Name: Lumien Swift
Race: apparently human, but mysterious origin makes that less certain.
Age: approx. 23, maybe a few years older or younger
Weight: 60 kg
Height: 1.7 m.
Birthplace: unknown for certain. Spent early childhood in town of Stackle
Familiar: Red-tailed hawk (Krider's form) named Chandra
Lumien has shoulder-length reddish brown hair. She has tan skin from spending many of her days in the wind and sun. She has an athletic build and a few indiscriminate scars on her back, arms, and legs from battle, running, or general mischief. Her eyes are brown, with a few flecks of green. Her face is still round with youth, but the shape of it is changing as she grows up.
Lumien is practical and independent, and it shows in her garb. She wears the traditional green robes inside the Guild (grudgingly), but as soon as she is out of sight of a superior Magician, she dons a pair of brown canvas trousers and a green wool tunic with a silk undershirt. Her traditional footwear are ankle-high brown boots with a heavy tread. She always wears leather gauntlets to protect her wrists from Chandra’s talons. Occasionally, when travelling, she will wear a gray wool cloak to protect her from the elements. She also has a hair comb that hides a lockpicking kit from her days as a thief, which still comes in handy.
Underneath her left trouser leg, strapped to her calf, is a knife holster. The knife is dull and the handle is cracked, so it is nearly useless as a weapon. However, it is made of elvish steel, and holds special value to Lumien. She was told it belonged to her grandfather, and although this may not be the case, it is the only item she retains from her family in Stackle.
Little is known about the magical portion of Lumien’s family. She seems to be the only child among six siblings and numerous cousins with the ability to control magic. Other traits she shares with no family member are her unusual hair color (everyone had mousy brown or blonde hair), her firy temper, and her independent spirit. This led to rumors around the village that she was adopted, or was a changeling, which followed her as long as she remained in the village. Her parents refused to discuss the issue when she brought it up, and told her she resembled a distant relative.
Women in Stackle had their choices made for them since birth. A typical Stackle female would learn homemaking from her mother, enter an arranged marriage at sixteen or seventeen, bear as many children as she could, and take care of her husband until the day she died and was buried in his family plot. It was the way things had been done since the Great Peace, and no one yet had the courage to stand up to centuries of tradition.
Naturally, Lumien was not a typical Stackle girl. For one, she was not betrothed to a typical Stackle boy. When she was no more than three years of age, a Lord Draug Virg came to her parents, seeking a wife for his son of the same age, Orbric. Lumien screamed when she first saw him, and would not stop. However, her parents were poor, and Virg offered such an exorbitant amount of gold for her hand that they couldn’t in good conscience refuse, for both Lumien’s sake, and that of her two sisters and three brothers. The protesting Lumien had to be locked in another room while negotiations took place, but despite her efforts to convince her parents otherwise, she quickly became the future Lady Virg.
Lumien’s parents were not cold or cruel people. They were quite the opposite. They loved her very much, and wanted to do the best they could for her. They used the preliminary gold from Lord Virg to hire tutors to teach her and her siblings reading, writing, and basic arithmetic; to purchase animals so that none of them would ever go hungry; and to provide them all with the best medical care available.
However, the damage had been done. Ever since that day, without knowing quite why, Lumien ceased to fully trust her parents, and became an unmanageable child. At four, she taught herself to swim by wandering into a lake. By six, she had learned to climb trees. She studied adventure books instead of cookbooks, and by eight was the best fistfighter in the village, and could beat boys twice her age in a one-on-one fair fight. But the fact is, children are cruel, and difference of any sort is a tempting target for bullies. Lumien was already ostracized by the village girls for being chosen to marry someone of a far higher societal status than they had; soon the boys started to follow suit. Lumien had to become thick skinned. The violence against her escalated when she was ten. Words and fists would no longer work against her, so the bullies took up arms.
Lumien was delivering a message to her father in the fields, when a group of boys came after her, throwing stones. She was outnumbered three-to-one and couldn’t possibly take them all on at once, so she ran. They chased her down the road, through the trees, and into a farmer’s field, where she twisted her ankle. She had time, but they were gaining ground, and there was nowhere to hide. Fortunately, there was a horse out to pasture, so Lumien used a technique she had seen in a book. She used a haystack as a mounting block, clambered up onto the horse, and rode it bareback through the gate, and well away from the boys.
It was this little incident that led to Lumien leaving home for good. Although the horse was returned to the farmer no worse for the wear, he was furious and demanded discipline, due in no small part to her status in the community as an outsider. Her parents had no choice but to send her to a far away convent. On her tenth birthday, they took her to the convent and left her in the care of the harsh nuns.
