History of Luukos From the Compendium of Elven Legend
The historical concepts, theories and various tales of
folklore which form the foundation of this tale (save for
the factual information about the undead) compiled and archived
by Ytrhyn Siv'aendas of House Illistim.
Condensed into the modern legend by Larelle Aiv'thyline
of House Loenthra.
It was a cold beginning, born into a harsh world with your
masters predetermined, your fate drawn out for you, and your
ambitions set too high. It was this world that the Arkati
known as Luukos first knew. Passed down from the ancient lore
of our people, before even the time where we could scribe
such things on pages, our memory reaches far into history.
This is his tale, as remembered and told by the famed bard
It was said that the Elanthia of the Arkati's time was pristine
and unworldly in beauty -- a paradise befitting the birth
of new gods. As hinted in so many religious texts, there is
a strong bond between Drake and Arkati, as a parent to a child.
Luukos was no different.
Atop the cliffs of Nagothrym there dwelled a great golden
drake, whose wings were like liquid fire against the sheer
blue sky, and whose scales were swept with patterns of fiery
scarlet -- it was said that when he took flight, it was as
if the heavens were set afire with beauty. A truly magnificent
creature, it was said there was no challenge he would back
down from. And indeed, there was not, for he had succeeded
in all he set out to do and was known by many of his kin to
be most daring. But, as is often the case with those who achieve
success easily, he became bored with the world -- for while
he was far older than any mortal, he was yet young by the
standards of Drakes and had only known the lands of Nagothrym.
He decided, then, to find challenges elsewhere, away from
his lush homeland.
So he set off to the distant lands, past the forests and
plains of men he soared -- his glittering golden wings like
a shining star in the morning mists. On and on he traveled,
over the oceans, over continents even he could not glimpse
from the massive peaks of his homeland. Eventually, he came
upon a vast stretch of desert, a wasteland of parched earth
where nothing but jagged spires of basalt grew underneath
the harsh glare of the sun. Intrigued by the appearance of
this land of ancient cataclysms, the drake touched down upon
the heated sands. It was then that he heard it -- the earth-shaking
bellow of another of his kind. It came from none that he knew
of, indeed, he had thought all of his kind were gathered at
the great peaks of Nagothrym. And then it came again, closer
this time, and he could recognize it. It was no greeting nor
query -- it was a call which demanded his blood. He had found
the challenge he sought, and he intended to face it.
He barely had time to turn before a shadow passed over him,
a shroud of black that blocked out even the rays of the sun.
As the colossal wings of the new arrival beat in unison, great
clouds of golden sand buffeted the young one, forcing him
to shield his eyes as the challenger touched down upon the
baking sands. As the surroundings settled, he stared at the
one who had come to face him, the one who had called for his
blood and his life. He was black as the basalt formations
that towered over them, and his scales were craggy, as if
they were carved from the mountains themselves. Great white
scars ran the length of his body, resembling winding chasms.
He was an ancient drake, by any measure, and the most curious
aspect was his eyes -- a vivid emerald green, like a dash
of brilliant color upon a starless night sky.
And those eyes now stared toward him, unblinking and gleaming
with hatred. There were no words between them, for they both
knew that the only thing which mattered now was life and death,
and neither would relent. Talon met talon, echoing across
the empty desert like the sound of a thousand swords shattering.
Great clouds of sand swirled around the behemoths as their
battle ensued, cloaking them in a haze of shimmering heat
and gold. They were said to have fought for days, their screams
tearing the earth asunder, and the blood of their wounds birthing
rivers upon a land which had known none for millennia.
It was then that the black drake rose up from the site of
their battle, his huge wings carrying him up into the sky
and out of sight. The golden one, near exhausted from his
exertions, reared his head back and loosed a victorious roar.
Awash in the euphoria of his furious triumph, he failed to
glimpse the black drake as he sped down from the sky, claws
outstretched. All he glimpsed was a shadow, and then a searing
pain like none other as the black drake's talons sliced his
neck to mere ribbons. Sinking down into the sand with a great
thud, the golden drake's eyes turned toward his murderer,
and, even as their lustrous hue began to fade as his death
crept ever nearer, they radiated a hatred which had never
touched the golden one in life, but which now burned with
an intense, cold fury that permeated the core of his soul
in death. Then the light faded in his eyes, and he expired
upon the burning sands.
