Galio/Old Lore

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Outside the gleaming city of Demacia, the stone colossus Galio keeps vigilant watch. Built as a bulwark against enemy mages, he often stands motionless for decades until the presence of powerful magic stirs him to life. Once activated, Galio makes the most of his time, savoring the thrill of a fight and the rare honor of defending his countrymen. But his triumphs are always bittersweet, for the magic he destroys is also his source of re-animation, and each victory leaves him dormant once again.

Galio's inception began in the aftermath of the Rune Wars, when refugees across the lands fled from the destructive power of magic. Some say that in the west of Valoran, a band of these displaced people were pursued by a vicious band of dark mages. Exhausted from days without rest, the refugees hid among the shadows of an ancient, petrified forest. The sorcerers that pursued them suddenly found their magic to be ineffective in the strange woods.

It seemed the fossilized trees were a natural magic-dampener, and any sorcery used within them would simply fizzle upon casting. No longer helpless, the refugees turned their swords on the dark mages and drove them from the land.

Some decided that this sanctuary from magic was a gift from the gods, others saw it as a fair reward for their terrible journey, but all agreed that this should be their new home.

As years passed, the settlers crafted items of protection from the enchanted wood. Eventually, they found it could be mixed with ash and lime to make petricite - a material with a powerful resistance to magic. It would be the foundation for their new civilization, forming the walls of the new kingdom of Demacia.

For years, these petricite barriers were all the Demacians needed to feel secure from the threat of magic within the borders of their homeland. In the rare event that they needed to settle a conflict abroad, their military proved fierce and formidable. But when their enemies employed sorcery, Demacia's roaming army had little to counter it. The elders of the kingdom decided that, somehow, they needed to take the security of their magic-dampening walls into battle. They commissioned the sculptor Durand to fashion some manner of petricite shield for the military, and two years later the artist unveiled his masterpiece. While it was not what many were expecting, the great winged statue Galio would become vital to the defense of the nation, also serving as a symbol of Demacia's might across Runeterra.

Each time the army was deployed to face a magical threat, they would mobilize Galio. Using a system of pulleys, steel sledges and countless oxen, they would pull the great stone figure to the battlefield. The presence of that much petricite easily nullified almost any arcane attacks, giving the people who had once fled from magic the ability to face it head-on in open warfare. Many would-be invaders were paralyzed by the very sight of the awe-inspiring figure that loomed above the trees before them - the titan who 'ate magic' inspired a kingdom, and terrified those who opposed it. All the while, none thought to consider what exposing the statue to such untold amounts of arcane energy might do...

The strange effect of those magicks would alter the course of history. Demacia had been mired in a grueling battle with Noxian forces in the Greenfang Mountains of northern Valoran. Unbeknownst to the Demacians, Noxus had assembled an elite group of warmages known as the Arcane Fist. As the invading ground forces pinned the Demacians in a great vale, the Arcane Fist bombarded them with crackling bolts of raw mystical power. To the Demacians' shock, the projectiles tore through Galio's anti-magical field.

For thirteen days, the Demacian army was pounded by their foes, and those who survived felt their morale evaporating by the hour. Just when their spirits could be brought no lower, they heard the all-too familiar thunder of arcane explosions tearing through their ranks. But this time, the explosions were followed by a new sound. A slow, deafening rumble shook the vale, as if two mountains were grinding against each other. As a great shadow grew above them, the terrified Demacian troops shuddered, steeling themselves for death.

"Shall we fight?" bellowed a deep voice from above.

To the Demacians' astonishment, the sound came from the towering colossus at their backs. Galio was moving, and speaking, entirely on his own. Somehow, the accumulation of absorbed magic had given him life.

The stunned onlookers gaped at the titan, struggling to make sense of what they were seeing. Before they could comprehend it, another blazing projectile descended toward the Demacian camp on the perfect trajectory to wipe out the few remaining soldiers. Galio threw himself in front of the troops, shielding them, and absorbing the attack with his massive, stone frame.

Galio turned toward the source of the projectile and spotted five tiny humans on the slopes of the neighboring mountain.

"Enemy mages! Let us make violence!" shouted the colossus.

As he bounded up the mountainside, the Noxians focused all their effort into a concentrated funnel of arcane energy that would have melted almost any stone in Valoran. But as the funnel dissipated, the mages saw that the titan remained standing, eyes closed and glowing warmly, as if he was drinking in the offending magic. Then, with an almost youthful enthusiasm, Galio continued up the slopes and squashed the Arcane Fist into the craggy soil.

