The beloved and ever-imaginative Dragon Warrior proposed a collaboration to explore our fantasy worlds together. Some of you may already be familiar with her planet Cygnet, and some of you might know my Lumis from “The Stars Went Out.”
We both agreed on a set of questions to create a visitor’s guide for passing tourists, so you’re welcome to embark on our adventures with us, if you think you can make the journey.
1. The meaning of your world. Why do you think it was given?
Lumis is named for the light of the stars–for the root lum of illumination and luminous, and the Esperanto verb for shone. This is because in Lumis, stars are everything. They are the force dictating every aspect of the world, including time, fortune, and fate, and the priestesses of every kingdom pray for their favor. The world ends in borders called Margins, or infinite abysses of darkness from which Demons crawl. The stars are everything, you see, because without them there is nothing.
2. How did your world start?
With a great light, of course. With a fallen angel, and a wish so strong it made something from nothing. Oddly, no one quite seems to remember the specifics…
3. What are the major communities?
There are eleven territories in Lumis: Arai Nayzam, Saikasu, Mazafka, Aswajir, Bhin, Regnor, Helmacae, Novayar, Cili, Nuqis, and Anastoria. These are split unevenly between moon territories and sun territories.
Day and night in Lumis does not work like it does on Earth. In the moon territories, there are moonbright and moondark, and in the sun territories there are sunbright and sundark. The light of the sun territories is known for its golden shine, and the moon territories for their crystal white.
4. One line to describe your world?
The reality of Lumis is a product only of perception and memory, and as changeable as both.
5. Your favourite place to tour in your world?
Well, I spend most of my time accompanying Umi and the others, so I’ve stayed many days in Quarterheart. It’s old and fatigued, and most of the roads are cracked by roots, but it’s still quite beautiful. The city is built in scaffolded levels ascending from the base of a mountain range. Everything is connected overhead by bridges from which ivy hang, and the people of Quarterheart can lean past the railings to see the rest of the their home cascade down the slope.
At the very top of the city are two towers built from gourd-shaped rooms, painted in many colors. One is made to resemble the sun and one is made to resemble the night sky–these are the patriarch’s tower and the priestess’s tower. Yasha, Shiori, and Umi live there.
At the very bottom, tucked against the mountain, there is also a small village buried by deep forest called Seller’s Moon, where everything is silent. The trees are so ancient and thick it is always like moondark over the houses, which is where Persis and Shardae live.
There’s also a spectacular market people may come from all levels to visit, where food and colorful oddities are sold from every territory. The patriarch’s son Pyrros begs to visit whenever he can.
6. Your favourite local legend there?
Oh, my. Legends come and go in Lumis very quickly, but my favorite of the classics is probably the discovery of Saikasu, and the secret history of the alchemists. It isn’t in “The Stars Went Out,” but some generations later there is also a place called the Painted Sea, where the sea is so still whole murals are painted across it in special alchemist’s dye.
7. Any unique creature there?
Not any Umi and the others meet, but I’ve only recently discovered the peach lions of Mazafka. They live peacefully with other animals on the plains, and are exactly the pinkish color of soft peaches except for the black spots on their foreheads. I’m not quite sure what they eat, the priestesses only pretend not to hear when I ask and smile under their veils.
8. A great mystery of your world?
Well, for Umi and the others, the greatest mystery is why the stars have begun to go out. Personally, I’m quite vexed by the peach lions. What do they eat?
9. The most dangerous place there?
There isn’t a person in Lumis not wary of the Plutonian Sea. There is no sunbright or moonbright. Distance does not exist. If you sailed in a straight line, you would not move at all. Once you look away from the shore you left, it will not be behind you again.
To navigate the Plutonian, sailors and priestesses instead have to navigate the sky. If you can find familiar constellations and match their reflections in the sea, then your boat might arrive where you sailed. But never be tricked: if the stars in the sky do not match the reflections on the water, then you must not look away.
No one is quite sure why the Plutonian is the way it is. Just make sure not to go beneath the water–there is no bottom past the shallows, and sometimes the waves move even without winds or tides.
10. Are there many different religions there?
All territories worship the stars, and all territories have their own priestesses who convey their wisdom. They all know the same 200 invocations to call upon the magic of constellations. However, many different kinds of fortune-telling, omen interpretation, and prayer exist for ordinary people.
Good day and greetings to all these lovely guests. My name is Arsemia Destavola, though a friend might call me Ema–and I like to think every companion I meet is a friend. I received an invitation to the remarkable world of Cygnet from someone. I’m eager to go. have some rather…unique talents, you see. I am not afraid of otherworldly jaunts.
I wonder who my charming guide will be? Whoever you are, just look for the Cili noblewoman with the long black hair and the impeccable wardrobe! If she’s not stunningly attractive, I’m sure you have the wrong woman. I’ll be waiting for you. Until then!
All the thanks in the world to Dragon Warrior for this amazing idea. It’s great fun, and working together to plan it was a delight, too!