The Founding of Umbra
The story of Umbra's founding; the city of Fallen Halgians, Black dragons, and one man's sacrifice to secure their ultimate sanctuary.
Umbra. Our hidden refuge. Our city of blessed darkness. Our stronghold. Our home. For over three millennia, this city has been kept hidden from the Halgians who seek constantly to destroy it and us. For over three millennia, we have kept its location from them, though at no small cost. And to think, Umbra almost ended before it even began. Our struggle started well before we left the Empire’s blessed cities.
We never really intended to part with the Empire - at first. We merely committed the sin of questioning. Questioning if dark was truly evil. Questioning if those races declared irredeemable were truly a threat to the light by their very existence. After questioning, we began to doubt. And in doubting, we began to defy. This defiance was the last straw, and we were declared heretics to be hunted down and purified. In the end, we fled, seeking a new refuge.
The Halgians weren't willing to allow us to depart so easily. Several wings of dragon knights took to the skies in our wake, intent on rounding us up, or, if we resisted, killing us there and then. Not that we weren't doomed already. But we received allies in the form of the great Black Kasarial, who looked upon us with pity and led her kin in a sudden attack on our pursuers, ultimately driving them away. From there she led us to the great crag on which we decided to found our home.
But Evylon is not a forgiving place, and it was all we could do to try to hold the great magestorms at bay while we constructed our city. Even with the help of our new dragon allies, we began to tire, forced as we were to divide our energies; we started to realize that the great shield would fail before we could finish building our haven and usher a permanent one into its place. Despairing, we wondered what else we could hope to do.
Valamir saved us. One of the greatest mages the land had ever seen, the day he openly joined our ranks sent shockwaves throughout the Empire and gave us the time we needed to escape the cities. He took the burden of holding the shield in place upon himself alone, allowing the rest of us to focus on building. He placed himself in a trance, and though the effort he put forth was immense, he remained outwardly calm. But even with all our efforts focused on building, it took weeks before we were ready to craft a lasting shield powerful enough to shield the entire city.
In the end, the strain proved to be too much for Valamir’s body to handle; when he finally released the shield, he promptly turned to dust and blew away. Unable to treat his remains with the honor and dignity he had earned many times over, we erected a memorial for him below the city. In time, it became a full crypt where he could symbolically watch over us in death. Were it not for his sacrifice, there never would’ve been an Umbra.
Though he didn't live to see this great city finished, his presence still makes itself known. Umbra's defenders swear to uphold his indomitable spirit, to fight with his unbending will, and to commit to his final sacrifice if need be. This solemn duty is one shared by the lowest of soldiers up to the greatest Highlord. Those who officially and publicly take the Oath of Valamir are viewed as the most stalwart - if grimmest - of all of Umbra’s defenders, priding themselves on being the first into battle and the last ones out.