Gelebor's exact age cannot be determined, but he is believed to have been present before the Atmoran conquest of Skyrim in the First Era, when the Snow Elf civilization was a wealthy and prosperous society.
During this time, he served as a Knight-Paladin for the Chantry of Auri-El, the epicenter of worship in the Snow Elf faith, and a retreat for those who wished to become enlightened. He is responsible for protecting the Chantry, and everything in it, until he dies.
Following the war with the Atmorans, most of his race was either wiped out or forced into hiding. Eventually, many of his kin took refuge with the Dwemer, a subterranean race of mer. The Chantry itself was quite isolated, so much of the worldly affairs occurring in Skyrim passed them by. Only about a hundred or so Snow Elves remained within the Chantry, by the time the Snow Elves of Skyrim and Solstheim were hunted to extinction, but the Chantry managed to remain a secret to both the Dwemer and the Atmorans for many years.
Ironically, their downfall came from Falmer; the twisted race into which their fellow Snow Elves, those who had taken refuge with the Dwemer, had devolved. The Falmer eventually discovered Gelebor and the remaining followers of Auri-El, and swarmed the Chantry in vast numbers until they were completely overrun. Gelebor led a small group of paladins, but they were no match for the Falmers' sheer numbers. The Falmer even found a way to breach the Inner Sanctum, where Gelebor's brother, the Arch-Curate, resided. In the end, Gelebor and his brother were the only two Snow Elves who survived.
In the centuries since the disappearance of his race, Gelebor has stayed true to his oath as a Knight Paladin and continued to tend to the Chantry. He became estranged from his brother Vyrthur, who remained at the Inner Sanctum, and has long believed the Falmer corrupted him when the Chantry was attacked. Gelebor has never been able to confront Vyrthur, however, as he believes leaving the Wayshrines within the Chantry unguarded would be violating his sacred duty.
Over the years, countless travellers and adventurers have discovered the Chantry while searching for Auriel's Bow. Gelebor proposed the same arrangement to each of them — the death of his brother in return for the bow. None have ever been successful, until around the time of 4E 201, when Serana and the Last Dragonborn successfully obtained the bow.
As Gelebor's age has not been mentioned, it is not exactly known when he was born. Some clues however do at least give an idea of how old he may be.
He was present before his brother Vyrthur was turned into a vampire, which then caused him to create the Tyranny of the Sun prophecy. Harkon then discovered this prophecy, which caused Serana to be locked up and Valerica to hide in the Soul Cairn. After freeing Serana, she mentions that before she was locked up Cyrodiil had no empire. As the Alessian Empire was created in 1E 243, it can be presumed that Gelebor has lived for at least over 4170+ years.
"I am Knight-Paladin Gelebor. Welcome to the Great Chantry of Auri-El."
This cave is a temple to Auriel?"Auriel, Auri-El, Alkosh, Akatosh... so many different names for the sovereign of the snow elves."
Snow elves? You're a Falmer?"I prefer snow elf. The name "Falmer" usually holds a negative meaning to most travelers. Those twisted creatures you call Falmer, I call the Betrayed."
I imagine you know why we're here."Of course. You're here for Auriel's Bow. Why else would you be here? I can help you get it, but first I must have your assistance."
What type of assistance do you need?"I need you to kill Arch-Curate Vyrthur... my brother."
Kill your brother, why?The kinship between us is gone. I don't understand what he's become, but he's no longer the brother I once knew. It was the Betrayed... they did something to him, I just don't know why Auri-El would allow this to happen."
What exactly did the Betrayed do?"They swept into the Chantry without warning and began killing everyone without pause."
Didn't you fight back?"The Chantry was a place of peaceful worship. I led a small group of paladins, but we were no match for the Betrayed's sheer numbers. They slaughtered everyone and stormed the Inner Sanctum where I believe they corrupted Vyrthur."
You don't even know if he's alive."He's alive. I've seen him. But something's wrong. He never looks as though he's in pain or under duress. He just... stands there and watches, as though waiting."
Have you tried getting into the Inner Sanctum?"Leaving the wayshrines unguarded would be violating my sacred duty as a Knight-Paladin of Auriel. And an assault on the Betrayed guarding the Inner Sanctum would only end with my death."
Wayshrine?"Yes, let me show you."
Do I have a choice?"Absolutely. You could turn around and travel back from wherever you started empty handed, or you could assist me."
How did you know?"For the thousands of years I've served as the Chantry's sentinel, there hasn't been a single visitor here for any other reason. They request Auriel's Bow, and I request their assistance. It's been repeated so many times, I can't imagine it any other way."
After activating the wayshrine:
"The only way to get to my brother is by following in the Initiates' footsteps and traveling from wayshrine to wayshrine just as they did. The first lay at the end of Darkfall Passage, a cavern that represents the absence of enlightenment."
