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Lumnis
[LOOM-nis]

Prologue: Drakes

In the ancient past, the Drakes spawned in a great cavern far below the land. In the snowy skies above, they flew in fierce mating rituals in which two individuals would consummate a pairing that lasted their entire lives. At the suitable time (a gestation period no longer known), a female drove away her mate and returned to the frozen north. Finding the long passageway leading underground, she crawled laboriously down into the Cavern of the Ages, and laid a clutch of eggs in the heated sands covering the floor of the cave. There, the females guarded their broods until shortly before hatching, but then they returned to the skies, leaving the hatchlings to survive on their inherited cunning and strength. Only the strongest of the young would ever emerge from that cavern.

Ages passed. At some point, for reasons lost in the passing years, the Drakes abandoned the old hatching sands. And so, a new hatching field was found, although, whether 'found' or 'made' is unknown. Legends tell of a cavern vast beyond all reckoning, located in the heart of a range of peaks so massive that the colossal DragonSpine Mountains served as their foothills and their guardians. Clouds cloaked the feet of this range, and the craggy summits were so tall, they gave the Drakes a superb vantage point from which they could survey the Elanthian continent.

While towering over the whole of the continent's landmass, the peaks were said to be mild of climate and beautiful to behold. Truly a magical land of golden light, unimaginable vistas and graceful, arching structures. Tall waterfalls dropped down hundreds of feet, spraying massive boulders with mist that fed banks of ferns as tall as oak trees. Clouds reaching out from the lower slopes in graceful tendrils were bathed golden by the sun and silvery by the moons. And there, among the mountains called Nagothrym, were born the Arkati.

It is not completely understood how the Arkati came into being; you can describe the moment and the immediate how, but not the ultimate why. There were never a great number of them. They came into existence, a product of nothing more than an instance of beauty or a mistake of chance. And for this, they were beloved of the Drakes.

In that distant time, the world was verdant and beautiful. Meadows teemed with a great variety of creatures, and streambeds cascaded with pristine water that sang as it ran along its paths toward the oceans. Mountains towered up toward skies inhabited by the winged ones, birds and small winged mammals. The races of man lived in the forests and on the plains, primitive although they quickly multiplied, racing toward higher thought with a velocity that worried the Great Drakes. However, these puny races, mostly of undetermined characteristics in those days, delighted the ones the Drakes kept by them, those called Arkati.

As the Arkati matured, they came to serve the Drakes. Many of them became something akin to acolytes, offering not only service, but loyalty and love. And the Drakes, knowing this, allowed the Arkati to dwell with them.


Lumnis [LOOM-nis]
Part 1: Birth

Legend tells us that sunlight striking the glassy surface of a deep pool caused the birth of the Arkati named Lumnis. She arose, product of light and reflection, and she was both beautiful and wise in the moment she first drew breath. A flight of parrots, their plumage bright with the colors of scarlet, blue, gold and emerald, heralded the occasion by lifting from the trees surrounding the pool in a glorious cloud. They serenaded the birth with a song that lured the Drakes from their slumber and pursuits. The Great Ones all lifted their heads and gazing toward the peak called Larydur, they added their booming bass vocalizations to the parrots' soprano song.

Lumnis opened her eyes, beheld the glade surrounding her and pondered the beauty of it. She contemplated the teeming life surging through the bountiful land beneath the Nagothrym. She smiled, and knew love for the mighty ones she sensed above and around her. From that moment, a passion for knowing and understanding all things consumed her, filling her mind with questions and images of the myriad forms of life, large as well as small and insignificant. Lumnis glanced up, allowing the sunlit world to fill her lovely grey eyes, and she greeted life with a smile and a sigh, for already she knew that knowledge held both grace and sorrow.

It is said one watched her birth with interest. However, he did not approach her, knowing that she would need time and experience to come into her own. She began her pursuit of knowledge with alacrity, at once leaving the beautiful slopes of the gilded peaks of Nagothrym.

She walked the lands below the DragonSpines, watching the races as they lived out their short lives and the abundance of species proliferated. She immersed herself in the Elements, observing the transparent ones as they emerged from the matter that both sustained them and imprisoned them. Lumnis walked the crooked way of Chaos and delved into the dark secrets in its heart. She grew wise and as she did, she grew more beautiful. And this was not lost on the one who watched.

Time aged, as did the races of man. They proceeded upon the path toward intelligence and understanding. It is said Lumnis was there, standing behind the wise, the soothsayers, the teachers of skills and wisdom. Teaching the shamen and counseling the pure of heart, those who sought knowledge at great price and sacrifice.

But finally, she was drawn back to the heights of her birth, drawn back to the beauty of the sublime home that would always be a part of her. She was drawn back feeling a need to reflect upon all that she had learned. And she was drawn back for reasons she could not quite define, or understand. Lumnis returned to her home surrounded by ivory pillars, walks girded by tall poplars and graceful architecture, a home long before given to her by a queenly Drake called Ferushigon, who had enjoyed the young Arkati's curious questions. There, gardens flanked fine patios, with grape and wisteria vines covering trestles overhead. Lumnis sat among banks of flowers, content, and filled with the pleasure of beauty on every side.

One evening as Lumnis studied a bank of steel-grey and indigo clouds, their dark tones contrasting vividly against the golden sunset, rays of light suddenly broke through the shadowy cloudbank and struck the flagstones before her in a flash of light. As Lumnis regained her vision, she beheld a tall figure standing before her. She greeted him, and he told her that he was called Koar. She bade him be welcome, for she already knew him, not being one to be caught uninformed.

