In a realm beyond mortals, there lie ancient gates through which the forces of good and evil are permitted to pass. These gateways lead to a battlefield, where the greatest of wars have been fought. Surrounding this field are several territories, echoing their counterparts in the world of men.
The most sought after of these is the Kingdom of Arcātheos. Its main gate is protected by the Arch-Lord Valerian, who serves as its Guardian. He rules over an ancient race known as the Duxarium, carrying out the will of a mysterious and powerful King. Through him the most terrifying of enemies, Reth Maloch, was shackled in chains, and imprisoned for a time in the great abyss. If this dark menace and his legions of Dröch minions were to pass through the main gate of Arcātheos, the world of men would fall into darkness.
Thus, many of noble blood are summoned at times of greatest need. Those who answer the call to defend Arcātheos... will help decide the fate of mankind!
The History of Lumenorus
Chapter 1: The Rise of Arcātheos
Written by Brian Doran
In the beginning, when the realm of Lumenorus was first revealed to the Duxarium, the great King walked openly in their presence. On a day of great importance, he summoned seven from among their race to his side. When these chosen ones finally emerged from his council, more than three years had passed. In that time they had been greatly transformed, and were no longer recognized by their former kin. They had been graced with gifts and powers so as to carry out the will of the King, reflecting him in the manner in which they spoke. They became known as the Arch-Lords, ruling over all Duxarium in the ancient courts.
Among the many gifts possessed by the seven, was the ability to forge powerful gates which served as portals into distant realms. The gates themselves drew their power from the springs beneath them, sending forth a mysterious mist, capable of penetrating various dimensions. These passageways were relatively unstable, in that their course would shift, and could only allow a limited number of individuals to pass through each day. In the year 542 of the 1st age, a small group of humans journeyed into this beautiful and untamed land. Although they were able to pass back and forth freely, many chose to settle in Lumenorus, never to return home. After several generations, it became clear that the waters could extend their natural lives to nearly twice that of their ancestors. There was a time of peace, in which their populations grew to number tens of thousands spread throughout various regions. During this time, the Duxarium tried to remain hidden from the eyes of the settlers, choosing to dwell in forests and remote mountain ranges. However, rumors soon grew among the commoners of strange men and women dressed in royal clothing, who could vanish from sight when stumbled upon in forest glades.
In time, the settlers named themselves according to villages and territories, and chose various leaders to rule over them. Meridianas, which held the largest population, was to the south beyond the great river. Solandil, or “land of the sun,” encompassed the mountains to the west. The territory to the north was that of Caelor, which was known for its endless woods and enchanted skies. The southern part of Caelor would later be annexed to form Praedor, meaning “land of battle.”
In time, quarrels developed over land boundaries and hunting grounds. It was in the year 1263, during the reign of Chief Granak of Caelor, that the first blood was spilled in violence. He had declared open war against his own brother, and sent his warriors at night to destroy the peaceful village of Shanoth. This was an isolated settlement far from the capital of Meridianas Arbor. The retaliation by his brother Baenar was even more barbaric, leaving several villages within Caelor engulfed in flames. The Duxarium were horrified to see innocent blood spilled in such a manner, and discerned the time was at hand to intervene.
It was Lord Morinius, one of the seven Arch-Lords who offered to speak to Granak. However, instead of securing peace, he accepted the challenge of single combat and utterly destroyed him, along with six of Caelor's most respected leaders. The settlers were so unprepared for the ferocious skill of this being, that they feared the Duxarium and began to fortify their settlements.
The remaining Arch-Lords took council, and declared that the spilling of mortal blood was an abomination, worthy of exile. When Morinius learned that he was to be banished from the Duxarium he went to the 1st council of Lumenorus, being held in Meridianas Arbor, and claimed that all the humans were in great danger. Many believed him out of fear of annihilation, and began forging weapons of war. Morinius offered to aid them in the fight against his former brothers. He chose leaders from among them, and fled with a score of men into the East, far beyond the known lands. There he molded them through deception, and imparted to them knowledge of ancient skills. In time, he would take on the name Reth Maloch, meaning “evil shadow.” For as long as possible, he retained the ability to appear in the form of the Duxarium, in order to deceive more to his cause. However, his true appearance was of a more cruel and evil demeanor, his skin beginning to wrinkle as he could no longer tolerate drinking from the springs of Lumenorus. Even the Duxarium fell prey to his subtleties, and those who joined him became powerful minions at his disposal.
It was Lord Gabron who convinced the remaining settlers of the deception that had taken place. He spoke with intense passion about his King, whom he served with an unwavering loyalty. They were so enamored with his eloquence of speech that they too wanted to serve this King. He then pledged eternal loyalty between the Duxarium and the settlers, and that they would prepare them for the coming trials.
Two of the original seven, Tirsön and Carthāneous, were believed to have been killed beyond the known lands. This occured while they were searching for their fallen brothers. In order to protect all the territories, the remaining four Arch-Lords became Guardians of each of the respective gates. Lord Gabron took his seat at the Gate of Meridianas Arbor, which was the noblest civilization of mortals. Lord Valerian, the most gifted in strategies of war, was appointed to the Hill of the King, which he renamed Arcātheos. Here he spent more than a generation, in the lives of men, constructing a gate of untold power. This portal was so stable that he could summon entire legions of warriors at a time, so as to defend all lands loyal to the King. Its location was conceived in wisdom, for the Kingdom of Arcātheos now sat in the center of all the known lands.