Craning his neck down, the ancient one took the flesh of
his foe into his great, scarred maw, delighting in the taste
of fresh victory. Amusement shone in his eyes, but as the
flesh slid down his gullet, the corpse of the golden drake
began to bubble and froth -- the stench of rot and corruption
filled his nostrils as a cloud of sulphurous smoke shrouded
the golden one's body. As the cloud roiled and swirled like
a living miasma, the now-setting sun cast its last dim rays
through the velvety partition of the smoke -- revealing a
tall figure silhouetted against the haze. It stepped forward,
over the beautiful, bloodied corpse of the golden drake and
into the light, revealing a man whose skin was darkened to
a deep, almost bronze, hue. A wave of black hair fell past
his shoulders, its surface cast in a violet-blue sheen as
twilight began to spread across the heavens.
The ancient one knew what had transpired, for he was familiar
with the Arkati -- but he wanted none to disturb his solitude.
He stretched out his massive talons toward the Arkati, intent
upon maintaining his solitary life regardless of whom or what
stood in his way. But he stopped short as the young one raised
his eyes to him, their deep emerald hue a mirror of his own
cruelty and ruthless cleverness. Slowly, the Drake let his
claw fall to the ground and bade the newborn to follow him.
And the young Arkati did follow him, into the great depths
of the castles of basalt that lay hidden in those humid desert
wastes, consigning the golden drake to an anonymous death
without mourning or proper respects.
It was then that Luukos' education began, in those ancient
black caverns deep in the earth where the drake Vel'Athorre
had lived alone for countless ages. His patron had an intense
curiosity for the outer planes, having grown weary of this
world's fruits long ago. Luukos often accompanied him on these
frequent visits to the twisted realms beyond the comprehension
of any mortal -- it is said that, due to the drake's power
and knowledge, Luukos laid eyes upon the most distant realms
-- places that even the great scholar Fash'lo'nae, with his
wisdom of all things arcane, has no records of. Whether these
travels to purely alien realms might have affected such a
young, developing Arkati, we may never know -- certainly the
desire to pervert and twist life into something as unnatural
as undeath could not be borne from one who had not gazed upon
greater horrors. Under his tutelage, Luukos grew extremely
skilled in manipulating the world around him, and, due to
his affinity to the outre' realms, that which he wrought upon
his surroundings was often a twisted mockery of what he knew
to be natural. They both revelled in playing with the lesser
creatures that wandered too close to their domain, using what
they'd gleaned from worlds most warped upon the helpless beings.
Luukos found the death of the man-creatures to be especially
satisfying -- going so far as to drink the blood of the freshly
killed in rapturous delight.
Vel'Athorre had explained to the young Arkati that he had
left his brethren long ago, having found solitude more preferable
than the pristine peaks of Nagothrym as he aged. But as Luukos
was regaled with stories of the drake's past, he began to
long to see the towering cliffs of his patron's ancestral
homeland. Possessing a natural charisma, Luukos persuaded
the great drake to journey with him to the paradise he had
They were received well, considering Vel'Athorre's temperament
regarding his brethren. The two parted ways for a time --
the great drake seeking out his old caverns, and Luukos finding
himself among his brothers and sisters for the first time
in his life. He was well-liked by most of them, only a few
objecting to his treatment of the developing races of the
world. His cleverness and natural charm earned him many acquaintances
during this blissful time of reunion. His days were occupied
by spending time with the Arkati whom he found more agreeable,
both learning from them and imparting what he'd gleaned from
his patron drake. His nights were filled with passionate debates
with those who differed in philosophy with him -- particularly
with one of the newly born Arkati called Lorminstra. While
he found he could smooth over any chance of hostility with
honeyed words, this was a feat he could not work upon Lorminstra,
for it only served to fuel her anger. Luukos eventually dismissed
her as one too soft-hearted to embrace an ideal which was
far older than himself or the drakes -- the strong survived,
and the weak were to die.
The dichotomy between the Arkati's views grew increasingly
prominent as Luukos lingered in the splendor of Nagothrym,
but there was little anger among them -- their world was vibrant
and perfect, like an ethereal dream that could never end,
their patron drakes the eternal guardians of their idyllic
existence. A difference in ideals was little to worry about
-- some Arkati found it appealing, even embracing the conflict,
for they believed intellectual progress could only be borne
from the constant rethinking of the world. Luukos found himself
keeping company regularly with the more sensible Arkati, and
he soon discovered he had quite a bit of talent in persuading
them to do most anything he wished -- his charisma and confidence
was like a storm that swept up those around him, making them
eager to befriend him and follow his examples.