How many more wayshrines are there?"There are five in total, spread far apart across the Chantry."
These caves must be massive."Caves? Oh, no. The Chantry encompasses far more than a few caves, as you'll soon discover. But before I send you on your way, you'll need the Initiate's Ewer."
So I need to fill this at each wayshrine?"Once you've located a wayshrine, there will be a spectral Prelate tending to it. They will allow you to draw the waters from the shrine's basin as if you've been enlightened."
I'll be off then."This may be the last time we're able to converse. If you have any questions before you leave, I suggest you ask them. Otherwise, all I can do now is grant you my hopes for a safe journey."
When approached again:
"Questions? I expected as much."
What is the Chantry of Auri-El?"This is, or was, the epicenter of our religion. Most of the snow elf people worshipped Auri-El. The Chantry was constructed near the beginning of the First Era to provide a retreat for those that wished to become enlightened."
Most snow elves?"Our empire had temples to some of the other deities: Trinimac, Syrabane, Jephre and Phynaster rounded out the rest. But those temples paled in comparison to the glory of the Chantry and its wayshrines."
The wayshrines are part of the Chantry then?"Oh yes. They were an important part of the process here. They represented the steps the Initiates took on the path to total enlightenment. Sadly, the magic used to construct these wonders were lost long before I arrived here."
Who are the spectral Prelates you mentioned?"They're ghosts of the snow elf priests that tended the wayshrines before being slaughtered by the Betrayed. Through the grace of Auri-El they were restored to their spectral form to enable them to continue their duties."
Good, they should be able to help us."I'm afraid in their current form, they still believe the Chantry to be an active center of worship. They won't respond to you in any way other than believing that you're an Initiate and you're undertaking the journey to the Inner Sanctum."
Who were your people?"We were once a wealthy and prosperous society that occupied a portion of Skyrim. Unfortunately, we were constantly at war with the Nords who claimed the land as their ancestral home."
It appears the Nords won."In a manner of speaking. We had always maintained an uneasy alliance with the underground-dwelling dwarves, and when faced with extinction we turned to them for help. Surprisingly, they agreed to protect us but demanded a terrible price... the blinding of our race."
Everyone couldn't have possibly agreed to that."There were splinter groups that resisted the agreement, and even some that sought alternate alliances. But when it was all said and done, those elves were either slaughtered, vanished or gave up and took the dwarves' bargain."
What turned your people into the Betrayed?"I've often asked myself that very same question. The blinding of my race was supposedly accomplished with a toxin. Certainly not enough to devolve them into the sad and twisted beings they've become."
Why weren't the snow elves here affected?"The Chantry is quite isolated, so it took some time for word of the dwarves' offer to reach us here. By the time the compact had been completed, it was too late for us to even attempt to intervene."
Is that why you had retained your sight?"Correct. We only numbered perhaps a hundred at a time, so our presence remained a secret to the dwarves and the Nords. Ironically, our undoing came at the hands of our own people."
You mean the Betrayed."Yes. They swarmed the Chantry in vast numbers until we were completely overrun. We never really stood a chance. I assume that the Arch-Curate was corrupted by them when they found a way to breach the Inner Sanctum."
There are others here like you?"Vyrthur and myself are the only two snow elves that remain."
After killing Vyrthur:
"So, the deed has been done. The restoration of this wayshrine means that Vyrthur must be dead and the Betrayed no longer have control over him."
The Betrayed weren't to blame."What? What are you talking about?"
He was a vampie. He controlled them."A vampire? I see. That would explain much. Deep inside, it brings me joy that the Betrayed weren't to blame for what happened here."
Why?"Because that means there's still hope that they might one day shed their hatred and learn to believe in Auri-El once again. It's been a long time since I felt that way and it's been long overdue. My thanks, to both of you."
You're welcome."You risked everything to get Auri-El's Bow, and in turn, you've restored the Chantry. I can't think of a more deserving champion to carry it than you. If you wish to learn more about the bow, or obtain Sunhallowed Arrows for it, I'd be more than happy to help. You've but to ask."
If approached again before taking the bow:
"Please, take the bow... it's yours."
After getting Auriel's Bow:
"It's good to speak to you again."
What will happen to you now?"Even with Vyrthur gone and the Inner Sanctum destroyed, my duty as a Knight-Paladin of Auri-El remains. I've been sworn to protect this vale and everything it represents until I die."
And the wayshrines?"For the time being, they will remain open. If remnants of our kind who escaped the betrayal at the hands of the dwarves exist out there, perhaps they will find this place one day."
What will happen to the Chantry now?"While it would fill me with joy to see the Chantry back to its former glory, that time has long since passed. Now that my brother's dead, it's quite possible I'm the last of our kind."
