Tellah (pronounced [ˈtɛ.lə]) is a playable character in Final Fantasy IV. He is the Great Sage of Mysidia, and a master of both White and Black Magic, but due to his old age, he can only remember a few of his spells. He has a short temper, and will not hesitate to spring into action when something happens to someone or something he is close to.
A more detailed backstory than what is given in the game is given in the Japanese Final Fantasy IV novelizations.
Tellah has a long white beard and white hair. His in-game sprite and SD artwork depict him wearing round glasses, a high collared, long purple coat and purple trousers. His Yoshitaka Amano artwork expands on this by giving the inside lining of his coat a striped pattern, stars on his shirt, blue and red patterns on his trousers, and a fringe trimming on his coat.
Tellah is passionate but quick to anger. He loves his daughter Anna and only wishes to protect her from what he thinks will harm her. He is crass and sometimes downright rude, but determined, and can work alone as well as working alongside others.
Before Final Fantasy IV
Tellah was born in the small desert village of Kaipo. In his early childhood, Tellah's parents were killed in a monster attack and would be taken in by the people of Mysidia. Being a childhood prodigy, Tellah would learn both Black and White Magic easily during his time in Mysidia.
In his early adulthood, Tellah would begin to travel with his companion Minwu to aid in defending regions from rampaging monsters.
Twenty years before the events of Final Fantasy IV, the two mages would travel to the land of Troia, which was on the verge of being destroyed by constant monster attacks. After successfully defeating the monsters terrorizing the country, Tellah and Minwu aided the city by teaching the citizens magic in order to defend themselves. When teaching the Epopts magic, the two would only teach the young women the arts of White Magic, as they saw Black Magic no more than a force of destruction. After aiding Troia, the two would eventually part ways, with Tellah returning to his hometown of Kaipo, and Minwu choosing to return to Mysidia to become the new elder.
In Kaipo, Tellah would fall in love with a woman in the village and eventually marry her. As time passed, Tellah's wife would give birth to their daughter, Anna.
Shortly after the birth of Anna, Kaipo would face another monster attack caused by the phasing of the moon. Tellah would repel the monsters until dawn, but despite his efforts, the attack still left many of the villagers dead. Tellah would eventually find his wife among casualties, as she sacrificed herself to protect the newborn Anna.
Stricken with grief and seeing himself unable to protect anyone, Tellah vowed to abandon his practices in magic, which caused him to forget many of his spells as time passed on. Following the death of his wife, he would grow overprotective of Anna as she grew up. As time passed, he would also grow a strong hatred for both monsters and kingdoms of the world, as he believed if the latter took keeping the peace seriously, the former would never be able to cause such tragedy among the people of the world. 
When Anna became an adult, she would eventually fall in love with Edward Chris von Muir, who was under the guise of a bard. Tellah did not approve of their relationship, causing Anna to flee with Edward to his homeland of Damcyan, where the two would eventually become engaged without Tellah's knowledge.
Tellah was furious and pursued them but had grown slow in his old age and lost track of them in the passages leading to the Underground Waterway. A weakened Tellah was unable to defeat the Octomammoth, a powerful monster guarding the exit from the Underground Waterway, and was trapped deep underground. When Cecil Harvey and Rydia travel through the Underground Waterway searching for the Sand Pearl, they come across Tellah and offer their help. The three defeat Octomammoth and head to Damcyan.
When Tellah arrives in Damcyan, the Red Wings raid the city and steal the Crystal of Fire. The Red Wings destroy most of the city, killing or injuring most of the populace. Anna suffers grave injuries and when Tellah finds his daughter near death, he turns on Edward in rage. Anna stops the fight, explaining she loves Edward and that a dark man named Golbez had led the attack on Damcyan. Anna dies moments later and Tellah swears revenge on Golbez and leaves alone.
When Cecil, Palom, and Porom climb Mount Ordeals on Cecil's quest to become a Paladin, they encounter Tellah on the mountain, searching for Meteor, a spell of incredible power. Tellah helps his them reach the summit and along the way they twice fight and defeat Scarmiglione of Earth, one of Golbez's Elemental Archfiends. At the summit they discover a room full of mirrors where a mysterious light appears, calling Cecil "my son", and assists Cecil in his transformation into a Paladin. As the light departs, Tellah rediscovers his missing spells, including "Meteor".
