

While the Foundation did hold the right to apply the death penalty, Thalmgar was protected by a grandfathered clause due to his status as an Alliance citizen pre-dating the application of Foundation law. He could not be executed. However, the Foundation did not hold the same rules regarding sentence length, and issued Thalmgar a whole-life tarrif.

Thalmgar would spend the next 500 years in seven different prisons, serving the bulk of his sentence in solitary confinement. He was interviewed many times and some studies, mostly phsyological, were conducted during this time. He was determined to be of bellow-average intelligence but deemed sentient. One psychologist noted that he seemed unable to reason more than a few steps ahead, or comprehend the consequences of his actions. To quote on alaysis "If he saw an item he wanted, he picked it up, believing the act of holding something made it belong to him. He had no concept of money, no understanding of ownership beyond the act of holding." He also seemed oddly obsessed with the superficial trappings of humanity. Thalmgar would watch television alone or with other inmates, but expressed no preference over what he saw. He was even observed, on more than one occasion, to spend hours staring at a blank screen.

He was known to be completely illiterate, yet was a common ficture in the prison libraries. While he never quite understood ownership, he had a strange ability to follow all the rules reguarding checking books in and out, even returning them on time. He would sit in the library or in his cell, flipping through the pages, pouring over them, even moving his mouth as if pretending to read. One psychologist even gave him an empty journal and observed his behavior did not change. He pretended to read the blank pages.

This strange attitude towards reading extended to writing. Most of the prisons were required to provide him with writing materials, which he would use. But as he possessed no language, he would merely scribble. He would sit, and think, and act as though it was a great effort, and then make nonsense loops and scratches with no pattern.

When questioned, he would insist that he could read and write with great proficiency(he also insisted he was still 35). If asked, he would pick up a book and 'read aloud' from it, though he merely murmured incomprehensible sounds.

In 2944, his "plight" was brought to the attention of Allron Warner, a wealthy philanthropist. Allron was a vocal advocate of outlawing prisons entirely, and frequently worked to help high-profile prisoners gain freedom. He assembled an extensive legal team and, against Thalmgar's protest, had him paroled after ten more years.

Freed in 2955, Thalmgar became a minor(and reportedly very unhappy) celebrity. He was treated a sort of high-society pet, being passed around by wealthy aristocrats and used as a sort of status symbol. He would be invited into homes and 'allowed to stay as long as he pleased', then invariably kicked out a few weeks later as he ruined furniture, scared children, and generally made a mess of things.

Allron had by this time moved on to other causes, and only a few years after his release, Thalmgar again found himself on the streets and again facing a prison sentence for petty theft. Since it seemed likely that, incarcerated or not, he would may take more lives, authorities sought special dispensation to have him put to death.

A young aristocrat and self-styled philosopher by the name of Anton Jayce came to Thalmgar's rescue. Having himself followed the story of the strange creature since he was a boy, Anton felt he had a much better solution. The problem, he felt, was that no one had ever really set out to determine exactly what Thalmgar wanted--or, more accurately, needed. The regimented style of prison life gave him a sound, unchanging routine, which he followed rigorously. The reason he did so poorly as a guest of the aristocracy was quite simply because they did not respect or understand this.

After paying Thalmgar's fine, Anton moved him into a small cottage in the midst of a garden on the grounds of his estate. He outfitted the room with a bed, comfortable chair, and Thalmgar's favorite thing in the world: a television. He then arranged to have food delivered at the same times every day, and rotated a series of books. Not nice ones, Anton reportedly sourced the volumes from the rubbish bins of local libraries, and Thalmgar routinely destroyed them while reading.

With his routine firmly set, Thalmgar appeared happy and peaceful. He would follow a very strict routine of sleeping, eating, reading, and television, apparently happy with it, sometimes not leaving his small cottage for days. So long as his needs were met, he only ever ventured out to take short walks and to occasionally tend to some garden plots he was given to work. He did not, and never succeeded in growing a single thing(Anton frequently witnessed him gleefully planting rocks), but it seemed to bring him pleasure. Anton made many observations of Thalmgar during this time, and noted several curious oddities. Much the same as how he 'read' and 'wrote', Thalmgar did not appear to actually 'eat'. He showed no preferences whatsoever, and was often seen consuming random organic materials if a small break from routine did not find him near his hut at meal times. When questioned, he would insist up and down that he had favorite foods, and name them(more than once listing off non-food items amongst his favorites), and any attempt to argue with him would end in loud and boisterous swearing.

Anton noted that Thalmgar's mannerisms appeared to be those of "an animal, trained to mimic a human". Thalmgar showed little in the way of reasoning skills, and seemed to carry out tasks because he had been shown them, and not becausehe had an end to accomplish.

Though he would regret it later, for a time, Anton treated Thalmgar as something of a pet, teaching him parlor tricks and bringing guests out to the garden to observe him from an overlook. Fortunately, Anton soon outgrew this behavior, and treated Thalmgar with a great deal of dignity and respect. In sticking to the creature's need for routine, he would visit him weekly and converse(though he recorded that Thalmgar was not much of a talker), and on occasions where he could not attend, Anton sent one of his servants(dressed in his clothes. Purportedly, Thalmgar did not know the difference.

