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,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 andthe 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.
- A Hero Wakes
War was coming, and Demacian soldiers prepared for it. He couldn't say how long it had been since he last tasted magic. He'd been carried from the plinth many times before, only to return without getting a chance at life. But even when his body was still, his mind was always stirring.could do nothing but watch as the
And it longed to fight.
Galio could just make out the bristling rows of northern barbarians in the distance. Even with his senses dulled in this dreamlike state, he could tell their ranks were sloppy and undisciplined, pacing to and fro in eager anticipation of their Demacian foes. Galio had overheard talk of these wildmen many times, given their recent conquests. The fearful people of the city whispered that the Freljordians left none alive, and mounted the heads of their foes on enormous tusks from strange beasts...
But the barbarians were of no interest to the colossus. His eyes found a bigger prize - a titanic shape, seeming almost as tall as the hills behind it. It moved ominously, heaving like the waves of a troubled sea, waiting to be unleashed.
What is that? thought Galio, hopefully. I hope it fights.
Beneath him, his Demacian comrades marched in precise synchronization, reciting a cadence, chanting away all thoughts but battle. To each other, they sounded confident in their victory, but to Galio, who had heard this song so many times before, their rhythms were less certain, more hesitant.
They are not excited to battle this great beast. I will do it for them!
Galio was filled with the urge to scoop up every one of these men in his arms and tell them it would be fine, that he would spring forth and chase the entire invading army back to its borders. But he couldn't. His arms, legs, and claws were as cold and inert as the stone he was hewn from. He needed a catalyst, a powerful magical presence of some kind, to awaken from his living dream.
I hope there's a mage this time, he thought, gazing toward the horizon. Usually there isn't. I hate it when there isn't.
His worry grew as he heard the snorts of exhaustion from the oxen pulling him. They numbered several dozen, and still had to be swapped out with fresh replacements every mile. For a brief moment, Galio thought they might all collapse, leaving him in the outer Demacian brambles while the humans had their fun.
Then, at last, his cart came to a stop at the edge of the battlefield. He knew there would be no parley, no chance that the savage enemy would surrender. Galio could hear the clatter of his tiny human comrades locking shields, forming a solid wall of steel. But he knew that whatever the barbarians' enormous beast was, it would surely cut right through the fine Demacian armaments.
The two sides flew at one another, colliding in a flash of limbs and blades. Galio heard swords clashing, and axes meeting shields. Men from both armies were falling to their deaths in the mud. Brave voices that Galio knew well cried like children for their mothers.
The soft heart of the stone giant began to quiver. Yet still he could not break his paralysis.
Suddenly a shock of blinding purple seared through the fray, causing scores of Demacians to drop to their knees. Galio felt it then - that familiar sensation in his fingertips, like the noon sun warming cool alabaster. He could almost wiggle them...
The flash came again, sapping the life from more heroic Demacian soldiers. Galio's senses came to life with startling acuity, revealing the conflict in gruesome detail. The bodies of men in broken armor were strewn about the field in grotesque contortions. Many barbarians lay slain in pools of their own blood.
And in the distance, behind their lines, their cowardly sorcerer was summoning a crackling orb between his hands, readying his next attack.
There he is. He is the reason I wake, Galio realized, first in gratitude, then in rage. I will squash him first!
But his attention was once again drawn to the monstrous shape in the farthest reaches of the battlefield. Finally, it was coming into focus: a towering behemoth of a creature - covered in thick, matted fur. It struggled against the steel chains that restrained it. Its head thrashed about viciously in an attempt to free itself from the giant blinding cowl that covered its eyes.
Galio smiled. Now that is a foe worthy of my fists.
The barbarians pulled off the behemoth's covering, revealing a snarling, mangled snout beneath a beady pair of jet-black eyes. Free from its blinders, the creature erupted in a fearsome roar, as if declaring itself ready to ravage everything in sight. The monster's handlers released a mechanism that let loose the chains, and the behemoth threw itself into the opposing infantry, instantly slaying a dozen Demacians with just one swipe of a saber-like claw.
Galio was horrified. These were men he had guarded since they were children. He wanted to weep for them, as he had seen humans do in mourning. But he was not built for that. He focused on his purpose and the thrill of the fight that awaited. This was a huge, terrible beast, and he couldn't wait to put his hands on it. He could feel the vitality of life returning to him.
Yes! At last!
The sensation shot through his arms, his head, and all the way to his legs. For the first time in a century, he could move. Across the valley a sound echoed, something not heard in living memory.
It was the sound of a stone giant's laughter.
Galio leapt into the fray, knocking aside the barbarians' crudely built siege engines. Friend and foe alike stopped to gape at the stone titan who was now smashing his way through the front lines. Like a living monument, he burst from the press of soldiers and threw himself into the path of the rampaging behemoth. "Hello, great beast", he rumbled. "Shall I smash you?"
The creature threw its mighty head back and howled, as if in acknowledgment of the challenge. Both titans ran toward one another with earth-shaking force. The behemoth slammed into Galio's mid-section with its shoulder, and let out a groan of intense pain as it crumpled to the ground clutching its collarbone. Galio stood above it, reluctant to smash a prostrate opponent.
"Come now, no need to feel bad", said Galio, eagerly motioning with his hand. "That was a good try. Now hit me again."
The monster slowly pulled itself to its feet and regained the angry glint in its eye. It struck Galio with all its might, its claws raking away a piece of his head.
"You broke my crown", said the colossus, pleasantly surprised, encouraged by the hope of a competitive fight. He struck at the beast with the bottom of his, swinging it down like a club with every ounce of his stone frame. The petricite fist collided with the behemoth's flesh, and the surrounding field rang out with the cracking of gigantic bones.
The monster staggered, screaming and swinging blindly, but connecting with nothing.
Galio grabbed the giant beast around the waist in his monolithic arms and wrenched its torso, trying to break its spine. But the behemoth twisted out of his grip, and began to circle him warily before backing away.
"Wait! Our battle must be resolved!" bellowed the colossus. He started to lumber after the beast, hoping it would reconsider its decision to flee.
But the faint cries of his Demacian brethren carried to him on the wind. Without realizing, Galio had followed the monster for hundreds of feet, straying from the heart of the battle. He wanted to fight the creature, but his human comrades needed him.
As the abomination limped away into the distance, Galio gave it one last wistful gaze. "Farewell, great beast."
He turned and thundered back to his comrades. More than half of them were lying on the ground in agony, tortured by unseen coils of power. He knew at once it was the same magic that kept him living.
The stone titan saw the terror in the soldiers' faces, before turning to the malevolent sorcerer once more. Galio knew what he must do, and what the consequences would be.
He leapt high in the air and then cameonto the mage, interrupting his vile incantation, and squashing the barbarian into the loam. The remaining invaders were routed, dropping their arms in terror and fleeing in all directions.
As the sorcerer's magic faded, Galio felt conflicted. The animating force was draining from his body. He'd saved countless lives, but he was being dragged back to slumber.
He didn't understand why he had no magic of his own, like all living things must have. Why had he been made this way? Had that even been his creator's intention? As he felt the cold embrace of his dormancy returning, he took comfort that life itself was magical, and if Galio only experienced it briefly, it was worth it.
Until the final day. Until he would come to break the world's last mage in his unyielding fists, and the stone sentinel of Demacia would awaken no more.