Lumien loathed it there. The nuns were extraordinarilly mean to her, and so were the other girls. They tried to break her rebellious spirit, but failed miserably. Lumien ran away after the second night, using a ladder made of bedsheets. She survived in the wild on her own for a month, sleeping in trees and barn lofts, scavenging and working for food. She showed up on her parents’ doorstep one night, just after the messenger from the convent came to inform them that she had died. After Lumien convinced them that she was indeed alive, her parents came to realize that they really didn’t know what was best for their daughter. Lumien couldn’t conform to what they wanted for her, and they accepted that. They gave her a few supplies, what they could spare, and a small knife that allegedly belonged to her grandfather. Lumien only looked back once after their tearful embrace, and stepped out on her own again into the great wide world.
After Lumien left, things returned to normal quickly. Life went on, the crops grew and the harvest came. People were born, and people died, sometimes both within the hour. Lumien’s parents told the townsfolk that she had died in the convent, and worked to pay back the spent portion of her dowry. They missed her every day, and constantly wondered if she was all right. They accepted the fact that she was gone, nay, that she never really belonged there, but it didn’t change the way they felt.
Unknown to them or Lumien, they had already sealed her fate.
Late Childhood- The Running Years
Lumien Swift traveled far, criss-crossing the Ruby Mountains several times over the next five years, riding on wagons, ships, walking, stealing horses, moving however she could. She changed her name with each new town she went to. In the mining town of Turious, she was Nelly Black, an eleven year old beggar child, and a pickpocket. One day, she was on the street when a magician came through. She had not yet perfected the destitute look that so many others had, and she was not nearly as agressive, so she was poor even for a beggar. The magician saw her, smiled and dropped a small fortune in gold coins in her basket. He told her not to give up hope, and to wait. Her place would find her eventually. She took this as a sign, and used the coins to travel to the town that would eventually be known as Outpost Oane.
In Oane, she picked the wrong man's pocket, and so fell in with Rigard’s Raiders, one of the most notorious pirate bands of that day. She was known as Little Red Anne, and endeared herself quickly with the pirates, especially Captain Rigard himself, who treated her as a daughter. By thirteen, she learned to play the fiddle at a masterful level. She had several run-ins with the Oane law enforcement, including a young Captain Helena Flint. During a raid to the other side of the continent, she was left behind with a handful of others, and had to find a way back to civilization.
After a few months, the group, made up of Lumien, a cabin boy named Terric and a yennork named Olga, found its way to a nascent Yurick, before the outposts were even built. Yurick was already a dark place, and their lot fell in with a band of theives. Lumien further honed her pickpocketing skills, became an expert at lockpicking, and grew to be very graceful at clambering over rooftops and into windows. However, after the thieves turned on Lumien and her friends, she was alone again. She hid away in a Southbound wagon train, and after a series of journeys found herself in one of the myriad forest-filled valleys of the Ruby Mountains.
The Elven Camp
Lumien was roughly fifteen when she entered the forests. For a few weeks, she wandered around on her own, before finding a camp of wood elves. At first, she attempted to steal from them, but was knocked unconscious by a powerful spell, and taken prisoner. For the first time since she left home, Lumien was not treated unkindly by a group with which she had not yet ingratiated herself. The wood elves realized that she was not malicious, but just a young human doing her best to survive. They took her in, named her Erebrana, the lonely wanderer, and trained her as one of their own. With the elves, Lumien became highly skilled at archery, and was even able to communicate on a limited basis to animals. The trees became her second home, and she was able to move through the branches almost faster than she could on the ground. She was seventeen when the Lord of the wood elves discovered her magical talent.
Lumien’s official capacity was a servant, although she often hunted, and fought as a warrior against orcs. She was attending to the Lord when she witnessed one of the elves performing a summoning spell. On her own, she decided to try her hand. She was sucessful, but she was also caught. She was stunned when she was not punished, but her tutoring extended to cover basic magic. This included some wood elemental spells, healing spells, and summoning spells, all of which the elf mages had mastery over. Lumien was also taught to hone her dreams to heal herself, help others, and in a limited fashion anticipate the future.
Lumien spent five years with the elves. For the first time, she had been treated as an equal by most, and as a friend by all. She was happy there for a long time, but it was all about to change.