Cecil, Tellah, Palom, and Porom return to Mysidia, where the Elder of Mysidia congratulates them. Tellah tells the Elder of his plans to defeat Golbez using Meteor, but the Elder reminds Tellah he should never fight with a vengeance, and that Tellah would die if he were to cast Meteor, due to his old age. Tellah is not swayed.
The party heads for Baron Castle and discover the king of Baron has been secretly succeeded by the Archfiend Cagnazzo. Cagnazzo makes the walls crumble on the party and Palom and Porom petrify themselves to hold the walls back and save the party. Tellah tries to heal them, it does not work because the twins petrified themselves willingly.
Cecil's former friend who is now working for Golbez, Kain, issues an ultimatum: Cecil must either get Kain the Crystal of Earth or his childhood friend and love interest Rosa would die. They retrieve the Crystal from the Dark Elf in Lodestone Cavern, but before departing to hand over the Crystal to Kain, the party visits Edward who is recuperating in the Troia inn. Tellah tells Edward, Anna was happy to be loved by a man like Edward and Edward asks Tellah to avenge Anna for his sake too.
Kain guides Cecil's party to the Tower of Zot, where they meet Golbez, who takes the Crystal but would not free Rosa. Tellah attacks Golbez and casts spells on him, but finds they have no effect. He then converts his own life energy into the necessary magic power to cast Meteor, which severely wounds Golbez. Cecil rushes to strike him, but Golbez knocks him down, and escapes. Golbez's control of Kain is broken, and he goes back to being Cecil's friend. Everyone surrounds Tellah, who is dying due to casting Meteor at the cost of his own life. He asks the others to avenge Anna for him, and dies.
When Cecil and his friends travel to the Red Moon to battle Zemus, the being who manipulated Golbez to steal the Earth's Crystals, they fight the incarnation of Zemus's hatred: Zeromus. The spirits of Tellah and Anna appear during the battle and grant the party their power to help overcome the evil.
Tellah's spirit appears before Edward along with Anna's, telling him Anna wants Edward to find happiness. Palom is also seeking to become a great sage and follow in Tellah's footsteps.
Tellah is a briefly playable party member, whose role is casting magic. He has weak stats both physically and magically and limited equipment options. While he can cast many Black Magic and White Magic spells, his limited MP (which cannot increase past 90 naturally) and low magical stats make him a weaker mage. Tellah can cast additional spells randomly through his Recall ability. His physical stats, aside from his HP, actually decrease with levels, most likely due to his age.
Tellah has appeared in the following games in the Final Fantasy series:
- Pictlogica Final Fantasy as a playable character.
- Final Fantasy Airborne Brigade as a series of abilities.
- Final Fantasy Artniks as a series of cards.
- Final Fantasy Record Keeper as a playable character.
- Final Fantasy Brave Exvius as a summonable vision.
- Final Fantasy Trading Card Game as a series of cards.
Behind the scenes
Despite not having much interaction with each other in the game, the Final Fantasy IV Settei Shiryou Hen guide's character relationship chart identifies Tellah and Rydia's relationship as that akin to teacher and pupil.
The original Japanese Finest Fantasy for Advance remake and the North American GBA port have a bug where the scripted battle between Tellah and Edward is longer than intended, because Tellah keeps missing Edward, which stops the story from progressing. The bug was fixed in the second Japanese Advance release and the European port.
With the bypass event glitch it is possible to avoid visiting Mist when Cecil and Kain are meant to deliver a package there at the beginning of the game. By skipping Mist Kain does not leave the party and Cecil never meets Rydia. The whole game cannot be played without triggering the scene where Mist burns, however, as Tellah will never join the party at the Underground Waterway unless the scene at Mist has been triggered, which freezes the game at the set battle where Tellah is meant to battle Edward.
Tellah's Japanese name, (テラ, Tera?) is also the Japanese name for Terah.
- Final Fantasy Ultimania Archive Volume 1, p.156
- Final Fantasy IV Game Novel Vol. 1. p. 68–72
- Translation of the Final Fantasy IV Documents on Settings Book (Accessed: April 06, 2020) at Scenery Called