Thalmgar lived on Anton's estate for over seventy years, into the Third Age, and, in Anton's observation, never seemed to change much. But there was something imperceptible. During his visits, Anton would sit and talk with Thalmgar, but over time he noticed that there was never really much of a conversation. Thalmgar could speak, and would respond to questions, but his answers were usually disjointed and only tangentially connected to the question. It supported Anton's observation that it seemed Thalmgar had learned to speak only as a parlor trick: and beyond a few immutable facts(such as his age and the fact that he could read and write), Thamlgar did not appear able to remember much beyond the last few days. Anton tested this repeatedly by giving the creature a word and asking him to repeat it back the next week, Thalmgar could not and usually became agitated when questioned.

Anton eventually ceased his visits, growing ill and taking to living at an estate in a more temperate region. He maintained the house on who's property Thalmgar lived, but as decades passed, he grew less and less able to look out for the creature's well-being.

The estate eventually passed to Anton's nephew under the stipulation that Thalmgar's upkeep be maintained. The newphew delegated this task to his servants and was rarely even at the estate. Still, the head butler's records indicate that the duties were carried out, with food and literature being delivered and destroyed regularly. His logs were likely not falsified, as in A.Y. 328 it was noted that Thalmgar's television set was broken and had been replaced, and the bulter notes that the failed unit"had likely been disabled for a period of at least three years, it(Thalmgar) did not appear to notice". His noted also include that electricity to the cottage was frequently severed and that this never brought any complaint.

In A.Y. 334, Thalmgar disappeared. No one is entirely certain when, but the gardener first noted that he "had not seen 'it' in days" and when the servants checked on the cottage, the found a great deal of food and books had accumulated. Exactly when or why he left remains a mystery, but Anton's journals indicate that, during the end of the Second Age, Thalmgar's memory was already in decline. It was a slow process, but it seems likely that, during one of his walks, Thalmgar strayed too far from his vottage and was unable to find his way back.

Anton's estate bordered a wilderness area of several million square miles, with no walls or major obstacles. The best supported theory is that Thalmgar strayed into this area. Sporadic sightings in the region continued for the next two hundred years, but reports are spotty.

In A.Y. 3449, hikers exploring a remote valley in the wilderness area photographed a strange find. At the end of a box canyon near a waterfall, they discovered strangely piled rocks and clearly artificial beds. They then found a small cave with some of the strangest arrangements. It had initially been a cleft, but a very crude wall was constructed of stacked shale, and the inside floor had been carefully leveled with flagstone and dirt. The remains of a single, tattered, rotting blanket lay atop a shelf constructed out of mud and rocks that formed the shape of a bed. A large piece of sandstone(not native to the area) had even been crudely carved into the shape of a pillow.

And, strangest of all: an old, broken television set, carefully placed on another shelf, with it's cord jammed into a crack in the stone wall. The hikers estimated the television set to be no more than thirty years old, and concluded that the site had not been abandoned more than five years earlier. They were nearly one hundred miles from the nearest unimproved road, and thus very uncertain how else the set could have arrived at such a location.

Before leaving, the hikers made a wide circuit around the area and happened upon what they believed to be a second camp. Here, stones had been roughly dragged and half buried in a level spot, forming a rectangle in dimensions eerily similar to the inside of the cave(and estimated to match those of Thalmgar's cottage on Anton's estate). A pile of rocks served as the bed, and one roughly squared bolder was placed in the same relative position as the TV. The remains of similar camps were also found, though none so strongly defined.

Still, odd piles of rocks and rows forming right angles were observed, and the hikers followed a very erratic trail of these arrangements to the edge of the valley. It is believed that Thalmgar may have spent years here, lost and attempting to recreate the small cottage where he had finally been content. No further sightings or discovered were every made, though a team of amateur researchers returning to the area one hundred and fifty years later did confirm the existence of the sight, even photographing the now badly decayed television. They also indicated evidence that it had been revisited more recently, though by what or who no one could say.


Popular interest in Thalmgar was re-ignited towards the end of the Fifth Age, where his likeness was reborn is a loveable children's character. Puppets, picture books, and a short-lived cartoon television show told the story of a misunderstood, unintelligent, and homeless creature, wandering the earth in search of a warm bed and a TV to watch. He was portrayed as simple-minded and kind-hearted, though surviving accounts of the real Thalmgar did not agree with this sentiment. The ferver did not last, and while several researchers and historians tried to capitalize on the short-lived fame with books and documentaries purporting to tell "The real story", eventually, the enigmatic creature known as Thalmgar was again forgotten for another nearly thousand years.

True Nature

A great many theories were put fourth explaining exactly what Thalmgar was and why he lived for so long, but none were thought to adequately how or why Thalmgar managed to live for possibly as long as 1,400 years. Late in the Sixth Age a scientific paper was released by Hunter Jusenkyou and Jason Bur'I which theorized that Thalmgar was actually a living example of a Straw Man.

The theory, if true, would mean that Thalmgar was much older than the recorded records, dating to at least the early Second Chaotic Period, and that he may in fact still be alive, wandering aimlessly through the wilderness. Hunter and Jason's paper proposed that Thalmgar had suffered severe damage to his artificial brain that worsened over time, leaving him unable to remember anything for any length of time. His killings were explained by his programming(Straw Men were created as weapons), and his desire from routine sprang from his last complete memory, likely a day in prison that happened during the Golden Age.