This is now the Twenty Fifth anniversary of the Rising of Chaos and every month we will be looking at the legend that is Gary Lewellyn. Gary has been with ROC since generation one, back in the nineties and is probably one of the greatest humans that we know. He has graced the storytellers of CODA and counts himself among the systems worldbuilders and first storytellers alongside Stephen Canfield who is the system founder. He has also graced the game with such legendary characters as Gann and Hemlock McBane both of whom are still fondly spoken of twenty years after their creation. Gary now tells is stories of the world and you may have been entertained by him on a Friday night here and there.
What follows is a true and accurate story of Gary’s life, at least insofar as we believe that he has lived it and the things that he has done.
Gary Llewellyn is truly a creature of legend and like so many revered beings is the focus of thousands of origin stories that attempt to peer beyond the murky veil of his past. In the days of Rome they whispered that Garicus was a living poem that Apollo could not tame, among the Hittites it was said that Garytalli was the focus of the heart of Arinnitti and that he was chased away by Taru and all were saddened by his passing. In the days of Arthur many believed that he was Merlin’s father and that he had the devil’s tongue for tale and story and all of these words or none may be true.
The strongest tales of Gary’s rising come from five strongholds of old: In Port Royal in the 1700’s did they speak of him and about that time the peg legged of St Mary’s island told a story of The Blood! Before that in the caverns of Tortuga and in the halls of Grace O’Malley in Clew Bay was his name whispered. Finally much later in Barataria Bay the people of Louisiana learned his truths and spoke of him in snatches. Throughout the ages there were many discrepancies in regard to how tall he may have stood or how many ales he could quaff in one sitting but all agreed on these facts:
Gary they said, although they named him Captain Blood, was not in fact born but hatched from an egg in which he had been imprisoned by a forgotten God jealous of his voice, on an island hidden in the middle of the seven seas. He was freed by the desire of many who had heard his tales and had travelled far to see him reborn. With his four hands, two of which were worn away in the process, he crafted a small ship from the grains of sand on the beach and the rays of light given off by the sun. His vessel took him to the shores of England via the vast oceans of the worlds where he learned many tales and stories of far distant land and so impressed those that told them that he was given leave to speak them on foreign shores.
Gary has been called many things in his time but without a doubt, to all those that hear his stories and no matter the story of his origin that you believe he goes by Captain Blood on stage and that will do for us.
Gary would say that he found himself growing up in the same town as Edward Teach, although not at the same time. But we know the truth of it and stick to the tale that we know! Regardless, this reborn bard of legend found himself reinspired as the years passed: Maybe it was growing up in a pirate town which gave Gary such a love for tall tales, and fuelled his 25 years (so far) of storytelling, his travels around the globe spinning yarns in far flung places like Reykjavík, Addis Ababa, and Arica in Chile, and his co-founding of Southampton Story Club which entertains storytellers and story lovers alike even now. Maybe it was pirating with The Pirates of St. Piran, who can really say for sure.
Regardless, we were lucky enough that long ago Gary found his way to us through his passion for roleplaying, larping and the Ancient Geeks, which are like Ancient Greeks but older. Gary is a man with little time for the mundane as he has made a life for himself being a scientist that specialises in, actually, saving our planet, so we get to miss him but are proud! Regardless, over the years, he reffed and wrote for RoC in the background and helped us shape our world, our stories and the lessons that we teach through them: The Gillieabad are an example of what happens to the world around us when we damage our environment.
We see Gary less than we would like these days and he would say to us that he is less influential in the way of The Rising than he would like and perhaps should not be so included here. What we have lost in his time with us we gain, everyday, in the inspiration and hope that he brings us through his real life work and whilst we know that he will, one day, return to write brilliant stories with us, for now we are content with that. Oh yes: And the story telling! Because whilst he can’t be with us in person the power of the internet allows Gary to walk with us when he tells his wonderful tales of myth and frippery.
From boats and planes, to festivals and trains, Gary has woven his spoken magic on almost every stage imaginable. He has performed at various camps, as well as the Big Green Gathering and the Raven Wolf camps. He has also lent his many and varied skills at various libraries, schools and museums between Hastings, Oxford, and the Isles of Scilly. RoC is so thrilled that Gary’s online storytelling ventures are here in our community and on our platform!
There is not much more to say about Gary: He is in all ways the best of us, standing for the values that The Rising extols for many years and bringing us the wisdom of someone who we all describe, with no doubt or hesitation, as the the cleverest and wisest of any that we have met.