He also spent time among the drakes, whom he felt to be
the most sensible of all, and he preferred their company to
any other, save for but a tiny few of his Arkati brethren
he saw as subordinates rather than equals. The drakes were
both impressed and shocked by his skill in imposing his will
upon the world, finding his boldness and confidence among
them appealing in a novel sort of way. He often entertained
the more brutal of the drakes with elaborate shows using his
unique skills -- slaughtering entire villages that marred
the otherwise pristine countryside and consuming their life-force,
only to make them rise again -- their dead bodies now serving
as a prison for their lost souls as they danced and frolicked
in a morbid mockery of their lives for the amusement of his
audience. Luukos found this to be vastly entertaining and
continued to refine his grisly talents, discovering that as
he consumed not only the blood of the dead, but their immortal
souls, his power grew in turn.
He continued to explore and expand his manipulative techniques,
until his patron drake, Vel'Athorre, returned to him. He had
not seen his teacher for ages, knowing that he would retreat
into solitude once he had tired of the others who dwelled
in Nagothrym. They spoke for a time, Luukos displaying all
he had learned to his ancient patron eagerly, showing him
of the power waiting to be harvested in the tiny little man-creatures.
The great drake met his pupil's ideas with approval, as he
himself had found power in the most unlikely of places before.
But their reunion would not be a happy one, for Vel'Athorre
had come to tell Luukos of the consensus among the drakes
-- that the Arkati must leave this world for the moons above.
Luukos merely saw this as another debate to be won, simply
a matter of persuading his patron to do otherwise as he had
done so long ago when he wished to see the lands beneath Nagothrym.
He launched into a passionate argument about why he must stay,
but his defiance was only rewarded with a slash of Vel'Athorre's
scythe-like black talons. This was not an issue to be debated,
he stated, but an order. They were not equals, as he had made
abundantly clear when he had sliced Luukos' tongue in two.
Momentarily shocked by the quick, brutal response of his patron
and the searing pain of his wound, he cast a baleful glare
at his old teacher, hatred seething within him like a raging
inferno. His anger was only met by the stony, scarred face
of one he knew would not back down, nor think twice of slaying
any who stood in his way. Knowing he had little recourse,
Luukos consented and silently accompanied Vel'Athorre to the
congregation of Drake and Arkati.
His composure never cracking and his wound burning as it
underwent the process of scarring, Luukos smoothly glided
over toward those he knew -- those going to Lornon. He had
gazed upon the moon many times during his life and had pondered
over its power and its secrets. But he had little care for
it now -- he was in a black mood, for the news of the banishment
and the swift actions of his teacher coupled to form a bitterness
in him. Soon, the others had gathered, and while they made
final farewells, Luukos remained deep in thought and drifted
silently up to Lornon with his compatriots. He was determined
to make his banishment time well spent.
He had found a satisfactory dwelling, the black caverns
suiting him quite well -- even reminding him of his youth.
He had thoroughly delved into the massive network of winding
tunnels that made up his home, discovering things he had never
even speculated could be there while he lived on Elanthia.
For the most part, he lived a solitary life, silently accumulating
a greater perspective upon the world and even continuing his
planar studies -- Lornon made it quite easy, diffusing the
barrier between the veils to but a mere whisper for the power
of an Arkati. Without his teacher by his side, Luukos could
not gaze upon all he had before, but he was satisfied with
what he could gather. At times, he would emerge from his shadowy
home to confer with two Arkati whose company he found pleasurable,
Eorgina and Fash'lo'nae. Fash'lo'nae was particularly interested
in the sights he had seen beyond the veil, the two talking
for hours upon hours of the things they had gleaned from their
Eorgina, however, was content to speak of the old times
with him -- of paradises lost, and of what the future might
hold, of the power yet to be harnessed and mastered. He found
that she was exceedingly wise in almost all matters, and she,
of course, was intrigued by his own charms and talent. But,
as the trio discussed things long into the cold nights of
the dark moon, he was reminded of the near past. While Vel'Athorre's
actions were not unexpected -- he knew, after all, the drakes
had been determined to be the rulers of all others -- he found
himself bitter at his dependency upon them during his early
years, his numerous attempts to impress them, and how he longed
for their company still. Withdrawing into introspection, Luukos
left the two, and, with his former master's eyes no longer
upon him, began to search for other channels of power upon
Lornon -- determined to free himself from the mentality of
Time passed, and Luukos did indeed find what he sought.
His talents expanded greatly during his self-imposed exile,
and his physical body had changed, as well -- the scar inflicted
by Vel'Athorre, one which he would never let heal fully, caused
his tongue to grow slender and forked. His features became
finer and more narrow, his pupils now slits -- his overall
appearance resembled something subtly yet undeniably reptilian.
