World Building: The Luminary Path
In-World The Luminary Path is a subject of many theories but few facts. Some call it the realm of the Gods, others relegate it to wild explorers’ tales and superstition. This discussion shall include only such “facts” as are in common agreement among those few who possess knowledge of the Path. For almost as long as there have been people on the Sphere there have been legends of the Luminary Path. Some of the wisest Starborn sages claim to have explored it in their dreams, but the ranks of those who have entered it firsthand are small. Nonetheless, all agree on some common facts. They describe the Path as a realm of luminous energies, a series of endless corridors, bridges, islands, and structures floating interconnected against the void of the Great Dark. Spanning from island to island, structure to structure, and even from planet to planet, these bridges travel incomparably vast distances in a matter of hours or days. Comets, shooting stars, and debris floating in the Great Dark pass through the Path’s roads- and their inhabitants- like harmless mist. The Luminary Path is hardly empty. Strange plants, beasts, and folk are said to dwell within, many beautiful and wondrous to mortals. It is a realm of splendor putting all but the mightiest of earthly works to shame. Gods and angels are said to walk its expanses, quietly spreading light and hope to every world they encounter, and battling the foul creatures that oppose them at every turn. No one walks into the Luminary Path unchanged, and not a few have entered one of its glittering portals, never to return again. Whether there is in fact any truth to these wild tales, of course, is a matter of heated debate. Few scholars can accept the word of such wanderers as claim to have entered the Path, much less those who claim to have come from it. The locations of portals leading to the Path are the subject of myth even today; of those that have been discovered most remain silent and unresponsive. Others are the sacred sites of various cultures, who, understanding nothing of their purpose, will allow only limited studies. Author’s Notes This is also written from the point of view of the scholar who wrote the articles on the Planetary Overview and the Great Dark. As such, there are many aspects of the Path beyond the article’s limited overview. The Path does, in fact, exist, and is essentially the realm of the Luminaries between planets. It is populated by beings allied to them or of their own creation, and serves both as a safe haven and a means of interplanetary travel. It is perfectly inhabitable by mortals, and in some of its most splendid sections is closer to a paradise than a mere shelter. However, other areas are abandoned, damaged due to war, neglect, or simple accident, or have been allowed to develop on their own without external input. Entrance into the Path is tightly regulated, and although there are portals on many worlds many are used only infrequently by heroes, figures of legend, or other such exceptional persons. In general the Luminaries prefer to exert subtle influences on mortals and their worlds at the moment, as they still fear the Vortumbrae discovering a means to fully invade the Path. Servants of Vortumbrae do dwell within the Path, the descendants of those foul creatures originally sent within to open a portal for the Vortumbrae to invade. However, they have been isolated so long, and contained so thoroughly, that for the most part their masters no longer care much for their progress. Most of these exiles see few choices- returning empty-handed to their creators risks their wrath, so they continue to harry the Luminaries where they can, attempting to claim enough of the Path’s entrances to allow for a sustained offensive. However, some of these minions have actually “gone native,” and seek to mend fences with their former adversaries. In terms of relevance to our world, the Luminary Path only plays a role in exceptional circumstances. Though portals exist scattered across its surfaces, the relics of long-lost civilizations or Luminary colonies, few dare to enter, and fewer still even know how to find and operate the ancient devices. Nonetheless these portals have served as quiet areas of interaction between the Luminaries and our world, and they are sacred ground to more than a few civilizations who know nothing of their actual purpose.