Galaeron Nihmedu is the main character in Return of the Archwizards, a trilogy of novels by Troy Denning based in the fantasy setting of the Forgotten Realms.

Galaeron is an elf and a minor noble of Evereska, Lasthaven to the elves of Faerûn. He is the son of the moon elf Aubric Nihmedu, the Blademajor of the Swords of Evereska and Lord of Treetop in Starmeadow Tower. His mother, a wood elf named Morgwais Nightmeadow (known to the elves of the High Forest as Morgwais the Red, the Lady of the Wood, and the Red Lady), is the ruler of the Sy'Tel'Quess (wood elves) of the High Forest. Galaeron has a little sister named Keya, turquoise-haired and only about eighty years of age.

Galaeron is tall and solidly built for a moon elf and has the pale skin and regal features common to his race; two decades of serving as a Tomb Guard along the Desert Border South have left his face mildly rugged and weather-beaten. He is skilled in both hand-to-hand combat and sorcery, having attended both academies of the College of Magic and Arms. As he is a sorcerer, he was often discriminated against in the academies (which favor regular wizards), being called arrogant and stubborn. Eventually, they accused him of using dark magics and demanded to see his spellbook; unfortunately, he never had one. (Unlike most mages, sorcerers do not forget spells after they use them; thus, they do not require spellbooks and the like or countless hours of relearning spells.) It took Lord Imesfor’s intervention to win Galaeron a place in the Tomb Guard, a militia of Evereska that guards the elven crypts in the area against (almost always human) thieves. He was assigned to the Desert Border South (which borders the Great Desert of Anauroch) as a patrol leader in the Tomb Guard, where he served for twenty years. His life was made harder by Kiinyon Colbathin, Tomb Master and Master of the Defenses of Evereska, who for some reason felt scornful of him.

On 20 Nightal, the Year of the Unstrung Harp (1371 DR), Galaeron led his patrol into an ancient crypt housing seven Aryvandaaran nobles, high lords of the aggressive Vyshaan clan who had started the First Crown War, plunging the entire elven race into three thousand years of violent carnage. The patrol tracked down a band of Vaasans (a human ethnicity native to Vaasa) and followed them through a dwarven tunnel to where they were using a beholder to carve a path to the Sharn Wall, a silver-colored magical barrier that imprisons the phaerimm. The Vaasans were trying to locate Melegaunt Tanthul, an archwizard from the ancient Netherese city of Shade. The elves had a small skirmish with the crypt-breakers, and then Melegaunt himself appeared. Galaeron’s and Melegaunt’s magical bolts collided, creating an explosion that punctured a hole in the Sharn Wall. (Magic from the Weave and magic from the Shadow Weave mingle with disastrous effects.) This freed the phaerimm, an ancient, malevolent, and powerful race that were imprisoned beneath Anauroch by a mysterious race known as the sharn after the collapse of Netheril.

The leader of the Vaasan band, Vala Thorsdotter, was loyal to Melegaunt through a debt made by her great grandfather, Bodvar. As more phaerimm escaped through the breach, they began gathering armies of bugbears, illithids, and beholders that they had enthralled through their mind magic. Melegaunt, Vala, and Galaeron went on a journey to stop the phaerimm, Melegaunt leading the way but not telling them where they were going. On their journey, they were eventually accompanied by a little man named Malik el Sami yn Nasser (actually the Seraph of Lies, the highest honor bestowed by Cyric) and Aris, a stone giant priest whom Galaeron rescued from beholders serving the phaerimm. Along the way, Melegaunt took advantage of Galaeron’s sorcery skills to teach him how to use the Shadow Weave, a mostly unknown source of magic now controlled by Shar that was split from the Weave in ancient times when Karsus temporarily usurped Mystryl’s power. It is also greatly effective against the phaerimm, who are highly resistant to magical attack except for the Shadow Weave, which they know nothing about.

A side effect to Galaeron’s use of shadow magic was that he overindulged in it and came into conflict with his shadow self. A shadow is not opposite, but absence. In Galaeron’s case, it was the absence of kindness and loyalty. He slowly began losing some of his emotional self-control and compassion and lost the ability to go into Reverie, the elven method of deep meditation and subconscious connection with other elves, and had to sleep and have dreams like a human. For the first time in his life, Galaeron also felt jealousy (such as when he found his mother sitting in Elminster’s lap while he clutched her behind). He also lost his ability to tap into the Weave and had to solely rely on the Shadow Weave for magic. While drawing energy from the Weave feels somewhat like warmth coming into one’s body all at once, drawing upon the Shadow Weave feels as if a burst of coldness comes up from the ground through one’s feet and into the body. Galaeron eventually became used to it, however, and soon the coldness no longer bothered him. Melegaunt continuously warned Galaeron to not use the magic so often, lest Galaeron be consumed by his shadow.

Melegaunt led his small entourage to the ruins of Karse in the High Forest. Keeping his true intent hidden, he only told his companions that in Karse there was something to defeat the phaerimm. In the temple of Karsus, Melegaunt was killed by a lich, but before he died, he imparted all of his knowledge of the phaerimm into Galaeron’s subconscious. Earlier, had also told of his past: he was the Twelfth Prince of Shade, and his people were able to defeat the phaerimm. On 1 Hammer, the Year of Wild Magic (1372 DR), Galaeron used the Karsestone (what was once Karsus’s heart), the only source of “whole” magic left before it was split by Karsus, to create a gate that transported the ancient floating city of Shade from the Plane of Shadows back to Faerûn. “Hear me now, people of Shade. Follow me now, for the Return is at hand!”

With Melegaunt’s knowledge stored in his mind, Galaeron became a valuable asset to the ruler of Shade, Telamont Tanthul. Through a long series of events thereafter, Galaeron had a falling out with the Most High, and with the help of Khelben “Blackstaff” Arunsun, Laeral Silverhand, Alustriel Silverhand, Dove Falconhand, Storm Silverhand, and Aris, Galaeron managed to rescue Vala from Prince Escanor and deal a major blow to Shade Enclave. Also, during his imprisonment by Telamont, Galaeron joined with his shadow, filling in the gaps of his character and making him more whole while still being able to keep his will as his own.

When Galaeron arrived back in Evereska, he helped the high mages repair the mythal, which had been unraveled by a phaerimm SpellGather. This inadvertently added something new to the mythal: after the golden meteors descended to blast apart the phaerimm, streaks of shadow were left in their wake.

Due to his father’s death while fighting the phaerimm, Galaeron inherited his lordship. For his great exploits, Galaeron was offered the position of Master of the Defenses by Lord Duirsar (Kiinyon Colbathin had also died in the war.), but he turned it down, choosing instead to travel to Vala’s home, the Granite Tower, with Vala and his spirit-deep mate, the wood elf Takari Moonsnow.


  • The Return of the Archwizards trilogy by Troy Denning:
    • The Summoning (2001)
    • The Siege (2001)
    • The Sorcerer (2002)

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