Lord Odran was a powerful mage. He was the first mortal to ever enter the Rift. Because the Rift touches all things and connects to all worlds, he used the Rift as a gateway in exploring these different worlds. For his transgression into the realm of heroes and gods, the spirits of the Rift destroyed him. Upon his death he left many portals to the Rift scattered throughout many worlds. Humans now use these portals to access the Rift in the Hero's Ascent tournament.
A noble goal
Lord Odran, a great arcanist specializing in the study of temporal distortions, desired to make a plea to the gods. Like King Doric many centuries before him, he had sought to bring peace to his home land (unknown at this time) by communicating with the Gods. He wanted to undo the Exodus of the Gods and bring back the gods to restore peace and harmony.
In 851 AE, through the use of a powerful spell of his own device and the sacrifice of many souls, he succeeded in opening a portal to the Rift.
His arrival in the Rift caused an outrage among the spirits of the mighty fallen heroes who are ensconced in the Hall of Heroes. For a soul to be accepted into the Hall it has to have accomplished great deeds worthy of the attention of the Gods, yet here was a mortal who had found his way amongst them by way of trickery! The spirits of the Rift assaulted the archmage, but could not harm his physical body, for it had been centuries since any of them had interacted with the physical world, and none of them did so in their shadow form.
Lord Odran used his access at first to communicate with the gods, but then used the Rift's connection to all the worlds to investigate them. He left a portal in each world he visited, hidden by powerful wards and enchantments. It is unknown if he abandoned his original quest or if the gods turned him down.
Eventually, the spirits of the Rift were able to figure out how to interact with the physical realm, and on his last visit to the Rift, Lord Odran's body was shredded by angry spirits. His death caused the wards and enchantments hiding his portals to fail. Ironically, in their wrath to destroy the intruder, the spirits opened the way for many more mortal intruders. Lord Odran placed the portals in the most treacherous of places, hoping that the fear of death would turn away the meek, yet humans - with their greed and creativity - were able to find the portals and revisit the Rifts.
Today, the spirits who were once so enraged at a single intrusion, now find amusement in the visiting mortals, dividing them into opposing groups and having them fight for sport in the Hall of Heroes.