Eons ago, before civilization on this world established itself, the world now known as Lumia was adopted by the Luminari, a race of Celestial, Extra-Planar Beings. They chose Lumia because of the unique properties of the world, namely the strong magical field suffusing and surrounding the planet. This field, caused by the abundance of the magic-bending mineral arcanite, was exactly what the Luminari needed to perform their task, the imprisonment of the being known only as the Prisoner. No one in this time remembers the Prisoner’s true nature, only that the threat posed by its existance was so great that the Luminari devoted their immortal lives to maintaining its prision.
By growing the crystals of arcanite native to Lumia, the Luminari carefully manipulated the magical fields surrounding the planet, building a powerful enough prison to lock away the malevolant Prisoner where its influence could not be felt. This prison was locked with five locks spread over the surface, and the keys hidden. The Luminari remained on Lumia in order to maintain and guard the prison.
As the ages passed, the indigenous peoples, the humans, elves, dwarves, orcs and halflings all advanced in both civilization and influence. Although Kingdoms rose and fell, vanishing into dust, they were quickly rebuilt even faster. Many of the Luminari, tiring in their relentless vigilance, left their task and integrated themselves into the indigenous peoples of the world, leaving their more disciplined brethren behind.
These Luminari taught the people of the world the arts of magic, ushering in a new age of prosperity for the peoples of Lumia. They revered the wandering Luminari, who in their arrogance never returned to their guard. The few Luminari that remained decided that they were too few to maintain the prison, and that they needed help.
So the faithful Luminari were forced to also get involved in the indigenous people’s lives, and began to recruit the most promising beings to bear their Mark. The Mark of the Luminari changed the soul of the recipient, binding them to this life and granting them the ability to advance much more rapidly in power than the average mortal. The Marked were granted this gift, but with this came a grave duty – To protect and preserve the prison within Lumia and to stop those that might wish to unleash the Prisoner. It was in this duty that the Marked discvered the power of the crystalline arcanite so abundant in their world. They discovered that the power stored within these crystals could be tapped, enhancing their mundane items, imbuing them with magical properties. Furthermore, they learned how they could use arcanite to enhance their own bodies, transforming them into the Arcana Golems, more construct than man, with the power to level cities.
Greed and lust for power drove them to war with each other, with the Luminari and with the more “common” folk of the world. The peoples of Lumia called this the “Last War” , because it was thought that no one would surive. The armies led by the terrible Arcana Golems tore the world asunder, filling the skies with fire and ash.
Distracted by the chaos above, the normally vigilant Luminari were not aware that the prisoner was able to force the prison open just enough to touch the world. Some of the marked, when touched by the prisoner, were further seduced by promises of power – and so were tainted to the core. When dscovered by the Luminari, these traitors fled into hiding.
The prison was restored, at the cost of all but a single life of the Luminari, the dead’s essence used to restore the weakened prison. The “Last War” concluded as the last of the Arcana Golem destroyed each other. The world, now scarred and blackened eventually recovered. The last of the remaining Luminari, Sarene, took upon herself the solitary mission of guarding the prison for the rest of her days.
The knowledge of the uses of arcanite was not completely lost, but the process of creating Arcana Golems was thought to be destroyed.
In the rebuilding, while mining for ores, a group of dwarves discovered an ancient city, thought to have been lost in the “Last War.” The city, however, was shielded by rich deposits of arcanite which protected it from the devastating magics above. The dwarves in this city had grown complacent in their isolation, believing that they were the only ones who remained after the devastation.
The dwarves of this city had been changed, either by arcane radiation during the Last War or by their close proximity to large amounts of arcanite. The dwarves had become like the rocks under which they lived, their skin hardening, their hair becoming veins of metal ore. Their skin was crystalline, faceted and semi transparent, but they moved as if they were flesh and blood. They also gained the remarkable ability to morph their bodies, growing crystals from their fists and altering their crystalline skin until it is as hard as the crystal it resembled.
The historians of the Crystal Dwarves, although tight-lipped, had records of the “Last War” – accounts that described events only know as legeands and bedtime stories to the surface world. And although they did not have the complete technique, the knowledge of the Arcana Golem was re-discovered.
Some of the traitors had also survived the war – and they had not been idle. Building areas of support, they searched out tainted areas touched by the Prisoner – parts of the prison damaged unintentionally by the mining of crystalline arcanite and the devestation of the Last War. Those tainted by the Prisoner had become known as “darklings” and they worked to sow distruction and conflict amongst the free peoples of the realms.
Serane, the last remaining Luminari, has begun again the process of “marking” those that are worthy to help build a defense agianst the rising tide of the darklings and prevent the release of the Prisoner.