The Dark Alliance
Toward the end of her days in the elven camp, Lumien had a premonition. In it, she saw Stackle burned to the ground. Her entire family, her neighbors, the other village girls, were killed or taken prisoner by orcs. After consulting with the Lord, she was officially released, and given leave to stop the impending attack. She made her way as fast as she could to Stackle, but it took several weeks.
Finally, on the day before her twentieth birthday, she sighted the raiding party. There appeared to be no prisoners to guard, so she made her way to Stackle. The village was still standing, but had been the target of harassment by a human sorceror in the Dark Alliance. She learned that the sorceror was, at that moment, at her parents’ farm. She ran there as fast as she could, hoping her skills with magic and the bow, were strong enough to face him down. When she got there, her parents were kneeling at the feet of a slight, pale, raven-haired man dressed entirely in black. She cried out to them, and they recognized her by the name they had given her: Lumien Swift. The sorceror recognized her as well. He was her betrothed, Orbric Virg.
They battled, but in the end, Lumien fell. Her parents died in an attempt to save her, but she was dragged off by incoming Dark Alliance forces. She woke up several kilometers away, in chains.
Using her skills as a thief, she was able to pick the lock, slay one of the guards with its own weapon, and take its armor. She was convincing enough that she was able to infiltrate the camp, and retrieve her weapons before she was noticed, and even then, she was only found by Orbric.
Lumien shouldn’t have been stronger, but somehow, she was. She was faster than ever before, and was able to counter Orbric’s spells more effectively. He was forced to use his most powerful enchantment against her, and even that did not have the desired effect. Instead of killing Lumien outright and destroying her soul, the spell only took a piece of it. The amputated piece of soul soon took form in the shape of a red-tailed hawk, a creature which Lumien had always admired. Chandra, Lumien’s familiar, was thus born.
An unknown amount of time passed, where Lumien drifted in and out of consciousness. Orbric’s spell had also partially affected his mind, enabling Lumien to see his memories. Lumien has blocked out much of it to keep herself sane; there are only so many thoughts one can have in her head that she did not put there. What she does remember is this:
When Draug Virg came to Stackle, he was at first only passing through. He knew what she was, who she was, and what she could do when he first saw her. He sought to bend Lumien’s power to the will of the Dark Alliance, and set up the arranged marriage to give himself greater access to her through his own son. He proceeded to set enchantments about the village so that no magician would even be able to see Lumien, much less her powers. Draug was destroyed in the Battle for Imardin, but Orbric had heard tales that Lumien had escaped the convent, and the arranged marriage, and had been living on the borders of the law for the past ten years. He had come to interrogate her parents to determine her whereabouts.
Lumien awoke to Chandra’s screaming. The camp was gone, the orcs were gone, and even Orbric was gone. He wasn’t dead, Lumien could sense that. But he wasn’t here, and that meant she was safe for the time being. Chandra was chasing the carrion birds away.
When Lumien returned to her village, it had been nearly destroyed. Luckily, the first fight with Orbric had bought enough time so that most of the townspeople were able to flee to the hills. They had not been vigorously pursued. Lumien had saved the day, but was no longer welcome; Stackle as a whole felt that she had brought this upon them. With her surviving siblings, she buried her parents in her favorite part of the woods, and left, grieving.
Lumien wandered for a time, passing through all her old stomping grounds, trying to find a place where she could fight the Dark Alliance. The one place she did not return was the elven camp, for she was afraid to endanger anyone else she loved. She was essentially homeless until she came upon Imardin. Waiting at the front gate for her was a familiar face, the magician who had helped her in Turious.
It was High Lord Craxus Ne’croy.
The Magicians Guild
At first, the High Council didn’t really know what to do with Lumien. She had been trained in the diverse arts of the elves, and it was a shame to let those teachings go to waste. They took her on as an Apprentice Caretaker, but she rose quickly to the rank of Adept. It was when she discovered a plague outbreak in the slums that the High Lord recognized that her true talent lay in healing magic. In an unprecedented move, she was allowed to change her class, and began studying the arts of the Healer.
On her way to Kalsho for a rare plant that would cure the plague, Lumien was attacked by orcs. She and Chandra killed two, and were defended from the rest by Lord Wolfgang Von Altwet and Konrad, and the Imardin Guard. She successfully had the message distributed that danger was brewing, and the outposts ought to strengthen their defenses. When the attack came on Kalsho, though, she placed the blame for it entirely on her own shoulders- in her eyes, she had drawn them out. The battle's casualties were also, in her opinion, her fault. She had planned to run before anyone could find out it was she who had precipitated the attack, Wolf found her, and persuaded her to stay. Lumien still felt guilty, even though Wolf, who was quickly becoming more than a friend, maintained that it wasn't her fault, she still felt the need to do pennance for Kalsho. Before she could show her remorse, memories from the battle gave way to harsher reality, when the King was assassinated, and Imardin thrown into a panic. Lumien went out in the streets at first to control the frightened crowds in the Slums, but she was quickly called into the sewers where Elandra, Lycan, and Alicia were battling the drow assassin. She was able to blind the drow while the warriors Lans and Thoran ensured that it would never again take a life.
