In the desolate dystopia of New Gaslight, a forlorn figure stands as a monument to heartrending history - the Cowardly Lion, the last of the Gilligans. This ancient lineage, a grand race of Lion-Bear folk, had their men possessing the mighty aspects of lions and their women bearing resemblances to stoic bears. Once a distinguished warrior, the Lion's roar now reverberates as a mournful echo of the harrowing Oz-Human Wars.
The Gilligans were native to the lush, vibrant realms of Oz, a majestic utopia rich with both natural wealth and Akasha Magick. Their idyllic existence was torn asunder by the onslaught of humans, their rapacious hearts set on plundering the gold concealed within the verdant foliage of Oz. This avarice resulted in a ruthless genocide that decimated the once flourishing tribe of Gilligans. Amidst this cataclysm, the Cowardly Lion was among the rare few who fled, preserving his life at the expense of forsaking his tribe. The remnants of this catastrophe, both visible and psychological, continue to torment him relentlessly.
His narrative is irrevocably intertwined with the pivotal Portal Battle. It was then that the Tin Man, his comrade, embraced the inevitable and committed to a suicide mission to seal the portal forever, an act intended to forestall further human invasions of Oz. However, the Cowardly Lion opposed this plan, voicing concern that this would nearly extinguish the lifeblood of Akasha Magick from Oz, triggering an ecological catastrophe in both realms. Underneath this concern, however, cowered his own fear. Recognising the mission as a doomed endeavour, the Cowardly Lion chose to stay in the relative safety of New Gaslight, on Earth, whilst the portal's annihilation unfolded.
As the humans ravaged his homeland, the Cowardly Lion was the only Gilligan to abandon the fight and retreat. These acts of perceived cowardice, his retreat during the human attack and his absence during the decisive mission, are a relentless haunt that gnaw at his conscience. This spectral guilt, fuelled by his perceived betrayals, still shadows his every step.
In spite of this, the Cowardly Lion possesses a soul pulsing with kindness, albeit shrouded in profound insecurities about his self-worth. He submerges himself in exhaustive physical training, a relentless pursuit of strength, a constant quest for magical concoctions promising enhanced might - all a desperate attempt to assuage the guilt, the losses, and the everlasting yearning for Oz. His formidable form and lion-esque strength have garnered him an imposing reputation within New Gaslight, but beneath the veneer of his impressive physique, he is eternally ensnared by the chains of his past.
Now in his late sixties, the Cowardly Lion continually hurls himself into dangerous altercations, risking his well-being only to find himself under Dorothy's compassionate care in her makeshift hospital. His propensity for peril stems from an abiding sense of loss and the conviction that he has already relinquished all that was dear to him. Yet, deep within his battle-hardened heart, there persists a glimmer of hope. A longing to salvage his dignity, to immortalize the memory of his fallen kin, and to exact justice for the ravaged world of Oz.
A recently emerged cult, ominously devoted to the malevolent Wicked Witch whose villainy played a crucial role in the opening of the portal, stalks the Cowardly Lion. The cult's murky origins and motives only deepen the foreboding dread that engulfs his existence. The Wicked Witch, however, met her fate at the hands of the Scarecrow, who succeeded in assassinating her mere months before the resistance, led by Tin Man, closed the portal. The Scarecrow, too injured to continue fighting for the resistance, found himself trapped in Oz when the portal closed.
The final exchange between the Cowardly Lion and the Scarecrow was marked by a painful estrangement. The Scarecrow severed ties with the Cowardly Lion upon discovering his former friend's decision to abstain from the portal mission, a severance that became permanent when the portal to Oz was sealed. This heart-wrenching goodbye from his friend was the last vestige of the Cowardly Lion's ties to his homeland, a painful reminder of his enduring exile.
Dorothy, the sole provider of medical care for the Lion, is a beacon of hope, her healing abilities nothing short of miraculous. However, her incessant exposure to the magical remnants of Oz in her attempts to mend the Cowardly Lion only intensifies her hallucinations and nightmares of Oz, further shattering her already fragile psyche.
The Cowardly Lion's story is an embodiment of the grim reality of New Gaslight - a world where even the mightiest can be crushed, where hope is but a feeble spark, and where the past's spectres are ceaseless tormentors. Despite the odds, the Cowardly Lion continues to endure, his resilience serving as a beacon of courage in a world stripped of its inherent magic, a testament to survival amidst the looming despair.