Maloch became envious of the mighty stronghold Lord Valerian had built in honor of the King. In the year 1736 he unleashed his menacing Dröch army, invading what is now known as Praedor. Until that time, this land had been unclaimed by the settlers due to its dark forests and dangerous wolves. He had thus secured a foothold on the eastern border of Arcātheos. In anticipation of this threat, Lord Valerian stationed a Garrison of troops below the Hill of the King. After a year and a half of open war, Maloch overcame this defence, taking the Tower of Praedor. He had thus reached the slopes ascending to Arcātheos itself. It is said that nearly 3,000 men and 140 Duxarium gave their lives defending the main gate, which was located in the forest to the west of the keep. They did so willingly, in an attempt to prevent the remaining Dröch legions from passing through. If Maloch were to succeed in this endeavor, the world of men would have fallen into certain darkness.
Over a year had now passed since Lord Gabron first encountered the Princess Annalise of Meridianas. They were married later that summer, during the Festival of Maidens. This is the only time in known history of a union between the Duxarium and mortals. He had just given his fatherly blessing after the birth of their daughter Leisaura, when a messenger arrived declaring that Arcātheos was under siege. He left with haste, and within 3 days he arrived with reinforcements. What he saw as he crested the hill were three Duxarium and a handful of men making their last stand at the gate. They were surrounded by the remnants of three Dröch Legions, under the direct command of Reth Maloch. Lord Valerian was only moments away from calling down fire to destroy the gate, which would have sacrificed himself in the process, when the Auxillary of Meridianas sounded the charge.
Lord Gabron’s men crashed through the right flank of the enemy and were slowly making their way towards the gate. Within moments, the sky darkened as Maloch positioned himself with his chief minions to meet this new threat. The ground shook as he unleashed his wrath in the form of fire, with the full force of it knocking Lord Gabron violently to the ground. In this dark hour, while this great enemy was still distracted, Lord Valerian launched from the gate and dealt a crippling stroke into his side. Once this evil menance was secured in chains the remaining Duxarium forced the Dröch armies back into Praedor. As Lord Gabron was passing into eternity, Valerian vowed to protect his wife and daughter from danger. Gabron was laid to rest in the main field of Arcātheos, with a cross marking his burial tomb. It was in this very location that his last words were spoken to the King, who remained unseen, though some claimed to have heard his voice.
Since he survived, Maloch was condemned by the remaining three Arch-Lords, and imprisoned in the abyss of Silentius. There he was to be tormented by his own wickedness until the end of time. Within days, they had taken back the Tower of Praedor, and had driven the enemy eastward beyond the known lands.
When all the leaders and royal families of Lumenorus had gathered, Lord Valerian recognized the sacrifices made by all to secure peace. In particular, he called forth Aurelius, one of the Duxarium whose family was known for their skill in battle. It was Aurelius who had formed an elite group of men from all over Lumenorus, and it was they who remained standing at the gate in the end. These men were henceforth named as the “Praedorian Rangers,” tasked with defending the woodlands east of the Garrison of Praedor. In time, they would enlist men of great skill from throughout the realm, training them in the art of war. With the Duxarium now greatly decreased in numbers, Lord Valerian began journeying through the gate in order to discover noble warriors from Earth, who could be called upon in time of need. It was in the year 1737 that the first age of Lumenorus came to an end.
Forseeing that Leisaura and her mother would be forever hunted by the Dröch army, Lord Valerian forged a hidden passage within the main gate of Arcātheos. This created a mysterious sanctuary deep in the woodlands of Guarelle, which make up the northern limits of Arcātheos. It is said that the King journeyed into this new land to give his blessing, and to plant mysterious artifacts in the precious soil. He then spoke with the remaining Arch-Lords, revealing his desire to name it Captivenia, which meant “captivating grace.” Lord Valerian chose four hundred villagers who had been displaced by the uprisings, giving them the opportunity to settle in this protected region. He then appointed Commander Justin of Solandil, and his future heirs, to be the first Keepers of this region. His family was entrusted with a prophecy about the days of the coming heir, and a book containing a moral code that all were to adhere to. The Keepers were given the authority to exile members back through the gate, who by their own free will chose not to abide by the laws set forth. Since Commander Justin’s wife never bore a son, the reign of the Keepers passed to his two daughters, Veronica and Ronwyn, who faithfully served their people in all matters of the law.
Unknown to the settlers, Princess Annalise had entered with her daughter in the first year of the second age, accompanied by two female Duxarium. They journeyed on farther than the others, finding an area of total seclusion at the base of a beautiful mountain. After the natural death of her mother, Leisaura continued her formation at the hands of the Duxarium. These two were particularly gifted in matters of grace and etiquette, having served in the ancient court. Due to her lineage, Leisaura was also blessed with immortality. It would be nearly two generations before she would come of age, ready to take her place as the heir of Captivenia. During this time they remained protected from the enemy, through the heroic sacrifices of those defending the main gate of Arcātheos. However, all was about to change…