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Gellark Lionrage

Gellark Lionrage was the first Human King and student of the Death Mage Varth Dreamless, known best for his part in the tale A Dreamless Sleep.  

History

Where Gellark Lionrage came from, exactly, is one of history's greatest mysteries. Thus is the case with all early humans. All that is known is that one day, in the year -10, Humanity appeared in Totania, on the northern coast of Elone. Among these Humans were three names of note: Varth Dreamless, Eden Zunno, and of course, Gellark Lionrage.  
Dale by Jarhed
Varth Dreamless was the leader of this group, appointed by Gellark's father. Many have been quite confused to learn that Gellark Lionrage's father is, in fact, the fast food mogul Dale Lionrage, an eldritch being who owns and runs every McDales in Totania. It is believed, however, that the Dale of McDales is only an imitation of Gellark's father.   Due to Dale appointing Varth to lead the Humans, it was also Dale who appointed Varth to watch over his son. Gellark looked up to Varth Dreamless, wanting to be like him. Still, he had doubts in Varth's particular way of doing things as the sole leader of the Human race.   Gellark wanted to be a hero. Varth, however, told Gellark that being a hero was not all it was cracked up to be. To be a hero, one would then need to suffer. And Varth did not want Gellark to suffer. Varth did not want anyone to suffer.
Varth Dreamless by Jarhed
 

Heroic Dreams

Gellark watched Varth promote all kinds of people. Anyone with any kind of experience. Anyone but Gellark himself, despite Varth personally training Gellark. Gellark had what it took, at least in his own mind, because he believed he could be just like Varth.   Gellark wanted to be given spotlight, but Varth tried to keep him out of trouble. Instead, Varth promoted other men. Men who were often killed when faced with the dangers of Totania.   This would often enrage Gellark, as he saw these men get what he wanted and then fail to do it. What he would not see, of course, is that this is exactly why Varth did not give him command. Varth knew that anyone who did what the men he promoted did would be placed in immense danger. Varth had promised Dale not to let Gellark die, and if Gellark were in harms way, he would die. He was very young, after all. Too young to fight.   Here is a famous soliloquy from Getoh's A Dreamless Sleep, where Gellark laments these woes after he finds the remains of one of these dead soldiers, specifically their helmet:

Legacy

Humanity's continued survival and prosperity can be attributed to Gellark Lionrage's actions, defeating Varth Dreamless and driving the Goblins out. He not only helped Humanity to settle, but he showed the world that Humanity could reach even the peaks of power seen in such well-known, powerful species like Draconians, Elves, and of course Goblins.   After all, Gellark Lionrage was known to be one of the strongest people of his time, rivalled only by his mentor Varth Dreamless, the Seventh Grand Wizard Perzita Theldrar, and the future Captain Commander of the Elves Narkard Leran.   Gellark's foreign policy was groundbreaking as well, as even though he is attributed with having driven out the Goblins, he was actually friendly to them and all others he met. He wanted peace and good relations with all. This has not continued with his successors.
Life
20 AE 15 ME 35 years old
Parents
Children

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"Capable men! Call as such capable men and look at what happens to them! They die, they flee, they leave behind scant but remnants of valor and nothing else. If this be so capable a man, then where lie he? If the crown that once sat atop his head is here and not he, then what say he, from Hell, Heaven, or such vacant a world as I stand? Call this not a helmet, but carve into its front the word capable and place it atop the head of ones best man. Carve in its interior the title fool, as to see the inside is to see thus. For the fool that once wore such a helmet left behind such title with it. Yet here I stand to take it and, thus, prove my worth.   Call it to me now, oh keepers of honor! Call me hero, call me warrior, call me a name I have yet to earn, for events as that are commonplace in the land of clowns that I have found myself in, where simple common sense is outweighed by the rule of beasts. Place upon me the responsibility, of which I could handle with ten times the grace of such capable men."
— Gellark Lionrage, A Dreamless Sleep i.iii.1-10
  Varth finally confronted Gellark after Gellark said he would not mind dying. Varth assured Gellark that:
"Death is no laughing matter. So live."
— Varth Dreamless, A Dreamless Sleep i.iii.35
  Gellark, however, did not believe Varth's words, as Varth often placed himself into danger. Gellark pointed out Varth's hypocrisy, but Varth said he has no intention to die, because if he were to die his people would be left alone with no one to take care of them. Especially Gellark.   Gellark did not see the difference in what Varth did and allowing himself to die. To say Varth would do anything for the people, but to say, too, that he would not die was a double standard that Gellark did not understand. Varth told Gellark it was better to live to tell the tale than to die a hero.
Zelgrile by Jarhed
 