After tending to the wounded mages from the battle, Lumien was surprised to discover a stranger in her quarters: Syian Coleck. She treated the girl with kindness, and was rewarded in short order, with the first such friendship Lumien had seen in ages.
The Dark Alliance, wishing to capitalize on the panic the king's death was sure to create, launched a dragon attack on the city of Imardin. They made one error, however, in attempting to control a golden dragon. These dragons will normally not attack unless provoked, but their power far outmatched that of the red and black dragons more commonly associated with the Dark Alliance. One was captured, and placed under a mind control spell to be used in the attack, which came swiftly. While the warriors and dragoons were battling on the walls, Lumien was rushing through the city, warning everyone she saw of the danger. Lumien wished to have a greater role in the battle than warning siren, but before she could join the warriors on the wall, Lycan summoned her to the guild roof, where he used some of her power to summon a phoenix to aid against the dragons. Not a moment too soon did Lycan complete the spell, for just after the phoenix rose into the air, the golden dragon broke through the defenses on the city walls, the two drow on its back eager for the two sitting ducks on the guild roof. In the ensuing attack, the dragon rebelled against the spell, but was subdued. Lumien was swept off the roof, but her quick reflexes ensured that she found something to grab.
Unfortunately, it was the dragon's talon. Lumien hung on for dear life though the failed rescue attempts from Elandra, Lycan, and Thoran, and eventually observed enough to know that the dragon was under a spell. With a rope from Polonius, a distraction from Chandra, and a well placed lightning bolt from Shaylar, Lumien was able to successfully battle against both drow, and remove the spell from the dragon, although losing her staff in the process. The dragon, bent on revenge against the drow, carried poor Lumien along for the ride, toppling drow from their saddles as they went. Lumien was exhilirated by flight, but it did not last, as the wounds she received fighting were poisoned. A combination of efforts between Shaylar, Alicia, and her new friend Syian saved her life, but not before some of Orbric's memories bled through in her delerium, these hinting at a connection between the two women's lives, a connection that deepened when Syian took Lumien into death in Oane, and brought her safely back to life twice.
Although safe, Lumien was weak and needed rest before making the journey back to Imardin, so Syian took her to a small house which happened to belong to the rogue necromancer Patricia, now an old woman bent on vengeance for the love that was denied to her by the guild. While Lumien slept, Syian heard of Patricia's plans, and ensured Lumien's protection by binding her to the spirit of Syian's father, the necromancer Nicolas Coleck who had cost Syian her left arm. However, this binding spell did not last, and Nick regained enough power to kidnap both Lumien and Syian. Nick fended off both Wolf, and the necromancer Kazinishi Ka-warumoto when they came after them, shutting Wolf in Death and binding Kazinishi with powerful spells. He tortured both women, and sexually assaulted Syian before they managed an escape on Syian's dragon friend, Kala.
Nick pursued the trio relentlessly, showing up with an army of orcs and new tricks at every turn. Finally, the group of magicians reached Outpost Oane, where they used Nick's weakness to water against him. Unfortunately, he poisoned the waters, and the mages, now with the addition of Shaylar, were forced to fight him again. He used his blood ties with Syian against her, transferring every injury he received to the young woman, making him nearly impossible to defeat. This was only ended when he forced Lumien to become his blood servant, and she almost lost her life after that.
Meanwhile, Kazinishi brought Syian back to Imardin, to the healing hall, where the grievous injuries she sustained from her father were ameliorated. Lumien followed shortly thereafter, when Elandra and Shaylar injured her to take her out of the battle, and sent her to Imardin on Ninian, Elandra's phoenix. Furious that Nick was still alive, Syian forced her way out of the Healing Hall, killing two guards in the process. When she tried to protect her friend, Lumien learned she was on the High Council, and had responsibilities to the Guild. Reluctantly, she told Shaylar what she had learned of Syian's whereabouts- battling again with her father in Oane. Syian won and banished her father to the realm of Death forevermore, but she was severely injured in the process, losing her memory, and the ability to walk.
To be continued...