The shack hadn't been lived in for years, and most of it wasn't even intact any longer. The years and weather had made ceilings cave in, the door no longer stood on it's hinges, and the floor was covered in dirt and weeds poking through the warped and rotting boards. The only thing they found inside, apart from a few pieces of ruined furniture and a moth-eaten bed, was a desk filled with notes and papers.
They couldn't make heads or tales of the chicken scratch and diagrams drawn on the papers, but they were able to discern that the drawings were portals of some kind. At the time, irrelevant to their search, and thusly put out of their minds.
Months later, as Byra led the three out of Zolo's tomb riding on her summoned bird, Livius' back, they all received a vision of a silhouetted old man standing in that shack, telling them that when they needed him, he would be there.
That old man was Roger Whirm.
Roger grew up on Lud with his brother, William. At an early age, the two discovered and became fascinated with the concept of the gifted. Throughout their childhood, the two would fantasize about being gifted, pretending that they could do some of the incredible things the sometimes god-like creatures could pull off. Moving mountains, controlling the sea, fighting with beams of pure energy, and fighting the forces of evil were a natural part of their innocence-driven games.
Their obsession did not fade as they grew into their teens. The two began to work very hard to understand the gifted condition. What created gifted? What determined their powers? What was their purpose? They never found any answers to these questions, of course. Their research was still a product of boyhood dreams. They partly knew this, but were still determined to expand their understanding. The two got jobs and worked even harder, saving their money to further their research.
Eventually, Roger and William grew out of their teens and used their hard-earned money to buy a small workshop on the edge of the city. They used this as a base-of-operations to attempt to do everything from learning the answers to their burning questions, to even replicating some of the fantastical gifts themselves. At a young age, the two had determined that one of the most powerful and useful gifts thinkable was teleportation. They had decided that the ability to instantly travel from one point to another - even across worlds - was the gateway to wonderful power. So, naturally, that was the focus of their experiments.
After decades of trial and error, tears, sweat and blood, they were eventually successful. Roger and William perfected teleportation. They were finally gifted. Their work was finally perfected, and they were on top of the world - until the Alon arrived on Lud for the first time.
Roger and William both read and researched much on the Alon. They knew the danger and threat the Alon posed, and for the first time in their lives, they disagreed on what to do.
Roger, being the rational and logical of the two decided to turn himself in. He knew that the Alon had measures in place to not only track down gifted - even ones that could teleport - but stop them. William, on the other hand, was the proactive and headstrong one. He decided to flee. He was not successful.
Roger never found out what happened to his brother after the Alon caught him, but he assumed the worst. Following through with his instincts, Roger turned himself over to the Alon without a fight. The Alon took him happily enough, and did exactly what they promised: they 'cured' him of his 'condition'.
When the Alon were sure that they had removed the threat his 'curse' posed, they sent him back home. Old, broken, and his childhood dreams realized, then destroyed, Roger sold his and his brother's shop and left his memories behind, taking to life outside of the eyes of society. After that, he disappeared.
Unrelated to this post, here's Rad. Again, credit for the pic goes to Joe Bags.