The Goblins Arrive

Gellark and Varth were some of the first Humans to meet the people whose land they appeared on: the Goblins. Goblins had lived in Northern Elone, having taken it from the remnants of the Giant Kingdom. Now, they were led by Matriarch Zelgrile and her daughter Jibral.   When Gellark and Varth found these Goblins, Varth charged into battle without thinking. Gellark stopped him, pointing out once more his hypocrisy in saying that Gellark should not throw his life away, and then go ahead and try to throw his own life away.   Varth agreed, and Zelgrile allowed the Humans to flee for one time and one time only, seeing Gellark was similar to her daughter, Jibral.  

Training

Varth trained Gellark to use a sword, though Varth himself was not the most skilled with a sword. Instead, he used a spear. Gellark was not happy with this, especially when Varth told Gellark he intended to teach Gellark how to fight without killing. Gellark knew the Goblins would kill, but Varth wanted him to be better.   What Varth told Gellark was:
"In this world, fighting is necessary,
But killing one another is not."
— Varth Dreamless, A Dreamless Sleep ii.iii.27-28
  When Eden Zunno appeared again spouting nonsense about a Goddess of Humanity, Athena, Gellark called nonsense. He believed it to be impossible, but Eden insisted. He showed what he had learned from Athena's teachings: Magic.  
Eden Zunno by Jarhed
Eden taught Gellark magic, where Gellark learned he was an Ace. This meant he could use every magical affinity and would be able to be one of the best mages alongside his martial prowess.   Varth did not have any magic, and Gellark decided this was his chance to step up and help Varth:
"I'll protect that, if you allow me to
I shall do the things Varth Dreamless can do.
It will be tough, perhaps too much for me,
So I'll grow to that level, set Varth's mind free,
Unshackle the hope he held at the seam,
And grant him the chance, perchance now, to dream"
— Gellark Lionrage, A Dreamless Sleep ii.iii.112-117
 

The Watchman

Zelgrile and Jibral would later invade again, killing a watchman who was guarding at night. However, Gellark disguised himself in the same outfit and challenged them with his newfound, newly trained magic.   Zelgrile had magic, but Jibral didn't. Gellark noticed how Jibral was insecure about her magic, and tried to go easier on her. This did not work out too well for him, as she had trained with the Draconians and was able to knock him out with a hit to the head.
Jibral by Jarhed
  Gellark was captured by the Goblins and imprisoned, watched over by a Goblin watchman named Seglat. Here, Gellark connected with not only Seglat, but Jibral as well.   With Seglat, Gellark saw that they were not truly as opposed as they all thought they were, and how they all fear the unknown.   Gellark makes a plan with Seglat to hopefully unite the Humans and Goblins despite their differences. He hopes that, through this, and with Jibral's help which she is eventually convinced to give, they could bring peace to their warring people.  

The Dreamless One

Varth Dreamless had sought out any way to free Gellark and drive the Goblins from their land. Ultimately, his answer came from the Goddess of Death, Morrigan. Morrigan gave Varth her Item Magic, since he did not have magic of his own. Thusly, he gained the most terrifying power: Death.   Death Magic was something that could kill anyone, but it came at a cost. Despite Varth promising Gellark that he would not die, he sacrificed his life so that Gellark and the other Humans could live peacefully, away from strife. Little did he know, this was working against Gellark's own plan. Still, he gave it all up:
"Fall now, myself, into an endless sleep,
A dreamless sleep, of which I will not wake!
For Nerodil, for Gellark, for you all,
I condemn myself to death a thousand times
And Humanity, I condemn to life."
— Varth Dreamless, A Dreamless Sleep iii.vii.159-163
  With his new, mindless form (as he lost all control of his body to the force of death itself), Varth Dreamless went across Elone, killing Goblins and Humans indiscriminately. He had not wanted to kill before, and Gellark knew this. It was what disgusted him most when he saw Varth stuck the way he was: A Servant of Death.
Varth Dreamless by Jarhed
  Seglat freed Gellark here, but in doing so he sacrificed himself, as Varth slayed Seglat. Varth was about to kill Gellark, but Seglat protected him. Gellark never forgot that sacrifice.   Ultimately, Gellark realized it had to be him who stopped Varth. There was no one else more skilled, no one else who knew how to counter the Dreamless One, than Gellark Lionrage. If he was not the one to do it, Varth would wipe out not only the Goblins, not only the Humans he loved so much, but everyone on Totania. If not Gellark, there would be no one to stop the rampage of the Dreamless One.  