Then I've contributed to your kind's extinction."There's no need for that kind of talk. I said it was possible. It's also quite possible that there are some other isolated conclaves of snow elves nestled elsewhere on Nirn. I'll also assume Vyrthur didn't exactly give you the option to stay your hand."
What will you do then?"For the time being I will remain here, on the overlook and continue trying to keep the Sanctum free of the Betrayed. You're always welcome to return here at any time, of course."
Can the Betrayed ever be cured?"I feel nothing but sympathy for the Betrayed, despite my actions against them. But I'm afraid that they're well beyond a cure at this point."
Why?"The twisted forms you've seen didn't occur overnight. It isn't a plague or a disease that ravaged our species. The dwarves may have stolen their sight, but it took many generations for them to become what they are today."
Then there's no hope for them."Perhaps they'll never return to their former appearance, but over the centuries, I've noticed a rise in their intellect. If a line of communication could be established with them, maybe they can find peace. It's the only way they'll discover that they weren't always malignant... they were once a proud and prosperous race."
What can you tell me about Auriel's Bow?"The bow was said to be carried by Auri-El himself into battle against the forces of Lorkhan in ancient and mythic times. Its craftsmanship has no equal anywhere within Tamriel and possibly beyond."
What can it do?"The bow draws it power from Aetherius itself, channeling it through the sun. Therefore, when an arrow is loosed from the bow, it produces a magical effect very similar to being burned by fire."
Sounds powerful."That's actually only a fraction of its potential. With Sunhallowed Arrows, you would be able to produce a much more spectacular effect... causing bursts of sunlight to envelop your foes. The sunbursts would certainly hurt anything, but is especially devastating to the undead."
Vyrthur said something about using blood?"Well, using an arrow with the bow that's been dipped in blood may cause it to function differently... corrupting its purpose. That's of course if you're foolish enough to try it."
How do I obtain Sunhallowed Arrows?"I can actually assist you in that regard. If you were to bring me some good quality elven arrows, I could imbue them with the proper incantations and rituals."
Can you make me some Sunhallowed Arrows?"Absolutely. I can only do twenty at a time, so if you want the rest of your arrows blessed, let me know. (Or "Certainly. I can only do twenty at a time, but I see that won't be a problem in this case" if the Dragonborn has fewer than 20 elven arrows, or "I'm afraid I'll need elven arrows if you want me to produce the Sunhallowed Arrows, and it seems you're all out of them at the moment." if the Dragonborn has no Elven arrows.)"
Gelebor: "Come forward. You have nothing to fear here." Serana: "What's that? I can feel some kind of power from it..."
[After talking to Gelebor] Serana: "So this is snow elf magic. Incredible." Gelebor: "This structure is known as a wayshrine. They were used for meditation and for transport when the Chantry was a place of enlightenment. Prelates of these shrines were charged with teaching the mantras of Auri-El to our Initiates." Serana: "What's that basin in the center signify?" Gelebor: "Once the Initiate completed his mantras, he'd dip a ceremonial ewer in the basin at the wayshrine's center and proceed to the next wayshrine." Serana: "So these Initiates had to lug around a heavy pitcher of water. Marvelous. How long would they have to do that?" Gelebor: "Well, once the Initiate's enlightenment was complete, he'd bring the ewer to the Chantry's Inner Sanctum. Pouring the contents of the ewer into the sacred basin of the Sanctum would allow him to enter for an audience with the Arch-Curate himself." Serana: "All that just to end up dumping it out? Makes no sense to me." Gelebor: "It's symbolic. I don't expect you to understand." Serana: "So let's get this straight. We need to do all that nonsense to get into the temple, so we can kill your brother and claim Auriel's Bow?" Gelebor: "I know how it all sounds, but if there was another way I'd have done it long ago. The only way to get to my brother is by following in the Initiates' footsteps and traveling from wayshrine to wayshrine just as they did. The first lay at the end of Darkfall Passage, a cavern that represents the absence of enlightenment."
He prefers not to be called a Falmer, since the word Falmer has gained a negative connotation in recent times. Instead he requests to be called a Snow Elf.
He cannot be attacked or pickpocketed whatsoever. Arrows, spells, and weapons appear to simply pass through him altogether. Gelebor also does not trigger rune spells. This was probably a safeguard measure taken by developers to not allow him to become aggressive in any way.
At the end of "Touching the Sky," speaking to Gelebor reveals that although he knows that the Falmer will never return to what they once were, his understanding of their intellect gives him hope that they might one day remember what they once were.
After the death of his brother Vyrthur, Gelebor is believed to be the last remaining Snow Elf in all of Tamriel. However, speaking with him reveals that he believes that there might be other small pockets of Snow Elves who did not befall the same fate as the Falmer.