He was tall and handsome, and very strong. She found the sight of him pleased her. His long silver hair hung over his shoulders and his eyes, dark and cold, regarded her without a hint of weakness, giving no indication of his thoughts. She, the scholar, found she knew many things about him just by observing him for a few moments. He was cold justice, and yet she knew he possessed tenderness and mercy. She wondered if she could withstand the conflict arising from the collision of two such relentless concepts as justice and mercy.

The two Arkati talked, exchanging many thoughts known only to each other. He told her he had come with an invitation and with hope, and she knew then that she would accept his invitation, embracing that hope and making it hers as well. As the last of the light darkened into the star-studded sky of evening, the two were pledged to each other. As the Great Drakes joined in the skies of the North, so too would Koar and Lumnis celebrate their life-long union, not with flight and a match of strength and will, but with a sacrament of honor, trust and love.

Part 2: Banishment

The union of Koar and Lumnis was a private one. They bound their lifetime troth high in the peaks of the Nagothrym with only the Drake, Ferushigon present as witness to the union. Legend says that lights played across the skies for an entire summer thereafter, flashing the colors Lumnis came to call her own. And roses, always white before that time, burst into bloom with a riot of color -- in red, yellow, violet and, (the rarest) indigo and black blooms.

For long years, the Goddess (for goddess she was both in beauty and in wisdom) dwelt with her chosen high in the distant mountains, content to watch the races below them increase and spread as she grew to know her husband's every aspect. Finally, though, as Koar eventually could no longer put off matters needing his counsel, she returned to the land below, walking among the elves, the dwarves and the halflings. She watched as wars divided the races, as plague and famine followed the wars. And she grieved, seeing cruelty run rife though the populations.

And yet, where the arts blossomed, she rejoiced. She marveled that these lesser beings could almost equal those she called her kin in creating such inspired beauty in song, in painted canvas and in sculpted stone. She sat in the hut of a humble craftsman as he fashioned instruments that could rival celestial song in the hands of a gifted musician. She knelt at the feet of a painter as he mixed pigments to mix into wet plaster on a wall. And she reached around the shoulders of a maid as she warped a loom that would weave a tapestry as beautiful as a living forest. Lumnis sat with holy men as they penned first scrolls, then books. She stood in the framework of libraries as they were built, and later filled with their precious treasure of books and scrolls. She knelt with clerics as they learned the words that would animate a lifeless corpse with living breath. And she held the hand of a ranger as she discovered a new blossom that would mean the difference between life and death. She rejoiced in every form of knowledge, every act of discovery or creation.

For generations, Lumnis walked the lands, no stranger to those who sought wisdom in its many forms.

Although it is not known what provoked such a controversial action, there came a time when the Drakes made a decision to send the Arkati to the moons of Liabo and Lornon. There is strong evidence that suggests it was not a unanimously supported plan. In fact, it is said the confrontations were so violent they almost divided the Drakes. Nonetheless, finally, the decision was settled. The Arkati would go, taking with them some elements a number of the Drakes considered unreliable and, in fact, capable of dissention and unrest.

Koar did not like the decision, yet in the interest of reaching a peaceful settlement, he agreed. Lumnis did not wish to leave her husband; however, in concert with Koar's efforts to achieve harmony, she made preparations to leave her home and accompany the delegation bound for Liabo. As they departed, she watched the form of her husband fade into the distance, much grieved by the separation.

Time passed slowly for Lumnis on Liabo. She contemplated all she had observed during the ages, and found solace in her memories. She could still observe events on the planet below, but she missed the smell of the trees, the sensation of sunlight on her shoulders, and her husband. Then one day, her situation was dramatically changed.

When the Ur-Daemons appeared, there was first disbelief, then panic and frantic plans among the Liabo Arkati, many of whom wished to rush back to the surface in aid of the Drakes. However, none were able to return, and as the conflict waged its calamitous way across the lands below, the Arkati mourned. Lumnis worried for Koar and the Drakes. She also feared for the hapless mortal beings trying to avoid the conflict waging across the landscape. From far away, she watched as death stalked the lands, claiming such numbers that she and the other Liabo Arkati were stunned by its ferocity. She watched as souls died in the thousands, and she watched as the Drakes fell and succumbed to worse than death. She came to know despair.

Finally, the Ur-Daemons were defeated, and the Arkati were able to return to the peaks that had been their home. It is said that Koar was never again light-hearted after the Ur-Daemon menace. Seeing so many of the Great Ones perish broke his ability to feel lighthearted or find ease in pleasure. Lumnis, finding her husband changed and distant, loved him no less, and remained his constant confident, the only being able to rouse him from his solemn introspection.

Finding so many of the Drakes gone, the Arkati stepped into the breach. Some had the best of intentions, hopes to help the floundering refugee populations rebuild and heal. Others saw it as a superb opportunity to seize power. As the Lornon Arkati and those returned from Liabo fell into bitter argument, Koar roused himself from his melancholy and stepped in. As the first, and the strongest of the Arkati, he wielded a power that none could challenge. He forged a treaty between the bitter caucus that stands to this day. It is said that the diplomatic skills of Lumnis, standing beside the angry Koar and doing what she could to mitigate, was the honey that enabled the angry factions to reach a settlement.

In present times, Lumnis rarely finds the inclination to walk among the ones that once so captured her attention. She spends much of her time contemplating all she has seen, all she has experienced, and all she has loved. However, she still watches and protects bastions of learning, and congregations pledged to the furtherance of knowledge. And on very rare occasions, it is said she will hold the hand of any who despair of achieving their goal of understanding, giving encouragement and hope.

 

 




Simutronics Corporation

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