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Who is Gareth?by Hervé Musseau
2) Gareth = Rad
It has been speculated several time that Rad might be Gareth, especially between WotI and PWAs releases and MoAs release, because of one's disappearance in strange conditions and the other's appearance in as strange conditions. The fact that Ann Dupuis didn't consider this as a possibility is irrelevant to this discussion, though individual DMs may take this as a hint as to TSRs likely position. But as usual you may not care for TSRs official stuff if you think something different is cooler IYC.
First off, this explains why no Immortals knows who Gareth is. No one is aware that Rad is back (or few), and even if (or when) they did, they hardly have a reason to suspect that Rad would maintain a second identity as Gareth. Especially since most Immortals remember Rad as his older self, and would have a hard time believing he's changed into a better fellow.
Gareth being Rad works best in campaigns where MoA is played and the PCs do very well, and have Etienne return as an Immortal and better man. According to his new view on life, Etienne sets up a new faith as under another identity which promotes a new philosophy, while he's not very active as Etienne (only a few showings here and there, and not revealing completely that he's back) and not at all as Rad. He prefers to set up his new philosophy before everything else, as befits his new personality.
Why did he start in Sind and not Glantri? Well, starting in Glantri is no easy task. Besides, his new message is universal, so he probably doesn't want it restricted to Glantri as did the old Rad. Now, he certainly has some fondness for Glantri, as shown by his interventions as Etienne here and there, and will probably comes back to it when his other schemes are running by themselves. The fact that Rad didn't reappear at the same time is likely due to the level loss he suffered when absorbed into the NoS. His reduced power doesn't let him conduct enough plots to have both Rad reappear and set up Gareth. He thus chose to give priority to Gareth. Besides, not having the two reappear at the same time prevents the other immortals from making the link between him and Gareth.
Why did Loki smile? Well, same reason as for Benekander, he hasn't a clue and is in fact grinning. Why did Gareth say he has returned from the Vortex? Well, maybe that's what Etienne believes happened. From MoA it appears this wouldn't be the case, but Etienne doesn't necessarily realise this. Besides, maybe he did in fact go beyond the Vortex, and the Old One later returned him so he could go through MoA. Or the Old One altered his memory (in addition to his personality) so that he would believe it. Maybe Rad believes he was right all along, was allowed for a moment among the Old Ones, but sent back to teach the immortals (and the mortals) what they should do on the Prime; however that can't be done if the immortals just use the mortals as paws, and the mortals should strive to become better; the NoS experiment was here to prove this but now he is probably convinced that this is only one way that was used by the Old Ones to show the proper way. As in case #1, the message was obviously aimed at the immortals and not the mortals, so that his philosophy would be heard by the immortals as well as by the mortals. Rad does know about Old Ones as he had a direct contact with one of them at the end of WotI, and he may have learned about the Vortex if you go by one of the theories presented above.
The only real flaw in the Gareth = Rad equation is indeed time discrepancy. Rad disappears in 1009, Gareth appears in 1011 (or 1010? I think it's 1011, with the Sitara's miracle being on Kaldmont 28, AC 1011), MoA takes place in Summer 1012. Prior to MoA, right after PWA2, this was actually the coolest theory, as it seemed to fit so well, but MoA both add to it (with the personality change, and the actual return of Rad) but also makes it impossible on a temporal level. Now, we all know that immortals can travel through time, so it is possible that Rad used chronomancy. Besides, if you go by my chronomancy in Mystara supplement (hint;), immortals don't have such problems as mortals do with doubling lifeline. And in TSRs (canon) supplement to chronomancy, the entry for Mystara does list Rad as one of those few immortals who actually probably knows something about chronomancy, as he's suspected (with Rafiel) of being the one who killed the Alphatians chronomancers who tried to meddle with ancient Blackmoor and the NoS of that time. Note that this means that he took the risk of being caught and thus his return discovered by the immortals of time who police the temporal prime. Note also that as his mortal identity of Etienne, he didn't appear before the end of MoA even though the temporal travel permits him to exist at an immortal level before his very return, but not because he cannot double the lifeline of his mortal identity probably rather because he doesn't want to arouse suspicion.
So, to sum up, an interesting possibility, but with a flaw (time) which individual DMs can get over by careful use of chronomancy.