A lumena (plural: lumenae) is an elemental spirit associated with light.
Lumenae embody the spirit of light. In terms of height and build they tend to fall within human norms, much like sylph. However, all lumenae glow to varying degrees. Superstition claims that the stronger a lumena's spirit, the stronger they can glow, and it is certainly true that the most pronounced glows are found among middle aged lumenae in good health. Brightly glowing lumenae in their later years are somewhat rare. Most of the time, especially around non-lumenae, they keep their glow to a minimum. The glow emanates equally from all parts of the body, and can be controlled at will, though some prove more adept at this than others.
Lumenae are most often found with hair in shades of white or yellow. Generally, their hair is remarkably pale, though some darker blond shades are not unknown. Much rarer are shades of orange or even light red. Lumenae eyes are much more uniform; nearly all have shades of yellow, with a handful of known exceptions who have exhibited light golden-brown or orange eyes. As lumenae eyes glow just as much as the rest of their bodies, this glow tends to conceal the pupil and sclera especially when compared to other races. This has led to a common misconception that their eyes are solid in color. In terms of skin tone, they show a wide and diverse range, anywhere from peach, white, yellow, gold, or brown. They are a long-lived race, living anywhere between 1500-2000 years old.
Culture & Mannerisms
Not much is known definitively about the lumenae's origin. The lumenae themselves firmly believe they were the first elemental race, along with the umbrae, but aside from their longevity, no solid evidence exists either to confirm or deny the claim. Lumenae folklore does mention the other elemental races' beginnings, but it is unclear whether this information was gathered at the time those races came to be, or was added later.
Lumenae tend to be found in their own, relatively isolated pocket of Underhill. The only access to their home was formerly through a gateway on the western side of the island. It is unclear if that gateway still remains, due to the ancient magical seal which surrounds much of the western part of the island. The lumenae traded and associated themselves with the Lilians more extensively than other races of Underhill. When the Lily civilization moved toward following Inishie, consequently declining, both lumenae and umbrae felt it necessary to retreat back to their home in Underhill, withdrawing from an increasingly unpleasant life on the island. While this Underhill home is predominantly made up of umbrae and lumenae, a scattering of other races escaped with them during the Lilians' fall.
The lumenae are perceived as a fairly optimistic race. They strongly believe in finding the positive in things, sometimes to a fault. This can sometimes give one the impression that they are silly, or oblivious to what's going on around them. However, most lumenae, if asked, would deny they are blind to the hardships of the world; the lumenae just strive to bring forth that which shines, focusing upon the positives at the expense of negativity. This usually translates into making and doing things which make people happy, or at least feel good. As such, they tend to be more artistic than most. Their culture is very peaceful, finding violence unpleasant, though they should not be thought of as pacifists. Like most women, they will defend themselves and those they care about. One consequence of the racial tendency to overemphasize positive self-image and esteem is that lumenae can be viewed by others to be prideful, even boastful, about their work and themselves in particular.
They usually get along with the other common race in their isolated region, umbrae. Lumenae tend to disapprove of the umbrae willingness to accept the darker aspects of people's personalities. Because of this, philosophical arguments between the two races occur fairly regularly, though these disagreements are (usually) genial and well-natured. They get along quite well with other races. The sole exception is generally seen to be that of the avians. Given the more martial bent of many avians, and the embrace of violence, philosophical differences and debates between avians and lumenae tend to be of a not so genial, well-natured flavor, and some jest that avians are the only people a lumena could work herself up to hating.
The lumenae have a natural ability to manipulate light, sometimes called lumancy, which is generally categorized as an intrinsic elemental magic. This commonly manifests in the form of light beams, barriers, and bright bursts used to temporarily blind. Lumenae themselves are unaffected; their vision is known to be among the best of all native races, and sharp transitions from bright to dark conditions, and vice versa, do not present a problem. Some lumenae are known to be able to use their light magic as a way of purging certain types of curses or dangerous magics. Exposure to a strong lumena's light is sometimes used to make people feel better by reducing stress or anxiety, jokingly known as 'feeling lighter'. Some believe that this is related to the use of 'light therapy' to treat seasonal affective depression. In some cases, lumancy can be used to bring forth memories that have positive feelings attached to them in individuals, though this aspect of lumancy comes only after being hand-selected for centuries of training, usually under the strict supervision of an elder lumena. This aspect of lumancy is never used without express consent of the individual; abuse of it is considered a serious crime.
Due to the weakening or dropping altogether of barriers in 2014 (the exact mechanism is unknown), the portal to the lumenae pocket of Underhill has become accessible. With the barriers down, the umbrae and lumenae both are able to venture forth and rejoin their sister races in observing the island. It's unknown how well the other Underhill races will take to these elemental races, having been gone so long that they have largely been considered myth or ancient history.