What are the Lumen?
Pure light that can take on any form, Lumen can even moderate how brightly they shine. They’ll dazzle you one minute and light fires the next. And while they masquerade as angels of light, they are evil beings who would conquer the world if they only had the desire. Instead, they prefer fights that could go either way.
They draw their energy from stars, so long flights aren’t their cup of tea. It’s much easier to just attack anyone who ventures into their systems and resort to piracy as the need arises.
They don’t have a strong taste for other beings’ things, though they’re partial to a quaint little knick-knack every once in a while. Instead of holding onto their loot, they just sell or trade it. They can easily melt metal, they shape rocks, and they can vaporize water. Nobody really understands or can explain their culture or art.
It’s hard to learn anything concrete about creatures whose corpses nobody has ever seen, who aren’t taken captive, and who refuse to be studied. Some think they feed directly off the stars, while others believe they suck energy out of their surroundings. We think they feed on emotions—the extremes of elation and ecstasy that accompany the clash of battle. And that’s why war is what they love the most.
Everyone who has seen them describes a luminescent humanoid creature. On video they appear amorphous, barely-there or fantastical glowing bits of light, which is how they appear when they’re not interacting with other living creatures; in other words, when they’re relaxed and calm.
As a psychological and mystical demonstration of Lumen power and superiority, their enemies see them in the form of their symbols of power, belief, and might.
Their light can shatter ocular nerves, burn straight through armor plates, and heal or disinfect wounds. They can do good or evil, appearing as the saviors or destroyers of civilizations—for them one is as good as the other, as they feel no pangs of conscience.
You can’t kill Lumen. They say they’re either immortal or live forever as long as they aren’t separated from the light of the nearest star. On the other hand, Gavakens think Lumen have a limited supply of light that sooner or later runs out. Some even poetically refer to them as mini stars.
Lumen appeared in the observable cosmos relatively recently. Ancient chronicles have no mention of them, though Gavakens think that’s because back then Lumen masked themselves as angelic creatures and the bearers of civilization. Humans and Vagalars completely disagree.
Whatever the case may be, the Lumen took over several uninhabited planets once they appeared, and gradually expanded into more and more territory.
Their settlements look like domes lit up by the beings living inside them. Lumen shun large cities, which some say is because they are typical villagers and prefer quiet, secluded areas. Native Lumen worlds probably don’t even have settlements; they and Lumen ships were most likely created solely for the purpose of traveling to distant worlds.
Their travels taught them much, and they also picked up quite a few prejudices from the civilizations they met. Now they enjoy appearing to be supernatural beings sent from the stars, not to mention other nonsense nobody in the civilized world buys anymore.
Lumen fight exclusively with their ships, which are said to have been borrowed way back when. As soon as they’re destroyed or incapacitated the enemy wins. Lumen themselves are impossible to beat in close combat.
One version has it that most of what the Lumen have was inherited from other races and is used only for their enjoyment. On the other hand, the omniscient Gavakens say that some Lumen are inveterate hoarders who can’t get their hands on enough. Other, less materialistic Lumen only collect what catches their eye.
Nobody knows if Lumen have any concept of history or religion. Most likely their civilization is evolved to the point where they don’t have to worry about either one.
They still haven’t gotten tired of war, similar to younger races. And their efforts to wipe out what they consider improper while boosting their own merits is also oddly reminiscent of an immature race. They often earnestly propagate their own values and what they consider worthwhile. Meanwhile, the rest of explored space can’t figure out what the Lumen have actually created that is worth defending to such a degree—after all, most of their military expeditions are focused on defense or search and rescue. Apparently they’re just protecting their property. As has already been noted, their culture and art is impossible to describe, and no other civilized race even considers it art. And nobody out there would consider messy military action, chaotic invasions, and amateur-hour politics to be any kind of culture.
They are ruled (maybe indefinitely) by Semysl, though nobody knows if that’s a name or a title. Humans sarcastically call it a dirty epithet. He himself represents the Lumen at interplanetary negotiations, and ship captains act in his name. Ships themselves are fairly independent of command, and often act or take risks independently based on what they see in the moment and completely without a plan. After their shameless robberies they throw out or sell most of their loot without ever sending anything to the capital. Oftentimes ships come to each other’s aid too late, still joining the battle even if they’re facing a stronger force. They’re just in it for the fight.
The Lumen stole their entire material culture from somewhere, seeing as how they don’t need valuables and don’t even care enough to establish their worth.
On the whole, Lumen are like children wrecking their way through a sandbox and having no idea what to do with it once they’re done. They’re always up for alliances, though they’re also always up for pointlessly violating them. They’ve just had enough and want something new.