As the remaining Noxian forces fled, the surviving Demacians erupted with cheers of victory. They were eager to thank the petricite sentinel that had saved their lives, but as quickly as he'd come to life, the fearsome protector had ceased moving, returning to the same pose he'd always held up on his pedestal.

Back home, the bizarre tale of the living colossus was told in hushed tones by the few who had survived the Battle of the Greenfangs. But it was always received with silent incredulity, as one would the tales of a madman. Eventually, those who had witnessed the animation of Galio simply stopped talking about it, out of fear their sanity would be questioned. It became mere legend - perhaps an allegory invented in ancient days to help people through hard times.

No one from the four corners of the kingdom would have believed that the colossus continued to see all that transpired around him. Even while immobile, he maintained his consciousness, longing to experience the visceral sensation of battle once again. Punching enemies with giant stone fists was thrilling, but being trapped in a gargantuan stone body, unable to move, was tragic.

Forced to observe in silence, Galio watched the humans pass beneath him, paying him tribute year after year, like a distant, hazy dream. Though he knew very little about them individually, he began to feel as though he knew them as a people. It puzzled him to see them disappear one by one as time rolled on, seemingly replaced by new bodies with new lives of their own.

He wondered where they went when they vanished. Perhaps they were sent away to be mended, as Galio was when he returned from a fight?

After one of the many battles against the barbarians of the Freljord, Galio saw long columns of men carrying what looked like draped cots back into the city. As the procession filed past him, one of the coverings fell away, revealing the still, pallid face of a young soldier. He was a boy Galio had seen before, and the colossus could not understand why someone so bold would choose to be carried on a covered litter around the city. Galio began to realize the sorrowful answer to his question - unlike himself, the people could not be repainted, or have their damage easily repaired. Humans were frail, ephemeral creatures, and he now understood just how much they needed his protection. Fighting had been his passion, but the people were now his purpose.

Since then, Galio has been able to join the fight only a handful of times, sometimes going centuries without moving. Magic is rarer in the world than it once was, and so he remains in his dormant state, observing the world through the murk of his waking dreams. The giant statue's greatest hope is to be blessed by a magic so powerful that he will never be forced to sleep again.

Only then can Galio truly serve his purpose, to forever stand and fight as Demacia's constant protector.

"Get behind me, Demacian! You may not have noticed, but I'm very large."

- GalioSquare.png Galio

Long before the regulation of magic, mages experimented with the creation of artificial life. Now forbidden, instilling golems with reason was once not so uncommon a practice amongst the more expert of craftsmen. One such visionary was the Demacian artificer, Durand. Peerless at crafting sentient beings, Durand's constructs served as tireless guardians for the border towns of his beloved city-state, affording them protection from their Noxian neighbors. For his own defense, however, Durand kept his magnum opus: Galio. This mighty construct - forged in the image of a gargoyle - kept him safe on his journeys, allowing him to perform his important work without fear of reprisal from those hostile to his homeland. That is, until dealing with his taxing sentinels finally roused the ire of the Noxian High Command.

As Durand crossed the Howling Marsh with his masterwork in tow, he was set upon by Noxian assassins in force. Outnumbered and overwhelmed, Galio looked on in horror as the murderers cut down his charge, executing him swiftly before vanishing back into the mists. Stripped of his reason for being, Galio despaired. For years he remained in solitude, standing vigil over the bones of the master he had failed to protect... a literal monument to his own everlasting shame.

Then, one nondescript day, a sad but determined PoppySquare.png yordle girl carrying a mighty Demacian crown stopped in the shadow of the great statue to rest. Hidden in plain sight from his unsuspecting visitor, Galio studied the forlorn yordle. She looked as though she too shouldered a tremendous burden. As quietly and as stoically as she had arrived, she departed in the direction of Demacia. This encounter lit a spark in Galio's eye. Remembering the cause that his master had died defending, Galio arose from his silent purgatory and followed in the wake of this brave creature. He had a new reason to live: to fight for the will of Demacia.

"There is no such thing as redemption. Only penance."

- GalioSquare.png Galio

Candidate: Galio

Date: 10 August, 20 CLE

OBSERVATION

Galio wears a face as though he is lost in concentration. One may mistake this look to mean the great beast is dumbfounded. His facial features, especially his massive jaw with the exaggerated underbite, give the massive gargoyle the look of a simpleton. This look is intentionally deceptive, magically crafted to lull an opponent into thinking that Galio is mentally slow. The reality of the situation is that he is intently studying what lies before him. The double doors – and the sign above it – are all that matters.

