Illumination

“Thinking back on that moment, it is almost impossible to describe. No bigger than the nail of my thumb and lighter than a feather, it gave off a calm and warm light that reminded me of a still candle flame, only far brighter. As soon as he placed it into my hand, I felt courage flow through my veins, and I was gripped by a powerful desire to protect and nurture those who need me. Had he not snatched it back from me, I surely would have taken it with me on a quest to rid the land of evil.”

- Architect Ferrethan, "Pilgrimage"

When Istuna’s sun fell from the sky during The Fall, it crashed down to Vulcanica with impossible force, totally obliterating the ground beneath it in an instant. The sun itself was cracked and shattered by the impact, with millions of tiny pieces of it scattering for hundreds of miles in every direction. And though nearly all of these pieces became useless and dun almost immediately, a tiny fraction of them were able to hang on to the light and warmth of the old sun.

After the sun was returned to the sky, these radiant pieces of the sun that was refused to return to the heavens with the other pieces. It wasn’t long before they were found by the people, and their incredible magic was discovered. Though they always let out a calming and warming light, their real power became apparent in the hands of one who was able to form a bond with them. These rare individuals could bend the light into weapons that repelled even the most fearsome beasts, or illuminate entire stretches of land with the light of the sun. These impossible slivers of light became known as Sunshards, and those able to call their power were named Lucients.

Tremendously rare and impossibly valuable, Sunshards quickly became a symbol of power, as the Lucients were able to easily gain the trust and loyalty of others. Most of the first Tyrants were Lucients, and it is basically impossible to run a modern city-state without being a Lucient at least once or twice over. Sunshards have become essential to the success of any city-state, allowing the Tyrant to grow crops and livestock, and keep their people healthy and safe from the cold dark of Vulcanica’s nights. In most city-states, even attempting to steal or attune the tyrant’s Sunshard is a crime punishable by death, even though most Tyrants take sufficient measures to render such a heist effectively impossible.

In Vulcanica, Lucients are exceedingly uncommon, and non-Tyrant Lucients are practically unheard of. Whenever someone other than a Tyrant does acquire a Sunshard, they almost always immediately turn around and offer it as a gift to their Tyrant in exchange for becoming a Lux—a tremendously powerful and fabulously wealthy member of the aristocratic caste. The absolute top of the social hierarchy (second only to Tyrants), the Lux exist as the Tyrant’s favored. Since Lux status does not pass through blood (and can only be earned by winning and subsequently giving away a Sunshard), the Lux is often very respected in the eyes of the people, as they have directly contributed to the prosperity and well-being of the city.

Illumination

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