It Figures: Galethiel Nomenseer

Because in the end you need to show, not tell.


Galethiel is the heroine who very nearly wasn’t– and unlike other heroes of the Lands who died or went away, we would have had no story at all to tell without her. In fact, we could not even have dreamed it.

Created with Nokia RefocusGalethiel, a human sorceress later known as the Nomenseer, was one of the Tributarians, with the band for their epic (as yet unchronicled) adventures on the Shimmering Mindsea. Many things happened there– a whole book’s worth, in fact– but for our purposes mainly two. Galethiel acquired a mystic headpiece or tiara called Nomen, possessed of rudimentary intelligence and able to name any being she comes in contact with. And Galethiel had a very strange experience with a black stone globe, which put her to sleep and gave her a dream unlike any other. When the Tributarians returned from the desert awash in treasure, she began to study the meaning and purpose of dreams, coming to suspect there was a tangible reality behind them.  As The Plane of  Dreams begins, Galethiel retires to study, apparently removing herself from any chance to play the hero with her former companions. But the best-laid plans…

Galethiel is a red-haired human and a mage, which in the elven kingdom of Argens are the three perfect ingredients in a dish called “impulsive and dangerous”. Her dress Galethiel2sense is far beyond that of most adventurers, who generally opt for armor and weapons that work well, rather than match. Her tall headpiece only adds to the imposing figure she cuts, and the thick black cedarwood staff she carries, topped by a golden spinning sphere, is sufficient to clear a path in the mall or on the road. In truth Galethiel is quite kind and honest, perhaps even a bit introverted, at least until someone provokes her. But it’s no use– everyone knows human mages are on a hair-trigger, learning too much and having too few years left to live!


It is one of the most amazing experiences of my long chronicling career, that there appear to be no coincidences. Galethiel is a prime example. After the adventures I describe, she gained an interest that I thought would take her forever out of the world I was following. But this discovery, and a small, seemingly-random conversation with Meandar, changed the course of history. By doing what she thought was best, following her heart on a path of discovery, she found not less peril but more, and eventually was Created with Nokia Refocusthe key to saving the known world. Other adventurers I’ve seen HAVE indeed retired, but Galethiel, as well as Sir Qerlak on the foef where she lives, have both discovered that traditional “out there” adventuring is not the only stage for heroism.

Galethiel also has numerous interesting relationships, both friend and foe. Chief among these of course is Qerlak Barleybane, former Trib and newest lord of Mon-Crulbagh. The barony of Dargor is starting to buzz about the rumored relationship between the elven lord and human commoner, all but forbidden in polite society. The bond between adventuring companions is hard for most to fathom, but if any of Qerlak’s peers were wont to sneer at his eccentricities, it gives them pause to know that he has a sorceress on his staff.

Created with Nokia RefocusGalethiel attracts some attention from a roving bard named Bleys Eversong (in the upcoming Tale of Hope, The Test of Fire). Thanks to her part in saving the world in its dreams, Bleys is either in love with the sorceress or perhaps agog at her celebrity. He has dedicated a song to her, and taken to wearing her colors. Qerlak’s reaction to this is as yet unclear– Bleys knows a lot of history the new lord does not and has been helpful in other ways.

And her chief nemesis from the Plane of Dreams is Nightmare, who put a chill into her on several occasions, and into me as well:

{Galethiel in her dream can see a row of herself, stretching back into the past, but now notices something else}

… this time, she could make out a vaguely man-like shape.
The darkness appeared next to the row of doubles: Galethiel kept her focus on it as she rose, and when the line came in view, she could still see the shadow. The figure was not actually black, but of such a dark shade of green as to seem so: contrasted with the ivory glow of the world its shadow was magnified.
And moving.
It was a he, Galethiel felt certain- twisted, alien of features and moving as someone used to absolute command, yet draped in what looked like a shredded covering of moss or dirty emerald tar. Now the tug of consciousness sharpened like a fisherman’s line. As she watched in repulsion, he loomed close to the side of one of the row, inspecting her double from head to toe and searching for something. After a long minute, it was clear he did not find it; turning away from the line, he seemed to extrude a part of his clothing, or himself, into an irregular, curving horn: though its narrow end was far too small to contain him, he entered it nevertheless and disappeared, drawing the substance of his conduit after him.
In no time at all, another horn appeared, next to the Galethiel one closer to Created with Nokia Refocuswhere she stood. The tattered green figure emerged from it, and began to inspect this self. It was as if he could not see any of the others in the row, but had only himself and this copy in all the white world. By now, Galethiel was practically gasping for breath, fighting to contain her fear and to stay asleep as well, and losing on both fronts. How many more, until he caught up to her sleeping on this night?
His inspection completed, the green man turned to leave, but just as his horn was forming, he seemed to start, aware of some other presence. As he turned back in Galethiel’s direction, she could tolerate it no longer, and retreated towards the waking world with unpracticed haste. Just before she awoke, she saw from full-on a glimpse of a hateful, omnipotent face, who saw her in turn…

The Plane of  Dreams


Created with Nokia RefocusIt’s official– I am obsessed about light and I cannot seem to get it right when I shoot. I turned on every lamp in the room, put a Coleman lantern just out of frame to one side, and I still needed to balance a flashlight over my head while trying to snap the shots with my other hand. The red satin background was, I thought, more appropriate to the Plane of Dreams setting, because it bubbled up so easily as the terrain does there. Plus it sets off Galethiel’s hair! But I think it made contrast and bringing out detail more difficult.

She doesn’t have her famous staff, but is clearly holding her arm out for it, and most everything else about the Galethiel fig is right, so kudos once again to Ral Partha. She has some wear and tear as appropriate to such a long-standing heroine. The Nightmare Created with Nokia Refocusfigure is so not, obviously– he’s Gothmog, the Mouth of Sauron, but the color of him was about right, so that’s what I used at need.

I hope this entry serves to inspire and amuse writers and readers alike. Some day you’ll hear more of what Galethiel achieves in The Test of Fire.

I’m getting wonderful shares from this column and I thank all of you whoever you are for that- please keep it up! Ar Aralte

4 thoughts on “It Figures: Galethiel Nomenseer

  1. Hah! Wear and tear as I said- at the risk of some embarrassment, I would say it’s from, ah, falling down a lot. But she gets back up, that’s the important thing.

  2. Is Galethiel’s mystic tiara the one you described to me awhile ago? That one was a layered, multi-stone tiara, if I remember correctly. I don’t suppose she could charm a painter instead of a bard next time, so I can see what her tiara looks like? 😉

    1. Hi Jenni! Great to see you here. Let me hasten to state that Nomen is absolutely NOT the Brow of the Ecclesiast, which is a much more manly, and overtly powerful artefact. W’starrah Altieri is the heroine wrestling with that particular bauble, over in Cryssigens, and I almost hope she never finds it. Nomen is not unlike the headpiece on Galethiel’s figure here, not especially begemmed or flashy except by its rather long length. I would defer to your expertise whether this can be properly called a tiara!

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