“The truest opponent lies within.”

Galio nods knowingly, but does not move afterwards. His form is literally statuesque.

After a lengthy pause, Galio springs to life, lumbering toward the door. Broad, powerful wings spread wide and slowly beat against the stillness of the air, propelling the gargoyle forward with a not-so-gentle whoosh. He moves as gracefully as a being made of stone and metal can.

The doors swing open, revealing the inky blackness within. The engraved obsidian panthers that flank the doorway point the way inward for Galio. He obliges his stony brethren.

REFLECTION

With a sudden flood of light, Galio knew where he was. There was never a chance of him forgetting this place. The clearing was surrounded by a thick copse of fruit trees. In the center of the clearing were Durand’s bones, blanched from countless days of weathering. He could smell the peaches and cherries ripening on the branches.

Galio loathed that smell; the stench of sweet fruit growing, ripening, and rotting in a never-ending cycle reminded him of his failure to save Durand, his creator. He had failed to protect his master from the Noxian assassins who ambushed them, and it was here that he kept a penitent vigil for years afterwards.

I wish they killed me instead. He thought it now as he did back then, but this time he knew something was different. An unwelcome thought masquerading as his own edged its way into his consciousness.

No. I do not.

Galio shifted in place, trying to shake the invasive notion out of his head. He knew it was impossible for him to actually be here, but everything felt real. The sickly-sweet scent of the fruit made him anxious. Was this still the Judgment?

“It is, Galio of Demacia.” The squeaky, yet powerful yordle voice belonged to a female.

Sitting on a nearby stump was a familiar face. He recognized the female yordle, but she was not wearing what Galio remembered her wearing when they first met on this very spot. She wore the armor of a Demacian warrior. He now knew the yordle as Poppy, though when he first met her he did not know her name. He never spoke to Poppy then; in fact, he never even let her know that he was aware of her presence. Poppy had seen Galio standing in the clearing, but she never gave any indication that she thought he was anything more than an inanimate statue.

“You are Poppy.” Galio spoke with words that were carefully chosen. “I know you. This was before you joined the League. I saw you. Here.”

The yordle girl smiled, though she shook her head slightly. “Here... yes, you met Poppy here, but alas – I am not Poppy.” The yordle girl stood and approached Galio, extending her hand. “You know this to be true.” The girl smiled again. “It’s okay if you want to keep calling me Poppy.”

Galio had watched this place for years, but for the first time, he permitted himself an examination of the environment without analyzing for ambush points or areas of defensive weakness. A sudden slight breeze carried the scent of the trees away. He could hear leaves gently rustling. He noticed how the drifting blossoms twirled with each pulse of the wind.

Galio extended his talon-like paw and took the yordle girl’s tiny hand into his own. He could feel the warmth of her flesh on his sculpted hide. “Thank you, Poppy.”

She nodded. “Why do you want to join the League, Galio?”

The pungent fruit smell wafted back into the clearing, making Galio slightly jittery. “I must fight for Demacia. It was my creator’s home.”

Poppy clasped the gargoyle’s remaining free hand. As she stood facing Galio, she looked up at him with kind, yet serious eyes. “Why do you want to join the League, Galio?”

Galio thought carefully about Poppy’s question; he knew this was not the real Poppy, but he could surmise that her image was being used for a reason. He remembered that it was the sight of the determined yordle that broke him from his exile. He knew that she herself bore a tremendous burden. It was the same sort of burden that he too struggled to cope with – the burden of failure. Galio had later learned that Poppy lost her father in an ambush also perpetrated by Noxian assassins.

They had such a horrific event in common, but they addressed it so differently. Poppy became even more resolute to complete her mission – to deliver a crown crafted by her father to a Demacian general. Galio chose... a different path. He now realized that it was his choice and his choice alone to stand vigil not over the remains of his creator, but rather over his own hubris.

He looked away from Poppy for a moment, ashamed. He now knew the answer. “I want to join because it is my choice. It is my own free will. I want to fight for my creator’s... for my home.”

“How does it feel, exposing your mind?”

The pungent odor had dissipated once more. Galio looked down upon Poppy, smiling a slightly fanged grin. “It is... familiar to me. I shared my mind with my creator. I am sharing my mind with you. I will share my mind with any summoner.”

Another flood of light washed over Galio. He stood alone in front of a new set of double doors. There was no pause this time – Galio swung the doors wide and entered the League of Legends.