His senses were also sharpened, and he discovered he could
feel the deaths of those on the surface of his old home, the
sensation both delighting him and empowering him further.
He began to explore his influence in this area in detail,
becoming increasingly fascinated by the deaths of the living
and the strength inherent in their eternal souls.
Thus, it was all too convenient that the Ur-Daemon appeared
at this time. Many legends tell of how they came, but regardless
of our speculations, they wrought chaos upon the world. The
eyes of all the Arkati were focused upon the world below as
the Thousand-Year War began. Observing from his subterranean
haven, Luukos was witness to the death of an entire age, the
slaughter wrought upon the surface never to be matched by
anything in Elanthian history. He became awash in the euphoria
that the countless, seemingly infinite deaths sent racing
along his immortal senses. His state soon changed when he
began to sense the deaths of his more compassionate brethren
-- those who rushed to the aid of their masters and were easily
murdered in turn, followed by the death of the Drakes themselves.
There are, perhaps, no words to describe what followed --
for the Arkati, the presence of the drakes was like the presence
of the air in our lungs. They were timeless, they were always,
they were the night and the day -- something that could not
be erased and that would endure forever. To one such as Luukos,
whose perception of the process of death was honed through
countless eons of fascination and study, this powerful, intense
sensation was only amplified into a pure wave of near-maddening
agony that coursed through every fiber of his being -- their
deaths were as an eternal, deafening scream that drowned out
everything, searing the core of his soul with the utter horror
of their life-force being torn to shreds.
As Luukos was thrust into this agonizing state, he could
see nothing, hear nothing, do nothing but be a receiver of
these crippling sensations. Even his own thoughts were something
alien to him, drifting in and out of his mind like gossamer
whispers, barely heard over the incomprehensible anguish of
a dying world. But one thought began to grow in prominence,
and, like a fading star that flares blindingly before succumbing
to the darkness of the void, the thought reached him over
the all-consuming pain: You are free. They are gone. You are
As soon as he began to hear the words, Luukos realized he
was resisting the sensations -- trying to push them away,
trying to conceal himself from the shock of their deaths.
He fought against the urge to mourn, pushed hard against what
had been ingrained into him since he first gazed upon the
world as a newborn. Slowly, the pain began to recede and eventually
faded away into nothing but a distant memory of the past --
a way of life he had now cast aside forever. Now recovered,
Luukos instead embraced their deaths, for they were the herald
of his complete freedom. The invisible shackles the Drakes
had cast upon him were now shattered -- through death, he
had become free. Through death, he had experienced nothing
short of rebirth. Death was infinitely more powerful than
life itself, for it was the ultimate catalyst for change.
Realizing this, he opened himself to the sensations completely,
allowing the full spectrum of his abilities to become wholly
cognizant of the deaths that set the world below him ablaze.
And he was free.
The war had served as an awakening to the Arkati. They had
realized that change could touch even their kind -- and even
the great drakes who had been infinitely more powerful than
them. With most of the drakes dead or driven insane by the
utter shock of their downfall, the Arkati found themselves
the caretakers of a broken world. Luukos made the journey
down to the ravaged surface and was amazed at the resilience
of the man-creatures -- they had survived, if only barely.
He was, of course, pleased by this, and, no longer separated
by distance, he began to explore just how well the knowledge
and talents gleaned on the cold, dark moon could serve him.
The few unfortunates who encountered Luukos, those whose lives
were already torn asunder by a cataclysmic battle they could
hardly fathom, were subject to even greater horrors and torment
as he delved into the workings of their immortal souls and
what uses they could serve.
It was during this time that the world came to truly know
Luukos -- he had adopted the serpent as the herald of his
coming, his insidious nature finding its graceful, sleek form
and hidden, venomous fangs pleasing. Luukos refined his knowledge
of undeath to perfection, his manipulation of the dead and
their souls becoming an indelible part of his personality
as the burgeoning civilizations came to consciousness. His
name was spoken with fear, and his abominations were barely
understood by those he wrought them on, save for the eternal
torment that they bestowed. It was for this reason that the
true power and horror of undeath remained in blissful darkness
for millennia, the majority of civilization never having felt
its touch as the centuries passed.
As the races below spread like wildfire and developed their
cultures, Luukos began to discover another innate talent as
his inquiries became less focused on the undead -- his skill
in that grisly art having become satisfactory in his eyes.
