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
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.
Part 1: Birth
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
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.