The Duel of the Dreamless

The fight between Gellark and Varth was one of legend. It is portrayed in many paintings, plays, songs, and novels, like the play A Dreamless Sleep or the painting Justice Hurts. What is often played up is the drama between the two, and this is true. However, Getoh and the painting both portray something very important in this battle: the joy.   Gellark did not wish to send his master away with a frown or tears. Therefore, he wore a smile as he fought, as much as he wanted to cry, he could not. He had to fight Death with a smile, else he fall to grief.  
This is the speech given by Gellark upon realizing what he must do to stop Varth Dreamless, at the end of Act IV:
"Varth, this can’st be thine face I now behold,
The eyes filled once with love sink now to death
And the hands that had raised me from mine youth
Now cut me down to meet thine own maker.
This be not you, for if ‘twere truly you
Then what, perchance, am I? I, your pupil,
When you hold no longer eyes. Have I sunk
Too, into the darkness, where’s nothing left?
If ‘twere true, why do these tears of mine fall
When mine eyes should be sunken as are yours?
How am I to face you, whether it be
In combat, as a student, or a man
If my tears do cloud my words and judgement?
I must not, either retreat now from you
And allow your rampage to continue,
Or I must sink mine own eyes as yours are,
So that I, your student, am strong not weak.
Let my blade carry your frail soul onwards
Towards the graveyard of the stars above,
And let it not hesitate to swing so.
Yet, why doth my blade not raise against you,
Why must my bones shake as I stare at yours
Unable to act, whilst fully aware
Of what I must do? Must it be conscience
Telling me ‘tis wrong to kill mine father,
Even if not by blood, but by bond alone.
Perhaps it is not conscience either, but
Emotion that holds my blade back from you,
Or else, what be the meaning of the rain
As it storms down from the clouds on my face,
Which darken each day I lose sleep, for your
Crimes and deeds keep me up and torment me.
What type of executioner weeps so,
As to show grief before the blade is swung
And make the final moments ones of pain
More than the pain that thine death shall carry.
So I will cease my tears, as you do yours,
And welcome you to Hell with but a smile,
As your happy pupil ends your sad life."
— Gellark Lionrage, A Dreamless Sleep iiii
Gellark could not kill Varth, not only because he was taught not to kill, but also because it was impossible to kill what was already dead. And so, many major figures appeared to aid Gellark in his plight.  
Perzita Theldrar by Jarhed
Chief among these figures was the Draconian Grand Wizard, Perzita Theldrar. One of, if not the, greatest single combatants in history. She went around fighting every strong warrior she could find, and therefore she not only helped against Varth, but also challenged Gellark himself.   She also brought some students from the Magic College like the future Elven Captain Commander Narkard Leran and the Nereid Prince Cilnis Damolnath.   Those not affiliated with the Magic College helped as well, including Jibral, whose mother Zelgrile had now died to Varth. Jibral helped convince what would become the World Court to lock up Varth in a super secure prison known as the World Cell. With Gellark's help, they were able to do so, and Varth was contained there for eternity unless they were to ever let him out.  

King of Man

For his achievements, and due to his relation to former leader Varth, Gellark was crowned the King of Man. He would be the first Human to be King, setting a precedent for all that followed. But in truth, he did not want the position.   Many honored him and prayed to the Gods. Gellark, however, made it clear that he did not believe in the Gods. He did not believe there was any good they could do and therefore he only honored men. That was why he still kept ties with Jibral, even though she was officially banished. That is why he posthumously gave Varth the title of first Court Wizard.  

Nerodil

Gellark would oversee many policies being made to create what would become the Human Kingdom. Most tax laws, property laws, and laws on the buying and selling of goods and services were made by Gellark.   More important than that, Gellark oversaw the construction of a large portion of the city Nerodil, which would become the capital city of Humanity.   Gellark helped with the construction of the Nerodil Barracks, Nerodil Castle and the Throne Room within it, and many other buildings like the arena and the library.   Gellark would set a precedent for peace that not all future Kings would follow. However, a default of peace towards all people unless provoked is a foreign policy that all Human Kings would follow. Ally until proven enemy, rather than anything else. This has saved many lives, long after Gellark was gone.
His sense of justice would inspire countless people all over the world, and his armor is the foundation of that of the Nerodil Guard, Humanity's basic military force.  