He could exert his power over those who sullied themselves
in life -- the stain on their souls allowing it to be easily
taken in by his will. He eventually began to acknowledge that
certain members of the races were more useful to him alive
than they were dead, and with this realization the seeds for
his future worship were planted.
All of the differing civilizations had begun to unravel
the secrets of mana and, as the centuries passed, developed
some rudimentary form of magical skill. The Elven Empire had
arisen, and the world was finally beginning to achieve peaceful
stability. Scholars among the races delved into new forms
of magic, their progress in picking up on such skills startling
to some of the Arkati. They had not, however, discovered the
truly twisted uses that magic could be put to -- the power
of undeath remained securely in the hands of the few Arkati
who chose to employ it. During a meeting of the Arkati ages
ago, when war between those of Liabo and Lornon seemed imminent,
Koar had taken heed of Lorminstra's warnings against Luukos'
studies. The power of undeath, he decreed, was not to be placed
in mortals' hands -- it was too much of a danger to them,
with their limited understanding of the world.
Thus, it came as a complete shock when the woman called
Despana appeared, wielding the power of undeath to a degree
that astounded the Arkati. She had unlocked a form of magic
that had not even been hinted at in magical studies of any
of the mortal races -- she had found the Book of Tormtor.
The relative calm that the world had blissfully been cast
in was now shattered as the Undead Wars were unleashed upon
every civilization. Luukos himself was said to have completely
stepped back from the war, and the world should be thankful
this was so. He was completely inactive in mortals' lives
during this time where the lands were again thrust into chaos
and ruin. Perhaps the deaths wrought by the undead created
by Despana sated him completely, or perhaps in his cleverness
he had foreseen the actions of his brethren and knew what
steps he must take to ensure their intervention would not
After the war, it was said the Arkati met in Koar's sanctum
again to discuss the dreadful magic that was even now festering
in the minds of the power-hungry mortals in Despana's wake.
Lorminstra and many others of the Liabo pantheon argued that
the power was too dangerous, too unstable, and the potential
for disaster was too great to allow mortals to wield it again.
Luukos' past transgressions with this power were brought up
time and time again by these Arkati, and for a time it seemed
as if Koar would relent to their wishes. But Koar had called
them to hear all their thoughts on this matter, and Luukos
would give them no quarter -- those who believed his manipulations
of the dead heinous and unnatural could not point to him as
being a prominent figure in the war in the slightest. The
only time he deigned to involve himself in the war was during
an incident where his affinity for deception lead him to cause
disaster for the immortal Leya. Assuming the role of an eccentric
scholar with little interest in the civilizations of the world
beyond a thing to be studied, Luukos pointed out the key fact
of the matter -- that none of the Arkati had intervened to
give the knowledge of undeath to the world. The incident with
Leya only served to bolster his argument -- that he was only
interested in the matters of his kin and other immortals,
not the affairs of the lesser races. Naturally, many of the
Lornon pantheon agreed with him, the most notable supporter
being Sheru, an Arkati who had changed drastically since the
rule of the Drakes. Thus, Luukos' true intentions were hidden
from his brethren.
Weighing the matter for quite a long time, Koar passed his
judgment -- as none had intervened to give the knowledge to
mortals, none should intervene to take it away. They must
be allowed to rule themselves, and to make their own choices
regarding these matters. With this decision made, both sides
began to plant their own philosophies among their mortal followers
-- the religions which worshipped Luukos became even stronger
and more numerous with the advent of undeath, and Luukos himself
aided them in understanding its mysteries. Beyond his own
factions, other mortals began to experiment with the power
on their own, their sloppy techniques only promoting more
accidents and death which pleased him so. The Arkati Sheru
also came to work closely with Luukos, for he found the fear
which the undead abominations instilled in the thoughts of
mortals exquisite. The two eventually forged an alliance to
stand against the mounting waves of opposition they were soon
On the other side, Lorminstra worked with others who believed
in the purity of life to put a stop to the flood of corruption
that undeath brought. This would eventually lead to the ascendance
of the immortal spirit Voln, and the establishment of his
Order. The Arkati who aided her believed that life was a cycle
to be protected, and that the undead were an abomination,
corrupting that cycle into something unnatural and twisted.
Most of the civilized societies came to agree with this outlook,
thus banishing the practicing of animating the dead into secrecy,
and, at the same time, securing Luukos' legacy in their minds,
hearts, and especially their fears -- the great deceiver,
the one who feeds upon souls and consigns those who fall in
his grasp to an eternity of damnation, trapped forever in
rotting flesh as a mindless servant to his will.