The Final Voyage

Gellark would later set off on a voyage to meet people beyond Elone. He would get on a boat with a group of trusted adventurers and warriors and set sail in the year 15.
Seglet by Jarhed

This would be the last time Gellark Lionrage was ever seen by anyone. He vanished into the Northern Sea, along with all his other soldiers. Remains of them would be found, but Gellark never was.   Something that no one in the world knows is that a turtle roams the Northern Sea, with an iceberg on its back. Touching this iceberg freezes someone and absorbs them into it, where they are preserved forever. Gellark is here, hidden away from the world. If he were to ever be freed, he would likely be able to save a world that would need his help more than anything. But there is nothing he can do but wait.  

Information

Sexuality

It is unknown exactly what Gellark's sexuality was. Some say that he had a wife whom he loved, while others say it was simply for publicity. There are no confirmed records of his feelings towards anyone: men, women, or otherwise.  

Religion

Gellark was outspokenly against the Gods and hated them all. Still, it is believed he went to either Izanagi's or Phrixus's Heaven when he died, though in truth he never died.  

Physical Condition

As a fighter in peak condition, Gellark could move at rapid speeds even while restricted by armor. He was incredibly physically fit, ridiculously strong, and overwhelmingly fast even without his magic due to his training with Varth.  

Wealth

Gellark was the one who began the treasure hoard in Nerodil which all royals would contribute. It is unclear how much he contributed to it.  

Abilities

Gellark Lionrage was a fighter with unbelievable skill both with the sword and in simple hand-to-hand combat. He was able to fight unharmed against a man who would kill to the very touch and he survived for many years following this.  

Magic

Gellark Lionrage was an Ace, a rare feat that meant he was born with every single magical affinity. He could use Flames, Ice, Earth, Wind, Water, Lightning, Dark, and Light. He learned from the texts of Athena taught to him by Eden Zunno how to use this magic in ways that supported his combat, and was considered very skilled with said magic.


Cover image: Justice Hurts by Jarhed
Character Portrait image: Gellark Lionrage by Jarhed

Comments

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Eternal Sage Wordigirl
LexiCon (WordiGirl)
15 Aug, 2022 05:20

Hi there! You may not know me, but I am the sponsor of the Great Leader of Their People Summer Camp Prompt this year! Since you wrote this article, I would like to know, would you mind me reading it aloud on my Twitch channel this week? I have a lot to get through so it helps to do it live while people watch. I've scheduled to go live at 8am and 8pm Eastern Time every weekday. If you join and comment, I can go over your article right then and there! If you'd like to coordinate a specific date, let me know. If you aren't able to make it (or don't want to be present live), you can also always watch streams after the fact on my YouTube channel   BUT, if the answer is NO because you'd rather I not, it's okay! Not agreeing to be streamed definitely does not put you at any disadvantage for winning in my eyes. Please respond swiftly by replying here (make sure to click REPLY under my comment or I won't be notified), message me on my World Anvil profile page, Discord, or anywhere else you find me online.   Thanks again! Whatever you choose, God bless and much success! <3

Be exuberantly blessed. Much success!!! maybe click here, I guess...
15 Aug, 2022 21:07

Oh, absolutely feel free to read it out on Twitch! I don't think I'll be able to make it to any of the streams, but I will definitely watch afterwards. Hope you enjoy the article, and happy reading!

Come and take a look around my world, Totania!
Eternal Sage Wordigirl
LexiCon (WordiGirl)
16 Aug, 2022 09:36

Sorry you won't be able to make it live but I appreciate the response and the permission! I'll try to update you when it's available. <3 Have a blessed one!

Be exuberantly blessed. Much success!!! maybe click here, I guess...
Eternal Sage Wordigirl
LexiCon (WordiGirl)
23 Aug, 2022 18:44

Hi there. I pray all is well. I went over your article today. Here's the link for the replay if you'd like to take a look. If not, no worries at all. Thanks again for allowing me the honor! Have a blessed one. <3

Be exuberantly blessed. Much success!!! maybe click here, I guess...
24 Aug, 2022 19:25

I watched the replay, it was wonderful. Thank you so much for taking the time to read the article and the kind words about you said about it in the stream!

Come and take a look around my world, Totania!
Eternal Sage Wordigirl
LexiCon (WordiGirl)
24 Aug, 2022 21:20

Glad you enoyed! this is quite an intriguing setup <3

Be exuberantly blessed. Much success!!! maybe click here, I guess...